Timmy and the Travellers – Chapter 14
It's the last week before the school holidays start, so at last there is some light at the end of the tunnel Truscott is struggling through. But before he gets there he's got another session with Carlington to survive (and today he has a new embarrassment to contend with) and then there's another gathering at the garage, though here at least Truscott isn't the only one on the receiving end...
Monday was the start of the last week before the Easter holidays, which everyone was looking forward to - especially Truscott, for whom they at least promised a break from the constant attention he had been receiving from the juniors. Hitherto Carlington had not spoken to him about the summer term, so he did not know whether he would be allowed to prepare for his Common Entrance exam in peace or not. Somehow, despite what Timmy had said to him on the roof, he doubted it: he was under no illusion about how much Carlington in particular hated him.
At break he went to the pavilion without waiting for an escort. There was nobody there when he arrived and the door was locked, but his brief surge of hope deflated thirty seconds later when Carlington and Jenner appeared through the bushes.
"Look what we've got," said Carlington, holding out a key, which he then used to open the door. "Wood got it cut over the weekend, so now we'll be able to get in and out without having to muck about with knives all the time. Won't that be nice?"
They led Truscott up to the back changing room and watched him getting undressed.
"Right... Timmy told me about last Friday,” said Carlington. “And I suppose we have been pushing you a bit. So I'm not going to beat you at all this week – unless you deserve it, of course – and if you do what you're told I'm going to stick with what I said to you last week: you won't have to come and see us at lunchtimes, unless you need permission to use the toilet. On the other hand, I don't see why we should let you off altogether – I don't remember too many weeks when you let me off, after all - so I hope you haven't forgotten everything you learned last week, because today you're going to get a chance to practise."
Truscott didn't bother responding to that. Carlington and Jenner both got undressed, and Truscott was put on his hands and knees, facing the bench.
"Today I thought you could try making us both feel good at the same time," Carlington told him. "So you can suck on Luke while I put mine in your bum. Spread your legs a bit so I can get the Vaseline on."
Truscott opened his mouth to argue, but then decided not to bother: it was obvious that Carlington wasn't going to be talked out of this. Instead he moved his knees a little further apart, trying not to wince when Carlington applied a dab of very cold Vaseline to his bum.
"Help me line up properly," Carlington told him, so he reached behind him and placed the tip of Carlington's erection against his anus. He braced himself, trying to relax, but the thrust when it came was still painful enough to make him cry out. But this time Carlington pushed it in much more slowly, and that made it a little easier to accommodate it.
Jenner came and sat in front of him, spreading his legs wide and flourishing his little three inch stiffy at him, and Truscott closed his lips around it, still feeling horribly ashamed of what he was doing, but aware that at least this time he didn't have an audience, and that Jenner's little organ was easy to work with.
By now Carlington was moving steadily against him. This made it harder for him to concentrate on what he was doing with Jenner, but it didn't seem to hurt as much as it had on previous occasions, maybe because Carlington was taking it much more slowly.
"We've got the whole break," said Carlington, as if reading his mind, "so why hurry? I want you to feel this happening to you for as long as possible - but I expect you to make Luke feel nice before we have to go, mind, otherwise you might just have to wet your shorts before you go back to lessons."
"That feels strange," commented Jenner. "It's nice, though."
It wasn't too long before Jenner started wriggling about and thrusting against Truscott's head; Carlington advised him to try to hold the growing feeling back, but only a few seconds later Jenner arched his back and tensed up, holding Truscott's head firmly against him. Truscott, knowing what was expected of him, kept Jenner's erection in his mouth until the younger boy relaxed.
"Gosh, Colin," exclaimed Jenner, once he got his breath back, "what was that?"
"Was it nice?"
"Crikey, yes! It felt... well, weird, but really good, too."
"That's okay, then. Like I told you all last week, that's what sex feels like, apparently - and if you liked it, you'll be able to make him do it to you whenever you want, which is good, isn't it?"
"I definitely liked it," said Jenner, getting up and pulling his pants on.
"Good, then we can do it to him again together like this whenever it's our turn to look after him."
