A Boy Named James,

by Jolyon Lewes

Chapter 10

July 1964

I left school forever and went to join my parents in Germany for the summer holiday. I was eighteen and a half. This time the family camping holiday would be two weeks in Switzerland. It meant the dreaded khaki shorts again but I could think of James and be grateful I didn't have a short-trousered suit. Well, I did but it was in storage in England. My Sunday suit.

There were two surprises awaiting me in Germany, one good and the other not good at all. The nice surprise was a tiny tent, ostensibly for two people and called a pup tent. I could sleep in it instead of sharing the family tent and that made me very happy. The other surprise was that my father had bought from a German company called Adidas shorts an order of magnitude more embarrassing than my khaki shorts and he made us three boys wear them. They were incredibly short and had a sewn-in inner slip which guarded against wardrobe malfunctions but were far too revealing and reminded me of James's PE shorts. My little brothers didn't seem to mind but I did and as usual got short shrift from my father.

"You'll wear them, whether you like it or not!"

As it happened, a few other boys my age at the camp site beside Lake Lucerne were in Adidas shorts but it made me no happier. Near my little tent was a slightly bigger tent occupied by two German boys. The elder one drove a white VW Beetle. He was forever in Adidas shorts and his very handsome young companion wore only swimming trunks, so tiny they'd make even James blush. Early every morning this boy crawled out of the tent to go to buy food from the camp shop, seemingly unconcerned that he was essentially naked. The boys spent a lot of time in their tent and I could hear giggling. I wondered if they were having sex.

I thought of my plan to take James to the Black Forest one day and whether he'd agree to being permanently in just tiny swimming trunks. I thought about him all the time but still refrained from using him as wank fodder. To me he was a god and you don't wank over a deity, do you? The younger of the two German boys had a body as hairless as James's and was as pretty as a picture so he provided inspiration for the many masturbations I was able to enjoy in the privacy of my little tent.

The camping holiday came to its conclusion and we drove north to Germany. I knew my A Level results would be waiting and the closer to home we got the more nervous I became. I'd been trying to forget how little work I'd done at school but knew there'd be a dreadful scene when my father discovered exactly how little that was. At home was waiting a letter for my father, our school reports. There were two letters for me and I took them timorously up to my bedroom. One was a handwritten one from James and the other was a small, official-looking one which I knew would contain my A level results and I thought I'd better open it first But I was interrupted by my father bellowing from the hall.

"Get down here, boy! Now!"

My father was livid. He'd read the summary of my school report and said it described me as immature and lazy and that I'd set a poor example as a prefect, paying too little attention to discipline. I knew this to be true but certainly wasn't going to admit it. He told me to stand in front of him as he read out loud the individual subject reports, none of which exactly complimented my performance in class. He called me a stupid, ungrateful child and then seeing the envelope in my hand demanded that I hand it to him.

"These are your exam results. They'd better be good!" He ripped open the envelope and looked at the piece of paper inside before passing it to me.

"What does this mean? I don't understand what it says."

My A Level results were even worse than I'd feared. I'd failed one subject outright and gained only a bare pass on the other two. I wanted to die.

"What grades do you need for university?"

"Two Bs and a C."

And what have you got?"

"Two Es," I said, my eyes welling up.

"That is disgraceful! " he yelled. "Your mother and I, we scrimp and save to send you to a good school and how do you repay us? By doing no work, failing as a prefect and acting like a spoilt brat half your age. Yes, you might well cry. You'll be doing a lot more of that from now on! Get up to your room and stay there. And don't think you can wear long trousers. It's shorts for you until further notice so keep those ones on. If you act like a child you'll be treated as one. Go on, get upstairs before I hit you!"

I sat on my bed in tears. I'd made a total mess of my life. No university would have me with such poor grades at A Level. I knew I'd let my parents down and I didn't like to think what might happen now. I supposed I'd have to get some menial job, maybe in Germany, so my father could keep an eye on me. But if in England, where could I live? My uncle wouldn't want me so it might have to be some kind of hostel. I'd wrecked everything.

