Juggling the Pieces

by Pink Panther

Chapter 18

March 2011

It's Saturday morning. As I get out of bed, I think about my friends who are on their way to the English Schools' Cross-Country Championships. If I hadn't run so poorly in the county schools' championships five weeks ago, I'd have been with them. Failing to make the team is a disappointment, but it's no more than that. At the time, I had more important things to focus on.

Once I've had breakfast, the self-discipline kicks in. With plenty of work to do, I settle down and get on with it, in just the same way that I expect Scott to get on with what he needs to do.

At five o'clock, I decide to call it a day. Other than a short break for lunch, I've been working since nine o'clock this morning. I check the football results. Reavington Town have lost again, only one-nil, but it's another game where they haven't earned any points. As a result, they've slipped to fifteenth in the table, and are now hovering just a few points above the relegation zone. It's a far cry from what we'd hoped for back at the start of the year.

I'm chilling out, waiting for dinner when I get a text. I open it.

Intermediate Boys: Nathan 28th, Niall 40th, Jon 175th. Team: 6th.

Senior Boys: Me 24th, Alan 146th. Team: 25th.

See you tomorrow! Patrick

It seems that Nathan, Niall and Patrick all performed pretty well. On the other hand, Jon and Alan had a pretty tough time. I find the idea of Alan finishing 146th rather sobering. I wouldn't say it out loud, but deep down, I'm quite glad I didn't make the team.


It's quarter to eight when I arrive at Scott's place. I'm pleased to find that he's been busy too, having divided his day between studying and working on his fitness. Now that he's made the adjustment, he's going at it whole heartedly, the same as he always does.

"Patrick, Nathan and Niall did pretty well today," I tell him. "In the Intermediate Boys' race, Nathan was 28th and Niall was 40th. In the Senior Boys' race, Patrick was 24th."

"Niall?" he queries. "Is that Will Taylor's brother?"

"Yeah!"

"So he'd have been giving a year away then?"

"Yeah, the same as Patrick was in the Seniors."

"That's pretty good then, especially as you guys don't get much experience of running in big races. What about the others?"

"Not so good. Jon was 175th in the Intermediates; Alan was 146th in the Seniors. That's quite worrying. Even at my best, I don't beat Alan by much. I don't think I'd have made the top hundred."

"I'm not so sure about that," Scott responds. "Even though you knew you weren't doing that well, you'd have scrapped for every place. I'm not sure that Alan would."

I'm not going to argue. We move into the bedroom. Our love-making is passionate, physical and very satisfying. Okay, it's not 'high-as-a-kite' exhilarating, as it has been on a few previous occasions. I guess I'll have to wait for Scott to be playing again and to have had a really good match before I get to experience that again.


It's Sunday morning. As the time approaches half past ten, the training squad assembles. The two notable absentees are Dean and his dad. Dean's begun his specialised training for running the four hundred metre hurdles. He won't train with us again until September.

Understandably, Nathan and Niall are quite chatty, buoyed by how well they performed. By contrast, Alan and Jon seem very subdued.

"What you may not realise," Patrick says, addressing himself to those of us that weren't there, "is that there were over three hundred finishers in every race. That means that Alan finished in the top half of the field in our race, and Jon wasn't too far outside it in his.

The other thing you won't know is that at the start, each team has to go into a pen where you line up one behind the other. Now that was fine for me, because I was second in our pen. And it wasn't too bad for Nathan and Niall who were third and fourth. But Alan was sixth in our pen and Jon seventh in his. In a field as big as that, it's really hard to get through, especially as it was quite an easy course."

"Right!" I say, smiling. "I've never seen a start like that; it must be really difficult."

"I know Jon and Alan are a bit disappointed," Patrick goes on, "but they've nothing to be ashamed of. In the circumstances, I think they did very well."

"Thanks!" I respond. "We wouldn't have known if you hadn't explained it."

"The Intermediate Boys did really well," Patrick enthuses. "We had four runners in the first forty. Unfortunately, we didn't have anyone else in the top hundred. But we're a small county. That's what you'd expect."

"How did the guy who beat you in the county championships get on?" I ask.

"Oh, I beat him okay," Patrick says nonchalantly. "He got sucked into the early pace, which was a bit too fast for him. I caught him with just over a mile left. I was coming through and he was going backwards."

"Okay guys!" I say. "It's time to run. We're only doing about six, and we'll be taking it pretty easy, so I'm expecting to see some different people at the front."

On a pleasant, early spring morning, it's a joy to be out, trotting easily through the countryside. With the pace being gentler than usual, Rhys and Shaun lead the way, with Gary, the least experienced member of the squad, settling into the middle of the group. The sense of togetherness that we've built up is remarkable. As I look forward to next season, I know that's going to be important.


It's Wednesday afternoon, and our penultimate race of the season. After a run of dry weather, the parkland course is very firm. On the other hand, it's like a switchback; the hills aren't severe, but there are lots of them, with only a few short stretches on the flat.

Today's opposition is among the best we've faced all season. In addition to Sutton Coldfield Boys' Grammar School, the other two schools have quite useful teams. This is going to be interesting.

The starting hooter sounds and we're on our way. Without really meaning to, I start a little faster than I usually do. As the pace settles down, I'm running in sixth place, which is much higher up than I usually am so early in the race.

Keeping it neat and tidy on the numerous little climbs, my ability to relax on the downhill stretches is totally working for me. I'm going well and feeling good. As we start our final lap, I've moved into fifth place.

