SON OF THE CHAV PRINCE
Justin had no intention of just turning up unannounced to see Sammy Jo and Pearl in HM Prison Holloway. He got his office to locate their solicitors and went to them instead. He briefly explained his predicament and asked if he could arrange an interview with Sammy Jo. He remembered her all too well as the girl who had given him his last straight blow job. He had no respect for her talents in that department, but at least he was sure she would remember him.
He arrived at the grim prison at visiting time. After being searched he was directed to a table. Sammy Jo appeared and occupied the opposite end.
‘Afternoon, Sammy love.’
She was waxy and drawn. Her hair was still in the corn rows he remembered, but her drug habit had wrecked her body beyond repair. She looked at him listlessly.
‘Justin Macavoy. I remember you. Whatchu want?’
‘Just information, Sammy.’
‘What sort of information?’
‘You remember Jade?’
‘She had a kid … my kid, she claimed. You wuz her best mate, girl. She disappeared five years ago. I need to know where she went. Any idea?’
The pale eyes gazed dully at Justin. ‘You after the boy then, are yuh?’
‘Thass the idea, Sammy.’
‘How d’yu know iss yours? You turned out a homo, they told me.’
‘Yeah, I’m a homo. But even homos have feelings for their kids, believe me. If he’s mine, I wanna find him.’
‘Could you get it up with her, you being bent and all?’
‘The mechanics work fine, Sammy, gay or not. I screwed her. She said she wuz on the pill, but it turned out she lied, or just forgot cos of the drugs.’
‘They won’t let me see my kid.’
Justin stared at her. The only child she’d ever borne she had smothered in a fit of rage. Sammy Jo had clearly gone over the edge.
‘Thass dreadful, girl,’ he told her, putting on a sympathetic face. ‘Then you can imagine how bad I feel, can’t yuh?’
She looked at him consideringly. ‘There was this bloke Jade picked up. Black bloke. He wuz on a job in London. Doan know what sorta job. She fell out wiv her mum, and when he left she talked him into taking her along.’
‘Where’d they go?’
‘Somewhere north. One of them cities, Bradford or Blackburn or somefink. S’all I know. Never heard from her after she went. Cow,’ she added deliberately.
‘That’s all, then?’
‘You gonna talk to me lawyers? Tell ‘em I wanna see my Shane. The bastards doan give a fuck abaht me!’
‘Lawyers are bastards, Sammy. Bye now.’
Justin left, feeling very weird. He was also disappointed. All he had learned was that Jade and the kid had migrated out of the capital to somewhere in the north. There was a lot of north to England, and Justin knew it hardly at all.
His Jaguar took him purring up to the M25. He swung around London, looking at the northward-pointing signs and wondering what on earth to do next. Well, why not go see Terry? He would certainly know who and what to ask
Gus and Danny sat by the lake, silent. They were holding hands, and it seemed right, if a little scary. Finally Gus said, ‘I think I love you, Danny.’
‘That’s all very well, Gus, but you’re a boy and I’m a boy.’
Gus smiled absently to himself. ‘You’re a boy who gave me fantastic oral sex, Danny. Did I tell you it was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me? It was like someone set off a firework in my genitals.’
Danny smiled quirkily. ‘Now that’s a dramatic image, and no mistake. Thanks for the vote of confidence in my cock-sucking abilities, Gus. But I never thought of myself as a cocksucker before yesterday. I’m still not certain about this.’
‘About me being gay.’
‘Oh.’ Gus gave the matter heavy deliberation. ‘Suppose you let me fellate you. Then you might know better.’
‘And you’d like that, would you?’ A slow grin spread across Gus’s wide mouth. Danny thought it was a very nice grin. ‘I see you would like that.’
Gus nodded happily. Then he looked serious. ‘You may not be homosexual, Danny. You might like sex with both boys and girls. Do you fancy having sex with girls?’
Danny shook his head. ‘Naked ladies do get me stirring, but now I’ve done sex with you, I just want to do it again. Gus, I think you’re lovely … no, seriously.’
Gus blushed prettily, looking coyly at Danny through his lashes. ‘Then it seems to me that we can only conclude we both have feelings for each other, homosexual feelings, and I for one would very much like to do something about it.’
‘Anything you like. I feel guilty that I didn’t reciprocate yesterday on you. Why wouldn’t you let me?’
