It seemed like Amy was right after all. I did get married to Nathan, and it was a grandiose affair held on a hot summer’s day in the middle of Cobourg beach. Mr Andrews performed the ceremony in front of a crowd of family, friends, and well-wishers, including a contingent from the UK. People who I hadn’t seen since I was a young boy. Tom and Daniel were the best men, and everyone was kitted out in their finest beachwear. Shorts, t-shirts, and swimsuits were the order of the day, with shoes and socks prohibited.
The reception was held in a giant tent on the beach, with drum and bass pumping from huge speakers and a live boy band on stage. Everything was going well until the tent transformed into the school cafeteria. I was sitting with Nathan, Rory, and Ginny when the double doors flew open, and Stephanie walked in pushing a stroller. As she got closer, the music cut off, the dancers stopped dancing, and the cafeteria fell silent as everyone turned to look at us.
"What does she want?" asked Nathan.
She parked the stroller in front of our table and smiled at me. "We need to talk, Robbie."
"I’ve just got married, Stephanie."
"I know, and this is your baby."
“Yeah, I thought so,” said Mitch. “Don’t fuck with me again unless you're willing to back it up.”
I called after them as they walked away, but they couldn’t hear me over the noise as the cafeteria returned to normal.
“Wait! What am I supposed to do?”
“Oh my God,” said Nathan tugging on my sleeve. “That is the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.”
When I peered over the table, the baby had Don's face, and he was laughing at me.
I jumped as I woke with a fright, then sat up in bed and glanced around the tiny bedroom.
'What the fuck was that about?'
* * *
It was a struggle to get back to sleep, and I was still awake a few hours later when Sue knocked on the door to tell me she was leaving.
“It’s nine o’clock, don’t forget you have a guest to look after.”
I told her to come in. “I didn’t sleep well,” I groaned. “I had a weird dream.”
“Are you sick?” She put a hand on my forehead and looked into my eyes, then opened the curtains to let in some light. “You haven’t got a temperature.”
“Why do people get bad dreams?”
“It’s usually something that’s bothering you. We can talk about it tonight if you want. I’m taking Amy with me, and Nicola’s going out, so I’m leaving you in charge of the house.” She ruffled my hair as I sat up in bed and yawned. “Don’t let me down.”
This was part of Sue’s new plan moving forward. The idea was to make me feel more like part of the family and less like an outsider by giving me specific responsibilities.
“Does that mean Daniel has to do whatever I tell him?”
“No, dear. It means you're in charge of the house.”
I didn’t get it. What use was it if I couldn’t make a slave out of my brother?
The other thing I was in charge of was Nathan’s bathroom and hygiene duties. Without Karen, my boyfriend depended on me for his morning pee, although I wasn’t entirely convinced that he couldn’t manage on his own. I had seen him holding bigger things than his dick with the tips of his fingers, and without his slings, he was surprisingly flexible.
I didn’t want to rock the boat by questioning him because I enjoyed looking after him. It was more proof that I could be responsible. All they had to do was dangle the right carrot in front of me, and lately, Nathan’s carrot was looking increasingly catchable.
There was someone else who wanted my job without understanding what was involved. Amy was the least qualified, but it didn’t stop her from kicking up a fuss as she joined her mom in my room and sat on the end of the bed to sulk.
"Why can’t I look after Nathan and Robbie go to the sale?”
“No, dear,” said Sue. “Nathan will be here all day tomorrow too.” Then she turned to me. “If you're stuck for something to do later, you can come and help.”
“I’ll ask Nathan, but I don’t think he’ll wanna go back to the hospital.”
I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be stuck for something to do either.
“Well, don’t stay in bed all day,” said Sue, and she signalled for Amy to leave so I could get dressed.
That’s when I heard Nicola in the next room talking on the phone. Three words grabbed my attention.
“I’ll get him!”
I heard her door fly open and heavy footsteps along the hall as she marched into my room. I didn’t think it was possible to make that much noise walking barefoot on carpet, but Sue and Amy wisely stood back as my sister held her phone at arm's length in front of my face.
“It’s your girlfriend!” she growled and then crossed her arms as I took the handset and tentatively lifted It to my ear.
“You didn’t give me your phone number.”
“Well, how am I supposed to call you? I need to know what time to get there.”
“Just a minute.” I dropped the phone in my lap and stared at my family. “Can you go, please?”
Sue looked intrigued, Amy thought it was funny, and Nicola had steam coming from her ears. My head was spinning. I had never had to deal with so many women at one time, and there was another on the phone asking me if I was still there. I should have realised then it was going to be one of those days.
It was supposed to be my bedroom—if only for the weekend—and all I was wearing were a pair of boxer shorts. So much for respecting my privacy.
I watched Sue push Amy out the door, but Nicola stood her ground and stared defiantly at me until her mom tugged her sleeve. As she turned on her heels and headed back to her room, I leapt from my bed and slammed the door shut.
