Title: Just the Once
Author: Olivia Sutton
PARTS: 4
Fandom:
Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased, 2000 version
Universe: "Snapshots of a Love Afr Universe"
Rating: R
Warning: This story includes m/m sexual activity, do not read if under 17. Thanks!
Story type: AU, Slash, Angst, Romance
Disclaimer: This fanfic is written for fun, for the enjoyment of other fans, and for reviews, but never for profit, so please don't sue! Based on the new (2000-2001) version of Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, copyright to the BBC 2000-2001. (previous version copyrighted 1969 by ITC). This fanfic is NOT meant to suggest anything about the sexuality of the actors who played the roles - that's their own business.
Background: This story is set in my "Snapshots" universe and takes place between "Age 26" and "Age 38", AND Jeff and Marty are thirty years old. Because there are references to other events from "Snapshots of a Love Affair", I would like to suggest reading that first; however, if you do not-- the least you need to know is that Jeff and Marty are telepaths (with each other only), and that they have been committed partners for a very long time. Those are the basics for understanding the "Snapshots" universe.
Author Note: Thanks and hugs to Jackie Cox, my faithful beta reader and friend, who edits wonderfully, makes terrific suggestions, smoothes over my rough patches, and provides incredible support for my writing and just in life, really. Thanks Jackie, you are absolutely fantastic. Comments and reviews are always welcome!
Summary: Set in the Snapshots Universe, when Jeff and Marty are 30. An old acquaintance of Marty's walks into Randall and Hopkirk Security Services, seeking some help to save his nightclub from a protection racket. However, what is his relationship to Marty? And how will Jeff react to the news of a secret in his partner's past?


Just the Once
by Olivia Sutton

Marty sat behind his desk in the offices of Randall and Hopkirk Security Services, he looked over at Jeff, smiled, and then said, "So, we actually have a client today?"

Jeff nodded, smiled, and said, "Yah, we do. Michael Forbes, he said something about needing protection for his nightclub?"

Marty paled, "Michael Forbes?"

Jeff looked at him, "Yah, Why?"

Marty shook his head, "No, it's just... I used to know someone by that name. It's probably not even the same bloke, though. That was a long time ago."

Jeff nodded, and started to answer, when there was a knock on the outer-office door, and then the potential client entered the outer office. Jeff rose from his desk, met the client in the outer office, and showed him into the inner office, before returning to his chair behind his own desk.

The client stood quietly before Jeff's desk, he was tall, with thick blond hair, classical good looks, and wore a blue suit that complemented his blue eyes. Jeff looked up at the client, noticing him for the first time as he sat at his own desk, and suppressed a desire to whistle, then looked over at Marty. Marty had also noticed the attractive man, looking up at him in shock, then suppressed his own feelings, forcing his own face into a stony, blank expression.

"You must be Michael Forbes," said Jeff, rising and offering his hand, "I'm Jeff Randall, nice to meet you."

Michael shook Jeff's hand, then turned, slightly towards Marty and said, "Hello, Marty, it's been a long time. But I thought it might be you, when I saw the name in the Yellow Pages."

Marty got up, and walked to Michael, shaking his hand, "Yah, it's been a long time, Michael." Marty returned to his desk, sat down, then said, "So, Why do you want to hire us?"

Jeff added, "You told me on the phone that there was something going on at your nightclub?"

Michael sat down on the chair in front of Jeff, "Yah, I run a decent place. I do. No drugs, no gambling, and no money laundering. A decent club. We don't even bend the licensing laws."

Marty raised an eyebrow.

"All right, but no more than any other club. It's my pride and joy, Marty."

Jeff looked at Michael, then said, "Yes, all right. And you came to us, because..."

"Because a few weeks ago, a couple of hard cases came into the place, and they made noises about 'increasing my profits' by opening a few tables in the back. And I told them 'no'. Flat out. I've been in the club business for years, Mr. Randall, and I know that, eventually, allowing illegal gambling causes more problems, than, it brings in cash. This is MY club. And it's a decent one. I worked hard to get together enough funds to open my own place, rather than managing someone else's."

