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Subject: The Hunters, chapter 19 The Hunters – Chapter 19 Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction which features sexual activity between teenage boys, as well as between teenage boys and adults. If you do not want to read such a story, or it is illegal for you to do so because of your age or where you live, then I recommend you go read something else instead. Feedback is very welcome. So, if you are enjoying this story, please do drop me an email at hoo If you can, please support Nifty with a financial donation – whatever you can afford – so that this archive of stories can remain free and available. Just go to fty/ *** Monday 1st January, late afternoon. “We’ve got to go to the police about this,” Catherine said, after Nick had told her and Simon what had happened at the train station. “No. That wouldn’t be a good idea,” her husband told her. “But it’s assault,” she explained. “William can’t get away with doing that to our precious Nick.” “I said `no’,” Simon replied, his voice raised. Catherine looked taken aback, not used to her doormat of a husband using such a forthright tone with her. “Just think what would happen if we did. They’d ask William why he did it, and I’m sure he wouldn’t hesitate to tell them about what happened between Nick and Jonathan.” “But we could just say William was lying,” Catherine countered. “That he’s making it all up.” “Yes, and the police might believe us or they might not,” Simon replied. “But I’d rather not take that chance. The last thing we need is for this to go to court and everyone to hear about it.” Catherine stared at him reproachfully, hoping that if her eyes bored in to him long enough he’d cave in, as he usually did. “I’m sorry Mum, but I agree with Dad,” Nick said, nervously. “I’d rather people didn’t find out about what happened with Jonathan.” Catherine frowned. “Fine. So be it.” “I suggest we draw a line underneath what occurred this weekend,” Simon proposed. “Pretend that none of it happened. After all, I don’t imagine we’ll ever see him again.” *** The following day. Will was sitting in his room, having arrived back at school the previous day. He’d just returned from a run, hoping it would clear his mind after recent events. His vest-top clung to him, a combination of sweat and drizzle having turned it damp. His legs, meanwhile, were covered in splatters of mud. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Getting up, he went to answer it, only to find Zach standing there. “What do you want?” he asked him, remembering the argument they’d had before the holidays. “Oh, and nice to see you too,” Zach said. “Look, I just wanted to see if you were here and if you were all right.” “Well as you can see, I’m here, and I’m fine.” “Good,” Zach replied. “And I also wanted to apologise for what I said to you before Christmas.” “Well thanks,” Will said, some of his anger beginning to ebb away. “Can I come in? So we can talk properly.” “Fine,” Will said, allowing Zach to step past him. After shutting the door, he sat down on the sofa. Zach joined him. “So what did you do all holiday?” the raven-haired teen asked. “I didn’t hear from you at all. You could have been lying in a ditch for all I knew.” Hearing the concern in his boyfriend’s voice, Will’s expression softened. “Yeah, I’m sorry. I should have called you. I was just busy, I guess.” He slumped down onto the couch. The room smelled of stale smoke. “Yes, you should,” Zach said as he went to open a window. “Anyway, do you want a drink?” Will asked. “No. I want an explanation. What was it you were so busy doing that you didn’t have time to call me?” Will filled his boyfriend in on his time spent with Angela and Olivia, before telling him about his visit to Newcastle. When he heard about to the incident in the toilet, Zach was horrified. “Are you crazy? He could press charges.” “He won’t. Believe me.” “If someone did that to me, my first stop would be the nearest police station.” “Not if you knew you deserved it. And he did.” “Why? Because he gave poor little Jonathan a hard time years ago? Boo-hoo!” “You make it sound like nothing,” Will said. “You just don’t get it, do you?” “It is nothing to you! You could have got a criminal record. Do you really think Oxford would touch you then?” “Is that all you care about?” Zach shook his head. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t come here for an argument. Like I said, I want to put things right after the way we left things before Christmas.” “Well you’ve got a funny way of going about it,” Will told him. “I know. Sorry. You’re right. Nick probably did deserve it. I just don’t want to see you getting in trouble.” Reaching up, he stroked Will’s face. “You’ve had enough agro already.” “Thanks.” “So, are we okay? The two of us?” “Yeah, I guess,” Will said. “But if this is going to work between us then I need you to support me more. I can’t just be a trophy for you to parade on your arm. Things are pretty shit for me right now, and I need someone to be there for me; through thick and thin. Do you think you can do that?” “Um, yeah. I guess.” “Good,” Will replied. “Now I think we’ve got some making up to do.” “Cool.” “But before we do, I think I best have a quick shower,” Will said, lifting his arm and sniffing his pit. “I stink after my run.” “Yes, you do smell a bit ripe,” Zach agreed, holding Will’s arm in place and having a quick smell himself. “It’s fucking sexy though. How about I join you?” “What? In the shower?” “Yeah,” Zach replied. “Sounds fun,” Will grinned, standing up. Zach kicked off his shoes and followed the blonde teen towards the bathroom. “Right, you best get those mucky things off you,” he instructed. “Sure thing,” Will replied. Already, he could feel a renewed sense of closeness, accompanied by a liberal helping of sexual tension. He knew that the make-up sex that was about to happen would be something wonderful. Besides which, he hadn’t had any fun for over two weeks; he was gagging for it. The blonde teen pulled off his socks, lifted his vest-top over his head then pushed down his shorts and boxers in one move. Zach gathered the clothes and gave them a sniff before moving them out of the way. The items were soggy, coated in mud and emitted a highly musky-damp smell. Zach moved closer to Will and began to gently massage the naked boy’s cock. The reaction was almost instantaneous. Will groaned a little as Zach’s soft hands glided up and down his now hard shaft. Their eyes locked together. Will pushed Zach against the wall, pressing his naked