All the Queen's Men

by N Fourbois

Part 8

The days between Tuesday and Saturday seemed interminable. For those three days their 'social work', as they called it, became more important than their schoolwork. However, Toby did continue with his hockey training after school, while Oscar, with Saturday's competition in mind, would go for a run using the senior course even though he would be running the shorter junior one on Saturday. He preferred the junior one, if only because the scenery and landmarks were more interesting and it was only the last quarter of a mile to the school gates that repeated itself.

On Saturday they slept in, but made sure they had finished breakfast by ten and gave themselves four hours at least before any competitive physical effort. The frustrating thing was that after a win by the U14 B XI with Toby scoring a goal in his first school match, the coach broke down (that's the bus, not the trainer) on the way back and the hockey players arrived at school at eight o'clock rather than six. Oscar and Toby had hoped for a brief interlude in town, but had to content themselves with the pleasures of the night they planned to spend in Dom's room. Oscar was happy with the fact that he had come in first of the runners on the junior course. Did one of the runners from another school really grope his balls when congratulating him? A lost cause, for on such a raw day, there was not very much to grope. The only compensation that afternoon for Toby's late return was as a School representative Oscar was allowed to use the main school changing rooms with its different selection of personnel for boywatching, but again the cold weather had taken its toll there.

Meanwhile in town the other task in hand was proceeding. What might have been a cold day for hockey players and cross-country runners was just right for our two nascent swains. Wrapped up as they were, incognito to all, they did not look out of place while they were waiting at their appointed spots. As should have happened, Lee arrived first and took up his post outside the school gates. At two-thirty (precisely) Theo turned up to see only one other person waiting, although from the way he was dressed it was impossible to make out who it was. According to plan Lee sauntered across to the mummified stranger and said in his best Russian accent "Where do I catch the train to Damascus?" Seduced by the moment Theo dropped his impeccable English accent and replied in his native German one

"You cannot take the train to Damascus. You must fly from Heathrow." At that the two burst out into uncontrollable fits of giggles, pulled down their hoods, Lee removing his scarf and Theo his balaclava.

"I'm Lee Perrings. Who are you?"

"I'm Theo Leithner from Tippett House. Which house are you in?"

"Churchill. I don't think we have met before, Theo."

"No, but I have admired you from across the aisle in the chapel, without knowing who you were. Presumably you are gay too?" Lee nodded. "So why are you not in Tippett House?"

"It's a long story. Before we get back to school, I might even tell it to you, but it is thanks to Oscar Daintree and Toby Awnott that I have been able to meet you, Theo, and that I've been rescued from the clutches of Jackman. Do you know Jackman?"

"Everybody knows Jackman, Lee. I even have to take some of my classes with him, but thankfully not many. The worst one is PE."

"So that puts you in the fourth form?"

"That is correct. And you? Which grade are you in?"

"The third form," said Lee. "You said 'grade'. Are you American?"

"No. I have German citizenship, but my parents live and work in Norway. They had to send me to boarding school because of their jobs and we thought it a good idea for me to come to England to perfect my English. When I was surfing the web, I discovered that Queen's had a positive attitude towards gay people and because people have such a high regard for the Queen's English, I was sent here."

"So you are out to your people?"

"To my people? To the Germans?"

"No, your people, your family," explained Lee.

"You see, that is why I must go to school in England. Every day I learn something new. On Tuesday it was 'balaclava'," and he took Toby's balaclava helmet out of his pocket and waved it around. They both laughed.

By now they had reached the main square. They went and sat down on a bench where two young people were already sitting. They knew the square was a well known pick up point and after Oscar and Toby's experience they did not want any girls coming across to them and chatting them up. "So what are we going to do?" asked Theo. "Oscar and Toby said that you would plan the programme and that we would go Dutch."

"Your English is good… idiomatic, Theo."

"Oh, it is nothing. I still have a lot to learn. One thing I am struggling with constantly are all the terms concerned with homosexuality. It is easy to learn a list of words, but hard to learn how to use them correctly."

"What do you mean exactly, Theo?"

"If I say I'm gay, that's acceptable, but if I say 'that film's gay', it means it's stupid and some über PC gay people find that offensive and so it goes on. I am a gayboy, but I am not a fag or a faggot. That is insulting. Do you understand? It is difficult for people learning a foreign language, but I stopped you from answering my question."

"Say if you don't want to do something, but I thought we would go ice-skating."

"I didn't know you could ice-skate in this town."

"December to February they set up an outdoor rink in the park. Then we'll be hungry and so I thought we'd go to Burger Star."

"Why not McDonald's?"

"Burger Star is a local private firm. Not only are the burgers nicer and cheaper, but if you show your Queen's School swipe card at the till, they take ten percent off the total."

"You see, I am learning a lot already."

"Then I thought we'd finish up at the multiplex and you choose the movie."

"That seems a good idea. I'm a little rusty at skating, but I did some at home at Christmas.

Later that day Oscar and Toby wandered into the common room for ten o'clock Prayers. Saturday Prayers were always important for checking that everyone was safely home before lock down. The House's (and School's) liberal régime had to have certain strict fixed points, here to enforce 'elf'n'safety. Swiping cards was another check taken very seriously. They looked round for Theo, spotted him among his fourth form friends and noted the silly grin on his face. They were relieved. Obviously he'd had a good time.

Prayers over, everyone disappeared up to their dormitories or rooms. Oscar and Toby went up to Alexander. By now Saturday night had its established routine. Lights out probably about half past ten, general chat till eleven when Oscar and Toby put on their bathrobes and slippers and disappeared up to Isherwood, Marcus to Turing and the Squalor and the Busker had Alexander to themselves for organ practice. Oscar and Toby slowly pushed the door open after giving a gentle knock. No one there. They spread their towels out on the bed, slipped off their bathrobes and slippers and lay down on the bed together.

Before they knew it, it was light and they were being shaken awake. It was Dom back to reclaim his room. "Come on, you two. It's ten to nine." Oscar was snuggled up against Toby's back with his dick chubbed up and in line with his crevice. It was bliss.

