The Ghetto, Gone but not Forgotten
by N Fourbois
Three Years On
Adam and Simon were relieved, but also sad, that their final term at school was behind them. Now they were in limbo for several weeks awaiting their A-level results and consequent on them their fate for the next few years. School broke up after Speech Day on the Friday. They and their friends in the Upper Sixth had been given a good send off by the school. It was a tradition to hold a separate assembly in the morning for the Upper Sixth in which their individual achievements were extolled by the Headmaster, and while the occasion was long and drawn out, it was appreciated as he had the gift of making every boy who attended feel a valued member of their society. Although the words 'Cockatoo Club' were not actually spoken, Simon and Adam were praised not only for their sporting achievements, but also for the work they had done in providing a safe environment for gay pupils to come out and be accepted by their fellows.
Earlier in the week the climax had been the end of term ball. Not only were they permitted to attend as a couple, but other members of the Club were too, and furthermore Tony was allowed to bring Ben as his guest, although Ben's school would not allow a reciprocal arrangement. During Sports Day Adam broke his own school record for the 5000 metres. He put this down to Tom Bowler for providing the competition that spurred him on to greater achievements. The boys hoped that the Cockatoo Club would be safe in the hands of Tony's brother William who would be entering the sixth form in September. It had become a recognised, though unofficial, force within the school, still not having achieved a place in the pages of school clubs and societies in the School List.
Adam and Simon arrived home at two, said hallo to Mrs Green, went upstairs, shed their school uniform for the last time and took it down to the kitchen so that she could send it off to the cleaners. They thought back to the time when Brabazon used to valet the uniforms personally. Over the next few days they would have to visit him. His health had finally forced him to retire and Philip insisted on finding and financing the best local care possible for him. He had engaged Mrs Green as a fulltime housekeeper and although she was excellent at her job, she did not and could not fill the role that Brabazon had vacated.
The boys changed into their lycra one-pieces. It was odd that after years of being forced to wear school uniform of one type or another and according to activity, they chose to put on their mandatory school athletics kit. It was a form of not being able to cut the umbilical cord yet and they had made up their minds to buy new one-pieces when they were in London the next time. Their one act of rebellion was to wear nothing underneath, as with cycling shorts. They loved the new found freedom, and if they popped a boner, so what? They had lost their embarrassment over that long ago. Lucy was getting excited as she knew she was going for walkies. Simon and Adam took their usual route, jogging while on the public highway with Lucy on the lead, then letting her off when they reached the park and following her at faster pace until they reached the lake where she would stop and wag her tail at the ducks, moorhens and coots, before diving into the water for a swim. The boys played with her to get her dry and then the run continued up the wooded hill where all three ran at their own pace and met by the wishing well. The gap between Adam and Lucy had narrowed. She was now more than a middle-aged dog and Adam was approaching the zenith of his youthful powers. They stopped longer than usual at the wishing well. Their last day at school had caused a wave of nostalgia to well up and the boys talked about their first meeting that led to their romantic liaison. They could scarcely believe that this had happened over four years ago and that it would be coming up for five since Adam's parents had perished in the fireball that ensued after a petrol tanker had crossed the central reservation of the motorway and crashed into their car. The memory that Adam would have been with them, had he not been called up as a last minute reserve for a school rugby match, still lurked deeply within him and yet rugby had become one of his passions.
Now school was behind them, they had a new life to look forward to. They had decided to become officially engaged on the day the A-level results were published and hold a double celebration party with their friends in the evening. Lucy barked which indicated it was time to go home. They ran down the hill through the trees, avoiding passing by the lake as they didn't want to dry Lucy off again. They arrived home, settled Lucy down, then went down to the pool to swim their fifty lengths. The earlier part of the day had been an emotional strain. They now added physical fatigue and had time to go for a lie down before dinner. Philip would be home by then and they needed to talk to him.
He had not attended Speech Day. He had not recovered from an embarrassing incident at Sports Day tea which took everybody by surprise. He, Simon and Adam were in a small group talking to the Headmaster, Mr Kemp, and others. He congratulated Adam on breaking his own school record for the 5000m and the conversation continued.
"Of course, we are very fortunate in sport as we receive generous ongoing sponsorship from a company called S.A.U.K Ores," said the Headmaster. "It's expressly to support rugby, hockey and athletics in the school." So far so good. Then one of the other parents, Rohan Budgen's father, piped up
"Isn't that your company, Philip?" Philip blushed immediately and didn't know where to put his face.
"That's supposed to be strictly confidential" he replied sternly. "Excuse me. Adam, Simon, I'll see you at home." The boys were as surprised as anybody.
"I didn't even know that myself, Mr Budgen," the Headmaster spluttered. "Ladies and gentlemen, please excuse me. There's a damage limitation exercise underway." The Head whispered something in his Deputy's ear and dashed off, heading for the car park, but he arrived too late. He saw a large car disappearing out of the gate. He returned to the gathering inside and outside of the pavilion and continued to entertain the boys, parents and guests, after asking a junior boy to find Simon and Adam and bring them to him. Mr Budgen tried to apologise, but the Head excused himself saying that he had guests to entertain.
After five minutes Adam and Simon had been found and the Headmaster took them on one side. They were as nonplussed as everybody else. Yes, they knew that S.A.U.K Ores was one of their father's companies; no, they didn't know that it sponsored school sport. It was correct that it should be so.
"Please assure your father that I didn't know he was behind the sponsorship or I wouldn't have mentioned it. I'll be in touch with your father this evening. Could you mention that to him and suggest a convenient time?"
"We eat at seven o'clock," said Simon "and so I suggest about eight."
"Thank you. I'm sorry your last Sports Day has been marred like this." They could tell that the Headmaster was absolutely mortified and that it was a genuine mistake.
That Tuesday evening the family had supper together and the boys could tell that Philip was still out of sorts. He didn't even finish his meal, but retired to his study to await a phone call from Mr Kemp.
On the dot at eight o'clock the front door bell rang. Mrs Green answered and showed the Headmaster into the library. She went and knocked on the study door. Philip was surprised at the personal visit, but asked Mrs Green to show the Head to his study. The door closed. The Headmaster explained the situation to Philip as well as he could. He assured him that that he didn't have an inkling that Philip was connected with S.A.U.K Ores and how important the company's charitable sponsorship had been.
"Mr Kemp, I do not know if you realise how fortunate my family has been in business. My income far exceeds our needs and so through the firm we help where we can both in Great Britain and South Africa. There we support a large HIV and AIDS programme. I wanted to support the things my sons were interested in at school, but anonymity and confidentiality were of the highest importance to me because I didn't want anyone to view it as buying their way through school. That will now be what people think and I don't feel I can show my face in the school again. Please accept my apologies for Speech Day. I would love to have been there as I understand both Simon and Adam will be receiving prizes. My company will now have to consider the implications for its sponsorship."
"All I can do is apologise on behalf of the school and hope you will reconsider concerning Speech Day, if only for Adam and Simon's sake. We shall be sorry to see them leave and are grateful for all the work they have put in, not only in sport and official activities, but in the assimilation of our gay pupils. I have always taken an interest in their activities, but won't burden you with the personal reasons."
Twenty minutes later the two men emerged. Simon and Adam did observe smiles and a handshake as Mr Kemp was shown out. The boys heard the full tale over cocoa and biscuits. Philip was still sore, but at least he had a greater understanding of the situation. He understood that the Headmaster had acted entirely innocently and that the blame lay entirely with that fool Budgen. The bottle of expensive malt whisky left behind had been a gesture, but as a commodity anonymity was far more important and expensive than a bottle of whisky. It might be some consolation if the cost had ended up on Budgen's school expenses, but it wouldn't. Back to Friday afternoon.
As they lay there, Simon said
"Adam, have you ever had a wet dream?" Adam thought for a bit.
"I don't know. I might have done when I was really young, about twelve say. Why?"
"It's just that I thought I used to. Not a lot, but I haven't had a single one since I met you."
"Since we met or since I moved in?"
"Since we met. It's just that I started wanking much more after then. I used to have a lot of fantasies about you until we got together. Then I had the real thing."
"In both senses."
"How do you mean?"
"The real thing in the sense of the real me and in the sense of real sex."
"So, what about you?" said Simon.
"You mustn't forget that I had a boyfriend from quite early on and we did stuff together whenever we could. So there was never enough spunk left over for wet dreams."
"What's the official term for wet dreams?"
"Nocturnal emissions," answered Adam.
"It's funny how the official term always sounds far worse that the slang name. Masturbate is a horrible word."
"Wanking's not much better."
"But at least it's a down to earth word. Like jerk off and toss off."
The house phone buzzed and it was Mrs Green to say that supper was ready in the kitchen. The dinner gong had lain silent since Brabazon's departure. The boys greeted Philip and the four sat round the kitchen table devouring Mrs Green's steak and kidney pudding, which tended to limit conversation. What conversation there was, concerned the last day at school. Mrs Green served fresh fruit salad as something light after the suet. As she was clearing away, Adam said
"Philip, can we have a family chat, please?"
"Certainly. Mrs Green, would you serve our coffee in the drawing room, please?"
All three settled in the drawing room, Adam opened the conversation.
"Philip, have you had any more thoughts concerning our engagement rings?"
"Yes," Philip replied. "I started from two differing points of view and came to a compromise. As you know, I deplore body piercings of any kind, but on the other hand I realise that you are both eighteen, soon to be nineteen, and as far as the law is concerned you are deemed in full control of yourselves, in this case of your bodies and you can do what you want anyway."
"It was just that we thought that a finger ring with the traditional diamond just looked a little girlish," said Simon.
"And an earring isn't?"
"Not these days, Dad."
"What are your objections to body piercings exactly?" enquired Adam.
"First, it's personal hygiene. If the body is open, it is open to infection. Secondly, look at those members of the underclass that wear piercings and tattoos. With your education, background and upbringing do you honestly want to appear associated with them?"
"Dad! That's a bit snobbish," exclaimed Simon.
"Yes, it may be," said Adam, "but, Simon, you have never been to school or lived with this so-called underclass. I have and I am grateful to be out of it."
"Okay, boys, here's the bargain, take it or leave it. I'll give you my blessing to having your ears pierced provided you give a solemn undertaking that that will be the last body mutilation you will ever have, and that includes tattoos..."
"What about circumcision?"
"Don't be frivolous, Simon. In addition, if you will give me the design, I'll have them made by a manufacturing jeweller and I will pay for them as an engagement present."
"Can we have them in gold?" asked Adam.
"Yes, but I have a better idea. Gold can be a bit flash and make you draw attention to yourselves at the wrong time. I was going to suggest platinum which, although silvery in appearance, is more valuable than gold, and would be more discreet. And I'll source the platinum through our South African company so that it has a little more meaning." The boys looked and one another and nodded.
"We agree," said Adam.
"Agreed," said Simon and they hugged and kissed one another.
"You know you will have to get your ears pierced well in advance and wear sleepers so that the holes establish themselves?"
"Oh, um, yes," mumbled Simon. "We'd better get that sorted."
"There's an article about it in this month's GYmag," said Adam. Both boys thanked Philip, said good night. They wanted to go up to bed as they were rather tired. Philip raised an eyebrow, they blushed and said no, they really were tired and that they had their lifetime ahead of them for that. Philip kissed them and said good night. He then went to his study to make a phone call to South Africa.
"You know what Dad was saying about getting our ears pierced?" said Simon next morning. "We ought to do something about that today."
"Mmm, Brabazon would have had that all organised in the old days," groaned Adam. The sun was already quite high. They had woken up early and spent the dawn on a long and gentle session of making love. They felt they had to make up for doing nothing the previous night. It was after all the school holidays and if during them they did not make love at least fourteen times in a week they considered they were failing in their duty to each other. Sometimes it was more if they could find time for a rest after lunch. They wanted to exploit the zenith of their physical powers as a form of compensation after learning to their dismay that from the age of eighteen they started to lose more brain cells than they manufactured. They knew how fortunate they were, not only to have each other, but also to enjoy the singular and privileged opportunity they had for boys of their age to express their love in such an unbounded manner. With over four years experience behind them Adam had emerged, if not the dominant member of the partnership, then the one who was more likely to take the lead. They rejected the word dominant as they were equal members in this partnership and by no means did Adam always act as the top. They complemented each other perfectly, were open in discussing their needs and were amply able to fulfil them.
"We'd better get up," said Simon "or Lucy will be peeing herself."
"I expect Philip will have let her out before he went off to work."
"Remember it's Saturday. He'll be playing golf."
"Oh, of course."
"Do you think we ought to start playing? There's a set of clubs there for each of us and he'd like us to."
"I don't feel ready for it yet. I always think that golf is there to make up for when you can no longer play real sports. And they say it is highly addictive."
"Talking of which, we'd better get on with our run. What are we wearing today?"
"I feel like wearing as little as possible and so it's one of those little thongs, the flared French shorts that show off my cheeks and the triathlete's vest that just covers your tits and shows off your sixpack and belly button."
"Cool," said Simon.
When they went into the kitchen after their run and swim, Mrs Green had arrived and was ready to cook. They no longer had brunch. That had gone with Brabazon. She preferred to cook to order. It was far less wasteful, she said. While eating, Simon asked
"Mrs Green, do you know where we can get our ears pierced?"
"There's the hair stylist and beautician just off the square in town. That's where my daughters went and I know they're good on hygiene, but it might be worth phoning ahead in case you have to book, especially on a Saturday."
The boys were lucky. They got an appointment at half past eleven. They told Mrs Green that they would snack in town and she wasn't to bother about lunch. They decided to skateboard into town and "No, Lucy, you've got to stay in and look after the house," words she always dreaded hearing. The boys would never take the car into town during the day. It just wasn't worth it. After their seventeenth birthday they learnt to drive and when they had passed their tests Philip bought them a car, a Peugeot 207. As with every large project Philip did for them, there were always stringent conditions attached. When they went out in it, it was zero alcohol for both of them. Not that they found that a problem. They fuelled the car out of their allowances and kept it clean inside and out. Philip would pick up the insurance, tax, maintenance and servicing bills, but they would have to pay the excess if there was an insurance claim, and as they were eighteen and in their first year of driving, the insurance had rather a large excess on it.
Adam and Simon felt apprehensive about going into a women's hair salon. They didn't know who might see them there. Some of their old schoolmates perhaps. One of the stereotypes they had continually fought against at school was that if you were gay you must therefore be effeminate, despite both of them being living examples of the ultimate in hunky masculinity. The receptionist asked them to wait until Kayleigh came to attend on them. Kayleigh took them into a side room where all the instruments of torture were laid out.
"Who's going first?" she asked.
"He is," they replied in unison.
"Okay, then, boys, we'll do it in alphabetical order. What's your name?" she asked, looking at Adam.
"Zebedee," he replied before Simon could say anything.
"That's odd," said Kayleigh. "The names in the appointment book are Adam and Simon. So Adam, if you'd like to sit in this chair, we'll get on. Now I have to ask some questions first. Are you over eighteen?"
"Yes," said Adam.
"Proof of age?" He pulled his driving licence out of the card wallet in the side pocket of his cargos. At that moment one of the skateboards leant up against the wall decided to fall over with a crash. Everybody jumped. "It's a good job that didn't happen while I was piercing your ear." Simon laid them down flat. "Which ear do you want pierced?"
"The left one," said Adam. Kayleigh touched it to check. "And which part?"
"The lobe," he answered. This time she touched the lobe.
"Okay." She put a shift round Adam.
"That's to catch all the blood," said Simon. Kayleigh gave him a look.
"I can see I'm going to have trouble with you two." She cleaned the lobe and unwrapped the sterile instruments. "Now try not to look, Adam."
"It's a good trick if you can do it," he replied.
"I know, but it doesn't stop people trying. You must keep your head perfectly still. The needle pierced the lobe. Adam felt it, but was surprised the feeling was not pain. She wiped the lobe with surgical spirit again - that did sting - and pushed through the sleeper stud. "There you are. All done. Keep it clean with salt water. I'll give you a leaflet which I strongly advise you to read and follow. Then you should have no trouble. Next, please." Simon took Adam's place in the chair and had the shift wrapped round him. He submitted to the questions. "Which ear?"
"The right one," replied Simon.
"Are you sure? It's not usual."
"Absolutely sure," said Simon.
"It's so that we don't clank when we're lying in bed together," said Adam drily. Kayleigh blushed deep red and opened her mouth as if she were about to say something, but decided better of it, then reversed the decision.
"I think that's a little more than I need to know."
"Yes, we've been together for over four years," said Simon as if it were the most natural thing in the world. We're going to get engaged and we've decided to wear our engagement rings in our ears rather than on our fingers."
"But we shall wear our wedding rings on our fingers," added Adam.
The procedure successfully over, the boys thanked Kayleigh, said goodbye and went out to settle the account with the receptionist. They carried on to Burger Star as Adam was beginning to feel peckish. While sitting there, Simon said
"We've got a week to fill in and then off on holiday."
"We haven't been to Switzerland in summer, have we?"
"I think we'll be expected to look after ourselves," said Simon. "Dad will be pre-occupied with Belinda."
"We'll cope," said Adam. "You know back at the hairdressing salon? Kayleigh was having her period." Simon looked at the ketchup on his burger and said
"Euugh, Adam, you choose your moments, don't you? How do you know anyway?"
"I could smell it. It doesn't matter how much scent they put on to cover it up, I can always smell it. That's another reason I couldn't have a girlfriend. Three weeks and it would all be over. Anyway, it took my mind off the piercing. And Simon, stop fiddling with your earlobe. You'll just have to get used to it."
After they had finished they went and found themselves a seat in the main square and settled down for a little boywatching session. They couldn't have been there long when a most gorgeous boy with str8 medium length blond hair in a pudding basin cut and wearing a light blue and yellow lycra one-piece skated past them. He even turned and came up to them because he knew them.
"OMG," uttered Adam. "Exquisite."
"Don't you recognise him?" said Simon. "He recognised us."
"He was in Year 9 at school. He was in our house, dammit. In all the school teams and a good little swimmer. Charlie Kent, that's his name."
"It's not!" exclaimed Adam. "I just didn't recognise him out of school uniform. Where was he in my school life?" They watched him skate round the square and saw him come back, heading for them. "OMG, he's coming over to us and I feel hard just seeing him in that lycra."
"Watch it. You're nearly a respectable engaged man. Oops! It's catching. I'm boning up now." He stopped in front of them.
"Hi, Charlie," said Simon.
"Like the skate suit," said Adam.
"Like the ear piercings. Cool. Have you had those done since leaving school?"
"Yeah, the school authorities don't like things like that," said Adam.
"You know, you two guys are going to be missed at school. You're heroes for me and my friend Jamie." The boys blushed.
"Get away," said Adam.
"Why?" said Simon.
"Because of what you guys did, we feel safe and we can be ourselves."
"Why? Are you gay?" asked Adam.
"We sure are and if it hadn't been for you I'd never have known that Jamie was gay and he wouldn't have known that I am."
"Do your parents know too?" said Simon.
"Course, and they found out it's all right to be gay by talking to other parents like your dad. I've gotta get going. I'm meeting Jamie and I see he's just turned up on the other side of the square. Have a great life, guys. You deserve it." Before our boys could say anything Charlie was gone.
