THE JIGSAW PUZZLE
By Pink Panther
Another chapter for you! All the usual disclaimers still apply.
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The new Harry Potter film, `Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' is going to be released a few weeks before Christmas. Being a total Harry Potter fan, I'm really looking forward to it. I've read all the books; I saw the first three films at the cinema and bought the DVD's. I can hardly wait to see the new one.
"The new Harry Potter film will be coming out after half term," I bubble excitedly as Mark, Andrew and I board the bus for school. "Will you be coming to see it?"
"I don't think so," Mark says scornfully.
"Don't think I will either," Andrew agrees.
"But you loved the last one!" I protest.
"Yeah, but we were still in juniors then," Mark counters.
"So?" I demand.
"Well, it's like little kids' stuff," he says, "all the magic and that. It's all a bit girly."
"Well I'm going!" I say defiantly. "I don't think it's girly!"
I'm bitterly disappointed, even a bit angry; I'd thought all three of us would go together, just as we did with the previous three, but it seems like Mark and Andrew aren't interested any more. It's like they think they're too grown up to go to films like that. Or is it because I wouldn't go to badminton club with them? I hope not, and try to push the idea out of my mind.
But the thing that's really got under my skin is that as soon as Mark announced that he didn't want to go, Andrew said he didn't either. It's what he always does. When the three of us get together, it's usually Mark that suggests what we're going to do. And whatever it is, Andrew will go along with it.
If I suggest something, I have to wait to see what Mark says. If he's not keen, Andrew will always back him up, so we don't often do things that I've suggested. When we were younger, it didn't seem to matter, but recently, it's begun to irritate me.
When I get to school, I start asking the other kids in our class about going to the film. Some of the boys say they'll probably go, but won't say for definite. A fat lot of use that is! The girls are far more enthusiastic; pretty well all of them are planning to see it.
"Me, Jane and Louise are going on the opening night," Rebecca Cawley says, smiling at me. "You can come with us if you want."
"Thanks," I say, grinning back. "I'll do that."
So it's sorted. I've known Rebecca since junior school. She's nice; her friends are too; we've always got on well. And they're all quite pretty, Jane especially. So I'll go with them; it'll be better than going on my own.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Sunday. By eleven o'clock I've finished my homework. I look out of the window. It's pissing down; no chance of us playing outside. I could still go to Andrew's, but all he and Mark will want to do is play computer games and argue about football. I'm bored with that.
I take the DVD of the last Harry Potter film off the shelf and slip it into the player. I settle down to watch, just to remind myself. After about ten minutes, I've got it. I stop the DVD, take out my sketch pad and begin to draw. At quarter past one, when mum calls me down to lunch, I've just finished: drawings of Harry and Ron. They're pretty good, I think; well, not bad anyway.
I've worked hard on my drawing since I've been at the Grammar School. Mr Gault, the Head of Art, has helped me a lot, showing me different tricks and techniques and pointing out the mistakes I was making. I put the sketch pad into my school bag and make my way downstairs.
It's Monday afternoon registration before I get the chance to show my drawings to anyone. As usual, Mrs Vickers is late, so I show them to Rebecca and her friends.
"Wow, these are really good!" she enthuses.
"I wish I could draw like you!" Jane adds, smiling.
I don't mind exactly, but I am on an art scholarship, so I should be able to draw something people can recognise. A few of the other kids have gathered round.
"Have you done one of Hermione?" Matthew Westhall asks.
"Not yet," I say, thinking on my feet, "but I will."
"If it had been me drawing," Matthew said, grinning, "I'd have done Hermione first!"
The other boys laugh, me included; hearing Matthew say that isn't exactly a surprise. He's the biggest of the boys in our class and superb at sport; the other boys really look up to him. He's also very keen to get himself a girlfriend, though I'm not sure if he's succeeded yet. Fortunately, he's okay, not big-headed or anything; he works hard and is pretty quiet most of the time. I check myself. I hadn't planned on doing a drawing of Hermione, but now it looks like I'll have to.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
With my homework completed, I take out the sketch pad. I put the DVD into the player again, picking out scenes in which Hermione makes an extended appearance. Finally, I begin to draw. It's a struggle; I have to keep going back to the DVD to check this or remind myself about that. I never had to do that drawing Harry and Ron. Once I'd watched the DVD for a while, I just knew what they looked like; with Hermione, I have to review every detail. I've no idea why; I guess that's just how it is. At last, it's finished. It's probably as good as the others, but it's taken forever!
