Max and Me

by c m

Chapter 8

Back home, my mother and father wanted to know how it had all gone. I tried to answer them but they could see that my head was full of Max – and how much I was missing him - and they kindly didn't push it.

I unpacked and found that Max had put a note in my case.

My sexy, beautiful English Lion

Thank you for a wonderful summer, both here and in England. I have seen and done things that will live forever in my mind and in my heart. I love you.

By the time you read this I will already be missing you. Your smile, your laughter, your love, the smell of you, your touch – and of course the feeling of you buried deep inside me. I know that you will do wonderfully well at Oxford. I hope you think of me from time to time. I shall be thinking of you every moment.

I can't wait to see you again. You are the most beautiful, sexy, kind and funny boy in the world – and sometimes I still can't believe that you are mine.

I love you my Chris, more than I can say.

Yours, always and forever,

Max

xxx

I read it and then read it again and then I burst into tears. All the pent-up emotion flooded out. I buried my face in the pillow and cried my eyes out. And then I slept. When I came to, the letter was still clasped in my hand, a little crumpled. I smoothed it out and put in inside the cover of my favourite book. I looked at myself in the mirror and decided that I could do with a shower.

I turned the temperature up as high as I could bear. Standing under the ferociously hot water, I slowly felt the tension drain out of me. It had been a wonderful summer. The best of my life. As I thought of Max, my heart lightened – and my cock started to stiffen. I masturbated slowly, imagining it was his hands on my body. It was his name that I shouted as I came before turning the water to cold for a quick, invigorating burst. I danced and yelped as the freezing water washed all over me. But with it went all my sadness and doubt. Something about the shower had been cathartic. Suddenly I was thinking that it was only three months until Max and I could be back together again. I stepped out and dried myself, suddenly feeling a whole lot more positive about the next few weeks. I read Max's note again, kissed it, and put it into the drawer beside my bed.

Although feeling more positive, I still missed him, both in my head and in my heart. And after three days in my groin as well. So I was delighted when James came round. I flung my arms around him as he stepped through the door.

"Whoa! Someone's pleased to see me. Sorry I didn't come before – been away. So, did you have a good time? What did you do? Tell me all about it."

I gave James a big smacker of a kiss on the cheek and we went upstairs to my room.

"I'm so pleased to see you so happy and full of beans. I was afraid that you would be all teary and down. You are still both together, aren't you?"

"Yes of course we're still together. I'm crazy about him – and he's daft enough to feel the same about me. And I know it's weird for me to be cheerful. I wasn't to start with but...I don't know...suddenly I feel good. It's only three months until we can get back together; I have a boyfriend who loves me and I've got a new life at Uni...it just feels right to...celebrate…somehow. Of course I miss him terribly but..."

There was a moment's pause – and then James put an arm round my shoulder and hugged me. I was grateful, and it felt nice – and I snuggled into him.

"So tell me all about Germany."

So I did. Everything. The walking holiday, Sigi...everything.

"Even though I know you and Max really well, I still don't properly get how you are OK with having sex with other guys – and being open about it."

"Didn't you enjoy what we three did in Cornwall?"

"Yes of course – I loved it. But that was...." His shoulders slumped. "No, I suppose it isn't different, really. Sigi is to Max what I am to you, I guess. Anyway, I'm pleased to have you back. It's been really dull without you."

"Aw, you say the sweetest things." And I squeezed more tightly against him. He squeezed me back – and gave me a little kiss.

"I missed you too. And I'm pleased to see you. I love Max – but you are still my best friend. And you smell nice by the way."

"Max and I like the same cologne."

"I might have guessed. Anyway, whatever it is, it's nice. So, what plans for the next few days. I'm off to Durham on Monday – guess you still have another week after that."

"Yes. And no plans really. Maybe we can play some squash and just hang for a bit. I just fancy spending some time with you – though God knows why."

"Because I am intelligent, funny and sexy."

I rolled my eyes.

"Do you doubt me, sirrah? You shall pay for that."

I poked my tongue out at him - and then he was on top of me and we were wrestling each other. I fell off the bed and we rolled around on the floor.

"Take that, you blackguard."

"You shall never conquer me, sir."

"I shall see you off like the cur that you are."

"Is that so my fine fellow?"

We ended up exhausted and collapsed beside each other, laughing helplessly.

"Fuck, Chris. I've missed you."

