A Boy Named James,

by Jolyon Lewes

Chapter 16

May 1965

If I'd thought James had suffered enough humiliation at Joan's birthday party it was nothing compared to what he had to face at the tennis tournament. For one thing, it was held at the family seat of the Rashleighs, so James could guarantee some malicious comments from Piers, the Rashleigh Runt. Tennis would be played by boys and girls aged from twelve to eighteen. There were three proper tennis courts and a couple of temporary ones for the youngest players. There was also a large marquee for players to use as a changing room and in which refreshments would be served. On the second day it would be the venue for a sit-down meal and prize-giving.

James loved his tennis so much he didn't mind going to the Rashleighs and hoped that as a mere bystander I wouldn't be bored..

"You spend loads of time at school watching me play tennis so it'll be like that but with better food. And if you get a chance to watch the Runt playing you might enjoy it. He thinks he's much better than he is so you'll probably see him thrashed by some kid who's only mediocre."

After breakfast I went up with James who wanted to get into tennis kit before we set off.

"I don't want to get changed in the marquee in case other boys see I'm not wearing a jockstrap," he said as he stripped and put on a pair of those little pants without anything at the rear but for the band that slipped tightly between his glorious buttocks.

"So they'll think you're not wearing any underwear at all," I said.

"Let them, Jols. It's not rugby so I shouldn't get anyone sinking their teeth into my bare bum."

"Don't give me ideas," I said.

He sniggered at my remark and in his holdall packed spare shirts, shorts and socks, then stood before me, resplendent in brilliant white tennis kit and his stripy school blazer, which finished just above the hems of his shorts. I too wore my blazer but with long trousers, not shorts. Obviously.

"Just like twin brothers again," said his mother as we walked to the car. She sped us to the Rashleighs and said she'd pick us up at five. "Formal supper at seven-thirty and I see you spilt something on the lovely little suit you wore yesterday, James, so I'm afraid you'll have to wear long trousers tonight."

James gave me a smile. While we were having our grope in the summer house he'd accidentally-on-purpose spilt wine and cake on his jacket and micro-shorts.

At the tournament I watched James play and win a singles match, then we were able to watch the Runt in another singles match. Before play began he came over and sneered when he recognised me.

"I see you've brought your boyfriend again, James."

We ignored him but I couldn't help noticing how physically attractive he was. Comely face, pert little bottom and legs as smooth as James's. I could swap him for young Jack on a Sunday morning at school and have great fun molesting him.

Piers the Runt lost his match, as James said he would but not before I'd enjoyed an extended hard-on while watching him. After a sandwich lunch James played and won a second match, mixed doubles with Sarah Rashleigh as his partner. She seemed to have grown bigger and hairier since I'd last seen her. As the pair acknowledged applause she moved close to James and I was alarmed she might pick him up and hold him in her arms like a baby. She certainly looked strong enough.

Thankfully, she didn't pick him up but linked her arm in his and swept him away to the marquee. He glanced round at me but couldn't come over for a chat because Sarah saw me and quickened her pace, dragging poor James along with her. He looked both ravishingly beautiful and frighteningly vulnerable.

I wasn't the only one who thought he looked beautiful. A tall, blond young man nearby was talking to his companion.

"Christ, Rupert, that boy's bloody gorgeous! And what about those shorts of his?"

"Yeah, way shorter than anyone else's. And what fantastic legs!. I reckon he shaves them. I'll ask him if I get the chance."

As promised, James's mother collected us at five and drove us home. We boys sat in the back, close enough for a grope but far too sensible to do it.

"You and Sarah are ideal partners, James," said Mrs Ellis. "I'm sure you'll make it to the finals tomorrow and we'll make sure she comes here in the summer to play on our courts. Her mother's keen for you to get to know each other better. She could stay overnight if you like."

James said nothing but gave me a look that said 'over my dead body.'

"In the spare room, dear," continued Mrs Elliot. "And Piers could come too and share your bedroom."

" No! " said James, with feeling. "I don't want him anywhere near me!"

"Don't be petulant, James. They're a very nice family."

