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  1. Filzmoos

    Chapter 29

    Monday morning started off disastrously. I was in Hamborough on my way to the gym when two fire engines passed me at high speed, sirens blaring. Heavy smoke filled the air from several streets away and it was only when I turned the last corner that I realized the fire was actually at the gym. As I approached, smoke was billowing from the roof and flames were licking the upper floors. I stood and watched transfixed, as firemen sprayed the building with multiple jets of water. A crowd of people had gathered to watch, standing behind a makeshift barrier of bollards and police warning tape. A squat bald-headed man standing next to me chuckled as he remarked in a loud voice “Looks like the last people who are going to get any exercise here for a while are the firemen!” “Any idea how it started” I asked him. “Haven’t a clue” he said, shrugging his shoulders and turning back to watch the fire. I sighed to myself, wondering what to do. It was 10am and my train to work didn’t leave the station until 12:15. It wasn’t worth going home again, so I had over two hours to kill. I scratched my head and sighed loudly. I didn’t fancy sitting on the railway station or looking around the shops, so what could I do? Finally, I decided to go to the library. It’d be warm in there and I could just sit and read and then take a steady walk back to the railway station nearer the time. The library was at the far end of town, but the ten-minute walk would do me good, if only to compensate slightly for the exercise I was missing out on. It was market day and I set off down the busy high street, doing my best to avoid the throng of Monday morning shoppers. The warm air hit me as I opened the library door and stepped inside, hastily closing it behind me. The librarian glanced up as a gust of cold air drifted towards the reception desk and looking at me over the top of her glasses, smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. I nodded back and made my way towards the well stocked reference section nearby. I soon found a couple of books about classic cars and became so completely engrossed in them that the time slipped by unnoticed. I casually glanced at the clock some time later and was horrified to discover it was already five past twelve. Hurriedly grabbing my coat from the back of the chair I rushed from the building, leaving the books I’d been reading open on the table behind me. As I left the library all I could hear ringing in my ears was the lady behind the desk as she shouted out to me in an agitated tone. “EXCUSE ME YOUNG MAN…….!!” Her voice was immediately lost in the noise from outside as the door slammed shut behind me. I would have to go back and apologise at the first opportunity, I thought to myself, but for now I made my way through the high street as fast as I could, becoming increasingly frustrated as I tried to avoid a multitude of obstacles in my path. As I approached the busy market place people meandered slowly between the stalls and prams seemed to appear from nowhere to block my way. There were shouts of indignation as I pushed my way through the crowds and I must have said sorry a hundred times. Finally, I was clear of the market place and able to run the rest of the way. There was a sudden squeal of brakes and a shout of anger as I crossed the road without looking, narrowly avoiding an oncoming bus. Mentally wiping my brow at the near miss, I continued up the hill towards the station, giving a sigh of relief when I finally got there. Almost at once my brief euphoria disappeared as I tore into the station, only to discover that my train was just leaving the platform. I collapsed against a wall cursing loudly, and the sweat poured off me as my chest heaved up and down with exertion. After a while my breathing slowly returned to normal and I studied the timetable, anxious to know how late I would be for work. The next train to the city wasn't due to depart until 12:50 and was already running ten minutes late. That meant if it wasn’t delayed anymore, I would probably be about forty minutes late for work, but hopefully I could sneak in and no one would notice. I knew that the manager was off today and with a bit of luck the supervisor would be busy with a customer. The train finally left the station just after one o’clock and I stared out of the window as it quickly gathered speed. Buildings flashed by, eventually giving way to fields and open countryside. I began to think about Nathan and his smiling face immediately danced before my eyes. Realising that I couldn’t wait to see him again, I prayed he would be at the station that evening to collect me. Erotic thoughts entered my mind and I was soon removing his clothing, desperately longing to discover what lay beneath. A girl sitting opposite gazed at me curiously and I smiled to myself, safe in the knowledge that my secret thoughts could never be exposed. The buildings gradually returned as the city grew nearer and I stood up to move closer to the doors, ready to alight. I glanced nervously at the girl sitting opposite, hoping she didn’t notice the obvious reaction to my thoughts. The platform was busy as I stepped off the train and I fought my way through the throng of people that seemed to block my every move. A party of school children nearby whooped excitedly, inadvertently restricting the entrance to the footbridge. Eventually I entered the main concourse and left the station, rushing along the high street towards the store. The usual ten minute walk took only five and I hastily punched in the security code at the side door. Luckily there was no one about in the corridor or staff room and I stuffed the bag I'd brought with me into my locker, at the same time reaching for the uniform shirt and tie hanging inside. In no time at all I was ready and with one last look in the mirror, smoothed my hair down to make sure I looked presentable. Satisfied at last with my appearance, I hurried from the room, planning to enter the shop through the storeroom. I didn’t think my day could get any worse until I spotted Craig and Aiden, laughing and joking together. They were standing in the store room near the door into the shop and I realized with dismay that it was too late to avoid them. My heart sank as I walked towards them, ready for the usual sarcastic comments that were sure to follow. Since the episode on the bus, my relationship with Aiden had improved somewhat, but now that Craig had returned to the store I knew it would quickly deteriorate again under his influence. Sure enough, Aiden blocked the doorway into the shop and Craig shook his head disparagingly. “Now then Jason, late again are we?” he taunted, smirking at Aiden. It would have been far better to ignore them, but as usual, I couldn't help biting. “What do you mean, again!” I answered indignantly "I'm never late" He carried on talking to Aiden as if I hadn't spoken and I could feel my face beginning to redden. “He thinks we don’t notice” he remarked, in mock despair “Get lost” I said, beginning to get annoyed. I was just about to push him roughly aside when his next comment stopped me in my tracks. “Anyway, saw you at the cinema yesterday” he continued, in his usual derisory tone. “Yeah, so what?” I answered nervously "There's nothing unusual about that" He quickly latched on to the slightly defensive tone in my voice and I was suddenly more than anxious to get away. "There is when you go with your boyfriend!" he laughed, nudging Aiden. His eyes widened in surprise as he spoke for the first time. "So who was it you were with then Jason?" I began edging towards the door and he put his hand on my arm to stop me. "It was a mate" I replied evasively "Not that it's got anything to do with you two!" "They looked very cosy together" chipped in Craig "Went straight to the back row!" he added suggestively. I immediately froze. What he was insinuating sent shock waves hurtling throughout my body and the blood rushing to my head. With a jolt I realized Craig must have followed us into the cinema and watched us sit down. “I reckon it’s his new boyfriend Aiden, what do you think?” he continued “Definitely” agreed Aiden, sniggering at my discomfort. “Drop dead!” I growled bitterly, angrily shaking my arm free of his hand. By now my face was burning with embarrassment and I pushed my way roughly between them. The fact that they always managed to wind me up made me almost as angry as what they'd said and I quickly left the room, hurt and upset, with their laughter ringing in my ears. When I entered the shop the supervisor was busy dealing with a customer and had her back to me. Hopefully if Craig and Aiden kept their mouths shut, I might just get away with being late. The store was extremely busy and I quickly became engaged with a customer, pushing the episode in the storeroom to the back of my mind. The rest of the day was lost in a blur of customers. Before I knew it the shop had closed and I was walking back to the station. Almost immediately the episode in the store room came back to haunt me and I realized the hurtful comments made by Craig and Aiden were still uppermost in my mind. The anger rose up inside me once again as I desperately tried to remain calm and think of a way to ease the situation. I could always report them to the manager, I thought despairingly, but that would almost certainly have the opposite effect of what I was trying to achieve. The last thing I needed was for everyone to discover I really was gay and there was no doubt that if I reported them to Mr. Buchan, Craig and Aiden would ensure that the whole store knew about the cinema in no time at all. The best thing to do was ignore them, refuse to let them wind me up, but unfortunately that was easier said than done. They knew exactly which buttons to press and this being work, it was pretty difficult to avoid them. Nevertheless, it was the only idea I could come up with and I would have to try and make it work. My eyes momentarily blurred with tears as I thought how unfair it all was. Why was it so difficult to be gay? And why was there always someone waiting to abuse and belittle you? No doubt the question had been asked a million times before, but still there was no definitive answer. The general mindset was such that to stand out from the crowd often meant being treated like some kind of inferior freak or pariah, a second class citizen no less. No wonder it was such a trauma for the majority of people to come out. Such dark thoughts continued to haunt me as I boarded the train and sped towards Hamborough. Thankfully, there was light at the end of the tunnel as my thoughts quickly turned to Nathan, desperately hoping he would be at the station to meet me. As the train slowly drew into Hamborough and came to a stop with a loud screech, I thought for one terrible moment he wasn’t there, and my heart began to race. I jabbed the illuminated ‘Open’ button on the door impatiently, and as it began to slide slowly back, heaved a huge sigh of relief as I spotted him coming out of the waiting room. A wide smile lit up his handsome face as soon as he saw me and he greeted me with his usual burst of enthusiasm. "Hiya Jase, good day?" There was a brief silence as I thought back to the episode with Craig and Aiden earlier on and half opened my mouth to speak. A second or two later I thought better of it but by then it was too late as Nathan immediately latched on to my hesitation. "Not so good then?" he remarked, raising his eyebrows. "I've had better!" I replied with feeling. "Tell me all about it in the car" he said, grasping my elbow and steering me towards the station entrance. His car was parked on the opposite side of the road and he quickly opened the doors with his electronic key. It still felt warm inside, despite the cold weather, and as soon as Nathan got inside he switched on the fan and hot air immediately began to swirl around my legs. He immediately enquired about my day as we set off down the hill "So what's the problem at work?" "Oh, a couple of the guys are morons" I began to explain, trying to keep the bitterness out of my voice "Always winding me up about something or other" I was glad that the darkness of the car hid the expression of hurt and frustration on my face. There was no doubt that if Nathan could see how upset I was he would have wanted to know all the details and I was unwilling to divulge anything they'd said. "Yeah, tell me about it!" he replied, shaking his head. The rueful tone in his voice suggested he was suffering from the same kind of thing and for some reason I was surprised by the revelation. In the relatively short time I'd known him he didn’t seem to be the type of guy that others would dislike, but then again, his father did own the factory. Before I could ask any more questions he dismissed the problem with a wave of his hand. “Anyway, let’s forget about them, they’re not worth worrying about” Unfortunately the nagging doubts in the back of my mind refused to go away and I couldn’t help feeling that today’s confrontation with Craig and Aiden was just the start of something a whole lot worse. I turned my attention back to Nathan, glad he was unaware of the details of today’s events. “Do you fancy a pint Jase” he suggested as we drove through town. “I can only have one though” he added, gently tapping the steering wheel. “I’ve got to drive home” I was secretly pleased that we wouldn't be drinking more. The last thing I wanted was a repeat performance of Friday night, especially when I had to work the following day. To relax with a pint in Nathan's company was just what I needed though and I readily agreed. "Yeah, I'd love one!" “Good. Do you want to stop in town or go to the Swan?” “We’ll go to the Swan if you like” “Yeah ok, Swan it is then” he agreed with a nod. As we drove towards Dryford thoughts of the situation at work slowly began to fade and my mind drifted back to the events of that morning. “Hey you’ll never guess what happened today Naith" I exclaimed, answering my own question before he had time to respond “The gym burnt down!” "Oh yeah, I heard some of the guys at work talking about that” “I don’t know how it started though” “Some girls said it was a guy called Jason” he said, with a deadpan expression on his face “Jason?” I asked, puzzled “Yeah, apparently they said he was so hot the place just went up in flames” He gazed at the expression on my face and burst out laughing. Punching him on the arm, I couldn't help joining in and chastised him good-naturedly. “Idiot! I almost believed you then” He laughed at my response before continuing “Did you actually see it on fire then?” “Yeah, I was there when they were trying to put it out. It was way too late though, the fire had really got hold by then” “No exercise today then!” “No, and I don’t know what I’ll do now. There isn’t anywhere else in Hamborough until the new place opens” Yeah, that’s a bummer!” exclaimed Nathan ruefully “I was going to join this week too” “On top of that I missed the train and was late for work” I continued, shaking my head. “How come? he asked "I thought you’d have had plenty of time, not going to the gym” “I did have, but....Look, don't laugh!" I pleaded, breaking off in mid sentence. It was totally the wrong thing to say of course and a smile was already curling around his mouth. Now that I'd started telling him there was no going back and I sighed before continuing. "I decided to go to the library instead and didn’t realize what the time was. I had to run all the way back to the station and when I got there the train was just leaving” “At least you got some exercise!” he said, trying to stifle a laugh. “Yeah, but I didn’t want it like that!” “So how late were you for work?” “Oh, about forty five minutes, but hopefully I got away with it. The supervisor was really busy” Unless Craig and Aiden blabbed, I thought to myself. A shiver of fear ran through me as their insinuations came rushing back, but I pushed them to the back of my mind, determined they wouldn’t overshadow my time with Nathan. Twenty minutes later we drove into the car park at the back of the Swan. As we got out a twinge of pain in my wrist reminded me of Friday night and I gazed at the wall running down one side. The brickwork was old and damaged, with countless sharp edges exposed and I realised with a jolt that if it hadn't been for Nathan the accident could have been much worse. "Thanks for helping me on Friday night Naith" I said, giving a slight shiver as I nodded towards the wall. "It's ok Jase. I still feel partly responsible for encouraging you to drink so much in the first place" He opened the pub door and signalled for me to enter first. The lounge bar was almost empty and the low hum of conversation and occasional clink of glasses were the only sounds to be heard. The usual roaring fire warmed the room, lighting up the fireplace with its dancing flames. "Sit down Naith, l'll get these" I volunteered, walking towards the bar before he could protest. It was the same barman from Friday night and he gazed at me warily as I ordered the drinks. "Two pints please" I asked, trying to avoid his stern gaze With a silent nod he reached for a glass and began pulling the hand pump towards him. Beer and foam instantly gushed into the glass and he quickly tilted it to one side to avoid the golden liquid from overflowing. He spoke without taking his eyes off the glass and his voice held an underlying tone of warning. "Best not have too many tonight, eh son?" he said quietly. His attitude wasn't particularly friendly and I could feel my face growing warmer as I quickly agreed. "Erm, no of course not" He took my money and I lifted the pints off the bar, suddenly in a hurry to get away. As I made my way across the room towards Nathan, beer dripped down my fingers onto the dark wooden floor. Placing the drinks on the table I flicked my hand towards his face and he shied away, trying to avoid the drops of beer flying towards him. "Sorry" I said, laughing out loud "My hand slipped" "Yeah right" he said, laughing at my false apology "That’s why I'm covered in beer" "Slight exaggeration there Naith" "You'd be covered too" he went on, with a mischievous smile on his face "But we'd probably get thrown out for having a beer fight!" "Definitely, I'd say. I don't think the barman was very pleased to see me" "Why, what did he say?" I took a sip of beer before continuing and raised my glass towards him "Cheers" "Cheers" he responded, gazing at me enquiringly. "Oh, nothing really" I explained, making light of it "He just told me to make sure I don't drink too much" "Oh well. He's got nothing to worry about tonight that’s for sure, we're only staying for one” I nodded in agreement and he tapped my arm excitedly "Anyway, never mind him, I've had a great idea!" "What?" I asked, taking a gulp of beer "Well, since we can't go to the gym, why don't we go swimming instead?" I coughed unexpectedly, almost choking on my beer as a vision of Nathan's half naked body flooded my mind. “Hey, are you ok? he exclaimed, patting me on the back. "Yeah, don’t worry. It just went down the wrong way" "So....what do you think?" "It's a brilliant idea. When can we go?" I asked eagerly. Nathan stroked his chin as he thought about it. "What about Friday? You’re finishing early for your birthday and I finish at 1pm?” "Yeah, that'd be great!" I exclaimed enthusiastically "I haven't been swimming for ages" In reality I was on the edge of my seat, trying to imagine what Nathan would look like in swim shorts. I'd been longing to see his naked body ever since we first met and now it was going to happen. I imagined the water dripping off his blonde hair and running down his chest and offered up a silent prayer of thanks for the turn of events leading up to his idea. Who knows, if I prayed long enough, he might even wear speedos! "Good!" he replied with a satisfied smile "I love swimming" We drained the last of our beer and stood up to leave. The barman was watching us from across the room and I gazed back at him with a slightly defiant look. He broke eye contact immediately and I couldn't help congratulating myself on the small but significant victory. Nathan headed for the back door and I quickly followed behind, unable to stop my eyes from drifting downwards towards his rear. Once outside, we stood talking for a minute beside his car until he finally opened the door and sat inside. "I'll see you tomorrow night at the station then" I gazed at him with a puzzled glance and rested my arm on the open door. "I thought you said you were only working until 4pm tomorrow?" "I am" "Nathan! You don't have to come all the way into town just to take me home, I can get the bus!" "I don't mind, honest" he said, smiling at the doubtful look I gave him. "And anyway, I want to" he added simply. My heart soared as I realised he must really like me. If he was prepared to put himself out by collecting me from the station, taking me home to Dryford and then returning to his own flat in potentially dreadful weather, he must at the very least put some value on our friendship. "Thanks Nathan” I smiled appreciatively “That's really good of you" "No problem." he said, flashing me a smile "That's what friends are for" I wanted to say that I'd never had a friend like him before, but immediately stopped myself. In a few days I'd become fiercely protective of my relationship with Nathan and the last thing I wanted to do was jeopardise it by being too clingy. He started the engine and I shut his door, bending over slightly through the open window to say goodbye. I imagined parting with a soft kiss but he turned his attention to the gear stick and shifted the car into reverse. As I stood aside it began moving slowly backwards, turning to one side in a sweeping arc. As the car began to move slowly forwards he waved and shouted goodbye, before disappearing through the open exit of the car park. I wished he didn’t have to go, but just thinking about him made me smile like a Cheshire cat. There was something about Nathan that always made me feel good about myself and I walked home with a spring in my step, hardly able to wait until it was time to see him again.
  2. Filzmoos

    Chapter 28

    The cold air hit us as we left the cinema and I was glad to get back in the car. A shiver ran up and down my spine and Nathan turned towards me with an enquiring look. "Cold?" "Yeah, just a bit. I could murder a hot drink, its freezing!" “I'll make you one when we get to the flat” he offered, as we pulled out of the car park. "If you still want me to show you around that is?" “Yeah of course I do, that’d be great!” I desperately tried to keep the eagerness out of my voice so that he didn't realise just how much I wanted to see it, but this time the shiver that ran up and down my body was one of anticipation. I should have known that the inevitable would happen and my resolve to see him as just a friend would crumble almost immediately. His offer to show me around the flat made any number of fantasies come alive and I couldn't help the erotic thoughts that poured into my head. We drove in silence for a couple of minutes until he looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face. There was obviously something on his mind and my heart beat slightly faster as he revealed what it was. “You were very quiet in there” he remarked. “You’re supposed to be” I immediately retorted, wondering where the conversation was leading. “You know what I mean” he replied, slightly peeved. I looked across at him and realized his remark had been made out of concern rather than curiosity and immediately regretted my flippant reply. “Sorry Naith, I didn’t mean it to sound like that. It’s just that I always find the cinema to be a good place for thinking” “What about?” he enquired, laughing out loud “Naked women!” The answer, 'No, naked men' was on the tip of my tongue, but there was no way I could bring myself to say the words. It obviously wasn't meant as a rhetorical question though and I could see that he was expecting a response. I completely ignored his remark about naked women and answered in a deliberately vague manner. “Oh you know, just personal stuff” From the look on his face he obviously didn’t know, but I was grateful when he said nothing further on the subject. We arrived at his flat a few minutes later. The front of the building was in darkness, but as we left the car and walked towards the front door an automatic light came on, instantly illuminating the porch. I stood shivering as Nathan fumbled for his keys, eventually opening the door. The warm air that swirled around us as we entered the flat was a welcome respite from the freezing cold weather. Once inside, he turned the lights on and slipped his shoes off. I quickly did the same and followed him down the hallway. A door on the left opened into the main living area and for a second or two I was taken aback by the lavish surroundings. It was a spacious, open plan design with a separate lounge and dining area. Thick luxurious carpets, two sumptuous leather sofas and a huge television added to the overall look of opulence. A large state of the art kitchen stood at one end of the room, separated by a long breakfast bar. Black marble worktops housed what were no doubt solid oak units and a huge American-style fridge freezer stood on the far wall. I gave a low whistle and my eyes widened in awe. “Wow! Talk about luxurious” “Yeah, it’s not bad is it” laughed Nathan as he watched me stare open-mouthed at the lavish surroundings. “You could say that!” “Make yourself at home Jase. I’ll make a drink” he said, heading for the kitchen “Tea or coffee?" I followed him across the room and leant against the breakfast bar, casually observing him. “Oh, erm coffee thanks" My earlier resolve to ignore my feelings completely dissolved as I watched Nathan busy himself preparing the drinks. He was still wearing the same black trousers he’d worn this morning and I watched with a growing sense of desire as the material alternately tightened and loosened around his rear with each new movement he made. My eyes widened and I almost gasped out loud as he bent over to take the milk from the fridge and it became easily apparent by the outline of his underwear that he was wearing some kind of tight briefs. Another throbbing erection pushed against the breakfast bar as I imagined him standing there in the skimpiest underwear possible and it took me several seconds to realise he was asking me a question. “Do you take sugar Jase?” “Oh erm no thanks, I’m sweet enough already!” I answered, laughing out loud. “Sweet and innocent is that?” he asked, joining in with my laughter. “Of course!” I blushed guiltily. After everything I'd done with Connor and all the thoughts I’d been having about Nathan lately, the last thing I could be described as was sweet and innocent. He gazed at me steadily and unable to maintain eye contact, I quickly looked away. “Sit down Jase, I’ll bring the drinks over” I reluctantly did as he said and sank down on one of the comfortable leather sofas. Within a short while he'd joined me and as we sipped our hot drinks, I couldn't help being the tiniest bit envious. “It must be nice to have your own place” “Yeah, it’s great. Especially if you want to bring someone back!” I gave him a sidelong glance, determined to stop myself from being judgmental. If he wanted to bring a different girl back here every night it was none of my business. In the end I couldn't help it though and he obviously knew by the look on my face what was going through my mind. "I know what you're thinking Jase" he remarked with a rueful smile "But the truth is, it’s been pretty lonely here until now" Something in the tone of his voice immediately made me feel bad for thinking the worst of him again, but I still couldn’t help wanting to know more. My heart was thumping madly as I tentatively broached the subject. “I wouldn’t have expected you to be lonely?” I ventured, trying to make a joke of it “Sure you haven’t got someone hidden away waiting for me to go” He laughed out loud and swung him arm in mock exasperation “Damn Jason!!! How did you guess? She’ll be getting restless in that cupboard. I need to go let her out!” I laughed along with him, but despite the joke, I could tell there was an underlying current of sadness running through the conversation. Although we’d only known each other for a few days, it almost seemed as if I knew what he was thinking and a sudden urge to make him feel better became paramount. "Anyway Naith, at least you don't have to be alone anymore. If you can put up with me, that is?" I added with a nervous laugh. He gave me a grateful smile and rubbed my shoulder before replying. "Oh I think I'll be able to manage that somehow!" He stood up abruptly and disappeared through the door into the hallway, calling back over his shoulder. "Won't be a sec Jase" Left alone, I gazed around the room, noticing for the first time how meticulously clean and tidy it was. There wasn’t much in the way of personal items on display, but I stood up and looked at the few there were, still hoping to discover more about him. A few paintings hung on the walls, mostly country scenes, but no family photographs were evident. I thought it was rather odd, until I spotted one small photograph. It was partially obscured from my view by the huge television and showed a pretty young girl of about five or six sitting on a swing in a garden. When I picked up the photo and studied it closely, there was a subtle yet undeniable resemblance to Nathan, and I suddenly realised who she was. I jumped slightly as a low voice spoke in my ear. “It’s my sister. Becky” I hadn't heard him come back into the room, but as I turned around he was suddenly standing close behind me. His words had been spoken in a quiet, melancholy tone of voice and his face was shrouded in sadness. “Oh! How old is she” I said, surprised that he'd never mentioned her before. “She would’ve been fifteen” he answered in a voice that trembled with emotion My voice shook as the realisation of what he meant sank in. “You mean....she’s...erm….." “She died” he explained with a sad smile, confirming what I was struggling to say. His hands shook as he took the photograph from me and whispered in a choked voice. “She looks so pretty there” His eyes were heavy with the threat of tears and I put my hand on his shoulder and gently squeezed it. “I’m really sorry Nathan, I can’t begin to imagine how you feel” I said sympathetically “I wouldn’t have mentioned it if………I mean if I’d known......I wouldn’t have………." He interrupted my confusion, fixing me with a look of understanding. “It’s ok Jase, you weren’t to know” he said quietly “Dad hated anyone talking about it” This was all news to me. In the back of my mind, I knew that Jim Brown had a daughter, but Nathan had never mentioned having a sister before. Now I knew why! I certainly didn’t know she’d passed away, and if dad knew he never said anything. There was an awkward silence and I wondered if I should go any further. Finally, I decided it might help him to talk about it, so I tentatively continued. “How did it happen?” I began hesitantly. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to talk about it Nathan” I added quickly “I’ll understand” My hand was still on his shoulder and he placed his hand on top of mine and gazed at me with an expression of indecision on his face. "I've never talked about it with anyone else before" he murmured, half to himself. He was obviously struggling to decide if now was the time to put that right and I could only hope he would have the confidence to talk to me. After what seemed like an age he took his hand off mine and sat down on the sofa. Patting the space next to him he signalled for me to do the same and I sat down beside him. “It was an accident” he began, in a faltering voice. “She was only five years old and I was about ten or eleven” He smiled sadly as he recalled the memory. “We were playing in the garden with a ball. The dog was running around like a mad thing, trying to catch it, tossing it up in the air with its nose. Then it suddenly came towards me and I kicked it far too hard!" At this point he fell silent and his face creased with pain. I could tell it was a huge effort for him to carry on and I couldn't help rubbing his shoulder again to show my support. He continued in little more than a whisper, slowly shaking his head in despair. "It disappeared through a hole in the hedge. Of course the dog was after it in a flash and naturally Becky squeezed through and followed. I tried to stop her but she was out of the garden before I had a chance. She ran out into the road just as a car was passing. The driver had no chance of stopping and there was nothing I could do but watch……..” He grasped my hand so tightly that the skin turned white and tears began to flow down his cheeks. "I'll never forget that moment Jase, it's imprinted on my mind. For a second or two everything seemed to happen in slow motion and then......" His words faded away as the full horror of the moment came flooding back. “It’s ok Nathan” I reassured him quietly “its ok” “I’ve never told anyone this before” he continued helplessly “But I still wake up some nights in a cold sweat and hear the squeal of brakes and the sickening crunch…….." “Oh Nathan!” I cried, unsure what to do or say, but desperate to console him. “I miss her so much Jase, it hurts" I felt incredibly sorry for him and could almost feel the pain radiating from him. Tears filled my own eyes and I couldn't hold back my emotions any longer. All my pent up feelings came rushing to the surface and before I could stop myself I'd pulled him close to my chest and wrapped my arms around him. No words were needed between us and I just held him close whilst he sobbed uncontrollably against me. The intoxicating smell of his aftershave invaded my nostrils as my chin nestled in the crook of his shoulder and it took all my strength not to turn my head and kiss him. Finally, his chest gradually stopped heaving and the sobbing eased. After a while we pulled apart, both a little shocked and embarrassed by our impromptu moment of closeness. I became flustered and wasn’t quite sure what to say, but I needn’t have worried, as Nathan quickly made a joke of it to ease our embarrassment. "Blimey Jase, I thought you were going to choke me!" he laughed. Nevertheless, I could tell that his expression and slightly reddened face belied his real feelings and I gave a nervous laugh in return. “Sorry Nathan, I didn’t mean to....erm..well....you know" “It’s ok Jase, I really appreciate your support. At least it shows you care!” I immediately knew he was referring to his father and felt that he needed to know there was at least someone he could turn to. "You do know that you can talk to me about anything at any time Nathan, don't you? I urged him "It won't go any further, I promise" "I know Jase" he acknowledged, becoming serious once again “And thanks for listening, I really appreciate it" "It's no problem. Talk to me anytime! I'm always ready to listen" I couldn't help gazing at his handsome face, now tear stained and tinged with pink “Are you sure you’re ok?” I asked him, still concerned. “Yeah I am” he said gratefully, reaching for a tissue to dry his eyes. He grasped my shoulder and lightly squeezed it "I’m really glad we've become friends Jase. It means so much to me” He smiled at me and I felt a warm tingling sensation inside. Was it really my imagination or had something special just happened between us. I quickly decided that it wasn't wise to pursue such thoughts and immediately pushed them to the back of my mind, frightened to jeopardize our budding friendship. Instead I took a large sip of coffee and wandered over to the sound system in the far corner. A neat stack of old vinyl LP’s stood to one side and I thumbed through them absent mindedly, reciting the titles out loud. "Andy Williams, Perry Como, Matt Monroe........" “My dad’s collection, not mine" Nathan cut in "He’s a big fan of the old stuff“ "You tell me anything” I joked “Bet they’re all yours!” “No chance!” he responded “I much prefer Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra” I could tell by the look on his face he was joking and it was good to see that his normal cheerful demeanour had been restored. "By the way Jase, I meant to ask. When are you at work next week?" "Oh erm, one ‘till seven all week" He screwed up his face and sighed in disappointment. "Oh, except Friday that is!" I added, suddenly remembering. "I'm finishing early" His face lit up "That's' your birthday isn't it?" "Yeah it is" I answered slowly, raising my eyebrows in surprise "And it’s yours the day after" "That’s right" he exclaimed "You remembered!" How could I forget. He'd picked up my train pass the other night at the bus stop and read my name and date of birth out loud. That’s when he’d told me his birthday was the day after mine. "So is that why you're finishing early?" he continued "To celebrate your birthday" I gazed at him dejectedly and shook my head "That was the idea originally. I was supposed to be going out with some friends, but they can’t make it now" I hated lying to him, but I didn’t want him to think I was some kind of sad misfit with no friends. In reality I’d booked the time off so I had an excuse to avoid the company Christmas party. At least I could give him a reasonably genuine sounding excuse. "The thing is, I've got no excuse to avoid the Christmas party at work now" I went on, finding it hard to keep the dejection out of my voice. "Everyone’s going out for a meal and it's fallen on the same day as my birthday this year" "But why would you want to avoid it?" he asked with a puzzled look "It could be a double celebration. It's your 21st, remember!" I didn't need reminding, preferring instead to continue with my explanation. "It's just that a couple of the guys I work with are idiots and I try my best to avoid them" It was a definite understatement, as Craig and Aiden, the two guys in question, immediately sprang to mind. Craig had started at the store on the same day as me, quickly becoming best friends with Aiden, who already worked there. With their constant jibes and put downs they could be a real pain in the arse and the last thing I wanted to do was socialize with them. "So you're not doing anything special for your birthday at all then?" "No, I'm not" I answered, as butterflies suddenly crowded my stomach. "In that case I could provide you with the perfect excuse if you want me to" he continued excitedly "Let’s go for a birthday meal on our own instead. We can celebrate together" For a second or two I gazed at him with a stunned expression on my face before making a response. "Really!" I exclaimed. He laughed at my look of surprise and clapped me on the shoulder. "Yeah really! Why not?" A shiver of excitement ran up and down my spine and I could hardly wait. When Connor had asked if he could cook me a meal it had clearly been a date, but this was probably just Nathan's way of thanking me for my support. Even so, I could easily let my imagination take over and pretend that a date was exactly what it was. On the other hand, I thought to myself worriedly, what would it look like? Two guys enjoying dinner together in a restaurant! What if anyone I knew saw us? What would they think? A second or two later I laughed at myself for being so completely and utterly paranoid. Why on earth did it matter anyway? I was proud to be seen with Nathan and it obviously didn't bother him. Although I was pretty sure it would never happen, I wanted him to be my boyfriend more than anything. He must have seen the fleeting look of alarm that crossed my face as the thoughts ran through my mind and he anxiously sought my acceptance. "So you'll come then?" It took me less than a second to answer and I readily agreed "Yeah, of course I'll come Nathan. I'd love to!" He visibly relaxed and I smiled to myself, thrilled at the prospect of spending even more time together. This would be the first time, apart from my parents, that anyone had ever taken me out for a meal. "That's settled then" he said, obviously pleased that I'd accepted his invitation. He changed the subject abruptly "So, are you in a rush to get home Jase?" he asked. I glanced at the clock, surprised that the time had gone so quickly. It was almost 6:30 and too late now to go home for tea. My usual habit of saying exactly the opposite of what I wanted kicked in and I gave a resigned sigh. “I suppose I ought to get home really" The reluctance in my voice was evident and he picked up on it straight away. "Tell you what Jase. Why don't I cook us some tea here and then we'll watch a DVD or something?" he suggested. I wished I could choose what the 'something' was, I thought to myself ruefully, but somehow I didn't think he'd agree with what I had in mind. Instead I quickly accepted his invitation, smiling to myself as I watched his face light up with pleasure. "If you're sure it's not too much trouble?" I asked hesitantly "I thought you'd be fed up of me by now" I gave him a worried glance, not wanting to outstay my welcome. “Course not, I'd love you to stay!" He laughed, as if it was the most ridiculous thing in the world. Before I could change my mind he'd disappeared into the kitchen and was reaching into a cupboard above the cooker. “Scrambled eggs ok Jase?" he called out. After mum’s Sunday lunch earlier on, a light meal was perfect, and I readily agreed. “Yeah that'd be great Naith. Can I give you a hand?" "No, I'm fine, sit down. It'll be ready in no time" Despite what he said, I couldn't help leaning over the breakfast bar again, watching with interest as he cracked eggs with one hand and whisked them with the other. "You should have been a chef!" I remarked, laughing at the exaggerated way he was behaving. I could see from his side that he'd donned an apron, but it wasn't until he turned around that I discovered it was emblazoned with a picture of a naked muscular torso. My eyes almost popped out and I couldn't help making an impromptu comment “Nice body!" I quipped, pointing at the apron. “Oh my last girlfriend liked me to wear it” he said airily. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask if it was anything like the real thing when his next comment stunned me into silence. “With nothing underneath of course!” I couldn't tell if he was being serious or not, but nevertheless my jaw dropped several inches. He just laughed as I quickly composed myself and he turned back to his cooking. Within a short space of time he'd taken the apron off and placed two plates of scrambled eggs on toast on the dining table. He indicated for me to sit down. "There you go Jase, tuck in!" We sat at opposite ends of the table facing each other and I smiled in admiration as Nathan attacked his food enthusiastically. He really was one of the most good looking guys I'd ever met and I still couldn't quite believe how lucky I was to be with him. He suddenly lifted his head and gazed at me in puzzlement. “What?" he asked, frowning slightly as he realized I was staring at him. "It's nothing, honest" “Come on, tell me!" My heart was racing as I desperately tried to think of something to say, finally settling on at least part of the truth. "It's just erm....well I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I really admire you Nathan" His eyebrows shot up in surprise and he almost choked on his food. "You admire me!!" he exclaimed "Why?" “Well, you've got your own flat and a good job. You're good looking, confidant....." I broke off, struggling to say the next words "You can have any girl you want.....and probably do......" Before I could say anymore he quickly interrupted me, shaking his head in despair. "Jason, you're unbelievable!!" “What do you mean?" “I mean that that you've got it completely the wrong way round. It’s me that admires you!" "You're joking!" "No, I'm not joking, I'm deadly serious! You're a really good person Jason, far better than me. You're kind and considerate and maybe you don't have a girlfriend at the moment, but you're good looking and intelligent and any girl would be lucky to have you!" His words tumbled out in a rush of emotion and I was so completely taken aback by the depth of his feelings, I could hardly answer. The colour rushed to my face and my heart thudded uncontrollably. I couldn't believe that he felt this way about me. "You're not serious Nathan! I don't know what to say" “You don't need to say anything. I'm being deadly serious Jason. It's all true" His face was tinged pink with embarrassment and he grasped his knife and fork to continue eating. Suddenly changing his mind, he put them down again and stared ahead with a faraway look in his eyes. "Besides, none of it really matters if there are people around that love you. And you've got that in abundance Jason. Your family clearly adore you and once you find that someone special you're looking for, they can’t fail to fall in love with you too" I could immediately see the pain and sadness etched across his face. It was obviously an emotive subject for him and I wondered what had happened to make him feel this way. Obviously he felt that his parents didn't love him, but I could tell by the depth of his feelings that there was much more to it than that. I felt incredibly sorry for him and it was one of those times when words of comfort were probably a waste of time. Nevertheless, they were all I had and I forged ahead undaunted. "Look Nathan, I know you probably don't want to hear this right now..... but things are never as bad as they seem. And you've got me now" I added, chuckling slightly. A few seconds later I frowned and screwed up my face "On second thoughts I’m not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing" My attempt at humour clearly worked. He gave me a broad smile and I knew that my words had been appreciated. "Oh believe me Jase, It's definitely a good thing" There was one thing I was longing to ask him and I tentatively broached the subject. “Why did you say I'm a much better person than you Naith? What did you mean?" He shrugged his shoulders before replying, as if it didn't matter. "Forget I said anything Jase, I was just being melodramatic" He gazed at the determined look on my face and his shoulders dropped as he sighed heavily, instinctively knowing that I wouldn't just leave it at that. "Look Jason, I've done one or two things in my life that I'm not particularly proud of. Things I'd rather forget" His words were spoken with an air of finality about them and I knew that he wasn't going to enlighten me any further. We finished our meal in silence and shortly afterwards I pushed my plate to one side. "Thanks Naith, that was really tasty" "Glad you enjoyed it" He stood up and collecting the plates together, headed for the kitchen. "Sit down and relax Jase" he called, pointing to the sofas "I'll make us another drink and then we can choose a DVD to watch" A moment later he set the drinks down on the coffee table and opened up a cupboard under the television. It was full to the brim with DVD’s and he knelt down on his knees to look through them. "Any preferences Jase?" "I don't mind, you choose" He chose a light hearted comedy that I hadn't seen before and soon we were in fits of laughter. I couldn't help occasionally glancing at him, pleased to see that he was so happy and relaxed after dredging up what were obviously unhappy memories. I was itching to move closer to him and drape my arm around his shoulder but knew that I couldn't jeopardize what was fast becoming the best friendship I'd ever had. Sitting close to him on the sofa made me realise how much I enjoyed spending time with him and I couldn't believe how everything seemed so perfect. Before I knew it, the film was over and it was getting late. I didn't really want to go just yet but I was mindful of the fact that Nathan still had to take me home along roads that were no doubt icy and then get himself back again. I was getting to know him by now and if I mentioned anything about staying any longer he would immediately insist that I did, no matter what. With that in mind, I stood up and stretched, yawning loudly “It’s about time I was getting back Naith” I said, looking at the clock. He nodded and gazed at me ruefully “Yeah ok Jase. But you’ll have to come round again soon. It gets pretty lonely here on my own” "Yeah course I will. I've really enjoyed myself today. It's been brilliant!" He laughed at my enthusiastic response before wholeheartedly agreeing "Yeah it has" My words were the absolute truth. It was a long time since I'd had such a great day and I didn't want it to end. Normally my days consisted of work and the usual mundane things that most people did. Whilst I enjoyed spending time with my family, I hadn’t enjoyed much of a social life since Connor had left, so to actually spend the day with someone like Nathan was a dream come true. I'd always thought the term love at first sight was a myth, but now I could confirm that it definitely wasn't. I'd fallen head over heels for Nathan. For some strange reason, he seemed to like me too and I marvelled at the way things had worked out, unable to believe how lucky I was. If only he was gay life really would be perfect, but I was still terrified to take that final step and ask him, petrified that my new found friendship would come crashing down around me. The journey back to Dryford was spent chatting excitedly about what food we liked and where we could go for our meal. The general consensus of opinion seemed to be Chinese and after much discussion we finally settled on that. I was right about the roads, they were icy, but Nathan was an excellent driver and we were soon entering the village. Two minutes later we drew up outside our bungalow and instead of opening the door immediately, I sat for a while, listening to the low purring sound of the engine. Knowing that Nathan was only inches away made me extremely reluctant to leave the car but I couldn't sit there forever. "Thanks for bringing me home Naith, I really appreciate it" He smiled and shifted the gear stick into neutral before replying "No problem Jase, anytime" “So what time does your train arrive in Hamborough tomorrow night?” he asked “Oh, it’s erm due in at 20:05. Hopefully it’ll be on time!” “I’ll pick you up at the station then” he confirmed with a smile. "Ok, thanks Nathan. I'll see you tomorrow night" I said, grasping the door handle. An overwhelming urge to lean over and kiss him suddenly came over me and I almost succumbed to temptation. Instead I pushed the door slowly open, shivering as I felt the cold around my legs. "Bye Naith. Take care on the journey home and make sure you text me when you get home" "Don't worry, I will" I shut the door and stood waiting at the gate as he drove slowly to the end of the cul de sac before turning the car around and coming back. He waved as he passed by and I raised my arm in response, watching until the rear lights of his car slowly disappeared from view. I lay in bed that night, the events of the last few days spinning around in my mind like a whirlpool. Meeting Nathan had been a revelation to me. For a brief moment in time fate had conspired to bring us together, allowing a special bond to form between. From the emotional portrayal of his sister’s death to the willingness he showed to confide in me, I was convinced that Nathan felt it too. I recalled those first tentative words spoken at the bus stop and my mind began to relive all the time I’d spent with him. For me there had been an instant attraction that was most definitely driven by lust. I certainly never expected to see him again and yet the following evening there he was, running down the hill to catch me up. If he hadn’t forgotten his wallet and asked me to lend him the bus fare home, I doubt that we would ever have exchanged more than a few fleeting words. Instead, he’d invited me for a drink the following evening to repay my kindness. At his insistence I’d readily accepted and out of this was born a growing friendship. Although I’d intended to leave after a couple of drinks, I found myself captivated by him and unable to tear myself away. Our evening out had brought us even closer together and we quickly discovered mutual interests and the fact that we had several things in common. Nathan was great fun to be with and we seemed to click instantly. Laughing and joking were a major part of his character and just being with him made me feel happy and somehow special. Unfortunately, I’d drunk far more than I intended to and in my hopelessly inebriated state, had fallen and injured my wrist. Nevertheless Nathan had seen me safely home, even cleaning the wound and putting me to bed. The following day his kindness and concern for my welfare became even more apparent when he shouldered the blame for the mess I’d made in the doorway of a local shop the night before. Later that day I’d introduced him to my parents and we discovered that amazingly dad was a close friend of his fathers. The subsequent knowledge that we’d even met before as children stunned us both and served only to strengthen our blossoming friendship. I was eternally grateful when my parents seemed to welcome Nathan almost as part of the family, even inviting him to lunch the following day. On learning that he was to spend Christmas alone, I was thrilled and excited when they suggested he spend the day with us instead. To my great joy Nathan gratefully accepted and I looked forward to what hopefully would be the start of a long and meaningful relationship. We’d spent virtually the whole weekend together with the promise of more to come. Even ordinary activities like a visit to the cinema were greatly enhanced in his company and I was desperate to spend as much time as possible with him. Later on his emotional turmoil at the flat and our sudden unexpected moment of closeness had been a particularly poignant experience. I suspected from his reactions that this was the first time he’d been able to share some of his most personal feelings of hurt and despair. The fact that he’d chosen me was particularly pertinent. I’d found that Nathan was an incredibly tactile person and every time we touched, intense feelings of desire exploded inside me. He aroused several conflicting emotions within me, from a burning sexual tension to bitter disappointment each time he mentioned a girlfriend. Unfortunately, I hadn't seen anything tangible to suggest he was gay, whereas several things most definitely pointed to him being straight. More than anything I had an overwhelming urge to kiss him, to feel the warmth of his lips against mine, but these heightened emotions and yearnings would have to remain a part of my imagination. There was absolutely no doubt that I'd fallen utterly and completely in love with him in what seemed like an incredibly short space of time. There was no explanation for it so I decided it was pointless to try and look for one, preferring instead to wallow in the warm feelings he aroused within me. As if he knew I was thinking about him, my phone suddenly beeped and lit up as a text slowly moved across the screen. 'Got home safely Jase. Had an awesome day! Thanks, Nathan x' My stomach flipped on seeing the small 'x' at the end of the message, but after thinking about it for several seconds, convinced myself it was just his way of showing 'bro' love. I quickly texted back 'Me too! See you tomorrow. Jase x', making sure the 'x' was reciprocated. Finally I drifted off to sleep as images of Nathan crowded my subconscious, forbidding all other thoughts from invading my mind.
  3. Filzmoos

