Abraham; Harvard wrestlers; compression shorts; gymnos

Jamie’s Quest

Chapter Eleven

Hogmanay 1998
December the Thirty-First 1998

Jings! Wow! Or whatever! I can’t believe it! I’ve just been reading bits of my first Journal again and realised I’ve been at Kinloch for six years and a term. I’ve just read that bit where I put down what Dad had said about time going past very fast especially when there were excitements and if we kept busy! Too true, here am I now within a few weeks of celebrating my fifteenth birthday in February, as if celebrations away from home will be momentous, and time is passing very fast. I gave a laugh.

“What are you so pleased about?” David asked.

“Not pleased, just astounded,” I responded as I looked over to him sitting in the easy chair with me sitting at the desk in my bedroom. “Dad was quite right with what he said.” I held the book up. “It’s all in here!”

“Don’t be so bloody abstruse, what did he say? Let me have a look.”

Actually, though my Journals were for me to write all that happened in my life I had let David, as well as my big brother Jonathan and my best friend Pete Douglas, read bits but, as some passages in later Journals were written in my own secret code - very special bits - those had not been shared. Jonathan had called me a secretive little bugger and said as long as they weren’t about him and were just about how many times I wanked every day he wasn’t bothered. As he had said that just after I’d discovered the full pleasure of that activity with proper results, and I had joyfully told him about it, it did give me the incentive to record every occasion, with self and friends. I had also recorded what I had discovered about him and his very personal activities. Especially as I now also had a couple of sheets of soft loo paper under my pillow at night! For mopping up the enemy he’d confessed. Ha Ha!

As David was now like another big brother I could share with him. So, I said it was about time passing quickly if there were excitements and if we were busy.

“True, but trite,” he said. “I think we could all agree the general truth of that statement in some way, but there are times when too much excitement might cause one to consider that time has stopped. I would have to examine several concepts embedded in there to get any full meaning out of them to give a coherent answer.”

“What the Hell are you blethering about?” I asked. “Bloody Philosophy. No wonder your mother thought you were demented when you wanted to study it at Uni. That’s in one of my Journals somewhere. 1996 or 1997. ‘David, dear, what about Accounting and Business Studies, you could then keep an eye on where all our money goes. It flows away the Lord knows where!’.” My imitation of his mother was a special pleasure shared by David and me. He loved her dearly, as did we all once we got to know her, but...

At least David could laugh about it. He and his mother had had many arguments over the choice of subject he wished to read but she had let him have his own way in the end and he was now a Second Year student at the ‘Uni down the road’ as he said, meaning the revered Edinburgh University where my sisters were also students, and where brother Jonathan would be graduating from this coming year before going, hopefully, to Sandhurst. Apparently, the military liked a few brains these days, according to Dad!

Mum thinks you’re so sweet,” David almost cooed keeping the trilling going. He changed to his usual baritone. “But I do have to think about everything very carefully. I really do find the subject difficult at times but so, so satisfying.”

I sniggered this time. I had just re-read my note about my first encounter with David. “Here you are. This’ll bring you back to earth. You’ve read it before, but you’ve always said it was a moment of truth for you what happened that day.”

“That word again! Let me read it again, please.”

I handed him the book and he read and then I sat in silence for several minutes. I would have to spend quite a time to record what had happened yesterday as I hadn’t had time to jot things down but today, with the Dinner and Ceilidh, would be the last entries in my 1998 Journal - Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve. It would have to include my own special way of indicating that it was twice yesterday and once this morning and I’d thought of Pete each time.

“Jamie,” he said and then sniffed. “I can never read that without wondering where I might be now if it hadn’t been for Mr and Mr Fisher, the McCraes and your family, especially Jonathan.”

He put his finger on the paragraph I also knew so well. I had written quite openly about ‘A fat boy, called Porky Prothero, has been stealing and Jonathan will have him in his squad next term. Jonathan is not happy about that...’

“As you know it’s all true but by the time the Fishers, especially Mrs Fisher, had shown me by example, no preaching, how good people were, I was a little more ready for being in Mr McCrae’s House. I knew I hadn’t been liked in my room in the Prep School. I know they all hated me because they never spoke to me unless they had to. I was boastful, a liar and a thief and tried to make friends by buying friendship which doesn’t work. That lasted for all those four terms I was in the Prep School. You know I did all those things to try to get away from the place as I was so sad and unhappy.”

I had heard his story before but knew it was important for him to relive it. There was a lot more which we had discussed and he had talked to Jonathan about and I knew all that had helped him greatly.

He went on quietly “I’ve told you and Jonathan and Tuddy how scared I was when I had to be introduced to C Room in Mr McCrae’s House. I had to get to grips with all my fears because there were six new unknowns to cope with who were all members of the CCF and your brother’s squad in the room I was assigned to. Luckily for me I was taken to the room with all my clobber on my first day by your brother. I didn’t know that Mr Fisher had already told him that I wanted to turn over not just one but a number of new leaves. Jonathan told me he would introduce me and also point out we were all boys together. I knew I had to obey Jonathan and just before he knocked on the door he said we should shake hands as that would be the start of a new David Prothero and, he hoped, our friendship. The lads didn’t look at all friendly when I followed him into their room. Jonathan spoke very quietly so they all had to listen attentively. All he said really was that we were all boys together, we all had strengths and weaknesses as individuals but, if we all worked together, we would be even stronger and more effective. He wanted us all to be the most efficient and effective squad and that meant in School as well and he didn’t want any slackers.” He sniffed again. “I was accepted and I’ve got friends now I could never lose.”

He got up and I stood and we hugged each other. My, didn’t he have muscles! Just like Jonathan and I hoped me soon as I was growing fast. I wanted a real six-pack like the pair had got. I was hoping for six something elsewhere to match Jonathan who said I shouldn’t worry as I was still growing. Yep, I had grown four inches taller over the last year but not so much elsewhere!

I thought back, too. I had been very wary at first as Jonathan announced at the end of that Easter Term that Prothero would be spending the holiday with us as his mother and father would be travelling around Australia on yet another tour. By the end of that Easter holiday we were also great friends. He was no longer that fat kid: exercise and no stupid sweets and things he’d been gorging on had produced a more than handsome figure in even that short time. My sisters had taken him over as well and the three spent a lot of time playing tennis with Geoffrey and his sisters and still do though Geoffrey isn’t home much now. As Jonathan was quite useless at the game he and Grandfather would go off to the Golf Club where at least he managed to hit that smaller ball more accurately. Actually, Grandfather also spent time talking to David and I heard him say to Mum he certainly wasn’t an idiot. He’d said that with a smile so I knew Grandfather approved of him.

