1930s Australia: Two men from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Is love enough to overcome the obstacles between them?
Still bearing the emotional scars from The Great War, Dr. Damien Bouton turns his back on the temptations of Sydney and takes a job as GP in an idyllic East Coast mining hamlet.
In Seaspray Bay, Damien meets Joshua, a young coal miner, and the spark of mutual attraction is ignited, but then quickly snuffed out when Danny, the miner’s friend, discovers their secret.
With Damien’s double life revealed and he returns to Sydney and hides among the down and outs of the city, heartbroken over deserting Josh.
The young miner follows Damien but, unable to find him, becomes embroiled in the unsavoury and dangerous underworld of razor gangs and brothels.
They finally meet again but is it too late to rekindle their passion?
Series: The Major and The Miners
Print ISBN: 978-1-60054-525-2
Complete Digital Edition: 978-1-60054-603-7
1) Serpent in Paradise: 978-1-60054-524-5 – 3.00
2) Desperate Remedies: 978-1-60054-526-9 – 3.00
3) Joshua’s Story: 978-1-60054-527-6 – 3.00
4) Emerald City: 978-1-60054-528-3 – 3.00
5) Danny’s Revenge: 978-1-60054-582-5 – 3.00
6) Future Tense: 978-1-60054-529-0 – 4.50
lyd Category: His and His Kisses
Length: 474 pdf Pages / 89981 words
Formats Available: pdf, prc, lit, zipped html, lrf, epub, RocketBooks, Complete Digital Edition
Complete Digital Edition Price: $15.00
Trade Paperback Cover Price: $20.00
There is no doubt it is good to be back in the city with the scandal behind me. Ironically, it was the scandal and the accusations it involved, since withdrawn, that have been responsible for my success, although I was not to know this at the time. As a result, I spent many sleepless nights and, on more than one occasion, contemplated ending it all the only way I knew how.
I’m a doctor you see, a very good one, but had the Medical Association struck me off the register I don’t know what I could have taken up to earn a living. The Great Depression raged, people went hungry, anarchy threatened. Now in the year 1935, I can look back on it and almost be grateful to the upheaval for the comfort and love it has brought me. There is still the very real fear of blackmail. Mud was flung once, it did not stick but a second such accusation attached to my name would be terminal.
Forgive me; I’m wandering—a habit of mine. My name is Dr. Damien Bouton. About three years ago I allowed it to be spelled and pronounced Button as a favor, perhaps patronizing, to the people of the idyllic coastal village of Seaspray Bay, named for a ship that foundered on rocks in the area in the early eighteenth century. The hamlet was settled some time later and initially thrived as a north coast hub of the fishing industry. Later a rich seam of high quality coal was found to run under the area and an ugly mechanical behemoth of a mine was constructed on the headland overlooking the quiet sandy bay as if to scare off any competition.
It was here I found myself in God’s year 1932 at the behest of the company, which employed me to care for the workers and their families. It was a laborious job. I was on a very generous monthly salary that meant my life was at the mercy of the villagers who, unlike the majority of the population, were getting their health care for free. While most were grateful for the company’s consideration, a few, usually gossipmongers and malingerers thought nothing of interrupting me at all hours of the day or night merely for a chat or for psychosomatic illnesses. A few even saw my bachelorhood as a means of marrying off unwed daughters.
I was thirty-six years old, of appealing appearance, of athletic build, an inch shy of six feet in height. I had served on the battlefields of France during the Great War after enlisting against my parents’ wishes. They did not live to see, by war’s end, my rapid promotion to the rank of Major. I also found myself much decorated. Someone must have believed me brave, although I felt I did no more than my fellow soldiers. The trinkets meant little to me. It was not something I spoke about unless with other veterans of the war. I was not one of those chaps much taken to jingoism. I did my duty; I survived.
The story really begins in my third month on the job. I was looking down the coal-dust throat of a woman made old beyond her years by washing her husband’s or her son’s clothing and breathing in the choking soot that will ultimately kill her. I would know if it was a husband, a son, an uncle or a ‘friend’ if I had been in the town longer. I was learning fast, faster than I ever would have imagined when I became the recipient of the coal company’s largesse.
The local doctor had retired suddenly on medical grounds—death, they called it—and I became the General Practitioner to the sorts of people my mother would have called the salt of the earth. They didn’t complain; they just got on with it. Disease and dying were part of the cycle of life along with eating, sleeping and reproducing. I did what I could to alleviate the suffering and gave a silent sigh of resignation when I knew it was in God’s hands.
