Kings Blue

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 2

Romance.

We walk round the garden rather aimlessly. There's not that much to see. Then Per asks if he could see inside the house. Brilliant. It takes a nanosecond to agree to that request.

There's nothing much out of the ordinary inside. The kitchen, reception rooms, and so on, one or two pictures to comment on. Then he asks what is upstairs.

'Bedrooms and a bathroom. Would you like to see my room Per?'

He smiles and nods his head. My tummy turns over for the umpteenth time in the short time I've known this boy. He wants to see upstairs, and that means my bedroom. My room is my own space where all my thoughts and feeling are my own, unseen and unknown by another living soul. It's the natural go-to place for boys and girls isn't it? It's where you can talk uninterrupted……be relaxed…….be yourself……..and be private. It's nigh on impossible at school. Nowhere at school is completely private. Even the loos have a big space at the bottom of the doors.

The back seat of the cinema with Tim. That was nice, and I hoped we could go on from there, and form a proper relationship with Tim, but that was not to be. Those sort of friendships cannot be encouraged. The older boys, or those few that might be tempted, know the odds are stacked against them keeping such a friendship quiet. Next term, Tim will be a sixth-former embarking on his A-levels……not a good moment to be discovered with his hand inside a younger boy's pants. No, that wouldn't do at all. That's a sacking offence.

I've been home one day. Despite my mother reminding me to sort out any washing and put away all the school kit that has arrived back in the trunk, I haven't got around to it yet. Per wants to know what this large object, lid lying open, is doing in the middle of my bedroom floor.

'What's that thing Leo?' he says, staring at the open box.

'It's a sort of travelling wardrobe.'

'What's a…….wardrobe?'

'It's a thing in which you hang clothes……..keep your stuff in. It's a piece of furniture Per…..a bit like that over there.'

I point to a fitted cupboard which contains hanging space and some shelving.

'That thing down there has all my school stuff in it. I need to unpack it, and put it all away. Everything comes back at the end of each year. Then we get new stuff to replace the things that are too small or worn out, and off it goes again.'

I explain that almost all school boys wear the same thing, called a uniform, at English schools, especially schools like the one I go to.

'Can I help you put it all away Leo?'

I'm surprised by Per's question, but his involvement in something quite personal interests me. My tummy turns over once more. There's personal stuff in there. I look at him. His face is entirely expressionless, as if waiting for a positive reaction from me, but not at all sure if one will be forthcoming. I look down at his hands that hang by his sides, against the pale blue cotton shorts he's swapped for the others. They're good hands…not chubby……quite large and defined with longish fingers with veins raised on the backs. Good to draw hands, like his feet. You might think that's an odd observation, but I'm already very sensitive to detail on the human body. I look back at Per's face, pinkish now.

'Ok…….if you don't mind?'

Per kneels on the carpeted floor and begins to extract the contents of my school trunk, name in capitals writ large on the lid……L. H. MILEHAM. It all needs re-folding before it can find a place in the cupboard. If the item is redundant or too shabby to consider usable in next term's ensemble, it gets put on one side, possibly to join the pile of perfectly good, but 'too small now' clothes. My mother, for reasons best known to herself, doesn't like throwing good stuff out. She says…..

' Someone could make use of those things Leo. We can't just throw it all away. It doesn't seem right.'

Ok, but who? Answer, no one, but she won't get rid of it.

Per finds a jumper. They are particularly nice ones……navy blue with a duck-egg blue stripe around the 'V', and another stripe around the bottom, literally. This example is too small for me now, and no doubt will join the other surplus kit in due course. Per holds up the jumper.

'Do you know how to fold that properly Per?'

'No. how?'

You are taught that from the word go, and how to fold all the other items of clothing you possess. I take the jumper from Per and lay it on my bed.

'Hold it up like this first. Then fold the arms over the back like this, then fold the sides over again, and then fold the lower bit up over the top bit, and then turn the whole thing over. See? Same with shirts and tee shirts. Trousers just hang up, and other stuff gets done differently. Now you do it.'

He does it nicely, and holds the neatly folded jumper against his chest with an air of triumph.

'Do you like it Per?'

'Yes.'

'You can have it if you want. It's too small for me now. You can try it on if you want?'

'Can I?'

'Of course. Take you tee shirt off first. It'll look nice against your skin.'

I get another close look at his peachy skin, just slightly coloured by the summer light. The blue shorts leave plenty of that enticing 'V' that forms either side of Per's tummy, arrowing downwards. Stretching now, he works his way into my jumper. He's not a lot smaller than me, but it almost a perfect fit. He looks at me, standing, as I sit on my bed, waiting for my reaction.

'That's looks great on you Per…….really nice.'

He's obviously pleased.

'I hope it doesn't smell. It's been in that box for a few days.'

He puts his arm up to his nose to test the wool for any impurities……

'Only a little bit.'

'What of?' I ask indignantly.

'You I suppose.'

'Is that bad?'

'No. It's nice.'

Sweet boy.

'Here, let me see.'

I take his arm and put it to my nose. If it smells faintly of anything, it's of him. It's the first time I have touched him. It's a wonderful five seconds. I really don't want to let him go. Per smiles, and turns towards my trunk, and kneels once more. He pulls out a pair of grey trousers.

'They go on that shelf. I'm getting new ones in September. Per neatly folds the material, and walks over to the shelf for redundant clothing.

'What are these Leo?'

Per holds up a pair of grey short trousers.