Jeff nodded, "So you told them to leave you alone. What happened?"

"The usual - first it was threats by phone, then in person. Then they stopped a liquor delivery, smashed up a week's worth of ordered stock. But I had almost expected that."

"Um-hum," said Marty.

"Last night they roughed-up one of my waitresses. Now, she was more scared than hurt, but I protect my staff. The men and women that work my club, know they are safe from ANY harassment."

"Harassment?" asked Jeff, glancing over at Marty, then back at Michael.

Michael looked at Jeff, surprised, and then over at Marty, "Yeah, harassment. It's a gay club. I thought that would have been obvious."

Jeff looked at Michael, confused, "And why would it be obvious?"

Michael looked over at Marty, raising his eyebrows, then commented, "Your partner might be able to answer that for you."

Jeff looked at Michael in shock, then shot daggers at Marty, as his stomach dropped into his shoes, "Marty? Marty, what is he talking about?" Jeff asked, his voice dropping to a whisper.

"We'll talk about it later, Jeff. Michael - leave him alone, all right?" Marty looked at Michael, his eyes pleading for Michael to shut-up about it, then he added, "Now, if you could tell us a bit more about why you want to hire us?"

"I've been working clubs for fifteen years, not all of them gay clubs, mind. And I managed for eleven of those fifteen years. But The Harlequin is MY place."

Marty looked up, "So a waitress was roughed-up. Anything else?"

"Isn't that enough?"

"Okay, so who is trying to force you into starting some gambling for them?"

"I'm not sure. I've only seen the minders."

Marty looked at Jeff, then at Michael, "Come on. We can't do anything if we don't know all the details."

"So, you'll take the case, then?"

Marty looked over at Jeff, "My partner and I will need to discuss that."

Michael looked at Marty, "For old times sake, Marty! When I saw your name in the listings, I thought..." Michael took a deep breath, then said, "I don't think you know what The Harlequin means to me. Mr. Randall, Marty, please help me save my club."

Jeff looked at Marty when Michael said, 'For old times sake,' then said stiffly, "So, how do you know Marty, then?"

Marty took a deep breath, and looked at Michael.

Michael looked at Jeff and then at Marty. Then he smiled, "So, you ARE a couple?"

Marty nodded at Michael, "Yah, we are. So don't expect, anything, Michael. Nothing beyond our professional services."

Jeff shot daggers at Marty at that, then said, "My partner and I would like to discuss your case, privately, Mr. Forbes." He paused, looked at Marty, then added, "But, I think we'll be able to help you."

Marty looked surprised, then said, "We need to discuss it, Jeff, it could be dangerous. These hard cases that are harassing Mr. Forbes, here, might be serious trouble."

Michael looked at them both, then arose from his chair, "I should leave. But I would like to hire you, and I can pay." Michael offered his hand to Jeff, who took it, shaking hands politely, then Michael walked over to Marty's desk, lightly placed a hand on his shoulder, and said, "Marty, please help me with this. I don't want those gangsters taking over The Harlequin."

Marty pushed away Michael's hand, then said, "We will consider it. Now leave. My partner and I need to talk about it."

Michael nodded, and walked out of the office, slamming the outer door shut as he left.

Marty waited until Michael was gone, then looked over at Jeff, and said, "I'm not sure we should take Michael's case, Jeff." He paused, got up from his desk, went to the window and stared out at the rain, then turned back towards Jeff, "In fact, I'm sure we shouldn't."

Jeff looked at Marty in shock, "Why not? The business is doing all right, but not well enough to turn down a paying client, Marty."

"It's too dangerous. We don't know who these, 'gangsters', are!"

Jeff looked at Marty, "That's never stopped us before. You're the one that always complains about wanting more exciting cases than divorce work."

Marty sighed, then said, "I don't trust Michael."

"He seemed to know you, though."

"Well, he does. I mean, I do, know him, and that's why I'm not sure we can trust him. Or that we should."

