The Jeremy Fielding Collection – Chapter Twenty-One

Now we're getting to the crunch: Jeremy and Tony are both having a hard time of it getting through the week, knowing that Bilal will be back with them on Sunday. Can they make it through to the weekend without suffering nervous breakdowns? Let's find out...


Slowly the week went by, and somehow Jeremy dragged himself through it: Sunday, when he would finally have to face Bilal, loomed over everything he did, and made it hard for him to relax or enjoy himself. It would have been easier if he could have either accepted what Tony had told him – that Bilal would simply never want a physical relationship with him - or if he truly believed there was a chance that Tony was wrong. But instead he was caught between the two, mostly believing he had no chance but occasionally tormented by the mad hope that Bilal would change his mind.

Tony did his best to get him through the week, arranging to play tennis or go out on their bikes or to kick a ball about in Jeremy’s garden, and he never complained, even though Jeremy knew he must have been really poor company a lot of the time. Several times he looked at Tony and thought how easily he could have agreed to go out with him, had it not been for the shadow of Bilal looming over everything and offering the faintest, tantalising chance of the relationship that Jeremy really wanted.

When Tony wasn’t around Jeremy read books or watched rubbish on the television, but nothing took his mind off his situation for long. Sometimes he felt really bad about the way he was treating Tony, who had proved time and again through the week what a true friend he was. Jeremy realised how selfish he was being, holding out for an impossible dream instead of making Tony happy by accepting everything that he had to offer, but he couldn’t help himself: as long as he could believe, no matter how fleetingly, in a future in Bilal’s arms, he was unable to say ‘yes’ to a physical relationship with Tony.

He and Tony went to the cinema on Friday afternoon (and both parties were aware that this wasn’t the ‘date’ it could have been) and got back to Jeremy’s shortly before supper-time.

I’ve been thinking,” said Jeremy. “Maybe I won’t come to football on Sunday… maybe it’d be better if I stayed at home.”

No, it damned well wouldn’t be!” said Tony, forcefully. “I’m not putting up with another week like this – you’re going to talk to him and sort things out. Or were you thinking of not turning up for school ever again, too? You can’t keep avoiding this, Jeremy – you’re going to have to deal with it. So you’re going to be there on Sunday afternoon, unless you’d prefer to see him on your own on Sunday morning… that might be better, I’d have thought.”

No! I… I don’t think I could face that, Tony… what if he slams the door in my face? At least at football everyone else will be there, so he can’t go too mad at me…”

I thought you reckoned there was a chance he’d want to go out with you,” Tony reminded him. “He’d be more likely to talk about that in private, don’t you think?”

I’d be scared to risk it… unless… could you come with me?”

That wouldn’t be a good idea – he’d think we were ganging up on him. He and I got on okay while you were away, but only because we agreed not to talk about sex. Or about you, either. No, if you’re going to see him in the morning, you’ll have to go on your own.”

I don’t think I can,” said Jeremy, looking at the floor.

Then you’re coming on Sunday afternoon. It’ll be okay there – all your other friends will be around, so the two of you can sort of ease back into talking to each other while we’re playing football. Look, if I can use the phone I’ll call Kam and find out what time we’re going to be there. That way you won’t have an excuse for not turning up.”


But Tony ignored him. He went downstairs, put his head round the living room door and asked Adolf, who had got home half an hour earlier, if he could use the phone, and when Adolf rather grumpily said ‘yes’ Tony dialled Kam’s number and spoke to him briefly.

Half-past two on Sunday afternoon,’ Tony reported, unaware that Adolf was now standing just inside the living room and listening. “And you’re going to be there, or none of us will ever speak to you again. Got it? And now I’ve got to go home for supper.”

And he left, and Jeremy felt as if the end of the world was at hand, and the Final Judgement would be taking place in the car park of the Hyde pub at two-thirty on Sunday afternoon.

Miguel, of course, was undergoing none of the mental agonies that were afflicting Jeremy. Instead he had spent the time since his return from Spain by arranging to visit his various friends (except for Andy, who was off visiting some relatives in Swindon, or somewhere equally unexciting). On the Tuesday Alex Hamilton had invited him round and asked him to stay the night, which he had done happily, even though they didn’t actually get a chance to misbehave too much.

