All the Queen's Men

by N Fourbois

Part 11

After the Beginning of Term Service school started with a minimal administration period and lessons soon got underway. Dominic Dumbleby was in a fourth year history lesson when there was a knock at the door and an adorable young pupil entered. Dom found himself licking his lips. His boyfriend Nik Ogen gave him a powerful nudge in the ribs and told him to behave himself. The history master read out the contents of a note. "Michael Jackman to report to the sanatorium at the beginning of morning break." Instant insurrection with cheers, boos, catcalls and the usual list of sexually transmitted diseases being shouted out. "Thank you, Curtis," said the master, dismissing the messenger and signalling with hands for an end to the noise. Jackman visibly blenched for he knew the reason for the summons. Had these yahoos not noticed how he had changed over the last couple of months?

At break he made his way through the school grounds to the San with a feeling of frustration as he saw boys, some of them former 'clients' of his, that he still lusted after, but could do nothing about. "Good morning, Michael," came the cheery greeting from Dr Stennett, the school medico. "Come into the surgery." 'How could someone be so cheerful about robbing a boy of his virility?' thought Jackman. The doctor closed the door. "Okay, Michael, I think you're getting used to this now. Drop your trousers and your underpants and lie on the couch," he said, putting on a pair of rubber gloves. "You're not allergic to latex, are you? There's nothing in your notes. Mmm yes, that's healed very nicely and I'm pleased to see you're keeping yourself clean. He weighed Jackman's testicles in his hand, for no medical reason, but to have a gratuitous feel. "If you promise to stay like that, I think we can reduce Matron's inspections to once a week." Dr Stennett prepared the syringe. "Okay, Michael, sharp scratch."

"Why do they always say 'sharp scratch', Doctor?"

"Well, they couldn't say 'small prick', could they, Michael?" grinned the doctor "and it would be rather inappropriate in your case, anyway," he continued, his patient now warming to his jolly mood. Jackman accepted it as a backhanded compliment, which did help put him at ease. "I'm just going to insert the needle into the base of your penis…"

"Ow!"

"… push on the plunger. There you are, Michael. All done," he said as he put the used syringe into the sharps box. "See you in a few weeks' time, Michael. Have a good term."

"I won't," grouched Jackman, "not after that." The doctor opened the door.

"All done, Matron," he called out. "I'll have a quick word before I leave, if I may."


Oscar and Toby were sitting over lunch. That and the games lessons were their main opportunity for getting to know other members of the school. The house system had some disadvantages, but over the previous terms they had made friends from other houses. The setting system helped too, for they were with different fellows in each subject, even separated from each other at times. After two terms, although still at the bottom of the school pecking order, they were now accepted as full members of society. They were flattered that straight pupils often came to them for advice, particularly on sexual matters. How had they built up this reputation? In matters of bullying they could understand it, for they had often lent their assistance in that matter, but in matters sexual they preferred to keep themselves to themselves, or at least confine their contact to their dorm mates and their mentors.

In sport this term Toby was naturally recruited into the cricket squad, and for the first school match appointed captain, such were the expectations of a sports scholar. The downside was that because of the length of the games, sometimes he did not arrive back at school from an away match until eight or nine o'clock in the evening and so their 'us-time' became restricted, with the sole compensation that they could rely on Dom Dumbleby to lend them his room on a Saturday night. Oscar did not try for the cricket squad. He had other summer sporting interests which he shared between athletics and swimming.

At that moment a dark shadow was momentarily cast across their table. They looked up and Jackman was passing by. They still had not fully accustomed themselves to his new crisp clean wholesome image. "Hey, Jackman," Toby called.

"Michael, a moment of your time, please," cried Oscar to mollify him a little. The scowl on his face presaged a certain incipient moodiness which Oscar was able to prevent. "Come and sit down." He did.

"Michael," repeated Oscar, "you might remember my sister's friend Jimmy Butterfield." Jackman nodded. "He 'd like to see you again."

