One of Us

by Richard Campbell

Chapter 3

Over the next few weeks the boys became even closer. While Mark did his practise in the music room Peter would be at football training—the most important of his sporting activities, although he was involved in everything that the school offered—then they would walk home until they reached the point at which their routes parted company. If Peter happened to finish early they would go directly to his house. Mark loved that.

Emily who was a reasonably accomplished pianist herself had told him to do as much practice on the Ibach as he wished. "All instruments need playing and neither Pete nor I give this one enough exercise."

Mark was amused at the way she put it, as if she was discussing a favourite dog. In spite of his best endeavours though, he was unable to get Peter to play for him. All he would admit to was that he could just about manage chopsticks, and everyone was sick of hearing it.

When they reached the house they would often find Emily in the garden. She worked as a buyer for a clothing chain and her movements, like those of her husband's, tended to be unpredictable. She and Victor were invariably kind and understanding and Mark quickly came to feel relaxed in their company.

Their relationship with Peter continued to fascinate him. They treated him almost as an equal and gave him far more independence than anyone else he knew. It was only after he thought about it that he became aware that their attitude to himself was rather different. They were certainly indulgent but didn't treat him on the same adult basis as they did their son. For instance, they had taught Peter to drive soon as his legs were long enough to reach the pedals. When Mark tried to imagine the Captain teaching him, his mind boggled!

There were other things as well. Without comment, they always gave Peter wine if they were having it themselves, or he helped himself after pouring for them. Occasionally he even drank spirits! They always offered him the same but on the only occasion he tried some brandy, he choked, spluttered, and to Peter's amusement, refused point blank to try anything else. How anyone, let alone his friend, could drink the awful stuff he had no idea.

Eventually he became accustomed to a small glass of wine but noticed that they, as well as Peter, tactfully limited the amount they gave him, whereas Peter was free to have as much as he liked. Had he had more contact with people his own age he would have found this even more strange, but as he only had his own family to go by, and was aware that his upbringing had been a lot more spartan than the norm, it was difficult to judge.

When he spent the afternoon at Peter's house, had he been permitted, he would have sat down at the piano and played until forcibly stopped. But in spite of his incessant whinging, as Peter called it, the older boy wouldn't allow him to touch the Ibach until they had completed their homework. At the same time he was so encouraging and helpful that Mark actually began to get to grips with most of his subjects. He would never be outstanding but at least he didn't draw his teachers' ire quite so frequently. In fact, with Peter's help even his maths showed a small improvement.

The fact that Peter, who had become the most popular boy in the school within the space of a few weeks, was his friend and champion did him no harm in the eyes of his contemporaries. One or two even began to notice qualities that they hadn't been aware of until he started to blossom under his friend's influence. He was intensely proud of Peter and though he still wished sometimes that he was exactly like him, that aspiration was not tinged with the slightest touch of envy.

Mark had never been the least bit interested in football, a game he considered totally boring, but when Peter invited him to watch an important match at a rival school he accepted with alacrity, pleased to be able to do something for the friend who did so much for him.

He sat between Emily and Victor and thoroughly enjoyed their company though his eyes were constantly fixed on the lad charging around the field. There were times when his heart was in his mouth when it seemed that the compact figure was going to be demolished by one of the opposing team all of whom were larger and heavier than he was. But Peter turned or dodged at the last minute and re-appeared triumphantly unscathed, often in possession of the ball. Mark knew nothing about the game but even he could see that Peter was a generous player who never hogged the ball and, at the same time, made his team-mates look good. It was no wonder, he concluded proudly, that everyone liked him so much.

Emily and Victor who studied him almost as closely as he was watching Peter came to a conclusion which they discussed later.

"I'm reasonably sure he has fallen in love with Pete," Emily replied in answer to a question from her husband. "But he doesn't know it yet and I have no idea how he will react when he finds out. Is he gay do you think?"

Victor frowned slightly. "Speaking for myself, I would say he probably is. But we have a better indication in that Pete thinks so, and he's experienced enough to know."

"You don't think it might be wishful thinking on his part?"

"I imagine he has checked without Mark realising what he was up to, so no, I don't think he's pursuing false hopes. But whether Mark is aware of what he is, and would acknowledge it even to himself, is a different kettle of fish. From the little we've seen of his father he won't have an easy time if the man ever finds out. I suspect that the repercussions will be horrendous. Captain Gordon strikes me as one of the worst bigots, in every sense of the word, that I have ever come across. I just hope that Pete, in his eagerness, doesn't push Mark into a situation where he has to face up to the man before he's ready. For all our sakes."

"You've never regretted us having Pete have you, darling? I've always known that I wanted him more than you did."

Victor took her into his arms. "No, never. I know that I wasn't as sure as you were when we first discussed it but that didn't last long. And now? I'm as proud of him as you are, and love him just as much. You've done a fine job on him my dear, everyone says so."

Emily turned slightly pink. "Well you did your share so we can both be proud of him. But I am worried about this situation. I've felt for some time that he was beginning to need a more permanent relationship but I always assumed it would be with someone older, the sort of mature lad he was attracted to previously. And yet, here he is in love with a boy so much younger than himself."

"Not so much in some ways."

"You know what I mean, Vic, Mark is a baby compared to him."

"That's only because he hasn't had the experience that Pete has. He's quite old enough to decide whether he wants to get together with Pete or not."

"Is he? I know that he's adolescent and has probably been so for a year or two, but he's still a child."

"I understand that, Em, but at the same time, it seems to me that since he has been around Pete he's grown up a lot. You have only got to think back to the first time we met him and compare what he was then to how he is now. He's growing up fast."

"But I don't want him to grow up too fast as if he's a, a hot house plant in a greenhouse. He shouldn't be robbed of his childhood."

Victor gave a soft laugh. "Emily my darling, childhood, especially for boys, is much overrated, and in any case has ended by the age of about five. After that pressure from society, peers and parents chips away at anything that is left pretty rapidly. I was a boy myself and went through it. Apart from which Mark is going to need every bit of maturity he can lay his hands on when he starts breaking away from his father. I can see serious trouble ahead and that's what worries me most if the showdown, when it comes as it most surely will, is provoked by any relationship he might be having with Pete."

"That thought had crossed my mind," responded Emily in a worried voice. "Is there anything we can do about it?"

"It may not happen at all, but if it does we will weather it better if we're prepared. I think that we should consider getting some advice. We would have to sooner or later in any case, so the sooner the better. As both you and Pete are dying to show him off, why don't you organise a musical evening and invite one or two people who could be helpful. As well as James of course. They would expect to look him over anyway and that way he would show to his best advantage."

"That's an excellent idea. I'll get on to it tomorrow after I've talked to Pete. In the meantime I think you deserve to be rewarded for your brilliance. Are you in the mood?"

