Boarding School Blues
“Go! Go, Jordy! Paddle!”
The sun streamed high overhead as Cooper screamed with the rest of the Valentias down at the lake’s docks. Four canoes stormed around the final bend of buoys, and Valentia only trailed behind Fuerza by half a boat.
At the head of Valentia’s canoe sat Jordy Diaz, who shouted commands at Kai and his other suitemates as they increased the power behind their synchronized rows.
“Left! Right! Left! Right!”
Jumping up and down beside Cooper, Anakin shouted, “I think they’re pulling ahead!”
It was true. Maybe thirty yards separated Fuerza from taking yet another win in the competition, but the Valentias were hot on their trail. Cooper hoped Jordy’s team would win. Not just because Jordy and Kai were part of his House, but also because Xavier was leading Fuerza’s canoe. A week into his time at Blue Ridge, and Cooper still remembered the way the bully toppled him over with no remorse on his first day.
“Come on, Jordy!” Cooper cried.
A brief glance at the bulletin board showed that Valentia and Fuerza were only separated by two points. The girls’ races had been just as heated, but if Jordy’s team could squeak out the win, then Valentia would be back on top.
“Oh, no! Cooper, look!”
Anakin pointed to Xavier’s canoe. Having noticed Jordy’s crew gaining on them, the tip of Xavier’s boat was steering at a sharp angle in an effort to cut them off.
“That’s cheating!” Cooper shouted. “They can’t do that.”
“Well, they’re doing it, so it must be allowed.”
Any second now the two boats would smash together, unless Jordy could somehow find a way to cut their speed and pull around. It looked like Jordy knew what he had to do, because all at once he called for everyone to dig their oars against the current.
Water sloshed over their paddles as Xavier’s canoe drifted harmlessly past, and immediately Jordy called for everyone to row in the opposite direction. Making up for the lost seconds would be difficult, but even as Jordy, Kai, and the others strained to regain their momentum, Cooper believed they could do it.
“Come on, just a little further,” he urged.
In the end, it was the Fuerzas who crossed first as a pistol cracked, announcing the end of the race. Cooper groaned with the rest of the Valentias as Jordy fell back against Kai in exhaustion. Kai patted the front of Jordy’s life jacket in support.
Already the Fuerzas were cheering obnoxiously as the bulletin board was wheeled out and another tally was added beside their House.
“We were so close, too,” Anakin mumbled.
“We can’t give up yet,” Cooper said. “We can do this!”
As the canoes were rowed to the docks, the 7th graders readied themselves to start while an announcement called for all 6th grade boys to join Professor Bell near the bulletin board.
Hanging around Professor Bell’s neck was the boat house key. Like the castle where their classes were held, the boat house was a towering, two-story structure. Before the races started, they got to check out the inside and see where the members of the canoe club spent their afternoons.
As Professor Bell explained the rules about their life jackets and the race, a fresh crack from the starting pistol signaled the start of the 7th grade race.
Cooper found himself checking out the competition. Between the four Houses, they all seemed evenly matched except for Ivan. He easily had a foot and a half on all of them. Ever since they started their classes, Cooper wondered if Ivan must have failed a grade sometime before 6th grade. Seriously, what kind of steroids was this kid jacked up on? Maybe he’d be the awkward kind of big that would slow them down, Cooper hoped.
“Mr. Morrow, are you paying attention?”
Cooper blinked as his blood ran cold. Not good. He’d zoned out. A couple of the other 6th grade boys snickered, but Naveen’s glare was venomous.
Professor Bell sighed. “These rules are so no one gets hurt. At any point, if you try and sabotage another team’s canoe with your oars, your team will be immediately disqualified.”
The boys nodded, and after Professor Bell finished explaining the rules, he directed them down to the docks where they were fitted with their life jackets and helmets. The buckle beneath Cooper’s chin was pinching him too tight, but when he tried to get some relief, the professor who helped him out frowned and tightened it back.
Anakin held the mustard yellow life jacket out at arm’s length, shaking his head as he slid them over his arms. “Who in their right mind would ever want to wear these?”
