The Boys of S. Bees

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 1

There has been nothing remarkable about my life thus far……all sixteen years of it. You would describe me as 'middle class' I suppose, born to a doctor father and a mother who never needed to be employed, or wanted to be I imagine, but more than content to run the household and care for her five children, the youngest of which is me. Education was considered to be important, but not the be all and end all of life. If in due course I decide to become some sort of trades person like a bricklayer or a plumber, as opposed to one of the professions, that will be fine by them. In the intelligence stakes, I'm running in the middle to lower orders of the pack, which is why I was sent away to be educated in the traditional English way……nothing very exclusive but 'interestingly sound' as my father put it. The final nail in my coffin was the certainty that I would not pass the selection process for a Grammar School education. None of my siblings had any such doubts, and they all agreed that to fork out good money in aid of my life chances was really the only option. Besides, all four of them thought that I needed to 'man up' somewhat, and that the rough and tumble of boarding school life would do just that. When my sister Jackie mentioned the term 'man up', I had a different idea of what that meant than she had, presumably. Alternatively, it may have been one of her rather complicated and usually unfunny jokes at my expense. The following Christmas after I had started at S. Bunyan's, what they had suspected about their little brother, proved to be true. More of that later.

When my new school uniform arrived I was thrilled. My mother arranged the complete kit on my bed, and then tactfully left me to it. I was desperate to try it all on, in private if you please. Just as well that she left the room. I looked at myself, just in my new underpants, in the mirror. They could barely contain my excitement. I had reached an age when I became much more aware of my body, what it looked like and how I could control what it did, or could do. I think that many boys, and girls too of course, become very self-conscious aged eleven and thereafter. As I stared at myself in the long mirror leaning against my bedroom wall, I wasn't displeased with what I saw, but curious to know how I compared to other boys. My mother had dealt with growing up issues, by delegating the problem to one of my elder brothers. He had told me that 'I was alright', and 'you've nothing to worry about mate'. That was good enough for me, and when he asked me if I 'had started yet', I feigned ignorance. Not about to be fobbed off with that answer he continued………

'Well, either you have or you haven't? Which is it?'

At that point I came clean, so to speak. He smiled, got up from his chair and gave me a wonderful, very hard hug. That evening he came into my bedroom and slipped a magazine under my pillow as I lay there. Before he left the room, I had extracted it, opened it, and had seen pages of girls posing nude. He looked at me for my reaction. I must have looked disappointed.

'Wrong thing? he whispered. I said nothing, but smiled weakly.

'Sorry maty. I'll see what I can do.'

A week later, getting into bed, I found another under my pillow. It was full of teenaged boys, all older than I was, posing naked, or kissing and generally fooling around with one another. I had never seriously confronted my sexuality, but the excitement I experienced that night was like a trumpet sounding…….a fanfare heralding the news that I'm sure I was desperately waiting to hear. I was now hearing it, loud and clear. This is what I want!

At breakfast the following morning the table went quiet as I entered the room. I assumed that my brother had spread the news about my reaction to the girly mag. My sister and my three older brothers just didn't know what to say. It's as simple as that. I realised instantly what had happened, and I broke down in tears, fled from the room and ran up the stairs, and threw myself on my bed. Two minutes later I heard my mother shouting. Shortly after, my sister and two of my brothers slipped into my bedroom to express their unconditional love for me in the gentlest and kindest way you could imagine. My youngest brother was the last to leave my room, staying at least ten minutes until he was sure I had recovered my composure enough to be left alone with my thoughts, a large hand on my shoulder most of that time.

Although I was at the tender age of eleven and a half now, I felt liberated, and began to speculate how and where I might acquire my first boyfriend. I now felt happy and secure. With hindsight, I know I was one of the lucky ones when it came to acceptance of what you probably are, and I am deeply sorry for those souls who were not so fortunate.

Going away from family to a strange environment was both scary and exciting at the same time. I loved my new school kit and I decided to wear it for half a day and stroll around the town showing myself off to all and sundry, all with a big smile on my face. At the end of the summer, my face, arms and legs were brown from weeks of what I remember as almost unbroken sunshine, a rarity for these English shores. The tan on my legs extended well beyond the limits of my new school short trousers, which today would be considered at best, ridiculous, and at worst, obscenely provocative on a young boy. Mini shorts were generally the thing for boys to wear in summer time, and took many forms, all of which excited me, almost as much as the speculation on what lay beneath the boys wearing them. But more often than not, it was already fairly obvious what resided within. My new school shorts came from Australia I was told, had an elasticated waistband, useless side pockets designed to keep hands out, none at the back, and were known as 'downundies' partly due to their origin, and partly due to the fact that the easiest way……..the only way to pee was to pull the whole lot down in one go. At S. Bees, as it was known, uniform meant uniform, even down to your underpants which were pretty much prescribed……to be purchased from one well-known clothing chain, and in a simple and practical style, and of uniform colour. The whole ensemble of shorts, navy blue polo shirt, short grey socks all topped off with a gorgeous duck egg blue jumper with a dark blue line around the 'V' neck set the average boy off nicely. My own 'non-school' clothes tented to be provocative too.

