Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

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Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

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Summary

The love that dare not speak its name is a phrase from the poem Two Loves by Lord Alfred Douglas, published in 1894. It was mentioned at Oscar Wilde's gross indecency trial.

Wild, of course, was found guilty at his trial and served two years in prison, two years with hard labour.
We live today in a more enlightened age and understand that when Cupid fires his arrows he does not take into account the gender of those he targets.

I have written two love stories where Cupid brings two young men together. In writing these stories I have set aside any sexuality to concentrate entirely on love.

The first, Dickie Williams, came out of what I call a serendipity moment. In the summer of 2003 I was driving round London's dreaded North Circular Road, not the best of things to do at any time ! The traffic was at a standstill. A few cars in front of me there had been an accident and the police had stopped the traffic. I was held where I was while all of the cars in front of me were directed round the accident.

I could hear the noise overhead, it increased and increased as an air ambulance landed in front of my car.
What followed was a serendipity moment, the whole of the story Dickie Williams flashed into my head. Characters, plot the lot.
As you read you will find attitudes in society and society itself has changed but the attitudes existing in 2003 when I wrote the story are important to the plot and so I have not attempted to change these by updating the story and bringing it into a more modern setting.

What Are We Going To Tell The President is an idea I had running round in my head for ten years before I finally rattled the laptop keys and allowed it to be told. The President is fictional as are all of the characters in the story but I hope the love is something real.

For details of all my stories and for the latest news do please visit my diary: www.patrioticpensioner.com
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Summary

The love that dare not speak its name is a phrase from the poem Two Loves by Lord Alfred Douglas, published in 1894. It was mentioned at Oscar Wilde's gross indecency trial.

Wild, of course, was found guilty at his trial and served two years in prison, two years with hard labour.
We live today in a more enlightened age and understand that when Cupid fires his arrows he does not take into account the gender of those he targets.

I have written two love stories where Cupid brings two young men together. In writing these stories I have set aside any sexuality to concentrate entirely on love.

The first, Dickie Williams, came out of what I call a serendipity moment. In the summer of 2003 I was driving round London's dreaded North Circular Road, not the best of things to do at any time ! The traffic was at a standstill. A few cars in front of me there had been an accident and the police had stopped the traffic. I was held where I was while all of the cars in front of me were directed round the accident.

I could hear the noise overhead, it increased and increased as an air ambulance landed in front of my car.
What followed was a serendipity moment, the whole of the story Dickie Williams flashed into my head. Characters, plot the lot.
As you read you will find attitudes in society and society itself has changed but the attitudes existing in 2003 when I wrote the story are important to the plot and so I have not attempted to change these by updating the story and bringing it into a more modern setting.

What Are We Going To Tell The President is an idea I had running round in my head for ten years before I finally rattled the laptop keys and allowed it to be told. The President is fictional as are all of the characters in the story but I hope the love is something real.

For details of all my stories and for the latest news do please visit my diary: www.patrioticpensioner.com

Chapter1 (v.1) - Dickie Williams

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 15, 2017

Reads: 63

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 15, 2017

A A A

A A A

I am not sure if I heard it first or if I felt it.  The impact was certainly violent as I was thrust forward with so much force it made the restraining seat belt punch my chest with the force of a boxing world champion.  My head lurched towards the windscreen then instantly whip lashed back  with a thud against the head restraint.  I waited for the airbags to deploy but they remained secure within their special compartments.  Everything then went into slow motion, I remember hoping they would not explode in front of me, so long as they stayed hidden the accident wasn’t going to be all that bad.
 
 I had seen the yellow sports car in my rear view mirror as it menacingly weaved its way up the busy motorway using all three lanes to pass whoever and whatever was in front and in its way.  It’s driver arrogantly and impatiently headed towards his destination without any regard for fellow motorists.  But if you can afford a car like that I guess arrogance comes fitted as standard.  I flashed my indicator to move into the centre lane and allow him to pass just at the precise same moment he decided to overtake me on the inside.  The impact spun me round through ninety degrees and brought the motorway behind us to a complete standstill.

Things were already moving in slow motion and only when normal timing resumed did I shaken and bruised get out to survey the situation.  My car was a wreck as was the gaudy yellow Ferrari that had hit it.  Then I looked at the driver. I don’t know if I recognised him or not, perhaps I was too much in shock.  Of course I knew who he was but I can’t remember if I knew then or if the realisation descended later.  I should have known who it was, those distinctive boyish looks and shoulder length blond hair which smile out from newspapers, magazines, television and every marketing tool his management team could find to lever more money out of our pockets and into his.

Before I could say anything and I did have a lot to say, a tirade of anger and abuse ripped my way as I was blamed for the accident.  I tried to respond but he wasn’t listening and certainly wasn’t interested in anything a mere mortal like myself could offer.  Other motorists had left their vehicles but just stood watching the scene from a safe distance.  I suppose the fact that neither of us were hurt prevented them rushing forward, perhaps they were reluctant to get involved in our argument or perhaps they were stunned when they saw who it was standing there in flesh and blood hurling forth his venom to myself.  Then I remembered nothing, my mind went a total blank, my eyes closed and I crumpled to the floor.  I don’t even remember hitting the warm dusty tarmac.

I awoke in the ambulance but did not fully regain my senses until I was in  hospital.  There I was examined, put through a series of tests and eventually told that I was alright, nothing broken and no sign of any internal injuries.  I had been lucky.  The conclusion was that I had passed out in shock and they would keep me in for twenty-four hours observation after which I could go home.  “Take a couple of days off work and you’ll be fine.”

“You are famous,” the smiling nurse giggled.  “Not everyone gets to be involved in a car smash with Richard Williams !  He phoned earlier and asked me – yes ME – to call him as soon as you can receive visitors. Oh god I actually spoke to him and just think Dickie Williams is coming to this hospital and into our ward !  It makes me quite dizzy !”

“I don’t know if I want to see him.”

“Don’t say that !”

“He’s written my car off and nearly killed me. He‘s not my idea of a welcome visitor. Besides he's got a foul temper.”

“Oh please let him come to see you, he gave me his number and asked me to call him.  Let me ring him now so he will be here before my shift is over. Please.”

How could I refuse her ?  I smiled and her heart beat double in time with excitement as she skipped across to the sister’s office.  I watched her through the large glass window as she picked up the phone.  My spirits sank, I really did not want to see such an obnoxious and unpleasant young man again.

He slipped into the ward very quietly and stood by the nurses station until an excited young lady brought him over to the side of my bed.  Making every excuse she could find not to leave us she finally drew the screening curtains and left.

“Hello,”  he said softly.

“Hello.”
 

“I really don’t know what to say to you.  I was born a prat and have been working hard ever since to perfect it.  I guess sorry really isn’t enough is it but I am sorry.  And my outburst is without excuse.  So – sorry ! My mother would kill me if she ever found out I behaved like that.”

I didn’t know what to say.  I just looked at him.  I suppose at the end of the day he was just like any other person but how could anyone quite so famous be ordinary ?

He sat on the edge of my bed.  “I really am sorry.”

“It’s fine,”  I found myself saying.  “I’m not hurt, I’m going home tomorrow.  Don’t worry.”

“But your car ?”

“It doesn’t matter, it‘s insured.”

Was I really talking to the icon Richard Williams ?  Football star, fashion guru and a guy who would record the odd number one hit now and then ?  It was so dreamlike and totally surreal.  Perhaps I was in a coma and this was all a dream.

Then he reached out his hand, placed it on top of mine making my flesh tingle and the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. “I really am sorry, I really am.”

“Consider yourself forgiven,”  I replied then winked an eye.

“Thank you.  Thank you so much. I am going to make a promise to you and to myself, I promise I will never ever lose my temper like that again. I was born a prat and have been working hard ever since to perfect it. It is time I stopped.”

I had presumed that second encounter with the celebrated Richard (Dickie) Williams would be my last but I was wrong.  Two days later I was at home, chilling out and contemplating a return to work when the front door bell rang.  I wasn’t expecting anyone and was tempted to ignore it.  It rang again and then persistently a third time.  I live on the third floor of a small apartment block, entry is by way of a security phone on street level, if I ignored the ringing entry phone who ever it was would surely go away.  It did not ring a fourth time, instead the front door bell chimed !  If some wretched door-to-door salesman or god-bothering Jehovah's Witness had managed to gain access to the building I would soon send them on their way.  I stirred myself to see who was so zealously ringing at my front door.

Bloody hell it was him.

“I hope you don’t mind me coming round,” he said somewhat nervously, the fingers of both of his hands twisting round one another as he spoke..  “I mean I hope I am not disturbing you.”

“Richard !  No, not at all.”

We stood momentarily looking at one another, me in my doorway and he on the small landing that served the four apartments on my floor.

“I brought you something.  Something to try and show that I am sorry.”  He half  turned and waved a hand towards the wall.  It's outside, parked on the road."

I looked confused.

“It’s yours, I want you to have it – a gift.”

"What ?" 

"Come down and look."

Together we descended in the lift and walked out to the road.  Richard was like an excited schoolboy wanting to show off something he had found. 