The formal supper that night turned out to be very enjoyable. Like me, James wore long trousers so wasn't made to feel like a boy of thirteen and the guests were friendly, jovial people. One of the men, a Dr Leahy, was big in pharmaceuticals and was interested in my plans to go to medical school. He said being a doctor wasn't everything because the world of medical research had a huge future.

"There are more Nobel Prizes there than in being a nice, friendly GP," he said. He gave me his card.

Later, in his bedroom, I asked James if a quick grope might be in order.

"Not tonight, Jols. I need to get a good night's sleep for tomorrow. Your hands always get me excited and for once I need to be dull and boring. Maybe tomorrow?"

I took that as a compliment so didn't progress the matter.

Next day Mrs Ellis drove us to the Rashleighs and stayed long enough to learn that the dress code for the evening would be skirts for the girls and optional long trousers for the boys.

"So could you bring my long trousers, please, Mama? Then Jolyon and I will look even more like twin brothers."

"Your father and I will be here by five, James and will bring what's necessary. I look forward to the prize-giving."

This time James lost his singles match but qualified with Sarah for the finals in the mixed doubles competition, which began after lunch and there were many spectators, one of whom was Piers the Runt.

"My sister thinks your boyfriend's dead cute," he said.

"We're not boyfriends," I said, "we just happen to be at the same school."

"So why can't you keep your eyes off his bum? See how it catches the sun when he runs about! Everyone else has shorts that cover their bum but not James Ellis."

I wanted to ignore the stupid boy but all I could do was offer the following:

"He finds freedom of movement very important so he likes his shorts as short as possible." I now had another hard-on and hoped Piers didn't see it. He had more to say.

"With shorts like that and not even a jockstrap it's freedom of movement all right. Freedom for other people's fingers to get in and fiddle about. I bet my sister would love to fondle his prick. I bet you would, too."

Piers had a point but I wasn't going to tell him so. I knew Sarah liked to pat James's bare thighs and I hoped she didn't plan to fondle his willy. I knew Piers was one those little brats at parties who tried to get their hands inside James's shorts.

He confirmed it by saying "I used to get my fingers in his shorts but for some reason he didn't like it."

There was loud applause when James and Sarah won their match and this time, James wasn't dragged off by Sarah. Instead he made a bid for freedom and ran over to me. I was looking after his holdall.

"Well done," I said," that was a resounding win."

"Thanks, Jols, but I need to get out of these sweaty clothes. Let's go to the marquee."

In the boys' changing area James rummaged in his holdall and pulled out a clean shirt and shorts, his blazer and a rather grubby towel. Now bare-chested, he towelled himself dry then asked me to hold the towel to make a screen so he could change his shorts in a degree of privacy. He held up the clean pair to show me they were slightly longer than the ones he'd been wearing for tennis and which had attracted the admiration of men like Rupert, boys like Piers and no doubt many other boy enthusiasts.

"It's nearly five," I said. "Your parents will be here soon with some long trousers for you. Those shorts might be a bit longer than the others but they're hardly decent."

We went to the place where cars were parked and spotted Mr and Mrs Ellis driving in.

"Well?" said Mrs Ellis, "did you win?"

"Only the mixed doubles, Mama," said James, "I didn't make the singles final." He told his parents the scores.

"Well done, old man!" said Mr Ellis. "We're immensely proud of you."

"Thank you, Pa. Did you bring my clothes, Mama?"

"They're here, dear. You can change beside the car. Linda's starched these shorts for you. They're much smarter than the ones you're wearing."

"Oh, must I, Mama? You said you'd bring my long trousers."

One look at James's face when his mother told him long trousers would be 'inappropriate' had my Schadenfreude rushing into action. So it looked like poor James would probably be spending the evening as the only boy in shorts. And what shorts they were! Skimpier even than the shorts he'd worn to play tennis and much tighter, they had hardly any substance and were stiff as concrete. He managed to force his feet through the leg holes and his mother helped to do up the button and fasten the zip. I hoped he wouldn't realise the shorts revealed two inches of bare bottom and that his blazer wasn't long enough to offer any modesty.

