THE HUNTING SEASON

by Pink Panther

This is the final chapter then? Well, actually it isn't. I wrote the end of the story as a single chapter, but at around 15,500 words, it was just too long, so I decided to split it. The final chapter has been written. It's currently with my reviewer/proof reader. As soon as I get it back, I'll make any necessary corrections and send it to the guy who converts it to HTML, which usually takes a day or so, which means that it should be online just a few days after this one. Sorry, but that did seem like the best way to do it.

Unusually, I'm asking you not to send me any feedback following this chapter. Please wait until I've posted chapter 72 so that you can give your reactions to the whole story.

Finally, please may I remind you that Nifty relies on readers' donations in order to keep operating as a free site. So if you haven't donated recently, please go to the home page, click on the `Donate' button and give what you can.



CHAPTER SEVENTY-ONE

May 1962

For Alex, the first two weeks of the summer term were busy but uneventful. As far as his teaching was concerned, he had matters well under control. Having covered the work they needed to do, all three of his public-exam classes were practising on past examination papers. The priority was to build the boys' confidence while not allowing any room for complacency. It was quite a balancing act.

The one problem was taking senior games. While coaching the second-eleven football team had been quite enjoyable, taking a group of fifteen to eighteen-year olds for athletics definitely wasn't. With only a rudimentary knowledge of the sport, all he was able to do was supervise. It felt like a waste of an afternoon.

With Hartfield having replaced Pennington, Alex's sex-life continued much as it had before. If anything, it had improved. The more he got to know Hartfield, the more he liked him. The fourteen-year old was fun to be with, far more engaging company than Pennington had ever been. The youngster's maths was improving too. The lad's recent work suggested that he would obtain a considerably higher examination grade than had seemed likely a few months earlier.

It was Saturday afternoon. Hartfield had arrived at the flat just before two o'clock. After spending half an hour working through some past exam questions, they decided to call it a day. They were expecting visitors. The youngster's excitement was all too obvious. For his part, Alex still harboured misgivings, but when he'd broached the idea, Martin aka Mr Brown had agreed without hesitation.

It would have its compensations, Alex reminded himself. He hadn't seen Long since before the Easter holidays. As the lad had no opportunities to have sex while he was off school, and had not seen the prodigiously-endowed Mr Smith since their return, the scrawny, just-turned-twelve-year old would be even tighter than he usually was. The prospect caused Alex's penis to twitch in his underpants. The doorbell rang.

"So what's my name today?" Alex asked as he rose to his feet.

"You're Mr White, sir," Hartfield responded, smiling.

Alex opened the door to find his visitors standing there. He did a double-take. In just the a few weeks, Long seemed to have grown quite noticeably. The youngster's grey school shorts, which he'd had since the previous September, were not only delightfully brief, they fitted the lad much more snugly than they had previously.

As usual, Alex showed them through to the lounge. The moment they appeared, Hartfield got to his feet. At 4'11", Long was taller than he'd expected, but was nice-looking and very slim. The teenager could hardly wait to watch his maths master fucking the lad. As a bonus, Mr Brown was exactly as he'd been described. With his fair skin, bright blue eyes and a mop of blond curls, he could easily have been one of those sixth form boys that Hartfield so often fantasised about but had never had the opportunity to get close to. To be fucked by such a good-looking young man would be the icing on the cake. At Alex's instigation, the boys parked themselves on the sofa.

"Hi!" Hartfield said a little nervously. "Good to meet you."

"Good to meet you too," Long responded. "Mr Brown says you're not into fucking."

"No, I really like older guys. I like having their big cocks up my bum."

"Yeah, I like taking it too. You can cum, can't you?"

"Yeah, I can now, but last summer, I think I was only boy in my form that couldn't. Then around the time we went back to school, my cock suddenly started growing. I came for the first time a few weeks later. What about you?"

"I can't yet, but I think I will soon. That's what Mr Brown says. Got any hair yet?"

"Yeah; not very much though. Actually, I like it. It looks sort of neat."

"Cool!"

With the usual pleasantries completed, they moved to the bedroom. After the boys had removed their shoes and socks, things continued much as they usually did, with Long being undressed by Mr White, while Mr Brown attended to Hartfield.

Seated on the chair by his desk, Alex carefully unbuttoned Long's white, short-sleeved shirt. Easing it off the boy's shoulders, he admired the lad's scrawny arms and chest. The youngster's shorts quickly followed, leaving the boy just in his skimpy white briefs. Hooking his thumbs into the waistband, Alex skinned them down the twelve-year old's legs, licking his lips as Long's slim, four-inch penis sprang up against his body, the lad's pee-hole just visible beyond his foreskin.

Leaning forwards, Alex took it into his mouth, sucking it hungrily. Slipping his hand between the youngster's thighs, he gently massaged the lad's perineum, causing the boy to emit gasps of pleasure. After a short while, Alex let him go and stood up.

Long needed no prompting. Immediately, he knelt on the floor, undoing the man's flies and extracting his throbbing prong. After taking a deep breath, his lips closed over the head. Making sure to keep his teeth out of the way, he pushed down carefully until he's taken around half of it.

As Long rocked gently back and forth, Alex purred appreciatively, tangling his fingers in the youngster's wiry fair hair. He could have face-fucked the lad, but that was not his style. Not wanting to cum in the twelve-year old's mouth, he was quite happy to allow the boy to take what he was comfortable with. Even so, after barely a minute, he felt himself getting close.

"You'd better stop now," he warned.

Long obediently pulled away, eagerly licking his lips. At this point, Alex would have usually suggested that it was time for the boys to get to know each other, but on this occasion, that was not going to happen. Instead, he quickly pulled off his clothes.

