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by c m

Chapter 6

Back up in our room, we both go over to the window, which has views out over the sea. It's dark, but the Christmas lights on the promenade have already been put up, and there's a Christmas tree in the middle of it as well, the fairy lights on it twinkling in a myriad of colours. It really does feel like Christmas is coming. I put my head against Dunc's neck and wrap an arm around him. He responds by turning me to face him and then kissing me.

'I can't believe how far we've come, Merv. I can't believe we're here in this room. I can't believe that we're together, sometimes. It's like I'm in a dream.'

'But it's a good dream, isn't it?'

'The best.'

'Good. Now I'd like you to take me to bed, please.'

We grin.

We strip off and grab our toothbrushes. Two minutes later we are in bed. We both already have achingly hard erections.

And I have something on my mind.

I take hold of both Dunc's hands.

'Dunc, there's something I'd like us to do tonight.'

'Go on…'

'I want to go all the way with you. And I want it to be here, and I want it to be now. You in me. I'm ready for you and I want you.'

I can see both surprise and desire in his eyes.

'Are you sure?'

'Completely sure.'

'Then…of course.'

Dunc takes his time preparing me. We decide I'll ride him so that I can control the pace of what happens. I also want to be able to look at him as we take this right of passage together.

The moment of penetration, when it comes, is not painless, but it soon morphs into a sort of pleasant warmth and then into pleasure. Just having him in inside me is an added happiness all of its own.

The pleasure grows. Mushrooms. I am thoroughly enjoying myself as the pace increases. Dunc takes hold of my cock to stop it slapping against his belly. By the time he's ready to come, I am bouncing up and down on him like a jack-in-the-box. He hits his climax with an almighty groan – and I feel the release of his seed inside me for the first time. My own climax follows as his hand takes me over the edge. I wriggle around on him to extract the last vestiges of pleasure.

There is a moment of complete silence. We are almost stunned by what we've done.

'Bloody hell, Merv…was that as good for you as it was for me?'

I nod.

'Sure was, Dunc. Bye-bye virginity. Thank you.' And I lean down and kiss him, before finally rolling off him, his cock slipping wetly out of me.

We lie beside one another. Another boundary has been crossed.

'Dunc…before you say anything, you don't have to do it back. This was something I wanted, OK? Actually I don't care if it stays one-way for ever if that's what you want. '

He smiles at me. 'How come you can read my mind?'

'Because we know each other that well.'

'It's not that I'm against it….and, I mean, you seemed to be having the time of your life, but…'

'Just not yet?'

He nods.

'Then that's super fine by me.'

He kisses me. 'But, just so I know,' he says, '…is it something you'd like to know, one day…?'

'I think I'd like to try it…but there's no hurry. I'm very happy for you to keep doing it to me – or we can just stick to oral if you prefer.'

'Oh no worries on that score. It was amazing. But since you mention oral….'

In the morning, I want to have him inside me again. And he doesn't need asking twice. This time he takes me from on top. It's energetic, noisy and immensely satisfying. It also gives us a major appetite for breakfast – to which we do full justice. Bacon, eggs, sausage, mushroom, hash browns – the lot.

'Looks like you boys worked up an appetite overnight,' says Charlie with a smile.

'Umm, well, yes,' I say.

'I remember when Luke and I were first together…we were just the same. Not that all that much has changed, but there's something about teenage hormones that seem to render you at once inexhaustible and permanently horny - which is a very happy combination.'

'No complaints here,' says Dunc.

Charlie laughs.

After breakfast we go back to our room and collect up our things. We both realise that it will probably be a very long time before we ever get to spend another night in this sort of luxury again, and it's with a sense of regret that we close the door behind us as we leave.

'It will always be the room where you gave me your virginity, Merv, so that will always make it a special place. I wonder what the place will be like where I give you mine?'

'I don't care where it is, it will be just as special.'

It turns out to be in a modest, but very comfortable, family-run hotel in Italy.

It's April the following year, and Dunc and I decide to take a short break. I've still got the money I'd earned over Christmas, and Dunc turns out to have a surprisingly healthy bank balance; well, maybe it shouldn't be a surprise, he's being well-paid and still lives at home and doesn't have any real expenses – although we've both started to learn to drive which isn't cheap...anyway, we've been wanting to get away on our own for a while, and it so happens that my parents' neighbours both work for Alitalia. They are a lovely couple in their thirties. Marco is Italian and his wife Pauline is English. When they hear that we're looking for an affordable holiday, they offer to get us cheap flights and also recommend a hotel that one of Marco's relatives runs In a place called Bellagio on Lake Como. They, too, give us such a good deal that we decide we can afford a full week.

