A Blush of Boys

by Jolyon Lewes

Chapter 8

Once home, Malcolm regretted having parted from Bruno so abruptly. He told his parents the concert had been a success and went to his room to look at 3 January 1989 in his diary. It was a Tuesday and a week before school recommenced. In bed, he went through the performance in his head. Bruno had been absolutely brilliant and he, Malcolm, hadn't played badly either. Then he felt his face colour as he recalled standing on the edge of the stage and being applauded by all those people who could look up the shorts he and Bruno were wearing. Surely the Headmaster must have thought it odd that Malcolm was dressed like Bruno and yet he hadn't said anything. Malcolm began to think of music to play on 3 January. Then he wondered whether Bruno could get some long trousers for the recital. He hoped so. Or did he?

Next morning there were no lessons and the term would end after the carol service in the hall. Boys Malcolm had never met before came up and said how they'd enjoyed watching him play the piano. Some asked him for his autograph. His classmates said he'd put on a good show but wondered why he was in shorts. Malcolm could only mutter 'Solidarity with Bruno' which was the truth but nobody knew what he meant, except for Jake, who for once kept his views to himself. At morning break Mr Perry met Malcolm and gave him details of the 3 January recital.

Sir Edward Plantagenet-Wilson had a big estate in the Hampshire countryside, beside the River Test. His reception was for about eighty county bigwigs and would be followed by supper, after which he wanted Malcolm and Bruno to give their recital.

"Bruno's mother and I will be going so we'll take you boys there and back. We're sleeping in a pub in the village but Sir Edward has offered you and Bruno a bedroom to get changed in and to sleep in. You'll start playing at about nine-thirty, so you'll have had your meal in your room before someone fetches you. Sir Edward's got a decent Bechstein and we'll aim to arrive in time to give you a go on it before the guests begin to arrive. How does that sound?"

The words 'bedroom' and 'to sleep in' had Malcolm tingling. Could this at last mean a night with Bruno?

"Sounds great, sir but I'll have to ask my parents...."

"No problem, old chap, I've phoned your mother and she's very happy with the arrangements. I expect you and Bruno will want to get some practice in over the holidays."

"Yes, sir, I'd love that."

"Oh, yes - another thing: Sir Edward wants you to wear exactly what you wore yesterday, so Bruno said he'll lend you a pair of his shorts again. He didn't like them at first but we can hardly get him out of them these days and his mother's so pleased you like them, too!"

Malcolm just managed to stop himself from saying he didn't like Bruno's shorts at all and that Bruno hated them with a passion. He felt the lead weight in his tummy again but with two weeks to go before the recital surely there'd be time to get Sir Edward to think again.

Bruno met Malcolm after the carol service. "Did Dad tell you about the recital?"

"Yeah, and we've got to wear those bloody shorts again! I reckon this Sir Edward bloke's a pervert!"

"I know but did Dad tell you we're staying the night there?"

"Yes, my Primo ," said Malcolm, looking at Bruno's smiling face. "I s'pose that helps to compensate. It might even be fun. But you might not want to share a room with me; I snore."

"People only snore when they're asleep, my Secondo, " said Bruno, softly. "We might be too excited to sleep."

"Mmm, the two of us in one room, all night," whispered Malcolm, teasingly. "You'd get bored with me, I'm afraid."

"No way!" said Bruno, grinning happily. "This could be the chance we've..."

"Look, Bruno," butted in Malcolm. "We've got to get lots of practice and we must pick some more pieces to play. Professionalism, remember?"

"OK, boss," said Bruno, now looking downcast. Until, that is, he noticed the blatant erection in Malcolm's trousers.

The intense practice over Christmas didn't happen as both Malcolm's and Bruno's families had commitments which took them away. Malcolm went with his parents to Yorkshire where it snowed heavily and a jolly time was had, Malcolm grateful he hadn't to wear shorts until 3 January. But he thought of Bruno, who was in the Netherlands with his mother's family, once again braving freezing outdoor temperatures with his thighs bare - even though his Dutch cousins no longer wore shorts all year round, apparently. If Malcolm thought of Bruno and spilt seed every night during his Bruno-dreams you should have seen Bruno, who never stopped thinking about Malcolm and as well as his nightly wanks, managed some energetic emissions during the day, thankful that he'd brought sufficient pairs of underpants to cope with his lust for his beautiful secondo .

