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Finding Nico

by c m

Chapter 15

Back at school, the pace of work increases; it's less than six months until we do our A levels, and there'll be mock exams at the end of this term. Sportswise, this is the hockey term, and whilst I'm a competent player, I've only ever been on the edge of the first team in my year. But the first-choice left-side midfield player breaks his leg a week into term, and I suddenly find that I've been promoted. This is fine, but it almost completely rules out any possible weekend with Josh as Saturdays are match days.

My friendship with Zak continues to grow, and he seems a lot happier. I wonder if he's found a boyfriend. I ask him. He smiles.

'Yes…I met someone in the holidays. It's early days – and he lives a bit of a way away – but I thought if you and Josh can do it, then why can't I? We've got together a few times and, well, we sort of seem to hit it off. He invited me up for New Year and I stayed with him. It went really well.'

'I'm delighted for you, Zak. Does he live far away?'

'London – so only an hour on the train. I really want a relationship, Nick, not just a flirtation that ends in sex and then on to the next one. I mean, we slept together when I stayed over, obviously, but that's not what it's about. Or not the only thing.'

'Will he be coming to stay with you at some point?'

'I hope so. I'd like you to meet him. But it will probably be in the next holidays. What with sport and exams, my folks are keen for me to avoid too many other…distractions.'

'I know the feeling, Zak. Josh is pretty much off the agenda for the same reasons.'

'But things are still good between you?'

'They're brilliant between us, thanks.'

'Good. You two were made for each other.'

Josh and I Facetime a lot, but there's no opportunity for us to meet. However, the pace of life means that the weeks seem to pass rapidly. Mock exams come and go – and I do fine. Predicted grades are what I need to get into Bristol Uni – which is all I care about. Josh does equally well with his mocks, too.

I ask him whether, if he gets his place, he'll continue to live at home or move into University accommodation.

'Oh, University accommodation. Two reasons; first, I think the whole Uni experience is about being in the heart of it, surrounded by people doing all different subjects, getting involved in the social life…all that. And second, I want to be with you. If all goes well, we can get a place of our own in our second and third years – or at least share a place with some other students - and be a real couple.'

'That sounds wonderful.'

We talk about our eighteenth birthday celebrations – and agree that we'll postpone anything major until after our exams in the summer and have a joint party then. Our parents are absolutely fine with this. But in the meantime, Josh has invited me down for five days during the Easter holidays. His birthday falls on the Saturday of my visit – the day after I arrive. His parents have organised a celebration dinner at Luigi's for Josh, along with me, Alex and Duggie. I'm really looking forward to it.

We are as overjoyed as ever to see each other when we meet. And that first night, in bed, as we're holding each other close, Josh kisses me, then props himself up on one elbow.

'Nico, there's something I want to ask you…there's something I'd really like for my birthday.'

'If it's something within my power to give, it's yours.'

He runs a finger down the side of my face.

'It's…I'm ready, Nico. And if you're ready too…but only if you are…I'd like you inside me. I want us to be one, as intimately as two boys can be. Would that be OK?'

'You sure, Josh?'

'Certain. 100%. More than anything else in the world. But only if you're ready too. '

'I'm ready Josh. I've been thinking about it a lot. And I don't mean…like…physically ready…though I am, I hope…but I want us…to go there…too.'

He smiles.

'Could I have my birthday present early?'

'You mean…now?'

'Yes…if that's alright. I've already made sure I'm…you know…OK inside.'

'I'm not…do you want to wait while I…'

'No…that can keep. I think I need you right now, please.'

The voyage of discovery that follows goes from nervous, hesitant exploration to unimaginable pleasure as our bodies are joined in the ultimate act of union. Our preparations pay off as I penetrate his very depths with little more than a wince and a groan on his part, and the feel of his nails digging into my back at the point of most resistance. The rest is pure pleasure – for both of us. My climax is intense as I finally fill him with my seed, his legs locked around my waist as I do so. When I finally open my eyes, it's to see a huge smile on his face.

