The Glasshouse
by Taran Geary

 

Ritchie was bored. It seemed he was always bored. He just didn’t seem to be able to find anything that really inspired him. He didn’t like games, and he didn’t like doing things in groups. He was basically a loner. His parents said he should join a club or society or something similar, but being with other people just didn’t suit him. And yet he was lonely.

It was a school holiday and he had decided to go for a walk, just to get out of the house. He headed for the local park and just as he reached the battered iron gates it started to rain and he broke into a trot in order to gain the shelter of one of the large sycamore trees that were dotted apparently at random around the park. He shivered and berated himself for not putting on warmer clothes but, he consoled himself, September in England could be very unpredictable, and there was nothing worse than having to drag a heavy coat around when it got warm. He stood shivering for a few minutes and eventually decided to make a run for the Park Café that stood about two hundred yards away.

He set off running as fast as he could and he crashed through the doors and into the café. It was dark and gloomy inside and didn’t seem to have been decorated since just after the war. Dim bulbs struggled to shed light through the dirty glass shades that imprisoned them and all the paintwork was either dark brown or dark green.  A large woman frowned at him from behind the counter as she vigorously cleaned the shelves on which usually stood jars of sweets and such like. She tutted when he asked for a coke because it meant she had to stop what she was doing and take off her rubber gloves in order to serve him.

Coke in hand he went through another set of doors and into the large glass lean-to that had been tacked on the side of the Victorian building sometime in the seventies. The rain hammered on the glass but at least it was brighter here and he could sit by a window and lose himself in his own little world.

He sat at a table in the corner furthest from the door. He found yesterdays newspaper on an adjacent chair and he glanced vaguely through it. He thought he was alone in the glasshouse and he did a double take when he saw someone sitting in the opposite corner to himself.

It was a boy of similar age to him and he seemed totally overwhelmed by the huge fur-trimmed parka he was wearing. In fact when he noticed Ritchie looking at him the boys head seemed to disappear inside the huge coat. It put Ritchie in mind of a tortoise. A smile played on his lips and he turned back to the paper. He gave up trying to read it and reluctantly reached inside his jacket for his glasses. He found them, breathed on them, wiped them and then put them on. He turned back to the paper but he caught sight of his own reflection in the window glass. He wasn’t that bad looking, he thought. He just wished his face wasn’t so round. He did have a very round face and he understood why people called him “Moon Face”, or as one of his schoolmates had joked rather cruelly, Ritchie looked as if he had been hit in the face by a frying pan, Tom and Jerry fashion.

His eyes were his best feature, he thought. They were big and dark brown, just like his Mothers and the result, he was told of his Grandmother being from India.

A noise behind him jerked him back into the real world and the figure opposite scraped his chair on the floor as he got himself comfortable for the long wait until the rain stopped. Ritchie turned to look and once again the head vanished inside the huge coat.

The rain seemed to get heavier and now the wind was blowing up and it threw the rain in huge waves over the glass roof. The panes rattled alarmingly and then a drip started just by Ritchie’s chair. He got up to move away when the door opened and the large woman came in carrying a clanking metal bucket; she banged it down and the roof dripped noisily into it.

“Does that always happen?” Ritchie asked

“I just wish they’d pull the whole bleedin’ place down” was the curt reply.

“But then you wouldn’t have a job.” The woman stared at Ritchie for a few seconds before turning to walk away.

“I don’t have to do this job, you know!” She said loudly as she disappeared through the door.

Ritchie turned around and could see the tortoise peeping around the edge of his coat. Ritchie smiled and he thought he saw a flicker of a smile as once again the tortoise withdrew.

Ritchie took the opportunity given by the drip to move to a table closer to the tortoise and he settled in a position where he was facing the tortoise at an angle so he didn’t have to keep turning to look.

There was movement again inside the huge coat and the occupant seemed to searching for something. He patted his pockets and dug down into the deepest corners of the huge coat. There was an audible sigh and a “Tch” as he put some change down on the table, he started to count it but there obviously wasn’t enough and the tortoise shrank back into the coat with another loud sigh.

A mighty bang made both Ritchie and the tortoise jump and a sheet of water poured in through the roof. As always seems to be the way, as the water hit the floor it immediately made straight for Ritchie and he jumped up from his table a second time to avoid getting his feet any wetter. The woman appeared again with a long pole with a hook on it and she struggled to close the skylight that had blown open. She disappeared again but was soon back with a mop and bucket.

“Do you want a hand?” Ritchie asked

“I can manage, thank you”, came another curt reply. Then she seemed to relax. “I’m sorry, love. I’m just having a bad day,” and she smiled. Ritchie smiled back and looked around for a place that was still dry. There was only one place.