"I'm always in the mood with you," said her husband, holding her tightly, "Whether I deserve it or not."

Emily wasted no time the following day and as soon as she had put the idea to Peter, without mentioning the underlying reason, she found herself so caught up in his enthusiasm that she had to firmly suppress his sweeping and grandiose plans for the hapless Mark. Resolutely vetoing his plan for an evening devoted entirely to Mark's playing with perhaps a token appearance by someone else, she pointed out that Mark was not a concert pianist and would almost certainly feel embarrassed if he felt he was performing for too long.

"He hasn't even agreed to play yet and you're already planning the start of a concert career."

"He'll agree," stated Peter authoritatively, "Even if I have to threaten him with never playing the Ibach again."

"Peter!" she snapped, in one of her rare moments of anger. "Don't you dare say that to him, it would be too unkind. You know how much it means to him."

He looked at her in surprise. She never used his full name unless she was seriously disturbed. "Em darling," he said ruefully, "You know I wouldn't really. I would never be cruel to him. I really…" he broke off.

Emily almost finished the sentence but decided to wait until he was ready to complete it himself. "I know you wouldn't my dear, but at the same time you can be a bit dictatorial. Just because Mark doesn't stand up to you doesn't mean that he has no feelings on the subject."

"You don't think I bully him, do you?" Peter enquired, looking stricken.

She shook her head reassuringly. "Of course you don't bully him, but you can be ruthless about getting your own way at times."

"Ruthless? With Mark?" he asked in such a horrified voice that she had to smile.

"We're all ruthless in our way, especially when it comes to the people we, er, like, and often convinced that we know what's best for them. Sometimes we're right, equally often of course, we're completely wrong. But either way it's not easy for the less strong person to live with."

"You don't think he's a weakling do you, Em? Because if you do, you're wrong. It's just that he's too used to doing what he's told and I suppose I do dictate to him a bit. But truly, if he really doesn't want to do something, nothing I say makes him change his mind."

"I'm sure you're right when it comes to important things. But you shouldn't put him in the position of going along with you in less significant things simply because it's easier to do that than stand up to you. He might come to resent it eventually and you could lose a good friend."

"I didn't think of it like that," Peter said slowly. "I'll be more careful in future."

"I think you would be wise, love. And, if you don't mind a little more advice, it seems to me that Mark is told what to do by his father quite enough. He doesn't need it from his best friend as well."

"I never thought that he would mind," Peter responded guiltily.

"I don't suppose he does at the moment," she replied thoughtfully, "But who knows how he may feel later? And there is another thing you might think about. You've said that underneath the surface he has quite a strong character. But if you make too many decisions for him he may come to depend on you to do it all the time. I'm not saying that he would, but it is a possibility."

"You mean I should let him stand on his own feet?"

"Yes. That is what I mean when you come right down to it."

"I understand what you're saying, Em, but at the same time, he really does need someone to look after him. Not because he's helpless or anything like that, but because he needs encouragement and, well, support. Even in simple things. You think he's very talented but don't forget that until I made him do it, forced him if you like, he had never played for anyone because he felt he wasn't good enough. That's what I mean when I say he needs encouragement, and he certainly doesn't get it from anyone else."

Emily nodded. "It's not going to be easy for you. You will have to walk a very fine line between encouraging him, and allowing him make his own decisions. You shouldn't try to change him, Pete."

"But I don't want to change him. I like him just the way he is."

"I can see that, my dear. Just bear in mind that over persuading someone is a form of bullying as much as physically harming them. But to go back to what we were saying earlier," she went on, feeling that she had given him enough to think about, "If we said in about a month's time for our little concert, would that give him enough time to prepare something?"

Peter was about to tell her that it was more than enough time but stopped himself. "I'll talk to him and see what he says."

Pleased that he seemed to have taken her words to heart, she suggested he phone Mark straight away.

"They'll still be at church," he told her, glancing at the clock, "I'll do it later. Who else did you think of inviting to play?"

They were still discussing it over breakfast when Victor came in, greeted his wife with a kiss and ruffled Peter's hair as he passed on his way to the coffee pot.

"Don't get up," he remarked, pressing Peter's shoulder. "I can pour a cup for myself, you know."

"I like doing it for you," Peter replied, getting up anyway and giving him a quick peck on the cheek, "You sit."

Victor grinned his thanks and asked Emily how their plans were going.

"We're just waiting to get the agreement of the star performer, then we'll start phoning people. No, on second thoughts, Pete, perhaps we should contact a few people first to check when they're free. I'll do it after breakfast then you can phone Mark. Do you think he'd like to come to lunch? We could talk about it then."

"I'm sure he would but I don't know if his father will allow it at such short notice. From what he's told me they have a formal Sunday Dinner, all roast beef and overcooked vegetables. It sounds awful," he added with a shudder.

"Well see what you can do. If not lunch, perhaps he could come to tea. I'll speak to his father if you like."

By the time the Gordon family returned from Mass the date had been settled and Peter phoned Mark. As he suspected the invitation to lunch was refused on Mark's behalf by the Captain, who took the phone from his son after the request had been conveyed to him in a diffident voice. His son had to clean the car as soon as they had finished eating, the Captain informed Peter, but conceded that when it was done Mark could do as he pleased. He demanded to speak to Emily, to whom he conveyed his thanks in so condescending a manner that she had to bite her tongue to avoid laughing out loud. She in turn asked to speak to Mark and after a few reassuring words, handed the receiver back to Peter and returned to the dining room, torn between irritation and amusement.

When Peter followed her into the room five minutes later, she was in the middle of telling Victor what she thought of arrogant males but broke off, not wanting to provoke a similar reaction against the man in Peter as well.

"All fixed?" Victor enquired.

"Yeah. I'm going to help Mark with their car then we'll come and do ours."

Victor looked astonished. "It's a miracle! You hate washing the car!"

Peter grinned. "I won't mind if Mark and I do it together, and it will take less time as well."

Victor shook his head in wonder. "Well, I'm going to mow the lawn."

"I'll come with you."

Watching them joking together as they left the room, Emily thought that she had seldom seen Peter so full of life. He had always been a good natured boy but he seemed to be going out of his way to be helpful since he'd met Mark. I only hope it all works out she thought with a sigh as she went to the kitchen to make something for tea.

After a rather tense lunch due to the fact that he was not in his father's good books—for the second Sunday in succession Mark had not gone to either confession or communion—he was delighted to see Peter when he went out resignedly with a bucket of soapy water, sponge and leather to wash the car. Fortunately it wasn't one of the occasions when he had to wax it as well (first Sunday of every month, make a timetable and stick to it!) so it wouldn't normally have taken him very long anyway, but with Peter's help it was done in no time.

