The Boy With the Golden Eyes
by London Lampy
"Thank you Mother." Father Frederick said as the nun passed him a freshly poured cup of tea. "Nothing as comforting as a hot drink on a cold day is there?"
"No Father." Mother Hardigan replied, regarding the priest over the rim of her own cup. Though always outwardly respectful of the man she harboured a deep dislike and distrust of him. He was much too familiar and friendly with the children, and on more than one occasion had overruled her when it came to punishments.
She had become so used Father Bernard and his ways, and the fact that they had rarely, if ever disagreed with one another over the running of the Bryce orphanage that this new, younger and altogether more liberal priest was like a burr in her foot. Only last week she had been forced to bite her tongue when he refused to cane that most troublesome of girls, Elodie, for assaulting her and disrupting a lesson. The girl had been denied permission to go to the toilet as it was less than thirty minutes until lunch, however Elodie had defied her and tried to leave the room, and when Mother Hardigan had physically blocked the girl's passage she had been pushed out of the way and Elodie had run off. The nun had been left seething inside at the fact that Elodie had received nothing more than a warning not to behave that way again.
The priest put his cup down and pulled an envelope out of his pocket. "I have an application from a Mr Smith to sign out three of our boys overnight tomorrow to help him..." He opened the envelope, pulled out a piece of paper and consulted it. "...unload a consignment of goods, apparently. He's asked for Fletcher, Exit and the new boy, Jack." He looked at the nun questioningly.
"Has he included payment?" She asked.
"Yes." He replied, looking in the envelope again.
"The approve it, I see no problem." She sipped her tea.
He read the application again. "I've been meaning to speak to you about this practise, do you think it's right that we should let just anyone who pays us take the children off? They could be doing anything with them."
"Last year we raised close on two hundred pounds from, as you put it, this practise. If you can suggest a way we could replace that money if we stopped letting them out to work then feel free."
"Good gods!" He exclaimed, Mother Hardigan wincing at the blasphemy. "That much money? I'm only a little concerned that it may look like we are almost, if you will excuse the expression, prostituting them out."
"They work, it's good training for them, and we receive payment that helps us keep this place open, there is nothing sordid about it." She said briskly.
"Apologies mother, I didn't mean to suggest that there was, and we certainly can't afford to loose that amount of money." He peered at the paper again. "I must say I'm a little surprised at his choices, Jack I understand, he's surely built for manual labour, Fletcher is quite solid, and I believe that this Mr Smith is a friend of the boy's father, not that that in its self is much of a character reference, but Exit? He can't be much over five foot, and he doesn't give the impression of being particularly strong, although I suppose he could be, being what he is."
The priest drained the last of his tea, and Mother Hardigan saw him wincing, she assumed that he had just swallowed a mouthful of tea leaves. "I still think that we should look into the possibility of sending him back to where he came from, there can't much of a future for him in the city. I fail to understand what Father Barnaby thought he was doing bringing him here."
"Just Barnaby, he's no longer a Father don't forget." Mother Hardigan corrected him.
"Ah, yes, of course. In fact no longer a member of our faith in any sense, the bishop saw fit to excommunicate him last year in his absence. We don't need the scandal of one of the most wanted men on the Northern Continent being associated with us."
"Indeed not." The nun agreed. "Would you like more tea?"
Sister Mackintosh had handed Jack the small pile of clothes at lunch time, making a comment about how they should fit his muscular frame better, then blushing furiously. He caught up with Jane and Dana once he had changed as he needed to somehow explain to them that he was going to be out of the orphanage overnight, without revealing exactly what he was doing or anything about his arrangement with Elodie.
This time Jane was sporting a bruise on her cheek, and Dana was pale and angry looking.
"They found you some new clothes." Jane commented as he sat down beside them with his lunch, a single cheese sandwich. Her voice was quiet and flat, nothing like she normally sounded.
"Yes." He nodded. "What's happened now?" He pointed to the bruise.
"Exactly what I said would happen." Dana stated. "Elodie didn't take kindly to Jane's chat with Father Frederick, she flushed her head down the toilet, or at least stood by and gave the orders while the other girls did it."
Jack sighed, he had to win this fight at all costs.
"Then they did the same to Dana." Jane added.
Jack looked astonished. "How many of them were there?" He questioned, knowing small as she was Dana was a hell cat in fights.
"Ten." Dana said scowling.
Jack took a deep breath. "I'm not going to be here tonight, I've been signed out to work."
"Where?" Jane immediately asked.
"I don't know." He replied truthfully. "It's something to do with a friend of Fletcher's father, you know the boy I mean?" They both nodded.
"What are you going to be doing?" Jane suddenly seemed more her old self as she quizzed him.
"I'm not really sure." He couldn't tell them boxing. "But I'll be back in the morning."
