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Craving for the Cane
05 – The Craving Grows Stronger

by Jolyon Lewes

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Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 22 Jan 2018

Those four days in Sussex with Frederic were the happiest of Linden Arkwright’s life – until the moment when Frederic’s father burst into the boys’ bedroom and gave his son a caning to beat all canings, right in front of an appalled Linden. Later, as Linden lay beside his friend trying to comfort him, he knew he had to share the pain. He’d have to suffer a ferocious caning of his own, on his bare bottom; something he could tell Frederic about with pride. The caning would have to be at school, as Linden’s father would never hit his son, not even with his hand. Linden’s craving for the cane strengthened.

Next morning they all returned to Surrey with just one more day before Frederic and his parents left for Paris. After the last four days it was an anticlimax and the two boys just mooched about, exchanging tender glances, much to the amusement of Linden’s little sister. It was a melancholy evening, with a quiet supper after which the two fathers went to the study for cigars and brandy, leaving two mothers and two boys in the drawing room, Linden’s sister having gone to bed. At Linden’s request, Frederic went to the piano. With knitted brow, he perched carefully on the piano stool and played a slow, dreamy jazz number. There was something strange in the atmosphere. Linden’s mother asked her son to give her a cuddle. Frederic’s mother was reduced to tears by the music.

When Frederic had finished Linden’s mother said That was absolutely beautiful. Now, listen, boys. The housekeeper’s made up the spare bed in your room, Linden, so Frederic could sleep there as it’s the last night.

Linden smiled gratefully and Frederic said Thank you, I would like that!

The atmosphere lightened at once and Frederic played Percy Grainger’s Country Gardens, very jauntily. Then the two fathers came in, looking pleased with themselves. The merger of their two companies would take months of hard work and there’d be no late summer cruise in Mistral but to compensate she’d be sailed to the Caribbean in November and the two families would fly to Barbados and spend three weeks on board over Christmas, cruising the Windward Islands.

Linden’s joy was tempered with worry about the hot sun and Frederic’s allergy to strong sunlight. But won’t it be too hot for Frederic? He’ll have to spend all the time under cover!

I’ll be alright, Linden, said Frederic. Christmas in the Caribbean is kinder to me than summer in the Med. I know from experience. But thank you for your concern.

Yes, thank you, mon petit, said Frederic’s mother. What a thoughtful boy you are!

That night was the boys’ last night together for months, and they spent it in cosy togetherness, cuddled up in bed, carefully heeding Frederic’s still very painful bottom. They spoke about Christmas and Linden mentioned the possibility in a generation’s time of their being joint chairmen of the company. Frederic said they’d better wait and see. He changed the subject to Caribbean sunshine.

The Trade Winds make you feel less hot but the sun is still fierce. But long trousers in the Caribbean is preferable to shorts in mid-winter Paris! My father thinks freezing legs will make me tough.

Your father’s a monster, said Linden as he unbuttoned Frederic’s pyjama trousers and eased them gently down. He needed to feel Frederic’s gorgeous flesh now – he couldn’t wait till Christmas. They had to be quiet so were content to hold each other and let love pass between their two bodies in a spiritual way rather than a physical one.

At about one Frederic slipped into sleep, his last words being after he kissed Linden’s cheek Mmm, so tasty!



The rest of the school holidays passed with nothing of note happening. Thankfully, Linden didn’t have to wear that awful tweed suit, with its horribly itchy and incredibly short trousers. Frederic and he exchanged letters every week, always ending their messages with MST’ – the abbreviation for Mmm, so tasty! The boys missed each other terribly. They counted the days to their three weeks together in Mistral at Christmas.

Linden returned to boarding school. His future with Frederic seemed certain so he didn’t bother to develop any other serious friendships although there were boys he liked and some he quite fancied. He told nobody about Frederic and listened patiently to other boys telling of their conquests with girls – and sometimes boys – without saying much in return. He thought his love for Frederic was on a far higher plane than mere physical lust and when he wanted to discharge semen, thought instead of a cute boy sleeping across the dorm from him. Despite his best intentions, however, he invariably ended up with thoughts of Frederic’s gorgeous body fuelling his nightly ejaculations. He shagged the mattress with enormous enthusiasm. His desire for Frederic knew no bounds.

