A Boy Named James,

by Jolyon Lewes

Chapter 8

March 1964

Back at boarding school for the last half of Spring Term 1964, James and I saw each other most days. Some evenings he'd come up to my room after prep for a chat and some coffee, sometimes he'd come up after one of his runs, having been careful to avoid the brambles that had scratched his bottom on the Sunday before half term. Sometimes I'd go to watch him playing rugby with his fellow fanatics. His dark blue shorts were so short that when he bent forward to take position in the scrum it looked from behind like he was mooning. More than once there were fresh teeth-marks on his bottom. I didn't then know that his sisters routinely shortened all his shorts in the belief that he wanted them as short as possible. I displayed religious zeal by foregoing some gorgeous wanks with him the subject but cannot deny that the frequent close-ups of his superb thighs and glorious bottom resulted in the richest of hard-ons.

In private, James was friendly and civilised but in public he reverted to behaving in the scowling, sarcastic manner that the hard boys liked and which I suspected was his way of rebelling against his home regime. My friends asked me if I'd enjoyed spending half term with such an anti-social youth and I said I had - I said it was my first experience of being with aristocracy - but was careful to say nothing about the shorts he'd had to wear and that I'd had to wear after my adventure in the mud. I thought of James's suggestion that next time I stayed with him we both dress like boys from a prep school and the idea had little appeal.

I wondered how much James's father knew about his son's behaviour at school. By asking me to try to lead James 'into the paths of righteousness' he must have had an idea that all was not what it should be. I saw no point in antagonising the hard boys so pretended to understand their grievances. This meant balancing my duties as a prefect, responsible for discipline, with my apparent approval of some of the things the hard boys did, like smoking. It was likely to be tricky.

With my parents now in Germany I kept my bike at school so I could cycle around the local countryside instead of doing compulsory sports on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. I still had to turn up for PE lessons but in the gym it was only my classmates to see (and in some cases enjoy) my hopelessness at gymnastics. I'd still not been given a jockstrap so there were many instances of unplanned indecency but it was better than having scores of younger boys giggling at my inadequacies on the sports field.

I thought it would be good if James too had his bike at school for the summer term. Then we could go off together - when he wasn't playing cricket or tennis. This would not only take him away from the hard boys but would allow us to build our friendship out of sight of those who might think there was something unhealthy in our two-year age difference. If we were to be seen together too often at school the authorities would act. But out of sight, out of mind.

The Easter holidays loomed and I received the train and air tickets that would take my brothers and me to Germany and the house my parents were renting there.

"I hope you're taking some school work with you," said James on the last day of term, "what with your A Levels in June."

I said I hoped I'd be spending most of the time exploring the bit of Germany that was our new home. I asked him what he'd be doing but I already knew the answer.

"A bit of squash, a lot of tennis and no doubt some embarrassing dinner parties."

"I'll think of you in your little grey shorts," I said, my willy hardening nicely. "I hope you'll be able to fend off the dirty old men. And don't you have a fancy dress party to go to?"

James rolled his eyes to the sky and swore. "Yeah, some bloody toga party. I'll hate every minute."

"I'm looking forward to hearing all about it - and if your father can bring your bike here we can go on little expeditions and take in the odd pub or two."

"It's funny, Jolyon but I can't wait for the holidays to be over and to be back here with you."

Knowing what James's home life was like, I felt very sorry for him. One day, when we were older, we could maybe spend the holidays together, far away from meddling grown-ups.

I thought of him often during that three-week holiday and hoped he wouldn't be molested under the table by horrible old men, or even nice old men. Not that my own holiday started well. The travelling went like clockwork but the first thing my father said to me was to get myself down to the barbers.

"And don't cross my threshold until you've a short back and sides!"

Well, it was March 1964 and Beatlemania was in full swing. I wanted to look like Paul McCartney and the school authorities were bending to fashion, something my father had never done. I was quite proud of my long hair and even the hard boys were impressed.

I soon discovered that although my Sunday suit was still in England, the khaki shorts had been brought to Germany and for a few days to be spent in The Black Forest I'd be in those shorts, all day every day.