He took Peter up to his bedroom when he went to change his clothes. He was shy about Peter watching him but didn't want to leave him downstairs in case his father emerged unexpectedly from his traditional Sunday afternoon sleep.

With his back turned he stripped to his underpants unaware that Peter was watching avidly, admiring the slim smooth legs descending from his taut, narrow buttocks. There was a fragility to Mark's build that reminded him irresistibly of a small antelope. He had the same delicate bone structure and firm neat muscles of a young deer. As he bent over to step into a clean pair of jeans, Peter could see the vertebrae of his spine and experienced an urge to kiss each one individually.

It was only as they were about to leave the room that Peter recollected they had another vehicle to wash.

"Sorry Mark, I'd forgotten about it. I should have told you not to change. Don't worry, bring your stuff with you and you can change at my place." And that will give me two more chances to look at you, he told himself happily.

Emily and Victor were working companionably in the garden when the boys walked through the gate. The Captain, too, was a keen gardener although his intervention only went as far as giving orders to Mark and the man who came three times a week to do the heavy work. The Dorans apparently, did everything themselves. With his shirt removed Victor was digging strenuously while Emily, looking attractively dishevelled and wearing a large hat to keep off the sun, was weeding next to him. They were always close together Mark realised, stealing an admiring glance at Victor's torso.

They broke off what they were doing to make him welcome, Emily taking his hand briefly and Victor gripping his shoulder for a minute seemingly delighted at the opportunity to take a break.

Feeling warm inside and wishing that his own parents were more like them, Mark was tongue tied with pleasure. But it didn't matter. Peter and Victor were discussing how much more there was to be done, while Emily was telling him about her plans and what she hoped the garden would look like when it was completed.

"Not that a garden is ever really finished," she added.

"That's because she's always changing her mind and wanting things moved to different places," Victor broke off his conversation with Peter to explain. "At our last house she wanted the rockery moved twice. It nearly killed me."

"And me," Peter agreed, slipping an arm around her waist.

"You?" said Victor scornfully. "You didn't do a thing except criticise and say you wanted a pond instead. I was the one who did all the work!"

"Don't listen to them," Emily told Mark. "They were the ones who really wanted it moved. Only they wouldn't have done anything about it if I hadn't insisted."

Looking at the three of them, united and happy, Mark felt a pang of loneliness and exclusion. There was so much of Peter's life with his parents that he knew nothing about. Sensing something of his thoughts Emily made a slight movement that broke up the trio and moving closer to Mark said in a determined voice, "Well I love rockeries and I going to have one. Over there."

"Oh no!" Peter and Victor groaned in unison, making Mark smile.

"Not another one," Peter added in dismay. "I'm going to run away from home!"

"Wonderful news!" Emily exclaimed in a tone of enormous relief. "I thought we'd never get rid of you. Shall we come and help you pack?"

Peter gave Mark a tragic look. "You see how it is. I know when I'm not wanted. Can I come and live with you?"

"Of course you can," Mark replied, throwing caution to the winds and knowing that it was all a joke but feeling in a way that his relationship with Peter had moved to a different level. For a moment he wondered what it would be like if Peter really did live with him. Or better still, if he lived with Peter.

"You would be sorry if he did," said Victor comfortably, "You'd never get any peace. He never stops talking."

"Well, thanks very much," Peter retorted indignantly. "And I even said we'd wash the car for you!"

Victor looked horrified. "You've not changed your mind just because I said you talk too much, have you? I take it back. All of it. You never say a word. Your mouth is shut. You are seen and not heard. You're quiet as the grave. You never speak unless you're spoken to. You are strong and silent…what more can I say?"

"That's better," said Peter in a gratified voice. "You have to keep parents in order," he confided to Mark. "Discipline is what they need, and never let them get above themselves."

Gripped firmly by Victor, who put a hand over his mouth, Peter rolled his eyes and winked at Mark who in spite of his astonishment had started to giggle. He'd never have believed that anyone could speak to their parents like that and get away with it. Glancing at Emily who was smiling broadly, he realised that they even seemed to enjoy it! His own life seemed bare and cold in comparison. But there was more to come.

Victor, having given his son an admonishing squeeze released him. Peter turned, gave him a hug, then pulled his face down and kissed him.

"Come on, let us two strong and silent people go and wash the car."

In a complete daze Mark allowed himself to be taken upstairs. He was thinking so deeply that he neglected to turn his back as he slipped out of his clean jeans. The delighted Peter kept still, not wanting to spoil the moment. Letting his glance stray down he inventoried the bulge in Mark's ill fitting white underpants and felt a sharp pang of desire. He would have given a great deal to see what Mark looked like when aroused but had been careful to respect his modesty in the school showers. Sadly, Mark was changed all too soon.

As they passed through the garden Victor, who had resumed his digging, felt in his pocket and tossed the car keys to Peter who caught them nonchalantly with one hand. Mark, who couldn't catch anything to save his life, admired the way he did it without seeming to look.

"Jump in," Peter told him as he adjusted the seat. "We'll do it on the drive."

Enviously Mark watched him start the engine and casually reverse the car out of the garage, angling it away from the hedge dividing the property from the house next door to give them room to move around it.

He didn't enjoy washing his father's car, it was just another irksome task, but working with Peter was so pleasant that even doing two cars in the same day was fun and it didn't take long before they were rinsing it. They had almost finished when, distracted by something Peter said and forgetting that he had the hose in his hand, he turned to answer and soaked his companion from head to foot.

"I'm sorry…" he stammered, breaking off when he was soaked in turn when the grinning Peter sloshed water over him from the bucket he was using to splash the wheels. Before he realised what was happening they were fighting for possession of the hose and water was squirting everywhere. The stronger boy had just got hold of it and was drenching him when Victor appeared on the scene and with a wicked grin, Peter turned the hose on him instead.

"You little rat!" Victor yelled, and advancing on Peter, removed the hose from his grasp with no effort at all, grabbed him before he could escape and held the hose over his head. Laughing and shouting Peter wriggled desperately but Victor was too strong for him and seemed determined to drown him until the flow of water stopped abruptly as Emily turned off the tap.

"Look at you three babies," she said sternly, hands on her hips. "You were supposed to be washing the car not each other. Now get it dried."

"Yes ma'am," Peter said, giving her a mock salute. "At your orders, ma'am."

"As for you," she took her husband by the ear, "You can start. Pete, take Mark inside to get changed. There's a cold wind blowing and I don't want him catching cold. We'll finish up here."

"Okay. Come on, Mark. I'll never hear the end of it if you so much as sneeze."

Grateful for her concern which he decided sprang from her innate kindness (he was far too humble to think that she might like him for himself rather than as a friend of Peter's) Mark started to say sorry, but she cut him off.

