Alex felt uncomfortable when they got close to Rick and Alan's house. It turned out that they lived just a street away from his old home where his parents and brother were still living. He thought about how his father would have a hissy fit if he realised there were a couple of queers this close.
When he went in, Alex noticed that Rick and Alan's home had the same layout as his parents, with one major difference though. As soon as you walked through the front door there was a warm homely feeling, you could tell a lot of love had gone in to make this house a home, unlike his parents'.
Rick gave Alex the grand tour. He noticed there was a double bed in the guest room. The small box room, above the stairs, had been converted into an en suite to the master bedroom, making the house a two bedroom home as opposed to the three that his parents had.
"If you don't mind me asking, why did you convert the box room into an extra bathroom, when there is already a bathroom on this floor?"
"Simple really, we found that it was a little inconvenient sharing the bathroom when we had guests over, especially as both Alan and myself prefer to shower together in the mornings. As the shower in the main bathroom is only small, we thought that as we prefer showers to baths, we could install a large shower in the en suite so there was enough room to do what we like doing." Rick couldn't help grinning as he was talking about showering with Alan in the mornings. What he didn't tell Alex, but was sure Alex would guess, is that they didn't only was in the shower each morning.
"Did you and Alan do all the work yourselves or did you get professionals in?"
"We did a lot of it, but we weren't comfortable attempting the plumbing, so we got someone in for that."
After the tour they went back downstairs to join the rest in the back garden, where Alan was already working on the gas barbeque. Rick set some music playing quietly so there was some background noise. Everyone enjoyed the food and conversation. Alex was really beginning to accept that he was now part of this family, a family that seemed to take an interest in his well being.
Even though they were not at home, Justin and Alex felt it was their job to do the dishes, especially when Rick and Alan had done the cooking. Their task was made easier here because Rick had persuaded Alan to invest in a dish washer, so the boys only had to swill the dishes off before filling the dishwasher.
Simon felt guilty about dragging everyone home when they were all having such a good time but he had to be up early in the morning for work.
"The boys can use the guest room if they'd like to stay; it's not as if they got school tomorrow." Rick offered.
"Well boys what do you want to do?"
Justin had stayed around Rick and Alan's plenty of times before and always had a good laugh when he did, this time though the thought of sleeping in the same bed as Alex was enough to get him excited.
"I'd like to stay dad if Alex wants to." Simon thought he knew exactly what Justin was thinking.
Alex was torn. On the one hand he wanted to spend more time with Rick and Alan and the thought of sleeping in the same bed as Justin was appealing, but for some reason a larger part of him didn't feel ready for it.
"I would like to stay over sometime, if I am invited over again, but I would prefer to go back with Simon and Sarah tonight."
"Of course you can stay over another time. Justin thinks of this as his second home and we hope you will come to feel the same way." Rick hadn't thought about all the upheaval Alex had gone through in the last week before he made the offer.
"Hey Alan, would you say Alex should stay out of chlorinated water until after his stitches come out?" Justin asked.
"Yeah, you two thinking of going swimming?"
"Alex told me he hasn't been taught how to swim and I wanted to teach him, but we weren't sure if it was a good idea at the moment with his stitches."
"I'd say he could go swimming in a week's time, he should be able to get his stitches out Saturday, then he has a day or so to let it settle down."
"Isn't Monday another bank holiday because of the royal wedding?"
"Will you and Rick be working it?"
"I'm not sure if I am. Rick you working?"
"Nah, I fell lucky, I got both weekends off. What did you have in mind Justin?"
"Alex told me he was nervous about going swimming because of the scars on his arms, I've told him they aren't as bad as he thinks they are." He looked at Alex to make sure he was ok with what he was saying. "I thought that maybe if there were a few of us he felt comfortable being around he wouldn't feel as if everyone was staring at him."
"I'd say that's a great idea. I love swimming, do you have to go on Monday?"
"No, I just thought it was something we could do."
"I'm in work tomorrow and I'll be able to check if I'm working on Monday, if I'm not we can definitely go swimming. Only on one condition though."
"That Alex wants us to come along."
"It's ok Alan, I think Justin was right to ask you. The more people I know there will make it easier."
"Well, I'll call tomorrow when I get home and tell you what is happening."
With that sorted everyone said their goodbyes and left Alan and Rick's to head home.
"Simon, Sarah, I want to thank you for today. I really enjoyed myself."
"It was no problem Alex, we enjoyed it ourselves as well."
Alex and Justin helped take in the few bags that they had taken to the beach. They put the damp clothes in the laundry and then went upstairs to Justin's room.
"I want to thank you too." Alex said.
"What do you want to thank me for?" Justin didn't think he had done anything for Alex to feel he needed to thank him, if anything he thought he should be thanking Alex.
"For asking Rick and Alan along for the swimming."
"That was nothing; I just thought it would make you feel a less exposed. Besides I should be thanking you."
"Why, I've done nothing."
"Oh yes you did. You found the courage to overcome your fears when we went to the showers, and you gave me the best present I think I have ever had."
"Well for a start, I got to see how glorious you look in the buff, then there was the show and the little something you left on my stomach. I meant what I said earlier, it really did taste good and I would like to be able to do it again sometime. I am not saying this to put pressure on you. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it."
"It was different from doing it on my own."
"Let's change the subject or Junior's going to be up again and asking for attention."
"What do you want to do then?"
"How about we just watch a film and cwtch up?"
"Sounds ok to me."
"You ok with me putting anything on?" Justin realised as soon as he had said it, how it could sound to Alex.
"I think you look fine in those clothes." Alex smiled at Justin to let him know he was just messing. "As to the film, you know more about them than I do, so you choose."
"I know, I'll put this on." He pulled out his copy of A Home at the End of the World. He gave Alex the case to see what the film was about, when he put the disc in the player, then he got on the bed and Alex joined him.
After a while Justin felt the need for the bathroom so he paused the film and left Alex on the bed. When he came back he asked Alex something that had been buzzing around in his head for a little while.
"Can I ask you something?"
"You just did, but go on." Alex smiled.
"I know we need to go slowly with things and I don't want to make you uncomfortable nor do I want you to say yes because you think you have to."
"What is it?" Alex was wondering what had Justin so nervous.
"Well it's just, um.....I don't want to freak you out."
"I think I'll deal with it after what we did in the shower earlier, just spill it already."
"Ok, I was wondering if you would mind if we cwtched up like we have been, only without our t-shirts on? We don't have to if it will make you uncomfortable."
"Do you really want to? Dumb question, duh, you wouldn't have asked if you didn't. Blonde moment. Ok then." With that Alex started to take his top off. Before he was finished Justin had already taken his off. When he got back on the bed, Justin lay down next to Alex and placed his head on Alex's bare chest. Feeling the bare skin of Alex's chest on his face gave Justin a raging hard-on. Alex could feel Junior trying to poke a hole in his leg. He had to admit to himself that feeling Justin's breath on his bare chest felt quite good.
When Alex went to his own bed that night he sat down and thought about how much his life had changed in the last seven days. As he was doing this he began to realise just how miserable he had been before he had met Justin and his new family. His birthday had been the lowest point in his life and today was the best he had ever had. He sent a silent prayer of thanks to God for sending Sarah and Justin to him. Alex felt that with all that both of them had done for him, they must both be guardian angels sent to save him.
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