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    Drew Payne
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Days Like This - 31. Friday (Night)

This chapter takes place on the same day as Chapter 30 and Chapter 29, a week after the events of Chapter 16, and three weeks after the events of Chapter 2

Simon stepped out of the back door of Aunt Kate’s car. Niki was sat in the back seat, next to where he’d been sitting, and his mum was sitting in the front passenger seat, with Aunt Kate behind the steering wheel. Aunt Kate was still dressed in her work clothes, but his mum and Niki had changed before leaving home. Niki was wearing black jeans and green shirt, while his mum was wearing her smooth, blue and figure-hugging party dress.

“Thanks Aunt Kate,” Simon called into the car, as Aunt Kate smiled back at him.

“Have fun and don’t do anything I won’t!” Aunt Kate called to him.

“Don’t say that! If he did that it could spoil his whole night,” Niki replied.

“Hey, I’ll try anything once, or twice just to make sure,” Aunt Kate said.

“Don’t remind me,” his mum added.

“Have a great time,” Niki smiled at him.

“Thanks, I will. You lot have a good time, too.”

“I’ll make sure of that,” Aunt Kate said.

“What have I agreed to?” Niki asked, more to the world in general than anyone specifically.

“Bye,” he called as the car pulled away the curb and rushed down the road.

He turned his attention to Jeff’s house, which now stood in front of him. It looked just the same as when he last visited it nearly a week ago, and yet so much had changed since then. He’d never really thought life could move so quickly. But his certainly had.

He walked up the path and rang the doorbell. Again, the sound of metal bells being struck sounded somewhere deep inside the house. For a long moment there was only silence, and he suddenly felt nervous. Was anyone home? Was he too late and Jeff had already left? Then he heard a door open somewhere inside, and footsteps approaching the door.

When the door opened Simon felt a moment of surprise. The man who stood in the doorway was an older version of Jeff. He was just as tall as Jeff, with long arms and legs, though his body was more muscular and solid. His black hair was much shorter than Jeff’s. It was cut close at the sides, while on top it was longer and brushed back over his head. But it was the man’s face. Though older, and with tiny wrinkles seeping out from the corners of his eyes and lips, it was Jeff’s face staring back at him. This was obviously Jeff’s father.

“Evening, Mr Tomlinson,” Simon said.

“Call me Mike. You must be Simon,” Jeff’s father replied. Even his voice sounded like an older version of Jeff’s.

“Yes.”

“I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Simon felt a prickle of embarrassment crawl up the back of his neck.

“Jeff’s up in his bedroom. Just go up.”

Jeff’s father stepped back from the door as he spoke, welcoming Simon into the house.

“Err, where is his bedroom?” Simon found himself awkwardly asking.

“Oh right, you don’t know,” he said, a sudden moment of awkwardness in his voice, too. “The top of the stairs, on the right is a bright red door. That's his bedroom. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks,” Simon replied.

At the top of the stairs he found a small and narrow corridor, where everything was painted a soft cream; the walls, the ceiling, the skirting boards, and even the doors were all painted cream; everything except one bright red door. That had to be Jeff’s room. He quickly walked up to it and then paused. Should he knock or just walk in? Always knock, always knock, always be polite.

He tapped lightly on the door.

From inside the room Jeff’s voice called out, “Come in!”

Simon opened and stepped into the room, where he was greeted by a sight that made embarrassment rush up the back of his neck. Jeff was lounging on his bed in just his underpants; a pair of black, very tight and contour-hugging boxer-briefs. Simon could clearly see Jeff’s smooth and flat stomach, though his eyes were pulled down to the grey waistband of the black boxer-briefs, and the very prominent bulge in the black material of the underwear. It was so contour hugging that he could see the shape of Jeff’s cock and… His eyes shot back to Jeff’s face. He was smiling broadly at him.

“You’re naked!” Simon exclaimed, as the bedroom door closed behind himself.

“No I’m not,” Jeff replied, as he sat up on his bed. “I’ve still got my pants on.”

“But that’s all.”

“God, don’t such a far right nut job. I waited for you before I got dressed. I’ve got both our outfits sorted out,” Jeff said, swinging his legs over to the far side of his bed and standing up.

With his back to Simon, his solid buttocks sucking in his underwear between them, and emphasised their inviting curves, Simon glanced away in embarrassment. He shouldn’t be looking at his friend like that. He glanced around Jeff’s bedroom.

The room was demonstratively bigger than his own, which would probably fit inside it two or three times over. Pushed against one wall was the double bed that Jeff had been lounging on, covered with a grey duvet. The wall behind had film posters covering it, mainly science fiction and crime films, but only a few block buster films that Simon could recognise. On the opposite wall was a large window with a deep window sill, and two tables in front of it. One was obviously Jeff’s computer table, as there was a computer with two different monitors, and also what looked like two basic computers, possibly Raspberry Pis, along with other computer parts, like printed circuit boards and such. Next to it was a table that Simon guessed Jeff used to write on, as there were pads of paper, pots of pens, and books stacked up upon each other. In the middle of it was a freestanding mirror in a white wooden frame, resting against its stand which had been folded out from behind it. It looked as if it had been hurriedly placed there. It certainly didn’t look like this was its natural home.

The wall opposite the doorway was filled by Jeff’s wardrobe and bookshelves. The wardrobe was big, with double doors and a vertical column of deep drawers running from top to bottom on one side. Next to the wardrobe wooden shelves had been fixed to the wall with a series of brackets. They ran from floor to ceiling and were filled with a mixture of things; mostly books, but there were CDs and DVDs on them too, plus the odd action figure, a metal tin, and even an old alarm clock.

Simon thought he could be very comfortable in this bedroom, and that Jeff certainly must be.