"You too, James."

I looked into his eyes. "And despite your faults – which are many – it is perfectly true that you are also quite sexy."

"Really?"

'Mmhmm.' I paused. "Umm...did you really enjoy what we did in Cornwall?"

James nodded. "Oh yes."

"Umm...want to do it again?"

"Fuck yes."

Suddenly we were both stripping. I locked the door and went and lay on the bed. James hopped up beside me, his body shiny with the sweat from our wrestling and his cock big and hard between his legs. I sat up and pushed his thighs apart before kneeling between them. I took hold of his erection, slid back the foreskin, and took the tip in my mouth. He hissed as he drew his breath in sharply.

"Oh god that feels so good Chris. I've so wanted to do this again. But I want you in my mouth too – like I did with Max in Cornwall."

He scooched round until his head was level with my groin; we both laid on our sides and took one another in our mouths. I felt his tongue flicker over the head of my cock, and then he slid his lips down the shaft.

There wasn't a lot of artistry to what followed – but there was plenty of intent. I could feel myself getting close as James worked me to a climax, his hands fondling my balls as he did so.

"I'm going to cum, James."

He pulled off just an inch or so, and my load hit him squarely in the face, splattering over his nose and eyes and into his hair. Not that I knew this at the time as my face was buried deep in his groin. I heard James tell me that he was cumming, but I kept going as he pumped his seed into my mouth in urgent spurts. I sucked the last drops out of him then pulled off and sat up. I was greeted by the sight of my cum dripping off the tip of James' nose; he had one eye closed with a big streak of cum across it, and his hair looked as though he had applied gel to it rather inexpertly.

James just sat there and pointed at his face. I couldn't help but laugh.

"Oh man, you are covered."

"Tell me about it. Maybe I should just have let you cum in my mouth."

"You do whatever you are comfortable with, James. But you – just so you know – taste nice."

"Humm...we'll see. But for now, could you just find me something to wipe my face with?"

I went and got a handkerchief out of the drawer and handed it to him.

"Thanks." He got up and looked at himself in the mirror. "Fuck, it's all in my hair as well."

"You know where the shower is. I'll get you a towel."

James padded off to the bathroom and I heard the sound of the shower being turned on. I got a towel out of the cupboard and followed him, putting the towel over the rail on the wall. I joined him in the shower.

"Room for two?"

"For sure."

I made sure that all my cum was out of his hair and cleaned myself up as well. I gave James' back a scrub for good measure, and then we both got out of the shower and towelled ourselves dry, We went back into the bedroom and lay beside one another on the bed, towels wrapped around our waists.

"Now that's what I call a welcome home."

"Yeah, me too. I've had lots to think about while you were away. I wouldn't have believed that we'd have done...what we've done... this summer if you'd told me even six months ago."

"And it's good? You're OK with it?"

"Yeah I'm OK with it. A bit surprised at myself, but OK. And yes, it's been very good. Couldn't you tell?"

I smiled. "I know you're not gay, James, but I'm really happy about how things are between us – and between you and Max."

"Thanks, Chris. I'm really happy too."

He rolled onto his side facing me and gave me a hug. I hugged him back. Another piece of the jigsaw was perfect.

Over the next couple of days we played squash and went swimming, and I invited James to stay over at the weekend – an offer he accepted with alacrity. For the sake of form, I made up the bed in the spare room, but I thought that there was an even chance that it wouldn't be used. I was easy either way. I wasn't going to put any pressure on James, but if he wanted to spend the night with me, I wasn't going to refuse. My parents had no idea of the development in relationship between us – and I knew James wanted to keep it that way. So did I for that matter.

I had a hockey match for my local club side on the Saturday afternoon. I liked to play during the vacations if I could and they seemed to be pleased to have me whenever I was available. As I wasn't a regular, it meant that I didn't get to play for the first team, but the Second XI had a man injured and so I had a chance for a run-out at a reasonable level. James said he'd come along and watch.

The game turned out to be a high-quality affair; the opposition were very useful and a couple of places above my team in the league. But I just had one of those days. One of those wonderful days when every touch was right, every tackle clean, every pass perfect. And I scored twice – once from open play when I went round the keeper, and once from a penalty corner when the rebound off the goalkeeper's pads fell to me and I roofed the ball into the net – more by luck than judgement, but it looked spectacular. We won 3-1. The rest of my team – and the opposition skipper – said some nice things to me, and James was clearly impressed.