'Was that…OK?' I ask

'OK? It was…oh, Nico…if I'd known it was going to be like that, I wish we'd done it a long time ago.'

'Then I can't wait for my turn to come.'

'It will…I promise, but right now…please just hold me.'

I lie down beside him and pull him on top of me, wrapping my arms around him. We kiss. And a few minutes later he says,

'Would it be very wicked to ask for a second helping?'

'As the birthday boy, you get to have whatever you want.'

'Goody. But this time I want…to be on top.'

He sits up and straddles my thighs. I'm already half-hard and a few strokes of his hand complete the job. He moves until the tip is against his entrance, and then slowly impales himself on me. This time takes longer – and it's also very different. He's in charge of the rhythm, the depth and the pace. And I have access to his erection as he rides me. I shudder with the violence - there's no other word for it – of my orgasm when it arrives, and moments later he, too, erupts.

We don't say a word. Our passion has said it all. He just looks down at me and then slowly lowers his lips to mine and kisses me.

'God, I love you,' he says, 'and I can't wait to introduce you to the joy of what I've just experienced. It…you…were amazing.'

He rolls off me and holds me close. We're a little sweaty – and very sticky – but that's how we fall asleep.

In the morning, I go down and make us both coffee. I know the house well by now – and it's his birthday so it's the least I can do. I ask him how he's feeling after what we did.

'I feel…on top of the world, Nico. A little sore maybe – perhaps twice in a row wasn't a totally good idea, but I don't regret it for one moment. You feeling OK?'

'It was magical, Josh. It just felt…so right. I can't wait to be on the receiving end.'

'I want it to be as special for you as it was for me. I don't want us to be rushed, or half-pissed or anything. Unless….'

'No, Josh. You're right. Much as I want to, let's wait until we can take our time.'

Josh's birthday dinner at Luigi's is spectacular. Luigi's organised a sort of taster menu of eight courses, each no more than a mouthful or two, and so we all get to try things we might never order. There are creamy veal sweetbreads; octopus; wild boar served as a ragu, as well as more familiar dishes. He's chosen wines to go with each dish, and the whole thing is rounded off by a birthday cake. Everyone in the restaurant joins in with singing 'happy birthday', and there's a glass of champagne to toast the birthday boy with. Alex and Duggie are on top form, and the whole evening is a joy from beginning to end. We finally leave the restaurant just before 11.

In bed, we have a cuddle. This is not an evening for anything more. We're full of food and alcohol and the world has a slightly fuzzy, but comforting, edge to it. We are asleep in minutes.

In the morning, I wake up to find Josh with his head between my legs doing what he does so well. As I stir, he brings his face up to mine.

'Morning sexy.'

'Morning Josh…don't let me stop you…'

He laughs.

'You won't…I have in mind doing it several times.'

'My…someone's woken up horny this morning.'

'Sorry, can't help it. Comes of sharing a bed with someone who drives me wild with desire.'

'I didn't know Alex was here.'

'Oh, be quiet…as if…'

Then he looks at me.

'Umm…Nico…how would you feel about…?'

It takes me a moment, but then I realise.

'…about…joining the club?'

He smiles and nods.

'Yes, please Josh. I'd like that very much. Just let me go and…do the necessary.'

It takes me about five minutes. Thinking about what we're going to do makes me both nervous and excited. And hard. But I know for certain that I want to be one with the boy I love. I want this more than anything else in the world.

What we do is an almost exact mirror image of what I did to him two nights earlier. First, he takes me on my back - and it's my turn to feel the twinge of discomfort that's followed slowly but surely, by the growing ecstasy as he finds THAT spot inside me. And it's my turn to feel the kick of him inside me as he fills me with his seed. And then it's my turn to ride him to a second, glorious, joyous climax. The feel of having him inside me is exquisite…and I remain sitting on his thighs for as long as possible until I feel him slip slowly and wetly out of me.

'Was it…as good for you as it was for me?' he asks.

I smile as a memory clicks into place.

