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The Eros Union Book I: Recruiting

By Ganymede

Copyright 2020

Containing

1: The Orchid Hotel, London 2: Catsworth 3: Bakewell

To view:

Introduction, legal issues, in appreciation, why donating to NIFTY is worth buying goose grease, and list of fty//gay/adult-youth/the-eros-union/the-eros-union-0.html

THE ORCHID HOTEL, LONDON.  

Bruce Stirling wasn’t about to delay a moment longer, not with his wife in the shower. If past behavior was any indication, he had fifteen minutes before she got out, likely longer. It was plenty of time, yet he was still nervous, more so this morning—she was grumpy after staying up past midnight. Either now, or tomorrow…

“If little girls are sugar and spice and everything nice…”

Even with the steady drone of morning traffic in Paddington, he kept his voice low; however, a car horn three floors down was so loud, he was sure it drowned out his whisper.

He was about to repeat his customary wake-up call when there was movement under the crisp white sheet on the adjacent bed. A small very-tousled head snuggled into the pillow. Then, a soft mellow murmur.

“… little boys are made of snips and snails and puppy-dogs” tails.”

Daniil J. Stirling giggled. He giggled every morning, always at about the same time. After all, they’d played the same game for as far back as he could remember.

“Speaking of puppy-dog tails, how’s my favorite puppy this morning?” his father whispered.

“He has a bone like always.”

Daniil’s disclosure was unabashed, expected, and far too loud. Bruce raised his head, listening just in case. The closed bathroom door offered assurance, no guarantee. Relieved as much as pleased by the constant hum from the shower, he stretched and settled back.

“The puppy better not forget what we talked about.”

“You never said bone was a bad word.”

“Not that! Remember, 007?”

“Use my spy voice when Mommy’s around. Can I get in bed with you?” Now, it was barely a whisper, on the verge of becoming another giggle.

“Snuggle or shower, which is it Dani Boy?”

“Hmmm…” Daniil pretended to ponder.

Snuggles and showers with his father were in the same category as back rubs and needing his teddy bear to fall asleep. His mother tolerated all them, yet made it clear she wasn’t happy.

“Hurry up.”

Another infectious giggle from under the bedcovers before Daniil lowered his voice.

“Both, and a back rub.”

“She’ll smell the coconut oil! Snuggle and shower, only.” Bruce lowered his voice, finally taking charge. “No silly stuff, okay?”

Daniil flung back the sheet and scrambled up. He jumped from one bed to the other, preposterous in fleecy Paddington Bear pajamas. The blue top was a duffel coat with oversized toggles. His brown pants had red-flannel Wellington boots sewn on. There was a ridiculous red hat somewhere in the room, a useless relic from a visit to Marks and Spencer on London’s grandiose Oxford Street.

His father brought him down with a playful tug, sprawling on top. With a leer, he yanked up Paddington’s fleecy coat, feeling hot bare boy back, the same as he did every morning.

Daniil raised up, slim arms extended, grinning down at his father. They looked together. Irresistible, irrepressible boyhood disturbed Daniil’s pajama pants, demanding attention.

Bruce gave the resilient little lever a playful poke, all part of their morning ritual.

“This is why boys need their weenies played with every morning.

“Especially in London.”

Straddling his father, Daniil hitched up his pants, pulling them tight against his crotch, proudly showing off the stubby hardness hidden underneath.

“Tell me again why Willy gets stiff?” he whispered; agitation scarcely controlled.

His father smiled, utterly obsessed. It was all he could do not to undo the cord, or simply reach down. However, respect demanded consent; anything else was plain molestation.

“Your body responds to stimulation of certain parts of your brain, which causes your heart to pump blood into your penis until it becomes hard.”

“An erection, a-k-a bone… er. I didn’t say it, okay,” Daniil snickered. “Now, the stimulate part, Dad.”

“All kinds of ways. Do you have to pee?”

“Uh uh.”

“Were you playing with it in bed?”

A solemn headshake. “It doesn’t feel as nice without coco-oil.”

Hoarse with excitement, Bruce skipped to the end. “That leaves a horny little puppy who wants to play with his daddy.”

“Uh huh.”

“You’re sure?”

Daniil nodded, eyes wide and eager, eliminating any semblance of doubt. He leaned forward, wriggling and low like a jockey settling into the saddle, mostly jabbing his stiff little penis into his father’s belly. Every time was the same; it always brought a smile to his father’s face.

“Do I get my good morning kiss?”

Daniil nodded again, too young to be put off by morning breath.

“Puppy kiss, first.”

Bruce bounced him up and off, tossing him sideways. They cuddled for a few moments, and smooched, quickly becoming spitty kisses on Daniil’s ears and neck, provoking giggles. ‘Puppy kiss’ forgotten, Daniil scrambled back on top, baring teeth, his menacing growl getting a smile in return.

“Dog fight, Dad.”

It was as good an excuse as any. They wrestled and Daniil got tickled, eliciting illicit squeaks, becoming shrill squeals of delight, mostly from playful pokes at certain tender places, the more private the better.

“What’s going on in there?”

They stopped laughing.

“Nothing, Mom!” Daniil shrieked, loud enough to be heard through a closed door. “Just beating up, Dad.”

“Don’t worry, Kate. I’m holding my own in here. Barely.”

“Don’t break anything; and don’t make a mess!”

They exchanged grins—she had no idea of the *mess* they made sometimes.

Father and son listened, waiting, just in case she came out of the bathroom to see for herself. Even when she wasn’t nearby, it made sense to be careful.

“We should be okay. Just keep the volume turned down,” Bruce chided, switching his plan of attack to snuggling, less invasive and definitely safer.

At first glance, it was just a father and son innocently cuddling; however, under the messed-up bedcovers big hands lovingly caressed Daniil’s partially clad body. In return. little fingers mostly fondled safe places. Not even a minute passed before he ventured to private places. Chest, belly, navel…

“You’ve got a really big bellybutton, Dad.” He stuck his finger in it.

Bruce remained calm, watching little fingers inch lower. Curiosity in control, or instinct, smiling up at his son, always reassuring, always encouraging. In turn, he pushed aside Paddington’s coat and stroked a taut bare belly, teasing as he came within an inch of a silky-soft pubis and his son’s stubby erection. It took all his self-control not to touch it.

He could tell with a father’s instinct that the desire was mutual; and had been from the outset. Daniil needed this every bit as much as he did.

Finally, Daniil playfully tweaked his father’s erection. “The big dog want to play with the puppy?”

No longer hesitant, or pressing the issue, because they were way past that.

“You’re on top, Dani. You get to do what you want,” Bruce whispered.

“You’re my slave, okay,” Daniil proclaimed with an all-knowing smirk.

Another game, one they’d played since the previous summer.

“Yes, omnipotent master.”

Daniil rolled his eyes at ‘omnipotent’ and gestured, ‘bring it on.’

“It means all-powerful. Invincible. The top dog.”

Like a hound on a scent, Daniil was on it in an instant. “Does a puppy on top get to do anything he wants?”

‘Anything’ was new. It should’ve been cause for caution, yet Bruce nodded toward the bathroom, his voice low.

“In London, he does, within reason.”

Now in control, Daniil shoved at his father, making him stretch his arms above his head. He took a deep breath as he feasted his eyes. His ‘slave’ wasn’t overly fat or hairy, or a gym jock like some of his classmates’ fathers.

He scooted higher. His hand trembled as he reached back behind him. He licked his lips. Something surged inside him as his fingers grazed the familiar bulge in his father’s tartan boxers. Bruce gave a slight nod, gazing up at his reason for living. He remembered the night ‘slave’ started. Daniil suggested playing ‘Truth or dare,’ and unsuspecting, he agreed.

Back then, a ‘dare’ was innocent fun.

Daniil’s fingers tingled. It was warm, alive, and yet it felt strange, comforting and uplifting all at the same time. He met his father’s eyes, no longer awkward, no longer just playing. He was old enough to know to keep it a secret. However, it wasn’t bad, not when he was doing what he wanted to do.

“Your cock is really huge.”

“Ka-ching! You owe me a dollar!”

“You owe me five bucks from last night, Dad. So now it’s four, okay?”

“What did you do with the good Daniil?”

“He decided to stay in Connecticut with Mr. Ed.”

Impishly, he scooted back until he hovered over his father’s thighs. With a smirk, he tugged at his father’s boxers. Obediently, Bruce lifted his butt up. What was it about a boy in Paddington Bear pajamas that made a man take that kind of risk?

Still perched over his father’s thighs, Daniil leered down, gray-blue eyes anything but innocent. He dismounted, shoving the sheet aside, and tugged again. Bruce helped. They stopped as soon as enough was exposed.

Then, an anxious, respectful whisper. “Please?”

“An omnipotent master always gets whatever he wants.”

“So it’s okay, then…” Giggling treble, soprano in England. “I can, right?”

With the shower still running in the bathroom, Bruce guided his son’s little hand, deft fingers caressing, closing them around the thick curved shaft.

“Only if you want to,” he murmured.

“Promise you won’t get mad?”

Bruce nodded slightly. His son stroked reverently, gently, barely touching from hairy base to cherry-hued tip, up, down, six rigid inches each way.

 “You can hold Willy if you want to, Daddy.” Daniil’s voice, usually mellow, crackled with excitement.

 “Whisper, Doofus…”

“She’s still in the shower… You said I don’t have to if she can’t hear us.”

Bruce faked a fatherly frown, the severe kind. “You must want to get tickled, Dani.”

Daniil grasped his father’s thumb with his other hand a mere moment before it jabbed his armpit. They faced each other, both grinning, watching little fingers bending back the patriarchal penis, boy-style teasing. Without warning, he clambered on top again, settled down, and brought his lips close to his father’s ear, more teasing than serious.

“My tail’s really hard now, Dad.”

He squirmed to get his toggles out of the way. Then, holding his pajama coat up, he squirmed lower until his bare middle rubbed where it needed to be. He felt his father’s erection press against his lower belly, huge, hard, hot, hungry. Without boxers to get in the way, his father’s plump scrotum passed right through brown fleece like it didn’t exist.

“Your balls are squishing my weenie,” he murmured, instinctively grinding.

“What did you just say?”

“B-a-l-s… It’s not that bad. Everyone says ‘balls’ at school.” He grinned. “Okay, okay. You still owe me two bucks, but.”

“Another ‘but’ and I’ll spank this butt.” Both hands clasping his son’s rump, pulling him closer, scarcely resisting temptation. “Feels like you’ve got a little bone in your jammies.”

“You have a big bone.” Daniil pressed harder, grinning, shameless. “Hi Willy’s daddy.”

Bruce relocated his grasp from butt to hips, both man and boy giggling and wriggling their groins together. He bent his head, almost painfully to reach a small ear hidden among curls. The tip of his tongue moistened the lobe, intense, intimate, inciting quivers.

“Richard loves you almost as much as I do,” he whispered, aware he was going too far.

“I love Dick. I love you too, Daddy…” Daniil’s sweet voice was strained, fearful of rejection if one didn’t know better.

“Shhhh. Just relax.”

Instead, Daniil squirmed, too ticklish with his father’s tongue slurping his ear. He licked, sucking a shoulder, seduced by scents he didn’t understand.

“My horny little puppy wants to play dirty, huh?”

He nodded, pushing against his father’s penis as hard as he could. It was different when he was underneath and his father’s penis rammed into his belly. It made him feel… not small, or insignificant, powerless. It was the opposite on top. He didn’t like being on top nearly as much.

Bruce smiled, both hands clasping virginal boy-butt, fingers massaging, thumbs looped under the elasticized waistband. Subdued, Daniil nuzzled contentedly, cheek pressed against his father’s warm chest. He glowed, especially down there. He wriggled again, a few inches lower so the tip of his father’s penis extended well beyond brown fleece.

“He’s rubbing my bellybutton now, Dad.”

Bruce sighed, nuzzling curls. “You’re making Richard feel really nice.”

Daniil snickered. “Don’t be a dick, Dick.”

“You’re down to one dollar.”

One hand slipped under the waistband, stroking a smooth bare buttock before he clutched his son’s compact cheek, fingers dipping into the taut crack. Seeking a sigh, his other hand ventured up, pushing aside the faux-duffel coat.

There was no feeling like it when Daniil inflated and pushed out his belly, stressing firm young muscle, deliberately compressing his father’s stiff penis. Now, the swollen glans squashed into his navel. Crudely erotic, it affected him more than ever before, trembling as adrenaline surged. Daniil felt himself getting hotter, melting into his father’s embrace.

His heart raced, feeling slipperiness between them, first, his bellybutton; then, streaking his belly. Suddenly, he was very interested in his father’s preseminal emission.

“He’s making icky stuff, isn’t he?”

Bruce shrugged dreamily, wondering what his son would do if he kissed him, not a peck, properly.

“Daddy?”

That persistent, it was almost as if his son understood the role of his oozing slimy droplets in intercourse. Showering was safer; covered with soap the excretion went unnoticed, man and boy intimately fondling private parts in the pretense of washing each other.

Daniil lifted up and reached to find out for himself. “The tip’s all slimy.”

Too loud, Bruce playfully pinched his butt. “So are snips and snails.”

She stepped into the doorway, her hair wrapped in a towel, another towel around her torso. She scowled as soon as she saw them hugging, certain they did it to annoy her. At least, her son had pajamas on this time.

Bruce counted himself lucky; at the last moment, he’d sensed as much as heard the bathroom door opening. As she turned the corner, he flipped his son onto his back, grabbed his wrists with one hand, levered them over his head, and pinned him to the bed with the other hand.

She ahemed loudly.

Daniil jerked away and jabbed his father in the side. “That’s for tickling me when I said not to.”

“Ouch! You little ratbag.”

“Now, you really get tickled, Dani.”

He poked at Daniil’s writhing flanks; however, wriggles and giggles were off limits with her in the room. It was still arousing, nothing compared to a few moments earlier.

Anger ignited, she increased volume to just short of shouting. “Stop it, now!”

“Later, Kate. Right now, I’m teaching him respect.”

She fumed, her husband not oblivious, not caring that she had a problem.

“Bruce, you agreed. He needs discipline!”

After 35 years in New England, a Russian father, and an Irish mother, her accent was almost unpleasant.

“Actually, you said I shouldn’t mollycoddle him.”

 “He doesn’t need you molesting him.”

Bruce tensed, dangerously close to rebuke.

“What he needs is… kiss monster.” He reared over his son, pretend-salivating, more real than he intended.

 “What time does your Catsworth tour leave?” she snapped.

She’d signed them up for the Catsworth House Overnight Tour. It was a bargain, an all-inclusive conference special; £295 per person for transportation from London by luxury coach, admission to Catsworth Gardens, a picnic lunch, and a private House Tour. Then, dinner, and one night with English breakfast at the historic Cockerel Inn, with a tour of the Peaks District before returning to London.

Bruce groaned inwardly at the snarky tone. “The coach picks us up at seven thirty.”

 “Lord Handley was insistent you go. You need to get up now!”

“Forty minutes is plenty of time, Mom,” Daniil muttered.

Somehow, he kept a straight face as he brought up his knee, nudging between his father’s legs, mercilessly bumping the hot hard penis. If only she wasn’t there. Then, his father would follow through and grope his stiff penis in return.

“It is if you skip breakfast,” she grumped.

“We’ll grab some toast on the way, Mom.”

She raised her voice. “Both of you, up, NOW!”

Bruce rolled away from her, easily tossing the 68-pound nine-year-old across the bed. At the same time, he yanked the sheet high enough to cover leaky tumescence and Clan-Stirling plaid boxers, pulled down in front.

“We need to talk, Bruce.”

He grimaced at the thought, certain it was about her job prospects again.

“Get in the shower, Dani boy.”

Daniil scrambled, ducking around his still-scowling mother. “I kicked his butt, Mom. Bruises all over.”

“Make it fast,” she snapped. “I still have to do makeup.”

He slipped off his pajama coat, balled it up. Half-bare boy, at first glance delicate, springtime pale; yet wiry and bouncing on his toes as he crossed the room. He flung it to his father, smirking.

“I’ll be right in,” Bruce called as Daniil closed the bathroom door.

“You agreed; *Daniil* stays in his own bed from now on,” she said coldly.

He took a breath. “He was there most of the night, Kate.”

“When did he leave our bed?”

“I carried him over about… I don’t know. It was past his bedtime, not all that late.”

She pointed to the messed-up bed. “My side was still warm when I came in at 12.30.”