“Mind if I join you?” A gesture with a sleeve indicated that he could. Ritchie studied his companion for a few seconds. Thin face, ginger hair, more than that he couldn’t see. He held out his hand.

“My names Ritchie” he said. A bony hand emerged from the coat and grabbed Ritchie’s. The grip was much stronger than he expected.

“Barry,” The tortoise said. “Pleased to meet you.” Ritchie thought he detected a hint of sarcasm in the voice, but dismissed it.

“I’m just going to get another Coke. Can I get you something while I’m there?” Ritchie remembered the fruitless search for some change.

“Got no money.” Barry mumbled.

“That’s ok,” Ritchie said brightly. ” I’ve got enough for a couple of drinks, maybe even a sticky bun” Barry eyed Ritchie suspiciously and came to the conclusion that he was a harmless idiot.

“Tea, please,” he said. “Milk and two sugars.”

“Do you want a large one?”

“Already got one,” Ritchie froze and looked quizzically at Barry who was smiling at Ritchie’s discomfort.

Ritchie smiled thinly. “I meant the tea!”

“If that’s ok, a large one, please. I’m sorry; I really don’t know you well enough to be cracking nob gags, do I?” Barry said.

“That’s ok.” Ritchie smiled.

“I thought it would be.” He heard Barry say as he walked to the counter. He was surprised that his new friend let him get the drinks on his own as it was normal practice to offer to lend a hand.

“Do you live near here?” Ritchie asked as he sat down again. Barry named a street very close by. “Where do you go to school? I haven’t seen you around before.”

“I go to a boarding school.” Barry replied. “My folks work abroad a lot.”

“Oh.”

The rain eased up and virtually stopped as quickly as it had started.

“We could both get home before it starts again, if we ran,” Ritchie continued.

“Don’t do running.”

“Really, why not?” With a barely perceptible movement of his head, Barry indicated a pair of crutches leaning against the wall. “Oh, I’m sorry. Have you hurt your leg?”

“No, polio.”

“I didn’t think people got that any more.”

“They don’t here. I was born in Malaya. I was one when I got it.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I get around ok.” There was a long pause.

“Can I ask you something?” Ritchie asked cautiously.

“I know what you’re going to ask.” Barry said tersely “And the answer is `Yes, it all works perfectly well, thank you. It’s just my legs that are a bit wobbly. Everything else is fine”

“Oh, I see.” Ritchie felt his face start to burn. “Actually, I was going to ask you whose coat you were wearing.”

“Ah,” now it was Barry’s turn to colour up. “It’s my brother’s. He’s two years younger and three times the size of me. I was rowing with my parents and I flounced out of the house grabbing the first thing that came to hand. Does it look ridiculous?”

“You look like a tortoise popping in and out of its shell.” Barry pulled a face and sipped his tea.

The rain started again. The drumming on the glass was almost unbearable for a few seconds, then it eased and became more musical with various plips, plops and gurgles breaking up the drone of rain on glass

Then Barry said “Yep, god scored a triple-whammy when he made me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Crippled, queer and ginger, the perfect combination for an unhappy life, don’t you think?”

Ritchie was struck dumb. Was this weird kid testing him out? Teasing him? Or did he know that he, Ritchie, was homosexual too? He decided to act dumb.

“What do you mean `queer’?”

Barry’s pale blue eyes narrowed as they searched every square millimetre of Ritchie’s face. Then he spoke quietly.

“Gay, poofter, shirt lifter, uphill gardener, sausage jockey, nob

jockey, player of the pink oboe.” There was a pause before he continued “Just like you.”

Ritchie was thunderstruck! He had never, ever told anyone about his feelings for other boys. “How did you know?”

Barry smiled again. “Perhaps sometimes other people watch you as closely as you watch them.” Ritchie smiled and nodded in agreement.

“Anyway,” Ritchie said. “Some people like ginger hair!”

“And do you?” Barry’s voice was barely a whisper. Ritchie smiled.

“As a matter of fact I do.”

Bony fingers emerged from a fur-trimmed sleeve and almost imperceptibly brushed Ritchie’s fingertips.

Somewhere deep inside Ritchie felt his heart leap.

The rain started to drum on the glass roof again. The sound was hypnotic to Ritchie as he tried to come to terms with the effect that a simple brush of his hand by this weird kid he’d only just met was having on him.

“You all right?” A voice crept into Ritchie’s express train of thought. “Ritchie? Ritchie?” He was dragged from his dream by an intensely sharp pain in the back of his hand and he instinctively pulled it away.

“OW!” he cried. “What did you do that for?” He rubbed the place where Barry had nipped a piece of skin with his nails.