"No point, is there? I can't do stuff, can I?"

"Why's that?" asked Toby, suddenly interested.

"They give me injections to stop me getting hard."

"Oh?" uttered Oscar. He thought for a moment.

"And do they work?" asked Toby.

"Of course they bloody well work, Awnott, you tosser, or they wouldn't be giving them to me."

"Why don't you refuse to have them?"

"You should know that. Because that little shit Pike decided to bleed on me and I get expelled if I don't have them."

Anyway," said Oscar "I'm just the postman, but Jimmy would like to go on another date with you and…" Oscar lowered his voice. "… he is versatile. Here's his mobile number." Oscar handed Jackman a card. "Do what you like with it." He took the card and stuffed it into the breast pocket of his blazer. "We'll see," said Oscar as Jackman moved off. "Toby, you mucky little sod, you've got a big bulge in your trousers."

"I've always got a big bulge in my trousers. I'm blessed that way, remember?"

"Yeah, but this bulge has got a pointy bit on it. You didn't get an erection looking at Jackman, I hope?"

"Indirectly I suppose I did," he replied and paused. "'Cos I was trying to think of what it would be like looking at a boy I fancied and not getting hard, and that made me get an erection."

"I hope that boy was me."

"Who else, Oscar?"


As said, because of Toby's cricket Oscar was often at a loose end on a Saturday. A couple of weeks into term he had arranged to meet Alison in town in one of the Costa coffee bars. Walking in, he spotted his sister sitting with Jimmy Butterfield. "Hi, little brother."

"Hi, big sis." It didn't matter that Oscar was beginning to tower over Alison. His hair added to the effect. "Hi, Jimmy. Long time no see. Have you found a boyfriend yet?"

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed, Oscar."

"Remember not to keep your legs crossed, Jimmy."

"I'm just killing time until we meet in Wetherspoon's." He looked at his mobile to find out the time even though there was a large clock on the wall.

"You sure know how to entertain a girl to the high life."

"Piss off, Daintree. You're more sarky than your sister knows how to be."

"A compliment, indeed."

"Don't worry, Oscar. I'm off in five minutes. Leave you in peace to listen to Alison's latest character assassination."

After Jimmy had left them, Oscar and Alison caught up with the 'goss'. "Are you speaking to Rick yet?" said Oscar.

"Rick who?"

"I'll take that as a negative." Actually Rick got off quite lightly. It was her girl friends who caught the full icy blast of her vituperation. "Have you got any friends left at school now, sis?"

"Mend and make do, I believe the saying is. They're all still my friends, even though I hate them." Oscar was receiving a lesson in feminine logic. Oscar fielded Alison's questions about Toby and how they were getting on. His answers were not as full as she might have liked them. Another dissimilarity with his sister, he kept his love life secret.

"So Jimmy has nearly got himself a boyfriend?"

"Didn't I tell you?"

"No, sis, and you haven't stopped talking since I came in here."

"Well, you know I said Jimmy wanted to meet Michael again?"

"Jackman?" Alison nodded. "Oh, I'd completely forgotten about that."

"And it was you that made it all possible." She affectionately put her hand on his across the table. "What are we going to do?"

"I don't mind, providing I don't have to go shopping with you."

"You might see some clothes that you like, Oscar."

"I only go clothes shopping with Toby. You might have noticed in Canada we like wearing the same clothes. Corporate identity we call it. Makes us feel good, as if we belong to one another. Sometimes we wear each other's clothes. It feels really sexy and now Toby's grown a bit, it's easier. Anyway, with what I bought in Vancouver I've used up my allowance till the end of the month." Oscar sat back in his seat,

"So, sis, am I to assume that you're not getting any at the moment?"

"Shh, Oscar! You never know who's listening. I haven't got a boyfriend at the moment, but there are ways and means – there are several boys at school who are famous for not being able to keep their trouser zip done up."