“I picked out these for you, and these for me for tonight,” Jeff said, holding up two coat hangers, one in each hand, with clothes hanging off them. The one in his right hand he’d indicated were for himself, and the one in his left hand he indicated for Simon.

Jeff’s clothes were a pale grey, ribbed top with long sleeves and a round, collarless neck, and a pair of jeans that seemed to be made from a patchwork of different materials, bright cottons and smooth velvets. They could have looked weird and hippie-like, but the way the different materials had been selected and stitched together gave them a coordinated and attractive pattern.

The outfit he’d chosen for Simon was a silver metallic shirt and a pair of very black jeans, not a very dark grey, but a uniform and smooth black. The shirt was a silver metallic material. It almost looked to be made of real metal the way the light reflected off it. It had a row of silver metal buttons up the front, a small, neat collar at the neck, and short sleeves. Simon was surprised and impressed by the shirt. It was not what he’d thought Jeff would wear and yet it was such an amazing thing. It almost gleamed as the silver metallic material caught the light.

“Those clothes are great,” Simon said.

“Get stripped off and you can put them on,” Jeff replied.

“What? Here?”

He suddenly felt modest.

“Only down to your underwear. And its only me. You can’t put these clothes on over what you’re got on.”

“Okay, okay,” he said, giving in easily.

It was just Jeff and himself, and Jeff was already stripped down to his underwear and… Simon felt excitement beginning to tap away at the back of his mind, and to tingle away at the top of his cock.

He turned his body slightly away from Jeff, so now he was stood in profile. He didn’t know why he did that, but it felt right. He took his jacket off, dropping it down on the end of the bed. Quickly he took off his trainers and socks, before realising he hadn't actually needed to remove the socks. He then pulled his t-shirt over his head and quickly turned it right-side out before dropping it on Jeff’s bed. Finally he unbuttoned the fly of his jeans and pushed them down his legs and stepped out of them. He was wearing his best pair of electric blue briefs, but as he dropped his jeans onto Jeff’s bed, he suddenly felt rather naked. It was only Jeff, but still…

“Nice bum,” Jeff said, staring straight at him.

“Hey, you’re not supposed to look at my bum!”

The words jumped out of his mouth in surprise. Jeff was looking at his bum!

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“Because we’re friends.”

“But I look at your bum all the time. It’s a really nice bum and I can’t stop myself.”

“We’re just friends.”

Simon stared at him, his mind was racing with what Jeff was saying. Do friends really talk like that to each other?

“Yes, and I want to be your boyfriend. I’d like you to be my boyfriend, I mean.”

Jeff smiled that broad smile of his at Simon. That smile that seemed to light up his entire face.

“You… You do?”

“Yes, since almost the day we met,” Jeff said, with an awkward smile. “I have been putting my best moves on you all week and it’s been getting me nowhere.”

“Your moves?”

“Yes. I took hold of your hand in the cinema last week. I kissed you goodbye last night. I’ve been ringing you up all week, too. We held hands in the back of Niki’s car. I thought I was being really unsubtle.”

“But you kissed Freddie goodbye, too.”

“I know. I wasn’t really thinking. I just did it.

“Oh...”

Simon felt awkward and nervous standing there. He was only wearing his underpants, and with everything Jeff was saying… he wanted to cover his groin with his hands.

“Freddie was right, I should have just asked you out. He told me to just ask you out tonight,” Jeff said, standing up from the bed.

“He didn’t say anything to me.”

Freddie hadn’t even dropped a hint that Jeff liked him.

“He can really keep a secret.”

“Yes, he can.”

“And Vee said I can be too laid back for my own good.”

“I like you being laid back,” Simon replied. He meant it, too.

“Do you like me enough to go out with me?”

“Yes,” Simon quietly said, nerves catching hold at the back of his throat.

“Will you go out with me?”

“Yes,” his voice was even more quiet now, almost as though he thought that, if he spoke any louder, he would break the spell hanging over them.

“Can I kiss you?”

“Yes please,” he replied, excitement pushing up the volume of his voice. This was real, not some impossible wish.

Jeff took the few steps until he was in front of Simon. Simon could feel Jeff’s body in front of him, the presence of it, just mere millimetres away from his. Then he leaned in and kissed him, Jeff’s arms wrapping around his body, drawing their naked chests together, and pressing their groins together. And Simon wrapped his arms around Jeff’s lean and muscular back, Jeff’s smooth skin under his fingers. Jeff’s kiss was full-on and passionate. His tongue filled Simon's mouth. His lips pressed down onto Simon's and caressed over them. And Simon loved it.

This kiss was real and his whole body was buzzing with sexual excitement. With each movement of Jeff’s tongue his cock twitched, pushing it into an erection inside his underwear. But he didn’t feel embarrassed about being so excited, because he could feel Jeff’s own erect cock pressing into his groin. Jeff was obviously excited, too.

Jeff ended their kiss, gently pulling his lips away from Simon’s, but still keeping his arms wrapped around his body. And Simon simply clung onto him. He’d told himself that they were just friends, that this wasn’t possible. And he had been so wrong.

Jeff rubbed his hard cock against Simon’s, only two layers of thin material separating them, and Simon let out a gasp of excitement. His whole body was buzzing in this moment.

“I so want to have sex with you,” Jeff quietly said, his voice almost whispering in Simon’s ear.

He could feel Jeff’s breath brush over his ear and check.

“So do I,” he almost gasped in return.

“But we can’t.”

Jeff’s voice held a deep tone of regret.

“Why?”

“Because Freddie and Vee will be here soon, and I’d die if they walked in on us.”

“God, yes!”

“We should get ready.”

“Yes,” Simon agreed.