Jeff looked at Marty, got up, went to him, then touched Marty's face with his hand, All right, tell me. HOW do you know him? He did keep looking from you to me whilst he was explaining, and...

Marty pulled Jeff's hand away, and pulled out of their contact, backing away from Jeff.

Jeff backed up, shocked. "Marty? Marty, you have NEVER done that."

Marty turned away, then turned back. "Jeff, there are some things you don't know. A few secrets, all right? You think you know..." He left off, his look introspective, "Because of what we've been through, because we are so close..." he stepped towards Jeff, reached out, grabbed his arm, tightly, and sent Because we can do this, Marty let go, "You think that you know everything, Jeff, and you don't." Marty folded his arms, sitting on the edge of the windowsill, "Jeff..."

Jeff looked at Marty in shock, "Marty, What is it? You can tell me anything, Marty. Really," Jeff said, an expression of fear and confusion on his face.

Marty took a deep breath and settled himself, then said, "Jeff, I need to tell you something. And don't ask me to explain why I didn't tell you before now, because I can't, okay?"

Jeff nodded, "Tell me, Marty. Just tell me."

Marty nodded, took another deep breath and tears came to his eyes, "Jeff, I... oh, god," he began to cry.

Jeff went to Marty then, and moved to embrace him, but Marty pulled away and shook his head, then Jeff looked at him, and said, "Come now, Marty, you're scaring me."

"There's nothing to be scared of, Jeff. It was just sex. Not love - sex."

Jeff paled, and moved away from Marty, turning away as he walked into the centre of the office. Then he turned around, "You cheated on me?"

Marty vigorously shook his head. "NO! No, I didn't. Because when I was with Michael, it was before I was with you. Before our first time."

Jeff paled, "Oh, god. What? When?"

Marty moved to Jeff, and stood in front of him. He looked at Jeff, desperately wanting to touch his partner, and knowing he couldn't, "I was fifteen. Almost sixteen. I'd been seeing Beth for months. And... Do you remember, about the time I stopped seeing her, she had me going to group therapy? Do you remember, Jeff?"

Jeff nodded, "Yah, I remember - you didn't go long. I remember me Mum asking you why you didn't want to go to group, and... well, you were a bit evasive, Marty. Me Mum even asked me if you were okay, and I told her you were."

Marty nodded. "Michael was in the group. He was eighteen. And he was one of three of us that were gay."

FLASHBACK

"Does anyone have anything to share, any questions or things you want to talk about?" asked Dr. Beth Collinswood.

One tall, thin, gangly teenager, with long, stringy blond hair raised his hand.

"Yes, Michael," said Beth.

Michael looked at her, then put his hand down, saying nothing.

"Come now, Michael, everyone in this group is here for a reason, and you are perfectly safe, now, go ahead."

Michael nodded, then said, "I think it was my fault."

Beth nodded, "Now, all of you boys have felt that way at some point, haven't you?"

There was a round of nods from the group, but Michael stood up and said, "But it's different, I... I had these thoughts, in me head. And dreams even..."

"Go on, Michael," encouraged Dr. Collingswood.

"Of other men. I dreamed of being with other men, then he... he hurt me."

Marty looked at Michael in shock, his head nodding of it's own volition.

Beth nodded, and said gently, "And by thoughts, what do you mean, Michael?"

"Thoughts of... of kissing other boys, being with other boys. I had thoughts like that before he hurt me."

"Michael, it's all right. It wasn't your fault, Michael. Your attraction to boys, means that you're having homosexual thoughts, it is natural Michael, though some say it isn't. But for you, all of you boys, young men, what happened to you was harder than if you were women." She looked around the group at each of them in turn, then looked at Michael and said, forcefully, "Men don't expect to get raped, and a homosexual man is no more asking for it than a heterosexual woman is."

Marty looked at Beth in shock, then at Michael, and nodded. Looking around the room, he saw only one other boy nodding besides Michael, and forced himself to stop nodding and to stare straight ahead.

Michael looked at Beth, "It's natural? But... when HE hurt me," Michael paused.