Sorry I can’t ask you to come to Pevensey with us next week,” Alex told him. “But we’re staying in a caravan, and there isn’t a spare bunk.”

That is okay. We can always go somewhere together at half term,” suggested Miguel. “Maybe we could borrow a tent and live there for a day or two. And in a tent, we would not have to wear any clothes…”

That sounds like a great idea! We’ll definitely have to do that.”

And maybe Andy can come with us, and then he and I can gang up on you and keep you naked all the time.”

You wouldn’t do that,” said Alex, confidently. “Not any more. We’re friends now, aren’t we?”

That is true. Okay, no ganging up,” agreed Miguel – and indeed he had got to like Alex enough over the summer that he didn’t really want to gang up on him any more.

On the Thursday he went to visit James.

How was Spain?” James asked him, as soon as they were alone in his bedroom.

It was hot. You would not have enjoyed it. But… it is a pity we could not go on holiday together. Perhaps we can during the next holidays.”

I’m not sure where I’m going to be then. See, I got my results while you were away: I passed the Common Entrance. Really well, in fact.”

Great! Well done! Except…” Miguel stopped as he realised what this was going to mean – after all, James had been a senior, which meant that he had now left Inchley Manor. “Where are you going?”


Wow, you must really have done well, then… but… does that mean..?”

Yes, I’m going as a boarder. So I’m not going to be around too much in future.”

Oh,” said Miguel, suddenly looking less happy. “But… can we still be friends? I mean, will you be here for the holidays?”

Yes, of course. And apparently you can come home occasionally at weekends during term as well, so it won’t just be during the main holidays. We can still get together quite often.”

Yes, but… if you are going to be a boarder… well, you will make new friends, won’t you? Then you won’t want to play with a little kid such as me.”

Of course I will! Anyway, you’ll be taking the CE yourself in a couple of years’ time. You might end up at Harrow yourself.”

I do not think so,” said Miguel, who had no illusions about his own brain-power. “And I am sure you will do well and make friends there – it is a good school, so I do not think you will be teased like as you are at Inchley.”

I hope you’re right, but I’m not sure… still, I talked to my dad about it before we accepted the offer, and he said maybe I should try joining in if they make fun of me – sort of laugh at myself, and maybe make a few jokes of my own about my fingers falling off, or something. He said if I do that the nicer ones will like me and stop teasing me, and the nasty ones won’t do it either if they see it doesn’t make me annoyed or upset. I don’t know if it’ll work, but perhaps I’ll try and see what happens. But even if I end up the most popular boy in the school I’m not going to stop being friends with you, because you were my friend here when I didn’t have any others, and I’m not going to forget that. So we’ll get together every time I’m home, and I’ll write to you every week… if you want me to, that is.”

Of course I will want you to. But my letters won’t be very good, I am afraid. I do not know what to write about in letters.”

It doesn’t matter if it isn’t very exciting. Just tell me what you’re doing at school, and what you do at the weekends. Just getting a letter is really nice, especially if I feel a bit homesick at first, like my dad says I might.

So… what did you do in Spain?”

Well… before I tell you, could we try… you know, taking our clothes off again, like last time? I want to know if it feels nice again, like as it did before.”

Okay,” agreed James at once. So they got undressed and then James reclined on his bed and Miguel came and lay down on top of him, facing him, and James put his arms round him and hugged him, and then said, “So… about your holiday..?”

And Miguel relaxed and nuzzled against his friend’s cheek and told him everything, explaining how Alex had turned out to be really good company, and how they had slept naked together every night.

Now I really wish I’d been able to come with you,” said James. “I’d have happily stayed indoors all day long while you were at the beach if it meant we could have shared a bed at night. We could have held each other like this all night, and I would really have liked that.”

Me, too…And I’ve found out some other things we could do, too, and I will show you later, after we have stayed like this for a while longer…”

So they stayed like that for a bit longer, and then Miguel rolled off to the side and slid his hand down James’s body as far as his penis.

I have found out some really good ways to make your friends feel nice,” he said, taking hold and squeezing gently until James was fully erect. “I did this one with Alex while we were in Spain.”

