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by Rob Armstrong

I'm normally the one giving the massages, but it wasn't always that way.

I remember vividly when a few things in my life changed. I remember the date. I remember the place. I remember the circumstances. And, I remember the people, or one particular person, involved.

I was 14. And 8 months, to be more precise.

I didn't think of myself as anything other than rather ordinary, lacking somewhat in social confidence, and not a stand-out either academically or in sport. But, having spent almost three years in high school already, there were things that I had observed, and feelings that I had experienced.

As a twelve-year old, I had learned to play both cricket and tennis. Neither of those required the physical stature to play rugby or soccer, and, because I was a novice at sport generally, because of ill health for most of my primary school years, there was no point in even considering trying out for a competitive team as the sports master encouraged everyone to do. "House cricket" became my usual weekly non-contact sport (unless you count being hit by fast cricket balls as 'contact'). I knew the rules and the 'mechanics' of the game, but also realised that I had zero batting technique beyond our backyard 'tip and run', but I could bowl, again probably due to backyard practice, where I spent most of my time with the ball instead of with the bat. So, it wasn't a total disaster. Despite being able to merely defend myself and my wicket with a cricket bat, my hand-eye coordination seemed to be good enough to connect with a non-aggressive tennis ball reasonably well, and so "house tennis" became my other non-contact sport. I thought that if I could master serving, I might even learn to enjoy the game.

Athletics? Well, despite the fact that I had a pretty good physique and was able to run, I fared no better than 'a place' in short distances and achieved 'managed to finish' recognition in longer distances. I have long legs, so I thought that I would try high jump, but it was obvious, that those who had been coached in techniques which allowed them to roll over the bar at levels even higher than their shoulders, unlike my waist-high efforts, were always going to beat me. Participation at carnivals, though, was encouraged, to earn points for my house. Any points for 'a place' in anything were a bonus as far as I was concerned.

Swimming? I was good at holding my breath and I could tread water. Both improved over the next two summers when I would encounter classmates at the local pool on a Saturday afternoon. 'Chasings' in the water became more exciting than the land-based version. For some reason, unknown to me, I could swim faster under water than on the surface and was able to 'tag' people when they didn't see me coming. Also, I don't remember who started it, but the body bits where we grabbed and tagged each other became a bit of a naughty teenage game which I really enjoyed.

My Dad would occasionally take my little sister and me swimming on Saturdays in the summer, and it was he who first commented on my underwater ability.

To cut a long story short, he thought that it would be good for me to join the local swimming club and learn the various swimming strokes properly. He gave me lots of reasons, but none of them stood out above the others, except that I might look less like a turtle coming up for air or like a dog retrieving a stick.

So, dressed in my best Billabong board shorts and T-shirt, I was happy to go along to the local Council pool early one Wednesday morning in late Spring to sign up. I had my back pack, which contained my school uniform, slung over one shoulder and my towel over the other.

I was able to make out a few guys that I recognised from my school, a couple of the seniors, not that any of them would even know me, but I had 'seen them around' often enough. And, I knew the swimming prowess of some through the three annual school swimming carnivals which I had attended, as a spectator. They didn't have novelty races like 'fetch the stick'.

My Dad had made all of the enquiries and the head coach was expecting us, me in particular. He said that he had arranged for one of the seniors from his 'elite squad' to look after me and to show me the ropes while he, himself, was working with some 'potential representative' swimmers. I guess that my Dad had told him of my below-water skills and my above-water 'potential'.

Dad left me, saying that he would be back in an hour to pick me up and drop me at school. That first day's first session was to be a short one. That's why we came later than the usual start time.

'Coach', as he told me to call him, had motioned to an older-than-me guy to come over, who had been standing in a small group, but had been watching us since we arrived. I'd had my eye on him too.

I recognised him instantly, not that I expected him to know me, and the conversation went like this:

Coach begins, "Gino, this is Rob. He's the new guy that we spoke about. Rob, this is Gino, one of our best swimmers, also studying for his coaching qualification. So, he will look after you. If there's anything that Gino can't help you with, then you don't need to know it." He smiles.

So does Gino, who extends his fist for me to bump. I comply. "Welcome aboard," he tells me. His dark, dreamy eyes show no sign of recognising me, just as I would have expected from my school vice-captain, three grades ahead of me.

"Hello Gino," I say, "and thanks!"

"He's all yours," Coach says to Gino, and heads back to the pool.

"C'mon," Gino says, "I'll show you around and then we'll get you into the water and see what you can do."

I don't let on that I know this swimming pool pretty well, and I let him give me the 'guided tour'. It feels nice that the very handsome Gino, the school vice-captain, and I, the Year 9 nobody, are sort-of hanging out together. We end up in the male change room.

"To start with, Robbo," he says, smiling, "we don't swim in board shorts. Everybody wears Speedos."

Nobody has ever called me 'Robbo' but, coming from Gino, I instantly like the sound of it.

He removes the towel that has been wrapped around his waist and slings it over his shoulder. "Like these," he says, as if to reinforce his point.

"Yeah, I know what Speedos are!" I tell him. "I'm wearing a pair under my boardies. And, I have more at home." I try to sound miffed, but I'm not really. I'm happy just to be talking with Gino, and closely checking out what was previously concealed by his towel.