'Are these yours Leo?'

'From two years ago. All the first-year boys wear short trousers. After that they have a choice.'

I didn't think it through. It was just an instantaneous thought.

'I doubt if you'll get into those Per.'

He looks at me, holding the shorts in front of him.

'Can I try?'

'Yeah, if you want, but you'll need something on underneath.'

'I haven't got anything.'

'Look under all that stuff. You should find something.' I say in a nonchalant sort of way. Per has a brief rummage. It's all one colour, but the brevity varies. His choice excites me.

'Will these be alright Leo?'

He holds up my PE underpants. Nice choice. Per turns his back on me, and slips off his blue shorts. The skin of his bottom is a shade paler than his back and arms. He turns back to face me. I'm blushing. I hold the grey flannel shorts open for Per to step into. His hands are on my shoulders as he steps into the garment. He pulls up the zip fastener about half way up, secures the two bits of metal on the waistband, and arranges the jumper neatly over his hips.

'You're beginning to look like the perfect English schoolboy.' I say encouragingly.

It's a snug fit, but a nice one.

'Turn round Per…….just for a moment.' He does.

Perfect……everything perfect, and I feel my stomach roll over once more.

The boy in the queue, hands in pockets, idly standing. Just at that moment, he turns to look my way. I see him looking because he has not left my sight these last five minutes. He sees me, and there's just a hint of a smile. I have found out his name. It's Marcus.

'Can I stay like this…….for a while?' Of course he can.

We finish emptying the trunk. Shirts are folded the correct way, socks put in the sock drawer, underpants on the underpants shelf.

'Those need to be folded too Per.' I insist.

'How?'

'Lay them flat first, this way round, and then this bit folds over like this, and then the sides fold over each other….like this, so it makes a neat package. Then they can be put in a pile or side by side like those are. Clever eh? Now you try.'

It took him couple of goes, but once learnt, never forgotten.

His mother whose name Per tells me is Alea, wanted him next door by twelve thirty. I asked Per what his father's name was. It's Mathias. Per told me he has a brother called Ties. Ties is seventeen, and attending a summer school down in Folkestone, along with a few thousand other foreign kids.

While I talk about this and that to my immaculately dressed English schoolboy, sitting on my bed, Per suddenly looks preoccupied. I thought, or rather feared, that I had somehow managed to upset him.

'Are you ok Per?'

'Yes.' Was the inadequate answer. I'm going to press him.

'No you're not . What is it?'

Per looks down. I look at him wondering what's going to happen next. Maybe I went too far with the clothes thing. I'm sensing that despite only knowing Per for two hours, we are heading for some kind of a crisis. I'm excited by the prospect of spending loads of time with him while he is my neighbour, but maybe I'm misjudging the situation. Per looks up at me…….

'Am I going to be your friend?'

Ah, so that's it. Reassurance needed for the both of us.

'Of course you are….if you want to be. Do you?'

'Yes I do. Am I acceptable to you?'

'What do I have to do Per? You are much more than acceptable ! What can I do?'

'Show me then.'

'Show you what , Per?'

'Anything……something that shows that you like me.'

I love his eyes. They are dark blue, and right now they have a deep glaze to them. He turns to face me. I'm going to. It's risky, but I've nothing to lose. I put one hand on his shoulder. He smiles, and puts a hand on mine. I begin to move my hand which tells my new friend that things are in motion….that this is not the end, but the beginning. It's a mad question…….

'Does your jumper still smell?' I say, smiling as I move my hand.

'I don't know.'

'Shall I find out?'

Per smiles and nods his head.

It's quite intoxicating……totally in fact. As I press my face against the wool, I feel his arms first, and then his chest and around his neck. I feel both of Per's hands around me now, drawing me in to him. I place my hands either side of his chest as I pull my face away to see him. Our faces are just a few inches apart. Our mouths are open, and our breathing has quickened.


It's perfectly acceptable in Holland….between boys who are good friends. It's not seen to be unusual even. We've been accused of being an up-tight nation…..afraid of showing emotion……all that psycho stuff. They're probably right. Per gave me the most beautiful kiss on my cheek.

'What was that for Per?' I said, laughing.

'For being my friend. I'm sorry if you didn't like it. It's what I wanted to do…to show you.'

'I did like it Per….honestly, I did, very much. Can I do the same to you? Tell me where please.'

My beautiful Dutch boy, with Norwegian mother. He pointed to his cheek, so I duly obliged. Then he pointed to his forehead……then his left ear. His neck was next on the list, and finally he places a finger on his lips. I have found a boy. A boy to touch and be touched by. He will excite me and I will excite him. We will play boy's games together and find pleasure in each other's bodies.

The first kiss. He told me, in so many words, that I was pretty useless at that particular art. However, after five minutes, I was making some progress. We were lying on my bed, facing each other. I looked at the clock on the bedside table. I remembered what his mother had told him.

'You've got ten minutes Per. It's twenty past twelve. You'd better put your own clothes back on don't you think?'

'You'll see me.'

'I know. Would you mind?'

'No.'

I watch from my lying position as Per changes from schoolboy back to native Dutch boy. What I saw as he sat on the grass in that way that he sat, I see again now, transformed. The promise of that vision is truly delivered.

Per stands before me, smiling. I quietly ask….

'Put your hands behind your back please…….yes, like that. Stand with your weight on one leg…….head back a little. Stay like that a moment.'

My vision of beauty has become a reality.

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