“I seem to remember it was a dark and stormy night. Dani likes sleeping in our bed, Kate.”

She turned on him, her eyes like a cold gray morning, and calculating.

“His name is Daniil, Bruce; after my uncle.” She exhaled frustration. “What he likes is sleeping with you. God only knows why!”

Bruce shrugged it off like always; however, she’d be calling the police if she knew what they did before Daniil succumbed to sleep. It was unforgettable, both giggling crazily, his son anointing his face with semen war paint before rubbing the slippery mess over their bellies and genitals.

“Why does it matter where he sleeps?”

“It matters!” She added her usual sigh of disapproval. “He’s nine. He’s not a little boy anymore, Bruce.”

“For once, will you say what you mean. You don’t like us wrestling, is that it?”

“He’s too old to be romping in bed with you nearly naked.”

“He had pajamas on.”

“I’ve told you before; I don’t like you cavorting with him.”

Bruce came very close to laughing. “We were just horsing around, Kate. No big deal.”

She shuddered—like most 21st century women, father-son frolicking was abhorrent.

“If you insist on doing it, at least you should be dressed!”

“I’m his father! Fathers and sons wrestle all the time, Kate.”

“Well, it didn’t happen in my family. It’s the same as that oily massage thing; it’s like you’re grooming him.”

Bruce wasn’t ready to let it go, even if his face was flushed. “Dani enjoys it. What’s the problem?”

“Daniil enjoys you molesting him. That’s the problem.” She hesitated, frustration raging. “I don’t want Edwin at the house again.”

“He loves Mr. Ed. He’s his godfather, damn it! He’s also my best friend.”

“He’s a bad influence.”

“Professor Browne, the Stanley K. Eccles Chair of Ecclesiastic Studies, the head of the Divinity School; you’re kidding, Kate?”

“He’s gay as a goose, Bruce! That’s why he’s always talking about fucking choirboys.”

“He sang at St. Edmunds, at Canterbury Cathedral when he was Dani’s age. It was a big part of his life.”

She headed to her open suitcase, leaving him talking to himself as she selected the day’s necklace, a faux-ruby and gold pendant.

“My mother thinks Daniil’s queer,” she said, distancing herself.

 Bruce inhaled; let it out. “Your mother doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“She asked him outright. Do you know what he said? She should mind her own business.”

He was ready to explode. Instead, he exhaled, aware she was glaring at him. “Good for him.”

“She’s worried about him. If he is queer, you’re not helping. And your so-called best friend, God only knows what he’s told Daniil, or done to him.”

Bruce gaped, fighting a losing battle.

 She stopped abruptly, plucking at her blouse, certain the pendant was too much. The last thing she wanted was to appear extravagant, or extroverted. No one liked an attention-seeker.

“The trip this weekend to see your precious inheritance, I’m too busy to go.”

He nodded contemptuously, expecting as much.

She was persistent. “You ought to list it with an agent and be done with it.”

“I’d like to see it before we sell it, Kate. Dani should see it, too; it’s his inheritance as much as mine.”

She shook her head in mild disbelief. “Most likely, your fishing lodge is a miserable little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.”

Prone to exaggeration like the Head of the School of Urban Planning, it was easier to back down, not to argue.

“It’s why we tagged along, to visit Scotland and see the ancestral manor.”

“It can’t be worth very much. Knowing your family, it’s probably bankrupt.”

“Can we wait on that until we know more?”

“Not having a web page means the business is a joke, Bruce.”

Daniil had searched online, without luck. Just a few mentions of ‘Sunart Fishing Lodge on Loch Sunart’ on seldom-visited outdoorsy blogs—above-average fishing and hunting, superb wildlife, pleasant but outdated accommodation, mediocre service; and Mrs. McIntyre made the best Toad in the Hole, whatever that was. No photos, nothing useful.

Bruce shrugged, not about to remind her that his side of the family was still eminently more illustrious than hers. Her mother was Irish-potato-famine stock, her father a refugee from a Soviet commune for political dissidents.

“Well, if you must go, take Daniil with you.” She emphasized his name with a glare.

“We might be away as long as a week.”

She stopped reviewing her speech, raising her voice several notches as she preened in the mirror.

“Take as long as you want.” She lowered her voice. “I can’t deal with his moods.”

“He misses his friends.”

“You know what I’m talking about…. he acts like he’s already out.”

He shrugged, not looking back at her, not about to admit her fears might be right.

“I don’t know what I’m going do with him when you’re on sabbatical. If I get the job, we’ll have to get him a nanny. Either that, or you’ll have to postpone your travel plans and stay in London. I won’t have the time to ferry him around.”

“I ought to postpone the whole thing and take him back to Connecticut. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about finding a school,” Bruce grumped.

“It’s not what I had in mind. Still, it’s worth thinking about.”

oUo

When Bruce opened the shower door, Daniil was standing under the shower, water cascading down his slender small body. He was pale, only to be expected after a long Connecticut winter.

“What did Mom want?”

“She wants me to spend my sabbatical in London.”

“I heard. If she gets the job, she’ll be too busy to take care of me,” Daniil said sulkily.

“What’s new?” Bruce caught himself. “We’ll get you a nanny, I suppose.”

“I want you to take care of me, not some stupid nanny.”

With a compliant nod, Bruce murmured, “Me too, Dani.”

He dropped his boxers on the floor, very aware of his son’s scrutiny. Staring no longer bothered him—it was the same every time he undressed. Instead, he relished the boy’s silent envy, approval, too. Sure, he could do to lose a few flabby mounds, and he was trying–he worked in the garden two afternoons a week and walked the campus for an hour every day. Lunch was yogurt and coffee, not the faculty club buffet.

“Did you soap up already?”

With a grin, Daniil handed over a hotel soap bar still in its wrapper. No surprise; he liked being soaped.

“You expect me to do it, huh?”

He lifted his arms, offering himself as his father worked up a gardenia-scented lather. Strong slippery hands began rubbing, tickling, stroking all over. Skirting immature genitals; however, his father missed nothing else, not his toes, ears, underarms, or buttocks. A wriggly finger carefully inserted itself into his crevice, and for an instant, dared to intrude very slightly. It was far enough that he tensed, tantalizing sensations hinting at greater delight lurking just out of reach.

Bruce lingered there longer than ever. He could feel his son’s anus nibbling on his fingertip. Soapy, slippery, clean as a whistle, the little anemone all but inviting his finger inside. He twisted his wrist, unhurriedly rotating his extended digit into the curious boy. The outer muscle resisted momentarily. Then, it relaxed, loosening as nature intended, just enough that his fingertip surged deeper.

“Go loose, D.J.,” he crooned, unable to stop what he’d started.

Again, Daniil exerted control, abdominals pushing down slightly, contracting bowel muscles, inviting it into his rectum. A stronger push was unnecessary. Suddenly, he felt his son’s sphincter grasp, sleek and hot, capable of stopping determined ingress. Now, he carefully rotated his finger in the tender orifice. Daniil shuddered as the finger started withdrawing.

“Daddy?”

“Remember what I said? Just relax and enjoy, Sweetie.”

“What if I’m… you know… what we talked about last night?”

“Shhhh. Feels really nice, huh?”

Daniil nodded slightly, looking down as his father made white foam on his lower belly with his other hand. Just a little bit of inward pressure and Bruce’s fingertip penetrated the tight sphincter, again.

Now, Bruce was certain he could feel a heartbeat, faster, positively pulsing within the taut little tube, his son anxious, trembling as sensations rippled through him. For once, Gramma Elaine, his mother-in-law, was right.

“Remember when we talked about a boy having sex with another boy?” he whispered. “This is where his penis goes.”

“Only it has to be stiff… erect, when it goes in, right?”

“And the boy in front relaxes to let it in.”

He waited, trusting he wasn’t making a huge mistake, slowly twisting his wrist, pausing in the sphincter, just in case. Long seconds rushed by as his son squirmed, the resilient muscle still grasping, restricting further ingress.

“When you do it, it’ll feel really nice,” Bruce divulged, trembling at his next thought.

“It feels really weird.”

“You have to get used to it first.” He wriggled his finger, pulling up just enough to initiate stretching. “Concentrate on letting it in, Babe.”

Daniil focused, trying to relax, fighting the impulse to squeeze. Suddenly, he gasped, clamping down as his father’s index finger breached, yet he settled down quickly.

“Still weird?”

Unlike the first time, he didn’t jerk away when the second joint started in.

“Yeah. It’s okay. Your finger feels kinda big.”

“You’re doing great, Dani. Whatever you do, don’t fight it.”

“I’m trying not to.”

Hesitating, because what they were doing was the crux of the matter, the nitty-gritty, the root and core, the whole point of two boys joining, or a man and a boy.

“Your insides have to practice stretching, Danny.”

“Why?”

“Like exercising for soccer, doing this back here will make you bigger and stronger inside.”

Having violated the boundaries of innocence a long time ago, he raced past the point of no return. The accommodating roominess of a nine-year-old rectum took them by surprise. Spongy hot tissue enclosed Bruce’s finger. It was strange, welcoming, utterly life-changing.

“Uh, Dad?”

“We probably should do this every time we shower,” Bruce muttered breathily.

They’d had the ‘anatomy’ talk already, what happens when boys have sex, not explicit, basic age-appropriate facts.

“Make sure I’m clean in there, huh.”

“Hygiene is part of it, D.J.”

Daniil tensed as his father’s finger slowly withdrew, hoping it wouldn’t be dirty.

For a few long seconds, he could barely breath. Then, he felt his father’s finger surge through his anus again, delving deeper than ever before, right up inside him. It seemed so tight, yet it managed to hook inside him. It lifted cautiously. He came to tiptoes, his legs tense, quivering from the sheer thrill. Suddenly, there was a different feeling, the pressure inside him building in waves, each far more intense than the last. His little pelvis tensed, jerked, trembled spasmodically.

“My beautiful boy feels so awesome,” Bruce whispered.

A quick hug and a smooch on his son’s unkempt head, and he withdrew his finger from the hot tight tube. Daniil exhaled, drooping as a finger prodded his innie bellybutton. It was the same finger that had just been inside him, which was kind of bizarre. Then, his father’s hand slid down his soapy belly, playfully tugging on his stiff stubby penis, gently massaging a very immature scrotum.

“Mh-mm. Two tasty little nuts, perfect to nibble on; and before you fine me, ‘nuts’ don’t count as bad words, not in this context,” Bruce teased.

She thumped on the bathroom door. “Hurry up in there!”

Abruptly, Daniil pulled away, water streaming down, washing away soap foam. His penis jutted out, at first sight a miniature version of his father’s hard penis.

“Don’t come in, Mom. Dad pooped.”

He grinned up at his father. Every time he saw ‘the big dog’, everything changed. It was instinctive, or lust; a hunger unlike any other consuming him.

The urge arrived without warning, his father’s thick unwavering phallus demanding he pay homage like a slave to his master. The voice in his head was insistent; he had to kneel.

Daniil dropped to his knees, looking up at it. Hardly his first up-close and personal look, yet every other time paled in comparison. It wasn’t too big, or too small, just right, especially the flared helmet head. It was mysterious and magical, and magnificent; and all he had to do was…

Suddenly, the urge was overpowering, the voice clamoring. Erect, it looked chunky, too big to fit even the rounded crimson tip inside his mouth. Yet, somehow, he knew it would fit, not once, as often as he needed.

Distantly, he heard his daddy’s gentle warning, a whisper over the splashing of the shower.

“Don’t even think about it.”

However, his tone said something quite different. Another voice, the one inside Daniil’s head, bellowed, ‘Do it! I dare you.’

He didn’t dare look up, not with his mind made up. Despite water streaming down, he licked his lips and closed his eyes as he leaned closer. His index finger and thumb guided the brute home. His first-ever kiss landed right on the end, a quick peck before he needed more.

His luscious lips separated wantonly, pushing out to allow the plump head to enter as far as his teeth. Only then he remembered the semen that made him—it had spurted from there. It was thrilling, infinitely better inside his mouth the he thought about it. As good as it was, it wasn’t far enough inside for his lips to settle behind the rim, or for his tongue to get in the way.

“Jesus,” Bruce sighed.

Daniil gulped, excitement surging. It was far enough inside for his first taste from the source, a droplet of slippery juice smearing over his lips as he waggled the thick shaft—it made him tremble. It was curved, same as his, only bigger. His mother sometimes said ‘like father, like son,’ only she was harping about something he’d done wrong.

When he opened his eyes, he saw soapy public hair, never so close. It was dark, wire-like, and curling. His left hand instinctively cupped his father’s wrinkled scrotum. That, too, was huge compared to his. The testes within, the same ones that made him, seemed as weighty as chicken eggs.

Suddenly insecure and scarily shaky, he drew back, panting, contemplating what to do next.

“He’s so big,” he murmured, mostly to himself. “Richard the Great…”

His father caressed his forehead, brushing wet ringlets, a thumb stroking his smooth cheek. They sighed together, both needing more.

Daniil gulped saliva and readied himself, eyes closed, lips tantalizingly close. He opened his mouth wide and took it inside, getting the head past his teeth with no trouble, pushing down his tongue. It seemed so natural…

“That’s far enough, Babe,” Bruce whispered.

Guilt arrived within moments, both father and son worried sick that she might thrust open the bathroom door and see them. They would be blurred behind steamy patterned glass, yet she’d surely see her husband standing, his body arched in shocked shameless ecstasy, her son kneeling and stretching up, sucking his first grownup cock.

With intuition belying his age, Daniil backed off. He pinched under the helmet, squeezing out another clear droplet. He licked it off, savoring the familiar taste. Licked from his fingers, the slimy dribbles had always seemed bland, nothing like the thick white semen that came after.

“Get a move on in there!” She thumped on the door for good measure.

A moment of panic followed for her husband and son, until they realized she wasn’t coming in. Unashamed, Daniil licked again. It still tasted bland, a little soapy, too.

“Yummy, huh?” Bruce whispered, unable to stop himself.

Daniil nodded, so excited he couldn’t be sure if it was nice or nasty, only that he needed more of it, a lot more; and he didn’t want to leave his mouth.

Maybe it was the lingering sensation in his mouth. His arm was wobbly with the sheer shameless thrill of grasping the shaft. It was burning hot in his hand, throbbing, demanding, reassuring, all good.

 “Better finish up, Babe.”

Maybe it was the musky smell that overpowered the nine-year-old; within seconds, his mind was in turmoil, even though he was used to holding his father’s sturdy erection. He loved rubbing his father’s penis until his semen spurted out—this time he trembled so much his hand scarcely moved.

Acquiescent, uncertain, a little scared as his heart raced. He lowered his head again, this time opening his mouth as wide as it could go, ignoring cascading water.

“That’s enough,” Bruce said brusquely.

Daniil looked up, not guiltily, or ashamed, or even bewildered.

“It didn’t feel good?”

“It was too good,” Bruce murmured, too elated not to be honest.

Delight lasted for a watershed moment, until the satisfied look on his son’s face bothered him. He turned off the shower and opened the glass screen. Daniil lifted his arms, expecting the usual.

“Puppy kiss, please?”

Instead of a very wet kiss and groin-to-groin, his father hoisted him up and over the side of the bath. Suddenly, so much to talk about, but where to start…

Dumped on the marble-tile floor, he grabbed a bath towel. “Dry me, Slave.”

Bruce kneeled, roughly buffing his adoring son with snowy white Egyptian cotton. He went from tousling disheveled hair, rubbing down his sleek taut abdomen, to dabbing at wriggly toes,

Daniil pivoted, trying not to giggle. “Now, do my back side.”

“I am honored to worship thy perfect behind, oh Sublime One.”

“Why do you always make a big deal about my butt?”

“You know why.”

“My farts smell like roses?”

“Don’t let it go to your head; it’s beautiful. Godlike, if you must know.”

Boy chortling; what else could you call it, laughing, making fart sounds, and pressed up against his father.

His father slapped out a one-two cha-cha-cha rhythm, more bongo than buttocks.

Bruce’s hand lingered, massaging round little cheeks before splitting them apart and wedging the towel in the gap. Finally, he rotated his son and dabbed at his crotch.

“He looks just like mine, only more stretched out.”

Still erect, there was no mistaking the little curved boy-handle. With an eyebrow raised, his teasing wink was an unspoken request.

“Dad, ankara escort not now, okay?”

“Mm, Mm, Mmm. How about a weenie for breakfast?”

Daniil shook his head; no grin should’ve been warning.

Bruce licked his lips seductively. “I could nibble on your nuts. Oops! Ka-ching again.”

