by Andrew Foote

Chapter 5

Thilo didn't disturb me that night. He told me later that he'd taken the opportunity to relax in the bath then dropped off to sleep, still in it. The water had cooled, so it was get dried and into bed so he could defrost!

He didn't wake until eight the next morning.

Me? My problem was getting to sleep.

For the first time in my life, fate had allowed me to meet someone who was not only totally on my wavelength, but had managed to trigger something inside me.

As I've said before, I've seen some very cute boys at school and elsewhere, but they were only like some eye candy that would draw my attention then the moment would pass, meaning I have no experience whatsoever, either physically or emotionally.

I wondered if Thilo was also a novice. A part of me hoped he was, as then, if anything were to happen, we could learn together, yet another side of hoped he was at least slightly further down this difficult road so he could guide me.

But I was getting ahead of myself. I fancied him, but he'd not given me any clues as to how he felt about me.

Following breakfast, we vacated our rooms and checked out of the hotel and went in search of the shops.

First was a tech outlet as he needed a laptop; he didn't think his tablet was good enough to get prep done.

Finding what he wanted, I paid using Mr Roker's charge card but had to leave the machine there so they could load the software. We could collect it later.

Clothing was next, and this I was going to enjoy!

Tee shirts, polo shirts, shorts, jeans, casual trousers, jumpers, trainers, hiking boots, socks, underwear before heading to the designated store that stocked our school uniform.

Two light-weight summer jackets in light grey, two heavy tweed jackets – the same colour, three pairs of charcoal grey trousers, black socks, black leather shoes, five white shirts, two school ties, gym kit and a heavy winter Crombie together with waterproofs and we were done.

One thousand-eight hundred and seventy-nine quid, just for the school stuff!

We staggered under the load and found ourselves a coffee shop, then once seated we called Moses.

"Kendrews in Lowestoft Road.

Do you know it?"

"No problem Stephen.

Give me ten minutes and I'll join you."

We broke the journey back with another visit to the transport café Moses and I had been to on that first trip to Carlisle.

Breakfast had been good, but a morning of shopping then fighting the bags back to the car park had made us hungry again.

"Now, that's what I call a good meal!"

"Yeah, I have to admit it was really nice, but I did have my reservations when we first got here."


"Not what I'd call inspiring?"

"Yes, but we're on the A66 in the middle of fuck-nowhere, and without any Michelin Star restaurants around, this was our best option.

How much did we pay for your pheasant last evening?"

"Thirty-two pounds."

"Exactly my point.

I don't doubt it was wonderfully prepared, superbly cooked by top-class chefs and served to you in style…… but then you went on to steal some of my lamb shank 'cos you were still hungry!

This is good grub, freshly prepared and cooked to order. Total cost? Six-fifty including a large glass of Coke.

Still hungry?"

"Okay! I'm stuffed…… and it was to die for!"

"The Court will rise.

Judge Stephen Broadhurst is leaving the building."

We got back to school where we offloaded the shopping and left it in the gatehouse; we could ask the porters to have it sent to our room later.

Seniors do have their privileges!

Next was a visit to our common room. Not everyone in my year were there, some still had classes if they were studying subjects that covered languages, some might be in their rooms, but ten of the boys were in playing cards, with James acting as the banker and Benedict selling what booze was on hand.

I poked my head around the door to get their attention.

"I need to make an introduction if I could have your time?"

I ushered Thilo into the room.

He looked apprehensive.

"Gentlemen? Mr Thilo Roker.

Thilo hails from Africa, more specifically, Namibia, and he's going to be with us for the duration.

Now, I don't know what was said after chapel this morning, I wasn't there, but Thilo has had it tough these last months, so no questioning him please. Just accept him into the fold and make him feel at home here."

James stepped forward and proffered his hand.

"Hey Thilo?

I'm James Cooper-Clarke. Sometimes people call me My Lord, most call me Asshole, but James works well enough.

Come in and take a seat."

Next up was Benedict.


Benedict (Mushroom) Jefferson, and pleased to make your acquaintance.

Oh…… Mushroom is my nickname because I hide away in dark spaces to protect our liquor supply, and talking on the subject of drinking?

Do you?

Drink, I mean?"

Thilo giggled nervously.

"I've been known to partake of the occasional tipple?"

I puffed out my cheeks and exhaled noisily.

"Ice cold White Wine by the cart load."

"I'll have to order that in for you, but would you settle for a G and T nam tempis esse?

I whispered in his ear.

"What Geekshit is trying to ask you is, would you settle for a gin and tonic for the time-being!"

Thilo laughed, then replied rather louder than necessary.

"Tell him, 'Thank you. Yes, that would be fine'.

And if you don't get your tongue out of my ear, I'll have to go to the bathroom!"

The room erupted.

Ice broken, and it was two hours before we saw our room.

"Oh, Good Grief!