"Do we have to?" protested Oscar.

"Oscar did me last night and this morning, and both times hit the P-spot."

"Lucky you, but should you be telling me this?"

"We love you, Dom," said Oscar.

"And trust you," added Toby. Then absolutely spontaneously they got out of bed, took hold of him and guided him gently against the wall. Oscar forced his lips apart and inserted his tongue. Toby slipped his hand inside Dom's dressing gown and fondled his balls. He chubbed up straightaway. As Oscar came up for breath, Dom attempted to protest. "Hey, no, lads, please. I've got a boyf…", but Oscar had covered his lips again.

"We know," said Toby "and he's hot." Toby took Dom's cock into his mouth and by now they had taken him beyond the point of no return, what Jim Davidson, the comedian, called being 'hooked on'. He could neither protest nor resist; he no longer wanted to. He just gave in, groaning in ecstasy. He soon came. "Not much love juice there, Dom. Obviously you and Nik had a good time last night."

"We're off for shower," said Oscar, putting on his bathrobe and slippers.

"Thanks for letting us use your room," said Toby. "We hope you enjoyed the rent."

"Hey, don't forget your towels, guys." Oscar and Toby left. Dom sat down on his bed and sighed. He hadn't felt so good in ages.

Theo was already at breakfast when Oscar and Toby caught up with him. After collecting their food, they made a beeline for his table, where he was alone, and sat down with him. "So?" said Oscar.

"Give," said Toby.

"Oh, you mean yesterday afternoon? It was a very pleasant and friendly occasion."

"Are you two an item yet?" asked Toby.

"A nitemyet ?"

"Spezifreunde?"

"Ach, item . . . yet. Now I understand. It is too early to say, but we have made a date for the Saturday after next. It is, as you know, exeat next weekend."

So what did you do?" asked Toby impatiently.

"We went to the ice rink and then to Burger Star, and then we went to the cinema."

"Yes! and then?"

"We walked back to school."

"Didn't you snog at all?" pressed Toby.

"You know it would be very impolite of me to say what went on during a date." Toby's face showed his frustration. "But I will tell you one thing, Toby. If I had been on a date with Jackman, he would have gone to bed very disappointed."

"Weuh! That tells me just one thing that you didn't do."

"You know you shouldn't even be asking, Tobes."

"S'pose so."

"So when do you want your 'arrangement fee'?"

"We're not in collecting mood at the moment," said Oscar.

"We'll let you know," added Toby. "Use it as a learning curve."

There was nothing else for it. Oscar and Toby had to wait until after school on Monday. Naturally at some time during Sunday they could have marched up to the front door of Churchill House and asked to see Lee, but they felt that could have compromised all parties concerned and while discretion was no longer necessary Oscar and Toby preferred it to be kept secret and confidential so as not to compromise future operations. Also, they did not mind 'helping out' a friend in need, but they did not want to become the automatic and easy resort of anyone who just felt like a bit of nookie.

After some six months at Queen's Oscar and Toby were just coming round to the idea that Sundays should be different, not a day for catching up on prep, or if pursuing sport, then just for leisure and pleasure. Indeed, the Head of Games and PE was keen on hard work for five days a week, followed by two of physical recovery and that is why there were no matches or official training sessions on Sundays and Mondays. That, however, did not prevent Oscar taking a run most Sundays, and wherever Oscar was, Toby was bound not to be too far way. As they settled into that routine, they rationalised their runs as the best antidote to their active and strenuous love life, somewhat akin to the antithesis of sexual activity and a cold shower.

When they were sharing the shower in Tippett House changing room after their run, Oscar started up. "Tobes, you know that when you're boyfriends, you're supposed to share your secrets?"

"Yeah."

"I've got one to share with you."

"You're not turning heterosexual, are you?"

"Be serious for a moment."

"I am being serious," replied Toby. "Being in the same boarding school as Jackman could force any full blooded gayboy to be straight."

"Well, it's not that, anyway. Does wearing sports kit make you feel horny?" Toby thought for a minute.

"I like to look smart and fashionable… attractive, yes, but horny? Not really."

"Because it does me. Whenever I'm changing for games or PE, I always chub up a bit, even if I'm not changing with anyone else. I have to get my jock or speedo on quickly in case I pop a full boner… and quite a few times I have."

"All I can say is don't let it worry you. I love you the way you are."

"Do you know what I really want?"

"No."

"It's one of those lycra one pieces, like the one you got for Christmas."

"So why don't you? I'd love to see you in one."

"Same pattern?"

"Specially the same pattern. Corporate identity, Team Tippett, whatever you'd like to call it. So why don't you?"

"They're expensive and so hard to justify. At least you're a sports scholar which makes you semi-professional. Now if they were on the official school kit list, I could get one and charge it to my father's company. Otherwise he'd get sent the bill, I wouldn't be very popular at home and I'd find the cost deducted from my allowance."

"I think it is on the kit list," said Toby. "It must be."

"Why?"

"You know how strict they are about uniform here. Well, they wouldn't allow me to wear mine in lessons, if it weren't. I'd have to keep it just for leisurewear. We'll take a look," said Toby, turning off the shower. "Hey, Oscar, you wouldn't like to towel me down, would you?"

"Love to, Tobes."

As they were leaving and just to switch off the lights, Huw Fortinbrass came in with a 'friend' they didn't recognise. "You lads finished?" he asked with aplomb.

"It's all yours, but I'm afraid we've used up all the hot water," said Toby.

"That's okay," he replied. "It'll be hot again by the time we need it." He grinned mischievously.

"Hey, introduce us to your cute friend, then," said Oscar.

"Oh, sorry. This is Derek from Queen Elizabeth House."

"Derek? Derek who?"

"Just Derek," said Huw.

"Hi, guys."

"Oscar and Toby," said Huw. "Derek, Oscar is the taller, registered sex god and Toby is the smaller, registered sex god. They've been married ever since they arrived at Queen's. And don't even bother, Derek. It's easier to split the atom."