"I hope it's nothing dangerous." Jane's blue eyes were wide.
"If I were you I wouldn't come back." Dana added.
"No, don't say that, he can't leave us, you won't, will you Jack?" Jane looked close to tears at the thought.
"I'll be back, don't worry." He reassured her, although what state he'd be in was another matter.
He found Elodie gossiping with a large group of girls in the yard. "I need to talk to you." He said pointing at her. Some of other the girls nudged one another and giggled.
"Then talk." The blond girl replied, not moving.
"Privately please." This provoked more giggles.
"We're not supposed to spend time with the boys in private." A girl with black hair in two long braids said mockingly.
"Shut up Felicity." Elodie snapped, walking toward Jack. They headed to the other side of the cobbles, all the girls watching them intently.
"Have you got the money?" She looked up at him, a surprising note of desperation in her voice.
"I think I will do tomorrow."
"You think? That's no fucking use, I need that money." She turned away from him.
"You promise if I give you the money you'll leave my sisters alone, you won't just keep attacking them and ask for more and more?"
"I said twenty pounds, I meant it." She snapped.
"Then I'll have it." He sounded more confidant than he felt. "Elodie, what do you need the money for?"
"To save my life." She said, walking away.
"Are you Mr Smith?" Sister Mackintosh asked a pale, skinny balding man who looked to be in his fifties smoking a roll up cigarette while leaning on the wall on the other side of the gates.
"Depends who wants to know love." He winked at her.
"Er...um." She stuttered. "Are you the Mr Smith who is signing out three of our boys tonight?"
"Yeah, that's me, just pulling your leg, assuming you actually have legs under there." He pointed toward her habit with the glowing tip of his cigarette.
"I need you to sign this." She said stiffly, showing him a slip of paper.
"Well you'd better open the gate then hadn't you love? Can't do it from here."
"Oh...yes." She fumbled with the key, taking several attempts to unlock the wicket gate. Once she'd got it open she stepped through and Jack, Exit and Fletcher followed.
"Hey, Fletch." The skinny man greeted him by slapping him on the back. "This place has got more bars than where they got your old man."
"Hey Smitty." He said in return.
"Mr Smith, I need you to sign this." Sister Mackintosh waved the slip at him.
"Yeah yeah, don't get your knickers in a knot love." Jack watched as he took it and a pen off her, rested the paper against the wall and scrawled, while the nun turned pink.
"You have Fletcher, Jack and Exit." She said counting them off.
"You're right, he does look the business." Smitty said to Fletcher, looking Jack up and down. "Let's hope he has the ability to match." He then turned and regarded the third member of the group.
"Fuck me, you a monkey?" He said in surprise, making the nun blush further.
"Yes, he is." Fletcher answered for Exit.
"Better than a lizard I suppose, come on lads, lets go."
Out on the street he hailed a cab and they climbed into the back, Jack made sure he sat next to Exit while Fletcher and Smitty sat opposite.
"Why are you here?" Smitty asked Exit, rolling another cigarette.
"Um...because Jack asked me."
"He your lucky mascot?" Smitty asked Jack.
"No, my friend." Jack replied, wondering if inviting Exit had been such a good idea after all. He felt quite sure that he was going to get beaten to a bloody pulp and he wasn't certain that he wanted any spectators to that, let alone one he was very attracted to.
"So, Jack." Smitty lit his cigarette and blew out a plume of smoke. "What's your previous?"
"Previous?" He didn't know what the man meant.
"Yeah, what you done before, you know, official rules, bare knuckle, how many fights you had, wins, losses, that kind of thing."
"None, I've never boxed before." He shrugged.
"Fletch! For fucks sake." Smitty rounded on the boy. "What'd you think you're doing, you can't just throw a novice in the ring."
"Come on Smitty, you agreed he looks the business, all he needs is to not get himself killed."
The man sighed and shook his head. "And all you need to do is take a cut, am I right?"
Fletcher cocked his head. "He could be really good."
Smitty pulled a small, greasy looking notebook out of his pocket and studied it for a while. "I suppose we could put him up against Pikey George, bill it as kind of a youth versus age thing." He said eventually.
"Who's Pikey George?" Jack asked, feeling that he ought to have some kind of say here.
"An ancient geezer." Fletcher laughed. "That'd be perfect."
"How old is he?"
"One hundred and seven." Fletcher came back.
"Don't be so fucking stupid." Smitty pulled down the window and threw his cigarette butt out. "He's sixty two, been a fighter all his life, not as fast as he used to be and his reflexes are shot but he can still punch. Think I'll put the two of you up first, you're hardly a major draw, though you might go down well with the ladies." He looked appraisingly at Jack.
"So what do I do, what are the rules?" He asked.
