‘So, what’s that you’ve got there?’ Matt asked me the next day, after we had just watched DJ slouch his way along the driveway and disappear from view. We were walking back into the garage ourselves.
‘What?’ I answered.
He motioned towards what I was holding in my hand, the information sheets and application forms from the Southern Star University web site, which I had printed off earlier in the day while Matt and DJ had been working on the car.
I handed the sheets of paper to Matt, grinning.
‘What’s so special about this place?’ he asked.
‘Just keep reading,’ I answered.
He casually flipped through the various sheets of paper, looking at the photos of the campus and the town, reading through the details of the course I wanted to do (which I had circled in red), before settling on the map of the area.
He was about to hand it back to me, then stopped and looked closer, as he spotted the bright red circle I had drawn upon it, around the small town of Thompsonville.
He looked up at me and smiled. ‘Are you thinking, what I think you are thinking?’ he asked.
I nodded. ‘What do you reckon?’
He stepped towards me and threw his arms around me. ‘It would be magic,’ he whispered into my ear, then kissed me briefly on the cheek, before stepping back and holding both of my hands in his.
‘I thought you would like it. All I have to do now is manage to land a place in the course there.’
‘Go for it.’
‘You’re sure?’ I asked again. ‘I mean this is something that affects both of us.’
‘Of course I’m sure,’ he answered, reassuringly. ‘Wherever you lead, I will follow. I promised you that.’
I hugged him. It just felt so good to be wanted and loved like that.
Just then we were interrupted, by someone clearing their throat at the doorway to the garage. Startled, we both turned around to find Matt’s parents standing there. His mother was smiling sweetly, although looking slightly embarrassed, while his father was frowning.
I felt myself blushing
‘Follow him where?’ his father asked.
‘To university,’ Matt answered.
‘Hopefully, to Southern Star. The new one, over on the coast at Macquarie Harbour,’ I answered.
Matt added, ‘There’s a great little place just up the road from there, called Thompsonville, where we stayed for a few days after schoolies week, and we thought we would try and find some place near there to live, like a house or a flat, or maybe even share a house or something.’
‘And do what? Become hippies?’ he replied, before storming off towards the house, leaving us standing there looking blankly at Matt’s mother, who all of a sudden looked really embarrassed.
‘It’s all right boys. He’ll be okay,’ she managed to say, then quickly scurried off after her husband.
Matt and I just stood there looking at each other, in total amazement, and wondering what the fuck had just happened.
* * *
The following day was Monday. Which once again meant work, for both of us, and as usual we only just made it there on time. For some reason, we kept losing time in the shower.
Matt’s father had cooled down by dinner time the previous day, when we had gone up to the house for a meal with them.
He had apparently been stirred up by the way his sister, Phil’s mother, had behaved when they had visited them. It seemed that not everyone in the family was as forgiving as Matt’s parents were, when it came to finding out the truth about their children.
Apparently he had gone right off the handle at his sister and her husband when they refused to listen, or understand, and had stormed out. At least that accounted for the mood he had been in when he had returned yesterday.
Then, after dinner with Matt’s parents, we had all sat down and talked about our moving away and had worked through our options again. His parents willingly offered their opinions, and had also suggested that I should apply to several other universities, just in case I couldn’t get a spot at Southern Star.
After having set my heart on going to Southern Star, I hadn’t even really considered that it may not happen, so I decided that as soon as I finished work today I would take another look at what some of the other universities also had to offer.
Matt’s dad picked up one of the sheets I had printed off and was reading through it.
‘It says here they are having an Open Day for new students at Southern Star next weekend. Did you see that?’
I shook my head and he handed me the sheet of paper.
‘How about we go and have a look?’ Matt asked me.
‘Yeah, that’s a great idea,’ I answered.
We left them shortly afterwards, with both Matt and I now quite excited about our trip.
I had only been rostered on for a few days at work this week, which I was grateful for, as it would hopefully give me the chance to get my university applications sorted out before we went down there, while Matt pretty much had the full week booked up.
Monday was a drag, as always, and by lunch time I couldn’t wait to get out of there, to meet up with Matt again.
When I made it to Auto Stop, I found him waiting outside, looking a little flustered.
