When the bell went for end of classes, the boys met up outside the school gates. David borrowed Billy's mobile and called his father telling him he was going to Billy's house before returning home.
The boys waited at the bus stop along with numerous other pupils and when the bus arrived there was the usual mad scramble to get on and grab a seat. When they were seated facing each other Billy signed, "So what were you going to tell me about Jake?"
David didn't speak instead signed, "I'll tell you when we get to your place."
David continued signing "See this red-headed git sitting next to me Billy."
"He's in our class he's a real arsehole, he beat me up a few months back."
"We were playing football during the meal break over in the playing field and he was the goalkeeper. I had the ball and headed for goal, and as he came out to try and block my shot I slipped the ball between his legs and scored. The look on his face was so comical I killed myself laughing. He got real mad and clobbered me on the side of the face he was going to belt me again but some of the other guys stopped him and made him apologize. He's a really nasty piece of work and look at the spots on his face, I'd hate to be around if they all burst at once."
Billy was trying his hardest not to smile, eventually he had to turn away pretending to look for someone so he could silently laugh. When he turned back, David had turned and smiled at the boy sitting next to him, "Hello Dennis. Everything okay?"
"Don't be sarky, Spencer or I'll belt you, and your mates aren't around here to help you."
David turned and faced Billy signing, "You see what I mean nasty piece of shit isn't he."
"What are you doing Spencer? I know Scott can hear, so why are you signing?"
"Force of habit Dennis, when someone signs I automatically sign as well, I was only telling him that you're okay."
"Yeah well as long as you're on this bus, if Scott has anything to say, you answer him with your voice."
"Alright Dennis", and David put on his most charming look.
"He is a right nasty piece of shit, David," Billy signed, "And ugly to go with it."
"Yes Billy, I quite agree with you," David said verbally and smiled sweetly at Dennis as he did so.
"Spencer you taking the piss?"
"No, Dennis, honest! Billy was just saying you're really big for your age and look really very strong and all the girls must love you."
"Yeah, well okay then."
"See you Dennis", and the two boys rose from their seats as the bus neared the stop where they had to alight.
On the pavement with the bus moving off the boys let the laughter that they were holding back escape, one with great yells, the other silently holding his sides.
When they'd composed themselves and as they walked towards his house, Billy signed, "How did he know my name?"
"His brother is in the same year as you and is friendly with Jake, so I suppose he found out through him."
"Oh okay, so tell me what do you think Jake has on his mind."
"Before I answer Billy he's lying saying that he thought I was a new kid. I've been at the school for three years and I've seen him around just the same as he's seen me around. We may not know each others' names but that doesn't mean to say we didn't know each other existed. The other point! Because he was the only one who you communicated with on a regular basis, he thought that you had to rely completely on him to make school bearable. Now because you're not too concerned about his not being on the scene, and you have someone else you can communicate with, he's feeling that your friendship with him is over."
"That's crazy David!" Billy signed, "Why would he think like that? I still regard him as a really good friend."
"I don't know! You'd have to ask him when next you see him. I think he's a bit jealous that I've taken his place."
"Yeah okay! I'll talk to him at school tomorrow. Are you going to stay for something to eat before going home," Billy enquired as they reached his house.
"No! Only came for a quick snogging session before your mum gets home."
They dashed up to Billy's room kicked of their shoes and jumped on the bed their lips came together and the boys were doing what they'd been longing to do from the moment they'd met this morning.
Next day Billy was in the classroom waiting for Jake to appear. As usual he did with Mary Rawlings and as soon as he left her side and he came over to his desk, Billy signed "Hi Jake."
"Hi! So you decided you want to talk."
"I didn't decide anything Jake! I never stopped wanting to have contact with you."
"Yeah, well how come you pissed off that Saturday at the Mall? And yesterday you couldn't wait to get out of the classroom fast enough at the end of lessons. Now you come around as if nothing has happened. What's wrong? Have you had an argument with your new friend already?"
Billy just looked at Jake then not bothering to answer him turned his back on him and sat at his desk.
Before Jake could respond to Billy turning his back on him Mr Jennings strode into the class calling out, "Silence." Jake was about to say something to Billy when he saw Mr Jennings staring at him, "Brodie," the teacher called.
