by Andrew Foote
That kiss, oh that kiss! Possibly the most heart-stopping moment of my young life.
Your first kiss is something everybody remembers, it matters not whether you're gay, straight or bisexual. At that moment you grow up. It's a total step-change in your life as you realise that you're ready, not just to accept love but respond to it, react to it in kind.
We probably looked what we were, complete novices but……… complete novices who were very eager to learn.
The feelings that coursed through me as Justin's soft lip touched mine were like nothing I'd ever before experienced.
Tongues? Honestly I can't remember but most likely not but I do recall that once we'd broken off, we remained in each other's embrace for ages, neither of us wanting to break the spell but as we did, we just looked into each other's eyes and in unison just said one simple word.
Reluctantly we cleared up our campsite, loaded up the canoes and headed towards home, desperate to get started on our plan of action.
It was Sunday so not much was going on. We unpacked, stowed the canoes back where we'd found them and went up to the house.
'Sir', Justin's Grandfather greeted us at the door.
"So young'uns. Did you have a good time?"
"Wonderful Grandfather! Thanks for allowing me to go."
"You're welcome my boy."
"Yes thank you sir. We really had a great time.
We've got the sleeping bag and blankets outside. Where do they live? We'll put them away for you."
"No need Alexis. I'll see to that."
"Umm, the sleeping bag is rather heavy Gramps? We'll do it if you'd prefer?"
"Well alright since you insist. Cupboard under the stairs. I was going to say put it right at the back but perhaps not. I've a feeling it won't be its last outing this summer!
As for the blankets, put them on the bottom of the stairs and I'll ask Mrs Morris to put them away as I haven't the first idea where she keeps them."
With that done, Justin went back outside and retrieved the frying pan and the two old cooking pots we'd used. I had given them a cursory clean in the river but we put them in the scullery sink and proceeded to give them a thorough clean.
We must've made a bit of a racket as 'Sir' reappeared and asked what we were doing.
"Mrs Morris said we could use these. I did try to clean them up but I think river water just doesn't cut it so Justin thought we should give them a proper wash."
"Well, well! Who would've thought it!" and with that he turned shaking his head and walked back inside the house.
"Nice start! Oh and thanks but it was your idea to give those pans an extra clean."
"Yeah but it's you who needs all the gold stars, remember?
"Yes I know. You really are determined to make this work aren't you."
"Look I shouldn't crow but my Mum and Dad will tell you. I can be one stubborn sod when I want. Like a dog with a good bone, I don't give it up without a fight.
You want this? I want this and so if we fail, well it won't be for the want of trying"
It was still fairly early as we walked down through the garden. A few boats on the move and a gathering of workmen on the opposite bank preparing to erect everything for the coming regatta.
"I hope for everyone's sake they don't start making too much noise."
"Those guys over there. Mum and Dad don't usually surface much before midday on a Sunday!"
"I hate Sunday's."
"Why's that? I rather like Sunday's. A chance to really chill out in peace and quiet. Thinking time, you know?"
"At school we had to attend chapel then the rest of the day was our own.
Mostly the other kids played footie or whatever and like I said, I'm not sporting and so I just used to go into the library and read, watching the clock until lunchtime then after lunch, back to the library, write my duty letter to my parents and clock-watch until teatime then ditto until it was time for bed.
"No studying then."
"Nah. Sunday was the one day of the week we didn't have to. I probably should've given my crappy grades but it's really difficult to find any enthusiasm when you're constantly looking over your shoulder hoping you weren't about to get the shit kicked out of you……… again."
"Oh God I'm so sorry. Was it really that bad?"
"Maybe I've exaggerated a bit. It did happen every once in a while for sure but the worst type of bullying isn't the physical but the mental and believe me, those kids were pass masters at giving that crap out!"
"Sorry but………… but like what, I mean how?"
"Okay it doesn't sound like much maybe but they'd taunt me, name calling, they'd put things in my bed like frogs, toads, earthworms and one night they tipped a jug of water over me while I was asleep then went round the school telling everyone I was a bed wetter but I think the worst thing was just being totally cold-shouldered.
Nobody and I mean nobody would talk to me. They wouldn't eat with me and if they saw me walking down the corridor, nine times out of ten they'd turn and walk in the opposite direction rather than pass me. All pretty hateful stuff."