Then I saw what he was talking about. How  much  could it have cost ?  A fortune.  A Porsche Boxter – god only knows.

“But –“

“Please don’t embarrass me.  I wrecked your car so I’ve replaced it.  It’s no big deal it’s only.....  It would ease my conscience and make me happy if you would accept it.”

He held out the set of keys and I took them.  What a gift !  “Thank you.”

He smiled and then his eyes sparkled the way I had seen them in so many of his promotional pictures on television, on bill hoardings and magazine covers.  But this was the real thing, Dickie Williams standing in the street outside my home.

“Would you like to come in ?”  I asked.  “I mean can I offer you a coffee or something ?”

Shit my little flat wasn’t tidy – it never was – and I had just asked a world-famous icon into it.

“That would be nice Max,”  Richard’s smile broadened, “but what I would really like is if you would come out and have a drink with me.  Just to let me say I am sorry.”

“But you said sorry back in the hospital, have repeated it so many times and the car - !”

“I know but I would like to spend some time with you to show you I really, truly am sorry.  Please.  You drive.”

“I’ll do you a deal,”  I said bravely.  “I’ll agree only if you agree to stop saying sorry.”

He laughed.

My new car was an absolute dream and it was so easy to think that it was all just a dream.  Several times I pinched myself to check the truth of what was taking place and yes it was real.  I could feel heads turning to look as we drove past.  They would have turned again had they seen who was seated inside making the car itself a poor second.  I felt warm and was happy to be spending some time with Richard, I had a developing sense that we were going to become friends. Even afterthat temper outburst at the scene of the accident. I hoped beyond dare that we would even become good friends.

“Where are we going ?”  I asked seeking directions.

I thought we could perhaps call into my local, it was a bit late to catch them serving lunch or bar snacks but they were always open through the afternoon.  I suggested we go there.

Richard hesitated for a moment then said, “Max, please don’t take this the wrong way but would you mind if we went to a pub I know.”

“Sure, anything you like.”

I was about to ask where to drive but Richard was still speaking even if his hesitation continued.

“It’s not easy for me to simply go out for a quiet drink, people won't leave me alone but there is this special pub I often go to, the thing is it‘s a gay pub.  Is that a problem ?  Do you mind ?

I didn’t mind but did not have the chance to say so as Richard continued to give his explanation.

“I mean if I go to an ordinary pub people will never leave me in peace, it isn’t easy being who I am you know.  But there is this bar I use where people just accept me and all the fame rubbish counts for nothing.  If you don’t mind it’s quite cool.  I hope you will like it.”

“Fine by me.”

“Oh thanks.” He sounded relieved. “I didn’t know how to put it.  I mean I don’t want you to be offended.”

“No, not at all.  So are you gay ?”  I asked somewhat clumsily then immediately added, “Sorry I shouldn’t have asked that.  Forgive me.”

“Not a problem, you have a right to know.”

I did not see that I had any such right at all but I sensed Richard wanted me to have an answer.  Although he had not actually given an answer I asked the question again.

“I guess so,”  he said.  “Well yes I think so.  I don’t have a boyfriend or anything like that but I suppose in all honesty I am. Yes Dickie Williams is gay ! What would the press have to say about that ?”

I just smiled  to myself.

“You don’t mind ?”

I didn’t.

“You haven’t realised have you ?”  I said.

“Realised what ?”

“You think you are gay, I know that I am.”

Richard blushed then burst into loud and uncontrollable laughter saying, “I told you I was born a prat and have been trying ever since to perfect it didn’t I ?”  But the laughter wasn't because anything amusing had been said it was a sign of relief.

Richard was right about the way people treated him in the bar, the atmosphere was ever so warn and friendly.  It wasn’t that busy, the afternoon trade obviously was not its zenith but we were by no way the only ones there. Some guys would nod in our direction and others speak briefly saying:  Hi Dicky how are you today ?  Or Nice game last week mate. None were intrusive and I felt very comfortable sitting there with my new friend.

“So tell me about yourself Max.”

“There’s not that much to tell, I’m not talented or famous like you are. So what can I say ? I’m twenty-seven, lived with my mother until two years ago.  I now live in a flat which I can’t afford and have a job I hate.”

“What is you job ?”

“I’m assistant sales manager in a branch of Woolworth’s.”

“Cool.”

“You wouldn’t think so if you had to work there.”

“I’d swop placed with you.”

I laughed at such a ridiculous suggestion.

“No seriously I would,” Richard insisted.  I have a manager who thinks he owns my soul and fans who know they do.  I can’t walk down the street without being recognised and live the life of a phoney. You bet I‘d swop with you any day.”

“But you are famous and you make lots of money.”

“Money yeah but I don’t have the privacy to spend it.  I am suspicious of everyone who tries to make friends with me so in reality I am lonely.  But Max if you don’t mind me saying this, I think you are different,  I suppose it’s a strange way to introduce yourself to anyone but smashing my car into you on the motorway could be destiny.  I sense that you are different and if you will forgive a clumsy chat up line I would like it if we kind of became friends.

I think I blushed before answering, “I’d like that.”

We chatted a little and drank a lot, more than we should have done and certainly far too much for me to drive.

“Call a taxi,”  Richard said.  “You do it please because they’ll never believe me if I give my name.  They’ll think it’s a wind up.”

“Perhaps you should start to use an alias.”  I suggested.  “Like Julia Roberts did in Notting Hill, you know the film.”

“Yeah, what should I call myself ?  I wonder.  Perhaps I should use your name – Max – it’s a nice name.”

The mini cab pulled up outside the pub and the driver sounded the horn loud and long.  It had started raining so we ran the short distance to the car, quickly shutting the doors behind us. We sat together in the back and I gave the driver my address.“When we get there my friend will tell you where he needs to go.”

“OK mate,”  the driver said looking in his mirror.  “Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look just like Dickie Williams ?”

“Only my mother,”  Richard giggled.

The driver looked again.  “ Hey shit you are Dickie Williams aren’t you ?”

“That’s me.”

After that he didn’t stop talking all the way.

"Wait ‘til the guys hear who I had in my car –"

"What’s it like being a star – ?"

"Do you ever drink in my local, The Admiral’s Head – ?"

"What’s the best goal you’ve ever scored – ?"

"Is it best being a football star or a pop star – ?"

On and on and on.  I couldn’t wait to get home but strangely that voluble driver didn’t make any mention at all that he had collected us from a gay pub.

When we did get home Richard asked the car to wait and walked with me to the door.

“Take this“ he said offering me a small folded piece of paper.  It’s my personal mobile number – very few people have it and I always answer, I never switch it off.  You can call me any time.”

“Thanks.”

“Don’t forget to go back and pick up the car.”

 “I won’t.”

“Thank you for today.”

“Thank you and thank you for the car.”

We were both hesitating, neither wanting to leave the other’s company.  Eventually Richard threw his arms about me and looked into my eyes.  Our mouths met and we kissed.

“Call me.”

“I will.”

“Promise ?”

“I promise.”

I did call him. We called one another every day and several times a day for the rest of the week.  We talked for hours on end saying nothing and I knew I was falling in love with Richard Williams, I could not help myself.

Are you gay ?  I had asked him.

I guess so - well I think so, had been his answer.

Then my reaction, telling him I was gay myself.Why had I done that ?  I had never been with a guy although the desire was never far away.  That had been my fist visit to a gay pub and then the kiss – my first gay kiss.  So was I gay ?

I had always been curious and certainly guys attracted me.  But I always found it hard to admit this to myself, I mean I never even properly discussed it in my own mind.  Now I knew for certain I was gay, 100% gay.  And I wanted Richard, I wanted him with a passion so hard it hurt.  I felt sure that he also wanted me.

The next few days were very full for us both.  I returned to work and Richard was involved in a long series of meetings negotiating his endorsing a range of sportswear.  The advertising agent was trying to tie it all up with Richard releasing a new single which would be used as the music for an intensive TV advertising run.

Richard was a good singer with a voice as golden as his beautiful flowing hair.  As a singer he was different to the commercialised manufactured sounds which tend to make up the bulk of the pop music industry today.  His songs were all covers of hits from decade ago.  His latest, a remix of Cliff Richard’s On The Beach had only just slipped out of the charts.  We had sold hundreds, if not thousands, of CD’s in our store alone.

To top that crazy week of activity, just a few days before I knew my friend only as an icon of sport, fashion and music who brought profit to my small part of the retail industry, Richard was playing in the quarter final of the FA Cup.  He pleaded with me to come and watch but it was my Saturday as duty manager for the store and there was no way I could possibly get out of it.

“Let’s meet up afterwards,”  I said, “then we can celebrate your victory.”
 

“Or commiserate when we lose.”

“Be positive,”  I laughed.  “Come round after and I’ll cook us a special meal.”
 
One of the very first things I did that Saturday was to tune every TV in the electrical department to the station that would carry live the vital cup tie. The supervisor in charge of the area asked me what I was up to and I don’t really remember what reasoning I gave her but threatened dire consequences if so much as one set was retuned.