By this point, I'm tiring, but so is everyone else. What I have to do now is to hang on. This is where the training comes in. I need to maintain my rhythm and stay relaxed.

As an additional incentive, I can see that the boy immediately in front of me is really struggling. With a supreme effort of willpower, I gradually reel him in. Catching him at the top of the final climb, I run away from him as we head downhill towards the finish.

The last hundred metres is on the flat. It feels like the longest hundred metres I've ever run. I'm expecting hordes of runners to come steaming past me, but they don't. I guess they must all be as tired as I am. After what seems like forever, I cross the finish line in fourth place. Wow! I'm not sure where that came from, but I'll take it.

As I hand my finishing disc to Mr Bentley, I'm so tired, I hardly know where to put myself. After removing my spikes, I put on my training pants, hoodie and trainers before joining the other lads for a gentle warm-down. With Patrick second, Nathan eighth, Alan tenth, Simon thirteenth and Jon seventeenth, we've scored 54 points, which is good enough to win most races.

On returning to the school minibus, Mr Bentley informs us that Sutton Coldfield Boys' Grammar have beaten us by four points.

"That was an outstanding performance," he says. "What you need to remember is that four of their scoring six are in Year Thirteen, compared to only one of ours, which means that with the boys we've got coming in, we're very well placed for next season. So well done, everybody! Next week is the Sharnworth Relay, which will be our final race. I'll announce the team in the next couple of days."


I arrive at Scott's flat, still dressed in my training kit. I ring the bell.

"Well," he asks, letting me in. "How did the race go?"

"Very well," I tell him. "I finished fourth, in front of several lads I haven't beaten before. I don't know where it came from, but I just seemed to find something extra. I was really tired on the last lap, but I managed not to lose any places. In fact, I gained one."

"Well done!" he enthuses. "That's brilliant!"

"Any chance I could have a shower?" I ask.

"Of course!" he says smiling. "You know where everything is. Help yourself!"

Making my way to the bathroom, I strip right off before stepping under the beautiful warm water. It feels so relaxing! I take my time, gently massaging myself with shower gel, my tired muscles gradually beginning to ease.

Finally, I rinse myself off. After getting dry, I stash my running kit in my bag and carry it through to the bedroom. Scott, dressed in shorts and a muscle shirt, is lying on the bed waiting for me.

"Hmmm! Very sexy!" he breathes. "I don't think I've ever seen you without a hard-on before."

"I'm sure you'll soon deal with that," I quip.

"Come here then!"

He swings himself around to sit on the side of the bed. Putting down my bag, I stand in front of him. Holding my thighs, he devours my penis, sucking it right down to the root. Within five seconds, I'm as hard as steel.

"So what would you like today?" he asks, looking up at me.

"Something pretty gentle," I tell him. "It's not long since we raced. I'm still feeling a bit fragile."

"No problem!" he says, his brown eyes sparkling.

We snuggle up on the bed. Our foreplay is gentle, sensuous, and very affectionate. Having just run myself to a standstill, it's exactly what I need. It couldn't be better. We're approaching the denouement .

"Do you want me to fuck you?" Scott asks quietly. "Or would you rather we did a sixty-nine, or something?"

"I want you to fuck me. Just . . . you know!"

"Yeah, cool!"

Lying on my back, I lift my legs, placing my hands behind my knees to hold myself in position. After smearing K-Y over his cock, he guides it onto my rosebud, steadily pushing it into me.

As soon as I've taken the whole thing, he bends at the waist, pushing himself down between my thighs. Instinctively, I wrap my legs around him, drawing him in. As I cross my feet behind his back, our lips meet in a passionate kiss.

Very gently, he begins to fuck me. Oh, yes! This is exquisite! On it goes, the sensations out of this world. How he resists the temptation to up the tempo I have no idea. The fact is that this was what I asked for; this is what he's giving me, and I'm loving every second of it. Almost imperceptibly, the intensity increases, my impending orgasm stealthily creeping up on me. Suddenly, I explode, my teen cum spurting all over us.

"Oh, babe!" Scott groans. "That's amazing! Ohh! Here it comes!"

A moment later, he's pumping his hot creamy spunk deep inside me. Wow! That was so special! After a second clean-up operation, I dress in my school uniform, ready for Scott to take me home.


At registration the following morning, Mr Lewis, our form tutor, passes me a message. Mr Bentley wants to see me at the beginning of the lunch break. There's no indication as to what it's about. As far as I know, I haven't done or said anything that I shouldn't have, so I'm puzzled, but not worried.

When the bell goes for the start of the lunch break, I make my way to Mr Bentley's classroom.

"You asked to see me, sir?" I say, striding into the room.

"Yes!" he confirms. "Close the door and come and sit down."

After closing the classroom door, I take a seat close to his desk.

"Who are you expecting to be captain of the cross-country team next season?" he asks.

"Patrick, sir. He's clearly our best runner."

"Quite so. And I assume that as team captain, he'd have your full support?"

"Yes, of course, sir. Patrick and I are good friends. I'll support him in any way I can."

"Have the two of you discussed it at all?"

"No, sir. I just assumed that that's what would happen."

"Indeed! That was my intention. However, when I spoke to Patrick about it, he expressed the view that you would make a better captain than he would. May I take it that you knew nothing about that?"

"Absolutely, sir. This is the first I've heard of it."

