Loneliness

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 18

That night we went out to eat. It was also suggested that Jus slept at the house to enable him to get his trunk packed ready for his return to school on Sunday afternoon.

Naturally we both protested but it was gently pointed out to us, it was either that or Saturday night and given that option we decided that we'd prefer to be together on his last night of 'freedom' so in the end there wasn't much arguing.

The meal was really good!

Sir George had insisted we all went to an Indian restaurant in Reading town centre and I was instantly impressed, not only with the food but also the ambiance.

The décor was nothing like anything I'd ever seen before and the music…….I could've actually been in India!

Sir George quite obviously new the owner as no sooner had we set foot through the door, a waiter saw us and rushed upstairs and moments later, an elderly Indian gentleman appeared, half-bowed to us, his hands together in front of his chest as if in prayer then shook our hands.

"Sir George, you honour my establishment and tonight I see you have guests!"

He turned to a waiter, said something I didn't understand and said waiter scurried away and began to set a table for six slightly away from the main body of the restaurant but near enough to be a part of the feeling of the place.

He gestured towards the table,

"I hope this is suitable for you. As you can see, we are rather busy tonight and your usual table is already occupied."

"It's perfect Rajid. Allow me to introduce my friends."

One by one we were all introduced which initiated another round of handshakes then once our table had been prepared, the waiter took us over and individually sat us down. Ladies first followed by my Dad and then Jus and I, Sir George was still talking to the owner back adjacent to the bar.

Lady Eleanor didn't seem surprised by this commenting

"We have known Rajid for many years. He was the head chef in the officer's mess in Rangoon. We persuaded him to follow us to England and open a business here.

Life was hard for him at first. Indian cuisine was something most people shied away from believing it to be too powerful and spicy but as you will discover, it is neither of those things but that isn't to say they can't make it that way but for our western pallet, they tone it down and as you can see, he has a thriving business now."

Sir George reappeared closely followed by our waiter carrying a tray of drinks which he placed on the table and pulled out a chair so Sir George could sit down.

A small glass was placed in front of each of us but my Dad declined.

"Not for me thanks. I have to drive back. I'll maybe have a beer with my meal but that's all."

Sir George poked a playful finger in my Dad's direction.

"Oh no you won't!

Rajid also owns a cab company and I've asked him to have one on standby for when we're ready to leave. I can run you back in the morning to get the Bentley Tim.

Now drink up all!! I raise a toast…… THE QUEEN!"


Oh WOW! What a meal!!

I tried everything and aside from one dish that did hit my tongue somewhat, it was absolutely fantastic!

Just to fast-forward, Rajid passed away a few years later. 'Natural causes' was the official obituary but Lady Eleanor suspected an over-indulgence of fine food and wines but conceded he was a lovely man, an excellent chef and a friend who they would miss enormously.

Jus and I would get to know his youngest son who eventually inherited the business.

We arrived back at Mapledurham, all of us rather worse the wear for alcohol that is except for Sir George! Damn could that old boy sink it! Even Lady Eleanor was listing to starboard and had to be helped into the house by my Mum who was equally as pissed!

Dad just kept his mouth shut.

He knew he lost the power of coherent speech pretty early on in the 'getting drunk' process so it wasn't until Sir George and Lady Eleanor were safely inside and my Mum and Dad outside propping each other up did he speak or rather 'try to'!

"Yous lags say goo-ni awlrite?? (sway, stagger.) Jus get back the boat ok. Nlo nogt hyou Jus? You Arexis!! Ha-ha-ha! Oh fuck it!"

Mum joined in at that point.

"Wah he meaz is jus be okay when you ge on board??? Not you Jus, him!! My son!!!

We love you Jus, but jus be careful?? Oh for Christ's sake!!! Goo-nite!"


After my Mum and Dad were, I guessed, safely back on 'Casio' (well I never heard a splash anyway,) Jus and I stood by the back door cuddling. Nothing heavy but just holding each other.

We didn't say a single word, none were necessary, our minds were somehow in communication on a different level, completely oblivious of everything around us, totally immersed in each other.

The spell was broken by a light tap on the inner door followed by a voice.

"Ahem! You lads still out there?"

I answered.

"Yes Sir. Sorry, we'll get to our beds."