"What the man who touched you and hurt you did was NOT natural, Michael. Normal men do not force themselves on young boys. They don't. He had no right to force you. And it wasn't some sort of punishment because of your thoughts."

Michael looked at her, then said quietly, "Really?" with a lump in his throat.

"Hum-hum," answered Beth, "Michael, it's all right for you to want other boys. It's even all right if you act on your desires, as long as the other person is willing. Have you acted on your desires?"

Michael flushed then nodded.

Beth returned Michael's nod, "And the other person was willing?"

"Very much so," said Michael, nodding his head, vigorously.

"Were you okay?"

Michael paled but said nothing.

"Please, come and speak to me later, all right?" Beth smiled sympathetically, then looked around the circle of boys and asked, "Now, do any of the rest of you have anything you want to discuss?"

Marty's thoughts drifted off during the rest of the session. When it was over, he hurried after Michael, catching him up in the hall outside the group therapy session. Marty waited whilst the other boys from the group scooted past, yelling "Hey, Michael, wait!" Michael turned, looking towards Marty, and ignoring the other boys.

Once all the boys had left, Marty stood in front of Michael, took a deep breath, then said, "Michael, I... I identified with what you said in group today."

"What? What do you mean?" asked Michael, suspiciously.

Marty looked into Michael's blue eyes, then said, "About thinking about other boys. About, about wanting to be with other boys. I've felt... I've felt that way too. And when me mum's boyfriend starting hurting me, I thought, well, I thought it was me own fault." Marty looked down, not willing to meet Michael's eyes, kicking his trainer-clad foot along the hall floor.

Michael reached out, grabbing Marty's chin, lightly forcing it up. Marty met Michael's eyes. Michael pulled Marty closer, then drew him into a kiss. Marty responded, hungrily, clumsily pressing his lips against Michael's.

Michael kissed Marty, and started to move his tongue against Marty's lips, encouraging them to open.

Marty pulled back, his face hot and red, "Michael, I... me mum's coming, I mean, well, she's not me real mum, she's..."

Michael put a hand to Marty's lips, "Shush, shush... What's your name?"

"Marty, Marty Hopkirk," he answered, moving his hands to Michael's chest.

"Marty, can you meet me later?"

Marty nodded, "I'll sneak out. Best make it late, though, after Mrs. Randall and Jeff are asleep."

"Jeff?"

"Me mate. He's all right, but if I sneak out, he'll want to come along." Marty smiled as he thought of Jeff, "I best wait 'til he's asleep. Would ten thirty be all right?"

Michael nodded, "Ten thirty is fine. Come to the Dog and Pony pub, do you know where that is? On the high street?"

Marty nodded, "Yah," he moved to Michael then, and clumsily reached forward to kiss him again, then he heard footsteps and someone calling from the stairs at the end of the hall. Marty quickly pulled back, "I'll see you, tonight." Marty turned, rushed down the hall, reached the door and opened it.

Jeff stood there, a look of concern on his face, "Marty? Are you all right? You're all red."

"I'm fine, Jeff," Marty said, as he began smoothing down his wild, black hair with his hands.

"Who was that, Marty? Who were you talking to?"

"No one, just another boy from group. We had, some things in common, that's all."

Jeff nodded, then put an hand to Marty's back, lightly encouraging him to move down the stairs, "Mum's downstairs. You sure you are all right, Marty?"

Marty nodded, "I'm fine, Jeff. Honestly, I'm fine. Beth... Beth said that group would help me to learn that I wasn't alone, and..." Marty stopped on the stair, turned to Jeff and said, "And she was right, Jeff. She was right. I suppose I... it feels better, somehow, to know that, that's all."

Jeff nodded, "Oh, all right, then. But we best get down to the car. Mum sent me up to get you when you weren't outside waiting, and... you know me mum, she'll call the coppers next."

Marty smiled at Jeff and nodded, then said, "Race you!" and took off, running down the stairs.

Jeff stood in the wake of Marty's dust for a second, then turned and ran down the stairs, chasing Marty.

