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Knowing Noah

by c m

Chapter 11

That evening, there is a sort of unspoken tension between the three of us, made up of the knowledge of what is to come, the waiting and the hope that it will put our relationships back on a level footing. At bed time, Noah helps me into Christophe's room and then leaves us together.

'Have fun, you two – I mean it.'

There is a little awkwardness between Christophe and me at first. What we are going to do is hardly spontaneous, after all. Fortunately, the fact that we find each other genuinely attractive comes to our rescue. This becomes obvious as, when we both shuck off our underwear, we are both already achingly erect. Christophe comes over and wraps his arms round my shoulders, his body warm and soft (except for one part) against mine.

'You know Ollie, ever since that time we jacked off, I sometimes think of you when I do it to myself.'

'And before Noah I used to think of you. I can still see that curve and feel it in my hand.'

'And you do know I would never have tried to break you and Noah up?'

'Yes, Christo, I know that.'

Our cocks are mashed together as he gently walks me back towards the bed.

'You first?' he asks.

'If you like,' I say.

'What is the best way for you with your ankle?'

'I think if I lie on the bed and you straddle me – if that's alright?'

'Something new. Yes...I would like to try.'

It works out a treat. He straddles me before slowly impaling himself on me - and this time there is no reason for me to pretend I am doing anything other than enjoying having my sexy cousin bouncing up and down on me. He is clearly enjoying it too, occasionally leaning back, his hands on my knees as he tries to get me deeper inside him, or leaning forward and kissing me. He asks me to stroke him as he picks up the pace. His breathing gets faster and he is making those little bleats of pleasure again as I finally erupt inside him. His own climax follows seconds later, and then he lies forward on top of me.

'Oh my God, Ollie. That was…wonderful.'

'Better than last time?'

'Oh yes…because I could tell that you were enjoying it too…and I wanted to give you pleasure.'

'Well, when you're ready to go again, you can give me a whole lot more pleasure by putting that gorgeous curved cock of yours inside me.'

'I can't wait, Ollie.'

It takes less than ten minutes before he's ready. Helped by some gentle licking and sucking from me.

'OK, Ollie. How is best for you?'

Much as I would like to see Christo's face while he takes me, this is difficult with my ankle as it is. Realistically, I have to settle for lying on my side and having him enter me from behind. Well-lubricated, he slides into me easily. It is only the second cock I have had inside me and it definitely feels different. Not better or worse, just different. Maybe it's the curve in it. He fucks me slowly at first, and then increasingly energetically. Now it feels very good indeed.

'Oh my God, Ollie…I can't believe this. This feels so good,' he says in my ear.

'Fill me, Christophe,' I say, clenching my muscles around his shaft.

'OooEEiii….' is – approximately - what he says as he promptly explodes inside me.

He pulls out of me and I roll onto my back. He puts his head on my shoulder and runs a hand over my chest. Just like Noah does. From there his hand works its way down into my groin. I am fully-aroused.

'I think we did it like this,' he says, as he strokes me like he did when were fifteen. And like I did when we were fifteen, I shoot my seed all over his hand with a groan.

'Will you stay the night,' he asks.

I consider it, but I think it best if I go back to Noah. Having sex with Christophe has been enjoyable – but the point was to put us all in a position where we feel guilt-free. I think if I stay the night, we will probably end up having sex again – and that would make me feel very guilty indeed. I say this to Christophe.

'Yes…you are right, Ollie. You must go back to your Noah. But thank you. It was…wonderful.'

'For me too, Christo.'

We hug and hold each other close. He would be easy to fall in love with, I think. And I hope someone does; someone kind and loving and considerate - like him.

I pull on one of the hotel's bathrobes – I can't be bothered to get dressed and then have to promptly undress again in our room – gather up my clothes and hobble over to the door. Christophe take the other robe and takes my clothes from me. He helps me out into the corridor and goes and knocks on the door to my room. Noah opens it and ushers me inside. He exchanges a few words with Christophe that I can't make out, and then he's helping me over to the bed.