‘Are you all right?’ I asked him.
‘Yeah. Sort of,’ he replied. ‘I had some kids in the shop this morning that were making a real nuisance of themselves. They kept hanging around and they were pointing at me and sniggering. I heard them say poofter a couple of times. I don’t know how they might have found out about me, but they obviously did.’
‘Oh,’ I said, rather blankly.
‘It’s no big deal,’ he added. ‘It just kind of shook me up a bit. That was all. Luckily there was no one else around to hear it.’
‘We are going to have to face that, I suppose, wherever we happen to go to.’
‘Yeah, we will.’
As we usually did, we headed for Con’s place for lunch, where we met up with DJ and Dwayne.
It looked like DJ was trying to make a real statement, as he was wearing a figure hugging, bright yellow shirt, coupled with a new hair-do: spiked hair with freshly bleached tips.
Compared to what he had always looked like, I thought he now looked a total dork, however others wouldn’t agree with me, as he was still pretty cute looking. I just shook my head at him.
‘What?’ he asked. ‘What’s wrong with you?’
‘Nothing, dude,’ I answered. ‘Nothing at all.’
Matt and Dwayne both grinned, while DJ pouted like a spoiled child.
‘I keep telling him to tone it down a bit,’ Dwayne said. ‘But do you think he’ll listen to me?’
‘The novelty will wear off after a while,’ Matt said.
‘I’m hoping so,’ Dwayne answered, with a deep sigh. ‘So, is it true that Phil and Hoss are officially an item?’
Matt and I glanced quickly at each other. We both knew what the other was thinking . . . ‘How did that get out so fast?’
‘Well?’ DJ demanded. ‘Is it true?’
‘What have you heard?’ Matt finally asked.
‘There was this big scene at your place, with Candice, then an even bigger scene over at Phil’s place the next day,’ DJ said, waving his arms around in the air, being all melodramatic.
‘Well, you are half right,’ Matt told them. ‘But I wouldn’t call them an item, just yet.’
‘Oh?’ Dwayne asked.
‘There is potential there. But let’s just say that I don’t think Hoss was too impressed about being dragged into the big family scene at Phil’s place. It could have just put a damper on the whole affair.’
‘Damn,’ DJ said, realising this was probably the best chance that Hoss had had in a while to let his true self out. The effect that Phil’s actions may have had on any budding relationship could be felt by us all.
‘When he called around briefly yesterday afternoon, Hoss had gone pretty cool on the whole deal,’ I offered.
‘I can just imagine,’ Dwayne responded.
* * *
The news spread quickly that Phil and Candice had officially split up. It never takes long for the grape vine to sprout fresh shoots when there is a scandal in the air.
I bumped into Kerrie, my old high school formal partner, the following day, when she and her mother came into the store shopping.
When we spotted into each other I was carrying some cartons of dog food, while she was arguing with her mother about something or other. It was one of those awkward moments that were almost impossible to avoid. I said hello to them both, then after that, her mother wandered off, which left Kerrie and me alone, to talk.
The first thing she asked me was if it was true about Phil and Candice. Then right after that she wondered if he had his eye on anyone else. I just had to laugh.
‘What’s so funny?’ she asked me.
‘Nothing,’ I answered.
‘So, are you and Matt still . . . ?’ she started to ask, but then stopped, letting the silence stretch onwards.
‘Together? Is that the word you were looking for?’
‘Yeah. We are. And to tell you the truth, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier,’ I answered.
She nodded, and looked highly embarrassed, then said, ‘It came as a bit of a shock for us all, but I’m happy for you both.’
‘Thanks. That means a lot to me. So, how did you go with your exams?’ I asked her.
‘Scored in the eighties. I wasn’t too unhappy with that. Although mum and dad wanted more.’
‘Yeah, well that’s always the case, isn’t it?’
‘How about you?’ she asked.
‘Low nineties. Much better than I had expected.’
‘That’s great. So, have you applied for university yet?’
‘Started filling out the forms last night. I want to try and get in to Southern Star if I can.’
‘It’s supposed to be good, even if it is only new. I hope you get accepted there.’
‘Thanks, so do Matt and I. Have you seen Julie, lately?’ I asked, suddenly thinking about the last time I had seen Kerrie, when Matt’s old girlfriend was with her.