Let me tell you about Gino. His name is Gino Napolitano. Italian. Obviously! A year-12 senior. And our school vice-captain. At school I hear him referred to by his senior mates as 'Gino Italiano'. It's a no-brainer why! Stunningly handsome. Dark wavy hair. Tanned skin. Great smile. Fantastic body. Broad shoulders. Narrow hips. Bulges in the right places, front and back. And I heard a rumour that he's related to the President of Italy. Yeah. Right! And I'm related to the King of Scotland!

Anyway, there's a few things that I have always liked about Gino at school. One is the way that he always smiles when he speaks with everyone. And, at assemblies, he can be humorous, unlike some of the other prefects and teachers, especially the headmaster. Another is the way that he walks – more like a soccer player than a rugby hunk. Almost gracefully. And, the third is…

Well, I first noticed his body when my Year 7 class was waiting to use the gymnasium one day when the Year 10s were finishing off their basketball game. Skins versus shirts. He was on the skins team, and I was mesmerised by all of his muscles, his dark, short wavy hair and the bit of hair below his navel. And his brilliant smile. I don't know how many goals were scored in those last few minutes, because I wasn't watching the hoop. Gino's leg muscles, arm muscles, sweaty chest muscles and stomach muscles were much more interesting. And the way that his shorts fitted him was pretty eye-catching too! Even with his narrow hips, his backside seemed to fill them up. More muscles!

The next time that I really noticed Gino's body was about two weeks later, at my first swimming carnival. His pale blue Speedos gave me a much fuller idea of the rest of him, especially when he got out of the water and they clung to his body. It was a blood-stirring experience for a twelve-year old to see a swimming champion's body. And, you know the way that most guys let air into their Speedos to stop them from clinging when they hop out of the water? Well, he didn't, and I could see everything, back and front, including the fact that the hair on his body was gone. I learned later that really good swimmers shave it off to help them go faster. Back then, I liked the hair that my own body was starting to grow. Some of the guys that I played underwater tag with, reckoned that it would grow faster and thicker if I shaved it. At least, that's what a couple of their older brothers told them. My hairs have stayed unshaved, and they all seem to be doing OK!

Anyway, back then, I think that I didn't begin the year being very focussed on my own body. But I certainly was on Gino's! Then, I began to wish that my body would look like his. I started checking myself every day in the bathroom mirror. I would do poses to see if I could make muscles, and I would poke my hips out to make my dick look bigger from side-on. Sometimes it would just expand, as if it knew what I wanted to see.

I've been a great fan of Gino's ever since, and now, at 14 going on 15, with my body growing and my dick doing strange things at weird times, I have an even greater appreciation of his muscly physique. And, I like his narrow hips, like mine, and I love to watch how his grey school trousers are filled up by his backside muscles, and how they also have this hypnotising bulge at the front.

Even though we have different allocated playground areas, I perv at him whenever I get the chance, and my dick usually does its uncontrollable 'getting-hard' thing.

I could never have foreseen that Gino and I would be talking, face to face, just him and me. And, right now, seeing Gino in his Speedos, up close, I can feel that my dick is doing its thing again!

"OK, Robbo," he says, breaking into my memories and other thoughts. "Let's get you a locker to stash your bag and those board shorts, then we can head out to the pool." We walk in the direction of the showers and stop at a row of lockers. "Why don't you have this one, next to mine," he says.

With my back to him, I thrust my bag into the locker, followed by my T-shirt and my hurriedly-removed board shorts. I wrap my towel around my waist before I close the door and turn to face Gino.

"What's up?" he questions, looking at my towel.

"Nothing," I reply, nervously. I'm so obviously lying! And his smirk tells me that he knows why!

"Bit of a stiff problem?" he asks.

I don't know what to say. I mumble an immature, "Uh-huh."

"Give us a look," he smiles. He doesn't wait for my response. He grabs my towel which, I find, isn't tucked in as securely as I had thought it was.

"Nice!" he comments looking at what my dick is doing to the front of my Speedos. "Let's get you into a cold shower. That'll fix it before we go outside."

What I had thought, a moment ago, was going to be the most embarrassing moment of my entire life, suddenly isn't. Gino doesn't make fun of me, and he even said that what he saw was 'nice'.

He leads me to the showers and turns one on. "Well, are you getting in, or do you need a push?" he asks. That's his sense of humour which I have liked so much at school!

I hold my breath, walk into the spray and instantly shiver. The effect on my dick is quick.

"How's that, Robbo?" he asks. "More comfortable?"

"Yes, thanks," I answer him.

"It always works for me when I'm here. At least, if I'm in the pool it's never a problem." Then he asks me, "How old are you, Robbo?"

"Nearly fifteen," I answer.

"That explains it!" he smiles. "When I was your age, mine was up and down a hundred times a day. Very embarrassing!"

"Yeah," I say. "It happens all the time, lately." Then I smirk at him and say, "But I've never kept count. I don't think that it's ever made it to a hundred though!"

He laughs, ruffles my now-wet hair, hands me back my towel and says, "Hey, I like you, Robbo. I think that we're both going to have fun teaching you to swim."

Am I dreaming? Gino and I are talking together about our dicks, and he thinks that teaching me to swim will be fun for him! I'll bet that it will be more fun for me! At the pool, as well as in my dreams!

We come outside and stop at the shallow end of the pool. I have no idea what my Dad told the Coach about me, or what Coach passed on to Gino, but I'm feeling pretty comfortable.

