This story was written as an experiment and as "therapy" at a time when I was at a cusp in my life, and I'd realised that closets are pretty lonely and started inviting other people inside. Some of those people drew my attention to the handle on my side of the door, and I've taken a few peeks outside.
Special thanks to It's Only Me from Across the Sea for hosting this story, and to him and my friend Flopot for encouraging me to do it!
This story contains explicit descriptions of sexual acts between the characters in it. Although the characters are teenagers who may be below the age of consent in the country or state where this is read, nothing written here should be taken as approval of, or encouragement for, sexual liaisons between people where such liaisons are either illegal, or objectionable for moral reasons. Although this story does not include safe sex practices, it is everyone's own responsibility to themselves and to each other to engage only in PROTECTED SEX. It is a story. Any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental. Nothing represented here is based on any fact known to the author.
The story is copyright 2001 by "Feangol". If you copy the story, please leave the credits, and the web address of http://www.iomfats.org/ present, and also the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to receive feedback.
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If I hadn't been so busy the previous day (hiding from my maths teacher) I might have ended up with some choice in the matter. I sighed to myself. There was nothing quite so annoying as a sarcastic Welshman I decided. Not even missing out on my first choice for Games.
"I give up with you lot! You were supposed to bloody sign up yesterday. Yesterday!"
The only teacher that regularly swore at us. How he didn't get fired we just couldn't figure out.
"You know swimming is always popular! You can't come crying to me if you don't read the notices Sunny Jim" he said, punctuating his diatribe with a rap of his bony knuckles on my head.
"But I ..."
"You've had it boyo!" He seemed to delight in shoving his Welshness down everyone's throats every chance he got. "Now you got thirty seconds to pick one of the other options or I'll chose one for you!"
My passion for swimming failed to override my natural timidity. I expect had I actually been more talented in the sport I might have fought harder, but sadly whilst I was an able swimmer I was never able to achieve anything approaching success, and had ended the season feeling very down about the whole thing. Some part of me began to realise here was my "out", my excuse to move on. The swim team had been a bad move, and had shown me only failure.
As I stood in the changing rooms outside Mr Hughes' office a bunch of older fifth form boys came back from the shower. The usual modest towel-skirt and underpants dance ensued and suddenly I was aware that I was still under the scrutiny of the bombastic sports teacher. Although I was almost 15 he still managed to make me feel like I was an 11 year old back in the first year.
I sighed a second time, realising that my attempts to avoid my Maths detention yesterday wouldn't exactly stand up as a valid excuse to bargain for a place on the swimming team. Especially as they weren't falling over themselves to take back on a second rate athlete like myself. I glanced over the list of options I'd been given. Reading the first few items on the list, the tally showed 4 free places against Squash, 3 against Rowing, 2 for Kayaking and 4 for Rugby. Squash was obviously out for me as it was a total skive at our school - you got just one game in during the afternoon and once your turn was over you were pretty much free to annoy the hell out of the teacher in charge until he sent you off to change. There was an unwritten understanding where if you failed to turn up back at the observation balcony, so long as you weren't caught leaving school early everyone was happy. Not my scene: I enjoyed using the fitness that swimming had given me. Rugby was out because I didn't see the sense in training hard only to get bust up in some bad tackle on the pitch and be out for the season anyway. A kid at our place had broken his leg during a house match last year and I'd thrown up after seeing him lying there on the muddy grass. I considered Rowing seriously - I enjoy water, but then I remembered the coach for our age group was an annoying screechy woman who seemed to hate everyone including the other rowing coaches. So....
"Ok kayaking" I said. I wasn't too sure what kayaking was even. I was pretty sure it was canoeing because the only stuff I'd seen down in the boat house apart from rowing boats were canoes.
"Righto, get your self off to the boat house quick smart. You better run you're late already Cooper!"
Great... I'm always late for stuff. I grabbed my bag and ran down towards the river.
