Turning to face Nick’s mother I found a rather anxious looking neighbor looking my way, who had no idea what was happening.
‘Nick’s okay,’ I told her. ‘He’s down near the beach.’
‘What’s he doing there? Why isn’t he coming home?’
‘It’s a long story, Wendy, but I promise I’ll explain it all to you as soon as we get back. Adam and I will go and get him . . .’
‘Who is Adam?’ she quickly asked, just as he appeared at the top of the stairs, right on cue. It was only then that I realised that they had never met.
‘That would be me,’ Adam said. ‘And you must be Brad and Nick’s mum, if I’m not mistaken.’
For a few moments I’m sure that Wendy didn’t quite know what to think.
‘Adam is my boyfriend, Wendy. And he has already met the boys,’ I ventured.
‘The guy with the fancy car? They were telling me all about it the other day. It’s nice to meet you,’ she said, as she rather awkwardly offered her hand for him to shake.
‘And you too,’ Adam answered, before turning to me with a questioning look.
‘Nick is down at the beach. He’s watching Corcoran,’ I said as plainly as I could, not wanting Wendy to be alarmed.
‘And who is Corcoran?’ she asked.
‘That’s a part of the long story,’ I replied. ‘How about we go and find Nick and bring him home first? Then we can explain everything to you.’
I knew that Wendy was a good mother to her two young larrikins, and I was pleased that she was immediately suspicious of who these strangers were who seemed to have become involved in the lives of her sons. I just wasn’t too sure how she might react when she knew the whole truth.
That would have to wait for later, however, as first and foremost we had to find Nick and bring him home to her. And as desperate as I was about trying to catch Corcoran, I wasn’t thinking about him too much at this stage, as Nick’s safety was far more important to me right now.
‘You’re starting to worry me now, Rick,’ Wendy said.
‘It’ll be okay, Wendy. We’ll have him back with you soon. Just trust me, okay?’
For a long while she just looked at me, then to Adam and back to me again, before finally nodding.
‘I do trust you, Rick. And so do the boys. Just bring my Nick home.’
‘I will,’ I promised, then with a nod I turned to leave, tugging on Adam’s arm as I did so, and the two of us started toward the top of the stairs. When we got there, however, I realised that there was something I needed from my apartment, so I quickly backtracked and let myself inside, before re-emerging just moments later and closing the door once more.
‘Let’s go,’ I said to Adam as I brushed past him.
Even before we had reached the bottom of the stairwell I had my phone out and was dialing Helen’s number.
‘Hi, Rick,’ she answered. ‘How are things going up there? There’s nothing new to report down here I’m afraid.’
‘I’m back in Sydney,’ I said. ‘And we’ve got a problem. Nick has been following Corcoran today, and apparently he’s down by the beach near my apartment.’
‘Yeah, you heard me right. I’m on my way there now to find Nick. Can you get some back-up sent as well . . . and no sirens or anything! We don’t want Corcoran to run’
‘I’m on it. I’ll see you there soon.’
By the time I had disconnected we were at the car and Adam had already unlocked it.
‘Which way?’ he asked as I climbed in and he started it up.
‘Turn right onto the street, go through the round-about on the next corner, then at the second intersection after the round-about, turn left. That’ll take us straight down to the car park near the playground and skate park, just off the beach.’
‘And what if he spots us? He knows the car, remember?’
‘That’s a chance we’ve got to take. We’ll find a space as soon as we get into the car park, rather than get too close to the beach, then we’ll just have to hoof it from there.’
‘Okay,’ he replied, before dropping the accelerator and squealing out onto the street.
It was only a matter of minutes before we found ourselves pulling into the car park, finding a space just inside the entrance and between two other cars, which I was hopeful would conceal our presence there.
Quickly I sent a text message to Nick, asking him where he was, and only seconds later he called back.
‘Where are you?’ he asked, almost in a whisper.
‘In the car park near the playground. Where the hell are you?’ I replied.
‘Hiding in the bushes between the skate park and the surf club,’ he whispered.
‘Is that his name? He’s just near the skate park. I think he’s been watching some of the kids there.’
‘I hope he can’t see you?’
‘Not a chance,’ Nick replied, the smug satisfaction in his voice clearly evident.
‘Okay, keep an eye out for me and Adam then,’ I said, as I started to think how we would be able to get to Nick without being spotted ourselves, at the skate park.
Maroubra Bay stretched between two headlands, both of which were parkland, and between them was nestled our shimmering beach, which was about one kilometer long. Along the dunes there were a number of public facilities, like the skate park and playground, the surf club and safe-swim school, all set amidst open parkland but with plenty of trees scattered around for shade. There were also barbeque and picnic facilities and in the summer the place was always pumping. Even now, near the end of summer, there still seemed to be plenty of activity, even if it was after dark. Kids were still rolling around the skate park, not caring about the fact there was only dim light, while shadowy figures seemed to also be lurking about, keeping to their own world of shadows. Was one of them Corcoran, I wondered?
