Andrew

by The Composer

Chapter 3

There were nights when it was dark outside, and the wind blew, making the boat tip over, and the rain came down, pattering on the deck above me. I would read my books, and then when I was tired, I would go for a wash and then slide under the duvet. I knew what we had done under that duvet, and it made me long for the time when he would be back.

I knew when he would be coming back, and I would have everything ready for him. His supper. I would feed him, then I would undress him, and wash him, and then take him back to the cabin. It didn't matter whether we had sex or not. I had him to hold. I could wrap myself around him and he could wrap himself around me.

Friday nights were the best. We had the weekend in front of us. He would come back, and I would feed him, and I would wash him, and I would take him to our bed, and we would have sex. I would fuck him. Hard. He would fuck me. Hard. We would be hot and sweaty under that duvet. We would sleep together, and when we woke up in the morning, it would be different. Slowly, carefully, we would explore each other. We would explore with fingers, lips, tongue, teeth. I would sink my teeth into his shoulders, and tell him, you are mine. He would sink his teeth into my shoulders and tell me, you are mine. I would tell him that I was his, that my body was his, and he could do with it what he wished. And he did.

Those Saturday mornings lasted for ever. I enjoyed him; he enjoyed me. There seemed no end to our enjoyment, until we were driven out by the pangs of hunger. We would sit opposite each other and smile at each other across the table. We might go out for a breath of fresh air. We would walk around the marina, and into the town, just to stretch our legs. We would go back, and I would cook us some supper, and after we had eaten it, and washed up, we would go back to bed. Not necessarily to have sex, not necessarily to sleep, but to be with each other, and hold each other, and be content with each other.

I knew it could not last for ever. I knew this was a false paradise. He would come to me, and I would cherish him, and he would cherish me. But there was something out there – the world, from which we were hiding. I knew he had accepted that I wanted to be here, and I knew that he would have liked me to be somewhere else. That house, that home of his. I knew, that sooner or later, I would have to go there. I didn't want to. I was happy here. But it would not last.

It didn't last. And all because of something quite trivial.

It was a Friday afternoon, and school had just finished for the week. I didn't take many books home at the weekend, since I would be spending it with Charles. I stacked everything into my locker, closed it, and took a step back. I wasn't looking where I was going. Neither was the other boy, and we collided. The things he was carrying spilled all over the floor. He turned to me in a rage, shouting obscenities. I hadn't done it deliberately, and I suppose that we were equally to blame, but that didn't matter to him. Suddenly a fist came out of nowhere, catching me on the cheek bone. I hit the back of the lockers hard, lost my balance, and tumbled to the floor. He was standing over me, still shouting and swearing at the top of his voice. I could see he was getting ready to start kicking out at me, and I could hear all the other boys shouting, "Fight! Fight! Fight!", but luckily for me, a teacher had pushed his way through the crowd, and stood in front of the other boy. The boy started shouting and swearing at the teacher, and one corner of my mind was grateful for this. It would mean he would get into even more trouble.

The crowd began to disperse as more teachers came along. The other boy was led away. I was told to stay where I was by one of the women teachers. My back was aching from where I had hit the handles of the lockers. It took me a minute or two to scramble to my feet. The teacher jerked her head and I followed her to a room which was obviously her office.

"Let's look at you," she said. She took my chin in one hand and turned my head from side to side. "It's swelling up nicely," she told me. I grunted. "Anything else?"

"My back's a bit sore from the handle of the lockers."

"Do you want medical attention? Hospital?"

That was the last thing I wanted. I shook my head.

She waved me to a seat, and sat down behind her desk. "I'll need to write a note for your parents. And I'll have to write them a follow-up letter, but that can wait until Monday. Can you give me your full name?"

I didn't have much choice, and she typed it into her computer. "Ah," she said, "from the care home." She looked at her screen again for a moment or two, then frowned. "Oh, dear." She looked from her screen to me. "There's a note here which says that you left, that you had disappeared. So … where are you living now, then?"

"With some friends," I lied. Trying to talk my way around her would be difficult. Someone who dealt with the kids of Gosport on a daily basis had to be pretty tough.

"So you don't have an adult guardian? And you're still at school. So where do you get money for food and the like?" She looked at me more sharply. "You're not dealing, are you?"

