The Five

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 2

By the time Anne and Dick arrived back at the tent, George and Julian were dressed, and in their own clothes. The items they had swapped, initially just for fun, had been tossed onto the pile of similar things in the corner of the tent. When Anne collected up that morning's laundry, it consisting almost exclusively of their underclothes, save for a couple of pairs of socks and a tee shirt. Anne would notice of course. You could hardly not notice the tell-tale signs. She would wonder what it was no doubt, and how such things occur, and the exact nature of it………to put them up to her nose, but not recognize the distinctive odour of a boy, and not allow her imagination to wander too far.

Dick and Anne had swum before breakfast, which Anne had prepared as usual, and the Five ate their cereal and boiled eggs collected from the hen house that morning. Timmy had to make do with the soggy cornflakes George had left for him, and two dry Bonio biscuits. Alf, the lad from the village, and sometimes referred to as 'the fisher boy', had brought a dozen eggs to the back door. It was one of his gardening days at Treboys. Their morning swim would be in an hour or so, after their breakfast had 'gone down' as Quentin would say. Sometimes, Quentin would release Alf from his duties so he could join the others on the beach at the little cove just around the corner from Port Isaac. They were somewhat ruled by the tides, as the beach was covered an hour before and after high water. Today the beach was usable from eleven onwards. Perfect.

Now here's a little more about Alf. Julian met him on the second day of the summer hols last year. Alf was busy of the foreshore at Port Isaac, helping his father, who works a small boat and makes a barely adequate living fishing for lobsters and crabs. Alf is drafted in as and when he's needed. The rest of the time in the holidays, he hangs out down by the water chatting to all and sundry who happen to be there, and helping wherever it's needed. Fishing communities rely on assistance from the other fishermen……a bit like farming. You help each other out. That's how it works, because you never know when you are the one who needs help.

Julian had gone down to Cornwall a week before the others to set up the tent and prepare thing generally for the arrival of the other four children on the Padstow train that began its long journey to the far south west from Paddington Station in London..……Dick, Anne, George, plus Timmy the intelligent cross-bred mutt. It's a fifteen minute walk along the coast path from Treboys to Port Isaac. After a morning swim, watched by Uncle Quentin, the gentle stroll along the cliffs was a good way to pass the rest of the morning, and a tub of shellfish and a chunk of white bread from the stall made a good lunch. As he dropped down the steep path to the west of the cove, Julian had the perfect view over the shimmering sands where the fishing boats lay slumped sideways at their moorings at low water, high and dry. They would return to port a little before high water and then settle onto the sand as the tide retreated. Then came the unloading of the day's catch.

Julian saw the boy, bare chested in the sunshine, clad in bright yellow oil skin trousers held up by the black braces over his shoulders, and his feet in black wellies. When all the lobster and crab pots were emptied and stacked up on the foreshore, Alf's immediate duties were over. Julian had parked himself nearby for two reasons. Firstly, he found the work of the men interesting, and secondly, he found the boy in yellow interesting too. Alf had sat down on the low wall some five yards away from Julian, no longer required to assist his father who had deposited all the catch into white fish boxes and loaded them into the back of a small truck, and driven off to the market at Newlyn on the south coast of Cornwall.

Julian looked at the boy who appeared to be at a loose end. At that precise moment, the boy looked back at Julian. When Julian smiled, slightly embarrassed that the boy had caught him looking his way, the boy smiled back at him. Both boys looked away quickly. Julian thought of a question he could ask the boy in the bright yellow trousers and black wellies.

'Hi.' goes Julian.

'Hi.' comes back the boy's response, with a distinctive Cornish 'burr'.

'Do you know where I can get an ice cream?'

'Over there.' The boy points to a windy road that goes up steeply [lots of things go up steeply in Cornwall] to the right of the harbour. It's just across the road from the school.

'That white building up there. I'll show you if you want? Can you wait a minute while I take this stuff off?'

Julian would have waited however long it took. He was about to make a friend. Julian paid for the two cornets with two scoops of Kelly's strawberry ice cream loaded into them. They ate them in the playground of the school sitting on a wall overlooking the now almost dry harbour.

