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Damaged Goods - a Sunnybanks Story

by c m

This is the back story to Ben, Luke's brother in the 'Sunnybanks' story. It stands alone, but if you've read Sunnybanks, some of the allusions and connections will resonate a little more vividly.

I didn't mean to break them up – I really didn't. Or so I tell myself. It just…happened. If Charlie hadn't forgotten his pass and come back upstairs unexpectedly…

…oh, well…no use crying over spilt milk.

And maybe it's for the best; I mean, if Nathan couldn't resist what I was offering, then maybe things between him and Charlie were already going downhill, right?

And I do love him - Nathan, that is. He's gorgeous. The sexiest man I've ever met, and with a body to die for. But it's more than that. I think I knew from the first time I danced with him at my brother's wedding that there was something special about him; something special between us. A real connection.

And if doing what we did means that he can now be mine, then although I'm sorry for Charlie, I can't say that I'm not happy. For me.

But let me start from the beginning.

I'm Ben. Ben Marshall. My older brother, Luke, had a holiday fling with Charlie when he stayed at their family hotel a few years ago. Actually it sounded like a bit more than a fling the way Luke talked about Charlie when he got home – but things went wrong and they split up. Luke was having trouble working out whether he was gay, straight or bi and he had a girlfriend at the time and it all got a bit messy. I can't say I was sorry they broke up, though.

Let me explain why.

I'd come out at thirteen and well, the long and the short of it was that I celebrated by seducing my big brother.

I know, me thirteen and him sixteen.

What happened was this. It was the day I'd decided to tell my parents I was gay, and I wanted to tell Luke first. We were close; very close. In fact I fancied him something rotten. Is that weird? Unusual, I suppose but that's how it was….and I had a feeling that maybe he wasn't completely straight anyway.

Sooooo….I went into his room. It was early. Maybe seven o'clock, and he was lying there with just a sheet over him. A sheet with a pole a sticking up in the middle…and I couldn't resist. Luke doesn't wear pjs, so I just lifted the sheet up and gently licked the tip. He's circumcised - unlike me. I know that sounds a bit weird but my dad died when Mum was pregnant with me. Dad thought boys should be circumcised, and so Luke was done soon after he was born…but my Mum felt differently; she thinks it's unnecessary and so left me intact. I sometimes wish I was like Luke…I don't know why, but I've always found it a bit of a turn-on…

…anyway, he stirred when I licked him- but didn't wake up, so I just took the whole thing in my mouth. Well, I say the whole thing…as much of it as I could.

That woke him up alright.

'What the fuck are you doing?' were his exact words, I think.

'I'm giving you a bj…do you want me to stop?' I said.

'Ben…I'm your brother. Your older brother…what the hell's going on?'

'I'm gay, Luke, I've kind of known for ever but I've decided that today's the day I'm coming out and I'm going to tell Mum and Dad, but I wanted to tell you first…and there you were lying there with a stiffie and I thought…why not? I mean sucking cock is what gay boys do. I've wanted to do it for ages, actually. Don't you like it?'

'Of course I like it, but that's not the point. You're my brother for fuck's sake.'

'Yes. My lovely older bro who I love to death. I want to do this. I enjoy it. You'll enjoy it…what's so wrong?'

'You're thirteen!'

'And? Come on, Luke…you know you enjoy it…please?...I really want to do this for you. Sort of celebrate my coming out?'

'Shit. It's not….right…'

'Your body is saying something different…'

At that point I wrapped my hand round his cock and started to move it slowly up and down.

'Why not, Luke? No one will know. This is just between us...or would you prefer that I tried to find some stranger to do it with?'

'Don't be stupid, Ben…don't you know how dangerous that would be?'