"Would you mind going to your desk and being seated?"
"Yes sir" and Jake did as he was asked.
Billy didn't even bother to look at Jake during the course of the lessons, and when the first morning break came he made his way to his locker, got his drink then went out to the recreation area to wait for David.
The moment David arrived his first words were, "What's wrong?"
"How do you know if anything is wrong," Billy signed.
"By the look on your face."
Billy sat quiet for a minute till David said, "Come on give," and Billy informed him of what Jake had said in the classroom.
"Doesn't surprise me Billy! I told you I knew he was going to give you a hard time by the way he looked at us yesterday". David suddenly spotted Jake walking towards them and signed really quickly, "Talk of the Devil."
Jake came up to the two of them. "Billy, I'm sorry for saying what I did in the classroom; it was just that I thought you'd wanted to dissolve our friendship."
"No way Jake! You helped change my life by being my friend in school and outside. I'll never forget it. I was only keeping in the background to give you and Mary time together."
"Okay Billy I'm glad you found someone else who you can communicate with," turning to David, "Look out for him, there's always the odd smart arse who'll make some sort of snide remark. When that happens don't try to use your hands you're not big enough, just kick the guy in the goolies. If you do there wont be any fight". Then addressing both of them, "I have to get back to Mary. I'll see you both later," and Jake left to make his rendezvous with his girlfriend.
As soon as Jake had departed David turned to Billy, "Have you had snide remarks made at you Billy?"
Billy didn't bother to sign. He just nodded his head.
"Oh shit! I never knew there'd be guys who could be so bloody stupid. Did Jake sort them out?"
"Sort of! Not physically but verbally and because he's big enough they stood and listened. I don't think they would stand and listen if you tried it."
The bell went for the resumption of classes and the two boys quickly signed their feelings for each other before going to their respective lessons.
Once inside the room he smiled at Jake as he went to his desk, and signed "Thanks."
"What for Billy?"
"Making David feel responsible for me in school. You know he isn't much bigger than I am but what you said to him I'm sure made him feel ten feet tall."
"Yeah well I wanted to make up for what happened earlier and for dumping you during the holidays, I didn't mean to but when I got involved with Mary I couldn't think about anything else, and now that you've got David who can understand sign even better than I can, I'll be able to spend the school breaks with Mary."
"You've really gone for her in a big way Jake."
"Yeah," and Jake resorted to sign language so the other pupils wouldn't know what he was saying, "Just as bad as you have for David."
"What do you mean Jake," Billy signed, blushing at the same time.
"Billy I've never seen you leave the classroom so quickly when the bell goes for school breaks and the look on your face when you see David only matches mine when I see Mary."
"What are you going to do?" And he lowered his head looking at the floor.
Jake nudged the boy making him look up, when he did he signed, "How you and David feel about each other is your business, and I'm not about to spoil it by telling the whole school."
Billy smiled signing, "You're the best friend I ever had Jake, and always will be."
Before their conversation could continue, the teacher walked into the room calling for text books to be opened to page 64 and no talking.
The rest of the days and weeks of term went by and the boys became even closer, and spent every moment they could in each other's company.
Their parents had also noticed the closeness of the relationship and when questioned by his father, David admitted to being emotionally involved with Billy.
After talking with Billy's mother Mr Spencer invited Billy to sit down with David and himself to discuss the issue.
When he had called the meeting David's father was under the impression that the boys relationship was just one of infatuation which they both would outgrow.
However he had to alter his opinion when he was made to understand by the boys just how deep their feelings were for each other. So he did the next best thing and advised them that as long as they were intent on this relationship to keep it as private as possible, otherwise if it became public knowledge in school, the ridicule and insults they'd face would make life for them very difficult to say the least.
Both boys put Mr Spencer's concerns to rest telling him that they knew about the discrimination and hatred held against homosexuals, and that some of the younger generation were even worse than most adults.
It was nearly a year later on a Sunday afternoon when the boys were heading back to David's house, he having spent the last two nights with Billy, when as they walked through the park David looked across the expanse of green that stretched all around them then muttered, "Oh Shit!"
Billy quickly signed, "What's wrong?"
"It's Dennis the menace."
