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Toby's Book

by Charles Lacey

Chapter 5

We – Mother, Wayne, Annabel and I – were to spend the first two weeks of August in Torquay. Wayne drove us there in his car, a rather flashy MG roadster. It was characteristic of him to have a car in which he could show off. He liked people to think he was rich. We were to stay at the Walford Hotel, quite a large place on the sea front, made by knocking two big Georgian houses together. The manager was Mr Williamson, and when he saw me he looked extremely worried.

"I'm sorry, Mr Buckley," he said, "I hadn't realised there was a boy as well as a little girl."

"Well," replied Wayne, tetchily, "Presumably you can find him a room?"

"That's just the problem, Mr Buckley. We just don't have any spare rooms this week. I've even had to let guests use my own room and I'm sleeping on the bed-settee in the office."

"Then you'd better find us rooms somewhere else."

At that point another family came in, including a strikingly handsome fair-haired boy of about my own age. Mr Williamson brightened up a little. "Wait a moment sir, if you will, I've had an idea. Let me just book Mr and Mrs Dobbs in."

The new family went over to the reception desk, and he spoke quietly to Mr and Mrs Dobbs. They spoke to their son, who looked at me, then back at them, and nodded. They looked over at me with, I thought, rather a sympathetic air, then they spoke to Mr Williams. He looked very relieved, and then called across to Mother and Wayne.

"I think we've found the solution, sir. If your son doesn't mind sharing with young Leo Dobbs, they can have the room with twin beds. I'll give you both a good discount, of course."

So it was agreed, and Leo and I were taken to the room we were to share. We dropped our suitcases on our beds – Leo chose the one nearer the window – and looked at each other. Leo was a few months older than I, and slightly taller, with fair hair and vivid green eyes. He was wearing very skimpy shorts, which showed long, slender legs, already going golden brown in the sun. "Hi, Toby," he said, "This is going to be fun. I was hoping I'd make one or two friends on holiday." He grinned at me, and I smiled back. I liked him already.

Our mothers came in to unpack our cases. I noticed that my mother was much nicer than usual; thank goodness for holidays, I thought. It was later that I realized that she was being pleasant because Mrs Dobbs was there. I noticed that Leo had brought some books with him, as had I, of course. It looked as if he were going to be my sort of chap. We were told to "tidy ourselves up" and then come down to lunch. This was a scratch meal; on most days either the hotel would provide a packed lunch, or we might get fish-and-chips or something of the kind.

After lunch, we all went down to the beach. It was already a hot day, with the sun shining in a sky of cloudless blue. Leo and I were both in shorts and sandals; he wore a T-shirt and I had a conventional short-sleeved shirt. I wished I could see a bit more of his body but hoped that perhaps at bedtime he might take off his shirt so that I could see his chest. We spent the afternoon exploring the beach, picking up odd treasures – a few shells, some unusual looking pebbles, a couple of small coins – and I found that Leo was surprisingly knowledgeable about biology in general and marine life in particular. With John's help, I had kept up pretty well with biology at school, so that although I didn't have Leo's depth of knowledge, I was able to follow him. By tea-time we were firm friends. Wow, I thought, I'm going to have Leo as a friend for nearly two weeks. Suddenly, he put out a hand and just briefly clasped my arm. I remembered Matthew and the intimacy we had enjoyed; might this become another such friendship? Not that anyone could have replaced Matthew in my affections; he was my Best Friend and would always be. But Leo seemed like a nice chap, as well as being very good looking and I hoped we could do things together.

Back in our room at the hotel, we were firmly instructed to wash and change before coming down for supper. We had a wash-basin in the room, but no en-suite lavatory or shower. Ordinary British seaside hotels didn't have those sorts of facilities in those days. Without a care, Leo stripped off his shorts and T-shirt. Nothing could have stopped me from watching his back as he stood at the basin washing. His legs tapered up to where they disappeared into his underpants. Above them, a trim waist tapered out into wide shoulders and slender arms. I felt my cock start to swell as I looked at him. When he turned away from the basin I had to look away quickly, but not so quickly that I failed to notice the enticing bulge in the front of his underpants.