They were just about to move when Simon said
"Hey, Adam, look over there. It's Ben and Tony." Simon and Adam stood up and waved. Ben spotted them and they made their way across. The boys hugged and hi-fived.
"Hi, guys," said Tony. "Have you had lunch?"
"Yeah, we've just been to Burger Star."
"We're going there now," said Ben. "What have you two had done to your ears? You've had them pierced, haven't you? Why did you do that?"
"All will be revealed in good time," said Adam.
"Don't forget that we're holding a party on results night and you're both invited," said Simon.
"It's a bit of a bugger we can't go on holiday with you this year," said Tony, "but Mum said it'll be the last time we'll all be together as a family."
"Are you going, Ben?"
"But then he's almost family now," said Tony. Then he whispered "I don't think it will be long before he really is." Ben giggled. While they were chatting, a solitary spotty youth passed the group and shouted out "Faggots". They turned their heads and looked. Since he was on his own, Ben called out
"I'd rather be a happy faggot than a dirty, scruffy str8." The other three showed him the digitus impudicusand he slunk off.
"I recognise him from somewhere," said Adam. "I know. He was in the orphanage with me. They can leave at sixteen and get kicked out at eighteen anyway." He visibly shuddered. "Just to think I could have turned out like that. I wouldn't mind betting he's a junkie." The incident rather put a damper on the atmosphere.
"I'm starving," said Tony.
"See you later," said Ben. "We're off to eat."
"Hugs," shouted Adam and Simon. They mounted their skateboards and made their way home.
Simon and Adam were pleased to get away on holiday. As they had anticipated they were largely left to their own devices. They were given a Swiss Card, which is a ticket which gives them the freedom of the national railways, boats, postbuses, local transport with reductions on mountain lifts and mountain railways. For the first fortnight they were based in Berne and the second in Zurich. Usually they would meet up with Philip and Belinda for breakfast and dinner where they would compare notes. They felt that they learnt more geography in that month than they ever had at school. The mountain air and sunshine prepared them for the rigours of their first term at university, but that was assuming that they had gained the necessary grades in their A-levels. They returned to England full of anticipation.
It was the Wednesday before the Thursday when the A-level results were due to be published. The boys suffered a little nervousness and impatience, but because of what was planned they needed to put in a little bit of preparation first. Belinda Anstruther was staying with the van den Berg family even though Philip, after a month's holiday, could not take off time to entertain her. However, she didn't seem to mind. She was not even an imposition on the boys. Finally Adam and Simon had got through the day. Dinner that evening was served in the dining room and the formality of the occasion demanded that the boys should sit through the extended meal and sociably take part in the conversation. Not that they minded. They had been well schooled in the art and besides they had no other plans for the evening apart from an early night. No, it was not that sort of early night; they were hardened to the looks and comments by now. Finally they could say good night and disappear.
Simon and Adam could no longer ignore the crescendo of the beeping from their alarm clock, particularly as Adam had placed it on the other side of the room. There was a glow in the sky, but officially it was still dark. He lifted up the alarm and looked at it as he switched it off. Five sixteen and twenty-seven seconds.
"Come on, lazybones," he said as he pulled Simon upright and off the bed. He'd already dumped the duvet on the floor to make it more difficult for Simon to go back to sleep. They went into the bathroom and had a half-hearted swordfight as they emptied their bladders. They splashed some cold water on their faces, went back into the bedroom and pulled on a pair of soccer shorts each, a running vest, socks and trainers. They deliberately left off any support garment. They had cut out the integral slip from the shorts. They quietly slipped out of the house, telling Lucy to stay as she showed an interest in walkies, even at this early hour when the streets were not yet aired. They ran along at quite a pace, but today it was not a race. They loved the feeling of running unsupported. Simon's tackle jiggled up and down and in knee-length soccer shorts not even his low hangers could peep out. Adam got a different thrill. As usual his balls were tight, but he could feel his dick flopping up and down in his shorts and every time it tried to stiffen up it came up against the material of his shorts and, sticking out, looked quite impressive, or at least Simon thought so.
Adam looked at his watch.
"Yes, we've got time to run round the lake." As they did so they heard the dawn chorus starting up while the sky grew paler. After a circuit of the lake they took the western path up through the trees and reached the wishing well from where through a gap in the trees they could see the eastern skyline. They were fortunate that the sky was cloudless and there was no early morning mist. Adam looked at his watch again. "Five fifty-one. A minute or so to go." He looked around and listened to make certain that they were alone. And then it happened. The rim of a deep red sun rose above the horizon. Sunrise. Adam took hold of Simon and lifted him onto the parapet of the wishing well. He knelt in front of him, took his hand in his own, looked up at him and said "Simon Philip van den Berg, will you do me the honour of becoming my life partner in civil union and marrying me?" Adam became apprehensive at the time it took for Simon to answer, but after staring into Adam's eyes for some seconds he said in a whisper
"Yes, willingly." It was time to swap roles. Simon came down from the wall, took Adam's hand, raised him to his feet and placed him on the wall. He now knelt before Adam, taking his hand, looked up into his face and said "Adam Simon Neave van den Berg, will you likewise honour me by becoming my partner for life, joining me in civil union and marrying me?" In a firm voice Adam said without hesitation
"I will." Adam took his hand, pulled him to his feet and they embraced in a deep kiss, gradually pulling each other's shorts down. Their hot dicks pressed together, but before anything further could happen Simon said
"Let's save it for later." They broke apart, pulled up their shorts and waited for their cocks to go limp. The large patch of precum on Adam's shorts gave the game away, but at that time in the morning did it matter? There was nobody else about. Now the whole orb of the sun was visible and they could even feel some warmth from it. They each took a pound coin out of the little internal pocket of their shorts, threw it over their shoulders into the well and made a wish. It was time to head for home.
They arrived back at the house at half past six. It wasn't worth their going back to bed. They had to be in school for nine to collect their results. They could have stayed at home until after ten and received them by text, but they wanted to see their mates. They went down to the pool and swam their fifty lengths. In the shower afterwards they gave each other the temporary sexual relief they had been longing for since that embrace at the wishing well. There was something extra about doing it under the shower. Adam swore that he could come off just by letting the warm water cascade onto his glans, but with Simon there that would be a wasted opportunity and on the level of a party trick. He'd do it when he had all the lads there to form an audience. They dried off, went upstairs and dressed in shorts, polo shirt and sandals. This time Simon's balls were properly supported and there was no chance of their hanging out of his shorts. They went down to the kitchen. Philip and Belinda were already having their breakfast and Mrs Green was ready to cook for Adam and Simon. They said good morning to Lucy, but somehow gained the impression she was in a bit of a sulk after being left behind earlier. The headline on the Daily Telegraph lying on the table read 'Best A-level results ever'.
When Mrs Green went off to do something in the scullery, Simon piped up and said
"Adam and I would like to tell you that we are now officially engaged."
"It happened at sunrise," said Adam.
"Congratulations," said Philip as he got up and embraced the boys. Belinda gave them a kiss. "So it's a trip to the jeweller's this morning?"
When we get back from school," said Adam. "Then we announce it officially at the party tonight. It's a secret until then."
"Ah, the party," said Philip. "We've organised a little rival attraction. We invited as many parents of the gay children along as we could." Simon didn't notice it, but being the more linguistically acute the 'we' was not lost on Adam. "You can have the games room and the summerhouse. We've got the drawing room, and the patio and garden are shared territory.
Breakfast over, the boys relented and decided they would walk into school and take Lucy. They set out str8away and got there just before nine. It was great to see their old schoolmates again. They were directed into the lecture theatre and after the Headmaster had said a few words and thanked the boys for maintaining the School's standards and academic reputation, the envelopes were handed out by the School Secretary and the Head of Sixth Form resulting in instant euphoria. Adam undid his and read that he had gained A* in French and German, and A in Latin. Not bad for a late starter. Simon had A* in both pure and applied maths and physics, and A in chemistry. He had won his place at Imperial while Adam had gained his at King's London. While doing different things they would remain together in London. That was the great gamble in their engagement. If they had ended up in different cities, it would have caused problems. The Headmaster stood at the door to congratulate each past pupil as they left and they congregated in the quad to exchange results and congratulate one another. Simon rang his father with their results. Then with a 'see ya later' to the members of the Cockatoo Club they started the walk back with Lucy.
"I wonder how Ben got on," said Simon.
"I'll tell you in a minute," and Adam got out his iPhone and started texting.
When the boys arrived home, Philip welcomed them with open arms. Belinda warmly congratulated them. Philip was immediately ready to go to the jeweller's. The four of them climbed into the car and drove off.
"How did all your friends get on?" asked Philip.
"They all passed, but we don't know about Ben yet," answered Simon. At that moment a vibrating sound emanated from Adam's groin. He pulled out his iPhone. It was Ben.
"He's passed everything too," Adam relayed as Ben spoke. He then told him his own results and handed over the phone to Simon so that he could tell him his. "Tony and Ben will be going to uni together now, like us."
Philip pulled up outside the jeweller's. He was lucky to find an empty parking space.
"I'll stay in the car," said Belinda. "I can't stand seeing people in pain," she added with a twinkle in her eye. The boys piled out and went in with Philip.
"Good morning, Mr van den Berg," said the manager. He said good morning to the boys too. "Perhaps you would step into the fitting room. I won't keep you a minute." After locking the door he returned with three small packages. He opened two of the hinged boxes and the boys gained the first sight of their earrings. They were absolutely beautiful. "Before I fit them I would like you to take a close look at them because you will never see them properly again." He put three jeweller's eyeglasses onto the counter and switched on some more lighting. "The earrings are hallmarked platinum. You'll see that platinum sparkles more than silver. When closed, they are 15mm in diameter, just under three-quarters of an inch, and the band is 4mm across. Now you're Adam?" he said looking at Adam. "Take a close look at this one. You'll see your name engraved on the outside by the hallmark among the tracery, but if you look inside, you will see Simon's name engraved. Similarly, Simon, you will see your name on the outside and Adam's on the inside." Philip and the boys marvelled at how small and clear the workmanship was. "This was quite a challenge for our craftsmen as they don't often get a job like this. Are you happy with them?" Simon and Adam were absolutely amazed. "It's a good job you came to a specialist to have them inserted because we have to squeeze the rings together with pliers without marking them. Now, who's having which ring?"
"I'm having the one with Simon on the outside," said Adam.
"Fine. Come and sit down over here." The jeweller removed Adam's sleeper, cleansed his lobe and the earring. "I must tell you that these earrings have an integral catch which, once closed, will never open again. If the ring had to be removed, the metal would have to be cut, the ring couldn't be saved and would only have scrap value after that. On the other hand a surgeon could cut away your earlobe. Do you understand?" Adam said yes. Deftly the jeweller pushed the ring though Adam's lobe, took his pliers and closed it with a slight snap. "Same aftercare for hygiene as with the sleeper, okay?" Adam stood up and Simon took his place. The same questions, the same procedure. The boys looked at each other and hugged.
"Go and sit in the car while I'll settle up. By the way, I have deposited sufficient platinum with Mr Illingworth to make your wedding rings with when you're ready." Adam and Simon were on an absolute high. They thanked the jeweller and Philip and went to sit in the car with Belinda.
Philip came out of the jeweller's several pounds lighter, and that was just for the craftsmanship, but since he was such a financial heavyweight in any case, he hardly felt it. He was prepared to plough his money into his loved ones and he felt the transaction had been a worthwhile investment, and not only in the financial sense. No money could have bought the look on his boys' faces when they first cast their eyes on the earrings and even more so when they were proudly wearing them. They might be just pieces of metal, and as such did not convey the love and the effort that had gone into their relationship, the delight it had given the family, something which could not be measured in pounds.
"We'll drop you two off at home," said Philip "and then I'm taking Belinda out to lunch."
"It's okay," said Adam. "We'll make our own way back."
"We haven't actually had much time alone since we got engaged," added Simon.
"Okay then, but don't forget to ask Mrs Green if she needs any help when you do get back, but I think with her daughters she'll cope very well. She always does. And also there won't be a lot to eat tonight, just snacky things."
"See you later," the boys said as they got out of the car.
They waved as the car pulled away and then they walked along the street towards the square. They were feeling ten feet high. Today they had cleared two hurdles towards their future happiness - their A-levels and therefore their university places, and their engagement. Just two more - graduate in three years' time and then marriage or civil union or whatever. They walked along the street with their little fingers entwined, proud of the rings in their ears in a way they never had been when the sleepers were there. Philip had declined telling them the cost, or the insurance value. That's why they were sent back to the car when he was settling up. They wanted to do something special for lunch, but were conscious that the real celebration was that evening and so they went to Burger Star. And who should they meet there but Sam Welham and Tom Bowler, obviously celebrating as well. They had seen them earlier in the day, but in the general excitement had not had a chance to talk much. Tom and Sam too were pleased to have gained their university places. Burger Star would miss the trade when these lads moved on to their various destinations around the country, but maybe the word would get around and another generation from the school would fill the gap. Simon and Adam soon took their leave as they had things to do for the evening.
On arriving home they were enthusiastically greeted by Lucy. Obviously she had forgiven them for being so remiss earlier that day. Mrs Green wanted them to lift a few tables and carry a few chairs, but otherwise she and her daughters would manage. She would cook them high tea at five because she was concerned they would not have had a square meal that day otherwise. It was now time to go upstairs and celebrate the engagement in the proper manner. They hung the 'Do Not Disturb' notices on the door handles of their rooms, stripped off their clothes, pulled back the duvet on Adam's bed and lying on their sides Adam took Simon slowly.
About four they heard a whole lot of snuffling from under the door. There was a little bark. They'd forgotten that they hadn't taught Lucy to read the 'Do Not Disturb' notice. Their consciences got the better of them. They would take her for walkies before tea. Simon got up off the bed, unlocked the door and let her in. She immediately jumped up and started licking his half hard dick.
"Whoa, girl! I keep that for Adam," and he picked her up and cuddled her. Adam was giggling away. "Actually watch out, Adam. She does nearly as good a job as you." Adam pretended to look hurt.
"I suppose that's what they call going dogging." Simon went into the bathroom, washed his dick and balls with soap and water and they got dressed. When they went downstairs Philip was having a cup of tea in the kitchen.
"Where's Belinda?" asked Simon.
"Having a rest before this evening."
"We're just going to give Lucy a run," said Adam.
"Anything we have to talk about for the party?" said Philip.
"Don't think so."
"We really love these earrings, Philip," said Adam and took him in a hug and kissed his cheek. Lucy barked impatiently.
"No sense of occasion, that dog," said Simon.
After tea the boys went and got showered and changed for the evening ahead, but... But things didn't really go as planned.
There was one thing that they had not catered for. Adam and Simon thought the lads would turn up and they'd kick a ball around on the lawn, go and have a drink and snacks in the summerhouse or get on the snooker table or dartboard in the games room. Their friends turned up with their parents, but instead of separating into two groups they stayed with them at first in the drawing room and then started to circulate. Adam whispered to Simon
"There's something different about them," and there was.
"Do you know what?" said Simon. "They don't look like schoolboys any more. They are... I suppose we are... er... young men. The only people who looked remotely like schoolboys, and it was remotely, were William Legge and his boyfriend Mark, but they were a couple of years younger anyway. Robin Banks's face was adorned with designer stubble, which presumably Paul Taylor approved of, but didn't copy, and Mrs Banks made it obvious during the evening that she didn't.
Like the good hosts they were, Simon and Adam split, talked to the guests and helped Philip and one of Mrs Green's daughters to keep the glasses filled. The boys were pleased to see Angelica Legge was present, and that Isabella Carlton was not. Angie had become friends with Ellie Bowler despite their age difference and they went round together talking to the other guests. The noise level proved that everyone was enjoying themselves. It was at this stage that with Belinda at his side Philip clapped his hands and the room grew silent.
"OMG," said Simon in a stage whisper "he's going to make a speech. How embarrassing." He grabbed Adam's hand and pulled him towards the back of the room where they were largely hidden by the crowd. They continued to stand there holding hands.
"First of all I'd like to welcome you all here as the friends we have grown to be over the years. Our sons have been together for seven years, or at least most of them, and I thought this little get together would celebrate two things. The immediate thing is the splendid A-level results which our young men - I can't call them boys any more - have achieved. I think I have spoken to you all this evening and given you my congratulations individually. But there are also the deep friendships which have developed between our sons, and I know that in many cases the friendships have grown deeper still than that. Over the years we parents have had to accept and deal with the fact that our sons are homosexuals, and I want to thank all the parents here for the mutual support and understanding that has developed amongst us. My boys used to scold me because I would refer to their being gay as our or their little problem. They would say that to them it was not a problem and although they would not choose it as a way of life, they did actually positively enjoy being gay, and that was largely down to the tolerance and love, not only in our family, but also within the families of their friends, that is you. This evening I want to say thank you for that." A round of applause broke out. "We are this evening very proud of our young men..." There was a louder round of applause. "...I want to propose a toast to them." The parents raised their glasses with a mixed, but hearty response of 'our young men' or 'our sons'.
"I know you don't want to spend the evening listening to me spouting, but it would be very remiss of me if I didn't say two things more. I am proud to announce that at sunrise this morning..."
"Here it comes," Adam said to Simon. "I'm going to die."
"...my sons, Simon and Adam, became engaged." There was clapping, cheering, whistling even, and Tony and Ben pushed them forward so that everyone could see them.
"Show us your rings," a youthful voice shouted out coarsely. Mrs Legge gave William one of her 'just you wait until I get you home, young man' glares. David and Tony Legge immediately stopped laughing and tried to put on str8 faces, unsuccessfully by the way. Adam and Simon took this as an opportunity to show off their earrings.
"We felt we couldn't wear a traditional engagement ring on our fingers and so we decided on these," said Adam.
"We've got to be serious," added Simon "because it's impossible to take them off." After the congratulations had finished, Philip continued.
"I said there is something else I must tell you." He looked at Belinda. "This afternoon Mrs Belinda Anstruther consented to become my wife and you are the first to know." More cheers and applause. He kissed Belinda.
"He's done it at last," said Simon. It was almost a sigh of relief.
"It took us to show him the way," said Adam.
"I'm sorry, Adam and Simon, we didn't tell you before, but in the end everything moved so quickly." Simon and Adam kissed Belinda on the cheek and wished her every happiness. They congratulated Philip and said how pleased they were. "I've already spoken too much this evening. I just want everybody to make sure their glasses are full and that you enjoy the rest of the evening." While everyone was clapping Adam slipped over to Ben, took him by the hand and led him out onto the patio.
"It's all right. I've got Simon's permission."
It was one of those balmy August evenings that seem so rare these days since global warming began. Adam and Ben went and sat on the swinging sun lounger. It was already dark with a glow in the west and the scent of the honeysuckle wafting in the air. The nights were drawing in rapidly.
"I wanted to ask you, Ben. When it comes to our wedding or civil union or whatever, I'd like you to be my best man. Simon's going to ask Tony to be his."
"When are you planning the big day for?"
"Not until we've graduated."
"I'd be honoured, Adam, but can I give you a definite answer nearer the date? Three years is a long time, a sixth of our lives, and you never know what might happen in between. I hope Tony and me will still be together." He noticed that Adam had taken hold of his hand. Ben squeezed Adam's reassuringly.
"You still fancy me, don't you?" he said looking into Adam's eyes.
