Juggling the Pieces

by Pink Panther

Chapter 2

May 2010

It's Tuesday morning. Having spent the last three afternoons at Scott's place, I've just woken up to the prospect of not seeing him for four whole days. It wouldn't be so bad if we were at school, but with it being half term, we're not. I know we've got exams next week, but I've done all the revision I actually need to do. Keeping myself occupied is going to be difficult.

This morning won't be too bad. At eleven o'clock I'm due at school to do a track session with the rest of the distance-running squad. Surprising as it may seem, I'm actually looking forward to it.

I arrive at school at 10:45. Fifteen minutes later, the squad's assembled. With the weather being warm and sunny, with only a very light breeze, conditions could hardly be better. Adam's not shown up, but I didn't think he would. Darren's not here either. That means that the only representative of Year 12 is Alan, and as he's going to be next season's cross-country captain, he just about had to be.

On a more positive note, Nathan's come along, and Olly's turned up to time us. We're doing the same session as we did last week. Having Nathan here will make it interesting. As I ran him quite close in the two races we did, that's what I'll try to do today.

After a good warm-up, we put on our spikes and do a few strides. We're ready to go. With our usual rolling start, David leads us into the first rep. Instead of attaching myself to Alan, as I normally would, I position myself on Nathan's shoulder and stay there right through to the finish line, with both of us a few yards in front of Alan. It's a bit faster than I've run before, but it doesn't seem to be a problem.

By the end of the fourth rep, I'm definitely starting to feel it. I'm learning just how big a difference one or two seconds per lap can make. I decide that for the remaining four reps, I'll go back to running with Alan.

Even after running the first four reps faster than I have before, I still beat him every time, and manage to hold my lap times at around 70 seconds. Overall, it's definitely the best track session I've done. Having said that, David and Patrick have been flying, lapping consistently in under 65 seconds. I'd struggle to run one lap that fast!

"Thanks Olly!" I say warmly as he puts his stop-watch away.

"Oh, I enjoy doing it," he responds smiling. He lowers his voice a little. "You wouldn't believe how bored and frustrated I got, standing around with nothing to do. I hated it! Well, now I'm doing something useful. And you guys have been great. You always thank me afterwards."

I suddenly feel very guilty again. I've had my ups and downs, but I've never had anything like Olly's health problems to contend with. I can imagine how miserable things must have been for him. I'd have hated it too.

"Well, you're doing a great job!" I tell him.

After completing our sprints and our warm-down, we put on our training pants and arrange to meet at the same time on Thursday. It's time to go our separate ways. David and I head to the bus station for the journey back to Whitecroft.

"Alan doesn't seem to push himself very hard," I comment.

"He never has," David responds. "Alan does what he's expected to do. That's it. Back last September, I told him about our Sunday morning runs. I said he could join us if he wanted to, but he didn't."

"That's not very good if he's going to be team captain. Did you tell Mr Bentley?"

"No, I didn't think it was my place to do that. I mean, the Sunday runs aren't compulsory."

"No, but if he's going to be team captain, he ought to be there."

"I agree," David says, giving me a wry smile. "Fortunately, it's not my problem."

Mum and I arrive for the parents' support group meeting just before half past seven. As we head into the church hall, Robbie's waiting for me.

"Are you okay?" he asks quietly. "We've hardly spoken to each other in weeks!"

"Yeah, I'm fine," I assure him. "But afterwards, I need to talk to you on your own, right?"

"Sure," he responds, looking puzzled.

A couple of minutes later, the meeting begins. After the usual introductions, we move onto a discussion of how to deal with homophobic taunting. I knew this was coming up, and I'm prepared for it.

"Oh, the best thing is to just ignore it," Max says airily, as though it was the last word on the matter. "People like that aren't worth bothering with."

"I don't agree," I counter. "That was what I did to start with. All that did was to give the boy who was picking on me the idea that he could get away with it. Things didn't start to improve until I began to give him some back."

"So what sort of things did you say to him?" Mrs Goodwin asks.

