HENRY IN HIGH POLITICS
It was the end of exeat and Henry was by then aching to be with Ed. When they made their restrained greetings in the sixth form block on an unusually warm March morning, it was very difficult for both of them. Kissing and hugging were not an option in school, let alone the other things they desperately wanted to do.
In the end their combined libidos got too much for them. Henry dragged Ed into his carrel, jammed a chair against the door, covered the window with his prefect’s gown and struggled out of his clothes. Ed was not far behind him.
‘How do we do it, Ed?’ Henry whispered. ‘There’s no space to lie on the floor, and the furniture won’t take the strain.’
‘Never mind that, got the all-important lube?’
Henry delved into his suit jacket where he kept a small tube of KY in hopes.
‘Okay, now we have to be quiet and … er, original.’
The boys somehow achieved both objectives. Their coupling was passionate and carried out in a very peculiar position, which put great strain on Ed’s developing physique, but they managed.
They kissed long and hard before cleaning up and dressing. Ed held Henry and simply stared into his eyes. ‘Babe, that was just the best. No wonder I love you,’ he breathed before taking his leave.
‘Funny smell in here,’ said David as he entered the carrel shortly afterwards.
‘Yeah … must be the furniture polish.’
‘Doesn’t smell like furniture polish … oh well. Henry, I’ve come to a decision.’
‘You’re going to make more of an effort with Rudi?’
‘Huh. Be real. No, I’m going to join a gay support network online. I’ve already got three sites and I’m ready to register with one that’s specifically for teens.’
‘Oh … great.’
‘Thanks for the enthusiasm.’
‘Sorry, Davey. No, it’s good that you’re doing this. I’m sure it’ll help.’
‘Yeah and I’ve also taken out a subscription to a gay porn site. It’s totally amazing what these guys do. I’m blowing my nuts three times a day.’
‘Aah, okay. Less socially responsible, but whatever turns you on. What if you get caught?’
‘I’m using the wi-fi modem on my laptop, and deleting the logs. Should be okay providing no one walks in on me. Hey, why don’t you come round one evening and we can wank off together?’
‘Davey, somehow I should have realised there was a getting-Henry-naked subtext to all this. It is not going to happen. Enjoy your cybersex.’
‘Curses!’ David grinned very fetchingly, which reminded Henry that a part of him was quite as willing to be naked with Davey as with his Edward.
‘Well, Rudi, how was your granddad?’ Henry had his first encounter of the week with his friend on Tuesday.
‘My granddad? Oh … yeah. Fine, thank you for asking. He’s gone back to Richmond.’
‘All set up for the rest of the term?’
‘Very much so … look, sorry Outfield, gotta take this call. Catch up with you later.’ Rudi dashed off, leaving Henry puzzled in his wake.
Henry shrugged and went to seek out David. ‘Hey, Bounder! How’s the porn?’
‘Shh! For fuck’s sake, Outfield! Mr Brokenshire’s just down the corridor. He might have heard!’
‘Oh … pretty amazing actually. All these hunks happily performing the most intimate acts before cameras, just for my entertainment. It’s unbelievable. You can actually see them doing it. Wanna … er?’
‘No thank you,’ Henry responded primly. ‘Ed would have an opinion on that. Now you’ve had a nice long break, you feeling more well-disposed towards Broody Rudi?’
‘Broody Rudi? Very amusing. I like that one. He’d just better keep outta my way, the jerk.’
‘Give it up Davey.’
‘No chance. It’s undying enmity, like … I dunno … Athens and Sparta sorta thing, or the Predator and Arnie Schwarzenegger.’
‘Which one are you?’
‘Need you ask? The heroic underdog, of course.’
‘Rudi’s not a monster, Bounder. Okay … he’s not the easiest guy to get to know, and maybe he’s not a bundle of laughs, but the more you do get to know him …’
‘Yeah, yeah. You’re just being nice, Henry. You can’t help it. It’s like benign Asperger’s with you. You can’t see the nasty in anyone.’
