by Jolyon Lewes

Part 1 – Thursday

In the spring of 1959 I was thirteen. I'd enjoyed a happy family life, doing well at school and developing into a well behaved, studious boy. My father was a serviceman who often served abroad so I was used to travelling, adapting to new environments and making new friends. But the constant changing from school to school wasn't considered an ideal way to gain the good examination passes necessary for entry to university. I was therefore to be enrolled at a boarding school in England, there to remain until I'd taken my 'A' Levels at eighteen.

In 1959 home was in West Germany so I was faced with the prospect not just of living away from home for the first time but to do it in a different country. To add to my gloom, I'd heard that corporal punishment, in the form of caning on the bottom, was a major feature of boarding school life. Up till then, all I'd received were a few slaps to my legs when I was very young.

In April, full of foreboding, I arrived at my new school. It was in a small market town on chalk hills that rolled down to the English Channel. I'd never before been in an all boys environment, nor had I mixed with boys who'd rarely travelled beyond their own county. My worldly knowledge was of no interest to them and I didn't understand their local dialect. I was utterly, desperately homesick for the first few months, a situation that eased only slightly during the rest of my four terms at that ghastly establishment. There were strange rules to get used to, routines in the boarding house that had to be followed, irksome chores that had to be performed. I found the total lack of privacy and the fact that nobody ever called me by my first name difficult to cope with. Boys used only each other's surnames in conversation In short, I felt very, very alone.

Another unpleasant aspect of life in the new school was the school uniform. Having worn a white shirt, long trousers and school blazer at my previous school in Germany, I now had to wear a grey flannel suit, with short trousers. Well, they weren't very short, coming to just above the knee, but it seemed a retrograde step to me. Moreover, in contrast to smart, lightweight, Terylene trousers that were nice to wear and kept their crease, I was now obliged to wear heavy, unlined shorts of rough wool that itched constantly, especially when I was sitting down, when the horrible material attacked my thighs mercilessly. Moreover, the grey woollen shirt tickled and made me far too warm. The knee-length woollen socks scratched the parts of my legs not being scratched by my short trousers. It was a thoroughly uncomfortable combination.

Even in hot weather, we were never allowed to take off jacket or tie. After lessons, we'd return to the boarding house, where tea and supper were eaten. At a specified time, boys changed into pyjamas for bed. Even at weekends, school uniform was to be worn during the daytime, so they were the only clothes you ever wore, except when playing sports. I felt imprisoned in the heavy, itchy uniform and was appalled by the prospect of wearing it all through the summer term with never a change to the sort of relaxed, casual clothes I'd always worn at home.

The lack of privacy peaked at night-time, when boys would take a hot bath, according to a roster drawn up by an old bat of indeterminate age called Matron. It was her job to supervise bath nights. There were four large, cast-iron baths close together in the bathroom. The four boys, whose bath-time it was, would present themselves naked but for a towel round their waist, wait until Matron had run the baths with precisely four inches of hot water, and then perform their ablutions under her watchful eye. After five minutes all would be ordered out of the bath and allowed to dry themselves. Matron would then conduct an inspection of toenails, fingernails and necks, to check for cleanliness. The boys would then run upstairs, back to their dormitories, to climb into their pyjamas. This humiliating process was made worse by senior boys, who would ambush the bathers as they ran upstairs, flicking the wet little towels off and whipping them at the now-naked boys. I never got used to this bath-time ritual and even now, would rather go dirty than have to share a bathroom with anyone else.

One thing I noticed at bath-nights was that some boys had very obvious red weals on their bottoms. Of course, I never stared, but these marks were so prominent on a little white bottom that you couldn't miss them. I said nothing at first but began to glance at all the boys' bottoms in my dormitory to spot the tell-tale marks, noting how they gradually faded over a few days. There was one boy, Royston, from another dormitory, who always seemed to sport a collection of freshly made weals. Hardly had the first ones begun to fade before a new batch appeared and often, as if he had no more space on his bottom, weals would appear on the backs of his thighs. I was intrigued.

The housemaster was permitted to cane boys for minor misdemeanours and Royston was forever getting into trouble. He was a sorrowful looking boy, with spectacles, a mop of untidy hair and, it seemed, no friends. I felt very sorry for him and would like to have got to know him, but for a fear that his unfortunate disposition might be contagious. I'd never been caned and knew few boys at all my previous schools who'd been caned. It seemed I'd come to a place where it was all too scarily common. Repulsive though I thought it, caning began to occupy my thoughts rather more than was decent and I found myself increasingly interested in surveying other boys' bottoms.

I'd soon discovered what sort of crimes warranted a caning and eventually worked out what the boys meant when they hissed 'cavey'. It was the Latin cave, meaning 'Beware!' and was used whenever there was danger. This might be the arrival of a master outside the classroom door before a lesson or, more ominously, the tell-tale creak of a floorboard outside the dormitory after lights-out. Talking after lights-out was forbidden. One night a boy had been caught at it: he was summoned downstairs to the housemaster's study and returned ten minutes later, sniffing and whimpering, climbing into his narrow little bunk to cry himself to sleep. He received no comfort from the other boys in the dorm.

As I've said, I was a well-behaved little boy and carefully learned what I should do to avoid a beating. The sound of a colleague weeping into his pillow was not edifying, especially if he shared your double bunk, because his heaving sobs would make the frame shake and you'd be subjected to a rhythmic motion, synchronised - literally - with his distress.

After six long and unhappy weeks we could all go home for a weekend. As my family was in Germany, it wasn't practicable to travel there but some family friends who'd moved back to England had invited me to go to them. This meant a two hour train journey to a small town in Hampshire. To say I was excited about getting out of that school even for a short time would be an understatement. I was ecstatic at the prospect and had been ticking off the hours in my Boy Scouts Diary since first arriving at school. So it was only natural for me to chatter excitedly after lights-out on the Thursday night before the weekend. I missed the frantic whisper of ' Cave ' from the boy who slept closest to the door. The dormitory door crashed open and the housemaster yelled:

"Who was talking?"

There was a deathly silence as every boy held his breath. Schoolboy honour dictated that the perpetrator always owned up but I just lay there, frozen in fear. My heart was thumping and I began to sweat profusely.

"Who was talking?"

This time, he asked the question slowly, deliberately and with menace. I still lay there, shaking, eyes tight shut. One of the boys cleared his throat. The tension was dreadful. I knew what would happen to me if I owned up to this heinous crime but I knew I had to own up. But I couldn't say anything. My mouth was so dry my voice wouldn't work. Another pause followed, which seemed to last an hour. The boy cleared his throat again. I knew that all the others were willing me to speak up.