I was sent to bed with bread and water and I had to surrender my long trousers. From now on it would be only the khaki shorts or the Adidas ones and our neighbours would be sure to know why. I saw James's unopened letter and wondered what he would say about my predicament. I was condemned until further notice to wearing shorts as a punishment and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

Quite understandably, I wasn't getting much sympathy from my mother or brothers. Nor did I want any because I was so ashamed of what I'd done. I was to stew in my own juices. My one source of comfort was James's letter and that night I read it over and over again. Not that it gave me much comfort for the first thing he said was about his new, dark-grey, long-trousered suit. He said it was very nice.

At first I was jealous of him, no doubt looking glamorous at sixteen in his nice new suit while I, at eighteen and a half, was from now on forced to wear shorts of obscene brevity. But later in his letter he said he'd been allowed to wear his new suit only twice. The rest of the time it had been his prep school shorts or for dinner parties, his suit with the micro-shorts.

'And you can guess what happened, ' he wrote, 'more bloody groping. I'm sure the bloody shorts have got even shorter!'

So now I wasn't jealous of him. Instead I thought we should run away together. We'd go to a far-off land and live as we wanted to and wear what we wanted to. These thoughts were inspired by what he'd written at the end of his letter: 'That night we spent staring at the moon. It was fantastic, Jols!'

I soon realised running away would achieve nothing. It was a stupid idea and showed me to be immature, just as my school report had said I was.

For the next week my father never let me forget how immature I was. The khaki shorts were horribly tight but less revealing than the Adidas ones so I wore them if I had to go out, changing to Adidas only if I could lurk in my bedroom. My father delighted in pointing out the hairlessness of my legs.

"With girly legs like that you look younger than your brother. He's got hairs on his legs and he's four years younger than you! And we all know why you've got spots on your face, you snivelling nancy boy!"

To add to my humiliation, I had to go to work in the khaki shorts. Like several British teenagers I had a holiday job in one of the factories in the local town. The Germans seemed happy to take us on for three or four weeks during our holidays and it provided some useful pocket money. It was menial work but I might have to get used to that for years to come. The other British kids teased me for wearing shorts.

"Trying to copy the German lads and show a lot of leg?" I was asked.

Many of the young Germans who worked in the factory wore Lederhosen as brief as my khaki shorts and seemed happy to do so but I was a British public schoolboy and the shame was terrible. I had no-one but myself to blame. I'd let down my parents and ruined my prospects, purely to get in with boys two and more years younger than me.

Back in England, I'd quite enjoyed wearing shorts for my bike rides from school with James and there was no doubt I got a kick from my solo bike rides from home, either in my Sunday suit or in other shorts, like the khaki ones. But now there was to be nothing secret about my shorts as I'd be wearing them all day and every day. Just like James, I thought.

Come September and my brothers were packing for their return to school but what was I to do? Then, out of the blue, my father told me that I was to go back to school for a third year in the Sixth Form but had to promise to knuckle down and work hard and get far better A Level grades next time around.

"I wouldn't waste the money on you but the government seems happy to pay so off you go - and don't you dare let us down!"

To say I was ecstatic at this news would be an understatement. I'd be able to see James again. The first thing I did was to write to him: "See you next term!"

September 1964

As one of only a few boys in the 3rd Year Sixth Form, I was now working with boys a year younger than me, boys I'd known for at least three years and whom I liked. That I was having a second go at A levels didn't seem to stigmatise me and the masters wanted me do better this time around.

James had bagged some excellent O Level results and was now in the Lower Sixth, so academically just one year below me. Some of the hard boys had left school, leaving a mere handful to continue their unpleasant ways, trying to make him do things that would get him caned. They succeeded only once in that Autumn Term of 1964. He began to make friends with boys of pleasant disposition but none was invited to his house. Only I knew what his home life was like.