When Nick had told me both his and Corcoran’s locations I was immediately worried. If Corcoran was near the skate park it meant he wasn’t too far from where we were now standing, as the skate park was directly in front of us. The only saving grace was that there were a number of trees directly in front of where we had parked, which were hopefully shielding us from Corcoran’s view, should he happen to be looking in our direction.
Quickly summing up the situation I decided on a course of action.
‘C’mon, we better take the long way round,’ I said to Adam, as I set off in the direction from which we had entered the car park.
‘I take it you have a plan?’ he asked, as he hurried behind me to catch up.
‘Kind of. Nick said that Corcoran was near the skate park . . . and that was it we were just looking at. I’m just hoping he didn’t spot us. If we head back out this way there are a couple of roads we can follow that will take us toward the surf club at the south end of the beach. There are plenty of trees for cover and it’ll keep us away from where Nick said Corcoran was sitting. Then we can come in from behind where Nick is hiding.’
‘Okay, whatever you say.’
‘Just remember, all we are wanting to do right now is make sure that Nick is safe. The cavalry will be here soon, so hopefully they can have the job of picking Corcoran up.’
‘And if he gets away?’
‘Then I guess he lives to fight another day,’ I grimly replied.
* * *
The night was warm, yet with a breeze coming in off the sea it wasn’t uncomfortable. We soon found the road which led to the surf club at the southern end of the beach and followed it until about two-thirds of the way along its length, then cut in through the trees and headed toward where I roughly thought Nick would be sitting.
The few street lights and other lights randomly scattered along the pathways didn’t penetrate far into the trees and we could see a few people stalking about amongst them, silhouetted against light coming from the other side of the open recreation area. Beyond that were more trees, and it was amongst these where Nick had said he had taken up his observation post.
Crossing the open area, while sticking to the shadows as best we could, we entered the trees and then turned to head back in the direction of the skate park. Despite this edge of the park being, in part, the edge of the sand dune and covered with scrubby bushland, it was relatively easy going, and it wasn’t long before we found a dark shape hiding amongst the trees and peering out toward the skate park, where we could see the dim shapes of people still moving about, and even hear the sound of the wheels of their skateboards above the quiet sound of waves rolling in nearby.
‘Nick,’ I hissed quietly, which only startled the figure as he spun around to face us.
‘Jesus Christ, Coop. Why don’t you try and scare the crap out of me next time!’ he quietly exclaimed.
‘Sorry. How’s the stakeout going?’ I asked him, with just a hint of amusement in my voice, which I hoped he would pick up on, although if the truth must be known, I should instead be giving him a scruff around the ears for being so fucking stupid.
‘He’s over there,’ he said, pointing. ‘Sitting under that tree, just near the path.’
Squinting into the near darkness I could just make out the outline of what could have been a person, but from this distance it was difficult to tell. It was only when the outline moved slightly that I could see the shape was indeed human.
‘Are you sure it’s him?’ I asked.
‘Absolutely. He’s been here all afternoon and has spent most of it wandering around near the skate park or the playground, apart from a couple of times he went into the toilets. I spotted him when I came down here after lunch, after Brad went to his mate’s place for the weekend.’
Adam and I glanced at each other. If Corcoran was watching these kids in the playground and skate park he was definitely up to something.
‘What are you going to do about him?’ Nick asked. ‘Can you arrest him or something?’
‘Not on my own, mate. But I’ve called Helen and there are some more cops on the way. Why didn’t you call me . . . or Helen . . . and let us know he was here?’
‘I . . . I wasn’t sure it was him at first,’ he replied.
‘But you’re sure now?’
‘Yeah. I got a real good look at him when he walked past one time. I was hidden in the scrub so he couldn’t see me, but I saw him orright. So what are you going to do about him . . . when the other cops get here, I mean?’
‘Hopefully we’ll be able to arrest him, at least we will if everything goes well.’
Just then Adam whispered, ‘Hey, he’s moving.’ Nick and I both turned to look and noticed Corcoran get to his feet.
‘What’s he doing?’ Nick asked.
‘I don’t know,’ I answered, at first, but when I looked toward the skate park I noticed a kid starting to leave. The kid had blonde hair. It was unmistakable. ‘Holy shit,’ I said under my breath.
In an instant I knew what I needed to do. But I would only be able to do it if Adam and Nick did exactly what I asked of them.
‘What?’ asked Adam.
‘You two stay here, and don’t fucking move,’ I ordered, while at the same time reaching behind me and pulling my service pistol from under my shirt, which was the item I had retrieved from my apartment before we set out, after leaving it there a few days ago before heading to Newcastle with Helen and the boys.
‘Fuck! Is that a real gun?’ Nick asked, while the look on Adam’s face was one of total shock.
‘Yes, Nick. It’s real. And that’s why I want you both to stay here. Do the pair of you understand me?’
They both nodded in the darkness.
