Home > The Sex Coach

The Sex Coach
Author: Garrett Leigh

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Toby


Spring was my favourite time of year. When I was little, I’d collected cherry blossoms and hidden them under my pillow. Of course, my dad always found them and called me a nancy boy, but it was worth it for the precious time I got to keep them.

At fourteen, I made the mistake of telling him I loved the smell. The next day, he sent me to work with horses to man up. He died before he ever learned Whisper Farm was the queerest place on earth he could’ve sent me. That I’d spend my teens surrounded by men who loved each other in every way he was so afraid of.

Shame…for him.

And I still loved spring. Even now, when my teenage years were behind me and I’d missed the boat on sexual exploration while I was still young enough to be cute. Cos there was nothing cute about a twenty-four-year-old virgin.

“Toby.”

I blinked. Joe was glaring at me with the expression of a boss who’d called my name more than once. “Sorry. What?”

Joe rolled his eyes. “You’re away with the fucking fairies today. I said, when you’ve brought the old girls in from the field, Harry needs you for something up at the house.”

“What does he need me for?”

“If I knew that, I’d have told you, wouldn’t I?”

“Dunno. You didn’t tell me when he wanted me to do that stupid barre class at the clinic. Let me turn up thinking he needed a hand with the electrics.”

Joe snorted. “True, but that was funny. And I didn’t tell Rhys either.”

“Rhys is Harry’s brother. His older brother. He told him to get fucked and walked out. I’m just the grunt around here, so I had to stay.”

“You’re not anyone’s grunt, Tobes.”

I wasn’t anyone’s anything now my mum was gone and my sisters lived in Reading, but as Joe ruffled my hair and wandered off, I let him because I liked it when he touched me. I liked it when most people—especially Joe—touched me, and it made up for the fact that Harry probably wanted me to do something ridiculous. Something I’d agree to without question because Harry was the nicest guy in the world. Being rude to him was like being rude to your sweet old nanna. I couldn’t do it.

So I spent my entire walk from the stables to the fields and back again—with two elderly mares in tow—ruminating over what he could possibly want from me. As a rule, I worked for Joe, had done since long before he’d hooked up with Harry—if you could call their bona fide love story anything close to a hook-up. But the farm had changed a lot in recent years. These days, my jobs ranged from taking care of the rescue horses to property maintenance, and no two days were ever the same.

With the mares safely tucked up in their stalls, I made my way to the main house. It was the only building on the farm that hadn’t undergone a facelift in the last few years, and I absorbed the easy familiarity of it as I crossed the threshold. The faces had changed, but the stone floors and cosy kitchen were the same as they had been since my first day on the job. I half expected to see Sal, Joe’s ma, at the stove. Instead, I found Harry, which was a rare sight. Cooking for a crowd wasn’t his bag.

I peered inside the pot he was tending. “What’s that?”

“Vegetable curry.”

“What kind of vegetable?”

“Butternut squash, courgettes, spinach.”

I pulled a face. “Why would you do that?”

“Because you can’t survive on white bread and meat forever. It’ll catch up with you eventually.”

It was on the tip of my tongue to remind him that white bread and meat were pretty much what his husband had lived on before he’d come along and ruined it with his obsession with leafy greens and fibre, but what was the point? Harry and his kale were here to stay, and so was I. Besides, it wasn’t lost on me that I was lucky to have a job where I could eat three square meals a day if I wanted to. I’d never got that at home, even when my mum was alive.

I retreated from Harry’s pot of virtue and raided the biscuit jar. Harry watched me cram three custard creams into my mouth with his patented patient frown. I knew he wanted to lecture me on my sugar consumption, but I wasn’t in the mood to listen. Never was. I liked sugar, and as far as I knew, it had never done me any harm. And quite honestly, I’d just watched Joe consume an entire bag of Haribo Starmix as a late afternoon snack, so my biscuit habit was the least of the big man’s worries.

“Joe said you needed me? I’m going surfing in a bit, but I can sack it off if there’s something needs doing right now.”

“Don’t sack anything off. It’s kind of urgent, but nothing you can start today. And I know you’ll want to catch those waves before we lose the light.”

I gave him an indifferent shrug. Surfing was a rite of passage where I came from, but I wasn’t as committed as the die-hard board fiends who chased the waves and mourned every single one they missed. The only passion in my life was the horses I’d been caring for since my dad sent me out here to find some testosterone. “It’s fine, honestly. It’s only three o’clock. I’ve got some time.”

“Well, okay. We can at least go over it then. You remember how we sat down a while ago and planned the renovations for the old cottage?”

“Vaguely. Joe gave me whisky that night.”

Harry shook his head. “Awesome. Anyway, we’d pencilled them in to finish this summer, but we need the cottage habitable before then, so we’re going to have to bring them forward.”

“How far forward?”

“Like, as soon as humanly possible.”

“Why?”

“I’ve got a new Pilates instructor joining my team. He can only take the job if we can provide on-site accommodation. It’s not worth the pay cut to leave London otherwise.”

“But Angelo teaches Pilates?”

Harry winced. “I know, but he’s not recovering from this relapse as fast as we hoped he might. I don’t know when he’ll be back full time.”

I digested that. Angelo was a physical therapist at the wellness clinic Harry ran on the other side of the farm. But he had a chronic illness. Sometimes I didn’t see him for weeks at a time, which was tough for several reasons. First of all, he was a really nice dude and didn’t deserve to be unwell. Second, he was the only one of Harry and Joe’s collection of gorgeous, queer friends that I could look at for any length of time without turning into an awkward weirdo. Even Harry himself could make me blush if he looked at me a beat too long with his kind and gentle eyes.

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