She shook her head. ‘She’s been gone for ages. I think she went to visit some relatives or something. It was just after that day when we saw you all downtown, remember then?’
‘Yeah, I do.’
‘Yeah, well she was pretty cut up about you and Matt. She took it pretty hard.’
‘She’ll get over it,’ I offered.
She left me to packing the remainder of the dog food away shortly after that, and wandered off in search of her mother. I watched her as she walked down the aisle and couldn’t help but think that she was a nice girl who would make someone happy one day.
We had both now left the childish attitudes well behind us that we’d all had throughout our school years. We were out in the real world now, even if it had only been for a couple of months, but I knew that and it had already changed us all, in one way or another.
The day just dragged on, and on, and on. How I made it though to the end I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was grateful that at least I didn’t have to come in tomorrow.
Just before closing time I looked up from my shelf packing, to see Hoss come sauntering up the aisle towards me, looking miserable.
‘Are you okay?’ I asked him as he came to a stop beside me and leant up against a shelf.
‘Don’t really know,’ he answered. ‘I feel like . . .’
‘Shit?’ I offered. ‘Because that’s what you look like.’
‘Very, fucking, funny.’
‘Okay. Sorry. So what’s wrong then?’
He said nothing, but just kept leaning against the shelf, seemingly chewing on his bottom lip.
‘Look, I’m out of here in ten minutes. How about you wait for me out front and you can tell me all about it on our way to meet Matt?’ I said to him. ‘You can think about what’s on your mind between now and then.’
After what seemed a long time, he finally nodded, then pushed himself off the shelf and wandered off down the aisle, without saying anything, his hands thrust deep into his pockets and the tail of his shirt hanging out.
It was one of those days, and the sad part was, even though I was about to finish work, it wasn’t over yet.
I hurriedly packed away the last of the trolley of stock I was working on, then took it and all of my rubbish out to the stockroom. A few minutes later, after signing off, I left work for the day, and met Hoss at the front of the store, waiting impatiently on a bench.
He made no move to get up as I approached, so I sat down beside him, where the silence soon stretched into minutes.
‘How do you and Matt do it?’ he finally asked me.
‘I’m serious,’ he said. ‘You guys are just so . . . together. I mean, you know what you both want and you go and get it. And if anyone ever asks for your help, you are there. I just don’t get it. I mean it’s great that you have what you have, but I can’t figure out what your secret is.’
‘We may seem . . . errr . . . together, but it isn’t easy, believe me. And there isn’t any secret, just an understanding and a love for each other, which I find a little difficult to explain. We still have a long way to go before we’ll have it all worked out, but we are doing okay. Mainly I think, because we have the support of our friends and families.’
‘Is that the key, do you think?’
‘I don’t know. But it is certainly a big help.’
‘I tried talking to Phil . . .’ he started to say. But then stopped.
He was upset, I could tell that much at least, but I still wasn’t sure what it was that was worrying him.
‘What happened?’ I eventually asked him.
‘He was all over me, all he wanted to do was screw me, and I just felt like I was being smothered or something. He did say that he really likes me, but he wants us to get serious. Too serious, I think.’
‘Is that a bad thing?’ I asked, slightly confused.
The silence stretched on.
‘I just don’t know if that’s what I want?’ he finally said. ‘I mean, I like him and all that, but I’m not ready to move in with him or do anything crazy like that. And I’m especially not ready for anyone else to find out that I’m gay.’
‘Then tell him that. Tell him you need some space, and that you need some time to think and be yourself.’
‘I probably should, but then what if he says that’s no good to him and he goes and finds someone else?’
‘Hmmm. How about I get Matt to talk to him?’
‘Do you think he would?’ he asked eagerly.
* * *
‘How was the day?’ Matt asked as I finally showed up, finding him waiting outside of the shop.
‘S.S.D.D.,’ I said to him.
‘Same shit, different day,’ I answered. ‘It’s just something I got out of that Stephen King book I’m reading.’
‘Oh. S.S.D.D.? Hey, I think I like that.’
‘Sorry I’m late,’ I said, as we started up the arcade, heading towards where the car was parked.