Cooper laughed. “Maybe people who don’t want to drown?”
“I think I’d rather drown,” Anakin said.
Cheers turned Cooper’s attention to the group of boys rounding the final bend. In a rare turn of events, Sagesse had come out on top over Fuerza, with the other two Houses falling shortly behind. Winning the suite competition now was a long shot, but they had to try. There was no way they were giving up.
When the pistol fired again, it was finally their turn.
Cooper steadied his breath. Jordy’s advice rang in the back of his mind. This was it. His chance to prove to everyone he belonged.
Cooper walked to the front of the canoe, but he was nearly smacked by an outstretched oar as Naveen leveled it at his face.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Naveen asked. “That’s my seat.”
“No, it isn’t,” Cooper said. “We can sit wherever we want.”
“And I want the front seat. Someone like you doesn’t get to choose where they sit.”
Cooper’s hands twisted around his oar. He wondered how far Naveen’s head might roll if he whacked it with his paddle.
Naveen didn’t wait for permission as he marched towards the front of the canoe. Julian shook his head and mouthed an apology to Cooper, while Anakin only gestured for Cooper to take the seat right behind Naveen. Anakin settled in behind Cooper, and Julian brought up the rear.
“We’ll follow my lead,” Naveen said to no one in particular. “Even with a handicap, we’ll show them who’s on top.”
Cooper’s blood boiled, and he doubted he could keep his emotions bottled up much longer.
At the other docks, the boys from the remaining three Houses sat poised and ready.
“Ready!” a professor called from the middle dock, aiming the pistol high into the air.
With a deafening crack, the sidelines erupted in cheers, and Naveen led the charge, digging the right side of his oar through the water.
“Stay with me!” Naveen shouted.
Cooper’s fears were realized as the bigger boy from Fuerza sloshed bucketfuls of water behind him with each powerful stroke of his arms. In no time at all, their rivals were pulling ahead, already reaching the buoys marking the halfway point.
“Row faster, guys!” Naveen ordered. “Come on!”
“We’re trying,” Cooper shouted. “You’re not waiting for us to row with you.”
“Who asked you?” Naveen said. “I was talking to my teammates.”
Cooper had had enough. When Naveen lifted his oar out of the water to begin turning the canoe at the first set of buoys, Cooper used his oar to jab the end of Naveen’s.
“What’re you doing, you idiot!?” Naveen shouted and slapped back at Cooper’s paddle.
Cooper rammed the bar against Naveen’s life jacket, and the raft began to wobble. Turning his body around, Naveen toppled Cooper backwards into Anakin’s lap.
“Naveen, stop!” Julian called, but it was no good.
Cooper gripped the edges of the teetering canoe and kicked at Naveen. Leaning over to try and knock his foot away, Naveen’s extra weight at the side sent the canoe tilting. In a panic, Cooper clutched his oar as his body went lurching out of the boat.
Cooper felt the end of his paddle strike something hard as his body plunged into the darkness of the chilly lake water. With the life jacket on, it was only a second before he breached the surface, but right away his heart sank. Anakin’s body floated face down in the water.
Cooper ditched the oar, struggling against the life jacket as he swam towards his friend. The moment he got there, he lifted Anakin’s head out of the water. Next to his temple, the skin was broken and bleeding, and Anakin wasn’t opening his eyes. Keeping Anakin’s head above the surface, Cooper positioned his body beneath him as he cried out for help. Julian was the only one of them to have stayed in the boat, and Naveen was swimming back towards Cooper.
From the shoreline, the cheers had grown silent and a few whistles pierced the air as Professor Bell dived in the water and swam their way. Everyone else had stopped the race, but that didn’t matter anymore. The most important thing was keeping Anakin safe.
All at once, Anakin sputtered up water and choked out a cough as his eyes fluttered open.
“What happened?” he asked. Anakin hacked up another wet cough as they floated on the water’s surface before signaling to Cooper that he was alright.
“Cooper must have smacked you in the head, that’s what,” Naveen said.
