Where Do I Fit In?

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 1

Throughout this story real organisations and real people are mentioned by name. Their place in the tale is in the author's imagination. No thoughts, words or deeds attributed to those people or organisations are real, nor have they ever happened. This is a story! It's fiction. The people and organisations, even when they interact with the characters, are presented in an entirely imagined and fictitious manner, and no discourtesy is intended to them by the author nor by the web site.

Me? I'm just 'me'. An ordinary lad from an ordinary family who just live out their lives in an 'ordinary' way. I don't do anything that sets me apart from my fellow pupils at school, just enough decent results not to alert anyone to my disinterest but also nothing to bring me to the attention of teachers who are constantly on the lookout for the genius amongst their charges, just ordinary.

I've just tipped twelve years old, next year a teenager like that's likely to change my life!

I did date a girl in my class the other month but to be honest, while she was beautiful and everything and my mates were constantly telling me how lucky I was and how much they'd love to get inside her knickers, she bored me. She could kiss well enough but is that it? Every time I tried to up the ante, she bollocked me telling me I was being dirty. What's dirty about that for heaven's sake? I was always told that sex was something to be celebrated, -- okay in the context of a marriage but I'm twelve and so far even my dog wouldn't marry me. Alright my dog is just that, a D.O.G. not a bitch but you take my point.

I suppose I should describe myself, - not that there's much to say.

I'm about five foot tall, slim but not skinny, dark brown hair worn reasonably short, tanned, - yes I can take the sun, one of my better attributes. I hate football and rugby, not that I'm useless at them, I just don't like playing them but I do like cricket and more especially I love to swim.

I'm quickish through the water but…….here we go again, my instructor says my feet are too little and I'll never be fast enough to compete so I took up diving.

OMG!! Now this I really enjoyed but there's always a fly in the ointment, this being there wasn't a dedicated instructor at our swimming club to coach me so progress stalled as I continued to make the same old mistakes. I really should've packed it in but it was enjoyable and it got me out of the house a couple of evenings each week.

Apart from the normal springboard and the three metre table, all the higher platforms were cordoned off during public swimming sessions but the pool staff would remove these for club evenings and it was during one of these sessions, waiting for the staff to give me access that I was joined by another boy who I vaguely recognised although never talked to.

He was good looking, no doubt about that! Slightly shorter than me with ash-blond hair and blue eyes, his body well-tanned from hours spent in the sun or so I imagined and some muscle definition which was unusual in a boy of his age. Yeah fit I would describe him but the thing that really caught my attention was his perfectly sculpted bubble-bum.

Now I'm not in the habit of perving on boys but I made an exception in his case. He'd got the perfect arse clad as it was in vertical blue and white striped Speedo's, - nothing unusual there, we all wore them for club meets but these seemed to accentuate his lithe form somehow. I averted my eyes so as not to freak him out but either he hadn't noticed or didn't care as he was the first to speak.

"Hey! You're Andy, right? I've noticed you diving these last couple of weeks and thought I'd join you. You don't mind do you?"

"No, I don't mind at all. It would be nice to have company. How did you know my name?"

"Simple. I asked around. You're not all a bad diver. A few rough edges but that don't matter."

I was intrigued by his accent.

"What's your name then? Are you American?"

"I'm Lucas and I'm as English as you but my folks moved out to Texas when I was like three hence the accent. Eight years of hearing nothing but a southern drawl kinda sticks but now we're back, I guess that'll change soon enough!"

"Don't be in any hurry, it sounds good on you. You definitely stand out from the crowd."

He blushed!

"I guess I should say thank you for that! I was kinda dreading coming back to England, I thought that most kids would make fun of me. What school do you go to?"

"Ashmead High. What about you?"

"Oh I've not started yet but after the summer recess, that's where I'll be going. Would you like, show me around sometime? I don't know anyone here so it'd be nice to have a friend in the area."

"Yes I could do that! You'll make friends soon enough though so I wouldn't worry about that. It's not a bad school as schools go. Just keep your head down and do what's required of you and you'll be fine."

