I Do Like to Be Beside The Seaside

by Ivor Slipper

Growing Strong

Billy had been wondering how he might be able to move forward his relationship with Chris. He'd introduced him to various things all of which Chris definitely appeared to enjoy and recently kissing and stroking had become normal for them when they were in bed. In some ways Billy wasn't even sure himself if he was ready for what he thought should be the next step and if he wasn't then it was surely dead certain Chris wouldn't be……and yet……

What had happened to him on his 14th birthday was now a deeply unpleasant memory that would perhaps never go. But the nightmares no longer occurred and any physical injuries had long gone. How though would he react if someone else entered him – or made love to him as he now tried to think of it? Would he be able to let them? In the last couple of weeks he'd tried inserting his own fingers and that had worked insofar as he hadn't felt any pain, but he knew it wasn't the same as having someone else's prick up there. The more he thought about it the more he came to think that provided that person was Chris and it was done gently and with plenty of lubrication he'd be fine with it.

That only left the problem of how to find out if Chis wanted to do it – to make love. He had an idea; it was a bit of a longshot but it could work. At the orphanage dirty books had been a sort of currency as well as tutorials. If he could get his hands on such a book and let Chris find it and read it…….. and he knew the very place to go for such a thing.

A couple of nights after finding out 'Lucky' was pregnant Billy told George and Chris that a school friend had invited him to come round after dinner and listen to some records. The boys didn't have a record player so such an invite was to be welcomed. Of course there was no such invite and Billy walked into town ending up ringing the front door bell of one of the men who had been a client.

On opening the door Malcolm Thomas initially didn't recognise the figure standing on the step. Realisation dawned after a few seconds.

"Is that you Billy? I didn't recognise you out of your uniform," he added laughing.

Billy also gave a chuckle before saying,

"Can I come in Malcolm – please?"

Malcolm quickly agreed not really wanting to be seen with a young boy on his doorstep and Billy was shown into the lounge.

"To what do I owe this visit Billy? Not changed your mind?" he asked optimistically.

"Nah. Ain't gonna do that, but I'm after a favour."

"Sounds intriguing, Billy. Take your coat off, sit down and let me get you a drink. Coke do, or something stronger?"

"Coke's fine, Malcolm, ta."

Malcolm went and got a drink for Billy and a large vodka and tonic for himself. Then he sat down on the settee next to Billy, placed his hand on Billy's knee and asked what Billy wanted. Now the moment had arrived Billy found himself momentarily a bit tongue tied but then he launched into it.

"Look, I've got this friend an' I really like 'im. He's a bit older than me – not much – but he dunno nuffin' about sex an' that. I sorta wanna go further wiv 'im but I dunno 'ow to sorta suggest anyfink. I don't wanna scare 'im."

"Slow down a bit Billy. Have you known this person for some time? Have you and he done anything even slightly sexual together?"

"We've been livin' together for about six months. An' yes we toss each uvver and do blow jobs like, but it's what comes after that. I've sorta shown him what we've done so far an' 'e likes doing it wiv me, but….. I just thought, well I know you've got lots of books an' maybe you 'ad one I could borrow that sorta explains what 'appens."

Malcolm looked at Billy with a slightly amused expression on his face.

"And might I know who this lucky young man is?"

"It's Chris – you know the one who did the deckchairs in Walpole Bay in the summer."

Malcolm had been taking a sip of his drink while Billy was talking and almost choked as what Billy had said registered.

"'Deckchair Chris' eh? My word Billy you're a lucky young man if it's him. There were a lot of men down at Walpole Bay in the summer this year and he was the big attraction! I'm sure the deckchair takings rocketed."

Billy laughed. "Yeah, Chris is a looker, but 'e don't know it."

"I think I may have a little book that could help explain things to someone who doesn't know much. Of course you run the risk that reading about it might put him off."

"Yeah, I know, but it's worth a risk I reckon."

"Hang on a minute while I go and get it."

Malcolm left the room and Billy could hear him go upstairs to his bedroom. He returned a couple of minutes later carrying a slim book and a little folder.

"Here's the book Billy. I'd like it back sometime please, but you can keep it as long as you like. I also thought you might like to see these."