My patient, who merely wanted her pain alleviated, did not expect a cure. It was no use telling her to rest, as there was no such thing here. She gathered her shopping basket of groceries from the one and only general store, which also served as the local post office and petrol station, as well as tourist tea rooms during the summer, and I let her out the side entrance. She had been the last patient for the day when I’d last looked in the Waiting Room. I went to lock the surgery door to discover a young man reading an outdated magazine. What I noticed immediately was not that his lips mouthed the words he was reading, but his beauty surpassed even that of the surrounding coastal landscape: his hair was the color of the fine sand on the beach, and his eyes bluer than the waters in the bay. My breath caught in my throat. I must have given an audible gasp because the young man smiled.
“Hello, doc. You got a moment?” he asked.
I ushered him in to my office too dazzled to speak. He stood in front of my desk rather than taking the comfortable leather chair meant for patients. A few inches shorter than I, he was fit, tanned and wore the cap and rough clothes of the villagers. But I’d never seen him before. I would certainly have to remedy that even though one of the reasons for taking on this job was to avoid the temptations that the city offered. Here I expected the temptations to be much less.
“I won’t take up too much of your time,” he said. “My mum told me I should ask you to supper this evening.” He blushed.
“Mum said as you being a bachelor gentleman and having no one to look after you then you probably need a proper feed every now and then ’cause gentlemen don’t know how to cook good, wholesome grub.”
I did have a woman in three times a week to clean and cook for me, but the days she didn’t attend I lived on cold meats and leftovers.
“Don’t expect nothing fancy,” he said. “I said to mum that Dr. Button is no snob even though he’s from the big city and has probably et at all the fancy cafés, but he knows you can’t beat good home cooking.” He paused and smiled expectantly. “Please, sir, say you’ll come. It’s to show our appreciation for all what you done for us. Me.”
He stumbled over the word appreciate as if he’d rehearsed his little speech, but it just made him all the more endearing. However, I was at a loss. I didn’t recognize him. “What exactly is it you think I’ve done for you?”
Disappointment clouded his face. I looked again at those eyes.
Suddenly, it struck me. “Joshua?”
“Yes, sir. Did you not recognise Joshua, sir?”
“I should have known you. Why, those eyes, lad. They must drive the local girls crazy.”
He blushed again and fidgeted with his cap.
“Take a seat while I lock up.”
I quickly set about closing the surgery for the day hoping that no one would disturb us. As I did so I remembered the awful circumstances under which we had met. The caterwauling siren as I attended a sick woman in her bed at home. I say sick, but Mrs. Clohesy was a slacker who needled her poor husband and her two daughters and visited my surgery with more regularity than the locals to their water closets. And she was about as welcome. She had set her sights on winning me for one of her daughters. She was meeting with strong resistance and her feigned illnesses were increasing.
Even the unfeeling Mrs. Clohesy winced as she heard the wail from the mine shaft, winced as all the people above ground in Seaspray Bay would be doing at that moment. I grabbed my medical bag and ran outside. I tore up the dirt road surrounded by womenfolk in dread for their sons and husbands, but they gave me space and did not jostle me because a few seconds delay on my part could mean the difference between life and death.
By the time I reached the pit, men were being winched to safety while word was reaching the union representatives that the accident had been minor. A few of the men laughed, not so much at the feeble pun as with relief. One man had been hurt. They carried him on a stretcher, blackened from the coal except for a red slash across his leg where his trousers had been cut open as had the leg itself. He was conscious, barely, the pain excruciating. I kneeled down in the dust to examine the injury. It was severe, more than my little surgery could handle. His tibia was shattered and protruded in an ugly break through the skin on his lower leg. All I could do was clean the wound, patch him up, and ease the pain for what was going to be a long and painful journey to the nearest major hospital.
I leaned over and whispered words of comfort to the poor man, but his face was so covered with soot and coal he scarcely looked human. Apart from his eyes. They were astonishingly blue. Like the sky. I just stared into them until his groan of pain interrupted my preoccupation. I had a group of the miners carry him down to the surgery, where I did my best with limited resources. It would take too long for an ambulance to reach the town so a group of the men organized one of the colliery lorries into a makeshift hospital transport that would do its best to meet the ambulance coming down the Pacific Highway. I would go with him until we met.
The poor man groaned as I prepped him for the journey, trying to speak through the morphine I had given him. “Danny. What about Danny? Did he get out all right?” Because of the injured man’s sudden agitation, it was imperative he remain as still as possible, I had one of the miners go to fetch Danny to join our little expedition.
Slowly the truck crawled its way along the dirt road to the highway, every bump and pothole agony for the prone man who, nonetheless, kept up a steady chatter with his mate. “I thought you was a gorner,” Danny said with a stoicism which belied the catch in his voice.
