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by c m

Chapter 6

In the morning, I wake up before Chris. I hope he'll still be OK with what we did last night. If it was just the beer - or the excitement - that has undermined his judgement, and he wishes it hadn't happened, then I worry that our friendship could be in trouble.

When he finally wakes up, he throws off the sheet. He has a stiffy. Which he seems entirely unconcerned about me seeing.

'I need a pee. Sorry about this,' he says, pointing to his groin, 'but I guess we don't have any secrets from each other on that score any more.'

I breathe a sigh of relief.

When he comes back out from the bathroom, he's back to - almost - his usual, floppy, self. He gets back into bed and pulls the sheet up to his waist.

'Umm…will you tell Luke about what we did last night?'

'Do you mind if I do? I don't want to have secrets from him, but I don't want to embarrass you either.'

'You won't embarrass me. And I like the fact that you want to be honest. It's one of the things I've always liked about you. Do you think he'll be upset?'

'I hope it's a case of 'sauce for the goose' and all that. And anyway, if we're going to be apart for months at a time, I'd rather he found satisfaction by having the occasional mutual wank with another boy than anything else more serious.'

'Will he feel the same way about you?'

'Dunno; have to ask.'

'If he does…would you want it to be me you do it with?'

'That's entirely up to you, Chris. You don't have to say 'yes' to me just because one of Luke's mates says 'yes' to him. But if you're asking if I enjoyed myself last night, the answer's yes. It's more fun being wanked by someone else than doing it to yourself. For me, anyway.'

'For me too, actually…and I can't believe I'm saying that.'

'I'm just relieved you feel that way. I was so scared that you'd wake up and regret – or even be disgusted - by what we'd done.'

He rolls over until he's facing me, and puts a hand on my shoulder.

'I've told you before, Charlie, nothing you do could disgust me. And I don't regret it for a moment.'

'Good,' I say, 'now it's my turn for a pee and then I'm going to make us both a cup of coffee.'

'I knew there was a reason why I liked you.'

I go into the bathroom and empty my bladder in a long and satisfying stream, then go back into the bedroom and pull on a pair of shorts. Me naked is not a sight I want to inflict on my mother.

In the kitchen, I put the kettle on, take two mugs out of the cupboard and put a spoonful of coffee into each. As I'm topping them up with water, my mother comes in.

'Morning, love. You and Chris enjoy yourselves last night?'

'We had a lovely evening, thank you.'

'Was he impressed with your cooking?'

'I think it surprised him. Ask him if you want.'

'Is he still in bed?'


'Then I'll leave it 'til later. I don't want to embarrass him if he's wandering about semi-naked.'

Fully-naked, more like, I think.

'OK. Is it OK if we make ourselves breakfast up here in a bit?'

'Of course.'

I take the coffee back into the bedroom and hand a mug to Chris. We sit companionably beside one another in bed. It's almost like having Luke back.

I'm about to get up and have a shower, when my phone buzzes.

'Anyone I know?' asks Chris.

'Probably not,' I say, looking at the screen, 'it's Nathan… a guy Luke and I met on the beach. He accompanied me to the clinic when I cut my head.'

'Oh, OK.'

He's asking for a video call. I accept.

'Hi Nathan.'

'Hi Charlie…just wondered how you were?'

'Pretty much all better,' I say

'Pleased to hear it. Is Luke still with you?'

'No, he went home a few days ago.'

'I wondered if you might be up for seeing a movie or something…thought maybe it would be good to get to know each other a bit before term starts.'

'Sure, why not?'


'Sorry…are you still in bed?'

'Yes…just about to go and shower. I've had a friend over for a sleep-over.'

I turn the phone towards Chris who gives Nathan a wave.

'Oh God, sorry…I've interrupted something haven't I?'

'What? Oh…no…don't worry. Chris is just a friend. He's not gay...we're not sleeping together...well, we did last night… oh fuck, not like that…'

Chris grabs the phone.

