"How come Mrs Wreakin has the costumes?" Rick asked Paul a little later after they had met up.
"School plays, amateur dramatics, all sorts of things." Paul replied, "She does the wardrobe and outside the tourist season the island can still be pretty isolated so doing stuff is a way of meeting up. Mrs Wreakin does the wardrobe. Did you get the lecture?"
"I think so." Rick answered, "It was about the girls being in control and me not being Lord of the Manor."
"Yeah!" Paul laughed, "Charles was shocked when Dad asked me if I'd remembered the condoms. I tell you what confuses him though. He's eighteen but Dad doesn't approve of him drinking."
"I am here you know." Charles interjected, "All he said was, I should be careful because alcohol makes you lose the wrong inhibitions."
They found Mrs Wreakin's house and were shown to a shed in the garden.
"I'm not sure how Tarzan outfits fit in with a dungeon theme, but I've run out." She said, "What are you after?"
Paul explained and Mrs Wreakin replied, "How about a Dracula costume for you, Steve? I'd suggest the cloak and the teeth but no shirt to make you sexy. You look surprised."
"I thought you were the head teacher." Steve replied.
"None of you are my students, though Rick and Will may be starting September." Mrs Wreakin replied, "Charles is a bit young for me, but I hope he strips off to try his costume on. He's an adult and not in my care, so I can think sex. Making you other four look sexy for some role-play is just part of running of a wardrobe, but I'd be careful, Rick. On the mainland there's a fuss about how people should dress as they like. If you dress as a prisoner, there're a few who will try to discover whether you'll stick to your role or become the earl when the going gets rough."
Rick nodded, "I'm getting a bit worried about Ryan, though."
"Oh, he's alright. He and his friends are just ghosts and zombies. A couple of the zombies are little more than white paint and black shadow, but the rest have got bandages in the right places. Try these on."
It bothered Rick slightly that the ankle irons, balls though small and chains were genuine, but the black and white hooped shirts and shorts were definitely theatrical, if a bit tight on Charles while oversized on Will and Rick.
"A group did 'Working on a Chain Gang' a couple of years ago. They were year elevens so sizes are between you all, but they'll do."
Paul dressed in black, with a peaked cap and a belt from which hung a cane, a baton and a whip.
"I haven't got leathers to fit you." Mrs Wreakin said, "You could see whether Mr. Silversteen has got a black waistcoat for you instead of a shirt."
Despite the preparations and the warnings, at first glance the party was just like any other. Real dungeons do not need much decoration but there were a couple of coffins and Steve immediately tried one. Stocks looked a little too flimsy to be genuine, but the rack was real and padlocked, so it couldn't be used. Cell doors were also padlocked open. The music suited teenage tastes while tables groaned under the weight of soft drinks and food.
But there were differences. Boys especially, were definitely under-dressed while demure damsels in distress wore very undemure low cut dresses. There were exceptions, one boy looked handsome dressed as a page and elegantly bowed before a damsel who offered her hand. Other boys gyrated to the music while eyeing the object of their affections. It was the blatant sexuality that was different. One boy, wore a dog's collar and chain, handcuffs already attached to one wrist, and a loincloth that barely covered his assets if he stood still. On the dance floor everything was visible, but it worked. A stern looking girl beckoned him over, cuffed his wrists behind him and felt under the loin cloth.
Rick expected someone to object, or an adult to appear, but he understood. The girl was in control and could decide what would happen. Even if she got pregnant, she could hardly blame the boy. More importantly, neither could her parents.
Between the two extremes there were variations, and Rick began to see it as a role-play party rather than a dungeon party.
"Aren't there any adults around?" Steve asked when he stood next to Paul, "It's a bit wild isn't it?"
Paul pointed to a CCTV camera.
"There'll be someone in the control room." Paul replied, "No-one's being forced to do anything, but I bet someone will turn up if John Stevens starts offering tabs."
"Will he?" Rick asked.
"He keeps his arms covered, and we reckon he's got a habit. He sells to tourists but islanders don't have much cash, and bartering doesn't pay his supplier. Prisoners shouldn't talk, so I reckon half-an-hour in the stocks."