He wanted to tell Frederic he’d been caned but corporal punishment at his school was now practised so rarely he’d have to think of another way of sharing Frederic’s pain. For the moment, the craving was waning.

At home for half term Linden telephoned Frederic. Something was wrong with the phone line because it went dead just as Frederic was about to utter Mmm, so tasty! Linden knew he was going to say that because even on the phone he could recognise that uniquely musical drawing-in of breath Frederic always made before intoning their catch-phrase. Linden tried to reconnect but the line had obviously failed so had to give up.

Thankfully, Linden didn’t have to wear his tweed suit at half term. His parents evidently thought his normal school uniform was sufficient for most excursions and for the smartest dinners he had his dinner jacket. There were now just six weeks before he’d be with his best friend again, zooming across the Atlantic to Barbados, en-route for Mistral and all the sex he could desire.



In early December, not long after Linden’s sixteenth birthday, his mother telephoned him at school to say he’d be coming home for the weekend because on Saturday they’d be going to Oxford to see an opera. His sister would be away with friends and in any case the opera wasn’t for little girls. They’d be having an early supper with important friends, who’d be joining them for the opera and who’d be coming home afterwards.

At home Linden saw the formal photo on Frederic’s family’s latest Christmas card. Now seventeen and with characteristically knitted brow, a grey-suited Frederic looked slimmer than ever and his short trousers were shorter than ever, only just reaching the tops of his thighs. Linden couldn’t help getting a massive erection.

When it was time to get ready, Linden’s mother told him he’d be wearing the tweed concert suit.

You’ll understand why when we get to Oxford, darling. Just put it on, please!

All pleadings with his parents to wear his school suit failed so off came the boxers, on went the tiny briefs and then the hated concert suit. The tweed shorts exposed a vast expanse of bare thigh and being unlined were horribly itchy. He felt them slipping down over his hips so off they came again and he had to button on the braces which held the shorts shockingly high but at least stopped them falling down. He’d much rather have used a belt but the shorts had no loops through which to pass a belt.

Linden caught his reflection in the full-length mirror. The hems of his shorts were five inches above his tan-line! That tan-line, generated by the shorts he’d worn in the summer, emphasised the terrifying brevity of his tweed shorts. Shuddering with nerves he tied his tie, put on his jacket and went downstairs, only to receive a kiss from his mother for looking so sweet.

Can you guess who might be the important friends we’re meeting later, darling?

Is it anyone I know, Mum? asked Linden, morosely.

Well, it’s Frederic and his parents! We wanted to keep it secret but I can’t wait to tell you! They’re flying over for the opera – and an important meeting on Monday, of course. So they’re all coming back here afterwards and Frederic and his mother will fly home to Paris tomorrow! He can sleep in your room, if you don’t mind.

Oh! was all Linden could say but inside he was suddenly alive with joy. He’d be seeing his darling boy that very evening! And all night! He could bear almost any embarrassment if Frederic was there to share it with him. He was incredibly happy!

Why didn’t you tell me before, Mum?

Didn’t want you to get too excited, darling, in case it affected your schoolwork. Now you know why we want you to wear your concert suit. Frederic will be wearing one of his.

Oh, how well do mothers know their sons. If his dad had said that, Linden would have been really embarrassed but coming from his mum, well, he just went up and gave her a big hug.

His father came out of his study. Time to go! You know what the traffic’s like. Mustn’t be late at The Randolph!

Sitting in the eight-seat Peugeot on the way towards the M25, all Linden could think about was seeing his Frederic again, sitting next to him, watching this opera and then, best of all, spending the night with him in his bedroom. It was all so exciting. He asked the name of the opera they were going to see.

It’s Billy Budd, said Mr Arkwright, by Benjamin Britten. It’s a bit intense but the opera company’s fantastic so it’ll be worth watching.

Having seen the film, with Terence Stamp playing Billy, Linden knew the plot involved cruelty, whippings, murder and then Billy gets hanged. Just the sort of thing to watch with his boyfriend! He felt his cock hardening. This was going to be a great evening.