"Well, I didn't just make things up on the spur of the moment. I thought about it beforehand. Anyway, we'd had a couple of exchanges, and I could see he was getting rattled when I answered him back. Then one day we were waiting for our form teacher to arrive for afternoon registration when he called across to me, making a really indecent suggestion. Basically, he asked me to give him a blow-job. Now we don't have to have showers after games very often, only if we get really dirty. But when we do, this boy's very self-conscious about anyone seeing his dick, so I said that he was so shy while we were in the showers, I didn't think anyone had seen it, so I wasn't actually sure he'd got one."

There's general laughter, from the other kids and most of the parents, except for Max's mum, who looks horrified.

"So what happened?" Mrs Goodwin asks.

"He went nuts. He came across to me, grabbed the collar of my blazer and picked his fist up like he was going to hit me in the face. But one of the bigger lads pulled him away from me and told him to calm down. He made a complete idiot of himself."

"Did it stop him picking on you?" Max asks, almost sneering at me.

"Not right then," I admit. "But he never went after me in the classroom again. After that, he only went after me out on the playground, and only then if I was on my own. Then one day my older sister and her friends caught him at it. They reported the whole thing to the Head of Lower School. The boy was sent home for three days, and when he came back, he was put into a different form and told to stay away from me."

"It sounds to me as though what you did didn't achieve anything," Max says dismissively.

"I might not know much about what you call gay culture," I shoot back. "But I do know some of the history. Here in Britain, gay adults have lots of rights that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago, and they've got those rights because people fought for them. But despite all that, lots of kids growing up gay are still getting a rough ride. Most of you have experienced homophobic bullying, both in school and out of school. So don't tell me that there aren't still battles to fight, because there are!"

Max sits there smarting and says nothing. His mother still looks horrified.

Other kids join in the discussion. They all support what I said. A few of the parents join in. They're on my side too. I wonder if Robbie is going to say anything. He doesn't; just sits there looking uncomfortable.

Finally, Mrs Goodwin draws the discussion a close. We, the gay offspring, are given half an hour to socialise, while the parents have their little get-together.

Sarah, the sporty girl, comes straight over to me.

"Well done, you!" she says, smiling. "It's about time somebody put Motor-Mouth in his place! So how have you been?"

We quickly get into chatting about this and that. I don't tell her about Scott, but she's such fun to be with. I'm glad that there's at least one person here who's on the same page as me. The fact that it's a girl no longer seems to matter.

When I look up, Robbie's been sucked in by Max and is still looking uncomfortable. I grind my teeth. That's a situation he definitely needs to get out of. The only comfort is that the other two boys, Sam and Zane, look considerably less in awe of Max than they have previously.

Finally, Mrs Goodwin calls time. As she and Max leave, his mum looks at me like I just crawled from under a rock. Like I care what she thinks! I know Mum and I don't always agree, but I'm glad she's not like that!

With Mum helping Mrs Goodwin tidy things up, I grab hold of Robbie and take him outside. Being close to midsummer, it's still light.

"Max says you deliberately undermined him," Robbie says.

"Who told him he was leader of the group?"

"Dunno. His mum, probably."

"That figures. And he doesn't lead in any case. He just bosses people about. Well, he's not doing it with me!"

"So what did you want to talk to me about?"

"Right! Before I tell you, you've got to promise not to repeat this to anybody, and I mean anybody!"

"Okay, I promise."

"I'm sorry I haven't been online to chat much. The truth is, I've met somebody."

"You mean . . .?"


"How old?"

"Eighteen. He's just about to do his A-levels."

"Nice looking?"

"Very! I think he's gorgeous, but I would say that, wouldn't I? The thing is, I haven't told Mum and dad yet. I am going to tell them, but I don't want mum going off on one when I'm about to do my GCSEs. Scott's not come out to his parents yet either, so it's all a bit tricky, yeah?"

"Yeah, I understand. Don't worry; I won't say a word. So will Scott be going to university?"

"Not straight away. He's going to be a full-time athlete for a couple of years, to see if he can make a success of it, and study with the Open University in his spare time."

I think describing Scott as a 'full-time athlete' is what Claire calls being economical with the truth. It's not an out-and-out lie. I just haven't said exactly what sort of athlete he is.

"I think you're into the sporty types," Robbie says, smirking.