Reluctantly they broke their embrace, both of them taking a step back from each other, though Simon tried not to look at the very bulging outline in the front of Jeff’s briefs. But he also didn’t want that embrace to end. He’d felt warm and excited and very safe wrapped up in Jeff’s arms, and stepping away from him left him feeling suddenly empty. He was being silly, he knew, but in that moment he wanted that embrace back again.

“Let’s get dressed,” Jeff said.

“Yes,” Simon agreed.

He turned towards the bed where the clothes Jeff had chosen lay, picked up the silver metallic shirt and quickly slipped it over his shoulders. To his surprise, the material didn’t feel sharp and metallic but felt very smooth as it slid over his skin. He did up the buttons, but stopped two buttons from the top. The shirt certainly made him feel good. Even a bit sexy.

As he picked up the black jeans, he saw Jeff was already dressed in his grey ribbed top and highly patterned patchwork jeans. Simon thought he looked good. The grey ribbed top clung closely to his body, emphasising the muscles across his lean chest and showing off the shape of his torso. The patchwork jeans fitted his legs in a carefully tailored way, not snugly tight, but they fit well and showed off his long muscular legs. They were quite different to the clothes that he Jeff usually wore for college, and yet they suited him so well. He looked attractive and very sexy in them.

Simon turned to putting on the black jeans. His legs easily slid down the legs of them, and he was able to do up the fly buttons comfortably. They fitted snugly around his waist, and he could feel them clinging tightly to his buttocks. He had the same waist size as Jeff? The only problem was the legs were far too long. Even with the jeans pulled up to his waist the end of the legs stretched so far past his feet that he was actually standing on them.

“That shirt looks really good on you,” Jeff said.

“Thanks, it feels amazing.”

“And those jeans look really good on you, too.”

“They’re just really too long,” he replied, raising one of his feet, which was completely covered in the leg of the jeans, as if to demonstrate.

“I can easily fix that. Put your foot up on the bed.”

Simon did that and Jeff sat down next to him. In a matter of moments he had rolled up the leg of the jeans until it sat around his ankle in a neat turn-up.

“Next foot,” Jeff said.

Simon changed his feet over, his left foot now resting on the bed, and Jeff quickly rolled up that leg until it had an equally neat and matching turn-up.

Simon placed both his feet on the floor and looked down at his legs. The jeans hugged his legs snugly, and the turn-ups sat neatly against his ankles. They make his legs look good, and he felt good wearing them.

“They look great,” Simon exclaimed.

“You look great,” Jeff said.

He looked up at Jeff who was smiling that lovely and broad smile back at him.

“You look amazing,” he told Jeff.

“Thanks,” Jeff replied, a slight pink tinge rising on his cheeks.

“These clothes are great. Thanks for lending them to me.”

“It’s nothing. I’m glad they make you look so good.”

“I feel so good in them.”

“Great. Now come and sit down here, and I’ll put some gel in your hair.”

“You won’t overdo it?”

“Of course I won’t. I’ll just make you look even better.”

Simon sat down on the chair at Jeff’s writing table.

“You’re okay doing this? You know how to do this?” he asked, nervously. When did Jeff ever say he knew how to do hair?

“My sister Sian is a make-up artist. She’s a proper one. She doesn’t work in some Cut ‘n’ Dye hairdressers. She works on TV productions, making up actors and such. She taught me to do this. Don’t worry.”

“Okay,” Simon said, relaxing back against the chair.

Jeff squirted some hair gel into the palm of his left hand, then rubbed both hands together, before drawing his hands through Simon’s hair. It felt relaxingly good as Jeff’s fingers gently brushed through his hair, gently massaging over his scalp.

“You had a boyfriend before?” Jeff asked, as he styled the gel through Simon's hair.

“Yeah, the shit Max.”

“You don’t have to say, but why did you two break up?”

“He wanted us to go all the way. You know... he wanted to fuck me. Thing was I didn’t feel ready but he didn’t want to hear that. He just dumped me, he didn’t even talk to me about it. He just cut me dead. He didn’t reply to any of my texts and he blocked me on Facebook and Twitter and everything.”

“Shit, that was harsh. Only because you didn’t want to be fucked.”

“But I like the idea of being fucked. The idea really turns me on. I’ve seen those guys getting fucked in porn videos online, and they always look like they’re really enjoying themselves. I just didn’t want my first time to be on the backseat of a Volkswagen Golf.”

“No you don’t. You want it to be in nice, big double bed, with tasteful grey sheets. Like mine.”

Embarrassment prickled at the back of Simon's neck again.

“What about your boyfriend? What happened with him?” Simon asked, trying to change the subject.

“Karl, the twat.”

“If it’s too bad…” Simon said, finding himself almost mumbling.

“No, Karl was a twat. It's a statement of fact. I went to college to be with him. I followed him around everywhere. Then I went and told him I loved him and he dropped me so fast. He panicked and ran away from me just because I said I loved him. I felt like shit. I went from loving him to hating him so quickly. It was horrible.”

“I’m sorry,” Simon quietly said.

“Don’t worry. I don’t see him now, ever, and that’s good. Now look at your hair.”

Simon turned around and looked at himself in the wooden framed mirror on Jeff’s writing desk. The image in the mirror surprised and then delighted him. Jeff had tamed and styled his unruly mop of hair. His curls were now dark and open. The gel had given his brown hair a rich and dark tone. It had also relaxed his hair, which now rested against his head in large, open curls. Several curls hung over his forehead, hiding its great white expanse. Jeff had also swept back the sides, so the hair clung to the side of his head and swept back behind his ears. The curls on the top of his head were flattened down, resting in open and loose curls. His new hairstyle opened up his face, so that it was no longer dominated by two thick curtains of curls on either side of it.

“I like it, it's… it's really good. Thank you,” Simon said.

“You look so great like that,” Jeff replied.