On arrival at The Randolph the receptionist told Mr Arkwright there was a message for him. It was from Frederic’s father saying they weren’t coming. Linden went from ecstasy to misery in two seconds flat.

Something really important cropped up and they can’t come, said Mr Arkwright. He’s phoned the theatre to cancel and we’ll be going home without them. What a pity! I’m sorry Linden – we know how much you were looking forward to seeing Frederic again. But it can’t be helped.

Linden felt numb with shock. Pre-theatre supper at The Randolph was served but Linden had lost his appetite. He was aware of people staring at his bare legs and the self-consciousness of earlier years returned. The tweed material of his shorts was chafing his skin and he was constantly scratching the uppermost parts of his thighs. No wonder Frederic hated his own tweed suit so much. But more than anything, Linden was mortified that his unexpected meeting with Frederic was no longer to happen.

It was time for the theatre. You look lovely, darling, said Linden’s mother, but for heaven’s sake, stop that scratching! Just think: a fortnight from now and we’ll cruising the Caribbean!

Linden had his long raincoat with him and although the weather was dry and mild, he wore it to give him a little modesty for the brisk walk to the Apollo Theatre. Arriving with less than ten minutes to curtain-up meant they could go straight to their seats and he wouldn’t have to hang around the foyer for everyone to point at and snigger.



In early December 1982 a nineteen-year-old Cambridge undergraduate named Alex Matthews was spending the weekend in a cottage in Oxfordshire lent to him by his aunt while she was away in New Zealand. On the Friday he’d discovered that the opera Billy Budd was playing in Oxford and the following evening he arrived at the theatre and managed to get a last-minute ticket as somebody had cancelled. It was the first time he’d seen anything by Benjamin Britten but the story of Billy Budd, the young sailor bullied by his Master at Arms and then hanged for killing him, had enthralled Alex since he’d seen the film as a teenager at boarding school. Billy was loved by the rest of the crew, not least by the ship’s captain, who was nearly destroyed by the weight of the decision he was forced to make to execute poor Billy.

Alex took his seat, buried his head in the programme and looked forward to seeing what Britten’s opera might do for him. His row was full but for the three seats immediately to his left. Then the occupants of the seats arrived: a smartly-dressed man and woman of about forty, with their son, a tall, fair-haired teenager in a long raincoat. As Alex stood to let them pass in front they thanked him. They sat down, the boy taking the seat next to Alex, who felt a little frisson of excitement.

The theatre was very warm. Alex heard the mother hiss to her son Take your coat off!

I don’t want to.

Take it off! Stand up and take it off, before the lights go down.

But Mum....

Do as your mother tells you, Linden! This was the father, leaning to his right and speaking quietly but emphatically.

With a deep sigh, the boy stood up to remove his coat, to reveal a dark blue tweed suit – with short trousers of extraordinary brevity. He was wearing knee-socks of dark blue wool. Alex suspected Linden would rather keep the coat folded on his lap but he was told to put it under his seat and with a sigh of disapproval he did so. Then he stood up and tugged at the hems of his shorts to try to stop them from rising as he sat down. That little gesture was pointless as by the time he was seated, the hems had risen to expose almost the entire length of his long thighs. He sat rigidly, his hands clasping his knees. Alex, who liked boys, was enthralled.

Don’t get stroppy, Linden, said his mother. Make the best of it. Just enjoy the show.

But you know how I hate this concert suit! whined Linden. You know how embarrassing it is.

Nice new suit next Christmas, darling, when you’re seventeen. Now be quiet, it’s starting.

Alex was astonished to find this delicious boy was only three years his junior. He tried to concentrate on the opera but was captivated by the glistening thighs to his left. They were smooth and hairless with a tan-line at the halfway point. Linden kept scratching under the hems of his shorts and every time he shifted in his seat his shorts rode higher. Alex had a hearty erection.