"I'm going for a pee," said Jenner, once he was dressed, and he left them to it. Carlington continue to thrust away slowly but steadily - and Truscott was mortified to discover that he was getting an erection. He hoped to goodness that it would subside before Jenner came back, because anyone watching from the side couldn't possibly miss it, but of course the more he thought about it, the harder it got.
He couldn't understand why it was happening. It certainly wasn't because he was enjoying what was happening to him: he felt as humiliated and ashamed as he had all along. Okay, it didn't seem to hurt as much today, but that shouldn't really make any difference, surely?
Jenner came back in and sat down on the bench a little way to one side - and, as Truscott had feared, he noticed almost at once.
"Hey, Colin," he said, "Truscott's thing's gone all big."
"What?!" Carlington twisted to one side so that he could see for himself. "Gosh, so it has! Why's that, then, Truscott?"
"I don't know," he replied, miserably. "I didn't want it to - it just happened."
"It looks really funny," commented Jenner, "and it's really big, too."
Of course, this was the first time that any of the juniors - or anyone else, for that matter - had seen Truscott with an erection, and he found himself blushing all over with shame. But it simply wouldn't go down, and the more Carlington thrust against him, the worse it seemed to get. Jenner pulled a six inch ruler from his blazer pocket and, kneeling down beside them, held it against Truscott's penis.
"It's difficult to see properly 'cos it bends so much," he reported, "but it looks like it's about five and a half inches."
"About the same as mine," commented Carlington, remembering what Danny had said. "We'll have to measure it properly afterwards and see exactly how big it is."
He could feel himself getting excited by now, so he speeded up a little, and Truscott could feel his own hard penis shaking with every thrust. He knew how stupid he must look, but there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.
Carlington gave a couple of final thrusts, pulling Truscott's hips back against him as he climaxed, held position for a few seconds and then withdrew. He had brought some tissues with him and used a couple to wipe himself down, but he didn't offer Truscott any.
"Stand up," he ordered, and Truscott complied, but his erection was already subsiding, and it was back to its normal state before Jenner could ply the ruler once more.
"Make it go hard again," Jenner commanded.
"I can't. It just happened: I don't know why, and I can't make it happen again."
That rang true to Jenner, whose own organ sometimes went hard for no reason, and he knew that he didn't have any control over it.
"I suppose we'll have to wait until next time it happens," he said, putting the ruler back into his pocket.
"Okay, you'd better go and wipe your bum," said Carlington. "You can get dressed when you come back."
Truscott went and cleaned himself up and then returned to the changing room and started to put his clothes back on. Carlington was almost dressed, and once he was ready he headed for the door.
"Make sure the door's locked when you go," he told Truscott. "And don't forget that you're going to see the travellers after school. I expect Collier and Wood will make sure you don't get lost on the way, though."
Truscott was left on his own. The weekend still seemed a long way off...
After school he went to the garage with Stephen and Timmy. It had started raining again, so Michael said that perhaps playing the hunting game in the wood might not be a good idea.
"Why not?" asked his brother. "We don't care if the slaves get wet, do we?"
"Yes, we do," said Christy.
"Okay, we know you don't like us being nasty to little baby Timmy. I suppose we could let him off, seeing as how he's only a slave until the end of the week. But there's no reason to let the other two off, is there?"
"Stephen's going to be a traveller next week," Tom reminded him. "If he gets a bad cold, he won't be able to, will he?"
Danny sighed. "Okay - does anyone think we should let Truscott off?" he asked.
"Well, then let's go chase him through the wood, then. It'll be fun watching the rain dripping off his balls."
"Trouble is, if we do that we'll all get wet, too," said Michael. "I've got a better idea - let's stay here. We can play cards or something - and my shoes haven't been cleaned lately: let's see if Truscott does as good a job as Timmy did. If he doesn't... well, I expect we can think of something to do about it, can't we?"
"Er... I took the polish and brushes home," Timmy pointed out.
"Damn! Stephen, you live closest - how long would it take you to get home and back?"
"About ten minutes, but if I go home my mum probably won't let me out again."
"I could go myself," volunteered Truscott, who no doubt felt that an evening cleaning shoes would be a hell of a lot better than an evening running about naked in the rain.