Simon turned back to Jeff and saw that he was smiling his trademark smile. He loved Jeff’s smile. it was warm and welcoming, and lit up his whole face. Simon always felt so reassured when he saw Jeff smiling at him. It was a good feeling. One that he liked.

“I was thinking, why don’t you stay over here tonight? You’d have to come back here to collect your clothes sometime, and it’s easy to get back than your house from town when we’ll be leaving Hades.”

“With you?”

“Yes, sleep with me. My bed’s big enough.”

“Won’t your dad mind?”

“Karl used to stay over in my room all the time and dad didn’t mind. I’ve been talking about you a lot to him. He's noticed I like you a lot. He told me to ask you out, too.”

“He did?”

“Yes. He’ll have no problems with you staying over. His bedroom is at the front of the house, and he wears earplugs at night.”

“Right,” Simon said. It all sounded already organised. But, strangely, that felt comfortable, too. This was Jeff showing him he cared.

“And I’ve got some condoms and lube. But only if you want to use them. We don’t have to anything heavy if you don’t want.”

“Let’s see when we get back here,” Simon said.

The idea of getting into bed with Jeff, both of them naked, was the most exciting thing he could imagine. Going all the way with Jeff, letting him enter him, Jeff actually being inside of him, he wanted that. He smiled back at Jeff.

Jeff lent forward and kissed him again. It wasn’t as passionate as their earlier one, but it was long, and warm, and welcoming. Jeff’s lips felt so soft and gentle as they kissed his own. This kiss was so exciting, and Simon felt an excitement run through his body, making his cock swell and twitch with that excitement.

In that moment Simon just wanted to jump into bed with Jeff and have sex right away. But they couldn’t. Freddie and Vee would arrive soon, and they had a whole evening planned ahead of them. He’d been looking forward to tonight's trip to Hades. But he’d only ever dreamed he could be Jeff’s boyfriend. Why did everything come at once?

When Jeff broke the kiss Simon stood up, saying, “I need to tell my mum I’m going to stay the night with you. She might go crazy if I just didn’t come home tonight.”

“Yes, good idea.”

Simon pulled his phone out of his own jeans pocket, which were lying on Jeff’s bed. He opened up the home screen and dialled his mum’s phone. He held his phone to his ear, but the call just went straight to voicemail. His mum was on another call.

Hanging up, he said, “She’s on another call. I’ll call Niki.”

He quickly called up Niki’s number and dialled that. Niki answered after three rings.

“Hi, are you okay there?” Niki asked.

“Yes, I’m all fine here,” Simon replied, as Jeff grinned broadly at him.

“What can I do for you?”

“I just rang mum, but she’s on another call.”

“She’s ringing Val and Janet, two other nurses from work. Kate wants a big night out to celebrate. Wait a moment.” Niki’s voice became muffled, as if she was holding her phone away from her head. “I said, no male strippers… Well pick somewhere else.” Niki’s voice then came back onto the phone. “God, I’m going to regret this. I don’t know what I’ve let myself in for. Kate is buzzing with all this. Anyway, what can I do for you?”

“Jeff has asked me to stay over at his tonight. It's easier to get back to Jeff’s from Hades,” he said, adding the second part of his sentence as a sort of explanation.

“Jeff? This is the tall, handsome boy who kissed you goodnight last night?”

“Yes, that’s him.”

“He’s very nice and you deserve a nice boy.”

“Thanks.”

Simon felt embarrassment prickling at the back of his neck. Niki seemed to already know what was happening.

“So tonight will be your first date.”

“Sort of, yes.”

“Good. You two enjoy yourselves and do want you to tonight.”

“Thanks.”

“But you need to bring Jeff home tomorrow for lunch, so he can meet your mum.”

“Do I?”

He felt a moment of panic. What would his mum say? What would she do when faced with Jeff? God, he didn’t want her going off the deep end or anything. He couldn’t help but remember what he’d overheard the other night.

“Yes. Your mum needs to meet Jeff and see that he’s a nice boy. Don’t worry about her. She’s in a really good mood. All this stress has been lifted off her, and I’ll be there and I can keep her in check. Your mum needs to meet Jeff and see he’s good for you. You two were so sweet together last night. She needs to see that. Trust me.”

“Okay, we’ll be there tomorrow. Twelve o’clock?”

“Make it one o’clock. I don’t think we’ll be getting up early tomorrow morning. Now have a good time tonight.”

“We will. And you, too.”

“My night is going to be interesting. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.”

“Great. Bye.”

“Goodbye and have fun.”

Simon hung up the call and pushed his phone into the pocket of the jeans he was wearing.

“That sounded like it went easy,” Jeff said.

“It was Niki. Of course it was.”

“She’s so cool.”

“She is. But she did say you need to come to lunch tomorrow, so you can meet my mum.”

“Meeting your mum, that really sounds serious.”

“Don’t joke about it. This could be awkward.”

“Because of what you overheard the other night?”

“Yes.”

“Does Niki know you heard what your mum said?”

“God no, but she heard what my mum said. My mum said it to her.”

“Then this is her way of helping.”

“She did say we looked sweet together last night.”

“We look good together.”

Jeff reached over and took hold of Simon's hand. Jeff’s hand felt smooth and warm against his own, with his strong fingers gripping his hand firmly and reassuringly, but not overly as to crush his fingers. It was a good feeling.

“Having lunch with your mum and Niki does mean something else will happen,” Jeff said, still smiling at him.

“What?”

“My dad will want you three to have dinner with us, and soon.”

“God, are we moving too quickly?”

“No, it’s just other people. We go at the pace we want. Okay?”

“Yes,” Simon replied.

The sound of metal bells being struck somewhere downstairs rang out for a moment. It was the doorbell, but it sounded different up there.