"You asked what I wanted to do," said Oscar. "I wouldn't mind popping across on the bus to see Gran and Gramps for half an hour." Alison took out her mobile. "No, don't warn them. I want it to be a surprise."

"You don't mind if I don't come with you? I've still got some shopping to do."

"You go ahead."

They drank up their cold coffee and went their separate ways.


Meanwhile across the square Jimmy Butterfield went into Wetherspoon's. As his eyes adjusted to the dimmer lighting, he peered around, but no sign of Jackman. Then someone stood up and waved. Jimmy had only met Jackman once and so his appearance after the make over had rendered him unrecognisable. Jimmy had thought twice about meeting Jackman, largely because of his lack of personal hygiene, but he was desperate, and ignored his better judgement. He was encouraged by what he saw beckoning him over; he even hugged him when he reached him, if only in the hope of a quick grope of his balls and the expectation of having his own felt. Jimmy was not disappointed.

They sat down over a drink and chatted. Jackman was still full of his own woes and gave Jimmy a graphic description of his make over and the circumstances that led thereto. Jimmy warmed to him, became sympathetic. "So you're desperate, Michael?"

"Pretty much so. I've lost my freedom at school. I'm continually watched and monitored, and I don't mean just by the staff. In fact the kids at school are worse."

"So are you up for a bit of fun today?"

"If only. The spirit's willing, but the flesh is weak, very weak in that department."

"I'm okay for giving you a good rogering."

"But I'm a top."

"Not any more, sunshine, from what you've told me. Hobson's choice. Either you take it up the butt or you don't get any." Jimmy grinned; Jackman scowled. Jimmy left him to think about what he had said. Finally Jackman said

"Okay. Where are we going to do it?"

"My place. We won't get disturbed there."

"All right. Let's go, but I need to take a slash first."

Jackman followed Jimmy into the gents. Jimmy immediately pulled his sweats down, revealing his bare butt. 'So he's going commando,' thought Jackman. 'Oh, those were the days.' He pulled the front of his own sweatpants down, lugged out his wand and started peeing. Anticipating what was going to happen later, he stretched his arm across and ran his courting finger along Jimmy's crack. "Hey, Michael," Jimmy protested, "if you're going to do that, do it properly. Stick your finger in my hole. I'm quite easy to penetrate." Jackman obliged; Jimmy let out a groan.

Jimmy finished peeing. "Shake it off for me. And make a good job of it because you're going to suck it later." At that moment the door squeaked as it opened and whoever walked in said

"Hi, lads, fun time is it?"

"Not till we get home," said Jimmy, while shaking Michael's dick off. "Want us to shake yours?"

"It's okay, thanks. My boy's waiting for me outside." The lads washed their hands – yes, Jackman as well – and left. The 'boy' waiting outside was quite a hunk, mid-twenties at a guess. They checked him out and made for the bus station. "That bog's got quite a reputation as a cottage," said Jimmy.

"Cottage?"

"Yeah, a public loo where men looking for sex come and meet. So if you're ever at a loose end, you now know where to go."

It was a five minute walk from the bus stop to Jimmy's house. As they went in, he said "It's okay. The 'rents have to work on Saturday, then they visit my grandma." They went up to Jimmy's room. Jackman had been here once before. "We have to get in the right mood first and we'll see if we can stiffen up that dick of yours."

"You won't," Jackman retorted.

Jimmy opened up one of his Powerpoint presentations of nude twinks. After watching that, he got Jackman up against the wall, pressed his unrestrained cock against him and deep throated him. He could feel where Jackman's tackle was, but it was as slack as ever. Whatever the medical profession had done to him, it was effective. Finally Jimmy had to admit defeat. "Fine, there are more ways of skinning a cat." The boys continued to snog on the bed, gradually undressing each other. He just had to stop in wonder when Jackman's groin came to view. Jimmy drew breath in between his teeth. "Wow!" This was not the Jackman he remembered. He admired the equipment, now looking so aesthetically and sexually enticing, although sans prépuce , nestling in its hairless pubic area. "Do you mind if I take some snaps of that, Michael?"