Rick looked at him, "You're joking."
"Partly, but I've got a better idea. You and Will get those shirts off. Here's the keys, get out of those chains."
Paul waited until they had complied, "You're not an islander so everyone is waiting for you to get all shocked and offended. Now get on the dance floor and do a nice sexy, smoochy number."
"Yes Boss." Rick chuckled, taking Will's hand.
"What about us?" Charles asked.
Paul smiled, "You can take your shirt off if you like, and take the ball off, but I reckon you should keep the leg irons. Do you know why?"
"You like kink." Charles smiled.
Paul grinned back, "Maybe. You're the older boy, but I'm in control. It's a statement."
"It's more like politics than a party." Charles said.
"This party is or rather, it was. Look at them."
Rick and Will had there arms round each other and Will had one hand inside Rick's shorts. Even Charles could see others relaxing.
"I wasn't sure how to make Rick one of the crowd." Paul explained, "Let's dance."
Paul allowed Charles to undo the buttons and slide his waistcoat off then they held each other in a long tender embrace. Good parties become muddled and difficult to describe and everyone was relaxing. With Rick and Will so clearly declaring who they were, it was all right for everyone else. Paul watched happily as others paused to chat to Rick, treating him as one of their own.
Both Steve and Ryan were overwhelmed by it all and Ryan found Steve sitting on the steps leading up to the castle.
"I keep waiting for someone to break it up." Steve said, "There're cameras down there so people must know what's going on."
"Yeah! I've had enough, and I'm going." Ryan said.
"Me too!" Steve said, standing up, and they both headed for the library where they found Sebastian.
"Sorry!" Steve said, "I didn't mean to disturb you."
"Not at all. How's Rick getting on?"
"I think Will is going to fuck him in front of everyone." Steve replied, "Sorry. I shouldn't talk like that, should I."
"I did ask." Sebastian chuckled, "I assume it's all going well, so what about you two?"
"We've had enough." Steve said, "How come no-one's stopping it?"
"Come and sit down." Sebastian said, "A lot of societies allow youngsters to experiment and figure out who they are. How many of your friends sneak off to a sleazy bar for some fun, Steve?"
Steve nodded, "Here, they're not sneaking."
"No, and they're not drinking, or taking drugs, just releasing all that sexual energy. Ryan is questioning his sexuality so what about you, Steve?"
"I'm straight." Steve snapped then stopped, considering, "Rick and Will seem so happy. I thought you'd hate it."
"Ideally Rick will get married and produce the thirteenth earl." Sebastian said, "Less ideal would be him producing loads of children out of wedlock, but there's something puzzling me. Three close friends look out for each other and two are gay. How come the third is so sure, he's not even questioning?"
"I want kids." Steve replied.
"So do most gays, and many succeed. When Rick marries, his wife will have to accept he has needs only Will can fulfil. We're getting too serious, were you two looking for some privacy?"
Steve stared shocked, "He's only twelve."
"You do not plan on dragging him to some dark corner, so you can have your way. Ryan's bedroom may be a good place to talk, and he may want to examine your chest with more than his eyes. You both have a right to say no, but allow Ryan to make the moves. I suggest your thoughts need to be out in the open, not suppressed because you think they're the wrong ones. What do you say Ryan?"
"We all heard stories about Rick being gay when we visited that time. I don't know why I think I'm gay but Shane made me do stuff, and I liked it and hated it at the same time. Should I be thinking about girls like other boys do?"
"No!" Sebastian replied, "Steve, if you so much as think of hurting or forcing Ryan, the island will turn on you. If you help him find answers, it will help you. I know, it's all highly illegal, immoral and the rest, but we'll be watching you look out for him, not how you do it. Going back to your question, Ryan, like Steve you need to think about who you are, not who you should be. I see nothing wrong in helping each other to find answers."
A little later, Steve was sitting on Ryan's bed, while Ryan showered to remove the zombie paint. Despite being the older boy he was more nervous than Ryan, and shaken when Ryan came out of the bathroom naked, but still drying himself with a towel. Blushing, Steve tried not to stare. Ryan noticed and grinned.
