by Rafael Henry

Chapter 47

The letter.

The weather can be wonderful in September, and we're already three weeks into our Autumn Term now. Petroc, or Rocky as the other children in his class call him, has begun his life here as well as could be expected. He's made a couple of friends already who I have met in my Year 7 English class. He's having extra tuition in the language but being pretty quick on the uptake, he's picking it up very quickly. Needs must of course. It's very much in his interests to learn fast as that's his only route forwards. He's had a few nasty comments, most of which he didn't appear to understand, but the English as a foreign language kids will recognize hostility from others without understanding specific insults. There are always a few that think they can assuage their own problems by being unkind to their innocent victims. 'Twas ever thus.

Otta's never about between four and six in the afternoon so in encouraging weather I can take the boys over to Point Cottage to explore the beach there once again. I can sit on the veranda and mark essays while they do their thing down there where I can see them. What luck they get on so well. With three years between them, Wulff is old enough now to enjoy his responsibility towards his younger 'brother' with an abundance of physical gestures of friendship. More than that really. What comes between friendship and genuine love, I'm wondering? Wulff knew at the outset, when our plan to bring Petroc into our family was finalized, that his role would be crucial. What we have given him in terms of our love and infinite emotional support has to be passed on to others, and specifically to Petroc. All this is well within his capabilities, and as I'm very happy to say, come to pass. Wulff is very much a 'hands on' sort of boy, which is exactly what Petroc needs. He needs the right words, the right environment, the right people, and the warmth of human touch. He needs to feel others caring. In terms of Petroc's health, various checks have revealed nothing untoward, which is very fortunate for him and us. But he is a little physically immature, quite small in every way, but determined and resilient it would appear, and very receptive to Wulff's caring. His response to an arm around his shoulder will be two arms around the giver.

We decided to get rid of the second single bed and replace both with one double as the boys [mainly Petroc] insisted on continuing to sleep with Wulff. Wulff had him in with him for the first month. Separate beds was tried, but Petroc wasn't about to give up his comforts easily, so we relented. Now we've given up. No doubt there will come a time when Petroc decides he wants to sleep alone. Until then, they are together, and happy. Wulff seems to be ok with a certain lack of privacy when it comes to satisfying those needs that almost all boys have at that age [and younger]. Obviously I've discussed the situation with him, and all the implications.

'I waited until he was asleep Jon.'

'What about the morning?'

'It might wake him up.'

'And what then?'

'He'd want a cuddle.'

'Of course. But that might be a bit awkward for you if……..?'

'Do I have to tell you?'

No you don't Wulffy. You don't have to tell me. I gave him a very big kiss on his cheek. He gave me one of his lovely smiles and said the best words he could have……..

'I love my little brother Jon. I really do.'

Prickly eyes time again, and our lovely Petroc loves him too. Of that I'm sure.

We'd had a few words yesterday about privacy, and how Wulff wanted to bring Petroc along his way, without excessive interference from us. He's right, Otta and I should leave them to it, relationship wise. If they want to experiment with sex, then let them. We don't need to know anything about that, so long as we don't suspect Petroc is under any kind of coercion. Something I don't believe possible with Wulff. How quickly we forget how we felt when we were young. How quickly we see things so differently as time passes.

Hauling himself on top of Wulff, uninvited, the boy rubs his little skin tight penis into tightly closed thighs. He rubs and rubs until the unbearable tension finally breaks, releasing his young and clear sticky onto smooth and bare flesh, not that Wulffy minds, not one bit does he, as he continues to offer solace to his beautiful new lover by stroking his back, up and down, and his bottom, the two firm muscles giving way to parting fingers, so near yet so far. Wulff thought of going farther, right in there, but resisted his natural desire to explore that boys' part, something quite inextricably unforgotten by Petroc, but in time might be wanted all the same. I'd call it schoolboy sex, the willing partners unwilling, or not daring enough to commit to the real thing.

Lael's firm little bottom, a sprinkling of baby oil, made one of our first attempts memorable indeed.