'You can't wear those any longer darling.' My mother protests, holding up a pair of white semi-transparent nylon shorts. Oh yes I can, and I will. I was looking for a certain kind of boy, and I had a good idea of what might well get them interested in me.

The magazine my brother had, goodness knows how, found for me, was an inspiration indeed. What I had found curious about my reaction to the images besides the obvious, was how much more attractive were the boys who were not quite naked. As I approached the dizzy heights once more, my visual aid propped up beside me, I found my attention tended to focus on the almost naked boys. With every new image of a boy, my eyes always went to his face first, and then to what was on show lower down. I decided that I enjoyed having to use my imagination just a little, so long as I got to see the real thing later. In a way I was my searching for the personality of the individual. On a walk the day before my departure for Devon and a future of either purgatory or joy, I decided that what I really craved from a friend, was love. In the event, his name was Nig, pronounced Nidge, and short for Nigel. As I wandered the streets of our northern suburb of London that day, I had no idea that two weeks later I would have found my first boyfriend….Nig.

The school named after an obscure Scottish saint, Bunyan, is housed in a rambling Country House on a rural site a few miles to the south of the City of Exeter in the County of Devon, and was founded some thirty years ago by a wealthy gentleman educated at Gordonstoun, thus certain principles ran through the ethos of the place. Its motto is 'Compassion, Respect, and Endeavour'. Ok, fair enough thus far. Within a week of arriving, I had the distinct feeling that I would be happy here. In my bed next to Nig, I cried myself to sleep a couple of nights, and I'm sure Nig was doing likewise. The third night he held a hand out for me to hold. It didn't prevent more upset, but was a gesture I can never forget. In many ways it was guiding light for my new life away from home. It was the responsibility of all the boys, all one hundred and sixty of us, to care for each other, especially the older for the younger. And now, to go into the present [or future even] tense……an older boy, around fifteen will be assigned to a group of half a dozen 'Sevens', the name of the new intake of eleven-year-olds, and expected to meet with them and generally act as foster brother and mentor, even to the extent of providing an academic support if he can. Team games exist, but sporting activities like walking, rock climbing, sailing and cross country running, all things that encourage individual excellence, take preference over things that one individual can 'win' at. Personal privacy is minimal, apart from your own bed, so there are no doors on the bracingly ventilated lavatories for example. All ages shower together, and at given times each morning and evening. There is absolutely no reason to smell or be dirty. Nudity is considered a celebration of a gift, normal and healthy. A boy who arrives unfit and overweight, will have no choice but to eat healthily, because that's all there is, and exercise. Draconian? No, just loving and caring.

Almost all the staff are men, most quite young, and dress casually. They have been chosen, as they tell us, because they agree with and support the ethos of the school and want to work towards the successful development of the boys in its care. Having reached the age of sixteen now, I realise that a proportion of the staff are queer in some respect. You can tell. I'm sure that when the locals in the village talk about us, eyebrows get raised.

'Do you see those two boys over there?'

'Umm. I'm not sure I would want my child going to that place.'

You might think at this point that S. Bees is a hotbed of abuse. It's not. I have never, and I'm in my sixth year here, heard of any incidence of bullying, either by a boy or a staff member. Of course there are relationship problems, but every effort is made to sort things out that need sorting out. People thrive here, and I love it, and so do the vast majority of the boys I'm sure.

Most of the Sevens and Eights are prepubescent of course, and allowances are made for their needs to experiment sexually. The emerging functions of their bodies are discussed frankly, because not all have had those issues dealt with sufficiently at home before they arrive here. There's no misunderstanding what is bound to happen between boys at that interesting age. It's a phase many boys pass though, and for almost all of us, it's over quite naturally. Almost all of us, but not me.

It's a matter of admiration, as opposed to lust. Lust is an ugly word in this situation. The place is full of attractive boys, one or two even beautiful you might say, but they are to be admired, not messed up by someone older who should know better. An older boy will see much younger boys naked, just as they will be seen by the younger boys for what they are, and duly admired. Six years ago I was there, admiring an older boy showering next to me. He sees me looking at his body……and in particular his penis which I was finding an object of fascination. He notices and smiles down at me. He didn't ask me if I wanted to touch it. I would have done had he asked me. As I wash my body my excitement grows, and he looks at me again and smiles…..

