Now let us begin by disclaiming everything we can think of. There, that’s better, isn’t it? No? Well that’s tough; y’all know what we’re talking about here!

And y’all know what this story’s about ‘cause I already told y’all, so I’m gonna let y’all get right on and read it. And talkin’ of readin’ it? I mean, is anyone out there actually reading this? If y’are, please just write me line to let me know! Otherwise I might think all my loyal readers have mysteriously died! (Now wouldn’t some of the New Puritans just love that idea!) Please send your comments to and I’ll reply as soon as I can.



Sunday morning, a little after ten thirty; Patrick wandered out of the showers and slowly got dressed. He didn’t rush; there was no hurry. It was the one time during the week that the cross-country team had the pavilion to themselves. Training was going well; he was feeling stronger and more confident than he ever had. He still couldn’t shake off Jamie or Martin, but that didn’t matter; it seemed that they were running well too. They had a few races coming up so they’d soon know.

The other difference on Sunday mornings was that Deon’s brother ran with them. Ashton was the best runner in the school, but as a key member of the rugby team Sundays were his only opportunity. His participation was helping Craig a great deal. At their other training sessions Craig was out on his own, but on Sundays he had to work hard just to keep up, the two of them running right away from everyone else.

By the time Patrick finished dressing, he was the only one left in the changing room. He wasn’t the last to leave though; Ashton and Martin were still in the showers. He couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to stay in there for that long, but as he didn’t know either of them very well, it didn’t greatly concern him. He got his things together and strolled outside, heading back towards the main building. He’d walked about fifty yards when he felt the need to relieve himself. Getting to the main building would not have been a problem, but the pavilion was closer. He turned around, retracing his steps. He re-entered the building and headed for the toilets.

He passed the changing room door and glanced inside. He stopped in his tracks. Martin, still naked, was standing bent at the waist, his hands resting on the bench. Ashton was standing behind him, thrusting his penis into the younger boy’s bottom. Patrick could hardly believe what he was seeing; doing it right there where anyone might have walked past and seen them was stupid. You had to keep it quiet, discreet; that’s Brian had told him.

Nonetheless, he was completely transfixed, his penis instantly becoming hard. He’d seen Ashton naked on a good number of occasions, but he’d never previously seen him with an erection. It was even bigger than he’d expected; not only was it longer than Brian’s, it was much thicker too. Martin was whimpering, clearly indicating that it was a painful experience, but he was hard too, so he had to be enjoying it. That’s how it had been for him, Patrick reflected, the first few times that Brian had penetrated him.

“Nng! Nnng!! Nnnnggg!!!” Ashton growled, ejaculating powerfully into Martin’s rectum.

Patrick jerked himself back to reality. Ashton and Martin had been so intent on what they were doing they hadn’t noticed him standing there, but they’d soon spot him if he remained where he was. He hurried along to the toilets, locking himself into one of the stalls. He sat down, his shorts and briefs around his ankles. once again wondering what it would be like to be fucked by a penis as large as Ashton’s. Painful certainly, but it would be wonderfully exciting. He didn’t know exactly when it would happen, just that one day soon he was going to find out.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Patrick carefully recounted the events of Sunday morning while Brian listened. He hadn’t mentioned it to his mates in the dorm. For one thing it would have been embarrassing for Deon, and of all of them, Deon was the one that he felt closest to. Another consideration was that Lee, although a good friend, was not to be trusted with such sensitive information; he’d already been in trouble with Jeremy for telling people things that he should not have even known about. So Patrick had kept it to himself until the Monday evening.

“Typical,” Brian commented as Patrick concluded his account. “Sometimes you’d think he had no brains at all. Leave it to me; I’ll deal with it.”

“How?” Patrick asked nervously.

“I’ll let Jeremy know,” Brian said. “He’s in charge; he’ll sort it out. Don’t worry, your name won’t be mentioned; Ashton’s not going to find out who saw him.”

“Thanks,” Patrick said, smiling. “I was sure you’d know what to do.”

“That’s what the rules are there for,” Brian said, smiling back, “to make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen.”

Patrick nodded. As usual Brian was absolutely correct. It had seemed strange at first, having rules, albeit unwritten ones, for who could go with whom, when and where, but in situations like this it certainly made sense.

“Brian,” Patrick asked. “Would you like to come and stay with us for a few days during the Easter holiday?”

“I’d love to,” Brian said, smiling indulgently, “but I don’t think it would be a very good idea. I’m two years older than you, more actually. Your dad’s going to think it’s pretty odd; he’s bound to. And my parents would want to know why I was going to stay with a boy two years younger than me. I wish we could stay together like that, but it’s just not on; I’m sorry.”

“Oh, it’ll be okay,” Patrick said reassuringly. “Dad knows I’m, you know, gay, homosexual. He knows about us too; he’s okay about it. He said he wants to meet you.”

“You told him about us?” Brian asked, alarm bells ringing in his head.

He listened carefully as Patrick explained what had happened when he’d returned home for the Christmas holiday.

“So why does he want to meet me?” Brian asked warily.

“I’ve done really well since I’ve been at Hartswood, much better than I would have done if I’d stayed at the junior school where I was before. He knows how important it’s been for me to have friend like you, to help me settle in and look after me. He wants to say thank you.”

“So what made him twig you were gay?” Brian temporised, still finding it hard to take in what Patrick was telling him.