"Right," he said quietly. "Turn around and bend over. Rest your hands on the bed."

As Long got into position, Alex moved his chair to one side. Kneeling down behind, he parted Long's small bum-cheeks, his tongue lapping at the youngster's rosebud. He pushed it inside.

"Oooh, sir!" Long gasped.

"You like that, don't you?" Alex challenged, pulling away for a second.

"Oh, yes sir!"

Alex resumed his ministrations, working his tongue into the twelve-year old's boy-hole. As he'd expected, the lad was beautifully tight. After a couple of minutes, he eased away, his tongue aching. Coating his digits with K-Y, he inserted one and quickly added a second. He began to expertly finger-fuck the lad, using a corkscrew action to loosen the youngster's anal ring. Finally, he allowed his fingers to slide out. To the side of the bed, his associate was sitting in the armchair. Hartfield, kneeling in front of him, was sucking his prick.

"Mr Brown," Alex announced. "We're ready here."

"Okay," the other man conceded.

Turning around, Hartfield climbed onto the bed. As instructed, he lay on his back, with his head at the foot the bed, directly between the younger boy's knees. Without waiting to be asked, Long lowered his head and shoulders, his lips closing over the teenager's penis.

Looking up, Hartfield had a perfect view, exactly as he'd asked for. Only what was due to follow seemed impossible. Surely, Mr White's cock wouldn't fit into the skinny preteen's tight little bum-hole? But it did. Over the next twenty seconds, he watched, mesmerised, as his maths master's large appendage slowly disappeared into the twelve-year old's bottom. He could hardly believe that the boy's starfish had stretched as far as it had. Not only that; Long's hairless prick was still rock-hard.

Moments later, the fucking began, the man's hard prong thrusting relentlessly in and out of the youngster's boy-hole. It was the hottest thing Hartfield had ever seen. He'd never been able to envisage what it looked like when he was fucked. To watch it happening to an even younger boy was the biggest turn-on he could have imagined.

"Hartfield," Mr White instructed. "Play with his cock!"

Obediently, the teenager reached up, wrapping his fingers around the Long's throbbing spike. Within seconds, it came to life in his hand, clear proof, if such were needed, that the boy was thoroughly enjoying the pounding his bum was being given.

As if to emphasise the point, Long was still sucking him off. The stimulation was irresistible. As his orgasm swept over him, Hartfield instinctively grabbed the younger boy's head. In the next instant, his penis swelled and pulsed, jets of boy-juice squirting repeatedly into the twelve-year old's mouth.

"Oh yes!" his teacher growled from somewhere far above him. "Now take what I've got for you!"

As Hartfield watched, the man's cock was forced right into the twelve-year old's bottom before coming to a halt. Although he couldn't actually see anything, the teenager knew from his own experience that Long's bum was being filled with spunk. After a few seconds, the man's glistening appendage slid out.

"Okay," Mr White said, addressing himself to Hartfield. "You know what to do."

As Long released his prick, Hartfield got off the bed. Rather apprehensively, he knelt down behind the younger boy. It was worse than he'd expected. His maths master's spunk was trickling down Long's thighs and had almost reached the lad's knees. But he said he'd do it; he couldn't back out. Leaning forwards, he began to lick it up. To his surprise, he found it quite agreeable. It tasted simply of spunk, strong and tangy. He liked that! If the opportunity arose, he'd do it again.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Following a trip to the bathroom, the boys got ready for part two. Long sauntered across to Mr White who had moved to sit in the armchair. With no hint of embarrassment, he parked himself across his host's lap. Alex was delighted, gently caressing the lad's slender body. Long was exactly the sort of boy he hoped to meet when he began teaching at Austerley. Not only was he extremely cute; he was sensitive, intelligent and very horny.

Hartfield, meanwhile, lay on the bed, allowing Mr Brown to work on his boy-hole. After watching Mr White in action, he was looking forward to being fucked. Smaller than either of the ones he'd taken previously, the choirmaster's cock wouldn't hurt at all. It would be unadulterated pleasure, maybe not as exciting as when his maths master did it, but very enjoyable. His penis twitched, images of Long's starfish being ruthlessly fucked flashing through his brain.

"Are you ready?" Mr Brown asked quietly.

"Yes sir," Hartfield answered.

"Okay, Mr White; we're ready to go."

"You know what to do?" Alex enquired.

"Of course, sir." Long confirmed.

Without any further prompting, he took up the position that Hartfield had occupied some fifteen minutes earlier. Moments later, his rampant spike was in the older boy's mouth. He watched, fascinated, as his music master's cock advanced into Hartfield's bottom.

It wasn't a new experience. Beginning the previous year with Arrowsmith, Whitney and Holdsworth, he'd seen several boys being fucked in this way. The list now included Bradshaw, Southcott and his schoolfriends Jessop and Fairchild. He enjoyed it every time, though the fact that he'd not seen Hartfield before gave this occasion an extra frisson of excitement.

After a moment's pause, Mr Brown got to work. With the teenager sucking his prick, Long idly stroked the lad's silky blond hair. Reaching up, he took hold of the older boy's penis and began to gently wank him. Although his cock was still quite sensitive, Hartfield didn't object. He knew he'd be able to cum a second time. In fact, he was eager to do so, knowing that it would result in Mr Brown's spunk spurting into his bum.

He was not disappointed. As Long's boy-spike jerked and swelled in his mouth, his own prick came to life, random drops of teen-cum splattering the twelve-year old's chest and tummy. Within a couple of seconds he got his reward, Mr Brown's creamy load squirting powerfully into his bottom. After a short pause, they carefully disengaged.