'Exactly. So not only will you enjoy it, you'll know that you're keeping me safe too…'

He just looked at me…and then lay back. I took him in my mouth and went back to work. But I slipped off my dressing gown first so that I was as naked as he was. I could see him looking at my cock, and as he approached his climax he slipped a hand between my legs and took hold of me. God it felt amazing. It sent me over the edge almost immediately and I came all over his hand. And then it was his turn. I watched as spurt after spurt of his seed arced out of his cock all over his chest and stomach. It was so beautiful. So erotic. And the way he moaned…

But afterwards he just felt guilty.

'We shouldn't have done that, Ben. It's not right. It mustn't happen again.'

'But I want it to happen again. If not with you, then I'll do it with someone else. And I will. You know I will. And I'd much rather do it with you anyway.'

I saw him shake his head, but that was it. He gave up. One day I even persuaded him to suck me in return, although mostly he just jacked me off. But it made me pretty sure my big bro wasn't straight. And I couldn't get enough of him. Which is why when he came back and said he'd met Charlie and what we'd been doing had to stop, I was really pissed off. So I was pleased when he and Charlie split. I thought that we'd go back to how we were, and we did a couple of times maybe - but it wasn't the same. I think he was thinking about Charlie – or maybe even his girlfriend - when I was doing my thing and… sort of petered out. So I did what I probably should have done earlier and went in search of a boyfriend.

I was fourteen, and to be honest I wanted to graduate from oral to something more anyway. I'd have loved to lose my virginity to Luke, but that was never going to happen. There were a few boys at school who were out, and I made no secret of the fact that I was gay. I was very flattered when an older boy called Martin told me that he thought I was cute. He was seventeen, but having done stuff with Luke, that didn't strike me as a problem. Actually, thinking about it, I guess I've always been attracted to older boys. And it wasn't as though he tried to take me to bed at once. He was kind to me, and he made me laugh. He wasn't particularly good-looking, just ordinary, really – although he had a nice smile. I suppose I knew he wouldn't ever be my boyfriend, but that was OK.

I did want sex, though. And although him being slow off the mark was kind of sweet, I decided I need to take the initiative if I was to get what I wanted.

He was very involved with the theatre group at school; not as an actor but as the lighting and sound guy. He asked me one day if I'd like to help him, and I said yes. It was sitting in the lighting gallery during a school play that we first did anything. I figured it was down to me to accelerate things, so I asked him if he'd like to kiss me. That did the trick. It was like a dam bursting. His tongue was in my mouth almost before the question was out. It was the first proper kiss I'd ever had. It was sensuous and exciting and my body responded like teenage bodies do when aroused. So when he ran an experimental hand over the front of my trousers, I was hard as a rock. And so was he when I did the same thing to him.

Jacking someone off in a lighting gallery without making a noise or disturbing the rig is not easy – but we managed it. His cock was very different from Luke's – thicker and hairier and complete with a foreskin. Once we'd cleaned up, I just came straight out with it and asked him if he wanted to fuck me (although not there, obviously). I don't think he could believe his ears, but he was definitely up for it. He arranged for me to go round to his house the following weekend when his folks were out. I asked Luke to drop me off and told him why. He told me I was too young, but I said I knew what I wanted and that if he didn't take me to Martin I'd go down to the local toilets and find someone there. In the end he just told me to be careful. He was quiet for a bit after that, but then he asked if I had condoms. When I said 'no', he gave me two of his, and told me to make sure we both wore one. I didn't tell him that I had no interest in fucking Martin. All my fantasies focused on being a complete bottom boy, but I figured Luke didn't need to know that.

Martin turned out to be a considerate lover – and he had condoms ready and waiting. I asked him how experienced he was.

'You're only my second…I hope that's OK?'

'Good. At least you'll know what you're doing.'

He paused and I sensed his hesitation.

'How old are you?' he asked.

'Fifteen next birthday. Old enough.'

'Not according to the law.'

'I'm here because I want to be. I asked you if you'd like to fuck me. You haven't seduced me. I'm old enough to know my own mind. Now are you going to fuck me or not?'

I saw the surprise on his face.

'Wow. Shit. In that case, I guess so. Are you a virgin?'