'No…I need to shower, Noah. He's lovely – but I'm yours and no-one else's, and I don't want anything of anyone else on me.'

He helps me with the plastic bag over my splint and then comes with me into the shower. We soap each other carefully and make sure we are both clean and fresh. We both get aroused.

'I see he didn't exhaust you,' Noah says.

'It was good – like I'm sure it was good for you too – but you're the one who really excites me, Noah.'

'You say the nicest things, Ollie.'

We dry off and he helps me into bed. I want him – but I don't want to be fucked again. So I take him in my mouth instead, and enjoy the taste of him when he comes with a low groan before we both fall asleep, cuddled up together.

Having realised what a grouch I've been, the rest of the holiday is a lot more enjoyable for all of us. I make more of an effort and enjoy myself a whole lot more. Things are back to how they were between the three of us, and I even get up to a mountainside bar from which I can watch Noah skiing. He's not just quite good, he has some of the style that all truly natural skiers have. Christophe is proud of him – and I'm proud of what both of them have achieved together.

The three of us have also got to know one of the barmen in the hotel. His name is Thomas. He's twenty-three, good-looking and gay and he enjoys flirting with each of us. He particularly likes Christophe and I see them exchanging numbers one evening.

'Planning to meet up later,?' I ask.

'Not really, but he gave me his number and asked for mine. What am I supposed to do? It would be rude to refuse. But he is only temporary here. And he is nice, no?'

'Easy on the eye for sure, and friendly. But….be careful.'

'Why? There is something wrong?'

'It's just instinct, Christophe – and I may be totally wrong - but I think, maybe, he's a 'love them and leave them' type; someone for whom the thrill is in the chase and the conquest; you'd just be another notch on his bedpost, I suspect, nothing more. Once he'd had you, he wouldn't ne interested any more. He's here for the season – he probably beds a dozen boys like you each year. And you deserve better than that.'

Christophe smiles. 'I have already had better than that. I hope you are wrong, but don't worry, I won't be jumping into bed with him just because he flashes his eyelashes at me.'

And the next day, Christophe shows me a message on his phone. He has to translate, but it's from Thomas, and it says: 'I finish at nine this evening. Would you like to come back to my place and we could have a few drinks and some fun?

Christophe shrugs. 'So you were right. Pity.'

'Have you replied?'

'I said, 'Thanks but no thanks. I'm not just a notch on anyone's bedpost.' So thank you for suggesting that.'

We both laugh and Thomas makes sure someone else serves us when we're in the bar that evening.

The last day of the trip arrives, and it's agreed that we all go back via my aunt's house and that I see the doctor again, before we drive back to England the following day. My ankle has been much easier and I wonder if the injury was not as bad as we'd thought.

Over the week that we've been away, my parents and my aunt and uncle have taken to calling Noah, Christo and me 'The Three Musketeers' as, apart from the minor hiccup, we have become inseparable. The three of us travel back in the back seat of my parents' car. We enjoy both our companionship and our physical closeness.

Back at my aunt's house, the others unload the car while Christophe drives me to the doctor. He re-examines my ankle and pronounces himself pleased with what he sees.

'Possibly it was just a bad sprain. I recommend you keep it supported and don't put too much weight on it. Can you manage with just a stick?'

'I can manage with two sticks – so you can have the crutches back.'

'Good. OK…and take care young man.'

'I will…and thank you.'

Back at the house I go up to Christophe's room where Noah is taking our toothbrushes and razors out of an overnight bag. I give him the news.

'Excellent. So when do we start having unrestricted sex again?' He has a broad grin on his face.

'You have a one-track mind – and 'not yet' is the answer. But…talking of sex…I was wondering…you know the whole…'being on tour' thing?'

Noah nods.

'And…well…given what's happened with Christophe…and, well, you know, we both like him…I was wondering whether…'

Noah breaks in

'…we could have one last hurrah? '

Now it's my turn to grin. 'See? We think so alike.'