"But I'm eighteen, " I whined. "I should be allowed to wear long trousers."

I knew what was coming next. "You can have long trousers when you've got hair on your legs and look like a man. Now stop whining and act your age."

It was very confusing for an underconfident boy like me to be told to act his age but made to dress, as I saw it, like a boy of thirteen or fourteen. My brothers were that age and didn't mind what they wore.

In Germany you had to be eighteen before driving a car so I wasn't able to take lessons and the driving test in such a short time. Therefore I couldn't impress my brothers with my skill as a driver. Indeed, as my father made it clear on the occasional sorties on private land with me at the wheel, I didn't have any skills at all.

On the way south to The Black Forest I sat with my brothers in the back seat, wishing my khaki shorts weren't so damnably brief. They'd be fine for secret bike rides but not for wear in public for a whole week. I looked at my middle brother. His shorts were longer than mine and then I got a shock. On his thighs were tiny black hairs and there were many more lower down, on his calves. Using my father's ruling, my fourteen-year-old brother would qualify for long trousers before I would!

Feeling depressed, I thought of James and wondered if he too was suffering embarrassments. I sort of hoped he was, if only to have something in common with me. But let's conclude this section on a high note. Later that day we were driving through the Black Forest, on a marvellously scenic road called the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse. The scenery was outstanding and so was the weather. I made a resolution that one day James and I would come here, just the two of us, in my own little car.

Easter holidays over, I was back at school and delighted to see James again, especially as he now had his bike with him. He'd parked it next to mine in the bike shed, locking them together, the symbolism of which I think escaped him. In my room on the first night back he asked me about Germany.

I showed him a picture postcard I'd bought there, depicting three boys of about sixteen performing acrobatics in a park. Each was in Lederhosen as brief as James's grey cord shorts.

"These boys reminded me of you," I said. "I saw lots of boys like this in Germany and see how they wear sort of braces to keep their shorts up high."

"I know all about braces," said James. "Remember I told you I've got a suit that's beyond belief? Well, it's dark-grey and very itchy but what puts it beyond belief are the shorts. They're incredibly short and I have to wear braces with them. Mama insists the braces are as tight as possible. They pull the shorts right up high which is bloody painful and looks downright indecent."

"And how often did you have to wear this awful suit?"

"At church on Easter Sunday and a couple of times at dinner parties."

"Did you have to sit next to any perverted old men?"

"Yeah, but only once, thank God. And he wasn't even that old. About thirty. Couldn't keep his bloody hands off. After dinner he got me to sit on a stool opposite him and talked politics. I could see where he was staring and it wasn't at my face."

"It's diabolical!" I said. "I should come and live with you and we could sit together at dinner and you'd be safe from wandering hands."

" Would I, Jolyon? I've seen you looking at my legs and getting naughty thoughts."

"That's probably because your mother said they're your best feature," I said, feeling myself blushing.

"They're good legs," said James, totally without vanity. "Of course, if you came to live with me you'd have to wear shorts."

"So we could look like boys from a prep school, like you said on the train?"

"Exactly," said James, with a cheeky smile. "It would be fun. I don't have much fun at home."

The hard-on that had developed as I tried to picture James in the shorts that were beyond belief dissipated slightly as I imagined myself in something similar.

One Sunday we took our first cycle ride together. It was a chance to get away from other people and I had the money for a pint or two at The White Horse, a pub six miles from school and out in the boondocks.

When we met in the bike shed James laughed and said "Real boys don't wear bicycle clips, they wear shorts."

He had a point - I was in my uniform grey trousers but he was in one of his skimpiest pairs of PE shorts.

"But I'm a prefect, I have to set standards."

"Yeah, but when we get back to school, my trousers back in the dorm will be clean and yours might not be," he said, with good logic.

"Yes but if we go to a pub at least one of us should look eighteen," I said.

"Lots of cyclists are over eighteen and wear shorts," said James, again with impeccable logic.