"Cool. Thanks for that. Wanna go diving then? What dives can you do?"

"Not that many. No instructors at this club so I'm self-taught!"

"Okay. I'll help you if you like. I was lucky back in the States, we had good coaches but if you'd rather I didn't interfere then that's cool as well."

"No….I mean yes please! I want to improve as much as I can and if you'll help me then great."

I followed Lucas up the steps, all the time looking at his lovely bum! What's got into me? I want to know what it feels like to the touch! Damn puberty but for the next couple of hours he gave me pointers such as things that would make me more aerodynamic such as crossing my feet so they were toe to toe and clasping my hands together to minimise the impact as I hit the water.

"Hey Andy? You're doing just great! I mean with proper coaching you could be really good, ya-know? Wanna try something really cool like a formation dive?"

"What? Like together? Isn't that dangerous?"

"Nah! Not if it's done properly. Look, I'll explain. We'll do a swallow dive so we'll stand on the edge of the platform with our arms outstretched but far enough apart so we can link our little fingers then on the count of three we'll launch ourselves into the dive then just before we hit the water we let go our fingers into a normal entrance. Okay with that?"

"I'll give it a go! Why not! Sounds like fun."

Actually it was just that but I was very aware of our linked fingers and it made my heart race. The dive was a good one obviously as it prompted a small round of applause from a crowd of girls on the poolside and as we came to the surface, Lucas grinned at me then pulled me into a brief hug.

"Far OUT Andy! What a team man! That was nothing short of awesome!"

"No argument from me but I think we might be in trouble. Mr Wilson is calling us over."

We swam to the edge of the diving pool where Mr Wilson was waiting for us. He didn't appear to be angry but more like shocked.

"Well you two. I was going to give you a ticking off but actually that dive was very well executed so instead of giving you a hard time, I'm going to see what I can arrange by way of coaching. That dive was very impressive and so if you boys are prepared to put in some work and train together as a couple, I can see no reason why you shouldn't be very good but if you'd rather not then I have to insist that you stick with individual diving. Too many regulations broken without specialised instruction. What do you say?"

Lucas and I looked at each other, smiled and nodded our heads.

"I'll take that as a 'yes' then. You lads go and get changed and I'll hopefully have some news by the next meet on Tuesday but please, no more formation stunts as it won't just be you who'll be for the high jump, it'll me as well as the club in the shit. Got it?"

We nodded our heads in agreement, hopped out of the pool and made our way to the lockers.

"He seems like an okay guy?"

"Mr Wilson's cool and I'd rather not go upsetting him so I suppose we knock formation stuff on the head for now and see what he comes up with. Anyway, what's all this about training as a couple? Sounds like we've got to get married or something!"

"You proposing to me then?"

"Oh very funny! We're too young to get hitched!"

"Maybe I'm not your type anyway."

I looked at Lucas and smiled.

"Oh I wouldn't say that." Then promptly blushed ten shades of scarlet which in turn made him blush. "I think I better get changed before my mouth gets me into serious bother. See you outside once you're done?"

"Sure thing partner!! "

Lucas was waiting for me in the lobby and looked me up and down as I walked over to join him.

"Snappy dresser I see. You look as good dressed as you do in Speedo's!"

"That's crap and well you know it! I don't come close to how good you look in them."

"Don't go trashing yourself man? You've got a great bod, I know cuz I've been checking you out all evening!"

"What? You have? Why?"

"Hey Andy? Something you need to know about me is that I say what I think. I've no time for bullshit and yeah, it's cost me friends but if they can't handle my attitude then they're not worth a damn anyway.

Sure I've checked you out and why not? I'd seen you at the club and hell, I even asked who you were and everything. Sorry but you're cute, easy on the eye an-all and I wanted to get to know you. You're easily the best looking guy there ya-know?"

"That's so much rubbish Lucas! I'm just me. Ordinary boring me. Nothing to write home about honest."

"Modesty. A nice character trait but you can't see yourself as others see you, that's the problem here. You're a damn fine looking guy and no mistake. Take it from one who notices that sort of thing."

