Mark and Me

by c m

Chapter 8

Half-term arrived. We had virtually a week off. We arranged with our parents that I would travel to Mark two days before the end of half-term and his parents would take both of us back to school. That gave us two nights together and we couldn't wait for it to come around.

On the second day of half-term, and two days before I was due to go to Mark, James called me and invited me round to his place. We did some shooting and then listened to some music up in his room. He asked after Mark and wanted to know how we were getting on having to be just friends and not a couple at school. I told him about how we'd got so desperate to fuck that Mark had crept into my room that night. He wanted to know if we managed to do other stuff and I told him about how we managed to suck each other once a week or so. I saw him adjust his crotch.

"I still think about...you know...when Mark sucked me off." He looked me straight in the eyes.

"That was fun."

"Yeah...it was. Ummm....did you mean what you said?"

"About just asking if you wanted to have a wank with me? Sure."

"Then...could we? If that's OK with you...and Mark of course."

I smiled. "Of course, James....When? Now?"

"Yes please - if that's OK."

"Sure thing. How long 'til your Mum gets back?"

"Hours. Two...three..."

I kicked off my shoes and unfastened my trousers, wriggled them down to my ankles and stepped out of them. I left my briefs on and went and sat on the bed, my back propped against the wall. James had watched without making any move to undress himself. Once I was on the bed, it was almost as though he did a strip for me. He took off his shoes. Then he unbuckled his belt, popped the stud on the front of his jeans, and pulled the zip down, facing me all the time. He stepped out of them and I could see his erection straining against the fabric of his boxers. He hooked his fingers in either side of them at his waist and pulled them down to his ankles, before kicking them off. His cock was jutting out from his body, and he came and stood in front of me by the bed. He beckoned me to stand. I did so, and he pulled my underwear down. His left hand went under my balls and his right wrapped itself firmly around my shaft. His eyes looked steadily into mine the whole time. I moved my head towards his and lowered it until our foreheads touched. I could feel his breath on my face. I slid one hand down his chest and took hold of him. I put my other hand on his shoulders and pressed down, sinking to my knees at the same time and pulling James down with me. We ended up kneeling, facing each other.

"Put your arms behind my neck," I told him. Once they were there, I took hold of both our erections and rubbed them together. The silky feeling of skin on skin, the underlying hardness and then, a few minutes later, a slight slipperiness intensified the contact. I could feel him shaking. I could feel his breathing quicken. His head fell onto my shoulder. And then, with a series of moans, he climaxed.

I could feel his warm wetness all over my groin and on my hand. I came too. We just knelt there against one another for a few moments before James grabbed a handkerchief and wiped us down. He looked into my eyes.

"That was great. Thanks."

We moved up onto the bed and sat beside each other.

"So...I've told you about me and Mark. What goes on at your school? You must have wank buddies there?"

James smiled. "Yeah. A guy called Pete and I help each other out."

"Tell me about Pete."

"My house, my age, my year. About your height and blond like you - but nothing like as good looking. Got a nice one though - a bit bigger than both of us. And circumcised."

"How did you...first get together?"

James smiled. "We have this thing called 'The Grand Tour'. It involves one boy going round the whole dorm after lights out and wanking off all the other boys one at a time. At the end, it's his right to choose any other boy to wank him off. Pete did a Grand Tour and at the end he came over to me and said he wanted me to bring him off. He enjoyed it...I enjoyed it...and as he had the bed next to mine anyway, we started doing it together regularly."

"And have you ever done a Grand Tour?"

James shook his head. "No...not my thing really. And there are a couple of guys I would really hate to have to wank off."

I felt much more relaxed. I had been worried that James wanted - and might ask me for - more than I could give him. Now that he had talked about his own school experiences, our mutual jerk-off felt much more like what it was - just two good friends having a wank together for no more complicated reason than that it felt good to do it.

'We're a bit of a mess,' I observed.

We headed for the shower room and washed the evidence of our session off us.We towelled dry and then James gave me a big hug.

"Thanks, Chris. I really enjoyed that."

"A shared pleasure, James. You have a great body, you know."

He blushed. "You too."

When I left an hour or so later, we hugged again. "And give my best to Mark."

"Sure will."