"Can you do a shallow dive?" Gino asks, jumping into the pool himself. "Then we'll see how far you can go before you have to come up for air."

I do my best rendition of a dive, what my Dad would call a 'gut buster', and surface almost immediately.

"Looks like that's something else I need to teach you," Gino smiles. Then he adds, "Apart from learning how to start races, you really want to protect those nice balls of yours!" He discreetly reaches down between my legs, then says, "It's OK. Feels like they're both still attached!"

I feel an instant tingle. The school vice-captain just grabbed my balls! Gino grabbed me! And we aren't even playing tag. Pity! Because it would be my turn next. He grins at me. I smile back. I'm on cloud nine.

"All right. Let's leave the diving for now" He says. "I hear that you can swim underwater. Let's see how far you can go. That will help me work out how to set you a breathing pattern. Start at the edge and just push off. Come up when you need to. But, just be careful to avoid any swimmers doing laps in the other half of the pool, if you make it that far."

I back up to the edge of the pool, take a deep breath, squat and push off. I open my eyes and count the marked lanes glide by below me. I come up after seven, but I think I might have been able to make it all the way! I turn around, flick the hair out of my eyes and look at Gino. He has a strange expression on his face. I see him duck under the water, then he surfaces in front of me.

"Wow, Robbo!" he says. "I didn't think that you would be able to do that! Can you do it again? Try to go all the way, this time."

I wade the few strides to the edge, turn around and take a huge breath then launch myself. Five… Six… Seven… I'm hurting. Eight… Made it! I touch the wall, jump up and gasp for air. I'm surprised when Gino surfaces right beside me.

"Brilliant, Robbo! Fantastic!" he tells me.

I'm not used to being praised for anything, and I feel myself blush. If Gino is happy, then so am I!

"I was watching your arms and legs underwater", he tells me. "I think you have the makings of a great breaststroker!"

I don't know what to say, so I just grin.

"So, now let me see you swim freestyle. On top of the water this time," he says.

My newly-found confidence is suddenly shattered. I've tried to do this dozens of times and it never works!

"Just like before," Gino says. "Push off from the edge and swim out to where I'm standing."

I watch him wade half way across the pool. He turns and motions me to 'come on'.

I take a breath, push off, glide for a bit and then attempt to use my arms in what I understand to be a 'freestyle' action. At least that's the picture in my head. However, I suddenly feel like I have rocks attached to my legs and that I'm going to drown. My arms feel like the broken blades of a windmill. I stand up, and I'm not even half way to Gino.

I've instantly gone from elation to humiliation! At least, with water running off my hair and down my face, he can't see that I'm crying.

He comes to me and can immediately tell how I'm feeling. He hugs me with one arm. "It's OK, Robbo," he says, comforting me. "We can fix that. At least you've left me a bit of room to make some improvement on top of the water!" I love his sense of humour, and his smile makes me feel that I'm not a total failure!

He keeps one arm over my shoulder and we wade back to the edge. "Let's grab our towels, sit down and have a chat," he says.

He walks up the stairs, and doesn't release his clinging Speedos. I follow and, for once, don't let the air into mine either. I look at his body, and he looks at me looking at him. "Nice? You like?" he asks.

"Uh-huh," I reply sheepishly, at being caught out. He smiles at me and ruffles my hair.

"It's OK to look if you want," he says quietly, as if to indicate that the comment is for my ears only. A shared secret. "I'll show you more inside."

I feel my dick start to swell

We talk about my underwater ability and breaststroke potential. Then he says, "Tomorrow, we'll concentrate on two things – teaching you to dive and getting used to having your arms straight out in front of you. We'll use a kickboard for that. So, be ready for it. Tomorrow your legs will be doing most of the work."

I can cope with that, I think. My legs should be OK from my running and bowling at cricket, and tennis.

"Back in a minute," he says, and heads for the office.

I watch his backside, like I do at school. Except, I can see much more of it here, in his clinging Speedos, than in his school greys. As I think about everything positive that Gino has told me and what he has seen of me, and where he has touched me, I know that I need another cold shower!

I stare at the front of Gino's body as he returns with a clip board. He checks out my Speedos before he sits down and says, "So, thinking about me again, were you?" He's joking again.

But I'm not. "Yes," is all that I tell him. He looks at my face. I grin. He grins back.

"This is to keep a record of everything that we do," he says, showing me the sheet on the clipboard. Then, reaching into his Speedos and jiggling his rapidly-hardening dick to a more comfortable position, he adds, "Well, I won't write down absolutely everything that we do." He looks directly at my face, as if determining whether I'm offended, or not. I smile back at him while releasing my own cramped dick too, without hiding what I'm doing. "Nice!" he says.

"Come on. Let's get into the showers before the others finish," he tells me, standing up and wrapping his towel around his waist.

I copy and follow, via the office, where he puts the clipboard onto the Coach's table.

Previously, I hadn't really paid attention to how the showers were set up. But I now observe that there are five on each side of an open space, facing each other. All the water runs towards a long drain in the middle. Between each shower, on both sides, is a bit of a wall. So, if you stand near the taps, you won't be able to see the person next to you, but at least three of the people on the other side will still be in full view. Go figure! Are they only to hold the soap dispensers? And a single peg – maybe for your swimmers when you take them off.

