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The 3 stories of daddy and admirer erotica presented below are courtesy of Mature Gay Stories - the nets biggest collection of stories of mature daddies fucking mature daddies or younger admirers.

For ever and beyond

To be honest I knew the very first time I saw Matt that I fancied the pants off him, no need for a second glance. But he was, of course, totally unattainable leaving me to do nothing more than dream. Dream of the young man I had met, and believe me dream I did.

The kindly old professor looked at me and smiled. He had been my tutor, my mentor and was now my friend. "So will you return to us next Michalemas Term and take your PhD ?"

"I think so," I replied cautiously.

"Perhaps you should never have taken this year out."

"Oh no," I corrected him. "I don't regret the break even with this current problem. I needed to get away from the academic life of education."

"And yet you chose to teach for a year in a boys' grammar school ? That sound like an oxymoron to me."

"No Professor, not really."

I smiled at him, thought back over all that had happened and sought out the words I would use to explain.

All through my days at school and university I wrestled with my sexuality and knew for certain that I was different. But times then were not the way they are today and it was far from easy. Homosexuality was only made legal in England in 1967 and the years that followed saw those like myself living in a tiny closet society where each individual had no real way of exploring his true self in a wider community of like-thinking peers. There was no such thing then as The Scene, confusion reigned supreme. True enough the sixties had been a time of great liberation but the full extend of that liberation would not be understood for two decades or more and besides much, if not all, was heterosexual based and not focused on a tiny minority who found comfort in those of the same gender. And so I was careful concealed my inner self.

I loved study and was a good student at school where I gained a set of A Level grades which assured my entry into Oxford. Four years and a first class honours degree later it was assumed I would go on and take my doctorate. Doctor Noel Dawes, I liked the sound of that ! But personal events in my final term provoked me to take a year away from study and so I ended up teaching English, as my professor reminded me, in a boys' grammar school.

At my interview I could smell decades of dust in the place. The swinging sixties had passed this place by without a hint of change. I felt many of the staff we still trying to get to grips with the immediate post war years of the late forties and could not accept the concept that nearly thirty years had passed since the demise of Hitler when many of them were demobbed back into civilian life where they settled into the routine of handing down their knowledge to the next generation of youth. I was employed to teach English Literature to the fourth and fifth forms, preparing them for GCE O Level examinations that coming summer, but when my head of department suffered a heart attack and was laid up in hospital I was catapulted into teaching the upper sixth A Level class. It was there I met Matt.

Matt was the oldest in the class, celebrating his eighteenth birthday very early in the new term. He was brilliant, utterly briliant. Not only at his studies but in every field he touched and his personality radiated all about him. He was fantastic to teach and I fancied the pants off him.

"But Macbeth was not evil, not truly evil," he said in one of my classes. "I mean he was overtaken by evil and that does not mean he was inherently evil in himself does it Sir ?"

I nodded gently. "I think you could be right but it's not a line of thought that will gain you many marks in an examination."

"But to understand Macbeth as a man we have to understand the time and world in which he was living, and also the time and world Shakespeare lived in when he wrote the story seven centuries later. I can't help but feel sorry for Macbeth."

I heard his words and listened to his point of view but my mind was not on them but the boy, no the man, who was speaking them. Matt was a man, not a boy. His boyish looks were just the exterior to a youth of eighteen who was legally an adult. But eighteen or not he was my student and I his teacher, he was taboo to me. Eighteen and I was twenty-four, six simple years separated us but he may just have well been a child of six and I an old man of sixty.

I continued to debate with my talented student the complex traits of Macbeth's character and when over the Christmas holidays I sat down to mark the mock examination papers I would have been proud to have presented Matt's script as my own. When I handed back the results in the new year I asked Matt to come and see me after school.

"You wanted to se me Sir ?"

"Yes Matt, come in and sit down."

We sat facing one another across an old wooden school desk where decades of pupils had etched their names and adolescent philosophies.

"Which university are you applying to ?" I asked him.

"Bristol."

"To read English ?"

"Yes Sir."

"Forget Bristol Matt, you belong in Oxford."

My student was taken back. "Do you think I am good enough ?"

"Without a doubt."

"But -"

"But nothing Matthew, a word in the ear of Professor Coldrick and I can promise you a place in my old college."

Matthew smiled with a wide grin. "Really ! Do you mean that ? You would do that for me ?"

"I would count it a pleasure."

"Thank you Sir."

I knew my speaking to the professor would count for much and providing Matthew passed at his expected grades he would join my old college as an undergraduate next Michalemas Term.

"Could I ask you something Sir ?" Matt continued, smiling through his elation at the possibility of a place in the country's top university.

"Of course."

I expected Matthew to ask me something about the university, college life or for more assurance that he would really be able to win a place at Oxford but no.....

"Do you believe in destiny Sir ?"

I have always believed in forces outside our comprehension, and I don't necessarily mean god, having an influence upon our lives and I told him as much. "You are a great fan of Macbeth," I smiled, "perhaps destiny explains his fortune."

"But Macbeth is fiction, I mean in reality."

"It's the same thing."

"Perhaps." He paused then said. "Sir, you are a part of my destiny, well I believe you are any way."

The hairs on the back of my neck started to prick and electricity ran up and down my spine. What was he going to say ?

"You inspire me Sir. Without you I could not have done what I did in the mock examinations and now you are talking about me going to Oxford. You have to be a part of my destiny. It was destiny that you came to teach here and destiny that you took over my class. Without you I would not be the same. Would I be tempting destiny if I asked you to give me some extra lessons ? I mean would you be willing to give me some additional coaching ?"

As he spoke he placed a hand on top of mine. It could have been a simple gesture but no it was more, he left it resting there as he continued to persuade me to tutor him through his English A Level and into Oxford.

Matthew needed no tutoring, a genius never does but our times together were incredible. We discussed for hours my favourite writers and their works together developing a new and deep insight into their feelings and work. Our ideas were so similar they could have been of one mind and over the weeks we became so close, the relationship of teacher and pupil was forgotten to become one of two friends. We drank wine together and ate Chinese food out of silver foil dishes, we read poetry to one another and wrote poetry for one another but through all I tried not to give Matt any sign that I had emotional feelings for him and although I hoped he too felt something for me he showed no sign. The time he had rested his hand on mine had been a singular event and nothing like it was repeated.

The day Matthew passed his driving test I took him out for a celebratory meal after which we went to a club. We had great fun together, for that time no longer teacher and pupil but two friends enjoying themselves.

"Are you going to teach as a career ?" Matt asked me, shouting over the loud music.

"No, I'm just filling in, I'll be returning to Oxford to finish my studies and take my PhD. I don't really want to teach."

"So what do you want to do ?"

"I want to be a journalist and to write myself."

Matt hesitated. "When will you return to Oxford ?"

I hoped he wanted the answer I was about to give him. "Next Michalemas term, next autumn. I need to go there soon and see my old professor, I need also to talk with him about your application, I wrote to him about you of course and he wrote back but I have to see him soon. You'll need to meet him as well."

Matt was waiting patiently for me to finish speaking. "So we will be students together then ?"

"Yes we will."

He jumped up high and smiled so wide his excitement effervesced and burst out. He leaped forward and for the second time made physical contact with me as he embraced me in a warm hard hug. I held him tightly and wanted so much to kiss him, to fondle his body and to make love with him, how I resisted I can not tell. I wish now that I had done all of these things, if I had been more bold then perhaps the things of the next day would not have transpired but Matt had spoken once of destiny and destiny had its own detailed plan which it was not prepared to have short circuited.

Back at school the whole afternoon of the next day was timetabled for me to teach the Upper Sixth and I had begun work with them on another of Shakespeare's plays, Romeo and Juliet. We had earlier read the play and were now discussing it, as usual Matt was the leading light in the group. It was difficult for me to make sure in our discussions that the other pupils in the class were not excluded. Also in our private tutorials Matt had stopped calling me "Sir" and had begun to use my name, I was worried that he would slip up and make a mistake in front of the others. But he was too clever and too careful for that giving no hint to his fellow pupils that our relationship was different.

The end of the afternoon came, it was Friday, and when the bell announced the start of the week-end everyone was quick to leave, everyone save Matt. He walked from his seat and stood in front of me.

"Shakespeare must have believed in pure love," he said. "So pure that it excludes all else. Do you believe in pure love ?" He was looking into my eyes and transmitting by some sixth sense his feelings to me.

My stomach was churning and every nerve in my body was on edge and about to tremble. My courage was high as I said, "Well Matt I love you."

And so began our third physical time but it was nothing like the previous two. I put my arms round him and held him tight. The embrace continued for a time until we released one another and took off our jackets, me a light grey sports jacket and Matt the traditional school blazer with the school badge. We tossed those two items off on to the floor and resumed our embrace which quickly moved to a deep, long and passionate kiss. Matt placed his hands on my buttocks and pulled us close together. My cock was firm and throbbing, through our clothing it felt and rested against his. I undid Matt's tie and opened the front of his white school shirt to reveal a beautiful chest.

"I have wanted this for ages," Matt said and then ripped my own tie away. "I want you Noel."

And then my classroom door opened.

I knew who it was, the smell of stale pipe tobacco announced the arrival of the Headmaster. Terror gripped us both as we slowly turned to face the man who ran the school with a metaphorical rod of iron and a literal rod of rattan. His face was red and looked as if it would burst into flame, his fists were clenched and thrust by his side. Eventually he spoke, no he did not speak he roared !

"Mr Dawes put your clothes on and come immediately to my study ! You," he jabbed a finger at Matthew, "will wait in the sixth form common room until send for you ! And both of you get your clothes on !"

There was no point in trying to explain. What could I say ? Even if I had anything to say it would have been impossible. He just exploded with rage and ranted at me in a voice which shook the walls.

"You are a bugger Dawes and I will not have a member of my staff buggering the pupils. You should be flogged down the street and run out of town. In my day you'd have been thrown into prison to rot, I'd to call the police but I'll not have shame brought on my school. There may have been those among our politicians who thought it right to make buggery legal but it is not legal in one of my classrooms and with one of my sixth form pupils !"

It would have been no use at all to even attempt to explain that we had done little he had not seen for himself, that nothing sexual had taken place. I had not had any sexual relationship with Matt, the kiss was the full extend of our activities and he hadn't even witnessed that.

"And the law says," he continued, "that it is legal only between consenting adults in private ! He is NOT an adult !"

When the laws on homosexuality were revised in 1967 it permitted same sex between those aged 21 years and over, while Matthew was an adult in terms of being old enough to vote it was not until more than twenty years later in 1994 that the two ages were properly equated.

"Get out of my school, do you hear. You are sacked I don't ever want to see your corrupt, evil face ever again !"

I had heard enough, I turned and walked away. I left any books and personal property I had in the classroom and walked into the car park, got into my car and drove home. It didn't matter to me that I had lost my job, what mattered was that the Headmaster was now almost certain to expel Matthew and that would mean an end to his studies, his A Levels, university and his career. Many a time in the brief moments it took to leave the Headmaster's study and get into my car I considered retracing my steps, to go back and plead for my young friend but I knew to do so would make the situation only harder for him. All I could do was to go home.

The front door closed with a dull thud which echoed about the empty house. My heart ached for Matthew and what he was going through and yet what could I do ? I sat down and cried.

"You are a bugger Dawes and I will not have a member of my staff buggering the pupils." Those words just ran over and over and over in my head. But I loved Matt and knew now that he loved me. Surely there was nothing wrong in that. Was there ?

The minutes crawled by like hours and had there been hours they would have gone by like days but I had been home for less that an hour when the door bell rang. I dried my tearful eyes and prepared to meet the police on my doorstep, if the Headmaster had not called them then perhaps Matthew's parents would. God, what would his parents say when they heard what had happened ? But nothing had happened. My heart was beating so hard my chest hurt.

But it wasn't the police. it was Matt. He smiled and my spirits lifted.

"What happened ? What did he say ? I am so sorry Matthew ! Did he expel you ?" I blurted out a string of questions interposed with attempted words of apology.

Matthew winked an eye to say that all was well. "I'm still at school," he said, "and still sitting my A Levels. If they'll have me I'll still be a student at Oxford with you. But what about you, he sacked you, you've lost your job !"

"That doesn't matter," I said relieved. "And he didn't expel you ?"

"No."

"Is he going to tell your parents ?"

"No, he doesn't want any shame brought on the school. I guess he'll make some feeble excuse as to your sudden departure and sweep everything under the carpet."

"So he let you off then ?"

"Not entirely." He spoke slowly and hung his head.

"Why ? What's happened ? What's he done ?"

Matt looked at the floor.

I waited to hear what he said and repeated my question.

"He caned me," Matthew said quietly.

The words cut through the air between us and I reached out to hold him.

"What ! No !" How could he ? A sixth former ? You shouldn't have let him."

"It's over now. Nothing more is going to happen."

"How many ?" I asked.


"Six."

"That's not right ! Did it hurt ?"

Matthew nodded and smiled. "It did."

I kissed Matt, taking up where we left off. I loved him and now I knew he loved me. I placed my hands gently on his trousers lightly touching his buttocks. "How could anyone hurt someone as beautiful as you ?"

"That sounds like a quote from Oscar Wilde," he giggled.

"It is, well close any way."

"Than I shall be your Bosie," he said.

For a second time I unbuttoned Matthew's shirt and exposed his adolescent chest. This time I pulled his arms through the sleeves and left him standing naked from the waist upwards.

"I want to see where that evil man has hurt you," I said placing my hands on his trouser belt.

He put his own hands upon mine and together we undid the fastenings which allowed his trousers to fall to the floor and reveal a crisp white pair of tight underpants. I hesitatingly slipped my fingers into the elastic waistband and pulled them towards me peering down inside at two bruised buttocks. Then all the way down.

Horror ! His two tender bum checks were crossed by six clearly separate lines of a deeper hue than the surrounding skin. These welts were clear evidence of a severe and brutal caning. I allowed my hand to hover over them without touching and screamed out inside me every expletive I could muster against the brute who had done this.

"Oh Matthew," I said with a croaking voice.

He turned to face me and placed a finger on my lips to silence me. As he turned I saw for the first time the totally naked front view of my friend. In my dreams I had conjured up all kinds of interpretations as to what he would look like but every one of them fell short of the Adonis that stood before me. It was difficult to believe that I was not right then dreaming but I knew that I was not. I moved to take off the remainder of my own clothing and very soon we were standing there together quite naked.

What was happening was quite natural and felt right but we were both virgins and so there was also a slight sense of ignorance and gentle awkwardness about us. The actual content of our first lovemaking together was limited to holding one another each generating a climax in the other, it wasn't sex it was love. We lay together and I soothed Matt's wounded behind, I felt terrible that I had been the cause of so much pain and humiliation. But Matt was worried that I had lost my job and income.

It was time to tell my friend something about me. "Thing is," I said, "I need to work, of course I do but that's for something to do rather than to earn money. I do have a private income, some may even say I have small a fortune."

"Lucky !"

"Well not really," I tried to explain. "I inherited everything from my parents when they died. I didn't sell the house, I let it and so that brings an income and I still own Dad's share in the business."

"Oh I see." Matt sounded sorry and said as much for bringing up the subject. Of course he knew nothing of my parents' untimely death.

I dismissed his fears, it had been a traumatic time and was behind my not staying on at Oxford to start my PhD but I was over it now. Besides when I returned to Oxford I would now have young Matt with me. I told him the story of their death and my inheritance. We talked for a long time before I worried about the hour.

"What time do you need to be leaving ?" I asked. "I mean what time will your parents be expecting you home ?"

"They are away for the week-end," Matt explained then hesitatingly added, "So I can stay the night if you want me to."

Did I want him to ? Hell I wanted him to !

What a week-end we had, no words of superlature could properly tell you how truly wonderful it was. We spent hours on end just holding each other, laying close often naked and in that short space of time our love making moved from fumbling naivety to that of expertise. How I loved Matthew and how I basked in his reflected love for me.

We drank too much wine together and ate all kinds of snack food. It was simple but for us then we were in a party at the Ritz and dining on food prepared by the world's best chef.

"Will life in Oxford be as wonderful as this ?" Matt asked.

"Better," I whispered, kissing him gently and then making love yet again.

More than an hour later we lay back and relaxed in one another's arms. "We can take a house in the city, live together and spend as much time as we like just like this."

"Wonderful."

But the time eventually came when Matt had to return home and while we postponed that eventuality until the very last moment but it could be put off no longer.

"Before you go," I said holding on to his presence just slightly longer, "let me phone Professor Coldrick and arrange when I can see him."

Dear Old Professor Coldrick was delighted to hear from me and invited me to visit him the very next day.

"He's such a kind man," I explained to Matthew. "You'll like him and he will certainly like you."

Matthew had to leave, the evening was fast approaching and his parents would soon be home. We said our good-bye's, taking a long time to do so, and finally, finally he left. My home was again empty and I alone but never before had I been quite so happy, never before quite so elated. I had my whole life ahead of me and prayed that every day of it would be spent with Matthew.

I was up early the next morning and drove up to Oxford, I wandered round it's dreaming spires on a warm spring day before making my way to Balliol College and seeking out Professor Coldrick. We sat in his rooms at the front of the famous old college drinking tea and eating sandwiches as I retold my story to my mentor and friend.

"If young Matthew is half as brilliant as you say he is," the professor smiled, "then he has to come here to Balliol, to let him go anywhere else would be a folly. And you will be returning to take your PhD ?"

I nodded.

"And then what ?"

"I want to write Professor, I want to be a journalist."

"And what career does Matthew intend to follow ?"


"I have no idea, we have not talked properly about it."


"Then I shall talk about it with him."


I drank some more tea from the finest china tea service Professor Coldrick reserved just for his special guests and asked something I had secretly been worrying about.

"Is it right professor, what I am doing to Matt ?"

"Doing to ?" he said emphasising his words with an enquiring tone. "You are not doing anything to, it sounds together to me. You told me just now that Matthew said he would be your Bosie and you his Oscar."

"Yes."

"The age difference between Bosie Douglas and Oscar Wilde was, of course, much greater than that of you and Matthew, and you two are very different characters but let me ask you a question. Was Oscar Wilde a good influence on Lord Alfred Douglas ?"

"Yes, he was."

"And was Lord Alfred Douglas a good influence on Oscar Wilde ? Did he truly love him ?"

I considered the question briefly then answered, "No, I don't think he was. Douglas ruined Oscar's life, sent him to gaol and made him a social outcast. And no I don't think he loved him as much as Oscar loved him."

"You are wrong !" The professor paused to let his words assimilate themselves in my mind. "Absolutely wrong ! I knew Bosie Douglas and can tell you he loved Oscar with every last fibre of his being right until the day he died."

I was fascinated to learn that my friend actually knew Bosie Douglas and he sensed my curiosity.

"Oscar Wilde, as I am sure you know Noel," the professor began, "died in 1900 and even though many an undergraduate would have me as ancient as the walls of Balliol College itself I was not, myself, born at that time. Bosie Douglas survived him for forty-five years. Both he and Wilde went to Magdalene College, my own college as a young undergraduate you know, and in his late years I became well acquainted with Lord Alfred, Bosie, Douglas. True he had married, had a son and moved on but I can assure you there was not a single day in which he did not love Oscar Wilde."

I smiled.

"I am passionately fond of him and he of me. There is nothing I would not do for him and if he dies before I do I shall not care to live any longer. Surely there is nothing but what is fine and beautiful in such a love as that of two people for one another, the love of the disciple and the philosopher. Bosie's words," Coldrick said. "I expect you are familiar with the quote.

Actually I wasn't.

"One day perhaps, in years to come, a different society may look more understandingly upon the Love that Dare not Speak it's Name as Bosie wrote in his famous poem. I pray that time may not be so far away that you and young Matthew will benefit from it."

"Thank you Professor."

"And now you must bring Matthew to Balliol without delay so that his enrolment as an undergraduate for this autumn can begin. We are a small faculty and there is no time to lose. Bring him here for tea on Wednesday."

"This Wednesday ?"

"Certainly, I look forward to meeting him."

I drove back home from Oxford in high spirits, I opened the windows of the car and let the air blow right through. "I'm going to buy a new car," I thought to myself, "one that is convertible and on days like this I will let the top down and drive open to the sky."

How happy I was, how much I loved Matthew and how warm I felt with the understanding of Professor Coldrick. I knew he would understand, I suspected he had known for some time my preference for those of my own sex and that he would be supportive. Since the loss of my parents I had come to regard him as a father figure and his words had the highest influence on me.

My happiness grew as the miles home became shorter, that was until a terrible premonition of foreboding came over me. It haunted me like a spectre. At first it was not clear, but it involved Matthew. Matthew was in trouble, great trouble - NO - his mind was in great trouble. What was it ? He was crying, I knew he was. He was terribly distressed and I needed to be with him. I needed to be with him as quickly as possible.

I pressed my foot to the floor, the accelerator urging the car's engine to a new and higher speed. The new dual carriageway on the A40 was clear and I sped towards my lover so that I could comfort him.

Matthew was where I knew he would be, outside my home waiting for my return. The car screamed to a halt and I flung open the door, bound across the short distance and held Matthew firmly in my arms.

"What ever is it ?"

"He promised on Friday it would be all over. He lied. The bastard. He promised that caning me would be the end of it all but he lied."

"What's he done ?" I was scared. Not for myself but for Matthew. His place at the country's top university had just been secured and now looked as if it may not be quite so assured. Professor Coldrick would probably take no notice of a bigoted grammar school headmaster but the Dean of Balliol may, he was a different case. "What's he done ?" I repeated my question

"He's asked my father to come and see him," Matthew sobbed. "He got his secretary to phone Dad earlier, she said the Headmaster had something of importance to discuss in private with him that could affect my future. Oh Noel what are we going to do ?"

"When is your Dad going to see him ?"

"Day after tomorrow, Wednesday at two o'clock. What are we going to do ? He's going to tell him about us, after he said he wouldn't. I don't know how Dad will take it."

"How do you know about the phone call ?"

"Dad told me when I got home from school, he was made redundant last week so he is at home in the daytime now."

"Does he know what the meeting is about ?"

"No he asked me that and I said it was probably about me going to Oxford now instead of Bristol. He's so proud about that, he's so proud of me and now everything is going to be destroyed."

I tried to think quickly. "Perhaps the meeting really is about Oxford," I suggested.

"Do you think that could be possible ?" Matthew sounded hopeful.

"No, to be honest I would doubt that. He is going to tell your father about us and tell him to make sure he keeps you away from me."

"I'd never let anyone do that," Matthew said still crying.

"What's you father like ?" I asked. "What kind of a man is he ?"

"He's Ok, an ordinary guy. I'm an only child and he thinks everything of me. That bastard will destroy him if he tells him about us and god knows what it will do to Mum."

"I think I need to meet your father," I said. "To get a measure of him, to let him meet me and form an opinion of me. Then we will tell him ourselves and bugger that old sod at school."

"But we can't," Matthew protested.

"I wonder," I said aloud thinking. "Perhaps we could get Professor Coldrick to speak to the Head and persuade him to keep quiet."

"But," Matthew sighed. "Dad must never know."

"Wednesday you say, your dad has his appointment at school on Wednesday ?"

"Yes."

"That's when I have promised to take you to Oxford to meet Professor Coldrick."

"Oh Noel I'll never be going to Oxford now will I ?"

"Oh yes you will," I assured. "I'm going to sort this. Trust me."

"I do trust you Noel." He kissed me gently on the cheek.

"Now dry your eyes, clean your face. We are going to see your father, now. We won't tell him anything, we have nearly two days grace before the meeting at school. I just want you to introduce us and for us to get to know each other a little. I'll call Professor Coldrick tomorrow and see what he says is best for us to do."

Matthew cheered himself up and tried to smile.

"It will be alright," I assured him, "it really will." But deep down I was scared to the last fibre of my being. I honestly did not know how ever this evil twist of fate could be untangled.

Matthew's parents were truly wonderful people and welcomed me into their home.