‘I was just too confused.’
‘So let me do it now. I think – I hope – I can do it as well for you, Danny, as you did it for me. But if you want to … go up my rectum, I would be very happy to let you.’
Danny was gobsmacked. ‘You’re offering to let me do that to you?’
‘That is exactly what I would like. I daydream about it in fact.’
Danny sighed. ‘I think we need a bit of a period for reflection, Gus. I really do. Let’s think about it for a few days. I’m just not ready.’
‘But you liked what we did?’
‘Amazingly, I did. I just didn’t know there could be so much excitement in a guy using my mouth like that.’
‘You made more noise than I, Danny.’
‘I did, didn’t I?’
Gus let his hand go and stood up. ‘Let’s go for a walk, Danny. I think better when I’m walking.’ So they wandered through the park of Haddesley Hall, silent for the most part, and certainly confused, but not unhappy.
They were passing through a thick patch of woodland at the back of the hall when Danny groaned, ‘Oh fuck it.’ He pulled Gus towards him, reached up and put his hand in his thick blond hair. He began kissing, and got an enthusiastic response from Gus. Danny’s need for sex was very evident, and Gus knew it.
‘Oh Danny,’ Gus gasped as he fell to his knees and unzipped his lover. Their mutual passion soon urged Danny to a climax. The consequence was a network of threads of his semen tangling in Gus’s hair and streaking his face. Danny groaned out his ecstasy and fell back against a tree trunk.
Gus dropped down next to Danny. They sat together, breathing heavily. Danny turned, grabbed Gus round the back of his head and licked away his semen from his lover’s face. Gus found a handkerchief and tried to clean up his hair, but it was a mess that needed a shower to put right. They headed back to the Hall, sneaking in through the kitchen door, and racing upstairs to avoid observation.
Halfway up they ran into a tall young man coming down. He deliberately blocked their way.
‘Well, well, Gussie. What have you been up to?’ He touched the slimy strands in Gus’s hair. ‘Urggh. What’s this? It’s fucking cum, you fucking pervert! Is this your boyfriend then?’
Danny was appalled. He had not yet come to terms with his homosexual urges, and now he had been outed to … ‘Who the fuck are you?’ he asked grimly.
‘Introduce me, Gussie dear.’
Gus had gone white and stuttered so badly that the man took over. ‘I’m James Underwood, little Gussie’s big brother. Now fuck off out of my house, nancy boy, and go back to hanging round the public toilets where you no doubt picked up Gussie.’
Danny knew all about James Underwood. Everyone local did. He was a troublemaker with whom Danny’s brother Wes had already had one run-in at a sixth-form dance.
Danny balled his fists, then dropped them. This was not his house, and he had been caught out big time. He suspected Gus’s shit of a brother would not keep this to himself. He looked at Gus’s devastated face. ‘Sorry, Gus. I’ll have to go. Ring me when you can.’
‘Don’t count on it,’ sneered James. ‘Come on, little Gussie, Mother needs to know what you and your little homo friend have been up to.’ Danny was distraught to see tears running down his friend’s face.
Almost overwhelmed with grief, Danny ran to the stables and retrieved his bike to pedal slowly back to Castringham. He dismounted and pushed the bike around the back to the shed where it lived. Heart pounding, he walked into the kitchen, half expecting his mother and father to be waiting for him, arms folded and angry after a call from Lady Underwood.
But everything was normal. His Mum was cleaning the fridge and greeted him absently.
Danny retreated to his bedroom. He lay down and tried to make some sense of what he had fallen into. Was he gay? He didn’t feel as though he was. Maybe he was bisexual. What did he feel for Gus? He liked him a lot. But did he love him? The word ‘love’ seemed far too loaded a term for their short acquaintance.
Most of all, Danny was deeply worried about the consequences of being found out doing homosexual acts. When the phone rang downstairs, his stomach twisted as he waited in a panic for the dreaded summons. But there was nothing. Life went on in its even tenor in Castringham Crescent.
When Danny recovered some of his equilibrium, he took out his mobile and began texting Gus. After an hour’s repeated messaging got no response, he tried to ring, only to discover that Gus’s mobile was turned off. It was midnight by the time he gave up and turned over to sleep, still fully clothed.