    Chapter 27

    It was 2pm when we set off for the cinema in Nathan's car. The afternoon was crisp and clear and the weak sun was already fairly low in the sky. The hum of a low flying aeroplane passing overhead made me shade my eyes, as I watched the thin plume of smoke trailing in its wake. “It was nice of your mum to invite me to lunch” Nathan remarked, as we drove through the village. "They obviously like you!” I exclaimed, shaking my head in mock surprise. “Can’t think why though” He nudged me playfully in the ribs with his elbow “I'll have you know I’m a very likeable sort of guy” I gave a mock sigh and pretended to reluctantly agree “Yeah, I suppose.....” He glanced at me with a smile on his face and shook his head. In reality I was over the moon at the way mum and dad had welcomed Nathan with open arms, but the nagging doubt that something wasn't quite right refused to go away. I wondered now if I'd imagined the looks between them, but decided I was probably over analysing the situation as usual. I pushed the thought from my mind and concentrated on what Nathan was saying. “Seriously though” he continued “You’re really lucky, having a great mum and dad like yours. I wish mine were even half as good” I sighed and thought about all the times that Jim Brown had been at our house. He always seemed like a nice enough guy and it was hard to square that with how Nathan described him. "C’mon Nathan, surely they can't be that bad!" He sighed and shook his head. "I suppose I'm being way too harsh on mum" he conceded with a sad smile "She’s suffered from depression for years and now she does everything he says. She doesn't seem to have a mind of her own anymore" I opened my mouth to speak but before I could say anything more he carried on, almost as if I wasn't there. "And as for dad......I'm convinced he doesn't even like me anymore!" He sounded on the edge of despair and his voice trembled with emotion. Had it been Connor sitting beside me I would have stroked his leg to comfort him and given him a quick kiss, but as it was all I dared to do was briefly squeeze his shoulder. "I'm really sorry Nathan, I didn't think it was that bad" "Yeah, afraid it is. Sorry to lay it all on you like this Jase. I expect it's just what you need from a new friend!" His self sarcasm was evident and he obviously felt bad for offloading his problems on me. "Nathan, don't worry about it!" I quickly reassured him "You can talk to me about it anytime. That's what friends are for" He smiled at me gratefully and I tentatively carried on. "Is there any chance things might improve in the future?" He gave a deep sigh and shrugged his shoulders hopelessly "I doubt it. Dad and I don't really talk to each other these days without arguing" "But what about your mum?" "If I can manage to see her when she's alone, we usually get along ok" he answered with a faint smile "But most of the time she's not alone" He gazed at me with a look of forlorn resignation on his face and all I could do was reiterate my previous offer. "Like I said before Naith, if you need someone to talk to...." I left the sentence unfinished to make him aware that I didn't just mean now and he smiled at me and nodded, confirming his understanding. He lapsed into silence and in an attempt to cheer him up, I quickly concentrated on something more positive. "I'm so glad you're coming for Christmas Day" His gave a wide smile and his voice was full of appreciation "It was really good of your mum and dad to ask me. I didn't expect that at all" I was secretly thrilled that Nathan would be there on Christmas day. It wasn't particularly my favourite day of the year as all it normally consisted of was eating far too much and lounging about watching countless repeats on television. Instead of being cooped up in the house all day, what I really wanted to do was eat Christmas lunch and then take a leisurely stroll in the countryside. I'm sure that this year Nathan would accompany me and I could dream of holding hands as we wandered down some deserted country lane. With a jolt I realised we were almost there and in a short while we would drive through Cranfield where Nathan's flat was. It had been dark both times I'd travelled on the bus with him, so I'd never actually seen where he lived in the daylight. "Don't forget to show me where your flat is" I quickly reminded him "Yeah course, we're not far off now" The approach into Cranfield was a long, narrow tree-lined road. Flickering images of the snow covered fields could be glimpsed through the bare branches on both sides of the road and intermittent bursts of sunlight reflected off the windscreen. As we rounded the next corner the first houses came into view and I sat upright in my seat, ready for Nathan to point out where his flat was. Cranfield had once been a small village on the outskirts of Hamborough, separated by fields and countryside. The town, however, had grown at an alarming rate over the last few years and now it was little more than a smart suburb. Nathan checked in his rear-view mirror that there was no traffic behind us, before slowing down considerably as an estate of smart new dwellings came into view. An apartment building stood some way back from the road and he pointed to the ground floor at the far end. "That's it Jason. The one with the red door" It looked decidedly expensive and up market and I would've loved to have seen inside. I wanted to know everything I could about Nathan and seeing inside his home could only add to what I'd learnt so far. As if he knew what I was thinking his next words made my heart skip a beat. “We'll have to call on the way back and I'll show you around Jase” “Yeah, I’d love that” I answered enthusiastically As we drove into Hamborough the afternoon sun was slowly disappearing behind the buildings and several passing cars already had their lights on. I thought back to Nathan’s earlier comments about his parents and wondered why there was so much animosity between them. To say that one of your parents 'didn't even like you' was pretty serious and Nathan was undoubtedly cut up by the whole situation. It sounded as if it was mostly his father but on the occasions I'd met him at my house he’d always seemed perfectly pleasant and amiable. I didn't for a second doubt Nathan's word, but couldn't help wondering what had caused their problems in the first place. If only I could get him to talk to me I'm sure it would help, but I couldn't force him to open up if he didn't want to. Before I had a chance to think about the situation any further, Nathan had turned into the large car park opposite the cinema and pulled into an empty bay. The Odeon cinema in Hamborough was a large 1930’s, art deco building that had definitely seen better days. The once grand entrance was shabby and several of the white tiles that covered the walls were cracked and broken. One of the giant illuminated letters announcing its name flickered on and off intermittently and the wide semi circle of steps leading to the main entrance looked tired and worn. A number of people were going in and as we joined them I looked on enviously as a courting couple held hands and tenderly kissed each other, desperately wishing I could do the same with Nathan. We bought our tickets and as we walked towards the kiosk, he turned towards me enquiringly. “Do you want something to eat or drink Jase?” “Yeah, I’ll have a coke please” “Shall I get some popcorn as well?” he suggested. I nodded in agreement and offered him some money. Waving my hand away, he bought two cokes and a huge carton of popcorn and we made our way through the double swing doors marked ‘Entrance to Stalls’ in green illuminated lettering. Whenever I came here it was like being transported back to a bygone era. The auditorium was full of faded splendour and in between the shadows cast by the dim lights, peeling paint was evident and the material on several of the seats was ripped and torn. We sat down in the middle of a row towards the back and I sipped my coke, waiting for the lights to go down and the film to begin. “Have you been here before Jase?” Nathan asked. “Yeah, loads of times” I answered “What about you?” “Oh, just once, when I first moved here” I fell silent and didn't question him any further as he'd no doubt been accompanied by some gorgeous girl. I'd foolishly lulled myself into thinking that if I didn't mention girls it still meant there was a chance he could be gay. It was obviousfrom the way he said it, however, that he hadn’t been alone. Determined to ignore the persistent voice inside my head urging me to ask for more details, I leant over towards him and remarked in a low voice. "I love coming here" "Yeah, me too" he agreed "There’s something about the atmosphere in these old places. I can’t really explain it” I knew exactly what he meant. The cinema was due to be closed early in the new year in favour of a big new leisure complex being built on the edge of town. There was going to be a state of the art cinema as well as a swimming pool, theatre and ice rink. Personally, I preferred the old place. Although it was definitely past its best Nathan was right, it possessed a special inexplicable atmosphere that would be impossible to recreate elsewhere. I'd spent quite a bit of time in here, mostly alone, so the place was a bit like a second home to me. Today however, it was good to be with someone else for a change, especially someone as good looking as Nathan. The lights slowly began to fade, and I smiled to myself as the usual advertisements came on. By now I could recite them almost word perfect! Nathan nudged me gently in the side, offering the carton of popcorn. “Help yourself Jase, you haven’t eaten any yet” “Oh thanks” I whispered, dipping my hand into the huge carton. As the film started, I sat back in my seat and began to relax. I felt closer to Nathan than ever, sitting next to him in the dark surroundings of the cinema. I could almost feel his hand running up and down my leg seductively, causing shivers of lust and desire to flow up and down my body with increasing intensity. My eyes slowly closed and within seconds I imagined the two of us, lying naked together side by side, my hand gently caressing the firm protruding muscles of his stomach. “That must feel amazing” exclaimed Nathan suddenly. "Oh yeah, it does!" I inadvertently replied in a loud voice I was instantly horrified and sank down in my seat with embarrassment. For a frantic second I thought he’d read my mind and discovered what I was thinking. It took me several more seconds to realize with relief that he meant something that was happening on screen and I suddenly realised I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Several people motioned for us to be quiet and Nathan gazed at me with a bemused expression on his face. “Don’t snore so loud next time, will you Jase?” he whispered, desperately trying to stifle a laugh. I turned towards him with a horrified look on my face and tugged at his sleeve. “I wasn’t, was I?" “No, of course not!” he whispered, squeezing my arm to reassure me. “I was only joking” I sighed with relief as he went on, ignoring a hiss from someone nearby to be quiet. “It’s just that you seemed as if you were a million miles away. Are you ok?” he asked in a concerned voice. “Yeah, I’m fine” I whispered back “Honest!” He began concentrating on the film once again and I desperately tried to do the same, failing miserably. This time it was Connor's face that appeared in my mind's eye and thoughts of the night we'd made love together immediately filled my head. I shifted self consciously in my seat as an erection the size of a tent pole tried to thrust its way forwards. Thank god I was sitting down in the dark and no one could see! Once again my thoughts returned to Nathan, as they constantly seemed to do ever since I'd met him. It was difficult to believe that someone I hardly knew could have such a powerful and all-consuming effect on me and I was surprised to admit that even just looking at him turned me on. This was a new and confusing experience for me as I’d never felt this way about anyone before. True, Connor and I had been good together and the sex had been amazing. I thought that my feelings for him had been incredibly strong, but they were nothing like this. He hadn't filled my thoughts, night and day, the way that Nathan did. He hadn't sent me into a frenzy every time he touched or brushed against me and he hadn't made me feel physically sick with desire. I’d often admired someone from afar before, fantasizing about what could happen if we were alone together. This, however, was a very real situation, with the object of my infatuation almost constantly nearby. Unfortunately, above all else, there was one significant fact that couldn't be denied. Nathan most definitely wasn't Connor! He wouldn't pursue or lust after me like Connor had done and there was little or no chance that my feelings of passion and desire towards him would ever be reciprocated. Somehow, I had to take control of the situation and learn to kerb my needs and desires when I was with him. Although it would be incredibly difficult, there was no point in building up hope that this thing I shared with Nathan could ever be more than just a close friendship. I resolved to try and ignore the incredibly strong feelings I felt towards him, leaving me with the near impossible task of treating him as just a friend. Before I knew it the film had finished and people were beginning to stand up. I turned around in my seat as the sound of a familiar laugh floated towards me and was horrified to see Craig from work staring straight at me. He was with a crowd of mates and as they jostled and pushed each other along the nearby row of seats, he tilted his head up to acknowledge me. Within seconds he noticed Nathan sitting beside me with no one else nearby, and I could almost see the cogs in his brain working overtime. His normal self-satisfied expression instantly changed, and a look of scorn and derision plastered itself across his face. I completely ignored him and turned back around towards Nathan, but not before an icy grip of fear had wrapped itself around my heart. The last thing I wanted to do was give him any ammunition to taunt me at work, especially with something that could be construed as even remotely gay. We waited until most people had gone and then Nathan stood up, stretching and yawning. “A really good film” he commented, glancing at me with an impassive look on his face. “Yeah, it was” I agreed, gazing back at him warily. In reality, I could hardly remember a single scene and although I was fairly certain that Nathan knew it too, thankfully he didn't say a word.
  4. Filzmoos

