The tales of that Sunday morning had been recounted, every minute detail swapped... and that week, whenever I sat out, the boys smiled at me, all of them, waving as they called out a 'hello' or a 'hi'... and I too was ready with an appreciative clap, and an encouraging 'bravo', whenever a boy performed well with either the ball or the bat... or displayed some exceptional piece of fielding.
Only Sohail remained impervious to my generous claps of appreciation, consistently ignoring me... his swagger a little more pronounced... jeering at the boys who showed any sign of being too 'friendly' towards me!
The following Sunday they were at my front gate, inviting me to join them - "You said you'd play with us!" they chorused.
The norm till then had been simple - Sohail, the undisputed leader, captain of one team, appointed the other captain, and told each boy which team he should play for.
That day, the group 'appointed' me to lead one team... with Sohail, of course, retaining his captaincy of the other team - my bitter opponent!
Problem arose however, when every boy wanted to be on my team... Sohail standing apart, under a distant tree, sulky and petulant, mostly ignoring the cacophonous disputations of his companions, emitting an occasional snigger or a snort as he fiddled with a glove.
"Guys, guys," I finally intervened, "we've already wasted almost an hour, and at this rate we'll never get to play even a single match. Let's have a draw instead, and that way, each week, you can play for both team!"
A groan of disapproval went up immediately, but then they concurred, reluctantly.... and soon paper and pen were produced, and names scribbled.
"C'mon, Sohail..." a few of the boys called.
"Since you guys have already decided, why do you need me?" he snapped, eyes fierce
"Sohail," I called, "c'mon, dude, you need to draw..."
He graced me with an almost dismissive glance, before turning to his friends, "What's the use of such a team? If we keep changing members each time we play, how can we build a team, huh?"
"Okay," I smiled at the boys, "he's right, we need to bond to build a team, and we simply can't juggle members around. Let Sohail select his team, and the rest of you can join me."
Finally His Lordship descended, and for the first time that day I saw him smile, almost a smirk, as he called out names, selecting his team, before spinning around and asking them to follow him.
Junaid sidled over and whispered, "Zubair-bhai, I'm glad to be with you, but he's taken all the best players!"
"Don't worry," I whispered back, "we'll beat them each time, I promise!"
I kept my promise, and over the next, nearly two months, our team won every single encounter. Sohail did play his heart out, leading from the front - determined and tenacious till the last ball, but we still won, thrashing his team each time!
He was incensed... progressively becoming more offensive with each defeat. Raging at his teammates for the merest falterings - a miss fielding or throw, a dropped catch, a loose ball, whatever - the tirades littered with all the juicy expletives that cluttered his vast arsenal of invectives.
Wild as he screamed, "Bhosdi-ke, bhar gayi kya tum logo ki?! If you can't play a decent enough game, then just give up the charade and go home, play with yourself instead!" thrusting out his pelvis as he pumped the air with his fist!
Invariably accusing them of treachery as he ended his outbreak with a fierce, "Chamche!"
But notwithstanding his bluster, the boys warmed up to me... with even his team members, who were initially reluctant to openly express their admiration, or show their enthusiasm, coming around as I shared tips and made suggestions... answered their queries... laughed and joked with them on equal terms.
I also took them (all the boys) for a treat to the neighbourhood bakery, each Sunday after the game, though Sohail, a lousy and sulky loser, never joined us, leaving the ground in a huff after the defeat!
And he kept up his aggressive demeanour, constantly baiting and provoking, though never directly engaging me... picking on my teammates instead, offensively hostile... sneering whenever one of my boys did a spot of exceptional fielding, or excelled with the bat or ball - "Yea-yea, keep it up" he clapped, the tone derisive, "you'll surely get to play at the state level, or maybe even get selected for the national team!" - an obvious reference to my cricketing past!
And since I refused to take his bait, he began showing his immaturity by becoming puerilely lewd - thrusting out his pelvis as he polished the ball before passing it to the bowler, his eyes on me, steady, each time. Patting his crotch as he stood at Silly Point or Short Leg when I was batting, and then winking as I looked at him while scanning the field positions before the bowler began his run-up... letting out soft, suggestive moans each time, laughing mischievously as he turned away!