I was now seriously confused and rather than continuing that difficult conversation, I grabbed my bike and messed around stowing away my swimming stuff as I stalled for time.

"Where abouts do you live?"

"Cressingham Road. Do you know it? Look I'm sorry if I've spoken out of turn, I just thought…………"

"I should know Cressingham Road. That's where I live and no it's all okay. It's sort of refreshing to hear someone who's prepared to not beat around the bush. Have you got a bike?"

"Well yes and no. Our stuff is mostly on the way back from the States, my bike being a part of it so I'm having to walk it. You go on ahead if you want."

"What? No way! I'll walk with you, show you some short cuts on the way.

Have you got time to come back to my house? If you feel like hanging out together during the day then my Mum and dad would want to meet you."

"Cool. I'm in no rush to get back and yeah, hang out together would be good."

We walked on bypassing the town centre taking alleyways and dirt tracks then up into the woods. Conversation was stilted as if Lucas had something on his mind but as we walked deeper into the treeline, he stopped and held up his hands.

"Look Andy, can I be totally honest with you? I mean if you then want me to leave you alone then fine but I need to be upfront if we're to be friends, okay?"

I set my bike down and sat on a fallen log then patted my hand on it indicating for him to sit with me.

"Go ahead. I'm sure whatever's bothering you I can cope with so let it out."

Lucas looked nervous, almost vulnerable. He swallowed hard before speaking, his voice trembling.

"Look Andy. I'm not going to bullshit you, I've done enough of that to last me a lifetime. I'm gay."

I let this little bombshell sink in before I replied.

"So you think you're gay? So what? I mean being gay is the new 'cool', being fat is the new stigma!"

"Ha-ha! You don't understand. I don't just think I'm gay, I know I am. I've known for a couple of years now, my parents know and are sorta cool about it so long as I'm choosy about who I tell and stuff. I saw you and you did things inside my head. I'm not suggesting that you are……..that I expect………… Oh hell! Look I want you as a friend and friends shouldn't have secrets from each other is all. Tell me to fuck off if you want but I'll know that I've done right by you in telling you."

"Oh shit Lucas? That had to have taken so much courage to tell me. No I don't want you to fuck off, I like you and here's something for you to chew on. You said you were checking me out back there at the pool? Well I was scoping you at the same time but……. that isn't to say I'm gay, I just liked what I saw."

"Thank God for that! So does that mean we're friends then?"

I don't know why I then did what I did but I took his hand in mine and looked him in the eyes.

"Yes please. The very best of friends. Come on. Let's go and introduce you to my rents and don't worry, I'm not about to go 'outing you' to them! That's for me to know and for them to find out another time."

That night I lay in my bed unable to get to sleep, the events of that evening were buzzing around in my head. I had formed a new bond of friendship with a boy who had openly admitted he was gay and more, he had intimated that he'd noticed me and found me attractive so sought me out as a potential friend and as if that wasn't bad enough, I also thought he was good looking and I'd been perving him. I'd wanted to touch his bum for heaven's sake!

Why had I taken hold of his hand back there in the woods? I don't know, it just seemed the right thing to do at the time but the fact of the matter was, I'd wanted to. It had certainly broken the ice as the rest of the walk home was full of conversation and the unmistakeable surreptitious touching of hands and the blatant time Lucas actually took my arm excited me but I'm not gay! I like the girls don't I? Or do I. I don't know but what I do know is, I love being around Lucas. He has this happy knack of making me feel special, something I've never before experienced.

He went down a storm with my parents. His polite and unassuming manner endeared him to them and so it was without hesitation that they agreed that he could come to the house during the daytime, - something they didn't normally allow if they weren't at home. Oh God, if only they knew! They'd have forty fits!!

My mind went back to the vision of Lucas climbing the steps to the diving platform, the sight of his bum inches from my face, his pretty feet even closer and I could feel my boy tube engorging. 'Oh shit' I thought. 'I'm going to wank over the image of another boy??' but time didn't allow because as my hand enveloped my dick, I came massively, dry as always but none the less, very intense and with that I drifted off to sleep.