"I thought you said you couldn't cum," Hartfield said, licking his lips.

"I can't."

"Well, something came out," the teenager insisted. "Only a drop, maybe, but it did. I could taste it; really tangy!"

"Excellent!" Mr Brown enthused. "I told you it would happen soon. Give it a few weeks; you'll be able to cum properly."

"Cool! And when I do, will I be able to fuck Fairchild's boy-hole?"

"Of course! That was what I said, wasn't it?"

Hartfield was surprised, suddenly feeling a little disconnected. Even though Long clearly enjoyed taking it up the bum, he seemed equally keen to fuck his younger schoolfriend. Interested only in older sex partners, the teenager found that difficult to relate to.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

With Easter having been so late, the first half term was very short, ending on the last Wednesday in May. After a break of two days plus the weekend, the O and A-level exams would start. On the Thursday morning, Bradshaw arrived at his mentor's flat for a tutorial.

Although he'd been wearing long trousers to school for several months, on this occasion he was dressed in a pair of very brief summer shorts which he often wore when the weather was warm. After working for almost an hour, Alex called a halt, looking forward to some one-on-one sex.

"Sir," Bradshaw said quietly. "When we go back to school, I'd rather not see Mr Smith and Mr Brown anymore."

"Really?" Alex queried. "What's brought that on? You've always seemed to enjoy having sex with the other boys, especially Long."

"Yes, sir, but I just feel I shouldn't be doing it. I've got Robbie now. He knows I have sex with you, but he hasn't got a clue that I'm doing it with these other kids. That's not right, is it, sir?"

"So you and Newton are getting pretty serious, then?"

"Yes, sir; especially since that business with Purnell. I need to look after him, make sure that there isn't anyone else picking on him like that."

"I see," Alex said, trying to hide his disappointment.

"I don't want to make the mistake Whitney made," Bradshaw went on. "Robbie's special. I don't want to lose him."

"Well, I can't argue with that," Alex said sadly. "I warned Whitney several times. He wouldn't listen. As it happens, it probably worked out for the best, but it might not have done."

"I'm still okay about doing it with you, sir; just not the others."

Once again, Alex found himself in a difficult position. He hadn't planned to tell Bradshaw of his impending departure from Woodchurch until after the lad had done his Additional Maths exam, but that plan, it seemed, had been overtaken by events.

"I'm going to let you into a secret," he said guardedly. "But I need you to promise that you won't mention it to anyone else."

"Yes, of course, sir. What is it?"

"In September, I'm going to be moving on. I've accepted a post at another school."

For a moment, Bradshaw was panic-stricken.

"So what's going to happen to me then, sir?" he demanded.

"Oh, you needn't worry about that," Alex assured him. "During class time, you'll be with Mr Fleming, who's an excellent teacher. In addition, you'll have tutorials with Mr Brett. He's a superb teacher for boys like you. He's been responsible for most of the Cambridge scholarships that the school has got over the past ten years or so."

"I'm really going to miss you, sir," Bradshaw said, the tears welling up. "If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have done any of this."

"Even if that's true," Alex said gently, "the fact is that over the past two years you've made tremendous progress. It's been a joy to work with you. You are now more than capable of standing on your own feet if you need to. But as I said, it won't come to that. You will be looked after."

"Sir, the school you're moving to, is it like the one where Mr Smith teaches?"

"Well, it's not attached to a cathedral, but it is a boys' boarding school, and the age-range is the same, eight to thirteen."

"I thought it would be," Bradshaw said, sounding a little resentful. "You'll enjoy that, won't you sir?"

"I hope so," Alex said guardedly. "But it'll be hard work. Because you all passed the entrance exam, we know that every boy at Woodchurch has the ability to pass O-level maths. It won't be like that where I'm going. There will be some boys who find maths very difficult. It'll be my job to make sure they do as well as they can, whatever that is."

"Oh, they'll do fine with you teaching them, sir," Bradshaw asserted. "So are we going to carry on... you know, just you and me?"

"That's entirely up to you," Alex said quietly. "It's why I wanted you to know the situation."

"I'd still like to do it after we have our tutorials, sir."

"Fair enough," Alex said gently. "We'll continue until you've done your exam. We won't be having any more tutorials after that." He paused for a moment. "In case you're wondering, I'd have stopped the tutorials at that point even if I'd been staying at Woodchurch," he went on. "Once you've got your exams out of the way, you need to take some time off. Play football with your friends. You and Newton might even consider spending time with Newton's brother and Ferris. I'm sure you'll find them very good company."

"Yes sir," Bradshaw conceded.

"I know this must have come as a shock," Alex said, trying to sweeten the pill. "But you're growing up and you need to move on as much as I do. Nothing lasts forever."

Sitting back in his chair, the youngster opened his legs, showing off his very obvious erection.

"Mmmmm!" Alex purred, running his fingers over it. "I'd say that needs a little attention!"

In less than a minute, they were both naked, snuggled up on the bed. After twenty minutes of exquisite foreplay, the thirteen-year old was lying face down, a towel-covered pillow beneath his hips, his legs spread apart. Directly on top, Alex was giving him a severe fucking.

"Oooh, sir!" Bradshaw groaned. "I'm really going to miss having your cock up my bum!"

Alex's response was to pound the lad even harder. Like Whitney before him, Bradshaw was growing up. Within a few months, Alex would have ceased to find him sexually attractive. Being expected to work with the lad for several more years could have been a problem. By contrast, the boys at Austerley left the school just at the point where he'd begin to lose interest in them. He knew right then that accepting his new post had been the correct decision.