"I used to, but then I also fancied Tony, William, Sam and Tom. I fancied you all something rotten. At one stage we talked about having husband swapping parties, but they never happened. That is something I've grown through, although to be precise, it's something they too have grown through, but in a different way. I always fancied adolescents. Still do. When we go boywatching, it's always the fourteen year olds I pick out from the crowd. By the time they're sixteen I don't fancy them any more. Not even Will any longer now. Having said that, Simon and I still go through the guest book we made and it always ends up with a jerk off session." Ben grinned and stroked the inside of Adam's thigh. "You see, we just got it the wrong way round, Simon and I."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the usual thing is that you start out exploring with lots of boyfriends and then fall in love with one. We started out by falling in love, but still needed to go through the playing around and exploration phase."
"But you still fancy Simon?"
"No." Ben was taken aback, but let Adam speak. "I adore him, I love him deeply, I want to dedicate my life to him, but fancy, no. It's too superficial. I might fancy, say, the sk8erboy boy we saw in the square last week, who turned out to be one of our Year 9 boys, but that's the end of it."
"So how did your love develop?"
"Now you've asked me. It was love at first sight, for both of us, up at the wishing well. But the path of true love wasn't smooth. He had to put up with me taking a fancy to cute boys and Simon was sex crazed. Early on he couldn't get enough. I remember once at school he grabbed me, pulled me into a cleaners' cupboard, stood behind me, put his hands into my trouser pockets and played pocket billiards. He made me come off in my pants. It was a very intense orgasm too, helped by the feeling of his dick poking against my bum, but it meant I wet my briefs and it soaked into my school trousers. After games I had to keep my jock on for prep because my undies hadn't dried out. But impulsive actions like that just made me love him that much more. It was like that game we used to play, you know, Simon says. If the leader gave the instruction, for example, 'Simon says put your hands on your head', you did it, and if he said 'Put your hands on your head', you didn't and were out if you did. If Simon said 'Do it', we did it and I enjoyed doing it. In time we made love so frequently it calmed him down."
"So it wasn't money?"
"No. When I fell in love with Simon I didn't know he was rich. He was just a gorgeous boy I met at the wishing well. Also there is a lot of money in trust for me until I'm twenty-one. Mmm, it might be twenty-four. It's supposed to pay for my education, which Philip has done so far anyway. It's my parents' estate plus the compensation money for the accident. I get a letter every year and I can tell you, it's been well invested."
"How often do you make love?"
"In the holidays at home? Could happen three times a day. Much less when we were at school."
"No, not always. Simon's really good fun to suck because of those loose balls of his. Mine are tight and so he can only suck my dick. But he gets off quite happily without having an orgasm, like that time in the broom cupboard. That makes him a good bottom and that's one of the reasons he wanted his ring in the right ear. He knows he's good too, like he does with his hockey. I have to come off or I don't feel satisfied. He doesn't. It's all a learning curve. We find out new things about each other every day. Ben, to change the subject, why do you think you're gay?"
"I'm pretty certain it's because of my sister." Adam looked askance. "Because of her I can't stand women and I don't trust them."
"That's a bit harsh."
"Maybe, but there are exceptions and it does go back a long way. You know what she's like. She's a complete and utter bitch, has been all her life and always will be. You haven't seen half of it. What makes it worse is that Mum can't see it. She always takes her side and protects her and Dad won't stand up for himself or for me. He prefers the quiet life. I overheard it said that Mum only wanted one child and also Isabella popped out easily whereas I was an extremely difficult birth - breech birth do they call it? - and Mum's never forgiven me for it. She refused to feed me. It makes me feel as if I was an accident. How about you?"
"I don't really know. What I do know is that I don't find girls sexually attractive, but I like them if they are characters. I tried to get off once by trying to fantasise about Angie Legge. After all, I fancied her brothers, why not her? It just didn't work. Since the moment I had my first wank, my dick had never been so small and soft and it was determined to stay like that. The other thing is that I have trouble with pheromones..."
"Pheromones. They are the subtle little scents your body gives off that are supposed to arouse the opposite sex. In my case it's the same sex. I can't stand the smell of women, and for me they can never successfully cover it with perfume. I told Simon that the other day. He doesn't notice them. On the other hand I just have to walk into a boys' changing room, even an empty one, and it's an immediate turn on. I can smell your pheromones now and if you put your hand on my crotch you'll find I'm half hard." Ben moved his hand across and made Adam jump and cry out. "Ooh! Now I'm fully hard." He looked at his watch. "Still, we'd better go back inside before we're missed."
Just as they came in the French windows, Simon and Tony came through the other door. They had been talking in the library. Simon gave Adam the thumbs up.
Adam and Simon joined up and circulated among the guests, receiving personal congratulations and showing off their earrings. At ten o'clock the party began to break up. The Banks family was the first to go as they had to be up for milking in the morning. That meant the Taylors then took Paul home. By twenty past ten it was an 'after the lord mayor's show' situation. Belinda helped Mrs Green to tidy. Philip and the boys did the fetching and carrying. Finally the four of them sat down in the media room and Mrs Green, followed by Lucy, brought in cocoa and biscuits. It was the first opportunity Simon and Adam had of welcoming Belinda into the family and they joked about how stepmothers in fairy tales were always wicked. On a serious note Adam said
"Philip, you're not going to let Mrs Green go when you get married, are you?"
"No, certainly not. She's far too valuable a member of the household, especially since we lost Brabazon, and it will give Belinda and me the freedom to do things together without having to worry about the house. Things are bound to be different when you two are up at university."
"What's going to happen to Lucy?" asked Simon.
"Nothing's going to happen to her. We'll take her with us when we can, but otherwise she's used to being looked after by Mrs Green. I don't want to be morbid, but if you take a good look at her, you'll see she's beginning to become an old lady and the moment will come when time with her shall be no more." Simon blinked back a tear and Adam put his arm round him and pulled him in.
"When are you planning to have your wedding?" asked Adam.
"It's too late to plan anything for this year," said Belinda. "We'll be looking at the spring."
"We'll be talking to the rector soon and I am sure with his roof fund in mind, he'll be only too pleased to fit us in whenever we want," added Philip. "Simon, I hope you will be my best man."
"And Adam," said Belinda "since I have no family of my own I should be delighted if you would consent to giving me away." The boys readily agreed.
"While we are on the subject," said Simon "Tony and Ben have said that they'll be our best men."
"Where and how we get married will depend on attitudes and the state of the law in three years' time," said Adam.
It had been a long day for Simon and Adam and so they made their excuses, said good night and went up to bed. Going up the stairs Adam put his arm round his fiancé's shoulders and whispered in his ear
"Get yourself ready, Si. I want to tickle your kidneys tonight, bareback with cream pie to follow."
"Mmm, I love it when you talk dirty to me."
Adam and Simon celebrated their engagement that night and again in the morning. They felt entitled to a lie in. Life then settled back into routine, except that this time they would be returning to education in October rather than September. Arrangements had to be made. They had received the confirmation of their places from their colleges and had put in their applications for places in a hall of residence.
Chapters 5 and 6 may not be to everyone's taste. If you have an aversion to bdsm, you may wish to skip over them. If you do, it will not detract from the story. They owe much to the influence of Jack Rowan's tale The Story of Tim. Should they violate the rights of his intellectual property, that is unintentional, I apologise and will withdraw them. I have attempted to contact Jack Rowan without success.
Adam was standing by the window and staring out into the garden and the rain. It was the morning after the night before. He was assuaging his boredom with thoughts about how well their engagement / results party had gone. It had been successful, both as a social event and as an act of bonding between the families with gay sons. The van den Berg family and their friends had done much to bring a feeling of mutual tolerance into Simon and Adam's former school and among the parents. However, at that moment Adam was suffering from that feeling of ants crawling under his skin for despite completing his fifty lengths in the swimming pool he had not been able to go for his morning run.
"Well, that's that," declared Simon as he closed the page he had been reading on the computer screen."
"What did you think of it?"
"Powerful stuff. It certainly had me sitting here hard most of the time."
"And who were you identifying with?"
"David, I think, rather than Tim. I liked the feeling of having complete dominance over a hot fourteen year old boy."
"That stems from our boywatching."
"The story took over my rationality."
"As they say, a standing dick has no conscience."
"Talking of which you'll have to take care of mine. It just will not go limp."
"By the mess you've made of your shorts you've done that already."
"There's plenty more where that came from. Suck me and then I'll put some clean clothes on." Simon swivelled round on his desk chair, wriggled to free himself of his shorts and undies. Adam put them into the linen basket, then got down on his knees and went to work on his fiancé. As Adam was warming to the task, Simon said "Ah, that's what I like. A slave to minister to all my wants and needs."
"Reading The Story of Tim has certainly taken its toll on you, my love." Without warning Simon gave a loud intake of breath and, without his customary warning, shot his load in Adam's mouth, and being so unprepared for an early ejaculation Adam found his seed went down the wrong way and it left him coughing and spluttering. Simon banged him on the back, but it didn't help. Adam had to recover in his own time. Meanwhile Simon had grabbed a towel, cleaned himself up, fetched a clean slip from the drawer and put it on under a pair of jogpants.
Recovered Adam went into the bathroom, washed his face and rinsed his mouth out.
"Give us some warning next time. That would have looked good in the local newspaper: Teenager chokes to Death on his Boyfriend's Semen. Sex game goes horribly wrong."
"Fiancé," corrected Simon.
"Yes, I know that, but you don't expect the local newspaper to get the details right, do you?"
"Let's go down and see if we can persuade Mrs Green to make us a cup of tea."
"She won't need much persuading. It'll give her an excuse to have one herself."
"Are you all right, Adam?" enquired Mrs Green. "You look all red in the face."
"I'm okay now. I just had a coughing fit. Swallowed and something went down the wrong way." Simon gave him a look, but he resisted giggling. "Nothing a nice cup of tea wouldn't put right."
"That's if you happen to be making one, Mrs Green," added Simon with a glint in his eye.
"You're as bad as your father wanting tea breaks. I suppose I could stop my work for five minutes. Would you like a slice of my seed cake?"
"That might get Adam coughing again," said Simon with a grin. Adam kicked him under the table.
"What have you two boys been up to this morning?" They didn't mind Mrs Green's calling them 'boys'.
"I've been reading," said Simon
"And I've been kicking my heels waiting for the rain to stop so that I can go for a run," answered Adam.
"So when do you want to eat?"
"The weather forecast said the rain's not stopping until mid-afternoon," said Adam "So can we have a snack at lunchtime and eat properly this evening, please?" Simon agreed.
They went into their downstairs office to check their e-mails.
"Hey, Si, did you mean it when you said you'd like a slave?"
"Mmm... well... um, yes... I suppose I did. Why?"
"Well, ever since I read that Story of TimI've had this urge to be shackled and have 'things' done to me. I didn't say anything in case you thought I was being kinky, but that story's really had an effect on me."
"So, let me get this right. You want to be tied up and dominated."
"Yeah, and you're the best person to do it because I can trust you, because you love me and I love you, and because I know you'll take it seriously."
"And because I let the cat out of the bag and said something without thinking?"
"Only you can answer that, but if you did say it without thinking, that means it must be genuine. You see, you won't harm me and if you hurt me, I'll know you won't be doing it on purpose and you'll stop str8away. Promise me you'll do it. I'd do it for you if you needed me to. I don't just want this. I need it. It's all part of wearing your earring."
Simon could see how earnest Adam had become. He wandered over to the window and stared out through the rain into the garden. He was struggling with himself. Adam said he had been thinking about it for some time since reading Jack Rowan's The Story of Tim from the Story Shelf, reinforced by an advertisement in GYmag.
"There's a point I want to make, Adam. In this partnership we are equal. I don't want to be dominant over you. I don't want you to be either dominant or submissive. We're partners. We're equal." Simon turned and stared out of the window. He didn't even see the garden. He'd only read The Story of Tim because of the effect it had had on Adam. He would not stop talking about it. Perhaps the ghost had to be laid once and for all. They had the equipment they needed, or most of it. It was in the lower layer of the large valise. Simon knew it could only lie there untouched for so long, three years so far. After a long silence Simon turned to Adam and said "I'll do it, but there's one condition. You'll never ask me again."
"You know I can't promise that, Si." Simon thought again. By saying he was willing to do it once he had passed the point of no return.
"Okay, Adam, but because I've done it once, it doesn't mean I'll do it again."
"And you'll put your heart into it? Or there's no point." Simon took Adam into an embrace.
"I promise," and they sealed it with a kiss.
"Thank you, Simon. You won't understand unless you're in the same position yourself. Can we go up stairs? I need you. Now."
They disappeared up to Adam's room, locked the doors with the 'Do Not Disturb' notices in place and stripped off their clothes. This was not love-making. This was pure animal sex, and so doggy fashion. Simon knelt on the bed. Adam quickly lubed his fiancé up, then himself and placed his bare glans against Simon's rosebud and plunged in. It took his breath away. The couple were used to such precipitous acts, but they were usually initiated by Simon who still from time to time experienced uncontrollable urges. Adam withdrew and was about to lick up the excess seed when Simon shouted
"No, don't, Adam. I'm going to fart. Can't help it." Adam watched as a mixture of wind, gel and semen bubbled out of Simon's hole.
"God, Si, you choose your moments."
"Sorry. I said I couldn't help it. It's a good job you weren't still up there. I'd have blown you across the room. Come and lie on top of me. I still need your body." Adam took a towel and cleaned Simon and himself up before climbing onto the bed, positioning himself on top of Simon and burying his tongue in between his lips, and they lay like that until Adam felt Simon's hot liquid ooze between their stomachs.
They got up, showered and dressed and since the rain had stopped they decided to take Lucy for walkies and go for a run.
"We'll do the dirty deed on the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend," said Adam.
"That's good," replied Simon. "Dad's spending that weekend with Belinda and Mrs Green's got a family do and won't be in till Sunday. So we'll have the house to ourselves and it'll give us a chance to do some research and order any kit we might still need. Make sure you're clean. We don't want you shitting the bed. That would be a step too far, even for me."
"And don't tell me what you're going to do. You've got to be in full control."
After supper Simon left Adam watching television downstairs while he went up to his room. He hung the 'Do Not Disturb' notice on the door, locked both doors and got down to re-reading the article in GYmag, following up the links on the net and re-reading bits of The Story of Tim. If he was going to do this for Adam, he was going to do it to the best of his ability. He had a few days yet to prepare.
Bank holiday Saturday dawned dry and sunny. Good. Things always went better on a fine day with high pressure. A slight breeze kept the temperature comfortable. The boys were sleeping in Simon's room. They had set the alarm for seven. That gave them time to go for a run, taking Lucy with them. They skipped the swim. They could do that later if they wanted. They had a light breakfast.
"Are you ready, Adam?"
"Never been more ready."
"Still prepared to go through with it?"
"This is bondage and domination, BDSM without the SM. You understand that?"
"Once we go into your room you are under my control until the end of the session. Agreed?"
"Okay, your safeword is 'Lucy'. Repeat."
"You say that if you want everything to stop. If it stops, it doesn't start again. That's the end of it. Understood?"
"You slowword is 'television'. Repeat."
"If you say that, the activity will slow down or pause, but at my discretion the operation may continue. Understood?"
"When we go upstairs, we're going to shower separately and get ready. You are to give yourself an enema, just in case. When you're finished, put on a white slip and wear your leather dog collar, nothing else, not even your watch, and strip your bed so that there's only the bottom sheet on it. No pillows. I'll use the bathroom on the landing. Any questions?"
"No. Let's get on with it."
"No wanking in the shower."
The boys kissed, climbed the stairs and went their separate ways. Simon showered and went back into his room. He took the large valise out of the inbuilt wardrobe. He wore black dance belt, balls and dick tucked down, then pulled on a pair of black crotchless tights, arranged around his package. He put some black lipstick on his lips, then his black dog collar round his neck and a leather mask just over his eyes, bound by velcro. He'd wanted to wear the full facemask with just the mouth and eyeholes, but decided that would be too hot and uncomfortable. He was starting to get hard just from dressing up. He bound two leather straps round his arms above the biceps, then looked at himself in the mirror. He was impressed. The dance belt was keeping him under control. He could hear Adam had finished and went through the bathroom and into his room. Adam's jaw dropped when he saw him. The bed was stripped and the pillows and duvet stowed in the wardrobe. Adam was wearing nothing but the regulation white slip which betrayed his early arousal.
"Okay, Adam, photographs before we begin."
The photocall over Adam knew roughly what was to come, but not the detail. Simon placed the valise on Adam's desk and opened it. Adam peered in. He picked up a little stainless steel pin.
"A penis plug."
"What's it for?"
"It's like a dildo, but it's inserted into your dick, into the urethra."
"Are you going to use that on me?"
"That's for me to know and you to find out. You're asking too many questions. Come here." He clipped Lucy's doglead onto Adam's collar and gave one or two tugs to show who was boss. "Put these on." He handed Adam four cuffs made of sturdy black nylon and velcro. A D-ring was already attached to each. "The small ones go round your wrists, the large ones round your ankles." Meanwhile Simon took out four nylon straps and put the loops round the legs of the bed and laid them on the floor. "Get on the bed and lie on your back." Adam did as he was told. Simon picked the straps up off the floor in turn and clipped them onto the wrist and ankle cuffs and tightened them so that Adam couldn't move. "You are now completely in my power. There is nothing you can do." A frisson went through Adam's body and his dick hardened.
"How are you going to get my undies off now?"
"I told you you're asking too many questions." At that Simon took out of the valise a black strip of soft leather with a ball in the middle and showed it to Adam. "That's what happens to boys who talk too much. Open your mouth."
"No." Simon pinched his nose so that he had no option. He slipped the ball in, making sure it was in the right position so that he could breathe through the hole drilled through it and fasten it by the velcro at the back of his neck. Adam tried to protest, but he couldn't move his arms and legs, just raise his body slightly, and the sounds coming out of his mouth were incoherent.
"Can you breathe?" Adam nodded. "Can you swallow okay?" He nodded again.
Simon slowed down and paused. He looked at his fiancé who was trying to make eye contact, but he was more interested in what was happening in his briefs. His dick was obviously oozing something, precum he hoped, not pee. After some more photographs it was now time for the next stage, the complete disabling of his subject. He took the blindfold out of the case and laid it across Adam's chest, but before placing it over his eyes and binding it at the back, he slowly took out of the case and showed him two nipple clamps, a whip, a flail and the penis plug again. Then finally he went into his room and fetched his iPod, placed the earphones in Adam's ears and turned it on. Now Adam could neither see nor hear, but adding to the cruelty he had downloaded hours of tuneless 'call centre' music, so neutral and repetitive that it would completely disorientate any sense of time and, of course, with four of the five senses disabled he had no idea what was going on unless he could feel it. There was no way he could protest. Now Simon started taking some more photographs.
He took his eyemask off and sat on the sofa reading GYmag. There was no way he could leave Adam alone for long while he had the gag in his mouth. He gave him ten minutes and took it off.
"You bastard, Simon..." Simon pinched his nose and slipped the gag back into his mouth. It was impossible to explain anything to him. After another ten minutes he removed it again. "How long..." Again Simon pinched his nose and put the gag back in. He didn't want him to wear the gag all the time in case he needed his safeword or slowword, but he had to learn not to speak. He left him for fifteen minutes this time, took the gag off and Adam swallowed, smiled, but said nothing. The gag was the most hazardous part of the procedure.
