by Rafael Henry

Chapter 8

The first holiday we had Ro came to stay with us. I met him off the train at Haywards Heath station. He is with us for ten days. It's the first time we've had time together to get a life beyond the all-seeing eyes of the House Whips, and all the others at school. After the preliminary niceties with welcoming parents and my two sisters, we could escape to my bedroom. Ro had brought what he needed for his brief stay, in a rucksack. I had the pleasure of putting his stuff away with mine. I have an overwhelming desire to look after him, in every way I can. His life at home is miserable by his accounts. Parents bickering and chucking things at each other. Poor lad. He had sat at the end of the train so he was about the last person to come through the barrier. He didn't look at all well but greeted me with a hug which was nice. Locked up nicely, I kept him there for a good half minute.

There's a spare single mattress on the floor a few feet away from my bed, a single needless to say. But right now, he's with me on it. I had thought long and hard about this moment. We're lying together, face to face, our hands held together under our chins. I'm looking at his slim facial features, the eyes and open mouth. There's a little hair misplaced, in my view, so I move it sideways on his forehead. He smiles in thanks. He touches my face and I can see a tear forming. Poor boy. No words for how he's feeling, or me. Just gestures needed now.

Go on Tom, just put your arm around your friend. He's in a right old state and goodness knows what was going on at home before he left. I dread to think. That's what he needs at this moment, and that's what I want to do. So I do. Another tear forms, and the weight of it makes it trickle down his cheek. I touch it with my finger tip and taste it. A salty tear. And then another; and another. I feel his arm around me.

Just imagine at school, if a boy caught us kissing? You would never live that down.

It's different here. We can if we want to. And we do.

I was waiting for him on the station platform. The 10.15 from London Victoria. It was on time, and maybe twenty people disembark, green doors slam shut, a guard waves a flag and a whistle shrills the signal for the driver to proceed down the line to the terminus at Brighton. The thought of Ro in my arms and in my bed has me aroused already. I feel myself through my trouser pocket and re-adjust. Then I see him.

As we walk out of the station his hand touches mine. That's it. I take it and squeeze it. Parents next and their inevitable reaction. They'll like him. They must do. But how long should we wait? I'm one hundred percent certain we both have the same idea.

My father's at the office as usual so it's just mum. Everything goes well and we're sent upstairs to sort out Ro's things in my bedroom. We'll be undisturbed for as long as we want. Mum knows perfectly well that we want time to chat and be together for a while. Alone please , and no interruptions. Like bringing a girl home, or one of my sisters bringing a boy home for the first time. I remember one of them. He was lovely, and far too nice for her. Just a little boy really, and quite out of his depth despite them being in the same class. Ridiculous. They might even have kissed up in her room. Tongues even. He might even have got hard inside his little pants, bless him. But I doubt it. Then it's tea and the goodbyes half an hour later, a bit of hand holding, a last peck on the cheek maybe? Such a sweet boy. At tea he kept looking at me, probably because I was looking at him more often than I should. He's in short shorts and showing me loads of thigh and a nice pipy voice. I suspect he's finding me more interesting than Sara! Or is that wishful thinking? Probably. Come on Tom, he's way too young for you.

Let me undo you please Ro, down there. Let me see the pale blue you're wearing. Pretty. And the evidence within. That's pretty nice too, I bet, as I run along its length, up and down, twixt fingers and thumb, tip to toe as it were, a twitchy rigid thing of beauty, just post sanctus. We kiss again, deeper this time as his excitement builds. He's found my hand and put it lower. It's a hint alright. Undo him now? I know I could if I wanted to. I do want to. Pale blue? Yes, or just sexy plain white?

But what kind of kiss is this? Just something polite without any passion? A mere touching of lips? Or something more than that? Harder, deeper? And what of our hands? What should they be saying? What should they be doing? Tongues. That's the key to these moments.

'Touch tongues Ro?'

'Yeah. Please.'

So we do, and then a little down the sides. It makes him laugh, the tickling. In the meantime I can amuse him a little more. Soft stroking. He likes that as he lies back smiling, the tears all dried up. There's a new idea in this boy's face now…….with a little more pleasure on the way, peut-etre?

'How's this Ro?' I say, running my fingers over the pale blue material [I was right the first time], so soft, silky even, and something exciting within. I feel for the most sensitive part. We know where that is.

When I look back at his face to assess his reaction, it has changed. There's that ethereal quality in it, a far-away look, of what might be. Philip looked like that as he lay there, head to one side, expectant, me between him.