There are multiple other pegs on the walls at each end between where the showers are.

Gino walks to the far end and hangs his towel on one of those, then, motioning me to come and use the shower opposite him, steps into the one on the left.

I hang my towel and adjust the water temperature before stepping in. I put one hand under the soap dispenser and press the button with the other. I turn around to face Gino and start to wash myself.

"We do this after each session basically to wash off all of the chlorine," he tells me, and proceeds to wash his hair and his muscly body. I copy him.

I can tell that his dick is still hard, by the way that his Speedos are sticking out. He turns sideways and is not reluctant to deliberately show it off to me. Then, he takes his Speedos down and I get my first-ever sight of Gino Napolitano's wholly-naked body.

My own semi becomes instantly hard at the sight of him. Gino is watching me. I ease my own Speedos down and show him mine.

"Nice, Robbo!" he says, again, then proceeds to soap up his dick, balls and curly black hairs.

I do the same. It feels so exciting doing this, not just in front of the school vice-captain, but with the school vice-captain. With Gino! From the way that he acts, so responsibly, at school, I would never have guessed that he would be into doing this stuff.

He starts to rub his soapy, hard dick up and down, then points to me. I get it. He wants me to do the same. I do.

"You do this at home?" he asks.

"No," I reply. "But it feels good."

Then, he stops doing it, rinses off all of the soap and adjusts the water temperature. "Cold!" he says. "You know why." And I watch his dick as it quickly reverts to what I reckon is his normal 'nice' size. Nice!

I copy him. It works for me too!

He turns the water off, grabs his towel and begins to dry himself.

I do too.

He repeats his earlier words to me, "It is OK to look and to get excited, you know! But make sure that you use the cold water if you don't want anybody else to see it."

We go to our lockers and I take out my back pack, unzip it and move my board shorts so that I can get my underpants and school uniform. While I'm finishing off drying myself, Gino just pulls on some track pants and a sweat shirt and, looking for a moment into my back pack tells me, "Gotta go, Robbo. Breakfast and then school. I always change into my uniform at home. See you tomorrow."

He wouldn't have seen more of my uniform than my grey trousers. They're pretty common, but my shirt and tie were underneath, so he wouldn't have been able to tell that we go to the same school. I think that I'll just keep that a secret for a while.

"So, how was your first day?" my Dad asks, when he turns up and finds me waiting just inside the entrance, near the Coach's office. I'm glad that he is a bit early.

"Terrific," I tell him. "Gino, my coach, said that I could be a good breaststroker, and tomorrow he's going to teach me to dive, and not to sink while doing freestyle. And I made it across the pool in one breath."

"So, you want to come back tomorrow?" Dad adds, a little surprised, knowing that I have tried things in the past, only to give up after the first attempt. I think of the judo, the piano lesson, the gym and a couple of other things.

"Absolutely!" I reply, with probably more enthusiasm than he's heard from me since I got a bike for Christmas, years ago.

We go back into the Coach's office. Gino has already left. He might have his own car, like a lot of the seniors at school who are old enough to drive. I just haven't seen him arrive at or leave school. The seniors have their own allocated parking area.

Coach says to my Dad, "Good report from Gino. I think that we can actually turn this young man into a swimmer! See you tomorrow, Rob," he says and shakes my hand.

"Bye, Coach," I say. "See you tomorrow."

At school, I look for Gino, not to say hello, but to avoid him. I can still look at his body when he can't see me! Especially now that I know exactly what's under his uniform. Whenever I see him, I can imagine that I have X-Ray vision. LOL.

At lunchtime, I go into the canteen to buy an apple, but notice that Gino is on supervision duty, so I do a quick about-turn and I wait until one of the other prefects takes over from him before I go back in.

"So, you'll need to shut your iPad down earlier at night," Mum tells me over dinner, "if you're serious about getting up early for swimming training each morning. Dad and I have talked about a routine. Mostly, he can drop you off at the pool on his way to work and I will pick you up later and take you to school. And, whoever is available can pick you up after school, as usual."

"Thanks, Mum. Thanks, Dad," I tell them.

My sister butts in and comments, "I'll believe that when I see it! I've never known him turn off his iPad while I'm still awake. And how come he's so happy? What did you do to him?"

"Maybe he's just found something that he can do and likes," Mum tells her.

"You've gotta be joking," she says. "Mum, have you ever seen my brother trying to swim?"

Dad tells her, "Well, little miss smartie britches, the Coach reckons that your brother has terrific potential as a breaststroker!"

"Will wonders never cease!" she says, and fills her mouth with another fork-full of mashed potato.

"Can I ask one favour?" I put to my parents.

My sister gulps down her mouthful and blurts, "I knew there would be some catch to this!"

"Yes. What is it, honey?" Mum asks me.

I reply, "Well, we only live 5 minutes from the pool. And I was wondering, when you pick me up after swimming, could we come back home so that I can have some breakfast? Then I can change into my school uniform here, and hang out my wet towel and Speedos to dry."

"That's a good idea," Mum says. "Will you still have enough time for everything?"

"Sure," I tell her. "Besides, my backpack smells tonight after having a wet towel in it all day, even inside the plastic bag that you gave me."

"OK then. Let's try it out tomorrow," Mum replies. "That would work for me too."

I add, "I'll just wear my tracksuit to and from swimming. My coach told me today that's what he does."