"Oooh!" Bradshaw whimpered. "Oooh, I'm going to cum!"

"Sexy boy!" Alex growled triumphantly, the youngster's rosebud going into spasm around his cock. "Now take what I've got for you!"

His penis jerked into action, several volleys of spunk spurting deep into the thirteen-year old's bottom. Although Alex's attraction to Bradshaw would have soon begun to fade, for the next few weeks the boy would still be a more than acceptable fuck.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

As soon as Lorenzo arrived at the house, Michael knew something wasn't right.

"What's wrong?" he asked quietly.

"Oh, nothing," Lorenzo answered, trying to bat it off.

"Reno!" Michael insisted. "I know you better than that. Something's upset you. I need to know what it is."

"I'm worried about the exams," Lorenzo confessed.

"But why?" Michael queried. "You've done the work. And you did really well in the mocks."

"Yeah, but this time it's the real thing. And back then, nobody expected me to do that well. This time they do, Mum and Dad, Fran, everybody. I'm worried that I'm going to mess it up."

"You won't," Michael said firmly, putting a protective arm around his boyfriend's shoulder. "You've prepared as well as anyone could. You'll be fine."

"I know I'm being silly," Lorenzo admitted. "I've tried telling myself, but it doesn't work. I keep worrying that the questions won't be like the ones I've done before and they'll catch me out."

"Wait here," Michael said firmly. "I'll be back in a moment."

Hurrying downstairs, he made a phone call before returning to his bedroom.

"Who were you calling?" Lorenzo asked.

"Mark. Once we've finished here, we're going over to his place. He and Chris will help to sort you out. Meanwhile, you know how we deal with this, don't you?"

"Yes Mike."

"You should," Michael reminded him. "It was your idea."

The boys quickly stripped off their clothes. After some minimal preparations, Lorenzo pulled the pillow into the middle of the bed. Having covered it with an old towel, he lay face-down on top. Kneeling between his boyfriend's legs, Michael lowered himself into position, his six-inch teen cock spearing into Lorenzo's bum.

"Now listen to me," he whispered, thrusting insistently into the older teen's sex tunnel. "You've prepared for these exams as well as you could, haven't you?"

"Yes, Mike."

"Then you have nothing to worry about. You'll go in there and do what you've prepared for. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Mike."

"Me, Mark, Chris, Uncle Jack; we all know you can do it. Stop worrying, listen to us and you'll be fine. So that's what you're going to do, isn't it?"

"Yes, Mike. I will; I promise."

"Right!" Mike announced, beginning to fuck much harder. "Now here's something to make sure you don't forget!"

"Oh, yes Mike! Give me your spunk!"

The boys' orgasms were pretty well simultaneous, a wonderful explosion expressing exactly how they felt about each other. As soon as Michael withdrew, Lorenzo rolled onto his back drawing the younger teen into a passionate kiss.

"I love you, Mike!" he breathed. "You're always there when I need you."

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

June 1962

Over the next two days, Michael made sure that he and Lorenzo spent plenty of time with Chris and Mark. Being with the other boys helped Lorenzo to relax. It wasn't just that Mark and Lorenzo had a great deal in common; on the Monday morning, they would both do the first paper of their O-level maths exam. Working through a few questions together, Lorenzo was pleased to discover that he could do them as well as Mark could.

On the Saturday afternoon, Michael and Lorenzo made their usual visit to Jack's flat. Michael was pleased that they found his uncle at home.

"Good to see you!" Jack enthused, addressing himself to his nephew's boyfriend. "All ready for next week?"

"I am now," Lorenzo said, giving him a wry grin.

"Why now? Did something happen?"

"Back on Wednesday evening, after we finished school, I started worrying. I know it was stupid, but I guess I've not been in this position before, where people expect me to do well. I got into a bit of a panic. It's okay; Michael straightened me out."

"The other boys helped too," Michael intervened. "Mark especially."

"And in the circumstances, it's perfectly understandable," Jack said indulgently. "Was there anything specific that you were worried about?"

"Oh, that when I got into the exams, the questions would be quite different from the ones I've done before and I wouldn't know what to do."

"Well, I can assure you that that won't happen," Jack said, smiling. "The examiners' job is to find out what you do know, not what you don't know."

"Thanks!" Lorenzo responded, giving Jack his most beautiful smile.

Michael's heart was almost bursting. A couple of days earlier, they'd had a crisis. But the support network that he'd put in place had swung into action and got Lorenzo back on track. Nothing could be more satisfying than that.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Returning to school on the Monday, Alex handed the draft of the third-year exam to Neil Fleming. Given the circumstances, he'd been surprised that his head of department had asked him to set one of the exams, but he wasn't objecting. It was valuable experience; another box he'd be able to tick. At morning break, Neil appeared in Alex's classroom.

"The exam's fine," he said, smiling. "A few little testers for the more able boys; apart from that, it's very straightforward, just what we want. I'll get it typed up and copies run off."

"Thanks!" Alex said appreciatively, grateful to have spent three years working for a head of department who had been prepared to give him so many opportunities.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was Tuesday afternoon. Michael had just finished changing out of his school uniform when the doorbell rang. Hurrying downstairs, he opened the door, allowing Lorenzo inside.

"So how's it been going?" Michael asked.

"Pretty well," Lorenzo said, smiling. "No nasty surprises. On the maths paper, I could do all but one of the questions in section A. On section B, you're supposed to do three questions. I was able to do two completely and part of a third. And I'm pretty confident about most of what I did."

"So which other exams have you done?"

"English Language and History. They were fine, just like your Uncle Jack said. I don't know why I got into such a panic."

"It doesn't matter," Michael said. "You got through it."

