THE JIGSAW PUZZLE
by Pink Panther
Just when Ian thinks things are starting to settle down, something jumps up and bites him on the bum. Please read on and enjoy, remembering that all previous disclaimers still apply. Feedback is always welcome. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
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It's Wednesday. We've just finished our training run. After a quick shower, we sit together on my bed. Patrick rubs his leg against mine. I glance across. He's hard again. I'd suggest going back to the woods but it's begun to rain.
"Sorry," I say. "We can't do anything today. If Claire comes back, I'm toast!"
"I thought she was okay with you being gay," he says, looking disappointed.
"She is," I respond. "She's just not happy with me actually doing anything. She thinks I'm too young." I take a deep breath. "It's not just Claire," I go on. "During the Christmas holiday, I told Mum and Dad that I'm gay. I had to. Lots of other people know, so Mum and Dad might have heard it from somebody else, yeah? Well they didn't take it too well, tried to insist it was just a phase and I'd grow out of it. They even sent me to see a psychologist, but his report said that I definitely am gay. Mum took it pretty hard, and Dad gave me a lecture, saying I'm too young to have sex and that I ought to wait until I'm older."
"Fuck!" he breathes, almost inaudibly.
"Well he can forget it," I say emphatically. "I enjoy having sex, and if I get the chance to do it with someone I like, I'm going to take it. But I've got to be careful, yeah? If Mum and Dad find out, the shit really will be in the fan."
"You've been doing it with Dean, yeah?" he says, looking me right in the eye.
"What gave you that idea?" I demand.
"Well," he says, "Yesterday, you said you hadn't been with Anthony since last summer. I figured you must still be doing it with someone. Well, it was pretty obvious really. All the times you go back to his house after training. You're not going there to play scrabble."
"You won't say anything, will you?" I ask nervously. "He's paranoid about anyone finding out."
"No way!" he assures me. "It's up to you, init?"
"D'you think anyone else knows?"
"I wouldn't think so," he says thoughtfully. "He's got a girlfriend, so everyone thinks he's, like, a hundred per cent straight."
He's totally nailed it. And I thought I'd put him off the scent. Shit! He doesn't miss a thing!
"So what happened with you and Claire?" he asks.
"What d'you mean?" I counter.
"Well something must have," he says, "you know, about her saying you're too young to be having sex."
"She came back when Dean and I were in the middle of something. She didn't actually walk in on us but she knew what we were up to. I told her we were just messing about."
"So what were you doing?"
"Sucking him off."
"Oh right! Does he suck you off?"
"Nah, he's not into that."
"That figures," he says, smirking. "He's straight, yeah?"
"Anyway, Claire more or less said she'd tell Mum if she caught me again."
"Oh," he says, weighing up the situation. "So if there's any chance she might show up, you're stuffed, right?"
"Pretty much," I agree, "but tomorrow, she's going to Birmingham with her mates. They'll be gone all day. We could do something then if you want to come over."
"Oh, I want to!" he says, grinning."
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
At five to eleven the doorbell rings. I open it. Patrick's standing there. After what happened two days ago, I'm seeing him in a different way. It's hard to explain. He's still quite ordinary looking, but he's very sexy!
We head up to my bedroom, sitting down on my bed.
"So are we . . . ?" he asks, running his hand along my thigh.
"Of course we are!" I say smiling.
Within a few seconds, we're snuggled up on my bed, as naked as the day we were born. We gently fondle each other, our noses almost touching. I move my mouth towards his. He never flinches. Our lips lock together, my tongue pushing into his mouth. For a few seconds, he's tense and awkward. Suddenly he relaxes, his tongue wrestling with mine. Wow! After a minute or so he eases himself away.
"I never did that before," he says.
"But you like it?"
"Slide down the bed a bit," I order.
He does as I ask. I quickly snake around so that my feet are against the headboard. Moments later, we're into, like, the best sixty-nine ever! His cock feels so hard and powerful in my mouth, and he's sucking me better than anyone ever has. It's absolute heaven! I'm so turned on, I hardly know which day of the week it is. Suddenly, Patrick's dick jerks into action, his teen spunk, hot and tangy, coating my tongue and disappearing down my throat. Moments later, I'm there too, unloading in his mouth just as he did in mine. Wow! The only disappointment is that it didn't last a bit longer. I guess that's how it is when you're fifteen. Finally, we disengage ourselves. I turn back around, flopping down next to him.