With that Malcolm took a number of pictures from the folder and handed them face down to Billy. When he turned the first one over he gasped. It was a picture of Chris in his short brown shorts on the beach. The rest were the same, some with him wearing a shirt, but most of him shirtless showing off his tanned torso and long tanned legs. Billy felt himself stirring as he looked at them. He knew why Malcolm had taken them and couldn't blame him. He glanced across at Malcolm and smiled to himself as he noticed the older man stroking himself. As he turned over the last picture Billy laughed out loud, for there was Chris dressed in his short brown Adidas shorts plus his blue Adidas t-shirt and sand shoes, standing leaning into the window of a white van.

"That one doesn't do him justice does it? I just happened to be around on a Sunday and was there when he was buying an ice cream. It actually looks like something else is going on doesn't it?"

"Ha! You dunno the 'alf of it. Chris brought back from there one Sunday a coupla 'ninety nines'. I'd no idea what a 'ninety nine' was – only ever 'eard of sixty nines. So I said that an' of course 'e didn't know what a sixty nine was, so I showed 'im! We've been eating 'ninety nines' and doing sixty nines since."

Malcolm laughed at the thought, picturing the two of them in his mind. He knew if Billy stayed much longer he was going to have an accident in the red silk underpants he had on underneath his cream trousers.

"In the circumstances you can keep that picture if you want, Billy. I do have another special one that I had to have enlarged. Would you like to see it?"

Billy wondered what this picture might be. Had Malcolm somehow managed to get a nude picture of Chris? Surely not?

He nodded his agreement and Malcolm took from the folder a 12" x 8" enlargement of a picture that had been taken from behind Chris. It showed him bending over to talk to someone who was lying on the beach. He had only his shorts on and because of the position he was in they had ridden up to expose quite a lot of his untanned bum cheeks. No wonder Malcolm had had that enlarged Billy thought, going hard himself as he looked at it. Just then he heard a noise from Malcolm and chuckled inwardly as the man got up and dashed from the room. When he'd gone Billy really laughed - Chris was being used as wank material by one poofter for sure and then he stopped laughing and started to worry. How many other poofters might be doing the same?

When Malcolm returned a few minutes later, Billy asked him as he sat down,

"Is there more copies of this pic around?"

"Ah, I understand your worries Billy. No, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and this is the only copy. Sometimes I just like to sit and look at it and imagine. Oh, and one other thing Billy. A lot of us are quite happy without ever venturing up the back passage – it isn't necessary in order to love someone and live together happily. "

Billy felt as reassured as he could be. He did wonder if he should tell Chris about these pictures, because it was pretty certain other people must also have pics of him. But maybe it was best not to tell him as in all probability he'd never see them. A little additional worry for him even so. He'd of course picked up on Malcolm's reference to 'back passage' and that was something else to think about. He wasn't even sure he wanted it himself, but a lot really depended on what Chris wanted.

Billy thanked Malcolm for the book and went home. The next day he took it to school and spent the two breaks and lunch hour reading and flicking through it. Certain bits of it got him so hard that he had to go into one of the cubicles in the bogs and do something about it. From what he read though it did seem that it covered everything. He decided he'd give it to Chris and see what happened.

At the same time he was still worrying about the pictures Malcolm had shown him. He wasn't happy at the thought that other people were looking at pictures of his Chris and using them as wank aids – even though he could also understand that Chris was very attractive, especially in just those shorts and showing off a suntanned body. He knew if pictures like those been in circulation in the orphanage they would have been very popular currency.

And then as he was cycling home from school the thought dawned on him – he was thinking of Chris as his. Alright, the bike was his as were the clothes he was wearing, but was Chris also his? Looking back he supposed that at the orphanage Brian had considered him to be his, but he could see that was different ; he had no wish for Chris to be his in that way. It was all very hard to work out and besides which he still had no idea how Chris viewed him. Were they just good friends or was there something more to their relationship? Maybe the book would make things clearer – if Chris would read it.