Stephanie was apologetic. “I’m sorry for causing problems with your family.” She sounded genuinely upset, making it difficult for me to be angry with her.
“You shouldn’t have called me on Nicola’s phone.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore; she won't wanna talk to me after today. You’ll have to explain it to her and tell her I’m sorry.”
“Explain what? What are you sorry about?”
She didn’t want to talk on the phone, and I didn’t feel comfortable either with Nicola, almost certainly trying to listen. So, I gave her my number and told her to call me before she left home.
When I opened my door, Sue was on her way downstairs. She asked me if everything was okay and told me to put some clothes on as I knocked on Nicola’s door. She was used to seeing me in my underwear, but I wasn’t bothered anyway. I handed her the phone with an explanation.
“If she’s supposed to be my girlfriend, Nicola, and this is a big secret, then why would she call me on your phone?”
“Because yours is probably switched off.” She pressed a number on her handset and held it to her ear. “Ha! What did I tell ya!”
‘I don’t believe it.’
“It still doesn’t make ….” She slammed the door in my face. “Sense.”
I headed back to bed.
‘Nathan can wait for his pee or get Daniel to hold his willy for him.’
* * *
To give Nathan his due, he tried his best, but Daniel refused to cooperate. He came upstairs to wake me instead.
“Nathan needs you in the bathroom,” my brother smirked as he watched me crawl out of the death trap they called a bed. “He said it’s quite urgent, but I’m sure you can handle it.”
I stared at Daniel while I pulled on a pair of pants then threw a punch at him that he easily dodged.
“It’s not funny.”
“Oh, it really is. You should see him.”
I could hear Nathan calling me from the top of the stairs, and when I reached the basement, he was bent double outside the bathroom in his pyjamas with his legs pressed together.
“It’s your fault if I pee myself, you know! And you, Daniel!” he said as my brother laughed. I tried to keep a straight face as I followed Nathan inside and kicked the door shut. “It’s not funny. I could damage my liver. Can you hurry up please, this is kind of important?”
“I’m doing my best; you’ll have to wait a second.”
I couldn’t untie the knot at the front of his pyjamas and had to get on my knees and pull them down past his hips.
“Oh my God, what are you doing?”
“I’m trying to get to your willy.”
“Karen never has this problem.”
“She’s probably more experienced.”
“I’m gonna tell her what you said.”
If anyone was in danger of peeing himself, it was Daniel. I had never heard him laugh so much, and in the end, his curiosity got the better of him. He opened the door just as Nathan started to relieve himself and fell to his knees, holding his stomach.
“That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Oh my God, that is such a relief. Do you mind not watching me pee, you pervert!”
I suppose it was pretty funny, but I didn’t want to clean up any spills, so I tried to keep my mind on the job at hand. Then after a quick shake and a flush, I calmed him down with a gentle hug and good-morning kiss that sent Daniel scampering into the next room.
I thought it odd how he could watch his friend pee but not kiss, and I was sure Nathan was thinking the same thing. I could almost read his mind as I stared into his eyes and nibbled his bottom lip.
“Have you had any breakfast?”
He shook his head, so I told him to sit on the couch while I went upstairs to make a giant bowl of Cinnamon Crunch.
“I can’t eat all that.”
“You don’t have to,” I said as I squeezed in beside him. “We’re gonna share it.”
I thought it was a cool way to get him to eat more. He needed to put on weight, but he didn’t like people feeding him, and he struggled to do it himself. This way, it was fun and a little bit naughty too. He enjoyed sharing a spoon, and for an added incentive, a sloppy wet kiss followed each mouthful.
It was an opportunity for Nathan to get some revenge on his best friend for laughing at him earlier, but Daniel surprised us. If he was uncomfortable with our antics, then he didn’t show any outward signs of revulsion as he sneaked the odd look from the safety of the armchair while pretending to watch TV.
Nathan’s face was a mess as milk dribbled from his mouth and down his chin, wetting the front of the flannel pyjamas I helped him change into the night before. But my plan worked, and I decided to apply the same principle across the board, starting with his wash.
He told me he wanted a bath rather than a shower, and he brought some oils with him to relax his muscles. I was thinking the opposite, and the tub upstairs was big enough for two.
He was becoming more affectionate towards me with every day that passed, and that morning there was an added hint of mischief in his eyes. His kisses were slower, longer, and more intense than usual, and it wasn’t just to annoy Daniel.
Two weeks into our second relationship and Nathan’s resolve was beginning to crumble. My clean bill of health removed the only obstacle preventing us from restarting our sex life, and I could see the hunger in his eyes.
‘I do believe my boyfriend’s feeling horny.’
He waited until Daniel was in the shower before confirming my suspicions.
“I think I’m ready to have sex with you again,” he said very matter-of-factly as he rested his head on my shoulder. “Well, actually, I know I am.”
I was born ready, and just discussing it brought a familiar tingling sensation in my loins as the blood rushed to my dick on the promise of fleshly sins. I encouraged him with an arm around his waist that slid under his pyjama top to find some skin.
