I got the letter this morning. They want me for this programme. I was so excited that I told Mum straight away. She didn't share my enthusiasm but I'm sure she'll let me do it. They even put in a contract with the letter. If it's OK we must send it back within the week declare that I have my own passport. There are a few things we need to do before we go. I need a medical, apparently, but the TV studios will arrange that, along with some jabs. There will also be what they call an 'Orienteering Day', which will be a chance for us to meet the other kids who will be going, and of course a chance for the parents to ensure we are in good hands. Knowing my Mum she will bombard them with a thousand questions and will insist on regular contact. I told all my mates today. Of course I said it was now all up to my Mum but they were psyched, they couldn't believe I was going on this trip of a lifetime and being marooned on a desert island – and I would get paid for it. It does feel quite strange, as it is more a reality TV show than an acting gig. All the other kids are actors or have experience like me, but there will not be a script. I suppose that they think we would be more expressive than other kids would. Well, from what I've seen they certainly are more temperamental so it should be interesting.
We will be leaving in the last week of July, so things will have to move fast. We will get a few days to acclimatise and then the cameras will start to roll. It will all be this hidden camera shit, so we won't know when they are filming.
Martin had nearly finished his portrait of James and there were only a few more lessons before the Art lesson when they would draw the life model.
Naturally the class was excited and now the time was near they started to ask questions. The teacher, John Jones, tried to fob them off the best he could but Martin sensed something was wrong. He stayed behind after the class and decided to speak to the teacher alone.
"There's no problem, is there, Sir?"
"Well," he was reticent to say anything but thought it could do no harm. "the agency called earlier today and said the model had pulled out, got a better gig probably. I've tried to get another but at this short notice it's very difficult."
"They are charging the earth and there is just not enough in the budget to pay for it."
Martin thought for a moment. "I suppose I could ask my brother, he does a lot of modelling."
The teacher's eyes lit up. "How old is he? He really should be over eighteen."
"Only sixteen. Sorry."
"Never mind. I've got a couple more ideas up my sleeve. Don't worry, I'll get it all sorted."
Martin thought it best to leave it up to the teacher and not get it involved. He said that he hoped it would all be OK and not worry if it did not work out and left.
Mr. Jones never let on that there was a problem during their next lesson but proudly announced that they would get the chance to draw a nude the next time they met. He flatly refused to say anything about the model and they would just have to wait. Martin did not seem convinced, but said nothing.
It turned out that his scepticism was misplaced. As he turned up for the next lesson the class were met by Mr Jones sitting on his desk and the room rearranged so that in one corner he had a white sheet draped over an easy chair, a foot stool at it's base and a bar stool beside.
"All right. Sit down and listen up. Today we have a nude and I don't want any problems. You treat the model with as much respect as you would me, if not more. Lets face it, they have the guts to get up here with no clothes on and allow a rabble like you lot look at them for a few hours.
Choose which medium you want to use, charcoal is good for your first time but some of you might like to try pastilles. So set up your easels over there," he pointed to the corner of the room, "and when your ready I'll introduce you to today's model."
The class were eager and settled quickly, each vying for a ringside seat. Martin held back and let the others fight for prime position.
"Ok you lot, let's get started." Mr. Jones announced.
He then called over and from a side room emerged a young man wearing a white, towelling robe. He walked over to Mr. Jones, who stood in front of the class, and waited.
"This is Phil."
Phil smiled at the crowd that responded by muttering an indistinct 'Hi' back to him.
"Just give me a moment to get the pose ready and you can begin." Mr. Jones turned to Phil. "Ok, take the robe off will you."
For a moment the young dark haired man stood in front of the class. Neither was showing any reaction, although it was more stifled on the part of the class.
Mr. Jones beckoned him over to the chair and told him to sit down. For some time he blocked their view as he moved the limbs of the model to their final pose. Satisfied, he turned to the class.
"Now don't try and be too clever. You've got plenty of paper so try and get the form right first then add on the details, the folds in the skin and the shadow. So go ahead." He then added that he would circulate and help them.
