Berrington Hall

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 7

The walk along the beach was lovely in the late afternoon sunshine. Most of the Sunday visitors had left the beach or were in the process of doing so. The rest were going to hang it out until late I suppose. At the western end there is a wooden staircase that leads up to some gardens. The locals call it Jacob's Ladder apparently. The tide was out leaving interesting rock pools which attracted the attention of a number of sea life hunters equipped with small nets at the end of a length of bamboo. After some cloud cover for most of the day, we now had the sun which felt warm on our bare backs and legs. We had left footwear at the hotel which is just yards from the beach. Before we had left the hotel I'd changed into my swimming shorts, but David had forgotten to bring any swimwear with him which was partly my fault.

'Do you think I can go on the beach in these Simon?'

Hmm. I don't think so.

'I'm not sure about those David…………..they are a bit………well………..why don't you put your shorts on over the top of them, then if you want to go in the water, just take off your shorts and paddle in those. I don't suppose anyone will notice.'

I think that was sound advice. I think David is in an odd mood…..not a bad one…..just an odd one.

We stopped to watch, at a distance, two boys delving into one of the larger pools that looked promisingly deep with chunks of seaweed hovering gently just under the surface. One of the boys who looked not that far off David's age, dark haired and tanned and wearing a pair of bright vermillion brief underpants, although they might possibly be swimming trunks, was now standing nicely upright and examining the contents of his net with great concentration.

'Can we go and see what he's caught?'

'You go……I'll wait here.'

I know how easily and quickly boys will relate to each other and accept an interested visitor as one of their own.

Half an hour later, the two boys had had enough of the water, and with the arrival of David had become a group of three, and dripping, returned to the boys' base camp which was a large rock not far from the deep rockpool they had been investigating earlier. David had gone with them, preferring to leave his shorts with me.

'Did you see me Simon? It's fantastic in there……really warm. You should have come in.'

I did see them. I think red knickers and his little brother had had enough of the pond dipping and decided that the ocean was a better option, and of course David just went along with them. He would do. I followed them at a leisurely pace to observe from the water's edge. When they came out, David stopped to get his shorts. By now rather baggy red knickers which were definitely not swimming trunks, plus brother and David, ran on back to base. I stopped David in his tracks.

'Change into your shorts here….there's no one around.'

'No, I need to ask them something about tomorrow. They're both on the cricket course!'

I wandered back towards the rock pools wondering if I would ever see David again. Then they both appeared…..white knickers and red knickers. The two boys walked up to me, and I introduced myself.

'Hello, I'm Simon.'

'Hi…….I'm Roger. I'm doing the cricket course tomorrow too!'

Goodness me. I have to say I was a little taken aback by him. David had noticed and after a few seconds of red knickers and me looking at each other he asked……

'Can I have my shorts now please?'

Red knickers, who we now know is called Roger, and I, formed a partial barrier while dripping wet white knickers took his off to be replaced by his white shorts. I managed a couple of glances at Roger while David took his time turning the shorts the right way round and so on and he definitely clocked on to him. Eventually David managed to get his shorts on. Then it was a 'see you tomorrow' and a wave and off we wandered back along the beach towards the hotel.

'So that's Roger then? I think you've made a friend there, although I thought you made a bit of meal of it David…….I mean…….'

'So what? Anyway, he's nice.'

'So you did then? I guessing that Roger has rather taken to you David.'

'Why? How do you know that?'

I laughed………

'Well, why shouldn't he! I'm ok aren't I?'

I ruffled David's hair which was my way of answering his last question.

Dinner at the hotel was a bit like school dinners……flat meat with thin gravy which didn't seem quite right on a warm late July evening. About nine I bought us both an ice cream in a wafer cone from a café just around the corner which we ate sitting on a bench almost directly in front of our window. David observed……

'Look, there's our window………the one that's open. It's fun isn't it…..being here I mean.'