One of my sisters, Caroline, really did approve of him. Jonathan had told me some time ago he thought they were more than good friends. Jacky didn’t mind as she has a steady stream of hunks, as Jonathan said, keeping her company. Wow! Marty MacFarlane, her partner for tonight, has more muscles I’m sure than Jonathan and David put together, and good-sized bulges elsewhere, too. My best friend, Pete, has a nice bulge, too. In fact, we’ve explored each others rapidly growing areas quite a few times. That’s all in my Journals as well, but in my code.

It’s not really my code because Dad has to have a communications clerk living here most of the time. Corporal Daniel Jacobson has been in that post soon after Dad took over some secret job which meant he was stationed in Edinburgh more or less permanently. Dad did have to disappear down to London about once a month and, from what I’d heard in the various school holidays, he had spent weeks here and there abroad a number of times sorting out difficulties. What Dad did was very secret and he rarely wore his uniform and I’d never seen Danny Jacobson in anything but a neat suit or sports clothes. He’s twenty-nine now and has taught Jonathan how to wrestle and me how to write in codes. He’s a real toughie, so Jonathan says, and he doesn’t drink gallons like some of the other squaddies. Apparently the Jocks at the Castle like a drink! Danny’s more than very bright, too. He got a first class degree from London University, then spent a year at Harvard in America and was now in the Intelligence Corps. He had learned to wrestle while in America and, according to the certificates he’s got in a folder, was very good at it. I liked the photos of him in his leotard which are in there as well. Jonathan said he fitted in well with the Yanks as you could see he was circumcised. Jonathan was quite forthright about it as he explained to me that most American boys had their foreskins chopped off as babies, but, of course, he also had to arrange a demonstration of what things looked like so I would know exactly what was meant. I did know what my bare end looked like if I pulled my foreskin back. I had learned to do that early on or you could make a mess when having a pee. But, as Jonathan said, just pulling it back didn’t make it permanent.

Anyway, he and Danny went for a run each morning, often with Dad and one of the MacFarlane brothers who lived in the Square. As with cousin Alistair and Geoffrey some time before I’d seen older boys in the nude many times so was not surprised when I was getting dressed one morning that Jonathan and Danny returned and showered together in our bathroom. Jonathan must have done one of his usual tricks as he came bounding into my bedroom closely pursued by a nude and dripping Danny who wrestled him over my bed, tickling him which always made Jonathan screech and holler and try to get away. I just watched as I had sight of the first circumcised penis I’d ever seen. In fact, Danny’s is the only circumcised dick I’ve seen so far. Whatever Jonathan was doing, as he told me afterwards, was for my benefit so that when I heard about the circumcision of the Jews in Religious Knowledge I would know what they ended up with. Or, at least what their ends looked like. In fact, Jonathan had shown me a bit later a picture in an art book of Abraham circumcising himself and another doing it to his son Isaac and it all looked quite gruesome. Of course, Danny Jacobson was Jewish, though as he explained later his immediate family were non-observant but he had lost his foreskin because of wider family pressure. His father was a Professor at London University and that was why he had gone there. Since then, I’ve seen his dick many times as the pair of them, with Geoffrey whenever he was home from Cambridge, always showered together and were never backward in letting it all hang out. Jonathan’s backside was slapped regularly as he would pull his skin back and point at his and Danny’s for comparisons to be made.

Danny taught Jonathan how to wrestle properly as he gave him a very slinky red leotard, with a big H on the front, plus a pair of white ear-protectors, for his sixteenth birthday. Most mornings after their run they’d shower, have breakfast, then change into their leotards ready for Danny to teach Jonathan how to grapple properly. I had watched closely the first three mornings when they got going on the carpet in Danny’s living-room but it seemed mostly grunting and I was sure groping to grab the other’s backside or even their balls. One thing that did happen almost as soon as they had a hold on each other was they both got a hardon. As they went commando under the leotards it was very noticeable and Danny was quite sizeable, with Jonathan at sixteen growing almost daily! Danny said it was the custom now not to wear anything underneath the very tight-fitting garments though he had worn a sort of jockstrap when he’d started as he was a bit embarrassed but that soon passed as everyone took no notice of dicks, stiff or not!

I watched a while on that third occasion and sure, by five minutes of being held or twisted, they both had stiff cocks. I’d seen them nude plenty of times even if Danny’s cock just flopped then. So, seeing a clothed bum in the air or a squashed flat Jonathan was getting boring. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if they wrestled in the nude like the ancient Greeks. We’d had a laugh about that at school when we learned that the Greek word ‘gymnos’ meant naked. Anyway, I’d had something to tell Mum. Just before we broke up for the Summer holidays Mr McCrae had asked Pete and me to take over the supervision in our room as Stu and Watson were moving on. He said he would be writing to my parents to get them to give permission. Of course, I had only remembered that this morning.

I went off to the accompaniment of a grunt from Jonathan and some instruction to him from Danny. I went down to the kitchen to find Mum and pass on the information. Mum said she was very pleased I’d been asked and she certainly wouldn’t have any objection. Mrs Grantly said I must be a good lad to have that responsibility and rewarded me with a fresh scone she had just baked. It was soon after that we heard the usual thump, thump, thump of Jonathan galumphing down the stairs. He rushed into the kitchen, bare-footed, still in his red leotard with, thank goodness, a limp prick and gasping for a cold drink. He grabbed a glass and filled it with water from the tap and gulped it down. He then turned and did a sort of he-man pose. The clingy material was damp with sweat and his stomach muscles and soft dick were very noticeable. Mum, of course, just stood and laughed at the sight. Mrs Grantly was smiling but picked up her usual weapon, the long-handled ladle. “Away with you, young Jonathan,” she said holding up the ladle, “I’ve seen enough of you from being a wean and I want to see no more!”

He cowered and started to run out of the room. Mrs Grantly was quicker and he got at least four cuts across his well-muscled backside before he reached the door. There was much screeching from him as he went up the stairs but he also had to push past our sisters who had just descended from their shared bedroom. There was laughter and some screeching from them as they stood and pointed at their retreating brother. There was more laughing from me as well as Jacky asked “Was that Wee-Willy-Winkie running through the town?” Good for her! That was my name for Jonathan when he called me witty, to him, names as well.

Danny also became like another big brother. Often in the evenings when I was home from school he would explain and show me all sorts of stuff. He helped me so much by expanding my knowledge in all sorts of things. He had loads of books on all sorts of subjects and Mum always said he was like a walking encyclopaedia. She had wondered why he had joined the military. After dinner one evening he had told us his history. Some things about being Jewish helped to explain his strange choice of career. His father had five brothers and three sisters and Danny had something like thirty-eight cousins. Jewish families were big in the part of London he came from. Danny was an only child and had been kept away by his disillusioned parents from the various rituals and ceremonies which most of his cousins were always complaining about. In fact, though he’d met them all most were just names to him. His grandfather was a Rabbi and education was a must. Danny had been to a secular Grammar School which didn’t please his grandfather. He had studied Maths and Modern Languages at the two universities and after a rather acrimonious meeting between him, his grandfather and two rather overbearing uncles who wanted him to take more training for some lucrative profession, he’d left home and signed on. Even his parents didn’t know where he was until he had finished his basic training and was placed in the Intelligence Corps. He said it was his life now and his parents fully supported him.

