Michael Arram








  Nathan’s mouth went dry and his face flushed scarlet.  They had been totally caught out.  Justin gripped his hand hard, and it was he who responded with a coolness that quite flabbergasted Nathan.


  ‘Brilliant shower, Mr White.’


  Looking closer, Nathan recognised the dazzling face as belonging to someone he had seen on the TV and on billboards: Matthew White, the media presenter and model.  The man gave the two of them a sweeping gaze with his profound, dark eyes, then pursed his gorgeous crimson lips.  Nathan felt as if he were going to faint.


  White finally smiled quirkily.  ‘Okay, boys, introduce yourselves.’


  ‘Er … I’m Nathan Underwood from Andersons.  We're working in your garden …’


  ‘Yeah, and I’m Justin Macavoy, also Andersons, and we got pretty filthy so we thought we’d borrow the shower.  I hope that wasn’t too much of a liberty, sir.’


  Nathan was astonished.  Justin could do civil and polite creepily well.


  Matthew White continued to smile.  ‘And you were soaping each other’s back?’


  Justin was straight in again.  ‘We’re lovers sir, and … y’know the way it is.’


  Matthew White laughed.  ‘Yes, I guess I do.  Okay.  I’m not pissed off at you, boys.  I was impressed you left the muddy boots in the kitchen.  That was considerate.  Also, you didn’t make a mess in the bathroom, so you may borrow the shower anytime you want.  I can spare the odd towel.  No problem.  Two polite boys like you make a change from some of the kids we get round here.  Andy … he’s my partner … was pretty badly abused by one little sod in the garden last week, some kid on day release from a young offenders’ institution.  I’d beat the crap out of him if he tried it on with me.’


  Justin was beaming.  The bugger’s actually enjoying this, it registered on an astonished Nathan. ‘We gotta get back to the beds, sir.  Thanks for being so understanding.’


  ‘No problem, boys.  Use the kitchen too, anytime you want.’


  They padded downstairs, still hand in hand.  When they emerged into the garden after slipping their boots back on, Justin grabbed Nathan’s face and kissed him deeply.


  ‘You’re a nutter, Justin Macavoy,’ Nathan laughed as they broke off their lip-lock.


  ‘And you love me, doanchya!’


  ‘Yes, I do.  I’ve never met anyone like you.’


  ‘What a boring life you’ve led, then.  Hey, can you do us a favour, Nate?’




  ‘That too, but later.  For now, can you pick up some ciggies for me?  Twenty Camels.  I got no money on me and they don’t let me out.  But I’ll pay you back, honest.’


  ‘I thought you were giving up,’ Nathan objected, not too happy.


  ‘Me?  You’re kidding.  Old Man Anderson’ll be paying me something at the end of the month.  I’ll pay you back then.  Okay?’


  ‘Yeah, I guess … but look.  I don’t like cigarettes, Just.  When we’ve done it up to now you’ve not been smoking.  I don’t want to have to kiss an ashtray next time, know what I mean?’


  Justin too now looked troubled.  ‘No probs.  I’ll smoke them through the window back in the centre, not when we’re together.’


  When Nathan heaved a sigh of relief, Justin was irritated.  His chain had been jerked, and had it not been for the Ritalin, all the links that now bound them might not have been enough to keep him from coming across as a different boy, retaliatory and aggressive.  Sensing this deep down, Nathan found it did not add to his sense of security.


  Mr Anderson turned up at five.  Surveying the garden with some satisfaction, he commented, ‘This is really good.  Tell me, Nathan, how much is you and how much is Justin?’


  ‘Half and half, Mr Anderson, honest.  I told him what to do and he did it.  No arguments and no skiving.  He’s been great.’


  ‘I’ve been thinking.  You two work together well.  We’ll keep you as a team from Monday onwards.  Is that alright?’


  They gave broad grins.  ‘Couldn’t ask for better, Mr Anderson,’ Nathan said.


  When the van left Justin off, he hissed, ‘Doan’ forget the ciggies,’ before getting out.




* * *




  ‘What’s up, Justin?’ Tanya asked him that Saturday.


  ‘Nuthin’, why?’


  ‘You’ve been whistling round the house and smiling to yourself.’


  ‘Must be the Ritalin high.’


  ‘There is no Ritalin high.’


  ‘How about all the open air I’ve been getting?’


  ‘Hmm … maybe.  I rang up George Anderson this morning.  He’s been singing your praises.  He said you’ve worked as hard as his best apprentice this last week, and he’s dead impressed.  No other of our placements has ever been so enthusiastic about gardening, he said.  But …’


  ‘But what?  I do like it.  Honest.’


  ‘It just makes me suspicious.  Have you found a way of cultivating marijuana in someone’s flowerbed?’


  Justin laughed happily, without so much as a hint of a sneer in his voice.


