At the beginning of March, our school had organised a fete to raise funds to help build a new music centre. My Social Studies class had been asked to pester some local businesses for products or services that we could raffle. My friend Carrie and I had managed to persuade a car wash company to donate one free car wash per month for a year, and from one of the department stores we'd managed to wangle some vouchers. Other people had chased down some book shop vouchers, bottles of booze, and a dinner for two at the best Indian restaurant in town.

The night before the fete I went over to Chris's house for tea, and his mum said she'd stop by and take a look, although Chris swore he wouldn't be caught dead at school on a Saturday. He said it took him all of his energy to go there Monday to Friday. I didn't stay the night, as Carrie said she'd drop by on Saturday morning and we could walk to school together.

When we got to school there was a bouncy castle being inflated, and the Technical department had rigged up one of those things where you throw sponges at a target and it drops someone into a pool of water. Some teachers had gamely volunteered their services for that. There were cake and candy stalls, our raffle, the library was selling off old books they no longer wanted and there were some people doing face painting as well. There was another stall where people had donated old books, CDs and films they no longer wanted. All in all, it looked like it was going to be a great success.

At 10am the headmaster, Mr Miller, cut the ribbon at the school gate, and people started to trickle in. Chris's mum was there with Jack (he wasn't as good looking as Kenny, but he wasn't bad), and I persuaded her to buy 5 raffle tickets. About 20 minutes later I spotted my parents buying something at one of the cake and candy stalls, and I saw my mum playfully slap my dad's wrist once or twice when he'd wanted to buy perhaps too much.

Mrs Brabinger popped by with Lucy at some point. I saw them looking in my direction and it looked like they were talking about me as Lucy kept turning away, then slowly looking back. I'd no idea what they could be gossiping about, but it was probably something stupid.

At 11 o'clock our school's band came out to play some songs they'd been practising. I must admit that I was surprised at how good they were. The songs were easily identifiable, from I Kissed A Girl, to Help by the Beatles, and one or two Michael Jackson songs. It was during their performance that Carrie and I decided we should take the money we'd made to the Headmaster's room for safekeeping. To get there we had to walk around the side of the school, as the main entrance was blocked by some stalls selling books and CDs.

As we turned the corner we saw Lucy and her fuck-of-the-week Kevin. He was on the school's rugby team, and had the body, brains and looks of a gorilla.

'Hey Greg,' Lucy said. 'How are you today?'

'Er, fine Lucy.' I could sense something was wrong. Carrie and I started to walk backwards, back towards the fete.

'You sure your fine? Not feeling a bit SICK? Coz you make me SICK.'

'What? What are you talking about?'

'You. My mum told me all about you. Said you were a fucking poof.'

Oh shit.

Kevin shoved my shoulder. 'Are you a poof, Greg? Like to take it up the bum do you?'

'Leave him alone,' Carrie said.

We were now back around the side of the school where the fete was being held, although far away enough that probably nobody would notice us.

Kevin punched my shoulder again. 'Fuckin' poof. Fuckin' scum.' Then he pushed me backwards.

I could sense that there were more bodies around us, and as I glanced around I saw quite a few people from my year there.

'Greg here's a fuckin' poof, everyone,' Kevin announced, like he'd made a great discovery. Nobody said anything. I guess they just wanted to see what was going to happen. He shoved me back again. Oh fuck. I am NOT a fighter, and even if I was, there's no way I'd be able to take on this brute.

'Leave me alone, ok?' I said. Oh how pathetic.

'Oooh, 'leave me alone!'' Kevin mocked. 'You've probably got AIDS, you bender.'

The group of students was now encircling us, making any retreat more difficult.

'No he doesn't, you moron,' Carrie said.

'My mum said his boyfriend is even allowed to stay overnight. Fucking wrong, that is.'

Kevin shoved me again. My back was now against the wall. I couldn't turn around and run. Where was Mr Miller when you needed him? Fuck.

'Fuckin' pervert,' Lucy said, the venom in her voice clear to everyone as she spat out the word 'pervert'.

Kevin punched my chest again. It was beginning to hurt. Fuck!

'Who's your boyfriend?' Kevin asked.

I didn't say anything. I didn't want to admit to being gay, although it was now clear I was, and I certainly didn't want to drop Chris in it.

'Has he got AIDS too?'

'He doesn't have AIDS, you idiot.'

'Shut up, slag,' Lucy said. That was rich coming from Lucy.

Kevin swung, as if to punch my face, but retracted his fist at the last second. He just wanted to make me flinch. He succeeded.

'You fuckin' pansy. Scared of me, are you? You fuckin' should be, you fuckin' poof.'

'What's going on?' a voice came from the back of the crowd. It wasn't Mr Miller, I knew that much.

The other students parted... and there was Chris.

'Hey Chris,' Lucy said. 'Thought maybe you'd like to know that your friend here is a fuckin' poof.' Chris made his way towards me.

Kevin punched me in the stomach this time and winded me. 'Fuckin' poof. Careful, you might get AIDS from him.'

Chris came up beside me. 'No, he's not a fuckin' poof, Lucy, he's gay. And he's my gay.' And then he kissed me. On the lips. A proper kiss. In front of everyone.

Then in a split second he had jabbed the ball of his palm up to Kevin's face. He let out a loud yell of agony. 'You fuckin' broke my nose you cunt. My nose. You fuckin' broke it.'

Chris took him by the jaw and said in a quiet voice, 'If you lay another finger on him, I swear I will break your jaw. And you know I can.'

At that point Mr Miller finally came over. 'What's going on here?' he demanded.

There was silence for a second, then a voice in the crowd said, 'It was Kevin, sir, he tripped. Chris tried to stop him, but...'

'Yeah,' said another voice. 'He just tripped.'

'Is this true McDonald? Did you trip?'

Kevin was holding his nose, blood trickling between his fingers.

'Well?' Mr Miller demanded again.

'He broke my fuckin' nose!'

'Did you trip, McDonald?'