'Hi Nathan, I'm Chris and I've been Charlie's best friend for ever. What he means is that we have been sharing his huge bloody bed,' he moves the camera around to show it, 'but not each other. He's Luke's and no-one else's.'

He gives me the phone back.

'Oh, OK. And hi Chris. And nice bed,' he smiles. 'So when would be good for a movie?'

'Ideally a Monday or a Thursday…that's when I can guarantee to be free.'

'OK, I'll see what's on and message you. Would Chris like to come too?'

'Depends on what it is, but yes in principle. Thanks.'

'No problem. I'll let you two get showered. Nice to chat.'



'He seems nice,' says Chris, 'do you think he believed us?'

'He is nice…and do you mean does he think we're sleeping together behind Luke's back? Who knows. Who cares. We know we're not - and it would have been pretty silly to show you on cam if we were.'

'True…but it was interesting that he asked if Luke was still here.'


'Maybe he's gay and fancies you.'

'That's what Luke said.'

'There you go then. And he wants to take you on a date to the cinema.'

'He did not offer to take me on a date – and he asked if you wanted to come along too, if you remember.'

'Maybe he thinks I'm gay too, and if you don't want to play, I might.'

'Don't you think that's all a little far-fetched? Maybe he just wants what he said he did: to get to know me before we start at College together.'


'Well, I guess we'll find out soon enough. But I bet I'm right.'

'How much?'


'You're on.'

We shake.

'Do you want to use the shower first?'

'After you.'

'You can come and scrub my back if you want.'

'In your dreams.'

'Nightmare more like.'

'Why you…'

Then we're tussling. The sheet gets wrapped around us and we end up almost knotted up in it, with me underneath him, and his hands round my wrists pinning me to the bed. Inside the sheet, the bits of us that are touching, skin to skin, are our groins. His face is inches from mine. For one weird moment I think he's going to kiss me, but he doesn't.

'Can we disentangle ourselves,' I ask. 'It's just that when a gay boy has another boy's cock pressed against his, only one thing is going to happen, regardless of the fact that nothing could be further from my wishes.'

'Ooh…naughty, naughty,' says Chris, a wicked smile on his face. Then he deliberately grinds himself against me.

'Don't blame me,' I say, as the inevitable starts to happen.

'Fuck! You're getting hard.'

'Don't say I didn't warn you.'

He hurriedly tries to disentangle us as fast as he can. I find the whole thing hysterically funny. It takes him about thirty seconds before he succeeds. He throws the sheet on the floor and stands up.

'Now look what you've done,' I say. I am almost fully erect.

'Christ…I'm going to pretend that never happened. Now excuse me while I take my shower. '

He disappears into the bathroom. But I would swear that his cock is not completely limp.

Nathan messages me later that day. He's suggesting we go and see John Wick - Parabellum. That's fine with me. There's a performance at the local cinema on Monday at 7. I agree to meet him there with or without Chris, depending on whether he can make it or not.

It turns out that Chris has seen it, so it's just me who arrives at the cinema on the Monday evening. Nathan's red hair is easy to see.

'Hi Charlie…good to see you.'

'You too.'

'Head all OK?'

'Yes...all healed.'

We walk through into the foyer and each pay for our tickets.

'Popcorn?' asks Nathan.

'Yes - but sweet not salty.'

'I prefer that too.'

We get a decent sized bucket between us and go through into the theatre. The lights are already dimmed, but it doesn't look particularly busy. Nathan makes a beeline for the back row and sits almost in the middle. We talk about this and that until the lights go right down and the film starts. As we dip into the bucket of popcorn, our hands occasionally brush against one another.

About twenty minutes in, I feel his leg rest against mine. Not in an obvious way; it's just there. After another fifteen minutes, however, he puts his arm across the top of my seat and his fingers brush ever so gently over my shoulder.

I owe Chris a fiver.

