A Blush of Boys
by Jolyon Lewes
Twice in the next couple of weeks Malcolm found himself waking before dawn with stickiness on his navel which he knew was the result of dreaming about Bruno. On those mornings he took to making his bed more carefully than usual in the hope that his mother wouldn't find the damp patches on his sheets where he'd tried to sponge off the mess. The next week he took appropriate precautions and had a box of Kleenex handy for when he thought he'd be having a Bruno-dream. It embarrassed him because he didn't consciously think of Bruno as sexy but he felt pity for him and this seemed to generate lustful thoughts. Surely this couldn't be normal? He knew he had to keep it secret. At school he continued his daily practices with Bruno and then he heard the result of his Grade 7 exam. The news came from Mr Perry and Malcolm rushed off to find Bruno and this time he gave him a little hug.
"I passed, and it's all thanks to you!"
"Well done, Malcolm, I knew you would, You're brilliant, you know!"
Malcolm gave Bruno an extra little squeeze and then remembered other boys were watching so let go and stood back. "Well, thanks a lot for all your help. The next thing is your violin Grade Six - next month. I want to help you like you helped me."
Later, Malcolm worried in case Bruno thought he was getting a bit over-friendly so for the next few days tried to be a little distant, keeping the topic of conversation to the technical aspects of the music and trying ever so hard not to look into Bruno's eyes when in discussion. It was impossible, however, not to notice the vast expanse of bare thigh displayed by Bruno, thanks to the absurd brevity of his grey shorts and to his current spurt of growth. Malcolm was sure that until this week Bruno's shorts hadn't exposed quite so much bare leg but just below the hems of the shorts could be seen the curve of flawless flesh where Bruno's thighs merged sexily into his bottom. Despite himself, Malcolm couldn't resist sidelong glances at what he had to admit was a new visual delight. Was it because Bruno was now almost as tall as Malcolm or were his awful little shorts somehow becoming even shorter? They had neither belt loops nor elasticised waist so would fall down without braces to hold them up. Had Bruno for some reason tightened the braces to make the shorts ride higher than ever? If so, why? Malcolm needed an answer.
Malcolm found the courage to ask the question but in a roundabout way.
"Bruno," he said, watching his friend bending forward to tidy a score on the music stand, "I'm not sure how to put it - but you seem to be showing a bit more leg today - if you see what I mean..."
"Yeah, I know exactly what you mean," said Bruno, turning to face Malcolm. "And if you think my bloody shorts seem to have got even shorter, you're right!"
"But how?" asked Malcolm, blushing and wishing he hadn't broached the topic.
"I've got three pairs of these bloody shorts," said Bruno, also beginning to blush. "Mum makes me wear 'em in rotation and these ones happen to be the shortest of all. Inside leg just three centimetres! I wish I could think of a way of destroying 'em cos they'll never wear out and I bloody hate 'em!"
"I thought you told me they were all the same size."
"Yeah but it's not quite true. These little horrors are the worst." Bruno did a twirl for Malcolm. "Obscene, aren't they?"
"Don't know about obscene but revealing they certainly are," said Malcolm, gulping hard and wondering how much flesh he'd been exposing that night when he was page-turning as Bruno was doing right now. "So, er, at The King's Theatre, was my bum showing?"
"Yeah, a little bit," said Bruno, looking steadily at Malcolm, who instantly recalled the sweaty, enthralled faces of the men looking up at him from the front stalls.
Then Bruno added "Hang on - d'you mean my bum's showing now?"
Malcolm felt himself blushing and copied Bruno: "Yeah, a little bit."
"Oh hell, I didn't know that! That makes it even worse!"
"We're both blushing again, Bruno: we're a blush of boys!"
