Love - Existentially

by John Teller

Part 5

Book Three - When French boys stray

Alain d'Evreux.

I look through the window and stare down into the boulevarde. It's damp and cold outside, which reflects my mood. I've been like this since we returned from Cornwall. The only chink of brightness in my thoughts is what Archie told me: You can be an outstanding potter if you put your mind to it. You have natural artistic ability, and those hands and fingers of yours were made for creating objects of great beauty.

It had been wonderful spending time with him, and it was not all about us sharing his bed each time I visited and the two nights I stayed with him. But that's what I am missing now. If Roger was back, then at least I could alleviate those feelings, but he is not at home when I have telephoned him.

I turn and walk away from the window. On my dressing table is the figurine Archie made for my Christmas present, and beside it is the snowman I created. I pick it up and kiss it.

Making the snowman had been great fun, especially because I now have my own potter's wheel. We both went to Plymouth one early morning, and after Archie examined quite a few in the specialist shop that stocked them, he selected a used one he said was in good condition and bought it and insisted it was delivered the same day because he knew I was excited at having my own wheel. It was quite expensive and I offered to ask mama to help out with the cost, but Archie said it wasn't necessary.

Once I'd got used to using the new wheel, I asked Archie if I could make a figurine. He said I wasn't ready for that yet. I sulked for a short while, and then he came behind me when I wasn't putting as much effort into a vase as I should be, and said, "Do you like snowmen?"

I looked around and up at him. "Yes. Why?"

He leaned down and kissed me softly on the lips, pulled his own chair nearer to my potter's wheel, crushed the soft clay of the vase I was making, dissected it into a large piece and a small piece, and slammed the larger piece onto the centre of the wheel. "There! Now make a snowman."

I stared at him. "Are you serious?"

He chuckled. "Yes. If you can't make a snowman, then you might as well give up. Do you want me to start you off?"

I grinned at him. "No! I can do it myself!"

"Then do it! But make sure it's an English snowman."

"An English snowman?"

He laughed. "An English snowman! It has to have a bowler hat and not a beret. If it has a beret, it will be a French snowman, and I can't cope with two frogs at the same time. I'm exhausted by knowing just one."

I laughed back at him. "What will be my reward if I make a super English snowman?"

He chuckled. "Ten minutes before I take you back to Rose Cottage."

I shook my head. "Not good enough. One hour?"

He giggled as he walked away, and put one finger up. "One hour."

Only when I studied the two balls of clay did I understand why Archie wanted me to make one. I'd already mastered the art of making vases and flatware (wall-plaques and plates) on the wheel, but this was something entirely different. Archie had many plaster-of-paris moulds that he used to create his figurines, and I'd made a few of them once he'd taught me the technique. All it required to make one was to pour liquid clay into the mould, wait about thirty minutes and then pour out the liquid clay, leaving behind a perfect hollow replica of the mould of the figurine. Some figurines required ten or more moulds to make the various parts, which are then glued together with liquid clay, called 'slip'. Then comes the delicate work of cleaning up all the parts and joints so you're left with the finished object that is dried before being dipped in glaze before it's fired in the kiln.

Archie has his 'figurine days' where he produces about twenty figurine blanks. Then he puts them to one side for decoration later; something he often does in the evening when the studio is closed. In fact he does little else but work when I'm not with him. But while I was with him it was lovely being with him in the evenings while we were listening to classical music on the radio and he was teaching me how to decorate with vitreous enamels or we studied lots of manuals on how to produce and fire pottery and others with beautiful pictures of some of the world's finest art pottery. Twice I didn't get back to Rose Cottage until it was turned ten o'clock at night because we had been so busy. And then I always went back with a book about pottery production to read.

So, when Archie told me to make the snowman I was well aware of how difficult it was to create a figurine of any kind without a mould. So how could I do it? I thought about for a while and decided that the only way to do it was create a hollow body and head on the wheel.

It took me just over two hours of experimenting to do it. And not once did Archie help me. He did bring me a cup of tea once, but all he did was grin at me and go away to continue his own work. Eventually, after numerous failures, I managed to make both the body and head. Whether they would be good enough for Archie, I wasn't sure, but I had done my best, so I stuck them together with clay-slip. Then I left the wheel and began to form the stick-arms and the bowler hat on the table he used to make the flat parts he created. Again... form and perspective - thickness of clay just right so it would not sag. I had to improvise to make the crown of the bowler hat. I asked Archie how I should do it, but because he was busy making a flared vase, he wouldn't look at me and called across, "Improvise. Try using the end of one of those beautiful fingers of yours." So I made the brim part first, gauging it just right to suit the size of the head, and then formed the crown on my thumb; turning it frequently to create a nice roundness. I stuck the brim onto the head first (at a jaunty angle), and then applied the crown, and finished it all off by applying clay-slip with a small paintbrush so everything blended perfectly. By the time I'd finished, Archie had made six flared vases and set them on a board ready for drying, leaving space at one end for my snowman. He asked, "Are you done?"