He started to rub it very slowly, and James gave a little gasp and started to wriggle a bit.

That feels nice,” he said.

Good. And soon it will feel even nicer,” said Miguel, speeding up a little. But he wanted to make this last for a while, so after a minute or so he stopped, ignoring James’s requests for him to carry on.

It is best to stop sometimes, or it gets too exciting too quickly,” he explained, before starting again, though very slowly.

He wasn’t sure how long it would take: all he knew was that Kenji had got excited faster than Alex. Kenji was a year older than Alex, and James was a year older than Kenji, so perhaps it would happen to him even more quickly – which was why Miguel was being careful to stop or slow down frequently.

Then he thought about doing it the other way. He’d been reluctant to risk it with Alex, but he thought he and James were close enough friends to take that risk. So…

Now I will show you another nice thing you can do,” he said, and wriggled down James’s body until his head was at groin level. “You do this,” and he pulled James’s erection into position and then closed his lips over the tip and slid it into his mouth.

Miguel! What are you doing!?” cried James in a shocked voice.

Shh!” said Miguel, slipping it out just long enough to answer the question. “This will feel really good.” And he slid it in once more.

This wasn’t quite as easy as it had been doing it for Kenji: James was a bit longer – so much so that Miguel couldn’t get the whole length into his mouth without having it hit the back of his throat, and the first time that happened he thought he was going to be sick. It was a bit thicker, too, so he had to keep his mouth a bit more open, and that wasn’t entirely comfortable at first. And there was one other problem, too, and that was that he was sure James was mature enough to have some of that liquid stuff, especially as, now that he was only a couple of inches away from James’s groin, Miguel could see that there were some hairs there after all. They were really fine and virtually colourless, and there weren’t very many, but it showed that James was getting quite grown-up… Okay, tasting Kenji’s had proved that it tasted okay, but still Miguel wasn’t sure about having some come straight out into his mouth.

But he kept going nonetheless, because James was his friend and because he thought he might not get too many more chances to do something nice for him before he went away to boarding school. He could tell that James was enjoying it: he was wriggling about and making little gasping sounds, and after a bit he put a hand on the back of Miguel’s head and pressed down, sort of thrusting up underneath him at the same time.

He could tell from James’s behaviour that he was getting close and so he braced himself for a taste of whatever-it-was – Kenji had said that his wasn’t really sperm yet, but hadn’t actually said what it was. But the moment still took him by surprise, because instead of a tiny amount he suddenly got a mouthful. He couldn’t draw back because James was pressing down on the back of his head, so all he could do was to try to swallow it. He got some of it down, but more emerged to replace it, and it was blocking his throat so that he couldn’t breathe… he spluttered and started coughing, and James let go of his head so that he could roll away, still coughing.

It took half a minute or so to get himself back under control, and by that time James was sitting next to him looking quite worried.

Are you okay, Miguel?” he asked.

Miguel nodded. “I was just surprised,” he said. “For a moment I could not breathe… but I hope I did not spoil it for you.”

What happened? I got this really strange feeling, like… well, I can’t describe it, really. But it was amazing… so what did you do to me?”

I do not know if there is a word for it. But it is what sex feels like – sort of.”

Really? Gosh… well, at least I know why older people seem to like sex, then, because that was a really good feeling. But… look, Miguel, I’m not sure if I can do that to you. It seems seriously weird, and… well…”

You do not have to do it to me. That was a present, because you did well with your CE.”

I bet I don’t get many presents like that, then…. Can you wait a minute? Only I think I need to pee.”

James went to the bathroom and then came back wearing his pants.

Look,” he said, “if you really want me to, I suppose I could try to do that…”

Miguel would certainly have liked that, but it was obvious from the look on James’s face that he didn’t really want to, and was only offering out of a sense of duty. And Miguel didn’t want to make his friend do something he was so obviously not happy about.

No, thank you,” he said. “But you can try to make me feel nice using your hand, if you don’t mind that too much.”

I don’t mind that at all. But you’ll have to show me what to do.”

So Miguel lay back on the bed and James sat down beside him and took hold carefully – of course, Miguel’s erection was only around three inches long, and James found that the best way to do it was with just two fingers and a thumb. Miguel explained what felt best in terms of pressure and angle and speed and then James set to work.