The following day, I take out the sketch pad to show it to the other kids. Matthew bustles across, eager to see it. He studies it carefully.
"She's hot, man!" he breathes, an evil grin on his face.
I smile up at him, pleased that he likes it. He thinks Hermione's hot. Well, that's what boys are supposed to think, isn't it? Me, I don't get it; not yet anyway. Maybe I will when I'm Matthew's size, though God knows when that'll be.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Saturday morning and I'm hanging out with Mark and Andrew, much as I usually do. The weather's still wet and windy, so we're at Andrew's house, playing computer games. I'm bored, probably because I'm not very good at them.
"We're going to the pool this afternoon," Mark says casually. "There's a kids' fun session from two till four. D'you wanna come?"
I eye him suspiciously. What has he asked me that for? He knows I can't swim!
"It's okay," he continues, as if reading my thoughts. "You don't have to swim. They have all these floating mats and things out. We'll just stay down the shallow end and play on them. If you get tipped off your mat, you just stand up."
"Come on, Ian!" Andrew encourages. "You'll be all right."
"We'll be there, man!" Mark adds. "Nothing bad's going to happen."
In one way, I'd really like to go. After all, Mark and Andrew are the only close friends I've got. But the idea of getting tipped off one of the mats is terrifying. Just standing up sounds simple enough, but it wouldn't be like that for me. It's not just that I can't swim; I'm scared of the water, petrified in fact.
When I was little, Mum took me to swimming lessons. I kept having panic attacks. After a few weeks, the teacher asked Mum not to bring me anymore because I was scaring the other kids. So I know what'd happen if I fell off the mat; I'd panic and start thrashing around. I'd show myself up in front of everyone at the pool. I can't do it.
"No, you go," I tell them firmly "I'll leave it, thanks."
Mark looks exasperated, but I'm not budging. It would end up being a horrible, embarrassing experience. I'm not going and that's the end of it.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
The day has finally arrived. It's Friday evening. All the arrangements have been made. I'm very excited. I have to go to Rebecca's house. Her mum will drop us off at the cinema where we'll meet up with Jane and Louise. Afterwards, Rebecca's mum will pick us up and take us home. And her overriding instruction is ringing in my ears. The four of us are to stay together; under no circumstances is any of us to go off on our own. Sounds sensible to me; it's what I'd have done anyway.
Finally, it's time to get ready. I have a shower and dress in my best playing-out clothes. At half past five, I set off for Rebecca's. She's all dressed up too; I knew she would be. A short time later we're in her mum's car, heading into town. We talk excitedly about the film; it's clear that Rebecca's as anxious to see it as I am. When we reach the cinema, Jane and Louise are there waiting for us, Jane's clothes making her look even prettier than she usually does.
"Have a nice time and remember what I told you," Mrs Cawley says as we get out of the car.
"We will," I assure her. "Thanks for the ride. See you later!"
Out on the pavement, Rebecca and I get hugs from Jane and Louise. We hug them back. I have to say that the four of us do look good together, even if the girls are all bigger than me. I guess that's my artist's eye at work. Our tickets at the ready, we make our way inside. I sit at one end, next to Rebecca. It's not that she's like my girlfriend or anything; it's just that I know her a bit better than the others. I wouldn't have wanted to sit in the middle with girls on either side; that would not have been cool!
The adverts and trailers seem to drag on for ages, even more than they usually do, but finally the film starts. `Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire'; this is it. I'm spellbound from the very first frame. Harry and Ron have both grown since the last film. Somehow, they look even better than they did before; I can't take my eyes off them. Ron's grown the most. He's bigger and more muscular and his voice is way deeper than it was in the last film. Seamus, Harry's room-mate, is good looking too, I observe. That thought suddenly strikes me as odd; I'd hardly noticed him in the earlier films.