** ** ** ** **
It was nearing the end of June, fiercely hot... but schools would soon reopen, and every day was precious, so the boys played on.
On the final Saturday, before vacation ended for most schools, the boys were waiting for me when I returned later that afternoon - "You have to come," they clamoured, "he's challenged us!"
I nodded, and after a quick drink of water and change, I went down to join them...
We notched up a very good score on the board... and now, it was his team's turn to bat, chase the score we had set.
As usual, he opened the batting for his team... and was soon playing his usual, powerful game, steady and focussed, taking quick singles as he shrewdly placed the ball wherever he saw a gap... hitting hard whenever he got a loose ball, looking set to carry his bat through.
The runs soon accumulated, and as he closed the gap, his level of confidence rose, urging my bowlers to try harder, laughing as he taunted them.
My team was playing well... saving singles and taking regular wickets at one end. But Sohail was on a roll, seemingly invincible... and my boys wanted his wicket!
"Only you can bowl him out, or get him to edge!" Paul (my deputy), and Junaid urged.
I shook my head - I had consistently refused to bowl that day.
"Why?!" they wanted to know.
"Tomorrow..." I repeated each time.
It was the last over, and it was also the last wicket... and Sohail's team needed twelve runs - he would need to either hit big, or keep the strike, or both, if they wanted to win...
And the first ball of the last over, he cracked it hard, hitting it with the full face of his bat... and like a speeding missile it hurtled straight towards me... keeping very low.
The ball hadn't touched the ground... so, if I took it, Sohail would be out!
I rushed forward... quickly realising that I had miscalculated... had advanced a bit too far, to the right... and as I attempted at taking the corrective steps... almost stumbling in my effort, I realised that it was already too late and quickly half-dived and crouched down on my haunches... my hands already between my thighs, cupped as the ball reached me... slamming into my palms with tremendous force... just inches above the ground, at crotch level.
It all happened within a blink, a fraction of a millisecond... and my hurried steps backward, my off-balanced manoeuvre at getting into the right spot, and the force of the ball, tipped me over... and as I fell, I curled myself, rolling on my side... the ball safe in my clutch, my hands still planted between my thighs...
Everyone froze where they were, all eyes on me as they held their breath...
In that silence rang Sohail's raucous cackle "Guys, I keep telling you but you never listen... buy your captain a good jock-strap and give him one of my guards!"
I rolled over and raised my left hand in appeal, the ball firm in my grip... and the ground exploded!
I stood up, throwing the ball high in the air, and the boys rushed over, thumping my back... his teammates too coming forward, everyone shaking hands in that typical gentlemanly cricketing end-of-game formality.
And as they ran away, excitedly discussing the next day's match, Sohail walked past me, his bat slung over his shoulder, letting out an agonised groan as he grabbed his crotch, and then grinned, "Chhote miya ko lagi nahi na?" winking before adding, "Hope I haven't damaged your jewels, huh, the way you keeled over!"
(An innocuous query about my welfare, with obvious reference to my status as the youngest member of my family... but also, evident from his action, grin and the follow-up question, a not-so-subtle reference to the wellbeing of my 'member'.)
I gave him a cold stare... seething!
He let out another groan and was gone in a miasma of suppressed giggles.
Well, he may be at that stage in life when sexual awaking has set in, and there is that intense urge to discover and experiment... but he was a totally spoilt and pampered brat... utterly obscene, and a bloody tease... and someone needed to teach him a lesson!
I'd do it... I'd fuck that kid, and I mean FUCK him, like the bitch in heat he was... whatever the means, whatever the method - fear, force or firewater - but fuck him!
In the end I needed neither fear, nor force... and surely not the assistance of firewater... he simply succumbed to his own desire, the same way a mighty tree falls before the power of the raging wind!
** ** ** ** **
'Bhaiya ... Zubair-bhai ... Bhaiya ... Zubair-bhai...' came the loud calls early next morning as the group of youngsters gathered outside my front gate... come to enquire since I hadn't gone down to the ground as usual.
"I won't be playing today," I hollered.
I heard a gasp of disbelief and then some fierce whispering
Yes, I was still mad... still seething... and was afraid I'd do or say something that I shouldn't, and so was reluctant to face Sohail. -- Guys, you must remember that I was no sagacious solon back then, I too was young, merely 23, stupid and immature in my own way!
