Thursday night was a miserable night to be on the streets of the city, the wind whipped sheets of rain down the main street drenching every thing and everybody in it's path.
I did not normally work till this hour but tonight was an exception and after this night it was going to stay that way.
The traffic leaving the city was at a crawl and the frustration started to rise in my stomach.
"Damn, damn, I don't need this" I mused to myself watching the car in front of me crawl another ten meters.
As I stopped for the traffic lights I decided to pull into the first parking space I saw to sit and relax with a cigarette until the road cleared a little.
The lights changed to green and at the same time I spotted a vacant space a little further down the street and pulled into it, turned off the motor and lit a cigarette easing the seat back a little for comfort.
Thoughts drifted through my mind as I sat and relaxed, here I was nearly Fourty years old and alone still, since the age of 13 I had always preferred men to women but as I grew older I seemed to be alone more often.
The drumming of the rain on the roof relaxed me and I woke with a start not realizing I'd drifted off to sleep.
Looking at the clock on the dashboard I was surprised to see I'd slept for nearly an hour, the traffic had thinned out but the rain continued to pour down.
It was time to get on home and as I sat upright to begin the trip out of the city; a blurred movement on the pavement caught the corner of my eye.
I still don't know why I wanted to see what it was but an urge said to look a little harder.
There under the awning of the old dilapidated shop front stood a young island boy, a black school bag on the pavement beside his sandal covered feet.
He stood there in a short sleeve shirt and knee length shorts soaked to the core by the lashing rain, arms crossed over his chest trying in vain to get some warmth into his slim little body.
He appeared to be about fourteen years old but I'd never been interested in young boys, it was not my thing, but he stood there a forlorn and pleading look on his face.
His hair was matted over his young face, shirt sticking to his small frame showing his torso through the fabric.
I was a little leery about offering help as in this city the islanders had not the best of reputations but he did need some sort of help so I shrugged my shoulders and wound down the window calling out to him.
"Do you need some help?"
The soft doe like eyes lifted to look at me with gratitude written all over his face. "Come on hop in and get out of the rain"
He took up the bag and moved toward the car, his teeth were chattering with the cold.
As he neared the car I could see his golden skin shining with the wetness, his features were almost Asian in appearance and his lips had a light blue tinge to them from the cold wind.
I had no sexual interest in him although he was by any standards quite something to look at, but the law here is 16years and he was jailbait as far as I'm concerned.
He stopped outside the car and looked in hopefully then in a soft voice he said "Thank you sir but I am wet through and will ruin the seat of the car"
The longing to be in out of the weather was so obvious on his face that his consideration of my property under these conditions was heartwarming.
I reached into the back seat where I kept an old towel for emergencies and tossed it toward him saying, "Don't worry, dry as much as you can then put the towel on the seat to sit on, it will be ok"
What he did next was so smooth, I was astounded by his movements.
He caught the towel in one hand while with the other he placed the bag neatly on the floor of the car, flicking open the towel he then wrapped it around his waist like a lavalava and slipped out of his shorts underneath and then slid onto the seat closing the door.
Looking over at him I could see the stress easing out of his young body, he continued to sit forward on the seat not wanting to get the back of the seat wet, teeth still chattering and arms about his body trying to get warm.
On the back seat was an old pullover, I reached back and offered it to him, again sincere gratitude showed in his doe eyes. Slipping the shirt off his body to put on the pullover I almost gasped at the sight of his smooth, slim, golden coloured body, the muscles flexing as he pulled the shirt off.
Once the pullover was on he carefully folded both the shirt and shorts and placed then neatly on top of the bag on the floor so as not to have water dripping everywhere.
He leaned back into the seat folding his hands in his lap still shaking from the cold.
I turned up the heater in the car and asked "where do you live"
He told me the suburb and it was only another ten minutes from mine,
"Ok then lets get you home"
Saying this I started the car and pulled out into the traffic, which was now quite light and easier to drive in than before.
"My name is Ben, what is yours?" I asked to make him feel comfortable.
"My name is Sioni " He answered politely.
"How did you get to be out in this sort of weather Sioni"
"Some of my friends came into the city after school to see a movie but they met some older boys and left me alone, they were going to a park to drink"
"You don't like to drink then?"
"No " he said "I live with my uncle and auntie and he would beat me if I did"
He stated this matter of factually and not to look for sympathy.
It happened a lot in the island community taking in a relatives child to rear, but I had heard that they can sometimes live a pretty torrid life in this sort of situation.