"Fine! Now, I'd probably have stuck with my plan, but one of my senior colleagues has also been urging me to make you captain, and for very similar reasons. I assume you don't know anything about that either?"

"Nothing sir. I've never even thought about it. I'd just assumed that Patrick would be captain."

"What both Patrick and my colleague have said is that you're very good at getting things organised and pulling people together. Now I understand what they're saying. You've done an excellent job in organising training sessions out of school hours."

"It only happened because we've got a room that we can use as a base. Before I was born, Dad built an extension onto the back of the house as a playroom for Claire and myself. When she was younger, Claire and her friends used to use it a lot. When I first began running, Dean Griffiths and his dad used to come over on Sunday mornings so that we could run together. At the start of Year Ten, Patrick began running with us, so we invited him to come along too. The following year, when we joined the cross-country team, David asked if he could come along for the Sunday runs. It's just built up from there."

"Well, it's made a big difference. This season, the team has performed far better than I expected. So let me ask you this. If Patrick would prefer you to be captain, are you happy to do the job?"

"Yes, of course, sir. It'd be an honour."

"Right! Leave it with me. But while you're here, you can help me with another problem: the running order for next Wednesday."

The Sharnworth Relay consists of six legs, each of a mile and three quarters, and bowling-green flat. Twelve months ago, I didn't even make the team.

"Will Niall Taylor be running, sir?"

"No," Mr Bentley says. "If it was going to be the difference between us getting medals and not getting medals, I'd have put him in. But as I don't think it will, I'd rather use Jon Franklyn, as a reward for how hard he's worked."

"Well, sir. I'd put Nathan on first. He won't win it, but he won't be far away. I'd run Simon on the second leg. He's pretty good over the shorter distances. He'll probably drop a few places, but the gaps will still be quite small. Then I'd put Patrick on next, so he'll have runners lined up for him to pick off. By the time he's finished, we could be right up there. I'd put myself on the fourth leg. If I can run as well as I did yesterday, I shouldn't lose too much. Alan and Jon will probably get buried on the last two legs, but there's not much we can do about that. At least we'll have kept ourselves involved in the race for as long as we can.

"Thank you very much!" Mr Bentley says, smiling. "As I don't have any better ideas, that's what we'll do. Right! You'd better go and get your lunch!"

I leave his classroom, feeling as though I've just visited a parallel universe, where very strange things happen.


With classes over for the day, I head to the gym changing room, and begin to undress. Moments later, Patrick's changing next to me.

"Did you tell Bentley that I'd be a better captain than you would?" I whisper.

"Yeah," he admits, "because you will."

"Don't you want it, then?"

"I just don't think I'd be very good at it. I'm useless at talking to people I don't know very well. You know that."

I do know that. I also know that Patrick doesn't like being in the spotlight. I'm not going to argue. That's just how it is. My conscience is clear. If I'm given the captaincy, it won't be because I went looking for it.


It's the day of the Sharnford Relay. As well as the six of us who'll be running, the rest of the squad has come along to support. There are eighteen schools taking part. As usual at events like this, we have to wear numbers. We're number 12. I know Mr Bentley doesn't expect us to get into the medals, but I'm sure we'll finish higher than that!

At half past two, the hooter sounds, sending the first-leg runners on their way. As I need to concentrate on my own leg, I can't really watch, but as the runners approach the changeover, I'm pleased to see that it's worked out much as I expected, with Nathan in fifth place, less than twenty seconds behind the leader.

I watch admiringly as Simon sets off for his leg. He's not just a really good-looking lad; he runs beautifully. Just over nine minutes later, he's back. It seems I got this one right too. Simon picked up two places but lost five, and so we're now in eighth place, the gap to the leaders having grown to around 35 seconds.

Patrick sets off on leg three, the runners ahead providing him with a series of targets. Stripping off my training pants, I put on my spikes and set about my final preparations. While making sure that I'm warm and loose, I wonder how many of those targets Patrick will manage to reel in.

With the leading runners around a minute away, I take off my hoodie, handing it to Dean.

"Have a good one!" he urges.

I trot gently towards the takeover zone. Rounding the final turn, Patrick has just taken the lead. Wow! I thought it might be possible, but he's actually done it! I'll have to run well now!

Patrick and I touch hands, and I'm on my way, conscious of the need not to go too fast early on. Within half a minute, I've got company. Just as I expected, the lad goes straight past me. Now I need to start racing.

Fortunately, although he seems to be running pretty well, he's not flying. His pace is nothing that I can't live with, for a while at least. Tucking in behind, I settle into my running, concentrating on staying relaxed.

About a third of the way around the lap, we acquire some more company. This guy is really motoring; there's nothing either of us can do about that! As he disappears into the distance, we continue as we were.

We pass halfway, where Dean and Rhys are shouting encouragement. A few seconds later, another runner comes up behind us, steadily making his way past. With the boy that I've been running with beginning to weaken, I have a decision to make.

The 'sensible' option is to stay where I am until I'm within sight of the finish. But as there's no realistic prospect of us finishing in the medals, that seems a bit too safe. Instead, I decide to go for broke, tagging onto the lad who's just overtaken us. This is risky. I could be left with a quarter of a mile to run and absolutely nothing left. I'll have made a total idiot of myself.

When I was younger, this was the type of risk that I just wouldn't take. The prospect of showing myself up was one I simply couldn't deal with. I remember the arguments I had with Mark and Andrew, who wanted me to go with them to the pool before I'd learned to swim. These days, things are a bit different. I guess that's what growing up's about.