Looking back toward the park I saw the blonde kid about to disappear from what little light there was around the skate park. I then scanned around looking for Corcoran, who I soon spotted skirting the skate park. I had to move. And fast.
‘I’ll be back soon. Just stay here, okay?’ I said to my companions, then I disappeared into the darkness myself.
Thankfully I had the cover of the trees and bushland, and against the pale ground, which was mostly sand or dried grass, I could see easily enough to make my way through it.
Every now and then I could catch a glimpse of either Corcoran or the skater boy, and I could see Corcoran was getting closer and closer to his prey.
Doubling my efforts I started running harder, not worrying whether I made too much noise. All I wanted was to close the gap between the three of us. Moments later I broke out of the scrub and had a clear view of them. The boy was heading toward the beach and Corcoran was closing fast.
They were less than fifty metres in front of me.
I had to stop him before he got any closer to the boy. I didn’t have a choice.
‘Corcoran! Freeze!’ I yelled, as I continued running toward him, my gun raised high. ‘Get down on the ground! Now!’
Startled, the two of them spun around and looked at me. I was now close enough to see the fear in the eyes of the kid, and the smug expression of my mortal enemy. I was face to face with Martin’s murderer and I could see that he knew exactly who I was.
It was the kid who moved first. I could clearly hear him say, ‘Jesus Christ!’ and then he bolted, running as fast as he could into the night.
In that split second while I was distracted, Corcoran took his own chance, and bolted toward the car park. I set off after him, but after a short chase I knew it was of no use, as he dodged behind a row of trees, then between some cars, then back amongst some trees again, before eventually running straight out through the entrance to the car park itself and turning toward the darkness.
‘Fuck me! Just how many lives does this asshole have?’ was all I could think of saying, as I pulled up, trying to catch my breath.
* * *
The reinforcements arrived all too late, of course. Two patrol cars and Helen’s Ford all rolled into the car park just a few minutes later, but by that time Corcoran was long gone.
After I explained what had happened and given a description of what Corcoran was wearing – a striped polo shirt and dark jeans – and with Adam and Nick backing me up, Helen sent the uniformed officers out to scour the area for any sign of him. We all knew that it would amount to nought, but it had to be done.
The arrival of the police patrol cars had also put paid to us being able to quiz any of the kids who had been using the skate park, as those who had been there when Corcoran did a runner all quickly disappeared into the night themselves. Hardly surprising considering that they would have just seen a man waving a gun round. This only left Helen and myself standing around beneath one of the car park lights, propped up against the mud guard of Helen’s car, while Adam and Nick sat on the grass nearby.
This was twice in one day that Corcoran had slipped through our fingers, and I said as much to Helen.
‘So, what are you doing? Hoping for third time lucky?’ she drawled.
We all knew what the chances of getting our hands on him a third time were.
‘Well guys, it’s been fun, but there’s not much else we can do now,’ Helen said. ‘It’s after nine, so I think the best thing we can do is head home and then see what tomorrow brings . . . besides all the paperwork we’re going to need to fill out following this little exercise.’
‘Better luck than today, I’m hoping,’ I offered.
‘Just don’t go holding your breath waiting for it to happen though, Golden Boy,’ she replied.
On any other day I might have burred up over being called that once again, but right now I was beyond caring. Right now all I wanted to do was to get home and crawl into bed, and push any thoughts of Corcoran as far from my mind as possible . . . and as I looked down at Adam, lazing on the grass and chatting with Nick, I knew just how to do that – after we handed our young sleuth over to his mother, of course.
‘I’ll talk to you tomorrow,’ Helen said, as she opened the door to her car. ‘We should go and see if Casey can tell us anything new about Corcoran, or see if he has any ideas about how we can track down some of the other boys.’
‘Alright,’ I replied.
‘Now get home . . . and don’t go waving that big gun of yours around at anyone else tonight, okay?’
‘Damn, Helen. You sure know how to spoil a party,’ complained Adam.
‘I’m just looking out for the good citizens of this town, dear boy,’ she replied, before climbing into her car and starting it up.
After she had left I turned back to see two faces grinning up at me.
‘And just what the hell is the problem with you pair?’ I asked them.
‘Oh, nothing Coop,’ insisted Nick. ‘I’m just wondering what it would be like to see you waving your big gun around.’
‘Well, you’re going to have to just keep wondering, smart arse! Now, on your feet, we’re taking you back to your mother so she can paddle your arse with a wooden spoon for being so fucking stupid for following Corcoran down here.’
‘I’d much rather have you do it,’ he teased.
‘Oh, Jesus. Everywhere I go there’s nothing but horny teenagers,’ I cried.
‘You say that as if it’s a bad thing,’ sneered Adam.
‘Fuck! Not you too! He’s fourteen years old for Christ sake . . .’ then turning to Nick I said, ‘And where the hell do you learn about these things at your age?’
‘Where did you learn?’ Adam laughed. That quickly made me shut my mouth, which I was sure had been hanging open.