He slowed down a little after a few seconds and then kept going steadily, refusing to speed up when Miguel asked him to – “after all, we have to make this last – isn’t that what you said?” he explained, grinning. “We don’t want you to get excited too quickly, do we?” And he kept going at a very sedate speed.

This was a little frustrating to Miguel at first, but gradually the warm feeling started to grow in his lower body, and then he began to wriggle about and thrust his groin against James’s hand. And the feeling, when it came, was as good as ever, and afterwards Miguel sat up and hugged James, thinking how lucky he was to have three different friends to do this stuff with… and he hadn’t even had a chance to teach Andy about it yet, either…

In complete contrast, Tony still had nobody to do it with, and by Saturday lunchtime he’d had more than enough of Jeremy’s behaviour. They’d played tennis that morning, but it was obvious that Jeremy’s mind was elsewhere, and he’d hardly spoken to Tony between games at all. When the game ended Tony stood up, put his racket back in its cover and headed for the park gate.

Want to do something this afternoon?” Jeremy called after him.

Sorry, I’m going out. I’ll see you at football tomorrow – and you’d better be there, or… well, you’d just better be there.” And he walked away.

He’s driving me mad,” Tony told Kam that afternoon. “Most of the time he ignores me completely, but just occasionally he looks at me… well, the way I’d like him to all the time. Surely he knows what he’s doing to me?”

I don’t think so, because if he stopped to think about it he’d realise what he’s doing and stop. Anyway, after tomorrow it shouldn’t be a problem any more – in fact he’ll need you more than ever then.”

I know, except… well, sometimes I’m not sure it’s what I want any more. I mean, I’m not sure I want to… you know, be with him, knowing it’s only because he couldn’t get the person he really wanted. It’d be like wearing a big label that says ‘Second choice’ or ‘Not quite what he wanted’, or something.”

It’s not going to be like that. Once he finally manages to stop thinking about Bilal he’ll be able to look at you properly, and then he’ll see what you’re really like and what a brilliant friend you’ve been to put up with all this. And he won’t treat you as second best after that.”

I wish that was true, Kam.”

It is true, trust me.”

I don’t know… somehow I don’t think he’d accept it even if Bilal smacked him in the eye and told him to fuck off and never come back – I think he’d still go on believing he might change his mind later.”

No, he won’t, because if he starts acting like that I’ll smack him in the eye. But I seriously don’t think I’ll have to. I think it’ll be like trying to have a sensible conversation with Neil halfway through the FA Cup Final: while the game’s going on it’s the only thing he’s thinking about, but once the final whistle goes he’s back to normal. And once Bilal blows the final whistle at Jeremy tomorrow, he’ll return to normal, too.”

Well, I hope you’re right, because I simply can’t take any more of things as they are…”

Jeremy spent that Saturday afternoon sitting in front of the television but not really watching the sport. He was thinking about the look on Tony’s face when he had left the park that morning, and he wasn’t feeling good about it. He knew that he’d been poor company this week, but now for the first time he was putting himself in Tony’s place, and he didn’t like the way it made him feel. Bilal had, after all, only rejected him once, but he had been rejecting Tony, over and over again, all week…

He sat and thought about Tony – not about how Tony compared with Bilal, but about Tony for his own sake. He realised that most people would think Tony had exactly the sort of looks that are considered perfect: long, silky blond hair, blue eyes… okay, he still had his dental brace, but that would be coming off soon enough, and after that the smile should be perfect, too. He was tall – well, he was over five feet tall, and three or four inches taller than Jeremy, anyway – and slim without being skinny, and good at sport; and, more important still, he had a warm and loving personality. And, finally, he actually wanted to go out with Jeremy.

Slowly it dawned on Jeremy just how stupid he was being. He knew in his heart that he wasn’t going to change Bilal’s mind – after all, Bilal had made it pretty clear that he wasn’t interested, and had apparently confirmed this to Tony subsequently – and yet he had persisted with this stupid fantasy, to the point that he might even have lost Tony as well, if that look on his face this morning was anything to go by.