"Well, I'm into this particular sporty type!" I agree.

"Oh, there you are!" Mum says, appearing from around the corner. "Come on! We need to go home. I've got work in the morning!"

I accompany her to the car.

"Well," she says, grinning at me as she drives away. "That was a surprise! I didn't know you had it in you!"

"Well, he was talking crap, so I told him. When they were leaving, his mum looked at me like I was some lower form of life."

"Hmmm! Stupid woman, and such a snob! It's no wonder that Max is like he is!"

"She seems to think the sun shines out of his arse."

"Not quite the expression I'd have used," Mum says, in a tone of mock disapproval. "But that's it exactly!"

I'm just getting ready for bed when I get a text. I open up my phone. As I expected, it's from Scott.

Arrived here safe and sound. Training went well this afternoon. The food here is excellent as always. My roommate's good; very quiet, a good professional and totally into his football. He's an attacking midfield player, but operates in a more central role than I do. I'm sending this sitting on the loo. I'd love to be able to call you, but I can't. You understand how it is. Now that we've finished for the day, I'm missing you lots. Text you again tomorrow. Love you to bits! Scott

I do understand how it is. That doesn't mean I like it. I guess it's one of the things I'll have to get used to, at least for the moment. I text back:

Love you too!

It's Thursday. After finishing an easy run and a light track session with the distance runners, I make my way to Anthony's house. I've told him I want to chat about the holiday, but that's not really why I'm going.

I walk up the path and ring the bell. A few seconds later, Anthony ushers me inside.

"So what d'you want to know?" he asks as we seat ourselves at the kitchen table.

"Actually, before we get to that, I need to tell you something."


"I've met someone."

"Nice one, man! I knew you would! So who is it?"

"His name's Scott. He's a friend of Claire's."

"So just about to do his A-levels then?"


"Then what? Off to uni?"

"Er no; he'll be staying around here."

"Just a minute! Scott; that's not the guy who left to become a professional footballer is it?"


"Fuck! He's kept that well-hidden!"

"He's had to."

"I bet he has! The gaydar missed him completely! So how did you meet?"

I tell him the story.

"Fuck!" he exhales. "Man, that's amazing! It's not going to be easy for you though. Do your mum and dad know?"

"Dad does. He said that every time he came home from work, I looked like a dog with two tails, so he knew something was going on. He was really cool about it."

"Nice one! You'll still have to tell your mum though. That won't be much fun. Hey, you're not pulling out of coming to France with us, are you?"

"Oh, no! Scott's fine with it. He's even okay with us having sex as long as we don't fuck."

"Oh well," he says, grinning. "I guess half a loaf is better than no bread!" He pauses for a moment. "Do you speak French?"

"Sort of; I'm not bad, actually. When Claire and I were younger, we quite often went to France on holiday. Well, you know what Mum's like. She insisted on us speaking French the whole time we were there. We both got pretty good at it."

"D'you know any naughty bits?"

"Yeah, one or two!"


"While we're in France, Mum and Dad will be in Italy, just the two of them."

"Yeah, you told me about that."

"Well, Dad said I should keep the big announcement till I get back, so that's the plan. Scott's going to tell his parents then too. I don't think that'll be much fun either."

"I can imagine!"

"You won't say anything, will you?

"Of course not! You've never told anyone about me and Jayden."

I feel really lucky to have Anthony as a friend. Apart from Scott, he's the one guy who actually understands what it's like to be me.

Finally, it's Saturday. After lunch, I head over to Scott's place. It's a warm day, so I'm wearing the black denim shorts that I got last summer. They fit pretty well then. These days, let's just say they don't leave too much to the imagination.

Having endured four days of abstinence, I'm so horny, I've spent most of the morning almost crawling up the walls. Arriving at the flat, I ring the bell. A few seconds later, the door opens.

"Wonderful to see you!" Scott enthuses, ushering me inside. "Love the shorts!"

He closes the door. "I've missed you so much!" he whispers, drawing me into a big, sloppy kiss.

We head straight to the bedroom. After pulling off our shoes and socks, we begin to undress each other. Neither of us has much to take off. In less than a minute, we're down to our underwear. Scott's boxers are the first to go. It goes without saying that he's already rock-hard.