'Are you ok?' he enquires. I smile back and nod my head.

As new Year Seven boys into secondary education, Sevens as we are known as, we discussed quite early on, the nature of friendships, and the different ways they can develop. Sometimes boys of different ages may want to be friends, but need to be aware of possible complications. There are situations that should be avoided, such as agreeing to meet a boy at the wrong time and place. The City of Exeter, just two miles away, is generally out of bounds unless specific permission is given to groups of two or more. Certain places and areas are off-limits to all.

The Headmaster, and also the Proprietor, adores his boys, and is a larger than life figure profoundly heterosexual, and possibly married we think, to a large bosomed lady somewhat younger than himself, he being around forty five, and she no more than twenty five, according to my father. We don't think his name, Alexander Ashington-Brown is original. The Ashington bit was almost certainly added at some stage to add gravitas for the benefit of potential parents, again according to my father. We all loved 'Sir' for his wit, dedication to our well-being and for his general enthusiasm for life. He dressed very smartly, usually in a flamboyant striped blazer, and knew every boy by his Christian name. Quite right too. His 'wife' acted as Senior Matron, and was endlessly sympathetic to our various ailments, some of which were inevitably very personal. Nig and I had been hard at it for a few consecutive nights and I had developed a sore place on my penis under my foreskin. More annoyingly it had put a stop to our mutual wanking sessions and I had gone several days without, although Nig hadn't, which was even more annoying. I knew I had to confront Mam, pronounced Marm, with my little difficulty. Having explained the problem, she had me lie on the examination table, me having lowered my 'downundies' and underpants. My penis felt hot and bothered, and was a third of the way up. By the time Mam had felt around, I was all the way, and my prepuce slipped nicely into the retracted position. Rather than look at what she was doing, I concentrated on the vision of her knickers clearly visible through the thin material of her floral summer dress. For a few moments as I felt my penis complete its transformation into a length of Brighton rock, I was horror struck with the possibility that I might after all be ever so slightly hetero. Feeling much better that evening in the bed next to Nig, I came happily to a conclusion, along with one other pleasant conclusion, that I was not.

Nig was a blessing indeed. He was a little nearer puberty than I was, which was interesting for me. I had heard about the stuff other boys referred to as 'cum', and even seen it on a boy's tummy pictured in the magazine my brother had procured for my delectation a few weeks prior. Nig could produce something fairly akin to the boy in mag but not nearly as much. I delighted in its slimy quality and scent, and dare I say it, encouraged by Nig, its taste.

My little boyish affair with Nig had started within days of our arrival. His lovely but fleeting hand-holding gesture to comfort a weeping co-sufferer had progressed to hand holding under the bed clothes soon after the lights had been turned off signalling silence and sleep. I could still see his face in the half light. It was perfectly expressionless, as was mine, as we faced each other across the narrow divide. It was exactly a week into the term. Nig slips out of bed and kneels on the linoleum with his face just inches from mine. My heart is beating fast as I try to anticipate what will happen next. Then in a whisper……

'Can I touch your face please?'

I nod encouragingly, my lips and mouth suddenly feeling wet.

Very, very gently he ran the tips of his fingers around my face as if he were touching delicate porcelain, or a rare and incredibly valuable piece of glass. It was an exquisite sensation which Nig gave me for at least two minutes. Of course I responded with my own hand, feeling the soft flesh of his face, and then his lips, eyes, cheeks, and his lips once more. When he put his face ever nearer, I prepared my lips with my tongue to receive his.

Nig is not a pretty boy by any means, and frankly he's no Adonis. His penis was not that obvious, and when I found it, it was hard, but half buried in folds of puppy fat. After our first kiss, messy and inarticulate, hands took over. He had asked if I wanted him to 'do me' as he put it. I said I did, so he did, not very smoothly, but he was immediately successful. Likewise, me on him, and even quicker, the minimal watery consequences worked into the skin on his tummy and thus gone. But by the end of that first term he had lost interest. I still had a friend, but not a boyfriend.

By this time, three months onwards, a combination of a mainly vegetarian diet with a little chicken and fish thrown in, and a stiff regime of compulsory exercise, had transformed Nig into a much healthier and better-looking boy. Much reduced was the puppy fat, revealing the beginnings of the sort of figure that a twelve-year-old boy might aspire to, regardless of their inherited build. Even his private parts, now adorned with wispy hair, proudly emerged from the folds of flesh. The end came when rooms were re-allocated, and we became physically separated. Thankfully I wouldn't know about the changed arrangements until my return to Devon for the new term in January. In between was Christmas, with questions from my dear brother to answer, and plans to be made.

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