I nodded.

'I promise I'll be gentle.'

We stripped and I liked what I saw. He wasn't muscled or tanned. His body, like his face, was ordinary in almost every way - which suited me just fine. But he had an impressive mass of pubic hair from which his cock stood out, already proudly erect.

I saw him look me up and down, his head nodding with approval.

'You have a great body, Ben.'

I smiled then just knelt down in front of him. I took his balls in one hand and rolled them gently around, then gently eased back his foreskin before taking him in my mouth. I heard his sharp intake of breath. Although he was thicker than Luke, he was shorter, and I could get most of the shaft inside my mouth. He let me suck him for maybe a minute.

'Enough, Ben. I don't want to come in your mouth. Come and lie on the bed.'

We did so, and he ran his hands all over me before gently lifting up my legs to expose my hole. He squeezed some lube from a tube and slipped a finger inside me – and then another. He took his time and when he finally entered me, having unrolled a condom over his cock, it was almost painless – except for a sharp sting as he pressed through the ring of muscle inside. What followed was everything and more that I'd hoped for, and I felt a sense of regret when he finally emptied himself inside me.

'That was amazing, Ben. So tight and yet you seemed to take it so easily. Ummm…do you want to do the same to me?'

'I'd prefer it if you did again to me,' I said.

He smiled.

'Great. I much prefer to top.'

'I think I'm one of nature's bottoms.'

'Sounds like we're made for each other, then.'

He fucked me twice more over the next hour, after which I ended up feeling a little sore, particularly as the third time he was much less inhibited – which I loved. In fact, I came spontaneously while he was doing it. As we lay on the bed afterwards, he asked me if Luke knew why I'd come round.

'Yes. He knows I came here to have sex.'

'And he's OK with that?'

'He's cool with it. He won't say anything, don't worry. He even gave me some condoms.'

'Wow, OK…now I know you don't want to fuck me, but I think I owe you some relief, and that cock of yours is too good to waste.'

He proceeded to give me a thoroughly enjoyable bj, after which we showered together before getting dressed. As I left, he kissed me.

'I hope we can do this again.'

'Me too.'

Once out on the street, I used my mobile to call Luke - and fifteen minutes later he was picking me up.

'All go as you hoped?'

'Yup. And your little bro is now no longer a virgin.'

'Was he good?'

'Very. And energetic. In fact, I'm a little sore.'

'I've got some cream at home you can use.'


'Got to look after my little bro…'

Martin fucked me on a pretty regular basis for maybe three months, but I think the novelty wore off for him; and he still worried about my age. In retrospect, that was probably why he'd been so slow to move things on to start with. When he told me it was over, he did so very nicely - and I reassured him that I wasn't going to get all upset and tell anyone about what we'd been doing out of spite. He was relieved. And actually I was now ready for a boyfriend rather than just a sex buddy.

I guess some people are good at relationships and some aren't. It turns out that I'm terrible at picking the right person. My first real boyfriend, Michael, turned out to be incredibly possessive; I couldn't go anywhere or be with anyone without him wanting to know who and where - and he always wanted to be there with me. At first it was kind of sweet, but it gradually became claustrophobic and eventually scary. It was a shame. He was nice-looking and we had a lot of fun in bed, but when he started telling me I didn't need anyone but him and I was to stop seeing my friends I told him it was over. Then it got really scary. He stalked me and I kept finding notes from him. Eventually he started spreading lies about me – really nasty stuff. When I eventually told Luke, he said I had to tell Mum and our stepdad. They wanted to involve the police, but I begged them not to, so they phoned Michael's parents and they all met up. His parents said Michael would never do such a thing, but when they were shown the notes he'd sent me – which, fortunately, I'd kept - they knew it was true. I don't know what they said or did, but Michael never bothered me again.