Kneeling on the floor, I pay homage to his beautiful cock, sucking it, worshipping it. Having taken it right down my throat, I come back up, work my tongue all over the head and plunge down for more. After a couple of minutes, he's getting close and I have to stop. Otherwise, I could have done it all day.

I get to my feet, allowing him to peel off my boxer-briefs. We get onto the bed. As we snuggle up, he draws me into a passionate kiss, his tongue sensuously engaging with mine. With his musky aroma filling my nostrils, he runs his hand firmly but gently down my back and over my arse. It's so perfect, I can't even begin to describe it.

Finally pulling away, he goes right down on me, taking my prick fully into his mouth. As he sucks it, his slips a hand between my legs, his fingers expertly tickling the sensitive area behind my balls. The sensations are so incredible, it's like I've died and gone to heaven! All too soon, I feel myself beginning to get close!"

"Oh, you'd better stop!" I warn. "I'm nearly there!"

He quickly pulls away, licking his lips as my dick slides from between them. Without waiting to be asked, I get onto all-fours. When we first did this, Scott was quite tentative. Not anymore, his tongue lapping insistently at my hole until it's pushing its way right into me. After a couple of minutes, it's replaced by a well-lubed finger. That's it; I'm ready. I need him inside me, like right now!

Flipping myself over, I grab the tube of K-Y, quickly smearing some over his prong. Leaving the tube on the bedside cabinet, I pull my legs back, holding my knees close to my shoulders. Kneeling on the bed, he shuffles towards me, guiding his cock onto its target. I watch intently as it disappears into my bum. Oh, yes! I've waited so long for this; now finally!

Settling himself, Scott leans forward, pushing his upper-body down between my thighs. Reaching up, I draw him into another amazing kiss. Within seconds, he's fucking me into the middle of next week, our tongues engaged in a full-on wrestling match. In, out, in, out. Hard. Relentless. It's what I want. I'll never tire of him fucking me like this. The sensations are indescribable! Nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever turned me on the way that Scott does.

His cock's thrusting repeatedly over my prostate. Inevitably, my orgasm starts to build. Hoping to make it last, I wonder if he might ease off. I've got no chance; he's way too horny for that. Fuck! We're both too horny for that! Slowly, inexorably, the tingling in my penis increases. Pretty soon, it's almost unbearable.

"Oh, fuck!"

I suddenly explode, my hips jumping off the bed. My dick jerks wildly, my cum spurting all over us. Scott follows almost instantly, his cock swelling and pulsing deep inside me, his hot teen spunk flooding into my arse.

After visiting the bathroom, we snuggle up on the bed.

"So how have you been?" Scott asks, gently stroking my hair.

"Okay," I tell him. "I ran quite a bit, and I read a book about Renaissance Art that Mr Gault lent me. But I'd done all the revision I needed to do, so I got a bit bored. How was the training camp?"

"It was excellent. I got on well with the coaches, and most of the other players. There were a couple of dickheads there; guys who think they're better than they are. They didn't train very well, and seemed to spend all their free time bragging about the cars that they're going to buy and all that sort of shit. It's bollocks! At our level, you need to focus on becoming the best player you can be. Just forget about all that other stuff.

"The match went well, didn't it? You scored and the team won."

"Yeah, we dominated, to be honest. Our two strikers are quite a handful, so their defenders were concentrating on keeping them quiet. But that gave space to our other attacking players, and we took full advantage."

"Tell me about your goal."

"Not much to say, really. Picked up the ball on the left wing, went round a couple of defenders; managed to get into the box. Well, nobody was trying to close me down, so I just picked my spot and tucked it away."


"The assist was better," he adds, smiling. "I'd got the ball out on the left. I took it almost to the corner flag. I couldn't get it to either of our strikers; they had too many defenders around them. But my room-mate was ghosting in from midfield, completely unmarked, so I laid it back into his path, and he did the rest; hit it very sweetly. He was all over me afterwards!"

"Wow! That's great!"

"Yeah, performances like that are nice, but I have to keep my feet on the ground. There's still lots I've got to learn, and lots I need to improve on. Anyway, enough about me! David tells me you've been training really well."