"Be my guest. I hope you can get off on them when you're lonely at night." Jimmy knelt at the side of the bed and took Jackman's cock into his mouth. Jackman was obviously gaining some pleasure from Jimmy's effort, but it remained as soft as ever. Jimmy felt his 'professionalism' under attack.

"Okay, back to plan A."

Jimmy opened a drawer and took out a soft red rubber bulb with a plastic tube coming out of it. "What's that?" said Jackman apprehensively.

"It's called a bulb douche, a tenner on the internet, and it makes sure you're clean."

"I'm clean?"

"Your butthole's clean then. We'll do this bit in the bathroom." Jimmy poured some tepid water into the bulb. "It's got to be about body temperature." He added a drop of liquid soap and a smidgen of Dettol, then screwed the nozzle on and shook the whole thing. "Bend over the bath." He gently inserted the nozzle and squeezed the bulb. Jackman felt the warm liquid flow into him. "Now sit on the loo and try and keep the water in as long as possible. When you can't any longer, flex your muscles as if you're taking a dump and let the water out." Jackman lasted five minutes. They went back into the bedroom. "Do you want to do this raw or protected, Michael?"

"I've never used condoms, but I've been told I have to." Jimmy put one still in its foil on the bedside table.

"Ready to go?"

"Yeah, and I can see you are too." Jackman gave one of his lecherous grins.

"Start by licking my balls, then suck them and then take my cock in your mouth. I want you to edge me."

"Edge you?"

"Bring me to point of shooting, but stop before I do."

Jackman carried out his instructions and Jimmy pulled out before he was about to come. "Next phase. Kneel on the bed." Jimmy fingered his rosebud, sliding in first one, then two fingers. When he withdrew them, he smelt them and then licked them. "That's okay. I could become addicted to that." Jackman could not see what was going on behind him. Jimmy knelt on the floor and started tonguing Jackman's crevice, the rosebud, pushing the tip of his tongue as hard as he could against it. Little whimpers escaped from Jackman. Finally Jimmy could hold back no more. "Now it's time for the real thing." Jackman jumped as he had the cold gel massaged into his hole, but he immediately felt the tip of a rampant cock against his rosebud and without further warning Jimmy was in.

Jackman could tell he was not dealing with a beginner. Jimmy hit the P-spot, but poor Michael's tackle was still hanging limply between his legs. At last the final thrusts came and he felt the spurts of warm liquid in his inner sanctum. The next he knew was that Jimmy had pulled out and was licking up the warm spunk as it dribbled out of his hole. Jimmy made him lie flat on the bed as he climbed on top of him and shared the produce of his loins in a long and satisfying French kiss.

After they had slept for half an hour or so, Jimmy said "I'm sorry. I forgot to use the jonnie." 'Like hell,' thought Jackman, 'but I preferred it that way.'

"Perhaps I will become a bottom," he said. "At least until I stop having these injections."

The boys had a cup of tea and Jimmy asked if Michael might like to repeat that the following Saturday. They agreed to meet in the afternoon and go to the cinema afterwards. Were they boyfriends? Too early to tell. They both still had their temptations in their respective schools and while Jimmy was of age, Jackman was distinctly illegal.

It had been a good lesson for Jackman, if only to show him that he did not know everything there was to know about being gay.


Oscar was lying on his bed in Alexander, reading a book. He had just ended a long telephone conversation with Alison in which she gave him all the low down, the 'goss' as she called it, and it was all the low down, on Jimmy's date with Jackman. The Busker and the Squalor were in the chapel practising for the following evening's service. Marcus had gone to the cinema with his boyfriend Olly. Toby must be on the way back from his away cricket match. The door opened and Oscar looked up to see Toby in his school blazer and cricket whites, albeit the flannels showed grass stains and red marks in the groin area where Toby had been putting a shine on the ball. Within a split second all kinds of thoughts were going through Oscar's head: how incredibly erotic Toby looked in whites, how lucky he was to have him as his boyfriend. Indeed, he wished there was a word to express their close relationship. Partner? Too vague, too ambiguous. Boyfriend? Not intimate enough. Husband? Too early in life, but one day, maybe? "Hi, Tobes." Toby dropped his sports bag.

