All the Queen's Men
by N Fourbois
It was light when Oscar and Toby woke. Toby looked at his watch. "We'd better get out of here before Dom comes back," but talk of the devil. There was a knock at the door and Dominic put his head round it.
"Okay if I come in?"
"Sure," said Oscar. "After all, it is your room."
"I thought I might be disturbing something."
"No, we've done all that," said Toby.
"We just want to sleep," said Oscar. "Toby's so demanding that I didn't get a wink of sleep all night."
"And you just lay there and let me do it, I suppose?"
"Yeah," Oscar groaned in a deep voice, "and weren't you good." The two boys got out of bed naked. It didn't matter. Dominic wouldn't have seen anything he hadn't seen the previous night. They put on their dressing gowns and slippers, thanked Dom and disappeared back to Alexander. You could walk around Tippett naked and no one would worry, but if you were found on the upper floors not wearing slippers, that was a hanging offence.
Entering the dormitory, they found the Squalor and the Busker asleep in the Busker's bed. There was no sign of Marcus. Still tired, Oscar and Toby hung up their dressing gowns, took their slippers off, climbed into Oscar's bed and drew the curtain, falling asleep chastely in one another's arms.
They eventually woke up in time to get showered and dressed for breakfast at ten. Marcus had re-appeared by then. At weekends breakfast was a more casual affair than during the week, since the school policy was, within the limitations, to make boarding at Queen's as close as possible to home for the pupils, even if it did risk approaching the status of a hotel at weekends. The tacit contract was that the pupils respected this situation and by and large they did with an understanding that 'the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away'. As one of the senior Housemasters professed, if you trusted boys, they would let you down; if you didn't trust them, they would do you down. On the rare, but inevitable occasions when it needed to be demonstrated that there was a power in the land, the opprobrium of one's peers was far more feared than that of the school authorities. Certain alumni would be turning in their graves at such liberal beneficence, if only for the reason that it was not like that in their day, but ironically it was one of their own who had instigated this ethos.
After breakfast Oscar and Toby had nothing to do until lunch, which proved a relief, for them true recreation. They walked round the fields as they might have done at break during the week, but without the pressure of an impending lesson. The frost was slowly thawing. Although they periodically held little fingers, their walk was as close as it got as a platonic relationship. All feeling of the erotic had temporarily evaporated from their loving relationship. It was love in its purest form.
At lunch Dom gave Oscar and Toby scraps of paper with the password for the files in their Dropbox. They lingered on their way back to Tippett, even checked out the holly bush, but there was no sign of Jackman. They sat on the bench in full view of the bush and Oscar took out his phone to give his sister a call. «Sorry, bro, the signal's breaking up. I'll call you back.» The signal was not breaking up; it was code for 'Grandma's here and earwigging'.
Alison must have gone out into the garden, for a couple of minutes later Oscar's phone rang. "So, sister dear, how did Jimmy's date with Jackman go?"
«He's here. Why don't you ask him?» She handed over her phone. Oscar put his on 'speaker'.
"Well, come on then. We want to know all about what happened."
«How long have you got?»
"As long as the credit lasts on sis's phone."
«It was an odd experience really. You could say I was well and truly shafted. The first thing I noticed was that Michael stank.»
"Yeah, I've heard stories of the prefects in his house dragging him under the shower."
«But it was a funny smell, a sort of waxy, cheesy smell mixed in with sweat with a trace of piss.»
"That's because he freeballs."
«The strange thing was, yes, it was unpleasant, but at the same time it made me feel really horny and I wanted to smell more of it. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we caught the bus back to my place. In less than five minutes he'd got my jeans down and was blowing me and as soon as I'd come, he had his down and was bending me over the armchair. He's got a really ugly dick, one of those which in its relaxed state has an inch of extra foreskin. He has one low hanger of a ball and one tight one and a bloody great big bush that nearly covers the lot. He spat on his fingers, worked it into my hole, pulled his foreskin back, which was all smeggy and the source of a lot of his BO, and when he was about to push in, I said 'Don't you use rubbers?' 'Nah, can't be bothered. It's not as if I'm going to get you pregnant and I want to leave my spunk deep inside you. Call it a souvenir.' At that he got on with the job. When he'd finished, he wiped his dick on his handkerchief, put his jeans back on and said 'You're quite a good fuck, you know. Tell Daintree if you want to do it again. I'm off now. I've got a shag fixed up this evening and I must replenish the stocks,' and he grinned. It was an evil grin. At that he buggered off, back to school I assume, and I still can't work out how I let him get away with it.»
"And are you going to let him do it again?"
«If I get desperate, I might.»
"I haven't seen him since yesterday afternoon and so I haven't heard the other side of the story yet. How did your date go, sis? Still going out with Rick?"
«Yeah, and how. That boy gets better every time, and last night we saw a film and I got laid. Now that's progress.»