"Yeah, it's been going okay. In the track sessions we've been doing, I've been finishing ahead of Alan Sharp all the time, and he's going to be team captain in September.

"The only reason he's being made captain is that they haven't got anyone else."

"Yeah. He never seems to push himself that hard."

"I don't know what it is with that year group," Scott remarks. "Their football team was never much good either. They just didn't work hard enough."

"The only one of the footballers I've had much to do with is Adam Barr," I respond. "He runs track with us."

"Oh, he's a right poser!" Scott sneers. "He could be a decent player if he actually got stuck in, but he never does. And he seems to think the girls ought to fall at his feet. He's a waste of space if you ask me!"

"Last year, he got really snotty when Patrick beat him in one of the races we did."

"Patrick? That's the scrawny kid, isn't it? Now he's a bit special. In training, David struggles to keep up with him. He's told me."

"Yeah. He's really clever too."

"So I've heard. He lives on the Monkswood, doesn't he? I guess they must breed them tough there! That's what you want!"

I smile at him and snuggle closer. With no prompting at all, Scott's just said exactly what I'd have said. He's probably never even met Patrick, but he knows who he is, and he has total respect for him because he's bright and hard-working, and gives one hundred percent to what he does. It might seem strange, but I think it goes a long way to explaining why Scott and I fit together so well.

"I'm not sure if I should tell you this," I say quietly, "but Patrick and I were sex buddies for a few months. Then he got a girlfriend."

"Oh, that's no problem," Scott says. "How did that happen?"

"It was early last year," I explain, "during the half-term holiday. He knew I was gay, of course. Everybody does. Well, we'd been out running from my place. Afterwards, he sort of came onto me."

"Oh, I see!" he says, grinning.

"We were never boyfriends though," I go on. "I knew he wasn't really gay. But he was a mate and he liked having sex, yeah?"

"Sounds good to me," Scott responds. "I never got near doing anything like that. I was too scared that someone would find out. Anyway, did you get to your parents' group meeting?"

"Yeah, it was cool. Afterwards, I got Robbie on his own and told him I'd met someone. He promised not to say anything."

"Robbie? Isn't that the kid who had evil designs on you?"

"Well, I don't know about evil, but he definitely had designs on me! Actually, Robbie's really nice. It was never going anywhere, though. Apart from anything else, he lives too far away. I told him you're a full-time athlete. I hope you don't mind."

"Hmmm!" he says, grinning at me. "That was quite creative!"

"It's what Claire calls being economical with the truth."

"Oh, she would!" he agrees, gently rubbing his nose against mine.

I take a deep breath. "There's something else I need to tell you," I say quietly.

"Hmmm!" he responds, looking at me intently. "That sounds ominous."

Over the next few minutes, I recount the conversation that I had with Dad the previous weekend.

"Well, that certainly puts a different complexion on things," he comments. "You say your dad was really supportive?"

"Yes, totally!"

"I thought you told me that when you came out, he said you were too young to be having sex."

"Yeah, and I was, legally. I talked to Mr Ashton about it. He reckoned that Dad was in a difficult position, you know, because he works away all the time."

"But now he thinks it's okay?"

"Well, if we're being honest, I think he'd have preferred it if it hadn't happened so soon, but as it is, he's happy to go along with it."

"So your dad knows, but your mum doesn't?"

"Yeah, for the moment anyway. I was going to tell them straight after my exams, but Dad asked me to leave it for a bit. While I'm away in France, Claire and Damian will be travelling around Europe, so Mum and Dad are going to Italy, just the two of them. It's the first time they've been able to do that since before Claire was born. Anyway, we'll all get back at around the same time. Dad asked me to wait till then."

"And that's when I'll have to tell my Mum and Dad," he says with an air of resignation. "I really don't have a choice. I thought about what you said, and I know you're right. It doesn't make it any easier though."

"You'll be fine!" I assure him, nuzzling his ear.

It's Monday, and the exams that we've been working towards for the past five years are about to begin. I'm not nervous exactly; I just have a few butterflies in the tummy. Dad says that's a good thing. It shows that I care what happens.

We're gathering outside the main hall, waiting for our English Language exam. Dean comes over to me.