Henry bridled. ‘Great! Well thank you, David Skipper, for making my essential niceness into a mental disorder. I’m going to go find and torture a Year 7 kid hideously, just to prove how normal I am.’ He stalked off, leaving David chuckling but unrepentant behind him.
Oskar put his hands behind his head and allowed himself to feel a little happier. The sleeping body next to his stirred and then farted, but somehow that did not take away from the moment. Of course, a lot of it was due to his having spent several days with Pete, during which he had done little but rut relentlessly, which was no trouble to him. He had allowed the major concerns on his mind to sit ignored in their in-tray for a while.
Perhaps Pete was feeling the same. Oskar turned and spooned up around the younger man, kissing the nape of his neck and running his hand up the ridges of his well-toned abdomen. It was clear to him that his lover had come to a crossroads in life and was hesitating as to which direction to take. Pete did not like quitting anything, but college and the States were now grown intolerable to him for several reasons.
Pete’s indecision had stirred something unusual in Oskar, a feeling of concern and protectiveness for this young man who was, after all, only just out of his teens. There was a vulnerability in Peter Peacher that perhaps Andy alone in his family could see, but which was very clear to Oskar. It touched something in him that only Will Vincent previously had. Oskar did not in general like protracted relationships with other men, wanting nothing more than to join with their bodies, preferably with them under him. He had however freely offered himself to Will, and was thinking of doing the same with Pete, though he was not entirely sure he wanted it.
A voice murmured into the bedclothes, ‘Again, Osku? That’ll be the fourth time tonight.’ Pete turned and they meshed groins. Pete was hard, and began thrusting gently at Oskar. He threw back the duvet and pressed down on the older man, pushing Oskar’s legs out and causing him to raise his buttocks. There was mischief in Pete’s eyes as he grinned at his lover. They had done this in play before.
Pete jabbed hard to find Oskar’s entry. He had till then been wrestled off at this point, but for once his very solid erection found its mark and Oskar’s anus was put under pressure. They both were startled, Pete the more so. But he pushed on, and with a suppressed cry of triumph he breached Oskar.
At that point Oskar rebelled. He started thrashing under Pete, who hung on to him and kept pressing in. At last Oskar’s flailing limbs and heaving body succeeded in expelling Pete, but there was something smouldering now in the younger man’s eyes. They began struggling in earnest, falling off the bed and rolling over the floor. A side table went flying, the lamp set on it smashing as it fell. At last, Pete managed to pin Oskar under him. When Oskar tried to raise himself on all fours to throw off his assailant, Pete thrust mercilessly down into him. Oskar resisted momentarily, then surrendered. Squatting over his now submissive lover, Pete felt his cock run the length of Oskar’s sphincter and be gripped. Then he was pumping furiously into Oskar, both men grunting with mingled shock, pain and excitement. Pete came very fast, but with what an orgasm! He yelled it out to the world before rolling on to his side on the carpet as Oskar collapsed under him.
Oskar went up on to his elbows, a peculiar look on his face. Eventually, he kissed Pete’s forehead. ‘Do you feel better for that?’
‘Better, Osku? That was the first time you let me in … why was it such a struggle?’
‘I don’t take it …’
‘… except professionally?’
Oskar frowned. ‘That was not a nice thing to say, Petey.’
‘Sorry, Osku, I didn’t mean it like it came out. You let me do it, I felt you give way.’
‘My body betrayed me … it remembered another time with a different lover for whom I had the same feelings.’
‘Will Vincent.’ Peter paused. ‘You two still fuck?’
‘Not criticising, dude. I wouldn’t blame you. Will’s amazing for his … er …’
‘Umm. Yeah. Look, that didn’t come out right either. I know there’s a few years’ difference between us, but I don’t think about it when we’re together – or ever, for that matter. You’re my sexy Euro-hunk; my Mr Bel Ami.’
Oskar shook his head, then laughed. ‘What Falkefilm has to answer for! I’ll have to live with Oskar Prinz, or should I say Marc Bennett, for the rest of my life. Is it a problem for you, leblen?’
