By Mickey S.


This is a fictional story. Most of the characters and events are figments of the author's imagination. However, some of the fictional characters take part in real events and some real characters take part in fictional events. In spite of that, this is a fictional story. My thanks to Tim and Drew for all of their help. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at

Chapter Seven

Saturday after lunch Mother again raised the bath issue. Since she and Terrence had agreed on it the night before I was resigned to it, but I was still nervous about the idea. It was less the feeling that I was being babied than the idea of being naked with Terrence that upset me. Yes, we'd been naked with all of the other boys in the changing room at school, but that was different. That involved a large crowd and I had always rushed through those experiences, paying as little attention as possible to everything. But to be naked in the bathroom with just Terrence watching me - that made me feel very uncomfortable. I knew, however, that I had no choice.

I sat on my bed as Mother unwrapped the bandages from around my chest. Terrence went to the bathroom to run the water.

"I don't want you bending or twisting trying to wash yourself, Woody. I'm going to ask Terrence to help wash your back and anyplace else you can't easily reach."

"Don't you dare, Mother! It's one thing to ask him to keep an eye on me, but another to ask him to wash me as though he were some kind of servant."

"All right," she conceded, a bit too quickly, I thought. "I won't say a word to him. But please don't try to do anything that might hurt your ribs."

She followed me down the hall to the bathroom and for a moment I was afraid she was going to join us in the room, but she stopped in the doorway.

"Now remember, Woody, don't hurt yourself trying to reach everywhere to wash. If you need help, please ask Terrence." With that, she quickly closed the door and so missed my glaring.

"You really don't have to do this, Terrence." Now that we were alone I really didn't want to begin.

"Relax, Woody, I don't mind. Now take off those trousers let me help you into the tub."

I turned my back to Terrence and dropped my pants, then my under shorts. I wasn't even looking at him but already I was starting to feel that first little tingle of arousal. I hurriedly stepped over the side of the tub, anxious to get submerged in the water. Terrence grabbed my upper left arm and held on tight.

"Now very slowly lower yourself but be careful not to twist your torso. I'm here to help you keep your balance so don't worry about falling."

I held onto the side of the tub with my right hand but found if I put any weight on it my ribs hurt, so I had to use Terrence for more than balance. Finally, I made it down to a sitting position. The awkwardness and twinges of pain had eliminated any sense of sexual arousal as I was getting down, and once my privates were under water I was less concerned with that. After making sure I was comfortable, Terrence filled a small pitcher with water.

"Now tip your head back carefully and I'll wash your hair for you."

"Just wet my hair. I can wash it."

"I don't think you should lift your arms over your head. Let me take care of your hair and then I'll leave you to wash the rest of yourself."

As much as I objected to Terrence treating me like an invalid, I found that having one's hair washed by another was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. As he lathered my hair it was as if his fingertips were massaging my scalp. He really wasn't doing anything I didn't do myself, but somehow another's hands made it feel heavenly. After he'd rinsed the shampoo from my head he had one more surprise for me.

"I know I said I'd leave you to your own washing, but I think it might be a good idea if I did your back as well. That's hard enough to reach if you're well and can twist all you want."

I knew he had a point so I let him wash my back, even though I felt foolish sitting there motionless as he did so. The feel of his hands slipping and sliding over me was very sensual and within seconds I was fully aroused. Fortunately, the washing had added some suds to the water so unless someone was staring at the water in front of my belly it wasn't all that obvious. And I kept my hands covering that area as well, to make sure my erection didn't rise above the surface. Once Terrence was done with my back he sat on the closed lid of the toilet, turned partially away from me to give me a bit of privacy and left me to my own washing. I tried to wash as quickly as possible, hoping that the activity might help make my erection subside. My ribs let me know when I was moving too quickly or too strenuously but even so I managed to complete my washing in record time. I was still mostly hard when Terrence stood to help me up, however, and I hesitated, unsure of how to proceed.

"What's the matter, Woody? Are you hurting?"

"Uh, no. I'm, ah,'s rather embarrassing. You see, I somehow got somewhat aroused."

"Ah, that happens to me all the time, frequently for no reason at all. Don't fret about it." His words were casual but he seemed as tense as I was. "Tell you what, I'll towel dry your hair while you sit there and maybe that will give your willy a chance to relax."

I was sure that wouldn't work but I had no choice. When he had finished I was as hard as ever. As he helped me to my feet I grabbed the towel he had left on the side of the tub and held it in front of myself, trying to cover my embarrassment. As soon as I was on my feet, Terrence turned away and I got out of the tub.

