Making Nico

by c m

Chapter 14

Wednesday is the evening that Ollie is taking Jason to the LGBTQ student event. I catch up with Ollie the following morning.

'How did things go?'

'Great – I think. He's nice…a little…quiet for my taste but there were a couple of guys there I knew and I introduced him to them and once he'd relaxed, I think he had a good time. He got talking to at least one guy and when I wanted to leave, he was happy to stay. So, yeah.'

'Well thanks for taking him along, Ollie. It's much appreciated.'

'No problem.'

I catch up with Jase on Saturday. The shift is busy and it's only at the end of it that we have a chance to talk.

'So how was the evening Ollie took you along to?'

'It was great, actually. Much better than I feared. It was just a kind of social. Ollie introduced me to a couple of guys, and then a nice guy called James came over and started talking to me. We got on really well. And we've…arranged to see each other again. Tomorrow, actually.'

'That's really great, Jase.'

'I wish I'd done it before. I just didn't…I didn't feel…'

I stop him.

'That's the past and none of it matters if things are good now. Tell me about James.'

Jase's eyes seem to light up. 'He's a first-year – like me – doing Biochemistry. He's in a different Hall from me which is maybe why I haven't seen him before. He's half Asian. He…really nice. We just talked and he made me laugh. We…god this is going to sound so stupid…both really liked each other's hair. I love that black silky look that boys with his heritage have, and he said he found red hair like mine fascinating. And things just sort of opened up from there. I guess I was afraid that these sorts of events would be full of guys hitting on other guys…and I suppose some of them were, but James wasn't like that at all. We just had a hug at the end of the evening. I can't wait to see him again.'

'That's great, Jase. Where are you going to meet up?'

'Just in the Hall bar.'

'Can't wait to hear how it goes.'

Then I ask him about Jake. As Martin had predicted, he'd been there again, and had made a point of exchanging a few words with me. 'Give me a call sometime if you like' were his parting words. I just smiled.

'Oh. Yeah. Jake.' Says Jase, 'Yeah...he tried something similar with me back when I started. I thought he was just being friendly but Martin warned me. And I think maybe Harry had a word…I don't know…but it was at the stage when Harry thought he was in with a chance with me, so maybe. I think he's probably harmless…persistent and a bit yech, but he's never been creepy with me or stalked me or anything.'

'OK. Maybe I just have to tell him I've got a boyfriend.'

'Could be. I didn't try that because I didn't have one. Didn't occur to me.'

'Ok. Well, have fun with James tomorrow.'

'I'm sure I shall.'

We have a brief hug – just as Harry steps into the room.

'OH! Nice to see you two getting on so well. Does your boyfriend know about this, Nick?'

'We're just having a hug, Harry.'

'If you say so.'

'And Josh knows all about Jase. We went for a drink together last week.'

Harry smirks. 'Got a threesome going have you? Finally given your virginity to someone then, Jason?'

'Fuck off, Harry,' I say.

His face tightens. 'Don't you tell me to fuck off you little shit. Not if you want to keep your job. I was just having some fun, OK?'

'If you say so,' I say, holding his gaze.

His eyes narrow, but he doesn't say anything. He just turns on his heel and walks back into the bar area.

Jase puts a hand on my arm.

'That was brave of you, Nick, but don't rub him the wrong way. He can be…mean.'

'I daresay…but I'm not having him talk to me…or you…like that. Ever.'

'Thank you.'

And he gives me a hug.

Back home, I tell Josh about what Harry said, and his reaction when I told him to fuck off.

'Well done you. But I don't like this, Nick. It doesn't sound like a very nice place. Maybe you should chuck it.'

'There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the place, Josh. Most of the staff are lovely and the customers are great. I'm not going to let Harry or Jake spoil that. And I'm not leaving Jase unprotected either. If Harry fires me, he fires me, but I'm not backing off.'

I'm almost trembling with emotion.

Josh smiles. 'You really are VERY sexy when you're angry, you know' he says, 'those eyes of yours…they almost…glitter. '

He wraps his arms round me. 'And I love that you care so much. It's one of the things I love about you most.'

I rest my head on his shoulder, as he runs a hand up and down my back.

'Thanks. I hate it when people treat others like that.'

As he rubs my back, I can feel the anger slowly seeping out of me.

'And how did Jase say things had gone on his evening out?'

'Oh.' I lift my head off his shoulder. 'Well…that is all very good news. He met a guy called James and they're meeting up again tomorrow.'


'Yeah. Apparently, they love each other's hair.'


So I relay the story.

