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Knowing Noah

by c m

Chapter 8

I'm vaguely aware of my parents leaving the house in the morning; the sound of the back door shutting and the noise of the cars being started. I get up and go for a pee, then get back under the covers. Noah is still asleep. He's lying on his back and I slip my hand between his legs. As I expected, he's rock-hard. I take hold of him and stroke him once or twice, very gently. He moans in his sleep. I'm tempted to bring him to a climax, but I want to share that with him later so I reluctantly let go and turn over. I'm soon asleep again.

When I next come to, it's to the sound of the toilet being flushed. I roll onto my back and realise it must be Noah. The bed is empty, but still warm, beside me. Noah re-appears from the en-suite.

'Morning Noah.'

'Morning sexy. Feeling recovered?'

'Yes. Want some coffee?'

'That would be lovely.'

I pad downstairs without bothering to put any clothes on. There's only me and Noah in the house, and the kitchen overlooks the garden and not the drive.

I get out two mugs and put the kettle on. I put some ground coffee into a cafetière and get the milk out of the fridge and pour some into a jug. When the kettle boils, I fill the cafetière and put the plunger into the top of it. I put it, the milk and the mugs on a tray and take it all back upstairs. Noah is standing by the window, naked, looking out over the front garden. The sunlight coming through the window frames him. He is utterly beautiful. He turns as I enter.

'Mmm...that smells good. Ooh…fresh coffee. I am being spoiled.'

'Only the best for you.'

I push down the plunger and pour us both a mug, adding a splash of milk. I take one over to Noah.

'You're a bit…exposed…here, Noah. I mean, the road isn't busy but I'd hate you to distract someone. Would make for an interesting crash report…'I was driving along when I saw this gorgeous naked black boy at the window….'

He laughs. 'YOU'VE been walking around naked.'

'I know…but I've been at the back of the house. Anyway…your body is mine to enjoy and no-one else's.'

I slip a hand down into his groin and feel him start to thicken immediately.

'If you want me half as much as I want you…'

We abandon what's left of our coffee as we tumble back onto the bed. Our love-making is urgent and uncomplicated as first Noah takes me and then I take him. I want him in me again, but my body tells me I need to take care of things first.

'Don't go away,' I say.

I run to the shower-room and empty myself before taking care to ensure that I am clean and nice to know.

'Better?' asks Noah.

'A lot better. For both of us. Now…where were we?'

This time Noah stands at the side of the bed and puts my legs over his shoulders. He takes me hard and fast, his final thrust seeming to end up somewhere near my lungs. He almost shouts as he hits his climax.

'Oh fuck, Ollie. I swear it just gets better and better.'

'Feels bloody wonderful from where I am,' I say.

He pulls out of me and lies down beside me. I lie on top of him and put my lips against his. We kiss – slowly, passionately and at length. When I eventually roll off him again, his groin is sticky with his seed where it's flowed out of me.

'Come on, let's shower and then get some breakfast. Then I'll call Paul and see if he's up for coming round.'

Paul can't wait to meet Noah. Particularly when I tell him he plays table tennis. I tell him to come round whenever he's ready.

He arrives while Noah and I are finishing breakfast. I hear the front doorbell and go to open it, munching a piece of toast and marmalade.

'Hi Ollie…oh…am I too early?'

'No, no…come on in. We're just finishing up. Have a cup of coffee with us.'

I show him through into the kitchen. Noah looks up from checking his phone.

'Noah, this is my best friend Paul. Paul, this is my boyfriend Noah.'

They shake hands.

'Coffee, Paul?'

'Mmm, yes, thanks, Ollie. Hi Noah – Ollie's told me lots about you.'

'And he's told me a bit about you, Paul.'

I can see them sort of sizing each other up. I really hope they will get on; they are the two most important people to me in the world, and they are no threat to each other in terms of how I feel about them. But I guess 'best friend for the last ten years' plays 'brand new boyfriend' must be a little tricky from their point of view. I take a mug of coffee over to Paul.

'Paul's just finished his first term at York Uni,' I say.

'How is it?' asks Noah.

'It's great. Lovely city, nice campus, decent rooms, lots of nice people.'


I sense some awkwardness, and I'm about to say something when Paul says,

'I must say, I think it's very decent of you to take over some of the care duties for this miserable worm.'

I see Noah's face look briefly puzzled, but then he gets it.