“When we came to visit the school, after we’d talked to Mr. Halford for a bit he got this boy called Russell to show us around. Dad saw the way I was looking at him. I think I must have been staring at him with my mouth open or something.”

“Well, I’m not surprised you were gawping at Russell,” Brian said gently. “He was great; everybody liked him.” He paused for a moment. “It doesn’t solve the problem though; my mum and dad will ask all sorts of awkward questions.”

“Dad’ll fix it up,” Patrick told him. “If you give me your telephone number, he’ll call your parents and ask them. He won’t even mention that we’re not in the same year. Dad’s a sales director; he’s great at talking to people. Please, Brian.”

Brian swallowed hard. He was still somewhat apprehensive; this could go badly wrong, but he couldn’t say no, he just couldn’t.

“Okay,” he said, smiling. “I’ll write it down for you.”

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Patrick made his way to his evening rehearsal. For once he wasn’t looking forward to it. He’d listened to the records of the two jazz pieces that Leo wanted to play at the summer concert. He knew what they ought to sound like, but he didn’t have a clue what he was supposed to play. Leo had worked out his part simply by listening to the record, but he couldn’t do that, the music was too strange, too difficult. He entered the practice room, smiling nervously. As promised, Ashton was there too; he’d be playing double bass, a very important element, especially of the first piece they were going to play. It was so odd, Patrick reflected; apart from the physical resemblance Deon and Ashton seemed to have nothing in common at all. Not only did Deon lack any aptitude for sports, he showed no interest in music either. For his part, Ashton didn’t share his younger brother’s passion for science. Unless you saw them together you’d never think they were brothers.

To his surprise, Leo handed him some music, hand-written on manuscript paper.

“Those are your parts,” he said casually.

“Did you do these?” Patrick enquired.

“Good god, no!” Leo responded, grinning broadly. “Mr. Burman did them; he transcribed them from the records. Pretty impressive considering he’s not really into this stuff.”

“Pretty impressive?” Patrick thought to himself; he was awestruck. He couldn’t imagine how anyone could write down the piano part for this strange, discordant music simply by listening to it; it had to be terribly difficult. Mr. Burman was even better than he’d thought.

They began with the tune ‘So What?’ by the trumpeter Miles Davis. They were playing the notes, but the music wasn’t flowing at all; it felt awkward and uncomfortable, like a new pair of shoes that hadn’t been broken in. It didn’t sound anything like the record.

“Not bad,” Leo commented as they finished, “but it’ll need a lot of work.”

“On that opening riff you’ve got to put the accents in,” he said to Ashton, “get some feel into it.


Ashton played it through a couple of times.

“Much better!” Leo said, smiling.

“Just relax,” he said, turning to Patrick. “The piano’s not going to bite you! And listen to Ash; we don’t have a drummer so he’s keeping time for us. Remember this is jazz; the timing’s everything; it’s got to swing.”

They played through it again. The piano part wasn’t difficult; in fact Patrick didn’t have that much to do. So he concentrated on listening to Ashton’s bass line and fitting his part to it. This time it started to come together; even better, he was really getting to enjoy it. After Leo’s solo they reprised the introduction and stopped.

“That was more like it,” Leo said, “it actually sounded like jazz! Don’t worry about the ending; we’ll sort that out later.”

“That was fun!” Patrick commented.

The second tune was ‘Round Midnight’, a slow, haunting ballad by the pianist Thelonius Monk. Patrick had been captivated the very first time he’d heard it. He checked through his part. It contained some of the strangest, most complicated chords he’d ever seen. He swallowed hard; unlike ‘So What?” this was going to be difficult. They played it through. It was a faltering performance with Patrick making lots of mistakes.

“We’ll leave it for now,” Leo said. “Try practising it with the record on, get the feel of it; you’ll be fine once you’ve learned it. Professional session players can just pick up a part like that and play it perfectly first time, you know, sight reading it. That’s how good they are.”

Ashton packed the double bass away while Leo and Patrick worked on the trumpet sonata they’d be playing. Patrick left the rehearsal feeling strangely excited. He enjoyed playing the classical stuff, he always had, but working on these jazz pieces had opened up a whole new world. The music was fresh and exciting; he wanted to play stuff like that. It clearly wouldn’t be easy; session players must be very good to sight read it. He’d have to work very hard if he was going to be able to do that.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was all arranged, just like Patrick had said. In one way Brian was looking forward to it immensely. Now that he had completed his Common Entrance exams he had time to relax, and the prospect of spending some time with Patrick was very appealing. But there were still two problems to be overcome. Patrick would be with his dad when they collected him from their house on the outskirts of Dorking. Would his parents really not notice how young the boy was? They might not, he reasoned; Patrick was tall for his age so they might actually get away with it. And then there was Patrick’s dad; Suppose the man didn’t like him? Patrick had assured him that everything would be fine, but he couldn’t be certain. And would they really be allowed to do stuff together when Patrick’s dad was around? They hadn’t even discussed it.

He checked his watch; it was twenty past eleven; they’d be here at any moment. His heart was pounding. And then he saw it, the burgundy coloured Jaguar gliding along the road and coming to a halt outside their house. He watched as Patrick and his dad got out and headed up the drive. The man was tall and on the slim side of average; Brian guessed him to be in his mid-thirties. He was very good looking and immaculately dressed, though not in a formal way, as though he was visiting a country club or something. His parents would like that.

