Blessed Be the Merciful

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 16

School seemed very strange, with Leon, Peter and I all in different places all day and all night too. Our holiday life seemed a distant memory, with months of drudgery ahead it seems. With important exams looming, ultimately tedious individuals to sleep next to and eat meals with, life was on hold. I had also made some decisions. The first of which was my intention to leave school after sitting my GCSE exams. Although the school has provisionally offered me funding for a further two years, dependent on getting very good grades, which would mean an opportunity to collect more qualifications to enable me to enter into Higher Education, I don't want it.

Alex Rodchenco, our sculptor friend in St Ives, had written to me.

Dear Jamie, I hope being back at school is not too hard for you, and Leon of course. What luck it was meeting you and Leon in St Ives! I thought your sculpture was a very exciting piece of work which you should be proud of. I much enjoyed showing you around some of the studios here, and please make sure that if you are ever here again [which I'm sure you will be some day] you will come by and see what's new here. If at some stage you are thinking of a career in Fine Art, you must come and talk. With best wishes to you and Leon. Alex.

Alex made no mention of our modelling stint. Perhaps he thought that if my parents happened by his letter, they might disapprove. I think they would have. Being educated in the kind of system that Leon and I are, then it's not a problem taking one's clothes off in public, albeit to a very limited public consisting of teachers and other boys. Everyone accepts that we are all different in our various ways……..some overweight and some like Leon, underweight, some handsome boys and some less so, some with big uncut dicks and others with circumcised teeny weenies, some clever boys and some less so, some black boys, some white boys, and some in between. So what basically. I wrote straight back to Alex…….

Dear Alex,

Yes, a slice of luck wasn't it? We both enjoyed our visit very much thank you, especially the lunch we had! I'm glad that we could repay your kindness later by helping you get some sketching done. Leon said on the bus home how much he enjoyed that part of the day. He's very responsive when he thinks someone is looking at him! I think he must be interesting to draw [unlike me]. I thought your drawings were wonderful by the way. I wish I could draw like that. I find the work you do very interesting, especially all the fascinating processes that are involved in making the finished bronze pieces. Maybe one day I will make something like that. I hope so. We will come back as soon as we can. Thanks again, Jamie.

There, not a bad reply I think, not too grovelling, and leaving doors open. Perfect. Stick a second class stamp on the envelope [with the School's address on it], and down to the post box. I suppose I should show Leon the letter but I'm not going to.

A few days later I had another letter from Alex.

Dear Jamie, Thanks so much for your reply, and I'm pleased, thrilled even, that you so enjoyed your St Ives experience! Let me know when you might be able to get back please. Don't leave it too long. In the meantime I should tell you that I've started work on a few maquettes [smaller clay models for a larger finished cast piece] based on the drawings I made from you boys. I'm very excited at the prospect maybe, hopefully, working with you again at some point. You work so well together. Perhaps you might even get your parents' permission to stay at the flat here for the odd night. I'm happy to come up to Newquay to meet them any time to explain and hopefully convince them. Again, thank you for writing, and don't give up!! With kindest regards, Alex.

Well! How about that? Kindest regards even. I don't think he's queer, but there's no doubt that he's liking boys' interactive bodies wouldn't you say? I would. You don't have to be queer to like that.

I'm tempted to fast forward a long way forward at this point as there's little of interest to report from school. It's just work and more work. I've worn a hard patch on my finger from holding my Osmiroid fountain pen for so many hours. Dormitory life is dull despite my sleeping neighbour in the next bed asking for favours every night. I have more or less abstained from a certain kind of night time amusement to conserve my mental and physical energy, [a friend once told me that one wank was equivalent to running a mile] but Arthur seems to have other ideas. First off, he asks me if I'm 'like that'. I tell him I'm not, although I am. Sorry for the fib Arthur Ellingham-Smith. But he doesn't take 'no' for an answer however and tugs nightly at my bedclothes. He's far too young for me, although I have to admit that he's cute. Arthur had been playing up apparently in his last dormitory and got himself moved next to an older boy where he would have less chance to be a thorough going nuisance. The powers that be often do this. He asked me again last night and I told him to go to sleep like a good boy. Fat chance of that. I felt bad because he was obviously a bit upset at my latest refusal to give him what he wanted. If he asks again tonight, I'm going to give in to him. He's actually rather sweet with his long eye lashes and pretty smile. He's one of those boys one notices, with a very full bottom that makes his pants look too small for him at the back, and nothing much to see at the front, apart from each morning when his morning wood about the size of my middle finger and not much thicker, stands up invitingly, and appears to stay like it all the way to the breakfast queue. Watching the breakfast queue is always amusing, with a line of boys with their hands in their pockets playing with their bits. They probably got woken up before they had a chance this morning. Meanwhile Arthur is still demanding assistance.