“That’s it!” Cooper said. “I don’t care what happens anymore. I don’t care if I’m kicked out of this shitty school. You’re the biggest freakin’ jerk I’ve ever met!”
Cooper swam over to Naveen before grappling with him in the water. Naveen was ready, though, and clipped Cooper in the side of the jaw with his fist. His head wrenched sideways, but Cooper had so much adrenaline pumping through him, the punch was little more than a dull ache. He was ready to pounce on Naveen when an ear-splitting whistle shrilled right beside them.
“Boys! Boys!” Professor Bell roared, but neither of them stopped until their teacher swam between and forced them apart.
“It’s his stupid fault,” Naveen said. “He tipped our raft and hit Anakin with his oar!”
“That was an accident!” Cooper explained. “And it only happened because you kept blaming me for everything that went wrong!”
“That’s enough!” Professor Bell shouted and silence fell over the waters. Their professor’s hair was soaked and plastered to his forehead, and his breath huffed through his nostrils as he eyed them both. “Anakin, are you alright?”
Anakin winced as he pressed his fingers to the welt at the side of his head. The skin beside Anakin’s ear still wept with blood. Cooper’s stomach dropped as he realized what he’d done. He’d hurt the only real friend he had at Blue Ridge.
“I think so,” Anakin said. “It just stings really bad.”
“We’ll get you cleaned up and checked for a concussion,” Professor Bell said. “Boys, help me get him in the raft, and if either one of you causes any issues, so help me, this will be your last day at Blue Ridge.”
Naveen shot him a withering look, but Cooper didn’t have the heart to fight anymore. He swam to where Professor Bell was assisting Anakin to the canoe and helped push up until Julian was able to help Anakin into the canoe. Professor Bell pulled himself up before assisting Cooper and Naveen.
Professor Bell took the front, and Cooper squeezed in beside Anakin who rested his head against Cooper’s shoulder and closed his eyes.
“It’s okay, Coop,” Anakin whispered. “I know you didn’t mean it. It’s okay.”
“It’s not okay,” Cooper muttered.
For once in his life, Naveen said nothing as he sat in front of them, though Cooper was willing to bet if Professor Bell wasn’t there, things wouldn’t be so quiet.
When they arrived back to the docks, two teachers carrying first aid kits helped Anakin from the canoe before bringing him to the shade of a popup tent and checking him for a concussion. Professor Bell’s school uniform was still drenched and dripping as he tried to wring the water from it.
When Anakin was cleared and his wound cleaned and bandaged, Professor Bell escorted them back to their suite. The whole time, Cooper kept turning his head to check on Anakin. It didn’t matter how many times Anakin told him he was fine. Things could have gone so much worse. They should have. And it was all his fault.
Upstairs at the top of Valentia’s spire, Professor Bell had them sit on the couch, while he pulled each of them to the side to hear their version of what happened. Cooper tried to explain how it was an accident, that he never meant for Anakin to get hurt. Was he trying to hurt Naveen instead? No, well, maybe. He wasn’t sure what had gotten into him all of a sudden.
After Professor Bell talked to them all privately, he addressed them as a group.
“You boys were extremely lucky nothing happened to Mr. Adams,” Professor Bell said. “And I do mean all of you. Not just Cooper.”
“How is any of this my fault?” Naveen asked.
“Because you are a team!” Professor Bell said tersely. His voice cut the quiet of the room like a knife. None of them dared speak.
Cooper kicked himself mentally. Maybe all this really was his fault.
“Like it or not,” their professor continued, “Cooper is here to stay. I suggest you both find ways to make amends with each other. There won’t be a second chance should something like this happen again.”
There was no room for discussion as he spun on his heels and marched down Valentia’s steps. Cooper jumped as Naveen’s door slammed shut behind him. So much for trying to win him over, Cooper thought.
Anakin lay on the couch, leaning his head back against the cushions as he rested an ice pack on his head.
“Don’t give up, Coop,” he said. “He’ll come around. Promise.”