    Chapter 26

    We said our goodbyes and left by the front door, fully prepared for another battle with the elements. Thankfully the snow had eased to a thin flurry as we set off to catch the bus into town. The occasional car slowly passed by, their headlamps already glowing in the dull afternoon light. The main road was becoming wet with slush and a passing lorry sprayed the footpath, almost soaking our already damp shoes. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about my dad owning Brown’s” said Nathan, as we approached the snow-covered village green “It doesn’t matter. Really” I assured him “I’m sure you had your reasons” He gave a small laugh of relief and gazed at me sheepishly “I just didn’t want you to think I was some kind of spoilt rich kid” “Oh come on Nathan! I'd never have thought that. You’ve done nothing but help me ever since we met and I really appreciate that” “Thanks Jase” he said, lightly rubbing my shoulder “That’s good of you to say” “I mean it Nathan! You got me home and looked after me when I’d had far too much to drink last night and you even took the blame for the mess in the shop doorway” “Oh, that was nothing Jase, I felt partly responsible anyway” I’m sure he wouldn’t have felt so responsible if he’d known that the only reason I’d stayed in the pub drinking with him was because I couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving with some random girl. “It wasn’t your fault” I argued “You didn’t have to go to all that trouble. So that proves you’re not spoilt. You were obviously thinking of me” He shrugged his shoulders to dismiss my comments. “Yeah, but it’s different with you Jase” he said simply “We’re best friends!” It seemed impossible to become best friends in the short time we’d known each other, yet his words sent a shiver of excitement down my spine as I realized how right he was. Genuine friends that were prepared to put each other first were hard to come by, but I instinctively knew that Nathan was one of them. Perhaps it was the fact that our fathers were close friends, or that we’d met before, but there definitely seemed to be some kind of bond between us. A bus was just approaching the stop and we rushed to catch it, slipping and sliding on the hardened snow. I still hadn’t learnt my lesson from earlier in the week, that was for sure! “Can I ask you something Nathan?” I said, as we sat down at the back of the bus slightly out of breath. “Yeah, course you can, go ahead” "Would you really have gone back home if you hadn’t met me?” The now familiar mischievous grin spread across his face and he shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly “Well….I suppose it just might be a tiny part of the reason why I’m staying” he admitted. He put his thumb and forefinger together, leaving a miniscule gap to emphasise his meaning. “Only a tiny bit mind!” “Come on Nathan! Seriously I mean” His grin disappeared, quickly replaced by a solemn, thoughtful look. “Like I was saying to your mum and dad, it has been pretty lonely up here. Once the guys at work found out I was the boss’s son, they thought I was some kind of spy” He shook his head in wonder. “Absolutely ridiculous! I told them who I was and why I was there straight away, but it didn’t seem to make any difference” He seemed genuinely upset and now that I’d got to know him better, I could understand why. Nathan was a gregarious kind of guy who would hate the thought that people disliked him. I quickly tried to make him feel better. “Oh well, they don’t know what they’re missing out on then, do they?” I said, lightly nudging his shoulder. He smiled at me happily and sighed with relief, obviously grateful to have my support. “All I can say is thank god I met you! I hated the thought of going back home again” “It might have given you a chance to put things right with your father though” I reasoned “You’ve got to be joking!” he exclaimed “Believe me, its best that there’s plenty of distance between us” It was such a shame that he felt so much animosity towards his father, because despite the brave face he tried to put on, I could tell it was hurting him badly. As he lapsed into silence and became lost in thought, I stared out through the grime streaked windows of the bus as it sped through the countryside. The snow covered fields stretched as far as the eye could see, except for a small enclosure near the road that had obviously been cleared. Two horses huddled together forlornly in one corner and an old stone trough meant to provide drinking water stood in the opposite corner, its surface completely covered by an unbroken sheet of ice. I was still gazing out of the window when he nudged me playfully in the ribs. I turned back towards him and was happy to see a smile on his face. “I was just thinking…..” he began. “Careful!” I interrupted, before he had a chance to continue “You could hurt yourself” He returned my grin and continued to talk, pretending not to hear me. “I was just thinking, what an amazing coincidence it is, the fact that we’ve met before!” “I know! I can hardly believe it myself!” I answered incredulously “I almost fell off the chair with shock when dad told us” He laughed at the dumbfounded expression on my face before continuing. “I’m really glad we’ve got the chance to get to know each other this time” he exclaimed “It’s as though it was meant to be somehow” His words sent a shiver running up and down my spine, causing my fingers and toes to tingle with exhilaration. “I know exactly what you mean!” I agreed eagerly “It sort of brings us closer together” A growing sense of yearning to be a lot closer together welled up inside me, but I quickly dismissed such feelings as hopeless and absurd. “That’s just how I feel as well Jason!” I sub consciously moved slightly closer to him and slid my arm along the back of the seat behind him, struggling to fight the overwhelming urge to put my arm around him. The bus arrived in town soon after and I slowly stood up, reluctant to abandon my close proximity to Nathan. The roads and footpaths in town were almost clear of snow as we alighted and crowds of Saturday afternoon shoppers thronged the busy high street. Brightly coloured Christmas lights were strung between the buildings, swinging to and fro in the cold winter breeze. As we entered the crowded market square, a local church choir sang carols around a brightly lit tree, zealously rattling their collection buckets. The wonderful aroma of roasting chestnuts and fried onions from a burger van hung in the air and Nathan turned towards me, lightly touching my arm. “Are you hungry Jase?” he asked, blowing warm air into his cupped hands. As soon as he mentioned it pangs of hunger began to attack my stomach and I responded with an enthusiastic yes. Because of my earlier nausea and sickness, I hadn’t eaten anything so far today and now I was ready for something much more substantial. “Come on then, let’s go find somewhere to eat” he urged, looking up and down the street. A few shops further on we found a café. The windows were all steamed up and as we went in the appetizing smell of food cooking made us even hungrier. It was almost full, but we managed to find a table near the counter and sat down in the brown leatherette chairs. Nathan reached for the small laminated menu at the end of the table and began running his finger up and down the list of food, frowning as he tried to decide what to have. "It all looks so nice Jase" he said, handing it to me "I don’t know what to order" "Me neither" I agreed, after perusing it for a short while. "I like everything on there" A couple of minutes later and we were still undecided, so I fished about in my pocket for a pen and handed it to Nathan. "I know what to do! Close your eyes and stick the pen on the menu. Whatever it lands on we'll have" He glanced at me to make sure I wasn't joking, before shaking his head in amusement. "Very technical, I must say!" Nevertheless he took the pen and made a great show of stabbing the menu, much to the amusement of several onlookers sitting nearby. "All day breakfast!" he announced, with a wide grin. "Brilliant, I'll go order it. What do you want to drink Nathan?" "Ooh, something warm please. I’ll have tea. "Here, take some money" he offered, reaching for his wallet. "No, I'll get this Nathan" I said, firmly "You paid last night" After all the beer I'd drunk the previous evening, there was no way I was letting him pay again. So much so, that I'd taken the unusual step of lending some money off mum until payday next week, and I quickly made my way to the counter to order the food before he could stop me. In what seemed like no time at all a waitress suddenly appeared at our table with a tray full of food. She gazed at Nathan admiringly and I almost stood up and shouted out loud ‘Hands off, he's mine!!!’ I didn't of course, and he glanced back at her innocently, fully aware of her obvious interest. With a lingering glance she reluctantly left the table and for the next few minutes there was silence as we tucked into the food, both appreciating how good it was. Finally, Nathan pushed his empty plate aside and leant back in his chair with a sigh of satisfaction. "That was so good!" he enthused, licking his lips. A moment later, I laid my own knife and fork down on the empty plate and wiped my mouth with a serviette "Delicious! I exclaimed, readily agreeing with him "I feel really full now though" "You need to walk it off then!" he laughed "What time is it anyway?" For the umpteenth time I instinctively looked at my wrist, before realising my watch was no longer there. It immediately made me worry all over again how on earth I was going to replace it and I gazed at Nathan anxiously. "I don't know how I'm going to afford another watch exactly like the one mum and dad bought me" I said frowning “It’ll be way too expensive!” "Don't worry Jason, I've told you, I'll sort it out" he replied, touching my arm to reassure me. "The state your wrist's in at the moment you wouldn't be able to wear it anyway" he reasoned. What he said was undeniably true, but I still couldn't stop the anxiety from clouding my mind. "It's four o'clock" I said, only just noticing the large clock that hung on the wall behind him. "We'd better get going if you've finished Jase. I think the garage closes about five" We left the cafe shortly afterwards and headed along the high street. The garage was tucked away down a side street at the far end of town and by the time we got there it was dark. The street lamps cast an orange glow on the snow covered roof and a single set of footprints snaked their way inside. It was a smallish, red brick building with a tarmac covered front yard just visible in patches under the snow. Old enamel signs advertising engine oil and spare parts adorned the closed wooden doors and several cars stood in the yard, some with ‘For Sale' signs attached to their windscreens. "There's mine" said Nathan, pointing to a small red two-door saloon, parked nearby. "Looks in good condition" I remarked admiringly. "Yeah, it's not bad for now" At first glance the place appeared to be deserted, but on closer inspection dim lights were shining from the grime covered side windows. "Come on Jase, there's a door down here somewhere" said Nathan, opening a small side gate in the fencing. We soon found it and Nathan knocked and opened it, allowing us both to enter. "HELLO!" he shouted "ANYONE HERE?" A good looking guy about my age, with short black hair and an oil streaked face came out of the office on the far side of the garage. Obviously the mechanic, he smiled and began taking off his overalls. "Thought you weren't coming Nathan" he said in a relieved voice "I was just about to go home" "Sorry Matt, we're running a bit late" he apologized. As he stood talking to Nathan my eyes travelled up and down his slim figure, automatically comparing his body to Nathan's. I quickly decided there was no comparison; Nathan was definitely more muscular and fit. As he glanced over at me, subconsciously feeling my stare, I blushed and quickly turned away, pretending to study the car on the ramp beside me. Nathan went into the office with him and returned a few minutes later, jingling a set of car keys in his hand. As we stepped outside, the mechanic followed us and locked the door behind him. "Thanks Matt, take care" "Yeah, you too Nathan" With a cursory nod in my direction he walked to the end of the yard to open the big double gates. The snow was pushed into two long ridges as he swung them open and Nathan waved as he slowly drove through. It was freezing cold in the car and I rubbed my hands together, placing them between my knees in a bid to keep warm. Nathan glanced towards me and turned the heater up to full power. "Don't worry Jase, it'll soon warm up!" I smiled at him gratefully and he turned his attention back to negotiating his way carefully down the narrow street. I waited a while and then in an innocent voice, tentatively asked him a question I was longing to know the answer too. “So...erm.....how do you know Matt at the garage?” “Oh, one of the guys at work recommended him” It was on the tip of my tongue to remind him he’d said that all of the guys at work were unfriendly, but at the last moment, I stopped myself. Until I met Nathan, I didn’t even realise I possessed such a jealous streak! I really would have to fight to keep it under control, I thought to myself. "I’ll take you home if you like Jase" he was saying, as we approached the junction with the main road. "You don’t have to; I can get the bus" "Nonsense” he exclaimed “Next stop Dryford!" He turned left and by the time we stood waiting for the traffic lights to change in town, the heater had begun to kick in. "That's better" he said, giving an involuntary shiver "It's warming up now" I could feel the hot air beginning to swirl around my legs as he said it and I sank back in the comfortable seat, gazing at him admiringly as he shifted the car into first gear. I wished that I could reach out and put my hand on top of his, helping him glide slowly through the gears. We soon reached Dryford and Nathan pulled up outside my front gate. "Here we are then Jase" he exclaimed "Home sweet home!" The last thing I wanted to do was get out of the car. The warmth and close proximity to Nathan had nurtured a deep feeling of intimacy that I was loath to relinquish. His subtle aftershave was overwhelmingly intoxicating and I could've sat there forever. I knew leaving the car was inevitable though, so I yawned loudly and stretched, unfastening my seat belt as slowly as possible. "Tired?" he asked “Yeah, just a bit. I didn't sleep very well last night" He smiled and raised his eyebrows slightly. "I wonder why!" he joked as a wide grin spread across his face. "Yeah, I've been trying to work that one out myself!" I said, grinning back. "The thing is Naith, it was worth it. I've really enjoyed spending time with you" "Yeah, me too" he answered "Best time I've had in ages!" "So are you're still coming for lunch tomorrow then?" I asked him eagerly "Yeah of course! I wouldn't miss it for the world" "That’s great! We usually eat about 12, so just come round when you're ready" "Ok, that's brilliant" He hesitated slightly before continuing, afraid that he might receive a negative answer. "Look Jase, just say no if you're busy....but....erm....do you want to do something tomorrow maybe, you know, after lunch?" There was no such hesitation in my answer and I readily agreed. "Yeah sure, but what can we do in this weather?" "What about going to the cinema" he suggested "I'm sure there'll be something on worth watching" My heart skipped a beat at the thought of sitting close to him in the dark cinema. Not since my 'date' with Lucy Collins back in my schooldays had I shared such an intimate experience in a cinema. Of course, this time there would be no hesitant fumbling's or tentative touching, but even so, I'm sure my over active imagination would manage to compensate for that, however inadequately. "Yeah, I'd like that Nathan. Thank you" I couldn't put off the inevitable any longer and a cold draught swirled around my legs as I reluctantly opened the door. "See you tomorrow then Jase" he said with a warm smile on his face. "See you tomorrow Naith, take care" I got out and shut the door and he drove slowly to the end of the cul-de-sac before turning the car around. He slowed and briefly beeped the horn as he passed me and I waved at him, watching his car until it slowly disappeared out of sight around the corner. It was Sunday morning and I was reading a magazine in my bedroom, waiting for Nathan to arrive for lunch. When I say reading I was merely skimming through the pages of semi naked men with one eye on the clock, watching it crawl slowly past 11:30. I'd told him that we usually ate around 12pm but to come around whenever he was ready. There was a sudden knock on the front door and I jumped up, checking my hair in the mirror for the umpteenth time. Knowing that mum was in the kitchen and would expect me to answer it, I took several deep breaths before heading to the door. Nathan was just about to knock a second time as I opened it and he greeted me with a wide smile. The familiar feeling of excitement welled up inside me as my eyes surreptitiously swept up and down him and I eagerly stepped back, allowing him to enter. "Come in Naith" I urged him. I took his coat and hung it up on a peg with the others, at the same time noting his crisp white shirt and black trousers. "Whoa! You look smart!" "I like to make an effort" he replied, obviously pleased with the complement. At that moment mum emerged from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a tea towel and I couldn't help stating the obvious. "Nathan's here mum" “Hello love, it’s really nice to see you again" "Thank you Mrs. Wright. Something smell's good!" "I hope you're hungry Nathan?" "Oh don't worry, I am" he replied enthusiastically, rubbing his stomach to emphasise the fact. "Can I do anything to help mum?" "No it's ok love; I've just finished setting the table. Your dad's having a nap so if you want to go into your bedroom I'll give you a shout when it's ready" "Ok mum" Knowing that mum preferred the kitchen to herself when she was cooking, I ushered Nathan down the hallway into my bedroom. "Sit down" I said, indicating the chair. I laid down full length on the bed and propped myself up on my elbows, gazing at him admiringly. "I walked past the cinema last night Jase to find out what’s on" My interest was immediately aroused and I gazed at him eagerly. "Oh ok. Anything interesting?" "There’s a James Bond film on? The World is not enough. Don’t know if you’ve seen it" His questioning tone of voice told me that he wasn't sure if I'd be interested or not, but I readily agreed. "No, I haven’t seen that one. It's my last weekend off before Christmas, so we ought to do something whilst we've still got the chance" His face lit up with delight, obviously receiving the response he'd been hoping for. "Aw that's brilliant Jase. We'll go see it then" If he knew how much I wanted to go he wouldn't even have asked. If it meant sitting close to him in the dark cinema it didn't matter to me if it was the worst film in the world as long as we were there together. "I wasn't sure if you'd want to go or not" he admitted. "Definitely! I love spending time with you" I exclaimed "Why wouldn't I want to go?" His eyes widened slightly and I realised that my enthusiastic response had been a tad over the top. Like me he seemed to want a full on friendship, but I couldn't help thinking what would happen if he found a more permanent girlfriend. Would he simply drop me and spend all his time with her, leaving me hurt and incredibly jealous, or would he still want to spend time with me, albeit a lot less. All I knew was that sometimes you just had to go with your instincts and although I hadn't known him very long, I had a feeling that our friendship was as important to him as it was to me. Before he had a chance to respond to my slightly over the top reaction, I tried to play down my enthusiasm by revealing at least a part of the truth. "The thing is Naith, you've become my friend. If I'm being honest, my only friend, and I'd rather spend time with you than sit here on my own. It gets kinda lonely sometimes" He seemed to accept my explanation for what it was and nodded his head dejectedly. "I know what you mean!" I frowned slightly, unable to believe that someone like Nathan could ever be alone. "Why, what’s the matter?" "Oh, it's just that I'll be spending Christmas alone this year" I gazed at him in amazement. It was beyond my comprehension how anyone wouldn’t want to spend the holiday with their parents. It was obviously incredibly naive of me to think it was the same for everyone. "You're not going home then?" "No, my parents are going abroad to visit my grandparents this year so I'll be sat twiddling my thumbs alone. I've got two choices really" he went on, laughing mirthlessly "I can stay here on my own or go back home and stay there on my own!" He stared at me dejectedly "I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'd rather be at work" "I take it you didn’t want to go with them then?" I asked, already suspecting what his answer might be. "You must be joking!" he exclaimed "I couldn't spend two weeks with dad. We'd just end up fighting the whole time and spoil everything" I gazed at him sadly. "Unfortunately, I'm only off on Christmas day, but we can spend some time together then" I suggested, hoping to make him feel better "No it's ok Jase, don't worry. You'll be spending the day with your family. I don't want to intrude" An idea was already forming in the back of my mind, but I didn't want to say anything until I'd spoken to mum and dad. I hated the thought of him spending Christmas day alone and absent mindedly wondered if his parents felt the same way. At that moment mum called from down the hallway. "Jason, Nathan. Lunch is ready!” "Ok mum, coming!" I called back. As I lifted myself off the bed, a corner of the gay magazine I'd been looking at earlier on caught my eye and I froze with horror. It was protruding from a gap underneath the wardrobe where I'd hurriedly stuffed it before letting Nathan in and I'd obviously not pushed it far enough underneath. I'd been buying it in the city every month for a couple of years now and I normally kept it well hidden underneath the wardrobe. After I finished reading it I'd dump it in a bin on the way to work, so nobody would know. I could’ve kicked myself for being so careless and I tried to avoid looking at it so that Nathan wouldn't follow my line of vision. It was too late though, he'd seen it. As I kicked it further underneath he laughed, nudging my arm suggestively. "Stash of dirty magazines under the wardrobe eh?" My face turned a deep shade of red and I could feel it burning under his gaze. I didn't trust myself to speak and giving him an innocent 'I don't know what you mean look', quickly ushered him out of the room. I was slightly relieved that at least he couldn’t have seen what kind of magazine it was. By the time we entered the lounge dad had woken up from his nap and he greeted Nathan warmly "Now then son, how are you?" "I'm fine Mr. Wright, how about you?" "Oh not too bad, you know" "Can you help your dad to the table, Jason" said mum, coming in from the kitchen with a jug of gravy. "Yes, of course mum" I gazed over at him in surprise. Normally dad ate his meals sitting by the fire in his chair. We had a small table on wheels that could be pushed over the arms of his chair so that he didn't have to get up. Today however, because we had a guest, he'd obviously insisted on sitting at the table. Nathan immediately reached for dad's sticks and helped me lift him out of the chair. We both supported him as he moved slowly towards the table. "What would you like to drink? I asked, when they were both sitting down. Nathan hesitated slightly before answering but dad was quick to respond. "A beer please, son" "Nathan?" "Yeah, me too thanks" Mum was busy carving slices of meat off a joint when I went through to the kitchen to get the drinks. "Need any help mum?" "Oh yes please love" "Be back in a sec, I'll just take these through" I carried the drinks into the lounge, rather precariously clasping the three bottles of beer from the fridge and three glasses in my hands. Nathan immediately rose to his feet to help me as I set them down on the table and I couldn't help wincing slightly as his hand accidentally brushed against my wrist. My face became slightly flushed and I quickly turned away before dad noticed. "Just helping mum!" I called over my shoulder, before hastily disappearing back into the kitchen. Mum had cooked roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings and after several trips between the lounge and kitchen, the dining table was soon laden with food. Our best China plates, used only on special occasions, held large slices of meat and crispy, golden Yorkshire puddings. Dishes of steaming vegetables lined the centre of the table and a jug of rich dark gravy stood to one side. Mum was an excellent cook and I glanced at her in puzzlement, vaguely wondering why she'd gone to so much trouble. She smiled at Nathan's wide eyed look of awe as he surveyed the food and quickly urged us to eat. "Help yourselves lads!" she exclaimed "Tuck in" No further encouragement was needed and we began hungrily filling our plates as if it was the last remaining food on earth. Because dad couldn't use one of his hands properly, mum filled his plate for him and began cutting his food into smaller pieces. "Ok Nathan?" she asked, as she began eating her own meal a moment later. "Delicious, Mrs. Wright!! I wish I could cook like this" We fell silent whilst everyone concentrated on eating their lunch, but I couldn't help noticing that mum kept glancing across at Nathan, smiling at his obvious enjoyment of the food. "That was delicious mum!" I remarked as the last of my food disappeared. "I'll second that" agreed Nathan enthusiastically "It was absolutely gorgeous" His use of the word gorgeous immediately made me think of Connor. That's what he'd called me on the night he'd first asked me out and I desperately wished that Nathan was using it to describe me and not the food. "Help yourselves to some more boys" offered Mum, smiling happily. Nathan immediately helped himself to more, obviously enjoying it immensely. "I don't expect you get too many home cooked meals, living on your own Nathan?" mum asked a moment later "You're right, I don't" he agreed ruefully "There doesn't seem to be much point in cooking for one" "Oh I'm sure that'll all change once you settle down with a nice girl" I rolled my eyeballs upwards in despair and glanced across at Nathan's bemused expression. Here we go again! Why was it that people always insisted on pairing you off, whatever the circumstances! Dad caught my slightly disgruntled expression and tactfully changed the subject, aware of my embarrassment. "So what are you two up to today then?" He asked "We thought we'd go to the cinema this afternoon, Mr. Wright" volunteered Nathan "Anything good on?" he enquired "There's a James Bond film on that neither of us has seen yet" I answered, smiling at Nathan. "Your dad and I spent hours in the cinema together when we first met" mum cut in, smiling to herself as she recalled the memory. I had a sudden overwhelming urge to laugh and failed miserably to hold it back. "What's the matter Jason?" asked mum with a smile, already caught up by my infectious laughter. "Wasn't that when everything was in black and white with no sound mum? Her wide eyed expression of surprise only made me laugh all the more and I could see that Nathan was dying to join in. "Eh cheeky" she spluttered indignantly. "We're not that old you know!" "It wasn't so much that" chipped in dad, sharing our laughter "But the gas lights were never bright enough!" We all laughed and when I glanced across at Nathan it was good to see that he was relaxed and happy. Our light hearted banter continued until mum began gathering the plates together. "Anyone for pudding then?" she asked "Its apple pie and custard” All three of us immediately said yes and I followed her into the kitchen to help. Ten minutes later I pushed my chair away from the table, feeling decidedly full. It had been an awesome meal but I still couldn't understand why mum had gone to so much trouble. Even dad had decided to sit at the table and that in itself was highly unusual. Nevertheless, I was incredibly grateful that they'd made Nathan feel so welcome and for the fact that they seemed to like him as much as I did. The others were just finishing their pudding when mum asked him another question. "Are you going home for Christmas this year Nathan?" "Oh erm no Mrs Wright. I think I'll just stay up here in the flat this year" he replied, chewing his lower lip "Mum and dad are going abroad to see my grandparents, so there's really no point in going home" "You mean you'll be on your own!" she gasped incredulously "But you can't spend Christmas alone" "I don't really have a choice" he explained in a forlorn voice. "If I go back home the house will be empty anyway, so I might as well stay here" I noticed mum and dad exchange sympathetic glances and it was obvious they were thinking the same thing. "Why don't you come to us Nathan" suggested dad enthusiastically. "There's always plenty of food and I'm sure Jason would be happy to have someone his own age around" I eagerly nodded my approval. "Course I would, that's a brilliant idea!" "I couldn't Mr. Wright" Nathan protested, shaking his head. "Christmas is a time for families; I'd just be in the way" "Nonsense lad" insisted dad firmly "We'd love to have you. Besides, you're the next best thing to family anyway" "That's right Nathan" agreed mum "You'd be more than welcome to come here" He remained silent for several seconds as a look of indecision clouded his face and my heart thudded in my chest, hoping against hope he would agree. Being Jim Brown's son obviously meant an awful lot to my parents and they gazed at him in silent anticipation. When he finally spoke I almost cheered out loud and couldn't keep the overwhelming smile of satisfaction off my face. "Well if you're sure I wouldn't be in the way" he said anxiously "I'd love to" "That's settled then" said dad "We'll look forward to it" This was excellent news, I thought to myself. Better than I could ever have imagined. Once I knew he'd be on his own, I'd planned to ask mum and dad if he could spend the time with us anyway and now I didn't have to. It was the best Christmas present I could have hoped for! A moment later Nathan pushed his chair back and stood up "We'll do the washing up Mrs. Wright" he said, indicating for me to join him in the kitchen. "You don't have to" protested mum "I can do it later" "Yes, we do" he replied firmly "It's only fair after you've spent so long preparing that wonderful meal" Mum smiled and gazed at Nathan gratefully "Oh well, if you put it like that" We helped dad back into his chair and mum sat down in an armchair, turning on the television. Nathan and I began clearing the plates and dishes and when they were all finally in the kitchen, I closed the door, leaving mum and dad alone to relax. The draining board and surrounding work surface were filled with dirty pots, waiting to be washed. Nathan turned around and nodded towards my arm. "How's your wrist Jason?" "Still a bit sore" I said, gingerly drawing up the sleeve of my shirt to let him take a look. The jagged scar that snaked its way along my wrist was looking decidedly better, but was still red and inflamed, and Nathan raised his eyebrows slightly. "I'll wash and you'd better dry then" he said decisively. "You need to keep that wrist as dry as possible" A pair of yellow plastic gloves hung over the taps and Nathan stretched them over his hands in a ridiculously exaggerated manner, as though he was a surgeon about to perform an operation. Steam soon began to rise off the hot water as the bowl gradually filled up and he squeezed far too much washing up liquid under the running tap. A mountain of bubbles began to form and I had a sudden overwhelming urge to play a joke on him. As he turned to one side to lift some pots into the water, I quickly scooped up a large handful of bubbles and standing behind him, carefully balanced them on top of his head. Amazingly, he continued to wash the pots, totally unaware of what I'd done and my stomach heaved as I desperately tried to stifle a fit of laughter. Every time he moved, the bubbles wavered precariously on top of his head and I thought that before long they were bound to fall off. As the draining board began to fill up with pots he obviously wondered why I hadn't begun to dry them and turned towards me impatiently. "Come on Jase, no slacking!" he chided jokingly "There's plenty to dry" As soon as he saw the expression on my face and realised I was desperately trying to stifle a laugh, he smiled and immediately demanded to know the reason why. "What is is Jase?" he asked warily, shaking his head "What have you done?" The bubbles began to wobble from side to side as he shook his head and I couldn't hold out any longer and burst into a fit of laughter, pointing to his head. "Just admiring your new hair style, that's all" A small mirror hung on the far wall and the pile of bubbles on his head swung to and fro even more precariously as he walked over to it and gazed at his reflection. His face immediately creased into laughter and he grabbed some kitchen roll and began to wipe them off, making no attempt whatsoever at retaliation. "You do realize you'll have to pay for that, don't you Jason" he warned with a mischievous grin. I smiled nervously, wondering what he was going to do. We continued washing up and eventually a pile of dried pots and pans stood on the work surface. "Why don't you put some of those away and I'll wipe the sink down" he suggested. I bent down and began to put them away in the cupboard underneath the work surface, all the while keeping a wary eye on him in case he tried anything. Finally, all that remained to be put away were several plates kept on the top shelf of one of the wall cupboards. So far Nathan hadn't tried to get me back and I foolishly began to relax as I concentrated on putting the plates away, thinking his threat to retaliate was idle. As I stood on tiptoes to reach the highest shelf my T shirt rode up, momentarily exposing my naked midriff. Quick as a flash he scooped up a palm full of bubbles from the bowl and rubbed them against my bare stomach. I collapsed in shock against the work surface and Nathan stood with his back to the sink, helpless with laughter. Unfortunately in his haste to retaliate, bubbles were not all he'd scooped up and I gasped in shock as warm soapy water immediately ran down inside my underwear, causing small wet patches to appear on the front of my trousers. "Bloody hell Nathan, I'm wet through" I exaggerated, unsure whether to laugh or frown. "It's your own fault" he said, still laughing. "I told you I'd get you back" He gazed at my indignant expression and unable to shake the wide grin that lit up his face, took a step closer to me. "Come here" he said, lifting up the front of my T shirt. He began patting the wet skin with the tea towel and for some inexplicable reason I was terrified at the sudden close contact between us and instinctively stepped back, hurriedly finding an excuse for my impulsive reaction. "Nathan! The tea towels just as wet" "Sorry Jase, I didn't realise I had quite as much water in my hand as that. Hang on a sec!" He quickly tore a piece of kitchen roll off the dispenser and lifted my t-shirt once again. I was powerless to resist as he rubbed the paper gently all over my bare stomach and then ran the back of his hand over the exposed skin. "There you go Jase, all dry again now." His touch was like an electric shock coursing through my body and for a second or two I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The indescribable feeling of desire made my heart race and a second or two later I realised I was holding my breath. My face had become flushed with embarrassment and I had to find an excuse to leave the room as quickly as possible. My words came out in a stutter as I pointed to the front of my trousers and struggled for words. "I-I...erm...n-need to get out of these Naith.....the w-water....it's gone down, well you know...." His face broke into laughter as he realised what I was trying to say and stepping forward slightly, he called out jokingly "If you need anyone to dry your....." I scuttled out of the room like a frightened rabbit before he'd finished speaking and hurried down the hallway to my bedroom, attempting to change my trousers and underwear as quickly as possible. The massive erection his touch had caused me hampered my efforts, but the thought that he may well follow me down the hallway at any time was enough to spur me on. After a short while my breathing returned to normal and forcing myself to calm down, I checked my appearance in the mirror. Unfortunately my erection was taking considerably longer to wane and I couldn’t risk going back in my current state. Suddenly thinking of earlier, I hurriedly retrieved the magazine from under the wardrobe and in a bout of panic stuffed it as far under my mattress as I could. By this time my erection had begun to wane and when I returned to the kitchen he was standing in the same position with his back to the sink. His face brightened considerably as soon as he saw me "Ok Jase? I thought you'd got lost!" "No" I mumbled, unable to meet his steady gaze as it rested on the front of my trousers "Just needed the bathroom" There was an awkward silence and keen to avoid any more questions, I nodded towards the door. "Let's go for a cigarette" I suggested, fanning my flushed face "It's warm in here" "Yeah ok" "We'll have to go to the shed, mum won't let us smoke in the house" Unhooking a key that hung by the mirror, I opened the back door and stepped outside, marvelling at the blank white canvas that was laid out before us. The garden was long and narrow with a path that snaked its way down to an old shed at the bottom. Today however, it was completely invisible. A soft blanket of snow covered everything, save for the footprints of a neighbour's cat, winding their way haphazardly down the garden. Nathan followed behind me as I made my way gingerly along where I thought the path should be and a short while later unlocked the shed, brushing away a frozen cobweb that covered one corner of the door. The shed was largely unused; it's main purpose these days being a sanctuary for me to smoke in on cold or rainy days. A cursory glance around proved this beyond all doubt and I reminded myself once again that it was long overdue for a clear out. An old net curtain covered the grimy window and dust swirled around in a shaft of winter sunlight shining through the glass. All manner of unwanted junk was piled at one side and a row of dirty jam jars, filled with nuts and bolts and assorted screws stood on a shelf opposite the door. I bent down and switched on an old heater, rubbing my hands together whilst waiting for the warm air to start circulating. "Ah, so this is your secret hideaway is it Jase?" remarked Nathan, offering me a cigarette. "Not really. It's just handy if it's cold or raining" He nodded and turned his attention towards an old bicycle leaning up against the side wall. "Is this yours?" he asked, grasping the handlebars firmly. "Yeah, I used to cycle to school on it when we lived in Hamborough, but I don't use it much these days" I offered him a light and as we stood smoking his thoughtful gaze returned to the bicycle. "I might get a bike" he mused "It'll help me to keep fit" "You look fit enough to me already" I answered absent mindedly, realising too late how it might sound. My heart raced and I glanced away in horror, desperately hoping he wouldn’t pick up on it. It was a forlorn hope of course and he jumped on it immediately "Whoa Jason!! I didn't know you felt that way about me" My face was a mask of embarrassment and all I could do was attempt to splutter my way out of it. “Nathan!! You.....know...I don’t mean it that way" His face creased into laughter as he tied me up in knots. "You mean you don't think I'm fit? "No no, I do but......" He couldn't hold the laughter in any longer and gave a huge guffaw. "It's ok Jase. I'm only winding you up. I know exactly what you meant" Turning away, I studied the wall intently before replying. "Yeah, I knew that!" I retorted, suddenly angry with myself for blurting it out. The anger clearly resonated in my voice and we both fell silent, neither one of us knowing what to say. By now the shed had become quite warm and I opened the door a bit wider, thankful to have an excuse to change the subject. “The only trouble is it gets a bit smoky in here” I said nervously, taking a deep draw on my cigarette. A long plume of smoke curled around the door frame and disappeared upwards, taking with it several glowing embers of ash in the slight breeze that gently buffeted the shed. Nathan was looking at me thoughtfully as I stood aside to let him lean against the door. "You don't seem to be the type of person I'd expect to smoke if you don't mind me saying Jase" he remarked after a while. I raised my eyebrows slightly before responding to his assumption “I didn’t realize there was a type!” “You know what I mean!” I smiled to myself inwardly and marvelled at the kind of image that Nathan had formed of me, even though we’d only just met. He obviously thought I was some kind of innocent ‘nice boy’ living at home with his parents, desperately searching for a lasting relationship with an equally ‘nice girl’. If only he knew what I’d done with Connor!! For a split second I was tempted to smash the image he’d built up of me into smithereens with one short sentence. Frightened to do so at the last moment though, I decided instead to let him carry on with the illusion he’d created. I couldn’t resist, however, dangling a tiny carrot in front of him. “You’d be surprised what type I am Nathan” His interest was immediately aroused as I knew it would be and he responded excitedly “Tell me more Jase! I’m intrigued” Now that I'd chickened out there was no way I was going do that and I could see the slight look of disappointment that clouded his face as he realized I had no intention of elaborating any further. Instead, I quickly returned to the subject of smoking before he asked any more questions "Most days I wish I'd never started. It's bad for your health and far too expensive" I said ruefully. “The problem is, I enjoy it too much” “There isn’t much point in trying to give up yet then” he replied “You’ll never do it!” I’d already reached much the same conclusion some time ago and nodded my head in agreement. "So when did you start?" he asked "Oh, I was about 15, something like that. Still at school anyway” I began to explain “We lived in Hamborough at the time and this guy called Ben lived next door to us. I spent the whole of the school holidays with him that year” I smiled and tapped the seat of my bike “We used to cycle to the local wood if the weather was fine. He smoked all the time and kept on at me to have one" "So eventually you did" "Yeah, biggest mistake of my life" Even as I answered it was hard to stop the smile that spread across my face as I recalled our time in the woods and I secretly chuckled to myself. “Back then I was so scared that someone might see us and tell my parents that we’d immediately dive into the bracken if we heard anyone coming” “So he didn’t do you any favours then?” The memory of exactly what we used to do in the bracken came flooding back and I had to silently disagree. Instead of answering him I quickly posed a question. "So what about you Nathan, when did you start?" "Oh a similar age, about 15 or 16. It always seemed so glamorous to smoke, made you look grown up. When I met my first girlfriend she smoked too, so I just started" he explained with a shrug of his shoulders. I felt an immediate pang of jealousy at the mention of a girlfriend, firmly reminding me that the more intimate relationship I craved with him was unattainable. Now that I knew when he’d had his first relationship, I couldn’t help wondering for some inexplicable reason how intimate the two of them had been. His voice broke through my thoughts, bringing me swiftly back to reality. "It's about time we were going" he was saying, looking at his watch. We finished our cigarettes and returned to the house, stamping our feet at the back door to dislodge the snow from our shoes. I quickly slipped them off and turned towards him. "I'll just let mum know we're going" He nodded and followed me through the kitchen to the lounge. When I opened the door mum was still watching television and dad had fallen asleep. "We're going now mum” I said in a low voice, trying to avoid waking dad “I won't be late back" “Ok love, enjoy the film” she said, turning around to face us. Nathan moved to stand beside me in the doorway and I stiffened slightly as he placed his hand on the small of my back. "Bye Nathan" "Bye Mrs. Wright and thanks again for dinner. It was delicious" "You're welcome love” she beamed “Have a nice time at the cinema" We both chorused back at the same time "We will"
  5. Filzmoos

    Chapter 25

    As we stood outside the bungalow furiously brushing snow off our clothes, Nathan was struggling to dislodge some from the back of his jeans when he suddenly turned towards me with a look of frustration on his face. “Is it all off Jason?” There was a moment’s hesitation and my heart began to race at the open invitation to gaze at his awesome rear. Suddenly overcome with desire, I couldn’t stop the white lie that inadvertently slipped out of my mouth. “Well no, erm not quite” In reality all that remained was a tiny trace of snow overshadowed by a large wet patch covering most of his buttocks. Call it intuition or just blind hope, but I had a sudden feeling what his next request would be. “Any chance you can brush it off for me?” he asked casually, seemingly unaware of the effect his request was having on me. My heart immediately skipped a beat and every nerve end in my body began to tingle with anticipation. I couldn’t quite believe that such an opportunity had arisen to touch him in a place I’d been longing to caress ever since the first day we met and there was no way I could deny his request. To refuse would appear churlish and unhelpful and before he even had the slightest chance to change his mind, my shaking hand began hesitantly brushing away the non-existent snow. I was rock hard within seconds and the feelings of sheer pleasure as my hand softly brushed the rough material of his jeans was indescribable. I was incredibly reluctant to take my hand away, but to leave it there any longer would definitely have aroused his suspicions. That was the last thing I wanted, at least until my feelings were fully reciprocated. My stomach was tied in knots as I smiled at him weakly and tried desperately to hide my erection. “There you go Nathan, all done!” “Thanks Jase, much appreciated” A moment of guilt washed over me for deceiving him and I didn’t dare to ask him to do the same for me. I quickly readjusted myself whilst he finished brushing his jeans off and turned towards him with an innocent smile. The front door of the bungalow was covered in snow and Nathan brushed it away as I fumbled with freezing fingers to retrieve my keys. A sudden thought occurred to me and I gazed at him worriedly. “I hope I didn’t put you on the spot when I mentioned meeting my parents. You don’t have to, you know” “Its fine really, I don’t mind” He smiled at me reassuringly and I tried to detect any signs of reluctance. Now that I’d said it, I couldn’t help thinking that 'Would you like to meet my parents?' sounded as if I was about to introduce him as my boyfriend! Unless he was hiding it really well, he seemed eager enough though and I scolded myself for being so paranoid. He'd already proved several times before what an extremely nice guy he was, so there was no reason to be surprised. With one final effort, I turned the key and pushed open the front door. As we stood in the hallway and began removing our coats and shoes, mum called out from the kitchen. “Is that you Jason?” “Yes mum” I called back “Just going to get changed” I motioned for Nathan to follow me down the hallway. “I’ve got to get out of these jeans, they’re wet through!” I winced as he instinctively looked down at the front of my trousers and without saying a word, nodded in silent agreement. “What about you?” I said, as we entered my bedroom "You can borrow a pair of mine if you like. We're about the same size” "Thanks Jase, that'd be great" I felt oddly embarrassed removing my jeans in front of him and surreptitiously turned to one side as I slid the stubborn damp material down my legs as quickly as possible. My erection had never really gone away and as it fully hardened again, I realised that facing him would be a real problem. Luckily the wardrobe was in front of me and I hurriedly pulled both doors wide open to hide my embarrassment. Quickly scanning the pile of clothes before me, I grabbed two pairs of jeans and passed one of them to Nathan, without fully turning around. "Here, try these Nathan" I could hear him changing and I furiously fumbled around in the wardrobe, desperately playing for time. I would’ve given anything to turn around and watch him, but my current predicament definitely prevented me. “Thanks Jase" he said "They're a perfect fit" Half turning around, I gave a weak smile of acknowledgement and nodded towards the carrier bag containing my freshly washed clothes. "It's the least I can do after you did those for me" There was an awkward silence as I wondered what to do. I could hardly stand in front of the wardrobe for however long it took for my erection to diminish. Despite desperately trying to think of something else, the image of a semi naked Nathan in my bedroom seemed to have completely taken over my thoughts and I failed miserably to rid my mind of the sensual image. I was determined not to turn around though, even though he must be looking at me by now, wondering what was taking me so long. As if to confirm it I momentarily froze as his words rang in my ears. “That bruise is still a corker!” For a second or two I was unsure how to react and gave an uneasy laugh, before glancing warily over my shoulder.He was laid full length on the bed, propped up on his elbows watching me and I struggled to keep my voice steady. The affected area on my leg was rapidly turning yellow and as I twisted around, making an involuntary attempt to see it, his eyes suddenly shifted to the large bulge that had been revealed at the front of my briefs. My heart thudded with horror and I hurriedly tried to adjust myself, but it was still obvious what was happening. His eyes widened momentarily and an incredulous look, quickly replaced by amusement, spread across his face as my cheeks began burning with embarrassment. "Looks like the snake's trying to escape" he quipped. He was referring of course to the briefs I was wearing when he'd undressed me the previous night. They were emblazoned with the words 'Beware of the Snake' across the front and were currently sitting in the pile of clothes that he'd washed for me "Yeah well, I'm not used to being watched when I get undressed" I answered, fixing him with a mock frown. "Sorry" he quickly apologised, still grinning "I know my name’s not Connie. I'll close my eyes!" He immediately placed his hands behind his head and laid back, pretending to be asleep. "How's that Jase?" By this time I’d finally managed to fasten my jeans and I sat down on the bed and poked him in the ribs, smiling affectionately. "Idiot!" Within seconds his eyes were open, dancing with anticipation. "So speaking of Connie, you said you were going to tell me all about her!" “No I didn’t!” He gave me one of those mischievous glances before screwing his face up and gazing at me in mock disappointment. “Promise I won’t tell anyone” he pleaded I was wondering how long it would take him to ask me again and I sighed loudly, resigning myself to the fact that I would have to tell him something. My brain suddenly went into overdrive, desperately trying to think of a believable story. I hated having to deceive him and wondered how much longer I could keep up the pretence. He clearly still thought I was straight and at this stage I couldn’t risk the chance of him running a mile because he was too embarrassed to be seen with me. There was a slight pause and he gazed at me, eagerly waiting for me to continue. Finally I responded, forcing out the words reluctantly. "If you must know, I met her when I went to visit my grandma. Connie was her next door neighbour’s daughter” I paused and he impatiently urged me to go on “And?” “And what?” I replied, loath to continue the deception. “Well obviously she must have been a stunner to go out with you for a start” he joked. “Come on Nathan” I replied, playing along with his humour “That goes without saying” He laughed out loud and with a huge grin on his face, continued to ask questions. “So, what was she like?” How long were you together? Was she a good kisser? Come on Jason, spill the beans. I need to know these things!” I sighed and reluctantly carried on, feeling decidedly awkward. “I don’t know, what can I say? She was a lovely girl, really pretty. We were together for about six months” My face flushed with embarrassment as I answered his last question “And yes, before you ask again, she was a good kisser” “Mmm. I’ll let you off for now, but I think you’re a bit of a dark horse on the quiet Jason Wright” he laughed, narrowing his eyes suspiciously “I reckon you’ve got girls coming out of the woodwork!” If only he knew the truth, I thought to myself ruefully, he probably wouldn’t be so happy I was deceiving him. I gave him a nervous glance and purposefully ignored his remarks, hoping he wasn’t expecting an answer. Of course that was wishful thinking and it was clear from his expression that he couldn’t help himself from probing further. “So why did you break up?” I sighed and frowned at him,making sure my face took on a hurtful expression. “Look Nathan, I know I said before it was a mutual thing….but it wasn’t, ok. She was seeing someone else behind my back and that’s why I don’t like to talk about it. Gran didn’t know and kept encouraging us to get back together. It was pretty painful…….” I left the sentence unfinished and slowly shook my head to emphasise my meaning. He looked totally gutted that he’d upset me and his face was full of concern. “I’m sorry Jason, you don’t need to say anymore; I can see now it’s something you really don’t want to talk about” He frowned and shook his head, obviously annoyed with himself for thinking he’d upset me. “I’m so sorry for making you tell me, I promise I won’t mention it again” He gave a sigh of resignation and a fleeting look of sadness crossed his face. “Nathan, what’s wrong?” “Oh I don’t know…..it’s just….well, at least your gran cares enough to try!” Although he did his best to hide it, I could see he’d become quite upset and I wasn’t sure what to say to him. I would’ve given anything at that moment just to lay beside him and hold him close. It was obviously a deep-rooted problem, probably caused in part by the poor relationship he shared with his father. As if to confirm what I was thinking, he quickly continued. “I love that you’re so close to your family Jason. I wish it was like that for me” “Do you think you’ll ever make it up with your father?” I asked in a soft voice. He shook his head and gazed at me doubtfully. “Who knows what the future holds Jason? To tell you the truth, I think we’re both as stubborn as each other” “Look Nathan, I don’t want to tell you what to do, but all I know is if it were my father, there’s no way I could fall out with him” “Yeah, but you don’t have to put up with my father!” he replied dolefully. Things were obviously very different for Nathan. His face had dropped a mile and I briefly touched his leg. “Come on Naith, cheer up. Now’s your chance to meet mine” Mum and dad were watching television when we entered the lounge and I greeted them cheerfully. Nathan hung back near the door, waiting to be introduced. “Hi Mum, Dad” “There you are son!” dad exclaimed “Wondered what had happened to you this morning” I gazed at mum warily before replying. “Oh, I erm decided to have a lay in. Day off and all that” “Ah, I see” An amused expression played around his lips as he tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. “So you didn’t have a hangover then?” he added, winking at me. There was no fooling dad, that was for sure. As usual he’d gone unerringly to the truth and I couldn’t help but return his smile. “Well…..maybe just a bit” “And now I bet you’re never going to drink again, are you son?” he interrupted, still smiling. “Yeah, something like that” I answered sheepishly “Ah well, no harm done I suppose. You’re only young once” If only that were the case, I thought to myself, sub consciously pulling down the sleeve of my pullover. If dad caught sight of my injured wrist he wouldn’t be satisfied until he knew every little detail and I didn’t want him to know what kind of state I’d really been in. Even worse, the thought of my ruined watch kept nagging away at me and I knew it would hurt them a lot if they ever found out. I gave a weak smile and hastily turned around, drawing their attention towards the doorway. “Mum, dad this is my friend Nathan” I gazed at him proudly and my heart skipped a beat as he smiled back at me. I couldn’t help thinking how good it would be to say, this is my boyfriend Nathan, instead. They both greeted him in unison and with his customary charm he smiled and politely responded. “It’s really nice to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Wright” He ventured further into the room and held out his hand to each of them in turn. They both smiled and shook hands with him warmly. Mum immediately offered him a seat and as we sat down on the small sofa, I could feel the warmth of his leg as it pushed against my own. I couldn’t help noticing that dad was staring at him with a slight frown of puzzlement on his face and I wondered why. It was incredibly important to me that mum and dad liked Nathan as much as I did, but with dad’s current reaction I wasn’t at all sure that this would be the case. By this time Nathan had noticed it too and my heart beat slightly faster as I tried to work out what was on dad’s mind. Within seconds he offered an explanation and I heaved a sigh of relief that it was nothing serious. “Sorry for staring Nathan, it’s just that you look vaguely familiar” Nathan raised his eyebrows in surprise and for a second or two was clearly unsure how to respond. He quickly regained his composure and shook his head in denial. “I don’t think we’ve ever met before Mr. Wright. I’m sure I would’ve remembered if we had” “Ah well, never mind lad” he sighed “You probably just remind me of someone, that’s all” “We don’t usually get to meet any of Jason’s friends these days” remarked mum, gazing at me in surprise. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that the main reason for that was because I didn’t have any. Nathan merely smiled at her before elaborating further “We’ve actually only just met fairly recently Mrs Wright. Jason leant me some money for the bus fare home when I left my wallet at work, so I took him for a drink last night to say thank you. We seemed to get on really well and we’ve just become friends” I nodded in confirmation and smiled at him, silently thanking god that cars needed MOT’s. “Nathan’s from near London” I cut in “But he was born in Hamborough” “My family moved down south about five years ago” added Nathan, continuing the story “So I’ve lost touch with everyone I knew back then” “So what made you come back?” dad asked “Oh, I just felt it was time for a change” he replied wistfully “Dad and I…we erm….” Clearly struggling to find a suitable way to explain, his voice tailed off and I rushed to help him with the first thing that came to mind. “Nathan’s working at AWB dad” “Really!” he exclaimed, immediately wanting to know more “Which department son?” As Nathan began talking to dad about AWB Engineering, I couldn’t help but admire how good he looked. His handsome face and slim figure took my breath away and the way his shirt tightened when he moved forward, mirroring the contours of his well defined muscles set my pulse racing, forcing my imagination to run riot. How good would he look without clothes, I thought to myself excitedly. A shiver ran up and down my spine and I wondered what on earth mum and dad would think if they knew what was going through my mind right now. Mum’s voice broke through my thoughts and I was suddenly aware she was speaking to me. “Would you mind making us all a drink Jason?” “No, course not mum. I was just about to” “Nathan, would you like a tea or a coffee dear?” He momentarily broke off his conversation with dad to answer. “Oh, a cup of tea would be lovely Mrs Wright. Thank you” She smiled at the polite way he spoke and I could tell she was impressed by his pleasant easy manner. I knew that mum and dad would also want tea so that made it extremely easy. I gave Nathan a last reluctant glance and headed slowly towards the kitchen, making sure that no one could see the front of my trousers. Admiring him had given me another enormous erection that now pushed against the cupboard front as I leant over the sink to fill the kettle. It seemed like these days all I had to do was think about him and I had an instant erection. That hadn’t happened since my days with Connor! As the kettle began boiling I stood for several seconds with my back to the work surface waiting for it to diminish and I couldn’t help noticing something shiny on the floor. It appeared to be some kind of identification tag, attached to a long silver chain. I stooped down to pick it up and turned it over in my hand, reading the inscription to myself out loud. Along the top were the printed words, Arthur WBrown (AWB) Engineering Ltd. and the name Nathan Brown along the bottom. A small photograph adorned the middle and I had to squint hard to see it. I realized with a jolt that until now I didn’t even know Nathan’s last name, but the photograph and name on the tag were undoubtedly his. I slipped it into my pocket whilst I finished making the tea. The fully laden tray was heavy to carry as I carefully negotiated my way into the lounge and I was glad to set it down safely on the coffee table. Nathan was still talking to dad about AWB and as mum began pouring the tea, I pulled the identification tag out of my pocket and swung it to and fro in front of them. “I found this in the kitchen Nathan! Bit of a coincidence really, Nathan Brown and you work at Browns” I exclaimed, laughing at the coincidence. Arthur W Brown Engineering was a well-known company in Hamborough, known locally as AWB Engineering. Arthur had started the business back in the 1940’s and his son Jim had started work there on the same day as dad. “Oh thanks” he said, hastily stuffing it into his pocket “I’m always losing that” Meanwhile dad had leant forward in his chair excitedly and it soon became apparent why he’d thought that Nathan seemed so familiar. Something in the tone of his voice as he spoke immediately caught my attention. “Do you mind if I ask you something Nathan?” He hesitated before answering, as if he knew what was coming, and I could hear the uncertainty in his voice “Of course not Mr. Wright, go ahead” “Are you Jim’s son by any chance?” “Jim who?” I broke in, convinced that dad had finally lost the plot. “You know Jason!” he exclaimed “Jim Brown!" He gazed at me impatiently as if I should instantly know who he was talking about, but I was clearly a little slow on the uptake. "Jim Brown?" he reiterated sharply "He owns Browns!” "Oh!!!" As realization dawned, my mouth dropped open and I turned towards Nathan in astonishment. “Jim’s your dad!” He sighed deeply before reluctantly nodding in the affirmative “Yes, he is” There was a stunned silence and for some reason mum and dad seemed totally shocked by the revelation. Raised eyebrows and a fleeting look of surprisepassed between them, but their unexpected reaction was instantly gone, almost as though it had never existed. “I thought so!!” exclaimed dad in triumph “I knew you reminded me of someone!” Nathan, meanwhile, gave a weak smile, clearly embarrassed by the situation. The more I thought about it, there was a definite resemblance between Nathan and his father. Whilst Jim’s natural blonde hair had prematurely turned silver grey, their undeniable similarity remained and I could fully understand why dad had picked up on it. For some reason I hadn't made the connection, even though I knew that Jim had a son called Nathan. Thinking about it, he must have gone to school here in Hamborough at the same time as me, but he certainly hadn’t attended my school. I absent-mindedly wondered if maybe he’d gone to a private school. After all, his father did own a factory! Jim Brown and my dad had gone to school together, quickly becoming best friends. After they left school Jim went into the family business working for his father Arthur, and dad started work there as an apprentice on the same day. They continued to be good friends throughout their working lives, often enjoying a game of golf together or a pint of beer. After dad’s health failed they saw much less of each other but still kept in touch. Jim had taken over the business from his father by then, and had moved away to open another factory in London, but if he was back up here on business he would usually make time to call round for a visit. Dad was always really pleased to see him and they would sit for ages, chatting about old times and reliving the past. Whilst I was growing up he never forgot my birthdays and always sent a present at Christmas. On the numerous occasions I'd met him he always seemed to be a really nice guy and I wondered what the problem was between him and Nathan. Dad went on to astound us even more with his next revelation and I gasped with amazement. “Talk about coincidence!!” he continued, shaking his head in amazement “What you don’t realize is that you two have actually met before!” I glanced across the room at mum, and once again caught that same inexplicable look passing between them. This time though I was almost too flabbergasted to notice. My stomach had tied itself in knots, and my brain struggled to digest what had just been revealed. Nathan was staring at dad in astonishment and we both asked the same question at once. “Where!!” “Oh it was years ago, when you were both young” dad explained “We went to the coast for the day with Jim and his wife and their little one. Obviously that was you Nathan” he added with a smile. “So how old were we?” I asked, still struggling to believe what dad had revealed. “Oh I don’t know” he mused, rubbing his chin “five, maybe six?” Now that he mentioned it, I did have a feint memory at the back of my mind of playing football on the beach with a blond haired boy. Obviously that must have been Nathan! “I can hardly believe it!” exclaimed Nathan in amazement, mirroring my thoughts. “That’s amazing!!” “It’s true” confirmed mum, smiling at him “And what a good looking young man you’ve turned out to be!” “Thank you” he said, blushing slightly as he acknowledged her compliment. “So how did you two meet?” asked dad. “Nathan caught the same bus as me a few nights ago” I explained “Then the following night he forgot his wallet and I leant him the fare. We just got on really well together from the start and found we had a lot in common” I went on, smiling at Nathan. “I’ve lost touch with all my old friends” he added “So it was brilliant to meet someone new that I could make friends with” “And where are you living at the moment Nathan?” mum enquired “Oh, erm in Cranford. I’ve got a flat. Well actually it belongs to dad, but he’s letting me stay there. It’s pretty decent though" he went on "Just a bit lonely sometimes” “So how is your dad these days Nathan?” asked dad "I haven’t seen him for a while” His expression immediately darkened “He’s ok as far as I know Mr. Wright. I don’t actually see him very often either” Something in the tone of his voice immediately alerted dad to the fact that all was not well between the two of them and the inquisitive look on his face soon prompted Nathan to reveal further details. He screwed up his face as he concentrated on what to say, before reluctantly beginning to elaborate. “Dad and I……we....erm....well we don’t get on too well” he began hesitantly “We have….erm..how can I put this?” He paused for a little to gather his thoughts before continuing. “I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we have differing opinions on certain things” “Aye well” chuckled dad knowingly “That's no surprise. Your father always was a bit single minded” “Tell me about it!” he agreed with a grimace on his face. Nathan’s answer left me feeling intrigued about what those ‘certain things’ were that they didn't agree on and did nothing to satisfy my curiosity. Aware of his obvious discomfort, mum immediately changed the subject “How long will you be working up here Nathan?” “To be quite honest I wasn’t going to stay much longer. It didn’t seem to be working out very well. But now…..” he smiled across at me and my heart soared “I think I’ll give it a bit longer” “Yes!” I thought triumphantly “At least now there was a chance I’d get to know him better” “Well, you’re always welcome here Nathan” dad said “Don’t you forget that” Mum reiterated his statement with a simple smile and a nod of agreement and I heaved a sigh of relief that things had gone so much better than I ever expected. “That’s very good of you” he said gratefully, addressing them both “Thank you” “So what are you up this afternoon? asked dad I gazed at Nathan questioningly and he quickly responded. “I’ve got to collect my car from the garage this afternoon” he volunteered “It’s been in for its MOT. Come with me if you like Jason?” he said, turning towards me. “Yeah ok. Thanks Nathan, that’d be great” “I don’t know if you’re busy tomorrow Nathan” said mum “But you’re welcome to join us for Sunday lunch” “No, I’m not doing anything special Mrs. Wright, I’d love to come” he said, smiling appreciatively “Its ages since I had a home cooked meal” “That’s settled then! she said, smiling brightly "We’ll see you tomorrow” I reached for the tray of cups and saucers to take to the kitchen and mum instantly put her hand gently over my exposed wrist so that dad didn’t see it. “It’s ok Jason. You get off, I’ll see to them” It had been a near miss and a brief look of understanding passed between us. “Thanks mum, I’ll see you later then, be back for teatime” “Ok love, bye” “Bye Nathan” Dad added his goodbyes with a wave and the two of us left the room.
  6. Filzmoos