I dried myself as well as I could but we both realized at the same time I would need help with my back, lower legs and feet. Terrence took the towel from me and stood behind me, patting my back, then squatted down to dry my feet and legs from behind. Then he stood and wrapped the towel around my waist so I could turn around without too much embarrassment.

"Thanks, Ter. I'm really sorry about this."

"Nonsense, it happens to all us lads, although usually we don't have an audience at the time. I have a suggestion, though. Why don't I step out of the room so you can `relieve' yourself? Then we can have your mother in to re-wrap your chest. No need for her to see what a big boy you've grown up to be."

I'm sure I blushed from head to toe as I realized what he was suggesting I do. He leaned forward, smiled and tussled my damp hair a bit then turned toward the door.

"Oh, and speaking of that, I don't want to ever hear you call yourself a runt again." He glanced down at the bulge in my towel, winked at me and left the room.

I was so excited it didn't take much to bring about a climax. All I had to do was think about that smile as he leaned toward me. For a second I'd thought he was going to kiss me, and just thinking of that as I put my hand on my willy, as he'd called it, and I exploded.

Early Sunday afternoon Terrence and I were doing school work in the dining room and mother was reading in the parlour when I heard the front door open and someone came in. We all got up at once to see who it was but Mother made it to the hall first, just as Dad came into view. She threw her arms around him as I rushed toward them. I joined their hug, forgetting for a moment that I shouldn't do something physical like that. The pain as I squeezed against them reminded me and I gasped as I let go. They separated and looked at me with concern.

"Are you all right, son?" Dad asked.

"Yes, I'm okay. I just forgot myself for a moment. How was Amsterdam? What are you doing home so soon? I thought you weren't due back until Wednesday."

"Whoa! I'll get to your questions later. But first, how are you feeling? Mother told me about your rugby incident."

"Told you?"

"Yes, we talked Thursday night. There may be a war simmering in the background, but telephone lines to the continent are still working, slowly and sporadically, at least. And it was Copenhagen, not Amsterdam, by the way. Now let's sit and you can tell me all about your injury and then I'll tell you about my trip."

Dad left his suitcase in the hall and we went into the parlour where I related my experience to Dad. I couldn't remember ever having had a sports-related story to tell him before and, while he was concerned about my injury, I could see he was also proud of my accomplishment. Terrence added a comment here and there, usually enhancing my actions, making me seem more athletic and daring rather than terrified.

"So you scored a try for the team. How did the game end, do you know?"

"Terrence said we won. I have to take his word for it, as obviously I wasn't there for the ending."

"We won by two points, Woody, so your try was the deciding one. You won the game for us."

"You've been here all weekend and didn't mention that! What were you waiting for?"

"I thought I'd let you find out for yourself when we got to school tomorrow."

"I'm proud of you, Woody, although I'm sorry your victory had a painful price."

"It's not so bad, Dad, as long as I'm careful about the way I move. The worst was Thursday itself and Mother gave me pills for the pain. It's getting better every day now."

It wasn't really that much better but I'd never experienced this situation before, having Dad proud of me for something other than academic achievements, so I was determined not to appear too damaged.

"What were you doing in Denmark, Mr. Cooper? Woody thought you were in Holland."

"That was my last trip to the continent. I'm trying to get a personal perspective on how the war is affecting people all over Europe, those I can get to anyway."

"But there isn't much of a war so far, Dad. Do you think it will really get worse?"

"I'm afraid it will, Woody. There's no going back. Even if Britain and France were to accept that Austria and Czechoslovakia are now a part of Germany and Poland is divided between Germany and Russia, I don't think Hitler's appetite for expansion is satisfied yet."

"Even so, when the real war starts, won't it be fought in France and Belgium, like last time? Denmark's a little out of the way." I didn't know all that much about history but I knew where the major battles had been, as Dad had been involved in some of them.

"The battle lines will probably be similar to the last war, but Denmark and Norway have strategic importance, too. They are the gates to the Baltic, so whoever controls them has a lot to say about German access to the North Sea and Atlantic. I'm not in the business of gathering intelligence for the military, but I keep my ears open and there's lots of rumbling under the surface about those two countries, especially Norway. I'd love to visit Oslo but crossing the North Sea is a bit trickier than getting across the Channel at this point."

"And you won't be making that trip as long as I have anything to say about it, dear. Remember, you have a family that needs you. We don't want you taking any chances with your safety."

"I'm as careful as I can be, Lydia, you know that. After my injuries in the Great War I'm not eager to be a casualty again."