I reach up for his hand and move it away, putting it back on the armrest between us. I hold onto it, and give it a squeeze. I want to let him down gently.

'Sorry, Nathan, but I can't. But it's fine. I'm not upset.'

'Sorry,' he says.

I give his hand another squeeze before letting it go. He moves his leg away from mine. I reach down and pull it back. We smile at each other.

At the end of the film – which I enjoy - we walk out together.

'Can we go and talk?' I ask.


There's a café just along from the cinema, and we go in and order a couple of cokes which we take to a table near the back.

'I'm so sorry, Charlie…I shouldn't have presumed…'

'It's OK, Nathan. I guess this means you're gay too?'

He nods.

'Well, nice to know there's someone else like me in this town.'

'For me too. I couldn't believe it that day on the diving platform when Luke kissed you. It was such a mixture of joy and despair. Joy at seeing two boys who were clearly like me, and despair that you were together.'


'Because I would have loved to have tried to chat either of you up…maybe get a date…actually you more than Luke, but…you were clearly off-limits.'

'Then why did you….?'

'Put an arm round you in the cinema? Because I hoped perhaps Luke was just a holiday fling…and that maybe, now he was gone…'

'You could have asked…'

'I know…and I'm sorry. I should have. It's just…sometimes your feelings just overwhelm you. Or they do me, anyway.'

Now there I have to agree with him.

'You don't have a boyfriend then?'

'Nope. I'm not even sure that's what I'm looking for at the moment. I mean, if you and Luke aren't exclusive, I wouldn't try and take you away from him but I think we could have some fun times together.'

'You mean sex?'

'Is that so bad? And not just sex. Someone to do things with who understands what being gay is like.'

'I can't have sex with you, Nathan. You're cute as hell and if I weren't with Luke then who knows. But I AM with him.'

'And you're exclusive?'

'Yes…well…I don't know, I suppose…I mean, we never discussed it. I think we both just assume so.'

'Well, if you do discuss it and if you decide that you're not…'

I can hear the note of hope in his voice.

'Maybe. But I don't think that's the way I'm made, Nathan. Sorry.'

'I'm sorry too.'

A thought occurs to me.

'If I wasn't with Luke, and if we got together, would you want us to be exclusive?'

'Yes…no…I don't know. Would you want it to be?'

'Yes…yes I think I would.'

'Then I'd do it. If the price of having you was that I couldn't have anyone else, I would do it in a heartbeat, actually.'

'So you're saying that you hope Luke and I aren't exclusive, and you'd be happy to have fun with lots of boys, but you'd change all that if I was with you?'

He goes all quiet.

'In fact, Nathan, what you're saying is that you don't want Luke and me to behave the way you'd behave if it was you with me?'

'When you put it like that…I'm sorry, Charlie. I haven't really thought this through, have I? I guess wanting you has made me think with my cock and not my brain.'

I can't help laughing.

'Maybe. And we hardly know each other anyway. But that's one thing I'd like to change.'

'Really? You mean it? I thought perhaps you'd be pretty disgusted at what I've said.. and what I did earlier.'

Disgust. I remember Chris' words.

'No, Nathan, not disgusted. I like you and I still think you're cute and I'd like to get to know you better…and a gay friend would be great, and someone to talk to at College would be nice too.'

He puts a hand on mine and squeezes it like I did to his in the cinema.

'Can we start again?'

'I'd like that.'

'Hi,' he says,' I'm Nathan.'

He sticks out a hand and we shake.

'Pleased to meet you. I'm Charlie.'

And then we both burst out laughing.

Luke and I have a video chat the next day. I tell him all about my cinema trip with Nathan.

'What he said about us being exclusive…I know we never discussed it, but I sort of assumed….'

'So did I,' Luke says.

'And you're happy with that?'

There's the slightest of pauses.

'Yes – if you are.'

'I don't want to have sex with anyone but you.'