"Gotta go," said Oscar "before you run out of credit. I'll never hear the last of it. Bye, you two," and he clicked his phone off.
"Well, Tobes, what do you think of that?"
"Just don't understand it. He's one of the most revolting people on this planet and yet he gets as much butt as he can deal with, they find him irresistible and what's more, he never gets beaten up or complained about. From what I gather, he's got customers in the straight community too."
"I s'pose he must, if he's rogering boys from the straight kids' houses."
"But the interesting thing is: does he molest them or do they seek out his services?"
"Right, a little job for us," said Oscar. "We'll find one his 'straight' clients and grill him. It might turn out that they are closet gayboys like Salmon."
Toby looked at his watch. "Now, I really ought to go for a run. Can I fit it in before lunch?"
"You won't gave time, if you go for a run," grinned Oscar.
"You have a one track mind."
"Yeah, dirt track. I can't very well go for run after lunch. It'll be dark if I wait for it to be digested."
"You're taking this fitness thing very seriously, Tobes."
"I've got to. Not only do the obligations to my sports bursary depend on it, but so does my air fare to Canada. You coming with me?"
"Yeah, why not? Even if I can't keep up, I can watch that cute little butt of yours jiggling about in your shorts."
"I wasn't going to wear shorts. I was going to put a tracksuit on."
"I'll stay in then."
"Okay, compromise. You haven't seen it yet, but I got a lycra one piece for Christmas, like Mo Farrer wears."
"Toby, you drive a hard bargain. I'm coming with you."
"You're not to wear a tracksuit, either."
They walked back to the house, collected their things and went down to the changing room behind Tippett House. There was no one else there and so Oscar just stared and drooled as Toby took all of his clothes off and provocatively peeled on his new light blue one piece. "You're not supposed to put anything on under this," said Toby. "The Lycra should be strong enough to keep everything in place and undergear shows through and looks a bit yeuky. C'mon, Oscar. Stop drooling and look lively. You've seen me and my bits and pieces before. We won't have time to do the course before lunch at this rate." Oscar put on his white cross-country kit with the straps of his pink jock showing across his butt cheeks. The two boys left to do the junior cross-country course, twenty-five minutes max.
"You can go faster if you like, Tobes."
"I'm waiting for you to catch up."
"I can catch you up easily. I'm just hanging back so that I can watch those two little boys fighting in a sack."
"What two little boys?" asked Toby ingenuously.
"Your two butt cheeks in that one piece."
"Okay then," said Toby and sped off, but it didn't matter how fast he went Oscar kept an indiscreet and a discrete two yards behind him. "I didn't think you'd be able to keep up with me, Oscar."
"Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Don't forget I do cross-country as one of my options. But I tell you what is slowing me down."
"What's that then?"
"Having a semi in my jock. It's chafing."
"Take it off and put it in your pocket."
"I would if I could guarantee not getting hard, but I can't control myself with you around."
"That's right, Oscar. Blame me. It's not because you're a randy little horndog then?"
"Mmm. Might be. I think you're going to have to do something about this when we're under the shower."
"Wot? Again? Oh, the sacrifices I have to make because I'm in love with you." After that promise Oscar caught up, for they needed to keep up a steady pace without talking if they were to fit in a shower and a wank before lunch.
Probably out of a desire to be provocative more than anything else, Oscar and Toby went to lunch identically dressed in 501s and a Queen's tee shirt. Even the hoodies they wore on top were identical. Just that Oscar had to concede that Toby showed a bigger package in the Levi's he had brought back from Canada for him. In compensation, although he was not to know until Huw Fortinbrass announced it at lunch, Oscar had the sexier butt. A vote was called at the table and the motion easily passed. It was no coincidence that Oscar, Toby and Huw were sitting on the same table as Marcus Downe and Olly Salmon. Both Oscar and Toby wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery of Jackman's attraction and neither was the sort who would give up easily on such a quest. It was Toby who started.
"Hey, listen up, you lot. Me and Oscar are doing a little bit of private research and we thought you guys might be the best people to start with."
"What sort of research?" said Huw.
"Specially you, Huw," said Oscar.
"It's an unofficial PHSE project," said Toby.
"Why me?" said Huw in an indignant tone.
"Because you were in a straight house before transferring to Tippett."
"What about me then?" asked Olly. "I was in Lee-Berners. That's a straight house."
"Yeah, but you're a pervert," said Oscar.
"And you two aren't, I suppose," retorted Olly.
"Have you ever heard either of us claiming to be straight?"
"Oscar, luv," said Toby, "I think you mean 'convert'."
"I know what I mean," said Oscar. "Anyway, this is getting us nowhere."
"Now you all claim to be knowledgeable and experienced homosexuals…" They all laughed at that except Olly who nodded sagely and in agreement. "… would you consider Jackman a budding beauty and star of porn films?" More dismissive laughter. Toby continued. "What we want to know is why does he find it so easy to pick up willing partners?"
