After lunch, Adam turned his two hunters and Grey Owl and Goosefeather, all rugged up, out into the paddock, then he and Maurice set off along the track that led to the hut, the two dogs bounding along before them. The sun was shining, but clouds were piling up on the horizon to the west, threatening more snow. The track had grown over since the summer when the children had been up and down it all the time. Maurice had tried to suggest that he could go on his own, but Adam had been reluctant to let the boy out of his sight.
“No, I could do with a stroll, and besides, I’m sure you could use a hand carrying everything.” He had also slipped a pair of secateurs and a ball of string into his pocket after bringing to mind a large holly tree that he was sure would have berries on it.
Maurice looked uncomfortable when they finally reached the hut. Even covered by a layer of snow, it looked rundown and dilapidated.
“I’d meant to do it up a bit,” he said awkwardly, scuffing the snow with one toe.
Adam had bitten back the exclamation of horror that the thought of Maurice sleeping in such a place had prompted; instead he said bracingly, “Well, come along, get your kit stowed, and we’ll strike camp.”
Maurice gave him a grateful look, then pulled open the door and ducked inside. Adam stood, hesitating, outside. On the one hand he was intrigued to see the inside of the boy’s dwelling place; on the other, he had not been invited in, and he wasn’t sure if he could keep his tongue between his teeth if things were as bad as he feared. He decided to remain where he was, casually surveying the clearing.
Adam had ridden past the hut on any number of occasions, remarking only in passing the efforts of the children in building it and digging the canal and making a tree house of sorts in the branches of a nearby oak, but then he had been regarding it as merely a den for the children, not as the living quarters of a boy. He had caught snippets of conversations from his own children, mentioning the fact that Maurice lived in the hut at times, but he had dismissed them as make-believe...or even if Maurice did spend the occasional night there, it was in the summer time, and rather like camping out.
Now he knew the reality of the situation, he was even more concerned for Maurice’s wellbeing. The fact that his parents either didn’t know, or worse still, didn’t care that their son was fending for himself in a rundown den in the woods....
Maurice emerged from the dark interior of the hut with a large bag in his hands. The two dogs had been off hunting for rabbits, but at Adam’s whistle they came scampering back. He regarded the sack in Maurice’s hands. “Is that everything?”
Maurice nodded. “Well, it’s everything I need.” He slung the rucksack over his shoulder.
“Good-o. Now then, one more small task whilst we are in the woods. Why don’t you leave your pack in the hut for the moment; there is a holly tree just along the way that I am quite sure will have berries on.”
“Oh, I know the one,” Maurice said eagerly. “Yes it does, it’s covered in them. Are we going to get some for decorations?”
“Indeed we are, and look, I even came prepared.” Adam showed Maurice the contents of his pocket.
The holly tree was laden with berries, just as Maurice had said. “Sign of a hard winter, I believe,” Adam commented as they drew near. As he spoke, snow started to fall again; he glanced up into the sky, and laughed. “See?”
They collected two big bunches of holly, then, after collecting Maurice’s pack from the hut, they began to make their way back up the track to Siestan. Adam, in a moment of devilment, sneakily swiped a handful of snow off a branch, then, allowing Maurice to draw slightly ahead, he slipped it down the collar of the boy’s coat.
Retaliation came swiftly. After uttering a cry of surprise that made both dogs jump, Maurice bent and scooped up a large ball of snow, and, in one movement, hurled it at Adam. It degenerated into all-out war as the bundles of holly and Maurice’s bag were dropped to the ground to allow the combatants freer movement. The snow was hurled thick and fast, Sam and Ellita leaping about and barking madly, until Adam, with a practiced eye, caught Maurice smack in the face with a particularly large snowball. Laughing, he came up to the boy and, catching hold of Maurice’s shoulder, drew him close and used the end of his scarf to wipe the snow from Maurice’s face.
“Does this mean I win?” he enquired, his grey eyes alight with amusement.
Maurice grinned up at him. “Only round one, but just you wait, I’ll get you!”