We hatched a plan starting upstairs in the big bathroom that Nicola regarded as her own. She was in Toronto with Mr Lube, and she wouldn’t be back until the evening, but Daniel was still a problem. My brother was now the only thing standing between me and my boyfriend’s tight little pucker, and I was ready to tie him up and put him in the cupboard under the stairs, but Nathan had a more humane solution.
“We can bribe him.”
Daniel wasn’t a big spender, but he wasn’t stupid enough to turn down an offer of free cash either. He was in the bedroom changing when we barged in with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I could take Ratana to the charity sale, but I haven’t got any money.”
It was a barefaced lie. Daniel always had money and hated shopping for clothes.
“Why do you wanna go there?” I said. “You're only gonna be buying back stuff you’ve already thrown away.”
“I never thought of it that way.”
Nathan interrupted. “Maybe you should take her somewhere better than a charity sale. Somewhere further away and more expensive, where you can spend the whole afternoon. I’m sure Robbie can loan you some cash.”
I jumped when Nathan elbowed me in the ribs. “Yeah, of course. How much?”
Daniel chewed his lip and rubbed his chin. “A hundred bucks,” he said. “And I promise not to get back until four o’clock.”
It was criminal; he wasn’t even pretending anymore. “That’s twenty-five dollars an hour.”
“Okay, I guess I don’t have to go out. Maybe we can watch a movie instead. I got Iron Man on DVD.”
I glared at my brother. “Fuck Iron Man.”
“I’d prefer it to be me,” said Nathan. “Oh, stop being such a skinflint and give him the cash.” He put his arm against my chest and fluttered his eyelids.
Daniel winked at me. “He’s worth it.”
“What are you, his pimp? Fifty dollars. He’s got two broken arms.”
I got a wack in the ribs with one of them, and we agreed on eighty. While my brother grabbed his coat and called a cab, I took Nathan for another pee to inspect the goods, then counted out four twenty-dollar bills from the money I kept in my drawer.
“Four o’clock,” I said. “Not a minute earlier and not a word about this to anyone, ever!”
Daniel zipped his mouth, took the cash, and kissed me on the cheek before running out the door, leaving his friend puckered up and disappointed.
* * *
We were up to our necks in hot water, and it was beginning to breach the sides, creating puddles on the tiled floor of the upstairs bathroom. Sharing a bath with Nathan was a wild and erotic experience if a little uncomfortable. Even in the extra-wide tub, it was a tight squeeze, but circumstances had presented us with a rare opportunity that we were keen to exploit.
So far, Daniel’s paid absence was money well-spent. This was only the warm-up. The main event would take place downstairs in my bed, but we were in no rush to move on. I wanted to use up as much of my four hours as possible, even if it meant relying on multiple orgasms to reach the finish. Two was usually my maximum, but if anyone was capable of wringing a third from my shrivelled sack, it was the cute boy sitting opposite.
He had a wicked grin which turned to a look of surprise as my toe found his rectum. I hadn’t even noticed my phone ringing. It wasn’t something I was listening for until Nathan pointed it out, and I remembered about Stephanie.
I was having too much fun to answer and was about to switch it off when I heard the doorbell. I climbed out of the bath and slipped on the floor, making Nathan laugh as I searched for my phone, but I was right.
‘Stephanie. She always turns up at the wrong time.’
Nathan looked deflated when I picked up my jeans and t-shirt. “Stay here, don’t get out; I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
I hopped out of the bathroom and over to the stairs with my t-shirt in my hand and only one leg in my jeans. The doorbell rang again as I struggled to pull them over my wet legs. In my haste to fasten my zipper, I narrowly avoided an accident that is every boy’s worst nightmare.
It was a lucky escape and a reminder of why I liked wearing underwear. After a brief pause to make sure my skin was well clear of the metal zipper, I grabbed my t-shirt and dragged it over my head. Then I hurtled down the stairs, taking them two at a time and landing with wet feet on the hardwood floor. My arms found their way through the holes just in time to open the door.
Stephanie looked cold and windswept but managed a mocking smile as she looked me up and down. I may have resembled something the dog dragged in, but at least this time, I was partially dressed.
“What were you doing?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer that question or if it needed a reply. It should have been obvious. I had water running from my hair and dripping from my nose.
“I was in the pool,” I said, pushing strands of wet hair off my face. “I wasn’t expecting you this early.”
“Sorry, I’ve been trying to call you. Is it okay if I come in? It’s kinda cold out here.”
“Oh, yeah, of course.” I opened the door just wide enough for her to pass through. “It’s freezing.”
“Not as cold as the pool, I bet.”
“You told me you were in the pool.” She looked in the mirror as she pulled off her hat and shook her shoulder-length hair.
“I did? Oh yeah, I was joking. I was in the bath.”
“You sure had me fooled.”
I sneered at her sarcasm, then stood with my back to the door and watched her remove her coat and boots. It wasn’t a good sign; I was hoping she would say what she had to say and leave.