"Did you know it was my birthday?" I ask, grinning.
"Nah, you never said. Fifteen today then?"
"Yeah, and that was an unbelievable birthday present!"
"Will we be able to do anything tomorrow?" he asks.
"Dunno," I say guardedly. "How early can you get here?"
"Half past nine okay? We'll just do an easy run, yeah?"
"That could work," I say. "See you tomorrow!"
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's half past nine, on the dot.
"So how are we fixed?" Patrick asks as I let him in.
"We'll run first," I tell him. "Claire's only just got up. She didn't get home till gone ten o'clock last night."
"So we're coming back here, then?" he asks.
It's not actually raining, but it's cold and damp. Sex in the woods is not an inviting prospect.
"Yeah," I confirm.
We head to the utility room. Patrick strips off his hoodie and his training pants. We're ready to go.
"Patrick and I are going for a run," I call up the stairs. "We won't be long."
It's quarter past ten when we get back. Claire's sitting in the kitchen, talking on her phone. We pull off our trainers and stroll in. She ends the call.
"I thought you said you wouldn't be long," she says a little sourly.
"We weren't," I counter. "Forty minutes, that's all. Who was that?"
That's Damian Marshall, her new boyfriend. She seems to like him a lot. He's Roz's brother, Roz being Ed Jarvis's girlfriend. Roz and I sit together in history.
"I'm going to Natasha's now," she says, getting to her feet. "See you later. Make sure you behave yourselves."
"We always behave ourselves," I assure her.
She heads out through the front door. Patrick and I collect cold drinks from the fridge and wander up to my room. We quickly towel ourselves off.
"So are we okay?" he asks.
"No problem," I assure him. "She's only just gone out, yeah?"
We strip off our running kit and snuggle up on the bed.
"I've been waiting ages to do this," he says.
"Why didn't you say something?" I ask.
"Like when?" he responds. "I didn't want to say nothing in class. Someone might have heard us. Other times, Dean's always with us. I wanted to say something on Sunday, but, . . . well, your mum and dad were downstairs."
It makes sense. I draw him closer, our lips meeting in a long, sensuous kiss, our hands roaming everywhere. After several minutes, he pulls away.
"D'you want to bum me?" he asks, his eyes locked on mine.
That's a total shock. I never dreamed he'd be into that.
"I've never fucked a boy before," I say hesitantly.
"Neither have I," he says. "But you've taken it though."
"Yeah. How did you know?"
"Sunday, after you'd had a shower, you bent down to put your boxers on."
"And then you told me you hadn't been doing it with Anthony . . ."
"Oh, so that's how you knew about me and Dean!"
"I guess Rebecca won't let him do much yet."
"Not much at all from what he's told me. So you've taken it then?"
"With, . . . what was his name?"
"So when did that happen?"
"I think I'd been staying there just over a week the first time he did me."
"You mean when you were eleven?"
"Shit! That must have hurt!"
"Tell me about it! It killed me when it went in, but once he got going, it was really sort of exciting."
Hmmm! I know all about that feeling.
"After that, he used to bum me all the time," he goes on. "It's weird. There are several girls I'd love to, . . . you know, but sometimes, when I'm horny, I want to do what me and Jack did."
"So don't you see him now?"
"Not since last Easter," he says casually. "A few weeks later he got caught bumming this twelve-year old, so I guess he won't be around for a while." He pauses. "When Mum found out, she asked me if he'd ever done anything like that with me. I said he hadn't. That was it. Got any lube?"
I retrieve it from its hiding place and hand it over. He squeezes some on my dick, using his fingers to smooth it out. He drags one of the pillows into the middle of the bed, rolling face-down on top of it, his legs spread apart, just like I was when Jimmy popped my cherry.
"Come on!" he urges.
After smearing some K-Y on either side of his bum-hole, I push my index finger right in.
"Don't bother with that," he says. "Give me your cock!"
Kneeling between his legs, I lower myself into position, guiding my prick onto his rosebud. I'm nervous about this. For me, it's a step into the unknown. Taking a deep breath, I push as hard as I can. For a second or so, I get nowhere. Then suddenly his anal ring gives way. I'm in!
