IN THE DYING LIGHT OF DAY Dominic leant against the low stone wall and gazed across a sea of ancient weather-beaten gravestones at the imposing mediaeval church before him. It was a cold, grey Friday afternoon at the end of the February half term break. So far it had been a mild winter and hundreds of young daffodil shoots were pushing their way optimistically through the churchyard grass, as yet blissfully unaware of the impending threat of snow. By contrast with their new-born fragility, the massive flint and brick structure of St Edmund's, a particularly large example of an English parish church, had withstood centuries of harsh winters and would doubtless survive another. Dominic gazed with newfound curiosity at the mullioned windows of the church's west end. His school's new history teacher had inspired in him an interest in old buildings which in turn was influencing the university course he wanted to do after he finished school in the summer.
Dominic wished he had himself taken better heed of the forecast. Getting ready to go out in the warmth of his bedroom he had felt invincible in his 'distressed' blue skinny jeans, his slim-fitting biker-style black leather jacket over a low-cut green t-shirt, and a scarf, stylish rather than practical, wrapped nonchalantly round his neck - but now he simply felt cold.
Dominic turned again to look back across the park. He at once recognised the familiar gait, assertive yet unintimidating, of Jimmy long before he was close enough to identify him by his features. Those features were anyway all but obliterated by a large blue puffer jacket and a scruffy grey woollen hat. Only his best jeans (black, slim-fit - Dominic hadn't persuaded him to be seen out and about in skinny jeans) suggested Jimmy may have made an effort to dress up a little. Generally, Jimmy was more comfortable in a vest, hoody and trackkies. Still a chav really, thought Dominic. Still his chav.
'You look hot!' Jimmy observed with a grin.
'I'm bloody freezing. You're late.'
There was no kiss, Dominic noted, even though the park was almost empty. Jimmy was still awkward about publicly displaying signs of affection, in spite of being more relaxed now in the presence of Dominic's friends and a few of his own.
'Got held up at work,' said Jimmy. 'Shall we go? Best not that way, though.' He pointed in the direction of the park's main entrance. 'Alex and his crew are there.'
Alex was the short, mean-minded thug from the nearby estate in whose gang Jimmy once belonged. His influence on the others had lessened over the last year or so but Dominic could tell that Jimmy was still wary of him. Actually, he was surprised Alex was back in his old haunt in the children's play area by the park's south entrance. These days Alex generally avoided the park altogether, preferring instead to loiter in the derelict two-storey car park over the road.
Both boys deftly jumped over the wall which separated the south-west corner of the park from the churchyard and took the path round to the south side of the church.
'Hang about,' said Jimmy. 'Just need to do something.' He darted in through the open outer door of the entrance porch.
'Do what?' whispered Dominic, following him in.
Jimmy pulled him behind the door into the corner and kissed him, a long, warm, lingering kiss that made Dominic go weak at the knees.
'Jimmy! We're in a place of worship!'
'Pfff!' was the response. 'Fuck that! Anyway, it's just the porch, though maybe we should go inside and make love on the altar.'
Dominic's mind filled with the images from renaissance artwork he had been studying, images of tortured souls condemned to eternal damnation that would have terrified past congregations. 'Anyway,' he countered, 'the inner door is probably locked by this time.' And everyone gone, he thought to himself. He pressed his body close into Jimmy's, frustrated a little by the barricade of the padded jacket but enjoying the attention his neck, back and bum were receiving from Jimmy's strong hands.
'You could quickly suck me off,' suggested Jimmy.
Dominic could feel the head of Jimmy's cock straining inside his jeans. But he was conscious of the time.
'They'll be waiting for us.'
They had arranged to meet Jack, Amy and a few of Dominic's other friends at the King's Head. A few of them, Dominic included, were still not yet eighteen but the pub's flamboyant landlord was sufficiently lax about age limits for it to have quickly become the group's first choice of drinking venue. Jimmy released a sigh and relaxed his grip on Dominic's arse. His dark brown eyes looked lustfully into Dominic's.
'Okay. We'll have a pint with your posh friends, and later I'll give you a pint of my cum.'
Dominic smiled at the thought of Jimmy's sperm in a pint glass. He gave his lover one more kiss and then led him back out through the porch door.
Jimmy said, 'Hey, aren't your neighbours getting married here soon?'
'Tomorrow. Not that we're invited, we don't know them that well.' Dominic paused to admire the gargoyles protruding grotesquely out from under the eaves. 'Such an interesting building, this. Can't wait to learn more about all this stuff at uni.'
Jimmy walked on. 'Is it?' he replied dismissively. 'Anyway, I thought we were in a hurry?'
What's up with him, Dominic wondered. Jimmy had been acting strangely recently.
MELVIN WAS THE THEATRICAL and somewhat over-imaginative proprietor of the King's Head. His was the pub that attracted the more unconventional ('Bohemian' Melvin would say) type of customer. And naturally it was also the pub to which the town's gay community gravitated, although it was by no means exclusive.
Melvin leant across the bar and scrutinised the driver's licence of the tall young man standing before him. The picture matched - same chiselled jaw, same impressive head of thick black hair. He read out the name: 'Jack. All right, Jack, my darling. And are all your friends eighteen as well?' Melvin looked doubtfully over Jack's shoulder at the collection of alleged adults in the far corner, including the giggly blonde girl who just a moment ago had been all over him.
'Yes. Definitely.' The young man was certainly self-assured.
Melvin's eyes took in his athletic build. Firm biceps showing through his fitted white shirt, nice developing pecs there too. Good manly thighs wrapped in fashionable burgundy chinos. This Jack was destined for a career as an officer in the army, thought Melvin as he pictured the young man shirtless in combat trousers manhandling him authoritatively into a confined place of safety. Jack smiled back at him, oblivious of the sexual imagery for which he was responsible.
'So, two pints of best, half a lager and a glass of white wine did you say? Pinot grigio or chardonnay?'
Melvin snatched a look at himself in the mirror behind the bar to check the state of his hair - trendy messed-up look still in perfect shape, highlights looking good. Not bad for forty-two, he thought to himself. He ran a hand across the smallest of paunches visible through his bright pink polo shirt and reached for a couple of pint glasses.
'Oh! Hiya, Bill,' said Melvin as he continued serving. Five large and hairy bikers had just entered the pub. 'None of the other pubs allowed you in then?' he joked.
Bill placed his massive leather-clad body right next to Jack's. 'No, only this shit-hole!' he countered. 'Come to raise the standard of the clientele.' He grinned at the young man through an impressive quantity of facial hair.
'Don't you just love a man with a tattoo,' remarked Melvin to Jack as the other bikers gathered around him. Supressing a laugh, he watched as the young man, now a little overwhelmed, paid for his drinks and returned to his friends.