"Oscar, give me a kiss and a feel. I'm desperate." Oscar hugged him and Toby was instantly sucking on Oscar's tongue, Oscar's free hand gently kneading his groin.

"You horny little toad, you. You were already chubbing up."

"I've been like that since getting off the coach. I say, Oscar, now we've done that I could murder a cup of tea."

"Come along to the kitchen in a couple of minutes and I'll have one made."

Toby hung up his blazer and put his kit away. He wouldn't normally travel back from an away match in his kit, but the game had gone to the last minute and the masters and the other teams were impatient to get back to school. It was not worth changing now and Oscar seemed to like it when he was all sweaty.

When Toby reached the communal kitchen, Oscar had two steaming mugs of tea on the table, brewed to perfection. "How did the match go, Tobes?"

"Don't ask."

"I just did."

"We lost. Quite exciting, really. They got the runs in the last over. If we'd got their man out, we'd have won. If we hadn't, but they didn't get the runs, it would've been a draw. So it could have gone any way."

"How did you do?"

"Captain and opening bat, out for one. No need for me to bother about my average for the rest of the season."

"How did it happen?"

"Own silly fault. A cardinal error. Their fast bowler was quite dishy and on his run up I was looking at his crotch instead of the ball. Middle stump clean out of the ground. I'll have to watch that in future or I'll be relegated to the B XI. Can you imagine that? The sports scholar of the year playing for the second team? Oh, the ignomy!" Oscar put his arm round his beloved. "But I did get three wickets, and yeah, one of them was that bowler that got me out. Caught and bowled, yess! So I might get selected next week, after all"

The couple sipped their tea. "Dom all right for us to use his room tonight?"

"Yeah, I checked with him earlier."

"What's that book you're reading?"

"Kenneth Williams's biography." Toby looked puzzled. "You know, that one in the Carry On films. 'Stop messing about.'"

"Oh, him. Was he gay?"

"Queer as a nine bob note, but he always denied it, despite the people he worked with who were known to be gay. But it was illegal to do stuff when he was alive and you could go to prison, like Alan Turing in that film we saw."

"That could have been us, if we'd been born earlier," said Toby thoughtfully.

"I'm reading the bit about where he used to go off on holiday regularly to Tangier because the boys were legal and freely available."

"Why do they say that?"

"Wot?"

"As queer as a nine bob note."

"It goes back to the time before we were born and they had money that was pounds, shillings and pence, LSD as they called it. Twelve pence in a shilling and twenty shillings in a pound. Can you imagine it? We did it in history at my last school, and a bob was slang for a shilling. The lowest banknote was ten shillings or fifty new pence, quite a sum at the time and so there was no such thing as nine shilling note. The Yanks say as queer as a three dollar bill."

They finished their tea, washed up the mugs and went downstairs. The house was filling up as time for Prayers approached. "Toby," Oscar said quietly in his ear, "don't bother to shower tonight. I like you as you are."

The following day was restful. As the School left chapel in the evening, the Headmaster congratulated Toby on his three wickets. "You just need to keep your eye on the ball, when batting, I hear." Toby blushed deep red.

They took the scenic route back to the house, for old times' sake, sat on the bench in the warmth of the evening sun, but there was no activity by the holly bush.


The year had passed amazingly quickly for our two boys. The early May bank holiday became part of the first exeat weekend, which they spent with Oscar's grans. Then suddenly Open Day on the following Saturday, the anniversary of Oscar and Toby's first meeting, was there. As always on that weekend the school matches were with a nearby school and did not start until two.