I looked across at him, and grinned. "I think so. Come and take a look."

He came to me, went to his knees, turned the wheel slowly whilst eying up the shape, sat back on his haunches and shook his head. I felt terribly disappointed until he said, "Fantastic! May I place it on the board for you?" He looked into my eyes. "Please?"

I knew he was pleased, and I also knew that many a fine piece could be ruined if the journey between the wheel and the board was not done skilfully, and I knew Archie would be as devastated as I would be if it all went wrong, so I smiled at him, and whispered, "Yes please. I hardly dare touch it now."

He used the cheese-wire to slice the snowman from the wheel, gently placed it on the drying board, and then breathed a sigh of relief that no mishaps had occurred. After he'd placed the board in the dryer, I could see he was upset when he turned and came across to me, and after he'd stared into my eyes for a short while, despite having clay covered fingers, he held my head and kissed me tenderly on the lips. Then he said, "You never fail to amaze me! Given the short time you've been a potter, what you've just achieved is truly remarkable. It took me about two years before I would have been able to do what you have done. Reward time?"

I giggled. "Bath first?"

He grinned. "Not necessary. We washed the important bits after you wore me out when you arrived."

I lift the snowman to my lips and smile again, recalling the reward. Despite having spent an hour in bed when I arrived, it was never enough for me with the man I love, and I was eager for more. It was beautiful: those fantastic feelings when my man was my complete lover. Our inhibitions had faded with familiarity, and it was I who demanded to be in command after making the snowman all on my own, and I did so whilst looking down at Archie from my lofty perch upon him; the sensuality of deep fulfilment and sundry pleasures and pain cascading through my entire being. And when I cried with the joy of our clay-splattered coupling, I did so in the knowledge that my man's excitement had never abated during our lovemaking. Your rod and Your staff shall comfort me... My cup runneth over. Amen.

Holding my snowman, I return to the window and again look out into the gloom. What am I? What have I become in just three short months? What will I become? I am deeply troubled. Now I know the pleasures a man can give to a boy, I am aware that I can never go back to what I was. And neither can I spend another month in solitude. It is impossible.

He was here yesterday. He is about forty; dark hair; good looking; strong; studious with his heavy rimmed glasses. Almost like Clark Kent before he becomes Superman in the films. He looked at me. I smiled at him and made coquettish eyes, and then returned to study the book I was reading. I frequently looked up, and each time I did he was looking at me. I rewarded him each time with a smile. I went to the booking-out desk and placed the book near the end where he was sitting, and then said quite loudly to the librarian, "This is an excellent book. Will you save it for me and I will return tomorrow at five to continue with it?"

The librarian looked over his glasses. "You may take it out if you wish."

I smiled at him. "Thank you, but I am not going directly home. I'm going to a friend's, and then I have to be home at eight. I may forget it."

The librarian smiled. "I'll keep it under the counter. Enjoy your evening."

I thanked him, and then glanced at Clark Kent. He smiled at me and gave me an almost imperceptible nod of the head that he understood the code of my words.

He is already here when I arrive, so I take the book and sit at the same table as him. This is an excellent table; around the corner from the librarian's desk. Out of sight; out of mind. Five minutes and a few furtive, shared smiles, and a small piece of paper is pushed across to me. It has an address. Clark Kent gets up and walks away. My heart is beating so loudly I can hear it.

Not Clark Kent... Saul Villiers... or so it says on the small label below the doorbell. I press the bell. A voice grates through the intercom. "Hello. Who is it?"

I am shaking when I say, "You gave me this address on a piece of paper."

"Third floor. I'll be waiting for you."

Saul Villiers.

The boy is beyond beautiful; stunning in his nakedness. Not at all like the other boys... the sour faced ones who make extreme demands and give as little as possible. I am clean and wear contraception. He smiles gratefully, but asks me to remove it. At seven-thirty he is dressed and gone from the apartment with part of my soul and my phone number and the fifty francs he said was the price when I asked him how much. Two days he says. It is too long.

Never have I come across a boy like him. He has the spirit of a tiger; the agility of a gibbon, and the body and face and eyes of an angel, and still I am in a state of disbelief that he desired to be with me.

