It was a rainy day in Manchester, what a surprise.
Stuart Jones sat at the table looking out over the newly renovated square with its pale grey cobbles and decorative planters.
It was modelled on the Southern European idea of 'al fresco' café's and street entertainment. Of course it didn't piss down with rain for eleven months of the year in Southern Europe, did it?
He checked his watch again and peered through the gloom, he'd wait five more minutes then he was leaving.
Just as he reached for his jacket, he saw a figure hurrying through the torrential rain, she glanced up and waved, her heels sliding dangerously on the wet stone.
"Hello love, sorry I'm late!" Hazel beamed, shaking her coat and placing it on the back of the chair. "It has to be a bloody man who decided to put those damned cobbles down for innocent women to break their necks on," she stormed, "Your heels get stuck in the grooves and the surface is like a skating rink!"
"I so rarely wear high heels that I hadn't noticed," Stuart quipped, giving her a brief smile.
Laughing she slapped his hand and looked him in the eyes, "So, what did you want to see me for?"
Stuart swallowed hard. There had always been something incredibly intimidating about Vince's mother.
From the first time she'd caught him and Vince huddled over a picture of a naked man that they'd found in a magazine and she'd merely made a comment about there being no connection between IQ and penis size. Reminding them both that if they kept skipping school to sit in the bedroom wanking themselves off that way, they'd both end up with neither, she'd unnerved him badly.
"I wanted to talk to you about Vince."
"Why, what have you done this time?" Hazel sighed with an annoyingly accepting shake of the head.
"What makes you think that I've done anything?"
"Oh, do me a favour. Since when was Stuart Jones the innocent party in *anything*?"
With a pout, Stuart attempted a glare, "So it's *always* my fault?"
"Yes, you know damned well it is. You're a bastard. Don't get me wrong, I love you like a son...well, okay, a stepson," she grinned, "But you're a natural bastard and you can't help it, you've never learned to grow up."
"I didn't have to come here to be insulted you know?" Stuart said petulantly, "I could have stayed home in the warm and the dry and just *phoned* someone to verbally abuse me."
"Stuart, that pout and slapped puppy look might work with our Vince, but it's lost on me, so drop it and get on with what you wanted to tell me."
Stuart took a deep breath," I want to ask you something."
"What? For his hand in marriage?" Hazel sniggered, sorting through her handbag and only half paying attention.
Looking up, with a puzzled frown, she looked Stuart in the eyes, "I think you'd better tell me what it is you want right *now*, don't you?"
"I...er...I just wondered if you knew how Vince might take something...that was said as a bit of a joke at first. But now...well...now it might not be a joke. And well...d'you think he'd still think it was a joke?"
"For God's sake Stuart, spit it out in English. How somebody with a mouth as big as yours can say so much and yet make *so* little sense I have no idea?"
Once again, Stuart took a deep breath, "I love Vince."
"I do!" he pleaded.
"Okay, what's this about?" Hazel demanded, "What nasty little trick have you got up your sleeve this time?"
"I don't *have* any tricks, it's the truth. I love him, always have."
Anger blazed in the woman's eyes, "*Love him*? You've used him, treated him like a dog and you've got the cheek to say that you *love* him?"
Stuart climbed to his feet, grabbing his jacket, "I knew this was a fucking mistake."
"Sit *down*, I haven't finished yet!" Hazel watched as the cocky young man slid back into his seat like a petulant child, "If this is another one of your schemes, Stuart Jones, and you hurt my son again, I'll personally hunt you down and end your shagging career for good. Do I make myself clear?"
"I don't want to hurt him, I just.."
"Just what? Want to jerk him around again, see him dance to your tune then slap him away like a stray dog when something with a bigger dick comes along?"
"Why don't you shout that a bit louder? I don't think the old couple over on table seventeen heard the bit about me being a cocksucker!" Stuart snarled, his natural self-defence system kicking in.
Hazel leaned over the table, staring Stuart down menacingly, "And don't try your cocky ways with me, you arrogant little shit! You asked me here for my opinion and you got it. So, you don't like it? Tough. It's about time you learned that the world doesn't dance to Stuart Jones' tune.If you want to know if I think my son would give up everything just to get you into his bed? You know bloody well that he would, in a heartbeat. If you're looking for my 'blessing', all I can say is 'over my dead body'. I saw the way you messed up young Nathan and if I'd been his mother, I'd have run you through with a kitchen knife."