Cooper wasn’t so sure anymore. Was staying at Blue Ridge worth putting the people he cared about in harm’s way? Anakin seemed to think so, even though he could have been hurt so much worse. That wouldn’t have happened if he had been gone.
A small voice spoke behind him, and when he turned, Julian was facing him, face scrunched as he searched for the right words in English to say.
“Just so you know, I tell Professor Bell Naveen started fight. You’re not bad person.”
Cooper nodded his thanks before Julian retreated back to his bedroom and shut the door behind him.
“See?” Anakin asked, giving a thumbs up from the couch as he forced a smile. “Progress.”
“Did you see the way they toppled over?” Fielding shouted as they scanned the bulletin board for the updated scores. No way was Fuerza going to lose now. “I thought PB was gonna strangle them for sure.”
Roman raised an eyebrow. “I think PB is gonna strangle you if he ever hears you call him that to his face.”
“Our little secret,” Fielding beamed, smiling angelically as he mimed zipping his lips.
While there was talk about disqualifying the entire 6th grade boys’ race, in the end, the professors agreed to award points based on their last positions before the fight. That meant Fuerza had pulled out another win. Roman, Fielding, and Wyatt practically tackled Ivan off his feet, knowing it was him who had been a huge reason for their win.
Earlier in the day, they were told the first solo event would be a swim meet held right after the canoe races. Already, buoys were being arranged to mark how far they’d have to swim before circling back.
They all agreed Ivan would be the worst choice. While his extra weight and muscle helped propel them to victory during the canoe race, he lacked a swimmer’s body. Roman considered volunteering, knowing all his time at the pool back home might be good for something, but it was Wyatt who raised his hand instead.
“I’ll do it,” Wyatt said. It was one of only a handful of sentences Roman had ever heard him say.
“Alright, Wyatt!” Fielding shouted. He patted his shoulder like a parent dropping their kid off for their first day of school. “You’re gonna do great. We believe in you.”
“You’re just glad you don’t have to swim,” Roman pointed out.
Fielding squeezed a totally unprepared Wyatt in a hug. “You go and get us that win now, y’hear?”
“You’re crazy,” Wyatt mumbled.
“Crazy awesome,” Fielding said. “Now, go!”
None of Cooper’s group came back, and they were automatically given 4th place. Roman might have felt good about the win normally, but there was no fun in winning by default. The only reason Cooper’s team had 4th place was because someone had gotten hurt.
In the end, Wyatt came in second, losing to a swimmer from Sagesse who glided through the water like a dolphin. Not even Roman could believe how effortless the boy swam.
“Check that kid out,” Fielding said, pretending to hold binoculars up to his eyes. “Woah.”
“Hey, whose side are you on?” Roman asked.
When Wyatt returned to them, his damp, floppy hair dripped water down his forehead as he apologized for losing.
“You did better than any of us could have,” Roman said. “Especially Fielding.”
Roman ignored the gasp he heard as the final scores were tallied. The suite competition was a slam dunk for Fuerza, but there were still three other solo events happening the next day, and it was anyone’s guess what they would be.
Heading back inside, Roman was thankful for the break. His skin bristled with warmth from the hot sun, even with all the extra sunscreen he put on.
“Oh my god, I’m so burnt,” Fielding said as he pressed a thumb against his arms. “My moms are gonna kill me if they find out.”
Roman refused to glance inside Xavier’s suite as they walked up the steps. Ever since he’d nearly pummeled him and Fielding, things had been silent. The only other time he’d seen Xavier that week was in the dining hall. His brother was barely touching the food on his plate. It annoyed Roman that he even worried what might have been wrong with Xavier. What did it matter? Xavier didn’t care about him, so why should he?
“I’m beat,” Fielding said as he fell back on his mattress. Already, the bathroom showers were running as Ivan and Wyatt rinsed the sweat from their bodies. “I swear I could fall asleep right now.”
“Don’t,” Roman said. “You’ll get your covers all smelly and gross.”
“Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Mom.”
Roman chucked a pillow at his friend and grinned as Fielding yelped in surprise.
“What do you think tomorrow’s gonna be like?” Roman asked.