  A bewildered Tanya shook her head.  The boy was actually being pleasant, and when he laughed like that he was even attractive.  ‘Your case reassessment meeting is on Wednesday morning.  It looks as though it might be interesting.’








On Monday, it rained.  Nathan arrived with a set of wet-weather gear from the yard: waterproofs and an Andersons cagoule.  Justin changed in the back of the van, blowing kisses to Nathan behind Mr Anderson’s back.


  ‘Off you go, lads,’ the old man said, dropping them off outside a church near Hornsey viaduct.  ‘Be careful.’


  ‘What did he mean?’ Justin asked.


  ‘He meant he doesn’t want us losing an arm or leg with this chainsaw.  We’re pruning trees today.  Can you go and get the ladder from behind the church hall?’


  Nathan spent half an hour explaining the way the chainsaw worked and how to use it safely.  Justin impressed him by actually listening and even asking serious questions.


  ‘It’s just cos you want to use this, isn’t it?’


  ‘Yeah … I so wanna live the Texas Chain Saw Massacre.’


  ‘Be good, Justy.’


   Justin also listened when Nathan explained the way to prune trees and take out limbs.  It was hard, rough work, and Justin was exhausted well before lunch time.  The physical effort  was taking its toll of his untrained body.


  Nathan could have gone on, but he stopped for Justin’s sake.  They sat under the dripping eaves of the church hall, where Nathan pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter and threw them to Justin.


  ‘Aw cheers, Nate, you’re a good un.’  He lit up, took a drag and looked happy. ‘Tell me, Nate, you got family?’


  ‘Mum and dad, that’s all.’


  ‘Yeah, I’m an only kid too.  Me mum couldn’t have another one after me.’


  ‘What … like the Antichrist sort of thing?’


  ‘Very funny.  Why didya leave school, Nate?  You seem pretty bright to me.’


  ‘I just wanted to get out there and work in gardens.  I’d been desperate to do it since I was small.  My mum’s keen on gardens too, and she knew Mr Anderson.  But I’m on day release from Andersons doing two HNDs at Hornsey College.  After I get qualifications, I might go off to agricultural college one day … see how it feels.’


  ‘Where do you live?’


  ‘With the parents out in Winchmore Hill.’


  ‘What do you do when you’re not working?’


  ‘There’s the gym, and swimming.  I don’t have any serious mates anymore.  They all wanted to go on to sixth form and thought I was mad … I used to go to private school, Goldsmiths’ Company Greycoats in the City of London.  None of my school friends lived anywhere near me anyway.  It was great when you turned up at Andersons, someone my age to talk to, I thought.  Then you turned out to be a total screwed-up arse.’


  ‘Until you totally screwed my arse …’


  ‘Ha ha!  You wanna talk about what you did before you ended up in secure accommodation, Justy?  I suppose I may wish I’d never asked, but I gotta look interested now, don’t I?’


  Justin gazed pensively at him for some time before replying, ‘I never hurt anyone, Nate.  Be sure of that.  It was only myself I was at war with.  Shoplifting, bunking off, vandalism, even a bit of dealing … yeah, I was a bad boy.’


  ‘And you seriously got an ASBO?’


  ‘Three of ‘em.  The first one was when I broke every window in that shithole of a school they forced me to go to … I got expelled too, which was a bonus.  Then there was the night I got a little too high and made an epic car-aerial collection – without asking the owners’ permission … escaped me mind – the problem being that the police-station car park at Seven Sisters was the chief contributor.  They took it bad.  The cameras caught it all, naturally, but I wasn’t arsed about that.


  ‘The best one, though, was opening the emergency floodgates at the sewage treatment plant in Crouch End.  I sent thousands of gallons of liquid crap into the Haringey social services department … it was a sort of message.’


  ‘Deeply symbolic,’ agreed Nathan, laughing now.


  ‘So I was a one-boy crime wave, according to the Holloway Advertiser – I kept the cutting.  They got me at the end for breaching a school attendance order, just a minor one, bit unfair really.’


  Nathan looked at Justin’s quirky grin and had a warm feeling.  This was a bad boy, no doubt about it, but a funny one and – to him – a lovable one.  ‘What’s going to happen to you, Justy?’


  ‘Dunno.  It’s never got this far before, in secure accommodation an’ all.  Talking to the other lads, they say it’s usually psychiatric reports, a short stay and then fostering or a supervised flat.  Could be either, I guess.’


  ‘Maybe if you make a success of your placement with Andersons, it’ll help.’


  ‘Maybe …’  Then Justin looked a little shy.  ‘… but I think what helps most is you, Nate.  I’m different with you.  I don’t need to be cocky and crude, to shock and to annoy.  I don’t swear so much when I talks to you.  I’ve never met anyone like you, so hot and so kind.’  He grinned.  ‘Giss a kiss.’