There was a pause. 'Yeah.' I don't know whether Mr Miller believed it, but he seemed satisfied with the answer. 'Come on, we'd better get you to A&E.'

Once they'd gone, Carrie said, 'Are you really gay, Greg?'

'Yeah,' I admitted sheepishly.

'That's cool. My dad's gay.'


'Is Greg really your boyfriend.'

Chris looked at me and smiled. 'Yeah,' I smiled back, 'he is.'

'That's a crying shame,' she said shaking her head and smiling.

Turning to look at Chris, I said, 'I guess everybody knows now.'

He shrugged his shoulders and pecked me on the cheek. 'So what?' I felt him reach for my hand and give it a squeeze. 'If I was going out with that monkey Kevin, THAT would be something to be embarrassed about. But you...? I can handle everybody knowing.' He gave me a small kiss on the lips again.

The crowd that had been around us dispersed, and as they moved away I heard things like, 'So what?', 'That's cool,' 'Who cares?', and 'Which one of them is the woman?'

I noticed Lucy running off to her mum. 'Carrie? Could you take this inside? There's something I've got to do.'

She saw me looking at Lucy. 'Sure. See you at the stall in 10 minutes.'

'Come on,' I said to Greg.

Mrs Brabinger was talking to my parents and I could see that Lucy was trying to drag her away. But we got there in time.

'Hello Mrs Brabinger,' I said.

'Oh!' she said a bit startled, 'Hello Greg.' Lucy's face froze in panic.

'Hi Chris,' my parents said.

'Mrs Brabinger, I'm gay,' I said matter-of-factly, 'but you know that already. This is my boyfriend Chris. He's gay. And he stays the night with me. But you know that as well. My parents don't have a problem with it. But you know that too. Tell me, Mrs Brabinger, did you know that Lucy just tried to get her boyfriend to beat me up because I'm gay?'

'What?!' my dad said, clearly shocked and angry.

'I'm ok, he just pushed me a few times and landed one punch. Although if Chris hadn't got there I'd be black and blue by now.'

'Well...' Mrs Brabinger said, clearly flustered.

'And tell me Mrs Brabinger. Did you know that your daughter Lucy has had 2 abortions? She's only 17 and she's had 2 abortions. Did you know that?' Her face dropped. 'Yeah. The last one was between Christmas and New Year.'

Mrs Brabinger was now a deathly shade of white.

'Mum...' Lucy said.

'So where does your moral compass point with that? My parents are good people who brought me up well. I happen to be gay. You've raised a slut, Mrs Brabinger.'

'Greg!' my mum said, shocked.

'Well she has! At one party she gave 3 guys crabs.'

My dad sniggered, and I saw my mum elbow him in the side.

Mrs Brabinger turned to look at Lucy, the anger etched on her face. 'Home!' That was all she said.

'Greg!' my mum chastised.

'Oh Helen. The woman deserved it. Stupid cow. Good for you, Greg.' Then turning to Chris, he put his hand on Chris's shoulder said, 'And thanks, Chris.'

Chris shrugged his shoulders and gave an embarrassed smile.

'I'd better get back to the stall,' I said.

Carrie was waiting for me at the stall. 'I can't believe you're gay,' she said.

'You don't have a problem with it, do you?'

'Nooooo! It's just...'


She paused, a little embarrassed. 'I kinda fancy you.'

I turned a little red. 'If it's any consolation, I think if I was straight, then I might fancy you.'

She pecked me on the cheek. 'You're sweet.'

'I know,' I teased, laughing.

Just then Mr Thomson came over. With his wife. Damn! Where was Chris?! He would've got a real kick out of this. They bought a few tickets and then wandered away. It was then I noticed that Chris's mum and Jack had spotted Chris, and had gone over to talk to him and my parents. They were shaking hands, and I saw my dad put his arm around Chris. I wondered what on earth they were talking about. I hope someone mentioned how Chris had saved me from Kevin today. I wondered what they were saying about me... Only good things I hoped.


The last weekend in March, the week before Easter, and school had broken up for the holiday. At 5 o'clock in the morning my dad drove us through to Edinburgh airport where we were due to catch a flight to Amsterdam, and then jet off to Cairo. The flight to Cairo wasn't until late evening, so we thought we could go into Amsterdam during the day for a few hours to while away the time.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare before check-in, and so we went for a coffee in Costa, after which Chris and my dad went outside for a smoke. I stayed with the bags. While they were gone I looked at the people around me, wondering where they were going and why. It's a game I played with my mum when we went on holidays in the summer. I also wondered if they could guess that Chris and I were together. Could people tell? I still wasn't entirely comfortable with people knowing, or guessing, I was gay. Then again, it had only been 3 months since our secret had been discovered. I guessed I'd grow into it.

Before we left my mum stood on the doorstep and made me double and triple check that I had everything I need. She rattled off the list: passport, tickets, wallet, phone. Here in the airport, while I was alone, I went through the list again. You could never be too careful!

When they came back from their smoke, my dad said that he'd be leaving. Then he slipped me some more money. 'Buy yourselves something nice.' He also slipped some money into Chris's hand as well.

'Aw dad! Thanks!!'

'Thanks, Joe!! You really shouldn't have.'

'Nonsense. Just don't spend it all on cigarettes!' They both laughed. My dad then hugged me and he was off.

We sat there for a few minutes, big grins on our faces. This was it. We were finally going to Egypt. I'd hardly stopped thinking about it since that call Chris's had dad made before Christmas. And the day was finally here. I must admit to being a wee bit nervous. It wasn't the flying that was the problem - I love the feeling just before take-off when your bum gets pushed back into the seat - I was nervous about meeting Chris's dad. I'm sure he'd be fine, but... Well, you never know.

The flight to Amsterdam was non-eventful, and it has to be said that KLM do have good looking cabin crew, so in no time at all we were landing at Schiphol Airport. Since our luggage was checked all the way through to Cairo we only had our backpacks with us. We headed out into the main terminal and, after figuring out how to use the train booking machines, we found ourselves on the platform beneath the terminal.