Fielding waved a hand from his bed. “Who knows? I just hope it’s something I’m actually good at.”
“Maybe they’ll have a competition to see who can talk the longest.”
Roman ducked when Fielding hurled the pillow back over.
“‘Maybe they’ll have a blah blah blah’” Fielding repeated. “Whatever. I think the shower stopped—guess I’ll go next.”
Roman sprang up from the bed and picked out a new set of clothes. “Hold up. I’ll go with you.”
Fielding whipped his head around and stuttered. “What? Why? You don’t have to do that.”
“Come on,” Roman said, “It’s no big deal. You’ve taken showers by yourself all week. There’s nothing to be worried about. I have the same thing you do, you know.”
“Yeah, but…” Fielding got fidgety, shifting his gaze around the room. It reminded Roman of the first day they met.
Roman grabbed his clothes and towel and pushed Fielding out the door. It wasn’t until they reached the steamy bathroom that Fielding gave up fighting him.
Inside the bathroom, Ivan and Wyatt were toweling off as water dripped to the marble floor around their feet. Roman couldn’t believe how much body hair Ivan already had. His dick hung beneath a compact, but dense patch of black pubes. There were even little dark hairs down by his ankles. Roman was once again amazed that Ivan could somehow be in 6th grade. Weren’t they supposed to start puberty in like a year or two?
Wyatt on the other hand was scrawny in every way. Completely smooth other than the brown hair on his head, Wyatt had the appearance of a boy two years their younger. Sitting on top of his tight sack was a shriveled up button dick that seemed to stick out soft rather than hang like Ivan’s.
Neither seemed fazed by the other’s nakedness, and Roman tried not to stare as he slipped inside and carried his clothes to the empty ledge near the shower.
As their suitemates wrapped themselves in their towels and left, Roman asked Fielding, “You coming or what?”
Without waiting for a response, Roman removed his shirt and let it plop on the marbled bathroom floor. He kicked it away from a puddle of water before undoing his shorts. Behind him, Fielding faced the opposite way, but his shirt was gone. Freckles dotted the pale skin of his narrow, upper shoulders. Roman flushed when Fielding lowered his shorts and underwear and the white globes of Fielding’s ass came into view.
Keeping his underwear on for now, Roman reached inside the shower and turned on the faucets. Hot water sputtered out until a steady flow began, adding to the steam already swirling around in the bathroom.
Fielding cupped his hands over his bits as Roman removed his underwear. Unlike his friend, Roman didn’t bother covering up. What was the point? They couldn’t go the entire shower guarding themselves. And besides, they were going to see each other naked over the next seven years. Ivan and Wyatt had clearly gotten over their bashfulness, and it was time for the two of them to do so as well.
“Oh…” Fielding whispered, his eyes drinking in the sight of Roman’s naked body, his smooth tanned skin, his slightly drooping balls and penis, the curves where his abs began to show. In comparison, Fielding wasn’t quite skeletal, but Roman could count his ribs.
Fielding’s eyes locked on to the fading yellowed bruise on Roman’s stomach. After the incident with Xavier, Roman explained that it wasn’t the first time Xavier had done something mean like that. He didn’t mention any of the stuff about touching Xavier’s dick or making him shoot his stuff. He wanted to, he tried, but he couldn’t. It was like someone snapped a lock around his lips and trapped the words inside.
Roman shook the thought away as he opened up the glass door to the shower and stepped inside, propping it open for Fielding to come through.
“Can you see without your glasses?” Roman asked.
“I can see alright,” Fielding said, stepping over the ledge and into the shower.
The warmth from the spraying water immediately spread through the aching muscles in Roman’s back, and he exhaled in relief. Fielding waddled over to the other shower, hands still cupped over his groin.
“You can’t cover yourself forever,” Roman said. “How’re you going to use shampoo or wash yourself?”
“I…uhh…” Fielding stammered. “I won’t then.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Look, what’s the big deal?”
Fielding turned his head away, and when he muttered, Roman could hardly hear him over the noise from the shower. “Promise not to laugh?”