"I will not leave until the boy has owned up."

Slowly, in terror, I dragged up the courage to say:

"Um, Sir, it was me."

Things then happened very quickly. I was out of my bed, dressing gown on, slippers on, and downstairs in the dreadful man's study. The bright lights blinded me. He told me to take off my dressing gown and to lean over his desk. At least my pyjamas were on, not that the thin cotton would offer much protection. There followed what remain the most agonising and clearly etched couple of minutes I have ever suffered. The sadist took his cane and whipped it through the air once or twice. I was bent over, face covered, tears already starting, as he lifted the cane for the first blow. When it struck, I felt the most vicious, stinging pain imaginable. It was like an electric shock, but worse, because I knew there would be more. Gasping, I sought for breath, overwhelmed by humiliation, defeat and pain.

Down came the cane again. I yelped loudly, partly in reaction to the suddenness of the blow but also because it was even more painful than the first blow. Perhaps he'd hit me in exactly the same place. There was a pause. Had he finished? Surely I'd be getting more strokes than two? Oh yes, there were more. The third one was just as powerful as the others but must have made contact on a different part of my bottom because it was like the whole appalling process was starting from the beginning. More intakes of breath from me, more wriggling and more tears.

"Stay still!" he commanded.

The fourth stroke was the worst of all, seeming to rocket me forwards into the desk while creating a fresh sensation of excruciating pain in a new place, right at the top of my legs. I think I shrieked. I clenched my fists tight and waited for the next blow.

"That will do, Lewes. Now get to bed and never let me hear you talking after lights out again."

I put on my dressing gown and shuffled wetly out of the study, slowly to climb the stairs back to my dormitory. I was racked with pain and the tears were flowing freely as I tried desperately not to cry out or moan. As I entered the dorm there was silence from all the other boys and I crept towards my bed feeling broken and alone. I climbed into the bunk, pulled the sheet over and turned onto my tummy, burying my face in the pillow and just letting the sobs come and wash all over me. The happy thoughts of the weekend were far away and I just wanted my mother. I pictured my little bedroom at home, the comforting things around me there, the kind words of my parents and the safety of just being at home. After a bit, I turned over a little, just enough to catch the cold moonlight coming through the curtainless windows of the dormitory, illuminating in a cruel, harsh monochrome the bare wooden floor, the metal frames of the bunk beds and the sleeping forms of small boys. I had never felt so far from home.

Part 2 – Friday morning

Next morning, my bottom was still throbbing painfully and I wondered what would be the reaction of the other boys. As the bell rang at 7 am to tell us to get out of bed, I eased myself carefully out of my bunk and waited to be cold-shouldered. Instead, the biggest boy in the dorm, the natural leader, came over, shook my hand and said:

"You did all right last night, Lewes."

At this, the others clustered round and took turns to shake my hand. It seemed that I'd passed some sort of test and was now to be accepted by my dorm-mates. Although suffering badly and dreading having to sit down on the wooden bench at breakfast, I derived some comfort from this display and may even have managed some kind of a joke as we got dressed. Sitting down was not quite as agonising as I'd feared, and as I tackled the disgusting porridge, I began, once again, to look forward to the weekend holiday about to start. We had chemistry practical that morning, which meant I could spend a lot of time standing and not having to sit on my aching bottom. Lessons finished at lunchtime and I walked to the railway station; by now I was enormously excited and stood on the platform awaiting the train.

At 12.25 pm on a beautiful Friday in early June, I was on a green Southern Region train as it pulled slowly out of the station, the steam locomotive's whistle blowing cheerfully. They still had magnificent steam locos on regular services in 1959. Still dressed in school uniform, for I had no other clothes, I tried to forget about the night before and thought about the coming weekend. My parents' friends had a son called Roger, who was nearly fifteen. We'd known each other in Germany but not very well and I hadn't seen him for several months. I hoped we still had something in common but over a year's difference in age is a lot to boys at that stage of their lives.

It was a very hot day and I felt far too warm in my uniform. It occurred to me to take off my jacket and loosen my tie but this was forbidden at school, regardless of the weather and I thought there may be spies on board who'd report back to the housemaster. I couldn't take the risk. Instead, I copied a boy in my class and pulled up the legs of my prickly shorts until the hems sat about four inches above my knees. The boy pulled his hems much higher than that whenever he sat at his desk. I was surprised he never got told off for it but maybe that was because he was so nice-looking. He told me his thighs couldn't stand 'the infernal itching.' He said how jealous he was of the handful of lucky boys whose shorts had a smooth, cotton lining. So was I.

Later in the journey I decided to stand in the vestibule at the end of the carriage, in the breeze from the open windows in the carriage doors. My bottom didn't throb so much and the flannel chafed my thighs less cruelly. I felt a little more comfortable – until some older boys got into my carriage wearing open-necked shirts and blue shorts of breathtaking brevity. Dressed so much more suitably than me, they were chatting merrily and looked happy.

Although envious of the boys, I hated short shorts. I used to push the waistband of my sports shorts down over my hips to cover more of my thighs. At home I sometimes wore khaki shorts that finished at mid-thigh. I didn't like sitting down in them, because they'd ride right up my legs, making me very self-conscious. I remember many times feeling embarrassed about my bare thighs, especially if girls were present. I'd far sooner have worn long trousers, like the ones I'd worn at my previous school, even in hot weather. All I had for this weekend was my horrid, itchy, flannel uniform but at least it covered my upper legs.

As the train trundled through sunlit countryside, I grew excited about being away from that horrible school for two nights but I wondered whether Roger's voice had broken and whether he'd want to be bothered with a little kid like me. At my destination, I climbed off the train with my little case and looked for my hosts. When I saw Roger coming towards me, my heart thumped and my mouth went dry. He was wearing the shortest shorts I'd seen since I was last in Germany, much shorter even than the ones worn by those boys on the train.

Many German boys wore leather shorts that they seemed to grow up in, the shorts appearing to get ever shorter as their wearer grew taller. I'd heard that some boys were given new shorts at ten years or so and kept them until they were at least sixteen. Roger now looked like one of these boys – as he came closer I saw that his legs were entirely bare, right to the top. I remembered he often wore little leather shorts in Germany. A few other English boys wore them, some with great reluctance. On the station platform, Roger stood a good eight inches taller than me as he shook my hand in welcome. He had on a red checked shirt and sandals and these unbelievably tiny black leather shorts. He smiled, picked up my case and led me off towards the family car. I followed him, noting how much taller he'd grown since we last met and that his voice had indeed broken. Then, in a pulse-quickening moment, I realised I could glimpse, just below his shorts and alternating from one leg to the other as he walked, the crease which marked the start of his bottom.