The store ran like clockwork all morning and through the busy lunch period into the early afternoon but just ten minutes into the game the pa system called out its words:  Call thirty-three for the Duty Manager.  Duty Manager thirty-three please !

SHIT !  Call thirty-three meant a shoplifter had been apprehended by security and I would have to be present when the police arrived.

Four minutes before half time I dashed back to the electrical department.
 
“What’s the score ?”  I demanded of some poor assistant.

“Two nil.”

“To who ?”

“City.”
 

Who scored ?”


“Dickie Williams, both of them.”

A warm glow invaded my whole body and I wiped away a faint tear.
 
 “Duty Manager to Customer Services please.”

SOD THAT PA !

This time it was a customer with a faulty rewritable DVD.

“Just replace it,”  I snapped.

“But we don’t sell this brand,” the confused assistant tried to explain.  “Tesco had these on offer last week, it must be one of theirs.”

“Replace it,”  I said again.

“But –“

“Just watch my lips will you. REPLACE it.”

I turned on my heels and strode back to a television screen.  I arrived just in time to see Richard’s picture fill the camera before zooming back and listen to the voice describing what was happening.

“That’s a long ball,”  the commentator said calmly.  Then with an air of mild excitement, “and it finds Williams.  He’s on his own – watch this – could it be a third for Williams ?  He’s on his own, yards ahead of anyone marking him, this man is utterly brilliant.  He’s on a run, could this be his third ?  He’s in a good position, no he‘s in a perfect position.  He’s past one defender, a second and he shoots.  It’s there !  A goal.  A third goal for City and a third goal for the truly brilliant Dickie Williams.  Is it any wonder he is the  king  of  the Premier League ?  A hat trix for Dickie Williams.”

The camera cut away to show Sven, the England Coach, sitting in the crowd and smiling contentedly.

I was totally, totally choked with emotion.

“I love you Dickie Williams,”  I said softly to myself.  “I guess millions of your fans love you as well but I know that you also love me.”

Richard turned to face the camera as he trotted back to his position for play to restart.  He winked an eye to camera and I knew that it was me he was winking at.  I cried.  I was totally, totally overwhelmed with emotion.  As play continued nearer and nearer the final whistle my flesh tingled with so much excitement.  Then the referee blew and City were through.  I watched the scenes of jubilation, the crowd was cheering Dickie’s name with enthusiasm and vigour. I was so proud. But it wasn’t over yet.

From out of nowhere Richard was handed a  microphone while loud speakers all round the stadium boomed out the introduction bars of his last hit, that Cliff Richard oldie On The Beach.  The atmosphere rose to a new height of celebration as Dickie entertained all with a free concert.

He sang all those silly party songs we all knew when we were kids.  The like of Agadoo and Simon Says.  Tens of thousands of fans delighted in waving their arms to copy actions to the words.  A camera cut away showing England Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson partying with everyone else.  His face displayed a broad grin and undoubtedly he was having a ball.  Dickie was already secure in the England Squad and had played many times for his country and I began to wonder if the captaincy was still safe with Beckham or if my Dickie was not the heir apparent.

A small group of shoppers had gathered round the televisions in the electrical department and were enjoying the show.

“He’s good isn’t he ?” One said.

“Makes you want to reach out and kiss him.”

I had kissed him and would be kissing him again in just a few short hours time.

Dickie was drawing things to a close with that old disco hit Hey Ho Silver Lining.  He took a bow and prepared to return to the dressing room but the crowd frantically called for more.

“What’s the matter ?”  Dickie said. 

“Don’t you have homes to go to ?”

More – more – encore…………..

“OK then just one more time then I really have to go.  I’ve got a date and some special celebrations waiting for me.”

Again he sang Hey Ho Silver Lining.

His own celebrations to go to,  Dickie Williams had said that to the world and he meant me – I could contain myself no longer.  I went to my office, closed the door and sat alone. I cried tears of pure happiness.

While I can cook I am by no extent a chef.  All I normally do is to prepare simple meals for myself but this had to be special.  I raced home and began the preparation.  Things were going well when the entry phone announced he was there.  My heart beat with the heavy thunder of a giant bass drum and my body quivered in excited anticipation.

 

"Come on up."

Very soon Dickie was dancing on my door step and singing away to himself.  He had a large bottle of champagne in each hand and was waving them about before flinging his arms about me allowing the bottles to chink together behind my head.

“Well done,”  I said.  “You were brilliant.”

“I know,” he giggled.  “But not half as brilliant as I intend to be over the next few hours with you !”

I may not have been an international football star and I did not have a string of number one hits to my name, neither would any manufacturer ever consider asking me to endorse so much as a patent mouse trap but I loved Dickie Williams with a passion nobody else could ever match.

“Welcome to my home,”  I said a little embarrassed at its modest composition.  “I’m afraid it is not much.”

Richard smiled.  “Do you know where I live ?”

I didn’t.

“As far as the paparazzi and the fans are concerned I have a suite in a city hotel but I seldom ever stay there.  In truth I live with my mother.  Twenty-four years old and yet to fly the nest !  She looks after me, I still need looking after, and I like her cooking.  Talking of cooking there is a delicious smell in here.”

“It won’t be long.”

“Fantastic.”

“You got a couple of glasses ?”

I produced two and Richard popped the cork of the first bottle before catching the foaming champagne.

“Cheers !”

“Cheers !”

It was superb, sparkling, sweet and tasted very expensive.

“Mr Eriksson gave it to me,” Dickie explained.  “He brought it down to the dressing room himself.”

“Really ?”

“The guys wanted me to open the bottles but I told them I had somewhere special to go and someone very special to share it with.”

I looked into his deep blue eyes and tried to use a sixth sense to tell him how much I cared for him.  I am sure it worked for I myself felt a sensation where I knew so very well what was in his heart.

The meal turned out better than I had ever dared to hope. After some home made broccoli and stilton soup I had prepared duck in an orange and brandy sauce, very ambitious considering my usual microwave efforts, then topped all off with a fruit trifle. We took our time eating and ranged our conversation over many different topics.  It became clear that Dickie was a highly intelligent and clever man.  So much talent concentrated into one individual.

“Your impromptu concert was great,”  I said.

Dickie smiled a little cunningly waving a dinner fork in front of him.  “Nothing impromptu about it at all.  Everything was planned and choreographed to the second, even that encore.”

“But -,”  I said wondering how the concert could have been planned and look so natural.

“The club marketing department’s been working on it for a few weeks.  Organising the tapes for me to sing along to, even arranging for the police to stand by for the crowd to leave half an hour after the final whistle.  Took a lot of organising.”

“Clever.”

“Believe me it was.”

“But what if you had gone to all that trouble then lost the game ?  It wouldn’t have been the same.”

“We took a gamble,” he smiled.

I made some coffee and we relaxed away from the dining table.

“You must let me wash up,”  Richard suggested.  “I always wash up at home, my mother insists.”

“It can wait.”

“OK, but later on, I won't take no for an answer.”

“Leave it until the morning,”  I said daringly.

Richard smiled wide and his eyes twinkled.  “That sounds good to me. Very good to me.”

I had never before been with a man, never had gay sex and to this day maintain I never have.  What Richard and I experienced together that night was not sex it was love.  Love of the purest, deepest and most precious kind.

We lay naked together on crisp new sheets I had bought specially.  Our warm bodies contoured and nestled together the perfect way destiny had planned since the start of time. Although we were both virgins there was no uncertainty or fumbling about, no clumsy movement or awkwardness, just sheer poetry of perfect blending.  Everything was just so right.

Afterwards we lay in one another’s arms and whispered our conversation.

“Why Richard, when you could have anyone did you chose me ?  I mean a guy like you could have someone like David Beckham if you wanted.”

“I think Victoria would have something to say about that.”

“Do you know the Beckhams ?”

“Yes, a bit.  I’ve been to a party at their home.”

“What are they like ?”

“Kind but very quiet.  David is not much of a conversationalist.”

“Do you know any other famous people ?”

“A few but not many of them well.”

“Who ?”  I was curious.  This was a world I had only previously read about.

He gave the name of a rock and roll star from the 1950's.

“My grandmother listens to his music,”  I giggled.

“He’s a bit like a father to me,”  Dickie started to explain.  “My own father passed away when I was a child. He and Dad were friends and he has always looked out for me.”

My own father had also died some years previously and I told Dickie about him then went back to asking about his rock and roll friend.

“I've always known him.  Dad was in the music business and he has been about all of my life. I covered one of his songs and since then I’ve used more of his material.  As I've got older I’ve got to know him quite well and he’s been very good to me.  I can talk to him.”

“Really ?”

“Of course his name isn’t what we all know him by at all, his real name is James Webb.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“I call him Jimmy though.  I chatted a while back with him about my sexuality and he was so supportive and understanding.”

“That’s good.”

“He’s not gay himself even though he’s never married but he does understand me.  I phoned him yesterday and we talked for a couple of hours.”

“What about ?”

“You.”

“Me ?”

“Yes.”

“What did you say ?”