As for me, I'd been relieved of my duties as a prefect, I didn't have to take part in compulsory sports and was given a nice study bedroom in a remote corner of the ancient building, where I could play my record player loudly without disturbing anyone. It was a good place to study and a good place to entertain James. I couldn't help getting a hard-on when he was close to me, even when he was fully-clothed and he'd notice and say 'Jols is being a naughty boy again.'

He and I continued with our bike rides, mainly confining them to Sunday afternoons. I was free to watch him at rugby, and now I knew why his dark blue shorts were miles shorter than anyone else's. He now routinely wore a jockstrap, the rear bands of which were almost constantly on display if you viewed him from behind. I wanted to mention it but thought the matter indelicate until one day when he came to my room dressed for rugby. He stood, looking out of the window.

"D'you know your jockstrap's showing?"

"Is it?"

"Look in the mirror. Sideways."

"Oh, God, how embarrassing!"

"Maybe some longer shorts?"

"Hell, no! Have a feel. Go on, put your fingers inside. Would you want this bloody material next to your skin?"

I had a good feel. The extremely coarse wool felt fiercely prickly and contrasted sharply with the ultra-smooth skin of James's bottom, which the backs of my fingers couldn't help touching. A spine-tingling frisson shot through my body. I'd only touched him there once before, when I'd tended to that bramble scratch back in February.

"See what I mean?" he said, "it's bloody torture. Oh hell, you've given me a hard-on!"

He sat on my bed and pressed hard on the front of his shorts. What he said next had nothing to do with sexual arousal.

"My parents would like you to come for half term."

This sounded like a royal command but I was half-expecting it and joyfully accepted the invitation.

Half term began on a Thursday in late October and, as before, James and I travelled by train to his local station. I was nervous the last time we'd done this because I didn't know what to expect and this time I did know what to expect and was just as nervous. James's mother met us off the train and sped us home in time for tea. We went up to his bedroom. Once again, I was to sleep in the bed right next to his. On his bed lay a pair of grey corduroy shorts.

"Doesn't she realise I'm a Sixth-Former?" he said, angrily picking up the shorts. "Why've I got to wear bloody shorts? She'll have me in shorts till I get married and go and live somewhere else!"

He was clearly furious but there wasn't much I could say so I kept quiet but tried to look sympathetic.

It was the routine as before. We entered the drawing room at seven. I had on my school suit and James was in his prep school shorts and pullover. His father once again poured a sherry for his wife, himself and me. James went without.

Mr Ellis handed me my glass and said "You know, Jolyon, it's very good of you to stay on at school for another year, to lead James further along the paths of righteousness."

He said it with a twinkle in his eye and I couldn't help liking him for it. He knew more than he'd ever say. We ate formally in the dining room and James's mother told us what had been planned for the weekend.

"Tomorrow, James, you have a squash booking at twelve and you've both been invited out for supper . It's not black tie. Saturday is yours to do what you like. You did say, James, that you'd like a whole day to yourselves. Pa and I will be out for most of the day. Cold supper in the kitchen. On Sunday we'll be attending church and then lunching at The Plough."

"Where would this supper be, Mama?" said James, frowning.

"At the Rashleighs, James. Sarah and Piers will be there and Piers said he's so looking forward to seeing you again."

I saw James grimace, then under his breath he muttered "I bet he is."

Later, in his bedroom, I asked James about the Rashleighs.

"They're an upper-class family a few miles away. Sarah's eighteen and a bit horsey and I've been playing tennis with her for years. Her father's a baronet. Her brother's about thirteen; he's one of the brats that like to tease me about my shorts."

"The ones that are beyond belief?"

"You've got it, Jols. He's one of the brats at these awful parties who ask if I've ever owned a pair of long trousers. The last time was about six weeks ago. I wasn't allowed to wear my new suit so it was the shorts again and didn't he love it!"

"Is he the kid who teased you about the Roman emperor's outfit?"

"That's the one, Jols"

"So, tomorrow you'll be hoping to wear your new suit, then."

