The Outcasts

by Cole Parker

15

It had taken some time, but eventually, as the sun was setting and the Headmaster's wife had unobtrusively and efficiently come in, turned on the lamps and then left, and the Headmaster had kept up his empathic persuasion, Will's resistance had been broken. He had agreed to speak. Will was now sitting on one of the couches facing the fireplace. The Headmaster was in a chair at right angles to him and close enough that his presence could give the boy some support.

Will, committed, was fighting his nervousness, trying to start. He looked up at the Headmaster, hesitated, then said, "Sir, I think the only way I can do this is to just try to lose myself in the memory of what I have to talk about, pretend I'm not talking to you, sir, but maybe just myself. I don't know that I can say these things, knowing I'm speaking to you, so I must put that out of my mind. I'll try, sir. Please don't be upset with me."

"I won't, Will. If it helps, certainly, close your eyes and imagine you're telling this to a recording machine so an autobiography can be written from it later, or it can be transcribed into a diary, if you like. Try to stay calm, Will, and go ahead."

Will, still looking nervous, closed his eyes, settled back on the couch cushions, and began.

"My father left my mum and I when I was seven. I loved him, and he loved me, and I don't really know why he left, my mum won't talk to me about him at all, but in my mind at least, he got tired of the fighting. She was always after him for something, one thing or another, just constantly, and I think he simply got tired of it. She has never been a happy person, not ever, nothing seemed to please her, and she made people around her unhappy, too. So he left. I didn't know he was going to go, but one morning, he wasn't there any longer, and I never saw him again. The night before, he came into my room just when I was falling asleep. He sat on the bed, just looking at me with sad eyes. When I sort of woke up a little, he ruffled my hair the way he liked to do, and told me that he loved me more than anything else in the whole world, and that I should never forget that. No matter what anyone said, no matter what I heard, I was to remember what I'd heard from his own lips, that he loved me most in the whole world.

"It didn't mean anything to me. I thought he was just being sentimental, and I was mostly asleep anyway. I never saw him after that, but I remembered what he said. I always remembered it, when I thought of him.

"I lived with my mum after that, just the two of us. Occasionally Dad's brother would show up, my Uncle Rhys. He and I always got along really well. I loved Uncle Rhys. He was a few years younger than my dad, even a year or so younger than Mum. Every few months he'd come by to see how we were. After about a year, when I was almost nine, when he came, he'd stay for a week, and then it started to be maybe two weeks, after a time. I was happy when he was there. I loved him. I could never tell why, but my mum didn't seem to fight with him like she did with my dad. She even acted flirty sometimes, which embarrassed me to pieces.

"Things stayed like this, and he was there more and more. By the time I was eleven, he was staying with us more than he wasn't. He had the spare room, Mum had her room which used to be hers and Dad's room, and I had mine.

"It was then, when I was 11, that I remember I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night one night. The fish we'd had for dinner had tasted a bit off, and about two in the morning, I had cramps and had to run to the toilet. When I was done, I came out, and was surprised to see Uncle Rhys walking towards his bedroom. He was naked, which wasn't a surprise. I knew he slept that way. When I was younger I used to creep into his bed at night sometimes and that was the way he always was. I'd go to him when I was scared or upset and he'd hold me and I'd fall asleep. I couldn't go to Mum and Dad's room. Mum didn't want me there. So I had gone to Uncle Rhys's bed, when he was there.

"Anyway, that night, seeing him walking to his bedroom, it was strange, because where he was coming from, there was only my Mum's bedroom there. And it made no sense to me why he'd be coming from there, naked.

"I was half-asleep and my stomach still bothered me a little, so I didn't dwell on it. But it did give me an idea. When he walked into his room, I followed him and climbed into bed with him.

" 'Will,' I remember him saying, 'you're a little old for this now, aren't you?' I told him my stomach was upset and I just wanted to be held as he used to do. I rolled onto my side and he spooned me from the back. He rubbed his hand over my stomach lightly and asked if that felt good, and I said it did. He kept doing that, and for some reason I didn't understand, my penis got hard. It had begun doing that more often recently, and it embarrassed me, but it surprised me it should happen now, and I really hoped he wouldn't feel it."

Will stopped at this point and glanced timidly at the Headmaster, frightened at what his reaction might be. The Headmaster reached out his hand and gently squeezed Will's shoulder, a look of compassion in his eyes. "It's fine, Will, it's fine. You're doing really well. Please go on." He smiled at will reassuringly.