“Just trying to wake you up. I was getting bored sitting here looking at you with your mouth wide open and a vacant look in your eyes. All four of `em.”

“Why do you have to be so nasty?”

“When?”

“Calling me Four Eyes.”

“Am I the only one that’s ever said it?”

“No, but I don’t like it.”

“No? Well I don’t like being called a spag or cripple-nipple but it doesn’t stop people saying it.”

“I never said that. I wouldn’t.”

“No? Well maybe you wouldn’t.” There was a pause and Barry’s voice quietened. “I was just getting in first in case you did.”

“You’re weird, you know that? I thought … I thought … well …”

“That I liked you? Well perhaps I do and perhaps I’m just winding you up.”

“I’m going.” Ritchie felt the anger rising inside him.

“Why? It’s pouring, you’ll get soaked.”

“Because you’re a horrible bastard!” Ritchie almost shouted but managed to control himself.

“Goodbye.”

“What?”

“You heard. I’m not such a horrible bastard that I wouldn’t say goodbye to someone who’s going to risk catching pneumonia and getting struck by lightning just because I upset them.”

“It’s not lightning.”

“Not yet maybe. But it’s raining very hard”

“So what?” Ritchie’s mouth set in a determined line.

“You’ll be like a drowned rat before you reach the trees.”

“Like you care!”

“Why not get yourself another nice glass of coke and sit here until it stops.” There was still sarcasm in Barry’s voice, but a look at the streaming glass and a listen to the drumming on the roof made Ritchie lean toward discretion. He really didn’t want to get soaked.

“Can do, I guess.  I suppose you want something?”

“Not if it’s begrudged.” Barry turned and faced the misted up glass.

“Fucking arsehole,” Ritchie muttered and walked carefully, because the floor was still wet from the earlier deluge, to the counter in the main building where the large woman was sitting smoking a cigarette and reading the paper. She tutted loudly and threw her paper down in order to serve him. Ritchie took his coke and, despite himself, a cup of tea for Barry.

“Did I say I wanted that?”

“Who said it was for you.”

Barry put his hand over his eyes as if to shield them from the sun and made an exaggerated show of looking around the glasshouse. “I don’t see anybody else,” he said in a voice reminiscent of a primary school teacher talking to a particularly dim student.

“Ok, I give up. If you want it, drink it. If you don’t, I will. Suit your fucking self. I’ve had enough of you and your bloody games.” Ritchie banged his hands down on the table so hard the glass of coke nearly toppled but it was deftly saved by Barry. He pushed it towards Ritchie who sucked on the straw and slowly drank the coke. Barry sipped his tea and kept his eyes firmly on the descending liquid in his cup, thus avoiding Ritchie who was watching him intently. Deep down he felt that Barry liked him and he couldn’t understand why he was being so unpleasant. Was it defensive? Was he so insecure that he felt he had to drive people away? Could it be that he was playing to the only power-base he had? The fact was that no one – well, no one normal – would ever hit a boy on crutches, so he felt he could say what he liked to anybody and make them feel as uncomfortable as he had made Ritchie feel and there would be no repercussions.

That all seemed a bit too simplistic. He did like Barry, he didn’t know why, but there was something about him that appealed to Ritchie. Not just the fact that he was young and male and sometimes on dark nights he felt that was the only thing that mattered. No, there was something about this weird kid that touched him. He liked ginger hair of course, and he had to admit he had never seen hair so vividly ginger as Barry’s. It fairly glowed …

“Thank you, that was nice.” Barry broke the silence, his voice was totally devoid of the sarcastic edge that Ritchie was getting used to hearing from him.

“You’re welcome,” There was another short pause. “Can I ask you something?”

“I’ve already answered the usual question.”

“No not that, something else.”

“OK, if you feel you must.”

“Why do you do it?”

“What?”

“Go out of your way to be so fucking horrible.”

“Because I can. I enjoy it. I like watching people squirm.”

“That’s cruel.”

“Life’s cruel. If it wasn’t, I’d have legs that worked and nice brown hair. I wouldn’t have to go around like a Belisha beacon with scaffolding up it.”

“You sound so bitter.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you swear too much?”

“What?”

“You heard.”

“I don’t usually swear. You drive me to it. But then I’m sure you must be used to people swearing at you.” Ritchie tried to throw some of Barry’s sarcasm back at him.

The rain started to ease and eventually stopped. The wind was still high but that too showed signs of blowing out.

“I need to get out of here. I think my arse is getting welded to this chair.” Barry said.

“Where shall we go?” Ritchie asked.

Barry leaned across the table and whispered “You know the toilets across the park? Let’s go there and have some fun.”

“What do you mean?” Ritchie asked.

Barry made masturbatory gestures with his hands.