Then there was Matthew (what is it with me and boys with names beginning with M?). I met him at the local youth club. He was from the rough part of town and there was something dangerous about him that I found hopelessly attractive. He was a regular cannabis user and he got me into that. And he introduced me to poppers. They made me feel great – euphoric – and the sex with him was intense. Luke hated him and warned me that I was getting into something I'd regret. I ignored him, but it turned out that he was right. After we'd been together about six months, we got very drunk at his house one night and did a couple of spliffs before he persuaded me that I should let a mate of his join us for a threesome. It was fine at first – although I didn't much like his friend - but then they both wanted to fuck me at the same time. Michael said that the poppers would enable me to do it. It hurt like hell – and they didn't stop when I asked them to. They were both laughing. When they'd finished, he put his face right up close against mine and told me that a posh cunt like me – that's what he called me – should be grateful to have two real men fucking him at the same time.

'You're a properly good shag, mate,' he said, 'but, lets be honest, you're never going to be part of the world I live in are you, and I certainly don't want to be part of yours. I like you, and it was fun, right? But all good things come to an end. So why don't you fuck off?'

I cried that night when I got home. Self-pity I suppose. I'd ended up being used. I wish I'd listened to Luke. I vowed I wouldn't let it happen again. And I've never used drugs since – which I suppose was about the only upside to the whole experience.

I was seventeen by now, and my world finally seemed to have changed for the better when I met Nic. His parents were both British Asians – South Korean mother and Thai father – so he had delicate features and silky black hair. He was slightly built with the most amazing skin. Very good-looking too, and with a gentle nature. I was in heaven. I met him on holiday and I guess had the same sort of holiday romance that Luke had had with Charlie. Fortunately Nic lived only about thirty minutes away from me, so it looked like we had a good chance of being able to make things work once we were both back home. I say he had a gentle nature, but in bed he was a bit of a tiger. He liked to take charge – which suited me – and we did some mild BDSM stuff. He was the first circumcised boy I'd been with (if you exclude Luke) and his cock was slim and not particularly big, but it taught me that size really doesn't matter; the feelings I experienced with him were every bit as intense as with the more generously equipped boys I'd been with before.

Nic was eighteen and had a driving licence, so he was able to pick me up every other weekend and some evenings. Everything was perfect until he left his phone in my room one time. I'd seen him using it and I knew the password. I couldn't help myself and I opened it. There were lots of messages to and from me…and a whole load from someone called Danny. And some photos that didn't leave much to the imagination. It was clear that Nic was seeing both of us - and keeping us secret from one another. I suddenly understood why I only saw him every other weekend. I was utterly heart-broken. Why did every boy I got into a relationship with let me down? Was I naïve...or maybe damaged in some way that meant I just kept picking bastards?

Nic – to his slight credit – was ashamed when I confronted him. He said that he'd met Danny just before he went on holiday, and then he met me and he just couldn't decide between us. I told him he was a selfish, two-timing shit who put his own gratification ahead of other people's feelings. He apologised and begged forgiveness. I can't say I was ready to give it, but I asked him, out of interest, who he'd decided to choose.

'I don't know,' he said, 'I know I've got to decide, but it was all a secret until you discovered Danny's existence. I know it must sound impossible, but I genuinely love both of you. Can I have some time?'

I told him to fuck off.

I was still feeling very down when, a few weeks later, it was Luke's wedding. He'd finally decided he was straight, or maybe bi, but had found a girl who he said he loved and to whom he had proposed. But I know my brother and…well…let's just say I wasn't so sure.

It turned out that he'd invited Charlie, the holiday fling, to the wedding. I looked forward to meeting him and seeing just what kind of a twat he was.

