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Not Always Easy

by Kit

Chapter 15 - An Old Friendship And A New Love

Monday morning marked the start of the new school term, the third and final term of the school year. For someone as indecisive as myself, the average school day was a gift from heaven. My alarm woke me at seven thirty, and from that time until I arrived home at about four fifteen, the easy routine meant that I had very few decisions to make. After Easter holiday following my seventeenth birthday, though my usual schedule remained as it had been, my life outside school became more hectic.

That very first day of term I'd arranged to meet Dan, so I took John home, then quickly showered and changed before going to Dan's house. When I got there he opened the door as soon as I stopped the car, so he must have been looking out for me, and when I got out of the car he greeted me with a huge smile and almost dragged me indoors. As soon as I entered the house he gave me a big hug and the same sort of gentle, loving kiss that he'd given me the previous night. I noticed that his dark, slightly curly hair was damp and there was a slight fragrance of apple-scented soap, so I guessed that he'd showered just before I arrived.

"It's great to see you," he said as soon as we finished the kiss.

"It's great to see you, too."

"D'ya want a drink?" he asked as he led me by the hand into the living room.

"Any apple juice?"


I sat back and relaxed on the sofa while he went to get the drinks, and I remembered the last time I'd sat there, just one week earlier. Then I had felt uncomfortable with my arm around Dan, and now I was eager for him to return with our drinks so that I could put my arms around him again. What a difference a week can make!

"Well, we made sure you won't have any problems with Sue," Dan announced proudly as he re-entered the room with our drinks.

"Oh? How?" I asked. "And who's 'we'?"

"Steve, Mike and me."

He put the drinks on the coffee table and sat down beside me, close enough so we were touching, then he carried on with his report.

"We met up at morning break and went to find Sue. We found her with a couple of her friends and told them to shove off. Ya know, she looked really scared, even though she must've known we wouldn't physically hurt her. Anyway, I told her that I knew she'd got Gerard and Stu to attack me and that I'd go to the police and tell them everything if anything happened to you."

He paused to sip his drink then he draped his right arm over my shoulders in a way that seemed totally natural and comfortable.

"She said she wasn't worried cos it was my word against hers," he continued. "Then Steve said he saw her running away when he came to rescue me..."

"But he didn't, did he?" I interrupted.

"No, but for my sake and yours, he was prepared to lie to her. Anyway, he told her he'd not said anything at the time because he didn't know for sure she was involved until I told him later. I pointed out that if I went to the police, or even just to the headmaster, and told them she was involved then she would be expelled at the very least."

He sighed, and I put my arm around his waist, snuggling down to rest my head on his chest. I revelled in his sweet scent as he continued.

"She wasn't going to give up without a struggle and said I wouldn't dare make a fuss because I wouldn't want the whole town to know I was a 'poofter'. I told her that if anything bad happened to you then I wouldn't care about my reputation as long as I could get back at her. Then both Steve and Mike told her that although she was a girl and they might not be prepared to physically hurt her themselves, they knew plenty of girls who would settle the score for them."

"Would any girls really do that?" I asked.

Having gone to an all-boy school since I was eleven, my knowledge of how teenage girls behaved at school was pretty limited. Actually, my knowledge of how teenage girls behaved anywhere was pretty limited.

"You'd better believe it!" Dan chuckled. "The cat-fights at school can be pretty vicious! Anyway, what matters is that Sue believed it, especially when she saw that Mike and Steve were both backing me up. She turned the air blue insulting us, but she said that you weren't worth her trouble. So I'm sure now that you'll be okay."

"But s'pose she calls your bluff?" I asked a little dubiously.

He lifted my head so that he could look into my eyes.

"It wasn't a bluff!" he said with a determined frown. "If anything happened to you then Steve and I would go and see Blaine. And Sue would end up with more than just a few bruises."

"That doesn't sound like the shy and gentle Dan I've come to know," I said quietly, voicing my thoughts.

"Well," he said, smiling and stroking my hair, "whether I'm shy and gentle or not, I love you, and while I'm alive I'll do anything to protect you."

I didn't know whether to cry or laugh. I was emotionally overwhelmed and felt like crying because someone other than Mike had said that about me. On the other hand, I felt like laughing because of the irony of Dan being my protector so soon after Steve had been telling me that we needed to protect Dan. In fact, I neither laughed nor cried, but just put my head back on his chest and squeezed his waist.

"Thanks, Dan," I said humbly.

"Hey, it wasn't just me, it was Steve and Mike as well!"

"Yeah, but it was your idea, and without you they'd have no hold over Sue."

We sat like that in comfortable silence for several minutes, sometimes rocking gently from side to side, sometimes gently stroking one another in a non-sexual manner. Even though my cock was steel-hard and my boxers were wet with pre-cum, I had no real sexual intentions and was perfectly happy just being there with him. With my head on his chest, I was sure that I could see a bulge in his loose trousers, and strangely I wasn't embarrassed by the thought that he might see my own bulge.

For a while my mind drifted lazily in the present with no thoughts of past or future, and I was just enjoying the touch and the scents of the 'now'. Then a thought occurred to me, and I raised my head from his chest to look into his gorgeous eyes.

"Have you told your parents?" I asked.

"About us being boyfriends? Not yet. I want to get Mum alone first. I told you about my dad accepting me being gay but he doesn't want it pushing in his face. Well I want to ask Mum if telling him I have a boyfriend counts as pushing it in his face."