I woke the following morning to bird song and a healthy sunny day, my first coherent thought being of Lucas.

I showered then studied myself in front of the mirror in an attempt to see what he saw in me but I still looked ordinary. Okay I had a reasonable physique I guess, nice teeth and no pimples but still I wondered what he saw in me. By contrast he was beautiful. Did I just say that? Yes………no getting away from it, he is beautiful but I'll not be telling him to his face anytime soon if ever!

Hearing noises from the kitchen, I looked out something nice to wear before going down for breakfast, always a nice time in our family.

My sister looked up from her magazine complimenting me on my attire!

"Thanks Jo! Nice of you to notice!"

"No problem brother. You got a new girlfriend then?"

I blushed!

"No? What makes you say that?"

"You look good, that's why and your blushing is a dead giveaway! Good for you is all I'll say!"

My Mum interjected.

"Come on Jo. Leave the poor boy alone! Just eat up and get to work why don't you."

"But Mum, he does look good don't you think? I wish some of the boys I know took as much pride in their appearance as Andy does."

"Your brother has good taste. Now eat your breakfast!"

Thank you mother! She never mentioned Lucas and for that I could kiss her. I wonder if she………..suspects? No. Not a chance……………I hope. HANG ON? Suspects what for God's sake? I'm the same 'me' as I've always been and unless she's developed the ability to read my mind, perish the thought, what's to suspect? So I want to impress my new boyfriend? OH NO! I meant 'friend' as in a boy, not sodding boyfriend or did I? At eight in the morning I don't want to go there. Eat a scrummy breakfast, offer to do the washing up even though that only means me loading the dishwasher and hope they all bugger off to work pronto.

Did I mention how excited I was?

I think I was in the process of cleaning my teeth for the third time when the doorbell rang. My heart skipped a beat as I tore down the stairs to answer it.

Lucas looked great but looked around nervously.

"Is it okay to come in Andy?"

"Yeah. They're all out to work for the day so we've got the house to ourselves. Fancy a coffee?"

"Love one but hang on a minute. Hold it right there."

He licked his left index finger and wiped it over my lower lip.

"Toothpaste! Open wide." And with that he inserted hid digit into my mouth allowing me to suck the residue from his finger.

My mind went into overdrive. That was without doubt the sexiest thing that had ever happened to me and I could feel myself getting weak at the knees although I couldn't understand why.

"Wakey-wakey! Lucas calling Andy? What about that coffee then?"

"Sorry. I was somewhere else. Come on in and make yourself at home. How do you like it?"

"White, strong and sweet, just the way I like my boyfriends ha-ha! Sorry. How did you sleep?"

"With my eyes closed as per normal! Actually I had difficulty dropping off. You?"

"The same as yourself but I recon for different reasons."

"How so?"

"Well…………..I met this kid last night who turns me on, presses all the right buttons an-all but he's straight and I'm scared of my feeling towards him. He's so damn sexy-cute, all I want to do is make him understand how I feel so as not to scare him away. Maybe you know him?"

"Yes I think I do but before you go damning yourself, I didn't sleep well, actually you were my wank fantasy and that does bother me big time.

I've always seen myself as straight but you? Oh God! I've had thoughts I've never had before and Lucas? It worries me. Just take it easy, okay? I'm not at all sure where this is going."

"Sorry. I'm too upfront for my own damn good sometimes. You see back in Texas it was like Bible Belt country and while I'm not going to say things like this didn't go on, of course it did but it wasn't talked about. Some of the worst offenders were the clergy who would preach one thing and then do something completely different.

When I decided to come out, it wasn't to my parents so I sought the sanctuary of our church and the ear of our pastor believing that as a so-called 'man of God' he would listen and be none-judgemental but I made one massive mistake there. He outed me to the entire neighbourhood then in private he raped me over and over again saying it would teach me God's lesson. I had little choice other than to submit to him, - it was either that or kill him but Bible belt, ya-know? That's the way of things there. Anyway my folks found out about it and reported it to the authorities but they refused to take any action, - apparently I'd bought it upon myself, Bible Belt mentality again but they decided to up sticks and move to NY, sorry, New York but I couldn't settle so here we are back in England. My father is wonderful and he doesn't blame me for what went down but I know he's disappointed to have a faggot as a son."