'Same here. But we're OK with each of us having the occasional mutual wank with a friend?'

'If we need to.'

'Charlie…I jerk off at least twice a day thinking about you. I'm best friends with my right hand…well, and my left sometimes, so I'm not going looking to do it with a friend. It's just if the occasion arises…we don't feel guilty about it, yes?'


'God I wish you were here with me now.'

'I wish I was too.'

He points the camera down. He's sitting naked in his chair. He's hard.

'I seem to be like this almost all the time, Charlie.'

I don't answer, I just move my own camera. I'm in the same state as he is.

'It goes like this every time you call.'

'Shall we do something about it?'

'Race you,' I say.

The start of term at College comes around all too soon. There are twelve of us on the course, seven guys and five girls. One of the other guys – Stuart, who likes to be called Stu - is gay like me and Nathan. We know this because he makes no secret of it. His voice, his actions and his dress sense proclaim it loud and clear. And although he can be bitchy when he wants to be, most of the time he is OK. Nathan and I both get on well with him – at least to start with. It seems somehow more important that we gay boys stick together than that we actively enjoy one another's company.

But within a week or so, it becomes clear – at least to me – that he and Nathan have become more than just friends. I am at a loss to explain how I feel about this. I think I'm envious – of Stu. Not that I have any reason to be; Nathan has, after all, made it perfectly clear that he'd love to date me - and I'm the one who's refused him. And I have Luke…and things are great between us…so why do I feel like I do? I suppose that it's one of life's mysteries.

I have also been perfectly open about my sexuality – if asked. And, much to my surprise, I'm finding this hugely liberating. No pretending, no embarrassment, no pretending I'm something I'm not. I'm even secretly flattered that two girls have been disappointed at the discovery that I'm not boyfriend material. I'm even more pleased that, having found out, they have both, despite that, become good friends.

Only one of the other people on the course, a girl called Tash, has a family involved in the hospitality business. And I am the only one on the course who has actually got any practical experience of being involved in the business on a day-to-day basis. That makes me popular both as a source of knowledge but also much sought after as a possible source of work experience – something that's at the heart of the course.

I'd love to be able to give everyone a chance to work at Sunnybanks, but it's simply not practical. Mum agrees to give two of my fellow students work opportunities. It may be wrong, but I give preference to Nathan and Stu.

Nathan fits in beautifully; he works hard, the other staff and the guests like him and he's prepared to listen to me when I have advice – sometimes hard-learned – to give. Stu is a bit more problematic. He has a less well developed work ethic, and some of the staff find his somewhat camp form of being gay hard to take – and we rapidly learn that he is very much a 'marmite' thing as far as guests are concerned; some love him and some don't want him within a mile of them. This makes life tricky for mum. When I confront him about it, he says;

'I am who I am, Charlie, and people have to take me for what I am. If they don't like it, tough.'

I try to explain that in the hotel business, that attitude won't do.

'I'm not saying that you shouldn't be who you are, Stu…but in our business the guests come first. I'm not asking you to hide who you are, but don't ram it down everyone's throat. Guests first, you second. Please, Stu. For me if not for anyone else.'

He goes all sulky.

'Well…alright…I'll try. But only for you, Charlie.'

'Thank you.'

But I wonder if I've made a mistake getting him involved with Sunnybanks. I'm finding his attitude and bitchiness increasingly hard to take. I'm beginning to realise that we probably don't have much in common other than that we're both gay. And I'm also starting to realise that that's not enough to make us friends.

The study side of the course comes easily to me. Most of the people on the course have left school at sixteen because they are not academic and want to acquire a practical qualification to take them into employment. I'm different. My ten – very good – GCSEs make me comfortably the most academically qualified person on the course. I have left school to support my family business.