When he got home from school that night and went upstairs to change out of his school uniform into a pair of jeans and an old shirt and jumper, he left the book on Chris' bedside table. He wasn't unduly surprised when Chris made no comment about it after he'd come home from work and come back downstairs after changing out of his work clothes. He did though make sure that when it came to bedtime – and they always went up to bed not long after 9pm – that he was the first upstairs as they had agreed it made sense for one of them to stay downstairs in the warm until the other had finished in the bathroom. He thus had the chance to see that the book wasn't in the same position as he'd left it.

Once they'd got into bed and snuggled up together Chris asked,

"What's that book about Billy and why've you given it to me?"

"Someone gave it me an' I thought it were good an' you might like it. It's about two kids, not much older than us who meet on holiday an' what 'appens to 'em."

"You know I ain't much of a reader, Billy. Come to that, don't think I've ever read a book other than school books. The only ones I remember at home were sort of real little kid's ones with pictures."

Billy thought to himself perhaps it's a pity this one ain't got pictures!

"'Sides which," Chris continued, "I don't have much time for reading, although I guess I could read it downstairs in the evening instead of watching telly."

Billy hadn't considered that possibility and alarm bells went off. He turned over to face Chris.

"It ain't the sorta book that George would like, Chris."

Chris laughed. "Oh, it's a dirty book is it?"

"Yeah, I s'pose so, but there is a story. You could read it during lunch break couldn't yer? That's when I read it."

"Okay, I'll give it a try, but no promises."

With that Billy turned onto his other side so he could spoon into Chris who wrapped his right arm round Billy's chest and pulled him tight.

No more was said about the book until a few evenings later when Chris announced about 7.30 that he was feeling a bit under the weather and was going up to bed early. George asked him if he wanted anything thinking he might have a cold coming on, but Chris said it had been a hard day and he was worn out. But as he went to leave the room he gave Billy a big smile and a wink. Billy wasn't slow in putting two and two together and thus left Chris to it coming up to bed himself a little after 9pm.

When he walked into the bedroom it was to see Chris sitting up in bed with the blankets pulled round him, the book held in front of him in one hand and the other under the bedclothes. Billy laughed,

"Enjoying it. Are yer?"

Now it was Chris' turn to give out a dirty laugh.

"Yeah! These two sure have some fun together. Trouble is I can't keep on going to bed early or George'll suspect something's going on. Bit of a waste to read it at lunch break at work."

"Well, it ain't a very big book an' your about 'alf way. Mebbe you could finish it on Sunday when George goes to the cemetery?"

"That ain't a bad idea Billy. We could snuggle down in bed together – and you could read it to me!"

"Fork off! I ain't reading it to yer - lazy git, but I don't mind snuggling up wiv yer."

"Fork off? Your language is improving Billy!"

"Yeah, well I got me arse slippered today for saying the other, so……."

"Should I kiss Billy's little arse better?"

"Best idea you've 'ad today Chris." Billy said as he quickly stripped off and jumped under the covers. Of course arse kissing led to other sorts of kissing and then licking and then sucking until both were ready to cuddle up together.

To Billy Chris seemed to be taking a long time to read the book and the planned read in bed didn't happen because George decided to take them to the cinema. Indeed December seemed to be speeding past and on the following Saturday the pair went into town to try and find a present for George. Chris had asked one of his work mates to buy a bottle of whiskey for him but they wanted to get something else. Needless to say it was Billy who came up with the idea of a pair of slippers! So they were bought along with a nice cardigan from M&S. George had also mentioned that when his son had been alive they'd also all bought two or three little presents for each other which were considered to be 'tree presents' and weren't to cost more than £1. Thus they also had to get those as well as buy something for each other for which they went their separate ways with both agreeing not to look in whatever place each agreed to be secret until Christmas.

Christmas Day that year was on a Saturday and George had suggested that on the preceding Saturday they should go and buy their tree and decorate it over the weekend. Billy's school actually broke up on the Friday before they were going to buy the tree and it was with some trepidation that evening, after they had eaten dinner, he handed to George the plain brown envelope that contained his school report. He had thought about trying to steam it open, or perhaps even denying he'd got one, but George knew at least one of the teachers at the school so was bound to be aware that reports were handed out at the end of each term. And anyway, he didn't think he'd done that badly – had he?