Dickie didn't answer for a while then said, “I told him I thought I had found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”

“Is that true ?”

“True that I told him or true that I want always to be with you ?”

I started to tickle him.  "Tell me !" I demanded.

“With me,”  he said.  “That is if you want the same.”

I did !  I did !  I did !

That second time our making love was even more special than the first, now we were consummating a vow which would see us grow old together.

It was then so easy to forget who Dickie Williams was as far as the world was concerned, to forget everything other than his being my dearest lover and my closest possible friend.  God, how I loved him.

As the early spring daylight began to filter through the curtains and into the bedroom I looked at my lover, at his long wavy blond hair, his muscular chest and shoulders and at the slight golden stubble on his face.  I pecked a kiss on his cheek and he smiled before opening his eyes.

“Good morning lover.”

“Good morning lover,”  I replied.  “Ready for breakfast ?”

“Let me cook it for you please, you cooked last night. And remember I promised to do the washing up”

“But I’ll need to pop out and pick up a few things from the corner shop, eggs, bread and we’re almost out of milk.”

“I’ll go.”

He was out of bed and dressing.  “Which way is the shop ?“

I told him.

A warm smile crept over me as I though of old Mrs Patel having Dickie Williams dropping a wire basket of groceries on her counter first thing on a Sunday morning and asking if she took MasterCard.  She and her husband I knew were both great City fans and she would have palpitations at the sight of her customer. I would have just loved to have been a fly on the wall.

“I got a razor and some soapy stuff,”  Richard said when he got back.  Do these clothes look alright ?  I mean I wore them yesterday.”

“They look great.  How was Mrs Patel ?”

“She gave me a kiss.  Nice old girl.”

“Did she !  I am jealous !”

I wanted to show my new boyfriend off and wished I had gone with him to the shop. I wanted to show him off to someone. While he was busy in the kitchen I decided exactly who I would show him off to later in the day and made a quick phone call.

My big sister Annie and I have always been close, as a kid she always looked out for me and then as I grew up she was the one who guided me through some quite difficult times.  My father had died when I was still fairly small and Annie as older sister had taken on some of the paternal support he would have given me had he been there.  We agreed to meet up later in the day.

Dickie and I drove to a local park and picnic area.  He stayed in the car while I went first to meet and chat with Annie.

“So you are finally out,”  she smiled when I told her I was gay.  “As if I hadn’t known for years. You can‘t keep a secret from me.”

I’d hardly known myself so how did Annie figure my sexuality out ?

“But I now have a boyfriend,”  I explained.  “I would like you to meet him.”

“Great, I am pleased. What’s his name ?”

“Richard.  He’s waiting in the car.  Come and say hello to him.”

But Richard wasn’t waiting in the car.  I knew I would have to explain the Porsche to Annie so had parked it a way off, Richard had left the car and walked to sit at one of the picnic tables.  He had a baseball hat on his head and his back to us.

As we approached I said, “Annie this is Richard.”

“Hi there Rich………. SHIT !”

I had never before heard my sister swear but the shock of Richard being none other than the famous Dickie Williams overtook her.

Richard stood up and politely offered his hand.  “I don’t usually have quite that effect on ladies,”  he smiled.

“But -,”  Annie stammered.  “Are you two ?  I mean is …. ?”

“Yes,”  I said proudly.  “Yes we are.”

Annie had coped well with my admitting I way gay, was pleased that I had a boyfriend but could not believe who it was.  I tried to explain everything that had happened over the last week all the way from the car crash, Dickie losing his temper to our first night together.

“It’s all been a bit whirlwind,”  I said.

“That’s true but I really care for your brother,”  Richard added.  “Time does not matter when you are in love.”

Annie threw a few questions at us as she tried to take in our revelation and we tried our best to answer them all.  Away to our right a group of three lads were kicking a football to one another.  A missed kick from one sent it bouncing in our direction.  Dickie got up, trapped the ball with his foot, flicked it up into the air bounced it on his knee then headed it back to the boys.

“Wow,”  I heard one of them say.  Then all three stood as still as statues when they saw who it was who had returned their ball.

“Can I have your autograph please ?” One said.

“Of course you can,”  Dickie replied jogging to join them, “but first you have to give me a quick game.”

The boys could not believe what was happening to them as Dickie kicked about joining in their game while Annie and I sat talking.  I was so, so happy.

On leaving Annie and three lads, who would have a story to tell their mates they would never believe, we drove to the other side of the city where Dickie introduced me to his mother.  She was lovely and I felt so comfortable in her company.  She knew that Dickie preferred men and was happy he had found someone he wanted to be with.

“Does that mean you will be moving out Dear ?”

Dickie looked at me and I knew exactly what he was thinking.  I looked back saying:  I would just love it so much if you wanted to move in with me.  And with that all was decided.  We loaded the Porsche up with as much as we could cram in and my home became our home.

Dickie's father had been an executive with a major record company until he died of cancer at the young age of thirty-four.  He had been very successful and Mrs Williams lived in a large detached house in one of the most affluent parts of town.  Dickie was worried about leaving her alone but she would hear none of it and gave him every encouragement to move in with me.

Those next few days were magical, truly magical – quite out of this world.  Each morning a car would arrive to take Dickie off to his work: training, meetings and everything associated with being a full-time megastar.  I would get into the Porsche and head off to the store.  The drudgery of every day work now lightened knowing he would be home waiting for me in the evening.  And how fantastic those evenings were.  During the time we were apart our minds constantly thought of the other and built up a special adrenalin for when we were together again.  Not since Romeo and Juliet have two people been so very much in love.

Everything, yes everything, was so, so perfect.  That was until early on the Thursday morning.  I was only half awake when I heard the snap of the letter box in the hall, the postman was early.  I glanced bleary-eyed at the alarm clock on Dickie’s side of the bed.  It was early – very early !  A long, loud and shrill ring on the door bell fully aroused me from the last pretences of sleep.  Again it called demanding and urgent.  Nobody should be out there, the entry phone hadn't rung and I hadn't pressed the button to unlock the downstairs main door.

Putting on a white bath robe I headed for the door picking up the newspaper from where it had fallen face down on the floor.  We didn’t have a newspaper delivered and if we did neither of us would have selected this particular tabloid.

The ringing of the door bell stopped me from looking at the paper, instead I folded in along its length and held it in my left hand as I flipped the latch with my right.  Who could it be outside ?  I was met with a million flashes and the deafening sound of motorised cameras winding film and shuttering their lenses.

What the ……………….. ?

The small landing was packed with reporters.  I slammed the door shut and tried to think.What ever was going on ?  The press must have found out Dickie’s new address but why would the world’s paparazzi be camped outside ?  What was the story ?  What were they after ?  And then I unfolded the paper and saw the front page.

DICKIE WILLIAM’S SECRET GAY LOVER - So ran the banner headline.

“Dickie !” I screamed racing into the bedroom.  “Dickie wake up !”  I thrust the paper at him.  “Look at that.  There are hundreds of reporters outside. What are we going to do ?”

Dickie looked at the paper and then to me.  “Sorry,” he said.  “I knew the story would break but didn’t expect it to be like this.  I am so sorry.”

I snatched the paper and flicked through the six page feature exposing our love to the world.  Not only was the paper telling the story but it was doing it in a sordid and dirty way, making something so pure and so genuinely lovely into a grubby, dirty tale.  There were pictures of us together, one of us kissing.  There was an interview with that taxi driver who had taken us home from our first date. However had they found him ?  There was a note from Sven-Goran Eriksson saying that players’ sexuality made no difference to their inclusion in the England Squad and that Richard Williams was one of the greatest players of our time.  But his kind words were not enough to stop our entire private life being set out for every grubby news stand in the land to vend during the coming day.  The presses must have been working overtime all night in anticipation of the extra sales the story would generate.  How could they be so cruel ?

“What are we going to do ?”  I asked frightened and worried.

Dickie was already on the phone.

“Get dressed,” he said as soon as he had finished.  “Paul’s on his way over, he’ll know how to handle this.”

“Who’s Paul ? Who‘s Paul ?  What can he do ?”

“My agent.  He’ll know what to do.  Trust him, he has kept me free from the paparazzi so far and he'll soon sort this out.”

Paul did know what to do.He was utterly brilliant.  He arrived with a mini-‘bus load of police and spoke to the growing crowd of journalists and curious bystanders on the pavement through a megaphone.

“Ladies and gentlemen Dickie and Max will shortly appear and you can take all the photographs you want.  They will NOT, I repeat NOT answer any questions at this time but if you submit to me anything you wish to them answer  you will receive full and frank answers by the end of the day and in time for your next editions.  Max and Dickie have nothing to hide and are not ashamed of their love for one another.  You can write any stories you like based on the answers they will give you but print one lie, state one false fact and we will sue you through every court in the land ! I trust I make myself one hundred percent clear on that point. In addition that newspaper will never again receive any co-operation from Dickie Williams over future stories AND no company whose products are endorsed by the Dickie Williams name will ever again advertise in that paper !"