Of course, one of the things we delighted in was getting back at Jonathan. He would find a notice on his door in code which might appear as ‘10 15 14 14 15 08 0119 01 20 08 18 05 05 09 14 03 08 03 15 03 11’, and that would be in an easy code. ABC would be 01, 02, 03. There would be shouts of ‘Not true!’ once he realised what that message said. Harder codes and ciphers were something I and Danny delighted in devising. He explained how the Enigma machines used by the Jerries during the War worked and how the people at Bletchley had broken the coding and also set up a primitive sort of computer to help them. I was much taken with the story of Lord Byron’s daughter Ada who became a mathematician and helped a man named Babbage who had invented a mechanical sort of computer which was never built. I heard about all manner of ways of devising codes and, of course, I devised my own. This was based on a very ancient system, even used by Julius Caesar, where you started with a word or short phrase of some kind, preferably without repeated letters and about seven letters long. You then went on from the last letter continuing for the rest of the alphabet leaving out letters already in the word. It was also customary to write the coded message then in groups of five or six letters.

Although this cipher was difficult to break with short messages Danny and I had many goes in writing missives after choosing a word. He showed me that certain letters appeared much more than others in written English texts. This meant one looked for frequency of letters within the message. For example, E is the most common letter followed by T, A and I. He said this helped the code-breakers and if the message was long enough it was more easily broken. I chose my word and was so used to using the code in my Journals I had little difficulty in remembering the sequence to do the coding. My ‘messages’ were sometimes quite long and I knew Danny had broken my code very early on but I didn’t mind. Doing the coding was a nice exercise for my little brain!

I think the neighbours had got used to Danny as our ‘lodger’ as several of them let rooms to students during term-time and we were sure Mrs Frobisher did have two lodgers in her basement though she was too stuck-up to admit it. She always referred to them as distant relations on hard-times which no-one really believed. Then, with my parents now owning old Mrs Cathcart’s house, we also had new neighbours as Mum and Dad had had the place converted, with proper planning permission, into four flats. The best thing for us was that the top floor of ‘servant’ rooms was now accessible by a door from our house and was useful for extra accommodation for the numerous ‘guests’ we seemed to get.

Poor old Mrs Cathcart. I had liked her and even liked her cats, which as they died were replaced with yet another Siamese. However, she got more and more doddery and died, when she was ninety-two, about four years ago. What was the big surprise was that she had no family so had left her house and contents to Dad and Mum. There were several legacies to neighbours and friends and we four young Drummonds got a thousand pounds each. That was most unexpected and the garage man was even more surprised as he had been left the old Rolls-Royce! Guess who got the cats? We did as well, with the injunction, as Mr Tebbitt who dealt with the will called it, that they were to be looked after until their own deaths. There was a fund of one thousand pounds to pay for that. Tiger, Lily and Pinocchio, as we called them now, lived a life of luxury according to Mrs Grantly who with her usual manner kept the trio in order. Whenever I was home Pinocchio would follow me around and sleep in my bedroom in a basket with Mr Lion. He was called Pinocchio because his nose was more pointed than the other two. To tell you the truth I loved him and would cuddle him and tell him all my worries as well as my happinesses. Tiger and Lily never came upstairs and were content to stay in the kitchen by the Aga most of the time. Jonathan was rude as usual and kept saying if I misbehaved I’d have my balls removed like Tiger and Pinocchio and I’d be a eunuch. I misheard him the first time he said it so I told him I was ‘unique’ already. It wasn’t long after that I proved to him I wasn’t a eunuch!

David must have read more of my outpourings in that first one of my Journals. “I don’t know how you two didn’t run when that man fired the gun. You were both very brave.” He had said more or less the same thing each time he’d read about that Fawcett man before. We had just acted, I suppose, without thinking of possible consequences.

“At least I didn’t have to pay damages for breaking two of his fingers!” I said.

“Yes, it was you and Jonathan who got awarded damages,” David said with a laugh. “You both got a hundred and fifty pounds for ‘apprehension of a known criminal and replacement of clothing thereto’ as you’ve written here.”

“And he and his brother got thirty years each without parole,” I added. “I’ve still got all the cuttings from the papers somewhere which Mum collected for us. Of course, it wasn’t until the beginning of the Christmas Term that the trials began so we were back at Kinloch and we didn’t hear much there.”

“You and Jonno were celebrities there for a day or two when word got round you’d been shot at.” David was enjoying himself. “I remember Tuddy saying Jonno was a ‘braw brave Scot’. It didn’t last, though, because Tuddy yelled at him in the next game that it wasn’t some fat old man he was tackling when he missed some big oaf in Price’s House.”

Good old Tuddy. He’s now a master at Kinloch teaching Maths and Physics and is Assistant House Master of McCrae House. His younger brother, Richard or Tuddy 2, kept an eye on me at that first CCF camp when two of the bigger lads had tried to make my rather long curls into ringlets and had put that horrible green face paint they used for camouflage on my lips. I managed to struggle free and one got a boot in his bollocks which didn’t make him too happy. Because he was yelling blue murder Tuddy 2 heard him and the pair of them had to peel spuds on fatigues every day until the camp finished. I wasn’t bullied after that as Ramsey, who got the sore balls, realised I was Jonathan’s brother and had been a hero in the arrest of that man. In fact, he apologised and we shook hands on it. It may have also been the threat by two of his own pals to paint his balls green when they heard what he and Fitzgerald were doing. Fitzy did get his balls and dick painted because he’d upset the other three in his tent. I don’t know what he’d done but they held the tent flap open and held him with his combat trousers and skivvies down so most of us saw their handiwork as we went past on our way to the cookhouse for dinner that night.

I must say I like being in the CCF even with all the parades. We do rifle exercises as well but I won’t be allowed to fire one until I’m sixteen. Dad has let me fire his air rifle when we’ve been up at the old lodge which Grandfather rents for us for the Summer and we go trekking around. I have to confess Pete and I often volunteer to sort the equipment and other stuff out in the CCF Stores because it’s the one place where we can have a bit of fun together. You know what I mean. We are both rather horny and if we go commando under our combats we can have a mutual wank with little fear of anyone surprising us ‘cause as soon as we hear them we can cover up quickly. I ought to say though all our room have a wank in bed every night we don’t get together there. That’s an unwritten law though, I think, we’ve all had releases together when we’ve had days out from School. Jack Pringle is another horny sod and is the second oldest in our room and has the biggest prick. He’s the one who starts everyone off at night ‘cause his hand’s on his prick as soon as his feet leave the floor as Cheng Wu has observed many times. He’s got the bed next to him so he should know though Cheng isn’t backward in pulling his own plonker. I know he’s a bit jealous of Jack ‘cause his dick is over an inch shorter and though Cheng’s also older than me mine is longer than his as well.