"No need to apologise Alex.

The memsahib is out for the count on the settee and I've got blankets and covered her up. Justin? I suggest that you go to 'Spook' with Alex. There is no chance of doing your trunk now, just be here for nine in the morning, alright?"

"Yes Granddad and……..thank you!"

"Not a bit of it! We, if you will excuse the metaphor, pushed the boat out tonight! I haven't enjoyed myself so much in years!

Sleep well boys.

Be happy with each other won't you?"


We walked hand in hand back to 'Spook'. I felt surprisingly sober as we made our way inboard but tiredness overtook me and I collapsed onto the bed fully clothed and went out like a snuffed candle but I woke completely naked, - Jus had stripped me without me waking. I was in his arms, the only place I wanted to be, ever.

He was still asleep so I limited my movements freeing my left leg which had 'gone to sleep', trying hard not to wake him.

Jus stirred but only sufficient to wrap himself around me, holding me close.

We stayed that way until my alarm clock showed 7.45am at which point I decided to wake him.

"C'mon boyfriend! Time to get up!"

"Noooo! I want to stay like this for ever and ever!"

"Me too but…….things to do already!"

"I thought you loved me Alex?"

"I do you idiot, but we can't stay here for ever and ever, much though I'd like it. If you don't get up, I'll have to torture you!"

"Okay. Do your worst. Nothing you can do to me can be as bad as getting out of bed."

I smiled! Now was my opportunity to do something I'd always wanted to do ever since I'd met him.

I wanted his little FEET!

Okay, so it's weird but Jus's were beautiful and so I offer no apologies. I needed to touch them, to feel them, to taste them even! No matter how whiffy they might be, I needed them as much as an addict needs a fix. I had to have his beautiful toes in my mouth!!

I shuffled down the bed and took both of his feet in my hands pressing my thumbs into his insteps. Jus groaned.

"Oh yes. A foot massage! This isn't torture, its divine!"

Continuing the massage I moved forward and took a quick sniff. There was perhaps a vague muskiness but nothing objectionable so I stuck out my tongue and ran it along the valley between the balls of his feet and his toes coating it with saliva.

Jus squirmed a bit but didn't complain when I suckled on first one toe then another until I had sampled all of them.

God I was so turned on! This had to be the aphrodisiac to beat all aphrodisiacs!

I glanced up at Jus. He was also as hard as a nail and gripping the bed sheets with such force, his knuckles were white.

"Alex, please let me cum?? I wanna cum so much it hurts!"

That was a cry for help I could not ignore so I moved up in between his legs until my mouth was hovering over his dick. His foreskin was almost fully retracted as I hungrily took him in my mouth and using my lips to complete the process, sunk down taking as much of him as I possibly could.

I pulled back almost completely but only far enough to keep the head of his beautiful cock in my mouth, swirling my tongue around the sensitive underside before upping the ante, seriously wanking his dick with my mouth.

This combined with my continuing foot massage proved to be too much for Jus to handle. His body went totally rigid and his eyes shot open as if he'd been electrocuted and with a squeak he fired five or six volleys of cum into my waiting mouth which I gratefully accepted, not swallowing until he'd stopped pulsing, his body limp as a rag doll.

I moved up and took him in my arms and gently kissed him.

"There might be a little bit of me in you but bloody-hell Jus? There's a gallon of you inside me!"

Jus smiled at me.

"That was simply mind-blowing! I didn't think it would ever stop and that foot thing! Oh my GOD!"

"You'll let me do that again then?"

"If you want but didn't my toes taste yucky?"

"No taste and virtually no smell but even if there had been, I love you so nothing would've put me off. Now get that sweet body of yours out of bed, take a shower and get dressed! You've only twenty minutes to be up at the house!"

"Yes Mummy!"


While Jus was up at the house packing, I decided to properly investigate my new engine room.

Two of Thorneycroft's apprentices and a supervisor had turned up the previous week to reinstall the engine but most of the work was done by the time we'd finished our morning studies. I was a bit disappointed about this as I would've liked to have seen how they did it however I was there when they fired her up and once satisfied everything was in good order, one of the lads gave me a crash course on the starting procedure, routine maintenance and so on but what with everything else that was going on in my head, I have to confess I'd forgotten most of it.