That's when I realise, I've got an erection. I know about erections. We've had sex education classes at school, and dad spent an hour or so talking to me during the holidays. In any case, I've had them before. They seem to pop up for no reason, and after a while they go down again. Fortunately, they've never popped up when they shouldn't, like when we have a shower after games, not that we have to do that very often.
But this one hasn't popped up for no reason. I've got it because I'm looking at Harry, Ron and Seamus. I remember the word Matthew used about Hermione: hot. These boys are hot, Harry especially. I'm so confused I don't know what to think. What I do know is that my dick's hard like it's trying to burst out of my underpants.
It's such a shock. I've never looked at a boy like that before, not ever! I've never even thought of a boy like that; boys aren't supposed to think that other boys are hot. But now, right here in the cinema, it's like my whole world's been turned upside down. I came in here thinking I was a normal twelve-year old, a bit of wimp maybe, but still quite ordinary. I'm going to leave scared that I might be gay.
I glance across at Rebecca, concerned that she might have noticed something. I'm relieved to see that she's completely engrossed in the film. I turn my attention back to the screen. For some reason, I identify with Harry more strongly than I ever have. He's so strong, so brave; everything that I wish I was.
Twenty minutes in, Cedric Diggory makes an appearance, introduced as the school champion. He's older, around eighteen I'd guess, and stunningly good looking. I think some of the senior boys at school are good looking. Cedric's in a different league completely, like some sort of god. I can't take my eyes off him.
Later in the film, Harry's sitting in the bath. You can only see his upper body, but it's obvious he's supposed to be naked. Wow! I just can't stop staring at him. Within a couple of seconds, my throat's gone dry and my prick's so hard, I can feel it throbbing in my briefs.
The action races on, my emotions being torn this way and that, totally distraught when Cedric is murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort; overjoyed by Harry's escape and eventual triumph, even if it is only one more battle along the way. As we leave the cinema, I'm completely in a daze, trying desperately to make sense of it all.
"Are you okay, Ian?" Jane asks.
"Yeah, thanks," I reply breathlessly, hardly able to get the words out. "That was amazing!"
We stroll along the street towards our appointed meeting place. Less than two minutes later, Mrs Cawley's car draws up next to us. We pile in; Rebecca in the front, me in the back with Jane and Louise.
"Jane and Lou are coming back to mine," Rebecca announces. "We're having a sleepover."
I allow myself a grin; she hadn't told me about that. And I'm not sure if sleepover's the right word; `talk-over' would probably be a better name for it. I wonder what they'll talk about; the film, obviously, me perhaps. I hope they're not going to start asking why I was almost in a trance when we left the cinema. In the back of the car, Jane and I chat in hushed tones about the film. It seems that she was as taken with Harry as I was.
"So if you could be with him," I whisper, "what would you do?"
"Oh, we'd snuggle up with our arms round each other," she says dreamily. "And I'd be able to look right into his eyes."
"Would you kiss him?" I ask.
"Not sure," she responds. "Probably."
Hmmmm! That's certainly not what I'd be doing if I got the chance. So what would I want to do? Well, I'm not sure exactly, but it'd be a lot more than just putting our arms round each other! I can't say anything, of course. It's okay for girls to think like that about boys, but not for me it isn't; it's gay.
Mrs Cawley drops me back at home. As I get out of the car my brain's still spinning; I can hardly believe what's happened. I just never saw it coming; there was no warning at all, nothing. Or was there? What about tagging along with Scott and David after choir rehearsal and thinking how exciting it was? I didn't get a hard-on, at least I don't think I did, but I will if I hang out with them again; I've got one now just thinking about it.
And what about being able to draw Harry and Ron from memory, but struggling to draw Hermione? That's definitely something to do with it. It's worrying too; if the other kids pick up on it, they might get suspicious. That would not be good. I've never been bullied or picked on, but if the other kids think I'm gay, well, I'm not sure what would happen.
