Who Dares Wins
by N Fourbois
Charlie opened his eyes and blinked.
"I think I'm okay," he replied. He got up off the ground and brushed himself down. Just at that moment Harry rushed out of the front door and Mrs Bowman and Anna arrived in the car.
"It was a close thing," said the gentleman who had been driving the car.
"I know," said Charlie. "I'm so sorry. I was thinking of something else," he said looking at Harry "and when I swerved my back wheel just skidded from under me. I hope I haven't damaged your car."
"No, it's all right. I managed to stop in time before you could hit me." Mrs Bowman was there in time to hear this conversation.
"Why don't you put your car on our drive and come in and have a cup of tea?"
"I need that," answered the driver.
"Harry, go and take Charlie's bike into the garage. Anna, you go and make the tea while I telephone Mrs Dutton."
They were all sitting round the kitchen table when they heard a ring at the front door. Mrs Dutton rushed in and hugged Charlie.
"Are you hurt, darling?" she asked as she got him to stand up so that she could take a good look at him.
"I'm okay, Mum. A bit of bruising where I landed and I'm afraid my school trousers are ripped." Mrs Dutton was invited to sit down while Anna poured a cup of tea for her. She was introduced to Mr Dangerfield, the driver, and before anything untoward could happen Charlie's mother heard what had taken place. By now, relieved at least that there was no blood, she had calmed down, even to the extent, so she said, she was now embarrassed and realised it was Charlie's fault. She had that 'wait until I get you home, young man' look on her face.
Tea drunk they made to leave. Charlie apologised to Mr Dangerfield again.
"You'd better leave your bike with us for the time being," said Mrs Bowman "until we can see in the daylight whether it needs repairing or not." The adults had first to untangle the maze of parked cars on the drive, made more difficult in the dark as Mr Bowman had just at that moment returned home from work. Charlie thought it wiser if he sat in the back seat of the car on his way home. By the time they arrived Jamie had got home from Gideon's and Mr Dutton from work. The hastily written note Mrs Dutton left had done little to allay their worst fears and they both gave Charlie a big hug, not realising that he was in big trouble, with his mother at least.
"Charlie, you'd better slip those trousers off so that I can wash them and have them mended for school tomorrow."
"What here? Now?" he said with a grin as he unbuckled the belt. The silence that met his question soon showed that it was the wrong moment for jest and the smile disappeared from his face faster than it had appeared. They had tea as usual round the table in the kitchen, unusually, however, in silence. When they were finished, the boys loaded the dishwasher and cleared away while their parents went and sat down in the living room. Ten minutes later Charlie was summoned.
"Can I have Jamie there as my brief?" he asked to show that his indomitable spirit hadn't quite been dominated.
The two boys sat on the settee. Jamie put his arm round Charlie's shoulder as sign of solidarity.
"Charlie," started his father "we know accidents happen, but there are one or two things you could have done to prevent this one. When you're riding your bike, you need full attention on the road. You shouldn't be filling your head with other thoughts like rugby and homework and... dare I say it?... Harry Bowman?" Charlie blushed.
"I was only waving him goodbye."
"And why didn't you let us know," said his mother "that you were going to be late home?"
"I asked Jamie to tell you."
"But you knew he'd be late home himself."
"The other thing," said his father "and this is worrying too, is that you were dressed in black trousers, black anorak, and you had no lights on your bike. How do expect a motorist to see you in the dark? Next time you're in the car after dark, you just keep a look out for cyclists and you'll understand how difficult it is."
"I think I'd better write an off-games note to your teachers, for the rest of the week," said his mother.
"No!" exploded Charlie. "Not that! I'll lose my place in the team." Jamie managed to catch his mother's eye and shake his head.
"We'll see how you are in the morning first," she said.
"Well, we've got things to do, Charlie," said his father. "We've got to pick up your bike from the Bowmans' and take it to the cycle shop to get it checked over. We'll get it fixed up with proper lights and you fixed up with some reflective clothing, like a tabard and wrist bands. And your punishment will be that you'll have to pay for it all from your pocket money. And I think you'd better read the Highway Code before you ride your bike again." Charlie looked utterly downcast.
"You'd better get on with your homework now," said his mother "because if I have to write a note saying why it's not done it will be on the same piece of note paper as an off-games note."
"Sorry, Mum. Sorry, Dad," and he got up and gave them each a big hug each before disappearing upstairs to get on with his homework.
"Good decision about the off-games note. You know how hard he's worked to get into that rugger team. It would break his heart if he lost his place, especially since it's not because he's playing badly." Jamie went upstairs to finish off his homework.
"You know, Martha," said Eric Dutton "I never worry about Jamie. He'll make his way through life without a hitch. It's Charlie I worry about and always will. He's the one that'll always be getting in and out of scrapes."
"I know what you mean, Eric," said Martha shaking her head.
In his room Charlie tried to get on with his work, but just kept thinking about his lucky escape. At least he wasn't grounded, but he couldn't get his head round how much pocket money it was going to cost him. No more cinema with Harry for months, if not years. There was a soft knock at the door and Jamie poked his head round.
Charlie nodded. "Come and cuddle me like you did when we were little."
"You'll always be little to me, Charlie," he said as they climbed onto Charlie's bed together.
"Do you know something, Jamie?" he said. "When Harry and I were messing around he got me to put on a pair of his sister's old black tights over my jock. I just thought. If I'd still been wearing them under my trousers to go home instead of changing and I'd had a bad accident and had to be taken to hospital, how would I have explained that?"
"Black tights, eh? Now, that takes me back. That's what I wore the first time Gids and I made love properly. Mmm, what goes around, comes around. They might look and feel good, bro, but believe me, they're a complete and utter failure when you're into something serious." Charlie giggled. "Come on, Charlie, homework, or there's no rugby for you this week. By the way, here's a tenner from my birthday money towards your bike repairs... or rather towards going out on another date with Harry."
"Ooh Jamie, thanks a lot," and he hugged him tight and wouldn't let him get up.
* * *
Mum and Dad have gone to bed and I can't sleep. I haven't even looked to see whether it's still Tuesday or whether it's Wednesday yet. What a day! I don't know what's happening to me, and you, my blog, are the only place I can set out my thoughts as they tumble out of my head and hope I can eventually make some sense of them. I can't even write in chronological order.