‘So, who is he, anyhow?’ Nick asked innocently. It was only then that I realised that I hadn’t yet told Nick just who this guy was, or what he had done. As far as he knew Corcoran was just some old pervert. Maybe if he’d known the truth he wouldn’t have followed him like he did.
Nick sat there looking up at me expectantly, waiting for an answer.
‘It’s a long story, mate,’ I eventually said to him. ‘He’s actually a pretty dangerous guy . . . that’s why I pulled the gun on him tonight. How about I explain it to you and your mother together?’
‘Is he that bad?’
‘Worse,’ I replied, before watching his face take on a ghostly pallor.
‘And what about that kid he was following? What might he have done to him if he had caught up with him?’
‘What do you think?’ I asked him.
* * *
Before we had left the parking area I had relented on the subject of informing Nick what Corcoran’s story was, and after getting into Adam’s car I asked him not to start it just yet, as I turned to face Nick in the back seat.
Over the next five minutes I told him all there was to know about Corcoran and by the time I had finished Nick was aghast at just how close he had been to such pure evil, vowing never to be so foolish again.
A short time later we were pulling into my parking space. Nick hadn’t said a word during the trip back from the park, but when we all climbed out of Adam’s car the first thing he did was turn to me and hug me.
I hadn’t wanted to scare him quite so much, but it was obvious what I had said to him had had an effect on him.
‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered.
‘It’s okay,’ I answered. ‘You know now, and I also know that if he comes around again you won’t do the same thing and you’ll call either me or Helen.’
‘It’s not over yet though, mate. Is it? We still need to tell your mother what has been going on, and she’ll probably have something to say . . .’
‘Ya think?’ he chuckled.
‘I’m also going to ask her to take you and Brad away for a few days,’ I added. ‘While ever this prick is around you boys could be in danger, and I don’t want to take any chances.’
‘But . . . but . . .’
‘It’s Mardi Gras next weekend. We don’t want to miss that. Mum said we could go.’
‘She said that me and Brad could go . . . if we went with someone older who would keep an eye on us, that is. We were going to ask you if you would take us . . . you will, won’t you?’
In light of things that Nick had said tonight, and in recent times, I was beginning to think that there was a lot more to this kid than first meets the eye. I didn’t want to come out and ask him straight up if he was gay . . . which I now strongly suspected he was . . . but all the same, I didn’t want him to think that I wouldn’t be there for him if there was anything he wanted to talk about. When I felt the time was right I would have to come up with a way of casually broaching the subject with him and letting him know that I was there for him if needed.
‘Mate, I think I’ll actually be working there . . . but leave it with me and I’ll see what I can do. I’m pretty sure that I think I’ll be able to find someone responsible to look after you,’ I answered him, while cocking an eyebrow in Adam’s direction. He simply rolled his eyes at me and smiled.
‘Awesome!’ Nick shrieked, before throwing his arms around my waist, then high-fiving Adam. ‘You guys are the best, you know that?’
‘Of course we are,’ I replied. ‘That’s why we dragged ourselves out in the middle of the night to save your sorry arse! I wouldn’t go celebrating just yet though if I were you . . . if I know your mum you’ll probably be grounded until you’re fifty for tonight’s little escapade.’
‘It’s okay . . . I bet I’ll be able to win her over by the end of the week.’
‘Well, good luck with that one,’ I chuckled. ‘C’mon now, we better get you upstairs to face the music, then I’ll be able to finally get to bed.’
‘Yeah, but I bet you won’t be getting to sleep for quite a while!’ he grinned, before jumping back out of my reach and darting for the door to the stairwell.
Wendy was one relieved woman when we finally made it up to their apartment, hugging her repentant son to her bosom in one instant, before berating him in the next.
Once she had settled down a little she invited us inside and filled the electric jug.
‘Okay, now do you want to tell me what is going on?’ she calmly asked, while directing us to the sofa in the living room. I was grateful that she didn’t sound pissed off. For how long she might stay that way though, I couldn’t be sure.
Adam and I sat down, then Nick squeezed himself in between us. Maybe he thought it would be the safest place to be?
Pulling my phone from my pocket I found the photo of Corcoran that Nick had sent me, then passed it over to her, where she had sat down on another chair.
‘Nick took that photo this morning and sent it to me, Wendy. That guy was hanging around the apartments asking about me,’ I said to her.
‘I haven’t seen him,’ she said. ‘Who is he?’
‘He used to be a school teacher. At my old high school, to be precise. I have no idea what he does now, but . . .’ I said, before pausing.
‘He’s wanted by the police in connection with several serious incidents.’
‘Such as?’ she asked.
‘Murders and sexual assaults on a number of boys.’
‘Murder?’ she gasped.
‘Yes. At least three that we know of,’ I replied.
For a few moments she seemed to think about that, her face clearly showing concern, before turning to Nick and asking, ‘Did you know about any of that?’
‘No, mum. I just wanted to see what he was up to. I thought it was weird him asking about Rick, so I took the photo and sent it to him, then followed the guy to see where he went.’