'Well, someone has to, don't they? I mean he's not safe to leave on his own.'

'I know…it's a wonder he's made it to Uni at all.'

'HOY!' I say, 'if this is me you're talking about….'

'And who else would it be?' says Paul.

The tension is broken and we are all soon chatting like any group of friends. We enjoy our coffee – and Paul pinches a piece of toast.

Coffee finished, Paul says, 'Ollie tells me you play table tennis.'

'Well…a bit…I doubt I'm in your league, but I'd love to try.'

'Right…then let's go do it.'

We make our way down to the summer house. I open up three of the canvas-seated directors' chairs that are stacked to one side of the room and sit down to watch.

It is some tussle. Paul has, if anything, got even better than when I last saw him – and despite our games the previous day, Noah is clearly still a little rusty. He loses the first game, but this seems to spur him on. The second game is closer, but Paul still wins. The third is an epic which Noah takes to a tie-break, before Paul eventually wins. Noah steps round the table to shake his hand. They are both dripping with perspiration.

'Looks like the pair of you could do with a shower.'

'Well,' says Paul, 'if it's on offer and if you can lend me a towel…'

'Sure,' I say. We go back up to the house and into my bedroom. I find Paul a towel and throw it to him.

'Noah can use the en-suite and you know where the main bathroom is, Paul.'

'Great. Thanks.'

Paul strips off unselfconsciously. I've seen him naked dozens of times over the years and the fact that Noah's there doesn't seem to faze him at all. He throws the towel over his shoulder and walks, naked and unashamed, down the corridor to the bathroom.

'He's a nice guy, isn't he,' says Noah, 'good body too.'

'Trust you to notice that.'

'I could hardly miss it, could I. And not as nice as yours, anyway.'

'Hmmph…and yes, he's a very nice guy.'

'Have you two ever fooled around?'

'Me and Paul? No, never.'

Despite having showered earlier, Noah strips off too and disappears into the en-suite. He re-appears, towel wrapped round his waist, as Paul comes back into the room similarly attired. Noah's right. Paul has a very good body. Noah drops his towel, revealing himself in all his naked beauty as he steps into his briefs. Paul does the same. They unashamedly check each other out. I smile.

'OK you sporting superstars, what do you want to do now?'

'We could take Noah out to the Wheatsheaf for lunch,' suggests Paul. 'It's a lovely pub…probably take us forty-five minutes to walk there – if you're up for that?'

I turn to Noah and look at him.

'Sounds great.'

'OK. Let's do it.'

It's a lovely day for a walk. Although it's mid-December, the sun's shining in a slightly watery way. It's cold enough for us all to need coats, but not cold enough to see our breath. Noah and Paul talk non-stop all the way. I'm so pleased that they obviously like each other, and all the awkwardness of earlier has completely disappeared. The talk eventually moves onto relationships.

'If you don't mind my asking, Noah, how did you know Ollie was gay? I mean, he wasn't 'out' or anything was he?'

'No, he wasn't. But when we first met at that audition, we went out for a drink afterwards and Ollie just said 'tell me all about you'; so I did – including the fact that I was gay. I find it better to be open about these things. I had absolutely no idea if Ollie was gay, bi or straight…but I confess, I was sort of hoping he might be gay. He was so nice – easy to talk to – as well as being cute as hell.'

'Is that when you came out, Ollie?'

'No, Paul. I told Noah I wasn't sure what I was – which was true. But the more we saw of each other…well…it just sort of happened.'

'I truly had no idea, Ollie. I mean, it's not like you'd ever come on to me or anything.'

'I was never that desperate,' I reply with a grin.

'Oh bloody charming.'

'No…look…apart from genuinely not knowing - and the fact that you're ugly,' - at this Paul sticks his tongue out at me – 'I've always known you as my best friend. Even if I'd been sure I was gay, and even if I'd had the courage to tell you, I wouldn't have put my friendship at risk by trying to seduce you. Best friends are like boyfriends; they're hard to find. Why would I put that at risk? That's why I'm so lucky. I have the best best-friend in the world AND the best boyfriend in the world.'

'Well, you're certainly right about being lucky. God alone knows what either of us sees in you.'

Noah laughs, then asks, 'And what about you, Paul? You in a steady or special relationship with anyone?'