Turned out he wasn't any kind of a twat. I tried to get under his skin, but he just took it and ended up making me laugh. And he was pretty good-looking; I could see why Luke fell for him. But the better news was that Charlie had brought his partner with him – turned out they'd got married about a year earlier. Nathan. God he was gorgeous. Flaming red hair and sexy as fuck. I got to dance with him at the party that evening and he was just amazing – the best dancer ever. Best of all, at the end of the evening, there were a couple of slow dances and I got to have the first one with him. I even risked having a feel of his bum. He moved my hand away, but we ended up pressed into one another and I could feel him getting hard. Probably no surprise as I was already like a steel bar down there and I had it pressed up against his thigh. And we had a goodnight kiss too. No tongues or anything but it was definitely warmer than just a peck. I wondered if I had a chance with him, but he ended up having the last dance with Charlie and they were clearly very much in love. Pity. But it didn't stop me from saying to him as we all left that if he and Charlie were ever up for a threesome, I'd love to be the third. Well, you never know, do you.

There was a family lunch the following day, and Charlie and Nathan had been invited as they were staying with my Gran which is where the lunch took place. At one point Charlie disappeared upstairs and I took the chance to approach Nathan. I decided there was nothing to lose.

'Hey, Nathan,' I said, 'I have to say that you are sexy as fuck. If you weren't with Charlie, I'd be all over you.'

He smiled, and said, 'If I wasn't with Charlie I'd definitely enjoy that, Ben.'

'You mean that?'

'Oh yes…you have very much the sort of looks that get me excited.'

I deliberately looked down at the front of his trousers. 'Not too excited, I hope.'

He smiled.

'I reckon it was you who was excited yesterday when we danced, from the feel of things against my thigh.'

'I can't deny it. You're very gorgeous, you know….right up my alley.'

'Well thanks for the compliment, but I'm also very much married.'

'I know. Shame. But I meant what I said about a threesome.'

'Which I think will just have to remain a fantasy.'

'If you say so,' I said with a smile.

He shook his head in mock exasperation.

'You, Ben Marshall, are an incorrigible flirt.'

'I know. Do you mind?'

'No. Seeing as how it's you.'

'Good. Umm…I was wondering if I could ask you a favour?'

'You can ask.'

'I know you two run a hotel…I was thinking about hotel management as a career and I wondered if I might maybe get some work experience one holiday?'

'Are you serious?'

I nodded.

'OK…well, I'll have a word with Charlie and see what we can do. You know that if we did manage to arrange something, it would be very hard work and we'd show you no favours?'

'That's fine, Nathan. And there's no-one I'd rather learn from than you.'

'There is such a thing as too much flattery, Ben.'

'OK. Let me know when I get close to the line, then…'

He just laughed, and then Charlie was back and coming over to us.

Long story short, I got an invitation to work at Sunnybanks at Christmas. I hadn't been lying when I said I'd thought of hotel management as a career, but it probably wasn't top of my list at the time. But now that I was going to have the chance of spending nearly two weeks close to Nathan, I made sure I was right up to speed by the time the date came round.

And that's when and where everything blew up.

Not that I didn't have a hand in it from the start.

When they told me I could come and work over Christmas, I emailed Nathan and reminded him of my offer of a threesome. Well, nothing ventured and all that. I mean, I'd had Nathan on my mind ever since we'd met at the wedding. God knows, I'd wanked off often enough thinking about him. And I still didn't have a boyfriend. I never thought that I'd ever break the two of them up. I certainly don't think I intended to, but the idea of having sex with the pair of them as a kind of second prize was still very much on my mind, although I reckoned it was a long shot.

Except it turned out that it wasn't.

I was enjoying my work experience and things were going well. Both Charlie and Nathan had complimented me and said the guests liked me and that I was doing a good job. Then, out of the blue, Nathan came and saw me one morning a day or so before Christmas itself.

'Ben, I've got something to ask you.'

'Sure, Nathan.'

'That threesome you talked about…do you still want to?'

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing, but I gathered myself as quickly as I could.

'Wow, absolutely…do you mean that?'

He nodded.

'I talked about it with Charlie and we think, well, maybe it would be a bit of fun. Sort of a 'Christmas Special'. You know, just the once.'

'That would be amazing. When?'


'I can't wait.'

And I just jumped up and hugged him. And he hugged me back.