‘And why would he be asking about you, do you think?’ Wendy asked me.
‘Wendy, the first of the boys he killed was my boyfriend from high school. I don’t know how, but he has now found out where I’m living. The other two victims were guys I had only met this past week. We think that he has simply snapped . . . for want of a better word . . . and it has something to do with me.
‘This guy is extremely dangerous, and if he’s now targeting people I know it means that others may be in danger also . . . and that could include you and the boys.’
On hearing this, her head snapped back up from looking at the photo, her mouth agape.
‘Is there any way you might be able to take the boys away for a few days?’ I gently asked. ‘Do you have someone you might be able to go and stay with?’
‘What about Gran, in Wollongong?’ Nick suggested to his mother. ‘We haven’t been down there in ages, even though it’s not far away.’
‘I . . . I guess we could do that,’ she said. ‘Do you really think it’s necessary?’
‘I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t think so, Wendy. The last thing I would want to see is any harm coming to you or the boys,’ I said, while playfully roughing up Nick’s blonde hair.
‘Alright then. If you really think we should . . .’
‘Please call Gran,’ I said, as gently, yet as firmly as I could, before getting to my feet and indicating for Adam to follow. ‘If there’s anything you need, or anything you want done, just let me know, okay? Nick has my number, so just call me.’
‘I will,’ she replied, before getting to her feet and giving me a quick hug. ‘You’re a good man, Rick. I hope you get this guy.’
‘We will,’ I promised, then turning to Nick I said, ‘That was a brave thing you did today, even if it was bloody stupid. Now that you know what it’s all about, if you’re worried about anything, or if you need to talk to anyone about it, or anything else, just call me, or come and see me, okay?’
‘I will,’ he assured me, before he too hugged me once more.
* * *
As much as I had enjoyed the trip to see Tom and Beth, it was still good to be back in my apartment, even allowing for its many shortcomings. Crossing the floor of the living room I opened the sliding glass door which led out onto the balcony and stepped outside into the night, looking out over the twinkling lights of the suburb below, and beyond that the inky blackness of the ocean.
Adam joined me there, walking up behind me and slipping his arms around my waist, while resting his chin on my shoulder.
‘What a week it has been,’ he said quietly.
‘Hmmm . . .’ I murmured, as I leaned back against him. ‘And it’s not over yet.’
‘No, I guess it isn’t. Are you worried about what’s next?’
For a short time I was quiet, as I contemplated the week ahead.
‘Not worried so much . . . maybe just a little concerned that everything will fall into place and we’ll be able to nab Corcoran when the time is right.’
‘I watched you tonight, Rick. You were amazing. It was like this switch went off inside your head and you just went into overdrive. You knew exactly what to do . . . even if you scared the crap out of both me and Nick when you pulled that gun out of your arse!’
‘Sorry about that,’ I chuckled. ‘When I knew what we were going out for I also knew that I had to be prepared for anything, that’s why I ducked back inside here and grabbed my service pistol. I didn’t want to say anything, just in case you freaked or something . . . but I sure wish you could have seen the look on your face when I whipped it out.’
‘Oh, I’m pretty sure that I have a fair idea of what I looked like,’ he responded. ‘All the same, I was impressed by how you handled the situation. I was actually quite proud of you.’
‘Is that so?’ I asked, as I spun around in his arms to face him.
‘Yes, sir. I was . . . I mean . . . I am,’ he replied, with just a hint of amusement in his voice. ‘But . . .’
‘I was just thinking that I should probably frisk you . . . you know, to check what other weapons you may have hidden away?’ he replied, as he leaned into me just slightly.
It was a corny line, I knew that, and he knew that, but I certainly didn’t mind . . . right now I needed a distraction from the evil that seemed to have been inhabiting my mind of late, so, corny or not I didn’t care, provided it achieved the desired result.
Adam let his hand slip down between us and I felt him feel me up, squeezing my manhood and fueling my growing erection.
‘It seems you do have a concealed weapon there, Detective,’ he growled.
‘Are you going to frisk me?’ I asked.
‘I’m thinking a strip search might be in order.’
‘If you insist,’ I sighed, though being more than happy to play along with his little game.
Taking my hand he led me back inside and across the living room, then through my bedroom door. I offered no resistance as he kissed me, then held me, then began to undress me. Slowly he unbuttoned my shirt, gently kissing his way down my body, as I stood there, my eyes closed and my hands on his shoulders to steady myself, before he then started unbuckling my belt and removing the remainder of my clothes.
From outside the apartment the sound of vehicles on the surrounding roads and the hum of the city nightlife came drifting in through the open doorway . . . a distant siren, the honk of a horn, the buzz of traffic . . . but I was too far gone to pay much attention to it all, as I was laid back on my bed and Adam’s hands and mouth and body began to work their magic.