"Wash or wipe?" I turn and ask my sister, who nearly chokes at me actually giving her the choice. We usually fight over it. I prefer to wipe, for two reasons. Any dishes or utensils that I consider not washed properly, I dump back into the sink for her to do again; sometimes I dump some clean ones back anyway just to piss her off, or I leave wiping up for so long that the dishes are mostly dry.

"You can wash!" she says, "And you'd better do things properly, like you tell me! Or you'll be doing them again!"

I spend a bit of time checking my social media accounts then pack my iPad away, kiss Mum and Dad, and take myself off to bed.

As I head up to my room, I hear my sister say, "Dad, are you sure that you brought home the right guy from the pool today? He's different!"

I put a fresh towel into my backpack for tomorrow, and take out another pair of Speedos. The only other thing that I need is my thongs. My sister insists on calling them 'flip-flops' and claims that 'thongs' are a type of underwear. Who cares about a name? These just slip on and off my feet easily. They are not heavy and they dry quickly. To me, and everyone else I know, they are 'thongs'!

I lay back and run the events of this morning through my head. It's all about Gino. My final recollection before my eyelids close is of Gino, with his brilliant white smile, feeling my balls, and rubbing his soapy dick up and down in the shower. Sweet dreams!

I wake up with wet pyjamas. A bit sticky, too. This has happened a couple of times lately. I'm not 100% sure what's going on. And it's not like I've peed myself in the middle of the night, or they would be a whole lot wetter than just a patch!

I'm already dressed when I hear a knock on my bedroom door.

I have a glass of juice and we head off. Dad drops me at the entrance and continues on his way to work.

"Hey, Robbo!" Gino greets me. "I was waiting for you. How are you feeling? Are you OK, after everything that we did yesterday?"

"Yes! Great!" I tell him.

"What? No board shorts?" he comments, smirking.

"Yeah, well, seeing you in your trackies yesterday, I decided to wear mine too," I say.

"Cool!" he says. "Let's change and get straight into the water."

We take the same lockers as yesterday. I strip down pretty quickly and stash everything into my locker.

"You need a cold shower this morning?" he asks, smiling and purposely 'checking me out'.

"Not if you don't," I reply, pointing and very deliberately inspecting his Speedos while he removes his track pants.

I think that this catches him off guard. He puts his clothes into his locker, grabs his balls and soft dick, jiggles everything and says, "Nope. They're all good. Let's go."

I like him. And his idea of fun!

"So, let's work on the diving first," he says. "The idea is to concentrate on getting your arms and head into the water before your belly.

He jumps down into the water, walks out almost two lanes and faces me.

We practise with me standing on the edge, hands stretched out above my head and 'falling' deep into the water to retrieve a weighted plastic ring, 'knees together and feet last'. Many failures are mixed with a few successes.

He says, "If you can do it once, you can do it more than once." It's said encouragingly, not picking faults with my lousy technique.

Then he gets a large floating hoop and puts it in front of me. "Hands first, head second, feet last," he says. "Same as before, and try not to let your body touch the hoop when you fall in."

I'm totally surprised at my success!

He takes the hoop and the weighted ring away. Failure!

He puts the hoop back. Success!

"OK," he says. "Have a good look at the hoop, and when I take it away, I want you to imagine that it's still there."


I'm thrilled. "Let me do it again!" I chirp, jumping out of the pool, and letting my Speedos cling.


And again!

"You're doing it!" he says, and applauds.

I do it again. He grabs me in a hug when I surface. "Fantastic, Robbo!" he tells me. "Now, when you do that off the edge of the pool, I want you to continue to swim underwater to the other side. OK?"

"Yeah!" I say, and can't wait to try it.

"Focus!" Gino tells me. "Picture the hoop, and do it."

I nail it first go and press myself to make it all of the way across, but gasp for air when I come up. I didn't get the push off the wall like under the water yesterday, but I reckon that I could deliberately push off the edge of the wall a bit harder.

"Do it again, and come back," Gino calls from the other side.

I clamber out and wait for two swimmers who are 'doing laps' to get out of my way. I concentrate, picture pushing off, while falling though the imaginary hoop. Perfect! I cheer myself under the water.

I come up right next to Gino, who hugs me with one hand and pushes my wet hair out of my eyes with the other. "Coach will be impressed, when I tell him," Gino says.

"What's next, Gino?" I ask, feeling on top of the world.

He gets two kickboards and gives one to me. "Watch me," he says.

He holds the kickboard out in front of him, head above water and just kicks, heading part-way down the pool instead of across it.

He comes back. "Reckon you can do that?" he asks me.

"Cinch!" I tell him, and promptly demonstrate what I thought that I saw him doing. There is a lot of leg splashing but not much forward motion.

"It's different on top of the water, isn't it?" he smiles.

He can probably tell from the dejected expression on my face how I'm feeling inside about my miserable attempt.

"Hey, Robbo," he encourages me. "It's OK. that's what I'm here for. To help you."

I'm not convinced, but Gino is still very positive. "Think of what your diving was like yesterday and what you've already accomplished this morning!"

I know that he's right. It's just that I'm not used to achieving things and being complimented. I look up at him from under my wet, light brown hair and I feel my face smile. Gino grins back and nods his approval, then gives me a 'thumbs up'.