"Oh, yeah!" he groans. "Now stick it right up! I want the whole thing!"
Very steadily, I thrust deeper into him, savouring the velvety tightness that's gripping my cock. The sensations are unbelievable. I drive over his prostate.
"Oh fuck!" he gasps, visibly twitching,
A few seconds later, I bottom out, my pubic hair squished up against Patrick's bottom. Wow! I love being sucked off, but it's nowhere like as intense as this. Animal instinct takes over. After pulling back a couple of inches, I thrust back in again. Almost immediately, it's like I'm on automatic pilot, fucking him like there's no tomorrow, Patrick's moans of pleasure spurring me on. Inevitably, it doesn't take very long.
"Ohhhh!" I growl, scarcely able to breathe. "I'm going to cum!"
Instinctively, I thrust in as deep as I can. As the room is hit by a full-on earthquake, my cock jerks wildly, my spunk spurting over and over into Patrick's bum.
It takes a few seconds before I even begin to recover. I carefully pull out. My dick's so sensitive I can't bear to touch it. It was a mind-blowing experience. I've never had an orgasm like it! I thought it was never going to stop! Even so, I know deep down that I'd still rather be on the receiving end.
Patrick hasn't cum. I'd know if he had. I roll him onto his back. I can almost see his cock throbbing. Instinctively, I go down on him. It doesn't take long to finish him off, like about fifteen seconds. He tastes wonderful! I lick my lips and flop down beside him.
"That was awesome!" he breathes.
We kiss again. It's at least ten minutes before we call a halt. Patrick quickly pulls on his underpants.
"Aren't you going to the loo?" I ask.
"Nah!" he says, grinning. "I like . . . you know, having it inside me."
"You'll make a mess in your briefs," I say.
"I'll do that anyway," he says. "It's okay; I'll change them when I get home."
"Coming over Sunday?" I ask.
"Yeah, course," he says. "Will Dean be here?"
"Doubt it," I say. "They don't get back till late tomorrow. And he'll have a week's skiing in his legs."
"No problem," he says, grinning. "I'll come on the bus."
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
I am seriously confused. Sex with Patrick is wonderful. I couldn't ask for better. Only I'm still not sure if he's gay. Trying to make sense of everything he's told me, I can only conclude that he probably isn't. If Jack hadn't bounced him into it, I don't think he'd have even thought about having sex with boys. And he definitely wants to have sex with girls, or at least he says he does.
To be honest, what he told me today makes me quite uneasy. When Jimmy fucked me, I was thirteen and already knew I was gay. Even so, it was a terrible shock. Patrick was only eleven and probably didn't have a clue about any of it. I know I didn't when I was eleven. If an older boy had fucked me when I was that age, it wouldn't have mattered how cool I thought he was. I'd have totally freaked. But maybe that's just me.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Sunday morning. The weather's picked up again. It's not quite as warm as it was on Tuesday, but it's dry and there's very little breeze, great weather for running. I put on my Diadora tennis shorts. They're quite short and have sewn-in briefs, but they're made of heavier material than my running shorts, and have a zip pocket on each side. Reaching into my sports bag, I take out the small tube of K-Y and slip it into the right-hand pocket.
Just before half past ten, the doorbell rings. I open the front door.
"Is Dean coming?" Patrick asks as he makes his way inside.
"No," I say. "I spoke to him about half an hour ago. They had a great holiday, but he's very tired. He'll train with us on Tuesday."
A few minutes later, we're on our way. We head out through the park and the woods and onto the farm fields and country lanes beyond. Finally, we reach the far side of Cooper's Wood, heading back towards the house.
"Are we . . . ?" he asks.
"Yeah, if you want."
I lead the way to our hideout. We've both been waiting for this. Shorts are quickly pushed down. We kiss. We fondle. We suck. We kiss again, our bodies pressed together, dicks rubbing against each other.
"D'you want to fuck me today?" I whisper.
"What are we going to use for lube?"
I produce the tube of K-Y.
"Oh, that's why you're wearing those shorts!" he says, grinning. "I thought they looked different. You do me next time?"
"Yeah, sure!" I respond, slathering lube over his dick.