“Are you serious?”

“Yeh, why not? You like me and I sort of like you. So let’s go and have some fun together.”

Ritchie couldn’t help but smile “My God you’re a charming bastard, you are. Is this another one of your games? Pick up some hapless sucker and then go and knock one out in the bogs. Is that how you get your jollies?”

Barry looked genuinely hurt for a moment, but he soon recovered his composure.

“No it isn’t! Actually I’ve never suggested it to anyone else. And anyway, I wouldn’t say you were hapless.”

“You’re unbelievable. How many other boys have you done this with?”

“None.”

“Don’t believe you. You must get loads at boarding school.”

“It’s not like you think. It goes on I suppose, but I don’t do it. Anyway, with three hundred boys to choose from, who’s going to want me?”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

“Well, are you up for it or not?”

Ritchie bit his bottom lip. “I’m not sure. It just seems a bit sort of seedy, that’s all.”

“Yeh I know. That’s the best part.” Barry grinned.

By this time the rain had stopped almost completely. Barry started to rise from his chair, leaning heavily on the windowsill with one hand while he tried to get the oversized coat adjusted with the other one.

“Do you need a hand?” Ritchie asked.

“No thanks, I can dress myself, you know.” Barry replied nastily.

“For fuck’s sake,” Ritchie muttered under his breath. Then to Barry “Sorry I spoke.”

Barry continued to struggle and nearly fell over a couple of times as his arm got tangled up in the detachable lining. The frustration was building and he grew red in the face and tears of rage were beginning to form in his eyes. Ritchie got up and started to walk around the table towards him.

“Leave me alone!” Barry shouted tearfully and he continued to struggle. Ritchie looked on helplessly. The struggle carried on for several agonising minutes until with tears of frustration pouring down his face Barry finally said “Ritchie, can you help me please?”

“Of course,” Ritchie went towards Barry and as he stood facing him red faced, tearful and with bottom lip trembling all he wanted to do was hug him. But for now he gently untangled Barry’s arm and straightened the huge coat as best he could. He reached out and handed Barry his crutches. Barry straightened himself up and looked at Ritchie. “Thanks,” he said simply. Ritchie just forgot himself and stepped towards Barry and put his arms around him and squeezed him tight. Barry responded by putting one arm around Ritchie and pulled him in tighter.

“Oh that feels so good” Barry whispered in Ritchie’s ear.

“Yeh,” said Ritchie simply. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

They negotiated their way across the still wet floor and made for the door. Ritchie said goodbye to the large woman who was still reading her paper.

“Goodbye, loves,” she said brightly as the boys made their way out of the door.

The wind was still blowing but it was not bad enough to cause problems. There was still rain in the air but not enough to worry two boys with sex on their minds.

“Slow down a bit,” gasped Ritchie. He was impressed with the speed that Barry was able to attain. Barry just laughed and slowed down to what was for Ritchie, still a brisk pace. They kept to the tarmac paths and the water dripped from the trees that lined them and the boy’s heads were soon quite wet.

Clickclick click, clickclick click, clickclick click, clickclick click, clickclick click.

Ritchie found himself mesmerised by the rhythmic sound from Barry’s crutches as he walked and he was soon off, lost in his own little world. His thoughts were mainly of the “What on earth am I doing?” variety. “Here I am with a boy I’ve only known for about two hours and I’m off to a filthy old toilet to have a wank with him. He could have mates there who are waiting to kick the crap out of me. He might not be ill at all. It might all be a front for queer bashers.  Did I see someone by that tree? Is someone waiting behind it to beat me up? What was that? It looked like a squirrel, but I’m not sure.”

“You’re very quiet.” Barry’s voice cut through Ritchie’s increasingly hysterical thoughts.

“Sorry, I was thinking.”

“Ah, I thought I cold smell burning.” Barry grinned

“I don’t think this is such a good idea, you know?” Ritchie said warily. Barry stopped dead and turned towards him.

“Why not? Don’t you like me?”

“Yeh, it’s just that …”

“Just what? Oh I know, you’re scared! I might have guessed you’d let me down. I knew it! I just wanted to have a bit of fun with someone who wasn’t scared of the crutches and now you’ve bottled it. You’re useless.”

“You horrible bastard!” Ritchie shouted. “Do you realise you haven’t said one nice thing to me since we met? All you’ve done is slag me off and take the piss.” Ritchie was shouting full voice now. “God knows why, but yes I do like you and I’m certainly not scared of the crutches. Why the hell should I be? Look, I’ve never done anything like this before, you know? I’ve never ever even told anyone that I’m …”

“A poof?”