Petroc's head rests by the side of Wulff's now, hands still hooked over shoulders for the necessary purchase, his breath hot and quick against his neck. The stroking goes on still, as sleep, like a warm comforting blanket, will soon cover the boy. It was all so much better to rub against another body, one that you are have grown to love, than a lifeless cold hearted inanimate mattress like the other boys did when they wanted to pretend that another body was there to make love to, gripping the edges of the mattress for purchase, but there wasn't another body there, be it girl or boy. No, these are two warm hearts beating together. Petroc's was like an empty cold room, a vacuum that is sucking in the balmy summer air of another's love now, to fill and nurture that empty space, replacing cold emptiness.

Interfemoral pleasure it was, so urgent with Petroc, as if his life might have depended on it. That wouldn't have been enough for Peter Quint in The Screw, tempting Miles into the garden to consent with the ghostly figure.

'Quint………you devil!' Says Miles. Peter Third, the player of the character, Peter Quint, was no better with his own lecherous ambitions, kissing the boy like that. Like he did in the darkness behind the set. He judged Wulff to be willing, which to a certain extent he was, well used to older folk's attentions. And then what he said to Wulff that evening in the privacy of the dressing room.

'Boys can love men you know Wulff. I suspect you know that already? When I kissed you, you kissed me back. True enough dear boy?'

That was true, he did, but only for the sheer pleasure of kissing another mouth. It had nothing to do with Peter Third, or the idea of him being that devil Quint.

'But you will have to receive Wulff. Boys can't be givers, they are receivers . You are too young to give. You do understand that don't you my dear boy?'

It was that theatrical my dear boy that really disgusted him, and the quick hand down the front of what he had to wear for the production, just those little pyjama shorts, and with nothing underneath, so get-attable, a bone of contention with Roger, knowing that without that second protecting layer, he would show himself off nicely. Enticingly, as far as Mr Third was concerned. Oh yes. He showed alright. Wolff looked down to see if he was showing at the front without any restricting underwear to control matters. He was, nicely, and that rather pleased him.

Peter got a good handful of Wulff's rapidly maturing bits in his large warm hand, hot and compact as they were. He tried to kiss him again but Wulff parried the attempt, turning his head away sharply, surprising Peter who was expecting second or even third helpings of the boy's warm, willing and moist lips, heart shaped too. At the same time a hand went down the back of him, uncomfortably and rudely probing, but how damned accurately too. And it didn't move either, not for a whole minute, pressing in there like it was, by which time things had begun at the front for Wulff, raising Peter's hopes of an early and unlikely conquest, that was never, thankfully, to be. They had been seen and it was reported to Roger. Just like the attractive twelve-year-old David Hemmings with the beautiful smooth legs, and other bits too, playing the boy Miles in The Turn of the Screw, had been seen by Peter Piers kissing his mentor, the brilliant and infatuated composer cum boylover, Britten. Anyway, enough of that tainted apparition, Peter Quint.

I have decided that I'll read the letter from Lael's people in Finland one more time. Roger says I should keep it somewhere safe, at least for the time being, but not re-read it unless particularly moved to do so. There would be no point. It's in my briefcase along with this evening's marking. Year 7 essays on The Lord of the Flies. Questions for the children to answer about the loss of innocence. And how would it feel to be Ralph? Would you want to be his friend, or would you side with the antagonist, Jack? What are the nice things about Ralph? To what extent is life at school for you , like it was on that island for those boys? Four sides of your exercise books please boys, and no less. With twenty-eight in the class, that makes one hundred and twelve sides to read tonight.

I thought there were some productive concepts in those challenges to the brains [and emotions] of my pubescent boys in those questions. Make them think, and feel too.

By the end of the novel, Jack has learned to use the boys' fear of the beast to control their behaviour—a reminder to me of how religion and superstition can be manipulated as instruments of power. Oh, here he appears again, Jack dressed up as that devil , Quint.

I'm surprised Britten didn't turn The Flies into an opera, or at least a productive personal fantasy. Maybe he did, with our boy hero Ralph, and the pretty and innocent victim, Simon with his white blond hair, and himself as Ralph's adult rescuer, the final scene down on the beach as the abject and defeated boy looks up into the fatherly face, hands on hips and stirring loins. How Britten would have loved the righteous Ralph, as the not-yet-thirteen year-old walks naked into the bedroom, soon to settle into loving fatherly arms.