‘Hoss came to see me.’
‘He did? So, what’s his problem?’
‘Phil,’ I answered. ‘Apparently Hoss went to see him, and Phil started getting all heavy, like wanting to make a commitment or something.’
‘Shit. I bet that freaked Hoss out?’
‘You could say that,’ I said.
We reached the car and after Matt unlocked the door, we climbed in.
‘Would you go and talk to him?’ I asked.
‘To who? Phil?’
I nodded. ‘Hoss is definitely interested in him, but he’s worried that if he tells Phil he needs a bit of space, that Phil will go looking for someone else.’
Matt thought for a moment, then said, ‘Sure.’
‘Oh, and I also saw Kerrie today,’ I added. ‘She said she was happy for us, even if the whole idea took a little getting used to.’
‘That’s nice. Did she say anything about Julie?’
‘Only that she went away shortly after that last time we saw them both downtown.’
We drove towards home in silence. I think both of us were still thinking about Phil and Hoss.
The afternoon was quite warm and, being still in Daylight Savings time, there was still plenty of time before the sun would go down.
‘Do you want to do anything special this afternoon?’ Matt asked me, while we were still driving.
‘Not really. Why, do you?’
‘No, not really, but I did think it would be nice to watch the sun go down sometime.’
‘No time like the present,’ I said to him.
He looked across and smiled at me, then reached over and took my hand.
‘How about we grab something to eat and head up to the lookout?’ he asked.
I squeezed his hand and said, ‘That would be nice.’
We came up to a set of traffic lights and I looked across and noticed the take-away store, right next to the video store we usually went to.
‘Fish and chips do you?’ I said to him, pointing towards the shop.
When the lights changed we went through them and then Matt pulled straight over on to the side of the road and stopped the car.
We got out and walked back to the corner, where we went in and ordered, then sat down and waited.
‘So, how was Hoss?’ he asked me.
‘Shaky,’ I answered. ‘He wanted to know how we managed to stay so sane.’
‘Yeah, that’s pretty much what I said. He was pretty freaked out I think, about Phil wanting to get all serious. And he also said he was still worried about anyone else finding out about him.’
‘Yeah, well, we all go through that.’
Moments later, the girl from behind the counter called out and told us our order was ready, so we got up and picked it up from the counter, then headed back to the car.
Matt pulled out into the traffic, and as we had already passed the turn off to the lookout, he did a u-turn and headed back in the direction from which we had come, then shortly afterwards we were climbing up the side of the mountain, heading towards the lookout.
We parked the car at the far end of the car park, and then got out. Matt retrieved an old blanket from the boot of the car and then, hand in hand, we climbed up the steps towards the top of the lookout, to where the view was spectacular.
There was no one around today, and we had the place to ourselves, which I was grateful for.
Matt spread his blanket out on a level piece of ground, and we quickly sat down, with our legs crossed, like a couple of school kids, and opened up the fish and chips, which was on the blanket between us.
There was a warm summer wind blowing and I noticed the way that it gently lifted Matt’s hair, and shook it in the breeze.
‘What are you looking at?’ he asked me.
‘Only you,’ I answered. ‘And how beautiful you look when the wind ruffles your hair like that.’
I wasn’t sure if it was him, or if it was the late afternoon light, but I was pretty sure he blushed, before then saying, ‘I must need another haircut then.’
A magpie came down and sat on a rock close to us, apparently attracted by the food, so I threw it a chip, which landed on the ground just in front of it. The bird skipped down from its perch and landed beside the tasty morsel, then picked it up and quickly flew off with it.
‘He’ll be back,’ Matt said to me.
‘Yeah, most probably,’ I answered.
A short while later, the magpie returned, this time bringing with him some friends.
We had pretty much eaten all we were going to, so Matt threw a small handful of chips towards them, which were quickly consumed. The birds fought each other for the scraps, then screeched loudly at us for more, so we obliged, and scattering the remaining chips for them as well.
After that Matt got up and took the rubbish over to a garbage bin, before returning to our blanket.
Our flock of friends screeched at us for a little while longer, then, one by one, as they discovered that feeding time was over, they flew back up into their trees.
