At first he and Keith had used condoms, but he'd insisted Keith go and be tested, and when he'd tested positive, Tom'd been glad in a way, which made him feel ashamed about his selfishness. It meant that they could make love without bothering to stop and put on cock-jackets. But Keith had been bitter about it, about being forced onto the streets, and catching the virus, and it had taken a while for Tom to coax him round. He'd urged Keith to put aside the past, and live in the now. “We're happy together, aren't we?” he'd said. “Forget your dog of a dad. Be happy for what ya have, naow.”
“Ya've been thinkin' hard, Tom? Ya OK?”
“Yeah. Just thinkin' abaht us. How lucky it was I found ya, that noight.” Tom didn't want to tell the whole truth. Maybe Keith was about to find someone to love. He didn't want to stand in his way. He knew that whether they fucked or not, they would still be connected. Someone you took in and allowed and encouraged to grow would move on as they grew up. In a way, Tom had been Keith's father or older brother, the older man who showed him how to be a man. The thin-lipped and judgemental might see things differently. But Tom loved Keith, and he wanted the best for him. He'd never told Keith how much money he had, nor that, apart from substantial bequests to the AIDS hospice and a couple of gay charities, it had all been left to him. And like a teenager, Keith had grown enough to move on, to fly from the nest. Tom just hoped he would still stay in touch, still love him.
From time to time, Tom's eyes would connect with one of his customers and he'd take him home for sex, but he never let any of these relationships go beyond the first night. Now that his hormonal fires had burnt down, he wanted love. And he got that from Keith.
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