The next day was a Wednesday and at eight Danny was back at work at Haddesley Hall Garden Centre. He was feeling very tense as he cycled into the car park. Everything was quiet. The door was open and Danny parked his bike. Nathan came up behind him, making him jump.
Danny looked anxiously into Nathan’s face. The guarded and considering look told him everything he needed to know. The news had reached Haddesley Cottage.
‘Is … er, is Gus working today?’ he asked a little unsteadily.
‘No,’ replied Nathan, ‘he’s resigned – or rather, his mother rang up to say he wouldn’t be in again.’
‘Did she say why?’
‘She said that Gus had made a … connection with an unsavoury local youth which the Hall wanted to discourage. I think she meant you.’
Danny blushed red. ‘I didn’t do anything, Nate, honest, I swear.’
Nathan gave him a sympathetic smile, for which Danny felt grateful. ‘My cousin James was quite of a different opinion, Danny. You’ve been having sex with Gus, he’s telling everyone. Is it true?’
Danny’s mouth hung loose. Tears started in his eyes. This was just not fair. He was not ready for all the baggage which came with a public avowal of homosexuality. He hung his head. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
‘Come and have a mug of coffee, Danny babe.’
Danny allowed this gay man to pilot him up to the staffroom. He sat down while Nathan heated the kettle and clattered about with mugs and spoons. Nathan had called him ‘babe’. Danny knew what that meant. Nathan was acting towards him as if he were a fellow gay. Danny was partly comforted by this – it was acceptance and friendship of a sort – but also he was flustered. I am not ready for this at sixteen, he kept repeating to himself.
Nathan sat next to him and offered him a mug, which Danny gratefully accepted. ‘So what happened, sweetness? Tell me everything you can share.’
Danny recounted the whole story, how Gus had first annoyed and then intrigued him. Then the epiphany when he knew they were attracted to each other. He kept nothing back, not even his feelings while they were having oral sex. He was crying by the time he began talking about his fears, and was not outraged when he felt Nathan gather him up in his strong arms and kiss his hair.
‘Am I gay?’ Danny finally asked.
‘Probably, babe. Straight guys do have oral sex with other guys, or so common gossip tells us. But you felt more than the sexual urge. You wanted Gus himself, not just to get your rocks off. How do you feel about him now?’
‘Scared for him. I miss the lump, too.’
‘Have you ever got it bad, little one,’ the man laughed gently. ‘I never saw my cousin as a sex object.’
‘Oh but he is something,’ Danny hastened to say, his ears burning. ‘I mean, he talks like an encyclopaedia, but he’s great to look at … especially, er, without clothes.’
‘I’ll take your word for it.’
‘Are you going to sack me?’
‘We are an equal opportunity employer here at Haddesley Hall Garden Centre and Pet Supplies. Besides, you’re a really great worker, the best we’ve ever had, no word of a lie. I couldn’t afford to send you packing, babe, whatever Aunt Rosalind says.’
‘So she wanted you to fire me?’
‘She was somewhat on the angry side. Too hasty really. I run this Centre so I was a bit rough with her when she made her demand. That’s when she told me that Gus wouldn’t be coming here again. Sorry babe, but I can easily afford to lose him, he was a crap worker. Now I can give the job to one of the good kids we had to turn down to please Uncle Phil.’
Danny nodded. He knew the justice of that remark all too well. ‘What do I do, Nate? How do I deal with this?’
‘You have to find the strength to be yourself, Danny boy. You are what you are. And when you come to accept it, you’re going to have to live the gay life fearlessly. I’m sorry, babe. It won’t be easy when you do come out, especially in this backwater. But you may have no choice in any case. The way that vicious bastard James is going on, people will be hearing rumours about you all too soon. You’ll get used to it. We do, eventually. You’ll survive.’ Nathan suddenly gripped his hand hard. ‘Danny, I know I’ll live to be proud of you, I really do.’
Tears stood on Danny’s cheeks yet again. The way I’m leaking at the eyes, he thought, I must be a poof.
Danny survived the day, despite being on his own the whole time with only Nathan to help. But it would be different on Thursday, when Chantelle, Gus’s replacement, would start. Danny knew her. She was in his brother’s year at sixth-form college.
Late in the afternoon, Danny was watering the roses when a rumbling sound warned him of a trolley coming up behind. It was Justin in work gear with bags of compost.