"Matthew talks so much about you Mr Dawes," his mother said. "he thinks you are wonderful."

"Please don't call me Mr Dawes," I smiled. "it's Noel."

"Doesn't seem right," Matthew's father said, "calling a teacher by his first name."

"I'm not a teacher any more," I said. "I only went to work at Matthew's school on a temporary contract and even that I have had to bring to an end early because of personal reasons."

"So you won't be teaching Matthew any more ?"

I explained that with their permission I would like to tutor Matthew on a private basis and went on to tell them all about my visit to Oxford earlier that day.

"But we don't have any money to pay you for giving Matthew private lessons ?" Mrs Parker explained. "My husband has just been made redundant."

"Bless you, I didn't mean for anyone to pay for my time, Matthew is brilliant and I would gladly give of all my time to tutor such a mind."

"That is very generous of you."

"What kind of work were you in Mr Parker," I asked. "I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your job."

"I'm a driver, trucks. The firm went bust and we've all lost our jobs. Not easy with so much unemployment about."

"Trucks ?"

"Yes."

"Have you ever driven coaches ?" I enquired, an idea beginning to form in my mind.

"Yes, and I still have my PSV license up to date."

"That's good. Have you ever heard of Sureway Travel."

"Certainly I have, you see their coaches everywhere."

"Not everywhere surely, we only have twenty-five vehicles although we are planning to add five more to the fleet this summer."

I could see Matthew's dad looking at me and picking up carefully on some of my words.

"Come and drive for Sureway," I said.

"Not easy to get a job with them," he said. "They demand the best drivers and pay above the going rate so there is always a waiting list to work there."

"Not when you know the transport manager like I do," I smiled. "How soon could you start ?"

"Dawes," Matt's father said. "Noel Dawes. Dawes was the name of the chap who owned Sureway Travel, wasn't he killed in a crash a while back ?"

"My father," I replied. "and now I own his half of the business. His partner runs the day to day side of things but half of Sureway Travel is mine so if I say the company takes you on, the company takes you on. Simple as that."

"I don't know what to say. I mean thank you, I'm sorry about your father, I mean I don't really know what to say. You're Noel Dawes, well fancy that."

Matthew looked on incredulously.

I held a hand up to stop him. "It's nothing, honestly, and if I can help then - well I would like to."

Matt's mother started to add her thanks and I had also to stop her flow of gratitude.

"Anything we can do in return you must ask."

I thought and said, "There is something. Professor Coldrick has asked me to bring Matthew up to Oxford on Wednesday to meet him, I know you have an appointment at school on the same day but your time would be better spent in Oxford. To be honest I think the Headmaster will try to dissuade you with regard to Matt going to Balliol College but you must trust me he is wrong." I was lying but doing my best to sound persuasive.

"I don't like the man," he said. "He frightens me."

I smiled.

"I'll call his secretary and postpone your meeting, it'll come better from me."

I had bought us some time but for how long ? When I left Matt was again his happy self, believing that I had saved the situation but I hadn't. I knew there was a lot more to do and prayed that dear old Professor Coldrick would have the needed powers of persuasion. I hoped that the headmaster would be in sufficient awe in the presence of a celebrated Oxford Don that he would listen to him and not speak to Matt's father. I would phone Professor Coldrick in the morning and share our dilemma.

That night I found it difficult to sleep, so worried was I for my young lover. What if the Headmaster would not listen to Professor Coldrick ? What harm could he do ? Was my offering Matt's father a form of bribery ? I had not meant it that way. Stopping the meeting was only a postponement, Matthew's parents would have eventually to know the truth of our relationship. The hours of the night slipped by and still my brain raced. One AM, Two AM, Three, half-past. I remember looking at the clock and registering four before merciful slumber finally overtook me. But it wasn't a restful sleep, I was plagued with the most horrific dreams.

Normally I am an early riser but that morning I did not awake until ten and only then as a result of the incessant telephone ringing. I ignored it the first time but no sooner had it silenced than it's infernal bell began again.. The third time I gave way, clambered out of bed and fumbled the receiver to my ear.

"Destiny ! Destiny !" I recognised the voice, of course I did but what was Matthew talking about ? "Destiny ! Destiny!" He repeated again.

"What are you talking about ?" I said.

"Destiny ! He's dead. The old bastard's dead."

"The Headmaster ?"

"Yes ! Dropped dead last night. Heart attack. There was a special assembly this morning where the whole school was told. The old bastard is dead. Don't you see Noel, don't you see what this means ?"

I did, of course I did. The meeting with Matthew's father would not take place the next day or ever and so our secret would remain our secret until we ourselves were ready to reveal it. I should have felt some sadness at his death but I did not, I was pleased he was dead. As Matthew had excitedly shouted down the phone destiny was at work. I hated him for caning Matthew and humiliating him in such a way, I hated him for his intent to destroy our relationship and set Matthew's family against me. My thoughts turned briefly to the sudden death of my own parents and how hard a time it brought to me. Did he have a family, did he have sons to grieve at his death ? I didn't know and I didn't care. My heart celebrated.


****


To be honest I knew the very first time I saw Matt that I fancied the pants off him, no need for a second glance. But he was, of course, totally unattainable leaving me to do nothing more than dream. Dream of the young man I had met, and believe me dream I did.

The kindly old professor looked at me and smiled. He had been my tutor, my mentor and was now my friend. "So will you return to us next Michalemas Term and take your PhD ?"

"I think so," I replied cautiously.

"Perhaps you should never have taken this year out."

"Oh no," I corrected him. "I don't regret the break even with this current problem. I needed to get away from the academic life of education."

"And yet you chose to teach for a year in a boys' grammar school ? That sound like an oxymoron to me."

"No Professor, not really."

I smiled at him, thought back over all that had happened and sought out the words I would use to explain.

All through my days at school and university I wrestled with my sexuality and knew for certain that I was different. But times then were not the way they are today and it was far from easy. Homosexuality was only made legal in England in 1967 and the years that followed saw those like myself living in a tiny closet society where each individual had no real way of exploring his true self in a wider community of like-thinking peers. There was no such thing then as The Scene, confusion reigned supreme. True enough the sixties had been a time of great liberation but the full extend of that liberation would not be understood for two decades or more and besides much, if not all, was heterosexual based and not focused on a tiny minority who found comfort in those of the same gender. And so I was careful concealed my inner self.

I loved study and was a good student at school where I gained a set of A Level grades which assured my entry into Oxford. Four years and a first class honours degree later it was assumed I would go on and take my doctorate. Doctor Noel Dawes, I liked the sound of that ! But personal events in my final term provoked me to take a year away from study and so I ended up teaching English, as my professor reminded me, in a boys' grammar school.

At my interview I could smell decades of dust in the place. The swinging sixties had passed this place by without a hint of change. I felt many of the staff we still trying to get to grips with the immediate post war years of the late forties and could not accept the concept that nearly thirty years had passed since the demise of Hitler when many of them were demobbed back into civilian life where they settled into the routine of handing down their knowledge to the next generation of youth. I was employed to teach English Literature to the fourth and fifth forms, preparing them for GCE O Level examinations that coming summer, but when my head of department suffered a heart attack and was laid up in hospital I was catapulted into teaching the upper sixth A Level class. It was there I met Matt.

Matt was the oldest in the class, celebrating his eighteenth birthday very early in the new term. He was brilliant, utterly briliant. Not only at his studies but in every field he touched and his personality radiated all about him. He was fantastic to teach and I fancied the pants off him.

"But Macbeth was not evil, not truly evil," he said in one of my classes. "I mean he was overtaken by evil and that does not mean he was inherently evil in himself does it Sir ?"

I nodded gently. "I think you could be right but it's not a line of thought that will gain you many marks in an examination."

"But to understand Macbeth as a man we have to understand the time and world in which he was living, and also the time and world Shakespeare lived in when he wrote the story seven centuries later. I can't help but feel sorry for Macbeth."

I heard his words and listened to his point of view but my mind was not on them but the boy, no the man, who was speaking them. Matt was a man, not a boy. His boyish looks were just the exterior to a youth of eighteen who was legally an adult. But eighteen or not he was my student and I his teacher, he was taboo to me. Eighteen and I was twenty-four, six simple years separated us but he may just have well been a child of six and I an old man of sixty.

I continued to debate with my talented student the complex traits of Macbeth's character and when over the Christmas holidays I sat down to mark the mock examination papers I would have been proud to have presented Matt's script as my own. When I handed back the results in the new year I asked Matt to come and see me after school.

"You wanted to se me Sir ?"

"Yes Matt, come in and sit down."

We sat facing one another across an old wooden school desk where decades of pupils had etched their names and adolescent philosophies.

"Which university are you applying to ?" I asked him.

"Bristol."

"To read English ?"

"Yes Sir."

"Forget Bristol Matt, you belong in Oxford."

My student was taken back. "Do you think I am good enough ?"

"Without a doubt."

"But -"

"But nothing Matthew, a word in the ear of Professor Coldrick and I can promise you a place in my old college."

Matthew smiled with a wide grin. "Really ! Do you mean that ? You would do that for me ?"

"I would count it a pleasure."

"Thank you Sir."

I knew my speaking to the professor would count for much and providing Matthew passed at his expected grades he would join my old college as an undergraduate next Michalemas Term.

"Could I ask you something Sir ?" Matt continued, smiling through his elation at the possibility of a place in the country's top university.

"Of course."

I expected Matthew to ask me something about the university, college life or for more assurance that he would really be able to win a place at Oxford but no.....

"Do you believe in destiny Sir ?"

I have always believed in forces outside our comprehension, and I don't necessarily mean god, having an influence upon our lives and I told him as much. "You are a great fan of Macbeth," I smiled, "perhaps destiny explains his fortune."

"But Macbeth is fiction, I mean in reality."

"It's the same thing."

"Perhaps." He paused then said. "Sir, you are a part of my destiny, well I believe you are any way."

The hairs on the back of my neck started to prick and electricity ran up and down my spine. What was he going to say ?

"You inspire me Sir. Without you I could not have done what I did in the mock examinations and now you are talking about me going to Oxford. You have to be a part of my destiny. It was destiny that you came to teach here and destiny that you took over my class. Without you I would not be the same. Would I be tempting destiny if I asked you to give me some extra lessons ? I mean would you be willing to give me some additional coaching ?"

As he spoke he placed a hand on top of mine. It could have been a simple gesture but no it was more, he left it resting there as he continued to persuade me to tutor him through his English A Level and into Oxford.

Matthew needed no tutoring, a genius never does but our times together were incredible. We discussed for hours my favourite writers and their works together developing a new and deep insight into their feelings and work. Our ideas were so similar they could have been of one mind and over the weeks we became so close, the relationship of teacher and pupil was forgotten to become one of two friends. We drank wine together and ate Chinese food out of silver foil dishes, we read poetry to one another and wrote poetry for one another but through all I tried not to give Matt any sign that I had emotional feelings for him and although I hoped he too felt something for me he showed no sign. The time he had rested his hand on mine had been a singular event and nothing like it was repeated.

The day Matthew passed his driving test I took him out for a celebratory meal after which we went to a club. We had great fun together, for that time no longer teacher and pupil but two friends enjoying themselves.

"Are you going to teach as a career ?" Matt asked me, shouting over the loud music.

"No, I'm just filling in, I'll be returning to Oxford to finish my studies and take my PhD. I don't really want to teach."

"So what do you want to do ?"

"I want to be a journalist and to write myself."

Matt hesitated. "When will you return to Oxford ?"

I hoped he wanted the answer I was about to give him. "Next Michalemas term, next autumn. I need to go there soon and see my old professor, I need also to talk with him about your application, I wrote to him about you of course and he wrote back but I have to see him soon. You'll need to meet him as well."

Matt was waiting patiently for me to finish speaking. "So we will be students together then ?"

"Yes we will."

He jumped up high and smiled so wide his excitement effervesced and burst out. He leaped forward and for the second time made physical contact with me as he embraced me in a warm hard hug. I held him tightly and wanted so much to kiss him, to fondle his body and to make love with him, how I resisted I can not tell. I wish now that I had done all of these things, if I had been more bold then perhaps the things of the next day would not have transpired but Matt had spoken once of destiny and destiny had its own detailed plan which it was not prepared to have short circuited.

Back at school the whole afternoon of the next day was timetabled for me to teach the Upper Sixth and I had begun work with them on another of Shakespeare's plays, Romeo and Juliet. We had earlier read the play and were now discussing it, as usual Matt was the leading light in the group. It was difficult for me to make sure in our discussions that the other pupils in the class were not excluded. Also in our private tutorials Matt had stopped calling me "Sir" and had begun to use my name, I was worried that he would slip up and make a mistake in front of the others. But he was too clever and too careful for that giving no hint to his fellow pupils that our relationship was different.

The end of the afternoon came, it was Friday, and when the bell announced the start of the week-end everyone was quick to leave, everyone save Matt. He walked from his seat and stood in front of me.

"Shakespeare must have believed in pure love," he said. "So pure that it excludes all else. Do you believe in pure love ?" He was looking into my eyes and transmitting by some sixth sense his feelings to me.

My stomach was churning and every nerve in my body was on edge and about to tremble. My courage was high as I said, "Well Matt I love you."

And so began our third physical time but it was nothing like the previous two. I put my arms round him and held him tight. The embrace continued for a time until we released one another and took off our jackets, me a light grey sports jacket and Matt the traditional school blazer with the school badge. We tossed those two items off on to the floor and resumed our embrace which quickly moved to a deep, long and passionate kiss. Matt placed his hands on my buttocks and pulled us close together. My cock was firm and throbbing, through our clothing it felt and rested against his. I undid Matt's tie and opened the front of his white school shirt to reveal a beautiful chest.

"I have wanted this for ages," Matt said and then ripped my own tie away. "I want you Noel."

And then my classroom door opened.

I knew who it was, the smell of stale pipe tobacco announced the arrival of the Headmaster. Terror gripped us both as we slowly turned to face the man who ran the school with a metaphorical rod of iron and a literal rod of rattan. His face was red and looked as if it would burst into flame, his fists were clenched and thrust by his side. Eventually he spoke, no he did not speak he roared !

"Mr Dawes put your clothes on and come immediately to my study ! You," he jabbed a finger at Matthew, "will wait in the sixth form common room until send for you ! And both of you get your clothes on !"

There was no point in trying to explain. What could I say ? Even if I had anything to say it would have been impossible. He just exploded with rage and ranted at me in a voice which shook the walls.

"You are a bugger Dawes and I will not have a member of my staff buggering the pupils. You should be flogged down the street and run out of town. In my day you'd have been thrown into prison to rot, I'd to call the police but I'll not have shame brought on my school. There may have been those among our politicians who thought it right to make buggery legal but it is not legal in one of my classrooms and with one of my sixth form pupils !"

It would have been no use at all to even attempt to explain that we had done little he had not seen for himself, that nothing sexual had taken place. I had not had any sexual relationship with Matt, the kiss was the full extend of our activities and he hadn't even witnessed that.

"And the law says," he continued, "that it is legal only between consenting adults in private ! He is NOT an adult !"

When the laws on homosexuality were revised in 1967 it permitted same sex between those aged 21 years and over, while Matthew was an adult in terms of being old enough to vote it was not until more than twenty years later in 1994 that the two ages were properly equated.

"Get out of my school, do you hear. You are sacked I don't ever want to see your corrupt, evil face ever again !"

I had heard enough, I turned and walked away. I left any books and personal property I had in the classroom and walked into the car park, got into my car and drove home. It didn't matter to me that I had lost my job, what mattered was that the Headmaster was now almost certain to expel Matthew and that would mean an end to his studies, his A Levels, university and his career. Many a time in the brief moments it took to leave the Headmaster's study and get into my car I considered retracing my steps, to go back and plead for my young friend but I knew to do so would make the situation only harder for him. All I could do was to go home.

The front door closed with a dull thud which echoed about the empty house. My heart ached for Matthew and what he was going through and yet what could I do ? I sat down and cried.

"You are a bugger Dawes and I will not have a member of my staff buggering the pupils." Those words just ran over and over and over in my head. But I loved Matt and knew now that he loved me. Surely there was nothing wrong in that. Was there ?

The minutes crawled by like hours and had there been hours they would have gone by like days but I had been home for less that an hour when the door bell rang. I dried my tearful eyes and prepared to meet the police on my doorstep, if the Headmaster had not called them then perhaps Matthew's parents would. God, what would his parents say when they heard what had happened ? But nothing had happened. My heart was beating so hard my chest hurt.

But it wasn't the police. it was Matt. He smiled and my spirits lifted.

"What happened ? What did he say ? I am so sorry Matthew ! Did he expel you ?" I blurted out a string of questions interposed with attempted words of apology.

Matthew winked an eye to say that all was well. "I'm still at school," he said, "and still sitting my A Levels. If they'll have me I'll still be a student at Oxford with you. But what about you, he sacked you, you've lost your job !"

"That doesn't matter," I said relieved. "And he didn't expel you ?"

"No."

"Is he going to tell your parents ?"

"No, he doesn't want any shame brought on the school. I guess he'll make some feeble excuse as to your sudden departure and sweep everything under the carpet."

"So he let you off then ?"

"Not entirely." He spoke slowly and hung his head.

"Why ? What's happened ? What's he done ?"

Matt looked at the floor.

I waited to hear what he said and repeated my question.

"He caned me," Matthew said quietly.

The words cut through the air between us and I reached out to hold him.

"What ! No !" How could he ? A sixth former ? You shouldn't have let him."

"It's over now. Nothing more is going to happen."

"How many ?" I asked.


"Six."

"That's not right ! Did it hurt ?"

Matthew nodded and smiled. "It did."

I kissed Matt, taking up where we left off. I loved him and now I knew he loved me. I placed my hands gently on his trousers lightly touching his buttocks. "How could anyone hurt someone as beautiful as you ?"

"That sounds like a quote from Oscar Wilde," he giggled.

"It is, well close any way."

"Than I shall be your Bosie," he said.

For a second time I unbuttoned Matthew's shirt and exposed his adolescent chest. This time I pulled his arms through the sleeves and left him standing naked from the waist upwards.

"I want to see where that evil man has hurt you," I said placing my hands on his trouser belt.

He put his own hands upon mine and together we undid the fastenings which allowed his trousers to fall to the floor and reveal a crisp white pair of tight underpants. I hesitatingly slipped my fingers into the elastic waistband and pulled them towards me peering down inside at two bruised buttocks. Then all the way down.

Horror ! His two tender bum checks were crossed by six clearly separate lines of a deeper hue than the surrounding skin. These welts were clear evidence of a severe and brutal caning. I allowed my hand to hover over them without touching and screamed out inside me every expletive I could muster against the brute who had done this.

"Oh Matthew," I said with a croaking voice.

He turned to face me and placed a finger on my lips to silence me. As he turned I saw for the first time the totally naked front view of my friend. In my dreams I had conjured up all kinds of interpretations as to what he would look like but every one of them fell short of the Adonis that stood before me. It was difficult to believe that I was not right then dreaming but I knew that I was not. I moved to take off the remainder of my own clothing and very soon we were standing there together quite naked.

What was happening was quite natural and felt right but we were both virgins and so there was also a slight sense of ignorance and gentle awkwardness about us. The actual content of our first lovemaking together was limited to holding one another each generating a climax in the other, it wasn't sex it was love. We lay together and I soothed Matt's wounded behind, I felt terrible that I had been the cause of so much pain and humiliation. But Matt was worried that I had lost my job and income.

It was time to tell my friend something about me. "Thing is," I said, "I need to work, of course I do but that's for something to do rather than to earn money. I do have a private income, some may even say I have small a fortune."

"Lucky !"

"Well not really," I tried to explain. "I inherited everything from my parents when they died. I didn't sell the house, I let it and so that brings an income and I still own Dad's share in the business."

"Oh I see." Matt sounded sorry and said as much for bringing up the subject. Of course he knew nothing of my parents' untimely death.

I dismissed his fears, it had been a traumatic time and was behind my not staying on at Oxford to start my PhD but I was over it now. Besides when I returned to Oxford I would now have young Matt with me. I told him the story of their death and my inheritance. We talked for a long time before I worried about the hour.

"What time do you need to be leaving ?" I asked. "I mean what time will your parents be expecting you home ?"

"They are away for the week-end," Matt explained then hesitatingly added, "So I can stay the night if you want me to."

Did I want him to ? Hell I wanted him to !

What a week-end we had, no words of superlature could properly tell you how truly wonderful it was. We spent hours on end just holding each other, laying close often naked and in that short space of time our love making moved from fumbling naivety to that of expertise. How I loved Matthew and how I basked in his reflected love for me.

We drank too much wine together and ate all kinds of snack food. It was simple but for us then we were in a party at the Ritz and dining on food prepared by the world's best chef.

"Will life in Oxford be as wonderful as this ?" Matt asked.

"Better," I whispered, kissing him gently and then making love yet again.

More than an hour later we lay back and relaxed in one another's arms. "We can take a house in the city, live together and spend as much time as we like just like this."

"Wonderful."

But the time eventually came when Matt had to return home and while we postponed that eventuality until the very last moment but it could be put off no longer.

"Before you go," I said holding on to his presence just slightly longer, "let me phone Professor Coldrick and arrange when I can see him."

Dear Old Professor Coldrick was delighted to hear from me and invited me to visit him the very next day.

"He's such a kind man," I explained to Matthew. "You'll like him and he will certainly like you."

Matthew had to leave, the evening was fast approaching and his parents would soon be home. We said our good-bye's, taking a long time to do so, and finally, finally he left. My home was again empty and I alone but never before had I been quite so happy, never before quite so elated. I had my whole life ahead of me and prayed that every day of it would be spent with Matthew.

I was up early the next morning and drove up to Oxford, I wandered round it's dreaming spires on a warm spring day before making my way to Balliol College and seeking out Professor Coldrick. We sat in his rooms at the front of the famous old college drinking tea and eating sandwiches as I retold my story to my mentor and friend.

"If young Matthew is half as brilliant as you say he is," the professor smiled, "then he has to come here to Balliol, to let him go anywhere else would be a folly. And you will be returning to take your PhD ?"

I nodded.

"And then what ?"

"I want to write Professor, I want to be a journalist."

"And what career does Matthew intend to follow ?"


"I have no idea, we have not talked properly about it."


"Then I shall talk about it with him."


I drank some more tea from the finest china tea service Professor Coldrick reserved just for his special guests and asked something I had secretly been worrying about.

"Is it right professor, what I am doing to Matt ?"

"Doing to ?" he said emphasising his words with an enquiring tone. "You are not doing anything to, it sounds together to me. You told me just now that Matthew said he would be your Bosie and you his Oscar."

"Yes."

"The age difference between Bosie Douglas and Oscar Wilde was, of course, much greater than that of you and Matthew, and you two are very different characters but let me ask you a question. Was Oscar Wilde a good influence on Lord Alfred Douglas ?"

"Yes, he was."

"And was Lord Alfred Douglas a good influence on Oscar Wilde ? Did he truly love him ?"

I considered the question briefly then answered, "No, I don't think he was. Douglas ruined Oscar's life, sent him to gaol and made him a social outcast. And no I don't think he loved him as much as Oscar loved him."

"You are wrong !" The professor paused to let his words assimilate themselves in my mind. "Absolutely wrong ! I knew Bosie Douglas and can tell you he loved Oscar with every last fibre of his being right until the day he died."

I was fascinated to learn that my friend actually knew Bosie Douglas and he sensed my curiosity.

"Oscar Wilde, as I am sure you know Noel," the professor began, "died in 1900 and even though many an undergraduate would have me as ancient as the walls of Balliol College itself I was not, myself, born at that time. Bosie Douglas survived him for forty-five years. Both he and Wilde went to Magdalene College, my own college as a young undergraduate you know, and in his late years I became well acquainted with Lord Alfred, Bosie, Douglas. True he had married, had a son and moved on but I can assure you there was not a single day in which he did not love Oscar Wilde."

I smiled.