"And it's not just a quick fondle and a jerk off, but a full fuck with him on top. It even happened yesterday to a friend of my sister's who'd never met him before."
"And we've recently noticed that he's shagging boys who are known outed heteros," said Toby.
"No!" said the others. "That's going a bit too far."
"We don't want to stop him particularly," said Oscar.
"We just want to discover his secret, find out how he does it," Toby completed his sentence.
The lads sat in silence for a short moment. "What about you, Huw?" said Toby. "We saw you and Jackman in Tippett changing room and that was before you moved into the house." Huw thought for a moment.
"Well," said Huw, obviously thinking hard, "I was a newbug then. Jackman just came up to me and said 'Have you been bummed yet?' I said no and he said 'Every newbug has to be. Wanna do it now?' and I was just carried along by the moment. I didn't even really know I was gay at that time. Not even sure I knew what being bummed meant. He did the dirty deed and I must admit he was good and I enjoyed it. Afterwards it got me thinking and I eventually came out, and transferred to Tippett. The rest you know."
"What about you, Olly?" said Oscar.
"You now know I was fighting against being gay. Jackman got me one night coming out of supper and said 'I've got something to show you.' 'What?' 'My cock.' 'I'm not that sort of boy.' He said 'You are, you know. Do you know what gaydar is?' 'No.' 'It's the gift of telling whether someone is gay when you meet them. I've got it and you are gay, not just a little bit, but really gay.' He took me behind his holly bush and lugged out that enormous cock of his. I thought I had a biggie, but his dwarfed mine." Oscar and Toby laughed at the idea of Olly having a big cock. He gave them a filthy look. "I noticed he wasn't wearing any underpants because dick flopped straight out when he unzipped his fly. Jackman said 'I am now going to give you a little test to see whether you're gay or not.' Before I could protest he had my trousers and pants down, he was hard and was gently, but firmly, ramming his cock up my butt."
"Didn't that hurt for the first time?" said Huw.
"For a few seconds when he first went in. After that it felt like nothing I'd felt before. When he finished, he said 'You enjoyed that, didn't you?' I nodded. 'You are gay. No doubt. You'll want to do that again, won't you?' I nodded again, but it ruined me. I was determined I wasn't going to be gay, but I needed what Jackman was giving me, and at the same time I had the problem of dealing with you two. My marks went down. I lost my place in the A XV, to you of all people, Daintree, and I had to sort myself out, and in the end I suppose I really ought to be grateful to both of you when you had that little chat with me behind the holly bush that evening." Oscar and Toby looked at one another and grinned.
"Now let's get back to Jackman," said Toby. The group had little more to contribute and the conversation turned to other matters, particularly Huw Fortinbrass's love life, or rather lack of it, especially since they didn't want him to become dependent on Jackman and, oddly one might think, solo handjobs were viewed as second rate in Tippett House because there were so many on hand to give a hand.
Oscar and Toby left the dining hall together. "Okay, Tobes, let's see how far we've got with our Jackman research so far."
"Not very far," replied Toby. "We have two people, one kid that didn't know he was gay and one that did know, but wouldn't admit it."
"So we haven't actually talked to a fully paid up member of the Heterosexual Club who has enjoyed Jackman's care and attention. What are we doing this afternoon?"
"Let's walk into town and do some boywatching. I don't know what it is. We're surrounded by seven hundred and fifty boys, ten per cent of them are gay."
"At least," interjected Oscar.
"I'm not saying that the other six hundred and seventy-five are all eye candy. There are more than enough QTs here, and yet we go out to discover what we can see in town."
"It's nice to eyeball a bit of rough occasionally," said Oscar. "Makes us appreciate how lucky we are here. Hey, Tobes, why don't we see if we can pick up something in town?"
"Wot? Like chlamydia? Bit risky. Don't forget we're not legal for one thing, Oscar, while at least we're in a protected environment here. Suppose we picked on the wrong one and the police got involved?"
They walked into town holding little fingers when no one else was around. They couldn't work out why such a simple action should be so erotic, but they just had to entwine their little fingers and both popped instant boners in their pants. They reached the Square and sat down on the steps to the monument to watch the skateboarders, a couple of whom had the full lycra gear on. They were so busy ogling them that they didn't notice two girls come up and sit down either side of them. "So what are you two hunky boys doing in town today?"
"Boywatching," answered Toby in a matter of fact voice. The girls pretended that they had misheard and the other one joined in chatting them up. When Oscar could finally get a word in, he said
"Sorry, girls, but can't you see we're holding hands? We're an item. We don't do girls. We suck cock."
"Eugh, you disgusting queers."
"We didn't invite you to join us," said Toby.
"And there's nothing illegal about it," said Oscar.
"And we don't go round calling you disgusting lezzies, either," added Toby. The girls got up, walked off and from a safe distance flipped them the finger.
"See that kid in the yellow lycra?" said Oscar. "He's wearing his dick pointing north."