Silence for a while……just the lapping of small waves on the pebbles quite close now with the tide almost in.

'I wonder what our beds are like. They're quite big aren't they?'

'Well, we'll find out soon. Which side do you want to be? Nearest the shower or the window?'

'Which side do you want to be then?'

'Nearest to the window I think. It'll be lovely to have a big comfortable bed all to myself.'

All quiet.

Two minutes later the few inches of blue bench between us had disappeared and I felt Simon's head resting gently on my shoulder. That told me everything I wanted to know. I put my arm around his shoulder and felt how firm it was. Then…….

'That was good……meeting Roger like that. I thought he was very nice. What about you?'

'Yeah……I like him……and his brother too. He's funny.'

'I just wanted you to know that if you find a friend here don't think you have to stick with me all the time. You're free to play with anyone if you want to. I'll have plenty of people to talk to and stuff if I need to. So long as you're back at the hotel in the evening, that's all. I promised your parents remember? Anyway…….'

'Anyway what Simon?'

'Anyway…….I love you, remember? And………'

'And what?'

'And whatever ……that's all.'

David moved tighter into me in that way that boys do when they need reassurance, but they're trying to tell you something at the same time. I held him in both arms quite tightly this time, and he responded by pressing his face hard into my chest and giving me a pretend bite on my right nipple. Then he announced….

'Don't make me get up yet will you. I need to sit here for a bit.'


David adjusted his position slightly, but enough for me to see why he said what he'd said.

'So, what caused that then?'

'When you said you loved me…..and held me like you did. That did it. It's your fault.'

'So which bed do you want then? You still haven't told me.'

'Meany, you know which one don't you?'

'So are you going to make it 'til bedtime……..that's about four hours away. I'm not sure I can wait that long. Do you think you can stand up without embarrassing me?'


We sat for another ten minutes while we both counted the pebbles that were strewn in front of us on the warm tarmac. When I got to fifty, I asked David………

'Ok now?'

'Umm, just about.'

'Can I see then?'

David stood up. Not perfect, but not too noticeable either.

We managed to get to our room unnoticed as far as I was aware. I wanted to see him naked. I sat on the edge of the bed and watched him undress for me. There wasn't much to take off. I know how much David likes to be looked at, and he didn't disappoint, standing this way and that way for me like an artist's model might as he decides on the pose.

Perhaps a minute passes before David decides that the time is right, and the waiting is over. The waiting is over for me too. He moves over tome and stands holding his erect penis. David is just tall enough. He places his penis so that it just touches my lower lip.

'Will you kiss him please.'

I do as he asks. David's legs are nicely parted which is another signal from him to me. His testes are tightly held…….and David's audible exhalation of air excites me more than I can say. I squeeze gently and cover most of him…..withdraw and cover him again……again, and again……

We finished on the bed. David lies there, breathing hard. He's just come, and watches me as I kneel between his legs. David watches me as my own time comes, his eyes moving between my penis and his soft tummy until I'm done with it.

'Lie on me Simon.'

I'm lying on him now and we kiss deeply. I tell David that I love him.

The next day.

The cricket course finishes at three thirty every day, so there's quite a bit of free time afterwards. I'm not one of the principal coaches, so I get the left overs to amuse with fielding routines mainly. Most days I took the youngest ones whose ages ranged from about eight to ten, including a couple of girls. They all had been given in advance a list of things that they would need but most of it was pretty obvious, apart from the plastic thing known as a 'box' that protects their sensitive middle bits.

Protecting the abdomen from the full force of a hard cricket ball is a 'must' for everyone. None of the boys were of a standard whereby they would have owned the proper protective garment that the 'box' slipped into, so most wear two pairs of pants and put the plastic object between the two layers, and making sure that the outer pair was the tighter fitting of the two to prevent the thing slipping out of position. Those boys wearing just the one pair would get unpleasantly hot and sweaty 'down there' due to their skin being in direct contact with plastic. David knew all this, and we had come to Sidmouth with enough of the necessary items to stock a boys' outfitters…..or to put it another way…… at least two pairs for each day, which sounds over the top, but isn't in fact.