"You were wonderful," Lorenzo whispered, putting his arms around Michael's waist. "When I started to wobble, you were there for me. I'll never forget that."

For Michael, the main emotion was relief. With the school's internal exams due to start the following Monday, he could now get his head down and focus on his own preparations.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

With three of his classes having sat public examinations, Alex had only four sets of exam papers to mark. He breezed through the task effortlessly. There were no surprises. All the boys he'd been teaching had performed up to the expected standard and many of them had done very well indeed.

Gratifying though that was, he realised that moving to Austerley would be a major challenge for him. The fact that Woodchurch was academically selective guaranteed that the boys had at least some ability in the subject. His job had been to ensure that they made use of it.

The situation at Austerley would be quite different. Some boys would arrive at the school with little understanding of mathematics. A few, he felt sure, would absolutely hate the subject. He would have to break down the barriers, get the boys engaged and build their confidence. Even then, there would still be a small number that would still not be able to pass the Common Entrance exam. He couldn't just abandon boys like that. As he'd told Bradshaw, he'd have to make sure that they did the best they could, whatever that was.

With that in mind, he'd already arranged to spend three days of his summer holiday attending a course on active learning methods aimed at children between the ages of seven and eleven. That at least would put some additional weapons into his armoury. For the rest, he'd have to rely on his confidence, his enthusiasm and his determination, just as he always had.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was Sunday afternoon when Bradshaw arrived for his final tutorial. As Additional Maths was a minority subject that only a few students took, the exams were always late in the schedule. Bradshaw, alongside the fifth-year top set, would sit the first paper on the Tuesday and the second on the Friday.

As Bradshaw was very well-prepared, they began by looking at a few bits and pieces; nothing too serious. After half an hour, Alex called a halt. Within seconds, Bradshaw had dissolved into floods of tears.

"Sir," he wailed. "Nobody's ever looked after me like you have. I'm going to miss you so much!"

"We all have to move on," Alex said gently, putting his arm around the youngster's shoulder. "You've done superbly since you started at Woodchurch. It's time for you to turn the page and get onto the next stage of your life. You'll have Mr Fleming and Mr Brett to look after your maths. More than that, you've got young Newton, who obviously loves you to bits. You should take great strength from that."

"Yes sir," Bradshaw agreed, wiping his eyes. He paused for a moment. "Sir," he asked. "Have you got the football shorts for me to put on?"

"Sure, if that's what you want.

"Sir, when I've put them on, can we go to the woods, you know, the place we went before?"

"I'm not sure that Pennington won't be there. That could be embarrassing."

"He won't, sir. He and Needham will be at the cricket club. There's a match on and they're scoring."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, sir."

"Okay," Alex said, taking the larger pair of shorts from the drawer.

"Sir, when we get there," Bradshaw said, divesting himself of his summer shorts and underpants. "I want you to fuck me senseless."

"I'll see what I can manage," Alex said, grinning.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Within a few days of completing their exams, 3-Green had their results. For the first time, Michael's results had not shown an improvement. They were, however, broadly similar to those he'd achieved in the pre-Christmas exams. Once again, he'd finished fourth in the class, behind Newton, Grainger and Carver.

In reality, it was as good as he could have hoped for. Newton and Grainger were exceptionally able, and Carver was a damn good student, industrious and methodical. There was no shame in finishing behind boys like them.

A few days later, Mr Faulkner asked to see him and Hawkes at morning break.

"Come in boys!" he greeted as they strode into his classroom. "I know it's some way off, but I need to ask you if you think that you might want to do maths as one of your A-levels."

"I probably will sir," Hawkes replied confidently.

"I won't sir," Michael added. "I'll probably do History, Geography and either English or French."

"Let me explain," Alex said, smiling. "We have to decide which boys should go into the top maths set in September. You two are among about a dozen boys who scored in the mid to high seventies, which is very good but not outstanding. The top maths set do their O-level exam at the end of their fourth year and Additional Maths the year after. That is tough. I took the top fourth year set this year and I know how hard they had to work. If you're considering doing A-level maths, it's worth the effort because you will be that much better prepared. If not, it really isn't. So I will recommend to Mr Fleming, that you, Hawkes, should be placed in the top set. Whitney, you won't be in the top set. If you're sure you aren't going to do A-level maths, there's no point."

"What about Carver, sir?" Michael queried. "I don't think he'll do maths A-level."

"No, but he scored eighty-six. He should cope in the top set without a problem."

"Who'll be taking the top set, sir?" Hawkes asked.

"Mr Brett."

"Will I still be in your class, sir?" Michael enquired.

"I don't know," Alex temporised. "Mr Fleming hasn't sorted it out yet."

As the boys left the classroom, Alex realised that he'd need to speak to Whitney again and explain the situation. He couldn't put it off any longer.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

The following morning, Michael was surprised to once again be summoned to his form master's classroom. At break, he duly made his way, this time on his own.

"Come and sit down," Alex invited, indicating the chair that he'd placed near his desk. "What I said to you yesterday morning wasn't quite right," he went on as the teenager took his seat. "When you start fourth year, you will not be in my class. In September, I'll be moving to another school."

Michael was dumbstruck. His form master's announcement had come right out of the blue. But it shouldn't have, he realised. It was exactly what his Uncle Jack had said would happen.

"So whose maths class will I be in, sir?" he asked.

"Now that part was correct," Alex said. "Mr Fleming will have to sort that out once he's decided who's going to be in the top set. A Mr Bartlett has been appointed to replace me. That's as much as I know. Confidentially, and you must not repeat this to anyone, I will ask Mr Fleming to put you in his group. He's an excellent teacher, as I'm sure Parker will have told you. But at the end of the day, it's not my decision."