"So how did you two meet?" asked Toby.

"Another one from my Gayboy Sanctuary snatched out of the evil clutches of Jackman," said Huw. "They all need regular exercising and putting through their paces."

"Admire your taste, Huw," said Oscar.

"Perhaps we'll meet again in the near future, Derek," added Toby.

They went up to Alexander. The Busker and the Squalor were going through their regular Sunday practices in the chapel organ loft while on his bed Marcus was entertaining Olly Salmon. "You could at least pull the curtain across while you're snogging," said Toby.

"You won't see anything you haven't seen before," retorted Marcus.

"Except your bollocks, Salmon, but I think the only person that ever saw those was the midwife at your birth. She could have been lying, of course." Toby and Olly had never really made up since their ill starred relationship at Open Day began hostilities and broke out into open violence at Jackman's holly bush. It was a hostile armistice and the peace treaty had never been ratified. Oscar on the other hand was of a more forgiving nature and he had understood Olly's problem from the beginning.

"C'mon, Tobes," said Oscar. "We'll do this up in the library." Toby unlocked his locker and took out his laptop.

Settled in the library, Toby pulled up the Queen's School website and clicked the 'Of interest to Pupils' tab. "Tap your number in, Oscar. I've forgotten mine."

"It's the same as on your swipe card."

"Okay. Uniform compulsory, uniform optional, sports kit – all year compulsory, sports kit – all year optional. Let's try this. Yesss. Here it is under athletics, again under cross-country, advisable under hockey kit – that covers me – and for outdoor practice. So you're covered."

"Take a snapshot and mail it to me, and I'll check with Dad."

"Perhaps we'll build a shopping trip into half term."

"Isn't that a bit girly, going on shopping trips, Tobes?"

"Probably, but so what?"

"Hey, look at the time. We'd better start getting ready for supper and chapel."

In chapel Lee Perrings nodded across the aisle to Oscar and Toby. Afterwards the Headmaster congratulated Toby on his first hockey goal the previous day and Oscar for winning his cross-country race. During their return to Tippett they caught sight of two people disappearing behind the holly bush, one unmistakably Jackman. "It's too cold to hang about," said Toby. "Let them get on with it."

"If they can do anything in this temperature," added Oscar. They carried on towards Tippett.

"You're back early tonight," said the duty prefect as they were checked in.

"Two many brass monkeys out there," answered Oscar. Then the Sunday routine followed, phone home and mentor chat. "Success, Tobes. Dad received the snapshot of the kit list and said that was good enough for the accounts department. It wasn't that they were tight, just scrupulous in applying the conditions."

Monday. Finally the bell for the end of the last lesson rang. Time had not dulled Oscar and Toby's curiosity, but rather honed it. After all, it was a new venture for them and they were interested in the outcome for 'professional' reasons as well as for the personal interest they were taking in the people concerned. They were among the first pupils to arrive in the dining hall, with the advantage that they could bag what was now their traditional seat, but had to wait that much longer for Lee to arrive. He did come eventually, but the queue had grown that much longer in the meanwhile. He waved to them in rather an effeminate manner. "I think he could do that in a far more butch way," said Oscar. "We couldn't by any stretch of the imagination be described as fem."

"You know, that's interesting," said Toby. "I haven't thought about it before, but I can't think of any fems in Tippett off hand. I wonder if Lee is fem, or whether he was taking the piss."

"Or just 'avin' a larf," added Oscar. "'course, some people think that just because you're a bottom, you must be fem."

"How wrong they are," said Toby. "We could tell them a thing or two about that."

"Hee, hee, hee," responded Oscar. "Show them. Even better." At last Lee brought his tray over and joined them.

"About time too," said Toby. "We've been dying to find how you got on."

"Yeah, Theo said he'd already been subjected to the customer satisfaction survey."

"And that's about all we did find out. He was dead tight. I hope his arse is not as tight as that or you're in dead shtook."

"Thank you for being so considerate, Oscar."

"So you saw each other yesterday?" said Toby "or was this in school today?"

"We did take a little walk down to the mill house and along the mill stream. We thought we'd be alone and were until two joggers came galumphing along, but they were too interested in each other to notice us on the other side of the stream."

"Oh? Anybody we know?" asked Oscar.

"Shouldn't think so."

"Come along, everybody," said Toby. "We're prevaricating. The only item of business is how you, Lee, got on with Theo on your first date."

"Good," said Lee. "We liked the introduction because if everything else had gone wrong, that worked and it was a laugh. But it didn't go wrong. Theo told you the programme – ice-skating, Burger Star and cinema. Theo was happy, überhappy with the skating."

"But did you snog him?" said Toby.

"Did he snog you?" asked Oskar.

"You've got to remember that it was the first date for either of us, not only with each other, but ever, and so we were feeling our way in the dark a bit." At that both Oscar and Toby burst out into loud guffaws and everybody turned round and stared at them. Lee turned deep crimson, but saw the funny side of it. He rolled his eyes and said "Sorry, guys. Bad choice of words." But it had broken down his defences.

"So did you hold hands?" asked Toby."

"Yes."

"Did you snog?" asked Oscar.

"No."

"Did you get hard?" said Toby.

"I did. I don't know whether he did or not."

"Did you feel his balls?" said Oscar.

"No."

"Did he feel yours," asked Toby,

"No."

"Did you kiss at all?" asked Oscar.

"Yes. When we said good night outside Churchill House."

"On the cheek or on the lips?" asked Toby.

"On the lips."

"Tongues?" asked Oscar.

"No tongues."

"You see, it wasn't that difficult now, was it?" said Toby.

"Are you going on another date?" said Oscar.

"Well, we did yesterday, and we are too on the Saturday after exeat and Theo's choosing what we do."

"That's great," said Oscar.

"I think we can chalk that up as a success," said Toby.