'Do you remember, when we were staying at Sunnybanks, how we first talked about how we might be doing this one day, and I asked you how it would feel? You said that if it was with the right person, then it would be 'glorious.' And you were right. That's exactly the word for it. It was glorious - and wonderful…and more than that, I now feel…complete.'

'Yes. Yes, that's it. I've been searching for the word that sums up how I felt…you know…afterwards. And that's it. Complete. We're complete. Doesn't that feel great?'

'It feels perfect.'

The next night we take it in turns – me in him, then him in me. We're more relaxed and it's even better than our first time. But the next night – the final one of this visit – we both find we're a little sore – and we settle for the oral skills at which, all modesty aside, we've become pretty expert.

'I'll never tire of the feel of you in my mouth, and the taste of you, Josh. I love that we've added a new dimension to our lovemaking, but it's not going to replace this.'

'I agree. It's just I can enjoy you inside me in two different places, now, rather than one. We have a choice about which one we want.'

'…more like the order in which they happen rather than the choice…'

'I like your thinking…'

My own eighteenth – and of course Jules' - at home and three days later, is a quiet affair. My parents have paid for Jules and four of her friends to have a 'pamper' weekend at a local Spa as her birthday celebration proper in a few days' time. On the day itself, Will, Clarissa and I go out for a celebratory drink, and Jules comes with us. When I come back from buying a round of drinks for us all, they have all congregated on one side of the table and are facing me. Like some kind of jury. They've clearly been cooking something up.

'So,' says Jules, 'we 've all agreed that there's something we need to know.'

'Oh yes?'

'Yes. We want to know if you've done it yet.'

'Done what?'

'Oh, come on. What do you think?'

'I haven't the faintest idea.'

'OK…if we have to spell it out…have you played 'hide the sausage' with Josh?'

'Have I WHAT?'

'Oh, come on bro, you've been going out with him for more than six months and you've been sleeping with each other for most of that time, but last time I asked you, you said you hadn't actually…done the deed…with each other.'

'And what business is it of yours?'

'Absolutely none at all…but we still want to know.'

OK, I think to myself, if that's how you want to play it…

'I'm as much a virgin as you are, Jules,' I say with a smile.

She has the decency to blush. And the others see it.

'Jules! haven't, have you? Who with? When?'

'Yes, well…OK, I admit it - but the thing is, that means Nico here is no longer a virgin either!'

I hold up my hands.

'Yes, OK, I admit it too.'

'Well, here's to you, Nico – and to Josh,' says Will.

Back home, Jules offers to make me a coffee.

'Sorry if we embarrassed you earlier.'

'It's no big deal. We're all good friends. And I kind of got my own back anyway.'

'Yes,' she says ruefully, 'that was actually quite clever of you.'

She passes me my coffee.

'But…can I ask you another question,' she says, 'and yes, it's personal.'

'Go ahead. I don't seem to be able to have any secrets from you anyway.'

'Didn't it hurt? You know…when Josh…? I mean, I know you said Alex was bigger than either of you two, but at least he was putting it into something designed to be a birth canal, whereas you boys were putting it into a....poop chute. And....isn't that a bit…messy…as well?'

'It's not messy because you make sure it isn't beforehand, and my 'poop chute' as you so charmingly call it, is perfectly capable of stretching as far as it needs to. With a bit of help.'

'A bit of help?'

'You're not the only one who owns a dildo….'

'Oh my God! Really?'

'Really. I mean, let's face it, suppose it was Alex who was gay and not Josh. If he and I were…together…and I knew that he'd be putting that monster of his inside me someday, I'd need to make sure I was…prepared, wouldn't I? It might require a bigger dildo than Josh and I used, but the principle would be the same.'

'You AND Josh?'

'Of course. We both wanted to try it both ways…so we both prepared in the same way. Twin dildos, you might say. Want to see it? And if I show you mine, will you show me yours…?'

'What? Sorry…I'm still trying to get the picture out of my mind…and no, I have no desire to see it thank you.'