"I am passionately fond of him and he of me. There is nothing I would not do for him and if he dies before I do I shall not care to live any longer. Surely there is nothing but what is fine and beautiful in such a love as that of two people for one another, the love of the disciple and the philosopher. Bosie's words," Coldrick said. "I expect you are familiar with the quote.

Actually I wasn't.

"One day perhaps, in years to come, a different society may look more understandingly upon the Love that Dare not Speak it's Name as Bosie wrote in his famous poem. I pray that time may not be so far away that you and young Matthew will benefit from it."

"Thank you Professor."

"And now you must bring Matthew to Balliol without delay so that his enrolment as an undergraduate for this autumn can begin. We are a small faculty and there is no time to lose. Bring him here for tea on Wednesday."

"This Wednesday ?"

"Certainly, I look forward to meeting him."

I drove back home from Oxford in high spirits, I opened the windows of the car and let the air blow right through. "I'm going to buy a new car," I thought to myself, "one that is convertible and on days like this I will let the top down and drive open to the sky."

How happy I was, how much I loved Matthew and how warm I felt with the understanding of Professor Coldrick. I knew he would understand, I suspected he had known for some time my preference for those of my own sex and that he would be supportive. Since the loss of my parents I had come to regard him as a father figure and his words had the highest influence on me.

My happiness grew as the miles home became shorter, that was until a terrible premonition of foreboding came over me. It haunted me like a spectre. At first it was not clear, but it involved Matthew. Matthew was in trouble, great trouble - NO - his mind was in great trouble. What was it ? He was crying, I knew he was. He was terribly distressed and I needed to be with him. I needed to be with him as quickly as possible.

I pressed my foot to the floor, the accelerator urging the car's engine to a new and higher speed. The new dual carriageway on the A40 was clear and I sped towards my lover so that I could comfort him.

Matthew was where I knew he would be, outside my home waiting for my return. The car screamed to a halt and I flung open the door, bound across the short distance and held Matthew firmly in my arms.

"What ever is it ?"

"He promised on Friday it would be all over. He lied. The bastard. He promised that caning me would be the end of it all but he lied."

"What's he done ?" I was scared. Not for myself but for Matthew. His place at the country's top university had just been secured and now looked as if it may not be quite so assured. Professor Coldrick would probably take no notice of a bigoted grammar school headmaster but the Dean of Balliol may, he was a different case. "What's he done ?" I repeated my question

"He's asked my father to come and see him," Matthew sobbed. "He got his secretary to phone Dad earlier, she said the Headmaster had something of importance to discuss in private with him that could affect my future. Oh Noel what are we going to do ?"

"When is your Dad going to see him ?"

"Day after tomorrow, Wednesday at two o'clock. What are we going to do ? He's going to tell him about us, after he said he wouldn't. I don't know how Dad will take it."

"How do you know about the phone call ?"

"Dad told me when I got home from school, he was made redundant last week so he is at home in the daytime now."

"Does he know what the meeting is about ?"

"No he asked me that and I said it was probably about me going to Oxford now instead of Bristol. He's so proud about that, he's so proud of me and now everything is going to be destroyed."

I tried to think quickly. "Perhaps the meeting really is about Oxford," I suggested.

"Do you think that could be possible ?" Matthew sounded hopeful.

"No, to be honest I would doubt that. He is going to tell your father about us and tell him to make sure he keeps you away from me."

"I'd never let anyone do that," Matthew said still crying.

"What's you father like ?" I asked. "What kind of a man is he ?"

"He's Ok, an ordinary guy. I'm an only child and he thinks everything of me. That bastard will destroy him if he tells him about us and god knows what it will do to Mum."

"I think I need to meet your father," I said. "To get a measure of him, to let him meet me and form an opinion of me. Then we will tell him ourselves and bugger that old sod at school."

"But we can't," Matthew protested.

"I wonder," I said aloud thinking. "Perhaps we could get Professor Coldrick to speak to the Head and persuade him to keep quiet."

"But," Matthew sighed. "Dad must never know."

"Wednesday you say, your dad has his appointment at school on Wednesday ?"

"Yes."

"That's when I have promised to take you to Oxford to meet Professor Coldrick."

"Oh Noel I'll never be going to Oxford now will I ?"

"Oh yes you will," I assured. "I'm going to sort this. Trust me."

"I do trust you Noel." He kissed me gently on the cheek.

"Now dry your eyes, clean your face. We are going to see your father, now. We won't tell him anything, we have nearly two days grace before the meeting at school. I just want you to introduce us and for us to get to know each other a little. I'll call Professor Coldrick tomorrow and see what he says is best for us to do."

Matthew cheered himself up and tried to smile.

"It will be alright," I assured him, "it really will." But deep down I was scared to the last fibre of my being. I honestly did not know how ever this evil twist of fate could be untangled.

Matthew's parents were truly wonderful people and welcomed me into their home.

"Matthew talks so much about you Mr Dawes," his mother said. "he thinks you are wonderful."

"Please don't call me Mr Dawes," I smiled. "it's Noel."

"Doesn't seem right," Matthew's father said, "calling a teacher by his first name."

"I'm not a teacher any more," I said. "I only went to work at Matthew's school on a temporary contract and even that I have had to bring to an end early because of personal reasons."

"So you won't be teaching Matthew any more ?"

I explained that with their permission I would like to tutor Matthew on a private basis and went on to tell them all about my visit to Oxford earlier that day.

"But we don't have any money to pay you for giving Matthew private lessons ?" Mrs Parker explained. "My husband has just been made redundant."

"Bless you, I didn't mean for anyone to pay for my time, Matthew is brilliant and I would gladly give of all my time to tutor such a mind."

"That is very generous of you."

"What kind of work were you in Mr Parker," I asked. "I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your job."

"I'm a driver, trucks. The firm went bust and we've all lost our jobs. Not easy with so much unemployment about."

"Trucks ?"

"Yes."

"Have you ever driven coaches ?" I enquired, an idea beginning to form in my mind.

"Yes, and I still have my PSV license up to date."

"That's good. Have you ever heard of Sureway Travel."

"Certainly I have, you see their coaches everywhere."

"Not everywhere surely, we only have twenty-five vehicles although we are planning to add five more to the fleet this summer."

I could see Matthew's dad looking at me and picking up carefully on some of my words.

"Come and drive for Sureway," I said.

"Not easy to get a job with them," he said. "They demand the best drivers and pay above the going rate so there is always a waiting list to work there."

"Not when you know the transport manager like I do," I smiled. "How soon could you start ?"

"Dawes," Matt's father said. "Noel Dawes. Dawes was the name of the chap who owned Sureway Travel, wasn't he killed in a crash a while back ?"

"My father," I replied. "and now I own his half of the business. His partner runs the day to day side of things but half of Sureway Travel is mine so if I say the company takes you on, the company takes you on. Simple as that."

"I don't know what to say. I mean thank you, I'm sorry about your father, I mean I don't really know what to say. You're Noel Dawes, well fancy that."

Matthew looked on incredulously.

I held a hand up to stop him. "It's nothing, honestly, and if I can help then - well I would like to."

Matt's mother started to add her thanks and I had also to stop her flow of gratitude.

"Anything we can do in return you must ask."

I thought and said, "There is something. Professor Coldrick has asked me to bring Matthew up to Oxford on Wednesday to meet him, I know you have an appointment at school on the same day but your time would be better spent in Oxford. To be honest I think the Headmaster will try to dissuade you with regard to Matt going to Balliol College but you must trust me he is wrong." I was lying but doing my best to sound persuasive.

"I don't like the man," he said. "He frightens me."

I smiled.

"I'll call his secretary and postpone your meeting, it'll come better from me."

I had bought us some time but for how long ? When I left Matt was again his happy self, believing that I had saved the situation but I hadn't. I knew there was a lot more to do and prayed that dear old Professor Coldrick would have the needed powers of persuasion. I hoped that the headmaster would be in sufficient awe in the presence of a celebrated Oxford Don that he would listen to him and not speak to Matt's father. I would phone Professor Coldrick in the morning and share our dilemma.

That night I found it difficult to sleep, so worried was I for my young lover. What if the Headmaster would not listen to Professor Coldrick ? What harm could he do ? Was my offering Matt's father a form of bribery ? I had not meant it that way. Stopping the meeting was only a postponement, Matthew's parents would have eventually to know the truth of our relationship. The hours of the night slipped by and still my brain raced. One AM, Two AM, Three, half-past. I remember looking at the clock and registering four before merciful slumber finally overtook me. But it wasn't a restful sleep, I was plagued with the most horrific dreams.

Normally I am an early riser but that morning I did not awake until ten and only then as a result of the incessant telephone ringing. I ignored it the first time but no sooner had it silenced than it's infernal bell began again.. The third time I gave way, clambered out of bed and fumbled the receiver to my ear.

"Destiny ! Destiny !" I recognised the voice, of course I did but what was Matthew talking about ? "Destiny ! Destiny!" He repeated again.

"What are you talking about ?" I said.

"Destiny ! He's dead. The old bastard's dead."

"The Headmaster ?"

"Yes ! Dropped dead last night. Heart attack. There was a special assembly this morning where the whole school was told. The old bastard is dead. Don't you see Noel, don't you see what this means ?"

I did, of course I did. The meeting with Matthew's father would not take place the next day or ever and so our secret would remain our secret until we ourselves were ready to reveal it. I should have felt some sadness at his death but I did not, I was pleased he was dead. As Matthew had excitedly shouted down the phone destiny was at work. I hated him for caning Matthew and humiliating him in such a way, I hated him for his intent to destroy our relationship and set Matthew's family against me. My thoughts turned briefly to the sudden death of my own parents and how hard a time it brought to me. Did he have a family, did he have sons to grieve at his death ? I didn't know and I didn't care. My heart celebrated.


***


It was now five years since I had been a fresher at Oxford and things had changed. As a postgraduate PhD student most of my time would be spent in research while Matt was to be launched into the hurly burly life that awaits a new student.

I suppose I had friends at Oxford but they were more a series of acquaintances. The loss of my parents, my year out and then meeting Matthew divorced me from many of the friendships I had previously enjoyed. Matthew, on the other hand, made friends very quickly , lots and lots of them. Several he brought back to the house. I have to confess that I began to feel ever so slightly jealous, silly as I knew that as each day passed Matt loved me more and more. But when he told me there was a small gay community within Oxford I was just a little worried. What if he met somebody else ? Somebody who was better than me ? What if - ? Matthew was everything to me and the thought of life without him was impossible to bear. I should have spoken with him about all this but I did not want to hurt him and of course there could never be any grounds for my silly thoughts. Better to forget them.

But there was one who worried me. His name was Stephen and he tool was a first year student at Balliol. He and Matthew had become friends and he often visited our home. Yes I feared he may try to take Matthew away from me. I knew that Matthew would never do that of his own volition, so much did he love me, but I feared another untimely intervention of Destiny.

My birthday was approaching and Matthew had talked how we could celebrate it. In my attempts to give him a birthday showing just how much I loved Matthew I feared I may have been excessive and given him something impossible to emulate in celebrating my own birthday. Would that in itself perhaps be enough to put a distance between us ? I worried about it.

But the physical side of our lives was better than it had ever been and it had always been great but if I never made love with Matthew ever again it would not have mattered just so long as we were together. But I had terrible fears we would not be.

Then there was the phone call.

Matthew should have been home but was late back from college. The phone rang and I picked it up. The caller launched into what he had to say before I had the chance to explain it was Noel and not Matthew.

"Hi mate, you up for another session ? I'm free this evening."

I recognised the voice, it was Stephen. My legs turned to jelly. "I think you have the wrong number." It was all I could think to say.

"Sorry." The line went dead.

Hi mate, you up for another session ? I'm free this evening. The words haunted me. Session could mean working together, they were on the same course, it didn't have to mean sex. Did it ? I just sat down and cried.

Matthew came home an hour latter and I tried to appear normal. But I could not conceal very much.

"Noel, are you all right ? You've been crying, what's the matter ?"

He put his arms round me and held me tightly.

"I love you Matthew," I sobbed.

"Hey Noel I know that."

"I could, I mean I never will love anyone else you know that don't you ?"

"Of course I do. What's the matter Noel ?"

"I'm being silly. All those guys at college."

"You're jealous !"

"No, well yes I suppose I am."

He laughed. I cried some more.

"Come upstairs and I'll show you how much I love you silly."

I wanted to ask him about Stephen, the phone call - if only to empty my mind but left these things unsaid.

Matthew stood to face me and stroked a finger under each eye making to wipe away my tears. Then he undid the buttons on my shirt and floated his hands over my chest before kissing me.

"Remember the first time we did this ?"

I nodded.

"And how that fool of a headmaster thought he could stop our love ? I hope he is looking down now and can see just how much we mean to each other."

"Yes."

"I would die for you Noel."

"And me for you."

Matthew lifted his own shirt up over his head and placed my hand on his breast. "Feel my heart beating ? It beats only to say I Love You."

His hands were now on my trousers and soon I was naked closely followed by Matthew. My body was filled with ecstasy and all my earlier fears were gone.

"Have I ever told you Noel what a beautiful arse you have ?"

"Many times."

"Well I want to tell you again."

His fingers parted my cheeks and felt their way inside. Slowly they moved in deeply and made ready for that which was to follow. With an anticipated thrill I awaited that which was to follow. As he withdrew his fingers my body shook then tensed in preparation for love to enter me. That anticipation was heightened as Matt gently stroked the line between my buttocks with his firm cock. And then the pleasure came.

No matter how many times we made love, no matter how relaxed I was that initial penetration always hurt. But it was a pain of pleasure and Matthew knew just how to use it. This time he used it in a different way pushing all the way inside me in a single movement. I screamed out in agony. Beads of sweat formed on the surface of my back.

"See how much I love you Noel."

See ? Not only that I could feel it as he began thrusting in and out of me. Faster and faster he propelled his love into me, deeper and deeper with each push and with it increased the pain but still I cried out for more. And more was what he gave me.

This love making went on for a long time until Matt finally came but he did not stop there. With loving hands he rolled me flat onto my back and spread my legs. The kneeling between them leaned forward to take my throbbing cock into his mouth. His tongue tantalised me dancing in circles round the head and my tight foreskin. I had been long generating precum and Matthew's deep and long penetration of me left things very near to climax. And when the climax came it was one of the best ever.

Reassured I tried to put the worries aside and look forward to my birthday. It fell on a Saturday and I anticipated a quiet day with neither of us having anything to do at university.

Normally we were not late to bed and never would one of us retire without the other. That Friday Matthew appeared in no hurry to go upstairs. I guessed that he was waiting for midnight but what exactly was he up to ?

At one second past the hour he kissed me on the cheek saying, "Just one moment lover."

Leaving the room he left me alone to wonder until he returned with a gift wrapped package. It measured about twelve inches by perhaps eighteen and some inch to an inch and a half in thickness. It was obviously a picture but what ?

"Open it up," he said with the bubbling excitement of a small child. "I do hope you like it, I mean it isn't Broadway, Concord or the Waldorf Astoria but -"

I held up a hand to stop him and began slowly tearing away the paper. As the picture revealed itself astonishment filled me to overflowing, my chest muscles tightened and tears poured from my eyes.

"Oh Matt !"

"You like it ?"

What could I say ? I had never seen anything like it. It was a masterpiece in its own right. How ever had my precious lover managed to get such a breathtakingly magnificent present for my birthday ? It was a perfect gift, I was lost for words.

"Matthew this is so special, so - so - so everything. How did you manage this ?"

The picture was a water colour portrait of Matthew but my own image had cleverly been used as a background. The skill of the artist in blending the two likenesses was something I had never seen before. Words here just can not portray the beauty it contained. I just could not stop crying.

"Hey," Matthew said, "enough of that."

I may have been crying but as I studied the beautiful painting and saw the signature of the artist in the bottom right corner I began to choke for breath as inner emotions told me what a total fool I had been. How ever could I have considered that Matthew would be unfaithful to me ? That signature - Stephen - so that was why Matthew had been spending time with him, he was the painter. "Oh Matthew," I sobbed, "I love you so very, very much !"

Not a day went by when I did not tell Matthew how much I loved him and not a day when he did not tell me how much he loved me. Our lives were perfect. Matthew was a top student and my dear friend Professor Coldrick took me aside in order to explain just how brilliant he was.

"He will go far, very far," the old professor smiled.

"Not just our college but the entire university is fortunate to have his mind. Mark my words Noel one day he will rise to the highest places in this university - even perhaps to become its Vice Chancellor."

I agreed.

"Now what about you Noel ? What are you going to do when you finish your doctorate ?"

It was a subject I had been agonising over for some time. I waned to be a journalist but the idea of writing newspaper or magazine reports did not inspire me I shared my thoughts with the professor.

"I've been approached by an American television company," he began. They are looking for a young and attractive British academic to front a series of programmes they plan to make on Shakespeare's plays."

This sounded interesting.

"I told them that if you would agree to take the position they would get a lot more than just a front man presenter."

"I think I may like to apply for the position," I said.

"I thought you would." Professor Coldrick hesitated. "It will mean traveling a lot, the company is based in America and filming locations will be different for each play they feature. You'll be away from Oxford a lot."

Oh, I couldn't bear that ! It would men being away from Matthew and Professor Coldrick knew only too well how I would feel about that.

The professor put his hands together as if he were holding something. "If you take a flower and hold it tightly you will crush it," he smiled. "If you keep it tight in a tiny pot of soil its roots can not grow, you have to let it expand and grow if you want to see the full beauty of its blooms."

I moved to explain that I could not bear to be away from Matthew.

"I told the television company that if you fronted their series they would be gaining a literary archaeologist," he said returning to the earlier part of our conversation. I am the only person they have approached to recommend someone for the role and yours is the only name I have given them. Talk it over with Matthew. promise ?"

"I promise."


***


And so it was I started work as the head researcher and programme presenter with KLTV in New York and began initial work before the end of my final term at Oxford and the award of my PhD. I knew how terribly I would miss the place but that was nothing to how much I was going to miss my beloved Matthew when we would be apart.

The day of the graduation ceremony was extraordinary. Matthew and his parents were my special guest at the presentation in the Caledonian Theatre at the heart of the university. With my fellow graduate doctors I was dressed in a scarlet red gown and paraded through the ancient courtyard into the theatre.

The degrees were presented that year by the Prime Minister and after the ceremony she engaged me in a lengthy conversation during the cocktail party.

"So tell me Doctor Dawes," she said, "what are you going to do with your degree ?"

"I've got a job as a literary archaeologist Prime Minister."

"A literary archaeologist ? What's one of those ?"

I explained and she appeared genuinely interested. "So which of Shakespeare's plays are you going to feature ?"

"We're starting with Romeo and Juliet."

"Wonderful ! I adore that play although Denis is more of a Macbeth person. Look I want you to promise me that you will let me know when the first television programme is to be shown and I promise you that I will watch it."

"Thank you Prime Minister."

"Denis," she called, "come over here I want you to meet Doctor Dawes, a literary archaeologist."

I was introduced then to the Prime Minister's husband and I in turn introduced them both to Matthew. Denis appeared slightly ruffled at meeting a gay couple but the Prime Minister maintained that cool exterior for which she has become famous.

After the reception Matthew's Mum and Dad took me out for dinner. I loved them both so much. Matthew's Mum had accepted our relationship right from its earliest of days and while his father never spoke of it as she had he too, of course, knew we were together in every sense of the word and silently gave us his blessing. Although I had never been that close to my own parents I missed them terrbly and had somewhat put Matthew's Mum and Dad in their place.

And, of course, there was my dear old friend and mentor Professor Coldrick, he had tears in his eyes as he congratulated me.

"Thank you Professor, I never could have done this without your support."

"Doctor Dawes," he smiled wiping a tear away. "I am so proud of you."

"Thank you Professor."

"Noel now that you have achieved the distinction of becoming a Doctor of Philosophy at The University of Oxford do you think you may find it possible to stop calling me Professor all the time and use my christian name, Bill ?"

"I'll try Professor."

He smiled.

I had recruited my fellow researchers to work with me on the project before my graduation. It made sense for the team to be based in England and the production company rented a small office in Oxford for us to work from. Matthew had been able to come with me over the summer on my several trips to New York so we had managed not to be separated. That year was his twenty-first birthday and so our relationship at last became legal, silly how many years had still to pass before the age for homosexual majority was to be lowered to eighteen. It made me smile a little to think that the Prime Minister had stood for so long chatting and showing a genuine interest in the work of a law breaker.

It was agony being apart from Matthew when I made that first trip to New York alone. My heart bled all the way and all the time we were apart. It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder as we found when I came home and we were reunited again. Although my trips abroad were frequent the pain never became any less and the joy of return always was greater than the time before.

How I loved Matthew and even as a doctor of philosophy I can not here find words strong enough to tell of my love. He was my Alpha and Omega my everything and my all. For ever and beyond but for ever is not long enough for me to tell even a part of our love.

For much of that year we settled into a routine where I would fly to New York on a Monday morning and then take the overnight flight home on either Wednesday or Thursday. I started using Concorde as its fast flight time was a bonus and the production company was quite happy to pay the high fare but it was not a comfortable aircraft and so after a few trips I changed to a traditional Boeing 747 where in the first class cabin the seats would lay flat to form a bed. I guess after a couple of months I became immune to jet lag.

Back in Oxford the research work was going very well indeed and the script writers were nearing the point where we could begin filming for the first play. If all went well we would be able to start that summer and I planned that Matthew and I would be able to take a holiday in Verona at the same time.

Matthew had now been at Oxford for three years and the next would be his final, I suggested to him that he too should take a PhD.

"One doctor in the family is enough," he said. "I want to write Noel, I'd like to devote time to writing novels but to begin with I'll be happy with a job as a journalist on a provincial newspaper."

Matthew was his own man of course but I wasn't happy to see the potential he had not finish up with a PhD degree. I think he sensed my unease and I know now that this just pushed him more towards his ambition.

Verona was hot and our hotel did not have air conditioning which made sleeping at night uncomfortable. The heat of the day was really to hot to work in and I felt very sorry for the actors having to perform dressed in heavy costumes. Fortunately for myself I was able to appear before the camera in casual summer clothing. But even so the make up people had constantly to mop my brow and powder my face to stop beads of sweat shining on the film.

"You're going to be a star," Matthew said kissing me after one long filming session. "The whole world will watch the famous Doctor Noel Dawes on their television."

He may have been right but there was a lot of work still to do before the first screening of anything could take place. Back in New York the guys had sold already our first series on Romeo and Juliet to stations in America, Canada, Australia and even the BBC back home in England. I guessed I would indeed become a familiar face.

That afternoon we did not return to the hotel to eat but found a small bar in a quiet district of Verona where we sat in the shade, drank wine, ate pasta and enjoyed one another's company. It was late when we returned to be met by an agitated desk clerk.

"Doctor Dawes, Doctor Dawes there is an urgent message from you. It's from the Master of Balliol College in England, he has telephoned three times and asks that you call him at his home as soon as you return."

The Master of Balliol ? What ever could he want that was so important ? The desk clerk ushered me to a telephone, "I will get the number for you."

"Doctor Dawes," the master said, "thank god you've called."

"What's the matter Master ?"

"It's Bill Coldrick, he had had two heart attacks and is gravely ill. He is asking for you and Matthew to come to see him."

Professor Coldrick, I was horrified. "How ill is he Master ?"

"Very ill Doctor Dawes, please come as quick as you can, I fear any delay may be too late."

I immediately called Sureway Travel and spoke to the member of staff who was on call that night. "I need to get back to England from Verona now," I said. "I have to leave immediately."

Verona to Oxford was not an easy journey and took us until late the following afternoon. We went straight to the Radcliff Hospital and prayed that we were not too late. From what I had learned from The Master of Balliol dear old Professor Coldrick had been taken ill while sitting in his garden, a neighbour called an ambulance and he had his second attack shortly after reaching the hospital. He was gravely ill and his heart was very weak.

We found him still alive and when we entered his small private room he asked a nurse to prop him up so he could speak with us.