"Oh," I said.

I don't know what emotion he might have read into my tone because I didn't really feel any particular emotion about it. As far as I was concerned, he'd given me a piece of information, and I'd accepted it at face value. However, he must have thought I'd given some sort of negative reaction.

"I'm not ashamed!" he said gazing intensely into my eyes. "I'm not ashamed of being gay and I'm certainly not ashamed of having you as my boyfriend."

"I never thought you were ashamed," I said smiling and stroking his cheek. "I'm sure you'll decide what's best and then do it. I trust you."

Those last three words were very simple but they held a great deal of meaning, and they were the absolute truth. Up until that day, Mike, John, and my parents were the only people I could say I trusted totally and absolutely, but now I trusted Dan just as much.

"I trust you," I repeated, as if announcing a revelation.

Dan didn't reply but leaned towards me and gave me his special gentle kiss. It was the kiss that was uniquely his, the kiss that had his tongue dancing lightly over my lips, the kiss that said 'love' more than any other kiss ever could. Like an amateur learning from an expert, I did my best to return his kiss, and I hoped that the depth of my feelings would make up for whatever I might lack in technique.

Time ceased to exist for me, so I've no idea how long the kiss lasted, but my attention was dragged back to reality when I heard the front door open and Dan's mother call out his name. We rapidly but reluctantly pulled away from one another and I quickly tried to adjust myself in an attempt to make the bulge in my jeans less obvious.

"In here, Mum," Dan called.

"Oh, hello, Paul," his mother said with a warm smile as she entered the room. "Dan told me you'd be popping round to see him."

"Hello, Mrs Harris," I said as I stood to greet her, thankful that my stiffy was deflating.

Dan also stood up and went to greet his mum with a hug.

"I see you've both got something to drink," she said looking at our glasses on the coffee table, "but I'm dying for a cup of tea!"

She went to the kitchen and Dan began to follow her, but when he saw me standing hesitantly, he came back.

"C'mon," he said quietly. "Now seems a good time to tell her."

With that, he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the kitchen, where his mum was filling the kettle.

"Mum, I've got something to tell you," he said.

His mum turned toward us and gave Dan an inquiring look but didn't say anything.

"Paul and I are boyfriends," he continued as he studied here face to assess her reaction.

"Well, that's a relief!" she said with a grin.

Surprised by that particular response, Dan and I looked at one another. Mrs Harris sat down at the table as she waited for the kettle to boil, but didn't say anything else.

"What d'ya mean?" Dan eventually asked.

"I'm your Mum, Dan, and I can read you like a book. You've not been your usual cheerful self for ages, and from the way you were moping around, I guessed you were in love. At first I was worried that you were in love with Steve..."

"Why were you worried it was Steve?" he interrupted.

"Because, we all know that he isn't gay, so if you were in love with him I knew you'd get hurt. Anyway, when you said you'd invited Paul for lunch last week, then spent the night in discussion with Steve, then told us you were going cycling with Paul the next day... ze leetle grey cells got working...

"Motherrr!" Dan groaned. "You've been watching too much Hercule Poirot!"

"So," she continued, ignoring his outburst, "as you've never made lunch for anyone except family and Steve, and as you usually go cycling only with Steve, I began to wonder if Paul was more than just a friend. Then yesterday we met Paul, and your dad and I were most impressed with him."

She paused and seemed to enjoy watching me blush.

"I thought only Dan blushed like that!" She laughed, then continued, "Well, you go for lunch and come back looking like you were in heaven, so then I was certain you were in love. The only worry I had then was whether or not Paul returned you're feelings, so that's why I was relieved when you told me he was your boyfriend."

She smiled broadly at us as she finished this exposition of her skill at logic, and I had to agree with Dan that she probably had been watching too much Hercule Poirot.

"What about Dad then?" Dan asked her worriedly. "D'ya think I should tell him, ya know, with him not wanting to talk about me being gay?"

"Your dad's come round a lot in the last year, so if we tell him together I'm sure he'll be okay. In fact, he already mentioned your recent unusual behaviour, so I bet he suspects even though he didn't actually say so. The only thing is... it might be a good idea not to get too 'touchy-feely' in front of him."

Dan and I looked at one another and realised we were still holding hands, so we let go.

"You can be 'touchy-feely' with me around," she said. Then she laughed and then added, "Within reason. And I think just holding hands would be okay, even with your dad."

We smiled shyly and Dan tentatively took my hand in his.

"Are you staying for dinner, Paul?" she asked.

"No thanks Mrs Harris, my parents are expecting me home. In fact, I should be going soon."

"Well I hope to see you again soon. Now I'm sure my son will want to say goodbye to you somewhere more private!"

I began to wonder if she just enjoyed embarrassing me or whether she was trying to find out if I could blush even more deeply than her son. As she got up to continue making her tea, Dan dragged me back to the living room. There he embraced me and gave me a kiss that was just as loving as all his previous kisses, but this time his tongue probed deeply into my mouth and I was startled by his passion. I pulled away, feeling a little uncomfortable because of his mother's proximity.

"Dan!" I hissed, "She might come back in here!"

"Didn't you hear her?" he laughed quietly, "She said we could have some privacy."

"Well," I said, relaxing back into his arms and returning his embrace, "I really do have to go home."

"Oh," he said sadly. "What about tomorrow night?"

