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Mark and Me

by c m

Chapter 15

On the day before Mark left with his family for their skiing trip, he called me.

"I so wish you were coming with us, Chris. Try and behave yourself for a week. Can't wait to see you in a week's time."

"Likewise Mark. Keep your hands off the sexy French boys. You're going to need all your strength when you get back."

"Ooh...promises promises," he laughed.

"Have fun. I love you."

"I love you too."

The first inkling that something was wrong happened was when I was watching the ten o'clock news, and it said that nine skiers had been killed in an avalanche at Deux Alpes. That was where Mark and his family had gone. I had the most awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. It got worse when the item went on to say that at least five of the skiers were British. That was it. No more details. I ran to the kitchen to find Mum. I was shaking as I told her about the news item.

"Try not to worry, Chris. There must be hundreds of skiers there at this time of year. I'm sure Mark is fine."

I couldn't sleep that night. In the morning, I put the radio on at seven to hear the news. It was the second item on. It confirmed that the dead included a family of three; a mother, father and their son from near Newbury. I knew with terrifying certainty that it was Mark.

My roar of anguish brought my parents rushing to my room. I told then what I'd heard.

"Did they give their names, Chris?"

" who else can it be?"

"There is always hope until we know for sure." Mum put her arms round me.

On the eight o'clock news, my world exploded. The family had been named. It was Mark.

I have little recollection of the next few days. I know I spent a lot of time just sitting in my room. I know I cried a lot. I remember James coming round several times and just sitting with me, holding me tight, words tumbling incoherently out of me and his shirt becoming wet with my tears. I remember getting phone calls from Jamie and Steve, but being unable to speak. I remember phoning Max and breaking down as I told him what had happened. I blamed myself for not being there. For not being with him. He had died alone when I should have been there beside him. He must have been so scared and so frightened. We should have gone together. I wished we had. Mum and Dad were kindness itself, but there was nothing they could do to mend my heart.

I knew that I couldn't go back and teach that next term. The school understood.

What with inquests and having to get the bodies returned, it was almost three weeks before the funeral details eventually came through. On the day of the funeral, I decided that I would be OK driving down to the crematorium. Steve's family had kindly offered me a bed for the night so that, if it was as emotional as I expected it would be, I wouldn't have to drive back afterwards. It was raining most of the way down, but when I arrived at the Crem, the clouds started to clear. As I walked up from the car park, I saw Jamie who came over and hugged me. I tried desperately to hold things together.

I hope I never have to attend another funeral like that. Three coffins. One of them with my precious Mark inside. Mark's mother's parents were there - his father's were already dead. They were drawn and grey. No-one should have to be at the funeral of their children and grandchildren - it's not meant to be that way. Mark's uncle gave a lovely tribute, we sang some hymns and then there were prayers. And then it was over. As the family left, I sat numbly at the back. Steve came and put his arm round me on one side, and Jamie did the same on the other.

"He loved you Chris. You were the world to him. You made him so, so happy."

I wept.

At the wake afterwards, I met Mark's grandparents. They knew who I was and what Mark and I had been to each other.

"You made him very happy, Chris. We know that you must feel his loss as keenly as we do. Thank you so much for coming."

That evening Jamie and Steve and I all went out for a drink. Several drinks in fact. When we got back to Steve's house, he showed me to my room. I hugged him tightly to me.

"Thank you for this, Steve, I don' think I could have driven home after today."

"Would you like me to come back and be with you for a bit, Chris?"

"Thank you...yes, I'd like that."

I got ready for bed. I showered, brushed my teeth and got under the covers.

A few minutes later Steve came back in his dressing gown. I probably shouldn't have invited him into bed beside me, but I did. He took off his gown. I didn't really absorb the fact that he was naked underneath. He slipped in beside me and put his arms round me.

I shouldn't have put my head on his shoulder, but I did.

I shouldn't have let him stroke my hair, but I did.

I shouldn't have got hard, but I did.

I shouldn't have let him put his hand between my legs, but I did.

I shouldn't have let him take me in his mouth, but I did.

I shouldn't have taken his cock in my hand, but I did.

We shouldn't have cum, but we did.

I woke up at around two in the morning to find Steve still beside me. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by guilt. Then, as clearly as if he had been in the room, I head Mark's voice in my head telling me to stop feeling guilty, to live for the living, and to be the me he loved. 'Promise me' the voice said.

"I promise you, Mark."

And then I was in floods of tears again. Steve woke up and put his arms round me. I told him about the voice in my head.