As I approached the boat house I could hear Sylvia the Siren screeching at the boys who had chosen to row that afternoon. They were, I decided, either very brave or profoundly deaf. As I emerged from the wooded path and into the sunlight I could see an organised form of chaos - boys struggling to carry their long unwieldy boats out onto the bank of the river. Most of the boys wore matching lycra all-in-ones that looked very smart, hugging their boyish contours. On the older rowers who had developed as only rowers can, these all-in-ones made them look like professional athletes and greatly impressed us younger boys. Sylvia stood out the front of the boat house, and it was clear that had she moved she would have allowed the boys to manoeuvre their boats much more easily. It confirmed to me that shouting was indeed the highlight of her afternoon. I was too frightened of Sylvia to ask where the kayakers were and, avoiding the heavy traffic out front went round the back of the boat house with the intention of going inside to find them .
"Hey Cooper, what ya doing here?" called an adult male voice as I rounded the corner. Mr Watson waved at me from his canoe. He was surrounded by 6 boys also in their boats. On land. On the grass. Not on the water. And he was asking me what I was doing?
"Er I ... Sorry I'm late Sir" I said, remembering my manners just in time "but I just signed up for kayaking and I wasn't sure where to go..."
"Its alright mate, but you need to get changed fast - just usual games kit is fine for today" Mr Watson interrupted. If any other teacher were to call you "mate" it would sound cheesy, but Mr Watson was one of those people who made you feel comfortable and calm around him. He was very strict, but well respected. A "mate" from him was an inclusive, warm thing.
I dashed into the back of the boathouse passing out of the warm sunlight into the slightly fusty atmosphere of the changing area. This was the first time I had ever changed inside the boat house, and I was careful to see if there was any demarcation about where different ages of boys were changing and leaving their kit. As it was mostly fourth years like myself this afternoon I was relatively safe, and found a free peg amongst clothing around my size. I hastily removed my tie and hung it over the peg, and added my shirt (I'd got ink on it again - mum was going to do her nut) and then after sitting to untie my scuffed shoes I removed my trousers. After frantically rummaging around in my bag I found and retrieved my shorts and p.e. vest and put them on. Normally we had to bring full kit on the first games lesson back, and it was lucky I had done so or I'd have just had my swimming trunks to wear. I wasn't too sure about trainers but I slipped them on anyway without stopping to lace them and dashed back out. The whole process must only have taken minutes.
I ran back out into the sunlight and over to Mr Watson's group. He was still in his boat, apparently demonstrating some techniques to the other boys. They were at that moment joined by another boy who had just brought a canoe around. He looked older than the rest of us, partly because he was taller and bulkier. He had very blond hair - almost white from the sun, and just as I realised that I was staring at him he looked up and smiled at me. I couldn't help but grin back. It was like there was an electrical circuit between his smile and mine - when his switched on, mine did too. I had no conscious choice about it and immediately felt self-conscious and blushed deeply. Mr Watson looked up as the blond kid put the boat down and then saw me.
"Ah Luke, could you find uh.. Sam?" he looked at me questioningly. I nodded. "...Sam a buoyancy aid, boat and paddle please."
"Sure," said Luke, smiling that glorious smile again.
Luke gave me a half nod and I followed him back round towards the front of the boat house.
"So you done this before Sam?"
"No," I replied "First time. But I'm a good swimmer so...."
"Don't worry you'll be fine. Its totally safe if you listen up to what's said. You're not getting a deck so if you DO fall in, you'll fall right out of the boat." Luke assured me, as we walked inside. I had no idea what he was talking about, but if he said I'd be fine, I almost believed it.
We walked over to a rack of boats, and we each took an end and lifted one off onto the floor. Luke then took me back to where the buoyancy aids were hung. He selected one from the rack.
"Here this should fit you - try it on" he said, handing it over to me. I slipped it on and tried to do the zip up, but it was so bulky I was having a hard time seeing what I was doing.
