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Making Nico

by c m

Chapter 8

Monday of my last week at the villa dawns. I've spent the previous night alone. The weather is, if anything, even hotter and sunshades are erected over the poolside loungers to prevent us from burning – deeply tanned though we all are.

I ask Piers if everything is OK between him and Zak.

'Perfect. Couldn't be better. Why do you ask?'

'Because you were acting weird with me last night. Like you wanted to ask me or tell me something.'

'Oh, that. Yes. Well. No. That's all sorted out now.'

'You sure?'


I know Piers pretty well by now. And I'm pretty sure something's going on that he's not telling me about. But if he doesn't want to tell me, then he doesn't want to tell me.

'Hmmm…OK,' I say.

Piers drifts away to be replaced by Karim. He bends down and gives me a kiss.

'Morning Nick.'

'Hi, Karim. Have a good night?'

'I went out like a light. Still exhausted from your ravaging of me the night before.'

'MY ravaging? I had the distinct impression it was YOU who kept on saying 'again'…'

He grins. 'Well, OK, maybe…but it was fun, wasn't it?'

'Certainly was. Umm…I don't suppose you've any idea what's up with Piers, have you?' I say.

'Piers? No, no idea. What makes you think something's up?' he says…but there's something in his voice…

'I don't's just…oh, maybe I'm imagining it.'

'Seems fine to me. Hot, isn't it? Even for me. Dip time I think.'

I get the sense that he's trying to change the subject. He strips off his shorts and dives in. He's a graceful swimmer who does easy lengths up and down the pool. He stops at the end of a length facing me.

'Not coming in?'

'Oh….OK…why not?'

I'm already naked, so I just dive over the top of him and swim the remainder of the length underwater before popping up at the shallow end. Karim glides effortlessly up beside me a second or two later.

'I just wanted to say, Nick, that meeting you here has been the most wonderful and unexpected surprise. Thank you so much for everything.'

'You make it sound as though I'm leaving…I've still got another week.'

'Er, yes…I know…it's just…'

'Don't you start acting weird too….'

And then suddenly it all makes sense. Because as I get out of the pool and walk back to find a towel, through the doors and out onto the patio comes…Josh. Piers is on one side of him and Zak is on the other.

'Surprise!' they say.

My mind is still at the 'what the fuck…?' stage, but my body is already propelling me towards Josh at a run. I throw my arms round him and hug him like there's no tomorrow.

'Ack…yuk…you're all wet….' he says.

'What on earth are you doing here?' I ask. 'Oh God it's amazing to see you, but you're meant to be camping…how did…?'

'I had to come, Nico, your phone calls and the weather….' he moves his mouth close to my ear as we hug, 'not to mention the photos…'

We give each other a grin.

'But how did you manage to…?'

'Get here? I called Piers and asked if there was any chance of being picked up if I could get a flight and he said of course, and there was a last-minute seat so I took it and…well…here I am.'

I look at Piers. 'No wonder you were acting weird…'

And then I look at Karim. 'As for you…I suppose your job was to keep me down here so I didn't see him arrive.'

He has the good grace to look sheepish.

'Oh Josh, it's so good to see you. I've missed you like crazy.'

'You seem to have had…plenty of company,' he says with a smile.

And it's my turn to look a little sheepish.

'Come on, come for a swim,' I say.

'Do I get introduced first?'

'What? Oh. Yes, Sorry. Josh, this is Karim; Karim, this is my boyfriend Josh.'

'You are even more handsome in the flesh,' says Karim.

'And you are…exactly as I expected,' says Josh with a grin.

'You guys enjoy the water, I'll get some drinks organised,' says Piers.

'It's good to see you, Nico. I've missed you so, so much,' says Josh.

And he kisses me. A proper kiss. Not like the little pecks or brushes I may exchange with Piers and Zak and Karim. A full-on, tongue-round-the-tonsils kiss that leaves me dizzy.

'You have no idea how much I want you,' he whispers with a smile, 'so I hope you've still got something in the tank after all your…exertions.'

'I'll always have something in the tank for you. And you've got some catching up to do, so I hope your balls are full to bursting. Once you've done with me, I think you'll find Karim would like to get to know you a whole lot better too.'