“Nah, takes more than that to get rid of me,” the victim said. I looked away as he sought his mate’s hand and squeezed it. I had no wish to intrude on their mateship. “You and me has too many plans. Why, here I am at age twenty-four and I ain’t ever seen the city.” He fell in and out of consciousness, but every time he woke, Danny was there to feed the dreams and keep his mind off the pain and the even more painfully slow journey. Danny never let go of his mate’s hand until the injured miner was transferred to an ambulance just under an hour later.
On our return journey I let Danny sleep. His exhaustion and concern were palpable, even though I was curious about their background. Now Joshua had returned to his family with a cane and a pronounced limp.
We walked toward the cottage he and his parents and his sister shared, a small weatherboard dwelling that was brightly painted and made homey by the small garden of flowers near the front door, a garden of more practical vegetables at the back, plus a wire coop for hens. Joshua was prolific in his thanks for all I’d done—damn little, I thought—but he was convinced that he would have lost his leg but for my timely intervention. He was so enthusiastic in his thanks and so damn cute, I couldn’t help but cast sidelong glances in his direction as people called out their best wishes to him as we passed.
We entered the cottage by the back door. His mum, with a stray hair covering her forehead, wiped her hands on her apron, which she was attempting to remove as a sign of respectability.
“Josh, you shouldn’t of brought the gentlemen through the back door. That’s common. I thought we brought you up better,” she said and clipped him playfully across the back of the head. “You’ll have to excuse Joshua, sir. His manners has slipped since he’s been away. I think city life corrupted him.”
“I saw damn little of city life from my hospital bed, mum.”
“Language!” his dad shouted from the sitting room where he was smoking a foul-smelling pipe as he read the newspaper.
“Tea will be early, Dr. Button, I do hope you don’t mind but dad has a night shift and must get away shortly, and Joshua gets tired easily though he’s not likely to admit to it.
She was a tiny woman, not much over five feet, with her son’s blond good looks. The years had bent her, but she retained a lively sense of humor and was obviously devoted to her children. Joshua’s sister, Eileen, was a pretty little thing of eighteen, who Joshua obviously doted on.
The dad was gruff but friendly and delegated the rule of his weatherboard kingdom to his wife. He was content to read his newspaper and smoke his pipe, and drink beer from his ice chest as long as he had a clean vest when he needed it and food on the table as required. He was not much for socializing, so our conversation was short lived after his perfunctory but heartfelt thanks for saving his only boy. After again attempting to put my part in his son’s recovery in perspective there was little else to say, so grunting he went back to his paper, and I wandered into the kitchen to talk with the rest of the family as they set the table. I attempted to help, but was shooed away.
Shortly, there was a knock at the back door and a young man’s head poked inside. Eileen shrieked with delight and swooped on the visitor, showering him with eager hugs and kisses. Like Joshua, I barely recognized this attractive young man as Danny, Joshua’s mate. Scrubbed clean of the coal, he was almost as prepossessing as his friend. Where Joshua was blond, Jim was dark although it would have been difficult to tell who was the taller, so neatly did they coincide.
Danny, who had ostensibly come to visit Eileen, was promptly invited to stay for tea, an invitation he accepted with alacrity, but it was apparent to me that the real reason he had turned up was his and Joshua’s mateship, now under strain as Danny was expected to be affianced to Eileen as she had recently celebrated her eighteenth birthday.
Their easy rapport was born of a lifelong friendship. I learned later they had grown up, attended school, come of age, and more or less did everything together. They were, or had been, inseparable.
During the plain but delicious meal of lamb chops and basic vegetables, Joshua was restless, sometimes awkward. Danny’s attempts to draw him out went unrewarded. Joshua’s mum put it down to the pain he still suffered. Wanting to change the subject, she asked about my war experiences. Reluctant as I usually am to speak of such matters, I endeavored to sparkle as a guest, entertaining them with a few of my more publicly acceptable anecdotes even though they brought back painful memories of my friendship with a young soldier whose death still haunted my dreams. Our close friendship had been a revelation to me as to my true nature, something I left unexplained to my hosts. I noticed, however, Joshua look at me with quizzical interest.
At meal’s end, Joshua’s father headed off to the pit and Danny conceded defeat in his task of livening up his best friend, finally turning his attentions to the more grateful Eileen. I helped Joshua’s mum with the washing up even though she complained vociferously that she was capable of doing it on her own. I was cunning. I knew that by helping with such a simple task it would endear me in her esteem, perhaps leading to further invitations, for I had become quite smitten with Joshua. It had not gone unnoticed by Danny, who growled quietly at me across the table.