body against the raven-haired teen and kissing him deeply. The boys’ lips pressed against each other, Will slipping his tongue into Zach’s mouth. Zach continued to manipulate Will’s throbbing hard-on as Will slid his hand under Zach’s t-shirt. After gliding over Zach’s flat, smooth stomach, Will’s hand proceeded to trace circles around the boy’s dark nipples. Will continued to press his body against Zach and could clearly feel his boyfriend’s rock-hard dick bulging his dark jeans. After breaking the kiss, Will tugged at the hem of Zach’s jumper, pulling both it and the t-shirt underneath up and over his head. With Zach’s arms raised, Will had the chance to check out his boyfriend’s shaved armpits. He loved the way Zach kept himself smooth. Will dropped the jumper and t-shirt on the floor, before tracing a finger down Zach’s silken torso. Zach moaned before initiating a kiss that held for several seconds. Will breathed hard before lowering himself slightly to lick Zach’s small, brown nipples, causing the dark haired teen to gasp with pleasure. Squatting to the floor, Will helped to pull off Zach’s socks. He hovered for a moment as his fingers worked to undo Zach’s jeans. Once ready, he gave a sharp tug at the waistband of his boyfriend’s trousers and underwear. In one swift movement, they were around Zach’s ankles. He stepped out of them, kicking them aside. Putting his hand underneath Will’s chin, Zach gave a gentle push, encouraging the blonde teen to rise. They kissed again, this time softly and with no tongue. “Are you ready to get me clean now?” Will asked. Zach didn’t reply, simply took hold of Will’s hand and led the way into the shower. Will turned on the water. It streamed down, cold at first, but only for a moment. As they continued to kiss and grope each other under the streaming torrent, it quickly rose to a wonderfully warm temperature. Zach and Will lathered each other’s body. Zach took great pleasure as he ran the soap over Will’s crotch and under his balls, clearly having missed the intimate contact during the holidays. Once they were both spotlessly clean, Will turned off the water and led Zach out of the shower. Neither seemed in a hurry to dry themselves. Instead, they were inseparable: kissing each other deeply, and pulling on the other’s achingly hard penis and balls. Will moved backwards towards his bedroom, with Zach following, the two teens attached at the lips. Still dripping wet, Zach pushed Will onto the bed and sank to his knees, taking Will’s throbbing dick into his mouth. As Zach did what he had done so many times before, Will experienced all his customary delight. But this was different, somehow more passionate, and was heading towards an undeniable climax. Will gyrated his hips, brushing the head of his cock against Zach’s lips until the smaller teen finally took the organ in his mouth again. The combination of water, sweat, saliva and pre-cum meant that Will’s cock was already well-lubricated. Slowly, tantalisingly, Zach moved his head up and down, manoeuvring the shaft of the blonde’s rod in and out of his mouth. Zach’s hands made their way across Will’s lightly haired thighs and torso, and up to his nipples. Will, meanwhile, placed his hands onto Zach’s head, helping to steer his boyfriend’s mouth along his cock. Eventually, Will pulled Zach off his prick, signalling to his boyfriend to stop his stimulating activity. As Zach looked into Will’s eyes, words became unnecessary; it was perfectly obvious where Will wanted to go next. Reaching into a drawer by his bed, the blond teen pulled out a tube of KY, flipped the lid and squirted some of the lubricant onto his fingers. Immediately, Zach began to kiss Will’s neck and chest, working his way down his boyfriend’s body until his lower lip touched the top of Will’s pubic bush. “Turn around and get on your knees,” Will instructed. As Zach got into position, Will lubed up his penis and gave it a few strokes. Zach brought his knees forward until they were pressed against his chest, presenting his bottom to his boyfriend. Kneeling behind Zach, and with his knees sinking slightly into the mattress, Will pushed a slippery finger into the dark haired teen. It went in easily, and was quickly accompanied by a second. This one also went in easily, more easily than it should. `Perhaps he’s been playing with some toys back there,’ Will thought to himself, before adding a third digit. After deciding that his boyfriend was suitably prepared, Will began to press his slippery dick against Zach’s sphincter, gently easing himself into the hole. Soon, the whole shaft was inside. Both boys groaned in pleasure as Will bottomed out, his cock pressing on Zach’s prostate gland. His instincts taking over, Will began to thrust in and out of Zach’s arse, his pubes gently brushing Zach’s buttocks. Will’s thrusting increased, as did Zach’s heart rate. Zach could feel the sweat dripping down his back and chest, his hearing attuned to the sound of his boyfriend’s heavy breathing. Will’s hands slid down the side of Zach’s thighs. He realised that neither he nor Zach had proper access to Zach’s cock. Carefully, he withdrew from the dark haired teen. “Bend over the bed,” Will instructed with heaving breaths. Zach complied, gripping the edge of the mattress with his arms fully extended as he bent as far over as he could. As Will positioned himself to penetrate Zach again, he first took hold of Zach’s dick, jerking it several times. As Will pressed his cock against Zach’s hole, Zach threw his head back, the pleasure experienced by both boys building by the moment. Will continued to surprise Zach by not rushing the penetration. Instead, Will slipped gently back inside the raven haired teen. A wonderful tingling ecstasy flowed through Zach’s entire body. He took hold of his dick and began to stroke it slowly, not wanting to rush things and cum before Will did. As Will pumped Zach’s arse, his thrusting became more forceful and aggressive, causing Zach to let out a yelp of discomfort. Will rubbed one of Zach’s nipples with the heel of his palm before using his hand to pull Zach towards him. Zach’s self-manipulation increased in speed as Will’s pounding of his prostate gland made his reactions go wild. Will could feel the pressure building in his balls as they slapped against Zach’s rump. Suddenly, Will nuzzled his face into Zach’s neck. In return, Zach took his boyfriend’s hand in his own. The boys’ fingers intertwined, Will assisting Zach’s one-handed jerking by playing with his boyfriend’s cock-head. Knowing he was approaching his orgasm, Will