Mark. My head was filled with Mark. One more day and we'd be together, with the time and the space and the opportunity to do what we both wanted. For forty-eight hours anyway. Mum took me down to Mark's place the following day. She and Mark's mother sat and had a coffee while I took my bag upstairs with Mark. I had hardly set foot in the guest room before Mark was on me, his lips on mine and his hands pulling my face to his. I slipped my tongue between his lips and into his mouth. I wrapped my arms round his body and lifted him, still kissing, over to the bed where we collapsed. We were already breathing a little fast.

"God I want you so bad Chris."

"Me too, Mark. But we better wait until the parentals have stopped yakking downstairs."

"I don't think I can wait."

I slapped him on his bum. "You'll bloody well have to. No mum should have to walk in on her son being shagged by his boyfriend - even if she likes him."

Mark giggled. "That would be something wouldn't it?"

"Behave yourself."

We went downstairs and said goodbye to my mother. Mark's mother said that she was going out for the afternoon. I wondered whether she had arranged it specially knowing that the two of us would want time alone - and probably guessed doing what.

If that is what she suspected she was exactly right. Less than ten minutes after she had left, I was buried up to my balls in her son, pumping in and out of him, and his moans of pleasure could not only have been heard from downstairs but probably from across the road.

Apart from that quickie in my bed at school, during the past six weeks Mark and I hadn't had proper sex since the start of term. He was as hungry for me as I was for him, and after the urgency of our first time we settled down to enjoy each other properly.

"Oh Chris...I've needed that so badly." Mark said as I collapsed on top of him. I wriggled around on him, feeling my still hard cock moving inside him. "Ummm...again please, sir"

"Slut."

"That's me."

He kissed me and then ran his hand over my nipples which hardened at his touch. "I want to ride you this time."

I pulled out of him and lay down on the bed. He flipped himself on top of me, put his knees either side of my waist, and took hold of me, guiding it inside him. He was still wet and I slipped easily inside him. He bounced gently up and down on me. I took hold of his erection and stroked it.

"I am so close Chris...don't make me cum yet."

I let go of him and focused on timing my thrusts so that they coincided with his bounces, driving me deep inside him each time. Mark put his hands on my shoulders, leaning forward. His face was flushed with effort and passion, a glorious blend of pink and white and red. His tongue was poking slightly out through his lips as he pushed back and forth on me. I felt his stomach muscles quiver.

"I'm so close, Chris."

I felt his muscles contract around me and then there was his wonderful sticky wetness over my face and chest. It drove me over the edge and I emptied myself inside him. He fell forward on top of me, licking drops of his seed off my face and out of my eyes.

"I love having you inside me so much, Chris."

"We're a perfect fit." I kissed the tip of his nose.

"Umm...sorry, but I want to do it again. Unless...?"

I smiled. I knew what he wanted - and I wanted it too. "Unless sounds good to me, Mark"

"Ooh...goody.Shimmy down the bed til your bum is on the edge of it."

I did so. Mark was standing on the floor at the end of the bed. He lifted my calves over his shoulders and put a blob of KY inside me before pushing gently but steadily against me. The brief moment of pain was replaced by a growing tingling as he worked me gently at first and then gradually faster and deeper. I felt a drip of sweat from his hair fall on my face. My whole groin seemed to be one large pleasure zone. With a final thrust that seemed to spear my very depths he buried himself in me and then let out an almighty sigh as he kicked and bucked inside me. Totally spent, he stood there, legs shaking and panting with exertion. We just looked into each other's eyes.

"Fuck" we said, almost simultaneously.

"That was...amazing, Mark. You've never made me feel like that before."

"I've never felt anything like it either, Chris."

He pulled out of me and came and lay beside me on the bed. We turned and faced each other. I stroked his hair. We wrapped our arms around each other and pulled our bodies tight against one another. I could feel his heart still racing. We kissed. And then we must have dozed because the next thing I remember is Mark peeling himself stickily off me.

"We need a shower, Chris."

He threw a towel at me and we padded across the hall to the bathroom.

Being washed all over by someone you love is an enjoyable experience and we took our time. There is also something quite erotic about two slippery bodies rubbing against one another. We both ended up hard, and I brought the shower to a perfect end by kneeling down in front of Mark and sucking him off. I love oral sex. I love performing it and I love receiving it. I think I like it even more than fucking, if I'm honest.

Clean and sweet smelling, and sexually satisfied at least for the moment, we got dressed and went downstairs. We sat in the family room and idly flicked through various TV channels but there was nothing we really wanted to watch. I told him about my session with James.