"Sir," Michael asked. "When are you going to tell the other boys?"

"Tomorrow morning, at registration, so I'd be grateful if you didn't say anything before then. I'm going to tell my other maths classes tomorrow too."

"Sir," Michael acknowledged. He looked the man straight in the eye. "The school you're moving to; is it a boarding school like the one where Mr Smith teaches?"

"Funnily enough, Bradshaw asked me the same question," Alex responded, smiling. "Yes, it's a boarding school, but it's not attached to a cathedral like Mr Smith's establishment."

There was, Michael realised, a sort of inevitability about it. Working at a day school had required Mr Faulkner to tread very carefully. At a boarding school, he'd be able to get much closer to the boys, which was obviously what he wanted.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

At the end of the day, Alex made his way to Neil Fleming's classroom.

"What can I do for you?" Neil asked, smiling.

"Tomorrow morning, I'm going to tell my various classes that I'm leaving," Alex told him. "They're bound to ask who'll be taking them next year."

"Your Lower Sixth class and your first and second-year classes will go to the new man, Mr Bartlett. I'll be taking the fifth-year top set. Apart from those going into the top group, your current third-year group will be split up as normal."

"If it were my choice, I'd put them all into your class," Alex said.

"Well, that clearly can't happen," Neil said, smiling. "But if you give me the names of six or seven boys you'd especially like me to take, I'll see what I can do."

"Thanks," Alex responded, knowing that it was the best offer he could have got.

Later that day, he drew up a list of seven names. As well as Whitney, it included the three weakest boys in the form and three others that he'd needed to look after. He placed the list in Neil's pigeon-hole. It was less than perfect, but there was nothing more he could do.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

When news of Alex Faulkner's impending departure reached Richard Needham's ears, he was elated. He'd have liked to put out the flags and break open the champagne, but that, he understood, would have required an explanation that he would have been unwilling to provide. Even so, they were finally getting rid of the bastard, and that felt good.

While some colleagues seemed puzzled that Mr Faulkner had accepted a post at a boarding prep school, Mr Needham understood perfectly. The predator was moving onto more fertile territory. As far as Richard Needham was concerned, they were welcome to him.

However, there was one fly in the ointment. Earlier in the year, the games master had seen unequivocal evidence that first-year boy Davies was being anally penetrated. While Whitney, Bradshaw and Pennington all had clear connections to Alex Faulkner, Davies clearly didn't. For some weeks, he'd kept an eye on the boy to see if he strayed in the direction of Mr Faulkner's classroom, but the boy hadn't gone anywhere near. So if the lad was being fucked, it looked like someone else was responsible. Mr Needham had wracked his brains trying to work out who it could be, and failed completely.

He also suspected that first-year Newton was receiving the same treatment, but the evidence was much less noticeable. It seemed unlikely that that could be attributed to Alex Faulkner either. Not only was there no direct connection, if the maths guru had been responsible, the evidence would have been as clear as day, as it had been with the three boys that the games master knew about. No, if the younger Newton was taking it up the bum, the penis in question had to be considerably smaller than Mr Faulkner's. So whose was it? Mr Needham found it all very puzzling.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

July 1962

"So what are your holiday plans this year?" Jack asked.

"As soon as term finishes, we're off to Torbay for two weeks," Michael told him.

"So you'll be back on the twenty-eighth. D'you know what Lorenzo's doing?"

"Nothing much. The week after we break up, his mum's going to Italy for three weeks. Fran and Reno are staying here to look after their dad, the same as they did last year."

"Fine! The weekend after you get back from holiday, there's an air-show down in Sussex. Would you and Lorenzo fancy going?"

"I don't know really. It's not something we've ever thought about."

"Well, here's the thing. The main day is the Sunday. To get there and get in without having to queue for hours, we'd need to leave very early, like about six o'clock. It would make it much easier if you stayed here the night before."

Michael nodded, still not sure where this was going.

"It's not a problem," Jack went on. "I'll have a word with your mum. She'll be fine with it. Now Lorenzo's mum will still be away. If Lorenzo tells his dad that he's staying at your house, will his dad check?"

"Not likely!" Michael said, grinning. "His chest's so bad, he hates having to make phone calls and that sort of stuff."

"So if Lorenzo came here rather than to your place, his dad would be none the wiser."

"No! He wouldn't have a clue!"

"So I take the two of you to the air-show, and you and Lorenzo get to spend the night together. How does that sound?"

"Fantastic! Thanks, Uncle Jack!"

"There's just one thing. You can't tell anyone; and I mean anyone. If you're talking to Chris or his boyfriend, we picked Lorenzo up at his place, okay?"

"Sure! I couldn't tell them anyway. They don't know that Reno and I use this place."

"Fair enough. And if we happen to be late getting back, we may be able to wangle the Sunday night too. The Monday's a bank holiday, so it won't matter."

"Uncle Jack; you're a genius!"

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

With the summer term drawing to a close, Alex was allowed to take an afternoon off to visit Austerley. He arrived towards the end of the lunch break. Headmaster Brian Cornick took him into the staff room and introduced to some of his new colleagues.

"I believe you two have already met?" he said, approaching games master Geoff Kingsman.

"Yes, good to see you again," Alex enthused. "When we came for interview, you showed us round the sports facilities."

"Geoff also teaches maths," the Headmaster said. "He takes the first-year bottom group that you've asked to do some work with this afternoon."

"Yes, if that's okay," Alex said politely. "I don't want to disrupt anything."

"No, that's absolutely fine," Geoff assured him. "I love watching people work!"