With half a mile to go, another guy comes steaming past. There's nothing I can do about him either; I'm on the ragged edge as it is. I and the lad I'm racing simply keep going at it, running stride-for-stride. I have to keep my focus, maintain my rhythm and stay relaxed; not easy to do when your chest feels like it's on fire.

We make the final turn. Heading to the changeover, the other lad accelerates away to finish a couple of seconds ahead. As I touch hands with Alan, the tiredness finally hits me. I am out of it! Without a doubt, that's the hardest I've ever run.

Alan and Jon run okay. With the gaps having become quite large, we only lose three more places, finishing eighth. With the team we had, that's pretty good. Although the course wasn't the most inspiring, the race administration is superb. Within ten minutes of the last team finishing, team managers are being issued with time sheets.

As Mr Bentley hands me a copy, I check through ours: Harkness 8:59; Heath 9:18; Keaveney 8:36; Haskell 8:57; Sharp 9:23; Franklyn 9:32.

I can hardly believe it. On a flat, fast course of less than two miles, I ran faster than Nathan. That's a first! It's no wonder I was knackered at the end! To be fair, none of us ran badly.

Looking down to the bottom of the sheet, I find a list of the ten best laps. Patrick was third fastest. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that the two guys who ran faster than him are both in Year Thirteen, so that's pretty good too.

"Well done, everybody!" Mr Bentley says, gathering us together. "All of you ran competently, and some of you were outstanding. As you know, although training will continue until the end of term, this was our final race. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Alan for the way in which he's captained the team."

There's a round of applause.

"I would also like to announce that the team captain for next season will be Ian Haskell," Mr Bentley goes on. "I'm sure that you will all give him your full support."

That generates another round of applause.

"Nice one!" Alan says, grinning.

"To be honest, Patrick didn't really want it," I whisper to him. "You know how quiet he is. I've got it by default."

"You deserve it," he counters. "All the work you've put in. I'd have been lost without you."

"Thanks," I acknowledge, a lump in my throat.


With Easter being very late, this term is exceptionally long. Although the cross-country season is over, term doesn't finish until April 15, more than two weeks away.

It's Thursday morning. At break, I'm just hanging out, doing nothing in particular. Mark Welford approaches me. It's the first time he's spoken to me in three years.

"I understand you've grown a pair," he says.

"Excuse me?" I query, not sure where he's going with this.

"Patrick's been telling us about the way you ran yesterday," he explains. "I don't know too much about running, but I do know that Nathan Harkness is pretty good, especially on that sort of course. For you to have run faster than he did, you must have really given it some!"

"Yeah, I latched onto a guy I could just about run with, and managed to hang on until we got to the end."

"You'd never have done anything like that when you were younger," he reminds me. "You used to be a right scaredy-cat. I thought it was because you were gay. Well, I know better than that now."

"Yeah," I admit. "I guess I did have a few issues back then, like being terrified of water. It was making friends with Dean that helped me start to deal with them."

"Yeah, well I'm sorry I was such an arsehole. I'm not trying to make an excuse, but when puberty hit me, I didn't know what was happening! Suddenly, everything seemed to be difficult. And I got so aggressive! Getting into the rugby team was my salvation. I guess it gave me somewhere to channel it. Anyway, I'm pleased to see you doing so well."

He puts out a hand. Right out of the blue, he's decided he wants to bury the hatchet. I could be snotty about it; the way he treated me wasn't right. But that's just not me. He's apologised. It's time to put the past behind us.

"Thanks," I say quietly, accepting his handshake.


Lunchtime the following day, I'm heading towards the dining hall. Mr Lenham, the head of boys' physical education, is coming the other way.

"Congratulations on your appointment!" he says, smiling. "I have to say that it's well deserved."

"Thank you, sir."

"D'you remember a conversation that I had with you a few years ago?"

"Yes sir," I confirm, recalling the time that he called me into his office and told me that if I wanted to keep running during my games classes, I'd have to represent the school when called on to do so, and to join the school cross-country team when I reached Year Eleven.

"That's quite possibly the best ten minutes' work I've ever done," he goes on. "The way that you have developed since has been quite outstanding. That's what this school is about."

"I have had lots of help, sir. Dean Griffiths, Patrick, David Holbrook; and Mum and Dad have always been very supportive."

"Oh, I'm sure that's right. We all need that. But you've gone well beyond what I could have expected. I look forward to seeing what you achieve as team captain."

"Thank you, sir."

I head into the dining hall. Well, that's one mystery solved. Now I know who the senior member of staff was who asked Mr Bentley to give me the captaincy.


Two more weeks have passed; it's April 15 and spring term is finally over. I can't remember it ever finishing as late as this. I'm more than ready for the Easter break.

As it's the end of term, we finish at three o'clock. I head straight to Scott's place. He's not long got back from the club, where he's been given a thorough workout. I'm pleased to say that everything seems to be firmly on track.

This has been a valuable experience for both of us. Obviously, I hope that he doesn't get another serious injury, but if he does, we'll be far better prepared to deal with it than we were this time.

Having chatted for almost an hour, we move into the bedroom. From the moment that we start undressing each other, I know this is going to be special. It does not disappoint. Our foreplay is wonderfully intense. Knowing that Scott's so up for it really gets me going, and that just makes him even hornier.

