Michael Arram







  Silence had descended on Alasdair and Chris’s flat, though there were speaking looks between the two.  Those from Alasdair varied between outrage and curiosity.  The return glances from Chris were a mixture of apology and triumph.


  Chris had gone the whole way with a man.  His bum felt surprisingly good.  He had expected it to hurt, and it certainly had.  A sharp and sustained pain as Billy had inserted himself had caused Chris to yelp and squeal for him to hold off for a while.  But Billy had pressed on in.  Chris felt he could almost hear the squeak of the friction as the man’s cock caught on his inner flesh.


  Then the fun had begun.  All that remained now the pain was gone was a lovely warm feeling that returned every time Chris flexed his anus, which he was doing at the moment with some enjoyment.


  He knew he had been a screamer under Billy, and Alasdair could have been in no doubt what had been going on in Chris’s room.  He had a dim memory of the front door slamming sometime during the delirium of his deflowering.


  He had been naked on a bed, with another naked man pressing down on his body and an erect penis deep inside him!  Chris could barely believe it.  It had been what the porn models had experienced in the videos he had watched compulsively since he had learned to download them.  Now he was like those slim, golden males: a practising homosexual, one of the Fellowship of the Fucked.  Shit!  It was worth alienating Alasdair just for that feeling.


  Suddenly the doubts returned.  They had not used condoms.  Chris had weakly protested when it came to the point, but Billy had laughed him off.  It was apparently not necessary.  Well for Chris, certainly not, but what did he know of Billy’s sexual history?


  He caught his pale, spotted face in the mirror, rather more flushed than usual but no more good-looking.  What had a stud like Billy seen in him?  Yet the man had been tender towards him, almost loving, and had said the nicest things both during the fuck and afterwards, while embracing Chris’s flabby white body, his cock still huge inside Chris’s distended hole.


  It was Saturday and Billy had said he would call the day before, but he hadn’t.  Chris had such low expectations of relationships that he was neither surprised nor disappointed.  When his mobile rang and a southern American drawl invited him to a town-centre pub, his heart leapt.


  ‘Goin’ out, Alasdair.  See ya!’ he yelled as he pulled the front door to behind him.  He thought he heard a distant ‘Fuck off!’ in reply.








  Max Jamroziak had rarely failed to exchange texts with Tommy since the first day of term.  It was Saturday, and he had not heard from Tommy since Thursday.  He only got voicemail when he rang.  At ten he left Gavin hoovering their flat and went in search of his friend.


  He hammered on the front door, since the bell didn’t seem to work.  Eventually Becky, one of Tommy’s housemates, answered, yawning.


  ‘Tommy in?’


  ‘He was last night.  What’s the matter?’


  ‘Only that I haven’t seen the guy for days.’


  ‘He’s been in a mood, Jammy.’


  ‘Not like him.’


  ‘How little you know the boy, Jammy dear.  I love Tommy – we all do – but he has a dark side.  We who live with him see it more.’


  ‘Can I come in?’


  ‘Course.  But it probably won’t do any good, love.  Wanna tea, coffee or something?’


  ‘Coffee’ll be fine, decaff would be even better.’


  Max negotiated his way past the bikes and recycling in the front hall and stomped up the stairs.  It was very much a girls’ house, and Tommy’s presence didn’t detract from that atmosphere.  A lot of the frilly stuff draped across the clotheshorse on the landing was, after all, his.  ‘But he is useful for carrying stuff, changing plugs and combating rodents,’ Becky had admitted.  ‘And he never borrows our clothes … though we take his.’


  Max banged ruthlessly on his friend’s door.  ‘Bugger off, Becky!’ came from inside.


  ‘Told you!’ Becky shouted from downstairs.


  ‘It’s Max, you twat.  I’m coming in.’


  He pushed the door open to find an interestingly naked Tommy sitting on his bed, leg crossed, painting his toenails.




  ‘Told you not to come in.’  Tommy looked genuinely displeased at his appearance, a first for Max.


  Nothing daunted, Max took a seat.


  ‘Don’t mind me being bare-arsed!’