All this thinking was making me go stiff especially as I’d been thinking about Pete. I will be quite blunt. I am very fond of Pete. I would even go further than that but I daren’t. Oh, fuck! It’s all in my Journals, luckily in my code, thanks to Danny. I suppose in those first years in the Prep School we were just good friends. We tended to do lots of things together though we always included others because we were all friends in our room. Cheng and Adolphus, or Dolly as we called him behind his back until he said he didn’t mind, are still very great friends and I knew they go somewhat further than just a straightforward mutual release whenever possible even though Adolphus is now in Paget’s House. Adolphus plays hockey in the School Junior XI, as does Cheng and Pete, but Adolphus, when he was in the first year acted as kit cleaner and general dogsbody to the First XI Hockey team in which his elder brother, Dieter, was a star player. Cheng told us, confidentially of course, that Adolphus had admitted to him, confidentially of course, that his aim was to orally pleasure each and every member of the First XI as Dieter had taught him the technique over the Christmas vacation.

It was reputed, and never denied, that he achieved his goal in no more than a week or so after making his desire known. The weather had closed in and only practice sessions could be held in the second gym where recourse to the equipment store was readily available for all those who needed a better hockey stick, a stack of cones to practice intricate swerves and moves around, a better fitting pair of trainers from the shelf lined with discarded pairs or, even perhaps, to have their seminal sacs drained by a rapidly more expert young sucker. It was said that some of the early recipients requested repeat sessions but were told sternly, by Dieter and his ally, Peter Phipps, that Adolphus was now out of bounds and they should look elsewhere for such pleasures. As no more revelations were forthcoming it was assumed that others had dropped any search through fear of exposure to the authorities, or that a secret further source of such gratification had been found. Although Dolly’s romp was well-known amongst us all none of us seems to have tried that method out with friends. I know Pete and I hadn’t as we were well-satisfied with our own hands, or a friend’s, whenever.

All seven in our room are really good friends. As well as Pete, Cheng and me the other four are Jack Pringle, Brigstock Junior, Gordon Brigstock really, Fergus McIntyre and Freddy Arnold. I think we had been a bit wary of Freddy Arnold at first. He was bigger and older than the rest of us. He’d had a bit of a temper when I’d first known him. He’d explained it was because he’d had a private tutor before coming to Kinloch as his father was a laird and didn’t want his only son mixing with the crofters’ kids. He did, though, and his father never knew. Apparently, the tutor was old and wasn’t very good at keeping an eye on him and that was why Freddy could escape to be with his friends. It meant that Freddy had been way behind others when he joined the Prep School because of that. He had been kept back after his first year so he could catch up further. All this had made him look a dunce and it was only because Mrs McCrae had given him extra tuition he’d improved until he was considered to be at a reasonable level along with the rest of us. Anyway, he was in our Junior XV as a prop forward and was now moving into the First Fifteen at not quite sixteen. He’s quite funny when he changes for rugger as he says jockstraps are too chilly in the rear on a cold day so he wears new-fangled compression shorts instead. These take him ages to get on because they are very tight but he is very proud of that big bulge in front.

Oh, I forgot Fergus. He’s a special pal of Gordy Brigstock and they play chess together every day. His father is a doctor and that is his intention as well. He’s very useful as he has a load of different medications for such things as acne, rashes, itches, bruises, bumps and scratches and is forever patching up Freddy Arnold, who not only has got early spots but has afflictions such as jock-rash, itchy balls, bruises and scratches from Rugby and, somehow, not like the rest of us, suffers almost weekly from constipation and is supplied with bisacodyl tablets as necessary. Freddy also farts copiously and has his bed near a window which has to be opened sometimes even on cold days to dispel the stench. Otherwise we spray our cans of Lynx deodorant around and I don’t know what is worse. Still we all get on together famously!

Anyway, time was ticking away and I would have to remember all that would happen tonight ready to write it all up to finish my 1998 Journal. I pride myself that I have a good memory. In fact, though I say it myself, I’ve usually been in the top three in our form and even Jonathan says I’m bright!

Of course, we’ve got to get changed into our Highland finery ready for the Dinner and Ceilidh. I was grinning about this as I put the beginning of my last entry in my 1998 Journal... ‘Hogmanay: 1998. Tonight the family will be attending the annual Dinner and Ceilidh at the Conservative Club. I will be wearing...’

Here I looked at my bed. On it was a complete outfit which I would be wearing this year. No longer just a black waistcoat and white shirt above a Drummond kilt but a proper silver-buttoned jacket over a white dress shirt with the jabot which Jonathan had bought me for Christmas. That would make me feel most grown-up. David must have seen me looking at the garments. I couldn’t resist it.

“And what will a Sassenach like you feel like wearing a warrior’s attire among all the true Scots?”

All he did was laugh. We’d had this little tease ever since the first New Year he’d stayed with us. His Mother and Father were in the States that year, I think. It was Jonathan’s annual tease, too, not only for him but for Danny Jacobson as well. Both David and Danny would be wearing Royal Stewart for the evening as was customary for non-Scots who had no tartan of their own. Unfortunately for Jonathan it was another time when he found himself base over apex. He had gone along to Danny’s bedroom where Danny had changed from his usual top and trousers into full Highland as it was to be his first appearance in that apparel. I had trotted along, too, having just belted my hired Drummond kilt around my middle and had watched as Jonathan had done the same.

“I bet you’re not a real Scot, Danny-boy!” I heard Jonathan call out as he marched straight into Danny’s bedroom. Next thing was the sight of Jonathan in some wrestler’s hold on top of Danny’s bed with his kilt all awry and his bare bum on view, which then received three sharp slaps much to my amusement. Jonathan had made the mistake of lifting the hem of Danny’s kilt and as Jonathan was always teasing Danny over something it was a good comeuppance. At least, Jonathan wasn’t wearing any undies so was obeying Queen’s Regulations. Oh, but you could wear underpants for Scottish dancing and athletics.

Anyway, it was now time to get changed. David said he would go and see if he could get everything on in the right order. Of course, one year Geoffrey had held onto David while Jonathan had looped the chains of his sporran round his neck and said it was the new fashion. I would miss Geoffrey not being here for the Dinner as he was on duty at the BBC in London over Christmas and the New Year. In fact, his previous job of piping in of the roast was to be done by my friend Luke Henderson this Hogmanay. Not me! I had, query reluctantly, given up any attempt to learn to play the bagpipes. I still had the beautiful chanter but could never get the tempo and rhythm right and always seemed to run out of breath at the wrong time with the blasted pipes. I had inherited Jonathan’s set so we were both Grandfather’s failures!