The class looked at the model. Martin now wished he had fought with the rest of them to get a front row seat. This model was gorgeous. He sat on the draped chair, his left elbow resting on the barstool using the arm to rest his head on, which lay tilted slightly to the side. His right arm just hung limp beside his body and rested on the chair. The footstool was used and his right foot was placed flatly on it, the knee pointing to the ceiling. The left leg rested on the floor, the knee angled outwards. With his legs wide, his crotch was on full show. His balls hung neatly between his legs, his dick angled to the left. His face showed a far away look in his eyes, not bored but thinking, which was made more innocent with the mess of boyish hair that curled forward and almost met his eyebrows.
Martin started with a full-length picture, tracing down the curves of his body. Feeling, on his paper, the hard muscles disguised underneath his smooth skin and etching the contours of his, almost, hairless balls and six-inch limp dick. His charcoal nestled in the black mass of curly hair that framed his crotch feeling each individual strand.
Content with his first sketch, he flipped over his paper and started again. This time he went in close and spent most of his time examining the young face, bringing out the delicate lips and the tenderness of his eyes with faint shadows accentuating his features.
Mr. Jones moved behind him. "That's a very good rendering of his features. Let's see what you did first."
Martin flipped his first page over. "I started drawing him as a whole but I think it is a tad lifeless. So I thought I would look closer and get the expression right first, then perhaps try and incorporate it all together later."
"Very good thinking, it's sometimes better to divide the subject up into manageable chunks so that you can do each part justice." He pondered. "When finished try moving down to the torso or the arms." And he moved on to the next student.
Halfway through the class, they had a break. When the class had filed out to the refectory, Mr. Jones handed Phil his robe and a mug of tea.
"It's alright so far, isn't it?"
"Yeah." Phil responded. "Do you mind if I have a quick look at what they've done?"
He allowed Phil to wander between the easels, looking at the drawings. "Some of these aren't bad."
"Not all my students are wastrels you know."
Phil smiled and looked at the large face that looked beyond him. "Who did this? It's very good."
"Oh that's Martin's. He's very talented and should go far."
Mr. Jones heard footsteps along the corridor. "I think they're on their way back, let's get you back into position."
As they began to tumble through the door, Mr. Jones was just putting Phil back into the same position he had spent the last hour. A few students mumbled to each other but as they got back to their easels they started straight away and silence soon fell on the room again.
The final half of the lesson went quickly and five minutes before the bell, and home time, Mr. Jones instructed them to put their things away. The next lesson they would carry on where they had left off and hopefully create a fully-fledged piece. Mr. Jones told them to thank Phil for his patience and time and he was met with a chorus of 'Thanks' as they left the classroom.
Phil, now dressed in his robe, asked Mr. Jones to point out Martin. He pointed to the back of the boy's head. Phil called him.
He stopped and turned round. Phil walked to wards him and motioned him away from the stream of students leaving the room. "I was looking at some of the drawing while you were all at break."
"I was quite taken by yours, it showed something the other's didn't."
"Thanks." Martin felt quite flattered.
"How do you fancy a quick pint down the pub?"
Martin was taken aback. He'd only just met this stranger today but somehow that did not matter, they had already shared an intimacy that bonded them in some unusual way.
"Why not? But I can only be out an hour or so, you know mothers. They tend to worry too much."
"Wait here and I'll get dressed. I can't go like this."
Phil went back to the side room followed by Mr. Jones. He could hear them talking but could not make out what was being said. They emerged a few minutes later, this time Phil was wearing his jeans and a sweatshirt. The teacher busied himself in the corner of the room as Martin looked at Phil.
"You look different, taller."
"Hey, we all look different stark, bollock naked." He raised his eyebrows. "Come on, let's go."
It was only a few minutes walk to the local pub. Martin was still a bit nervous and let Phil do most of the talking. Phil ordered a couple of beers and they sat at a table in the corner. The pub was an a typical English local, dark décor, a dark wood bar at the end of a large room with a row of hand pumps for the various ales and bitters, modern tastes meant that they had to install a pump, electric naturally, for the popular lager. The barmaid was a middle-aged woman who had obviously worked there for some time, perhaps she was the landlady and when she had given Phil his change she immediately went back to chatting with a couple of retired old soldiers who regularly propped up the bar. The way the room was divided meant that there were many nooks and crannies for them to hide in for a quiet conversation. It was designed for that, not a modern wide-open space with loud music assaulting your ears.
Phil chose a corner well away from the two slot machines and the group of lads pouring money into them. When settled, Phil started asking all about his portraits. He was fascinated at how he captured his mood and how he was feeling when he drew it.