James's parents attended the sit-down supper but were seated at the top table, with the senior Rashleighs and assorted elderly bigwigs. James and I were seated together but inevitably, Sarah sat on his other side. She had changed out of tennis kit, her blue skirt short enough to show the blonde hairs on her lower thighs. James wasn't the only boy in shorts but only his were so scandalously brief. All eyes were on him as we walked to our table and the cocky young man called Rupert asked him loudly if he shaved his legs. James responded to him by blushing deeply and tugging uselessly on the hems of his shorts. My Schadenfreude was replaced by pity. I knew he'd be dreading the prize-giving.

James put his starched napkin on his lap but it kept sliding off, thanks to the exceptional smoothness of his thighs. I picked it up a few times, which gave me the chance when I put it back on his lap to give his thigh a little stroke, which I knew he wouldn't mind. But sometimes when the napkin fell to the floor Sarah would vigorously pat his bare thigh for a few seconds and I could sense him tensing up. I think he was scared of her.

The meal over, it was time for the prize-giving. There were several categories, including juniors and seniors, singles and doubles and lastly, mixed doubles, the latter prize being won by James and Sarah. That it would be the last prize to be awarded probably had something to do with Sarah's parents running the tournament. It meant, of course, that Sarah and a very embarrassed James would literally be centre stage at the end.

"I really don't need this," said a white-faced James to me as the young compere climbed the three steps onto the dais, switched on the microphone and started talking. It was none other than the truculent Rupert! James looked terrified and then for good measure, Sarah gave his thigh another firm patting, telling him to be ready to stand up and walk with her to the dais.

"Stiff upper lip," I said to him, rather lamely. "Good luck."

Rupert thanked the Rashleighs for staging the tournament and all that went with it, including what he called the lavish supper. I didn't think it was especially lavish and poor James's nerves meant he'd barely eaten anything. Now Rupert was calling out the names of the winners in the junior classes. Lady Rashleigh, an enormous woman, was handing the prizes to each eager recipient. The prizes were engraved glass tumblers.

There were now eight youngsters lined up behind Rupert and it was time for the seniors to be called. James's napkin slid off his lap yet again but this time nobody retrieved it. The poor boy was trembling in fear. All the prizes bar two had now been presented.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls," boomed Rupert, "tonight's star prizes go to the winners of the senior mixed doubles!"

Sarah had to pull James to his feet and lead him into the limelight.

Rupert continued. "Our winners are Sarah Rashleigh who, as we all know, lives here, and her lovely young partner, James Ellis, who doesn't. Let's have another round of applause."

James's face had turned bright red as he was led by Sarah onto the dais and over to her mother, who beamed as she handed the prize to her daughter and then smiled patronisingly at James as she shook his hand and gave him his prize. His smile was a very weak one and with his free hand he was desperately tugging at the hem on one leg of his shorts. And yes, he was the only boy on the dais in shorts. And yes, there were wolf-whistles.

"Now then boys and girls," said Rupert, "smile for the camera!"

To his horror, James saw members of the press advancing. Flash bulbs were flashing. Sarah was grinning broadly. She seemed to tower above James, who looked younger and more fragile than ever. I wanted to scoop him up and take him far away.

Rupert hadn't finished. "You're a gorgeous bunch of boys and girls so let everyone see you all do a nice, slow twirl. Sarah and James right at the front please. Oh and James assures me he doesn't shave his legs."

Sarah grabbed James's arm and made him do a twirl with her. This was a chance for those spectators who hadn't yet cottoned onto the extreme brevity of James's shorts to get a good view of over two inches of bare bottom glinting in the bright light. There were more wolf-whistles.

Then, suddenly, it was all over and people began to disperse. I saw James run out of the marquee and race towards his parents' car. It was locked, of course so he had to cower behind it until his parents and I arrived ten minutes later, having chatted as we strolled.

"James seems to be growing out of those shorts, Jolyon," said his mother. "What do you think?"

"They're certainly a bit brief," I said. "I think he found it rather embarrassing, standing up there with all those people looking at him."

"He quite stole the show though, with those fine legs of his, didn't he?"

"Yes, Mrs Ellis."

"He can stay in those shorts tonight and wear them again tomorrow but only at home."

"That sound like a good idea, Mrs Ellis, I'm sure he'd like that."

I found myself licking my lips.

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