It was the first free day in Strelzen, a Saturday. ‘Any plans … no, I needn’t ask, Henry, I can see the sheaf of markers in your Fodor’s.’
‘She knows you too well, Henry,’ smiled Ed.
‘Perhaps you can go with Dad to look over the church first? He’ll be ready at ten, he’s meeting Mr Neave the warden and Mr Vincent the Director of Music. I’m sure he’d like a bit of company. Besides, if you’re in the passenger seat, Henry, there’s a chance he won’t get lost’
‘Okay, but we’re not staying. We’ll have lunch in the city centre and be back at five, OK Mum?’
Dad was in his collar, and had an anxious look on him. Henry could not but ask him what was up.
‘Oh, it’s St Edward’s. It’s a bit on the ritualist side. I should have realised: the diocese of Europe can be very high church. But I’ve never done the intoning thing, and I’m not sure about all the ritual stuff. They didn’t do it at my college. I’m going to make an idiot of myself.’
‘Buck up, Dad,’ Henry grinned. ‘It can’t be as bad as Games.’
‘So Mr Vincent is coming to run through the service with me and give me a few lessons in the singing.’
‘Perhaps he could give me some lessons too, while he’s at it.’
His Dad looked sadly at him, ‘No Henry, we don’t do miracles in the Church of England.’ Henry was a little offended.
The church of St Edward the Confessor was a surprise: a little piece of English Victorian Gothic transplanted into Ruritania. It was situated in Klimentstrasse, a narrow street in Nuevemesten, in the historic Fourth District and not far Radhausplaz. There was a cobbled parking space for the clergy.
Ed and Henry were happy to go in and have a look round. The church was high and vaulted, with an apsidal end. The altar had been moved down into the nave, and there were fittings earlier than the church; the pulpit looked eighteenth century. Some wall plaques piqued Henry’s interest, but the biggest of them had inscriptions that were in Rothenian and indecipherable. Ed was patiently leafing through the parish magazine when the door opened behind them.
‘Er … hi,’ said a young man, ‘I’m looking for the Reverend Atwood, you anything to do with him?’
‘I’m his son,’ said Henry, ‘Are you Mr Vincent?’
‘That’s me, and the name’s Will.’
‘Hi! I’m Henry and this is Ed, a friend of mine.’ They shook hands rather formally. Henry sized up the director of music. He was not what he had expected. He was maybe in his mid twenties, tall, and quite something to look at. Good looking to the point of smouldering, yet at the same time curiously shy, or coy even. His hair and eyes were dark, and he clearly worked out.
Dad came out of the vestry with Mr Neave at that point, and there was a further round of introductions, Ed and Henry receded into the background, and stayed for a while watching Mr Vincent putting Dad through his paces. He seemed to play the piano a bit, and got Dad doing scales, before he ran through the mass settings for him.
Henry sensed Ed was getting bored. So they gave an abstracted Dad a half wave and left. ‘Okay, Henry the Navigator, where to now?’ Ed was clearly excited at having such a magnificent city to explore.
‘We’re spoiled for choice. The university’s that way, and the Radhausplaz, with the Tarlenheim Palace and the Jewish museum is that way. Since we’ve got to get lunch, we’d better head into town, and that means the Radhausplaz. Follow your Henry.’
‘How’s your bum, little babe?’
‘Er … if I tell you, will you promise not to get all guilty?’
‘Then it hurts like fuck,’ confirmed Henry. Ed looked guilty. ‘I said you weren’t supposed to get all guilty!’
‘Well, I can’t help feeling I pushed you into it.’
‘Fine, it was an experiment too far, but there were two parties involved, and I don’t recall protesting at the suggestion. Lighten up, Ed.’
They began walking, crossing a broad tree lined avenue and dodging past the red trams. ‘Lindenstrasse’, announced Henry, ‘Not lost so far.’ They crossed a few blocks of narrow streets and were suddenly confronted by the massive medieval tower of the Radhaus, the town hall of the New City. They paid thirty krone and climbed the 365 steps. The view over the square and the city was worth the money and the climb. Ed took a picture of Henry on his mobile, and then Henry reciprocated. They sent them with a text to their sixth form mates.
