by Rafael Henry

Chapter 25

The revelations of Jon.

Yesterday went well for Otta and for me too. I didn't see Otta all day as he was busy in the Music School, and I was helping at the swimming pool. I'd woken early as usual and roused Otta from a deep sleep. He had been fully involved with the music programme and found it all exhausting, especially as he had been told he would have organ pieces to learn for their finale on Friday when all the musicians came together in a grand performance of chamber music and singing. There would also be a plenary chapel service for everyone at three thirty, an hour before all the Activities participants were collected, and the whole event closed.

I told Otta to collect Freddie Smith on his own from his room and take him down to shower. Roger Manning, our chaplain, had asked to see me before breakfast. On my own .

I wasn't sure what to expect from my unexpected summons to see Roger. What was this about? The last time I had spoken to him privately, he had opened up to me rather. A little unnerving if I'm honest, and perhaps I had gone a little further than I ought with my response. But no harm done, at least I don't think so. Not to me anyway. It's always going to be a bit awkward if someone in his position takes a boy, a mere boy, into his confidence isn't it?

'So, how is it going Jon?' He asks as we sit on one of the sofas in his office, a room at the back of the large Victorian house he lives in with his wife and children, and which faces the unkempt garden in which sits our Hut in glorious isolation.

'Fine thanks Roger. If you mean me and Otta?' I reply, deliberately briefly.

'Gelling together ok are we?' He continues. Roger has always, I thought, had a special interest in Otta. Soon I am about to find out why.

'Yes thanks. It's coming on…….I mean going quite well.' I say, still trying not to volunteer information of a personal nature. Actually it's going very well with my new best friend.

Thinking about my words moments ago, my face turned, or felt like it was, a brilliant shade of scarlet. Boys snigger at any word which has some sort of 'rude' connotations, especially sexual, like willy, pants, knickers, bum, poo, and of course…….come. Come anything and they snigger. Listen to boys singing that rousing carol, 'Oh come all ye faithful' at Christmas time, with the inevitable emphasis on a certain word. Naughty boys.

'Come here boy!' Says the teacher.

'Oh crumbs. Do I have to Sir, in front of everybody? I'm not sure I can Sir, but I'll try my best.'

Stupid old schoolboy joke. Very funny I suppose, at the time with the class in uproar, but one might tire of that kind of immature behaviour. He says. Po faced and smirking. But Roger isn't about to give up on his questions. He very clearly wants to know the status of my relationship with Otta.

'Oh come on Jon! I would like hear about it. Let's be sensible about this please. I really ought to know. Do you have everything you need Jon? I mean at night. You're not finding matters uncomfortable I hope?'

He means sex. He's been in there and found it no doubt. He's had a good look around, under our pillows and everywhere. At least he won't have seen the Book. The Beginners Guide. My mother gave me the stuff in the tube, but I can't imagine she thought I was going to use it for that . I have as it happens. Brilliant. One just has to have it. It's a simple as that, and when one has it to hand, it really does work beautifully, especially as we boys are not fully grown. Freddie excepted. Goodness knows what size he'll end up. But the mention of the 'L' word has caused my acute embarrassment, possibly intended by Roger. He wants to know details quite obviously. Remember he can no longer hear what goes on in his Hut, so he will have to rely on what I tell him. And I'm going to. I've always liked a good story. Telling them. Especially in certain circumstances. Robbie loved my little erotic tales whispered in his ear. What happened behind the bike sheds, or in the cricket pavilion when everybody else had gone. No, I'm going to tell Roger everything.

I have my swimming pants under my white shorts this morning, ready for work at the pool. Otta says I don't show much at the front. Otta shows even less, just those little bumps.

I told Roger that I'm very fond of Otta. No point pretending.


'Pretty much Sir. Yes.'

He smiles with an air of regret on his face. Something he's never had. But a good story goes a long way. Roger remained in his chair throughout my honest assessment of my friendship with Otta, with edited references to certain things, one leg over the other and the morning paper in his lap. I hope he liked what I had to say. Anyway, I'm sure he knows all this already. He's not daft. He's like a mother going into the boy's room when he's gone off to school to check on her son's progress in life. She'll look in drawers and under the boy's pillow. She'll find it, whatever it is, be it a crusty hanky, compressed tissue, magazine or the scrawled note in the waste paper bin. A phone number perhaps? An address. A billet-doux? Is this a boy's writing, or a girl's she wonders? And what's this under the bed? Or in the bed? Is that a stain on the sheet? And in the cupboard, hidden at the back behind his old teddy bear. Where did he get these from? And this?

Put them back madam, it's really none of your business. He's getting a bigger boy now and deserves a little privacy.

Roger takes a few moments to assess my assessment. Then…..