His washing done, Leo put on a shirt and trousers. He was undeniably an exceptionally handsome young man. I took my turn at the basin, and then put on more formal clothes. As I took off my shorts, I was sure Leo was looking at me out of the corner of his eye.

Unfortunately the Dobbs family ate at a different table from ours, though I did notice that whenever they were within earshot, Mother was less sharp and scolding than usual. Even Wayne, who was about as sensitive as a rhinoceros, seemed to notice. Well, at least it took a bit of the pressure off Annabel and me. After supper, Annabel showed me her room which I think had originally been intended as a boot cupboard. It was right on the top floor and had a minute dormer window. However, she seemed to like it, so that was alright.

In the evening the Dobbs all went out for a walk. Annabel sat with mother and I went up to Leo's and my room to read. When Leo came in at about nine o'clock I was in my usual position, lying with my back propped against the headrest and my knees up with the book resting on them.

"Hi, Toby," said Leo, "there's loads to do in the town."

"Is there?"

"Yes. There's a zoo, a couple of museums, the park where they have band concerts every day, a games arcade… all sorts of things. Oh yes, and there's clock golf and a bowling alley too."

I was a bit taken aback by this. I'd never heard of clock golf or a bowling alley, and the only time I'd ever been to a zoo or a museum was with a school trip. There was a games arcade in Mouseborough but I'd never been into it. I couldn't have afforded it even if I'd wanted to. But I made interested noises.

Leo took off his shoes and socks and lay on his bed, relaxing. "What kind of school do you go to?" I asked.

"Oh," he replied, "it's called Embleton. It's a public school near Worcester. It's not bad. Where do you go to school?"

"It's called Abbey Grange. It's just an ordinary state school. I s'pose it's alright, but the homework's a bit much."

"We don't have homework, but we have prep, which comes to the same thing. It's a boarding school, but I go home for the exeats – that's long weekends, usually Friday to Tuesday. We have three of them each term."

Oh, I thought, a boarding school, I bet his parents are well off. Mother won't like that. And then for some reason John came into my mind. I bet John would like Leo as much as I do, I thought. I wondered whether to tell Leo about John, but decided against it as he might not understand. So we talked about our schools and our hobbies until about nine-thirty, when Mrs Dobbs came in to tell us to go to bed.

"You have the bathroom first," said Leo. We took it in turns to go to wash, coming back in pyjamas and getting into bed. He was as handsome in pyjamas as he was in day clothes, if not more so. Leo, of course, was used to sharing a bedroom at his school and he went off to sleep almost immediately. I lay awake for a little while listening to his steady breathing until I, too, dropped off to sleep.

In the morning Leo was the first to wake. I heard him get out of bed and go along to the bathroom, then he came back, still in his pyjamas, and lay on his bed reading. I peeped at him through eyelids opened just a slit, and then dropped off back to sleep. I was awakened for the second time by my mother, as usual, shouting at me. I slid quickly out of bed and went along to the bathroom.

"Coo!" said Leo when I returned, "She's a bit fierce, your mum, isn't she?"

I nodded. He didn't know the half of it. I wondered whether to tell him a bit more about my home life, but decided he probably wouldn't believe me. While I was out Leo had taken off his pyjamas and put on clean underwear and a fresh T-shirt. I wasn't sure what to do, but in the end I just turned my back and put on my own clothes. I didn't mind if Leo saw my bum. In fact, I didn't mind what Leo saw of mine, but didn't want to risk offending him by being too much of an exhibitionist.