Now I understand about the carpet! That's hideous!"

"Ben's room suffered with a leaky radiator, and once it was repaired, his room was done out using the same stuff.

Someone, somewhere, has a warehouse full of this kit which they're slowly but surely fobbing off to the school."

"Geez! Most likely they're paying the school to take it off their hands!"

"There's a boy I know who attends The Kings School in Worcester. Provided their parents are prepared to pay, they're allowed to choose their own colour scheme, like carpets, curtains, wall coverings and furniture.

Can't do that here as the school's attitude is, if you don't like it, tough. Live with it.

Personally, I don't care. I mean, how much time do we spend up here? I do my prep, then what free time I have I spend in the common room, then it's bed and a good night's sleep."

"Still, - this stuff should come complete with a government health warning.

On the subject of sleeping? Is there like an official lights-out time?"

"For the younger boy's there is, that's why their dorms are downstairs. Whoever is the teacher on duty signals lights-out meaning everyone to their beds. They're allowed to read using their bedside light until they're told to turn them off for the night.

Eight to ten-year-olds it's nine-thirty, ten to twelve it's ten, twelve to fourteen it's ten-thirty, but so long as we don't turn up the following morning half asleep, we can do what we choose.

Oh yeah. One other thing? You can forego breakfast it you want, but not showing up at chapel is not a wise move unless you're unwell.

Once, and you might get away with a right good dressing down, but let it happen a second time and they'll load you with extra work.

It happened to me, I was late arriving twice two days on the trot, so a dissertation I had to do to include a minimum of three thousand words was upped to five thousand."

"Why were you late?"

"Just overslept.

Early mornings and I are a bad combination."

"But when you're back home. Surely you have to be up early?"

"That's different. I love working on the farm so it's no great hardship, but having to rouse myself in order to attend chapel when I don't even have a faith? That's crazy!"

Thilo came over and sat beside me on my bed.

"I used to believe in God, but it's very difficult to reconcile your faith when faced with what I saw, what I witnessed back home. The sound of guns being turned on our workers. Men, women and children screaming as they waited, just standing there, all the while knowing that none of them would be spared a bullet.

And then I saw my parents. Butchered in the most horrific manner imaginable!

Where was God?

What the fuck was he doing! Playing golf maybe??"

By now, Thilo was shouting, and tears were falling from his eyes.

I did no more than put my arms around him, holding him close.

"I don't know Thilo. I just don't know. Had that been me, I think I would've grabbed a gun and turned it on myself. Had I witnessed such barbarity, I wouldn't want to stay alive one moment more than necessary. You're so very courageous, so brave, so wonderful."

I can't remember how long we sat like that. It might've been ten minutes, it might've been an hour.

Thilo had stopped hyperventilating and his tears had dried, but neither of us made a move to separate ourselves.

Eventually, and with my back aching, I went to release him from my embrace, but then I understood.

He'd fallen sleep in my arms.

I laid him down on my bed, removed his trainers and socks, unclipped and removed his jeans, then pulling back the covers, folded them over him.

"Goodnight Thilo, and I hope your God finds something nice for you to dream about." And with that, I kissed him on the forehead before taking up occupancy in his bed.

Rather than waking with a start, panicking that I'd overcooked things, it was a perfectly respectable seven o'clock, so I went and took a shower.

I got back to our room and ferreted about searching through my chest of draws for some clean clothes. Mercifully, Thilo was still sleeping as all that was protecting my modesty was a rather small towel, but then even that decided to part company with my body.

I went to pick it up off the floor, but then I heard Thilo giggling.

"Maybe there is a God after all! That's one hell of a sight to wake up to!!

"That's so not fair! I was hoping to be dressed ever before you surfaced!"

"Why? Deprive me of feasting my eyes on your incredible body?

Now, that's what I call unfair!"

"Incredible not."

"Oh, I don't know? Looks great to me, not that I've managed to see anything other than your back?"

"You wanna see more?"

"Sure I do!"

"Fuck you then!"

I turned towards him and dropped the pathetic little towel on the floor.

Thilo was tucked under the covers with just his eyes peering out from above the sheets.

"Jesus and all his Saints!

You're magnificent!"

"No I'm not. I'm average."

"If you're average, then may God forgive me for being rather less than!"

"Piss off! I think you're beautiful."

"And I think you're delusional."

"Prove it to me then! Get your kit off!"

"No. Shan't."


"So not a pussy!"

"So are!"

"So isn't!"

"So isn't doesn't sound right!"

"So does?"

"So does what!"

"So does this help?"

Thilo threw back the covers, then, naked as the day he was born, stood up in front of me, and making no attempt to hide his erection, pulled me close and kissed me full on the lips.

"Fine. If you want to think I'm beautiful, then you carry on so long as I'm allowed to think you're magnificent.


"On one proviso.

You kiss me again, and never, ever stop!"

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