  Max grinned.  ‘I don’t in the least.’  And Tommy was a sight to see, with a well-toned, shaved and tanned body, slim but muscular.  His tackle was quite as elegant as Davey Skipper’s, Max noted approvingly.


  ‘You’re staring at my dick.’


  ‘Not seen it before and I am, as you know, homosexual.’


  ‘I’ll get dressed.’  Tommy slipped into male casuals, but climbed into them in a way that did not interrupt Max’s view.  He was more his smiling self by the time he had hauled on his jeans.


  ‘Liked what you saw, perv?’


  ‘Very much.’


  ‘So tell me why no one wants to go to bed with it?’  The gloom was back.


  ‘How long have you got?’


  Tommy frowned.  Max’s reply was unexpected.  Rallying, he reflected, ‘That’s honest at least.  Get started, then.’


  ‘You’re a wonderful guy, Tommy: funny, courageous and kind, but … oh come on … you don’t let people near.  You’re friendly and all that, but there always comes a point when you close down.  This is nothing to do with you being a tranny, which might easily encourage as many people as it repels.  Point is, baby, you don’t know what you want, and that’s the truth.’


  Tommy fell back on the bed, and did not answer.


  Becky arrived with coffees on a tray.  She settled on the bed next to the prostrate Tommy, stroked his hair and kissed his forehead.  ‘You are a case, love.’


  ‘You could have anyone, Tommy,’ pursued Max.  ‘But you don’t want anyone.  You have high standards, baby, and maybe they’re a bit unrealistic.’


  ‘I was a real bastard Thursday night.’




  ‘After Phil’s lecture, I bumped into this fresher.  Peter.  He was nervy and a bit pathetic and I just lashed out at him.  It’s not me.  I don’t do that sort of thing.’


  ‘Oh shit.  He’s one of Gav’s good causes.’


  ‘What’ll I do, Jammy?’


  ‘Keep away from Gavin for starters.  He might well kill you.  You’d be astonished at what he can do when he’s annoyed.  Other than that, you’d better go say sorry.’


  ‘How do I go about it?’


 ‘Flowers?’ suggested Becky.  ‘They work for me … that was a hint, by the way.’


  Tommy pushed himself up on his elbows.  ‘Sorry!  I’ve been a first-class bitch, haven’t I?’


  ‘I understand.  Women are good at that.  But Jammy’s right.  If you’ve hurt this poor kid, you’d better try to make it right.’


  ‘I’ll wear black.’


  ‘Spoken like a true tranny.’








  Billy produced two pints at the town-centre bar in which they’d met.  ‘Doin’ okay, Chris hun?’


  Chris thrilled to hear the endearment – so American – addressed to him by this hunk who had so comprehensively shagged him.  ‘Never better,’ he replied, with some truth.


  ‘That’s Doctor Sex,’ laughed Billy.


  ‘It was amazing.’


  ‘My pleasure and privilege, baby.’


  Chris was now at a loss.  He wanted to get laid again, but couldn’t work out how to ask for it, other than to beg.  He sipped at his drink, staring mesmerised at the big man opposite him.  Billy for his part seemed content to sit there and chill for a while, his eyes roaming the lounge.


  ‘I like your pubs, so ethnic, though the smell takes a while to get used to.’




  ‘Like someone’s doused the place with disinfectant.’


  ‘Yeah, funny that.  It’s the yeast in the beer.  Smells foul.’


  ‘The beer takes getting used to as well.  Sorta thick and warm.  They make it that way?’


  ‘It’s traditional.’  Real beer was one of Chris and Alasdair’s routine conversation pieces.  ‘It depends which brewery, of course.  This is a Fullers pub.  Their London Pride, which is generally admired, has quite a high specific gravity for a bitter: 1040 at room temperature.’


  ‘Are you for real?’  Billy was laughing at him.  Chris dried up.  Billy took a long pull at his beer, and wiped the foam from his upper lip.  When Chris stared at the blue lines of the rainbow tattoo on his hand, the American noticed.  ‘Nice, huh?’


  ‘It’s unusual.  What’s it about?’


