Terry and the Peachers

XI

By Michael Arram

'Oh God, I've crapped myself. You scared the shit out of me!'

Terry straightened up but did not holster his gun. 'Er...' was all he said, 'You got any toilet paper?'

'Toilet paper?' squeaked Ramon, 'I need a clean pair of trousers... urgh, not done this to myself since I was small.'

Terry felt weak at the knees. He'd nearly shot his Ramon, but the real horror was the terrifying implication that Ramon really was in with Anson, why else could he be here in the heart of France?

He hardened his racing heart. His gun was pointing again. 'Stand up Ramon!'

'What?'

'Stand the fuck up! Keep your hands where I can see them!' Ramon obeyed hesitantly.

'Move out of there, slowly.'

'I got my trousers round my ankles, how else can I move? What are you doing with that gun? Terry why have you got a gun?'

Terry was in a tumult. The kid was playing innocent maybe. He moved out of the shed with his hands up to his shoulders.

'Right. Kick out of your shoes and trousers. Fuck. You really did crap yourself.'

'This is humiliating.' Ramon stood there naked from the waist down. In other circumstances it would be arousing.

'Hands behind your head, and turn round.' Terry went up behind him, grimacing at the stink from his lover, whose legs were streaked with his own excrement. He deftly emptied Ramon's jacket pockets and ran his hands up inside his clothes looking for a holster. He found nothing but a passport, folded maps and a thin clip of Euros.

'OK, back to the cottage and keep it cool.'

Ramon obeyed, stumbling barefoot through the wet grass, and scared now. 'Who are you, Terry?' he asked in a low and trembling voice.

'A question I might well ask you, kid.'

In the cottage he made Ramon squat down, and kept his gun on him as he emptied his backpack. Nothing. Just a bag of food and some spare underpants, shirts and socks. He looked at Ramon and Ramon looked at him. He holstered his gun and sat down hard, his chest suddenly heaving and his head buzzing. Ramon didn't move. Terry's head suddenly cleared. He gave a lopsided smile at the boy, who looked stone faced at him. Terry grabbed handfuls of wet grass, knelt down next to Ramon, and began cleaning the shit off his legs.

Ramon whispered, 'You don't need to do that.'

Terry whispered back, his eyes full of tears, 'I think I do, Ramon. I think that cleaning your shit up is about the only job I'm fit for. I nearly killed you, and for what?... just 'cos you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.'

'What's going on, Terry? Who are you really?'

'A fuckin' wanker who nearly killed the love of his life, that's who!'

'You... love me!'

The words surged out of Terry, 'Love you, Ramon? Jesus Christ, there aren't words to say what you mean to me. You've brought me back to life again. Since I first saw you I've never thought of anyone else; you're the boy I can be happy to live with. Your gorgeous face, your beautiful eyes, your loving and happy nature: it's all I can think of. Oh yes, I love you, and it's broken my heart that I can't tell you how much. When we said goodbye that day in Pasadena when you were pouring out your heart to me, and I was trampling all over it... what must you have thought of me, you poor sweet babe. Oh God.' His head was down, and for the first time since he was a child he was sobbing, really sobbing, with body-wracking heaves. But he felt Ramon's hand on his cheek, caressing it, and he looked up with tear-filled eyes, to see that sweet face looking puzzled but nonetheless tender. His breathing relaxed. He smiled nervously back, 'Let's get you cleaned up, babe. No bathroom here, I'm afraid.'

They wiped up what they could and Terry got cups of water from a still intact water butt to swill away the rest. He ripped off his own underpants to tenderly clean Ramon's backside. Ramon's trousers had to be chucked. He put on spare boxers and his shoes.

Terry said sadly, 'You look a mess, babe. Let's get back to my place, double quick, and you can have a bath and take the pick of me wardrobe.'

'Oh, Terry but I gotta know... why the gun? Are you a cop?'

'No, love, no. I'm Terry O'Brien, alright. But my job description for Mr Peacher has been changed. I'm his minder, 'cos someone's out to get him.'

'No!'