Bikers were not really Melvin's type. He enjoyed their overt masculinity and strength, but he preferred his men rather less bearded, not quite so blatantly uncouth, better mannered. Still, as he joked with the guys and served them drinks he couldn't help picturing them in leather chaps and harnesses sporting massive erections. Even better, Melvin imagined them clustered around young Jack - all naked and smooth, his muscular legs held aloft, being pounded hard up the arse by Bill (wearing a studded cock and ball strap of course) while the others took turns to cum across his taught, athletic body and over his fresh, clean-shaven face. His heart raced a little at the idea of kissing that mouth of his.
'Umm, Melvin,' said Bill.
Melvin was pulled out of his reverie. 'Sorry, gents, what'll you have?' Oh hello, he said to himself at the entrance of another pair of youngsters, there's a glut of good-lookers in tonight! The red-headed boy in the leather jacket (another biker? I don't think so!) was undeniably cute. And as for the taller lad, Melvin imagined he must be nice and fit underneath that ghastly puffer jacket.
'HEY! NICE PUFFER JACKET,' said Jack spotting the two lads first. 'Hi, Dom!'
'Dominic! Jimmy!' chorused the others.
Dominic took a seat next to Amy. She sympathised with how cold he was feeling and she admired how gorgeously turned out he was. She was his longest-standing close friend.
Jimmy removed his jacket and hat, and thrust a hand into the pocket of his jeans. 'Drink?' he asked, pulling out a wallet and directing his question at Dominic. The offer was met by a barrage of requests from the rest. Jimmy smiled awkwardly. Dominic saw he was wearing a new maroon V-neck top. Dominic was filled with pride for having such a desirable boyfriend: those brown eyes, that delicate pointy nose, the black stud earring in his left ear, even the wrinkles on his forehead. Assured that they were only teasing, Jimmy went to the bar to get Dominic and himself a couple of lagers.
'Aww! He's lush!' remarked Bethany, Jack's latest and, thought Dominic, silliest girlfriend.
'Ohh! Beth! Aren't I lush enough for you then?' asked Jack pretending to be wounded. To which Bethany replied that of course he was, and then giggled as Jack pecked her cheek and brushed his fingers across her nipples. Dominic really couldn't understand what Jack saw in her. Or in any girl for that matter.
AN HOUR OR SO LATER Jimmy left the King's Head alone. He needed some fresh air, he'd told them, maybe get something to eat. Dominic had looked at him curiously but had not suggested going with him. He seemed too engrossed in conversation with his friends. The truth was they were Dominic's friends, not Jimmy's. He felt he had nothing in common with them. When Jimmy had returned from buying drinks he had found the group talking enthusiastically about university options, Dominic especially so. It felt like they were aware of Jimmy's poor academic credentials (a handful of low grade GCSEs) and were embarrassed by him.
Just as he was leaving he passed a tall, well-built man entering the pub. Clean-shaven, somewhere in his thirties probably and wearing a vicar's dog collar. Takes all sorts, thought Jimmy. He automatically headed for the park which he knew well. He had been familiar with all its tucked away corners from an early age. Just as he entered the park he halted suddenly.
The figure in the hoodie nodded. 'Wotcha!'
'You okay, mate?' Jimmy asked.
Like Jimmy, Ben was a former member of Alex's gang. Jimmy had not seen him for months, a year perhaps. He was a bit of a loner.
'Yeah. Suppose. You?'
It was a slow start to the conversation but in due course it got going. Jimmy conjured up several cans of lager from somewhere behind the nearby youth club, a secret stash he kept well hidden, and they both sat on the bench opposite the park's public toilets. Gradually, they each disclosed their feelings of isolation. Ben, being mixed race - his milk chocolate skin (from his dad) and piercing blue eyes (from his mum) gave that away - was placed pretty much at the bottom of the gang's pecking order.
'Yep,' Jimmy said. 'Alex refers to you as "that bald black bastard".' (Ben was shaven-headed.)
'He calls you "the fucking poofter".' Jimmy was shocked that Alex knew he was gay. 'We all know,' said Ben, adding 'I'm okay with it, though.'
Jimmy took a swig of lager and stared into the black starless sky. How different from that perfect clear night when he and Dominic had first met, first kissed, first made love.
'It's that ginger guy, right?' said Ben. 'Your boyfriend? He looks nice.'
Was he his boyfriend or just his sex buddy? Jimmy was questioning whether he really had anything in common with him. He himself was more like Ben, a mate from the estate.
'What's it like then?' Ben continued cautiously. 'Sucking cock?'
Jimmy grinned and said it depended on the size of cock. Ben's bold questioning and Jimmy's frank replies were doubtless fuelled by the alcohol, but even so Jimmy thought Ben was abnormally interested in his homosexual activities. He didn't mind though. Ben was a nice guy. Quite good-looking, too, he thought. Nice teeth. Nice bum. Come to think of it, he always did fancy Ben's bum.
His phone buzzed with a message from Dominic: 'Where r u?'
'Yep! I've sucked loads of cocks,' Jimmy continued telling Ben, as he responded to the text with a short reply. He was quite enjoying revealing some his early exploits as a troubled younger adolescent. He pointed to the toilet block opposite. 'Done many of them in there. There's loads of supposedly straight blokes who like a guy to give them a blowjob. We're better at it 'cause we know what it feels like.'
Ben shrugged. It seemed he didn't know.
ALEX WANTED A BIT OF FUN. As usual, that meant fun at somebody else's expense: making denigrating comments at passers-by, posting a dog turd through a shop letter box. Alex's gang! There was now only him and two others, where only a couple of years ago he had commanded a crew of six, even eight once.
'Show us your tits, love!' he shouted at a young woman over the road. He put his hand to his groin and pretended to masturbate through his white nylon trakkies. They all laughed uproariously. Alex wouldn't have minded fucking her. He had a big cock, despite his small stature, but he had used it on too few girls. 'C'mon! Let's go in here.'
There was still time before last orders for a drink in the King's Head and to play on its games machine. Alex surveyed the room. A group of posh kids from the school next to the park were at a table in the corner. He had fought with some of them before, but today he was a little outnumbered. He also decided to stay well clear of the bikers at the far end.
'Oi! Look!' said one of Alex's sidekicks pointing to a tall man standing at the bar talking to the pub landlord.
The other sidekick looked. 'Urghh! Pink shirt! Fucking poof!'
'Not the barman,' said the first sidekick. 'The bloke he's talking to. He's wearing a dog collar.'
Alex grinned at what could be a suitable target. 'He's from the local church.'
Sidekick Number Two was astonished: 'What, you mean he's a real vicar? In here?'