Adam released him, and bent to pick up the bundles of holly. “Come on, we’d best get back before we’re turned into snowmen; we still have our trip to the nethermost regions of my house to look forward to...here be dragons’,” he added with a smile.
One half of the attics at Siestan had been taken over by Adam’s children. The door leading to their playroom bore their names: Peter had painstakingly carved his name onto a piece of wood; Jennifer’s name had been painted in watercolours with a border of flowers and ponies.
The other attic was a huge dusty chamber that stretched to the far end of the house and down the short wing that one of Adam’s ancestors had tacked onto the house in the mid eighteen hundreds. The discarded furniture and bric-a-brac of years was stowed under the eaves, and it took Maurice and Adam a good hour’s searching, by the light of two lanterns, before they finally discovered the three packing cases with ‘Christmas Decorations’ written on the labels. They hauled them downstairs into Adam’s study, and opened them up to survey the contents.
There were strings and strings of different coloured tinsel, garlands galore, baubles for the tree....
“Tree!” Adam said suddenly. “I’m blowed if we’ll have Christmas without a tree.” They had been seated on the floor; now Adam reached up to his desk and dragged down the telephone. A brief conversation later, and an eight foot Christmas tree was promised for the following morning. Maurice regarded Adam with admiration.
“Now we’ll have something to put our presents under,” Adam declared, then hurried on when he saw the flash of concern on Maurice’s face. “And somewhere to put all these retched baubles! Now, to my way of thinking, it seems rather an effort to decorate everywhere, so what say you we do in here, the hall and the library—where the tree will be?”
Maurice nodded. “I’m happy to do whatever you want; just tell me what to do.”
“Righty-ho then, let’s make a stab at the hall, then have some supper. If we feel like it, we can have a go in here later, all right?”
They set to with gusto, and an hour later then had made a creditable attempt at decorating the hallway. Standing by the front door, they regarded their efforts critically. “Hmm, well, I’ve no doubt Mrs Appleton would pitch a fit, but I think we’ve done rather well!” Adam declared.
“I think it looks splendid,” Maurice said. Indeed it did: whilst not perhaps quite as professional a job as Mrs Appleton, the housekeeper, and her maids would have accomplished, what the decorations lacked in sophistication they made up for in enthusiasm.
Adam slung an arm around Maurice’s shoulders. “Let’s eat, and then see if we feel like doing any more.”
They prepared a meal, and then went for a last check on the horses before retiring inside. Maurice and Adam spent another hour decorating the study, then decided they had done enough for the day. Adam settled into his armchair after stoking up the fire, and Maurice sank down onto the rug by Adam’s feet; after a moment Adam’s hand slid into Maurice’s hair, and the boy in turn relaxed to lean against Adam’s leg. Adam opened up his book and began to read, whilst Maurice simply stared into the fire; before long his eyes began to close.
Adam noticed Maurice had fallen asleep when the boy’s head came to rest on his thigh. “Bed time for you, my boy!”
Maurice woke with a start and yawned widely. “Hmm, I’m more tired than I thought.”
“You’ve had a busy couple of days. Why don’t you go and get into bed, and I’ll bring you up a cup of hot chocolate and a hot water bottle?”
Maurice yawned again. “That would be super.” He clambered to his feet and set off towards the door, then turned back. “Thank you, Mr Cleverton. For everything. I...I really appreciate you looking after me like this.”
“Not at all, Maurice. You are a pleasant companion and I’m enjoying your company. Now, how about, until my brats return, you call me Adam?”
“Really? Well, if you’re sure...Adam.” Maurice smiled shyly.
“Good man. Now, off you go. I’ll be up shortly.”
Adam awoke the following morning to the delicious smell of cooking sausages. He rolled over in bed and glanced at the clock on his bedside table…and was amazed to see that it was already past nine o’clock. Yawning widely, he struggled out from under the goose feather continental quilt and, dragging on his dressing gown and slippers, made his way downstairs to the kitchen.
Maurice greeted him with a cup of tea and a plateful of sausage and eggs.
“Gracious, Maurice, you have been busy, but you know there is no need to sing for your supper, you’re a guest here.”