"Patrick and I are running in the county championships on Saturday," he says quietly. "Dad's taking us. Would you like to come and watch?"

"I'm not sure what I'm doing yet," I tell him. "I'll let you know tomorrow, okay?"

"Sure!" he says, smiling.

It's four o'clock. The first day's over, with two exams completed, English Language and History. They both went well, the questions very much what I'd prepared for.

With a spring in my step, I head for Scott's place. You might think that in the middle of my exams I ought to be going straight home, but tomorrow morning is maths paper one, and as I've already done GCSE maths, I've got the morning off.

Arriving at the flat, I ring the bell and Scott lets me in. We stroll through to the lounge, flopping down on the sofa.

"How did it go?" he asks.

"Very well, thanks!"


"On Saturday, Dean and Patrick are taking part in the county championships," I tell him. "Dean's dad's taking them. This morning, Dean asked me if I'd like to go and watch."

"That's fine, if you want to go," Scott says, putting his arm around my shoulder. "They're your mates. It'd be good to go and support them."

"You don't mind, then?"

"Of course not. It's not like it's going to happen every week, is it? Any idea what time you'll be back?"

"Dean's running the four hundred metre hurdles, which is on first. Patrick's race is at three o'clock, so I should definitely be back here for five."

"I was thinking, if you came straight here, I could take you out to dinner. I've been wanting to do that for a while."

This is awkward. Obviously, I want to go. The problem is that Mum will expect me to come home for dinner. As she doesn't know about me and Scott, I can't tell her what I'll actually be doing. And I can't just not turn up at home either. Mum and Dad would be worried, and it'd be like the Spanish Inquisition afterwards.

I can only see one way around it. I'll tell them that Dean's parents have invited me to stay for dinner. They won't check, and as Dean doesn't train with us during the summer, they'll have forgotten about it by the time they see him. I know it's an out and out lie, and I hate having to do it, but what choice have I got? As far as I'm concerned, the sooner our parents know about me and Scott, the better!

"Okay," I say, smiling up at him. "I'd really like that."

At quarter to five, I head for home. We didn't have sex. We didn't really have time. But we chatted and chilled out, which was exactly what I needed.

It's Saturday morning. The rest of this week's exams have gone smoothly. All the work, all the study, all the revision finally paid off. There were no unpleasant surprises, no questions that I wasn't able to answer. We've still got a few more to do, including Physics and Additional Maths, but actually I'm looking forward to them. I'm confident now.

We're on our way to the athletics track where the County Championships are being held, which is on one of the main roads heading into Birmingham. I'm dressed in training pants and a sweatshirt, with my running kit underneath so that I can warm up with Patrick. I've brought my street clothes with me. I'll probably get changed at Scott's place.

This will be the first time I've seen Dean run the four hundred metre hurdles. In the school matches that I took part in, he ran the four hundred flat, winning easily and looking very good. He ran the sprint hurdles too, though he only won one of those.

Arriving at the track, Dean and Patrick report to their team manager. As I wait with Mike Griffiths, Olly Stephens appears. He's dressed in his school uniform and looks very smart.

"I wasn't expecting you to be here!" I say smiling.

"I'm one of the timekeepers," he informs me. "There's no electronic timing here; it all has to be done manually."

He strides away. I'm pleased for him. Being a timekeeper doesn't just give him something to do; it gives him some status. I'm guessing he probably needed that.

As Dean and Patrick rejoin us, we settle into the stands. The four hundred metre hurdles races are right at the start of the meeting. There are two girls' races first, intermediate and senior. Then it will be the Intermediate Boys, which is our age group. We look at the programme.

"I'm in lane four," Dean announces.

"Is that good?" I ask.

"Yeah," Dean confirms. "You don't want to be on the inside. It's too tight. And you don't want the outside either because you can't see anybody."

It makes sense. The rest of us sit quietly in the stand while Dean begins his warm-up. Finally, it's time for his race. He looks very serious, taking his time to set up his starting blocks before they're called to their marks. The gun goes and they're away. He totally blitzes it, looking absolutely fantastic. As he crosses the finish line, the second runner is just coming over the last flight of hurdles. Wow! That was impressive! I knew he was good, but I hadn't expected anything like that.