He was clever and handled that baying pack of paparazzi with a skill beyond measure.  The ordeal of having my photograph taken was not nearly as bad as I had imagined, to tell you the truth I quite enjoyed it – after all I had earlier wanted people to know about Dickie and I, now everyone would know !Paul gave the journalists an e-mail address to which they could submit questions and assured them they would receive answers by the end of the day.  The police then cleared the area and it was all over.

“What now ?”  I asked.

“You go to work as normal,”  Paul said.  ”I’ve arranged for a body guard to be here and go with you.  Dickie, I’ll come with you and we’ll answer the e-mails.”

It was as easy as that.

The store was definitely busier that day than normal with everyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the guy who was sleeping with Dickie Williams.  The staff were good and tried to hide their curiosity, pretending I was the same guy they had been to work with before but that wasn’t at all easy.  I could see their smiles and read so much from their eyes.  But it gave me a warm feeling inside.  I loved Dickie so much and I didn’t care who knew it.

“Is there anything I can do to help ?”  The store’s general manager asked.  “You are a valued member of my team and I’ll support you all I can.  I don’t want to lose you and besides listen to the rattle of the tills,  you are the best advertising campaign we could have ever had !”

“Could I have the day off on Saturday ?  I’d like to go to the game and watch Dickie play, I think he’s going to need me there.”

“I think we can manage that.”

“Thanks you.”

I travelled to the game with Dickie in the team coach. The other players were tremendous and made me feel very welcome.  Clearly Dickie was a loved member of the team and if I was his boyfriend then they wanted to get to know me.  These were faces I knew only from the television and from newspapers but there they were nattering away ten to the dozen with me and making jokes as would any group of guys on a bus.  But this wasn’t any normal bus load of people – we were on our way to a premier league fixture with the team pushing for the top position in the table and with a cup run now giving a place in the semi-final.  Only the manager was a bit stand offish.

“Don’t worry about him,”  one player tried to explain.  “He’s always like this on the way to a game.  If we win he is king of the party on the way back.”

“Yeah,”  said another.  “And when we lose he’s like Attila The Hun !”

“I don’t like him,”  Dickie whispered.  “And he doesn’t like me.  He rules this team like a Stalinist dictator.  Sven runs the national team like a loving, kind but very firm father.  I can work much better with him.  Both get the results which I suppose is all that matters but I like Sven’s way best.”

The ground was packed and I took my place in the midst of the capacity crowd.  Dickie had wanted me to watch from the directors’ box but I didn’t want to be with millionaire owners, corporate sponsors and the like.  I wore a baseball cap pulled well down over my face and raised the collar on my jacket,  I doubted anyone would recognise me.  Nobody did.  But the talk among the supporters round me was all of Dickie.

“Who’d have thought he was queer ?”

“Don’t matter to me which way he takes it providing he scores the goals.”

“Wonder what the other players think being naked in the bath with him after a game.”

When the teams ran out onto the pitch the crowd cheered but I sensed a slightly chilled atmosphere towards Dickie.

Things started badly and Dickie was not in control of his game.  “Come on Dickie,” I shouted inside my own head. “Come on.”

The crowd shouted something quite different. “Oh dear – oh dear – Dickie Williams is a queer !”

I wanted to scream that he wasn’t queer – our love was natural and beautiful.  I’d have fought every one of them in defence of my boyfriend.

“Oh dear – oh dear – Dickie Williams is a queer !”

How fickle, these were the very same supporters who were elevating him to the rank of a god just seven days earlier.

“Oh dear – oh dear – Dickie Williams is a queer !”

Dickie just could not get things together and it appeared to me that this affected the whole team.  At half time they were two nil down and an air of gloom surrounded the City supporters.

Ten minutes into the second half Dickie missed an open goal and this time the crowd to a man began to chant: “POOF POOF POOF !”

I choked back the tears and tried to send my heart across the ground to my lover.  I know he knew I was hurting for him.

“POOF POOF POOF !”

Mercifully Dickie was taken off and a substitute sent out to play but City still lost four nil.

The manager did not travel back on the team coach and an air of sad gloom filled every seat.  Dickie sat with his face turned towards the window and tried to sleep.  I held his hand and did all I could to comfort him.

His phone rang and he whispered into it.  His talking was monosyllabic but at the end of the call I could see he was feeling a little better.

“Who was that ?”  I asked.

“Jimmy?”

“Jimm Webb”

“Really ?”

“He saw the game on television and has seen all the press reports from earlier this week.  I told you he’s like a father to me.  He’s asked us round to his place tonight, I said we’d go.  Is that alright ?”

“Of course.”

“I’d like to see him and I want him to meet you.”

“Wow !”

“Max……”

“Yes.”

“I don’t want to play football any more.”

I squeezed his hand and tried to comfort him. “Don’t say that, it’ll be all right.”

“No, I’ve been thinking about it for a while, the beautiful game isn’t so beautiful when you get to know it.”

We talked about this for a long time, I tried to dissuade Dickie from such a momentous decision but his mind was made up.  It worried me that I could perhaps be the reason behind his wanting to turn his back on the game that had made him who he was and that scared me.  But I learned something else about my lover’s character during our talking and that was that when his mind was made up and a decision reached he was not about to change anything.

Jimmy lived in a huge mansion somewhere in Hertfordshire.  It took us a few hours to drive there and it was quite late as the tyres of the Porsche cracked their way up the long gravel drive.And there he was, the man who had his first number one hit when my grandparents were young and who could still sell a million copies of any single he cared to release, the Peter Pan of pop himself.

“Jimmy,”  Dickie said.  “I am so glad to see you.  This is Max.”

“Hi Max.”  That voice !  The tone and inflection so familiar, I couldn’t believe I was actually there with him.  Dickie was a icon but this man was an icon to eclipse all other icons.

“Come here the both of you,” he said and hugged us close to himself.

“Fancy a jam session ?”  he asked.  “Always good to lift the spirits.”

Dickie nodded.

“Do you play anything Max ?”  Jimmy asked.

“I used to bash out on the drums in a group when I was at university but hardly to a standard I would want to demonstrate to the likes of you two.”

“We’ll see.”

This man had genuine kindness pervading from every pore of his body, I could see why Dickie trusted and respected him so much.  He took us to his music room, a vast studio with microphones, recording equipment and lots of different instruments.  Dickie went straight to a large electric keyboard, flicked some switches and hammered the keys.  Bach’s thundered out as if it was being played on a concert grand.  Winking an eye he took the tempo of the classical and ripped it out in the form of a rock anthem. I didn’t know that Dickie could play a piano, clearly his musical talents were even greater than just  singing.

Jimmy pointed to a set of drums.  “Have a go.”

“Can I ?”

“Hey, go for it.”

There was something about the atmosphere, something about being in the home of the oldest teenager in pop, something about Dickie hitting the keys like Sparky’s Magic Piano that pumped adrenalin into my playing.  I hadn’t drummed for years but as I crashed about that magnificent set up I beat a rhythm better than I had ever done before.

“You didn’t tell me Max was a brilliant drummer Dickie,”  Jimmy chided.  He picked up an electric guitar, tuned it slightly then called out, “Let’s go !”

The three of us jammed away playing all kinds of things for hours.  My spirits lifted and Dickie was smiling again, smiling so wide and that made me happy.

“Can you sing ?”Jimmy asked.

I used to think I could but would never have admitted it in front of such celebrated company.  I shook my head. “No.”

“Come here,”  Jimmy said placing an arm about my shoulder.  “Sing one of my songs with me.  We’ll do it together.  Which one would you like ?”

What could I say ?  I mean he was hardly my era of music and I only knew a few of his hits by name.  My mind fumbled then blurted out the first thing that came into my head.  “You covered a Cliff Richard hit once - Summer Holiday. Can we try that.” 

Jimmy sorted out a CD and placed it into a karaoke machine, music started to play and the words came up on a television screen in front of us.  I sang softly at first but sensing Jimmy next to me and my beloved Dickie watching I changed and threw my heart and soul into it.  I felt I wasn’t doing at all bad,  At the end Jimmy and Dickie applauded, “Well done you !  Well done.”

It was two in the morning when the three of us collapsed  exhausted into deep armchairs and Jimmy served us coffee and micro-waved pizzas.  “Sorry about the food,” he said, “but it’s a bit late to call the housekeeper.”

“Won’t the noise of the music have woken her ?”  I said concerned that we may have disturbed her.

“She lives in a cottage in the grounds,”  Jimmy explained.

Thank goodness for that.

“Feeling better now ?”  Jimmy asked Dickie.

“Much thanks.  Jimmy ?”

“Yes.”

“I think I want to give up football.”

“Do you ?”

“My contract is up to be renewed at the end of the season and I think I want to quit.  I’ve talked it over with Max and we still need to talk some more of course but I don’t want to play any more.”

“You are a better musician than you are a footballer,”  he said.  “Brilliant at both of course but music is your number one I think.”

“Do you think I could make a living at it ?”

Jimmy laughed.  “Boy you already make a fortune every time you release a song !”

“Do you think Max and I could make a duo ?Say like the Everley Brothers from your time ?”