'No, not really. I met a really nice girl about three weeks into term, but I sort of didn't want to be tied down. I want to use my time at Uni to explore and have fun. I'm not ready for a full-on relationship…but…'

'Not even if the right person came along?'

'Well…see…that's it. What bothers me is that I think Tash – that's the girl I met – might actually be the one for me, but I've pushed her away. And I feel bad because she didn't deserve it, and I miss her and despite what I said I don't actually want to screw around. That is, I did before I met her but now I can't…I mean, I've tried going out with other girls and I've even taken one to bed….but…it's all been a bit of a disaster. I don't know what to do.'

'Maybe talk to her?'

'She hates me.'

'How do you know?'

'Well, wouldn't you? You meet someone, you have fun, you really like them, they really like you, you sleep together… and then you get pushed away…for no good reason?'

'Have you talked to her.'

'No…how can I? I wouldn't know what to say.'

'Maybe that you're really sorry, that you've made a mistake and please would she let you try again?'

'What if she says no?'

'You won't know 'til you ask.'

'What if she just tells me to fuck off?'

'Then you fuck off. But at least you'll have tried.'

'Maybe. Thanks.'

A thought occurs to me.

'Noah…when you arrived at Uni, did you intend to screw around a bit rather than settle down with someone?'

'I didn't have any preconceived plan, Ollie. It's true that having just fallen out of a relationship I didn't have it in mind to get straight into another one…but then you came along. Once we'd met, at no point did I think 'I'll have some fun with him then walk away'. What you said earlier was right. Good boyfriends are hard to find. And when I found you, I knew I'd found someone special. I'm still discovering just how special. And the same's true for straight guys, Paul. If you've found someone you really, really like…then why would you throw it away just because it meant you weren't sowing your wild oats all over the place? I have no desire to sow my oats anywhere but with Ollie.'

I see Paul looking at me. He'd like to ask, but he doesn't dare.

'The answer to your question, Paul, is 'all the time.'' I grin.

He has the decency to blush.

'Sorry, Ollie. It's none of my business.' He pauses, then, 'But while we're asking inappropriate questions, do you both...or just one of you…?'

'We both like it both ways,' says Noah.

'Thanks…and sorry. Just…I've always sort of wondered. Not about you, 'he adds hurriedly, 'just in general, you know, whether one only does one thing and…'

'Paul,' I say gently, 'when you're in a hole….'

'Oh yes, right. Sorry.'

He is completely flustered. Noah just puts an arm round him.

'It's fine to ask, Paul. We're all friends. Now tell me, when you fuck girls do you use both holes or just one?'

The look on Paul's face is comical. Then he laughs.

'OK…fair enough. Got me. And sorry again.'

By now, the pub is only a couple of hundred yards away. There's an encouraging coil of smoke coming from the chimney. As we enter the bar, a blast of warm air from the roaring log fire envelopes us. We find a table and I ask the others what they'd like to drink.

'I thought I saw that they had Winter Warmer on when we came in,' says Paul, 'that'll do for me.'

'Winter Warmer?' asks Noah.

'It's something they only do for a limited time around Christmas and New Year. It's strong but really smooth and dark.'

'Sounds like it's tailor-made for you, Noah,' I say, with a grin.

He smiles. 'Why not?'

I order at the bar and pick up a menu. Back at the table, we raise our glasses.

'To you two,' says Paul, 'you make a great couple.'

'And to you, too, Paul. You make this the best threesome in Buckinghamshire.'

We all laugh and take a long swallow of the beer. It is malty – almost chocolatey – and delicious.

'Mmm…good call,' says Noah.'

We look at the menu and at the specials board.

'Steak and kidney pie for me,' says Paul.

'Me too,' says Noah.

'Looks like three snake and pygmies, then.'

I go back to the bar and order. About ten minutes later, three plates heaped with pie, mash and vegetables appear. We are all ravenous, and the food disappears in double-quick time.

'That was lovely,' says Paul, 'but I think I could go a dessert too.'

Noah nods, and we re-consult the board. Sticky toffee pudding is the unanimous choice – and a very good choice it turns out to be. We have also all had a second pint of Winter Warmer – and the effects of that, the food and the warmth of the fire make us all feel very relaxed.

'Now this is what I call a great way to spend a lunchtime,' says Paul.

'It's making me positively sleepy,' says Noah.

'OK…I'll pay the bill and we'll head back,' I say.