"I've tried that," said Toby, "but it lasts a couple of minutes and returns to its natural position."
"Yeah, that's the trouble when you've only got a small stubby dick," answered Oscar casually. It took Toby ten seconds to realise that his boyfriend had slipped one in under the razor wire.
"You cheeky sod. You almost got me there."
"I would have said that taking you ten seconds to notice means that I did get you." They both laughed and Toby gave Oscar's balls an affectionate squeeze. "Come on, Tobes. I'll treat you to a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. It's getting cold out here. Thornton's or Waterstones?"
After enjoying their hot chocolate, they made their way back to school. Once there, there was housekeeping to be done – shoes to be cleaned, fresh sports kit to be fetched from the linen room along with a week's supply of school shirts. As they arrived in Alexander, the Busker and the Squalor were going off for their Sunday session in the chapel organ loft before the evening service. Oscar took his laptop up to the library to skype his parents. They complained that they hadn't heard anything from Alison. Oscar said that he had seen her the previous day, but didn't mention the phone call he had had with her that morning. They asked how Toby was, a good sign that they were accepting Oscar's relationship with him. In fact they were far more content with Oscar's gay relationship with Toby than they were Alison's straight relationships with whomever it happened to be at the moment. Indeed, her relationship with Rick, despite the Canadian interlude over the Christmas holidays, was as steady as it got with Alison. For all that, Alison and Oscar had an agreement that they did not discuss the other's love life with the 'rents except in the most general of terms. Toby popped into the library to say hi to Mr and Mrs Daintree and then it was time to get changed into school uniform for supper, followed by chapel.
Ask any boy from an independent school his opinion of chapel, it would be pretty low down on his lists of interests, but here Queen's bucked the trend. There was never any fuss with the other denominations' attendance, or with those who had none. The services were inclusive. Subtly there would be something there for whatever personal philosophy a boy held. The School never sought to convert. That would have been against the ethos and a violation of the individual's intellectual freedom. Nonetheless there were conversions. Not least among the reasons for this cohesion was the way the Headmaster, aided by the School Chaplain week after week aimed to have a personal word for over seven hundred boys as they left. Naturally, some would miss or avoid this ritual – the Busker, for instance, as he was playing the recessional and played until the Chapel Stewards were the only ones left, going about their duties and tidying the chapel up, or Jackman as he raced off to man the holly bush, either because he had an appointment he didn't want to miss or he hoped to lure an innocent into his lair. In Jackman's mind there was no distinction between junior and senior; neither was there one between straight and gay.
Oscar and Toby held back. They felt some pride that it was one of their dorm mates that was playing the voluntary and over the years to come they learnt to appreciate and love the music they heard. This evening there was, however, another reason. They wanted to know whom Jackman was entertaining, not in order to be gooseberries and ruin their fun, but to discover the identity of the co-respondent and interview him later in their quest to discover the attraction that Jackman held. They sat on the bench in view of the holly bush and held hands. In the dark they could hear the goings-on, but see very little. They knew Jackman was a fast worker and their patience and assiduity were soon rewarded. Jackman would always leave the holly bush one way, his assignation the other. Oscar and Toby soon caught up with the client who was still tucking his shirt into his trousers. They walked either side of him and he made no attempt to get away from them.
"Did you enjoy that?" said Toby.
"'Sor right," answered the unknown figure. "I've had better."
"A better what?" asked Oscar.
"Only a quick wank. Who'd want anything else on a cold night like this?" Meanwhile they had arrived under a streetlamp. "Hey, what's this all about? Are you the vice squad or something?"
"Nothing to worry about," said Toby. "We're just interested in Jackman's activities and why people do stuff with him. Oh, by the way, I'm Toby and this is Oscar. We're in Tippett."
"I know who you are. Toby, you're the sports star in the third year and you two are the youngest married couple in Tippett."
"There are others," said Oscar drily.
"So who are you?" said Toby. "Our paths don't seem to have crossed before."
"Lee Perrings, Churchill House, third year."
"Look, Lee," said Oscar. "We'd love to have a chat with you. Nothing horrid. We are genuinely interested. Now is not the time or place here in the dark and we have to get back for Prayers. Can we meet you over lunch tomorrow?"
"It won't work," said Lee. "Churchill is on a different lunch shift from Tippett. How about after school in the dining hall over tea and doughnuts?"
"Sounds good to me," said Toby. "I haven't got any hockey training on a Monday."
"Okay by me," said Oscar.
"Done. See ya there," said Lee. "Cheers," and with that he zoomed off and disappeared into the black of the night.
"He sounds keen," said Oscar.
"Closet gayboy," said Toby, "just ready to come out and he's looking for support. Unfortunately, he was looking for it in the wrong place. That's the draw back with a school this size. Obviously our reputation and Jackman's has reached Churchill, but Lee's hadn't reached us."