* * *
I was awake well before dawn the next morning, at that time when everything is still gloomy and grey. Even the things around you seem to be without shape, or form, or colour, just more greyness in a colourless sea. Gradually, however, just as day turns to night, the dawn began to emerge, turning the darkness into a brand new day and bringing with it light and warmth and the promise of something spectacular.
For all this time I lay beside Adam, watching his naked, sleeping form, as the first hint of colour entered the room. Gradually the shadows on his body changed, altering the highlights created by the bumps and hollows of muscle and body parts, until finally the rosy hue that bathed the new morning also brought a new glow to his sleeping form.
Outside I could hear the suburb too, beginning to come alive. I could hear the sound of traffic beginning to pick up on Maroubra Road. Somewhere, not too far away, the first of the morning trains rattled through the next suburb. For a few moments I had to think about just what day it was – it was Sunday – so the carriages would largely be empty at this hour, with perhaps just a handful of all-night revelers likely to be their only patrons.
Looking at Adam, the only sign of movement was that of his chest, rhythmically rising and falling with each breath he took. Occasionally his eyelids would flutter, or the corners of his mouth would be turned up with the beginnings of a smile. Whatever he did was just fine by me. I simply couldn’t get enough of him.
Eventually he rolled over onto his side, facing me, yet with his eyes still closed. Tentatively I reached out and gently patted down an awkward spike of hair that, to me at least, seemed to be spoiling his almost perfect appearance, and when I pulled my hand back I found his eyes were open, staring at me.
‘Good morning,’ I said to him softly.
‘Good morning to you, too,’ he replied. ‘What time is it?’
‘Early,’ I chuckled. ‘Way too early to be getting out of bed for a Sunday morning.’
‘So we get to stay here then?’
‘For a while, at least,’ I ventured. ‘But have no fear, I’m sure we’ll manage to find something to keep ourselves occupied.’
‘Is that so?’
‘Oh, definitely,’ I replied, as I scooted over closer to him, so that our bodies and faces were almost touching.
It was my turn now to repay the favour from last night, and as I ran my hand down his side we both knew where we were heading. It wasn’t to be, however, as we were suddenly interrupted by the ringing of my phone, which I had left sitting on the bedside table.
‘Shit!’ I exclaimed, as I reluctantly broke away from Adam and collapsed onto my back.
‘Are you going to answer that?’ he enquired.
‘Do I have to?’ I asked, even though I already knew the answer to that.
Adam was grinning at me as I rolled over and reached for the phone, before pressing the button to answer the call.
‘This better be good!’ I gruffly said into the phone.
‘What’s wrong with you, Golden Boy? Did I interrupt something?’ Helen asked.
‘Your timing is impeccable,’ I answered.
‘Tell Adam I’m sorry,’ she laughed. ‘What are you doing today? Like I said last night, I think you need to come with me to see Casey.’
‘Jesus, don’t you even take Sundays off?’
‘And do what?’ she joked.
‘They tell me knitting is a soothing pastime.’
‘Fuck that!’ she laughed. ‘I’ll tell you what . . . I’ll give you an hour, then I’ll be waiting out the front,’ she said, before immediately hanging up.
I looked across at Adam and shook my head.
‘Helen?’ he enquired.
‘Yeah. She wants us to go see Casey this morning . . . in one hour in fact. I suppose I should be grateful she gave us that long.’
I was sitting up in bed by now, and still holding the phone. Adam soon changed that, however, by taking the phone from me and tossing it down onto the end of the bed, then putting a hand around the back of my neck and dragging me toward him, so that eventually I was lying on my back and across his lap, looking up at his smiling face.
‘We can do a lot in an hour,’ he said, as he leaned forward and kissed me.
‘How about we kill two birds with the one stone? Fancy getting all wet and slippery in the shower?’
‘That works for me,’ he grinned, as he released me and pushed me away from him, laughing.
We both managed to make it to the bathroom without any further distractions, which, given our mutual states of arousal seemed like a minor miracle in itself, before squeezing into the shower together, all the while giggling like a pair of school girls.
‘At least the two of us will be able to fit into my shower,’ Adam teased, as we playfully jostled each other.
‘Well, that’s settled then. I’m definitely moving in!’ I replied.
‘As if there was any doubt of that!’ he laughed, as he turned on the hot water.
For a few moments we had to stand back, as we tried to avoid the frigid water that was coming from the showerhead, but once the hot water started to flow and we managed to adjust the temperature to being just right we both stepped under the steady stream.
Adam pulled me to him and kissed me, while each of us let his hands roam over the other’s body, quickly working ourselves up into a state of excitement.
‘I do believe it’s your turn,’ Adam stated, as he let go of me and turned to face the wall, being ever the romantic.
‘Well, it’s not every day I get an offer like that,’ I whispered into his ear, as I began to massage his shoulders.
‘Hmmm . . . that feels so good,’ he moaned.
‘The best is yet to come,’ I replied, as I slowly let one hand glide down his back and then slide between his buttocks, gently probing for the ultimate prize.
As I found my goal and slipped a finger inside him he let out another loud moan, while at the same time arching his back and thrusting his hips outward, clearly inviting me to go further.