Maybe some of them suspect already. Is that why Mark and Andrew didn't want to come tonight? Is that why they don't like me being in the choir? Because they think it's gay? Shit! I hope not. But it's no use worrying. I'll just have to carry on as normal and hope nobody says anything. Anyway, the feelings might go away. I hope they do.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
It's Sunday. I've spent the morning doing my homework. Over lunch I sit on the sofa with dad, watching the Moto GP race. I know I'm not much into sport, but motorcycle racing's so exciting, and the bikes are gorgeous; I'd love to be able to design stuff as beautiful as that.
Dad might be bit disappointed that I don't like football and that, but he's always encouraged me with my art. The job he does is highly skilled, but he doesn't design the things he builds. I'd like to go one stage further and actually design stuff myself.
After lunch, I look out of the window. The weather's turned shitty again. It's raining and the leaves are being blown off the trees. If it had still been dry, I might have gone to Andrew's place, but there's no way I'm doing that now. I wander up to my bedroom, still trying to get my head round what happened on Friday.
There's something I have to do. I take out a fresh sketch pad. Inspired by the memory of seeing Harry in the bath, I begin to draw: Harry, Ron, Seamus, Cedric, the images so sharp in my mind I don't even have to think about it. I do have to use a little imagination, you understand, but it's not a problem; I just know what they'll look like. By half past five I've finished. I look through the drawings, my heart racing; I can hardly believe what I've just done. I hide the sketch pad at the bottom of a drawer and go downstairs for dinner.
Afterwards, I just can't settle. There's nothing on the telly that I want to watch. I go back up to my room, take another DVD off the shelf and put it in the player; the new version of `Tom Brown's Schooldays'. When it was shown on telly on New Year's Day, I thought it was one of the best things I'd ever seen, so I bought the DVD as soon as it came out. Tom is strong and brave too, like Harry Potter but without the magic. I wish I could be like him!
The actor who plays him was fourteen back when it was filmed, and with his piercing blue eyes, perfect features and tousled blond hair he's the most beautiful boy I've ever seen; he's hot like you wouldn't believe. I'd love to . . . well, I'll leave that to your imagination.
The film continues. About halfway through, there's a scene where Tom gets caned. Afterwards, he shows the other boys his arse. Wow! My dick's gone so hard it's like bursting out of my boxers. Then towards the end, there's a scene where Tom and a frail-looking, dark haired boy are sitting in tin baths, washing themselves. I wish they'd stand up so I could get a better look. They don't, of course.
The conclusion of the film is terribly sad. The frail-looking kid gets bullied by the evil Flashman and his cronies. Tom comes to his rescue and Flashman is sent down, but a short time later the frail-looking boy dies of a heart condition. As the film ends, I'm choking back the tears.
Then I'm edgy again. I take the sketch pad from where I hid it and begin to draw. Once again, no thought is needed; I can see it all perfectly. After around forty minutes it's finished; the wonderful Tom Brown as I'd like to see him but never have.
Suddenly an idea comes into my head; within seconds I've started work on a second drawing. By nine o'clock, I've completed that one too. I look at it for maybe half a minute, almost in disbelief, wondering how I found the nerve to do a drawing like that. Finally, I return the sketch pad to its hiding place. One day, when I've met someone like me, someone I can trust, I'll show them these drawings. Right now, they're my special secret.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
With Christmas approaching, rehearsals for the school's annual carol concert are in full swing. I'm really looking forward to it, but I have to admit that this is one thing where the Cathedral School really does have it over us. It's by the river, on the other side of the city centre. It's where all the snobs go, kids whose families have been running things around here for centuries. They're like our big rivals. We compete at absolutely everything. Anyway, their carol service is held in the cathedral, and everybody who is anybody goes to it. Singing in an actual Gothic cathedral in front of all those people must be amazing.
There's less than a week to go. Classes have just finished for the day and I'm heading off to the main hall for our penultimate rehearsal. Kids are standing around in groups; once again the older boys have congregated around the piano. I stroll across to join them. Scott and David seem pleased to see me.