'This was my school until a year ago……last week a year ago.'

'Oh. Where do you go now?'

'Wadebridge. We go by bus.'

Wadebridge is a market town about a half-hour drive away. It's the last train station before Padstow. It's when your skin tingles and the hair on the back of your neck stands up because you know you're back again. Anne always cries as Padstow station approaches. She's like that. Julian has to fight back the tears too. Dick just looks excited. George is just being George.

'Are you on holiday?' asks Alf after a lull in the conversation.

'Kind of. My uncle lives here. Four of us come down every summer….and a dog. He's Timmy. He's not pure……a sort of mongrel I think…….but nice.'


Julian studied the questioning boy's face. He needed a haircut for starters, although he thought it would be a shame to relieve him of any of that buttery coloured mop. His face was nice too……quite a few freckles either side of his nose. He thought his eyes looked a kind of grey colour…….or green perhaps or a subtle mixture of the two? His answer was awkwardly slow in coming, to the extent that Alf was almost staring.

'Sorry. He lives over that way.' Julian points to the west, over the steep hill to the left of the harbour. Alf is still looking intently at Julian. 'It's about a quarter of an hour to walk there.'

'Oh…….is it?'


The boys' ping-pong conversation was going nowhere until…..

'Are you doing anything this afternoon? enquires Julian after a few moments.

'No.' is Alf's brief, but succinct answer.

'Do you walk? I mean do you like walking? If you did, I could show you……if you wanted? There's a great beach there too. It's completely private.

Julian thought about his last comment about the beach, and felt his face warm. Why would this boy want to know that detail? He didn't even know his name.

Julian would often walk behind boys at school, usually younger boys, and wonder what they would look like in the swimming pool. He knew he shouldn't, but on occasions he had deliberately hung back so he was overtaken by a boy or boys on the way down to the playing field in cricket or rugger kit. Where the coast path was very narrow, he let Alf go first so he could study what he hoped would become better known to him. They had started off well he thought. Judging by the way Alf was dressed, just in old shorts, scruffy tee shirt and trainers and no socks, there wasn't much spare money in the family. He could see no evidence of anything under the less than generously cut shorts. He couldn't decide if he was pleased or disappointed by that detail. They looked positively uncomfortable, both from the back and the front. He's seen boys at school whose mothers had clearly decided to delay buying new kit until the end of the summer holidays, when the poor lad should have had new stuff months ago. Good decision, thought Julian. However, Julian has something on his mind when the two boys stop to admire the rocky coast that stretches to the east and west far below them. At a safe distance from the cliff edge, they choose a place to rest for a few minutes, sheltered from the stiff breeze. Julian watches as Alf comes to rest partly on his side propped up on an elbow with one knee raised. Only then does he decide where he will sit. There's no conversation for a couple of minutes. Then Alf has a question……

'What are you doing?'

'Nothing. Why?'

'What are you looking at?'

'Nothing….not really.'

'Yes you are.'

'Why aren't you wearing any pants?'

Alf doesn't see anything odd about Julian's question.

'I don't usually. Don't see the point.'

'Well I can! I can right now.'

Alf looks down, realises that he is in all probability exposing himself to his new friend, and smiles back at Julian.

'I do when I go to school.' he says brightly.

'I should hope so. Can you swim Alf?'

'Just about. Can you?'

'Yes. I swim at our beach. Twice a day usually. Do you want to? I'll look after you… know……help you.'


'Make sure you don't drown of course. You don't need swimming trunks. I never use mine down here. You needn't worry. No one will see you…..apart from me that is. Would you be embarrassed?'

'No…not really.' Alf replied, thinking that was the correct answer, but not the one he really meant. Very few people, only other boys at school, had seen him naked.

Despite living relatively close by, Alf will never have seen the tiny cove at Treboys. You would have to be passing in a boat to see it. From a smaller path that lead off the main one, and now close to the cottage, the cove comes into view.

'Wow, it's fantastic!' exclaims Alf.

'Do you want to then?'