Simon got on with his reading and when he had finished, fetched various articles he needed from the bathroom and his own bedroom. Adam was lying there oblivious to what was going on until he felt something cold on his abdomen. He worked it out that it was a pair of scissors and that Simon was cutting off his undies and with a tug pulled them out from under his body. He hardened up again. He felt a towel being tucked under his bottom. After that he sensed some vibration round his groin. 'Oh no, he's shaving my pubes,' he thought, 'and I can do nothing about it. If I say anything, I get the gag. Still this is what I wanted.' After the vibrations stopped he felt a wet cloth wiping his groin and shaving gel being rubbed in. Now the job was being finished off properly with a wet razor. His erection only helped Simon. 'I wish he'd wank me off. I need it badly.' A warm wet face flannel told him the job was completed as it cleaned up the precum that had dribbled across his glans, under his foreskin and down his shaft. Simon dried him off, then took more photographs.
He let Adam rest a while before the next action. He was in relaxed state when he suddenly felt a cold metal ring being put round the top of his scrotum and clicked shut. 'Ah, a cockring,' he thought. 'That'll keep me hard. Ooh, that's cold. He's smearing K-Y over my shaft.' Nothing happened for some time and Adam could feel his cock slackening off. Then he felt something else, cold metal, being slipped over it. When he felt the click of something like a padlock he knew he'd been enclosed in a chastity cage. Shit, how he wanted to stiffen up, but couldn't. That was the end of any hope of being jerked or sucked. 'Why did he go in for this?' He still managed to say nothing for, despite the humiliation, he was enjoying it. He felt Simon's hand under his bottom trying to lift it. He tried to raise himself from the bed and immediately some cold K-Y was with great difficulty being rubbed into his hole, swiftly followed by a butt plug. "Ooh!" she shouted. 'That hurt, he thought. Ah, that's better. Gosh, I could do with a pee.
"Television." There he'd used his slowword. Simon took one of the earphones out of Adam's ear. "I've got to pee."
"Okay. Wait a minute." Simon went to the cupboard on the landing. He knew there was a medical bottle there. He fed Adam's dick into the opening and said "Okay." He peed into the bottle through the wire cage. Simon got a tissue and dried his dick, replaced the earphone and emptied and washed the bottle.
At that moment the doorbell rang.
"What the hell do I do now?" Simon said out loud to himself. "We're not expecting any visitors." He was in a quandary. If only they'd had that intercom fitted when Brabazon retired, but Mrs Green did the job adequately. Lucy was continuing to bark as she knew there were strangers about. He wrapped a dressing gown round himself and crept up to the spyhole. 'OMG, its Tony and Ben. I can't leave them on the doorstep. That'll just mean more hassle later.' For better or for worse he opened the door. "Hi, guys."
"Can't we come in?" Simon went red.
"It's a bit difficult at the moment. Um... er... come into the library." Simon had forgotten all about the black lipstick. Thank goodness he'd taken his mask off, but they could still see his collar.
"Where's Adam?" asked Ben.
"Er... um... he's a bit tied up at the moment." 'Oops, that's the wrong expression,' Simon thought.
"You're not in the middle of a game, are you?" said Tony.
"Yes... yes, that's it. We're in the middle of a game."
"And it's not a computer game," added Tony, his eyes piercing Simon's look. His face gave the answer away. He was never any good at lying.
"No, it's not," said Simon in a defeated tone.
"Can we see?" said Ben.
"If you swear never to breathe a word of it to any of it."
"Okay, Roman style."
They stood in the 'at ease' position and Simon put his hand up between their legs and held their testicles. Together Ben and Tony said
"We swear and testify that we will not tell anybody about what's happening in this house today." Simon gave their balls a slight squeeze to emphasise the seriousness of the oath, then led them up to Adam's room. Immediately Simon grew more at ease.
"I could easily become the clerk of a Roman court in another life," he joked. "Now when you go in there he can't see you and providing you speak softly he can't hear you. They both gave an intake of breath when they saw Adam there spread-eagled on the bed. They both visibly grew hard.
"Reminds me of that Christmas carol we have in our service at school," said Ben. "'Adam lay y'bounden'. Do you know that one?" Simon and Tony nodded. Meanwhile Simon had taken his dressing gown off and replaced the mask over his eyes. They may as well have the full effect, he thought. Tony and Ben had seen pictures on the internet before, but had never seen bondage in the flesh, let alone anyone they knew. They tiptoed round the bed, bent over and kissed his nipples. Adam's body bucked. 'How the hell is he doing that? He must have someone with him. I don't dare say anything or I'll get the gag. Oh, my dick. It wants to grow but can't.' Simon took a couple of photos of them standing at the head of the bed and got them to take some photos of him.
Ben and Tony realising they had come at an inconvenient moment made their excuses, gave Adam a quick French kiss each and Simon showed them out. He returned to Adam's room. He sat on the sofa, half watching and half reading the newspaper, fascinated as Adam's dick tried to expand in the cage. The cage from its design doubles as a cockring and while from the goosebumps he could see that Adam was getting cold, his balls could not retreat into his body. Simon retrieved the duvet from the wardrobe and laid it over Adam who lay there thinking about the instruments of torture Simon had shown him before the blindfold was put and he had yet to employ. He would dearly have gone to sleep, but was too uncomfortable. They were now into the afternoon. It was time for the next torture.
For this he needed to replace the gag, but as this was not a punishment he used a specialist one. The first Adam knew about it was when Simon pinched his nose, slipped it into his open mouth and velcroed it round the back of his head. 'What have I done now,' Adam asked himself. 'Hey, this one's different.' He ran his tongue over it. 'This is in the shape of a dildo. Nice.' What he didn't know was that into the outside surface a screwhole had been put so that another dildo could be screwed in and the sub could be made to fuck his dom with it. But that was irrelevant to the present action.
First he lulled Adam into a false sense of security. He started sucking his big toe. Simon had seen pictures of this and knew that for some it was a big thrill, but it had never done anything for him or Adam, but with his heightened sensitivity to touch under the circumstances it might do something. Adam wriggled within the confines of his restraints and emitted little moaning noises which could have meant anything. However, once he judged that Adam was comfortable with that he took a large feather and started tickling the soles of his feet. Adam was very sensitive to tickling and not terribly fond of it, but under the present constraints he tried to writhe, but couldn't, and any attempt at laughter was impeded. Simon spent five minutes administering this torture, but to Adam who had long lost any sense of time it seemed to be an eternity. From his face Simon could see he had warmed up and so he removed the duvet and stowed it in the wardrobe. He disappeared downstairs for a minute. On his return he rattled Adam's cage, then took a little drop of baby oil and gently rubbed it into Adam's scrotum. This had the desired effect. Adam's cock swelled and expanded against the bars of the cage. Still with the dildo gag in his mouth he could not react orally, but his body writhed as he thought 'God, I've got to come off or I'll burst' when suddenly this great coldness descended on his tackle. Simon had deposited a large pack of frozen peas lengthwise across it so that it covered his balls, dick and hairless lower abdomen. Simon was just in time to capture the look on his face with his camera.
Simon had worked through his programme. After the icepack it would take time before Adam's cock would become aroused again. It was time to release him. He adjusted his mask. The first thing he did was to remove the earphones, gag and then the blindfold. He smiled as he saw Simon's face. He knew now that his self-imposed ordeal was over. Simon kissed him and ripped open the velcro on the cuffs and Adam threw off the icepack, rubbed his wrists, then undid the ankle cuffs himself. He rolled onto his side and extracted the dildo. He looked at himself in the mirror. He did not know what to think about his pubes.
"You should have done my armpits at the same time." He was intrigued at the way his equipment was caged. His balls wanted to disappear up inside his body, but couldn't. His dick was so shrivelled it couldn't even rattle around in the cage. He fell into Simon's arms, kissed him and then burst into tears. The emotional experience, the highs and the lows, had been too much for him. Simon, as big as Adam was, picked him up and carried him to his bed, laid him on it, climbed on beside him and cradled him in his arms, kissing him. Simon got up, fetched the duvet and pulled it over them, then set about warming Adam's chilled body. "What time is it?"
"Half past three," replied Simon.
"I had no idea."
"There, there, don't talk. Just kiss me." Adam fell asleep in his arms. Simon wriggled out of bed and left him there, showered and changed into his normal clothes. He then set about tidying Adam's room. Adam slept for a good hour and a half. When he woke, Simon was there for him. "Get yourself showered and dressed and I'll treat you to dinner. We'll go out somewhere in the car and give Lucy a run, then find a pub somewhere, somewhere quiet where we can talk. I've uploaded the pictures. You can see them later."
"Have you got the key to the cage?"
"Yes." He grinned. "That will have to wait until later." Adam didn't protest. In a way it was a turn on which he enjoyed not being able to react to.
Adam got out of the shower and dried himself off the best he could round the groin area. He'd attempted to jerk off in the shower, but instead quickly learnt how effective the chastity cage was in its purpose. He was standing in front of the full length mirrors on the sliding wardrobe doors looking at himself. No, not just looking at himself, but admiring himself. 'Hmm, Simon could have done worse than getting me,' he surmised with the understatement that was so typical of him. 'There's no way I'm going to get this off without the key or causing myself a great deal of pain and damage.' The padlock rattled against the cage as he walked. He struck several poses. In the mirror he saw Simon come into the room, but that didn't stop him posing.
"If I'm honest, Si, I quite like having no pubic hair. The only drawback is the itching when it grows again or if I get razor rash."
"I like you that way too. You look smart and I won't get hairs between my teeth when I gobble you. That's why I inserted it into the programme."
"In fact from the neck downwards I wish I had no body hair at all."
"Sod's law, my love. I've got hardly any and wish I had more."
"No, you count your blessings. I like you the way you are." Simon walked across to Adam, stood behind him, kissed his neck, pushing his crotch against his bare backside and putting his arms round him so that he could caress his nipples. "Don't do that, Si. The bars of the cage dig in when I get a hard on."
"Just try and get one," Simon laughed evilly and he reached down and rattled Adam's cage which sent both discomfort and a huge thrill through him.
"After today's humiliation I feel really sluttish. It's leather this evening." He unwound himself from Simon's clutches, walked across to his dressing table, put on his rainbow leather necklace, followed by the leather collar and leather bracelets."
"You just need my black lipstick," said Simon.
"Get away. I've told you before. I'm all man. There's nothing femme about me. You dress the same."
"Hmm, I suppose it is my turn to give in to you." Adam carried on getting dressed.
"What am I supposed to wear, Si? I can't wear shorts with this thing on. Am I supposed to wear undies or go commando?"
"Jeans without are your best bet. Wear your new ones. They haven't shrunk yet." He slipped a tanktop on, followed by his new 501s. They didn't exactly hide the cage, but it was acceptable. "Mmm, makes you look rather good. I could almost fancy you."
"Huh, I like the 'almost' since you're my fiancé!" Simon went through to his room to get changed. He looked very similar to Adam, except with his str8 black hair it gave him the emo look. "I so adore emo boys, Si. Give me a kiss. No, don't. The cage is doing its stuff again."
Simon and Adam got Lucy ready and took her out to the car. If they removed the parcel shelf, she fitted nicely into the boot. She could sleep or look around and she was quite happy there. In fact she would insist on going in there rather than inside the car as it meant going walkies to her. They drove about ten miles out of town to a wood where they could take a circular path and return to the carpark. There were plenty of things to sniff and if she was lucky, particularly in the evening, there might be a rabbit to chase or a pheasant to flush out. They usually beat her and got away, but if they didn't, she just stood there and wagged her tail. She could retrieve if she was told to, but a spaniel's nature was to flush out. She would never hunt down another creature.
"Si, it's awkward to walk with this thing on. When are you going to take it off?"
"I promise you, my love, you'll be the first person I'll tell. Probably when I need you inside me."
"But that was a few hours ago."
"Ooh, get you, ducky! Mr Stud."
"Why are you being such a bitch?"
"Uh uh, you're not in a position to call me names. I've got the key, don't forget."
"Then unlock the bloody thing."
"I can't. It's at home. I didn't want to lose it in the woods and then we'd have to call the locksmith in."
"You're teasing me."
"You wanted to go through with this bondage lark, and now I've got into it I've started to enjoy it. It's power."
"But you've got power over me anyway. You know I'd do anything for you."
"Then do it now," Simon smiled and gave the cage a tweak. Adam grabbed Simon, pushed him against a tree and forced his tongue between his lips.
"Mmm, maybe I could be persuaded I need you tonight," but that was the end of it for it hurt Adam as his dick tried to swell against the cage. To vent his frustration he threw a stick for Lucy to fetch. They soon arrived back at the carpark. Simon unlocked the car and Lucy jumped up into the boot.
"I'm starving," said Adam. In ten minutes they had arrived at the White Hart and were ordering dinner.
Simon fetched pint glasses of Coke and of lime and lemonade from the bar and placed them on the table for two the boys had found in a quiet corner of the bar. They looked through the menu. Adam ordered gammon steak and Simon went for common cod and chips. Lucy was asleep at their feet. She knew it was a waste of time to try and scrounge at table.
"Okay," said Simon "let's talk about this morning. Do you regret doing it?"
"No way. It was something inside me I had to work my way through."
"What was that?" Adam thought for a moment.
"It's something that happened when I was a small boy. You're the first person I've ever told this to. I could only have been three or four at the most."
"What makes you so certain?"
"We'd moved out of that house by the time I was five. I was sitting on the floor in the living room. Mum was busy in the kitchen. Cross-legged and pretending I was bound by my wrists behind my back. And during that time I had a massive stiffie, yes, even at that age. I've never forgotten it. Ever since I've found that sort of thing a big turn on, either just thinking about or when we played Cowboys and Indians as a kid. I loved it if I got captured and tied to a tree."
"Did you still get hard?"
"Yeah, but it was no big deal for the others. I always had the biggest dick in the group and could pee the highest and that gave me a hell of a lot of kudos. Anyway, as I grew and became more sophisticated sexually, I never forgot that experience and as I developed I wanted to try something like it. Perhaps I should have told you, Si, but whereas I don't mind your knowing I'm queer, I didn't want you to think I was weird in the head or kinky."
"I'll never think that, my love. We all have ghosts that need laying."
"The feelings got stronger, urged on by what I read and saw on the net. We got closer and I knew I could trust you absolutely and I thought when we were engaged, that was the time to do something about it. I knew what those things in the large valise were and what they were used for and the time had come to use them. Do you remember? I was the one that ordered the large valise. I found the chastity cage about a month ago. It cost £18 on eBay."
"I'll tell you when you release me."
"Another lime and lemon?" Simon went to the bar and fetched some more drinks.
"I really enjoyed that gammon steak. So succulent," said Adam.
"Bad choice, I'm afraid."
"All the salt in that gammon will make you thirsty and you'll be drinking gallons. Not a good thing in your position," and Simon grinned wickedly. Adam knew it was no use pleading with him. It would prolong the agony. Simon had an iron will except for one thing. Sooner or later, and Adam believed, hoped, it would be sooner, Simon would want, nay need, to bottom during their love-making. Everybody had their Achilles heel.
"So did you enjoy the experience?"
"Yes. Undoubtedly yes. It had a cathartic effect on me."
"What does cathartic mean?"
"Sorry, only the arts Sixth does catharsis, not the scientists. It means you are mentally and emotionally purged. I feel better for the experience."
"What did you enjoy?"
"All of it except the worst thing. The whole experience in fact."
"And the worst thing?"
"Two things - the gag and the diabolical music you chose. It was exactly the right thing, but I couldn't get away from the blasted stuff. With earphones it's inside your head and there is nothing worse than call centre music. It's repetitive, it goes nowhere and completely numbs your sense of time."
"That was the idea. It was a devil of a job to find some to download."
"With the gag I could breathe fine. Boring a breathing hole though the ball was design genius. The second gag was more interesting. It gave me something to suck on, but having something in your mouth makes you salivate more and I was scared of drowning in my own spit. I couldn't have used my safeword."
"That was my big worry and I was monitoring you closely. I was relieved that you learnt the lesson quickly."
"I'll tell you what. I found both those gags made me really hard."
"Would you do it again?"
"Mmm... in theory, yes. I enjoyed it. It was one step beyond in ecstasy. In practice I doubt it because you would have to invent an entirely new programme and I wouldn't trust anybody else to do it and because of our relationship I don't think anyone else could arouse me the same. Also, been there, done it now. Did you enjoy it, Simon?"
"In the end, yes. You remember I had to be persuaded to begin with. I couldn't hurt my beloved. But once I'd said yes, I was doing it for you, not for me, and it had to be the best I could think of. By the way, did I cause you any actual pain?"
"No. Only when you shoved the dildo up my arse."
"Sorry, bad planning there. It should have been inserted before you got shackled. Otherwise good. It was my intention not to hurt you, but I did inflict discomfort?"
"Yes. Mental discomfort, but I always maintained my ultimate trust in you. So no emotional discomfort. Showing me the instruments of torture, then not using them was clever. It was Galileo Galilei who said 'They only had to show me the instruments of torture and I recanted.' At least he did in Brecht's play, if not in real life. The tickling was interesting. Although I hated it, towards the end I was shutting it out of my mind and it didn't exist. Don't bother sucking my toes again. You know Tom and Sam go in for that, don't you?"
"Never say never, Si. But I'll hand it to you. You were very clever."
"I read a couple of books on torture and brainwashing. That's where I got some of my ideas from. You have to completely disorientate your subject. What's the nearest to white noise? Call centre music. No real tune, no indications of time. That's why the music has to be like that - you don't know what you're spending on your phone bill while holding for an answer. It's all there. Dead clever. I enjoyed it for two reasons. Once I committed, I warmed to my subject and also became convinced that it was what the most important person in my life wanted me to do. Do you want a pudding?"
"Yes, as it's your treat. I'll go and take a slash while you're organising it."
"Pie with cream on?" asked Simon mischievously.
"No, we'll keep that for later. Ice cream sundae with all the extras will do fine, thanks."
Adam was standing at the trough in the gents'. He was getting used to manipulating the cage so that he could pee without spraying. He was wondering how those with a long foreskin would cope. And it must cause agony if you're circumcised. Midstream he heard the door open, but didn't look round. He wanted to finish, but his pee went on forever. In his peripheral vision he could a bloke in his forties unzip and lug out a cock that would have given Tony Legge a run for his money.
"That's a pretty heavy piece of ironmongery you've got there." Adam blushed, but then remembered 'proud to be gay'.
"Yeah, my fiancé's punishing me."
"You must have been a pretty naughty boy to deserve that. No use asking you to come out and sit in the back of my car, then." He shook off, zipped up and left while Adam was still fighting to get the cage back in his jeans. 'Now he's gone I can wipe up the drips on a paper towel.' He washed his hands and went back to find an absolutely huge sundae on his table.
"You were a time, Adam."
"It's not easy to get that cage back inside without wetting your jeans. Did you see that bloke that came out of the loo?"
"Yeah, he's just left."
"Checked me out and started asking questions about the cage. Soo embarrassing. Said it would be no good asking me to get in the back of his car with him. I wonder how he knew I was gay."
"Come on, Adam. Keep up. Look at the way we're dressed. You couldn't see it from where you're sitting, but he's been checking us out all evening."