Daniil gripped his head, holding him back. “Dad, be serious.”

“The scamp in the shower was more fun.”

“Dad… um… Now, I know what it means to be gay… am I?”

Bruce hesitated. They’d had that talk already, the kid-appropriate version of straight, bi, and gay.

 “I’m gay, right?”

“Remember what I said last night… you won’t know either way until the fat lady sings.”

Daniil thumped his upper arm, hard.

“Okay, you tell me. Do you enjoy what we do? Be honest.”

“Like on a scale of one to five?” Unable to say it, he shrugged.

Nine was too young to be homosexual, yet Bruce faltered immediately.

“We’ll talk about it again tonight; if you still want to.”

Bruce stood, flinging the towel over the shower screen. Immediately, Daniil stepped up to the plate, arms outstretched, ready for his morning hug. His father glanced down. Big and small penises were still erect, identical in shape, yet so different in size and skin texture. Daniil’s penis was smooth, pink skin stretched taut, ending in a small delicate helmet, nothing like his father’s swollen head. Gleeful, Daniil pointed at his father’s purple plum.

“He’s really hard when he’s that dark.”

The tip of Bruce’s penis glistened, a crystal droplet emerging, more seeping out. Nervous, excited, he licked his lips unable to stop thinking, wondering what it tasted like.

Without thinking, Bruce took hold of his son’s slender upper arm. He grasped his penis with his right hand, pointing it down, placing his weeping glans against the soft skin of his son’s chest, barely touching his sternum midway between two tiny-dot nipples. They watched, mesmerized as he guided his penis in a slow arc to his left breast, firm small pectoral like a pillow; squeezing out more juice to leave a slimy trail to his bellybutton.

 “Like a snail, huh Dad?”

Bruce’s hand trembled, nodding as he squeezed his erection, oozing more slippery juice, not enough to complete the uphill journey. Grinning, he began dabbing his weeping glans against Daniil’s silky abdomen, poking, massaging, rubbing until a wet spot appeared. Then, a graceful curving path up, man and boy entranced, silent.

“You made a heart on me,” Daniil murmured.

“Because I love you. And you’re my Dani-boy.”

Bruce lifted his son, one hand under his butt, the other hand behind his back, mashing them together, lifting him higher until his erection bumped Daniil’s nose, cheek, and forehead, smearing preseminal fluid.

oUo

Katrina Koklov excused herself from her breakfast meeting when her husband and son came downstairs, lugging overnight bags, Daniil’s school backpack, and Bruce’s brand-new messenger bag. It bulged because it doubled as camera bag. She followed them out to the portico and made a big deal about hugging Daniil. His aloofness didn’t bother her at all.

“Don’t forget I paid extra for afternoon tea, Bruce. The Black Stallion, it’s in the stables. Call me when you get there.”

Bruce nodded vaguely, barely resisting the urge to glance at Daniil, curious and ogling pedestrians, black taxi cabs, a hotel doorman in red uniform and red cap, gold braid all over.

He nudged Daniel. “Don’t stare or you’ll have to give him a tip.”

He still couldn’t believe it was mutual—impossibly, his son’s craving matched his own desire. It was exhilarating, even though he worried afterwards.

“This’ll be a quick goodbye. I have to get back,” Katrina said after becoming aware that a gray-haired gray-suited man had followed her from the table to the hotel doorway.

She flicked at Daniil’s wrist. “It’s rude to stare.”

Daniil’s peripheral vision took in the stranger who was now chatting to the hotel doorman. He twitched, realizing the man was looking at him, not past him, not at the doorman. He looked important, maybe a famous actor whose name he couldn’t remember.

“Shouldn’t we get on the bus before it fills up, Dad?” Daniil said, very aware the man was now smiling.

Bruce nodded. Just a few more minutes and he’d be alone with his son. Nowadays, it was all he thought about.

Over Christmas break, they began kissing. Daniil’s playful moist peck on his father’s lips was a huge leap forward. Pecks slowly turned into a flurry of kisses, all very enjoyable until the week before they left for London. Out of the blue, Daniil straddled his father’s thighs during a masturbation session and leaned in for his first-ever French kiss. It was quick, satisfying, beyond wet.

“I expect you to behave yourself,” Katrina said sternly.

“You mean His Highness or me?” Bruce bantered before she could get started.

Daniil peeked at the man, awkward, yet unable to stop himself. Crinkled eyes in a distinguished yet grandfatherly face looked back. Other boys would’ve turned away; he didn’t. His mind whirred through nine-year-old fantasies, a member of the Royal Family, most likely; or Military Intelligence, Section Six, a spy, although he looked nothing like 007.

Katrina gave her son a withering look, head to toe. “He’s wearing hiking boots! You can’t be serious, Bruce?”

“There’s a garden tour, Kate. Might be a tad muddy after the rain last night.”

Daniil jolted into reality after the man winked right at him. Only his father and Mr. Ed did that, and then it was like their secret handshake, something he wasn’t to talk about with anyone else. Immediately, he felt heat rising, brushing his cheeks with his grandmother’s rouge. He quickly turned away.

“After Catsworth, me and dad might hike back to the hotel, Mom.”

“I don’t want him getting lost again.” Katrina sounded impatient.

 “I’ll watch him like a hawk, Mom.”

Daniil’s straight face verged on giggles, all but impossible after what happened that morning. Suddenly, it was all he could think about. He’d kissed his father’s penis for the first time, surely a big step for a young gay boy; and scary, too.

Again, his gaze drifted back, almost as if the man was magnetic, paying no heed to parental warnings. What could go wrong just looking at strangers—he was used to strange men, whether university faculty or his mother’s office associates.

 “You should’ve taken him to get his hair cut yesterday, like I said,” Katrina chided.

It was a recurrent issue; no hiding Daniil’s annoyance. “I like it long.”

Equally annoyed, Bruce butted in, “And so do I.”

She scowled back at him. “She’s right about him looking the part!”

“In twelve years, the only thing your mother has been right about was divorcing your father.”

She responded by inhaling deeply, her nostrils flaring. “You best get in line, Daniil.”

Her voice grated, enough that Bruce winced. His son, his beautiful boy, inched away, safely watching people lining up, trooping into the luxury coach.

“Now!” Katrina added. “Your father will be right down.”

Daniil looked up at him with adoring eyes. His Cupid’s bow lips promised passion, fuller and pinker than ever.

 “Dad?”

One word was a word too many for her. “He gets a haircut when he gets back.”

“Whatever. We’ll be thinking of you the whole time, won’t we Dani Boy?” Bruce said, ruffling his son’s hair.

Daniil nodded huffily. An automaton picking up his overnight bag, swinging it back and forth as he snatched another peek at a man old enough to be his grandfather, nothing like his real grandpa, who spent his days on his La-Z-Boy, drinking vodka and complaining about ‘Vlad the asshole’ Putin.

“Bye Mom.”

“Have a good time, Sweetie.”

For a reason he didn’t begin to understand, her final goodbye kiss was perfunctory, nothing like his father’s last kiss in the bathroom. It was a real movie-kiss, French to the max with tongues twisting together, another first. It lasted only seconds, a few fast heartbeats, yet everything was different after it.

 “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of what’s his name,” Bruce joked, his tone conciliatory.

Daniil grinned at his father, more than ready to start down the stairs. He had a lot to look forward to; two whole days, just him and his dad. They’d have fun even if nothing happened.

Katrina looked over his head, nodding at the man standing at the hotel door. Daniil turned again, gazing up at the man. He was aristocratic in a three-piece gray pin-striped business suit. The man was nothing like the boring insurance executives in his mother’s hectic office in Hartford.

Usually shy with strangers, Daniil raised his left hand and waved ambiguously, instinct perhaps. No longer smiling, the stern-faced man nodded curtly before he turned away.

“I’ll call you tonight if it’s not too late.” Katrina nudged her nearly mesmerized son, her voice low. “Daniil, it’s rude to stare!”

“I wasn’t!”

“Have fun, both of you. I’ll be in meetings all day,” she said, turning abruptly.

Bruce exhaled. Just that morning, his entire life had flipped upside down—his erect penis was no longer a kid’s toy. His son had sucked it for a few precious seconds, and without being asked. In his mouth, with his lips stretched around the thick shaft, and some of the glans beyond his teeth, nervy for sure, Nirvana, too. It had to mean Daniil J. Stirling was gay as the proverbial goose.

“Hey, guy,” Bruce called after his son.

Daniil pivoted mid-stair, looking up, instinct drawing his gaze like radar fixing a target. Manhood was a blatant bulge in his father’s jeans.

Bruce smiled. Outright gaping at his penis had supplanted nervous peeks weeks ago; just another thing that had changed in the last six months. Playful tugs when they wrestled, tickles venturing into private places whenever they cuddled in front of the TV, stroking bare skin at every opportunity; now, they had two days together, alone, sharing a bed.

“Wait until I get you in bed,” he whispered when he caught up.

Daniil saluted him. “Two chapters of Harry Potter, first Dad.”

“Joined the cub scouts, did you?”

“Mr. Ed gives me the two-finger salute when we’re thinking the same thing. It’s a ‘wolf sign’, you know, like ears?”

He smirked up at father and demonstrated, index and middle fingers together, and apart.

Bruce chuckled. Another step closer, his son all but admitting what he wanted, outright demanding before long.

oUo

Others surely observed father and son on The Orchid Hotel’s portico, yet only Claire Handley, of the Ashbourne House Handleys, recognized the look between them. She’d seen obsession, enough to recognize it from a dozen paces. Equally evident, the son was coquettish, body aware like a fashion model, nothing like his businesslike mother standing beside him.

“Oh my, you’re Katrina Koklov’s kid,” she murmured; her next thought, ‘You are a pretty one, aren’t you?’

Buoyant reddish-brown curls brushed the boy’s shoulders. Other than that, he was almost a junior version of his father; black hiking shoes, stovepipe blue jeans, plain white T-shirt, and aviator shades. Only his pale-blue denim jacket separated them.

Curious, Claire watched them, the infatuated father lugging both overnight bags, the besotted boy turning to wave a final goodbye. He was decidedly effeminate in ways that mattered.

Katrina Koklov was busy conversing with a flabby executive before they were halfway down the stairs. Beside her, Lord Eric Handley’s gaze tracked her son, a surefire sign if ever there was one.

“You don’t waste time, Dad,” Claire mused aloud.

She waved like Her Majesty, garnering a knowing smile in return.

oUo

Fourteen of the sixteen seats in the coach were occupied when Bruce and Daniil boarded the luxury coach. The two seats behind the driver were still vacant, surprising because they were directly opposite the door.

“We’re lucky your mom’s at the top of the food chain in the insurance business,” Bruce whispered when he saw two post-it notes with a handwritten ‘reserved.’

They seated themselves, unaware that next to the driver, the woman tour guide was smiling as she scanned her list of passengers’ names. Brunette hair tied in a bun conveyed what Daniil’s mother called a ‘professional look;’ yet as his eyes met hers, she winked right at him.

His mother having gone back to her breakfast meeting, Daniil stared out the window. His intriguing English gentleman had vanished. Although he couldn’t put his finger on it, the similarity to his father’s friend from college, his godfather, was uncanny. Professor Edwin Browne stared at him the exact-same way.

With everyone onboard, Claire nodded to the driver. The coach pulled away from the curb to join a bevy of taxis on Sussex Gardens.

She cleared her throat and switched on the public address microphone.

“Good morning. I’m Claire Handley. I’m your guide for the trip to Catsworth House…

Daniil tuned out as soon as she began. He peeked sideways, trying not to giggle as she went on and on about the trip, sights, times, bathroom breaks, even car sickness.

Just the two of them for two whole days. After the previous night, it was all he could think about. As soon as his father finished reading, they’d played ‘puppy’ games under the bedcovers, both naked. Tonight, he’d sleep in his father’s bed, naked all night.

He forced his eyes away, peripheral vision taking in people in the seats behind before switching to the still-talking tour guide, or maybe not in faded blue jeans with folded cuffs. She could’ve been one his father’s graduate students. However, a long black jacket with matching vest, and white collar made her look like a junior professor, which was ‘Gucci’, a notch up from ‘cool.’ For a tour guide along for the ride, she might even be fun.

He nudged his father’s side, and surreptitiously pointed. His mother despised jeans, especially with pre-made holes in the knees.

Claire waited until the voices quietened behind her before she turned in her seat.

“Good morning, Mr. Stirling,” she said, an ingenuous smile at the boy beside him.

By then, she’d sent her father a text. ‘Stirling Junior is exceptional’

“Good morning.”

Bruce, having nodded agreeably, sorted through notes spilling from the side pocket of his oversized messenger bag, gray and blue faux-leather, Ted Baker of London, classy, not overly expensive. She filed it away. Clearly, his mind was on other things.

She honed in, nonetheless, list of names still in hand, noting clever blue eyes. “And you must be…” She glanced at her list, no logical pronunciation. “Dani-il.”

Daniil’s nostrils flared noticeably. “It’s Russian for Daniel. Go with that if it’s easier to remember.”

Taken aback, she teased him. “You’re here for the insurance convention, I take it?”

“We’re only because of my mom,” Daniil said sullenly.

“She’s with the Hartford,” Bruce explained.

“She’s getting the Lloyd’s Award,” Daniil added.

“Which makes her the bigwig this year. I bet you’re proud?”

Daniil nodded, still grumpy after being shouted at for not getting dressed fast enough.

“Is this your first time in London?” she enquired, looking at Bruce.

“My third, his first.”

Claire grabbed the opening. “Ah, a London virgin. Well, I’ll also point out boy sights as we go, only there’s not much worth seeing until Lord’s. The world-famous cricket ground,” she added. “For us Brits, it’s like Yankee Stadium times ten.”

She expected more than a shrug—not a word from the moody boy sitting behind her. Her iPhone beeped. She gave the text message on the screen a passing glance.

A surreptitious smile followed. ‘I was admiring the tartlet on the steps.’

She typed with one finger. ‘I’m surprised his mother didn’t notice.’

A moment later, ‘Up close and personal:) Your impressions?’ appeared on her screen.

“Sorry, my boss wants to know if everything’s going okay,” she explained.

She poked ineptly at a digital keyboard. ‘A little Prince Charming if he wasn’t so grumpy.’

She looked up. “Where was I?”

“Sightseeing for London virgins,” Bruce joked.

“Lord’s is the Brit’s Yankee Stadium,” Daniil added.

She winked at him. “Right! A little bit farther on is the St. George and the Dragon statue.”

“Did he really kill it here, in London?”

She nearly laughed. “Actually, it’s symbolic. It’s a First World War Memorial.”

Disappointed, Daniil smiled politely, which she rather enjoyed. However, from his smile alone, she was willing to bet he wasn’t interested in the opposite gender; pretty boys with forced smiles seldom were.

She smiled, curious how far she could go. “How old are you, Daniel?”

His eyes flickered quick-wittedly. “I turned nine last month.”

“My youngest nephew, Simon, is nine, nearly ten. He’s a soccer fiend. Do you play?”

Daniil glanced at his father. “It depends.”

Bruce picked up. “He plays select in the Connecticut Club Soccer League. We might have to find him a team here.”

She cocked her head at Daniil, encouraging him to speak up. Grooming a prepubescent who was skeptical and skittish always started with baby steps.

“Mom’s sure she’ll be offered a job. If she gets it, we’ll be in London for a year, maybe more.”

“The problem is I’m also on a one-year sabbatical,” Bruce added. “I’ll be traveling a lot. Doing research. It means I won’t be home much.”

Daniil added glumly, “She’s always too busy to take me to practice.”

“Hopefully, we’ll find someone.” Bruce caught his son’s eye. “Not a nanny.”

“Surely that would depend on the nanny?” Claire interjected. “What if your nanny was Mary Poppins; wouldn’t that be fun?”

“Does she play soccer better than my dad?” Daniil asked, his sullen eyes avoiding her amused gaze.

“I know an English nanny who played on the Lionesses, the English Women’s Soccer Team.” Having gained his attention, she added. “Ask any public-school boy, he’ll tell you the best nannies are English, like me.”

“I’ve only been here two days so I don’t know any school boys, public or private,” Daniil said, his snide tone seeming undeserved.

“In England, our public school is your private school. Our Eton is your Phillips Exeter Academy,” she clarified.

“He knows the difference from Tom Brown’s School Days,” Bruce cut in.

She chuckled. “A fine school, Rugby. A pity Mr. Hughes left out the naughty bits and kept the discipline.”

