Loneliness

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 4

Justin fell asleep pretty much instantly, I guessed his opening up to me had knocked the stuffing out him. Me? I took rather longer, very aware that my little dick wasn't so little anymore!

I loved the feeling of being so close to him, the very velvet-softness of his skin, the very smell of him, and just listening to his breathing sent shivers up and down my spine and no, I felt no guilt even though I knew what we were doing wasn't like normal behaviour. I was pleased I'd initiated this contact, I didn't know what I wanted or indeed what to expect but I did know I wanted more.

I glanced at my watch, 4.30am, dawn was breaking as I finally drifted off to sleep.

Justin was the first to wake. I became conscious of him turning onto his back and stretching. I wanted him back and my semi-awake head thought about pulling him close again but chose to feign sleep and see what he would do as there was always the possibility that, in the cold grey light of dawn, he'd have regrets.

Anyway the dawn wasn't cold and grey, it was warm and sunny and if he did regret anything, he didn't show it as he turned to face me, held me so close that almost our two bodies became as one.

I couldn't help myself as I let out an involuntary moan of pure pleasure.

"You awake sleepy head?"

"Umm, yes I think so but it feels more like being in a state of grace."

"Meaning?"

"This can't be real, I mean nothing has ever made me feel so good, so happy. It's as if it's all going to collapse in on me and leave me feeling sad and lonely again."

"Were you, you know, sad and lonely?"

"I never thought so but that was before………."

"Shhh. I know how you feel. I've been there once before remember?"

"I know but that's what I mean. Look how that all ended up?

Does this sound crazy to you? I know it's only been a few short days but I think you're very special and I don't want to go wrecking everything or worse, getting it trashed by somebody else."

"You really think I'm special?"

"I just don't think it, I know you are. That's what I was going to tell you last night but decided it was better to wait it out until this morning. If you'd had second thoughts then I wouldn't have made a prick of myself, see?"

"Yeah I can see that."

"So have you……. had second thoughts?"

"Sort of, yes but not the way you think."

"I can tell you then."

"Please."

"Okay so you remember bollocking me on the driveway? It was the first time I'd ever set eyes on you and even as you yelled at me I looked at you and got this knot in my tummy and before you go saying that was because you were having a go at me, it wasn't, I can assure you!

I looked into your eyes, studied your face and yes okay, looked at your body and despite your shouting at me, I knew I wanted to get to know you, I've never felt like I did meeting anyone else, my heart beat kind of went all weird and so yeah, I knew right there and then you were special."

"Oh man that's just so sweet!

Now it's my turn to confess."

"I thought you did all of that last night?"

"No. That was the hardest bit.

Look that could've gone a number of ways. I'd had time to weigh up all the pro's and con's though.

Either you just packed your bags and legged it back to your boat and blanked me or the same scenario but with you spilling the beans to all in sundry and giving me an all-round hard time."

Justin paused briefly before continuing.

"I'd seen you around for a couple of days before that incident and being I am how I am, you know, a queer and before you go gobbing off like 'no you're not', I am and I've got to handle it.

Anyhow you blew me away! Sorry but you are just so damn fantastic-looking and I got all of those feelings like you did only I knew where it was going and so rather than completely fucking my life up even more and more importantly, risk fucking up yours, I opted to just be plain nasty to you in the hope you'd stay away from me.

Problem is you didn't but even then I did try to be horrible to you, I really did but my feelings towards you got the upper hand. That terrible conflict that's going on in my head, my need for self-preservation versus the love I feel inside, well the latter won over."

"You love me, like really?"

"I don't know how else to put it.

The prospect of going back to school didn't faze me. I've sort of got used to all the jibes and bullying but ever since getting to know you, I'm dreading it.

I know I'll just fall apart when it's time to go back and we say goodbye.

I want to be with you, near you all the time. What happened last night and what we're doing now like cuddling up together naked was never a part of my plan. Just to have you as one cool and very special friend would've been enough but……."

"That was my doing and if it helps any, I wanted us to be like this. I'm sorry if you think I was wrong."

"Please Alex, don't be sorry?

Yes of course I wanted this only I couldn't even let myself dream it could ever happen."

"Your friend at school. Did you love him too?"

"I'd grown very protective towards him and yes, I was very fond of him.

No I didn't feel towards him in the same way I do towards you so no, I didn't love him."

"Maybe he loved you though."

"No not a chance!

He'd mostly got over the shock of his sister's accident, he had come full circle in as much that he knew she would never be the same as he remembered her and sure, he sometimes got a bit upset, who wouldn't but he and I? No, he just enjoyed us messing about at nights, that's all."

"Wanna know something? I really pleased about that. Pleased he's over the trauma but really pleased you didn't love him!"

"How so?"

"It means I'm the first person you've felt this way about and now that is too far out for words!"

"Do you want to get up?"

"No. No not yet. I don't want this to end, it's just too magical, anyway, we'll have few opportunities like this.

Okay during the summer I'm pretty sure we can get away and especially if we do everything right in the eyes of your Granddad and my parents, that shouldn't be an issue but what then?

Even if you came back during half term, winter holidays or whenever, it'd be far too cold to go camping.

Our boat is pretty big but there's no chance of privacy even though I know my folks wouldn't mind you sleeping on board.

I take it your Grandfather knows about what went down?"

"Oh yeah.