'I've heard of double decker buses,' I said, 'but I've never heard of double decker trains before!'

'Yeah! Cool, though. Beats Scotrail.'

'What doesn't?'

Soon enough we were at Centraal Station in Amsterdam and out into a gloriously sunny morning. We looked around, like they do in the movies, looking up and taking everything in. It was so different.

Since neither of us had thought to even look on the internet for something interesting to see, let alone buy a guidebook, we just sort of wandered around aimlessly, taking it all in. It wasn't long before we spotted our first gay couple. Two handsome young guys, maybe only a few years older than us, holding hands as they walked. They weren't doing it in an overt 'look-at-me' way, they were just an ordinary couple holding hands.

'Look,' Chris said to me.

'Yeah. Must be nice growing up in a place where they wouldn't beat the fuck out of you for doing that.'

'Yeah,' he agreed.

We walked a bit more then I stopped in my tracks. Chris looked back at me. 'What?'

'Look!' I said, pointing up the street.



And then he saw it. The sex museum. He just looked at me, his eyes sparkling, a huge grin spreading across his face. 'You want to?'

My mum had made sure we had some euros with us, so once I'd paid the entrance fee we were inside the den of depravity. At least that's what Chris jokingly called it. To be honest it was quite tame, although still educational. I don't think I've ever seen so many depictions of men's bits in my life, and being an 18-year-old boy I've seen my fair share on the net!

And as for women's bits... 'God, they're ugly, aren't they?' I said to Chris, when we were standing in front of a particularly graphic sculpture.

'I know! Can you imagine having to go down and lick that thing? Gives me nightmares just thinking about it.' We both laughed. We also had a laugh at some of the underwear on display. 'Even my gran wouldn't wear something that unflattering!' he joked.

Once we'd had our fill of depictions and representations of the bits we loved to play with, we left the museum and continued on our way. As we walked up the street, another young gay couple holding hands walked past us. I gingerly reached my right hand across and linked pinkies with Chris, who turned to me and smiled. As we walked a bit further our fingers intertwined until we were holding hands properly. Then Chris stopped and kissed me on the lips. Just a short kiss, but in public it felt so daring. Yet nobody around us gave us a second glance. And so we continued our walk around Amsterdam. Hand in hand. Nobody caring. Except me.

For lunch we chose the most Dutch place we could find - McDonald's - and after a bit more sightseeing we headed back to the airport. While we waited for our flight we wandered around, taking in what Schiphol has to offer. For an airport, it's very well thought out, with enough to keep us entertained, and enough places to go and get something to eat. We went to the internet café, from where I sent my parents an e-mail with some pictures I'd taken in the sex museum. Nothing too risqué, but I knew they'd put a smile on their faces.

Finally our flight was called, and after our tickets were checked we were on the plane and sitting in our seats. We had over-wing exit seats, so there was a bit more room than the other seats. Chris told me to sit beside the window, and said he'd take the window seat on the way back. Of course it didn't immediately hit me that at night there's nothing to see, but I appreciated the gesture.

On the flight I got Chris to tell me yet again about his dad, what he was like, what he looked like, what he was interested in.

'Relax, will you?' he said. 'He's gonna love you. You're my boyfriend, and in his eyes, that's enough. Don't worry!'

'I'm just scared I come across as stupid or something. You know, he's an archaeologist, he'll have read a million books, probably published one or two himself, he'll expect me to know about Egyptian history...'

'ReLAX!' he said with a grin. 'You'll be fine!' He squeezed my knee for comfort.

I turned to look at him. 'Ok.'

Soon we were descending into Cairo airport. I was filled with a mixture of excitement and a little bit of nerves. I was also very tired. We'd been up since early morning, and it was now 3am Cairo time, or 1am UK time. As we left the aircraft and headed into the terminal building, Chris turned to me and said softly, 'Don't worry, you'll be fine.'

After going through passport control we had to wait forever for our luggage to come off. For once, my bag was the first one on the carousel, and Chris's was only a few behind. And then it was off to meet his dad. I scanned the people waiting, to see if there was anyone who resembled Chris in any way... and then I saw him. Or at least I saw the sign. Looking like a company rep waiting to meet a client, he was holding a laminated A4 sheet of paper. At the top, in big bold letters, it read 'BODY PIERCING CONFERENCE 2010' and below it had our names. I couldn't help but laugh. Chris ran up to him and threw his arms around his dad's neck and gave him a big hug. 'Daaaaaad!'

'Mmmm!' his dad replied. 'It's good to see you, Chris.' He was hugging Chris at tightly as Chris was hugging him. He didn't often talk about his dad, but it was plain to see how much they loved each other. When finally they broke free, his dad said, 'And so you must be Greg. It's great to meet you.' He shot out his hand and gave a strong handshake.

'It's great to meet you, sir. And really, thanks SO MUCH for bringing me out here.'

'The name's Steven and it's a pleasure. A great excuse to have my boy out for a bit and a chance to meet the one who people can't stop raving about.'

'What? Who?' I asked, a little confused.

'Well, Chris, for a start, and his mum has said what a good lad you are.'

'Oh.' I couldn't help but smile. 'It's good to meet you, Steven.'

The plan was that for the first two nights we'd stay in a hotel in Cairo, then on the third day he'd take us to his current site in Fayum. He reminded us that it's a Muslim country, and that they weren't as open about homosexuality as the UK.

'Dad, it's not as if it's ok to be out in the UK, you know. There's still a lot of intolerance.'

'So multiply that and welcome to Egypt.'


The hotel was lovely, at least what I was able to notice with half-shut eyes. The entrance was cool, with a white tiled floor, and the reception was made out of marble. While Chris's dad sorted everything out we plonked our bums on the seats close by.

'He's really great!' I whispered to Chris. 'Not at all like I thought.'

'Yeah, he is. He's got a really dirty sense of humour, too!'

'Alright boys,' Chris's dad said. 'Rooms 315 and 328. They across the hall from each other.'

