A Boy Named James,

by Jolyon Lewes

Chapter 6

February 1964 (continued)

Breakfast was informal, much to my relief and took place in the kitchen. James's father had gone to work and his mother was nowhere to be seen. The housekeeper fed us well and smiled a lot. James said he wanted to take me for a walk and she said it might snow later so best go before lunch. James asked if she could make us a packed lunch as he hoped we'd be away for three or four hours.

"Yes, of course, dear," she said. "Your sister Joan's coming for the weekend so she'll be here for supper this evening. I'm making a fish pie."

When we were ready to go out James took me into a sort of inner hall where coats and boots were kept. He picked a couple of waxed jackets off the hooks and passed me one. I saw on the wall a row of framed photos of him and asked to look.

"These are my birthday photos," he said. "They start on my eighth birthday."

I looked at the photos. "So this is you in your prep school uniform," I said, looking at a smiling James, aged nine. "And here you are at fourteen, still in prep school uniform but in much shorter shorts and this time you're not smiling."

"Would you smile if you had to wear shorts when all your friends were in longs? Those are the buggers I wore last night."

The last photo showed James at fifteen, in the long-trousered uniform he wore at boarding school and he was smiling.

We set off for our walk, along a disused railway line for about five miles and then we did a bit of a circuit on lanes, sheltering in a bus shelter for our sandwiches, then picked up the railway for the journey home. It was bitingly cold but hadn't quite started to snow. We walked very briskly. James's jacket finished well below his shorts so it looked like he didn't have anything at all on his legs.

We talked and talked. I told him about my miserable time at my first boarding school and said things I'd never told anyone else. I'd sworn I'd never tell about the unusual aspects of his home life so felt confident he'd keep my secrets. At one point we were on an embankment and the wind howled and James's thighs looked barer than ever.

"Aren't your legs cold?"

"Yeah, of course but so long as I keep moving I can cope."

This got me onto the subject of shorts and I told him of the times people in trains stared at my bare thighs and how on station platforms I had to rub them to try to warm them.

"Did anyone try to touch them?"

"No, but I thought one or two men looked like they wanted to," I said.

"For me," said James, "the worst thing about shorts like these is not being out in the cold but having to sit next to men at the dining table."

"What do you mean?"

"Certain men like to touch me. We sometimes get lots of dinner guests and you end up sitting very close to them and sometimes under the table you feel someone's hand on your thigh, stroking it. You know what my shorts are like - there's a heck of a lot of bare thigh on offer."

"But can't you do something?" I said, quite understanding why a dinner guest might want to explore James's thighs; after all, they were thighs to die for. And yes, I had yet another hard-on.

"I can hardly tell them to stop it! I'd be too embarrassed!"

"Your mother said last night you have rather fine legs."

"Yeah, she's always saying that so these dirty old man probably take it as an invitation to have a grope. I just can't win."

I wanted to give James a big hug. Then the snow began to fall so we hastened our pace and were soon home, just in time for tea in the kitchen.

Friday evening followed a similar routine to Thursday's except that we'd be joined by Joan, James's middle sister, who was nineteen, so only a year older than me. I didn't meet her until we all convened in the drawing room at 7 o'clock.

At six James and I went to his bedroom to dress for dinner. Once again on his bed lay the prep school uniform he'd worn the night before. I found myself staring at his little grey shorts. I picked them up and inspected them. The inside leg length was an inch and a half.

"Your mother's right," I said, with a mischievous grin, "these will last you for years, unless you get fat and I can't see that happening. They're very nice little shorts."

"If you think they're so nice why don't you wear them yourself? I could wear another pair. It'd make me very happy if you dressed like me. We'd look like twins. I've always wanted a brother."

"Hey, steady on!" I cried. "I've no intention of wearing your prep school shorts. I'm eighteen, you know."

"A few days ago you were only seventeen and I'll soon be sixteen." He gave me a cheeky smile.

At seven we were in the drawing room, James in his prep school uniform and I was in my dark grey school uniform. James's father came in and this time poured four glasses of sherry. Then Joan and her mother swept into the room so again, James was without a drink.

Joan was lovely. "I've heard so much about you," she said as we shook hands then she gave her little brother a sloppy kiss and said how beautiful he looked. Naturally, I agreed with her but felt it best not to say so. She was fuller in the figure than James and taller than both James and me but you could tell they were siblings and she spoke posh but her voice was much softer than her mother's.

We went through to the dining room and the fish pie was delicious but this time I was careful not to compliment James's mother. With Joan there it was a lively mealtime and I felt more relaxed than on the night before. When James went out to do the washing up I was once again invited to stay with the grown-ups and given more wine. James's mother made an announcement.