“Cheeky !  Phil and Don Everley were even before my time,”  he giggled.  “But hey you may have something there.  What do you think Max ?”

Me a pop singer ?This was going too far, perhaps everything that had happened over the last two weeks had been but a dream  I would wake up soon to the reality of working in my local branch of Woolworth’s and the world I was sharing with Dickie would be gone.

“I’d back you with my production company,”Jimmy said.  “I think you could do it.”

This wasn’t a dream was it ?  No it wasn’t.

“Can I ask you something else ? Dickie said.”

He smiled.  “When ever you speak to me in that tone of voice I know you are about to say something profound.  What is it ?”

“Do you believe in gay marriage ?I  mean  you  are a Christian so what do you think about it ?”

His answer came quickly, he did not have to think about it.  “Love is given by God and it isn’t up to man to debate who he gives it to and why he gives it or in what form he gives it.”

Dickie looked at me and his eyes silently asked the question.

With tears joy in my own I gave him my answer.

“You can use my home in Barbados,”  Jimmy said.  “Take a holiday there and have a special ceremony to mark your love.”

This man was fantastic, it was impossible not to like him and oh easy to see why Dickie respected him so much.

We ate and chatted.  Dickie would retire from football at the end of the season.  Jimmy would start a programme of coaching for me and turn us into a pop duo.  His promotion company would assure our success.  We would get married that summer in Jimmy's Caribbean home and life was going to be so, so wonderful.

“Let’s go for a walk,”  Dickie suggested.

“You two go,”  Jimmy said and come back when you are ready.  “I’ll organise some breakfast.”

We walked down the long drive from Jimmy's home, down the quiet lane and into the small town.  It was a bright morning. We were both so full of life and our hearts overflowing with joy.  We skipped along the footpath like a couple of kids let out of school.  Dickie was dancing backwards,  facing  me  laughing and  singingWe’re all going on a summer holiday ……….

Then everything went again into slow motion.  I saw those nimble feet which were the envy of football clubs the world over trip, I saw him stumble back into the road and I saw the car coming.  There was nothing I could do but stop and watch in horror.  My hands instinctively covered my mouth as I screamed out “NO !“ The sound of Dickie falling against the oncoming car was sickening.  He hit it, rolled over the bonnet and fell to the floor motionless.

I went to his side but was overtaken by others who appeared as if out of no where.  Somebody must have dialled 999, a paramedic on a motor cycle was soon on the scene followed very quickly by the police and then an ambulance.

“Don’t die Dickie,”  I cried.  “Don’t die.”

A police office was at my side and asking me questions I did not hear.

The ambulance arrived and parked up.  Then the police began clearing the road, backing cars up and an air ambulance landed.  It was not a good sign that the pilot shut town the rota blades.

“Don’t die Dickie,”  I cried.  “Don’t die.”

I presume those, the police, the paramedics about me knew who it was on the floor but their professionalism prevented them making any comment.  He was a patient desperately needing their help and no longer a mega star.

“Don’t die Dickie,”  I cried.  “Don’t die.”

I could no longer see him in the crowd of yellow and green fluorescent jackets.  Blue lights were flashing everywhere.

“Don’t die Dickie,”  I cried.  “Don’t die.”

The air eventually filled with the whine of the helicopter’s engines but it had been on the ground so long any urgency of using an air ambulance to take my lover to hospital was lost.  I watched Dickie now covered with tubes and wrapped in a silver blanket lifted into the aircraft, a police officer held me back as I tried to step forward.  “We’ll take you to the hospital to be with him, once he’s on his way.”

“Thank you.”  It was all I could say.

The helicopter lifted slowly, hovered about fifty feet in the air, turned then sped up, climbed and flew away.  I watched it until it was too small and lost in the sky to see any more.

“Don’t die Dickie,”  I cried aloud screaming after it.  “Don’t die – please.”

But I knew he would.

I stood there in a daze and watched as the helicopter noisily ascend, taking my beloved Dickie away from me.  The downdraft of the rota blades rippled the shirt on my back and tore the hair about my head.  I had lost all sense of time and could not have told you even what day of the week it was.  Tears flowed down my face in rivers, I had lost the most important thing in my life.

Someone was speaking to me but their voice was an echo in a distant canyon far away.  Whoever it was repeated themselves and laid a firm hand on my shoulder.  That hand tried to steer me away from the spot where I stood transfixed.  I can not tell you how long it was before I started to respond, how long before I made any sense of what was going on about me.

“He’s in shock,”  I heard a voice say and the next I knew I too was in an ambulance on my way to hospital.

There were various words of reassurance which passed me by until one short phrase jolted me back to reality.  “Dickie is going to need you so we had better get you fixed up.”

DICKIE IS GOING TO NEED YOU !

Was I dreaming ?  NO surely not !

Was it possible ?

Could it be ?

Was Dickie still alive ?

Croaking the words with the greatest of effort to speak them over my emotions, I asked the question.

“He is seriously injured,”  was the reply, “but yes he is still alive.”

I broke down and sobbed like a small child.

“Will he live ?”  I managed to ask.

“We must hope and we must pray. He is very poorly but we must never give up.”

By the time I reached the hospital I had worked hard to regain some form of composure.  The press was there waiting, how they found out and mobilised themselves so quickly I could not comprehend  but police officers were keeping all outside the building.  I had to be strong, I would be no use at all to my dear friend as a wreck of a man and I was damned if any photographer was going to snap a picture of me looking like that !

Of course everyone at the hospital knew who I was, Dickie and I had dominated the press all week.  I was taken to a small waiting room and offered coffee which I declined.  All I wanted to know was how my adored Dickie was.

“He is in theatre, it may be a long while but as soon as anybody knows anything we will tell you.”  A very young and kind nurse offered to sit with me and I accepted her company with gratitude.  Without her I don’t know how I could have coped with the next few hours.  She was truly a precious and wonderful young woman.

“What’s you name ?”  I asked.

“Anne, Anne Barber.”

Eventually we were joined by a third person, the surgeon who had headed the team operating on Dickie.  He was smiling.  My heart rose ever so slightly.

“Is he - ?”

“He’s alright,” was the answer, “but he is very poorly.”

“Will he - ?”

“He’ll pull through, but there is something.”

“What ?”  I demanded.

“His sight.  The blow to his head caused a blood vessel to burst and damage some brain tissue.  It was near the part which receives messages from the eyes.  I am afraid that Dickie will be left blind.”

“But - ?”

“He’ll not be able to play football any more.”

“He doesn’t want to,”  it was a pathetic response. “It doesn’t matter.“ My emotions were tumbling in every direction all at once.

“He is in intensive care, it will be a slow but certain recovery.  Do you want to see him ?”

Did want to see him ?  I wanted to see him more than anything else I had ever wanted in my life.

“I’ll take you to him, he’s asleep of course and we’ll keep him sedated until tomorrow.  His mother is on her way over together with another friend but you can see him first.”

I didn’t ask how they had contacted them, how they had found their phone numbers. All I could think about was that Dickie was alive.

He looked so lovely in spite of the tubes, wires, bandaged head and bleeping machinery.  He was alive and that was all that mattered. 

My lover was alive !  I reached out my hand and placed it gently on top of his and knew that he was instantly aware of my presence.  Others may not have been able to see it or noticed any change in his face but I saw him smile.

As the doctor had said, two days later he returned to consciousness and although he could no longer see it was the most precious gift on Earth to have him back.  How I loved Dickie and oh how wonderfully grateful beyond measure I was to have him back with me. The press kept a vigil outside in the hospital car park and urged the nation to pray for his recovery.  Their prayers were answered.

“I love you,”  I said.  “I don’t know what I would have done without you.  I could not have gone on living.”

“I don’t give up that easy,”  he smiled.

My lover accepted his blindness with a bravery worthy of a medal and showed a true depth of character which was far beyond his years.  “At least I won’t be able to read all those terrible tabloids any more,” he giggled.

Those terrible tabloids and even the serious broadsheets continued to be filled day after day with news of Dickie’s road to recovery.  The get well cards arrived by the sack-load and there were enough flowers sent to fill the entire hospital.  Everyone was so kind.  Everyone was saying what a tragic loss to English Football Dickie was.  Little did any realise that he intended to quit at the end of the season when his contract was up for renewal.

The day before he was due to leave hospital and return home Dickie talked to me about the night before his accident and the things we had said that morning.“Will you still marry me ?”  he asked.

“Try stopping me, I want nothing more,”  I replied wiping away a tear.  “And I want it to happen just as soon as possible.”

Our wedding took place just four weeks later.  We decided to make it a very quiet affair.  Not that we were ashamed of our love for one another or that we were not prepared to share our vows with the entire world and tell all how we would intended to spend the rest of our lives together, but that any ceremony where we invited more than just a few people to witness our love could so easily turn into a rat pack media frenzy.  And so our gathering was small: both of our mothers, my sister and our special friend Jimmy.