Billy looked across the park and could see Denis Grayson cutting across the grass heading towards them. Within a minute he'd caught up with them and on doing so approached David, "Spencer I need to borrow a fiver."
"You must be joking where am I going to get a fiver from."
Looking over David's shoulder at Billy he indicated with his head, "What about your dummy friend behind you."
David forgot about the advice Jake had given him months ago. He just closed his fist and lashed out at Dennis's face. The punch was only a glancing blow. Because of his height Dennis was able to sway away from the punch then his own fist came up and crashed into David's face. Dennis Grayson had been waiting for an excuse to get back at David from way back, and although six inches taller and 28 pounds heavier he didn't hold back. As David crumpled to the floor so Dennis drew his foot back to kick him.
The fear that had paralyzed his vocal chords those many years ago now redeemed itself! Once again it acted on Billy's emotions. Seeing his friend and lover on the verge of being seriously injured that fear now galvanized Billy, and from his mouth the word, "DAVID," erupted in a deafening scream
Dennis shocked to hear the voice turned and in that instant the full weight of Billy's foot and with every ounce of his strength landed flush on his testicles. Dennis screamed in agony and crumpled to the ground holding his groin and moaning in pain. Billy didn't hesitate. He jumped on top of the howling Dennis and smashed his fists into his face bringing even louder cries of misery from the boy. He was pummelling away when a pair of hands caught him by the shoulder and pulled him off. Turning to see who it was, he saw a smiling David.
"Leave him Billy he won't try anything now."
Billy brought his hand up to gently stroke the mark where Dennis's fist had landed. "You alright David?"
Being on the verge of unconsciousness at the time of Billy's yell David hadn't heard Billy scream his name. Now hearing Billy speak for the first time, he was literally astounded. "Oh my God Billy! Oh my God! Say that again."
"You heard the first time, David, but if you want. "Are you alright?"
"Oh Shit, your voice it's beautiful. What happened?"
I got scared when I saw Dennis attacking you and my fear made my voice come back and I yelled out your name. Now we had better attend to Dennis and help him. Although he's a nut case, if it wasn't for him I'd still be signing."
"But Billy how come you can talk."
"I could always talk till I was ten years old, then when I saw my dad get killed in front of me, something happened and I lost my voice."
"Oh God Billy! You've got a beautiful voice."
"Come on David you've said that already and you're going to embarrass me if you keep saying it. Now give me a hand with Dennis", and the two boys got Dennis to his feet. He stood slightly bent in the middle still cupping his groin and moaning, his face puffed up where Billy's punches had landed. He looked at his two assailants and shuffled off.
The boys watched him go then headed back to Billy's house, talking ten to the dozen. When they reached home, they went into the sitting room to see Mrs Scott reading the Sunday papers. Looking up and seeing the two boys she exclaimed, "William, I thought David was going home."
Billy walked over to his mother and stood her up wrapping his arm around her he whispered in her ear. "He was, mum, till I got my voice back"
She pulled Billy away so she could look at his face, "Oh! William, you don't know how hard I've prayed that this day would happen."
"Well mum, your prayers and mine, have been answered! Can David stay the night? He can go to school from here tomorrow. We have loads to talk about."
"Yes but the first thing to do is to inform his father."
"I'll do that mum."
"Alright I have a few calls to make to members of the family to give them the news about your voice. You'd better be prepared because they're sure to come around and hear you for themselves."
On hearing those two words and the enormity of what had taken place brought tears of happiness to Mrs Scott eyes, and now they trickled down her cheeks.
Billy rushed to her but she quickly gathered herself and said, "Get on with calling David's father and I'll make my calls."
The boys went to Billy's bedroom inside he turned to David, "Come on give me a kiss. I want to be able to make all those noises that you make when we kiss."
David smiled and they came together. Gazing into each others' eyes their lips met and their arms wrapped themselves around each others' bodies. They were little pecks on the lips at first then their mouths joined and opened, their tongues made contact and began their dance, thrusting , caressing, then swirling around with moans of pleasure emanating from both boys.
Two minutes later they broke the kiss. "God, Billy! You moan more than me."
"Yeah well I've got to make up for all the times I couldn't. Now are you going to talk to your dad or should I."