Looking out towards the west, we could see the sky had now become a brilliant shade of crimson, streaked with splashes of gold. The afternoon light was fading fast, and below us we could see the lights of our town emerging once more from the shadows.
I looked across at Matt, and could see his face glowing in the soft, ethereal light of the afternoon. Quietly, I moved towards him, then when I was in position, I gently laid my head down on his lap. He had watched me as I had moved, then when I had settled he lifted up his hand and started stroking my hair.
‘It’s beautiful, isn’t it?’ he said softly.
‘It certainly is,’ I whispered back to him, then reached up and took hold of the collar of his shirt, pulling his head down towards mine.
* * *
It was well after dark when we left our mountain top, totally spent from the forces of nature that had engulfed us there.
We drove down the mountain in silence, damp from sweat, but happy. Matt reached across and once again took my hand. I brought his hand up to my face and kissed it.
‘Don’t you ever leave me,’ I said to him softly. ‘I’d never be able to find anyone as good to me, or for me, as you are.’
‘Not a chance,’ he answered. ‘You’re stuck with me.’
I kissed his hand again.
When we reached our home, we both quickly stripped off and headed for the shower, then with the hot water coursing over us, we massaged and caressed the day’s tensions away.
While we were drying each other, we heard Matt’s phone start to ring in the other room, so he wrapped his towel loosely around him and went out and answered it.
After he flipped the phone open and said, ‘Hello,’ I listened for a moment, then heard him say, ‘Just who the fuck is this? Just leave us the fuck alone!’
Angrily, he slammed the phone shut, then threw it on to the bed, before sitting himself down beside it.
‘This is really starting to get to me,’ he said, rather shakily, as I joined him.
‘I know,’ I said to him, taking his hand in mine.
Just then the phone started ringing again. Fearfully, we looked at each other then looked at the phone. I could see that Matt’s hands were shaking when he finally picked it up and flipped it open again.
‘Will you just, fucking, leave me alone,’ he almost yelled into the phone, then his eyes went wide and he quickly said, ‘Shit, sorry about that. That wasn’t you about two minutes ago?’
‘Who is it?’ I mouthed silently to him.
He put his hand over the phone and quietly said, ‘Tim.’
They talked for a good while more, and he proceeded to tell Tim about our mystery caller, and about all the events that had taken place since we had last seen each other.
After what seemed like ages, he then said, ‘Just hang on a tick.’
‘He wants to know if we are doing anything this weekend. They are heading up to Southern Star for a look as well.’
‘Awesome,’ I said. ‘Tell him we’ll meet them at the caravan park, if they like.’
‘You tell him,’ Matt said, handing me the phone.
We spoke for a few minutes and he told me about his and Guy’s exam results, and that they had both applied for spots at Southern Star. Assuming that they were accepted, they were looking forward to the chance to move there, or more specifically to Thompsonville.
I guess that the place had had that effect on us all.
We arranged to meet at the Caravan Park on Friday night and we disconnected shortly after that.
‘That was good news,’ Matt said to me after I handed the phone back to him.
‘It certainly was. It will be good to catch up with them, and even better to have some friends there when, and if, we move up there.’
‘What do you mean . . . if?’
‘I have to land a spot there first, remember?’
‘Don’t sweat it. It’s in the bag,’ he said to me.
I managed a faint smile, but I wasn’t anywhere near as confident as he was. I still had to send my application forms in!
* * *
I had the following day off from work, so after dropping Matt at work in the morning, I came home and finished filling out the application forms for the various universities I had decided to apply for.
This was in fact something I should have done the minute I received my exam results. I just hoped I wasn’t too late.
After toiling for what seemed like hours, I ended up with a pile of forms that I now needed to fax off to the relevant offices. The only trouble was, I didn’t have a fax machine, and it was rather expensive to go to the Post Office or any number of other businesses that offered the service.
‘Shit,’ I said aloud. ‘Why didn’t I think of that earlier?’
I could have gone and seen my parents, or for that matter I could have gone to Matt’s parents, but this was something I wanted to do, no, this was something I had to do, by myself.
I shuffled through the pages I had so laboriously filled out, then suddenly realised that I could have actually applied online for most of these universities, so I fired up my old computer once again and went in search of their web sites.