END FLASHBACK

Marty shook his head a bit, as he came back to the present, and looked at Jeff, "Jeff - you have to understand, I think you do, but... Jeff, I was young. I was confused. And what that monster did to me made me even MORE confused. And I had... Jeff, I had feelings for you. I had them before we were together. I had them, before I was... even before I was raped. I had feelings, longings, and I was too young and too naive to understand them."

Jeff nodded in understanding, "I... I started having feelings for you... before our first time. But I think I was a bit older than you're talking about." Jeff remembered back, back to his teen years before he and Marty had been together for the first time...

FLASHBACK

It was about nine-thirty at night, Jeff Randall lay on his back on his bed in his bedroom which he shared with his best mate, Marty Hopkirk. Marty sat at his desk in the same room, doing homework.

Jeff sighed as he thought about Marty, with a rush of emotion. He felt strong feelings of attraction towards Marty, feelings he thought might be love and more than the love of good mates. Sickened by the thought, and fearing that his feelings made him as bad as the man that had hurt Marty, Jeff got up off the bed, and walked over to the bedroom cupboard and started searching around in the back.

Marty turned around at the desk, "Jeff? What are you doing?"

Jeff pulled a large half-empty brown bottle from the cupboard and answered, "I... I wanted to have a drink, Marty. I got this the other day 'cos I wanted to try it. I've already had some, whilst you were in the shower."

Marty's eyes widened, "Jeff?" he said, surprised and confused.

Jeff took a deep swig of the cider, then offered the bottle to Marty.

Marty got out of his chair, and grabbed the bottle, taking a swig, thinking briefly about his plans to meet Michael that night.

Jeff pulled the bottle back, taking another deep swig, then said, "This'stuff's'snot bad," slurring his words together.

Marty grabbed the bottle, "Let me have some," he took another sip from the bottle, then looked at Jeff, "Is something wrong, Jeff?"

Jeff shook his head, pulling the bottle back, and taking another deep swig from it, "I'm fine," he answered drunkenly.

Marty looked at Jeff, not believing him, then took the bottle and went to his own bed, sitting on the bed, he took another small sip of the cider.

Jeff came over to the bed, then lightly touched Marty's shoulder, "Give it back, Marty, please! I want some s'more!"

Marty reluctantly handed over the bottle, "Jeff, come on-- what's wrong? I've not seen you like this before, Jeff."

Jeff took the bottle, took a swig, then said, "I'm fine, Marty!"

Marty shook his head, then asked, "Are you having trouble at school?"

"No," said Jeff grumpily.

"Something with your mum, then? Are you angry with her?"

Jeff shook his head again, and took a smaller sip from the bottle.

"I think you're drunk. Or getting there," Marty pointed out.

Jeff took another deep swig from the bottle, then said, "So?"

Marty shook his head.

Jeff raised the cider bottle to his lips, and finished it in once last quick swig. He held the bottle out, upside down, shaking it in confusion, "It's all gone! I should have got more than one."

Marty shook his head, sadly, "You've had more than enough, Jeff."

Jeff looked at Marty, surprised and angry - "You sound like my mother!"

Marty sighed, "Jeff, can't you tell me what's wrong?"

Jeff shook his head, sadly, then moved over to his own bed, clumsily collapsing onto it in a heap, then covered his face with his hands.

Marty shivered, "You can tell me, ANYTHING, Jeff. Don't you remember last year? What I told you? How you MADE me tell you what had happened to me?"

Jeff shook his head again, then said, "This is different, Marty. I need to handle it on my own." Jeff looked at him, feeling strong feelings for Marty again, a rush of emotion, then said, "I'll be all right."

Marty went to Jeff's bed, and sat next to him, "Is it me, Jeff?" he asked, lightly putting his arm around Jeff's shoulders.

Jeff looked at Marty, his eyes wide in panic, thinking Marty had picked-up on his feelings, "Wh... What do you mean, Marty?"

Marty dropped his head and looked down, then up at Jeff, his blue eyes full of concern, "I've upset you, haven't I?"