At the age of forty I have had many boys. They are there if you need them - if you are prepared to pay for what you want. Suburbs boys mostly; a few Algerian immigrants amongst them, but never before have I come across a boy so young who is all things to all men like me. Clothed, he is aristocratic: naked, he is graceful and lithe, both of body and spirit. Body! Oh, my goodness! Never have I seen anything that closely resembles him. Proportionately, he is perfect and sensual, and the light downy hair - almost imperceptible until one is close-up and personal - upon his body, is like a covering of glistening gossamer. And to cap it off, he is beautiful to look at facially, with the most fantastic green eyes and sensual full red lips that even Brigitte Bardot would be envious of.

As soon as I saw him in the library I desired him. But he was just a boy reading a book. But he was not. I discovered that when he began to look at me, and I am familiar with all the ways a boy can look at you. I know in a glance from them what they are. Some are openly honest, and you know it is just the price that will be a subject of conversation. That type usually pretend that you are the most fantastic thing on earth; pretend further that they are enjoying it, and then take your money and are off. They are the honest ones. Then there are the dishonest ones. They pretend you are actually molesting them and feign innocence until you disturb them. Then, they cannot disguise their pleasure and payment becomes secondary. But they never refuse their rewards. Others would require almost force to obtain their pleasures, but I have never needed to do that. Nor would I. To me, a boy has to be willing, either because they require payment, or because they also desire what pleases me.

The boy who has just left my apartment is the latter... in great volumes of self-desire. And despite my knowledge of knowing what they are like, he astounded me with his experience. How on earth can a boy so young and so obviously brought up correctly ever know so much? The first sight of me has frightened many boys, but this one's eyes gave away his feelings when he saw how blessed I am... that way, and my buttocks have deep marks on them where his talons insisted I give him my all. I know he was hurting, but that seemed to spur him on to even greater efforts, and his seed still upon the sheets of my bed are testament to three, unfettered, consecutive, sexual detonations within him that made him growl like the tiger he is. That is what I shall call him: my Tiger Boy. I have no option other than to give him an alias. He refused to give me his name. But he has promised to allow me to enjoy the whole of him next time, rather than just his back. From what I saw of him, it will be a wonderful experience to pleasure him... that way.

Alain d'Evreux.

My tears are a mixture of pain and pleasure. Pain, because I have, once again, been unfaithful to my Archie. Pleasure, because I have achieved what I have. Saul is obviously experienced, and it was gentlemanly of him to offer, but I did not want a covering to spoil my pleasure. It is not the same unless the moment is fulfilled in the knowledge that completeness is accomplished for both of us. His knowledge that there is no hindrance to his pleasure is my satisfaction: my psychological need. There is little about it other than a feeling of being fuller, but the knowledge of what is happening is the glory of the moment. Inseminated is a beautiful word.

I could have met him tomorrow, but I need to be careful. Tomorrow I will spend time with mama and think about the day after. Saul wants me differently the next time I visit. I will allow him to do that. It will be novel to see how different his way is compared with both Archie and Roger. I will bathe before I go. He may want to explore me in other ways I like... other ways that are like an opiate to me because they are so sensual.

It is the afternoon. Three o'clock. When I telephoned Saul, I explained I had a free afternoon and I could stay a little longer. He said he would make himself available, and I am shaking with nervous tension when I ring the apartment bell and hear his familiar voice.

Brief greetings and he leads me to his bedroom. I am trembling with desire, but he stops by the large armoire and stands behind me and wraps his arms around me and stares at me through the full length mirror. He kisses my neck, and whispers, "You are beautiful. You are beyond beautiful, you are exquisite. Tell me your name."

I stare into his eyes through the mirror, and shake my head. "Call me what you like."

He smiles at me. "I already have."

I smile at him. "What am I called?"

He kisses my neck again, and then growls playfully. "Tiger Boy. You are my Tiger Boy."

I grin at him through the mirror and growl like a tiger. I feel him shudder, and I growl again. He kisses my neck, and I purr. He nibbles the lobe of my ear, and I ask him, "Will you undress me, please!"