  ‘I liked the design.  It meant a lot to me when I was a kid, that’s all.’


  ‘Really?  How’s that.’


  Billy looked briefly uncomfortable.  ‘Let’s not go there, guy.  Just say it’s important to me.  Hey, you’ve got no tats!’


  ‘Er, no … you hear stories.’


  ‘Crap.  Guys – ‘specially gay guys – gotta have ‘em.  I’m amazed you don't.  What kinda queer are you?’


  Chris was disconcerted.  He stuttered, which the American clearly took as acquiescence.  ‘Great!  Drink up!  There’s a place just up the street.  Take you there!’


  ‘No … I … I mean.’


  ‘Then we can fuck.’


  ‘Oh … right er, fuck?’


  ‘Gone off the idea?  Was I that bad?’


  ‘Christ no, man.  You were brilliant.  Yeah, yeah.  Tattoo.’


  ‘You can have one just like this.  It’s on me, hun.  It won’t hurt at all.  The guy’s a master of his craft.’


  ‘Yeah,’ Chris said weakly, his stomach sinking at the idea as his cock rose to the possibility of the sex to follow.








  Tommy had dressed in ‘boy clothes’, as he liked to call them.  What was the point of alienating Peter Lewis more than he already had?  By asking around he found the lad’s stair.  Heart in mouth, he located the room number and knocked the door.  There was no answer.  Tommy tried again, waited, sighed, and slouched back down the stairs.


  Coming out into the sunlight again, he blinked at a familiar figure heading towards him.  ‘Miles baby?  What are you doing here?  When did they let third years into hall?’


  Miles looked disconcerted and then bland.  ‘Just visiting, Tommy man.  Could ask you the same question.’


  ‘I’m looking for Peter Lewis.’


  ‘Who he?’


  ‘He’s in LGBT Soc.  You must have met him.’


  ‘Rings no bell, babe.’


  ‘Quiet?  Brown hair?  Skinny?’


  ‘Sounds like half the eighteen-year-olds in Stevie.’


  ‘Spose.  Be seeing you at the Live Action gig then?’


  ‘On the balcony and then backstage?  I can hardly believe Jammy pulled that one.’


  ‘It wasn’t Jammy, he says it was his little Gav.’


  ‘Yuh … believe that.  Fucking wet pussy.’


  ‘Hey!  Watch your mouth.  Gav’s a great guy.’


  Miles raised his hands.  ‘Yeah, yeah.  Sorry.  No offence.  Put it down to jealousy if you like.’


  ‘Jealousy?  You had your chance with Jammy, and you blew it.  You treated the guy like shit.’


  Miles looked black, but mastered himself with an effort.  ‘Why are we arguing?’


  ‘Do I have to answer that?’  Several students had gathered in a playground reflex to see what the raised voices in the courtyard were all about.  One was Peter, who came round the corner and halted with a jerk, staring between Tommy and Miles.  He edged away, but not before Tommy saw him.


  ‘Peter, hey!  Pete!’  Peter ran.


  ‘See you later!’ Tommy yelled to Miles over his shoulder as he took off after the Welsh boy.

  Tommy, long-legged and athletic, easily caught up with Peter and stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.


  ‘What do you want?’ Peter gasped.


  ‘Easy!  Just to say sorry.’




  ‘I acted like a complete shit the other night.  It wasn’t you.  It was me dumping on you.  I’m really sorry, Peter.’  The boy stood apparently frozen.  ‘Well … say something.’


  ‘Er … what?’


  ‘I don’t know.  Like, “I forgive you,” or whatever?’


  ‘You hurt me.’


  ‘I know.  I really, really am sorry.  I’ve been waking in the night in a sweat about it.’


  ‘If Billy hadn’t talked to me, I would have gone back to Ton-yr-Nant last week.’


  ‘Billy?  The American?’


  ‘He was so kind.’


  ‘Yeah, great guy.  I’m glad for you.’ Peter blushed red.  ‘You and him, yeah?’


  ‘Well, no, but he was supposed to be coming round about now.  Did you see him?’