Nathan has acquired his five GCSEs by working his socks off, and he got very decent passes in the critical subjects of maths and English. Some of the other students – including Stu – who didn't pass one or other of those two have to do retakes alongside their hospitality course. I offer to help Stu with his maths, but after a couple of sessions I give up, partly because he just doesn't seem to want to learn and partly because I have to spend a lot of time telling him that I have no interest in having sex with him. I come to the conclusion that the only reason he accepted my offer of help was to try and seduce me. Despite that, I try to stay on good working terms with him. If my suspicions about the relationship he has with Nathan are correct, I wonder if Nathan knows that he probably sleeps around.

Luke's calls have become less frequent; he says that this is because he has a mountain of prep to do for his A levels when he gets home and by the time he's finished it's after 10 – when he knows I go to bed. This makes sense – but I miss talking with him regularly.

At the hotel, we shut down the pool at the end of October until the following spring. One day we may be able to afford to get a building put up round it, but until then it is strictly a six-month of the year thing. Once it's empty, we have to 'winterise' it; that means we scrub and clean it, flush out the filters, repair any missing or cracked tiles and cover it. Sometimes we get a firm in to do this, but I reckon Nathan, Stu and I can manage between us. David, our handyman, offers to assist with replacing any broken tiles. It's Nathan who suggests that, before we close it, we have a final swim to mark the end of the season. So that's what we do.

Winterising is a two day affair at a minimum, and I suggest the last weekend in October. When the day comes, it is one of those lovely autumn days when the sun is shining and there's scarcely a breath of wind. It feels almost like summer. We meet at 10 o'clock as agreed. We will swim for thirty minutes, then open the taps to drain the pool. By the following morning, it will be ready for us to start work on.

I take Nathan and Stu into the changing room, and we all strip. Of course, we all want to see what the others have – although I'm pretty sure Stu and Nathan already have no secrets in this regard. As far as I'm concerned, if they want a show, they can have one. I take off everything but my briefs before pulling them down and standing naked in front of them. Stu – who is already naked - is making no secret of his interest.

'Fuck, Charlie…talk about penis envy. And love the shaved groin. Can I touch it?'

This is typical. He says what he's thinking. And before I can answer, his fingers are wrapped round my cock, giving it a squeeze before releasing it. I see Nathan staring - unable to believe that Stu would do such a thing.

'For fuck's sake, Stu, you don't grab another boy's cock just because he's gay!' I say.

'I do,' he says with a smirk, 'and it's bloody awesome, Charlie. How big does it get when it's hard?'

His own cock is well on the way to being erect already. But it's Nathan who's nakedness I find arousing. And, to my shame, the combination of seeing Stu getting stiff, the touch of his fingers and watching Nathan now starting to get hard too is having the same effect on me.

'About this big,' I say with a sigh, as I reach maximum extension.

Stu is now fully-erect too. It's slim and veiny, and his foreskin is still covering the head. About the same size as Chris', I reckon, but with a scrotum than dangles a good couple of inches below it. Nathan is also fully aroused – but his foreskin has retracted completely behind the head. Erect, it bears a striking resemblance, in both size and appearance, to Luke's.

'Fucking hell', says Stu, as he stares at me.

He goes to grab my erection, but I push his hand away.

'No, Stu.'

'Only wanted a feel,' he says, sulkily.

'Then it would be polite to ask – but before you do, the answer's no.'

There's a moment of tension, during which we hold one another's gaze, then he looks away. We all pull up our swimmers, and the atmosphere clears. But I don't like Stu's attitude or the way he's treated me.

We muck about for half an hour, ducking, bombing and diving before we get out. We rinse off under the shower and get dressed. I take the others into the store room and give both of them the one-piece ex-army overalls I've got for the dirty job of cleaning the pool out tomorrow.

'God,' says Stu, unfurling his,' these are just SOO unsexy.'

'They'll keep you clean. I suggest that you wear nothing underneath them. When we're done we'll need a shower and these will need to go in the wash.'

'I have no idea what my mother would say if I told her I going to be a commando,' says Stu.