"Okay," agreed Michael, "you've got ten minutes to get home and back. If you're late getting back here, you'll get whipped. Well, what are you waiting for?"
Truscott ran off. Michael checked his watch, and then pulled his pack of cards from his pocket. "So what are we going to play?"
"Let's play Strip the Townies!" cried Danny. "Strip them, whip them and make them suck!"
"Do you think your little tiny brain is capable of doing three things at once?" Timmy asked him.
Since coming under Christy's protection, Timmy had almost started to enjoy playing with the travellers: he didn't have a lot of friends, and it was really nice to have some other boys to play with. He was still a bit wary of Michael, which was understandable, even though Michael had treated him perfectly fairly since Christy had Had A Word, but he no longer minded being made to suck Danny and Tom. In fact he was really starting to like them, especially Danny, who allowed Timmy to insult him without punishing him for it. Of course, the insults always went both ways...
"At least my brain works, which is more than you can say about your little tiny cock," replied Danny.
"Anyway, Michael," Timmy went on, "what if we win? Does Danny have to suck me?"
"Travellers never suck," said Danny, "you know that. And I couldn't suck yours anyway without a straw."
Timmy couldn't think of an answer to that, so he turned to Michael again and said, "No, really, do we have to play strip? Can't we just play for fun for once?"
"Just 'cos you hate us seeing your baby cock," said Danny.
"I don't mind you seeing it," said Timmy. "Or Michael, or Christy, or Tom, and Stephen and I see each other at school. It's just... I'd sooner not have Truscott leering at me."
"That's a fair point," said Michael. "I mean, you and Stephen are honourable slaves, and maybe you don't deserve to have some pervert staring at you. But it's a bit boring just playing for nothing. We could play for money, though..."
"I'm broke," said Tom.
"So am I," added Stephen.
"Then we'll have to play strip," insisted Danny. "We can make Shithead look the other way. If we tell him he'll get whipped if we catch him peeping I reckon he'll do as he's told. And Timmy hasn't sucked me for ages..."
"We don't have to play cards," Timmy pointed out. "You could just order me to do it."
"Yeah, but then Christy will give me a dirty look and a lecture about how we should all be kind to little baby Timmy." And Danny scowled in Christy's direction.
"Really?" asked Timmy, pleased by this revelation.
"Yeah, he reckons now we've got Shithead to slave for us we ought not to treat you like one. And for some reason Tom doesn't seem to want us beating up Stephen, either. Just 'cos he fancies you," he added, sticking his tongue out at Tom.
"I don't," denied Stephen, blushing and looking at the floor.
"Bet you do, even though you'd have to be blind. He's skinny, and his hair's a boring colour, and he's got that stupid dimple in his chin..."
Danny and Tom were about the same height - about the same height as Timmy, in fact - but otherwise they looked quite different. Danny, not surprisingly, looked like a smaller version of Michael, though his hair was a little redder (but nothing like as bright as Carlington's carroty locks) and he had even more freckles. Both brothers had green eyes, but Danny still had a little puppy fat, making him heavier than his friend. Tom's hair was a mousy brown, but he had beautiful blue eyes and long lashes that would have made most girls jealous.
"I don't think the dimple's stupid," said Stephen. "I think it looks nice..." He tailed off, realising that this was a bit of a giveaway, and of course Danny seized on it.
"Told you he fancied you," he said to Tom.
"Just 'cos nobody's ever going to fancy you, spotty-face," retaliated Tom.
Danny grabbed him and pulled him onto the mattress, where they wrestled merrily. In the past few days the garage had received something of a make-over: the travellers had found a couple more things to use as chairs, and some tatty cushions and a couple of pillows, but the real prize was the mattress, which was battered and torn and worn to the extent that the travellers who owned it (and who lived in the caravan currently parked next to Michael's) had finally had to replace it - and Michael and Danny had retrieved it less than three minutes after its former owners had put it in the skip. It was only three inches or so in thickness, and stuffed - lumpily - rather than sprung, but it made all the difference to the garage floor, and also made it possible for the boys to fight each other without having to roll about on the concrete.
The others sat down and watched, cheering them on. After a bit Danny managed to get on top, pinning Tom down and twisting one of his ears. Tom called to Stephen to help him, and Stephen shoved Danny over onto his back.