Chris and he were sitting adjoining sides of the kitchen table with George sat opposite Billy as he handed over the envelope. Chris looked at Billy with a puzzled expression as he did so.

"It's me school report." Bill said.

"Never had one of those, or if I did I threw it away before I got home. Me Mum was never interested."

Chris commented, producing a laugh from Billy. Then Chris felt a hand on his leg that was nearest to Billy, looked at him and sensed worry, so he wrapped his fingers around Billy's smaller hand and immediately saw a smile cross his best friend's face.

George opened the envelope and took out the single sheet of paper inside. He seemed to the boys to take forever to read it, before finally putting it down on the table and smiling at Billy.

"Well, young Billy, it seems there might be a brain somewhere in your head after all. I'd say this is a pretty good report. You've got Bs in most subjects, except the sciences where it's Cs but an A in maths. There's also good things said about your performances in rugby and the gym."

Billy let out a big sigh of relief.

"I thought it weren't gonna be too bad."


There's always a 'but' thought Billy.

"They say you doing French is a waste of time as you're so far behind everyone else but have suggested that it might be an idea if they could fit in some elocution for you."

"What the 'ell's elocution? Sounds painful" asked Billy.

"It's learning to talk properly."

"What, like them toffs do – all lah-di-dah. Ain't gonna talk like that! Stuff it!"

George gave Billy a reproachful look.

"No, not like that, but like Chris and I talk. So you don't sound like an urchin from the slums. One day you'll need to get a job and if an employer has two candidates one of whom talks like me and the other like you, guess which one he'll choose?"

"Yeah, okay. S'pose it makes sense."

"There's also one other thing in the report. It says you were caned last month for indecent behaviour. Want to explain that to me, Billy?"

Billy blushed and gripped Chris' hand tighter. This was the bit he'd been dreading. At the time it had seemed like a good joke but thinking about it afterwards he knew it had reflected poorly on the school. He was now wondering if George might punish him in some way and he knew he wouldn't object if he did.

So he told George everything about the incident and when he'd finished George gave him a smile before saying,

"Thanks for telling me Billy. What you've just said matches what I was told after the incident. I'm impressed you've been so honest now, but I wish you'd felt you could have told me at the time."

"It won't 'appen again George. Can't promise I won't get caned ever again, but if I do I'll tell yer after.

Chris also had some news of his own to share after Billy's report had been discussed. He told them that Mr Rodgers had informed all his workers he was giving them next Friday, Christmas Eve off as an extra paid holiday. Also, and partly this was the reason for that decision, he had arranged at short notice a dinner with dancing at one of the large hotels for the coming Thursday. The meal would be paid for and so would the music. They would eat separately but the dancing would be in a public area. His workers could also bring a partner who would also get a paid meal. Chis said he wasn't sure he wanted to go; he couldn't dance and only knew a few of Mr Rodgers' other workers. George told him he thought he ought to go, but when Chris asked him if he'd come along as his partner George declined but Chris then came up with the idea that he should take Billy with him – after all Billy had helped him unofficially with the deckchairs in the summer so it sort of made sense. Billy of course was much more outgoing than Chris and rarely refused any sort of challenge, so when Chris turned to him and asked if he wanted to come, Billy immediately agreed. George quickly pointed out that Chris would have to check with Mr Rodgers that it would be alright for Billy to attend, although he felt reasonably sure it would be agreed. And so it proved when Chris asked Mr Rodgers when he saw him on the Monday.

Before that of course they went and bought their Christmas tree on the Saturday. It was only a small one, at just under four foot tall but George told them it was a waste of money to buy a big one. He had found some decorations from years ago tucked away in a cupboard, but Chris and Billy insisted on buying some new ones which George fully understood – after all it was to be 'their' tree. So on the Sunday after Chris got back from his football match they decorated it and during the coming week various little parcels appeared underneath it. It was also probably fortunate that 'Lucky' was by now heavily pregnant as otherwise she might well have found some of the ornaments on the tree to be an irresistible temptation!