'Well, he'll have to wait…but I can't say the thought isn't an arousing one. That video…god… assuming you're OK with me going with him.'

'Of course I'm OK with it...if you'd been here you'd have done it already.'

He grins, and we exchange another kiss.

'Now, just take your clothes off and get in the pool.'

'See…I'm with you for about ten seconds and all you want me to do is get my clothes off…'

'I'm beginning to have second thoughts about how nice it is to have you here.'

'No you're not. '


He pulls his polo shirt off over his head, and then kicks off his shorts and underwear. He still has a white ring round his middle – albeit quite a small one.

'Come on then…'

He seizes my hand and pulls me in with him. The others follow, and we're soon splashing and mucking about like a bunch of six-year-olds. I notice that Karim is taking every opportunity to get his hands on Josh, which makes me smile.

'It's fine with me if you want to give him a hug,' I say, '…not that I get a vote. It's up to Josh. Why don't you ask him?'

'Oh god, am I being that obvious?' says Karim.

'I'm definitely up for a hug if you want one,' says Josh.

'Well, if it's OK…'

Josh leans forward and whispers something in Karim's ear that makes him blush, and then they're embracing in the tightest of hugs. When they finally let go of each other, Karim swims away looking slightly embarrassed.

'What happened there?' I ask, 'and what did you say to him?'

'I said a hug was the least he deserved after the video he sent. And he's probably embarrassed about getting a stiffy while we were hugging.'

'Why would he be embarrassed? You've seen all he's got in that video!'

'Because he's a lovely guy and I've only just arrived and he knows how you and I feel about each other and well…how would you feel if the first time you met someone and hugged them, you popped a boner. Especially if they were the boyfriend of the guy standing next to you?'

He's right. And it underlines what a nice guy Karim is. And I don't want him to feel embarrassed. I swim over to him.

'If it's any comfort,' I say, 'I sprung a massive boner the first time I even held hands with Josh, never mind hugged him. Please don't be embarrassed. And let's face it, he's seen all everything you've got to show him already…and I'm perfectly sure he's every bit as aroused about you as you are about him. In fact, I know he is because he told me.'

'Thank you. It was just a bit…awkward. And he's your boyfriend.'

'Yes, and I'm his and you and I have been having sex all week, so if anyone should be embarrassed in front of Josh, it's me.'

At this point, Josh comes over.

'You two OK?'

'I was just telling Karim that if anyone should be embarrassed it's me.'

'I don't think anyone should be embarrassed. Give me your hand, Karim.'

He takes Karim's hand and lowers it into the water and pulls it against him.

'See? I'm as hard as you were. So let's just relax with each other.'

Karim's eyes are nearly popping out of his head.

'Thank you,' he says hoarsely.

I give Josh a kiss. He always seems to know the right thing to do.

That night Josh and I spend several very pleasant hours reacquainting ourselves with each other's bodies. I may have had a lot of sex in the last couple of weeks, but none of it is as good as we have together now. Or anytime. The taste of him. The feel of him inside me. Of being inside him. The joy of his every touch. He knows exactly what to do to make my toes curl with pleasure. To hold him in my arms is to know a little of heaven.

'Pleased to see you're not completely worn out then, my little sexbomb,' he says, ruffling my hair after we've burned off our immediate lust for each other.

'I will never, ever have enough of you, Josh.'

He pulls my head onto his shoulder.

'Now, tell me all about Karim.'

So I fill in as much as I know, from his being raped, to his having sex with Piers from the age of fourteen, to what he and I have done together. Josh is by turns appalled, intrigued and curious.

'Hmm…so is he comfortable with being on the receiving end now…does he enjoy it?'

'He certainly seems to - it's not as though we've only done it once. He's still much more of a top than a bottom, though. Kind of the opposite of Piers.'

'And you say he's keen to sleep with me…are you sure you're OK with that?'

'I'm very OK with it, but only if the idea appeals to you too.'

'I think you can safely say I wouldn't find it any hardship,' he says with a smile.

'Then you definitely should. I mean, let's face it, you most certainly would've done already if you'd been here. And he's fun to be with…in and out of bed. Oh. And one other thing. He's got the most extraordinary tongue. The things he can do with it….'