"I am so happy to see you both, I wanted to speak with you before I go to meet my maker."

"You'll be fine professor," I said, "you are going to get well again."

"I can see my boy that you are not a doctor of medicine."

I took his hand as I sat by his side. Matthew laid his hand on top of my own.

"You have to get well again Professor, how else can I go to sleep in your lectures ?"

He laughed.

"Look I want you to have something. You remember that photograph of Oscar Wilde I gave you some years ago."

"Of course, we have it in a silver frame in our bedroom at home."

"I told you at the time, if I recall rightly that Bosie gave it to me shortly before he died and that there were some other things he entrusted to me, things Oscar had given to him."

"Yes."

"There are three things, and now I want you to have them. Bosie would approve of that. There is an envelope in the cupboard on the other side of the bed, I had someone fetch it here for you. Get it please."

Matthew walked round the bed, opened the small bedside cupboard and brought out the envelope. It was quite large and he went to hand it to Professor Coldrick.

"You open it please, I am too weak."

Matthew looked at me. I nodded.

Inside were two leather bound books one considerably larger than the other and a small envelope. Matthew passed them to me. The envelope contained a lock of blond hair, obviously Bosie's, as golden and shining as the day it had been clipped from his head. One of the volumes was a hand written copy of Oscar Wilde's poem the Ballad of Reading Gaol and I recognised the handwriting from the inscription on the back of the photograph at home, it was that of Oscar Wilde himself. The second book was much larger and again written in Wilde's own hand, the title page had just three words on it: My Dearest Bosie.

The Professor tried to lift himself up and Matthew went to his aid. "That is a secret and unpublished autobiography that Oscar wrote of his life with Bosie, my dear boys it is beautiful - read it won't you."

"Of course Professor."

"I want you to have these things now. I want to pass Bosie's trust on to you, take care of them."

And with those words he lay back, closed his eyes and no longer was with us. I owed so much to that man, we both did and now he was gone. Life would not be the same without him.

That night Matthew and I lay in bed and read together Oscar Wilde's autobiography. I wasn't full of wit and sarcasm as are his publicly know works but instead an outpouring of love telling of his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas from the day the first met to Oscar's exile in France. It was so moving, oh so moving.

When we got to the last page we found a folded sheet of white paper held against the cover. The writing was not the same this was the familiar round and flourishing hand of Bill Coldrick.

It read:

I once asked you Noel if you thought Oscar was a good influence on Bosie Douglas and if he truly loved him. You see now just how much he did. Only five people have ever read this work: Oscar Wilde himself, Bosie Douglas, myself and now you two. I love you two boys as a father would love his favourite sons. I also loved Lord Alfred as a son would love his father. Yes, I have the same feelings as do you two, as did Oscar and Bosie. Bosie was so kind to me when I was younger and he in the twilight of his years, he counselled me and advised me it is just a shame that I never found anyone to share my life with in that way. You have each other and a precious love which will serve you for the rest of your lives. I count it as a great honour and a privilege to have known you, bless you both.
Bill

The funeral of Professor William Coldrick was attended by more than a thousand people including two members of the cabinet and academics from all over the world. I would miss my mentor and Matthew would now have to finish his final year at Oxford without him.

The two books which Professor Coldrick had entrusted to our keeping were priceless, we had no intention, of course, of ever selling them and decided that it would be impossible to purchase insurance to cover them. We did not feel their proper place was in a bank deposit box and so invested in a high quality safe which we had installed at home.

I had to return to Italy, the schedule had now been put behind by my enforced absence. Of course Matthew came with me and of course it was hard for me when he had to return for the start of the new term and his final year at Oxford. It was doubly hard for me as direct from filming I had to go to new York for three solid weeks of editing. Matthew joined me for one of the week-ends but it was such a long way to travel for such a short time together.

The first Shakespeare play in the series was nearing completion and would run as six separate ninety minute programmes. It was scheduled to be shown in England in the New Year. Already the research team was advanced in our next project Macbeth and filming for that was just a few weeks away. Everything was so busy. My birthday was approaching and I told the team I would be taking three days off work.

Birthdays for Matthew and I are always special times and each year we try to do something unique for the other. The portrait Matthew had commissioned was singularly exceptional but for this birthday he surpassed even that. I was given a thick heavy package containing a typed manuscript. At first I though Matthew had been able to get hold of an original draft of a modern classic, something by Graham Green or Agatha Christie perhaps but it was not. Matthew himself was the author of a novel containing several hundred thousand words.

Reading just the first page was enough to tell me that this was a classic in its own right.

"When did you find time to write this ?" I asked. "And to keep it a secret from me ? It must have taken you an age."

"I began when you first went abroad and worked on it every time you were away. It's not intended for publication Noel, just for you with all of my love."

I heard him but I was busy reading. "This is good Matthew, very good."

"Well I hope you like it, happy birthday."

Those three days away from work to celebrate my birthday we given over to two things: reading Matthew's novel and making love to him. In my years of study and research I had not found a first work by any of the internationally acclaimed writers which could compare to the genius contained in that script. There was at the time a popularity for intricate love stories and Penmarric by Susan Howach and The Thorne Birds by Colleen McCullough had both recently been serialised on television. Matthew's novel was in the same genre but better, a thousand times better. The story was haunting and I could not put it down. Hour after hour I read it and when I went to bed its story would not leave me.

"You are a genius," I said, "I only wish Professor Coldrick could have read this."

"He read many of the drafts," Matthew said. "It was hard when he died but some how as I wrote it I could feel him looking over me with a hand on my shoulder."

"I love you so much Matthew, thank you for such a wonderful present."

"I have another present for you."

"Have you ? What's that ?"

"This," he said before kissing me and making long, hard and passionate love to me.

Although I could not bare the times we were apart Professor Coldrick had been right about the absence deepening our love and bringing a maturity to our relationship. As I read his novel I could see this within his writing.

"Matthew," I said pausing after having read almost half of the work, "you have to submit this for publication."

"But I wrote it for you, I love you Noel and my love is written into every page but it isn't good enough for publication, not really."

"Matthew you will have every publishing house in the world lining up for this."

I don't think he believed me but agreed that I could show it to the executive producer of the TV company next time I was in new York and take his advice. And with that we made love again.

I knew exactly what his reaction would be. He took just one day to read the manuscript. "Noel this is amazing and yes we would like the rights to film it. I have to speak to my bosses of course but you can tell young Matthew I believe they will pay handsomely for it, very handsomely."

I called Matthew straight away.

Destiny was being very good to us and it was so easy to forget the bad times it had once given us. Before the end of his final year Matthew had signed a joint publishing and film rights contract for his novel with an advance of half a million dollars.

After a build up of publicity over Christmas the first part of my own Shakespearian epic was screened in the New Year. Audience figures were high and the critics kind. Overnight I became a minor celebrity and could see heads turn as I walked down the street and voices whisper: That's Doctor Dawes from the TV. Matthew found it all very amusing.

"You wait, your turn is coming !"

"Oh no a novelist is an enigma behind his story."

"Yeah !"

Our conversation was interrupted by the telephone ringing. "Could I speak to Doctor Dawes please."

"Speaking."

"Good. Sir this is The Prime Minister's Office, the Prime Minister has asked me to book a call with you. Is it convenient for Mrs Thatcher to speak to you in one hour's time."

"Yes, of course."

"You are very naughty Doctor Dawes," she said the shrill of her voice cutting through the phone wires. "You made a promise to me that you would let me know when your programme was to appear on television."

"I'm sorry," I fumbled. "I thought you would have been too busy to watch it."

"Doctor Dawes when I said I would watch it I mean what I said. Now I want you to come to Downing Street to supper there is something I want to talk to you about. You can come tonight can't you ? Good ! I'll send a car for you and bring that charming companion of yours. I'll send a car to collect you at seven."

"Yes," it was all I could say this was not a lady to argue with. And with that the line went dead.


"I think I have just been handbagged," I said to Matthew. The British Prime Minister was an incredible force with an omnipresent will. Even The US President was just a little scared of her. The media had formed the expression To be handbagged as colloquial for receiving a reprimanding lecture from her as a small child would from an angry parent.


"She only wants your autograph," Matthew teased. "She probably collects autographs for Denis."

It was Denis Thatcher who received us in an upstairs sitting room upon our arrival through that famous black door. He offered us something to drink and explained that his wife was away signing some papers or something but would be along shortly. We accepted his offer and politely sipped whisky and soda until the Prime Minister swept into the room. She came in like a hurricane and filled every square foot of the room with her personality.

"Doctor Dawes what would you say is wrong with Britain today ?"

How long had she got ? I though but did not answer, I had not the time to answer.

"I'll tell you," she said pouring a large drink and swallowing hard. "We've lost the great in Great Britain. This is a wonderful country Doctor Dawes and it makes me so angry when people put it down, we need a lot more self-pride and determination to succeed." She paused only to down the remainder of her drink before handing it to Denis for a top up. "And that's where you come in Doctor Dawes, I want to get together a small team of successful Britains who are in the public eye and for them to mount a public relations campaign to promote the Great in Britain."

Thinking just how demanding my job was becoming I really didn't think I would be able to find the time for anything else. It tried to tell her as much.

"Nonsense !" She said very firmly. "What time do you go to bed at night ?"

"Elevenish."

"I never retire before one in the morning and am always up by six. Isn't that right Denis ?"

"Yes."

"All you have to do Doctor Dawes is to sleep for one less hour a day and over the week you gain the equivalent of another working day."

A secretary entered the room and Mrs Thatcher left saying when she returned we would eat.

"She won't take no for an answer," Denis said. "She doesn't understand the meaning - trust me I've been trying to say it for years. She's already got that Branson fellow, you know the one who runs the airline, involved - he tried to say no as well !"

So it was that I became involved in the Great Britain promotion on top of everything else. Time was so full and even trying to take Mrs Thatcher's advice I still found myself so busy.

"You need a secretary," Matthew's Mum said to me one Sunday afternoon.

"Yeah, you want the job ?" I thought she was joking.

"Yes please, if you'll have me."

She was a godsend and after that life became a whole lot easier. Not living in Oxford she had to travel in by train each day so began working just three days a week but in that time she was able to take so much off my shoulders.

And so the weeks and months passed by, Matthew completed his degree, his book was in the process of being published and the screen play was nearing completion. The first Shakespeare series on Romeo and Juliet had gone down incredibly well and we were now in the advance stage of the Macbeth series. We were doing a lot of filming in Scotland so that year Matthew and I made our holiday in the Highlands.

It had been a long day at the end of a long week, I was tired and needed to get away from everything. Matthew suggested we take the car and drive into the mountains for the evening. Yes, we still had the trusty TR7 - it went everywhere with us ! We drove for miles, high into the mountains and far away from everything and everyone. The solitude was just what we needed. We parked up and watched the sunset on that warm summer night. I kissed Matthew and we made love there on the grass at the side of the lonely road.

"Better get back down the road to the hotel," Matthew said.

"Yep, I guess so."

I pointed the car back and began to drive. I remember seeing the animal dart into the road. I think it was a deer but can not be certain. It froze in the car headlights and I know I tried to swerve and miss it. I can not remember anything more only the beautiful dream.


***


The dream was very calm and I floated along through it feeling very happy and content. I felt as if I could sleep through it for ever and was unhappy when voices from far away began to disturb me. I was then aware of lights in the night sky and a lot more noise. And then I awoke, I did not open my eyes but I was awake.

"There's two of them," I heard a voice say. "They're both alive."

Alive ? Both alive ? I began to remember something of what had happened.

"Bring in the chopper, we'll take this one first he's lost a lot of blood."

That noise I had heard in the distance became greater as the rescue helicopter hovered above us. I opened my eyes but could not see anything.

"Matthew," I tried to say. "Is he alright ? We crashed I think."

"He's fine," I heard in reply. "You stay calm we'll lift you out next."

Then I heard: "Hey this is that guy from the television, the Shakespeare fellow."

And then I fell asleep again but this time the dream was not sweet, it was a nightmare. I saw for the first time the face of Destiny and it was looking straight at me. It was cruel and it was kind it was smiling and then it spoke to me: "Nearly had you that time."

Then I saw the face of Professor Coldrick looking over me and saying something I could not hear. I listened carefully but I could not understand what he was trying to say. He was joined by two other people, I recognised them - Oscar Wilde and Bosie Douglas. All three of them were speaking but still I could not hear what they were trying to say.

But I could hear the voice of Destiny as it again said, " Nearly had you that time." Then it laughed with a blood curdling chuckle.

I wanted the nightmare to end. I wanted to wake up at home in my own bed with Matthew next to me. But where was Matthew ? What had happened to him ? Then I saw Professor Coldrick again, still I could not hear him but I sensed he was telling me Matthew was all right.

Then it was Destiny again, grinning, laughing. I screamed aloud but no sound could come out of my mouth and I started to choke. Somebody was at my side and doing something to my mouth, I tried to push them away. I wanted to scream but I could not do anything.

A hand was resting on my arm and I heard a voice but this voice was not from the dream It was reassuring me and slowly I awoke to reality.

Reality was a hospital bed and two broken legs. Beyond that I was ok. But what of Matthew ? I was told he was all right but I did not trust the information I was being given.

"He's in another ward," somebody told me. "He's been asking for you. Rest a while and then he can come down to see you."

I lay back and slept again. I don't know for how long but when I awoke Matthew as by my side. He was in a wheel chair but smiling at me.

"So how you feeling ?" he asked. A silly question but words which made me so happy, so very happy to hear.

"I'm all right," I said. "What about you ? Why are you in a wheel chair ?"

"Nothing broken, which is more than you. You've broken both of your legs you silly sod !"

"What happened ? I remember something running in front of the car."

"Well we crashed," Matthew said. "Apparently we both lay in the wreck for two hours before we were lifted out by helicopter."

"How does anyone know it was two hours ?" I asked.

"From the broken clock in the car," Matthew explained. "I'm afraid she's a total write off."

"But you're all right ?"

"Sort of."

"What do you mean ?" I was worried.

"Hey, hey I'm all right I told you. It's just that I lost a bit of blood and went into shock. They gave me a transfusion but the shock damaged my kidney and I've lost some of its function. Buy hey I'm all right !"

"Then why the wheel chair ?"

"Don't worry, I told you I am fine."

But my darling Matthew was not alright, he was quite ill. Matthew had lost a lot of blood and had gone into deep shock which had damaged his one remaining kidney, he was left with just ten percent function. The doctors explained that he could live in the immediate future on such a small function but long term he was looking either at a transplant or dialysis.

"Destiny I hate you," I whispered.

Matthew appeared to get back to normal relatively quickly; he was up and about, back to work and full of his usual happy, bubbly self. Work on the promotion of his novel was proceeding and he was busy writing a second. He was also very much involved in scripting the screenplay for the television. It was almost impossible to understand how ill he really was. Ten percent kidney function left him pale and he was losing weight. His previous appetite was gone and it was difficult to get him to maintain the strict calorie intake he needed. He had to take so many pills every day just to keep his metabolism in balance I swear he rattled when he walked.

It took me several months to get back to normality with many hours of painful physiotherapy. Even today I know I walk with a slight limp. Others say they can not notice it but I know it's there.

Matthew's mother was brilliant throughout, such a support and as my PA she kept everything together and left me just to get better. I loved her so much and had come to think of her not just as Matthew's mother but also my own.

The Prime Minister, or at least one of her secretaries in her name, sent me a message to get well soon and said I was not getting out of her project quite so easily. But with the work on the TV series it was impossible for me to take that on as well. In fact the Great Britain campaign never actually happened, other matters which have since gone down in history took their place in occupying the Prime Minister's mind.

Our special little car, the triumph TR7 I had got the day Matthew left school, was no more. It's loss was like the death of a close and dear friend. While I was still on crutches and unable to drive, Matthew bought us a new Mercedes but it wasn't the same.

Each day as I got better and regained my strength I became more concerned for Matthew. Oxford is a major centre in England for the treatment of kidney patients, he could not have been in better hands but Destiny was so cruel to him. Matthew attended an out patients clinic every other week where all aspects of his health were closely monitored. But how long could he function on just a small part of a single kidney. I felt anger towards those who had attacked him and ruptured his first kidney and I felt the deepest guilt over the accident which had resulted in his present condition. How long could he go on ?

Matthew had a great consultant, Geoff, who quickly became a good friend to us both. "Your kidney is like an old car," he said one day, "drive it carefully and it can go on for a long time, thrash it and it will break down tomorrow. Take your medication properly and follow the diet restrictions and you'll be a long way off a transplant or dialysis."

Transplant ?

Dialysis ?

Oh Destiny why are you so cruel ?

Just four months later Geoff spoke to us both again. He asked Matthew to bring me along to his next clinic appointment and told us that it was time to put Matthew on the transplant list. "It may be a while," he explained, "before a suitable donor is found but if we move now and place you on the list with luck one will turn up before we need to consider dialysis."

I was terrified. Matthew took the news with a certain anticipation and excitement. "It will be all right," Matthew said placing a loving hand on my arm.

"This kidney," I said hesitantly, "it will come from! from....."

"It will be a cadaver donor," Geoff said completing my question and at the same time answering it.

"What's the possibility of a live donor ?" I continued.

"Close relatives are possibilities but Mathew you don't have any brothers or sisters and with all respect your parents are getting older now so the operation would not be easy for them."

"What about me ?"

Geoff smiled kindly. "Sadly that really isn't an option."

"Why ?"

"DNA tissue typing for a kidney transplant has to be quite specific, it's not like a heart or heart and lung transplant. The kidney is a very complex organ and we need as close a match as possible."

"But it is possible that I could be a match ?"

"Statistically but in all reality most unlikely."

"Say I was suitable could I give Matthew one of my kidneys ?"

Geoff pondered. "It is something we would perhaps consider. Perhaps."

"Then do your tests or what ever you need and let's see."

Geoff was not enthusiastic. I pleaded with him and at the same time begged Destiny for its support.

My constant pestering Geoff had its result when he finally agreed to an initial tissue typing blood test. "It's only a very preliminary test," he explained with care. "First of all the chances of you being a match equate with winning the football pools so please don't get your hopes up. And even then if you are suitable as a donor there will be a whole lot more hurdles to get over."

The tissue typing test was simple, Matthew and I gave blood samples and the results would be ready in about an hour. The nurse smiled as she stabbed the needle in, it hurt like hell.

"There that wasn't so bad was it ?"

I did not comment ! Needles are not my idea of fun but I would have had a thousand blunt needles stuck into me if it would help my beloved Matthew.

As we waited for the results to come back I concentrated every cell of my mind on willing Destiny to lend me its support. "You owe me," I said silently, "now I am ready to collect."

I had to fight to keep Geoff's words out of my mind, word where he compared the likelihood of my being suitable as a donor with that of winning the pools. I wondered what Matthew was thinking, our relationship had developed over the time we had been together to a point where one usually knew what the other was thinking but right then everything was blank. But of course my darling Matthew was also in mental torment just the same as I was. I knew he wanted me to be the donor just as much as I did.

The hour came and went and we were still waiting in the clinic anteroom. Nurses, doctors, clerks, assistants and all manner of different people came by, some recognised me from the television and no doubt some knew why we were there. All smiled kindly as they passed and I prayed that Destiny too was smiling.

How much longer ?

Sixty-five minutes !!!!!..

Seventy !!!!!.

An hour and a quarter.

An hour and a half.

How much longer ?

Eventually Geoff himself arrived. He was dressed in surgical greens and was still wearing white theatre boots. He looked at us but it was impossible to tell anything from his eyes or facial expression. A few words invited us to follow him into a small consulting room. He closed the door behind us.

"I wanted to give you the results myself," he said.

Bad news, I thought.

"So I can explain things properly to you."

I reached across and took hold of Matthew's hand.

"Do you do the football pools ?" he asked.

I felt a slight hope.

"Perhaps you should. The results have come back with Noel being a good match."

The pure joy and relief exploded out of me and it took a while for Geoff to calm me down to the point where he could continue.

"I find it amazing that someone who is not a blood relative could have so similar a match."

Thank you Destiny, thank you, thank you, thank you !

"Were this a standard cadaver transplant we would go ahead without any hesitation, but !"

"But what ?" I interrupted. "I can be a donor, yes ?"

"In theory Noel, yes. But I told you before there are a lot of further testes we have still to do. For Matthew a transplant will give him a better quality of life, prolong his life and avoid the need for hemo dialysis but for you Noel we will be removing a healthy organ and damaging your body. There are strict ethics that need to be observed."

I understood, of course I understood. Thank you Destiny, thank you. Geoff explained the tests which still had to take place but in all honesty I was too excited to take it all in.

"We can look for a double operation for you both in about four months time but in the mean time we will keep Matthew on the transplant list in case a suitable organ becomes available."

One wouldn't, I knew that. Destiny had spoken and I was to be the donor.

That evening we went to see Matthew's parents to give them the news. "I'll hold everything together while you are in hospital," Mum said. "I'll discuss the proposed timing with the production team in the morning. I'm sure they can work round things."

"Thanks. I don't know what I would do without you."

She smiled.

"Noel," Matt's dad said. "There's something I have been meaning to talk to you about. I'll be sixty next year and I'm thinking of retiring then."

"Sure."

"Working with Sureway has been good and I'll always be grateful for your help and now I've been able to put a little money away so I'd rather like to take things easy."

"Of course."

Matt's dad and I got on well enough but I never felt as close to him as I did to Mum. He was kind but never, ever spoke of his son's relationship with me yet I knew he approved. I was pleased that I had been able to help him with work when he had been made redundant and wished him well in his future retirement. Then a thought hit my mind.

I must have shown for Mum quickly said, "I'm not retiring Noel ! You won't need to find another PA."

I smiled with relief. "What ever would I do without you ?"

"What ever would we have done without you Noel ?"

As we got ready for bed that night I looked at Matthew and saw just how thin and pale his body had become. Four months before the transplant, what ever would he look like then ? Yet Geoff and the team of renal specialists assured the one remaining kidney in his body was still holding its own and there was no need for dialysis yet.

"Noel," Matthew said. "Can we do something ?"

"What ever you want, of course."

"Let's get Oscar's autobiography out of the safe and read it together in bed before we sleep."

Propped up on the pillows we held the leather bound volume of hand written pages between us and took turns to read aloud the words of love that told the wonderful story of Oscar and Bosie.

"We are so lucky," Matthew said at the end. "So very lucky. We have a love as great as their and yet we have not had to face the prejudice and pain they did."

True but what about all that we have had to pain us ? But before I could put these thoughts into words Matthew reminded me of the laconic wisdom shared with us when he had gone into hospital in France.

If you want to see a rainbow you have to have the rain.

"Everything is going to be all right Noel, everything is going to be all right."

I believed him.

That night we made love for several hours. Matthew had lost some of his physical vigor in our times together but his passion had increased to new and wonderful heights, every time we made love there was more passion and affection than the time before.

The next four months were incredibly busy and it took all the powers and administrative skills Mum could muster in order to keep my diary in a sound working order. I was making regular trips to New York where I had to revert to Concord sacrificing comfort for speed, the research team in Oxford was able to work independently but still I was in overall charge and there was a punishing schedule of filming. We were now working on Henry V with one more series to go. It had all been great fun but I did look forward to it all being over in eighteen months or so time. Matthew too had a schedule demanding every day more of his time. He was destined to become a celebrated and prolific writer. I was so proud of him. Into all of this had to be fitted Geoff's tests in preparation for the transplant.

The first test was a simple ECG and I went along to the clinic on my own. Matthew had a meeting with his publisher and there wasn't really any need for him to be there. It was just a case of being plugged up to a heart monitor and what ever readings were needed being taken.

Simple ? Who says ?

I was asked to remove my shirt and lay back on a consulting couch. My chest was shaved in two places where small pads were attached. More were placed on my arms, hands and legs. Each was then connected by wires to a machine at the foot of the bed. In front of it twiddling various knobs and making adjustments was the technician. Eventually when he was satisfied he set the machine into an activity of its own and a long thin paper trace emerged from a slot at the side.