"You know, Tobes, this is something that interests me, particularly considering that next September we are going to be mentors ourselves. So I think we should become a sort of Citizens' Advice Bureau for gayboys."
"It might be difficult to set up across the school, Oscar, 'cos in theory all the gays are in Tippett."
"Yes, but you and I know that is, as you say, only in theory. Tippett only helps those that are out. How many gayboys are there, who came to this school for its tolerant atmosphere and reputation, but who could not admit they were out?"
"I suspect Jackman is the only person who could start to answer that question."
Oscar and Toby arrived back at Tippett just as the bell was ringing for Prayers. "You two always manage to scrape back just in time for Prayers after Chapel," said the duty prefect. "Needn't ask what you've been up to."
"You do need to ask, but I think your salacious imagination would be very disappointed, Julian, when you heard the answer," replied Oscar.
"Gives us something to talk to our mentors about," added Toby, a non sequitur designed to bemuse. "But it's worth considering," he continued once Julian was off their backs, "getting someone to look after the stray gayboys."
"Ho, ho, ho."
"Did you notice that he was not the least bit coy with us, Tobes?"
"No, you tosser! Lee."
"What's the betting," said Toby "that he will be transferring to Tippett?"
"He'll be in our dorm if he does."
"And we don't know anything about him as yet."
"We'll cope," said Oscar. "It's only until July. Then in September we'll have our own studies. Do you think they'll give us ones next door to each other?" The House staff appeared and everybody stood up.
Next day Oscar and Toby wandered into the dining hall where an informal cup of tea was always available after school. They collected a mug of tea and a plate with a doughnut and went and sat down in a far corner where they could keep an eye on the queue. They did not have to wait long before Lee joined it and he stood there looking around. Oscar and Toby waved and he spotted them immediately. He soon joined them. "Good day, Lee?" said Toby.
"No, Lee. Have you had a good day?" Toby said slowly.
"Oh, yeah, okay," replied Lee. "Must admit I've been wondering what you two wanted to talk to me about."
"We told you. We're interested in Jackman."
"Oh, yeah, and despite that there was me thinking it was because you thought I was slut and you could have a quickie with me," answered Lee.
"You sound almost disappointed," said Toby.
"You might have a point there."
"But you said it yourself," said Oscar. "You knew who we were and that we were the youngest married couple in Tippett. So why should we be cruising for a quick pick up?"
"It's rare that you'll see anyone from Tippett with Jackman," said Toby. "Why should we when there's so much spare in house?"
"So it really is Jackman you're interested in, not me?"
"Sorry to disappoint you, luv," said Oscar and gave Lee's hand a squeeze. "He shagged a friend of my sister's on Saturday. So there's like a family connection there." Toby scowled at Oscar for his abuse of the word 'like'.
"Let me explain," said Toby "or at least try to. We're gay…"
"I know that," said Lee.
"Let me finish. We're gay, we're out and we're proud. Our families know and our only fear is gay-bashing. We feel safe here at school, but I'm getting off the point. Then we see Jackman, again someone who is openly gay, but who stands for everything we're against. He's promiscuous, he's dirty, lewd and a bad example for the gay community."
"And so that is why we are interested," said Oscar completing the sentence. "We want to know why anybody would go near him, let alone do stuff with him and now my family is vaguely involved the interest has become less theoretical and more personal."
"So, Lee, why do you stuff with him?" said Toby.
"Okay. I think with your reputations I can trust you."
"I like that," said Oscar. "With our reputations."
"Shh," said Toby "let the man speak."
"You see, I'm gay," said Lee, but I'm not out… well, not outside school and certainly not with my parents, particularly my father who's always telling me he was brought up the hard way and he can't stand those pansy presenters on TV. At least I get a bit of respite here and I can be myself. But I'm racing ahead. I was sent to boarding school to 'make a man out of me', without a surgical operation I always add in my head. I'd heard about Queen's and it's sensitive approach with gayboys and so my problem was how to get my parents to send me here without them finding out the real reason. I found out a bit more about Queen's and basically, I took the devious decision that I would take a positive attitude towards coming here, but I would be sulky and anti about going anywhere else. Also I made up a tale about a friend coming here, but unfortunately he got turned down whilst I got accepted and so they would never be able to meet him." Lee took a gulp of tea and a bite of his doughnut. "I knew all about Tippett House, but didn't dare make an application in case Dad found out. He'd have gone ape and sent me to Dotheboys Hall. And for the same reason I can't ask for a transfer of house.
"So here I was in Churchill House surrounded by clean-living, gorgeous, but sadly straight boys, all great guys, but not one of them in the least interested in my virgin butt or my not so virgin cock. I think I said that Churchill and Tippett just don't mix unless you're in the same class or games squad and so far I'm not. So I'm grateful to meet you guys."
"We don't want to put words into your mouth and so tell us how you got involved with Jackman," said Oscar.
"His reputation and my desperation. God, now I've seen him in the light of day I must have been desperate. He stank to high heaven."