"Do you think he really is OK with just wanking off with you? Or does he want more?"

"He says he just enjoys touching me and he didn't do or say anything that makes me think different. But I don't know. He obviously enjoyed you giving him oral."

"What teenage boy wouldn't like to be sucked? And Chris, if he wanted you to blow him, I wouldn't mind. Really. I like James...actually, more to the point, I trust him. I know he will never come between us."

"That's generous and kind of you, Mark, but I'm not sure I could do that to you. And I'm not even sure I could suck James off if he wanted me too. He's my best friend."

"Well, see what happens. But I'm OK with it, OK?"

"Hummm....OK."

Dinner that night was steak and chips, and it was excellent.

"Thank you, Mrs Taylor, that was delicious - and cooked to perfection."

"I'm pleased you enjoyed it, Chris. Got to keep you boys' strength up."

I glanced at Mark who was clearly trying to work out whether there was some underlying message in the remark.

We opted for a reasonably early night. As we took off our clothes I looked over and saw that Mark was already ready for action.

"I'm looking forward to getting another piece of red meat in my mouth tonight," he said.

"Pervert."

We lay top to toe on the bed and sixty-nined. I loved the sensation of taking Mark in my mouth. There was something about feeling the ridges of muscle bumping over my lips as I slid down his length that always turned me on. Mark used a finger inside me. We climaxed together, his sweet-salty-bitter taste filling my mouth.

Mark twisted himself round so that we were lying face to face. He kissed me then pushed me onto my back and rolled on top of me, his hands holding my arms against the pillows above my head. He wriggled his groin against mine.

"I want us to fuck all night."

"Sounds like a plan."

"I don't think I could ever have enough of you. I miss us having proper sex at school so much."

"I know, Mark. But we have to be careful. If we got caught, we'd both be expelled. Maybe we could find a way to have oral sex a bit more often though."

"I'd like that."

He sat up on my thighs and ran his fingers through the light covering of blond hairs on my chest. "I love the feel of this fuzz."

"And I love your smoothness. The trouble with hairs on your chest is that when certain people cum in buckets," I poked him, "it gets all matted and it's much harder to wash off than if you're smooth like you."

"Tough. I love it." He pinched a nipple.

"Ouch."

I pinched him back and then we were mock-fighting. And then we were kissing. And then he was reaching round behind him to guide me inside him. He sank down fully onto me with a sigh of pleasure. Then he slid his hands almost down to my ankles and arched his back, leaning away from me. He pushed himself up and down on me, speeding up and panting with exertion. I heard him moan and then warm, white pearls were running down my chin and over my chest. I could feel my own climax building until I couldn't hold it any longer.

"Fuck, Chris. I swear it gets better every time."

He rolled off me and lay beside me. He ran his tongue over my chin before slowly and deliberately, with a wicked grin, massaging the rest of his goo that was on my chest into the hairs there.

"You bastard. It would serve you right if I shaved them all off so you couldn't do that."

"Don't do that. I love you just the way you are. I promise I'll wash it all out."

He put a finger on my hole. I winced as he touched it. I was sore from earlier.

"Sorry, Chris. You get sore when I fuck you, don't you?"

"Seems that way - you big rough boy."

Mark giggled. "Guess you'll just have to do me again instead."

So I did. Twice more. And sucked him off in between. Then we went and showered ourselves clean.

We slept well that night. We were sated with sex and we were happy to be lying beside one another. I woke up briefly in the middle of the night to find Mark's arm draped over me, his head almost on my shoulder and his gentle breathing warm on my skin. I kissed him ever so softly and stroked his hair.

"I love you Mark Taylor," I whispered.

He half stirred and nuzzled against me. Then his breathing returned to normal. I remember thinking how different my life had become in just a few months. How much better and richer. I fell asleep again wondering what I had done to deserve it.

In the morning I was sore. Front and back. Mark rubbed cream into both of them, which felt cool and soothing. "You, my boy," he said, mock seriously, "need to toughen up."

"Yes sir. Sorry sir."

He smacked me on the arm. "It's your fault. You are so damn sexy I just want you over and over and over."

"So how come your hole isn't sore?"

"Good genetics." He giggled. "Hey, a day off won't hurt either of us...and we've got tonight to look forward to."

I hoped that I was a fast healer.