That evening, we left Sidmouth's wonderful cricket ground about four thirty, and went back to our room at the royal York. The day had been a tiring one and neither of us felt like doing anything very strenuous. Within ten minutes of being in the room, David had got himself slightly worked up, and we played together very gently visiting various parts with the lightest of touches, and within fifteen minutes or so David had come by himself with some assistance from me in the all the right places……….but I hadn't. I didn't want to…..not then. Well, I did want to, but not just then. It was lovely watching David anyway……that's almost enough for me. He's at that stage when he can, almost whenever he likes, and certainly very often it would seem. We lay on my bed……I had prevailed and got the one nearest the window. We hadn't undressed at all because I almost prefer him that way.

It's a small shower cubicle and there was no way we could both get in there together which I would like to have done, but David left the door open as the rather ungenerous stream of water gradually rinsed his shiny skin. You wouldn't say his fairish hair was long, but neither is it short. I admired his slim legs that left a discernible gap where they met at the top. His penis has not reached that pendulous stage yet, although the thickness of it now suggests that ultimately he will be quite a big boy. He sees me watching him and smiles. It hasn't been many minutes since, but he responds to my obvious interest in him by a little playfulness which is of course designed to tease me. I keep watching him. There's surely no way he can go again so soon after, but he appears to be getting close. Pink and exposed now, his hips thrust forwards. I don't ask him to stop as his hand moves a little faster now….eyes focused on his erect penis. Not long after he's started, he stops abruptly, and I'm pleased he has. It would have been a waste.

'Oh dear….what were you thinking about David……..not Red Knickers I hope?'

'No I wasn't actually…….although it might have been Stripy Pants. Would you have minded if it was?'

'Of course I wouldn't. Do you think he would object to you thinking about him then?'


'Really? So what went on in the sea then? Was Stripy Pants a bit naughty then?'

'No, not really.'

'He's a little young David……even for you.'

We're talking about Roger's brother. He's in my cricket group. Roger is in the next age group up, with David two groups up in the senior one. We've done two out of the five days already and it's been quite hard going. The 'babies' have difficulty concentrating on the routines for longish periods, so we have mini-matches at intervals to entertain the boys. Roger's brother, Tony, is actually quite good.

They all look so cute in their shorts and the Youth Cricket tee shirts. There's a break for lunch at twelve thirty, and the boys in the senior group don't have to stay around the lovely old thatched pavilion for that hour. All the others have to stay within the perimeter of the ground.

I saw David and Roger slip away towards the beach today. I noticed, but I don't think anyone else did which was lucky for Roger as he was technically going a.w.o.l. It's not difficult there as the ground is yards from the beach and with all the people milling around and so on and they were both back by the afternoon starting time of one thirty. We were back in our room that evening after another bland evening meal by eight. I had a question for David.

'So…..where did you two disappear to then……..during the lunch break?'

'Oh….so you noticed?'

'Err, yes I did actually.'

'Nowhere in particularly. We just went for a walk, that's all.'

'Ah. Anywhere interesting?'

'We found some patches of dry sand in between some rocks at the far end of the beach. It's a good place to relax in.'

'So you didn't swim then?'

'No……we just sat about and……..'


'Just chatted and stuff……..really, that was it.'

I haven't been in the business long, but I know when I'm getting a half truth from a boy. David's face was a mixture of trying hard to look innocent….and amusement thinking how well he's pulled the wool over my eyes. I didn't press the matter. At some stage this week I might get it out of him…….bad boy! I can't say I blame him if he and Roger got up to no good. If I was David, I would have jumped at the chance, always assuming it had been offered of course. I imagine that David had been given an inkling before they had sloped off, or perhaps it was entirely innocent. Some boys would be appalled at the prospect, but an awful lot wouldn't. They would see a mutual masturbation opportunity as just good clean fun, and definitely not to be missed when opportunity knocks, so to speak.