The weather was promising to be very hot. The sky was a clear blue with only a scattering of little clouds, and it was already very warm. We ate our breakfast and went to make our beds and tidy the room, then made our way down to the beach. We met up with some other children who were having a scratch game of rounders. There were seven of us altogether, five boys and two girls, but it kept us busy for the morning. By lunchtime it was too hot to do anything energetic. We ate the packed lunches provided by the hotel, and then Leo and I thought the best way to cool down would be to go in the sea. The beach was pretty crowded so we changed under our towels, and then ran down to the water's edge. The tide was a fair way out, but it was lovely in the water. We chased each other and splashed about a bit, and then started to swim properly. Suddenly, Leo stood up, quite still for a few moments. "What's wrong?" I asked him. "Nothing," he replied, "I'm just having a pee." Well, I thought, if Leo can, so can I, so I stood up and did the same thing. It was really good, being with Leo, away from Mother, just doing boy things. No doubt she would have wanted me to find a "proper" lavatory.

By mid-afternoon we were starting to get tired, so we made our way back up the beach. It was a shorter distance now that the tide was coming in, and I suddenly trod on a sharp piece of shell and cut my foot. I was surprised by Leo's look of concern. He helped me to a rock where I sat down and looked at the cut. It wasn't deep, but it was quite painful, especially with the salt from the sea water. Leo washed it with some water which he fetched in his hands, and then I hopped back to where Mother and Wayne were sitting, with my hand on Leo's shoulder.

Mother, predictably, was unsympathetic. "I don't see why you need make such a fuss," she said. "Put your sandals on – no, wait a moment, I don't want you getting blood on them." She fished a paper hankie from her handbag and folded it so that it could go between my cut foot and the leather. Leo walked with me back to the hotel, where his parents met us in the lounge. "Let me have a look at that foot," said Mrs Dobbs when Leo had explained why I was limping. "Golly, that's a nasty cut. Leo, pop out to the car, please, and get the first aid kit."

When Mrs Dobbs had bandaged my foot I put on socks and sandals, and Leo and I went up to our room. "Is your Mum always like that?" he asked. I nodded. We sat on our beds and read for a while, and then Leo said, "What's your Dad like? He doesn't seem to have much to say for himself."

I had to explain that my real father had died and that Wayne was Mother's 'boyfriend'. Suddenly he got up, came over and sat next to me and put an arm around my shoulders. "I'm glad I've got my parents, not yours," he said. "Do you have any brothers or sisters? Or grandparents?"

I explained that Annabel was my sister, but there was no-one else in the family except for Uncle Bill, who lived in Canada. "Oh," said Leo, and thought for a while. Then he said, "if you like, I could be sort of your brother."

"I'd like that," I said, with complete sincerity.

He held out his hand, which I clasped. It was a good feeling, sitting next to Leo, holding his hand. I don't know how long we'd have sat like that, because the gong sounded for supper. I wished with all my heart that I could have sat with the Dobbs, next to Leo, but of course I had to sit with Mother and Wayne and Annabel. Looking across at the Dobbs' table I saw that they were talking and laughing together. The same thing was happening at other tables. Only we ate our meal in silence, except for a few remarks made by Wayne to Mother.

We sat as on the previous evening, in the lounge of the hotel. Mr and Mrs Dobbs invited us to join them in a game of Monopoly. Mother declined rather abruptly on behalf of her and Wayne but I was happy to do so. It was still far too hot for anything energetic, though the sky had clouded over. Mother looked sour at my joining the other family in their game, but she could not prevent my doing so without looking petty. It was a good game! Whether Mr and Mrs Dobbs deliberately lost, or whether they just had bad luck, I don't know, but it ended up with Leo and I playing opposite each other. At nine-thirty Mother came over to tell me to go to bed, but Mrs Dobbs said, "Oh, can't Toby and Leo finish the game? They're having so much fun, and it's not as if they had to go to school tomorrow."

