by Rafael Henry

Chapter 3

That night I recalled the events of that early morning. I couldn't wait to get into bed. My fantasy of what it was all going to lead to was short lived but intense. How easy it seems to young boys like us that we think we can have an illicit adventure when everyone else knows they shouldn't, and can't. Once, and then again, I relived the events of the morning, despite my summary ejection from Bobbie's presence. I think of him as Bobbie from now on, and forever more. Not Mr Elmer. This is all for you Bobbie, man-god of the swimming pool now, as I watch the familiar deeply embedded arrows of pleasure emerge as a shower of light, perfumed with guilt.

But previously?

We are talking about the late nineteen eighties now. Computers are relatively new to schools at this time, especially small private ones like this. It's the big 'new thing'. If you haven't got a row of them, you're a dinosaur, and you'll be slagged off at the next ISIS visit; the Independent Schools Inspection Service. We have four machines in a hastily organized Information Technology 'Suite'. That's a laugh. The snotty little boys don't get a look in, but will stand over us in their grey corduroy short trousers, audibly breathing their hot breath all over your shoulder, a sweaty hand on your shoulder, anxious to glean any information from the new and exciting technology. Later in the evening we get rid of the smaller fry and their sticky little fingers trying to press random keys to see if they could make anything interesting happen. They can't. Then they have their supervised shower [the second one of the day] and display their shiny bodies to whichever teacher has that particular duty that evening. The boys have no idea how much a certain person just loves looking at them……and it is his duty to make quite sure we have washed everywhere. Half of the masters are here for that purpose, so Philip reckons. He's a boy anyone would look at. The certain person doesn't look at us older boys so much now. He doesn't dare, because he knows that we know . The younger boys have no idea, the innocents that they are, and neither would they care. That certain person will do no harm. He just wants to look at them, and us. So we parade as usual for him as he pretends not to look. But he is. At least that's what a couple of us like to think, and we are quite sure we're right.

Philip is the last to get out of his bed, just woken by our dormitory monitor, Liam, with a shaking of the boy's shoulder. He sits, bleary eyed on the edge of his bed undoing his pyjama top, unfocused as usual, and not really noticing anything. I'm keeping my eye on him, waiting for him to stand up so his undone pyjama bottoms fall to the ground and I'll get another look at his slim, pale body. Oh yes, there it is, just like yesterday morning. But Liam's responsibility is to get us down to the showers on time.

'Philip. For goodness sake! Get your dressing gown on please…….and hurry up. And don't forget your towel this time!'

I've no idea what Philip thinks about in the morning. Nothing I assume. I think his body just takes over his mind, and his innate sexiness swamps him in his waking moments. It's a wonderful sight to see him like that each morning, a perfect example of thirteen-year-old boyhood. His people are farmers, so eventually some suitable female will use him as good breeding stock to create the next generation of well-heeled dimwits. There's not one atom of self-consciousness about him as he stands by his bed, dressing, and showing the world his body, a good four inches better than us in height, and a couple more than us in another direction , the clever bastard . Pure unadulterated circumcised beauty. That's Philip. He irritates the life out of Liam with his general slowness, balanced out by his beauty and charm. A colt now, but will in time, become a stallion, get married to a horsey girl called Penny and be the talk of the Young Wives coffee morning.

Long suffering Liam has to deal with us lot, but we all like him. He's such a good-hearted cove; and kind. That's the thing. He's kind to animals, like us. He treats Philip like some sort of playful puppy, which he is, in glorious human form. I don't know which way he'll go, not our way for sure, but whichever way it is, he'll be loved, cherished, and enjoyed. Love is so strange. It's quite different, mine for Bobbie Elmer, and mine for Philip.

If I were that way inclined , that's to say, interested in young boys' minds, where would I want to work as a teacher? Right here in all probability, teaching the likes of boys aged seven up to thirteen. Perfect, thank you very much. But let's go further back in time now. I've been here three years and I've recently celebrated my eleventh birthday. I am called up by a certain person to his desk at the end of a science lesson.

He beckons me to the front of the class as the other boys are leaving the room. He walks over to the door and I'm wondering, still standing by his desk, why he feels the need to close the classroom door. It's the last lesson of the day. He's popular with the boys and we all agree that he's a rather handsome devil. These things are amongst the topics discussed during dormitory talk, after 'lights out'. As we wait patiently for the last boy to exit the classroom, one boy notices I am not leaving but still standing by the desk. As he leaves, he turns his head around to look at me, and then the door closes and he's gone and we're alone in the room. I'm standing in front of this certain person wondering what will be?

'Yes Sir? You want to see me?' I say. I'm feeling a little anxious, especially as he's gone out of his way to make sure we are on our own. But that doesn't strike me as particularly unusual. He smiles at me in that benign way they do here. I am aware of his reputation.