"My God, you really hate me, don't you?" Stuart gasped.
"No, love. I don't hate you. But I'm probably the only person who tells it like it is and that's a shock to you isn't it?"
Stuart looked away, "I never meant to hurt Vince. He's the only person I really give a damn about. I thought I was doing the best thing, everyone wanted him to be free. I set him free."
"If you raise an animal in captivity, it never really reverts to the wild. As much as I hate to admit it, Vince needs you as much as you need him."
"So, do you think that if I told him that I loved him, he'd believe me?"
Hazel sighed, "If you told him the moon was made of green cheese he'd probably believe you." She leaned back in the seat, "Please Stuart, don't hurt him again. Last time was almost too much, even for him."
"What about Nathan?"
Stuart frowned and stared out of the window at the pouring rain, "Nathan isn't a problem."
"Isn't he? He was at my house last night telling me how much he still loved you and how he's going to 'get you back'."
"What's he going to do, tell me he's pregnant?" Stuart smiled.
"Don't underestimate him, he's pretty determined."
"So am I."
Hazel shook her head ruefully, "Just try making up your mind and sticking to it. If you want this to work with Vince, keep *that* zipped for a change." She gestured to the young man's crotch.
"You make me sound like some randy old dog."
"Well, if it walks...and it talks..." the woman's face broke into a smile, "Stuart, love, don't mess this up? For your good as well as Vince's."
"I won't, not this time."
The table was set and Stuart brushed imaginary crumbs from the surface for the third time in ten minutes. He'd invited Vince to dinner, laid out the table, ordered in an expensive meal and slipped into his sexiest clothes.
Shattering the silence, the phone began to trill.
"It's me," Vince's voice said miserably.
"Where the fuck are you? The meal's spoiling."
"At the hospital. Bernie had a heart attack, so I'm here with Hazel going potty. Sorry mate, I don't know what time I'll get back."
"Fuck! Can't she get a lift back with someone else?"
"No, Stuart. She's my *mother*, I need to be here with her. Look, I'm sorry, I'll make it up to you, okay? I'll pay for the spoilt food."
"No, there's no need to do that. I...I'm just sorry that our quiet night got ruined. But, give Hazel and Bernie my love, okay?"
"Yeah, thanks. See you tomorrow."
With a sigh, Stuart placed the phone down and slumped into the chair. Pouring himself a glass of the Champagne that sat mocking him on the table, he saluted the air. "To us, Vince."
Six glasses later, his mood was lifting slightly, even though it was very much alcohol induced.
Stuart smiled to himself. Usually, in this situation, he would pick up the phone and find himself some 'company'. But he was *trying* this whole faithful thing, even though he never thought it would catch on. He was determined to prove to Hazel...and himself...that he was capable of more than a string of faceless shags and an empty bed in the morning.
Disturbing his personal little pity party, the door buzzer sounded.
"Who is it?"
"Stuart, wait. I just want to say sorry...please?"
Against his better judgement and driven by loneliness and alcohol, Stuart pressed the door release and held his breath as he listened to the lift moving up, floor by floor.
When Nathan stepped from the lift, he grinned as he saw Stuart waiting by the open door for him.
"Thanks for letting me in," he pushed back a lock of blonde hair that insisted on dropping into his eyes.
"I must need my fucking head looking at," Stuart turned and walked into the flat, followed by the younger man who was gleefully smiling.
"Did I disturb something?" Nathan whistled as he noted the expensive Champagne and smelled the food still sitting warming in the oven.
"I was supposed to be having dinner with Vince."
"He's at the hospital with Hazel."
"So, you eating it all yourself?"
Stuart sneered, "You inviting yourself to dinner now?"
"Shame to waste it."
Letting his gaze flick across the young man, Stuart deliberately turned away, "You going cruising dressed like that?" he asked.
"Why? You like it?" Nathan moved in close behind, sliding his hands around Stuart's waist.
"You look like a whore."
Ignoring the anger in the older man's voice, Nathan laughed, "So, do I get dinner?"