On the Thursday evening when Chris came home from work he was unusually excited. Because he and Billy were going out to the dinner/dance there was no evening meal and instead the two boys sat with George in the lounge to have a cup of tea. Chris' excitement was mainly explained when he flourished two £5 notes which he had received earlier from Mr Rodgers as a Christmas bonus in addition to his usual wage packet. However, Mr Rodgers had also said something else to him that he wanted to discuss with George since he now looked on him as his father.

Mr Rodgers had told him that he had decided to start a plumbing offshoot of his painting and decorating business, because he had realised that on a lot of the jobs he took on some plumbing work was needed for which he had to bring in another contractor, plus he could then offer further services under his own banner. He was intending initially to take on a qualified plumber for this, but had asked Chris if he would be interested in working with him and then if he liked the work he could take some proper qualifications. George had listened carefully to what Chris said and it didn't take him long before he spoke,

"Seems to me Chris it's probably a very good opportunity for you. I presume Bill said that if you started on it but then decided it wasn't something you liked that you'd still have a job available decorating?"

Chris nodded.

"Then I reckon you should give it a try. There's always work for plumbers and it'll pay better than decorating."

"Mmm…….there's one problem though. Mr Rodgers said I'd have to get my 'O' levels in English and Maths or I probably wouldn't get accepted at the College for the course."

"So is that going to be a problem? I thought you were doing quite well at the evening classes."

"English is alright, but I'm struggling a bit with the Maths."

"I can 'elp you wiv that. Maths is easy!" Billy chimed in.

"Would you?"

"Course I would. Be good to be a teacher for a change!" Billy said with a laugh.

"Don't you go getting any ideas Billy Lee - you're not going to get to slipper my arse!"

Billy laughed.

"Shame. Thought it'd be nice to do the whacking for once."

"You'll have to become a proper teacher for that." Chris retorted.

"Now that's an idea." Billy said with an evil grin.

"Poor kids," said George before adding, "Isn't it about time you two got changed, I assume you aren't going in jeans."

Indeed they weren't although neither had anything other than a pair of grey trousers, ordinary shirt and a jumper to wear. George did suggest that they should wear a tie – a suggestion that wasn't very well received, but in the end followed even if it meant both of them borrowing ties from him. At least Billy was used to wearing a tie for school, but he had to show Chris how to tie a proper half Windsor knot.

When they got to the hotel Chris was pleased to find that he and Billy were going to be sitting on the same table as Steve Johnson and Alan Bailey. Both of them were only a few years older than him and not only did he often find himself working with them, but he also played football with them on Sundays. And of course as Billy usually came to watch he was also known to them. Both Steve and Alan had brought their girlfriends so that made up a little table of six. Both of them were drinking pints of bitter and their girlfriends Babycham. Chris had cider and Billy decided to stick to coke.

Chris had been worried all week about the meal. While with George he'd occasionally eaten in a café or restaurant, he'd never eaten in a hotel. He was worried what sort of food would be served and whether he would like it and also if he'd use the wrong cutlery or do something that would draw attention to himself and make him look a fool. None of those thoughts had entered Billy's mind; for him it was just something new and different and he was intending to enjoy it.

As it turned out it they were served a very set, but fairly traditional menu. The first course was a prawn cocktail which neither of them had ever eaten before. Before starting his Chris waited to see what cutlery the older lads used, but apart from that worry he enjoyed it. After that the food was at least known to them with the main course being roast turkey with stuffing and chipolata sausages, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots and Brussel sprouts; plus of course gravy and cranberry sauce. Chris was relieved to see that Billy left his sprouts on the side of his plate! That was followed by Christmas pudding with rum custard, although whether the custard had enjoyed more than a sniff at the rum bottle was questionable. Whatever, the boys enjoyed their meal and Chris in particular had survived his first ever experience of eating in a hotel.

Once the meal was over their party went into the ballroom where there was a quartet providing music for dancing. Initially this was strictly ballroom style dancing, but later the quartet gave way to a much younger group who played modern music more suited for a lot of the people there. Even so neither Chris nor Billy had ever danced so neither could do little more than sit at a table and watch. Chris was eventually persuaded by Alan's girlfriend to have a dance with her and that was later followed by one with Steve's girl. Billy refused any approaches and having spotted some people he knew sitting at another table went and joined them. Chris had a fair idea who some of those people must be and how Billy had come to know them, but wasn't concerned. However, he did start to get concerned when almost an hour later Billy walked back to their table in a rather unsteady line.