Towards the end of Act 1 Scene 1 the Novice was to be flogged. The atmosphere in the theatre was electric. Like every other member of the audience, Alex concentrated on the action. Linden was leaning forward, enthralled. The flogging took place off stage but then, to everyone’s amazement, the young Novice staggered on stage, wailing and entirely naked. He carried his clothes in a bundle before him, which gave him a little modesty in front but when he turned to stumble upstage the audience saw his back and bottom criss-crossed with livid, red whip marks. It was terrifically dramatic.

Slight movement to Alex’s left alerted him to Linden’s left hand. He was rubbing his groin. He was clearly aroused and was doing what all healthy boys do when aroused. Scene 1 closed and Linden, realising his shorts had climbed even further up his thighs, leant back in his seat, raised his bottom and yanked the hems of his shorts down as far as he could, which wasn’t far. He shot Alex a glance laden with self-consciousness.

For the next two scenes Linden managed to resist rubbing his groin but kept scratching where the tweed cloth was ravaging his skin. With a pair of beautiful, entirely bare, boy thighs beside him Alex was struggling to concentrate on the opera and when the interval came his erection was epic. He’d intended to go for an interval drink but sat tight, for two reasons: he wanted to be close to Linden’s shimmering thighs for a while longer and if he’d stood up, his erection would have been plain to see. Two girls were selling ice cream at the front of the stalls and a queue was forming. Linden’s father leant over and passed his son a fiver.

Would you nip down there and buy three ice creams?

Alex could feel Linden tensing up. Do I have to?

Yes, dear, said Linden’s mother. It’s really very warm in here. Go on.

Linden stood up, turned right, tugged on the legs of his shorts and gave Alex what could only be a look of despair. He reached the aisle and hastened to join the ice cream queue. He was standing by the stage, tall, slim and blushing, with what looked like a yard of bare leg showing. He made an eye-catching sight. People were looking at him and he knew it. He kept tugging pointlessly on the meagre three inches of his short trousers that showed below his jacket. Alex imagined cane-marks on the backs of those delectable thighs. Linden’s mother turned to him to ask if he was enjoying the opera. Startled, he took his lustful gaze off Linden and said he thought the production was beautiful. She smiled in agreement.

We’ve come from Surrey to see it, she said. Have you come far?

Well, yes, I live miles away but I’m staying at my aunt’s and she lives not far from here.

Alex mentioned the name of the village and Linden’s mother said Oh, I have a good friend who lives there: Daphne Matthews.

That’s my aunt! said Alex.

When Linden arrived with the ice creams his mother introduced him to Alex.

Would you believe it – Alex is a friend of the family! Pop down and buy him an ice cream, darling.

When Alex saw the expression on Linden’s sweet face he instantly said thanks but he didn’t want an ice cream. With obvious relief, Linden sat down beside him and ate his ice cream. Alex had been hoping to have a conversation with him and now he could, because they’d been properly introduced. They spoke about the opera but each avoided mentioning the homoerotic theme so they discussed the music and the very impressive set, depicting the man-of-war HMS Indomitable. Then Alex asked Linden about school and told him what he was doing at Cambridge.

When Act 2 began Linden had relaxed a bit. Alex thought him a thoroughly nice boy and would love to have got to know him better but they’d be going their separate ways after the show so he’d just have to enjoy the close proximity of him and his pale, twinkling thighs while he could. He knew he’d be thinking hard of Linden as he lay in bed that night.



As the opera progressed there was so much drama that Linden even forgot to scratch his legs. It really was a fantastic performance and the applause went on and on. The Arkwrights left straight after the curtain calls were over as they had to drive all the way to Surrey. Linden’s bare legs became the focus of many people’s attention as he hastened out of the theatre. Alex watched keenly, his erection once again epic. Then he walked to where his little Peugeot, Doris, was waiting, a mile away.

Once in Doris Alex headed out of the city, aiming for the A40 eastbound. He was soon on the dual carriageway but it wasn’t long before blue flashing lights ahead suggested an accident. As he drew closer he saw traffic was being allowed through on the outer lane only and by the time he passed an overturned white van on the hard shoulder he was moving at a crawl. He passed two ambulances, a police car and a fire-engine. Obviously a serious accident. The second vehicle in the crash was one of those big Peugeots and it was on its four wheels but with its side crunched in and firemen were using cutting gear to gain access to the driver.