"Oh well, I suppose so," said Mother peevishly. Mrs Dobbs looked keenly at her, but didn't say anything more. Mother and Wayne left the lounge with Annabel, ostensibly to put her to bed. But Mother never liked to see me enjoying myself with other people. Shortly before ten o'clock we ended: Leo was the winner. "Well done," I said, "We'll have a return match tomorrow so that I can beat you."

"Oh yeah?" he replied, "You and whose army?"

We laughed, said goodnight to Leo's parents and went up to our room. I went along to the bathroom, and was standing by the basin, stark naked, washing myself, when there was a knock on the door.

"Who is it?" I asked.

"Leo. Open up, I'm bursting."

I hastily hung a towel around my waist and unlocked the door. To judge by the liquid noises from behind me, Leo's need for a pee was indeed urgent. I finished my wash, cleaned my teeth and, still clad only in the towel, went back to our room. Leo came in and said, "It's too hot to wear pyjamas. I'm going to sleep raw." And without any apparent concern, he dropped his towel and got onto his bed.

Even now, I can remember the heart-stopping beauty that was revealed. I'd seen his chest and back already, and of course his legs. Then I saw his bottom. It was small, neat, perfect. When he turned to put his discarded clothes in the drawer, I saw him in all his naked glory. And I mean, glory. I don't expect ever again to see anything as utterly lovely as the fourteen-year-old Leo that summer. He'd avoided the gangly, skinny look that many boys his age get, and there was not a spot to be seen on his face or anywhere else.

His penis was perhaps three inches in length, with a few millimetres of overhanging foreskin, nestled in its little bush of brown pubic hair. Underneath it, his scrotum hung, one side a little lower than the other, not deeply wrinkled but with the centre seam and the outline of the marble-sized balls clearly visible.

He lay on his bed, as unconcernedly nude as a classical Greek athlete, and picked up a book. I wanted to strip off as well, but I was developing an erection, and would have been embarrassed. However, after a few minutes Leo said, "I'm sleepy now. Lights out?"

"OK," I replied. G'night." I went over to the door and switched off the light, then lay on top of my own bed with just my pyjama trousers on. Before long Leo was asleep, but I was intoxicated with his beauty and lay awake thinking about it. In the end I had to go along to the bathroom and take care of myself, or I shouldn't have had any sleep that night.

As it was, I didn't get a lot. I'd just drifted off to sleep when I was awakened by a low rumble of thunder. There was a bit of a wind getting up too, and it was whistling around in our room. I don't think the window frames fitted any too well.

Suddenly there was a vivid flash of lightning, which lit up the whole room, penetrating easily through the thin curtains. It was followed almost immediately by a tremendous crash of thunder, and then the rain started. I've always enjoyed a good thunderstorm, and I got up and went over to the window to watch it, when I heard a noise from Leo's bed. He got up, still in the nude, and came over to the window. I was surprised at how he didn't seem to mind my seeing him, but later worked out that at a boarding school it was commonplace; boys used communal changing rooms, bathrooms, dormitories and so on all the time.

Together we watched the rain outside, splattering and hissing on the still hot road surface, and we counted the seconds between the lightning flashes and the thunderclaps. For some minutes they were almost simultaneous, indicating that the centre of the storm was overhead. Eventually it receded and became less violent, and the rain eased, although it continued to fall.

"I'm going back to bed," I said. Then I looked at Leo. I shrugged my shoulders and took off my own pyjama bottoms. There was enough light from the street lamp outside for Leo to be able to see me, and I was aware that he was looking to see what I had. Oh well, I thought, I've seen his, so he may as well see mine. Just then there was one final, vivid lightning flash, one of those ones that are actually several flashes very close together, and Leo was very definitely looking at me. As the rumbling of the thunder died away, I got back into bed. Leo put a towel around his waist and went out. I wondered whether he was needing a bit of self-help as well.

The next morning after breakfast I was preparing to go off with Leo, when Mother stopped me. "Wayne's going to take us on a drive in his car," she said, and you can come too." My heart sank.