"I like Rick and I reckon his friends must be OK," he said, "I don't like Shane twisting my arm up my back to bend me over, and I don't like him pushing his cock in my mouth when I'm asleep, but you're not going to do that, are you?"
Steve shook his head, not daring to speak.
"I'm the little kid, so I'm the one who should be scared." Ryan giggled.
Steve blushed, embarrassed at seeming so naive in front of the younger boy.
"I'm scared of hurting you." Steve whispered.
"Shane wasn't." Ryan retorted as he worked his way between Steve's legs and undid the cloak before pushing Steve down on his back. Ryan bent over him whispering, "Now I'm going to do it my way."
He bent even lower and kissed Steve on the lips, breaking just long enough to say, "Undo your trousers."
Steve complied and Ryan straightened up enough to pull them and his underwear off. Ryan's assertiveness seemed to make the age difference less, so Steve wriggled around until he was lying on the bed, and as he relaxed, so his manhood swelled. Ryan stared at it then giggled again.
"Sorry." he said, "I can't help comparing you to Shane. He reckons he's a stud, but he'd give anything to have what you've got. I hope it's not too big for me though."
It took Steve a few moments to realise it was a compliment, but he swelled even more, already feeling an urgency to relieve the pressure. Shane had not cared if he hurt Ryan, but having a cock inside had always felt good, despite the pain. It was Shane not caring that upset him more, leaving Ryan feeling humiliated and alone. At every step, Steve had cared about Ryan, and even now was not going to make a move.
As Ryan straddled Steve's legs he bent forwards to kiss the older boy's manhood, but he paused. Ryan instinctively knew Steve was too close. Exploring the older boy's body, trying what Shane could never be bothered with, kissing and cuddling would all have to wait. He felt his own tingle of pleasure. He was going to give a boy who cared about him, what he needed because he wanted to. For once, he was going to share the experience.
He slid forwards, this time managing not to giggle as Steve stared, wide-eyed. Steve's nervousness caused him to wilt but just a little. He remained rigid enough for Ryan to gently ease down. He was prepared and could adapt so to his surprise, he felt no pain, just wonderful sensations spreading through his body. In his turn, Steve's body had been waiting for this moment all his life. Already eager, his hips convulsed almost as Ryan's buttocks brushed his pubes. No longer in control, he grabbed Ryan's waist to bounce him up and down in time to his own spasming body. He pumped into Ryan with a force he scarcely believed possible but then, just as suddenly it was over. He collapsed back onto the bed and only then remembered Ryan.
Steve looked at Ryan, expecting him to be thoroughly upset and maybe in agony but Ryan was smiling.
"Wow!" he exclaimed, "I'm going to call you Bronco. You sure bucked like one."
"I must have hurt you."
"No. You made all sorts of nice feelings and look at my cock. That's not piss, is it?"
"No. What happened?"
"I don't know. All I knew was how great my cock felt, but I can't cum yet. Can we do it again, please?"
"God no. I mean not yet. Come here!"
As he spoke, Steve pulled Ryan down and kissed him. Ryan wriggled until he was just lying on Steve, shuddering with happiness. He had everything that was missing from his encounters with Shane, tenderness, affection and a person who cared. They both dozed contentedly, knowing it was going to be a long night.
The following morning, they struggled to get up for breakfast. Sebastian looked at them carefully, but Ryan was completely at peace with the world. Satisfied, he left them with just eyes for each other as the others chatted around them.
Sebastian expected Rick to learn about island business, and they spent time each morning in Sebastian's office and Sebastian did not mind Will joining them.
"I still feel awkward just coming in here." Will said, "You don't mind, do you?"
"This is Richard's office." Sebastian replied, "I'm just the caretaker. It's something we've all got to get used to, but I'm delighted you're supporting Richard. Having said that, until Richard is eighteen, I'm the responsible adult so, as far as the legal world is concerned, I'm in charge. Now, do we really want a wind farm on the Northern coast?"
"I think so, I'm not sure how to work out the cost but if the farm was big enough, we could export electricity to the mainland." Rick said, watching Mrs Wilson answer her phone, "Would it make the submarine cable more economical?"