Roger's father was waiting by the car and he clapped me round the shoulder and said to take off my cap, jacket and tie. We set off through the country lanes, Roger and I sitting beside each other in the back seat. At first, Roger worked his legs rapidly up and down until his thighs got used to the hot plastic car seat. I answered questions about my school as politely as I could but was distracted by the sight of Roger's long, bare legs beside my little grey-clad ones. I noticed how his legs sported a light tan and guessed he must have worn his little shorts very often. He wasn't a boarder, so could be at home in the evenings and at weekends, wearing what he liked. I was jealous of that but one thing was for sure – I was not at all envious of his leather shorts – I could never wear anything so shockingly revealing!

Hoping Roger wasn't watching me, I tried to see if his underpants were showing. I remembered some German boys wearing their Lederhosen so short that their underpants peeped out below the turn-ups on their shorts. The halter harness that many boys wore with Lederhosen pulled the shorts very high, tight into the crotch and I recalled a boy similar to Roger standing on a step-ladder in a bookshop, reaching up to a high shelf. His raised shoulders pulled up the harness, which hauled his shorts as high as they could go. So high that the lower hem was over an inch higher than his skimpy little briefs. I couldn't avoid seeing a chunk of his bare bottom. I thought it was disgraceful but he didn't seem at all self-conscious. Did I say disgraceful? I meant to say delicious!

Now, looking at Roger, who wasn't wearing a harness, I experienced a wave of excitement and planned a discreet inspection of him when he was standing. When the car turned a sharp corner, Roger's knees suddenly came into contact with mine for a few seconds. I felt a sort of electrical tingling through my body, a very different sensation to that which had agonisingly coursed through my body the night before in the study of the hated housemaster.

We arrived at Roger's house and got out of the car. No, I couldn't see his underpants but a side-view clearly showed the curve of his bottom starting just below his turn-ups. I decided I'd enjoy being with Roger if he stayed in those clothes. It now promised to be a very interesting weekend indeed. Roger's mother came out to greet me and gave me a big hug, the first display of affection I'd received since bidding goodbye to my parents over six weeks before. She welcomed me into their house, which was deep in the countryside, with a big garden. The late afternoon had got even hotter and she looked at me, perspiring in my grey woollen shirt, grey woollen suit and long grey woollen socks.

"Good Gracious, Jolyon, you can't go around dressed like that! Why don't you go straight up and change into something cooler?" When I said all I had were my pyjamas she said "Well, I'll see what I can find. Wait there, darling."

I felt a sudden sense of foreboding. In a moment she returned, bearing some clothes.

"Here are some of Roger's clothes. He's almost grown out of them but I'm sure they'll fit you perfectly. Pop upstairs and get changed, darling."

I tried to look grateful as I took the pile of clothing. There was a light blue cotton shirt, some short white socks and – you've guessed it – a pair of leather shorts, looking impossibly tiny. I suddenly felt faint.

I must have looked nervous, for Roger, standing beside me, said "Perhaps he'd rather not change, Mum. He refused to wear shorts like that in Germany. And you bought me those little ones years ago, when I was eleven! "

"I know, darling, and you've grown a lot since then but I'm sure they'll be just fine for Jolyon. He looks so hot in those clothes and I'm sure he wants to cool down."

Stammering my thanks, I went upstairs to Roger's bedroom and began to get changed. It was certainly a relief to shed the hot and itchy school uniform, and Roger's blue shirt felt blissful. Trembling, I held up the shorts and examined them. They were pale brown and the leather was well worn and very soft. There was a zip fly and a belt, no pockets at the sides but little ones at the front. There were no turn ups and the inside leg length was no more than an inch. At each side was a vertical slit, about three inches long, which had once been closed by laces but now the leather each side was hanging loose. Surely I could think of some excuse not to wear these terrifying little shorts. But what could I think of?

I held the shorts up to my waist and looked in the mirror. I could see that they wouldn't cover much. This was going to be excruciating. Slowly, I put them on. They were tight round my waist and pulled firmly into my crotch. Having fastened the top button, I found with dismay that I couldn't work them down over my hips in an attempt to preserve a little modesty. So I was going to be stuck with them in just one position. I looked at my image in the mirror and saw my face scarlet with embarrassment. Even my swimming trunks, which I hated, were longer than these ridiculously short Lederhose. I could see my underpants peeping out below the shorts, just like those German boys. What could I do? It looked so rude! I took off the shorts and my underpants and tried the shorts alone. It looked less rude but it felt all wrong. I'd now been so long that Roger called from downstairs to ask if I was alright.

"Just coming," I replied. I had no alternative – I had to wear those shorts!

I took them off again and put on my underpants, this time rolling the waist band round and round so that the pants rode much higher and felt really tight on me. Back on with the shorts again and another look at the mirror. Now I couldn't see my underpants showing so I seemed to have found the best combination. I'd never worn anything so revealing. How was I going to cope? The new tightness round my bottom reminded me that it was still very tender after last night's treatment. And then it struck me like a blow and my chest heaved: would the cane marks show? Could I pull the shirt out and wear it over the shorts? I stood at the top of the stairs shaking with nerves. No, it only reached to just below my waist so it wouldn't hide anything. I'd just have to make sure nobody looked at me from behind.

I descended the stairs in trepidation, trembling with embarrassment and went into the sitting room, taking care to position myself so that I always had my back to a wall.

"Ah! You'll be much cooler now, darling!" said Roger's mother. "And you do look sweet. Those shorts fit you well, don't they?" I tried to smile gratefully, despite my deep embarrassment.

I thought Roger was looking at me with a frown on his normally open, smiling face. Could he see something? I fidgeted nervously and moved behind some furniture. Then Roger said he thought we should go for a bike ride. He'd borrowed a second bike especially for this weekend. I was anxious to be out of sight of grown-ups so this struck me as a good idea. Until that is, I realised that it was going to be very painful sitting on a bicycle saddle in my condition. Then I wondered how wide those slits would open as I cycled along. If I could contrive to ride the bike standing on the pedals, without sitting on the saddle, that might help, as well as being less painful on my bottom.