'I'll say no more. But…I'd like it if things could be like the last time we were here…you know…you and I spend our nights together and you and he have your time together during the day. Same if you want to go with Zak or Piers, of course.'

'I think Karim and you will be more than enough for me between you. Do you think he'll want to go both ways with me?'

'I don't know, Josh. That's something for the two of you to discover. Will you be OK if he only wants to top?'

'I wouldn't force anyone to do anything they didn't want to…and there's plenty of fun to be had that doesn't involve penetration at all…as we both know.'

'True,' I say, 'talking of which….'

I slide down the bed and…well, you can fill in the blanks for yourself.

We're both lying in bed the following morning when there's a tap on our door.

'Come in…'

Karim's face appears around the door.

'I was going to get some coffee…can I get some for you both?'

'If you're offering, that would be lovely.'

'No prob. Back in a few.'

'That's nice of him,' says Josh.

'Very. He's been doing it most mornings, actually.'

'And I don't suppose by any chance that when he brings it up to you, you end up doing the naughties with him….'

'I can't imagine what would give you such an idea,' I say,' and anyway, it will give us a chance to talk about you and him getting together.'

'Unless he's after a threesome,' says Josh with a grin.

'I think he'd love one.'


'Oh yes, we…ah…that is….'

'Omigod…you've had a threesome with him, haven't you? You, him and…Piers?'


'And was it good?'

'Well…the idea was better than the reality as it turned out. But you, him and me might be a different proposition. Does the idea appeal to you?'

'I've never had a threesome.'

'OK, well…first things first, however. You and he need to get to know each other better before we even consider anything more…complicated.'

He nods. I slip a hand between his legs. He's hard. I grin.

'I see the idea of a threesome is not entirely unappealing to you.'

'I was hard anyway.'


'I hate you sometimes…'

At that moment Karim reappears with coffee. I get up to give him a hand and then motion him to get into bed between us.

'Thank you for this,' says Josh.

'My pleasure. And believe me, being in bed between the two of you most definitely IS a pleasure.'

'For us too,' I say, 'now…Josh and I have been talking. We know you'd like to sleep with Josh and Josh is pretty excited about the idea as well…'

Karim looks at Josh.

'Are you?? Really?'

Josh gives me a look, but then says to Karim, 'How could I not be after everything Nico's told me….'

'Oh…OOHH…I see…' He looks at me. 'You've told him…everything?'

I give him a vigorous nod. 'Everything.'


And Josh and I can't help but laugh, then we each put an arm round one of his shoulders.

'But Nico and I will be spending our nights together, so if we're going to have time together, you and I, it will need to be during the day. If that's OK with you,' says Josh.

'It's perfect,' says Karim, 'I'm super-excited about it.'

A little grin spreads across his face. 'See?....'

He throws back the sheet to reveal his arousal. That uncovers both of us as well….and reveals that Josh is as tumescent as Karim is.

'I tell you what,' I say, 'I'm going to take a shower. I'll be about fifteen minutes. Why don't you two…do some initial exploration.'

As I close the bathroom door behind me, the giggles behind me have already started.

When I emerge, they're lying beside one another with smiles on their faces.

'Good time?' I ask.

Karim looks at me. 'Very. But how come you want to sleep with anyone else when you can have that all the time?' he says, pointing at Josh.

'I know, unbelievable, isn't it,' says Josh.

I roll my eyes and give him the finger. They both laugh.

'Thank you, Josh,' says Karim, 'That was awesome. More than awesome. Now I'm going back to my room to take a shower. I'll see you later, yes?'

'For sure.'

Karim gives Josh a peck on the cheek. Once he's left, I ask Josh for details.

'We gave each other a bj. Oh my god…his tongue…unbelievable. Just like you said. Whole new dimension to oral.'

'Just wait 'til he rims you with it. It's like a snake's trying to get inside you.'

Josh laughs. 'I can't wait. And he's fun…you're right.'

'I take it from his parting words that you've arranged to meet up?'

'Yes, although quite how much I've got left to give after last night I don't know…and I hope that's OK with you.'


'Right, my turn for a shower, I think.'