"Hop out and stand on the edge of the pool and watch me carefully," Gino says. "I'll demonstrate what I was doing, and then what you were doing. Tell me any difference that you see."

I jump out and watch. He checks out my clinging Speedos, winks at me, then grips the ledge at water level and stretches out his legs then kicks. His extended arms stop him from going anywhere. "Did you see?" he asks, looking up at me. Then adds, "Nice view, by the way." He waits for a response.

I follow his gaze to my own cluster of wet lumps then grin at him. He smirks. If Gino can leave his Speedos clinging, then so can I!

"Now, watch while I show you what you were doing," he says. Everything looks the same until he starts kicking. Water everywhere! He asks me, "So what was different?"

"Lots of splashing," I answer.

"Yeah, that was the result," he tells me, then asks. "But why?"

I shrug.

"Watch again", he says. "Pay close attention to my knees."

Power kicking first, followed then by the lots of splashing.

"Well?" he asks.

I answer, "The first time, your legs were almost straight. The second time your knees were bent and sinking."

"Spot on, Robbo," he says, glancing up, from my clinging Speedos to my enlightened face. "Jump in and let's try it."

I'm tempted to do a bomb, but I'm a little uncertain of how he would react, so I just practise my fall through my imaginary hoop.

"Perfect!" Gino says. "Now, grip the edge of the pool and kick the way you normally do."

Lots of splashing.

"Now," he tells me, "concentrate on keeping your legs straight and kicking from your hips." To give me a better understanding, he extends his arms, palms upwards, and demonstrates with them moving first from his elbows and then from his shoulders. "Can you see the difference? Do you get it?" he asks.

"I think so," I say, and try it. The result is that I sink.

"Right," he tells me. "I'm going to hold up your body so that you don't sink, and you're going to kick a bit faster. OK?"

"OK!" I say, and reach out for the wall.

He places his arm under my body, just above my hips and holds me up. "Now, kick, and keep your legs stiff."

I do. It works. He takes his arm away, I slow down, and I sink.

"Again," he says. This time his arm is a bit lower and, with his arm in this position, it only takes a moment and I can feel that my legs aren't the only part of me that is getting stiff. I reckon that he can feel it too. "Nice!" he says quietly near my ear.

As he pulls his arm away, more slowly and right across my body this time, instead of just taking it away, I feel his hand rub across my dick. He says nothing. Neither do I.

"I think the best thing now is to go back to the kickboards, and for you to concentrate on kicking from the hips." Then he adds, "Remember to keep everything stiff. OK? And I'll do it alongside of you. Stay with me."

I know that it's probably just his sense of humour, but I could imagine that he is referring to more than my stiff legs. Or, is he just throwing me a double meaning to see how I react?

We go, side by side, slowly, but just fast enough so that we're moving forward. "Try to go a bit faster," he says. "And remember, 'stiff'!"

We actually reach the wall at the deep end of the pool.

"Excellent, Robbo!" Gino says. "You're doing great. Now let's turn around and go back."

I can feel a pain in my thighs from keeping everything tight, hard and stiff.

We reach the shallow end of the pool again. I'm aching, and we both stand.

"Now," Gino says, "that wasn't so hard, was it?"

I don't think that he means hard-stiff; I'm sure that he intended hard-difficult, but my own sense of humour can't let it rest. "Yes," I answer. "And IT wasn't hard, but my legs were stiff!" I'm finding it hard-difficult not to burst out laughing.

He reaches between my legs, takes a hold of my 'privates' and says, "You're right. It isn't!"

I reply, "I don't know about you, but I was concentrating. Hard. To keep my legs stiff." Then I take my life into my hands and do the same to him. I grab his dick. "Not hard either!" I say. "It must be the cold water!" Then I can't hold back my laughter any longer. Until he puts his hands on my shoulders and pushes my head under the water!

"Cheeky devil!" he says laughing, as I come up for air, spluttering.

"Well, you started it!" I tell him. Then I add, quietly, "You'd better not let the Coach see you do that, or you could be in big trouble!"

"Nobody was watching," he says. "I checked before I did it. Sometimes the Coach likes to wander around and take videos of people training. He's already got you a couple of times. I'll bet that you didn't even notice!"

"No, I didn't," I say. Next, I choose my words very carefully. "Do you ever do that stuff to anybody at your school? You know, grabbing people?"

I say 'at your school' instead of 'at our school' or even just 'at school'. I don't want to alert him to the fact that I know who he is.

"Of course not!" he says. "At my school, I'm a prefect, and I could lose my position if I did that to anyone, even though I see other guys doing it." Then he adds, "I'm supposed to set an example, and the headmaster would not be pleased, and if anyone saw me do that and reported me, I would never live down the humiliation of what the consequences might be. I would probably even feel like leaving the school."

I definitely wouldn't want him to leave!

I tell him, "Then, you'd better be more careful doing it here, too." I think for a minute, and I have to say, "Gino, can I ask… so why did you do that to me? Aren't you afraid that I could dob on you? What if I told my Dad? Or the Coach?"

"You really want to know why?" he answers, quietly. "Well, right from the moment that Coach introduced us yesterday, I noticed your eyes checking out the front of my towel and you've been constantly staring at the front of my Speedos, especially when they are wet. That's why. And then there's what we did in the showers yesterday, and you joking about yours not getting hard a hundred times a day. Besides, I reckoned that you would be someone who enjoys doing this stuff too. I'm right, aren't I Robbo? You do enjoy it, don't you? And so, I thought that I could trust you. Can I trust you, Robbo? Not to say anything?"