‘Where are they all?’ Henry asked.
‘Westenra’s in the States, Peters is in the Maldives, Ahmed’s back with the family in Pakistan, hopefully not going through an arranged marriage.’
‘Interesting lives our colleagues lead isn’t it?’
‘Yeah, but I wouldn’t give up what we’ve got going, little babe.’
‘You say the sweetest things Ed.’
They spent a while orientating themselves from the tower’s viewing gallery. It was one of those glorious days when the air has almost a blue tinge, as if the distance is being viewed through a clear sapphire. The towers, domes and the spires of Strelzen were hard edged in the crystalline air.
The friendly city noises drifted up to them from below, and were infinitely seductive to Henry, as a boy brought up in the silence of the deep country.
Henry pointed out the direction of their ultimate target, which was the shopping centre. ‘We can get lunch there. And we’re going to go by tram. We’re gonna be here for a month, so the sooner we conquer the tram system the quicker we’ll get round. Down in the square is a stop for Route 14: it’ll have the direction ‘Dom’ on the front, ‘cos it goes to the cathedral, but it runs along Mikhelstrasse, which is where the shops and malls are.’
‘And have you worked out tickets, dear Henry?’
‘You’ve gotta go to one of those little kiosks that sell cigarettes and coke and stuff, and buy a day pass: only 60kR, that’s under two quid, a total bargain.’
‘… and you do this in what language?’
‘Allegedly, English is spoken generally amongst the populace, dear Edward. Once we have the pass, we stamp it on a little machine on the tram, and that’s it, we’re off.’
‘Could not be simpler then, could it?’
It was simple, although they had to repeat their request to the kiosk person several times till he got it, and it turned out that their Fodor’s was out of date and the pass was now 70kR, ‘…still a bargain,’ Henry insisted. They awaited a no 14 for ten minutes in front of the looming façade of the Tarlenheim Palace, and Henry read out what the guide book had to say, how it was still a private house belonging to the princes of Tarlenheim, who had recently recovered it from the state. ‘Pity,’ Henry regretted, ‘it’s not open to the public, and look at the pictures of the interior, it’s full of art and grand state rooms. You’d think the family would need the tourist money.’
The tram when it came was one of the old type, from which you could hop on and off. There was a lady conductor issuing tickets, and she inspected theirs, saying something incomprehensible. When they shrugged and replied that they couldn’t understand her, she got a little cross, and started jabbing her finger down the tram.
‘Are we in the wrong seats or what?’ asked Ed.
‘Dunno. Sorry, we don’t understand,’ replied a harassed Henry. But she got more animated.
The other passengers looked on with a mixture of curiosity and amusement. Eventually one of them said to Henry in good English, ‘You need to get the pass stamped, down there, okay?’
‘Oh, right! Sorry!’ They went down to the little machine strapped to a pole and fumbled with it for quite a while till it worked.
‘… could not be simpler,’ muttered Ed in Henry’s red ears.
After an uneventful but pleasant afternoon the boys returned to the apartment on time, at five. There was a guest. Mr Vincent from the church had been invited for dinner, and he was deep in discussion with Dad about the parish and its characters.
‘Hullo boys,’ Dad said, ‘You remember Mr Vincent don’t you?’
‘Hi, again,’ said Henry.
‘Er … hi,’ said the man.
‘Get yourselves some drinks, lads. Mr Vincent was telling me a little bit about the parish.’
‘Well, a very little, I’ve only been attending St Edward’s a year or so, since I moved to Strelzen.’
‘Oh right,’ said Henry, curious about this rather cool young man, who just happened to be a choirmaster. ‘Where were you before?’
‘London, working in the media.’
‘And what do you do here?’ Henry persisted.
‘I work in the media,’ was the uninformative reply. Henry was a little miffed. The guy was closing him down.
‘What got you to be Director of Music, Will?’ asked Dad.
‘I started attending St Edward’s and though they had, and still have, an organist, there was little else musical going on in the church, which was a pity because quite a lot of young families attend, British and American. There’s a busy Sunday school and youth club, and the potential for developing a choir and music group was obvious, but there was no one with the ability to take it forward. But I’ve trained as a singer and can do a bit of keyboard work if I have to, so one day I suggested to the chaplain that I should ask around in the congregation and see what the response was.’