I get into position, just as I did with Anthony, bent right over, feet well apart, my hands resting on a low branch. After more than a week since I had sex with Dean, I'm gagging for it. Moments later, I've got Patrick's beautiful cock right inside me. Holding me around the tops of my legs, he gets to work. Oh yes! It's everything I hoped it would be, and then some. The rhythm is perfect, and the way he's stimulating my sex-gland is unbelievable. It's like he's transported me to a completely different planet where normal rules simply don't apply.
"Play with my cock!" I whimper.
Patrick reaches down, his bony fingers closing around my prick. Very gently, he begins to wank me. That's all it takes, I buck uncontrollably, like I've been hit by a runaway train. My balls churn into life, spunk surging through my cock and spurting deep into the bushes. At the same moment, my bum goes into spasm around Patrick's cock.
"Oh fuck!" he groans. "Here it comes!"
Tightening his grip on my thighs, he deposits his teen-cum deep inside me. A few seconds later, he gently eases his way out.
"That was amazing!" he breathes. "You can have that any time you want." He pauses for a second, still breathing hard. "You were well into it," he whispers. "I hardly touched your cock. You shot all over the place!"
We pull up our shorts and head for home. Back at the house, it's like nothing's happened, except a thought is niggling away at me. I told myself I'd stick to having sex with Dean. Instead, I've had sex with Patrick not once, but four times. I've fucked him, he's fucked me and we've taken no precautions at all.
I guess that's not too clever, but I'm not going to beat myself up. I mean, it's not like I went looking; Patrick was pretty well begging for it. Dean wasn't around and I've been horny, like, all the time. I don't care what Dad says. I wasn't going to say no, was I?
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
We're back at school, and my sex life with Dean is back to normal. I don't know when I'll be able to get together with Patrick again. During term time I don't have anywhere to go and neither does he. Maybe during the Easter holiday; we'll have to see.
It's Wednesday afternoon. The three of us are just about to go out running when Mr Saunders comes into the changing room.
"Just the people I wanted to see," he says. "A week on Saturday there's an under-15's cross-country relay over near Birmingham. I know we don't usually run a team for your age, but as you've been training, it seemed like a good opportunity for you to get some racing experience. Mr Bentley's agreed to take you, so make sure you're available."
This is a major shock. I'd resigned myself to having to run for the school team next season, but that's months away. He's talking about next week!
"How long is it, sir?" Patrick asks.
"Each leg is a mile and three quarters," Mr Saunders tells us, "around ten minutes running."
"Is it just three stages then, sir?" Dean enquires.
"No, it's four," Mr Saunders says. "Tim Powell will be running with you."
"Won't he be playing football, sir?" I ask.
"We've moved their match to the following Tuesday," Mr Saunders says, "so you needn't worry about that. Just get out there and do your best."
I am not happy. I like running. I just don't want to race. We make our way out.
"I'm looking forward to this relay!" Patrick says enthusiastically. "I haven't raced since sports day."
"I'll need some new spikes," Dean says.
My spikes should be alright, I note, still sulking. Since I bought them last summer, my feet have hardly grown at all.
"Have you got any spikes?" Dean asks, turning to Patrick.
Patrick shakes his head.
"You'll need some," Dean says. "I'll give you my old ones. They're in good nick, but they're a bit small for me now. They should fit you okay."
"Thanks!" Patrick says, smiling.
I give myself a mental kick up the arse. Dean and Patrick are taking this seriously, and I know Tim will. He competes at everything. These guys are my mates. I'm not going to let them down. I'll just have to run as hard as I can. It's not for the school, and it's certainly not for me. I'll do it for them.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
The last ten days have totally flown past. It's the morning of the relay. I'm still not looking forward to it. Worse still, I have to get up at half past seven. On a Saturday?! That's definitely not my idea of fun, but we have to be at school by half past eight. At twenty-five past, Dad drops me outside the gate. I'm still very apprehensive.
"Get stuck in and enjoy it," he says.
Well, if nothing else, I'll get some brownie points for taking part.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
The relay was a disaster. The other boys ran really well, Patrick especially. I ran crap. Oh, the other lads weren't unpleasant about it. Neither was Mr Bentley, but I know I let the team down. The fact is, I'm just not good enough.
Actually, I'm pissed off. There was no need for me to have run. With them having cancelled the under-15's football match, Simon Heath could have run. He'd have done way better than I did.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
"So how did you get on?" Dad asks brightly.