'It might be a fun end to a wonderful holiday.'

'And it would remove any last traces of guilt.'

'You think he'd be up for it?'

'I think 'up' is exactly what he'll be.'

We both laugh.

'OK,' I say…why don't you let me handle it?'

'Oh yes,' says Noah, 'it definitely has to come from you.'

And of course he's right.

What happens is this. After (another) lovely meal, we sit up quite late and then all go up to bed at the same time. As we strip, I say to Christophe,

'Noah and I want to have sex – is that OK?'

'Of course…it is fine with me.'

'We'd like it to be uninhibited; is it OK if we do on top of the sheet rather than under it? We don't mind if you watch.'

'Then that is super fine.'

By now we're all naked. Noah is half-hard and I'm fully erect. Christophe is rapidly thickening and lengthening in anticipation. I step closer to him.

'Actually, Christophe, what we'd both really like is if you'd join us.'

'Join you?'

'Yes. Look…we've all done stuff with each other this holiday – and, let's face it, enjoyed it - but we haven't all done it together. Let's put that right. A proper threesome for the Three Musketeers. Just this once.'

'Really? Oh my god.'

'Is that a yes?'

'What does this tell you?' He says, pointing at his now rock-hard erection.

There is only one word to describe what follows.


We have sex in every possible combination. I particularly enjoy having Noah buried deep inside me as Christophe fucks my face and I get to taste him for the first time. When I'm inside Noah, Christophe unexpectedly enters me at the same time, making me the meat in a sandwich of sex between the two boys I love best in the world - and taking Christophe at the same time as he's inside Noah is an exercise in timing our thrusts. Christophe performs oral sex on Noah and me together as we kiss – our tongues deep in each other's mouths, and sucking Noah while he sucks Christophe and Christophe sucks me is a perfect circle of lust and love.

We all end up sticky, sweaty and exhausted. Except for Noah who proceeds to fuck Christophe and me one more time before he, too, has no more left to give. We're too tired to clean up, and Christophe falls asleep between us. I lean across and give Noah a kiss before I too, follow Christophe into dreamland.

When I wake up, I find I'm half-stuck to Christophe with dried semen. At some point in the night, Noah has got up and gone to Christophe's bed where he is still sound asleep. I need to pee, and try to unstick myself from Christophe without waking him, but he stirs as I unglue myself from him.

'Don't go,' he says, sleepily.

'I need to pee…I'll be back.'

In the bathroom, I gratefully empty my bladder before trying to use a damp cloth to sponge off the worst of the streaks that seem to be all over my chest, stomach and groin. I look in the mirror and realise it's in my hair as well, spikes standing up strangely all over the place. It makes me giggle – and I give up the uneven struggle to wipe myself clean, deciding to leave it for the shower later. I go over to Noah and plant a kiss on his forehead. He rolls over but doesn't wake. I slip back under the covers with Christophe, who throws an arm over my chest and snuggles up closer. His skin is silky-soft and warm; except for the colour, it could be Noah's.

About half an hour later, Christophe comes to. He stretches and then sits up.

'So…it wasn't all just a wonderful dream.'

'No…it was a wonderful reality,' I say.

He bends down and kisses me. 'OK…I go to make coffee.'

He pulls a bathrobe over his nakedness, and I hear him going downstairs. I go over to Noah and shake him gently by the shoulder. He rolls over towards me and opens one eye.

'Is it time to get up?' he asks.

'No…Christophe is making us coffee…but it's time you came back to bed with me.'

'Sorry…when I woke up during the night I was almost off the side of the bed; it's not really big enough for three, so I used this one – I hope you don't mind.'

'Not at all, Noah. But right now I need a cuddle with my boyfriend.'

Noah throws the covers off – revealing that he is as covered in the results of our lovemaking as I am – and follows me back to the double bed. We pull the duvet over us and snuggle up.

'Last night was fun, Noah, but I can't wait for it to be just the two of us again.'