Alex waited until the pink-shirted landlord left to serve other customers and then made his approach. He began gently enough - 'Not in your church then, Vic'?' - but rapidly moved on to snide personal comments which, typically, questioned the vicar's sexuality.
'Hey!' intervened the landlord. 'We'll have none of that in here, thank you very much.'
But Alex was not to be stopped. He turned on the landlord, mocking his clothes and hair.
'Right! Out!' commanded the landlord.
Alex continued. 'Yeah, bet you have some fun in his church, don't you. Lay on a few choirboys does he?'
'Hang on, Melvin,' said the vicar, who clearly believed in meeting aggression with reasoned debate and polite diplomacy. He clearly didn't know Alex.
Over in the corner one of the posh kids, the tall one with the big hair, was being dissuaded from coming over. It was not until the landlord called for assistance from the bikers that Alex decided to call a retreat.
'Bunch of fucking poofs!' he shouted, backing towards the door. 'Fucking King's Head! Full of fucking queens!'
It was important for Alex to win the last point so, once outside, he pushed down his trakkies. He watched with angry gratification as his cock, his co-conspirator in the act of petty vandalism, sent a long steady stream of piss onto the pub doorstep. Alex squeezed out the last few drops and gave his cock a shake or two. The combination of the cold night air and the satisfaction of pissing on the enemy had given him an erection. He shook it again then squeezed it firmly.
'Alex?' said a sidekick.
'What? Maybe we should spunk all over his pub as well.' He grinned maliciously, and then snarled, 'Oh for fuck's sake. What's the matter? You're not fucking gay are you?' Alex manhandled his penile partner in crime into the penal prison of his tracksuit bottoms, where it continued to rage against its confinement for several minutes. 'C'mon!' he ordered, 'I've got a better idea.'
DOMINIC HAD NOT WITNESSED the altercation at the King's Head. Jimmy had been gone so long that Dominic went out to look for him. He sent him a text and he responded with: 'Havin a beer wiv a mate'. So he rang him.
'Jimmy, where are you?... You're in the park? What are you doing there?... Who?...'
Why, he wondered afterwards, had Jimmy said that? Said that they were not really his (Jimmy's) friends. What was up with him? Dominic decided it was best to leave him until he was ready to talk about it. He was tired and he should probably just go to bed.
The route home took him once more past St Edmund's. He stopped by the covered gateway - a nathex he remembered it was called - and thought of all the happy couples that had been photographed there. He envied those straight couples. He envied his neighbour's daughter and her geeky boyfriend who were marrying here tomorrow. For him, Dominic, the gay boy, the poof - for him there would obviously be no white wedding.
He turned up the path leading to the south door of the church. Everything had seemed all right with Jimmy just a few hours ago within this very porch - well almost. He was feeling the cold again. He tried the latch of the inner door and was surprised to find it unlocked, that it opened. It was a bit warmer inside, though not by much. The place was pitch black but it smelt strongly of flowers (for tomorrow's wedding presumably) mixed with the familiar musky church smell he had known for years. His families were not regular churchgoers but he knew St Edmund's from the annual carol concert (a family ritual) and occasional events linked to his school. Dominic cautiously felt his way between the pews up the nave. He stubbed his toe on the sanctuary step and cursed, and then felt strangely guilty for uttering a profanity in a church. Finally he reached the choir stalls and sat down. The world suddenly seemed so very still and calm. Sitting there was a good for his racing mind, good for his soul.
The silence was broken by the ringtone of his mobile: Oh My God by the Kaiser Chiefs - oddly appropriate!
Dominic, where are you?' shouted Amy above a background noise of mirth and merriment. Dominic jerked the phone away from his ear. The immediate surroundings made suddenly visible in the phone's gloomy light.
'In a church', he laughed in spite of his mood.
'What? Look, a few of us are going to the Trinity and then probably head back to Jack's. You coming?'
Dominic was in no mood for clubbing. 'No, I'm really tired. I'll see you tomorrow.'
He pocketed his phone and sat once more in darkness. He needed to go home and get into bed. He wondered if Jimmy had gone home to bed now. He rested his head against the back of the stall and closed his eyes.
IT WAS THE DISAGREEABLE SOUND of Alex and his sidekicks that caused Jimmy and Ben to vacate the bench by the public toilets. The 'gang' were talking quietly but something about the still, heavy night air made everything sound different. Jimmy caught the words 'church', 'vicar' and 'poofter' quite clearly, along with the phrase 'teach him a lesson'.
The first tiny snowflakes alighted on Jimmy's coat, mutating instantly into tiny dark damp spots that vanished almost as quickly. The onset of snow might in itself have been reason enough for them to take shelter, although Jimmy was well wrapped and always seemed to cope with cold better than, for instance, Dominic. But they could not quite tell how far away Alex and the others were or whether they were coming into the park. And their bench was too well lit by the lights next to the park entrance. So Ben and Jimmy made a hasty retreat into the toilet block.
It went quiet again and it seemed the coast was clear but Jimmy was uneasy about breaking cover yet. He looked around at the row of grubby urinals and the graffiti-covered walls. They were just visible in the orange glow coming through the high frosted windows from the park entrance lamps.
'So you did it in here?' enquired Ben. It was not a very subtle way of resuming the previous conversation.
Jimmy confirmed that he did. He explained, in order to attract 'customers', just how he made eye contact with them. Yes, Ben was definitely fascinated. Jimmy suggested he and Ben stand at adjacent urinals so that he could teach him the art of flashing a cock. Ben protested unconvincingly but was persuaded to get out his dick as if he were having a wee, but rubbing it gently. Ben played the part well. Even in the poor light Jimmy could see it had elongated significantly. He must have inherited that from his black dad, he decided.
'Then what did you do?' Ben asked, keeping his eyes bashfully on his own enlarged organ.
'Well next,' said Jimmy, 'I put my hand on your cock.'
Jimmy then did exactly that, causing Ben's breathing to increase considerably. Soon they were wanking each other. Very soon after that Jimmy was on his knees before Ben, his head bobbing up and down on Ben's long, silky smooth, black telegraph pole of a cock. It was too cold to expose anything other than a narrow strip of flesh around the genitals. However, Jimmy managed to give a good performance of various blowjob techniques: running his tongue along the shaft, teasing the slit with his tongue, sucking on one ball then the other. He was enjoying it, and enjoying Ben's enjoyment of it, too. And when Ben ejaculated, Jimmy demonstrated how to stick out his tongue and catch much of his cum, how to spit it back out over Ben's bulky bell-end only to lick it back up again, and how then to swallow it appreciatively. And there was a lot to swallow!
By the looks of it, Ben was drained in more ways than one. Jimmy dropped any hope of having the favour returned. He decided if he was going to jerk himself off he may as well do it back in the warmth of his own bed. Both lads fastened themselves back up. Further dialogue was unnecessary, unwanted. They stood in the doorway and surveyed the scene for a moment - it was properly snowing now.