After Christmas Malcolm went to the Perrys and rehearsals began. The presence of Mr Perry meant that the boys had to be chaste but we must remember that neither had yet formally expressed his love and desire for the other. Each felt a longing but dared not admit it in so many words. Elgar's Chanson du Nuit was added to the repertoire and would follow Chanson du Matin which would open the recital. Then both boys would be on the piano for the Malcolm Arnold English Dances 1 - 4, and after that they'd play the whole of Fauré's Dolly Suite . The programme would amply fill half an hour. On New Year's Eve Malcolm cycled home, reasonably content that he and Bruno were ready to perform for Sir Edward and his illustrious guests. Only one fly in the ointment - the requirement to wear Bruno's horrific little shorts.

The topic arose during a New Year's Day drinks party at Malcolm's house. Robin and Emily and their parents were there. Robin chatted to Malcolm about their mutual interest, music. Malcolm asked Robin how his cello-playing was going.

"Oh, OK, you know," said Robin. "I've got a gig in a couple of days at an uncle of mine. I play some Bach while he and his old cronies dine on grouse and venison. He doesn't pay me but I get a night in a four-poster and free food. Hey, I heard you and Bruno put on a fantastic show at your school concert!"

"What did you hear?" asked Malcolm, already beginning to blush.

"That you're both brilliant musicians and that you wore shorts like Bruno's. I heard Jake gobbing off about it in the road."

"Oh God," said Malcolm. "Yeah, I wanted to show solidarity with poor Bruno. How he stands those horrible little things I just don't know."

"Yeah, if he was pug-ugly no-one would care but he's not exactly hideous, is he, Malcolm?"

Malcolm's face was now scarlet. "What are you getting at, Robin?"

Robin steered Malcolm well away from any grown-ups and said "What I mean is that he's got to be the cutest kid around. That face of his, those big, brown eyes and those lovely, long legs. Bloody gorgeous! I can see why you like him so much."

"Hell! Is it so obvious? "

"Only to those who understand these things. Don't worry, Malcolm, I'm not after him but you are and you must treasure him. Don't ever lose him!"

"Sorry, Robin, I'm not used to talking like this. Are you telling me you're gay?"

"Yeah, but I don't want my family to know. Emily knows, obviously, cos we're twins but no-one else. Have you told Bruno what you think of him?"

"No - well, I mean, no, not really," stammered Malcolm, his neck now as red as his face. "I'm not sure what I think - but I'm certain he likes me. Have you got - a friend - like that?"

"Yes, Malcolm but it's deadly secret. His name is Piers and he's three years older than me. Look, I've embarrassed you. Let's talk music. But if you want to chat about other things, you know where I live."

That night, Malcolm lay abed, trying to postpone his Bruno-dream. He worried that if his feelings for Bruno were so easily read by Robin then other people must have noticed, too. What about his parents - or worse still, Bruno's parents? For the millionth time Malcolm wondered whether Bruno was thinking about him.

Bruno's mother had had all three pairs of his tiny grey shorts dry-cleaned in Utrecht, each with its set of braces firmly attached. The rough material now looked pricklier than ever for the cleaning process had teased out thousands of stiff little sisal bristles, making them better able to torment the wearer's flesh. Bruno decided to take all three pairs to Sir Edward's and get Malcolm to choose which pair to wear. He thought of Malcolm's beautiful thighs, entirely hairless and, like his bottom, with skin as smooth as polished marble. Bruno grabbed his tissues and expressed his love for Malcolm in the only way he knew.

Bruno's parents drove their son and Malcolm to Sir Edward's country seat, near Stockbridge. Malcolm wore his school suit but predictably, Bruno was in his grey cord shorts and green sweater and looked like a boy from a prep school, despite now being well into his sixteenth year. He held his violin case on his knees. Malcolm felt more nervous than he'd ever felt in his life and neither boy spoke much in the car. Sir Edward had repeated his instruction that the little grey shorts be worn.

A very good-looking young man showed the boys to an enormous bedroom on the second floor. He indicated a gigantic four-poster bed. "Hope you don't mind sharing." He looked at Bruno and Malcolm who were wide-eyed in astonishment. "Don't worry - think of it like sharing a tent - only it's a hundred times more comfortable! Bathroom's through that door and your meal will be brought here at about eight. I'll give you ten minutes to settle in then I'll show you the saloon and you can have a tinkle on the piano, OK?" He gave a friendly grin and departed.

"Wow!" said Bruno.

"Wow squared! " said Malcolm. "I certainly didn't expect this!"