"It was just fun. There's no need to apologise, except for some people who are old enough to know better," she said with a minatory look at her husband who said immediately, "I'm sorry, Ma'am. I should have known better, Ma'am. I won't never do it again, Ma'am."

She cast her eyes up to heaven. "Go on you two while I deal with this miserable creature as he deserves."

Her method of dealing with Victor involved putting her arms round him and kissing the back of his neck while he diligently leathered the paint work.

"Come on or I'll be in dead trouble," said Peter cheerfully, took Mark's hand and led him into the house.

Instead of going to his bedroom Peter conducted him directly to the bathroom. "You're cold," he said in a concerned voice feeling Mark's sodden shirt before turning on the taps. "I shouldn't have wet you like that."

Mark who was beginning to shiver smiled. "It doesn't matter, it was fun."

"It was, wasn't it," Peter remarked in a satisfied voice. "Specially when I got Vic."

Mark chuckled. "He got you worse."

"He always does. He's much stronger than I am."

Like you're stronger than me, thought Mark ruefully, remembering how easily Peter had taken the hose away from him, though perhaps he hadn't fought as hard as he might have done.

"Your mother didn't really mind, did she?" he asked anxiously.

"Of course not." Peter looked up from where he was sitting on the edge of the bath. "We often have water fights, but usually in summer when it's warmer. Here, feel the water. Is it okay?"

Mark bent down and swirled it with his hand. "Can I have it a bit hotter please? Usually I have cool showers, but I love being in really hot water," he added wistfully.

"Why on earth have a cold shower if you like a hot one?"

"My father."

"He doesn't watch you, does he?"

Mark shook his head.

"So turn the hot on," said Peter in a no nonsense voice.

"I did it once. He found out. From the steam."

Peter glanced at his face. Mark said nothing but his silence was eloquent enough. Deliberately, Peter turned off the cold tap allowing more steaming water to gush into the bath.

"Okay, jump in. Don't lock the door, I'll get your other clothes. It's alright," he said as Mark hesitated. "They know we're in here and won't come in. Come on," he went on, getting up from his seat on the edge of the bath, "I want you warmed up."

As soon as he left the room Mark undressed and stepped into the tub. The hot water was delicious against his cold skin. He swirled it around to mix the hot water on the surface with the cooler layer below. He would have liked to add even more hot water but felt it would be impolite to do so without permission.

By the time Peter, wearing an amazingly coloured dressing gown, returned with his dry clothes he was feeling relaxed and languorous. Peter picked up the wet jeans, tshirt, socks and underwear that he had placed neatly on the bathroom stool and bent down for his trainers.

"I'll spin these then put these in the dryer. There's plenty of hot water so put in some more if you want. Don't get out before I come back."

Mark did as he was told, a little worried about getting out and drying himself in front of Peter. He felt skinny and misshapen when he compared his body to that of his friend's. Thinking back to what Victor looked like without his shirt he could see little resemblance between Peter and his parents and wondered about it. But then, he himself didn't look in the least like his father (thank God!) so why should Peter look like his? Musing on this and thoroughly enjoying the warmth, he was almost asleep when Peter came back into the room with his usual burst of energy. What he did next shocked Mark out of his torpor.

Without any sign of embarrassment he shrugged himself out of his dressing gown and stepped into the bath between Mark's legs and sat down.

"That's good," he said, sliding down into the water. "Can you move up a bit?"

Mark sat up, blushing at the sensation of Peter's legs resting on his.

"You don't mind sharing the bath, do you?" Peter asked belatedly.

Mark shook his head, not sure if he could control his voice. He didn't mind being in the bath with Peter, it was getting out of it that worried him. If he wasn't careful (and how was he going to do that?) the intimate contact with the boy he admired so much would give him an erection. In fact it was starting already. He tried to think about school, his father, maths, anything, but to no avail. Once it began nothing ever stopped it. It didn't help matters either when Peter put his hands on his legs and pushed him back even further so that he could slide down to get his shoulders in the water.

Mark was dreadfully afraid his cock was going to pop right out of the water and betray him. Then Peter took a breath and went right under, his body moving up against him. Looking down he saw that Peter was in a similar state to his own. Distorted by ripples it was hard to make out the details but he could see the pink tip extending out of his foreskin.

Involuntarily he glanced down at his own circumcised organ and wondered how it compared. By the time Peter surfaced he was so hard he knew that it was going to take ages before it went down. If it ever did. He was also blushing furiously because he had been looking at Peter through the water, and desperately wanted to see him properly.

Peter reached for the soap, lathered his arms and chest then passed it to him to do the same. When they had rinsed Mark knew that the moment had come, and he had no idea what to do about it.

"Stand up and I'll do your back."

Mark froze. He couldn't. He just couldn't!

Peter became aware of his panic. "What's wrong? I've done it for you before."

Mark shook his head.

"It's alright," Peter told him with a smile, "I'll just do the parts that you can't reach easily."

Mark went crimson. "I can't…" he started, broke off, then forced himself to continue. "I can't because I'm, I mean I've, I…" it was as far as he could get. He could not, he just couldn't, tell Peter why he was unable to stand up. He looked down miserably. Would he have to stay here for the rest of his life?

"Markie," he heard Peter say, and didn't even notice the endearment. "You're a boy and I'm a, a boy, so what does it matter? Are you shy because you've got a hardon?"

Mark's complexion changed from red to white. Oh Christ he thought, he's noticed. Does he think I'm some sort of sex maniac or something? What do I say? What do I do?

Peter took the latter question out of his hands. "Look at me, Mark."

Reluctantly he raised his eyes then felt pressure on his thighs as Peter levered his midsection out of the water.

"It's the same with me. I have one too."

Given permission, his face going scarlet again, Mark feasted his eyes on the sight. Large and thick, the head pushing halfway out of the foreskin as he had seen it under the water. His breath drew in as his tummy muscles tightened. He knew that once he had seen it he should turn away. But he couldn't. He had dreamt of this most of his life, but never thought it would happen when it seemed as if he was the only boy in the world who felt rhat way. Peter's cock, in its fully erect state was the fulfilment of all his adolescent fantasies. Not only did he want to look at it, he badly wanted to touch it.

"See," he heard Peter say, "I'm the same as you, so stop worrying." He stood up, put his hands under Mark's arms and lifted him.

As Mark rose Peter's cock was close enough for him to have extended his tongue and licked it, though he was far too innocent for the thought to cross his mind. It was enough that the thing was so tantalisingly close. Once on his feet, obedient to the pressure of Peter's hands he turned. As he did so his hip brushed against Peter's cock and his own jumped in sympathy as his stomach muscles clenched again. Peter picked up the soap and put his hands on his back.