We took the lift to the third floor and went into our bedroom. The air conditioning was on, thankfully, and as we put the entry card thing into the slot beside the door, the lights came on, emitting a warm glow.

'Wow! Great room!' Chris said. 'I'll need to get you to come more often. Usually we're in some cockroach infested dive!'

Chris's dad playfully hit him across the back of the head. 'Watch it, sonny. I'll phone a taxi and get them to take you back to the airport if you're not careful.' I saw the smiles on both their faces. Chris hugged his dad good night and then we were alone.

I fell back on the bed. 'Fuck. I'm gonna sleep well tonight. I'm knackered.'

'Yeah, me too.'

We both threw off our clothes and searched in our bags for toiletries. As we shared the sink to brush our teeth, I said, 'You look a little bit like him. The same eyes. And nose.' I could tell this pleased Chris. 'His nose is a bit bigger... I was wondering if...' and I grinned.

Chris looked at me in the mirror, his eyes narrowing, and with his mouth full of foam he said, 'Fucking pervert!' and continued to brush his teeth.

I reached down to his boxers and said, 'This'll do fine, though.' He smiled.

We both rinsed and went to the bedroom. 'Which side do you want?' Chris asked.

'I don't care. Too tired to care. Choose for me.'

Chris got into the left side of the bed and loosened all the sheets before shuffling over to the right. 'Get in.'

I got in beside him and he rolled around to hug me. He gave me a long kiss then said, 'Ni-night. See you in the morning.'

I kissed him back and said, 'Not if I see you first.' We turned off the light and almost instantly I was asleep.

I woke up the next morning with the sun streaming through the window. I looked at my phone to see what time it was. 11am. Just then Chris rolled over and his right arm lay across my chest. He looked so contented. He snuggled his head into my shoulder. Then his eyes popped open, and he saw me looking at him. He looked around for a second, trying to collect his thoughts.

'Morning,' I said, as I kissed him on the forehead.

Then it started to dawn on him where we were, and a smile broke across his face. 'Morning,' he replied, and he arched his head up to kiss me. He turned over and kicked the sheets around to make it more comfortable for us. 'Sleep well?'

'Yeah, like a baby. I woke up just a few minutes ago. You?'


Chris repositioned himself to face me, snaking one of his legs between mine. I leaned over and gave him a big sloppy kiss. 'Our first foreign kiss. Tastes the same.'

He shook his head. 'You're nuts. But I love that about you,' and he kissed me back.

'I can't believe we're finally here,' I said with a big grin on my face. 'I've been looking forward to this trip for ages.' I reached down for his soft cock, rolling his foreskin up and down over his cockhead. 'Last night I just couldn't,' I said, feeling his dick getting harder. 'But I seem to have found a whole new energy.'

He raised his head and kissed me. 'Mm!' My own dick was also coming to life. 'So I see...' He kissed me again. He untangled his leg from mine and positioned himself between my legs, jacking my now fully erect cock. He lowered his head and licked the precum from my cockhead, before swirling his tongue around and then taking it in his mouth. I let out a deep sigh. As his mouth bobbed up and down on my cock, his hands danced up my chest, his thumbs lightly rubbing and caressing my abs before finding the treasure they were seeking - my nipples.

He brushed his thumbs lightly over them and I let out an involuntary moan. Ever since they'd been pierced they'd now taken on a whole new lease of life. Where before they had been sensitive, now it felt like there was an electrical current running through them. I moaned again as he lightly tugged the rings. 'Oh fuck!' I whispered.

He intensified his sucking, his cheeks now hollowing as he tried to milk the cum out of me. At the same time he rotated the rings and brushed over the nipples again with his thumb. 'Oh fuck,' I whispered again, this time a little louder. I saw him looking up at me, a glint in his eye. I knew what was coming next. He was now kneeling beside my legs. His right hand came away from my nipple, and almost immediately I felt a visitor to my hole, lightly teasing before pushing through and searching out my prostate.

'Oh fuck!' I called out. His left hand was still taking care of my nipple while his right hand massaged my prostate. On top of the attention my cock was receiving from his mouth I knew it wouldn't be long before I would be blasting my cum into his mouth.

My breathing got shallower and Chris instinctively knew what was coming. While his right hand continued its advance and retreat in my arse, he brought his left hand and started to pump the lower half of my dick while his mouth took care of the head.

'I'm gonna cum!' I cried out, 'I'm gonna cum!' Within seconds I was blasting my seed down his throat, and still he continued to fuck my arse with his finger. Blast after blast, my whole body was trying to expel the seed from my dick. Finally I flopped back on the bed and let out a deep sigh. 'Oh fuck!' I said under my breath.

'Uh-uh!' Chris said. 'We haven't finished yet!' My eyes wandered down and saw that unmistakable look on his face. He scampered off the bed and fished out something from his suitcase. Even without looking I knew what was coming. I heard the cap being popped open and felt Chris climb back on the bed. As I lay back, looking at the ceiling, I felt the cool liquid being coated around my anus. I smiled as I awaited my fate. I looked down and saw him lining his cock up with my hole. He looked up and smiled. 'Ready?'

'Oh yeah!'

And then his cockhead was through. Just a few inches at first, slowly advancing and retreating, coming out all the way before pushing through again. I closed my eyes and submitted myself to the feelings rushing through my body. Finally Chris pushed all the way through. I let out a gasp and my eyes popped open. Chris's head was now above mine and he reached down to kiss me. As our kiss continued I could feel his thighs start to slam against my arse cheeks. I held his head, not allowing him to get away, as our tongues duelled inside our mouths.

Chris pulled back and his thrusting became more insistent. I stretched my legs as wide as I could before bringing them around his lower back. I loved to hug him with my legs. The thrusts were less powerful, but all the more intimate. I loved the sensations as his cock explored my hole, feeling every inch of him inside me.

I reached for his nipples and started to caress them lightly.