"Do I have to?" I asked, rather tactlessly. "I was hoping to go to the beach with Leo and some other boys."

I should have thought before I spoke. I got a very sharp retort, hissed rather than shouted as there were other people about. "You'll do as you're told. It's very kind of Wayne to take us out for the day and you'll be properly grateful, or you'll know all about it."

I suppose I was lucky not to have been slapped as well, but there were other people there. I sensed that Annabel was just as disappointed as I was since she had made friends with some other little girls and wanted to play with them. As it was, we all piled into Wayne's car, with packed lunches provided by the hotel kitchen, and drove into the country. We ended up just outside Weston-super-Mare, where Mother and Wayne went into a pub. After a few minutes, he came out with a packet of potato crisps each for Annabel and me. We sat in the car, bored stiff, for an hour or more. Eventually they came back, and we set off again. Mother was supposed to be navigating, but she got confused as usual – she had absolutely no sense of direction - and took us onto completely the wrong road. I could tell from the position of the sun that we were going northwards rather than south, and said so. Correcting Mother was always a bad idea, but on this occasion there weren't any other people around other than Wayne and Annabel so I got the full force of her annoyance. Luckily for me she was wearing a seat belt which meant that she couldn't turn around and hit me, but she screamed at me, "Shut up, you little bastard. Mind your own business." Annabel started crying at that, and I put an arm around her and hushed her as I knew it would make things worse if she continued.

Eventually we came to a village, and Wayne got out and asked directions at the Post Office there. We set off again, going back the way we had come, stopping in a lay-by to eat our lunches. We finally got back to the hotel late in the afternoon, very hot and uncomfortable. I turned to Wayne. "Thank you for taking us out today," I said politely, "it was a very interesting journey." Annabel looked at me, wide-eyed. I took the opportunity to scoot off upstairs with Annabel. Leo wasn't there, of course; he would have been on the beach with our other friends. I hoped he realised that I would have very much preferred to be with him and the others. I wondered whether to go down to the beach. About five o'clock Leo came in. "I really missed you today," he said. "Is everything OK?"

I explained that Mother and Wayne had wanted me and my sister to go out with them and told him about our day. He didn't say anything, but I caught a sympathetic look. Leo was nobody's fool and had already summed up my mother and Wayne.

After the storm of the night before, that evening was cooler. Leo and I undressed and put on our pyjamas. By some sort of unspokenconsent we washed and undressed in our bedroom, and again took a look at each other's bodies. While Leo went out of the room to use the lavatory, I took a good look at myself in the mirror. I wasn't quite as well developed as Leo, and my face, I thought, was a bit plain, though thank goodness I didn't get acne, but I had long slender legs and arms and when I craned round to look in the mirror, a neat little boyish bottom.

As usual, we got into bed and chatted for a few minutes before getting out our books and settling down to read. But I had a bad night. It happened from time to time: I would have a nightmare and wake abruptly in the small hours. This one was a real humdinger. In the dream I was in a very big, very dark house, looking for something, but I couldn't remember what. I wandered from room to room, opening drawers and cupboards and looking inside, but there was never anything but papers and china. And then I opened one cupboard, and a monster, with red eyes and sharp teeth, sprang out and hissed at me. I woke abruptly with a cry, and heard Leo's voice, "Are you alright, Toby?"

"Sorry," I said, "bad dream."

There was silence for a few moments, then he said gently, "Would you like to get in with me for a little while?"

I can't tell you how lovely it was in Leo's bed. It reminded me very strongly of sleeping with Matthew when I'd been five years younger. We lay side by side, and Leo put an arm around my shoulders. "I have nightmares sometimes," he said, "but Mum always says to go to their room when it happens. But I guess you wouldn't want to do that."