He took it reasonably well actually. He said that when he was in India only the officers were permitted to bring their wives along so without female company the enlisted men found 'alternative ways' of staving off their urges. His words, not mine!"

"Nothing new under the sun as they say!

What about your folks? How did they take it?"

"Badly to begin with.

Mum did better than Dad initially but you know, blood's thicker than water as the saying goes and now they're pretty okay with it, not that I get to see them much apart from Christmas but they never mention it in their letters."

"But they never suggested you moved schools, like give you a fresh start?"

"No and deliberately so. Dad in his wisdom thought it best I toughed it out, 'It would make a man of me'!! Maybe he was right, I don't know."

"Yeah but you've done all that so isn't it about time you got the breaks?

Look. There has to be a better way. Look at me. I'm not the brightest star in the sky, I never been to school or rather I've never had a formal education and I'm doing passably okay?"

"I think you are……. The brightest star in the sky like you're the star of Bethlehem. I'd follow you?"

"Please don't make me cry!

Look. Had you ever thought about home tuition?"

"Yeah and like how does that work then!

My parents are traipsing around the world doing whatever diplomats do so they don't have the time even if they had the inclination. They don't take me with them because they want me to have continuity and more, a British education."

"Right but that only works if you're happy with how it is and you're not. The way I see it is you have a pretty miserable time of it and maybe your results aren't what they should be as a consequence, am I okay so far?"

"Do you know something? You aren't at all stupid! How did you know about my grades?"

"I didn't. I just took a flier.

You see I love the way I'm taught. It's relaxed and I'm educated by people who really love me and want me to succeed and while you might not think going for lessons everyday isn't your bag, I get every afternoon clear that is unless the weather's shitty and I ask to continue into the afternoon, it's always up to me but it makes sense to put the work in when there's nothing much else to do and then skip a few days completely when there is."

"Yes but it's all pie in the sky isn't it. It can never happen for me."

"Sure it can!

Look I want to be around you and you feel the same way right?"

Justin nodded.

"So you heard what Mum and Dad said, you know like you're welcome to sit in on my lessons anytime you like?"

"Yes I heard them but where's this going Alex? It's all well and good sitting in while I'm here and yes, I'd really love to, really, but then come September I'll have to go back to Down House and it all starts over."

"Maybe not. Definitely not if my little plan works!"


I set about detailing everything I'd been thinking about the previous night while Justin slept.

He should sit in with me but more than that, he should actually participate actively in the sessions.

He could detail where he was at his weakest and I was certain Mum and Dad would be happy enough to help bring him back up to speed.

Dad had many contacts at Reading University, some of which had helped my folks plan my curriculum and set tests and so for the jewel in the crown.

Towards the end of the summer, Justin would sit formal examinations and his results judged by some of the best brains in town, not by an exam board but by professors, doctors and the like and all assuming he did well, then BINGO!

All that was left to do was to persuade his parents that he was achieving a higher standard here than he was at boarding school, arrange some small stipend for his keep, move onto the boat and hey presto! He and I get to be together like for ever, he gets a great education, his parents get to save a huge pile of dosh, everyone wins!

"It couldn't happen………… could it?"

"Maybe, maybe not but what's the alternative.

We spend the rest of the summer ticking off the days until I wave bye-bye to you at Reading station, both of us crying like a pair of schoolgirls or we try at least to do something about it."

"I love the idea but my folks. No disrespect but they might not take too kindly to me living on a boat with a family of hippies."

With that I almost doubled up with laughter but as I came back down, in a flash I had an answer to that one as well.

"I take your point but now for my touch of genius!

My Dad and your Grandfather have really hit it off, right?

My Mum and your Grandmother are like Siamese sodding twins, right?

Your Granddad has taken a real shine to me too but this is the nasty bit so don't go into a sweat alright?"

"I promise."

"Okay then.

When you were mean to me and he told you to apologise? Well it didn't go unnoticed that you didn't actually apologise and also you spat on the floor.

When I asked if I could go up to your room he told me that your attitude lay at the door of your school. He resented how you'd turned out and said that he would rather have me as his grandson over you.

Look are you okay with this?"

"He really said those things?"

"Yes he did and more but it's okay. Don't you see? This can work in our favour!"

"How come?"

"It's really dead simple.

You get a glowing set of results, your parents are happy but 'oh gosh! We can't have our son fraternising with the likes of them now can we!'

But, and here's the really sneaky bit!

You demonstrate your 'new and nice-and-polite-good–to-have-around wonderful self' to your Grandparents like how much you've changed over the summer, we rally them to our cause giving my parents and me a massive 'thumbs-up' and there you have it! Now there are two drop-dead fucking gorgeous boys living on 'Casio'!

What do you think."

"Well I'll be buggered! It really could work couldn't it!"

"Two things, it's a tad early in our relationship for that and yeah. It just might happen!"

"Oh funny fucker! You're a damn miracle-worker Alex! Even if it doesn't pan out like we want, at least I feel positive and I'm ready to give it my all."

"No miracle-worker me. I'm a scheming, manipulative, sneaky young boy."

"Can I try something? I mean like try something with you?"

"So long as it doesn't hurt me, yes."

"I want to kiss you, like I really want too."

"I might do it all wrong, I've never kissed another boy before nor a girl come to that."

"Wanna know something? Neither have I so can we learn together?"

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