"Have you been drinking, Billy? Chris asked when he'd sat down.

"Nah – only coke. I knew some of them guys an' they bought me a couple."

Alan looked at Billy and then at Chris.

"I reckon someone put Vodka in those cokes they gave him," he said.

Chris looked across at the table where Billy had been and saw a couple of the men there watching their table and laughing. Chris felt a cold hand on his back. If Billy was drunk, what would George say and do?

"I think we'd best go home. It's been a good evening thanks, but I reckon that'll be best. I'll go and say 'thank you' to Mr Rodgers first though."

Chris did that and when he came back Billy was reluctant to get up from the table saying he was enjoying himself and it was still early and he didn't want to leave. However, Alan helped Chris get Billy out without causing any incident before leaving the pair to walk home.

As had happened a couple of months earlier the cold air didn't do Billy any favours and by the time they got back to the house he was feeling very under the weather. Chris couldn't decide if it would be better if George was in bed or still up, but he had a feeling that either way he wouldn't be able to hide Billy's condition from him. It turned out that George was still up and heard them come in the back door. By the time he'd got from the lounge into the kitchen Billy had made a dash for the sink and was being sick.

"Please George, don't chuck Billy out. He was only drinking coke, honest he was. Someone slipped vodka into them when I wasn't there. If you throw Billy out then I'm going too 'cos it wouldn't be fair to throw him out when it ain't his fault and just before Christmas and all."

"Slow down, Chris. Who said anything about throwing him out?"

"You did! Right back at the start you told us that if ever we got drunk the first time you'd tan our arses and the next you'd throw us out."

A smile crossed George's face and he stretched out a hand to ruffle Chris's hair.

"I think I did say that Chris, but sometime we say things we don't mean."

"So Billy can stay?"

"Of course he can."

"But you'll want to tan his arse though and I don't think that'd be right just to tan his. You'd have to slipper me too 'cos I should've look after him better. He's my best mate and he's younger so I ought to protect him. Please, George."

"Chris, I believe you when you say someone spiked his drink. I've seen it happen when I was in the Army. I'm not going to slipper either of you. Alright?"

Chris threw his arms round George and hugged him with a few tears running down his face until the noise of Billy throwing up again made them step apart.

"Let's see if we can get him sobered up a bit before he goes to bed. I'll stay with him for a while, so why don't you go up to bed. No point both of us losing sleep."

Chris saw the sense of that after a short argument and went upstairs.

It was about 9 o'clock on Christmas Eve when Billy came downstairs to find George sitting at the kitchen table reading his paper and drinking a cup of tea.

"How're you feeling this morning, Billy?"

"Bleedin' awful. Me mouth tastes like a sewer and me 'ead 'urts."

"I suggest a cup of tea and some toast."

"Oh shite – it's almost nine. I should've done me paper round be now! Where's me bag?"

The large canvas shoulder bag in which Billy carried the papers on his round was usually kept on a hook by the back door, but it was missing.

"Chris went out a couple of hours ago to do it for you, Billy."

"Shite! 'Ow did I ever manage to find a friend like 'im. I don't deserve 'im."

"Billy, he wouldn't have gone and done it this morning if he didn't care for you and I think that if the boot was on the other foot you'd do the same for him."

"Maybe. But it always seems to be my foot the boot's on! Do yer want to slipper me bum now or 'ave I gotta wait 'til later – or are you throwing me out?"

"Billy, you didn't hear what I said to Chris last night as you were too busy kissing the kitchen sink, but I'm not throwing you out and nor am I slippering you. I think you learned a valuable lesson last night – to know who your real friends are. And I'll even forgive you your language this morning seeing that it is nearly Christmas"

Billy blushed and was about to say something but just then Chris came in the back door. Billy had been sitting down at the kitchen table while talking to George but he now stood up and dashed across the room to hug Chris and give him a kiss on the cheek. Chris looked across to where George was sat and was pleased to see that he appeared to be reading his paper. Chris took the newspaper bag off his shoulder and walked over to the table where he tipped it up and onto the table fell several bars of chocolate and bags of sweets.