«Charlie's accident made me realise how fragile he is, how fragile we all are. Fragile's not a word I'd ever have associated with Charlie. As I watched him grow, he always seemed so strong, not only in body, but character as well. What if he'd been killed by that car, or permanently injured? What a way to discover that he has now become the centre of my life. All the time Charlie's there I can function as a normal human being. I play my rugby for him, I do my schoolwork for him, not for me any longer, and all the time he's around I feel a better person in myself, happier, more sociable, with a purpose in life and able to centre my emotions on him. I believe this is love. I love him with all my heart, but does he love me? Does it matter? All the time I have him physically I suppose not, but if he doesn't love me, I'll lose him and then I won't even have him physically.
«The day started off dominated by physical frustration. Charlie soon cured that *tee hee*, (perhaps soon is not the right word. Getting through classes was torture. Thank God we had games this afternoon. Grown ups are right there when they talk about doing something physical if your mind is occupied by something, and a cold shower - not that I had one.) but it's only been replaced by emotional and mental frustration. Mum won't let me phone him in case he's in shock or in trouble with his parents. But that hasn't stopped me e-mailing him, but getting no replies has only increased the frustration. Love letters, Valentine's cards, yes! But now a love e-mail. It doesn't sound right.
«It's funny. I wouldn't say either of us is accident prone, but since we've been together, there's been the incident with the tree and now Charlie's bike. Such things go in threes. I wonder what the next thing will be.
«I can't get over the way my Charlie sucked me off. Perhaps there's something special about the first time. I hope not, and now I want to do it back to him. Freeman and Willis have certainly calmed down, but I can't say the same about Hardy. I jerked off twice tonight, but it hasn't done anything for me despite fantasies of what Charlie and me could be doing together. Without him, wanking doesn't seem to mean much any longer. And then there's his cock and his balls. Of course I know they come in all different shapes and sizes, but his seem just right, no, perfect. Castor and Pollux hang nicely and because of their shape and because he's so lean they stick out from his body and his dick is soo chunky. That's what makes him wear his trousers and shorts with such a nice bulge showing, but I wish the girls wouldn't stare at him and point - he's mine and he'd never be theirs anyway. What's more, his dick never seems to go fully limp and his foreskin just lets his glans peep out, and his balls are smooth instead of hairy. Just a tuft above his dick. I couldn't invent them or improve on them. I hope he likes my tackle. Hardy's thinner and my foreskin completely covers the end, and because they hang straight down, the only time I get a bulge in my trousers is when I get a stiffy. And the girls seem to notice that as well. I feel so privileged being the only person allowed to touch Charlie's tackle.
«You know, blog, I think the time has come for me. I want to love Charlie properly. I wonder if it has for him. Who's going to be the top and who the bottom? I don't mind which I am for the first time as long as we swap after that...»
There was a soft knock at the door. Harry quickly closed his blog which left an essay on the screen, one he'd prepared earlier. His mother peered round the door.
"Are you all right, Harry?"
"I'm okay, Mum. Just can't get to sleep worrying about Charlie, so I thought I'd do a bit of coursework for history."
"I'll bring you some hot milk and then you really must try to get some sleep or you'll be all washed out with black rings under your eyes in the morning."
"Okay, Mum, thanks." After his mother had closed the door behind her, he encrypted his blog.
Wednesday morning in the Dutton household Charlie woke up when Jamie banged on his bedroom door. He felt stiff and bruised, but he was determined he was going to get up. There was his place in the rugby team at stake and he badly wanted to see Harry. Why hadn't he rung last night? Charlie couldn't phone; he was in disgrace. He booted up his Mac while he went to the bathroom. When he got back, there were five e-mails waiting for him, all from Harry. Now he understood. He also understood how much Harry was in love with him, how the accident had brought them closer and perhaps now it was time to consummate their love properly, but where, when and how? Jamie would know.
* * *
Gideon and Jamie were sitting up in bed together after that post-coïtal feeling of relaxed pleasure had worn off. It was the first day of the Christmas holidays - no rugby, no pressure. They could stay there till lunchtime if they wanted and Gideon's parents would be doing the Waitrose run to boot. Gideon was leafing through the latest edition of GY magazine and had just reached the centrefold. Jamie was just dunking biscuits in his tea with the usual challenge Rich Tea biscuits offered; how to get them sufficiently moist to eat without overdoing it and ending up with them as a mess at the bottom of the cup, or worse still all over the bedclothes.
"I don't know whether I like this or not."
"What? Let's see." There was picture of a blond boy smiling, obviously in his lower teens, dressed in black underwear, a thong, a suspender belt and silk stockings three quarters of the way up his thighs, exposing his bare bubble butt. Jamie put his hand under the duvet and felt Gideon's crotch.
"Aagh!" shouted Gideon. "I wish you'd warm your hands before you do that."
"You like it," declared Jamie. "I bet he's Russian."
"What makes you say that?"
"He looks Russian."
"What does that mean? He looks Russian?"
"He just does in the way you look English and I look Swedish."
"Swedish, Jamie? Who on earth told you that?"
"I decided after looking at some of those mags on the top shelf at W H Smith's." Gideon burst out laughing.
"Okay, Sven, you started something when you put your hand down there. You'll have to finish off now."
"You randy little horndog! After what we've been doing, you're ready for it again?"
"I just feel like a bit of Swede, and I don't intend waiting for dinner, either."
"You'll have to wait until I finish my tea. I don't want it to get cold."
"I'll get cold if you make me wait too long."
"You're the easiest boy in the world to warm up."
"And what experience of other boys have you had, may I ask?"
"Let's have a look at that picture." Jamie turned the page over. "'Kolja is fifteen and goes to school in St Petersburg.' There you go..." Gideon winced. He hated the phrase 'there you go' and Jamie knew it. "Don't show that to Charlie and Harry. It'll give them ideas."
"I don't think there are many ideas left that you can give to those two, Jamie." Gideon continued to read while Jamie continued to dunk his biscuits.
* * *
The conundrum of Christmas was raising its ugly head again. This would be the third Christmas that Gideon and Jamie had been together, but their families still considered it a family day - not so much, oddly, that they didn't want to give up their own family day, but that they didn't want to impose on the other. Boxing Day was the day for visiting. And now this year a new factor had entered the equation: Charlie and Harry.