"Here let me help" Luke offered, and took hold of the bottom of the zip. He struggled a bit with it and finally managed to zip me up.
"You got to do the buckle too" he explained and ended up having to help me adjust and do the strap up. I felt a little strange receiving his ministrations - on the one hand it made me feel like a little kid to have this tall handsome boy almost dressing me. On the other hand, I wasn't sure I totally disliked his attention.
We matched an oar (sorry, "paddle") to my height and put it in the boat. Luke offered to take one end and helped me carry the canoe back round to where the rest of the group were doing some warm up exercises.
"Ok guys drop the boat there and do some stretches." Mr Watson instructed. While we stretched he asked me if I had paddled before. It took me a moment then I realised this meant had I been in a canoe before.
"No, never" I answered.
"Ok not a problem - everyone else has done a bit so I'll get my assistant here to stay with you. Luke's working for a coaching qualification." he explained, smiling at Luke. "If you get into difficulty and fall out, the only thing to remember is don't grab your boat and turn it over, and if someone offers you the front of their kayak to hold on to, just hold it and don't try to climb out onto their boat or you'll both end up in the drink."
"Ok" I said, beginning to feel the reality of my lightly-made choice of games activity sinking in. My insecurity must have been evident on my face.
"It's not a problem - its only water and it's a warm day" Luke laughed. "Just remember how much you like swimming and you probably won't end up having to! Its all about balance and confidence"
"Ok boys!" Mr Watson said, getting the group's attention "Lets get these boats round to the front now - the rowers should be out of our way. Luke" he looked over at us "Can you help Sam set up his boat, and when you've given him the safety brief bring your boats round too. I'll be working the group near the boat house so you can get Sam on the water when you're ready."
I was pretty impressed Mr Watson trusted this guy so much. I thought he must be a good canoeist to be allowed to take charge of me. The rest of the group paired up with one boy standing between the front and one boy at the rear of the two canoes, and walked round to the front of the boat house leaving Luke and I alone on the secluded lawn area nestled in the copse at the back of the boat house. The sun was beating down on us, and I guessed from Luke's tanned face and limbs that he must spend a lot of time out of doors. His legs were as smooth as mine, and seem to have a golden glow to them.
"Ok Sam do you want to get in the boat and then we can adjust the footrests yeah?" asked Luke, breaking my reverie.
"Oh yeah ok!" I responded with a false energy. The sun had been making me feel very comfortable I realised.
I stepped into the plastic canoe.
"That's it, its ok to stand on the seat in these boats - just get in and poke your feet down."
It was a little awkward but I sat down on the seat.
"No no, you need to poke your legs down inside" laughed Luke, and put his hands on my knees and pushed. "Your lucky these boats have a large cockpit - you'd have real problems getting into a lot of kayaks if you sit down before your legs are inside."
I felt a bit stupid, but I looked up at looks smiling face and realised there was only good humour there. I smiled back.
"Ok now are your feet touching the footrest?" he asked. I pointed my toes and couldn't feel anything in there.
"No I don't think so" I answered. I tried to look down but I couldn't bend in the right way to look inside the boat while I was sitting in it.
"Its ok let me see how far it needs come back" Luke said, and bent over the boat with his head over my lap, peering down at my feet. I tensed up - something about having this boy's head so close to me in such a position felt dangerous and exciting at the same time. As soon as he'd put it there, his head was gone as Luke kneeled back up beside the boat.
"Right hop out and we'll move it back a few notches" Luke told me. I tried to comply, but as I used my arms to push myself up to free my legs a little I somehow put too much weight on one side of the boat and helplessly tipped over onto Luke.