She wore a baggy white hoodie that hid her stomach and dark jeans with designer rips above the knees. It was similar to how she dressed for school; smart, practical, and casual but not pregnant. Not to me anyway. Whatever it was that supposedly gave her away to Sue was still invisible to my untrained eyes.
She noticed me staring, although I wasn’t trying to disguise my curiosity.
That should have been my question. “Nothing. You look well.” It was only partially true. Her rosy cheeks were offset by puffy red eyes. It looked as if she had been crying, but she smiled at my compliment.
“And you look nervous?”
“You don’t need to be scared. I’m not gonna hurt you. I just wanna talk, okay?” She spoke softly as if trying to reassure me, but I found her tone condescending. She was only a year older, but she talked to me like I was a little boy. Nicola often did the same thing, and it always bugged me.
My appearance probably didn’t help. I was shivering from the cold and standing in a mini puddle of bathwater. I took a deep breath and tried to look as if I wasn’t bothered by her clandestine visit or concerned by the possible implications of what she was about to tell me. I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible and get back to Nathan before he turned into a prune.
“Shall we go in the kitchen?” I led the way as if showing her around for the first time, but Stephanie had been visiting the house long before I appeared on the scene. “Do you want a coffee?”
“Why don’t you go and get dry first. I feel guilty for interrupting your bath.”
“It’s okay; I was finished anyway.”
“But you're still wet, and your t-shirt’s back to front.” She put her hand in front of her mouth and giggled. “I don’t know much about sport, but I’m pretty sure the number is supposed to go on the back.”
She was right, but it wasn’t important. There were more pressing issues.
“Look, Stephanie. I need to know what’s going on.”
There was an awkward silence as we stared at each other. Her smile dropped, and she looked frightened. She was nothing like the confident, talkative girl who lured me into bed before Christmas.
As she opened her mouth to speak, there was a loud thump on the ceiling. The bathroom was directly above us, and it sounded like Nathan had knocked something over, probably while trying to get out of the bath.
Stephanie looked at the ceiling and then at me. “Are you alone?”
“No, you're here too.”
She giggled. “I know that, but is anyone else here?”
“No,” I said and then cringed at the unmistakable sound of footsteps along the hallway upstairs. “I mean no, I’m not alone. There’s someone else here. Someone upstairs.” I smiled timidly as my cheeks heated up. “Are you sure you don’t want a coffee?”
“Who’s upstairs, Robbie?”
“A friend. Does it matter?”
“Probably not.” Then she nodded and smiled. “Is it Conner? Did I interrupt something?”
“No, but you're getting warmer.”
“Maybe I should come back.” She turned to walk to the door, but I grabbed her arm.
“No! Wait, it doesn’t matter.” As I talked, my eyes were distracted, and she must have seen the horror on my face as I looked behind her to see Nathan creeping slowly down the stairs. He was naked and bent forward with his clothes bundled between his plastered arms. They concealed his manhood but little else. As I watched his bare ass turn the corner, Stephanie followed my eyes, turned her head, and gasped.
“Oh my God! Nathan?”
My boyfriend jumped and dropped his clothes, exposing himself.
“Hi Stephanie, how are you?”
Nathan wasn’t the type to be shy and had nothing to be ashamed of either, but I wasn’t expecting him to be so calm. He smiled nervously at us from the top of the basement stairs before continuing on his way.
“Fine, thank you.” Stephanie had her hand over her mouth in shock. “Nice seeing you, Nathan.”
I don’t think it was meant to be a joke, but I laughed anyway. The whole thing was pure comedy, and Nathan deserved some kind of accolade. I just wish I could have captured it on film.
“He’s looking much better, don’t you think?”
“Why is he naked?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t realise you were here.”
“We’re you guys in the bath together?” she giggled as I shook my head in denial. “Yes, you were. That’s kinda hot!”
“He can’t get in the bath on his own. He needs my help.”
“Yeah, I bet he does.” She winked at me. “It’s okay, I understand. It’s more fun with someone else. I guess you got fed up watching him on video, huh. I got a lot of shit on you, Robbie.”
She must have seen the colour drain from my face as I walked to the stairs and looked over the handrail. The open plan design of the house made it too easy to overhear conversations on another floor, and this wasn’t something he needed to know.
I grabbed her hand and led her upstairs. “You promised never to mention that, remember?”
“You just did.”
“Where are we going?”
“Shush, we can talk in my room.”
“I thought your room was in the basement.”
When we reached the top of the stairs, I stopped outside the bathroom and stared at the mess.
“Nicola’s gonna kill you for sure.”
“I’ll clear it up later before she gets home.”
I tightened my grip on Stephanie’s hand and pulled her along the hall to the spare room, where she sat uneasily on the edge of the bed. There was a loud twang from the broken frame, and it began to sink in the middle under her weight.
“Is this safe?”
“Maybe. It should be okay if you sit still. I slept in it last night, and it didn’t collapse.”