He crept out into the hallway as his mum opened the door.

“Hi, I’m Tom Naylor,” the man said, beaming, “and this is Patrick; pleased to meet you!”

“Oh, come in,” Brian’s mum responded. “My husband’s in the back lounge room; he’d like to meet you.”

They moved towards the back of the house.

“You must be Brian,” Tom said, putting his hand out. “Great to meet you!”

Brian accepted the handshake, which was firm without being aggressive. He and Patrick followed the adults into the small back lounge room where Brian’s father was reading the Sunday Telegraph. The man got out of his chair as they entered. Brian’s heart was in his mouth; this would be the hard part. His dad usually questioned everything, but on this occasion he asked no questions at all, not one; Brian could hardly believe it. Tom’s easy, relaxed manner worked like magic; the three adults chatted like old friends for a few minutes then Tom and the two boys were on their way. There had been no fuss, no questions, nothing; Brian was most impressed.

Half an hour later the Jaguar was pulling onto the drive of the house in Guildford. As they got out of the car Brian looked it over. It was about the same size as their house in Dorking, but much more modern. While its big windows would make it lighter, it seemed to lack some of the character that their house had. It was nice though, very nice. Tom opened the front door and they made their way inside.

“Patrick, take Brian upstairs,” he said quietly. “Show him where everything is. We’ll be off out to lunch in half an hour.”

The two boys made their way to the upper floor. Patrick led the way to a large, airy room at the back of the house. Twin beds were positioned in opposite corners.

“This is my room,” Patrick said casually. He flopped down on the bed nearer to the window. “This is my bed, that one will be yours,” he continued, gesturing towards the bed in the far corner. “I’m not sure how much you’ll use it though.”

“Really?” Brian asked, rolling his eyes. “I thought, you know, we’d have to . . . .”

“Sleep in separate rooms?” Patrick said, grinning. “Dad wouldn’t have invited you if he was going to make us do that.”

“So he really doesn’t mind?” Brian queried, still finding it difficult to believe.

“He says it’s part of who I am,” Patrick said, “and he’s right; I didn’t choose to be attracted to older boys. He’s happy that I’ve found an older friend that’s looked after me and helped me settle in. He knows we have sex, but that’s because I want to do it as much as you do, so he’s okay with it. He says he would have been worried if younger boys got, you know, passed around among the older ones, but he sort of knew Hartswood wouldn’t be like that. Don’t know how; I guess he just sensed it.”

“Does he know, you know, er . . . .”

“What we do?” Patrick asked, helping Brian out. “Dunno, really, we haven’t talked about it. But don’t worry; he won’t walk in on us; he always knocks before he comes in.”

They headed back downstairs. Brian smiled to himself. The next few days were going to be pretty special.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

“Well Brian,” Tom said. “I hope you’re first day with us hasn’t been too boring.”

“Not at all,” Brian replied, smiling.

“Patrick did his piano practice this morning,” Tom continued. “I’ve no idea why he decided to do more while you were here. You were very patient, sitting there listening to him.”

“Actually that was my idea,” Brian said quietly. “I don’t really get the chance at school. Patrick always comes to watch when I’m playing rugby; the only time I’ve heard him play was at the Christmas concert. It was great; the jazz stuff he’s doing with Leo’s fantastic.

“Very good,” Tom said, smiling warmly. “You’ve just confirmed what I already thought. It’s been very hard for Patrick since his mum died,” he continued quietly, “and he’s never been to boarding school before which just made things even harder. Settling in was never going to be easy; finding a friend to help and look after him was very important. I’m pleased to say he made an excellent choice. I always knew that he could do better than he had at the local junior school, but I’d never dreamed he’d do as well as he has, and your help and friendship has been a big part of that. So I want to thank you for being such a good friend when it was needed.”

“Thanks,” Brian mumbled, blushing with embarrassment.

“Right, it’s ten to ten” Tom said. “I’m off to bed. Unfortunately I do have to go into work tomorrow, so I’ll have to leave you to Patrick’s tender mercies. I’m sure he’ll keep you entertained.”

“You will be off Tuesday and Wednesday though, won’t you dad?” Patrick asked. “You promised.”

“Yeah,” Tom confirmed. “If something does come in I’ll tell them I have a prior engagement; if it can’t wait, someone else will have to handle it.”

“Thanks dad!” Patrick said, grinning.

“Okay, don’t stay up too late,” Tom concluded, rising from his chair.

He headed up to his room. Brian’s heart was pounding. He was going to have a whole day with Patrick with his dad not around; he could hardly wait. But was he getting ahead of himself, he wondered. Patrick seemed in no hurry to go to bed; what was going to happen when they did?

Patrick checked the time, stood up, stretched and yawned.

“Time for bed,” he said, smiling at Brian.

Brian followed him upstairs. They took turns to use the bathroom. There wasn’t a hint of anything; for Brian the tension was almost unbearable. Finally they were done. Patrick closed the bedroom door then stood in front of Brian, wrapping his arms around the older boy’s back.

“I guess you’ve been waiting for this,” he said quietly. “I know I have.”

“Are you sure this is okay?” Brian asked nervously.

“Yeah, of course!” Patrick reassured him. “Dad will be fast asleep by now; that’s why I waited. He can sleep through just about anything. You should hear the alarm clock he’s got! You will tomorrow; it’d waken the dead!”