'Yes. Stop here, babe. You gotta know this, and then you'll know why I had to be so hard to you, why I made you unhappy.' They paused in the track, and Terry put down his sweatshirt on the verge for Ramon to sit on. Ramon stared at the shoulder holster that was revealed. Terry sat down, handed Ramon a coffee from his flask, and slowly and deliberately told the whole story to the boy. Ramon shook his curly head.

'This is incredible... amazing. You thought that I was tied up with this Anson guy?'

'No, not me, lover. True, you were one of the few people who could have been the insider. My heart told me otherwise, but I had to go along with Paul and the rest, don't you see?'

'I think so, but why have you decided that it can't be me after all?'

'Because, my babe, you don't have those things on you that one of Anson's gang would have, and you ain't armed either. But, it's my turn. What the fuck are you doin' in this war zone?'

'I came looking for my Terry. I had to talk to you again, I saw things in your eyes in Pasadena that you wanted to say, but something was stopping you. They were the things I wanted to hear more than anything in life. They were the things you just said to me, and made me complete. It was worth shitting myself, just to hear them. I left Aunt Felicia just after you went, and took a bus to Houston. I had some cash, and borrowed more from my mama when I got to Houston. I took a plane from Fort Worth to Paris, which left me with just enough to get a train to Lusignan, then I hitched here. Took me three days. I found the château on the web before I left Pasadena, and the French publish good maps. Wasn't so hard, when I knew you were at the end of the road waiting for me. I climbed over the park wall last night and slept here, and I was going to sneak up to the house to find you this morning.'

'Simple as that. You're really something for a seventeen year old, my babe.' Terry had his arm round Ramon, and he pulled him close, kissing his hair. 'Let's get up the house now. It's my day off and suddenly I know just what I want to do with it... after you have a bath at least. You smell, babe.'

'And who's fault is that?'

'Yeah, mine. Hey, your pubes are growing back.'

'And my crotch's been itching like fuck 'cos of it too.'

'Teach you not to make clever practical jokes, then. I dread to think how you're going to get back at me for what I just did to you.'

Terry and Ramon got to the empty château, round the back and into the stable block. Terry ran the old deep bath and observed that there was plenty of room for two. Soon they were together under the hot water. Ramon was kneeling up in front of Terry, cooing and moaning as his thighs, buttocks and rectum were given a thorough and erotic cleaning. His bum wiggled ecstatically as Terry's soapy fingers massaged his anal lips and the hot space inside. 'This is sooo good, just don't stop. How many fingers you got in me now?'

'Three... no, wow, that's nearly four.'

'Oooo, push, push. Fantastic. Hey, that's no finger, I recognise it.'

'Problem?'

'Not now. I love it. Go for it, Terry.'

Water splashed as Terry rode his lover hard. He was gasping with joy as he came inside him five minutes later.

They lay in bed talking for a while, their hair all damp, Ramon stroking and playing with Terry's genitals, up on his elbow looking down into his lover's face.

'What do we do?'

'What, after you screw my arse? I think that's the next item on our agenda, Ramon.'

'No, well yes, of course I gotta screw your sweet ass and then some. But after that. I suppose we gotta tell Mr Peacher that I'm here.'

'I guess... but, to be honest Ramon, I don't want to do it yet.'

'What? Keep me as your little secret in the stable block? How romantic.'

'Ramon, where are you supposed to be at the moment?'

'Ah... I see.'

'Did you tell your aunt where you were going?'

'Er, no. No I didn't.'

'And you didn't take leave of absence from high school or your employer?'

'Well... not really. Aunt Felicia sorta thinks I'm back in Houston seeing mama, so I guess it's like a holiday sort of thing.'

'I think you can guess what she'd say if she knew where you'd ended up, babe. So maybe we'll sit on this a while till we can work out how you get back.'

'But in the meantime...'

'... we'll fuck like bunnies. Talking of which, I have this itch.'

'What, here?'

'Close. Just push in a bit... ooh, so good. But you need something longer and thicker.'

'How 'bout this, it's about six inches.'

'Five, I'd say.'

'Six.'

'If you say so... it's thick though. I can feel it stretching my... oh so good!' Ramon smiled down tenderly on Terry, who smiled back up. This was love at last, and he was not going to lose it again, not without a fight.