When the dishes had been washed and dried and stacked back in their cupboards, Joshua’s mum excused herself and went to listen to the radio in the sitting room and generously issued a general invitation to drop in any time. Joshua and I were left alone and the awkwardness was increased by a certain tension on my part and also, I sensed, on his. We kept breaking into silly smiles whenever we looked at each other. But we had no privacy with his mum in the next room and Danny and Eileen on the swing seat in the back yard.
“Why don’t we take a stroll down by the beach?” I suggested. “The night is warm and I could do with some fresh air, having been cooped up in the surgery all day.”
“Mum?” Joshua called.
“Go ahead love. Just be careful of that leg of yours,” she shouted from the next room.
So she had been listening.
“I’ll be in good hands.” He laughed. “I’ll be with a doctor.”
“Perhaps we can call into the surgery on the way back so I can have a look at the job they did at the hospital,” I said, more loudly than necessary.
“It couldn’t hurt,” Joshua agreed. “They said I should get it checked regular like by the local doctor. No use delaying, I suppose.”
I mumbled good night to the lovebirds as we left and I felt Danny’s hatred burning into my back as we reached the main road.
We walked on in silence until I said, “Your mate Danny doesn’t like me.”
“Danny’s always been the jealous type. Anyway, it’s not like it’s me breaking up the partnership, is it? He’s the one getting married...” There was more bitterness in Joshua’s speech than I would have expected.
“You can still be friends after he’s married, can’t you?”
“It won’t be the same,” Joshua said, closing the subject.
We walked down to the water’s edge across the little ribbon of sand, romantic beyond expectation. I wanted to take him in my arms, but there were others on the beach engaged in their own romantic trysts and they would see us. A sudden wave crashed against his bad leg, threatening to knock him down. As I held him to prevent his falling, I knew. As did Joshua. He gazed into my eyes, and I fancied I saw desire. At that moment, we didn’t care that the legs of our trousers were wet through, as were our shoes.
I was getting good at laying false trails, so in a voice loud enough to carry to those already on the beach, I invited Joshua back to dry his clothes, and at the same time I could take a look at the injuries to his leg. We walked in silence, hopeful that our reading of each other had not been a misinterpretation. Back at the surgery, Joshua removed his trousers without speaking. I hung them up to dry.
Standing in his loose underpants, ragged but house proudly clean, he looked incredibly handsome and expectant. I asked him to remove his shirt. He shivered in his vest with his hands across his groin in an act of unnecessary modesty. I helped him up onto the surgery table, getting him to lie on his back.
He looked away as I examined the scar than ran the length of his calf. It was a vicious thing, but injury was a given when you were a miner. Impulsively, I leaned over, kissing the disfigurement, brushing my lips along its entire length. To feel Joshua’s flesh had an electric effect on my groin. My cock was hard in an instant. Obviously, Joshua was also in a state of arousal because he made an adjustment to his crotch through his underpants.
“Look at me,” he said in despair at his shattered leg.
“I am and I’m having a hard time from keeping my hands off you.”
“You’ve done this sort of thing—”
“With Danny,” he said bitterly. “But then you’ve already guessed that. Best friend stuff. Experimenting. And once properly. The day I came out of hospital. I spent a night in a hotel room with a stranger I met in the pub.” He paused. “It was better than I ever could have imagined. I couldn’t wait to get back here to tell Danny.” He stopped, thinking he had revealed too much.
I leaned over, placing my lips against his. He opened his mouth to welcome me. I had worried that he would find kissing another man like this offensive, unnatural. I went in gently, but he threw his arms around me, sucking my tongue into his mouth like a thirsty man discovering an oasis. We tussled for supremacy. I ran my hand across his vest, feeling the hard muscles beneath, but my ultimate destination lay further south. Slowly, I slid my hand beneath the band of his underwear. I felt him tense. Perhaps I was going too fast.
“Please,” he said. He sat up to enable me to remove his vest. He squirmed out of his underpants as I ran my hands over his magnificent body, pinching his nipples, making him moan softly, teasing my fingers down his sandy trail of hair until I brushed the head of his cock. He gasped, his prick slit oozing pre-cum. I knew it would not take much to bring him off, though I was hoping he would be good for more.