He takes off my overcoat and drops it to the floor. I am not pleased. I like to fold my clothes carefully, but the desire building within me precludes me from commenting. He removes my coat and drops that on top of the overcoat. I have to lift my arms while he pulls off my pullover, and when he's dropped that on top of the other things, he again wraps his arms around me and holds me tightly. Because he is wearing only a shirt on his upper body, I can feel his warmth through my shirt as he hugs me. He is a head taller than I, and I can see his full features. He is a handsome man, and because he is darker in skin tone than me, he is definitely from the Mediterranean part of my country. Because I have already seen it, I know he has a good body, but there is something else about him that attracts me: he is a hairy man. Archie and Roger are not, and now I find myself attracted to Saul's hairiness, I am wishing they were. The arms that are enfolding me are covered in dark hair, even spreading onto the back of his strong hands, which are now beginning to unbutton my shirt. When it is completely open and out of my dark blue corduroy trouser waist, he caresses my upper body, tweaking each nipple, which makes me shiver. He leans down and kisses my neck and the lobes of my ears again, and because my shirt is now loose, he continues his lip caresses along my shoulders, and then slips my shirt from both shoulders and stares at my upper nakedness through the armoire mirror. I undo the buttons of my shirt sleeves and it drops to the floor. Again he kisses my neck and nibbles at the tender skin. I lean my head over so he can access me better, and he sucks and bites a little harder until I am trembling with desire. While he is doing this, his hands and fingers are exploring my nakedness, and through the mirror I watch them working magic upon me... tweaking my nipples and then rubbing them with his thumbs. It is all too much for me, and I unfasten my trousers myself and push them and my underpants down, work my shoes off my feet, wriggle my trousers and underpants off completely, and take his hands and place them on the part of me that desires him most. But he requires more than that, and turns me around and goes to his knees. Saul is certainly different! When I look down, I cannot see a single sign that I am a boy. He has devoured me completely, including those parts of me that produce my seed!

One hour later and still I have not reached the ultimate moment I desire most. I am not complaining. It has been a journey of discovery, so lustful to me that I have obeyed every command Saul has whispered to me. He is more than an expert... he is so skilful that I am a quivering jelly of sexual excitement; so out of control that even the tiniest difference he applies to his technique makes me squeal. And because he understands I am addicted to some pain, he uses that knowledge to inflict even greater misery upon me. Yes... misery. He is the ultimate tease; the bearer of the juiciest of fruits, only to snatch them away from me at the moment when I should be enjoying them. He also uses me for his own enjoyment, and I find myself helpless to refuse things I would not normally do. And I do it gladly and with great gusto, because I know my rewards will be worth it.

And eventually I do get my just desserts, on my hands and knees on the bed, and when I walk home I am sore and weak-kneed and light headed. And even further addicted to the narcotics of lust.

It is almost the end of March. A letter arrives from Archie. Mama has told me she has written to Archie and told him he may write to me, and that our letters will be private. His letter makes me weep.

My dear Alain.

Winter storms are abating and green shoots are appearing, along with daffodils and crocuses and other early spring flowers. Soon, the sea will turn from green to blue, and then I will be busy with matters of my business. But it all seems so superficial to me without you are here at your wheel. I clean it each morning, and then replace your vase in the centre of it; the one I asked you to decorate exactly how you wanted to, and you showed me how well you could paint, and I laughed because I thought you would make a pig's ear of it, and you laughed at me because you were happy that you had surprised me with your amazing, natural talent in the arts.

When I cannot completely drown myself in my work, I pick up your vase and sit by the front window and follow every stroke of your brush; delight in the tiny pinkness of the children by the sea; the old man with his pipe and sea-waders sitting on his fishing boat; the small black vertical line out at sea that puzzled me and you wouldn't tell me until two days had passed what it was, and I howled with laughter when you told me it was the periscope of a submerged submarine. But they were not just tears of laughter that fell from my eyes. Mixed with them were tears of pride that you could achieve such a creation. I adore it, and it is priceless to me. I will enjoy refusing to sell it. But I will tease my customers when they ask why I will not let them have it. I will tell them that it is the work of a famous French artist who graced me with his presence, and then show them the scrawl of your signature: A d'E. x.

Only you and I know the significance of the tiny x. One day, if your mama persuades your papa to let you be the artist you want to be, I will know what your feelings are for me. If the tiny x disappears, then I will know you are on your journey of life without me. I pray that it will never disappear, even if you move on with your life to become happy in whatever you do. I do not own you, and I will never stand in the way of your happiness, but if I see the tiny x, then I will never be sad, and I will be happy with you.

I received a letter from your mama. I am assuming she has told you she has written to me. She said she would tell you that she had. She said I was free to write to you and that our letters will be private between you and I. Therefore, I will assume I can write what I feel. But more words are not necessary. You know what I feel, and You and I is never far away from my eyes. And my lips.

I love you! I love you! I love you! Ad infinitum. Please write soon.

Archie. X. I miss you terribly.

I bring the letter to my lips, kiss it over and over again, and then hold it by my heart. I love you Archie. Je t'aime. Je t'aime. Je t'aime. Ad infinitum.

