“It was wonderful.” Horace repeats and moves in to kiss Freddie again.
“Wait, no, you’re married.” Freddie says.
“Oh gosh, what have I done?” Horace says and runs to his room.
Freddie sits down and sighs. He has never clicked with someone the way he has with Horace and he would love, love for them to be more than just friends. But he really, really doesn’t want to lose him as a friend, not now when they are so far from home.
Freddie gets up and goes into Horace’s room. Horace is laid on his bed pummelling the pillow.
Freddie sits on the bed and rubs Horace’s back trying to sooth him, he knows it is a risk not leaving Horace to work through his feelings but he also knows if he leaves it the chasm between them will be too wide.
Horace stops beating up his pillow and turns and looks at Freddie.
“Why did you do it?” Horace asks.
“I lost my mind for a moment. You’re so beautiful and I misread the chemistry between us. I thought you wanted it too.” Freddie says.
“I did. I do.” Horace says.
“What do you mean?” Freddie asks.
“In the moment I wanted you to kiss me. I still want you to kiss me. Please kiss me.” Horace says running his fingers over Freddie’s jaw.
Freddie leans in and they kiss softly at first becoming more passionate. Horace pulls Freddie on top of him and their clothes are soon flying off. When it is clear that this is going further they slow down and gently get to know each other’s bodies with their fingers and mouths.
Gently, gently Freddie guides Horace inside him and the passion burns them both.
Oh gosh I’m inside Freddie crosses Horace’s mind.
“Oh Oh Oh Gosh, I’m inside you. Oh oh it feels good, so, so good.” Horace exclaims and Freddie looks up at him with lust.
“Feels good.” Freddie pants.
“Feels, oh, oh, oh so gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood.” Horace groans as he shoots 6 thick shots into Freddie’s ass.
They both wake early and this time the sex is more ferocious, Horace has more confidence and Freddie doesn’t hold back his demands.
“I never knew it could be like that.” Horace says after.
“You had never done anything at school? Never had a crush?” Freddie asks.
“No never. I have officially been dating Arabella since I was 13, we had sex on her sixteenth birthday and I have never looked at anyone else. Man or woman.” Horace says.
“So when you were wanking you always thought about her? Or what?” Freddie asks.
“I never thought of men. I never tried to catch a look in the showers. Never curious about anyone else that way.” Horace says.
“You’re so big you had nothing to worry about I guess.” Freddie giggles running his hands over Horace.
“Oh gosh I’m going to have to get divorced.” Horace says.
“You could be bi like me. We could be a mad fling, due to being away from home, forgivable.” Freddie says.
“Oh gosh I don’t know, I don’t think so. Heck I’ve not been married a year yet I can’t get divorced.” Horace says.
“Then use your time here to think about what you want. You don’t have to rush.” Freddie says.
“Right I can. No one knows me here I can be whoever I want to be as long as I do my job.” Horace says feeling brighter and giving Freddie a smacker of a kiss on the cheek.
“I am so glad you’re not mad at me. I’d be pretty lonely here without you.” Freddie says.
“I am mad that you have turned my world upside down, but uh you’ve more than made up for it. Come on lets shower together. I always wanted to do it in the shower but Arabella complained she felt too exposed.” Horace says jumping out of bed.
Freddie watches his disappearing behind for a moment and grins. Wow, under his clothes Horace is really something. Has the body of all the other sporty posh boys Freddie has had. Rounded pecs, abs for days a high tight arse and nipped waist, thick thighs. Gosh Horace might have been a nerd but he still played rugby for ten years and never lost the physique. Freddie feels crazy lucky, then looks down at his own caramel perfection and smiles. He looks good and feels it. He springs out of bed and joins Horace in the shower.
“Wow they have provided us a car each.” Freddie says as they eat cereal from the welcome pack at the counter in the kitchen.
“What a waste. We can easily share lifts and get cabs at the weekend for less than the cost of a second car.” Horace says.
“The richest man I know is so frugal. I love it.” Freddie says with a big grin.
“You think it’s okay for us to arrive together?” Horace asks.