'I was thinking just the same, Ollie - not that I would change a thing about what we've done with Christophe.'

'No. He's really nice, isn't he?'

'Very nice indeed.'

Noah pulls me closer – and I am aware that he is hard.

'Jeez….does that thing ever go down? I don't think I'll be hard again for a week after last night.'

'We'll see about that…but what can I say? I just find you so damn sexy.'

He puts a hand between my legs, but despite my desire for Noah, Mr. Floppy refuses to respond. In fact, he's sore.

'I've got some cream I'll give you once we've showered,' says Noah, after he's taken a look.

'Aren't you sore too?'

Noah throws off the covers and pretends to examine himself.

'Apparently not.'

I reach over and take hold of him. He lies back as I ease his foreskin slowly up and down. As I am doing so, Christophe comes back with the coffee. He sees what I'm doing. Noah makes no attempt to cover himself up or stop me. Christophe's reaction is the same as mine.

'My God! How can you still be hard?'

'I know,' I say, 'I think he's some kind of freak.'

'Well, he's certainly my kind of freak, then.'

We all laugh.

'You want to finish what you're doing, or have coffee?' asks Christophe.

Noah puts his hand on mine to stop me.

'This will keep. Let's have coffee while it's hot.'

He moves into the middle of the bed so that Christophe can sit on one side of him with me on the other. The coffee is delicious; strong, smooth and with just the right amount of milk.

'I shall miss you two,' says Christophe. 'Your company, your laughter, your kindness…and yes, of course, your bodies. Your amazing bodies. Thank you for sharing those with me. Thank you for introducing me to gay sex. It has been a wonderful, surprising, beautiful ten days that I will never forget.'

'We'll miss you, too, Christophe. But it will be your turn to come to us next Christmas – or come and visit before if you can.'

'I would like that but…' he falls silent.

'But what, Christophe?'

'I know that what we did last night was special, but I know too that it is just the once. You two love each other and I thank you for sharing that love with me, but I know it cannot happen again. I do not want to put you in a position – or me in a position – where I want what I can't have. Perhaps if I find someone then I can see you without desire. I hope so, because I love you both very much. You are even more my favourite cousin, Ollie, and Noah, you are now my favourite non-cousin.'

I nod. I understand. And I hope that our one night of joyous sex hasn't, in fact - and entirely unintentionally - spoiled things between me and Christophe for ever. I try to lighten the mood.

'I shouldn't worry – I expect having sex with us has just made you decide you prefer girls.'

Christophe smiles. 'Oh, I still like girls. But the only reason having sex with you would have put me off boys is because I don't think it could ever be that good with anyone else. Now, do we need to finish off what you were doing with Noah?'

And we do. Both of us take hold of him – there's plenty of room for two hands – until he finally climaxes. But even Noah has to admit it's not much more than a dribble.

We take it in turns to shower. While Noah is showering, I share my misgivings with Christophe.

'Don't worry. Of course I will come and see you. How could I not? In a few weeks this will just be a memory – albeit a much treasured memory. And next time we meet, everything will be as it was – but just a little better.'

He gives me a hug and I feel reassured. By the time Noah emerges from the shower, I've repacked our overnight bag, and, once we're all dressed, we go down to breakfast. My aunt greets us.

'So…did the Three Musketeers sleep well?'

'Yes – and we've thoroughly polished our muskets and put them away until next time,' Noah says, deadpan. Christophe and I explode; we can't help it. Aunt Sarah looks at us.

'Well I'm sure I don't know what's so funny about that, but I certainly hope you'll all three be able to re-use your muskets – if that's how you describe your parting – again soon.'

This sets us off again – Christophe and I are almost crying with laughter.

'What's wrong with those two?' Aunt Sarah asks Noah.

'Oh, just ignore them – they've been doing it all holiday.'

This provokes another howl of laughter from the two of us. And though we finally control ourselves and sit down to eat, we promptly catch one another's eye and that sets us off again.