Will smiled faintly at him in return, then closed his eyes again and continued.

"He rubbed my stomach for a while longer, then said I should go to sleep and stopped moving his hand, just left it there on my stomach. I stopped worrying then, and fell asleep pretty quickly.

"In the morning, when I woke up, he wasn't in the bed. I met him in the kitchen when I was dressed, and he told me we needed to talk after breakfast. When I was finished, he told me we should go for a walk. We walked to a park that was close by the flat we lived in and sat on a bench. He told me I was probably getting too old to be spending the night in his bed. I asked him why, and he said when boys got to be about my age, their bodies began changing, they started to get interested in sex, and it wasn't appropriate for them to be sleeping with men. I didn't know very much about anything, I suppose. Kids at my school didn't talk about sex, my mum sure didn't, and I didn't know anything at all. So, I asked him why men shouldn't sleep with boys, and Uncle Rhys told me about sex. He told me about making babies, he told me how some men like other men instead of women, he told me how boys sometimes played around with each other, he told me how some men were interested in boys that way.

"I heard lots of stuff I didn't know anything about. Some of it was exciting, some of it was confusing, but I found myself getting hard when he started. When he finished, I was still hard. So, I asked him about that, and told him I'd got hard last night in bed with him, too.

"He was quiet for a while then, just looking out over the park. When he did turn to speak to me, his voice was a little different. A little huskier. He told me that he was one of the men who liked other men. He said he was different in that he liked women too. He said some people are much more interested in and have a much greater appetite for sex than others, and that he fitted into that category, too. He told me now that I was older and having erections, he found me attractive, but we shouldn't do anything together, and I shouldn't come into his bed because he didn't know if he could resist the temptation next time.

"I don't know exactly how I knew, but after having listened to him, I suddenly put it together. I asked him then if when I saw him last night, he was coming from my mum's room, and was he having sex with her? He told me it was very much a secret, and I must never tell anyone, not even Mum, but what I guessed was right, that they'd been having sex almost ever since my dad had left.

"I had to think about that. I wasn't sure how I felt. This was all new to me. I wasn't sure what I felt about any of it. But he was telling me things, sitting with his arm around me, and I loved him, I loved the attention, and if he were having sex with my mum, that was probably what adults did. I decided it didn't bother me.

"He also talked to me about how my body was changing, what I was experiencing, and what I should expect in the next few years. Finally I had some answers to questions I hadn't known how to ask. When we were done, I felt closer to Uncle Rhys than I ever had.

"My mum and I weren't close. I was much happier when Uncle Rhys was with us than when Mum and I were by ourselves. She told me I was a burden to her and she was constantly grousing about something. Nothing I did was right. I learned how to stay out of her way. I learned how to be self-sufficient. When Uncle Rhys was there, at least someone was around to notice me and pay attention. I felt almost human then.

"When I was twelve, what Uncle Rhys had spoken to me about was happening. My body was changing, the ways boys' bodies do. And I was starting to get feelings I'd never had before. I was getting hard more often, and learned it felt good to touch it. I didn't know about masturbation, Uncle Rhys hadn't mentioned that. And I never did touch myself long enough to have an orgasm so didn't know about those, but I did like to touch myself.

"Also, at night, I'd think a lot. My new feelings, and the feelings I got when I'd rub myself, made me think a lot about sex. And the thought that kept coming back was, Uncle Rhys had told me men and boys sometimes did things together, that he found me attractive, and if I ever came into his bed again, he didn't know if he could stop himself. The more I thought about it, night after night, lying there, playing with myself, the more I thought what it might be like if he didn't stop himself. And my curiosity grew and grew.

