by Flaulus

Chapter 16

The following Sunday, Rick visited his mother as usual and mentioned Justin.

"The magistrates didn't want to go against another court." Rick said, "He's had the tag removed, but he's still under house arrest unless he's on Bovaline. He caught the same ferry as Paul on Friday."

"So he's wriggling out of his punishment and you're helping him." His mother said, "The sooner you're off that island, and we're back home, the better."

"Mum, I am home. I'm not going back to the flat. We can find you a cottage, a room in the castle, whatever you want. You'll be able to rest, and Mrs Wreakin is talking about you giving art lessons when you're better."

You do as I say. The sooner I get you away from Will and that other boy, the better. It's time you started thinking about a proper, normal life."

"What's a normal job, Mum? I couldn't get a job as a trainee manager but I bet the Earl of Westmark could."

"Your father worked in a garage. A bit of hard manual work would knock those airs-and-graces out of you. I'll be home soon, so we'll find you a proper job."

Rick was still thoroughly upset when he got home and described his visit to Will and Sebastian.

"You could have some fun, you know." Will said, "Imagine going for that checkout job and filling in previous experience. Imagine giving your full name."

"Will has a point." Sebastian said, "You'd give the school a few headaches as well. How would your careers guidance go? How much of your mother's determination is aimed at getting back to normal and proving she's getting better."

"No. She turned against Will when the rumours about him being gay started." Rick paused, "Dad said something when he told me about those papers. I had to wait until I was old enough to stand up for myself. Could this be what he meant?"

"Your mother has very fixed, rigid ideas and you had to be ready to deal with them. Is that what you're saying? If you are, are you saying she held your Dad back as well?"

"I don't like thinking bad things about my mother. She did look after me." Rick said.

"One charitable idea is she misses her husband terribly and is confusing you coming home from work with him. A variation would be she's grooming you to go home to your wife the way your father went home to her. It could be part of her grief."

"Do you believe it?" Rick asked.

"I believe it's a possibility." Sebastian replied, "You don't have to see her as a bad woman but you have to deal with her attitudes."

Rick nodded, "I think I get it, but what do I do?"

"How bad was the area you lived in?" Sebastian asked.

"There weren't drug turf wars or that sort of gang trouble but you kind of stood out if you liked the wrong football team. I'm worth millions aren't I? That's going to make me stand out."

"You're also a gay icon, a TV personality and generally stand out anyway." Sebastian said, "I assume your old school raised funds for various ventures, is there anything that would get the students support?"

"Like preventing the sports fields being sold off?" Rick asked.

"It couldn't be better." Sebastian said, "Let me think about it."

That night Rick stood naked, watching as Will got undressed. He stepped forward and held Will's cock as Will wrapped his arms around him. They kissed tenderly, their bodies pressed close together. Rick's hands now slipped round to Will's pulling their groins even closer together. They broke long enough for Rick to slide down and kneel, taking Will's cock in his mouth. Will groaned and thrust his hips gently to match Rick's breathing. Rick lay on the bad, pulling his legs back, offering himself and Will did not hesitate. He pushed into Rick, withdrew slightly and pushed in again, building a steady rhythm. The rhythm became more intense as everything focussed on his manhood. He thrust with all his strength and felt himself pumping deep into Rick.

As Will came down from his high, Rick pulled him down and kissed him again.

"I'd give up all my money and the earldom, but I'm not giving you up." Rick whispered.

They fell asleep, and like most fifteen year olds, the only care they had was being up for school the next day.

Sebastian was vaguely surprised that Steve and Ryan were still close. Ryan's mother had to know about them but said nothing. Shane spent as much in his room as possible while Vanessa was using the last of her trust fund to complete her year at a Swiss finishing school.

Rick and Will, Steve and Ryan sat with him for breakfast while Shane ate in the flat. He then stomped unhappily to school behind the four friends while that morning, Sebastian made some phone calls.

Sebastian called the four boys into the library that evening.

"It would be wrong for me to take sides between Rick and his mother, but I can give Rick some options." he began. "Rick could try to fit in as an ordinary boy to suit his mother, but what if it's impossible?"