"I'll leave you to it," Mr Cornick said, smiling.

"This will be very different from what I'm used to," Alex confessed as he and Geoff parked themselves in one corner of the room. "I've never taught anyone under the age of eleven. And I've only worked at a grammar school, so all the kids have at least some aptitude for the subject."

"Oh, you'll be fine!" Geoff assured him. "They're nice kids, even if they're not very bright. I just wish I knew how to get more out of them." He paused for a moment. "I believe you're going to help with the rugby coaching," he added, changing the subject.

"Yes," Alex confirmed. "I always played at school and I made my college team at Cambridge. I'm really looking forward to getting involved again. What would you like me to do?"

"Ideally, I'd like you to work with the third-year boys and the fringe players from lower fourth, to prepare them to step up into the school team the following year."

"That'll suit me fine!" Alex enthused, relishing the prospect of coaching a group of ten to twelve-year olds.

A few minutes later the bell went. Following afternoon registration, the first-year bottom maths group, comprising fifteen nine-year olds, made their way into the classroom. Seeing a stranger in their midst, they sat down in silence, looking apprehensive.

"Right boys!" Geoff announced. "This is Mr Faulkner. Next term, he'll be coming here to take charge of maths teaching. This afternoon, he's going to do some work with you to find out what you can do."

Striding to the front, Alex quickly handed out some activity sheets. They began with a game which enabled them to practise number bonds and multiplication tables. At first, the boys were quite hesitant.

`Accentuate the positive,' Alex reminded himself, making sure to brush over the mistakes and congratulate the successes. Gradually, as the boys realised that this new teacher wouldn't tell them off for getting things wrong, they began to relax. Within ten minutes, every boy in the room was fully engaged. That was step one, Alex told himself. The youngsters were having a go.

They moved onto a second game. This time, the lads were on it right from the start. Although there were still plenty of errors, almost imperceptibly, the proportion of correct answers began to rise. They tried a third game and a fourth. When the bell sounded for the class to end, the whole group was buzzing.

"Thanks sir!" one boy enthused. "That was fun!" another said. "Hope you're going to be teaching us next term, sir!" a third one added.

Alex found it very gratifying. He'd barely scratched the surface, but the potential for improvement was clearly there. It would take lots of hard work and it wouldn't all be plain sailing, but he knew right then that he could make a difference.

"You really put a lot into that," Geoff said once the pupils were out of earshot. "You were so enthusiastic!"

"Of course," Alex responded. "I choose to do this. If I can't be enthusiastic about it, how can I expect them to be? I'm sure you're enthusiastic about teaching games and PE."

"Yes, but I've never seen anyone be so enthusiastic about maths before. I never experienced it when I was at school, and I've not seen it here. Your predecessor certainly never managed it."

Alex smiled and nodded. He wasn't going to brag about what he planned to achieve. He'd let the results speak for him.

Having said goodbye to Geoff, he made his way to the headmaster's office.

"How did things go?" Mr Cornick enquired, gesturing for Alex to sit down.

"Pretty well, thank you," Alex responded. "For the new school year, could you tell me what classes you plan for me to teach?"

"Well, over the past three years, Geoff has taken the bottom groups in first and second year. Prior to him becoming unwell, Jim Gould took all the other classes."

"I thought that was probably the case. I'm quite happy for Geoff to teach the first and second-year boys, but I want him to take the top groups, not the bottom ones."

"I was hoping you'd say that," Mr Cornick said, smiling.

"The work the top sets have to do in first-year and second-year is pretty simple," Alex asserted, warming to his theme. "I can tell Geoff what I need him to do and give him pointers on how to go about it. The problem lies with the boys who come here having not done well at the schools they attended before. If we're going to improve the school's Common Entrance results, we have to deal with that. I'm the maths specialist. It's up to me to sort it out. I can't expect a non-specialist to do it for me."

"I agree totally," Mr Cornick said. "Be assured that I and the trustees will give you as much support as we can. Did you mention to Geoff about the boys who represent the school being expected to set the standards for the others in terms of their attitude and behaviour?"

"No, we really didn't have time."

"You are staying for supper, aren't you?"

"Yes!"

"Talk to him then."

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

After leaving the Headmaster's office, Alex had time to kill. He took part in a choir rehearsal, watched boys practising athletics and cricket, and observed them as they did their prep. Wherever he went, the atmosphere was calm and relaxed.

Finally, it was time for supper. Alex was just as impressed as he'd been on the day of his interview. The boys he'd encountered had been well-behaved, eager to learn and happy to be there. It was a very inviting atmosphere in which to work.

Afterwards, he sought out Geoff Kingsman. He began by explaining about the change of classes.

"That's fine," Geoff said. "Jim Gould insisted on teaching all the top groups. I got the ones he didn't want. It was pretty obvious this afternoon that you're going to be able to get through to the less-able boys far better than I can. As far as the top groups go; you tell me what you want me to do and I'll get on with it."

"There is one other thing I wanted to discuss with you," Alex said quietly. "When I was at prep school, boys who represented the school at rugby, cricket or whatever else were expected to set the standard for the other boys in terms of their behaviour and their attitude to their studies. I understand that my predecessor tended to give the rugby players in particular an easier ride than I'd be happy with."

"That was just laziness on his part," Geoff asserted. "It was nothing to do with me. I agree with you. And actually, the teams improve because the lads know that their attitude has to be right."

"At the start of next term," Alex said, "I intend to get all the boys who represent the school at sport, or hope to do so, and spell out what I expect."

"Excellent!" Geoff said, smiling. "I'll back you one hundred per cent."