'Let me split it with you, Ollie,' offers Paul.

We both go to the bar and settle up, and then join Noah who's waiting outside. The walk back takes longer than the one coming, as we are all feeling full and take it more gently. It's nearly three o'clock by the time we walk through the front door. I offer to make coffee.

'Thanks, Ollie, but not for me,' says Paul. 'In fact I ought to head home – I said I'd pick my younger bro up from school. Lovely to have met you, Noah.'

'You too, Paul.'

They give each other a massive hug.

'Look after the useless twat for me…God knows why but I really rather like him.'

'Will do, Paul. '

'And as for you,' Paul adds, turning to me, 'it's been good to spend time with you again. How on earth you've managed to get someone as lovely as Noah as a boyfriend I have no idea…but look after him. He's gold.'

'I know. And good to see you, too, Paul. Take care. And talk to Tash.'

'Will do. Probably.'

He gives me a hug and I see him out, closing the front door behind him.

'What a very nice guy,' says Noah.

'He's OK, I suppose…once you get used to him.'

'You can't fool me…you love him – as a brother.'

I smile. 'Yeah….yeah I do. He's always there for me if I need someone. I'm so pleased you two got on.'

'Me too. Any plans for the rest of the day?'

'Nothing in particular. Why? You have something in mind?'

He steps closer to me and puts a hand either side of my waist.

'Well…if this is the last time we're going to see each other for a month…and if your parents are out for the next three hours…'

His face is only inches from mine, his 'go to bed' eyes are locked firmly on mine.

'You're insatiable. You have a one-track mind. You're sex-mad….no wonder I like you. Come on.'

We race up stairs and into my bedroom. Our clothes are scattered where they fall and then we are tangling and writhing on the bed. Kissing, cuddling, nibbling. Our tongues twine and our hands fondle. Despite our passion, we are in no hurry to enter one another. We enjoy exploring, touching, licking, stroking. We inhale one another's scent. We revel in the feel of bare skin on bare skin. Black on white; white on black. We make love slowly; we make love fast. We are gentle; we are rough. We murmur; we shout. We are one.

I don't know how many times we climaxed – it really doesn't matter. I do know that we both ended up sore – front and back – and that my balls had that dull ache that's says they've been emptied to the last drop.

We were a mess, and the bed was a mess – and we couldn't have cared less. Afterwards, Noah just held me to him.

'How are we going to cope for a month without each other, Ollie?'

'Guess we'll have the strongest wrists in England.'

'How would you feel about…doing it…with each other…with our webcams on?'

'I think it might just make it worse. Being able to see you naked but not be able touch you. Having a picture of you in my mind means I am there with you in my mind. But we could try. If you'd like to.'

'Let's just make the most of this for now.'

We cuddle up again until I realise that we need to clean up and get dressed before my parents arrive home.

Dinner that night is steak and chips. Noah asks for his steak medium-rare. Another thing we have in common. Noah is a bit subdued over dinner. My mother notices.

'Is everything alright, Noah?'

'Yes, Pamela. I'm sorry. It's just…I've had such a lovely two days and the thought of not seeing Ollie for nearly a month is…'

My mother looks at my father.

'Simon…would it matter if Ollie didn't come skiing with us…if he'd prefer to be with Noah?'

'No, Pamela,' interrupts Noah '…family is important. I wouldn't dream of getting in the way.'

'Why don't we ask Ollie?'

She turns to me.


'I love skiing, Mum….but…yes, I think I'd rather be with Noah. Unless he can come with us?'

My mother pauses. Then turns to my father.

'Is that possible, Simon? I know it's late notice, but….'

Dad sighs.

'Why don't I see what I can do – if you'd like to come, Noah?'

'I've never been skiing. But I really feel like I'd be intruding. It's kind of Ollie to suggest it,' he smiles at me, 'but I don't think it would be right.

'Nonsense. You'd be very welcome – if we can arrange it - wouldn't he, Simon?' says my mother.

'Yes,' says my Dad, 'Of course he would be. I'll get one of the assistants at the office to look into it on Monday. If you'd like to come Noah?'

'I don't know what to say…but thank you,' says Noah, 'I'm truly overwhelmed. It sounds lovely but – I do need to check it doesn't spoil any arrangements my parents may have made as well.'

'Of course, Noah. Just let us know.'