“I know, but I was up early and I thought I might as well do something.”
Adam noticed a pair of wet Wellingtons that were drying by the Aga. “You don’t mean to tell me you’ve done the horses as well?” he asked incredulously.
Maurice nodded as he sat down at the kitchen table with his own plate of sausages. “Andrew had already been and mucked out, so I just gave them all a quick brush and fed them…I hope you don’t mind,” he added worriedly.
“No, of course I don’t mind. But I don’t see why you should be slaving away whilst I lie about in bed all morning, old chap. If you’re up first and I show no signs of life, I give you full permission to come in and tip a handful of snow down my back!”
They were interrupted in their breakfast by the arrival of the Christmas tree, and it took them a good hour before the great pine was set up in the library.
Adam looked ruefully at the scratches on his hands. The needles were sharp, and irritated where they stuck into skin—and he was quite convinced he had pine needles in his pants—but at last the tree stood, firm in its base, in the corner of the room, all ready to be decorated.
“Shall I get the decorations?” Maurice asked.
Adam glanced at his watch. “Actually, Maurice, I have to slip into Min…Cabool, I want to meet the mid-day train…there are some things arriving from London. Do you want to come or would you rather stay here?”
“Oh, can I come please? There’re a few things I need to get.”
They drew up in the yard of the Coach and Horses. Adam turned to Maurice. “All right, then? What say you we meet back here in about an hour? Will that be long enough for you? Then we can have a bite to eat and get off home to decorate that tree.”
Maurice nodded his agreement. “That’s fine.” He hopped out of the car and disappeared, leaving Adam to go down to the station to collect the things he had ordered from Harrods. He hid them in the boot of the Bentley, then set off to visit one or two other shops, before returning to the inn a little while before he was due to meet Maurice. He found Jack Howarth propping up the bar, and the two were soon ensconced in a quiet corner with a couple of drinks.
“On your own?” Jack enquired once they were seated. “What happened to Maurice?”
Adam shook his head. “I’m meeting him here in a few minutes.” He then went on to explain to his friend just what had occurred.
Jack looked scandalised. “So you mean to tell me they were prepared for their own son to spend Christmas on his own in some hotel or other?”
Adam nodded. “I know, bloody terrible, isn’t it? I told them that I would be happy to have Maurice stay with me.” He would have said more, but Jack kicked him under the table, and nodded towards where Maurice could be seen heading towards them.
He smiled shyly at Jack. “Hello, Mr Howarth. Thanks again for the other night.”
“You’re very welcome, Maurice, and I’m sure Dragonfly will be just fine.”
“He’s looking better already,” Maurice replied, squeezing onto the seat next to Adam. “Isn’t he, Ad…Mr Cleverton.” He blushed.
Jack grinned, raising an eyebrow at Adam.
“We decided on a little less formality as we’re going to be spending Christmas together,” Adam explained.
“Quite right too,” Jack agreed. “Besides, Maurice here is old enough to be permitted some familiarities.” If Jack stressed the last word, neither Adam nor Maurice seemed to notice. “I should be happy for you to call me Jack,” he informed Maurice.
They had an agreeable lunch together, before Jack received a call to attend a sick animal at a farm high on the moor. “Have a very merry Christmas,” he said before he left. “Don’t let Adam near the sherry,” he added in a stage whisper to Maurice. “He’s a dreadful drunk, sings,” he went on with a pained expression.
“Rot!” Adam laughed. “Don’t believe a word of it, Maurice.”
Jack waved them a cheery farewell and left. Adam and Maurice followed him out more slowly to where the Bentley was parked.
“I do like Mr Howarth, Jack,” Maurice said suddenly. “Have you and he been friends for a long time?”
“Far too long!” Adam replied with a laugh. “We were at school together. Have you got good chums at school?” he asked, turning to Maurice.
Maurice’s face fell. “No, not really. Half of them think I’m a frightful show-off—because of Mum—the other half only want to be friends with me because of her. That’s why it’s been so nice to be able to write to Peter,” he added. “Feels like I have at least someone to talk to. Sorry,” he said, suddenly red with embarrassment. “I didn’t mean to drone on.”