began to increase his efforts, wanting to make this reconciliation truly spectacular for Zach. lara kendi evi olan escort That was all it took to send the raven haired boy over the edge, half a dozen powerful spurts coursing from his dick, splashing across his chest and onto the bed covers. After taking a moment to get his breath back, Zach bent further over and reached between his legs, taking hold of Will’s balls each time they came in range. With the additional stimulation it wasn’t long before Will too felt ultimate, blissful release. He kept his cock inside Zach for a few moments until the forceful discharge subsided. Slowly, he withdrew his penis and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend. Spent from their exertions, the pair collapsed onto the bed. Will’s hand glided across Zach’s smooth chest and rested there. As Zach turned to face him, they looked into each other’s eyes. Wrapping his arms around Will, Zach pulled him closer. After covering them with the bedsheets, Will hugged Zach tightly to him as they both began to feel drowsy. *** Later that day. On the other side of school, Josh was sitting in his own room. He had arrived back half an hour ago, and had just finished unpacking. The journey up had been good, especially as Josh had been allowed to drive the whole way. It had taken an hour and a half longer than usual: a combination of having to avoid motorways and Josh being nervous about driving over 45mph. But he was quite happy with the way his driving was progressing, especially since he’d only had four lessons so far. Thankfully, the route they’d taken was generally straightforward, with all the roundabouts requiring either a left turn or for him to go straight on. As he sat in his room, flicking through the TV channels, he came across a property show. His mind suddenly turned to Jon. When they’d opened their Christmas presents, Josh had felt rather jealous of the gift his twin had received. His parents had bought Jon an apartment to live in. It had seemed like such an extravagant gesture; it must have cost them a fortune, especially in comparison to what they’d have paid for Josh’s car. Though, as he’d thought about it over the past few days, once Jon had gone back to Stockport, he’d come to realise that he’d overreacted. It was something he often found himself doing. Yes, the apartment must have cost quite a bit, but it was their parents who still owned it, not Jon, whereas the Mini was all Josh’s. And as for it being a grand gesture, well was it? In a few years’ time, Josh would be at university, and, come his second year, surely, he’d be expecting his parents to do the same for him – to buy somewhere for him and his uni friends to live in. He decided to phone Jon and make sure everything was still okay between them. Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he dialled his twin’s number. It rang several times before going to voicemail. “Oh, hi Jon, it’s me, Josh. Hope you’re okay. Can you give me a call back when you get this. Thanks.” Josh felt disappointed that Jon hadn’t picked up. Maybe he was annoyed that Josh hadn’t gone with them when he’d moved into his new apartment. Josh had offered to cancel his driving lesson so that he could go, but their father had insisted that Josh keep the appointment. His phone began to ring. Picking it up, he saw that it was Jon. He breathed a sigh of relief. “Hi Jon,” Josh said, as he answered the phone. “Hi,” Jon replied. “Sorry I didn’t reply when you called earlier. I’m at work.” Josh could have kicked himself. Of course Jon would be at work! “Oh, right, of course,” he said. “Are you okay to talk?” “Yeah, no worries. I told my boss it was my social worker calling, so I’ve got a few minutes.” “Cool. I just wanted to see how you were. How’s the new apartment?” “Oh, it’s amazing,” Jon gushed. “So much better than my old place. The neighbours are really friendly, and I still can’t get over the fact it’s got a balcony.” “It sounds awesome. I’m really happy for you,” Josh told him. “And sorry again about not being able to help you move in last week.” “Don’t worry about it. You had your driving lesson.” “Thanks. Oh, and good luck for your visit here on Thursday.” “Cheers. Am I still okay to come and see you afterwards?” “Yeah, of course,” Josh said. “I thought we could go out for dinner too, if you fancy it?” “Sure. That’d be fun. Anyway, I better get back to work, or my boss will be wondering where I’ve got to.” “Oh, yeah, of course. See you on Thursday.” “Yeah, see you then.” *** Mid-morning, two days later. “Thank you very much for this, Jeremy,” Tim said. He and Jon were sat in the study of Jeremy Robinson, the headmaster of the school that Josh and Will already attended, and an old friend of Tim’s from their days at Oxford. “Well, it’s good to see you again Tim. And it’s nice to meet you as well, Jonathan,” the headmaster said, turning his attention towards the teenager. “You too, sir,” Jon replied. “Now, as I mentioned when we spoke on the phone,” Jeremy said to Tim, “we won’t be making a decision about whether or not Jonathan can start here until the end of today. There are a number of tests we would like him to complete: verbal and non-verbal reasoning, arithmetical problems… that sort of thing.” “Yes, I remember you saying so,” Tim said. “Halfway through the tests, we’ll break for lunch,” the headmaster went on. “Then, after Jonathan’s completed the rest, I’ve arranged for our current Head Boy and Head Girl to give him a tour of the place. That should give us time to make sure all the assessments are marked and we know what the results are.” “Fair enough,” Tim responded. “Finally, Jonathan will come back here for an interview. But don’t worry,” Jeremy said, seeing the look on Jon’s face, “it’s nothing to worry about. I just want to find out a bit more about you, your background, your interests, and so on. There will be a few other members of staff with me: Mr Clarke, my Deputy Head; Mr Turner, who is Head of Sixth Form; and Ms Barwell, Director of Studies. So, any questions, Jonathan?” “No, sir,” the teenager replied. “Excellent. In that case, we may as well get started. I’ve set up a desk in the corner for you. You’ll find the first paper already on it. You have forty-five minutes. Good luck.” *** The same day, late afternoon. Josh was sat in his room. He was in a good mood. School was going well and he felt more than prepared for the Head Boy interviews the following day. There was a knock on the door. Josh went to answer it. As expected, it was Jon. “Hey, come on in,” Josh greeted