"Christ Justin? How did you cope?"
"You just do. If you weakened you'd go nuts."
"If that's what it takes to be a man then I'm not sure I wanna be one."
That at least lightened the mood as he leant against a tree and burst out laughing.
"Good one! There's a problem there though. You're going to be one and you can't change that!"
"Wanna know a secret? Shhh, don't go telling anyone but I hear you can!"
"Yeah well those'll go I'm afraid as will your dick!"
"No way! I like my willy!"
"Well as I have yet to be formally introduced to it I am not in a position to pass comment!"
"Stop it…………. Please? I can't laugh anymore, it hurts too much! Stop making with the wise cracks!"
"Okay already! Let's go see if the old ones are up yet."
Just then there was a loud roar as a very noisy diesel engine spluttered into life followed a minute later by the sound of a pile driver banging away on the opposite bank."
"Whoops! Well if they weren't awake before you can bet your sweet arse they are now!"
My Dad, not best known for his charity on a Sunday morning, poked his head out of a side hatch.
"Ye Gods and little fishes. What the fuck is going on?"
Then my Dad saw us, the look on his face, pure classic!"
"Oh God Justin. I'm sorry! My language……. I mean……"
"No problem sir I mean Tim. Hear it all the time in school so don't like sweat it."
"Yeah but……. What the hell's going down son?"
"Those guys over the way, they're driving in piling ready for the regatta."
"At this hour and on a Sunday?"
"Well Dad, it is 11.30 and almost halfway through the day."
"Whatever. Do us a kindness and put the kettle on?"
"How many times do I have to point out to you, it really doesn't suit me?"
"Smart arse! Please, pretty please?"
"I'm on it Dad.
Hey. Where's Justin?"
"Behind you. Probably having a baby by the looks of things."
I turned to see this body rolling around on the grass clutching at his sides.
"Hey Wassup? You alright?"
"Don't – make – me –laugh –any – more………. Please!"
"Umm. Better not drop my pants then!"
"SHUT UP!…… Please ??"
"Okay already. I'm in 'shut-up' mode!"
My Dad, having witness all this, yelled at me.
"Come on son. Get you effing arse in here and make a pot of tea. If poor Justin's pulled a tummy muscle it can be a bitch so leave him to calm down okay?
Justin? You come in when you're able, alright?"
Justin, still giggling just raised his arm by way of response. I made my way inside and set about my task.
Fifteen minutes later we all sat around the dining table sipping our tea.
"Have a good time last night then boys?"
"Yeah it was really cool Kaz. We really had a blast and no we didn't misbehave."
"Actually we never thought you would. He won't mind me telling you this, he's probably already said as much but Alexis doesn't get much chance to be with kids around his own age. The families we know, well there kids are rather younger but then you two get together and…………. Well maybe…… Oh I'm making a complete pig's ear out of this. Okay horsing around, it goes with the territory but then there's horsing around and 'horsing around' if you get my point."
"No really. We had a great time. Nothing got broke and we tidied up before we left. Possibly the only thing you might notice is flattened grass where our tent was. Alex, whoa sorry, Alexis even built the fire on the shore line so we wouldn't go damaging the grass."
"You call him Alex?"
"He must really like you! Very protective about his name."
"Ah c'mon Mum?" I whined, "I'm not that bad?"
"Whatever. Anyhow it's all good. You look good together, you know that?
We think you're a good influence on each other. We will be sad to leave, sad to see you back in school."
Justin all but crapped himself.
"What! Where I mean where are you going…… you mustn't, you can't!"
"Hey man? Chill! We're not going anywhere far. We live here okay? It's only that the Thames Conservancy move us on from time to time but we're normally within a mile or so of here."
"But Tim….. You don't understand!"
Dad leant forward and took Justin's hands in his own.
"Hey. Know this 'friend of my son'. I understand much more than you give me credit for. Don't give yourself such a hard time man? It's cool I promise you."
"Yes. Yes it is."
Later that afternoon instead of my normal work to the mill, we took a detour into Caversham village. The only downside to this was we had to keep the dogs on leads and four springer's are a bit of a handful and when Justin offered to take two of them off my hands, I was really surprised just how good they were with him.
Springer spaniels are field dogs and not used to the restrictions placed on them being led but they were very obedient, sitting and coming to heel when told and even showing some affection towards him, something they'd never done before.