“I bet that’s Freddie and Vee,” Jeff said, but he didn’t let go of Simon’s hand.

It only took a few moments but Simon heard every sound of it. Jeff’s dad opened the front door, there was the muffled voices of Freddie and Vee, and then there was the sound of feet running up the stairs. Finally Jeff’s bedroom door sprang open and Freddie and Vee almost burst into the room, their bodies animated with obvious excitement.

Simon was surprised and then delighted by how different and amazing both Freddie and Vee were looking. Freddie’s hair was smoothed down with gel, emphasising his blonde streaks, making them literally streak back through his dark hair. His clothes were very different too, not his usual tailored, stylish type. Instead, he was wearing a pair of pale and very faded jeans, with a large rip across the left knee and right thigh. He had on a white t-shirt with a blue flash of lightening across the front of it, worn under a battered, old, black leather jacket. The creases in it, especially at the elbows, were so deep that they ran white against the black leather.

Vee was looking just as different and stunning, but in another direction. She was dressed all in black, but this only enhanced her beauty. She was wearing a shear, almost completely see-through, blouse, edged in a shiny black material. Under it she had on a black sports bra that stretched down to her mid-torso. Also, she was wearing a black mini-shirt, over black leggings, that ended in black trainers, with a thin white strip of skin visible between the end of the leggings and the top of the trainers. Her purple hair actually shone; it took him a moment to realise that she had sprayed glitter into it. In those clothes Vee’s body shone out as both sexual and beautiful. It wasn’t just that he could see her figure, it was that she oozed confidence and sexuality. She dominated Freddie standing there next to him.

“I win! You owe me a fiver!” Vee exclaimed.

“What?” Jeff replied.

“Freddie bet me a fiver that you two would be having sex when we arrived,” she said. “But I had more faith in you.”

“You knew about us?” Simon asked.

Vee had known about him and Jeff, but how?

“It was obvious. Both of you would look at the other one when you thought he wasn’t looking with such… well, almost love. It was so sweet. You two together are so sweet,” Vee said.

“And Jeff told me how much he liked you,” Freddie said.

“But why didn’t either of you say anything?” Simon asked them.

“Because it wasn’t our place to. You two had to work it out,” Freddie said.

“Oh,” Simon said.

He was still surprised that both Freddie and Vee knew how he’d felt, or at least seen it.

“If I’d gone ahead and match made you two, you’d have been boyfriends over a week ago. But you won’t have had this story about how you got together,” Freddie said, beaming a smile back at them.

“Yeah, and if Uncle Freddie match makes it always goes wrong. I told Freddie to back off and leave you two alone,” Vee said.

“Matchmaking is not of my natural abilities,” Freddie said.

“Three straight girls and one psycho ex-girlfriend. That's the success of your matchmaking with me,” Vee said, staring at Freddie.

“We all have our off days,” Freddie replied.

“And these beautiful boys got together all by themselves, the way they should have,” Vee said.

Jeff squeezed his hand for a moment, a reassuring and affectionate squeeze, and Simon squeezed Jeff’s hand back in reply.

“You two look amazing,” Simon said to Vee and Freddie. He wanted to say it the moment he saw them but had been suddenly sidetracked by Vee’s announcement.

“We do, don’t we?” Freddie replied, almost puffing up with pride.

“But you're not wearing those stylish clothes you usually wear to college,” Simon replied.

“These are my pulling clothes. I’ve got to give the right impression,” Freddie said.

“Yeah, slutty,” Vee added.

Freddie pursed his lips for a moment before saying, “It’s a look and it works. Anyway, at college I choose a different look. I’m not going to meet the man of my dreams there. Not like you two, So I dress for myself.”

“But, Vee, you look really amazing,” Simon said.

“Thanks. These are my party clothes and I always feel good in them.”

“You should dress like that all the time. You look amazing,” he said.

“God, no,” Vee replied. “Having all those dumb, straight boys drooling all over me. Ugh. I’m dressing for me because tonight we’re going out to party. The only people I want drooling over me tonight are gorgeous women and emo boys.”

“Then we’ll have to find you one of each,” Jeff said.

“We’ll see,” Vee replied.

“Anyway, you two look fabulous as well,” Freddie said.

“These are Jeff’s clothes,” Simon said. “They’re great.”

“I remember getting Jeff to buy that shirt,” Freddie said. “Though it does look much better on you.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” Jeff said. “You should keep it.”

“Thanks,” Simon said, as embarrassment crept up the back of his neck. He couldn’t keep this shirt. He’d have to make sure that he gave it back to Jeff.

“We need to get going now,” Freddie said. “I don’t want to turn up as the Drag Act has started.”

“Don’t worry, we won’t be late,” Jeff said.

“He’s worried that all the talent will be taken before we arrive,” Vee said.

“There is that, as well,” Freddie admitted.

“Great. I’m going to spend the night watching you chase after half the men there!” Vee said, rolling her eyes in mock boredom.

“You can spend the night was us,” Jeff told her.

“Watching you two kissing face and not keeping your hands off each other all night? The sacrifices I make for you boys. There better be some nice women there tonight,” Vee replied.

“It’s Hades,” Jeff said.

“And we’re going to be late getting there,” Freddie added.

“The worst part of the evening is now ahead of us,” Vee said.

“What’s that?” Simon asked.

“Getting the bus into town looking this fabulous,” Vee told them. “We’ll get stared at all the way into town.

“We’ll give some grannies a thrill,” Freddie replied.

“Getting the bus?” Jeff said. “We’re getting a taxi there and back.”

“We are?”

Vee looked at him with a puzzled expression.

“I can’t afford a taxi there and back,” Freddie. “That will be most of my drinking money for the night gone.”