'Oh shit!' he called out. As he had done with mine, I rotated the rings, the little ball going from one side of the nipple to the other. I then flicked the rings up and down and tugged on them gently before rubbing the nipples gently again. Chris let out a deep sigh and then his fucking intensified. Separating my legs, I let him thrust with all his might, each assault on my hole accompanied by a deep groan.

His head snapped up and he looked into my eyes, the lust burning through me. He bit his lip and his face contorted, and then I felt him cum deep inside of me. 'Uh!' he moaned, with each shot. 'Fuck!... Fuck!' And then he collapsed on top of me. Spent. He gave me a quick peck on the lips then rolled off.

'Yeah, Egypt isn't bad,' I said with a smile.

Almost immediately I jumped out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

'What are you doing?' he called.

I turned on the shower and stepped in. I quickly soaped up then finally unclenched my buttocks, letting his seed trickle down my legs. I washed my hair as quickly as I could then shut off the water before quickly towelling myself off and jumping back into bed. Chris smiled and reached over and kissed me. I now turned towards him and snaked one of my legs between his. His arms now came around to hug me and we kissed, a long, deep kiss.

An hour or so later we were woken by Chris's phone beeping. He untangled his arms and legs and turned over. 'Dad asks if we're awake yet. Brunch at 1. What time is it now?' he asked me.

'Er...' I looked at my phone. '12:30.'

He wrote back saying we'd be ready then turned to look at me. 'I guess I'd better have a shower, then.'

'It's big enough for two...'

At 1 o'clock his dad knocked on the door. I opened and let him in.

'Morning, Greg. Sleep ok?'

'Oh yeah. Great sleep. Really comfortable bed.'

Chris came out of the bathroom. 'Morning... er, afternoon, dad. What's the plan for today?'

As we made our way down in the lift, Chris's dad explained that after lunch we'd go to the museum. I had to see a bit of Egyptian culture, after all, then we could have a look at a few sites in the city before eventually going for somewhere to eat in the evening.

Once we left the air-conditioned lobby the heat hit me. It might only be April, but Scotland never got this hot, even in the middle of summer.

'You should be here in August,' Chris said. 'THAT is hot!'

We headed for a bazaar in the centre of Cairo where Chris's dad said there was a fantastic place to eat. He also warned me about the bazaar.

'You will be pulled from all angles by people trying to flog you stuff!' he said with a smile. 'Unless you DO actually want to buy anything, do NOT barter or haggle with them! They'll skin you alive if you don't end up buying anything.'

Chris saw the look on my face. 'Don't worry, I'll protect you,' he said, puffing out his chest and flexing his muscles. His dad and I both laughed.

But his dad had been right. There were vendors everywhere shouting above the noise of the incessant music. More than once someone tried to coerce me into his shop, but I managed to be firm and we continued on our way. 'It's a bit different to the Wells Centre,' I chuckled as we found the place Chris's dad had planned for lunch. 'I think I prefer this noise and the people over the chavs at the Wells Centre, though.' Chris nodded his agreement.

The restaurant didn't look like much from the outside, but we were assured that not only was the food there authentic and delicious, but it wouldn't leave us running for the loo every ten minutes. Chris's dad ordered for all of us, each a different dish, so we could try a variety of things. My dish was a chicken breast with rice. It doesn't sound like much but the breast was smothered in spices, none of which was familiar to me, while the rice also had some spices mixed in. Roast chicken would never be the same again. Chris had what looked like mini kebabs, although they tasted nothing like anything I'd tried back home. Chris's dad had small pieces of chopped meat, again cooked in unknown spices, but delicious all the same.

After we'd finished and were patting our full bellies, Chris looked at his dad expectantly, eyes wide, eyebrows raised. His dad sighed and shook his head, a smile creeping across it.

'Can we?'

I looked at them both quizzically.

'Later. After the museum.'

'You promise?'

His dad sighed again. 'Promise.'

'What?' I asked.

'Chris wants to go and smoke shisha,' his dad replied.


Chris's face lit up. 'You ever tried it?' he asked me.

'No, never.'

'You have to. It's not like cigarettes, I promise. It's smoother. And cool, not hot like cigarettes.'

I looked at his dad, who shrugged his shoulders.

'Ok, I guess I can try.'

Chris laughed. His dad rolled his eyes and smiled. 'That son of mine is a bad influence on you!'

The afternoon consisted mostly of a visit to the Egyptian museum. Having grown up watching Indiana Jones films, I've always had a fascination with ancient things, especially Egypt, but I was blown away by the relics on display. Looking at the Gold Mask of Tutankhamen, I couldn't believe how old it was. It looked like it could have been made yesterday. And having only seen it in one of my books at school, I couldn't believe I was now face to face with the real thing. The other exhibits were no less impressive, and the only disappointment was that I couldn't take any pictures. I bought some postcards from the shop, as well as a piece of papyrus for my parents. Chris rolled his eyes when he saw my purchases and said it was just a trap for tourists.

It took us quite a while to walk around the museum, and Chris's dad was a mine of information. Why wasn't my history teacher, Mr Farrington, like him? He really made everything come alive and he told me more than I could've hoped to read in any guidebook. He was like a one-man Wikipedia.

The walk around the museum was quite tiring, so Chris's dad suggested we go somewhere to have a drink and rest our feet for a bit.

'So?' Chris asked.

His dad laughed. 'You won't stop asking until we go, will you?'

'No,' Chris replied, matter of factly.

'Ok, let's pollute your lungs then.'

We headed for a café that seemed to be full of Egyptians, not a single foreigner in sight. There were several tables with groups of people sharing a water pipe and the first thing I noticed was the smell. I'd imagined it to be just a very smoky bar, but there was a sweet smell in the air. I couldn't say what the smell was, but it wasn't repugnant, actually quite pleasant. We went to a table in the far corner, and in addition to ordering Cokes, Chris took charge of the water pipe order. While one waiter brought our drinks (no ice - my mum had warned me to stay away from ice in my drinks if I wanted to avoid the Pharaoh's revenge!) another brought over a huge water pipe. As soon as it came over Chris attached the little mouthpiece and took a long draw.