"That's not fair," cried Danny. "Come on, Mikey, help me!"
So Michael jumped on Stephen while Danny tried to get Tom onto his back once more. Christy watched for a minute or so, and then turned to Timmy.
"Shall we?" he asked.
The two of them piled in, Christy grabbing Michael and Timmy jumping on Danny's back. For a couple of minutes a free-for-all ensued, ending, as such affairs often do, when somebody - in this case Tom - got a wholly unintentional elbow in the face. He gave a howl of pain and rolled off the mattress clutching his mouth, and Stephen almost threw Michael out of the way as he dived to his friend's side.
"Let me see," he said, gently moving Tom's hand away, while the others crowded round anxiously. "Open your mouth."
Tom's lower lip was bleeding, but his teeth seemed to be intact, and in fact he seemed more upset that the others had seen him crying than he was about his split lip.
"Sorry, Tom," said Christy, who was the owner of the stray elbow.
"S' okay," mumbled Tom.
"So," said Michael into the ensuing silence, "what about a game of cards, then? We'll pay strip - I'll make sure Truscott doesn't peep - and if either of you townies wins there'll be no punishment. If one of us wins, though, you'll have to suck. Fair?"
There were four travellers, which of course meant that the odds were in the travellers' favour, but slaves didn't normally get any chance to escape their fate. Timmy and Stephen looked at each other and nodded.
"Fair," agreed Timmy. "But if we do lose, who has to suck who?"
"Whom," corrected Stephen, who was as good at English as he was bad at maths. Everyone ignored him.
"I want Tiny Cock!" demanded Danny.
"Stephen can do me," said Tom
"Can I do Christy, then?" asked Timmy.
"Ah, well, I thought maybe me and Christy could use Truscott," said Michael. "It's about time he learned how to make two of us feel good at the same time. Course, we're going to do it to him whoever wins at cards - the only difference will be that if Timmy or Stephen wins, you two will have to use Truscott as well and Timmy and Stephen will be let off."
"You could just let us win, then," suggested Timmy. "You'll still get your suck."
"Yeah, but I want you to do it," Danny told him. "You do it good."
"Well," corrected Stephen. "He does it well."
"That's what I said," said Danny. "How come you know what he does it like? Has he done it to you, too?"
"No, of course not. You told us slaves aren't allowed to give each other nice feelings."
"So how do you know what he does it like?"
"I was just explaining... oh, never mind."
They sat down around the table - by now they had six chairs (well, one was actually a beer crate and one was an old milk churn, but at least they were usable as chairs) - and Michael started to deal, remembering at the last moment to tell Timmy and Stephen to remove their shoes and socks to even up the number of garments they were all wearing. He was just finishing the deal when the door opened and Truscott came in, clutching a carrier bag. He looked very wet.
"It's started raining quite hard," he told them. "My mum didn't want to let me come back, but I told her it was important."
"You were right - if you hadn't come back we'd have whipped you about a hundred times next time you came," Michael told him. "Okay, get your clothes off and then you can get on with it - you can start with those" (he indicated Timmy's and Stephen's shoes), and we'll let you have ours as we go along. Oh, and another thing: we're playing strip poker and we don't want you staring at us, so go down the far end and face the wall. If we catch you peeping you'll get whipped. Understand?"
Truscott nodded, moving to the far end of the garage, stripping his clothes off and setting to work. Everyone else got on with the game.
Once again it was fairly close: Christy lost quite quickly - so quickly, in fact, that Timmy wondered if he had done it deliberately to improve his own chances - but after that it was very even, with nobody winning more than two hands in a row. Next to lose his last item was Tom, but then Timmy lost - he tried to count his St Christopher as an item of clothing, but of course Michael wouldn't let him and he had to remove his pants instead. He cast a quick glance down the garage before removing them, but Truscott was clearly not trying to look.
Unfortunately Stephen lost next, which meant that he and Timmy were going to have to suck regardless of who finally won, but Danny and Michael played on anyway, until finally Michael emerged victorious. Danny removed his trousers, which was his final piece of clothing, and went and lay on his back on the mattress.