The actual winterising that we do takes place the next day. The pool is not particularly dirty – the filters have seen to that – but nonetheless, the whole thing needs brushing down to remove traces of sunscreen, algae and all the bits and pieces of things that have stuck to the tiles rather than being passed through the filters. We all have brushes, and buckets of dilute bleach to dip them in from time to time, and gloves and goggles to protect our skin. It is hard, physical labour. Or at least it is for two of us. Stu announces, after about ten minutes, that's he's knackered and needs a rest. This happens every few minutes from then on.

After three hours, we're finished. The good news is that none of the tiles seems to be damaged, so David won't be needed. Nathan and I have done about 90% of the work. We're hot, sweaty, slightly grimy and our overalls are sticking to us. Stu still appears to be fairly fresh.

'Right, now we hose it all down and once that's drained away, we do the filters.'

'I'm going to have to leave it to you hunky boys. I'm all done in,' announces Stu.

I've had enough.

'That's fine, Stu. Go take a shower and we'll catch up with you on Monday. Nathan and I have still got several hours work ahead of us.'

'Oh. I thought perhaps we could all do something more interesting this afternoon.'

'Unfortunately it seems to have taken longer than I anticipated. And I don't know about Nathan, but I'm going to be pretty worn out by the time we finish. See you Monday.'

'Oh. All right.'

He disappears into the changing room, and re-emerges some ten minutes later.

'I've left those hideous overalls in the waste bin. I assume you throw them away?'

I just grit my teeth. I'll rescue them later.

'That's fine Stu. Take care.'

Nathan and I actually finish after about another hour. But there's no way I wanted that lazy little shirker around to enjoy the food and drink that I knew mum would have ready for us.

We put the brushes and buckets away, before heading for the pool changing room. Nathan goes to take off his overalls, but I stop him.

'Actually, we'll go and use the shower in my room. It's much nicer – and then we're in the right place to eat afterwards. Just grab your clothes and follow me.'

Upstairs, as we strip off our overalls, I see that Nathan, like me, has chosen to wear nothing underneath. We unashamedly enjoy the sight of one another's bodies. Without Stu there, it feels fine.

'I can't believe Stu just grabbed you yesterday; I felt so bad for you.'

'What can you do? That's him. I can't pretend I liked it. Frankly, I find him increasingly hard to take; sorry…I mean…I know you and he are…close?'

'Well, we sleep together, sometimes, if that's what you mean', says Nathan, 'it's fun – sex is always fun – but it's a bit one-dimensional.'

'How do you mean?'

'He's totally passive. I have to do all the work. Sucking him, fucking him…I mean, he does give me the odd blow job, but he's never fucked me – he just says he's not into it. I respect that, but I want to know what it's like. I want to be on the receiving end sometimes. How is it – was it - with you and Luke?'

'Mutual,' I say, 'particularly oral…we loved to sixty-nine more than anything. But we fucked each other too…although to be honest I enjoy being on the receiving end and he prefers to be the one giving - so it works pretty well.'

'Sounds wonderful.'

'Are you a virgin, then…when it comes to…you know?'

'Yup. Sad isn't it?'

'I just thought…with what you said to me about having fun and no commitments…that maybe you were pretty experienced'.

He laughs.

'I wanted you, Charlie. I said what I thought was most likely to get me what I wanted. I apologised then and I apologise again now. And what's worse is that I think I was wrong.' He sighs. 'Charlie…I'd swap Stu for you in a heartbeat if that was possible. And before you criticise me, Stu knows that. I'm not taking advantage of him. He loves sex and he loves being fucked…and I'm pathetic enough to go along with that. I like sex too. What Stu gives me isn't everything I want, but it's something. We're not boyfriends…we're friends with benefits. Well…semi-friends with benefits.'

He gives a sad little laugh.