"The tourist committee would object to spoiling the view." Sebastian replied, "Though maybe boat trips round them could help."
"Excuse me, My Lords, but Mrs Marcher is on the line wanting to speak to Will." Mrs Wilson said, "I'll put it on speaker."
"Hello! Mrs Marcher here. I should be talking to William alone, so could he confirm it's all right for others to be present."
"Yes, it's fine and I prefer Will." he replied.
"Excellent. I used to work in Child Services, so I have been dealing with your case. Unfortunately your solicitors have been contacted regarding custody."
"Hang on?" Will exclaimed, "What case? What solicitors?"
"Ah! My understanding is, you wish to remain on the island, but you are under eighteen. Dr. Knox asked me for help and I drafted a letter to the local social services, giving their Lordships solicitors as yours. All Social Services have massive caseloads, so although they have been notified, your case is being well enough handled to have a very low priority."
"OK, the whole island knows my business, but I've got this feeling things are being done behind my back." Will said.
"That's understandable." Mrs Marcher replied, "Didn't Dr. Knox say anything?"
"Only something about making sure the paperwork was in order." Will paused, "I get it, this is what he meant."
"Your Dad has now filed for custody. Briefly, the estate solicitors don't deal with these kinds of cases and want to refer you to a specialised office, and also, the first part of your father's claim is you now live in a public house and have to work in the bar, in the care of the landlord who is unsuitable to look after youngsters. Neither is your accommodation adequate."
Will paled, "I told Dad that. You were joking about it, Rick, and I thought he would find it funny. I'm sorry."
"I suppose I am too." Rick said, "I honestly didn't know where I was going, and I was joking around because I was a bit scared."
"It's not a problem. We all know you thought you were coming to a public house." Sebastian said, "I can't imagine myself in a filthy apron, cigarette in my mouth, lugging barrels around, but you were trying to make light of a worrying situation."
"Exactly." Mrs Marcher said, "My reading of the situation is the father wants to regain control of the boy and has latched onto a way in. The local office will need to visit to verify the information they have but I wouldn't worry. Living in a castle instead of a back-street pub should put their minds at rest. It's the second part of his claim that's more worrying. The father denies beating Will and maintains he's been worried about the boy's clumsiness but has been unable to get him any help. He also maintains he could stay with an uncle and stay in contact with his family."
"It's not true and I'm not staying with Uncle Roger. He's never done anything, but he's creepy. Have you read Oliver Twist? He reminds me of Bill Sykes."
"It's only an opinion, but I don't think you have anything to worry about. You're fifteen and short of putting you in a secure home, no-one can stop you going where you want. The local office will make a preliminary visit just to make sure you're not in danger, but don't expect them to have the time to read your file, and unless you're very lucky, they'll have all the usual prejudices against the island."
"What about me being gay?" Will asked.
"It was in the letter I sent. Homophobia is in your favour. Sharing a bed with another boy may cause concern, but even if you are under-age, turning a blind eye to a stable relationship with another fifteen-year old may be better than driving you onto the streets and becoming a rent-boy."
Mrs Marcher's predictions were partly right because with cutbacks, caseworkers were covering larger and larger areas. Mrs Burnaby had little idea of what to expect except that it was the sort of community that resented authority though she was hoping to find evidence of the male sex industry that rumour suggested flourished on the island. There were enough hints in the report to suggest Will was in danger so the visit was arranged for the next day. Her hopes were raised as the boat neared the pontoon. Jimmy's shorts were just long enough to prevent accidental displays but his thighs showed enough for Mrs Burnaby to stare appreciatively. When she could finally tear her eyes away, and avoid looking past his open hi-vis vest at his equally sexy chest, she tried to focus on the two boys lounging against the rail waiting for the ferry. They were both bare chested but in shorts, and they were just as sexy.
She was puzzled. Jimmy was young, but he should be hating his job, overworked and sullen from the demands of an oppressive employer. Instead, he stood by the gangplank with a cheery smiled helping passengers off the boat.
"You're the social worker. Will's over there with Rick. Have a nice stay."