him. They made their way over to the sofa and sat down. “So how did it go?” “Yeah, okay,” Jon said. “They’ve accepted me at least. I can’t start until September, so I’ll be in the year below you. And I’ve got to re-sit my maths and English GCSEs, but I was going to do that anyway.” “Oh cool! Congratulations!” “Thanks. They want me to get at least a C in both, so I’m going to have to work hard over the next few months.” “Well, I’m sure you’ll manage it,” Josh said, revelling in the fact that he was the strong one now; he was the one who would look after his twin and give him the support he needed. Yet, something was troubling him. “You look different, by the way.” “Do you mean the haircut?” Jon asked. “I got tired of the dragged through a hedge backwards look.” “It’s the same as mine,” Josh said. “If only. It doesn’t look half as good on me.” “It looks fine,” Josh told him. But he was lying. It didn’t look fine. It looked wonderful. And that wasn’t the only change. “And you look fitter too,” Josh commented. “Yeah. I’ve joined a gym.” “A gym?” “Yeah. Don’t you remember me telling you about it over Christmas?” “No.” “Oh, sorry. I must have forgotten,” Jon said. “Anyway, seeing you do your stuff in Barbados made me realise how chronically unfit I am. I’m enjoying it actually. A trainer’s been showing me loads of exercises.” They sat down on Josh’s sofa. He stared at Jon’s face. It looked cleaner, more sculpted. For the first time he noticed cheekbones. And he noticed something else. “Is that a new suit?” he asked. “Yes,” Jon replied. “I thought I better smarten up my image, especially with coming here today. Besides, I don’t want to keep showing you up.” “You’re not. You were perfect as you were.” Josh stared at the suit. It was an excellent fit: elegant and chic; at least as good as any he possessed. “Good choice though,” Josh told him. “Thanks. Fortunately, I had expert help.” “Who from? The guys in Moss Bros?” “No. Dad.” “But your dad’s dead.” Jon’s grin faded. Josh realised what Jon had meant. It left him feeling both embarrassed and uneasy. “I’m sorry, Jon,” he said quickly. “I’m used to hearing you refer to Mr Wilson as Dad.” A pause. “So you met up with Dad?” “Yes. I knew I needed help. I’m rubbish when it comes to clothes. College doesn’t start again until next week, so he took me into Manchester yesterday.” “Oh, right.” “I would have asked you, but I figured you’d be busy, what with it being your first day back at school.” “I could have come down after school finished.” “Hey, it’s not a problem,” Jon reassured him. “Dad said I should feel free to call him any time.” “When did he say that?” “When I was staying over at Christmas. Don’t you remember? I’m sure you were there when he said it.” “No, I wasn’t.” “Oh. Well, anyway, he was brilliant. He even insisted on paying for it. He paid for lunch too. Wasn’t that nice of him?” Josh looked shocked. “You had lunch together?” “Yes. After we got the suit, we went to James Martin’s restaurant. The food was amazing.” Josh tried to disguise his envy. “So what did you talk about over lunch?” he asked. “We didn’t. I was too busy star-spotting. You’ll never guess who was there…” “But you must have talked about something,” Josh interrupted. “Dad wanted to hear more about Barbados.” “What did you tell him?” “How beautiful it was. And what a star athlete you were. Oh, and I told him about your exploits with the girls. He was really impressed.” Josh’s unease vanished, replaced by delight. “Was he?” “Absolutely. He said you were a real chip off the old block. Anyway, enough about that. How have your first couple of days back gone?” Josh put his arm around him. As he did so, he caught a glimpse of the two of them in the mirror on the wall. Quickly, he checked their profiles, relieved to see that his was still the leaner of the two. *** An hour later, they were sat in a local restaurant. Their father wasn’t with them. Instead, he was having a private meal with some of the staff at the school. Josh cut into his salmon fillet while watching Jon devour a plate of pasta. “Someone’s hungry,” he observed. “It’s all this exercise I’ve been doing,” Jon replied. “My appetite’s gone into overdrive.” “Well don’t overdo it at the gym. Unlike me, you’re not used to it.” “But I’ll get there. I managed 4K on the running machine yesterday.” “That’s my point. I usually run twice that.” Jon looked impressed. Josh felt pleased. “I wouldn’t go more than a couple of times a week if I were you,” Josh advised. “Not to start off with, anyway.” “I won’t be able to go at all this weekend.” “Why not?” “I’m working all day on Saturday, and then on Sunday we’re going to see Mum and Dad.” Josh was taken aback. “Since when?” “Dad invited us when I met up with him yesterday. Didn’t he tell you?” Jon thought for a moment. “Or was I supposed to do that? God, I think I was. Sorry, Josh. I must have forgotten.” “Yes, you must have done.” “You can make it though, can’t you?” “I’m not really in the mood for Mum and Dad this weekend. I’ve had to put up with them all through the holidays.” “But I’ve already told Dad I’ll go.” Josh picked out his food, feeling anxious. He didn’t want to let Jon go on his own. It just didn’t feel… safe?… right. Only he could never admit that. But there was another way. “Well, it’s up to you,” he said nonchalantly. “I’m sure you’ll have a great time.” “I don’t want to go without you.” “I don’t mind,” Josh told him. “Maybe it’s a good thing. After all the time we spent together in Barbados and over Christmas, we don’t want to risk getting on each other’s nerves.” Jon looked alarmed. “Am I getting on yours?” Josh didn’t answer, instead pretending to focus on his food. The alarm intensified. “Am I?” Jon asked again. Slowly, Josh swallowed his mouthful. “No.” “So maybe you and I could do something on Sunday instead?” Jon suggested. “Just the two of us.” Josh continued eating. “If you want, that is?” Jon added. Josh waited a moment before nodding. Jon’s face lit up. The sight made him feel strong and in control, just like the dominant twin he was. Suddenly, the prospect of a weekend with his parents didn’t seem so bad. “You know what,” he said. “If Mum and Dad are expecting us then maybe we should go.” *** The following morning. “Try to eat something, Josh. Today’s a big day for you, after all.” Hannah gestured towards Josh’s barely touched plate and smiled encouragingly at him. Josh made an attempt to return the smile, but it was a dismal failure. He picked at the plate before lara otele gelen escort him. Although he had been feeling confident the previous day, this