Oscar and Toby, seeing the organisation of what they underwent as prospective pupils from the inside and had viewed as happy coincidence, was in fact the result of thoughtful planning. Each house appointed third form guides for the day. Each group was made up of applicants of like interests and therefore it was self-perpetuating that prospective gay pupils should gravitate towards Tippett. Mr Forrester, the Housemaster, had seen no sense in trying to split the atom and so had asked both boys to act as guides on behalf of Tippett. Toby would in any case have to disappear after lunch for his cricket match. Luckily his was at home that day. Dom joshed them, since it apparently took two to do his job.

Friday after school they had to go for a briefing session with the Deputy Head. It was laid down that all the guides were selected to be eminent ambassadors of the School and of their houses. They were the interface between the prospective pupils and the School. Some of the boys in their groups would be coming to Queen's in any case; some would be looking at Queen's as one school among many. These are the ones that needed the most encouragement. As guides they would find out more about the visitors than any interview would. Some would be entirely unsuited to Queen's and this was probably the most sensitive area and if any guide had qualms, he should mention them to a senior member of staff before the interviews began. The guides were suitably impressed with what an important and responsible role they had been given, but they had all in fact been selected for their ability to shoulder that responsibility.

"Have you thought this one through, Tobes?" asked Oscar as the made their way back to Tippett.

"In what sense?"

"We are going to have a group of boys just like us."

"Gay, you mean?"

"Of course I mean gay. That's taken as read. But also they are going to have the same fears, the same hopes and aspirations, the same apprehensions, the same need for help, sympathetic treatment, acceptance, and we're the people to provide all that." Toby nodded. "On the more practical side don't forget that we are going to become their mentors. We get to see them before the rest of our year and so we can preselect who we want to mentor. We don't have to wait for the shake down. We'll get the cream."

"Mmm, yes, I get your drift. Lush."

"Yes, if you want one."

"Wot?"

"A lush."

"I didn't mean it like that, but now you're talking."

Saturday mornings allowed for a lie in. The Busker and the Squalor were up at the normal hour because they had things to do. David was conducting tours round the chapel while Chris would be up in the organ loft playing. Marcus was jogging, probably with Olly. That was their method of gaining a little privacy. Toby looked around the dorm when he woke, put some shorts on and went for a pee. When got back, he took them off again and climbed into bed with Oscar who was still sleeping. He woke up with a start. "Ooh, you're cold." Now wide awake he said "I must have a slash first, then I'm all yours." He climbed back into bed and this time he pressed his cold body against Toby.

On occasions such as this they would only smooch, still they came off, but it was the result of a mutual jerk. Despite the temptation they would never make love in the dorm. Too great a risk of being caught. If they were found wanking, so what? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Some things, however, were simply too private to justify the risk, and anyway they had Saturday night to look forward to.

Toby used his shorts to wipe Oscar's spunk off his own chest and face, then got up for a shower. They took particular care over their appearance that morning before going over to breakfast. They were in school uniform, but they were wearing the tightest trousers they could find. Toby was wearing a jockstrap underneath, "because it enhances my package," he said.

"Mine doesn't need enhancing," replied Oscar.

"That's because you can't control yourself and have permanently got a horn on."

"That is so untrue," protested Oscar.

"Look, you've got one on now and you only had a wank half an hour ago."

"No! Listen, Toby Awnott. It only happens when you're there… or when I'm thinking about you," he added coyly in a quieter voice, "and besides I'm wearing my aussieBums today and they always give you a lift."