"Oh, make that a *cheap whore*." Stuart pulled out of the embrace and turned to see Nathan grinning at him. "I *love* Vince."
"Yeah, I remember you telling me that."
The two men stood for a moment staring at each other, almost challenging.
"Sit down." Stuart grabbed the bottle and poured out two drinks, "You're too young to drink, really."
"I'm too young to do a lot of things." Nathan took a glass and swilled the fizzy liquid back.
An expensive meal and a full bottle of Champagne later, Stuart was giggling at some inane schoolboy joke Nathan had told him, when he looked up and finally took in the sight. The slim young man before him was wearing skin-tight black leather pants and a cut off tee shirt, showing his stomach as he stretched.
"What's that?" Stuart peered across the table as he saw something glint.
Nathan grinned and lifted his shirt. "I got my nipple pierced."
Reaching over, Stuart fingered the ring gently. A slight tug caused Nathan to gasp slightly. With a sly smile, Stuart tugged again and Nathan arched into it, his tongue flicking out to moisten his lips and his eyes closing as a pang of pleasure jabbed at his groin.
Leaving his seat and walking around the table, Nathan stopped in front of Stuart defiantly, "You should pick on somebody your own age," he grinned and ran his finger through the older man's dark curls.
"No fun in that," Stuart reached out and pulled Nathan onto his lap. Mouths met hotly, hands snatched away layers of clothing and soon two panting figures fell onto the bed in a heaving, writhing tangle of limbs.
Stuart smiled as he tugged the nipple ring with his teeth. Nathan groaned, his body shaking with pleasure, his cock throbbing in Stuart's hand and his muscles tightened around Stuart's dick, which was buried deep within him.
"Slow down!" Nathan moaned, "I'm gonna come!"
"S'okay, I'll just fuck you again," the older man laughed and quickened his pace.
As Stuart pounded into Nathan, sweat dripping from his face, his head a hazy, drunken mass of aimless thoughts, nothing much mattered but the *sex*.
The wanting, taking, the buzz of 'having' was all there was in the universe.
That's what made Stuart what he was, the very fact that he could do this, he could have what he wanted any time he liked.
Grinning down at Nathan's face, contorted by ecstasy, Stuart felt the 'rush' beginning. The soft features and smooth, youthful body of the boy beneath him, made him feel *alive*. He knew he could make this kid beg, make him scream with pleasure and it was the best drug there was.
"Stuart?" Nathan grunted breathlessly. His fingers dug into Stuart's arms as he braced himself against the thrusts, "Do you love me?"
The words echoed through Stuart's head. 'Do you love me?'
Closing his eyes, Stuart continued to pump his hips frantically, suddenly wanting to punish Nathan for being here, for being so beautiful and so damned willing.
Punishing him for not saying 'no'.
It wasn't *Stuart's* fault, it was never *his* fault. He was always the victim.
Coldly, Stuart pulled out after he'd come, quietly and wordlessly, with little more than a sharp intake of breath.
Falling back on the bed, he lay back and looked at the ceiling. He was feeling nothing, not the 'buzz', not even the tingling sensation of a fading orgasm, nothing but the cold emptiness of betrayal clawing at him.
What the fuck had he *done*?
Nathan moved in close, cuddling into his side. "Mine. You're mine," he whispered, his head resting on Stuart's shoulder, "I said you'd be mine."
A feeling that went beyond description slowly descended. Stuart pushed Nathan away and climbed from the bed, making his way unsteadily to the fridge. Hands trembling, he pulled out a bottle of mineral water and tipped it back.
As the fridge door swung closed, a picture of he and Vince grinned back at him. Unable to look away, he studied the faces, happy smiling faces sharing so much, laughing and trusting.
Guilt was a new emotion for Stuart Alan Jones and not one he recommended. Everything they said about him was true, every snide joke aimed his way was hitting the mark right now and he felt sick to his stomach.
He hadn't even had chance to tell Vince he loved him before he'd cheated on him.
An angry tear formed in his eye and he snatched the picture from beneath the magnet attaching it to the door. "Damn it! Damn it!" he hissed as he slid inexorably down the door onto the floor. Burying his head in his hands he tried to imagine what it could take to make this right, or indeed if anything could....