'I can't wait either, Ben,' he said quietly in my ear as we embraced.

I pulled far enough back to look into his eyes. And then I kissed him.

'Have you any idea just how much I fancy you?' I said.

'Charlie too, I hope.'

'Well, yeah, Charlie's OK…but you are so fucking hot.'

He smiled, and I risked putting a hand between his legs. 'I can't wait to touch this properly later.'

'Well, you'll just have to be patient. But I'm very much looking forward to it as well.'

The rest of the day passed in a haze.

That night, when I went and tapped on their bedroom door, Charlie was still in the shower, but Ben was in bed. He pulled back the covers and patted the bed beside him. I slipped off my robe and climbed in beside him. I could feel his eyes taking in my body. Especially my cock which was (obviously) already rock-hard.

'Do we have to wait for Charlie?' I asked.

'Don't see why,' he said with a grin.

He lay back and rolled on his side and I lay there facing him. His cock was as gorgeous as the rest of him, and the lack of pubic hair only emphasised the starkness of its beauty. I took hold of it. It gave me shivers to know that it would soon be inside me. With my hand wrapped around his length, I leaned in and kissed him. He responded, flicking my lips with his tongue. But I wanted more than his tongue in my mouth, so I slowly slid down the bed until I had that awesome piece of hard flesh level with my lips. He moaned slightly as I took him in my mouth. I was enjoying myself so much, I only vaguely heard Charlie emerge from the bathroom.

'Wow, can anyone join in,' he said.

And that was the start of a couple of hours of the most fun I had ever had. I was fucked and sucked and rimmed and penetrated - and filled at both ends with their seed. Charlie was good (and it kind of gave me a thrill when he fucked me to know that I had the same cock inside me as Luke had had) but Nathan was better.

Eventually, about one o'clock I think, we were all exhausted and I knew it was time for me to head back to my room.

'Thank you so much, guys. That was a fantasy come true. Promise me we can do it again before I go?'

'I don't know if either of us has the strength, Ben,' said Nathan, 'But we'll certainly think about it.'

I noticed Charlie didn't say anything. I hoped he wasn't having regrets.

Turned out that he wasn't. Four days later, Ben comes into my room; it's just after six in the morning and I'm about to head into the shower so I'm stark naked.

'Oops, sorry, Ben.'

'That's OK…I mean, it's not like you haven't seen it all before.'

He grins.

'I suppose that's true – and actually, I wanted to ask if both of us could see it all again tonight?'

'You mean…?'

'We'd love another threesome if you're up for it. Well, I would in particular.'

'Charlie not keen?'

'Oh he enjoyed it – and I know he'll enjoy it again tonight. But I'll enjoy it very much indeed.'

'You were amazing last time,' I say.

'Better than Charlie?'

'Oh yes…much. I mean not that I didn't enjoy him, but having you inside me was…spectacular. Wish it could happen every night.'

'I'm not sure I could keep up with you.'

'Bet you could – with a bit of practice.'

'Ah well, maybe.'

I look him straight in the eye. Time to go for broke.

'Don't suppose you'd fancy a quick practice right now?'

I can see the indecision in his eyes. I can see the lust. I can see it fighting with his loyalty. I turn up the pressure.

'Just a quickie. I'd really like that. And it's not as though we haven't done it before. Please? It would just be, like, a bit of tonight in advance?'

I can see him trying to rearrange his stiffie.

'Please Nathan?'

He suddenly loses the battle with himself.

'Shit. OK. Needs to be very quick. Charlie's still asleep but….'

'Come here.'

I kneel up on all fours on the foot of the bed.

'Come on. Doggy style.'

And then he's pressed up against me and I can feel his hardness enter me. His lovemaking is urgent and aggressive as he thrusts into me. I am in ecstasy. He comes with a groan before slipping wetly out of me. It can't have lasted more than two minutes.

I get up and hug him.

'Til tonight then.'