Finally, he pulls a pillow into the middle of the bed, covering it with an old towel. We don't discuss it; there's no need. We both know what we want. With the pillow under my boy-bits, I lie face down, my legs spread apart. Seconds later, Scott's right on top of me, his beautiful cock buried balls-deep in my arse. After a moment's pause, he fucks me senseless. Wow! I totally needed that!


After eating dinner with Mum, I'm up in my room, preparing to return to Scott's place for round two. My phone rings. I check the display. It's Franny.

"Hi, man!" I greet. "How's it going?"

"Really well, thanks! Have you finished for Easter now?"

"Yeah, we finished today. Easter being so late made it a real slog."

"Any chance I could come over Monday or Tuesday?"

"You can come over Tuesday, because Scott will be at the club till lunchtime. But I thought you'd have had to stay in school until all the Easter services had finished?"

"I would have, but I can't sing, remember? Actually, I'm not allowed to sing. The school doctor told me that as everything's developing so quickly, I could damage my vocal cords if I try to sing at the moment. Anyway, I've been given the week off. They really don't want me there; I'd just be in the way."

"You're going to miss Arlo, then?"

"Yeah, but it shouldn't be too bad. At the end of the half term break, I went to a workshop for young jazz players at the Birmingham School of Music. While I was there, I met this pianist, Josh. He's a few months older than me. He'll be fourteen in June, so he's in Year Nine. He lives in Newton Oaks. That's on the northern edge of Birmingham, which is not too far from us. And he's a great pianist! Classically trained, got a distinction at grade 8 when he was twelve. Since then, he's really been getting into jazz. The thing is, though, I'm sure he's gay. I could tell by the way he was looking at me."

"Oh, right! Nice looking?"

"Very! A bit smaller than me, cute and blond; a bit like you, really! Anyway, tomorrow, there's another workshop at the Music School. I've arranged to meet Josh there, so he can introduce me to a couple of his band mates. He reckons they're both pretty good. Then he's invited me to go over to his house on Wednesday and Thursday so we can rehearse together."

"Sounds good! I guess you're looking forward to that!

"Oh, totally! Even if nothing happens with Josh, it'll be great just playing with these guys. I think it probably will though. Josh is an only child. He has the house to himself while his mum and dad are at work."

"Nice!"

"Best of all, our mums got together and agreed that it'd be okay for me to stop over on Wednesday night. It'll avoid a couple of journeys and give us more rehearsal time."

"Cool! Tuesday it is then! Can you make the earlier train again?"

"Sure!"

"Call me before you set out, yeah?"

"Yeah, no problem!"


It's Tuesday morning. The last few days have been wonderful. I've done some reading, for both history and history of art, and I've worked on my drawing skills. On Sunday, I and the other lads went out for a very enjoyable training run. In between, I've been able to spend lots of time with Scott.

Having received a call from Franny to say that he's on his way, at ten to ten I set out for the journey into town. One advantage of Easter being so late is that the weather's better than it often is; it's sunny and already warming up nicely.

Franny's train arrives right on time. A minute later, he emerges through the ticket barrier. Dressed in snuggly-fitting black shorts and a blue, black and white hooped rugby shirt, he looks more stunning than ever.

"Hi!" he greets, smiling. "Good to see you again! Are we going to the house?"

"Sure, if that's what you want."

We head for the bus station.

"How did things go on Saturday?" I ask.

"Great, thanks! After we'd had our instrumental workshops, I met up with Josh. He's definitely gay. I could tell by the way he was looking at me while we were chatting. And he got a hard-on! Anyway, we played a couple of tunes together, like, just getting to know each other. Then he gave me the charts for the songs they want to us to play tomorrow and Thursday, and URL's for the Youtube videos, so I could hear what they're supposed to sound like.

"Sounds good!"

"Yeah! I've been working on them for the past two days. It's been driving Lorna and Alice crazy, but Mum told them that they'd have to put up with it for once."

"Right!"

"Well, after we'd played together for ten minutes or so, Josh introduced me to Damian and Greg, two of the guys he works with. They're sixteen, just about to do their GCSEs. Damian plays bass. He's about six feet tall; not skinny, but sort of lean, with big hands. Greg's the drummer. He's only a couple of inches taller than me, but he's got a great physique, really powerful."

"Are they gay too?"

"I don't think so. Oddly enough, they both play rugby, the same as me, so we got on really well. The one I haven't met yet is Ryan, the guitarist. He's only my age, but they reckon he's an amazing player. He wasn't there on Saturday because he was having a lesson with this guy who's visiting professor of jazz guitar at the Royal Academy in London. That's scary! He must be very good!"

"Sounds great!"

"Yeah! I'm so looking forward to it!"

The bus arrives and we get onboard. Fifteen minutes later, we're back at the house.

"Tea or coke?" I ask.

"Coke please!"

Taking the bottle from the fridge, I fill two glasses.

"We can take these up to my room if you want," I suggest, handing him one.

"Sure! Let's do it."

We wander up to my room.

"So, what have you been up to?" he asks.

"The usual. Working hard, running and spending time with Scott."

"Sure. How's he getting on now?"

"Much better, thanks. His recovery seems to be progressing really well. It took a while, but he's finally got into doing what he needs to do."

"Which is?"

"To get the strength and movement back into his ankle, build up his endurance and develop his upper-body strength. And in between doing all that, he's been working hard on his Open University degree, which is good."