Bruno was mightily embarrassed but didn't loosen his braces to let his shorts hang lower because at last it seemed Malcolm was interested in his body. The perverted bullies who tried to grope Bruno could go to hell - Malcolm was the only boy he wanted anywhere near his bottom. He'd wanted to appear desirable to the boy he thought of night and day and who was proving to be his lifeline but he was nervous of making a move on Malcolm. Could it be that Bruno's most despised possessions, namely, his little grey shorts, were themselves making a move on Malcolm? Bruno decided to keep his braces tight when Malcolm was around but to loosen them when in the company of other boys.
Malcolm was growing steadily entranced by his young friend but frightened to show it in case it put him in the same category as those brutish louts who liked to slip their fingers inside Bruno's shorts. Malcolm thought those boys disgusting and he knew he'd never try to take advantage of poor Bruno. That's why he tried to avoid too much eye-contact; he was scared that if he stared into Bruno's beautiful brown eyes, those huge pupils, he'd be unable to resist the impulse to lunge forward and kiss him on the mouth. That would be taking advantage of the boy and would almost certainly end their friendship. Or so thought Malcolm.
For Bruno's fifteenth birthday in October, Malcolm bought him a music CD. This was an act of genuine friendship and Malcolm hoped it wouldn't be misconstrued. Bruno was thrilled Malcolm had remembered his birthday and when they were alone in the music room after school he tried to find the courage to say something he'd been thinking of all day. It was 'Do I get a birthday kiss?' But Bruno lacked the courage and was afterwards glad. It would have been a brazen thing to do and Malcolm might have fled the room. But one day....
In his bedroom that night, Bruno played the CD Malcolm had bought him. It was music by Erik Satie, played by Roland Pӧntinen, the young Swedish pianist. There was one section that sounded familiar to Bruno so to identify it he read the notes that came with the CD. What he'd particularly enjoyed were the three pieces called Gymnopédie Nos 1 - 3. They were apparently inspired by ancient Spartan dances performed by naked youths. The notes suggested that the 'limpid cadences evoke visions of nude boy dancers silhouetted on a Grecian urn.' Bruno read this again and then played the pieces once more. Then he turned out the light and played them again. The music was simply beautiful. Malcolm must have bought this CD for these three pieces alone and therein must lie a message for Bruno. 'Dear Malcolm', thought Bruno. 'Limpid cadences, indeed - he's trying to give me a message.'
Sitting close beside Malcolm on the duet stool next day, Bruno waited to the end of the piece they were practising and then put his hand on Malcolm's right thigh as he made a point about a couple of trills he'd had to make on the highest notes. Malcolm didn't flinch (because he was enjoying it) but warned Bruno about his forthcoming exam.
"Before we get too excited about this stuff, don't you think you ought to concentrate on the violin till you've done the Grade Six exam? After that, we can play duets till the cows come home. I don't think I'd better come round to play your dad's Bechstein till you've done the exam."
"Yeah, you're right," said Bruno, removing his hand and feeling he'd been rebuffed. Malcolm was right, of course; it was important for Bruno to concentrate on violin work, the piano stuff could come later. And the other stuff - the stuff about the naked youths.
Malcolm hadn't read the CD notes - he'd bought Bruno the CD simply because it was newly-released and he'd hoped he'd like the music. He tried to encourage Bruno in the build-up to the exam and when Bruno showed him the evidence on his right thigh of Peregrine Strange's latest assault Malcolm tried not to think about it, instead exhorting Bruno to forget his tutor and put all his efforts into passing the exam. That night, Malcolm resolved that if Bruno passed the Grade Six he'd tell Mr Perry about his son being slapped on his bare leg by his tutor and ask him if it mightn't be a good idea to let Bruno wear long trousers - or change tutor.
By the morning, however, Malcolm had again decided he liked Bruno in those humiliating shorts and although he could never condone Peregrine Strange slapping Bruno's thigh he rather liked seeing the evidence later. Not that Malcolm was a sadist - it was just that the trials Bruno had to face made Malcolm feel curiously aroused. He was even more aroused the next afternoon, when Bruno took his violin, sat on the chair facing Malcolm and moved his legs apart; Malcolm found himself looking inside Bruno's grey shorts at the pouch formed by Bruno's white underpants.