I picked up the letter from Finland again.

My dear Jonathan. It is with a heavy heart that we bring you this news. The body of your friend, our dear son, has been found lying deep in Karikkoselka lake. I know we told you what happened so long ago now, but we thought you should know. We treasure those photographs of you and Lael together in England, and the many times he spoke dearly of you. What a handsome smiling pair you make! You must have been the very best of friends and we shall thank you once more for your kindness. Such affection runs as profound as the water that has covered our beautiful boy for so long, but now he lies amid the green grass next to the church at Petajavesi, along with his memories of you. It is with the deep affection that we share our loss with you, and in the sure knowledge that such love will be re-united.

The letter was signed…. Arvo Jarvinen .

I never really knew his surname. I suppose that had no significance then. I'm glad, relieved, happy actually, that it's all over. I don't think I can say anything else.

With Otta spending five nights out of seven up at Holland House, I find myself awake early this Sunday morning. I've been dreaming rather sweet dreams. Last night I ran the video tapes that Roger had given me, and made a decision at last. Immediate disposal. I think I've squeezed all the juice out of that particular lemon, and now they have become a guilty burden neatly passed on to me from Roger. All the magnetic video and audio tape, extracted from their plastic cases, is packed tight into a paper bag, all very combustible, along with a quantity of material relating to Lael. The recent letter from Lael's people, some photos and a couple of other letters from him is amongst it all, destined for the red-hot embers of the barbecue I'm planning. It's all safely stowed under the bed.

Sunday mornings is our time together, the boys, Otta and I. I know Roger has family commitments this weekend, but Point Cottage is available if we want it.

As Petroc had started to come, he saw little blue-white flashes. He kept his eyes tight shut trying to make the feeling even stronger than it already was, gripping his insides low down and forcing it's way out of him. And then he came, pulling his tummy in hard, and it was a million times better than on his own. He thought about how long it was lasting and how good it felt and how he couldn't wait to try it again this way, like big boys did it ; he thought. He had stayed hard for ages tingling inside the shiny and exposed tip, as if it didn't want to be over, ever. Some sticky had appeared again. He thought just a little more this time than the last time which was only last night. He didn't need his pants like Wulffy did, or his tee shirt he wore in bed, pulled down low to wipe himself dry. He carefully removed the sticky, all of it in one go, although he knew there would be a little more when he squeezed it from the base of his hard little worm right up close to the much softer tip. He used the pad of his thumb and then wiped it across his tongue. He liked the taste of it, and just as nice as Wulff had said it would be. Somewhere in his past, all dark now and unremembered, he'd tasted it. But that old life had gone now thank goodness. That darkness replaced now by the light of hope and love. When he took Wulff's hand in his, it was never rejected, let go, and left un-held making him feel he would never belong to anyone or anything, ever. No, Wulff held it tight and even when he wanted his freedom back to wave at a bird or point to something he found interesting, Wulff wouldn't let him go. He had to use his other hand to do the pointing. They were brothers now, or as Otta said, just like brothers now which is just as good. Better even because you can do things together that brothers ought not to do. Not really but they do, according to Wulff.

He'd got rid of the last of his sticky, savouring the taste of it on his tongue. Even when he was standing in the middle of the bedroom floor, still hard and pointing up, the feeling had never quite gone away. How beautifully the feeling lingers. Jon had been standing there watching from the doorway as he tried to jump into his own bed. He thought about how much he had seen when he was on top of Wulff doing it to him, and then coming, all wriggly, like he did. He might even have cried a tiny bit. Wulff liked him on top of him like that because that pleased him too, and he could feel him pushing into his tummy and kissing the top of his head and his warm hands around his back and bottom. He didn't really know what love was……is, but he knew it was all around him now, and might one day soon come into him too like some burst of light from heaven.

Sometimes he would walk in between Otta and Jon on the beach with their hands in his, laughing about nothing. None of then knew quite what they were laughing about, but they all knew something had happened, something good.

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