“Cool!” Brian breathed, relaxing into Patrick’s embrace. “You’re right; I have been waiting for this.”

Their mouths met in a sensuous kiss, their tongues gently caressing each other. Brian was in ecstasy; it didn’t seem possible that they could be doing this with Patrick’s dad sleeping only a few feet away. After a minute their lips parted. Patrick led Brian over to his bed. Shoes and socks were quickly discarded. Wordlessly they began to undress each other. In a matter of seconds they were down to their underpants. Both of them were fully aroused. Patrick sat on the bed, pulling Brian’s white briefs gently downwards, over his hips and smooth, strong thighs. Brian wiggled his hips, causing them to fall to the floor. Patrick leant forward moistening his lips. He slid them over his older friend’s penis, pushing slowly forwards until it was fully in his mouth. He paused for a moment before letting his lips slide slowly back, working his tongue all over it, until only the head was left inside. He pushed right back down again.

Brian moaned with pleasure, ruffling Patrick’s thick ash-blond hair, revelling in the sensations that this amazing boy was giving him. To think that the next day they’d be able to do this whenever they wanted was even better than he’d dared to hope for. He was beginning to get close.

“Patrick, you’d better stop,” he said quietly.

Patrick let him go. He looked up, licking his lips and grinning. Brian gently pulled him to his feet then knelt on the floor, quickly skinning Patrick’s briefs down the boy’s slim, coltish legs. Patrick kicked them off. Without a word they got on the bed, lying face-to-face, arms wrapped round each other, their penises grinding together.

“Your dad is so cool,” Brian observed. “I wish my dad was like that.”

“So what’s your dad like?” Patrick asked innocently.

“I don’t have much to do with him except when I bring my school report home,” Brian said sadly. “He’ll say, “Lets’ see how you measure up,” then he’ll just pull it to pieces. He never looks at the good bits, how many ‘A’ grades for effort I got or anything like that, it’s all, “Well that isn’t very good,” and “You’ve got plenty of room for improvement there” and so on. I hate it; by the time he’s finished I feel completely useless. It’s like he wouldn’t be satisfied no matter how well I did.”

Patrick couldn’t understand it. Brian worked hard; he was as conscientious as anyone, so why did his dad treat him like that? It didn’t make sense. Then another thought struck him.

“That’s why you show off, isn’t it?” he suggested.

Brian paused, looking directly into Patrick’s eyes. “Yeah,” he said finally. “I’ve never really thought about it before, but I’m sure you’re right. Well, it’s something to do with it anyway.”

True to form, Brian was playing it down; his father’s attitude towards him was everything to do with it. They snuggled closer. He felt so relaxed here, not like he was being marked on everything he did. That’s how it was at school, and for him home was no different. Patrick was so lucky, he reflected.

“Well, he’s wrong,” Patrick said definitively, meeting Brian’s gaze. “You do work hard, you do try your best and you will do well; I don’t care what your dad says.”

Their mouths met in another passionate kiss. Brian couldn’t imagine anything more perfect, snuggled up on a nice comfortable bed with the one person in the whole world who always made him feel good. Better still, there was no need to rush; they could stay here as long as they liked. He ran has hand down Patrick’s back and over his firm, silky-smooth bottom, reminding himself how lucky he’d been, meeting the boy the way he had. Patrick was beautiful, sexy and totally loyal; nobody could have suited him better.

Their lips parted. Brian twisted around, his mouth enveloping Patrick’s stiff penis. Patrick responded without a second thought, pulling the older boy towards him into a classic sixty-nine. They sucked each other hungrily. They might have taken each other all the way to orgasm, but as ever Patrick wanted to go that extra step, cocking up his right leg and guiding Brian’s hand onto his bottom. Brian was eager to oblige, quickly locating his young friend’s anus. Patrick passed him a jar of Vaseline. It wasn’t as good as the KY they usually used, but it would do for now. Brian smeared some onto his fingers then gently pushed the middle one right into Patrick’s rectum.

Patrick sighed deeply. It had been three days since they’d been together at school; he’d been longing to have Brian inside him again. The finger moved in and out, stimulating his prostate. His penis twitched violently, jamming itself against the roof of Brian’s mouth. Brian’s index finger joined its neighbour, the two digits twisting around deep inside him. Wonderful as it was, it was merely the introduction; Patrick knew that what was to follow would be infinitely better.

The fingers slid out. Patrick grabbed one of his pillows, placing it in the middle of the bed. He rolled over onto his tummy, his legs spread, the pillow beneath his hips. He’d often dreamed about being fucked in this position, but it would have been far too uncomfortable in any of the places they used when they were at school.

Brian knelt between Patrick’s legs, smearing a little Vaseline over his penis. He carefully lowered himself, guiding it onto its target. Patrick reached back, holding his buttocks apart, his anus opening up invitingly. Brian made contact and pushed. After a moment’s resistance, the ring of muscle relaxed and the head of his penis entered his young friend’s bottom.

“Oh, yeah!” Patrick breathed.

Brian pushed again, forcing his penis in deeper, driving it over the boy’s prostate.

“Ohhh!” Patrick gasped, almost giddy from the pleasurable sensations coursing through him.