"Not very well," I tell him. "The other lads ran great, especially Patrick. We'd have got third place if I'd run anywhere like as well as they did."
"But you did best you could?" he queries.
"Yeah," I reply, "but it wasn't good enough."
"It's your first race," he says gently. "Considering where you were eighteen months ago, you've done fantastic, better than I ever thought you would. So stick at it!"
That's pretty much what Mr Bentley said, but I'm not convinced, not even slightly.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
"What are you doing Saturday evening?" Claire asks.
"Not a lot, why?"
"Mum and Dad are going to a concert," she says. "I wondered if you might be going out somewhere so Damian and I could spend the evening together."
It's not a total surprise. I'd already worked out that she was taking Damian much more seriously than any of her previous boyfriends. To be fair, he does have quite a bit going for him. He's very good looking, a top student and seems a totally nice guy. Added to which, his dad's a consultant surgeon and his mum's a university professor, so they're not exactly short of cash. And for the icing on the cake, he's passed his driving test and is allowed to drive his mum's car. Claire loves that!
"Where were you thinking of?" I ask, playing her along a little.
"Couldn't you go to Dean's house?"
"Think back a couple of years," I suggest. "What would you have been doing on a Saturday evening?"
"Probably going somewhere with David."
"So what d'you think Dean might be doing?"
"Going out with Rebecca?"
"Exactly!" I say, with just a hint of sarcasm. "And I don't think they'd want me tagging along, do you?"
"Couldn't you go to the cinema or something?" she asks, almost like she's pleading with me.
"Not on my own," I say firmly. "But leave it with me. I'll work on it."
"Please," she says, giving me her sweetest smile. "We'd be very grateful, really."
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
"Anthony and I are going to the cinema," I tell her. "We're going to see The Bank Job."
"That's great" Claire coos. "Thank you so much!"
"Not my ideal choice of viewing," I add, "but at least I'll get to ogle Jason Statham."
"He's nearly forty!" she protests, looking horrified.
"Actually, he is forty," I respond, "but very fit, and so cool! Superb body; he used to be on the British diving team."
To be honest, I'm only winding her up. He's way too old for me.
"It finishes at twenty past ten," I go on. "Ask Damian to pick us up outside at twenty-five past."
"Can't you get the bus?" she queries.
"I am allowing you to spend the entire evening with him," I counter. "The least you can do is to make sure we get home in one piece. Anyway, I need to be tucked up in bed before Mum and Dad get back. Ask him. I'm sure he'll see my point."
"Okay," she concedes. "I'll ask."
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
The car arrives on the dot of twenty-five past. Anthony and I pile into the back.
"Have you guys had a good time?" Damian asks, beaming at us.
"Yeah, It was great, thanks!" I respond. "Very exciting!"
Damian is buzzing. You can pretty well feel it. Claire seems very happy too. Anthony and I look at each other. We have to stop ourselves giggling. A couple of minutes later, we drop Anthony outside his house. By twenty to eleven, we're back home.
"I'm off to bed," I announce, giving them a knowing grin.
"Goodnight," Claire says, smiling dreamily.
"Good night," Damian echoes. "And thanks!"
I make my way upstairs. I think you call that `Mission accomplished'. Claire and Damian have had the evening they were dreaming of.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Friday evening; another week has gone past. Unexpectedly, my phone rings. I check the display. It's Dean. I can't imagine what he wants. I press the answer button.
"Hi!" I say brightly. "I wasn't expecting you to call. I thought you'd be at Rebecca's."
"Well I'm not," he answers. "Is it okay if I come round? We need to talk, yeah?"
I check my watch. It's half past eight.
"Yeah sure," I respond.
"I'll be there in ten," he tells me.
This is weird. We were only together a few hours ago. Something must have happened, and it doesn't sound good.
I wait anxiously, sitting at my desk like a coiled spring. The moment the doorbell rings I'm downstairs to answer it. There he is. He doesn't look happy. I usher him inside.
"It's Dean," I say, putting my head into the lounge. "We're just going up to my room."
"Hi Mrs Haskell, Mr Haskell!" Dean greets, looking over my shoulder.
He follows me upstairs.
"Well?" I enquire, closing the door behind us.