The next minute almost made him come because Peter didn't stop there but moved over his buttocks, and even between them, before soaping his legs.

"Okay," Peter said in a husky voice, "Turn round."

Resigned, he did so, unable to look at the boy facing him. Was Peter going to do his front as well? If he did so, it was going to happen. He'd explode!

But Peter merely turned around saying quietly, "Do me, please."

Feeling that he couldn't refuse, and not wanting to anyway, Mark stood and with slightly trembling hands, soaped Peter's back. It was fine until he reached his waist. There he paused.

"You don't have to do anymore if you don't want to."

Mark heard in his voice a desire for him not to stop, and he himself wanted to carry on, but had needed Peter's permission, as it were.

Daringly he moved his soapy hands over the firm mounds of muscle and a little way between them before kneeling to do his legs.

And then it happened. When Peter had pulled him up he'd known he was very close but had it under control, though barely. But when he turned saying, "Thanks," smiled, put his arms around him and kissed him on the mouth it was too much for him. He tried to pull away, to break the contact, but Peter's arms locked and held him tightly. The pleasure took hold, the feeling grew and grew until his body spasmed and he felt his sperm come boiling out as if it was never going to stop, drenching their stomachs then trickling down to drip into the water. Never before had he come so hard, so much, or with such intensity. It had felt as if he was going to die from the feeling and he would have collapsed had Peter not supported him.

His heart beating hard, white with fear as he came back to earth and realised what he'd done, he could only mumble that he was sorry, that he hadn't meant it to happen, didn't know what had come over him, he was sorry…sorry. Only gradually did he become aware that Peter was caressing him soothingly with one hand while still holding him firmly with the other and saying over and over again, "It's alright, Markie. It's alright."

Peter eased the shaken boy down into the water, who said again, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean my, my stuff, to go all over you like that."

"You couldn't help it, and anyway I didn't mind. To tell the truth, I liked it. I hope it was a good feeling for you. Was it?" he asked a trifle diffidently.

Mark nodded. "It was better than I've ever had before," he admitted shyly, unable to look him in the face.

Peter smiled. "That's good." He rinsed the sperm off his own stomach then did the same for Mark. When his hand accidentally brushed the still hard penis, Mark twitched. He would have loved to touch Peter but didn't feel he could without being asked. He lifted his eyes to Peter's face questioningly and felt himself starting to blush.

"What's the matter? You've gone all red again."

"I, I was wondering…" he stopped. It was another thing he just couldn't do. Peter had said that he didn't mind when it happened but it had been a sort of an accident. What would Peter think if he actually came out and asked? Asked if he could touch him? Peter would know then exactly what he, was. A poof, a queer, a, a bumboy. All the nasty, dirty, unkind words he had heard in the playground, heard from his father, Peter would know they applied to him. He felt himself going pale again and his hand, which had lifted out of the water of its own volition, trembled. He couldn't look at Peter. If he did, Peter would see in his eyes see exactly what he wanted. As his eyes dropped. it came into view. He could just see it through the soapy water, male, hard, enticing. It had felt so good when it had happened, he hadn't lied about that, so didn't Peter deserve to feel the same? But what would he think? Would he hit him? Shout for his father? Tell him to go home, that he never wanted to see him again? He couldn't risk it.

"What were you wondering?"

He could only stutter.

"Tell me. Please, Markie."

He could only shake his head dumbly, not quite sure what he was saying no to, but convinced he was going to regret it for the rest of his life if he did. If only he could see into the future, could know what would happen, what Peter would think of him.

"Mark," Peter said, still speaking softly but with that determined note in his voice he had come to know. "You're going to tell me. I want you to. I need you to!"

Oh Christ Mark thought, he's not going to let up until I tell him. He wondered if he could make something up that would satisfy him, divert him, but his mind immediately went blank and anyway, as he had discovered, Peter wasn't easy to fool. At the thought he started to panic.

Peter must have sensed it because he put his hands on Mark's upper arms and held him firmly. For a moment Mark resisted, his muscles taut and his mind a chaos of half formed thoughts. Then all at once it was too much for him, he couldn't resist any more, and with a soft sigh his muscles relaxed.

"I want to touch you, too. Down there."

He looked down at his hands then closed his eyes and sat perfectly still. It was done. He would have to cope with whatever Peter wanted to do to him.

It seemed to take forever but was in fact no more than five seconds before Peter moved. Feeling the movement of the water Mark cowered back as Peter knelt in front of him. Then Peter's hands were holding his face, tilting his head slightly. With his eyes still closed he felt Peter's lips touch his own for a long moment and as they withdrew, heard him say quietly, "I hoped so much that that was what you wanted." As his eyes opened and he looked into the smiling hazel eyes, Peter said quietly, "You can touch me wherever you want to, and any time you want to. You don't ever have to ask."

Without waiting for a reply Peter kissed him again, drew him out of the water and urged him onto the edge of the bath. Then he sat on Mark's left saying, "You're right handed, it will be more comfortable for you like this." He spread his legs, drew in his breath and said urgently, "I want your hand on me."

In a daze, one minute he was convinced that he was about to be beaten up, the next he was in heaven, Mark slipped his arm around Peter's waist and rested his other one on Peter's thigh. He didn't mean to tease, it was just so overwhelming he wanted to savour and remember it forever. As his fingers crept slowly to their target, Peter sighed, "Please, Markie, now."

So, for the first time in his life, Mark Gordon took another boy's penis in his hand.

Peter's cock felt wonderful. Hard and strong, silky and warm. He squeezed it gently, investigating its firmness, its tension, the smoothness of the soft skin, the hardness within. How could blood, simply blood, make it like this he wondered, and moved his hand from Peter's waist to feel his heart beating to provide the motive power. And there he discovered Peter's nipple, another thing to touch, stroke and wonder at. But his attention soon returned to his right hand which he moved gently down to reveal the fat, swollen head in all its glory as it slipped out of the foreskin. Fascinated, because it looked so different to his own circumcised organ, he moved his hand up, not so much to masturbate the other boy as to watch the head disappear into the protective sheath. He had never imagined that he would find the sight so overwhelmingly sexy, and his own cock became even harder, in spite of its spectacular performance minutes earlier.

Then his impatience to make his friend come, to give him the feeling and watch his spunk come out, overcame him. He had only managed a few strokes when Peter's arm curled round his waist and held him tightly. A soft, almost agonised sound came from deep inside him as Mark felt him tense, and knew it was starting. His own cock jerked in sympathy as he imagined what Peter was feeling and watched excitedly as the tiny slit in the blunt head widened and a powerful gush of sperm shot over the bath to splatter against the wall followed by several more jets of thick white liquid. Spent, Peter sagged against him as Mark squeezed gently, knowing that he would be too sensitive for anything more. Marvelling at the amount of sperm running slowly over his hand and down the tight scrotum, he waited until the flushed boy came back to him, letting him take his time, only turning his head so that he could kiss Peter's cheek.