"He's allergic to showers," said Toby.
"But he still finds partners," said Oscar. "We don't understand it, and that's really what we're researching."
"That's because you have a nice boyfriend who takes care of your needs," said Lee.
"So basically," said Toby "you're looking for a boyfriend.
"Something like that," answered Lee.
"And you would like to become a member of our lonely hearts club," said Oscar.
"Is there such a thing?"
"There is now," said Toby.
"Okay," said Oscar. "Let's get this right. You would like us to fix you up with a date with a boy in Tippett."
"Cor, wouldn't I?"
"Monday today. We have until Saturday," continued Oscar. "Are you involved in games?"
"Not this term," said Lee.
"Blind date all right?" asked Toby.
"Are you a top or a bottom, Lee?"
"Dunno really. Never got that far and with Jackman you don't have a choice… er, um, er, so I hear."
"We'll see if we can find you a first timer," said Oscar.
"Does it have to be a third former?" asked Toby.
"Not really," answered Lee. "Just as long as he's got a dick and two balls between his legs and looks half decent I'm up for it."
"Okay," said Toby, "we'll do our best. Give us your mobile number and we'll text you. No guarantees, but we'll let you know if it's not going to happen."
"Time to do some prep," said Oscar "and if you want to chat, text us and we'll meet after school in here."
"Or Oscar will. I have games coaching most afternoons," said Toby.
"I owe you guys," said Lee.
"You certainly will, if we succeed, and we'll collect, too."
When Oscar and Toby arrived back in Alexander at the house, only Marcus was to be found and he was busily getting on with his prep. "You two are back late," commented Marcus.
"Yes," said Oscar, "another challenge for the gay community."
"What's that then?"
"You might be able to help us," said Toby.
"We've been asked to fix up a blind date."
"Who's that for?" enquired Marcus.
"Duh! It wouldn't be a blind date, if we told you, dummy," said Oscar.
"Let's just say we're rescuing someone from the clutches of Jackman."
"Well, that narrows it down a bit," scoffed Marcus. "You're not doing this for me, are you?"
"No, no, no," tutted Oscar. "You're happy with Salmon, aren't you?"
"Yes, of course."
"You're not the sharpest knife in the drawer today, are you?" said Toby.
"Lack of sex," said Marcus.
"We wouldn't know what that feels like," said Oscar in a superior tone.
"Very funny. We just haven't been able to find the time or place until now," said Marcus. "But tell me about this blind date."
"All we can tell you is that someone needs a boyfriend and we said we'd help," said Oscar.
"And we were wondering if you knew of anyone who's looking for a partner," said Toby completing Oscar's sentence.
"Top or bottom?"
"No idea," said Oscar. "They'll have to sort that out for themselves. That's all part of the fun of a blind date." Marcus was silent for a moment.
"No what?" said Toby.
"No, I don't know of anyone looking for a boyfriend. Still, I want to get all my prep finished. Me and Olly have found a secret place where we can make out and we've got a date after supper."
"Where's that then?" said Oscar.
"Duh!" said Marcus. "It wouldn't be a secret place if I told you, dummy."
"Touché," said Toby. "You asked for that, luv." Oscar and Toby then settled down to do their prep as well.
They walked across to supper together. There was still a glow in the sky. The evenings were drawing out. "We're going to have think of something, Tobes, if we're going to guard our reputation."
"I fancy the subtle method."
"Stand up before Prayers and ask if anybody's looking for a boyfriend."
"Sounds good to me," said Oscar. "And to change the subject, don't forget it's exeat the weekend after next. We've got to get organised for that."
"Your grans are still okay for me to come?"
"Oh, yeah. No problem there. We just need to make sure that they've got the date right and Mr Forrester has got all the right permissions from them and your parents."
"I'll give them a call after supper," said Toby.
"Yeah, I'll ring mine too and tomorrow I must make a hair appointment. Double one?"
"Sure. It's fun just sitting in the chair at that barber's, even if you don't have anything done."
At ten to eight the bell rang for Prayers and the House gathered in the common room. Before the Housemaster and his staff arrived the prefects gave out their admin notices and any member of the house could have his say. "Ready, Oscar?" said Toby.
"As ever," he replied. They stood up and Toby started. "We've promised to help one of our brethren in another house. We're saving him from the attentions of Jackman and it would be great if we could help him find a regular boyfriend."
"So we're organising a blind date for him," continued Oscar. "We don't expect you to rush and knock us over when you volunteer, but after Prayers Toby and I will be going up to the library to do some private study…" A cheer went up as collective dirty minds deliberately misjudged their intentions. Toby grinned and continued.
"And after that…" Pause for further cheers and laughter. "After that we'll talk to anyone interested on a first come…" More jeers and cheers. "… first served basis."
"Who is this blind date?" enquired a voice from the crowd.