When I reminded him of the arrangement I had to help Rob with his maths and chemistry on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he frowned. His face showed concern as well as disappointment, and as he looked at me in silence I could sense he was struggling with something internally.

"Look," I said, trying to smooth things over, "he's a friend, he needs help, and I promised. It's only for four weeks, until his exams."

"Okay, I understand. But what if he wants to, erm, mess around?" he asked.

"Then he'll be disappointed! But he knows I'm with you now, so I'm sure the situation won't come up. Anyway, I'll phone you later tonight and again tomorrow after dinner. Maybe we can get together on Wednesday night?"

"Oh, I'm sure I can manage that!" he said, looking much happier.

We stood there kissing and cuddling for a few more minutes until I definitely had to go and we reluctantly separated. He escorted me to the front door and watched as I got into my car, then I'm sure that I saw him smirk when he saw that I had to adjust myself in my jeans before I could sit down comfortably. When I got back home, it was just in time for dinner with my family, and immediately afterwards I went to my room to do some homework. Fortunately, there was only a little maths to do, but I was rather annoyed that there was any at all since it was only the first day of school. While I was still finishing off, Mike arrived and came straight up to my room.

"Hey you!" he said as he entered the room.

"Hey you, too!"

"Homework on the first day, eh? Bummer!"

"Yeah," I groaned, "but I've nearly finished."

Mike walked up behind me to look at what I was doing, and as he leaned over he put his hand on my desk.

"Hey, you're wearing the ring I gave you," I observed with a smile.

"Yeah, cool, isn't it?" he grinned.

As I emerged from my maths-mode thinking I remembered something.

"Erm, thanks for what you did today," I said, "with Dan and Steve."

"Oh, I only went as backup. Dan did most of it."

"Yeah, well thanks anyway. Erm, what did you do with your other ring?"

"After Dan had his little chat with Sue this morning I gave it back to her."


"She threw the box on the floor then stamped on it!" Mike said with a hollow laugh. "Then she picked up the ring from wreckage and stormed off."

"I'm sorry, Mike."

"Hey! Nothing to be sorry for, cos it's not you're fault. That's just life, I guess..."

He tried to pretend he wasn't in pain, but I knew better.

The next four weeks developed into a pleasant though somewhat arduous routine, and as I'd predicted, my sessions with Rob were purely platonic. He never made any attempt to seduce me and seemed quite happy with the fact that Dan and I were now together. On a couple of evenings I had dinner with Rob's family, and on one of those occasions John joined us. In fact, John spent as much time with the Streeters as I did, though Marie didn't visit him as often as he visited her, and she wasn't yet 'officially' his girlfriend.

For the whole of that month, Rob never socialised with me outside of his house, but I assumed that was because he was studying hard. As my homework got priority, I found that on weekdays I didn't get to see either Dan or Mike as much as I would have liked, but we seemed to make up for it at weekends. During the second half of the month after he split up with Sue, Mike started seeing other girls, but I could tell his heart wasn't really in it, and he told me that it was 'just to be sociable'.

On Wednesdays and Fridays I went to Dan's house before dinner, and we kissed and cuddled until his mum got home. On Saturdays I spent most of the day with Mike, and on Saturday evenings Mike, Steve, Dan and I got together, with John joining us if he wasn't seeing Marie. Mike and Steve got on really well, and they probably would have become even closer friends if Steve hadn't been spending so much time studying for his exams.

For Dan and me, Sundays were 'our' days, and we spent them together, though we were not always alone. Without any conscious plan, we ended up alternating Sunday lunches with one another's families, then spending the afternoons out in the car. On the days that I went to lunch at Dan's house, he would spend the morning cooking what was to me a sumptuous feast, and on one Sunday my whole family went to lunch at his house. On the Sunday evenings we would be together in either my room or his until one of us had to go home to bed. Without saying anything specifically, both sets of parents gave the impression that what went on behind our bedroom doors was private. There was no comment about what we should or shouldn't do, apart from Dan's mum once reminding him to be careful, and my mum telling me that she and Dad trusted me to be 'responsible'.

So, Sunday evenings were our private time and we could become physically intimate without the fear of being interrupted. Despite that freedom, we never even saw one another naked, and we didn't go beyond what might be called 'heavy petting'. That doesn't mean we weren't tactile, and in fact we were in physical contact virtually all the time we were alone together. It also doesn't mean that we weren't sexual, and indeed that private time with Dan was far more sexual than any of my experiences with Ben or Rob. On more than one occasion we each came in our pants and had to make trips to the bathroom to clean up.

Dan's sexual experiences with Steve had not involved romance, and there had been no tongue-in-mouth kissing, so this was his first romantic sexual relationship, and he was content to take things slowly. Bearing in mind my previous experiences, I, too, was happy that we were taking our time. However, we were both looking forward to a time when we would spend the night together, and we were both thinking of when and where we would do it.

On our third Sunday as a 'couple' we were lying side by side on his bed, wearing T-shirts and jeans, with our limbs intertwined. As I'd kissed only two other people before Dan, I suppose I wasn't the best judge in the world, but it to me it was impossible to imagine how anyone could kiss better. He had a vast repertoire of different types of kisses, from light and tender butterfly-touches to deep and passionate tongue wrestling.

"However did you learn to kiss so well?" I asked breathlessly at the end of one long kiss.

"Learn?" he asked in a puzzled tone. "I never learned. I just do what seems right."