It's strange, especially to Julian, how learning to swim is such a low priority for people whose working lives are spent at sea. Some people have theories about this issue. Alf certainly isn't confident in the water, but with Julian's support, literally, Alf enjoys his bathe. He lies on the water, arms and legs stretched out, supported by both of Julian's hands, his feet on the firm sand beneath him.

'Am I floating?' Alf asks, excitedly.

'Yes you are!'

'You won't let me go will you?'

'No of course I won't, silly! Now paddle with your hands……go on!'

Ten minutes was enough for Alf. Even in August, the water strikes cold. But for Quentin, who had noticed from his window the boys arrive at the beach, ten minutes was far too short a time. He wished that the hands that kept Alf safe in the water were his hands. He knew who the boy was. He'd seen him helping his father at Port Isaac several times……and admired him. Who wouldn't? Boys like him, at that age, were few and far between, and really should be admired. He had wondered what features the boy possessed that were hidden from view in the normal course of events, and now he knew.

The boys had been naughty. They had no towels with them so they had set off walking back up the path away from the cove still naked, carrying their clothes, on the theory that their bodies would dry off more efficiently if they were moving in the breeze. If they saw anyone approaching, it would take them seconds to slip into their shorts. It was all so liberating and exciting.

'Shall we stop again Julian….where we did before?'

'Yeah, why not. Do you have to be back soon?'

'No. Not for ages.' replies Alf, instantly regretting his over-enthusiastic response.

They found a new place, a little further away from the path back to Port Isaac…….and as it happens, even more secluded. They lay down in the long grass and felt the warmth of it on the skin of their uncovered backs. The landscape in its kindness and wisdom seemed to be enclosing the two boys. After the invigorating bathe, a feeling of warmth and well-being filled their minds. Julian began to look at Alf, and Alf began to look at Julian. They were looking at each other's bodies….what they were like……what they had. Alf could see that Julian was different to him……more advanced……just a little. He liked it. He wondered what it would feel like if Julian asked him to touch it. Would it feel like his did when he played with it? He thought he saw it move…….yes, definitely……it did move. He remembers how Julian held him up in the water……where he had put his hands……and how nice that had felt. He wanted to tell Julian.

'Do you think I could do it now Julian?'

'Do what?'


'Oh. Probably. The secret is to relax your body and try to get used to your face being under water. You can try it wherever you are…..even here.'

'Like this?'

Alf pretends to 'float' on the grass, arms and legs stretched out. The sight of his new friend lying in the grass smiling at him excites Julian, just as Peter excited him that first afternoon as he lay on his bed, inviting Julian to play with him. Was this an invitation from Alf?

Any such ideas either of the boys may have had dissolved into the breeze as the two figures appeared some distance away on the path. They were coming from the Port Isaac direction. Julian saw the danger first.

'Cave!' exclaims the boy, using the time-honoured schoolboy warning of imminent danger.

'Quick….we can hide over there.' says Julian, seeing a prominent mound of grass a few yards away from the path.

They were in the little hollow in seconds, all secure now and out of sight of the unwelcome walkers. Alf drops into the hollow and immediately adopts the foetal position, clutching his shorts against his chest. Julian follows, taking up the rest of the space spooning into his friend, his face hard against Alf's neck, and his hand around the boy's tummy. They wait silently, and when Julian is sure the danger must have passed, he raises his head 'above the parapet' so to speak, to check that all is clear. It is. He doesn't move his hand that rests on his new friend's tummy, fingers spread wide. Moments later, another hand rests upon his.

