The Observer

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 12

The mornings when James is in residence are special times for me. It's quiet and we are on our own. On school days, James sleeps in Mathew's room from start to finish. If I don't hear him moving by six forty five, I go in and get him up. I keep the house warm, so the getting out of bed process is not uncomfortable for him. He knows the drill. I pull the duvet off him and wait until his feet touch the ground. For me, it's a pleasurable ritual, but less so I suppose for him as he comes to terms with the reality of yet another school day. James sits on the edge of the bed as I help him off with his tee shirt which is all he wears at night. If I ask him, he'll stand in front of me for a few moments. He smiles as I look him over and he waits for a sign of my approval. He knows I love to admire him, whatever state he's in. These days, he prefers to use the shower in my ensuite bathroom, with the door left open. I have his uniform ready for him, laid out on my bed. If you think I'm 'mothering' him somewhat, you would be correct, but that's what I want to do for him. I busy myself on this and that as he dresses. Every morning he looks immaculate. I am immensely proud of my beautiful boy. Mine? Yes, I realise that I cannot claim him as my own……just something wonderful to borrow until such time.

I insist that he eats breakfast……..nothing too substantial, but something. Some days I walk with him to the station which gives me a chance to chat briefly to the girls. James meets his Year Eight colleague with the blond hair I mentioned before, and they sit together on the train. The two of them walk to school from the station together which I think is a good thing. I watch as the two coach diesel revs up and glides out of the station. All is quiet now, and I have my day for work and reflection.

Weekends are different. After James' meltdown some while back now, we came to an agreement. If he wants to, he can come in with me in the mornings, but not all night. When Mathew is in residence, everything is different. They share a bed together and do whatever they do. I also insist that they leave each other alone on the sofa when I'm in there. Despite that, if they think I'm not watching, James will often sneak a furtive delve into Mathew's pants, the naughty boy. Fair enough. Boys will be boys.

I look forward to those mornings James and I share together. It's a time to reflect on the week just gone, and to think ahead to Mathew's next homecoming, and what we'll all do together. It's also a time for a look into James' thoughts about life in general, and in particular his life in the here and now as well as in the past. He certainly misses Mathew, as indeed do I. From what I hear and see about James' school, I rather regret packing Mathew off to boarding school. He'll come out of it with a posher accent and some well-to-do friends with second or third homes in interesting places, but these days I don't think the money I have spent, and will spend, is necessarily worth it.

This morning, James is in one of his contemplative moods. As he lifts the duvet to join me, I see he has conformed to the rule……underpants should be worn on these occasions. I approve of what he's in this morning……..loose fitting and moderately brief. He looks very nice in them. He lies on his side close to me, but we are not touching. I wait a couple of minutes for him to settle. I can feel the warmth of his body, and that 'been in bed all night' smell of his skin. It's quite intoxicating.

'You ok?' I quietly enquire.


'What are you thinking about?'

'What to put in my diary for this week.'

'Really? I didn't know you kept a diary?'

'I do, but I don't write anything in it here. I do it at home.'

'Why not here?'

'I don't want you reading it. It's personal.'

'I wouldn't read it.'

'Yes you would. My mother doesn't know. You won't tell her will you?'

'No, of course not. So when did you start that?'

'At the Priory. Mr Sendall did a lesson about people who kept diaries.'

'Like Samuel Pepys?'

'Yes……and Anna Frank….in Amsterdam.'

'Right. And now there's yours?'

James smiles, and nods.

'Have you still got them….if there's more than one?'

'Yes, all of them.'

'How many are there?'

'I'm on my sixth.'

'Are you indeed? So is it an everyday thing, or do you save your words for particularly significant events?'

'Sort of…….things that mean something to me mostly.'


'And some nice things too.'

'Secret things?'


'Bad secret things, or good secret things?'

No answer to that one. James has always been guarded about life at the Priory, especially when Mr Sendall, the young assistant Housemaster, is mentioned. I thought I would pursue the thought.

'James, is there something you need to talk about?'

'No, silly. Do you mean about Mr Sendall? It was just a joke, that's all.'

'What was?'

'What we used to do.'

'I think you had better tell me James.'

James took a few seconds to make his decision, then…..

'It was Raphael's fault. He said that Mr Sendall fancied me……so I hit him, and he hit me back. We had a sort of a fight. It was up in the dorm. Raphael sleeps next to me. He was my friend.'

'So why did he think that about Mr Sendall……and you?'

'Because Mr Sendall's always looking……if you know what I mean. You know……..when we get dressed in the morning…….and other times.'

'What other times James?'

'Bath times usually. He would sit and talk to us. He was really nice. I liked him. Raphael would do bad stuff, right in front of him. He was really naughty.'