'Have you any idea why I need to see you now?' he enquires.

'No Sir. I don't know why Sir.'

'I'd like to talk to you Tom.'

'Why Sir?'

'Do you like it here Tom?'

'Yes Sir.'

'Do you have any special friends?' He says, which wrong-foots me.

'One or two Sir.' I reply, faintly surprised.

'Who are they?'

I told him who they were. I like Philip. He asks me about him; exactly why I like him, and what I like about him. And then he asks me about what we do when we are not in lessons. What we do in the evening together, and when we get ready for bed. He asks me if we all go straight to sleep after our light is put out by Liam. Do we talk amongst ourselves? And then again, the same question. Do we go straight to sleep? Do I go straight to sleep? No? What then? It's obvious that somehow he knows we are friends, and what kind of friend Philip is. How does he know that?

'Good. Do you understand what the word affection means Tom?'

'Yes Sir.'

'And are you an affectionate boy?'

'I think so Sir, yes.'

'That's good. Now, are you affectionate towards your friend Tom?'

'Yes Sir.'

Lots more questions follow about my friendship with Philip. He seems pleased with my answers.

'Being away from your family can be a little difficult Tom. What do you miss most about that? About being here with us?'

'Affection Sir. The boys are kind, mostly, but it's not the same is it.'

'Like having an arm around your shoulder? Things like that?'

'I suppose so, yes. Things like that.'

'Does Philip like that too? When you do that together?'

'Yes Sir.'

'Would you miss him if he wasn't here?'

'Yes Sir. Very much.'

I can feel his hand pressing into my arm, and there's a very gentle pulling. It's not me doing it, but I'm moving closer. It feels warm where I am, my head against his shoulder. Me against him, his arm around me now, and held like this.

'Are you uncomfortable Tom? Like this? Does this worry you at all?'

'No Sir.'

There's a clock on the wall. Minutes tick by.

Thinking back again, I'm certain that there was no sexual element in his behaviour towards me that day, and it wasn't repeated. It was some sort of game for him, playing with the minds of boys. But for me it was slightly different. For him it was affection alright, but fatherly, as if he were a proxy parent genuinely offering what he perceived I was missing in this place. I'm not missing anything. I have everything I want here. When I finally stood up in front of him, I looked down, embarrassed for him. He noticed I'm sure, and I think was mildly shocked that a young boy could react that way with him. I suppose it was a very strange misunderstanding. By the time I reached the door, I felt ashamed. With one hand in my pocket repressing my partially swollen penis, I turned round to look at him. He just looked back at me, smiling. The event crops up in my mind every so often, as things do from our past. I was never sure what that odd conversation about me and my friend was really about. It's still rather a mystery.

Arousal is an odd thing, and [in my case] can be set off quite easily by non-sexual conditions as well as sexual situations it would seem. I can remember sitting in my mother's lap after my evening bath, wrapped up warm in a towel and becoming aroused by the feeling of warmth from her body, and the warmth in mine. But that of course wasn't in any way sexual, but just a nice feeling just like it was with that prep school science master. I think he was just curious about how the boys think. Probably.

I was strangely transported by my encounter after the science lesson. There was something comforting about it all; the arm around my shoulder, the questions even, the feeling that I was being nurtured and cared for. It made me feel glad I was Philip's real friend. That teacher wanted to show that he cares about me, about all of us. He told me that to teach is to love, and it would be good if somehow we can give a little love back. I think I know what he meant by that. I also think that some of them deserve a little more affection from us lot than they get. I suppose all this is open to some debate, to be held at some point?

Philip never says much. It's all in his face; what he's thinking, or not thinking. What he needs. I always know when he needs affection, and I'm always ready to give it. I have come to know that I'm very fond of him. It's taken quite a while, but I know it now. Warmth and comforting arms can trigger a response in certain situations. With that person at the end of that lesson, although I was mindful of what might happen, it still excited me. That night I closed my eyes and imagined a hand, not his, necessarily, but someone's, had slipped gently inside my clothing, and then caressed my genitals as they responded to the gentle manipulation. I didn't want to stop it happening. I let it happen. I look down, somehow detached from the situation and observe how, oh so slowly I approached the brink, and then headlong over it, and eyes closed now, spinning into space, gloriously.

As part of the termly change-around, Anthony has been moved into the next bed to mine. He's nice, but hasn't thus far indicated that he's open to night time ideas. As I find myself in the corner bed, he's my only opportunity this term, and so far an unlikely partner. Not to say he doesn't do it. He does. He watches me as I watch him, waiting to start. I suppose it's a remote form of mutual masturbation without the personal touch.