That was a truly awful thought, but he supposed that it would serve him right if it happened, because he really had treated Tony appallingly badly since getting back from America. And he remembered what Raul had told him: if he lost Tony, what were the chances of finding another gay boy who would be prepared to go out with him?

He decided that as soon as he saw Bilal next day he would apologise for embarrassing him and promise never to raise the subject again. And then he would ask Tony if he still wanted to go out with him. And if he said ‘yes’ he would pay for them to go to the cinema together, and if he had enough money left over he’d take him for a pizza afterwards, too. He just hoped that it wasn’t too late to rescue the situation…

On Saturday evening Miguel got a phone call from Jeremy telling him that they would be getting together to play football the following afternoon as usual. They chatted briefly about their trips to America and Spain, and Jeremy asked if Miguel wanted to come round on the Sunday morning to play tennis; but Miguel had to turn him down because he had already arranged to go to see Kenji instead. Kenji had invited him to stay for lunch, promising him something other than raw fish, and Miguel had accepted and suggested that maybe Kenji would like to come and play football with him and his friends after lunch, and Kenji had agreed to do that.

So on the Sunday morning Miguel cycled round to Kenji’s house and the two of them went up to Kenji’s room and closed the door. To start with they just told each other about their respective family holidays – Kenji and his family had spent a couple of weeks sailing round the Norfolk Broads in a boat: his father was an amateur ornithologist, and apparently there were lots of birds to see there.

It was quite fun, actually,” said Kenji, when Miguel asked if he hadn’t got bored, just looking at birds all day. “We didn’t just look at birds, and it’s sort of peaceful, just sailing along slowly watching the world go past. So, the kid you took to Spain instead of me worked out okay, then, did he?”

Miguel nodded. “He was fun,” he said. “And we tried some of the sex things you showed me, too.”

Thought you might. Did he like being sucked, then?”

We did not actually do that, just with the hand. But he liked that a lot.”

Most people do – well, they do if it’s done properly, anyway…”

And… are we going to practise today – just to make sure we are doing it properly, of course?”

I expect we could do that if you like.”

Great!” And Miguel stood up and started to get undressed.

Kenji laughed at him. “You’re getting sex mad, Mig,” he said. “You must really enjoy this stuff.”

Miguel nodded rapidly. “It is fun,” he confirmed.

Yes, well, not always… still… look, if you’re really serious about learning about sex, there is one more thing I could show you…”

Yes, please!” said Miguel enthusiastically, pulling his pants off and revealing his excitement.

You know, I really do worry about you sometimes,” remarked Kenji, standing up and starting to undress himself. “If you keep rushing into things…. well, never mind. Lie down, then.”

Miguel did that, and Kenji lay next to him and began to stroke his chest. And once again, even though his friend’s hands were nowhere near his genitals, Miguel thought that this felt really nice.

So, what is it that you are going to show me today?” he asked.

Well, there is one more thing that boys can do together,” Kenji said. “I don’t think you’re really big enough to do it to me yet, but I could do it to you: I could fuck you.”

Miguel looked confused. “But… I thought… well, you can only do that with a girl?”

No, you can do it with a boy, too, but you do it differently. If I was doing it to you I would put my cock up your bum.”

Eurgh! That sounds nasty, Kenji. I don’t think I want to try that.”

Are you sure? It feels really nice… well, it is nice if you are doing it. Sometimes it is not so good if it is done to you.”

No, thank you,” said Miguel, firmly. “I do not want for us to do this… perhaps when I am a little older, but not now. But… I don’t mind to do the other things you have showed me.”

Okay. Roll onto your side facing me, then, and we can feel each other…”

They did that for a while, then rubbed each other, but only for a few seconds at a time, and then Kenji showed Miguel how they could both suck each other at the same time, and Miguel didn’t mind that a bit, though he was still a bit wary of the final moment, even though he knew that Kenji wouldn’t make anything like as much of the liquid stuff as James had done.

But Kenji wouldn’t let him get that far, insisting that they stop completely when he felt himself getting too excited. It was only after several stops and starts that he actually allowed himself to finish, and considerately he gave Miguel plenty of warning before he actually ejaculated. And Miguel had no trouble with it at all – compared with what James had produced, this was virtually nothing. He swallowed it down without complaint and then rolled away.