morning, nervousness had hit him like a runaway truck. His stomach was knotted tight with tension and anticipation, and he could hardly bring himself to swallow a bite. Today would be a big day, he knew. In fact, he knew it all too well. Today would be the biggest day in his life, because today was his interview for the position of Head Boy. “Nerves, I imagine,” said George, setting down his loaded fork and seizing the lapels of his blazer in a judicial manner. In the same house as Josh, he was a thin, gangly, and studious boy, fascinated by rules and regulations and with a penchant for examining and debating both sides of any question – sometimes at great length. “Dreadful thing, nervousness. It can just freeze you up so you can’t think, can’t eat, can’t speak.” “I’m not nervous,” Josh said quickly, noticing that Henry had looked up, ready to make a sarcastic comment. George nodded several times, considering Josh’s statement. “On the other hand,” he added, “a little nervousness can actually improve performance. It can heighten your perceptions and sharpen your reactions. So, the fact that you are worried, if, in fact, you are, is not necessarily something to be worried about, of itself – so to speak.” In spite of himself, a wry smile touched Josh’s mouth. George would be a natural in the legal profession, he thought to himself. “He ought to be nervous!” scoffed Henry, another boy from Josh’s house. “After all, why on earth would they make him Head Boy?” “I’m sure all the candidates are nervous,” Lilian said. She directed one of her rare smiles at Josh. “We’d be stupid not to be.” “Well, I’m not!” Henry said, then reddened as Lilian raised an eyebrow and Hannah giggled. It was typical of Lillian, Josh thought. He knew that she was odds-on favourite to become Head Girl. Her pretence that she was nervous about her own interview, and her tact in refraining from pointing out Henry’s gaffe, spoke volumes about her. Both of her parents were in the diplomatic service, and no one was in any doubt that she would follow in their footsteps. “I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” Hannah said, patting Josh on the arm. “I want to do better than just fine,” he replied. *** Later that morning. Jennifer returned home from the shops. Tim emerged from the living room. She gestured to the bags she was carrying. “I’ve been getting in food for when the boys come.” He nodded. “They are both coming, aren’t they?” she asked. Another nod. He seemed to be studying her. It made her feel uncomfortable. “I’ll put this stuff away,” she told him, then headed off to the kitchen, searching through the bags for the frozen stuff to put in the freezer. It was crowded already. She moved its contents around, trying to make some room. “I heard something interesting this morning,” Tim said, suddenly. She jumped. He was standing right behind her, his gaze as intense as before. “What was that?” she asked, while trying to focus on what she was doing. “I had a phone call from a guy I used to work with. No one you’d know. He’s been married for twenty-five years. He’s got three children. He thought his marriage was rock solid. Only now his wife has told him she wants a divorce.” “That’s sad.” “It will be for her if she thinks she’s going to take him for half his assets and the marital home. After all, he’s the breadwinner. He’s the one with connections. By the time he’s through with her, she’ll be lucky if she’s left with the clothes on her back.” She felt a chill run through her. “Not that it will come to that,” he continued. “He’s going to have a little chat with her. Make sure she understands the situation. There won’t be any divorce unless he decides that he wants one.” He paused. “Do you think she’ll understand?” She didn’t answer. “Do you?” he pressed. “Yes. I’m sure she will.” “Good. That’s what I told him. I can see you’re busy. I’ll leave you to it.” He walked away. She remained where she was. `Does he know?’ she asked herself. `Does he know about Gordon Manning?’ But he couldn’t. There was no way. Brandon would never betray her. She would trust Brandon with her life. Did he sense her resentment? Was that it? Or was it just coincidence? Later, when he was watching television, she retrieved the business card Brandon had given her. It was hidden somewhere Tim would never dream of looking, even if he knew there was anything to look for. But she couldn’t take any chances, so she ripped it to shreds. *** The same morning, half past eleven. Josh sat outside Mr Robinson’s study, waiting for his interview. He had already been sitting there for nearly ten minutes. The door opened and Austin Young came out. He was a red-headed young man who was in the same house as Will. “Hi,” Austin said, on seeing Josh. “It seems like ages since I’ve seen you.” “Yes, I know,” Josh said. “With the way things have been with Will, well… I’ve been keeping my distance.” “Yeah, I can imagine.” “How did your interview go, by the way?” Josh asked. “Pretty good thanks. At least, I hope so. Anyway, I best get going. Good luck with yours.” “Thanks.” A couple of minutes later, the door opened again. Out stepped Mr Clarke, the school’s deputy head. “Ah, Mr Hunter. Sorry to keep you waiting,” the man said. “We’re running a little late, but don’t worry, we won’t be cutting any of the interviews short. We want to give you all a fair chance.” “Thank you, sir,” Josh replied. “Well, come on in,” Mr Clarke said, opening the door. Josh stood up from where he was sat and walked past the deputy head who was holding the door open for him. As he entered the headmaster’s study, he was slightly taken aback by the sight in front of him. In the middle of the room had been set a long, wooden table. Facing him, there was a panel of seven people, with an additional, empty chair that presumably belonged to Mr Clarke. On the side nearest to him, another empty chair was positioned. “Good morning, Mr Hunter,” Mr Robinson said. “Please come and sit down.” Josh did so. “Now as you can see,” the headmaster went on, “we have a number of people on the panel this morning. Of course, you already know Mr Clarke, Mr Tuner, Ms Barwell and Mrs Hutchinson,” he said, gesturing to the four teachers. We also have Mr Holt, our Chair of Governors, Mrs Fischer, our Vice Chair, and also Mr Joyce, a friend of mine and Headmaster of a rather prestigious school in Derbyshire.” As each member of the panel was introduced, Josh felt his heart rate quicken. Sweat began to form on his brow and his mouth had gone suddenly dry. “We each have a couple of questions that we will ask