Roman stepped out from under the shower head and placed a hand on Fielding’s shoulder. “I promise.”
Still keeping his head turned as he squinted his eyes shut, Fielding removed his hands, and Roman saw why he’d been so worried, even if it brought a smirk to his face.
Standing proudly up from his pale groin, Fielding’s boner arched upwards all three-and-a-half inches towards the ceiling, throbbing and pulsing in time with his heart beat. The shaft was as white as the rest of his body with a little pink mushroom crown on top. Beneath his penis, Fielding’s sack was larger than he’d expected, but his balls were drawn up, kind of like Xavier’s did before he shot his stuff.
If anything, Roman wanted to laugh, only because of how anxious Fielding was. So what if he popped a boner? It happened all the time.
“Is that all?” Roman asked.
Fielding opened his eyes and looked down, as if to double check he was still hard. This close to his friend, Roman knew their groins were only a foot from each other at most. It had been years since he’d shared a bath or shower with Xavier, and the closeness alone was starting to make him hard.
Fielding’s mouth opened as Roman’s penis stretched to its full length. Rather than curve upward like Fielding’s, Roman’s dick pointed out like a spear ready for battle. To show he wasn’t embarrassed, Roman flicked the end of his boner and gave it a wag.
“See? Nothing to be embarrassed about. We’re boys. It happens. A lot, actually.”
Fielding was breathing a little heavier, and when he reached down toward his groin, Roman thought he was going to cover himself up again. Instead, Fielding gave his penis a soft squeeze while staring at Roman’s and shuddered. The technique was different, but it seemed like he was making himself feel good like Xavier had. Roman wondered if that meant Fielding could shoot stuff too.
A strange tightness formed in Roman’s chest as his boner twitched. Trying to distract himself, he grabbed his shampoo bottle from the ledge and squirted some in his palm.
“Come on. Let’s get washed up, and then we can go have dinner.”
They finished the rest of their shower, both boys hard as a rock the entire time. When it was time for his body wash, Roman was careful as his hands glided across his soapy body and down to his throbbing erection. Something was going on with him, and every touch on his dick sent little chills over his skin. He was careful to only touch it as much as he needed before moving on to his balls and rolling them in his hands.
Across from him, Fielding gave his boner a little more attention, his palm sliding over the entire length several times. Roman blushed at the small groan that escaped his mouth as Fielding’s knees buckled with every swipe across the pink crown. It took everything in Roman not to reach out and slip his finger’s around Fielding’s boner. Before anything could happen, Fielding snatched his hand away and washed his body free from the soap.
Roman had tried to make it happen before. Tried to make his penis jump and twitch like his brother’s. But every time he felt like he was close, and he got close a lot, his mind was haunted with a memory of Xavier slapping him or punching him or shoving him, and the desire emptied from his body in a rush.
Feeling like he needed to catch his breath, Roman cut the water off, and it dripped all over the floor as he opened the shower door and pulled their towels from the ledge.
Fielding’s strawberry-blonde hair was a shade darker as its curls plastered to his forehead. When Roman tossed him the towel, Fielding rubbed his hair with it, his tiny boner wagging side to side each time. As Fielding bent over to wipe his legs, Roman saw the globes of his ass again, and before he could change his mind, he coiled up his towel and flicked it out at Fielding’s butt.
His friend lurched up and shielded his cheeks before hobbling away, and Roman laughed as he dodged Fielding’s own attempts to towel snap him back.
“That wasn’t nice, Roman,” Fielding said, holding his ass with both hands as his boner jutted upward. At least they were over their nervousness now.
Once their clothes were on, the two boys waited for Ivan and Wyatt before heading down to eat.
Along the way, Roman thought the day had been one of the best days he could remember in a long time. Maybe it was how well they did in the House competition, or maybe it was just the fact that he had done it alongside people who cared about him.
Roman couldn’t stop himself from squeezing the tops of Fielding’s shoulders. His friend looked back and beamed at him before adjusting his glasses.
It felt good to have someone close in his life again.
End Chapter 7
Copyright 2023 – Levi Holland
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