With that hope on the horizon, Noah's mood lightens and he tells my parents all about Paul and the lovely lunch we had.

'Gosh, after that I'm amazed you found room for dinner,' says my mother.

When Noah and I decide on an early night, my parents exchange glances. If only they knew…

Once in bed all we want to do is snuggle up to one another. We had all the sex we could possibly manage – probably for several days – earlier. Noah wants to know about skiing and where we stay and what we do…the questions poured out of him until I think I must have fallen asleep.

Saturday morning. My parents get up late at the weekends, so I am first up and about at 9 o'clock. Noah is still asleep when I go downstairs to make coffee, but he's awake by the time I get back.

'What time do you have to leave?' I ask.

'I ought to be away by 10, Ollie; I said I'd help my folks at lunchtime today so I need to be back there by 12 latest.'

'In that case, we need to get ourselves going.'

It's not far to the station, but I want to make sure Noah has some breakfast before he leaves. We have a lingering kiss and a cuddle before showering and dressing. As we head downstairs my father pokes a head out of his bedroom to say 'good morning'. I tell him Noah has to be away in forty minutes.

'OK, I'll be down before that to say goodbye.'

I cook Noah bacon and eggs. I may not have known he played table tennis, but he doesn't know I'm a bit of a cook. He's suitably impressed. We clear our plates and then Noah goes upstairs to get his bag. While he's doing that, my parents both appear in the kitchen.

'Hi Mum.'

'Hi Ollie. I didn't realise Noah had to go so soon.'

'Yes…he's helping with a do at his local church where his parents are pretty involved. Coffee?'

'Ooh, that would be kind.'

I've just put the kettle on when Noah re-appears carrying his bag.

'Thank you for your hospitality,' he says to my mother, 'it's been a lovely stay.'

'I'm sorry it was so brief Noah…come back and see us again soon.'

'If Ollie invites me….and please, if the whole skiing thing is at all inconvenient, I really don't want you to go to the trouble.'

'That's kind of you to say so, but let's see what we can arrange.'

Noah gives my mother a kiss and shakes my father's hand.

'Very nice to have met you Noah. You're welcome any time.'

'OK to borrow the car, Mum?' I ask.

'Of course, dear.'

I take the keys off the hook and Noah and I make our way to the garage. I put his bag on the back seat and then we're off. The roads are quiet at the weekend and we arrive with plenty of time to spare before Noah's train. We sit miserably in the car park, neither one of us wanting to be the first to say goodbye. In the end it's Noah who says it.

We embrace there in the car, and I can feel the tears welling up. Noah wipes a hand across his eyes too.

'See you soon, Ollie. Thank you for a lovely stay.' There's a long pause as he gathers himself. 'I love you, Ollie. I love you so fucking much.'

'Let's hope Dad can sort out the skiing. And I love you too, Noah…more than I can say.'

We kiss and there's a raucous cheer from a bunch of lads I hadn't really noticed sitting on the wall at the end of the car park. Noah and I get out of the car. We're going to have to walk past them. Defiantly, I take hold of his hand. As we pass them one of them says,

'I don't care if you're gay, mate, but couldn't you find a decent white boy?'

He's aimed the comment at me, but Noah, quick as a flash just says,

'I did.'

The bloke's mates collapse in laughter, and the one who called out just turns away.

'That was brilliant, Noah. But I'm sorry you had to hear that.'

'Hey…it's no worse than what Nathan said to you in London, is it?'

Seems there are idiots of all colours.

I wave Noah off, and the boys have disappeared – to my relief – by the time I walk past where they were sitting. But when I get back to the car, someone's put a small plastic monkey on the bonnet. I am suddenly incredibly angry and I look round for them, but they're nowhere in sight.

I tell my parents about it when I get home – but I don't mention it to Noah when he calls an hour later to say he's arrived back safely. I strip the bed and put the sheets and pillow case and towels in the washing machine with a double dose of detergent. Mum offers but there's no way I'm letting her anywhere near them in the state they're in.

Paul comes round later that afternoon. He knows me well enough to realise I'd be feeling down without Noah and he cheers me up. We go out to the cinema that evening and grab fish and chips on the way back. I feel a lot better.

I sleep well. Better because I didn't put quite all the bedclothes in the wash. I kept back the pillow case that Noah rested his head on. It smells of his cologne and I've put it under my pillow where it reminds me of him.

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