Appropriate behaviour – Level 1

This is the first part of a trilogy; it should be read as that. It could be interesting to see what questions the set or its parts may raise.


The tearful individual had walked over to acquire something, but quite what it was he didn’t seem to know. A shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear or just an escape from the difficulties that followed him round the recreation area?

The two had known of each other for some time, not really on an even footing but there had always been a classifiable link. Age was the only spoiler, to the outside world that is but such things had never seemed to be a problem for them; how society judged was its own concern. Here in the quiet that had been honestly sought and genuinely found, there was nothing that could be judged inappropriate; not for them anyway.

The younger slid his facing chair closer to gain a little more reassurance, knees touched to cement the transfer. Eyes didn’t need to meet nor words be exchanged as this wasn’t the first time they had been this close. The younger’s feelings now were just some of the many things stirred up by confusing natural developments which were at the same time, exciting; the possibility that his peers were going through the same things hadn’t proved to supply the empathy that he found in the here-and-now.

As if this current need had to be identified he held out a hand, not knowing where to place it or even what he wanted to be done with it, he relied on the experience of age. The slim pale fingers were taken gently but firmly to appreciate the warmth of the others body; their trembling finally stopped. Still no words had been exchanged, only the certainty of protection.

The background banter and noise faded as the rowdy group worked out that there was more fun to be had without someone older being in their field of play.

It was now just the two of them.

Neither moved nor communicated further, not verbally anyway as eventually the older gently lifted the boy’s chin to see if he was ready to talk; as he had done several times in similar situations. A flashing glance from the clear grey-green eyes told the older no but, although the smile of reassurance that was offered went unnoticed, the touching knee changed to a full leg length as the younger slipped easily round onto an adjacent chair. Single hands of each gripped palm to palm and the contact zipped up forearms to elbow and onto uneven shoulders. The smooth movement set a mop of manicured sun-streaked hair falling to one side as a delicate and as yet acne free cheek rested onto the pointed shoulder of the older. Still no words were shared.

Their breathing synchronised sympathetically and the world around them faded that little bit more.

It was difficult to make out who made the next move, perhaps no more one than the other but the response was so immediate as to make it impossible to assign blame; the underlying driving emotion for either party was likely to be very different.

It was actually the older’s hand which had been first to unclasp which allowed it to brush past the short-haired nape of the younger’s fine neck where it griped the developing shoulder to pull the figure tighter into him; the freed younger hand slipped easily into the heat and comfort of the older’s thigh. Each paused to gauge any immediate reaction; again, outwardly, there was none.

They had sat side by side before, trying to work out who was helping whom. Then, conversation had found nothing more than a mutual acceptance of a friendship but with a growing awareness of more than only that. For the younger it would have been sensing and appreciating maturity that his peers were still working out, for the older it was definitely an opportunity to live many moments that had never been realised at that volatile stage in his own life.

The impending escalation would provide adventures for them both, although inevitably in contrasting ways.

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