Gideon was watching television with his parents after Jamie had gone home.
"What are we doing for Christmas, Mum?"
"The same as usual. Aunt Mathilda will be here and that's it. Why are you asking?"
"Don't be cross with me, but I'd like to spend at least some of the day with Jamie." Jeremy and Penny looked at each other.
"Do you remember our first Christmas together, Penny? That caused a bit of stir."
Mrs Farthing nodded. "And we weren't even engaged," she added. "What about this as a suggestion, but it's only a suggestion? What if we invite the Duttons over for Christmas lunch and tell them they can stop on for the rest of the day or not, as they wish? It'll only be the four of us otherwise, looking at one another when we get fed up with the television."
"That's all right by me," said Mr Farthing.
"Do you mean that, Mum?"
"Why not? You might think this strange, but I may as well cook for eight as for four, and I know I'll get some help."
"But there'll be something to pay," said his father.
"If we're entertaining guests, there'll be no TV."
"That doesn't matter. There's nothing on the telly at Christmas... unless you like Eastenders and Coronation Street and we can video anything we want to see, anyway."
"I'll talk to Martha at WI tomorrow, but no promises, Gideon, okay?"
After Gideon had gone upstairs, Jeremy looked at Penny. "That's another lesson for us, I suppose. We mustn't forget we've virtually got a son-in-law and he's part of our family," he said.
Next day when Gideon went round to see Jamie he told him what had been discussed at home and enlisted his co-operation. Over tea that night before his mother went off to the Witches' Institute he casually dropped into the conversation
"Mum, will I be able to see Gideon over Christmas?"
"Of course, dear. Why do you ask?"
"Well, it's just that we didn't see much of each other last year and I don't want that to happen again this year."
"We didn't stop you from seeing him, did we?"
"I'll tell you what. Why don't we invite the Farthings over to spend Boxing Day with us?"
"Cool," said Charlie. "What about Harry as well?"
"Cool it, Mr Cool. One thing at a time. I shall be seeing Penny at WI this evening." As Charlie and Jamie were stacking the dishwasher, they turned, looked at one another and high-fived.
"Yeah... Am I manipulative or am I manipulative?" said Jamie. "And don't you go and spoil it by pushing your luck, Mr Cool"
* * *
The weekend before Christmas it was Gideon's turn to stay at the Duttons'. Mr and Mrs Dutton knew they had to get to the shops early that Saturday if they were to stand any chance of returning home before dusk, and because they were doing Christmas shopping they certainly didn't want the boys with them. Jamie and Gideon had had breakfast and decided to go back to bed as they knew Jamie's parents would be gone for some time. They were about to have their initial kiss when the door burst open.
"Uh uh, sorry, guys." It was Charlie dressed in nothing but his boxers, though he needn't have bothered as his semi hard dick was sticking out through the slit.
"Come in and join us," said Jamie sarcastically. Charlie took it literally, dropped his shorts and jumped into bed between them. Gideon gave out an 'Eeerh', but he was the only one to know that it wasn't a groan of annoyance, but one of pleasure. Since that rugby match he'd had moments of fantasising about Charlie. He hadn't told Jamie, still reassuring himself with the idea that it was only because Charlie reminded him of Jamie at that age when he first fell in love with him.
"I wish you wouldn't do that, Charlie," said Gideon.
"Why's that?" said Charlie perkily.
"Because we'd end up raping you," replied his brother.
"You two couldn't rape me if you tried," answered Charlie in a challenging voice.
"I wouldn't believe that," said Gideon now fully hard at the thought.
"Betch'ya couldn't," came back Charlie warming to the challenge.
"What makes you so certain?" said Jamie.
"Because anything you two meaty boys did to me would be with my full permission and co-operation and would give me the greatest of pleasure." Charlie felt he was onto a good thing. He hadn't had proper sex since making love with Jirí and while he still had lovemaking with Harry to look forward to, he realised what he had missed in the meantime and then his hormones took over from his brain. As the saying goes, a standing dick has no conscience. He moved into coquettish mode and started flirting. He put his hands between the legs of his brothers. Gideon was hard and moist. Jamie hardened at his touch. "Okay, guys, it's time to put your money where your mouths are. Who dares wins. Who's first?"
"You go first, Jamie," said Gideon, thinking if he really did do the evil deed it would all right if he followed Charlie's own brother. He rolled back the duvet, fetched the K-Y gel and started lubing his lover and his lover's brother.
It was nearly eleven o'clock when Gideon came to from his slumber. He just lay there thinking. The lust he'd felt for Charlie had disappeared, at least temporarily. He wondered whether it would be permanent or not. He had certainly enjoyed his orgasmic excursion into Charlie's butt and furthermore he had achieved it without being unfaithful to Jamie. It was a sop to his conscience that Jamie was equally implicated in the morning's goings-on. He got up and went for a shower. When he came back and was getting dressed the other two stirred, waking up with great big grins on their faces.
"Not a word to Mum and Dad, okay, Charlie?" said Jamie. Charlie nodded his agreement. "How did we do?"
"Not bad," said Charlie in a classic understatement. "A little more expertise and less fumbling than when I did it with Jirí. When's the return match?"
"I think, Charlie," said Jamie sternly "that had better be a one-off exhibition match. Go and get a shower. You're still all sticky and smelly."
"And who made me all sticky, I wonder?" came back Charlie still in a tarty mood.
Jamie and Gideon were sitting on the sofa together with their arms round each other watching TV.
"Jamie, I've got a confession to make. I've been wanting to do that to Charlie ever since his first rugby match. He just reminds me so much of you when I first fell in love with you."
"I can beat that, Gids. I've wanted to do it ever since my balls dropped."
"Do you think we've done something wrong?"
"Don't get my conscience going. I've been avoiding that question. You just don't do that sort of thing with your own brother, but let's face it. He seduced us, we didn't seduce him."
"But we're the older ones. We're supposed to be responsible."
"Would you do it again?" asked Jamie.
"I don't know," said Gideon after some thought. "I'd like to say no, but if I'm honest, I'd quite like to feel Charlie inside me now. Uh, I don't mean right now."
"Mmm, so would I," said Jamie. "How are we going to cope with that?"
"Let's hope he gets a proper love life with Harry soon." They kissed. "I do so love you, Jamie. I want you to know that."