After breakfast, the phone rang. Turned out to be Steve asking if we'd like to go swimming and then go back to his place afterwards. Mark looked at me. I shrugged.

"Great. We'll meet you there in an hour."

This time it was me who didn't have a swimming costume. The pair Mark found for me were a touch on the skimpy side.

"Hey, it will give the boy a thrill."

"It certainly won't leave much to his imagination."

As we walked to the swimming pool, Mark and I talked about what had happened last time we had seen Steve. I repeated that I reckoned he was bi...maybe even gay.

"Maybe Chris. I don't know. What he said to you wasn't a side of him I had ever seen before. It's probably just the effect that a beautiful boy like you has on people." He smiled at me.

I thought about how understanding Mark had been about James.

"If he wants more...I would be happy for you to give him what you let me give James."

He looked at me, and shook his head.

"You're very sweet, Chris. But if he wants more, he sure as hell won't want it from plain old me. He'll want it from beautiful you." I sensed the pain in his voice. I stopped and hugged him. A couple of old ladies who were passing at the time looked a little shocked.

"First, there is nothing 'plain' about you. You are fantastically good looking. Second, if he does want more, he won't get it unless you say it's OK. And actually, probably not even then; I know you, you're too kind hearted. You'll say it's OK when in fact it's tearing you up inside."

He squeezed me. "Thank you." Then I saw a wicked little smile cross his face. "But make sure you give him a good show when you're changing."

"Mark Taylor!"

He giggled. "He's a good friend. He deserves that at least. And I'll be taking a good look too. I love your body - and especially your dangly bits."

I cuffed him on his head. "You are a very rude boy."

"Yeah - but you love me for it." As we walked to the sports centre, Mark pulled a key out of his pocket. I recognised it. It was the key Johnny had found to the door by the boiler room.

"Where did you get that?"

"I borrowed it just before we left for half term. I reckoned we could do with a duplicate." He grinned.

"Nice work - you little pervert."

We went via one of those little workshops that resole shoes and cut keys. Five minutes later we had a shiny replica of Johnny's key.

"I'll slip it back when we get back to school. He'll never even notice it was gone."

Steve was waiting for us the door to the sports centre. I realised that had forgotten just how good looking he was.

"Hey Chris, Really good to see you again."

"You too Steve." We hugged and I noticed that he held on that little bit longer than was strictly necessary - not that I minded that much. We headed for the changing rooms and Steve was careful to let me choose a locker first. He chose the one beside me. I stripped off my shirt and hung it up. Then I kicked off my shoes and put them in the locker. My socks followed. I unbuckled my belt and undid the button on my trousers, unzipped the fly and stepped out of them. I hung them up too. Had I been shy, I would have wrapped a towel round my waist at this point before slipping off my underwear. But, like the man said, it was time to let Steve have a show. I could see he was looking at me and I turned, as if accidentally, to face him.

I slid my briefs down to my ankles, and used my foot to flick them up in the air where I caught them. I was totally naked and full frontal towards Steve. I put the briefs in the locker and then slowly wriggled the rather tight pair of swim trunks up my legs, causing my cock and balls to waggle around in front of me. I adjusted myself inside the shorts and tied the cord.

Steve had tried as hard as he could not to stare, but I could see that his eyes were virtually popping out. Over his shoulder Mark was trying not to burst out laughing. Almost frozen during my performance, Steve suddenly realised that he had barely even unbuttoned his shirt. He tried to make up for lost time but this only resulted in him falling over himself as he lowered his boxers. Despite his best efforts to conceal it, he was all too clearly semi-erect - and very handsomely semi-erect too. He was hung big time. He hurriedly pulled his swim shorts up and hung his towel over his shoulder in such a way that the end at the front hung down over, and concealed, the huge bulge in his shorts.

He looked up at me, nervously. I put a hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear, "Nice cock."

He blushed scarlet. I gave his shoulder a squeeze.

"Hey, it's cool. And I'm flattered that I'm the cause of it. I was going to say 'it's no biggy' - but in your case that really wouldn't be accurate now would it? Lucky you. And honestly - we're all friends here. Relax - OK?" I smiled at him. "C'mon, let's go swim."

We all went through to the pool, but I could see that Steve was upset. I felt suddenly very guilty. I hadn't meant to embarrass or hurt him. He was a nice guy and I wanted us to be friends. I swam over to him.