"Go on." Rick said.

"Supposing the Earl of Westmark became patron of the school, bought the playing fields and set them up as a recreation area so that no-one could build on them? Supposing he became a major shareholder in one of the local supermarkets? In other words, supposing you became so well known as the Earl of Westmark, you'd have to move anyway."

Rick nodded, "But wouldn't it be expensive?"

"Land is always a safe investment, even with restrictions. I've spoken to the Wardens of the Watch and Aunt Sybil, so I have a vote in favour of protecting your interests."

"So all your grand plans are falling apart, are they? I see you've started skipping school again."

"Hello Mum." Rick replied, "I've got permission this time. I've been to my old school to talk to the board of governors."

"Why? To wriggle out of being expelled."

"Look Mum, I don't come here for a fight, and it's getting to be hard work." Rick said, "How about giving me a break?"

"When you learn to do as you're told, we'll be able to sort things out. Until then, I don't know if I want to speak to you."

"OK, Mum. Have it your way and by the way, I'm now a patron of the school, and I'll never be an ordinary student there."

With that, he left to be driven to the waiting helicopter. Still his meeting at the school had gone better, despite the farcical mix-up when he arrived.

He had gone to check on their old flat and spotted his bike. Briefly he felt a little homesick and chose to ride to school as he always had done. It was still warm enough to take off his jacket and tie, so he arrived looking like a student. He locked his bike and then, uncertain what to do, headed for the office.

"Why are you out of class?" A harassed secretary asked, "Do you have a note?"

"I'm not a student here …" Rick began.

"It's a bad time to register. The principal is expecting a VIP, and he'll be busy all morning. Come back this afternoon. Let me have your name and I'll let him know. Name?"

"Richard Blatcherfield."

"That's the same as our VIP …" The secretary looked up again, this long enough to actually look at him, "I recognise you. You are a student. I don't know what game you're playing but it's going to land you in a lot of trouble."

"You don't happen to remember my name, do you?" Rick asked.

"Yes, let me see, it begins with a B, Butter, no, Blatcherfield … What is going on?"

"No-one believes my story if I just tell them. I'm now Richard Blatcherfield, Earl of Westmark. I guess I slipped in under the radar again because I cycled from our old flat."

"You certainly did that. Didn't you see the head pupil standing at the entrance?"

"I did, and he said something about me being late. I didn't think he'd believe me."

"I'll let the principal know you're here." the secretary said, "Oh, and I'll warn him."

Rick pulled his jacket and tie out of his bag as she phoned through and led into the principal's office. For the first time in the many times he had been in there over the years, Rick was invited to sit down.

"I looked you up when your office first contacted us. It's an incredible story. How are you getting on?" Mr. Stokes, the principal asked.

"Sometimes it feels like a fairy story and sometimes it feels very business like." Rick replied, "I bet you're surprised to learn I'm back in school and getting ready for the GCSEs.

"No. You've got the motivation you needed. I can understand that. I'm not so sure why you're interested in our school."

"You've met my mother, so maybe you know how stubborn she can be. She's extremely ill, and refuses to accept who I am now, so she won't let me arrange care for her. She's determined to get us back into the flat and everything back to as it was. I was happy enough round here so it's nice to try to do something and hopefully, she'll realise we've moved on."

"I see. You want to become a local celebrity so you can't become an anonymous schoolboy again. You're offering what?"

"I never really thought why this was called Gresham High School. There's a Gresham Park and the Gresham Memorial Hospital. It turns out a Thomas Gresham owned the lands round here but donated some for good causes. Now if you've been having trouble selling the playing fields it's because there're clauses restricting its use."

Another man present, introduced as the chairman of the board of trustees, Mr. Atkinson nodded and said, "That's right. We're trying to get the clauses annulled but the Gresham Trust is objecting."

"The trust is pretty ineffective nowadays because it's run out of assets to sell and it's got no money." Rick said, "If it didn't monitor things like this, it wouldn't have anything to do."

"So what do you propose?"

"I buy the land, stick to the original terms and rent it back to you for a penny a year. Give me a pound and you've got it for a hundred years, and someone else will be have to decide what to do then."