"I love you more, Gids"
"More than whom?" Gideon buried his tongue into Jamie's mouth so that he didn't have to answer.
Later that day, when Charlie was out with Harry, Mrs Dutton said over the tea table "I can't understand what's got into Charlie today. He's gone hyper. I hope Mrs Bowman can calm him down." Gideon and Jamie looked at each other and grinned. They knew who had got into Charlie that day and they weren't going to say.
"Perhaps Harry will calm him down." giggled Jamie. His mother gave him a disapproving look.
The next morning Jamie and Gideon were lying in bed together trying to avoid the inevitable - having to get up so that they could go off with the family to church. Jamie was practising the reading he was to give during the service that morning while Gideon was deeply buried in his GY mag.
"Hey, Jamie, listen to this."
"It's one of the readers' letters. «My husband bought me some boxer shorts from a well-known national department store because he thought I ought to have something to wear at night when we went off on our 16-25 Gay Adventure Holiday in case there was an emergency. When I looked at them I noticed the fly had buttons and couldn't see the point at first. Imagine my surprise when I realised that if I hauled my tackle out and did up the buttons, the boxers acted as a perfect cockring! (Not that I need one. LOL)»"
"Mmm, I wonder which store that was," said Jamie. "What's that about 16-25 Gay Adventure Holidays?"
"Just a minute. There's an advert for them here somewhere." Jamie had put his reading down and was leaning over Gideon while he was leafing through the magazine. "Dammit. These pages are stuck together," said Gideon as he got to the centrefold of Florian.
"You dirty little tosser," exclaimed Jamie.
"What do you mean me? Cheek! You were the one that was jerking me off when you were leaning over me ogling. Just as you are now, and you were the one that creamed up my crevice."
"Keep still. I'm about to do it again."
"It's all right, Gids. Just kidding," and he kissed him on the cheek.
"Here it is. 'Gay Specialist Adventure Holidays at our centres throughout Great Britain, Europe and North America. Skiing, rock climbing, canoeing, caving, pony trekking, camping and lots more according to season and centre. Accommodation in modern en suite double rooms. No single room supplement as no one is accommodated alone. Dedicated separate men's and women's centres. Please note that there may be an age limit according to local law. For our brochure etc...'"
"I wouldn't mind going on one of those. What about you, Gids?"
"I know, but now answer the question."
"...but where are we going to get the money from?"
"We could do the Saturday spotty youth on the supermarket checkout bit."
"Yeah, but what happens to our rugby and our love life?"
"I see you got the priorities in the right order."
"It's got to be premium bonds then."
"But I haven't got any."
"I have. Christmas and birthday presents, but I've never won anything."
"You fool," said Jamie and was about to kiss his lover when the door burst open.
"CHARLIE!" the two shouted out in unison.
"Oops, sorry. I thought after yesterday there were no more secrets between us."
"We just like our privacy and romantic moments occasionally," said Jamie.
"Anyway," said Charlie. "I've got some news, bros. Harry and I have decided to give each other a rather special Christmas present. We're going to make love for the first time... properly, and so we've got a great big favour to ask."
"What's that?" said Jamie in a bored tone of voice. "Tell you what to do with your weenie?"
"No, I haven't got a weenie any more... as you well know after yesterday. Any road up, you know we're all going to be here together for Boxing Day? Can we encourage the grown ups to go out for a walk after lunch?"
"I don't think they'll need any encouragement," said Gideon. "It's more getting them to allow us younger ones to stay behind."
"We'll think about that one," said Jamie.
"It's too cold this time of year to disappear down to the garden shed for a quickie," said Charlie "and we don't want a quickie anyway."
"What do you know about quickies in the garden shed?" asked Jamie, both older boys blushing deeply.
"Look out for the web cam," teased Charlie and disappeared as quickly as he arrived.
Charlie had persuaded Harry to go to church with him. Admittedly there was a hidden agenda and Harry had to ask his parents, especially as they went to a different church. The Farthings and the Duttons sat together, but Jamie had to sit at the end of the pew so that he could get out to do his reading. During it Gideon scarcely listened, he was so proud of his boyfriend standing there dressed in a dark blue suit, pale blue shirt and school rugby colours tie. As he returned to his seat, Gideon squeezed his hand and said "Well done"; Charlie was a little more voluminous in his praise, naturally. The vicar preached his sermon on the text of 'Love Thy Neighbour' which fitted the hidden agenda nicely. At the end of the service while the organist was playing his voluntary our four lads hung about in the aisle while the congregation was leaving. Their parents were already busy with collecting hymnbooks and talking to various people. The boys were keeping an eye on Mrs Arbruthnot who was still chatting by 'her' seat in the front pew. They saw her descend to leave, her face set hard enough to crack ballbearings, and they made their move to get into the queue to greet the vicar, two ahead of her. To add to the occasion the two pairs held hands. Jamie and Gideon went first and shook hands. The vicar praised Jamie for his reading and asked Gideon if he would like to do one in the new year. Then came Charlie and Harry. In a loud voice, making sure everyone could hear, he said
"Good morning, vicar. May I introduce Harry? He's my new boyfriend."
"How do you do, Harry. I hoped you enjoyed the service. I expect you're looking forward to Christmas." Meanwhile there was loud 'Huh' in the queue behind and Mrs Arbruthnot pushed past, staring straight ahead and ignoring everybody, and marched out of the church, nearly knocking Gideon and Jamie over on the way. "Oh, dear," said the vicar to the next couple in the queue. "Sometimes it is most difficult to love your neighbour." Outside our four fell about laughing. Once they'd recovered, Charlie led Harry away by his hand to show him off to the choirboys.
The days up to Christmas passed quickly. On the Monday morning Jamie and Gideon went into town to do their Christmas shopping. They knew what they were going to give to each other and Gideon had had the brilliant idea of going first to a pawnbroker. And they were in luck. As they came out grasping their purchases they looked up at the traditional pawnbroker's sign hanging over the shop.
"Meet me outside the pawnbroker's," said Jamie "and I'll kiss you under the balls." Gideon collapsed in a giggling fit.
"I don't think we need to come all the way to the pawnbroker's for that." Now it was presents for the rest of the family and they had decided this year for the first time to give as a couple to re-enforce how solid their relationship was.