For the next ten minutes, until we had each reached a shuddering climax, not a word was spoken, apart from the occasional moan or groan from one or the other of us. Words weren’t needed.
Adam and I were quickly developing a familiarity with each other which was something I hadn’t experienced in a long, long time. It was somewhat unnerving, yet at the same time it was quite exhilarating . . . even breathtaking . . . going beyond even what I had shared with Martin. What we were now sharing wasn’t just the sexual experience . . . we were both sharing ourselves with the other, the whole of ourselves, completely, unequivocally and unreservedly. Something inside me had finally been set free, and while I knew my love for Martin would never die, I also knew now that before me was a life and a love that would carry me through whatever obstacles would be thrown at me.
A short time later, as we were drying off and recovering from our exertions, there was a knock at the door. I knew it wouldn’t be Helen, as my hour wasn’t up yet, so I padded, naked but with a towel slung over my shoulder, through to the front door and took a peep through the spyhole.
It was Nick, so I simply wrapped the towel I was carrying around me and opened the door, catching him with his hand raised, ready to knock again.
‘Good morning, mate,’ I said. ‘Come in if you like.’
The look on his face, when he realised that apart from the towel that was wrapped around me I was naked, was simply priceless. Perhaps I should have thought about it more before I opened the door, but what was done was done. Anyhow, I was sure that he would have seen guys naked before at school, at the very least.
‘I . . . errr . . .’ he stammered.
‘Come in, Nick. Just let me find some clothes,’ I said, as I headed for my bedroom.
‘Ummm . . . it’s okay,’ he managed to say, as he stepped through the door and quickly closed it behind him.
I turned back to face him and found him looking me up and down, his eyes drinking in the sight before him, before finally settling on my lower regions. I wasn’t game to look down, as I was almost certain that I would have been sporting a semi.
‘I won’t be long, mate,’ I insisted, not wanting to give him the wrong idea. ‘Have a seat.’
Of course at fourteen he was old enough to know all about the proverbial birds and bees, and from various things he had said and done recently I was fairly certain that his own sexual orientation was much the same as mine and Adam’s, but he was still a kid, and we all know that lots of things can happen between when kids first start exploring their sexuality and when they finally realise where their true identity lies. Still, I knew I had to tread carefully, even if he showed no signs of being concerned about the prospect of being in the company of a semi-naked man.
When I walked back into the bedroom Adam was standing naked by my wardrobe, taking a look through my clothes, seeing as his own luggage was still stowed safely in the boot of his car.
‘It’s Nick,’ I said to him. ‘So you better pull something on before he sees you like that,’ I chuckled.
He looked at me and grinned.
‘Well, we better be on our best behavior then, hadn’t we?’
‘Damn straight,’ I replied.
After we had both pulled on some clothes we ventured back out to the living room, where we found Nick sitting on the edge of the sofa, looking slightly nervous.
‘Are you okay, mate?’ I asked him, as I sat down beside him, while Adam sat on the other chair.
‘Can I ask you guys something?’ he said.
‘Of course. Anything you want,’ I replied.
He gave a brief nod, but remained silent for a few moments as he looked from one of us to the other and back again. I didn’t push him.
‘When did you know?’ he eventually asked.
‘About . . . that you were . . . ummm . . .’
‘That I was gay?’ I asked him.
‘Yeah . . . that.’
‘Well, I guess I was about your age, when I started thinking that I might be, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I really knew,’ I replied.
‘And what about you?’ he asked Adam.
‘I was younger,’ he answered. ‘I guess I always knew.’
‘Why do you ask?’ I ventured, even though I was already fairly certain as to what the answer to that would be.
‘I dunno . . . I guess . . . like, maybe . . .’
‘Nick, it’s okay for you to be whoever you are,’ I said quietly, but firmly, while placing an arm around his shoulder. ‘Everyone is different. Some guys know right from the time they are small, while for others it’s not until much later. For some people it’s a certainty that they grow up with, for others there is a lot of confusion, so I want you to know if you’re having any feelings like that it’s all perfectly normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay for sure, but even if you are, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.’
‘That’s not what people say but . . .’
‘Only bigoted idiots say things like that,’ Adam said firmly. ‘We all have to face people like that . . . and we always will. Just remember though, if you ever meet people who openly diss gay people, or verbally or physically abuse them, it’s those people who have the problem, not you.’
‘Even if they’re friends, or family?’
‘Yes, mate. Even then. Why do you ask that? Has anyone been giving you a hard time?’
‘No . . . not really. Some of the guys at school say stuff and it makes me mad, but I know I can’t say anything or I’ll get the crap beaten out of me.’
‘That’s understandable,’ I said.
‘And what about your family?’ Adam asked. ‘Has anyone said anything?’
‘Only my dad . . . he was always going on about poofters, but I don’t care much about him, he’s never around anyhow.’
‘What about your mum and Brad?’ I enquired.
