Afterwards, they lay entangled, their bodies as floppy as a sunning cat’s.
“Key was very hurt, you know, Lou baby. He tried to pretend nothing was wrong but I could see it was. I think he’s got fond of you.”
“Yeah. I know. I’m sorry. I … it was stupid of me. I … sometimes I just get angry, for no reason, you know.”
“Oh, you have reasons, just … well … they’re not immediate, if you know what I mean. I mean, Cody, and your parents and school. Being an outsider, all that shit.”
“It must have been nice to have belonged. You know, have mates, feel part of things.”
“You belong now, Lou.” Jason kissed Luigi on the cheek.
Luigi’s eyes pricked with tears. Wuss fucking weepy homo, he thought angrily.
Jason didn’t see his wet eyes. “Tea?” he asked.
“Me?” answered Luigi with disdain. “Never! C’mon let’s go out and get a coffee.”
I would never reject you. Mum and dad behaved abominably towards Brent (and me) and most of my friends weren’t much different. I came to your flat, didn’t I? You were the only person I felt I could trust (except for gran) Mark just couldn’t get over the whole gay thing. He felt so uncomfortable with Brent. He wasn’t actively hostile but he wasn’t accepting either. And after Brent killed himself, Mark just wasn’t there for me. So only you and gran are left.
The worst is that Brent would still be alive today if I’d helped him. I had the money. I was just too tight-arsed. Too stupid.
He was the great love of my life you know. There’ll never be anyone like him again. Never. He was my soulmate. It didn’t matter that he was from a different class, that he had the “wrong” accent, that he hadn’t been to the right schools. But I let my own stupidity rule me at a critical time. It’s only right that I pay for it.
I’ve met some really great ppl here, Gups. Two “blokes” as they all say here. One’s called Luigi. The other’s called Keith. And a girl called Esmé. I never thought I would make such close friends so quickly. But Ozzies are very friendly. There! You know I’m in Australia. And obviously, that’s why (or one of the reasons why) gran is coming to visit. But whatever you do, don’t tell mum and dad. Or Mark. I just don’t want to see them now. Maybe one day. But not for a long time.
I won’t say anything to mum. I think dad genuinely misses you, but you know he’s putty in her hands. So I won’t tell him. And it’s max wonderful that gran is coming to see you. Can I come too, one of these days? Though that would give the game away, wouldn’t it? Both me and gran flying off to Australia when we’ve never done it before!
I know you blame yourself for what happened with Brent. And I’m not going to argue with you about blaming yourself. But, Jacie-Dacie, none of us is perfect. I remember once gran dragging us off to morning service at the church at home. Canon Green (I do like him –when I play chess with him, I let him win, you know how dithery he is) did a sermon about forgiveness and said that forgiveness is not the same as just ignoring wrong that’s been done to us. That wouldn’t be forgiveness. Real forgiveness, he said, was when you accepted that you had been done a great wrong but that you chose to not hold a grudge about it despite that. That you accepted the fallibility and weakness of humans. Because we’re all human so we’re all likely to hurt another person even if we don’t mean to. He’s such a nice man, and you know he really lives like he preaches. But the way I see it, you have to forgive yourself.
I know you won’t listen. 🙂
But I love you anyway. And I know Brent would too.
You’re right. I won’t listen. But it’s weird. Last night after I got your email, I had the strangest dream. I’ve been having these recurring nightmares about Brent, seeing his body, his head blown apart, the blood and brains and stuff everywhere. But last night I dreamt that Brent came into my bedroom here, and sat on my bed, and smiled at me. He spoke to me. I can’t put what he said into words, because it wasn’t as if we spoke English but he smiled at me and it was quite obvious he loved me and forgave me. I will always live with the wrong I did. But just seeing him again, knowing that he still loved me, has helped me so much. I say “knowing” even though it was a dream, because it seemed so real. Maybe it was just some figment of my subconscious. But I believe it was real.
I don’t see how mum and dad can stop you going to Australia or even comment about it. You earn your own living now, and you’re old enough to do it. So, if you’d like to come, come! I’d love to see you.
I should tell you that I’m not using any of my money from the trust. I decided that it had perverted my judgement and helped lose me Brent, so I am a working man now. And poor with it. At the pub I work (a gay pub!) my hours are long and I work late at night. But I feel so proud working for every penny I spend. I’ve even managed to save a bit! I’ll need some money because I want to go to and see New Zealand because it’s supposed to be so beautiful but also because I can only stay here 6 months before my visa expires. And two months of that have already gone by.