"Humph, we must be doing something right."
"Okay then. Time to pay up and look good." Simon paid the bill with his credit card and Adam clipped Lucy's lead back onto her collar. 'I'd like to be clipping that onto Simon's collar for a bit of fun,' he thought to himself. They called out thank you and good night to the bar staff as they left.
"You know, Si, I never thought that velcro could be so strong. By the way, how did you manage to kiss both nipples at once?"
"Adam Simon Neave van den Berg, there are times when you amaze me by acting so thick for such an intelligent guy. Think it through."
"OMG, it couldn't be..."
"Yes, it could be and it was."
"I'll talk to you about this later when I show you the photos."
"How many pics did you take?"
"Lots, and any fuss I'll not only lose the keys to the cage, but I'll put the pics on the net and circulate our friends." They both laughed heartily, Adam with the familiar guffaw. They drove home and got their own cocoa and biscuits before going to bed.
Adam had a restless night. Every time he rolled over or snuggled up to Simon the cage got in the way. He had to wait for Simon to snuggle up to him. Because of the salty gammon steak he had drunk a lot of water and overnight he realised that he was only renting it with all the attendant difficulties. He hadn't had an orgasm for some thirty hours and was getting desperate. Simon didn't fare much better. At seven o'clock on the Sunday morning he sat up in bed and said
"Okay, Adam. I give in. I need you." He fetched the key from wherever and unlocked the padlock that held the cage. With immediate relief Adam's cock swelled to is full length.
"Blow me first to get the excess water off my belly, get yourself ready and I'll give you the best seeing to of your life."
It was ten o'clock before the boys appeared in the kitchen. While Mrs Green was in the scullery, Simon whispered to Adam
"I'd like to give that cage a go, but I'm keeping hold of the key."
"With your equipment you will probably find it more comfortable, though you might find trouble peeing. And I've decided by the way. I'm going to keep my pubes shaved, but you'll have to shave them."
"How many eggs would you like, dears?" Mrs Green asked.
With the bank holiday over they were soon into September and Adam keenly awaited the arrival of that month's copy of GYmag. He went downstairs one morning to find it had been delivered along with the Daily Telegraph. He picked up the newspaper and put it on one side and rushed back to his room with his magazine. He couldn't find the scissors to cut open the plastic wrapping and it was too tough to rip open with his fingers. Simon found a pocket knife and slit along the edge of the plastic for him. He ignored the centrepiece, even if it was Matthew Werkmeister, Zeke Kinsky in Neighbours, and turned to the back pages. He wanted to read the classified ads. He scanned them and found Forthcoming Unions.
"Ah, here it is." He read out: "'The engagement is announced between Simon, son of Mr Philip van den Berg, and Adam, only son of the late Mr and Mrs H Neave and adopted son of Mr van den Berg.' Well, it's official now for all the world to see." He handed the magazine to Simon so that he could read it himself. They hugged.
"We'd better get on with our run, I suppose," said Simon.
"You're a true romantic, aren't you?"
That evening they were seated round the kitchen table with their father, all enjoying one of Mrs Green's steak and kidney puddings.
"Now, boys, we're clear on your birthday arrangements, are we?
"Yes," said Simon. "On Friday we motor down to Belinda's place for late afternoon early evening."
"You join us there after work str8 from London," said Adam. "On the Saturday, which is my birthday, Belinda organises us... I mean entertains us for both Simon's birthday and mine." Philip ignored the dig.
"We then make our way back here at our convenience on Sunday and you go back to work on Monday from Belinda's."
"You two don't mind, do you? It means I won't see you on your birthday, Simon, but I've got to entertain the boss of the South African subsidiary, especially as the agreement is coming up for review. They are anxious to renew. That's why he's coming to London and I'm not going to South Africa. The concession is doing so well that we can double the annual fee they have to pay us. They won't even miss it and we don't have to work for it."
"I don't mind in the least, Dad," Simon assured him.
"Neither do I. At nineteen we're past the jelly and custard stage," added Adam. "As you know, we've arranged this candle lit dinner party and to save any worries the guests are all staying the night."
"And you've sorted this out with Mrs Green?"
"Yes, Dad. If we hadn't, we'd be in a panic and sending out for an urgent pizza delivery."
"And who have you invited?"
"Ben, Sam, Tom and Tony," replied Adam.
"That's all right. They're sensible enough, and you haven't put it on Facebook or anything like that, have you?"
"No, Dad. We want this to be an intimate experience because Tom and Sam are going off abroad for their gap year and we won't see them for a long time, and once Ben and Tony go off to uni we won't see them till Christmas."
"So this is exclusively a gay affair?"
"Not intentionally so," replied Adam, "but when you get the company exclusively made up of six out of six gay fellows, you wouldn't expect a strippergram dressed as a policewoman to turn up." Simon burst out laughing. Even Philip had to laugh and Mrs Green disappeared into scullery before she dissolved into a fit of the giggles.
"Mind you," added Simon mischievously "the table decorations and candles will be in pink and lavender." Mrs Green who was just returning had to do an about turn back into the scullery.
"Where are you entertaining the South African director?" enquired Adam in an attempt to relieve the hilarity.
"We're putting him up at the Club."
"We?" said Simon with a quizzical look on his face.
"Belinda's going to help me to entertain him. We'll take in a show and when we are in the middle of business discussions, she can do a little shopping and look for things for her bottom drawer."
"That's something we ought to be doing," said Simon.
"It's all right. You've got three years yet. You'll have outgrown the stuff by then."
With the arrival of September it was getting dark at half past seven. The days were drawing in fast. The boys had to organise their outdoor activities in the morning or afternoon.
"I really hope that they bring in that law to give us double summertime. It'll be great and the sun won't wake us up so early in the morning," said Adam.
"That's all right providing you're prepared to pay for it the winter when it gets light at about nine o'clock."
"We'll cope, Si."
"Tut, I don't know. You can never find a gardener when you want one, but play footie on the lawn and he's there before kick-off." They walked along to the mower shed.
"Afternoon, Bert," the boys called out.
"What can I do for you two young lads?" he replied.
"We're having a few friends over on Monday evening," said Adam.
"And we want to sit round a fire like a campfire," said Simon. "Have you got anything we could make a bonfire from?"
"The best thing I can do is fill a brazier up and leave it in the summerhouse. Then you can take it outside and light it when you're ready. But don't do it on the lawn. Stand it on some bare ground. Then I can dig the ash in as fertilizer. You got the Boy Scouts comin' or somethin'?"
"No, just some friends for dinner," said Adam, "but we thought it might be nice to sit outside afterwards if it's fine and warm."
"I'll put some benches out for you and rig up some fairy lights."
"Thanks, Bert. That'll be great."
"This is where we miss Brabazon," said Simon the next day.
"What? Having him to pack our cases?" answered Adam.
"Do what I do, Si. Keep a basic packing list on the computer, then when you've got to go away, you add or subtract things as necessary, then just print it off."
"That's only half the battle. He would always fold things so nicely and so they would fit in the case better."
"Don't forget we've got Lucy's things to pack as well."
"Yes. I think she's going to have to get used to spending time at Belinda's place, at least until they get married."
"She'll be all right. She'll just think it will be another adventure." By three o'clock the car was loaded up and they were ready to go. Adam took the first stint at the wheel.
When they arrived at Belinda's she came out to greet the boys. This was the first time they had visited. Lucy hopped out of the car and was pleased to see her. They were surprised to see that Philip's car had got there first. He must have taken a half day. They dutifully kissed their future stepmother's cheek and she took them inside. In the living room they greeted Philip with a hug.
"I'm sure you boys must be parched. A cup of tea or something cool?" Belinda asked.
"Tea will do nicely," said Simon.
"The kettle's just boiled. I'll make a fresh pot. Mugs or cups?"
"Mugs will be fine, thanks, Belinda," Adam replied. They sat and chatted for half an hour.
"I'd better show you where you're sleeping and the geography of the house, boys. Dinner will be ready soon and you can bring your luggage in while I'm just finishing off final preparations. She showed them the downstairs cloakroom, kitchen and dining room, then took them upstairs. Lucy trailed on behind. "This is your room." Adam and Simon were relieved to see a large double bed with the covers folded back and crisp white bed linen. They were not looking forward to a wrestling match in a single bed. Belinda noted the look of relief on their faces. And, of course, the room had its own bathroom. The boys went and fetched up their cases, had a quick rinse and returned downstairs just as they were called to dinner.
Belinda had prepared a sumptuous salad with various cuts of cold meats and boiled new potatoes.
"Forgive me for not cooking, but as your arrival times were rather indefinite it would have been difficult to time everything." After assuring her that everything was perfect, Philip and the boys tucked in as if they had been starved for a week rather than eight hours.
"I hope you don't mind, boys," said Philip, "but we've made plans for tomorrow for you."
"That's fine," said Adam. "We don't know the area anyway."
"During the day," said Belinda "we'll be going to Swanage."
"What's there?" asked Simon.
"It's not so much the arriving, but the travelling that's important." The boys looked blank. "The last part of the journey is by steam train." Their interest was immediately aroused.
"We've heard of that one now you come to mention it," said Adam.
"The journey only lasts just over twenty minutes, but it goes past Corfe Castle through beautiful countryside and Swanage itself is a nice seaside resort. If you've got your bathing togs with you, you can go swimming on the beach. If you need towels, I can lend you a couple." The boys were really enthused. "That's my treat for your birthdays. Philip said it's hard to find presents for you."
"And then in the evening," said Philip "I shall treat you all to dinner."
"Sounds good to us," said Simon enthusiastically.
Once dinner was cleared away, the four of them sat around in the living room over drinks and chatted. This weekend was an important getting-to-know-you weekend for although it was over three years ago that the boys had met Belinda, the dynamics had radically changed with her engagement to Philip. Now she was family. She expressed sadness that she had never had children before her former husband died and that she hoped the boys would not be offended if she were tempted to mother them. They replied with a smile that it had been years since they had been mothered and that they hoped they would respond in a suitable manner.
"OMG," said Simon suddenly. Everybody looked at him. "You know what we've forgotten to do?"
"What?" said the others in unison.
"We've forgotten to feed Lucy."
"Poor girl, she must be starving." Simon fetched her food and bowl from the car and as she heard the tin being opened, her ears pricked up and she leapt out of her basket.
When all that had been done and Lucy had been taken out for a short walk, the boys decided to turn in and left Philip and Belinda chatting together in the living room. Simon and Adam snuggled up together in bed, fully appreciative of the luxury of starched sheets made of pure cotton. After eventually falling asleep they slept right through the night until they were woken up by the sun. Simon leant over, kissed his fiancé, wished him happy birthday and spent the next hour giving him his birthday treat. Finally they were down to breakfast by half past eight, but not before Simon had handed Adam a birthday card and present which he unwrapped to find a copy of The Students' University Guide to London. They still tried to keep to the 'under £10' rule. Belinda and Philip were awaiting them and after an exchange of kisses and birthday wishes and one card signed by both Belinda and Philip, Belinda got down to the far more important business of cooking their breakfast.
Adam and Simon were thrilled when they saw the Bulleid Pacifics steamed up and running on the preserved railway.
"If I'd known we were going to do this, I'd have brought my anorak."
"You'd have been far too hot on a day like this," said Belinda innocently. The boys looked at Philip, then each other and smiled patronisingly.
"I'm sorry, Belinda," said Philip. "It will take a little time to get used to their humour. It's easier to ignore them."
They made their way to the seafront. The water looked inviting, but they needed a snack first to prevent the boys dying from hunger. Not too much if they were going to swim and as they were having a proper meal in the evening.
They found themselves a spot on the beach and Lucy was the first in the water. The boys stripped. They already had their speedos on underneath, then they followed Lucy into the water.
"They are two strapping boys you've got there, Philip."
"Yes, I'm certainly lucky to have them. I just regret that they won't be passing on their genes."
"Don't give up. You never know."
"Oh, I don't think even a surgical operation will ever separate them."
"But there are other ways. They might decide they want children and find a surrogate mother, or they might go down the AI donor path, especially as there is no anonymity these days."
"I'd be happy to pay for any costs."
"And I'd be happy to be a grandmother, even though I've skipped the mother part." While they were talking, Belinda couldn't keep her eyes off the boys. They had aroused something within her. Whether it was maternal instinct or, at the other end of the scale, raw lust, even she could not tell.
When the boys were ready they came out of the water and dried themselves off. Of course, normally they would have stripped off, dried themselves and got dressed. They stood behind Belinda and Philip and struggled under beach towels to get changed. Adam leant over to Simon and whispered
"Guess what. I forgot to bring any undies. I shall have to go commando. I hope I don't pop a boner." Simon giggled.
"Are you two all right back there?" called Philip.
"We're okay," said Adam. "Just a bit difficult as we don't want to frighten the public or attract the seagulls."
Once they had finished on the beach the four of them went and had a cup of tea before making their way back to the station for the return journey. They got back to Belinda's tanned and happy and Adam only let himself down once when a particularly attractive teenager sat in a seat on the opposite side of the carriage, but it had gone down by the time they had to get off.
In the evening Philip drove his family off to a local hotel which Belinda had recommended. They ate splendidly and while they were relaxing and chatting he handed Simon a birthday card which he and Belinda had signed and wished him many happy returns for Monday.
"I'm sorry, boys, much as I tried to, I have not been able to keep the £10 rule this time. We couldn't think of anything that you needed and so we settled for something which is not terribly fashionable these days, but which you will appreciate for their own sakes. He handed Adam a little box shaped package and Belinda handed an identical one to Simon. They said thank you and carefully the unwrapped the little gifts. They could see that the boys were a little puzzled at what they took out of the hinged boxes. To save any embarrassment Philip explained that they were tie clips and he took Simon's and demonstrated how they were used. "You will see that they are hallmarked sterling silver, but what I would particularly draw your attention to is the engraving. They are identical, but look closely and you'll see that the logo is made up of both your names, intertwined so as to be inseparable as I trust you two will be for the rest of your lives." Simon and Adam examined their gifts closely and then compared. The way their faces lit up showed that they were enthralled by them and they thanked Philip and Belinda profusely. Belinda insisted on putting the clips on there and then and she showed the boys how to attach the safety chain so that they shouldn't lose them. She then picked up the wrapping and the boxes and guarded them in her handbag until they reached home. The meal reached its natural conclusion and Belinda said
"You two boys have got a long drive tomorrow. I expect you'll be wanting an early night." 'She's a canny old bird,' Adam was thinking to himself. 'Right idea, wrong reason, though.'
After they returned to Belinda's house, the boys yawned and said they would just take Lucy out for a short walk before retiring. They said good night and went up to their room where Simon gave the second half of his birthday treat for Adam. The next day they stayed for Sunday lunch, a roast which would have rivalled Brabazon's. Afterwards they loaded up the car with their luggage, and also with Lucy and hers. They said goodbye to Belinda and thanked her for the stay and said that they would see Philip on Tuesday evening. They didn't, however, return to an empty house as Mrs Green had been alerted and she was there to welcome them. She provided them with a light tea of sandwiches and cake and discussed the final details of the candle lit supper planned for the following evening.
Monday dawned and Simon enjoyed his birthday before he and Simon got up. Adam's present to him was a hockey stick for the new term at university, but he maintained that it had only cost £9.99 on eBay. At breakfast Mrs Green wished Simon many happy returns. They discussed the arrangements for the evening - again - and the boys offered to go into town and fetch any bits and pieces Mrs Green still required. As they were sitting in Burger Star talking about the forthcoming celebrations Simon said
"So we're serious about this idea of becoming blood brothers?"
"Sure. Why not? Think about it. How many years have you, Tony and Sam been together?"
"Then I came along and we've been paired up for four and a half years, then Ben four years, and Tom three and a half and we've stuck together, even with Ben being at a different school. It looks as if Paul and Robin will go their separate ways, as will Steve and Fran, but we six are still tight. We have spent so much time together that even if we physically part we will remain spiritually bound."
"I suppose there's only going to be one way to find out," replied Simon "and if we don't convince all of the four others it's just not going to happen."
"It'll happen all right. It's all a question of atmosphere and I guarantee the atmosphere will be just right."
"Is there anything we need?"
"Surgical spirit, cotton wool and Elastoplast."
"That's okay. We've got plenty of that. We use surgical spirit and cotton wool to clean the computer mice. And there's Elastoplast in the first aid kits."
"We'll put them in the summerhouse ready this afternoon."
Over the years the moresof their families' dining together had become second nature among our teenagers. Shortly before seven Ben's car drew up and four besuited young gentleman, carrying small overnight bags, climbed out and rang the front door bell. Mrs Green answered the door and showed the young gentlemen into the library where a tray of elderflower cordial mixed with soda water and ice awaited them. She called Adam and Simon who appeared within an instant and there were hugs. The guests handed our boys birthday cards which they undid and laughed at some of the ribald remarks. They made sure their guests had something to drink and nibble.
"Leave your bags in the library. We'll take them upstairs later." Mrs Green, who was wearing a black dress and white apron, came in to announce that supper was ready. Simon and Adam led the way to the dining room and in the candlelight their guests saw the table beautifully set for six. Tony and Ben were seated along the long side of the table while Tom and Sam sat opposite them. Simon took the seat which Philip usually occupied with Adam sitting in the seat at the opposite end of the table.
Mrs Green wheeled in a trolley on which among other things stood an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne in it. This by pre-arrangement was the only alcohol on offer for the evening, but going against the trend of youth in general it did not seem to concern our young gentlemen. She uncorked the bottle and poured some bubbly into each glass. Simon and Adam were toasted on the strength of their birthdays and then the first course of smoked salmon on a bed of salad was served. When that had been enjoyed, Mrs Green again wheeled the trolley in and placed a large silver platter covered with a dome shaped lid in front of Simon. When he removed it the guests were delighted to see a large fowl still sizzling. Simon symbolically carved the first slice from the goose, after which Mrs Green put it back on the trolley and served six plates with ample portions carved on them. The boys helped themselves to vegetables and began to eat heartily. Any giggles from the champagne soon disappeared once they had some proper food inside them. They chatted away quite merrily. The guests went as far as to ask what Adam and Simon were wearing on their ties and they explained what they were and how they'd been given them as a birthday present from Philip and Belinda.
"It must be odd getting a new mum," remarked Tom.
"I don't think it will affect us that much," said Simon and explained that with their spending so little time at home in the future and being adults, at least in theory if not in practice, it would have very little effect on them and that they were pleased that their father wouldn't be rattling around in this huge house on his own. Adam talked about the letter he had received that morning from the editor of GYmagazine asking if they could run an article on his and Simon's engagement. They'd phoned to say that they would be delighted and the editor said he would rather do something at a weekend while they were at home than wait until they had moved to London.
It had grown completely dark outside, but after a warm day without any wind the air had retained the sun's heat. After finishing their Dutch apple pie with the choice of ice cream, custard, squirty cream or clotted cream, or even as they were still boys at heart, ice cream, custard, squirty cream andclotted cream, they sat back at the table, reminiscent of the way they did at the Cockatoo Club meetings, and chatted over an ample supply of coffee and Belgian chocolates. Mrs Green had cleared as much of the table as she could and they knew she wouldn't disturb them any more.
"Hey, guys, what do you think of this idea?" said Adam. "Simon and I have been talking about it."