It was not the greeting Mrs Burnaby was expecting, leaving her to wonder why he was so helpful. Mrs Burnaby was also a little disappointed rumours of rent-boys on the pontoon were unfounded and was even more confused by the friendliness as Rick and Will greeted her.
"Hi." Will said, "Jimmy's got his contacts on the mainland and you don't look like a tourist. He warned us when you were coming, so I hope you weren't trying to make a surprise visit."
"Well, we don't like to announce our visits."
"In that case, don't book the ferry through your office." Will chuckled, "Here's the car, hop in."
Car? And it seemed as if Will was going to drive. Mrs Burnaby looked at him quizzically.
"It's got a top speed of eight miles an hour. You can trawl through the regulations if you like, but they're slower than a bike, properly maintained with automatic brakes." Will explained. "I prefer the rail cars. They're faster."
"You'll have to show me, some time." Mrs Burnaby smiled, "You seem happy here, and you look well. May we talk in private."
"No, Rick is my boyfriend, and he knows all about me." Will replied, "Rick only came out because I did, so he is involved."
He stopped the car, patiently waiting for a group of holidaymakers to get out of the way.
"Your father says he's worried about your clumsiness and wants you examined. Don't you think it's a good idea?" Mrs Smith asked.
"What clumsiness?" Will retorted, "I'm not clumsy unless he's knocking me around. Would you like some tea?"
Mrs Burnaby had to concede he seemed sharp enough as he confidently drove into the castle, though she became a little concerned when he drove past 'No vehicles' signs and stopped outside a café. She wished she had done more than glance through the notes because something was amiss. It was not her client, Will; he was too confident and too well for her to even consider abuse, but there was something. Maybe it was neglect. Why was he avoiding where he lived?
"I really need to see where you live." she said, "I don't have time for this."
"What address do you have for me?" Will asked.
"The Castle, Bovaline."
"And where are we?"
"It's a castle on Bovaline. You're not saying you live here, are you?"
"Are you ready for a cup of tea now?"
As they entered the café, a waitress approached, handing Rick and Will shirts before showing them to their table. Mrs Burnaby hesitated looking pointedly at the reserved sign. The waitress giggled and held a chair for her.
"Do you know anything about me?" Rick asked.
"You're Rick Blatcherfield and you live near Will. You were sent away to live with your cousin for some reason."
"That's how it started. It turns out I'm the Earl of Westmark and own the island. It's not the easiest story to tell without sounding completely out of it. Cousin Sebastian was the Earl, and still is as far as I'm concerned because I don't feel like one, and he's also the responsible adult. I suppose you want to meet him, so we'll go up to his office later. There're all sorts of stories about Bovaline, and I suppose you think cars are banned here, so Will wanted to show you his life here."
Mrs Burnaby nodded, "I understand. I believe you had visits when you were with your parents, Will."
"Dad, mainly." Will replied, "Do you have to tell him where I am?"
"I'm still trying to come to terms with where I am. This isn't one of my usual visits and it's the first time I've had to inspect a castle, but no. My report is strictly confidential. It'll go to your local office and the court if it comes to that but since physical abuse is mentioned, we can't tell your father where you are unless the court orders it."
Sebastian arrived and after the greetings they all settled down again.
"I'll have to do a background check on you, so I'll need some details but apart from that, I think I'm done." Mrs Burnaby said, "I think I'd like to visit as a sightseer some time. Some of my clients would enjoy it, as well."
"Let us know, and we'll look after them." Rick said and Sebastian nodded.
"Thanks, but they're clients because they have problems. Some are withdrawn while others can be aggressive and angry with the world. I'd hate to be apologising afterwards for all the vandalism and pilfering."
"You mean, they'd be typical sightseers." Sebastian chuckled, "We don't encourage youngsters to drink but many do. Others think they can sneak across barriers to grab something. We try to speak to them quietly without embarrassing them. The village shops have a similar system but at the end of the day, they've all got to catch the ferry, so they can't just disappear like they do on the mainland."
"You don't just call the police then?" Mrs Burnaby asked.
"No. Often a tour of the dungeons while we point out the difficulties of involving the police is enough. They don't totally believe us but youngsters have vivid imaginations and can't be sure." Sebastian said, "The Earl has a nasty reputation and it is useful even if the reality is, he's got no more power than a landowner anywhere else in the world."