'Til tonight. God, you're insatiable.'

'That's me' I say with a smile.

And that night is as memorable as the first time. Probably more so because Nathan is definitely more into it than Charlie. I feel a sense of…connection…growing between us.

In the morning, Nathan comes to see me to say that there won't be any more threesomes. He asks if I'm OK with that. I say I'm fine with it. But I reckon this is Charlie's doing, not Nathan's. All my instincts tell me that he still wants to do stuff with me. Carpe diem. Who dares wins.

'No threesomes….but could we still have some twosomes?' I ask. 'You're the one I want Nath….you turn me on so much. And it's not like you'd be cheating; I mean, Charlie's fucked me and he'd be welcome to do it again. But he doesn't want to. But I think you do, Nath.'

'I'm married to Charlie, Ben.'

'And you'll have him all to yourself again once I go home in what…four days time?'

He hangs his head.

'It's not…right, Ben….'

I wrap my arms round him.

'It's what you want, Nath. I can feel it. And it's what I want. Four days. My Christmas present to you.'

'Let's see,' he says.

And I know I've got him.

Charlie has the following afternoon off, and goes to see some friends. Nathan and I sneak away for about forty minutes to my room where he fucks me twice. It's wonderful. And the crack is starting to open.

We don't have the chance to get together again until New Year's Day. Charlie is on early duty and is downstairs by 6.30. At 6.35, Nathan is in my bed. He has the morning off. Shortly before 8, he's entering me for the third time. My knees are beside my ears as he buries himself inside me. Then I am aware from the corner of my eye that the door is opening - and there's Charlie. He's forgotten his passkey and come back up to get it.

What follows is, at the same time, both horrible and wonderful.

I am given my marching orders and Nathan takes me to the station. He is all guilt and regret. The only thing on his mind is to try and repair things with Charlie. I know from having been there that this almost certainly won't happen. Which will leave the field open for me to get together with Nathan permanently. He may not think so right now, but I'm sure he'll be back in touch. I settle for thanking him for a wonderful time and saying I hope things will work out.

Which I do. But for him and me, not him and Charlie.

It all takes a bit longer than I expected, and certainly longer than I'd hoped, but a few months later I get a call from Nathan. He wants to meet up. Of course I agree.

He tells me that he and Charlie are working hard to get things back on track, but he is finding it hard.

I tell him that I understand. I give him a hug. He hugs me back.

We end up having sex.

And this starts happening regularly. And we grow closer and closer. The sex is great, but I can feel him falling for me as much as I've already fallen for him. Have I finally found love?

Isn't life strange? Turns out I'm right about Luke; he's no more straight than I am. He and Chloe visit Sunnybanks for their first anniversary and apparently Luke ends up having sex with Charlie! Or that's what Nathan tells me. I'm pleased for Luke and Charlie; they obviously still love each other. And I'm delighted for me, because that truly must mark the end of the road for Charlie and Nathan.

Mustn't it?

And it does. They get divorced that summer. A month after his divorce, as I'm lying in bed beside him, Nathan asks me to move in with him. He's got a lovely house from the divorce settlement with Charlie, and he's been appointed manager of a hotel. There's a job there for me as well. We are both of us deliriously happy.

And two months after that, Luke and Chloe get divorced.

And three months after THAT, Luke moves in with Charlie…

…which makes it all a real family affair. My brother and I partnered, respectively, with Charlie and his ex. It's all a bit tense at first, but over time we come realise that we have all found the person we really want to be with. OK, so the way it happened might not be exactly textbook, but that hardly matters. We become friends again, and we spend time with each other and start to enjoy one another's company again.

I'm not proud, when I look back, at some of the things I did along the way, but it's the end result that matters, isn't it? Am I damaged goods, manipulative and cunning, causing pain and havoc with an entirely accidental happy ending? Or have I just been through damaging relationships that have taught me to see the truth in others as well as myself, enabling me deliberately to create a happy ending?

You judge.

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