'OK. It's just…I mean, some girls like it in the back as well as the front, and if you fancy Alex popping it up your jacksie, you'd be welcome to borrow it….'

'NICO!! Oh god, I can't believe you said that…'

'Only trying to be helpful,' I say with a big grin.

'Yes, well, OK…my fault for starting the conversation.'

'Anything else you want to know? Size? Position? Frequency?'

'Alright, alright…I've apologised.' She pauses. And a little smile flickers over her face. 'But….'

'But what?'

'Was it good?' she says with a grin.

'Good? It was bloody fantastic!'

And we both laugh – and she gives me a big hug.

The summer term is all about final exam preparations. Josh and I are both fully-focused on revision. We talk regularly and we make some outline plans for the summer; we both quite like the idea of doing a bit of travelling round Europe, although Josh says that his parents are intending to go back to Sunnybanks and that we're welcome to join them. And that sounds nice as well. We also discuss plans for our delayed eighteenth birthday party. There's enough room in our garden for a small marquee, and our parents have offered to pay for caterers. Josh's parents are happy to stay in a local hotel, and my parents are happy for four of Josh's friends to stay in the house with us – if they're OK with doubling up together. My only concern is whether Josh has more than four friends that he'd like to invite, but he's happy enough with the arrangement.

'It doesn't have to be a big do, does it? Just so long as the people we really want are there. How many friends will you invite?'

'Maybe half a dozen - if that's OK. And maybe a couple of Jules' friends.'

'That's fine.'

We agree on a date two days after the end of term, before the friends we want to invite all disappear on holiday. As well as Will and his - brand new – girlfriend, and Clarissa and her boyfriend, I invite Zak.

'Are you still with your long-distance boyfriend?' I ask.

'Yes…very much so, actually.'

'The bring him too, if you like.'

'Thanks, I'd love to. And I know he'd love to come, too.'

'What's his name?'


It takes a moment to sink in.

'Piers?? You don't mean…Piers from Sunnybanks? From the coffee shop when we met him in London?'

Zak smiles.

'The very same. Sorry I didn't tell you before, but we were still in the early days and I didn't want to say anything just in case…'

'But how did you…?'

'Oh, that day we had coffee, we got on really well. And after I left he messaged me. I thought maybe it was about the cricket, but he just said that he didn't know what my plans for the day were, but if I was free for lunch, he'd love to meet and chat some more. And that's what we did…and it just...went from there…'

'That's amazing…wonderful.'

'I know. We've both had…our issues…with relationships in the past, but we just seem to click. We both wanted more…a proper loving relationship…and we've found it. So I know he'll want to come to the party.'

'Then you'll both be doubly welcome.'

That evening, when we Facetime, I tell Josh.

'I'm pleased for both of them. It'll be good to see them again.'

The exams come and go. I feel quietly confident. So does Josh.

The day before the party arrives. We've acquired a few more guests; my aunt and uncle and cousin Sarah – who I quite like - are coming, and so is one of Josh's uncles. They will all be staying in the local hotel. Josh and his parents arrive mid-afternoon, and bring Alex and Duggie with them. They're happy to share a room – although I have my suspicions about where Alex will end up spending the night. Duggie's brought his guitar with him.

Josh's other friends will arrive tomorrow by train.

My parents have invited Josh's parents to join us at home for dinner that night, which turns out to be a convivial affair. My mother has made two huge lasagnas, along with loads of garlic bread and a big salad. There's plenty of wine and the nine of us enjoy a very relaxed evening. Afterwards, Josh, Jules, Alex, Duggie and I sit in my room and listen to Duggie playing his guitar. He is unbelievably good, with a sweet singing voice that is as unexpected as it is entrancing.

'You could do that professionally, Duggie,' I say.

'That's what we keep telling him,' says Josh.

Duggie just shrugs. 'We'll see,' is all he says.