Part 3 – Friday afternoon

So, out went Roger and I, and off down the lane we cycled. He was his usual, cheery self, his fair hair glinting in the sunlight. My bike was a bit big for me, so it was actually easier not to use the saddle but to hover just above the cross bar. I could perch gingerly on the saddle when freewheeling. I was terrified of seeing anybody but, following Roger, I thought that with his long legs, he was showing much more bare flesh than me and would perhaps divert the stares of onlookers from me. Not used to wearing so little, I felt virtually naked and I couldn't believe that people wouldn't stare when we rode past. As it happened, we saw few people and none appeared to be remotely curious.

I sometimes cycled alongside Roger, as he chatted about the sights and sounds of the countryside, and I watched his smooth, lightly-bronzed legs pumping away. I couldn't see his underpants, even when, with his knee nearly touching his chest, quite a lot of buttock was exposed and it crossed my mind that he wasn't wearing any underwear. We had few hills to tackle and cycling gently along under the shade of the trees was a pleasant experience; I felt cool and unrestricted. It was great not to have those hot and clammy clothes on. I was very careful, however, not to get ahead of Roger, fearful that he would see the red cane marks at the tops of my legs. I remained alert for any pedestrians and if a car came past, I made sure I was standing on the pedals, hoping that the saddle would hide the view of my poor, battered hindquarters.

We arrived at a riverbank and Roger suggested we sit down and watch the river go by. We put the bikes down and sat with our legs dangling over the swiftly moving water. It was idyllic. I was glad of the long grass, which surrounded my bottom and my hips with a natural, green screen. Roger lay back on the grass and drew his knees up. He seemed friendlier than he'd been in Germany. The warm afternoon sunshine bathed his body, his fair hair was shining, he had a look of contentment on his handsome, freckled face and his bare arms and legs glowed in the heat. He looked stunningly good. I became aware of a strange feeling – a desire to rest my hand on his thigh, just to feel the smoothness of his skin. I looked at my little white legs and wondered if I could ever get used to going around like Roger. No, I could never enjoy appearing in public – or even in private – like that!

A group of old people was approaching along the riverbank and I instinctively got to my feet, first attempting – without success – to pull the legs of my Lederhose down a bit, then turning to face the people as they passed by. They stopped to chat to us and I stood with my back to the river, blushing. They were saying how nice it was to see two boys letting the sun get to their arms and legs. I desperately hoped they were looking more at Roger than at me. There were six men and they virtually surrounded us so I didn't know which way to turn, instead holding my hands behind my back to cover my shame. It probably made me look very respectful.

Two of the men were wearing tweeds and one of them, perspiring profusely, began to talk to me about the joys of life in the open air, saying he wished he was young again and could 'go around in nice little shorts like that.' He asked how old we were and where we went to school. While the others were talking to Roger, he came closer to me and looked me up and down. He told me that youngsters of today need to learn the value of good manners and firm discipline. What did he mean by this? Had he seen something? I could feel myself turning even redder as I stood there with my hands tightly clasped behind my back. I wished he would leave me alone.

"You, my lad, are setting a fine example to some young men I can think of," he said, addressing me but looking pointedly at the other man in tweeds. "Nothing wrong with firm discipline to teach a boy good bahaviour, eh?" He looked back at me and winked.

I then realised the second man in tweeds was a boy, only about five years older than me and rather pimply. His pink face was running with sweat, which he kept wiping with a sodden handkerchief. He looked incredibly hot in his three-piece suit of hairy tweed and kept plucking at his trousers to pull the material away from his legs.

"Can we go on, Father? It's been such a long day," he whined.

"Come and meet young Jolyon first," said the old man. " He knows the meaning of discipline."

The sweating youth shook my hand. His hand was hot and dripping with moisture and I was glad when he let go, so I could wipe my hand on my shorts and put it behind my back again. He told me how nice I looked. I said I'd borrowed Roger's clothes and he glanced over at Roger, then back at me.

"Those clothes are his? I'm surprised he can get into those shorts!" he said, suddenly more animated, his eyes wide and a hint of a smile on his face as he turned to study Roger in greater detail.

At last, the people moved on and Roger and I sat down again on the bank.

"That poor young bloke in the tweeds!" Roger exclaimed. "Fancy wearing clothes like that on a day like this!"

"Or on any day," I commented, stretching out on the grass, for once grateful to be wearing so little.

"It's obvious his father has him right under his thumb," added Roger. "Poor bloke! I've never seen anyone looking more miserable, or so hot and sweaty."

"I think he was jealous of you, Roger – he was looking at you in a funny way," I said, thinking of the hot young man's longing looks at Roger.

I relaxed a little and we chatted about some of the times we'd shared in Germany. Then we talked about our respective schools. Roger was a day-boy, cycling to and from school every day. Lucky thing, I thought. He asked me if they used the cane at my school. I felt myself blushing again and wondered if he'd noticed my marks but he changed the subject and talked about school food instead. I wanted to feel comfortable with Roger but we didn't know each other well. In Germany we'd been acquaintances rather than friends. Roger was being a superb host but we were far from being intimate. I lay back, watching the high clouds and wishing time could stand still, so postponing my return to school, maybe forever.

Eventually, Roger said we should be going home and we began to pedal slowly along the riverside, with me behind, as usual. We soon reached the road and a village. My self-consciousness returned dramatically when a small party of kids our age appeared ahead. They were all wearing long trousers. A couple of them jeered at our tiny little shorts and others wolf-whistled as we rode past. I pedalled faster and wanted the road to open up in front of me so I could disappear into oblivion. Roger paid no notice and made no comment, although he did speed up a bit. I was blushing again and cycled frantically along, eager now to make the safety of home. Soon we reached Roger's house and put the bikes away. The sun was low in the sky as we entered the house, to be met by Roger's mother. There was a table piled with delicious-looking food. I said I'd better go up and wash my hands. I was desperate to put on my horrible grey shorts.

She said "Yes, have a quick wash but there's no need to get changed, boys. It's such a lovely evening and it certainly won't get cold."

So that was it, then. I couldn't get changed and was now faced with the high probability of my well-caned rump being spotted by the grown-ups. As I pondered this, my bottom began to throb with pain again and I wondered how many more days it would take for the ache to disappear. Then I remembered poor Royston, at school, for whom life was presumably one long pain in the bottom! I stood alone in the sitting room, feeling with a finger where the pain was worst, trying to judge whether that area was covered by the shorts. I reached the inescapable conclusion that my lowest weal was way out in the open for all to see and that the people on the riverbank must have seen it. The old man in tweeds had obviously been referring to it when he was talking about discipline!