    Chapter 24

    We left the house by the front door and walked up the road towards the village. Nathan was right, it was cold, and I was grateful he’d brought my coat back. Tiny swirls of snow were beginning to fall, and the sky was laden with the threat of more to come. It was a relief to know that Nathan would be able to tell me everything that had happened after we’d left the pub the previous night and after a few seconds I tentatively broached the subject. “I don’t remember much after we left the pub” I remarked, shaking my head. “It’s all a bit hazy” “No, you wouldn’t” replied Nathan, with a broad grin on his face. “You were pretty much out of it by the time we left” With a growing sense of trepidation creeping over me, I gave a nervous laugh and hesitantly carried on. “I’m ashamed to say it, but I don’t even remember getting undressed and into bed” I added, shaking my head. Nathan didn't respond and when I gazed at him, he sighed in resignation "Well actually......." He paused, clearly unsure whether to go on. "You didn't as such....well not on your own anyway" My voice rose in alarm and I held on to his arm to stop him "What do you mean?" A second or two later the penny suddenly dropped, and I realized what he was trying to say. “You mean……you erm..…” He nodded sheepishly. “I couldn’t very well leave you in a heap on the floor, could I?” he exclaimed “No, course not” I admitted reluctantly, wishing this was all a bad dream. A picture of my bedroom with the clothes missing immediately sprung to mind and my face turned bright red with embarrassment. Several thoughts rushed through my head simultaneously as the likely scenario played out in my mind. Of course I hadn’t undressed myself! No wonder I couldn’t remember anything about it! It was Nathan who’d……. Shit, I thought as the realization suddenly struck me, he must have seen me naked! I could feel my cheeks burning with acute embarrassment, but Nathan just gave a half smile and pretended not to notice.Despite my discomfort it was funny in a perverse kind of way. He was the one person I would’ve loved to have undress me and when he did, I wasn’t even conscious enough to enjoy it. “You'd been sick all over your clothes” he explained “It had soaked right through to your underwear so I had no choice but to change it. The swim shorts were the first thing I could find” I just nodded my head and silently cursed. At least that explained why I was wearing them. “By the way” he asked, as his eyes widened with shock “Where on earth did you get that bruise?” He was referring of course to the large contusion that covered most of my left thigh and buttock, gained as a result of foolishly rushing to catch the bus. “I fell on the ice running down the hill from the railway station” I explained “My train was late and I wanted to catch the bus so I wouldn’t have to wait two hours for the next one” “That must have hurt like hell!” he exclaimed sympathetically “Yeah, it did” I agreed, subconsciously rubbing the area in question “Oh, by the way” he laughed “Nice pair of briefs!” My stomach twisted itself in knots as I realised what he meant. The briefs I'd been wearing the previous night were a pair that Connor had bought me ages ago as a joke and had the words 'Beware of the snake!!!' emblazoned across the front. I only wore them very rarely, but due to my many fantasies about Nathan, I probably put them on sub consciously hoping the ‘snake’ would be released. “There’s one good thing anyway” he continued, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. I frowned and gazed at him warily, wondering what was coming next "Do I really want to know?" He continued unabated, his wide grin breaking into laughter “Nature’s been very kind to you down there Jason, I bet your girlfriends are never disappointed!” “NATHAN!!!!” “What” he answered, feigning innocence “It’s a compliment!” If it was possible my face reddened even more and l lapsed into silence, too embarrassed to comment. Meanwhile the object of our conversation was busy making itself several inches longer than Nathan had witnessed it, as his comments and the thought of him looking at my naked body began to have an unfortunate effect. What would he say if he could see it now? Nathan gave me a sidelong glance and gently nudged my shoulder, attempting to alleviate my embarrassment “Anyway Jason, did you have a good night?” “Yeah, I did thanks. It was brilliant. Well, apart from the last bit that is.” "Yeah, it could have ended better, but I really enjoyed it too. We'll have to do it again soon, but with less beer" "Yeah, I'd love to Nathan" I suddenly felt impelled to offer an explanation about the unfortunate way the evening had ended. “The thing is I’m not used to drinking so fast” I began “And I hadn’t had very much to eat” His face became serious once again and he looked at me with concern. “You should have told me Jason; I wouldn’t have encouraged you to drink so much” “It’s not your fault Nathan; you hardly held me down and poured beer down my neck, did you?” “No but even so, I still feel partly responsible. I should have known better. You could have hurt yourself a lot more than you did!” It was hard to deny his logic, but I was much more touched by his concern than his reasoning and wished I could have hugged him there and then. It wasn’t possible of course, so instead I stopped walking and gently grasped his arm, turning him towards me. “So tell me what happened last night Nathan?” I urged him “How did I hurt my wrist?” He sighed heavily before replying. “You seemed ok until it was time to leave the pub” he began to explain “I mean we were both a bit merry, but that was only to be expected. After all, we had been drinking all evening! It just seemed to hit you all of a sudden though. We were ready to leave the pub and you could hardly stand up. I had to help you on with your coat!” I screwed up my forehead in an attempt to recall the events, but it was all very hazy “Yeah, I think I remember that bit now” “You wanted another drink” he chuckled “The barman….I remember the barman saying something” “Yeah, he was collecting glasses nearby and he just said you’d had enough. We were about to leave anyway but he advised me to take you home whilst I still could!” I tried hard to think back to the previous night, but it seemed as though a fog had descended over my memory and after we left the pub, I couldn’t remember much of anything. “I helped you on with your coat” he went on “and then we left through the front door” “So we managed to get outside ok?” “Oh yeah. But I think the fresh air must have made you even worse! As soon as we got outside you practically collapsed and I had to hold you up. One minute we were struggling along and the next thing you’d tripped over something and crashed into a wall. I think you must have instinctively tried to break your fall by putting your hand out, but instead you missed and scraped your wrist along the wall” I shuddered with horror as I imagined my bare wrist brushing along the wall and fully understood why it was in such a mess. Therough brickwork would have easily scraped through the soft flesh of my exposed wrist. “There was blood all over your arm and your watch had come off” he continued, giving an exasperated sigh “I was just about to pick it up when you stood on it!” “So that’s how it got so damaged!” “Yeah ‘fraid so. I had no choice but to sit you down on the ground until I’d collected all the pieces together” “So how on earth did you get me home?” I exclaimed “It wasn’t easy, I can tell you!” he admitted ruefully “We made pretty slow progress, but eventually I managed to get you there” He paused and from the way he looked at me, I could tell he was holding something back. “What happened next Nathan?” I enquired, as a feeling of dread crept over me. “Erm….nothing really” A tone of reluctance had crept into his voice and I couldn’t help pressing him further. “C’mon Nathan, I know there’s something!” He sighed loudly and shook his head, obviously loath to tell me. “It’s just that you were sick” “Whereabouts?” He pointed further up the street towards the shops. “In the first shop doorway. I’d just sat you down for a minute to rest and the next thing you were throwing up all over the place!” “You’re joking!” “No, unfortunately not” A shiver of fear ran through my body and I was silent for several seconds as I slowly digested this latest piece of information. Mrs. Cassidy, who ran the grocery shop, was a real ogre and well known in the village for her lack of patience and acid tongue. If anyone had seen me and told her, she’d be straight round to mum and dads making one hell of a fuss and my life wouldn’t be worth living. It was a nasty thought and for the moment I pushed it to the back of my mind and changed the subject. “So how long did it take you to get me home?” “Oh ages!” he sighed “And then when I eventually got you there, I had to prop you up against the wall with one hand and search for your keys with the other. God knows how we ever got inside!” “But how did you find my bedroom?” “Pure luck! The first door I opened was the bathroom and the second door was your bedroom” “At least we didn’t wake mum and dad anyway” “Mmm” he mused, shaking his head in amazement “I don’t know how! You weren’t exactly quiet” “Sorry Nathan, I don’t know what to say” He stopped and turned towards me with a smile on his face. “You don’t need to say anything Jason, that’s what friends are for” His words sent a warm feeling coursing through my body and I couldn’t describe how good it felt to be considered his friend. A sudden thought made my blood run cold and I had to reassure myself that I hadn’t said anything untoward. “When you say….erm …not very quiet” I enquired tentatively “What exactly do you mean?” He laughed out loud before a slight expression of puzzlement clouded his face. “You kept calling out someone’s name. It was hard to tell who, but I think it was Connor….or something like that…..maybe Connie….I don’t know for certain” My heart pounded like a sledgehammer and I pounced on his second choice rather than having to explain why I was calling out a boy’s name. I daren’t ask if I’d said anything else, in case I couldn’t think up any more excuses. Ironically, Connie was the name I’d used before to explain to my parents Connor’s presence in my life. For several seconds the power of speech deserted me. When I finally managed a coherent reply, my voice was shaky and hesitant. “Oh…that…erm… that must have been Connie, my ex-girlfriend!” I spluttered, quickly looking away to avoid his gaze. My chest tightened as I held my breath, desperately hoping he’d accept my impromptu explanation. “Ah, that must have been it then” he answered, seemingly satisfied with my response. I heaved a sigh of relief and just when I thought the subject was closed, he suddenly posed another question. “Is that who you meant last night, Jason? In the pub?” My heart raced as I sensed dangerous territory approaching and quickly agreed. “Yeah but it’s…erm…over now. Like I said, I don’t really like to talk about it”. I couldn’t keep the emotion out of my voice and he stopped suddenly, lightly grasping my arm. “I hope she didn’t hurt you too much” he commented sympathetically. If it were possible, his quiet concerned tone of voice endeared me towards him even more and I almost blurted out the truth. Instead, a sense of fear at the possibility that I'd said something inappropriate about Connor swept over me and with a nervous laugh, I quickly answered him. “Oh no, it was a mutual thing” I could tell from the look on his face that he was dying to know more, but before he had the chance to ask another question, I hurriedly changed the subject. “So it was you that cleaned up my wrist then?” The diversion was successful and his thoughts immediately returned to the previous night. “It was in such a mess I had to!” he explained “I thought it’d be a good idea to clean it up while you were out of it and wouldn’t feel any pain. Your clothes were in a terrible mess so I took them home with me so I could wash them” My eyes were instinctively drawn to the sleeve of my coat but there was no trace of any stains whatsoever. “I managed to get the blood stains out” he added, reading my thoughts. He turned towards me with a slight frown on his face and I could tell there was something he wanted to get off his chest. “I hope you didn’t mind me undressing you and everything Jason. I realise it must be embarrassing for you, but honestly, I didn’t have much choice” “Nathan, of course I don’t mind! I can’t believe you did all that for me, you really didn’t have to” “I know, but I wanted to. I’m sure you’d have done the same for me” My response needed no thinking about whatsoever and I instantly agreed. “Yeah, of course I would” He smiled with satisfaction and I realized with a jolt that I’d been about to lean over and kiss him. It was vital to remember that my relationship with Nathan was totally different to the one I’d shared with Connor and to inadvertently confuse the two was a sure fire recipe for disaster. It was becoming increasingly evident that I had an awful lot to thank him for, but he didn’t seem to want any gratitude or thanks. After all, I’d only known him for a short while, but it was almost as if he was glad to do it, like some kind of masculine guardian angel. By this time we were approaching the shop and I began to feel increasingly nervous about having to face Mrs Cassidy. My eyes automatically swept across the doorway step, now scrupulously clean, and I could only imagine what she'd said as she furiously scrubbed away the mess. “I’m going to have to call in and apologise about the mess in the doorway” I murmured, half to myself. He gave a sigh of disbelief and shook his head in amazement. “Do you know Jason, I can’t work you out?” “What do you mean?” I asked, shrugging my shoulders in bewilderment “I don’t know, I can’t explain it” he answered, shaking his head “You’re so different from anyone else I’ve ever met before” I froze slightly at his use of the word different, but it was obvious he didn’t mean it the way I was thinking. “How many people would actually own up to it in the first place, let alone apologise!” His incredulous expression caused a rush of embarrassment to surface and I was quick to explain. “The thing is Nathan, Mr Cassidy the owner, is a good friend of mum and dad’s. If anyone found out about it, at least I can say I apologised” He reluctantly nodded his agreement and had no choice but to agree. “You’re probably right” he conceded grudgingly “I doubt anyone saw us though” As I pushed open the shop door, the bell seemed to ring louder than usual as it announced our arrival. “Oh no! It’s Mrs Cassidy. I’m not looking forward to this at all” I hissed, half turning away. “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine” he whispered back, grasping my arm “You can’t leave now! You wanted to do this” Mrs Cassidy was busy talking to a customer and I stood nervously behind her waiting to speak. “I don’t know what the worlds coming to these days!” she was saying in an agitated voice “All that mess. I can do without that first thing in the morning, I can tell you!” “Absolutely revolting” agreed the elderly customer, shaking her head in disgust “Did you call the police?” “The police!” she exclaimed in a loud voice, folding her arms over her ample bosom. “They’re not interested these days unless you murder someone!” I heaved an inner sigh of relief. With dad being so ill, the police were the last thing he needed! The elderly lady picked up her shopping and still shaking her head, left the shop. Mrs Cassidy turned towards me, nodding her greeting. “Yes Jason, what can I get you?” I swallowed nervously and my throat suddenly became dry with fear. It was now or never and I hesitantly continued. “I.....erm.....don’t want anything really” “Well what do you want then?” she answered sharply “I haven’t got all day you know!” “I’m really sorry” I began hesitantly “It’s about the erm...” My voice tailed away as she stood there glowering and I tried again to explain. “It’s about the mess, you know, in the doorway” “Oh yes!” she answered and her eyes flashed with anger “And what do you know about it?” “Well” I continued “I just wanted to say...It was....erm” “What he’s trying to say” interrupted Nathan, before I could go any further “Is that....erm.....it was me. I was the one who was sick in your doorway! And I’m here to apologise” My heart dropped like a stone and I took a sharp intake of breath, unable to believe that he’d taken the blame. My eyes met his in a silent thank you and he smiled and winked at me surreptitiously. Mrs Cassidy looked as though she was about to explode as she immediately turned her attention towards him. Almost as soon as she looked at him her tone softened slightly, obviously becoming influenced by his innocent smile and the look of boyish charm that suddenly adorned his handsome face. It didn’t stop her berating him, however, and a second or two later she launched into a fresh tirade. “Let me tell you something young man. I don’t appreciate having to clean up that sort of mess first thing in the morning!” He quickly cut in with a tone of polite sincerity that seemed to temporarily alleviate her anger. “No no, of course not and I understand. That’s why I’ve come to apologise. I’m very sorry Mrs Cassidy, I’ll make sure it never happens again” When she responded, her aggressive manner had thawed slightly and I couldn’t believe that Nathan had achieved, in an incredibly short space of time, something I thought was virtually impossible. She shook her head and gave a sigh of forgiveness, the ghost of a smile quickly stealing across her face. “Yes well, at least you’ve had the decency to admit it” she conceded reluctantly “I suppose that’s something young man” We both relaxed slightly, not realising that she hadn’t quite finished. “But if it happens again......” she warned, leaving the threat hanging “I’ll be speaking to your parents Jason” My heart instantly sank like a stone and Nathan rushed in, determined to combat this latest threat. “Look, is there anything I can do to make amends?” he asked, in that same tone of polite sincerity. “After all, it wasn’t anything to do with Jason” He smiled and gave me a secret wink. Her eyebrows rose in surprise and he quickly pushed home his advantage. “I really don’t mind Mrs Cassidy” “Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve just had a delivery” she said, with a thoughtful expression on her face “My husband’s out at the moment and there are some boxes to stack on the shelves. If you don’t mind, that is?” “Certainly, it’d be a pleasure” he beamed, knowing that he’d completely won her over. We followed Mrs Cassidy through to the storeroom at the back of the shop. A stack of boxes were piled haphazardly in the middle of the floor, making access to the rest of the room virtually impossible. “I need as many as you can get on this shelf” she directed, pointing to an empty one on her left “The rest can go underneath” We set to work as she stood and watched us stacking then neatly on the shelf. They were fairly heavy to lift, but within a short space of time all the boxes were in place and the job was done. “Thank you lads, that was very helpful. It saves my husband a job!” “No problem at all” replied Nathan, giving her his best smile “And I’m really sorry again for the mess” She smiled at him and shook her head. “We’ll say no more about it. You’re forgiven” I heaved a sigh of relief as another customer entered the shop and she turned away to serve them. All I wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible and I grabbed Nathan’s arm, steering him purposefully towards the door. I still couldn’t quite believe what he’d done. Within a few minutes he’d completely turned the situation around and even had Mrs Cassidy thanking him. Once outside, I couldn’t contain my admiration any longer and turned towards him excitedly. “Nathan, how on earth did you manage to do that?” “Do what?” he exclaimed, pretending not to know what I was talking about. “Sweet talk Mrs Cassidy” “Oh it was nothing, you’ll learn one day” he added cheekily “Nothing! You were fantastic!” I exclaimed, longing to hug him “But you shouldn’t have taken the blame” “Yeah, but like you said, she knows your parents” he pointed out reasonably “I couldn’t let you take the blame. What’s the point in worrying your dad when you don’t have to?” I had to admit that his reasoning was spot on and I was touched by his concern for my family. “Thanks Nathan, I owe you one......or maybe several” I added, thinking about last night. “I’ll remember that” he said, grinning widely. “Where are we going by the way?” By this time I was desperate for a hot drink, but there were still one or two things I needed to know. "We'll just walk up to the park and then turn back" He nodded his agreement and we fell silent for a while as we concentrated on trudging through the snow. Before long I was forced to ask a question that had been preying on my mind. “Did you manage to catch the bus home last night Nathan?” “Nah, just missed it by a few minutes” “I’m really sorry, that’s my fault” I felt terrible it was because of me that he’d missed the bus, but strangely he didn’t seem to mind. “Don’t worry about it” he replied simply “We still got home all right” For a split second my train of thought was interrupted, as one word registered above all others “What do you mean, we? I enquired tentatively “You weren’t alone then?” “Well no, erm….not entirely alone” My heart began to pound wildly but before I could begin to process this latest revelation, he began to explain. “I shared a taxi back to town with a girl actually” he explained with a wide grin “We were...erm....a bit distracted. She was very easy to talk to” My heart sank and I stared at him, trying to determine what he meant without asking outright. This time there was no familiar mischievous expression on his face to suggest he was joking and I could only assume it was true.In reality I was desperately trying to put a brave face on my bitter disappointment, but I still couldn’t help causing myself further distress by asking even more questions. Although his behaviour the previous night made it seem unlikely he was gay, at this early stage I could still convince myself there was a slim possibility and anything challenging that hope felt like a crushing blow. Nevertheless, I had to know all the details and desperately tried to appear casual and aloof as I quizzed him further. “So how did you manage to get a taxi? The nearest one’s in Hamborough” “I was really lucky actually. As I was walking past the pub, this girl was standing outside. We got talking and I discovered she was waiting for a taxi to take her to Hamborough, but it was running late and should have picked her up ages ago” He gave a wide grin as if he couldn’t believe his luck. “We were just wondering if it was ever going to turn upwhen it suddenly arrived!” “That was lucky” I answered, trying to hide the fact that I was thinking exactly the opposite. “Yeah, that’s what I thought too. We got home in no time” My mouth suddenly went dry and a horrible feeling of despair and misery shrouded my thoughts.He’d actually taken her home!! The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach increased, as I was forced to accept the inevitable. A sudden vision of the two of them writhing naked on his bedtogether swam before my eyes and I had to fight the urge to ask him if he’d spent the night with her. It was as I expected. He was into girls and there was nothing I could do about it. The truth of the matter was, I couldn’t bear the thought of him spending time with someone else. It could only mean he’d have less time to spend with me and the intense feeling of jealousy that surged through my body surprised even me. I reminded myself once again that I had no right to feel this way, but I just couldn’t help it. I was completely overcome by the intensity of my feelings towards him. “Will you be seeing her again?” I asked, struggling to keep the disappointment out of my voice. “I doubt it” he answered breezily, shrugging his shoulders lightly “She did give me her phone number though!” The flippant way he said it amazed me and I didn’t know whether to feel elated because it obviously wasn’t important to him or disgusted that he treated the episode in such a casual way. It just didn’t seem to fit with the Nathan I'd come to know. Shaking my head in bewilderment, the sense of disgust quickly won through and I couldn’t help expressing a strong sense of disapproval. “I really don’t know how you can do that Nathan” “Do what?” he countered, with an enquiring glance. “Just see someone once, you know, sleep around” I could see from the wounded expression on his face that my comment had really hurt him and I quickly realised I had no right to be so judgmental. After all, I’d done exactly the same thing with one night stands in the pastand I hastily tried to make amends. “Sorry Nathan, I shouldn’t have said that. It’s none of my business” I quickly continued, feeling a sudden need to justify my criticism “It’s just that when I find someone, I want it to be a long term relationship, you know, with someone special” He sighed and shook his head before gazing at me with a thoughtful expression on his face. “Look Jason, you obviously feel quite strongly about this and I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of me. So please, let me explain” I nodded my agreement and he steered me across the road towards the deserted park. We wandered over towards the swings and sat down, brushing off the thick covering of snow that clung to the plastic seats. Nathan began swinging slowly backwards and forwards, silently pushing the snow into mounds with the tip of his shoes. After a short while he stopped and frowning slightly, turned towards me. “Look Jason, I just want you to know, you’ve got it all wrong! I’m not in the habit of treating people in that way" I glanced at him sideways, silently meeting his earnest gaze. When I didn’t respond he hesitantly continued, but this time a tone of frustration had crept into his voice. “When I said we got home in no time, I meant her home! It was well past midnight and I just wanted to make sure she got home safely” A huge feeling of relief swept over me as his words registered, and I was suddenly overcome with a growing sense of elation. So they hadn’t spent the night together! Did this mean there was still a chance he might be gay? From what I’d learnt about him so far, escorting a girl home for her own safety was just the sort of thing that Nathan would do and I instinctively knew he was telling the truth. I felt completely wretched for doubting him earlier and quickly apologised again. “I’m sorry for judging you Nathan, I had no right” “No, you didn’t!” A heavy frown creased his forehead and as he continued, I could tell he was speaking from bitter experience. “The thing is Jason, we’re all looking for that special person. The trouble is, they aren’t always so easy to find. You must know that!” Connor’s departure immediately sprung to mind and before I realized it my thoughts had become heartfelt words. “And once you find them, they’re not always easy to keep hold of either!” “Ah, the mysterious Connie!” he laughed, with a twinkle in his eye “You’ll have to tell me all about her sometime!” I blushed and looked away, as if somehow my eyes would betray a hint of the truth. There was no way I wanted to talk about my imaginary girlfriend or my first and only boyfriend. “You’re bound to find someone soon though Jason” he went on, nudging my arm “I can’t understand why some good looking girl hasn’t snapped you up already!” His puzzled tone of voice set alarm bells ringing inside my head as I thought about the irony of the situation. I didn’t want to tell him that the real reason someone hadn’t ‘snapped me up’ was because they had to be a good looking ‘boy’. I was desperate to steer him away from the topic of my love life, or lack of, and there was only one way I could think of to do it. “So what about you Nathan? Have you ever found anyone special?” His whole demeanour immediately changed to one of despondency and he couldn’t hide the sad faraway look that came into his eyes. “I thought there was someone once” he murmured, in a voice choked with emotion “It was ages ago now though” “So it didn’t work out then?” “No, it didn’t” he said bitterly “I was only 16 but believe me, it turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life” “Why, what happened?” “Let’s just say I was far too young” he said, sighing heavily. His eyes glistened with tears and embarrassed by his impromptu show of emotion, he wiped them roughly away with the sleeve of his coat. It was obviously a painful subject for him to discuss and his reluctance to go on was evident. There was no way I wanted to push him any further, but I couldn’t help at least trying to make him feel a little better. “If you ever need anyone to talk to Nathan” I said quietly, gently rubbing his shoulder “I’m a good listener” “Thanks Jason, maybe I’ll take you up on that sometime” After a moment’s silence the familiar smile gradually returned to his face and I breathed a sigh of relief that he was back to his cheerful self. He gave an involuntary shiver and I wasn’t sure if it was his recollection of the past or the cold weather that had prompted his action. I had a sudden idea and wondered if he would be interested. “Hey Nathan, do you fancy meeting my parents? I’ll introduce you when we get back if you like” “Yeah, that’d be great!” His reply was remarkably enthusiastic considering that I’d practically dragged him into my bedroom earlier on without wanting anyone to see him. It was just that I'd needed to find out what had happened to my watch and clothes before my parents began to suspect anything, so at least I could attempt to put things right. The snow was falling heavily as we set off home and we both struggled to see our way through the white torrent swirling around us in all directions. By the time we got home our clothes were covered in snow and we stood outside the front door like two snowmen, hastily stamping and shaking our clothing to dislodge the stubborn snow.
  7. Filzmoos