Brian eased himself down, his heart pounding strongly against Patrick’s spine, his face almost buried in the boy’s freshly washed hair. He held the boy by the shoulders and slowly raised his hips, his penis sliding out until only the head remained inside. He paused for an instant before pushing back in again. Patrick emitted a quiet moan, urging him to continue. Brian repeated the action over and over, determined to make it last in a way that they never could when they were at school, but gradually, inevitably, sheer animal lust got the better of him, the pace and intensity of his thrusts increasing until he was fucking his young friend as hard as he could go.

Patrick whimpered quietly, Brian’s warm breath filling his nostrils; he was almost delirious with pleasure. The ferocity of Brian’s pounding increased still further, forcing his hard little spike to rub against the pillow. It was over in seconds. He shuddered violently, his sphincter muscle clamping tight around Brian’s invading penis. A moment later his boyhood jerked wildly against the pillow in the most powerful orgasm he had yet experienced.

“Ohhh!” Brian groaned into Patrick’s ear. “Oh fuck! I’m gonna cum!!”

He thrust right in, holding on as best he could as his semen spurted over and over into Patrick’s rectum, leaving him completely drained. He was so light-headed he scarcely knew where he was. Gradually his breathing began its return to normal. It had been an almost magical experience. Sex with Patrick was always wonderful, but the intensity of this coupling had surpassed even his expectations. He carefully withdrew, flopping down on his side.

“That was fantastic!” his young friend whispered, turning to face him. “You came loads!”

Patrick retrieved his discarded underpants and slipped them on.

“Aren’t you going to the bathroom?” Brian asked.

“No,” Patrick responded, grinning mischievously. “I like having your spunk inside me! It’s okay, I’ll change them in the morning.”

He snuggled closer, resting his head on Brian’s chest as sleep overcame him. Brian wrapped his arm around the lad’s shoulder. He hadn’t given much thought to where he was going to sleep, but it seemed that the decision had been made for him. And tomorrow they would have the whole day to themselves; what a prospect that was! He turned off the bedside light; a minute later he was fast asleep.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Tom parked the Jaguar as the stewards instructed. He checked around, the car park was already full and more cars were being lined up along the edge of the playing field. At least forty cars already, with more driving in; for a school of only one hundred and fifty boys it was an impressive turn-out. He made his way inside, following the direction signs to the concert.

Outside the main hall, Brian was waiting for him.

“Hello Brian!” Tom said warmly, “Great to see you again!”

“Good to see you, too,” Brian responded. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve arranged for us to sit together.”

“Not at all!” Tom said, smiling. “That’s excellent! With Patrick being new, I don’t really know anyone else here.”

They took their seats three rows back. Tom checked the time; quarter past seven, the concert would begin in fifteen minutes.

“So I guess you must have had your Common Entrance results by now,” Tom said.

“Yes,” Brian confirmed. “I’m going to Radley College; it’s where my dad went.”

“Patrick says you’re dad’s pretty hard on you,” Tom said gently.

“Yeah,” Brian admitted. “But he’s been a lot nicer to me since I got in. I guess it’s because he knows that he hasn’t wasted his money sending me here.”

Tom nodded but said nothing; it wasn’t his place to get involved. He looked around. People were still bustling about. One particular boy caught his eye. It wasn’t the lad’s appearance that drew his attention, it was his manner. While the other boys had a somewhat deferential demeanour, this boy displayed an almost brash self confidence that surprised him.

“Who’s that?” he whispered to Brian.

“Toby Redman,” Brian told him. “His dad’s a heart surgeon.”

“Sir David Redman,” Tom suggested, “the heart transplant pioneer?”

“That’s the one,” Brian said, grinning. “Toby and his dad hate each other. Toby wants to be a film director. He films all sorts of stuff, you know, like sports day. Last year he used to film some of the rugby matches, but he couldn’t this year ‘cause he was in the team.”

“A friend of yours?” Tom enquired.

“Not really,” Brian said. “He’s in Lower Fourth for one thing, so I don’t really have much to do with him.”


“I don’t like him much,” Brian admitted. “He’s okay; he’s just so sure of himself. He’s hard as nails too; I wouldn’t pick an argument with him.”

Tom studied the lad who was just taking his seat on the other side of the hall. Sure of himself, he thought; the boy was certainly that.

The concert began with the junior wind band. Tom was impressed immediately. He was no musician, but he had a good enough ear. The boys playing were first and second years, none of them more than ten years old, but they were superbly drilled. The pieces they were playing were not complicated, but they played them immaculately. Mr. Burman, the music master, obviously knew his job. He hadn’t attempted anything too ambitious, just got these youngest boys to do simple things well; that was the way to build confidence. He was clearly every bit as good as Patrick had said.

After three pieces, the wind band took their bow and left the stage to a generous round of applause. Tom checked his programme. Two solo performances were to follow, guitarist Julian Lees would be first and Patrick would follow. Julian took up his position then introduced himself and the piece that he was about to play. That was another thing that Tom found impressive; the boys introduced the music themselves; as yet Mr. Burman hadn’t said a word. The performance followed the formula established by the wind band; the piece was not too difficult, or at least it didn’t sound as though it was, but Julian played it beautifully. At the end the audience applauded warmly. Julian smiled, bowed and moved away.

Now it was Patrick’s turn. Tom’s heart was in his mouth. This was what he’d come for; even so he was very nervous. By nature Patrick was shy. He was a good musician, but how would he cope, all on his own in front of such a large audience? Patrick walked across and stood in front of the piano.