"James is invited to a fancy dress party at the Rashleighs at Easter. It's to be a toga party. You know how he doesn't like dressing up so we won't tell him till much nearer the time."

She looked at me as she spoke so I knew I wasn't to tell James. Then Joan spoke.

"Oooh, Mama, I can make him a nice costume. Something much better than a toga, something that will really make him stand out. He'd look so sweet as a Roman emperor!"

"Yes, darling, I do believe you're right."

I shifted in my chair. Try as I may, I couldn't stop another hard-on forming.

Next morning it was very cold but the snow had disappeared. Joan was in the sewing room, her mother somewhere else and her father was with James and me in the drawing room, reading the newspapers. James made an incongruous sight, looking for all the world like a boy of twelve in his prep school shorts, yet keenly reading The Times .

At about ten the telephone rang and Mr Ellis went to the hall to answer it. On his return he addressed me.

"Jolyon, old chap, how about your first squash lesson? James has two bookings for the squash court but one of his opponents has had to cancel so there's a half-hour slot going free. I'm sure James would be delighted to be your instructor."

"Absolutely!" said James, looking very pleased.

"Did you bring any sports kit with you?" asked Mr Ellis.

"No, I didn't," said I, hoping I could get out of this terrifying commitment.

"I've lots of spare stuff upstairs," said James, looking at me with shining eyes."I'll easily kit you out!"

"Well, that's fixed then," said Mr Ellis. "We'll leave here at twelve so you boys might as well nip up and change. Then we can have some coffee before we go."

I was trying to look enthusiastic but there was lead in my belly and my bowels were turning to water. In James's bedroom I asked him why we had to get changed here. Couldn't we do it at the squash club?

"No, there's no changing room or anything. Just two courts and a place to hang your coats and things."

"Do I really have to do this?"I asked.

"Yeah, you'll love it! And you've been teaching me stuff for ages so it's my turn to teach you something."

James opened his wardrobe. "What size shoes?"


"Perfect. That's the same as me!" He threw a pair of plimsolls onto my bed. "Now here's some socks and a polo shirt. And these shorts'll fit you nicely."

Turning away from me, he undressed completely then put on a tiny pair of white shorts. Nothing underneath but the shorts were so tight they'd probably keep his parts secure..

Looking at the shorts he'd give me I said "Don't you have anything a bit bigger?"

"Jolyon, my dear friend, I don't go in for the Victorian pantaloons you like to wear. Why don't you join the mid- twentieth century? Oh and your Y-fronts might show below the shorts so here are some little pants that won't."

He tossed a small piece of white cotton that turned out to be the skimpiest piece of underwear I'd ever seen. Seeing me staring at it in horror he laughed.

"They're perfectly clean you know! And being a Sixth Former you're allowed underwear, unlike poor little me."

When I was fully dressed in James's sports kit I still felt naked.

"We'd better wear nice thick sweaters," said James, "otherwise we'd freeze to death in the car."

He took out two cream-coloured, long-sleeved cricket sweaters and when he'd put on one of them, pulled the hem down until his shorts could no longer be seen. I didn't want to see what I looked like in the mirror but guessed I must have looked very much like him - a cream sweater atop a yard of bare leg. I felt terrible but knew I had to go along with this.

We went downstairs. Joan had now joined her father in the drawing room and when she saw us she beamed in delight.

"Oh - you both look absolutely gorgeous! Two such sweet little boys! I'm coming to watch you playing squash!"

I felt my face reddening and wanted the floor to open and a deep, dark hole to appear, into which I could tumble to oblivion. Joan was only being kind - she and I were almost the same age yet I felt like a little boy. I was getting the treatment James had received all his life. I was flattered to be considered as 'gorgeous' as him but in all my life I'd never felt so embarrassed.

The car journey to the squash court began with more embarrassments for me. James asked me to carry a little box of squash balls and he carried the racquets. James's father unlocked the car and said we two boys should go in the back. No, those weren't the embarrassing bits. It was when Joan explained why she was carrying a travel rug. I assumed it was for her use but she laid it out on the back seat.

Looking pointedly at my very bare legs she said "This is for you two to sit on otherwise your poor little leggies would freeze to the plastic seat cover! And you'd better cuddle close together."