"What's that?" asked Ben eagerly.
"What are they?" said Sam.
"I thought it was just a term for brothers that are related by bl..." said Tom. "Oops. Apologies, Adam and Simon. I shouldn't have said that."
"No worries," said Simon. "It's a matter of fact."
"We've no problem with it," added Adam.
"It's like when..." said Tony, but he got no further as the other five zoomed in on him and castigated him for using the redundant like. Composure regained, he said "Sorry, chaps. It's when unrelated men swear personal allegiance to one another and it's done by making a cut and mingling their blood." He hesitated before going on. "Like..." but likewas completely acceptable in that context. "Like the Three Musketeers or the Lone Ranger and Tonto."
"As we are about to quit this safe retreat of peace and friendship and mix again with the busy world," said Adam.
"That's quite poetic," said Sam.
"...perhaps never to meet again," Adam continued.
"That's pessimistic," remarked Tony.
"...it would be a way of maintaining the bond between us, which might well be based on our sexuality, but there is more to it."
"I'm game," piped up Ben.
"If you are, so am I," said Tony and Tom and Sam weren't going to be left out.
"Are we going to do it in here?" said Sam.
"No," said Simon. "This is a serious rite and so to provide the right atmosphere we've rigged up some things outside."
"Before we start," said Tony "we've got a present for you two birthday boys." From under the table he produced a neatly wrapped box that gave nothing away. Simon slit the paper away to reveal a plain cardboard box. He took the lid off and showed Adam. The box was stuffed full of condoms and K-Y gel. The boys fell about laughing.
"Rubber jonnies for a birthday present. I like it," said Simon.
"They're not all rubber jonnies," said Ben. "If you look at those Avanti, you'll see they're made of polyurethane, not rubber, and so you can also use them with oil lube."
"Also they're stronger," said Sam "and therefore they can be made thinner. That makes them more sensitive."
"We've been using your stuff for years," said Tom "and so we thought it was payback time."
"We don't know if you still use them," said Tony.
"Depends on the day of the month, what mood we're in and what we're up to," replied Adam.
"I don't think we'll even go there," added Simon. "But thanks a lot, guys. They'll always come in useful."
"You can find hundreds of alternative uses for them on the internet," said Adam.
"How do you know?" asked Tony trying to cast an aspersion.
"I've looked, dork," replied Adam, brazening it out.
"Hey, lads," interrupted Simon. "I think we'd better go and change out of our suits first. We don't want to get blood on them."
They disappeared upstairs via the library to fetch their bags and came down dressed in a variety of casual clothes.
"Is this going to hurt?" asked Sam.
"Don't be such a wuss," said Ben and the others teased him.
"No more than the first time you were penetrated," said Adam, which provided some kind of scale as well as adding some ribaldry.
Finally a line of six boys silhouetted in the full moon could be seen marching a cross the lawn towards the summerhouse. Simon and Adam lifted the brazier out of the summerhouse and planted it on the designated spot. Simon produced a lighter and set fire to it. It was not long until the contents had burnt down and they needed to add some dry timber to form an ash base. Then they could put some barbecue charcoal on top and there would be sufficient heat to boil a billycan of water. Finally Simon explained what they had to do. He took out his Swiss Navy knife and pulled out the main blade.
"This blade is extremely sharp and that's why we are using it."
"Why do call it your Swiss Navy knife?" asked Tony. "Switzerland hasn't got a navy." Ben dug him in the ribs.
"How long have you known us?" said Simon.
"Duh!" said Sam. Tony had the grace to blush.
"The logistics are a little complicated as we must make sure that the blood from each of us is mingled with the blood from everyone else. So I suggest the following. We cut the palm of our left hands at the base of the thumb, either left or right hand. That's up to you. Also up to you is whether you cut your own hand or your other half does it. First of all you must clean the spot with surgical spirit to make it sterile. That's important. We don't want anyone dying of septicaemia. Have some tissues handy so that we don't get blood all over the place. Now another important point is that before each cutting you sterilise the knife blade in the boiling water. Again against septicaemia or any other infection. Adam and I will go first."
Adam took the knife and dipped the blade into the boiling water for half a minute or so. Simon cleaned his hand with surgical spirit. Adam drew the knife along Simon's palm for about an inch. With a sharp intake of breath between his teeth Simon watched a spurt of blood. Then keeping the blood in check with a tissue Simon did the same to Adam. Tom and Sam quickly followed with sterilising and cutting, then Tony and Ben. They stood in a line. Adam walked down the line grasping the hand of each starting with Simon. They clasped hands making sure their blood mingled and the same time saying
"My blood and yours mingle to be one," five times in total until he had mixed his blood with each of the other five. Simon did the same with the other four, quoting the same incantation, until it was just left for Tom to take hold of Sam's hand.
"My blood and yours mingle to be one." The atmosphere was electric. Its solemnity was observed by each young man. After a minute's silence Simon handed out little cards and, standing in a circle, the six of the read out together
"My blood and yours mingle to be one
My honour and your honour become one
My foes and your foes become one
From this day forward know that we will always have
...a sword to guard our backs
...a Brother to turn to when in need
...no matter what the need or circumstances
Till the City of Dust claims us.
This is our vow and oath to us all."
Another minute's spontaneous silence and then the boys broke out into a group hug, followed by individual ones, no one worrying that they might still be bleeding. Finally after a douse of surgical spirit, which stung this time, they got down to the business of putting a plaster over their wounds. They sat round the burning brazier, silent and overcome with emotion. It was Tony who broke the silence.
"It's odd. Today aged eighteen..."
"And nineteen," piped up Simon.
"...we're sitting round here having mingled our blood. When we were fifteen, we'd probably have been sitting round like this having a circle jerk."
"Trust you to drag us down," said Ben.
"Yes," said Tom, "but it's probably true." They sat watching the brazier burn down, shook the ash onto the ground and doused it water. They picked up their belongings and went back to the house. They put their noses round the kitchen door to see if Mrs Green was still there, but the room was in darkness and everything was cleared away. They climbed the stairs and went to bed, not noticing Lucy padding behind and sneaking into Simon's room.
To begin with Adam and Simon simply sat on the sofa with their arms round each other, not even talking. They were overcome with emotion after the ceremony they had taken part in. Adam was deep in thought. At one time or another over the past four and a half years he had had a sexual engagement with each of his new blood brothers. He wondered whether Simon had, but he didn't want to go as far as asking the question.
"Simon, tell me. What's so special about the six of us? I know what's special about us now that we're blood brothers, but why did we get it together and not William and Mark, Paul and Robin, Fran and Steve for example?" Simon pondered the question.
"Mmm. William and Mark aren't our age. That's easy. Otherwise I think it might be something to with the families getting to know one another. We were the first people that Tony came out to, then we met all the Carltons in Germany and Tony and Ben paired up. Dad has known the Bowlers for years, but then Sam doesn't fit into the pattern."
"Sam just fitted in."
"Feel like going to bed, brother?" said Simon.
"Mmm, yeah. What do you want to do, birthday boy?"
"I want you to hold me and kiss me and then we'll just see where that leads to."
Breakfast had been agreed for nine o'clock when the six boys congregated in the kitchen. The first thing they did was to thank Mrs Green and compliment her on her cooking. Purring, she provided the boys with the best full English breakfast she could provide. Just as they were finishing off with toast and marmalade the telephone rang. Mrs Green went to answer it and came back shortly and said
"Simon and Adam, that was your father. Would you ring him as soon as your guests have departed?"
"Was there any message?" asked Simon.
"No, just that." It was the look of consternation on her face that caused concern among all six boys.
"We'll get going," said Tony as soon as they had finished eating and downed the final mug of tea. The boys collected their things from upstairs and gathered in the kitchen to thank Mrs Green once more.
"I never did get round to playing the piano for you," said Tom.
"Next time perhaps," said Adam. They carried their light luggage out to Ben's car and deposited it in the boot, and after hugs and a few barks from Lucy they climbed in and drove off.
"We'd better go and make that call," said Adam.
"Mrs Green, did Dad say where we were to ring him?"
"At the London office." They went into their downstairs study. Simon dialled the number and put the phone on speaker.
"Good morning. It's Simon and Adam van den Berg. Would you put us through to our father, please?"
"They're not allowed to say 'Would you bear with me?'" said Simon.
«Hallo, Simon, Adam," answered Philip. "I'm afraid I have some sad news for you. Brabazon has died. He passed away peacefully during the night. The retirement home telephoned me and I immediately rang his sister.»
Philip said he would speak to Adam and Simon when he got home. He was leaving the office as soon as he had made some arrangements and calling in to see Miss Brabazon. He wanted to assure her that the retirement home would make all the funeral arrangements and then go on to the home, taking her if wanted to go. Philip also asked how the dinner party had gone. Then he hung up.
The boys returned to the kitchen and told Mrs Green the news. She said that she already knew, but she didn't want to say anything in front of the other boys and that Mr Philip wanted to tell his sons himself. It certainly altered the atmosphere in the house and naturally affected Simon more than Adam as he had been brought up with Brabazon in the house and as far as he was concerned he was part of the family. Adam put his arm round Simon for there was little he could say under the circumstances. He did not want to draw attention to the tears in Simon's eyes, but despite that he took his handkerchief and dabbed them away for him.
Fortunately Philip had been able to complete the business with the director of the South African subsidiary and Belinda simply slipped into the role of future wife and entertained him in Philip's absence.
"Simon, we can't just sit around all day doing nothing. Let's take Lucy for a run." That was code for Adam needed to go on a run. On hearing her name Lucy came up to the two young men and wagged her tail. It was time for Adam to take charge. He had experienced the feeling of bereavement, as of course Simon had, and he had learnt the importance of doing something, even if it was futile. They went upstairs and grabbed the first kit they could lay hands on and changed. Adam could see that Simon's heart wasn't in it, but he jollied him along and perhaps they spent more time than usual at the wishing well before running home together. Adam went on to do his fifty lengths of the swimming pool, but although he changed, Simon just sat on the side of the swimming pool. Mrs Green fed them a light lunch afterwards and then they disappeared up to their rooms. Simon lay on his bed and Adam placed himself beside him, cradling him in his arms until he fell asleep. He then went over to the sofa and sat down to read.
When he woke up, Simon felt a lot better. He now wanted to talk which in itself indicated a great improvement. They went down to the kitchen and asked Mrs Green to make a pot of tea.
Philip arrived home towards six o'clock. After greeting the boys, he quickly discussed supper with Mrs Green and said he wanted to get showered and changed and would say a bit more over their meal. It was laid up in the dining room, a sign when it was just the family that he wanted a little privacy. You could see the sadness on his face along with the tiredness. Once Mrs Green had served them each with a plate of bangers and mash and a choice of vegetables, she left the family to it.
"I've certainly had a busy day," said Philip "and it's been harder than working. Brabazon died in his sleep and was discovered by the staff this morning. He wasn't under any specific watch as he appeared perfectly fit. They suspect a heart attack or heart failure of some kind, but won't know definitely until after the autopsy."
"How old was he?" asked Simon.
"Eighty-one. When I arrived at his sister's, she seemed quite composed and stoical. 'You have to expect something like that at eighty-one,' she said. I took her to the home where she met the funeral directors. There seemed no difficulties. Apparently Brabazon had taken out one of those funeral plans where you pay up front and he had discussed his wishes. It's just a matter of waiting for the date. It'll be a cremation. Also he had deposited a will with his solicitor and his sister has a copy. Everything has been left to her, but with certain wishes and dispositions."
"Will the cremation be before we go off to uni?" asked Adam.
"Oh, yes, I expect so, unless they find anything odd in the autopsy. After that I took Miss Brabazon home, had a cup of tea there as she wanted to chat, and then I came home. I said that if she needed anything doing, she wasn't to hesitate, but get in touch with us." Philip finally ate some of his dinner and said "Now tell me how you dinner party went."
"Fantastic, really," said Simon.
"There was a really good atmosphere," added Adam. "You know how you always said that we'd become inseparable as a group?"
"And now we really are going to have to split up?" said Simon.
"Well, we decided we would become blood brothers," Adam went on. "We worked out a little ceremony beforehand and after dinner we went out under the full moon and really did mingle our blood like they did in the olden days."
"It was very emotional." The boys couldn't work out whether Philip approved or not for he had fallen silent and his face was just thoughtful. Everyone just got on with their dinner. Eventually Philip broke the silence.
"It's strange. What goes around, comes around." The boys looked up, both puzzled and interested. "My best friend in South Africa was Frik and we knew that we were going part. His parents were going back up country to live with their Boer kinsfolk. With the end of apartheid they sensed they would have more security there and although the company was doing well we had to prepare for any contingency as the future was a big unknown. We were in the process of handing the day to day running over to local staff and transferring as many of the assets as possible to London. So we became blood brothers. The last I heard of Frik was that he was run over by a drunk driver and killed." Simon and Adam felt relieved. If Philip had done something as a boy, it must be all right for them to do it. "Still, let's try to be a little more cheerful. Sad as it is, death is as much a way of life as birth, friendship, marriage, work. In fact, I've got something I want to read to you. You might find it means something to you, especially at the stage of life you've now reached."
Philip got up, went to his study and returned with a piece of paper.
"Ready, boys? You need to think about this." Adam and Simon nodded.
"'People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.' [Anon]
The three fell silent.
"I'd never thought of life in those terms before," said Adam. "I wish you'd read that to us before yesterday. I'd like to have included that in our party."
"My father read it to me after we'd received the news of Frik's death. I reread it when your mother passed away, Simon. And then I looked it out again tonight because of Brabazon."
"Can we have that read at Brabazon's funeral?" asked Simon. "I'd like to read it out."
"That's up to Miss Brabazon. We shall have to ask her. In fact, we ought to do that tonight before the order of service is printed. Better still, you ought to ask her, Simon. I haven't received the date and the proofs yet and so there's still time."
Then Philip changed the subject.
"Talking about relationships, have you two come to a decision about what you're going to call yourselves after your civil union?"
"Yes, we've talked about it," replied Simon.
"Yes, I was supposed to do something about that at my eighteenth birthday, but it got forgotten about and it didn't matter all the time we were at school," said Adam. "But now we're going to have a new life in so many different ways we have talked about it."
"I want to add Neave, not as a double barrelled name, but as a quasi Christian name, and then I'll be known as Mr van den Berg or Mr S P N van den Berg."
"And I want my official name to remain Adam Simon Neave van den Berg, as it is on my passport, but I too want to be known as Mr van den Berg or Mr A S van den Berg, but I would answer to Mr Neave if anyone called me that. I could only see old schoolmates doing that, but then they would call me Adam anyway. I suppose it's just if they're writing to me, Christmas cards and things."
"We'd better get all that recorded by the solicitor before you go up and I suggest you use the new names from the moment you start at university, although it might need squaring in the two Registrars' departments.
The date for Brabazon's funeral was eventually set for the following Tuesday. The van den Bergs were surprised and relieved at how soon it was to take place. Despite its being outside the parish, Philip persuaded their local rector to conduct the service. It's surprising the power possessed by the magic words roof renovation fund. As the service was in the afternoon it meant that the family could prepare itself at a more leisurely pace and fortunately the weather held fine. They motored to the residential home and arrived mid-morning. After discussing certain matters they lunched with the residents and Philip listened to stories about Brabazon. The limousine from the undertakers arrived at one thirty and drove the van den Bergs with Belinda to Miss Brabazon's home, then to the crematorium. They sat in the car until the arrival of the hearse and once the pallbearers had taken charge of the coffin, Philip supported Miss Brabazon as chief mourner, followed by the boys, followed by Belinda. The congregation was scant, consisting of staff and residents from the home, a few friends of Miss Brabazon's and one or two of the tradesmen Brabazon had dealt with in his time as butler. Philip gave the eulogy and had had time to include material from the anecdotes he had heard in the home. Adam realised, if he hadn't before, what a valued member of the household Brabazon had been. Simon read his piece on relationships with Adam standing by him, holding hands by their little fingers, in front of the congregation. The flickering of the candlelight sparkled off their earrings, but only Philip noticed that. The committal was spoken, the curtains closed round the coffin as it was consigned to the remorseless fury of North Sea gas. The congregation was quickly hustled out of the side door lest the conveyor belt of subsequent cremations be held up by the mourners battling their way through those queuing at the front door, eager to claim their seats for the next service.
When the funeral was over, Philip and Belinda, Adam and Simon returned to the residential home for the wake. The staff had set out a finger buffet in one of the larger rooms. Philip and Belinda helped Miss Brabazon to play hostess. It was, however, something that she was clearly unprepared for and they had a useful role to play. This meant that Simon and Adam had to make their own entertainment since there were few people there that they knew. Adam was pleased to be able to tuck into the food. It had been a long time since lunch. Mrs Green, who had been seconded, was making herself useful in helping the few mourners to food. Because of his devotion to duty Brabazon had not had many friends, indeed not a great social life even. 'That's what things were like in the old days if you were in service,' Brabazon would have said. Just as Adam was trying to decide between another sausage roll or whether to take a piece of cake, Miss Brabazon came across to the boys with a cardboard box in her hands.
"Simon, James so wanted you to have these." Even after the funeral service the boys still had to think who James was. He thanked her. "No, thank you, Simon for the wonderful way you read that passage about relationships. It helps us understand." Adam was proud, but Simon felt self-conscious. The boys took the box along with their food and sat down on a sofa in a corner away from the main conversations.
When Simon opened the box he discovered a whole lot of family photographs which Brabazon had taken over the years. He slowly looked through them and explained to Adam where and when they were taken.
"In those days Brabazon used to come on holiday with us. I don't think it was much of a holiday for him, but that's what happened in those days. Dad said he did it when he was a boy too and that's where the black and white photos came from." He then came across a rather good photo of himself standing between his seated mother and father. "I must have been four or five in that one."
"Nice to see you tugging your todger even in those days."
"Oops! Didn't notice that. I used to do that rather a lot when I was a boy. Probably that's why I've got such a long thin one now." Both boys giggled.
"I suppose you stopped because you've got me to do that for you now."
"I had to stop when I got to the senior school because I had the piss taken out of me so much. Not that I had an easy time of it at home. Mum used to tell me I'd pull it off eventually and at one stage they got so cross about it that they threatened that if I didn't stop, they'd make me wear boxing gloves all the time. Well, except for meals, of course."
"And did they?"
"Only once. On a Sunday."
"And what happened?"
"I peed myself because I couldn't find anyone in time to untie the strings in time." Simon laughed. "Still, it soon put a stop to the boxing gloves."
Simon shuffled through a few more photos.
"That's just reminded me," said Simon. "Robert Cannon at school."
"What? The incredibly handsome and disgustingly heterosexual Robert Cannon in the year below us?"
"You've got him in one. His parents made him wear boxing gloves in bed to stop him wanking. It didn't last very long there, either. Not only did he wake them up every time he wanted to go to the bathroom, but the wank stains on his pillows showed it didn't work." Adam scoffed. "In the end they compromised by swapping the gloves for a box of tissues."
"I can understand mothers not understanding a boy's needs, but then fathers should be able to intervene and explain. Hey, Si, have you tried this chocolate cake yet? It's gorgeous."
As the van den Bergs left and said goodbye to Miss Brabazon, she spoke confidentially to Simon and Adam.