"But you're just so fantastic at it!" I said, losing myself in his beautiful brown eyes.

"So are you, " he said with a wide grin.

"But I've been learning from you, just copying what you do to me. So what's you're secret?" I teased as I squeezed him tightly in my embrace.

He was lost in thought for a moment and he apparently had taken my teasing question very seriously.

"Love," he said eventually. "When I kiss you, when I touch you in any way, I just want it to show how much I love you. I feel my love pouring out to you, and I think it must be the same with you, cos I can feel the love pouring back into me."

I blushed and hugged him tighter, then he buried his face in my chest and I stroked his silky black hair. We stayed like that, perfectly content, for several minutes, then I had another one of my moments of revelation. This time it wasn't a sudden flash, though, but instead it grew like a tidal wave approaching the shore, and as the unstoppable wave of certainty broke over me, I spoke.

"I'm sure now," I said quietly and calmly.

"What?" Dan asked, raising his head and looking into my eyes again.

"I'm sure I love you and that it's the real thing. I'm absolutely certain that I'm totally in love with you and I want to be with you forever."

Although his face was shining with the biggest smile I'd ever seen, tears began to pour down his cheeks.

"Hey," I said teasing gently. "Why the tears? I thought it'd be good news."

"Silly sausage!" he laughed. "I've never been happier in my life!"

He gave me one of his extra-special love kisses, with his tongue caressing my lips, and in return I kissed away the tears from his cheeks. Then he gave a big sigh, replaced his head on my chest, and tightened his embrace. We stayed like that for several minutes until I broke the silence.

"I'm gonna have to go soon," I said sadly.

"Awwww," he moaned, "just a bit longer?"

"Well, it's school tomorrow, but I'm sure we can manage a few more minutes," I said smiling to myself.

"Ya know, I'd love to be able to fall asleep in your arms like this," he said. Then after a few seconds of silence, he continued hesitantly, "Erm, Paul?"


"D'ya think we could actually spend the night together sometime soon? I mean, we don't have to get more, ya know, physical, unless ya want to, but it'd be really nice not to have to say goodnight. And it would be soooo great to wake up next to you in the morning."

"Yeah," I said dreamily, "I'd like that as well. But when and where? And what, if anything, do we say to our parents?"

"Well, I'd prefer not to sneak around behind their backs. I love you and I'm proud of it, and we're both well over legal age," he said, almost defiantly. Then he sighed, and in a more resigned tone, he continued. "But I don't relish the idea of telling my dad that you're staying overnight in my bed."

"My place is probably better," I said after some thought. "Prob'ly my parents would be okay with you staying over sometime."

"Will you ask them, then?" he asked eagerly, moving his head from my chest and looking pleadingly up into my eyes.

"Okay," I said with a grin. "I'll pick a good time and talk to them."

He returned my grin and began to kiss me again as he rolled on top of me.

When I got home that night I would've liked to have asked my parents immediately about Dan staying overnight sometime, but as soon as I entered the house my parents began discussing John's birthday. There were only ten days to go, and with all the other things going on in my life, its approach had caught me unprepared. The day itself was in the middle of the week, and because it was a school day, my parents had agreed that he could have his party the Saturday before his birthday.

With less than a week to the party, I needed to discuss the subject of John's birthday present with my parents. Having so recently spent a large proportion of my money on Mike's ring, I didn't have much left for John's present. Still, I wanted to get him something special and wanted to suggest to my parents an idea for a joint present. My idea was based on the fact that John loved roller coasters, and I thought it would be nice to take him for a day trip to Alton Towers, where there was a good collection of them. However, the cost of entrance fees for John, myself, and a couple of his friends was a long way outside my budget.

My parents thought my idea was good, and between us we worked out a way I could afford it. I would pay for John, myself, and the cost of my petrol, while my parents would pay for up to three of John's friends. As this was not really the sort of present one could easily spring as a surprise, we discussed it with him before bed that night while he was making out a list of party guests. Of course he wanted to invite Marie, and he also intended to invite Rob, though I wasn't sure Rob would come because his exams started just a couple of days after the party. Thus, coincidentally, the party would also celebrate the end my tutoring sessions. Although I enjoyed my time with Rob, the sessions were really eating into my homework and social time, so I was happy at the thought of getting back my Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

John pointed out that unless James brought his girlfriend, Marie was the only girl on his list, and he was worried she might feel uncomfortable about that. He became less worried when Mum suggested that John ask Marie to invite a couple of her girl friends and I suggested that Mike might want to invite a girl as well. Alex and James were immediately under Marie's name at the top of the invitation list, and John told me that he assumed that I would bring Dan as my 'partner'. He also asked me to invite Steve, which I was pleased to do, especially as Steve's last exam was in the week before the party, so it would be an additional reason for celebrating. Then I had a wonderful idea.

"Erm, Mum, Dad," I said nervously. "As Dan will be here for the party and he lives a long way out of town, how about he stays over afterwards?"

There was silence for a few moments, and while I waited for a reply I noticed John seemed to be just as interested as I was in what my parents' answer might be. Dad looked at Mum, who thought for a few seconds, then nodded. From that exchange, I got the distinct impression that they had already discussed the possibility of this situation.

"Okay, Paul, you're both over sixteen and you both seem to be serious about your relationship. No doubt, sooner or later, you'll find a way of spending a night together even if we said 'no' now. Also, we're glad you feel comfortable enough to have Dan staying here, so we're happy to have him. Just remember, we trust the two of you to be discreet and, erm, careful."