Before answering any questions, Martin deflected attention from him and asked about Phil. He explained that he was an art student from a college the other side of the city. He was in his last year and already had a place at the local university reading 'Art and Art History', should he get the grades. He mentioned that John, the teacher, was getting pretty desperate and popped round one evening and when his Mother was out of the room asked him.
"Oh, how do you know Mr. Jones?" Martin stopped Phil.
Phil seemed a clam up, thinking. Then said, "He's my brother." Quickly adding, "but don't mention it to anyone else, they might make a fuss. Its not like there's anything wrong. I'm nineteen, only just, and the only requirement is that you need to be over eighteen."
"Don't worry, I don't really talk to the others much."
Phil and Martin got on better as they downed their pint. Martin loosened up and since Phil revealed that he was the teacher's younger brother, he felt that they could trust each other. This meant the revelation that he has been using his own younger brother as a nude model was easy to divulge and they chatted about family.
Then a mobile phone rang. Phil dug into his pocket and took out his mobile. "It's John." He said and spoke into the phone. "Hi John." A tinny voice could be heard through the ear-piece. "OK, I'll be right out." He turned to Martin. "He's waiting outside in the car."
Phil then stood up, took an old biro from his pocket and jotted a number on a beer-mat. Martin stood up to say goodbye and took his number.
Phil passed over the mat and leant in close to Martin. He placed a gently kiss on his lips. "Call me. Only if you want to."
Martin said nothing.
"There's nothing to be afraid of. I really like you. Call me." Phil tuned and left the pub to meet his brother.
"Sure." Martin whispered as the old oak door shut behind him as Phil walked into the street.
Martin walked home in a daze; his mind replaying what had happened and whether or not there was any chance he could have misread the signs. Was he just imagining it or was Phil playing with him. He had never said he was gay, so what led Phil think that he was. He did not even think of himself as gay. His mind never left him alone all evening. Everyone thought something was wrong, but he just protested and claimed he was tired and carried himself up to his room, lay on his bed and mulled everything over again. He was thankful that James left him alone to think, but he knew he would be up later.
Shortly after the alarm clock flickered to ten past nine. The door opened and James came in. He sat on his bed and looked over at Martin.
"You sure everything's alright?"
Martin grunted in response.
"Wasn't today when you were having the nude model? How did it go?"
"Fine." He paused, adding as an afterthought to placate his brother, "Thanks for your help by the way. I did really well."
"So, who was it?"
"The model!" James was getting a bit narked that he was not telling him anything. "Was it male? Female? Old? Young? Fat? Thin? Oh come on don't just lie there, it couldn't have been that bad."
"What d'ya mean, bad? I told you I did fine." Martin was not listening properly.
"I know, but how did the model look?"
"It was a young man, nineteen, I think, and quite thin. He seemed very nice. I was at the back of the class but I managed to see alright."
"Really, what was his name? I might have modelled with him before."
"Um, Phillip." He paused, then said, as if to himself, "he never gave me his last name."
James left it at that and Martin went back to blankly staring at the ceiling. James knew he would get nothing more out of him today, so he got up from his bed, stripped to his briefs and lounged back on his bed. He then leant over and dug out his diary from under his mattress and began to write.
Martin is acting very strange after his life class today. He came home as if in a trance. He has not said anything, but I know something is bothering him. I suppose I will have to leave it until tomorrow, he may tell me then. I hope he doesn't feel guilty about using me as a model. I don't mind one bit. I enjoy it and I hope he will carry on until he has finished his painting.
I wonder if his state has got something to do with the model. He was quite guarded about letting me know it was a young man. Surely he can't feel guilty that this other model has taken my place – No that would be stupid.
Come to think of it, he did say, "he never gave me his last name" that must mean he spoke to him. I hope he did not criticise his work too much, I know Martin is talented but he can take a bit of criticism too much to heart. There are just too many possibilities. I will just leave it alone and see if he says anything tomorrow.
Mum said yes about the show. We signed the contracts and sent them off a few days ago. I knew she would as she saw how much I wanted to do it. Of course she could just pull out after this 'Orienteering Day' but unless they intend to send us over by slave ship it will be a done deal. This 'Orienteering Day' is tomorrow and included is this medical and all my jabs.
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