“My dad has given me his company’s taxi account number. All we have to do is call the number and we can get a taxi. Dad said he’d pay for it,” Jeff told them.

“I love your dad!” Freddie exclaimed, clapping his hands together with delight.

“Come on then Fashion Boy, we’ve a taxi to order. And to thank Jeff’s dad,” Vee said, as she turned towards the bedroom door, almost pulling Freddie with her.

“Are you ready for a ride of a lifetime, or at least an evening out with us all?” Jeff asked Simon.

“I can’t wait,” Simon replied.

“Come on then,” Jeff said, still holding Simon's hand and leading him out of the bedroom.

Simon was so excited. Excited about what was ahead of him.

 

 

The End

Afterword

Here is where this story ends.

This is the first long form story that I have actually finished. Though I have started to write several novels in the past, I’ve never been able to finish them because I never knew what to do with them, and I’d get demoralised. I have now found a home for them, here at GA.

I would have an idea, start a novel, get about a third or half way into it, get despondent because I didn’t know what to do with it once it was finished, and give up on it. Now I have finally found a place for them, so I have a lot of work cut out for me finishing those stories, and writing all those other stories that have come into my head.

I am so grateful to everyone who has read this story and encouraged me and challenged me. Writing is such a singular occupation, I sit alone at my computer or laptop writing, and I only know if it works or not when it’s read. All of you who have taken the time to read this story have done me the power of good, I am so grateful for the confidence you have given me. Those of you who left comments I cannot thank you enough. You showed me that what I wanted to write about was getting across.

I especially want to thank @Marty for all the hard work he did proofreading and editing this story. He has caught all those spelling and grammar mistakes I make and he really helped tighten my writing, without taking away any of my style. He is an amazing editor and writer, please check out his profile here. His writing doesn’t have those clichés that drive me crazy.

If you enjoyed this story please recommended it, so that others can find it too. If you really enjoyed this story please take five minutes to write a review, that also helps people find it and they do me so much good.

And do follow my profile, I’m going to be writing more. Already I’m planning the second part of a trilogy of novellas and a themed collection of short stories, but with a very unusual theme.

Happy reading.

Copyright © 2019 Drew Payne; All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter Comments

A wonderful place to stop, though I would love to have seen the interplay with Simon's mom at lunch.  Guess we'll just have to imagine the rest of the HEA.  Thanks for posting and I look forward to more of your writing.

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31 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

A wonderful place to stop, though I would love to have seen the interplay with Simon's mom at lunch.  Guess we'll just have to imagine the rest of the HEA.  Thanks for posting and I look forward to more of your writing.

Rosie on her best behaviour, sort of, Niki policing her and Simon and Jeff very tired, yes that would be an interesting Saturday lunch; but I knew this was the right place to stop. Simon has moved on 180 degrees from when this story started, he has come out and is starting to find his place in the world.

Thanks for your great comments. I'm already writing my next stories and they are VERY different.

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3 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

A fantastic ending to what has been a truly wonderful story.

Thank you. That does me the power of good to hear.

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Drew:

And so concludes Days Like This, a well written, thoughtful , engaging, and thoroughly believable story. 

As a freelance editor ( writer / journalist) ,  I'm always hungry for something new to read, even more so during this ongoing pandemic. After the first month of lock down , even online streaming, (NetFlix etc) became boring. But Days Like This, was a breath of fresh air. 

Yes, there were a few parts that seemed slow to develop, and some that made me go back to read again, (that's not a knock against you, but more my 'editor's eye', looking for errors that weren't there. It's an 'occupational' thing. Some editors refer to it as an itch).

Thank you for your Afterword. IMHO more writers should use them. Some feel it let's too many people learn the writer's thought processes (like learning a magician's secrets). I disagree.

In your Afterword you write:  "Though I have started to write several novels in the past, I've never been able to finish... and I'd get 'moralised' (I'm certain you meant 'demoralized'). Don't be. And I'm glad you've found a home for your writing at GA.

For your unpublished works, take a fresh look at them and see if they can be tweaked. Or publish and ask for reader feedback/suggestions.

I look forward to reading more of your works. In the meantime, Stay Safe, Socially Distant (adults should do like little kids and 'helicopter', putting your arms out and spin around without touching whoever next to you), and oh yes, #WearTheDamnMask. 

Tony

 :2thumbs: :thankyou: 

 

Edited by Anton_Cloche
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12 hours ago, Anton_Cloche said:

Drew:

And so concludes Days Like This, a well written, thoughtful , engaging, and thoroughly believable story. 

As a freelance editor ( writer / journalist) ,  I'm always hungry for something new to read, even more so during this ongoing pandemic. After the first month of lock down , even online streaming, (NetFlix etc) became boring. But Days Like This, was a breath of fresh air. 

Yes, there were a few parts that seemed slow to develop, and some that made me go back to read again, (that's not a knock against you, but more my 'editor's eye', looking for errors that weren't there. It's an 'occupational' thing. Some editors refer to it as an itch).

Thank you for your Afterword. IMHO more writers should use them. Some feel it let's too many people learn the writer's thought processes (like learning a magician's secrets). I disagree.

In your Afterword you write:  "Though I have started to write several novels in the past, I've never been able to finish... and I'd get 'moralised' (I'm certain you meant 'demoralized'). Don't be. And I'm glad you've found a home for your writing at GA.

For your unpublished works, take a fresh look at them and see if they can be tweaked. Or publish and ask for reader feedback/suggestions.

I look forward to reading more of your works. In the meantime, Stay Safe, Socially Distant (adults should do like little kids and 'helicopter', putting your arms out and spin around without touching whoever next to you), and oh yes, #WearTheDamnMask. 