'Thanks for letting me come here Tom.' The boy says, the smile drained away.

'Come here?' I reply, as a very mild reprimand.

'Sorry. Be here.'

I was up on one elbow, lying beside Ro, heads together again.

'Ro. I need to ask you something. What happened with David?'

The boy, my best friend by far, looks back at me as if my question was unwelcome.

'Why Tom?'

'I think it would be good for you if you told me. That's all.'

'Why would it be?'

'Because I care about you Ro. That's why.'

'He should have been a House Whip. The others didn't like him. He stuck up for us. That's why he was never made one. They were jealous. Everybody liked David. He was kind and…...nice. We got caught Tom.'

Ah, so that's it. Good at games and very handsome. A lot of the boys would find him interesting. Ro did.

'It was my fault Tom.'

So, Ro did the chasing, and then finally, against his better judgement, our hero gives in to the much younger boy's charms. How often has that happened? Plenty of times.

'There were opportunities Tom. Times when you could meet someone and talk or play a game of chess or something. I liked badminton and David was a very good player. County stuff. I asked him if he would coach me. He said he would, so we had some evening sessions in the one of the gyms. We'd change into PE shorts and tee shirts in the room under the gym. That's where it started. We'd undress together, me right next to him. He could work the shower afterwards so we shared. Things began to happen Tom. Nice things. One evening he was tying his shoelace bending over very close to me. I touched him. He turned round towards me and I held his face close to mine. I kissed him Tom. I was grateful so I kissed him. Then he kissed me back. That was the first time we did it. It was nothing too serious, just playing really. But it got more serious later. He invited me to his home one long exeat weekend. His room had two beds in it, two single beds, but I slept in his most of the night. Nights. Two of them. A couple of weeks later I was in his study. I had been off school that day and he'd come over and found me in the library. He wanted to find out how I was feeling and we went to his study. Someone must have seen us. He was sitting in this chair so I went and sat with him. I kissed him and things went on from there. It was quite a serious thing Tom. His study door opened suddenly and it was Matron. She just stood there, according to David. I didn't see her. I was facing David with my arms around his neck, but he could see past my head. We were right in the middle of things Tom. Are you shocked? I didn't want you to know really. David was near the end Tom. There was no way out of it for him. I heard the door slam shut. I didn't hear anything until the next morning. David had gone. My parents came up to the school. I went home with them, but was allowed back two days later as they said I was the innocent party, so I was allowed back but David had been kicked out. Permanently. I started the whole thing Tom.'

'Peter Bennington didn't ask me Ro. I did it. It was me.'

'But he didn't stop you?'

'No. Would you have stopped a boy waking you up like that?'

'I don't think so.'

'Quite. Something else Ro. I want to do more with Peter. He's lovely. Sexy. What were you doing in the chair in David's study? That must have been awful. Was he…… know?'

'Yes. Right at that point.'

'Oh bloody hell. Awkward.'

'Yes, very. She must have stood there for a few seconds watching.'

There's a call from below; the kitchen. We're summoned. Ro stops in the bedroom doorway and I'm next to him. He's looking at me, right into me.

'What Ro?'

'Nothing. I just thought I wanted to say something to you, that's all.'

'What Ro? What were you going to say?' I ask, my heart beating faster.

Some things boys just can't say, not ever, even though they want to, very badly. Two days later he did say it, just as I said it back to him. It was during the film we saw in Brighton. It was showing at the old Continental cinema, a bit of an Art House kind of cinema. It's a drama set in a certain place I'm getting to know quite well. A certain school. Both Ro and I had heard about it and wanted to see it. We went three times in all. The boys knew they were making a film there, most of the scenes shot in the long summer holiday. Some of the boys got jobs as extras. The gym lesson was one of them. Poor old Jute. I know exactly how he felt being scum. And Philip. I knew his mother was an actor. Philip told me that she'd been in loads of films and plays.

'Did you fancy that boy in the film, Bobbie Philips?' Ro asks.

'Did I? Is the Pope Catholic? I reckon Wallace did it for you didn't he?'

'Oh yes. I wish I was that Bobbie Philips. When Wallace looks up at Bobbie looking down on him putting his jumper on. That was love Tom. Pure unadulterated love.'

'And a bit of lust thrown in maybe?'

'Oh no, definitely not. Pure love. Then you saw them in bed together. Do you think they did anything?'