"We will Dad," I said blushing. "Thanks!"

Though I desperately wanted to phone Dan immediately with the good news, we still had to sort out John's birthday present. John was delighted at my idea for his present and thanked us profusely, so we decided that our trip to Alton Towers would be on the Saturday after his birthday. It didn't surprise me when he named his three guests as Alex, James, and Mike, though I had wondered if he might have invited Marie. Later, John told me that although he and Marie had a lot in common, she did not share his passions for either football or roller coasters.

Having decided on the plans for John's party and present, I rushed to my room to phone Dan, and I guessed from my parents' smiles that they understood the reason for my unseemly haste to leave them. Of course Dan was ecstatic at my news and told me that he was certain that his parents would agree, especially as the party would be a wonderful excuse. When the phone call ended, I got ready for bed, and as I was on my way to the bathroom, John passed me in the hallway. As he said 'goodnight', he winked at me and gave me the most salacious grin I've ever seen.

Needless to say, the anticipation I felt all through the week before the party made the days go by with agonising slowness. I'd be lying if I said that the prospect of sexual intimacy wasn't a major source of anticipation, but I was equally excited at the prospect of falling asleep in Dan's arms and waking up beside him the next morning. As usual, we saw one another on the Wednesday and Friday evenings, and all the time we were together we were like two little boys in the week before Christmas.

On the day of the party, Dan came over in the afternoon to help Mum prepare food, while Dad, Mike, John, and myself went shopping and then got the house ready. Dan, as his present to John, had made a wonderfully decorated rich fruit birthday cake. Whenever our paths crossed during the course of our work, Dan and I had to exert all of our willpower to avoid kissing one another. However, our willpower was insufficient to enable us to suppress our silly grins, and several times our co-workers raised their eyes to heaven when they saw us together.

No one was surprised that Mike, with his good looks and charming personality, was bringing a girl. Rob had politely declined his invitation, Steve would be coming alone, and John informed us that James would not be bringing his girlfriend. Marie was bringing two of her friends, and John had invited a couple of his school friends, so there would be nine boys and four girls. At first John was worried about the number thirteen, but I pointed out that with our parents and Mike's mum hovering around, there would be sixteen people all together.

The party went well and was very enjoyable, though to be honest, my attention was mainly on Dan. Steve was happy because his exams were over and because he thought he'd done well, and he was even happier that Dan and I were officially boyfriends. At first I thought Steve was avoiding us, but when we tackled him about it he said that he was just trying to give us 'space to be together'. Dan and I made it clear to him that we would have plenty of opportunities to be alone and to have 'space together', and that we wanted to be with him and enjoy his company.

There were only two other things I especially remember about the party. First, I noticed that Sally, Mike's companion, a tall, slender brunette, was extremely attractive and friendly. Second, James didn't arrive until quite late, and when we thought he might not turn up at all, we almost had the blowing-out-candles ceremony without him. As it was, he arrived just as the candles were being lit, and for the rest of the night he didn't look particularly happy or comfortable being there.

Everyone complimented Dan on the marvellous cake, making him blush profusely, and as Steve, Mike, and Sally were deep in some conversation, Dan and I found a quiet corner of the living room to eat our share of the cake together. Dan noticed that James, whom he'd never met, was sitting alone and eating cake on the other side of the room.

"Who's that boy? He doesn't seem to be enjoying himself very much."

I looked across at James and noted that he seemed to have grown taller and wider since I'd last seen him, though he was still a little small for his age and quite thin. He had a tough look about him, maybe because his light brown hair was cut very short and because his grey-blue eyes sometimes seemed icy. Often in the past I'd wondered if that tough appearance wasn't a deliberate attempt to hide his real personality, which, at least when I used to know him well, was quiet, shy and sensitive.

"That's James," I sighed. "I wish I knew what happened to him."


"Yeah, until a couple of years ago James, John, Mike, and I were all really close, and Mum used to call us the Gang Of Four. Actually, she seemed to think of it as a joke, but it's one I never understood. Anyway, for about four years he was like a brother to the three of us, especially John. Then, for some reason he just stopped coming round and always seemed too busy to do anything with us."

Then I went on to tell Dan how we first met James in one of those 'adventure playgrounds' when I was ten. At the time, the playground was relatively new, and because it was quite close to where we lived, Mike, John, and I went there quite frequently. John had always been very adventurous and sociable, so he went off exploring the rest of the playground while Mike and I were swinging on ropes dangling from the mast of a 'pirate ship'.

When we later went looking for John, we found him sitting on top of a climbing frame with another boy. The two younger boys were engaged in animated discussion about soccer, and when we interrupted them to say it was time to go home, they both seemed disappointed. As we walked home, John told us about his new friend, James, and how they were both keen on soccer and were supporters of Manchester United. Finding a fellow enthusiast obviously pleased John because Mike had only a mild interest in soccer and I had no interest at all.

At that time, Mike and I had already been best friends for a couple of years, and John was our close friend as well as my little brother. Within a month of the first meeting, James had become part of our little group. We liked James for many reasons, not least of which were his kindness, intelligence and good humour, though he never showed much of his true self to strangers. When James became part of our group he was always friendly and open with Mike and me. Although he was still relatively quiet with us, we saw what a nice person he really was. When John was present, however, he seemed to blossom, and turned into a bright, chatty, vivacious version of the same boy. At first we put this down to a shared enthusiasm for soccer, but later we noticed this extra vitality in James no matter what he and John were talking about.