"I'm really sorry if I've upset you Steve. I didn't mean to and you don't deserve it. You are a really nice guy and I like you a lot. Forgive me if I've made you feel awkward." I put a hand on his shoulder.

"Thank you - and I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have been staring at you like that. I just...couldn't help myself. I wanted to see all of you. To see if it really was all as beautiful as the rest of you."

I smiled. "And was it?"

"Oh fuck yes." His eyes were shining. "Fuck...sorry...that came out wrong."

I ruffled his hair. "No probs. It's cool. Friends?"

"Friends."

When we showered after finishing swimming, Steve stripped off and I got to take a proper look at his body. He had a nicely defined chest and stomach. No six pack but no spare fat. He was smooth, with just a trace of hair running down from his navel to his groin where he had a bush of black hair. His cock, in its unaroused state, was impressive. Unlike Mark and me, he was definitely a 'shower' rather than a 'grower'. He was uncircumcised. There was a very faint dusting of hair on his upper legs. I looked up and our eyes met. We both smiled. I gave him a thumbs up and he laughed. His laugh transformed his face. He was a good-looking boy anyway, but when he smiled or laughed his face absolutely lit up. His eyes seemed to sparkle and his white teeth emphasised his smile. He turned from good looking to downright sexy.

His parents' place was simple, but beautifully neat and tidy. Steve said that they were a bit obsessive about it, in fact. His room was more like organised chaos but it just seemed to fit him. We sat on the floor and chatted about school life. He wanted to know if being gay was difficult for us and how we coped at school. We told him about how we managed - by keeping it secret and snatching what time we could with each other.

"Must be tough."

"How do you feel about gays?" I asked him.

He looked me in the eyes. "The only gay boy I've ever known is Mark - until I met you. Mark and I have been friends for ages and it's just...him. I don't think of him as gay, I just think of him as Mark."

"You have a girlfriend?"

He smiled. "No-one particular. I like girls but I seem to get bored easily. I find that after a few dates...I don't know...they don't seem to, that is, I don't seem to want to keep seeing them."

"Have you ever felt attracted to boys?"

He shook his head. "No...well...that is...forgive me...I find you beautiful, but I don't think that's the same thing. Is it?"

"I don't know. Can you picture yourself in bed with me?"

He went silent and stared at the floor.

"If it helps...I can picture myself in bed with you."

"Really?"

"Really. You're sexy, you have a great body, you're funny and you're good company. And I'm gay. Of course I can picture it. I won't do it, because I have Mark, but I'm happy to admit that I can picture it."

"OK. Well. The honest truth is that I don't know. I meant it when I said that I didn't fancy guys. Then you came along. And look what happened to me when you changed in front of me today. You saw it." He smiled ruefully, "I got hard. So what's that about?"

Mark put his arm round Steve's shoulder. "Maybe it's something, maybe it's nothing. It's no big deal either way. But if you ever get curious...if you ever want to satisfy that curiosity...Chris and I would be happy to help. Just something between friends. Just something to help you get your head straight...if you want."

Steve looked at me. "You'd really do that?"

"It's like Mark said. Just something between friends."

"Stuff has happened to me today that is all a bit weird. I'm confused and I need to try and get my head round it. But it's amazing to have friends like you. Thanks."

And then we started talking about all sorts of other stuff.

As we walked back to Mark's house I said,

"Do you really want to do stuff with Steve if he asks? Or were you just being nice? I love you, Mark, and I don't want you doing things that you're uncomfortable with - however kind and generous your motivation."

"I think Steve is the same as James. They are both really good friends who are drawn to you in a way that they can't explain and that isn't like the way they would be drawn to anyone else."

He stopped and put his hand on my shoulders and looked into my eyes.

"I am the luckiest boy in the world to have you. I can afford to ñ no, I want to - share a little of you with a couple of special friends who need to discover themselves better - provided you are OK with that."

"Mark...how do you feel when I tell you what James and I do? Don't you feel hurt...jealous...torn up inside?"

"No, Chris. No I don't. Maybe I should. Maybe it means I don't love you enough. Maybe I shouldn't be OK with sharing even a tiny part of you. But I am. I am just happy for James - and I'm happy for me. I'm happy that they get to see just what a prize I've won. Is that wrong?" He looked more closely into my eyes. "Have I upset you, Chris?"