  ‘Only Manky Miles.’


  ‘Who?  Oh right, Billy’s English friend.  Perhaps he had a message.  I’d better get back.’


  ‘Sorry to have … y’know.’


  Peter seemed to have come to a decision.  He gave his shy smile, and Tommy thought while it lasted that the boy was actually something of a looker.  ‘Don’t do it again!’


  ‘I won’t, believe me.  You coming to the quiz night on Tuesday?’


  ‘I will, yes.  Gav’s been really good to me.  He’s a friend.’


  ‘He’s a great kid.  See you there, then.’  Tommy was on the brink of cuddling and kissing Peter, the way he did with his other male friends, gay or straight, but he withdrew.  He’d already pushed his luck.  ‘Bye!’


  It was as he was turning away that Tommy’s mind rang an alert.  Miles had claimed to know no Peter Lewis, yet it seemed from Peter that Miles’s mate Billy was tight with him, and Miles might even be Billy’s intermediary.  Tommy’s neck prickled.  He must talk to Jammy … no, Gavin would be even better.  He searched for his mobile.








  When Max returned from campus, he heard voices from their flat upstairs.  He leaped up the steps two at a time.  He found Gavin and Tommy in close conversation over cups of tea. 


  ‘Tommy baby!  Kisses!’


  ‘Hey, babe.  Gav here has been telling me some eye-opening things.’


  Max looked anxiously at his boyfriend.  ‘Er … which eye-opening things?”


  Tommy raised his eyebrows.


  Gavin grinned.  ‘About Rupert and Billy for one thing.’


  ‘Oh, any more news there?’


  ‘Mina saw Rupe moody and very drunk midday in the small bar.  So no good news.  She wants to castrate Billy.  He’s dropped Rupe like a stone.  Tommy says he’s got poor Peter in his sights now, and that seriously annoys me.  And worse, he’s got Miles playing Renfield to his Dracula.  Bastards!’


  Max whistled.  ‘You haven’t heard the half of it.  After the pub on Friday, Billy got Jimmy and Clive in the second year to fuck Miles in turn while he watched, before he took both of them.  They’ve broken up as a result.  It’s all tears and Clive has gone back home.  I ran into him at the bus station.  He’s a mess.  And wait till you hear this: Billy’s seduced Chrissie!’


  Tommy shook his head.  ‘Incredible!  A guy like him and a gargoyle like Chrissie!’


  ‘Alasdair was full of it.  Deeply distressed, though there was never anything between him and Chrissie so far as I know.’


  ‘How does he do it?  Why does he do it?’


  Gavin frowned.  ‘I think we can work out the “why”.  It’s the “how” that concerns me.’


  Max nodded.  ‘We gotta protect little Pete.  He doesn’t need his head screwed along with his butt.  But how?’


  They both stared at Tommy.  ‘What are you looking at me like that for?’


  ‘Darling, you’re the unattached male round here.  Also you owe the kid, from what you told me.’


  ‘What can I do?’


  ‘Go and be his friend.  Talk some sense into him.’


  ‘Er … easier said than done, Gav mate.  Peter and I are on eggshells, and Billy’s already been sucking blood out of his throat.  Got any garlic?  Stakes?  Crucifixes?’


  Silence fell as each young man sipped meditatively on his tea.  Max caught Gavin’s eye and seemed to read the same thing there as he was thinking.


  ‘Tommy babe?’




  ‘Gav and I were wondering if you’d like to come down to London with us on Wednesday?’


  ‘Uh?  Let me guess, you were thinking it would help extract my head from out of my own backside, yes?’


  ‘You read my mind.’


  Tommy smiled.  ‘It’s a nice thought.  What’ve you got in mind?’


  ‘Some friends of ours in Highgate are having a party.  You’ll find them interesting.  We could stay on there, or go clubbing afterwards.’


  Tommy looked intrigued.  ‘Boy clothes?’


  ‘Entirely up to you.’








  In the end Gavin had to agree to go with Tommy to find Peter.  He wasn’t in his room, so they toured the campus.  But it was Rupert they found.