"Where'd all that come from? You robbed the shop? Billy asked.

Chris didn't answer but instead put his hand into the pocket of first one and then the other pocket of his anorak and pulled out an assortment of coins and even a couple of ten shilling notes that he placed onto the table.

"Robbed a bleedin' bank too or stolen some old gal's 'andbag?" Billy added.

"Neither, Billy. Some of the people you deliver to were waiting for me and others had left little packets on the doorstep with a note saying it was for the paper boy. Those I did see wanted to know where you were, so I told them you were sick and I was your big brother doing it for you."

Billy laughed. "S'pose that were sorta true."

"Yeah, well they all hoped you'd be better soon and said to thank you for doing the deliveries every day even in the pouring rain and always being cheerful."

Now Billy almost blushed and then blurted out,

"Gawd, I'd better go and get old Mrs Reid's sweets for 'er. I always get 'er a 'alf a pound of toffees and 'alf a pound barley sugars every Friday. She pays me for 'em but then gives me one of each every morning. Poor old gal walks wiv a stick and can't get out much."

"It's alright Billy, I saw her and when she told me that I got the sweets from the shop when I'd finished the round and then took them up to her. She insisted on giving me half a crown although I told her I didn't want anything and if I did I'd make you give me some of the ten bob note she'd already given me."

"Strewth!" Billy exclaimed. "One of the other boys told me you got fings from some people at Christmas, but I didn't expect all this; must be over a fiver there, plus the sweets."

George had been sitting quietly during this exchange, but now said,

"It's probably near ten quid Billy, even allowing for Chris' half crown. Best leave it there for now, unless you want to stay here and count it as we need to go and get the shopping. If we don't go soon the vultures will have cleared out the shops. Mind you the turkey is ordered, so that'll be alright but the veg might be a problem. We could end up with just sprouts!"

Chris had told George of Billy's problem but George had said he was going to cook sprouts as turkey wasn't right without them, although Billy needn't have any as there'd be other veg.

Billy promptly blew a raspberry and then went to put on his anorak.

"A bit of fresh air'll probably 'elp clear me 'ead. An' George'll need some 'elp to carry fings."

"I've got to come to" Chris added. "Need to pick up the Christmas cake."

"I was beginning to think you'd forgotten about that." said George.

"No. I ordered it from Baileys. Thought it'd be nicer from them rather than a store bought one."

George was suitably impressed. Baileys was a quality independent baker and their cakes of any sort were always good – but not cheap.

So they went and did their shopping and then came back home. The afternoon and evening were spent listening to carols on the radio and watching TV. It was about 10pm when Billy announced that he was going to bed and after giving him ten minutes to use the bathroom, Chris followed. A couple of hot water bottles had done their job of taking the chill from the bedclothes and the pair were soon snuggled up together.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow Billy. Reckon it's going to be a great Christmas."

Chris said as he ran his right hand down Billy's chest and onto his stomach.

"Yeah – it's gonna be the best ever."

Billy turned to face Chris.

"Give us a kiss?"

"But there's no mistletoe." Chris responded giggling.

"Fuck the bleedin' mistletoe."

Billy responded as he kissed Chris on the lips. Chris returned the kiss and in a trice their tongues were exploring each other's mouths while their hands ran down sides, backs and finally rears.

Both of them were fully erect by now. Billy disengaged from another kiss.

"Time for our favourite number?" he asked and without waiting for an answer turned himself around in the bed and started kissing his way down Chris' chest towards his goal.

Mutual pleasure quickly led to mutual satisfaction and then Billy moved back to settle into his usual position spooned into Chris' chest and stomach. He always felt safe when Chris wrapped his arm round him and pulled him tight – the bad times and memories seemed to be in the past now. He sighed contentedly and quickly dropped off into a deep sleep knowing that he wasn't going to be awakened by the alarm in the morning.

In fact both he and Chris were woken just after 7 o'clock by George knocking on the bedroom door and then poking his head round it to say,

"Happy Christmas! I think you two should get up, put come clothes on and come downstairs. I reckon Father Christmas came last night…."

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