"Woah easy tiger!" he laughed as he caught me. I was half out of the boat but Luke had caught my upper body and was lying on his back with his strong arms around me. I felt that tingle of dangerous niceness again and started trying to free myself from the boat and from Luke, but I was making such a mess of it Luke started laughing. His giggles were infectious and I couldn't help but join in. Laughing we finally managed to separate and Luke grinned over at me before reaching inside the boat to adjust the footrest.
"What are you two up to? You shouldn't be here messing around what are you supposed to be doing?" God, Sylvia had such an annoying voice. I felt myself blushing heavily, resenting her presence.
"We're adjusting this boat and then we're getting out onto the water, just like Mr Watson told us" said Luke, surprising me with his calm and measured response. Personally I would have liked to tell her to fuck off, but I'm always to chicken to do stuff like that. It helped that his voice had settled and he sounded more like the adult compared to Sylvia's high-pitched screech.
Sylvia didn't even have the manners to bother to answer, and just huffed off back into the boat house. Luke looked up at me and rolled his eyes.
"I don't think she likes anyone having fun" Luke said. I smiled shyly back at him and then realised - yes! I was having fun... I was still nervous but with Luke helping me I was starting to enjoy myself. And Luke was too! With me! My smile broadened as I relaxed a little, and Luke bent back down over the boat. He was pretty cool for an older kid - usually they acted all superior.
"So how long have you been canoeing?" I asked.
"It's kayaking not canoeing really. But I've been doing it for ages - my dad used to take me until he .." he broke off, his voice sounding a little strained.
"What?" I asked, but a chill down my spine made me dread the answer.
Luke stopped moving down inside the kayak but continued to speak. "My dad died two years ago." There was a pause, I felt I had to fill it but I wasn't sure what to say.
"Oh shit" Great - absolute genius. "Sorry."
"Its ok" he said after a moment kneeling back up, his face a little red from his exertions. "I've got over it" he flashed his grin at me again, but it was forced and didn't reach his eyes. I smiled weakly back at him.
"Ok try it now" he said, trying to lighten the atmosphere with a light slap on my back.
I climbed back into the boat, and this time I felt very cramped in there.
"I can't straighten my legs" I said, pushing up against the foot plate.
"Its ok" answered Luke "you're meant to bend your legs out a bit anyway, it helps you balance the boat when you're manoeuvring." He leaned over and looked inside. "Go on spread them to the sides" he said, and took hold of each of my legs just inside my thigh and pushed them apart. The touch was brief but I liked the way he took charge. I smelled his hair as his head was in front of me, the warm sun freeing the sweet smell of his shampoo. I didn't quite stifle a sigh that came from somewhere.
"Ok" he said disappointing me by standing up and fetching a paddle. He proceeded to efficiently rattle through the safety brief, and some basics about how to hold the paddle and make the boat go forward. I felt a little stupid pretending to paddle on grass and was almost relieved when he suggested we move our boats round to the front of the boathouse.
"Ok here's what we're going to do" Luke said in his confident manner. "I'll get on the water so you can see how to do it, and then I'll come along side your boat as you get in and help stabilise you."
"Ok" I said meekly, still feeling shy in front of this confident boy.
Once he had slid it onto the river from the low-cemented bank, Luke got into his boat, using his paddle to somehow slide into his seat. He made it look easy, but was kind enough to explain how he did it rather than showing off as many boys would have. He paddled out onto the river and waved at Mr Watson on the opposite bank before circling back to face me as I stood there.
"Ok push your boat off the bank like I did and make sure you hold onto it" he said. I complied and was grateful that the drop from the bank was literally only a few inches. I moved the paddle across the back of the boat as Luke instructed me, and he paddled up along side and put his paddle next to it and held on to the opposite side of my boat.
"Right sit down on the bank and put your feet in the boat." Luke instructed. "Ok now sit on the paddle and slide your bum along it until you are over the boat. This was terrifying! I wobbled a little and Luke got an arm around my waist and when it seemed stable enough I sat my bum inside the boat. I had a bit of a struggle to get my legs sorted out but finally I was in.