"Does you uncle get angry with you very often " I asked
He remained silent but I had a feeling there was a lot more to this than he was saying but decided not to push into his life.
"Are you going to be ok when you get home?" as I asked this I glanced at him and was sure I could see a small tear roll down his face as he dropped his head down looking at his lap.
Somewhere deep inside of me a stirring of concern for this forlorn little Figure started to grow.
"Will you get into trouble with your uncle then?" I'd decided to help this young man if I could.
Silently he nodded his head still looking at the floor.
"Why, Sioni " I used his name to let him know I was concerned and not just nosey.
"My uniform is all wet and it is the only one I have so my uncle will be very angry and make me wear it tomorrow for school even while it's wet"
I could feel there was more to this than he was saying but decided not to push him.
"Look" I said "My apartment is just before your house, do you want to stop and get your clothes dry before you go on home?"
His little face brightened up as he replied "Oh sir, can I?"
"Yes no problem, what about the time, will your relatives be angry about you being late"
His face dropped again.
"Ok, do you want to phone them and tell them you are a little late so they are not worried about you?"
"Yes please, thank you sir" he brightened up again.
"You call me Ben, ok?"
"Yes Mr. Ben thank you"
I pulled into my parking space at the apartment and switched off the car and to my amazement he was out of the car with his clothes and bag waiting patiently by the door leading into the apartment.
There was no fear on his face, which now glowed with warmth and his eyes slightly downcast, as it was polite in island society not to stare into some ones eyes.
Locking the car I opened the door and ushered him inside, he stepped back to allow me to go first and his politeness was so refreshing under the circumstances.
Sioni followed me into the apartment careful not to drop water on the carpet as I steered him to the bathroom and the clothes dryer.
"Ok Sioni, let me have those clothes and we will have them dry in half an hour"
He passed over the sodden clothes and I placed them in the dryer turning it on afterwards.
"Ok Sioni come through here and you can call home to tell them where you are"
Sioni followed me through to the lounge where I pointed to the telephone and he went to dial the number.
I turned to the kitchen to ready a hot drink for him and heard him talking in his own language on the phone.
I do not understand any of his language but it seemed that he was quite upset about something.
I took up the hot drink and returned to the lounge as he put down the phone, his face was almost white with fear.
"What is it Sioni, What has happened?" suddenly I was really concerned for this little figure standing before me trying hard not to let the tears come to his eyes.
He slumped on a nearby chair holding his head in his hands.
I sat opposite him on another chair offering the drink, he looked up and accepted it willingly.
As he drank his soft voice then began to relay the conversation he had had.
"My uncle answered the phone, he had been to the hotel and was drunk" sipping the drink he then continued.
"He was very angry and said I was never to go back to his house again"
I sat there stunned by this statement.
It went against all I knew that someone could just throw out a young boy onto the street over a small thing like getting wet and being a little late.
"What are you going to do, do you have other relatives you can go to?"
"No" Sioni answered "My parents are over seas and they left me with uncle when I was five and uncle was the only relative here for me to stay with"
"What the hell" I thought to myself.
"Look Sioni you can stay here on the sofa for the night and in the morning I'll see what can be done for you, ok?"
His face lit up "Can I really stay here sir?"
"It's Ben, ok, and yes you can stay here tonight"
"Now do you want to have a shower and I will get some dinner ready for us"
He stood up and I showed him into the bathroom and turned on the shower full power till the steam began to fill the room.
His next comment surprised me somewhat.
"I can have hot water?" surprise in his voice.
"Yes of course you can"
"I'm not allowed to use the hot water at uncles, he says it is to expensive for the power"
This made me stop and think, nine years of cold showers even in winter, that smacked of abuse.
"Sioni, you can hop into that shower and use as much hot water for as long as you like" I said to him.
One of the biggest smiles I had ever seen broke across his face, his small white teeth like pearls sparkled in his mouth.
I turned my back to check the dryer as he stripped off the towel and pullover I had given him and stepped into the shower.
Glancing over my shoulder as I left to go to the kitchen I could just make out his outline behind the opaque curtain of the shower.
I suddenly felt myself rooted to the spot when I saw the outline of his lithe body standing in the shower facing the water as it streamed out over his body.
He was not moving just standing in the water jet enjoying the feel of it hot and fresh on him.
He was about 5' 4" tall, slim but with nicely defined young muscles, I could not tear my eyes away from the figure behind the curtain.