At last Christmas Eve arrived. The two boys were spending the evening in their own homes as they knew they would be meeting at midnight mass. Finally they met and our two boys gave each other a huge hug. Charlie was not to be left out and hugged Gideon as well. As the Duttons and the Farthings complete with Great Aunt Mathilda sat together in one pew waiting for the service to begin Gideon turned to his mother and said pointedly
"There's rather a large gap in the front pew."
"Oh, that's where Mrs Arbruthnot sits. I expect she'll arrive in a minute."
"She comes earlier than this. She has a lot of bossing around to do usually."
"Gideon! A little respect, please. She's a pillar of the church," said his mother.
"Pillock of the church," added Charlie in one of his famous stage whispers. Jamie just sat there giggling as he was the only one to realise what a big stir was going on. And Mrs Arbruthnot did not arrive.
After the service the families parted for their own homes. All of ten hours' separation for Jamie and Gideon. How were they going to cope? But cope they did. Finally the boys got to sleep and Father Christmas was able to come down the chimney. Naturally there had been some collusion between the Farthing and Dutton parents and the main present each seventeen year old received from his own mother and father was a course of driving lessons, represented by a pair of L plates wrapped up in Christmas paper. Finally eleven o'clock came and the Dutton family arrived on the doorstep of the Farthings' abode where they were heartily welcomed. They had brought carrier bags of presents with them that would be exchanged round the Christmas tree after lunch. Jamie and Gideon soon disappeared up to Gideon's room and Charlie wanted to come along as well, but wasn't allowed to until he had given a solemn undertaking that he wouldn't try to seduce them again. Charlie went into thumb in mouth looking at them out of the top of his eyes under long lashes mode and as seriously as he could under the circumstances promised he wouldn't, at least not on Christmas Day, and he wouldn't have either the time or the inclination on Boxing Day. He had other fish to fry. But his seriousness soon gave way to a bout of giggles from all three boys. Charlie had this gift of affecting adult pomposity which both families had come to learn was just one of his ways of taking the piss.
Eventually the two families were sat round the table for Christmas dinner. Through one of her friends at the WI Mrs Farthing had managed to obtain a goose to feed the hungry hundred. The boys made sure that they kept Great Aunt Mathilda entertained. After all, the elder two had a lot to be grateful to her for, and although he probably didn't realise it, even Charlie enjoyed the spin-off. The conversation was lively. Could it ever be otherwise with those three boys? By the time Christmas pudding had been consumed the whole family was ready to retire to the living room to hear the Queen's speech and then hand out the remaining presents. It was all hands on deck to clear the lunch table and stack the dishwasher and then go and relax. There was an air of general somnolence about the older generation. It was the younger generation's duty to keep them awake, at least until the gifts had been unwrapped. The centrepiece was when Gideon and Jamie exchanged packets. There was no surprise for the boys since they had purchased them together, but there was some oohing and aahing as they took the simple matching gold rings and slipped them, significantly, onto the third finger of the other's left hand. The older boys gave Charlie a matching necklace and bracelet made out of leather thongs which they packed separately so that he didn't feel hard done by, after having to give them two presents, matching tee shirts with a rainbow on them. The time went quickly until eleven o'clock when the Duttons rose to go home; that is to say the Duttons minus Jamie as he had arranged to spend the night at Gideon's and come home with the Farthings in the morning.
At long last about eight o'clock Boxing Day dawned, waking our two lovers. The night before Gideon had given Jamie his alternative Christmas present and now Jamie was about to give Gideon his. An hour or so later they were called down to breakfast. They slowly got out of bed, hauled on boxers, tee shirt and dressing gown and dragged their butts down to the kitchen. Penny was amazed that after the previous day they were still able to tuck away muesli, a full cooked breakfast and toast, and yet they were young enough for it not to make the slightest difference to their waistlines. Obese children were all the rage in the media. What obese children? Still, they were physically very active and if GY magazine was to be believed their nocturnal and diurnal bedroom gymnastics used up a lot of calories. After they finished, the clock had moved on and it was time to shower and get dressed. They decided that despite days of rain recently there was still an urgent need to save water.
When the Farthings plus one turned up at the Duttons' Harry had already arrived. The two older boys greeted him as they did Charlie, that is as one of the family. Jamie and Gideon had things to do. Firstly Jamie needed the opportunity to talk quietly to his mother, difficult as she and Penny seemed inseparable that morning even though they were confined to the kitchen. Gideon was putting Great Aunt Mathilda in the picture. Finally when Mrs Farthing went to powder her nose, Jamie got his mother alone.
"Mum, are we going out for a walk this afternoon?"
"I should think so on a lovely day like this, if only to walk our lunch down. Why?"
"Well, you see, Charlie and Harry haven't had much time alone together and I think they'd appreciate it if they could stay at home this afternoon."
"As long as they don't get up to any mischief, I suppose it'll be all right."
"C'mon, Mum, they are fourteen and there's not much fourteen year olds can get up to."
"Of course not. You didn't get up to much when you were fourteen, did you?"
"Certainly not. We were models of opprobrium."
"Models of what?" she laughed.
"I don't think you've quite got the right word there, dear. Try propriety and go and look opprobrium up in the dictionary. Mmm, come to think of it, you might have been right in the first place. Okay, I'll have a word with your father to make sure he doesn't say the wrong thing and you tell Charlie to keep a low profile and not make a fuss."
Meanwhile Gideon had managed to find Aunt Mathilda alone in the front room.
"We need your help, Aunt Mathilda. Charlie and Harry are going to have a romantic afternoon when we're out for a walk." Her mood for the day had already been set by that second glass of sherry she was sipping.
"What do you want me to do?"
"We just want to get his room ready beforehand. So could you keep them talking for five or ten minutes after lunch? Please?" said Gideon. She lowered her voice to a conspiratorial tone.
"Are we talking in terms of loss of virginity this afternoon?"
"Not in Charlie's case," whispered Gideon "but I think a cherry might be stolen as far as Harry is concerned."
"Ooh!" exclaimed Aunt Mathilda and giggled. "I shall keep my eyes and ears open over the tea table. Isn't this exciting? Of course, my dear. Anything to keep the course of true love running smoothly, eh? And Gideon, I adored the way you and Jamie exchanged rings yesterday. Does that mean your engaged?"