“I think it would be weird not to. Unless we have to work wildly different hours driving in together makes a lot of sense.” Freddie says running his hands through his hair.
“I love your curls.” Horace says with a smile, really taking in Freddie’s looks.
“Thanks. The upside to doing our project I don’t have to tame them or shave my head,” Freddie says.
“They are beautiful, truly jet black.” Horace says.
“My mum was Thai, my dad Jamaican somehow I got a true mix of their genes for my hair. I like it, makes me look different, not one thing or another.” Freddie says.
“I remember seeing you at a match, we must have been 14 or 15 you were pretty small and wiry then and had your hair in braids. You always stood out. Where I expect you don’t remember me at all.” Horace says.
“I can’t believe we met back then, though I suppose it was inevitable. Such a small world, even if I am just an interloper.” Freddie says.
“Oh don’t be like that. Academically you belonged more than many. And you were hardly the only scholarship boy or the only brown one.” Horace says and Freddie smiles and nods.
“So who is driving? The answer is you. Two cars is a waste as I don’t have a driving license.” Freddie grins.
“Really? No of course you don’t, you’ve lived in cities and not had the time or money.” Horace says.
“I’m going to do an intensive course if our bonus comes through.” Freddie says.
“I’ll teach you.” Horace says.
“You’re too young.” Freddie says.
“Not on private land. Come to my families estate some time and we’ll get you started. That’s how we all learned.” Horace says.
“How the other half live. Stay rich by not needing so many driving lessons.” Freddie laughs good naturedly.
“Sorry, I’ll try not to be so crass in future.” Horace grins.
“Lets go.” Freddie says and chases Horace out the door.
They drive out to the research facility and are blown away. It is like something out of a science fiction movie. A lab in the dessert with nothing around it.
“Are we working for a bank or NASA?” Freddie asks as they get out the car.
“Feels like we have some serious non-disclosure agreements coming our way.” Horace grins.
They do. Paper after paper, policy upon policy. They are given an office to share which looks out over the dessert. They both sit on a desk looking out for a moment. Horace reaches down and squeezes Freddie’s hand. They smile at each other in disbelief and start to explore the equipment they have been given.
Just as they are settled in Archie pops his head round the door.
“Ready for lunch?” Archie asks.
“Sure.” Freddie says with a smile.
“Have you had a proper tour?” Archie asks.
“No, just the car park, the bathroom and the labs we went through to get to this office.” Horace says.
“Come on then.” Archie says and they follow him out.
They are shown round the vast facility that has a gym, basketball court, old fashioned video arcade, dry cleaners, laundry, post office, sundry shops and a vast canteen.
“Just show your swipe cards, you get three meals a day of you need them. I suggest you don’t work late more than once or twice a week. I don’t expect it.” Archie says.
“Are Horace and I to join our research now?” Freddie asks.
“After lunch we’ll go through the practicalities.” Archie says.
“Is this all the banks?” Horace asks.
“No, no. We have the floor you are on and full use of all the facilities. You are the only two from this project here, the others you met are on a similar but different one. We have multiple approaches going on. You will be mixing with those guys a lot and sharing ideas.” Archie says.
“Cool. We liked them but haven’t seen anyone today.” Freddie says.
“They said they liked you too.” Archie grins.
They move to more general chit chat over lunch and in the afternoon Archie runs through the plan for getting them up to speed on the work each other has been doing and what their next steps are.
“You’re both well ahead of the plan. Which isn’t unexpected to me. As I said don’t work day and night just because you are away from your friends and family. You have a generous per diem, use it to entertain yourselves. When you get back to London and we launch things will be stressful. Make sure you’re ready. Use the gym here, use the laundry service and get your groceries delivered here. Use the weekends to explore the national parks, to sight see, head over to California. I have no problem with you taking Friday afternoons off, as long as the work is done.” Archie says.
“Thanks. That is really kind of you. Arabella is planning on coming out for a few visits, it is good to know I’ll have time for her.” Horace says, driving a knife into Freddie’s heart.