'Good. I'm glad to hear that things are going well for both of you. I think you two are a good fit Jon. And there's something else, something rather important I have to tell you. I spoke to Otta's grandmother the other day, referred on to me from the Head. She's not coping well with Otta. She's quite old now. Boys can be exhausting and the boy is at a crucial stage in his life. Of course she loves him deeply and is becoming increasingly desperate to find a solution. Do you know about Otta's natural parents Jon?'

I do. Otta told me. A single parent unable to cope, and a decision made so early in the boy's life. Too early according to Roger. I've never had to think about such things. One of the lucky ones I suppose. Granny steps in to save the day, school holidays only, but for how long? It's expensive, this private school business, especially boarding fees on top. Sooner or later there will be a money issue. And now there is.

I had the idea a while back, even before Robbie Madrigal departed from my life. I'd seen the boy enough times around the place, and then he latches on to Robbie and I. Now I'm seeing him in a new light. A possibility. The possibility grows into something more; a probability even, and then it matures into reality. To use a ghastly expression, I fancied him. And lo and behold it becomes clear the feeling is mutual. It's Lael all over again.

'I've written to the Board of Governors Jon, asking them for a little help for Otta. They can afford it. If they say no, then there's not much else that can be done. My son Tim and he have been getting on well enough, but I can't take on another on any permanent basis.'

My uncle pays for me here. There's no possibility that my mother could afford it. She has to post my termly reports to him for his 'approval'. It's not ideal I can tell you, always being beholden.

I've always had difficulty hiding my feelings from others. Pretty much anything makes me cry. The thought of Otta in trouble is painful in the extreme, and in the long silence after Roger's statement just now, I can feel the prickling in my eyes begin and the floodgates gradually give way. Embarrassing. Ypu feel so ridiculous and helpless.

I've been standing all this time, in front of Roger. I thought it odd that he didn't invite me to sit down. I didn't know any of this about my friend. It's upset me. As anyone will tell you, I'm an emotional boy. I can't hide my feelings. Roger knows most things about most of the boys here, and more about me than I care to think about. I can't keep sex out of my life, and I don't want to anyway. Roger knows. He knows all of it, and I'm glad he does.

From whom no secrets are hid?

'I think you feel things deeply Jon, which is your great strength. There's nothing wrong with enjoying your time with Otta in the way you do, because I know that your friendship is built on the kind of love that can be very real between boys of your age. It's been going on for millennia Jon. It's very real for both of you. But be prepared for it not to last. I never had that Jon. I wish I had. Enjoy each other while you can. Sooner or later you will be parted by time and events.'

Oh no we won't.

'You have beautiful hands Jon.' Says the chaplain, taking one of them in his.

'And something growing here I see.' He says, just touching my top lip and the thin growth of hair, still soft and downy every time I run two fingers across, and up and down.

'So things are beginning to move then? At last? Are you happy with that?'

'Yes I suppose so. It had to happen, so they tell me.'

'Umm. And Otta? Not too far behind……is he?'

'Oh, he'll get there eventually. There's no hurry for him. I don't mind him as he is at all.'

'Quite. It's nice for him to have you. And don't worry about the Hut Jon. About any cleaning; or bed linen. I'll see to all that. It's not a problem is it Jon? For you? Is there anything else you need in there? Any practical things?'

'No, I don't think so.'

'So you have everything you need then? So you can both enjoy your time in the Hut, together Jon? Are you sure there's nothing else I can provide you with?'

He knows exactly what's in there. He's playing with me. He just wants me to say it out loud.

Ok, I will. That earlier remark of his? I'm not equipped with that particular aide de plaisir . We've had two nights in the Hut so far. I know he's been in there. Some of our things have been moved.

It was Otta who asked about it.

'Have you still got it Jon? That stuff your mum gave you?' Otta asks, as he sits with his knees either side of my tummy, gently playing with my nipples. Goodness, I like that. Every minute I spend with this boy, I love him that bit more. That stuff Otta's mentioned. He might know what it could be used for.

'Why?' I ask, my heart missing a couple of beats. But how much does he know?

'I need it; now.'

Do you? My heart misses a couple of beats. There's that dark brooding expression again; those dark eyes piecing mine. I feel in the open space below the bed. Nothing. I remember now. Just a thin trailing wire.

'Will you do it for me Jon?' He's up on his knees now.

I watch his face as he begins to settle himself down, staring intently, right into my eyes. I can barely believe this is happening, but it is. Deep breaths from us both.

'Darling, I can't. It's not that easy I'm afraid. There are some things I need to tell you.

It's the first time I've used that term of endearment as the boy settles down onto me. Bone on bone.

'Is it good Jon? Is this right?'

'We need to talk Otta.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Boys talk about sex all the time. I know that. They might talk about it, but they don't know about it.

I can't speak now as I'm enclosed between the boy's buttocks, and he, upstanding in my sight. I can't form words at this moment. But in my mind I have the words I want to say.

Otta, I cannot speak for amazement at your beauty. In form and intellect, most exquisite.

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