"Blimey, Chris. I didn't know you were that good. I mean, you were amazing."

"I just had a good day, James – and I got lucky."

"Lucky? You weren't lucky, you were sensational. You don't get that good by being lucky."

"Well, thank you; but you should have seen Mark play. Now he really was sensational."

I had said it without thinking. It was the first time I had thought about Mark in ages. And I realised I could now do so without feeling too upset. I sensed that he would have been happy about that. And James noticed too.

"That's the first time you've mentioned Mark in a while, Chris. You OK?"

"Yes…actually I'm fine. I just have happy memories when I think of him now. Which is what I know he would have wanted. Come on – let's go and get a beer. I'm going to have a quick shower, and I'll see you in the bar."

"Cool. See you in a few."

I had the quickest of showers – although I enjoyed looking at a couple of good-looking guys about my age from the opposing team – before dressing, grabbing my kitbag, and heading for the bar. James had already got a beer waiting for me and I introduced him to a couple of other members of the team.

"Joe, Pete, this is James – a good friend. He came along to watch today."

Joe stuck out a hand. "Good to meet you, James. Your boy here was the difference today. Do you play?"

James shook his head. "No – well, not really – and certainly not in Chris' league."

"I don't think anyone on the pitch today was in his league. It's a damn shame he's off to Uni; he'd walk into the first team here."

"I was amazed – it's the first time I've seen him play."

"Well, you picked a good day then." Joe chinked his beer against mine, "Well done, mate, great game."

We stayed for about another forty minutes. I didn't want much more to drink as I was driving, but James chatted away to a couple of the guys and really seemed to enjoy himself. One of the guys I'd admired in the shower – a boy with a shock of blond hair - drifted over towards me and held out his hand.

"Hi, I'm Ron." He gave me a firm handshake.

"Chris – nice to meet you"

"You a regular here? You're too good to be in the second XI."

"No. I'm about to go to Uni. Just a chance for a couple of games before term starts."

"Oh, OK. Same here. Which Uni?"

"Oxford."

"Really? Me too. Which college?"

"Merton."

"Cool. 'I'm at Christchurch. Maybe we can meet up once term starts – I'm sure I'll come across you in the inter-College games anyway."

"I'm hoping to trial for the University team."

"Of course...well, on today's showing, you've got every chance – although they have a strong squad this year. Still got eight of the team from last year."

"OK, thanks. And yes, it would be great to have a friendly face to visit."

"Excellent. Let me write my name down for you – and my room number in College. Hold on."

Ron went to the bar and came back with a pen and a couple of pieces of paper. He wrote down a few words and handed it to me, then gave me the second piece of paper. I wrote my name on it but then realised that I had no idea what room I would be in at Merton.

"Don't worry – I'll put note in your pigeon hole – or just come round and see me. I'll buy you a beer – or two."

"Thanks, Ron – look forward to it."

We shook hands again and held each other's gaze for a few seconds. Seemed like a nice guy – and he was certainly quite good-looking too. James looked up and caught my eye; I beckoned him over.

"Time to make a move I think."

"OK. Who was the blond talking to you?"

I looked at the piece of paper. "Ron Walton. Turns out he's at Oxford too. Invited me for a drink once term's started."

"Wow, cool. Be nice to know someone there already."

"Exactly. Just rounds off a perfect match day. Come on, let's go."

I threw my kitbag in the boot of the car, and we headed back to my house. When we got back, there was a note on the kitchen table.

'Dad and I have gone out for a meal. There's steak in the fridge and chips in the

freezer. Peas too – or make yourself a tomato and onion salad. Help yourself to a

bottle of wine. Back later. Love, Mum. x'

"Fancy steak, James?"

"You bet."

"Want peas or a tomato and onion salad with that?"

James just smiled. "Yes."

"Greedy pig. OK, we'll do both. Come on, you can give me a hand with the chopping."

I took the steaks out of the fridge. They were two huge sirloins – which was great because I felt like I could eat a horse. I trimmed them up and then got out a bag of tomatoes and a couple of onions. I grabbed a bottle of Rioja off the wine rack and threw James a corkscrew, before turning the fat fryer on. Ten minutes later we had everything ready to go.

It was a perfect meal for two hungry teenagers and we devoured the lot. I found an unopened tub of chocolate ice-cream in the freezer and opened that for dessert.