I was terrified at the prospect of spending the evening in close proximity to grown-ups and wearing those terrifyingly brief shorts. I knew that if Roger was happy to sit there with his bare legs on display, I should try to follow suit. But I was so self-conscious. I felt permanently flushed and contrived to hover about, standing rather than sitting, with my back to the wall. I knew that if I sat, what little there was of the shorts would ride right up my hips. My insistence on standing probably suggested to the others that I'd acquired saddle sores! Which, I suppose, I had, but by a different route! When I couldn't put off any longer sitting at the table, I was able to pull the tablecloth over my legs and keep them hidden. Aside from the pain I felt sitting on a hard chair, it was a position I felt moderately happy in.

Later, we left the table and moved to the sitting room to watch TV. Roger lay on the floor, his knees drawn up and his head cradled in his hands. Once again, I could see some bare buttock. I couldn't bring myself to adopt a similar posture, so I sat cross-legged on the floor, with a newspaper spread out over my legs, bearing the pain in my bottom and hoping my pose looked natural and not a desperate search for modesty. Roger's parents were obviously used to their son looking like this; he was not in the least self-conscious. Would I ever feel likewise?

Time for bed, and I quickly and thankfully got into my pyjamas, while Roger was in the bathroom. I was lying in my bed when he came into the bedroom to get undressed. I turned politely away, by rolling over, thereby taking the pressure off my still sore bottom. Roger got into his bed, turned the light out and asked me if I'd like to do some fishing in the morning. I assumed we'd once again be wearing Lederhosen and was worried that he might introduce me to some of his friends. But to my great relief he said the weekend was just for the two of us and we could do whatever I liked. A few minutes later, I rolled over and looked at him, now sleeping soundly. I remembered his long legs glowing in the sun as he had lain by the river and I felt strangely aroused. The two pairs of shorts lay together on a chair and their difference in size seemed quite apparent. I remembered what the sweaty youth had said about Roger fitting into the shorts I'd been wearing, the ones he'd grown out of. I went to sleep wondering what Roger would look like in those tiny brown shorts.

Part 4 – Saturday

Next morning, Saturday, the sun was shining from a cloudless sky and the day promised to be even warmer than Friday. When Roger leapt out of bed, I was surprised to see him wearing just a pair of boxer shorts. I asked him if he wore those instead of pyjamas and he said he did wear pyjamas but only in the winter months. He stood in front of me, smiling. His boxers were at least two inches longer than the Lederhose he wore by day. Then he whipped them off and put on a pair of underpants the like of which I had never seen before. There was nothing at the back except for two thin straps, while at the front was a sort of pouch into which went his willy. The most substantial part of the garment seemed to be the deep, elasticised waistband.

"What's that?" I asked.

"It's my jockstrap," said Roger, "haven't you seen one before? It's for wearing under rugger shorts but I use it with Lederhosen too."

I suddenly felt very young. At school, we were forbidden to wear anything under sports shorts. I'd heard rumours that older boys wore something called a jockstrap but really had no idea what it might be. It sounded rude. As Roger put on his black leather shorts, I realised why I hadn't seen his underpants peeping out – his jockstrap would remain out of sight under even the shortest of shorts. Roger disappeared to the bathroom and I got dressed. I wound up my underpants even tighter than I'd done the day before to make my own jockstrap. I tried to see in the mirror whether the red marks on my bottom were fading but quickly had to put the leather shorts on when I heard footsteps approaching.

It didn't seem quite as bad putting on the shorts for the second time but a glance in the mirror when I was fastening my shoes showed that the side slits pulled open alarmingly when I raised my leg. I hadn't realised such a big gap appeared so would have to take even more care when sitting or cycling. The apprehension returned when I went downstairs and I tried hard to edge the waistband of the shorts down but it was impossible. Thank God I wasn't wearing a harness with these shorts; it would have made them ride even higher! The trembling started again. I adopted the now familiar routine of trying to remain standing and keeping my back to the wall but was not entirely successful and felt my face and neck once again going scarlet with embarrassment.

Breakfast safely over, with a packed lunch to take with us and the fishing kit strapped to the bikes, Roger and I set off, but in a different direction from the day before: I supposed he wanted to keep clear of those jeering boys. We travelled quite a long way and ended up on a canal towpath in remote countryside. We set up the rods and prepared to see what we could hook out of the canal. There was nobody about and I began to feel safe. I enjoyed Roger's companionship very much as we chatted and fished. A few little fish were in the keep-net by the time we decided to have lunch. Returning the fish to their canal, we wandered off a little way from the bank and sat down to eat.

I was no longer feeling self-conscious in Roger's company and sat like him, with my knees drawn up, as I leaned against a tree trunk. It was an odd sensation to feel blades of grass tickling my bare bottom – those shorts really were tiny!

"When did you get beaten, then?" He suddenly came out with the question I was dreading.

"How did you know?" I stammered.

"Well, it's pretty obvious, Jolyon, with those marks on your – um - legs."

"Can you see them?"

"Couldn't really miss 'em when I saw you come downstairs with my shorts on yesterday but I didn't want to say anything, seeing as you looked so nervous."

I felt myself blushing. "I didn't think it was that obvious," was all I could manage. "Did your parents see?"

"Oh, I shouldn't think so," said Roger. "Actually, there's one mark on your legs, the others are sort of higher up."

"You could see marks there as well?" I gasped.

"Only when you were cycling. And now, of course. Those shorts of mine are really a bit too short for you."

I quickly straightened my legs. "I wish you'd told me you could see them yesterday!" I muttered.

"Actually, I had to look quite hard to see the other marks. I was curious because it was obvious you didn't want to wear my shorts. That's why I looked."

"But why couldn't you have told me yesterday, before we spent all evening with your parents?" I was getting angry now.

"Truth is, I thought if I told you then, you wouldn't want to come out on the bikes today."

"No, I wouldn't. But you let me......" I started to sob and couldn't get any more words out.

Roger then did something I thought both extraordinary and marvellous. He moved over to me and put an arm round my shoulders.

"You can talk to me about it, you know," he said softly. Feeling his warm arm around me I turned towards him and began to cry properly.

"I hate that school! It's horrible!" I whimpered. Roger clasped me to him and let me weep freely. The tension had been released and I told him about the night in the dorm when I was caught talking after lights out and my subsequent caning.

"The thing is," I said, "I wouldn't have been talking if I wasn't so excited about coming to see you for the weekend." He hugged me tighter.

"Does it still hurt?" he asked.

"Not as much. Except when I'm sitting on the saddle or anything hard. Are the marks beginning to fade yet?"

"Turn over and lie on your tummy."

