The Soldier Lad


Geoff sighed exasperatedly, staring down at the tobacco which had just fallen out of his cigarette.

"Bugger it all to hell!" he repeated.

He was just on his way home from St Paddington's Station in the chill December wind when he decided to have a smoke just outside the station, because he hated smoking while walking – as he did with eating and drinking.

A surge of passengers flowed out of the station as another train just arrived.

Geoff was always fascinated with the magic of trains and how far they could get you. You could go almost anywhere in the country worth visiting by simply hopping on a train. He often fancied going as far as Edinburgh some day, but he'd have to leave it until the summer because he heard the weather in Scotland was far worse than London this time of year.

A bickering family, sporting strong Northern accents passed by him, along with a very twitchy looking old woman and what must have been her son. Just behind them was a harassed-looking Chinaman dragging a heavy trunk behind him. And amongst them all was a young man.

He was tall, with dark blond hair combed neatly and a fresh, remarkably handsome face. He looked around him hopefully, carrying a leather bag over his shoulder.

Geoff caught his eye as the man looked out into the night.

"Ello there son," Geoff said.

Although the man could not have been older than twenty-five, and Geoff himself being twenty-nine, he still felt himself somewhat more mature than this fresh-faced youth.

"Orite sir," he replied.

"Journey alright?"

"Oh yes, sir," he said, his face breaking into a smile, "I ain't never been this far West. Never thought I'd make it this far West to be honest wiv ya. But since I joined army I been going all over the country!"

Geoff smiled, and felt his heart beat a touch faster. He was a soldier. What he would have to do to stop himself imagining that chiselled body beneath that dark overcoat… he hated these unnatural thoughts. But then, if they were so unnatural – why did they feel so natural to him?

"C-could I get a fag?" the boy asked tentatively.

"Sure," Geoff said, smiling. He handed him a cigarette and lit it for him.

"What's your name, lad?" Geoff asked.

"Julian," the boy replied, exhaling a puff of smoke, "Julian Smithson. I still can't believe I'm 'ere sir. Westminster!"

"Yes, it is quite the centre of the world, young Julian. Listen, do you have somewhere to stay tonight?"

"Oh.." Julian looked down at his boots, "No, not for tonight. It's quite late and I was 'oping to find some inn which would put me up just fer tonight before I find somewhere cheaper."

Geoff moved as close as he dared to the other man and could sense Julian's body stiffen up.

"Well, I wouldn't want a young soldier like yourself who's so new to this city to have to stay in some grubby inn on your first night. I have a flat just a couple of minutes walk from here – I'd be pleased to do His Majesty some service by putting up one so brave as to defend our country."

Julian looked as if he could not have heard better news all night. He gripped Geoff's hand and shook it vigorously.

"Thank you sir!" he cried, "Oh thank you, thank you. God bless your soul sir!"

Geoff merely smirked, his heart speeding up even more with the lad's sudden touch.

"My name's Mr Crowe by the way, but you may call me Geoff."

"Oh, I am ever so grateful Mr Crowe, I mean Mr Geoff.. I mean…!"

Geoff could not help but laugh, and the lad after a few seconds of looking nervous, joined in.

They made their way through the dimly lit streets, seeing the occasional passer by. London was an amazingly thriving city, the best in the world, they said. You had everything here, and people flocked from every corner of the globe to see the majestic city which superseded all others.

They finally came to the door of the building in which Geoff lived, seeing it deathly silent – which Geoff was personally glad about. Up the stairs they went and then into his modestly sized flat.

The flat was rather warm, but not so much as to be stuffy – it was three floors up so generally anyone climbing the stairs was somewhat puffed out and sweaty by the time they got up there anyway.

"Your 'ouse is so clean," Julian remarked, "everyfing's so new and modern. We ain't never seen 'alf this much wealth in my family."

Geoff went off into the kitchen, leaving Julian gazing around the sitting room as if he'd just walked into the Forbidden City of Imperial China.

"Do sit down young Julian!" Geoff called from the kitchen, "I'll just make us some hot tea. You must be freezing."

"Oh yes, Mr Geoff, sir," Julian called back, "I ain't never liked the cold, me. I 'eard that down in Spain they never get winter. Lucky buggers."

Geoff returned with two steaming cups of tea. He placed them on the dining table and indicated to Julian to sit.

"And let me take your coat," he said, coming up behind Julian and slipping his vast overcoat off his broad shoulders. The brief touch against the other man's arms sent an electric shock through Geoff's body, and he placed the coat upon the hook near the entrance.

Julian sat down and began sipping at the tea, with a look of relief on his face as he gradually relaxed. Geoff sat down opposite him on the table, and for a while they said nothing as they drank their tea. Julian continued to stare, transfixed at the various ornaments around the room.

"It must be amazing being you," Julian said.

"Ah, I wouldn't go that far," Geoff laughed, "It's all well and good having a job and living here in the heart of the world, but it gets very lonely with no one to share it with."

The young man looked Geoff straight in the face, as if worried he had said something he should not have.

"I ain't never 'ad a sweetheart either, sir. I thought I did, but it was usually the girl that liked me… but I never 'ad the same feelings back. I'm sorry, I'm just a simple common lad from East London… what do I know?"

"Quite the contrary," Geoff remarked, "You fascinate me. You possess things I could only dream about."

Julian laughed.

"I'm not sure I understand you sir. But I am very tired."

The young man yawned, and stretched out.

Geoff smiled and told him to follow him into the bedroom.