"God, yes, I hope I'll be allowed to!"

Next morning I wore my corduroy trousers and James the grey cord shorts Linda had brought from her store room. They were even shorter than the ones he'd worn the night before. He patted his thighs and turned to me, with a sly smile on his face.

"It'll be you wearing these tomorrow, for our day in Cambridge. Remember your promise?"

"Not as short as those," said I.

"We'll see about that," he said.

His father drove us to the squash court. I was immensely glad to be in my own warm clothes and not in the incredibly skimpy PE kit James had lent me last time. His opponent was a young man I'd never seen before and James's father and I watched the contest from the balcony. James was immaculate in white tennis kit. His shorts were of sensational brevity and his legs were bronzed from the summer as far as the tan-line an inch below the hems of his shorts.

"He's a fine-looking boy, isn't he, Jolyon?" Mr Ellis was looking at his son.

"Yes, sir," I replied, feeling my face redden. "And a very good friend."

It was tea at four and then James and I went upstairs to bathe and change for dinner at the Rashleighs. He gasped with relief when he saw his new, long-trousered suit on his bed.

"Thank God! That little bastard Piers won't be able to make fun of me tonight!"

Mrs Ellis dropped us off at the Rashleigh's vast mansion at six thirty. I noticed not two but three tennis courts. We were met by a man I took to be the butler and taken into a huge room he called the saloon, there to meet Lady Rashleigh and two other middle-aged ladies whose names I was never told. Into the room came Sir Ian Rashleigh and two other men, like us, in dark suits. Next to arrive was Sarah, a large girl with blonde hair and a habit of laughing for no apparent reason. There were hairs on her upper lip. Finally came a boy I took to be Piers, dark-haired, very slim and not very tall. He wore a dark suit and had an impish look about him. I thought he looked disappointed when he saw that James was in long trousers.

James introduced me as his school friend and various people spoke to me briefly but when they discovered I was neither an aristocrat nor a tennis-player they lost interest and I spent the rest of the evening being politely ignored. James and I kept exchanging looks by way of mutual support. I could tell he wasn't enjoying himself any more than I was. Before we went in for dinner Piers planted himself in front of James.

"Is he your boyfriend?" he said, gesturing towards me.

"Of course not!" said James, his face reddening in anger.

My face reddened too but not in anger. Following more remarks made by Piers to James during the evening I decided that impish was far too kind a word to describe Piers. No, the little brat oozed malice.

It was a very formal meal. Sarah had wine in her glass and so did we three boys but it had the same quantity of water added. I could hardly point out I was eighteen and if I did it would surely have given Piers ammunition for more of his rude remarks.

The final insult came at the end of the meal when all the grown-ups, Sarah included, went into the saloon for coffee.

"Right, boys," said Lady Rashleigh, jackets off, sleeves rolled up and into the kitchen!"

James seemed to expect this command and so did Piers, who'd taken off his jacket before his mother had spoken.

I dutifully went with James and Piers into the kitchen where we were supervised by the housekeeper. I was allocated to drying the glasses and crockery. Piers made more snide remarks about my being James's boyfriend. I looked at my watch - only twenty minutes before James's mother was due to collect us.

"Ghastly, wasn't it?"said James to me as the car drew up.

We said more about it once safely in his bedroom. James said not all the people he had to mix with were as pompous as the Rashleighs. I said I thought Piers was a horrible little runt.

"Funny you should say that. His nickname in the County Set is Rashleigh the Runt. He's one of the kids who likes to put his hand inside my shorts at these posh functions, knowing I can't lash out at him."

"It's awful, " I said, "almost as bad as the old men who molest you at dinner parties."

"That's why I want to wear this suit in future, or better still, my dinner suit. Anyway, let's think about Cambridge. Lots of places to show you. We could go on the river. I know I'll have to wear shorts so please do the same. I've asked Linda to bring you some. Oh, don't look like that, Jols, it'll be fun and we can grope each other's thighs!"

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