After a bit of searching, I came across the old instruction manual. It was pretty much falling apart so together with a reel of tape, I took it up to the dinette and set about taping all the pages back in place and checking none were missing which as it turned out, there weren't.

Job done and back to the engine room to see if I could work out what to do.

I managed to identify all the bits and pieces, the injector over-ride, the decompressors, fuel cocks and finally the kick peg on the flywheel to actually start the beast.

Well I tried and I tried but short of getting the damn thing to cough I could not get it to start! I concluded that you had to have the leg muscles of a carthorse to get sufficient energy to kick this stupid engine into life either that or I was missing something.

I double checked the instructions and tried again but the result was the same. How did that apprentice lad make it look so easy?

Frustration and my temper were getting the better of me as I screamed abuse at my 'heap of shit for an engine' and I was close to tears but then my Dad appeared.

"Having fun?"

"Am I hell having fun? Nothing I do, everything I try and still this pile of rubbish won't fire Dad!"

"Okay. Show me what you're doing then."

I started at the beginning by showing him all the prestart checks, setting the injector override and lifting the decompressors, finally extracting the kick pin and giving it a God Almighty shove. There was a single 'Thump' from the old Lister but that was it.

"Okay so what am I doing wrong?" I shouted.

"Calm down son. You're not doing anything wrong. The simple fact of the matter is, you're not strong enough to get enough force behind it. Ideally you want the engine to turn two complete revolutions, you can only manage one."

"So if I can't start it, what bloody good is it to me then?"

"Reset everything up to the point where you'd extract the kick pin."

I fumbled about and reset the engine, my hands trembling with pure rage!

"Now what!"

"See that button on the bulkhead behind you? Press and hold it."

I reached behind me, pressed the button, which to my undying shame was labelled 'START' and the engine turned over and fired!

Both Dad and I burst out laughing!

"How could I have been so stupid? I wondered how that guy made it look so easy?"

"Perhaps next time you'll listen to what's being said to you. Your manual is old. You've got a starter motor! Go up back and wind down the revolutions to tick over. You might as well leave her running for an hour, if for no other reason than it will give you stacks of hot water."

I reduced the revolutions until the engine wouldn't run any slower, stood there listening to the slow 'thump, - thump' and looking at the exhaust stack as with each stroke, a puff of blue smoke blew into the air.

Dad came up and joined me.

"Sounds really good, doesn't she? There's something about these old engines, they sound like a heart beating, almost like they're alive somehow."

I couldn't disagree, there was something 'solid' and comforting about the way she ran, something modern and okay, more efficient engines can never emulate.

"Dad? Why are boats, engines and cars always referred to as 'she'?"

"Oh that's because they're sometimes difficult to get going on cold mornings, temperamental, expensive to maintain but altogether, nice to own! For God's sake don't repeat that in front of your Mother!!"


Jus got back to the boat moments before I planned on shutting off the engine. He did look a bit frazzled but his eyes were clear so he hadn't got upset or rather not that I could see.

"Oh cool! You've got the motor started!"

"Eventually yes! I'll tell you the full story another time about how difficult / easy it was but right now it's too embarrassing!

You okay with stuff?"

"Yeah I suppose. I kept this morning at the front of my mind. How you took me to heaven and back. That kept me upright most of the time in more ways than one! I'm packed at least. Ready to go."

"You're not fully packed. I've got something for you but you must promise me, no opening it until you're back at school, alright? It isn't much but it's something I want you to have, something to hold on to while you're away."

"Ohh? Why can't I see it now?"

"'Cos it would make me squirm and if you didn't like it, I'd know. Just take a look once you're back, please??"

I had placed in an envelope, three photos of us both taken by my Mum completely without my knowledge.

The first was of the two of us at the 'family tree', that is just before we got 'personal', Jus with his back to the tree-trunk and me holding him in an embrace. It was a beautiful shot and really one that showed our love for each other even though it was still embryonic.

The second one was of the two of us playing ball with the dogs that afternoon on the lawn whilst his parents were up at the house and the third was of me grabbing Jus around the waist and pulling him into the water, a complete tangle of arms and legs that time when he was so scared about river swimming!

I had also written him a letter.

It had taken me ages because every time I went to continue with it, I ended up crying.