"No punching below the belt, no kicking, no biting, no gouging, and you don't hit a man when he's down, you think you can remember all that?" Jack nodded
"Other than that you just fight, none of this rounds shit, you keep going until one of you quits or is knocked out." Jack nodded again, hoping that if anyone was going to be knocked out it wasn't going to be him.
"They don't fit too bad." Fletcher said, screwing up his eyes and looking at Jack.
"I know they're shorts, but I don't think that they are meant to be this short." Jack tugged at them to try and pull the legs down a little, but this made the waist band come down too until he was in danger of exposing himself. "Exit, what do you think?"
"They are quite short." He said looking at Jack's bare legs from his perch on the desk.
The three of them were in Smitty's small office, before going off to organise the running order the skinny man had found Jack a pair of shorts to wear. Unfortunately much like the clothes he had originally been given at the orphanage they were far too small for him, he was sure that they weren't meant to sit quite so high on his thighs, or cut into his crotch quite so much. Other than that he was shirtless and wearing his boots, having been told that the crowd had a tendency to throw glasses and bottles if they objected to something, so bare feet was not a good option.
"You have got underwear on under there haven't you?" Fletcher asked him, raising his eyebrows. "We don't want everyone getting a look at your meat and two veg if you end up on the deck."
"Yes, I do." Jack tried to tug the shorts out from his ass where they had now lodged . "Anyway you know that, you were here when I got changed."
"I weren't looking!" He protested indignantly. "What kind of pervert do you think I am?"
Jack found himself catching Exit's eye for a moment.
"Right, Jack do you still want me to bet all your earnings on you?"
"Yes." He replied.
"Fine, I'll try and get the best odds I can on you." He opened the door. "I'll come get you when it's time."
Once he had left Jack adjusted the shorts yet again. "I should have asked him to look for a larger pair too." He grumbled. "I look stupid."
Exit nodded. "Thanks." Jack said. "You're not supposed to agree, you're supposed to tell me I look all right."
"Well, you don't exactly look stupid, but they don't look comfortable either."
"Trust me, they're not, everything's getting squashed." He sighed leaning back on the desk beside Exit. " I should be worrying about the fight, but instead I'm worrying about if I'll ever be able to have sex again." As soon as he said it he regretted it, but Exit simply laughed and looked up at him, and Jack forgot everything except the fact that they were alone together.
"Are you worried?" Exit asked.
"Yes. I know I'm strong and I know I can punch, but I don't know if I can fight a complete stranger." He mused.
"So why are you doing it?"
"If I tell you this you've got to promise me you won't tell anyone else."
"I promise, who would I tell, Mother Hardigan?" He smiled.
"You know Elodie?" The echoback boy nodded. "Ever since we came to the orphanage her and her friends have been making life hell for Dana and Jane."
"Yes, she does that." Exit said.
"I tried to talk to her, the first time she told me where to go, the second time she said if I got her twenty pounds she'd leave them alone."
"Do you believe her?"
"I think so, she seems kind of desperate, says she needs it "to save her life", whatever that means. Do you think she's going to go back on it?"
"I don't know, I've never even spoken to her. All I can tell you is that most of the girls are scared of her, and most of the boys want to get her alone in the book cupboard."
"Do you?" Jack asked quietly.
"Most definitely not." He said with a small smile.
Jack swallowed, his heart hammering in his chest, all thoughts of fights and too small shorts forgotten. He brought his hand up and touched the other boy's face, his finger tracing a path across his cheek to his lips, which parted when he touched them, and much to both his surprise and arousal Exit licked the pad of his finger with the tip of his tongue.
That was all the encouragement Jack needed, he stepped in front of him, grateful for the fact that Exit was sat on the desk as it made him a little taller so he wouldn't have to stoop quite so much, or resort to having to pick him up, and leant down and kissed him.
It started softly, Jack's lips barely touching the other boy's, but soon it became more insistent, Exit's hand found its way onto the back of Jack's head and he pulled him in closer, his fingers threading through the curls until Jack ended up standing between his knees, his own hands on Exit's slender back. The kiss deepened, Jack's tongue eased its way into Exit's mouth and he was rewarded by the smaller boy following suit, and making a small moaning sound that went straight to Jack's cock. Jack pulled him in as close as he could, wanting to feel his almost naked body pressed against against Exit, and he was so consumed by what he was doing that he failed to hear the door opening.
"Fuck me Shithouse, that is every kind of wrong." Fletcher announced from the doorway. Jack stopped kissing the other boy and looked over his shoulder, but didn't move away.
"I suppose that explains why you wanted to bring him, I kind of thought it was odd, makes sense now." Fletcher frowned at him. "You're going to have to put him down though, your fight's up soon."
"How long have I got?" He asked, stroking Exit's back through his clothes.
"A few minutes, not long enough to do what you're thinking about doing."
Jack was rather glad he didn't have to go straight away, the shorts were even tighter now.
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