Jimmy gave us the use of his holiday mansion on the Caribbean island of Barbados for a private ceremony of dedication and insisted we stay on there for as long as we wanted.  “Take a holiday, take time to recover and when you return home we’ll talk about your career in music.”

Sadly our wedding was not recognised in law, all this took place before the advent of civil partnerships, but I know on a higher level it was recorded in the universal register of love.  Jimmy had found a Barbadian friend who was pleased to officiate and he did a truly beautiful job.  He stood before us in the lush gardens of Jimmy’s mansion and spoke the words which would bind us together for ever.

“Dearest Friends,” he smiled.  “It is wonderful to be here and to share in this important day in the lives of Richard and Max.  They will today declare a love for one another which transcends the mere traditions of mankind and registers their union in the higher court of Heaven.”

Everything he said was so completely perfect and captured in every way our feelings.  And so it was our two lives became one.  After the ceremony we had a small celebration with the group of guests who had witnessed our union before they all returned home the next day to leave us alone on that island paradise.

The beautiful warm sunshine was a true elixir for Dickie and every day he regained more of his strength.  But sadly his sight remained steadfastly switched off.

For endless hours we lay on the beach soaking up the sunshine.  We would swim, laugh and splash about in that clear blue Caribbean water.  Everything was so stunningly beautiful but Dickie could see none of it.

“I want to go out to the reef,”  he said one day.  “I want us both to go out there in a glass bottom boat and see the fish.”

“But -,”  I could not bring myself to state the obvious.

“I want to see the fish and all their many colours,”  he said.  “I know I can not use my own eyes but you can see them for me and tell me what they look like.”

He may have lost his sight but the other four senses worked overtime to compensate.  There was also something else, it was difficult at the time for me to understand it fully and it is difficult now for me to properly find the right words to tell you now exactly how it was.  It was as if some kind of thought transfer was taking place between us, as if the sight patterns which registered through my eyes could also give Dickie a picture, however faint, of that I could see.

“You know,”  I said,  “I think I could stay here for ever.  Just you, me and this sunshine.”

“We can,”  Dickie said.  “Paradise lasts for ever.”

But we decided that we could not live our lives no matter how lovely the island was away from everything we knew. We missed our mothers, both who had been widowed and both who were devoted to their sons.  We were very active people who needed a purpose in our lives and knew that living in paradise would soon cease to be fulfilling. We talked and made a perfect plan.

We would return to England where Dickie would pick up his music career.  I would join him and Jimmy’s promotion company would do all it could to make us number one.  The media was still very interested in our story and felt we had the hearts of the public behind us so we had a good chance of success.  We would set up two homes for ourselves, one in England and on in Barbados.

“I would like to suggest something,”  Dickie said.

“Yeah.”

“I already have a lot of money, god knows how many times over I am a millionaire – I don’t need any more money, I don‘t even need that I have got right now.  Add to that the fact that we are both going to make even more money.  But we don’t need it do we ?  I mean providing we are comfortable and have each other what more is there ?”

I think I knew what he was trying to say.

“How about we take what we need and rather than squander the rest or simply hoard it we give it away ?”

“Sounds good to me.”

“I would like to help those who saved my life: the hospital, air ambulance and now organisations who support the blind.”

How perfect. Indeed how delightfully,  perfect.

In time our holiday in the sunshine came to an end.  We bade farewell for the time being to the beautiful island of Barbados making a promise to return as soon as we could and to buy our own home on that idyll of paradise.

Back in England things moved so very quickly and within weeks both Dickie and I had recording contracts.  Hours of tortuous work in the recording studio and our first single was ready to be released. Our dear friend Jimmy’s promotion company worked twenty-five hours a day to support us and it took but a few moments in the shops for us to make it to number one on both sides of the Atlantic.  One very special time and one which made me smile so much was an appearance we both made in the record department of my old Woolworth's store to autograph CD’s of our new single.

Marvellous though this was there were so many special events every day there was a new memory to treasure.  Our lives were a kaleidoscope which reached a climax one exceptional evening at City’s football ground.

Dickie’s old football club played host to a pop concert as our first fund raiser for the charities we had chosen to support.  Dickie and I set an ambitious target of one million pounds but with ticket sales, TV and video rights and the marketing of souvenirs we were confident we would easily achieve it.  Hours of rehearsal did not dull the excitement and as the day drew ever closer we were like two small kids anticipating a special treat.  We didn’t sleep very much at all the night before but lay awake cuddling each other, the warmth of our bodies only surpassed by the warmth of the love we had found.  How truly lucky we were.

There had simply not been the time for us to look for a new home and so we were still living in my little flat.  It had become our special place and I just could not remember what it had been like to have lived there alone and without Dickie. I had discovered that my multi-talented lover was also a fantastic cook who loved preparing meals for us but that morning I determined I would be the one to prepare breakfast.  I awoke my lover to a full English platter followed by champagne and fresh strawberries.

Dickie placed his hands on my face, smiled and said, “I am so lucky, what have I done to be so fortunate and find you ?”

A single tear rolled down my cheek and touched his finger.

“Why are you crying ?”

It was a tear of joy but I have to admit to some sadness that my beloved Dickie could no longer see anything.  He knew exactly what I was thinking.

“Don’t cry, I can see you perfectly in my heart and that’s where it counts.”

“Oh Dickie you are everything to me.”

We arrived at the football ground before mid-day and went into a final rehearsal.  Of course we weren’t the only ones performing, the line up read like a who’s who of pop music over the past two generations.  Every one of them gave their time free of charge to raise support for the charities.

Since I had known Dickie I had got used to being around famous celebrities but so many together there in one place all at the same time just made me nervous.  But they were only supporting acts, Dickie and I were billed as the stars.  How daunting, how frightening and overwhelming.  The TV was broadcasting the concert live and rights had been syndicated the world over, god only knew how many would be watching us.  But when Dickie and I walked out and onto the stage the roar of our wonderful fans and the warm, warm welcome they gave to us quelled any fears.  A sudden rush of adrenalin surged through my body and it was terrific.

The concert began with Dickie singing that ancient old disco classic Hi Ho Silver Lining, originally recorded by Jeff Beck.  When he had finished he offered the audience some poignant words.

“Thank you, thank you -,”  he said.  “I know it is more usual to finish a party with that rather than use it as an opening number but the thing is I was so nearly finished myself – if it had not been for the caring and skilled support of so many people I wouldn’t be here, I would be dead.  Tonight is about those people and raising as much money as we can to help them save the lives of many, many others.  Thank you all for coming along.”

The applause was phenomenal and I guessed that those watching on television at home were clapping too.

Dickie and I then went into a harmony duet, the voice coaching and singing lessons arranged by the promotion company boys certainly paid results.  Then it was my turn to sing solo.  I had chosen a re-write of the Blondie song Denis singing Dickie instead. A few bars into the song it occurred to me that I was probably making the biggest statement ever in support of gay love.  Millions the world over were watching and hearing me declare my love for Dickie.  I could feel huge waves of support form oh so many of them.


Oh Dickie doo be do,
I’m in love with you Dickie doo be do -
I’m in love with you Dickie doo be do -
I’m in love with you.

Dickie, Dickie oh with your eyes so blue,
Dickie, Dickie I’ve got a crush on you,
Dickie, Dickie I’m so in love with you.

Oh when we walk it always feels so nice,
And when we talk its seems like paradise,
Dickie I’m so in love with you………………………………………

I was in a dream, a wonderful beautiful dream.  A cameraman with a video camera balanced on his shoulder knelt down in front of me to take a low level shot, behind his lens the entire world was watching and listening to me singing of my love for Dickie.

The rest of the concert passed that way, song after song - star after star.  Then seated at a grand piano Dickie slowed the tempo with John's Leanon's Imagine telling all that he believed John to be the greatest poet and musician of modern times and Imagine to be the finest song ever written.  So beautiful was Dickie's rendition that many a tear was shed in the audience.  I know that somewhere in that audience John himself was watching and smiling.

A magnificent finale began with Dickie and I fronting an extravaganza of stars to form a choir.  Such a gathering could only come together on the rarest of occasions. Then finally to close Dickie took centre stage for an encore of Hey Ho Silver Lining.  The lights dimmed and as the low sound built a single spot picked my lover out.  Then as the beat punched out laser lights hit the sky pulsing a billion miles into the sky before sweeping back and forth in time to the music.  That crowd of mega stars formed a line behind Dickie clapping and waving.  When it came to the guitar solo in the middle Dickie let rip and the night air filled with the chords. As the laser lights dimmed they were replaced with a spectacular display of fireworks.  Never before had there been a concert like this.

When we eventually got home in the tiny small hours of the morning the last thing I could possibly have done was to sleep.  So for a second night we lay together in bed just hold in each other.  We savoured that fantastic evening, made wonderful love to each other and finally dozed in each other’s embrace.  How I loved Dickie and how he loved me.

We awoke to the phone ringing, that special mobile phone Dickie had where only his closest friends, associates and family knew the number.  It never left him and he never turned it off.  I heard it calling faintly in  the distance and awoke properly to hear Dickie talking.

“What time is it ?”  I yawned.