"Come on, then, Tiny," he said. "Let's see if you know what to do with a proper-sized cock."
"Move over," said Tom, coming to lie down beside him. "Stephen can do mine at the same time."
"Okay, but I don't want to race," said Danny. "Tiny does it nicely, and I want him to take his time."
Stephen and Timmy took their places between their masters' legs, grateful for the mattress, which meant that this was going to be a lot less uncomfortable than it had been until now. Both travellers were already stiff with anticipation, but Timmy ignored Danny's erection completely and started to caress his chest instead.
"What are you doing?" Danny demanded.
"Making you feel nice. Trust me."
He went on stroking Danny's chest, slowly working his way downward. For a few seconds he caressed Danny's tummy, then - to Danny's immense frustration - he bypassed the important bit and started stroking his thighs instead, first on the outside and then on the more sensitive inside, slowly getting closer and closer to the groin area. Eventually he was just barely brushing Danny's scrotum with the backs of his thumbs as he stroked the very top of his thighs.
Danny found this both frustrating and exciting at the same time: he had been expecting Timmy to get straight on with sucking him, and instead he found himself having to wait. But he also found what Timmy was doing to him extremely enjoyable: this time much more of his body was being stimulated, and his penis was rock-hard and twitching in anticipation.
"Does that feel nice?" Tom asked him - both Tom and Stephen were watching Timmy's performance with interest.
"Brilliant," said Danny, dreamily.
"Could you do that to me, then, please?" said Tom to Stephen. Danny closed his eyes again and let them get on with it.
Finally Timmy began to slip the straining erection into his mouth, though very, very slowly, licking gently as he went, and only when it was finally all in his mouth did he resume what might be called 'normal service', sliding it in and out of his mouth while fondling Danny's balls and caressing his groin. Danny was so worked up that Timmy would only have had to keep going for a minute or so to finish him off, but of course he didn't keep going: after twenty seconds or so he stopped moving completely. By stopping every few seconds he was able to draw the whole process out for around twenty minutes. Only then did he at last allow Danny to finish, which he did with a cry, arching his back right off the mattress and holding Timmy's head firmly in place until his orgasm finally subsided.
Timmy let Danny's penis slip out of his mouth and looked up to find everyone staring at him. He had been dimly aware that Stephen had finished Tom off quite some time before he'd allowed Danny to get there, and now he saw that they were both lying on their sides watching him. Michael and Christy had drawn up a couple of chairs, and they had both apparently been so engrossed in the spectacle that they had forgotten to keep an eye on Truscott, who was standing behind Michael's chair and making no attempt to pretend he wasn't watching too.
"Was that okay?" Timmy asked.
"Okay? It was fucking amazing! Thank fuck you can't play cards, Tiny, 'cos if you'd won the game I'd have missed out on that: there's no way Truscott could do it like that."
"He'd better try," said Michael, looking round at the slave. "And I thought I told you not to look?"
"Sorry," said Truscott. "It's just... I wanted to see how it should be done so I can do a good job on you."
"You're a fucking liar - you just wanted to watch. Well, it's your turn now - let's see if you learned anything. Christy, which end do you want?"
"I'll have his head," said Christy, smiling at Timmy.
"Suits me. Okay, get down on your hands and knees, then, slave boy."
Danny, Tom, Stephen and Timmy vacated the mattress and, once the younger travellers had confirmed that their slaves had earned the right to get dressed, started to put their clothes on. Truscott got down on all fours on the mattress, spreading his legs so that Michael could rub some lubricant onto his anus, and then braced himself: the first time Michael had fucked him it had hurt quite a lot. But this time Michael just pushed it in fairly slowly until it was as far in as it would go, and Truscott found it less painful than he had feared: it was uncomfortable, but bearable.
In one way this worried him: it suggested that he was getting used to being treated like this, and he remembered that Danny had said that the more often this was done, the more like a girl the victim would become. He was afraid that if he started getting used to this it would mean that he was well on the way to becoming a girl, and it would only be a short time before he couldn't go hard any more, and after that... he thought if his thing really did shrivel up and drop off he would certainly have to kill himself.