"Thank you, guys. We'd never have met without your help. If all goes well, I might even be applying for a transfer to Tippett. And I haven't forgotten the arrangement fee, either. It might be an idea to get some practice in before the big day."

"Okay, Lee, we've got prep to do. We'll leave you to finish your doughnut and drink up your cold tea."

"Ugh! I'd forgotten that in all the excitement."

Oscar and Toby picked up their backpacks and made their way back to Tippett past the holly bush. "Hey!" exclaimed Oscar. "I thought that was a bit of a cheek. Did you hear him?"

"Who?"

"Lee, you dickhead."

"Wot?"

"He referred to two of the School's ace harriers as joggers."

"I did notice your look of disapproval. I s'pose it's like us calling the School organ scholar the Busker."

At that moment they were approaching the holly bush and not unexpectedly they heard goings-on. Suddenly the air was rent with a scream, obviously of pain, certainly not ecstasy. "Did you hear that, Oscar?"

"How couldn't I? That was someone in agony. I think we'd better see what happened." The boys ran towards the bush and automatically did their pincer movement. Jackman was there naturally, but also so was Ross Pike, one of their own Tippett third formers, trousers round his ankles, tears streaming down his face, and he was panting, trying to conquer the obvious agony he was going through. Worst still was the blood trickling out of his bottom. "This is a Matron job," said Oscar.

"And you, Jackman, had better bugger off before I give you a smack." Jackman cleared off without saying anything. He knew he was in real trouble now. Oscar helped Ross to pull his trousers up and they both assisted him to walk to the Sanatorium as quickly as he was able.

Matron took a cursory look at the injured boy and his injury and dialled 999. "Oscar and Toby, I want you two boys to stay here until the ambulance comes. If any patients turn up, one of you show them into the waiting room and the other sit in my office by the telephone, explain that I am involved with an emergency and take any messages."

The ambulance only took minutes to arrive. Mrs Gough will be in as soon as she can get here. I'm going in the ambulance and once Ross is taken care of, I shall make the necessary telephone calls from A&E, but I'd like you to report to the Headmaster and tell him where I am. Take this red medical card and show it to his PA. She will get hold of him, even if he's in a meeting. Tell him what has happened, but no medical details, because you are not qualified to do so. Hurry because his PA goes home at five. If she's gone, tell any member of staff. You might have to go to his house. Understood?"

"Yes, Matron." At that the paramedics were ready to go, the boys went, Matron locked up and left a notice on the door.

Oscar and Toby made their way back into school and along to the administration block. Mrs Povey, the Head's PA was just preparing to leave. You could tell from her face that she was not best pleased to be held up from going home, but presented with Matron's red medical card, she changed her attitude, went back into her office and picked up the phone. "The Head's talking with a member of staff, but if you sit in my office, he'll be straight here." 'Straight here' couldn't have been quicker as he and Mrs Povey passed on the landing. Oscar and Toby stood up as the Head entered.

"Sit down, boys, and tell me what all this is about. Matron does not give out her red cards freely and I always dread receiving them." Oscar started.

"Matron has gone to A&E in an ambulance with Ross Pike from our house. He was bleeding badly."

"Oh, my goodness, that sounds serious. Thank you for coming to tell me. How did you become involved?" They had had time to prepare themselves for this question in the full knowledge that schoolboy honour forbade them to 'sneak' unless it was a matter of life and death or a criminal act involving the police. Toby answered.

"We were passing the holly bush on our way back to the house…"

"That's Tippett House, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir." The Head was writing notes as Toby was speaking. "Just as we were passing, we heard this terrific scream and we knew someone had been hurt. We went to investigate and there was Ross bleeding."

"Where was he bleeding from?" Toby gave Oscar a look, who nodded."

"From his bottom, sir."

"Was he with anybody else?"

"He had been, sir, but the other boy had gone off before we reached Ross." The Head had more sense than to ask who it was. He was ninety percent certain in his own mind anyway.

"Did Matron say anything else?" Oscar spoke.

"Just that Mrs Gough would look after the San as soon as she could get there and that she – that's Matron – would telephone everyone that needed to know while she was at A&E."

"Thank you, boys. You've acted very sensibly in all this. I might have to talk to you again. If this has put you behind with your prep, ask your Housemaster to write you a note. In fact, it would be a good idea to report to him when you arrive back at Tippett. It would also be a good idea not to say anything about this to your friends. You know how gossip can spread and be distorted. The fact that someone has ended up at A&E automatically makes it a serious matter. I'm sure I can rely on you both," and he gave them a knowing smile.

They quickly walked through the dusk to their house. Although there was no point in doing so, they still took the longer route past the holly bush. They even took a look behind it, but there was nothing to see. There might have been some congealed drops of blood on the ground visible in daylight, but little more. As the story of Ross Pike's fate did the rounds on the following day, the holly bush might be come a place of pilgrimage for its devotees. Oscar and Toby might have to come themselves, not to control the crowds exactly, but to take note of who these visitors were. "Knowledge is power," Oscar told Toby.

They duly reported events to Mr Forrester, who had already received Matron's interim report by telephone. He just asked the boys if they were all right and told them that Ross was at the time still being assessed by the staff at A&E. "How do they assess something like that, sir?" asked Toby. One never knew with him whether it was a genuine search for knowledge or a wind up. Mr Forrester seriously assumed the former, for the answer would not be very pleasant and might rebound on Toby.

"It is not a very pleasant procedure. Gay males taking part in the sort of activities that young Ross evidently was, run a risk of internal injury and the fact that he bleeding and that he is in hospital points out to me that his injury is deep and serious. Are you two happy for me to go on?" The boys nodded, if somewhat apprehensively. "The doctor inserts a split tube into bottom which then opens the hole and enables him to look inside, assess and carry out treatment. Let's just say that it is not pleasant and leave the rest to your imagination. You'd better go and get on with your prep. If you can't finish it, come and see me before lock down, okay? Well done on reacting promptly, boys. It would have done young Pike no good whatsoever to try and hide injury. You don't know who did it, did you?"