'No. That would destroy their love for each other. But it would be a shame if they didn't have a sanctus each wouldn't it?'


'That's the name of music Ro. Sanctus. It's orgasmic. Fantastic. It's the beating of the drum. Rhythmic. Boom boom.'

Ro thinks about it for a few moments as we start our walk back to Brighton Station. It was an afternoon showing. Just around the corner is a bookshop that goes quite well with some of the films they show at the Continental. When you've seen the film, you can go and buy a book. I took Ro in there. There's a warning notice about some of the content on the shelves, but in practice no one cares. Round the back, there's a very interesting section about art. I took Ro in there, and pulling out a slim volume, I showed it to him. I knew exactly where to find it. There was no one else in the shop, let alone in the murky corner we were in. Ro flicks through the whole book once or twice and then settles on one page in particular. It's a drawing of a nude boy lying between the legs of another boy.

'Do you think they did that Tom, when Bobbie was in Wallace's bed?'

'Maybe. But there's more than one way Ro. Which one would you want to be? Wallace or Bobbie?'

'Bobbie, definitely. Just imagine it Tom, having Wallace do you like that. I bet Bobbie really loved it like that, if they ever did it.'

'I bet he did too. So I'm Wallace then?'

'Oh definitely Tom. You are Wallace! How do you think they had it……..your sanctus thing.'

'They made love Ro. Maybe Bobbie went home with him; in the holidays, like you and me.'


When I looked at the poster outside the cinema, there he was. Philip. The boy actor in the film who played the part of Bobbie Philips. It was Philip whom I had known rather well in my last school. My prep school. I once went to Philip's house, very briefly. It was chaos in there. His mother smoked the whole time, one after the other. The place reeked of cigarette smoke and there was clutter everywhere, pot plants, and loads of posters for plays and films on the walls. She also swore at regular intervals. Her glass smelled like whisky. No wonder Philip acted so daft. But that's how he got the part in the film. His mother must have known the right people, and Philip got picked for the part of Bobbie. As we know, it's not what you know, it's who . He told me he going to be in something very exciting, but didn't tell exactly what it was. He said it was nothing much, just a few scenes. Yes, but what scenes! There's a lovely one of him in the gym class when they all have to vault the wooden 'horse'. I always hated doing that. Jute didn't fancy it either, poor lad. Jute gets stuck on the horse and has to be yanked unceremoniously up and over the beastly thing. Then the camera cuts to the balcony where the boys are. Bobbie's putting his jumper on, pulling it over his head and looking down at Wallace doing his gymnastics stuff below. What a scene. That look on the boy's face as he admires Wallace, his fingers brushing his hair back. A little queer gesture there. Wallace looks up at him and smiles. It's the beginning of an affair, the twelve-year-old and the boy of seventeen.

Oh, when Bobbie looks down at the boy he's falling in love with, and when that boy looks up and smiles back at him. There's recognition there, a psychological coming together, and there's little doubt left in our minds that shortly the two boys will come together, somewhere………and rejoice. Double sanctus.

Outside the bookshop now, Ro stops me.

'Can we play that game Tom? The sanctus game just like they did?'

I looked back at him. There's a loss of innocence about his expression that I never saw in Philip's face, but it's there now in Ro's.

'I want to be Bobbie Philips. You can be Wallace. Can we imagine tonight……at least try?'

There were one or two things that Philip really liked. Ro wanted to know more about my friendship with that blond beauty I knew last year, so I told him. I told him what Philip liked and often pleaded with me to do. That's a start. Ro might not like that subtle invasion of his body. Besides there are practicalities to be respected. But then there's what happened with David.

In the bookshop I asked a question about the incident with David, unfortunately witnessed, and the precise cause of the older boy's fall from grace.

'Is that what you did with David. What you told me? Was that true'

'Not exactly. It was the other way round Tom. I had my back to him……sitting in the chair.'

Oh dear. I tried to conjure up that image, the boy lying back against his chest, undone, excited and exposed, and something else going on.

We had an interesting time in the bathroom. Like me, he's quite an emotional creature, something I love in another boy. It was incredibly bad luck, the discovery of their fooling around together, he and David, and frankly a lapse of personal security. With no locks on study doors, it was always risky to do that sort of thing. But once you've had that kind of experience, the next time is so much easier, and that's according to Ro himself. I can believe that. And then all those recriminations that followed. The meeting with parents, meeting with his Housemaster and the Head himself. No joke. And then the sentence passed on David. There will be no further contact between the boys, not in any shape or form, not ever. Is that understood? Then it's a 'yes sir' with bowed head, hands held together in contrition. But the boy is thinking other thoughts all this time. How good it was. How good it felt with David inside him like that. And then the coming, the drum beating ever faster, and then the way David gripped his body, right at the last. Sanctus! Oh yes . Filled to the brim with David.