We both shuffle our bodies as close to the edge of our beds as we can before I pull Arthur's bedclothes free halfway down and start to delve. He's got his pyjama bottoms undone in anticipation, and as I probe a little further, I locate the object of my dreams…….well hardly.

He's a jolly little critter is our Arthur, wriggling delightfully this way and that, and I have to say I'm quite impressed with him. Then the pain is over for him, that dreadful 'not knowing' period when you're not totally sure you're going to get 'the feeling', when suddenly you are at the top of the hill and you know you're about to go over the top.

It's some time since I granted a favour to a boy like Arthur.

I give him a nice time but limit it to alternate nights, not wanting anything in return of course. I doubt if he could have managed me anyway, had he tried. Having never seen it, I'm sure the sight of a boy ejaculating would have scared the life out of him. One night I added a little spice by gently touching his bottom. He very quickly pulled my hand away. Most boys are horrified at the thought of anything touching them there .

Give me, please, a mature lover like the self- confessed bisexual and father of Peter, Henry Thompson.

The following term, my last in this place, began with the usual dormitory shake-up, and a different room for me, and different neighbours in the adjoining beds. One geeky lad my age sleeps to the left of my bed and reads science books with a torch under the covers to avoid detection, he thinks. He's one of the most unattractive boys I've ever encountered, albeit a lovely person. Oh well.

But I have Leon to myself at the Rectory on exeat weekends and all of the school holidays thank goodness. I'm happy to say that he's just as beautiful as ever, and to our great relief, he's filled out just a little. His face is less drawn, he smiles more and more, and as far as we can tell, he's a happier boy, and from my point of view, he's still mine to love in every way. Peter and I rarely see each other nowadays. Gone rather, but not forgotten.

I had my sixteenth birthday just before that dreaded August Thursday when our exam results are published. I didn't celebrate the fact, or mention it even, that I had reached the age of consent to sex with anyone. I am very aware of this fact, and just for my amusement, I researched the age of consent in other countries and was surprised to find that in Angola, it's just eleven sadly. In Portugal it's fourteen. Umm. That's one issue out of the way for me, so if I happen to meet a nice nineteen-year-old boy on the beach one day and he takes me up into the dunes for some hot sex, it's all legal. My dreaded exam results are the other major issue. I woke up early that fateful Thursday and waited at the end of our driveway to intercept the postman. He always calls on his pillar box red bicycle around seven thirty, maybe five minutes either side.

'Morning Master Jamie. There's one for you here. Do you want it?' He says with a knowing smile, handing me the white envelope. He was well aware of the significance of this particular Thursday. The rest of the day's post he slides through our polished brass letterbox before turning down the driveway again, and as he passes me still holding the envelope. He stops and hands it to me and says with a lovely smile…..

'I wish you the very best of good luck my boy.'

I'm sure he really meant it. I always thought that our postman had a kind face. I wondered if he had a nephew or some other relation who would be getting their results today.

The church was open when I tried the iron handle on the heavy oak door in the porch. I had stopped to look at the old tatty notices on the wall before I went inside…….things about fees for weddings and funerals, and elections for the Parochial Church Council, and a new one headed with the word in capital letters, SAFEGUARDING. I had overheard my father talking about some trouble in the diocese of a young boy falling foul of a Church of England official. It might even have been that big church in Truro. Lead us not into temptation eh? You can see how it happens. A pretty little boy who wants to be helpful, and hangs around in the Robing Room a bit too long after the service after all the other boys have gone, and needs to talk to someone. Then there's an understanding arm on his shoulder by way of comfort, and then a hand on the soft skin of his neck and then it strays down the boy's back, and then lower still. The boy doesn't appear to object to the intrusion which makes the beast think he can go further with this outrage. Oh dear. But it probably never happens, hopefully. But if that had been me, I would never have said anything to anyone, ever. I try not to think of Leon's time incarcerated in the Oxford Charity……..home for displaced and rescued orphaned boys. I never ask Leon about it, and he never speaks of it. I think somewhere deep in that lovely head of his, there's a small compartment, locked, which even he does not want to unlock and open.