'Okay, see ya' then,' said Ben awkwardly.
Jimmy nodded. Ben threw him a quick parting smile and then hurried off towards the park exit. Since they both lived on the same estate it was odd that neither of them suggested walking home together. After a minute Jimmy shoved his hands in his coat pockets and walked out into the falling snow. Instead of leaving by the south exit, as Ben had just done, he took the path heading east past the pond, past the boarded-up ice cream kiosk, and across the open spaces where groups of boys played football every weekend. But no one was playing football now. The park was silent.
He walked across the patch of grass towards St Edmund's, the same route he had taken earlier when he met up with Dominic. What would Dominic say if he knew what he had just done? Jimmy told himself he didn't care, after all Dominic knew he had been with many other guys. They both had had other sexual encounters. Yet he still felt guilty. It was snowing heavily and it was only when he was almost upon the church that he saw it looming before him. He liked that Dominic was clever, that he appreciated churches and architecture and stuff, but he disliked his talk of going to university to study it. That was it. He didn't want him to go away and meet other students with similar interests. He didn't want to lose him.
Despite the poor visibility Jimmy noticed a light on inside the church. The large snowflakes passing in front of the stained glass windows were tinted red and yellow from the illuminated coloured glass. It did look pretty, he admitted. But who was in there at this time of night? And why was the light flickering like that? Candlelight flickered of course, but this looked different. Jimmy took a sharp intake of breath. A terrible thought suddenly stuck him. That light could only be one thing. Fire!
Jimmy frantically scrabbled over the wall into the churchyard and stumbled his way through the gravestones to the large west doors. He tugged at the handle. The doors were locked of course. He put his head to the door and thought he could hear burning, but he was not sure. He ran round the side to the south porch. The outer door was still open and, when he tried it, the inner door opened too. Jimmy was immediately confronted with billowing smoke and, amongst the pews, flames that were already too well established for him to do anything about it.
Jimmy quickly closed the door again and ran down the path to the road. It was the middle of the night and it was snowing, so naturally there was nobody around who could help. He took out his mobile and phoned the emergency services. Then he stood waiting, looking on helplessly, wondering how the fire started. An accident? And then Alex's words came to mind - teach him a lesson, he'd said. 'Oh, you stupid git!' he said out loud. He knew Alex to be a bit of a pyromaniac but he had not imagined he would do this.
'Jimmy! Is that you?'
Jimmy turned around. Amy, Jack and Ben were crossing the road towards him.
'There's a fire. In the church.'
'What?' cried Jack. Beth had barely finished saying, 'Quick, Jack! Call the fire brigade!' before he was dialling '999' until Jimmy explained that he had already called them.
The four of them stood and looked on helplessly. Snow fell gently, unhurriedly upon the church roof, oblivious to the crisis within. The church bells, their sound muffled, struck the half hour.
'Where's Dominic?' asked Jimmy.
Amy frowned. Hadn't he been with Jimmy? She told him she had spoken with him on the phone. 'Wait a minute,' she added. 'He said something about being in church.'
There was a moment's confused silence.
Jimmy was aghast. 'In the church?'
'Well, he didn't say which ch...'
Helplessness turned to desperation as Jimmy tore up the path and flung wide the door. He balked only momentarily at the barricade of smoke and heat. Then he ran headlong into the flaming building. He began coughing almost immediately.
'Dominic!' he shouted.
The smoke was too thick for him to see anything and he knocked into several objects, some wood, some stone.
THE SITUATION QUICKLY became worse. Jack pounded after Jimmy but, blinded by the snow and blackness of the night, he ran headlong into a low branch of a tree. Bethany screamed. Amy rushed over to help Jack lying motionless on his back. She tried to think what was best to do - Jack was unconscious, his girlfriend hysterical; and Dominic and now Jimmy were about to be burned to death. In the distance Amy heard the sound of sirens. From neighbouring houses a small crowd began to appear.
A voice she knew well said, 'Amy, what's going on?'
An elderly gentleman jogged unsteadily past her with a tin bucket of water and almost collided with a puzzled looking Dominic.
'What are you...? Aren't you...?' Amy didn't quite know what the question was.
'I went home but then...' He spotted Jack. 'Bloody hell! What's happened?'
'We thought you were in there,' Amy shouted. 'He went in to get you.'
Around the corner came the first of several fire engines, flooding the snowy scene with white and flashing blue lights.
It took Dominic a few seconds to understand. 'Jimmy?'
'He thought you were in there.'
Amy's relief at seeing Dominic instantly vanished as events repeated themselves. She tried but failed to hold him back. Dominic, for whom Jimmy had entered the burning building, now ran into the church in search of Jimmy.
MELVIN LOCKED UP. He went through his nightly tidying up routing and retreated to the warmth of his flat above the King's Head with a cup of cocoa, grateful not to be out on a night like this. A little while later, however, he received a call about the fire at St Edmund's. Melvin always loved a bit of drama and might anyway have braved the elements to see the spectacle. However, in this case he had a personal interest.
He arrived in time to see that the fire had quickly been brought under control. His young 'officer', Jack, was being taken away in one ambulance, and in another the two boys he had also seen in his pub were being treated by paramedics. The police were present, too, probably trying to establish whether this was an accident or not. Policemen, ambulance men (well, one was a woman) and firemen; so many uniforms! One burly young fire officer threw down his hose, ripped open his jacket and revealed a hairless torso rippling with muscles - or at least he did in Melvin's mind's eye. In reality it really was not the weather for it.
The vicar had just arrived and looked distraught. Melvin consoled him, told him not to worry. There were already a lot of rumours circulating amongst the onlookers, one of which rang particularly true. So Melvin made a few phone calls and called in a few favours. Then, assuring the vicar that the miscreants responsible would be brought to justice shortly, he left the scene and headed for the derelict car park across the road.
A surprisingly short time after that Melvin entered the lower level of the old car park accompanied by Bill and his bikers. In one corner, where just enough light to see stole in from the street lamps, the short, blonde thug (Alex, Melvin had been reliably informed) and his two sidekicks were drinking lager and mucking about.
'Celebrating are we?' asked Bill, half hidden in the shadows.
The three hoodlums turned suddenly and froze.
Alex began, 'What the f...' In the situation he seemed to decide against provocation. 'Who's there? What do you want?'
Five men in their thirties and forties, bearded and stubbly, threw off their thick jackets and long winter coats, and stepped into the light. They planted themselves menacingly in a half circle around the youngsters, an intimidating collection of leather jockstraps, boots, chaps, harnesses, whips and hairy flesh. Melvin was full of admiration. It was freezing, but these guys were naturally well-padded and if they were cold they were not showing it. Alex tried again to establish their purpose for being there. Bill held out a massive, black, rubber dildo. Alex's face fell as he looked at the others and took in a variety of dongs, butt plugs, cuffs and restraints.