She looked hesitant, clasping her hands in her lap.
“Are you guys back together?”
I huffed in frustration. We weren’t there to discuss my relationship. “Yes, I’m back with Nathan, and you were right; we were in the bath.”
She grinned. “I know. So, what happened to Conner? He was cute.”
“You can have him if you want.”
“That doesn’t usually stop you.”
“You can’t blame me. You could have said no.”
“I’m not blaming you, and I don’t regret it either.”
“Well, maybe you should because I’m pregnant!” She stared at me, waiting for a reaction. “Did you hear what I said?”
“Yes, but why are you telling me. I’m not your boyfriend. Shouldn’t you be talking to Mitch?”
“Mitch isn’t my boyfriend either. I only went out with him the once.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, I’m sure. Do you think I would date an asshole like that?”
“I don’t know what to think anymore. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
She reached out to hold my hand. “It makes perfect sense, Robbie. You're the only person I’ve had sex with since I left Mike. I’ve been trying to tell you for ages, but I didn’t know how, and you kept avoiding me.” She spoke quietly and rubbed my hand. “My parents are the only other people who know.”
I was in shock. It didn’t seem possible.
‘Sue was right, after all.’
There was another loud twang from the bed frame, and it sank a little lower as she wiped back tears and stood up to leave. “I don’t think you should sleep in this bed, Robbie. It’s dangerous!”
I waited until she left the room, then ran after her, passing her on the stairs and blocking her way.
“Wait a minute. Are you serious? You're really up the duff?”
“I’m pregnant, Robbie. If that’s what you mean.”
“And you think it has something to do with me?”
“It has everything to do with you. You came inside me. Do you remember that?”
“But we only did it the once.”
“That’s all it takes. You do know how it works ….” She stopped talking when she heard the front door open.
Nicola looked smugly at us as she removed her coat and hat. “I knew it. I was right all along.”
I looked at my watch as my sister marched into the kitchen.
“I thought you said she was going to Toronto.”
“That’s what she told me.”
“I caught you,” shouted Nicola. “The game’s up. I know what’s been going on. It’s so fucking obvious. It wasn’t gonna happen just the once.”
Stephanie looked surprised. “Did you tell her?”
“Yes, I mean no, she guessed. Does it matter?”
“No, I suppose not.” She looked at me and started to cry.
I needed to keep her calm and talk some sense into her before Nathan came upstairs, but it wasn’t going well.
“Look, it was probably a mistake. They got your results mixed up or something; it happens all the time.”
“It’s not a mistake,” she hissed and pushed me out of the way to talk to Nicola in the kitchen. I held my head and followed, stopping in the doorway as Stephanie sobbed.
My sister walked over to comfort her. “I’m sorry I did this, Steph, but I had to know. You should have told me?” She glared across the room at me and then back to Stephanie. “Did you two just…?”
“No!” said Stephanie. “Definitely not.”
“What were you doing upstairs then, and why is he half-dressed? Your shirt’s on back to front.”
“We were talking,” I said, pulling off my t-shirt and turning it around.
Nicola scoffed and threw me a look. “I know what happened, Steph. I found his shorts in your bed.”
“So, you’ve known all this time?”
“I figured if you wanted me to know, you would have told me.” Nicola smiled sanctimoniously at me, and I shook my head, but this was old news.
“I was embarrassed. He’s your brother. But it only happened once, I swear. We haven’t been seeing each other. He’s not even my type.”
“He’s not as gay as you think, Steph. It’s not the first time he’s done this kind of thing.”
“I’m sorry,” said Stephanie. “But it really was just the once.”
“Then why are you here, with him?”
“Because I needed to tell him something.” Stephanie glanced at me, unsure if she should tell her. I shrugged my shoulders; It was too late now.
My sister looked at us and then reached out to hug her friend. “I believe you, Steph, and I’m sorry I got it wrong. You don’t have to be upset about it. It’s embarrassing, but I’m not gonna hate you for it. It was a mistake. We were wrecked, remember?”
“You were,” said Stephanie. “But it doesn’t matter. It happened. No one can change that.”
“Then why are you upset if it was just one night? No one else needs to know, and I won't tease you about it. Well, not much anyway.”
“Because I’m pregnant. I wanted to tell you, but I didn’t know how.”
“Oh my God, you're gonna have a baby,” said Nicola. For a second, she sounded excited. Then she took a deep breath and pointed at me. “He’s the father? Are you kidding me?”
“No, it’s the truth.”
“But he’s gay.”
“I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make a lot of difference,” said Stephanie.
“How many times did you guys…?”
“Just the once,” said Stephanie. “I promise.”
“Really? That’s unlucky.”
“See, I told you someone's made a mistake.”
“It’s not a mistake, Robbie. The doctor confirmed it. And I did my own test as well. Everything adds up to that night.”
“It’s too unlucky to be true,” said my sister. “I don’t believe you. I know you’ve been seeing each other for weeks.”