  They kissed long and lingeringly, with instant results between their legs.  Justin went to his knees, pulled down Nathan’s trousers and pants, and transferred his lips to his lover’s member, which he sucked and slurped industriously.  Glancing up he caught the look of ecstasy he was creating on Nathan’s face, and smiled round the cock in his mouth.  After coming to a very satisfactory climax Nathan offered to reciprocate, but Justin just said thanks, he was too shagged out.


  They wandered down to a convenience store to get sandwiches, then strolled back, laughing and joking, with Justin on his second smoke.


  ‘One thing though,’ Nathan finally said.  ‘You’re really bright, Justy.  And you can be cool as the proverbial cucumber.  Why didn’t school work for you?’


  ‘Teachers.  The only ones I ever met were obvious dickheads.  Even when I was in primary school I could tell they were lazy, ignorant and badly prepared.  It pissed me off.  If I took the trouble to turn up, I figured they should take the trouble to make it worth me while!  Yer see, for me the problem is that if someone’s a dickhead, I gotta tell them.  It’s only fair.  But strangely, adults don’t like to be told by eleven-year-olds that they’re dickheads.  I never worked that one out.’


  ‘So you didn’t finish a single GCSE?’


  ‘Nope.  Life’s gonna be a bit of an adventure for me as a result, doanchya think?’


  They went back to work, finishing the job well before Mr Anderson turned up at three with the shredder and a trailer to take away the sawdust.  ‘You two are a marvel,’ he enthused, ‘a natural team.  You move round each other like you were telepathic.  I’m going to be sorry to see you go, Justin.’


  ‘Wha …?’


  ‘Fraid so.  Tanya says that after Friday the placement’s up.’


  Nathan looked thunderstruck.  ‘But, Mr Anderson,. that can’t be right.  Justin’s been brilliant.  You can keep him on!  You’ve got to!’


  ‘Whoa now!  Yes, Justin’s been good, but we’re only offering job experience here, not jobs.  You should know that.  I realise you two have become friends, and you can stay friends.  You’ve got your mobile, and Justin can get himself one so you can stay in touch.’


  Nathan stared at Justin, who looked stunned.  They worked silently at the shredder, glancing disconsolately at each other from time to time.








  What put the cap on it for Justin was that, in the case conference on Wednesday, they were very pleased with him, just not pleased enough to listen to his request for extension of the placement.  His highly cogent argument was that he had finally found a work environment in which his needs were met, and they were depriving him of its beneficial effects.  It was a measure of his determination that he was articulate, used long words Tanya had never guessed he knew, and never swore once.


  They agreed he had benefited from his spell at Andersons, they told him, but a possible foster home had emerged in Chelmsford.  He would be moved out the next week.  Justin was silenced.


  Thursday was Matthew White’s garden in Highgate again.  They had finished power-hosing the patio and re-laying the gravel path, and were sitting out in the sun on the patio steps.


  ‘Chelmsford, bloody Chelmsford,’ swore Nathan.


  ‘I can’t go there,’ Justin said simply.


  ‘No,’ agreed Nathan hopelessly.


  ‘I’m gonna have to do a runner, Nate.  You gotta help me.’


  Nathan astounded himself by not even thinking twice about the rights and wrongs of what Justin was suggesting.  ‘Yes I will, Justy,’ he decided firmly, ‘but where you gonna run to?’


  ‘That’s the problem, innit.  I can’t go back to my mum’s, she’s hopeless, poor cow, and thass the first place they’ll look.  I got no one else but you to turn to.’


  ‘How long could I hide you in my bedroom, d’you think?’


  ‘Not long enough.  Your mum would notice eventually, doanchya ’spose?’


  ‘Oh yeah.  We couldn’t get away with you as a sleepover who forgot to go home, could we?’


  ‘Let’s think … no, let’s not.  Let’s fuck while we can.’  Justin took Nathan’s hand and they went inside the apparently empty house, leaving boots and socks in the kitchen and padding upstairs.  Justin led his lover into a bedroom, where he grabbed a towel and laid it on the cover.  Then he dropped his shorts, pulled down Nathan’s and devoted himself to his lover’s straining cock.


  Gasping, Nathan told him, ‘Justy … please do me this time.  I’ve thought about it and I really want it.  If we don’t do it now, maybe we’ll never have another chance.’


  Justin looked up.  ‘You sure?’  Nathan nodded.  ‘OK then, but it’ll hurt the first time.’


  ‘I know.’  Nathan’s voice quavered a bit.  ‘I was researching it on the web last night.  But I got some lube from the chemists – it’s in my shorts pocket – and we can borrow another condom from Mr White.’  He disappeared into the bathroom to return with a packet.  Justin sat on the bed with Nathan between his legs, sucking him erect. 


  Looking up from his ministrations Nathan asked, ‘What I gotta do, Justy?’