“Good evening,” he said, smiling at the audience. “My name is Patrick Naylor and I’m in third year. The piece that I have chosen to play for you this evening is a piano arrangement of Alla Marcia from the Karelia Suite by Sibelius.”

He sat down to play. His choice of music had been problematic. In principle, Mr. Burman disliked piano arrangements of orchestral music. He had favoured one of the Chopin waltzes that Patrick played so beautifully, and Chopin’s music fit so wonderfully under the hands; playing it was almost effortless. The Sibelius on the other hand was much more difficult, involving a number of big spans that Patrick could barely make. But Patrick had insisted. He enjoyed playing the Chopin, but for a performance it just wasn’t right. All his friends would be there; they’d applaud politely of course, but they wouldn’t get it, not really. Alla Marcia, with its lively, joyful tune, was perfect; that would really get them going!

He took several deep breaths to make sure he was properly settled then set right to it. It was a triumph from the moment he started. The previous performances had been competent and well-drilled; Tom hadn’t expected anything more, but the passion, the energy, the sheer joy in Patrick’s playing were completely infectious; he’d captivated the whole audience. Tom could hardly believe it. This was Patrick, his son, and he was playing wonderfully; Catherine would have been so proud of him.

Patrick’s performance ended to rapturous applause. Tom was overwhelmed; it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

“He was fantastic!” Brian commented, beaming up at him.

“I hardly know what to say,” Tom responded. “I know he practises hard, but he got up there and just came alive. He’s usually so shy; I didn’t know he had it in him.”

“You must be very proud,” Brian continued.

“Absolutely,” Tom confirmed. “But you should be too; you’ve played your part.”

The first half ended with two pieces from the string quartet. They played very well, but after Patrick’s performance, it was something of an anti-climax. It was time for the interval. Tom and Brian stayed where they were, chatting quietly. Patrick was still backstage, preparing for the second half. This was not the time to disturb him.

The second half was divided into two; three pieces from the senior wind band, followed by three pieces featuring trumpet soloist Leo Johnston. Patrick had told Tom how good Leo was; he was looking forward eagerly to hearing them play together.

The second half began. Tom knew straight away that the level had gone up quite considerably; the performance by the wind band was sharper, livelier and more polished than most of what had preceded it. In the first half, Patrick had been the only one to play with that sort of authority. This was good stuff and the audience responded accordingly. After their third piece the wind band left the stage to enthusiastic and well deserved applause.

Moments later Patrick appeared alongside a tall, good looking boy with messy, straw-coloured hair. Patrick took his seat at the piano. The other boy moved to the front, trumpet in hand.

“Good evening,” he said, exuding an air of quiet authority. “My name is Leo Johnston and I’m in Upper Fourth. I and my accompanist Patrick, whom you heard earlier, have been given the privilege of closing this concert. The first piece that we have chosen to play for you is the first movement of the trumpet sonata number three by George Frederick Handel.”

They began to play. Tom was delighted. Leo played with poise and flair; he made the trumpet sound beautiful. Behind him Patrick was doing his job superbly, always there, but never intrusive. This was in a completely different league from everything else he’d heard during the evening; even Patrick’s piano solo didn’t compare. The piece ended to the warmest applause yet.

“Thank you,” Leo said once the clapping had died down. “For our second piece we’re joined by Ashton Hayes on bass. This is a tune by the jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, called ‘So What?’.”

The tall, rather gaunt looking boy who had played cello in the string quartet walked onto the stage and picked up the double bass. The three boys settled themselves. Ashton opened up on the bass, which took Tom completely by surprise. The bass riff was repeated over and over with Leo and Patrick playing chords in between. Finally, they broke into Leo’s solo, accompanied mainly by Ashton’s walking bass. It seemed that Patrick didn’t have much to play, but what he did play was absolutely crucial and once again he was right on it. This was certainly jazz; Tom found himself tapping his foot without even thinking about it, and as for Leo, the boy was a wonderful player, Tom thought; it was no wonder that Patrick had spoken so highly of him.

Finally the bass riff returned and the tune ended. The whole audience was blown away; the applause lasted for well over a minute. Eventually silence returned.

“Thank you very much,” Leo said graciously. “For our final piece we’ve chosen another jazz tune. This one is a ballad by the pianist Thelonius Monk; it’s called ‘Round Midnight’.”

After a short piano introduction the tune began. Tom thought the slow, haunting melody was one of the most beautiful things he’d ever heard; the entire audience seemed to be spellbound. He recalled hearing Patrick practising it during the Easter holidays, but never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined with all three of them playing it would sound like this. Leo was the star, but Ashton and Patrick were there supporting him and doing it beautifully. Patrick would never have had an opportunity like this if he’s stayed at Woodthorn Junior.

After Leo’s improvised solo, they reprised the main theme and the tune ended to even more rapturous applause. As it died down Leo stepped forward again.

“Thank you,” he said, smiling. “May I ask you to show your appreciation for our musical director, Mr. Burman, without whom tonight’s concert would not have been possible.”

Mr. Burman made his way onto the stage to acknowledge the applause. It was more than well deserved, Tom thought. Although he’d stayed in the background at the concert itself, he’d been with the one who’d trained the musicians and put it altogether. The standard they’d achieved was remarkable for such as small school.

“For those of you who have travelled here tonight,” Leo concluded, “may I thank you for your support and wish you a safe journey home. That is now the end of proceedings, so goodnight and thank you for being here.”