"No...no Mark, you haven't. I just think you are too good...too nice. I think I'm the one who doesn't deserve you. It's just... I don't think that I would be generous enough to feel the same way you do. And that's my problem, not yours. I feel guilty, Mark...that's the truth. I feel like I'm letting you down when I touch James."

"Chris Alexander...do you love me?"

"You know I do."

"And do you trust me?"

"Completely."

"Then trust me on this. I love you more for doing this, not less. And any guilt you feel is probably because you have only just come to terms with being gay yourself - and done it quite brilliantly, may I add - but it is still all new." He paused.

"Just suppose that Steve is bi - or even gay - we can let him work that out in complete safety, without risk and with no recriminations or guilt. Isn't that what friends are for? Or do we want him finding some pervert who takes advantage of him or beats him up or blackmails him just because he got curious and chose the wrong guy to find out with? Or worse he realises he isn't bi or gay and has to live with what he's done."

I listened. And I thought about it. "You've really thought this through haven't you? I still think you're way too nice, but I do get it."

"Yeah well, I suppose even dimwits like you get things eventually." He grinned at me.

"You, Mark Taylor, are asking for trouble."

"So what are you going to do? Spank me?"

"No - because you'd only enjoy that. But I will have my revenge..."

Dinner that night was shepherd's pie and peas. I was ravenous and had three helpings.

2I like to see a boy with a good appetite," said Mrs. Taylor.

As Mark cleared the plates away, he leant forward and whispered in my ear, "Hope you've got a good appetite for me tonight."

It turned out that we had a seriously good appetite for each other that night. I figured that my bits would have plenty of time to heal over the next week or so once we were back at school so I ignored the gentle protests from my foreskin and entered Mark twice and sucked him off twice too. I knew he wanted to take me too, but I was still very sore, and when he tried to penetrate me it was too painful.

"I'm so sorry, Mark. I know how much you want to be inside me - and I'd love it too, but I just can't."

"Hey Chris, that's fine. You know I'm happy just to have you lying here beside me." He kissed me. The next day Mrs. T drove us back to school, and we started on the second half of term. The hockey went from strength to strength. We won our next five games without conceding a goal, and five of us, including Mark and me, were invited to the regional trials.

Mark and I managed the occasional blow job but he was very keen for more. I had been very firm with Mark that his coming to my room after lights out for full sex was way too risky. But as one week and then another went by and he kept pestering me, I eventually gave in. Truth was I was horny as hell for him.

That night, at about two in the morning, he slipped into my room, shed his dressing gown and PJs and slipped in beside me. We kissed and cuddled briefly before he turned his back to me so that I could enter him. I had just got my full length inside him when the fire alarm went off.

"Fuck." I pulled out and hurriedly threw on my pyjamas while Mark did the same.

"Hurry...you need to get back to the dorm and then get out the other end down to the assembly area. If anyone sees you coming out of here, tell them...tell them that you were going for a pee and saw the light shining under my door and just looked in to make sure I was OK."

It wasn't a very convincing lie, but it was the best I could do on the spur of the moment.

My job, as notional head of the dorm, was to make sure that all the boys were accounted for and then go the assembly area myself.

As ill luck would have it, standing virtually outside my door was our Housemaster, Mr. Wickham. he looked surprise as Mark rushed past him back to the dorm and then looked at me.

"Just going to check the dorm, sir," I said.

"Very good. This is only a drill but we have the clock on it. Oh...and would you oblige me by coming to see me in my room after breakfast tomorrow, please."

My heart turned to ice. It looked like I - like we - were well and truly busted.

The drill went well enough. The dorm was cleared well within the target time and all the boys assembled in the right place. I wasn't entirely convinced that all the boys had come out of separate beds, but who the hell was I to judge.

I told Mark about what Mr. Wickham had said. "Just stick to the story. He knows we're friends."

The next morning after breakfast I made my way to the Housemaster's study. I knocked.

"Come in."

I entered.

"Ah, Chris. Please...take a seat."

I sat down.

"I'm sure you know what this is about. During the fire drill last night, Taylor appeared to have been in your room at the time the alarm was sounded. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to why?"

"Certainly, sir. I couldn't sleep and decided to work on an essay that was due for Mr. Kissack. Mark needed to go to the toilet and as he passed my room on his way there he saw light under my door. I daresay it was wrong sir, but as you know we are friends and he came in to see if I was alright. He was concerned to see my light on at that time of night. I had just told him that I was working on an essay when the firebell rang which took us both by surprise as you may imagine. It took us a few seconds to react, but he left my room to go back to the dormitory - and that's when you saw him."