you,” Mr Clarke explained. “I will invite Mr Turner to begin.” “Thank you,” the Head of Sixth Form said. “So Josh, I’d like you to share with us what you consider to be the most important thing you have learned during your time here?” *** That afternoon. “Get up on the bed,” growled Tim, his voice husky. Brandon did as he was told, lying on his stomach and enjoying the feeling of his hard dick pressed against the mattress. He could feel Tim rubbing his young arse, pushing the buttocks apart, allowing the cool air to flow over his hole. Brandon was really enjoying the attention. Every once in a while, with an ever-increasing frequency, Tim’s fingers would brush Brandon’s rosebud as he ran them up and down the teenager’s arse-crack. The sudden intrusion of a lubricated finger nearly made Brandon jump. It had been three weeks since the pair of them had last seen each other, during which time he and Stephen had only had sex once. A second digit soon followed, causing the gardener to moan. Enjoying the feeling, he pushed his butt up to meet the probing fingers. Their sudden removal made Brandon feel empty. His arse pointed up in the air, begging for more. Before he could even ask, Brandon felt Tim’s warm legs straddle him and the man’s prong spear him. At first, the pain was overwhelming, but Tim clearly understood this, just allowing the head of his member to sit inside the seventeen-year old. After a couple of minutes and an additional squirt on KY directly onto his hole, Brandon began to feel comfortable. Tim pushed in slowly, eventually bottoming out. With his time having been taken up by closing the deal on the apartment as well as the Christmas and New Year celebrations, he’d endured three sexless weeks. He was now eager for a good fuck, but didn’t want to cause irreparable damage to Brandon’s hole. “Are you ready?” Tim asked, as he partially withdrew. “Aha,” the teenager replied. It was all the confirmation Tim needed. He slammed back into the younger man, causing Brandon to moan again: a sound of lust and passion. Tim’s cock pushed rhythmically in and out. Soon enough, Tim felt Brandon’s arse begin to push back against him, causing him to drive his rod deeper and deeper. Pulling himself completely out, Tim threw himself down on the bed, his cock sticking up like the mast of a ship. “Slide yourself down,” he instructed. Brandon threw his leg over the older man, facing away from him in a reverse cowgirl position. Tim positioned his prick on Brandon’s hole, letting out a deep sigh as the seventeen-year old slid down it in one smooth movement. Brandon pulled his arse up the shaft before impaling himself upon it again. He repeated the process over and over, each time bottoming out and grinding his hips into the older man’s crotch. After several minutes, Brandon pulled himself off, flipping around to face Tim as he positioned the hard member back into himself. Tim gripped Brandon’s hips, fucking him remorselessly as the younger man stroked his own hard dick. They went on like this for a long while, Brandon bouncing up and down on the large cock. Pulling Brandon off his prick, Tim positioned the young gardener on his knees, the teenager’s chest on the bed, and let the lad have every inch of him. “Fuck! Take my cum, you whore!” Tim roared as he emptied his balls into Brandon’s chute, breeding the young man. The warmth filling Brandon’s insides made him go crazy, causing his own rock hard erection to explode all over the sheets below. The two men collapsed on the bed, Tim’s cock still buried deep inside Brandon’s arse. After recovering his breath, Brandon poured two glasses of champagne and handed one to Tim. “Go on,” he told the man. “You’ve earned it.” Tim downed it, watching the teenager as he did so and, his eyes cold. The man had seemed tense since his arrival. At first Brandon had put it down to sexual frustration. Now, the seventeen-year old wasn’t so sure. “What is it?” Brandon asked. “Have you heard of Shawn Mendes?” The name rang a bell. “Isn’t he a pop star?” “Yes. Someone was talking about him at the golf club. Apparently, all the girls are after him.” “And what? You’re going to fly to America and make a move on him? I hate to burst your bubble, Tim, but even for someone with your limitless confidence I think that’s aiming a little high.” “No, I’m not planning anything. But I was curious to see what he looked like. I would have gone online but I noticed that he was featured in one of those gossip rags Jen loves. She keeps a whole pile next to our bed.” “So, did you jerk off to his photograph?” “I would have done,” he told the teenager. Brandon stroked the man’s chest. “What’s the problem? Didn’t he match up to me?” “No. The problem was that inside the magazine I found Gordon Manning’s card.” Somehow Brandon managed to keep his expression neutral. “Who’s he? An interior decorator?” Tim’s eyes narrowed. He grabbed Brandon’s wrist. “Don’t fuck with me. You know damn well who he is!” “Stop it!” “I’ve done some digging about him. He’s a fucking shark of a divorce lawyer by all accounts. I presume that you gave the card to Jen. What was he, an ex-client of yours? Fucking hell Brandon, what were you thinking? Get Jen to divorce me and make a space for yourself in the marital bed?” The teenager pulled his arm free. “Are you crazy? Why would I want to do that?” “Because you want me to leave her. Don’t insult me by denying it.” Brandon rubbed his wrist. “I’m the one who’s being insulted.” “And I’m the one who’s being fucked with. And I don’t like it.” Tim continued to stare at the teenager. Brandon stared back, trying to look scornful while his sense of being thwarted grew so powerful it made him want to scream. “What gives you the idea it was me?” Brandon demanded. “Oh, for god’s sake…” “You can’t prove it! You don’t know for sure. And you don’t know Jen either. You should hear the things she says about you when we have coffee together.” The teenager waited in vain for a reaction. Instead, Tim just sighed. “She hates you,” Brandon goaded. “She wants to leave you.” “Jen would never say that.” “She says you’re selfish; that the only person you care about is yourself.” “I seem to remember you were the one who said that.” “I’m not lying.” “It doesn’t matter anyway. Jen isn’t going to leave me. We had a little chat and she understands the situation. So much so that when lara rus escort I checked the magazine a few hours later the card had already gone. You can try and manipulate her as much as you want, but it won’t work. I’m the one pulling her strings, not you.” Brandon shook his head, wanting