‘And it was enthusiastic,’ Dad smiled.
‘Sure. We’ve got two choirs now. The Sunday formal choir is for the good old Anglican favourites, with a full line up of boys’ and girls’ benches. We started doing monthly evensongs in June. It pulled in quite a lot of Rothenian music enthusiasts too, friends of mine. Maybe it wasn’t cathedral standard, but I was pleased with it. We have the gospel choir too, a little experiment for the young adults, it also attracted a good few exchange students from the Rodolfer Universitat. We’re giving a public concert this month, I hope you can come.’
‘Wouldn’t miss it,’ Dad replied.
‘Great,’ and Mr Vincent smiled, very nicely.
During the meal, he sensed that the boys were very interested in the history of Rothenia, and turned out to be a mine of information for them. ‘I was a schoolteacher in a former life,’ he said, ‘and although this has left me with some unfortunate character traits, I still keep up with the past, in a manner of speaking. And as far as Rothenia is concerned, I came to live here as a result of my London company sending me here to make a documentary on the history of the monarchy here. For that matter, my present company does the occasional historical documentary.’
‘You work for a Rothenian company now, Will?’ Mum asked.
‘Yes, it’s called Strelsenermedia IC. It’s the biggest independent now in Eastern Europe. We run two channels in the Czech Republic, another in Poland, and Eastnet, the new Central European 24-hour news network.’
‘And what do you do?’
‘I run it, I’m the CEO.’
Edward whistled low, and looked at Henry. ‘Excuse me Will,’ Ed said, ‘but aren’t you a little young to be so high up in the media, and I’m not meaning to be patronising, being pretty much on the young side myself.’
Will gave him a big smile, ‘It’s okay, Edward. I guess I am, but it’s possible to rise very quickly in the accession states of the EU at the moment: so much opening up, and so many opportunities. I was just in the right place at the right time with the right connections. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride, and I really need the church involvement to stop the whole thing taking over every little bit of my life. My boyfriend would certainly complain if I didn’t at least take one day off.’ All eyes snapped to Will at that point, and he gave a little half smile. He continued after the significant pause, ‘I find it as well to get the gay thing out of the way early on.’
Dad looked at the two boys; this was it, he was asking them how public they wanted to be about their sexuality. Henry felt under the table for Ed’s hand. It was squeezed, and so he said, ‘That’s probably the best way,’ Will smiled at him and nodded, ‘Ed and I are lovers too.’ Will’s smile washed away as astonishment rose to the surface to take its place.
Haha! said something in Henry, the man likes to shock people with his open gayness, but for once the boot is on the other foot.
‘You and your Ed are … boyfriends?’ He looked at Dad, who gave a little laugh.
‘The boys came out only a day or two ago, although they have been an item for some months now, to the extent that it has long been pretty clear to me and Mrs Atwood.’
Will looked impressed, ‘You are a liberal clergyman, aren’t you?’
‘No,’ said Dad, ‘I’m a loving father, and in the case of Edward, my son has chosen very well, I’m glad to say, and I’m very proud of them both.’
There was a silence, followed by Will standing and solemnly shaking Dad’s hand. Dad looked a little shaky for a moment, but then smiled.
‘Will?’ asked Henry, ending the gap in the conversation, ‘Can you tell us something about the city. Fodor’s is good — it’s even got a gay guide, which Mum would kill us if we used — but there are gaps. We were at the Tarlenheim palace this morning, and it looked brilliant, but it’s not open.’
‘It is, but only for one day a year, and that not until October. But if you want to see inside I can probably arrange something. You want to do it next week?’
‘Well, yeah. That’s prompt service.’
Will in fact made a brief call on the spot, and said that he’d be around at nine for them on Monday. They thanked him.
Sunday saw no let up in Dad’s nervousness. The eight o’clock eucharist was a said service so that was no problem, but when Henry got to church for the ten o’clock, Dad was pacing the vestry, as the choir rehearsed in the hall next door, and the organ played in the church.