I tilted my chin up slightly defiantly. "I don't do drugs and I don't deal."

"I'm sorry, Jason, but I can't leave things there."

I stood up and slung my backpack over my shoulder and walked out. I knew what her next move would be – to pick up the phone and call a social worker. I moved as fast as I could without actually running. The other thing that I was worried about was whether that boy or his mates had hung around after school to catch me. I made my way out of the school and down towards the town. I collapsed onto a bench in the High Street. What now? One thing was for sure. There was no way that I would be able to go back to that school. Once that teacher had contacted Social Services, that would be it. Living on a yacht with a man twice my age? There's no way they would allow that. I might be sixteen, but that wasn't legally adult yet. They would want me in what they called 'a place of safety'. So what now?

I made my way back to the boat, but I was late, and I could see that there was a light on. Charles must have arrived already. I slid the hatch back, and went down below. Charles turned to me with a smile on his face, which faded when he saw my expression.

"What's the matter?" He looked at me more closely. "And what's wrong with your face?" He reached a finger up to my cheek, and I flinched slightly. "Have you been in a fight?"

"Sort of," I told him. "But that's not the worst of it." I sat down on the cushion and pulled him down alongside me. "This is going to be a long story."

He sat in silence as I told him what had happened, then, when I had finished, he put his arms around me and I buried my face into his chest. If I wasn't careful, I would end up in tears. He began rocking me, as though I were a small child, and I felt like a small child. I was snivelling now. "Hush, hush," he kept on whispering.

Eventually, I pulled away from him. "Have you had anything to eat?" he asked. I shook my head, and he began preparing supper. We ate in silence. I knew what the answer to the problem was, but I think I was afraid to face up to it. The simple answer would be to go and live with Charles, in that big house of his, become someone else, and go to a new school. It had seemed a step too far when he first suggested it, and it seemed a step too far now.

He knew what I was thinking. "Would it be too much for you? To come and live with me?"

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"You're offering me all that, and I'm being ungrateful."

"Not ungrateful. Just finding it all too much."

"You're asking me to become someone else. I mean, literally. It's as though the past sixteen years are being – I don't know, wiped out?"

"And what were those sixteen years like?"

"Fucking awful," I said, the tears starting to come back again.

He touched a finger to his head. "In your mind, you can be anyone you like."

I looked at him. "Do you really think this will work?"

"Why not?"

"If something goes wrong, you're going to be in an awful lot of trouble."

"We'll just have to make sure that nothing does go wrong."

"And do you really know what you are taking on? With me?"

"I hope so. You've never disappointed me yet."

I stared at him. "Forever is a long time."

He smiled back. "Are you getting philosophical on me?"

"Not really. Just getting realistic. You really want me living with you? What happens when we get tired of each other?"

"Will you get tired of me?"

I shrugged. "Who knows? Don't forget I'm young and innocent."

He laughed. "Innocent?"

"I was until this man invited me on to his boat and seduced me."

"Except it didn't happen quite that way, did it?"

"Let's be realistic. If those social workers had got their hands on me, that's exactly how they would react."

"We're legal. Even if you did lie about your age."

"Being legal sometimes isn't enough."

"Okay. Putting aside all those issues for a moment, do you want to come and live with me? Full time?"

I smiled. "What a stupid question."

He blinked, and then after a moment, smiled back. "Why?" he asked.

"Because that way I get to have sex, and I get fed, and I get more sex."

"I obviously haven't told you about the cellar."

"Meaning?"

"I've prepared the cellar. There's a mattress for you to sleep on, and a bucket for when you need it. You will get plenty of sex, all right. In fact, you will be a nice little earner for me." He tilted his head to one side and looked at me. "Maybe – twenty quid a time?"

"Twenty? I'm worth more than that. Fifty, at least."

"At the moment, possibly. But after a month or two …"

"What will you do with me then?"

"The cellar has a concrete floor. You would join the other ones which are buried there. You would be number five."

"Why bother burying the bodies? You've got a boat. You could dump them at the back of the Isle of Wight."

"Have you ever tried carrying a body, particularly if it has rigor mortis, and hoisting it on board without being noticed?"

"You may have a point," I conceded.

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