“Gay. And I certainly haven’t ever done anything with anyone. Yeh, I’m scared. I’ve got every right to be.” Ritchie took a few moments to calm down and catch his breath. “Anyway I always hoped my first time would be a bit more romantic than a quick grope in the park khasi.”

Ritchie walked away and punched a tree. Not hard, but with feeling.

The rain started again. Gently, but enough to soak them very quickly. Barry just stood still looking at Ritchie, his ginger hair almost transparent now that it was thoroughly wet. Water droplets ran down his face and it was a few moments before Ritchie realised that some of those droplets were salt water.

“I’m sorry,” Barry snuffled.  “I don’t mean it, you know? It’s just how I am. People are scared of the crutches. They think they’ll catch something or they’ll end up carrying me around if they get close to me.” There was a pause. “Of course I like you. In fact I think you’re lovely.”

“Come on, let’s get under cover.” Ritchie interrupted to avoid getting embarrassed by Barry’s being nice to him and in an uncharacteristically bold gesture he put his arm around his strange new friend and squeezed him gently and then pecked him on his cheek. Barry smiled through his tears and they continued at a brisk pace towards the crumbling pile of bricks that served as the park’s public conveniences. Luckily the toilets were unlocked and the boys entered cautiously. They were immediately assailed by the heady odour of stale urine and Jeyes Fluid; although, Ritchie surmised, it must have been a long time since the latter concoction had ever darkened these peeling, crumbling doors. The walls were of the standard white glazed bricks, chipped and cracked and covered in graffiti. Water trickled into the ancient porcelain cistern over the urinal stalls and the floor was covered in windblown leaves, some of which must have been there several years.

Barry leaned his back against one of the wooden doorposts that formed the front of the cubicle and spent a few seconds positioning himself so that he could lean his full weight against the post without his feet slipping on the damp, slimy floor. When he was ready he threw his crutches to the floor in what Ritchie considered a rather theatrical gesture, undid the front of the huge coat and in a stage whisper, said: “Come on then stud. Show me what you’re made of.” Ritchie moved towards him and their hands linked.

***

Ritchie’s first sexual encounter turned out to be a very brief affair. He recalled it as a bit of fumbling and groping, a fair bit of pulling and pushing and an awful lot of grunting and gasping and it seemed only a few seconds until the hot sticky finale presented itself – Barry first and Ritchie moments later. But he had to admit that he had enjoyed it immensely and he smiled to himself as he wondered if he pulled the same sort of facial contortions as Barry did when approaching his climax. Also he found it very gratifying that his equipment was significantly bigger than Barry’s whose seemed almost boyish when compared to his own.

“What are you smirking at? Barry asked as he mopped up the residue with one of the few pieces of clean toilet paper available.

“I’m enjoying myself. I am allowed to enjoy myself, I suppose?”

Barry ignored the jibe “It was nice, wasn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever cum this much before. I didn’t think it would ever stop.” He started to chuckle quietly and Ritchie soon joined in. He went to throw his piece of paper down the toilet, but Barry stopped him.

“Stick it on the wall high up,” he said. “And then we’ll be reminded of our first time every time we see it.”

“That’s disgusting,” Ritchie said. “Anyway some poor sod’ll have to clean it off.”

“Hardly likely, is it”? Barry looked around at the filthy conditions.

“No, I suppose not.” He paused and then said brightly “OK then I’ll stick yours up next to it.”

After this monument was in place to their mutual satisfaction, Ritchie walked back to Barry and kissed him gently on his lips and neck. He then grabbed Barry firmly in a great hug. Their noses touched a couple of times as they manoeuvred for another kiss.

And kiss they did! Long, hard and passionately. Ritchie felt himself stiffening again and from the way Barry moved it seemed he was feeling the same sensations.

They pulled apart, both wearing soppy grins and feeling lighter than air. They stood and just stared at each other for several minutes. Ritchie spoke first.

“Can we get out of here? The smell’s getting to me.” He bent down and picked up Barry’s crutches and with out saying a word he proceeded to straighten and zip up the huge coat.

“I suppose I’d best be getting home,” Barry spoke as they walked.

“Mind if I walk with you?” Ritchie asked wanting to stay with his strange new friend as long as possible.

“If you feel it’s something you have to do. I suppose I can put up with you for a little bit longer”.

Ritchie just smiled to himself. He liked Barry more and more and now that they’d shared an intimate moment he felt that he was beginning to understand him a little better.

“You don’t appreciate how hard all this is for me.” Ritchie said mischievously. “I’m very fussy about who I’m seen with.”

Barry’s eyes narrowed and he tried very hard to suppress a smile.

“Then I should count myself very lucky”, he said after a short deliberation. “And so should you. I wouldn’t sacrifice my virtue for just anyone, you know.”