‘They don’t know, about me that is, but they’re both pretty cool about it all . . . I mean, do you think mum would let us go to the Mardi Gras, or even hang with you if she was worried about it?’
‘No, I don’t think she would. And how about Brad?’ I asked.
‘Oh, he’s just a sex maniac. It’s all he talks about, so I don’t think he’d care if he had sex with a guy, a girl, or . . . or anything!’ he laughed.
‘And how old is he?’ chuckled Adam.
‘He’s thirteen. Almost fourteen. I’m almost fifteen, so I guess it’s about the age it all happens, huh?’
‘Yeah, I guess it is,’ I gently teased.
For a few moments he grinned at us, but then his face seemed to cloud over.
‘You won’t say anything to mum, will you? I mean, I know she’d be cool, but it’s just that, I dunno, it’d be weird having her know, you know? What if she wanted to have the sex talk with me or something?’
Adam and I both laughed.
‘I promise I won’t say anything,’ I answered him. ‘But what if she already knows? Or at least suspects?’
‘Why would she?’
‘Errr . . . let’s see . . . “Mum, can we go to the Mardi Gras?” ’
‘Oh . . . I didn’t think of that,’ he said, suddenly blushing.
‘I’ll tell you what,’ I offered. ‘How about I talk to your mum about Mardi Gras. I’ll say you mentioned it to me and I wanted to know if it was okay with her . . . and while I’m talking to her I’ll try and find out if she suspects anything.’
‘Would you?’ he asked.
‘Yeah, of course I would. And I promise I won’t say anything about what you’ve said, okay?’
‘Yeah, mate. I promise,’ I replied, while hugging him to me just briefly. ‘Now, did your mum call your gran?’
‘Oh, yeah, that’s why I came over,’ he excitedly replied. ‘We’re catching the train in the morning and going down for a few days. We’ll be back by the end of the week though.’
‘That’s great news,’ I replied. ‘I suppose I had best have that chat with her then? How about I go see her now, while you hang here with Adam?’
Before he could answer we heard the sound of a car horn relatively close by, and upon looking at the clock I realised my hour was up. It was more than likely Helen, and if I knew her she would be sitting there, impatiently drumming her fingers on the steering wheel.
Getting to my feet I walked out onto the balcony and looked down toward the road, where sure enough I could see Helen’s car waiting.
‘Okay guys, that’s my ride,’ I said to them as I came back into the living room. ‘Duty calls.’
‘Where are you going?’ Nick asked.
‘Helen and I are off to interview a witness,’ I said, trying to make it sound at least reasonably official. ‘What are you going to do, Adam? Do you want to hang around until I get back?’
‘Yeah, I can do that,’ he answered. ‘Me and my little buddy here can keep each other company. Maybe I’ll save his mother the trouble and give him the sex talk?’
‘No offence, but I think I already know about the birds and the bees,’ Nick responded.
‘Yeah, but what about the gay ones?’
‘There are gay birds and bees?’ he asked, sounding quite sincere.
I laughed at them and said, ‘I’m glad it was you who opened that can of worms. I’ve got to go. Have fun!’
As I closed the door behind me the last thing I saw was Adam looking somewhat perplexed, while Nick was eagerly awaiting his reply.
On the way out I stopped by Nick’s apartment and knocked on the door, which was soon opened by his mother.
‘Oh, Rick. Good morning,’ she said. ‘Nick was going to see you.’
‘Yes, he came over, and he’s still there. I have to duck out for a little while . . . duty calls . . . but he and Adam are getting to know each other.’
She nodded and smiled, almost knowingly.
‘It’s good that he has you to talk to,’ Wendy said. ‘And Adam too, I guess. Did he ask you about taking him to Mardi Gras?’
‘Yeah, that’s actually why I dropped by. I just wanted to make sure it was okay with you.’
‘Oh, it’s fine. And to be honest, if he’s going to explore that side of his personality, then there’s nobody I would rather have looking out for him.’
That caught me off guard. I hadn’t expected her to say anything like that.
‘So you . . . errr . . . know then?’
‘Rick, I’m his mother. There’s really not much that my two sons get up to that I don’t know about. I take it he has confided in you about his little secret?’
‘I promised not to say anything, but yes, he did open up to me and Adam. He’s worried about how you might react when you find out,’ I chuckled.
‘Well, you have more experience at this sort of thing than me. What do you suggest?’
For a few moments I thought back to that time in my own life. To my mother’s reaction. To my sister’s reaction. To the reactions of Beth and Tom.
‘You don’t have to come out and say that you know already. You don’t even have to mention the word gay . . . in fact it’s probably best not to. Just tell him that you know he might be curious . . . I mean, he wants to go to Mardi Gras, after all . . . but above all, tell him that you love him and that it wouldn’t matter to you one way or another if that’s how he was. He’s a good kid, Wendy, and I’m sure he’ll respond to that.’
‘Thank you,’ she said, before she too reached out and hugged me.
To be continued . . .