"What the fuck are you doing?" I screamed, not moving, still crouched on the floor half covering Matty and shaking. Shaking uncontrollably.
A torch pierced the shadows, the beam of light crossing my head and stopping.
"How many of you are up there?" The man asked. "I'm calling the police."
"Don't do that," I pleaded, trying to recover. "There's just the two of us."
"You better get down here boyo, where I can see you."
Did I detect a hint of nervousness. We both got up slowly and I led the way downstairs, as we approached the man he moved back. Finally, standing side by side at the foot of the stairs we both looked at him and at the shotgun. We waited like that for what seemed an eternity. No one spoke, the light from his torch blinded me as he shone it first towards me then on Matty.
The darkness was disappearing replaced by the dawn's light streaming in through the windows. No longer a shadow, it was clear he was not a man, but a boy probably only a few years older than me. Dressed in rough country clothes, with a woollen hat, he looked every bit a farmer's son.
He leant the shotgun against the wall, which was a relief, and sort of diffused the situation. At least we weren't going to get shot.
"What are you doing here breaking into someone's house?"
I thought it was obvious, but I replied anyway. "We just needed somewhere to spend the night."
"Why here?" He wanted to know, not I suppose why this place, rather how we came to be here in the middle of nowhere. It was Matty who spoke up next, changing the conversation around completely.
"Who are you?" He asked.
"What's that to you?"
"Well... you could have killed us with that stupid gun." This was Matty getting into gear.
"It's a shotgun idiot, and it wasn't aimed at you."
"It could have bounced off the walls and still killed us."
"It's a cartridge of pellets, they don't bounce off the walls and anyway I fired out through the back door."
"Why?" Matty asked.
"Dunno," he paused. "To scare you I suppose."
"What, in case we were gonna attack you. That's stupid."
"Yeah, alright, maybe."
Things had eased up with the conversation between us, but we were still standing facing each other, still kind of semi-confrontational. I asked to sit down and we ended up the three of us round the old wooden table on the only three chairs available. He said his name was Gareth and he lived in the farmhouse over the hill. The one we saw on the way here with the smoke coming out of the chimney.
I didn't want to tell too much of our story, but Matty kind of rabbited on. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing as the feeling between the three of us became more friendly. I didn't know if I could trust him. I suppose it didn't much matter. One thing was obvious, we were runaways. Perhaps he was scared when he found people in the house, after all he lived alone, he told us. It was his grandfather's farm, but his 'grand da' as he called him, was in hospital. Taken sick a while ago and leaving him on his own to look after the sheep.
"You can't stay here," he said as he got up from the table.
"But we've got nowhere else to go," Matty piped up.
"I know that." Gareth replied glancing at me.
I picked myself up off the chair and looked over at Matty.
"Come on, let's get our stuff and go."
It wasn't the most comfortable of nights we'd spent in this old cottage, but it had been a roof over our heads. Gareth waited downstairs as we collected our things. As we we're ready to leave I said to him, "I’d better turn the water off." Without waiting for a reply I opened the cupboard and closed the stopcock.
"I'll have to fix the back door," he said as he locked it behind us and pocketed the key. Then right out of the blue added, "You better come back with me."
"What!" I exclaimed.
"Deaf are you?" It was the first time I'd seen him smile.
I looked at him, but couldn't make out what he was thinking. I was too tired to be bothered anyway. Life at fifteen had turned into a roller coaster, huge highs and terrible lows. I didn't see anything was going to change that, I just wondered 'what next', but knew whatever it was there wouldn't be too long to wait.
The morning air stung my face with it's now familiar frozen dampness. Despite the possibility of the sun appearing later, for now it was hidden behind a pale grey sky that gave no respite from the bitter cold. Our feet made mushy footprints in the frosted grass as we followed Gareth out onto the lane.
Sitting around another plain wooden table, this one more solid and larger than the previous, and on chairs that were equally sturdy, I let the warmth from the fireplace caress my face and hands.
Gareth threw a large log on the fire and moved across to the sink to fill the kettle. He made strong tea and brought plates, bread, butter and jam, then sat opposite looking at us as he poured out mugs of tea.
"You look fit for the knackers yard both of you," he said. The first real conversation since we set foot inside his grand da's farmhouse. Was that another smile with a glint in his eye. "You can get some rest after eating. I'll make up the bed for you, you'll have to share..." he was definitely smiling now, "but I'm thinking you won't mind that."
I looked at Matty and he smiled back at me.
"First though... you both need a bath." Gareth said.