Why did I not see it before? Many times I have been to the library, but it has passed me by. There are at least three who desire me. One I am not interested in; the man of about fifty with the blue cravat and who is always reading a newspaper and who looks at me over the top of it. Because he has never proceeded beyond looking, perhaps he senses my aversion to him. The one to my right; two desks away; facing me; smiles at me. He is not my type. I ignore him. The other one, to my left, sitting nonchalantly back in his chair is far more interesting. With his long, curly, shoulder length hair that cascades over his denim jacket collar, he reminds me a little of Roger Daltrey out of The Who. He has his shirt open three buttons and I can see that he has a hairy chest. He is about thirty, and has blue eyes, which have set me a number of times already. I look at my wristwatch. Almost six o'clock. I look directly at Roger Daltrey, send him one of my best smiles and walk out of the library after I have replaced the book I was not reading back into its proper place.

Thankfully, when I reach the steps out of the library, early April is kind to me and my spring clothes are fit for the weather: chilly but dry. I look up and down the avenue, but I don't look back. I have learned not to look back. If they want me, they have to come and get me. It is now Friday. If he accepts my smiling invitation, he will be the third this week if I count the Belgian on Monday and Saul Villiers, again, on Wednesday. The Belgian disappointed me and I didn't stop long with him, and I almost threw the thirty francs he gave me into the gutter when I left him. He stank, so he was only allowed to fellate me before I told him I was leaving. I thought he would hit me, but he just growled and swore viciously at me. I will have to learn to be more careful whom I choose in future.

"Hello young man. Can I give you a lift?"

I smile at Roger Daltrey and tell him, "I was wondering where to go."

He looks into my eyes. "I have a place at Livry-Gargan. Do you like music?"

"I can play the piano. Why do you ask?"

He smiles, shrugs his shoulders, which sends ripples through his long curly locks, and shivers in places within me that stir my desires. "I play guitar. Maybe we could play together?"

I love his double-entendre, and I giggle, and I am about to get to the matter of payment, when I decide not to. I feel differently about him than the others. I smile into his eyes. "You remind me of Roger Daltry of The Who, so I'm not surprised you can play the guitar. Can you sing well?"

This is fun, because he is clever enough to catch my intonation of sing, and he replies, "Nobody has ever complained about my singing before, but you will have to be the judge of whether I'm good or not."

I grin at him. "I suppose you'll be telling me next that you have a super-duper guitar, too?"

He laughs - a lovely laugh - and his blue eyes twinkle with amusement. "I think it's a nice one. I keep it clean and well polished just in case I might happen to drop on a nice boy who wants to play with it. But it may be a bit too big for him to handle."

I laugh. "I doubt it. Would you like to show it to me?"

He grins. "My car is parked behind the library. Shall we go?"

Pierre calls it his pad. I agree with his morphology. Everything in his apartment is modern and young and bright and goes well with pad. I like it, not least because it is how I would like to live myself. And in the corner of the room is an electronic keyboard, which, once Pierre has taken my coat, I go to and play with the keys. It is not switched on and I look around to ask Pierre where to do so. He points to a place to the side of it, and says, "There." And then he asks, "So you really can play the piano?"

I smile at him. "Yes. Can you really play the guitar?"

He laughs. "Yes. Shall we play together?"

I can't keep the grin from my face when I ask, "Real music?"

He nods. "Yes. Why not? I'm beginning to like you... a lot. What's your name?"

I grin at him. "Tiger."

He roars with laughter.

I can't keep the grin from my face as I lie in bed, thinking about the time I spent with Pierre. He was better than I expected... far better than I expected, and being only twenty eight, he was lithe and supple. And he was not boasting when he said he had a guitar that I may not be able to handle. But he was wrong. In fact, I handled it so well that he paid me a super compliment when he said, "You're the most beautiful boy I've ever known, in every way." For that, I allowed him to kiss me. It was not unpleasant. In fact, it was very pleasant, and led to another half hour of passions, which was why I was late getting home. In fact, I like him so much that I will not be going to the library for a while now I have both his and Saul's telephone number. He is a self-employed musical technician and has afforded me the privilege of being available whenever I call him. Well, within thirty minutes, he says. I intend to take advantage of him. It is the weekend, and I have much spare time to while away in his pad.

Saturday. I've spent the morning writing a letter to Archie and I'm about to put on my coat when papa says, "Where are you going?"

I turn to look at him. "I was going to post this letter and I thought of going to meet a friend afterwards, and then go to the cinema."

"Not today. Post the letter and then come back home. We have things to discuss."

"Things to discuss?"

I get that look which tells me he is displeased with me, and a shiver of fear runs through me when papa says, "Yes. Your mama and I have things to discuss with you. Come right back!"