"No, sir, he was off before we could see him," lied Oscar.

"And it was starting to get dark," continued Toby, compounding the lie.

"I expect they are rounding up the usual suspects now, as they say in the films…"

" Casablanca ," burst out Oscar. "It's from the film Casablanca , sir, Humphrey Bogart along with 'Play it, Sam', not "Play it again, Sam', as gets misquoted."

"We'll talk about Casablanca another time, Oskar. What I was going to say was that the medical staff will want to know the other person involved for their records and maybe to prevent it becoming a police matter. That would do nobody any good, particularly the School and its reputation as a safe haven for gay boys, would it now?" As the boys left for their dorm, the serious nature of what had happened was beginning to dawn on them.

By Prayers the whole House was abuzz to know why Ross Pike hadn't been at supper, didn't do his prep and wasn't at Prayers. Oscar and Toby kept their own counsel and nobody thought to ask them. Mr Forrester came into Prayers, unusual because he was not on duty that night. During house business he made a short announcement that Ross had sustained an injury, he had been taken to hospital, treated and would spend the night there. "It was that bastard Jackman," came a comment sotto voce from the back of the room. Oscar and Toby were seated at the front.

"I think it would be better not to speculate before the Headmaster has had the opportunity to conduct his enquiry," said the Housemaster and left it at that. From then on until lunchtime the following day Oscar and Toby were pleased that they had kept what they knew to themselves. An atmosphere of collective anger was haunting the House that night because one of their own had been injured, an emotion that on the morrow spread throughout the School. In chapel the Headmaster spoke to the school, said little more than Mr Forrester had the previous evening, but gave the School a strict injunction that no one was to take justice into his own hands. In fact that would have been difficult as Jackman had been isolated in the San, protective custody as it were, while the Head awaited news from the hospital.

At ten o'clock the following morning Jackman was escorted from the Sanatorium by the Head Boy and delivered to the Head's study, where he was duly handed over. "Come in, Michael." Jackman's slitty eyes were darting everywhere apart from the Head's face. "Take a seat." One wooden chair with a tall upright back and a hard upholstered seat had been placed square in font of the Head's desk. "Michael, you understand the seriousness of what you have done?" Michael mumbled and nodded. "Do speak up."

"Yes, sir."

"You have violated a boy and in doing so, you have injured him seriously enough for him to be kept in hospital. Further consequences include inconveniencing several people, school staff, hospital staff and yet to be decided by the medical staff is whether the incident is serious enough to be reported to the police. You should also think about what this will do for the reputation of the School." The Head was silent long enough for Jackman to reflect. "In a quarter of an hour your aunt as your legal guardian will be here." Jackman sighed. "I have to consider what I am to say to her. I also have to consider what I have to say to Mrs and Mrs Pike, when they arrive later." Another silent pause for reflection. "Michael, have you anything to say for yourself?"

"Sir, you're not going to sack me, are you?"

"Michael, I dislike 'sacking' boys, as you call it. It's a sign of failure, but I am saddened that your first expression of remorse is concern for yourself rather than for the boy you have injured."

"Sorry, sir."

"Whether your aunt is asked to withdraw you from the school will depend on our discussion and on whether you pass the attitude test."

"Don't make me go to another school, sir. I fit in here. I like it here. I feel safe and protected. I wouldn't survive anywhere else."

"As safe and protected as young Pike?" Jackman bowed his head. "Now, this afternoon I shall have a meeting with Mr and Mrs Pike. Michael, is there any advice you might offer me about what I can say to them?"

"Tell them that I am sorry, sir."

"That's a good start, Michael." There was a knock at the door and Mrs Povey entered to announce that Mrs Casement had arrived. "Show her in, Mrs Povey. Michael, would you like to pull up a chair for you aunt? The comfortable one."

Aunt Mathilda was shown in. As she greeted her nephew, the panes in the windows frosted over. "Good morning, Mrs Casement. Please sit down. Michael and I were just discussing yesterday's incident which led to another pupil being admitted to hospital. Would you like to explain that to your aunt, Michael, or should I?"

"Would you, please, sir?" The Head gave a very dry, but accurate account of what had taken place.

"We now need to talk about Michael's future."

"You are going to expel him?" said Mrs Casement.

"I hope not, but it remains a possibility until we agree on a more satisfactory solution."

"You know that he is a difficult child?"

"We accepted him into the school on the understanding that Michael had certain difficulties, particularly, but not only his homosexuality. We specialise in educating homosexual boys, which in turn demands a certain amount of tolerance and we believe that we do teach this tolerance at Queen's. Have you anything to say about your future, Michael?"

"Only that I'd really like to stay here and that I'll try and change my ways."

"Okay, Michael, at last we have had a declaration of good will and intent. I am prepared to allow you to stay at Queen's under certain conditions. These conditions must have the legal agreement of your aunt and your full agreement to their being carried out. Should you not abide by these conditions in spirit, word and deed, you will be liable to instant dismissal from the school. The conditions are that you, your aunt and the School will consult the school medical staff and accept their recommendations until the day you leave, hopefully at the end of the Upper Sixth. Secondly, you will avoid all contact with Ross Pike and thirdly, you will serve a period of suspension from now until the beginning of Sunday chapel at the end of exeat. Would you like to discuss that with your aunt before giving us your answer, Michael?" Mrs Casement answered for him, the Head pressed a button, Mrs Povey appeared and showed aunt and nephew to an empty waiting room. After a quarter of an hour they reappeared and Michael declared his acceptance of the conditions and his aunt endorsed it with her approval.

By lunchtime a notice had appeared on the school notice board advising that M Jackson, School House, had been suspended until the end of exeat weekend for 'unacceptable behaviour towards another pupil'. The institutional anger subsided. Justice was seen to have been done.