"You know, James was delighted to see you two... What shall we say? ...walking out together. He was a little bit that way himself. A lot of men in service are. Well, good luck for your life together. I understand that you have become engaged. I hope all goes well. You're welcome to visit when your father comes to see me. Goodbye, Adam. Goodbye, Simon," and she held their hands together and kissed them on the cheek.
The year, the month, the weeks were moving on. Just over two weeks before the boys would be packing their trunks and leaving for London. Sam and Tom had already left for New Zealand, just in time for spring, the lucky sods. The school had a special relationship with a school there which had arranged for them to spend a year as assistants. They exchanged two pupils every year and it provided opportunities for the more entrepreneurial alumni. The next event in Simon and Adam's calendar was the interview for GYmag. They managed to get Sandra, their tame hairstylist, to come in on Wednesday to give Adam a perm and tint, and to tidy Simon's mane. Simon had given Adam a body shave before they got dressed from swimming.
A car drew up on Thursday morning. Mrs Green answered the door to two cute young gentlemen who introduced themselves as a journalist and a photographer. To call them Julian and Sandy would have been an exaggeration, but there were certainly similarities. She showed them into the library while she called the boys. She settled them with coffee and biscuits and left the four to it. The journalist introduced himself as Bobby, the photographer as Vince. Bobby ran through what they wanted to do in order to put the boys at ease and explained that they wanted spontaneous answers and so would not be giving them any prior notice of the questions he would ask. The official interview would be recorded and they could say if there was anything they didn't want published, but he hoped there wouldn't be. Also there would be no way that the whole interview could be used. From what came out of the interview they would decide on the photographs they needed and they asked if the boys minded changing their clothes according to the themes they were developing and bearing in mind the readership.
"Why were we selected?" asked Simon.
"As you're subscribers we know that you have been reading GYsince it was first published. Also, because we are the only specialist magazine aimed at young gay males, we know we have several different and distinct roles to fill and I suppose this particular function is to be the gay version of Hello!and OK!magazines and so it was the announcement of your engagement which caught our attention and made us think there was a story there. We carry a lot on civil unions and gay marriages abroad, but rarely do we come across an official engagement. By the way I notice you're not wearing engagement rings."
"We are," contradicted Adam, "but you might like to explore that later."
"I bet you find him a tease in bed, Simon," said Bobby provocatively.
"No comment." Meanwhile Vince had been making notes on a pad.
"Have you got any questions before we start?"
"We'll play it by ear," said Adam.
"Okay," said Bobby. "If you'd be kind enough to ask your housekeeper to clear the coffee things and say we'd like two hours without interruption, we'll get started."
The interview did indeed last two hours with questions on how they'd met, their parents, their school, their hobbies and pastimes, the attitudes of people they dealt with. They certainly understood at the end why they needed two hours and all the material couldn't possibly appear in the article. Mrs Green came in and asked whether they would like some snacks for lunch.
"Thanks, Mrs Green," said Bobby, "but we'd like to work through."
"We'll need a nibble before we go on," protested Adam. "We're growing lads."
"Take ten, then, while we set up. We'd like to photograph in here, and while you two are having a little nibble together, we'll take a look at the garden for some exterior shots. We have some ideas already from google."
A quarter of an hour later the boys were fortified and waiting in the library for Bobby and Vince to return. Vince was now in charge.
"We'll start with some shots of you in here as you are. Then you can sort some suitable clothes out. We'd like you in suits to celebrate your engagement, we're interested in your earrings, close up and natural. We want you in rugby and cross-country kit, Adam, and you in hockey kit, Simon. Can you manage that? A speedo shot would appeal to our readers, as I'm sure you'll appreciate, and finally jeans and tee shirt, cargos and tee shirt or polo shirt. Any problems?"
In just over an hour the photographs were done, including a provocative one of a kiss in the engagement sequence, several hugs one step short of a snog, an actual snog. Bobby and Vince cleared their gear away, thanked Adam and Simon and said they would be in touch. They saw them to the car and waved as they drove off.
"They didn't say when it would appear in the magazine," said Simon.
"It's what they call undated copy and so they can put it in when they have a space. You know, Si, all that interviewing and modelling has made me feel very hungry and very, very randy. What would you say to asking Mrs Green for something to eat and then we go up for some R & R? I have this uncontrollable urge to whitewash your kidneys."
"Sounds good to me," answered Simon, "but you'll have to control it for a little bit longer."
Adam wasn't surprised when a few days later he received a letter franked with the GYlogo. He was, however, surprised by the contents. He read it out to Simon.
"'Dear Adam van den Berg
Thank you for the hospitality and cooperation shown towards our team members...' Notice, Si? Team members, not staff or employees or colleagues. '...our team members Bobby and Vince. We have reviewed the copy and the photographs and consequently we should like to invite you and Simon to model for our centrefold. As regular readers you will appreciate that this will involve you in posing naked.
'We hope that you will agree to our request, but in either case we would ask you to inform us of your decision at your earliest convenience.
'We understand that in the not too distant future you will be resident in London and perhaps we can make an appointment soon after your arrival since we plan to publish the centrefold along with the article on your engagement in the November edition.' And it's signed by the editor."
"That'll make some of our mates gasp when they see that, Adam. Let's e-mail back a yes str8away." They agreed that and giving their contact details in London. Adam did so, then said to Simon
"It's going to be interesting. Our friends that are out will be surprised, but have no difficulty in mentioning it, but those who aren't out are going to stare at us and be tongue-tied and embarrassed, and they could even out themselves by accident. So let's not tell anybody and they can just find out."
"You can be an evil bastard at times, Adam." Adam just smiled.
"Now, talking about being an evil bastard, there's something I want to try before we go up to London."
"The cock cage."
"Not on me, I hope."
"No, on me. You didn't have to wear it and so I don't expect you to understand. I wouldn't expect anyone to understand unless they'd worn one. There comes a point where you are so stimulated, physically and mentally, that your cock tries to get hard and come off and it can't. It's what I call 'the moment of sublime torture', a sublime mélange of pleasure and frustration because your body cannot complete the act. It heightens physical sensitivity and awareness, takes you to the brink where the unavailable orgasm is the only form of relief."
"You've waxed quite lyrical over the experience."
"So would you if you had been in my position of timeless physical stimulation to the point of torture, of torture by being deprived of sight and the numbing torture of the tuneless music in your head. That I can do without. It was so frustrating, but it got me into such a state of ecstasy that I'd never before experienced and I want to again."
"So how are you going to achieve this?"
"I want to try and wear the cage for a day - just under twenty-four hours. I'll put it on after doing my fifty lengths and take it off just after we come back from running the next morning, and you keep the key on you and only use it if you think something's gone wrong or I use my safeword."
"We'll have to change that, especially if we're taking the dog for a walk."
"In the meantime I'm your slave and you can excite me as much or as little as you want."
"Then try it on Sunday when Dad's at Belinda's, but we'll have to find things to do to keep ourselves occupied." They agreed and sealed it with a kiss.
The appointed day arrived. Adam was permitted to make love to Simon before his self-imposed ordeal. The autumnal mornings were drawing in rapidly. The run was over quite quickly as Adam started getting back into shape for the rugby season at college. The morning swim proceeded as usual. The boys showered, donned loincloths as they knew Mrs Green would be in already and preparing food. They went up to their rooms and Adam prepared himself. He fetched the black pouch holding the chastity device from the airing cupboard where it had been stored to bring it up to temperature. He separated it into its components. Simon came into his room to supervise as Adam snapped the hinged retaining ring, a glorified cockring made of stainless steel, closed around his scrotum and dick. This immediately caused a slight swelling of his cock which made it easier for him to spread the cold gel over its length and over the glans. He took the cage, still warm from the airing cupboard, and slipped it smoothly along the length of his shaft. It fitted like a hand in a well worn glove. He fed the cage into the retaining device on the ring, slipped the padlock through and snapped it shut. He handed the key which he had threaded onto an old rugby bootlace to Simon who then strung it around his neck. The cage felt so comfortable on Adam that he could easily ignore the weight and it dragged his dick down to make it easier for him to pull his briefs up over it.
The boys were dressing for church. They put on their school uniform dark grey flannels. They were perfectly serviceable. In addition they wore a formal shirt and a tie. It was too warm for a jacket. Philip had suggested they made one appearance in church before they disappeared off to college and they decided on the ten o'clock service rather than the eight as that would not interfere with their running and there was one other strong ulterior motive. They finally showed up in the kitchen where they said good morning to Mrs Green who asked them what they wanted for breakfast.
Breakfast over, they made their way to the church. They walked in the way they loved to do when in public, holding each other's hand by the little finger, the nearest they got to a PDA. They knew well that while on the whole many people in the community had been accepting of their relationship, to their faces at least, they also had their denigrators. A wealthy man like their father would have a great deal of local clout, and some of that would rub off onto his family, but the boys were fully aware that they remained vulnerable and needed to be discreet. Even in a pleasant parish such as theirs a beating might still be lurking round the next corner. While stepping out Adam could hear the chink of the padlock bouncing on the steel cage and if Simon listened carefully he could hear it too. Instead of being an inconvenience, the device exuded a wonderfully energising feeling. He had forgotten its main purpose, the negative one of depriving its wearer of sexual satisfaction, but in its place it provided a new and unforeseen one to be enjoyed in a manner not intended.
Simon and Adam arrived at the church and were greeted gushingly by the middle aged ladies who wished their husbands looked like the boys. Simon, admittedly, was more woman-tolerant than Adam, but he could sense Adam bristling underneath while maintaining an urbane exterior. They took their seats in the pews when suddenly Adam jumped and shouted out. He had sat down carelessly and as he did the cage caught in his trousers and jammed pitilessly against his bollocks. He blushed as he looked around and saw members of the congregation looking at him. He grinned apologetically and stage-whispered 'Cramp' and gave a withering smile. Even Simon hadn't realised what was wrong, which was probably a good thing as he would only have burst out with a fit of the giggles.
The choir processed in, followed by the rector and his curate. Now came the first test for the cage. Adam and Simon might now be nineteen years of age, but they were still adolescent boys at heart. The first priority was to check out the choir. They forgot all about singing the introit hymn as they goose-necked at the passing procession. The next game had to wait for the sermon, the search for luscious, lustful and lusting talent. This was where the boys would assess the members of the choir and give them marks out of ten. This might have been idle sport if they attended church every week, but as weeks usually elapsed their acute boywatching skills would soon evaluate the rapid change for better or for worse which puberty wrought on the choirboys. It was at that point that Adam perceived the pressure in his groin and an approach towards 'sublime torture' was started. He squirmed in his seat. Simon gave him a look as he could only surmise about the ongoing battle in Adam's trousers. In any case the solid stainless steel cage was going to win. Simon patted his knee to calm him down. Adam leant over and whispered in his fiancé's ear
"I think I've wet myself."
"Don't worry, Adam. It will only be a bit of precum. You're incapacitated from producing a full load, remember?" How he needed Simon to stroke his groin, but it wasn't going to happen. They were after all in church.
By the end of the service Adam felt dry again. Now came the best part. Simon and Adam always liked to hold back. It allowed the main part of the congregation to squeeze out through the west door and unctuously thank the clergy for an excruciatingly boring sermon, but it also gave the choir time to disrobe and emerge from the practice room to debounce in the churchyard for fifteen minutes before a short practice for Evensong. They could then check the points they'd awarded to the choir as they saw them in their ordinary clothes, and they wereordinary clothes. There was no point dressing up if your body was entirely covered by a red cassock, white surplice and ruff. Adam and Simon were just ratifying their verdicts when two boys ran up to them, whom they didn't recognise, and yet they did.
"Hey, remember us? Jamie Conway..."
"...and Nicholas Sims. You went to our school."
"We're in Year 9 now."
"Oh, yes," said Simon, "but you were only so high when we knew you."
"Yeah, but we grew over the summer. We used to sing treble in the church choir, but Nick sings tenor now..."
"...and Jamie sings bass. Hey, congratulations on your engagement."
"How on earth did you know about that?" said Simon.
"It hasn't been announced at school, has it?' said Adam.
"No," said Jamie. "We read about it in GYmagazine."
"But everybody knows by now anyway," added Nick.
"Are you qualified to read GY?" asked Adam.
"Sure are," answered Jamie. "We're an item."
"We're joining the Cockatoo Club next week."
"Will Legge's doing a good job running it."
"It does a lot of good in the school," said Nick.
"We feel really safe there."
"Hey, good to meet you guys. Will talks about you a lot at meetings."
"You still meet at lunch times?" asked Adam.
"Yes, and at the same table," said Jamie. "Still, we better get off to our practice. The other guys get pissed off if they have to wait. Great to see you again. Have a good life. You were a helluvan inspiration for us."
"Especially when we came out," added Nick. With that the boys turned on their heels and ran off to the practice room.
"Looks as if we're celebs," said Simon.
"Hmm," said Adam. "If we're not now, we soon will be. Si, I couldn't say anything, but that Jamie Conway made me fight with the cage. I tell you what, it increases randiness rather than stopping it."
Time had gone on. It was getting on for twelve by the time Adam and Simon strolled into the kitchen. Lucy came and greeted them, wagging her tail. Mrs Green said lunch would be ready at one.
"What are we going to do this afternoon?" asked Adam as he tucked into his roast pork and tested the strength of his teeth on the crackling. "We can't stay in on a lovely afternoon like this."
"How about motoring down to the coast and going for a swim?" replied Simon. "Oops, sorry. We can't very well the way you are."
"Is something the matter, Adam?" enquired Mrs Green, showing concern. "You haven't got a cold coming on or anything?" Adam blushed and Simon grinned.
"No, no," said Adam hurriedly. "Just got a little cramp when I was swimming this morning. It's fine now, but I don't want it to happen again. The sea can be cooler than the water in our pool."
"That's probably sensible. I didn't think there could be much wrong with you by the way you're tucking in to your lunch."
"But if you want to swim, Si, I can always sit on the beach and look after Lucy and the valuables and admire..." Adam hesitated. "...the scenery."
"Phew! That's all right. For a moment I thought you were going to say the guys in their swimming costumes."
"Moi? As if..."
"Would you two like any more roast potatoes?" interrupted Mrs Green.
"That would be nice, thank you," said Adam.
"Or we could cycle over and see Tony and Ben. We must find out when they leave for uni."
"That's a good idea." It wasn't. Sitting on a bicycle saddle and pedalling would be torture, but not of the sublime type. In fact to Simon's surprise they settled for the beach.
It took an hour or so to get there and they were lucky to find somewhere to park. They were pleased to get some sun on their bodies since this would be one of the last opportunities of the year. They locked their few valuables in the car boot. Now they only had the car key to worry about.
"We should search out a space easily enough," said Simon.
"Let's see if we can find one next to a courting couple," said Adam mischievously. They soon found what they were looking for and put down their towels. Lucy was making such a big fuss, because she wanted to get into the water as soon as possible, that she woke up the couple next to them. They did not seem too upset for they were quite content to watch Simon and Adam stripping off their clothes, and by their faces they were quite impressed. Once they had spotted what was going on and realised that they were on the receiving end of what they themselves had so often initiated they put on a bit of a show.
"What's the water like?" said Adam.
"Quite warm," answered the one with blond hair.
"It won't shrivel your nuts," said his friend.
"We haven't got any worries there," replied Simon with a grin.
"So I see," said the blond. Adam was the first to go into the water. Simon let Lucy off the lead and she chased in after him. Simon lay on the towel and watched him, absentmindedly fingering the key on the boot lace around his neck. He chatted with the two lads next to him. They were evidently interested, but he was going to string them along. It was obvious that they were testing the water more in a metaphorical sense. Finally curiosity got the better of Ed, the non-blond one who said provocatively
"What's that key you keep on fingering? Your boyfriend's chastity belt?"
"No," said Simon in a matter of fact tone. "Fiancé's." The reply left Ed not knowing what to say next. At that moment Adam came rushing up the beach with Lucy running after him. He dried himself off and spread his towel on the sand. Simon handed him the car key and ran off down into the water with Lucy chasing behind. Adam threw her ball after them.
"Nice towels," said Andy, the blond one. "Bet they didn't come from Primark."
"Probably not. I don't do the buying. Our housekeeper probably ordered them."
"You must be posh if you've got a housekeeper," said Ed.
"Not really. I'm an orphan. I haven't got any parents. The housekeeper looks after us in the house where we live." Ed coloured up. He'd pushed the conversation a step too far.
"Are you two local?" asked Adam.
"No, we're taking a week's holiday before we go up to uni," said Andy. "Ed's parents lent us their camper van."
"It'll sleep four at a push, but it's quite cosy for just the two us. We can have quite a bit of fun."
"Fun? I hope it's fitted with stabilisers." It was Adam's turn to be provocative.
"Yeah. Didn't we tell you we were gay?" said Andy.
"No, but we knew that anyway."
"You knew?" said Ed astonished.
"Well, you made it pretty obvious when we were getting our kit off."
"And you didn't mind?"
"Course not. Didn't you notice us play up to it?"
"Well, yes, but we thought it was just coincidence. We didn't think you could possibly be... er..."
"You don't look gay."
"We can do when we want to. So are you two an item?"
"I suppose you could say that. We've been best mates since we started school and we've stuck it out together ever since," said Ed. They all laughed at the inappropriate turn of phrase.
"Why are you wearing two speedos?" asked Andy.
"If I told you, you wouldn't believe me."
"Try us," said Ed.
"If I didn't, I'd frighten the horses, not to mention the general public."
"A big boy are you?" said Andy.
"Not really. If you want big, you should see our mate Tony... and he's only a little fellow." Simon and Lucy came bounding up the beach. Lucy wagged her tail and then shook the water out of her coat all over the three lads who were now nice and dry and warm. "This is Simon, my fiancé, and I'm Adam. This is Ed and Andy. They're an item. And that's Lucy, the only female we allow into our lives."
The four chatted until they noticed that more and more people were packing up to go home and that the sun had moved round quite a bit. Adam and Simon took it in turns to have another quick dip and then they changed out of their bathers into their ordinary clothes under the eagle eyes of Ed and Andy, but they didn't give anything away under their towels except that Adam's cage was pushed forward, but the onlookers couldn't make out what actually was making the bulge. If only they'd believed Simon. They hugged as they said goodbye. 'What the hell was that,' thought Andy as he pulled Adam in and quickly let him go.
"And don't forget to pay a visit to Brighton when you're settled in London."
"It's only an hour on the train." Those were the holidaymakers' last words as Simon, Adam and Lucy made their way up the beach and back to the car.
With Simon in the driving seat they started out on the journey home.
"How did you cope with the cage this afternoon?"
"No bother. The cold water saw to that," and Simon reached his hand across and groped Adam's shorts. He could feel the cage, but nothing else. "You'll have to wait until I warm up."
Back at home Mrs Green made sandwiches for their tea and then they watched TV until bedtime. When they got undressed Simon tooks some snaps of Adam before they climbed into bed.