to hit Tim… wanting to hit himself. Tim gestured to the room they were in. “I’ve told you time and time again, this is what it is. This is all it is. This is all it will ever be. I don’t want to leave Jen, but even if I did, you’re the last person in the world I’d leave her for. Who wants to marry someone who doesn’t have a heart?” The teen snorted. “That makes two of us.” “Exactly, so I know what a toxic combination we’d be. You’re better off than you know, Brandon. Stephen is a good man. He puts up with whatever shit you throw at him, just like Jen does with me. That’s why things have to stay as they are. They may not be perfect, but believe me, outside the bedroom, you and I could never make each other happy. When it comes to warmth and tenderness, we just don’t have it in us.” Suddenly Tim’s expression softened, becoming almost pitying. Brandon couldn’t stand it. Rising to his feet, he reached for his clothes. “Is this the end?” Tim asked. “You wish!” “What are you going to do? Go public with our affair? It won’t hurt me. Not anymore. My career is over, boys will be boys, and Jen will stay with me no matter what. But it could hurt you. Most of your so-called friends would cut you dead. And what about Stephen? Maybe he won’t be able to handle it. Maybe he’ll decide he’s had enough. Do you really want to risk that?” He chuckled to himself. “You’re not even married, for fuck’s sake. He could so easily throw you out and leave you with nothing.” “Don’t you dare fuck with me, Tim. Or do you want Jen to find out where that juicy bit of village gossip started?” He picked up his baseball cap and sunglasses: reminders that he didn’t want anyone to know about them. He sighed. Tim was right. The risk was just too great. He turned back. Tim was still on the bed. Brandon swallowed, tasting hate but finding it still flavoured with desire. In spite of everything, he still wanted the man in a way that was more than physical; in a way that Tim would never want him. Tim made him weak, made him needy, made him everything he despised in other people. The man had to suffer. Brandon needed him to suffer. And for that to happen, the teenager would need to keep him on side. Casting the cap aside, he rejoined Tim on the bed. “I’m not going to tell anyone,” the seventeen-year old said. “You’re right. We wouldn’t make each other happy. Except in bed, and we can’t live our lives there, can we? I do need Stephen. I may despise him, but he has his uses.” Tim nodded, looking relieved: totally unaware that they were now at war. “As do you,” Brandon told him, moving in for a kiss. *** Sunday afternoon. Josh stood by the window in his parents’ kitchen, watching his father and Jon in the garden. It was a lovely winter afternoon: cold, but sunny. The two of them stood by the riverbank. His father said something and Jon gave a hearty laugh. Josh wondered whether the joke was really as funny as Jon was making out. He knew he should have gone outside with them but after eating a huge lunch he felt lazy. Besides, his father had said they would only be a few minutes. But that was half an hour ago. “Why not join them?” his mother suggested. “I’m still too bloated.” “You certainly seemed to enjoy your meal.” He nodded, watching Jon decline his father’s offer of a cigar, no doubt trying to flaunt his new healthy lifestyle. Their mother had been most complimentary about Jon’s more streamlined appearance. Not that it mattered. After all, imitation was the most obvious form of flattery. “Well, you’ve always loved venison,” his mother continued. She was looking pleased with herself. It angered him. It was just a meal. It didn’t make up for the past. “Actually, Will was the one who loved it,” Josh said. “But you do too. You always said so.” “It’s too strong. I prefer beef. I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” Her face fell. “I’ll make beef next time,” she told him. He nodded. “I’m glad your Head Boy interview went well. I’m so pleased. Dad is too. He was saying as much before you arrived.” “Well, we’ll know for sure tomorrow. That’s when it will be announced.” “I’m sure you’ll have got it.” She smiled at him. “The school’s very lucky to have you.” “That’s what you always used to say to Will.” Her smile faltered. “I said it to you too.” “Clearly your memory is better than mine.” Sunday papers covered the kitchen table. He flicked through a colour supplement, looking at displays of designer watches. One in particular caught his eye. He could sense his mother watching him. “The prices they charge ridiculous,” he commented. “They look so sophisticated, but even so.” She didn’t answer. He wondered if she had taken the hint, just as she would have done had he been Will. “I think I will go and join the others,” he told her. “I’m sorry about the meal, Josh.” “It’s okay, Mum. It’s just a meal. Forget it.” Knowing that she wouldn’t, he left the room. *** “Well done again,” Tim said to Jon. The two of them were stood in the garden, their breaths turning to mist as they talked. “Thanks, Dad,” Jon replied. “I’m just glad they accepted me.” “They’d have been mad not to,” he laughed. Jon joined in. “You did pretty well on the tests, but it was the interview that swung it.” “Really?” Jon asked. “Yes. Apparently, you’re a very erudite young man. Though we knew that already,” the man said, tousling the teenager’s hair. “Thanks.” “Though, like I said at Christmas, I really do think you should give up your job at the electronics store.” “But I like it there,” Jon told him. “I know. And I’m sure you’ve learnt some important people skills while you’ve been there. But now you’ve got to concentrate on your education. Remember, the school said they could only take you if you get at least a grade C in your re-sits.” “I know.” “And personally, I’d like to see you do better than that. A’s or A stars are what you should be aiming for.” “Do you think I could?” Jon asked. “Certainly. And it’s not just me that thinks so. Jeremy – Mr Robinson to you – said the same when we had dinner together. Having looked through your tests, he thinks you’ve got real potential.” “Oh, right.” “The important thing is to harness that potential. Now I’ve talked to your mother about this, and we’d like to pay for some private tuition for you. Make sure you get the grades you’re capable of.” “Wow. Thanks.” “But if we’re going to do that for you, then you need to show us you’re going to take it seriously,” Tim told him. “And that means putting time and effort into your studies. You can’t do that if you’re working at the same time.” Jon sighed. “Okay. I’ll