"Right! So how's your running been going?"

"Great, thanks!"

"The last time I was here, you told me you weren't doing very well."

"Yeah, back before half term, Scott was barely coping, and it was stressing me out. I was running crap! Now that he's got things back on track, I've been running better than I ever have."

"I hope you don't mind me saying this," he says, eyeing me up and down. "But aren't you a bit young to be taking your relationship with Scott so seriously?"

"Yeah; that's what Mum and Dad think, but we're just so right for each other."

"I can't imagine me getting that serious about someone when I'm seventeen."

"I can't imagine you getting serious about anyone, period!" I counter. "But you may grow up one day! You meet the right person and everything changes."

"Yeah, right! So, are we having some fun today?"

"Yeah, if you want."

"Wow! You're not arguing about it!"

"There's no point, is there? I always lose!"

"Come on then!" he says, grinning.

After discarding our shoes and socks, we set about undressing each other. In less than a minute, we're as naked as the day we were born. I lick my lips. Franny is one of the most gorgeous specimens of humanity I've ever encountered. He is sex on legs!

Snuggling up on the bed, we begin to reprise what we did the last time we were together. After a couple of minutes, Franny starts massaging my arse. It feels wonderful! Running his finger along my crack, he prods at my bum-hole. I swat his hand away.

"I'll be seeing Scott this afternoon," I tell him. "I don't want him getting the idea that someone else has been there!"

"Fair enough!" he concedes.

Continuing in much the same way as we have previously, we eventually morph into a sixty-nine. The intensity is something else. After only a couple of minutes, we each shoot our load into the other's mouth. Wow! Oral sex doesn't get any better than that!

As soon as we're dressed, we head back downstairs. It's time for lunch. I could do another fry-up, but Mum would want to know where all the bacon and stuff had gone. In any case, we haven't been working, just expending energy. Cheese on toast will do. We've almost finished eating when my phone rings. It's Scott.

"Hi!" I greet. "I wasn't expecting you to call."

"Hi babe!" he responds. "Sorry to mess you about, but I need to stay at the club this afternoon. The guys want to do some more work with me."

"There's not a problem, is there?"

"No, not at all. They want me to expand my exercise regime. They need to make sure that I know what I'm doing. Could you come over this evening? "

"Sure! I can be there by about half past seven."

"Cool! I'll see you then!"

We end the call.

"That was Scott," I say, looking across at Franny. "He's got to stay at the club this afternoon. The fitness guys need to do some more work with him, so I won't be seeing him till this evening."

"It's a shame you didn't know earlier," he says, grinning mischievously. "You might have let me fuck you."

"You've got no chance!" I say dismissively.

"Spoilsport!" he counters.

A few minutes later, we're on our way into town. We arrive at the bus station. Franny doesn't seem in any hurry to go home, and as my arrangements have changed, I've got time on my hands. We head to the cathedral. Having climbed the tower, we look out across the river to the cricket ground and the hills beyond.

"This is well cool!" Franny enthuses.

He's right. On a sunny spring day, it's just about perfect. We return to ground level.

"Fancy a coffee?" I ask.

"Sure!"

We wander into Starbucks and spend half an hour over coffee and muffins. Franny's in superb form: lively, enthusiastic, mischievous. We have a great time; he makes me feel like a kid again. He really is fantastic company.

At quarter past three, I leave him at the station. As I sit on the bus, heading for home, I try to make sense of what we did today. When I have such a wonderful relationship with Scott, why am I so willing to do what Franny wants? Why can't I just say no?

It's not about him being stunningly beautiful and stimulating company. Scott has those qualities by the bucketload. No, it's something quite different. Unlike Scott or any of my other friends, Franny has a wild, mischievous streak, and that's exciting! Even though I know it shouldn't, it draws me in like a moth to a flame.

For me, I guess that Franny is the ultimate forbidden fruit. He's forbidden for any number of reasons, but on the other hand, he's very inviting and readily available. It's a combination that I find almost impossible to resist.


It's early on Thursday afternoon. I'm on my way to Scott's place. I would have gone there this evening, but he called me earlier on. He said he'd done everything he needed to do and asked if I could go there now.

I arrive at the flat. Scott lets me in. We stroll through to the lounge and flop down on the sofa.

"Actually," he says, looking me right in the eye. "There's something I need to ask you. When I called you on Tuesday, was there someone there with you?"

"Yes," I admit. "My cousin Franny, the one I told you about. He'd come over to hang out with me."

"Right! You never mentioned it."

"Sorry; I didn't think it was important."

"I thought when I called that there was someone else there. Then this morning I got a call from a friend of mine. He's been working in Starbucks while he's on holiday from uni. He told me he'd seen you in there with a boy that he thought was about fourteen. He said the two of you looked very close."

"Sorry! Franny's a bit wild. We were having a right laugh."

I pull out my phone and call up the pictures Franny sent me.

"Here he is!" I say, passing it over.

"Bloody hell!" Scott exclaims, his eyes widening. "Does your family breed beautiful boys? He's gorgeous!"

"I'm not sure," I say casually. "There's only me and Franny. Well, Mum's brother, my Uncle Chris has two boys, but they live in New Zealand. I was only six the last time I saw them."

"Right! So how old's Franny?"

"Thirteen."

"Looks a big lad for his age."

"Yeah; he's a fraction taller than me, and a good bit heavier."

"So how's he related to you?"