'Have you just come?' He whispers, as I turned over, smiling and feeling exhausted suddenly. It's been a long day.

I think Anthony deserves a truthful answer so I turn back over. He's looking at me, obviously fiddling.

'Uhuh. You?' I whisper back. He smiles.

'Nearly there. What were you thinking about? Was it good?'

'Yeah.' I said, turning back over, ready now to sleep. I wasn't about to tell him what I was thinking of, or more accurately, who.

I had just left Bobbie Elmer's room. He had moved out of the temporary accommodation in the prefab bungalow they had given him when he started here, isolated out in the grounds, so now he's in the main house with us, just a few yards down the hallway from our room. Besides his PE duties, he teaches us Maths. Philip struggles with the subject, but Mr Elmer gives him some extra time. I help Philip with his work too. We spend ages on a topic, but I'm never really convinced he has understood the topic. Afterwards we'll stroll somewhere and I'll recap with him. He'll look at me with those blue eyes and I'll know. It's nothing to do with the maths. Once, in frustration, I jokingly asked him what two and two made, added together. His answer made me laugh.

'Err, now, I used to know that.'

Sweet boy, and what a charming answer. He's as thick as two very short planks glued together but Philip is a boy you just have to love. He's irresistible to boys like me. He's the kind of boy you want to wake up and find snoozing next to you, knowing that when he wakes, he'll want exactly the same as you do .

I had apologized to Mr Elmer some time before, for my behaviour that day after the early morning run when I feigned my 'injury', or rather made out it was a lot worse than it was. He accepted my apology, generously. He had tended to me in good faith, and then recognized my deceit. He knows I'm different from most of the other boys, just as I recognize certain things about him too. We have come to a mutual understanding shall we say. So our problems have been surmounted now, happily, and I know that I can go and see him whenever I need to. We have things in common. So I do go and see him. He told me he's seven years older than me, and that he will never be interested in a female partner.

'Tom. Do you understand what that means?'

I know that a grown man, not that he is really, can be relaxed about what they tell a boy. It's very odd. They assume they can safely tell us things that they couldn't tell to one of their colleagues. Also, I think I know why he's here; in this place which caters for the educational needs of one hundred and twenty boys, aged from seven to thirteen. Half of the masters here are unmarried, according to my father. There are no women here at all, apart from a couple of matrons and domestic staff. I suppose it's a comfortable refuge for men who lean a certain way, mostly young ones like Bobbie Elmer, monks, where they can live quietly in the company of young boys, one or two of whom they will come know very well, and all of them available to be seen, spoken to in nice easy terms and be physically close to on a daily basis. When the boys leave, they are replaced by others they can watch grow, and in time, know them too. That's not hard to understand, if you are of that mindset. Of course they're not bad people. The vast majority, my father says again, are good men and true. There are a few others inevitably, who are in places like this for a reason, but know that they have to deal with their demons, and keep them under strict control. I honestly believe that some of them genuinely love us for what we are to them, beauty personified. They mean us no harm, but we are the reason they are here; to be near us in every way possible.

I tried to explain my behaviour towards Robbie Elmer that morning, the morning of my apology. I went to his room, knocked on the door and waited. I went in and stood next to his desk where he was marking some books.

'I wanted to say sorry Sir.'

'You wanted to? Does that mean you can; or you can't?'

'Yes Sir. I mean, I want to. Now Sir. I'm very sorry for my inappropriate behaviour.'

'What do you want me to say then Tom?'

'I don't know Sir.

I don't know. How many times have we boys said that at an awkward moment?

'You had better sit down Tom. Do you want to tell me something else?'

'Would you understand Sir? It's just me. That's all. It's only me.'

'The one and only you .' He says with a half-laugh. 'You could manage a smile couldn't you Tom?'

I could. Just relax Tom. The one and only me; and him now.

'We are what we are Tom, and there's no need for us to fall out over anything……is there?'

'No Sir. That's what I was hoping.'

'Good. Friends again then?'

'Yes Sir.'

'And no more Sirs please. At least not here. My name is Bobby, when it's just you and me. I'm glad you had the courage Tom, to say what you've said. Don't be afraid to knock on my door Tom. Not ever. I'm always here.'

'Do you mean that Sir?'

'Bobby. When you're with me. Just Bobbie.'

'Am I with you now…….Bobbie?'

'Yes you are, unless you're a figment of my imagination?'

'No, I'm real.' I said laugh more from relief than amusement.

'How can I tell that?'

'Because I made of flesh and blood?'

'How can I tell that?'

'Here. My hand.'

He took it in his. Now he knows. He's real. True flesh and blood.