Bill smiled cruelly, spoke steadily. 'Hello, boys! Been to church today? Not been such good little boys from what I hear. I think it's time to confess you're sins.' Silence of course. 'No? Well, let me confess ours. I'm afraid we have a terrible craving to use these toys on naughty little arsonists.' Bill spat on his dildo. 'Little toys for little boys,' he chuckled.
Suddenly, Alex tried to make a dash for it, but was caught and held by a pair of heavily tattooed arms. 'Get off me, you fucking wanker! What have I done?' Alex was angry and frightened.
In mocking tone Bill said, 'He wants to know what he's done, Melvin?'
The pair of tattooed arms gripped him more tightly, whilst Bill and a balding ginger-bearded biker in leather chaps tore off Alex's trakkies. Screaming, he fought in vain as they pulled wide his legs and exposed his young, pink hole. Jocks fell open and flies unzipped to reveal fat hairy boners dripping with precum, one of which was forced into the captive's gagging mouth. Alex's body twisted and shook as Bill rammed the enormous ridged rubber phallus into his unreceptive and painfully stretched entrance. His pale, young skin turned rosy red as he was slapped across the face, body and bum with hands and cocks, and with leather whips. The full fourteen inches of the dildo all but disappeared within Alex's shuddering body. Two dicks simultaneously face-fucked him until they gushed their loads into his bruised throat and drenched his face and upper body with spunk which, with rough hands, was rubbed into his sore flesh.
'What do you reckon, Melvin?'
'Sorry?' said Melvin, hauling himself from his reverie.
'He wants to know what he's done,' Bill said, brandishing the dildo and looking threateningly at Alex. 'Shall I use this to help jog his memory?'
'Oh! Yes, but...' - Melvin's mind was once again focused - 'Listen, tough boy, I think you should tell us yourself, don't you? You really don't want to be made to confess by "a bunch of fucking poofs". I can't imagine what they might do otherwise!'
Alex flinched on hearing his words come back to haunt him. 'Confess what?' But he broke, reduced now to a snivelling wreck in front of his gang. He and his two assistants admitted responsibility for starting the fire.
As they hauled the three boys out into the open, Bill, feeling warmer again in his coat, joked quietly 'Shame! I was looking forward to using that dong, though I'm not sure if I know how.'
Melvin smiled. 'I'll have to show you how.'
'HAVE YOU GOT EVERYTHING you need, Jimmy?' asked Dominic's mum.
Jimmy said he had. Dominic's mum had long accepted her son's sexuality, was very supportive of him; but, for the sake of good manners perhaps, she still pretended that Jimmy slept on the futon in Dominic's bedroom.
'Good night, then.' she said, peeping through the curtains before she left them alone. 'Oh, thank goodness it's stopped snowing. Get some sleep - it's almost morning.'
Outside the sky had cleared and the world was tucked up beneath its snow-white blanket. Stories had been shared, the misunderstandings of who was where had been clarified, and everyone had made their weary way home. Soon the two exhausted boys lay in bed together, Dominic's head resting on Jimmy's chest.
Jimmy yawned. 'So, basically, you saved my life.'
Dominic pictured the scene once more - how he had found Jimmy stumbling around in the smoke, yelling between fits of coughing.
'I suppose,' he agreed. 'Your knight in shining armour.'
'My hot little knight,' said Jimmy.
Dominic remembered the relief at seeing the fireman who helped them out. And then the cheers when they emerged, black with smoke. His leather jacket would need cleaning before he could feel sexy in it again. He gave Jimmy's hand a squeeze. 'And I suppose you saved mine. Or you would have done if I'd been in there.'
Jimmy laughed a tired laugh. 'Amy told me you were in the church.' He yawned again.
'I'd left by then.'
Dominic had already explained how he'd gone looking for Jimmy in the park. He had searched everywhere for him. He had just wanted to be with him. He ran his hand down Jimmy's stomach and felt the smooth area of skin above his pubes.
'It certainly makes you realise how much you want something when you think you might not have it anymore. Makes things clearer. Makes you stronger.'
'We're a couple of fucking heroes,' mumbled Jimmy sleepily.
A couple of heroes. Dominic wondered how many couples could claim to have saved each other's lives. If indeed that's what they were. 'Are we, Jimmy?' he asked almost in a whisper. 'Are we a couple?'
But Jimmy was sound asleep.
THE NEXT MORNING was a gloriously sunny one. Under an azure sky the park, as Jimmy strolled through it, looked like a winter wonderland. In contrast to which the partially charred interior of St Edmund's parish church was a sad sight to behold. The church was filled with white carnations and ribbons, now black with soot. Fortunately, the structural damage appeared to be limited and, where it was safe to do so, a team of volunteers were already at work cleaning up.
'Hello, young man,' said the vicar when Jimmy entered. 'Can I help you?'
Standing next to him was Melvin from the King's Head. Oh, hello!' He said, 'This is the lad who went in to save his friend, the red-haired boy.'
'So it is. Jimmy, isn't it? I recognise you now.'
Jimmy turned to Melvin. 'You didn't say it was me who tipped you off, did you?'
'That it was those nasty little hooligans who started the fire? Of course not, sweetie. Our secret. Anyway they had all the evidence on them that the police needed when we handed them over. And they confessed, of course.' He winked at the vicar. 'Such fun!'
'Well, I have to thank you,' said the vicar, 'for acting so quickly and getting the fire engines here as soon as they did. Goodness knows what would have been left of this place otherwise. Of course there shall be no wedding here today, sadly, or indeed for some time, but it could have been worse.'
Jimmy felt chuffed. To have done some good felt good - not a feeling he remembered having when he was a member of Alex's gang.
'Anyway, must get back,' Melvin told the vicar, and to Jimmy's surprise he gave the reverend a parting kiss on the cheek. Jimmy's thoughts must have been transparent.
'What?' asked Melvin.
Jimmy wasn't quite sure what to say so the vicar answered for him: 'I suspect Jimmy wonders what my parishioners would say.'
No one else in the church appeared to have noticed.
'Oh,' whispered Melvin, 'the parishioners can go to...'
The vicar interrupted: '...go to speak to the bishop if they have any issues about whom I choose to forge a relationship with. Although what I've done to deserve you, Melvin, the Lord only knows. Besides, I thought you had a thing for uniforms.'
Melvin chortled, and told Jimmy, 'You should see him in a cassock.'
The vicar concluded that God works in mysterious ways, and that one cannot help with whom one falls in love. And Jimmy thought that was so very true.