When he emerges from the shower, his still-damp hair is hanging in dark-gold ringlets and a waft of his cologne drifts over me. His body is momentarily lit by a ray of the sun as he passes the window. He is breathtakingly beautiful, and I can't resist going over, taking him in my arms and kissing him.

'I can't believe I'm lucky enough to have you, Josh. No wonder Karim thinks all his birthdays have come at once.'

'He's cute and he's sexy and I'm sure we'll have fun together, but there's only one boy in the world I really want to be with, and he's the one in my arms right now. I love you, Nico, more than you can know.'

'Karim's right; why would I have sex with anyone but you?'

'I can cancel my arrangement with him if you'd like….'

'That would be very selfish of me.'

'I'd do it in a heartbeat if you wanted me to.'

'I know you would, Josh. And that's what makes it OK. And the villa has its own set of rules, doesn't it?'

'Yes, it does' He gives me a squeeze. 'Nico, you were my first and I was your first. We gave each other our virginity. Most gay boys have had sex with several – perhaps many – other boys before they find the love of their lives and make a commitment to them. We both agreed that we were curious about what sex might be like with someone else - not because we were dissatisfied with what we have but just because it's normal to be curious. And we've been lucky enough to find a way to explore and satisfy that curiosity in a safe way with friends we love and trust. And if what the chance to do this has taught us is that what we already have together is better than anything else out there, then that feels like a win-win to me. And look…the fact that you've had sex with Karim doesn't mean that I have to.'

'Villa rules, Josh. And in truth, I'd feel better if you did. I'd feel that I'd…cheated on you with him otherwise.'

'Cheated on me? Don't be daft. We talked about it. You haven't gone behind my back. Villa rules - like you said. And – also like you said – if I'd been here I'd have been with him already. But the fact that I wasn't and haven't doesn't mean I have to…if that makes sense.'

'Josh…and this may be the only time in my life I say that I want you to have sex with another boy… but I'd like you to go with Karim. I'd like him to know the joy of what really good sex with a kind loving partner is like. That and the fact that I know he excites you…and don't deny it.'

I'm smiling at him as I say these last words and he smiles back at me.

'OK. Guilty as charged about finding him sexy. But no more than you obviously do too, right?'

'Right,' I admit.

'And as for showing him what good sex with a kind boy is like, he already knows that if he's been with you.'

'He'll understand it even more if he's been with you too.'

Josh starts to laugh gently. 'So what you're saying is that having sex with him is doing him a favour. It's our duty…nothing to do with pleasure or rampant lust?'

I start to giggle too. 'Yah…that's it. It is out of the goodness of our hearts, nothing more.'

'Oh well, in that case I better do my duty then.'

'Yeah. I mean. I've done mine and it would be wrong for you to escape your responsibilities.'

He nods. 'Yes, I can see that.'

And then we both start roaring with laughter.

'Fuck, I've missed you,' he says.

'And I you…'

Downstairs, Karim comes and finds me.

'Are you sure it's OK for me and Josh to…you know…I don't want to get between you with him only just having arrived…'

'It's sweet of you to think like that, Karim but it's fine. And anyway, as for the idea of you getting between us…well…who knows…'

He looks at me with a slight frown and then he realises what I'm implying.

'OOHHH…omigod, I didn't mean it like that, honestly…'

I laugh. 'I know you didn't Karim. And enjoy yourself.'

After lunch, I see the two of them talking. Then Josh gives me a little wave before they head inside. Zak is already upstairs taking a nap; he's still recovering from his bout of Covid and gets tired easily. That leaves me and Piers alone together.

'Fancy a walk?' he says.


'Have you been right to the other end of the estate?'

'No, no I haven't.'

'There are some great views. Too far to walk all the way though. Let's go and get the buggy and I'll drive us most of the way then we can walk the last bit…if that suits you?'

'Sounds great, Piers.'

We make our way to the side of the villa where a pair of rather upmarket golf-buggies are kept parked. Piers jumps behind the wheel of one of them and I sit on the bench beside him. Initially, the path we drive down is gravelled and well-maintained, but once we get a mile or so from the villa it turns into little more than a track. Piers is clearly familiar with the various twists and turns that the track makes, before pulling up under what looks like a miniature barn with open sides and a wooden roof.