As people began to make their way out, Tom stayed where he was. It was a Saturday evening and he was in no hurry. In any case he’d have to congratulate Patrick; he couldn’t leave without doing that. He’d introduce himself to Mr. Burman as well if the man wasn’t too busy. He’d been enormously impressed and it wasn’t just the music. The boys at Hartswood learned to do things with poise and style; that was impressive.

He said goodnight to Brian, who had to head off to bed. A couple of minutes later Patrick appeared. Tom immediately stood up and walked over to him, putting his arm around his son’s shoulder. Patrick’s eyes were sparkling; Tom had never seen him so happy.

“You were fantastic tonight,” Tom said, giving Patrick’s shoulder a squeeze. “Your mum would have been so proud of you.”

Patrick looked down and bit his lip; there really wasn’t anything he could say.

“Is Mr. Burman around?” Tom asked.

“He’s over there,” Patrick said, pointing towards the stage where Mr. Burman was supervising the removal of the music stands.

The two of them made their way across.

“Mr. Burman? Tom Naylor, Patrick’s dad,” Tom said, his arm still around Patrick’s shoulder. “I just want to think you for all the help you’ve given him; he’s come on leaps and bounds since he’s been here.”

“Mr. Naylor!” Mr Burman responded warmly. “I’m so pleased you could come. Patrick is a pleasure to work with. He’s a great asset to the school and we’re very pleased to have him.”

“Well, thank you very much,” Tom said, wondering why the teachers at Woodthorn had never praised the boy like that. “Did you hear that?” he said, looking down at Patrick, a broad smile on his face. “That’s you he’s talking about.”

After a few more pleasantries it was time for Tom to leave. As he drove home he felt happier than he had for the past year. Catherine was dead, but her spirit lived on.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Patrick waited with his friends and a few other boys for the school minibus to return. It would be carrying the cricket team, who had spent the afternoon playing what was always their last match of the season, the annual fixture against Whitestone Hall, Hartswood’s biggest rivals. He wished that they could have gone to watch, as they had for the final of the Prep Schools’ Cup, but this was only a friendly match, however keen the rivalry.

Finally the bus turned in through the school gate and headed towards them. The team began to disembark; they all looked pretty solemn. They must have lost, Patrick concluded, and probably hadn’t played very well.

“How did you get on?” someone shouted.

“We won, just about,” an anonymous team member replied curtly.

This was very odd, Patrick thought, they certainly didn’t look like they’d won. He spotted Brian.

“How many did you score?” he asked excitedly.

“Zero, zilch, a duck,” Brian replied despondently. “I played like an idiot. I let the team down and I let myself down.”

Patrick was alarmed; he’d never heard Brian talk like that, not once. Mr. Halford came across and put his hands on Brian’s shoulders, telling him not to be too hard on himself, but Brian was obviously upset. Mr. Halford moved away, going to speak to Toby Redman.

“D’you mind if we forget about this evening?” Brian asked. “I really don’t feel like - - -, you know.”

“Can’t we just sit and chat for a bit?” Patrick responded. “We don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. Please, Brian.”

Brian paused for what seemed like an eternity.

Yeah, okay,” he conceded, shrugging his shoulders.

Brian collected his bag from the back off the bus then he and Jonathan walked together towards the senior dorms. Patrick turned back to his friends, keen to find out what had happened that afternoon. Lee was in tears.

“Giles got hit on the head,” he sobbed. “His dad had to take him to hospital.”

Patrick was more alarmed than ever. Lee was one of the bubbliest, cheekiest kids he’d ever met; he’d never expected to see him like this. It seemed that his attachment to Giles was a lot more serious than he’d led them to believe. They retreated into the main building and back to the safety of Eagle Dorm. Lee flopped disconsolately onto his bed. Patrick sat down next to him, his arm around his friend’s shoulder.

“I’m sure he’ll be all right,” he said quietly. “Giles is pretty tough. I guess we’ll just have to be patient.”

Out of nowhere, Mr. Halford appeared, crouching down by Lee’s bed.

“Lee, would you like to come to my office?” he asked gently. “I’m going to telephone the hospital to find out how Giles is. Would you like to come with me?”

Lee nodded, brushing a tear away. The two of them disappeared along the corridor. Patrick hardly knew what to think. Mr. Halford obviously knew that Lee was Giles’ friend. Did that mean that he knew about him and Brian too? He must do, Patrick concluded, but as long as they kept it quiet, he just ignored it, like it wasn’t happening. It was hard to believe, but it was the only thing that made sense.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Over supper, stories of what had taken place at the cricket match were beginning to circulate. It seemed that Toby Redman was the hero of the hour. He’d saved the day. He’d had some help; Jonathan was mentioned, Ashton too, and Justin, which was odd because he wasn’t even supposed to have been in the team, but it was Toby who had led the way. It all seemed rather confusing. Patrick decided not to take too much notice of what was being said; he’d get the proper story from Brian.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Patrick waited on the main dorm corridor, trying not to be too conspicuous. Brian appeared, checked around then headed up to the attic. After a few seconds Patrick followed, making sure that nobody was watching. Brian was sitting with his back against the wall. He still looked very upset. Patrick flopped down next to him.

“So what happened?” he asked.

“You must have heard the stories,” Brian said defensively.

“They were just bits and pieces,” Patrick said. “I want to hear it from you.”