Adam shot the boy a sympathetic look, but refrained from comment. He understood exactly what Maurice was saying, and from the sounds of it the boy must live a really rather lonely existence. He was also aware that Maurice went to great lengths to hide his identity from everyone. Adam didn’t think that even the Hunterly children knew anything about Maurice’s background.
Adam talked irrelevancies as they drove back to Siestan, distracting Maurice from the rather glum mood he seemed to have fallen into at the thought of his school, and by the time they had reached home, Maurice had returned to his normal, cheerful self. Adam felt a surge of pleasure when he was the cause of Maurice laughing out loud.
They took turns sneakily unloading the packages they had brought back from Cabool, each, of course, aware of what the other was doing. But Adam didn’t think that Maurice noticed when he went to retrieve the large hamper from the boot of the Bentley later that night.
On Christmas Eve they got out the playing cards and played several games of snap that grew more and more heated until Sam, in a moment of giddy excitement, snapped up a mouthful of cards and, with Ellita in pursuit, bounded off with them. The two card players, breathless and flushed from their exertions, subsided on the hearthrug, laughing. After a few moments Adam got to his feet and went to retrieve a bottle of champagne from the wine cellar.
He returned to the study to find Maurice curled like a cat on the rug, an expression of sleepy contentment on his face. “All right?” Adam asked, a smile on his face.
Maurice grinned back at him. “Better than all right. This is the best time I’ve had for ages.” He uncurled himself and sat up.
Adam handed two glasses to Maurice and then popped out the cork from the bottle. Maurice deftly caught the bubbly liquid as it frothed out, and then handed one of the glasses to Adam.
Adam seated himself on the rug, his back against his chair, legs stretched out before him. He glanced into his glass of champagne and pulled a wry face. “I’m not sure your parents would have been so keen to let me keep you, had they known what a bad influence I was going to be on you. Still,” he continued, “I think we can forgive the odd glass of champagne on Christmas Eve.” He leaned forward and clinked the edge of his glass against the one Maurice held out. “To us,” Adam said, looking into Maurice’s slate-blue eyes.
“To us,” Maurice echoed, his own gaze just as intent.
“I do hope you have your stocking ready to hang up,” Adam said, after taking a sip of his drink.
Maurice began to protest. “Oh, I’m, well, I’m sure that...I’m too old, really,” he stammered, flushing.
“Rubbish,” Adam said roundly.
“Oh, please,” Maurice began, a distressed expression forming on his face. “You’ve been so good to me, there is really no need, you don’t need to...”
Adam gave him a scandalised look. “Maurice St Claire, are you trying to insinuate that you think I am going to fill your stocking, and not Santa Clause? “No,” he added, holding up a hand to forestall any further argument that Maurice may come up with. “I have already written to Santa to tell him you are staying with me.”
Maurice was dispatched to fetch his stocking, and then, when it had been firmly fixed to the mantelpiece, the two sat in drowsy silence, watching the flickering flames and sipping their champagne, until Adam realised with a start that it was nearly half past eleven.
“Hm, bedtime I think. We don’t want to be up when Santa comes. You go on, and I’ll bring you up some cocoa, shall I?”
Maurice nodded. “That would be lovely, thanks.” Then he yawned spectacularly.
Adam watched as Maurice left the room, then he stood up. He put the fireguard up, retrieved the cache of small gifts he had secreted in his desk drawer and stuffed them in Maurice’s stocking. Then he turned off the lights and made his way to the kitchen.
He put the dogs out for a run whilst he made two cups of cocoa. When he let the dogs back in, Adam noticed that it had started to snow again. He shut and locked the door, then, picking up the mugs, made his way upstairs.
Maurice was in the guest room, just along the corridor from Adam’s own room, and he stopped at his own bedroom to place his cocoa on the bedside table, then proceeded along the passage to Maurice’s room.
He knocked quietly at the door, and was bidden to enter. Maurice was already in bed, and Adam went to deposit the mug of hot chocolate on the bedside table. “Everything set, Maurice?” he asked, turning back to the boy.