"His mum, my Auntie Sarah, is Dad's sister. She's quite small, but Franny's dad, Uncle Gavin, is a big guy."

"Makes sense! Franny's going to Chetham's, isn't he?"

"Yeah, that's right! He went for an audition and they offered him a place."

"Cool! I'd love to meet him. Could you invite him to come over?"

"Sure! I was going to call him this evening anyway. He's spent the past two days working with some young jazz musicians that he met at The Birmingham School of Music. I want to find out how it's gone. I'll let you know."


It's just after seven o'clock when I call Franny.

"Hi man!" he greets. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"How have things gone the past two days?"

"Amazing! Working with these guys is the best thing I've ever done. We had a blast! Now what's the real reason you've called me?"

"One of Scott's friends is working in Starbucks. He saw us in there. Anyway, Scott asked me about it, so I told him who I was with. He said he'd like to meet you. He asked me to invite you over."

"Oh, right! How about next Tuesday?"

"Not really. Scott will be at the club. He won't be back until half past two."

"Well, I'm going over to Newton Oaks again next Wednesday and Thursday so that's no good. How about Monday? I know it's a bank holiday, but I won't be doing anything."

"Yeah, that should work."

"Let me check the trains," he suggests. There's a pause. "Yeah," he confirms. "That'll be fine. Will the later one be okay?"

"Sure, no problem! Er, how did the 'other stuff' go?"

"It was very interesting! I'll tell you all about it when I see you, yeah?"

"Right! Monday it is; ten past eleven."

And that's it. I call Scott to confirm that I've made the arrangements. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to seeing Franny again. It's obvious that something happened while he was at Newton Oaks. I can hardly wait to find out the details.


It's Easter Monday. The weekend's gone really well. As it's a holiday, Scott and I have allowed ourselves some time off. Taking advantage of the warm sunny weather, we've been out to a couple of places. On Saturday night, I even got to stop over at his place. I loved that!

At nine o'clock, Franny calls to say that he was on his way. I'll admit that I'm a bit nervous, but I know I don't really have anything to worry about. Franny and I will play innocent and that'll be that.

I'm not going to let Franny come over here again though. That really would be taking the piss! Actually, if he's having sex while spending time with these guys from Newton Oaks, he probably won't want to.

I arrive at the station at five to eleven. I've got fifteen minutes to wait, but on a warm, sunny morning, there are worse things I could be doing. We're going to meet Scott in Starbucks. I guess we may move on to the flat once Scott's sussed out that Franny isn't going to tell anyone where he's been or who he's met.

Just after ten past eleven, he saunters through the ticket barrier. He's dressed much the same way as he was last week, except that the rugby top has been replaced by a red and white polo shirt. Nice!

"Hi man!" I greet. "We're meeting Scott in Starbucks."

"Cool!" he says, smiling.

We head out of the station.

"So what happened last week?" I ask quietly.

"Well, I got there okay. Josh met me at the bus stop and took me back to the house. It's nice! He's even got his own music room. Anyway, we put my overnight stuff in the guest room and I had a quick freshen up. Then we started going through the tunes. He wanted to make sure that I could play the written parts properly. Then we worked on the three tunes where they want me to take a solo. I haven't done much improvising before, so I've got lots to learn. By the time we'd finished, it was nearly half past twelve. I was just wondering if anything was going to happen, when the doorbell rang.

Josh went to answer it. He came back in with two boys: Tommy who's fourteen and his brother Daniel, who's eleven. Well, they didn't kiss or anything, but I knew straightaway that Tommy was Josh's boyfriend, which was disappointing. He must be nearly six feet tall, straight fair hair, blue eyes, and slim without being skinny, yeah? Anyway, he asked us to play something for them, so we went through one of the tunes we'd been working on.

Afterwards, he said he thought it was great. He seemed a really nice guy, and it was obvious that he loves Josh to bits. So at this point, I was totally confused. Anyway, Tommy put his arm around Josh's shoulder, grinned at me and said 'Why don't you show Daniel where you're going to be sleeping?'

Well, that was a bit alarming, considering I'd only just met the kid, but I thought 'What the hell! If his big brother says so, I might as well go with it.' So we all went upstairs. Tommy and Josh went to Josh's room; Daniel and I to the guest room. As soon as Daniel had closed the door, he began feeling me up!

He's not pretty, like Arlo, but he's very cute, and so sexy! He's got short brown hair, a few freckles and a really cheeky smile; and he's a gymnast, so he's got a gorgeous body. Anyway, he knelt on the floor and pulled my shorts and boxers off. Before I knew what was happening, he had my cock down his throat. I could hardly believe it! Then, to top it all, he asked me if I wanted to fuck him. He'd even brought a tube of K-Y. Well, I wasn't going to say no, was I? He bent over the bed. I stood behind and gave him what he wanted. It was fantastic! He's got a beautiful little bum! I came loads! And he loved it!"

"Wow!"

We've arrived at Starbucks.

"Yeah!" Franny says, grinning. "And it didn't stop there, but I'll tell you more later. Right! Into the lion's den!"

I follow him inside. Scott's sitting at a table for four, well away from anyone else. I sit down next to him. Franny sits on the other side of the table, opposite Scott.

"Good to meet you," Scott says, extending a hand.

After they've shaken hands, Franny and I head to the counter. We each order a coffee and a muffin. Returning to the table, I sit down next to Scott, while Franny sits directly opposite him. Straightaway, I can feel the tension in the air. It's Franny who breaks the silence.