"Don't you EVER refer to yourself in that way! Gay I can handle but faggot? Leave it out! If you believe in God then he meant you to be gay so you should be proud of yourself and as for that arsehole priest? He will rot in hell for all eternity!"

I ran around the counter and took Lucas in my arms, the tears cascading down my face.

This wasn't a 'gay' thing, more a gesture of friendship but I couldn't help but notice how good it felt to hug him. He was pliant and warm, images of his near naked body at the pool flooded my head and I was aware of myself stirring down below.

I let him go and just held his hands while we both calmed down. Lucas leaned forward and kissed me briefly on my cheek.

"Thanks Andy. I appreciate it and I promise not to come on to you. Having you as a friend is special enough."

"It's okay but don't you go pulling away from me either, you get my drift? I know and you know you're gay and if you ever need a cuddle then you just help yourself. I'll probably enjoy them just as much as you!"

The rest of the day passed quickly. We walked the area between school and our houses to give Lucas an idea of the many tracks and shortcuts, played footie in the park with a load of other kids I knew then as the heat of a glorious summer day hit, we wandered back to my house and watched a DVD in the lounge.

It was a very hot and humid day and as Lucas told me, in the part of Texas that they lived in, the heat was intense but because it was more like desert conditions, the humidity was nowhere near as high so it was not before too long that tee's, shoes and socks were discarded before slumping down on the couch. I chose to sit while Lucas lay on his tummy by my side, the sight of his tanned back and legs made me shiver all over and the desire to massage him was all but overwhelming but not willing to commit myself to that more intimate touch, I resisted the temptation but it was by no means easy and again I started to question my own sexuality.

The film ended and we collected our clothes together, neither of us wanting to part company but it was around the time when Jo would come home from her part-time holiday job so it was with difficulty we said goodbye for the day promising to get together come the morning.

I'd just finished tidying up the lounge as Jo walked in through the door.

"Hi Andy. Did you have a good day?"

"Yeah sis, it was great! Not that we did much but it was cool."

"You want to know something? Your mate Lucas is stunningly beautiful! I had a chat with him just a minute ago. He's nice, not like some of the arseholes around here. Is he available?"

"He doesn't have a girlfriend if that's what you mean but don't you think he's too young for you?"

"Just kidding Andy. Yes he is but there's no mistaking his looks. He'll have the girls begging him to take them out. You mark my words!"

I swallowed hard knowing that what she had said was probably true but then I knew what his answer would be and that I wasn't going to share it with my sister much as I loved and trusted her. Another conversation for another time……..maybe.

Supper over and the dishes done, I made my way to bed.

I couldn't stop thinking about Jo's remarks about the girls flocking to him and it made me wonder how I felt about it.

I didn't have to dwell on it too long as I could feel my cheeks burning with jealousy. The mere fact that he might abandon me for a girl? Oh God. I am gay aren't I? All the classic symptoms of 'love' were being displayed by me. Paranoia, the fear of rejection, jealousy of anyone coming near to my object of desire, crying for no particular reason, sleepless nights? It was all there for all to see. Relationship classes were normally accompanied by nervous giggles, especially when S.E.X. was discussed but I vowed right there and then never again to take the piss, I was now on the sharp end of things and while all this was being spelt out, never did anyone tell us how we were to deal with it! Where's the point in that then?

Now had it been a girl then it would be easy to blurt out 'I think I'm in love with you' and possibly get a smack in the teeth in response but to say it to another boy? OMG!

A little voice in my head spoke up. 'Lucas dared to tell you about himself didn't he? What are you? A complete coward? You have his mobile number so use it, tell him how you feel!'

I was shaking as I pressed his number, it seemed as if it rang out forever then,

"Andy? What's going down? Hey this is great if something of a surprise man?"

"Lucas? I've been thinking and I'm not sure how to say this to you."