"This takes me back to Cornwall," I said.

James laughed. "Wow, yeah – but I'm not licking this off your body."

"Damn right."

The ice cream went the way of the steaks and we sat back, full but feeling revived.

"Thanks, Chris. That was delicious."

"Pleasure. Anything you particularly want to do, or are you happy to veg?"

"Veg sounds good. Anything on tele?"

"Don't know. Let's go see."

We went through to the family room where we had the main TV and idly flicked through a few channels, before settling for the inanity of 'Noel's House Party', followed by a film.

Around 10.30 my parents returned and poked their heads round the door.

"Hi James, nice to see you. Hope you've had a good evening."

"Very nice, thank you, Mrs Alexander – and thanks for the steaks."

"Our pleasure – I hope Chris cooked them OK?"

"Another thing at which he is irritatingly competent."

My parents laughed. "OK, boys, we're off to bed. See you in the morning."

"Night Mum. Night Dad."

We watched the end of the film, although I was struggling to keep my eyes open.

"Time for bed for us as well, I think." Said James.

"Yup. I agree."

"So where am I sleeping?"

The moment of truth. "Where would you like to sleep, James? The guest room is ready for you, but there's plenty of room in my bed if you'd rather."

"Won't your parents know if I'm in your room?"

"Their room is down the other end of the house. They won't hear us – and if you are in my room in the morning that's fine – they'll just assume you came in after you woke up, or we'll just say that we were both there and you just fell asleep. Anyway, tomorrow's Sunday and they won't be up and about themselves until about 9.30...assuming, that is, that you're saying you'd rather share my bed than have the guest room?"

"Would you be OK with that? I've never spent the night with someone else. It might be...fun."

"I'd like that – provided you don't snore."

"Not as far as I know."

"Great."

We headed upstairs. James put his overnight bag in the guestroom so that it would look as though he had intended to sleep there, and we headed for my room. I could sense that he was nervous.

"James – if you want to change your mind, that's fine."

"I...no, no I don't."

I stripped off and headed for the bathroom, where I brushed my teeth. When I got back, James was sitting on the edge of the bed in his briefs, his toothbrush in hand.

"It's OK to do this, isn't it?"

"To spend the night in the same bed as me? Of course. James – we don't have to do anything, it would be nice just to have you there."

He smiled. "OK. Back in a mo."

I got into bed and sat up against the pillows, pulling the covers up over my legs. James disappeared into the bathroom and I heard the shower running. When he came back he had a towel round his waist and his hair was sticking up all over the place.

"Hi shaggy."

He ran his hands through his hair. "Oh this? Well, I guess I'll be showering again in the morning so I'll deal with it then."

With that he dropped the towel and hopped into bed beside me. I noticed that he had a semi.

"Well this is nice," I said, "a great game, a potential new friend at Uni and now my best friend in bed beside me. Days don't get any better – unless you could magically turn into Max."

"I can't turn into Max, but maybe I can do some of the things Max does." He giggled.

"James Taverner! That I should live to see the day. Tsk, tsk."

"Don't pretend you're not pleased."

I looked into his eyes.

"Not pleased? I'm bloody delighted. Come here."

I put an arm around his shoulder and pulled him to me. His lips touched mine and I felt his hand reaching between my legs. We snuggled ourselves further down the bed and I, in turn, reached into his groin.

"Wank or suck?" I asked.

"Umm...you know when you asked me if I wanted peas or a salad...?"

"Bloody hell, I've unleashed a monster....OK, which first?"

"Suck please – but only after I've sucked you first. Please Chris – I'd really like to."

"OK – you're in charge." I lay on my back and spread my legs.

James sort of rolled between my legs and then I felt his tongue on my balls. He sucked each of them in turn into his mouth before licking all the way up the rock-hard shaft of my cock, and then his mouth closed around the head before sliding all the way back down. And up. And down. He did it slowly but with maximum pressure with his lips. I gasped.

"Bloody hell, James, when did you get so good at this?"

"Good teacher," came the muffled reply.

James took his time and I could feel myself building. My muscles started to tremble and I knew that I was almost at the point of no return.

"I'm gonna cum, James."

"Mmm OK. Just do it whenever you're ready."

"You sure?"

I saw his head bob up and down in confirmation.

I was ready. So ready. And I came. Explosively. And he swallowed the lot.