"Not really. It's a token of commitment, but we're not even going to talk about getting engaged or civil partnership until we finish university and have got jobs. It's a long time ahead, but we think that if we're still together by that time, then we'll be in it for life."
"Well, I sincerely hope you are. I can tell true love when I see it. Good luck with your little plan."
"Thanks, Aunt Mathilda."
In the meantime Jamie had moved on to stage two.
"Right, Charlie, I've cleared it with Mum and she's going to have a word with Dad. Just don't make a big deal about it. Fade into the background, okay?"
"Okay, bro," answered Charlie.
"Now you can tell me to mind my own business if you like, but if you do, you won't get any big brotherly advice."
"That's all right." said Charlie.
"Am I right in thinking this is the big afternoon? You're going all the way?" Charlie nodded. "And this is Harry's first time?" Charlie nodded. "Then be gentle. Warn him it's going to hurt a little, but it will soon pass, because if it's a bad experience and hurts a lot, he won't want to do it again. Use plenty of K-Y on both of you, try and do as much preparatory work as you can to open the sphincter and when you're in there, work on the prostate gland."
"It's the sweet spot. Didn't you discover that with Jirí?"
"Might've. Dunno. We never called it that."
"Anyway, it's the gland that produces the white sticky stuff that the sperm swim in."
"I thought that was my balls."
"They produce the sperm."
"And fade into the background afterwards and keep it to yourselves. Make sure you're both all cleaned up and downstairs by the time we get back. Don't forget it gets dark at four. Put your mobile by your bed in case you fall asleep. I'll give you a call when we're making our way back."
"Hey, bro. How did you know I was going to be the top?" Jamie just tapped the side of his nose with his forefinger and didn't answer the question. "Can I ask you a personal question, Jamie?"
"You can ask me whatever you like, bro, but I don't guarantee I'll answer."
"How do you and Gideon decide who's going to be top and who's going to be bottom?"
"We don't. When you really love someone and you've been with them some time, you automatically know what the other needs and his needs more important than your own. We very rarely talk about it. It just happens."
"Oh. Thanks, bro."
"And for goodness' sake take that stupid beanie off. It makes you look like a mindless moron, especially indoors."
"I can't," Charlie whispered. "It's my Christmas present from Harry."
After a lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and vegetables, the boys helped clear away quickly. They had an ulterior motive. Gideon and Jamie had a job to do and Charlie and Harry wanted the rest of the family to go out for their walk. Aunt Mathilda caught Harry and Charlie's attention and took them off into the living room. Jamie and Gideon darted upstairs. Jamie fetched a carrier of stuff from his room and they went along to Charlie's. The first thing they did was to hang a sprig of mistletoe over Charlie's bed. Then they took two round pink balloons, blew them up and tied them, followed by a long thin white one. Jamie fastened all three together and before fixing them to the wall he stroked the long thin one against his woollen jumper to build up the static. As he pinned them to the wall on the other side of the room so that they could be seen from the bed, the long thin balloon automatically rose as one end stuck to the ceiling.
"That should show them what it's all about," grinned Jamie, turning the thermostat on the radiator up to high.
When Gideon and Jamie reappeared downstairs Aunt Mathilda released the two younger boys from her attention.
"Mission accomplished," whispered Gideon. The majority of the family were soon on their way to the Common. Harry and Charlie were upstairs peering out of the window until they had disappeared round the corner. Harry immediately started to get undressed.
"Hey, hold on a moment. Getting undressed gradually is part of the fun," said Charlie and then he spotted the mistletoe. The two boys sat on the edge of the bed and kissed.
It was half past three when Charlie's mobile rang. «We've just turned into our road,» came Jamie's voice.
"What the hell..."
«Calm down, Charlie. Only kidding. We're leaving the Common now.»
"Thanks, bro. See ya." He and Harry had one final kiss and then went off to shower. By the time the family returned from their walk the two boys were downstairs in the middle of a game of Trivial Pursuits.
Harry had to go home at eight when his mother called for him. She asked him in the car on the way home if he'd had a good time and she told her he had. "I hope you didn't get up to any mischief, Harry."
"Now would I, Mum?"
"I expect so, knowing you."
"You've great faith in me, Mum."
"Is it all right if Charlie comes round to hang out when you and Dad have gone back to work?"
"I suppose so. Just let me know when and I can leave some snacks out for you both."
On the Monday of the following week Charlie appeared on the front doorstep of Harry's house about half past nine. His father owned a small company and his mother worked part time as his secretary. Although a successful company, it was not big enough to allow itself a two week shut down over the period of Christmas and New Year and Mr Bowman very much believed in leading by example. If his employees were in, then he was at work too. His wife would be at work all day to help him catch up after the Christmas holiday, which left Harry and his sister Anna at home. However, she was far more interested in spending her Christmas present money at the sales and so Harry and Charlie knew they would be left undisturbed until at least lunchtime and maybe longer. They went up to Harry's room.
It was odd. They both knew what the purpose of the visit was, but they were in no hurry. They were just two fourteen year old best mates, chatting, listening to their music, playing computer games or with their Christmas presents. A fly on the wall would never have guessed that a couple of days or so previously they had been passionate lovers. They went downstairs into the kitchen for the snack Mrs Bowman had left for their elevenses.
"By the way," said Charlie "Mum told me to take those balloons down. She said the static attracts the dust and makes a dirty mark on the ceiling." Afterwards they went back upstairs. Charlie lay on Harry's bed while he sprawled out in an armchair. They felt entitled to a rest as some of the morning had been spent working out on Harry's new rowing machine. They were still hot and Charlie took off his sweaty tee shirt and put it on a radiator to dry out. He was wearing white jogpants which clung to his figure and as Harry was chatting with him he could not keep his eyes off the firm bulge between his legs.
"Charlie, do you think there are any other gayboys in our year at school?"
"Bound to be, but I don't know any names."
"Why do you say that?"
"Easy peasy. How many of us are there in the year group? A hundred and fifty? Half of those are girls, so there's about seventy-five boys, say. Whichever statistic you believe, there's a least three and maybe as many as seven or eight and we're just two of them."
"And then there's the other year groups as well," added Harry. "It's just that I feel we ought to get to know our brothers and give them any help they might need."
"Are you out at school now?"