"So if there's going to be real fighting in this war, Dad, what's taking so long for it to get started? Not that I want death and destruction, but I really don't understand what's going on."

"I'm somewhat surprised myself, but I think it breaks down this way. England and France declared war in response to the invasion of Poland, but there was really nothing they could do about that. Since they're not the aggressors, they've adopted a defensive stance, more or less. Germany has surprised me by staying so quiet. Maybe they weren't quite ready for war. Or maybe they have some plan where they're going to strike all at once, and they're waiting for the right time. In any case, I can't see this stalemate going on for much longer."

"Do you think they'll attack here when the real fighting starts, Mr. Cooper?"

"At some point they probably will, Terrence, but I think once the real war starts up they'll be pretty much focused on the continent for a while. Maybe if another stalemate develops like the last time they'll attack here as another front."

"Enough talk of war, William. You talk of it as if it were an abstract idea, although you know how real it can be. And you boys talk as though it were a game, something exciting and entertaining."

"We know how real war can be, Mother. All of our lives we've listened to people who went through the Great War."

"I know, Woody. But hearing about it is different from living through it. And I'm afraid you'll soon know the horrible reality of war firsthand. I'd give anything to postpone that time as much as possible, but I know I can't do anything about it."

"Speaking of diversions, have you given any thought to a vacation for the boys during their term break, Lydia? You were talking about wanting to do that before I left on my trip. Assuming Woody is up to traveling after his sports mishap, that is."

There was just a week left in the spring term at Bancroft's and then we had three weeks off before summer term began. Neither of my parents had mentioned anything about our going away during the break before this.

"Vacation? You mean it, Dad? Of course I'm up to it. I'm pretty good now and will get better every day. But where would we go? After all, there is a, um, you know, going on."

"Yes, at your mother's request we won't say the word, but that does limit our traveling choices. No Grand Tour, nothing on the continent, for that matter. Maybe Scotland?"

"Wait a minute, Mr. Cooper. You said boys. I wasn't planning on going anywhere and I'd have to talk to my parents about what we could afford." Terrence looked uncomfortable.

"Of course we'll have to talk to them and get their permission, Terrence, but don't worry about the expense. We're not talking about anything extravagant and we can help out with the cost. I'm sure your presence would make any trip much more enjoyable for Woody."

"Can you get away from work for a vacation, Dad?"

"I can write my column no matter where I am, Woody. I can make any trip a working vacation."

I noticed Mother hadn't responded to Dad's initial question about a trip. She now spoke up.

"Actually, I'm not sure I can get away. You know I've been teaching first aid to the Civil Defense Corps and I've just learned we have new classes starting the week after next. As much as I'd love to take the boys away on holiday, this takes priority. Maybe they can go visit my parents in Coventry. It's not as exciting as traveling somewhere new, but at least it wouldn't be like staying home."

"What about Cousin Alice, Woody? She invited us to visit her in the summer but I'll have to work then. Maybe we could go see her now instead."

"Are you sure, Terrence?" I still wasn't sure I liked Alice. I couldn't get those piercing eyes of hers out of my head. She seemed to be able to look right into my mind and that made me uneasy.

"Well, it wouldn't be an exciting trip, but it's someplace neither of us has ever been and my parents say Somerset is beautiful country."

"It would certainly be nice for you boys to get out of the city for a while. Going to Coventry would just be swapping one city for another." Mother seemed to warm quickly to the idea.

"Do you think Alice would mind us coming on such short notice?"

"The only way to know is to ask. I can ask my parents to wire her when I get home tomorrow night."

Usually when Terrence and I spent weekends at each other's houses we went home Sunday night to prepare for the week ahead, but because we weren't sure how I'd make out with my commute on my own, he'd decided to stay over Sunday night as well. I had no problem with that. He could stay with me every night as far as I was concerned.

Monday morning was a new experience for me at school. I was used to being the goat when it came to school sporting events, not the hero. And far from taking away from my accomplishment, having been wounded in battle only added to my status. Everyone wanted to hear about my trip to the hospital and I lost track of how many times I brushed my tie aside and unbuttoned a couple of shirt buttons to show off the bandage wrapped around my chest. Though I usually preferred to be in the background, I knew this was an experience I'd probably never have again, so I enjoyed it to the fullest.

The most important part of it all was that I felt like I'd finally been accepted by my fellow students. While I hadn't ever been ostracized I'd always felt like an outsider. What acceptance I had was due to my friendship with Terrence, not because of anything to do with me personally. But now I was one of the guys, or one of the lads. That was something I didn't have much experience with even back home at DeWitt.