Mama is sitting on the sofa, and papa in his chair, reading a newspaper when I arrive back home and am called into the lounge. I go to mama and sit beside her. She links my arm and smiles at me, but I can tell that her smile is a nervous one. I look into her eyes and she gives me that look which says I am in trouble but she is on my side. Papa puts down the newspaper and takes off his spectacles. Then he looks at me, and says, "Why is your schoolwork deteriorating? Apparently, your grades are slipping, and if you continue in this vein, then you will fail your exams for The Academy."

Inwardly, I sigh with relief. Ever since I left the house to post Archie's letter, all the way to the post box and back, I've been terribly afraid that my escapades were to be discussed; thinking someone has found out who I have been seeing, and I have been steeling myself to face an onslaught. Knowing the matter is only about my education, I am prepared for it, and that is why I look at papa and reply, "I don't want to go to The Academy, Papa. I want to go to art school."

Papa adopts a strange, twisted face, and stares at me. "Art school! Whatever has put that silly idea in your head? Now listen here, young man, I have spent my entire life working up to be Conseiller des affaires étrangères, and I have already oiled the wheels that will provide you with a situation within our ranks. Why are you doing this to me?"

I shrug my shoulders. "I am not doing anything to you, Papa. I just want to go to art school and become a studio potter."

Papa shakes his head, and then looks at Mama. "Now I understand. What other silly ideas have you been putting in my boy's head?"

Light the blue touch paper and stand back. I may be only fourteen years old, but I have long since learned that there are some things you just do not say to my beloved mama, and papa has done just that. I feel the pressure of her arm linking mine when she glares at papa, and says, "My Boy?! My Boy?! Since when has he been... Your Boy?! Are you talking about... My Boy?!" She turns to me and says sternly, "Go to your room Alain. I'll call you down when I need you!"

I get up, walk from the room, and go to my bedroom.

Colette d'Evreux.

When Alain has gone and I have given him enough time to go his room, I stare at Fabien. He stares back at me, and I know we have arrived at a situation that has been years in the making. Almost an hour later, he leaves the apartment and I am in tears. It is over.

Alain is next to me, shedding tears when I tell him what has happened: that our marriage has ended and his papa will not be returning. He sobs into my shoulder and repeats over and over that he is sorry for causing the problem, and I then spend another quarter of an hour explaining to him that the problem is not of his making, but is personal between his parents. I then ask him a question that has to be asked, but which I already know the answer before I ask it. "Your future is in your own hands, Alain, and if you wish to go with your father, then I will not stand in your way."

He suddenly stops crying, draws back his head, and with a look of incredulity upon his face, glares into my eyes. "You are not serious, Mama?! Do you think I would choose not to stay with you?!"

I shrug my shoulders. "It is a question that has to be asked. I will have to put the same question to your sisters."

Alain shakes his head slowly. "You will get the same answer, Mama. They adore you. Papa has never been a real papa to any of us. We rarely see him. You are all we really care about."

His comment brings tears to my eyes, and I draw him into my arms and tell him, "And all I care about is my three children."

Alain d'Evreux.

Sunday. Pierre picks me up in his car from the car park at the back of the library and we drive towards his pad. We have not gone far when he says, "Are you alright, Tiger?"

His question creates tears in my eyes, and I turn away from him and stare through the side window. This time, he does not put his hand on my thigh; he puts it on my hands, which are in my lap, and squeezes them. I turn to him and allow him to see my tears.

Pierre Roux.

Tiger. The moment I first saw him in the library and he smiled at me, I sensed something was happening that was most unusual. Nearly all of them are older than Tiger. Like me, they are homosexuals wanting to meet our own type. There are two places I go to. One is the library in Tiger's district, and the other is a large café at Deuil-le-Barre. Both are about a twenty minute drive from my apartment, and that's because I don't want to shit-on-my-own-doorstep.

On Friday, when Tiger was giving off all the right vibes, I nearly rejected him. He was only a boy. But there was something about him that yelled compatibility to me, and because he was so beautiful and seductive, my desire overcame my inhibitions. I expected a fumbling, shy kid, but he was the opposite. I discovered that when he parried every innuendo I threw at him with one of his own. The kid is clever, and well educated. I knew that by how he spoke. When we got to the apartment, it was almost role-reversal. He was the gendarme directing the traffic, and I was the poor motorist going wherever he directed me. After we'd had fun in the main room with him playing the keyboard and me the guitar, it was he who suddenly stopped and asked where the bedroom was.