Then he saw in Maurice’s eyes what his two friends had seen the day of the hunt—naked desire. For a moment he was shocked, the next instant he wondered how he could have been so blind that it had taken him until now to see it. And now that he had recognised Maurice’s want, he had to acknowledge his own. His mouth was halfway to the lips held up to him so eagerly, before the realisation of what he was about to do caused him to pull away with a strangled ‘No’. Adam spun around and made for the door of the room.
Maurice caught up with him just as Adam reached the door to his own room. “Why won’t you kiss me?” the boy demanded, his hand on Adam’s arm.
“I...I can’t.” Adam said desperately.
“You mean you don’t want to?” Maurice asked sadly.
Adam whirled around. “Damn it, Maurice, you know it’s not that.”
“Because it wouldn’t stop at just a kiss,” Adam answered harshly, his frustration making him angry.
“I wouldn’t want it to,” Maurice said earnestly, his eyes on Adam’s face.
Adam stared at him. “Do you have any idea what you are even asking me for?”
Maurice swallowed hard, but his eyes never left Adam’s face. “To take me to bed with you...please.”
It was that quietly added, desperate ‘please’ that undid Adam completely. The next second he had Maurice pressed up against the wall, his lips searching for Maurice’s mouth...and then he was lost, for the boy tasted as wild and sweet as the moors themselves, and Maurice’s lithe body pressed itself against him, arching into Adam’s touch.
The boy was hard. Adam could feel it pressed against the thigh he had pushed between Maurice’s legs. His hands ran down Maurice’s back until they cupped the firm cheeks of the boy’s arse through the thin material of his pyjamas, then he pulled the boy’s hips forward, delighting in the moan of pleasure that escaped Maurice’s mouth as he released the boy’s lips to kiss his way down the slim neck.
Maurice’s arms wound around his neck and held tight. It was as if the desire, now realised and released, had become all encompassing—for both of them. Because Adam, knowing full well that what he was about to do was so wrong for so very many reasons, could not have stopped if he tried.
He managed to release Maurice long enough to say, “You’d better be very sure about this, Maurice.” His eyes were serious as he gazed into Maurice’s slate blue ones.
Maurice stepped back into the circle of Adam’s arms. “I’m very sure,” he murmured, his lips on Adam’s neck. “I’ve wanted you for so long, that in the beginning I wasn’t even sure what I wanted you for...now I know.”
His eyes fixed on Maurice’s, searching for the faintest sign of reluctance, Adam drew Maurice into his bedroom and pushed the door shut.
Once inside, Maurice proffered his lips to Adam, and the older man was happy to oblige; feasting on the delicious mouth, his tongue delving into the depths. Whilst his lips and tongue were busy with Maurice’s mouth, Adam’s hands were busy stripping the pyjamas from Maurice’s body; when he had the boy bare, he stepped back to admire the delectable figure before him.
Maurice was lovely. His deep summer tan had faded to a soft, golden, honey colour, the skin firm and smooth. A dark fringe of hair circled each nipple—nipples that were hardening under Adam’s scrutiny—and a thin trail of hair led down to the curls that surrounded Maurice’s erect cock. Adam licked his lips, torn between wanting to sink to his knees at the boy’s feet and suck that lovely morsel into his mouth, and wanting the boy writhing beneath his own naked body.
He gave into the first impulse, aware that Maurice had youth on his side: even if he brought the boy to climax now, Maurice would recover in time for Adam to elicit another peak of pleasure from him when he finally took the boy all the way.
He sank to his knees, hands skimming down Maurice’s sides and dropping to his hips, then pulled the boy’s cock to him, engulfing the slim member in his mouth. He ran his tongue around the smooth head, drawing a moan of pleasure from Maurice. He kept one hand on Maurice’s hip; with the other he took hold of Maurice’s cock, reaching back and pressing his fingertips into the smooth place behind the boy’s balls.