'Right, we can walk from here.'

He leads me to a path that winds its way through a wood of holm-oaks, beech trees and chestnuts. It is as peaceful as it is beautiful.

'So,' he says as we're walking, 'are Karim and Josh doing what I think they're doing?'

'I sincerely hope so,' I say with a grin.

He grins back.

'Karim's nice, isn't he?' he says.

'I like him a lot.'

'Me too.'

'Does Zak feel the same?'

'Why do you ask?'

'I thought I detected….a little tension between you two on the subject.'

'Not really. Well, maybe a little.' He stops and turns to me. 'It's difficult for Zak I think…I mean, Karim was one of the boys who was fucking me before I met Zak. And you know Zak thinks I was taken advantage of by all and sundry before I met him. And he's right, I was. But not by Karim, never by Karim. The sex he and I had was good. But Zak finds it hard to accept that any of the boys I had sex with treated me with kindness and affection. I've told him over and over that Karim was – is – different. But this may have made things worse because maybe I've swapped hate for jealousy. Maybe I shouldn't have invited Karim, but I hoped Zak would be able to treat him like you and Josh treat him and me.'

'Villa rules,' I say.


'Villa rules…that's what Josh and I call what happens when we're here. We're all friends who know each other well and like and trust one another. It's why the four of us…well, the five of us now…can have sex with each other if we want and not feel awkward or guilty. In a way that we couldn't with anyone else, anywhere else.'

'Villa rules…I like it…and that's exactly how I hoped Zak would treat it. And he sort of does but I can see his heart's not fully in it. I don't know what to do if the truth's told, Nick.'

The path has been leading gently downhill, and the woods now open out onto a sparkling blue lake. It's stunning.

'I had no idea this was here.'

' was built about a hundred years ago as a sort of reservoir for the estate. Fancy a swim in it?'

'It certainly looks inviting.'

'Come on then.'

We make our way to the side of the lake where there's a little sort of landing stage. It only takes seconds for us to kick off our shoes and shorts, and dive in. The water is a lot colder than the pool, but on a hot sunny afternoon like this, it's wonderfully refreshing.

'Nice, isn't it,' says Piers, swimming up to me.

'It's fantastic.'

'I'm so pleased Josh is here…it somehow wasn't the same without him. Lovely though it was to be able to have a bit more of you that I would have done otherwise.'

'I'm pleased too. Though I've enjoyed having a bit more time with you as well.'

'Any chance of a bit of…time with you…right now…just to sort of keep Josh and Karim company…?'

'Ohhh…THAT sort of time.'

'I'm feeling horny as fuck…but then you have that effect on me every time I see you…especially when you're naked.'

'Come on then. But I warn you that after last night with Josh, I'm…not exactly fully-charged.'

'That's OK, ' he says with a smile, 'I'll take what I can get.'

We get out of the water and lay down on the grass. He pushes me onto my back before straddling me.

'OK like this?' he asks.

'You bet.'

His need for me is urgent, but it takes a little longer than usual for us both to reach what is still a thoroughly enjoyable climax.

'Mmm…thank you, I needed that,' he says as he rolls off me.

'Hey…always happy to help,' I say with a grin.

'Quick dip before getting back?'

'Good idea.'

This time we both swim across the width of the lake – perhaps a hundred metres or so - and back before climbing out.

'No need to put your shorts back on unless you want...we can dry naturally on the way back.'

Which is what we do. Piers puts an arm around my shoulder as we walk back through the woods, and by the time we've got back to the buggy, we've both dried off. We get back to the villa at almost the same moment as Josh and Karim appear on the terrace. Josh comes over and gives me a kiss.

'So where have you two been?' he asks.

'Piers took me to a lovely lake at the other end of the estate. It's really beautiful. We took the buggy most of the way and then walked. Had a dip while we were there.'

'Oh, nice.'

'Very…maybe we can go there together, you and I, while we're here.'

'Sounds great.'

Piers disappears into the house, while Josh and I go and lie beside each other on one of the loungers.

'So…did you have a good time?' I ask.

'Very good. He's almost as good in bed as you are. And that tongue…oh god, when he was rimming me….'