It wasn't a sad letter, I was trying to give him some support but anyone who has truly loved will understand how I felt, how hard it was to put into words, emotions and thoughts without being negative. Anyway I didn't want Jus reading it until he was back at school for obvious reasons.

Reluctantly he agreed.


The remainder of the afternoon we spent walking the dogs.

We went through Caversham village stopping off to buy some sweets then on to Balmore Hill and once there we set the dogs lose.

Getting more confident, we pulled each other up the steepest inclines hand in hand otherwise we had our arms around each other's waists and although there didn't appear to be anyone else around, hardly picnicking weather after all, I doubt we would've acted differently even if there were.

We entered the tree line and looking around for the dogs, I got a touch worried as they were nowhere to be seen.

"Where do you recon the dogs are Jus?"

"Rabbiting probably. I wouldn't worry, they love you almost as much as I do. They won't go far and anyway, one whistle from you and they'll come running!"

We walked on coming to a branch in the path.

"It's down here isn't it Alex?"

"What?….Oh yeah, the 'family tree'. Yes this is the track."

"Can we….? I want to see it again."

The path had become somewhat overgrown, obviously no one other than us came this way and after all, why should they, there wasn't much to see, only 'our' tree but on this occasion there was. Under the tree were four rather excitable Springers!

"What on earth…….? How did they know we'd be coming here Jus? We've only ever brought them here once?"

"No idea. Some sort of sixth sense maybe? Granddad always claimed they could read his mind!"

We stood in silence. Jus was looking up at the tree then cast his gaze this way and that then looked at me with a satisfied smile.

"Ready to carry on Alex?"

"Oh sure. Why did you want to come here again?"

"To remember the most beautiful thing that's ever happened to me, that's all.

Come on, let's go!"


As we walked back towards Mapledurham, we linked arms in what we hoped would only be seen as what two very good friends would do and so far as I could see, there were no disapproving looks but I did wonder what would be the reaction had we been hand in hand! No matter, it was nice to even have that level of contact with each other but I was a bit concerned with how subdued Jus was so I tackled him.

"Wassup Jus? You're very quiet?"

He looked at me and grinned.

"I'm sorry. I'm fine. I was just deep in thought, nothing sinister I promise! Thing is I can relax with you and mull things over in my head without feeling the need to be conversational."

"My turn to apologise but with tomorrow looming large, - well I just.......needed to know."

Jus 'hip-bumped' me and laughed.

"I needed to go back to the tree Alex. Okay nothing really happened if you were an outsider looking on, well I guess it did but that isn't the reason. I need to keep that very special moment alive in my head. It was like an awakening, a……realisation that I could love and have that love returned and by someone I had tried to avoid meeting or get close to because I never thought it possible you could love me back and…..I was frightened."

"Well I think I did back when I first saw you but now? You know how I feel. Nothing can change that, nothing I know of can get in the way so relax and anyway, and too much thinking and your brain will implode on itself!! Lighten up man? You know you can go there anytime. It's a great place to seek solitude and peace, to think, to allow your head to explain things to you while surrounded by nature you know, without the 'traffic' of the modern world interfering."

"I know and I feel it as well. More than that, I really believe the dogs do too which is seriously weird but nice as well."

"Huh??"

"There's just something about the place that feels, I don't know, safe? You asked the question 'why did the dogs go there' when we've only ever taken them there once in the past? It's only woodland, nothing out of the ordinary so I got to thinking. Why or rather what drew them there Alex? There has to be a reason! "

"Jus, this is just too freaky man? I don't like where this is going! You're really weirding me out here! Can we please drop it now?"

He turned to me and right there, in the middle of Caversham High Street, he hugged me and more, he kissed me!

"Alex, I'm sorry? I never meant to upset you, you know? It's just my natural curiosity getting the better of me and as the man said, 'there will always be more things we don't understand than we ever will'."

I cuddled him back. A car horn sounded followed by a wolf-whistle. "Give her one mate!!"

Jus burst out laughing which defused the tension!

"It's your long hair! They think you're a girl! Hey and you've got good legs!"

"Oh bollocks!"

"Yeah you've got them too but they don't need to know that! I could get to enjoy this little bit of subterfuge! Think of the possibilities………"

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