I did as bidden and felt his fingers gently running over the most painful weal, the one at the top of my legs. I winced. Then he carefully lifted one leg of the shorts and I felt his fingertips on my bottom.

"Yes, the three other marks are all here, very close together. They still look very obvious. Does this hurt?"

"No, it feels sort of nice."

"Look, Jolyon, I've got some Nivea Crème, 'cause cycling sometimes gives me a rash. Can I rub some on for you?"

Roger went to his bike and returned with a little tin of Nivea. With extreme gentleness he applied the cream to my bruised skin and softly worked it in. I'd never felt anything like it. I was very glad to be lying on my front, for I realised I was getting an erection. I was too physically immature for anything else to happen but I still remember the uniquely, warm, comfortable feeling enveloping my whole chest and my heart beating faster.

When he'd finished he, too, turned over onto his front and lay down close beside me, so that our legs were touching. My head was resting on my arm. I said "Thank you, Roger."

"That's OK." He sounded out of breath. We just lay there, lost in our own thoughts, our legs still touching.

Eventually, I turned over and said how hungry I was. The spell was broken and we tucked into our sandwiches. Roger was being quieter than usual and when I caught his eye he said "Shall we swap shorts?"

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, mine are bigger and you might feel better if you could hide those marks. Let's see if my shorts will do it."

"Yes, but I thought you'd grown out of these little ones," I said.

"I reckon I could squeeze 'em on," said Roger, eager to try his experiment.

So we checked there was nobody about and took our shorts off. Having quickly unwound my underpants, I put on his black Lederhosen which like the others had legs of barely an inch – the width of the turn-up. But they were much roomier and I found I could work them down my hips a little. I stood in front of Roger and asked him if he could see the red marks.

"Turn round slowly," he said, in only his jockstrap. "Nope. They're well hidden now, Jolyon."

Then Roger began to put on his old shorts, the brown ones. Even though he was slightly slimmer than me, it was a mighty struggle but he could just fasten the top button and do up the zip.

"How do I look, then?" he asked.

He was quite a sight. The shorts were extremely tight, following his every contour and were so tiny that nearly two inches of his bottom were completely exposed. The image of the German boy on the stepladder came back to me. The side slits had been forced to make a triangular opening, which exposed Roger's hips, his jockstrap remaining discreetly out of sight. However, there was nothing discreet about the area of bare flesh now on view. I wasn't sure what to say. He made to sit down and suddenly yelped in mock pain.

"I can't bend!" he said. "Too tight!"

He was right – the shorts couldn't be tighter. He went to his bike and returned with a pocket knife.

"Can you make these slits bigger?" he asked.

Now I guessed why the side slits had been lengthened. He confirmed that he'd had to cut another two inches when he was still regularly wearing those shorts, to make them less constricting when cycling. Now he wanted me to cut the slits even longer. I had quite a job, because the leather was tough but, by putting one hand inside his shorts and holding the fabric, I managed to make the slits longer. The upper surfaces of my fingers were in contact with the smooth skin of his hips, just below his waist and, never before having touched anybody there, I felt that strange, electric sensation again.

When both slits had been lengthened to four inches, the triangular opening was larger and from the side I could see even more of Roger's hips. When he sat down, the slits opened fully and it was as if he wasn't wearing any shorts at all. If I'd known then what the ultra short split-shorts of the 1980s would be like, I should have thought nothing of it but right then, I thought Roger was being incredibly daring. It was, after all, 1959 and footballers' shorts were still quite long.

"Shall we swap back again, Roger?"

"No – you look much happier in the ones you're wearing."

"Yes, but are you happy in those? I mean, they're tiny . You look like one of those German boys!"

"Oh, I'll manage. Actually, I thought those German boys looked pretty good. Anyway, you're my guest. I want you to be happy. But we'd better swap back before we get home."

I could have kissed him.

For the rest of the afternoon we carried on with our fishing, cycling from place to place and generally enjoying the warm sunshine. I became aware that my legs and arms were feeling the effects of the sun. Roger seemed content in his old brown shorts, which offered barely more protection than a loin cloth, barely being the operative word. I couldn't take my eyes off him when we were cycling, the rear bands of his jockstrap popping occasionally into view. When he stripped his shirt off, he might as well have been naked. The smallest pair of swimming trunks would have covered more of him that those crazy little leather shorts.

I asked him what he wore at school. He wore long trousers, he said, but would rather wear short ones, not like my flannel ones but shorter and of much nicer material. He said he wore jeans most of the winter but liked getting into shorts when the weather warmed up. He'd been given his new, black shorts a year ago and hoped they'd last him for years. I kept my opinion to myself – that they were already indecent and would become more and more so as he continued to grow. Meanwhile, I was enjoying wearing them, feeling much less self-conscious when we met people, confident that my shaming red marks were now out of sight. A group of men cycled past us and I noticed a couple of them staring at Roger, craning their necks round as they travelled past. Perhaps they were as captivated as I was by the sight of so much of Roger's flesh, great chunks of bare buttock showing as he pedalled along. Very obvious was the newly exposed flesh of his buttocks, which hadn't seen the sun before, contrasting with his tanned legs.

Before we began the final cycle ride home, we found a secret place where we could swap shorts again.

"Are you sure you don't mind?" asked Roger.

"Your Mum would think it odd if we came home with each other's shorts on." I said. So we swapped and I had to put on those tiny little things again, now even more revealing with their extra-long slits. I remembered to wind up my underpants again.

"How do the red marks look now, Roger?" I asked, turning away from him and bending forward.

"Much the same, I'm afraid. But we'll soon be home. Do they hurt still?"

"Not really. That Nivea has worked wonders."

"Good," said Roger. "I'll put some more on later, if you like. And I'll bring it again tomorrow."

Now that was a nice thought....

As we cycled home, although extremely conscious of the gap made by the long slits, and desperate not to meet anyone, I was feeling defiant. Roger had shown such tenderness and consideration that I'd do anything for him now, even suffering the embarrassment of having to wear those shorts all evening. Or would I?

I thought he must like me a lot and it was fantastic to be out with somebody I so much admired, not just for his kindness but also, let's admit it, for his physical beauty. It was only in those last couple of hours that I'd realised Roger was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen. I gazed and gazed at him as he cycled along in front. Then there was a rumble of thunder and black clouds hastened across the sky.