Tony

 :2thumbs: :thankyou: 

 

Tony,

Thank you for your review, it did me the power of good. I always worry about what I've written. It does me good to hear that my writing works.

I know that people like to hear some of the background behind a story, and this is the first long form story I finished and I'm proud of that. I don't feel it’s giving away any "writer's secret" because so many of my "secrets" are rather obvious, I listen to people and I research a lot. In my early twenties I did read a lot of coming out stories, I was trying to develop my own gay identity, and a lot of them were formulistic and so shallow. When I started to try and write novels, I promised myself I wouldn't write one. Well, the first long form story I actually wrote is a coming out story. Before I started this story, I did a lot of research and reading about other people's coming out experiences, and I took the most common themes from them and used them here. Not that scientific but it gave me an insight into the coming out experience (my own was so a-typical that I used none of it here).

I have several unfinished novels and I am going back to them and finishing writing them, one by one. Some of them of horribly over-written (I did that back then) but I can correct that. The problem is that I have a lot of ideas for other stories too. I just need the time to get them all done. But GA has given me so much confidence with my writing, readers seem very happy to comment on stories which is so helpful. I'm certainly going to be publishing more on here, I've already begun the two projects I mentioned in the Afterword.

Don't worry me and Covid. I'm a nurse by profession and I know way too much about Covid, and my husband is an Infection Control Nurse and he knows even more. Social Distancing and wearing masks are automatic with us.

You take care of yourself and thank you for the feedback.

Drew

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I will add my voice to others congratulating you on this engaging and interesting story. I liked the characters you developed, and particularly enjoyed watching Simon growing and evolving. And who could resist Jeff and Simon slowly circling closer to one another? Thank you very much for posting this. 

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On 8/23/2020 at 9:01 PM, Parker Owens said:

I will add my voice to others congratulating you on this engaging and interesting story. I liked the characters you developed, and particularly enjoyed watching Simon growing and evolving. And who could resist Jeff and Simon slowly circling closer to one another? Thank you very much for posting this. 

Thanks for your great feedback. I did enjoy writing Simon and Jeff's awkward relationship. Jeff obviously fancied Simon and, bless him, Simon didn't have a clue. That was fun to write, and to deny like hell in all my comments in the previous chapters (Yes, I lied but it was all in the name of not giving away the plot). It’s a great satisfaction to have actually finished this long form story.

I now have to get busy and finish those half-written novels I have tucked away.

Thank you for your support it has meant a lot and has helped me finish this story.

Edited by Drew Payne
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That was a nice ending with the scene between Jeff and Simon. I think it is a pretty good achievement for a first finished novel. I know all about half finished stories, I think a lot of authors have those and half started projects, lying around. It's good you completed this story, unfortunately, so many writers start and give up, or start, and start, and start. Ideas and beginnings are not so difficult as middles and ends. Writing is a lonely occupation, just yourself, your characters, and a story plot. I often think it's a subtle form of psychosis and wonder if I'm not going mad having all these voices in my head! Anyhow, well done, an enjoyable read.

 

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6 hours ago, Talo Segura said:

That was a nice ending with the scene between Jeff and Simon. I think it is a pretty good achievement for a first finished novel. I know all about half finished stories, I think a lot of authors have those and half started projects, lying around. It's good you completed this story, unfortunately, so many writers start and give up, or start, and start, and start. Ideas and beginnings are not so difficult as middles and ends. Writing is a lonely occupation, just yourself, your characters, and a story plot. I often think it's a subtle form of psychosis and wonder if I'm not going mad having all these voices in my head! Anyhow, well done, an enjoyable read.

 

Thank you. I wanted write a hopeful ending. The story is about Simon developing his own gay identify and how beneficial it is to him. I know giving him a new boyfriend, at the end of the story, is a bit of a cliché, but I didn't want Simon ending up with the Head Boy or the Captain of the Football Team. Jeff is just as much on the fringes of college society as Simon is. It was also interesting to write Jeff's attraction for Simon but have Simon not realise it. The challenge was to try and make that realistic.

I never gave up on writing a novel because I didn't know where it was going or how I would get there. I'd get demoralised because I wouldn't know what I would do with it once I'd finished it. My writing is too gay for many ordinary publishers but not romantic enough for gay publishers. Who would read it once I'd finished it? And when I couldn't answer that I'd get demoralised and give up on writing it because there didn't seem any point.

Posting on GA has really energised me because readers are so ready to engage with me and that is amazing. I've posted on other platforms and been lucky to get one or two comments for each story. Here I've so much contact with readers and it has been great, it has kept me going because I can see a purpose to writing this story.

I can now go back to those unfinished stories and finish them, one at a time, because I know what I can do with them and they will be read. I'm not writing without any purpose.

I know what you mean about hearing your characters' voices in your head. I could hear these characters so well when I was writing them. Of course, I now hear other voices, the voices of the characters I'm writing now.

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Simon is a wonderful character, and I loved his story! You did a great job capturing his lack of confidence and his concerns about being gay. The adults were well-written. Dad could have easily become a caricature, but you carefully avoided taking him over the top. Mom and Niki were great! There was a nice contrast to their personalities, and I liked the way Niki was so supportive of Simon. Last and best were Simon's friends. The dialogue and interactions between them were first rate! Freddie and Vee had me laughing most of the time! And the romance between Simon and Jeff was slow, akward, confusing, and perfect! Especially the last scene in Jeff's bedroom! Thank you for finding GA and sharing this story! I look forward to reading your next story.

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16 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

Simon is a wonderful character, and I loved his story! You did a great job capturing his lack of confidence and his concerns about being gay. The adults were well-written. Dad could have easily become a caricature, but you carefully avoided taking him over the top. Mom and Niki were great! There was a nice contrast to their personalities, and I liked the way Niki was so supportive of Simon. Last and best were Simon's friends. The dialogue and interactions between them were first rate! Freddie and Vee had me laughing most of the time! And the romance between Simon and Jeff was slow, akward, confusing, and perfect! Especially the last scene in Jeff's bedroom! Thank you for finding GA and sharing this story! I look forward to reading your next story.