'How was he?'

'His bath night was the same as mine. There were two baths next to each other. Mr Sendall would sit in between the two, like on the edge so he could see us. Raphael would start….you know, playing, and…….'

'And what James?'

'He'd flick his willy about in the water……..making it go stiff……right in front of Mr Sendall. Then he started rubbing it. Mr Sendall just sat and watched him do it. When we had the fight, he caught us.'

'Mr Sendall caught you?'

'Yes. He came into the dormitory. Then he wanted to know why we were fighting. He took me down to his study and he made me tell him why Raphael and I were fighting. I told him what Raphael had said. I had to. Then he told me to go back to bed. He looked really weird.'

'I should think he did.'

'The next day I had a letter addressed to me in our post box……where they put any letters from home. It was from Mr Sendall. It was a gift token for ten pounds. There was a note with it. It said he was really sorry that he had upset me and for the trouble he had caused, and he'd put his name at the bottom. Hilary. He'd written 'I hope everything will be ok' with a question mark at the end. I thought about it all day, and then that night I decided that I had to give him back the gift token. I didn't say anything to anyone else. He was nice. I didn't want to make any trouble for him. He was always kind to me. I like him.'

'So what did you do James?'

'The other boys were asleep. It was about ten that night. Mr Sendall's room was close to ours, so I got out of bed and tiptoed out of the room and down the corridor to where his room was. I knocked on the door. There was no answer at first. I waited for about a minute wondering what to do next. Then I opened the door a little bit. I just saw his face to start with. His eyes were open. I told him I needed to talk to him. He got out of bed and opened the door properly for me and I walked in. He sat on the edge of his bed and I stood in front of him. He had nothing on. I handed him the envelope and told him that I knew why he had given it to me and that he didn't need to. He just kept saying that he was so sorry, and how nice a boy I was….lots of stuff like that. He was almost crying. I told him that I was very glad he liked me, and that I wanted him to go on liking me, and that nothing mattered. I didn't mind what he did. I told him that I didn't mind him looking at me. He was breathing really quickly. I asked him if he wanted me to leave his room. He said he didn't want me to go. I felt really sorry for him. I told him I liked it when he looked at me. I said it made me feel special. He told me that he thought I was a lovely boy…..very beautiful. He kept on saying it…over and over again. He kept looking at me, like he was waiting for me to do something. I knew what he wanted. I undid my pyjama top, and took it off. He took it from me and laid it on the bed. I undid the string that held up my pyjama bottoms and let them fall down my legs. My penis had gone hard. I looked between his legs. There was dark hair at the top. His penis was sticking right up out of the thick hair. I kept looking at it. I can remember how huge it looked. He didn't touch me. He told me to go back to bed. I pulled up my pyjama bottoms and did them up. He held the jacket open for me. I stepped forward so he could put it on me. He did up the buttons. I kept looking at his penis which was still sticking right up. He smiled at me. He asked me if we were alright now, with the emphasis on the 'we'. I nodded and said that we were, at least I hoped so. In the days after that time in his room, he was obviously trying hard not to 'look'. After English, the next day, he kept me behind. He said he wanted to say thank you to me. He said he trusted me, and that I had probably saved his life. I told him that I would never want him to get into any trouble. He said again that I was 'a beautiful boy' which I thought was really nice. I told him that I really didn't mind him looking at me like he did, and that Raphael was sorted out and wouldn't be a problem anymore. I told him that I didn't mind what he did, and I liked talking to him. He said I could talk to him anytime I wanted, and that his door was always open.'

'What he was doing was very risky.'

'I know. Raphael might have reported him. It was all so obvious. He was always there when we undressed for bed, and again in the morning. I couldn't get to sleep one night. I'm sure I saw him in the dorm too.'

'He was just checking that everyone was there probably.'

'Umm, probably.'

James and I lay quietly for a few minutes. I was taking stock of what he'd told me. The thought occurred to me that Mr Sendall could quite easily be me . Oh dear. Thinking it all through, I had one more question…..two more in fact.

'James…….did you go to Mr Sendall's room at any time after that night?'

'Do I have to tell you Otta?'

'No, but tell me one thing. Did he touch you?'


I would like to believe that.

I'm keeping a distance between myself and, as our Mr Sendall rightly observed, the beautiful James. It's necessary because at this moment I am shamelessly moved.

And so to my second question.

'James….do you remember some while back, you were with me here when I woke up and I had had a little accident in the bed?'

'Yes, I remember.'

'You do remember?'