"So what happened?" asked Dan as I paused in my tale.

"I wish I knew! When John and James were almost thirteen, James drifted away, and John became close friends with Alex, a boy in his class. Whether one was cause and one was effect, I don't know, but Alex and James seemed to get on okay together. James doesn't go to our school. In fact, he's at your school. Don't you recognise him?"

"Mmmm, no, I don't think so," Dan replied. "But our school's a lot bigger than yours and James is a couple of years below me."

"Anyway," I continued, "the fact he and John went to different schools shouldn't have made any difference. After all, Mike and I go to different schools and we stayed friends."

At this point in our conversation, James went over to where John and Marie were chatting with Alex and a girl whose name I don't remember. Seeing James and Alex standing near one another made it obvious that in many ways Alex, who was tall and muscular, with curly blond hair and light blue eyes, was very different from James. This sight prompted me to explain to Dan that the differences between the two boys were not just in their physical appearance. For example, James was more intelligent, but Alex was outgoing and a born organiser. Although I liked Alex as a person, he never became part of our 'Gang of Four', and unlike James, I never thought of Alex as another little brother.

As I finished telling Dan all that, James exchanged a few words with John and Alex, and then left the house, so presumably he'd just gone over to say 'goodbye'. He'd been at the party for less than an hour.

"Ya know," I said sadly, "James' birthday is just a couple of weeks after John's and for three years they even had joint birthday parties."

Seeing that I was sad, Dan discreetly took my hand and gave it a squeeze.

After I saw how James had been sitting alone at the party and how quickly he'd left, I realised how far he'd drifted away from us, and it occurred to me that maybe I hadn't noticed it before because the process had been so slow. In the past when I'd wondered why James had changed, I'd never given it any deep thought. and now I felt guilty. Perhaps that was the reason I felt a need to tell Dan more about James.

"James' mum died not long before his thirteenth birthday," I continued. "She was a lovely person and we were all very sad, though of course James was devastated."

"What happened to her?"

"I think it was a heart attack, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was related to the fact that she smoked all the time."

"You mentioned you thought of him like a brother," Dan said after a few moments of thoughtful silence. "Does he have any real brothers or sisters?"

"One brother, Tim, who's eleven years older. His parents were quite old when James was born, and I think his arrival took them by surprise. Anyway, Tim left home a couple of years before their mum died, and no one I know of has seen him since. If you believe the local gossip, apparently Tim had a big fight with his dad before he left."

"Oh? What's his dad like?"

"Seems okay, but we never saw much of him cos he was always either at work or involved in some church activity. Whenever I talked to him he was a bit distant, but I know lots of kids with dads like that."

"Maybe your friendship needs rebuilding," Dan said after a few moments of silent thought. "Didn't you say he's going to Alton Towers with you next week?"

"He's invited, but I'm not sure yet if he's definitely going."

"Well, if he does go, then perhaps that's a chance to try to become friends again."

Hearing Dan say that, I realised yet again what a kind, caring, and thoughtful person he was, and I was grateful that such a person should be my boyfriend.

The rest of the party went off without any further memorable events. Mr Streeter arrived at eleven o'clock to collect Marie, but he didn't stay for cake as he was playing the role of taxi-driver for Marie's friends. Soon after that, Mike left to escort Sally home, and by midnight the only people remaining in the house were Dan, my family, and myself. Dan and I would have liked to have gone to bed as soon as the preliminary clean-up was completed, but we didn't want to seem too eager, so we sat with my parents and John, drinking tea and talking for a few minutes.

Eventually, my parents went to bed, and Dan and I went to my room, leaving John to use the bathroom first. While we waited for John to go to bed, Dan and I kicked off our shoes and sat on my bed. We kissed and cuddled with an excited eagerness that, at least in my own case, was tinged with some nervousness. After all, we'd never even seen one another naked before, and now we were going to spend a whole night in bed together.

"Do you want to shower first or second?" I asked as soon as I heard John leave the bathroom.

"Why not both together?" Dan asked with a wicked grin.

"Well, my parents' bedroom is next to the bathroom, so they may hear us," I said feeling both tempted and concerned.

"We can be really, really quiet," he said quietly in a wheedling tone.

"Okay, but we mustn't make a sound!" I warned him.

The first thing we did when we got to the bathroom was to brush our teeth, but then I became paralysed by nervousness and just stood looking at him. As this would be our first time seeing one another naked, I was desperately hoping that he'd like what he saw. Dan seemed to read my mind, because he leaned toward me, gave me his special lip-licking kiss, and whispered in my ear.

"Please," he asked, "may I undress you?"

I nodded 'yes', and he kissed me again before he began to unbutton my shirt, starting at my neck and working his way down. As he unfastened each button, he kissed the portion of my skin that was revealed, so that by the time my shirt was pulled out of the top of my jeans, he had placed a trail of kisses down the entire front of my body. When he'd removed my shirt completely and bared my smooth chest, he kissed my nipples and stood back.

"You're very beautiful, Paul," he whispered, causing me to blush.

"So are you," I whispered back.

"But you've not seen me yet," he smiled.

"I've seen enough to know you're beautiful, and not just physically, either."