And WOW! I was amazed at the amount of smoke that came out. He made it come out of his nose, and it reminded me of an angry bull in a cartoon.

'What?' he asked, seeing the huge smile on my face.

'Oh nothing.'

He took another hit then passed it to me. I looked at his dad, who raised up his hands as if to say, 'You're on your own!' I looked at the mouthpiece, looked at Chris, looked back at the mouthpiece, then put it in my mouth and sucked. Just a little at first, and when I exhaled I seemed to produce a cloud of smoke. I took another draw and tried to hold it in a bit before exhaling.

'So?' Chris asked.

I coughed a little. 'Er...' I paused. 'It's... 'ok', I suppose.' It was apple flavoured, but it reminded me more of apple flavoured sweets than apples. Not exactly to my liking.

Chris shook his head. 'It's excellent, is what it is.'

He took back the pipe and took another long draw. He took another before offering it back to me. I took one more hit before deciding that it really wasn't for me. But since I hadn't had a coughing fit, I suppose it could be regarded as a success.

The early evening consisted of walking around, taking in the sights. I had had no idea what there was to see in Cairo, but everything I saw impressed. And everything I saw was accompanied by incessant music. I can only describe the sound as Middle-Eastern, and now I know how my gran feels when she listens to Radio 1 at home - all the songs sound the same and it's hard to tell when one finishes and the next begins. I think if I lived there it would drive me up the wall!

For tea we went to the restaurant in the hotel. Chris and I both had shoarma while his dad went for falafel. Washed down with gallons of Coke. I was really thirsty by the time we got back to the hotel, and before we went up to the room I bought some bottles of water.

The next morning we headed off to Fayum, which was only about 60 or 70 miles away. Chris's dad said that we'd visit Giza on our return to Cairo, but he had to go back to Fayum for an important meeting with someone from the university and a government minister. He also explained about what they were doing in Fayum - something to do with ancient agriculture, and a recent find that showed that perhaps this was the earliest evidence of agriculture known to man. Obviously there was more to it than that, but that's what I understood.

As we approached the site, his dad reminded us again about displays of affection for each other, and that if at all possible, we should keep our hands to ourselves, at least while there might be other people around. We both understood and promised to be good.

We were taken to our tent - a 2-man, white canvas tent, where we dumped our stuff. 'Remember,' his dad said with a grin, 'no hanky panky tonight!' Chris and I both chuckled. He then took us to meet some of his colleagues, a mixture of Egyptians and foreigners, and showed us some of what they had found. It looked like a few pieces of gnarled wood to me, but apparently it was evidence of cultivation. I was beginning to feel quite stupid again.

When his dad went off for his first meeting, Chris and I wandered around. We headed for the lake, and Chris whispered, 'Maybe tonight we can go skinny dipping.' He turned to look at me with a wicked grin on his face. 'You want to?' I nodded in agreement. 'Excellent!'

We wandered back to our tent just as his dad was approaching. 'You boys ready for some lunch? Thought we could head into the city for a bite to eat.' We both readily agreed.

Before we headed for a restaurant, he took us on a short tour of part of the city. It wasn't until we were out and about that I realised just how prejudiced I was. Apart from Cairo, I'd imagined that Egypt was just full of little backward villages, but apart from the different architecture, this could have been any Western city.

There was only one slightly embarrassing episode while we were being shown around. At one point Chris's dad said we had to see the famous waterwheels. On our way there he explained that the technology dated back thousands of years and helped irrigate the surrounding land. When we reached the waterwheels I was simply amazed. 'These things are thousands of years old and they still work?!' I asked.

Chris slapped his forehead. 'No, moron. The technology is thousands of years old. The wheels are not.'

Oh my God, I felt so embarrassed. Chris's dad was going to think I was a complete idiot. I must've turned seven shades of red. But he patted me on the back. 'You're not the only one who's thought that,' he said with a smile.

I shook my head. 'Oh God, I sound so stupid.'

He laughed. 'Chris, dear son of mine. Could you remind me what you asked me last year?' Chris mumbled something. 'No-no-no, a bit louder, please.'

He sighed, then in a low voice, he said, 'I asked you if they were thousands of years old.'

'Not so Mr Smartypants now, are you?'

I playfully pushed his shoulder. 'Moron.' He narrowed his eyes and shook his head.

'Let's go for lunch,' Chris said after a moment. 'I'm starved.'

Lunch was in a fast food place, and although the menu seemed to consist of squiggle-dot-squiggle-dot, they had pictures.

'What'll you have?' Chris asked.

'Er... I was thinking of either squiggle-squiggle-dot, or squiggle-squiggle-dot-dot. Don't know if I can hack the two dots, though.' Chris laughed. 'I'll go for that chickeny looking thing. You?'

'Same. Two dots is extravagant.'

Chris's dad ordered and we went to sit down while he waited for the order. After a moment or so, Chris whispered across the table, 'I don't know if I've told you this before, but you've got very kissable lips.' I blushed. 'No, you do. Sometimes, if I wake up at night, I look at you sleeping and can't believe you're mine. I think you have a perfect face.'

'Stop!' I whispered, embarrassed.

'I can't. I'm just so happy right now. Being away from all the mist and the grey, and seeing you every day...' His voice trailed off, and he shrugged his shoulders. He just sat and looked at me, smiling, before whispering, 'And it's gonna kill me to not kiss you for the next two days.'

'I hate when you do this,' I whispered.

'What?' he replied, confused.

'You always say the nicest, really, the nicest things to me, and I can never think of anything to say in return.' Chris smiled. 'Honestly, sometimes my heart feels like it's going to explode when I see you coming towards me...' At that point his dad started to come over with our food. 'To be continued!' I whispered with a grin.

'What are you two boys whispering about?' his dad asked.