“Not much discipline at Hamden Prep, is there Dani? It’s bedlam when I drop off the brat on the way to New Haven.”

She nodded understandingly. “A true English nanny knows the importance of self-control. The more spoiled a boy is, the more he needs discipline.”

Daniil gave his father a dark look. “I do what I’m told. We both do.”

“I save my battles for the important things,” Bruce said quietly, still sorting pages.

She hiked an eyebrow, glancing at Bruce. “Here’s Lords on the left!” She picked up the PA microphone. “We’re coming up to Lords, the home of cricket, and the world’s oldest sporting museum. It seats about 28,000, tiny compared to some American stadiums…”

She went on and on.

“… The Grand Stand is a Nicholas Grimshaw design. The flattened egg is the Media Centre. It won the Stirling Prize for 1999.”

Claire switched off the microphone and turned around with a querying look at Bruce. His son had his head turned, looking back at Grimshaw.

“We were talking about discipline,” he reminded her.

“Right. Discipline is more than obedience, Daniel.”

Again, she noted his response, intense eyes that bored into her; there was more to his name, a sore point perhaps.

“It begins with respecting your father,” she added circumspectly.

“I do… most of the time.” Daniil ducked as his father playfully swatted at him. “Isn’t child abuse illegal in England?”

She stopped laughing when an elderly woman scowled from the third row of seats.

“It depends on the abuse. A good nanny will never come between a boy and his father, especially when they’re having fun. The bond is far too important.”

She noted Daniil’s slight smile, a secret lurking for certain. However, she missed Bruce’s quick sideways glance. She looked and sounded innocuous, yet her ‘never come’ made him look up from his handwritten notes.

Her expression was bland, almost as if she knew how often Daniil played with his slippery semen. Almost every night, he smeared it to stickiness after he tasted it, dabbled his fingers in it, and daubed his belly and chest. Just the night before, he’d painted his groin; penis, scrotum, even his tiny glans, inventing his own a bizarre rite appropriate for the wind and rain lashing the windows.

“Living in London won’t be as bad as you think,” Claire added.

Daniil heard a reprimand in her tone. “I’ve never lived in the city. Where we live is like woods. There’s a pond with ducks. It’s not really a farm, just acres of lawn to mow.”

“Lots of farms in England, a rather long drive from London, though.”

“Dad and I inherited a fishing lodge on a lake in Scotland, Sun Art, or wherever. We could live there, only my mom has to live in London.”

His father patted his thigh encouragingly. “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

“What’s the fat lady singing this time? The Battle Hymn of the Republic?” Daniil quipped spontaneously. “You’re losing this battle, Dad; admit it.”

“Oh my, your poor father does have his hands full with you!” Claire chuckled. “London has a million museums, and there are great places to visit, like Catsworth House.”

She handed over a Catsworth House brochure and turned around. She heard whispering behind, and covered her smile.

“Think you’d like living in a mansion,” Bruce said, holding up the brochure for Daniil to see.

Daniil barely glanced at it before giving a dismissive shrug. He wet his lips nervously, wrapped his arms around his chest, and tried to look sulky.

“’Catsworth House, one of England’s most impressive country estates, is in Derbyshire, on the east bank of the Derwent River,’” Bruce read. “’The name, Catsworth derives from’ blah, blah, blah. Originally, a large estate , blah, blah, blah.”

He glanced up to see Daniil trying not to smile. He prodded him with the brochure.

“Here, you read for a while, Frank Lloyd Wright. I’m exhausted.”

Daniil shook his head. “I keep telling you; except for Fallingwater, Louis Kahn is the king of modernism!”

“Where does James Stirling fit in into your hierarchy?”

“He’s in a different league, Dad. High Post-modern, maybe Neo-constructivism.”

Amazed, Claire peeked over her shoulder. His hair was so long, he had to push it aside to read the brochure.

“What happened to Deconstructivism?” Bruce teased.

“Um, like there’s no disassembly in James Stirling’s work. And he doesn’t ignore five thousand years of history. He reinterprets it, Dad; so High Post-modern, plus intellectually distinguished.”

She nearly laughed as she pictured him among other nine-year-old boys. Exceptional sprang to mind!

“’Bess selected a site for the original Elizabethan house,’ blah, blah, blah.” Daniil turned the page. “Joseph Paxton designed the garden. That’s why you wanted to see it, huh Dad.”

He stopped and studied a wintery photo of the south front, near sunset with strong oblique shadows.

“They went for early English Baroque. It’s cool, huh Dad?”

Bruce chuckled. “Summerson said Catsworth inaugurated an artistic revolution.”

“Will it be in your book?”

“I haven’t decided, Bud. Summerson also said it was a counterpart to the political revolution. Now, it’s open to the public. How the high and mighty have fallen.”

Daniil flipped the brochure. The house glowed against fall foliage and brilliant green lawns, garden stone walls nearly golden.

“It’s iconic, ironic, and Ionic, Dad.”

Bruce laughed, of the mind that Daniil’s attending private school was worth every cent of $16,450 a semester.

Claire Handley elevated an eyebrow. Daniil wasn’t just a pretty face. He was smart and witty, capable of holding his own in any of England’s public schools. She wondered if they’d explored that option, or if they’d send him to the American School in London.

oUo

By the time they were on the M-1, Daniil and his father had read the rest of the brochure, discussing anything remotely to do with architecture. Daniil retrieved his iPad Pro from his backpack and started on fifth-grade schoolwork, with the added burden of sixth-grade Math.

Bruce focused on research notes until his cellphone beeped for incoming email, the daily missive from Edwin Browne. They’d been best friends forever; Edwin was his roommate during grad school at Princeton.

‘Ye in Merrie Olde England

‘Third day in the mother country, so no more jet lag for Adonis. Is he enjoying London? I wish I was there. It can be a bit much, nothing like when I was a lad. On your Catsworth adventure, swing past Dunstable, just off the M1. A nice market town, medieval in parts, a solid Norman Priory Church of St Peters. The alternative is Rugby, up the road. Adonis would love going to school there. There is no better place for a boy to learn of principles and principal.

‘And while you’re at Catsworth, don’t miss Mars in March, plus it’s his month with Cupid.

‘Wish I was there with you, especially when you visit the family estate. Hug Adonis for me,

Ed.

Bruce typed with one finger.

‘Bus voted for Milton Keynes pee stop. Awful.’

They had slowed to a crawl for roadwork outside Milton Keynes when Daniil peeked sideways, the umpteenth time, yet this time his eyes went wide.

Even limp, his father’s penis made a big bulge in his blue jeans, nothing like his tiny prepubescent boy bump. He swallowed, licking his lips as if tasting it again, anticipation surging with his heart rate. He glanced away, then back again, feeding curiosity.

Slyly, he tilted his iPad Pro toward the window, his heart palpitating as he typed ‘penis’ and touched ‘search.’ He gorged on words, scanning, his hand covering photos as soon as they appeared… elephant penis—it dangled way down; mallard penis—like a corkscrew; Labrador-retriever penis—red and veiny; whale penis, horse penis, primate penises. Jackpot! A human penis, with hair removed.

Daniil J. Stirling gaped; it was an eye-opener, prominent veins like his father’s, thickness and length about average, straight when erect, maybe six inches long. The man had skin hanging over the end. Weird looking, nothing like his or his father’s.

“Just taking a break,” he muttered when he realized his father was looking at him.

Just in case, he clicked on a random hypertext link; ‘Systematic review’, whatever that was. Several long seconds before the pop-up appeared.

“You need help?”

“I’m good, really great.”

All he could think about was his father’s glans going into his mouth. It was too small for a plum, like a big cherry, not sweet, not sour, energizing for a few frantic heartbeats. With the image forever burned into his brain, he’d never felt so close to his father.

“You want to talk, D.J.?”

“What if our fishing lodge was really cool, and we could live there?”

Bruce shrugged vaguely, detecting a diversion. “Your mom thinks it’s a miserable little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and bankrupt to boot. She’s probably right so don’t get your hopes up.”

Daniil lowered his voice. “Can we not have word fines while we’re away?”

“A truce, huh?” Pretending to consider, mostly trying not to laugh. “Okay, only for really bad words.”

He licked his lips, rubbed his earlobe, pondered longer than ever before.

 “It was special, huh Dad?” he finally murmured.

Bruce swallowed saliva. They needed to talk about it sooner or later; it was too important not to. Instead, he nodded and winked; telling himself there was no need to do it right away.

In the seat in front of them, with her iPhone in hand, Claire googled ‘Hamden Preparatory School’—it was a far cry from Rugby. There was a photo of the junior soccer team, no Daniil Stirling that she could see; however, all the boys were several years older.

In the ‘Scholastic Achievements’ section, she admired a photo of D.J. Stirling standing before a blackboard of chalky equations—Daniil had won that year’s Fleming Award for Outstanding Performance in Mathematics. He didn’t seem the geek type.

Geek or not, Bruce was anxious, dwelling on Daniil’s ‘it was special’. What if his son was trying to tell him something else? Special also mean unusual, different, kidspeak for God-only-knew-what.

He gave the iPad a cursory glance, the glare obliterating most of ‘Wikipedia.’ Daniil’s fingers covered the search field. Sweating and tense, he was about to ask when Daniil moved his fingers away.

“I have to write a page on Connecticut’s role at Philadelphia in 1787.”

“A systematic review? What grade are you in?”

“It’s extra credit, Dad.”

Bruce leaned to nuzzle his son’s sweet-scented curls. “I’m here if you need me.”

Too close to his iPad, Daniil pushed him away. “Dad, not in front of everyone, okay?”

She overheard, smiled, and considered the inevitable question. How close were father and son? With confirmation bias, it was all too easy to jump to conclusions.

A new text message popped up on her iPhone. ‘Are you interested in being his nanny?’

She responded instantly. ‘Is that a possibility?’

Then, she waited, the ‘inevitable question’ now a prerequisite.

‘Mummy mentioned getting a nanny for him. I suggested you.’

She smiled wanly, disturbed that her father would offer before she agreed. Still, the opportunity was worth pursuing.

Unable to concentrate on anything, Daniil began chewing on his bottom lip. He peeked sideways again, increasingly fascinated. His father’s big balls usually hung way down in the shower. They were hairy, not like the photo, nothing like his. The image bothered him—big, ponderous testicles. A normal boy wouldn’t have had to make himself breathe. In and out, as his thoughts raced ahead.

oUo

Slogging his way through dividing by fractions, Daniil kept getting diverted, not by Northampton, off to his right, mostly Claire’s spiel on the Roman occupation. He looked up constantly, hoping for a gothic spire, or two.

A white Aston Martin sportscar rocketed past. He elbowed his father playfully.

“It’s a Vantage, Dad. Mr. Ed says it’s a magnet for…”

He avoided ‘boys’ just in time, like hitting Brembo brakes, hard. No skid marks!

“… cops… It’s the coolest car ever made in England. Four-liter V8 with twin turbochargers on the top model. It can do zero to 60 in three point six; it maxes out at195; and it stops on a dime.”

“I really should thank him one day.”

“What for?”

Bruce touched his lips as Claire rambled on about England’s market towns and their role in Roman days.

“… the Romans bypassed Northampton. It remained quite small until it became the shire center…”

Daniil tuned in, then out, then in again as she rambled on, medieval fortress, abbey, the First Barons’ War, the English Civil War…

“Ed thinks we should visit Rugby,” Bruce remarked, again reading his email.

Daniil shrugged. He loved his godfather. He quoted funny Bible verses, and played video games better than his father. If he was close to winning, the game always ended in tickles…

He switched to geometry, figuring irrational-number proportions, the same golden section that Mr. Ed said medieval master masons had used to build cathedrals. Hours later, he could still taste it, not salty or sweet, somewhat tangy. He couldn’t stop thinking it belonged in his mouth. He pictured his father’s erect penis, thick and hard with shower water running down either side, spray getting in his eyes whenever he looked up.

He opened his mouth, pretending, his tongue ready to lick. The taste was more than tangy… he settled on bizarre, the nine-year-old version of peculiar. To his father, it looked as if he yawned.

“Sleepy?”

Daniil jerked up his head. “Huh?”

“You’re looking dreamy, kiddo.”

“What should you thank Mr. Ed for?”

Bruce shrugged, not sure why he’d said it in the first place, other than his son’s growing car knowledge made him feel inadequate.

“For lots of things, mostly for teaching you kid-stuff that I don’t know about.”

Daniil nodded abruptly, exhaled, and turned away, swiveling his head as if to fix a crick in his neck. Suddenly nervous, yet showering with his father was all he could think about. That, and feeling the plump domed head going between his lips.

“Dad?”

Bruce looked at him side on, elevating an eyebrow to get a smile. His gaze drifted lower; not a lot to see. Daniil’s tiny hemisphere was wedged-shaped, which meant an erection for certain. It was enervating and longed-for, an unexpected diversion in an otherwise dull trip.

Sensing his father’s attentiveness, Daniil leaned closer. “I wub woo.”

Not at all surprised, Bruce clasped his son’s lean thigh, patted a few times, and rubbed towards a small knee.

“Dad, about the shower… what we talked about?” Daniil whispered.

“It’s normal to experiment. Stop worrying about it.”

“I can’t.”

“Dani, it’s okay to try different things to see what works for you.”

He winked as his hand rubbed back and forth. After a few moments, Daniil relocated his iPad Pro and backpack.

With his right hand hidden from view, Bruce’s fingers inched onto Daniil’s warm groin, cupping everything male before a playful squeeze made the boy tremble and move his legs close together. They looked at each other, a little embarrassed until Daniil managed to smile. His miniature boy parts tingled. He wanted, needed more.

Bruce casually looked around. Behind, two women talked bridge strategies. Their guide was reading notes on ‘Rugby.’ He nodded slightly as he caught his son’s eye.

Then, Claire switched on the microphone.

“We’re coming up to Rugby, the home of one of England’s finest public schools…”

Daniil and his father stopped listening after ‘Rugby was a market town in the 13th century.’ Within seconds, Daniil’s legs were wide apart. Adult index and middle fingers enclosed a short hard penis, fingertips carefully compressing immature testes. Daniil breathed deeply, so aroused it took all his concentration not to groan. Focusing on fractions, like breathing normally, was impossible.

Left little egg, the right marginally bigger, or both eggs together; his father was always careful when he played with them. Always gentle; whether stroking with a single fingertip, prodding into his pudgy-soft pubis, pushing gonads aside, or back inside inguinal canals. For a nine-year-old boy it was comforting, uplifting, reassuring. Only being naked in front of the fire on a cold winter evening would make it more enjoyable.

With nothing else to do until the outskirts of Leicester, Claire busied herself googling Bruce Stirling on her iPhone. She closed her eyes, reflecting in flights of fancy, with a few facts tossed into the stew. Not surprisingly, Daniil’s father possessed all the characteristics her father looked for. A deep-rooted heritage from generations of selective breeding, a renowned family name in Scottish shipping, even if it no longer came with a title. He was a professor of Architectural History, a Ph.D. from Princeton with numerous publications; with all the rest, it was very reassuring.

She sent her father a text. ‘Your tartlet said they inherited a fishing lodge, Sun Art. I assume it’s on Loch Sunart. The Stirling clan left the Lowlands?’

His reply was a surprise. ‘Aka GlenIolaire Castle, from the shipping company. A Listed. Rather nice if out of the way. A title, too, a minor barony.’

She stifled a laugh as she typed. ‘You get a baronet for the principal and I get to be his nanny.’

She pondered her reply to her father’s next message. ‘She’s top of my short list. Test the waters with Trevor and Simon.’

She smiled and typed, a very apropos, ‘Prince Charming couldn’t be in better hands.’

Her brother and nephew would enjoy every second, as would cute little Daniil and his lovesick father.

Suddenly, she realized that father and son were whispering together. Her intuition in control, she strained to hear…

“Don’t hold his tail so tight.”

“He liked it this morning.”

She was flabbergasted. Obviously, they were close; but *that* close?

“You can squish it if you want.”

“You want him to go down, or not?”

She casually glanced at the driver, checking in before putting her peripheral vision to work.

“We seem to be making good time, now,” she remarked, tilting her head slightly.

“Only fifteen minutes behind schedule, Ms. Handley.”

Concealed under a messenger bag and Daniil’s iPad, they’d pass a cursory glance, if not scrutiny. Tempted to turn in her seat and say something outrageous, it was all Claire could do not to snicker. As she turned back, she caught fragments ankara genç escort of Daniil’s muffled whisper.