"We've got a problem," he says, parking himself on my bed. "I just went to Rebecca's yeah? The moment she got me on my own, she started asking me what we'd been doing, going back to my place after training. I said we just chilled out for a bit, had a cup of tea, listened to some music and that. She said, `That's not all you've been doing, is it? You've been having sex.' "
"Shit!" I hiss. "What gave her that idea?"
"Fuck knows. She wouldn't tell me." He pauses. "I've been wracking my brains," he goes on, "and there's only one thing I can think of. A few times when we've been going back to mine, Michelle Clarke's been outside the newsagent, snogging Darren Richards. I didn't take much notice because she seemed to be busy licking Darren's tonsils, yeah? Well, I reckon she must have said something."
"Isn't she mates with Amanda?" I ask.
"I'm not sure they're mates exactly," he says, "but they hang out sometimes. Amanda would love it, finding out something like that. She still hasn't forgiven me for falling out with Zav. But there's no way she'd have told Rebecca. They can't stand each other."
"She wouldn't have had to," I suggest. "All she'd have had to do was start a rumour. Rebecca was bound to hear it sooner or later."
"It certainly fits," Dean says, giving me a wry grin. "Of course, there's no way we can prove it."
"So did you own up?"
"No way! I told her she was out of her mind. There was no way that I'd do that. But she wasn't having it. Then she just about threw me out."
"So what happens now?"
"Well, you'll have to stop coming back to mine after training," he says, not even looking at me. "Sorry, but I don't think we've got a choice. I'm an idiot. I should have stopped it ages ago. I just never thought she'd find out."
"So you're hoping to get back with her?" I query.
"Of course I am," he says firmly, "but fuck knows how I'm going to do it. I just hope they don't go spreading it all over the school. It's alright for you. Everyone knows you're gay."
I take a deep breath. He's chosen Rebecca over me. I can't blame him. In his position, I'd have done the same. And let's face it; I always knew our fuck-buddy relationship was going to end sometime. I just didn't expect it to happen like this. The danger now is that it will split us up completely. That's the last thing I'd want.
"We'll still be friends, won't we?" I ask tentatively.
"Of course we will," he says defiantly. "I said we'd always be friends, yeah?"
"So what are we going to do?" I ask.
"Dunno," he admits. "I'd like to think that we could blag our way through it, but I'm not sure it'll work. Fuck knows how, but she pretty much sussed out I was lying to her."
"So are you going to tell her?"
"I don't want to, but I might not have a choice if I want to get her back."
"You could say I talked you into it," I suggest. "Like you said, they know I'm gay so it's no skin off my nose."
"No way!" he responds vehemently. "That definitely won't work. If I admit we were doing it, I have to take responsibility. You should listen to my dad. Blaming stuff on other people is the worst thing you can do. Nobody respects you when you do that."
"Sorry," I say. "I wasn't thinking straight."
"For the moment, we'll just deny it," he says, grimacing "see how it goes."
"If we're going to have to own up eventually," I suggest, "I think it'd be better to do it now."
"I'm not ready for that," he argues. "Anyway, we may not have to. I mean, they've got no actual evidence."
"Okay," I answer, "but I'm not telling lies. If Rebecca says anything, I'll just bat it off."
"Okay," he concedes, looking less than happy. "You coming to the pool tomorrow?"
"I think we might get a frosty reception."
I'd say that's an understatement; it's going to be icy. I know Dean's the best friend I've ever had, and I've not got too many right now, but I'm not going to lie for him. I'll do what I said and we'll see what happens. And we won't have sex again, like ever! That's going to be hard.
Actually, I feel as guilty as hell. Claire warned me last summer what would happen if Rebecca found out what Dean and I were up to. Well, now it's happened. Shit!
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
Dean and I head into the pool. It's obvious straight away that Rebecca and her friends aren't going to talk to us, at least not while we're together. After a few minutes, we separate. Almost immediately, Rebecca swims over to me.
"How could you?" she demands.
"How could I what?" I counter.
"You know!" she hisses.
"Ah, that," I say coolly. "Could I ask you where you got this idea?"
"It doesn't matter where I got it," she snaps. "It's true, isn't it?"
"Really? What evidence do you have? None at all from what I've been told."
"You're as bad as him!" she retorts. "How long have we known each other?"
"Nearly ten years?"
"Exactly!" she snaps. "And you think I can't tell when you're lying?"