Of course Horace will have his wife to visit. She might be staying with her parents right now but of course she’ll be out to visit. She and Horace can more than afford the airfare and a top hotel. Freddie had been dreaming of a life living together, just them for six months, no one knowing Horace was married, straight or anything else. Living together as a couple. Man he jumped the gun Freddie laughs to himself and tells himself off. He has never, ever planned that far ahead with anyone and can’t believe he thought that after a one night stand. What an idiot.
“What is funny?” Archie asks.
“Nothing, just thinking about Horace and I out on the town.” Freddie lies.
“I am here all week so we’ll have a few dinners with different people so you get to know everyone. As usual keep quiet on the specifics of the project.” Archie says.
“We might have said too much last night.” Freddie says worried.
“Don’t worry. It’ll be fine, just anything going forward. There is a bit of a race on to get these programs up.” Archie says.
“So why don’t you want us working round the clock?” Horace asks.
“Because I don’t want you burnt out from this project when there is lots more to do. I know you’ll get there first anyway. You will need to be up early a couple of days a week so we can have calls. You can take these from home.” Archie says and the pair nod.
The week is full on with work all day and dinners and drinks every night. The pair don’t get a chance to talk about what is happening. They do fall into bed together every night and neither mention Horace’s wife.
On Saturday morning when they wake they lie there looking at each other not saying a word.
“This is not okay.” Freddie says reluctantly.
“No, it isn’t fair on you or Arabella.” Horace says.
“I know the score.” Freddie says.
“You have turned my world upside down. I am so grateful. I had no idea that this is what my life could be. You are so wonderful. I will divorce Arabella, no matter what happens between us. I think of nothing but you. You make my heart sing. I feel protective of you like I do my wife but it is so much more than that.” Horace says and Freddie just stares at him in wonder.
“No one has ever said anything so nice.” Freddie says and gently kisses Horace.
“You have unlocked this whole new world. I am living. I had absolutely no complaints about my life, my wife and the you know.” Horace wiggles his brows. “It was all wonderful and fine. Things with you are not fine, they are so much more than fine. My world is crumbling around me but I know it is going to be wonderful.”
“Will your family accept you?” Freddie asks throwing cold water on Horace.
“I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea. The divorce will be very hard for them to accept. No one in my family has ever divorced. Of course lots of the men in my family died in the wars so before my grandparents it isn’t like they had particularly long marriages and my parents live apart half the year.” Horace says.
“So if you mention that you’re gay after you tell them about the divorce it might slip in un-noticed.” Freddie says sceptically.
“I’m gay.” Horace says a little unsure.
“You are?” Freddie asks.
“I am. I thought maybe it was just you. That you were so beautiful and intelligent and oh that accent you have, so like my own but you drop in the south London slang without sounding like a total buffoon. Sorry, I digress. I have done a little research in the early hours and it isn’t just you.” Horace says.
“I feel hurt.” Freddie mocks.
“I like men. A lot. I never looked before. Never thought to look.” Horace says.
“Come on. You went to the same sort of school that I did. Did you never wave them about? Helicoptering to see who got the best swing, whist checking out who had been blessed the most?” Freddie asks.
“No, I never did. We never did. Or not in my dorm.” Horace says.
“You never went skinny dipping? Or nude in a hot tub and got an eye full?” Freddie asks.
“No. I never did. I missed out on all of that. We usually had girls in our chalets and so wore speedos and no I never looked at the bulges, it just didn’t occur to me to do it. Now, well now it is different and I will be taking a lot more notice.” Horace says.
“Am I not enough for you?” Freddie asks moving Horace’s hand to his crotch.
“Oh my, you are everything to me. But I think I want to hear more about your boarding school shenanigans.” Horace says.
“I have the appetite of a whale after that. Shall we try one of the buffets?” Horace asks.
“I cannot imagine you in one, so yet. I thought you were all private members clubs and Michelin stars.” Freddie says.
“When in Rome. And I am not saying this to put you down but absolutely none of my friends or family would consider somewhere self-service outside of a college dining hall and you know many of our friends would not contemplate even that. I figure you are more open.” Horace says.
“I love how polite you are about my commonness.” Freddie grins.