By lunch time I had done all that I possibly could. I had now officially applied for four universities, with Southern Star being the first one I had sent, and the only one that I really wanted to go to. That only left another two that I would need to fax my applications for.
Things finally felt as if they were starting to come together. Now all I had to do was to wait and see. There was nothing more that I could do.
The last thing I did before I turned off my computer was log in and check my Hotmail account, and thankfully, I found that there weren’t anywhere near as many messages waiting for me as there had been the last time I had checked them.
The assholes of the world had been at work again however, with a couple of nasties being the first messages I had come across.
I didn’t recognise the names of any of the senders, so I quickly deleted them, but I have to admit that they did leave me a little shaky, especially after what had happened to Matt at his work this week.
When I finally turned my computer off I was actually trembling, as the contents of the messages I had read continued to bounce around inside my mind.
‘Watch out faggots,’ was one of them.
‘Poofters must die,’ was another.
‘Scum of the earth,’ was another.
I was shaking so bad when I reached the car, that I had trouble inserting the key into the ignition. With people like that around here, maybe leaving this town was going to be easier than I had thought.
* * *
The remainder of the week went by far too quickly.
Hoss came to see me the following day. It seemed that he and Phil had had a long talk last night and had pretty much worked things out between themselves.
He was positively jumping out of his skin when he arrived and I was happy for him.
Apparently he and Phil were now an item, officially, but they were taking things one step at a time. Phil had listened to what Hoss had to say, and said he understood. They would take things just as slow, or as fast, as Hoss wanted.
Matt and I had also paid a visit to the offices of Harry Lawson, seeing as the court case was set down for the following Tuesday. We told him our suspicions about the origins of our phone calls, which I had suspected were coming from Davo, or one of his mates.
Harry listened intently, asking us if there was any indication from the caller ID on Matt’s phone, but as all the calls had come up with UNKOWN he said there was little we could do, unless we were absolutely certain about who it was.
Matt and Harry were still bickering over what they should do once they arrived in the Court Room, and at the end of that appointment they were still no closer to a decision.
‘Don’t let him railroad you into doing anything you don’t want to do,’ I told Matt that night in bed.
He kissed me, and promised me that he wouldn’t.
Everything, it seemed, was happening all at once.
When Friday afternoon rolled around, Matt and I were pleased to be heading out of town for a few days.
We said goodbye to Matt’s parents, then went around to say goodbye to mine. We told them all that we would be back on Monday afternoon.
I told my father not to worry about court on Tuesday and hugged both him and my mother.
‘I’m not worried,’ he answered. ‘Whatever happens, happens. You two just have a good weekend, and drive safely.’
‘Hang on, I’m confused here,’ I said rather cheekily. ‘Which one of you is supposed to be my fussy mother?’
‘Get out,’ they both said, laughing.
Finally, we managed to leave at around five, which meant that we should get to Thompsonville at around eight-thirty or so. Not too late, but it would still be after dark, unfortunately.
The journey was good and for the most part we still had some daylight. The rolling hills and forests, the wide snaking rivers and valleys, they were all just so fresh in my mind from our earlier trip. It seemed like it was only yesterday when we had last travelled this road.
Just as he had done on our last trip, Matt reached across and held onto my hand as we drove. It was both comforting and reassuring, to have him here with me, knowing that this was a part of an adventure that would take the rest of our lives to complete.
Finally there were no more voices of doubt echoing around inside my mind. There was only Matt. And I believed now, that he would be there for me. Always.
* * *
It was just after dark when we pulled into the familiar gates of the Caravan Park, and as strange as it may seem, it almost felt to me like we were coming home again.
I got out of the car and stretched, trying to iron out the kinks out of my muscles.
Above us, the huge old pine trees towered, blocking from our view the stars which were above them. Once again, we could hear the sounds of seagulls and of rolling seas crashing onto the beach just over the dunes, and could smell the fresh sea air.
‘It’s about time you guys showed up,’ we heard someone say, from not too far away from us.
Turning in that direction, we could see two figures walking towards us, silhouetted against the light coming from along the roadways within the caravan park.
‘We hope you didn’t start the party without us?’ Matt said.
‘Not a chance,’ Tim answered, reaching out his hand towards Matt.