Exeats and school holidays had different functions and this theory was shared by Oscar and Toby. Exeats were there to release the tension of a small introspective society, to provide rest and change from a tight routine, to alter the environment and provide a more relaxed atmosphere. It was not there for treats and activities, which could wait until the holidays. At the end of what had been an exciting week in school life, our two boys were waiting in the visitors' car park for Gramps to whisk them off to his house until Sunday.

Oscar kissed his grandmother, an action which was for him more duty than pleasure, and she warmly greeted Toby, though he was excused the osculatory duty. She had buttered crumpets with jam ready, on the assumption that any schoolboy is a hungry schoolboy, but before they could take a bite the door opened and in burst Alison and gave her baby brother a big hug. She'd like to have done the same with Toby, but she was wise enough to know that such a thing could do more damage than good with a gayboy. She knew that Toby's attributes would knock Rick into a cocked hat, but for her Rick remained the man of the moment and was still supplying Alison with what she needed. Crumpets eaten and tea drunk, the boys went upstairs to unpack. A proper English tea yet awaited them.

On Saturday morning they were allowed to sleep in, not too long for they had their hair appointments at eleven, essential for Oscar if he was to maintain his present style, and since Toby liked it, there was no reason to change. Also, this time it had to last until the next exeat, not over difficult for the Lent term was the shortest one.

Oscar and Toby sat down in the chairs with Marcel and James. While they were sitting under the dryer, James handed them a couple magazines to read. "This is our new house magazine that we're trying out on our regulars. See how it goes down," lisped James. "You are sixteen, aren't you?" and before they could answer he had turned to greet another customer and take him to his chair. Oscar and Toby were used to the normal stuff available at the barber's, but this was different. As they leafed through the first few pages they saw various hairstyles, then came adverts for condoms and lube, but it was after that the magazine became interesting, first with erotic and, for them, unusual underwear, followed by 'boys' toys', ranging from butt plugs and dildos to more exotic articles from their bondage range – 'only by special order'. The two boys were struggling with stiffies in their trousers, which they could easily have dealt with by putting the magazines down, but they carried on reading, hoping their excitement would have settled down before they had to walk back to their chairs.

"Do you sell much of this stuff?" Oscar asked Marcel as he returned to his chair, shielding his crotch with the magazine from the inquisitive ogling of other clients. 'Why did I have to wear sweats this morning?' he thought to himself.

"We're just opening up the market," said Marcel. "See how it goes. You can take that with you, if you like, duckie. Give it to a friend. Oh, and we're online." Oscar immediately thought of Jimmy Butterfield, but deemed it too risky. The grans' tolerance stretched to him and Toby, to Alison and Rick (presumably), but adding an explicit magazine to that would mean pushing their luck too far. "Take this card each. You can use the web to make your hair appointments as well."

On the walk home to one of Grandma's superb Saturday casseroles, Toby said "Well, Oscar, what did you think of that?"

"Wot?"

"The inhouse magazine."

"It's made me feel all horny."

"You're always feeling horny," said Toby.

"So are you."

"Not when I'm playing sport. I might, as soon as the final whistle blows, but never during a game or training."

"What about the mag?"

"It's made me think that there is a whole world out there we've never dreamt of."

"As I said, Tobes, it made me feel extra horny and I've had a very naughty idea."

"What's that?"

"Weeell, they say all good things come in threes, and we've sucked Nik and we've sucked Dom and I am beginning to think it's time we sucked Rick, especially as Alison's always on about him being cut."

"Have we ever had a cut boy, Oscar?"

"I can't even think of one," replied Oscar. "Among seven hundred and fifty boys, there must be some. We're getting away from the point, Tobes. Are you up for it?"

"Wot? Getting it on with Rick? You've really got me interested now. Yeah, a snog, a jerk and a BJ, sure."

"I wasn't thinking of a shag. That's something special between us two," said Oscar, "but I've got to admit there's something extra about seducing someone else's boyfriend."

"And then there's the challenge of taking a straight boy. We have never done that."

"Yet," said Oscar with a wicked grin. "I think we're going to have to view this as a long term project. We need a half term and this time we're going to be at your place."

They continued their way up the hill from town to the grans' house. "Hey, Tobes, I need you to do me a favour. I need a shave."

"You look all right to me," said Toby, running his hand over Oscar's face.

"Not there, you numptie, down here," said Oscar, cupping his hand over his package and giving it a lift.

"I can do my own."

"So can I, Tobes, but it'd be much more fun if you did it. We can do it tomorrow morning when the grans are at church. There'll only be Alison there."

"What if she catches us?"

"Offer to do her muff."

"Don't be so gross, Oscar."

"Oh, you won't have to. She's not keen on pubic hair, either. She shaves her own and if she ever goes out on a date for the second time, it's made clear to him that he has to sacrifice his bush or the date ends at the front door. I don't mind betting that Rick is either as smooth as a baby's bottom or he's got designer stubble."

"Well, we might find out, mightn't we?" said Toby.

They reached the house and Oscar called out "Hi, Gran, Gramps," as they went in through the back door.

While they were sitting round the lunch table, Gramps spoke up. "So what are you young'uns up to today?"

"I've got to go into town," said Alison. "I've got nothing to wear on my date with Rick tonight and Jimmy's going to help me choose."

"Ann Summers?"

"Oscar!" said Gran sharply and gave him one of her looks that could kill.

"Sorry, Gran."

"Actually, little brother, I might well do. I've got a voucher off the internet," and Alison stuck her tongue out at him, but she'd made sure first Gran was busy at the other end of the kitchen, and Gramps had popped off to the loo. Toby sat back and enjoyed the cabaret. Because of the age difference he'd never enjoyed similar exchanges with his big sister.

When Gramps returned, Oscar said "We're going to the park to kick a ball around and this evening we're just chilling." Of course 'going to the park to kick a ball around' was code for 'we're going boywatching in the park and if there's no talent about, we might kick a ball around instead'.

"Take your trainers off before you come back indoors, boys."

"Yes, Gran," they chorused.