In the bedroom I expected shyness, but I was treated to exhibitionism. Naked, he is stupendous and curvaceous and sexy as hell, especially so when I stripped and he saw that my guitar was really well polished, and that I was not boasting when I said it might be too big for him to handle. In fact, when he saw it, he grinned evilly and ran his tongue along his sexy lips. That was the moment when I knew that although he was a boy, no way was he a novice. The following hour confirmed what I thought I knew, and at times I was amazed at what he let me do. Let me do. No, that would be incorrect. He was the gendarme, and I was a happy motorist. More than that! My guitar was not too big to handle. In fact, when he was on his knees, I was wishing I had a cello, because I was quite sure he would be able to play that, too. But the nicest part, which rarely happens, and rarely do I want it to happen: we kissed. But that kiss affected me, and when I was driving home after I'd dropped him off in the car park at the back of the library, I was over the moon that he had accepted my phone number and agreed to meet me again. Why? Because I am falling for him!

Falling for him. Not the truth. I have fallen for him! That's why I was disappointed when he didn't phone yesterday, and why I'm really concerned now because he's upset. That's why I've placed my hand on his hands and not on his delicious thighs, and it's why I tell him when he looks at me with tears in his eyes, "You can tell me about it when we get to my pad." And then I add something I've never said before. "If you just want to talk, then that's fine with me." If anything tells me I'm crazy about him, that comment does.

Coffee. I've never had coffee before with a conquest. I've had beers, and wine, but never coffee. And then I discover something nobody has ever discovered: coffee is a truth-inducing drug.

We're on my sofa, Tiger sitting close to me, and he looks right into my eyes when he asks, "Is your name really Pierre?"

I smile at him. "It is. Would I lie to you?"

I get a half smile from him. "I don't know, but I'll take your word for it. My name is Alain."

I draw back a little and stare at him, and in my mind is the realisation that I am privileged. I wink at him. "Hello Alain, Pleased to meet you."

He giggles. "Not one of your best repartees."

I grin at him. "I'm slipping. I usually have no trouble with them when I'm with a special boy."

He cocks his head to one side. "Am I one of your special boys?"

I nod whilst looking into his fabulous green eyes. "I'm beginning to think you're the most special boy."

He looks back into my eyes. "Beginning?"

I shrug my shoulders and pull a silly face. "Well, I must admit I've been thinking about it for a while."

"A while?"

Again I wink at him. "Since I laid eyes on you. Is that long enough?"

"Not since you took me to bed?"

I shake my head. "No. That just confirmed what I was thinking."

He looks away and takes a drink of his coffee, and I can see that he's thinking, and then he looks at me again. "Would you think I was silly if I asked if you would give me a hug. I mean... just a hug... for now."

I place my mug of coffee on the occasional table in front of us, take Alain's from him and do the same, and then say, "Come here." He folds into me, and I wrap him tightly in my arms, and the moment he's at one with me, he begins to cry.

His tears remind me of me a long time ago.

I was sixteen years old. My father looked hatefully at me, and said, "You fucking queer! That boy is only twelve!" I stared back at him, desperate to say that Sèbastien was not a casual relationship. We had been seeing each other for almost a year and we loved each other, and my father and Sèbastien's parents had just ruined the most beautiful relationship in my life. But I said nothing. It was futile. That much I had already learned when dealing with homophobic bigots. So I went to my room and cried all night, and the next day I walked out of my home and never again returned to it.

Those thoughts are in my mind when I kiss Alain's soft hair and snuggle him closer. Whatever has upset him, he will tell me about it if he wants to. But just as I have never told anybody what I went through, the least I can do is afford Alain the same courtesy. At least Alain has arms to hold him and a shoulder to cry on, something that I never had.

Alain d'Evreux.

I stopped crying a while ago and now I'm thinking as I hug Pierre. He has surprised me. I expected him to question me, but he remained silent while I cried. Even now, he still has his head lain on the top of mine, and occasionally kisses my hair. He is doing what Archie would do, and I am beginning to think Pierre has feelings for me. Strangely, although I have been thinking of him only as a pickup, I am now beginning to think of him differently.

On Friday, while we were having fun playing music, it was real fun and not something to do to be familiar before we went to bed. And then it dawns on me! It never entered my head that he was a stranger when I asked him to hold me while I cried. I saw him as a refuge; someone who cared for me. Why? Because he held my hand in the car! It was then! That small gesture showed me he cared for me; and his actions since have told me there is more than compassion within him. He has feelings for me! But he is not the only one! When he kissed me on Friday, I wasn't at all put out. In fact, I enjoyed it, and when our tongues played games, it was not repulsive to me. At one point, I remember thinking that it was not much different than when I kissed Archie.

I lift my head, and Pierre draws his back to allow me to do so. I look up at him. He smiles at me, and winks. "You feeling a little better now?"

