Boy on the Towpath

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 3

After Tom left I slumped back down on the couch deep in thought. My God I could still smell him!

What a kid! Just so totally relaxed with me even to the point of nakedness but I've got to watch my step. There are boundaries after all, some of which I'd probably crossed already but I tempered this with the comforting thought that I hadn't actually done anything illegal.

I had been one step away from it though.

I had been perving him up and that's just too close to the wire and whilst I had kept my 'profile' in check it had been difficult.

I think my strength lay with the fact that I think I was falling hopelessly in love with him and the thought of scaring him away through some stupid and senseless act of my own sexual gratification would be heart breaking.

One thing did puzzle me however.

He was comfortable to be naked around me. No big deal there so far as it went, he was probably used to it at school but in front of a guy who made no bones about the fact he was gay? That was something different altogether and the more I tried to figure it out the more confused I became.

Did he just not care?

No. All boys of his age are very conscious of their bodies.

Did he do it just to see my reaction?

No. Couldn't be. He definitely didn't go dunking himself in the mud deliberately and that's how he came to be unclothed. Anyhow the towel slipped off him entirely by accident – he was half asleep for heaven's sake! No. Definitely not that.

Once he was naked, was he getting a kick out of it?

No sign of arousal so far as I could see and I did see rather a lot!! So there's another 'no'.

Next time he's here on his own I'll ask him and somehow I felt sure he'd tell me.

That was something else that endeared him to me. He was totally up front. He would ask the most personal questions. He would give straight answers to questions and he was free with his emotions.

A couple of glasses of wine and I went to bed but sleep didn't come easily. I couldn't get the little runt out of my head. I wanted to cuddle him again like earlier.

Damn it!! I am! I'm falling in love and nothing good can come of it!


Friday afternoon and I'd heard nothing from Tom so I had no idea whether or not he'd be joining me on the Sunday.

Yesterday I'd just assumed he was picking his moment to pop the question but now I was concerned.

My worries were about to be addressed as the phone rang.

"Hello Stu here."

"Hello Stu. Janet Saunders here. How are you?"

"Thanks I'm fine and you?"

"Better now I've received the CRB documentation. You should have said that you were cleared by Dr. Barnado's to work with children."

"Well the other day you didn't seem very receptive to anything I might have had to say and understandably so I might add. I thought it better coming as it has done, from the authorities."

"Yes well none the less I want to apologise. I prejudged you and that was wrong of me."

"Thanks but you had every right to be sceptical. Even I knew that on paper it didn't look normal."

"Look. Tom's out of earshot for the moment and I want to tell you something before he gets back in. I can only assume it's your influence – after all nothing else has changed in his life but he's being an absolute poppet!

The change was overnight. Ever since he came home on Wednesday evening he's been a joy to be around and long may it continue! Anyway the upshot is this. Yes of course he can join you on the boat for the trip to Headingly and no disrespect but I wouldn't dream of muscling in. He's very fond of you – did you realise that?"

"I was hoping he was 'cos I'm very fond of him as well. He's like the son I shall never have if you get my drift!"

"You make him laugh and now I can see why!"

"There's just one idea I've thought of and I fully understand if you're not keen on the idea but I move the boat on Sunday and Monday is the May bank holiday. If you wanted a weekend to yourself, Tom could come to the boat tomorrow and stay over until the Monday evening. I can comfortably sleep eight here so there's plenty of room for him to have his privacy. What do you think?"

"Well... Only if you're sure he won't get in the way... It would be nice to have a free weekend. I just don't want you to think..."

"Everyone needs their own space. You've obviously done a first class job with Tom and under very tragic circumstances. Please rest assured that he will be fine. He won't be a problem and more than that. You can be safe in the knowledge that he's with somebody who simply loves his company."

"Sounds like a three way match made in heaven! You love his company and I can tell you, he loves yours and finally gets to bond with an adult man. For me I get peace of mind and some much-needed personal space. Better go now. He's just coming back in. I'll let you tell him. I'll make sure he phones you directly. Bye Stu and bless you!"

Oh wow! Result or what!

I could have bounced off the walls!

An entire weekend with Tom. Not only that but with his mother's blessing!

Does life get better than this? I doubt it!

Five minutes later the phone rang.

"Hi Stu here!"

"Hi Stu, it's me."

"Hello 'me'! How's it hanging mate?"

A peel of laughter and another one in the distance which I guessed came from Janet.

"Same as last time I saw it!"

"Sweet! Now here's the deal. What are you up to tomorrow?"

"Nothing much, why?"

"I want you to come to the boat tomorrow morning. Is that okay?"

"More than but I thought you weren't going to move it until Sunday?"

"We are not! If you want you can stay over Saturday night, we move the boat Sunday, stay over Sunday night and help me settle in on Monday. Oh. By the way. Your Mum's cool with it. What do you think?"

Fuck!! I thought the earpiece on my phone would shatter!

"OH YESSSS! OH BRILLIANT!!"

"Go and thank your Mum. I'll see you in the morning!"

"Yes sir!! See you tomorrow but I'm telling you, I might be rather early!"


I slept well. Well after downing a bottle of the finest red stuff I did!