What happened later just increased the boys' belief in heaven and a benign God who was looking after them. After an indifferent afternoon of more football than boywatching, they came home to a warm house, a cup of tea and homemade cake. Alison announced that she wouldn't be there for tea and that Rick was picking her up at a quarter past, which meant half past on Alison's watch. At twenty to the doorbell rang and Gramps brought Rick into the living room. There was a little scream from Alison, as she was with no war paint applied, and she exclaimed that she was nowhere near ready and that Rick had said quarter past. He took out his phone and showed Alison her text which indisputably showed 'quarter to', but it takes more than proof to prove a woman wrong. Alison was about to flee upstairs when Oscar and Toby gave each other a look and Oscar said "Sis, take your time. Rick doesn't want to see you with smeared lipstick. We'll look after him. Come up to our room, Rick. We've got something to show you." The three went upstairs, Rick in the middle, a lamb to the slaughter. Oscar knew they had a good three-quarters of hour.

Rick was in that half dazed state, where something goes wrong, you've lost control of the situation and not quite regained control of it. The three went into the boys' room and Rick did not notice Oscar slide the bolt across. "You'd better take your jacket off," said Oscar "or you won't feel the benefit of it when you go out."

"Yes, mummy," replied Rick facetiously.

"Second thoughts, just put is round your shoulders, that's it, hands in your jeans' pockets, then you won't forget it," and Toby zipped it up with Rick's arms trapped inside, particularly as it was fashionably tight.

"Hey, guys, is this what you wanted to show me?"

"Hang on," said Oscar. "Patience. We've hardly begun."

"Now," said Toby, "have you ever snogged a bloke?"

"Yeuk," said Rick. "Course not, I'm not bent."

"Don't knock it," said Toby "because you're about to and you might find you like it."

"Boys don't do that," protested Rick in vain.

"In fact," said Oscar "they do," and he covered Rick's lips with his own. He tried to shout out, but it was too late, just like the wedding scene from Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew .

"Don't make a fuss, Rick," said Toby. "You don't want us to tell Alison you came on to us and we couldn't resist, do you now?"

By now Oscar the Osculator was beginning to break down Rick's resistance. Rick was starting to push his tongue into Oscar's mouth. "Hey, take over, Tobes. He's starting to warm up." Toby opened Rick's lips with his. Oscar got to work on Rick's jeans. "Mmm, there's something hot and hard in here. Now, Rick, are you going to behave?" He gave grunt which the boys took to mean yes. Oscar unbuckled the belt and undid the fly buttons. The jeans fell to the floor revealing a very moist pair of white CK boxer briefs. "Step out of them." Oscar put the jeans neatly on the bed. He gave Rick's balls a thorough feel, pulled down the CKs and announced "I was right. Designer stubble." Oscar knelt and started to lick Rick's hairless balls, then his shaft, then his foreskin-free glans. Rick was writhing with pleasure. Toby stopped his kissing, unzipped Rick's jacket and laid it on the bed with his jeans.

"Put your hands in the air. That's right," and his tee shirt came off. "I want your nipples and your belly button. Mmm, lush."

"Go steady a minute, Toby," said Oscar. "I'm edging him." The moment passed and Rick calmed down. "Do you want to finish him off?"

"Sure." Oscar and Toby changed places. Toby brought Rick to the edge again, let him go back and the third time expertly he took the whole load in his mouth, had to swallow some, but kept most of it until he could kiss Rick and let the rightful owner recycle his seed. Everything calmed down and they heard Alison leaving the bathroom and go back to her room.

"I'd estimate, Rick," said Oscar "that you have at least a quarter of an hour to get yourself tidied up. You'll probably want to clean your teeth. Here's a new toothbrush. You can keep it," and he took one out of his packet of three.

"I didn't realise you gayboys had so much fun," said Rick. "I thought you lot just went round sticking your pricks up each other's arses."

"Oh, we do that as well, but we call it making love and for us two it is always something very special."

"A lot of people believe what you just said, Rick," continued Toby. "Don't forget, what you've just had is only a quickie, a quiche as we say in the trade. It gets even better when you've got all night."

"And by the way," said Oscar, "if you don't say anything to Alison about all this, we won't either."

"What happens in the bedroom, stays in the bedroom," added Toby.

Spruced up and ready to go on his date, Rick went down with our boys into the living room to await Alison. "First time we've done a cut cock," Toby whispered into his ear," on the stairs.

"Different," said Oscar. The three boys chatted with the grans until Alison finally made her entrance. As they took their leave, Alison smiled sweetly and said

"Hey, guys, thank you for looking after Rick. I'll do the same for you." Oscar and Toby looked at each other with naughty grins and Oscar whispered "I very much doubt it."

When Alison and Rick had gone, Grandma got up to prepare tea and Gramps went to help her. Oscar and Toby sat on the settee together and watched television. It was the football results with highlights, followed by the news. "You know, Oscar, after all that with Rick I really do need you."

"I think you'll have to wait till bedtime."

"Early night?"

"Early night. I think we can play the tiredness card, don't you?"

"Do you know what I'd really like to do?"

"Give me a clue."

"What we did with Rick, including nipples and belly button, but far more slowly and intensively, just edging, and then following up with really deep penetrative lovemaking to you and then in the morning we do it all again, except this time you make love to me."

"I think I can cope with all that," said Oscar.

"I know you can cope with all that," said Toby and gave his lover a chaste kiss on the lips. At that moment Gran came in to say that tea was ready.

Conversation flowed steadily over the tea table. At one point Gran said "I think you two boys look tired. An early night wouldn't hurt." Oscar and Toby looked at one another without saying anything. Was she taking the piss? While she might not know the detail, she had a pretty good idea of what they got up to in bed, as she did with Alison and her various boyfriends. The only thing that had surprised her so far was the time Alison and Rick had remained together. It must be getting on for three months now. She knew nothing of the three 'up against the wall' jobs she'd had in Canada over Christmas holidays. Nor did Rick, if it came to that. Still, she worried more about Alison than Oscar. At least he was monogamous. It wasn't the baby thing with Alison. Gran knew she was taking the pill, she knew where she kept them and she secretly checked she was taking them properly. It was the STI thing that worried her most and so she was more than content to see Alison settling down with Rick. He was after all an exceedingly well put together young man. He reminded her of Gramps at that age. The fag hag relationship with Jimmy Butterfield, however, was completely beyond her ken.