He pulled me closer to him and brought his free hand over to clasp mine. I moved over so that I could feel his warmth. Suddenly I thought, I'm in bed with another boy, and it feels just right. I really wanted to kiss him but didn't dare for fear of what he might think. I could feel my heartbeat slowing as I relaxed. But I thought, I must go back to my own bed. If we fall asleep together and Mother catches us, there'll be hell to pay. So I said, "Thanks, Leo, I feel much better now," and slid out of his bed into mine. I was asleep in seconds and slept dreamlessly until Leo woke me in the morning by shaking my shoulder.

That day, thank the Lord, I was allowed to go to the beach with Leo. Crass though he was, I think Wayne was slightly embarrassed about taking us out the previous day and getting us lost in the wilds of Somerset. Straight after breakfast Leo and I went down to the shore and met up with the group of young people we'd been with before. We had a cheerful game of rounders, and then all went swimming. In the afternoon Toby and I went off together, exploring rock pools. We went some distance, until we came to a small, sheltered part of the beach where there were few other people. We sat on the sand and lay side by side, soaking up the sunshine. Suddenly I felt a touch on my hand. I instinctively moved it away, and then looked down to see Leo's hand. I moved it back and brushed his fingers with mine. His hand opened, and so did mine, and suddenly we were holding hands. Just as during the night, it felt right, comforting and friendly. Oh God, I thought, why can't it always be like this? What's wrong with two boys being close friends? No-one thinks anything's wrong if two girls hold hands, so why can't two boys do it?

That evening, I tried to get Mother and Wayne to join in a game with the Dobbs and me. Mother refused, brusquely as usual. But the way she looked at Wayne started me thinking. She was ready enough to accept his gifts and sleep with him, but she was also rather ashamed of him and his common accent. I couldn't have cared less about that, but I did dislike his showing off his wealth. His car was an example: big and showy, expensive to run. Not for the first time, I compared him in my mind with John. If John had a car, I thought, it would be a Morris Minor, something sensible and economical. And then I thought, what would John make of the relationship developing between Leo and me? I could almost hear his voice: if it is what you both want, and it doesn't hurt anyone, then what's the problem?

That night when we undressed, Leo and I again had a good look at each other. When Mother, whose turn it was to put out the light, had left Leo said, "I hope you don't mind me saying so, Toby, but I wish your Mum was a bit nicer to you."

"So do I, Leo. She's better when we're on holiday and other people can see."

He was quiet for a minute, and then he said, "Toby, I won't be upset if you say no, but can I get in with you for a few minutes?"

My heart jumped nearly into my mouth. I wanted to say, yes, please, and stay all night, but all I could manage out loud was a colourless, "Oh. OK".

Leo slid out of his bed and into mine. Now that the weather was a little cooler we were both wearing pyjamas again, but it was lovely to have him next to me. Since it was a single bed, although we were both slender boys there wasn't a lot of room and we snuggled up close together. I woke in the small hours of the morning to find Leo still there. But I had an erection that was as hard as steel. I put a hand down to try to move it into a more comfortable position, but the back of my hand brushed against another hard lump. I realised that Leo had the same problem. If it was a problem…

Leo stirred, and mumbled a few words. I put my free arm across him and pulled him a little closer, and he turned so that we were face to face, our erections brushing against each other. I felt his hand slide down my back, and then rest on one side of my bottom. "Leo?" I whispered.


"Do you want to… have a feel of me?"

"Yes. You can feel me, too."

Well, at fourteen of course we were thoroughly familiar with the ordinary technique of masturbation. I'd never done it with anyone else, though I later learned that Leo had. I threw back the covers from my bed and we turned so that we were on our backs but leaning towards each other. Apart from Matthew on that one occasion in his hotel bedroom, I'd never felt another boy's equipment, but it didn't feel in the least strange or wrong.

Leo took off his pyjamas. It excited me even more, seeing him naked and erect. I followed suit, dropping them carelessly on the floor.