"You're dumping me??"

"Nothing like that. It's………….it's just that I'm confused. I don't know what to think anymore."

"Do you wanna talk about it?"

"I think I'm going to have to at some point but not here, not now. Walls have ears if you get my drift."

"Yeah, I understand how it is. Maybe in the morning? I mean if you still feel the same way?"

"Maybe but it'll be difficult so don't go pressuring me okay? I'll explain when the time's right."

"Sure. In your own time is cool. I'm a good listener by the way and just to reassure you, whatever it is that's bugging you can't be so bad can it? What goes down between us, stays between us, okay?"

"That's good to know. Thanks for being there Lucas. I really appreciate it."

"Hey Andy. That's what best buddies do. I'm here for you 24 / 7 if you need me. See you tomorrow and sweet dreams."

"Night Lucas."

I slept surprisingly well all things considered, I obviously needed that early night if for no other reason than to clear my head. When I was little, my Mum used to tell me that at night time everything seems scary but come the morning nothing ever seemed so bad and she was right but I'd sort of promised Lucas that I'd tell him about my fears or as he put it, whatever was 'bugging' me. Problem was, it didn't seem so important now. My jealous outburst seemed trivial because I knew how he'd react if asked out by a girl. He'd be polite and friendly, let them know in the most diplomatic way that he wasn't interested but then another scenario hit. What if he found another boy? Someone who would divert his attention away from me? I could feel my face burning again so I wasn't totally out of the maze yet. 'I've got to stop thinking negative thoughts! Whatever will be will be!'

I took a shower, got dressed and went down stairs for breakfast.

"Morning Andy. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes thanks Mum, very well actually. Is it okay if Lucas comes over?"

"Yes of course he can. Actually I was going to suggest that as Dad and I will be in London overnight, maybe you might like to have him sleep over? Jo will be here but I thought it might be nice for you to have company."

"Really? That would be like super-cool Mum! I'll ask him once he gets here."

"Fine. If his parents want to talk to us, get them to call on my mobile as I'll be out of the office most of the day, okay?"

Finally everyone disappeared off to work leaving me fidgeting around like a cat on a hot tin roof as I waited impatiently for Lucas to show up. I think they call it nervous anticipation or something because I was constantly checking my watch, ticking off the minutes that felt more like hours. 'Come on nine-thirty!! Come on!'

Finally the doorbell and literally throwing myself down the stairs I yanked open the front door.

"Oh brilliant! You're here and early too!"

"Pleased to see me then?"

"What? Of course I am you knucklehead!"

"Well……..aren't you going to invite me in?"

"Oh sorry, sorry! Where are my manners! Come on through to the kitchen and I'll make some coffee."

I put a light under the kettle then turned to see Lucas studying me.

"How's ya feeling this morning Andy? Like you scared the crap out of me last night dude."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for any upset. I was just feeling really fucked up about so many things and I needed to talk to someone."

"Just 'someone'?"

"No not just someone. I wanted to talk with you actually."

Lucas took my hand in his. I didn't pull away, I didn't flinch, it was nice and that simple gesture spoke volumes.

"That's a really sweet thing to say. Have you got your head straight now?"

"Mostly I think but for now, can we change the subject? There's something I need to ask you."

"Fire away Andy."

"It's like this. My folks are big theatre buffs and once a month they go to see a show and tonight they're going to London and rather than drive back afterwards they'll stay in a hotel and come back tomorrow afternoon. The thing is, Mum wondered if you'd like to stay over with me. Jo would normally be here but if you're around, like as not she'll take the opportunity to be with Simon, that's her boyfriend by the way, so we'll have the place to ourselves for the night."

"Would you be really disappointed if I said no?"

"Devastated more like."

"Well then, you leave me with few options. I'd love to stay over!! I'll have to square it with my parents of course and they might want to talk with yours, would that be okay?"

"No problem. Mum thought that might be the case. Here's her mobile number."

"Mobile? Oh right! You mean like her cell phone! I gotcha!"

"Mobile, cell, handy, whatever!"