So that was that. No it wasn't. No not at all.

A doctor came into the room and examined the piece of paper. He smiled and asked for the test to be done again. Standard procedure, I thought to myself. Not a problem. Again the machine did its work and a second slither of paper was disgorged.

Again this was examined. "Doctor Dawes we are going to need to do this again. Can you try to relax this time ?"

Relax ! I was relaxed. Well I had been ! But now two heart test results had been rejected and a third was wanted. What was wrong ? How could I relax ?

"It's the machine Doctor Dawes," he said. "Don't worry."

Well, I tell you I tried not to but it wasn't easy. I mean it could have been me couldn't it ? What if it wasn't the machine ? I would be letting my dearest Matthew down at the first hurdle. I tried to relax, to ease any tension in my body, to breath evenly and to empty my mind. Again the machine gave forth its slip of paper, pushing it out like a till roll at a supermarket check out.

This time the doctor was happy. Thank god. I had passed the test !

Over the next few weeks gallons of blood were taken and subjected to all kinds of analysis, my arm was like a pin cushion. On one particular day I had to attend the hospital in the morning where I was injected with some chemicals and then blood samples taken every hour for six hours so the function of my kidneys could be checked by measuring how over the six hours the kidneys filtered out the chemicals in my blood. That was a long and boring day and I was not able to eat or drink at all during those elongated six hours.

X-rays were taken of my body from every angle and there was a special test which I dreaded as the appointed day approached and yet at the same time I was fascinated by what the doctors were going to do. Essentially it was a minor operation conducted under local anesthetic. Everything was explained to me in advance. A tiny cut would be made in my groin and a small tube inserted into my femoral artery. This would be pushed right into my body, directed to the base of my right kidney and a harmless radioactive dye would be injected into it through the tube. (Somewhere along the course of all these tests it had been decided that the right kidney would be the one Matthew would receive from me.) Special x-rays could then be taken so the surgical team would know the exact lay out of blood vessels before they commenced the operation.

I was fascinated by this but the day before it was all due to take place I was terrified. I tried not to show it and even managed to hide things from Matthew. But not from Mum.

"Would you like me to come along to the hospital with you ?" she asked.

"No, don't worry Matthew is driving me there and back I'll be fine. I mean I'm not worried about being cut open and a kidney removed while I am asleep it's the idea of this taking place when I am wide awake that scares me."

But as I was prepared for the operation I was given a shot of Valium so was as high as a kite and would have let anybody do anything to me. Matthew was allowed to be by my side and was very interested in all that took place.

"I can see your kidney on the monitor," he said. "Oh Noel it is lovely."

"A healthy organ Doctor Dawes," the surgeon added.

And so I passed every test that Geoff and his colleagues threw at me. The time came for arrangements to be made for our admission to hospital and the joint operations which would take a kidney from my body and place it into Matthew. It was clear that Matthew's condition was continuing to deteriorate and that the transplant was now essential. The National Kidney Donor Programme had not found a suitable organ for him and so my being the live donor was to go ahead as we both wanted.

A week before we were due to be admitted we went to meet the ward sister and her dedicated team. She explained that immediately after the operation Matthew would need intensive monitoring so would be in a side ward with a nurse constantly in attendance.

"That intensive therapy," she explained will probably continue for twenty-four to thirty-six hours after which you will be able to get out of bed and in a week you will be able to spend most of your time sitting up and moving about."

"Noel," she turned to me. "You will be confined to bed for a similar period of time but you will not need the same intensive therapy. I'll arrange a side ward for you as well."

"Is it possible," Matthew asked, "that we could be together in the same side ward ?"

"Not easily," was her reply. "my side wards as just small rooms and Matthew will have a lot of high tech equipment monitoring him. There wouldn't be enough room."

"Please."

She smiled. "I'll see what I can do but I will have to ask the doctors what they think."

"Thank you."

"We want you to have this," I said offering a folded cheque. "We want the hospital to use it in the renal department in any way it is best needed."

"It's just a small way of our saying Thank You," Matthew added.

The cheque was drawn on our joint account and made payable to Oxford Royal Infirmary Renal Department. We had transferred funds from our savings account and tried to be as generous as we could be.

"But this is for....."

"Yes, I stopped her. Use it in any way the department needs."

"It's very generous."

"No," Matthew said. "We are very lucky we have success, money and we have our love."

It was a beautiful April evening when we were admitted into the ward in preparation for the dual operation the next day, I dared to even believe that Destiny was looking down and smiling upon us. Things did feel good and I was in the highest of spirits. My dearest Matthew was also buoyant and excited but his physical condition was a shadow of when I first met him he had aged and now at thirty I looked younger than he at six years my junior. I knew the transplant was going to work and prayed that it would give him back his strength and former youthful good looks.

Mum and Dad came with us to the hospital and while still at home with Matthew briefly out of the room Matt's Dad took the opportunity to speak. "Mum and me only ever had the one son, Matthew," he said. "But now we have you as well. To us you are also a son and we love you every bit as much as we love Matthew. And when you go into the operating theatre tomorrow you know our love goes with you."

Those words meant so much to me, so very much. It was the only time I knew him to speak in that way and I have treasured that moment ever since. Matthew's father was not given to outbursts of emotion and those words came from his heart. What it took for him to express his inner feelings I will never know.

For that first night in hospital we were given beds in the open ward. It was hard being together and yet apart. Anyone who has ever been in hospital will know how difficult it is to sleep at night, so much is always going on, and that night I dozed only very lightly.

The operation was scheduled for the early hour of seven thirty in two adjacent theatres. I was taken down from the ward first.

"Good bye Matthew," I said as I left. "Good luck and know that I love you."

"And I love you too."

Recent years had seen only a slight liberation of attitude towards gay men but now I felt totally comfortable with anyone and everyone knowing of my relationship with Matthew.

The porter wheeling my bed out of the ward, into the lift and down to the operating theatre said, "You know what you two have is so special, you are two lucky people. I hope that one day I will find somebody just like one of you."

I reached to take his hand. "You will."

That was the last thing I remember, anesthetic took away the memory of all that happened next. When I started to awake several hours later I searched my brain for where I was and slowly remembered. I opened my eyes but it was too bright and I closed them again. I felt a hand on my arm and a gentle voice started to speak.

"Noel it's Mum, everything has gone very well."

Everything had gone every well, I knew it would. I opened my eyes and tried to look for Matthew then closed them and went back to sleep. It felt like hours but I was told it was only for ten minutes after which I was asking for a drink. My mouth was racked with thirst. I was given an ice cube which Mum gently wiped over my lips then held it for me to suck on.

My mind was floating in another world but I gathered my thoughts enough to ask, "How's Matthew ?"

"He's fine. He's here in the bed next to you but he hasn't woken up yet."

"Tell him I love him," I said then fell back to sleep.

I slept fitfully for the rest of the afternoon as the effects of the anesthetic wore off. As they did reality slowly returned bringing me much pain. I was given pain killers and they helped but only slightly. I really felt quite wretched.

I turned and tried to see Matthew. He was sleeping and attached to all manner of tubes and wires. I felt to see what I had connected to my own body, just a drip line into the back of my left hand and - horror - there was a catheter attached to my dick ! I shuddered at the thought.

"Are you awake properly now Noel ?" Mum said.

"Yes, I think so."

"How do you feel ?"

"Rough."

She took my hand and slipped on the finger the rose gold ring Matthew had given me during that first summer. I had to leave it behind when I went into theatre and I felt better then for having it back where it belonged.

"Matthew's been awake and asking for you."

I looked again at my sleeping lover.

"Is he OK ?"

"He's doing fine. The new kidney is working well and you know I think I can see some colour returning to his face."

"Wonderful."

"The doctors are happy," she continued, "they have been and examined you as well but you we fast asleep."

The pain killers started to lose their effect and I felt like I had been stabbed in the back by a sword of fire. They gave me something different to dull the pain and I felt slightly better.

"The operation to remove a kidney is a shorter but much bigger operation than transplanting one into somebody," the nurse said. "But you will recover very quickly."

And then Matthew opened his eyes, turned ands smiled at me. He did not need to speak for I knew in my heart all he had to say. A million words passed telepathically between us both and every one of them said "I love you."

But we did speak and chatted briefly before we both gave in to sleep again. With more pain killers I slept right through until the next morning.

When I awoke Mum and the nurse propped my pillows up and I was able to sit up. Matthew was also sitting up and smiling. Dad came in with a battery shaver for each of us, something we had just not thought of packing, and I felt so much better for being clean shaven. The nurse washed us both then said, "I shouldn't do this - sister will kill me if she finds out but I'm going to leave you alone for five minutes." Mum winked an eye as she and Dad followed her out of the room.

"You OK ?" I said.

"Brilliant," Matthew smiled. "It's a strange thing but now having a part of you inside me kind of makes we two as one."

"Yes."

"Noel ?" Matthew began to ask a question. "Did you dream when you were in the operating theatre ?"

I thought back over the last twenty-four hours which were a cloud of events I just could not put into any order and separate the times when I was asleep from when I was unconscious. "I don't think so."

"I did. And the dream was very clear."

"What was it ?"

"It was Professor Coldrick," Matthew said. "I was talking with him. I don't know where we were but we were alone together and we were talking."

"What did he say ?"

"He told me to go back to Balliol, to get my PhD and then to lecture at the university. He told me that he wanted me to take his former position as Professor of English as Balliol College."

"Sounds a good plan to me," I said, "but you have always been dead against taking a PhD."

Before we could talk more the nurse returned. "The doctors are coming to see you," she said.

Suddenly the little room was packed with a team of medics headed by Geoff. "So how are our two celebrities doing today ?" he said. From behind them all I could see Mum and she was smiling. Geoff picked up our two folders from a table at the side of the room, studied them carefully and passed them to his colleagues to read. "You are looking good," he said. "Keep it up and I'll come and chat with you both later."

When they left the nurse explained that Matthew would need to remain in the intensive therapy room for another twenty four hours and that I could stay with him. After that we would both be moved to the main ward and be allowed to get out of bed. "So do you think you could manage to eat anything ?"

"You know I think I could. What about you Matthew ?"

"I fancy a McDonald's," Matthew said.

"But you never eat McDonald's," I replied.

"You do and your kidney quite fancies a Big Mac," he giggled.

"Are you serious ?"

"Yes."

"I'll go out and get you one," Dad said. "If that's allowed."

The nurse smiled. "I don't see why not."

When Dad had left Mum produced an enormous plastic bag. "You two boys have received all these cards," she said. "There's one from The Master of Balliol College, loads from the television company, and Matthew there's one from your publisher, there's even one from the Prime Minister's office. And I'm afraid the press got hold of the story so there are a lot from members of the public. Another three bags full I'm afraid."

"Put them all up," Matthew said.

"There's too many Matthew !"

"Try," he giggled.

Oh I felt so much better that day and Matthew was such a great inspiration. It was fantastic to see him looking better already.

When Geoff came back everyone left the room and he spoke to just the two of us. "Things could not be looking better," he said "but you need to prepare yourself for when Matthew starts to reject the transplanted kidney." We had been prepared for this and told how things were likely to go. "It's then a question of our treating the rejection and overcoming it."

"There's no way I'm losing this," Matthew said. "I'll fight it all the way."

"I know you will," Geoff smiled. "Now is there anything either of you particularly wants ?"

"I would like to be able to pee," I said, "and not to have this thing stuck up my foreskin !"

"We'll take it out tomorrow and you can pee to your heart's content !"

"Thanks."

Hell, I wish I hadn't asked for that to happen, it was like somebody drawing a length of barbed wire through the length of my dick and pulling it with a pair of old pliers ! Even now twenty yea


***


Two days later I was allowed home but Matthew would have to remain in hospital for another ten days after which he would need to make very regular visits to the clinic. To begin with this would be three times a week, moving to once a week and eventually once a month.

I took the opportunity when Matthew was still in hospital to go to Birmingham and meet my fellow owner of Sureway Travel. I had already given him my agreement to the take over but needed to go through the finer points before accountants and solicitors took over. The deal was good and I understood my partner's desire to retire. Dad was also planning to retire at the end of the year and intended to talk with Matthew staging a special party for him. We all had a lot to celebrate.

It seemed a perfect idea, a great gift for both of us and a small part of our celebration and a way to mark the end of all we had been through. Yes, why not ? Matthew would love it.

I had taken the train up to Birmingham and then a taxi to Sureway Travel's head office where the meeting had gone well. I added my signature to everything placed in front of me. With part of the high sum of money that was about to come my way I decided we should give another cheque to the hospital. I would discuss this with Matthew of course but the gifts would be a surprise.

I visited the dealership on the way back to the station and was very specific about what I wanted. I was sure I recognised the salesman, he certainly recognised me. Of course he may have seen me on television but it was the way he called me Sir, not the way a salesman would speak to a customer and call him sir but more the way a school boy would speak to a teacher.

I explained what I wanted and that I was a cash buyer. The salesman tried not to show his excitement at such a major order and one that had come his way so easily.

"You don't remember me do you Sir ?"

"I'm sorry, should I ? Forgive me."

He laughed, "You taught me English at school for a short while Doctor Dawes."

Yes. He was familiar. He had been in the same class as my dear Matthew, oh wait until I got back to the hospital and told him.

I confirmed the order and wrote out a cheque in full payment for two matching Porsche sports cars, one for me and one for Matthew then we passed some time telling of what we had done in our lives since we had last met and he was concerned to learn that Matthew was at that time in hospital and recovering from such a traumatic time.

"There's another ex pupil works here," he explained. "It's a shame he's not in right now but I'll tell him when he gets back that you were here."

I wanted to tell Matthew when I got back but to do so would have given away my surprise. Matthew I knew would love the cars.

His recovery moved along well and soon that wonderful, splendid day came when he could return home. At last we were able to start again to live our lives.

Matthew was accepted to complete a PhD at Oxford, he had elected to write a thesis on the influence renaissance writers had upon those working in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

"And how much influence are they having on you as a twentieth century writer ?" I smiled.

Matthew was destined to be one of the most widely read novelists of our time. I knew he was also destined to follow in the footsteps of our dear friend Professor Bill Coldrick as the professor of English at Balliol.

He smiled cunningly at me and we made love before laying naked in each other's arms. It was wonderful beyond measure to have him home again and to have him so well and back to normal.

The new cars were delivered and Matthew fell in love with them. I told him about the salesman at the garage being a fellow pupil from school but he was too excited to be interested.

Matthew, Mum and I were busy making plans for Dad's retirement that November. Matthew took charge and Mum and I assisted where we could. The party was to be held at our house and we decided to have fireworks in the garden. Everything went to plan and we gave Dad a special evening, he was so happy. Finally when all the guests had left he and Mum drove back, Matthew and I went to bed at three in the morning tired but happy.

Our sleep was disturbed buy the ringing of the telephone. I looked for the time, six o'clock. I fumbled for the receiver and tried my best to wake up.

"Noel."

It was Mum.

"Noel, it's Mum. It's Dad, he's dead."

I woke Matthew and we drove straight to his parents' home. He had simply died in his sleep. His retirement had lasted for but a few hours, what a tragedy.

Since I had known her I had seen Mum change and grow in strength, she had always been there through every tribulation that came our way and support us. She had become a valuable personal assistant and in every sense save the biological she was my mother as well as Matthew's. Although she was deeply grieving inside she showed a level of strength which I had not previously witnessed.

I cried more at the funeral than I had at that of my own parents. I cried for myself and I cried for Matthew and Mum. How terrible was her loss and yet how strong was her might in dealing with all.

It was my idea that she should move in and live with us in Oxford, one that Matthew agreed with in the fullest. It was best for us all and Mum finally agreed.

Matthew finished his thesis, a brilliant work from a genius, and was awarded his PhD, Doctor Matthew Parker. On another bright summer day he followed the steps I had taken before him into the Caledonian Theatre to be awarded his degree. Mum and I were there glowing with pride. I'm sure that Dad was there in spirit looking down on him and know without any hesitation at all that dear old Professor Coldrick was also with us. Matthew's books were as popular as I always said they would be and the television drama of his first novel made him wealthy in his own right. He had been able to find a position as a junior lecturer but not at Balliol rather at Madelen, Oscar and Boise's old college.

I had come to the end of the Shakespeare series and while it had launched my career I was quite glad to see it end. The work had been phenomenal but very hard. I was glad it was over but there was still plenty to do as a result, guest lectures, interviews, articles and books. My career had been kick started by the series and although the programmes had finished the momentum was continuing.

With more time to ourselves we managed some special holidays and were able to get away from everything. We went to Egypt and to Barbados and had a wonderful time in San Francisco, yes our time there was special. We were able to get on with our lives and put a lot of trauma we had been through behind us.

Matthew loved our twin Porsche cars and when a new model was launched on the world suggested that we should trade in our two for two of them. Good idea, and we went together this time to the dealership. The salesman who I had dealt with originally had left which was a shame as I had wanted he and Matthew to meet up as two former schoolmates. I was proud of what Matthew had achieved and I guess I wanted to show him off.

He may have left but the other former schoolboy of whom he spoke had not. While he was out of the office when I had bought the original cars he was there that day and it appeared he was now the Dealer Principal, which in the motor trade is a posh way of saying sales manager.

The guy clearly recognised both of us and although he was still an enigma to me, to Matthew it was as if he had seen a spectre of the most fiendish kind. I watched the colour drain from his face, his body tense and with what appeared to be untold anger his lips pursed and turn purple.

"We're leaving !" he snapped.

"But -"

"Noel I said we are leaving ! NOW !"

I had never known him to be like this and there was a strange venom in his voice.

"What's the matter ?"

"Everything !"

The salesman was shocked but not from Matthed's reaction rather of seeing Matthew in his showroom.

"Noel give me the keys to you car," Matthew demanded but before I could do anything he tore them from my hand.

"Noel call a taxi !"

What was going on ?

Matthew then flung the keys to both cars at the salesman. "Keep your fucking cars, I'll never drive a Porsche again !"

He didn't swear much at all and that was the only time I ever heard him use that word. He turned, was out of the showroom door and striding down the road. I ran after him and as I did so the reason for his most uncharacteristic reaction dawned on me. It filled me with horror and vile anger. I could sense the reason for my lover's strange behavior. The time was not right to say anything and while I wanted to return to the showroom and deal out just and suitable punishment I held back my desire for revenge. Right then we just had to get away. We found a taxi and took the train back to Oxford. Hardly a word passed between us all the way home.

"That was him wasn't it ?" I eventually said.

"YES ! He's the one who called after me shouting: Look it's that queer who fucks his teacher. And he was the one who began the attack on me. I want him dead Noel, I want him dead !"

"So do I."

"His face and words have haunted me since I was eighteen years old. I mean I can live with that but now I have seen him again after all these years !!." Matthew just broke down into tears. His head fell on my shoulder and he sobbed out all the pain of the years. The attack, the emergency in Paris and his losing his first kidney, the loss of function in his second and fight to keep the transplant.

I was quite prepared to kill the man with own bare hands, never before have I felt such anger and determination.

We spent the whole night in each other's arms tightly holding each against the horrors which had invaded us over the years and all personified by the man we had met earlier. Neither of us was able to sleep properly, indeed we didn't really sleep at all but just drifted in the lightest of semi-slumber. I could feel Matthew's heart beating hard inside his chest and knew the torment that was now within it. I was not a violent person but I was more than ready to kill the one who had brought so much pain to my precious Matthew. I could not get the thought out of my mind, so much anger - so much hate - all welling up inside me and overflowing like boiling lava down the fiery side of a volcano.

I thanked Destiny for bringing this man to us eventually and silently vowed revenge. I owed Matthew that much. But as I lay there in his arms and thought about the way Destiny had been with us over the years I began to wonder. Destiny had left us alone for a time to simply get on with our lives so what was it up to now ? I had the thought that perhaps this was a test. Could I be right ? I wondered. I had a feeling that the way Destiny would treat us depended on the way I, we reacted to this present situation. But what should we do ? What had our fickle friend have in mind ?

The more my mind debated the thought and the more I could not sleep the more convinced I became that Destiny was indeed testing us. If we followed the instinct and brought down retribution would Destiny punish us ? Or if we simply left things as they were would Destiny see us a weak and deal us another bad hand ? What was the right thing to do ? How could an objective decision be made ? I slowly put my thinking to Matthew.

"There was a time," Matthew said, "when I thought of that guy every day. He haunted me and I couldn't get him out of my mind. But now, at least until today, I had learned to forget him and was happy about that. Now he's back in my life and all the anger from before has returned."

"You should have let me call the police like I wanted to at the time."

"Perhaps but it's too late now."

"So what are we to do ?" I went again through the Destiny options as I saw them.

"It's probably right," Matthew said, "that we did nothing when I was eighteen and when it all happened. I mean if we had called the police and he had been taken to court that would have ruined his life, just because of some teenage homophobic stupidity. Of course he has caused me, caused us some hard times but we do have a wonderful life and that's all that matters."

"So you are saying forget it ?"

"Yes."

"If that's what you think."

"I do but he does have both of our cars and the keys to them." I couldn't see his face in the dark but knew he was smiling.

I laughed softly. "That was a unique display of temper. Tell you what, I'll phone him in the morning and arrange for the cars to be picked up and taken to an auction. Well find another dealer and other cars."

"Not Porsches !"

"No. You know I quite fancy a BMW."

I so hoped that we had made the right decision and that Destiny would support us. Only time would tell."

Of course I know now that we had but hindsight is twenty-twenty vision. As the days and weeks past with Destiny continuing to allow us to get on with our lives I felt more secure but I knew we were most unlikely to have seen the last of our fickle friend and enemy.

We were so happy, our lives so perfect. We had made the right decision.

A full year in advance Matthew openly began preparing for my fortieth birthday. I would have preferred had it been a milestone that could have passed without any celebration at all. He made a special calendar, put it up in the kitchen and crossed off the days as they passed.

My birthday is in November, November 7th to be precise and every day I was reminded of the fact that November 7th 1990 would be that terrible rite of passage when I officially passed into middle age. Never mind all that life begins at forty rubbish ! Matthew could arrange anything he wanted and I would still lie about my age for as many years as I could get away with it. I was thirty-nine and thirty-nine I was going to stay ! Just wait until he turned forty I would bide my time and get my own back. But then I would be forty-six ! Horror !

The days on the kitchen calendar counted down to the fateful day but in all truth it was a superb day. And it was made extra special by some very special news which Matthew, bless him, received and tried to conceal not to take away from my day.

Although I have not made a great mention of them in this autobiography, Matthew and I do have a wide circle of friends and special people we have met over the years. My darling Matthew had gathered so many of them together for a dinner in my honour at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham. We sat down to my favorite menu. Cream of asparagus soup to start followed by a melon cocktail with ice sorbet. The main course was good old fashioned roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, my that beef was tender and succulent. Then treacle sponge pudding with cheese, biscuits and fresh fruit to finish. It was a hearty feast with champagne flowing like water.

More than one hundred and fifty friends gathered together to wish me well on my birthday. Geoff from the Oxford Royal Infirmary was there, so were many of the production team from my Shakespeare TV series, friends from way back in my undergraduate days, my former business partner and his family from Sureway Travel and of course Mum. The years were chasing after her now but she was still my ever efficient PA and it was she who proposed the toast to wish me a Happy Birthday.

As she was speaking I was carefully preparing in my mind the words I would use in response.

"Dear Friends," I began, "thank you all for being here today on my birthday and for kindly marking my passing into the early stages of old age. But really we have something much more special to celebrate, not a matter of age but of youth. I want you to raise your glasses with me to Matthew who has not only organised this wonderful party but a week ago was offered the Chair of English at Balliol College, Oxford. And at thirty-four he becomes the youngest professor ever in the history of that famous institution. I give you my friend, my partner in life, my lover, world famous novelist, acclaimed academic and general good guy - Professor Matthew Parker."