David went off to his own room and I set to stripping completely. I’d had a shower earlier so was clean! First, a pair of black briefs, dancing would be taking place! An energetic reel meant that kilts would swirl and... I leave that to the imagination! Anyway, I had learned early on that the quickest way with Highland dress is to begin with one’s feet. Long white socks with garters and the red tabs to match the Drummond kilt colour. Next, the pair of black ghillie brogues with the long laces, just my size, which Mum had spotted in a charity shop just before Christmas. Jonathan would be jealous as he only had black brogues without the long laces to tie around one’s ankles! The new white shirt next and then to buckle on the kilt. I had the knack now of wrapping it right over my middle and then finding the hole for the strap on the left to pass through before fastening that buckle. Then the big fold over to the right to fix the two straps and pull them tight in their buckles. I had to make sure then that the kilt was hanging smoothly and centrally and my shirt wasn’t wrinkled. Yes, I looked in the wardrobe mirror, all was well as the kilt hem was just at mid-knee level. I mustn’t forget to pin on the clan badge to help hold the front down and make it keep flat. So far so good. Sporran next. The chain and leather bit had to pass through the two loops at the back of the kilt. Could be fiddly so I thought I’d go and ask David to help. I picked both my sporran and my jacket up so he could check I was presentable when I had everything on.

His main door was closed so I knocked, politely. He knew it was me and not rambunctious Jonathan so called out ‘Come in’. He was in his bedroom but wasn’t at all ready as he was trying to hold his kilt up while finding the buckles. His, of course, was a full ‘eight yard kilt’ with all the pleats and pretty heavy. I put my sporran and jacket on his bed and gave him a hand by matching the straps to the buckles. “Got it,” he said. “Don’t know what you’d have to do if you had to dress quickly for battle!” That was easy as in olden days they just wore a plaid and pinned it somehow over a shoulder. At least, that was what fount-of-all-knowledge Jonathan had informed me after seeing a telly programme about Braveheart. Of course, he had to add that nothing was worn underneath in those days at any time!

We then helped each other with the sporrans and that just left me to find out the best way to fix the jabot to flow neatly out of my collar. A safety pin did that! Jackets on and we were both ready for the evening. We thought we’d better see if Danny was OK. As we approached the door to his sitting-room there was quiet swearing to be heard. David tapped on the door. “David and Jamie here. Need any help?”

A rather flustered Danny opened the door. He was just in a long white shirt and stockings and I assumed he had his briefs on as well. He shook his head when he saw us. “I’m sure this isn’t my kilt. It’s at least four inches too much round the waist.” It was. It was sagging as he tried to put it round himself and I suppressed a giggle.

“I bet it’s for Sergeant Wilton,” David said. “He’s on duty here tonight as the place mustn’t be left empty.” A quiet ‘Shit!’ from the usual unflappable Danny. “‘I’ll see what’s in his room,” David said and took the kilt from Danny and went off along the corridor. Yep, he was soon back with another Royal Stewart kilt and of the right size. “I guess I know who made the swop,” David said.

“I’ll blacken the fucker’s balls when I catch him!” Danny was not pleased. “Sorry all, for that outburst.” We all knew the culprit. My dear brother Jonathan. I didn’t explain what I’d heard Mum say earlier that Sergeant Wilton would just be wearing civvies tonight. Yes, and Jonathan was hovering looking for food at the time.

I’d got quite a lot about Sergeant Wilton in my Journals as he was another of Dad’s group. He lived somewhere near Princes Street and the ‘office’ but when needed, as tonight when the house would be empty, he would be on guard duty, as it were. He was often around, again always in civvies, closeted with Dad and there was usually much laughter when things were going right. The cats loved him and Mrs Grantly was sure he could speak their language as well as the seven or eight other ones he knew. In fact, when Great-Aunt Cassie came to stay they would talk to each other in Latin or Ancient Greek! He was always reading and he and Jonathan got on very well. He had helped Jonathan a great deal with the course work of the degree he was doing especially with the Military History and the Specified Language, French. He also helped me when Danny told him about me liking codes. He said there were other ways of hiding things like writing them in another alphabet. So I learned the Russian alphabet and how to say the letters and also ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’, Thankyou’ and some other words as well. Each time I came home on holiday he and Danny taught me more, because Danny also knew Russian, so I could say things to Pinocchio without anyone else knowing. I must admit I knew a couple of secret things which aren’t in any of my Journals and though Dad knows I know, and Jonathan knows them as well, our lips are sealed!

We helped Danny with his kilt and also the sporran. I’d noticed just before he’d settled his shirt tidily he’d also got a pair of black briefs on like mine. He looked very smart when he finished by putting his silver-buttoned jacket on. It was then that David spoke. “I think it might be a good idea to check our sporrans.”

Danny looked at David then pursed his lips. “I agree, it’s all too quiet at the moment.”

I had watched as they both released the flap of their sporran from the press-stud under it. Both reached in and withdrew a silver-wrapped object. What was it? I did the same and there was a rather mangled chocolate in mine. It was an old After Eight mint in its paper envelope but was crumpled and would be sticky if extracted. I certainly hadn’t put it there! Their’s certainly weren’t chocolates. I had recognised what they were from just over a year ago when Jack Pringle had shown us one which he said he’d found in his brother Oli’s sock drawer.

“I’ll wring the fucker’s neck when I get hold of him!” Danny said emphatically “I wonder what he’d planned as after-dinner entertainment? ‘I bet your sporran hasn’t been opened since last time you wore it and there’s a mouldy After-Eight Mint in it.’” He’d imitated my brother’s Scottish accent very well. “You’ll be OK, Jamie, but what about us?”

I had guessed their objects weren’t mouldy sweets but condoms! Pringle had torn open the package he’d held up and then displayed to our just teen-age eyes the floppy, rubbery object. He didn’t actually give us a full-blown, as it were, demonstration but put it over the middle finger of his left hand where it fitted more than loosely. Questions and answers then followed and we learned of the use of the objects in preventing babies being produced when persons of opposite sexes indulged in what was known as ‘fucking’ though none of us had experienced that action. It was then passed round, rather gingerly, but there were no offers from anyone to demonstrate it on the proper organ. Even Freddy Arnold, who at fourteen and a half at the time had a healthy four and three-quarter inches when stiff, according to Fergus McIntyre’s chart which he kept for each of us, forbore from offering.