"Chris....I know I could never replace Mark, but..."

I put my fingers on his lips.

"Don't ask me for that, Steve. Not now. Maybe never, but not now. I'm not ready."

"I'm was thoughtless. But I do truly know why Mark loved you, Chris."

"Steve...thank you for being here, and thank you for earlier. But I think I need to be alone right now. Would you mind terribly?"

"Of course not, Chris.' He kissed me lightly on the cheek and then got out of bed, put on his robe, and went back to his room.

I must have dreamed. But Mark was there in my dream. He told me he wanted me to be happy. He told me to honour him by going forwards. He told me I knew what to do. In my dream we held each other close one last time.

In the morning I knew what he wanted me to do.

I got up and thanked Steve's parents for having put me up. I thanked Steve for being a good friend to me. I got in the car and drove home.

I told Mum and Dad what I had planned. They thought I should wait. That it was too soon. But I knew it was what Mark wanted. And it was what I wanted.

I made a phone call. I waited. I got a phone call back.

I went to the travel agent in town.

I packed a bag.

Next day Mum drove me to the airport. She said she'd be there in a week to collect me.

I checked in. I boarded the plane.

After we'd landed, I went through passport control and customs. The door to the arrivals hall hissed open and I walked past people holding boards with names on. And then I saw him.

Max rushed up to me and threw his arms round me. I burst into tears. I've no idea what the people around me thought was happening, but Max just held me until the tears stopped. His parents had been waiting patiently behind him.

"Welcome to Frankfurt, Chris. Max has told us so much about you. We are so sorry to hear about Mark."

I shook their hands and we went to the car. On the way back to their house from the airport, Max hugged me tightly to him all the way. I felt safe. I felt loved. I knew that I was in the right place. I knew that Mark had been right.

At their house - which was impressive - Max asked me if I would prefer a room of my own, or if I would prefer to share with him. He said he understood perfectly that a room of my own might be what I needed. I thought for a moment. I was overwhelmed that he had even thought to ask.

"I would like to share with you, Max, if that's alright with you and your parents."

"It is fine with my parents, and it is super-fine with me." His face cracked in that grin I had come to know so well.

His room was large with its own en-suite bathroom. It was full of lovely things and beautiful clothes. I saw the picture that I had sent him pinned to a corkboard with a handwritten note underneath which said: 'Chris. The Hague Tournament. Wow!'

I smiled.

He had a huge double bed - bigger than anything I had ever seen. He opened a sliding door and showed me a huge space in which to hang clothes.

"This is for your things, Chris."

I pointed to my modest travel bag, and we both started laughing.

"Oh Chris, it is so good to hear you laugh again. It is so good to have you here."

We hugged.

His parents were charming and they both spoke good English, but I vowed that I would learn German in the remaining time before I went up to Oxford.

Later that afternoon, I sat in the kitchen with Max and talked to his parents as his mother made us all coffee.

"Max described you as 'the nicest as well as the most beautiful boy he had ever seen'. He was telling the truth - for once! He has talked about you so much it is lovely to have you here. Please treat our house as your house during your stay."

"Thank are very kind Mr. and Mrs. Schell."

"Please, call us Bernt and Lisl."

That night as we lay in bed, Max put his arms round me and said:

"I love you, Chris. But you need time, I think. Please, there is no need to have sex things of any kind with me unless and until you are ready. I am happy just to have you here and to be able to comfort you and hold you close."

"Thank you, Max. Mark was right when he sent me here."

"Mark sent you here?"

So I told him the story of the voice. And I told him about waking up and knowing what to do.

"That is...magical, Chris. I am so happy."

He kissed me and pulled me even more tightly to him, putting his head on my shoulder. I felt perfectly at peace - and I had the first proper night's sleep since Mark's death.

Over the next few days, Max and I went cycling and walking. We played music and cards. I met some of his friends. We went sightseeing. We laughed and joshed with each other. We slowly grew closer and closer. We showered and slept together. But we didn't have sex.

Until the third day. But on that third day, as we cuddled, naked, in bed, I felt myself harden. I felt desire start to course through me - and the voice told me it was right. I took hold of Max's hand and moved it to my groin.

"Are you sure, Chris? Quite sure?"

"I am certain, Max."

We took hold of each other and it was like fire rippling through my veins. We kissed – passionately - tongues weaving their course in our mouths. We looked into one another's eyes and there was a spark there.

"I think, just maybe, that I love you, Max."

"I have loved you from the first time we were together, Chris. But I never dared hope."