Alex was now free to accelerate but he saw an astonishing sight. Sitting on the grass verge, attended by someone in Day-Glo orange, was a boy with a silvery space blanket wrapped loosely around his shoulders. It was Linden! How could Alex tell? Well, how many young men were there in Oxfordshire that night in jacket and tie and with shorts that left their legs entirely bare?

What could Alex do? What if he was mistaken? How could he help? The emergency services had it all under control. If it was Linden he didn’t seem to be injured but they’d be treating him for shock. Alex wouldn’t be allowed near him. They’d think he was just some ghoul, hoping for a closer look. On second thoughts, he hadn’t seen the boy’s face, so it could be anyone; some late-night reveller who’d lost his trousers, probably. Alex drove on.

Twenty minutes later he was in his aunt’s cottage. That accident had disturbed him. Could it have been Linden and his parents? Linden had said they had a big car, for the friends they’d planned to meet but who hadn’t been able to make it. It was a big car. They would have used the A40 eastbound. It was all beginning to add up. Alex’s heart was pounding. He had to find out.

By midnight he was at the hospital to ask at A & E if any road casualties had arrived in the last hour. He made for the reception desk. Seated in rows were people who’d come to grief during the evening and were waiting to be patched up, or despatched. Some were plainly very drunk. Then Alex saw him, on a seat right at the back.

Linden was hunched forward, hugging his knees and staring at the floor, like a nervous schoolboy waiting outside the Headmaster’s study. His tie was loosened and his socks were down at his ankles. His bare thighs were shining whitely in the hard light of the waiting room. A scruffy old man approached him, leering horribly.

You bin to a fancy-dress party, ducks? Jus’ for gay boys, wuz it? Cor, let’s ’ave a look at yer!

Linden looked up with a pitiful expression on his lovely face and several people turned to stare at him. An old man muttered bloody queers and another spat viciously on the floor. With heart on fire, Alex went to Linden and put a hand on his shoulder.

Linden, it’s Alex Matthews. What’s been going on? I saw the crash. Are you injured? And your parents....

Linden took two seconds to recognise Alex and then said his parents were being treated for cuts and bruises and needed monitoring following mild concussion. He thought they’d probably be released the next day. As for himself, he’d escaped injury but had to wait in the hospital until his parents were free to go. There wasn’t a bed for him – he’d just have to sit in the waiting room. Alex asked if he could do anything to help and Linden’s answer thrilled him beyond measure.

Oh, Alex, please take me away from this place! I’ve lost my raincoat and I’m almost naked! Look at me! I’m dying of shame!

Back in his aunt’s cottage Alex made cheese on toast and a big pot of tea. They’d been to see Linden’s parents who were more than happy for Alex to take Linden back to the cottage. They hoped to drive home in a courtesy car on Sunday evening and would pick up Linden on the way. He’d have to spend Sunday night at home and go back to school on Monday.

Thank you, Alex, Linden’s mother had said. You’re a Godsend. Linden couldn’t have coped with spending all night and most of tomorrow hanging about in the waiting room, poor lamb.

Linden was ravenous and ate two helpings of cheese on toast, followed by some cake Alex had bought for a Sunday treat. When Linden wasn’t eating he was scratching inside his ridiculous little shorts. The colour had returned to his pretty face. He began to talk about the accident, which wasn’t as serious as it had looked. The car was a write-off but nobody was seriously injured, not even the van driver.

It’s past two o’clock, said Alex. I should think you need some sleep. There’s only one bed but you can have it and I’ll crash out downstairs.

You know what I’d like most of all, Alex? I’m not sleepy but I’m dying to get out of this bloody suit. These stupid shorts are torturing me! You haven’t got a dressing gown, have you?

Sorry, I’ve only got my overnight bag here but my aunt’s bound to have one. I’ll nip up and have a look.

In the bathroom was a flimsy cotton dressing gown and the thought of it clothing an otherwise naked Linden gave Alex another erection. He took it downstairs.

I don’t mean to be a wimp, said Linden, taking off his tweed shorts and handing them, braces attached, to Alex, but how would you like to have to wear these? It’s bloody humiliating and they itch like hell.