‘Are you okay, Dad?’
‘Perfectly fine, love, perfectly fine.’
‘You’re as crap a liar as I am, Dad.’
‘Thank you, son. Appreciate the thought.’
It had to be said that Dad’s performance was maybe not a match for the choir, and to compare him with Will as cantor was of course pointless. Will’s voice was a soaring and confident tenor, which caused prickles on the neck of even Henry, and had Edward rapt. But Dad was in his element in the pulpit, amusing and thought-provoking as ever. He preached for fifteen minutes and there was a distinct feeling of regret in the air when he finished. There was coffee after the service and Ed and Henry went over to introduce themselves to the church group of young teens. They were a mixed and pleasant group, some children of expats, and others English-speaking Rothenians. Ed and Henry made particular friends with Micky and Nikki.
‘You can’t be serious,’ said Henry.
‘Don’t be rude,’ scolded Edward.
Micky was a Londoner whose father was trade secretary at the embassy. He was fifteen and had settled into Rothenia well. He went to a Rothenian school, and as a result could speak remarkably good Rothenian, as they learned when he chattered away with Nikki, a native Rothenian boy of the same age who came from a family of Old Catholics. There was no congregation of Old Catholics in Strelzen, so they had joined the Anglicans.
The Strelsener boys enjoyed giving them the low down on city life, with hints and tips about the best shops, and the best places to hang out. They exchanged numbers, and promised to meet up in the week. The two seemed to think it would be fun to go to the Spa together, and Henry thought he saw a secret grin flickering between Micky and Nikki when they suggested it, but he put his suspicions to one side.
The rest of Sunday was pretty much lazy. Mum made a grand lunch, as she was for the moment exempt from organ duty. Ed flaked out on the couch after what he said had been the best meal in all his life, and slept flat on his back drooling. Henry would have loved to have stretched out next to him and cuddled him, but he was creating rules about intimacy. His parents had been brilliant so far, and he was sensitive that he should not push the envelope too far and too fast for them.
On Monday, as promised, Will was outside the apartment in Königstrasse in his impressive and powerful Audi. He was in business suit and expensive shades, and very much looked the managing director of a media giant, so much so that Henry made a big point of thanking him for taking time out of his busy schedule just to chaperon two kids. Will gave a rather boyish grin, and said that he’d spent a considerable part of his working life with teenagers, and that he could think of no better way to spend a morning.
They drove the short distance to the Radhausplaz and Will’s car did more than pull up outside the palace, it drove in under a great rusticated arch and parked in an inner courtyard.
Will locked the car, and led them up some broad steps and through a tall open door into a marble entrance hall, with Canalettos and two monumental porcelain stoves in blue and white.
‘OK, lads. This is the palace, and very palatial it looks. I took the liberty of asking a young friend to take you round. He should be here. Hang on I’ll press this bell.’
A footman appeared, or someone whom Henry assumed was a footman. There was an exchange of Rothenian, and he disappeared. He reappeared a little later holding an inner door deferentially open for a young teenager: blonde, tanned and very handsome. He grinned when he saw Will, and hugged him round the waist, with a voluble burst of Rothenian, and a lot of laughter.
‘Lads, this is Fritz. He lives here and he’s very happy to take you round as it is school holidays and he’s bored, as he just said.’
‘Hello, English boys,’ said Fritz with a very attractive twinkle in his eye. ‘You have saved my life, I was close to suicide yesterday and it is only the first week of holiday. You want the proper tour, Willemu said, so on your own head be it. It’s your turn to be bored, and big time.’
‘Fritz,’ admired Ed, ‘your English is superb.’
‘Thank you, Edward. I have good friends who are English and American boys, we go skiing and diving together, and I have visited now London too.’
‘I’ve got to split,’ said Will, ‘Fritz says he’ll be happy to look after you for the day if you’d like.’
Henry looked at the attractive Rothenian boy, who smiled seraphically back at him. There was something decidedly odd here. ‘Tell me Fritz, are you a Tarlenheim?’
‘He is … well done Henry’ laughed Will, ‘bow to His Serene Highness, Franz VI, prince-count of Tarlenheim, but Fritz or even Fritzku or Fritzy to his friends, of whom I am privileged to be one.