It was uncomfortable here in the surgery. I wanted him in my bed, but I dared not break the spell lest he panic. I lowered my head to lick the head of his cock. “Sweet Jesus,” he gasped. I ran my tongue along the shaft down to his balls, lathering them with my spit before licking my way back to the head again. His choked moaning increased when I placed my warm mouth over his cock, sucking it inside. A few slow strokes to get my rhythm and my face was impaled on half its length, licking the underside with my tongue as I pushed my head down. I gulped in air and sank my lips down the entire shaft so that my nose was in his patch. He sat bolt upright on the table as if he’d been struck by lightning. He held my head attempting to pull me off his cock and at the same time attempting to slam it in deeper. “Oh my God,” he gasped.
I opened my throat, gagging slightly, knowing he was a matter of strokes away. “I can’t hold off, I’m going to shoot. Take your mouth away.” I had no intention of doing so just to tell him I had no intention of doing so. I wanted to taste him, to swallow his beauty. I felt his cock contract then shoot his spunk, filling the back of my throat. He shot three or four good loads, finally falling back against the pillows exhausted even though I had done all the work.
Now came the difficult part. Having achieved orgasm, there were numerous ways he could play it: accuse me of sexual assault, get up and walk away not mentioning it again, or...
“You swallowed it?” he said in awe.
“Doesn’t it make you sick?”
I smiled, assuring him I enjoyed the taste.
“What would you like to do now?” I hadn’t wanted to ask, but we had to make a decision one way or the other.
He blushed and asked, “Can we do it again?”
I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. “We can do it as often as you like. But not here. We’d be more comfortable in my bed.”
So it was we found ourselves lying on the covers naked and in each other’s arms. He had lost his reticence. He kissed more gently now. He had learned restraint. Gazing at my body, in muscularity inferior to his own, but still tight enough with little flab, he flicked at my nipples absentmindedly. I stilled his hand, putting my lips to his chest and biting down gently. His sharp intake of breath revealed how sensitive, and erogenous, his nipples were.
I caressed him, making him sleepy. “I didn’t know it could be that good,” he murmured.
“What experience did you have then?”
“With Danny, we would just watch each other bring ourselves off. There was no touching, though I wanted to. I think he did as well. We just didn’t dare. We would wrestle, especially when we went swimming. I would feel him get hard when he touched me. I only had to look at him and I would get hard. We didn’t do it so much as we got older, but every now and then, it was like a drug you have to go back to.”
“Did Danny feel the same way?”
“I don’t know for sure,” he said. “But it was always Danny who started it. I never had the nerve.”
“What about the man you met after your hospitalisation?” I ran my fingers through his hair. He almost purred with satisfaction.
“He kissed me. I was shocked. I didn’t know two men could kiss each other. Not like that. I imagined I was kissing Danny.” He added quickly, “Not that he was ugly, this new bloke, but I guess it’s what I always wanted to do with Danny but didn’t know it. Then he put his hand on my… ”
“Is it all right to say that?” His face registered surprise.
“As I’ve just had your cock in my mouth, I think it’s permissible.”
He laughed. “You’re funny. Anyway, he put his hand around my cock and pulled me off. And then he wanted me to do the same for him. I put my hand around him. It was like...” He struggled for a moment. “I can’t describe it. Like I’d come home. I never wanted to take my hand away. But I gave him a pull and he squirted. We’d taken the room for the night, but he got dressed and told me to stay if I wanted to as it was paid for, but he had to get home to his wife and kids. I had so much to think about, but all I wanted to do was rush back here and tell Danny.”
I pulled him to me and kissed him, but he pushed my head gently toward his groin in expectation of a repeat performance.
Joshua left around midnight. I only know because he leaned over my sleeping face, kissed me chastely, and whispered “Thank you” before he let himself out the back door for the short walk back to his own home. That kiss showed, at least, there were no hard feelings—if you discounted the very hard organ between my legs—still I remained worried about repercussions. I was not foolish enough to expect reciprocation, as there had been none, or a repetition of the night’s eager couplings, so I took myself in hand and within moments had done the job Joshua was too embarrassed or too...well, I didn’t really want to spoil the moment by inferring too much.
I fell asleep wondering if it were possible to ever find someone as sweet and beautiful as Joshua to share my life. I ran my fingers across my lips remembering his sweet kisses.
Barry Lowe’s dreams of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature faded about thirty years ago when he realised what he wrote best was about the wild, whacky, wonderful world of sex and that his vocabulary would never rival Patrick White’s or even Evelyn Waugh’s. Since then he’s been happily churning out the odd gay sex comedy for stage as well as a mountain of newspaper columns and an avalanche of erotica for print and eBooks. He is also the author of Atomic Blonde, a biography of 1950s sex goddess, Mamie Van Doren. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his long-term partner, Wally.
Check out his website at www.barrylowe.net.