The details I found intensely erotic. Ro described the whole episode, from start to finish. The boys had planned it. They would both have their moments as close to each other as possible. They had discussed the best way to achieve it. Of course she had heard the music playing on David's record player. Boys were not supposed to be in their studies at this time of day, cutting a lesson like that. They thought they were safe. They weren't. As the music reached its peak, so did they, both of them together. David did everything. All Ro had to do was to hand his body and mind over to his lover. David would do the rest, just as he had promised. It had all worked perfectly, that way, the way they did it. Just a mad fifteen minutes they could have avoided. They could have done it somewhere else couldn't they? Somewhere safer?

It was two hours before David was summoned; to admit the cardinal sin he had committed. No point in telling lies. Besides he loved the boy, just as Ro loved him. A tragedy really, all for the love of a boy. The love between two boys. Ro sat through the rest of school that afternoon, consumed with worry. There was the wet in his pants. He could feel it there. He knew what it was alright. David's. He was initially shocked at the sensation, but later, remembering, he smiles. And the French master drones on.

My mother came in to make sure we were settled, me in my bed and Ro on his mattress on the floor a couple of feet away. When she had gone, we knew that was it. We wouldn't be disturbed. I got out of bed and joined Ro in his, made up on the floor. No noise down there. We began to kiss with some enthusiasm, as I slipped a free hand between and under, so to speak. We had discussed it all, and both he and I are prepared. I watch his penis quickly swell and rise in little jerks and pulses, the slack skin filling perfectly as the little weapon slips free. He likes it, just as Philip had done, and no doubt still is doing, wherever he is now. Some country pile in Suffolk turned into a school in 1885.

Pleasures like this one are not forgotten in a hurry. But there's a world of difference between this simple pleasure given, and the mutual sanctus that Bobbie and Wallace might have enjoyed. The scene is almost momentary, Wallace cuddled up with Bobbie in one bed, both boys sleeping. There's no overt suggestion the boys have actually done anything together other than fall in love. A need to be together at that moment. A perfect romance.

Ten minutes has passed quickly by and it's clear the we have reached the cross roads. Ro has had his bath, so if he's done what I told him to do, he'll be squeeky clean. I'm not going down there if he's not. I'll get him to confirm he has, and if so, there's a green light on, shining bright.

'So, have you Ro?'

He smiles and nods. He has. I'm excited.

'Are you sure?'

He nods again.

'Ok, present arms.'

He does, as I kneel before him; as Wallace knelt before the compliant Bobbie Philips that afternoon, up there, undisturbed, as the Missa Luba played.

I showed him my hand, all four fingers and one thumb. He picked the one he wanted, the obvious one, and then who knows after that, if all goes well.

Oh, it went well enough, with initial giggles, and then as matters progressed, going a little deeper into things, as the boy becomes quiet with concentration, his head turned sideways now, breathing deeply.

Beside him now, I want to know Ro's thinking.

'Well, how was that? Not your cup of tea?'

He nods, mouth open, and then he smiles.

'It is. But not that thing Mr Ploughman.' He says pushing my hand away, laughing.

'What then, my little ploughboy?'

'This thing. Try it for size?' He answers.

'Cheeky monkey.' I whisper. Then, with quiet solemnity he demands……

'I want this thing.'

And so I go a-ploughing, up hill and down dale, warmed with confelicity as all around me I see the flashing lights of joy. Embedded as I am now, I can still reach Ro's mouth with mine. Such sweetness, such deep joy.

The singing begins; the beat of the drums, the Missa Luba, African style. The rhythmic singing in the chapel that morning, the first assembly of the term with all the New Boys, in awe; us boys, we mere scum, the Whips in their fancy waistcoats, looking on, no doubt sated with their power. Which one will choose me?

I can see Roland, my friend, amongst the rows of boys as he turns towards me and smiles. He knows exactly where I sit in this hallowed, double hammer beamed place. Always the same place as the singers sing and the drum beats faster and faster. I'm not afraid now. I have him. We will always have the love that we share. Sanctus!

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