‘Wow,’ Edward sighed, ‘This just about puts the icing on this trip. A pleasure Your Royal Highness.’
Fritz laughed, ‘Actually, I am not in the least Royal, friend Edward, though I am Serene. It is my natural disposition, so my brother Oskar says.’
They said farewell to Will, and were left face to face with the prince in his palace. He kept smiling, which also seemed to be his natural disposition. ‘I’ll take you to the gallery, as Willemu says that you are very artistic Henry.’
‘I wouldn’t go so far.’ He replied. ‘But yes, I’d like to see the pictures.’
So Fritz led them up to the grand gallery on the first floor, and they viewed the portraits of Tarlenheims past, and the late monarchs of Ruritania, the old name for the kingdom of Rothenia. They marvelled at the chandeliers in the ballroom, the grand reception rooms and the old kitchens. Then with a big grin on his face, Fritz led them up a narrow flight of stairs to the spaces under the roof. He triumphantly clicked several switches and revealed an enormous model railway. He glowed at the bigger boys’s admiration, which grew more intense when he admitted that he had done the modelling and wiring himself.
‘This is York Station, as I have reconstructed it from old photographs and books my friends have sent from England.’ He indicated a phenomenally detailed and huge multi-platformed Victorian station at the heart of his model network. ‘The wiring for the points was very difficult. Of course some modellers use computers to control the sequences these days, but, being a survival from an older age, I choose to stick to the manual switches.’
‘This is total genius, Fritzy!’ said an awe-struck Henry. The boy looked coy.
‘I have great fun here, and none more so than when I have good friends to play with. All my schoolfriends live too far away to share the fun, but it would be good if you would take the switch panel Henry, and if you Edward controlled the signals, and … there I shall set the Flying Scotsman on the viaduct so. It is a new model I have. And we are off …’
They didn’t leave the loft space till lunch time. A light lunch was provided in the kitchen, and they sat round talking freely and enthusiastically.
Henry had to ask, ‘So how do you know Will, Fritz?’
‘It is a long story. I met Will some years ago, in the old days before we got our lands back, when I was still a village boy in Husbrau in the north. Will was a friend of my big brother, Oskar.’
‘Oh,’ said Edward, ‘when you mean friend, you mean …’ then he flushed, aware of what he was saying to a young boy.
But this was no ordinary young boy. Fritz laughed, ‘Yes, you have it, Edward, Oskar and Will were lovers for a while, but it didn’t work out for one reason or another, but they are still very good friends, and Oskar works in Will’s company as director of TV for Strelsenermedia. Oskar has a new boyfriend now, and he is very happy. He is in America at the moment staying with his Pete in the Yale University, where Pete is a student. Oskar now is very rich, and pays for the palace staff here out of his own pocket, which is a great help, I can tell you.’
‘So who does Will live with? He mentioned he had a boyfriend,’ enquired Henry.
‘His boyfriend is a Rothenian, called Felip. They live up by the cathedral, and are very happy, at least Felip always has a smile on his face when he picks me up to go fishing on Saturday mornings.’ Fritz gave a confidential smirk, ‘I think they do the sexy thing quite a bit.’
Ed and Henry caught each other’s eyes and laughed. And then Fritz surprised them, a lot.
‘Ah … I see that you are boyfriends too!’
‘What! Did Will say?’ Henry was a little offended at the breach of confidence.
‘Not at all, but … bloody hell … as my good English friend Justin says, it is a bit obvious when you have as much to do with gay boys as I do. Oskar, Will and Felip have a whole circle of gay friends who are part of my life — and a valued part of my life, too – so you learn to notice things. I do not think most people would see it, if that is what worries you.’
‘I tell you one thing that worries me,’ confided Henry, ‘it’s the Spa.’ He told Fritz about the encounter with Micky and Nikki at St Edward’s.
Fritz was amused, ‘Ah yes … Oskar, Will, Felip, and I, and my sister Helge, we go to the Spa sometimes in summer. It is on a hill west of the city, and was built in olden days when the Orient Express (did I show you my model of it?) brought archdukes and millionaires to Strelzen, and when the Elphbergs ruled here. There are mineral waters, gyms, Turkish baths and for the children, there is an adventure playground.’