My dearest Jason,
I’m having such a nice time with Lucy. She owns a wonderful Victorian mansion all surrounded by verandahs and green lawns and tropical vegetation it’s all very exotic and rather lovely. The Colonel such a silly spelling but you know how very odd English is bought the house for a song decades ago and their children were brought up there and seem to be quite Malayan as they speak the language fluently and her son Hugh has a Malayan wife so beautiful though I think they call it Malaysia now so pretentious all this name changing just so some miserable politician can have their name on some monument or road though why there is Asia in Malaysia I don’t know since everybody knows Malaysia is in Asia. The house is quite wonderful really just like out of some BBC period drama from my grandfather’s times and the verandahs are essential because of the heat but Lucy has installed air conditioning we have tous conforts! This flying business is greatly overdone I was quite washed out by the time I got here even though the seat was marvellously comfortable I suppose I’m getting old which is altogether tiresome but I think it wise to break one’s journey since Australia is so far away so I will stay with Lucy on the way back. I didn’t have any champagne on the flight though it looked quite delicious because I haven’t for years when I travel since that one time in Washington. She and I and her sons played croquet on the lawn for a while which quite took me back but it is such an old fashioned game don’t you think. I decided to stay one extra day here so I will be arriving on Tuesday morning your time I’m sorry to throw out all your arrangements like this but I got so tired and I have what they call jetlag which happens because you leave your soul behind you when you fly because the aeroplane just zips along like anything I wonder what Canon Green would say.
It wasn’t quite dark outside even at 2 am. The sky was clear, and it was summer shading into autumn, so the night sky was more silver than black. But he didn’t care for summer any more. Once it had been his favourite season. At the beach, looking in secret at the other boys. He didn’t do that any more. Summer had been spoiled. Winter gave him more hours of darkness, and there was so much to do, so much. Cleaning the Augean stables. Father McAlister had taught them well. Winter wasn’t perfect, though. Getting undressed in mid-winter in the mountains was a good way to catch pneumonia. He pushed the problem of winter away. He would make a plan. He would keep on with his work, somehow.
He bent down and lifted the body off the table in the garage. The young man was still breathing raggedly. He preferred to kill away from his house. Less mess. He hated mess. He had already opened the back door of the van and lifted the folding bench seat, which he’d had specially built into it. To the casual observer, the van looked like a classic camper’s van, kitted out with a bed, a seat, a little stove and a sink.
He lay the man in the hollow space under the seat. For a moment he looked down at his prey, his forehead wrinkled. He didn’t want him to die before time. He very much liked them to be alive when he did it. Their terror was necessary if they were to be made to repent. Well, there was nothing to be done. If he died before time, there were always others. He closed the bench seat, climbed into the driver’s seat, and reversed the mini-bus out of the garage. A casual inspection would show nothing. On the side of the van the words “St Joseph’s Home” were painted. People saw what they wanted to see, what they thought they saw.
No one had caught him yet. No one ever would. He was too clever. Anyway, the Lord watched over him and supported his work. He blinded the eyes of His enemies, and He confounded their minds and hearts.
I’m looking forward so much to seeing you. I’ll meet you at the airport and take you to Majorca Flats. You forgot to say which airline you were on, but I’m assuming British Airways and there’s only one flight a day I think.
I had a dream about Brent which I’ll tell you when you get here.
Till Tuesday! I’m so excited.
“Eleanor, my grandmother will get here on Tuesday. I’ll go and pick her up at the airport and bring her here. I hope she won’t be any trouble.”
“Would you like to borrow my car? Do you drive?”
“I do, and thank you. But Keith offered his car. It’s lucky she’s arriving on Tuesday, because we have Monday night off.”
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to pick her up?”
“Oh, no, thank you so much. The flight gets in at the crack of dawn. 5.30 or something like that. And we’d have to get up at 4.30 to get there in time. It’s a beastly hour of the day to have to get up and drive to the airport.”
“Well, if you think so.” Eleanor reflected that Jason and his friends were young, and she wasn’t.
“I’ll stay over at Keith’s flat so I won’t wake you.”
“Your friends are welcome here, you know that, Jason?”
“Yes. And thank you so much for making me feel so welcome here.” All at once he felt tearful. “Sorry!” he sniffed.
Mrs Cumberledge patted him on his arm. “I’m so glad you turned up on my doorstep!”
Jason ducked his head, embarrassed and moved.