They held each other as the water cooled around their legs then, smiling at each other, slid down to rinse themselves.

It was while Peter was drying and dressing him that the full implications of what he had done suddenly descended on Mark and he knew that later, when he was alone, he was going to feel incredibly guilty. When he had climaxed against Peter he had done nothing to elicit it and hadn't known it would happen. But then he had told Peter he wanted touch him and compounded the sin by masturbating him. It was worse, far, far worse to do it to someone else than to do it to himself. There was no getting around it, and no going back either.

Then all at once, and completely out of the blue, he realised that he didn't care. He had done it because he wanted to, and not only had Peter allowed it but he had enjoyed it. The wonder of that was so great that like millions of boys before him, he resolved that whatever the cost it was more than worth it. The only thing that concerned him was whether Peter would want to do it again.

As his hair was being brushed, and the very feel of the bristles that had touched Peter's head thrilled him, he asked in a shy but hopeful voice, "Can we do it again, please?"

"Now that we've started we're going to do it lots of times."

His body tingling, and feeling as if he was going to float up to the ceiling, he replied in a small but determined voice, "I need it more than lots of times."

Peter put the brush down so that he could put both arms around him. "We'll do it as often as you want to, and as often as I want to, and then we'll do it some more."

Feeling safe, secure, and with tensions he hadn't even known he was subject to leached right out of him, Mark returned his embrace wholeheartedly.

He jibbed slightly as Peter was about to lead him downstairs.

Correctly divining his reluctance, Peter said with an amused smile, "What now?"

"What will they think if they see you holding my hand?"

"They'll only think that I like you very much, and they already know that. Or don't you like me holding your hand?"

Mark shook his head convulsively. "You must know that I do. But when people are around…"

"I won't do it at school, if that's what you mean," (Mark's heart went cold at the thought), "Or," he went on, "When we're in public. But here it doesn't matter. I want to touch you and hold you all the time. You're so bloody attractive."

Mark went pink with pleasure. Peter seldom used bad language, reserving it for emphasis.

"Do you really think so?"

Peter smiled. "This first time I looked at your face properly I thought you were the prettiest boy I'd ever seen. And later in PE when I saw more of you, you just got better and better. You're perfect."

"I'm too thin and skinny," Mark objected, finding it hard to believe.

"No you're not, you're just very slim. And I like it."

"Well, I like people with more muscles. Like you."

Peter put his arms around him. For the first time since they'd met he seemed a little unsure of himself. "I hope you mean that."

Mark nodded vigorously.

"That's good then. I like you and you like me. I wish…"


"Tell you later." And as Mark opened his mouth to protest, covered it with his own. He would have liked to use his tongue but felt that Mark wasn't ready. Instead, he slipped his hands down to Mark's small bottom and pulled him close, enjoying the reaction where they touched. "You're really beautiful."

"You said I was pretty." He wasn't too sure about either word.

"I meant both. You are pretty and you're beautiful too, especially when you smile. Pretty beautiful!"

"It sounds as if you think I'm like a girl," Mark said slowly, wondering with a pang if he was a substitute for something that Peter wasn't getting.

Peter put his hands on his shoulders and pushed him away slightly so that he could look into his face. "No girl could possibly be as pretty as you. And anyway, if you were a girl I wouldn't want you. I'm not interested in girls. I pretend to be at school so they don't talk about me but you're the one I want, and I want you because you're a boy. I don't want look at a girl's tits and I definitely don't want to touch them. I want to touch you, and look at you because you really turn me on. I only have to see you and I start getting hard. That doesn't happen when I look at girls."

Relieved, Mark put his arms around his waist and held him. Peter was putting into words things that he had vaguely thought himself but never articulated. He had wondered why he felt the way he did when it was obvious that other boys didn't, To find someone who actually shared his feelings, who liked him because of them, lifted a huge weight off his mind.

"How do you feel about being called pretty now?"

"I don't know how to tell you," Mark started to say, thought for a minute, then realised it was quite simple. "I think," he said slowly, "That you're pretty beautiful too and I'm glad I feel that way about you, and I'm so glad you feel the same about me."

He was embraced by Peter, so tightly that he could hardly breathe.

You made me the way I am he said mentally to a God he only half believed in now, so if you don't like it, blame yourself.

As they entered the lounge, Mark's pale skin was a delicate pink, and not just from the hot bath they had shared. It was going to take time to get used to Peter touching him in front of his parents and he wasn't even sure if they knew that Peter was a, was, well, what they both were. He hadn't thought to ask him. However, on balance, he decided that they had to know and although they didn't seem to mind, it wasn't much help to him just then. He was tongue-tied. Again.

Fairly certain what was going through his mind Peter felt that the sooner he got used to, and over it, the better and was his usual chatty self while Mark gradually regained some of his not very extensive poise. He would have been acutely embarrassed if he had appreciated that it had only taken a single glance to tell both Emily and Victor that something had happened between them. There was a glow about them that told its own story though fortunately Mark didn't realise it was so obvious. They smiled as he and Peter entered into the room carefully concealing their concern. Neither of them had expected anything to happen quite so soon and they determined to talk to Peter after Mark went home.

While they were having tea Emily mentioned her musical evening and asked Mark if he would like to attend, and if he would be prepared to play something.

"There won't be many people," she went on, "But they would love to hear you."

Mark hesitated, not because he didn't want to perform, but to savour the fact that he'd been asked.

"Do you really think I'm good enough?"

"Yes," Peter assured him.

"Pete," Emily said, a warning note in her voice. "But he is perfectly right, for a change. We think you're more than good enough and everyone would enjoy listening to you very much. I wondered if you would like us to invite your piano teacher."

"I'm sure she'd love to come," Mark said impulsively. "I'll ask her at my next lesson."

"You can ask her now in case we have to change the date," Peter told him, picking up the receiver. "What's her number?"

Emily sighed and took it from him. "I'll speak to her."

She explained to Miss Herold what she was planning and asked if she would mind if Mark played something. Having got her agreement she went on to say that they would be delighted if she was able to come as well.

"I suppose you have already discovered that Pete doesn't believe in letting the grass grow under his feet," she remarked to Mark after she put the phone down. "I imagine you'll get used to it. We never have," she added gloomily,

"You just have to keep trying," Peter retorted, then turned to Mark. "I've spent years trying to train them and got nowhere. It's really hard to bring up parents when you're on your own," he added in a world weary tone, pleased to see Mark smile, after a gasp of surprise.