I hadn't thought to set an alarm which was stupid of me as the first I knew that Saturday had arrived was a banging on the roof. Tom, true to his word, had arrived early.

Actually he arrived at a reasonable nine o'clock but anyhow I let him in and it was my turn to be naked!

"Sorry I've overslept! Put the kettle on and I'll grab a shower."

Little sod! He 'wolf-whistled' me!

I aimed the same comment he made to me right back at him!

"Pervert!"

Little bastard didn't miss a trick as he replied "Damn straight!"

We busied ourselves making sure the boat was ready to go the following day. Checked with the engineers that things were on schedule and late afternoon I lit the BBQ for supper.

For May it was unseasonably warm so the kit of the day was shorts and tee shirts but the latter soon got tossed to one side and it was only as dusk fell that the need to go inside became necessary.

We collapsed on the couch and without asking, Tom folded into me like before.

"This is great! I love being here with you and now for all of the weekend! So COOL!"

"Yeah I agree 100%! I've a question for you. You know the last time you were here and the towel slipped off?"

"Yes. What of it?"

"You were happy to be around me naked as the day you were born even though you knew I was gay. I can't get my head around it!"

"That's easy. I love being naked but I can only do it in my bedroom. Okay you're gay and I knew you would perve me, sort of exciting actually, but I knew you wouldn't hurt me. Touch me maybe but never hurt me. I loved it!!"

"Err... Shit! You're absolutely right I could never hurt you. It's wrong for me to even touch you like in 'that way' so I wouldn't do that either but if you want to, feel free to do what you like so long as no one else sees you. Okay? Cuddling you like this is my lifetime reward for being celibate all these years y'know?"

"What's celibate Stu?"

"No sex. Don't try it! It's very hard to do! All the girls will be beating your door down soon enough pal. Get as much as you can before settling down with someone you really love."

My wine consumption was getting the better of my brain and I screwed my answer to Tom's next question.

"But you never fell in love did you?"

"Not until now I didn't. No."

"Meaning?"

"Oh fuck! I'm dead! Oh whatever! Tom? I'm sorry. I'm in love with you! I can't help the way I feel, I was born this way! I didn't like plan to be the way I am, it just panned out the way it did! Look if you want to leave then I understand. I'm so very sorry! I've just fucked everything up between us and I promised myself that would never happen!"

"Leave?! In your dreams!! Better get used to me being around! God you are so stupid! I love you too! Okay I don't know if I'm gay or not yet but besides my mum, you're the biggest thing in my life. You love me? I'm fine with that!"

"Thank the Lord for that. I am just so scared that I'll mess this up you know? Sure I've had friends I've been fond of but I've never experienced feeling for another person like I do now. In truth I'm very bothered about it."

"Why are you bothered?"

"A couple of things. First there's our age difference. For you this might be a one-time and short lived crush or infatuation and I'm scared of getting too close to you. I mean in time you might drift away from me, find a girl friend or whatever. Losing you now would hurt pretty bad but if it went up to the next level, well my life would be devastated without you."

"The next level? You mean sex?"

"I'd prefer to call it making love together but that's my second worry. You're almost thirteen but that's still three years off any sort of intimacy being legal. If anyone were to get so much as a sniff of any inappropriate behaviour between us, I would end up in prison so fast it would make your head spin."

Tom looked thoughtful but didn't make any comment so I continued.

"Anyway besides that, you don't know yet for sure what your sexual orientation is. Boys very often experiment sexually with each other, its part of growing up but to experiment with a guy of my age isn't right no matter how each of us feels.

If something along those lines were to happen between us, right now you would undoubtedly enjoy it but in years to come your take on it might change. You might well despise me for taking advantage of you. Even though you feel you love me now, that could well change. Do you understand?"

"I think so. I know I love cuddling you like this. It's very special. I've had dreams these last couple of nights about being in bed with you and when I wake up and find it's not real I got upset like I felt empty inside."

I kissed the top of his head and Tom looked up at me and smiled – a single tear rolling down his cheek which I kissed away.

He lay his head back onto my chest and sighed. Not a word was spoken between us for the next half an hour.

At ten forty-five I could feel my eyelids getting heavy.

"Bed time Tom. We've a long day tomorrow. You go and use the bathroom and I'll get your bed made up. Okay?"

With his bed prepared we swapped places in the bathroom and when I came out Tom was sitting on it wearing nothing but a smile. Actually he wasn't smiling – he just looked up at me with his big puppy eyes and said "Please will you make my dream come true – just this once?"

My resolve was cracking.

No actually it had shattered into a million pieces.

"Do you trust me Tom?"

"Yeah. I trust you completely."

His bed remained unused for the duration of the weekend and unless we had other folk on board with us it was never used again in the future.

Perhaps my resolve hadn't shattered in so many pieces as aside from cuddling up all night, no other intimate contact took place between us.

Whilst I was awake I admit to sporting a raging hard-on but Tom spooned into my back with his left arm over my chest with my right arm holding it in place so it couldn't 'stray' too far.

It was a fantastic if rather frustrating experience having this silky-soft boy in bed with me and definitely nothing so erotic as this had ever happened to me before.

I said a silent prayer something along the lines of 'I'm so very sorry God' and then 'but thank you anyway'. Then promptly fell asleep.

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