We all shook hands, then hugged.
‘It’s great to see you guys again,’ Guy said, as he embraced me.
‘You too,’ I replied.
‘We can’t wait to catch up on all the goss,’ Tim said. ‘A lot has happened since we last saw each other.’
‘Ain’t that the truth!’ Matt replied.
‘So, have you guys eaten yet? We were hanging off until you got here. How about we grab a meal down at the boardwalk?’ Guy asked.
Matt looked at me and nodded slightly.
‘Sounds good to us,’ I answered, and before we all knew it were walking out through the gates of the caravan park and heading in the direction of the town.
Even in the darkness, we noticed that the guys were walking hand in hand, so Matt reached out and took my hand.
There was no bolt of lightening. There was no cringe of fear. There was no electric shock. I squeezed his hand and the four of us walked on, enjoying each other’s company and chatting about all the things we had been up to since we had last seen each other.
They listened in shock and disbelief when Matt told them all about what had happened to me, both in the park, and at the hands of my father. They had of course heard this before, but that didn’t lessen the impact when they were being told the story in person for the first time.
I also told them about Matt and Tony, and the fact that we had to be home in time for the court case on Tuesday.
‘Christ,’ Tim said. ‘You guys really have been in the wars.’
‘Yeah, well, life goes on,’ Matt answered.
‘So how about you guys?’ I asked.
Tim and Guy just looked at each other and smiled.
I could see there was an understanding between them, which was not unlike that which Matt and I now shared; something that we had noticed had only recently developed.
It was uncanny really, and was taking a bit of getting used to, for both of us. It was almost like we always knew what the other was always thinking. And when things were going bad, it was like we could sense that there was something wrong, without either of us being in the same room even.
There was nothing concrete or tangible that you could identify. It was just a feeling. But it was there all the same.
‘Well,’ Tim said. ‘We’ve moved in together, just like you guys.’
‘That’s great,’ Matt offered. ‘Did you tell your families about yourselves?’
‘Yeah,’ they said in unison.
‘So, how did they take it?’ I asked.
‘They had already had their suspicions,’ Guy offered. ‘So they took it okay. There was no fight, or big scene. It all went fairly well.’
‘Except for your brother,’ Tim said.
‘Yeah, well he kind of took it a bit hard. He called me a dirty bastard a few times, but settled down after a few days.’
‘Hey, did we tell you about Hoss?’ Matt asked.
They both shook their heads.
‘It seems he fancies one of my cousins, Phil.’
‘The sly dog,’ Tim said.
We were almost into the main street of the small town by this time and I noticed that Tim and Guy had now let go of each others hands.
Tim glanced up at me and noticed me staring at his hand.
‘We may be gay, but we’re not suicidal,’ he said to me, with a faint grin which I only just managed to pick up in the light from the street lamps ahead of us.
I just nodded and we kept walking, but Matt didn’t let go of me.
Just then, a group of about five kids on pushbikes rode past us, laughing. None of them would have been any older than about fourteen, I wouldn’t have thought, but it was a little bit hard to tell.
We distinctly heard the word poofters float out into the night, spoken by a rather high pitched young voice, followed by more childish laughter, and not surprisingly it was then that Matt’s hand slipped from mine.
I glanced at him and saw him looking quite concerned, then turned my attention back to the boys, watching them for a few moments as they sped away.
It was then that I noticed that one of them, a fair headed boy of about thirteen, who reminded me a little of Tony, kept looking back at us. He had slowed down a little and kept glancing from us to his friends and back again. He turned a small circle on the road in front of us, studying us carefully.
We heard one of his friends call out to him, ‘C’mon Aaron,’ then he sped up and rejoined them.
I wasn’t sure, but I thought I saw him smile at us.
‘Trouble?’ Guy asked.
We just shrugged and kept walking.
Just as we were about to cross the road and head towards the boardwalk, we passed the little Chinese restaurant that we had visited the last time we had been here, and glancing in through the big front window I noticed that there were very few tables with people at them.
‘Hey, remember this place? How about we go in here?’ I asked my friends.
‘Fine by me,’ Guy answered. The others nodded and so we all went inside, where we were greeted by the same little Chinese guy behind the counter who had been there the last time we had visited.