"Yes but it's a prime site for building. We'd get a very good price which would go to refurbishing the gym."

"Which will need refurbishing again — when?"

"So do you have a better idea?"

"Possibly. We buy the land all the sports facilities are on. The school has exclusive rights to use them in regular school hours, but we open them to the public at other times. That way, they generate income."

"And this is your idea?" Mr. Stokes asked, "I'm impressed."

"No, my friends helped, and we have an activity centre on Bovaline. I can get a lot of good advice."

"On paper, owning the land would be long term asset for you, costs would be offset by fees and the rest would be donations offering tax breaks. I see how it would work for you, but isn't it a complicated way of dealing with your mother?" Mr. Atkinson said.

"Yes, but I grew up round here and I like the idea of having links here. Bovaline is more barter than banking and it sees hidden advantages in things. For example, how about some sort of twinning scheme, so Bovaline can boost tourism. The news should spread around other boroughs and it might be an incentive to visit."

"I'll put it to the board." Mr. Atkinson said, "Do you have a formal proposal?"

"I've got a letter which outlines what we've discussed. The rest is up to the lawyers."

"Agreed, then I think we're done." Mr. Atkinson said, "Do you want visit your old friends while you're here? That would be all right, wouldn't it, Mr. Stokes?"

"Thanks, but I suppose they all know about Will and me. I'm not ready for a load of grief about it."

"You were the topic of conversation for days." Mr. Stokes smiled, "And that was among the staff. I'd say, half the student body would give you a hard time while the other half claims to have known all along. Why not see how it goes?"

Mr. Stokes duly apologised for interrupting the class, introduced Rick then waited for him to speak. Rick was getting used to being the centre of attention so took a deep breath and began, "Hi, it's good to see you all again. I think you all know, I live in a castle, and Will and I share a room. Well it's more than a room, we sleep in a four-poster bed and can draw curtains around it. It's useful when friends sleep in one of the tower rooms. Let's see, we spent a lot of the summer kayaking, and we had to drive a train to get to the activity centre. There're four of us in the castle who go to school and we usually walk but if the weather's bad Ryan drives us. He's my cousin and is twelve. It's a weird life, and so different to round here."

Mr. Stokes was impressed. Rick had mentioned sport, driving and friends staying. His lifestyle was in there somewhere, but he had got his old classmate's attention.

"You and Will are disgusting." A boy called out, "No wonder you hide it."

"We don't hide." Rick replied, "If you're staying with your girlfriend, do you want her to see me or Will naked? Who would she prefer?"

Again, Rick had raised interesting possibilities as the boy blushed slightly.

"I thought cars were banned." Another asked, "How come you can drive them?"

"We don't ban cars. We've got electric cars and railcars. The school's even got its own railway siding. We just do things our way and not the mainland's way."

"OK, but how come you and Will can sleep together? Why doesn't anyone stop you?"

"Being the Earl of Westmark helps." As Rick hoped, it raised a chuckle, so he continued, "Mr. Stokes might like the idea alcohol and drugs are not really allowed but centuries ago, the island realised teenagers like sex and need to find a mate. It's pretty easy going."

"Sounds good. When can I move there?"

"When your parents agree." Rick replied to more laughs.

Mr. Stokes was happier when the questions turned to sport. Later, Rick was happy to eat in the school canteen surrounded by his friends. It was a good start to the visit which helped him cope with his mother.

"So you want even more noisy teenagers spoiling my rest." Sebastian said that evening, "Anything to boost income."

"You like us really." Will chuckled, "Is your plan going to work?"

"If we get to the point where we publicise the deal, it should." Sebastian replied, "It'll take time though."

Rick glanced across at Steve and Ryan, vaguely surprised their parents allowed their relationship, but Ryan's mother had changed, and it was Shane who had lost the most. No-one liked him because he remained a bully, so no-one spoke to him. With his mother now sober and far more confident, the threat of military school hung over him, and if he was ever grounded, it meant time alone in a dungeon.

Only Rick's mother remained a real problem and at least he had a plan.

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