“Willy likes… he’s little, Dad… bruises easily…”

Before typing a text to her father, she checked out the Historic Properties Registry for GlenIolaire Castle. A half-dozen photographs. Not imitation Scottish medieval castle, yet quirky for a Baronial mansion of the late-19th – early-20th Century. It was red Dumfriesshire sandstone, quite pretty. The restored interior was surprisingly tasteful, with views overlooking Loch Sunart. The Google Satellite photo showed a gatehouse, stables, coach house, greenhouse, and extensive gardens.

She typed, ‘Old £?’

She smiled again at her father’s quick response. ‘Stirling still has six figs in a City trust.’

Six figures, so less than a million pounds. Not a lot pre-Brexit, likely a lot less afterwards. A lot more before World War Two; German U-boats decimated British shipping.

Her to-the-point reply; ‘Very nice. 139 HA, 16 bed, on the Loch.’

His rapid-fire response; ‘Sailing, fishing, riding, and grouse. Add soccer field, it’s ideal for an EU getaway.’

She smiled at his quick response. He’d left out one crucial detail. GlenIolaire was romantic in a Country Life way, miles from a village, let alone a town of any size.

Utterly unaware, yet hopeful, Daniil leaned close. “You want to do it tonight?”

“Sheesh, Dani. Whisper.”

He whispered. “Can I?’

She still overheard. Now, she smirked as she typed. ‘Simon is chaste by comparison.’

Even when Daniil tried, his whispers were always too loud; yet Bruce barely blinked. His son’s wistful look, and what might transpire while being alone with him for an entire night precluded rationality.

He nodded without thinking, and then reddened at his obvious eagerness. It was the downside of having a precocious nine-year-old, unashamed and uninhibited. Worse, the woman tour guide in the front passenger seat chose that very moment to look over her shoulder.

“Do it now if you want,” Bruce said, bluster thrusting aside remaining reason.

Before Daniil could respond, his bold father lowered his head almost to his knees and rubbed the back of his neck. Daniil grinned. Before he turned eight, he’d learned how to cover up when his mother surprised them. The trick was doing it spontaneously. This time, he rubbed his father’s neck with his knuckles, mercilessly.

“Oh yes, that’s good. Right there, Dani. Harder. Don’t stop. Not so fast.”

Bruce peeked at the woman, Claire Something-or-other. In case she’d heard, he smiled, rotated his shoulders, and worked his neck.

“I wish I could clone him,” he said. “It won’t be long before he won’t want to do it.”

Claire chuckled as she turned around, her ears pricked for the slightest sound behind her, anticipating more of Daniil’s melodious giggles.

Bruce met his son’s teasing scrutiny. Being with him was always fun, whether driving him to soccer practice after school, or reading together at bedtime. The last two nights in a London hotel bedroom were even more fun, although with his wife so close it was like playing catch with old nitroglycerin.

Daniil slyly looked down. His father’s bulge was visibly bigger, an elongated lump extending between his lower belly and right thigh. With a nervous tremble, he looked up. His face was hot from wondering if his father was feeling the same shivery excitement.

“The puppy’s still got a stiff tail,” he whispered.

Bruce gulped any remaining uncertainty, silently pleading that the woman in the front seat hadn’t heard. What was her name, anyway? He was awful with names, especially his students.

Abruptly, he gestured to Daniil’s unfinished schoolwork.

oUo

“My tummy’s really grumbling now,” Daniil declared, shoving finished school workbooks and notepapers into his backpack.

Unseen, Claire smirked from the front seat. His accent was delightful, his voice soft, fluted. It gave her a warm feeling.

“And who’s fault would that be?” Bruce leaned to kiss the top of Daniil’s head.

“I’m a kid. You’re supposed to feed me three meals a day and on demand.”

After that, Bruce whispered. She strained her ears, and heard nothing. She turned her head slightly, using peripheral vision to see Daniil poke out his small pink tongue. Surely confirmation they shared a secret; his full lips were adorably passionate, scrumptious like the rest of him.

Unable to stop herself, she turned around and gazed into innocent blue eyes. ‘Oh my!’ was on the tip of her tongue. A little bronze eye shadow would make him look exotic as well as alluring, vulnerable, too.

“Poor thing. Slept in and missed your brekky, did you?” she said with a teasing smile.

Bruce smiled back. “Something like that. I’ll feed the little bugger when we arrive.”

“You should’ve brought some nuts to nibble on, Dad.”

“Little wretch! Wait till later,” he whispered.

While Daniil giggled, he pretended to check his pockets.

Unaware, she rummaged through her Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis handbag. “I’m sure I have a Mars bar in here.”

She held it out. Luckily, the wrapper was still intact.

Daniil glanced at his father before he accepted it. “You’re a life saver, Ma’am. Thank you very much.”

She nearly swooned at ‘Ma’am.’ His accent, his demure demeanor, endearing eyes, everything about him sent a thrill raging through her.

“My Simon would say ‘ta muchly.’ His best friend at Anselm”s Prep is a Yorkie, ‘a reight gud sooart.’ Andy’s from Yorkshire,” she added.

Daniil met her with a mischievous giggle and nudged his father. “Maybe she can tell us what ‘sod off’ means, Dad?”

Bruce grabbed him in a playful headlock. Between tickling and tousling his son’s head he managed to get out, “I already know, brat.”

“Tell me!”

“No way. Your mom would kill me.”

Envious and amused, Claire whispered, “If you promise not to tell your mom. The less rude version means ‘piss off’.”

He peeled off the wrapper as he processed ‘piss off’. “What’s the rude version?”

She caught Bruce’s eye. “Where did you hear that delightful English expression?”

Perky, Daniil grinned. “Yesterday, some guy asked Dad for bus fare. All he had was American money. The man told him to sod off.”

“Then, he probably meant the rude version,” she laughed.

Fascinated, she watched Daniil take his first-ever taste of Mars bar, caramel and nougat covered with milk chocolate.

Daniil masticated with enjoyment. “Rude as in…”

“Don’t you dare say it,” Bruce warned.

“Fu-u-u-u-u-dge!” Daniil squirmed away, gleefully poking out a chocolatey tongue.

She was certain it was the funniest thing she’d seen in a month, on par with Trevor and Simon playing Hide and Seek in bed with Socrates, the family setter.

She quickly segued to safer ground. “Will you be visiting Clan Stirling while you’re here?”

In was innocuous, yet she wished she could pull it back.

“I’d love for Daniil to see the ancestral home,” Bruce replied, yanking a handkerchief from his pocket. “However, if I do go, I’ll probably leave Fudge Boy with his mom.”

Daniil licked his lips fastidiously, wiping with the handkerchief. “I have to go, Dad. Uncle Alistair left it to both of us.”

“All well and good, however, I control your interest until you turn 21,” Bruce teased. “Besides, your mom wants us to sell it.”

“No way!”

“After we see it, we might want to get out of the fishing lodge business.”

Daniil shook his head determinedly, so resolute that Claire wondered if he’d seen the same photos she had. With market analysis and advertising, GlenIolaire Castle could be a moneymaker year-round, just not from fishing.

“You know if we keep it, you’ll have to wear a kilt,” Bruce teased.

Daniil erupted in giggles, yet she barely heard. She pictured father and son cuddling in the library. One of the interior photos showed a 17th century carved-walnut couch before a massive fireplace. A beautiful boy like Daniil belonged there, in a Stirling-plaid kilt, sprawled across the crimson and white brocade of cherubs and vines.

“Find any nuts to nibble on, Mars boy?”

“It’s like a Milky Way bar, Dad, only better,” Daniil proclaimed, teasing his father with a pinched-off piece of Mars Bar.

Bruce tried to grab it, and then jerked the rest of the Mars bar from Daniil’s hand. He chomped off a mouthful before Daniil snatched back the rest.

“You owe me, Dad!”

“Wait till tonight,” Bruce whispered in his ear.

“Two chapters of Harry Potter first.”

He laughed, more self-conscious than amused, tousling Daniil’s long curls to cover up even as Claire turned to talk with the driver about their delayed arrival at Catsworth House. She glanced back, a quick wink at Daniil; then, she checked her text messages.

From her father, ‘Any more on our contender for Eros?’

She replied, ‘Gorgeous and delightful.’ Then, as she tried to tune into their whispers, she added, ‘Very playful.’

His response, as if she didn’t already know, ‘Participation is vital.’

She couldn’t hear much, just Daniil teasing his father about staying up late and sleeping-in the next morning; then, something about going salmon fishing together. However, she did hear what followed as Bruce declined Daniil’s sudden sleepiness with a playful shove.

“Stay in your own seat.”

“I’m all sticky, see Dad.” Daniil licked a finger to prove it.

It was so blatant Bruce couldn’t help himself.

“You’ll be sticky tonight, Mister.”

Claire was wet as soon as she saw her father’s next text message. ‘Mars and Cupid asap. His mum’s a shoe-in for VP.’

She poked at her virtual keyboard. ‘Trevor and Simon onboard for tonight?’

The response came quickly. ‘Primed, cocked, and ready to fire.’

 

 

The Eros Union

 Book I: Recruiting

By Ganymede

 

CATSWORTH HOUSE, DERBYSHIRE  

With special permission, Claire Handley escorted her group of 16 insurance-executive’ spouses and two children through seldom-seen masterpieces from the Devonshire Collection before ending the tour…

“At last, the Painted Hall; spectacular, isn’t it?” she began, gesturing up.

The ceiling mural over the grand stair was the culmination of a three-hour visual extravaganza.

“We’re now on the site of the 16th-century house,” she went on. “The 4th Earl, who would later become the 1st Duke, was a Whig. Out of favor, he retired to Catsworth during the reign of King James II, and spent his time rebuilding the house. We’ve already talked about his North and West fronts; The Painted Hall was one of his many interior improvements.”

She paused, observing her precious boy standing alone on the fifth step. She sighed inwardly. He was as breathtaking as the Painted Hall. Posed for his father’s camera, he might’ve been a young duke, his long brunette curls shimmering.

“The original staircase was built in 1692,” she continued. “The present staircase was designed by W. H. Romaine-Walker in 1912, replacing one designed by Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Now, the ceilings…”

 Daniil Stirling gazed up at yet another of Laguerre’s works of art.

“The upper part of the Hall depicts scenes from the life of Julius Caesar by Laguerre. He also painted the ceiling.”

“It’s awesome,” Daniil said, louder than he intended.

Claire couldn’t resist. “Of the four Laguerre’s, which do you like the most, Daniel?”

He stopped looking up and regarded her with a frown, not perplexed, surprised.

“We saw seven, Ms. Handley. There might be more.”

“And I thought you were just another Adonis,” she teased, much to the amusement of visitors within hearing range.

Daniil regarded her strangely before he rattled them off. Phaeton and Apollo in the Music Room, the Triumph of Diana in the State Bedchamber, the ceiling in the closet…

“… I really like this one, and Julius Caesar sacrificing on his way to the Senate, and the Gods in the State Drawing Room…”

She interrupted him with, “You really were paying attention, weren’t you? Okay everyone, you now have two hours of free time to visit the stables, the gardens, or take afternoon tea. Professor Stirling, if you don’t mind, I have something to show our young Laguerre fan. It’ll only take a few minutes.”

oUo

“’Love looks not with the eyes,

but with the mind

And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

Nor hath love’s mind of any judgement taste…’”

 

Claire paused, watching Daniil’s reaction with a practiced eye, wondering how much he took in. Very few boys his age understood allegory, let alone obscure references to mythology.

“‘Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.

And therefore is love said to be a child

Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.’”

 

From beginning to end, her voice echoed off the stone walls and floor of the massive Sculpture Gallery, conveying melodrama, a far greater thrill than words intended.

“It’s from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Daniel. Shakespeare was using symbolism, the same as the statue’s sculptor,” she added.

Daniil studied with the concentration of a budding art historian. “So he has wings for haste, and he’s blind because love is blind.”

She was certain he sensed the statue’s deep-down eroticism; his tongue teased his bottom lip far too often.

“Man or boy, woman or girl, they all succumb to love sooner or later.”

Daniil showed no response, or he hid it well. Finally, with a frown, “Why don’t you dress like a tour guide?”

“I dress for the situation.” She looked him in the eye. “I want people to be comfortable around me, especially little boys who know about art and architecture.”

“You sure he’s Cupid and not just an angel?” He jerked his head at the statue. “Wings, yeah; no bow and arrows.”

“The bow and arrow are symbolic. Like an arrow, ‘Love wounds and inflames the heart.’”

“There you go! He’s not Cupid!”

He was so dogmatic, she barely avoided laughing.

“Actually, Daniel, if you know where to look; he has a little dart instead.”

She hoped he’d ask, but he didn’t.

“His dart is beguiling, and it has other uses. Plus, it’s always there when he needs it.”

Oblivious to her emphasis, unaware of its meaning, or simply bored by sheer monumentality, Daniil read the plaque aloud.

“’Mars Restrained by Cupid.´“ (Link to statue on Wikipedia: warning nudity)

She smiled as he stepped back, curious, gazing up at the ambiguous embrace captured forever in sumptuous white marble. At first glance, he was an unlikely recruit, more introverted than most boys who visited the Sculpture Gallery of Catsworth House. Unlike them, he also possessed the discerning eye of an esthete.

“It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it?” she said quietly.

At that very moment, his mouth opened in silent awe. She was certain he was curious, even on the verge of ‘beguiled.’ She’d never seen it happen so quickly.

“One has to wonder why Cupid restrained him,” she prompted, nearly smirking.

“The boy doesn’t want him to go.”

“But why?” She hesitated. “That’s the big question. Figure that out and you’ll understand what the sculptor is saying.”

Daniil considered the statue, suddenly aware of a growing flutter in his belly, instinctive arousal, his heart pumping blood. He started to reach down.

“He’s a beautiful boy, isn’t he?” she murmured, equally awed.

His hand hovered, fingers extended, his erect penis pulsing scarce inches away. He held his breath, face heating up. He had to say something, anything.

“He barely comes up to his dad’s belly button.”

So close, Claire wasn’t about to let it end there.

“The way they look at each other makes me tingle.”

His head jerked at ‘tingle’. Surely, she couldn’t know where he was tingling. It wasn’t that obvious, yet he was so anxious his tummy ached. His father said that having a hard penis, a ‘boner’, was normal; it was still embarrassing.

“Don’t tell anyone… I think Cupid is very sexy,” she confided.

It was without doubt, the pièce de résistance in the Sculpture Gallery, a daring mix of Canova and carnality, sensuous white marble and lascivious lust.

“I think he’s imploring him, almost desperate…” She paused, watching him. “He wants his father, so, so much.”

Daniil nodded slightly, awkwardly surveilling the stunning boy.

“Now feast your eyes on Mars,” she prompted. “Isn’t he magnificent?”

The man’s penis was ‘magnificent,’ in fact, blush-worthy, just like his father’s.

“He looks kinda fed up.”

She should’ve expected something like that from a precocious nine-year-old.

“I think he’s rather stoic. If you look closely at his face, you’ll see he’s also a little smug. He might be saying, ‘What can a little boy like you possibly do to please me?’”

Although she was behind him, Daniil still gulped. His face was burning hot; his heart quickening with every nervous breath. Somehow, he still resisted the urge to grope his groin. His erection throbbed, bordering on painful, his tight boxer-briefs restraining, making it worse.

“Little boys can please men if they know what to do,” she added softly.

He resisted looking back at her. Instead, he stepped closer to the statue.

“I wonder where my dad went. I better go look for him,” he muttered.

However, he had to look one more time. The nude man and boy reminded him of standing in front of a mirror with his father beside him, comparing. They did it so often he should’ve been used to seeing everything on display.

He closed his eyes, trying to empty his mind. However, his penis had a mind of its own. All he could think of was sharing the shower with his father, grasping stubborn hardness, rubbing it against his belly and chest. It would’ve been even better if his father had ejaculated on him.

 The ache blossomed deep inside him, an intense awareness, heat spreading out until he glowed all over. His hand strayed again, instinctively touching the source. Suddenly, he didn’t dare turn around. He was impossibly stiff down there, feasting his eyes on divine strength, bulging muscle, commanding, awe-inspiring. Even adoring Cupid towered over him.

“Imagine if you were the boy in the statute, so beautiful men adored you. How much fun could you have?” she confided, closer yet still from behind him.