"You know, Adam, that thing suits you. It looks tailor-made." The boys climbed under the duvet on Adam's bed and Simon snuggled up to his back. Adam felt his dick swelling and filling the confines of the cage. He felt Simon's stiffened cock lying along the crevice of his bum. That in itself was heavenly, but then Simon started playing with his nipples. He ran his hands down the front of Adam's body and then with his index finger traced a circle round his belly button. He never knew why, but that would always make his body buckle and squirm. Before long he was caressing Adam's balls which because of the cockring had lost a lot of sensitivity, but had triggered off the anticipation of the next move which would have been manipulating his dick until it shot its load, but this was where the sweet torture began. Adam's dick could swell no more and he felt the sap rising in it, but without direct stimulation it would rise no further. He had passed that stage the comedian Jim Davies described as being 'hooked on', the state where if you are jerking yourself off you just cannot stop until you have come.
"Bring me off, Si," begged Adam. He felt Simon's hand take grip of the cage, but no more. He felt Simon's hand attempt to move it back and forth, but it was jammed tight on his shaft and while its minimal movement felt pleasurable it did nothing to bring Adam to orgasm. He was beginning to feel desperate. He wanted to shoot, but he couldn't. Simon kept this up until Adam shouted out, so loud that it frightened Simon who immediately stopped. Adam heaved a huge sigh and his tense body went limp, and he was left with a feeling of huge frustration. He had been brought to the brink, but could go no further. As his breathing returned to normal, he said
"That was wonderful, Simon. That was sublime torture. Thank you."
"Do you want me to take that thing off?", but he received no answer. Adam had rolled over and gone to sleep.
When Adam woke again he was bursting for a pee. It was just getting light. It must be about half past six. He stumbled, half asleep still, to the bathroom to relieve himself and only remembered just in time that he had to sit down, otherwise the design of the cage would have made him spray all over the place. He used toilet paper to dry the excess from the cage, poked it through the bars to soak up that last drop on the end of his foreskin, flushed and washed his hands. He went back to bed and tried to snuggle up to Simon, but the cage got in the way. So he rolled over on his back and within seconds was asleep again.
The boys woke up together towards seven thirty, gave each other a quick peck on the lips and got out of bed. It was time for their run. Simon took the key from around his neck and unlocked the little padlock that was holding the cage together. It fell apart and landed softly in Adam's hand. He shook his body so that his dick and balls shook loose as well. Simon drew back the curtains, looked out and saw that it was a drizzly day. They put on the minimum kit possible, not giving corporate identity a single thought. They didn't mind getting their bodies wet; it was wet clothing that felt so awful. They said good morning to Mrs Green as they went into the kitchen to fetch Lucy. The hound didn't anticipate the lonely days ahead of her when the boys would be at university and with Philip spending more of his leisure time at Belinda's.
As they jogged through the streets on their way to the park Adam said
"Si, do you remember the Shakespeare play we studied for GCSE?"
"Do you remember the Porter's scene?"
"What? The one we were given photocopies of because it had been cut out of the book? 'I pray you, remember the porter.'"
"That's it. I can still quote it after two years.
...and drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things. Then MacDuff says:
What three things does drink especially provoke?
Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and
urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes;
it provokes the desire, but it takes
away the performance: therefore, much drink
may be said to be an equivocator with lechery:
it makes him, and it mars him; it sets
him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him,
and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and
not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him
in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.
"Don't you see, Simon? That's exactly the effect the cage has on me, but it's more exciting, more intense."
"So, Adam, you actually achieved what you wanted to achieve last night?"
"Yes, I got there, but I'm sure it could be even more intense."
"If you go on like that, you'll make me redundant."
"No, not all. You are the most important part in getting me aroused. I couldn't do it without you."
"Tonight, Adam, you are all mine. I missed out yesterday."
"That's fine with me." Meanwhile they had reached the park. They let Lucy off the lead and the running became serious.
"Okay, Simon and Adam," said Philip "we've got about ten days to get you organised for college. So let's see how that pans out. Have your new trunks arrived yet?"
"Yes, Dad, they came yesterday."
"Can you get down to packing them tonight and tomorrow morning? We'll get the carrier to pick them up tomorrow afternoon. That'll ensure that they arrive before you do." The boys nodded. "Now we need to have a serious talk about business matters. I suggest that you come to work with me on Wednesday. As it concerns the company, it will be easier to do it at the office than here. Everything okay so far?" The boys said yes. "That should only take up the morning. I suggest you spend the rest of the day in London finding out where you have to go, how you get there and shopping for anything you need. Then in the evening I'll take you out to dinner at the club. So make sure you put a change of clothes in the car. You can wash and brush up at the office." The boys liked that idea. "Then on the Sunday before term starts we'll have an early lunch and I'll take you to Tavistock Square in the afternoon and that will give you the evening to settle in and get to know some new friends. Are you happy with that?" Again the boys said yes.
"Why have we got to go to the office on Wednesday?" asked Adam.
"Can I ask you to be patient and all will be explained?" Simon knew better than to ask such questions, particularly when his father was in organisation mode, and he had never let him down yet. "When do you actually start college?"
"To begin with they have what they call Freshers' Week which lasts two days. We have to get registered during that time, find out our timetables and all the different clubs and societies try to persuade us to join them."
"Don't get carried away. What are you thinking of joining?"
"The Rugby Club," said Adam.
"The Hockey Club," said Simon.
"And the university HomSoc," added Adam.
"What's that?" asked Philip and before the boys could answer he wished he hadn't. "All right, boys," he said laughing at himself. "You sold me a dummy."
"But we'll certainly be looking at it," said Adam. "Because it's a university society as opposed to a college one, we can both join it," said Simon "but as it's officially a GLBT society it might not be us..."
"Especially as they can get a bit politicised and serious," said Adam.
"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender," said Simon.
"I knew I shouldn't have asked."
"They ought to be separate."
"Then on Wednesday term begins officially and life becomes serious," said Adam.
"However, they are only ten week terms, but without any half term holidays."
"You'd better go and talk nicely to Mrs Green. She won't do your packing for you, but she might get the essentials together for you."
"Come back, Brabazon. All is forgiven," said Simon. "By the way, Dad, when you go off to Belinda's for the weekend, you will take Lucy with you, won't you? She's going to be lonely enough as it is without us."
Dawn had just broken when the van den Bergs set out for London on the appointed Wednesday. Adam and Simon were sitting in the back of Philip's car since they were still not beyond the odd fondle and grope in the back seat out of sight from Philip's rearview mirror. Philip's suite of offices was situated just north of the Euston Road with its own underground garage and so he didn't have to worry about details such as parking and the congestion charge. They arrived at a quarter to nine, just before the staff were due in. Philip caught up with the latest business briefings, gave his instructions for the day and learnt from his PA that the latest payment from the South African concession had been received by the bank. With everyone settled he asked his PA to join him and take notes while he was talking to his sons.
"Now, Simon and Adam, we haven't talked about your time at university in detail and it's high time we dealt with the nitty gritties. I am proposing to appoint you to the staff of the company on a part time basis. As such your duties will be minimal as will be your remuneration." Simon looked askance. "Pay."
"Thank you, Dad. I do know what remuneration means."
"That means you shouldn't have to pay income tax. As such the company can send you on training courses, in this instance your degree courses. That will pay your university fees and means you do not have to take out a student loan. You can then use a company credit card for the books and equipment you need. It also means that you have to keep the receipts for what you buy, card and cash. They will be scrutinised and you will have to pay back what is not approved." Philip looked at Simon. "No £250 hockey sticks." He looked at Adam. "No grandstand seats at Twickenham. No taxicab fares. You can get yourselves an oyster card."
"What's that?" asked Adam.
"A prepaid ticket for the buses and tube. An initiative test for this afternoon. I personally will pay your rent at the hall of residence. From the 1 October I have raised your allowances to reflect London weighting and the extra incidental expenses you will have. I don't expect you to live like hermits. On the other hand you will need to balance fun with work, and don't forget that as employees your university work is also the company's work. Are you in agreement?" The boys said yes. "Then we'd better sign agreement papers." In a minute you can go into the ante-room, read them through and if you're content, sign them." The PA handed them each a sheaf of papers.
"What does ancillary clerk mean?" asked Adam.
"Office boy," replied Philip. "The lowest rung of the ladder. You may be the boss's sons, but that's the position you're going to occupy for the next three years at least... unless anything happens to me in which case a brand new strategy will come into play, but it's not the time to discuss that now." The boys were faced with Mr van den Berg the businessman, a side of Philip they were not used to seeing.
"A hundred pounds a year is not very much," said Simon.
"Then you are missing the point," replied Adam. "We've always found our allowances more than adequate. They are being boosted and we are going through uni free of a student loan."
"Put that way, it's very generous," conceded Simon.
The business completed, they left the offices, arranging to return for six o'clock.
"My stomach thinks my throat's been cut," said Adam.
"Look, there's a pizza parlour over there. Let's go for it," suggested Simon. While they were waiting for their order to be served Adam said
"Even after all these years your dad never ceases to amaze me."
"How do you mean?"
"He's been looking after us together for all this time and has done so with a very light touch. How many parents would permit in their house two teenagers sleeping together and having regular sex and be so laid back about it? Then suddenly he becomes a control freak and lays down the law like he did with the earrings and he's doing now with our time at college."
"I follow your argument, but the fact remains that we have always been in agreement with him. Perhaps it's because we know he's got our good at heart."
"I appreciate that, but... and I suppose it's because of my education which in the sixth form was different from yours and more inclined towards literature that this character trait interests me for its own sake. I'm not complaining about anything. I'm trying to understand - evaluate I suppose we'd call it in lit crit." Simon shrugged his shoulders and looked puzzled.
"Perhaps it's because I've grown up with him and so see nothing strange." Their pizzas arrived which immediately stopped all conversation. "I've been thinking about it... about Dad. Don't compare this morning and our earrings. It wasn't the earring thing so much as tattoos and piercings in general and there he has a strongly held opinion. He wouldn't employ anyone with visible tattoos or piercings. And with the earrings, by taking them over he was, one, in control of the situation and, two, by making the earrings so valuable, individual and classy he put them at the opposite end of the scale of what he feared. This morning he was reigning supreme in his office in the company. This morning was business and he was dealing with it in the way he deals in business - clear cut, quid pro quo and in the final analysis generous. And if I... or you... or even both of us go into the family firm, that is the way he will expect us to be."
"I just find it so incredibly interesting, Simon."
"Maybe your eventual career won't be in business. Psychology maybe"
"I don't know. I just don't know." They paid up and emerged into the noise of the London traffic.
Adam and Simon went into Euston underground station and sorted out their oyster cards. They found Imperial from the South Kensington tube station, then discovered they could catch a No 9 bus to the Aldwych which took them to King's. After that it was only a twenty minute walk to the hall of residence in Tavistock Square. After that they took the Piccadilly Line, which would be Simon's line to Imperial, from Russell Square to Piccadilly Circus where they alighted for Lillywhites to stock up on sports kit. Then to Oxford Street for window shopping and the other clothes they needed. They arrived back at Philip's office just after six.
"Hi, boys," said Philip. "I see you had a successful afternoon." The staff had gone home. "Do you need to take that lot home or can we take it to Tavistock Square once you're settled in?"
"Can we leave it here?" asked Adam surprised.
"Tavistock Square's less than a ten minute walk from here," said Simon.
"You'd better get showered and changed," said Philip "or the evening will be gone. My bathroom's through there and you'll find your clothes in there too." The boys returned from the executive bathroom looking respectable and neat. "Before we go..." Philip opened one of the safes and delved into it. "...I bought you each one of these. You'll be needing them and I take it your room will have internet access." He handed each of them an Apple notebook, brand new. "As ancillary clerks you'll need them," he grinned. They thanked Philip with a hug and a kiss. "Take them home with you tonight and you can set them up as you want them before term begins. By the way, they remain property of the company, okay?" The boys were simply overwhelmed. "They're fully insured and guaranteed, and secretly marked. Collect all your stuff and we'll get going." Philip said good night to the cleaner and asked her to lock everything up after her.
Simon and Adam felt relaxed over their meal with Philip at the club. They were hungry too as they hadn't stopped since eating their lunchtime pizza.
"I'm glad neither of you has mentioned bringing the car to London," he said to the boys. "You would have found it a liability. You would need to find somewhere to park it Monday to Friday along with the possibility of theft or damage and most of the places you'll want to go are within easy walking distance anyway."
"Yes, we'd talked that one through," said Adam.
"Don't forget that if you need anything, I'm close by - at least I am on the days I'm in the office. Just give a ring. Another thing. Keep as little cash on you as you actually need and keep your cards in separate pockets to help prevent them from getting stolen and don't dress up so that you stand out in the street. Dress to blend in. Look after each other. I know you'll do that." They wondered if Philip had had a bad experience in London for this was the umpteenth time since their first independent visit to the capital that they had heard that speech. "Are you looking forward to starting your courses now?"
"Yes," said Simon. "It's been a long summer and after losing our old friends we need to find some new ones to replace them."
"Amanda Legge's dreading it when Tony goes off to uni. She'll only have William left."
"Oh, he'll keep her on her toes, but Tony and Will are going to miss one another as well."
"Bob Bowler said that Tom and Sam have arrived safely in New Zealand. He had one e-mail and that was it. So he assumes they must be enjoying themselves," said Philip. They did not linger over the meal for too long as they still had the drive back home. Indeed both boys nodded off in the back of the car from the strains and stresses of the day.
They arranged to meet Tony and Ben in a pub on the Friday evening. They too were leaving home for university on Sunday, and again they had gained a place in a hall of residence. They decided to eat while they were there. The pub did a good selection of curries.
"How have your hands healed?" asked Ben.
"Fine," the others replied.
"So's mine. If you look very carefully," Ben continued "you can see the line of the cut on my hand, but at first glance it just looks like one of the feinter lines on the palm."
"Hey, do you two want to come and spend the night at our place?" said Simon.
"What do you think, Ben? It'll be the last chance of the four of us being together until Christmas," said Tony.
"I'm game, but I think we ought to give a ring home first." They both got out their mobiles.
"I'm in the pub, Mum," said Tony.
"I was lucky," said Ben. "Dad picked up the phone." After what seemed like an interminable discussion Tony said
"Mum says it's okay for us to stay providing you don't make us go on one those runs of yours in the morning."
"I bet, you fibber," said Adam.
"That's up to you," said Simon. "You can rot away in bed while we're getting fit and healthy."
"Oh, whatever we'll be doing in bed," replied Ben "it won't be rotting."
"I don't think we want to go there," giggled Simon.
At half past ten Adam drove them back to the van den Bergs' house. When they got in, they let Philip know that they had guests and Mrs Green provided them with cocoa and biscuits. They would have to get used to making their own cocoa at university. They soon went up to bed as Ben and Tony were under strict orders to arrive home early, before breakfast even, as there were "things to be done" before they went off on Sunday. In the morning Adam and Simon drove their friends home with emotional scenes as they left them on the doorstep of their respective homes. On return Adam was pleased that the October edition of GYmag had been delivered with the newspaper. Philip was already on the golf course and so while they were eating their breakfast Simon attempted the Daily Telegraph crossword, the 'quick' one of course - Philip had always said he would teach the boys how to do the cryptic one, but had never got round to it - while Adam slit open the plastic envelope of his magazine and took a cursory look at the centrefold.
"Georg Smole, Si. I didn't think he was old enough to do nude modelling. Still, I'm not complaining," he said as he held it up for Simon to see.
"Oh, yes. It says here he was born in 1991. That's the standard we've got to compete with next month."
"Ah, that's something we must do on Monday. Ring up the editor's office and make an appointment with the photographer."
"What was his name?"
"Vince." They carried on with their breakfast and Adam turned to the readers' letter page. "Hey, Si, listen to this letter. 'If, as some Christians would have us believe, all humans are corrupt and sinful, that makes us all immoral beings and this is where it gets complicated. Only Jesus has the answer and the power to forgive. In saying this Christians condemn homosexuals with the Old Testament and seek forgiveness with the New Testament. Sorry, not the same rule book.
'It's easy to condemn as immoral something you do not understand and really, let's face it, if you aren't gay, then you don't understand it. I mean, don't we all hate those people who peel their boiled egg from the small end when everyone knows that it must be done from the large end?
'What is it about gay people that so inflames the passions of straight Christians? It's the sex, right? Why do adulterous, porno loving Christians even bother with gay people and their sex? Because they can't have it!
'I mean everyone knows a guy gives better oral sex than a woman. We understand how the equipment works so much better than they do. As for anal sex... if women had a prostate they would understand.'"
"Sounds as if someone's got a bit of perspective on the issue." Adam gave Simon a look for using issuein that sense. "Ought to send that to the rectum... I mean rector to read out to the congregation in church."
"Make sure they've got a defibrillator handy first," said Adam.
Saturday was one of those fiddling days. Simon and Adam had odd things to do for the following day, but couldn't settle to anything. They'd completed their keep fit programme.
"I hope there's access to some weights when we get up to London," said Adam.
"There's supposed to be a weights room in the basement of the hall," Simon re-assured him. Late that afternoon Sandra, the mobile hair stylist, turned up to make sure the boys were at their smartest before leaving home. That should last the whole term, but they could book in with Sandra if they came home for a weekend or, if push came to shove, he would have to find a hair stylist in London. Simon had rather a severe cut which in fact suited his flowing black hair, but completely robbed him of any emo look he might have had. That might well have been a good idea, if he was going to associate with a lot of people who didn't know him and who might jump to conclusions. They spent the evening with Philip, reading and watching television. In the end they decided on an early night. This would be the last time for several weeks that they would be enjoying the comfort of a kingsize bed. They had resigned themselves to the fact that fun time would confined to a single bed, but were apprehensive that they might not have room to sleep together, which could put a little strain on their lovelife. Still, they would know for certain in just over twenty-four hours' time.
The following morning they rose late, took for Lucy for her last run for some time, completed the fitness régime, packed their overnight suitcases in full confidence that their trunks had arrived and awaited lunch and the off.
The van den Bergs arrived in Tavistock Square late afternoon. Philip was not going to prolong the agony. He helped the boys with their luggage, went with them to find their trunks and helped to take them upstairs. The room itself, situated at the end of a corridor of single rooms, was in fact quite spacious, certainly bigger than two singles put together. As feared the beds were single, each built into its own alcove and so immoveable, and as compensation, as it were, the room had an en suite bathroom and toilet whereas the single rooms just had a wash basin and the other facilities were communal. At first the boys looked crestfallen until Adam said
"I shouldn't worry too much, Si. There's nothing to stop us from using the communal showers if we want to." As soon as the boys were visibly settled, Philip made to go. They accompanied him down to the car and after a kiss and a hug he got into the car and quickly drove off. He did not want them to see the tear running down his cheek.
Adam and Simon checked the mealtimes, then started to unpack and arrange the room. One of their birthday presents had been two posters one blown up from a family portrait with Lucy, the other printed from a group photograph of the blood brothers in their school uniforms taken at the end of term.
Suppertime arrived. The boys gave it a few minutes as they did not want to be the first in the dining hall. Then, dressed in 501s and tanktops tight enough to display their nipples and wearing their rainbow leather necklaces and bracelets, they went down ready to make their entrance. As they queued to go along past the serving hatch, they surveyed the seating area. Simon and Adam looked, they looked at one another and nodded. They had no need to speak. The quarry had been spotted. With their trays full they walked over to a table for six set up with one edge against the wall at which were seated a gorgeous blond and his equally gorgeous dark haired companion.
"Good evening, guys," said Simon.
"Do you mind if we join you?" said Adam.
"Not at all," said Hugo and his companion Tim. With those three words they were trapped.
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