‘Coming through, Danny babe.’
Danny turned, and caught Justin’s friendly smile. ‘You knew, didn’t you. Knew that I was gay, that first day.’
‘Yep. Don’t ask me how, but you gotta have an instinct in my line of work. You had a thing that only the real gay has, a sort of light that comes on when he’s with men. You weren’t poofy, but you were looking me over with interest. How you doing, Danny?’
‘Crap. My world is collapsing.’
‘No, babe, it’s the disguise that’s collapsing. The real Danny is coming out, literally. And he’ll be better for it, believe me. We’ve all been there.’
‘Are you happy, being out and gay?’
‘Mostly, yeah. I’ve always done me own thing, Danny babe. Coming out was easy wiv my Nate. He don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about it. I got gay friends who are the best, and my two dads, who are beyond brilliant.’
‘So it’s all good, then?’
Justin sat down on his trolley, looking pensive. There was a pause before he answered, ‘Er, no, I couldn’t ever claim that. We’ve certainly had bad times, me and Nate, and life adds complications.’
Justin gave Danny a look. ‘OK, I guess you got a right to be nosy, today at least. It turns out that when I was doing the sexual experimentation thing back in Holloway when I wuz a teen, I became a dad. Somewhere out there I have a kid, a little boy called Damien. He’s six now, and doesn’t even know he has a dad. Somewhere up in the north of England is my son. I gotta find him, just to know he’s OK. Weird the way life takes you, even if you’re gay. We all get these urges, us men. You need to think about it too. Fatherhood for gays is a tricky subject, to say the least.’
Danny looked at Justin, sitting melancholy on a bag of compost. He thought that Justin’s worries would not be his for quite a while, if ever.
Home was quiet when he got back. After a bath, he gratefully slid into sleep, exhausted by the day’s traumas. There was still no answer from Gus to his texts.
Danny was up early on Thursday, but not as early as his father. Although the older man was ready for school, he sat down opposite Danny, who was chewing on toast.
‘You alright, son?’ The leading solicitude in his dad’s voice told Danny the worst had in fact happened.
‘What do you mean, Dad?’
‘Wes was in the Farmers’ Arms at Haseldene last night, and he got in a fight with James Underwood from the Hall. James accused you of … not to put too fine a point on it … of having an affair with his little brother. Wes called him a liar and they had to be separated. Both of them were banned by the landlord. What was that all about?’
‘I … er … Look Dad, this may not be … Oh fuck it! Look, Dad. It’s sort of true.’
‘Sort of true? It’s true or it isn’t, Danny.’
‘I have … I did have sex with his brother.’ Danny’s ears were on fire. This was the worst thing that had ever happened in his life.
Dad looked impenetrable. ‘You’re telling me you’re a homosexual?’
‘Well … yes, maybe. I did … I do have feelings for Gus.’
Danny sat mute. Well, was he? He had no idea.
Dad was going from impenetrable to appalled. ‘Son, this is not what I was expecting to hear from you. I had no idea. How could this happen?’
‘You’re asking me? I didn’t want it to happen. It just did.’
‘Look, Danny. Are you sure about all this?’
Danny’s voice became louder. ‘Sure? I’m not sure about anything at the moment. My whole life’s falling apart.’
Dad stared at him, as if Danny were a stranger. ‘I think we’ll get you over to the surgery this evening.’
‘The doctor might have some advice.’
‘We only had oral sex.’
Dad flinched. ‘I don’t mean that sort of advice.’
‘You think I’m ill, don’t you?’
‘It may be stress, Danny. GCSEs are rough on kids. You may just be taking refuge in a gay fantasy because you’re not happy with who you are.’
‘Well it is. If I had sex with Gus, it’s because I was attracted to him. I loved doing it too, so don’t tell me I’m wrong or mentally ill. Fine, I am gay. Is that what you want to hear?’
‘There’s no reasoning with you like this. We’ll talk again tonight. And hanging round with those gay men at the Garden Centre can’t be doing you any good either. You’d best quit that job. I don’t want you within a mile of Haddesley.’
Danny stood up, leaned over the table and, for the first time in his life, swore in his father’s shocked face. He stormed out of the house, slammed the door, grabbed his bike and pedalled to the garden centre in a fury.