They stayed in bed till hunger forced Terry to go scavenging for lunch, then they made a feast in his room. Ramon was famished and Mme Cirier's cooking was like heaven for him, though he loyally asserted the overall superiority of his aunt. They stayed in bed the afternoon through, but Ramon noticed that Terry's gun was under his pillow, and despite his general contentment with life at present that did not add to his peace of mind at all.

Ramon dozed luxuriously, but Terry was restless. On one level he was happier than he had ever been in his life, but the ominous feeling was nonetheless growing inside him. Sylvia. The traitor could only be her now. He kissed his sleeping lover, and scrawled a note which he left on the bedside table.

He strapped on his gun and padded quietly through various intricate passages he'd found into the main house. He casually strolled into the communications centre and found Sylvia where she usually was.

'Hiya, Sylvia.'

She leapt out of her skin.

'Heavens, Terry, you nearly gave me a heart attack. You're supposed to be in La Rochelle!'

'No, iss me day off, Sylvia'

'Oh of course, I'd forgotten. Enjoying it?'

'Yup, in spades.'

'It was so quiet, I was sure you'd gone with the Ciriers. We've got more guests coming Sunday.'

Terry's ears pricked. 'Oh?'

'It's school holiday in Santa Barbara, and the entire Peacher household is in transit. The jet is flying into Poitiers in the morning'

'Wow, that is big.' Terry was a little stunned. 'So all the kids, Mr and Mrs Peacher, too?'

'The lot, and their staffers. It's going to be much busier here. I imagine that's why Mme Cirier wasn't too keen on you for taking your day off. She's called in her part-time maids from Courçon, she was like a domestic Napoleon yesterday. It was a little awesome. She even tried to drag Matt and Andy with her to help with the shopping, although they went to Niort instead. I think you can forget any plans you might have had for Saturday.'

'I'm off to hide then.'

'Good idea... er, where will you be if I need you?'

'Out the back.'

'Make sure you stay there then.' Terry thought that an odd remark.

Terry walked out on to the upper corridor thinking hard. Was this good or bad? A direct assault on the house would be unlikely after Sunday. Mr Peacher senior packed some serious muscle in his entourage. But that being so, the next couple of days were going to be critical.

He took off his shoes, and padded quietly up the back stairs to the garret floor, where Sylvia's room was. No hesitation now. He opened the door and slipped in. The room was spick and span. A closed laptop sat on a small desk, and he would dearly have loved to open and boot it up, but there would be no time to search it, even if it were possible. He had to hope for hard copy in the desk drawers. He hoped in vain. He turned to her suitcase, just clothes and novels. He didn't disturb them. Lastly there was her briefcase. He sat at the desk and opened it. He searched down through the loose papers, which seem just to be Andy related business. But there was slim black address book, and there, scribbled crypically at the back amongst random mobile numbers was the entry 'Johnny Whittaker' It would have meant nothing to anyone else, but Terry's backside retained memories of a man of that name; it was on one of Anson's passports. He wrote down the number on his hand, replaced everything neatly and slipped out and back to the stable block.

He made an instant coffee in a little side room where he'd put an electric kettle; no milk unfortunately, and he hated UHT. He stood at the window looking down into the cluttered yard. So it was Sylvia. He needed to talk to Matt and Andy very badly. He flipped his mobile, and dialed their numbers, but only got voicemail. He texted Andy with a carefully expressed alert, and then sat at the window. It suddenly occurred to him how quiet the house was, and how empty. He checked his holster. Now was as good a time for a raid on the Domaine as there could be. Sylvia had no doubt told her associate just that. What to do?

He knew that Anson would have two objectives, one was the dossier, the other was him. But which would be his priority? Much though he would have liked to believe that Anson burned to take revenge on him above everything else, he knew he was a professional, and would fulfil his commission first. The dossier, so far as he knew, was hidden in Matt and Andy's room on the front first floor. He put down his mug and padded back into the house. He checked the main corridor and saw and heard nothing. He eased open the bedroom door, and it was empty. He looked round and saw a place he could conceal himself where two tapestries met loosely behind a sidetable. He crouched down with a good view of the door, and resolved to stay there till reinforcements arrived.