'Greg said he'd like to do Professor Jones,' Chris said. My mouth dropped open. His dad gave a big laugh while I just looked at Chris. 'Greg wondered if he's hung like a sphinx.' His dad gave another big laugh and I looked at them both, shaking my head.

When he finished laughing, Chris's dad said, 'When we get back to the site I'll introduce you both. Professor Jones is... Ok, I admit it, hot. There, I said it. Professor Jones is hot. I can see the attraction.'

'But who's Professor Jones?' I asked. This only made them laugh all the more. I took a slurp of my Coke, eyeing them suspiciously.

'You'll see.'

We wandered around Fayum a bit more before heading back to the site, and by the time we got there, the sun was hovering just above the horizon, with an amazing deep orange glow.

'It's not often you see something like that, is it?' Chris's dad asked.

'What? The sun? No, you're not wrong,' I replied, chuckling.

'You boys head off to your tent, I'll be back in a moment,' Chris's dad said once he'd parked the car.

As we walked towards our tent, I whispered, 'Back to what I was saying earlier, when I see you my heart just wants to explode. Right now I just want to hug you and smother you in kisses and hug you even more.' I turned to look at him and saw a big smile on his face.

'Boys!' Chris's dad called from behind us, 'Boys!' We turned around to see his dad coming towards us, something hidden behind his back. 'Glad I caught you.' He looked at Chris and smiled. 'Now, despite what I warned you earlier about... well, you know, I realise that... well... my son isn't enough for you. You're looking for an older man.'

My jaw dropped. What the hell was he talking about?

'So, if Chris doesn't mind, maybe you could sleep with Professor Jones tonight.' I just stared at his dad.

Then from behind his back he produced a worn and well-loved teddy bear.

'Greg, meet Professor Jones.' Chris and his dad both cracked up laughing.

I looked at them both. 'THAT is Professor Jones?!'

Chris snatched the bear out of his dad's hand. 'And he's MINE!'

Chris then explained that Professor Jones had been his teddy bear when he was a child, and it was named after Indiana Jones, of course. He said that after his first trip to Egypt, when he was five, he left it for his dad so that he wouldn't be lonely without Chris. His dad ruffled Chris's hair. I sighed and shook my head.

We then went to the 'dighouse' where there was satellite TV and a pile of DVDs. Chris's dad left us watching - of course - Raiders of the Lost Ark while he went for another meeting. After the film it was tea time, and Chris's dad returned with several of his colleagues, all of whom knew Chris from previous years. There were also some students who seemed to be not much older than us, and judging by their accents they had come from all corners of the globe. At about 9, Chris's dad said he was going to bed, as he had to be up early for yet another meeting, and everyone else left as well.

Chris turned to look at me. 'So... Fancy a dip in the lake?'

'Come on, let's go!'

We casually strolled to the lake, hoping not to arouse anyone's suspicions. Once there, we looked around to make sure there was nobody about - there wasn't - and so tore off our clothes and ran into the warm water of the lake.

'Wow, this is fantastic!' I called over to Chris after I'd swum out a few metres. 'It's like being in a bath.'

'I know!' Then suddenly he dived under the water and I felt him swim between my legs before surfacing a metre or two away. 'Look at the sky!'

Looking up, the sky was pitch black and clearer than I had ever seen before, each star twinkling like you only ever see in a movie. We swam out a bit further until we were at least 50 metres away from the shore then I approached Chris and pulled on his hand.

'You think it's safe to kiss you out here?'

'You can try!' I pulled him close and gave him a long hard kiss.

'I've never gone skinny dipping before,' I said with a smile. I then brought my legs around his and laid back in the water. He broke free and dived under the water again. I looked around to see where he was, but it was so dark I couldn't see a thing. Suddenly I felt his hands coming around my waist and pulling me down. When I made it back to the surface he was laughing away. I skimmed my hand on the surface of the water, splashing his face, and soon we were in a water fight, splashing each other and laughing.

All of a sudden he stopped and said, 'Look!' Pointing at the shore I could make out a figure covered in one of those long, traditional billowing Arabic shirts and one of those things covering his head. The figure was moving suspiciously along the beach.

'Fuck! Our clothes!' I said.

The man continued along the beach until he came to our two piles of clothes. Looking around to see if there was anyone there, he gathered up the two piles and hurried off in the opposite direction of the camp.

'Fuck!' Chris said. 'What are we gonna do?!' We both looked at each other, shocked. We swam back to the shore, and when we reached the shore, gingerly stepped out, covering our privates.

'Look,' I said, 'he left our trainers.'

'Fat lot of good that does.'

We ran to put on our shoes, still looking around to see if anyone was there, and also looking for something, anything, to cover our modesty. There was no-one and nothing. Fuck.

We headed back to the camp, constantly looking around for anyone who might see us. A few times we heard voices, but we didn't see anyone - and hopefully they didn't see us either. After a few minutes we reached the camp, and with our hands covering our prized possessions, we scampered for our tent.

There, on our camp beds, were our piles of clothes. Then all of a sudden we heard the unmistakable laugh of Chris's dad. He popped his head inside the tent. 'Oh that was a good one!' he said, his face red with laughing. Chris tried to say something, but nothing came out, so he let out a groan. This only made his dad laugh harder. 'Night boys, see you in the morning.' His laughing continued as he walked away.

The next morning I woke at about 8:30 to find Chris looking at me, smiling. 'Morning,' he whispered.

'Morning,' I whispered back.

He got out of his camp bed and knelt beside me on the ground. He leant over me and whispered in a very quite voice, 'I've just got to kiss your kissable lips.' And then he planted a very soft kiss and smiled. Then he whispered, 'I've been waiting half an hour to do that.'

'I hope it wasn't a disappointment,' I whispered.

He smiled and shook his head. Then, in a normal voice, he said, 'Come on, let's get showered and go for breakfast.'

In the dighouse there was a buffet of breakfast things - mostly cold meats, cheeses, tomatoes, some bread, and a few cereals. Clearly there had been much more earlier in the morning, but there was more than enough choice for us.