“What virtue!” Ritchie laughed. “I still reckon you’re a right old slapper when you’re at school!”

Barry looked affronted “I’ll have you know that until you laid your filthy hands upon my virgin tackle, I was as pure as the driven snow.”

They continued in this vein for the short walk to Barry’s house. It turned out to be a very large Victorian villa set back from the road and a flight of about ten steps led up to the front door.

“Nice house,” Ritchie said. “But not very practical with all those steps, is it?”

Barry grinned to himself and carried on past the main front gate and in through a second one which led to a long meandering ramp.

“I suppose you want to come in. People like you usually do.”

“What do you mean `people like me’. People like what?”

“Nosey people.”

Ritchie felt his hackles rising but spotted the twinkle in Barry’s eye and decided to play along.

“I dunno, if the rest of your family are anything like you, I’d be better off out of it.”

Barry chuckled and headed for the ramp which he negotiated with ease. He pushed the front door and to Ritchie’s surprise it was unlocked and swung open. They stepped into a large hallway with a rather grand stairway leading from it.

“Is that you Barry?” a female voice called from an adjoining room.

“Yeh, I’ve got my friend with me. We’re going up to my room.”

“Ok”, the voice said. “Make sure you leave Warren’s coat on its hook. He wasn’t very happy when he found you’d taken it.”

Without thinking, Ritchie helped Barry off with the monstrous coat and Barry seemed happy to let him, and they headed for the stairs. Barry unfolded the seat of the stair lift and when he was comfortable they headed upwards. After going up three floors, the lift stopped and Barry got off and headed for a small door, when it was opened Ritchie was surprised to find yet more stairs and another stair lift. This narrow flight took them into one of the nicest rooms Ritchie had ever seen. It was the attic space and so the walls sloped into the centre. There were large dormer windows flooding the room with light but the best part was that the whole section of the roof over the bed had been replaced with glass. Ritchie wondered at the effect of the rain running down the glass, throwing weird rippling shadows across the room. The effect was breathtaking.

“Wow, this is fantastic!” Ritchie gasped. He took in other features. The en suite shower room, shelves full of books and cd’s and dvd’s.

Barry walked over to the bed where a handle hung to help him sit up. He propped his legs against the side of the bed, dropped his crutches and allowed himself to fall forward towards the bed. As he fell he reached up and grabbed the handle and in a trapeze-like action swung himself up above the bed, let go of the handle and landed (to a chorus of protesting springs) in a sitting position on the bed.

Ritchie gave him a quick round of applause. “Bravo, Very nifty,” he said in admiration of Barry’s athleticism. “Very nifty indeed.”

“Come and sit by me.” Barry said. Ritchie took off his jacket and climbed on the bed next to him. They snuggled up together and a gentle exploratory play fight started with touches and gropes and much giggling. Then the whole atmosphere changed. Everything seemed to get serious. Ritchie had his hand under Barry’s tee-shirt and Barry had a hand just above Ritchie’s belt. Ritchie felt his pulse quickening and his breathing was getting laboured. The boys looked at each other. Ritchie spoke first.

“What shall I do?” he gasped.

“Anything you want,” was the equally breathless reply. Barry then propped himself up on his elbow so that his face was about level with Ritchie’s and he looked intently into the dark chocolate-brown eyes of his friend and said in a barely audible voice, “I’ll do anything you want me to do. Anything.”

Ritchie moved his hand to Barry’s nipple and played with it tentatively. Barry gasped and just whimpered “Yes”. He flopped back down on to the bed and moved his arms so that they were above his head in a classic “Take me I’m yours” pose that Ritchie couldn’t resist. He gently removed Barry’s tee shirt and gently rubbed his hands all over the pale hairless torso. Barry squirmed and writhed and stroked Ritchie’s back as he worked on him. Ritchie then undid the belt and slowly lowered the zip. Barry made strange whimpering noises as he felt a hand slip gently inside his jeans.

Ritchie explored this private area and the cock was like a ramrod.  Ritchie was almost dribbling as he moved his hand down between Barry’s legs and his finger touched the tiny, puckered hole that he found deep underneath. He then brushed the inside of his thighs.

“What the fuck?”

“What’s up?” Barry was shocked out of his reverie by Ritchie’s exclamation.

“What’s this thing?”

“Leg braces. Do you want me to take them off?”

“No, it’s ok. I just wish you’d warned me.”

“Sorry, I didn’t think.”

Ritchie snuggled up to Barry and they kissed and stroked each other for a while.

“Now” said Barry. “Where were we? Oh yes, I remember.” He took Ritchie’s hand and slipped back inside his jeans. Ritchie chuckled under his breath and played gently with what Barry called his `tackle’. He felt his own tackle being invaded as Barry too slipped a hand inside.