The house was preternaturally quiet, and every one of Terry's senses was trembling. The creak of boards outside the bedroom after a half hour's wait seemed shockingly loud. He pulled out his gun. Someone was moving along the corridor. A hand fumbled at the door and it slowly opened. For a moment nothing moved, and then there was a familiar and hated voice from outside.

'Put your gun down, Terry boy, and put it on the bed, then stand by the window with your hands on your head.'

Terry's head swam with anger and defiance.

'And why the fuck should I do that, Johnny, you arsehole?'

There was a soft chuckle, 'Cos of this.' Two figures came into the room, and the first was Ramon, naked except for his underpants, his hands tied behind him and tape over his mouth; his eyes were rolling with fear. Behind him was a grinning Anson, holding a knife very professionally at Ramon's carotid.

'Dumped me for a new boyfriend, I see. I am devastated, Terry. I may get so carried away with resentment that I may commit a crime of passion... something the French understand so well.'

Confounded, Terry tossed his gun on the bed. He moved to the window and placed his hands on his head.

'Now strip off, fucker.' Terry complied, throwing his clothes into a corner. There was the ripping of tape, and his hands and ankles were immobilised. Ramon was flung face down on the bed, his pants ripped off and then secured in Johnny's favourite position, spreadeagled on his stomach. Johnny grinned up lewdly as he fondled Ramon's arse and genitals. 'Oh I wish I had time to show you how I could make your boyfriend squeal and beg; you wouldn't recognise him at the end. But, regrettably, business comes first. Still there is this.' He drew out a thick black dildo and inserted it steadily but brutally into Ramon, who twisted and screamed soundlessly under his gag at the pain from the hard plastic as it stretched his dry inner flesh. Anson gave a low laugh, took Terry by the shoulder and pushed him down on the bed facing Ramon. Anson began systematically ransacking Andy's room.

They were face to face and they exchanged looks. Ramon's eyes were brimming with tears from the pain in his rectum. Terry knew very well that their time in this world was now limited, but curiously he felt little fear. He murmured an act of contrition and knew from his eyes that Ramon understood why he had, and was following his words. That final duty done, he began whispering his love and sorrow into the boy's ear. His last words he had control over he wanted to be words of love.

An exclamation of triumph from an unseen Anson signalled Terry's final defeat. An envelope ripped, papers riffled and then there was a brief silence. He felt the bed sag as Anson sat behind him.

'Job done, Terry. Well it's been a pleasure dealing with a real pro like you. You faked that sex real good: what a guy! The Peachers pick the best. Wish I had time to find out how someone so young as you got to be so very good, but our time together is over. Experience counts in this world, as you've finally had to learn. Just remember for your next life never to mix business and pleasure...' he laughed quietly, '... something you reminded me about, you little fucker! Now, this you'll like. You and your boyfriend here are going to make the papers. Extreme sex gone tragically wrong in the Peacher household. Death of male prostitute and suicide of Peacher aide in his boss's bed. His stepmother'll be delighted. This is an extra she'll pay big time for. Yet another scandal round the boy. He'll never put this one behind him... the kid leaves a trail of bodies behind him wherever he goes.'

There was a snap as Anson pulled on surgical gloves. His gloved hand came into view as he picked up Terry's gun. Then he grasped Terry's fingers, applying them hard to the exposed end of the dildo. Ramon squirmed. 'Say goodbye to the boy, Terry. But don't worry, you'll be seeing him again quite soon, if you believe in that sort of thing.' Ramon's eyes widened and then were obscured as a plastic sandwich bag was pulled tightly over his head. He began twisting and thrashing horribly in his restraints as the clear plastic moulded itself inexorably to his face and cut off his air supply. But there was little noise other than Anson's rasping breathing close by. Terry's pulse pounded deafeningly in his ear, he too struggled uselessly in his bonds.

His struggles meant that he did not hear the screech of a car roaring at speed up to the house, the clunk of doors and shouting on the stairs, but Anson did.

'Oh shit,' he swore. 'Terry, sorry me boy, but I gotta go. See you later.' He brought the gun hard down on Terry's skull, a bright star of pain became his entire universe, but he fought the blackness desperately. Ramon was motionless beside him and he squirmed to get close to his face and his teeth to the plastic, he gripped, twisted and tore a big strip of it off. Then the blackness took him.

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