    Chapter 23

    I woke up a little after nine o’clock on Saturday morning sporting a blinding headache. Tiny pin pricks of light flashed relentlessly before my eyes and the slightest movement made my head throb violently. Spasms of pain ran up and down my arm and I winced and gasped sharply as the cotton bed sheet brushed against the bare skin of my wrist. Tentatively drawing back the material and forcing myself to look, I was shocked to see the scraped and reddened skin running in a jagged line along my wrist and forearm. Broken only by a band of white where my watch had been, the wound looked surprisingly clean and dry to say that it must have happened the previous night. Before my fuddled brain could even begin to work out what had caused such a nasty abrasion, for some unknown reason an image of my watch came back to haunt me, and an inexplicable feeling of dread slowly crept over me. From somewhere deep within my sub conscious came the sudden realisation it was missing and the desperate urge to find it became all consuming. Without thinking of the consequences, I quickly pulled back the covers and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. It was the worst thing I could possibly have done. My head began to pound mercilessly and all I could do was perch on the edge of the bed with my head in my hands, vowing never to drink that much again. After a while, I slowly raised my head and glanced around the room with blurry eyes. The fact that my clothes were missing from their usual place on the chair disturbed me. I'd clearly got home at some point, even though I couldn't remember how or when. So where were they? I had a vague feeling that something else wasn’t quite right but for the time being my addled brain refused to enlighten me. I normally took my watch off the last thing at night and placed it on the bedside cabinet alongside my alarm clock, but this morning it was nowhere to be seen. My heart sank like a stone as my worst fears were confirmed. It was definitely missing! Even though it could have been anywhere in the room, somehow I instinctively knew that it wasn’t. As I sat there it slowly dawned on me what else was amiss and I glanced downwards to confirm my suspicion. Instead of the snug fitting cotton briefs I was wearing the previous night I was now inexplicably dressed in a pair of white sports shorts. I recognised them immediately as my own but couldn't for the life of me work out why I would be wearing them in bed. As I tried to stand up the room spun violently around me and I held on to the headboard, overcome with dizziness and unsure if my shaking legs would even support me. Swirling multi coloured patterns on the curtains seemed to take on a grotesque life of their own and a giant wave of nausea suddenly swept over me. Momentarily ignoring the pain and dizziness, I rushed down the hall to the bathroom, making it just in time. My chest heaved several times as I was violently sick and the pounding in my head increased tenfold. As cold sweats began to trickle down my aching body, I slowly sank to the bathroom floor and waited for the pain in my chest to subside. There was a sudden tap on the door and mum’s concerned voice broke through the harsh sound of my laboured breathing. “Jason, are you ok love?” There was a pause as she waited for me to answer and just as I was about to, my chest heaved and the retching began all over again. I quickly flushed the toilet to mask the sound and in between a burst of sickness, shouted out over the noise of gushing water. “I’m ok mum, I’ll be out in a sec” “I’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything” she replied, but I could tell from the tone in her voice that she knew I was far from ok. The heaving finally stopped, and my legs felt weak as I struggled to stand up. Bending over the sink, I doused my hands and face in ice cold water and winced as some of it splashed onto my wrist. Finally, I stood up straight and glanced in the mirror with a growing sense of trepidation. The reflection that stared back at me was like a character from a horror movie. My hair was standing upwards in every conceivable direction, as if I’d stuck my fingers into an electric socket and my face was pale and drawn. I rubbed my cheeks to try and reinstate some colour into them, but all it achieved was to make the surrounding skin appear even paler. I felt absolutely shattered and my eyes were red and bloodshot as if I’d had no sleep at all. I slowly wandered back to my bedroom intending to get dressed but suddenly remembered my clothes were missing, so I hastily pulled on a pair of pyjamas instead. Mum was standing at the sink with her back to me as I walked into the kitchen and she greeted me without turning around. “Morning love. How was your night out? I didn’t hear you come in” “No, it was late” I mumbled vaguely, having no more idea what time it was than she did. Rubbing her hands vigorously on a nearby towel, she turned around to face me and the smile immediately froze on her face. “Jason, you look awful!!” “I know mum” I agreed, wallowing in self-pity “I feel awful too” “Did I hear you being sick in the bathroom just now?” “Yeah afraid so” I answered sheepishly “I’ve got a shocking headache as well!” “How much did you have to drink last night?” she went on, shaking her head in disapproval “Well....I began hesitantly, trying to muster all the lame excuses I could think of “You know erm.....not that many really....well it didn’t seem that much at the time anyway....I wasn’t really counting.....” “No, obviously not!” she interrupted, raising her eyebrows in dismay. There was a short silence between us, and her initial reactions of shock and disapproval soon turned to concern as I knew they would, and she shook her head despairingly. “You’d better take something for that headache then” she sighed, rummaging through a draw. “It’ll make you feel better” “Thanks mum” She soon found some tablets and pushed two of them through the foil wrapper onto the work surface. One of them immediately took off and began spinning towards the edge, almost certainly bound for the floor. As I reached out to grab it the sleeve of my pyjamas rode up, revealing part of the injury to my wrist. “Jason!!" She exclaimed, grasping my hand in shock “Whatever have you done to your wrist?” I desperately attempted to make light of the situation, hurriedly making up a story as I tried my best to reassure her. “It’s nothing mum; I tripped over the kerb, that’s all” “It doesn’t look like nothing to me! Here, let me take a look” I winced and pulled away slightly, but she held on firmly and as she drew up my sleeve her eyes widened. “Jason! You need to be more careful; you could've really hurt yourself” I cursed inwardly and tried to play it down. “It looks much worse than it is mum, honest” “At least you’ve had the good sense to clean it anyway” she went on, ignoring my attempt to make light of it. I just smiled and nodded my agreement without saying a word to correct her. I knew from experience that in this kind of situation it was best to say as little as possible. Instead, I quickly swallowed the two tablets and couldn’t believe how good the cold water felt as it hit the back of my throat. “I don’t know” she said, sighing helplessly “What on earth am I going to do with you” It was obviously a rhetorical question, but I wouldn't have been able to answer anyway. Instead I quickly gave a practical response that I knew she would approve of. “I’ll go and put some cream on it mum.” “Make sure you do” she added, tutting to herself. At times like this, I was sure she thought I was still a child, but I didn’t really mind as it was comforting to know that she was genuinely concerned about me. “And you’d better not let your father see it either” she continued, lowering her voice to make sure he didn’t hear. “You know he doesn’t like you to drink too much” “He won’t mum, don’t worry” She nodded her head, satisfied that I understood and gently squeezed my shoulder. “You look absolutely shattered love, why don’t you go back to bed for a couple of hours?” It seemed like a good idea. A few more hours sleep might just help me to get rid of this throbbing headache and make me feel somewhere near to being human again. “Yeah, I think I will mum” I answered, eagerly taking the opportunity to disappear before she asked any more awkward questions. “Ok then love, see you a bit later” “See you mum” I wandered down the hallway in a daze, stopping abruptly at the coat rack as a sudden idea occurred to me. Could my watch possibly be in the jacket I’d worn last night? It was certainly worth a look. After a few seconds of feverishly searching amongst the other coats, I was surprised to find that the jacket I’d worn the previous night was nowhere to be seen. There was definitely something strange going on, but I couldn’t for the life of me work out what it was. I had a vague memory of Nathan helping me put it on before we left the pub last night but now it was definitely missing. He was the only person who could explain what had happened and I was desperate for some answers. As thoughts of Nathan came flooding back, every nerve end in my body began to tingle. My head was still throbbing with pain as I sank slowly down on the bed, but the thrill of spending time with him somehow made it all seem worthwhile. Snuggling down under the covers, I thought again what a brilliant night out it had been and desperately hoped that I hadn’t blown it by getting hopelessly drunk. For some reason I couldn’t fathom, Nathan seemed to like me, and I was absolutely crazy about him. The way he made me feel tied up my stomach in knots and just thinking about him sent shivers running up and down my spine. I was desperate to spend more time with him but for the life of me, I couldn’t even remember if we’d agreed to meet up again. He must think I was a complete idiot! How on earth could I allow myself to get so drunk that I couldn’t even remember getting home? And where the hell was my missing watch? It was a present from mum and dad for my eighteenth birthday and the last thing I could afford to do was lose it. I knew it had been expensive and they’d even gone to the trouble of having it engraved on the back. Because dad was unable to work, they were always short of money and it was obviously something they considered important enough to spend a considerable amount of money on. The very least I could have done was look after it properly! For the first time in ages I prayed, desperately hoping it would turn up somewhere. As soon as I felt a bit better, I would have to go back to the pub and ask if it had been handed in. Within minutes I’d fallen into a deep and dreamless sleep, totally exhausted and spent. It was several hours later before I stirred and opened my eyes, feeling so much better for the extra sleep. By now my headache had receded somewhat and the feelings of nausea had subsided. I lay there for several minutes, trying once again to recall the events of the previous evening, but I was still unable to remember anything beyond leaving the pub. What I needed was a long hot shower, but it was several minutes before I managed to struggle out of bed and head for the bathroom. The hot steaming water cascaded over my body as I stood in the shower and closed my eyes. Despite my stinging wrist, the feeling was heavenly, and I slowly caressed the smooth contours of my body, gently beginning to trace the outline of my firm stomach muscles. After a short while my hand began to wander slowly downwards until my fingers pushed their way through the wiry pubic hair curling around them. My cock began to stiffen almost immediately as I gently grasped it, massaging the soft skin gently upwards and downwards. My back arched with sheer bliss as erotic sensations of pleasure began to flow throughout my body. If only these feelings of sublime ecstasy could last forever! The sudden fear of exploding too soon made me reluctantly hold off and instead I began to gently fondle and caress my heavy balls. By this time my throbbing cock was fully erect, and I gently stroked the taut skin with my fingers, pushing and squeezing it firmly against my stomach. All of a sudden I was back in the pub watching Nathan’s slim figure as he walked towards the bar. In my mind’s eye he stooped to pick something up, causing the material of his jeans to tighten seductively around his backside. Within seconds I was rock hard, and my hand swiftly moved into overdrive, pumping up and down like an out of control steam hammer. As my body reached a mind blowing crescendo the blood rushed to my head causing my heart to pound frantically. The relief when it came was overwhelming. Every muscle in my body tensed as a long stream of thick creamy liquid shot across the tiles, instantly washed away by the gushing water. Even after reaching climax, I desperately tried to hold on to the feelings of pure unadulterated ecstasy and my hand continued to squeeze every last drop from my stiffened member. Finally, I leant wearily against the wall, temporarily exhausted and spent. The pounding in my head had returned with a vengeance, but I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I got dried and rubbed cream into my arm. There was no doubt about it. The pleasure definitely outweighed the pain! My legs felt weak and shaky as I wearily returned to my bedroom and dressed, willing the watch to reappear on my bedside cabinet. It didn’t of course and I wondered again where on earth it could possibly be. Sudden pangs of hunger and the sound of the kettle boiling in the kitchen reminded me that I hadn’t eaten anything at all this morning. My earlier nausea had completely gone by now and I was dying for something to eat. As I passed the front door on my way to the kitchen there was a loud knocking sound and I automatically turned back to answer it. “CAN YOU GET THAT?” my mother’s voice sounded from the kitchen. “MY HANDS ARE COVERED IN FLOUR” “YEAH COURSE” I shouted back, wincing with pain at the sound of my own raised voice. The insistent knocking continued and unable to stifle a gigantic yawn, I opened the door. If this was someone trying to sell me something I’d...... Instead, it was a huge surprise to see Nathan standing there with a wide grin on his face and a large carrier bag in his hand. “Have I just got you up Jason?” My face immediately broke into an equally wide smile and I greeted him enthusiastically. “Nathan! Am I glad to see you?” “Why, what’s the matter?” “Come into my bedroom quickly” I whispered urgently, nervously glancing towards the kitchen “I want you” “I’m sorry Jason, but I never have sex until at least the third date” he answered solemnly. For a split second my heart skipped a beat before I realised he was joking and I grabbed his arm, quickly ushering him down the hall to my bedroom. “Don’t be daft” I hissed “I need to talk to you! It’s important” Before we could enter the room, my mum called out from the kitchen and my grip on Nathan’s arm tightened slightly in panic. “Who is it, love?” “Oh, it’s ok mum. It’s nobody” I answered anxiously, holding my breath. “Thanks” remarked Nathan in a low voice as he tried to hide a smile “You really know how to treat a friend!” “No, no, I didn’t mean it like that” I hissed, beginning to panic “I know you didn’t, I’m joking you idiot” he said, grinning all over his face. I quickly ushered him into the bedroom and hastily shut the door behind us. My breath escaped slowly in a huge sigh of relief and Nathan gazed at me with an expression of concern on his face. “Jesus Christ Jason, you look like I feel” he remarked, sitting down on the bed. “Are you ok?” “Better than I was first thing!” “Yeah, I know what you mean” he agreed, raising his eyebrows “We did have quite a lot to drink” “Look, I’ve got something to ask you Nathan” I said impatiently “Have you seen my watch, I can’t find it anywhere?” “Oh!” he said reluctantly, fishing about in his pocket. “You mean this one” There was complete silence and my heart dropped like a stone as he withdrew his hand and began unfolding a white handkerchief. My eyes opened wide and I gasped with horror as he revealed what was left of my watch, sitting in the palm of his hand. It was smashed almost beyond recognition. The glass was missing, one hand was nowhere to be seen and the other was crumpled and bent. The face was dented and cracked down the middle so badly that half the numbers were illegible. “Oh god, please don’t let it be!” I pleaded in a hushed voice, as if praying would make any difference. It seemed like a bad dream and as if any further proof were needed, I reached out and turned it over with shaking hands. Sure enough, there was the engraved inscription on the back, somehow mocking me with its heartfelt message of sincerity. 'To Jason. Happy Eighteenth. Love from Mum & Dad'. The air was heavy with despondency as I stood there in stunned silence “What on earth am I going to do Nathan” I cried desperately. “Look, don’t worry!” he exclaimed, taking a step nearer. Tears of frustration began to run down my face as I ignored his answer and carried on as if he hadn’t spoken. “I know it was really expensive. It must have taken them ages to save up for it and now I’ve smashed it to pieces” “Don’t worry Jason, I’ll fix it” he promised, desperately trying to reassure me “Don’t get upset” I was having none of it though and suddenly erupted in anger. “HOW THE HELL CAN YOU FIX IT NATHAN, IT’S SMASHED TO PIECES” I shouted angrily. “I don’t mean fix it as in mend it” he explained meekly “We can replace it. They need never know” “I can’t afford another one” I cried in an agitated voice. “Besides, its engraved and everything” Nathan’s face became set with an expression of determination, and he carried on unabated. “Then I’ll lend you the money” he insisted “We’ll manage it somehow” His hand gave my shoulder a sudden gentle squeeze and I quickly put my hand on top of his. The touch of his warm skin against mine set my pulse racing and an involuntary shiver ran up and down my spine. “Look, we’ll find a way. I promise!” he reassured me again “Now come on, calm down” His firm yet sympathetic manner seemed to pacify me and as my panic subsided, I gazed at him regretfully. “Sorry for shouting at you Nathan, I know you were only trying to help” “Don’t worry about it Jason.” he answered, smiling again. “What are friends for if you can’t rant and rave at them now and again?” He slipped his hand from beneath mine and stood me at arm’s length facing him. “Ok now?” “Yes thanks Nathan” There was a sudden hesitant tap on the door and mums puzzled voice rang out. “Jason! Are you alright?” I silently motioned Nathan to stand behind the door and quickly turned on the radio before opening it. She stood there with a worried look on her face and I rushed to reassure her. “I’m fine mum” “I thought I heard raised voices, that’s all. Someone shouting” “It can’t have been me” I exclaimed, immediately feigning innocence. “There’s no one else here to shout at” I stood back slightly and swept the room with my hand to emphasise it was empty, desperately hoping that she wouldn’t come in to see for herself. “It was probably just the radio mum; I’ve turned it down now” She knew that I had a habit of singing along noisily to music in a loud tuneless voice but even so it was an incredibly weak excuse, but unfortunately the only one I could think of on the spur of the moment. The thing was though, would she believe it? My heart beat faster during the brief silence that followed and it was only when she replied that I realised I’d been holding my breath. I didn’t for one moment think that she really believed me but for some reason she decided to play along. “Ah, that must’ve been it then!” she answered, holding my gaze for a second or two longer than was necessary. I gave her a nervous smile of agreement and stood back slightly to close the door. “By the way, are you feeling any better now love?” “Yeah, a bit” “And what about your wrist?” she continued, stepping forward to look. My nervous anxiety immediately increased, and I instinctively stepped forward again, forcing her to move back slightly. “Still a bit sore” I answered, desperately willing her to go “I’ll live though” I felt really bad lying to her like this as her concern for me was completely genuine, but there was no way I could tell her the truth. “Well make sure you keep putting cream on it love” “Yeah, I will mum. Thanks.” She nodded her head and finally began to turn away. As I watched her figure retreating down the hallway, I let out a huge sigh of relief before closing the door behind me. “Phew, that was close!” Before Nathan had a chance to reply, I quickly cut in to apologise for my behaviour. “Look, I’m really sorry for dragging you in here like this Nathan. It’s just that I don’t want them to find out about the watch if I can help it. Sorry, I panicked” “Yeah, I guessed that!” he chuckled wryly. I gave him a weak smile, desperately trying to reassure him “It’ll be different next time though, I promise” “Who says there’ll be a next time!” he answered indignantly, half turning away as if to go “If you think I’m coming here again....” My face immediately fell as he pretended to be serious “Sorry Nathan, I just thought......” There was no way he could hide the smile that played around his lips any longer and punching me playfully in the shoulder he burst into laughter. “I’m joking you idiot. There’s no need to explain, I understand perfectly” An expression of relief burst across my face and I smiled and closed my eyes, silently praying my thanks. At least now I might discover what had really happened the previous night. “How is your wrist anyway Jason? Nathan had continued “You know about it!” “Of course I know about it! It was me that looked after you when you erm.....well you know.....” “No, that’s just the point Nathan” I interrupted, shaking my head in frustration “I don’t know!” My head was bursting with questions, but I didn’t want to risk asking them here. “Look Nathan, why don’t we go for a walk? I need you to tell me everything that happened last night” “Yeah, that seems like a good idea” he said, nodding his head in agreement. He picked up the large carrier bag he’d brought with him and began carefully taking out the neatly folded clothes I’d been wearing the previous night “Here, put your coat on Jase. It’s cold outside” He held it in his hands and as he passed it across to me, I couldn’t hold back my curiosity any longer. “Nathan, why have you got my clothes?” “Come on, let’s go” he urged “I’ll tell you the whole story outside” I quietly opened the bedroom door and peered outside to make sure that mum had gone back into the kitchen. “Come on Nathan, coasts clear!” I whispered, signalling to him over my shoulder. He followed me down the hallway and opened the front door whilst I popped my head around the kitchen door. Mum was bending over the hot oven taking something out and I coughed slightly to gain her attention. She straightened up and turned around to face me with a smile on her face. “I’m feeling a bit better now mum so I’m just going out for a walk to get some fresh air” I said, unnecessarily pointing towards the front door “Won’t be long” “Ok love. See you in a bit”
  8. Filzmoos

    Chapter 22

    The village of Dryford was fairly small with quiet, tree lined streets and an abundance of pretty, stone-built cottages. A small church stood at one end of the village green, adjacent to the local primary school and the only shops were a Post Office and General Store. In summer the village was a blaze of colour with countless hanging baskets and flower filled gardens. A more perfect example of the typical picture postcard English village would be hard to find. Tonight, however, the scene couldn’t have been more different. All but the main road was still covered in a thick blanket of snow and long pointed icicles hung from window ledges and roofs. Christmas decorations had already appeared in some of the houses and their windows were illuminated by a myriad of twinkling coloured lights. We were the only passengers left on the bus and the driver nodded to us cheerfully as we carefully alighted. “Goodnight lads” “Goodnight” we both chorused back as the automatic doors swished shut behind us. The bus quickly pulled away and was gone in a sudden swirl of snow and exhaust fumes. I could see thin flakes of snow beginning to fall by the light of the streetlamps and shivering slightly, I hurriedly zipped up my coat. Nathan was looking up and down the street as I turned towards him, clearly impressed by what he saw. “This is a really nice village” “Yeah, it’s not too bad” I agreed, realizing that I’d never really thought about it before "Bit nicer in summer though" “Where do you live, Jason?” he enquired with a smile. I put my hand on his shoulder, turning him slightly to the left and pointed to a narrow cul-de sac at the far end of the village green. “See that pair of bungalows, just past the red car” “Oh yeah” “Ours is the second one” He nodded agreeably, silently digesting the information. I could see by the expression on his face that he probably thought we were reasonably well off to be able to live in a place like this and for the moment I didn’t want to enlighten him. In reality our bungalow belonged to the local authority and had been rented to my parents because dad could no longer climb stairs. We were just incredibly lucky to have been offered one in somewhere like Dryford. “Looks nice” he remarked “Yeah, it is” “Wish I could live in a place like this” he added ruefully He turned back towards me and I realized with a jolt that my hand was still on his shoulder. His cheeks had turned red with the cold and his handsome face was perfectly framed by the shock of unruly blond hair that curled around his face. I imagined his full lips pushing hard against mine but knew it was just a fantasy and more than likely would only ever happen in my dreams. The spell was instantly broken as his words immediately brought me back to reality “C’mon Jason, let’s get to the pub” “Yeah, sure. It’s this way” I hastily volunteered. My answer was completely unnecessary as the pub was clearly visible at the other side of the village green, but it was really just a nervous attempt to ease the slight moment of embarrassment that my earlier thoughts had caused me. The path across the green was virtually hidden as we trudged through the thick covering of snow that was everywhere around us. There was a stifled laugh behind me and before I knew what was happening a snowball came whizzing through the air, catching me squarely on the back of the neck. I didn’t realize that Nathan had dropped back on purpose, just so he could start a snowball fight. I gave an indignant yelp and quickly bent over to scoop up a handful of my own. Before I could turn around another one came whizzing through the air and shattered against the back of my trousers. By this time melting snow had begun to run down my neck and I squirmed at the discomfort, determined to return the favour. Nathan stood facing me with his arms outstretched, cheekily offering me an easy target. “Come on Jason, you can’t miss!” The raucous sound of his laughter was ringing in my ears as I defiantly landed a return shot in the middle of his chest and he took an involuntary step backwards. “Right, you’ve asked for it now” he shouted back, laughing at the look of resignation on my face as I realized all too late it had been nothing more than a ploy to give him an excuse to continue the fight. For the next few minutes, we pelted each other relentlessly from every conceivable angle before finally collapsing against each other, breathless and laughing. I could feel his heart thudding in time with my own and the touch and smell of his body so close to mine was completely and overwhelmingly intoxicating. The experience was all too brief though and hastily disentangling ourselves from each other, we began brushingthe snow off our clothes. “C’mon Jason, we’ll never get to the pub if you keep holding us up like this” he exclaimed, jokingly blaming me for the delay. He laughed at the look of indignation that instantly appeared on my face and winced in mock pain as I grabbed his arm and pushed him forwards. “You can walk in front this time Nathan” Unbeknown to him, I had an ulterior motive of course and as he walked ahead my eyes dropped to study the wet patches that had formed on the back of his jeans. They definitely needed to come off and be dried, I decided, laughing to myself. And guess who the perfect man for the job was! We reached the other side of the green and waited for a slow-moving car to pass by before crossing the road. The driver raised his hand in acknowledgement and my gaze followed its slow progress along the icy road, as plumes of smoke curled around the back from the twin exhaust pipes. “A Jag!” I murmured, half to myself “Nice one too” added Nathan appreciatively The White Swan public house was an old 17th century coaching inn on the main road through the village. Being the only pub, it was usually busy and despite the poor weather, tonight was no exception. I held the door open for Nathan to enter and the noise of music and conversation drifted out on a rush of warm air. “That’s better” Nathan remarked, stamping his feet on the carpet to dislodge the snow from his shoes. “It’s lovely and warm in here anyway” I said gratefully, unzipping my coat. “Yeah, thank god for that, it’s freezing tonight!” he agreed, rubbing his hands together to warm them. “Look, why don’t you find us a seat Jason, I’ll get the drinks” “Yeah ok” “What would you like?” he asked with a smile, reaching for his wallet. “Oh, a pint of beer please” I replied, without even having to think about it. I wasn’t a big drinker by any means,but I always drank beer wherever I went so it wasn’t exactly a difficult decision. The lounge bar was a bright cheerful room, full of people talking and laughing. A huge inglenook fireplace in the far wall housed a roaring fire and the obligatory horse brasses hung on the smoke blackened brickwork. The reflection of dancing flames shone in the wooden, copper topped tables and large leather covered chairs were set out haphazardly around them. I spotted an empty table by the fire and sank down in one of the comfortable chairs, immediately leaning forwards to allow the warmth of the fire to envelop my body. There were damp patches all over my clothes from our impromptu snowball fight and I inched closer to the fire in an attempt to speed up their drying. Nathan stood watching me from the bar and I made an unnecessary signal to indicate that I’d found a table. A couple of minutes later he came over with two pints of beer in his hands. The deep foaming heads had overflowed and were dripping over his fingers onto the carpet. It reminded me of the first time that Connor had served me in Samson's “You can tell we’re in the North” he laughed “You never get head like this down South!” His mischievous glance towards me underlined the obvious innuendo in his statement and I nervously laughed along with him, momentarily unsure how to react. He set the beers down on the table and sat down opposite me, wiping the back of his hands down his legs. His yelp of dismay saved me from having to answer “Urgh! These jeans are wet through” My eyes instantly dropped to the front of his jeans, grateful for a legitimate reason to stare in that direction. The denim material was covered in large damp patches and my eyes lingered there for as long as I dared. It was certainly no disappointment and the stirring down below made me marvel again at how easily he turned me on. “I think they’re worse than mine” I laughed, inviting him to look “Course it just means I’m a better shot than you” His eyes swept quickly up and down my jeans and with a smile he was quick to respond. “That sounds like a challenge to me! We’ll soon find out next time, won’t we?” Before I could respond he nodded his head towards the beer. “I didn’t know which one you liked, so I chose for you. I think it’s a strong one though” “Its fine” I said, taking a drink of the beer “Thanks Nathan” He took a large gulp of his own drink and I grinned at the white moustache left by the froth. “What?” he enquired, catching my look of amusement. I traced the shape of a moustache on my lip and Nathan quickly wiped it away with the back of his hand. “Sorry” he remarked. “No need to apologise, I know you southerners aren’t used to real beer” I teased. “You think so, do you?” he warned playfully. “We’ll see who’s used to real beer when I drink you under the table” My face took on a serious expression as I reminded him of my original intention. “I told you Nathan, I can only stay for a couple” “So you did” he answered and I wasn’t sure if it was the light of the fire that made his eyes twinkle. Not only was I enjoying Nathan’s company immensely, I was surprised and delighted to find that all he seemed to be really interested in was getting to know me. Up until now no one except Connor had ever shown any realinterest, and I couldn’t help feeling a growing closeness towards him. Until a few days ago I didn’t know that such unbelievably strong feelings for another person could even exist outside my family, let alone actually experience them for myself. “Anyway Jason, never mind about that now” he continued “Tell me all about yourself” “There isn’t much to tell really” I said. “I still live at home with my parents” “Yeah, but you must have a girlfriend, a good-looking guy like you!” My heart sank like a stone as the inevitable subject raised its ugly head. “No, I’m afraid not” I answered simply, smiling at him and desperately trying to give nothing away “I’m all alone” His voice rose in disbelief along with his eyebrows and I felt sure he would realize that my heart was beating like an out of control steam hammer. “I just thought that some gorgeous girl would’ve snapped you up by now” he exclaimed incredulously “that’s all” I couldn’t stop the brief look of pain that flashed across my face and he immediately realized that he’d touched a raw nerve. “I’m sorry Jason. I didn’t mean to……” “It’s ok, really” I interrupted, as a band of sweat appeared on my forehead. “It’s just …It’s just there was someone not too long ago, that’s all” Even though I was making it up as I went along, the words were surprisingly difficult to say and as my face turned a deeper shade of red, I could feel it burning as I struggled to explain. Connor’s naked body and our night of passion suddenly flashed before my eyes and for a split second, I almost revealed the truth. "We erm...." At the last moment I managed to avoid saying the word ‘he’ and heaved a huge sigh of relief that I hadn’t inadvertently given myself away. In case I was tempted to reveal the truth again, I had to deny him the opportunity to ask any more questions. “Look, I’d rather not talk about it if you don’t mind Nathan. It’s over now and I’m trying to forget about it” “Course Jason, that’s fine. I'm sorry, I didn’t mean to pry” "It's ok" I answered, breathing a sigh of relief "You weren't to know" He immediately changed the subject, unwittingly moving on to an even more emotionally charged part of my life. “You said your dad used to work at AWB” he enquired “Where does he work now?” My voice started to tremble as I began to explain. “He doesn’t work anywhere at all now” There was a pause before I managed to continue, and Nathan could see that I was becoming upset. Talking about my dad to someone outside the family didn’t normally have this effect on me, but reliving memories of Connor, coupled with the inexplicable feelings of closeness I felt towards Nathan, were obviously having an adverse effect on my emotions. “He erm can’t you see… well not since his health failed him anyway” “Oh, I’m really sorry Jason” he said sympathetically, putting his hand on my shoulder and squeezing it slightly. “I’m not doing very well here am I? All I seem to be doing is upsetting you” “It’s ok Nathan, it’s not your fault. I’m just not used to being able to talk about it with someone else, that’s all” “No brothers or sisters then?” “No, it’s just me. I’m an only child” “Does your mum work?” “No, she looks after my dad more or less full time” “It must be hard on you. As a family I mean” “It’s hardest on mum, but she never complains. Money’s always tight, but I suppose you just learn to cope after a while, there’s nothing much we can do about it. I help out as much as I can” He nodded his understanding and smiled at me. “I’ll just have to try and cheer you up then Jason, won’t I?” “You already have Nathan” I answered, grinning at him “I’m really glad we met” “Yeah me too” He raised his glass in front of me and I was surprised to see that it was almost empty. “Here’s to a newand lasting friendship Jason!” A wonderful warm feeling spread throughout my body as his words washed over me and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt quite so happy. My own beer was only halfway down the glass and I took a large swig in a concerted effort to finish before he did. As I placed my empty glass on the table, he was just draining the last of his beer and immediately reached out for my glass. “Same again?” Before he could protest, I stood up and turned towards the bar. “My round this time Nathan! Another beer?” “Jason! I said I’d buy the beer” he protested vehemently “Come and sit down” “No, I insist. It’s my round. You can get the next one!” He shook his head in defeat and I wandered across the room, smiling to myself. A large group of girls were now crowded around the bar laughing and giggling and I waited patiently for a gap to appear between them. After a few seconds one of them turned around and winked at me seductively. Obviously well on her way to being drunk, she beckoned me forwards with what she clearly thought was a sensual look in her eyes. “You can squeeze in here next to me if you like……….handsome” Sensing danger, but with no other real choice if I wanted to be served, I reluctantly pushed my way up to the bar and she moved towards me until our faces were almost touching. The scent of her subtle perfume filled my nostrils and I could feel her warm, ample breasts pushing against me. I could tell she’d had an awful lot to drink as she placed her hand on the back of my neck and began stroking her fingers slowly through my hair. Meanwhile her other hand had found its way round the back of my trousers and I gasped as her fingers groped my bottom. “My name’s Sadie by the way” she whispered in my ear “And I’m single” Before I could reply the barman arrived to serve me and I quickly disentangled myself from her clutches. “Yes mate, what can I get you?” he asked, raising his voice against the din “Two pints of beer please” He placed his hand on one of the pumps to indicate if the one he’d selected was ok and not knowing which one Nathan had bought, I immediately gave him the thumbs up. By this time my hands had become sweaty with anxiety and the coins I was grasping slid between my fingers and dropped down the front of the bar. I cursed loudly, but there was nothing for it but to bend down and retrieve them as best I could. With one hand on the bar, I knelt down and began feeling around for the lost coins on the floor. A few seconds later Sadie joined me but unfortunately coins were the last thing on her mind. We were surrounded by a sea of legs and before I knew what was happening, she’d pushed her lips hard against mine in a passionate drunken kiss, whilst her hands began fondling the front of my trousers. It was an insane situation and one that I was desperate to hide from Nathan. There was no doubt about it, she was an incredibly attractive girl and had I been straight, I would undoubtedly have thought that all my birthdays had come at once. As it was, I found myself pushed hard against the bar with Sadie’s tongue forcing its way into my mouth and her hand urgently caressing my crotch. I struggled to disengage her and shouted out in alarm. “SADIE!! FOR GOD'S SAKE. STOP IT! What on earth do you think you’re doing?” Her face registered shocked surprise as I pushed her away as gently as I could, quickly grabbing the lost coins and rising to my feet to avoid further embarrassment. Feeling slightly guilty, Igently hauled her to her feet, helping her to stand as she held onto the bar, swaying about unsteadily. “What on earths the matter with you Jason?” she asked incredulously, “Don’t you find me attractive?” Ignoring her question, I pressed her for an answer to something that puzzled me “How do you know my name?” “Ah” she said, tapping the side of her nose “We went to the same school” “I don’t remember you” “I remember you” she answered dreamily “You were the best-looking guy in our year. I fancied you for ages” At that moment the barman brought my beer and held out his hand for the money. “Let me get those” Sadie offered, fiddling with the zip of her handbag. By the time she’d found her purse I’d already paid for the drinks and had even managed to think up a plausible excuse. “It’s ok Sadie my mates paying, he owes me one” She looked across the room to where Nathan was watching us closely and tugged on my arm. “Tell him to join us” she chuckled “I’m sure one of the other girls won’t mind keeping him company!” “No, no it’s ok” I answered, beginning to panic “I haven’t seen him for six months and anyway our girlfriends are due anytime” “Spoilsport! she complained, twisting her face into a frown “Why are the good-looking guys always spoken for” I shrugged helplessly and picked up the beer, turning to go. “Jason…..” she cried imploringly, grasping my waist. “Just one more kiss….for Christmas” With both hands occupied, I didn’t have much choice and before I could respond either way she quickly leant forward and planted a huge kiss on my lips. Meanwhile her hand had moved around to the back of my trousers again and I almost spilt the beer as she cheekily pinched my bottom. “Merry Christmas Jason!” My face had turned a deep shade of red and all I could manage was a muffled ‘You too’ as I hurriedly made my way back to the table. Nathan had a huge grin plastered across his face as I placed the beer on the table and sank down in my chair. “Jason!” he protested, in a voice loaded with mock jealousy “We’ve only been in here for five minutes and you’ve already pulled” “No, it’s ok” I quickly assured him “It's only someone who says she knew me from school that I don’t even remember. She wanted a Christmas kiss but she's completely drunk” “I'd say she wanted a lot more than that” he exclaimed, raising his eyebrows “Go if you like, I’ll be ok on my own” “I don’t want to go Nathan!” I protested, a little too forcefully. There was an involuntary silence as I realized my response had been far too passionate and I quickly continued in a quieter voice “I came out to be with you” He looked slightly surprised at the intensity of my tone, but the expression of gratitude on his face immediately told me I’d made the right decision. He’d obviously not seen what had happened on the floor and I relaxed as he pulled out a packet of cigarettes and offered me one. “Sorry about your dad and the stuff before” he began, passing me his lighter “I didn’t mean to upset you” “Don’t worry Nathan, it’s all done with now and like I said, it's only because I'm not used to having someone to talk to” He smiled at me but there was a slightly worried expression on his face, and I could tell he wasn’t fully convinced. “Enough about me anyway” I continued, determined to find something out about him for a change. “What brought you to Hamborough?” “Well work I suppose, really” he mused, chewing on his top lip “I’ve only been here about a month” “Why here in particular though?” I enquired, hoping it didn’t sound too intrusive “Well as you know, I come from down south. Surrey actually” “Ooh Surrey actually!” I repeated in a ridiculously upper-class voice “Very posh!” “Not really” he said, grinning broadly. “The thing is, I was born in Hamborough. My family moved to Surrey when I was young” “Ah I see, so you thought you’d come back” “Well yeah, it’s as good a place as any” he continued with a smile “And if I hadn’t come back we’d never have met, would we?” “No that’s true” I said, smiling at him mischievously “How lucky can one person be!” “Or unlucky” he laughed, gently poking me in the shoulder. “So why did you leave Surrey? I thought there’d be more job prospects down there” A fleeting look of pain crossed his face and I wondered if my question had been too intrusive. The inquisitive side of my nature had instinctively taken over and I winced at my own bluntness. “Sorry Nathan, you don’t have to answer that. Just tell me to mind my own business if I’m being too nosy” “No, it’s ok, you’re not” he rushed to reassure me “It’s just that I tried to live at home with my parents again. Dad owns his own business down there and he gave me a job working for him” “Sounds ok” “It was at first” he cut in bitterly “But the thing is, we just don’t get on anymore. It didn’t work out” He paused and gazed into space, obviously reliving past events. I could see that his eyes were becoming moist and he was struggling to keep his emotions in check. “Ah right, that’s not so good then” “It became really bad” he went on “We had this huge argument and basically he told me to leave. So I decided to make a new start here” “But he didn’t mean it, surely” I asked him in puzzlement. His face was set with alook of sadness and as he shook his head slowly, the threat of tears glistened in the firelight. His answer was barely audible, and I had to lean forward to hear it. “Oh, he meant it all right” The devastated tone of his reply left me feeling shocked and incredibly sorry for him. It was impossible to imagine falling out with my own father and being asked to leave home as a result. Before I could open my mouth to ask him any more questions, he drained the last of his beer and stood up, holding his hand out for my glass. “Another one?” I was shocked at how fast we were drinking and made a pointless attempt to slow things down “Look Nathan, I can’t buy you one back this time” “I told you Jason, it doesn’t matter” I reluctantly passed him my glass, hating the fact I had no money left to pay for more drinks. On reflection though, three pints were probably enough. I was already beginning to feel the effect as it was, even after two! My eyes narrowed as they followed Nathan’s retreat across the room, silently admiring the view. The crowd of girls at the bar had thinned out slightly by this time and Nathan seemed to have no trouble whatsoever getting served. Sitting on my own staring into the roaring fire, I couldn’t help going over our conversation so far. A large piece of half burnt wood suddenly collapsed with a loud crack, sending a shower of sparks up the chimney back and I jumped slightly in the chair. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Nathan was holding several things back and his story raised more questions than it answered. For example, what had the argument with his father been about and why had he been asked to leave home and his job as a consequence. He’d become extremely emotional and upset just discussing it, so it had to be something pretty bad, something the two of them couldn’t resolve. And why did he say that he'd moved back home 'again'. Where had he been since leaving home originally and then moving back home again. I thought again that his story definitely raised more questions than it answered. He seemed to be taking forever with the drinks and as I turned towards the bar to see what was keeping him, my heart dropped like a lead balloon. Sadie was all over him like a rash and the two of them were locked together in a passionate kiss. Suddenly they broke apart and she urgently scribbled something down on a scrap of paper and slipped it into his back pocket. I hurriedly looked away as he picked up the beer and began making his way back to the table. His face was flushed as he set down the glasses and I knew what the next topic of conversation was sureto be. I didn’t particularly want to discuss Sadie with him, but there was nothing I could do but appear interested. What I really wanted to do was question him further about his reasons for leaving home, but I could see that it was too late, the moment had passed by. “You’re not the only one who can get a kiss from Sadie!” he exclaimed triumphantly “She’s just given me one too” I gave him the best smile I could muster, but in reality, I was torn apart with jealousy. Was he about to make some feeble excuse and disappear with her, leaving me hurt and alone? “I didn’t really notice” was my casual response and I took a large gulp of beer to avoid looking at him. There was a moment’s silence and by the time I’d finished drinking he’d taken the scrap of paper out of his pocket and was studying it carefully. “Will you ring her?” I asked as my heartbeat increased. He shot me a sudden look of amusement and I immediately realized my mistake. “I thought you didn’t notice!” “Well I didn’t…..I mean, not at first…I j-just wondered what was taking you so long..…and I…” My voice tailed off and he laughed at how flustered I’d become. “You’re not jealous by any chance are you Jason?” For several seconds I was absolutely mortified, immediately thinking he meant I was jealous of her. Surely, he couldn’t possibly have guessed that I was gay already! When I eventually managed to master the power of speech again, I stared at him incredulously “What do you mean, jealous!” “Well you only got a kiss” he laughed “I got a kiss and her telephone number!” I heaved an inner sigh of relief as I realized what he meant. It was a tricky moment, but he couldn’t have been more wrong if he’d tried. I didn’t like to mention that getting Sadie’s telephone number was probably about as difficult as buttering hot toast and he was almost certainly the latest on a long list. There was nothing for it but to lie my head off and try to sound as convincing as possible. “I’ve got plenty of girl’s telephone numbers” I said indignantly, suddenly realizing that he might ask me for some “What about you?” “None in this area” he sighed regretfully “I’m sure it won’t take me long to put that right though” “Was there anyone special in Surrey?” I enquired casually, taking the chance to ask whilst we were on the subject. He shook his head and sighed loudly “No one at all, I’m afraid. But I’m really glad to have met you” he added. “I don’t know anyone else around here, so I hope we can become friends.” “Yeah, course we can Nathan; I’d love to be friends with you” I answered enthusiastically “I’ve lost touch with most of my old school friend’s ages ago” Not that there were many in the first place, I thought to myself. “That’s settled then” he exclaimed, grinning happily. “I hope you realize you’re stuck with me now” There was nothing I wanted more, and my spirits soared to a new high. Nathan was a great guy, always laughing and joking and fun to be with. It wasn’t just that though. I felt there was something more than simple friendship between us, an instant connection that I’d never felt with anyone else before. I wondered if Nathan felt it too, or if it was just my overactive imagination running riot? I felt an overwhelming need to know as much as I could about him, because despite his cheerful and confident exterior, there was a sad vulnerability about him that tugged at my heartstrings and I longed to hold and comfort him in my arms. “So, neither one of us has found anyone special so far” he observed, shaking his head sadly. I nodded in agreement and Nathan raised his glass towards me and smiled once again. “Here’s to us then Jason, two lonely souls together!” I laughed and clinked my glass against his. “To us!” Nathan drained the rest of his beer and I couldn’t quite believe how fast we were drinking. There was nothing I loved more than a beer, but three pints would normally have lasted me all night. Barely an hour had passed by and it was definitely beginning to tell. I drained the rest of my beer and he gazed at the indecision on my face as I agonised about what to do. “I’d better go home Nathan?” “Sure I can’t tempt you to stay for another” he asked in a pleading voice I knew there was no way I could stop him taking some girl home if he wanted to, but I hated the thought of leaving him on his own so early and I gazed indecisively at the empty glass resting temptingly on the table in front of me. I was fully aware that if I stayed any longer, there was every chance that I’d end up becoming drunk and incapable and I hated to lose control. Too much beer invariably made me feel sick and although I didn’t live very far away, it was anyone’s guess if I would ever actually get there. I shook my head and stared at him reluctantly “No, I’d better go” “Ok Jason, if you must” he answered, sighing in disappointment “Look, will I see you tomorrow?” “Depends if I ever get out of bed” he answered, winking suggestively My eyebrows rose sharply before I could stop them “What do you mean?” He glanced over at the group of girls congregated at the far the end of the bar and raised his eyebrows. “Plenty of choice there Jason, if you know what I mean, and if all else fails, I’m sure Sadie won’t let me down!” The feeling of bitter disappointment made my heart sink and as I stood up from the table, a slight feeling of dizziness came over me. Before he had a chance to see my look of despondency, I pushed the chair back and quickly turned away. “Won’t be long Nathan, got to go to the toilet” Thankfully it was empty when I entered the dingy room and I stood with my back to the door, sighing heavily and leaning my head against the smooth wood.I felt a sudden overwhelming urge to be sick but it quickly passed and I gave a sigh of relief. I’d never felt this way before after drinking only three pints of beer, but then again, I’d never drank them in such a short space of time before. A jumble of conflicting thoughts and emotions began to surge through my head like a train speeding through a dark tunnel. Out of the blackness came a multitude of unanswerable questions, each one stumbling over the next. How could I feel like this about someone I’d only known for a few days? If we continued to see each other how would I ever manage to hide those feelings? What on earth would Nathan think if he knew the truth? It could easily be the end of a friendship barely started and I had to do everything I could to prevent it from happening. Call it outright jealousy or some deep-seated desire to find someone special, but I hated the thought of anyone else being with him if I couldn’t. Eventually I managed to gather my confused thoughts and quickly pulled myself together. Sweat had begun pouring off me and as I doused my face in ice cold water, the toilet door creaked open behind me. “You ok Jason?” I stiffened and hesitantly turned around. Nathan stood in the doorway with an expression of concern etched across his face. “Yeah of course” I answered, trying to reassure him I could tell that he wasn’t convinced and resting his hand on my shoulder, he squeezed it gently. “You left the table pretty quickly Jason, that’s all. I just wondered if there was anything wrong” Still haunted by my indecision, I quickly brushed aside his concern, completely overreacting. “LOOK, I WAS JUST DESPERATE FOR THE TOILET NATHAN, THAT'S ALL!!!” “Ok Jason” he said quietly, clearly taken aback by the forceful nature of my reply “As long as that’s all it is” As I looked at the anxious expression on his face and realized the genuine concern he felt for my welfare, I instantly regretted my outburst and tentatively rested my hand on top of his. “Sorry Nathan, I didn’t mean to shout. Everything’s fine. Honest!” “Come back to the table then, have another drink” I hated being unable to pay my own way, but I was torn between my principles and a desperate desire to spend more time with him. In the end my principles and all the warning signs about losing control flew straight out of the window. “The thing is…..” I began haltingly “I feel really bad leaving you on your own when we came out together” “So don’t then” he urged “But I don’t have any more money” “Don’t worry about it Jase. Like I told you, I’ve got plenty!” “Yeah I know, but I still don’t like to….” “Look, you can pay next time” he interrupted, gazing at me beseechingly. “C’mon Jase, have another drink. Please!” I hesitated for a second too long before answering and he smiled and began gently pushing me out of the toilet. My heart soared as my fuddled brain realized the implication of his words. I couldn’t quite believe that he actually wanted us to meet again! As the evening wore on, we became engrossed in conversation and it soon became increasingly apparent that we had several things in common. Nathan’s taste in music was similar to my own and we both regularly visited the gym to keep fit. One of his favourite pastimes was swimming and I already knew he loved classic cars as much as I did. I couldn’t get an image of his semi naked body in tight swim shorts out of my mind and I resolved to suggest a visit to the local pool as soon as possible. By the time last orders were called my head was spinning, and an overwhelming feeling of drunken euphoria had enveloped me. Connor was the last person to make me feel anything remotely like this and even the time I’d spent with him paled in comparison to being with Nathan. I gazed across the table at him, unable to take the stupid grin off my face. “How about another drink Nathan?” Without realizing it, I was slurring my words and a slight tone of guilt crept into his voice as he gently chided me. “I think you’ve had enough to be quite honest Jason. We shouldn’t really have stayed this long” He was clearly regretting his earlier decision to ask me to stay but by now it was too late. “Come on!” I pleaded, swirling around the last few drops of beer left in my glass “Just one more” He hesitated slightly but at that moment the barman came up to the table collecting empty glasses and when he spoke to Nathan, his words seem to come from a long way off. “I think your friends had far too much to drink son. Best take him home while you still can” Nathan nodded in agreement and at that point I realized there would be no more beer and that it really was time to go home. Pushing my chair back abruptly, I half stood up to put my coat on and the room immediately began to spin crazily around me. With one hand on the chair and the other on the table, I stood still for several seconds until Nathan’s face slowly came back into focus. “Whoa! Steady Jason. Here, let me help you” “I’m ok Nathan” I insisted, trying to appear as sober as possible “Just stood up a bit too quickly, that’s all” He looked at me doubtfully and hurriedly pushing his own chair back, stood up to help me put my coat on. With a firm grip on my arm and shoulder he guided me away from the table towards the exit door on the far side of the room. My legs felt weak and hardly able to support me and once or twice they almost buckled underneath me. If it hadn’t been for Nathan, I would never have made it out of the pub, but unfortunately it was about to get even worse. I think it must have been a combination of the cold night air and the six or seven pints of beer I’d drunk, but as we stepped outside and I staggered along the path, I seemed to lose all control of my movements. Nathan tried in vain to hold me up, but I suddenly slipped and fell against a wall. As he pulled me to my feet, there was a soft crunch underfoot and he cursed loudly. The next thing I knew, he’d gently sat me down against the wall and for some reason that my fuddled brain refused to comprehend, began searching the ground. I had a vague feeling of something dripping down my arm, but before I could focus, he put my arm over his shoulder and pulled me upwards, grasping me firmly around the waist. Eventually we managed to continue moving slowly along the street but was forced to make an emergency stop in a doorway. The last thing I remember that night was the sting of pain in my wrist and the nauseating taste of sickness that clung to the back of my throat.
  9. Filzmoos