Thank you for such wonderful feedback.

I always worry about the characters I create and do they work as actual people. Niki was the easiest character to create here because she has so much of me in her, she has my views and the insights I've developed over the years. Simon's mum was based on a couple of women I've worked, one especially who left her husband for her female lover. Simon's dad I wanted to be an antagonist, someone who didn't welcome news of Simon's sexuality, but I didn't want him to be a one-dimensional villain. I remembered when I was an Evangelical Christian (A long time ago) and the straight men who found an identity through it, I could write so much about them, and based Simon's dad on them, just as screwed up. Freddie and Vee were based two people I knew, when I was coming out in Liverpool, and their dialogue was such fun to write. I've written comedy sketches in the past, and I put what I learnt about finding comedy in dialogue into their conversations. Plus Freddie provided such an important plot device, he is Simon's guide into what being gay involves. I also wanted to make him fem but very sexual, two fingers up to the lie that no one shags the fem guys.

Simon was so hard to create, I had to repeatedly remind myself that he is sixteen and very naive. I couldn't give him much insight, though it was fun writing Jeff's romance with him, having Simon not reading any of Jeff's signals, though they weren't very loud signals either. The last chapter was easy and hard to write. Easy because I had been thinking about it for months and rehearsing their dialog in my head, but hard because it was finally ending this story. It was a strange feeling leaving this world.

I'm so grateful for all the support I've found on GA, @Marty's proofreading/editing has been amazing and given me so much confidence. The feedback I've received writing this story has been invaluable, showing me I was on the right track and helping me refine the characters as I replied to people's comments. It has also been wonderful watching the number of views of each chapter increasing, people actually wanted to read what I wrote (!!).

I will be publishing more here, I'm already busy writing, but it will be very different stories. Creating Simon was such hard work that I'm really happy to get back to writing about adults with insight, okay really screwed up adults. I'm writing some short stories for a themed collection and boy these characters are not the happiest of people.

Thanks for your support.

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It has been great reading a well-written story from an English point of view.  I'm born and raised in California and we do and say things differently here it's enlightening to be immersed in another's culture for a few months.  I've learned a lot from you and feel like I'm a better person because of reading this story.  I must agree with others that it is, indeed, a great outing for a first novel.  I hope that your target audience can be young closeted gay boys living at home.  Their experiences are so much more enlightened than mine were 50 years ago when coming out offered no peer group at school to hang out with.  Your characters kept me entertained and satisfied through each and every chapter and I thank you wholeheartedly for the experience!  I also appreciate the many intelligent followers adding their comments at the end of the chapters!  I'll be sure to read your next story as it develops and your previous writings posted on Gay Authors.  I count myself as a fan of yours in great company!

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21 hours ago, James Baxter said:

It has been great reading a well-written story from an English point of view.  I'm born and raised in California and we do and say things differently here it's enlightening to be immersed in another's culture for a few months.  I've learned a lot from you and feel like I'm a better person because of reading this story.  I must agree with others that it is, indeed, a great outing for a first novel.  I hope that your target audience can be young closeted gay boys living at home.  Their experiences are so much more enlightened than mine were 50 years ago when coming out offered no peer group at school to hang out with.  Your characters kept me entertained and satisfied through each and every chapter and I thank you wholeheartedly for the experience!  I also appreciate the many intelligent followers adding their comments at the end of the chapters!  I'll be sure to read your next story as it develops and your previous writings posted on Gay Authors.  I count myself as a fan of yours in great company!

It has taken me awhile to reply to you because I am so bowled over by your comment. Praise like that just makes me want to write as much as I can, and it makes me feel very humble.

I really enjoy writing and there are so many different stories I want to tell. Writing is also my way of trying to make sense of the world around me. This story started off as a story about how isolated gay teens can still be, I'd been reading a lot about the subject, but as I wrote it, and read more about it, I realised that there was more to write about here. This story just snowballed into this long form story. It is a sort of story about how I would have liked to have come out, no matter what happed to him Simon never hated himself for being gay (I wish that had been my story but I'm a lot older than Simon and had a very different coming out). But I am so happy I was able to finish it because this time I knew what I was going to do with it, publish it here.

I have quite a few other stories I want/need to finish and I will be starting that in the future, but I do have to say that several of them will be rather dark in tone. I'm fascinated by how traumatic events affect people's lives and how people respond to unexpected events. But at present I am second story in the trilogy I started with A Walk Along the Promenade, plus I'm writing a collection of short stories with a linked theme, but a rather weird theme.

Thank you for your wonderful feedback, it did me the power of good to read it because I always worry about my writing.

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Omg you stopped there!?!?  Your killing me smalls.    I really enjoyed this story.  I wish you had an epilogue or a part 2!!!!!!!

 

keep writing your doing great!

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22 hours ago, Baikalisan said:

Omg you stopped there!?!?  Your killing me smalls.    I really enjoyed this story.  I wish you had an epilogue or a part 2!!!!!!!

 

keep writing your doing great!

I thought this was the right place to end, plus I didn't want to write a love scene between two teenage boys (that would rather icky). I learnt long ago to end a story just a bit short and let the reader fill in the rest.

I'm so glad you liked this story, I'm so proud that I actually finished it.

I am busy writing more and will be publishing more soon(ish). I'm actually at the moment rather busy formatting my writers' group's yearly anthology, which be published soon. But I'm working on a long read, plus writing new short stories and re-writing some old ones.

Thanks for your support.

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