The 'fisher boy' remembers how it all began………

I knew it was going to happen from that moment on. It was that moment at the harbour….when he glanced at me and then I looked back at him and he was still looking at me. I had this massive feeling of well-being, and my face went hot. I thought he was such a beautiful boy. I remember looking at his legs…..all the way up into his shorts. He literally took my breath away. I knew it then. It was inevitable, and deep inside me I desperately wanted something to happen. I had no idea about sex with anyone, let alone with another boy. I just hadn't thought about it. I just knew that at that very moment it seemed totally right and proper. Julian had that air of authority which made you feel secure…..that everything was going to be alright. My life wasn't particularly secure at all, unlike his. There was a fair amount of tension at my home because my father's living was so unpredictable. Some weeks we would have money, and the next he'd tell my mother there was nothing. We went through life like that. Up in the grass that day, with his hand on my tummy, I felt happy…..really happy and content. I knew he had rather taken to me, as I had to him. It was a very physical thing… strong. When he began to move his hand on my tummy, all hell broke loose. I could feel some pressure behind me and realised that it was his penis pressing against my back, just above my bottom. It felt hard. He was very obviously aroused as I was. I was scared stiff that he would see my own penis sticking up like it was, but there was no possibility of preventing it from happening. I tried to wriggle into a better position so it would feel more comfortable and less obvious but I couldn't hide it. Then he smiled and I realised that there was no point in even trying to hide it. I turned over a little so he could see it like that, and smiled at him. I had just said something so personal to another human being for the first time in my life. I think I said 'I love that', or something like it. I can't quite remember…, really I can't.

Even at this early stage of our friendship, I was trying to please Julian in any way I could. It was ridiculous because we had met just a few hours earlier, and now we were engaging in a sexual act together, or would be very soon. Bravely I put his hand where I needed it to be. Then he gently placed my left hand behind my back where he needed it to be. I just held it there, around it, really tightly. I had never masturbated another boy, but I had been doing it myself at least once a day……..sometimes three times or even more. I could feel his mouth on my neck. It was totally intoxicating and all I wanted was to please him. It might even have been a class thing. I thought him a superior being and I felt privileged that he wanted me in this way. I don't think it took more than a minute or two. I was still on my side, and I remember it all quite clearly. His penis was pressing into me. Then he started to masturbate. Again, it took no time at all. I felt some warmth and I knew what it was. He'd come several times, and made more attempts as he did so, to push his penis into me. I remember pushing myself towards him to make it easier. I felt wet and slippery. Of course I knew why. Although what I had done, and consequently what he had done was all a complete shock, it was really just nature taking over. Simply that. Something that was inside us was more powerful than our own ability to rationalize the situation.

Apart from the event being very enjoyable, I found myself overwhelmed by the affectionate presence of another human, other than my parents on occasions, physically close to me. I felt wave after wave of affection for him. Suddenly, and out of nowhere it seemed, I had an inkling of what the word 'love' actually means.

I remember lying there on my back, watching the clouds go by. It was as if they were talking to me, their shapes changing as they passed by. He kissed me on my ear. I felt his tongue tickling as he played with me. I just couldn't keep still, the pleasure was so intense.

There were three more days before the rest of the Five arrived at Treboys. Julian and I arranged to meet at the harbour the next day. My father didn't need me, so we had all day to wander and talk….particularly about what happened on the cliff walk the previous day. Julian was very concerned that I had regretted what we had done together. I hadn't at all. When he mentioned it, I felt myself becoming aroused. I had to make an adjustment in my shorts, and Julian noticed. Nothing like that ever happens when I am unloading fish boxes, and I was again sans underpants. Very awkward. Julian smiled at me rather knowingly, but no doubt relieved at my reaction to our conversation. The truth was that I could hardly wait for the next time.

Julian told me that his Uncle Quentin had asked about me the previous evening. He must have seen us bathing in the cove that morning. He had told Julian that he needed help in the garden these days as he wasn't getting any younger. Perhaps his new friend might know of someone in Port Isaac or elsewhere who might want some paid work for a few hours a week, or in holiday time. It was obvious that he was indirectly referring to me. My father didn't pay me anything. In our circumstances, if Quentin wanted me, it would be an offer I couldn't really refuse. That afternoon, Julian took me to meet him.