"Hang on Alex, I need to nip into that shop. Can you take the dogs?"
A couple of minutes later he reappeared clutching a paper bag.
"What you been buying?"
"Umm four feint-ruled exercise books, two plain, two biro's, two pencils and a ruler."
"What do you need them for?"
"If I'm going to be doing lessons I'll need the hardware."
"I'm sure Mum and Dad would've tooled you up?"
"Look I'm committed to this and so it's just my way of showing I'm serious. Anyhow it would be rude just to assume they'd kit me out."
"Nice thinking! You know that won't go unnoticed don't you."
"I hope so. They didn't come cheap!"
Justin tucked the bag under his arm and took charge of two of the dogs.
"Where to now?"
"Follow me. I know a long cut back."
"A long cut?? What's a long cut?!"
"The opposite of a short cut dummy! It's a bit of a hike but the dogs can run free and anyway, there's something I want to do which I can't in the middle of town."
"You need a pee then!"
"No not that. You'll find out and anyhow it involves you as a willing participant."
We walked for about half an hour before reaching Balmore Hill, a public park too hilly for ball games but great for just messing about and terrific for tobogganing in the snow.
Letting the dogs loose we ambled up the hill then walked along the apex until we reached the treeline.
I'd noticed a number of families picnicking but other than them the place was all but deserted, perfect for what I wanted to do.
We headed deeper into the wood then branched off the main track down a little-used and somewhat over grown path.
"I hope you know where you're going 'cos I'm lost!"
"I've come up here with my Dad shooting rabbits and wood pigeons. Don't worry, I'll keep you safe and sound!"
"Why would you want to shoot them?"
"To eat them of course. Yummy! You've not lived until you've had braised pigeon breasts in a red wine, mustard and wild mushroom sauce and my Mum's rabbit pie is to die for."
"We're not here to, you know catch rabbits are we?"
"Oh no! Something much better than that! Hey look. There it is!"
"There what is. All I can see are trees!"
"Go to the top of the class! See that massive oak over there?"
"Yeah? What of it."
"I want to introduce you to that tree."
"Huh?? You want to do what?? "
"I want you to get to know that tree intimately. It's a very nice tree. A lovely tree. A mother fucking beautiful tree."
"God you're weird sometimes! A slate has definitely slipped from your roof pal!"
"Come on, come over here will you?"
Shaking his head slowly in disbelief he wandered over to where I was standing.
"Okay so what's the big deal then?"
"Do you trust me Justin?"
"What? Yes of course I do!"
"Do you really, really like me?"
"You know I do, I more than just like you."
"To me this is a very special tree and I want that you like it too. I want, no I hope you will always remember this tree." And with that I took him by the shoulders and gently pushed his back up against it. I placed my arms around him so my hands were touching the trunk, leaned in and tenderly kissed him, just sort of a series of pecks to begin with, becoming longer and more intense as I progressed.
Justin was moaning and our groins were touching. I could feel his hardness pressing against mine and then shear passion took hold of me.
I flicked my tongue against his lips and instinctively he opened up to me, our tongues dancing against each other, our lips desperately searching for new and exciting pleasures as they mashed together.
My mind was in a fog of lust as my left hand snaked down his chest toward my prize, my right hand behind his head pulling him into me.
I don't know which of us was making the most noise as his left hand began its own journey south.
I reached the elastic of his shorts and hovered there momentarily Justin was almost crying as my hand slipped under the waistband, my fingers wrapping themselves around his erection.
Poor Justin. He was shaking uncontrollably as he returned the favour, the first hand other than my own that I can ever remember was taking hold of my dick and oh so gently masturbating me.
It took only seconds before I yelled out my warning.
"Jus, I'm going to piss myself!!!!"
"No. Trust me you're not. Go with it for me."
The intensity was so overwhelming I momentarily stopped my ministrations on him so he placed his free hand over mine and rubbed.
We came. We came at exactly the same moment.
The feelings that flooded my being, so powerful I almost blacked out and as they passed, we collapsed against the tree trunk, gasping for air.
We stood there for ages with our heads on each other's shoulders just cuddling up, slowly calming down.
"You were right. It is a lovely tree."
"Mmm. We'll get to know it really well."
"It's our tree."
"It's a family tree. Sorry I wasn't trying to be funny. I'll tell you on the way back."
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