"I'm not sure. I've never stood up in assembly and announced it, but then everyone knows you are and that we hang together a lot. Also it's never been a big deal for me. Even when I came out to Mum and Dad it was no big deal. It was almost like 'Oh, that's nice, dear' and Mum got on with her sunbathing."
"What would you think if I shaved my pubes?" said Charlie out of the blue.
"Don't even think of it. You'd look a bit like an overgrown preteen and that would be a bit pervy. Anyway, I like running my fingers through your hair"
"Thought I'd ask."
"That's one thing I don't like about Jesse Dumanch. Great smooth bod, fine, but no hair down there. I wonder if he shaves or has it waxed."
"So you wouldn't like me to look like him?"
"No way. Anyway, you'd have to get a new wig and I like your hair the way it is."
"Did you ever fancy any other boys, Harry?"
"Hundreds of them."
"Our beloved rugby captain."
"What? Rob Phillips?"
"The very same."
"You've got taste, I'll give you that. Except he was the first kid in our year to be perverted by girls."
"Tell me about it," said Harry.
"He thinks he's the first kid to have had full sex in our year, too," said Charlie. "I'll surprise him one day when he's boasting. I beat him by months." They both laughed. "Talking of which, didn't I come over here for some particular reason?" he said, licking his lips and batting his eyelids.
It had taken a lot of fumbling, but Harry had enjoyed his first experience and was now enjoying the after-feeling. He'd evidently hit Charlie's sweet spot. It was small pleasures, the way his own cock had taken its time to go limp, the feel of Charlie's balls against his pubic area and his hot dick against his abdomen, the warm stickiness that still held them together and the way he was sucking on Charlie's tongue. Harry was sure he could start all over again, but as a newboy he was unsure of his sexual etiquette, not that he used those words in his own mind. The magic was broken when Charlie asked him to move as he was suffering from pins and needles. Instead of showering they ran a bath and whilst it was cramped they managed to sit in it together even though they were facing one another. Fortunately it was one of those tubs with the taps in the middle.
"What are you doing for New Year's Eve, Charlie?"
"What are we doing for New Year's Eve?" countered Charlie. Harry's heart bounded when he heard the inclusive question for he was still not presumptuous enough, perhaps not confident enough even, to think their relationship could assume claims on the other.
"At the moment it's just Mum, Dad and me. Anna wants to celebrate in town with her boyfriend."
"What's he like?"
"I get on with him all right, but I don't really know what she sees in him. I couldn't ever fancy him. He seems a bit of a Kevin to me. And he wears baggies and a baseball cap sideways. Does anyone wear baggies these days?"
"Tell you what. I'll ask if you can come round to us and sleep over. I know Jamie and Gideon will be there together."
The bath water was beginning to get cold, so Harry pulled the plug, they got out and started to dry one another. The inevitable happened and that ended up with them having a sword fight. They had just got dressed again when they heard some noise downstairs.
"It's okay," shouted a voice up the stairs. "It's only me back from town." It was Anna back from her shopping expedition.
"What's the time?" said Harry.
"About half past one."
"Heavens, where did those two and a half hours go to?"
Charlie got home about four before it grew dark. Although his cycle was now fixed and he was legal after dark, he hadn't brought his fluorescent clothing with him and he'd certainly learnt his lesson. Just after he got in, he said
"Mum, can Harry come and celebrate New Year with us and sleep over?"
"Have you asked what his family's doing?"
"Yeah. His older sister isn't at home any more. Anna's celebrating out with her boyfriend and so it's just him and his parents."
"Do you think it might be an idea we invite his parents as well?"
"What? For a sleep over?"
"No, you chump," she laughed. "Just for New Year's Eve. The three Farthings will be here too. I'll see if they'd all like to have dinner."
* * *
A couple of days later - Martha Dutton called out up the stairs
"Boys, elevenses." The sound of a herd of buffalo stampeding down the stairs was to be heard and four boys smartly took their seats round the kitchen table to devour hot chocolate and eat various goodies left over from Christmas. "Now, as you know, guys..." started Mrs Dutton.
"Please, Mum. don't call us guys," interrupted Charlie. "It is soo embarrassing when parents try to speak like their children."
"So sorriee, guyz," came back Mrs Dutton, spelling the word with a z on purpose "but when you dudes hang in my pad, it's like I'm the master... I mean mistress in my own home, you know." The other three laughed. Jamie cuffed Charlie round the head (He deliberately skimmed his hair missing the skull, just in case any members of the NSPCC or the government are reading this.) and Charlie went into nose in the air mode. "As you all know," continued Mrs Dutton "we've been having a mass discussion with your parents about what to do on New Year's Eve and we hope you'll like what we've come up with." The four boys sat up straight in interested fashion.
"What's that, Mum?" asked Jamie to cover up for his brother's foot-in-mouth remark.
"We've got tickets for the pantomime matinee and then everyone's coming back here for a dinner party to celebrate New Year."
"That's all of us?" asked Harry, who as the comparative newcomer was hardly able to believe his luck.
"Yes, all of us," confirmed Mrs Dutton.
"Which panto is it?" asked Gideon.
"Cinderella," she replied.
"Pantos are terribly gay, you know," piped up the irrepressible Charlie "with all those women dressed as men and and men dressed as women."
"That's why we thought you might like it," said his mother. Jamie kicked his brother under the table. Charlie and Harry turned crimson. Gideon and Jamie laughed. Mrs Dutton, not being in on the joke, looked nonplussed. "It's at the Theatre Royal," she continued "and it's a real traditional one where you can cheer the hero and boo and hiss the villains and they don't have some third rate television star to detract from it."
"I'll cheer Prince Charming," said Charlie.
"He'll be played by a woman," said Jamie.
"Then I'll cheer Cinderella instead."
"She'll be played by a woman as well," added Gideon. "Yeuk! How distasteful!" He pouted in that Charlie piss-taking way.
"I think I'll go and do some dusting, boys," said Mrs Dutton. "I don't think I quite fit here in with this conversation." Charlie was suddenly shocked with himself.
"Sorry, Mum." When he got excited, there was always the risk he would go OTT. Now he was genuinely upset.