BY NOON THEY STILL had not properly talked about what had happened before the fire. All Dominic knew was that he wanted it sorted. Jimmy had gone home ('probably via the church' he said) to get a change of clothes, and Dominic, after a few important Saturday morning duties, was to meet him at his mum's flat at lunchtime, or dinnertime as Jimmy and his mum called it. They were so very different, had such different backgrounds; but they had one important thing in common, or at least Dominic thought they did - they loved one other.
Jimmy's mum had already left for work when Dominic arrived. Jimmy, holding a towel, was still wet from the shower and wore just a loose pair of grey cotton shorts. The flat was well heated. After the previous evening's experience Dominic had come out more appropriately dressed, but he quickly reduced it to his t-shirt and jeans.
'Jimmy, are you not happy with me?'
Jimmy looked pained, the wrinkles on his forehead deepened. He certainly did not look happy.
'Because if you like we could take a break from each other. You know, if you'd rather find someone more... well, more your type.'
Jimmy stared back at him. 'More my type?'
'Yes,' said Dominic, 'more like... more like your friends than mine.' Damn, that hadn't come out right. It made him sound superior. 'I mean, why did you leave last night? We were only talking.'
Dominic rolled his eyes. 'You mean you're jealous? Well, I can't help that. That's just bloody stupid.'
'And that's what you want, isn't it,' Jimmy said forcefully.
'To go to uni? Yes, it's...'
Jimmy's anger erupted. 'To take a break from me, to find someone more your type.'
This was not going as Dominic had planned. He said, 'Look, I know it's embarrassing...'
'Oh just fuck off! I don't need you to be embarrassed by me. I've got good mates round here.' Jimmy was in full flow now. Dominic had seen this before, though not often, and from experience there was little he could do when Jimmy lost his temper other than stand back and wait. Rant finished, Jimmy threw his towel onto the floor and glared at it.
'You can be a fucking stupid wanker sometimes,' said Dominic, seizing the moment. 'I didn't mean I was embarrassed by you. I'm not at all. I love you. I love you and I want to be with you.'
Jimmy looked suddenly shocked. Dominic couldn't decide if this was because of his declaration of love or his use of the word 'fucking' which was rare.
He continued: 'Yes, I want to go to university, but I'll be back in the holidays and other times. And you can come visit me there so I can show you off to my uni friends. You're handsome and brave, and a really good person; you know, properly good-hearted. And you've got a fantastic cock. Okay, you haven't got A Levels but I think you're as smart a guy as anyone in my class. Well, maybe not Amy but then no one is. The point is I love you. And I don't want to lose you.'
Dominic stopped and listened to Jimmy's breathing gradually slowing. After a long silence and still with eyes fixed on the towel Jimmy blew out his cheeks.
'Fantastic cock, eh?'
'Fantastic!' reiterated Dominic.
He looked up. 'I love you too.'
And so it was that they were again the best of friends, the best of lovers, embracing and kissing each other fervently.
Dominic loved Jimmy's smell, his strong arms, his tight grip on Dominic's arse, his heavy breathing, everything. Jimmy pushed him through to the bedroom, their mouths still conjoined in a passionate kiss, and then threw him onto the bed. He grabbed Dominic's leg and, with eyes closed, pushed its denim-clad calf to his cheek, exploring the contours of its thighs fervently with his hands. He then pulled off the trainer and threw it across the room. While the procedure was repeated on his other leg, Dominic pushed his free foot onto the bulge within Jimmy's shorts. Jimmy was again in full flow! He pushed Dominic's foot aside and gripped hold of his waistband, pulling apart his button fly in one swift movement. Bloody hell, he thought to himself, Jimmy should have had the name Dom, not him. He contrasted this experience with their first night together, and the tender care with which Jimmy had undressed him then. This was a different Jimmy, and he loved them both. Jimmy peeled off the jeans that clung to Dominic's legs. He wrenched off his t-shirt, dropped his own shorts to the floor and launched himself onto Dominic as a leopard might attack its prey. Jimmy devoured him hungrily with almost animalistic passion. They kissed ferociously. Dominic lay helpless as his lover and assailant licked and kissed and sucked his way down his neck, chest and abdomen. Dominic gave an ecstatic laugh as Jimmy foraged in his bush of red pubic hair and tongued the base of his stiff dick. Had he ever been harder?
There was a knock on the front door. They froze, listening, waiting. A drop of precum emerged from the slit of Dominic's dick and quivered clinging to his foreskin. Whoever it was knocked again.
'Fuck!' muttered Jimmy, scrabbling for his shorts. He stumbled in his attempt to synchronise going to the door with inserting both legs and a rigid upwardly curved cock into the shorts. Dominic lay on the bed and listened. The front door opened and the voice of someone, a friend of Jimmy's, said something about the park, about Alex, and then:
'Umm, last night...'
'Don't worry about it,' interjected Jimmy. 'Look, I'm a bit...'
'I liked it though. I mean, maybe we could do it again? And I could suck you off, too?'
That's interesting, thought Dominic, curious to know who it was. He poked his head around the door of the bedroom. Jimmy was standing this side of the front door silently gesticulating to someone on the other side through a gap barely more than twelve inches wide. But there was enough of a gap for Dominic to see the someone's shaven head. It was a smooth and beautifully shaped head, he observed; well-proportioned features, striking blue eyes. A black guy with blue eyes! And the eyes saw Dominic.
'Oh! Sorry!' he said.
Jimmy's head spun round, his face one of agony. He searched for the right words, and failed.
'Maybe you should let your friend in?' suggested Dominic. 'No, come on,' he said when the friend (Ben, he soon discovered) realised he had created a difficult situation. 'It's okay. Any friend of Jimmy's is a friend of mine.'
Jimmy's expression showed he could not tell if that was sarcasm or not. If truth be told, Dominic was not sure himself, but he was sure he did not want their relationship damaged again. With a bit of persuasion, Ben came in and stood looking awkwardly at Jimmy still sporting a semi-erection in his shorts, and Dominic wearing nothing but a small 'Arsenal' cushion that he had grabbed from Jimmy's bed. (Didn't know he supported Arsenal, Dominic fleetingly thought.) At last Jimmy found his voice, a defensive one.
'Listen, it was just a blowjob. We were a bit drunk. You didn't... I mean, I thought you didn't want me. For fuck's sake, it was just sex!'
'I better go,' said Ben.
Dominic stopped him. 'Wait! I really don't mind.' He told Jimmy, 'I don't mind you having a bit of fun because I know what we have is more than that. We do, don't we'
He nodded earnestly. 'Yeah.'
'We're a couple, right?'
Jimmy's frown gave way to a smile at last. 'Yeah. A couple. I... I just love you so fucking much. I want you to have my babies.'