Wait a moment,” said Kenji. “You haven’t had the feeling yet, have you? No, I thought not… lie on your back, then.”

Miguel did that and Kenji sucked away until Miguel’s back arched in orgasm.

Sex is something you should share,” he said, once Miguel had recovered. “If we’re going to do stuff like this together, we should both get to feel good, not just one of us. Just using someone else to make yourself feel good isn’t what friends should do to each other – at least, I don’t think so.”

Nor do I. I will never do that with you, Kenji, I promise.”

I believe you. Come on, let’s get dressed.”

They stood up and started to put their clothes back on.

Kenji… how do you know so much about sex?” asked Miguel. “Did your father teach you?”

God, no. No, I sort of found out the hard way.”

What do you mean?”

Do you really want to know? Well… okay, I suppose I might as well tell you. I reckon I can trust you not to tell anyone else about it… it is pretty embarrassing, after all. See, we haven’t lived here very long, only about a year and a half. We used to live… well, it doesn’t really matter where it was, but I went to a martial arts club there, too. And there was a boy there – his name was John - who seemed friendly. He was about a year older than me, I suppose, and so I was sort of flattered that he would take the time to talk a younger kid. So when he invited me to go home with him one day I went quite happily.

That first afternoon we just messed about in his room. We did some practice fighting – he’d been doing it longer than me, so most of the time he won, but it was fun, anyway. And so the next time he invited me I said yes straight away. On that occasion he suggested we should fight just wearing shorts – our fighting kit was pretty sweaty, since we’d been wearing it at the club, so again I said yes without thinking twice about it. And after we’d been fighting for a bit he got me pinned down and ordered me to submit. I didn’t – it wasn’t really hurting, and I thought I might be able to get out of the hold – so he said, ‘Okay, then’ and undid my shorts. Of course, I struggled and wriggled and told him to stop, but it didn’t do any good: he undid them completely and pulled them and my pants right off.

I was always shy about undressing in front of anyone – basically I never did, except when I had to at the doctor’s, or something – and I didn’t like this at all.

“’You look funny like that,’ said John, rolling off me and helping me up. ‘Come on, see if you can get mine off, too.’

“’I want to get dressed,’ I said.

“’Not yet. You have to fight me again first. If you win and get my shorts off I’ll let you get dressed.’

I tried to grab my clothes anyway, but he wouldn’t let me, and in the end I grabbed him and wrestled. I was angry and embarrassed, and maybe that’s why I got him onto the floor, but thinking about it since I guess maybe he let me win. Anyway, I pulled his shorts and pants down, and saw that his one was stiff. Now, that happened to me occasionally, but I thought maybe it was just because there was something wrong with it – I mean, I hadn’t actually asked anyone, because I was too embarrassed. But now here was another boy it happened to as well, and when I saw it I sort of forgot to be angry.

“’Wow, it’s big, isn’t it?’ I said. ‘And it’s all hard, too. Does that happen to it a lot?’

“’Quite a lot,’ he said. ‘Why, does it happen to you, too?’

I nodded, so he wriggled out from underneath me – I didn’t try to stop him – and then he said, ‘Let’s see if we can make yours go hard too, then,’ and he actually took hold of it. Nobody had ever touched me there and I felt shocked – but then it sort of felt nice, too, somehow. Anyway, he got me stiff and then persuaded me to feel his – which I quite wanted to do, anyway – and then we compared them. He was bigger, of course – he was older than me, and mine wasn’t very big then, about like yours is now, I suppose – but he didn’t have any hair or anything. Well, it was sort of fun touching his cock and balls, and I quite liked being touched, too, so after that when he suggested strip fights, or even starting the fight with us both naked, I didn’t mind at all.

Then one day he suggested that whoever lost the fight had to accept a dare, and I agreed to that, and when I lost the next fight he said that I had to kiss his cock. Well, I supposed that wasn’t too bad, so he stood on a chair and I stood in front of him and kissed it – and just as I did there was a flash. I jumped back and saw that there was an older boy standing in the doorway holding a camera.