“Your crazy,” I said.
“Your wrong, Nicola. I don’t even like your brother in that way.”
“See, she doesn’t even like me.”
“Well, except for that night, but I was stoned.”
Nicola laughed. “That was a fun night, wasn’t it? We were both hammered.”
Stephanie didn’t look very hammered to me. I stared at her, but she refused to look at me.
Everything was happening so fast it was difficult for me to keep up. I wanted to go downstairs to see Nathan and help him get dressed, and I needed to put some clothes on too, but this was suddenly the most important thing in my life.
I remembered Sue talking about abortions, and I wished I had paid more attention. Then I thought about my dream and nearly had a panic attack. Nicola managed to calm me down. She apologised for jumping to conclusions and poured me a glass of water.
“You need to sit down; you're looking pale.”
Stephanie rolled her eyes. “I’m sure he’ll be fine, Nicola. He’s not the one having a baby.”
Nicola smiled apologetically, then looked surprised.
“Wait a minute! Are you gonna have the baby?”
“Yes, I won't have an abortion. My parents don’t want that, and neither do I.”
My stomach turned into knots as Nicola’s face lit up. “You're gonna have a baby, Stephanie. That’s so exciting.”
“I’m scared,” said Stephanie.
“Don’t be scared,” said Nicola. “It’s gonna be wonderful. I can’t wait. How long before you know the sex?”
“I have a scan in two weeks.”
While Nicola hugged her friend, I sank lower in my seat until my chin was level with the table. Stephanie must have seen me turning blue.
“Don’t worry; you won’t have to marry me if that’s what you're thinking. It won't even affect you. I’m not expecting you to play any part.”
“But he’s gonna have to pay you something. Don’t worry; he’s got money.” Nicola turned to me and sneered. “It’ll teach him a lesson. He shouldn’t have taken advantage of you.”
“It’s not his fault, Nicola. He didn’t take advantage.”
“He’s a boy; they all take advantage. He should be more responsible. Didn’t they teach you about sex in England?”
I was only half-listening to them as I sat pondering my future and how I was gonna break the news to Nathan.
“I was the one who took the risk,” said Stephanie. “I came off the pill when I split up with Mike. I knew I wasn’t protected.”
“Oh, Steph, why did you do that?”
“I wasn’t planning on going that far. I got carried away. I was gonna say something to him, but next thing. Well, you can guess what happened next.” Stephanie sobbed as her friend put her arm around her.
“I’m surprised his gay sperm managed to find their way,” said Nicola. “They must have wondered where they were.”
For some reason, I thought that was funny, but there was a certain amount of truth in her remarks.
I pretended not to listen as I absent-mindedly played with my dick through my jeans. It was a comfort thing made more accessible by my lack of underwear, but my penis was the cause of the problem. If it hadn’t betrayed me in the first place, none of this would have happened.
Now, I was sixteen and soon to become a father.
‘What will Sue think? She’s only just got used to me being gay.’
I was still a kid. Not old enough to vote or drink alcohol.
It seemed like history was due to repeat itself. I knew the disadvantages of growing up without a father. Jo considered it the root cause of all my problems, the catalyst for everything bad in my life. Now I was about to inflict the same pain on someone else and not just anyone, but a person who came from me. It seemed like the ultimate betrayal. I spent most of my childhood hating a man I never knew.
‘Will this kid grow up to hate me too?’
Probably not as much as I hated myself.
Stephanie pulled up a chair and sat next to me. I hardly noticed her until she waved a hand in front of my face.
“Are you okay?”
“What? No, I don’t think so.”
“Don’t worry; I’m not gonna take you to a court or anything. My family have money. Your life isn’t gonna change at all.”
I didn’t believe her. My stomach was churning, and I felt sick. She didn’t understand. Paying her money wasn’t something that particularly bothered me.
While she was talking, Nicola went to let her boyfriend in. I could hear them whispering in the hall. It was spreading already. I knew that soon the whole town would find out, but I was only concerned about Nathan.
‘How will he react?’
Mr Lube definitely had trouble getting his head around it. While the girls talked in the kitchen, he pulled me aside to get the low down in the living room.
“Did you really stick it to her?”
I shuddered at his turn of phrase. “I didn’t stick it to anyone.”
“You know what I mean. Man, you're a dark horse. I’ve been trying to bang her for months, but she won't let me anywhere near her.”
“You have? I thought you were going out with my sister.”
He put a sweaty arm around me and spat into my ear. “Only kidding. Don’t take what I say too seriously. But fuck man, she’s hot and ends up getting knocked up by a queer boy. Ain’t that funny?”
I wasn’t surprised to hear he had been trying it on with Stephanie behind Nicola’s back and even less surprised to find out she wanted nothing to do with him. Even so, the fact he was willing to divulge such information to his girlfriend’s brother was disturbing.
“So, what happened? No offence, man, but she must have been totally hammered.”
I stared at him, wondering if this was some kind of joke. It seemed incredulous that Nicola would want to date such a moron.