I enjoyed the ride but did feel a bit old-fashioned with my cycle clips on and my legs got a bit sweaty as we worked hard on some of the uphill gradients. When able to cycle two-abreast, I looked at James's magnificent legs pumping away and not looking at all sweaty. In those days pubs closed on Sunday at 2 pm so there was no visit to The White Horse but we did stop at a petrol station where I bought us each an ice cream.

"You haven't told me about this toga party yet," I said.

"I want to forget all about it," said James, seated demurely on the grass verge.

"Was it that awful?"

He looked me in the eyes and said it was one of the worst experiences of his life.

"More horrible old men?"

"No, it was what I had to wear . I had to go as a Roman emperor and my mother made a nice laurel crown but that was the best bit of the costume. My sister Joan had made an outfit that would have been very impressive but for two things. There was a sort of tunic that went only a few inches below my waist and I had nothing to wear on my legs. I wanted to wear football shorts to make me a bit decent but Joan said Roman emperors didn't wear football shorts so I had to wear those tiny underpants I wear with my shortest grey shorts. You know, the ones that keep my parts safe but cover hardly anything of my bottom."

"The ones that look like a bikini," I offered, my willy stiffening for about the fiftieth time that afternoon. "So what was the second thing?"

"Joan had made a long, flowing robe in what she called imperial purple. I assumed it would give me some decency but the bloody thing was made of chiffon and when I put it on it turned out to be see-through! I only realised that sitting in the car on the way to the party and it was too late to turn back. Honestly, Jolyon, everyone could see the lower half of my bum ! One horrid little kid kept telling me so. He's one of the brats who try to shove their fingers up my shorts. I spent lots of time hiding in the loo. I want to forget the looks and comments I got at the party. Can you imagine what it was like for me?"

"Only with difficulty," said I, not wanting to tell him that in those tiny little PE shorts a good chunk of his bum was visible when he was riding his bike, accounting for many of the earlier forty-nine hard-ons I'd experienced that afternoon.

When we got back to school James made me agree to wear shorts on the next bike ride. I decided my tennis shorts would be the least embarrassing ones. At least they had pockets for a hanky and some money.

Our bike rides were restricted to Sunday afternoons because on sports afternoons James played cricket or tennis and sometimes both. As the summer progressed it was light enough for tennis in the evenings after prep and if it was light enough for tennis it was light enough for bike rides and the pubs would be open so we settled into a sort of routine of bike rides on Saturday and after Chapel on Sunday evenings and on Sunday afternoons I'd sit and watch James at tennis.

When he was playing there'd be a number of other spectators as I was by no means his only admirer. I'd hear them talking about his exceptional prowess at tennis and the exceptional brevity of his shorts. Next year he'd be representing the school and a year later would be Captain of Tennis, when he made a fine sight on the court and also off the court, his blazer reaching well below his shorts.

He invited me for half term but I was obliged to go to an aunt and uncle, he being my official guardian while my father was abroad. So it would be some months before my next visit to James's house.

Being still only a Fourth-Former, James had to be in his dorm and in bed at lights-out. This meant our evening bike rides had to be over in time for him to make lights-out. But it didn't stop him from sneaking out of the dorm at about eleven and meeting me at the bike shed. In June it was only just dark and on a balmy evening it was a great joy to ride along the country lanes for an hour or so, stopping for a snack and some coffee from my Thermos flask.

What made it more fun was the ever-present risk of being caught, either on the roads or while creeping back into the ancient school building. I didn't know how I'd explain myself if we were caught but it never happened. James's dorm-mates knew but never told the authorities although what they thought about our nocturnal adventures I never found out. They were beginning to accept me as one of their own and luckily I never had to apply my prefectorial powers on any of them. With the hard boys I had a sort of understanding; they wouldn't tell on me and I wouldn't tell on them.

While all this was going on, James was taking his O Level exams and I was taking my A Levels. I'm ashamed to admit that I did very little work for them. I was living for the moment, having fun, breaking rules and even beginning to overcome my hatred of wearing shorts. Admittedly, on the night rides the only person to see me in shorts was James so I wasn't exactly in public. Once or twice he even persuaded me to wear my PE shorts, which weren't nearly as short as his but I still felt quite daring. And I was enjoying his comments that I had 'smashing legs.'

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