He, too, blushed, and then he embraced me, kissing me deeply and passionately, his tongue exploring my mouth. He knelt and began to undo my belt, kissing and licking my 'inny' belly button as he did so. My knees felt weak, so in order to remain upright I had to lean against the tiled wall, and as I did this, he pulled my jeans down to my ankles. He sat back on his heels and gazed at the tent in my grey boxers, and for a moment he seemed to be studying the darker patch caused by the large amount of pre-cum that I'd produced.

When he leaned forward and started nuzzling, licking, and kissing the wet patch that marked the position of the head of my penis, I nearly squealed. Instead my throat produced a sound somewhere between a squeak and a whimper as he used his lips to massage me through the fabric. Then he sat back again and pulled my boxers down to my ankles, allowing my cock to bounce up and hit my stomach. He stroked my almost hairless balls and ran his fingers through my bush of light brown pubes, then stood up and kissed me, gently caressing my nipples.

"Your turn," I whispered as I stepped away from my jeans and boxers.

Because he was wearing a T-shirt, I couldn't repeat his actions in removing my shirt, so I just lifted it up over his head. As he raised his arms to allow me to remove it, I admired his smooth, slim chest and stomach. Compared with my own pale skin, his was a pale golden brown, which I later found out was his natural skin tone and not a result of exposure to the sun. His pectoral and abdominal muscles were well defined, but he was quite thin, so I could clearly see every one of his ribs. He groaned when I began to kiss and lick his nipples, and so, suppressing my giggles, I looked up and said 'Shush'.

I threw his T-shirt on top of my clothes and sat on my heels to remove his loose black trousers. He had no belt, so my task was simple, and soon his trousers were round his ankles, revealing the outline of his erection in his sky-blue briefs. Though his legs had only a little hair, it was more than me. Also, unlike me, he had a fine trail of dark hair from the top of his briefs to his 'inny' belly button. Repeating what he had done to me, I kissed and nuzzled on the wet patch on his briefs, and this had a dramatic effect. He groaned and slid to the floor, knocking me backwards onto the side of the bath. He opened his eyes, obviously concerned that I might be hurt, but then he started giggling when he saw me lying on the floor trying to suppress my own laughter.

"Shush!" I hissed.

We helped one another to stand, and when we no longer needed to suppress our laughter, we began to kiss deeply, our cocks grinding together, separated only by the cloth of his briefs. I reached down, pushed his briefs to his knees, and gazed on his penis for the first time. It was a little longer than mine, but it was also slightly slimmer. Like me, the skin on his cock and balls was a little darker than the rest of his body, and also like me, he was uncircumcised, so I could just see the red tip peeking through the foreskin and glistening with pre-cum.

From my angle of view, there didn't seem to be much hair on his balls, though his pubic bush was thick and dark. I couldn't resist the urge to touch his dick, so I grabbed it and gently squeezed, causing him to moan quietly as I moved the silky skin over the steel-hard shaft. We began kissing again as he reached out and started to slowly manipulate my cock.

"Let's get in the shower," I whispered.

As I turned on the water and adjusted the temperature, Dan came up behind me and pressed the front of his body against my back as he stroked my chest and nuzzled the back of my neck. Once the water temperature was right, we got in, with me nearest the shower head, and we passed the shower gel between us so that we could rub it on each other. Then we rubbed our soapy bodies and cocks together, and a couple of times I was close to cumming.

The next few minutes were spent partly in getting clean, but just as much in a mutual exploration of one another's bodies. I peeled back his foreskin and massaged the slim helmet until he pushed me away, warning that he was about to cum, then he did the same to me. When he stood with his back to me and lifted his leg to soap up his calf, I slipped my soapy hand between his ass cheeks and stroked his anal ring.

"Oooh!" he gasped and jerked away.

"Sorry!" I said, thinking that I'd gone too far.

"No, it's okay. In fact it was really nice. Just that no one but me's touched there before and it took me by surprise," he said, turning to grin at me.

"What about when ya were a baby? Who wiped yer bum then?" I joked.

"Silly sod! That doesn't count!"

Eager to get back to my bedroom, we quickly rinsed off the suds before getting out of the shower to dry off. We were both still rock hard and leaking pre-cum and we couldn't stop touching and fondling one another. After wrapping towels around our waists and picking up our clothes, we made a quick dash back to my bedroom, taking care to be as quiet as possible. Although no one would ever enter my room without first knocking and waiting for my permission, on that particular night I didn't want to take any chances, so I locked the door. We threw our clothes onto the spare bed and Dan turned to kiss and embrace me. I think the towels fell to the ground by themselves, because I don't remember either of us touching them, and within seconds our cocks were grinding together.

Slowly, without breaking our kiss, I manoeuvred Dan backwards until the back of his legs touched the side of my bed and he fell slowly onto his back with me lying on top of him. Still kissing deeply and passionately, our hands explored every part of one another's bodies that were within reach and I lost my soul in the depths of his beautiful brown eyes. Eventually coming up for air, we broke the kiss and I rolled off him to lie on my side facing him. Without breaking eye contact, I ran my hand lightly over the smooth skin and well-defined muscles of his chest and abdomen. He giggled quietly and reached his hand down to squeeze my dripping cock. I moaned and almost came at his first touch, but just managed to hold myself back. Then I moved my hand to his cock and started pulling and pushing the foreskin backwards and forwards over his slippery wet cock-head.