He looked us up and down and then grinned at us, revealing a mouth that was only half filled with teeth.
‘You boys bin here before,’ he said to us in his broken English. It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. We had been recognised.
‘Yes sir, we have,’ Tim answered him.
‘Come. Come,’ he said to us, motioning to us with his hand, then proceeded to lead us to the same table that we had sat at last time, looking out towards the water.
Once again we were treated to the fantastic sight of the lights from the boats and the jetty and the boardwalk, being reflected off the calm waters.
It was a delightful view and I knew that we would never grow tired of it.
* * *
The following day was Saturday. Open Day at Southern Star University and the reason for our trip.
Matt rolled over and threw his arm over me in the bed we were sharing in the caravan, which was in fact the table, which folded down into another bed. I took his hand and drew it up close to my chest.
‘Good morning,’ he whispered softly into my ear.
‘Morning,’ I whispered back to him.
At the other end of the caravan, sleeping on the double bed, seeing as they had arrived first and got dibs, were Tim and Guy. I could hear one of them snoring softly and stifled a giggle.
‘Knock it off,’ Matt whispered. ‘You’ll wake them up.’
My body shook as I tried to stop myself laughing. I don’t know what made me feel like that this morning, because I had woken up several times during the many nights spent with Matt, only to lie awake listening to him doing exactly the same thing.
Matt drew me closer to him and kissed the back of my neck. I let out a soft moan.
It was Matt’s turn to giggle now.
As quietly as I could, I rolled over and faced my lover then I gently ran my hands through his soft hair, before tracing the outline of his nose and his jaw and his eyebrows with my index finger.
I felt his hand slide downwards along my back, until he reached the crack of my buttocks. He hesitated for a moment, then let his fingers do the walking, sliding them further downwards between my cheeks.
‘You’ll wake . . .’ I started to protest, but he silenced me quickly, by placing his mouth over mine.
We stayed like that for what seemed like ages, devouring each other with a rejuvenated hunger that both excited and scared me. Our sheet had slipped off us. We were naked. And we were making out while there was someone else in the room.
The last time we had done anything like this was when we had camped here after finishing school, with Tim and Guy being our co-conspirators then as well; however on that occasion it had at least been in darkness. I have to admit that it had freaked me out a little then, and I never expected to be doing it again, at least not quite so soon anyway.
It didn’t stop us however.
Slowly and silently, Matt moved himself down lower on my body.
I closed my eyes, and as his tongue gently teased my nipples I had a sharp intake of breath.
Gently, he then closed his teeth over my erect left nipple, and pulled outwards.
‘Ooooh,’ I whimpered.
He let go, and then did the same to my right nipple, before licking the small hollow in the centre of my chest.
‘Stop it,’ I hissed.
I heard him chuckle softly. At least I hoped it was him. I didn’t open my eyes to look. I was enjoying this too much.
Slowly he worked downwards. Kissing me. Licking me. Teasing me.
I was in heaven.
When Matt’s tongue reached the engorged head of my penis, and his mouth took me inside him, I shuddered. It felt like the whole world was shaking.
Cautiously, I opened my eyes, and there were Tim and Guy, standing at the doorway to the small bedroom of the caravan, stark naked.
Tim was leaning back against a cupboard door, while Guy’s mouth was working its magic on Tim’s manhood.
I had been right. The world was shaking.
We both just looked at each other and smiled, then, with a cheeky wink, Tim then reached out and took hold of the sliding door to the bedroom and pulled it shut.
* * *
Half an hour later the bedroom door slid open more and out strolled both of our friends, who promptly sat down on the edge of our bed, one on either side of us.
At least they were dressed this time, or should I say partially dressed, having pulled on their shorts since I had seen them a little while ago.
‘Did you have fun, boys?’ Guy asked, glancing up and down at us, seeing us only half covered by the sheet.
‘Sure did,’ Matt answered. ‘How about you?’
They both just grinned.
‘Well, you can’t stay in bed all day,’ Tim said to us. ‘We’ve got a university to go and check out. Then afterwards we’ve got a special place to take you both.’
‘What sort of special place?’ I asked.
‘You’ll see,’ they answered together.
To be continued . . .