He understands perfectly, what I'm made of. And I understand him too. Now I do. His explanation was clear. This is the environment he wants be in, where he feels comfortable, close to the people he wants to share his life with. People like me. Boys like Philip. But not to do harm to anyone. Quite the opposite in fact. To do good.

If Philip, no longer next to me in a dormitory, and I need time together, private time, we can always find it. If I need some other kind of private time, I know where I can go now. If he's there; well, that good too. And there's something new now. When we are alone somewhere, anywhere, he asked me to call him Bobbie. He knows I find being with him exciting and I strongly suspect I excite him too. When I think about that……well, you might remember what that felt like.

Running Club has officially started again. So far there are two members, Philip and I. But Philip has trouble waking up early enough, so usually it's just me. We're back for showers by seven fifteen. There's no one else about then. Just me and Mr Elmer…….Bobbie. I can knock on his door as early as six if I want to. Some days, especially if it's wet, we won't run.

'Are we going running tomorrow morning Tom?' Philip asks.

'I am, probably, but not you Philip. Not tomorrow.'

'Oh, so it's just you again?'


The feelings are too strong. I just have to. Since he told me. We've talked for hours about it, and it's so simple. So right . I always tell Liam, our dormitory prefect, the night before that I may not be there when he wakes up and not to worry because it's Running Club. It's so beautifully simple .

Afterwards I feel warm and safe. That's how it feels with him. Some things we can share and some things we can't. He's taught me that lesson. The Stones have got a new single out. You can't always get what you want. Work within the limits, Bobbie says. We have to have boundaries, Bobbie says to me. Both the boys and the masters.

'Can't the boundaries intersect, like circles in geometry?' I quietly enquire with that wistful expression of mine.

Bobbie smiles and raises his eyebrows.

'Hmm. An interesting concept Tom. You keep pushing it don't you.'

'Oh that's just me. You must know me by now……don't you?'

'Yes, mostly. But there are parts of you I don't know I'm sure.'

'Would they be worth knowing……do you think?'

'Oh yes, well worth knowing.' He says, smiling and shaking his head, a kind of negative response wrapped up in a glowing positive light.

'It's the little things we miss in this place.' I offer, as a talking point.

'Oh? What are they then Tom.' Bobbie asks, putting his pen down, his hands in his lap and an enquiring expression on his handsome face.

'I don't know. The little gestures you get at home. I miss all that. I miss it badly.'

'Oh dear. What, exactly Tom?' He asks, leaning forward towards me. I'm still standing by his side, hands held together at the front. Looking down I can see the bottom edge of my school grey short trousers obscuring eight inches or even more of light brown skin above my knees. I know how much there is there, bare flesh, because I got Philip to measure it. He has even more, the sexy boy. A lot more.

'Just an arm around my shoulder. That's all. Fingers through my hair. Little things like that. Silly things that mean a lot. A kiss on my cheek. I miss all those things that don't exist here. It's sad don't you think?'

'Yes I do. You need those things Tom. I can see that. You're not going to go all weepy on me are you? You're looking a bit strange.'

'No, not if I can help it. Do I have to try hard not to?'

'No, don't try.'

As I turned towards him, I felt his arm encircle my body and pull me into him. His arm around my middle, just above my elastic snake belt. His left leg is in the way so I work my way around it until I'm between the two of his as he pulls me harder into him. As he does so, I turn sideways and find myself lifted upwards onto his left leg, held there, hard, his face so close to mine that I can feel his breath on my cheek. Closer and closer comes the warm breath until I can feel his mouth on my cheek. Just for a second it touches me. The hand that holds me slips lower to prevent my slipping of him, now below my snake belt.

'I'm slipping off you. I don't want to.'

There's only one way to stabilize my position so the hand goes lower still and underneath my upper thigh. Almost perfect now. I wriggle myself this way and that until I'm placed as I want to be, with my head against his chest and my arm around him and his hand caressing my face, and fingers running through my hair. This is bliss.

I can hear his heartbeat as I wriggle myself closer still, as his grip on me adjusts again, and I'm closer still.

'Better now?' He asks quietly.

'Yes. A bit better.'

'Only a bit? Not comfortable?'

'No, not completely. Not yet.'

'How then?'

I adjust my position so that both my legs are across his, as I lean against his chest. My shirt ridden up, I can feel his hand against the now exposed bare skin of my back. Upwards the hand goes, a soothing hand, and down again. Up, and then down again, again and again. Such bliss to be wanted like this. Nurtured and loved? Just a little? Just a tiny bit?

I move my head upwards to meet his face, my eyes closed and my mouth open. Finger tips touch my hair, my ears, my face, my mouth, my lips. I hold the hand that teases me, and take one finger between my lips and tease him too, before pulling the hand down and into the security of my tummy and both of my hands, and I'm safe now in my new found security.

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