I think I saw the notices in the church porch as a convenient diversion, and I was just trying to delay the inevitable revelation of how I had done in my public exams.

There was no one in the church thank goodness. I thought about a suitable prayer for the occasion but decided that was a ridiculous idea, even if anyone was actually listening to me. I sat down on the far left of the last pew at the back of the thirteenth century granite building to open the white envelope, and accept my fate. A minute later, having read the details several times, I put the single sheet of paper carefully onto the dark wooden seat beside me and sighed in relief. I had done well enough to qualify for two more years at Truro, two more years I have already decided not to do.

I managed to get back to our bedroom without having to explain myself to my mother, and get back into bed, clothed but minus my shorts, with Leon. He had woken as I left him earlier. He had been crying which he is rather prone to and which always worries and upsets me. He had told me last night that he was fearful that I would have let my parents down with poor exam results. That is so typically Leon. I told him of my decision not to return for two more years at Truro, and that he would be there without me, but he would always have a home with us, and all the time he wanted and needed me, I would be here, physically with him, or in spirit. Peter would still be there at Truro too if he needed a close friend to talk to at any time. I told Leon that I had to reply to Alex's last letter.

I know that Leon has a deep sense of duty, never more so than when the Governors at Truro waived his fees, effectively granting him a scholarship. He took it as his responsibility to them to work hard and justify the faith they were putting in him. His end-of-year school report outshone anything I have ever received. When he showed it to my father, he read it, and nodded his head. Then he shook Leon's hand as he gave him back the large sheet of paper covered with the hand written fulsome comments, in various colours of ink……black, blue black, one in turquoise, but most in the familiar Parker Permanent Blue. When my mother read it, her eyes filled as she took my Romanian Angel into her arms. Who wouldn't have been moved by that signal of her unconditional love for the downtrodden and oppressed? I certainly was.

For a moment I tried to imagine his future. Leon will excel academically, study medicine at the famous teaching hospital in Edinburgh, and do what I fear most; the thing he knows he has to do one day. He will return to his homeland to minister unto the sick, the poor, and the lonely and oppressed. Right now, slightly euphoric, I have the overwhelming desire to make love to my beloved, deeply, truly, with both of us giving our all. I don't know where Leon's eyes were as my mother enclosed him in her arms, but in them I can surely see in those dark and deep recesses, another glimpse of that unknown god.

Alone with Leon now, needing sex with him badly, we have a cryptic conversation that we both understand, which goes like this………

'Leon, you know that I love you don't you?' I say, with my hands on my boy's shoulders. Looking into those ebony eyes……

'Yes I do know. You show me that you do all the time Jamie.'

I give Leon a long hard stare.

'What…….now?' He asks, smiling.

Blessed be the merciful for they will obtain mercy.

We kissed briefly, felt each other for signs which were encouraging, shall we say. We went upstairs to make love for the first time in a few days, noisy bedsprings notwithstanding. We managed to keep going longer than usual, mainly because I wore a little rubber boot for once, which effectively delays things by minutes, and increases the chances of Leon doing likewise. Marvellously, Leon peaks first this time, and as I'm above him with my hands either side of his bony hips, I see him issue forth onto his beautiful soft skin. There must be a bit of animal in me as I hurriedly withdraw, pull off the nasty latex jobby, and then thrust back into Leon with a vengeance, and with the dramatically increased sensitivity, I come at the limit of one slow deep stroke shortly thereafter, holding myself in the depths of my lover as my body gratefully expels its fruitfulness. We always finish with kisses, still as one body. Detaching from one another is for us a process not to be hurried and will take minutes, and a thousand kisses.

'Were you in heaven Jamie?' Asks Leon, knowing what my stillness and quietness meant.

'Yes.' I say, still breathless and still embedded.

'Do you think I'll go to heaven Jamie?' Meaning a different kind of heaven.

'Oh yes, you will Leon, but I won't.

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