While we were eating, Chris's dad came in and told us that he had one short lecture to give to the students, then we would head back to Cairo for two days before heading off to Sharm el Sheikh for a week of relaxation.

On the way back to Cairo we stopped at Giza to visit the pyramids. As I saw them approaching in the distance I was amazed at the sheer size of them.

'Wow!' I said, once we had parked. 'They're HUGE!!' And they were. I had never imagined they would be so big - not just in width but in height. They were like ancient skyscrapers. We were lucky enough to be able to get tickets to enter the pyramids, and after a short wait we were taken to the largest.

Going inside, the first thing that hit me was the heat and the dust, and with the narrowness of the paths, if anyone was slightly claustrophobic it certainly wouldn't be for them. Chris's dad explained about the different chambers and how there were different paths running off to other, unseen, parts within the pyramid. The further we went in, the hotter it got, and both Chris and I were beginning to sweat quite a bit. As we went in deeper, Chris's dad also explained about what we would've seen if we'd been there a few thousand years earlier. Now it was just a bare chamber, but he explained about the sarcophagi, their meanings and contents, and what kinds of gifts would have been offered to the gods. While it was all fascinating, I was more than relieved to get outside into the relative coolness. Fortunately in the car there were several bottles of water, and Chris and I both polished off a litre and half each in a few minutes. From a distance we saw the sphinx, but we were too hot to even contemplate going to have a look, so we headed back to our hotel in Cairo.

Once Chris and I were alone in the room, and after we'd showered, we flopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. 'Come on, let's see what we've got here,' Chris said.

For the next hour we just channel surfed. It took us an hour just to go from #1 up to the last channel, and each one seemed to be worse than the last. There were loads of Arabic, Russian and Italian channels, each produced on a shoestring budget, and each trying to outdo each other in terms of flashy graphics and gaudy sets. By the time we'd got through them all, there was only one channel that caught our interest, BBC World News, and we certainly didn't intend to watch that for the 2 days we were there.

'Gimme that,' I said, once we'd gone back to #1 in the programme guide. I snatched the remote out of his hand and turned off the TV. 'Either we go out and do something and see what this place has to offer, or...'

'Or what?'

'Or you fuck me, right here, right now.'

'That's it?' he said smirking. 'Those are my two options?'

'Take it or leave it.'

He started to get up, but I pulled him back towards me, a big smile on my face. He lay me back on the couch and climbed on top, cradling my head in his hands. As we kissed, I started to pull up his t-shirt and our kiss momentarily stopped while he pulled it over his head. He broke off the kiss again, and looked around.

'Er... maybe we'd better take this to the bed?'

'Maybe you're right.'

Our clothes left a trail as we headed to the bed and by the time we were on the bed we were both completely naked. Lying facing each other, Chris ran a finger around my stomach.

'Have you been working out?' I looked at him quizzically. 'Well, your stomach muscles seem to be more defined.'

'Well, for the past few weeks I've been doing some sit ups every morning and every night.'

'It's working,' he smiled as he reached down to kiss them. He then gave small kisses all the way up my chest, up my neck, and then finally his lips rested on mine, giving me a long, tender kiss. As our lips parted our tongues advanced, almost shyly at first, gently lapping against each other, and for the next ten or so minutes we kissed as our hands explored each other's bodies.

Eventually I broke it off. 'I'm going to miss this when we go back to school. The whole day with you. A little fun in the afternoon. Falling asleep in each other's arms.'

'Mmm,' he agreed. 'I suppose we'd better not waste it, then...' he grinned.

For the next hour we made love, gently at first, then building up in intensity and passion. We swapped over a few times, and by the time Chris finally came inside me we were both moaning and panting, our bodies glistening.

When finally our breathing had returned to normal, I said, 'Yeah, I'm definitely gonna miss this.'

The next week we spent at the resort of Sharm el Sheikh. I'd thought Chris's dad would be bored with the lack of culture on offer, but he said he rarely had a proper holiday and it gave him a chance to catch up on some books he'd been meaning to read. Chris and I spent our days in the pool, larking about, having fun, and trying not to be too overt. It was a cosmopolitan hotel complex, but that didn't make it any less intolerant. Most of the other hotel guests seemed to be Germans or Russians, and we thought we'd spotted a gay German couple, but still, we didn't want to go overboard with our displays of affection. A few nights we went out to a club, but mostly we stayed at the hotel and made our own entertainment.

All too soon it was time to head back to Scotland.

'Thanks so much, Steven,' I said to his dad at the airport. 'This has been a really excellent holiday. I've had so much fun here.'

'I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it's not too long before I see you again. You're always welcome to come out here, although it does get a wee bit hot in the summer!'

'Come here,' he said, and he gave me a big hug. 'And you come here,' he said to Chris. He gave him a big hug and big kiss on the cheek.

'Bye dad,' Chris said, hugging him back. 'See you in the summer.'

Our flight back was via Paris, and the stopover was only for an hour. Back at Edinburgh, my dad was waiting for us.

'Bloody hell!' he said when we came out with our suitcases. 'I hardly recognise you. You've never been so brown in all your life! Have a good time, did you?'


Walking back to the car park, the harsh realities of a Scottish spring hit us. It was bloody cold!

On the journey home, Chris and I sat in the back of the car, and dozed off, our heads resting against each other. In no time at all, it seemed, we were back home and dropping Chris off at his house.

'See you at school on Tuesday,' he said. 'Thanks for picking us up, Joe, I really appreciate it.'

'No problem, Chris, see you soon.'

A few minutes later we were parking in the driveway. Even before I'd opened the car door my mum was rushing out. 'Greg!' she shouted, 'Look at you! You're so brown!'

For the next hour I told them all about the trip, and I even mentioned the skinny dipping episode. My dad laughed at that. But I could hardly keep my eyes open, and I promised I'd show them my pictures the next morning once I'd copied them from my camera.

I plodded upstairs, brushed my teeth, and flopped into bed. Before I turned out my light, I texted Chris. 'I miss you. xx'

':-) xx'



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