I ran my hands over his body. Over his chest, over his stomach and over his completely smooth and hairless groin. It brought the memories flooding back. And it made me even harder.

Max discovered that I had kept my balls shaved.

"Very nice, Chris. Maybe we do the rest of you again too?"

"Maybe, Max". I smiled.

We just masturbated each other. The simplest form of sex between two boys - but it was right. It sealed an invisible bond and as we came, almost simultaneously, we knew something new had been written in the pages of our lives. We licked each other's cum off our fingers. We fed each other with it. We kissed. We held each other tight.

Then Max rolled me on my back. He looked into my eyes. He cocked an eyebrow. I smiled and nodded.

"I have thought about this almost every day for nine months, Chris. I haven't had anyone else inside me since the last time with you." He oiled me with the same massage oil we had used the last time we had sex, then straddled me and guided my cock to his hole. He wriggled down on me until I was completely inside him. And then he rode me. Magnificently, urgently, enthusiastically - until I erupted inside him. While he did so, I stroked him until he came, in a fountain, all over me. He lay forward on my chest, his face buried in my neck, his cum warm and sticky between us, and we just stayed like that until our breathing and our heart rates had returned to normal.

"Oh Chris, my Chris...that was so, so good. I wondered if it would be like I remembered...and it was...only even more. I love you so much."

And I suddenly knew, with complete certainty, what had to happen next.

" you you think you"

"Really, Chris? Are you serious?"

"Yes, Max, very serious. I love being in you, but right now I need you - I really need you - in me. Please?"

I put my hand between his thighs and felt him...he was hard.

"Looks like your body is saying 'yes', Max."

"And my mind has always said 'yes' to you Chris. are really sure?"

"Yes, Max. I want you and I need you."

I moved to the edge of the bed and he put my legs over his shoulders. I needed to see his face as he entered me.

He put some oil in my hole and on his cock. He put the tip of himself against me...and pushed gently. He slid in about an inch.

"Push a little harder, Max."

He did so and I felt him pop through the muscle and then slide easily all the way in.

"Oh my God, Chris. I am inside you. It feels...amazing."

"For me too, Max. I'm ready - but take it slowly please."

And he did. At least at first. As he got into it, he picked up speed. I didn't mind. It felt fantastic.

When he came it was with a huge groan after which he collapsed on top of me. I held him tight to me. I kissed him.

The circle was complete.

"That felt amazing Max. Thank you."

"Oh my god, Chris, It was better than I could ever have imagined. You are my first. I hope you will be my only."

I realised what he was saying and I felt a glow spread through me. Maybe it was the afterglow from the sex, but I think it was something else.

Later that night after we'd made love again, and after which we had just lain perfectly content in each other's arms, he asked me the same question as Steve had tried to. But this was different. This time I knew.

"Yes, Max. Yes please. If you'll have me, I'd love to be your boyfriend."

"Oh, Chris. I am so happy. We will be very good together, I think."

"I think so too, Max."

We spent the rest of the night re-exploring each other in every detail. We ended up slippery, sticky and exhausted. We fell asleep for maybe a few hours. I dreamed.

And in my dreams Mark smiled at me. In the morning we showered and Max shaved me. It sealed the bond. We went down to breakfast tired but happy - and Max's parents knew at once that things were different. I saw his mother and father look at each other and smile.

"Mother, father...I am the luckiest and happiest boy in the world. My dream has come true."

He kissed me in front of them - and I kissed him back.

"Mr. and Mrs. Schell, you have a wonderful son. He makes me very happy and I love him."

His father turned to me. "Chris, we know how happy you make Max, and we also like you very much as well. We are very pleased for both of you."

He looked at Max.

"Max, we are so very happy for you. Like your grandmother, you have found a lovely English boy to love." He smiled.

Over the next few days, Max introduced me to more of his friends. I told him to be open about me. To tell them that I was his boyfriend if that's what he wanted to say. I was proud of it. I was proud of Max...and I was proud of me.

And a few weeks later, I heard Mark's voice again - the last time I ever heard it - telling me that he was proud of me too.

Fate is a strange thing. A tournament. A chance meeting. A terrible accident. Heartbreak. Hope. Love.

And that's how I ended up with a German boyfriend. I learned German as I had vowed I would. And Max came to England for a year as he said he would. And we stayed together. My parents loved him and James loved him...but most of all I loved him.

And that is the story of the best, and the worst, and then the best, eighteen months of my life.

And one day, perhaps, I will tell the rest of that story.


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