The tweed cloth was extremely prickly. Alex was amazed to see no lining at all. Christ! I’d hate to wear anything like this! And so bloody short! Why do your parents make you?

Linden, comfortable at last, began to explain but Alex interrupted. Look, we don’t have to surface till midday, earliest. I haven’t any beer but do you like wine?

They sat in the warm kitchen, drinking red wine, while Linden talked about Frederic, the Mediterranean cruise and the imminent merger of the two businesses. Alex learnt that Frederic, seventeen, always wore short trousers when dressing formally and that Linden had to follow suit, out of respect to Frederic, his elder by one year. Hence the concert suit, made to match one of Frederic’s by Mme Dupont, the French family’s seamstress.

Can I tell you a secret, Alex? said Linden, putting down his empty glass and leaning forward. Frederic and I are more than just friends. I think about him all the time. Can’t help it. It’s the way I am. And he feels the same. Is it wrong?

Alex reached over and took Linden’s hand. No, of course it’s not wrong. It’s actually rather beautiful. Friendship is the most precious thing in the world.

It’s more than that, said Linden, tears welling. We love each other. He began to cry, gently and silently.

Alex wanted to give him a big cuddle but managed to restrain himself. You can tell me everything, Linden. Have some more wine.

Frederic’s father canes him for the slightest thing, said Linden. I want to share his pain but caning at my school is very rare and my dad would never hit me so I feel inadequate. I can hardly cane myself!

Funny you should say that. There are other young men who want to experience the pain of the cane, perhaps after a special friend has had six of the best. Some even like to be caned for the exhilaration it gives them. Strange, I know. And there are people who like to be caned to show how tough they are.

Well, I’ve been caned at school and didn’t enjoy it one bit – but I do want to share Frederic’s agony.

A friend of mine specialises in caning young men, said Alex, feeling yet another erection forming. At their request, of course. I’m sure he’d oblige for you, if you really want it.

Linden was looking thoughtful. Alex looked at his watch.

Look, it’s nearly five, why don’t you go to bed and we can chat more when you get up. Even better – I’ve something that’ll fit you so you won’t have to wear your concert suit tomorrow.

Linden went unsteadily upstairs and Alex made sure he was safely tucked in before going downstairs.

Goodnight, sleepyhead, he said but Linden was already asleep. The most beautiful boy Alex had seen in ages was asleep in his bed wearing nothing but a tiny pair of briefs. Goodnight, darling, he added, under his breath.



Linden awoke in a double bed wearing only the tiny little briefs he had to wear with his concert suit. Downstairs a radio was playing and a man’s voice was singing along to the music. Oh yes, it was Alex. He must have slept in a chair. He took Linden a cup of tea and sat on the bed to ask how he felt. The events of the night before came flooding back.

I must see if my parents are OK.

Don’t worry, they’ve just phoned and they’re fine. They’re coming to pick you up at four. That’s in two hours, after they’ve bought themselves some clothes.

Linden smiled in relief and his smile broadened when Alex showed him the jeans and sweatshirt he wanted to lend him. Ten minutes later Linden was downstairs, eating toast, feeling normal at last in normal clothes. He began to recall the conversation about Frederic and then, with a little shudder, the conversation about caning.

Alex, did you mean what you said about caning? I can’t let poor Frederic take it all. I must have a share of it. However painful it is. I crave for it.

Yes, Linden, I understand entirely. You’re a sweet boy and Frederic’s very lucky to have you as his friend. I can certainly arrange a caning for you. Here’s my phone number. When you need to talk, just call me. I promise I’ll always be ready to listen.

Alex ruffled Linden’s hair and looked deeply into his eyes. Linden had the impression he knew him better than he knew himself and it gave him a warm, bubbly feeling inside.

Linden’s parents, looking slightly battered and oddly trendy in their new, casual clothes, collected him and having thanked Alex for his help set off for Surrey. Once at home, Linden had a bath and thought about all that had happened. His father spent ages on the phone to Frederic’s father and when Linden asked to speak to Frederic he was told he couldn’t because he wasn’t there. So Linden wrote him a letter, saying how much he looked forward to the Caribbean trip and signing off as usual with MST.