‘So, what’s the problem then?’
‘None, if you do not mind walking around without clothes in public.’
‘Aah! Right! I get it. Those little sods were going to embarrass us and put us on the spot by taking us without any warning to a place where we’d have to strip off naked or look stupid.’
Fritz continued. ‘Strelseners are natural nudists, in our long sunny summers here. I suppose your Micky has learned to do it too. Gone with his friends and found he was expected to get naked. So he’s going to spring it on you too. The naughty boy. I remember how embarrassed Justin was, and his boyfriend Nathan ran away with his robe, so he had to chase after him with his … willy, you call it? Yes? … flopping up and down.’
‘So who are Justin and Nathan?’
‘They live in London and they too are gay boys, a bit older than you two though. They work in gardens there, but Justin is a bit special, you see. He was adopted by the famous Matthew White and Sir Andrew Peacher, and he lives with Matthew.’
‘Whoa …’ said Edward, ‘you’re losing me. Matthew White? Who’s he?’
‘A big friend of Will’s. I thought he was famous, a model and a TV man.’
‘Never heard of him, but I’d probably recognise the face.’
‘You never forget the face,’ said Fritz. ‘So my gay friends say, and even I can see what they mean, and I am not at all gay. Helge thinks he is a very great loss to the female sex.’
‘Justin and Nathan came last winter for the skiing with us, and we had a great time. I went with my sister Helge to see them last Easter and stayed with Matt and Andy and them in Highgate. Do you know Highgate?’
‘Yes,’ said Ed, ‘My parents live in Hampstead, which is not far away.’
‘Ah … the Heath, yes. Justin got into trouble for a bad joke about cruising the Heath, which Nathan did not think was funny, as Justin is a little mad and might do such things just for the hell of it. He was a very bad boy when he was younger and was in prison, or at least I think that was what he said. Or was it “the secure centre”, but it sounded like a prison.’
They finished lunch, the older boys reeling a bit at the volume of information they were getting about Fritz’s huge circle of friends and relatives. Henry began to think that the young prince did not get the opportunity to chat much in school holidays. Fritz suggested that he take them to the great square of the Rodolferplaz, in front of the old royal palace.
So they left by a side door on to Wenzelgasse that Fritz knew. They hopped a passing tram. The huge square was surrounded by five- and six-storey commercial buildings. They got off at the palace end and admired the monolithic statue of King Henry the Lion before the gates. They joined the tourists at the iron railings watching the guards pace the forecourt.
Fritz then led them down the west side of the square, dodging through crowds and trams on the cross streets. Half way down the square they paused to throw coins in the great fountain that was the centrepiece of the piazza. Finally they reached the southern end, where there were cafés with tables under the trees and statues.
The boys got a table and a pleasant waiter took their orders for cokes and oranginas, conveyed by Fritz. He also ordered — without consulting them — some local ice creams in bowls heaped with berries which he said was worth trying. It was, and he insisted on paying for them, telling them that they were guests in his country.
Fritz thumbed over his shoulder with a quirky look, and said, ‘I’m not allowed to go to that corner of the square.’
‘Yeah? Why?’ asked Ed, as he knew he was supposed to.
‘That is the part where sexy stuff goes on; we call it the “Wejg”, short for Gildenfahrbswejg, you understand. They have ladies who take their clothes off and do a lot more if you pay them money. Also there are bars and cinemas they don’t let you in until you’re eighteen. Justin and Nathan went down there and got in terrible trouble from Andy and Matt. They were very naughty boys. They got drunk and ended up in a studio where they make gay porn. Andy was scary, and even Justin was about to cry I think when he finished with him, and Justin has the brass monkeys.’
‘I think you might mean, brass neck,’ smiled Henry.
‘Very possibly, Henry,’ said the prince. ‘I would not go down there, as Oskar would be so upset. But I imagine you might, and if you do, you might come back and tell me what it’s like … it is still a long time till my eighteenth birthday.’
‘Sorry, Fritzy, but I think this is one of those places my mum meant when she told us that there were places in the city that were off limits to us. And I don’t like upsetting her either.’