He drove through the warm summer night. He wasn’t afraid of being stopped. He was going camping, wasn’t he? That was perfectly legal, even approved of. The healthy outdoors. And yes, it was late at night, but he worked long hours, didn’t he? He had to go camping when he could. He had a sleeping bag, food in the cupboards of the little van, and it was perfect camping weather. Why would anyone suspect any different? Even if he was stopped by a booze-bus, he hadn’t drunk any alcohol. Alcohol was the snare of the Devil, like all drugs, and led to Evil. And now that he was Chosen of the Lord, he had set aside all Evil. He had been in the grip of Satan and his demons when he had used drugs and he gave thanks every day to the Lord that he had been saved from sin through Jesus’ grace.
The journey took a little over forty-five minutes. At that time of the night there was little traffic. No booze-buses, no police cars. He was very careful to keep within the speed limit, but even then, the trip to Mt Macedon didn’t take long.
As the little van laboured up the steep ascent to the summit, he felt the excitement within him begin to build.
Can I cum rnd 2night? The text message on Keith’s mobile was from Luigi. It was followed a moment later by another sorry 2 b such a dickhd. Of course, gd 2 c ya, Keith texted back.
He smiled as he thumbed off his phone. Jason was coming over too. It was Monday, and The Lord Grey was closed. They had planned to watch that week’s episode of Downton Abbey together. Now they could all watch it.
Even though The Lord Grey was closed, Tom was in his office working. Keith went through to the office and asked Tom if he could have two bottles of cheap champagne from the bar’s fridges.
“Natch. What’s the occasion?”
“Luigi and Jason are comin’ over to watch Downton Abbey tonight.”
“Good on yaz.”
Keith kissed Tom on the mouth. “I luvya, Tom.”
Tom hugged him. “Shall we?” he asked.
Keith lifted Tom’s T-shirt over his head and bit gently down on his nipples. “Yeah.”
After, he said to Tom, “I miss us livin’ tagether you know. It would be nice to cuddle afterwards.”
“I could get a sofa. My executive sofa!” Tom kissed him behind his ear.
“Why not? And why don’t we have dinner on Thursday night, and I can stay over at your place?”
“Dinner? On you?”
“Yeah.” Keith grinned at the other man. “Any way you want on or in or over me!”
Tom slapped his bum gently. “Every way. You know that. But I meant, ya cheeky bugger, are ya payin’?”
Keith nodded, his eyes filled with love. He put his head against Tom’s and whispered into his ear, “You always hit the spot, Tom. I dunno that I’m as good as you with that. That’s why I like it when ya fuck me.”
“Might as well learn then! And who better to learn from?” He hesitated a few seconds. “Dya think Jace can do the bar by himself on Thursday?”
“Nah. Be a bit hard. But Thursday’s quiet, ya knaow, and I can ask Lou whether he’ll help out, and Esmé too. Maybe you should hire someone else so that, you knaow, you and I can have more time together?”
“Ya knaow how difficult it is to get good blaokes. Your Jason has turned out good. We’ll miss him when he goes back to England.”
“If he goes.”
“He might. You can’t trust paiple, Key.”
“I trust you, Tom. Always.”
The three of them were side by side on the shabby sofa in Keith’s lounge-room, facing the TV. On the table in front of them were arranged two bottles of Yellowglen ‘Yellow’, three champagne flutes, and a large packet of crisps.
“I’m getting fat, you two!” said Jason, gesturing towards the eats and drinks.
“Ya just naid to fuck more often!” answered Keith with a lewd grin. “Think of all those calories you’d use.”
“I wish. I’m going to have to start running again, maybe take up a sport or two.”
“I’ll come runnin’ with ya,” offered Keith.
“Me too,” said Luigi.
“You don’t need to run!” Jason was scornful. “You’re ridiculously slim already. Mr sexy!”
Luigi laughed. “Yeah, yeah. It’ll be good to run together. It’ll keep us on track, make us do it every day, even when we don’t want to.”
“Time, though. I mean, we can only get together at night on Monday nights.”
“We can run in the day. You lazybones can get up half an hour earlier.”
“Lazybones!” Jason pounced. He grabbed Luigi and started to tickle him. “Take that back, Signor Sexy, or it’s the treatment!”
“Stop it you oaf!” Luigi was laughing. “You’re giving me a hard-on!”
“Oh! Who’s the perve then, I ask you? Me, giving a wholesome manly tickle to my friend? Or you, popping a boner inside that silk thong I can see artfully exposed above your waistband?” Jason’s mock serious tone was quite negated by his huge grin.
Luigi shut him up by kissing him.
Keith watched this horseplay between his friends with a smile. “Downton Abbey starts in five minutes, youse two. So either it’s a quickie or you’re goin’ to miss it.”
“You’ll miss it too. Think we aren’t going to use and abuse you as well?” Luigi was grinning at him, his erection obvious.