We fly out to Milan and from there it's just over an hour to Bellagio by coach. Our hotel looks out over Lake Como, which is mirror-calm that day. The mountains beyond provide a dramatic backdrop and I think it's the most beautiful place I have ever been. The hotel owners, Signor and Signora Conti, welcome us as if we are members of the family. They are totally unfazed by the fact that we are a gay couple. They recommend a restaurant a few doors down the street for dinner, where we discover the joys of fish fresh from the lake, crunchy aragostine for dessert and the local white wine to wash it down. We finish with espresso coffee in tiny cups. Afterwards, instead of going straight back to the hotel, we take a walk along the lakeside – and discover that we are one of many couples doing so. We attract a lot of smiles and not a hint of hostility. We even pass a pair of Italian boys walking hand in hand with whom I proudly exchange one of the few phrases I've learned.

'Buona sera,' I say.

'Buona sera,' they respond

My accent has clearly given things away.

'You are English?'


'Benvenuto a l'Italia…welcome to Italy. You are...amichetti?…what is the word…boyfriends?'

'Si,' I reply trying another one of my words.

They both smile. 'Anche noi,' they say, indicating themselves. This clearly means 'Us too.'

They introduce themselves. Roberto and Michele. We shake hands.

'You are here for long?'

'One week.'

'Benissimo. Perhaps we will see you again. Enjoy your holiday.'


Roberto smiles again. 'It is very good that you try to speak Italian. Most English don't. Arrivederci.'


We slowly walk back to the hotel, hand in hand, and go up to our room. We undress, use the bathroom and slip under the cool, linen sheet on the bed. And it's then that Dunc says to me,

'I'm ready, Merv. I want you inside me.'

'You're sure?'


I take my time. Dunc has been fucking me regularly for long enough now to know all about getting relaxed and ready. Even so, the first time I try to enter him, he instinctively tightens up at the touch of my cock.

'Try to relax…I promise I'll stop if you ask me to.'

He, too, feels that moment of discomfort when you are first penetrated, but he is soon making the little mewing noises that tell me he's found a new source of pleasure. It is an unbelievable feeling to be inside the boy I love, and finally filing him with my seed for the first time is a sensation I will never forget.

'OK?' I ask, afterwards.

'Mmmm…more than OK. No wonder you like me doing it to you so much.'

'Talking of which, I don't suppose….?'

'Come here…'

The week passes all too quickly.

During the days, we are more than well looked-after by the Conti's who ensure that we are fed and watered with some of the finest food and wine the region has to offer.

And during the nights we have sex, a lot of sex, exploring all the things that our complete freedom to do what we want with each other now allows.

Perhaps the most lasting memory is the day we take the hydrofoil across the lake, and do a walk up into the foothills of the mountains beyond. We take a picnic – which the hotel provides – and sit on the grass in an alpine pasture enjoying crusty bread, cheese, Italian sausage and fruit. The air is wonderfully clean and crisp, the sun is out, and the views are spectacular. It is a moment to treasure. A combination of time and place that I am sharing with the boy I adore. Could life be any better?

That summer, we both pass our driving tests. I complete my course and achieve a Distinction. I am contemplating my future when, one day, and out of the blue, I get a call from Charlie.

'Hello Mervyn. I understand from the College that you achieved a top-class pass in your course?'

'Yes…I think all that work experience helped.'

'Maybe…but more likely because you worked hard and because you still have those great instincts you showed me last year. Look, I'm proud of the fact that several of the guys who've come to work for us after leaving College have gone on to more senior roles in other hotels. I think we're looked on as something of a training ground here at Sunnybanks. And the same thing has just happened again. Adam, one of our assistant managers, has been lured away by a bigger hotel along the coast. So we have a vacancy. I was wondering if you might be interested?'

I can scarcely believe my ears.

'That would be…amazing….a you mean it?'

'Certainly. We will need to go through a formal interview, but assuming that all goes well….'

'Fantastic. When do want to see me?'

'Would tomorrow be convenient? Adam has a month's notice, but we prefer to let people move on sooner if possible once they've had an offer.'

'That would be fine. Brilliant. Thank you so much.'

'See you tomorrow. 11 o'clock OK?'

'I'll be there.'

Dunc is thrilled for me. Apart from anything else, we've been really worried that I'll have to get a job that will take me miles away from him; but this could solve everything.

The interview goes well, and they offer me the job. The salary is very competitive for someone of my limited experience, which is an added bonus. I have the option of living at home, but they would prefer me to be on site and on call for emergencies - and there is a modest studio apartment in the staff quarters for me. I accept. They tell me that I'm welcome to have visitors provided I'm not on duty. They ask if I'm still with Duncan, and I say 'yes'.