    Chapter 21

    The following morning, I jumped out of bed as soon as the alarm clock rang. What had happened the previous night instantly came to mind, and I quickly stripped the sheets off the bed. These days it wasn’t the kind of thing that normally happened, and I thought it best to hide any evidence of my indiscretion as quickly as possible. Luckily, they were due to be changed anyway and I hurriedly got dressed and gathered them together. The kitchen was empty when I peered surreptitiously around the door and I quickly stuffed them into the washing machine, firmly banging the door shut. Mum and dad were talking in the lounge and I shouted through. “I’VE PUT MY SHEETS IN THE WASHER, MUM. SHALL I TURN IT ON?” There was a second or two’s silence and I held my breath, desperately hoping she’d say yes. The last thing I wanted was for her to take them out again for some reason. I gave a deep sigh of relief when she agreed and anticipating her next words, quickly reached for the washing powder. “Ok love. Don’t forget the powder though” “No, course not mum” I answered, smiling to myself. The washer began filling up and I watched until the sheets began sloshing around in soapy water, glad that almost certain embarrassment had been averted. Dropping a slice of bread in the toaster, I made a quick cup of coffee before wandering through to the lounge. My parents were busily discussing the programme that was on television and I coughed slightly to gain their attention. They turned towards me enquiringly. “Oh, by the way mum, I almost forgot. Not sure when I'll be home tonight. I’m going for a drink with one of the guys from work” I hated lying but didn't think it would be a good idea to tell them I was going for a drink with an incredibly hot guy that I'd only just met the previous day. "Oh, is it Aiden?" Mum immediately asked. I frowned slightly and inwardly sighed. She had the misguided idea that the two of us were good friends, probably originating from Aiden via his mother and I hurriedly shook my head. "Erm, no it's a guy called Nathan" "Oh. I haven't heard you mention him before" This all sounded dreadfully familiar and I was only too aware we’d been here before with Connor. At almost twenty-one years old, why did I feel that I still had to justify my actions? Living at home had its advantages, but this was definitely not one of them. Trying to sound as casual as possible, I took a deep breath before ploughing ahead with the white lie. "Oh, I'm sure I must have done at some point" I answered breezily "He's really nice" I couldn't believe how utterly inadequate the word nice was when describing Nathan. An incredibly sexy Adonis had walked into my life and all I was allowed to say about him was that he was nice! Unfairness simply didn't cover it! Before they had a chance to comment further, I gathered their empty cups together as an excuse and took them into the kitchen to avoid any further discussion on the subject. The door was left slightly ajar and I could just hear them speaking to one another in hushed voices. For some inexplicable reason, I could tell they were talking about me and I stood with my ear to the narrow gap, listening intently. Dad's low tone wasbarely audible, but I could still hear the puzzlement in his voice. "Do you know love, I sometimes wonder about that lad, he shows hardly any interest in girls" Mum's reply was quick, in a hasty attempt to appease him. "Just give him time love. You can't force these things" "But he’s twenty-one shortly. We'd been going out aboutfour years at his age!” “I know that love, but perhaps he’s just a slow starter or something” Her words instantly hit a nerve, causing me to take a sharp intake of breath. What on earth did she mean by something! I was becoming more and more convinced that mum secretly knew the truth. Meanwhile, dad had completely missed the intimationand was still in full flow. "Slow starter! He's practically a nonstarter. I mean what about thatConnie? He went on one date with her ages ago and then not another word ever since" "Well perhaps he didn't like her, people don't always get on you know. And besides" she added with an air of finality "It's none of our business who he sees. I'm sure he’ll find someone before long" “Yeah, I suppose you're right” he said with a sigh "I just want him to be settled with a nice girlfriend and everything. Just the normal kind of thing that lads do” The sharp feeling of pain that his words caused me was like a dagger being thrust deep into my heart. It shouldn’t really have surprised me to know how he felt, but it still shocked me to hear him talk about it as if I was abnormal in some way, and as I stepped back from the doorway the cup that was held loosely in my hand almost went crashing to the floor. My initial reaction was to burst into the room and assure them I already had a girlfriend, but the strategy hadn’t worked with Aiden and Craig yesterday and it probably wouldn’t work with mum and dad today. I had to face it. When it came to lying, I just wasn't very good at it. Instead my heart sank like a stone and I wandered through to my bedroom, hurt and upset. I didn’t blame my dad. It was probably what everyone else was thinking or would eventually think. I’d always known it would get harder and harder to hide the truth the older I became, but it still wasn’t fair, I didn’t ask to be gay. Sinking down on the bed in exasperation, the ceiling quickly became blurred as my eyes filled with tears. They spilled onto the pillow as I turned onto my side and I punched it angrily, wishing for the umpteenth time that it wasn’t true. I thought by now that I’d come to accept my homosexuality, had my feelings well under control and was even becoming reasonably ok with it. Then something like this happened and immediately I was back to square one, hurt, angry and ashamed. This time it was different though. This time I’d met Nathan and there was a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Thoughts of him immediately filled my head, helping me to push my worries and fears aside. Even though we’d only just met, and he was more than likely straight, I was desperate to see him again and my mind was full of hopes and fantasies for the future. I imagined him lying naked and aroused beside me, willing my hands to explore every inch of his perfect body. My fingers traced the imaginary outline of his muscular chest on the sheet beside me, leaving me breathless and desperate to caress the real thing. My emotions were riding high and the very sound of his name in my head was enough to lift my spirits. Suddenly things didn’t seem nearly so bad and the feelings of hurt and anguish slowly began to subside. The way I felt about Nathan at that moment reminded me of the first time that Connor had asked me out, only this time my feelings were a thousand times more powerful. I couldn’t wait for the evening to come and the chance to spend some more time with him. In the meantime, however, a long day at work stood in the way. My desperate need to be with Nathan made the day pass incredibly slowly and every time I sneaked a look at the clock it hardly seemed to have moved since the last time I’d looked. I spent much of the day in a dream world, unable to stop myself from thinking about him. No one else I’d met had ever had such a profound effect on me and my heart raced as his handsome face constantly appeared in my thoughts. Had I only seen him once he would probably have stayed in my mind for a day or two before slowly fading away, but the fact that we’d met again and he’d invited me to join him for a drink made my head spin and I desperately hoped it was the start of something special. My train was a few minutes late that evening and as it drew into Hamborough station, Nathan was already waiting for me on the platform. He waved as soon as he spotted me standing up and with a wide smile on his face walked towards the carriage door. He was dressed in a pair of tight jeans and my heart raced in appreciation as I looked him slowly up and down through the window of the slowing train. As it screeched to a halt and the doors opened, he stepped forward and greeted me warmly. "Hiya Jason, good day at work?” “Yeah, not too bad thanks” I could hardly tell him that I’d spent most of it in a dream world waiting to be with him again, so instead I deftly returned the question “How about you? How was your day?” “Yeah, fine thanks” His expression had darkened considerably, and it was clear that his words meant the exact opposite of what he’d just said. I thought it prudent not to ask about the obvious ambiguity in his answer, feeling it best to let him tell me in his own time if he wanted to. As much as it felt like I’d known him for ages, in reality we didn’t know each other very well at all, so I quickly changed the subject, hoping to restore his good humour. “Are you ready for that drink then?” I asked, rubbing my hands together to warm them. His face visibly brightened and the enthusiasm in his voice was immediately apparent. “Am I ever” he said, nodding towards the entrance “C’mon, let’s go” It was another bitterly cold evening and I zipped up my jacket as we set off down the hill towards the bus station. The paths were still treacherous to walk on and halfway down the hill I almost slipped and had to grab Nathan’s shoulder to stop myself from falling over. He held onto my arm firmly to steady me and despite the cold night air a warm feeling spread throughout my body. “You ok Jason?” The memory of landing on the hard snow when I’d fallen over the other night came flooding back to me and I rubbed the bruise on my buttock as if it had just happened. Not wanting Nathan to think I was a complete wimp, I just shook my head and pretended to laugh it off. “Yeah, I’m fine thanks. Sorry I grabbed hold of you, it must be these shoes!” I answered, feeling a sudden need to justify my action “No grip you see!” He just smiled and didn’t respond, using the few seconds of silence that followed to pose a question. “So then Jason” he enquired “Where do you work?” There was a slight pause before I responded, and I briefly considered the possibility he would think my job mundane and boring. “Oh, nowhere very grand” I answered haltingly “I’m a salesman at a computer store in the city. Or a Technical Service Advisor to give it its correct name” I added, laughing. There was no need for me to worry what he would think as his response was more than favourable and I thought again what a nice guy he was. “That must be really interesting” he replied enthusiastically “I know where to come now if I need anything for my computer!” I managed to hide the look of alarm that quickly spread across my face. It was bad enough just thinking about him at work, let alone actually seeing him in the store. “What about you Nathan?” I asked, hurriedly changing the subject “Where do you work?” The same dark expression that had clouded his face earlier instantly reappeared and I wondered again what the reason was for his obvious unhappiness. “Oh, I work at the engineering factory. Over the other side of town” “You mean AWB Engineering?” “Yeah, that’s the place” he replied with a wistful sigh. “My dad used to work there!” I exclaimed in surprise “He’s really good friends with the owner” "Oh! I see" He was clearly taken aback. His eyes widened considerably and the surprise on his face was immediately apparent. AWB Engineering was a long-established family company that made all sorts of metalwork products from pipes and tubes to garden furniture. My dad had gone to school with George, the owner’s son and the two of them had become really close friends. After school George went straight into the family business working for his father and my dad got a job there too, starting on the same day. Their good friendship continued over the years to this day and our families even spent the occasional summer holidayat the seaside together. Eventually his father retired, and George took over the running of the business. He soon opened another factory in London and moved down south with his family shortly afterwards. He was just about to put my father in charge of the Hamborough factory when disaster struck and dad became ill, forcing him to take early retirement from the job he loved. Every time George came back to Hamborough he always made sure to visit dad. "You seem really surprised Nathan?" "Erm.....no, not really. I just thought the owner came from London" "No, he was born here in Hamborough. Dad went to school with him" Nathan didn’t respond and I quickly filled the sudden awkward silence with another question. “So, which department do you work in Nathan?” He hesitated before giving a rather vague answer “Oh you know, I’m working in different departments at the moment, getting to know the place” There was definitely something a little odd about his answer, as if he was holding something back and this time, I couldn’t help myself from probing a little deeper. “Oh, you mean like an apprentice!” I suggested, wondering why he hadn’t said that in the first place. “Well yeah, sort of” He was still being very non-committal and once again his answer was vague to say the least. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask what he meant, but instead I decided to change tack and ask him something he would find a little more difficult to brush aside. “I take it from the look on your face that you don’t like it very much” He sighed loudly and I realized there was more to the situation than met the eye. I could see that he was struggling to find an answer to that question as well and I began to wish that I’d never asked in the first place. “No, it’s not that” he began finally “I like the work and everything, it’s just that some of the people aren’t very easy to get on with” Dad had always said what a great bunch of people they were to work with, but it was some time ago now since he’d been there, so it was possible they were a completely different crowd by now. After all, sometimes it only took a couple of people to completely change the mood of a place, Aiden and Craig at the store being the perfect example. “Anyway, I can forget about it now” he said firmly, immediately cheering up. “I’ve finished for the week” Fortunately, I was off for the weekend too, so there was no rush to get home. It was the perfect opportunity to get to know him better and despite what I’d said yesterday about only being able to stay for a couple of drinks, the opportunity to cement our budding friendship was far too good to miss. If only I had a bit more money! We reached the bus stop a second or two later and my cold fingers struggled to pull out a packet of cigarettes from my trouser pocket. In my haste to offer him one, I failed to notice the small item that fell to the ground as my hand withdrew. “Something’s just fallen out of your pocket” said Nathan, immediately bending down to pick up the small plastic wallet that nestled in the snow. “It’s my train pass” I exclaimed, reaching out for it “I can’t afford to lose that” I normally kept it safely in my inside pocket but with the excitement of seeing Nathan again, I’d obviously forgotten to put it back. With a mischievous smile on his face he quickly stepped away from my outstretched hand and opened the wallet. “Jason Wright, date of birth 13th December 1979” he read, ignoring my half-hearted pleas to give it back. “Hey, that’s amazing!!! He suddenly exclaimed “I can’t believe it” “Can’t believe what” I asked, puzzled at his obvious excitement. “It’s your birthday next weekon the 13thand it’s mine the day after!” I was just about to answer him when the expression on his face turned to one of mock disbelief and he turned the wallet on its side, peering at it closely. “Who on earth is that!” he suddenly exclaimed, gazing atthe photograph and laughing out loud. “It’s me you idiot, give it back” Instead of returning the pass, he grinned and held it up to the side of my face, pretending to compare the two. “Nah, the originals much better looking!" I snatched the pass off him and quickly stuffed it in my inside pocket, patting the outside of my jacket to make sure I could feel it there, safely stowed away. The compliment he’d given me hadn’t gone unnoticed though and every nerve end in my body began to tingle. “Very funny” I said, laughing along with him “Of course I agree about the good-looking bit!” He smiled and laughed off my comment before continuing “So let’s see, how old does that make you Jason? he asked, pretending to count off on his fingers “On the 13th I mean” “Oh, I’m ermtwenty-one” “Hey, me too!” he exclaimed excitedly, and his eyes lit up “That’s awesome!” “So, let me get this right” I asked, a little shocked by his revelation “We’re both twenty-one next week! Me on the thirteenth and you on the fourteenth” “That’s right, it’s quite a milestone; we’ll have to celebrate it somehow!” His voice suddenly tailed off as he realized that he was rushing ahead far too quickly. “Unless of course you’ve already got something planned that is” he quickly countered, frowning slightly “I don’t want to intrude or anything” My heart was aching to tell him that he could intrude in my life as much as he wanted to. Just being with him was enough to set my pulse racing and a feeling of excitement surged over me as I realized that he didn’t intend our drink in the pub to be a one off. “No, I’ve got nothing arranged” I answered eagerly “I’d love to do something” Suddenly realizing how sad it must sound that I had nothing planned to celebrate my 21st birthday, I couldn’t stop the white lie that instantly slipped out of my mouth. “The thing is I was going out with a few mates, but it got cancelled” I added, doing my best not to sound too desperate. It was far too much to hope for that Nathan was gay, but right now just being around him was enough to satisfy me. “Great! That means we can do something together” Nathan was continuing excitedly. The mention of doing something ‘together’ caused an instant reaction in my trousers and it was quite a relief when the bus came sweeping around the corner. “At last!” sighed Nathan, stamping his feet on the hardened snow “I’m freezing” “Yeah me too” I agreed, cupping my hands together and filling them with warm air. Even though he was paying me back with a drink for lending him the bus fare, Nathan still insisted on buying the tickets tonight as well and shaking my head in frustration, I wandered down the bus towards the back. He stood talking to the driver and once again I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the sensual curve of his backside as it pushed against the tight material of his jeans. Tonight, he'd put his hands in his front pockets as well and the effect it had was even more awesome than usual. What I wouldn’t give to run my hand over that wonderfully shaped mound of flesh that left me gasping with desire every time it was on display. I quickly averted my eyes so he wouldn’t follow my line of vision as he began walking towards me down the aisle and a few seconds later he sat down heavily on the seat beside me. “At least it’s a bit warmer on here” he remarked, rubbing his hands together “I’m finally beginning to feel my fingers again” “Yeah, me too” I agreed, glancing at my own reddened skin. “That was the last time I’ll have to stand around in the freezing cold at bus stops anyway” he remarked, handing me my ticket. My heart gave a sudden lurch and a feeling of panic welled up inside me as I tried to make sense of his words. For some reason, I just assumed he would be catching the bus on a regular basis as he had done this week and it never occurred to me that it was just a temporary thing. He must have seen the fleeting look of disappointment that crossed my face as he started to explain. “My car’s been in the garage all week for its MOT. It needed a new part and they had to order it”. He paused slightly, as if to let his words sink in, and as I quickly nodded my understanding he carried on. “They rang me this afternoon to tell me it was ready! I can collect it tomorrow!” His undeniable sense of excitement made it obvious that he loved his car and for a second or two I felt an uncharacteristic pang of envy. “You’re dead lucky; I wish I had a car” “No, we’re both dead lucky” he answered with a wide smile “Now I can give you a lift home from the station and you don’t need to stand at freezing cold bus stops either!” The same look of embarrassment as before suddenly clouded his face as he realized that once again, he was rushing ahead far too quickly. “If you want me too that is….” he added, as his voice tailed away. “Of course I do Nathan! That’d be brilliant. But Dryford’s miles out of your way!” I protested “You don’t need to do that!” Wishing I could keep my mouth shut for just once, I mentally put my hands together, praying that he wouldn’t change his mind. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed, and he firmly reiterated what he’d just said. “Honestly Jason, I really don’t mind. It’s not that much further!” My eyes widened slightly in surprise. On the first night we’d met Nathan had asked me where the bus to Cranfield left from. He’d got off at the same stop last night too, so I presumed he lived in or around that area. Dryford was six or seven miles further on down narrow country roads and would take him at the very least an extra half hour to get there and back. Cranfield on the other hand was much nearer town. At one time it had been a separate village in its own right, but over the years the town had expanded, and its boundaries had become more and more blurred. It was now little more than a smart suburb of Hamborough and for some reason I had a preconceived idea that Nathan probably lived there in a nice modern flat with his girlfriend. It was time to find out and experience that feeling of crushing disappointment, but at the last moment my resolve crumbled, and I couldn’t even bring myself to ask if he had a girlfriend. Instead, I confirmed what I already thought “Do you live in Cranfield Nathan?” “Yeah just near the bus stop where I get off actually” he remarked casually “I can almost fall straight into bed!” I couldn’t help smiling at the thought of Nathan in bed and he was quick to pick up on it. “What’s funny?” he asked “Oh, I was just thinking” I remarked, desperately dredging up a silly excuse “You could get changed into your pyjamas on the bus if you brought them with you. Save you even more time!” His unexpected reply came back as quick as a flash and I couldn’t quite believe my ears. “No need to! I don’t wear any” The palms of my hands instantly became sweaty as I digested what he’d just said, and I was almost sick with desire. An image of Nathan without clothes floated before my eyes as I desperately tried to imagine what his naked body would look like. For the time being I couldn’t bring myself to look at him and briefly wondered if he was even aware of the effect his words were having on me. The throbbing down below intensified as my cock took on a life of its own, desperately trying to escape its enforced entrapment. A firm tap on the shoulder quickly brought me back to reality and I realized that Nathan was speaking to me again. “Earth to Jason! Are you receiving?” “What? Oh, sorry Nathan, I was miles away” His face became creased in puzzlement and he shook his head slowly from side to side. “I could see that! But what were you thinking about?” There was a few seconds silence and I reddened slightly, desperately trying to think of a plausible response. When the ghost of an excuse finally came to me, the words tumbled out almost incoherently as I struggled to play for time. “It was….erm…. really funny actually” “What was?” “You should have seen it Nathan!” His eyes widened slightly as he tried to encourage me to explain and the next time he spoke a hint of impatience had crept into his voice. “Seen what?” “It was about two months ago” I began hesitantly “This old guy got on the bus. All he was wearing were a pair of striped pyjamas” “Really?” “Yeah, honest! He started arguing with the driver because he wouldn’t sell him a ticket and in the end, he suddenly stripped off his pyjamas, threw them at the driver and stormed off up the street. It just reminded me when I mentioned pyjamas and you not wearing any, that’s all” My heart beat slightly faster and I nervously chewed on my bus ticket, hoping he wouldn’t say any more about it. I wasn’t normally a dishonest person, so it was hard to lie, but there was no way I could let him suspect what had really been on my mind. He seemed to accept my explanation for what it was, and I gave an inward sigh of relief, thankful that the moment of anxiety had passed by. As the bus sped through Cranfield, he changed the subject and any further discomfort quickly disappeared. “Can you drive Jason?” he suddenly asked me. “No, unfortunately I’ve never been able to afford lessons. I’d love to learn though!” “I can help if you want. My uncle's a driving instructor. I might be able to arrange some cheap lessons and then I can take you out for some additional practice” “You’re joking!" “No really! I mean it” “Nathan, that’d be fantastic!” He laughed at the expression of surprise and delight that lit up my face, but a second or two later it dropped like a stone as a thought suddenly struck me. “The thing is, even if I did learn to drive it still wouldn’t be any good though” “Why not?” “I’d never be able to afford a car!” “That’s not the point Jason” he urged “You should still learn! One day you’re bound to be able to afford one. And look at the job opportunities it could open up for you” He was right of course. Learning to drive was something I’d wanted to do for ages, but my finances just wouldn’t stretch that far. These days it was an expensive thing to do and it only became worse after passing your test. It was an amazing offer though and as my imagination slowly took over, I could see myself driving through the countryside in a gleaming sports car, its chrome fittings dazzling in the summer sun. My enthusiasm was obviously catching as I babbled on “I wouldn’t mind something classic, you know, from the 50’s or 60’s. I absolutely love old cars” “Really!” said Nathan excitedly “So do I” Having discovered a mutual interest, we chatted enthusiastically on the subject until the bus arrived in Dryford some thirty minutes later.
  10. Filzmoos