'I told you I would be happy just to have fun…that I didn't need or want a boyfriend. That sex would be enough. But now that I have sex - as much sex as I want from Stu's point of view - I realise that what I want more than anything in the world is a boyfriend. I want to be loved, Charlie. And Stu doesn't love me any more than I love him. Actually, I don't even like him that much. And even less after what he did to you. If I'm honest, he's just a fuck buddy. I know I should be grateful – it's more than some boys have – but I'm not. I want what you and Luke have.'

I don't know what to say.

'…and actually, I don't even have the sex I want. I satisfy Stu but he doesn't satisfy me. And I don't even have the self-respect to stop fucking him. What kind of a relationship is that? What kind of a fucking saddo am I?'

And he suddenly starts crying. I wrap my arms round him. Naked as he is. He feels so fragile in my embrace. I stroke his hair. His red, red hair. And I rock him. He clings to me like a drowning man.

'You're no saddo, Nathan. You are a sweet, kind, good-looking boy who now knows what he wants. And that's half the battle. I never had to work out what I wanted, because when I met Luke I knew I'd found it. You will find your Luke.'

The tears stop – but he still clings on to me.

'You're so nice, Charlie. And God knows I don't deserve it. But thank you.'

'And the truth is,' I whisper, 'I'm not actually sure what Luke and I have now he's gone. We met. We fell for each other. We had a lot of sex. And then he went home. Twelve days of fun. Most boys wouldn't even have got as far as a kiss in twelve days. ….maybe all it was was two boys with raging hormones satisfying their primal urges. A holiday affair.'

'But I thought you both wanted to make a go of it?'

'So did I. But is that really realistic, Nathan? Do we actually love each other enough? Do we even love each other at all? We know quite a lot about each other, but can you really get to know someone well enough in less than two weeks to be in love? He's bi, Nathan. Or so he says. He's been having sex…well, hand and oral…with a girl. Was I just a handy opportunity to give the other side of his sexuality a run out?'

He lifts his head off my shoulder. I see the hope in his eyes.

'Well, Charlie, if ever you decide…that is, if things…I mean I wouldn't dream of…but, you know…'

I give him a squeeze.

'Yes, I know, Nathan.'

He kisses me on the cheek. I turn my face to his. His green eyes are looking straight into mine. He moves his head fractionally forward. His lips touch mine. We kiss. A chaste, no-tongues, acknowledgement that we like each other.

'Shower time,' I say, 'you stink and so do I. You first.'

He grins and goes into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. I hear the shower start to run. When he comes out he's pink with the heat and he smells of the grapefruit-scented shower gel I sometimes use. His red hair is standing up in spikes where he's roughly dried it. He looks sexy as hell.

By the time I've showered, he's dressed and sitting at my desk.

'Could I borrow a hairbrush?' he asks.

'Sure, top drawer on the left.'

He brushes his hair in the mirror – and I can see him watching me in it as I get dressed. I find it gives me something of a thrill.

The following week, Stu approaches me.

'Charlie, do you know what's up with Nathan?'

'How do you mean?'

'Well, he and I have been sleeping together – well, I guess you know that…he's wonderful in bed, actually. Very athletic. You should try it. And all that red hair. Especially down there…' He half leers, half simpers.

'Too much information, ' I say. And I really dislike him talking about Nathan as some sort of sex-object. 'Sorry…what are you asking me Stu?'

'Oh…yes…well, it's just he told me yesterday that he didn't want to sleep with me any more. Has he got someone else? I mean, even if he has, I'm perfectly happy to share him. All that exclusive nonsense, so silly…what's all that about?'

I snap.

'All that nonsense, Stu, is about two people who love each other enough to have a relationship based on more than just sex. A relationship where the sex is sufficiently special and important for it to mean it's something they don't casually share all over the place.'

'Oooh…you've got it bad, haven't you?'

'I wouldn't dream of telling you how to live your life, Stu. But your way is not my way. And I'm pretty sure it isn't Nathan's way either. Perhaps he's just come to realise that.'