Maurice’s flesh was warm and silky in Adam’s mouth, and he tasted the first of the boy’s essence seeping from the tip of his cock. He swirled his tongue up and down Maurice’s length, stopping now and then to tease the satin head. Hollowing his cheeks, Adam sucked on the boy’s cock; Maurice cried out, and jerked beneath Adam’s hands as he surged up to thrust into Adam’s mouth.
Maurice’s hands were claws on his shoulders, as Adam used his sinful tongue to stroke the boy to attainment. Maurice keened his approval of Adam’s actions, thighs trembling as he fought to hold off the inevitable for as long as possible. But Adam had experience on his side, and Maurice was soon crying out as he came hard into Adam’s waiting mouth.
Rising to his feet, Adam pulled Maurice into his arms; a shiver ran through Maurice’s body, and Adam realised how cold it was in the bedroom. He scooped the limp boy up in his arms, and deposited him on the bed with a quick, “Get in; keep warm.” Then he set about stripping off his own clothes, eyes on Maurice’s face the entire time, watching as the boy took in his body—noticing Maurice’s eyes widen as he caught his first glimpse of Adam’s erect and straining cock. Soon he was sliding beneath the quilt and pulling Maurice to him.
He let out a deep groan as Maurice’s naked body finally pressed against his own. He rolled the boy beneath him, careful to keep some of his weight on his elbows, his lips going back to claim Maurice’s sweet mouth. Maurice’s thighs parted, allowing Adam to sink between them...which caused their cocks to press together.
Maurice let out a gasped, “Oh”; a mixture of wonder and pleasure. Adam pressed down again, his mouth firmly on Maurice’s, swallowing the boy’s moans of need. Already he could feel Maurice’s cock rising to meet his own, and for a few moments he frotted against it, revelling in the simple pleasure of the feel of his cock sliding, slicked by his own pre-ejaculate, against Maurice’s length.
Adam was delighted by the uninhibited way that Maurice responded to him. The boy undulated beneath him, meeting each of Adam’s thrusts with a rise of his hips. His hands roamed over Adam’s back, pulling the older man closer to him, and his tongue duelled with Adam’s, pressing back into Adam’s mouth, exploring and tasting. And it went some way towards salving Adam’s conscience about taking Maurice to his bed.
For he well remembered the time his own body had awoken and urgently demanded fulfilment. Had it not been himself, Adam reasoned, then it would have been someone else…and soon. Maurice had been a fruit ripe for the picking.
He stilled his body and gazed down at Maurice; the boy’s face wore a soft smile and his eyes had gone dark and hazy with desire. “How much do you know?” Adam asked gently.
Maurice caught his bottom lip between his teeth, then he said, “I know that you put your c…cock,” he stuttered over the word, “down…down there.” Maurice’s eyes flicked down his body.
Having been to an all-boys boarding school himself, Adam didn’t wonder how the boy came by his knowledge. “Do you know that I have to prepare your body first? That it will probably hurt?”
“I thought it might hurt,” Maurice answered honestly. “But I don’t know about preparing me…how do you do that? And why?” he added.
I prepare you using my fingers, and some oil. I have to do it to stretch your body so you are able to take me in without too much pain…but, Maurice, as I said, it will probably still hurt; are you sure you want me to do this?”
Maurice’s answer was immediate and vehement. “Yes, oh, yes. Please, don’t stop now. I couldn’t…I couldn’t bear it.”
Adam lifted himself from Maurice’s body, regretting the loss of the feel of the young body beneath him the minute he left its warmth. “Turn onto your front,” he instructed.
Maurice did as he was told, and then Adam’s pushed a pillow beneath the boy’s hips to raise him. He took in the broad, clean lines of Maurice’s back and the round, firm muscles of his bottom, and couldn’t resist running his hands over the boy’s flesh. Maurice arched into his touch, hissing with pleasure. Then, reaching into a drawer on his bedside table, Adam withdrew the pot of oil he kept there. He anointed his fingers liberally. “Ready?” he asked.