"I think I'd better talk. If you did he might shit a brick."
Billy broke out laughing. "Oh shit Billy, even your laughter is heavenly."
"Lay off David that's just because you're hearing it for the first time, give it a few weeks and you'll be telling me to shut it."
"Never Billy! Never! But don't you ever forget your sign language, we can talk and say anything we want anywhere and the people around us won't have a clue what we're saying."
"Here you'd better tell your parents you're spending the night," and Billy handed his mobile phone to David, "And be quick we won't have a lot of time before the relations arrive. I want to make some more moaning sounds before they do."
David did the necessary but they never had a chance to continue where they had left off, they heard Mrs Scott's footsteps on the stairs then a knock on the door before she entered, "William you and David had better come down to the sitting room. Your grandmother is on her way here by cab. She can't wait for me to pick her up."
"Okay mum," and the boys followed her down.
While they waited for the inevitable flood of relations to arrive, Mrs Scott fluttered around her son continuously involving him in conversation so she could revel in the sound of his voice - that she last heard nearly seven years ago. It had been a child's voice then and now as her son spoke she realised it had changed and he was now entering manhood.
Eventually just before midnight, with the departure of the last relative, the boys were able to say goodnight to Billy's mother and make their weary way to bed.
They washed and changed into their nightwear. Then they lay together facing each other.
"Go on Billy, say it one more time pleeeaaase," David pleaded.
"Bloody Hell! David, I've said it about a hundred times already today, every time we were alone together you've asked me to say it."
"Pleeeeaaaase Billy, just one more time."
Billy looked at the pleading face that he could just make out now that his eyes had become accustomed to the dark. He moved closer to David then wrapping his arms around him said, "I love you David Spencer."
"Oh man you don't know what that does for me Billy! When I hear you say those words. I could listen to yourmmmmmm", and David's voice was cut off as a pair of lips and tongue invaded his mouth. They kissed for a while then with drooping eyelids they gradually slipped into unconsciousness, one of them knowing he had to introduce his voice to the school in the morning.
Monday morning saw the two boys sitting as they usually did on the bus heading for school when David stayed over on a Sunday night. As planned they signed their conversation so they could express themselves without anyone else understanding what was being said. They jumped off the bus at the appropriate stop with all the other pupils and made their way into the school. Inside Billy signed, "See you at break David. Love you," and he got the same response from David.
He made his way to his locker and then from there to the classroom in silence. Entering the room he went to his desk and sat down waiting for Jake to appear.
When he did after separating from Mary he walked over to his desk smiling at Billy saying, "Hi Billy," which Billy responded to in sign language. Before the conversation could be continued, Mr Jennings walked into the room calling, "Silence." He picked up the register looked around the room then started calling the names. Eventually he called, "William Scott,"
"Here Sir," Billy responded, and all heads swivelled and eyes were focused on him including Mr Jennings'.
"Scott, was that you who responded?"
"Yes sir," and the whole class started talking at once.
"Alright! Everyone settle down now", and turning his attention to Billy he enquired, "When did you regain your voice William."
"Yesterday afternoon sir in the park," and again the voices broke out till Mr Jennings silenced them once more.
Then turning to the class he addressed them, "William wasn't born dumb. From birth till the age of ten he could talk as well as any child of his age. He had a traumatic experience at ten that paralyzed his vocal chords, and now he has regained the use of his voice again. If any of you wish to know the full facts of William's story then I suggest you ask your parents they might remember it. It was in all the papers at the time, or go to the library and do some research of your own. But on no account are you to ask William or Billy as most of you call him. It is not a story he would like to recall. Now no more talking! Let's get on with the register and then the lesson."
The moment the bell went for morning break, Jake grabbed hold of Billy and hugged him saying, "God Billy, when I heard you answer when Mr Jennings called your name I nearly fell off my chair. I'm so happy for you. Does David know?"
"Yeah he was the reason I got it back," then related to Jake what had happened in the park as they made their way out to meet with David.
The rest of the day was spent with pupils coming over to Billy whenever possible, in between lessons or at break times when David was at his side. They came over in ones and twos to talk to him. Not so much as to wish him well - more to hear the voice of the quiet boy.
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