I knew that somewhere in that happy gathering dear old Professor Coldrick was also dining with us and raising his glass to Matthew's success. I knew how happy and proud he was. I also knew that Destiny was lurking near by and wondered what would be his next move.


***


Two days later I was allowed home but Matthew would have to remain in hospital for another ten days after which he would need to make very regular visits to the clinic. To begin with this would be three times a week, moving to once a week and eventually once a month.

I took the opportunity when Matthew was still in hospital to go to Birmingham and meet my fellow owner of Sureway Travel. I had already given him my agreement to the take over but needed to go through the finer points before accountants and solicitors took over. The deal was good and I understood my partner's desire to retire. Dad was also planning to retire at the end of the year and intended to talk with Matthew staging a special party for him. We all had a lot to celebrate.

It seemed a perfect idea, a great gift for both of us and a small part of our celebration and a way to mark the end of all we had been through. Yes, why not ? Matthew would love it.

I had taken the train up to Birmingham and then a taxi to Sureway Travel's head office where the meeting had gone well. I added my signature to everything placed in front of me. With part of the high sum of money that was about to come my way I decided we should give another cheque to the hospital. I would discuss this with Matthew of course but the gifts would be a surprise.

I visited the dealership on the way back to the station and was very specific about what I wanted. I was sure I recognised the salesman, he certainly recognised me. Of course he may have seen me on television but it was the way he called me Sir, not the way a salesman would speak to a customer and call him sir but more the way a school boy would speak to a teacher.

I explained what I wanted and that I was a cash buyer. The salesman tried not to show his excitement at such a major order and one that had come his way so easily.

"You don't remember me do you Sir ?"

"I'm sorry, should I ? Forgive me."

He laughed, "You taught me English at school for a short while Doctor Dawes."

Yes. He was familiar. He had been in the same class as my dear Matthew, oh wait until I got back to the hospital and told him.

I confirmed the order and wrote out a cheque in full payment for two matching Porsche sports cars, one for me and one for Matthew then we passed some time telling of what we had done in our lives since we had last met and he was concerned to learn that Matthew was at that time in hospital and recovering from such a traumatic time.

"There's another ex pupil works here," he explained. "It's a shame he's not in right now but I'll tell him when he gets back that you were here."

I wanted to tell Matthew when I got back but to do so would have given away my surprise. Matthew I knew would love the cars.

His recovery moved along well and soon that wonderful, splendid day came when he could return home. At last we were able to start again to live our lives.

Matthew was accepted to complete a PhD at Oxford, he had elected to write a thesis on the influence renaissance writers had upon those working in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

"And how much influence are they having on you as a twentieth century writer ?" I smiled.

Matthew was destined to be one of the most widely read novelists of our time. I knew he was also destined to follow in the footsteps of our dear friend Professor Bill Coldrick as the professor of English at Balliol.

He smiled cunningly at me and we made love before laying naked in each other's arms. It was wonderful beyond measure to have him home again and to have him so well and back to normal.

The new cars were delivered and Matthew fell in love with them. I told him about the salesman at the garage being a fellow pupil from school but he was too excited to be interested.

Matthew, Mum and I were busy making plans for Dad's retirement that November. Matthew took charge and Mum and I assisted where we could. The party was to be held at our house and we decided to have fireworks in the garden. Everything went to plan and we gave Dad a special evening, he was so happy. Finally when all the guests had left he and Mum drove back, Matthew and I went to bed at three in the morning tired but happy.

Our sleep was disturbed buy the ringing of the telephone. I looked for the time, six o'clock. I fumbled for the receiver and tried my best to wake up.

"Noel."

It was Mum.

"Noel, it's Mum. It's Dad, he's dead."

I woke Matthew and we drove straight to his parents' home. He had simply died in his sleep. His retirement had lasted for but a few hours, what a tragedy.

Since I had known her I had seen Mum change and grow in strength, she had always been there through every tribulation that came our way and support us. She had become a valuable personal assistant and in every sense save the biological she was my mother as well as Matthew's. Although she was deeply grieving inside she showed a level of strength which I had not previously witnessed.

I cried more at the funeral than I had at that of my own parents. I cried for myself and I cried for Matthew and Mum. How terrible was her loss and yet how strong was her might in dealing with all.

It was my idea that she should move in and live with us in Oxford, one that Matthew agreed with in the fullest. It was best for us all and Mum finally agreed.

Matthew finished his thesis, a brilliant work from a genius, and was awarded his PhD, Doctor Matthew Parker. On another bright summer day he followed the steps I had taken before him into the Caledonian Theatre to be awarded his degree. Mum and I were there glowing with pride. I'm sure that Dad was there in spirit looking down on him and know without any hesitation at all that dear old Professor Coldrick was also with us. Matthew's books were as popular as I always said they would be and the television drama of his first novel made him wealthy in his own right. He had been able to find a position as a junior lecturer but not at Balliol rather at Madelen, Oscar and Boise's old college.

I had come to the end of the Shakespeare series and while it had launched my career I was quite glad to see it end. The work had been phenomenal but very hard. I was glad it was over but there was still plenty to do as a result, guest lectures, interviews, articles and books. My career had been kick started by the series and although the programmes had finished the momentum was continuing.

With more time to ourselves we managed some special holidays and were able to get away from everything. We went to Egypt and to Barbados and had a wonderful time in San Francisco, yes our time there was special. We were able to get on with our lives and put a lot of trauma we had been through behind us.

Matthew loved our twin Porsche cars and when a new model was launched on the world suggested that we should trade in our two for two of them. Good idea, and we went together this time to the dealership. The salesman who I had dealt with originally had left which was a shame as I had wanted he and Matthew to meet up as two former schoolmates. I was proud of what Matthew had achieved and I guess I wanted to show him off.

He may have left but the other former schoolboy of whom he spoke had not. While he was out of the office when I had bought the original cars he was there that day and it appeared he was now the Dealer Principal, which in the motor trade is a posh way of saying sales manager.

The guy clearly recognised both of us and although he was still an enigma to me, to Matthew it was as if he had seen a spectre of the most fiendish kind. I watched the colour drain from his face, his body tense and with what appeared to be untold anger his lips pursed and turn purple.

"We're leaving !" he snapped.

"But -"

"Noel I said we are leaving ! NOW !"

I had never known him to be like this and there was a strange venom in his voice.

"What's the matter ?"

"Everything !"

The salesman was shocked but not from Matthed's reaction rather of seeing Matthew in his showroom.

"Noel give me the keys to you car," Matthew demanded but before I could do anything he tore them from my hand.

"Noel call a taxi !"

What was going on ?

Matthew then flung the keys to both cars at the salesman. "Keep your fucking cars, I'll never drive a Porsche again !"

He didn't swear much at all and that was the only time I ever heard him use that word. He turned, was out of the showroom door and striding down the road. I ran after him and as I did so the reason for his most uncharacteristic reaction dawned on me. It filled me with horror and vile anger. I could sense the reason for my lover's strange behavior. The time was not right to say anything and while I wanted to return to the showroom and deal out just and suitable punishment I held back my desire for revenge. Right then we just had to get away. We found a taxi and took the train back to Oxford. Hardly a word passed between us all the way home.

"That was him wasn't it ?" I eventually said.

"YES ! He's the one who called after me shouting: Look it's that queer who fucks his teacher. And he was the one who began the attack on me. I want him dead Noel, I want him dead !"

"So do I."

"His face and words have haunted me since I was eighteen years old. I mean I can live with that but now I have seen him again after all these years !!." Matthew just broke down into tears. His head fell on my shoulder and he sobbed out all the pain of the years. The attack, the emergency in Paris and his losing his first kidney, the loss of function in his second and fight to keep the transplant.

I was quite prepared to kill the man with own bare hands, never before have I felt such anger and determination.

We spent the whole night in each other's arms tightly holding each against the horrors which had invaded us over the years and all personified by the man we had met earlier. Neither of us was able to sleep properly, indeed we didn't really sleep at all but just drifted in the lightest of semi-slumber. I could feel Matthew's heart beating hard inside his chest and knew the torment that was now within it. I was not a violent person but I was more than ready to kill the one who had brought so much pain to my precious Matthew. I could not get the thought out of my mind, so much anger - so much hate - all welling up inside me and overflowing like boiling lava down the fiery side of a volcano.

I thanked Destiny for bringing this man to us eventually and silently vowed revenge. I owed Matthew that much. But as I lay there in his arms and thought about the way Destiny had been with us over the years I began to wonder. Destiny had left us alone for a time to simply get on with our lives so what was it up to now ? I had the thought that perhaps this was a test. Could I be right ? I wondered. I had a feeling that the way Destiny would treat us depended on the way I, we reacted to this present situation. But what should we do ? What had our fickle friend have in mind ?

The more my mind debated the thought and the more I could not sleep the more convinced I became that Destiny was indeed testing us. If we followed the instinct and brought down retribution would Destiny punish us ? Or if we simply left things as they were would Destiny see us a weak and deal us another bad hand ? What was the right thing to do ? How could an objective decision be made ? I slowly put my thinking to Matthew.

"There was a time," Matthew said, "when I thought of that guy every day. He haunted me and I couldn't get him out of my mind. But now, at least until today, I had learned to forget him and was happy about that. Now he's back in my life and all the anger from before has returned."

"You should have let me call the police like I wanted to at the time."

"Perhaps but it's too late now."

"So what are we to do ?" I went again through the Destiny options as I saw them.

"It's probably right," Matthew said, "that we did nothing when I was eighteen and when it all happened. I mean if we had called the police and he had been taken to court that would have ruined his life, just because of some teenage homophobic stupidity. Of course he has caused me, caused us some hard times but we do have a wonderful life and that's all that matters."

"So you are saying forget it ?"

"Yes."

"If that's what you think."

"I do but he does have both of our cars and the keys to them." I couldn't see his face in the dark but knew he was smiling.

I laughed softly. "That was a unique display of temper. Tell you what, I'll phone him in the morning and arrange for the cars to be picked up and taken to an auction. Well find another dealer and other cars."

"Not Porsches !"

"No. You know I quite fancy a BMW."

I so hoped that we had made the right decision and that Destiny would support us. Only time would tell."

Of course I know now that we had but hindsight is twenty-twenty vision. As the days and weeks past with Destiny continuing to allow us to get on with our lives I felt more secure but I knew we were most unlikely to have seen the last of our fickle friend and enemy.

We were so happy, our lives so perfect. We had made the right decision.

A full year in advance Matthew openly began preparing for my fortieth birthday. I would have preferred had it been a milestone that could have passed without any celebration at all. He made a special calendar, put it up in the kitchen and crossed off the days as they passed.

My birthday is in November, November 7th to be precise and every day I was reminded of the fact that November 7th 1990 would be that terrible rite of passage when I officially passed into middle age. Never mind all that life begins at forty rubbish ! Matthew could arrange anything he wanted and I would still lie about my age for as many years as I could get away with it. I was thirty-nine and thirty-nine I was going to stay ! Just wait until he turned forty I would bide my time and get my own back. But then I would be forty-six ! Horror !

The days on the kitchen calendar counted down to the fateful day but in all truth it was a superb day. And it was made extra special by some very special news which Matthew, bless him, received and tried to conceal not to take away from my day.

Although I have not made a great mention of them in this autobiography, Matthew and I do have a wide circle of friends and special people we have met over the years. My darling Matthew had gathered so many of them together for a dinner in my honour at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham. We sat down to my favorite menu. Cream of asparagus soup to start followed by a melon cocktail with ice sorbet. The main course was good old fashioned roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, my that beef was tender and succulent. Then treacle sponge pudding with cheese, biscuits and fresh fruit to finish. It was a hearty feast with champagne flowing like water.

More than one hundred and fifty friends gathered together to wish me well on my birthday. Geoff from the Oxford Royal Infirmary was there, so were many of the production team from my Shakespeare TV series, friends from way back in my undergraduate days, my former business partner and his family from Sureway Travel and of course Mum. The years were chasing after her now but she was still my ever efficient PA and it was she who proposed the toast to wish me a Happy Birthday.

As she was speaking I was carefully preparing in my mind the words I would use in response.

"Dear Friends," I began, "thank you all for being here today on my birthday and for kindly marking my passing into the early stages of old age. But really we have something much more special to celebrate, not a matter of age but of youth. I want you to raise your glasses with me to Matthew who has not only organised this wonderful party but a week ago was offered the Chair of English at Balliol College, Oxford. And at thirty-four he becomes the youngest professor ever in the history of that famous institution. I give you my friend, my partner in life, my lover, world famous novelist, acclaimed academic and general good guy - Professor Matthew Parker."

I knew that somewhere in that happy gathering dear old Professor Coldrick was also dining with us and raising his glass to Matthew's success. I knew how happy and proud he was. I also knew that Destiny was lurking near by and wondered what would be his next move.


***


Destiny left us alone for several more years, it was easy to think it had actually given up in its battle with our lives, a battle we felt we had won but then its intervention had not always been negative so perhaps it is not right to think of there being a winner or loser. It was, of course, folly to have thought that Destiny had lost interest in us, it was cunningly planning something and would deal the cards only when it was ready.

I don't normally give to beggars on the street, I had the thought that they were only homeless because they had made themselves so. I would usually try not to look at them and walk by quickly but this lad was different. Mum and I had been to London for a meeting at a publisher who wanted me to write a magazine feature for them and we looking out for somewhere to have lunch before driving back to Oxford. I'm not sure why we had taken the car and not the train, I think now that it was Destiny dealing its first card of the new game.

When I saw him sitting in the doorway I felt in my pocket, I knew I had a ten pound note in there among the lose change which for some reason I had not put into my wallet. I would give him that. I offered it and he reluctantly accepted with much polite gratitude.

"It is too much," he said offering it for me to take back.

"No," Mum said, "you take it and buy something to eat."

"I will, thank you."


"How old are you ?" I found myself asking.

"Sixteen."

"What are you doing living on the street at sixteen ?"

"It's a long story," the lad replied. "You don't want to know."

"Sixteen !" Mum exclaimed grabbing my arm and stopping me from walking away.. "Noel we can't leave him here like this."

What was she proposing that we do ? We were on our way to have lunch and then drive home. Matthew would be waiting for us.

"Put that money in your pocket," Mum ordered. "We'll buy you something to eat."

"Will you ?"

The boy stood up and I looked into his face, such sadness was in his eyes. He reached down and picked up a dusty black bin liner and held it tightly under his arm.

"There's a McDonald's at Waterloo Station," I said, "do you like McDonald's ?"

"Thank you, yes."

So the three of us walked the short distance to the station and found an empty table in McDonald's. It wasn't the wine bar we had in mind for lunch but I have a secret enjoyment of fast food and it had been several weeks since I had eaten any, this would be a treat. We would buy the lad a good meal, I would probably give him a bit more money and then we would be on our way. I went to the counter to get the food while Mum sat talking with the lad.

I returned with a heavily laden tray and began to give out the various wrapped packages of food. "Noel," Mum said, "this is Bosie."

I stopped what I was doing, a shiver ran up my spine and my mouth went dry.

"Actually," he said, "my real name is Brian but everyone calls me Bosie."

I could feel Destiny breathing behind me its hot breath on the back of my neck and I did not like it. I wanted to give him some more money, leave him to eat alone and run away but I couldn't. Mum had him engaged in a deep explanation of his life.

Brian was not actually sixteen but only fifteen, his birthday was still three months away. He was from Bolton in Lancashire but had come down to London when his parents threw him out of heir home. Parents, that was a lose term. He had a mother and she had a succession of different boyfriends. His father was in prison and he had not seen him since he was nine years old.

"How long have you been living like this ?"

"Three weeks."

"What about the authorities ? What about social services ?"

"Do you think they care ? They didn't care when I was in Bolton so they aint going to bother down here ?"

"What are you going to do ?"

He didn't know.

While we had been talking Brian, I just could not bring myself to think of him as Bosie, had managed to eat all of his food and I had just nibbled at the burger and played with one or two fries.

"Why did your parents throw you out ?" I asked. "If you don't mind me asking you." Why had I said that ? I didn't really want to know, it wasn't of any interest to me.

Brian looked down and studied the surface of the table, "Because I am gay," he said.

Destiny was so close behind me now. It's arms were on my shoulders holding me down and I could not move, had I been able to I would have run as far away as I possibly could.

"My son's gay," Mum said. "Noel here is his partner and he's like kind of my adopted son as well."

Brian smiled.

"I love them and I'm proud of them, as was my husband when he was alive. There's no shame in being gay."

Brian smiled again then said, "Tell that to my mother and her boyfriend. He beat me black and blue when he found out. Then she threw me out saying I was no son of hers and I could take my perverted ways out of her life. I don't ever want to see her again."

"But you can't live on the streets," I said.

"I don't have any choice."

"Noel," Mum looked at me.

Oh no, no, no ! The thought raced through my brain but I knew I would not put up any opposition to what she was about to say. Why did we have to come to London on that particular day ? Why did we have to walk down that street ? Why had I stopped to give Brian some money ? Why hadn't I just tossed some coins at him and not given him such a large sum of money that he had to speak to me ? Why ? Why ? Why ? Then I heard the voice of Destiny say, "Why not ?"

"You can't stop here in London Bosie," Mum said - why did she have to call him that ? Brian was his name. "If you like you can come and stop with us for a while. That will be all right won't it Noel ?"

I nodded.

"It's Noel's house, and Matthew's of course, but I live there as well. You can come and stop with us until you get yourself sorted out if you like."

She looked at the black bag which was now on the floor by his side. "Noel will give you some money to buy some new things won't you Noel ?"

"Yes Mum."

"Noel you go and find a hotel somewhere and book a room so that Bosie can get washed and changed, I'll take him to get some clothes while you do that." She looked at her watch, "We'll met you back here in say an hour and a half."

"Yes Mum."

I knew that what was happening was right but I wasn't at all happy with Destiny interfering into our comfortable lives like this. I mean who was this lad ? Were we bringing a thief, a drug addict or what in to our home ? I mean he hardly came from a stable background and what was he bringing with him ? And besides you can't just pick an under age child up from the street and take him into you home ! Matthew and I were two gay men and there were all kinds of implications regarding having a minor in our home with us. It may be the right thing to do but !!.

I found a hotel easily enough and made some story about wanting a room for my mother to bath and change, I couldn't tell them I had picked up a homeless youth from the streets and wanted him to use one of their rooms could I ? I called Matthew at the university but he wasn't available so left a message saying we would have a guest that evening, I didn't tell him the full story or any part of it. And how could I possibly tell him the child's name was Bosie ?

Brian scrubbed up well, he was no longer the homeless street wretch of a few hours ago and god he had resemblance all over his face. Resemblance of someone we knew so well but had never met. I'm sure it was not a suggestion in my mind from his face, the boy was indeed the spitting image of Lord Alfred (Bosie) Douglas.

"Is that really your car ?" he said politely but at the same time excitedly.

"Yes it is."

"Wow."

And when he saw the house his astonishment turned into incredulity. Mum fussed over our new adoptee and settled him into one of the guest rooms.

"Only for a few days," I insisted to her. "He can not stay for ever."

"Why not ?" Matthew said.

He and Mum conspired against me and so Bosie became a part of our little family. He was right, Social Services were not interested, he was nearly sixteen in their eyes when the would be old enough to leave school so why did they need to waste their precious resources ? We tried to find him a place in a school but nobody wanted to take on a final year student so close to the examinations. I could not believe we were living in such an uncaring society. Destiny had picked us out to take care of Bosie and nobody was going to help us.

Bosie turned out to be a very polite, shy and gentle boy. He was very close to Mum and talked a lot with Matthew but I felt he and I were not quite on the same wave length. But he did include me in a momentous statement he made towards the end of his first week with us.

"Thank you," Bosie said. "It is like a dream being here with you all, I've found myself two new Dads."

Indeed he had and we appeared to have a son.

We have at home a grand piano, neither of us play it had come with the house when we bought it. For ages it had sat there silent, nothing more than a large polished ornament. I was upstairs working, preparing a lecture I had been asked to record for the Open University when I heard it. I listened and recognised the tune. It was the rag-time theme from a film I had seen ages and ages ago, even before I had met Matthew. I searched my brain to remember its name: The Sting that was it. Who was playing ? It could only be Bosie. Then the music changed to a beautiful rendition of John Leanon's Imagine. I love that song and crept down to listen as Bosie began to sing those haunting words.

You may say I'm a dreamer -
but I'm not the only one.
Perhaps some day you'll join us -
And the world will be as one.

His voice was beautiful and his playing exquisite. I stood behind him in the open doorway and admired such talent. I could have listened for ever but Boise became aware of my presence, stopped, stood up and began to apologise.

"No, no," I said quickly. "You play as much as you want. That was beautiful. Who ever taught you to play like that ?"

"Nobody," he said. "I just can. I hear something and can usually play it."

"And your voice," I added. "You sing so well."

He blushed. "Do you like Meatloaf ?"

"Actually I do."

"Want me to play you something ?"

"Please."

"Bat out of Hell is my favourite."

And with that his fingers crashed the keys and his voice filled the room. Meatloaf himself would have been envious of the was Bosie hit out that song.

After he had finished we talked for nearly two hours. Bosie wanted to know how Matthew and I had met, wanted to tell me of his own gay experiences and frustrations with not being able to express his sexuality properly. About his family, such as it was and his hopes for the future.

"Do you want a career in music ?"

"Not exactly."

I was worried about the boy, he hardly went out of the house and appeared to do nothing. He needed to be with people of his own age. He needs time to settle, Mum would say. But to settle to what ?

"I want to get a job," Matthew said, "anything that I can save some money from."

"I'm sure you can find a job as soon as you are old enough to leave school, that is if you were at school," I smiled.

"I need to know where I will be first," he said lowering his eyes so they did not meet my own.

"You'll be here," I said. "Bosie you are a free agent but we all want you to stay with us as long as you want."

He threw his arms round me and sobbed thanks.

"Hey stop that. Play me something else."

"How about this ?"

He played and sang the Simon and Garfunkle classic Bridge over Troubled Water.

"That was part of the number one album when I was a student," I told him.

"You and Matthew are so clever, I mean you are both doctors and Matthew is a professor as well ! Did you really teach him when he was at school ?"

"Yes. But some how I suspect you don't want to go to college or university yourself."

"No," he said. "I need to get a job and save some money so I can realise my ambition."

"Ambition ?"

I don't know what I expected, probably some adolescent impractical fantasy and that was how it first appeared when Bosie revealed his plans but quickly I became impressed with the acumen and foresight of the boy.

"I'm going to run my own radio station," Bosie said. "I am going to launch the world's first gay radio station and I am going to broadcast to the world."

"You'll need to find a very well paid job and save every penny if you want to finance that !" I said almost dismissing his idea.

"No," he corrected me, "a couple of thousand will be enough."

I smiled and thought how I could change the subject.

"I am right," he said. "I can do it. I'll broadcast via the Internet. You've heard of the Interned."

"Yes but it's just a few computers in schools, universities and a some businesses talking to each other. How can you use that to run a radio station ?"

"Give it five years and that will have changed, give it ten and every home in the world will have a computer linked to the Internet. There will be millions of places on it where people publish information, there will be more information on the Internet than is contained in every library in the world put together. It is going to change the world and I am going to have a part of it. I will own and run the first gay radio station."

I thought and considered his predictions may be right.

"Do you have a mobile phone ?" Bosie asked.

"I do."

"The day is coming when it won't be a few who can afford them but every man, woman and child in the country will have one. And phones will be mini computers that can link to the Internet and my radio station. Cars will have computers in them, televisions and computers will combine and I will be there with my radio station."

"Let me think about this," I said. "Let me talk to Matthew and then we should chat about this more."

"You understand what I am saying ?"

"I think so. Now play me some more music."

I talked to Matthew about Bosie's ideas and he was enthusiastic and supportive. "The only thing Bosie has wrong," he said, "is the time scale. I think what he says will happen a lot quicker. And something else the Internet will bring the greatest liberation for the world's gay community. It will unite them as one and I see a gay radio station as a certain success. I think we should help him all we can."