The saloon turned out to be a huge room with long tables laid for dinner and a raised platform at one end, where sat the grand piano. The boys had forgotten to ask for a duet stool and were relieved to see one there. They played some of the Fauré and satisfied themselves that the piano was in order. Although large the saloon was quite an intimate space with good acoustics and the seated diners would have an excellent view of the players on the platform. Perhaps rather too good a view

Taking the boys back to their bedroom, the pretty young man said he'd be back to pick them up at 21.15, suggesting they ate their meal before changing into their concert clothes. "Don't want gravy stains on your nice white shirts, do we?"

It was now 18.30 and from the window the boys could see gleaming cars arriving and depositing their illustrious passengers beside the steps to the great front doors. The men were all in black tie and jewellery sparkled on the few accompanying ladies.

"All a bit posh, isn't it?" said Malcolm.

"Yeah and I'm as nervous as a kitten," said Bruno. "I think I'd better go and have a shave."

"Well, don't cut yourself!"

Neither boy's face needed more than a very infrequent shave but Bruno liked to use his wet razor every week or so because it made him feel grown up. Malcolm watched Bruno lathering his face and once again pondered the iniquity of this sweet young man progressing rapidly through adolescence yet every day forced to show his bare thighs to all and sundry. While Malcolm was in the shower Bruno took his three pairs of grey shorts from his case and stacked them one on top of the other. Then he covered them with his blazer so that all you could see was three sets of braces. 'I'll get Malcolm to pick one set and I'll pick another and that way we've got an equal chance of being lumbered with the shortest buggers,' he thought.

The meal was delivered and the boys ate in their dressing gowns. Neither had much of an appetite. Then it was time to dress. Much to Bruno's amusement, Malcolm found himself with the medium-length pair of shorts, the ones with legs all of 5 cm long, while Bruno had the longest, with legs 7 cm long. The shorts with legs only 3 cm long were left on the chair.

The young man was in a smart livery of dark blue serge when he came to collect the boys. His trousers were incredibly tight and his bum-freezer jacket permitted a fine view of his well-formed bottom. On entering the room he could hardly believe his eyes. "Jesus Christ! Is that what you wear for all your recitals or did Sir Edward put you up to it?" He circled the boys, taking in the sight of two pairs of scrumptiously bare thighs.

"He insisted," said Bruno, blushing scarlet.

"Thought so," said the young man. "Oh God, you'll have the old buggers creaming their pants! Come on, let's go!"

Then he noticed the third pair of shorts on the chair. Holding them by the waistband he picked them up and examined them closely. "Bloody hell! These are obscene! And I bet they itch like hell!"

Waiting in the ante-room Malcolm could hear speeches taking place in the saloon. He felt an urgent need to loosen his braces and asked Bruno to hold his blazer. He fidgeted with the buckles on the braces while the young man looked admiringly at the tantalising glimpse of Malcolm's bare bottom projecting below the grey shorts.

"The bloody things are jammed!" said Malcolm, breaking into a sweat. "I can't loosen them!"

"All the better for that," said the young man. "Braces should always be worn as tight as possible. That's what Sir Edward always says. Don't worry, you both look fantastic! Hang on, I think that's our cue. Blazer on, please, it's time to go in."

Sir Edward stood up as the terrified boys were led into the saloon and onto the platform. There was a ripple of applause and some very audible gasps, presumably of pleasure. "That's the pretty little page-turner I was telling you about!" whispered somebody to the man sitting beside him. Malcolm heard and his face turned even redder. Bruno caught sight of his proud mother and his face turned a deep pink.

"Ladies and gentlemen," boomed Sir Edward. "Now for something absolutely delightful . Malcolm and Bruno are going to entertain us for half an hour. Their programme's printed on the back of the menu."

Bruno had his violin and Malcolm had the sheet music which he divided between the piano and the music stand Bruno would use when playing his violin.

"While they're getting organised," bellowed Sir Edward, "I suggest you all make sure you have a good view."

Hot and flustered, Malcolm dropped some of the music on the floor and had to bend over to pick it up. He felt the grey shorts tugging violently into the cleft of his bottom and the sense of déja-vu grew stronger. It was like The King's Theatre all over again! He wiped his hanky over his glistening face and tried to dry his sweating fingers by wiping them on his naked thighs. Then he stood next to Bruno, facing the audience. Both boys looked worried and both faces were red in embarrassment.

"And now we're ready!" said Sir Edward, moderating his voice to a dull roar. "I know we're all going to enjoy this."

He'd be sitting barely six feet from the boys and would be able to look straight up their shorts. Just before he sat down he made his final announcement.

"Ladies and gentlemen, let's have a warm hand of welcome for our own duo. I call them A Blush of Boys!"