The next day everything seems to run like clockwork. And from the smile on Jules' face at breakfast in the morning, my suspicions about where Alex spent the night seem to have been entirely correct. And she certainly wasn't doing anything that Josh and I weren't doing in the room next door.

Our friends start arriving at 7. Zak and Piers are among the first to arrive.

'Piers! How lovely to see you again. I couldn't believe it when Zak told me who his boyfriend was.'

'I know. We just somehow…connected…that day when we all met up for coffee. And it's changed my world, Nick.'

I see him give Zak's hand a squeeze.

'I'm really pleased for both of you.'

'The timing was exquisite, too. I think Jarrod hoped I'd be begging him to stay with me. So he could keep fucking me as well as his new little friend. But when I told him the next day that he could just fuck off…oh my…the look on his face. You have no idea how good it felt.'

He looks at Zak, who just smiles.

'But enough of that total shit. How are you two?' Piers asks.

'Still hopelessly in love, I fear,' I say.

'Yeah,' says Josh with a grin, 'hopeless is the word when it comes to Nico.'

'Oh, charming.'

'Only joking,' he says, giving me a kiss.

'It's so good to see you both again. Thank you so much for inviting me.'

'So, what are you two planning to do this summer?' I ask.

'My family has a villa in Tuscany. Haven't been able to use it for the past couple of years because of Covid and all that; that's why we were at Sunnybanks last year. We're going to go and make sure everything's OK at the villa and have maybe six weeks there before my parents arrive with their friends – at which point we'll leave,' says Piers. 'How about you?

'We were planning on doing a bit of European travel. Train and bus. Staying at Youth Hostels, that sort of thing. We've loosely planned a trip down through France and then Italy.'

Piers looks from one of us to the other.

'I don't suppose…' He turns to Zak. 'How would you feel if….?'

His finger moves from Josh to me and back. Zak smiles.

'Yes…ask them,' he says.

'Nick, if you two would like to join us for a week...or even better two…we'd love to see you and you'd be more than welcome. It's kind of…well…because of you two that we're together anyway. And a bit of company for a couple of weeks would be lovely…we'll be rattling around in the place otherwise. And it would be a nice change…a bit more comfortable…than Youth Hostels.'

I look at Josh.

'Maybe that might fit in with our travel plans…if we ended up in Italy, there's no reason we couldn't add a week or so to our plans…what do you think?' he says.

'Why not? If you guys are sure… and if your parents would be OK with that, Piers.'

'Oh, they won't care. They pretty much leave me to my own devices. Provided the place is all running smoothly for them when they arrive, they won't be bothered about anything else.'

'Then great. Let's sort out the details tomorrow.'

Half an hour later, all our guests have arrived. Josh and I introduce our friends to each other, and Duggie and my cousin Sarah are soon getting on like a house on fire.

The food that our parents have organised is great. The company they've hired are doing Bowl Food. Over the evening four or five different bowls appear, each with a couple of bites of something delicious. It can be eaten standing up and using just a fork. There's paella, chicken sliders, beef rendang, steak and mushroom skewers and hake goujons – with veggie alternatives. And then some equally nice desserts,

The disco is also top-notch – and whoever briefed the DJ on what to play got it bang on.

Over the course of the evening, both of Jules' friends want to be introduced to Josh, who is as charming and amusing as ever.

'God, Nick,' says Emma, 'he's not only bloody gorgeous, but totally charming. Why does he have to be gay!?'

'Dunno…but I'm jolly pleased he is…'

'I just bet you are.'

At 10, the disco goes quiet, and my father steps up, clearly wanting to say a few words.

'Thank you all for coming. I guess this eighteenth birthday celebration for Nick isn't quite what we might have imagined a year ago. But a year ago Nick hadn't met Josh. And we couldn't be happier that they did and that they're together – and that we can celebrate both their eighteenths together tonight. I don't say it enough, but I'm incredibly proud of my son. Even these days being gay isn't as easy as it should be. And I know Henry, Josh's Dad, is equally as proud of his wonderful son. For me, Josh and Nick encapsulate everything that's good in a relationship – gay or straight. So I salute them and wish them well. Happy eighteenth, boys.'