But first I was concerned that Bosie meet some people of his own age, Matthew arranged for some first year students to come round and had secretly asked them to take him under their wing. But they were older than he was so more was needed. We got Bosie a computer and music centre and gave him an allowance of money each week but the boy needed a job both to occupy his time and to give him the dignity of self respect and earn his own money. It was Mum, bless her, who solved this.

Strictly speaking Bosie could not work until he was of the age to leave school on June 1st, still many weeks away but Mum's magic touch sorted that. There is in Oxford a small specialist record shop, they do sell the latest releases and so on but more specialise in shipping world-wide classic pop and rock recordings, Mum boldly went into the small store, spoke with owner and persuaded him to give Bosie a job. He started the next day and never mind the regulations about his still technically being of school age.

That was a turning point and the beginning of Bosie finding his own circle of friends. Every week when he was paid he religiously gave us something towards his keep and put as much as he could afford into a deposit account to save for his radio station. We continued to give him an allowance and he put all of that away.

I became used to his being about the house and was pleased that destiny had introduced him to us. But his looks haunted me, he was so like the photographs I had seen of Bosie Douglas and then one day I told him so.

"My mother said we were descended from a Lord," he replied. "Said my great, great, great - I don't know how many greats - grandfather was a Lord or something."

He was related to the Douglas family some how. I decided to find out. Brian (Bosie) was born on May 5th 1974 and was able to tell me that his mother Pamela Grant had been born in 1952. He did not know any of his grandparents but I was able to discover that Bosie's grandfather was a Kenneth Grant who was born in April 1921 and worked as a farm labourer. A copy of his birth certificate showed that his father was James Grant, also a farm labourer born in 1890. We were getting near to the right time and I had a suspicion about the late James Grant. I was certain I could guess who his father was but who was the mother ?

"If I am right," I said to Matthew when we were alone in bed. "The Marquis of Queensbury, Lord Alfred Douglas's father, had an illegitimate son who was this James Grant who was the great-great-great grandfather of our Bosie. And that makes Bosie Douglas the great-great-great uncle of our Bosie and his being a direct descendant of the infamous Marquis of Queensbury."

"It's a bit spooky isn't it ?" Matthew giggled as he kissed me.

"If you think about it this whole Destiny thing is a bit spooky."

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

"Yes Professor ! What do you mean quoting Shakespeare to me in bed ?"

"I'll give you another quote," he said. "One for somebody like you who, shall we say who has started to age round the edges a little. A quote from your beloved Oscar Wilde: I delight in men over seventy, they always offer one the devotion of a lifetime."

"Bugger off !" I began to tickle Matthew unmercifully, a perfect foreplay to making love. And let him dare to complain that I had lost any of my prowess in that department !

I don't know how many days there had been in the years we had been together but on most of them we had made love. How I loved Matthew and how our love had grown over the years, grown wider and deeper. I just could not ever imagine a life without him. We may have joked about the years passing but I was happy with the prospect of growing old in his arms.

Bosie was proving to be a success in his job and his knowledge of the music industry increasing. He would play for us and I amazed at his talent. He never heard from his mother but then she had no idea where he was, he didn't want any further contact with her.

Christmas that year was good, having Bosie living with us it was so much better. There were a small handful of foreign students at Balliol who were not returning home for the holiday so Matthews invited them round for Christmas Eve. We had traditional mince pies, roast chestnuts and mulled wine. Bosie played the piano and we all stood round singing carols. In the morning we exchanged gifts, had an early lunch then all dressed up, Mum included, as Disney characters and went to the renal unit at Oxford Royal Infirmary to distribute gifts to the patients. We had arranged an electric keyboard on the ward and Bosie again lead us in the singing of carols. It was a perfect day.

In the New Year Bosie told us he was going to make a slight adjustment to his work. He was going to continue at the record shop but on Friday and Saturday evenings he would also work at a new gay pub that was opening in Oxford. How times had changed, I thought back to Matthew's excitement at discovering the world's first gay bar in Amsterdam and now there was to be one on our own doorstep. Bosie was under age to serve behind a bar but he was going to collect and wash glasses with an eye to being able to DJ the odd night. Glasses were soon forgotten as he became the resident DJ for the week-end.

"I think Bosie's radio station may be closer now than we think," Matthew said. "He is going to need our help and support. Besides I think I would like to be involved in some way."

"An Oxford Don, part of a pop radio station, what ever next ? The Swinging Professor !"

All the time we knew that Bosie was planning to turn his ambition into reality and yes when he was ready we would be there beside him offering what ever help he wanted.

In the Spring yet another novel by Matthew Parker hit the best sellers list, as well as all his demanding work at the university Matthew was able to turn out modern classic at the prolific rate of one a year. It hadn't long been on the shelves when I received an unexpected letter, a voice from the past.

Dear Doctor Dawes,

I am of a mind to speak with the Prime Minister with regard to your partner Professor Matthew Parker being included in the New Year's Honours List for 1993. I am sure that the Prime Minister will take due regard to my recommendation and forward Professor Parker's name to the Palace. I believe that the work he has done at Oxford and as a major quality yet popular novelist should be recognised. After all if we can applaud pop singers and footballers for what ever reason then we need to honour such as he.

I would be pleased to feel that I could count on your support in this matter and obviously at this stage all discussions and communications must remain strictly confidential.

Yours faithfully,

Margaret Baroness Thatcher

The discussions did remain confidential and when Matthew received a letter of his own the following autumn he almost suffered a heart failure with surprise. It came from the Queen's Private Secretary asking if Professor Matthew Parker would accept a knighthood should he be offered one in the forthcoming New Year Honours List. His hand was shaking as he read it and then passed the sheet of rich embossed paper to me. Of course I knew that something was going to be offered but I had anticipated an OBE or MBE not a knighthood ? Professor Sir Matthew Parker.

Mum cried at the news, it was the only time I ever knew her to shed a tear. I was so proud of him and Bosie just burst with excitement. "A Sir for a father," he said. "Who needs to be supposedly descended from a Lord hundreds of years ago when we have a Sir right here and now."

I knew in my mind with one hundred percent certainty that Bosie was descended from Lord Alfred's father, the Marquis of Queensbury, but try as I had I could not confirm that last link between his great-great-great grandfather and the Marquis. Obviously Queensbury had eradicated any trace of the fatherhood of the infant as soon as he had been born and now more than a hundred and twenty years later how could anybody prove it ?

"It's obvious you are not a doctor of science but of literature," Matthew said. "The proof is so easy."

"How ? Has somebody invented a time machine so I can go back and ask The Marquis of Queensbury ?"

"DNA silly. We simply match our Bosie's DNA with a sample from Lord Alfred."

"But he died in 1945 Matthew !"

"And we have his special keepsakes of Oscar Wilde."

"What good will they do ?"

"The lock of hair."

"Of course !" How stupid and short-sighted I had been. My ignorance was preventing the discovery of the truth I had been searching for.

"It's a simple enough test," Matthew said, "and there are people at the university who can do it for us."

So that was arranged and confirmed that Destiny was not sleeping but indeed very active within our lives. Bosie was related to the Douglas's. I knew that when the time was right I would have to tell him.

All three of us were able to attend Matthew's investiture at Buckingham Palace, a regal and grand affair. As Matthew knelt before the Queen my mind went all the way back to the young fresh Matthew I had first seen in my English class when he had been eighteen years old. I giggled softly as I remembered how I fancied the pants off him. As the Queen raised the ceremonial sword over him and brought it down on his shoulder I had the nasty thought of that brutish headmaster raising a cane of rattan over my beloved Matthew in a futile attempt to destroy our relationship at it's start. I hoped the fool could see us now, and was sure that Destiny would be showing him the error of his ways.

Not long after the investiture Matthew received a letter from the current headmaster of his old school inviting him to be the guest of honour and present the prizes at the annual speech day later in the year.

"I can't wait to tell him where he can shove that !" he declared. "Of all the cheek !"

But I persuaded Matthew he should go along, it was a totally different headmaster now, times had changed and even the cane was something that belonged to history.

"I'll think about it," he said. "And that's as far as it goes."

And that was as far as it went, Matthew did not attend the speech day and hand out the prizes.

I had also been thinking, thinking about what I was going to say to Bosie about his ancestral heritage. The results of the DNA test Matthew organised at the university were ninety percent conclusive that Bosie was indeed a Douglas and descended from the infamous Marquis of Queensbury.

It took a long time to explain, not only the story of Bosie Douglas and Oscar Wilde but how Boise had, in the later part of his life, befriended Professor Coldrick who had been my mentor and predecessor of the position Matthew now held at Balliol College. Our Bosie knew of our dance with Destiny so understood how I believed he was a part of the theatre unfolding.

"So I really am an aristocrat ?" Bosie said.

I tried to explain the way the English upper class system works. "Any son born to a marquis automatically becomes a lord," I began. "The oldest son inherits the title on his father's death and it passes down the line. But the title with all other sons stops with them. Bosie, Lord Alfred Douglas, was the third son of the Marquis of Queensbury. His older brother committed suicide but there was another brother before Bosie who took the title. So Bosie's title stopped when he died. Your great-great-great grandfather was born in the same year as Bosie himself, 1870, but as an illegitimate son and one Queensbury appears to have discarded all responsibility for had no title."

"I see. What about the line that did inherit the titles ?"

"There is a present Marquis of Queensbury, Lord David Douglas but he has no sons, just three daughters so the line is not going to pass directly from him. Lord Alfred did have a son but there is no direct descendant from him. Your line traces back through your mother to Queensbury who was Bosie Douglas's father but you are still one of the closes descendants save for the illegitimacy of your great-great-great grandfather."

"Wow. But I'm not a lord ?"

"No I'm sorry Bosie you are not a lord."

I have always worked from home, my writing and lecturing activities are well suited to my having a small study in the house and it has always been much easier for Mum to be my PA that way. But the accommodation of a radio station, however small and internet based, was not going to easily fit into our domestic arrangements.

Bosie had lost none of his ambition and enthusiasm to head the world's first Internet gay radio station and had shown his total commitment in the large sum of money he had managed to save. It was time for his dream to become a reality and it was time for Matthew and I to help him achieve this. He had been living with us for almost two years and we decided that his eighteenth birthday should be the time to begin work on his project. Matthew and I talked about how we could help, how far we needed to go and how to support Bosie without taking over his idea but all our deliberations were a waste of time for our old friend Destiny had already made all the plans that were needed.

Bosie came home one evening a little distressed explaining that the owner of the record shop was wanting to sell up and he did not know if a new owner, whoever it turned out to be, would want to keep him on.

"I was kind of hoping to keep working there until the radio station was working properly."

Matthew and I looked at each other and out thoughts passed from mind to mind in total agreement as to what should be done.

"The business is up for sale ?" Matthew said.

"Yes," Bosie confirmed sadly.

"Then perhaps it should be you who buys it."

Bosie smiled, "I have been saving ever so hard but I don't have that much money."

"We do," I said.

The business was in a freehold property with a shop and office on the ground floor and a flat on the two floors above. There was ample space to run a radio station via the internet and provide some living accommodation. Hours of anguish followed among us all as it was debated if Bosie should leave our home and live there. It made so much sense for him to move in but he didn't want to leave us and we did not want him to go. Then Destiny played another card, this time in Bosie's life.

With the legal paperwork almost complete and Bosie soon to be the new owner of the shop he met and fell in love with Jonathan. Just as Matthew and my love had been instant so was theirs and who were we to question their sincerity ? I must admit a slight sense of unease at the situation, wondering if this Jonathan, or Jon as he liked to be called, was chasing a part in Bosie's money but it appeared not. Three years older than Bosie, Jon was a post graduate student at Oxford on a scholarship program with Harvard University in America.

"I've checked him out," Matthew said. "He has a business degree from Harvard, his father's a US senator and I hardly think he is after a part in Bosie's record shop or internet radio station. And besides can't you see how much in love they are ?"

And so our son left home. The house was suddenly empty without him. Matthew and I both shed a tear when he left.

Of course we still saw Bosie several times each week, he and Jon were regular visitors and we were constantly invited to meals at their flat.

"So what are your plans when you finish your time at Oxford ?"

He looked at Bosie and then at me. Bosie answered for him.

"Jon and I intend to get married and then we want to work together on the radio station. I'll be the creative side while Jon will manage all the business affairs."

"Married ?" I said a little incredulously and sounding like a father checking out the prospects of his child's intended.

"It's kind of unofficial still," Jon said, "but the State of Nevada has started to sanction gay marriage."

"I see."

"We have to be careful though," Jon explained. "My parents know that I am gay and are fairly cool about it but they wouldn't take too kindly if the tabloid press decided to make some kind of thing about it."

"Your father's a politician isn't he ?"

"Yes, he's the democrat senator for New York. If Bill Clinton is elected for a second term Dad has been promised a part in his administration. The Old Man's ambitious I wouldn't be surprised if he did not see himself as president one day. Then god help us all !"

No, the son of a future president of the United States of America wasn't after our Bosie for his record shop or radio station, they were indeed in love.

That night in bed Matthew whispered, "Perhaps we should get married, fancy a trip to Nevada ?"

"But we are married."

"We made a vow in Paris but we don't have a certificate or anything to prove it."

"Who needs a certificate ?"


***


We had been together since I was twenty-four and Matthew just eighteen, half a lifetime and we loved one another more with every day that passed. How fortunate we were, how happy we were, we had everything and Destiny appeared to have been tamed. Matthew would soon be forty and we would then have been together for close on twenty-two years. Twenty-two wonderful, happy years and we still has as many and more ahead of us.

I hadn't made a chart and put it up in the kitchen as Matthew had done for me but careful and intricate plans were afoot to celebrate my lover's special birthday. It had been a good summer and the long range forecast said the sunshine would last into the autumn, so we took a chance and held Mathew's party outdoors. But just in case we has a marquee put up in the garden. Mum masterminded everything from the catering to the music, I swear her administrative powers increased by the day. Bosie had to wrestle with her to be allowed to at lease have an input in to booking the music, he managed to obtain a great little group to provide background music throughout the day and as the highlight a well known group from the late sixties that was still doing the rounds and appeared to have lost none of its talent over the decades. We had a team of caterers offering a giant finger buffet as well as a pig roast and traditional barbecue.

The guest list was so big we decided to have an open house with a garden party in the afternoon and to run into a disco and traditional party in the evening. So many, many people came along to make the day perfect in every way. One of the guests was the Master of Balliol College. He took me to one side and confided in me.

"Your Matthew," he said, "is a special character. International renowned academic, best selling author a knight of the realm and the youngest professor in the history of the college. How long is it now since he took up the chair of English at Balliol ?"

I thought and counted mentally the years.

"I have decided that I am going to retire at the end of the coming academic year so Balliol will need to find a new Master."

I thought to protest that he was too young to retire but decided to lat the wiry old fox complete his tale. He was up to something ?

"The Senate will want the college to draw up a short list from which to appoint my successor. The college will expect me to draw up that list."

He paused.

"I have been thinking to put Matthew's name on that list."

I moved to speak but said nothing.

"Indeed I have decided that I will be putting the name of Dr Sir Matthew Parker's on the list to be the next Master of Balliol College."

I was excited for my lover. "And how many names will there actually be on the list Master ?" I asked.

He smiled at me. "Oh," he said, "I don't thing we need to worry the Senate by putting any other names on the list."

There have been many times over the years when I have had cause to feel deep pride at the achievements of Matthew: those first A level results, his degree, his first novel, the knighthood, the list goes on and on but the prospect of my dearest Matthew becoming Master of Balliol College caused the warmest feeling ever within me.

"And he is young enough," The Master continued, "to finish as Vice Chancellor of the University. You mark my words Noel that's where he is heading."

Before I could say anything there was a change of voice on the music PA. Our adopted son Bosie had the microphone and was calling us all to sing Happy Birthday to Matthew.

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!.

Happy Birthday Doctor Professor Sir Matthew Parker !.

Happy Birthday to you !

Then Bosie kind of took over the music and gave us his own special entertainment. He is such a talented musician and singer who I think could have made himself a brilliant career as a performer had he so chosen. As he sang a tear jerking version of Bridge Over Troubled Water I thought back to that day when I first heard him sing and play our piano, just a week or so after he had come into our lives. Since then he had become such an integral part of our own destiny and he was as much a blessing as any son could be. He never saw or heard from his true parents again, Matthew and I had taken their place.

So Matthew passed the Life Begins at Forty stage and looked set to become the next Master of Balliol College and indeed a year later that was exactly what happened. I was offered a new television series, a major sequence of programmes on great British writers of the twentieth century. We featured Agatha Cristie, Tolkein, Graham Green and I managed to include my dear Oscar Wild although he wasn't strictly twentieth century.

Success was chasing us both and offering as much of its gift as we would take from it. Bosie and Jon we doing incredibly well with their internet radio station which they had names Surftime Radio and Mum was still working as my PA. In spite of my offering her the chance to put her feet up she steadfastly refused to retire.

And so with more than our fair share of success, happiness and good health Matthew, I and went through the years towards the end of the twentieth century. It had been such a long time since Destiny had dealt us any form of a bad card and only aces, interspersed occasionally with the odd picture card were turned face upwards on our table of life. Nothing could have been better.


***


Had it not been for just one thing I could have looked forward with unbounded enthusiasm to the new millennium and the year 2000. That thing was that within that famous milestone of time would fall my fiftieth birthday. FIFTY !! What a terrible age to be. I knew of course that everyone would use my advancing age as an excuse for another party, was it really ten years since my fortieth ? Matthew and I had been together for over twenty-five years. I loved him more with each day that passed and I know that he loved me in exactly the same way.

As the last months of 1999 passed a kind of fear began to develop in certain parts of society that December 31st 1999 would spell the end of the world. Or the end of the world as we knew it. This became known as the Y2K phenomena. The 1990's saw the world become more and more and more dependant on computers. They regulated our lives in more ways that anyone cared to consider, that is save for the Y2K prophets of doom. They would have us believe that computers the world over would fail as their internal clocks could not cope with the change in date from 1999 to 2000. Machines regulating our water, gas and electricity would fail. Traffic lights everywhere would cease to work bringing the whole world to a position of grid-lock. You name it, it would fail. Anarchy would then take over. Pessimists stock piled food and other supplies to the point where supermarket shares felt the rise. Governments issued reassurance but those who were prepared to trust their lives to a micro chip at midnight on December 31st 1999 included just a handful. Airline bookings for doomsday were negligible and most elected to celebrate the New Year and the New Millennium from the safety of their own homes.

Not Matthew and I.

There was no way that Destiny was going to allow the world to end in such a way, after all it needed the world and the people within it so it could play its games with them. Perhaps I am being unfair as Destiny had been good to us for such a long time and perhaps I should give it due recognition for this. Yes, I will do so and reiterate that I knew it would allow Y2K to pass just the same as any other New Year.

So what were Matthew and I up to on New Years Eve 1999 ?

British Airways was offering a champagne celebration beginning with lunch in London then a Concord flight to New York, landing safely ahead of the witching hour, with a celebration party in Time Square and accommodation at the Waldorf Astoria. We booked ourselves two tickets. And what a celebration it was. We partied until we were fit to drop, no longer the youthful pair we had been when we first met we still found all the energy we wanted and made sure that 1999 passed with a bang and 2000 began with an even bigger bang.

We returned home and a couple of weeks before the new term was due to begin for Matthew and more work to begin on the next part of my television series. A few lazy days to rest and basically do nothing was appealing. But we hadn't been back from New York for long when Matthew appeared to be ill. That first morning he was slow to get out of bed, was sick and looked grey. I wanted to call the doctor but Matthew would not hear of it.

"You can not risk anything," I said to him.

"I'll be fine, don't worry," he smiled.

But the smile was thin and did not conceal the truth. I insisted and made an appointment for him at the surgery that afternoon. That appointment was only a few hours away but in the time of waiting his condition became worse. I was worried. Matthew fell asleep in the chair, something I had never known him to do before. He was now retired but I called our friend Geoff who had performed Matthew's transplant. I was lucky to catch him as Geoff was that very day leaving for a holiday. He called by on his way to the airport. He was not inside our house for five minutes before he called an ambulance and Matthew was admitted to Oxford Royal Infirmary.

This was all so reminiscent of times in the past when Matthew had been rushed into hospital, his life on an edge. But I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that something this time was different.

Every day since the transplant Matthew had taken life maintaining anti-rejection medication, drugs that maintained his immune system at a low enough level to protect the kidney and still protect him from illness. His taking the medication was routine and something we thought nothing of any more, it had become a natural part of our lives.

Something was wrong with the finely balanced prescription of medication. Matthew was ill. Blood was taken and rushed to by analysed. Consultants appeared and thoroughly examined him, their opinions were all the same. Matthew had an infection, they were not certain what it was and could not even speculate where he had picked it up. This mystery virus was attacking his kidney and it was failing, the function had dropped to a dangerously low level. And there was more, his liver too was ceasing to function properly.

"But that's his own, I mean it's not transplanted," I said feebly.

The reply was a sympathetic smile and I knew things were serious. I realised just how serious they were when Geoff cancelled his holiday and came into the hospital. He spoke with us both, then with me alone.

"It's not good Noel," he said gravely, "Matthew has something, some virus - we don't know what it could be something simple that you or I would not be affected by but his immune system can not fight it off. He's going to lose the transplant."

How terrible, after all those years of being healthy.

"It'll have to be removed," he explained.

"When ?"

"The doctors want to do it immediately."

"But that will mean dialysis."

"It will but it's our only chance to try and fight this virus. You know his liver isn't working properly."

I nodded.

"I'll be honest with you Noel," he said. "I'm not practicing myself now of course and I'm not one hundred percent up to date with all the latest methods and thinking but Matthew is on the edge of multiple organ failure."

I knew what that meant.

There were oh so many questions I wanted answers to but there was neither time to ask nor to understand the answers. Destiny had deal the last card of the pack.

I went back to my dearest Matthew's bedside and took his hand. I tried to smile and conceal what I knew, but he knew himself of course. He isn't a medic but he is one of the world's leading academics and could understand how bleak things were looking. Mum was with us as they took him away to theatre and for the first time I looked at her and saw how much she had aged.

"We need to prepare ourselves," she said to me as Matthew was wheeled away.

"Oh no," I cried with tears running down my face. "He's going to be all right."

"Let us hope so Noel," she said softly. "There is always a chance."

So many times in my life I have begged Destiny but all of those times put together could not begin to reach the force with which I begged while Matthew was in the operating theatre. I called Bosie and Jon to let them know the news. Both were in America visiting Jon's parents but said they would take the first available flight home.

"Come quickly," I sobbed. I could say no more to them.

Matthew came back from the operation minus the kidney I had given him in our youth. The Master of Balliol College was asleep and looked so ill. He had aged in the few hours he had been away and it was hard to see that eighteen year old schoolboy I had first seen and had always seen in him ever since. A biopsy showed that there was indeed something attacking his liver and it's function too was failing.

Mum had been talking to the doctors, I could not bear to leave Matthew's side to listen to them and I feared with terror what they had to say. She returned and took me away from the bedside.

"We're going to have to let him go Noel."

"No !" I screamed. "Never !"

I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably in her arms. Arms that had suddenly become frail and yet still had the strength to hold and comfort me.

"He'll be with us for a little longer," she said. "They say perhaps thirty-six or forty-eight hours but then he'll just fall asleep and not wake up again."

My heart was breaking and my chest heaving with sobs. Destiny how cruel. This could not be happening, he had been so well and full of life but two days ago. Surely Destiny would turn another card just as it had so many times before but what cards were left to turn ?

"We have to be strong for him," she said.

Strong ? I could not be strong. I have spent more than half of my life with Matthew, he is everything to me and there can be no life without him. I am forty-nine years old, how we had joked about my approaching fifty, but that could be just a part of the life I have to live before my own time comes. How ever can I live for a single day without Matthew ? Strong ? There is no way I can do it.