Maurice opened easily for Adam’s fingers; the boy was so relaxed, so trusting, that Adam was able to ready him far more quickly than he had thought. Still, he took the time to make sure that Maurice was fully stretched. Adam sought out, and found, that secret place in Maurice’s body, and Maurice responded to his touch with a cry and a push back onto Adam’s questing fingers, and by the point Adam deemed it time to take Maurice that last step, the boy was practically begging Adam to fill him.
“Turn onto your side and raise you top leg towards your chest,” Adam said softly. He knew that Maurice would be delectably tight, despite his careful preparation of the boy’s body, and that it would take all his will power not to drive deep into Maurice with one thrust. Having the boy on his side would give Maurice more control over the pace and depth of thrust…and besides, Adam found it a pleasurable, intimate position, curled around his lover.
He spooned himself behind Maurice, sliding his oil-slicked cock between the boy’s thighs. Maurice gasped at the feel of it, throwing his head back onto Adam’s shoulder. Adam held him tight, and for a few moments contented himself with a simple slide between Maurice’s firm thighs. But the urge to enter, to take, became too much, and he pulled back and pressed the head of his cock to the entrance to Maurice’s body.
“Oh yes,” Maurice whispered.
It was all the encouragement Adam needed—had he needed any at all—and he urged his body forward, easing into the tight ring of muscle that guarded the entrance to Maurice’s body, and onward, sinking into that wonderful, silky heat. Maurice pressed back to meet him, and before he knew it, Adam was balls deep in Maurice’s body…and it was wonderful.
Used to Jack’s larger frame, Adam found that Maurice fit in his arms and against him very comfortably. Maurice felt…right…somehow; more contained by the curve of Adam’s own body. They moved together perfectly: but then, Maurice was a good horse rider, and the cadence that Adam set up was not that different a rhythm to a steady canter. Before too long, however, Adam got the urge to increase the speed from a canter to a gallop.
He reached over Maurice’s hip, and took the boy’s cock in his hand, stroking it in counterpoint to his thrusts, so that Maurice surged forward into Adam’s hand and then back to meet Adams’s driving length.
They came together, Adam timing it perfectly so that his own release came upon him just as Maurice’s essence spilled out over his caressing hand. Then he held Maurice close, absorbing the small aftershocks that ran through Maurice’s body, until the boy stopped trembling and relaxed in Adam’s arms.
In the still, small hours of morning, Adam stared into the blackness and searched for the guilt and remorse he knew he should feel for taking Maurice to his bed…he found neither. Maurice himself was curled up at Adam’s side, fast asleep, and Adam realised he was perfectly happy for him to be there.
As if summoned awake by Adam’s thoughts, a sleepy voice, tinged with worry, said, “You’re not regretting it, are you?”
Adam slipped his arm around Maurice, and squeezed. “Of course not,” he said reassuringly. “How could I possibly regret something so wonderful?”
Maurice snuggled more firmly into Adam’s side. “It was rather, wasn’t it?” This time Maurice’s voice had a happy sound to it. “I thought it would be…with you,” he went on.
A thought occurred to Adam. “How did you know that I…”
“I didn’t for a long time, and then I saw you and Mr Howarth, Jack, kissing in the yard…when he came to look at Dragonfly. Oh no!” Maurice suddenly blurted. “I never thought…will Mr Howarth be very angry?”
Adam had to think for a minute before he understood Maurice’s train of thought. “Goodness, no.”
“But aren’t you and he, I mean, well, aren’t you together…I’m sorry, it’s none of my business,” Maurice hurried on.
“Don’t worry. How shall I put this?” Adam wondered aloud. “Jack and I have been friends, well, forever really. We grew up together, our families were friends, we went to the same school…we realised together that our inclinations were, perhaps, different. We’re…safe for each other, I suppose you could say. You do know, don’t you, Maurice, that what we’ve done is seen by many as wrong? That we could get into a lot of trouble?” Adam went on seriously.
“I know; I’ve heard Dad and some of his friends talking.”
Adam could well imagine. Robert St Claire was vociferous in his opinions about deviants, as he called them.