Daniil could tell from their faces they shared something special. Cupid’s upturned eyes were full of admiration, longing, demanding. If he concentrated on Mars, the God was indulgent, smug like she said, yet similarly enraptured. He looked again at the curly headed boy, suddenly nervous, understanding far more than a boy should at nine years old.

She took a breath, sensing the change in him. “There’s nothing more beautiful than a man and a boy naked together.”

Mars’ body fascinated him, the perfect man with a muscular abdomen and thighs, awesome power restrained, so different to the boy before him. He nodded without realizing.

“Especially if they love each other,” she ventured, watching for a reaction—another nervous glance. “That’s why this statue is so special. It captures their feelings perfectly.”

Perhaps he didn’t hear. His eyes shifted, taking in manhood, then boyhood.

“What’s wrong with them?”

“Pardon?”

He blushed, still staring. “They’re the same.”

Confused, she said, “I thought you knew. Cupid is Mars’ son by Venus.”

“In Ancient Greek mythology, Ares and Aphrodite made Eros. They’re the same as the Roman gods.”

She was more than a little impressed.

“So fathers and sons always are the same,” he concluded before biting his bottom lip.

She hesitated, wondering where he was heading. “Not always. You can tell they were very close.”

Daniil nodded agreement.

She went on. “Some fathers and sons have a special relationship, so special they keep it secret. Like you and your father, I think.” She waited, always watching closely. When he didn’t answer, she added, “I’m right, aren’t I?

Daniil recognized a trap, and kept his mouth shut.

“I’ve seen how you look at him,” she pressed slyly.

Again, the same sullen look when Daniil finally turned, an awkward, uncomfortable glance at her. He took a breath, forcing calm over fluster before he gestured at the statue.

“Why’s their relationship so special?”

She took a deep breath, never more aware. What she said next would be crucial. Everything hinged upon him accepting his extraordinary role, appreciating his purpose in life.

“The moment I saw you and your father, I knew you loved each other very much,” she began.

Daniil regarded her, head now tilted, his gaze intense despite his hummingbird heartbeat. She touched her breast, never more serious as she crossed it twice. No need to say it aloud.

When he tried to breathe, nothing worked.

“When a boy and a man are in love, they want to join together,” she went on. “It’s nothing to be ashamed or scared about, Daniel; however, it does need to be kept secret.”

It was barely a whisper, yet her words penetrated. He gulped, blinking.

“My dad loves me so much he wants to be part of me.”

He stopped abruptly, panicking as he realized his blunder, everything he’d be told not to do just tossed out the window.

 “You’re just like my brother was at your age,” she whispered, playing to her innermost fantasies.

He stared at her, face already pink, mind in a dervish whirl, unable to process more than her expression. It seemed okay, not angry or threatening, sympathetic, considerate, thoughtful, too.

“Sooner or later, your father will make love to you, Daniel.”

As much as he wanted to be calm and collected like she was, he was frantic; terrified because now she was saying the very things he’d promised never to talk about.

“I think you know what it means for a man to make love to a boy.”

Somehow, he managed to shrug, not committing either way.

“If he loves you that way, it’s very important that you understand what’s involved.”

Now, he deliberately avoided her gaze. She was certain he’d been groomed at least a little bit. With luck, he’d be properly trained, no different than Simon and hundreds of other boys who served prominent men, the companions of Eros.

“It’s what makes your love special, Daniel. The reason I know all this is…” She made him wait. “… you look at your father the same way Cupid looks at Mars,” she added quietly.

“Are they deformed or something?” Daniil finally blurted out.

“Deformed?” she repeated, giving the massive statue a second look.

“Their, you know…” He nodded vaguely, tilting his head. “They don’t have helmets.”

A few moments passed before she realized.

“Of course, you’re American. I should’ve realized you’d be circumcised.”

Recognition flashed on his face. “It was done when I was a baby.”

He sounded so serious, so matter-of-fact that she couldn’t help smiling.

“Your dad is too, I expect.”

She waited until he responded. It took a while. When the nervous nod came, she was still surprised, quickly cupping a hand to cover her mouth, hiding a knowing smirk. Father and son were as rare as Britain’s endangered water vole, Arvicola terrestris.

“Like father, like son, including their willies.”

He grinned without warning.

“You find that funny?”

“Mr. Ed would.”

“Mr. Ed would be a talking horse?”

He grinned, apparently no stranger to 1960s TV shows.

“Mom won’t let me call him Uncle Ed. I’m supposed to call him Doctor Browne, only he doesn’t want me calling him that. So Mr. Ed… Dad met him at Princeton. He’s English.”

“How odd! I know a Doctor Browne, too.”

 “He’s my godfather.” Daniil lowered his voice. “He calls my weenie ‘William Stirling.’”

“Oh, right. Here, boys call them willies. Generally, I mean; not as a first name.”

Daniil slyly glanced around before he confided, “We call my dad’s ‘Richard Stirling.’”

Delighted, Claire played along. “Dick and Willy Stirling, and you match, too. How exciting.”

Daniil erupted, giggling so hard she thought he might never stop.

“We don’t really match,” he finally spluttered. “Mine’s way sportier than his is.”

He didn’t see her face as she looked over her shoulder, amused and delighted, and surprised by his openness.

“Sportier how?” she pressed, turning back.

 “Dad said Mom wanted a boring minivan; he wanted a sports car.”

“Willy would be the roadster model? Top off and high performance.”

Only Mr. Ed joked like that, and sometimes his father. He grinned, nodding, increasingly at ease even though she wouldn’t stop looking at him.

She laughed. “You’re a lucky catamite to have your own Aston Martin advantage.”

Daniil missed the car joke, yet asked anyway. “What’s a catamite?”

“It’s a very special boy who’s loved by a man.”

Enough to reassure him, not frighten him.

He regarded the statue, head tilted. “So Eros would be his catamite?”

“Well, I don’t know for certain; however, to me, he looks like he might be. He’s awfully good looking, just like you… Of course, sometimes good-looking is a matter of personal taste.”

Still confused, he summoned enough courage to point again. “Is that what it looks like with the skin?”

 “You’ve never seen a natural one in the flesh?”

He moved his head slightly, staring at Cupid’s crotch.

She chose her next words willfully. “Nowadays, it’s cut off for religious reasons, or so a boy matches his father.”

Being beautiful, uninhibited, and intelligent made a boy more desirable compared to his peers. Being all three, plus circumcised, was a game-changer, an unexpected windfall. It guaranteed celebrity status at any get-together.

“It’s just excess skin. I really didn’t need it,” Daniil countered. “Dad says it’s cleaner without it.”

“Personally, I think a boy’s willy is beautiful in either style.” She winked slyly. “Simon’s is the other way.”

He tilted his head. “Has he seen one like mine?”

“I’m sure he’s seen oodles on his computer.”

Daniil looked away quickly. He’d only just figured out how to use a VPN to get past ‘parental controls’ when he had to start packing for the trip to Merrie Olde England.

“There aren’t many boys with your kind in Europe,” she continued. “Most people think circumcision is barbaric.”

She waited until he peeked; curious or excited, it was impossible to tell.

“There’s a lot to be said for standing out in a crowd.”

He stepped closer, staring at Cupid’s crotch before looking way up at Mars. “He’s really, really big, but not there.”

“You expect the God of War to be well endowed, only he’s not; is that it?”

Daniil nodded solemnly.

“The Ancient Greeks had a different sense of beauty compared to modern society, Daniel. Back then, having a big willy was considered ugly. If you stop to think about it, being small is better for some things.”

“Like what?”

“If you really don’t know, I probably shouldn’t be the one to tell you.”

He glanced at her, blinked and quickly looked away. Still, she seized the opening.

“What we were just talking about, if a man and a boy love each other, like you and your father, they want to join together.”

She watched him process with an awkward gulp.

“What do you think happens when Mars and Cupid are alone together, Daniel?”

Daniil sucked his bottom lip, avoiding her gaze. Finally, he mumbled, “I’m nine. How would I know?”

 “Don’t pretend you don’t know; smart as you are.”

“You mean, um…” His voice faltered. He looked at his feet. “Like if they’re gay?”

She gave him a querying look, head down, eyes up. Unhappy and uncooperative, even annoyed, yet he was close to opening up; no doubt about it.

“How about you tell me what you think they do, and I’ll tell you if you’re wrong.”

Daniil kept glowering, head down as he plucked at his shirt collar. She turned her gaze on the statue, took a breath, held it, exhaled, and waited.

“Everyone knows gays do it in the butt.”

“Yes, they do. So why would the size of Mars’ willy be important?”

“Um… I guess…” He gestured at the statue, seeming wistful. “… if they did it, um, it would work better if he was smaller.”

“Actually, it depends; however, you have the right idea.”

He hesitated, struggling, not hostile, undecided. “Mars’ thing’s about as big as my dad’s.”

Not surprising, not really; a lot of gay boys were father-focused.

“Well, there you go.”

They stared at the statue in silence; one intrigued, the other scheming.

“I wonder… Do you think Mars’ willy would fit inside Cupid’s bum?”

“Um…”

Out in the open, now; another piece of the jigsaw puzzle stopped into place. Blushing for certain; his ears were burning; his role confirmed no matter what he said.

“I guess…”

“Of course, Mars’ willy is way bigger when it’s sticking up.”

“So is my dad’s.”

She very nearly laughed. “Compared to Cupid, is your willy bigger or smaller?” she teased.

He managed an embarrassed shrug. “He’s got skin on the end.”

She chuckled and stepped closer, placing her hand on his shoulder. “If I tell you a secret, promise you’ll never tell anyone?”

“Okay.”

“Men like Mars prefer boys with little willies.” She watched him ponder.

He turned and looked up at her, curious, yet suspecting a lie. A nine-year-old boy in grade-five classes overheard big-dick jokes every day.

“What if my balls are really tiny?” Daniil asked in a worried whisper.

“Lucky you. Small balls are special, too.” She added a smile to reinforce it.

“Why?”

“Well, a little willy makes a boy looks younger, more vulnerable. And with little balls; his willy won’t get bigger any time soon.”

She was about to add that being soft and smooth as a baby was also important, when Daniil looked around nervously.

“I’m tiny compared to my dad.”

“Five quid says he’s glad you are, that’s five British pounds to a Yank.” She winked at him. “Trust me, little willies are best for beautiful boys like you.”

He seldom blushed, yet he was certain his ears were crimson, like his face and neck.

She was about to expound when she heard footsteps and glanced behind. Bruce stood in the shadow by the wall. He touched his lips even as Daniil pivoted. His son grinned, and he grinned back.

“You got lost, huh Dad?”

Bruce muttered something about taking a wrong turn at the Grotto Room.

Wondering how much Bruce had overheard, she watched as he took in the statue that so beguiled his son. Nearly a minute passed before she gestured vacuously.

“If you like Mars and Cupid, there’s a rather well executed Catamitus by Tadolini over there… if you’re inclined that way.”

She could tell from the way his gaze shifted back and forth. Cute Cupid and delicious Daniil, cold hard marble and warm soft flesh, both fanning desires shared by men across continents and two-dozen centuries.

“Unfortunately, he’s too old to interest a true boy lover,” she added pointedly.

“Does Catamitus come from catamite?” Daniil asked.

Both bemused and surprised, Bruce studied his wide-eyed progeny, curious and skittish as a fawn until he quickly looked away, guilty as can be.

“Actually, catamite comes from Catamitus, the Roman name for Ganymede,” he finally answered.

Succinct and harmless; yet Claire detected anxiety. Likely it came from knowing the answer in an era when such things went unstudied, and never spoken of. With anyone else it would’ve been quite disconcerting.

Daniil pointed toward the far wall. “Ganymede’s over there, Dad. The boy with the eagle.”

Claire perked up. “The eagle is symbolic, Sweetie.”

She sensed familial emotion lurking under the surface, not surprising after what she’d observed in the coach. Increased awareness of the other, mutual yearning waiting for the right opportunity; it was so strong the boy might not be virgin.

“Zeus, the greatest god of all, turned himself into an eagle to carry off the boy. To be his catamite,” she added with an uneasy snicker.

“So being a catamite is a good thing?”

Claire looked at Daniil’s very bemused father.

Bruce shrugged. “You opened this can of worms, you explain it.”

“It’s not for every boy. For some boys, it’s the best thing that can happen to them.”

Daniil was thinking about it when she turned to address his father.

 “There’s no need to panic, Professor Stirling. I promise you’ll not find a more understanding woman in all of England.”

“Understanding of what, exactly?”

“Daniel and I were just saying what a beautiful statue this is,” she said, stepping closer.

She rested her hand on Daniil’s small shoulder, fingertips gently caressing his hair.

“I think it reveals the true nature of love, nothing to do with a chubby boy hanging out with his mother when he’s not shooting arrows to inspire romance.”

Bruce fondled his son’s hair and neck from the other side. “Assuming you’re right, what’s the statue about, then?”

She lowered her voice. “Fifty years ago, any English public school boy could tell you the symbolism of Mars Restrained by Cupid. In Ancient Greece, idealized pederasty was the highest form of love.”

“What’s pederasty?” Daniil asked without averting his gaze from the statue.

Bruce gave her a cold look. “It combines the Greek words for ‘boy’ and ‘love’.” His fear surged, so much at stake. Finally, he added awkwardly, “Pederasty is the love of boys.”

“So what Mr. Ed talks about, huh Dad?”

He clasped his son’s shoulder momentarily, an outright warning, too late.

“Idealized pederasty achieves a spiritual union between a man and a boy. Very different to garden-variety boy love,” Claire corrected, returning the cold look.

Daniil giggled oddly while his father cringed, the jibe striking too close to home, especially in public.

“Plato believed true love began with carnal love and ended with ethereal love.” She gestured at the statue for their benefit. “Eros represents carnal love. Looking at the statue, I think he also shared ethereal love with Mars.”

“Are all English tour guides so well informed?” Bruce interrupted, more to deflect than provoke.

She winked at Daniil. “Actually, Dr. Stirling, I’m here as a favor to my father, Lord Eric Handley.”

“Oh!”

“He’s interested in more than hiring a breadwinner,” she said simply.

Somewhat chagrined, Bruce teased. “You’re not just another pretty face, then.”

“Pretty faces have their uses. My father’s impulsive, especially when he sees an opportunity. He’s already told your wife that I’m the ideal nanny for your son. I hope he wasn’t out of line.”

Daniil smiled, of the mind that if he had to have a nanny, he could do far worse.

“I think you’re eminently qualified; however, I didn’t know the position was advertised,” Bruce said snippily.

“And if it was, I wouldn’t apply. I only work for people I choose, Professor Stirling.”

“Ouch!” He smiled to lessen the strike, again fondling his son’s long curls.

“I already like Daniel, so that’s a start,” she added in appeasement.

Daniil grinned, nodding. The feeling was mutual; however, it bothered him—the last thing he needed was a nanny, even an English Lioness.

“The three of us also must have certain interests in common,” she continued, her expression equally enigmatic.

“Even if Dani and I managed to qualify, I’m not sure we could afford an Oxford Magister Litterarum [Master of Letters].” Bruce stopped fondling as his joke fell flat.

“You’ve done your homework, too. I charge £8,000 a month, €9,500; plus room and board, and all expenses when traveling with the child.”

“Jesus Christ! That’s over ten grand!”

She heaved a drawn-out sigh for fun. “With Americans, it always comes down to money.”

She turned, noting Daniil’s quiet nervousness. She could tell he was still aroused, demeanor as much as posture. Still, she glanced down, nine-year-old stiffness revealing its presence with a baby bump in his blue jeans.

 “If anyone knows, D.J. will,” she teased. “Did Mary Poppins apply to be nanny to the Banks family?”

“Technically, no.” Daniil explained. “She was blown into Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane by the East Wind.”

“Exactly! And she stayed till…”

Daniil giggled. “’The wind changes.’”

She ruffled his hair. “The right answer; why am I not surprised? Would you want a nanny who’s stern, rather vain, with a tendency to be easily annoyed? However, she plays a mean game of soccer.”

In play, Daniil frowned and crossed his arms. “Does she do anything magical?”

Claire winked. “Your father will think so. I understand what makes you, you. That’s vital for a nanny.”

Daniil was still undecided when she stepped away, turning to confront Bruce directly.

“Eros and sex go hand in hand, Professor Stirling. It’s fun while it lasts. Hopefully, you and your son will pursue the ideals of Ancient Greece. With my guidance, true love isn’t just a possibility; antalya escort it’s inherent.”

Dumbfounded, Bruce gaped, open-mouthed. Then, reason rushed in and he hedged.