She gave me a look that was really a kind smile but I wondered whether it might be a smirk. She can't have failed to notice how embarrassed I felt in James's tiny PE shorts. The car was icy cold so the rug was most welcome, even if we were sitting on it rather than having it cover our 'poor little leggies.' I saw James's shorts were brief enough to expose in its entirety that mark low on his right buttock made by the brambles six days earlier. I hoped the shorts I was wearing weren't so revealing. By unspoken mutual agreement we decided not to 'cuddle close together.'

Usually when I looked at James's bare legs, those legs to die for, I was safely clad in long trousers but now I wasn't and in the car I looked at my legs and then at his and then back again. Our thighs looked remarkably similar, smooth and very pale. On the way home his looked healthily pink, after his exertions in the squash court and mine looked slightly pink as my exertions hadn't been nearly as hearty as his.

For the first forty minutes I stood with Mr Ellis and Joan on the gallery overlooking the squash court as James played against his opponent, a dark-haired boy of about seventeen with a nice face but very hairy legs. I was thankful for the cricket sweater because it was bitingly cold up there and I tugged the hem as far down my legs as far as I could, just like James did, knowing that my shorts would be well out of sight but anxious for a tiny bit of warmth. James's father and sister clapped whenever he won a point and I followed suit, not sure how to tell when a point had been scored.

James won his match and the dark-haired boy shook his hand, waved to us and departed, so now I had to go downstairs for my squash lesson. James showed me the lines on the wall above or below which you were supposed to aim the little ball and we had a few short rallies but I wasn't any good. There were spurts of brilliance and I was surprised how hot the ball became when it had been batted at the wall several times but it was obvious I wasn't a natural squash player so to my relief we called it a day after about twenty minutes and Mr Ellis drove us home. They were all very kind to me so I wasn't made to feel humiliated. What I wanted most was to get back into my long trousers but that had to wait because James's mother met us on arrival and, shrilling how sweet we boys looked, instructed her husband to photograph us, holding squash racquets. She said we looked charming and could easily be twin brothers. I quite liked the compliment.

For the rest of the day I was able to view James's naked legs in comfort for while he was in one pair of prep school shorts or another I was in my long black cord trousers or, for supper, my school uniform. Once again I was invited to chat with the grown-ups while James was busy with the washing up. Next day, Sunday, we'd all be going for lunch in a pub and afterwards, to take a walk. On Monday afternoon James and I would be taking the train back to school.

When James and I went upstairs he didn't immediately change into pyjamas but lay on his bed, hands behind his head.

"What d'you think of it so far?"

I sat on my bed, facing him . "What do I think of what?" I asked.

"What d'you think of my family?"

I said I thought they were all very nice and that his father was especially kind to me.

"And what d'you think about me having to wear shorts all the time?"

I said I thought it highly unusual, especially in mid-winter and asked him if he got seriously embarrassed about it. He said it wasn't too bad at home if only the family was there but with guests present it could get really bad, especially if younger boys were there. I asked him why.

"Because they're always in long trousers and if that's not humiliating enough some of them try to put their hands inside my shorts."

I looked at his little grey shorts and couldn't help thinking he'd make a tempting target for cheeky little boys. He raised his knees and his shorts rode up so far I could see most of the mark made by the bramble thorns. He looked more alluring than ever and my willy responded in its usual way. I was glad I was sitting and not standing.

"You said yesterday that when you're sitting at the dining table there are men who like to touch you," I said.

"Yeah, that's far worse than the little kids because it goes on for longer and thanks to the table, nobody else can see what's happening."

"I think it's terrible! They ought to be locked up!"

"These men are part of the Establishment. They're far too clever to get caught. It'd be my word against theirs. And they're such horrible old men. It wouldn't be so bad if it was someone like you."

For a moment I wondered if James was inviting me to touch him but he straightened his legs and got off his bed.

"I wonder what I'll have to wear for this pub lunch tomorrow. I told you about the a suit I sometimes have to wear which is simply beyond belief!"

And there was me, thinking his prep school shorts were beyond belief. In bed that night, I thought about James's home life and was glad mine was so different. The khaki shorts my father made me wear on the family summer holidays were nothing like as revealing as what James had been wearing. I felt deeply sorry for him but telling him that wouldn't achieve anything.

My affection for James, rooted in my sexual desire for his gorgeous body, was gradually changing into genuine love for him as a person. Little things he'd said or done had made me wonder if he was inviting me to touch him but I'd so far managed to resist the temptation, worried that if I'd made a move he'd resent it and that would be the end of a beautiful friendship. I didn't want to be like the men and boys who liked to grope him or put their hand up his shorts. After we'd arrived home from the squash court his mother said we looked like twin brothers. It gave me a warm and bubbly feeling.

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