Jeff froze and pulled away, "No... No, you haven't, Marty."

Marty got up from the bed, standing next to where Jeff was sitting upright on the bed, "Jeff, I'm sorry, whatever it was."

Jeff shook his head, then paled, "Marty, the room seems to be spinning a bit," he said, woozily.

Marty leant forward, putting his hands lightly on Jeff's shoulders. "Lie down, Jeff, you've had too much, you'll feel better if you lie down and close your eyes."

Jeff nodded, lying down on the bed.

Marty took the duvet and gently covered Jeff, making sure he was comfortable. As he did so, Jeff mumbled, "Marty, I think I love you," then snuggled under the duvet.

Jeff had no way of knowing, but Marty had not understood a word that he had said.

END FLASHBACK

Jeff pulled himself out of his reminiscences, and focused on his lover in the here and now, as Marty explained about Michael.

Marty sighed, "Michael..." he left off then began to explain, "I met up with him, after the session when we first met, talked to him and arranged to meet him that night."

Jeff looked at Marty with alarm, then said, shocked, "Jesus, you went to see someone you had just met for ...?" Jeff flushed, then continued as his voice filled with fear and concern, "What were you thinking? You could have been attacked, beaten, murdered even, Marty!"

Marty looked at Jeff, embarrassed, "I know, I know. It was stupid, Jeff. It was. But I was fifteen! It didn't seem dangerous, not at the time. When I think about it now, of course..." Marty let that hang.

Jeff stepped towards Marty, touched his arm and looked into his eyes, "WERE you trying to get yourself killed, Marty?"

Marty shook his head, "NO. No, I wasn't. I didn't think. The things Michael had said in group... struck a chord in me, Jeff, and I... I needed to know. I wanted, needed the experience. But you're right, it was a stupid and dangerous thing to do. I know that now. But I wasn't trying to destroy myself, Jeff, please understand that." Marty looked at Jeff, pleading for understanding.

Jeff nodded, let go of Marty's arm, and stepped back, thinking for a moment, then he said, "That night... you sneaked out."

FLASHBACK

Jeff Randall awoke with a start, and automatically looked towards the other twin bed in his bedroom. The other bed looked empty. Jeff sat up straight in bed, rubbed his eyes, and then looked at the other bed, but it was definitely empty - no Marty. He slipped out of bed, tied on his dressing gown and softly padded out of his bedroom to the bathroom door. The door was closed so he softly whispered through it, but no one answered. His heart now beating loudly with fear in his chest, Jeff opened the door. The room was empty. Jeff turned around and walked down the stairs, and searched everywhere, but no Marty.

God, Marty, what have you done, where are you? Jeff thought. He flashed back on his drunken conversation with Marty earlier that night, Oh god, what did I say? What did I do? I must have said something and scared him off. Jeff shuddered, covering his face with his hands, leaning against the kitchen table, terrified as to what he might have said or done. As he thought about Marty he felt, what he thought might be love, and shivered, his thoughts confused. As Marty's face came into his thoughts, Jeff thought of kissing Marty, running his hands through his hair, running his hands over Marty's body. Jeff pulled himself out of his thoughts, and sat quickly on a chair in the kitchen. Oh god, oh god, Jeff thought, how could I think that? How could I FEEL that? How could I want him, like that, to kiss him and touch him, I'd be no better than the monster that hurt him. Jeff put his head in his hands, and cried.