Peter kissed him on the mouth, a lingering kiss that seemed to say a lot of what needed to be said. ‘I love you, Oskar Prinz,’ he murmured as their lips separated. ‘You’re unique: sexy, super-smart and strong. I’ve never met anyone like you … well, apart from Terry O’Brien.’
‘And you had sex with him?’
‘Absolutely. Him and Ramon both. That was an awesome weekend. Are we both gonna be exclusive from now on?’
‘That depends as to what “from now on” means. Leblen, I think I feel more for you than I have for any other man … and I include Will, here, though indeed Will was very different. You’re not him. He was naďve and charming, a man-child. That has never been you. I’d guess you were … how do you say? … whip-smart, even as a teen.’
Peter reached over and stroked Oskar’s flanks. His expression had become suddenly concentrated. He had indeed reached his emotional crossroads, as Oskar had sensed. ‘You say you feel more for me than for any other man … but Osku, that’s ambiguous. I think I read you. You mean that you’re not sure you’re truly capable of love.’
Oskar blushed, a very rare event. He had not expected quite so perceptive a reaction. ‘I am a whore,’ he replied, ‘and my sort gives up true emotion when we resign our bodies to other men.’
‘I don’t believe that any more than Will did. There’s a heart to Oskar Prinz, it just won’t reach out to others because …’
‘... it’s afraid it’ll be hurt. It’s afraid to entrust what’s left of love in it to another, because things would be just too horrible if it were spurned and betrayed.’
Oskar stared at this boy who was reading his innermost heart. ‘How do you know this?’
‘Because I love you, and your mind has been my study for some time. There is no man in my experience that has ever approached you. And there’s more too. When I took you just now, you resisted fiercely, but there came a moment when I could tell you wanted me to do it. Although you fought hard, I knew in the end you’d let yourself be forced into the submissive role, because in surrendering you knew you’d win.’
‘Win? Win what?’
‘Love. That's what surrender means for you, Oskar Prinz. Your love has to be taken from you, not given. Am I making any sense?’
Oskar took the other man to his broad chest. ‘Yes you are, leblen men. You’ve earned my submission to you. You’re more than worthy. I’m yours entirely, my love and my heart. Ai du menje odhevstet.’
Then with a sudden surge of freedom, Oskar sat up on his aching butt, despite the risk to the carpet of Andy’s guest room. ‘Now, since all barriers are gone between us, it’s time to tell you some secrets, and what it is I have been doing these past six months. I think you can help.’
The rest of Trinity term was tranquil at Medwardine, but with exams and assessed essays for the lower sixth approaching all too fast, that was hardly a surprise. Absorbed by his revision schedule, Henry had to restrain his interest in the web and in Rothenia, where civil troubles seemed to have subsided in anticipation of the national elections. They were fixed for the Monday of Holy Week, as was traditional in that Catholic country.
Nonetheless, Henry used what odd moments he had to read up about his new hero, Leopold of Thuringia. He was sitting in Trewern churchyard on one of the memorial benches one Saturday when Ed was away on a hockey fixture. It was a warm afternoon for mid-March, and Mr Andrews from Glebe Farm was giving the grass its first trim of the year. The fresh smell caused Henry’s nose to itch. He wondered if he was getting hay fever.
‘Ahoi, jong Hendrik! Denn klenne, ja?’
‘Prosim, Doktor Mac!’ Henry put down his book and beamed at his friend.
Dr Mackenna took the seat next to him. ‘What have you there, my boy? Oh! The new biography of Prince Leo. I saw it advertised. I wonder if I could borrow it after you’ve finished with it.’
‘Sure, Dr Mac. I know you don’t like talking about wartime stuff, but you were in Rothenia in the forties when he was. Did you ever …?’
‘… meet him? Well, yes I did.’
‘Wow! What was he like?’
‘You understand I was a mere lieutenant in the Special Operations Executive, on my first posting. The prince was a bit too grand a character to have much to do with the likes of me, but I did meet him the once, and even had a chance to talk with him. I had more to do with Martin Tofts. I suppose nowadays you’d call him the prince’s boyfriend, but in my view that’s a silly term to apply to such men.’