That evening we ate together and Matty and I cleared the table and did the washing up. Gareth had gone out in the afternoon. He said to check the sheep, but he was back before it got dark. The warmth from the open fire pervaded the whole room, wrapping us in a wonderful feeling of comfort. The large beams and low ceiling weighed down on the space, but the fact it was one huge living room counteracted that, bringing a sort of balance to the place that made it cosy, at least near the fire.
He didn't talk much, our host, that should maybe have been no surprise for someone living on their own. What was a surprise was when he fetched a small oblong tin from a drawer in the old Welsh dresser, opened it, and began rolling a cigarette. I'd not seen him smoking.
He carefully dropped the tobacco into the middle of one and half cigarette papers he'd stuck together. Then he opened a tiny ball of cling film and broke off little bits of something dark green, almost black, which he sprinkled over the tobacco like you would sprinkle salt on your food. Both Matty and I were watching and wondering. As he finished rolling the mixture he tore a piece of card that he rolled up to place at one end, like a filter for the cigarette. Finally, he passed his tongue over the strip of glue and rolled the paper together, twisting the end.
He held the twisted end and shook the hand rolled cigarette back and forth a few times, tore off half the end, took a lighter from the tin, flicked on the flame and lit the cigarette. He inhaled deeply and held the smoke before exhaling. This he repeated twice more as I watched him and smelt the unusual mixture of tobacco and something else. A strange, quite strong odour.
Gareth offered the cigarette to me. "Thanks," I said, "but I don't smoke."
"It's a joint you idiot, not a cigarette." He chuckled as he said that. "You never smoked dope?" He asked as he took another long toke. He stretched his arm towards me once more, holding out the joint. "Try it, just take a little bit and hold it in before letting it out."
I had always said I would never smoke, my parents didn't, and I knew it was best never to start, but this wasn't the same was it? I inhaled a little bit, it irritated my throat. It was hot, I blew it out and couldn't help coughing and spluttering. I handed back the joint.
"Let me have a go," Matty asked.
With practice it became easier and the three of us spent the next, I don't know how long it was, most of that evening, smoking dope. Dope I discovered was cannabis. Dope, shit, weed, Gareth gave us the low down on getting stoned.
After lots of laughing, lots of cuddling up with Matty on the sofa, and several joints latter we decided to turn in and left Gareth to go upstairs to bed.
Wow, did it ever feel good to slip beneath clean sheets in a proper bed. It was an old iron double bed, it sagged a bit in the middle, but that only served to make us both giggle as we rolled together. How it happened I can't tell you. Whether it was being in bed naked with the boy I loved, whether it was having found a new home, if only temporary, or if it was being high. I don't know, but I had a massive hard on and so did Matty.
Our bodies were pressed gently together, our cocks were touching, skin touched skin. My hands explored his back. We kissed and played with our tongues. His skin was soft, warm, smooth and hairless. I rested one hand on his arse, feeling the roundness, my cock responded. He in turn was exploring my body. His touches, each a little tingling shock. I felt his cock moving between our two bodies. We kissed again. A long passionate kiss. I wasn't at all sure where his body ended and mine began. Who was who, and whose touch was whose.
How we ended up toe to head I'm not sure exactly, but there was so much rolling around with first one then the other on top. At one point my cock rested in the clef of those perfect round orbs. Another moment he was astride my chest his erection bouncing up against his stomach. Several times I thought I was close to exploding. The pleasure was intense, never more so than when my cock was in his mouth and his in mine. That was a moment of pure delight as I sucked his manhood. Licked the head of his penis, flicked my tongue back and forth over the top, engulfed his whole erection, and he copied my every move.
When finally my fingers played underneath his balls and he did the same to me. There was no turning back, I felt his balls contract. His cock ejected warm spurts into the back of my throat and my own cock sent spasms into his mouth. Two, maybe three times, I swallowed the creamy liquid as best I was able then squirmed around to cuddle him in my arms.
I think we both had the best night's sleep in ages and when I woke it was light outside and Gareth was gently shaking my shoulder. "I need to go into town," he said smiling.
That was weird enough in itself when you think about it. From shotguns at dawn, to a bed in his grand da's house. And this country boy, this farmer's son, didn't give a toss that Matty and I were gay.
"You get your own breakfast, okay," Gareth spoke quietly, Matty was still asleep.
"Yes, sure," I replied looking him in the eyes, "and thanks... for everything."
He was gone and I slowly got out of bed, trying not to wake Matty. I looked at him lying there, breathing gently, his hair all messed up. I resisted the sudden urge to pull back the sheets so as to admire his naked beauty. Instead I went downstairs, threw a log on the fire and looked to get breakfast. I heard a motorbike drive off down the lane.