He sounds very nervous. Very unlike the school vice-captain with whom I'm familiar.

I reply, "Yes, you can trust me not to tell, Gino. BUT… I always have this uneasy feeling that somebody is watching me, all of the time. So please don't do it again… if anybody might see you." Then I use some of his own words back to him. "But, it's OK if you want to look at mine too, Gino."

"Deal!" he says, puts out his fist, which I bump, and he says, "You have my word. I won't do anything like that with you again, if there is the slightest chance that anybody might see us. I'll be careful." He smiles and adds, "Thanks, Robbo. Besides, it's not as though we would be likely to bump into each other at any time, other than here, eh? That might be really awkward."

Without responding with a lie, or revealing my secret either, I say, "OK. What's next?"

"This isn't called swimming training for nothing, you know!" he says. "I want you to do two laps again, with the kickboard. Down to the other end and back. By yourself. I'll be watching that you keep your legs sti… straight, while you're kicking from the hips. Off you go!"

I concentrate on doing what Gino has told me. It hurts. But it works! As I come back the other way, I see him standing at the end of the pool, with his clipboard, writing.

I stop at the wall, and stand up.

"You are amazing! You know that?" he says, with his big, white, incredible smile.

"Why?" I ask.

"You know why!" he says. "You have achieved so much in only two sessions. If you keep up that sort of progress, you'll soon be wiping my accomplishments out of the club's record books."

I'm not sure whether he's suddenly being really positive and raising my expectations of my potential, or just buttering up my ego to ensure that I won't dob on him to anyone."

"OK," he says, again becoming the assistant coach. "Once more. Down and back."

Again, I do it. Again, it hurts.

"Right," he says. "Enough for today. Let's go and wash off the chlorine, and talk about tomorrow."

There is nobody else in the showers. "How are you feeling about… everything?" he asks me while we watch each other soap up our naked bodies.

I'm not sure what he means, exactly. Is he asking about him grabbing my dick and balls? Or about the condition of my legs? So, I answer, "My thighs are pretty sore, but everything else that we did was OK." I grin at him, stressing the 'everything else', wiggling my dick at the same time to ensure that he understands.

"Nice!" he answers, grinning. We keep washing, and both finish with the necessary cold water.

We dry ourselves and put on our track suits. We both have light grey ones, but mine is thicker. His thin one doesn't hide much. Nice!

"Tomorrow, Robbo," Gino says, wrapping his Speedos in his towel and putting everything into a plastic bag, which I copy, "we will do more work with the kick board, but we'll start with breathing and then we might move on the arm action as well. There will be a lot more kicking, so I hope that your legs can cope. If your legs get too sore, we'll leave the arms until next week."

"I do run a lot," I tell him, "and I like to play tennis. So, I think that my legs will be OK. Eventually."

Gino replies, "Yeah, I run a lot too. I play in my school's first grade soccer team. And I like tennis. Maybe we could play together sometime, if you like. My school has tennis courts, and the sports master has given me a key to the gym so that I can use the showers and toilets any time, even on weekends. I'm one of his 'star athletes'. He trusts me."

I can't believe what I'm hearing! My school's vice-captain is inviting me to play tennis with him! I think about asking him the name of his school, just to make conversation, but, then, he would politely ask me what school I go to, so I keep quiet, except to say, "Thank you, Gino. Maybe you could help me with my tennis as well."

He says, "It would have to be on a Saturday afternoon. We often have time trials in the morning, or swimming competitions, sometimes against other clubs."

"That's good," I tell him, because I have jobs to do at home on Saturday mornings, like picking up the dog poo and mowing the lawn. And my Mum is always telling me, 'Make sure that your room is tidy before you get stuck on your iPad'. I don't know how my room can so messy! But I do try to keep it clean, so that Mum doesn't complain." I smile.

Gino smirks back at me. "I like you, Robbo," he says, giving me a friendly punch to my shoulder. "We could even become friends."

Now I know that I'm dreaming! Or I will, tonight! Friends? The school vice-captain and me, a Year-9 underachiever? My only problem is that I couldn't brag to anyone about it! It would have to be one of those secret friendships. But if anyone at school ever saw us playing tennis, we could just say that he was my coach, just like at swimming.

"Nice!" I say, repeating the words that he has said to me so often. Looking around first, he grabs me in a headlock and musses up my hair 'for being cheeky'.

"Tomorrow, if we start on time, we might finish early, and, if your legs are really sore, I'll ask the Coach if we can use the massage table in the First Aid room, and I can rub them for you."

I'm very tempted to cheekily ask whether that's all he would like to rub, but I don't. Maybe In my dreams!

Mum and Dad are impressed when I tell them of my accomplishment today. My sister doesn't believe me and insists that I'm lying.

"If I'm lying," I tell her, "then I'll do the dishes for a month! Wash and wipe. And, if I'm not, you can do them. Deal?"

She backs off pretty quickly. Just like a 12-year old big mouth!

Friday morning. I'm up early, ready to go.

"I've never seen you this keen to do anything before," Mum comments to me as Dad and I head out of the door.

"Don't complain!" Dad tells her. "This could be a real change in his life."