'They were blue ones at The King's Theatre,' thought Malcolm, 'and now they're white. I hope Bruno's examiner doesn't see them!'
Malcolm studiously avoided comment on Bruno's appearance and concentrated on talking music. He then departed for his next classroom lesson. He quickly realised he'd forgotten to take his music with him so hurried back to the rehearsal room, to find Bruno with his blazer off adjusting his braces to let his shorts down by an inch or two. Bruno looked embarrassed when he saw Malcolm but Malcolm said the first thing that came into his head.
"Oh, that's a good idea, Bruno. Make your shorts hang lower - you don't want the examiner seeing what colour your pants are!"
Bruno blushed and began to say he had to get the school bus for once and didn't want other boys in the bus to tease him about his bottom showing but Malcolm was in a hurry, grabbed his music and rushed off.
'So what can I do to make him love me?' wondered Bruno. 'I touch his leg, he's always looking at my legs, but he never wants to touch me. And yet that CD he gave me - there's got to be a message there.'
Back at home, Malcolm wondered whether Bruno could face much more humiliation. 'His life must be hell! He knows his bum is showing - how humiliating is that? I hope nothing happened to him on that school bus tonight. Oh God, I'm getting bloody frantic about him!'
Malcolm, now a Sixth-former, knew he couldn't even rest a finger on Bruno's bare thigh without seeming to be like the despicable, predatory boys who liked to explore inside Bruno's shorts. He still had no idea that Bruno was gay and attributed Bruno's occasional touches of his, Malcolm's, legs to the fact that Bruno was from a musical family and therefore prone to be a bit tactile. Yet Malcolm's nocturnal thoughts and desires couldn't be held at bay for much longer. He decided to wait until Bruno's Grade Six exam was over and then confront him. But where? He couldn't do it at school in case he was caught red-handed (as he saw it) so hoped he'd be invited to the Perrys for some more practice on their Bechstein Grand, preferably when the Perrys senior were out of the house.
The next Friday Bruno did so well in his Grade Six exam the examiner told him at once he'd recommend a good pass so Bruno was in high spirits when he rang Malcolm that evening. "Malcolm, it's me. I think I've passed so what say we meet here tomorrow? Mum and Dad will be out for the day so we can make some noise."
"Oh, that's brilliant!" said Malcolm, feeling an erection forming. "I knew you'd do it! Yeah, I'd love to come round and maybe I could do some more duets with you."
"Yeah, that'd be good," said Bruno, hoping it would be more than piano duets Malcolm wanted to do with him. "And I want to play that Satie CD you bought me. It's fantastic!"
Malcolm's Bruno-dreams that night reached new heights of ecstasy. He still hadn't admitted to himself how much he lusted after his friend and part of him expected to find that Bruno was heterosexual, so he'd have to curb his desires for Bruno and go looking for the elusive girlfriend he'd never yet met. That's what he expected but he was beginning to hope it wouldn't be like that. He hoped deep down that Bruno would tell him he was gay. Then Malcolm would feel he could make a move, although he was clueless about what kind of move it might be. He'd never been in this position before. Uncertain of what to do, Malcolm determined to have a good music session with Bruno and to see what happened. On a whim, he decided to wear the clothes he'd worn to the King's Theatre, the red polo shirt and tight blue jeans, now tighter than ever.
When Bruno opened the door to Malcolm his eyes nearly popped out of his head as he took in the scrumptious curves of Malcolm's thighs stretching the blue denim almost to breaking point. A second later he thought he recognised disappointment in Malcolm's expression. Malcolm had smiled as he congratulated Bruno for doing so well in the exam and had then stood back to look him up and down. He was trying to restrain himself from lunging forward and grabbing Bruno round the waist and pulling him close. But Bruno interpreted this as a gesture of disappointment. 'I was hoping for a hug but he's just standing there, looking miffed about something.'