"What can you do with him?" Emily asked. "And to think that we used to have peace and quiet before we got him!"

"It was heaven," agreed Victor reminiscently.

"And dull. You probably just stayed at home all day and did, did nothing but gardening!" Peter rejoined in a scornful voice.

"And very pleasant it was too!"

Peter simply gave him a look and muttered, "Boring!"

"It's just that he's so energetic," Emily complained. "It's; 'why don't we do this; can we go there; please will you take me somewhere else; do you think we could; can we; should we; will you; come on let's…' There's never any peace."

"You forgot the; 'Can you show me how to do this?' and far, far, worse, 'I'll show you how to do that!' That's the one I really hate!" Victor reminded her.

"If it wasn't for me you two would be old dears wrapped in blankets in front of the fire and wearing, wearing, slippers! You have to be strict with parents and stir them up occasionally or they stagnate and turn into sloths," Peter informed Mark. "Older people are like that. It's up to us young ones to keep them moving and stop them going into hibernation. It's our duty!" he finished on a self righteous note. "And something else while I think of it, you also have to…Well no, perhaps it wouldn't be very tactful to mention that."

"If what you said previously is your idea of being tactful, I would hate to hear you when you're not," Victor told him. "In the meantime, Mark, you haven't actually told us whether you will play for us."

"Of course he…" Peter began then subsided, muttering, after a look from Emily "…well if a person can't even talk in this house."

Mark, who was trying to control a fit of giggles which made him look about ten years old Emily thought, with something of a pang, managed to say that he would, if they were quite, quite sure that he was good enough?

"We are very sure," Victor told him kindly. "We're not sentimental you know and wouldn't have asked you if we thought you weren't up to it. At the same time, we want to be sure that you are happy about it and not worried, stressed, or feeling under pressure."

Mark looked at him thinking how kind they were, and how much he liked them. They seemed to have so much faith in him. He would have to make sure he didn't let them down. He was very conscious that they were doing a lot more for him than his father would ever do for Peter. Not that Pete seemed to need anything, it was the principle of the thing.

"I'll be nervous. I've never played in front of lots of people."

"That's quite natural," Emily assured him. "If you weren't nervous, I'd suspect that you would be lacking in some artistic feeling and it's obvious that you are highly artistic as well as very talented. And don't worry if you make mistakes, no-one will criticise you. In fact I've heard some of the greatest musicians play wrong note after wrong note and still give a marvellous performance."

Mark smiled. "I'll try not to make too many mistakes."

"What would you like to play?"

"I think, " Peter began. "Okay, okay! I won't say it. But could I just ask? He doesn't have to agree if he doesn't want to. Honestly."

Victor sighed. "I don't think so. Mark should decide without any suggestions from you. After all he knows his repertoire far better than you do."

"I don't mind if he asks, I don't have to listen to him," Mark said with a small smile to take any sting out of his words.

"Told you so." Peter directed a triumphant smile at Victor.

"No you didn't." Emily spoke rather sharply. "All you did was to butt in before anyone else could speak."

Peter looked conscious stricken and turned to Mark. "I'm sorry, Markie. I didn't mean to bully you, honestly."

Touched, Mark patted his leg discreetly. "You don't bully me. I've been bullied and I know what it's like. Tell me please?"

Peter put a hand on his, resolving that if anyone ever bullied him again they had better watch out. "You're sure?"

Mark nodded.

"The Scherzo," said Peter quietly.

Mark's small smile appeared, then blossomed until he looked radiant. "That's what I was going to say. I can play it for you," he added impulsively.

As they smiled at each other Emily glanced at Victor who inclined his head. If these two aren't totally in love I don't know what love is! She wondered if she and Victor had felt the same all those years ago. It was hard to recall. She hoped that the boys would hold on to, and treasure, moments like this.

His heart full, Mark turned to face them. "Will that be alright? It won't be too long?"

"It will be just perfect," she assured him. "But I think you should be prepared to play an encore. Perhaps something a little lighter."

Mark pondered. "Should it also be Chopin?"

"It doesn't have to be. Usually an encore is a bit showy. Do you have anything like that ready?"

"Well I do know 'Rustle of Spring'," he said doubtfully. "It needs practice but I'm not sure if it would be suitable."

"Wow!" Peter was impressed. "That's a show piece and a half."

Mark turned to him. "It's not all that difficult, it just sounds as if it is."

"Well that sounds fine to me. What else?" demanded Peter.

"I think that's enough. I don't want to go on too long."

Emily nodded, quelling Peter with a look. "Leave it at that then. It's a lot to work on and I know that you don't have as much time to practise as you would like, but you are more than welcome to practise here whenever you can."

Cutting short Mark's thanks she changed the subject and they went out to the garden where they talked about subjects of interest to the boys. Relaxed, at ease, and joining in the conversation now and then, Mark had never been so happy.

After supper Peter walked him home. Mark didn't object when Peter took his hand or put an arm around his waist in the darker sections and felt a distinct regret when they had to break the contact. For a few hours they had been both satisfied and relieved but Mark was to discover that the satisfaction of a long held, if unacknowledged, desire didn't last very long and he was wanting Peter badly by the time they reached his home. That Peter was in a similar state was obvious when he pulled Mark against him in a firm embrace. For a moment Mark was embarrassed and held back, but Peter's strong arms overcame his resistance and the contact told him all he needed to know.

"We can't go into your bedroom," said Peter softly, his voice husky with desire.

"The back garden. Behind the shrubbery."

Mark led the way, squeezing between the bushes and the wooden fence to a small hollow where he had sometimes hidden as a child. He turned to Peter and held out his arms looking so desirable in the moonlight that Peter's pelvis jerked. Mark's penis was already painfully hard but when Peter kissed him it tried to force its way out of his jeans.

Feeling him tremble Peter recalled how quickly he had reacted in the bath, pushed him against the fence and unbuttoned his shirt. When Mark wanted to return the favour he shook his head. "In a minute, after I've undressed you."

His words made Mark feel so sexy he almost came in his underwear and he whispered to Peter to please be quick. As his shirt was slipped off his skin puckered from the slight chill in the air. Then with feather light fingers, Peter touched his nipples.

In his solitary experiments Mark had tended to concentrate on his penis to the exclusion of anything else and had never really investigated other parts of his body so it came as a shock to discover how responsive they were. He loved it, but wasn't sure how much he could take before he erupted. Sensing this Peter didn't linger but moved his hands lower, fondled the firm but delicate bones of his ribcage, investigated the small flat stomach and the indentation of his navel, then reached the barrier of his jeans. He undid the button, pulled down the zip and eased them over the straining bulge. He would have liked to strip him completely but it was too dangerous. Mark shivered.