I try to smile at him, and nod. "I'm sorry."

He kisses my forehead. "No need to be sorry. You needed a shoulder to cry on, and old Pierre here has got broad shoulders."

His comment amuses me. "You're not old."

He wrinkles his nose at me. "Older than you, Tiger. How old are you?"

"Fourteen." I grin at him. "Are you going to throw me out now?"

He chuckles. "It's a bit late for throwing out. I'd have done it on Friday if I was a throwing out person. Besides, I'd be crazy to throw such a special boy out. I couldn't sleep on Friday night."


"Because I couldn't get you out of my head. You are aware what a beautiful and sexy little man you are, aren't you?"

I grin at him. "And you are aware that you are a sexy, big man, aren't you?"

He giggles. "Is that a compliment?"

I give him a naughty look. "Work it out for yourself. Do you want to play now?"

He chuckles. "I'll switch the keyboard on."

I giggle. "It's already switched on. All it needs is someone to play with it."

He is grinning like crazy when he kisses my nose, and says, "And my old guitar is nicely tuned up. Shall we have a ball?"

I laugh. "Let's jive!"

So we do, and this time I jive on my back, and that's because I want to look at and kiss the lovely man who I am becoming fond of. The reverse position also has other advantages, and those advantages are the beginnings of our lovemaking when we both kiss each other's musical instruments, and only when that is over do we get to the really, really serious stuff: jitterbuggering.

Godard Masson – private investigator.

Six-thirty and it is almost dark when I see them come out of the apartment. Seven hours they have spent together and I am tired and fed up of waiting for them. My occupation pays well, and this job for Madame d'Evreux will pay handsomely. But it doesn't mean I have to enjoy the grinding routine, which is what my job consists of most of the time.

The blue VW Beetle is the key to knowing who the boy is spending his time with... this time. My contacts have informed me that it is registered to one Pierre Roux, a self employed musical technician, aged twenty eight: a known homosexual. At least this one is younger than the others.

How on earth did the boy become mired in this mess? He's a really handsome young man and he's selling or giving his body to old men! The oldest one, Villiers, is forty, for Christ's sake! But does Madame d'Evreux need to know about the others? She will be devastated when I inform her that her son is having it off with a man twice his age, so maybe it will be best if I just tell her about Roux. She wants to know where her boy is? Spending his time in the apartment of a twenty eight year old homosexual. That will do. I have a boy of seventeen, and it would do for me. I don't think I'd want to know the more sordid details. She will pay up no problems. She never batted an eyelid when I presented the bill for following her husband, and that included the extortionate travelling costs.

When the VW passes by, I adjust my blue cravat, and start the car. I don't need to get too close. I know exactly where they're going.

They're parked at the back of the library when I arrive, and they chat for about five minutes before the boy gets out of the car and begins to walk towards his home. Roux waits until the boy has turned a corner, and then he drives away. Very slowly, I follow the boy until I see him home. At least he's safe now, and that's a relief. He's maybe too young to understand the dangers he's in. The length of time he spent at Roux's place made me nervous. In fact, I was dithering whether or not to intrude on them. It was the last thing I wanted to do considering I am supposed to be just observing him. But I used my gut instinct... and the knowledge I've gained about Roux. He has one offence for gross indecency in a public place, but apart from that, he is clean.

I sit back and light a cigarette. I need to think. Apart from being a man who likes young boys, Villiers is pretty much an exemplary citizen. He doesn't worry me particularly. Nor does Roux as far as the boy's safety is concerned, but the Belgian is another matter. In fact, when I saw who the boy was going with, I very nearly intervened. Instead, when they reached the Belgian's place, I intended to give it no more than a half hour before I would intrude on them. But it seemed as though the boy had as low an opinion of the horrible man as I. Within ten minutes he was back on the street and walking home... and not looking too pleased with himself either. But there's something I need to do. The Belgian is well known to us, and I'm not the only one who is supposed to be keeping an eye on him. He's got form for molesting boys in his own country and we have been asked to keep an eye on him. I could have him arrested now with the evidence of the photographs I've taken of him and the d'Evreux boy going into his place, but I'm on my own assignment and Madame d'Evreux has insisted everything I do is kept private. But it's time for me to act differently. I'll inform my friends of what is happening without identifying the d'Evreux boy and then they can send one of their own to read all day at the library. I also have something else to do. I need to telephone Madame d'Evreux and explain what is happening. I think it's time. About ten in the morning will do, while the boy is at school. She'll have all day then to decide what to say and do. But I'll have to make sure her husband is at work. I'm under strict instructions that he is not to know anything.

I light another cigarette, start the car, and drive home.

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