In fact, Malcolm was having a real job restraining himself as he studied Bruno, who looked delectable in his corduroy shorts, green pullover, long grey socks and sandals. 'Just like a gorgeous boy from a prep school,' thought he, looking away and frowning as he sought to control himself. 'He's like an overgrown prep school boy with a grown-up voice.'
Bruno thought Malcolm's frown indicated disapproval and said "Oh, sorry, Malcolm, did you want me to be in my school shorts? I'll nip up and put 'em on if you like. I only wear 'em when I absolutely have to but I'll put 'em on for you, if that's what you want!" In his eagerness to please Malcolm he'd already started to take off his pullover.
"N-no - don't!" said Malcolm. "Well, not just for me. I hate to see you in those horrible little shorts." He was getting flustered. "I mean - I hate to see you in 'em cos they're so bloody humiliating but - oh God - I don't hate to see you in 'em cos they make you look so s... um ... so ..."
Malcolm's face was reddening and he stared at the floor.
"They make me look so - um - what?" asked Bruno, looking eagerly at Malcolm but getting no response. "Silly?"
"No, not silly," muttered Malcolm, his face colouring even more strongly. "Definitely not silly. Something else. Look - I can't say it!"
Bruno was willing Malcolm to say 'sexy' but Malcolm couldn't, despite it being exactly the word he'd so nearly used.
Now holding his pullover in his hand, Bruno looked ready to climb the stairs to his bedroom. He gave Malcolm the broadest of smiles. "Won't be a sec. Wait there!"
Malcolm heard Bruno scuttling about upstairs, presumably putting on his tiny, scratchy shorts in order to please Malcolm but Malcolm didn't want Bruno in discomfort. And yet ...
Bruno ran downstairs, his horrible little grey shorts tugged almost impossibly high by the braces. He looked at Malcolm as if expecting a compliment, or better still, a hug. Thoughts of those totally bare legs beside him on the piano stool raced through Malcolm's head but then he came to his senses.
"Look, Bruno, I'm making a bloody fool of myself. I think I'd better go home. I'm really, really pleased for your exam result but I don't think we ought to practise today. Look, I'm sorry and everything but I'd better go before I make things worse."
To Bruno's great dismay, Malcolm turned and left the house. Bruno was too shocked even to admire the way Malcolm's bottom was doing its best to burst out of his jeans. Going miserably into the kitchen for a glass of milk, Bruno tried to work out what he'd done to offend Malcolm. It took him a couple of minutes to realise that Malcolm hadn't been angry but embarrassed, embarrassed that he'd accidentally revealed his true feelings for the younger boy. Bruno went back to the front door in case Malcolm returned but he didn't. He was close to tears. Then he saw Malcolm's sheet music sitting on the hall table. 'He'll be back for that,' thought Bruno, smiling. 'He's trying to say he loves me.'
At that moment Mr and Mrs Perry returned, at least two hours before Bruno had expected. Seeing her son open the front door, dressed in his little grey shorts, she rushed up to him and gave him a hug.
"So, my darling, you do like your Dutch shorts after all! I knew you'd get to like them in time. You look just like your Uncle Piet when he was fifteen!"
Meanwhile, Malcolm was cycling home as quickly as possible. 'What a total wanker I am! I so nearly let it slip. God knows what Bruno will think of me now. I'm no better than those bastards who poke their fingers up his shorts!"
He wasn't concentrating and not far from home he nearly collided with a car on a roundabout. Skidding onto the pavement and coming to rest beside a garden wall, he cursed himself for his stupidity and looked at his bike. It was fine and he got to his feet. Nobody was about and he picked up his bike to walk home. It was then that he saw the blood on his right hand and the nasty grazing on his knuckles. Before he made it home, two of his precious pianist's fingers had gone numb.
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