think about it.” “Make sure you do.” *** An hour later, Jennifer was still in the kitchen, now making coffee. Jon appeared in the doorway. “Do you mind if I join you? Josh is talking to Dad about school and I’d only be in the way.” “I’m sure you wouldn’t.” “I would. Trust me. They keep talking about UCAS and I still think it sounds like some kind of new yoghurt.” She laughed. “You shouldn’t put yourself down. Even in fun.” “I’m sorry. Force of habit.” “Well, it’s a bad one.” She stopped. “No, not bad, just unnecessary. You have much more going for you than you realise.” “You don’t have to say that.” “Yes, I do. I’m your mother. But even if I wasn’t, it would still be true.” “Thanks.” “Do you mind me calling myself that?” she asked. “No. I like it.” He hesitated. “How old were you when your mother died?” “Eight.” “That’s young.” “So is ten. That’s how old you were.” “How did you feel when it happened?” “Like my world had collapsed.” He nodded. Without having to ask, she knew he had felt the same. It was something the others could never truly understand. Not Timothy, William or Joshua. But he could. “What was she like?” he asked. “She was lovely; strong but gentle. She made me feel safe, though the tragedy is I only realised that once she was gone.” “I used to take my family for granted. They were always going to be there, only suddenly they weren’t.” She touched his arm. “That’s not true. They’re still inside you. They will always be a part of who you are.” He nodded. Again, she knew exactly what he was feeling. “I’m sorry, Jonathan. People used to say the same to me too. It’s rubbish, isn’t it?” His face broke into a smile. She felt glad. “Do you mind me talking about this?” he asked. “No. I’m pleased you feel you can. You can talk to me about it whenever you want. I mean that, sweetheart. Any time, okay?” He continued to smile. She realised she had called him sweetheart. It was the name she never called anyone… except Will. She stared at his face, noticing for the second time the loss of weight. It was more like Josh’s than ever, yet all she could see were the differences. It wasn’t quite as handsome, yet it had far more strength, greater character and infinitely more warmth. `And I could love you,’ a voice in her head started to say. `In fact, I think I’m starting to already.’ He hugged her. As she hugged him back, she thought of all he had been through, expecting to feel guilty but not doing so. Josh was the one who made her feel guilty, just as Tim was the one who made her feel vulnerable. And now, unexpectedly, Jonathan was the one who made her feel safe. *** Tim lit another cigar while listening to Josh talk. “So I think the interview went well. It’s always hard to tell, though, isn’t it? There were some tricky questions, but I suppose that’s to be expected.” “Well I’m sure you performed admirably,” his father assured him. “Now what about university? I think you should reconsider applying to Oxford.” “Really?” Tim gave his opinion, speaking slowly while Josh nodded, appearing to absorb every word as if his father were the Oracle at Delphi. Earlier that afternoon he had given advice to Jon where yet again his guidance had been received as if it were something special. He had enjoyed Jon’s reaction, just as he now enjoyed Josh’s. It was always enjoyable to have one’s approval so highly valued. Yet there was a difference. Jon had wanted his approval; Josh needed it. It made Tim uncomfortable. Need was a weakness, one that he despised, especially in his own son. He took a drag on his cigar. Suddenly Will’s voice echoed in his head. `All you ever gave Josh was an inferiority complex.’ Josh continued to fire questions at him. He stared at his son, feeling guilty, while resenting the person who made him feel that way. “Maybe you could come up and we could have dinner together sometime next week,” Josh suggested. “You could tell me more about Oxford.” Tim took another deep drag on his cigar, as if trying to suck down his contempt. “Yes,” he said. “I’d enjoy that.” *** That evening, the two brothers walked together to the train station. As they strode along, Jon talked about their visit, full of high spirits. “I had a really good talk with Mum this afternoon,” he told Josh. “She was telling me about our grandmother…” “There’s something I need to tell you,” Josh said, suddenly. “What?” “Mike’s got a new boyfriend. It’s quite serious, apparently.” “How do you know?” Jon asked. “Liv told me. She and Mike are still in contact. His name is Richard.” Jon swallowed, his high spirits evaporating like mist on a warm day. “It’s his life,” he said quickly. “He can do what he wants.” “You don’t have to put on a brave face for me,” Josh told him. “I know you cared about him. It’s got to hurt. After all, it hasn’t taken him long to forget you, has it?” Jon told himself that he didn’t care. That he wasn’t hurt. That he wasn’t jealous. “Liv was going to tell you,” Josh continued, “but I said it should be me. I’m your twin. If someone is going to be there for you then I want it to be me.” “I don’t need anyone to be there for me.” His tone was sharp. Josh looked surprised. “I’m sorry, Josh. That came out wrong. I’m glad it was you.” “Well, you’d want to be there for me, wouldn’t you?” “Of course,” Jon said, while wondering why Josh couldn’t have picked a better moment to break the news. Five minutes ago, he had been feeling on top of the world. Now, he just felt depressed. But then, there was never a good time for news such as this. The ash on Josh’s cigarette had grown so long it suddenly collapsed onto his shirt. “Shit! This is brand new!” Josh exclaimed, while frantically pushing it away. Jon watched him, feeling the familiar rush of love sweep over him. Only this time it was laced with two other emotions, both as unexpected as they were new. The first was protectiveness; the second, exasperation. *** Later that evening, Josh stood at the entrance to Romney House. He was feeling unsettled, just as he had been throughout the day. It wasn’t that his parents liked Jonathan; he could deal with that. It was the fact that they appeared to like him so much. `It doesn’t mean anything. They’re still just trying to make him feel welcome.’ He kept telling himself that, but the feeling persisted. It made him feel weak. It made him feel like the person he had believed he would never be again. But it wouldn’t last much longer; reassurance was only a few moments away. A figure came around the corner. Her pretty face broke into a smile. “Hi, Hannah,” he said. 1

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