‘How about lovers?’
‘Better. For they were very much in love, and quite unembarrassed about it, despite the climate in those days for homosexual men. As I was saying, I worked for Martin Tofts in Glottenberh, where SOE based their operations. I accompanied him once up to Lake Maresku when he was liaising with the prince. I drove Sir Martin to Leo’s house above the lake, and was taken in to meet his royal highness.’
‘Pretty impressive that Martin Tofts trusted you. The book says they had to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid their communications being detected.’
‘It was in the last year of the war, when the German armies were already in retreat. The Russians had got as far as the Carpathians, and German troops were being pulled out. The Slovaks who replaced them could be brutal but were not that interested in counterespionage. They had their hands full with the guerrilla campaign that had already begun along the Massif border.’
‘So what was the prince like?’
‘Very kind and gentle, as it happens. His wife had arrived with their twin boys that very weekend, as the Allied bombing had reached Ernsthof and the house at Saint Hildeburg had been badly damaged. When with his children, Leo was a delight to watch. I hadn’t thought that men such as he could have paternal feelings, which proved how little I knew.’
‘How did Martin Tofts get on with the kids … and Mrs Prince?’
Dr Mac laughed. ‘Oh … very well. Those were different days, Henry. People were much more formal and civilised than here in the next century. I rather think the archduchess was more fond of Sir Martin than otherwise. He was, as I imagine you might say, quite the hunk.’
Henry laughed. ‘What did you talk about with the prince?’
‘He wanted to know a bit about me. He spoke perfect English, of course, having been educated at your school and at Oxford. Oddly enough, my boy, he had something of the look of you, though slightly taller and with receding hair in those days. Yet I see a shadow of him in your eyes. There’s not something you’ve failed to tell me, is there?’
‘Not that I know of, Dr Mac, though when I was little I did like to think I was the secret son of a multimillionaire who would one day come and claim me. Not really fair on mum and dad, who are the best when it comes to parents.’
‘It’s not an uncommon fantasy, Henry, even in happy children. Where was I? Oh yes! The prince and I chatted. He wanted to know how things were in Britain, and how the bombing had affected London. I had been at Oxford for a year before I was called up, so we had something in common. We even knew the same tutors, though I was at Keble and he had been a St John’s man. That was it, really, just chit-chat. But I’ll never forget his eyes.’
‘What was so special about them?’
‘They were dark and almost luminous. It was as if they were a direct window on to his soul. I’ve never seen anything like them since. They mesmerised me. Though he was not a handsome man, like his lover, the eyes made him seem quite beautiful. Odd, but there you are. It’s not the sort of thing you can get from a photograph.’
Henry sighed. ‘It would have been great to meet him. You’re so lucky.’
The old man laughed. ‘It’s nice to have lived long enough to be envied by a teenager! Well there you are, that’s all I can tell you about him. He was buried at Zenda in the Thuringian mausoleum in the great park. You’re too young to remember the fuss when Sir Martin died some months after the prince, and was buried beside him.’
‘You mean people protested? That’s so horrible.’
‘No, not that sort of fuss. The family knew it was the prince’s wish, and honoured it. He was put near to his rather romantic mother, the countess of Rechtenberg. It was the sculpted cover placed over Martin and him that caused the fuss. It was the prince’s final statement about his homosexuality. Don’t they have a plate of it in your book?’
Henry had not skipped ahead to look at the pictures. He riffled through, searching for the darker and heavier leaves that marked the plates. When he opened the last one, there it was, a full-page art plate taken from a point directly above the tomb. Two young men were lying together hand in hand, as if on a grassy lawn, looking at each other with a most remarkable expression; mingled love and anticipation were on their faces, and it was as if they were about to burst into laughter.
Henry’s breath caught in his throat. He recognised the look. It was the one he got from Edward, just before they cracked up over a mutual joke.