Readers will be pleased to know that professionalism kicked in at once and our two lovely boys gave a supreme performance. The applause after the Malcolm Arnold Dances was frantic and after the last notes of Dolly Suite had faded away it was warm and sustained. No catcalls this time, thank heavens. Keeping their arms demurely to their sides the boys bowed in acknowledgment. At last, they were smiling. Sir Edward invited them to sit at his table and the nice young man brought wine for them to drink. Bruno's parents came with congratulations and smilingly departing for the village pub. A bejewelled old lady spoke quietly to Sir Edward.

"A Blush of Boys. What a charming name for such a dear little ensemble."

"Indeed, Ursula," grunted Sir Edward. "I think it suits them. I say - you've given me an idea...." He called the young man over and sent him off on an errand.

Malcolm and Bruno were congratulated and patted on the back by a stream of people so had to keep standing up and sitting down again, which made the shorts Malcolm was wearing increasingly uncomfortable as they rode higher and higher and seemed to be slicing his poor bottom in two. And their itchiness was worsening by the minute. He couldn't wait to get into his long trousers again.

Just then a familiar voice began to praise Bruno for his violin-playing. Malcolm turned and saw it was Robin, dapper in a dark suit.

"Ah, Robin, me lad," said Sir Edward. "D'you know these two young musicians?"

"Yes, Uncle, we met just before Christmas. I was watching their recital from the door. Excellent, wasn't it?" Robin turned and beamed at Malcolm.

"Robin's my nephew," said Sir Edward to Bruno, "and sometimes he kindly plays his cello while we're eating. Now, as you boys know each other you could get together and make music. What would that make you - a piano trio? A piano trio called A Blush of Boys. I like it! But Robin would need to dress like you two or it wouldn't look right at all."

Robin overheard this while chatting to Malcolm and his face went white. He spoke to his uncle. "I'll be seventeen in April, Uncle, so I'm a bit old for shorts...."

"Nonsense, boy! You'd look as good as these two! We'll get some grey shorts for you, and a blazer to match theirs."

Malcolm saw the liveried young man bend close and whisper in Sir Edward's ear.

"Capital" bellowed the enormous man. "Piers tells me the boys have a spare pair upstairs. You can try them on, Robin and we'll see how you look!"

Malcolm realised the young man Piers was Robin's secret boyfriend. This was getting interesting, especially when a smirking Piers led a red-faced Robin away to the boys' bedroom to change into the third and shortest pair of grey shorts. There were very few guests left in the saloon and Malcolm and Bruno began to relax. In the crush of people there'd been occasional pawing hands trying to get inside the boys' shorts and to Bruno it had begun to feel like being in the locker room during a typical day at school. But now it was safe for the boys to sit and enjoy their wine, each wondering what Robin would look like in Bruno's briefest pair of shorts. They had only to wait five minutes before into the saloon marched Piers, with a scarlet-faced Robin trailing nervously behind him.

Malcolm felt an erection forming. Robin looked stunning. The grey shorts were quite incapable of enclosing his entire bottom. Robin was only too aware of this and his fingers were forever tugging on the hems to try to make them reach his thighs but without success. Malcolm saw an unmistakeable bulge in the front of Piers' so-tight trousers. Sir Edward called Robin over and put his massive hand on his nephew's left flank, hooking his forefinger inside the shorts and pulling the hem up an inch or two.

"Mmm, good material, this. Nice and scratchy. And unlined, I trust?"

"Yes, sir," piped up Bruno. "All three pairs are unlined. And don't they let you know it!"

Robin clearly didn't like his uncle's fingers groping about inside his tiny shorts but Sir Edward was beaming happily and grunting with pleasure. He looked at Piers and saw an expression of utter delight on his face.

"And you, Piers, we'll get you a uniform just like this, then when you're driving me in the Bentley you'll look like a proper chauffeur!"

Piers looked shocked and immediately began to protest but Robin turned to his uncle, his pained expression changing to one of joy.

"Yes, Uncle," said Robin, grinning maliciously and extracting Sir Edward's hand from inside his shorts. "Piers would love a uniform! Something just like this!"

Robin looked at Piers and Malcolm saw him give him a very sexy wink.

'I'm surrounded by perverts,' thought Malcolm. 'I hope Bruno and I can go to bed soon. Best part of the day yet to come...'

The boys were at last allowed to go to their bedroom, Sir Edward dismissing them thus: "Goodnight my fair children, my Blush of Boys!"

Piers took them upstairs and assured them they wouldn't be disturbed until nine next morning.

"I'll bring your other shorts back in the morning, after I've pulled 'em off young Robin and given him a good rogering. I can't wait to see you three playing music together, in such stunning costumes!"