Very soon, both boys were naked and Ritchie was amazed that not only was Barry’s tackle smaller than his own, it was almost completely hairless, with just a few wisps of bright orange hair. But this didn’t stop him as he worked and was worked on. Ritchie very soon got his first taste of another boy’s cock and he loved it. He climbed over on top of Barry so that he could get a taste as well. Both boys began to lose control as each sucked and fondled harder and harder.

Barry gave a strange, strangled cry and Ritchie felt his mouth fill up with warm, salty liquid. He swallowed it down just as he felt his own orgasm overwhelm him and he gave Barry a similar treat.

Both boys were totally spent and Ritchie rolled off and lay next to Barry who had a very sloppy grin on his face and a line of spunk running down his chin. They snuggled up together and kissed for a while. Then they pulled the covers over themselves and slipped into a gentle asleep.

They awoke only a few minutes after and Ritchie was still glowing from his experience.

“This has been the best time of my life,” he whispered to a just rousing Barry

Barry just smiled and reached over and kissed him on his cheek. That action alone said everything he ever hoped to hear and he snuggled down under the covers and rested his head against Barry’s shoulder. He gazed up wondrously at the glass roof and the rain pouring down it.

“That roof is fantastic.” He said.

“Yeh, it’s pretty cool,” Barry replied. “Do you want to know why it’s there?”

“Well, Yeh, I guess so. Why is it there?”

Barry snuggled up to Ritchie and threw an arm over his chest.

“Well, you know I was born in Malaya?”

“No I didn’t, but I know you were there when you got ill.”

“Anyway, I was born there. My Dad’s an engineer who builds dams and skyscrapers and shit. And he had this long contract out there – two or three years or something – building something so he took my Mum along as well and they lived there. When I was born everything was ok until I got sick. They didn’t diagnose it until the damage was done and they rushed me back here and straight into hospital. I was in hospital for years.” Barry sniffed and wiped his eyes.

“Don’t tell me if it upsets you.” Ritchie said stroking Barry’s cheek with his finger.

“It’s ok. Anyway, when I was about three or four, something went wrong during one of the operations on my spine and they thought I was going to die. I did die twice and they brought me back. They told my parents that I’d be lucky to live another year. ”

“Anyway during one of their late night vigils they apparently asked me what I most wanted in the world and I supposedly said “I want to see the stars.” I don’t remember it but when I survived that crisis they decided to bring me home and get private care for me. I had to lie on my back for a year with my legs in traction and this is what they did for me. I could lie here at night and see the stars.”

Barry was crying properly now and Ritchie hugged and kissed him. He rocked him gently as Barry sobbed.

“The worst part is that Mum blames herself for staying there after I was born,” Barry continued. “I tell her it’s not her fault but she still feels bad about it.” Barry regained his composure and blew his nose on a tissue.

“Sorry to burden you with all this. You’re the first person I’ve ever told”. Then the old devil crept back into Barry voice. “Of course if you hadn’t bullied me into telling you, I could have saved myself all this trauma and embarrassment.”

Ritchie aimed a play punch at Barry’s jaw and a full blown play fight broke out which naturally led to another round of sex.

When these exertions were completed, they made themselves presentable and Ritchie, reluctantly, headed home for his tea.

As you can imagine, dear reader, the boys met up at every opportunity and they always ended up in Barry’s bed under the glass roof where bodily fluids were exchanged in copious quantities.

But like all good things, it came to an agonising, tearful end as Barry returned to his school.

Texts were exchanged almost hourly and phone calls went on long into the night, but ultimately distance, cost and the pressure of impending exams caused things to cool. Then finally Ritchie called Barry and got a `No longer in service’ message. He tried again and again over the next few days but the result was always the same. He even called at Barry’s house but there was never any answer so he assumed his parents were abroad building “dams and skyscrapers and shit”. He felt awful. He began to realise what the term `Heartache’ really meant. His heart did ache, he found himself crying for no apparent reason at odd times of day and night. He dragged himself through his day and threw himself into his coursework to try and forget that he had effectively been dumped for no good reason.

Despair turned to anger and anger to loathing as he thought of the horrible bastard who’d treated him so badly. He really thought he’d found someone, someone who actually liked him (he shied away from the word `love’ although he felt sure that he had loved Barry and, he hated to admit it, still did) and had taken him to places in himself he didn’t know existed.

He turned over elaborate plans in his mind as to how he would exact his revenge. They ranged from creeping up behind him and kicking his crutches out from underneath him to burning his house down But he knew in his heart he would never do anything like that and he felt that if he ever saw Barry again he would just melt.