A short while later came the knock on my door - I was in bed, in my boxers, reading a novel.
"It's open, come in," I called.
The door creaked open and three faces peered in - Shanker, Paul and Junaid.
"Bhaiya, why won't you play," asked Shanker, Sohail's deputy, "are you angry?"
"Not angry," I shook my head, "just not up to it."
"Zubair-bhai, are you hurt?" asked Junaid, stepping in.
"Guys," I laughed at their concern, "I'm not hurt, nor angry, just feverish, the heat I suppose..."
They nodded, still uncertain, and then trooped out, pulling the door behind them.
Lying in bed I heard the game begin... my team weirdly subdued, while Sohail gleefully loud, calling out orders as he instructed his players. And by the sounds carrying over, it soon became obvious that he was winning...
"Where's your captain, huh?" I heard him laugh several times, "Bhar gayi kya uski, didn't come down to play today?!"
And when the final wicket fell, his was the loudest cheer!
"Okay, guys, it's treat time!" I heard him announce, "But not that cheap bakery in your stupid neighbourhood, let's walk down to the mall instead, we'll have pizza, and floats... Oh, don't worry, it's on me!"
And as the boys clambered over the gate, I heard him say, "Hey, where's your captain, we should take him too..."
There was some indistinct murmur, and I heard Sohail laugh, "Is it? Okay, you guys go ahead and I'll bring him along!"
A short while later I heard the knock and the door opened, Sohail stepping into the room, "Chhote miya ko bukhar hain?" -- [ You have fever? ]
I put the book down and looked at him - he was glowing... his eyes twinkling... and he had a wide grin.
I shrugged and he walked over to the bed, slightly leaning over and placing his hand on my forehead, touching me for the first time, exclaiming, "You don't have a temperature!"
Well, I don't know what came over me, I wasn't really thinking, simply responding to all that anger I had felt over the past two months... the lust I had endured, the desire I had suppressed... the spell now snapped by his touch.
My hand shot up and grabbing his left arm, I jerked him forward...
Caught unaware, he stumbled, losing his balance and falling over me... I quickly wrapped my free arm around him, drawing him close while swinging one leg over him, pinning him down...
I released his arm and gripping his right hand placed it between my thighs, right over my cock!
"Feel the heat?" I asked looking up at him.
He gasped, totally stunned... desperately trying to pull away his hand, struggling to get out of my embrace - his face a bright red, the eyes wide with disbelief.
"That's where the fever is," I said, keeping his hand pressed on my cock, while I held him tight. "Feel the temperature now?"
That squirming, soft teen body slumped over me... the warmth... and his wriggling hand over my cock, struggling to pull away - only stimulated me further... and I began to grow hard rapidly as the blood gushed in, flooding the capillaries... the shaft quickly swelling and lengthening.
"Feel it?" I grinned up at him, force-fondling my throbbing hardness with his hand. "He isn't all that 'little' after all... pretty big, eh? You sure he'll fit into your tiny guard, huh?!"
"Lemme go..." he pleaded, still struggling... all his self-assured cockiness, his abrasive arrogance gone. His face a beet red, his nostrils flared... and I could feel his heart thump wildly against my chest.
"Why?" I laughed, holding him tighter, "You're always so concerned about the wellbeing of my 'chhote-miya', what happened, huh? Go on, check him out!"
"Please... uh, please..." he whimpered, his eyes shut tight.
I continued to rub his hand along the threshing length... increasing the pressure, "See how he flexes and twitches," I whispered, "just like the convulsion one has with high temperature!"
He buried his face in my shoulder, his body suddenly going limp, the struggle out of him...
"And next time you act too smart, or use any foul language, I'm gonna make you jerk me off in front of all your pals, and paint your face with my cum!" I said, abruptly releasing his hand and relinquishing my hold.
He pulled away his hand, but remained as he was, unmoving for a while, before scrambling off me and out of bed... turning around and rushing out of the room!
'That will teach him a lesson!' I thought with a satisfied smile as I lazily caressed myself... wondering if I should lock the door and jerk off... I was painfully hard, and Sohail's warm hand had been so incredibly arousing!
But I decided against it and went back to the book.
... to be continued