"Hey! Here's a plan? Why don't we finish our coffee and then take a hike down to our place? That way they get to meet you, important I think, then if everything's cool I can pack a few things so we have the rest of the day to hang out together. Whatcha think?"

"Good plan! Tell you what? You can use my bike and I'll take Jo's. She'll be okay about it, she thinks you're nice!"

"Oh does she now! Yeah she's kinda cute as well, I mean if I was into girls which I'm not and never will be but you know all about that already!"

"Yep I know and I'm comfortable with it."

"I……..I just wish…………."

"Wish what?"

"Nothin'. Just a dream, a nice but impossible dream. C'mon. Let's get outa here!"

As we biked the short distance between our two houses I realised that I hadn't a clue what Lucas's family name was.

"Carmichael. Descended from a long line of them for our sins. In times past they were Scottish landowners and warriors then there's me, the fairy of the family! Where's the justice, that's what I wanna know?"

"You're not a fairy? You're really nice so stop hitting on yourself."

"You're nice too, that's part of my problem."

"What? How come?"

"A conversation for another time Andy, okay best buddy?"

"Whatever you say. Do you think your rents will be cool about tonight?"

"Oh yeah. I'm pretty sure they'll be fine about it. Oh by the way, they know I've told you that I'm like gay an-all. I thought it best given the circumstances, you know, what with the diving an' shit. Anyhows, I don't go around blabbing my mouth off to just anybody, this way they understand that I'm serious about our friendship. You cool with that?"

"Oh sure. I mean I don't care if you're gay, friendship is just that, friendship……..um, actually that isn't strictly true, I do care but like you said, another conversation for another time! Don't worry? It's all good!"

"So you're the famous Andy? Nice to meet you!"

"Likewise Mrs Carmichael but I'm not sure about the famous bit!"

"Oh in this household you are! Lucas talks about nothing else since he met you at the swim club. We're so pleased he's made a friend so quickly and a very handsome and polite one at that!"

"Aw c'mon Mom? You can be really embarrassing ya-know?"

"Speak as you find Lucas, that's all but if you're staying over at Andy's tonight, you better scoot and pack what you need to take with you and meantime I'll call Mrs Pope. It's the polite thing to do."

"My Mum thought you might want to have a chat with her so here's her number."

"Thank you Andy, I'll get to it in a minute but whist Lucas is out of earshot there's something I need to ask you. He's told you he's gay I assume?"

"Oh yes. He thought it important that I should know."

"You don't have an issue being around a gay boy?"

"Not at all. I just like him lots and I really don't mind what side he bats for, honestly."

"Nicely put! It's just he had a terrible time back in the States and I don't want to see him hurt again is all."

"I know all about that as well. I'm happy for him actually. He seems to accept who he is and so I'm happy to accept him as my friend no matter what. I could never hurt him and anyone who tried would have me to contend with and I can be mean when I have to."

"He trusts you implicitly so I will too. Now what on earth is keeping him! LUCAS? What's the hold up?"

Just then Lucas appeared at the foot of the stairs.

" Actually, I was just waiting around so you could get the 'talk' out of the way but I told you Mom, Andy knows everything there is to know about me and it's all cool between us."

"I know and I appreciate that but it doesn't prevent a mother from worrying."

"Sorry Mom but I'm fine. I have a great friend in Andy. Everything sorted."

"Okay then, you two boys run along but no getting into mischief alright?"

"Hey! Like I'm going to screw up! I wanna get invited again so there's no profit in misbehaving is there?"

Mrs Carmichael smiled.

"Can't fault that logic, now scoot, the pair of you!"

We collected the bikes from where we'd dumped them on the front lawn and made towards the gate.

"Lucas? You said I was a snappy dresser but wow! You look fantastic!"

"Thanks but I can't be doing with you out pacing me now can I? Anyway I'm pleased you think I look okay."

"More than okay. You look bloody gorgeous!. Oh shit, shit!"

"It's okay, really okay ya-know but I think we'd better get going before I forget you're straight and ravish you! C'mon, I'll race ya!"

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