"Then, one day that wasn't any different from any other, as far as I could see, my mum was in a nastier mood than usual, and for some reason I didn't do my usual good job of avoiding her. Maybe it was because I was twelve and starting to feel a little full of myself, or maybe it didn't have anything to do with me, but she was grousing, I said something back, and suddenly we were in a full-fledged row. And it wasn't just shouting. We started that way, but then she grabbed me, and before I knew it, she was hitting me, slapping me across the face with both hands, even pulling my hair. I think she was a little bonkers, because if Uncle Rhys hadn't come in just then, she would have done me some damage. She was completely out of control, and being bigger than I was, I couldn't protect myself from her. Uncle Rhys came in, took one look and grabbed her. She struggled, but he was much stronger and pinned her arms. She was screaming, struggling, and then simply collapsed. I didn't wait to see what happened next. I took off. I was crying, my face was bright red, I was almost hysterical with emotions, but I fled. I ran out of the flat and just ran. Finally, I got tired, my emotions stabilized and my reason caught up with me, and I looked around, not even sure where I had run to. I soon figured it out. I was miles from home. There was nothing for it but to go back. I turned around and started walking back. My mind was numb, but somewhere in it was the thought that as long as Uncle Rhys was there, I'd be all right.

"I was twelve, just coming on thirteen. I didn't know what else to do but go home.

"When I arrived, the house was quiet. I peeked in the front door and saw Uncle Rhys sitting in the living room, just sitting. When he heard the door he looked up, then jumped up when he saw me and ran to me, scooped me up in his arms and hugged me. I broke down crying. He carried me to the couch and held me while I blubbered.

"You always stop crying, eventually, and so I did. You run out of tears, or maybe you get tired of feeling sorry for yourself. Anyway, I stopped. Uncle Rhys let go of me. I looked at him and asked, "Why? Why did she do that?"

" 'I don't know, Will,' he said. 'She's not a happy person, and she tends to blame all her problems on everyone around her. When you ran out, she started yelling at me how awful you are. She didn't even realize what she'd done. She had no feeling for the reality of the situation, how she could have seriously hurt you, or that she was beating the child it was her duty to protect. She didn't think of anything but that she was angry and wanted to hit you. Her thoughts were about how hard she had everything and how no one seemed to care. Finally, when I kept telling her that you were the one I felt for, not her, she told me to get out then, she didn't need me around any longer. I told her I was going to stay to make sure you were all right, and she just walked into her bedroom and slammed the door. She hasn't come out since.'

"After that, we went into the kitchen and he made us some soup for dinner. We watched TV till it was time for bed. I asked him if he was going to stay, and he said he was till he was certain I was safe there. So we went to our rooms. I felt terrible. My life felt like it was turned upside down. After only a few minutes, I got up and went into his room.

"He was reading a book, lying in bed with his bedside lamp on. When he saw me, he lifted the cover, and I crawled in next to him. He set his book down, turned off the light, then rolled over to hold me. I shuddered when he put his arms around me. For the first time since my row, I felt completely safe.

"We lay like that for a few minutes. I could feel his body up against mine, and thinking about that, I began to get hard. I don't know whether it was all the emotions I'd run through that day or not, but suddenly, I was hornier than I'd ever been. I was harder than I'd ever been before, too. I started wiggling my backside against his lap, and almost immediately I felt him start to grow, too.

" 'Will, do you know what you're doing?' he asked softly. I didn't even bother to answer, just rubbed against him harder. He clamped his arms tighter around me to slow me down, then reached down with his hand and felt me. It felt so good I thought I could see stars. It didn't feel anything like it did when I touched myself. I had my pyjama bottoms on, and he reached inside to touch me, then told me to lift my bottom, and he slid the bottoms right off. Then, as I settled back onto the bed again, he lightly took me in his hand and started stroking me.

"I only lasted a minute or two. I'd never had an orgasm before and it just overwhelmed me. I thought I was going to explode, the pressure got so intense, and then when I got my release, I made a mess all over him, me and the bed. I might have passed out briefly afterwards, because when I could see again, he was wiping me down with a warm wet towel, and he sure hadn't had that when I got in his bed.

" 'Have you ever done that before?' he asked curiously. I told him I hadn't, and he smiled at me affectionately, then told me we should go to sleep now, it had been a long day. I didn't need any encouragement. He lay on his back, I sort of half rolled on top of him, put one leg across his, and was out like a light.

"I slept with him often after that. He stayed. My mum wanted him gone, but he just told her he didn't trust her around me and was staying to protect me, and if she didn't like it, he'd call social services and get everything straightened out, and if she went to jail, maybe that's where she belonged. We had three people living in that flat, but from that point on she never spoke to either of us, or lifted a finger to help us, either. I started making sure I was only in the flat when Uncle Rhys was. I'd stay away in the afternoon till it was time for him to be home from work, and I'd leave in the morning when he left. It meant I got to school much earlier than anyone else, but it was safe.