"Alone at last!" said Malcolm to Bruno. "Let's get these horrible shorts off and then we can talk about the music."

In no time our two heroes were in nothing but their royal blue briefs and looking at each other. They quickly realised there was no point in dissecting their performance - it had gone down extremely well and all that had to be said was how exciting it would be to have Robin join them to make a piano trio.

"He and Piers seem to have something going between them," said Bruno.

"Yeah," said Malcolm, "they seem to be more than just friends. I think we're meant to keep it quiet but they do seem to like each other. Nice, isn't it?"

"Have we got something as well, Malcolm?" said Bruno, nervously.

"Oh hell, Bruno, come here! I want to hug you!"

The hug lasted two long minutes before the boys fell onto the huge bed and cuddled and stroked and tickled.

"I've been waiting for this since that night at The King's Theatre," said Bruno.

"Really? How could you know - I mean how did you know I'd feel like this about you?"

"I just hoped," said Bruno. "You were so correct, so restrained and of course a bit older than me, so I didn't dare to say or do anything that would put you off. But after I got my Grade Six I thought you seemed warmer somehow and I saw how you looked at me and I sort of hoped a bit stronger. After your dinner party, I was dreaming about you and I dreamt you came in and kissed me goodnight."

"But I did," said Malcolm, " I came in and saw you asleep and I watched and watched and then I kissed my fingers and put them on your cheek. Just like this."

Bruno's cheek felt so soft and Malcolm was seized with emotion. "Hell, Bruno, d'you think it's time we had a real kiss? I mean d'you think we should?"

"Like I said, I've been waiting for this since that night at The King's Theatre. Have you ever done it to anyone? I haven't. Properly, I mean."

"Nope, but it feels right to do it now. Tonight's our reward for waiting till it's right. Look, we've got this huge bed and nobody's going to trouble us. It's like tonight was made for us. Come 'ere and lets work out what to do."

The boys' first French kiss was followed by more kissing and stroking and each boy felt the other's hard cock pressing against his belly. Soon it would be time for a more physical expression of love.

But we mustn't hurry them. They wanted to talk about Robin joining them to form a piano trio and they wanted to think of music they could play together. Would Piers chauffeur them from venue to venue and would he have to wear tiny shorts like theirs? Would it be excruciatingly embarrassing to be known as A Blush of Boys? What would their school-mates say? Then Bruno remembered Malcolm's denim cut-offs.

"I want to see you wearing them and soon! Can't wait till the warmer weather - look at me - I'm in shorts all year round!"

"Oh really - I hadn't noticed," said Malcolm, only to receive a slapped bottom.

Malcolm's briefs covered so little of his bottom that Bruno's hand made contact on warm, bare flesh and the slapping sound was peculiarly sensual.

"That's so much nicer than when Sir Crispin did it ..." murmured Malcolm. "Let's get into bed properly."

In the dark and now totally naked, Malcolm and Bruno held each other close and talked about the Easter holidays.

"We could get you some denim cut-offs like mine but even shorter and we could go off with a little tent for a few days," said Malcolm. "The New Forest, maybe?"

"No, too many adders there. And why's it always me who has to have tiny shorts? What about the Isle of Wight? Just a quick ride on the ferry and we could pretend we're abroad."

"Yeah, it'd be lovely. Hey - I know a really nice man on the Island. He's called Chris and he'd show us where we could camp and things and I know he'd understand our - um - situation."

"Sounds great," said Bruno."Let's do it!"

"What? Go camping or make love?"

"Let's make love," said Bruno. "Only I don't know how ..."

"Nor do I," said Malcolm. "But I'd like to learn. And by the way, I love you, my Primo!"

"And I love you, my beautiful Secondo! Look, if we have another cuddle things might just happen ..."

Let's invade the boys' privacy no longer. Let us imagine that in that huge four-poster they discovered each other and found that things just came naturally. Let's grant them a night of passion and an undying friendship that would strengthen as the years passed by. Let's imagine them on the Isle of Wight, free as birds, relishing each other's company and, hand in hand, planning their musical life together. Let's wish them health, happiness and a sparkling career, playing music, sometimes with Robin, sometimes solo and sometimes with chamber ensembles.

Let's suppose that in a few years' time, when Malcolm and Bruno are well-established in the musical life of this country, they find themselves in the presence of Sir Crispin Strange at a reception in the Royal Academy of Music. Let's imagine the revered old concert pianist raising his hand for quiet and then to a hushed and respectful gathering, saying "Ah, my friends, just look at those two beautiful boys. Oh, now I've embarrassed them. A veritable Blush of Boys!"

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