"I see. And Taylor will confirm this when I talk to him?"

I felt like saying 'I bloody well hope so', but said instead,

"I'm sure he will confirm that that was what happened sir. I apologise. With hindsight I realise that I should not have let him into my room."

"No, you shouldn't. My problem, Chris, is that as you know the school absolutely forbids boys to be in other boys' rooms after lights out. We do this for a number of reasons, not least to prevent sexual bullying of younger boys. Now, I don't for one moment accuse you of that. I know that you and Taylor are friends and that you are only a few months different in age, but the fact remains that he is in the year below you. The reason that the school has a 'no tolerance' approach to this issue is that other cases may not be so benign, and we cannot afford for there to be any precedents."

I started to feel sick.

"But that wasn't what happened, sir."

"So you say. Look, Chris, we members of staff are not stupid. We know that boys hop in and out of other boys' beds for mutual masturbation. We don't approve but it happens. Provided it is between boys of the same age we choose not to notice. But having another boy in your room is not the same. And even if it is innocent, it is open to misinterpretation. It almost always, unfortunately, becomes the source of rumour - I'm afraid boys are rarely as discreet as they believe and rumours spread faster than wildfire."

He paused and steepled his fingers together. "Let me hypothesise for a moment. Let us suppose - purely theoretically - that you and Taylor were having a sexual relationship. We - that is I - am 'in loco parentis', that is I am here to stand in for your parents. If I were to discover that such a relationship existed I have to try and act as they would under the same circumstances, and certainly make them aware of what I knew. You understand?"

I saw a possible light at the end of the tunnel. "Yes, sir, but if - purely hypothetically of course - in such a scenario it turned out Mark's parents and my parents were aware of such a relationship and supportive of it, would that change anything?"

I saw Mr. Wickham's eyebrows shoot up. "Is that the case?"

"We are talking hypothetically, sir."

"Ah...yes...indeed. Well, I'm not sure that it would make much difference at a school level, but it might significantly influence my decision on whether to deal with this at a house level rather than pass it on to the headmaster."

There was a long pause.

"I have to say that I don't believe the story you have told me, but I cannot be certain of the truth. Both you and Taylor are academically bright - you, indeed are gifted. You are also both fine sportsmen. And for what it is worth, Chris, I have always thought of you as a thoroughly decent young man. You are fair-minded and respected by the other boys both in the house and in the school. That is all too rare. I would not want to see a promising career cut short by a piece of foolishness. I need to consider the matter further...we will speak again later. Perhaps you would be good enough to ask Taylor to come and see me now."

"Yes sir. Thank you sir."

I left with at least some hope in my heart. I hadn't been expelled - yet.

Mark told me that the conversation Mr Wickham had had with him had followed similar lines. Neither of us heard anything more until the following morning when we were both summoned to Mr. Wickham's study.

"You two have been incredibly foolish. You, Mark, should not have gone into Chris' study. If you were going to the bathroom that's what you should have done. There was no good reason for you to be in his room. You, Chris, were equally foolish to let him in. You know the rules and you know the consequences. I am, however, in the interests of protecting the school careers of two boys who are significant contributors to the school, prepared to accept the...story...you gave me of the reason for you being in the same room after lights out. Let me warn you, however, that if either of you is ever caught, for any reason, at any time in the same bedsit together, without my express permission, you will both face expulsion from the school. Do you understand me?"

"Yes sir," we both chorused.

"Good. You are both gated for the rest of term."

"Yes sir."

"One final thing. I must tell you that I have spoken with both your parents and they have made me aware of your...situation... and their feelings about it. I cannot pretend that I was not surprised, and I certainly cannot pretend to approve but I will, equally, not condemn. Indeed, I have a grudging respect for the fact that you are open and honest about what you are and how you feel. You cannot, however, afford to act as you do out of school with each other within school. In any way whatsoever. I am taking a severe risk by allowing you to stay given what I now know. Please don't do anything to let me down."

He looked straight at me.

"Chris...listen to me carefully. I believe that you will do well enough at A level for the school to invite you back to attempt seventh term Oxbridge entry. If so, I will want you back as Head of House and you will almost certainly be a school prefect. Do not mess this up."