The afternoon passed very pleasantly in the sunny and beautiful city, in the delightful company of a funny and precocious young teen with surprisingly few hang ups about anything. Henry privately concluded that by the time he was an adult, Fritz would have a personality the size of a small planet. After a last drink together in a McDonalds, they said their farewells and exchanged numbers.
As they undressed for bed that night, Ed came up behind his naked boyfriend and pressed himself into his buttocks. ‘What’ll we do tonight, little babe?’
‘Let’s be sexy,’ Henry laughed.
‘Can you get on your back then, pretty Henry?’
‘What you got in mind?’
‘Just lie down, baby.’ Henry did and spread out on top of the crumpled duvet. Ed sat next to his legs and stroked up and down Henry’s inner thighs, making him coo and wriggle. Then he knelt between Henry’s legs and took his right foot and held it in his lap. ‘You’re so pretty, Henry. Look at this little foot of yours. So soft and so small.’ He reached down with his mouth and licked at Henry’s toes, then tentatively sucked them. He drew back and admired the small, well-clipped nails, the blue veins and light hair on the instep, then began sucking again.
Henry wriggled under the attention. He smiled up at Ed. ‘What’re you doing? Don’t you mind the sock smell? Don’t stop it though!’
Ed smiled round Henry’s foot. He put it carefully down on the bed, and then began licking up the inside of his lover’s right leg, starting at his ankle. He tickled with his tongue the light covering of dark hair below Henry’s knee. He looked at the little blue boys’ scars on Henry’s kneecap, and kissed them. Then he began moving his mouth up the thigh, Henry moving more jerkily under him. Soon he was face to face with Henry’s dick, already swelling with blood, the tip of his penis emerging from its fleshy sheath.
Ed licked and kissed his lover’s balls, large and tight for a boy of Henry’s slight build. He looked up at Henry looking down at him. ‘Don’t say anything. I want to do this.’ He pushed back Henry’s legs and exposed his anus and the hairy spaces behind the boy’s balls. Henry clipped himself down there, but it wasn’t easy to reach that particular area. Henry’s balls were still tight and didn’t hang down and hide the line of his perineum. Ed’s tongue began a slow journey down to the heart of darkness.
Henry gasped, ‘I haven’t washed down there, Ed. It’ll be … ooh!’
‘I don’t care. I even love the Henry sweaty, stinky odour. Which in the circumstances is just as well.’
He pushed in with his mouth, kissing his lover’s little fold of an anus. There was not much visible pucker there, a tightness which might account for part of their problem with intercourse. Ed began licking insistently, enjoying the little whimpers that Henry let out. He was going nowhere with this rimming. He just wanted to please Henry. Ed folded and tensed his tongue, and began attempting to penetrate Henry with it, but there was little chance. He was too tight. After an age of stimulation, Ed raised himself up and hung over his lover.
‘And now, little babe, you’re going to do something for me. You’re going to lick my bum too, and then you’re going to put your dick in me.’
‘So this is what this is all about,’ said Henry, reaching up and pulling Ed down to him, kissing and embracing him. ‘How do you know it’ll be any better than when you tried to screw me?’
‘I don’t, but I’m a bigger guy, and my hole may be in proportion to the rest of me. Maybe it’ll be easier for you to penetrate me. Note my sensitivity about not mentioning the relative sizes of our dicks.’ He looked seriously into Henry’s eyes. ‘I really want this, Henry. Take my virginity. I daydream about it, little babe. Another thing. I want you to do me when I’m on my back, looking up at your face as you go inside me … and anyway, maybe that could be an easier way to do it. Okay?’
‘Very well, my sporting hero. Be patient with me though.’ Henry rolled on top of Ed, who made himself comfortable, pulling back his legs and holding them behind the knees. Henry got himself in position in front of Ed’s displayed arse. Henry was a blond around his crotch too, and although there was plenty of hair there it was light and whispy, while his crack was almost entirely clear. His anus was pinkish, not brown like Henry’s. Henry fingered it lightly, and laughed at the reaction. ‘Where’s the oily stuff, Ed?’