'Told you so. And did he…did you….?'


'Tell me more…'

'Well, we started off with a bit of mutual exploration…hand and mouth…and then he asked very politely if I'd be OK with having him inside me – which is when I got my first taste of his rimming skills. After that he said he'd very much like to have me inside him, but please would I be gentle with him – which I was, especially after what you'd told me - and which he seemed to enjoy a lot.'

'And you're not too sore after last night and then this?'

'No…he's not as thick as you.'

'Yeah, I noticed that too.'

'But what was really nice was the conversation we had when we were relaxing between actually doing stuff. He's very bright, isn't he, as well as being funny?'

'Very. Guess that's why he's got a place at Oxford.'

'Yes, he told me. And he really, really likes you, Nico. Said that you'd shown him a whole new world of what good sex was like.'

'And I'm sure you did the same.'

'Well, he did say that being with me was very much like being with you. Though obviously he found me a whole lot more exciting, fulfilling and generally better at sex than you, but….'


He just laughs.

'God, you are so-o-o-o easy to wind up. And did you and Piers do more than just have a swim?'

'Why on earth would you think that?'

'Because you are both horny little sods, and Piers has that 'freshly fucked' look on his face.'

'Freshly fucked?'

'Yup. A sort of glow mixed with a half-smile.'

'I've never noticed.'

'Hmmm, well I've noticed that you're not denying it.'

'Yes, was his idea.'

'And one you resisted with all your might, no doubt.'

'OK, OK. But it WAS at his instigation.'

'I believe you. And he does have a bit of a thing for you, doesn't he?'

'I guess. But he's still very much in love with Zak. Though….'

'Though what?'

So I tell him about the conversation Piers and I had about Karim and the way Zak feels about him.

'Hmmm…I can see the difficulty. Would it help if I talked with Zak?'

'Couldn't do any harm, I guess.'

He stretches and gets up. 'Then I will. Back in a mo. I'm thirsty; I'm going to get some water…some for you too?'

'Thirsty, huh? Anyone would think you'd been doing something energetic.'

'You have no idea just how energetic,' he says with a grin.

'I can imagine - and thanks, some water would be nice.'

Josh strolls off in the direction of the kitchen, and Karim takes the opportunity to come over to me.

'I have just had the most amazing time with Josh. Thank you both so much.'

'He had a great time with you too.'

'You are very…alike…in bed, you know.'

'I guess we've become pretty expert at knowing how to please each other.'

'It's lovely to be with someone who's interested in their partner's pleasure and not just their own. You and Josh are both wonderful at that. But my question from this morning still stands…even more so, in fact; why do you sleep with other boys when you each already have the perfect partner? I can't imagine ever having better sex than I've had with you two, and you clearly love each other to bits. You're just perfect together.'

So I share the conversation I had with Josh earlier.

'OK. And 'villa rules'…I understand. It's nice. But now you've slept with all of us, and now you know that what you two have together is better than any of it, will you keep sleeping with Zak and Piers….and me?'

'Good question, Karim. Logic says no, but villa rules say if we're all having fun then…maybe. Would you like to keep having sex with Josh and me?'

'Of course. That is a silly question. Why would I not want to keep having the best sex of my life so far? But this is not about me, it's about you two. Look, if and when I find the love of my life, would I still want to have sex with you? I don't know. Probably. But would it be right? I don't know. Probably not. Unless he and I come here and we have 'villa rules' too…but what if he doesn't want that?

'Then it would be wrong. Villa rules only apply if everyone agrees.'

'OK. Would you be very offended if I said maybe it sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it?'

'No, I wouldn't be offended. You may be right. It's something Josh and I need to talk about.'

'For me, I hope you think it is still OK…but you two have something very special. Anyone can see that.'

I look at Karim with a new respect. What he's said is challenging. And Josh and I need to discuss it. But I take the chance, now that we're having a serious discussion, to talk about him and Piers and Zak. I tell him about the conversation I had with Piers. As I explain, he holds his head in his hands.

'Oh. My. God. I never even thought….how stupid and selfish have I been?'

'Not stupid and certainly not selfish, Karim, but maybe something you need to talk to Piers...and Zak…about?'

'Yes. Yes indeed. Thank you, Nick.'