“I think she just likes me.”
He laughed as if it was totally beyond the realms of possibility.
“Come on, what really happened?”
‘Why am I talking to this guy?’
“What’s your secret?”
“I pretend to be gay. Girls love it.”
He laughed and playfully slugged my arm. “Come on, that’s bullshit?”
“It’s the truth. I’ve shagged a lot of girls around here using that trick. I guess this was bound to happen eventually.” I could almost see his mind working as he grappled with this most unlikely tale.
“You're kidding me, right. Your fucking queer, it shows a mile.”
I laughed. “Do you think I would be poking chicks like Stephanie if I were queer? I’d be more interested in guys like you.” I reached out to touch his arm, and he jumped back.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m only kidding; I don’t fancy blokes.”
“What about the boy who got beat up. I thought you and him were?”
“It’s just an act? I told you I’m not gay. I’m only pretending so I can get laid.”
“How does it work then? I wanna know.”
“If a girl thinks you're gay, they know you're not gonna try anything, so they drop their defences. Then they start flirting with you. It’s natural for straight women to do that. The longer you hold out, the more determined they are to fuck you. In the end, they’re ripping your clothes off; they’re so desperate. I’m telling you, it’s the best sex ever.”
He removed his cap and scratched his head. “You're fucking with me. Nicola told me you were an ass bandit.”
I was sure Nicola didn’t describe me as an ass bandit, and it was a good bet she didn’t know he was trying to bed her best friend either. That was my job.
“She doesn’t know; you're the only person I’ve told.”
“You would let everyone think you were queer so that you can sleep with a few girls?”
“More than a few.”
“Double figures, just in the past few months.”
“No shit! Are you fucking serious?”
“I’ve lost count.”
I wasn’t sure whether he believed me or not, but he was considering it. He laughed nervously and muttered to himself when Stephanie called me into the kitchen. It was almost worth getting her up the duff, just to see his face. I had visions of him showing up at the house in a white singlet and skin-tight black leather shorts. I had to bite my lip to stop myself from laughing as I walked away.
“I wasn’t expecting you to be smiling,” said Stephanie. “I thought you’d be pissed.”
“I was laughing at Mr Lube.”
She thought my nickname for him was funny. “He’s a jerk.”
“I don’t know what my sister sees in him. I’m pretty sure he’s cheating on her.”
“It’s sweet of you to worry about Nicola at a time like this. I think you're handling it really well.”
“Yeah, most guys would have freaked out.”
“Oh, I’m freaking out alright; I’m just good at hiding it. As soon as everyone’s gone, I’ll be heading for the lake.”
She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards her. “NO!”
“I was joking.”
“Don’t even joke about something like that.” She looked very serious. “I would never forgive you. How would I explain it to him or her?”
“To him or her?”
“Yes, to him or her.” She pointed to her stomach. “Our child.”
I think that was when it hit me. The point when I realised that even if I played no part, it was always going to be my child; nothing could ever change that. I was going to become a father whether I liked it or not.
“When the baby is born, will I be able to see it?”
“Of course. I would never stop you. If that’s what you wanted.”
I wasn’t sure what I wanted.
“I don’t know.”
“I understand if you don’t want to. But if you did, I probably couldn’t stop you. I mean, you have certain rights too, I think.” She squeezed my hand. “I just assumed you wouldn’t want that because.”
“Because I’m gay?”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“Does it make any difference?”
“Not to me, it doesn’t.”
“What about your family?”
“They’ve never met you, but I told them you're gay and you have a boyfriend. That wasn’t easy. Where is Nathan anyway?”
I panicked when she said his name and then ran downstairs. I was supposed to be looking after him. Some carer I was. When I entered my room, he was tucked up in my bed asleep. He must have got tired of waiting for me. At least he managed to get partly dressed, and I took the opportunity to do the same. Underwear, socks, and a dry t-shirt made me feel somewhat better.
I wasn’t sure how I would explain it to him, but for now, I thought it best to let him sleep.
Nathan stirred when I kissed him on the cheek and then told me he loved me, but he didn’t open his eyes, and I wondered if he was dreaming. It didn’t matter. I took those words for gospel and repeated them to him before heading back upstairs with a smile and fresh resolve. Whatever happened, I had invested too much into that boy to lose him.
Nicola and Mr Lube were outside on the balcony smoking a joint. I remembered now why she was dating him, but I was relieved that Stephanie wasn’t with them.
‘Is this some kind of parental instinct kicking in?’
It seemed odd that I should suddenly be concerned about her well-being, but I laughed it off.
Stephanie was in the living room. She looked scared, and I didn’t blame her. I would have been worried, too, if I found out I had a baby growing inside me. I wondered how it felt as I watched from the hallway before walking over to sit next to her.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“Yeah, I do that sometimes. Probably not as often as I should, though.”
She smiled. “How’s Nathan?”