    Chapter 20

    The following morning I woke up at 8:50am, ten minutes before the alarm clock was due to go off. Most of the duvet was lying on the floor and I suddenly realised why cold shivers were running up and down the length of my body. Stretching and yawning sleepily, I struggled out of bed and opened the curtains, peering out with blurry eyes. More heavy snow had fallen during the night and everywhere was covered in a thick white blanket. A line of tiny footprints ran the entire length of the garden and I vaguely wondered what had made them. I could hear mum in the kitchen, humming along to an old 60’s hit playing on the radio and I quickly got dressed, suddenly realizing how hungry I was. She turned towards me as I entered the room and gave me a wide smile. “Morning love. Sleep well?” “Yes thanks mum” “There’s tea in the pot. Make yourself some toast while I take your dad his breakfast” As I popped some bread in the toaster, I glanced at one of mum’s magazines lying on the table and the main headline immediately jumped out at me. ‘Celebrity Males Go Topless’ was emblazoned across the front and I couldn’t resist quickly thumbing through the pages to find the article, hoping she wouldn’t come back for a while. It was well worth finding and I couldn’t help ogling the scantily clad bodies that were plastered across the page. Mum was talking to dad in the lounge and as she opened the door and backed into the kitchen her voice became progressively louder and I quickly closed it and looked away. “I’ve made your sandwiches Jason, they’re your favourite, cheese & pickle” “You didn’t have to do that mum, I could’ve made them myself” “I don’t mind love, I had the bread out anyway” she replied. “You go on in and see your dad” He was sitting in his favourite chair by the fire with a thick woollen blanket wrapped around his legs. He looked up at me and smiled as I entered the room and sat down opposite him. “Morning son” “Morning dad. How are you?” He shifted uncomfortably in his chair and tried to hide the sudden look of pain that crossed his face. “Oh not too bad” he replied with a wistful smile. I raised my eyebrows and gazed at him doubtfully, knowing he would say that whether he was well or not. Even though his health had been fairly stable of late, he was never one to complain or moan about how he was feeling andI was pretty sure that he made a concerted effort to keep the truth hidden from me. “Do you need anything dad?” “No, I’m just fine, thanks son” he assured me “No need for you to worry” Unfortunately, there was every need. Whenever I asked him about his health he would usually do his best to change the subject. Within seconds he was doing just that and his voice suddenly broke through my thoughts as he posed a question. “What are you going to do with yourself today son? Are you at work?” “Yeah, but I don’t start until one, so I’m going to the gym first” He smiled at me and nodded his approval before chuckling to himself “That’s a good idea Jason. You need to be fit to fight off all those girls!” My face began to colour up as he steered the conversation around to his favourite topic and I looked away in embarrassment “Don’t be daft dad” “What do you mean, daft?” he said winking. “With your looks, I can’t understand why there isn’t a queue” This was one of the many occasions when I wondered if it was the right time to tell him I was gay. For a split second my mouth opened, then quickly snapped shut again as I thought better of it. My parents were the most important thing in my life and I would do anything to avoid hurting them. When I did eventually tell them the truth about myself, it would have to be because I’d found someone really special who was worth coming out for. Fortunately, I was used to bluffing my way through such conversations by now and this time was no exception. “Plenty of time yet” I replied, laughing. “Leave him alone Bill” mumgently chided from the open doorway. “He’ll find someone when he’s ready” I looked at her gratefully, relieved that she’d come to my rescue.Mum usually stuck up for me whenever the subject raised its ugly head and thankfully, dad didn’t say anything else about it. We chatted together for a bit longer and I set off for the gym about an hour later. It was my favourite kind of winter’s day. There was a clear pale blue sky and the air was crisp and sharp. The weak sun struggled to make a difference to the freezing temperature as it tried in vain to melt the thick snow.It was only when I walked through the village that I began to appreciate just how much snow had fallen overnight. Everything was covered in a deep layer and my feet sank down several inches as I gingerly made my way along the path. Every so often a car passed by with a light crunching sound, compressing the snow with the deep imprints of its tyre tracks. The village park was alive with children, playing with sledges and whooping with delightas snowballs whizzed around them in all directions. Their multi coloured scarves and gloves were in stark contrast to the pure white backdrop and the sight of them having so much fun gave me a warm feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just as I approached the nearest stop, a bus was pulling up and I foolishly ran the last few yards, crossing the road and nearly slipping on the hardened snow. It was almost empty and I sat halfway down in the same position as the previous night. This morning the seat opposite me was empty but I couldn’t help thinking once again about the handsome stranger from the night before. To be perfectly honest I hadn’t stopped thinking about him ever since, wondering if I would ever see him again. There were many guys that turned me on, but no one had ever had such a profound effect on me the way he had. I couldn’t explain why the attraction was so strong or why my fingers and toes tingled every time he came to mind. I just felt a desperate urge to meet him again and wondered if there was any chance he would catch the same bus tonight. The bus dropped me off on the far side of town at the stop nearest the gym. It was roughly a further ten-minute walk and I was looking forward to the period of rigorous exercise before work.There were two things I loved about visiting the gym. Being able to keep my body in good shape was one of them, but the best thing by far was the sight of all the well toned bodies in tight tee shirts and shorts, muscles bulging and rippling. On some occasions it was a wonder I got any exercise done at all! I’d had more erections in the gym than anywhere else and I often had to sit down for several minutes and pretend to rest, in order to avoid acute embarrassment. In no time at all I’d changed into my sportswear and was running steadily on one of the treadmills. A guy sat nearby on a rowing machine and I couldn’t take my eyes off the sensual way his silky shorts rode up and down, each time he moved forwards and backwards. The front of my shorts began to tighten noticeably and finally I had no choice but to step off the treadmill and sit down on a nearby bench to hide my embarrassment. It was no easier in the changing rooms. Most of the guys wandered through from the showers completely naked and didn’t even bother to shut their cubicle doors. It drove me mad trying not to look, whilst desperately wanting to. At least I’d been grateful to discover that Mother Nature had been particularly kind to me in that department and I had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Finally, my session was over and I took a quick shower and briskly left the gym, pulling on a pair of jogging bottoms. The walk to the railway station was a further 10 minutes and with damp hair and a slightly red face, I strode purposefully in that direction, aiming to catch the 12:15 train to the city for my 1pm start. I much preferred travelling by train between Hamborough and the city as the journey was only about twenty minutes and there were no intermediate stops en route. Alternatively, the bus wound its way through several villages, taking just over an hour to reach the city. The length of that journey combined with the bus ride from Dryford made it completely impractical to travel all the way by bus, even though it was more expensive by train. The journey to work was uneventful and within no time at all I was at the side entrance of the store punching in the security code. The staff room was empty and I wondered if it was possible to get changed out of my sportswear before anyone came in. I should have used the toilet, but it was quite awkward to get changed in the cramped confines of a small cubicle, so I decided it was worth the risk and hurriedly stripped off my t-shirt and jogging pants. As I stood there shivering in just my underwear, my heart sank as the door slowly began to open and I quickly struggled into my grey work trousers. I desperately hoped it wasn’t one of the girls and gave a sigh of relief when Aiden walked in, completely absorbed in a magazine he was reading. He stopped dead in his tracks as soon as he sensed my presence and his eyes widened in surprise as they swept up and down my half naked body. “Been to the gym again Jason?” he asked, as I hastily began to fasten up my trousers. “Erm yeah” I muttered, self consciously offering an unnecessary explanation “Just getting changed for work” “I can see that” he answered, as a smile lit up his face “Didn’t realize you had such a fit body!” For a few seconds I was too stunned to answer, completely taken aback by his comments. The tone of his voice left me feeling vulnerable and exposed as his eyes continued to sweep up and down my body.I struggled to fasten the zip on my trousers and as he took a tentative step forwards, my heart thudded uncontrollably. For one ridiculous moment I got the feeling he was about to offer his help. A combination of shaking fingers and the start of an erection was hampering my success, but as I finally managed to tug the stubborn zip upwards, I could have sworn that for a split second a fleeting glance of disappointment crossed his face. It was gone before I could be sure, but I was left with the distinct impression he was coming on to me. I quickly dismissed the thought as ridiculous, he just wasn’t the type. But then again, what was the type? But no, definitely not Aiden, I assured myself once again. I must be mistaken! He was always going on about the number of girlfriend’s he’d had and I couldn’t forget his attitude towards gay people at school. Unsure how to respond to his remarks, I reddened slightly and coughed with embarrassment as he continued to look at me. My white shirt was hanging in the locker and I grabbed it and quickly finished getting dressed to hide any further discomfort. The expression on my face obviously betrayed what I was thinking and he half smiled, slowly shaking his head from side to side in disbelief. “Oh don’t worry yourself Jason, I’m not coming on to you” he laughed, as if it was the most ridiculous thing in the world “I just admire anyone who keeps their body in good shape, that’s all” “I-I didn’t think for a minute you were Aiden” I stuttered, totally confused and flustered. “I should work out more myself really” he went on, smiling at me ruefully “Just never seem to get the time these days!” “You just have to be strict with yourself” “Perhaps we could go together sometime?” he suggested, in the usual friendly manner he used whenever no one else was around. My eyebrows rose in disbelief and I marvelledonce again at how friendly he could be when we were alone. It was on the tip of my tongue to sarcastically remark ‘What if someone see’s us together’ but at the last second, I thought better of it. “Mmm” I answered non-committaly, guessing that it was extremely unlikely to happen anyway. “I used to go regularly in the past, but its girlfriends!” he continued “They demand so much of your time” I nodded my head in agreement without saying anything further and he gave an enormous sigh, as if it was some huge chore that he couldn’t do anything about. His next comment left me feeling extremely wary and I couldn’t help wondering if this had all been some kind of sick test. “You don’t have that problem though, do you Jason?” he asked innocently “What do you mean?” “I mean girlfriends. You don’t have one, do you?” I wasn’t quite sure if he was being sincere or not, but at that moment the door opened once again and saved me from answering. My heart sank like a stone as Aiden’s mate Craig walked into the room.The bad news was that Craig had recently returned to the store, and the relatively ‘normal’ relationship that Aiden and I had shared together since he’d left, had now been well and truly shattered.I swallowed nervously, mentally preparing myself for the sarcastic comments that were certain to follow. In the past, there were times when I’d seriously considered reporting the pair of them to the manager Mr. Buchan, but in the end I’d always decided against it, preferring instead to avoid any trouble and deal with them myself. Mostly, it had always beenjust light hearted banter, mildly annoying but nothing serious. Just lately, however, it was beginning to escalate and these days more often than not, I didn’t find it funny.Craig had obviously heard the last part of our conversation and shook his head, tutting in an exaggerated manner. “What’s that Jason, no girlfriend?” A smirk appeared on Aiden’s face and they both looked across at each other and laughed. “That just proves he’s fucking gay” added Craig “Almost Twenty One and never had a girlfriend!” “Is that right Jason?” asked Aiden mockingly “Never had a girlfriend?” Under normal circumstances I was quite a cool, level-headed kind of person, but once riled, I had a really bad temper. My face was beginning to redden as I hurriedly fastened my tie and took a deep breath. The only thing that kept me reasonably calm on this occasionwas the fact that we were at work. I couldn’t afford to lose my job for the sake of a couple of childish idiots behaving as if we were back in the schoolyard. To alleviate my frustration, I couldn’t help resorting to blasphemy when I should’ve remained silent. “Fuck off, the pair of you!” Craig laughed at my obvious discomfort and continued to taunt me. “Ooh temper, temper Miss Wright!” “And for your information, I’m not fucking gay” I shot back “I’ve got a girlfriend” The lie was out of my mouth before I could stop it and I could’ve kicked myself for saying such a stupid thing. “Yeah right!” laughed Aiden sarcastically “In your dreams” I stared at him with a hurt expression on my face and he looked away, refusing to meet my gaze. I couldn’t believe how much of an incredibly shallow person he must be, but this time was the last straw, I’d really had enough of him. This time there would be no ignoring or forgiving his ridiculous behaviour. I liked to think I could get on with anyone but from now on it would be me ignoring him, no matter how friendly he tried to be. I refused to be treated as a friend at one moment and then like something he’d stepped in at another, and my fists were clenched in anger as pent up emotions threatened to overflow at any time. Slamming my locker door shut behind me I quickly left the room, afraid that if I stayed, something might happen that I’d live to regret. My friend Tom was standing directly outside the door, about to enter the room, and with a muffled cry I bumped straight into him. “Hey steady on Jason!” he cried, putting his hand on my shoulder “Where’s the hurricane?” “Sorry Tom” I exclaimed, shaken and upset. I turned to walk away but he grasped my arm and pulled me back sharply “Not so fast Jason! What’s the matter?” My face was red with anger as I answered him and tears of exasperation threatened to fall at any moment. “Just leave it Tom” “No, I won’t leave it Jason” he insisted firmly “You’re obviously upset and I want to know why!” He clearly wasn’t going to take no for an answer and I gave a sigh of resignation as he blocked my way in the corridor. Tom was in his early thirties, tall and good looking, with a solid muscular body. His light brown hair was flashed with streaks of blond and his face usually sported a pleasant smile. Now it was creased with concern as he held onto my arm firmly. Suddenly, my body relaxed in submission and his grip began to slacken. “Right Jason, I want you to tell me what this is all about. Why are you so angry?” “It’s nothing Tom, don’t worry about it” He stood against the wall and folded his arms, continuing to block the corridor as he patiently waited to be told. It was obvious I wasn’t going anywhere until he knew the truth and I shook my head in exasperation as I was forced to explain. “It’s Craig and Aiden as usual” I finally conceded, nodding my head towards the staff room. Tom was fully aware of their behaviour when together and didn’t need to be told what they were capable of. He was always pressing me to report them to Mr. Buchanbut so far, much to his annoyance, I’d always refused. He swore under his breath and I heard his angry threat. “I’ll swing for those two before long!” As if on cue the door opened behind us and Aiden and Craig jostled each other into the corridor, laughing and joking. Tom spun around with an expression of anger on his face, causing them to take an involuntary step backwards. “Why don’t you leave him alone?” he spat at them furiously, before they even had a chance to open their mouths. Craig stepped forwards and put his hand on my shoulder, whilst Aiden blushed and looked at me guiltily. “Hey come on mate! We were only joking. No need to take it to heart” “Yeah well, it’s not very funny” I answered him angrily, shaking his hand off “And I’m not your mate either” “Ok ok!” said Craig, holding his hands up and backing away “We’ve got the message” Aiden turned around without saying a word and walked off down the corridor. I could hear Craig muttering indignantly about people not being able to take a joke as he quickly followed close behind. “AND LEAVE HIM ALONE IN FUTURE!!” shouted Tom angrily, as they rapidly disappeared in the direction of the storeroom. I shook my head and smiled at him gratefully “Look Tom, you didn’t have to do that” “I’m sorry Jason” he said in an apologetic voice “I should let you fight your own battles, I know that. It’s just that they annoy me so much!” “It’s ok....really!” I assured him “You don’t need to apologise, I was going to thank you” “Oh right” he exclaimed in a surprised voice and his face brightened considerably. “You’re a real friend Tom” I went on “Thank you” A slight shiver ran through my body as I thought about what they’d said. It only needed a rumour to be started by idiots like Aiden and Craig and it would spread around the store like wildfire. I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I hadn’t heard the last of it and coupled with the fact that Tom had protected me, trouble was sure to follow. The worse thing of all was that Aiden also lived in Dryford, albeit at the other end of the village, but I was pretty sure that his mother was fairly well acquainted with mine. It only required a few innocent comments to bring my whole world crashing down around me. Life was becoming increasingly complicated and there was a real possibility that before long someone would find out about me. So far I’d managed to keep my visits to the gay club in Hamborough and my one night stands a secret, but how much longer could I keep up the pretence?A look of panic crossed my face as I glanced at the clock on the far wall. “Damn! I should have been in the store five minutes ago” I cried “I’ve got to go Tom” “Ok Jason. Just try and keep away from those two idiots if you can” “Yeah I will. And thanks again for your help” “No problem. And be sure to let me know if they cause you any more trouble” “I will Tom. See you.” “Take care” he answered, before disappearing into the staff room himself. Therewas no further trouble that afternoon and I managed to avoid them both until they went home a little after four o’clock. It was exceptionally busy in the store with Christmas only a few weeks away and the rest of my shift passed by in a blur. Before I knew it the cold metal surface of a railway bench was beginning to seep through the seat of my trousers as I sat waiting for my train home to arrive. The tannoy suddenly crackled into life reminding passengers there was a change of platform for the train to Hamborough. I hadn’t noticed or heard any previous announcements, but I could see that my train was already pulling into its new platform on the far side of the station. Spurred into action, I raced across the footbridge and took the downward steps two at a time, just managing to jump aboard as the automatic doors began to close. The sudden bout of exertion left my chest heaving and I collapsed into a seat as the train slowly began to pull away from the station. It rumbled through the urban jungle gradually gaining speed and I watched the lights of the city slowly begin to fade away, gradually replaced by the dark countryside. Twenty minutes later the train arrived in Hamborough and I fastened my coat up in preparation for the cold weather outside. The train stopped conveniently near the station entrance and within seconds I was walking carefully down the hill towards the bus station. The snow had all but disappeared from the road and slushy puddles glowed amber in the reflection of the streets lamps. A car sped by, spraying icy water onto the slippery footpath, its paintwork splattered and filthy. I was about halfway down the hill when I heard a shout from behind me and my heart skipped a beat as I turned around. It was the stranger from the night before, running recklessly down the hill towards me, furiously waving his hand to attract my attention. As he got close to me he began to slide the rest of the way along the wet snow and his arms floundered up and down as he struggled to keep his balance. Grabbing my arm for support he came to a sudden abrupt halt and unceremoniously grabbed my shoulders to steady himself. I grasped his waist to assist him and our sudden unexpected closeness and the way he looked at me caused the beginnings of an erection to stir. For a second or two our eyes were locked together until his heartfelt apology caused the contact to be abruptly broken. “Sorry about that” he exclaimed, as his chest heaved up and down. “Not quite fit enough!” He was more than fit enough for me, I thought to myself, smiling inwardly. As far as I was concerned he could grab me at anytime and anywhere he wanted. “That’s alright, don’t worry about it” I said out loud, grinning at him. Tom’s words from earlier that afternoon came flooding back to me and I asked him the same question that Tom had asked me. “Where’s the hurricane?” He laughed before answering and his response was much more amusing than mine had been. “It just blew into you!” I laughed along with him and reluctantly removed my hands from his waist as he released his grip on my shoulders. “Think I can just about stand upright now thanks” I hoped that the disappointment of having to let go of him didn’t show on my face as I responded falteringly to his assurance. “Oh…erm…good. Yeah, that’s good” We stepped apart from each other and I looked at him enquiringly, wondering why he’d gone to so much trouble to catch me up. He caught my questioning glance and rushed to explain himself. “I was just about to go back to work when I spotted you!” He paused for a few seconds to catch his breath and my brow creased in puzzlement as I waited for him to explain further. He began to bite his top lip nervously and I could tell he was feeling apprehensive about continuing “I’m not explaining myself very well, am I?” As far as I was concerned he could take as long as he wanted. I was quite happy to stand there gazing at his handsome face whilst he struggled to go on. I was just about to assure him that it didn’t matter at all when he abruptly continued. “Look I hate to ask, but I was wondering if you could do me a really big favour?” There was something about his expression of innocent anticipation that caused any reservations I might have had to completely disappear. The fact that he was young, exceptionally good looking and male made the decision so much easier and I eagerly agreed. “Of course I will!” My answer came almost before he’d finished speaking and I suddenly wondered if I’d been too hasty. “Well if I can that is!” I added as an afterthought. He smiled at me and visibly relaxed, before gazing at me with a hopeful expression on his face as he began to explain. “I’ve left my wallet at work and I haven’t got enough money with me for the bus fare home. If I go back now, I’ll miss this one and there isn’t another one for ages” he explained, without taking a breath. It was obvious that his rush of words were a subconscious effort to avoid receiving a negative reply. He needn’t have worried though as there was no way I was missing out on a chance to help him. “Whoa, slow down!” “Just say no if you don’t want to” he added quickly “I’ll understand” “Of course I’ll lend you the money, it’s no problem” “Aw that’s brilliant” he said, heaving a sigh of relief. “I’m really grateful” A warm feeling coursed through my stomach and I was thrilled there was something I could do to help him. As we walked down the hill together, I just hoped that my tongue-tied performance of the previous night wouldn’t repeat itself. I needn’t have worried though, as my willingness to lend him the bus fare home proved to be a real ice breaker. “I’m Nathan by the way” he said, offering his hand and giving me a wide smile. “Oh, it’s erm Jason” I smiled back, shaking his outstretched hand. He had an easy charm about him and I immediately began to feel relaxed and comfortable in his presence. This time the conversation flowed a whole lot easier and I wondered if there was a chance we might even become friends. His next words confirmed that it was a definite possibility and a feeling of excitement welled up inside me. “Look, its Friday tomorrow Jason” he began enthusiastically “Let me buy you a drink to say thank you” “You don’t have to” I protested, automatically refusing. I could have kicked myself for saying it and I held my breath, desperately hoping he wouldn’t be put off. I was rewarded a few seconds later when he wouldn’t take no for an answer. “I insist!” he said firmly “I really appreciate what you’ve done for me Jason. Not everyone would have been so willing to help before they even knew what the favour was!” Not everyone fancies you like crazy, I thought to myself guiltily. He clearly wasn’t going to take no for an answer though and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Not only had I met a really good looking guy, but one that insisted on buying me a drink as well! It was a total no brainer. “Yeah, ok then. If you put it like that” I answered, smiling at him excitedly “I’ll look forward to it” His eyes lit up with pleasure as I agreed and I couldn’t quite believe it was happening. Surely I would wake up in a moment and realize it had all been a dream. “Great, it’s a date then!” he said enthusiastically. He must have caught the fleeting expression of surprise that crossed my face in response to his comment and he hastily backtracked. “Well not a date!” he quickly exclaimed, trying to hide his confusion “But you know what I mean” “Yeah, I know what you mean” I said, amused at his obvious discomfort. By this time we’d reached the bus stop and he was spared any further embarrassment as the bus came squealing around the corner and we both automatically stepped back to avoid the icy water that sprayed onto the path from a large puddle at the edge of the road. The doors opened with a swishing sound and a welcome rush of warm air swept over my face. Several passengers alighted, picking their way carefully through the slushy mess on the footpath. I bought both our tickets and this time we sat side by side on the back seat, my awkwardness of the previous night completely forgotten. “So, where would you like to go for a drink then?” asked Nathan, as the bus began to pull away. “I’ve only just moved here, so I don’t know where the best pubs are” I thought for a while and wondered if I should take him to the Rose and Crown in Hamborough. On second thoughts, I didn’t want to spoil our budding friendshipby possibly giving away my sexuality immediately.At this stage there was nothing to suggest that Nathan was even gay and the last thing I wanted to do was put him off. It wasn’t as if friends were queuing up to spend time with me and if there was the slightest chance we might become close, I didn’t want to screw it up before we’d even got to know each other properly. Instead, I suddenly thought of somewhere different. “There’s a good pub where I live in Dryford” I suggested. “We could go there” “Yeah, that sounds fine. When I get drunk I can come and sleep at your house” he added, winking at me and laughing. My eyebrows rose in alarm before I could stop them as my mind played out the possible scenario. Mum and dad waking up the next morning, only to discover that some strange boy had slept in my room all night. Very sensible......not! “The thing is, I can only stay for a couple” I exclaimed, immediately kicking myself for raising a subject that I hadn’t wanted to. He grinned at me mischievously “Don’t worry Jason, I’m only joking. I won’t be getting drunk!” As an afterthought he gazed at me quizzically “How come you can only stay for a couple? “It’s not that I don’t want to stay” I began falteringly “What then?” he asked, looking a little disappointed “I’m virtually broke until payday” I explained, embarrassed to admit it “I’ve only got enough to last me until the end of the week” “Oh is that all! I thought for a moment you didn’t want to come” If only he knew how much I wanted to be with him the question would never even have entered his head. “Of course I want to come” “Don’t worry then” he said, patting me on the back. “I’ll buy the drinks” “Yeah but I can’t expect….” “But nothing” he interrupted “For one thing it was my idea in the first place and I have to repay you somehow” I could think of several ways he could repay me, none of which involved spending any money at all, but somehow I didn’t think the suggestion would go down particularly well. “There’s only one problem though” he continued. “How do I get home?” “You can get the last Hamborough bus back to Cranfield. It leaves at 11:15” “Perfect” he exclaimed happily “That’s sorted then” I’d become so engrossed in making arrangements for our ‘date’ that I didn’t realize how far we’d come until I happened to glance out of the window. “Hey, it’s your stop next Nathan” I cried, reaching over him to press the bell. “Hurry or you’ll miss it!” He quickly stood up and turned back towards me “I’ll see you tomorrow then Jason” “Yeah, ok. My train gets in at 8:30,so shall we meet at the railway station?” “Yeah, that’s fine Jason” he said, laughing out loud “But don’t stand me up” I laughed and shook my head “No worries, I’ll be there. See you tomorrow Nathan” “See you Jason, take care” As he walked down the aisle towards the front of the bus my eyes were instinctively drawn to the back of his jeans. The tight denim material moulded itself around his perfectly shaped rear and I found it impossible to tear my eyes away. My mouth fell open in awe and I became completely overwhelmed, as raw feelings of lust and desire surged through me. With a sigh of resignation I rested my hand on the warm seat next to me, where until a few seconds ago the object of my appreciation had been located. Before Nathan left the bus he turned and waved, mouthing the words “See you tomorrow” over the noise of the revving engine. He waved again from the edge of the road and my eyes followed him until he disappeared into the distance. My stomach was in knots as I realized with a surge of excitement how much I was looking forward to our drink together. There was a hopelessly stupid grin on my face all the way home that just wouldn’t go away and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have met someone like Nathan. There was definitely a guardian angel smiling down on me tonight and I put my hands together, silently mouthing the words “Thank you god!” That night I dreamt of Nathan. Images of his smiling face were everywhere; waving from a bus as it sped by me, sitting at the next table in a restaurant, his eyes never leaving mine. His handsome face stared back at me as I glanced through a shop doorway, willing me to reach out and gently caress his cheek. Then suddenly, there he was, sitting cross legged in a den amongst the bracken, slowly guiding my hand towards the enormous bulge in the front of his denims. A few seconds later I woke up with my face pressed into the pillow, sweating profusely. An enormous erection pushed against my stomach and I slowly rolled over onto my back. With erotic fantasies of Nathan dominating my thoughts, I couldn’t stop my hand as it grasped the taut skin of my hard length, slowly beginning to move up and down before gradually becoming faster and faster. In my over excited state of mind it was too late to avoid the inevitable and I cursed softly as a stream of hot creamy liquid shot across my hand. By then it was far too late to do anything about it so I cleaned up as best I could, turned over and snuggled into the pillow, finally falling into a deep and dreamless sleep.
  11. Filzmoos

    Chapter 19

    PART 2 - NATHAN Chapter 19 A long time had passed by since Connor had left and I was still looking for that illusive long term relationship. Some would say that it was a massive mistake to let him go, that I should have worked harder to make something of it, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t deny my real feelings. I knew that Connor adored me and I really liked him too, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't love him. There was definitely a spark of something there, but it didn't reach the dizzy heights of what I imagined real love would feel like, and now I was beginning to wonder if it even existed! We'd enjoyed each other’s company immensely and the one night of sex we'd shared together had been awesome. But was I looking for something that only existed in slushy romance books or fake on screen performances? Nothing much had changed in my life since then and although I wasn't unhappy, I certainly didn't feel as alive and fulfilled as I longed to be. I still lived at home in Dryford with mum and dad, still worked in the same computer store in the city and more importantly, was still wedged firmly in the closet. I figured if there was no boyfriend, there was no point upsetting the status quo. Thankfully, Dad's health had been relatively stable since then and I was eternally grateful for small mercies. After being intimate with Connor, I found it incredibly hard to go without sex during this period and I have to admit to having several one night stands. They didn't mean anything though and for some reason I always felt dirty and used after each one, even though they were always initiated by me. It was a Wednesday night in early December, just before my 21st birthday, when I first met Nathan. Although I didn't know it at the time, the ramifications of that first meeting would change my life forever, even though it started off as nothing more than a chance encounter. November had rapidly turned into the worst December I could remember and a thick blanket of snow covered everything in sight. My train from the city had just arrived in Hamborough and I still had to catch a bus home to Dryford. It was a bitterly cold evening as I reluctantly left the railway station, trudging carefully down the hill towards the row of bus shelters at the bottom that were grandly known as the ‘bus station’. The recently gritted road crackled underfoot as I avoided the snow covered footpath, determined to avoid falling over again. Heavy falls of snow interspersed with freezing temperatures had ensured that many footpaths were lethal to walk on and the danger of slipping was ever present. The previous day had proved this only too well! My work in the city involved a twenty minute train journey to the town of Hamborough and then an eight mile bus ride to my home village of Dryford. Yesterday my train had been fifteen minutes late arriving and as I foolishly rushed down the hill to catch the bus, my feet had slid from underneath me before I knew what was happening. Landing on the hard, snow packed footpath was no fun at all and a resultant bruise the size of a dinner plate now covered most of my left thigh and buttock. To add insult to injury by the time I reached the bottom of the hill, the bus was rapidly disappearing around the corner. Tonight the train was on time and I was dreading the 15 minute wait in the freezing cold, before the bus finally decided to put in an appearance. At this time of year it was invariably late and the combination of cold weather and dark nights made the wait seem endless. There was no one else waiting at the bus shelter tonight and I heaved a grateful sigh of relief. Talking about how bad the weather was seemed to be the only topic of conversation at the moment and tonight I much preferred to be left alone to my own thoughts. Unless it was some unbelievably hot guy of course, but there was as much chance of that happening as the bus turning up on time twice in a row. Dreaming of a hot cup of tea and a roaring fire, I began to stamp my feet in a vain attempt to keep them warm. The half open bus shelter afforded little respite from the howling wind and freezing cold shivers constantly ran up and down my back. Still in a world of my own, I failed to hear the approaching footsteps crunching through the snow and jumped slightly as a disjointed head suddenly appeared around the side of the shelter. “Excuse me, is this where the bus to Cranfield leaves from?” “Erm yes, yes it is” I stammered nervously, immediately beginning to blush “Before I get off though” I added, as if he needed to know that. He smiled at me and I relaxed a little, for some reason feeling slightly less embarrassed than usual. I suppose he must have been about my age, but I could have been wrong about that. After all, I didn’t realise that Connor was a good few years older than me, but this time I was fairly sure his age was similar to mine. It was only when he came around the side of the bus shelter, hands thrust deep in his pockets, that I began to appreciate how extremely handsome he was. His cheeks were tinged with pink and his deep blue eyes glistened in the cold wintry weather. He was tall and lean, with tousled blonde hair and a wide smile that lit up his whole face. I couldn’t believe there was a real life Adonis here in Hamborough and I had sudden visions of a lithe well-toned body concealed beneath the tight black jeans and thick padded bomber jacket that clung to his slim body. My interest was immediately aroused as I looked him up and down, inwardly gasping with admiration as his striking good looks took my breath away. I’d always found the combination of blond hair and blue eyes in a guy to be a real turn on and this time was certainly no exception. This must be my lucky night! “Freezing tonight!” he exclaimed, rubbing his hands together and shivering. “Yeah, it is” I mumbled, looking away and desperately hoping the bus would turn up soon. Why did I always want to run a mile when some hot guy spoke to me, when in reality I was longing to get to know him better? It didn’t stop me from stealing another quick glance at him though. He was leaning against the shelter, opening a packet of cigarettes, whilst the back of his jeans cleared an icy patch on the glass. If only my hand could replace that pane of glass, I thought to myself wistfully. I was trying not to make my stare appear too obvious and was just about to turn away again when he moved slightly closer. “Would you like one” he asked politely, offering me his open cigarette packet. “No, no you’re ok. I’ve got some” “Go on, take one!” he insisted “Please” He clearly wasn’t going to take no for an answer and I reluctantly agreed. “Well only if you’re sure” “Course I’m sure” he replied, smiling broadly. I immediately liked him. There was just something about his whole demeanour that instantly attracted me towards him. It wasn’t just the way that his physical attributes set my pulse racing madly. There was more to it than that, much more. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but just standing next to him sent butterflies dancing around crazily in my stomach. Even though I was longing to know more about him, stringing together a decent sentence without feeling completely stupid just didn’t seem possible tonight. Instead, we finished our cigarettes in silence just as the bus came squealing around the corner. I desperately hoped there was a chance he would sit down somewhere near me, so I stood back to let him get on before me. “No!” he urged, waving me on with a smile “You were here first” I smiled my thanks between gritted teeth and reluctantly boarded the bus before him. Fumbling in my pocket for loose coins, I purchased a ticket and pretending to put my change away, hung back to hear his conversation with the driver. He purchased a one way ticket to Cranfield and asked him how long the journey would take. Luckily, the driver was one of the more helpful ones and promised to let him know when we were almost there. He followed me down the aisle a moment later and smiling at me again, sank down in a seat on the opposite side of the bus. “Somewhere warm at last” he remarked, blowing warm air into his cupped hands. My weak smile of acknowledgement didn’t seem to put him off at all and a second or two later he leant over towards me. “Have you any idea how long it takes to get to Cranfield?” he asked “I’ve never done this journey by bus before” It was obvious he was only making polite conversation as he’d just asked the driver the very same question. There was no harm in pretending not to know I’d heard their conversation though and I answered him eagerly. “About 10 minutes I think” “Oh thanks. The bus driver said he’d let me know when we get there” There was an awkward pause and I presumed he was expecting me to carry on the conversation. Unfortunately, another bout of embarrassing shyness had overcome me and I was completely tongue tied and unsure what to say. I was grateful when he came to my rescue with another question. “Where do you live? he enquired after a moments silence “You said it was after I get off” “Oh yeah….erm…Dryford. It’s a small village, about 8 miles away” I didn’t know what else to say and this time he didn’t ask any more questions. He must have decided I was extremely hard work to talk to and we lapsed into silence for the rest of the journey. Every so often I glanced at the darkened window beside me and his reflection from the other side of the bus stared back at me. I took several surreptitious glances in his direction, but the look of mischievous amusement on his face only added to my feelings of self conscious discomfort and each time I quickly looked away, embarrassed to be found staring at him again. Finally, I fell into a silent reverie and a jumble of thoughts and feelings rushed through my head. I absentmindedly wondered if it was the stranger sitting opposite, reminding me of past events, gone but most definitely not forgotten. I couldn’t help thinking about the night that Connor and I had made love together. The unbelievably mind blowing experience had constantly filled my thoughts ever since and nothing I’d ever done in my life before could even come close to the way I felt that night. Connor had been such a considerate and caring lover, guiding me gently through the unknown territory of sex with another man. There was no doubt about it, I had an awful lot to thank him for but the problem was that now he was gone, I didn’t have a clue how to fill the massive void he’d left behind. I was desperate to find someone else to share my life with, but even after all I’d gone through, the thought of coming out still filled me with fear and dread. I knew by then that casual encounters were not for me, so there was nothing for it but to continue as before, forever hoping to meet that special someone. For some reason my mind began to wander back in time and a jumble of faces from the past suddenly began to appear before me. My school friend Jake with his affectionate smile, Ben sitting opposite me in the woods, grinning as he removed his trousers. Shy Liam at secondary school, cowering from the bullies that constantly haunted him. And then there was Aiden, apologising as usual for his odd behaviour towards me. Then Connor was before me on his knees, frantically tugging at the buttons on the front of my jeans. Within seconds his smiling face had morphed into the strangers sitting opposite me and I smiled with pleasure as it disappeared slowly towards my crotch. The squeal of brakes and sudden jolt brought me abruptly back to reality as the bus juddered to a halt. Peering out of the darkened window, I was surprised to discover we were already in Cranfield and as if to confirm it, the driver twisted around and shouted down the bus. “THIS IS CRANFIELD MATE. THE STOP YOU ASKED FOR” The stranger nodded his acknowledgment and swung himself upwards using the pole that was attached to the seat beside him. He turned towards me with a wide smile on his face and this time, encouraged by his friendly demeanour and easy manner, I actually managed to speak first. “Thanks again for the cigarette” He stood facing me for a couple of seconds before winking and nodding his head. “No problem, see you again” For a brief second my heart fluttered at his words, before realizing it was just a farewell phrase and it was highly unlikely I would ever see him again. In reality I knew he didn’t mean it literally, but I couldn’t help myself from desperately wishing there was some way I could make it come true. As he walked towards the door at the front, habit quickly took over and I instinctively lowered my eyes to check out his rear. They immediately became transfixed on one of the most perfect backsides I’d ever seen and my eyes widened in sheer delight. The softly rounded curves of his cheeks pushed firmly against the tight fitting material of his jeans and I longed to gently squeeze and caress them. The well defined outline of his briefs hidden underneath could clearly be seen and I felt the blood rush quickly to my head. My heart ached with desire as I gasped in awe at the breathtakingly beautiful sight that was rapidly disappearing down the aisle. Taking a deep breath, I released the air slowly through my lips, unable to believe that someone I didn’t know could make me feel this way. Despite my initial shyness, meeting him had lifted my spirits to dizzy heights and I couldn’t stop the all too familiar stirring in my loins. As the bus slowly began to pull away, I saw him wave from the side of the road and I quickly waved back, craning my neck to watch him until he finally disappeared from sight. Meeting him created one of those recurring images in my mind that I couldn’t forget. He made a huge impression on me because he was so striking, but I never actually expected to see him again. He would definitely feature strongly in my thoughts and sexual activities for as long as I could picture his handsome face, before it slowly faded into obscurity. This time, however, it was different. The very next day, our paths crossed once again and this time they were destined to stay together.
  12. Filzmoos

    Chapter 18

    A strong pair of arms suddenly encircled my waist and Connor rested his chin on my shoulder. I could feel his hardness pushing against my back and I instantly became aroused, squirming with delight as his hand moved downwards and began intimately stroking me. I quickly ended the call to my parents and sighed with pleasure as he whispered in my ear seductively. “Come back to bed Jason! I’m missing you already” Alarm bells immediately began to ring inside my head as I wondered how long he’d been standing there. Had he heard me mention Connie and put two and two together?” Unfortunately, the time had never seemed quite right to broach the subject of ‘Connie’ and I wasn’t quite sure how he’d react if he found out. When I turned around to face him, he gave me no indication that he’d heard anything at all and I relaxed slightly before following him back to the bedroom. “So, you’re definitely staying then?” he asked me, as we lay on the bed beside each other. “Yeah, of course! I just had to let mum and dad know where I was, that’s all” “So what did you tell them?” “Nothing really, just that I was staying over with a mate” “Ah right!” There was a moment of silence and my heart began to beat slightly faster. “It’s just that I wondered who Connie is, that’s all? He asked the question with an air of feigned innocence that immediately told me he’d already guessed the answer. So he had heard my conversation with mum after all! My heart sank and shaking my head in embarrassment, I desperately tried to think of a plausible excuse. Failing miserably, I reluctantly met his enquiring gaze and blushed deeply, giving a sigh of resignation. I realized there was no choice but to confirm what he’d already guessed and from his reaction so far, I instinctively knew that he would find it hilarious. “Promise me you won’t laugh!” “Ok! I won’t laugh!” Even as he agreed, I could tell by the look on his face that he was already struggling to keep a straight face and instantly knew that it would be almost impossible for him to comply. I took a deep breath and continued in a low voice. “Well if you must know……you’re Connie!” He immediately burst out laughing and I hit him playfully on the shoulder, unable to stop myself from joining in. His continued laugher made me squirm with embarrassment and I quickly straddled his body, tickling his sides until he screamed for mercy. He suddenly twisted sharply to the right and I fell back onto the bed beside him, temporarily winded. A second later he propped himself up on his elbow and gently grasped my chin, turning my reddened face towards him. “What on earth possessed you to say that?” he asked incredulously I shrugged my shoulders despairingly, knowing it was the ultimate cop out. “I had to tell them something!” I protested weakly “It seemed like a good idea at the time” He leant across the bed and kissed me on the lips before gazing at me in amusement “Is that what you’ve told them every time we’ve been out together? “Yeah, why” “What about your mum?” “What about her?” “You know, at the hospital!” He raised his eyebrows and stared at me, fully expecting a look of realization to dawn as I interpreted his meaning. Instead I continued to give him a puzzled look and he sighed impatiently. “Think about it Jason! You tell her you’re going on a date with someone called Connie and then you turn up at the hospital with a friend called Connor! Your mums never heard of him before yet he’s willing to wait about for you indefinitely” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Connor was right. When I’d first introduced him to mum a flicker of surprise had crossed her face and I remembered wondering then if she had made the connection. I had few friends and if Connor had been one of them, mum would almost certainly have known about it. Perhaps telling her the truth would be no great shock after all and I was worrying about nothing. On the other hand, there was still dad to think about and such a revelation would definitely come as a big shock to him. “She never said anything” “Well she probably wouldn’t, would she” he countered reasonably “And anyway the time wasn’t right” “Yeah that’s true! “Perhaps it won’t be so difficult to tell her the truth after all” he remarked, mirroring my thoughts “Looks like she might have an idea already” “The thing is Connor, I don’t want to think about it now” I interrupted him impatiently “I want to concentrate on you, while you’re still here” He smiled at my earnest expression and I leant across and kissed him, relishing the taste of his warm lips against mine. The passion began to rise inside me once again and I grasped his hand, wrapping it around my rapidly growing erection. “Jason, you’re insatiable!” he laughed, gently beginning to rub his hand up and down its length. We made love several more times that night in positions I didn’t think were even possible, before eventually falling asleep against each other, exhausted and spent. The following morning, I stirred restlessly and slowly opened my eyes, unsure for a second or two where I was. My hand was draped loosely over Connor’s naked chest and I could feel the warmth of his body radiating towards me like the heat from a smouldering fire. I stared at his sleeping form in admiration and his eyes suddenly popped open, instinctively feeling my gaze. “Morning lover!” I exclaimed, unable to hide the wide grin that was plastered across my face. He smiled with equal enthusiasm before leaning across to kiss me. ”Morning gorgeous!” “That was some night!” I remarked, with a deep sigh of satisfaction. “You enjoyed it then?” he asked anxiously, wiping the sleep from his eyes. “Connor, it was awesome! Thanks for making my first time so special” His face lit up with pleasure and he gently stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. “I’m really glad Jason. At least you’ll have something to remember me by” His words once again brought home the fact that he would soon be gone and I had to fight back the sudden unexpected threat of tears. Struggling to meet his gaze, I responded in a voice choked with emotion “As if I could ever forget you!” He leant over to kiss me and jumped up in surprise as he noticed the clock. “Damn! I didn’t realize it was so late” I turned over to follow his line of vision and saw that it was just approaching 11:30. We’d obviously slept in big style, but there was little wonder, considering our antics of the previous night. I knew that his ferry left around 4:30 that afternoon and quickly understood his panic. “Sorry Jason, I meant to take you out for breakfast before I left, but there’s no time now” “It’s ok Connor, don’t worry. Can I do anything to help?” “You can do a final check in all the drawers and cupboards while I get a shower if you like? Just to make sure I haven’t left anything behind” “Yeah of course” “Will you make it in time, Connor?” “Oh yeah, don’t worry. I’ll still catch the ferry. It’s just that I wanted to spend a bit more time with you before I had to leave, but now I won’t be able to” I watched his naked form as he left the room, smiling to myself as I recalled exploring every inch of it. When it came to making love, Connor was an expert and I would be forever grateful for all the things he’d taught me. He was a kind and considerate lover, whilst at the same time taking me on a wild, frenzied journey of discovery. The only things I found were the jar of lubricant and what remained of the packet of condoms that we’d used the night before, and I vaguely wondered if Connor might have had some idea he would need them. Why else were they the only things left in the otherwise empty drawers? He probably guessed I would insist on seeing him off and was fully aware of what could happen if we came back to the flat. The sound of running water signified he was in the shower and I wandered through to the hallway to tidy up our discarded clothing. A moment later he reappeared with a towel around his waist, furiously rubbing his hair with another. Suddenly embarrassed by my own nudity, I was grateful when he threw me a dry towel and I quickly covered myself up. “Your turn now Jason” he said, leaning in to kiss me as he passed by to get dressed. When I entered the lounge a short time later he was standing next to the two large suitcases he was taking with him. His voice shook slightly and he gave a nervous laugh, desperately trying to sound as upbeat as possible. “That it’s then Jason, time to go” he said, as his voice faltered. I moved forward to grab one of the suitcases and he pulled me back. “Don’t I get a last hug?” He held his arms out towards me and I gazed at him with renewed sadness. Now that the time to say goodbye had finally come, it seemed as though my feet were set in concrete, subconsciously delaying our final embrace. “What do you think? I smiled, finally rushing to wrap my arms around him. As I buried my face in his shoulder, the familiar smell of his warm body was overwhelmingly intoxicating, and I could have stayed there indefinitely. Instead we pulled apart and kissed each other passionately on the lips, knowing only too well it was the last one we would share together. With a final look around, we grasped a suitcase each and left the flat, carefully negotiating the stairs. Once at the bottom, Connor let go of his suitcase and turned towards me. “There’s something I need to do first” he said “Won’t be a tick” He walked down the hallway and tapped on a door at the far end. It opened almost straight away and the girl I’d met the previous day on the front doorstep stood there in pyjamas. Her hair was tousled and untidy as though she’d just got out of bed and as if to confirm it she opened her mouth and yawned loudly. After glancing down the hallway and giving me a scowl of disapproval, she turned towards Connor and gave him a wide smile. “Time to go already?” she asked, wiping away a stray tear “Yeah ‘fraid so” “Will I see you again?” “Not sure, but don’t worry, I’ll keep in touch” “Yeah, I know your keeping in touch” she scoffed, leaning forwards to kiss him. “Thanks for everything Poppy” “No problem Connor, take care” He kissed her again and it was obvious they were the best of friends and had already said a proper goodbye. I already knew that she’d comforted him when I’d rejected his proposal to go to Ireland, but it clearly went much deeper than that and I could see that saying goodbye was extremely hard for both of them. Nevertheless it had to be done, but when he turned back towards me, an expression of deep sadness was etched across his face. With one final wave we left the building and struggled down the front steps, wheeling the heavy suitcases along the path. His car was parked at the far side of the square and we quickly headed towards it, anxious to offload them as soon as possible. There was a sudden beep beep sound as he opened the door with his electronic key and the orange indicator lights flashed once to signify the doors had unlocked. I was glad to finally heave the heavy suitcase into the boot and quickly stood back to let Connor do the same with his. “So now it really is time to say goodbye” he said sadly, holding out his arms for yet another final embrace. We hugged each other for what seemed like ages and as I looked over his shoulder, Poppy’s sad face stared back at me from the downstairs window. We reluctantly pulled apart and seconds later he was sitting in the car with the engine running, ready to go. I quickly leant over and throwing caution to the wind, kissed him on the cheek through the open window. “Take care Connor, I’m going to miss you!” I struggled to hold back the tears and he smiled up at me and squeezed my hand as it rested on the open window frame. “Me too Jason, I’ll never forget you! You know that!” With a final sad smile he drove away and as I waved at his car, rapidly disappearing down the street, I’d never felt so low in all my life. The feeling of utter dejection was incredibly hard to swallow and I turned and headed into town, not daring to look at Poppy’s face as I passed by the window.
  13. Filzmoos