A few minutes later, he looked up again, brushing away the tears, he remembered the last time he woken in the middle of the night and known something was wrong with his best mate. Sitting quietly in the kitchen, Jeff closed his eyes and thought about Marty. He pictured Marty's face, his bright blue eyes, soft eyelashes, and the curve of his lips. Jeff swallowed at the thought of Marty's lips, and he briefly thought of kissing those lips. Then he thought about running his hands through Marty's black hair and over his husky frame. Jeff shook his head, trying to push away the feelings, the desires he felt, and focused on remembering conversations with his mate, smiling to himself as he did so. Suddenly, he knew Marty was all right. He had no bad feelings at all, nothing like he had nearly a year ago. Jeff still shivered whenever he remembered that fateful night, knowing that if he hadn't arrived just then, well, he didn't ever let himself finish the thought. He hoped, and on good days, he believed that Marty wouldn't have done anything that night. Marty would have stopped himself before he had fired the gun in his hand. But on bad days, when Marty was upset or angry, or when he cried at little provocation - those were the days when Jeff wasn't sure what would have happened and he was very, very glad he had been there for Marty. Jeff opened his eyes, looking around the kitchen. He was sure that Marty was all right, absolutely sure. "Where are you?" he mumbled, as he sat on the kitchen chair. Then he debated with himself, about waking up his mum. He finally looked at the kitchen clock and decided to give Marty ten minutes more before he woke up his mum to tell her Marty was missing.

Jeff's thoughts returned to Marty - his face, his voice, the way he carried himself. As Jeff thought about his mate, he wondered again what it would be like to kiss him. Jeff shook his head, berating himself, afraid of his feelings, afraid to tell anyone, even Marty, that he thought he might be in love. Then he heard the front door open. Jeff stood as he heard the door open, and a few minutes later, Marty walked into the kitchen.

END FLASHBACK

Jeff pulled himself back to the present, looking at the distressed Marty before himself in the office, and remarked, "I remember, now, because I woke up and you weren't in the house, and I was terrified, Marty. Then I realised that I didn't have a bad feeling. It wasn't like the last time, and I could tell, feel, that you were all right. I was in the kitchen when you came home at two in the morning."

Marty nodded, "Yah, that was the night, Jeff.

"Couldn't you have told me, then?"

"Told you what? That I'd met a boy in therapy... the therapy I attended because I'd been abused and assaulted by a MAN, and that I'd gone out so I could have sex with that boy? For christ's sake, Jeff!" Marty began pacing then calmed and said, "May I tell you the rest?"

Jeff nodded, "Yah. I'm sorry. It's hard to remember back to before... to before we were together, Marty."

Marty moved towards Jeff, looked at him, then lightly touched his shoulder, when Jeff didn't object, he left his hand there and continued, "I met him at a pub. We got a bit drunk. He took me to his flat, and we had sex, Jeff. But it was just sex. The experience..." Marty looked wistful, "The experience was enough to convince me that I did favour men,"

Jeff interrupted, shaking off Marty's touch, but then he grabbed Marty's arm, "Wait... Wait just a minute, Marty." Jeff let go, looked at him, then said, "So how did you know that you favour men? Was there someone else? Have you tried it with a woman also? God, Marty, what else have you kept from me?" he added angrily.

Marty took a deep breath, "No. Not a woman. And not anyone else but you, and Michael, the once, and...and ED, Jeff. And that...was traumatic. You know that."

Jeff nodded, "I'm sorry. So, how did you know?"

Marty said quietly, "I know, all right? I know. I always have. I never once felt any, attraction, to a woman, Jeff. Not once. I can appreciate a beautiful woman, the way I'd appreciate a beautiful painting, but the thought of sleeping with her fills me with revulsion, Jeff." Marty looked deeply into Jeff's eyes, pleading for understanding, then said, "One good thing about Beth, she convinced me that I wasn't completely loony, or sick, or..." Marty left off.

Jeff nodded, "Oh."

Marty looked at Jeff, then murmured, "You're the same, yah?"

Jeff nodded again and then said, "But it took me longer to suss it, Marty. I fell in love with you when I was fifteen, but..." he moved towards Marty and lightly touched Marty's face, then stepped back, "I wasn't certain until we slept together."

Marty looked at Jeff in surprise, "Really?"

Jeff nodded, "So... tell me about Michael, then, because I have a right to know, Marty."

Marty nodded, then said, "I... The only, questions, I had were how. Since my first experience was traumatic, I... I didn't understand the mechanics, Jeff. So I went to Michael, and..." Marty closed his eyes, lost in memory...

To Be Continued