He finally came up for air. "OK?"

"OK? You were bloody amazing. And were you really OK with me cumming in your mouth?"

"Yeah…yeah, I was. Surprisingly. I wanted to see what it felt like. What it tasted like."

"And?"

"'It felt great. Like your cock swelled in my mouth before kicking and then shooting. And it tasted…well… better than I thought it would."

"Ready for me to return the favour?"

"Yes please."

I took my time with James, enjoying the more relaxed feeling that being in bed gave. I wanted to give my best friend the best bj I could. From the squeaks and moans that he produced during my ministrations, I think I succeeded. When he finally came, it was in a stream that made me gag initially and some of it ended up running down my chin. With a final shudder, James just sank back into the pillows and let out a massive sigh.

"Oh. My. God. That much pleasure should be illegal."

"Fortunately it isn't. It just comes of being gay and knowing what great head feels like. No girl can ever know that."

"I'm so glad you're gay. And I'm so glad I'm your friend."

"Well, I guess that's one way of putting it – and I'm glad too." I kissed him lightly on the lips.

"Max is going to be OK with this is he?"

"Max is going to be fine with it. We have an agreement about you. And Sigi. In fact, Max is probably doing exactly this with Sigi right now."

"And neither of you minds that?"

"No. We are both happy. Dammit, James, this is just a bit of fun with friends."

"It is fun, isn't it?"

"It sure is. And I'd like a bit more fun."

"Who am I to say no?"

I slipped my hand back between his legs. His cock was soft but still slightly engorged. At my touch it rapidly started to harden and swell. I pulled back the covers so I could see it grow in my hand. I took James' balls in one hand and rolled them around, squeezing gently. With my other hand I started to masturbate him, gently pulling the foreskin back and forward, but not quite pulling it all the way back past the ridge of the tip.

"That feels so nice, Chris. Why does it always feel better when someone else does it to you?"

"Don't know, but it does, doesn't it?"

"Mmhmm. Don't stop. And little faster please."

"You're like Max. Telling me what you want. I like that."

"Max is amazing, isn't he?"

"I certainly think so."

"You're such a perfect couple. You are just so...right...together. And I am so lucky to know him. So lucky that he likes me."

"He loves you, James – like I do."

"Mmmm...I think I'm about to cum."

I held him tight, the tip pointing vertically upwards, as he came. His cock bucked once, twice, three times and then a gout of semen shot out, landing in a spatter over his chest. A couple more shots followed and then a gentle ooze all over my hand as I grasped him. I released my grip and sucked his seed off my hand.

"I like wanking you, James."

"Well, you can do it as often as you like. It felt bloody great. May I do the same for you?"

"I'd love that."

"Can I show you how the guy at school liked me to do it to him? He was circumcised so the tip of his cock wasn't as sensitive as yours, but I think it will work fine. I'll need to use some oil. Do you have some of the stuff Max used?"

"I'm intrigued, and yes, the oil's here."

I opened the drawer and took out the pot of oil.

"OK. Lie back and close your eyes. If you want me to stop, just say."

I did as he said. I put my hands behind my head, lay back on the pillow and closed my eyes.

I felt him take hold of my rigid cock and pull the foreskin back all the way as far as he could make it go. I sensed him use one hand to make a ring that he put around the base of my cock holding the skin firmly back. I felt him rub the whole of the shaft with some of the oil, and the place his other hand above the first one at the base of my cock. He made a ring with his thumb and first finger and held the shaft tight, then slid the ring all the way up my cock, over the rim of the glans and then all the way back down again. The sensation was extraordinary. My uncircumcised cock meant that the tip was incredibly sensitive and as he went up and down, seemingly faster and faster, the feeling was of pleasure tinged with pain. My cock seemed to be so swollen as to be ready to burst. I opened my eyes and saw that it was a dark purple at the tip and red below it. I could feel my balls swelling and then, as he wrapped his whole hand around the tip and twisted it from side to side I was over the top. My cum spurted from the tip like a geyser going off. I gasped with the force of the release and then he took his hand off my cock, letting the pressure off. As the intensity of my climax died away, I became conscious that my cock was really quite sore.

"Holy fuck, James. Is that what you two did every time? I don't think my cock would take that more than about once every couple of months. Amazing but look at it...."

"I guess being circumcised made it less sensitive for him. Sorry – have I hurt you?"