His butt was small like a ripe peach but the biggest surprise was showing in front.
Even for a more mature man he was very well endowed and this I found hard to believe as I'd heard that most of the islanders were supposed to be quite small in that department.
I mentally kicked myself for thinking like that "He's just a kid " I scolded myself, "get those thoughts out of your head stupid"
I forced myself to turn around and exit the bathroom leaving that vision to enjoy what must be his first hot shower.
I busied myself getting dinner ready for us both and the shower splashed on, I smiled at the length of time he was under the water and got a good feeling from allowing him to use as much as he liked.
I fetched a dry soft towel from the cupboard and took it into the bathroom for him, he was still just standing in the same place letting the water wash over him.
"Here's a clean towel for you Sioni" I stated as I entered.
"Oh thank you Ben, do I have to get out now?"
"No Sioni you enjoy it, but dinner will be ready very soon though"
"Thank you Ben I'll be out soon then" He said as he half turned back to the water.
The dryer had finished with the clothes so I removed them and took them into the bedroom to fold ready for him.
I heard the shower turn off and headed into the kitchen to serve up dinner.
The bathroom door opened and the soft pad of footsteps came toward me.
I turned and he stood there wrapped in the towel all dry and warm looking, total satisfaction on his bright face.
His hair was all over his face, which made him look quite elfish, so I steered him back to the bathroom and got out a new comb from the cupboard.
"You do your hair and I'll look and see if I have some clothes to fit you for the mean time" I said as I left him in front of the mirror.
I found some track pants and a T-shirt that would be a little big on him but it was better than his uniform for the night.
He came out of the bathroom and I called to him to come into the bedroom to change into the clothes I had for him.
He reached for the clothes and I made my exit to let him get dressed and a few minutes later he joined me in the kitchen for dinner.
The slightly oversized clothes made him look more pixie like and I had to again mentally shake myself to get those thoughts out of my mind "It's taboo and you know it" I again scolded myself.
When we finished dinner I sat back stretching and feeling content and relaxed.
Sioni ate very correctly even though I could see he was ravenous but he refused to give into the temptation to gulp down the food.
When he finished he arose from the table and began to clear the dishes,
"It's ok Sioni leave them I'll do it tomorrow"
"Oh no Ben I have to do it now"
The statement took me by surprise again, he said it with such passion that I had the feeling he had been forced to do most things very correctly.
There was something in his voice that said not to argue about it, he seemed genuinely intent on cleaning up as though it was a very important matter.
I heaved myself out of the chair and made my way to the lounge for a cigarette and to watch some TV before bed.
I had made up a bed on the sofa for Sioni to use that night, so I sat back and relaxed as he busied himself in the kitchen.
I felt really guilty about him, a guest, doing the dishes but it seemed that he would not have it any other way.
The noise in the kitchen ceased and I heard the soft padding of footsteps coming into the lounge and looked up as Sioni entered, just in time to see his firm little jaw drop at the site of the TV.
It was normally in a hidden cabinet so he would not have seen it before now. It was my pride and joy a huge 35" screen with all the fittings.
Sioni stared at it in apparent awe.
I smiled and pointed to a chair for him to sit and watch with me.
"Do you like TV Sioni?"
"I've not been allowed to watch it at uncles"
This young kid I began to realize had had it pretty tough with the relatives and for some unknown reason my heart went out to him.
"Well you don't have to worry here Sioni you sit down and relax and watch"
He slipped down into the chair a look of entrancement on his youthfully handsome face.
When the program finished I said "Well I have to get up very early in the morning for work so it's time for bed ok?"
"You can sleep there on the sofa and I'll see you in the morning"
Sioni got to his feet and made his way to the sofa turning toward me he said "Thank you Ben" With such feeling I felt embarrassed.
"It's ok Sioni, you get a good nights sleep and I'll see you in the morning then"
Turning I left the lounge for the bedroom, it had been quite a night and I was ready for sleep.
Once I was lying in bed I found that sleep would not come quickly even though I was really tired out.
The night's events ran through my mind over and over, small things not noticed before came and went as I thought about my small charge in the lounge.
Without realizing it the thought dawned on me that he had not had any underwear on that I had seen.
The more I thought about him the more convinced I became that he had led a pretty hard life at home.
I eventually drifted off to sleep the image of that little forlorn figure standing in the rain and wind, all alone in the dark city.
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