He turned to Mark.

"And Mark...you make absolutely sure that you don't mess it up either for yourself or for your friend by doing anything foolish. Now go, both of you."

We both let out a sigh of relief when we got outside.

"I'm so sorry Chris. I shouldn't have pestered you."

"Hey Mark, I'm old enough to make my own decisions and I was the one who said yes and let you in."

"I'm happy that we haven't been kicked out, but what do we do now? We can't risk being seen with each other, much less do anything with each other for another five weeks. I'll burst."

"We have to do what we have to do. We'll find a way."

"And what about the fact that Wickham has spoken to our parents?"

"Yes, well, we are going to have to face the music with them I have no doubt. But...I expect they will be more relieved than angry. I hope so anyway. We were foolish but nothing more. And they know how challenging it is for us being gay and in love and unable to show it."

"What do you think Wickham really feels about us?"

"I think he's more sympathetic than he's letting on. I mean, he said that if I come back to do Oxbridge, he wants me as Head of House. Would he do that if he despised what I am...what we are?"

Mark nodded. "True. But in the meantime...how the hell do we get to have sex? Even if it is just a wank together."

"I don't know Mark. Let's think about it. Right now we have to toe the line...completely."

That was easier said than done. We were both very horny teenagers and we both desperately wanted each other. I know that I was jerking off two or three times a day over the next two weeks and Mark told me that people were starting to wonder if he had a problem given the number of times he was disappearing to the toilet. In the end we just accepted that it was the price we had to pay for being caught.

Almost a week later, Mr Wickham came and knocked on the door of my room. He didn't have to knock, but he always did. I liked that.

"Ah, Chris. As you are gated, I wondered if you might consider using your time this Sunday to do a job for me? I have a large shed - almost a barn really - at the end of the garden which we are thinking of converting into something more substantial. It is, however, full of stuff. Some of it needs to be burned, some bagged up for waste and some found another home. I will pay you for the work if you would be interested?"

Why not, I thought. It was more interesting than sitting around all Sunday.

"OK, sir. What sort of time?"

"I think it is a pretty big job. If you came up at say twelve o'clock after chapel, my wife will leave you some lunch. We will be out for the afternoon and won't be back before seven. If you were happy to work through until then you would be welcome to join us for dinner. In fact, it is probably a two-man job. Why don't you bring someone with you. Taylor perhaps? And you'll need this."

He put a key on my desk.

"The door is padlocked and this is the key. If by any chance you finish early, just pop it through the letter box."

My mind was whirring. What was going on here? He and his wife were going to be out for seven hours and he had invited me to bring Mark and for the two of us to work alone together clearing out a barn that had a padlock?

"That would be great, sir. Sounds like fun actually. Though whether Mark and I will be any state to sit down and have dinner with you if we've been clearing out a barn all afternoon I'm not sure."

"If you need to clean up I'm sure we can arrange something. Anyhow, thank you for that. It will be an enormous help."

"Is it OK to have Mark come up to my room so that I can tell him about this?"

"I think we could permit that. This once."

And with that he was gone.

I leaned out of the window and, purely by chance, Mark was crossing the quad on the other side. "Mark!"

He looked round, unsure where the sound had come from.

"Up here dopey."

He looked up. I beckoned. I saw him mouth the word 'sure?' I nodded. A few seconds later there was a tap on the door. I opened it.

"Are you sure about this? You know what Wickham said."

"It's fine. He's given permission. Come in."

I explained about the job offer. Mark was as puzzled as I had been.

"But hey, let's not look a gift horse in the mouth. Seven hours with you? Alone? No-one else around? It's a bloody dream."

Before I could stop him he was embracing me, his lips on mine, his tongue urgent. What's a boy to do? I kissed him back. Our tongues entwined. I felt him grab for my belt buckle.

"No, no, no, no, no." I brushed his hand away. "A kiss is one thing," I hissed, "anything else has to wait for tomorrow. Don't be so stupid."

It was if I'd slapped him. "I'm sorry, Chris. I wasn't thinking. I'm so sorry."

I held his chin in my hand and tipped his face up to me. "It's OK...I want it as much as you. But we can have it...over and over...tomorrow. It will soon be here. Let's enjoy the thought of what's coming." I kissed him. "Now go before someone wonders what took so long to explain."

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