The two were depicted as late in their teens, slightly older than he and Ed: university age perhaps. Though Martin Tofts had been a handsome man, they were both transfigured by that look of delighted anticipation. They were barefoot, in loose shirts and trousers, as they might have been at a tennis party on a summer’s day between the wars, and they were so beautiful Henry felt tears spring into his eyes.
He glanced up to find a kindly look in Dr Mackenna’s face. ‘I think you see what I mean, Henry.’
‘Yes, I do. If I ever needed to be convinced that love is stronger than death, I’ll only ever need to look at this.’
‘Of course there were bigots who shouted about it, but most people just had to see it to realise what it meant.’
‘I’ve gotta go and visit it, Dr Mac.’
‘Not this year I fear, Henry, not this year.’
Rudi had calmed down a lot at school, so much was clear. But Henry had an idea it was not because he had become acclimatised to Medwardine, but because he was being distracted by something else. He was often on the web till late at night in the study centre, Ed said, and he would disappear in a rush outside to take calls on his mobile.
‘I’d guess he’s into online betting big time,’ Ed suggested.
‘You seriously think so?’
‘Oh yeah. I even asked Westenra what he thought, since you were worried about his own addiction. He said I spend too much time with you.’
Henry snorted. ‘Cheek! Mind you, it would account for the tenseness. Maybe he’s over his head in debt and is scared his mum will find out. It’s what aristocrats do, isn’t it?’
‘It’s not what Fritzy does.’
‘No, well, Fritzy seems to have the other aristocratic obsession … sex. He’s getting really tedious about him and Maria and their pubescent fumblings.’
‘Actually,’ said Ed, ‘that was over two days ago. He’s now into Natasha. Despite his bravado, I think Maria dropped him rather than the other way round.’
Henry took a gulp from the coffee he’d been nursing so long it had gone cold. He scanned his French coursework, sighed and sent it for printing to the study centre’s machine. As the printer whined and hummed into action, he looked over at Ed, blond head down over a book, and thought about Prince Leo and his Martin. Henry’s heart pulsed with some very strange and unfamiliar emotions.
It was a while before Henry realised that the thing stabbing at his heart was anxiety. He knew he desperately loved the boy whose profile he was studying. But with love, he was finding, came fear. He could not quite put his finger on where the fear originated. He thought of Leo and Martin, once teens like Edward and him in this very school. Apparently they had been unable to do much about it in those distant boarding-school days, when everyone lived close together and the masters were very alert to signs of inappropriate relationships. He and Ed were so much luckier. Though they had to restrain themselves at school – just as a hetero couple would – they could live as lovers.
Maybe that was the problem: consummation. For Leo and Martin, every moment of happiness was stolen and fragile. He and Ed had it all by comparison: acceptance and approval from friends, and Henry’s family at least. They could even be domestic in Trewern or Highgate. It had all gone so well for him. Life should not be this easy. Those two long-ago boys would probably have shaken their heads at his luck, and think they had been hard done by. But in fact, their love seemed more jewel-like to Henry because of the grim setting out of which it shone.
Of course, his memory reminded him, the book had said that Martin Tofts had spread it round a bit as a young man. He had not been monogamous, even at Medwardine with all the difficulties. Several old boys had later claimed to have shared a bed with him. So was Henry’s growing fixation with Davey Skipper such a wrong thing? Probably Martin Tofts would have laughed at his scruples. But he had them all the same, and he feared the consequences of indulging in what he knew Davey would very much like to share.
Against his better judgement, Henry’s libido persuaded him in the end to accept David’s invitation to join him in his room after prep one night. David whispered that he had some downloads on his laptop that Henry really needed to see. ‘Get comfy, Henry,’ he advised, locking his door.
When they settled on David’s bed, Henry became ominously conscious that David was wearing no more than boxer briefs and a tee. He could not but enjoy the sight of David’s long and elegant legs, only lightly dusted with hair below the knees.
Henry sighed. If it was going to be a wankathon, there was no resisting it. He stripped down to his boxers and scooted over next to David, their bare arms warm against each other and the laptop between them.