'No telling what brings folks together, I suppose. Who cares, provided it does?'


Jase has Sunday off…and he's not working next weekend when I'm on earlies. I send him a message.

Good luck with James. Let me know how things go and look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks – unless you fancy popping in to say hi in the meantime.

A couple of minutes later I get a reply.

Thanks, and will do. Might just pop in too. Will stay in touch.

The Sunday shift passes off fine. Harry is off and Jake doesn't appear. And Maeve is very good fun to work with.

I don't hear anything from Jase until Monday. WhatsApp pings with a message.

Wonderful, wonderful time with James. I'm so happy.

I smile and then reply.

Great to hear. Look forward to all the details. Take care.

Next Saturday on the early shift is a bit of a new experience. Harry is there along with Martin. They both show me what to do to open the place up and get everything ready. I'm feeling slightly groggy from lack of sleep. The previous evening had got a bit out of hand with some friends dropping round unexpectedly and staying late, and then Josh and I had failed miserably on the 'no sex' front as well. But I try to make a mental note of everything I'm being told. Harry is slightly cold towards me; I guess I haven't been forgiven for running up against him last week. It is also astonishingly busy first thing when we open. And matters aren't improved when Jake comes in and tries to flirt with me. I tell him in no uncertain terms that I've got a boyfriend and I'd appreciate it if he'd respect that. He gives me a little smile and says 'I like a challenge…and you're most definitely worth it.' When I tell Harry about this, instead of supporting me he says, 'He's a customer and he's not doing any harm. Just flirt back. Be nice, OK? Think of it as customer service.' I'm about to confront him when, for better or worse, Nikki and Miles come in.

'Hey you two, good to see you. What can I get you?'

'Skinny flat white for me,' says Nikki, 'and a large macchiato for Miles.'

'Take a seat and I'll bring them over.'

When I do, Nikki laughs. 'That apron,' she says.

I sigh. The apron is dark brown with the outline of an old-fashioned manual coffee grinder picked out in outline in the centre of it in cream. Exactly at crotch height. Subtle it isn't.

'Don't.' I say with a shake of my head. 'The good news is that the coffee is actually rather good.'

'Seems like a nice place,' says Miles.

'Yeah, pretty much. Let me know if you need anything else. And if you have time, leave us a nice Trustpilot review.'

'Sure thing. Catch you later.'

'For sure.'

Halfway through the shift, Harry beckons me to follow him to the office.

'We need to get a couple of things straight,' he says. 'Let me start by saying that you work hard and Martin likes you. Both of which are good things. But I still haven't forgotten how you spoke to me last week, and that mustn't happen again, and you also need to get your head round being nice to the customers. ALL the customers. Even the ones like Jake. This is a place that attracts the gay community. Some of them want to flirt. Especially with young, pretty boys like you. It goes with the territory. So get over yourself and get over having a boyfriend while you're on duty. Do your job, right?'

'I thought my job was serving coffee?'

'Your job is to make customers happy. Part of which is serving coffee, but most of which is putting a smile on their faces. I'm not telling you to sleep with them, but leave the ones for whom it's a fantasy with the idea, the 1% hope, that it might be possible.'

'But it isn't. And it's disloyal to Josh, and unfair to them, to leave them thinking that.'

'No, it isn't. I'm not asking you to compromise your values, I'm asking you to make your behaviour more flexible. Go away and think about it.'

I'm not sure he's right, but it does need thinking about. And talking to Josh about. I nod.

'Good. You're a decent worker but you've got a lot to learn.'

'I guess. Umm…could I ask you a favour?'

He raises his eyebrows. 'Depends on what I get in return.'

'The favour is to lay off Jason. The way you treat him hurts him.'

Harry's eyes harden, and his mouth twists in a sneer.

'Jason is a fucking little cock-teaser. Why should I lay off him?'

'Because I'm asking you to. As a decent human being.'

'And what do I get in return if I do?'

'A warm feeling that you've done the right thing.'

'Not good enough.'

'What do you want, then?'

His lip curls. 'A big, sloppy kiss from you. A proper one. With tongues.'

I wish I could say I was surprised. But I'm not. I sort of suspected he'd say something like that – or worse. The idea of kissing him isn't pleasant. But if would get him off Jase's back, would it be so bad? Would it be such a high price to pay? It would all be over in…less than a minute. And I'm fully aware that it's not the kiss that he wants really. What he wants is to make me do something I only do with Josh. To show that he has the power to humiliate both of us. But if he thinks he can do that, he doesn't know me, and he doesn't know Josh. Fuck him.

'And if I did, you'd leave Jason alone?'