They went across to breakfast and eventually turned up in the main hall where the visiting boys and their parents were gathering. They filled in the time with boywatching and chatting up the boys they fancied. At ten o'clock the Headmaster opened the proceedings and gave a brief talk about the school, its achievements and aspirations in academics, sports, music and drama, and the character building it aimed to instil in its pupils. He handed over to his Deputy who explained what would be happening. On the wall were lists of who was in each group, and the guides held aloft a placard on a stick with group number, house name and colours, pink and lavender in Tippett's case, and guides' names. This was probably the most chaotic part of the occasion, but if it was, no one had anything to fear concerning the organisation of the rest of the day. Oscar and Toby had the good sense to lead their group outside. The small group of ten that followed eventually grew to twenty. They ticked the names off their list and checked it against the name badges the prospective pupils were wearing. Suddenly Toby said to Oscar "I've got an idea. Line them up and I'll take an individual photo of them and we can look at them later."

"Stupendous, Tobes. Why didn't I think of that?" In private Toby might have answered that.

Each guide had been given an itinerary with varying times and routes. If the system worked, none of the groups should meet or clash at a venue. Because the group was so large, at the official stopping points it was addressed as one, but en route between the various attractions it naturally split into two as Oscar and Toby spoke to different halves. They intermingled as the tour went on.

Of the ten groups Oscar and Toby had the most difficult task. They were not officially told this, but from their experience the previous year, and from their own gaydar, they knew that most, if not all in the group were gay, some bi perhaps, maybe there was the odd straight boy amongst them, but he would certainly be 'curious'. It stood to reason because of Queen's reputation for successfully educating gay pupils. Only by comparing notes afterwards did they discover that whereas the other groups were given ten minutes to visit their boarding house, Tippett was allocated twenty. Also this was the only group that had the boarding house as the last point on the itinerary in case of an overrun.

They finally reached Tippett House. Mr and MrsForrester were waiting for them. Oscar and Toby retired to the back of the day room while the Housemaster addressed the visitors. "Tippett is a very special house." There was a snigger from one of the visitors,. He was completely ignored. He gave himself away by blushing, but at least had the decency to keep quiet during the rest of the talk. "You will know that Queen's specialises in educating gay pupils, and we do that with tolerance and sympathy. To do it most effectively, the known gay pupils are allocated to this house and I don't think Oscar and Toby will mind if I say that they are gay and ask them how do you like living in Tippett House, boys?"

"Very much, sir," came the replies.

"If any of you have a difficulty with that, you must tell someone before your interviews. Me or my wife, Toby or Oscar, or any member of staff you meet."

The group was taken on a tour of the house. It was explained that they would be in dormitories for their first year and after that they would have individual studies. After saying goodbye to Mr and Mrs Forrester, Oscar and Toby took the group outside and got them to gather round. "Well, lads, said Toby, "we kept the best till last, as it were. Have any of you got any problems?" The boys' reactions were mixed, but one particular one was bold enough to start a discussion.

"I chose to come here because my brother is already here. He's in Tippett and he's in the fifth form doing his GCSEs. He wants to stay on for the sixth form."

"And you are Simon…?" said Oscar.

"Simon Charing"

"So you're Archie Charing's brother?"

"That's right. He says it's helped him a lot being here, and he helps me with being gay when we're at home."

"Incest," said someone out of the crowd, but wasn't meant nastily. Indeed, for the first time that morning it broke the ice and got everyone laughing. Simon blushed. A previously timid little chap put his hand up and said

"I'm gay, but I'm not sure that I would want to live in a place where everyone else is gay." Toby made a note of his name and comment on his clipboard.

"Because it's a gay house, are you allowed to do stuff?"

"Bertie," said Oscar, "I can't answer the question, but let's just say it happens and leave it at that."

During the whole tour two boys had continually taken Oscar and Toby's attention. Although strangers at first, they had got talking and by now came across as inseparable friends. Toby whispered to Oscar. "Do you see those two?" Oscar nodded. "They're us on Open Day last year."

"I quite fancy the one with short curly light brown hair."

"Don't forget you had short light brown hair when we met."

"Mousy, Alison used to call it."

"If you've got any more questions," said Toby "you can ask them on the way back to the dining hall for orange squash and biscuits."