Day three, the Wednesday, was uneventful apart from one small matter. It rained at about two o'clock which is always a problem. Well organised events like this one have arrangements in place for just such an eventuality…….a video. I stood to one side whilst the boys and girls sat on the floor in the centre of the large pavilion facing the screen. It was one of the standard ECB coaching videos which was actually very useful. Right at the back lounged David, and he was next to an older boy, probably about fifteen at a guess. The body language of the two boys suggested, to me at least, that they had already made each other's acquaintance. At the end of the session David came over to me and helped me move some kit back to the changing room.

'Who was that then?'

'Who was what?'

'The boy you were sitting next to in the film…… he helping or is he on the course?'

'Oh…..him. He's a helper……..his dad's here too. They live at the camp site up on the hill……..right up there.'

I looked in the general direction that David was pointing in. I knew that area beyond the top of the steep climb through the woods as Salcombe Regis.

'Ah, right up there. I know the campsite. Does your friend live in a tent then?'

'No, silly! They own it…..all of it.'

We all attend the plenary meetings at the end of each day when the course leader gives a short pep talk on the day's work, and tells us what will happen the next day. The six group leaders plus their helpers are reallocated to a different group, and tomorrow I was to be in the top one with the most experienced boys….no girls in this one. Although slightly younger, David was included as his level of ability warranted it… was his older friend. After the meeting, David turned to me……….

'Can we go on the beach for a bit please?'

'Yes of course.'

We took our kit back to the hotel and grabbed two towels, and my trunks.

'Of course you forgot yours didn't you. You had better just go as you are.'

'Can we go down near the rocky bit?'


'I said I would meet Ruan there.'

Silence while David and I looked at each other.

'Ruan? David, who is Ruan?'

'He's the boy I sat next to……when we had the video.'

The rain had cleared to leave a bright and warm afternoon. Although nowhere near deserted, by five thirty the beach was relatively empty. The three of us, me, David and Ruan, walked to edge of the water. David took his shorts off and waded out with Ruan who had the physique of a swimmer with nice shoulders, yet to develop fully, and narrow hips. His moderate tan looked good with his black swimming trunks……the quite brief variety that the more serious swimmers wear. I'm not at all surprised that David found him interesting……….he is.

From the first word that Ruan uttered, I knew he was South African.

'It's good to meet you too Simon. David here plays a good game……he has a very good eye. Do you play?'

'I'm not with a club now, but yes I have played.'

After our swim, David climbed into his shorts quite publicly as usual, handing me his dripping underwear which I wrung out onto the sand. Quietly and in that rather clipped South African way of enunciating his words, Ruan asked………..

'Can I walk back with you please Sir………your hotel is down this way I believe?'

That's so typical of the strictly brought up South African schoolboy…….the 'Sir' bit.

I could tell that David was impressed with Ruan. I'd had a little time to assess him and he was not found wanting in any department. I wouldn't describe him as a 'young man' but more of a 'youth' I suppose, and definitely not a 'boy' as per David, who looked at me proudly every time Ruan said anything, which was usually a polite question. Ruan's manners are impeccable which is so typical I think of a well-educated South African. When we reached the part of the beach which was opposite the Royal Clarence, David, who was on a bit of a high it seemed to me, asks………

'Maybe Ruan would like to change in the hotel. Can we ask him please?'

'No no……I'll just jog up the hill…… won't take me long……..maybe ten minutes or so……'

'Yes that's a good idea David. Come on Ruan…….come and see where we live.'