"Alriiight!" said Luke, pleased it had gone smoothly. "Ok we'll push off the bank now and try some paddling!"
It was so exciting and scary at the same time. In fact it felt almost how I had whenever Luke was close to me or touching me but I was too busy having fun to think about that. Luke encouraged me to paddle forward and I realised he was paddling backwards and making me paddle towards him. The boat wobbled a little but felt more stable as I relaxed a bit. We must have spent ages just going round in circles but he didn't seem to lose patience and was apparently having as much fun watching me nervously getting to grips with this new activity as I was having myself. Then I made the mistake of losing concentration. One minute I was paddling along, and it struck me how great Luke's golden arms looked in the sun reflecting off the droplets of water all over them... and before I could finish that thought the world was greeny grey and suddenly silent. And cold!
Light and sudden noise! Air!
I made the surface again and began treading water, my brain catching up with what had happened. I'd got water up my nose which I hated and coughed a little to clear the phlegm and water.
"You ok buddy?" Luke was there. "Just grab hold of your boat before it drifts... that's it - just the end" I remembered I shouldn't turn it over, but I couldn't remember why.
"Don't turn it over you'll fill it up" Luke reminded me. Ah okies. I was acclimatising to the water now and now my breathing was back under control I was almost enjoying the coolness on such a warm day.
"Ok Luke try for a rescue - its all good practice" said a friendly voice, and I recognised Mr Watson. "You ok in there Sam?"
"Yes sir - I was just getting a bit hot and fancied a dip" I panted.
"A man after my own heart" he laughed. "If you have trouble just swim it to the bank - you're near enough. Give me a shout if you need me Luke" he said, and returned to the main group.
Luke smiled at me. "Ok bud, grab the front of my boat with one hand and pull yours over here." Luke proceeded to talk me through the rescue, and I helped him seesaw my boat over the front of his to empty it.
"Ok pass me your paddle" Oh my god my paddle! I looked around anxiously. Phew ok it was there floating. I guess it was designed that way but for a moment I had visions of it sitting at the bottom of the river. I passed it to Luke and he put both paddles across the two boats, mine floating the right way up alongside his. Several minutes of acrobatics ensued, as Luke instructed me in how to climb back up between both kayaks and helped me scramble back in, holding my upper arm to stabilise me.
"Ok good job - well done." Luke congratulated me, and squeezed my wet shoulder gently. I looked over and grinned back at him.
"That was awesome I would never have thought that was possible" I said, thoroughly impressed with his strength and skill.
"Hehe that's easy. Its harder actually being the victim to be honest. You did well - you're very supple which makes it a lot easier. Some people aren't strong or fit enough to climb out like you did."
I blushed a little at his compliments. "I was the idiot who fell in though" I said, feeling modesty forced me to show I didn't have a big head now.
"No you're doing great - you've got a good feel for it ... you can already go in a straight line which takes some people weeks to do! Lets see if I can show you a few things so if you start to feel like your tipping or turning the wrong way you know what to do." he suggested.
I lost track of time how long the two of us spent working at it, but I was aware of the rowers coming back and packing away and then Mr Watson paddling back in with the rest of the group.
"Shit" said Luke waving back at the gesticulating figure of Mr Watson "We better go back in Sam"
"Yeah" I said a little sadly. I'd had huge fun and although I was tired I didn't want to stop. "You must be well bored Luke" I said, not entirely believing it myself.
"Why? I've had a great time. It's been great watching you learn."
"Its been fun watching you watching me" I giggled and immediately felt a bit silly. Luke reddened a little, and smiled.
"Ok lets go then" he said, breaking the brief silence, and we paddled back over to the slipway where Mr Watson helped me get out of my boat, pulling me up by my buoyancy aid.
"Ok guys? You two looks like you had lots of fun today!" he smiled. "Get your kit away quick as you can and grab a shower."
"Yes sir" we chorused.