"I hope you don't mind sleeping in the same bed… only, the sofa can get quite uncomfortable and there's plenty of room on my one bed."

Surprisingly Julian smiled, but he did flush a deep shade of crimson.

The men began to get ready for bed, and changed out of their shirts and trousers. Geoff caught sight of the young man's body – it was so remarkably well-defined. It was so beautifully sculpted and pert. Although he himself possessed a modestly muscular body himself, it was no match for this battle-trained Adonis.

"You alright sir?" Julian asked, looking worried as he noticed Geoff staring at his bare stomach.

"Yes, yes. Sorry, you just have the most amazing…" he stopped himself before he went any further and embarrassed himself.

"Blimey!" Julian cried, "You're one o' them incha?"

Geoff choked. The boy was going to go straight to the police and report him. He had said far too much.

"One…one of what exactly?" he responded, sounding defensive and angry.

"A pansy!"

And out of nowhere he stepped forward and slipped his muscled arms around Geoff's waist, pulling him closer.

"Don't worry, sir, if you're a pansy then I'm a buttercup."

Geoff choked once more, and was drawn into a rather strong and forceful kiss with the other man. He eventually relaxed and got into it, his arms roaming the other man's gorgeous body… he felt himself, and Julian, getting very aroused.

Julian led Geoff towards the bed and they pulled the last remnants of clothes off, and laughed quietly. Geoff still could not believe his luck, a beautiful, god-like creature was lying on top of him and was heading slowly down his body… could it get any better?

"Oh Mr Geoff sir! You don't 'alf go at it 'ard do ya?"

The two men were lying next to each other in bed, smoking, a sultry cloud around them. The boy had been surprisingly tender and knew to keep the noise to a minimum lest the neighbours got wind of anything.

"You know, sir, I ain't been buggered like that since I was seventeen."

Geoff laughed, but then stopped himself, remembering the neighbours.

Julian slipped his arms around Geoff's waist from the back and kissed his neck and shoulders.

"It was me cousin, Steve, 'e lives up in Yorkshire and one summer 'e came down fer a few weeks 'cos he ain't never seen the South before. They talk funny up Norf they do.

"Anyway, me and Steve's wrestlin' outside the old factory only a couple o' miles from me house, and before I know it 'e's on top of me. He's pushing me down and I'm yellin' at him to get off, 'cos I was gettin' well scared. I told him I'd tell his dad and he'd be whipped but he just larfed and kissed my neck.

"I know it sounds wrong cos 'e's my cousin and all. But I just lay there, as if I was dead and he rolled me over and…"

"He didn't!" Geoff cried, incredulously.

"Oh yes, I was screaming and screaming, it was so bad. But before I knew it, it was over and his head was between my legs, sucking away.. and I was in heaven."

"Bloody hell," Geoff muttered.

Julian laughed at hearing such a well-spoken man utter such a common phrase.

"Tell me about you. When was your first time?"

Geoff stared at the young man who cowered slightly from his gaze.

"It was at school. I was fifteen and fell in love with this lad… Nicholas Bergen. His parents were foreign, and he had the blondest hair you ever saw. We were at a boy's school you see… and without girls there, you tend to have to make do with other lads… well it seemed that Nick found out I had taken a bit of a fancy to him, and he recruited me to go at him every other night."

"Go at him? You mean, wank him off?"

Geoff nodded, caressing Julian's hair.

"Oh yes. He had a big one.. I remember after a few weeks I asked if I could suck on it, and he asked if I was bent. I replied that I would be for him. I think he found me funny, so he let me.. I can tell you, that tasted far sweeter than the suet we got at dinner time!

"But only later that week he told me he'd quite like to do something new – buggery. He said that God said it was wrong, but he'd begun taking a fancy to me and wanted to know what it was like. Obviously he meant for me to be buggered, and not him.

"The pain was just awful, but I kept thinking all through the pain how much I loved him and how jealous girls would be if they knew how handsome a lad I had bashing himself into my bottom. It wasn't just that, but his manliness, and how he held me down when he shagged me was just the biggest aphrodisiac. He began sucking me off, and even let me bugger him a couple of times. But then…"

"Then what? 'E found another lad?"

"No, that would have killed me. No, it seemed that I wasn't the only lad who fancied Nick – this boy called James O'Sullivan was fiercely jealous of our relationship, if you could call it that. He told on us, and we were whipped worse than a strumpet… oh we never spoke to each other again after that."

Julian looked disgusted.

"I 'ate 'ow people put us down. Why do they 'ate us so much? I can't 'elp who I fancy. And jus' 'cos I like men an' they don't, don't make it okay. Don't get me started on this 'unholy' palaver, it's just a way for people 'igher up in society to bully ya."

There was so much truth and wisdom in what the lad was saying, and yet he was just a cockney boy from East London.

"You know, there's a city over on the continent called Berlin where gay people have a thriving community. They're mostly still clandestine, but they have their own circles and it's quite a progressive place for queers."

"Berlin? Where's that 'en?" Julian asked, pondering.

"It's in the Weimar Republic – what the Germans call their country since the Great War. It's a really beautiful place, you really must see it one day. The Germans really have it sorted with liberty."

"Ah well, I doubt I'll ever leave England to see any Germans. I s'pose I'll just 'ave to muck through bein' an English poof, eh?"

Geoff laughed and kissed Julian lightly on the cheek before planting another on his lips.

"You're so bloody sweet," he murmured to the young man.