We got home, put the bikes away and were in the house when the first raindrops fell. The summer storm refreshed the humid atmosphere and the temperature dropped. Paramount in my thoughts was the question of how to hide my bare, punished bottom from Roger's parents. Despite my unspoken pledge, I regarded another evening in those miniscule little shorts with the utmost dread. Then Roger, winking at me, said he was going to put his jeans on and, again, I could have kissed him. Now I could put on my dull but safe school shorts and would not have to face the evening panicking about what Roger's parents might see. With incredible relief, I ran upstairs and changed. The school shorts felt hot and chafed painfully on my thighs. I realised the sun had really got to work on my legs. The discomfort was a small price to pay for modesty though, and I felt safe at last. Roger put proper underpants on and then his jeans. I knew I'd be seeing his bare legs – and probably more – the next day.

The evening was spent very happily. As it was my last night there, Roger's mother made a really super meal and we enjoyed a game of Monopoly afterwards. I was so relieved not to have to watch how I sat and even relaxed enough to sit on the sofa with one leg crossed over the other, a pose I couldn't have dared to adopt the night before. When Roger and I had got into our beds, we planned the next morning. He said he knew another very quiet place where we wouldn't be disturbed. What could he mean? By now I wanted very much to touch his body; was he thinking along the same lines?

I lay on my tummy, my bottom now feeling a lot less tender. For the second time that day, my willy was stiff. I was trying to imagine what it'd be like to stroke Roger's bottom.

Part 5 – Sunday morning

In the morning, sun was flooding into the bedroom when Roger's Mum brought us each a cup of tea.

"It's going to be a marvellous day, boys. Even hotter than yesterday." Her words were prophetic in more than one sense.

Roger was in the room when I took off my pyjamas. Well, he'd seen me now so there was nothing to hide. I could see him watching.

"Just stand still a moment, Jolly," he said, using his new pet name for me. "Turn round a bit. You know, your legs are so pink from the sun I can hardly see those marks."

"You mean they're pink all the way up?"

"Yep, as far as the middle marks." I was horrified that some of my bottom must have been exposed to the sun when I'd been lying on the grass but the sunburn seemed a good way of disguising those awful cane marks.

"Can you have another look when I've got the shorts on?" I asked. This time I didn't wear my underpants but just put the tiny shorts on. Observing me closely, Roger got me to turn round a couple of times and then sit on a chair.

"Yes, the marks have nearly gone. And the shorts are so tight you don't really need underpants. Just sit with your knees together so your privates don't pop out."

I was used to wearing no underpants under my sports kit but those little leather shorts were much, much shorter than my gym shorts. Still, if Roger thought it was OK not to wear underpants, then it was OK. He was in charge. I couldn't help noticing a bulge in the front of his boxers as he went to the bathroom. Was he feeling the same about me as I felt about him? I could have kissed him.

Confident that my cane marks had merged into the suntan, a new feeling of liberation came over me when I mounted the bike. I liked the cool morning air washing over my bare legs and probing the skin on my hips through the big gap made by the side slits.

"Let's go, Jolly!"

I rather liked Roger's pet name for me; he'd invented it the night before and was the only person to use it so it was very special. Cycling along, I was very conscious that I had no pants on. I had wound them up so tightly on the first two days that they hurt when I was cycling hard. Now, even though the leather shorts were very tight, I felt freer and, if I'd known the word then, uninhibited. It was lovely. We cycled to the place we'd used the day before for our first shorts-swapping. It seemed just as secluded as we'd hoped and we set down the bikes and looked into the water.

"Shall we forget the fishing and just lie in the sun?" said Roger.

The day was quickly becoming very warm indeed and the sky was completely clear. "Why don't we go to your secret place?" I suggested. Roger readily agreed and we were soon in a good place near a small wood but with plenty of sun-drenched grass to lie on.

"Now you can't be too careful so let's swap shorts again!" he said, unbuttoning his black shorts. I quickly saw that like me, he had no underwear.

"Thought I'd join your club!" he grinned, when he saw me staring at his nakedness. "Come on, Jolly, take yours off too!"

Having forced the tiny brown shorts on, Roger reclined on the grass, sipping from his bottle of lemonade. He was shirtless, his knees were drawn up and he leaned on one elbow as he drank. I found myself gazing in wonder at this vision of loveliness. Feeling somewhat overdressed by comparison, in his new black shorts and still wearing my shirt, I settled down beside him and accepted his offer of a sip from his bottle. We absorbed the sunshine and enjoyed each other's closeness.

After a while, Roger said "I keep thinking about that awful caning, my little Jolly, I'm sorry for you having to go through that all alone, with no friends to look after you."

He reached out with his arms and I moved forward on my knees to join him in a huge hug, a hug that lasted a long time. We settled on the ground, clasped together and then Roger wriggled free to wipe his eyes. He'd been silently crying. I stood up to check the coast was clear, then looked down at my beautiful companion.

My willy was as stiff as it could get so I sat down again. "You know when you put that Nivea on me yesterday?" I said, cautiously. "Well, it felt lovely, and I'm not talking about the Nivea!"

"I liked it too," said Roger. "I've never touched anyone's bum before. At least not like that. Rugby doesn't count."

"The saddle's made some marks on your bottom, Roger," said I. "Would you like me...."

"To rub some cream on? You bet!"

So began an extraordinary session of innocent but incredibly sensual intimacy. Roger found a soft patch of grass and lay down on his front. I applied the Nivea in the gentle, caressing manner he had used on me, beginning at the crease where his bottom started, pressing down hardly at all with my fingertips. Roger moaned softly. I moved my attention to his right buttock. Roger wriggled a little and sighed. To reach the crown of his bottom I had to force my fingers inside the tiny, brown shorts, the soft leather caressing my knuckles as the pads of my fingertips caressed Roger's perfect skin. Up there, it was pure white, untouched by the sun, and smooth as porcelain.

I'd noticed at school that boys older than me often had some hair on their legs. As I gazed down at Roger, I realised that nowhere on his legs, or on the sizeable area of his bottom I could see, was there the slightest trace of down, let alone hair.

I'd never examined anyone's body as intimately as I was now doing. The very contact with Roger's flesh set off all sorts of tingling sensations around my body and, as I worked gently away, I was aware of my third ever erection. Because I wasn't wearing underpants, my hard little willy poked out the front of Roger's black shorts – which I, of course, was wearing. I tried to put it back inside but it wouldn't fit. I hoped I wouldn't have to stand up suddenly and prayed we wouldn't be disturbed.

When I'd finished my spell of nursing I told Roger he could turn over.

"I can't," he said. "I don't want you to see me, it'd be embarrassing."

"Well, I'm glad you can't see me either," I murmured.