“When we got there we went to look at the pitch,” Brian said quietly. “It was terrible! It hadn’t been watered for ages; it was bone-hard and all cracked. I’ve never seen anything like it. Anyway they won the toss and asked us to bat first. We’d heard about this really quick bowler they’ve got, Moseley his name is; I was a bit nervous before I went out. He was opening the bowling and I was taking the first ball; I always do. It was quick, straight and on a good length. I tried to play forward to it, but it bounced so much I missed it completely; it nearly cut me in half. I just went to pieces. I was so scared I was going to get hit I just never got in line. I lasted four balls, then I edged one behind and that was that. It was my last match here and I played like an idiot.”

“So what happened afterwards?” Patrick asked.

“Giles was in next,” Brian continued. “He was batting beautifully. He didn’t seem in any trouble; Jonathan didn’t either. You could see Moseley was starting to get frustrated. Then he gave Giles a bouncer, really banged it in. Giles is a good player but he’s a bit awkward; he just couldn’t get out of the way. It hit him by his left ear. He collapsed; didn’t know where he was. It was horrible.”

Brian continued to recount the events of the afternoon, about Toby’s amazing innings and the rest of his exploits, and how they’d eventually won thanks to Justin’s unbelievable catch.

“After the match,” he concluded, “Moseley wanted to shake Toby’s hand. Toby gave him a right mouthful; didn’t swear at him or anything, just told him what he thought about the way he’d bowled and stomped off into the changing room.”

Patrick was puzzled. Brian had batted poorly, but he wasn’t the only one. He couldn’t understand why he was so upset.

“When we were coming home in the minibus,” Brian said, “I said I thought Toby had been very rude talking to Moseley like that. It was stupid; it was almost like it wasn’t me that was saying it. Anyway, Mr Halford said I was wrong. I tried arguing, but everything I said just made it worse. In the end he pretty well told me to shut up. I made a complete dickhead of myself.”

“So why did you say it?” Patrick asked.

“I was jealous, I guess.” Brian admitted, not even looking at Patrick. “I’m as good a player as Toby is, I’m just not as brave. He’s so confident, so sure of himself. He wasn’t worried about getting hit; he got hit once and he didn’t even flinch. He wasn’t going to let Moseley get the better of him.”

So that was it, Patrick reasoned; it made sense now.

“You’ll always be a hero as far as I’m concerned,” Patrick said, holding Brian’s hand.

“So why’s that?” Brian questioned. “You’ve just seen what I’m really like.”

“Remember just after I met you?” Patrick retorted. “I suddenly started feeling homesick and pining for my mum. Who was there for me then? You were. You even stood up to Jeremy and got him to let us have more time together, remember? If you hadn’t been there for me I don’t know how I’d have got through it.”

“Yeah,” Brian said, looking uncomfortable, “but I didn’t really do anything.”

“Yes you did,” Patrick insisted. “When it really mattered, you were there. D’you think Toby would have done that? D’you think he’d have been as patient with me as you were?”

Brian shrugged.

“Well, I don’t think he would,” Patrick continued. “I like Toby; he’s all right, but he’s always doing this or involved in that, and he can be pretty scary if you do something he doesn’t like. He wouldn’t have helped me like you did.”

Brian squeezed Patrick’s hand, giving the younger boy a wry grin.

“And there’s something else,” Patrick went on. “You messed up today, coming back in the minibus; you admitted it. Well, everybody messes up sometimes, but some people just shrug it off like it doesn’t matter, but you didn’t; you were angry with yourself. So you’re going to remember that and you won’t do it again. You don’t have to be jealous of Toby; you’re every bit as good as he is, just different, that’s all. And I like you just the way you are.”

Man, you are the best,” Brian said, shaking his head.

He turned towards Patrick, smiling, the first time he’d smiled since the end of the match. Patrick snuggled closer, reaching up to pull Brian towards him, their mouths meeting in a passionate, sensuous kiss. He ran his hand up the older boy’s thigh and onto his crotch, bringing him to a full erection in a matter of seconds. He undid the top of Brian’s shorts, pulling down the zip then pushing both shorts and briefs over his friend’s hips. They’d spent so long talking that they didn’t have much time left before they’d have to return to their dorms, but it would be long enough, Patrick figured.

“Now just relax,” he said, giving Brian his most mischievous grin. “I’m going to make you feel really good,”

He settled his head on Brian’s tummy, taking the boy’s penis fully into his mouth. He began to suck, using his fingers to fondle his friend’s testicles and the sensitive area behind them. Brian did as he was asked, leaning back against the wall, once more totally at peace. He stroked Patrick’s hair. Patrick didn’t often suck him to orgasm, which was strange, Brian reflected, as he did it so wonderfully well; the sensations he was giving him were quite exquisite.

“Uhhhh!” Brian groaned, “I’m gonna cum!”

Patrick redoubled his efforts, sucking and licking as though his life depended on it. Brian’s boyhood jerked violently, his thick, creamy semen spurting into Patrick’s mouth. Patrick sucked and swallowed until Brian had no more left to give, running his tongue over the head of the older boy’s penis to make sure he hadn’t missed a single drop. He carefully pulled away. He looked up at Brian, licking his lips and grinning.

“Better now?” he enquired.

“Much better thanks,” Brian confirmed, smiling warmly. “Man, I’m going to miss you so much when I leave this place,”

A moment later their lips locked together in another passionate kiss.