Miracles do happen, of course they do. How many times had Destiny taken us to the brink and then handed out a miracle ? This would be the same. Wouldn't it ? Won't it ? I'm confused, a PhD and I don't know what tense I am writing in ! What am I writing ? What ? Who for ?

With Matthew unconscious and attached to more wires, tubes and monitors than I can here describe I left him for a time while I went home and collected my laptop computer. Matthew I'm writing this our story for you, I want to put down our fantastic, wonderful, loving life together. I will never be able to tell how much I love you but I am going to try.

Oh Matthew how am I going to be able to live without you ? My heart is breaking at the thought. Do you remember telling me once when you were fighting to keep the transplant and the doctors lowered your immune system that you weren't ready yet for the angels ? Tell me that again please ! Please !

When I have finished writing our story I am going to print every word out and have one of those specialist bookbinders in Oxford who add the finishing tough to many a students' thesis and bind my words in the finest leather.

Oh Matthew don't leave me. Please don't go. Destiny please find another card to play. There is time. Isn't there ? Matthew I want you to be able to read this before you leave me. Leave me - please don't leave me. Destiny please be kind.

Matthew came round after four hours, it was so good to see his smile again. He was weak and fading slowly but he was still there. I took his hand and squeezed it tightly. "Everything will be all right," I said.

He nodded.

I told him about the autobiography, about my telling our story of love.

"That's nice," Matthew said. "I look forward to reading it but don't take too long before you finish."

Oh Matthew don't leave me.

"The angels have their arms open," Matthew said. "Let them hold me for a while, I'll miss you Noel but it won't be for ever. We'll be together again at some time. Destiny will not be able to keep us apart. For ever and beyond, remember ? And we have eternity you know.

Y2K ? Destiny may have spared the world its Armageddon but what had it done to us ? Matthew, my darling beloved Matthew we are parting aren't we ? I can't bear it, my heart is torn into tiny shreds. I pray that the angels will take care of you, that they will hold you in their arms until I can come to you. What will I do without you ? I love you Matthew, I love you, I love you, I love you !

And I will love you for ever and beyond. Beyond anything Destiny can ever contemplate. For ever and beyond.





Daddy gets a rub down

I was lying in bed in my boxers. I had such a back ache. Just then I heard, "Good morning, Daddy."

"Good morning, son." I turn my head and I could see a real nice bulge forming in his undies.

"No school today, son?"

"No! The college is closed today. What are you going to do today, Daddy?"

"I have one hell of a back ache. I think I am going to just take it easy for today."

"Would you like me to give you a rub down?"

"Yes, I would like that very much."

He sat beside me in bed.

"Turn over and show me were the pain is."

"Right down there."

He grab my boxers.

"Lift your ass up. That's it."

My cock was getting hard, as he pulled the boxers off of me. I felt his hand rub against my cock. He looked at me and smiled. He just finished pulling the boxers off of me.

"Now I can get started."

He spread my legs apart so he could sit between them. He took the lotion and poured it on my back. He started to rub my shoulders. He slowly worked his way down my back to the top of my ass.

I felt his fingers going into my ass crack.

"Ohhhhh!!"

"You like that, Daddy?"

"Oh, yes, I do. It feels so good."

He worked his finger to my hole. He rubbed on my hole just a little.

"Oh, yes, son, that feels so good."

"Does Daddy likes his son playing with his hole?"

"Yes, very much so."

Just then he started to insert his finger inside my hole.

"Oh, yes, son, don't stop. It feels so good."

He stuck his finger in all the way and started to finger fuck my ass. I felt his finger starting to pull out of me.

"Did Daddy like that?"

"Yes, Daddy loved it very much."

"Does Daddy want his son's cock?"

"Yes, Daddy wants his son's cock."

I turn to take a look at his hard cock. I knew he had a long cock. It was even longer than I thought. His cock was also slim. He grabbed his cock and shook it at me.

"Does Daddy like his son's cock?"

"Oh, yes, Daddy really likes it."

He put his cock on top of my hole.

"You ready, Daddy?"

"Yes, son, give it to Daddy."

He started to push his cock deep inside of me. He never stopped until he was in all the way. I felt his balls resting on my ass cheeks.

"Daddy, you have all of my cock. Does Daddy want his son to start to fuck his ass?"

"Yes, son, please fuck Daddy real good."

He started to fuck my ass. In just a few short strokes his cock was getting harder. He started to yell out, "I am going to cum real soon."

"Oh, yes, son, fill your daddy's hole full of your cum."

"Daddy! Daddy I am going to cum." He gave his cock one hard push and just held it there. "Daddy, I am cumming!"

"Oh, yes, son, give Daddy all of your cum."

Just then he laid back down. He slowly started to pull his cock out of me.

"Oh, Daddy I waited for a very long time to love you like this."

"Yes, son, I waited just as long also."

He rolled off of me. I rolled over and put my arm around his neck and pulled him closer to me. We kissed and hugged.

"Daddy?"

"Yes, son!"

"I want you to fuck me also. I want your cum inside me also."





Two lonely men

When I reached my fortieth birthday, I had been married for nine years, with two kids, but since the divorce two years ago I saw the kids only on holidays. You see, I was straight, or so I thought. Where I grew up, there wasn't really much choice, not then anyway. There were what we called 'queers' around though, guys that dressed funny, and wiggled when they walked, but I never got involved in the popular sport of gay bashing like some of my friends did. I felt let other people live their lives their own way. I shied away from any of the guys at school, and later at college, and at the office, however, who were openly queer. I wouldn't be caught dead talking to any of them. You know how it is. You are known by the company you keep. I certainly wasn't gay! But I admit, I was curious.

I was thirty-two when I got married. "About time," my father said. I thought so too, and that's why I did it. I thought I tried to convince myself that I was in love when I married Christine, I wanted it to be love, but it wasn't, at least not the physical kind, and we both knew it almost as soon as the honeymoon was over. She just didn't turn me on. I really had to work hard at the sex thing with her, and we never had sex with the lights on. Truth is, I couldn't look at her naked body. I didn't find it attractive, and I was always embarrassed when I saw her that way. I used to have to really try hard to keep my cock up long enough to climax, and I think she knew it. After we came home from Miami, and settled into our new house and our regular routine, sex became a Saturday night thing that neither of us really enjoyed. Once, we thought about going to a marriage clinic, but didn't. We tried porno flicks, but I found myself watching the men, and was afraid that she would notice, so I told her I didn't like them. Our sex became routine. Sort of like, we had to do it because we were married. By the time our second child, a daughter, was born, we didn't have sex any more. That's probably why our marriage fell apart. We tried to keep up the pretense for the kids, slept in the same bed, and all that, but that didn't work for long, and one day Christine and the kids were gone. I wasn't sorry. Sort of relieved, really.

I don't mind the child support payments, and Christine asks nothing for herself. I make enough money, and I really do love my kids, now a six year old boy and a four year old girl, both smart, lots of fun, just like their mother was before we got married. She took them to her parents' home town, about fifty miles from here, and they help care for the kids while she works. I stayed in the city - the suburbs, really. Actually, it's a small town very near the city which has managed to keep its own identity while serving as a bedroom community for the upper middle class. I left the office and began to work out of my home. People thought I was depressed about my marriage breakup. Maybe I was depressed, but it was not really because Christine left. I just didn't know who I was, or what I was. Now I'm forty, and no better off.

I had all the normal sexual urges. I used to pick up porno mags in the city, and I masturbated a lot, usually in the washroom at the train station on my way home from work. I visited the porno web pages lots of times when Christine went to bed early with her headaches. I had a few favourites, and found myself first going to bi pages, then increasingly to gay pages. Just curious, I thought. No harm in that, is there? I kept doing it after Christine left, and even started bookmarking the sites I like best. No I spend hours every night going from site to site, and masturbating, alone.

One night, almost by accident, I signed on to a gay chat group for the first time. I'd never joined a chat group before. It changed my life. I gave an anonymous sort of user name - Bert. Can you imagine it? Other guys had nicknames like 'stud.muffin' or 'Big.D'. Mine was simply 'Bert'. It was actually the short form of my own name, but I was always called Robert and I was sure no one would recognize me if they read my messages. No one I knew would ever think I'd write to a gay chat line.

Anyway, this night I read a few messages, from guys looking for action, guys looking for teens, guys willing to suck anyone under 20 anywhere anytime, but I was over forty, well past the horny teenager stage - they wouldn't be interested in me. Their interest in young guys kind of turned me on though. I wondered what it would be like - having a horny 18 year old bury his face between my legs. I'd never had a blow job. Christine thought it was dirty, and so did I, I guess. Still, I wondered what it would be like for me to have my face buried in a young guy's crotch, to have his cock in my mouth, to smell his body odor, up close and personal.

I had nothing to compare it with. I never even had a jerk-off partner, not even when I was in high school. But I could dream, and the dreams left me with wet briefs when I would wake up. I never had wet dreams about Christine. What was going on, I wondered? Was I gay? Other guys my age didn't turn me on, just the thoughts of sex with these virile young men, no more than boys, really.

It happened after supper one Tuesday evening. I booted up the computer and signed on to a gay group. It was local, I could tell, from the area code of most of the phone numbers that were given by some of the guys on the line. I scanned down till I came to a message that went something like this:

"Hi guys,

This is my very first time on a gay chat line. I'm a bit nervous - no, I'm scared shitless! I've never had sex with a guy before, so if I connect, this will be my first time. I know other guys say this, but I really mean it. Tonight's my birthday. I'm eighteen, and I'm home, alone. I waited till tonight because now I'm legal. Can anyone out there help me celebrate?

Signed, A reluctant virgin"

I don't know why this struck me. I guess it was because I wanted to believe that this guy was telling the truth. If I connected, it would be my first time too, and though I now knew that I wanted to do it for weeks, even months - hell, probably for years - I was scared shitless myself. I decided to write back to him. Couldn't hurt, I thought. He won't know who Bert really is.

"Hi reluctant," I wrote. "I was touched by your message. I know it's a difficult thing to want something so much for so long. I'm the same way. But I'm over forty. Does that matter? Like you, I'm a virgin - at least to man-to-man sex. I was married for a while, so I know how to fuck, but I don't know about anything else. Write back if you're interested in knowing more about me. I'll wait. Signed, Bert."

He must have been waiting for an answer to his message, because he wrote back to me within a few minutes.

"Hi Bert," he wrote. "Shit, I don't care if you're over forty, just so long as you're not over eighty! That would be like seducing my grandfather! Ha, ha. That's a joke Bert.

"I will tell you some things about myself. I'm not what you would call handsome. I've got red hair, sort of dark red, really, verging on a brown, and cut short. I have some freckles still, though not as many as I had when I was a kid. My mom used to say they were beauty spots, but the girls at my school didn't seem to agree. They used to tease me something awful! I'm athletic. I played basketball in intermurals, also volleyball, and a bit of soccer in the summer, but the coaches used to tell me I wasn't aggressive enough, so I never made the school team or anything. I'm kinda smart, a senior in high school with good marks, which is not exactly what the in-crowd likes either. I'm 5'11", and weigh about 150. I'm not fat, but I'm not muscular either. As far as the sex thing, I've never done it with a guy. Hell, I've never done it with anyone! My right hand has been my friend since puberty! Ha, ha. That's another little joke. Write back to me if you like. I'll wait." This time, his message was signed, "Hopeful".

I wrote back immediately. "Hi Hopeful. I was never the athletic type either, but I'm in good shape, I think. I like to play golf, so I walk a lot. I watch what I eat, and try to take care of myself. I'm just over six feet - or I was when I was younger. I don't think I've measured myself in twenty years! I weigh about 185 I think - haven't weighed myself either for a long time. My pants still fit around the waist, and that's thirty-four inches, if that tells you anything. Actually, my pant size is 34-34, and has been since about 20 years. I like 'smart'. I was considered a bit of a nerd at school, actually. I loved Math and Science especially. I work with computers now. I live in the 569 exchange. Are you anywhere near that? I'm living alone now. My wife left two years ago, and took our kids with her, but I won't talk about that unless you ask. I'd like to meet you, if you're willing. How about a coffee? We could meet, if you're not too far away. Signed, Bert."

"Dear Bert," came the reply. "I'm in the 569 exchange too, so we must be fairly close. Do you know the little doughnut and coffee shop at the corner of Marshall and Kennedy? It's not far from my house. I can easily walk to it. I don't have the car, you see, as my folks went away on a business trip. I've been home alone since Sunday, and they are not going to be back before the weekend. I'm old enough to man the fort, my father said. They said we'd celebrate my eighteenth birthday when they got home. I'm not holding my breath, though. They don't put much store in birthdays and Christmases, things like that. They always forget to buy me presents. They usually just give me money instead. As a result, I've got a great CD collection! Ha, ha. That's another joke, by the way, just in case you're missing the humor here.

Anyway, I'm going to walk down to Marshall and Kennedy. I'll be there by 7:30. I'll be wearing a burgundy polo shirt, blue jean cutoffs, and black sneakers. Remember my red hair? It's my most easily recognizable feature, I guess. I'll wear my white ball cap. You can check me out if you like. If you don't show up, or speak to me by 8:00, I'll know you weren't interested and no harm done. But I hope you'll come. Signed, Waiting For You."

Marshall and Kennedy was only two blocks away. This kid was right in my neighbourhood! I stripped out of my clothes and took a quick shower and a shave. I dressed neatly in casual slacks and a button shirt, and was out the door by 7:15. I wanted to be inside the coffee shop when the boy arrived. I walked, trying not to look like I was hurrying, since there were several neighbours out and about as I went past. I was sure everyone who looked at me could read my mind and knew where I was going and why. Silly, I know, but that's how it was.

I had a coffee in my hand and was in a seat facing the door when he walked in. I recognized him right away. He was pretty well exactly as he described himself, but he was wrong about one thing - he really was very good looking, at least I thought so. But then, I think I was in love with him already, so I was probably biased. He had a very good build, with broad shoulders, fairly muscular arms, and though his shirt was loose, you could tell by the way it hung on him that he had a nice chest, solid, but not bulging. His legs were long, and covered in light, downy reddish hair, darker up near the edges of his cutoffs. I thought he was very sexy, but he didn't seem to be aware of it. Perhaps that's why the girls ignored him. They look for the guys who seem to ooze sex out of every pore! They'll give you a quick time, but not a long time, I thought. Girls are so stupid when it comes to relationships. They were fools to leave him alone. I'm surprised the boys did too. He really melted my resistance. But I was still afraid - what if people found out? My reputation would be destroyed, I'd loose my job, loose contact with my kids....

The boy bought his coffee and took his place in a seat by the door. He sipped the hot drink slowly, and watched as each person entered. He looked shy, and kinda scared. It took guts to do what he was doing. It was going to take guts for me to approach him! I waited, and watched.

The half-hour was nearly up, the last seconds ticking away, and the boy seemed to deflate. He just sort of sagged, as if he was very disappointed. He turned and scanned the room, but I tried not to make eye contact. He looked very close to crying. His head kinda drooped, and his shoulders sagged. He looked like he was losing his confidence.

I had to make my move, or forget the whole thing. When he stood up, threw his coffee cup in the waste basket, and headed for the door, I made up my mind instantly and moved quickly, reaching for the handle just ahead of him and opening the door for him. He looked up and smiled limply. He started to go through the doorway when at last I got the courage to speak.

"I saw you sitting there," I said. "You looked like you were waiting for someone."

"I was," the boy replied. "I guess I missed him."

I gulped, and looked him straight in the eyes. "My name's Bert," I said, almost choking on the words, fearing his rejection.

His face lit up immediately. He gave me a broad smile that just about melted me. "Hi Bert," he said. "I'd just about given up hope. My real name's Bob. Bob and Bert. Now there's a pair!" He laughed.

I wasn't about to tell him how funny it really was, for my name was really Robert. Bob was a short form for my name, just as Bert was. I started to laugh too, and he thought it was about the Bert and Bob thing.

"Wanna go for a walk and talk?" he said.

"Sure," I replied and followed him out the door.

Well, we did go for that walk, and we did talk. He told me about his family, and about school, and about how lonely he had been, with no one who understood how hard it was to be young and shy and gay in a straight neighbourhood, and I told him how lonely I had been, refusing to admit I was gay, and trying to live a married life that was a lie. We walked and walked, and when we ended up right in front of my house, it was about 9:30.

"This is my place," I said. "Wanna come in?"

He blushed. This was another of those decision times.

"Don't say yes unless you really want to," I assured him. "I'll understand."

He didn't have to think long.

"Sure," Bob said. Then he smiled, his confidence restored.

We entered together and after a quick look around, and a few comments about the place, I led him to the den in the rear of the house. I pulled the drapes, turned off the ceiling light, leaving only some soft accent lights, and put on a CD re-release of Simon and Garfunkle.

"This may not be your kind of music," I said.

"It's fine," he replied. "Anything you like is fine with me. When you come to my house, I'll show you some of the music I like." He sat down on the leather couch and looked up at me, a question in his eyes.

I sat down beside him, and I could tell he was nervious. I put my hand on his thigh and felt him stiffen. "Whenever you want this to stop," I said, "just tell me. I don't want to do anything to hurt you, or frighten you. I'm new at this too, and I'm not quite sure how to proceed."

Bob relaxed. "In the movies, they always start with a kiss," he said with a deep red blush that made his few remaining freckles jump right out at me. He turned his head towards me and waited, but not for long. I leaned over and pressed my lips against his, gently at first, with lips only slightly parted. He started to open his lips, and I followed. His tongue entered my mouth, and I tasted him for the first time. I licked his tongue with my own, pressing harder against him. He put his arms around me and hugged me to him. We explored each other's mouths with our tongues, breathing heavily now through our nostrils, his hot breath searing my cheek. We explored each other's bodies with our hands. I pressed mine to his chest, feeling for his nipples. Not like Christine's, I thought, not large and bulbous, but firm, and hard, and on a youthful, muscular chest. I slipped my hand under his shirt and felt the chest again, searching for the nipples. He shifted his weight and pressed against me till I leaned back on the arm of the couch. It seemed he was going to take charge, so I just let him. Though my need was great, his seemed to be greater.

Bob reached down and felt my hard cock which had been pressing against his side. He felt along its entire eight inch length, longer now it seemed than usual, and harder. In fact, I'd never ever felt this turned on in the nine years I was married to Christine. He reached for my hand and drew it down to his own crotch and there I found myself feeling a boy's cock for the very first time in my life. It sent shivers of pleasure surging through my body. Bob felt it, and groaned. Our lips parted and he kissed my neck, deep, sucking kisses. I thought for an instant about the hickies of my youth, and then forgot about them. I lifted my neck as he explored me with his tongue.

I was getting hotter and hotter. I wanted to open my shirt to get some air, and reached up to undo the top button. Bob reacted instinctively, and started opening the others. He reached in and felt my chest, hairier than his, but not too thick. His was almost bare, just little wisps of light hair.

Bob left my neck long enough for me to pull his shirt off over his head. He finished opening the last of the buttons and pulled my shirt back over my shoulders, trapping my arms behind me. Before I could get them out of the sleeves, he began sucking on my nipples, which got harder and harder under the spell of his hot, moist tongue. I shrugged off the shirt, and reached for his belt as his lips found mine again, our upper bodies pressed firmly together, our skin touching, with only my hands between us, working his belt buckle loose. That accomplished, I reached for the zipper and began to draw it down. He lifted his hips off me to give my hands a chance to do their work, and when the zipper reached the bottom, I plunged my hand inside, finding his throbbing six inch hard cock there, waiting for me. As soon as I grasped it, he groaned again, and collapsed against me. But then he lifted himself and reached for my belt. In a few seconds he had his hand wrapped firmly around my hard cock. I was in heaven!

It was not easy to push his cutoffs over his hips, but once he knew what I was doing, he hoisted himself up again to give me room. Cutoffs and white briefs came together, and I felt his hard, hot, moist cock slap against my belly. By this time, he was pulling my pants down, but it was harder to do, with him on top of me. After a few failed attempts, he lifted himself off me, grabbed my pants and pulled them right down as I lifted my backside off the couch to help him. He didn't wait to get them off completely, however. It was as if his lips couldn't leave me alone long enough. With his shorts and my pants down around our knees, we resumed our passionate foreplay. He grabbed my throbbing cock and squeezed.

I was so horny by now, though, I needed to be brought to a climax. Whether he was ready or not, I needed release. I began to heave my hips up and down, driving my cock in and out of his fist. Realizing my need, he lowered himself down until he was kneeling on the floor in front of me. Forcing my pants down to my ankles, he pushed my knees apart and reached for my cock. He kissed it, then licked it, then took it in his mouth. I reached down with both hands and worked his head up and down, forcing him to take my cock down his throat. He gagged at first, but then relaxed, and my cock was soon sliding in and out, in and out, his tongue working hard along its sides. He reached for my balls with his free hand, and rolled them together, one slipping over and the other slipped under, back and forth, back and forth. The passion rose, my seamen was starting its short journey, and before either of us knew it, spurt after spurt of my hot cum hit the back of his throat. He seemed like he would choke at first, and a lot of it leaked out of his mouth as I continued to fuck his face, but he never let go, and he soon sucked me dry. He kept licking, and swallowing, my softening cock still in his throat.

Finally, he released me, and moved up to kiss me on the lips, my own seamen tasting salty in my mouth. But it was his turn now. He needed that divine release.

Bob leaned back, and to the side, and I managed to turn him over onto his back. I pulled his cutoffs and underwear off completely. He was left with only his sneakers and white socks. I began to lick him all over with my tongue. I tasted his eye lids, and his face, and his neck and his armpits. I loved the smell of him, and breathed him in deeply. I moved to his chest, nibbling at his light coating of downy hair, pulling on them gently with my lips. I found his nipples, and licked circles around one, then the other. Working lower, I licked the lint out of his belly button. It stuck to my tongue, and I had to pick it off with my hand. As I brought my fingers nearer to my nose, I could smell on them his fresh, wonderful boycock smell, and it was enough to make me cut right to the chase.

I reached his throbbing cock, that hard, lovely cock, that bounced as I touched it with my tongue. I tasted the salty precum, and then took him into my mouth. He moaned, and arched his back, pushing his cock deeper and deeper to the back of my throat. I was every bit as much a novice at this as he was, but I quickly figured out how to relax my throat, and the head of his cock slipped down till my nose was pressed right up against the base of his belly. I twisted my head this way and that way, and he moaned again. I drew back, and he whimpered, like a baby would when you take away his soother, so I drew him into my mouth again. In and out, in and out, he was beginning to buck, and twist, passion sweeping over him and controlling his every movement. He began to thrust his cock deeper and deeper, trying to reach my very soul. Fast and faster he bucked, his breathing rapid now, almost a snorting sound, the sound of passion nearing its peak.

Suddenly he grabbed my head, his hands pressed against my ears, his hips bucking, his breath racing, and his cock swelling even larger inside my mouth. The moment was upon him, and surge after surge of hot seamen erupted from his cock. Too much for me to swallow, it spilled out of my mouth as he plunged again and again, fast at first, then slower, as the passion subsided, and the moment passed. As he softened, I help him in my mouth, not wanting to let go, not wanting to lose him, not wanting this to be a one-night stand. Finally, though, I had to release him.

He drew my head up to his and kissed me on the lips, sucking in what seamen I didn't swallow. Then he hugged me to him, and I collapsed on top of him, exhausted. Neither of us moved for several minutes. I didn't want the spell to be broken. I realized that this was the first moment of true happiness in my entire life.

"Happy birthday Bob," I said. "I love you. I loved you in the height of passion, and I love you now that the passion has subsided. I will love you always, for the gift you gave me this evening. But I will make no demands on you, Bob. You are young. Your life is your own. I make no claims on it. I just thank you for coming into my life now, and being here, and with me this way, and I will always love you for this moment, forever."

The tears were running down my face. Bob wiped them with his hands, and then hugged me to him, tightly. "And I, you," he said simply. There were tears in his eyes as well, and we weren't lonely anymore.



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