‘Oh fuck …’ Henry groaned. ‘It’s going to happen, isn’t it.’
David looked eager. Henry tugged off his boxers and pulled David’s shirt off. David ripped off his own pants and sat there, erect and throbbing.
Henry admired the sight very much. David was quite something naked, and Henry could not but stare at what was revealed. There was not much hair on Davey’s body, apart from some thick dark curls gathered above the root of his penis.
‘Nice dick,’ Henry stammered out.
‘You think?’ David asked coyly. ‘How does it compare with Ed’s?’
‘A bit slimmer and darker, but yours is very … elegant. Yes, elegant. Not a word you’d normally use for dicks, but in your case Davey …’
Davey had his hand on his length and was massaging it eagerly, without any signs of self-consciousness. ‘Aww … this is just too good, Henry. This is what I dream of all the time.’
‘We’re not going beyond wanking, Davey,’ Henry warned him, taking his sizable penis in hand and gently worked at it. ‘Come on Davey, show me what you’ve got.’
‘Fantastic. Will you let me go on top?’
‘No, idiot. On your laptop.’
‘Oh, right … I downloaded this from an East European site. Take a look at those bods … and the passion, wow!’ David hit Enter and moved his hand to stroke Henry’s own stiff but rather smaller cock. Henry shifted his bum; it was all too enjoyable.
The opening credits of a streamed video appeared. ‘Anton Aramis presents Falkefilm,’ it said, and Henry absently noted the postal address in Strelzen. The next credit was a panoramic view of the city itself from the cathedral, as Henry recognised, followed by the title ‘An American in Strelzen – 1. Starring Marc Bennett, and introducing Jason Williams.’
The first scene was the international airport. Although Henry had never been there, it had to be Strelzen, its signage in English and Rothenian. A dark-haired, handsome man in his early twenties came through the barrier, smiling with a very familiar coyness at the border guard. Henry was astounded when the facial close-up left no room for doubt. It was Will Vincent!
But the surprises were by no means over. The scene shifted to an urban setting, with Will walking along absorbed in a street map. He collided with a tall and very handsome blond boy, and fell on his backside. The blond reached down and picked him up laughing. It was Oskar! Jesus wept! Henry was so stunned it did not even register that David had closed with his penis and was suckling its head enthusiastically – until, that is, David raked him with his teeth.
‘Ouch!’ Henry yelped.
David moved off him looking apologetic. ‘What’d I do?’
Henry rallied. ‘You don’t suck people off like that.’ ‘You do it this way.’
He began working on David, who was soon somewhere in seventh heaven, his head up and neck muscles taut. All the while Henry’s gaze was riveted on scene after scene on the laptop’s screen of hot sex between Will and Oskar, incredibly hot sex. So it was a total surprise when David shifted to hard panting, lifted his bum, groaned and came tumultuously in Henry’s mouth. Henry swallowed.
Sitting up, David stared at him. ‘That was beyond brilliant, Henry … God, I love you!’
Henry frowned. ‘No you don’t, Davey. You just love sex. I can see it in your eyes. You don’t look at me the way Ed does.’
‘Okay, I love having sex with you. Will you … take my cherry? I’ve got lube and stuff, condoms if you want.’
No, but squat up here and wank me off. That’s a fair swap.’
David obliged, perhaps with more enthusiasm than technique. Henry found it quite a turn-on to watch himself being serviced by such a good-looking boy, naked, his dark hair hanging in his eyes. Henry blew a heavy load that spattered both their faces and chests.
David hesitated. ‘What do I do now?’
‘You get a tissue.’
‘Aren’t you supposed to lick it up?’
‘You might do, but tissues work better.’
‘Can we do this again, Henry, please?’
‘I dunno. It seems too much like being unfaithful to Ed. But I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy it … you are very beautiful, Davey.’ And David gave him a coy smile, very like Will Vincent’s as it happened. ‘Now, Davey, I want you to copy some clips from that video on to my flash drive for me.’