    Chapter 17

    It was Saturday evening and Connor and I were sitting in the Rose and Crown in Hamborough. He was due to leave for Ireland the following day and this was probably the last time we would be together. On the outside I was desperately trying to appear calm and matter of fact, but inwardly my stomach was churning at the prospect of saying goodbye. If truth be told, I didn’t think that Connor wanted a long drawn out farewell and I was pretty sure he was doing it mainly for me. Although we’d only been together for a short time, the potential for a long term relationship had always been there and Connor was all too aware that it was his decision to move that had crushed any chance of it developing. Despite several attempts, we hadn’t even managed to consummate our relationship and I was fully aware there was only one more opportunity left to do so. Strictly speaking, we were no longer a couple, but in my mind I couldn’t help but pretend we still were. “This is it then Jason” he commented, raising his glass towards mine “Our last evening together” I half smiled and held up my own glass, gently clinking it against his. An innocent bystander may have been forgiven for thinking that his words were delivered in a calm unemotional way, but it was obvious to me by the slight undeniable wobble in his voice, that he was struggling to keep his true feelings under control. I knew exactly how he felt! Ever since he’d told me about Ireland it had been extremely hard to keep a lid on the turmoil of mixed emotions that threatened to engulf me at any moment. “I’m really sorry for causing us to break up Jason” he went on “I never wanted that” My self defence mechanism immediately sprung into action and I shrugged my shoulders, trying unsuccessfully to play down the importance of our relationship. “Oh well, it was good while it lasted Connor” I said, almost choking on the words “But now it’s over” A fleeting look of pain flashed across his face and I immediately felt sorry for my offhand manner. In reality our relationship had meant an awful lot to me and I rushed in to lessen the impact. “I’m sorry Connor, that was a stupid thing to say. I didn’t mean it to sound like that. You wouldn’t have asked me to go with you if you’d really wanted us to break up” He smiled at me gratefully, knowing that I harboured no ill feeling towards him, despite his decision to leave. Nevertheless, I still desperately wished he wasn’t going, but it was far too late now and all we had left was the remainder of the evening. “You will keep in touch though Jason, won’t you?” he was saying “Yeah, of course” I nodded my head sadly. It was one of those clichéd statements that were made at times like this, usually resulting in exactly the opposite. He was bound to meet someone else before long and whilst he probably wouldn’t forget me completely, I would sink slowly to the back of his mind, eventually slipping into the file marked ‘past relationships’. He brushed his arm lightly against mine and it was almost as though he’d been reading my mind. “I’ll never forget you Jason!” he said in a voice choked with emotion “We were good together. I hope you find someone else soon, you deserve it” The sincerity of his words tugged at my heartstrings and it was all I could do to hold back the tears. The urge to kiss him was almost unbearable and I would have given anything to be able to openly comfort him. He grabbed my arm and squeezed it lightly before glancing at his watch. “Do you mind if we go Jason? I don’t want to drink too much beer, and besides” he added jokingly “I don’t think I dare go to the bar again!” He was referring to Liz’s reaction earlier on when she discovered he was leaving tomorrow and it was our last night together. He’d returned to the table slightly red faced and although he wouldn’t tell me exactly what she’d said, I could well imagine. The next time we’d spoken, I explained to her that everything was fine between us and we were parting as friends. I don’t think she was fully convinced, but at least I persuaded her to cut him a bit of slack. He wasn’t aware of it though and the sudden clink of glasses nearby, coupled with his wide eyed look of apprehension, immediately told me who was approaching the table. Liz jokingly grabbed his shoulder and gently pushed him along the seat so she could sit down beside him. “I suppose this is goodbye then” she sighed, rubbing his arm “I hope it works out for you in Ireland Connor” He gaped at her in surprise but couldn’t fail to notice the fleeting smile that passed between us as I silently thanked her for being nice to him. “Oh yeah, thanks” he mumbled, clearly unsure how to react to her seemingly abrupt change of attitude towards him “I’m sure it will" She stood up and winked at me, before collecting our glasses and disappearing towards the bar. “Wow! What did you say to her?” he spluttered in amazement “I thought she was preparing the firing squad” “Nothing” I exclaimed innocently “I don’t remember saying anything” He gazed at me with narrowed eyes and shook his head slightly, knowing full well that I was behind her change of heart. “Mmm, now why don’t I believe you?” he countered, smiling broadly. I glanced at him nervously and my heart began thumping wildly as I pondered how to phrase my next question. If we were ever going to be close, this was the final opportunity to make it happen and I mentally crossed my fingers, hoping for a positive response. Connor seemed to have this ridiculous idea in his mind that he was taking advantage of me, but this would only have been true had it been the opposite way round and he was the one urging us to sleep together. In the few seconds of silence that followed he gazed at me with a vaguely puzzled expression on his face, instantly picking up on my apprehension. “Is something the matter Jason?” “Not really” I began hesitantly “I....erm….I just wondered, that’s all” “Just wondered what?” he asked, with a hint of bewilderment in his voice “Will you be on your own tonight?” I asked him tentatively, raising my eyebrowsto try make my meaning clear “It’s just that we can’t really say a proper goodbye in here, can we?” The smile dropped from his face as he realized what I meant and I could see the indecision burning in his eyes. He gave a deep sigh before answering and I held my breath in anticipation of his response. “Look, you can come to the flat for a coffee if you like Jason” he said finally “But I don’t want you to do anything you’ll regret” “Don’t worry Connor, I won’t regret having a coffee” I replied flippantly, smiling at his serious face with twinkling eyes. “You know what I mean Jason!” he growled warningly “I’m being serious now” “Course I know what you mean! But don’t worry; I’m a big boy now” “No need to boast!” he remarked, smiling slightly as he instinctively glanced down at my crotch. It was clear from his tone of voice that he was fully aware I wanted much more than just coffee and I couldn’t hold off any longer. “C’mon, let’s go!” I urged him “We’re wasting time” He visibly relaxed as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders and a wide smile returned to his face. The air had become heavy with nervous anticipation and I could almost feel the sexual tension building up between us. We quickly donned our coats and hurriedly waving to Liz, ran out of the pub hand in hand, with only one purpose spurring us on. Ten minutes later we were standing outside Connor’s flat and I fidgeted impatiently whilst his shaking hands struggled to turn the key. The door suddenly flew open and I pushed him inside, slamming it shut behind me. All the pent up feelings of passion and desire suddenly exploded and we both discarded our coats in a heap on the floor. Within seconds Connor had pushed his lips against mine and I responded hungrily, immediately becoming locked in a passionate embrace. Briefly pulling away, he lifted my arms above my head and in one fluid movement, removed my T-shirt, quickly discarding it behind him. Unable to hold back any longer, my fingers grabbed at the buttons of his shirt, frantically unfastening them. The smooth material slid back easily over his shoulders and down his arms, gradually exposing the smooth white skin of his muscular chest. My kisses left a barely definable trail of moisture as they snaked slowly downwards, pausing briefly to let my tongue suckle the protruding skin of his erect nipples. My shaking fingers unbuckled his belt and drew the zip downwards, gradually revealing the tantalizing sight of his white briefs, stretched tightly around the ever growing bulge that pushed its way urgently forwards. Released from their constraints, his trousers snaked their way downwards, landing unceremoniously in a heap around his ankles. He kicked them away and hurriedly removed his socks, finally standing before me naked, save for the tight white briefs that perfectly hugged his slim figure. As I stood back and stared in awe at his near perfect body, he wasted no time unfastening my trousers. His fingers dived down each side, simultaneously drawing down my underwear. His eyes widened as my cock sprung forwards and he immediately dropped to his knees in front of me. As he took me in his mouth the touch of his probing tongue curling around the head of my throbbing member sent me spiralling into ecstasy. As Connor expertly continued to blow me the sheer unadulterated bliss of climax arrived far too soon and unable to hold off any longer, my last minute warning resulted in several streams of warm creamy liquid exploding unceremoniously down his throat. I mouthed the word sorry but he just grinned before quickly wiping away the dripping liquid with the back of his hand. “Connor, that was amazing!!” I gasped excitedly“Let me do the same for you” I started to kneel down in front of him but he gently pulled me back up. “I think we ought to continue this in the bedroom” he exclaimed, now clearly eager to take things further. Excitement welled up inside me and every nerve end in my body tingled with fear and apprehension as I readily agreed. The time had finally come and I was about to lose my virginity at long last! He kissed me again before grasping my hand and rubbing it slowly up and down the front of his briefs. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he murmured seductively As I gently traced the outline of his erect cock through the thin material, my answer needed no thought whatsoever and I quickly nodded my agreement. Despite my willingness to comply, I couldn’t quite hide the look of nervous anticipation on my face and he was quick to reassure me. “There’s no need to worry Jason, we won’t do anything you don’t want to” “It’s not that Connor” I answered worriedly “What then?” “It’s just that I’m not sure what to do, you know, to make it ok for you!” He smiled at the worried expression on my face and hurriedly reassured me. “Don’t worry Jason, everyone feels like that when it’s their first time! You’ll be fine, honestly” My stomach began turning somersaults as he took my hand and led me along the hallway towards the bedroom. Until we entered I’d almost forgotten he was leaving tomorrow, but the starkness of the room was a harsh reminder that he would soon be gone. The large double bed seemed to jump out at me as my eyes swept the almost empty room and Connor gently steered me towards it. “Sit down Jason!” His sudden forthright tone of voice made me meekly follow his instructions and I quickly sat down on the edge of the bed facing him. He stood in front of me so that his briefs filled my line of vision and then he grasped my head, gently pushing my face against the shape of his hard shaft. I opened my mouth as wide as possible and ran my teeth along the entire length of his cock, gently biting him through the thin material. His body stiffened and he gasped with intense pleasure as the sensation reverberated throughout his body. Finally I could stand it no longer and desperate to reveal his full nakedness, I released him and hooked my fingers inside the hem of his briefs, slowly drawing them down. He did nothing to stop me and before long a thick bush of dark pubic hair slowly revealed itself, gradually followed by his long thick cock that instantly sprung upwards as soon as it was released. I moved forwards and leisurely kissed its entire length before hungrily filling my mouth with his heavy balls. After a while I released him and gazed upwards at his flushed face. His expression of sheer pleasure filled me with joy and I knew that my earlier worries about not being able to satisfy him were so far unfounded. I grasped his thighs and pulling him towards me once again, eagerly opened my mouth and took his long thick shaft between my lips. My tongue immediately began licking the thick ridge beneath the head and I sucked and licked his full length in an absolute frenzy. I felt his legs almost buckle from the sensation and he unexpectedly pulled back and released himself. As he withdrew all I could do was hungrily lick the dripping pre cum from his slit before it ran down his long shaft. “Lay down, Jason” he murmured huskily, gently pushing me onto my back. I immediately concurred and almost at once he straddled my body and all I could focus on was his gorgeous cock, dancing up and down in front of me. I could barely speak and when I eventually managed to communicate, my words came out in a kind of breathless whisper. “Connor…..please ….I want you to make love to me! I need to feel you inside me!” “Are you sure Jason? You don’t have to do this” “Yes, I’m sure Connor. Really! I’m ready…..I know I am” Without saying another word he leant over to the bedside cabinet and fished about inside the draw, eventually removing a small jar. For a second or two I wondered what he was doing, then winced as I felt the soft gel being rubbed between my buttocks. My body stiffened and I gasped in shock as he pushed a finger slowly inside me, gently probing me ever further. "Is everything ok Jason?" he asked, as my heart thudded with apprehension and fear “How does that feel? "It's fine, honestly" I quickly reassured him, struggling to hold back the discomfort "Ok. Just try to relax" came his soothing reply “Make sure to tell me if I’m hurting you?” Within seconds he gradually began to insert a second finger, ensuring that he slowly massaged and lubricated me with an ever-widening penetrative movement. His sensual touch left me almost sick with desire, knowing that I was about to experience the most mind-blowing experience of my life. There was a sudden barely discernible tearing sound as he ripped open a condom packet and I gazed at him nervously as he rolled it over his swollen penis. His voice overflowed with pent up emotion as he checked with me a final time. “Jason, are you sure you want to do this? It might hurt a bit at first. Just tell me at any time if you want to stop” My response was filled with a mixture of fear and anticipation as I urged him on “It’s fine Connor. Please, go ahead” The next thing I knew he grasped my legs and lifted them over his shoulders, shuffling towards me until his sheathed cock rested inches from my buttocks. He smeared the condom with a thick layer of lubricant before pushing more inside me. Within seconds he began inching his way between my buttocks and as I cried out in pain, he withdrew slightly to ease my discomfort. He patiently tried several more times, gradually penetrating deeper and deeper until he was fully inside me. The pain slowly eased away, quickly replaced by an intense feeling of pleasure. As our bodies began moving together in an ever-increasing rhythm of ecstasy, I was lost in a sea of unbridled passion, unable to control my emotions. I could feel Connor’s intense desire as he pumped away inside me, completely and utterly intoxicated by our lovemaking. After a while he eased off slightly and I instinctively knew he was near to climax. Within seconds his frantic pounding had resumed, quickly building to an earth shattering crescendo. As he finally shot his load every muscle in my body seemed to stiffen until finally we collapsed in a heap of tangled arms and legs, our chests heaving as we struggled to fight for breath. The culmination of our lovemaking left me floating on a cloud of euphoria, desperate to experience everything that Connor had to offer before it was too late. I rested my head against his shoulder as we lay together side by side in the afterglow of sex and he sighed deeply, returning my smile of satisfaction. “That was awesome Connor! Thank you so much” I whispered, tenderly kissing his lips. “I’m glad you enjoyed it” he said, laughing wistfully “I couldn’t go without giving you a leaving present, could I?” “You certainly managed to do that!” I answered, still blown away by our lovemaking “It was the best present I’ve ever had!” “It’s just a shame it has to end so soon” he continued “We could’ve made it even longer” I couldn’t help sniggering at his choice of words and the fact that he didn’t even realize what he’d said. “We already did!” I quipped, looking downwards. A smile broke out on his face as he followed my line of vision, but he quickly became serious once again. “I mean it Jason! If only you could stay the night……” He kissed me softly on the forehead and his hand slowly caressed the contours of my body. The idea was incredibly appealing and in a split second my decision was made. “Do you really mean that Connor?” “Yeah, of course I do!” “Then I will!” I exclaimed excitedly “I will stay” His face lit up with pleasure and a warm feeling coursed through my body. His gentle touch sent me crazy with desire as his hand moved downwards and began stroking me seductively. Unfortunately, there was one thing that had to be done before we could progress any further and I reluctantly moved his hand away and sat on the edge of the bed in an attempt to gather my thoughts. “Are you sure you want to stay Jason?” he asked, rubbing my shoulder “It’s just that you seem to be a little hesitant” Now that I’d committed myself there was no way I was backing out. I wanted this more than anything and I chewed my lip nervously, briefly wondering how mum and dad would react to my decision. “Course I want to stay Connor, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be! It’s just that I need to do something first” I stood up, and suddenly feeling embarrassed by my nudity, headed quickly for the hallway. Clothes were strewn in every direction, but I swiftly located my mobile phone and dialled the number for home. After a short while mum answered and I desperately tried to sound nonchalant and casual, despite the fact that my heart was pounding crazily. “Hello mum, its Jason” She greeted me cheerfully and I forged ahead undaunted. “Just to let you know, I won’t be back tonight. I’m staying over at Connie’s” There was silence on the other end as she took in what I’d said, and I could well imagine the expression on her face as she gazed at dad in bewilderment. My throat became increasingly dry as I waited for a response, fully expecting to hear a strong tone of disapproval in her voice. It wasn’t as though I needed their permission anymore, but I had to let them know where I was and perhaps sub consciously a small part of me still craved their approval. The amount of time that she kept me waiting had obviously given her the chance to discuss the matter with dad and when she eventually answered, I was surprised to find that her attitude was one of cautious acceptance and not the outright disapproval that I’d expected. “That’s fine love. You will be careful though, won’t you?” It was a little late for a lesson in sex education and I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I tried to keep the amusement out of my voice. “Yeah, of course mum!”
  14. Filzmoos

    Chapter 16

    It was the morning after Connor and I had broken up. His bombshell of the previous evening was praying heavily on my mind as I struggled to fully comprehend its meaning. Although we hadn’t known each other very long it was still my first relationship and I was devastated we would no longer be together. His decision to move to Ireland was a crushing blow and the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to go with him when he’d asked me, made the situation infinitely worse. On top of that the way he’d stormed off, refusing to talk about it, hurt even more but I was determined that my overwhelming desire to see him again wouldn’t be denied. Under normal circumstances I would have given him much more time to come around, but I had no idea when he was planning to leave and couldn’t bear the prospect of being too late to say goodbye. For this reason, my heart racing with fear and trepidation, I stood in the square outside Connor’s flat, fearful he would be less than receptive towards me. My shaking finger hovered above his doorbell until finally I plucked up the courage to press it, holding my breath in anticipation. There was no answer so I pressed it continually, desperate for some kind of response. All of a sudden the door flew open and a blonde haired girl, aged about twenty, stood on the doorstep with a startled expression on her face. “Oh!” She clearly didn’t expect anyone to be standing there and seemed incapable of uttering anything but inane expletives. “Oh!” She remained on the doorstep staring at me suspiciously before attempting to rudely push her way past me. “I’m looking for Connor” I asked her impatiently, deliberately blocking her way “Connor O’Reilly?” She stood glaring at me defiantly and by this time I was beginning to wonder why I’d assumed she would be able to help me in the first place. After all, they were separate flats and the bell probably wouldn’t ring anywhere else except in Connor’s. It was a surprise, therefore, when she finally revealed some information. “He’ll be at work” she exclaimed, in a voice that suggested it was none of my business. Now that she mentioned it I did recall him telling me that as well as working most evenings he also worked a couple of mornings as well. There was an undeniable tone of hostility in her voice that I didn’t understand and I got the distinct impression that she wasn’t very happy speaking to me. Her next comment immediately told me the reason why and it became glaringly obvious that Connor had needed someone to confide in. She glared at me with disgust like I was something nasty she'd stepped in. “I suppose you must be Jason!” Before I could respond she quickly brushed me aside and slammed the door shut behind her. “Oh well, it’s your loss!” Leaving me with a shocked expression on my face she was gone, striding purposefully across the square in the direction of town. With her final comment still ringing in my ears I took a cursory glance at the first floor bay window before following her towards town, hoping that Connor would be at Samson’s. For all I knew the girl could have been lying to spite me and he might already be on his way to Ireland. My heart sank as I considered the possibility, but decided after thinking about it rationally that it was highly unlikely he’d already left. Ten minutes later I was standing outside Samson's in town, unsure if I should enter. The door was slightly ajar and the sound of tuneless whistling could just be heard from inside the building. I took a deep breath and hesitantly pushed the door open a little further, surreptitiously peering in through the widened gap. A guy I recognized as one of the barmen was busily mopping the floor, whistling along to some tune I didn’t recognize. Suddenly sensing my presence, he clutched at his chest and took a deep breath before exhaling loudly. “Phew! You gave me a fright there mate” he exclaimed “Can I help you?” “Oh sorry, I’m looking for Connor. Is he here?” There was a sudden clink of glasses from behind the bar and Connor’s face appeared, quickly followed by the upper half of his body as he stood up. As soon as he saw me a smile lit up his face and I gave a sigh of relief to realize that he’d got over his anguish of the night before. “Hi Connor” “Jason!” he exclaimed, in a surprised voice “What are you doing here?” “I had to see you Connor. After last night….” “I know”. He sighed apologetically and when he spoke again his voice was full of regret “I’m really sorry for storming off like that. It was stupid and childish” “It’s ok Connor, I understand you were upset. It’s just that you didn’t tell me when you’re leaving. I couldn’t bear it if you went without saying goodbye” He came around the end of the bar and shaking his head in frustration, held out his arms to embrace me. “Come here Jason! As if I could ever leave without saying goodbye” He kissed me on the lips and gently stroked my cheek with the back of his hand “The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you. You mean the world to me Jason Wright. I’m going to miss you like crazy!” “Me too Connor. I’m really sorry I can’t go with you” He put his finger on my lips to silence me and quickly changed the subject. “I thought you were at work this morning anyway?” “I should be, but I wanted to see you” “Jason! You shouldn’t have stayed off work because of me. You’ll get into trouble!” “It’s ok. I’ve rung in to tell them I’ll be late. They said I could make up the time” “Good! I was going to ring you later on today to apologise, but I was waiting until you'd finished work” “You don’t need to apologise Connor, you’ll only make me feel even worse than I already do. I just didn’t want us to part on bad terms” “Look Jason, don’t worry. I’ve had time to think about what happened last night. I understand why you can’t make such a big commitment and the last thing I want to do is leave without making up with you. I think too much about you to let that happen” He kissed me again on the cheek and the touch of his lips reminded me what I’d be missing when he was no longer here. I returned his kiss urgently and when we pulled apart he sighed and lowered his voice to a whisper. “I’m going to miss you so much Jason!” “Me too Connor!” I whispered back, nervously looking at the guy behind me. I could feel my emotions rushing to the surface and turned away to hide the tears that threatened to spill down my cheeks at any time. In order to concentrate on something else and avoid it happening, I forced myself to ask the question that I’d been dreading to know the answer to ever since he’d told me about going to Ireland. My voice trembled slightly as I hesitantly began “So when do you go Connor? “I have to leave on Sunday, about lunchtime” he answered, in an equally reticent tone “I’ve got a three hour drive to catch the ferry” He gave a small laugh and bit his lip nervously before continuing “The only thing is, I’m not very good on boats. They always make me feel seasick. There’s no choice though, I have to take the car” “You’ll be fine” I assured him, rubbing his shoulder “Better if you were there” he added ruefully My hurt expression immediately made him wish that he hadn’t said it and he rushed to apologise. “Sorry Jason, I shouldn’t have said that. It wasn’t fair” “It’s ok, I know what you mean” There was an involuntary cough nearby and he glanced over my shoulder to see the other barman attempting to attract his attention. Connor tutted and rolled his eyes upwards before giving him an enquiring glance. “Have you changed that barrel yet Connor? He asked abruptly “Dad’s due soon” “No sorry Andy, I’ll do it now” The words ‘make sure you do’ were left unsaid but it was obvious they were meant to follow. He stared at Andy defiantly and quickly steered me towards a door marked private. “Come with me Jason, we can talk some more in here” he exclaimed, in a voice loud enough for him to hear. I glanced back to see Andy’s disapproving stare and couldn’t help smiling slightly at Connor’s small but undeniable victory. “He doesn’t look very happy” I remarked as we walked through the door “Don’t worry about it Jason” replied Connor dryly “He never does” We entered a small windowless room containing nothing more than a flight of stairs in the far corner, disappearing downwards into the darkness. Connor flicked a switch on the wall beside him and the place was instantly bathed in a dim orange light. I gingerly followed him down the worn steps to the room below, holding onto the rickety banister for dear life. The cellar smelt damp and musty with peeling whitewashed walls and an uneven stone floor. Thin shafts of sunlight from above pierced the gloom at the far end of the room and a myriad of dust mites danced crazily up and down the bright beams of light. A tall wooden structure, roughly resembling a ramp, was propped against one wall and I guessed it was used to roll down the newly delivered barrels of beer from the street above. I quickly realised the thin shafts of light were coming from the hatch in the ceiling. Meanwhile Connor had bent over the empty barrel, deftly removing the pipes. I helped him roll a new one into position and stood close by whilst he reconnected them. As he straightened up I moved behind him and held his waist, gently kissing the soft flesh on the back of his neck. His body froze as my hand slowly wandered to the front of his jeans, tenderly caressing the growing bulge that began pressing insistently against my fingers. He responded with a deep sigh of satisfaction, gently resting the back of his head against my shoulder. “Jason …….” he murmured breathlessly “You don’t have to do this” “I know that Connor, but I want to!” By this time I felt completely intoxicated with desire and far too aroused to say anything further. My hand quickly found his belt, deftly unfastening the thin band of leather in one flowing movement. The buttons of his fly popped open easily and my hand slipped inside his briefs, eagerly seeking its prize. Once there, my fingers entangled themselves in his wiry pubic hair before finally caressing the warm pulsating flesh of his rock hard member. A low moan of pleasure escaped his lips as I slowly released it from his briefs, gently running my hand up and down its length. By this time I could tell he was desperate for more and my hand slowly began to glide his foreskin gently up and down. The movement gradually became faster and faster until his moans of ecstasy and stiffening body told me he was on the verge of climax. A few seconds later his warm creamy liquid shot across the floor before oozing slowly through my fingers. I felt his body gradually relax against mine and for the next minute or so I wrapped my arms around his waist and held him close, sub consciously unwilling to let him go. Finally, he broke away and turned around to face me. Without saying a word he slowly began to unbutton my shirt and my heart pounded so fast I thought it would burst. Both his hands grasped my naked torso and he was just about to remove it when Andy’s impatient voice shouted from the room above and he shook his head in exasperation. “CONNOR! HAVE YOU CHANGED THAT DAMN BARRELL YET?” His hands instantly withdrew as if he’d suffered an electric shock and the expression of disappointment on his face mirrored my own. For some strange reason it seemed as though fate was determined to keep us apart. He gazed at me in frustration and gave a sigh of resignation before answering. “Yeah, just coming Andy” “Well come a bit quicker, we’ll never get finished!” He looked down at the front of his trousers before quietly laughing and nudging my arm “Too late Andy, I already have!” he whispered, hastily fastening them up. I laughed along with him but would have given anything to carry on where we’d just left off. He stooped down to wipe up the mess with a tissue and I rushed to button up my shirt before we were discovered. I heaved a sigh of relief as the door banged shut in the upstairs room and I realized that Andy had gone back into the bar and wasn’t coming down into the cellar to see what we were doing. Connor smiled and gave me a quick kiss before cheekily slapping my backside. “C’mon Jason, we’d better go! Don’t want to upset the boss’s son, do we?” I realized now why he hadn’t reacted to Andy’s offhand manner and quickly walked up the staircase. “Not that it matters now anyway” he added, half turning around “It’s my last day tomorrow” His words only served to make his departure seem all the more imminent and I urgently wanted to ask him the question I’d been dreading to know the answer to all along. Finally plucking up the courage, I grasped his arm as soon as we reached the room above and held him back before he re-entered the bar. “Connor, stop!!” He turned around abruptly and gazed at the worried expression on my face. “What is it Jason, what’s wrong?” “Can I see you again before you go?” The words came out in a rush and for a second or two he seemed confused and anxious as though he wasn’t expecting the question. I could tell from the slightly startled look on his face that he instantly knew I wanted to continue what we’d started downstairs and when he stared back at me his face held a doubtful, worried look. “I don’t want to take advantage of you Jason” “You wouldn’t be Connor. It’s my decision and I want to!” He still seemed reluctant but I could tell from the desire in his voice that he wanted it too and I quickly pressed home my advantage. “Look Connor, I’ll be honest with you” I went on earnestly “I’m not sure if anything will happen between us. It all depends on the situation and the way we feel at the time, but the most important thing is that I have to see you again. If only to say a proper goodbye” As his shoulders sagged in submission, I realized that my grip on his arm had tightened considerably without me even realizing and I immediately loosened it. “Only if you’re sure Jason” “I am Connor, I promise!” We collapsed against the wall and began kissing each other with renewed urgency. After a while Connor reluctantly pulled away and sighed regretfully. “It won’t be long before Andy comes back again” he warned “I’ll have to go” I nodded my understanding and stood back to let him open the door. Suddenly realizing that we hadn’t arranged when to meet, I grasped his arm as he reached for the door handle. “When though Connor? I asked him urgently “When can we meet?” He thought for a second or two before replying “There isn’t much time left now Jason, but how about Saturday? We could meet up in the evening for a drink” “Yeah, that sounds great; I’ll look forward to it” He shook his head and laughed ruefully ”Let’s see if we can leave together this time, instead of me storming off like an idiot! His talk of leaving together sent shivers running up and down my spine. Who knows what would have happened had I been a bit braver and carefree. Living with Connor in Ireland would have been a wonderful adventure and a part of me still wished I was going with him. I pushed away such thoughts as we re-entered the bar and was surprised to find that Andy was nowhere to be seen. “You’d better get to work Jason” he advised “Let me finish up here” The reluctance on my face was plain to see and he couldn’t help pulling me towards him for one final embrace. His hand slipped inside my back pocket and squeezed my cheek. “Go on Jason, go!” he scolded, unable to stop himself smiling “I’ve got work to do and so have you” We exchanged goodbyes and confirmed the details of our meeting. Andy was just coming back and I hardly noticed the deep scowl he gave me as I left the building. My face was set with a stupid grin and I was on far too much of a high for his miserable expression to even register.
  15. Filzmoos

    Chapter 15

    I’d arranged to meet Connor in the Rose and Crown after work. It was two weeks since dad had been rushed to hospital with a heart attack and much to our relief, he was now back at home. The doctor had told mum that this time he was lucky to have made it and it could very well have been a different story. Despite the poor state of his health he was still largely cheerful and happy, actively encouraging me to go out and meet ‘Connie’ whenever the subject raised its ugly head. I hated lying to him and would have loved to pluck up the courage to tell them both the truth, but causing dad any unnecessary stress at the moment was totally out of the question. Connor had been over to Ireland to see his parents and I hadn’t seen him since the night I’d stayed over, but we’d arranged to meet tomorrow night. Then out of the blue, he sent me an urgent text asking me to meet him as soon as possible, as he had something important to tell me. For some reason a feeling of dread and apprehension tied my stomach in knots as I tried in vain to guess what it could be. My train from the city was slightly late arriving in Hamborough that evening and by the time I reached the pub, Connor was already waiting for me. He was sitting in the far corner of the room and as soon as he saw me, I tilted my hand towards my mouth to ask if he wanted another drink. He held up his almost empty glass to indicate he was ready for another and as I approached the bar Liz welcomed me with a broad smile on her face. Reaching for a glass in anticipation of my order, she greeted me warmly in her usual cheery manner. “Hello Jason, a pint is it? “Two please, Liz” “Two! She exclaimed in a surprised voice “Connor’s thirsty tonight, that’s for sure!” “What do you mean?” She leant over the bar slightly and lowered her voice to a whisper. “This is his third and he’s only been here for twenty minutes!” My heart sank and I was surprised to find that my hands were shaking slightly as I reached for the pints of beer. “I’d better go and find out what’s wrong then!” I answered, sighing worriedly. As soon as I reached the table it was clear he was upset about something. His usual smiling face was shrouded in anxiety and his whole demeanour shouted nervous apprehension. “Hi Connor, you ok?” I asked him anxiously “Yeah I’m fine” he replied, deliberately avoiding my gaze. It was obvious he was anything but fine and his flushed face and incessant chewing of a fingernail only served to emphasise the fact. “Liz said this is your third” I exclaimed, setting the beer down in front of him. “Oh yeah” he admitted, laughing nervously “I needed some Dutch courage!” “Why Connor, what's wrong? You had me worried with your text!” My eyes widened in surprise as I realized he was already halfway down this pint as well and as he raised his arm to take another drink, I grasped it firmly and pushed it back down on the table. It was a little too firmly, however, and beer slopped over the top of the glass onto his hand. He seemed to be a million miles away and was already lifting his glass up yet again to take another swig. I frantically attempted to mop up the spillage with a beer mat. “Connor, for god’s sake!! Stop drinking and tell me what’s wrong!!” There was a pronounced silence until his eyes reluctantly met mine and he gave a deep sigh of resignation. “I had a phone call this morning” he began hesitantly. “And…” I countered impatiently, intrigued to know what was going on. “From Ireland” he went on in a shaky voice. My heart fluttered as I instantly thought about his parents and the poor state of his mother’s health. “From your parents?” “No, no it’s not that” I frowned slightly and my heart sank “What then Connor? C’mon, who was it from” His voice quietened, almost as if he didn’t want to tell me “It was from Daniel…….in Dublin.” He gazed at my slightly puzzled face and as he opened his mouth to enlighten me, I remembered what he’d told me on our first date. Daniel was the guy that Connor had worked for in London, the one who’d offered him the chance to manage a new club he was opening in Dublin. When the job had fallen through at the last moment, Connor had been left extremely disappointed. It would have enabled him to live near his sick mother, allowing him to visit her whenever he wanted and with the added bonus of a well-paid, interesting job. He gazed at me imploringly, as if willing me to understand his predicament and I tried desperately hard to keep the look of sheer disappointment off my face as I guessed what he was about to say. “He’s offered me the chance to manage his club in Dublin again!” he revealed, trying hard to keep the excitement out of his voice. Even though I knew what was coming next it was still a shock when he actually came out with it. “The thing is….” he went on as I held my breath “It’s too good an opportunity to miss Jason. I’ve told him that I’ll take it!” “Oh!” I responded, completely stunned. My feelings quickly shifted from a mixture of shock and surprise to disappointment and dismay as his words slowly began to sink in. I thought that was all he had to say and was totally unprepared for the bombshell that came next. “The thing is Jason…..I want you to come with me!” It wasn’t often I was completely lost for words, but for several seconds I had no idea what to say. I was incredibly touched that he’d asked me to join him and my emotions came rushing to the surface as I struggled to give him an answer. My words eventually tumbled out, accompanied by a huge sigh of disappointment. “Connor…..I’m sorry, I just can’t. My dad…” “I knew that’s what you’d say” he immediately interrupted “And I understand, I really do. But it doesn’t have to be straight away. You could give it a month, two months even. At least we’d still be a couple!” His voice was loaded with excitement and enthusiasm as he continued to try and persuade me to go with him. He’d obviously thought about it a great deal and in his imagination, we were already there. “Just think about how brilliant it would be Jason! You could get a job in a store over there and we’d be able to afford a place of our own….together!” The imploring tone of his voice was hard to ignore and for a short while I was swept along by his enthusiasm. Unfortunately, reality once again took hold and I came crashing back down to earth with a bump. I’d never actually admitted it to myself before, but there was a real possibility that dad’s next attack could prove fatal. The thought sent a shiver running up and down my spine and I knew that if anything happened, there was no way I wanted to be in a different country, even if it was just a few hours away. “Well...…What do you say?” he urged, desperately trying to read my expression. The hopeful, slightly pleading look on his face tugged at my heartstrings and I felt terrible for having to disappoint him. “I’m sorry Connor, I’d love to come with you, but I just can’t” His face dropped a mile and when he spoke his voice was choked with emotion. “You don’t even want to think about it? he asked incredulously. “It wouldn’t do any good Connor. I just can’t come with you” “It’s just that I thought we were a couple” “We are….I mean…we were…” The look of utter disappointment that was etched across his face made my heart sink and I scrambled to make my confused words into a coherent sentence “What I mean is, we can’t be a couple if you’re living in Ireland Connor! It just wouldn’t work” “I have to do this Jason, it’s too good an opportunity to miss! I don’t want to be a barman for the rest of my life. And then there’s mum” “I understand perfectly Connor. You have to take it, but you must understand why I can’t go with you” He gazed at me with a devastated expression on his face and quickly downing the rest of his pint, reached for his coat. His eyes were blurred with tears as he stood up to leave and I grasped his arm to stop him “Connor! Where are you going?” “Sorry Jason. I have to be somewhere” “Please…… sit down!” I implored him “We need to talk” He shook his arm free and quickly struggled into his coat “There’s no point Jason. Like you said, we’re no longer together!” “You know I didn’t mean it like that Connor…Please….” He roughly wiped away the tears with his sleeve before replying “Whatever Jason!” “But when do you go?” I asked him frantically “Will I see you again?” He shrugged his shoulders and without saying another word, walked away. As I watched his rapidly retreating figure, I half stood up to go after him, but deciding it would be a waste of time, sat down again with a sigh of resignation. It was far better to let him calm down and regain control of his emotions rather than risk upsetting him anymore than I already had. As I stared at his empty glass on the table it reminded me how emotionally drained and empty I felt. His devastated expression was ingrained in my mind, but going with Connor to Ireland was simply out of the question and in any case, there was no way I was ready for such a huge commitment. Then again was I really just making excuses? By this time a lot of people were making plans to flee the nest, settling down with a partner in a place of their own. But if I went to live with Connor in Ireland it would immediately reveal my homosexuality and I refused to cause dad any further stress at the moment. And in any case, I was extremely reluctant to stray too far away from home for the time being, at least whilst dad’s health was so unstable. The whole episode caused me to re-examine my relationship with Connor in a concerted effort to justify the deeper reasons for my refusal to accompany him. During the short time we’d been together something special had definitely built up between us and I was sorry that it had to end so prematurely. I loved being in his company and knew that he’d developed real feelings for me. Although I’d enjoyed our time together immensely and was still incredibly attracted to him, I realized that I wasn't really sure what our relationship meant to me, other than a mixture of close friendship and pure unadulterated lust. There was every possibility our relationship would have turned into something much more substantial given time, but now that Connor was disappearing to Ireland, we would never know. It was the first time I'd ever been so close to someone other than my family and I realised with dismay that now it was unlikely we'd ever get to share a physical relationship together. Nevertheless, there was no way I would ever forget him. A rollercoaster of feelings surged through me, ranging from an aching disappointment he was leaving, to an underlying sense of anger that he couldn't seem to understand how important it was for me to stay. There was one thing I knew beyond all doubt though. I couldn’t allow us to part on such bad terms and I was determined to see him again before it was too late. Even if I had to take tomorrow off work, I refused to accept the possibility of not being able to say a proper goodbye. I jumped slightly as Liz unexpectedly sat down beside me. “You look as though you’ve lost a pound and found a penny Jason!” she remarked, fixing me with a look of concern “Why did Connor shoot off so quickly?” The mention of Connor and shooting off in the same sentence reminded me what I’d missed out on the other night and if it was possible, I felt even more downcast than before. Liz’s voice was filled with sympathy as if she knew what was coming next and I sighed deeply before replying. “He doesn't want to see me again Liz!” I could hear the incredulous tone in her voice as she responded with disbelief to the news. “I'm sure that's not true?” she exclaimed “You two seem so good together” A tear escaped my eye before I could stop it and I gazed at Liz forlornly "I thought so too" She gently squeezed my shoulder and her voice was filled with concern “So what's all this about then?” I swirled the beer around in my glass before taking another swig. “He’s taken a job in Ireland Liz!” I answered, blinking back the tears. She was clearly shocked by the revelation and her manner soon turned to one of anger “But why Jason? How could he do that to you? He’s got no right to....” “He asked me to go with him!" She stopped in mid-sentence and her eyes almost popped out of her head as my revelation suddenly registered. “So let me guess, you said no?” “I just can’t go Liz! For one thing the timings all wrong” “And let me guess, you’re not really sure how you feel about him either?” she commented shrewdly, raising her eyebrows enquiringly. As usual Liz had gone unerringly to the truth and I couldn’t hide the expression of resignation that clearly showed on my face. She smiled at me sympathetically and with a look of understanding gently urged me on as I struggled to continue. “It’s such a huge commitment Liz, and well…..I don’t know if I actually love him! Not yet anyway” I added hastily. “And now you won’t get the chance to find out” she said quietly, shaking her head. “You think I should have gone with him?” I asked her quietly. “No, no it’s not that Jason, I’m just surprised that he’s willing to go without you” I relayed the gist of our conversation in an attempt to try and explain it from his perspective, but she still wasn’t fully convinced. “So do you think you'll see him again?” I shook my head sadly and had to admit how uncertain I was. “I just don’t know Liz! He left without saying anything” She spluttered in amazement and the tone of her voice was tinged with anger “You mean he didn’t even say goodbye!” I was determined to make sure that he did and despite what had happened, I still couldn’t help defending him “He was just upset Liz that’s all” I insisted, crossing my fingers underneath the table “I’m sure he’ll come round when he’s had time to calm down” “I hope so Jason” she replied, standing up. “He owes you that much at least” As she shook her head and walked away with Connor’s glass, I felt like reaching out to grab it, afraid there would be nothing else left to remind me of him.
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