The moment finally comes for us to leave. I go up to Christophe's room to check we haven't left anything behind, and Christophe comes with me. I check the sockets for chargers and the bedside cabinet for anything we may have overlooked, but it's all clear. As I turn to go, Christophe shuts the door before throwing his arms round me.

'Thank you so much for everything, Ollie. This has been the most unexpected but the best two weeks of my life. I promise you, nothing is spoiled between us. I hope you and Noah will be very happy together; I think you will – you are very well-suited. I meant what I said about girls, Ollie – although I loved having sex with you. And I meant what I said about you having spoiled me for other boys. If you were not with Noah, maybe I would be asking you to be my boyfriend and not just my cousin.'

'And if I wasn't with Noah, and if you did, I'd say yes, Christo.'

We look into each other's eyes and he kisses me. And I feel his tongue on my lips and I can't resist. And my cousin Christophe and I kiss properly…

…and we both know it marks an end and not a beginning. But it is a good end to a wonderful chapter in our lives.

The drive home is uneventful. Noah is going to stay the night before going home to see his family and have a mini-Christmas with them. As we lie in bed that night, curled up beside one another, I tell him about my last conversation and my kiss with Christophe – and what it means.

'That's lovely, Ollie. And he's a lovely guy. I really like him. You're lucky to have a cousin like that.'

'I'm even luckier to have a boyfriend like you.'

'That, of course,' says Noah with a smirk, 'is absolutely true.'

'Why you….!

I try to beat his chest with my fists, but he's too strong for me and I end up pinioned on my back with his hands round my wrists as he straddles me, his legs either side of my thighs.

'If it wasn't for my ankle,' I say.

Noah laughs. 'Yah, right, it's your ankle that stopping you from freeing your hands.'

Now it's my turn to laugh, and then he lowers his face to mine and he kisses me, and I feel his tongue on my lips and I can't resist. And I don't want to. So I don't.

In the morning we make love one last time before Noah has to leave. I drive him to the station. I'm half afraid those lads will be there again. But to my relief there's no sign of them. We sit there for a moment, and Noah turns to me.

'What can I say, Ollie? These last two weeks have been…extraordinary. I've learned to ski; I've had the most wonderful Christmas; I've met your cousin and we've had a threesome with him.'

'We had our first argument.'

'Yes…but the making up after was good, wasn't it?'

I smile.

'We were always going to have a disagreement at some point. Good to have got it out of the way – and we know what to do if it happens again.'

That's Noah; always able to see the good in any situation.

'Thank you again, Ollie. And give my thanks to your parents – and to your aunt and uncle…and Christophe, of course. I'll write to them to thank them as well.'

As it turns out, we don't see Christophe again for a long time. It seems only right that I should spend the following Christmas with Noah and his parents and, knowing I won't be around, Christophe decides to stay in France. The year after that, my aunt and uncle are both very unwell with flu, and our visit to see them is cancelled. And the year after that, Noah and I have graduated and moved in together and the family Christmases are a thing of the past.

We get news of Christophe occasionally. In his final year at University, he is picked up by a modelling agency, and rapidly becomes very much in demand. We may not see him in the flesh, but we now see his face – and his body – all over the colour supplements on a regular basis. I message him my congratulations and he responds warmly. We agree that we must meet up again soon – but somehow it never happens.

Family-wise, In the course of our first long summer vacation my parents meet Noah's for the first time – and they get on like a house on fire. It becomes clear that the values Noah and I share – which is what binds us together every bit as much as the fact that we fancy the pants off each other – have been inherited from our parents - almost by osmosis - and so it's no surprise that they get on well for just the same reason. Not that they fancy each other, of course.

As for Noah and me, things just keep getting better and better. We both pass our first year exams and share a house with two other friends in our second year. Mark and Jessica are a couple as well so it all works very well. And we still can't keep our hands off each other. In fact the sounds from our bedroom are the only thing that Mark and Jessica occasionally suggest we might like to tone down. But they say it with a smile.