  He did indeed look as though a vampire had been snacking on him.  There were black patches under his red eyes.  He was dishevelled and unshaven.  He wore shorts, a stained tee shirt and was trudging along in flip-flops, so far as flip-flops allowed one to trudge.  Gavin stopped in front of him.  Rupert looked up wearily from the pavement.


  ‘Oh, hi.’


  ‘Rupe?  Are you alright?’


  ‘Oh yes, right as rain.’


  ‘Stop being stiff-upper-lipped.  This is not a war movie.’


  Rupert gave a hollow laugh.  ‘Really?  It’s funny you should say that.  I feel like Czechoslovakia after the Nazis moved in: thoroughly betrayed and totally fucked.’


  Gavin found that response mildly encouraging.  The man still had some irony in him, even if there was no apparent steel in his backbone.  ‘So what happened?’


  Rupert slumped on a bench, Tommy and Gavin taking seats on either side.  ‘He was renting me out to Miles.  For God’s sake, it was as if he were my pimp!  When I told Miles to get out of my room, he laughed and said that if I wanted Billy there again, I should be good to Billy’s friends.  Who the hell does Miles think he is?’


  ‘Miles has always had an ego issue,’ Tommy answered.  ‘He really does think he’s God’s gift.’


  ‘Well God hasn’t been very generous with the dimensions of his dick, that’s all I can say!’


  Tommy struggled not to laugh out loud.  ‘So you told him to drop dead?  Well done, Rupe.’


  ‘That was about the only satisfaction I had.  My self-respect has taken a torpedo amidships.  I can’t look in the mirror in the morning.  What that man has put me through.  If I were one of my ancestors, I would call him out with a sword.’


  Gavin shook his head.  ‘Even though violence might help you feel better, Rupert, it’s no solution.  Don’t feel too bad.  Billy’s a bastard for preying on your lack of experience, but that doesn't make you a lesser man.’


  ‘Please don’t tell me I’ll be a sadder but wiser chap as a result of all this.  There are too many clichés in my life as it is.’


  Gavin hugged him around the waist, and was heartened to find Rupert didn’t pull away.  ‘You need to get away for a bit.’


  ‘What?  It’s still only the third week of term!’


  ‘Just for a few days.  Besides, how can you concentrate on your studies with all this going on in your head?’


  ‘A fair point.  I have family in London at the moment.  Perhaps I’ll go up to town for a day or two after your quiz night.  I have to pick up the Live Action passes, don’t I?  I’ve been a fan since Year 6.’


  ‘Good idea. Maybe the concert’ll distract you.  By the way, seen Peter?’


  ‘Peter Lewis?  He was in the coffee shop with that fat fellow, what’s-his-name, half an hour ago.  I say, do you two know anything about tattoo removal?’








  Gavin and Tommy finally ran down Peter on a path crossing the sports field.  He was meandering along looking preoccupied, like most of the other gays on campus, it seemed.




  ‘Oh, hello, Gavin!  Oh … Tommy.’  It appeared that Tommy had still not been entirely forgiven by the sensitive Welshman.


  Gavin took his friend by the arm.  ‘There are things we need to tell you, Pete.’


  ‘You mean things about Billy?  He’s a total bastard!’


  ‘Ah … you’ve worked that out then?’


  ‘I had a long talk with Alasdair this afternoon.  He told me how Billy had exploited poor Chrissie so badly.  Almost raped him!’


  ‘Er … really?’


  ‘Yes indeed.  I was horrified.  Alasdair says he heard Chrissie howling with pain in his room this afternoon.  Billy forced him to have a tattoo on his hand, y’know.’


  ‘So you haven’t seen Billy then?’


  ‘No, and I have no intention of doing so either.  The man’s a total waste of space.’


  ‘Okay, then.’  Gavin’s head was spinning.  ‘Well, that’s sorted at least.  Umm.  Fine.’


  ‘Are you alright, Gavin?’


  ‘Absolutely fine.  No problem.’


  Bemused, Gavin wandered off with Tommy, who was grinning to himself but ostentatiously refusing to comment.