"And you're the Earl," she said to Rick who grinned and nodded.
"We do well with tourism, so we keep it friendly." Rick said, "This is all new to me though."
"I see. I'm here to assess Will's living arrangements. I suppose I should see his bedroom, would that be a problem?"
"No, but we sleep together." Will said.
"Just to be clear, you and Rick." Mrs Burnaby asked, but continued without waiting for a reply, "By the way, are you registered with a doctor?"
"Yes and a vet." Will chuckled.
"They were checking me for internal injuries. Sheila's the vet and a part-time medic."
"I'm sorry I asked. Your doctor's details will do. I allowed time because of the boat trips, so I think I'd like to look around as a visitor."
Sebastian was impressed. On the surface, Mrs Burnaby was relaxed and friendly, so the boys also relaxed and talked freely, but she kept coming back to Will's care and had probably learnt far more than they realised, but it did not seem to be a problem as instead of leaving she settled back in her chair accepting another cup of tea.
From the moment she had met Will and Rick, Mrs Burnaby knew her report would be favourable. Just wearing beach shorts, Will was obviously fit and well. He was relaxed and confident, and she was experienced enough to see he and Rick were boyfriends, at ease with their relationship.
What no-one knew was that Will's father hated losing control of his little world especially if he thought someone knew anything about his activities. Will had an idea of his father's possessiveness though not the extent, but he knew nothing of his father's criminal life and had no idea how worried his father was.
In her turn, Mrs Burnaby had not mentioned her son who at fourteen-years old resented his father disappearing with a younger girl. His resentment turned into increasingly bad behaviour with others and deteriorating school grades, although he was always gentle with her. That evening she chatted with him describing her day while he laughed at the idea of her investigating an earl in a castle.
"I can't discuss the case or who I was really there for, but do you have any problem with boys liking boys?"
Mrs Burnaby noticed the look again. It was always there when anything gay appeared on the TV or anyone mentioned it.
"No." Justin replied, again, a little too quickly, and Mrs Burnaby smiled to herself. The paperwork to take her clients on a visit would be horrendous, and she wouldn't get funding. However, she had been thinking of Justin.
"The Earl's not much older than you, and he and his boyfriend are quite friendly, so I …"
"It's not going to work, Mum." Justin interrupted, "You don't think I'm going to make friends with some upper class twat, do you?"
"I was going to say, I'd like to have a break and do something different. They were telling me about different places to visit. They drove me around and I enjoyed myself."
"Yeah and you said they were my age. How come they were driving you?"
"Because it was an island car. Schoolkids drive their own train to school and it's got its own station."
"Wow! Could I drive them? What else is there?"
Rick and Will had met up with their friends and spent time on the beach. It got late so they had gathered around a table in the bar of Paul's dad's pub to eat and enjoy a quiet chat, making room when Jimmy joined them.
"Be careful of that woman." Jimmy said, "She was asking questions, but they weren't about you or Will. They were about the island. I reckon she's heard we're all rent boys and prostitutes and is looking for the dirt."
"OK, I don't know how it works so what do we do?" Rick asked, "I was thinking of getting her off Will's back when I invited her to stay."
"It was a good idea." Jimmy said, "We'll have to be careful on the pontoon, but everything else is hidden. Paul and Charlie will have to be careful, so will Steve and Ryan because of the age differences. We'll just find her weak spot and play on it. She cramped my style a bit, so I'm off to find Seb."
"I can't get used to this place." Charles said, "I like being so open but it's still weird."
"As long as you don't mind hanging around with kids all the time." Paul said.
"I wouldn't mind spending time in the bar playing pool." Charles replied, "Let's face it, I can't really play volleyball with you, can I?"
"I get it." Ryan said, "Steve needs to spend time with you guys. Just remember who you go to bed with."
"Not so loud." Paul said, "Remember, tourists don't like us knowing about sex."
"Sorry." Ryan replied, "I want to stay here too. How do I divorce my parents? No forget it. It would cause you guys too much hassle, and Steve's only here for the holiday.
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