'From the way you're smiling, I assume things are very good between you.'

'They couldn't be better.'

And they couldn't.

Dunc's father has finally made the full transition to accepting not just Dunc's sexuality, but us as a couple. I am free to stay over at The Larches any time I want. We only do that rarely, however; we know it hasn't been easy for Dunc's father and we try to avoid rubbing his nose in it. It's a matter of simple respect.

Tom, and his now long-time girlfriend Sylvie, are very much part of our lives too. As well as being a lovely girl, once they'd decided it was time to sleep together, she turned out to be something of a revelation in bed, and Tom admits to us one day that he occasionally struggles to keep up.

'God, Merv, she can just go at it for hours. I mean, I'm not complaining, but Little Tom down there is…well….let's just say you should see the state of my foreskin sometimes.'

I laugh.

'Do you remember that time you got sand under it when we went to the beach?'

'Fuck, yes! God…that was sore…first time you ever got naked in front of me as well, wasn't it?'

Dunc looks at me quizzically.

'That wasn't what it sounds like, Dunc,' I say.

'God, no, we didn't…I mean he's very lovely but that's not my thing at all….' says Tom, 'it's just he was all very shy – you know kept his briefs on when he went into the shower, well not actually INTO the shower, but you know what I mean….'

'Whereas Mr. Exhibitionist here positively waved it about when he was going for one,' I chip in.

'I did not! I just didn't see the point in….'

'It's OK, I get the picture,' says Dunc with a smile.

As for my parents, they are genuinely happy for me and they love Dunc as much as I do. He is pretty much a second son to them and they treat him as very much part of the family.

One of the things that does change now I'm working at Sunnybanks is that Dunc and I start to talk about the future. Our future. Before I got the job, the prospect – the likelihood, in fact - of my having to move away to find work meant that we just didn't talk about it. It was too scary, too awful to contemplate. So, ostrich-like, we ignored it. But now…

We are realists; we are both just eighteen and we've been together a year. Most first relationships don't last. It's a fact. But things like going to university, or moving apart for work, the things that often break relationships up, are not on our agenda; so we prefer to be optimists. Realistic optimists, Dunc calls it. And while sex is very important to both of us, it is not what our relationship revolves around. We are both ambitious; we are both hard workers; we have shared interests, and we have that hallmark of being good friends - as well as being lovers - of simply enjoying one another's company. We don't have to 'do' things to fill the time. It's enough just to be with each other.

Do we want to move to a formalised relationship? A civil partnership, or marriage? Well, never say never, but we're certainly in no hurry – and twelve months into a relationship is still early days in most people's estimation. That's the logical analysis. But the reason it doesn't matter is that deep down inside I just know. I don't know how, but I just do. Dunc is the one for me. I can genuinely say that I have never lusted after another boy since I met him. OK, I'll take a second glance at a good-looking boy – who doesn't? – but he is the only boy I want sex with. The only one I want to kiss. The only one who excites me. The only one I want to share my life with. And he's told me that he feels the same – not at my prompting but out of the blue one day. And I have no reason to doubt him. And neither of us feels the need of a ceremony or a certificate to prove it.

And thirty years on, what's changed?

The scaffolding company is now Dunc's; his father had a heart attack seven years ago and retired from the business. He's still very much alive, but he has to take things easy. And I am the General Manager at Sunnybanks. Charlie and Luke have settled into the role of owners, and they are happy to leave the day-to-day running of the place to me. I've had offers to go and run bigger hotels here and abroad, but this place…it gets under your skin.

Dunc and I did, eventually, enter a civil partnership ten years ago. Like I said, we were in no hurry, and while we still didn't feel any absolute need for it, the time finally seemed right – if only for the protection it gave us under the law.

And we bought our own place fifteen years before that - as soon as the need for me to be onsite at the hotel ended, in fact. That became the new assistant manager's job.

We are well-off. The scaffolding company has gone from strength to strength and operates out of multiple depots around the country; the construction sector is booming and the business is highly profitable. And as for me, well, I am well-paid by any standard.

And the two of us still fancy the pants off one another.

But we now face a new decision. Dunc has received an offer for the business. The sum being offered is eye-watering. Enough for us both to retire. Or to buy a hotel and run it. Probably both. We talk it over.

'If I'm honest,' he says, 'running this business, with the size it's become, is a lot less fun that working in it used to be. But I feel I owe it to my father to keep it running under our name. The idea of selling it feels somehow disloyal.'

'Have you told your father you've had an offer?'