“‘This is my brother Nick,’ John told me, grinning. ‘He’s been wanting to meet you…’

Anyway, to cut it short, they told me that if I didn’t do exactly what they told me to, a copy of that photo would go up on the wall at the club, and they might even send one to my father, so that he could see what sort of son he had. So I didn’t think I had any choice but to agree.

And that’s how I learned about sex, first about rubbing it, then about sucking, and finally about fucking. To start with it wasn’t too bad – in fact it was even sort of fun, because they usually rubbed mine to make me excited after I had done it for both of them. John said I looked really funny when I got excited… and sucking on John’s was okay, I suppose. But sucking on Nick was less fun, because he was thirteen and could already make quite a bit of sperm – he had a big one, at least five inches, with some hair on it – and he never warned me when it was about to come out. But I managed.

And then John wanted to fuck me. I suppose he was about the same size as I am now, or maybe slightly smaller, but it still hurt most times he did it. But once or twice, when it was fully in, it sort of felt good, too, though obviously I never told them that.

And then Nick wanted to do it. I really didn’t want him to, because it was sore enough when John did it, and Nick was quite a bit bigger. They threatened me with the photo, but I still said I didn’t want to – I’d do all the other stuff they wanted, but not that. And I thought I’d won the argument, because Nick simply went out. But he came back twenty minutes later with another boy of the same age, and they simply held me down and did it to me. Both of them. To be fair to John, he did try to get them to stop, but they just ignored him.

I can’t start to tell you how much it hurt – I’ve never felt anything like it. Eventually they finished, said that if I told anyone they’d not only say that I asked them to do it, but they’d show everyone the photo as proof of what a disgusting boy I was. And I didn’t intend telling anyone, but… well, I was bleeding, and the next day mum wanted to know how I’d got all that blood on my pants… and it all came out. They took me to hospital, and then the police got involved… Nick and his friend got sent to some sort of special school. They couldn’t charge them with what they actually did because the law says they were too young to have done it, or something, but they found something to charge them with. I stuck up for John a bit – I mean, okay, it was him who got me into it in the first place, but I hadn’t minded too much doing stuff with him. So I told the police he tried to get his brother to stop, and I think he got off okay.

After that my father thought we should move so that I could make a fresh start, so we came here. But I find it hard to trust people now, so I’ve never really tried to make friends at school, or at the martial arts club. You’re about the first person I’ve let make friends with me since.”

So that is why you asked if I had a brother?” asked Miguel.

Kenji nodded. “And it’s why I’ve never suggested coming to your house, too. I’ve been too scared to visit anyone except family since. Except… I think maybe now I know you well enough to trust you properly – so… perhaps I could come round to visit you sometime?”

You can come whenever you want,” said Miguel, moving round the bed so that he was sitting right next to Kenji. “I am really sorry those horrible things happened to you, Kenji.” And he put his arms round his friend and hugged him, and after a moment Kenji hugged him back.

Not everyone is like those boys,” Miguel went on. “None of my friends would do things like that. You know about Andy and James, and there is Alex, the boy who came on holiday with me, too. They are all really nice, and I am sure they would like to be friends with you. And this afternoon you will meet my other friends, the ones who do not go to our school. You will like them, and I am sure that they will like you, too. You will see – soon you will have lots of friends again…”

Well… I hope so. I just might want to take it a bit slowly at first. But I think that as long as you’re there it’ll be okay.”

Of course I will be there. I am your friend, and proper friends help each other.”

Thanks, Mig. I think maybe this afternoon will be okay, after all. I’ve been a bit worried about meeting a whole lot of new people, but perhaps it’s time I did try something like this. And we’re only going to be kicking a ball about with your friends, after all. I don’t suppose anything nasty could happen doing that…”


That, for those who don't already know, is called 'dramatic irony', because we all know something that Kenji doesn't. And in the next – which will also be the final – chapter, we'll get to see exactly what happens in the Hyde car park on Sunday afternoon, and where things end up as a result.

Well, you've stuck with it thus far. Got any thoughts before the last chapter appears? Send them to the usual place, which is

Copyright 2008 – all rights reserved. Please do not reprint, repost or otherwise reproduce this or any part thereof anywhere without my written permission.

David Clarke