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Just after seven o'clock, Alex drove out of school and made his way to the Rose & Crown. He ordered a half of shandy and sat down. A few minutes later, Julian Temple-Reid appeared.

"Thanks for coming to the choir rehearsal," he said warmly. "How was the rest of your afternoon?"

"Oh, it was excellent," Alex assured him. "I really enjoyed it."

"Coming to teach here was the best move I've ever made," Julian responded. "I'd meet more musical talent if I taught at one of the cathedral schools. Other than that, I don't think I could find a more agreeable place to work." He paused for a moment. "I've invited Keith Johnstone to join us," he added quietly. "He should be here in a few minutes."

"Keith Johnstone?" Alex queried.

"English specialist and housemaster of Beechcroft," Julian informed him.

"Do I take it that he's of our persuasion too?" Alex enquired.

"Very much so," Julian answered.

"Are there any others?"

"Not as far as I know."

"Not Geoff Kingsman then?"

"Not that I know of. He and I share what was the keeper's cottage. I have the downstairs flat; he has the upstairs. He never brings boys back. But that doesn't mean anything. He's got places where he could indulge without me knowing anything about it."

"Do you have boys back at your flat then?"

"Sometimes. Geoff does sleeping-in duty three nights a week, covering for housemasters' nights off. I quite often have Parkinson over when Geoff's not around."

"Oh, I see!"

At that moment, a tall, well-built man whom Alex guessed to be in his early thirties came across from the bar, a pint in hand, and sat down with them.

"Hi!" he said warmly, turning to Alex. "I'm Keith. We met briefly at lunchtime."

"Yes," Alex acknowledged. "Good to see you again."

"Julian tells me that you're one of us. You should fit in well, as long as you're sensible about it. You can indulge; you cannot over-indulge. And there are always boys who are happy to play along."

"So I understand. There's no need for any arm-twisting then?"

"Absolutely not! I've been here for two years. I'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere better."

"I believe we're expected just to have one boy at a time."

"Yes, but it's possible to have a little bit on the side as long as you and the lad concerned are discreet about it."

"Hmmm!"

"Actually, I'm on duty this evening. I'll need to go soon; get the buggers off to bed. I was going to suggest that you come back with me. Marlbrook and Beechcroft are identical. I can show you how the land lies."

"Are you sure that'll be okay?"

"Why not? In a few weeks' time you'll be in charge of your own house. I'm just showing you how everything works. There can't be any harm in that, now can there?"

"I guess not."

They finished their drinks.

"Okay," Alex said. "I'm ready when you are."

"Right," Julian said. "I'll leave you to it. Have fun!"

Getting into his car, Alex followed Keith back to the school. Unlocking the door to Beechcroft House, the older man led the way inside. They strode into the recreation room. It was almost eight o'clock.

"First years!" Keith announced. "Into your dormitories now! Get yourselves ready for a shower."

"Sir!" one boy protested. "It's only two minutes to eight."

"Which means it's two minutes till you get a clip around the ear. Now do as you're told!"

The lad scuttled off. Another boy approached whom Alex recognised from the class he'd taken earlier in the day.

"Hello sir!" the youngster said, smiling. "I enjoyed this afternoon. I never knew maths could be fun!"

"Well, you learn something new every day," Alex responded, giving the boy a broad grin.

"Maths? Fun?" Keith queried. "Now that is novel!"

He led the way to the larger of the first-year dormitories. The six boys, stripped to their underpants and carrying towels and sponge bags, were ready for their shower.

"Well done, lads!" Keith said, beaming at them. "Off you go!" The teachers followed behind as the boys trotted along the corridor and into the shower room. As soon as Keith had turned on the showers, the lads pulled off their underpants and headed under the warm water.

"Keep an eye on this lot while I go and get the other four," Keith said quietly.

Alex was happy to oblige. The boys were delightfully unselfconscious, he noted, and included two that were really cute. Although they were too young for him to find them immediately interesting, the potential was definitely there. Moments later, the remaining first-years appeared, including two more cute ones. Four cute ones out of ten was not bad at all.

The routine continued, each year group in turn being sent to their dormitories to prepare for the showers. When it came to the third-years' turn, they moved upstairs. For Alex, things were starting to get interesting. Several of the eleven-year olds were boys he'd be more than happy to become acquainted with.

Lower Fourth came next. Alex recognised a number of boys from the class he'd taken when he'd come for interview. A tall lad with straight red hair and a slim but athletic physique came over to him.

"Sir," he asked. "Are you here because you're going to be teaching us next term?"

"Correct!"

"Oh, that's super, sir! We all hoped it'd be you!"

"Thank you very much," Alex responded, smiling. "I'm looking forward to working with you."

The lad sauntered towards the showers where a slimmer boy was waiting for him.

"That's McKenzie," Keith said quietly. "Good student, good rugby player and a decent cricketer. He'll be my house-captain next term. But his friend there with the wavy, mousey hair is much more interesting."

He paused, waiting for the boys to disappear into the showers.

"That's Rawcliffe," he whispered. "He's well into it. When he was in third-year, he had an older friend looking after him. This year, he's had to make do with casual stuff until recently, when McKenzie, who hit puberty in something of a hurry, took to visiting his bed."

"I see!" Alex said quietly. "Have you indulged?"

"Unofficially, but yes. As a bit on the side, they don't come much better. My current boy's Appleyard, who's in third-year. He's pretty special; at least I think he is."

Alex licked his lips, realising that Appleyard must have been one of the very cute eleven-year olds that he'd seen a few minutes earlier. In every way that mattered, Austerley was his type of school. It wouldn't happen overnight, but once he'd settled in, he was sure he'd be able to build the sort of relationships he really wanted.