Cries of 'speech' go up. Josh and I look at each other.

'Let me,' he says.

He goes up to the front.

'As Nick's Dad has spoken on behalf of both our sets of parents, let me reply on behalf of both Nick and me. First, thank you for coming, and thanks to both our sets of parents for putting on this wonderful evening. Richard was right when he said a lot has changed in the past year. Some of it bad like the pandemic, and some of it utterly wonderful like me meeting Nico. And he's right about it not always being easy being gay. But it's not easy for parents either – and Nico and I are both profoundly grateful to our parents for their total acceptance of our sexuality, and for the way they've embraced our relationship. And I want to say thank you to our friends as well. Nico and I have talked about this, and we owe you a huge debt of gratitude as well. For standing by us, supporting us and just being…well…the best friends we could possibly have. I only have one other thing to add.' He pauses and looks directly at me. 'Nico – you're the most wonderful person in the world, I can't believe how lucky I am to have you, and I love you more than I can say.'

There's a collective sigh, and then applause – while I just run over to him and fling my arms around him. And the DJ catches the mood and starts to play a slow number. And Josh and I start to dance, holding each other close. Others slowly join in – until the marquee is filled with gyrating couples.

Alex and Jules.

Duggie and Sarah.

Zak and Piers.

Will and Clarissa with their respective partners.

My parents.

Josh's parents.

My aunt and uncle.

Jules' two friends with Emile and Benny – Josh's other two friends.

The slow number comes to an end – and the beat picks up again. I take Josh's hand and lead him outside the marquee.

'Thank you for saying what you said. It was perfect. Although I wish I'd been able to say how much you meant to me.'

'I think everyone knows how much in love we are.'

He kisses me.

'Have you any idea how badly I want you right now?' he says.

'We can't, can we?'

'Quick bj in our room?'

'You old romantic, you.'

'I know…but….?'

'Come on.'

Such is our need, and such is our urgency, that in less than ten minutes we're zipping ourselves back up again. As we slip out of our bedroom door, I catch the unmistakable sounds of sex coming from the room Alex and Duggie are sharing. Josh and I exchange glances and smile. I reckon Duggie and my cousin Sarah have just become more than good friends.

If anyone missed us, or has any inkling of what we've been doing, they are discrete enough not to show it. And, as I suspected, ten minutes later Duggie and Sarah sneak back into the marquee.

The evening ends with more slow dances just before midnight, and then everyone who's not staying drifts quietly away. Piers is staying with Zak, and we arrange a time to talk over the details of going to stay with them in Italy.

Josh and I, Alex, Duggie, Jules, Emile and Benny are the only ones left. Emile and Benny are the first ones to call it a night

'Thanks so much for inviting's been a great party. See you in the morning.'

'Night, guys.'

Once they've gone, I ask Josh if they're a couple.

'Oh, no. Totally straight – as far as I know. Though they know a bit about prejudice too. Benny's Jewish, and Emile has an Algerian father and a French mother.'

'I need to go to bed, too,' says Duggie.

'Yes, well you've already had some exercise this evening, haven't you?' says Josh.

'What do you mean?'

'You and Sarah, perhaps….?'

'Ah, yes, well…but how the hell do you know that?'

'We were next door – briefly.'


'God, I hope you didn't make a mess in the bed,' says Alex.

'First,' says Duggie, 'I used a condom, so no mess, and secondly, I don't recall you spending much time in the bed last night anyway.'

It's Alex's turn to blush.

'Is it indelicate to ask if you'll be more, how can I say…present…tonight, Alex?'

Alex looks at Jules. She shrugs.

'Can I get back to you on that?'

'OK. Maybe see you later, maybe not. See the rest of you guys in the morning. And thanks…it was a bloody good evening.'

'Night, Duggie.'

He makes his way out of the marquee and back into the house.

'So, just the Fearsome Foursome left.'

'Looks that way. But I think it's time for bed for us too,' says Josh.