'I'd think about it.'

'Not good enough,' I say.

'You're a feisty little fucker, aren't you? And you must be really sweet on that boy. Does your boyfriend knows you've got a thing for Jason?'

'Think what you like. But I'd think about giving you what you want if you'd give me your word about Jason.'

'I'll think about it.'

'OK. Let me know when you've made your mind up.'

'Oh, I will.'

'Can I get back to work now?'

'Be my guest.'

I'm shaking slightly as I make my way back to the counter. That makes two things I need to talk to Josh about. Martin can see I'm shaking. He asks me what's wrong. 'Nothing', I say. He just looks at me.

When I get back, Josh is in the shower. He's clearly only just got up. Lucky him. I strip off and go and join him. I feel like I need to get clean.

'Hi, sexy. Good shift?' he asks.

'Need to talk to you,' I say.

'Sounds serious.'

'Kind of.'

'Want me to scrub your back while you tell me?'


The feel of his hands on my skin almost distracts me. But I refocus. 'Two things actually.'

'OK, shoot.'

So I tell him about the conversation I had with Harry about flirting with the customers. 'He said he wasn't asking me to compromise my values, just to modify my behaviour…make it more flexible. Is he right?'

'That sounds like it needs some thinking about. Do you think, deep down inside, someone like Jake knows that he's never going to date you? Is it just that being able to hang on to the dream that in another world he might is all he needs to feel happy? Or do you think leaving him with that hope means he's going to keep pushing it?'

'I don't know. I think he'd keep trying to flirt in either circumstance. Maybe telling him he had no chance just might make him try harder.'

'In which case life would be less trying if you left him that 1%, you know…if you kept flirting to keep it alive.'

'Maybe. But I don't want to flirt with him.'

'But is that what making your customers happy requires?'

'Him, maybe.'

'Then it seems to me that the choice isn't between flirting and not flirting, it's between flirting or chucking the job in.'

I think about it. Josh is probably right.

'But how would you feel about knowing I'm flirting with a customer?'

'If it was part of the job, and if you were OK with it, why should I object? I'd know you didn't mean it seriously. That it had nothing to do with the strength of our relationship. What matters is if you're comfortable with it.'

'OK. Need to think about that. Second thing.'

'Why don't we dry off and go and lie on the bed? It would be easier to talk without the noise of the shower.'

'Good idea.'

We towel ourselves dry then go and lie on the bed.

'OK, so what was the second thing?' Josh asks.

So I tell him about the price for Harry laying off Jase.

'You'd really do that? For Jase?'

'Only if you said it was OK.'

'Do you think he'd keep his word?'

'I can't be sure. Part of me can hear him laughing at us…for doing what he asked and being stupid enough to believe him. But he might. And if he did, well, I think we'd have done a good thing.'

'I think you're completely right that this is about trying to humiliate you…and me. In his world, you kissing him would mean that what you and I had was a complete fake. That he had the power to break us. I'm sure he hasn't the faintest notion that you and I would talk about this.'

'But…how do you feel about it?'

'I think that if he'll keep his word…and it's a big 'if'…then you're right; we'd have done a good thing. Jase needs the job. If we can make his life there more tolerable, then you're right; it's not a high price to pay. Not pleasant, not right…but it costs you and me absolutely nothing...well, maybe a bit of pride. If you could bear to do it.'

'I'd only be going through the motions. I'd make sure he got as little pleasure out of it as possible.'

'No…no, that's wrong. That's what he'd want. That's what would make it humiliating. If you were to do it, you'd need to make it the kiss of your life. He knows you don't fancy him, and kissing him 'til his tonsils burst would show him how impossible it is for him to hurt us.'

I think about it.

'You're right. I just don't know if I could do it. Or if I trust him.'

'Then we need to have a think about it. In the meantime, if you're not sure you could kiss someone 'til their tonsils burst, maybe you should have a practice on me….'

I can't help but grin. Josh rolls on top of me and put his lips against mine. His tongue flicks against my lips. I couldn't resist him even if I wanted to…which I most certainly don't.

I could do this forever with him.

Harry isn't in on the Sunday, which gives me a bit more time to think about the whole 'giving him a kiss' thing. For which I'm grateful. I'm still ambivalent about it, and I wouldn't have wanted to be put on the spot today.

The shift passes off uneventfully. I even try to be nice to Jake. Having got my head round it, it isn't hard to do. And I find that all the things I formerly had to concentrate on are now becoming more automatic.