We had learned quite a lot about what we might look like down there as we got older from Fergus, who had a most instructive book called ‘Foetus Into Man’, which his father had given him. We had studied the pictures very carefully and at my present age of almost fifteen, I was moving rapidly from Stage 3 into Stage 4 of genitalia development in my opinion. However, the book gave us no indication of our final size, which Fergus said was a worry for many as he’d heard his father discussing this with his mother, who had been a nurse, when he’d examined a rather concerned eighteen-year-old who still had a way to go in development. However, Fergus informed us what he had found in another book, that, when fully grown, one would, on average, end up with somewhere between five and a half and six and a half inches when erect. There was something more about tenth and ninetieth percentiles but no one knew what that meant. Anyway, I was four and seven tenths inches at present at almost fifteen! Bloody Pringle was, of course, over five and a half now as of December 1998 and was just fifteen and a half years in age! But, as he pointed out, his cock had lengthened by over half an inch in four months and Fergus said his had done the same though his wasn’t quite as long. Anyway, there was a bit of hilarity later when Pringle had tried to flush the thing down the heads. It had an air bubble in it so kept bobbing up and down. Three flushes and it still hadn’t disappeared. Practical Pete suggested the only way would be to rescue it, press the bubble out and tie a couple of knots in it and wrap some loo paper round it and try again. Success! It went first time then.

I saw that both Danny and David were examining the packets carefully. Danny looked at me and I said I knew they were condoms as Jack Pringle had shown us one. That made both of them grin. “Not the usual sort these though,” Danny had said. “Heavy-duty, I guess, says they’re ribbed.”

David gave a snort at that. “And I know where he got them. The medics had a stall in the Union just before last term ended. They were handing them out. ‘Be Safe. Be Sure’ was the sign above.” He then pointed emphatically at the one he was holding. “There were two sorts. Something gossamer and these. I admit I picked up a pack of the gossamer and passed them on to my friend Andy Price.” He’d laughed. “He’s known as Priapic Price. Moved in with his girlfriend last term, too.”

Danny grinned at him. “Not needed, eh?” He then made a particular movement of his fist which Jonathan had made at me when he came into my bedroom one afternoon last Easter and I was lying on my bed well away using the same movement in a practical manner. He’d said nothing then but just stood and watched ‘cause it was too late for me to try and stop and, anyway, I’d had my eyes tight shut and my mouth open at the time. I then breathed a bit more easily and opened my eyes having ‘shot my wad’ as Jonathan called it. Of course, he then mouthed ‘Wanker!’ and did the fist up and down. He then knelt by the bed as I must have looked a bit shocked because he’d caught me doing it. We both knew what each other did but I must have looked a bit uneasy. I suppose I might have thought it could have been someone else, even Mum! Anyway, he put his arms round me and hugged me a bit. Luckily not getting any of the drops of my cum on his shirt. “No probs, Jamie. Don’t worry, just be happy. I need it mucho, too.” I knew that from having to share a bed with him!

What I also knew was that my brother wasn’t a virgin. I’d learned that in my usual way. Listening in to conversations by being near a half-open door. It was Christmas at the end of the first term he’d been at Uni. We had the usual house-full with Alistair in Jonathan’s room and Jonathan sharing with me for ‘decency and decorum’ as he put it. As before, after runs and showers, there was much discussion between the pair in Jonathan’s room. I learned quite early on that there were congratulations for ‘Jonno losing his cherry!’. This was accompanied by high fives and whoops of joy from the pair. I realised what it meant when Geoffrey turned up a bit later from being down in Cambridge University and I heard Jonno was ‘a virgin no more’. Of course, Alistair was no virgin either. In any case, now he was fully qualified as a solicitor and installed in the Perth office he had announced his engagement to Elspeth Angela Wallace and would be getting married at Easter!

David made the fist up and down back at Danny and the pair laughed. “It’s a bit much even for a Jonathan jape,” David said going back to non-smiling as he held the package up. “I can imagine the looks on faces when these would have been revealed.”

Being older now I was down to be on one of the ‘young grown-ups tables’. My sisters and Geoffrey’s sisters would be as well there even if he wasn’t. I knew Luke and Logan Henderson would be there, too. There would be ten or twelve of us as usual, plus others I had got to know on other tables.

“Surely even he wouldn’t set us up to cause such embarrassment,” Danny added. “We’d better short-circuit it.” He opened a drawer in his desk. He had a tin of colourfully wrapped sweets in it and held up a couple. “These’ll do. They’re flat and I think they’re toffees so won’t squash and make a mess. What about you, Jamie? Might be an idea to keep yours as it is. Is it leaking?”

I shook my head and popped the mint back into my sporran. I had just done this when there was a quiet rap on the closed door.

“Anyone in?” For once Jonathan was quiet as well. Danny stuck a thumb up at me as I was nearest the door. I opened it carefully wondering what other little trick might be played on us. He’d obviously been to the other rooms and found them empty. No trick. Jonathan stood at the door, all dressed ready for the Dinner and Ceilidh, but with a very woebegone look on his face. “Can I come in? I’ve got an apology to make.”

I stood back and he came in slowly, hands up showing his palms. No one spoke.

“Sorry lads,” he said quietly, “I got carried away. Never though of consequences.” He must have spotted the packets David and Danny were holding. “Oh, Hell! You found them!” I’d never seen Jonathan look almost scared before. “Sorry, I feel so stupid. Spur of the moment. Brain not in gear.”

I could see David was trying hard not to smile especially when Danny said very sternly “Company Sergeant Major Drummond, I shall put you on a charge of wilful incitement to embarrassment of a grievous nature.” He’d used Jonathan’s CCF rank and whatever the other meant made both David and me laugh. We shouldn’t have as Danny gave us a stern look, too. Danny wasn’t finished. “A suitable punishment has to be administered.” He looked at David, then me. David spoke up.

“Bare-arsed at the feast.”

Danny looked at me. That would pay Jonathan back for stripping me of my briefs last year though he did give them back before we set off. I nodded. “The jury is agreed on the judgement. Follow me.” We all went into his bedroom. David and me last behind Jonathan. Danny pointed to his bed. “Lie face down until the first part of the sentence is carried out.” Amazingly, Jonathan obeyed. Danny was really now in charge. “Jamie, I think you should remove the offender’s garment as you were the recipient of the prisoner’s humour last year.” Yes, Danny had heard me squawking as Jonathan was tickling me after removing my undies. Jonathan had chucked my pants at Danny as he came into my room to see what the row was about. Jonathan made the mistake then of calling out, “Small boy’s knicks. Should fit you next year!” My dear brother then joined me on the bed and his non-bare bum was slapped four times. More screeching. From him!