There wasn't much time to enjoy my newfound camaraderie, though. The week was taken up with end-of-term exams and Terrence and I were preoccupied with our upcoming vacation.  

Monday night Terrence talked to his parents about our proposed trip to Somerset. They thought it was a wonderful idea and Mrs. Atkins said she'd wire her cousin Tuesday. On Thursday Terrence had the news that Alice had wired back that she was looking forward to our trip. While the brevity of the telegram made it hard to convey much emotion, he said she seemed excited about the idea. That weekend at Terrence's house, we made our plans. Dad had picked up a train schedule for us during the week and we had decided to take a train out of Paddington Station on Tuesday. As excited as I was to be going away with Terrence, I was still a bit nervous about Cousin Alice, however, and as we went to bed Saturday night I finally said something.

"Are you sure visiting Alice is a good idea?"

"After a week of planning the trip, now you're starting to have doubts? What's the matter, Woody? Didn't you like Alice?"

"I think I did, but I'm not sure. She was nice enough to me, and she seemed sincere when she invited us to visit her, but there was just something about the way she sometimes looked at me that made me nervous."

"Believe me, Woody, she's a good person. I don't know her all that well but my mother has known her all her life. And Mum's a pretty good judge of character, in my experience."

"Okay then, as long as both you and your mother vouch for her, what can I say?"

"As long as we're voicing second thoughts, are you sure your ribs are all right for a trip like this, Woody? You still seem to be in pain when you move in certain ways." We were lying side by side in Terrence's bed in the dark.  

"I'm feeling better all the time, Terrence." Actually, the discomfort in my ribs hadn't changed much at all in over a week, but as long as I kept them wrapped and didn't make any extreme moves, it wasn't bad. At least I hadn't had to take any pain killers since the weekend before.

"And you're bathing all right now?"

`Yes, thank God. I wouldn't want either of my parents helping me in the tub. That would be so embarrassing."

"I can understand that. I wouldn't want my mum or dad washing me either."

"My mother is still washing my hair over the sink, but other than that I can manage the rest myself."

"I can do that for you while we're away if you still need help."

"I hope I won't. I hate feeling like an invalid." I actually had mixed feelings about it all. I loved having Terrence help me. The feel of his hands on me sent shivers all through my body. But, at the same time, I hated to ask for his help. And I was terrified that I would say or do something that would give away how much pleasure his touch gave me. So, all in all, it was safer for me to go without his help if at all possible.

"Don't worry about that. If there's anything you need, just tell me. I'm more than happy to help you. That's what friends are for."

"Thanks, Ter. I've never had a friend like you before."

"And I've never had one like you, either."

"You mean a rich Yank?"

He rolled toward me and punched me lightly on the arm.

"You know that's not what I mean. It's hard to explain. I just love being around you, even when we're not doing anything. You're fun to be with, but you're comfortable, too. I had friends here in the area when I was much younger, but it's not the same as that. I guess maybe it's more like what an adult friendship is like."

I was touched by what he was saying, but it made me uneasy, too, because it was so close to the way I felt about him. Except I had some pretty strong physical feelings as well. To cover up my discomfort, I turned so that we were now facing each other and punched him on the arm.

"Is that some backward way of trying to claim that you're grown up? That you're not a boy anymore?"

"I don't need to find ways to back into that idea. In case you haven't noticed, I am all grown up. Just because you've still got some growing to do ..."  

I reached out to him and lightly grabbed at the side of his waist. I knew from experience that he was very ticklish there. As I squeezed lightly and worked my other hand under the side of him that was lying on the bed he immediately started squirming and giggling.

"All grown up, huh?"

"More grown than you," he gasped as he grabbed the sides of my waist. I was nearly as ticklish as he was but I hadn't thought of that until after I'd attacked him. I tried to twist and squirm away from him but groaned as a pain shot through my ribs.

"Oh damn, I hurt you! Are you all right, Woody?"

"Yeah, I just moved more than I should have."  I rolled over onto my back as tears welled up in my eyes. I was glad it was dark so he couldn't see them stream down the sides of my face.

"Are you sure? I was an idiot to do that to you."

"Nonsense. I started it." I wanted to take a few deep breaths but even that hurt, so I forced myself to take shorter, shallower breaths. The pain quickly eased.

"I'm okay now. It was just that one quick move, I guess."

"I'll make a note of that. No tickling until you've healed. Any other physical activity that bothers you?"

"Just sudden, strenuous moves. As long as I take it easy, I'm okay."

"Then for two weeks, we'll take it easy."

To Be Continued