The morning of the 31 December and mass panic broke out among our four. They'd suddenly realised that they had nothing to wear for the party. So after various telephone calls they decided to meet in the High Street and see what they could get at the January sales. There was unfortunately one unsavoury moment when they saw crouching in the doorway of a closed down shop Jon Dunn, the boy who bullied Charlie in the school pavilion all those months ago. He had been asked to leave - read expelled - after other instances of bullying had come to light. At first Gideon was the one to spot Dunn and he tried to chivy the others along before they noticed him too, but in vain. A stream of invective came from the shop doorway between drags on a roll-up, most of words containing some homophobic insult, remarkable if only because Dunn and his mates had been the ones molesting other boys at school. A feeling of rage rose in Charlie and Jamie took charge of him while Gideon tried to usher them all away before something even more unpleasant might happen and perhaps it did. Harry of course hadn't the slightest idea of what had happened between Charlie and Dunn and as the group blindly hurried away, who should they bump into on the pavement - literally - but a lady of a certain age, Mrs Arbruthnot? Despite apologies she gave all four of them the filthiest of glares and after an initial 'Huh!' inveighed against the behaviour and morals of the youth of today. The boys fled, leaving her in the middle of the pavement looking foolish because she was now shouting at no one in particular. Gideon decided it was time for them to visit to Burger Star to gather their wits together before they went off to spend their Christmas present money. While there they came to a decision about what they were going to wear to the party and after a successful shopping expedition they made their way back to their separate homes to get ready for the afternoon.
The panto was a great success. With a little group there ready to enter into the spirit of things it livened up the audience and of course the cast reacted to the encouragement. To their delight and surprise Prince Charming, dressed in tights, was unexpectedly and very obviously played by a man and he would receive rapturous cheers from our four whenever he made an entrance. The adults apart from Great Aunt Mathilda just accepted the fact and pretended for those seconds not to be there and tried to hide. With Aunt Mathilda as cheerleader they felt there was very little they could do to rein in the boys. As the cast took the final bow Prince Charming, now dressed in a very short doublet and white hose, stepped forward to thank the audience for joining in the fun and although they could not see them against the glare of the stage lights he knew that there was a very special group in the centre of the balcony. At that our four gave themselves a special cheer and the curtain came down for the last time. All three families returned to the Duttons' and after a cup of tea the women congregated in the kitchen to prepare the meal, the men in the sitting room to watch the TV news and talk about cars and sport and the boys went upstairs to chill out and get ready for the party. Dinner was timed for eight o'clock.
Showered and spruced up our boys made their entrance downstairs for dinner. The decision they had made was that the partners were going to dress the same. Harry and Charlie appeared in white three-quarter length trousers and short blue tanktops that revealed their navels. Although eyebrows were raised they assured the gathering of adults that this was the height of chic in Year 9, even though it was more suitable for a beach picnic rather than a dinner party in the midst of winter. The older boys were a little more conservative wearing their rainbow tee shirts tucked into 501s that touched at the hip, but were loose at the waist. All four were in full regalia of necklaces, wristbands and bracelets and it goes without saying that Gideon and Jamie were wearing their newly acquired rings. Great Aunt Mathilda, ever the rebel, complimented the boys on their outfits and exploited her seniority to insist that they sat by her at the dinner table to keep her entertained, although in fact a lot of the entertainment emanated from her.
It was gone ten o'clock by the time coffee was served, after which the boys were invited to go upstairs and entertain themselves, but to be sure they came down by a quarter to twelve. Readers with lascivious minds would be wrong to assume that this intervening time was spent in satisfying carnal lusts. The four gathered in Jamie's room with the intention of playing a game, or cards, but events never got that far. Indeed the atmosphere became strangely serious and introspective when someone was foolish enough to mention New Year's resolutions, for while no New Year's resolutions were made, indeed hardly discussed, the conversation turned to what the future might have in store for them.
"What sport are you two youngsters going to do next term?" asked Jamie.
"Don't know really with no rugby," answered Charlie. There was never any rugby in what was euphemistically called the Spring term.
"Jamie and I are doing cross-country," said Gideon.
"That's not really my thing," said Harry. "I'll wait and see what else is on offer."
"I'm going to do cross-country," said Charlie.
"It's okay for you, but front row forwards aren't really built for it."
"Why don't you come and play club rugby like us?" suggested Jamie. "You're bound to get a game of some sorts on Saturdays and they run an U14 team. You know us and Will and Alex'll be going too and perhaps you can get some of you schoolmates to come along."
"Hey, hadn't thought of that," said Harry "but it still doesn't solve the school problem." The conversation continued until one problem that had been vexing Charlie for some time meant that he couldn't hold back any longer.
"Hey, Jamie and Gids, don't mind me asking, but how are you two going to stay together when you've left school?"
"We've been discussing that," answered Gideon. "We're going to apply to the same universities and hope we can get an offer at the same one. And if we're really lucky we'll get places at the one where my Great Aunt Mathilda lives and she's got a granny flat attached to her house and we can live there."
"And what's more," continued Jamie "in the summer when her present students have moved out we can go and spend a couple of weeks there in the holidays together, but don't say anything yet because she's still got to negotiate it with our mums and dads."
Then Harry blurted it out. "Are you two going to get married?"
"Harry!" said Charlie and stamped his foot. "That's my job to say what everyone else is thinking."
"That's all right," said Gideon. "Of course we've talked about it," and he gave Jamie a loving look. "Yes and no."
"What do you mean?" asked Charlie.
"Well, we won't be getting married as such because despite all our support for the gay community we don't believe that marriage is the right word for gays. But if we're still together at the end of university we shall probably enter into one of those civil life partnerships."
"Oh," said Harry.
There was a knock at the door and Mrs Dutton was amazed to find four teenage boys sitting round in a civilised manner just having a conversation.
"It's coming up to midnight, boys."
"Okay, Mum," said Jamie and the four boys jumped up and followed her downstairs. The television was switched on to get the chimes of Big Ben and glasses were filled with sparkling wine. As a treat even the youngsters were allowed to have a glass. As Big Ben struck twelve everyone shouted "Happy New Year" and drank a toast. Then the mums and dads kissed each other, and Jamie and Gideon did as well. When they saw what was happening Harry and Charlie's eyes opened wide and they gave each other that silent 'why not?' look. Charlie took Harry in a tight embrace and kissed him deeply. When they came up for breath, Charlie looked at Harry and whispered "You know, Harry, I love you," and they kissed again.
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