“Afterwards!” Keith was firm. “I specially got champagne and chips!”
“OK!” said Luigi, his eyes still gleaming with amusement, and “if you insist” from Jason, a bit more submissively. Keith popped the cork on one of the bottles. They leaned back on the sofa and sipped champagne. Keith took the remote and switched on the TV. They sipped in silence as the credits scrolled on the screen.
“I daon’t like that footman!” exclaimed Keith, as the story unfolded. “What a cunt!”
“Hot, though,” countered Luigi, his eyes fixed on the screen. “I’d like him to fuck me.”
“Pulleeze!” said Keith in an exaggeratedly feminine way. “When you’ve got a cock as big and as sexy as yours! You should do him! Take him to paradise and then threaten to withdraw if’n he doesn’t behave.”
“Nah!” Still keeping his eyes on the TV, Luigi said, “I’ll do you instead.”
“I prefer the earl,” interjected Jason. “Look how good he looks. He’s fifty if he’s a day. Look at those beautiful eyes. Imagine them smiling down at you as he does you.”
They other two stared at him in awe.
“What?” asked Jason, colouring.
“Hmmm,” said Keith looking past Jason (who was in the middle) to Luigi. “He prefers older men, huh? What is to become of us two, then, hey?”
Jason put down his champagne on the table, then without a pause, grabbed their cocks through their pants, one in each hand. He squeezed. Hard. “Right! You two going to behave or must I take serious steps?”
“Yes, boss!” said Keith, nodding madly.
“Si, signor, capisco!” said Luigi.
“Exactly!” said Jason. “Now you get the picture!”
The ads ended and the story started again.
“Jace’s right,” said Luigi quietly, “he is very handsome. And very cute.”
Keith put his head on Luigi’s shoulder. “Not nearly as beaut as you, Lou.”
Luigi reached up his hand and patted Keith’s head. “Nor you, Key-baby.”
“You’ll look like him, one day,” said Keith to Jason. “All patrician and powerful and hot as.”
“Except in 30 years time, I hope I have an Ozzie accent.”
He’s staying, thought Keith, suddenly unbearably happy.
Will we three still be friends in thirty years time? wondered Luigi, a little sadly.
Then Jason put his head on Luigi’s shoulder and said, “If they let me stay. Hey, Key, refill my glass and stop hogging the chips!”
Keith switched off the TV, and in silence they finished the the last of the champagne in their glasses.
“You haven’t forgotten, have you Key, about fetching my gran tomorrow?”
“Nope. Do I look stupid to ya?”
Jason opened his mouth with a wicked look on his face.
Keith put his hand over Jason’s mouth before he could speak. “Don’t answer that!”
They stripped and slipped nude under the sheets. It was surprisingly hot for an autumn night. Keith engineered it so that he was between the other two. He turned and kissed Luigi. “Hey,” he said, very quietly.
Luigi’s shiny black eyes gleamed back at him in the half-light in the room. “ ‘Lo, handsome!”
Jason reached across and snugged Keith’s cock in his hand. It was hard already. “What are you thinking about stud-muffin?”
“You. And Lou. And us.” Keith turned to look at Jason. He kissed him, deeply, and his own hand clasped Jason’s cock. “Can I be the sandwich filling tonight?”
“So who do you want to fuck and who do you want fucking you?” asked Jason.
“I want to fuck Lou, and I want you up me.”
“Ya knaow where the condoms are, Jace. Give us each one, OK?”
Keith never got over how good it felt to have someone in him. He liked topping, and he liked sliding into a wet pussy, but the feeling of someone’s cock sliding past his ring into his body felt perfect. It hadn’t always. When he’d started on the streets, lots of men had hurt him as they fucked him. They hadn’t cared about whether they hurt him or not, physically or emotionally. They hadn’t bothered to sizzle him up so he was ready. They hadn’t bothered to prep him first. His first sex encounters with men had mostly been painful or at best a chore. But quite a few of his clients had been married men, and often they wanted him to fuck them. And some of them had cared about him, and cuddled after sex, and some had been kind. Some of those who liked to top had wanted him to enjoy it too, and had made sure he was ready. Then Tom had entered his life. And Tom was a gourmet lover. He’d wanted Keith to be happy, to enjoy the sex, to have pleasure. With Tom was the first time Keith had had an hands-free orgasm. Tom had warmed him up, caressed and cuddled him, kissed him and held him close, and when Tom had entered him, it had felt wonderfully right and incredibly hot. And the way Tom angled himself inside Keith had given Keith an orgasm he’d never forgotten. Even now, a few years later, thinking about it turned him on.