Leo's hand stroked my dick for a few minutes, then moved down to my scrotum, then tickled the sensitive skin underneath. Then he moved on and stroked the insides of my thighs. All the time my dick was straining away from my body and I longed for the release of orgasm, but Leo seemed to know when to stop rubbing and use his fingers elsewhere. Meantime I was doing the same for him, twirling my fingers in the little patch of soft, curly hair and then rolling his foreskin gently between finger and thumb. A couple of times he pushed my hand away, not roughly but moving it somewhere else. "I don't want to come yet," he said softly, "this is so good and I want to make it last."

I really wanted to kiss Leo but I didn't know how he would take it, so I just continued to pleasure him. He seemed to like it when I stroked his bum, so I did that with one hand while very gently rubbing his cock with the other, letting the foreskin slide back and forth over the head.

But we couldn't hold it off for ever, and I had a shattering orgasm. Usually when wanking by myself it was pleasant enough, but this was amazing. Leo was not far behind me; he came with arched back and legs pressed together and spurted over his chest. I went over to the wash-basin and got my towel which I used to clean us both. I was surprised how much semen Leo had produced, though my own contribution wasn't much less. I pulled the covers back over us, put my arms around him and drew him close. He sighed and snuggled up against me. In minutes we were both asleep.

Fortunately we were woken at about six-thirty by the milk float outside. If Mrs Dobbs had come in and found us in bed together I don't know what she would have said. But when she came in to wake us at seven-thirty she found us apparently sleeping peacefully in our separate beds.

That morning it rained. Wayne offered to take us to the Zoo. Annabel accepted delightedly, but I asked "Can Leo come too? He'll be on his own otherwise." Wayne agreed, though Mother muttered, "I don't see why he has to come" and made a sour face. But off we went, with Annabel jammed in between Leo and me on the back seat. One advantage of a swanky car, I thought, at least there's plenty of room in the back. As zoos go, this one wasn't bad, but it was a bit limited. The rain eased off while we were there, but it was still grey and cloudy overhead. We saw the camels, the elephant, a flock of penguins. Then we came to the monkey house. There were two Chimpanzees, both male, both playing with erections. We all stared, fascinated, except Mother who quickly hustled Annabel away. When she turned away with Annabel, I felt Leo's hand brush mine and just for a few moments we again joined hands. I felt the gentle pressure of Leo's hand, warm and reassuring, and I squeezed his in return. My dick stirred in my underpants, and when I looked at Leo his shorts showed a small bump. But Wayne was turning towards us and we had to let go.

"Come on, you two," said Wayne tetchily. "No need to go on looking at those damned monkeys."

"Actually, they're apes, not monkeys," said Leo. "They don't have tails."

"Alright, Mr Know-All", said Mother crossly, glaring at Leo. "It doesn't matter what they are, you can leave them alone now."

So we went on into the Aviary and looked at cages with tropical birds. They were very colourful. I did wonder if they wouldn't have been happier in the jungles they came from, but Annabel loved them. I lifted her up onto my shoulders so that she could see better. She was pleased, but Mother said, "Nice to see you doing something for your own family for once." By now I was well used to keeping my mouth shut when Mother made snide remarks, but I caught a sympathetic look from Leo. Wayne treated us to lunch in the zoo restaurant. It was a fairly small-scale affair, though the prices were a bit steep. He said we could choose whatever we wanted to eat. Leo and I both chose fish and chips with mushy peas. "Trust you to choose the most expensive things," said Mother, although actually they weren't. Leo opened his mouth to reply but I kicked his ankle and he closed it again. He was learning.

Once we'd eaten Leo and I both needed a pee. There was a Gents' lavatory close to the restaurant and we both went in there, standing side by side. There were only two urinals so Wayne had to wait behind us. Leo and I both sneaked a quick sideways look at each other but we couldn't do more as Wayne would have seen. A pity, but there would be plenty of other opportunities. As, indeed, there were, that very evening.

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