"I believe I owe you an apology for talking your boyfriend into having sex with me," he says evenly.

I'm horrified. Franny and I hadn't discussed what we were going to say; I didn't think we needed to. I never expected him to simply put his hands up to it!

"And how did you manage to do that?" Scott asks.

"I got us talking about sex. Of course, Ian got a hard-on, so I suggested we had sex. He said he didn't want to, because he'd be cheating on you. I told him that his dick was telling a different story, and that you'd never know as long as he didn't tell you. Basically, I just made it really difficult for him to say no."

"I see," Scott says thoughtfully. "Ian's a very generous, very giving person. He also likes you a great deal. He wouldn't have wanted to disappoint you by saying no. I think that you sensed that, and exploited it to get what you wanted. Am I right?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Is that something you're proud of?" Scott demands.

"Not really."

"You shouldn't be. You seem like a decent lad, but that sort of behaviour's not right. It's selfish and manipulative. You should be better than that. Now you said that Ian told you that he didn't want to cheat?"

"Yes."

"So why did you ignore him?" Scott queries, maintaining the pressure.

"I guess I didn't really believe it."

"Why was that?" Scott persists. "Did you think he was making it up?"

"Not making it up. I guess I thought he was making too much of it."

"And do you still think that?"

"No. I thought it was just like a game, you know, but it's not, is it? I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to break you up. I wouldn't do that."

"No, it certainly isn't a game," Scott confirms, his eyes boring right into Franny's skull. "Just so that we're clear, how far did things go?"

"We sucked each other off. I asked Ian if I could fuck him, but he wouldn't let me. He said that was your exclusive privilege."

"And how many times did this happen?"

"Four. Once at the beginning of September before we went back to school. I think you were away with the England under-21 squad at the time. We did it again, during the October half term, during the February half-term and then last week. I wanted to do something when Ian's family came over to ours on Boxing Day, but Ian said it was too risky. Well, there were about a dozen people in the house."

"I see," Scott says thoughtfully, almost like a cat toying with a mouse. "Now let's move on to another aspect of this. Suppose your activities had come to the attention of the powers that be. Who would have taken the consequences?"

"I guess we both would."

"Not really. As Ian's seventeen and you're only thirteen, legally, it's his responsibility to ensure that nothing of that nature happens. The fact that you instigated it is neither here nor there."

"That's stupid!" Franny protests.

"It may well be, but that's how it is. You'd get a slap on the wrist and be given 'counselling'. Ian could, and probably would, lose everything he's worked for. Now I'm sure that's not what you'd want, is it?"

"No, of course not!"

"You're quite a strong personality," Scott says, looking Franny right in the eye. "But you do need to be more careful. If you want to risk your own future, that's a matter for you. But don't risk screwing up someone else's. Do you understand?"

"Yes, thanks!"

Right on cue, our names are called, and Franny and I go to collect our orders. Returning to the table, we sit down again.

"Right!" Scott says, smiling at Franny. "Lecture over! Ian tells me that you've got a place at Chethams?"

"Yeah, I'll be starting in September."

For the next twenty minutes, they talk animatedly about music that I'm not familiar with and musicians I've never heard of, leaving me on the side-lines. Finally, Scott calls a halt.

"You can take Franny back to the station now," he says rather coldly, turning to me. "I'll see you back at the flat. You and I need to talk."

Franny and I make our way out.

"Scott doesn't mess about, does he?" Franny says, as soon as we're outside.

"No, he doesn't."

"You hadn't told him, had you?"

"No," I admit, rather sourly. "Is that what you'd have done?"

"Totally! When you're in a hole, you need to stop digging!"

"I don't get it. It's not like he'd caught us with our pants around our ankles."

"Scott's your boyfriend, isn't he? How long have you been together?

"Just over a year."

"And haven't you told me how close you've become, like you can pretty much sense what the other one's thinking?"

"Yeah."

"Then didn't it occur to you that he'd know you weren't telling him the whole story?"

I feel the colour drain from my face. Of course he'd have known! How could I have been so stupid?

After leaving Franny at the station, I head towards the flat, feeling like the condemned man. I have seriously fucked up! Having let me in, Scott leads the way to the lounge. As usual, we sit on the sofa, but there's no question of us snuggling up.

"Let's get straight to the point," Scott says flatly. "As soon as I heard about you being in Starbucks with another boy, I knew that there was something going on. I gave you the opportunity to tell me, but you didn't. You carried on as though if you denied it for long enough, it would just go away. Well, I'm afraid it doesn't work like that. Fortunately, Franny had the sense to put his hands up straightaway, even to the point of admitting that what had happened had been largely down to him. But leaving that to one side, the fact remains that when I challenged you, you should have told me about it. If, after everything we've shared over the past year, you can't be straight with me, our relationship's going nowhere."

"I'm sorry," I say quietly. "I was being stupid."

"Well, right at the moment, I can't get my head around it," he tells me, his sense of disappointment, and maybe even betrayal, evident in his tone. "I'm going to need some time. I'll call you."

I leave the flat and head for home. I'm devastated. I had everything I could have wanted, and I've thrown it away. And there's no point trying to blame Franny or anyone else. This is down to me.


For the next few hours, I manage to hold things together, just about. Finally, it's quarter past ten. With nothing better to do, I decide to have an early night. Climbing into bed, I pull the covers over my head and burst into tears.

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