"Hi Ian!" David greets. "Still here then?"
"Yeah! Hi!" I respond. "Course I'm still here!"
"So, voice not broken yet," Scott comments.
"No, not yet," I answer.
Actually, I've never thought about it. It hasn't started breaking yet, but the way I'm growing down there, I know it will soon.
With the rehearsal at an end, we head to the bus stop. We're laughing and joking; there's not a hint that Scott and David don't want me to be there. On the bus, they sit together, with me on the seat in front, sitting sideways so I can see them. Wow! Scott is so fit! I don't know if it's the movement of the bus or what, but my dick's throbbing in my boxer-briefs again. That's embarrassing; I hardly know where to put myself! I hope they haven't noticed.
We're approaching our stop, the bus drawing smoothly to a halt. Moments later, the bus, with Scott still onboard, is disappearing along the road. David and I wish each other goodbye and go our separate ways. I stride towards home as fast as I can go. Once inside, I head straight up to the bathroom, locking the door behind me. There's an urgent matter that I need to deal with.
0 o 0 o 0 o 0
I've agonised endlessly over the feelings I've been having. It's frustrating. I don't want to be gay. I've considered ripping up those drawings I did, but somehow, I can't bring myself to do it.
I've tried ignoring the feelings, hoping they'll go away, but that just makes things worse. Whenever I'm on my own with nothing much to do, they just take over. Worse still, there are a few boys at school, boys a year or two older than me, that get me totally steamed up. Apart from Scott I don't know any of their names, but I've only just got to see one of them and I get a hard-on. It's scary!
It's just gone nine o'clock. With my homework finished, I start checking out some more pop music stuff. There's a tap on the door.
"Ian, turn the computer off please," mum's voice says.
I've got school tomorrow, so the computer has to go off at quarter past nine; that's the rule. I check my watch; to my amazement, it's seventeen minutes past. Where did the last fifteen minutes go?
"Okay," I respond.
Somewhat reluctantly I shut down the computer. Mum will be back up just after ten to make sure I'm in bed. After making sure I've got everything in my bag ready for tomorrow. I strip down to my boxers and put on a pair of football shorts. I know it sounds silly, but mum doesn't like me running round the house in my underwear. I trot along to the bathroom, have a quick wash and clean my teeth. I return to my bedroom and take the shorts off again. A wimp like me wearing football shorts? Well, that's about as much use as they get.
It's just gone half past nine, I've got nearly half an hour to kill and I'm hard again. I pull down the front of my boxers, take the ruler off my desk and measure it; ten centimetres, roughly four inches. Not bad! So what now? I could just go to bed like I'm supposed to, but I don't want to.
I retrieve the sketch pad from its hiding place, settling down on the bed to look through my drawings. Harry is sitting on a chair facing at an angle of around forty-five degrees. Nice! I flick over the page. Ron is stretched out on a bed. He's bigger down there than Harry, but everything about him told me that he would be. I glance briefly at Seamus before moving onto Cedric. He's pretty big too, and has quite a bit of hair above his dick. Well, he would have, wouldn't he?
I take a deep breath and turn the page. There he is, Tom Brown, sprawled out on the floor, a pillow under his head, a beautiful smile on his face. I'm really proud of how well I've captured him. I swallow hard before turning to the final drawing. It's Tom again. The pose is similar, but he's not just hard, he's . . .
My heart's racing. I pull off my boxers almost without thinking. It's like I'm on auto-pilot, my eyes glued to the drawing, the tingling sensations becoming stronger and stronger. After barely a minute I'm shuddering uncontrollably, hardly able to breathe; I feel like I'm about to explode. Then it happens. I lie back gasping for breath, little drops of watery stuff dotted over my chest and tummy. Wow! That was unreal!
I lie staring at the ceiling for what seems like ages. Finally, I grab my boxers to clean myself off, dropping them on the floor; tomorrow morning I'll put them in the wash-basket. After slipping on my pyjama shorts, I crawl under the duvet and turn out the light.