After a short break all the visitors were taken back to the main hall. With parents and extra members of staff it was quite a crush. The Deputy Head explained the next part. Those going for scholarships would be taking their exams, followed by interviews. Those not going for scholarships would have their interviews with suitable stops for lunch. As all this was being explained, Oscar felt a hand pulling down the zip on his trousers. "Hardly the time or place, Tobes," he whispered, resigned, and then noticed that Toby was standing at least five feet away in front of him to the left. Oscar discreetly removed the hand from his trousers, but held the wrist until he discovered the owner. It was the lad with the short curly light brown hair that Oscar quite fancied. "Leave it out, Nathan Starling. I'm a happily married man, thank you."

The guides' duty was nearly over. Toby said goodbye to their group, explaining he had to go off and play cricket for the school, which left the visitors in Oscar's charge. He made sure they knew what they had to do, where they were supposed to be and when. Later he met them all before lunch, took them into the dining hall and had lunch with them. He enjoyed talking to them and he and Toby had been right about Nathan and his friend Charlie Spratt. Even though they had never met before that day, a relationship had clearly formed between the pair, later described by one school wit as neither fish nor fowl, a relationship yet destined in a few months' time to become an indissoluble bond, whether they came to Queen's or went to another school. In like company the visiting boys were willing to open up about their being gay and Oscar was interested to listen to their individual stories; the gay boy who was being sent to boarding school by his parents 'to make a man out of him'; (Ironically he was not out at home.) the boy who was very much out and wanted to come to Queen's to meet 'like minded boys'; Charing minor who had heard such good things from his elder brother; an older boy who would be going into the fifth form because he was being bullied at his present school; one who really did want to go to boarding school after reading Harry Potter and who incidentally fancied Ron Weasley to pieces. Each had his story to tell.

Finally it was time for the visitors to make their separate ways to interviews or the examination room. Oscar said goodbye and it was genuinely meant when he said he looked forward to meeting them again in September. He knew that twenty would not fit into Tippett's three dormitories, but he also knew that not all of them would come and that there would in addition be applicants that could not make the Open Day. However, they could safely lay bets that they would see Nathan Starling and his new found friend Charlie again.

For once Oscar was able to go and watch his boyfriend play cricket. Toby was bowling when he turned up, but Oscar knew better than to make his presence known for when it came to sport Toby was single minded plus and would not have been best pleased if Oscar had drawn attention to himself. Toby had had that characteristic reinforced earlier in the season when he was out for one run in the first match. Oscar stayed and unobtrusively watched until Queen's batted their way to a victory with half an hour to spare. He clapped as the two batsmen and the away team left the field. Only then did Toby acknowledge him.

Oscar went back to the house, skyped his parents, rang the grans, tried to ring his sister, but she was not answering. By this time Toby had finished his cricket captain's duties and returned to the house, and the usual scene in Alexander, namely Oscar alone reading, while Marcus was out on a date with Olly, and Chris and David were up to whatever they got up to in the chapel in the name of preparing and practising the music for the following day's service. Oscar and Toby knew they had the privacy of Dominic Dumbleby's room that night and so they just lay on their own beds chatting about the cricket and their group of visitors to Open Day.

"So, Tobes, what did you think of our little gang today?"

"Do you mean as objects for boywatching or as future members of Tippett?"

"Yes."

"Yes, which?"

"Yes, both," replied Toby.

"I've made some notes. Are we agreed that we liked Nathan and Charlie?"

"Yes," said Toby and continued "Are we agreed that they are a similar couple to us a year ago?"

"Yes. Are we agreed that we want to become their mentors, if they come? … Even though we haven't seen them with their clothes off?" Oscar giggled.

"We don't have to," said Toby. "I gave them both a feel and I don't think you'll be disappointed with yours."

"Mine? Who's that?"

"Nathan, of course. You were drooling all over him."

"Wot? Moi?"

"Yes, you, you horny little muskrat."

"So you're happy to take Charlie under your wing?"

"More than…" The bell sounded for Prayers.

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