The school term ended and it had been a whole month since he had had any contact with Barry. He was beginning to think that it had all been a dream …

Ritchie was bored. It seemed he was always bored. He just didn’t seem to be able to find anything that really inspired him. He didn’t like games, and he didn’t like doing things in groups. He was basically a loner. His parents said he should join a club or society or something similar, but being with other people just didn’t suit him. And yet he was lonely.

It was a school holiday and he had decided to go for a walk, just to get out of the house. He headed for the local park and just as he reached the battered iron gates it started to rain and he broke into a trot in order to gain the shelter of one of the large sycamore trees that were dotted apparently at random around the park.

He hadn’t been back to the park since the time he had met that bastard Barry – if he had ever met him at all – and nothing seemed to have changed. It was still raining, although not as hard as last time and he had his coat with him. He decided to stroll over to the café for a coke or something and not in the vague hope that Barry might be there again. No, definitely not to see if Barry was there again; No, absolutely definitely not to see if Barry was there again.

He started off at a gentle stroll and he’d got about half way when: “Oi! Four Eyes!”

Ritchie froze and closed his eyes. It was his worst fear. Muggers, queer bashers, who knows? All he knew was that he was going to get a good kicking and lose his phone.

“Where d’you think you’re going? Ritchie turned slowly around and opened his eyes. He did a double-take as he saw an unmistakeable figure rushing towards him as fast as his crutches would let him. He came right up to Ritchie and looked at him straight in the eye.

“Hello.” he said.

Ritchie snapped. “Where the fuck have you been, you bastard. I’ve been going out of my fucking mind here!”

“Peru.”

“Where?”

“Peru. It’s in South America.”

“Yes, I know where fucking Peru is. Why the fuck didn’t you ring or even write to me?”

“Let’s get a drink and I’ll tell you all about it. I’ve really missed you, you know.”

“Have you?”

“Of course I have. Don’t you think I would have rung you if I could?”

“I dunno. I never know with you.”

They started to walk towards the café.

“I’ll tell you one thing, though. You still swear too much.” Ritchie was about to snap a reply when he noticed the twinkle in Barry’s eye and he couldn’t help but smile.

“It’s the effect you have on me, and I don’t suppose I’m the only one.”

They entered the café. The large woman was still there smoking and reading her paper.

“Hello, boys”, she said brightly as they entered. They got their drinks and Ritchie took them through to the glasshouse. They sat at `their’ table and sipped.

The rain gently plipped, plopped and gurgled over the roof and the badly installed gutters, and provided an almost musical backdrop to the unfolding drama.

“Go on then, I’m waiting. What’s your excuse for dumping me?”

“I didn’t dump you, although I’m beginning to wish I had.”

“Oh yes?”

“You haven’t even said you’re pleased to see me again.” There was a short pause before Ritchie spoke.

“Now you know what it’s like.”

Barry’s brows knitted.

“Touché.”

“Go on, then. What’s your story?”

“I’ve been to Peru.”

“You said that.”

Barry sighed.

“It was my parents’ last overseas job. They wanted us all to go as a family because they thought the experience would be good for us. Only trouble is they didn’t tell us. They wanted it to be a surprise. I had no credit on my phone anyway – I was going to top it up next day – and they virtually kidnapped us! Next thing I know I’m on a plane to Lima.” Barry paused to sip his drink.

“Then when the plane lands we’re loaded on to a rickety old bus and we’re off to the middle of the jungle halfway up a mountain. Where my Dad’s building … ”

“Dams and skyscrapers and shit?”

“Quite. I got altitude sickness and couldn’t walk at all. The only communication was by a short-wave radio and it was for official use only. I was as sick as dog, not only with altitude but because I couldn’t talk to you.

“That lasted about a week and then it really got bad.” Barry paused for effect. “The rain came. I mean serious rain. We got washed away. How no-one died I don’t know. The last thing I remember is being washed away down this mountain. I woke up in hospital back in Lima. There I stayed for about a week. I lost my phone in the flood so there was all my numbers gone.”

“Couldn’t you have written from the hospital?”

“I thought about it, but then I realized I don’t actually know your address. You’ve never told me where you live.” Barry smiled and looked at Ritchie. “Is that a good enough reason?”

“Hmmm, it’s a bit lame, but it’ll do, I suppose.”

“So what shall we do now? Barry asked.

Ritchie thought for a moment before saying as he looked over the top of his glasses, “We could always go back to yours.”

“Why would we want to do that?”

“So that I can throw you on your bed and fuck the arse off you,” Ritchie replied.

“Oh you sweet talking bastard; and I thought romance was dead.”

“Well?”

“How can I refuse such subtlety,” Barry said as he drained his teacup.

The End

 

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