At school a letter from Frederic was awaiting Linden. It had taken five days to arrive from Paris and had some shattering news. Frederic’s father had decided it was time his son had a girlfriend and arranged for the daughter of a business colleague to be Frederic’s partner at a high-class dinner dance for young people in a chateau near Frederic’s house in Paris. Simone was a pretty girl and the same age as Frederic. After the party she’d come home and sleep in the bedroom next to Frederic’s. His parents (and hers) hoped she wouldn’t be sleeping alone.

Dressed for the dance, she was driven to Frederic’s house and entertained by Frederic’s mother in the salon while her gallant partner was upstairs, changing. He’d had a violent altercation with his father about what he was to wear and had lost the argument. Ten minutes later he greeted Simone but her response was to burst into peals of laughter. Frederic was in a new grey suit, the one he wore for the Christmas card photo. It had the shortest shorts of his entire collection.

Linden, I couldn’t have been more embarrassed. She just laughed and laughed. It was horrible!

At the party he was the only boy in short trousers and everyone stared at him. Simone refused to associate with him and found other dancing partners while poor Frederic wandered alone, unable to look anyone in the eye. He wasn’t alone for long as a swarthy young man latched onto him and tried to get his fingers inside Frederic’s tiny shorts.

Linden, you can have no idea how humiliated I felt, from start to finish. Even that man Gustav Kimmeridge has limits when it comes to groping me. This boy was utterly vile – but what could I do? I willed the time away and when our chauffeur came to collect us I was happy for the first time that day. Simone wouldn’t talk to me and went straight to her bedroom. My father asked why she and I weren’t friends and I simply pointed to the ridiculous suit and its obscenely short trousers. As usual he said I wore shorts to toughen me up and to teach me humility but now I’d disgraced the family. He went to get his cane.

In his bedroom Frederic was made to remove his jacket. His father yanked fiercely at Frederic’s braces to pull the shorts as high as possible then made his son lean over his desk. From the adjoining bedroom Simone would have heard the shouting, then she would have heard the cane striking Frederic’s bottom, then she would have heard his cries of pain, his sobbing and finally his screams of agony as his father deliberately aimed his cane at weals he’d made just seconds before.

Twelve strokes did Frederic receive, all but three on the bare lower part of his bottom, the area unprotected by his shorts, not that they’d have helped much. The others hit the backs of his thighs and caused even greater pain. He’d never known such agony. His father stormed out and Frederic wept long into his pillow. He wept because of the pain and he wept because he’d lost all self respect and he wept because he’d be a laughing stock among all the young people he knew. Simone, having heard everything, would make sure of that.

I’m at the end of my tether, Linden. In my father’s eyes I’m an abject failure. I don’t know what to do. All I want is to be with you, to see your beautiful face, to feel your hands on my body, your tongue playing with mine and to know our love is deeper than the deepest ocean. I love you more than I can say and our flight to the Caribbean cannot come soon enough. All my love, my sweet Linden. MST.

Linden was in tears long before he’d finished reading the letter. His loathing for Frederic’s father knew no bounds. He was boiling with anger. He felt such compassion for his beloved Frederic. How could he share Frederic’s agony? Then he remembered what Alex had been saying. He would seek a caning even more severe than Frederic’s. His craving for the cane was back with a vengeance. It had been waning but now it was waxing, fast.



On the penultimate morning of the school term Linden’s housemaster took him aside to say his father would be collecting him that lunchtime and taking him home. No details were given except that he’d need to have his passport. It was only five days to the flight to Barbados and Linden hoped nothing had happened to jeopardise those three wonderful weeks when he’d be with Frederic all the time, day and night.

Mr Arkwright picked up Linden in the BMW and headed east. Look, old chap, we’re not going home but to Heathrow. Mum’s going to meet you there and you’re both going to Paris, tonight. The thing is, old chap, Frederic isn’t well. He’s not well at all. He’s asked to see you ... before ... before ...

But Linden had already broken down and was howling, howling like a baby.

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