He's a thin man, and at a guess around forty. He was wearing shorts, pink ones, and quite sporty at that. He immediately struck me as slightly alternative…….not necessarily in a queer way, because I knew nothing about it then. I thought he was very nice, but ever so slightly strange. He asked me about myself and I did my best to answer his questions while Julian looked on nervously, no doubt hoping I would make a good impression. He very quickly came to the point. He wanted someone, probably just like me, to help mainly in the garden, supplemented with other jobs I might be able to manage in the cottage. There would be 'hoovering', dusting and polishing, and brass cleaning……the sort of things that I could do on wet days. I could choose my days and hours to fit in with other commitments like homework, sports, and helping Dad. The arrangement would be entirely flexible. He would pay me with cash, and double what a boy might expect for a Saturday job in the village. What could I say?

Julian showed me around the Treboys Cottage. There was quite a lot of junk around the place, lots of bookshelves, and no shortage of photographs of people. I recognized Julian. He must have been about ten. He was standing on the sand at the cove with that lovely smile on his face. There were quite a few of him, some more when he was quite young, and looking profoundly pretty, with much lighter hair. One or two of them were taken of him naked whilst on the beach down at the cove. I just wanted to keep on looking at the photos. Such innocent beauty.

There appeared to be just one usable bedroom in the house. The other two were full of junk. The kitchen was, even then very old fashioned, as was the sitting room with a woodburning stove in the fireplace. No wonder the Five lived in a tent.

With the loose arrangements for my employment decided upon, Julian took me to the large family tent that he had put up the day before. I helped him arrange the foam mattresses in a row which we had extracted from a spare room in the cottage, plus double sheets and blankets to go on top. He explained the sleeping arrangements. He and his brother Dick slept on the end two, while the two girls, Georgina and Anne, had the others. There would be a larger gap in the middle between the two pairs of mattresses which effective formed double beds. I think we both had the same idea that afternoon. Julian took the initiative……

'Do you want to try them out?'

'What do you mean Julian?'

'Try out the foam mattresses. See what you think?'


'Maybe you could stay with us in the tent one night. Then we would be six if you count Timmy. I'm sure the others would like that.'

'Ok then.'

We had been lying together for a few minutes, not saying very much. Then…….

'Have you ever kissed anyone….apart from your family Alf?'

'No…….I don't think so.'

'What do you think it would be like?' asks Julian.

'I don't know. Have you?' I reply.

'Yes, once or twice.'

'Was it a girl?'


Silence. Then I want a little detail…..

'Who was it then?'

Julian told me about this boy Peter. It was rather a sweet story of a younger boy who, as far as I could tell, falls in love with the handsome older boy, just as I was doing. What it did, listening to the story, was to make me very very jealous, to the extent that I became visibly upset. It wasn't just the story that had moved me. For the first time in my life, I was being shown genuine affection from a person more or less my age, and outside of the family. The other significant thing that I had hitherto no warning of, was my sexual response. I suspect that I was manipulating Julian by weeping in front of him. His response was to take me in his arms and gently kiss me on the cheek…..then the neck, and very briefly on my mouth. Slowly, he drew my tee shirt up my chest and kissed my chest, paying particular attention to my nipples. I couldn't believe how good that felt. He made me feel them. They had hardened into tiny little balls. How weird is that? By this time his hand was between my legs giving me the most delicious sensations between my knees and my groin. You can imagine the state I was in by this time. Soon he had reached my lower abdomen, and all I could think of was where he would go next. I wasn't about to be disappointed. By way of an invitation, I put two thumbs into the waistband of my old faithful shorts and lowered them so that my penis was freed from its confinement……my twig and berries as Julian had referred to my rather immature, but extremely sensitive and responsive private parts. What Julian did then, by way of acceptance, was brought to fruition by a lengthy, warm and rather wet sequence of kisses. My mind was completely blown away. In less than twenty four hours, my life had changed, and for the better. Hurray!

Afterwards, I had kept my eyes closed for some little time. When I opened them, Julian was looking at me, smiling. Of course I smiled back. He knew I had appreciated his gesture by my reaction both during and at the climax, and in the glow of the aftermath.

'Don't worry Alf, you don't have to do anything. That was for you……..from me…….with love.' What could I say to that. With love? He really has just said those words. Oh my goodness. I'm beginning to believe…..truly, I am.

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