"I found out at that time that my dad had been sending her child support money all along. I learned about that when Uncle Rhys told her he needed money for new clothes for me. Mine were becoming too small for me, and some were beginning to look tatty. That started a row, also, but he very purposefully walked to the phone, called directory enquiries and asked for the number of social services, and she gave him the money.

"It was a while after that when it all blew up. It was summer then and I had turned 13 a few months earlier. I felt sexier than ever, my body continued to mature, and I was visiting Uncle Rhys's bedroom on a more regular basis. He told me we had to be careful, but he liked what we were doing as much as I did, and didn't want it to end. We were doing more things now, too, and it was wonderful.

"That night, a warm night, we were lying naked on his bed and I had my head in his lap, doing what he really liked me to do, when my mum walked into the room. She took one look and blew sky high. She began yelling at both of us, screaming in fact, then began looking for things to throw at us. I jumped down beside the bed so it would protect me somewhat. Uncle Rhys stood up and grabbed her. She fought like a tigress, and managed to scratch him rather deeply across one cheek. He finally locked her arms to her side, carried her to her bedroom, threw her inside and slammed the door. He held it shut when she tried to open it again. He had to wait till she'd worn herself out yelling, then told her they needed to talk, and if she could do so calmly, they could go to the kitchen, sit down and have it out.

"Eventually, she was rational enough to realize that was what she needed to do, and she agreed. She walked to the kitchen, and after dressing, Uncle Rhys and I followed. He asked me to make tea. They sat at the table. While I was making the tea, Mum started saying how disgusting he was, how disgusting I was, and that as soon as she could, she was going to notify the police and have him arrested, and he could rot in jail for years and years for what he'd done to me.

"He told her that it was only her word against ours, and we'd both swear to the beating she'd given me, and that her accusations were just retaliation for what we were saying, that there was no truth in them at all."

"She smiled then, and it was a nasty looking smile. She told him that he wasn't going to get away that easily, because she would have me to the doctors and they'd be able to tell he'd been buggering me by inspecting my backside.

"I think that was what saved us. He'd never done that. I'd told him on a few occasions he could, even that I wanted him to, but he never had. I felt awfully good now that he hadn't.

"Anyway, he told her that she could do that if she wanted, but it would simply show nothing of that sort had occurred, and it would make her look foolish and vindictive. They argued and rowed, and eventually it came down to the fact she thought we were both disgusting and she couldn't stand living with us, it was her flat and she wanted us both out, immediately and permanently. She said we were both perverts, we deserved each other, and we could live together, but she wasn't having anything to do with either of us again.

"I was listening to all this, and it was truly awful. Every other word from her was about how bad I was. My only support was Uncle Rhys, and then that disappeared too. After she told him he could have me, he told her that wouldn't work. His job was soon going to be requiring him to travel, and he wouldn't be there to look after me. She said that was his problem and she wanted to be done with both of us.

"They kept at it, and finally, about the time the sun was rising, they'd reached an unhappy compromise. I was to be sent to a public school and they would both pay half the expenses. Mum's money would come from Dad's child support, and Uncle Rhys's from his salary. Neither bothered to ask me. But I couldn't have said anything anyway. It was a blow to know my mum didn't want to see me again. Things had been bad lately, ever since she and I had rowwed that once, and even before that, too, but at least we were still together, and if we weren't speaking, I could still pretend things were not that bad. Now, she was protesting loud and clear how terrible I was, how she wished she'd never had me, how corrupt and evil I was, how I was the reason Dad had left, how Uncle Rhys had ruined me, how I now would only want sex from men and how evil that was, how I was going to be a pervert all my life, how he'd turned me queer, and she went on and on. I don't think Uncle Rhys was paying any attention to me, till he finally looked over at me. I was lying on the floor in one corner of the kitchen, hugging myself in a foetal position, and silently weeping. How can your parent feel that way about you? How can you be that awful a person that she feels no love, only contempt for you? How can a mother just throw away her child?

"Uncle Rhys came to me and tried to console me, but I'd been listening to her rant about me for hours, and the words had flayed me. First my dad had left, now my mum hated me and I could see Uncle Rhys didn't want me either. Uncle Rhys carried me into my bedroom and put me in bed. He kissed my forehead and told me to sleep, he'd be there for me when I awoke.

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