'I really better go,' Ben said again.
Dominic responded jokingly, 'We're not even married yet,' but it struck him that Jimmy was actually quite serious. Perhaps not about babies, but about being together, sharing responsibilities, sharing their lives with one another. He saw it in Jimmy's face, and it looked as though Jimmy saw it in his. Dominic looked again at Ben who was beside himself with embarrassment. He had such dark silky skin (in contrast with his own pale complexion) and he had big hands. Dominic was not sure why he was attracted to Ben's big hands but he was. No wonder Jimmy was tempted.
'So is he your engagement present?' Dominic asked, referring to Ben.
Three pairs of eyes - one blue, one brown, one green - darted questioningly to and fro. There was a halting exchange of dialogue in which Jimmy tried to establish whether Dominic was really suggesting a threesome, Dominic tried to gauge whether Jimmy or Ben liked the idea, and Ben tried to hide the growing bulge in his blue Adidas trakkies. Someone needs to take control, Dominic decided. He dropped the cushion and placed himself in front of Ben, putting his hands on Ben's waist. Ben's eyes were still in rapid movement but he didn't resist. Dominic moved his hands reassuringly over Ben's chest and arms and moved in closer. Ben responded by placing a hand, a large hand, tentatively on Dominic's waist. Another hand, Jimmy's, cupped his buttock.
Ben said, 'I like girls, really.' He was clearly anxious not to be mistaken for a homosexual.
Dominic informed him it was 'no problem' and helped Ben shed his several layers of clothing down to his loose cotton boxers. Soon, Dominic was sandwiched between the two taller lads and their boners, their two pairs of hands exploring his every corner. He gave Ben a brief exploratory kiss. Ben's lips were fairly large, like his own. He kissed him again, lingering this time, and then dropped onto his knees. Inside his boxers Ben's cock was large and already rock hard. Dominic placed his mouth over the protrusion and sucked until the material was wet with saliva and a hint of precum. He then gently lowered Ben's underwear and kissed his circumcised dick, starting at the top and spiralling his way down. Ben's simpering moans suggested he was doing the right thing. Still sucking, he reached behind for Jimmy's cock and pulled it towards him. Dominic sucked hard on one and then the other, cradling a set of bollocks in each hand. Ben's confidence was growing, thought Dominic as he allowed himself to be face-fucked by him.
They moved into the bedroom. Jimmy's single bed was not the most comfortable location for three teenaged lads to have sex but it definitely did not constrain them. At one stage Ben was on his back sucking Jimmy, who was squatting over him, and being blown by Dominic, who was balanced half off the bed. Not long after that, Dominic was pushing his dick between Ben's perfect white teeth whilst Jimmy, crouching awkwardly against the wall, inserted his tongue into Dominic's arsehole. There were the sounds of kissing and sucking, there were expressions of enjoyment peppered with expletives, but above all there were grunts and moans and a lot of heavy breathing.
'I'm going to fuck my boyfriend,' Jimmy told Ben in a conspiratorial voice. 'Want to watch?'
Ben tucked himself into a corner and slowly wanked while Dominic parted his legs and prepared himself for Jimmy to enter him. Jimmy took a fingertip of lube and gently moistened Dominic's hole. It felt very good.
'Oh, I want you inside me. I wasn't you inside me forever.'
'That might make daily life a bit complicated.'
Typical of Jimmy to joke at a time like this, but the look on his face was one of total adoration. Jimmy really loved him. He pushed down his cock and carefully pressed it against Dominic's soft entry point. Dominic felt his boy-cunt stretch as the head of Jimmy's knob nudged its way into Dominic's most intimate of places. Jimmy, as usual, waited until Dominic's sphincter had relaxed sufficiently, and then he fed in a bit more. Gradually, Jimmy pushed further, pulled back a little, and pushed further again until the whole engorged muscle was buried deep and Jimmy's hips pressed hard up against Dominic's arse. Jimmy bent over and they kissed, tongues entwining. Then Jimmy pushed himself up again with his arms and closed his eyes as he began rocking his hips until he had worked up a steady thrusting motion in and out of Dominic's hole. The advantage of an upwardly curving dick, thought Dominic as he watched his boyfriend fucking him, is that the knob puts pressure on that special place where the prostate gland lies. Dominic groaned with pleasure.
Ben was watching avidly. Dominic felt a hand, Ben's presumably, touching his bum and feeling Jimmy's cock sliding in and out of it. He looked at Ben, his large ark-skinned hand masturbating his large dark-skinned cock.
'Hey, Ben, do you want to fuck me?'
Ben looked at Jimmy as though seeking permission.
'Yeah. Go on, Ben,' said Jimmy withdrawing and reaching for a condom. And as if guessing the question in Dominic's mind he added, 'He's not going in there unprotected. Don't know where it's been!'
Ben's eyes widened and he shook his head. 'It's not been anywhere.' You could tell it was the truth.
Even so, Ben sat back as Jimmy expertly stretched a condom over his cock and lubed him up. Ben looked as though he was about to ejaculate and he removed Jimmy's hand for a moment.
'Okay?' asked Jimmy.
'Okay,' answered Ben when he was ready, taking up his position with obvious trepidation.
As he again spread his legs Dominic felt somewhat less than intrepid himself. Ben's cock was larger and significantly thicker than Jimmy's. This might hurt, he thought. The same thought had probably occurred to Jimmy, for he knelt right next to Ben and helped him direct his large velvety-smooth black phallus into the cavity he had prepared earlier. Dominic yelped. Ben looked scared and might have been scared off if Ben, who knew what Dominic was able to take, hadn't reassured and guided his mate step by step. Slowly, steadily, Ben sank close on three quarters of his man muscle into Dominic's boyish bum. And slowly and steadily the look of anxiety and concern on Ben's face vanished and a broad white-toothed smile emerged.
Dominic's cock, which had softened during Ben's initial entry, was once more standing rigidly upright. Jimmy gave it a good suck, which Ben clearly found exciting. Jimmy announced it was now his turn. He hastily lubed his anus and crouched over Dominic's erection, his back to Ben. In the rush Jimmy's foot slipped off the narrow bed and he fell down hard on Dominic's cock. For a few moments there were cries, expletives and then laughter from all three. Once Dominic had finally recovered from the giggles Ben resumed his penetration of him and Jimmy began his own penetration by him. Surely this can't get any better, thought Dominic as he watched Jimmy bouncing up and down on his cock whilst Ben, just visible behind him, held up his legs and pounded him hard.
'Oh fuck!' cried Ben suddenly, pulling out so rapidly that Dominic yelped again. 'Sorry!' he said sitting back against the wall. 'Fuck! I think I'm...'