"No, excited. Please hurry, I can't hold it much longer."

In much the same state himself, Peter quickly drew the boy's underpants down, freeing the eager organ which swung up to a jaunty forty five degrees from its small patch of soft dark hair.

"Let me look at you," he breathed, turning Mark so he could see him first in profile and then from the rear. "God your body is beautiful," he said in a thickened voice, his hands on the slim waist. "I could look at you forever."

"No you can't," Mark told him in an urgent voice, wriggling round to face him, "I need more than looking."

Peter removed a hand from his waist and very lightly clasped Mark's balls. "What have these been making for me?" He grinned as Mark squirmed.

"You know!"

"No I don't," he replied teasingly, "You'll have to show me."

"Oh Christ, Pete." Mark wasn't sure if Peter wanted him to do it himself, but desperately hoped not.

"On second thoughts, maybe I should show me," Peter answered himself and without further delay, put his hand round the swollen penis just below the head and began to masturbate him.

It only took a few seconds but they were to stay in Mark's memory for the rest of his life. Years later he would remember the feel of Peter's hand, how his cock felt when enclosed by it, and the sensations which, together, they produced in him. The first time a boy is brought to a climax by someone else, especially someone he has desired for some time, is a memorable experience but for Mark, the pleasure when it started was a great deal more than memorable. It was stunning and left him weak and gasping after the sperm blasted out of his body. He had often heard boys talk of 'shooting', now he knew exactly what it meant. Even though he had come substantially earlier, he was so turned on by the feel of Peter's hand that he seemed to come even more.

Peter had been transfixed by the sight of the hard cock with its swollen head, and really put his heart into it. The pulsing streams of silvery liquid spattering onto the ground in front of them being a more than satisfactory reward. He bent Mark forward as the flow diminished to make sure that nothing dripped onto the jeans bunched around his ankles. They would never be able to explain that to his father!

Then he pulled Mark against him and supported the quivering boy until his strength returned and he was able to lean against the fence unaided. Taking a tissue from his pocket he delicately squeezed the still tingling organ and wiped the last drops of sperm off the tip. Then did something that astonished Mark. He brought the tissue up to his nose and inhaled deeply.

"This is the most gorgeous smell."

Mark had never thought about it except to worry that it might betray what he'd been doing. Now, looking at Peter who was still breathing in deeply, he realised that although he wasn't at all interested in the scent of his own sperm, he was most definitely interested in Peter's. It called to mind that while he was feeling wonderful, his friend must be suffering agonies of frustration.

"My turn," he said in a determined voice, pushing Peter against the fence.

"I don't think I can wait while you undress me," Peter said urgently as Mark undid his shirt buttons. "I nearly came in my pants when I saw you squirt and when I smelt it…"

"I'll be as quick as I can," Mark told him, not noticeably hurrying himself, although he didn't spend much time on Peter's upper torso apart from kissing both nipples before moving the scene of his investigations south. Peter's jeans, being better fitting than his own, were hard to remove but once they were off he was able amuse himself by stroking the prominent protuberance through the brightly coloured underwear, thrilled when a distinct dark spot began to spread over the stretched material.

Peter drew his breath between his teeth. "Markie if you don't hurry up." and brought his hands round to remove the garment himself.

With a small smile Mark captured them in his own and with a muttered, "Oh no, you don't," tried to catch the waist band with his teeth but finding it impossible was forced to release Peter's hands to pull them down. With a gasp, Peter pushed his own hands hard against the fence as his suddenly freed cock jerked up against Mark's chin, slid past his mouth, across the side of his nose and was tickled by his eyelashes, leaving a trail of pre-orgasmic fluid in its wake.

Once his underpants down Mark greedily regarded what he'd revealed. Recalling what it had been like when Peter touched his balls, he pushed his left hand between Peter's back and the fence, levered the bigger boy forward and slid his hand between the muscular buttocks to reach between his legs to grasp Peter from behind. It was a rather contorted position but well worth it when Peter, taken by surprise, emitted a small squeak which made him giggle. The texture of the rubbery globes fascinated him but a combination of cold and lust had pulled them so tightly against Peter's body that he couldn't investigate them as he would have liked. No matter. There would be lots of other occasions he told himself, making a mental note that another shared bath would be a good place to complete the examination. In the meantime there was pleasurable work to be done.

Instead of enclosing Peter's cock in the traditional loose fist he decided to see what would happen if he placed his thumb on the top and four fingers beneath a little below the head. It worked well. The loose foreskin moved satisfactorily to his gentle manipulations, covering and uncovering the head in a gratifying and sexy manner. A sighed, "Oh yes," indicated that Peter was enjoying it as well. As he lengthened his stroke and began to speed up Peter felt his climax approaching.

It was a little strange, and the first time it had happened precisely like this. Starting with a tingling in his head, little bubbles of sweetness seemed to appear at odd places in his body, now in his throat, now in one of his nipples, almost as if they were being carried around his body in his bloodstream and bursting here and there. He had a feeling of déjà vu and remembered his first time, before his voice had even broken. That had been a similar sensation, though at the time he hadn't known what it portended. Similar but different, almost as if it was that first time again, but better and sweeter due to his present knowledge. Also, he realised, because it was Mark who was inducing it.

The feelings were beginning to move lower and suddenly they appeared to rush into his cock as the sensation centred there and began to grow. It seemed to take forever as Mark, with some inherited instinct, varied his stroke, slowing down, holding him just on the edge of orgasm and not permitting him to proceed. He started to breathe more heavily then he was gasping, panting, his breath catching at the back of his throat. He couldn't stand this, the edge of delayed pleasure was cutting into his very being, almost becoming pain. He clenched his teeth and his eyes closed. And still Mark held him, with movements so delicate as to be almost non-existent.

"Please Markie," he said in a throaty, barely audible voice, and his anguish must have got through to Mark because he increased the pressure of his fingers slightly and at the same time, began to gently squeeze and caress his scrotum. Peter felt his testicles move with a sort of fizzy feeling as they pulled up even tighter. Then, finally, the climax began, lifting his cock powerfully against Mark's restraining hand—the epitome of masculinity. The feeling grew until it encompassed the whole world, all the sweetness combined and metamorphosed into more pleasure than he thought that he could bear, more than he had ever felt, as if he was again that inexperienced twelve year old feeling it for the first time. Higher and higher it took him, harder and longer, his cock a cylinder of pleasure until, when he could bear it no more, his body convulsed and poured his essence through the narrow tube, and up and out in a glorious arc of thick sperm. The first squirt exceeded Mark's range, then as they diminished, landed where Mark's had landed and soaked into the earth to mingle, combine, and seal their unspoken compact of happiness, togetherness, joy, friendship, and love.

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