Roger rolled over. I stared at him. Like mine, his miniscule shorts had given up the struggle to contain his very excited willy and it waved about waywardly. He stared up at me in return. I think we were both equally embarrassed and quickly lay on our sides, very close together and facing each other. Saying nothing, we put our arms around each other and drew each other close. Our bare legs entwined, we lay there for what seemed like hours. I felt so warm, so excited and so loved. I'd never felt anything like it, ever. At last, I kissed him, just a little one on his cheek. I was in Heaven. He returned the compliment, just as briefly.

Part 6 – Sunday afternoon

Suddenly my blissful mood was broken when I looked at my watch. I had a train to catch. I said we'd have to think about heading for home soon and we ought to swap shorts again.

"No, Jolly, not yet. I know you hate other people staring at you."

Amazingly, Roger cycled off in the tiny brown shorts, having somehow stuffed his penis inside them. I hoped there'd be no gangs of boys to taunt him.

While we were cycling through a village, Roger asked me if I'd like an ice cream. What a treat, I thought. I offered to go in the shop to make the purchase but Roger insisted it was his responsibility, took some coins out of his saddlebag and went in to buy two orange ice lollies. As he stood waiting at the counter, a man buying a newspaper dropped a coin on the floor and took a long time crouched down to retrieve it; I could see him gazing up at Roger's shorts and what lay precariously inside them. He'd easily have noticed Roger's lack of underpants.

When we were outside, I said "That man was staring at you, you know, Roger. He could see an awful lot. I think we'd better swap shorts soon."

Roger blushed and, for once, looked self-conscious as he hurried back to his bike. He must have recovered quite quickly, for he said "Well, those people we met by the river on Friday were staring at you , Jolly. I don't think you noticed, but they were. One of them asked me if we had caning at my school. Like I said, these old shorts are really much too short for you. Let's wait a bit longer before we swap back."

I felt myself going red again, remembering all too clearly how the man in tweeds had asked about my school as he stared at my little shorts.

"If you think they're too short for me, what on earth d'you think they look like on you? "

Roger didn't answer but accelerated away to get out of the village. I supposed he felt duty-bound to compensate me for having – albeit unwittingly – displayed my cane-marks. I thought he was acting with great gallantry. When I'd finished the lolly, I tucked the wrapper away and kept it for years – as a private reminder of this so very special afternoon.

Not far from home, we stopped beside a thicket and, leaving the bikes by the roadside, went into the trees to swap shorts for the last time. When we'd each taken our shorts off, Roger began to laugh. 'I don't think we should make a habit of this!'

"No," I said, "I bet grown men don't get up to this sort of thing!"

We were both laughing as I put on the tiny shorts again, Roger the larger black ones. Then we became silent, knowing our private times had only minutes to run. Now clothed again, we grabbed each other and fell to the forest floor for one last friendly wrestle. Legs intertwined and arms around each other's body, we rolled about, breathing hard. There was another kiss.

We lay still until our willies had become docile enough to stay inside our shorts, then we got to our feet and sadly made our way back to the bikes. We pedalled away from the scene of magic and spoke hardly at all. At home, Roger wasted no time in getting his jeans on and I changed back into school uniform. Oh! How restricting and hot it felt. The sun had now made my legs quite red and the harsh flannel rubbed painfully against my thighs. Roger and I stood in his bedroom, our eyes in constant contact. He asked me if I'd like to keep his little brown shorts.

"I know they're too short, Jolly, but you look really nice in them!"

They'd caused me terror and abject embarrassment two days before but now represented a tangible link with our very special weekend and I gladly accepted Roger's offer. I packed them carefully at the top of my case.

"And you look fantastic in yours, Roger," I said, with feeling.

"Not too short, are they?"

"No, they're perfect," I lied.

Roger's father called up to say it was time to go to the station and five minutes later we were all in the car, heading for the station. Roger's Mum had prepared a large bag of cakes, fruit and other goodies for me to take back to school and I managed to get that into my case too. It was extremely hot in the car and I vaguely wondered whether the sweaty youth was wearing his tweeds today. I pulled my grey shorts up my legs as far as I dared, to relieve the itching and Roger, possibly misinterpreting this, moved his long legs over to touch mine. I put my raincoat (why had I brought a raincoat? ) on my knees. A minute later our hands crept together and met under my coat. So it had been worth bringing it! Nobody spoke very much. My hand was clasping Roger's. His Dad asked if it had been a good weekend and we said in unison it had been the best we could remember. His Mum looked at his Dad and they smiled at each other. What did they guess?

It was dreadful standing on the platform waiting for my train. Roger stood a few paces away and just looked intently into my eyes, saying nothing. I was dreading going back to school but it was almost a relief when the train drew. Gushing my thanks to all for such a fantastic weekend, I began to cry and Roger's Mum gave me a last motherly hug. Roger was standing very quietly, pretending he had a smut in his eye. I boarded the train and someone slammed the door shut. I frantically opened the window and reached out to Roger's hand. He grasped it firmly and when the train moved off didn't want to let go, until he could run no faster and had to release his grip, his damp eyes locked on mine.

The train entered a tunnel and I looked at my tearstained reflection in the window. Gloom enveloped me and I went to sit down. I felt all alone again and sat still and limp for several minutes. I was so numb with misery I forgot to feel the rough flannel pressing on my sunburnt legs, the tight shirt collar clamped around my neck and the ridiculous cap sitting on my head. Then I remembered the leather shorts. I took my case into the toilet and opened it. I picked up the shorts and held them close. They were still warm, and I tried to picture Roger when he was last wearing them, just a couple of hours ago, looking so absolutely scrumptious in his near nakedness. I held them to my face and burst into tears again, crying for what had been and would most likely never be repeated.

Much later, back at school, I felt totally numb. I couldn't face eating any supper: I couldn't have done even if it hadn't been utterly repulsive. It was only when I was in bed, the pillow over my head, that I gained a little succour, as I thought of Roger and his two pairs of shorts, and wondered whether any other boy had shared with him what I had shared. I thought of Roger's unselfishness, his nobility, his beauty. I pictured him cycling to school in the morning. I remembered those jeering boys and their foul wolf-whistles. Thinking of that distracted me from my own miserable life and I silently nibbled at one of Roger's Mum's cakes I'd smuggled into my bed. Then I thought of Roger lying in the sun in his tiny leather shorts, his long, bare legs aglow in the sunshine and I experienced the inevitable erection. At least, I thought, I can have some pleasure in this ghastly place, but only when I'm tucked up in bed. There would no longer be any need to talk after lights-out.

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