"Duh!" said Marcus, still on a high from his clandestine encounter with Olly Salmon. "It wouldn't be a blind date, if they told you, would it, dummy?" At that point everybody fell silent and rose to their feet as the staff entered.
Prayers over, Oscar and Toby went up to the library, via Alexander in order to pick up a book each and their mobile phones. Oscar was just to press the speed dial button for his grans when the door opened slightly and a head peered round it. "Hi, fellas, can I come in?"
"Only if you're good looking," said Toby without looking up.
"Hi, Theo," said Oscar, "come on in." Toby immediately put down his book when he heard who it was.
Theodor Leithner (the H in Leithner silent like the P in bath, the H in Theodor and Theo compulsory in English, but silent in German – are you still with me?) was a paradox. Now that's out of the way, let's affirm that he was good looking, cute, gorgeous even. He was in the fourth form. His parents were German, working on a long term contract in Norway. He was sent to school in England to make him bilingual, which he now was. However, his Norwegian was only what he called passable. The irony was that to look at him you would think he was the epitome of the English public schoolboy image. Indeed, his photo had been selected to front the new edition of the school prospectus which was about to be published for the following year's applicants. So why should someone like him be looking for a boyfriend?
"I haven't come too late, have I?" said Theo.
"No," said Toby.
"I'm surprised that a good looking lad like you hasn't got a boyfriend already," said Oscar.
"Well, you know, I did once, but since we moved to Norway I don't know when I shall return to Germany again to live and so we have split and now I am on the rebound and ready for someone special again. Even with a lot of practice it still makes your wrist ache, if you know what I mean."
"We know what you mean," said Oscar and he backed up what he said with gesticulations.
"As we said, Theo, it's first come first served and you're the first," continued Toby. "Keep next Saturday afternoon and evening free and we'll do the rest."
"What do I owe you for this favour?"
"Let's see if it works out first," said Toby "and if it does it will cost you a feel of your eggs…"
"Oh, you know some German?"
"And you will owe me a deep throated kiss," added Oscar.
"You won't call me a slut if I have a new boyfriend and I do that with you?"
"We won't, we promise," said Oscar.
Oscar and Toby closed the 'office', pleased with their evening's work and returned to Alexander. Marcus was not there and the Busker and the Squalor were frantically finishing off their prep. "We've had a lot to practise today," said the Busker, looking up sheepishly.
"Don't mind us, Chris," said Toby. "We're all under the same pressures."
"What? Of our cocks?" piped up David.
"David, please," said Oscar. "We don't expect that sort of language from you. It's called our libido." They all fell about. It was unusual to take the piss out the Squalor and they knew they would not get away with it.
"Then why doesn't my libido get stiff when I feel randy?" said David and got on with his work, ignoring the others.
"Oscar, you'd better take charge of this little operation," said Toby.
"Shh! There's some earwigging going on."
"Oops! Sorry," and they both walked out of the dorm and climbed the stairs back to the library. "That's lucky. Nobody here."
"Toby! It's the library."
"Of course. Silly me. I forgot."
"We're probably the only two people who use it regularly," said Oscar. "We could have a bit of fun with this."
"What are you thinking?"
"Just let me text Lee and I'll tell you. «Success. C U after school Tues. O&T» That's done. Right, we won't be there to see it, but we'll build it up a bit. We'll arrange the rendezvous, but they won't know who the other one is until they commit to at least spending the afternoon together. This is what I'm thinking of," said Oscar and despite there being no one else around and the door closed, they got together in a cuddle, sorry, huddle, and whispered.
"Shame for once that I've got a hockey match. Away and in the afternoon, so I'll be miles away."
"I've got a tri-school cross-country competition. At least it's home, though, but because it's in the afternoon I'll have to go without lunch. We're allowed banana sandwiches as emergency rations."
"Yeah, the sacrifices we have to make for our sports," sighed Toby.
Next day, Tuesday, Toby had hockey coaching after school. It was now light enough to get an hour's training in outdoors. His progress from a beginner and his natural bent meant that he would be making his debut in the U14B XI on the following Saturday. His aim, and that of the Head of Games and PE, was to get the year group's sports scholar playing in the A team by the end of term.
And so Oscar went into tea quickly after school and found himself an obscure corner, facing the entrance, so that he could watch out for Lee to come in. He didn't have to wait long and they acknowledged each other before Lee queued up for his mug of tea and Bath bun. Lee came across and the two boys sat with their backs to the rest of the school. "There's a lot of interest in this in Tippett, you see, Lee, and we don't want to start up the gossip."
"So what can you tell me, Oscar?"
"Very little, except for the arrangements and we don't think you'll be disappointed. If Toby and I were single we'd ask him out on a date and while I think of it, I'll tell you this. Our arrangement fee with him is a feel of his balls and a French kiss, not forgetting, of course, that's in addition to your arrangement fee with us, which is a threesome."
"Yeah, okay, I can live with that."
"Now, just to build up the mystery, these are your instructions. He will receive similar ones. You, Lee, are in charge of planning the date – where you go, what you do, when you come back to school."