Once the tea things were cleared away, the grans and the boys settled down in the living room in front of the television, the grans in their easy chairs and the boys on the sofa. Grandma had been right. The boys were tired. At one point they dozed off in the warmth of the room and woke up holding hands in front of the grans. The amazing thing was that they didn't let go, they didn't pull apart, and chiefly they didn't feel in the least embarrassed. "If you two want to go on up to bed," said Grandma "don't worry about us. We're used to sitting here by ourselves." The boys looked at each other.

"I think we will," said Oscar. It was barely half past eight. The boys said good night and disappeared. They undressed, slipped into bed and immediately fell asleep. It was not until the bewitching hour that they woke again and then it was a matter of 'let fun time begin'.

It was gone nine when they came to next morning. They put their bathrobes on, made themselves comfortable and went down to the kitchen. The grans were giving Alison final instructions before leaving for church, earlier than usual because they were duty sidesmen that day. Did Alison look rough! "Good time last night, sis?" asked Oscar.

"No!" That was the end of that conversation for five minutes. The grans were putting their coats on in the hall and the teens could hear their conversation.

"You know, Frank, despite everything I've said, I think they make a lovely couple."

"Who? Alison and Rick?"

"No, Frank. Don't you ever listen to me? Oscar and Toby. They act so naturally together and you just have to look at them to see how fond of each other they are." At that the front door slammed followed by two car doors. What they'd overheard did not improve Alison's mood one iota.

Oscar and Toby made some porridge in the microwave. "So what went wrong last night, sis?"

"Well, it didn't help that he turned up over half an hour early."

"It didn't help that you, sister dear, texted him the wrong time."

"That didn't matter. He should have known."

"Do you know, Toby, there are times I really am glad I'm gay and don't have to fathom out female logic."

"I'm really glad all the time that I'm gay," answered Toby.

"Well, I am really, but more so sometimes than others."

"Hey, are you two fags listening to me?" interrupted Alison.

"Did you hear someone say something, Oscar?"

"Yes, I thought I heard my sister's voice, but then she would never call us fags."

"Okay, you win. Sorry, I shouldn't have called you fags."

"You can call us gayboys," said Oscar.

"We'll answer to gayboys," added Toby.

"So, did you actually get to see a film or did you spend the evening smooching in his car?"

"I wish we had. I tried to snog him in the multiplex and I just couldn't work him up. That's never happened to me before. I feel such a failure." Oscar and Toby looked at one another. "Then when we got back to his place, it must have been the worst shag I have ever had in my life, even my first one was better than that, and that was pretty dismal. At least it's supposed to be the worst one you ever have."

"Our first one was okay, Tobes," said Oscar. "I don't remember any complaints." That was the last straw. Alison slammed her piece of toast down onto her plate and stormed out of the room. The boys look at each other again. "Don't worry, Toby. She shouldn't even be talking about this to us, specially with you here, and over the breakfast table at that. She wouldn't have done it in front of the grans. It's all basically because she fouled up and now she can't admit it."

"Don't you think what we did with Rick had something to do with it?"

"If she hadn't given him the wrong time, it wouldn't have happened. Anyway, it got the excess water off his belly. Ooh, I meant to tell you, I got some good pics of Rick's cut cock with my iphone while you were snogging him. I'll show you later."

"Hey, come on, Oscar, eat up. We've got some serious lovemaking to attend to before the grans get back."

The rest of the day went smoothly and to plan. Let's face it. It couldn't have been worse. While Grandma was cooking lunch, Gramps took Toby on a tour of his garden in order to let Oscar sort his sister out, the only one who could when she got into this sort of mood. It wasn't the usual big sis little brother chat, either. Oscar told Alison that she had been a complete and utter spoilt little bitch and that it was time she thought of other people, especially Rick in this instance. If she was giving off the wrong vibes or the wrong pheromones, it was completely natural that he couldn't perform. "It happens between boys, too, sis." He nursed her through the tears and then went to join Toby and Gramps in the garden. By the time lunch was served, all was sweetness and light.

A family walk in the afternoon followed by tea with freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, and it was time for Gramps to deposit Oscar and Toby outside the school chapel. Before they left, Oscar said "You don't mind my spending half term at Toby's, do you?"

"Not in the least," answered Grandma. "We'll just look forward to the next exeat that much more." Grandma looked around and quietly said "Thank you, Oscar, for sorting out Alison. There's only so much I can do. This is where she needs your mother, no matter how grown up she thinks she is." As Toby said thank you, Gran said "I almost forgot. I've made up a little goodie bag for each of you. Just in case the tuckbox is getting a little empty, but make sure it's all eaten by the end of Tuesday even if you have to have a midnight feast in the dorm."

"I think they went out with Jennings and Darbishire , Gran, but thanks very much."

"And thank you for a great weekend," added Toby.

There was a certain buzz in chapel that evening. People wanted to know whether Jackman would be there. Finally the School House contingent filed in, almost as if he were being protected by his house fellows and at the end of the service School House filed out, again forming a protective bodyguard for their most notorious member. The School in general would have to wait until the morrow to learn any more.

Oscar and Toby took the scenic route back to Tippett. They both looked extremely handsome in the Queen's School uniform. It was as if it had been designed and cut specifically with them in mind, and they looked particularly smart because Grandma had spent a little time and trouble over the weekend sprucing it up for them. They approached the holly bush, knowing in their heart of hearts that Jackman would not be there, and they were right, but also maybe glimpsing a potential client of his that our knights in shining armour might rescue from distress. Undaunted they availed themselves of the vacant holly bush to indulge in some light petting. Their timing was perfect as they reached Tippett, the last as usual, but in time for roll call.

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