Of course Dickie did not know, how could he see the clock ?  I looked across the bed and saw it was a little short of one o’clock.  One in the afternoon.  I kissed my lover.  ”Who was that ?”

“Jimmy.”

“Oh.”

“He wants us to go round to his home tonight.”

“OK.”

“Something special,”  he said.

“What ?”

“Don’t know, he didn’t say.  He was a bit strange and vague but very insistent.”

“Well it will be good to see him, we can thank him properly for last night.”

“Yes, it was good wasn’t it ?”

“Wonderful Dickie, wonderful.”

The rest of the day was one of the laziest I can ever remember, we didn’t even get out of bed until late afternoon, breakfast was at tea time and then it was time to make the drive to Jimmy’s.

We pulled into that long driveway leading down to Jimmy’s mansion at five minutes to eight.  The large gates which normally had to be opened electronically from within the house were already wide ajar.  I though that was strange and said so to Dickie.

“Something is going on,”  I said as we neared the house.

“What ?”  Dickie asked.  “What can you see ?”

“There are lights on everywhere,”  I said, “and cars – lots of cars. Everywhere.”

Not only that but there were guys who were clearly security managers hovering discretely yet obviously.  One approached us and opened the car door.

“Good evening Sirs.  If you would care to leave your car here we will look after it.  Come this way, everyone is waiting for you.”

Jimmy, wonderful Jimmy – bless him – had arranged a special party in our honour.

“What’s this for ?”  I asked dazed and a little confused.

“Do I need a reason,”  he smiled.  “Because if I do I can think of more than a million.”

And that actually was what the party made.  One thousand guests crammed Jimmy's house and garden that evening and every one of them had paid £1,000 to be there as a donation to our charity efforts.

I think we spent most of the time trying to speak with every one of the guests:  film stars, singers, sportsmen, politicians and even a couple of minor royals.  But there were some extra special guests for whom Jimmy’s had paid himself to give them tickets.  There was the air ambulance crew who had attended Dickie at his accident, there was the surgical team and that lovely, lovely young nurse who had sat so patiently and comforting with me while Dickie had been in theatre.  Dear precious Annie, I was so happy to see her.  The poor thing was so out of her depth among such a gathering, I just took her by the hand and insisted she stay with Dickie and I all evening.

Thanks to Jimmy’s party our charity fund raising made a magnificent two and a half million pounds. We did not want to burden ourselves with administrations, trust funds and grants so we simply divided the money into three giving equal shares to the hospital, the ambulance service and the Royal Institute for the Blind.  We fully intended to raise more money a lot more money and made plans.  We also managed another number one hit and began work on an album.  A property agent sent us some details of houses on the market in Barbados and so we were kept very busy indeed.

Time sped past and the weeks turned into months.  The hospital used our cheque to fund its much needed development of a new intensive care ward.  We received a letter from the chief executive which I opened and read to Dickie.

“They want to name the intensive care ward the Dickie Williams Unit.”

“No way !” He said firmly.  “No way !”

I knew how he felt.  Neither of us were in it for glory and the last thing I would have wanted was for them to have used my name.  But what to do ?  How to diplomatically change their minds and come up with a new name for the ward  ?


“I know,”  I said.  “Let them call it the Anne Barber Unit.  Name it after Anne.”

Dear, dear Anne.  That little young nurse who had sat with me and who we had taken under our wing at Jimmy's party.  Young Anne had now become one of our special friends and we just loved having her and her boyfriend round to see us.

“Yes !  The Anne Barber Unit.”

And so that was decided.

We agreed to be with Anne as she formally declared the unit open.  Dickie did make a speech, he is so much better at that kind of thing than I, where he said how he knew many more lives would now be saved though the dedication of the staff working there.

My life had been turned upside down since meeting Dickie.  Not just because I had fallen madly in love with him but also because of everything surrounding it.  I was no longer a manager within a chain store but instead a pop star and becoming something of a fashion idol in my own right.  Life was a roller coaster of incredible things but for me the opening of the Anne Barber Unit was the most special day of all.

After that most special day we took some time to ourselves and returned to our island paradise of Barbados where we found the perfect home.  We  were lucky to be able to speed things through and managed to move in very quickly,  Our idea was to keep on my little flat in England from which we would work but to make Barbados our real home together and to spend as much time there as possible.

It wasn’t a mansion but it was lovely and had its own small private beach which we could walk down to when ever we wanted.  Most people visiting Barbados tend to stay on the Caribbean side of the island where the water is calm and deep azure blue.  Our home was on the other side facing the Atlantic where the sea was just as vivid in colour but roaring with surf and breakers as it rushed to the beach over a coral reef.

The descent to the beach was down a rough path between a small glade of trees.  The walk was not easy for me and I had to watch my step with care, for Dickie who could not see it was quite tortuous.  He was so independent and refused my help, insisting he could walk unaided.  I knew we would have to get a contractor in to build us some proper steps and I mentally made a note that it was a priority.

After breakfast earlier today we left the house to spend the morning on the sand and soak up some more sun.  We were near the top of the path when Dickie stumbled, missed his footing and fell.  He tumbled all the way to the very bottom as I watched in horror.  I snatched to grab him and save him but was momentarily too late.I cried out after him “Dickie !!!!!!”

I ran as fast as I could after him.I just knew he was going to be badly hurt.  Not again !  Oh Dickie no !  Please no !!

“Dickie !!!!”

When I reached his side he rolled and turned to face me.

“Are you hurt ?”  I asked begging that he was alright.

“I’m fine, don’t think that I have broken anything but I guess I’ll have some bruises.”

His face was cut and so were both of his arms.

“Let’s get you back up to the house.”

“I’m OK.”

“No,”  I insisted and I got my way although he refuse all my attempts to have him see a doctor.

Dickie complained of a headache, he was lucky his head was not broken, and when I resolutely demanded that he lay down and rest he did agree to that.  I knew then that he had to be hurt some how and prayed that he would feel better after sleeping a while.  I thought I would leave him alone for a few hours then prepare a light mid afternoon snack.  While I was alone I decided to put into action something I had been planning for some time.

I have always loved writing and as our relationship deepened I had this desire to sit down and write a special story for Dickie telling of our life together.  A bit silly in a way because, of course, he could not read it but perhaps I could read it to him.

I got out my laptop computer and began to type but somehow it did not feel right committing a work of such importance to a microchip and so I set it aside in favour of a pen and pad of paper.  I sat at the dining table and began to write.  As I reached the bottom of each page I tore off the used sheet and set it to my side.

I don’t know how long I was writing for, well past the hour I had intended, but when I paused and counted the number of sheets there were fifty-six of them.  If there was an average of 300 words on each sheet that was an amazing 17,000 words.  Wow !  But the writing came so easy, it was a labour of love and I poured the love that existed between us into every stroke of the pen.  This was going to be a very special gift for my lover, I would read it to him in bed that night.

I continued writing for at least another hour when I became aware that Dickie was in the room.  I had not heard him come in, so engrossed was I in  what I was doing, and I do not know how long he had been there.  I turned to look at him and smiled that he was alright.

“What are you doing ?”

I briefly explained.

“Why are you writing by hand and not using the computer ?”

I told him how it did not feel right not to do it by hand.

“Well that’s good then.”

He walked to my side and picked up the papers, shuffled them together and said, “There’s a lot here, you have been busy.”

“It’s nearly finished,”  I said.


“Finish it now,”  he said.  “I’ll just sit here and wait.”

Another thirty minutes I thought would conclude the tale so I returned to my scribbling.

“This is good,”  Dickie said.

“Want me to read it to you ?”

“No you finish writing, I’ll just sit here and read what you have written so far.”

“Ok.”

I wasn’t listening properly, so keen I was to finish that I did not see what Dickie was doing and the content of his words passed me by.”

“I like the opening bit,”  he said.

“Thanks.”

Then he began to read the words I had written earlier, to read them aloud.

I am not sure if I heard it first or if I felt it.  The impact was certainly violent as I was thrust forward with so much force it made the restraining seat belt punch my chest with the force of a boxing world champion.

“Oh god was my temper as bad as that ? I wasn’t a nice person back then was I ?”

I stopped.  How did he know what the words were ?  He could not read them, he could not see !  A shiver ran through me and I dropped the pen, stood up and faced him.

Dickie continued to read before tears just flowed from his eyes.

“Do you believe in miracles ?”  He said.  “I do Max, I do.  I can see !  I can see again !  It must have happened when I fell earlier, god alone knows how or why but I can see !”

He may have been able to see but I could not for tears of sheer, absolute joy were filling my own eyes.  “Thank you God,”  I called aloud, directing my word to who ever it was that controls the destiny of the universe.  “Thank you, thank you, thank you !!!!!!!!”

We held each other and sobbed, daring not to question the miracle that had restored Dickie his sight.

“I love you,”  he said.  “I can’t say how much I love you.”

“But I know how much you love me,”  I cried.  “Because that’s just the same way I love you.”

“I know. I cannot tell you just how much I know."


© Copyright 2017 Max Robinson. All rights reserved.

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