A couple of minutes later the result is announced. He's run 55.8 seconds, a championship record. Patrick will need to do something very special to come close to what Dean's just achieved.

I check my watch. He's due to race in just under two hours. Our track session on Wednesday consisted of eight three hundred metre reps with a one hundred metre jog in between. Patrick ran them all in under fifty seconds, and wasn't even blowing when he'd finished. The concern is that he's running the three thousand metres. He's only done that once before, and that was a year ago.

"I've got a schedule," he says quietly. I need to get through the first three and a half laps in around four minutes five seconds, and hang on. Averaging 72 seconds for the last four laps would get me home in eight minutes fifty-three."

Given how well he's been running in training, it sounds easy. I know it won't be. Finally, it's time for us to warm up. We begin with a ten-minute jog, followed by some stretching exercises. There's no conversation. I'm here as a familiar, reassuring presence, nothing more than that. Patrick looks very focused, but that's not a surprise. He usually does. Finally, he puts on his spikes and does a few strides.

As he reports to the start, I return to the stand. I sit down next to Mike, who's got a stop-watch. The gun sounds and the race begins. As usual, Patrick goes straight to the front. As he crosses the finish line, Mike checks the split time. The watch shows 0'34". After another lap, he checks again. This time the watch shows 1'44". With three and a half laps completed, the split time is 4'07". That's two seconds slower than Patrick was aiming for, but still very good.

At this point, there are three of them still in contention, but after another lap, Patrick breaks clear. Looking smooth and relaxed, he powers away to a comfortable win. As he crosses the finish line, Mike clicks his stopwatch. It shows a time of 8'57", well inside nine minutes and a huge school record, but not quite as fast as Patrick had been looking for. A few minutes later, he returns to the stand.

"That was okay," he says, grinning. "But it's hard to run that far on your own. Next Saturday, we're doing this trophy meeting, with some of the big counties taking part. That'll be the real test!"

At half past four, Mike drops me off by the bus station. Taking the bag containing my street clothes, I stroll towards Scott's place, basking in the afternoon sunshine. I feel on top of the world. Seeing Dean and Patrick perform as well as they did was exhilarating.

"So how did it go?" Scott enquires, welcoming me into the flat.

"Very well, thanks!" I respond as we park ourselves on the sofa. "They both won, and Dean set a new championship record. Now they've asked me if I'd like to go with them to the inter-counties meeting next week."

"That's cool. I'm not going to be here, remember? I'm off to Tenerife for a week. I'm flying out on Saturday morning."

"Sorry, I'd forgotten, I tell him. "I mean, I knew you were going, but I'd lost track of the dates." I smile up at him. "I'll have finished my exams, apart from Additional Maths, and I'll have to manage without you for a whole week!"

"Oh, I'm sure you'll be fine," he says, grinning and gently ruffling my hair. "I'm going to have to do without you for three times as long while you and your arty friend are enjoying yourselves in France! Think about that!"

"Okay!" I say, smiling back at him. "I'd better go and get changed."

Going out to dinner was wonderful. Scott drove us to an old pub in a village around seven miles away. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was great. We sat opposite each other, chatting quietly about this and that. Somehow, it felt so romantic, like it's something couples are supposed to do. I loved it!

It's nearly half past eight when we get back to the flat. We head straight to the bedroom. On this occasion, there isn't much foreplay. It doesn't seem necessary. After not much more than five minutes, I'm down on all-fours. Scott, kneeling behind me, is fucking my brains out.

Oh, yes! I'm moaning and whimpering; so far off on it that I hardly know which day it is. When he's finished, he blows me. I'm so close, it takes, like, fifteen seconds. Fuck! That was wild!

At twenty past ten, Scott drops me at the bottom of the road. I walk the few yards and let myself in.

"Hi Mum! Hi Dad!" I greet, breezing into the lounge.

"You look like you've had a good day!" Mum comments.

I regale them with tales of how well Dean and Patrick performed. They seem delighted. I look at Dad, wondering if he has any idea that I haven't just spent the evening where I said I would. If he has, he's certainly not letting on.

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