James immediately turns over onto his other side. I look at the skin on his back. Still the last remains of summer's warmth coloured it. I follow the line of his spine down to where the golden colour changes to bright white….natural to the man-made. I put my hand on his shoulder as if to accept what he has wordlessly told me. What secrets do James and Mr Sendall share I wonder? None, no doubt.

James responds to my touch by turning his head towards me. He smiles…..

'My bottom's cold Otta.'

Dare I?

Six months on, there is no big news to report. Mathew and James have both had good years at their respective schools. In six months or so I will have to give notice to the school that Mathew will be leaving after his GCSE's……if that is what Amy and I, and Mathew of course, decide. James has chosen what he wants to study for his exam courses next year. As expected, Music is at the top of the list. Interestingly, he has also chose Art which I'm quite pleased about. I'm also impressed with his creative writing. As far as James' diary is concerned, he allows me selected and probably edited highlights from time to time, usually during our times together in the weekend mornings. He still likes to show himself off for my benefit, which I enjoy immensely. It's just so much amusement to us. It's nothing serious. He's a growing boy. His body is showing signs of definition now, and at the last measurement, he's only four inches shorter than me. He sports a neat little collection of pubic hairs now, which he keeps trimmed back to the skin. Jokingly, I asked him if he's caught up with Mathew yet in the penis department. He said he didn't think he ever would. The last time I saw Mathew with an inadvertent erection, he was twelve. It was on the beach. Amy was in a state of shock for the rest of the day. We both saw it completely by accident. Even then he seemed rather a big boy. James has commented once or twice obliquely, implying that Mathew is a big boy. I couldn't resist a risqué quip…

'Well James, not to worry. Size isn't everything. They tell me that it's what you do with it that counts.'

James chuckles…..

'Who's they then?'

'Figure of speech dear boy.'

'I know……and I know that too. I'm not daft.'

'You are certainly not daft James.' I say, with a determined grin on my face.

'What am I then?'

'All sorts of things……all good things…..all contained in one lovely package.'

'And that's me?'

'Yes….and…..oh never mind.'

I think the next few moments were the most tender I have ever passed with anyone.

The relationship between Mathew and James has kept going very well under the circumstances. I know they go at it when they're here together. I can hear them from time to time. The lath and plaster wall between Mathew's room and mine is sixteenth century, and a long way from soundproof. You can imagine. I often wonder if they are actually fucking one another. I don't think so, because there's no physical evidence to support that. They wouldn't be skilled enough to hide it. I haven't picked up a used condom as yet either, not that they would bother with anything so sophisticated as that probably. When David practically screwed me to the floor that night, I had to chuck the bottom sheet out it was that bad. That was the only thing that was bad about that experience. I have to say that rascal gave me one hell of a good time. I don't think a prostatic orgasm was that far away……so near yet so far eh? Blast. One day maybe?

Thinking about it, I can't see young James being physically able to accommodate Mathew's fulsome penis, fully extended. I do know how the whole anus thing stretches. It took a while for me to accommodate David, believe me, but I really don't think that's something that the boys should consider at their age. If their 'affaire' lasts another year or so, that might well be different. I would imagine, in my naivete, that fifteen or sixteen year old boys will do it that way if they want to, and if they know how. You hear of eleven and twelve year old girls and boys having full-on intercourse, so why not two boys together? Maybe they've already done it? I don't think so.

I hope James wasn't too kind to Mr Sendall. No, let's not go there. James is the sort of boy who might just offer his services to the needy. No, we won't go there. I can think of many occasions I have been in need, with James present. If I asked him to relieve me of my burden, he would willingly do so I'm sure, clamping his little hand around me, and with open mouth and expression of great concentration, he would do the job wonderfully well. What a shameful thought. We won't go there either.

We didn't see the boys much in the long summer hoiday as Mathew had been invited to a school friend's villa in the southern French town of Mougin for a large chunk of the holiday. He was allowed to bring a friend……James. They came back bronzed, fit and brimming with things to tell and show to myself and Amy. It was wonderful to see them so happy together. Mathew's King's school friend…a boy called Joseph…..had been adopted by a wealthy male gay couple. Say no more. That's Kings Canterbury for you……the second oldest school in England. I have the distinction of knowing someone who attending the oldest…..Kings Rochester…….so there!

So, we carry on regardless, as they say, as the weeks and months roll by. My work is interesting, but consumes no more than twenty hours a week, plus some meetings thrown in. I have no problems filling my time, and savouring the intellectual, emotional and physical growth of the two boys in my life. I regard James as something very special, and so lucky to have him near me. My love for him is unreserved and I hope complete. My love for him is different than the love I have for dear Mathew. It's a subtle distinction, but a definite one. I expect nothing in return from either of them.

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