“And yet you still…?” Adam suddenly realised just how brave Maurice had been in going after what he wanted: if Robert St Claire should ever discover his own son was a sodomite…
There was a quality in the tone of Maurice’s reply that told Adam the boy was smiling. “My body didn’t give me a lot of choice. I wanted you so much. Wanted you to be my first…someone I trusted; someone I knew wouldn’t hurt me. What is it they say? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”
There was a few minutes’ silence, and then Maurice said suddenly, “But you were married. And I know that Mr Howarth has lots of girlfriends.”
“It’s easier that way. Society has certain expectations,” Adam explained.
“Oh. I think I see. You mean, if you didn’t get married or have girlfriends, that people might, well, talk?”
“They might certainly wonder,” Adam said dryly.
“Did your wife never sus…oh, gosh, I’m sorry. That was very rude of me. It’s none of my business.”
Adam laughed softly. “No, it isn’t, but I’ll answer your question: no, Melissa never knew, but then, we were only married for five years before she died.”
“I’m sorry,” Maurice said quickly. Then he yawned.
Adam pulled the boy closer until his cheek rested on Adam’s shoulder. Then he shut his eyes. “Time for some sleep, I think.”
“Mmmm. Merry Christmas,” Maurice said sleepily.
“Merry Christmas, Maurice,” Adam replied, realising with a jolt that it was indeed Christmas Day. But Maurice was already asleep.
They spent a great deal of time in Adam’s bed over the next three days, fitting their meals and the care of the horses around long hours of lovemaking. Adam was a patient and skilled teacher; Maurice, a willing and adept pupil.
They even brought their Christmas presents up to bed to open them…and were each thrilled and amused by the present the other had gifted them. For Adam had bought Maurice a gold stock pin with an enamelled fox’s mask on it. And Maurice had bought Adam a pair of cufflinks with the same enamelled fox design.
They were prepared for the return of Peter and Jennifer on New Year’s Eve, aware that they would have to discontinue their relationship then. But their idyll was brought to an end sooner than either of them had imagined.
Robert St Claire found it convenient to remember his son.
Adam and Maurice had just come in from seeing to the horses, and were pausing in the kitchen for a brief breakfast before returning to bed, when the phone rang.
Robert thanked Adam for looking after his son. He had now returned from Switzerland and was looking forward to spending New Year’s with Maurice. A car was being sent to collect Maurice that afternoon and take him to meet the four-fifteen train to London.
Adam replaced the receiver with a feeling like lead in his stomach. He turned to Maurice…but he didn’t need to say anything.
“I have to go back to London, don’t I?”
Adam nodded. “A car has been arranged to collect you this afternoon at three-thirty.”
“I’d better go and pack then,” Maurice said miserably. But a second later he was in Adam’s arms. “I don’t want to go,” he whispered.
There were still a few hours before the car was due to arrive to take Maurice to the station, and he and Adam spent them in bed. This time their lovemaking was simple, slow and tender, and afterwards they held each other as if they would never let go.
At three-twenty Adam and Maurice stood facing one another in the hall at Siestan.
“I’ll, I’ll write,” Adam said softly.
Maurice shook his head sadly. “We both know you mustn’t.”
Adam opened his mouth to argue, but he knew that Maurice was right; it would seem strange for him to write to Maurice. “Will you be down for Easter?” he asked, suddenly feeling that Easter was a long, long way away.
Maurice face brightened. “Oh, yes, certainly.”
“Will you come to me?”
Maurice nodded, and smiled. “Try and keep me away!”
Adam answered the smile with one of his own, then his expression sobered. “We’ll have to be very careful,” he warned.
Maurice nodded, his own expression going grave. “I know.”
“Oh, Maurice,” Adam said desperately, reaching out to pull the boy to him. “Do take care. Ours is a lonely and difficult road.”
“I have you,” Maurice said simply. “Everything else I can take, as long as I have you to look forward to.”
“Always,” Adam answered fervently. “For as long as you need me. And if ever you do need to talk—about anything—then you know my telephone number.”
The sound of car tyres on gravel made them move apart. And then, without another word, Maurice was gone.
And although the hallway was full of late afternoon sunshine, Adam felt as if it had suddenly gone dark and cold.