"It's on a self-pay basis so that if, at the end of the date, it's a thanks, but no thanks situation, you're not in each other's debt. Fairy Nuff?"
"Now, this is how we'd like you to play it. We want you to be outside the school gates at 14.29 hrs."
"Well, it's not going to be British summer time now, is it?"
"No, I was just wondering about the minute precision."
"Now, listen carefully. What you wear is up to you, except… you will wear a scarf across your nose and mouth against the cold air, and a hoodie with the hood up."
"Okay." The repetition of 'okay' in that tone of voice was beginning to get on Oscar's cogs, but he let it ride.
"You will recognise him. I'll say no more, but I guarantee it, but just if in the most unlikely circumstances you do get the wrong person, in the best tradition of special agents, you will say to him 'Where do I catch the train to Damascus?' His reply will be 'You cannot take the train to Damascus. You must fly from Heathrow.' Have you got that?"
"I think so," and Lee repeated it to himself.
"Well, it just remains for me to say 'have a great time,' and don't forget to report back on Sunday, by which time we shall have heard… er, X's side of the story." Oscar realised he'd almost given X's name away.
Oscar looked up and saw Toby striding towards them, carrying his tray with a mug of tea and a sticky bun on it. "Crikey, is it that late?" said Oscar. Toby was still in his kit and sweating from the work out. "Hi, Tobes. I wish you'd shower first. The smell of your sweat has made me pop a boner, and in company as well."
"Sorry, luv." He put his tray on the table, leant across, gave Oscar a quick peck on the cheek and wiped his fresh sweat over Oscar's chin. "Now you'll have to join me in the shower." Lee just sat there with his mouth open.
"Okay," said Oscar. "I think we're just about finished. We'd better make a start on our prep."
"After you've showered," said Lee with emphasis.
Once Toby had swallowed his tea and sticky bun, he and Oscar made their way back to Tippett, avoiding the holly bush route as they had things of greater importance on their mind. "Shower, prep, supper and we'll tell Theo he will be getting a visit, in his room before prayers." They did not sit with him during supper. Doing that might have given the game away. Oscar whispered in his ear while Toby distracted his neighbour with a trivial comment. Oscar and Toby sat with their dorm mates plus Olly Salmon. Weeks later peace had just about broken out between him and our two boys, but it was fragile and demanded a great deal of tolerance, and here the Squalor and the Busker formed a great civilising influence.
Back in Tippett Oscar and Toby climbed the stairs to Grayson which was Theo's room. There was no one in the corridor and so they could enter without stirring up any curiosity. "Hi, Theo," they said, closing the door behind them.
"Hey, Toby, Oscar."
"Good news all the way," said Oscar. "We'll just put the finishing touches to our plan now and we're ready to go on Saturday."
"Your date has no idea who you are," said Toby. "Only us two do and we're not telling."
"Okay, listen very carefully," said Oscar. "The first thing is that you are going Dutch."
"But I am German," protested Theo.
"We know," said Toby. "It's an English saying and means that you each pay for yourselves."
"Your date has planned the day for you both. We don't know what he's got in mind, but it will probably take the afternoon and the evening, back in time for Prayers. You must be inside the main school gate at 2.30 pm precisely."
"There is no other kind of 2.30 pm in Germany, unless it's 14.30 hrs." The two English boys grinned at one another. Oscar continued.
"Theo, you can wear whatever you like underneath, but on top you must wear a balaclava helmet."
"Do you know what that is?" asked Toby.
"No. I haven't got one."
"Then you can borrow mine," and Toby pulled his out of his pocket.
"Ah, I know now. We call it a Kapuzenmütze , a hooded cap. I do have one, but I only wear it at home in Norway."
"Then on top of that your hoodie with hood up," continued Oscar. "I am one hundred percent certain that you will recognise one another, but just to make sure he will say to you 'Where do I catch the train to Damascus?' Your reply will be 'You cannot take the train to Damascus. You must fly from Heathrow.' Have you got that?"
"Yes," and Theo repeated it. "It sounds very silly, like one of those spy stories set in Moscow or the old East Berlin."
"It's meant to," said Toby, "just to add a bit of excitement. Any questions?"
"I don't believe so. It is all perfectly clear."
"Fine," said Oscar. "We'll talk to you on Sunday. We won't have time Saturday evening because we have something private arranged just for the two of us." **Jovial laughter from Theo** Who said the Germans didn't have sense of humour?
"Oh, of course, you always make love on Saturday night."
"How did you know that?"
"It's all right, mein lieber Oskar . I think every boy in the house knows it, but they do not use such polite words."
"Oops," said Toby. "Okay, we're going to avoid talking to you until Sunday. Any problems, just text one of us. We want to finish our prep before Prayers."
"So speak to you again on Sunday," said Oscar. At that they left, after Theo had made sure there was no one else in the corridor.
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