When I get back home after the shift, Josh has gone out. He's left me a note that says he'll be back around 1…and have I been paid? I realise that in the heat of my exchange with Harry the previous day, I'd completely forgotten to ask. I check my bank account online. And there's a payment of £80 from TDG. It feels good.

I go and shower and when I come back into the main room, a towel round my waist, there's a message from Jase asking if it's OK to come round. I WhatsApp him. He picks up after two rings. We're on video.

'Hi, Jase…'

'Oh, hi Nick…god – have you got any clothes on?'

I look down. I'm wearing a towel round my waist, but as only my top half is in view, I realise how it must look.

'Sorry, just hopped out of the shower.' I pan the camera to show him.

'Ah. Right. Not that I'm complaining,' he says with a smile.

'It's fine for you to come round. When did you have in mind?'

'Would now be OK…about fifteen minutes?'

'Perfect. It'll give me time to get dressed.'

'Only if you must,' he says, 'no need to on my account, I'm enjoying the view.'

'I'll take that as a compliment. And I'll get some coffee going as well.'

'Great, see you in a few.'

As I put my phone down, I reflect that he already seems to be a different boy from the one I last saw. Can't wait to find out if this has anything to do with him and James.

I give myself a squirt of cologne, then throw on a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans and then go down to the kitchen. I've barely got the mugs out when there's a buzz from the front door. I let Jase in. He almost bounds through the door. We hug.

'Mmm…you smell nice,' he says.

'You're all very bouncy today,' I say.

'I know,' he says with a smile.

'Nothing to do with you seeing James I suppose?'

'Might be,' he says with a little grin.

'Come on through and tell Uncle Nick all about it. And I mean ALL about it…'

He follows me into the kitchen and I make us a cafetière of coffee. I pour us each a mug and hand one to him.

'So spill.'

'There's honestly not much to tell, but we met up for a drink and just talked. He was so interesting and he asked me all sorts of questions and...well...I honestly don't know where the time went but he ended up walking back to my room with me and I asked him in for a coffee and afterwards, before he left, he asked if he could kiss me…and oh god, it was the first time I'd ever kissed anyone…well, anyone in that way…and we just kissed and kissed and kissed. It was amazing. It didn't go any further than that. But we've arranged to meet up again tonight. I can't wait.'

'I'm so pleased for you, Jase. Do you want it to go further with him?'

'Oh God yes,' he says with a passion I've never seen in him, his eyes sparkling.

He's spoken without thinking…from his soul…and then he realises what he's said and clasps a hand to his mouth.

'Sorry…I didn't…that is…'

I give him a big hug. 'Don't worry and don't apologise. It's wonderful you feel that way. Does he feel the same?'

Jason blushes. A deep crimson. ''I think…well…when we were kissing...I could tell he was…and so was I….'

'Then what could be better?'

'I know. I'm kind of nervous though. What if he doesn't feel the same way now? Or what if he wants to…go further…than I do?'

'If you both got that aroused when you were kissing, I'd be astonished if he felt any different, and if he didn't try to make you go further with him when you both had raging stiffies – if you'll forgive me saying so – then it sounds like you're going to be fine. Either way, you are allowed…in fact, you should…talk about it if you – or he- get uncomfortable. Just go with the flow, Jase. Is he…that is, has he had many boyfriends before?'

'No. No, that's one of the things we have in common. Well, he's had one boyfriend - but only briefly. I've no idea if he's more…experienced…than I am. But maybe it would be a good thing, you know, if he…knew what he was doing.'

'If he does, great, if not then you'll have lots of fun discovering stuff together.'

'If I can ask, I know you said that you and Josh were both each other's first proper boyfriend, but was one of you more experienced than the other when you met?'

'It's fine to ask. I suppose Josh had done a little bit more than I had...although we were both virgins. But when you're with someone you fancy like crazy, it all just sort of happens. And you must have watched some gay porn?'

'Well, yes…'

'OK. Well then you'll probably know enough. I mean most of us aren't hung like a horse or capable of shooting stuff over our heads, or doing it seven times in a row or going through fifty positions or moaning like a banshee, but provided you keep your teeth out of the way, there's not much that can go wrong with oral. And I'm guessing anything more than that is a bit further off.

Jase started to laugh halfway through my description and is still laughing.

'Thanks, Nick.'

'But if you DO want to go further…both of you, then go for it. Just have condoms and lube.'

'That all feels like it's a bit…I don't know…calculating.'