Jimmy must have had the same idea as Dominic. They both realised Ben was about to cum, and they both did not want to miss it. Jimmy swiftly lifted himself off Dominic and pulled off Ben's condom. Both boys then set to with their tongues on Ben's towering cock, licking his precum and sharing it in a kiss. That was enough for Ben. He groaned, then tensed. Then in an orgasmic deluge of seemingly biblical proportions his creamy white seed surged from his chocolatey brown organ, soaking Dominic's face and his own flat belly. Jimmy slurped at the continuing gush of cum, stopping to let Dominic have a turn before the flood finally subsided. Dominic took Jimmy's head in his hands and kissed him deeply and passionately, Ben's semen mixing with their saliva.
'Wow! You're a heavy cummer!' said Dominic, wiping the evidence from his cheek with his hand.
Ben's smile betrayed a mixture of apology and pride. 'I really had better go now,' he said. 'I told Mum I'd be back for my dinner.' He wiped himself down with a towel and put his clothes back on.
Jimmy saw him to the front door. 'Right then,' he said returning with fresh energy. 'I've got a cock full of cum and I need you to deal with it.'
'Come on then, strong man. Let me have it.'
Dominic placed his arms around Jimmy's neck and jumped deftly up, wrapping his legs around Jimmy's waist. They kissed, the taste of Ben's spunk still on their lips. Jimmy, his arms cradling Dominic's bum, walked forwards a few steps until Dominic's back was against the bedroom wall. Still they kissed, even more passionately if that was possible. Jimmy manoeuvred his hands so that each supported a buttock. Dominic felt Jimmy's fingers prizing open his arsehole, against which pressed the warm firmness of Jimmy's erection.
'Yes, fuck me again,' whispered Dominic between kisses. 'Fuck me and cum inside me.'
Jimmy made what sounded like a cross between a laugh and a grunt. He slid his cock easily into Dominic's gaping hole. They kissed. Dominic, pinned to the wall like an erotic portrait, was fucked with increasing force. Dominic now held on to Jimmy's neck with one hand and wanked hard with his other - it was not exactly easy in the circumstances but that, too, made it all the more exciting. Dominic told Jimmy to fuck him harder. Jimmy fucked harder and Dominic grunted with each jolt, each thrust. Jimmy fucked harder still, thudding Dominic's back and bum against the wall almost too painfully, but it was too wild and exciting for either of them to want it to stop. Everything seemed to move and moan with them. The floor creaked beneath Jimmy's bare feet. A bedside lamp toppled off Jimmy's cupboard and crashed to the floor. Jimmy fucked harder and Dominic wanked faster. And still they continued kissing, accidentally banging their teeth together, deliberately biting one another's lips.
'Cum... inside me,' said Dominic between jolts.
Jimmy pumped harder.
'Cum in... inside me... Then... you can... rim me.'
Jimmy liked that idea. He rammed deep with each thrust.
'Then... we'll kiss... Ohhhh!'
They both liked that idea. Dominic gave a last rapid pump of his cock and then felt the wash of sensual pleasure course through his body as he enjoyed that frozen moment immediately prior to ejaculation. At the same time, the tightening of Dominic's bumhole around Jimmy's cock brought him to a climax, too. In total synchronicity, Dominic fired strings of cum up between their two perspiring bodies, while Jimmy pumped sperm into his arse. At that precise moment Dominic really did want Jimmy's babies.
Once their orgasms had abated the two boys remained as they were for a moment, panting heavily. Having got his breath back, Jimmy carried Dominic back to his bed and helped him gently down, carefully pulling out his dick in the process. He smiled at Dominic before delving into the crack between his bum cheeks. Jimmy gave him a long, slow, lingering lick and then inserted his tongue into the space where his cock had just been. Dominic whimpered; he was not sure he could take any more.
Jimmy crawled up and hovered above Dominic. Trying not to open his mouth, he mumbled something resembling 'open wide' and then let fall a long dribble of cum and spit onto Dominic's tongue, only then to try lapping it back with another kiss. And this time their kiss was tender and loving and contented. Jimmy's strong, muscular body relaxed on top of Dominic's and they lay entwined on the bed, glistening with sweat, exhausted.
They lay there for what seemed ages. Dominic thought of their quarrel and how stupid it seemed now. He thought of the church fire, and of the cancelled wedding.
'Can we be a real couple?'
Jimmy fingered Dominic's bush of red pubic hair. 'We are a real couple. I love you.'
'I mean, really be a couple. You know, like... like hetero' couples.'
Jimmy's eyes widened. 'You mean, get married?'
'Well, no... well... maybe, yes. Not yet, though, and maybe not actually get married but be together like we're married, partners... And not yet, of course, because I do want to go to uni and... and you also might want to go to...' (Jimmy's eyes widened further.) '...well... you might want to do something which means we can't yet... I just wondered...'
'Oh for fuck's sake!' interrupted Jimmy. 'Let's do this properly.' Jimmy stood up, pulled a puzzled Dominic up to a sitting position and went down on one knee before him.
'Dominic,' he began.
'Jimmy, I didn't mean you...'
'Will you shut the fuck up!' Dominic fell silent. 'Okay then.' He cleared his throat. 'Dominic, would you do me the honour - after you've been to university and I've done whatever it is I might possibly want to do, and after anything else which might get in the way of us being together properly - would you do me the honour of being my...'
'...Husband?' suggested Dominic.
'Yeah, my husband. Would you marry me? - eventually? So we can show the fucking knobheads who live around here that it's okay to be gay.'
'And maybe also because we want to be together forever?' added Dominic.
'Yeah, and that.'
'We're very young still, though.'
Which means,' Jimmy said emphatically, 'we can be together for even longer. But let me know if you change your mind.'
Dominic nodded and smiled. And again they kissed.
SOME COUPLES STAY TOGETHER, some don't. Some say that Jack's accident knocked some sense into him, for he straight away split up from giggling Beth. Some years later, after a string of other silly girlfriends (the knock on the head must have taken some time to have its effect) he married a very sensible girl and they lived a very happy and sensible life together.
Melvin and the vicar enjoyed a short spell as a couple, but the novelty wore off and they each found partners who moved more comfortably within their respective circles. If Alex ever became part of a couple (and if he did we can only feel sorry for his poor suffering wife) it was not until after he served three and a half years for arson. His couple of sidekicks got two years each.
It is not entirely certain what happened to Jimmy and Dominic in the long run. Dominic certainly went off to university and obtained a good degree, and Jimmy took up an apprenticeship in something or other. There is also very little doubt that the two of them were as close a couple as one can imagine, and that they eventually lived together as partners. And if the rumours are correct then it seems they did have a wedding, maybe even a white one. But if they did it was almost certainly not in a church.