On the other hand, he supposed that it could feel less painful simply because Michael was, in this respect at least, smaller than Carlington: maybe he was just appreciating the fact that this invasion of his body was physically smaller than the previous one had been. He decided that for the time being he would try not to worry about it and simply accept that a reduced level of pain was a good thing.
"Try to lie flat on your stomach," Michael instructed him. "It'll be less of a strain for me if I can lie flat on top of you. Do it slowly and I'll try to stay with you."
It took three attempts - the first twice Michael slipped out and they had to start again - but eventually Truscott was lying flat on his stomach with Michael lying on top of him, still impaling him. Michael liked this position: it meant that his penis was being squeezed more tightly than usual, as well as being much more comfortable for the rest of his body.
Christy came and sat in front of Truscott's head, enabling the slave boy to suck him easily, and for the next fifteen minutes or so the two travellers enjoyed themselves: Michael thrust away, but fairly slowly, and he stopped every time he thought he was getting too close, while Christy pulled Truscott's head against him, encouraging him to suck steadily, though he also made sure he didn't get too excited too quickly.
Truscott's feelings were mixed. On the one hand he was grateful that this didn't seem to hurt as much as it had in the past, but on the other he was very much aware of how shameful this was - at least when Carlington and Jenner had done this with him there hadn't been an audience, whereas this time he was being forced to do this awful thing in front of two of his own classmates and two jeering young travellers. And a further problem was that once again his thing had gone stiff. At least this time he was flat on his stomach, so nobody could see it, but it still worried him: he couldn't understand why doing something as disgusting as this should make him go hard.
Eventually Michael allowed himself to keep going until he reached orgasm, and even the couple of big thrusts at the end hurt Truscott less than on previous occasions. Once he had finished he withdrew, wiping himself off with some tissues, allowing Truscott to concentrate on finishing Christy off, which took a further couple of minutes.
Truscott swallowed what Christy spurted into his mouth without worrying about it - like Christy, he had tried tasting his own product a couple of times and knew that it wasn't going to do him any harm. And the good news from his point of view was that by the time Christy finished, his own erection had subsided once more, so he was able to stand up without the additional shame of letting his audience see him in a state of arousal.
"What do you reckon, Christy?" asked Michael.
"Not bad, I suppose. How did it go at your end?"
"Pretty good. And he didn't whine about it this time, either. I reckon you're learning, slave boy. Now let's see what sort of a job he did on our shoes."
He subjected his own and everyone else's shoes to a thorough inspection and found a couple of reasons to complain: an insufficiently covered scuff mark here, and polish on the laces there... "but on the whole, not too bad," he said. "We were going to give you another thorough thrashing tonight, another fifty or so, but it looks like you're starting to make a proper effort, so we'll only give you a couple each instead. Bend over the table."
Truscott was dismayed: he really thought he'd done enough to avoid a beating this evening. Okay, two each was better than fifty, and at least Carlington wasn't here tonight - Carlington had hit him harder than anyone last time - but he wasn't sure he could take any more. He thought about pleading for mercy, but decided that it wouldn't do any good, so instead he went and bent over the table as he had been ordered.
"You really are learning," said Michael. "I expected you to start grovelling and howling. As a reward, I'm changing my mind – we won't beat you at all tonight. And if you go on working as hard as you did tonight, maybe we won't have to beat you ever again . But you will have to work hard – you'll have to earn it. Okay, you can get dressed."
Gratefully, Truscott stood up and pulled his clothes on as fast as he could in case Michael changed his mind.
"You don't have to come tomorrow," Michael told him. "You did well enough tonight to deserve an evening off. We'll expect to see you on Wednesday straight after school, though. Okay, off you go."
Truscott picked up his bag and left.
"We shouldn't have let him off – in fact, we should have given him all fifty," said Danny, once Truscott had gone. ""Why didn't we, Mikey?"
"'Cos he couldn't have handled it, and I didn't want him going home in too much of a state or his parents might have asked him what was wrong. Okay, I don't think he'd risk telling them the truth in case we ended up sending them the tape, but it's better not to take the chance."
"Oh. As long as you're not going soft on him..."