'Jase…being prepared is not calculating. It's sensible. If you want to go that far, if it's even a remote possibility, then it's about being careful. And desire has a way of getting…out of control. You end up going places you might not have thought you'd go. And while condoms are for safety, lube is for comfort. That's another thing about gay porn, it almost always looks as though they just ram themselves into each other without lube. Trust me, you don't want to do that. I'm not saying you necessarily need to go out and do that for today, but as things progress…if they progress…you need to be prepared before it happens.'

'Yes. You're right, of course.' He pauses. 'Umm…could I ask you one more thing?'


'How long was it from when you two met…at Sunnybanks…to when you first went all the way together?'

'About nine months. Our birthdays are within a few days of each other, and it was…sort of an eighteenth birthday gift to each other.'

'A gift…I like that.'

'Yes. I think 'losing your virginity' sounds a bit careless, and it wasn't a careless thing at all for us. It was special. We both knew that we'd want to go there at some stage. We didn't particularly plan it for our 18ths but we'd sort of been getting ourselves ready for it for a few months, and then we both just knew the time was right. So we gave our virginity to each other. Him one night and me the next. It made it a…celebration…more than just a rite of passage.'

'That's really lovely. I hope it will be the same for me. Umm…did it…hurt?'

'Not really. We took our time. Got each other ready. A moment of discomfort maybe then…pleasure all the way. I don't know if it's like that for everyone, but it was for us.'

'You really love each other, don't you?'

'Yes, we do.'

'Is that something that's taken time to grow or….was it there right from the start?'

'I suppose there were maybe five…perhaps ten…minutes of pure lust when I first saw him, but within ten minutes of us starting to talk I'm absolutely certain that I loved him. He was funny, he was smart, he was just…on my wavelength – and I'm sure he'd say the same about me…you should ask him. Sure, he was cute as hell, actually, not just cute…hot…sex on legs in fact…heck, he still is, but…we just knew. We both just knew.'

'Never had any doubts?'

'I can't imagine life without him.'

'Sorry…one more question?'

I smile. 'Go ahead.'

'Your parents…and Josh's…what did they think when you got together?'

'They couldn't have been happier, really. Josh came out to his folks at thirteen and I came out to mine at sixteen. I think the parents of every gay boy worry about their son making bad choices or getting taken advantage of. Our parents had got to know each other on holiday...sort of because Josh and I were spending time together before we told them that we were together, if you see what I mean…so they liked each other, and my parents liked Josh, and his parents liked me so…it was all perfect. We were so, so lucky.'

'I envy you.'

And I suddenly feel guilty.

'Sorry, Jase…here's me going on about my perfect boyfriend and the easy relationships we have with our parents…I didn't think…'

'No, it's not your fault, I was the one who asked. I just wish…'

'I'm sorry it's been hard for you. But…I guess things are looking up, right?'

And he smiles. A big, big smile that just gets bigger. 'Yeah…yeah they are.'

I hear the front door open, and then Josh comes into the kitchen.

'Hey gorgeous, how was it?' he says to me, 'and hi Jase, nice to see you.'

He comes over and kisses me, then gives Jase a hug.

'All good – and I've been paid!'

'Yippee! Only a matter of time before you become a millionaire and I can live a life of idleness and luxury.'

'Not on what they're paying me. And you couldn't be idle if you tried.'

'Probably true. All good with you, Jase?'

'Very good. I've just been telling Nick.'

'When he hasn't been giving me the third degree,' I say.

'Yes…sorry about that. I've been asking Nick some rather intrusive questions. And he's been very open and helpful.'

'Why don't you ask Josh the question you asked me about whether it took time for love to grow between us or whether it was there from the start?'

'Er, OK. Josh?'

Josh looks at me and a little smile creases the corners of his mouth.

'I was in lust with him from the moment I set eyes on him, and in love with him less than an hour later. Once we'd started chatting…I just knew.'

I look at Jase. He's just shaking his head. 'Did you two rehearse that?'

'Rehearse what?' says Josh.

'That's pretty much, like, EXACTLY, what Nick said when I asked him.'

'Really?' says Josh, looking at me.

'Pretty much,' I confirm.

'Well, isn't that a thing…you said the 'lust' word too, huh?'



I smile. 'Well, come on, while we might have fallen deeper and deeper in love, we've never fallen out of lust have we?'

'Damn right,' he says with a grin, our eyes locked on each other.

'Yes, well…time I went, I think,' says Jase. 'Thanks for the coffee and the chat.'

'Let us know how things go.'

'Will do.'

We see him out, and then Josh turns to me. 'You know how you said we'd never fallen out of lust…?'

I nod.

'Well…want to prove it?'

If there was a world record for how fast two boys could climb two sets of stairs, I reckon we'd have broken it. Easily.

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