“I think we’re talking at cross purposes.”

“I doubt it; however, an explanation is in order.”

Claire looked around the Sculpture Court, another tour group entering at the far end, a guide explaining how the second Duke obtained works of art for the Devonshire Collection.

“There’s so much at stake, it’s best to say as little as possible until we’re better acquainted.”

She considered leaving it there. A sideways glance at Daniil shuffling his feet changed her mind. He was beautiful, the bee’s knees, in fact; and fashionably chic. All that paled with a boy so highly aroused he couldn’t stay still longer than a few seconds.

“For now, I will say my father, both of my brothers, and three of my nephews are in the Eros Union.”

“The EU; you’re kidding,” Bruce countered, holding back a smile.

Not amused, she took a breath. “Unlike your liberated wife, I’m very open-minded to male foibles. As my father insists on pointing out, I’m envious, yet appreciative of the possibilities precluded to my gender.”

 “As they say down south, clear as Mississippi mud.”

Claire was curt, almost to the point of rudeness. “We share the same interests, Dr. Stirling. As much important as that is, I’d like to leave it there for now.”

“I apologize.” Bruce nodded toward Daniil. “I have… responsibilities.”

“Yes, you do. You have a bright beautiful boy destined for success. Unfortunately, in today’s world, success comes not only from what he knows, but who he knows. My father has connections that can serve him for the rest of his life.”

“I’m grasping at straws here, Ms. Handley.”

“I promise you’ll not find a more understanding man in all of England.”

Bruce smiled, inclining his head.

 “If you and Daniel are interested in meeting like-minded people, you’ll skip The Black Stallion and join me for afternoon tea at Ashbourne Manor.”

“Um, Ms. Handley,” Daniil peeped. “Is there a restroom anywhere close?”

“Down the hall, third door on the right.” She regarded Bruce. “Trevor will pick us up in the forecourt in 20 minutes. All we ask is you have an open mind until you understand what we can do for you and Daniel.”

oUo

Daniil clung on his father’s arm all the way to the restroom. Finally, he blurted out what was on his mind.

“She’s weird to the max, huh Dad?”

Bruce opened the restroom door, looking around as they went in. No one was there, yet he still lowered his voice. “Weird how?”

“She knows about men loving boys, and she’s okay with it.”

Daniil headed for the cubicle. Bruce exhaled. Too much, too easy, too soon; it left him apprehensive.

 “So you really do need to use the bathroom?”

“Uh uh,” Daniil said over his shoulder.

Bruce stepped to the cubicle, closed the door, and slid the latch across.

“I wanted to get you away from her,” Daniil said quietly.

Bruce frowned. “I thought you liked Claire.”

“She’s cool. I want to be with you, not her.”

When he turned, Daniil was pretending impatient, petulant, his hands on his hips.

“Unzip me, Dad,” he whispered.

Bruce touched his lips—it was still too loud.

“Afraid you’ll get Willy stuck in your zipper again?”

“He’s really stiff. I couldn’t stop looking at the statue. Crazy, huh Dad?” Daniil muttered, almost breathless.

“I couldn’t either. Except for the weenie, you could be Cupid.” Bruce felt a peculiar déjà vu.

“She said he was Mars’ catamite.” Daniil tensed, never so nervous. “I can be yours, if you want.”

His father gulped, panicking momentarily before he realized. It didn’t seem possible, not at nine years old.

“Um, well…. You seem so sure. In a way… you are already, kind of… I mean we’re headed that way.”

He quivered at his next thought; claiming his son, possessing him in the way men have always loved boys.

In the lingering silence, Daniil made yet another life-changing decision.

“You want to do stuff or not, Dad?”

Bruce took a breath, licking his lips, wondering what was going through his son’s gorgeous little head.

“You liked this morning, didn’t you?” Daniil pressed, his mellow voice going squeaky.

Then, he wavered, his heart beating as if he’d run laps around a soccer field, blood surging into his penis until it ached. He wondered if his father wanted the same thing, yet he dared not ask. Instead, he blinked, uneasy, hopeful, gazing up, silently pleading.

Bruce took a step closer, then another. With his hand on Daniil’s small shoulder, he pressed the boy into the cubicle wall. Daniil’s head lifted even as his father’s right hand settled, adult fingertips stroking a silky cheek, a finger traversing crimson lips.

“So soft,” Bruce crooned.

The last thing he expected was a warm wet tongue licking his finger. Back and forth, finger and slippery tongue rubbing together.

A mindless minute raced before Bruce lost control. By then, his left hand was behind Daniil’s head, holding him in place. He lifted his son’s chin, gazing into pale blue eyes. Magnetic eyes, alluring boy, so close he could feel quivering excitement, desire burgeoning, intensely aware of what lay ahead. Words failed him. Instead, he smiled and blew a kiss, desperate, hoping it wouldn’t end there.

“Dad, I want to… Can we do it again? Put him in my mouth.”

“Shhh. What happened this morning was very special,” he whispered.

“Mom won’t ever know. Like coco-oil rubs… Please?”

“I didn’t think you’d want to do it again, not this soon… It isn’t a good idea, not here.”

It didn’t seem possible that hands could move of their own volition. Somehow, slowly, surely, his hands settled on Daniil’s slim shoulders, cupping rough denim, guiding him down onto his knees. His son gazed up at him, anxious, eager, Cupid’s bow lips already wet.

“You’re sure you want to do this?” Bruce murmured.

Daniil ignored him as he fumbled with the zipper. Then, they looked at each other like Mars and Cupid, one adoring, one smug. Bruce took his hands away, and waited. What came next was entirely up to his son to decide.

Wordlessly, Daniil’s small hands went to work, pulling at the sides of his father’s jeans, making a gap to expose navy-blue boxer briefs. His father’s penis bulged, hot and hard and throbbing. Unbelievably, both little thumbs rubbed up and down, already proficient. Engorged flesh flexed underneath, fingers tugging to make the gap bigger, exposing more and more until he could get the boxer briefs out of the way.

He trembled at the first contact of his fingers on sweaty resilient man-cock.

“He’s really hard, Dad.”

“Because of you, my beautiful boy.”

Full of pride, Daniil’s fingertips danced on the swollen head, smearing the slippery excretion. He played with it, squeezing near the tip to get more, tickling until it was sticky, teasing out droplets, testing his skill by rubbing gently, still not ready to put his mouth on it; however, he was thinking about it.

Suddenly, he looked up. “What if Mom saw us in the bathroom?”

“That would be really bad,” Bruce replied. “She can’t ever know, okay?”

“Ms. Handley would be okay, huh Dad?”

He nodded without thinking. His mind was made up. They’d have to hurry, if they wanted to have afternoon tea at Ashbourne Manor. No time to waste on niceties.

A moment later, Daniil leaned in and kissed, just a peck on the end. He peeked up, eyes steely bright, sizzling with desire. He licked his lips and kissed again, delicate lips smooching as he drooled saliva over the plump crimson helmet. It bobbed temptingly in front his face. He could smell it, musky, manly, potent, everything he wasn’t.

Already a big step closer, both man and boy getting hotter, more excited, adult erection throbbing urgently. That morning’s incident in the bathroom paled in comparison.

“It’s what gays do, isn’t it?” He touched his finger to his lips.

“Heterosexuals do it as well. Uncomfortable, hesitating, finally a slight nod. “Yes.”

 “I thought so. Putting him in my mouth means I’m gay.”

His voice was so low, Bruce wasn’t sure. However, Daniil’s shy peek was confirmation.

“Not always. At your age, most boys experiment.”

“If I’m gay, I could be your catamite.”

“What?”

“Would you like a catamite?” Daniil whispered, between joshing and serious, instinctively leading him on.

 “I want you to be what you want to be,” Bruce whispered.

Clever and cunning, Daniil kissed and quickly pulled back, mischievous eyes teasing, lips shiny with spit, tongue extended, utterly shameless. No question, no hesitation, just raw temptation.

“I want you to be my catamite…” Husky adult voice, edgy, filled with desire, loaded with lust for a nine-year-old boy. “Please?”

The cheeky little imp kissed again, peeking up to see how his father reacted.

 “This is what catamites do, right?” he whispered.

 Daniil’s tongue swirled, tasting his father’s sex juice again, not sweet, not sour, just slimy, vaguely reminiscent of bath soap, of all things. It was invigorating. More exhilarating was knowing his father wanted him to do it. He swallowed saliva and opened his mouth, closed his eyes, and lowered his head. It went between his lips. Like a chorister, his lips pushed out to enclose it, sucking gently, succulent and spongy. Daringly, he glanced up again, mocking, alluring eyes wide.

Bruce nodded encouragement. With a hand on his son’s head, he drew him closer. Very slowly, letting the boy get used to it until sharp little teeth rasped the underside.

“Watch the teeth, Sweetie.”

Daniil panicked, mouth wide, gagging on adult juices and his own saliva. He gulped, certain it was stabbing into his throat.

“You’re doing great. If you can, take it deeper.” Bruce muttered.

Daniil obeyed; his teeth wide apart. His father’s penis pushed his tongue out of the way. Now, it plugged his mouth, oozing onto his palate. It made him tremble, unable to breathe until air rushed through his nose. Suddenly, it was stress-free, so easy even a nine-year-old could do it, if only he knew what to do next. He peeked up, hoping for more guidance, or at least reassurance.

His father pressed on his head, separating them. He gasped, coughing, not puking, incredulous. It was so hard it bumped his nose, slipping and sliding over his cheek. He rubbed it against his lips, neck, forehead, eyes, ears, slender body shuddering in mindless frenzy.

A playful lick on the top became wet slippery smooching. It left him trembling, breathless, needing more, always more.

His father’s hands drew his head closer, pulling his mouth towards the helmet. “Suck it, Dani…”

“You want me to suck it, or put it farther in?”

“Both… whatever you want is fine with me.”

“If I was your catamite, I’d do it.”

“Do you want to be?” He backed off quickly, too far, too soon, too much at stake. “You don’t have to.”

 “Right now, I want to do what I did this morning.”

Still uncertain, Daniil leaned in and slurped on the tip, the bland taste searing him forever, every panicked thought directed to a single inescapable conclusion. It was simply overwhelming until his cheeks caved and he suckled like a baby. Instantly, it was soothing.

His father’s voice was remote; shaky, tense, and barely heard.

“That’s enough for now, Dani-boy.”

He wanted to say, ‘I’m not done, Dad.’ Instead, he sucked harder, so reassuring.

Reluctantly, Bruce pried his son’s mouth from his saliva-slicked penis.

“Tonight, I promise. We’ll have loads more time.”

“I get a back rub, too. With coco-oil, lots and lots of it.”

oUo

Claire Handley watched Daniil strolling across the gravel. Her practiced eye picked up what other people missed. She could just make out little Willy Stirling, an insignificant bump in his blue jeans. His stylishly casual hair was mussed-up, and he dreamily licked his lips every time he looked up at his father. Clearly, something had happened. He also seemed utterly unaware of an approaching Bentley Continental GT, two-door, navy blue.

Daniil plopped down on a planter wall, like a Hollywood kid with his stovepipe jeans hiked up to reveal black hiking boots, blue denim jacket sleeves exposing skinny boy wrists, hiding behind dark aviator sunglasses.

The Bentley was just a few yards away when Daniil glanced at it, the same color as his father’s boxers. Erect, his father’s curved cock was mostly crimson; no wonder navy blue and crimson were his favorite colors.

“My younger brother, Trevor, has arrived,” Claire announced.

Daniil gaped at craftsmanship without equal, exquisite style, unapologetic power, yet his thoughts were elsewhere. He could still taste it, his jaws still stretched wide, his father now part of him forever, dreamily sucking…

Seeing the Bentley, Bruce decided the Handleys had money, lots of it apparently, though not in the same league as the Dukes and Duchesses of Devonshire with their massively ornate Catsworth House.

On a whim, she whipped out her iPhone and photographed Daniil Stirling, sitting on the gray granite garden wall, a Photinia hedge behind him. Serious, reflective like his aviator shades; funny how she hadn’t noticed his wristwatch before. It was black, modish like his sunglasses’ frame, unlike his clunky lace-up hiking boots.

Daniil stood, beaming at his father as he wandered over. He peeked at her cellphone as she pecked at digital letters.

“My father,” she said before he could ask.

“Why are you emailing him a photo of me?”

“Because you’re Prince Charming,” she snickered, already on her way to the Bentley. “Plus, he’s with your mom right now.”

“Cool beans.”

She wasn’t at all sure what to make of that—it sounded like he didn’t mean it. Instead of pursuing it, she opened the passenger door of the Bentley and stepped back as a sculpted creamy-leather seat slid forward.

“You’re riding in the rear with me, Your Cuteness.”

Daniil scrambled in, inhaling the rich aroma of English aristocracy. She followed, amused by his reaction, mouth agape as he took in prestige and minimalism, handcrafted wood, luxurious leather, unobtrusive automotive technology, engineering at its finest.

The man in the driver’s seat reminded him of his math teacher, only older. It was reassuring, sort of—it bothered him that he received extra attention. Other, older kids noticed and joked behind his back.

With a welcoming smile, the man extended a svelte hand to Bruce as soon as he settled into the passenger seat.

“Hello, I’m Trevor.”

“Bruce Stirling. My son, Daniil.”

“He prefers Daniel. I suspect it’s rather complicated,” Claire teased.

“Sorry it’s such short notice. I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet Katrina’s family before my father sticks his nose in.”

Claire laughed. “He hasn’t heard the good news, Trevor.”

“Oh! She’s joining the company. Senior Vice President of Underwriting starting today. Her experience in finance and actuarial is top notch.”

The handshake was anything but cursory. Then, Trevor turned in his seat, reaching back to shake Daniil’s hand.

“Hi Mr. Handley. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Just as it is for me, Daniel. I hear you’re into soccer. Let me guess what position. Center midfielder, right?”

Daniil grinned and nodded.

“You look like you’re fast and agile,” Trevor surmised. “My Simon’s better with his hands, as they say.”

“He plays goalie, huh?”

“Actually, Simon is good in several positions.” Trevor winked at his sister before he turned around. “He’ll be back from St. Anselm”s about the same time we get there.”

“It’s a preparatory school, not nearly as demanding as your Hamden Hall,” Claire explained.

“The two of you can kick balls while your father and I get to know each other,” Trevor said, giving the Churchill ‘V’ while glancing in the rear vision mirror.

A moment later, he reached between the front seats and playfully squeezed Daniil’s knee. Giggling, Daniil. Jerked his knee back, glimpsing an unusual twisted gold band on the man’s finger; not a wedding ring, it was on his index finger.

 “Seatbelt on, Dani!” Bruce said.

He noticed and said nothing; it was all Claire could do not to laugh. Imagine allowing another man to touch his son like that! If ‘Participation’s vital;’ complicity was the icing on top. If only his son was the same way; he was certainly uninhibited.

“You’ll love Simon,” she said, a suggestive wink towards the rear vision mirror. “With so much in common, you and he will be best friends before dinner time.”

The Bentley surged, pressing Daniil into embracing leather. Feeling overwhelmed, he stared out the side window.

The Eros Union

 Book I: Recruiting

By Ganymede

 

BAKEWELL, DERBYSHIRE.  

The towering spire of All Saints Church was a beacon above Bakewell, set among the rolling green hills of Derbyshire. It was a sluggish little market town on the Rive Wye, with a five-arched 13th century bridge and an assortment of austere cottages and shops with gray stone walls and slate-shingle roofs. To Daniil’s eyes, it was postcard-pretty, like the early New England villages they visited every Fall—the two-night trip to Vermont was a family tradition.

They stopped briefly, long enough for Trevor to run into Dodson’s Pastry Shop.

“It’s the best puddin’ in all of Derbyshire,” Claire declared while they waited.

“The only puddings I’ve ever had are Nanna’s bread pudding and Dad’s Christmas Pudding,” Daniil said, still looking out the window. “Dad’s is the best.”

“A real plum pud; how lucky are you?”

“No plums, Ms. Handley, just raisins and stuff. He makes it after Thanksgiving, with lots of booze in it so it lasts.”

Claire caught herself reaching for Daniil’s hand. “With silver sixpences, I hope?”

 “The Sugar Plum Fairy always leaves one silver dollar,” Bruce replied.

“Dad! I’m nine, I don’t do fairies! Anyway, I already know Mr. Ed brings them.”

He made a silent wish for his son’s mellow voice to never go away. So far, Daniil’s gonads still belonged on a toddler. If only they could stay that way…

“So no fairy, It’s still magic… It always ends up in Dani’s slice.”