'Then we've both given each other food for thought.'

Josh returns with two glasses and a bottle of San Pellegrino from the fridge.

'So, what have you two been talking about?' he asks.

'Karim has just been telling me the truth about your miserable performance in bed with him. Let me see…hmmm…'dull and unimaginative' were the words I think.'

I look at Karim and he's immediately on my wavelength. He makes the 'so-so' gesture with his hands. Josh looks from one of us to the other.

'Very funny,' he says, 'but you can't fool me.'

'Worth a try,' I say, 'but I fear you know me too well.'

'True,' says Josh. He kisses me and hands me a glass. 'Sorry, Karim, would you like some water too?'

'I can go and get a glass,' he says.

'No. Have this one. I can drink from the bottle.'

He fills the second glass and hands it to Karim, before pulling another lounger over and placing it beside mine.

'Actually we were talking about sex,' I say.

'Well, there's a surprise.'

'No. Karim asked a good question. He said he understood about us being curious about what sex with other boys might be like given that we were each other's first, but that now we'd tried it with Zak, Piers and him under 'villa rules' why would we keep doing it if we now realise that the sex we have with each other is better than any of the sex we have with any of them?'

Josh nods and thinks about it for a minute.

'I think that once you've crossed a bridge, you can't uncross it, Karim. Nico and I have had sex with you three and so it's now…what are the words?...a normal part of our relationship with each other. Special and unusual, but normal. And yet also unique. On the one hand, it's not just casual sex with a stranger; we have longstanding, close friendships – or we hope it will become longstanding in your case, Karim – with each other. And on the other, it's not sex that is going to lead to us having each other as boyfriends. It is also something Nico and I are completely open about with each other. We still check in with each other that we're OK with anything we do. Every time. Villa rules don't operate when we're back at Uni. I made a mistake…a big mistake, Karim… a while ago when I got very drunk. Not that that's any excuse. I had sex with another boy. He and I were friends but sleeping with him broke the rules. Nico's been amazing enough to forgive me, but although that bridge has been crossed with that boy, he and I will never have sex again. Freedom is a funny – and delicate - thing, and not all freedoms are the same. The freedom we have under 'villa rules' is about enjoying our time with each other, both in and out of bed. We might have started out being curious about whether 'better sex' was out there, but it's not about comparative quality anymore. It's about fun and joy. A permitted extension of friendship between us as a group that can continue for as long as we all remain comfortable with it. I don't think that's having our cake and eating it, it's about swapping a small piece of our cake with others in exchange for a piece of theirs – if that's not pushing the analogy too far. So the fact that the sex Nico and I have together is completely satisfying doesn't mean that that's the only flavour of cake that we can find enjoyable. The fact that others may find the taste of our cake particularly appealing is a nice compliment, but not a reason for us to stop enjoying an occasional taste of theirs. But only under the special situation of 'villa rules'. Is that fair, Nico?'

'I agree entirely. Except that eating a lot of cake makes you fat while having a lot of sex really burns the fat off!'

They both laugh.

'Does that make any sense, Karim?' says Josh.

'It is an interesting argument. Is it watertight? I'm not sure. I need to consider it….but…I definitely like cake.' He says with a smile.

'So do we,' says Josh.

'I know,' says Karim. His smile broadens to show his white teeth, 'and I would very much like to keep tasting the cake you two bake for as long as it's permitted.'

The next day, Zak comes over and sits down beside me by the pool.

'I understand that you had a role to play in Karim coming to see me to talk about things between him, me and Piers.'

'We had a chat about it.'

'Just wanted to say thanks. It's helped a lot. He was so sweet and apologetic. I'd talked myself into seeing it as some sort of deliberate act on his part, but I realise now that it isn't.'

'So you've kissed and made up?'

He blushes. 'Sort of. He….we…well, we ended up…that is….' he pauses as if searching for the right words, '…he has an amazing tongue, did you know that?'

I just look at him with a raised eyebrow.

'Yes, yes of course you would. Stupid of me. It's…extraordinary, isn't it?'

'Takes oral to a whole new level.'

'It certainly does. And he thinks the world of you and Josh, you know.'

'We both like him a lot.'

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