'And me,' says Jules.

'Then I shall see you to your room,' says Alex.

'How very gallant.'

'Methinks ulterior motives are at work,' I say.

Alex just smiles…and gives me the finger.

In the morning, Josh's friends all pack up ready to leave. Josh is going to stay with me for a few more days. His parents arrive mid-morning to collect Alex. As Josh is staying, they offer Emile and Benny a lift back with them.

There are mutual hugs all round, and Josh tells his parents about the invitation to stay in Italy for a couple of weeks.

'If that all works out once you've got the details, it's fine by us,' his father says.

'Come down and stay with us again soon,' says his mother to me.

'I'll look forward to that.'

Josh and I wave them all off. Once they're gone, Josh turns to me.

'I feel knackered.'

'Well, we didn't get a lot of sleep last night, did we?'

'No. It's funny, isn't it? You'd think that the quickie we had during the party would have quietened things down – but I just wanted to do it over and over again when got to bed.'

'Tell me about it. It must have been nearly four o'clock when you finally stopped manhandling me.'

'I don't think I was doing ALL the manhandling…'

'True. But it was like someone had wired you up to the just kept going and going.'

'You complaining?'

'No. Well, certain parts of me might be, but you ARE pretty irresistible.'

'Surrender is the best option, Nico.'

I hold my hands above my head.

Josh laughs.

Later I give Zak a call.

'Oh, hi Nick.'

'Did you – and Piers – mean what you said about staying with you in Italy?'

'Yes, absolutely. Hold on.'

Piers' face appears beside Zak's.

'Totally,' Piers says, 'we're going over there in about a week's time. When would you like to come?'

'Well, we planned on our trip taking about four weeks or so in all, leaving in around two weeks' time, but nothing's fixed. We could quite well do it the other way, in fact. Come straight to Italy and then work our way back.'

'That would work. We'd have been there a week or so which will have given us time to get things sorted out. If you arrived with us in say, three weeks' time, and stayed a couple of weeks, would that work?'

'Sounds great.

'OK…let me look at dates. Hmmm. Maybe if you arrived sometime around July 20th, and left around August 10th or whenever you want really, the exact dates don't matter…how does that sound?'

'Sounds great.'

'Will you fly or come by train?'

'We need to think about that. If we flew, how far is it from the airport to your villa?'

'If you fly to Pisa, we can arrange for you to be collected.'


' father has various people who help keep the place in order. I'll sort it.'

'OK. Umm…will that cost much?'

'Cost you nothing. All those things are taken care of through his business.'

'Well, if you're sure.'

'Totally. And thank you so much for yesterday. And I loved what Josh said in his few words when he spoke.'

'I'll tell him - and we're really happy that you two seem to have found something so good too.'

'Zak's the best thing that's ever happened to me, Nick. You have no idea.'

'OK. I'll ping you to confirm arrival details as soon as we have them.'

'Perfect. Look forward to seeing you in Italy.'

'Bye for now.'


The call clicks out.

'Sounds like Piers' father is a big wheel in something. Do you know what or where?' asks Josh

'No. Guess we could look him up online.'

'What's his name?'

'Surname is Evans. I think his father's name is Robin.'

'Robin Evans…OK….'

Josh puts the name into Google.

'Christ. Here he is. CEO of Evans Maitland International. It's a Venture Capital fund. God, it's huge.'

'Piers never said anything about it.'

'Well, that's certainly his father. Wonder what the place in Italy's like?'

'Guess we'll find out.'

The next thing we do is look up flights to Pisa. We manage to find one for the 23rd of July. I double-check with Zak that this is OK and then ask my father to make the booking using his credit card.

'I'll pay you back, Dad.'

'That's OK. Have this one on me. It's a darn sight cheaper than taking you to Sunnybanks!'

Conveniently, we can fly from Bristol – albeit at 6.30 in the morning. But I can spend the previous night with Josh - and we can hopefully get a lift to the airport in the morning.

And that's what we do.

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