“And Mom always gets the thimble; and you always get the anchor. That magic, too?”

Daniil’s voice brought him back, a shocking flush at what he’d been thinking.

“If the price of silver ever goes up, he’ll be able to pay his own school fees.”

Daniil giggled on cue and shook his head, defiant curls bouncing.

Everyone stared into the Bentley’s back seat as they passed. The windows were so darkly tinted, they couldn’t see much, yet being the center of attention made Daniil feel like a movie star, special.

Trevor was back in the car within minutes. He handed a paper bag to Claire who peeked inside.

“This would be Bakewell’s very own pudding.” She allowed Daniil a peek.

“It’s a tart!”

“If I say it’s a pudding, it’s a pudding, young man!”

“Tart!”

“Trevor, the tart of all tarts is calling our pudding a tart,” she badgered.

Trevor looked up from checking his email on a very shiny iPhone. “If it looks like a tart, it’s usually a tart.”

“That’s why I said it’s a tart,” Daniil giggled.

“There are tarts, and *tarts*;’ the ordinary kind and the special kind,” Claire countered.

“Being from America, I doubt he knows about the special kind, Claire.”

“A ‘tart’ is, to quote the great C. S. Lewis, ‘a pretty and effeminate-looking small boy…”

Claire looked fondly at Daniil. Time stopped for a few heartbeats. He met her with a perceptive glance, if ever there was one. Only a few seconds before he looked out the window, pretending interest in a people crossing the street.

She went on, her voice teasing. “… who acts as a catamite to one or more of his seniors.’”

She was still wary, choosing her words even now. Daniil continued to watch pedestrians; however, it was clear that he knew some of it. The rest he’d learn when the time was right.

“I was talking about the ordinary kind of tart,” Daniil muttered.

“If a Bakewell Pudding is a common tart, then you’re a special tart,” Claire teased.

Frustrated and humiliated, Daniil nearly shouted. “It’s a tart!”

“A tart, indeed.” Trevor slapped the steering wheel. “His nanny should teach him respect; don’t you agree, Bruce?”

Hard to believe that such things could be said aloud, or around a nine-year-old boy, even in jest. Bruce very nearly clapped—his wife had a sense of humor limited to lawyer and accountant jokes.

“As far as I’m concerned, she can spank his bottom. Perhaps you should text his mother for permission to pants him.”

“You’re supposed to be on my side, Dad.”

“A bare bottom spanking; now that does sound like fun!” Claire declared, rubbing her hands together, and smirking at Daniil until he grinned back.

Trevor chuckled, back to his iPhone, typing a text to his youngest son. ‘Showtime starts as soon as I get home.’

Daniil shook his head, looking Claire in the eye, bold as can be. “Tart!”

She jabbed at his flank, going for an unprotected underarm. He was still giggling when she hauled him halfway out of his seat and tickled without mercy.

“Seat belts back on,” Trevor called, adjusting his rear-vision mirror downward.

As the car surged onto the road, she checked Daniil’s seatbelt. He grinned at her.

“Tart!”

Certain he was inviting another bout, she poked at his tummy, added a playful flick at a defenseless crotch, and went back to tormenting his armpit.

“Dad, help! She’s hurting me!”

Bruce chuckled. “Stop being a little tart and she’ll stop.”

Daniil guffawed, cupping his boyhood and shoving her hand away with his other hand.

“You know what happens to boys who call other people tarts?” she taunted, her tone playful, between cunning and menacing.

“Um, they get a sample?”

Trevor chuckled, eyes switching to the mirror, back and forth. “Give the tart a morsel, Claire.”

She pinched off a piece of flaky pastry for him. One bite and he decided he liked Bakewell Pudding with raspberry jam and almond filling…

“Thank you, Mr. Handley. It’s really good.”

“The best pudding you’ve ever had, right?” Claire urged.

Daniil nodded, giggling and smacking his lips. “Definitely tart!”

Bruce and Trevor exchanged glances.

“We need her around permanently,” Bruce whispered. “He’s finally letting off steam. His mom keeps him a tight leash.”

“The more freedom, the stronger a boy’s spirit,” Trevor affirmed, his voice low.

Claire frowned at Daniil. “Say it again and you get spanked, young man…”

“Katrina says to do whatever is necessary,” Trevor declared, giving Bruce a thumb’s up while holding his cellphone.

“You’ve been officially warned, D.J.,” Bruce scolded in play. “Keep it up and you’ll get a bare bottom spanking.”

“Tart! Tart! Tart!”

She feinted for his flank and substituted his crotch. A boy-sized handful, ample for play purposes. A poke, a flip, a frisky squeeze, all teasing boyhood. It was so overt that it surprised Bruce almost as Daniil’s yelp, mostly in disbelief that he’d been groped by a woman.

“Help, Dad! She’s molesting me.”

“Blame yourself for acting like a little tart,” Bruce chuckled. “You’re lucky there’s not much to molest.”

Daniil grumbled and sat up primly, pretend-glaring at Claire and trying not to giggle. She made him wait, slyly eyeing him, of the mind to torment him further. So many ways, starting with his boyhood was shorter than Simon’s. She was certain it was more curved, and thicker. She liked ‘stubby,’ like a little thumb bent back. Finally, she leaned in.

“I’m sorry for pinching your willy,” she said, not even close to a whisper.

 “It’s okay,” Daniil whispered back. “We were just having fun.”

“That’s why you should have me as your nanny,” she came back. “When it comes to having a wank, all boys benefit from having someone to teach them.”

The way she said it made him nervous, like being called on in class and having no idea what the question was.

“What’s a wank?”

“From innocent boy to depraved tart with one nibble of pudding,” Trevor joked.

“It was a tart, Mr. Handley.”

“Actually, Tart; there is a Bakewell Tart.”

Claire laughed. “It has layers of jam, frangipane, and almond flakes on top. We’ll get one each next time we stop here.”

Incredulous, amused, even jubilant, Bruce covered his face. So different to Katrina’s constant harping, always finding fault, angry if Daniil said anything remotely off-color.

Daniil wasn’t about to be ignored. “What’s a wank, Dad?”

“It’s what Edwin calls playing with yourself, remember?”

Suddenly, he didn’t dare look at Claire.

“Hey, tart in the back seat,” Trevor called. “Did you like having your willy wanked?”

Daniil deflated into mortification.

“Prince Charming does masturbate, doesn’t he, Bruce?” Claire teased.

His father nodded, playing along. “On a regular basis.”

“Sounds like he’s normal,” Trevor said. “When I was his age, I wanked my willy every night. Nothing better except a firm grip and a steady hand that’s not your own.”

It took a while to sink in, long enough for Trevor to send a text message to his father. ‘Tart for certain. Adventurous plus fun.’

“I would never do that!” Daniil retorted, back to staring out the window.

“Any more fibs and you’ll get a bare bottom spanking, Mister.”

“Enough with the spankings! You’re supposed to be on my side, Dad!”

“Okay, no spanking. How about tickling, then?”

“Stop it, Dad! It’s not funny, okay!”

“Tickle away, Claire, ‘specially his willy.”

“His boy-hole, too,” Trevor added. “No faster way of getting a boy’s attention than sticking a finger up his bum.”

“Mr. H-Handley…” Daniil spluttered, “Wh-what?”

Of course, they weren’t serious; still, it seemed that everything involved what his underpants covered.

“The way he’s carrying on, he needs a governess, not a nanny,” she taunted.

“Governess?”

“She takes care of a boy’s upbringing; it’s essential if he’s to accomplish half of what he’s capable of. Everything, education, athletics, social skills, oodles of discipline.”

As soon as she said it, she could tell she’d said something wrong. Daniil glowered, eyes averted, pouty bottom lip, shoulders slumped. It was like watching low rain clouds crossing the Big Moor.

“Okay, what’s the problem, young man?”

“Mom always says I need discipline, doesn’t she Dad?”

“Well, you do! It seems I spared the rod, and spoiled the brat.”

Bruce peeked at Daniil, wondering if he’d gone too far. Perhaps it was time to intervene. Daniil was slumped in his seat, knees apart, inviting another attack on his privates.

 “Not the kind of discipline you’re thinking of, Daniel,” Trevor said. “Being able to focus on the important things, and having self-control go hand in hand.”

Bruce nodded agreement. “He’s easily distracted.”

Another peek behind his seat. Daniil seemed elsewhere.

“I’m only distracted because my mom would never do that,” he finally muttered, sotto voce. “Grab my junk.”

She turned his head and winked right at him, a silent conspiracy, as much as saying ‘I’m not your mom.’

“Boys like to have fun,” she whispered. “Lots and lots of fun, especially with their men friends.”

Her suggestive glance at his middle implied more to come.

Still self-conscious, yet he was nervous for a different reason. She understood, if not everything, at least part of him.  The part involved his privates, not that he wanted her touching him there; what it meant. He was free to be himself, nothing to hide, the same as being around Mr. Ed.

 She could tell he was interested when his eyes finally met hers. Still moody and shy, yet a hint of a smile confirmed he was ready to play.

“I promise I won’t grab your junk unless you say ‘’tart’.”

The smile grew bigger. “If I say ‘pudding,’ can I have some more t-a-r-t?”

More than ready, nine-year-old eager, now relishing Claire’s reassuring smile. Playing, teasing, just having fun being a kid.

“Can I have some more pud?”

She pinched off a piece, teasing him just out of reach.

“May I have some more pud, please?”

He got what he wanted and smacked his lips loudly.

“Playing willy games is important at your age,” she said, loud enough for everyone to hear. “Isn’t it, Trevor?”

“Too right! Simon’s been playing all kinds of games since he was five.”

She watched Daniil nibble, wondering if his father was listening—he appeared completely oblivious, staring out the window at a flock of Derbyshire Gritstone, handsome black-and-white-faced sheep of aristocratic lineage.

“We’re miles from anywhere,” Bruce murmured, thinking aloud.

Two days without Katrina; in seventh heaven, on cloud nine, over the moon…

“It’s a good thing Ashbourne Manor is far from the crowd, not like Handley House in the middle of London.” Claire patted Daniil’s thigh to keep his attention. “You can do things in private that you can’t do in public.”

“That’s why I like living where we do in Connecticut.”

“It’s been my experience that the most exciting things happen when no one can see them,” Trevor said, his whisper intended for Bruce.

 “Simon goes hiking in the Peaks District with his grandfather.” She lowered her voice. “I’m sure they do things besides hike.”

Daniil nodded meekly, avoiding her eyes. “My dad and I go for walks in the woods. It’s fun, just the two of us.”

He was pretty, too pretty for his own good, she decided. Her favorite form of ‘boy’ was gorgeous and graceful, sexy like him. Something else about him heightened desire, a little rogue as he licked Bakewell Pudding from his fingers.

“Men like boys who do daring things,” she ventured.

He glanced sideways, his interest spiking momentarily before his head lowered. Unwavering and unashamed; at the same time, curious, and impatient.

She added challenge, hoping he’d bite. “Most boys today are too mollycoddled to really enjoy life. Are you?”

“Mom says I’m mollycoddled.”

“Are you?”

“She means when Dad and I cuddle.” He kept his head down, his voice low. “She doesn’t like it.”

He peeked again. She hadn’t noticed his freckles until then, faintly scattered on his nose. More audacious, less coquettish, it only increased his allure.

“I’m a firm believer in boys cuddling with their fathers as much as possible.”

Daniil flinched, an obvious sore point. “If I get into bed with him, I’m supposed to wear pajamas.”

“But that’s the best part, being bare together.”

“She hates it when we shower together.”

She gestured to his father, now chatting to Trevor about political correctness, the bane of male-centric society.

“I bet he enjoys playing in the shower as much as you do.”

Daniil peeked again, catching her eye as she winked. He wasn’t supposed to talk about it, yet it was obvious she already knew.

She whispered, her voice wavering with naughty delight. “Your willy gets really hard when you’re with your daddy, doesn’t it? Simon’s does, too. Poor thing can’t control himself. Are all boys the same way?”

He gaped at her, somehow managing a noncommittal shrug.

 “Ms. Handley…” Suddenly, he wasn’t sure, his mind reeling, searching for words.. “Are you really going to be my governess?”

Trevor came back to life. “What will Simon think, losing his clairvoyant Claire?”

“Now that Simon’s settled in, he doesn’t need a full-time governess,” she said quietly.

Bruce smiled, resisting the urge to look over his shoulder. He could tell his son was in good hands. The only problem was his wife, certain to say Claire was too expensive. He’d have to dip into the Stirling Trust…

“If there was a prize for the best governess in Britain, it would go to Claire,” Trevor added. “Geoffrey still worships her. Sometimes, I think Claire’s from an era when…

“It’s too soon!”

 “She taught my two all there is to know about men loving boys.”

“Trevor, now isn’t the time!” she snapped.

“One look at them, it’s obvious there’s no reason to hide, Claire.”

“Dani and I’ve talked about it,” Bruce admitted, exhilarated in a way he never expected.

He caught Trevor’s eye, proffering a smile. Trevor nodded, calm and collected as if he’d said ‘nice weather.’ He inhaled, relieved in a way he never dreamed possible.

About then, Daniil noticed Claire’s hand on his knee, sliding slowly up his thigh, her fingers extending towards his ‘thing’, not nearly as exciting as when his father did. For some reason, it was still reassuring.

“Simon’s willy gets so hard it could snap right off,” she whispered. “That’s what it’s like for a boy when he gets excited, especially with a man.”

She put her finger to her lips and gestured for Daniil to tune into the conversation in the front seats.

“… Even sixty years ago was different. England valued its boys. Then, schools went co-ed and everything went to pot.”

“It’s the downside of women’s liberation,” Bruce commiserated. “The main reason my son goes to private school; his previous school hired only women. They treated boys as second-class citizens.”

Of course, he’d never dare say it with his wife within hearing range. She railed against the misogynists who controlled insurance companies.

“In most man-boy relationships, there are countless benefits beyond the obvious pleasures,” Trevor continued.

Claire leaned to whisper. “He means what you and your dad do in bed.”

Daniil’s ears burned, yet his father seemed unaware, looking out the side window at meadows, ancient stone walls, and grazing sheep.

“There are always benefits when boys bond with men, some obvious, some not so obvious, some even top secret. Assuming they bond for noble reasons, it gives them real purpose,” Trevor went on. “There’s a kind of cultural flowering that results, isn’t there, Claire?”

“The rose of another name tastes so sweet,” she snickered.

To Daniil, it sounded like something Mr. Ed might say.

“And blooms with bounteous bumming,” Trevor appended gaily. “It’s hardly surprising the Ancient Greeks lauded it. With a man’s mentoring, a boy’s intellect grows by leaps and bounds.”

“The primary advantage of a male-centric society. Of course, there are rewards for the man, too,” Claire tendered with a knowing smirk at Bruce.

“The Renaissance wouldn’t have happened without pederasty. It ignited the outpouring of creativity,” Trevor appended.

“Mr. Handley, my dad’s writing about creativity in the visual arts in his next book,” Daniil interjected.

“Rather like Ancient Greece, Florence sparked real innovation, not what passes for creativity in today’s politically correct world,” Bruce clarified.

Claire’s fingers brushed Daniil’s groin so lightly it might’ve been accidental. He peeked. Her forefinger hooked the crotch of his jeans, rubbing gently. He held his breath, utter disbelief that she was fondling his balls the same way his father did.

Without skipping a beat, she said, “To a lesser degree, the English public-school system underpinned creativity for two centuries.”

“And entrepreneurship.” Trevor glanced at Bruce, an eyebrow lifted. “Sadly, when women take charge, ‘Then goeth a part of ye little flocke to pot, and the rest scatter.’ William Tyndale, if I remember correctly.”

Bruce nodded slightly, his mind in a whirl. Not, ‘Who the hell was Tyndale?’ Out of the blue, he’d realized that loving Daniil the way he did had completely transformed his raison d”être.

“A few like-minded people can make a huge difference,” Claire said, innocently patting Daniil’s lean thigh.

Trevor ahemed. “At Daniel’s age, I was having sex with my father every night,” he said quietly. “He believed the more freedom, the stronger a boy’s spirit.”

Daniil gaped at the back of his head, ears burning, surely as hot as his face.

“On Christmas Eve, I went to bed with my father’s best friend, Sir Graeme Browne. By sharing me with other men, he had to earn my love.”

 END of BOOK 1.

IT’S TIME FOR A BREAK.

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