"I'm not lying," I say evenly. "I'm just not willing to respond to allegations for which there isn't a shred of evidence."
"Boys!" she snorts. "You're gross, all of you!"
She swims away. Hmmm! I gave it my best shot, but she didn't waver one millimetre.
"What did she say?" Dean asks as soon as we're back together.
I relay the conversation. "I did exactly what I said," I add, "but she totally wasn't having it."
A little while later, I'm on my own again. This time, Louise approaches me.
"I don't know why Rebecca and Jane are making such a fuss," she says quietly. "You were only being boys. Of course, they haven't got any brothers. I've got two, so I know what boys are like."
"What d'you mean?" I ask.
"You know," she says, grinning. "You and Dean."
"What makes you think we were doing anything?" I query.
"Oh, come on!" she chides, still smiling. "You know you were!"
She heads back to join the other girls. I shake my head. Even though nobody's actually seen me and Dean doing anything, nobody believes us. Sooner or later, we'll have to own up to what we were doing. I don't fancy the idea any more than Dean does. If it got back to Mum and Dad, we'd be right in the shit. But if Dean wants to get back with Rebecca, there's no other choice. Finally, it's time to go home.
"So what are we going to do now?" I ask, putting on my cycle helmet. "Today was a disaster."
"Fuck knows," Dean answers, frowning.
"We're going to have to own up," I say. "They know what we were up to. I don't know how they've managed it, but they know. Sorry, but it's game over, time to put our hands up."
"You mean now?" he queries.
"Yeah, now," I confirm. "We'll have to do it sooner or later, so we may as well get on with it. The longer we leave it, the worse it's going to be. I'm at risk too, you know. If it gets back to Mum and Dad, I'll be toast!"
"Okay," he agrees. "If we've got to do it, we've got to do it."
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Sunday afternoon. I'm just doing my English homework when my phone rings. It's Dean.
"I've done it," he tells me, "owned up and apologised."
"How did it go?" I ask.
"It was pretty rough," he says. "It's not an experience I'd want to repeat. But we've sort of made our peace. She says she'll tell me when she's ready to go out with me again."
"That's good," I respond. "I hope she doesn't keep you waiting too long."
"Me too," he agrees. "She wanted to know, . . . er, what we'd been doing. That was well embarrassing."
"What did you tell her?" I demand, feeling more than a little alarmed.
"I told her you sucked me off and I gave you a wank," he answers. "I never mentioned the other stuff. It's okay; she didn't question it."
"That's a relief!" I say, grinning.
"Yeah, except she asked if you'd seduced me. She seems to have the idea that it was your fault, yeah? I told her it wasn't like that, but I'm not sure she believed me."
"Right!" I acknowledge. "Well thanks for trying!"
"Oh, and I told her you were going to apologise too, yeah?"
"Yeah, right! I guess I'd better get on and do it then."
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Monday lunchtime. I've spent all morning looking for an opportunity to speak to Rebecca, but every time I see her, she's with her friends. There's no way I can speak to her in front of the other girls. I'm just coming out of the dining hall when she approaches me.
"I'm told you have something to say to me," she says, giving me the eyeball.
"Yeah," I agree.
She guides me to a quiet corner where we won't be overheard.
"Well?" she asks.
"I'd just like to say sorry for what happened," I say quietly. "I wasn't trying to get Dean to cheat on you. To be honest, I never even thought about it. I should have done but I didn't. If I'd thought about it, we'd have stopped. Sorry."
"So why didn't you just own up when we were at the pool?" she demands.
"Oh, come on!" I plead. "I was never going to do that. It's not like we'd been caught with our pants down."
"So why did you change your mind?" she persists.
"Dean and I discussed it. We decided it was the right thing to do."
"Well I think it's pathetic!" she snarls. "We've been friends since we were at infant school. You should have known better!"
"Yes," I concede. "I should. I let you down and I'm sorry. There's not much else I can say."
"Well it's not good enough," she says firmly. "From now on, you can stay out of my way!"
She goes stomping off. It seems she's willing to forgive Dean, but she's not going to forgive me. Shit! That's another friend I've lost. And it's my own fault. All that stuff I said about not trying to get Dean to cheat on her was bollocks. Last summer, Claire spelt it out to me. I wish I'd listened!