“He’s fine. Fast asleep. He always looks so cute when he’s sleeping. I’ve been looking after him. It’s stupid, I know, but I enjoy it, and he likes me fussing over him.”
Stephanie was watching me like she was genuinely interested in what I had to say.
“I don’t think it’s stupid. It just shows that you care. You're a nice boy, Robbie; I’m sorry this happened. It wasn’t your fault; it was only supposed to be a bit of fun. I’ll talk to Nathan if you want.”
“He already knows what happened, but not about you being, you know, pregnant.”
“I was certain you were gonna run away screaming or deny it ever happened.”
The thought had crossed my mind, and I wondered if I should insist on some kind of test. I wasn’t sure how it worked, but I didn’t want to distress her at a time when she looked better than she had done in ages. She must have felt relieved to finally get it off her chest and talk to people about it, especially me. I felt terrible for avoiding her.
I turned to hug her, and she must have needed it because she seemed reluctant to let go. It didn’t matter; normal rules no longer applied, and I wanted her to know I cared, no matter what.
Stephanie smiled and leaned forward to kiss me on the cheek, a move guaranteed to get Nicola’s attention. She walked in from the balcony stinking of weed.
“Are you okay, Steph?”
“I’m fine. Your brother has handled it quite well. He’s more mature than you think.”
“Mature? Ha! Don’t make me laugh.”
“No, I’m impressed, honestly.” She smiled sweetly at me as Nicola rolled her eyes. “Think about what I said. I won't think bad of you if you decide not to be involved. You can still see the baby.”
“Robbie’s not cut out to be a father, Steph.”
“What do you know? I might make a good dad.”
“Huh, the kid will be swearing all the time and arguing with everybody.”
“What did I tell you. It probably heard that, Robbie. They can hear, you know, even before they’re born.”
“I don’t think it’s quite at that stage yet,” said Stephanie, and she gave me a look indicating that my sister was slightly stoned.
“Oh my God,” said Nicola. “I’m gonna be an aunt. We’re gonna be related, Steph.”
“It doesn’t work that way,” said Stephanie. “You’ll be an aunt, but we’re not getting married.”
“Why not? He’s only a year younger than you. Then you could be my sister-in-law.”
“Oh yeah,” said Nicola, turning to me. “You had to go and ruin it, didn’t you? Things could have been so perfect.”
I was glad someone bothered to mention it. For me, it was kind of important.
* * *
It was precisely one minute after four when Daniel arrived home with his girlfriend.
“So, Nicola came back early, huh? Where’s Nathan?”
Daniel laughed. “You must have worn him out.”
“No, it wasn’t like that.”
“Sorry, I can’t give you a refund.”
I wasn’t worried about the money, but I didn’t get a chance to explain before Nicola interrupted. She seemed to be having fun with this.
“Robbie’s having a baby.”
“Is Nathan pregnant?”
“No, Stephanie is.”
My brother wisely kept his opinions to himself until we could talk alone.
“Wow, looks like you're gonna be a daddy,” he said as he cornered me in the dining room. “I must admit; I didn’t see that one coming.”
He wasn’t the only one; I doubt if Nostradamus could have predicted it.
“Yeah, it was a surprise for me too.”
“What does Nathan think?”
“He doesn’t know yet.”
“Well, you might wanna say something soon because he’s right behind you.”
My boyfriend’s presence brought Nicola and Stephanie in from the kitchen. He looked tired and confused by the influx of people and the sudden attention.
“There’s a strange man sitting in the basement watching TV.”
“That’s Mr Lube,” I said, and Nicola frowned at me.
“What’s going on?” said Nathan. “Did I miss something?”
I looked at Nicola and then at Stephanie before turning to my boyfriend and swallowing hard. “Stephanie’s got some news for you.”
Nicola interrupted. “You creep, don’t expect her to do your dirty work.”
“I’m pregnant,” said Stephanie.
Nathan turned to look at her, still half asleep and not particularly interested. “Congrats,” he said before turning back to me with a dreamy smile.
“I’m gonna be a dad, Nathan.”
It was possibly the most over-dramatic faint ever. He fell straight into my arms with the grace of a ballerina and to a chorus of giggles mostly from Daniel and Nicola. My brother and I carried him into the living room and dropped him on the couch, where the girls fussed over him.
“I think everything’s gonna work out fine,” said Nicola through red blotchy eyes. “I’m so excited. We’re gonna have a baby! I can’t wait to tell mom!” She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek before running upstairs to grab some Tylenol for Nathan from the bathroom.
I looked at Stephanie, and we covered our ears as my sister yelled.
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In the next chapter, the prospect of becoming a father has some unexpected benefits for Robbie.
For discussion of themes and topics. The book can be found here: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/dodger/thecockneycanuck After 47 chapters and lots of drama I think it's time this story has a discussion topic where readers can interact with the author and each other. There are certainly plenty of situations, characters and emotions to bring up, and of course most of all Robbie the Cockney Canuck. Dodger has kindly given me permission to start this thread and has promised to be part of the di