So, here was my big brother not protesting. Not even when I lifted up his kilt and saw the tiny pair of briefs he had on. They were certainly very elastic to keep all he owned tidy! He didn’t make a sound as I hooked my thumbs in and pulled them down. Yes, they were made of a very stretchy material and I managed to get them to the tops of his stockings. David then lifted his legs and I was able to remove them completely. Wow! Jonathan’s balls were in full view and they were very hairy! I thought I’d better not say anything about blackening them as Danny had threatened! I had the skimpy briefs dangling from my fingers when Jonathan’s rather muffled request came.

“Prisoner asks to speak in mitigation.”

I did have a quiet laugh to myself.

“Allowed, but stand up first.” That was an order from Danny.

I thought Jonathan might turn on me and grab his briefs but he didn’t. He stood up straight. His kilt was a bit awry but it settled. “Permission to speak?” he asked. Danny nodded and David was grinning but Jonathan was in front of him so couldn’t see. “I have a problem with the fabric of the kilt when not wearing underwear.” I was sure there was a hint of a smile there but he was looking straight ahead. “The friction causes a reaction which could cause me embarrassment.” I knew what he meant. It would give him a hardon as I’d learned to call a stiff prick.

“And the embarrassment you would have caused us and others?” Danny asked.

“I apologise most abjectly.”

It was then that David spoke. “He could wear a pair of one of his sisters’ gym knickers. I know there are several pairs in the downstairs airing-cupboard.”

Danny could hardly keep a straight face and the look Jonathan gave David was priceless.

“No, that is not necessary. No underwear until coffee is served. Jamie is designated keeper of the briefs. That is final!”

I wondered where I could keep the garment. Of course, in my sporran. Jonathan wouldn’t dare to mention mouldy sweets tonight as I took out the crumpled mint and gave it to Danny who chucked it into his wastepaper basket. I folded the briefs and they fitted well pushed down and I snapped the flap of the sporran shut. I smiled up at Jonathan, who had breathed a sigh of relief.

“Prisoner released?” he asked and both David and Danny stood and put their arms round him. He was forgiven as there were peals of laughter then. I had to hug my naughty big brother, too.

“Sorry guys but it could have been disastrous,” Jonathan said. “Too much Jack-the-lad I’m afraid. I’ll be a good boy tonight.”

“But after?” David asked with a grin.

“You wait and see,” was the immediate response. “Anyway, what’s this about my sisters and their gym knickers? How do you know about them? Have you got a fetish? We’d better check you to see if that’s what you’re wearing tonight.”

David lifted his own kilt and we could see he had black briefs on just like us. “And I don’t have a fetish. Remember the leak in the airing-cupboard down below last year. Your Mum asked me to remove all the clothes in there and, I must admit, I was intrigued with the pile of young ladies’ unmentionables, including at least four pairs of dark blue bloomers.” He screwed his nose up at Jonathan and Danny and I laughed. “Anyway,” he held up his little package, “Where have you hidden number three?” Even I knew that those things came in packets of three as Jack Pringle had told us that when he displayed his slithery object.

Jonathan shook his head. “Not hidden, it’s gone.”

“Used?” Danny asked. Jonathan nodded. “Who and when? Nothing’s been said and I thought you were celibate at the moment.”

Jonathan looked at me then shrugged his shoulders. “Self and the night after I picked them up. I saw it said they were ribbed for extra pleasure so I pleasured myself and felt nothing more than usual. Obviously more pleasure for the partner.”

“Tried and tested, eh? Done it before?” Danny was in full questioning mode.

“Of course, hasn’t everyone?” He looked at me again. “Sorry Jamie, I doubt you have but it’s something boys have to try out once they hear about what they’re for. No need for a partner.” He grinned. “At seventeen, as I was then, I was pleased the thing fitted OK.”

“Where was this?” Danny asked, “Not here?”

Jonathan shook his head. “No, at Kinloch, and I was sharing with Tuddy just before Highers. He’d brought in a pack of three and we just put them on and...,” Here he did that fist up and down. “...that was that.” He grinned. “Tuddy wasn’t lucky with his second one. He got a bit violent and the end burst. Made quite a mess. I shouldn’t have told you about Tuddy but you’ve heard some of our tales before.”

That was true but the other tales didn’t involve trying out those things and wanking in them. I wondered if I could try one but I thought I’d better wait until my dick was a bit bigger. Seventeen was quite a time to wait for me. Two more years. Still, I was pleased with what I could do with it now!

Danny looked at his watch then. “Better see we’re ready for the fray. The Colonel will be banging the gong soon.” That was always Dad’s signal to gather the tribe, as he called us, if there was an outing. Yes, Dad was a full Colonel now and Danny was always respectful though Dad had told him to call him Dad, too. “What about the girls?”

David snorted. “I wouldn’t dare to see if Caroline is ready. I got told off at lunch when I asked what she was going to wear. A real Drummond shrug of the shoulders and a curt ‘Wait and see!’” That had set Danny and Jonathan off laughing.

“And who is escorting Jacky?” Danny asked. “She said a couple of days ago she hadn’t made up her mind.”

“A little lie,” Jonathan said with a grin. “It’s muscle-bound Marty MacFarlane.”

There was a concerted ‘Wo Hoo!’ from the other two. Marty was a Second Year like Jacky and Caroline. He and his brother, Graham, had a basement flat along the square. Their father was a builder and the family lived down in the Lowlands, as the border counties with England were called. Their father had bought the flat when Graham graduated and got a job in a bank so he had somewhere to live. That meant after his first term at Uni Marty had moved in with him. No Hall of Residence rent to pay!

Graham was about seven years older than Marty and there were two sisters in between just like our family. One of the sisters lived with her parents but the other one was married and had two kids of her own. They both worked in the office of the building firm and more-or-less ran the business. Anyway, Marty and Graham were well into body-building so Jonathan said. Marty, anyway, went running most days with our lot and wore very small running shorts which showed off his very muscular thighs. He wasn’t very tall, nor was his brother, and they said they had done weight-lifting and so on to stop being bullied at school. I know Graham had made sure he wasn’t bullied by laying low two bigger kids who had grabbed him and were going to de-bag him so Marty had told us. They had quite a family story, too. Their grandfather had been a Highland crofter and a strict Presbyterian, a Wee Free. Marty’s father John, and his uncle Calvin, Graham’s father, had left home as soon as possible as teenagers and got jobs in the building trade first of all near Bridge of Allan. They had saved their money, moved a bit further South, and set up their own business and as they were honest and hard-working, so Dad had told us, they prospered. Wee Frees no longer, but the brothers had inherited the croft when their father had died and it was let out now.