“Oh Freddie dearest you know I don’t see you like that.” Horace says.
“So I’m, not your way of fulfilling a bit of rough fantasy?” Freddie asks.
“Oh my dear I never had a thing for the help, though ample opportunity. You are less tied to our social constructs, no family that can be reported back to.” Horace says.
“Come on lets go fill our boots.” Freddie grins.
As they queue up for lunch Horace looks at the advertisements for drinks packages and pulls a face.
“You’re driving anyway. You can cope with water.” Freddie says.
“Yes, yes. I just wanted the full experience.” Horace says and slips his hand into Freddie’s hand. It is a totally unconscious move and it means the world to Freddie.
Horace pays with a swipe of his black card, not even giving Freddie the option of contributing and they are soon seated.
They are both pleasantly surprised at the foods on display and both happily fill their first plates.
“You don’t have to always pay for me.” Freddie says.
“I asked you on this date.” Horace says firmly and Freddie grins.
“Yes you did. I am never offended when someone offers to pay for me. It is usually a relief and for years was a necessity. But now I have zero expenses and my salary and per diem for food I’m the best off I have ever been and I am letting you know now that you need to accept me treating you now and then.” Freddie says.
“Are you not paying rent in London? Where are your things? Where will you go when we get back?” Horace asks worried.
“I gave up my room. All my things I brought with me. The few kitchen things I have I gave away, they were not worth keeping. The only exception is a file of papers, my exam certs and the like which I was allowed to store in the office. When we go back I will stay in the cheapest hotel or hostel I can find while I look for a room.” Freddie says.
“You only have one suitcase of clothes?” Horace asks,
“Yes. I do plan on shopping a little while we are here. Ever since prep I have saved for quality clothes and only had a few outfits. Although back then kind mothers would pass things on to me that happened not to fit their sons, I knew what they were doing but I let them. Gosh I tell you all my secrets.” Freddie says.
“I don’t judge you. In my set we all swapped ski suits and riding gear. l know it isn’t the same thing. With skiing it was a badge of honour to have the oldest, most garish suit. A c&a monstrosity was as fashionable as the latest Stefano Ricci.” Horace says.
“Yes I remember seeing that first hand. We could go one weekend.” Freddie says.
“What?” Horace asks.
“Skiing, though I admit I prefer to snowboard.” Freddie says.
“I apologise for thinking you didn’t.” Horace says.
“It is fine. I might not have spent holidays on private islands like you did but I went on just about every expedition that school could send me on. Which at prep included skiing. I’m not offended, easy mistake to make. The difference between a full scholarship boy like me and a middle class bursary kid is I was always the top of the list for benefactors help and they were rarely considered and parents already stretched by fees.” Freddie says.
“Yes of course. You know I endured sport, including skiing, it was never that fun but it was the done thing.” Horace says.
“Like vagina.” Freddie says and Horace explodes with laughter at the crassness and truth.
“Yes. I endure skiing with family but it isn’t for me. I do quite fancy trying dune buggies while we are here.” Horace says.
“How do you keep that body? I mean you still have your school rugby bod.” Freddie asks.
“I ride, I do enjoy that and I swim. Before we got here I swam every morning before work.” Horace says.
“Do you play polo?” Freddie asks imagining Horace’s thighs in stretchy fabrics.
“No, do you?” Horace asks.
“No. I have been to a couple of games but I felt seriously out of place.” Freddie admits.
“I feel out of place in many places that I should have felt at home.” Horace admits.
“Because you weren’t you. We’ve talked about me playing a role but yours was even more complicated, you didn’t even know you were playing it.” Freddie says.
“I know. I have so much to sort through. I don’t know if I have been in self-denial, if it is some internalized homophobia, did I know deep down? I have no idea and no clue where to start. I love how you are not pushing me for answers.” Horace says.
“I think you have six months to sort things out and you will ask me when you have questions or need help. This is huge for you. Huge.” Freddie says.
“Thank-you. I appreciate that more than you can know.” Horace says.
“Come on, lets get some more scran.” Freddie says and they head out to get more food.