The only dark cloud that crosses our horizon comes when Noah calls me one day during the following Christmas vacation.

'Ollie, do you remember Michael, the boy you talked to about being gay when you came to Esther's sixteenth birthday party?'

'Yes…yes of course.'

'Ollie…he's been murdered.'

'Oh my God, Noah. How? When?...Why?'

'It's awful, Ollie. I was just going out to the shop – you know, the one on the corner – and as I was passing by the bins I saw a shoe poking out from behind one of them. I went over…and it wasn't just a shoe, it was a body. It was half covered with refuse – as though a bin has been tipped over it. I moved the rubbish out of the way. Oh God, Ollie, despite all the bruising I knew it was Michael. His shirt had been ripped open, and the word 'gay' had been crudely carved on his chest.'

Noah is doing his best to hold back the tears. I can hear it in his voice.

'But it gets worse, Ollie. His jeans and briefs were round his knees and someone must have stamped on his genitals. Over and over. I called an ambulance but…they said he was gone. Why, Ollie? Why would anyone do that to Michael? He never hurt anyone. '

And now Noah's crying.

'I'm coming up, Noah. I'll be there in a couple of hours.'

I explain what's happened to my parents who are shocked and understand completely that I need to be with Noah. Dad drops me off at the station and when I arrive at Noah's flat, Josephine opens the door.

'Thank you for coming, Ollie. Noah needs you. The police are talking to him at the moment, so come and have a cup of tea in the kitchen. They won't be much longer and I know he will be very pleased to see you.'

Sure enough, five minutes later, the lounge door opens and a burly police sergeant and a female officer emerge.

'Thank you for your help Mr. Diouf. We'll be in touch in due course – and you'll need to attend the inquest.'

I see Noah behind them. He sees me and pushes past the policemen before throwing his arms round me.

'Oh God Ollie…thank you for coming. Thank you so much.'

If the police are surprised to see Noah with his arms round me, they don't say anything, and Josephine lets them out.

'Hi Noah. Come on, why don't you tell me all about it.'

I lead him into his bedroom, and we sit on the bed. He holds onto me.

'I've never seen a dead body before, Ollie. And the blood where they cut him…why did they do that, Ollie? Why?'

'I don't know, Noah, I don't know.'

I stroke his head.

'What did the police want?'

'Oh…you know…I told them what happened…how I…found him. They asked me if I had any idea who might do such a thing. I told them that his family were homophobic – but they wouldn't do that to him, surely, Ollie? You don't murder and mutilate your own flesh and blood, do you?'

'I don't know, Noah. The world is full of very strange things.'

'I don't know if it's safe for you to be here, Ollie. What if whoever did that to Michael decides to do the same to you – or us?'

'We'll be fine Noah. I promise I won't go out on my own. And I'm sure the police will find whoever did this to Michael.'

But they don't. The community – or the part of it Michael came from – close ranks. Noah tells me later that there weren't really any tears at the funeral. Instead of his family questioning whether their feelings about homosexuality were worth the death of a son, they said Michael had fallen into wickedness and that it must have been God's punishment. I want to go and put some flowers on his grave, but Noah says we mustn't – at least not yet. So we don't.

I stay with Noah for the next two days and try to comfort him. He makes love to me violently on the second night, as if releasing all his fears and anger and sorrow into me. He almost scares me - and he hurts me, although I know he doesn't mean to. He apologises afterwards. I don't mind. It's what he needed and he is back to his tender, loving self afterwards. He's feeling better by the time I leave – which is why I went up there. So I am happy too.

I later hear that, at the inquest, the police said that they believed it was a beating-up that got out of hand. It was still murder s far as I was concerned.

But even this eventually becomes a distant memory as we enter our final year. Noah is heading for a First, while I will be happy with a 2:1. We step up the focus on our work, and our relationship suffers a little as a result. Nothing serious, but we get tired and occasionally find ourselves being short with one another. And for the first time, when one of us wants sex, the other sometimes says no. When Finals are eventually upon us, our exams overlap. Mine start a day before Noah's and finish two days before. We agree on celibacy during the ten days that they take place.