"I don't reckon there's any danger of that. Anyway, I'm not the one who goes soft on slaves, am I? Every time I find us a slave, one of you decides that we shouldn't treat him like a slave after all. I mean, bloody hell, are you lot forgetting that these are townies we're talking about? We finally get a chance to put them in their place, and suddenly you don't want to. I don't understand you lot sometimes, I swear."
None of the other travellers seemed inclined to answer that, but Stephen said, "Please could I say something?"
Michael nodded, so Stephen went on, "I think I understand what you mean, Michael. I mean, I don't know if something happened to you before you moved here to make you hate townies..."
"You try going to school with a load of rich kids who take the piss out of your clothes, and your accent, and everything else about you, and see how you like it," said Michael, bitterly. "Every school we've ever been to it's been the same - and usually it ends up with us getting into fights, and it's always lots of you against two of us. I'm sick of it."
Stephen was silent for a moment.
"I'm sorry," he said. "The trouble is, our parents don't like your parents - not personally, just... well, people who live in houses don't seem to like people who live in caravans, and... well, I suppose kids usually act like their parents. You remember what I was like the first time I met you - calling you a load of dirty gippos, and stuff? Well, that was partly because I've heard grown-ups talking like that, but partly because I was scared of you - like I told Tom, you seem to be so different to us - sort of wilder - and I didn't know what you were really like.
"But now it's different - now when I see you I don't think you're a load of strange, scary kids that I don't understand: now I see four boys who are... well, you're just boys, same as me. Now I think 'this is Michael, he's a good fighter, and this is Christy, who's friends with Timmy, and this is Danny, who's a good laugh, and this is Tom...'"
"Who you fancy," interrupted Danny.
"Who's my friend," said Stephen, grinning at him. "Now I see you as individuals, not just a bunch of kids with a big label on that says 'these are travellers, you're not allowed to like them'. And I reckon it's the same for you - maybe you're getting to think about us as Timmy and Stephen, not just kids wearing a big label that says 'these are townies, just like the ones who have given you a hard time in the past'.
"Look, Michael, I'm not trying to get out of being a slave, or anything - I've sworn to do what you tell me until September, and I'll keep my word. If you want to whip me, or do... well, you know, sex stuff to me, obviously you can. I probably deserve it for what I helped Truscott do to those kids. But I'd like us to be friends as well - that's why I want to come and stay next week, so I can find out more about you, and then maybe I can try to get other kids to treat you properly in future..."
"Okay," said Michael, "I suppose that makes sense. But you're still getting whipped if you deserve it - and I'm certainly not letting Truscott off."
"Truscott's a bastard, and I've got no problem with anything you decide to do to him," said Stephen. "But you have to admit he's never once called you 'gippos', has he?"
"Only 'cos he's too scared to."
"Maybe. But... not all townies think like I did, Michael."
"That's true," agreed Christy. "Timmy never for a moment treated us like outcasts, even when we were being horrible to him. And the little ginger kid never looked down his nose at us, either."
"Maybe you've just been unlucky, Michael," Stephen went on. "Maybe if you try to see the kids at school as individuals, rather than just 'townies', you might find it easier to make friends with some of them."
"I doubt it. But... maybe we'll give it a try next time we go to school."
Stephen nodded and offered his hand. "Can we be friends, Michael?" he asked.
Michael hesitated, but then, reluctantly, he took the proffered hand and shook it.
"Okay," he said, "I suppose so. But you're still a slave, okay?"
"Okay," agreed Stephen.
Well said, Stephen – probably someone should have had A Word with Michael along those lines some time ago. Still, better late than never. Anyway, in the next chapter we'll see how Truscott negotiates the last few days before the end of term, and there'll be a bit more from Simeon and Usman - who, like everyone else, are making plans for the holidays...
My mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org – but you knew that already. I am always open to comment...
NOTE TO ALL MY READERS: I have just landed a new job (yippeeeeeee!!!!!!), but it's going to mean relocation, so there may be a bit of a break in postings. I'll try to keep posting a chapter a week, but please bear with me if it takes a while to set up a broadband connection at wherever I end up living (I'm still looking for somewhere suitable). I promise that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!
Copyright April 2007 – all rights reserved. Please do not reprint, repost or otherwise reproduce this or any part thereof anywhere without my written permission.