  ‘Climb up on the bed, lover.  My fingers have to get busy.’


  Nathan lay on his stomach.  Justin shoved two pillows under his groin, pushing his backside into the air while marvelling at the beautiful sight of those muscular soft globes.  Justin licked his index finger and began stroking Nathan’s brown, furry hole.  Then, pulling apart Nathan’s cheeks with his thumbs, he put his tongue into action,.  Nathan was moaning softly now, thrusting his groin gently into the pillows.


  Justin squirted lubricant on his fingers and into the crater of Nathan’s anus.  ‘Ooh, that’s cold,’ Nathan whimpered.


  ‘It’ll be hot enough soon, Nate,’ Justin replied, pushing three of his fingers steadily into Nathan, turning and flexing.  He worked away patiently but assertively, ignoring it when Nathan yelped.  Eventually he had a fourth in deep and was stretching the ring wide, his lover panting and squirming.


  At last it was time.  He folded a condom down on himself, put a drop of lube on the tip and without any warning slapped Nathan hard on the backside.  As the boy cried out, Justin thrust deep into him.  ‘Aaargh!  Ow!’


  ‘Sorry, Nate,’ Justin gasped, ‘but there’s no easy way to do this.  The hurt’ll go away soon, I promise.’


  There were tears in the blue eyes that looked back at him.  ‘S’okay, Justy, I’ll be alright.  I want you so bad I don’t care how it hurts.’


  Justin leaned up over his lover’s back to join mouths with him.  They kissed for as long as it took Nathan’s anal muscles to get use to Justin’s violation.


  ‘God, I do love you so,’ Justin growled.  The feeling in his dick was fantastic.  This was far tighter than when he had entered girls, and the smell of hot boy in his nostrils was sexy beyond belief.


  As he felt Nathan relax, Justin pushed in as far as he could.  ‘Ooo.  God, you’re so tight, Nate.  I’m gonna start fucking … ready?’


  ‘Oh yeah … do it!’


  This was it.  He began with slow, small strokes, just as he liked done to him.  Nathan moaned his approval.  He moaned even more when Justin stopped pushing and rotated his cock.  Pulses of ecstasy were beginning in Nathan’s anal ring.  Justin was finding his prostate every time.  The tempo picked up and soon Justin was banging into his lover’s rectum ruthlessly, his cock emerging almost fully, then plunging back in with a satisfying slap and squelch.


  ‘I love this, Justy … aah … this is the best.’


  Nathan’s submissiveness under the punishment his arse was taking was driving Justin wild.  Holding him now under his armpits, Justin thrust as deep as he could and moved his tool around inside Nathan’s gut ruthlessly.  Resting high on Nathan’s broad back, he began licking and then nipping on his shoulders and neck.


  ‘Oh God!  More!’  Nathan was shouting now, careless of whether he was heard.  It was too much.  Justin’s ejaculation filled the condom.  When he fell forward in ecstasy, he could even feel some of it trickle out on to his balls as his movements slowed.  Finally he lay breathless on Nathan’s back, kissing those shoulders which were now covered with the red weals of the bites he had inflicted.


  ‘That was passion,’ sighed Nathan.


  ‘How’s your arse.’


  ‘Hurts like hell, yet I can’t wait for you to do it to me again, lover.’


  ‘Then we gotta find a way I can, Nate.’


  They tidied the bed, then carrying their shorts went into the bathroom and took a leisurely shower together.  Justin sucked off Nathan while cleaning him.


  As they resumed their boots in the kitchen, Justin pointed out a side door.  ‘Does this place have a basement, duya think?’


  ‘We could look.’


  They went through the door and down some wooden steps.  Nathan snapped a light switch to reveal a whole series of dim cellars, divided by brick walls and arches, almost a catacomb.  Most of it was filled with junk, but one bay was stacked with rack after rack of wine.


  ‘Over here!’ called out Justin.  In a corner towards the garden was a small lunette window giving on to the lawn below the patio.  When Justin tried it, it opened, if a little stiffly.  The bay behind it was more of a small room, a tap and a deep porcelain trough suggesting it had once been a scullery.


  ‘Are you thinking what I think you are, Justy?’


  ‘It might do as a temporary refuge.  That guy White ain’t often here, is he?  I know how to get into the garden from the back, so his PA bloke woan’ see me.  I’ll oil the hinges and unlock it before we leave.  I doan’ think people ever come in here much … I can wazz in the sink and stuff.’


  ‘You’re seriously going to do this?’


  ‘Yeah.  I ain’t goin’ to Chelmsford.  But you gotta help me, Nate.’


  Nathan looked at the determined face of his lover and had little trouble deciding he would help all he could.  He told Justin this and got a glorious smile in return, followed by an embrace and kiss.


  ‘I knew I could count on you, Nate.  You won’t ever let me down.’