I see a nasty smile cross his face.

'God…does what's his name…Luke…know about you two? Is that what you two got up that afternoon we cleaned the pool?'

'Fuck off, Stu.'

He tosses his head and marches off. Then stops and turns back to me.

'And I was lying when I said he was good in bed. He isn't…he won't even let you cum in his mouth – but then you probably know that already.'

And that is the end of our friendship – if that's what we ever had in the first place. He doesn't come to Sunnybanks any more – which is a relief to my mother – and me, actually. And to Nathan.

Nathan and I get progressively closer. The more we get to know each other, the more we like each other. And Chris likes him too. Which means a lot. He rarely gets people wrong, and the three of us become firm friends.

Stu becomes increasingly bitchy about us, but Nathan is popular with the rest of the people on our course and so, if I may be slightly immodest, am I – so the others just ignore him.

One day when Nathan is working with me at the hotel on a late shift finishing at 11, his mother calls to say that the car won't start and so she can't pick him up. She's very apologetic, but wonders if my mother could drop him home. I suggest that he stays the night and that my mother drops us both at College the following morning. Nathan is keen, and his mother agrees.

Nathan's no stranger to my room and realises that means sharing the bed with me.

'So I finally get to sleep with you,' he says with a grin.

When the shift is over, we go to my room and get ready for bed. As he wasn't expecting to stay, he has brought nothing with him, but I find a spare toothbrush from the guest supplies box, and get a towel from the linen cupboard. In my room, he takes off his shirt, socks and shoes, throws the towel over his shoulder and uses the bathroom first.

'Toothpaste is in the cabinet. Help yourself.'

'Thanks, Charlie.'

Five minutes later he emerges and I take my turn to wash and brush my teeth. When I get back into the bedroom, Nathan is already sitting in bed, sheet pulled up to his waist.

'I don't wear pjs,' he says, 'is that OK?'

'Same here,' I say, stripping off my briefs and climbing in beside him. We give each other a friendly goodnight peck on the cheek, before I switch out the light.

We lay there for a while and then he says.

'I could use a cuddle, Charlie – if that's permitted.'

'Sure,' I say.

I roll over and find Nathan is on his side, his back to me. I spoon up into him and throw an arm over his chest., which he pulls closer to him., his fingers entwined with mine. He snuggles back into me – and my cock is now pressed right against the crack in his bum. The skin of his back is soft and warm against mine..

'This feels so nice, Charlie. Thank you.'

I try as hard as I can not to, but I feel myself getting hard. I try to move away.

'Please don't move, Charlie. It's OK. It's rather nice actually…and I promise I won't take advantage.'

'Sorry, Nathan, it's just…you are incredibly sexy.'

'And you know how I feel about you.'

We lie there in silence for perhaps a minute or two. But I can feel the electricity crackling between us.

Then I feel Nathan moving my hand, ever so slowly, down to his groin. I ought to resist, but I don't. He's hard. I can't help taking hold of him. He's hot and silky in my grasp. I start to masturbate him. He moans softly, then reaches behind him and takes hold of me. I'm already leaking.

'Let's get more comfortable,' he says, and turns to face me.

His kisses me and this time there is no holding back. We twist tongues and thrust against one another, cocks mashed together. Then he pulls his lips away from mine and lies on his back.

'I've wanted this for so long. And I know you have too. Fuck me, Charlie. Please.'

He lifts his legs up and pulls me between them. I cannot believe how easily I enter him. He's hot and tight around me, as I drive in and out of him…

And then I wake up.

I'm bathed in sweat. The realisation that's it's only been a dream sends a wave of relief washing over me. But that relief is soon replaced by guilt as I realise my stomach, thighs and the sheet on which I'm sleeping are all covered with the sticky wetness of my seed. How come I've had a wet dream about Nathan and not Luke?

Perhaps I should have seen it as a premonition.

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