Taking my gaze away from his eyes, I looked closely at his slim elegant cock, and marvelled at its beauty and how it matched the rest of him so perfectly. Unable to resist the temptation any longer, I moved down between his legs and began licking his cock and balls. He made little whimpering sounds, and gently held the sides of my head as I licked all around his inner thigh before focusing my attentions onto his cock. When I felt him begin to tense and his balls begin to move, I sensed he was close to cumming, so I stopped what I was doing and looked up at him with an evil grin.

"Bastard!" he whispered, smiling gently.

Until I heard him speak that word, I never realised that such an apparent insult could be uttered with such love and affection.

"I love you," I said, "and I don't want you to cum just yet cos I want to give you as much pleasure as possible."

"I love you, too," he replied, "and I want to do the same for you now."

He moved around until we were in a sixty-nine position and I almost screamed with pleasure when I felt him pull back my foreskin and put the exposed head into his warm, wet mouth. For the first time, instead of just licking his cock, I took it as deeply inside my mouth as I could. It took only a couple of minutes before I could feel myself getting close, so I pulled away and moved until we were lying on our sides, face to face. We kissed and hugged, pushing our wet, slippery cocks together until, yet again, I almost came.

"Lie back," I whispered, pushing him gently. "I want to suck you off now. I want to taste your cum."

"Oh, yes. Please." he moaned.

Once again I went between his legs and began moving my mouth up and down on him. While I did this, my hand moved under his balls and I began to stroke the skin between his scrotum and his anus. I was immensely excited by the smell from that area, which was freshly cleaned but musky, and slippery with his sweat and my saliva. It was Dan's smell, his unique essence, which overwhelmed me, and I suddenly wanted more of it. He groaned as I took my mouth off his cock and buried my nose between he legs and underneath his balls.

"Paul, I can't take it anymore! I've gotta cum soon. Like now!" he said in a voice that was hoarse with lust.

Heeding the wishes of my lover, I turned my attentions back to his cock and began moving my mouth up and down on it. He grabbed my head and rubbed his fingers through my hair. Starting slowly, I gradually increased my speed, and as I did this, I stroked over and around his anus with my fingertips. Within seconds he tensed all his muscles, and with what sounded like a stifled scream, he shot several spurts of his sweet semen into my mouth. I swallowed as much as I could, savouring the taste of him, but there was so much that some dribbled out of my mouth onto his pubes and scrotum. We both lay still, with his cock remaining in my mouth, and I was surprised that it didn't go soft, as I'm sure mine would have done.

As our breathing began to slow down, Dan gently pulled my head upwards until I was lying on top of him and we were looking into one another's eyes.

"Thanks, Paul," Dan said dreamily, as if his mind was just returning from some faraway place. "I never knew anything could feel so good."

"Yer welcome, lover boy," I said with a grin.

He pulled my head down until our lips met, and his tongue caressed the insides of my mouth.

"Mmm, it tastes better from your mouth," he said as he moved his lips just a few millimetres away from my own.

"You've tasted your cum before, then?"

"Yeah, a few times," he replied, smiling shyly.

I began to grind our crotches together, and when I noticed something poking into my balls I realised he was still hard.

"Wow!" I said, impressed. "Don't you go soft after you cum?"

"Usually, but you're having a special effect on me."

I was flattered, and we both grinned as we kissed and I continued to rub my cock onto his stomach.

"I want to taste you now!" he said as he gently pushed me off.

I rolled onto my back, and he moved down and began licking and sucking on my cock, and when I was about to shoot, he stopped and pulled my legs up. Then he started licking my thighs, my balls, and under my balls. I shivered with pleasure, and when he started to move my foreskin up and down I knew I was very close to cumming.

"I'm gonna cum!" I hissed through clenched teeth.

He quickly moved his mouth over the head of my cock, and almost instantaneously, in the most pleasurable and intense orgasm of my life up until that time, I began to spurt shot after shot into his mouth. Amazingly, he managed to swallow it all without losing any, and as I calmed down from my orgasm he looked up at me.

"Delicious!" he said, licking his lips and giving me a cheeky grin.

He moved up and kissed me deeply, and for a couple of minutes we explored one another's mouths with our tongues.

"Mmm, you're right you know," I said as we paused for breath, "it does taste better this way!"

We both giggled, and he began kissing me lightly all over my face while I just gazed up at him, wondering what I'd done to deserve someone so special. Then he lay fully on top of me and started nibbling on my left ear as he started rubbing his still-hard cock over my own rapidly softening penis. Because my cock head was still supersensitive after my orgasm, the pleasure of the friction between us was almost, but not quite, uncomfortable.

Dan was obviously enjoying himself, and I began to kiss the side of his head and stroke his back as the speed of his movements increased. Within just a couple of minutes he whimpered and groaned as he ejaculated what seemed to be a large volume of semen between our bodies. I was impressed by the fact that he could cum again so quickly and produce so much, when it had been such a short time since his earlier orgasm.

"Paul, I love you soooo much," he whispered into my ear.

"I love you, too," I replied, stroking his back.

After a few minutes, he rolled off me and we cleaned ourselves up with the paper tissues from my bedside table. Then I turned off the bedside light and we snuggled together under the duvet, each of us occasionally placing light kisses on the other's lips, cheeks and nose. As we dropped off to sleep, wrapped in one another's arms, I realised that although I'd had sex with Ben and Rob, this time with Dan was my first ever experience of making love.

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