Ruan told us about his recent history…… he'd been sent to board at Inkamana High School in the Natal which is where he developed his interest in sport, especially his swimming…..and his parents decision to leave the country and return to England where his father was born. They had bought the campsite soon after their return, but the living space was minimal so they applied for planning to build a new shop and family accommodation which they got. The build was now finished, but Ruan lived in a caravan at one end of the field, mainly for fun, but it also gave him a sense of independence. In the winter he would move back into the house. He had no brothers or sisters.

There's a shout from the shower………

'Simon…….can you do my hair please?'

'Do your own hair David……I'm talking to Ruan!'


I looked at Ruan………and he looked at the forlorn David facing us in the shower……

'I don't mind……..if he doesn't?'

'I'm sure he won't mind Ruan.'

In boarding schools nudity is the norm as we know, so Ruan undressed without any hint of embarrassment. I knew he has a fine figure, and what I hadn't already seen, but saw now, did nothing to change my mind…….quite the reverse. He is fully and exquisitely formed. I rinsed out the almost dry trunks in the hand basin in the room before returning to 'our' bed. I lay full length to observe the scene.

Ruan went about his work as you would expect……efficiently.

'Turn around David…….head down…..that's it…….now head back……..turn around again……..ok, that's good……….'

All rinsed off now, David stayed in the shower while Ruan attended to his own hair…….and then his body.

I was ready with a towel when David stepped out of the shower, and another for Ruan who followed shortly after.

In the conversation that followed before Ruan headed for the hills and home, David unfortunately, and I don't think deliberately, referred to 'our' bed. I immediately looked at Ruan, whose expression didn't change perceptively, but he might well have picked up on David's faux pas. I found out the next day on our walk on the beach that he had picked up on it.

We were told that Thursday would be fine weather, and it was. The course was going well and I had enjoyed being in the top group at last and away from the 'babies'. The course leader, an accomplished cricketer called Dave something, had organised an impromptu game for whoever wanted to stay a couple of

hours longer after the normal 'closing' time. David volunteered but Ruan and I had had enough for one day. Unlike the boys and girls, the leaders and helpers didn't need any other kit other than what we stood up in, so I said to Ruan……

'I'll walk back with you if you want? I'd like to hear more about South Africa if you don't mind talking about it? It's always been a place I'd be interested in going to…….sometime.'

From what he had already said, I suspected that he had a story to tell, and I wasn't wrong. In fact I'm sure he needed to talk about it. We set off along the beach. It was low water so there was plenty of room.

'So……it sounded like you all left South Africa in a hurry. Is that right?'

'Kind of. My parents hadn't told me anything about leaving until they actually knew we were going. They thought it was better that way. I was very upset when they told me because…..'

'Because what?'

'Because I had made friends at the school, although I hated some aspects of the place. It was quite a hard life there…….they try to be like British public schools a hundred years ago……you know……boys with too much power……that kind of thing.'

'Umm, things are a lot more liberal here these days. Were you bullied there?'

'No, not really.'

We walked on in silence. Ruan was, I suspected, making up his mind whether he wanted to tell me more.

'Something happened didn't it? I'm a good listener you know.'

We stopped and looked at each other. I could see in his eyes that he wanted to talk.

'Can I tell you? You won't think I'm stupid? Can I ask you something first?'

'Of course…..anything.'

'Yesterday……after the shower…….what David said about his bed…'

'Ah…..that. You noticed then. It's true, we do sleep in the same bed….just while we're here in Sidmouth. That's not because we want to save on the laundry either. It's because David and I want to be close to each other at night. It's as simple as that. I hope that doesn't shock you. To us it seems like a natural thing to do, and we enjoy being physically close to each other. It's a nice feeling. I suppose other people wouldn't see it that way. I'm very fond of David.'

'That's nice……I like him too…….and you of course . Maybe you've worked that out?'

'No, but I'm very pleased you've said that. Can you imagine why?'

'I think I can.'

'Well, stretch your imagination a little bit more, and you've got what I'm feeling……what I'm feeling right now. Ruan, can you tell me what's bothering you?'

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