‘By the table there. Ready?’
‘Oh yeah.’ Henry kissed the back of Ed’s muscular thighs, almost man-sized now, and licked his way down to the boy’s magnificent displayed rump. This was it, and here we go, he thought. His little pink tongue licked out and began lapping at Ed’s hole. As Ed moaned, it actually twitched! Henry was fascinated. It seemed to have a life of its own.
It was not long before he was really into it. The smell was mostly dominated by soap, as Ed had clearly got himself ready for the rimming, but there was the ever present acrid scent of his sweat and hormones. Underlying it was an umistakable earthy and musky odour, the scent of Ed’s interior. It excited Henry. You little perv, he accused himself.
When he thought it was time, and Ed’s hole was slick with his saliva, he oiled his index finger and pushed it steadily inside his lover. It was hot and tight. He wiggled it around, to test the elasticity of the muscle ring. Ed gasped as he did it. ‘Alright?’ Henry asked.
‘Aw yeah … and some,’ was the hissing answer.
Henry pushed as far in as he could, and began withdrawing and thrusting, as he couldn’t think of anything else to do. But Ed seemed to enjoy it, the muscles in his backside rippling as he shifted himself involuntarily. Two fingers proved little problem, and just increased Ed’s excitement. It was when he forced his bunched three figures in that Ed arched and groaned. But by now Henry was getting enthusiastic. He steadily increased the pressure. Ed had, after all, got three in him. The muscle gave under the assault, and soon Henry was jammed into him as far as he could. He pulled out, and sniffed his fingers: there was no doubt where they had been. He absently wiped them on the duvet cover. The ring had opened and there was a little black hole visible. Henry got the lubricant and let drops of the fluid drip awkwardly on the opening.
‘S’cold,’ said Ed.
‘I’ll rub it in, Ed.’ Henry kept up the massage, hearing a squelching noise as he worked away.
‘Shall I do it?’ he asked, his nerves very evident.
‘You erect?’ Henry had gone down a bit, but some hard stroking brought him back up. He got up over Ed’s rear and put his arms down on either side of him to take his weight. His shoulders connected with the back of Ed’s legs. Ed gave him a tight grin as he looked down on him, and he smiled back.
‘You ready, lover?’
‘As I’ll ever be, little babe. Just keep pushing okay? Get as much in me as you can.’
Henry had his cock in the crater of Ed’s hole. It felt slick and warm on his sensitive flesh. He said a brief prayer to whatever god managed erections, and pushed. He caught, but at least he didn’t slide out. His dick bent under the pressure, for all its eagerness, so he grabbed it to keep it straight. Ed was whispering to himself: ‘Relax. Relax.’
With a surprising suddenness, Ed’s anus surrendered, and Henry’s thin member slid into a new, hot and tight place, that gripped him and drew him in. It sent powerful sensations to the base of his spine. He was aware of Ed yelping, but also of his own involuntary groan.
‘Oh! Oh God!’ Ed moaned.
‘Is it hurting?’ Henry gasped.
‘Yes, but only a little. My bum’s loving it too. Move in and out, little babe. It’s fantastic!’ Henry had closed his eyes as his dick had gone in, he looked down now and saw an enraptured and preoccupied look in possession of his lover’s face. It seemed that it was different this way, and it seemed that Ed had less trouble taking him.
So Henry began the fucking strokes, slowly and patiently as he had been warned, the powerful body of his lover moving and squirming beneath him. They were slick with their sweat. He didn’t know how long he could keep it up. His cock seemed to be the centre of his universe, the place from which stabs of erotic flame began shooting out across his nervous system.
A part of him knew he was groaning as he thrust, but he had no control over it. Soon he had no control over his thrusting either. His head buzzed as his groin battered Ed’s arse with a rhythmic slapping. His balls tightened into his body, the sperm rose through his urethra, and he gave some incomprehensible strangled noise as finally he came inside another man.
Henry fell forward into Ed’s welcoming arms, and was hugged hard. ‘My gorgeous little Henry. My own lover. My life.’ He heard those words, and if anything could have increased his physical ecstasy, it was the spiritual ecstasy of hearing them said to him in all seriousness. He was complete.