The exams are the easy bit compared with sticking with our vow of celibacy. And the two days when I have finished and Noah hasn't are purgatory. But once we've both finished…

We start with a bottle of champagne and spend the next twenty four hours in bed. Even Noah's legendary stamina is tested. We emerge occasionally to get more to drink, and we order in a pizza at some point which we eat in bed. I have never wanted that magnificent cock of his inside me so much – and he seems to feel the same about mine. I know that I manage to fill him twice at each end, but there is some debate over whether Noah manages eight or just seven climaxes. Either way, both of us have very achy balls by the end of it and I am sore in a way I haven't been since those first few times that Noah fucked me after we first met.

The sound of voices drifts up from the street and through the window as we lie naked and exhausted on top of the bed. I run a hand over Noah's chest and stomach. By now I know every little bump and crevice. I let my hand drift further down, over the smooth, hairless groin. His cock is lying limp and thick over one thigh. I take hold of it and give it a squeeze. It stays resolutely soft.

'I love your cock,' I say.

'Just my cock?' he asks.

'Mmm…pretty much,' I say, teasing him.

'Well I love every little bit of you, Ollie. I have from the moment I first saw you. Do you remember that first time we did anything? You sitting on my desk as I unzipped you? I thought then that your cock was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen…until you stripped completely naked when we went to bed afterwards. I was so turned on, Ollie. And your body still turns me on every time I see it. You're so perfect, Ollie.'

'Well…I kind of think the same about you, Noah. I certainly remember that first time when I pulled your briefs down and this…thing…seemed to uncoil towards me. One part of my brain was saying 'oh my God that's beautiful', but the other half was saying 'how the fuck are you going to get all that inside you one day'?'

Noah laughs.

'Well…it didn't seem to be a problem when it happened…and it certainly isn't now.'

'Yes, well it meant we had to be dedicated, didn't it? Practice a lot.'

'And we have practiced a lot, haven't we, Ollie? How many times do you think we've made love since we first met?'

'Three years…that's, well, call it a thousand days – and nights. We've had few nights off…'

'Not many.' He grins. 'And others where we've done it several times.'

'Maybe you've fucked me fifteen hundred…two thousand times, then? And I'll have done it about a third of that number to you. Then there's oral of course.'

'However you add it up, it's a lot of sex.'

'Yes…great isn't it?'

'It surely is.'

He pulls me on top of him and we kiss. Properly. For a long time.

When I finally roll off him, he just lies there. I can see he's thinking. Eventually he says,

'Do you remember, Ollie, when we talked all that time ago about you telling your parents you were gay, and I said I wanted you to because I was looking forward to meeting the in-laws?'

I smile at the recollection.

'Yes…yes I do, Noah.'

'Well….how about we make them in-laws for real?'

It takes me a moment to work out what he's saying.

'Are you…that is, do you mean….fuck…is that a proposal, Noah Diouf?'

'Yes, Ollie.' He pauses. 'Ollie Peters, will you marry me?'

'Not unless you ask me on one knee and give me a bloody great engagement ring.'

He looks at me. And then we're both laughing.

'Why you….'

'Yes, of course I will, Noah.'

'Woo hoo!!'

In the end, we decide on a civil partnership. I've always been uneasy about marriage – which is properly a religious ceremony – being highjacked as a civil ceremony when there's a perfectly good, purpose-built civil ceremony available. Making promises to a deity that you're not sure exists has always struck me as somewhat hypocritical. And if I want to promise to be faithful to Noah – which I do – I would rather take responsibility for that myself.

My parents are very happy for us when we tell them, and Noah's are delighted. We set a date for the following spring and, in the meantime, focus on getting jobs.

The first chapter of our lives together has ended – but the second is about to begin.

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