"No, no...not really. How many times has he done that to you?"

"Err, never."

"Hold on. So you did that to me without knowing what it felt like on an uncircumcised cock?"

"Umm, yes."

I shook my head. "Geez, it's just as well I love you, James. And for the record, I don't think we'll be doing it like that again. Or not until we've found a way to refine it."

"Say what you like. You came like a hose – and from the noises you were making, you enjoyed it."

"Yeah...I did – kind of. But no more surprises like that, OK?"

"OK. Wimp." He giggled.

I hit him with a pillow.

"Time to sleep."

"Night, Chris. And thanks for everything."

I came to at about 5. I don't know what woke me, but I went for a pee and discovered that my cock was indeed very sore. It stung as I peed, but on closer inspection there didn't seem to be any real damage. Just as well James was off to Uni on Monday; there'd be no temptation to have any more sex for a while.

When I got back to bed, James was lying on his back, partially uncovered and making the very lightest of noises as he breathed in and out. I uncovered him and saw he had a full-on stiffy. It was too tempting and I took hold of it ever so lightly and stroked it gently. After about thirty seconds he sighed and rolled over. I let go of him, covered him up and got back into bed beside him. I ran my fingers gently through his hair and then turned over and went back to sleep myself.

I woke up again at about 8.30 to find James' hand flung across my chest and his forehead against my shoulder. I unpeeled his arm from me gently and slipped out of bed. I put on my dressing gown and headed downstairs to make coffee. My mouth felt dry and I felt in need of caffeine. As I headed back upstairs with two mugs, I met my father coming down.

"Ah, just going to do the same thing for your mother. Did you sleep well? And James?"

"Fine thanks – and he ended up crashed in my room. I didn't want to wake him so I left him where he was. I think he needs coffee more than me."

"OK – long night huh? See you later."

That was handy. I'd got an explanation for why the spare room hadn't been used.

Back in my room, James was stirring. There was a loud yawn and then a stretch and

then he opened his eyes – almost.

"Morning. What time is it...is that coffee I smell?"

"About a quarter to nine sleepyhead. And yes, coffee."

"Wonderful – I love you. Did you sleep well?"

"Not too bad. Cock's sore though – thank you very much."

"Stop complaining."

"Oh...and I saw my father. I told him we'd had a very late night and you'd crashed in

my room. So no need to explain the unused guest room."

"Cool. Thanks."

We sat beside each other drinking coffee.

"Pleased you spent the night with me"' I asked.

"Yes. It was...really nice. I woke up once and you were just there beside me, asleep.It felt...comforting. Stupid, I know, but that's how it felt."

"Good. Maybe we can do it again sometime."

"I'd like that. In fact I'd like to sleep with on a regular basis."

"Humm. You'll soon have a girlfriend and everything will be different."

"Maybe. I hope so. The girlfriend bit, I mean. But I'd still like to be able to...do what we do sometimes."

"If you still feel that way once you have a girl, all you have to do is say."

"Well, you have Max and we still...do stuff together."

"True – but then he isn't here."

"We did stuff together when he was."

"True again – but that was all three of us."

"Not all the time. That time in the shower..."

"I know. But it was something we all agreed."

He nodded. "I like that you share yourselves though. I'd like to be able to do that too."

"Guess your girl will have to say yes to that."

"Humm. Maybe it's a bit more complicated than I thought."

I ruffled his hair. "Yes. A bit. Let's see what the future holds. But you will always be my best friend, and if you ever want to share my bed you'll always be welcome."

We hugged each other and then I headed for the shower. I had been under the hot water a minute or so when James stepped in beside me.

"Scrub your back?"

"Sure."

He gave me a good scrub and then reached round to take hold of my cock. I pushed

his hand away.

"It's not that I wouldn't like to, but I'm too sore."

James spun me round and knelt down.

"Hmm. It does look a bit red. Sorry."

"It's OK – it'll soon heal."

As he stood up I could see that he was hard. I took him in my hand and masturbated him slowly.

"Farewell wank. Be the last time for a while."

"Guess so."

James put his hands on my shoulders as he came, the spirals of white disappearing down the drain in the floor.

We dried off, dressed and went down and made ourselves some breakfast. After we'd eaten, James said that he needed to head home – he had a lot of packing to do. We hugged.

"You look after yourself James and have fun. See you in December."

"Will do – and you too."

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