Keith kissed the back of Luigi’s neck, and lubed up his hole with his other hand. As he slid into him, he tweaked Luigi’s nipple ring and bar. With his mouth close to Luigi’s skin, he said softly, “I want to fuck ya silly, Lou. Deep inside ya. Till ya come all over my sheets.”
Luigi still half thought of Keith as straight. For him, straight-acting made a man he was having sex with seem straight, even if he wasn’t. And despite everything his rational brain told him, it was a turn on. “C’mon Straight-boy,” he said. “do me properly.” It didn’t even spoil the fantasy or throw him when Keith said with heartening sincerity and affection, “Ya’re a top blaoke, Lou,” and turned Luigi’s head and kissed him.
Jason was lubing up Keith, and though he wasn’t speaking, his mouth was moving all over Keith’s back and neck, and his hands were busy too, twisting Keith’s nipples and fondling his cock. Jason pushed his cock carefully into Keith and began to thrust slowly at the same time that Luigi began to push himself back onto Keith’s cock. All three took it slowly. They were a little clumsy at first but quickly developed a rhythm. For the most part, Keith didn’t move much. The other two did all the work.
Keith had had sex that morning with Tom. Luigi and Jason had pulled their wires in the showers that morning, both imagining the other. They took a while to come. But it was all the better for that. When they came, within a few seconds of each other, the sensation was so intense it was almost painful. Even better was the warm rush of affection they felt for each other. They held each other close, without speaking. No one wanted to use the love word. Not yet.
The signpost to the turn-off to the Memorial Cross appeared out of the blackness, brightly illuminated in the van’s lights. He signalled a turn, even though there was no one before or behind him. Everything had to appear normal. He couldn’t allow a single misstep now to prevent him from doing The Lord’s work. Within his briefs, his cock was semi-hard. He would teach that little twink homo about right and wrong!
Loud in the almost complete silence of an Australian bush deep night, the VW’s engine noise was an affront. He turned into the car park. The mini-van’s tyres crunched on the gravel. He pulled into one corner, out of sight of the road. He turned the engine off, and sat for a few moments staring out into the darkness. Overhead the sky was a glorious silken black pricked by countless silver stars. He barely noticed. In the quiet, the engine ticked as it cooled.
He always waited at least half an hour. Just in case he’d been followed. The wait was intolerable. And thrilling.
At first Luigi slept deeply, satiated by the love-making. He’d drifted off to sleep filled with contentment. He was with friends. He was loved. It might not be Mr Right, but in some ways it was better. Keith and Jason were fond of him as well as desiring him. It suggested a kind of permanence: even if they fell out of lust, they would still be his friends. And that filled his heart with warmth.
But then he started to dream, a bad dream, about Cody. He dreamt that Cody was in trouble, that he was in the clutch of someone evil, that he was in pain. There was nothing concrete about the dream. When he awoke he could remember only absurdities—Cody dressed in a clown’s garments, dancing on stage; Cody riding a bicycle nude; Cody looking for his passport and finding it on the road. Bizarre nightmarish images, which made him toss and turn. At last, he got up to wee, carefully sliding out from under Keith’s arms and legs which were wrapped around him.
He went through to the toilet and after urinating, drank from the tap. He turned to go back to bed, when he heard his phone ring. Christ! He didn’t want to wake the others. Who the hell was it? It must be four o’clock in the morning at least. He ran through to the bedroom and started scrabbling through the pile of clothes looking for his shorts. By the time he found his mobile, the other two were shifting uneasily under the sheet.
He didn’t recognise the number on the phone’s display. But since he was now wide awake, and since it might be an emergency, he would take it.
He walked into the lounge-room and stood naked at the window, the phone to his ear.
It was time.
He took off his shoes, then his other clothes, then put his shoes back on. There was always a risk that he’d get blood on his shoes, though he hadn’t yet, but there was no way he was going to walk around barefoot in the dark. He opened the door on the van and unlocked the lift-up lid of the bench. The twink lay quite still, obviously still drugged.
He lifted him out. His burden stirred but then subsided again. Even better. Not too drugged to be unaware of what was happening to him. There were three hours till dawn. Time. His cock swelled in anticipation. He leaned the twink against the side of the van, his tied wrists behind him.
Fuck! He’d forgotten the knife. How could he have been so careless! Leaving the drugged man where he was, he climbed into the van, and opened the kitchen drawer. The knife gleamed at him, its shine pure and perfect. God’s instrument! Didn’t Abraham ready the knife for the sacrifice of his son? The Lord’s work was never done. Two thousand years ago He needed to do His work, and there was need still today. Modernity hadn’t changed the hearts of men. Evil was ever present.