'No. I don't want him worrying about anything. He's gone downhill a little these past few months as you know.'

Which is true.

'What do you think I should do, Merv?'

Part of me wants to say 'sell'. It would be the chance for us to do everything – anything – we wanted. The only thing that would lure me from Sunnybanks is the chance to run our own hotel. But I'm not sure that would satisfy Dunc. I know he'd do it out of love for me…but out of love for him I need us both to be happy.

Dunc's reluctance leads to the prospective buyer increasing his offer by 25%.

'I've talked to our accountants, Merv,' he says a day or two later. 'They say I'd be mad not to sell; that this offer is way more than the business is worth. So I asked them why the buyers were making such an offer. They told me that it's because of the national access it gives their other building businesses. I don't know what to do.'

'I think we need to talk to your father. I think he'd appreciate you asking his advice.'

'Maybe you're right. Selling would certainly pay for him to be looked after properly if things end up going that way.'

So that's what we do. I want to stay out of it, but Dunc insists I come.

'This is about us, not just me. This is the business that brought us together.'

Duncan's father is looking a little frailer than I remembered when we arrive. He smiles when we enter the lounge, where he's sitting in a comfortable chair, a glass of whisky on the table beside him.

'Well hello you two. Come to borrow some money I suppose!' He says this with a reedy laugh. It's become his standard joke ever since he handed the business over to Dunc.

'Not on this occasion,' says Dunc, 'though actually that's even less likely given what we need your advice on.'

Not 'what we want to talk to you about', but 'what we want your advice on'. Dunc knows exactly how to make people feel good and feel valued. In my humble judgement, it's one of the main reasons why the company has flourished under his leadership.

'Advice? You can't need advice from an old man like me.'

'But we do, Dad.'

'Very well…'

Dunc explains about the offer for the company. He says how important it is to keep it in the family. When he mentions the numbers involved, his father looks at him in amazement.

'So what do you think, Dad?'

'What I think is that you don't need my advice. Are you mad? Of course you must sell. Look lad, and I don't mean this unkindly, apart from anything else there is no family to keep it in, is there? You and Merv aren't going to have children are you? I'm not complaining. Over the years I've seen that the two of you were meant for each other and I'm more than fond of the pair of you. For heaven's sake - it's just a load of steel poles. Sell it – and use the money to do something more exciting with.'

'But it's not just a load of steel poles. There's hundreds of staff to think of.'

'Then negotiate that into the deal. If the daft buggers have offered you 25% more already, they'll swallow whatever you ask, if you ask me. Now, that's the extent of my advice. Just pour me another scotch before you go.'

'You sure you're OK with us selling?'

'Are you still here?'

I start to laugh…then Dunc starts to laugh.. and then even Mr. Bell starts to laugh. It's a bit wheezy but it's wonderful to hear.

'You're bloody dafter than those buyers….'

So that's what happens. Dunc makes it a condition of sale that the staff are looked after and the deal is done. And we suddenly have a little over £45million in the bank. The day that the proceeds appear in our account is surreal. We treat ourselves to a glass of champagne.

The process takes a couple of months while due diligence is carried out, and we use that time to think about what we want to do – both with the money and our time. I don't know which of us first mentions the idea of creating a fund to support young entrepreneurs, but the idea captures our imagination. Dunc and I don't have children but we like the idea of being able to give youngsters a helping hand when they most need it. I ask Charlie if he would join our team, and he in turn suggests involving one of Sunnybanks' long-time guests who has recently retired from the City. The plan evolves quite quickly after that; we will set up a fund with £30m of our money and the option of pulling in other altruistic investors. We'll use the fund to support under-25s who present us with a sensible business plan. We'll invest amounts of between £25,000 and £250,000 in exchange for a modest stake in their businesses – genuinely modest, not like those rapacious Dragons on the TV who insist on virtually owning someone's business before they hand over any money. We reckon a hit rate of around one in ten will be enough to ensure the fund becomes self-sustaining. We don't need it to make money for us. We have plenty in the bank for our own needs.

We launch the fund six-months later. Peter Lawson, our ex-City guest, has been instrumental in helping put it on a sound footing, and in helping us to find the expertise we'll need to evaluate the business plans. Dunc's former firm of accountants offers to give their help for free as part of their CSR programme. Dunc and I are principally there to decide which of the ideas we really like. The idea catches the imagination of some parts of the media, and we find ourselves doing magazine, radio and even TV interviews. Any worries we may have had about filling our time have evaporated. We stand on the verge of a huge adventure.

But then it's not the first time we've done that.

And setting out as boyfriends was a whole lot scarier than this….

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