I liked Marty, he was very much like Jonathan, with a good sense of humour and they got on very well. Jonathan often disappeared over to their flat as they had some contraption set up which exercised arms, legs, chests, thighs and so on as needed. Sounded like some instrument of torture. I know Marty’s got muscles plus as last Easter he and our lot had been out for their usual morning run. It had pissed-down in the night and Marty had misjudged a kerb where the verge ended and had fallen back into a muddy swamp as he said. He did add ‘bloody’ before muddy when Jonathan brought him upstairs. He was swearing because his ‘tight-arse brother’ Graham had switched off the hot water supply to their shower now it was ‘fucking Spring’ as he said. Mrs Grantly had just arrived for her morning’s work as they staggered round to the back door. She had told Jonathan to see Marty had a shower and to bring his muddy kit down to be washed. I had just got dressed when all this was happening so was instructed by Jonathan to get Marty’s dirty kit from the bathroom and take it down to be washed. That meant I had full view of Marty who was just a few inches taller than me but, he had an eight-pack so Jonathan told me after, and his thighs and arms were massive. I did notice then his dick didn’t seem very long though it was fat and his balls hung low. I had a second view when I came back from sticking his clobber in the washing-machine. Being much shorter than any of the others Jonathan was sorting through my things to find something which might fit him so that he would be at least be decent to cross the road. “Can’t have Mrs Frobisher having a fit seeing your delectable body!” Jonathan had said as he handed Marty a pair of my sweats which were more than a bit small for the size of his thighs and a bit short in the leg. Marty had given him a thump when he said ‘delectable body’ but I had noted Jonathan giving him a very close look when he was in the nude. I had as well!

There was another secret I knew and definitely not put in my Journal. When Alistair came to stay with us last Easter, as he had stuff to deliver to the Edinburgh solicitors’ office, Jonathan had said he had something important to discuss with Alistair and, as I was fourteen now I was ready to hear things, so he wanted me to be present. We sat in his bedroom which he was sharing with Alistair. He held Alistair’s hand as he spoke and said whatever was discussed was between the three of us at the moment. The first thing he did say, which I knew anyway, was that he wasn’t a virgin anymore. Alistair, knew that too and I saw he squeezed Jonathan’s hand. He went on to say that although it had been an interesting and enjoyable experience, as he put it, he wasn’t sure whether he also liked boys as well. He didn’t go into great details but from what he said he couldn’t help being aroused when he had been with his friends and others at Kinloch. Alistair had nodded. “Usual with them all?”

Jonathan said ‘Yes, plenty’ and looked at me. It was time for a confession from me. I just said I and Pete Douglas had done things together. Alistair raised his eyebrows. “Just?” That was enough, I knew what he meant. No more than wanking together, though we had tossed each other off quite a few times. I didn’t say all that but nodded. “Same here,” Alistair said. I wondered if that meant he’d done the same. But then it became much clearer as I thought about it. What I had witnessed when he’d stayed with us those times before and what Jonathan had said about being taught. Alistair had taught Jonathan about wanking! And there was Jonathan and Geoffrey as well. So all boys were boys together! I didn’t say I was very fond of Pete and I had special feelings about him. I just listened as Jonathan said he’d gone out one evening last term with one of his friends who was doing some of the same parts of the degree course.

“It got a bit steamy,” he said. “We went back to his room at Pollockburn.” I knew that was the name students gave to one of the Halls of Residence, like ‘Bannockburn’. “Much kissing and cuddling and we were stripped off very quickly.” He looked at me before he went on. “We ended up giving each other a blow-job.” I knew what that described as that was what Dolly’s reputation was based on! Jonathan had explained all that when I’d asked him about what Dolly did. “Best thing ever, but it’s scared me. Bobby wants to meet up again but I know if we do it’ll lead to other things. He does have another mate who he’s always with. I like Bobby very much, but what do I do?”

We sat in silence for a while. Alistair spoke quietly, still holding my brother’s hand. “Jonno, I’ll be very blunt. I wondered about myself for quite some time and we’ve had one or two adventures together, eh?” Jonathan gave him a wry grin. “I think it’s partly being at an all-boy’s school. There’s a lot of sights, sounds and actions and it’s all male and everyone is developing and needing release. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t join in at some time and I admit it myself I was never backward in coming forward, or coming at any time as necessary. And, boy, wasn’t it necessary!” He looked at me. “I hope this isn’t too much for you, Jamie, but I guessed you were experienced, shall we say.”

I didn’t say anything, just smiled at him. I had plenty to think about myself. Necessary? At school I had at least one wank a day, sometimes two. Fergus had said have a wank was OK as his father had told him it was just ‘blowing the cobwebs away’, or ‘clearing the pipes’ when he had the talk with him about puberty and what would happen. Here, at home it was generally twice a day and I’d had three on two days last week. Trouble was I was imagining Pete doing it at the same time. Then there was David. I knew he wanked regularly. He always mopped up with a tissue as I’d heard Jonathan once asking him for a ‘cum-wipe’ or two as his socks were getting crusty. Jonathan was always good at making statements like that though we all knew about his use of loo paper.

Alistair went on, “I think it might be an idea if you take a little vow of celibacy until your thoughts settle down. Hands to the pump, but nothing more!” Alistair also had a way with words! “You’re on an excellent career course. Degree then the military. Don’t bugger it up before you’ve got yourself sorted. Even if it means no military in the end it’s not the end of the world.. I can assure you there’s plenty around both with squaddies and above from what I’ve learned even in my short life and career. Be yourself, Jonno. Be the lad we love and I do love you truly.” He beckoned me with his other hand. “Come on, Jamie, a hug and a kiss for a cousin and a big brother.”

Both Alistair and I hugged Jonathan and we both gave him proper kisses. “I love you,” I whispered in his ear as Alistair was kissing him. I then hugged Alistair and gave him a proper kiss, too.

Tears were running from Jonathan’s eyes. “I love you both, too,” he said as I wiped away tears on his cheek with my hankie. “I’ve got plenty to think about and I don’t want to let my family down.”

“Jonathan, if you ended up with a boyfriend, which I doubt, no-one would feel let down. Just be yourself.” He gave a little laugh. “I’ve always thought of you as my best mate and I hope we remain the friends we are, whatever may befall us.”

That left me with plenty to think about, too. I couldn’t put any of that in my Journal, just a note that Alistair had stayed for a week with us and at least two of my special code marks each day.

It was just after Danny had looked at his watch that the ‘bong, bong, bong’ came from below. He held out his hand and David gave him the condom packet he was holding. “Safe and sound in here,” David said as he put the two in the top drawer of his desk. “You can have them back afterwards. I’d better ask if there are any more?”

Jonathan shook his head. “No, and I don’t have any plans for any other merry japes, either.”

‘Merry japes’ was the general term used for any of Jonathan’s mischief-making capers. Many of them, usually punished by Mum giving him a clout or Mrs Grantly wielding a ladle and giving him a couple of sharp whacks to his backside.

“Come on then, must get down for the parade,” David said as he led the way out of Danny’s room.