"I'm not complaining," Mum says. "I think that it's wonderful."

So do I. And my new motivation is… Gino!

Instead of dropping me at the entrance, Dad parks and comes in with me.

Gino is waiting. "Good morning, Mr Armstrong," he says to my Dad. "Good morning, Rob. Ready for another session?"

"Sure!" I answer.

"Good morning, Gino," Dad says. "How's he going? I just wanted to make sure that he wasn't exaggerating when he told us what you've managed to teach him in just two days."

Parents! I shake my head in disbelief.

Gino first winks at me then says to my Dad, "Well, Mr Armstrong, I don't know what he told you but, he's a pretty amazing young guy, and I'm very happy to be his coach! He's now diving off the edge instead of doing belly flops, he can swim the width of the pool underwater and he has learned to kick his legs like a swimmer instead of like someone trying to escape from the clutches of a sea monster."

"Yeah. That last bit's a fairly accurate description of the style that I'm used to seeing," Dad says. He turns to me, puts his arm around my shoulders and says, "Sorry, bud, I'll never doubt you again! And congratulations on what you've achieved in such a short time. Your sister is lucky that she didn't take that bet about doing the dishes."

"And just so that you know, Mr Armstrong," Gino says, "we have a certain code of conduct here. 'What we discuss with each other at the pool, stays at the pool.' That way, everyone can feel confident about sharing anything without it going any further, except of course, if they give their permission. We insist on protecting everyone's privacy, both at the pool and away from it."

Privacy away from the pool? I feel guilty for what I know, and for what Gino doesn't. I'm glad that I haven't made any comments about him to any of my class mates!

"Excellent!" my Dad says.

Then Gino adds, "And people generally don't talk about their home life unless something good has happened, or if they need some help." Gino turns to me and asks, "Is it OK, Rob, for me to share with your Dad what you mentioned to me yesterday?"

I have no idea what he is talking about, and try to fast-replay the whole of Thursday morning with Gino in my head to recall anything bad that I might have said. Did I ask for help?

Confused, but a little fearful, I shrug, trusting him, and Gino says, "He's only told me two things, Mr Armstrong: one, that his sister is a pain in the butt sometimes, and that you are an amazingly encouraging and supportive dad." He looks at me and smirks, "I hope it was OK to share that, Rob."

"Dad hugs me and says, "I can see that you are in good hands, son. Today, I'll be back to pick you up. I have a late start. And, you have a great morning!" Then he shakes hands with Gino and says, "Thank you."

We watch Dad drive away and then we walk, with Gino's arm over my shoulder, until we see someone and then he takes it away.

"What was that all about?" I say to him as we enter the change room. "When did I say that stuff about my Dad, and how come you know my sister?"

"Sometimes," he tells me, "we tell our parents what they would want to hear. And I don't know your sister, but I have three of my own."

"How did you even know that I had a sister?" I ask as I strip off my track suit.

"Your dad told me," Gino says. "Don't you remember him saying how lucky she was for not taking your bet?"

"You are one smart dude," I tell him, punching him on the shoulder. "I think that you'd make a great boyfriend for someone."

"And who might that be?" he asks, stopping still and looking at me.

"How would I know?" I say, smirking. "I suppose anyone who wants a handsome, intelligent, funny champion athlete as a boyfriend." Then I add, "Who also has a 'nice' body, by the way!" And I ask, "Do you know any prospects?"

"Not at the moment," he replies. "Do you?"

"Maybe." I tell him, then I say, "Hey, haven't we got work to do?"

"Do you need a cold shower, first?" Gino asks, smiling.

"Not now. But maybe later," I reply. "How about you?"

"You wish!" he says, punching my shoulder in mock retaliation.

We spend a lot of time practising my diving, underwater swimming across the pool and using the kickboard up and down the lane.

"Right," Gino says. "Time to watch me do something else."

He demonstrates breathing. Holding onto the edge, he puts his face into the water, blows bubbles, then turns it to the side, to take another breath. And repeats it five times. "Got it?" he asks.

"Sure!" I tell him and I do it, perfectly.

"Well, I wasn't expecting that!" he says. "OK. This time, I want you to turn your face to the other side when you breathe, so that you can find out which side feels more natural for you.

I do it on the other side. "No difference," I say.

"OK. One last thing. Try taking a breath on one side first and then the other side. Alternating. See if swapping sides works for you," Gino says.

I do it. "No problem," I tell him. "So, what do I need to do?"

"Nothing, Robbo! Full of surprises, aren't you?" he replies. I have no idea what he's talking about and I can't tell if he's serious, or being sarcastic for some reason.

But he actually looks excited about something.

His only response is to say, "OK. Time to use the kickboard and incorporate the breathing. But, first, do you have any goggles?"

"No," I answer. "Do I need some? I didn't know that I needed goggles."

"They're not absolutely necessary," Gino tells me, "but everybody wears them for two reasons: to help protect their eyes from chlorine irritation, and to help them see underwater. I have a couple of pairs. If you like, I will give you one of mine. To keep."

"Thank you, very much, Gino," I say.

A gift? From the vice-captain! Really?

"Hang about there in the water," he says. "I'll be back in a minute."

He disappears into the change room.

While he is away, I look at the activity going on around me. Everybody is busily focussed on doing something. Swimming. Being coached. Coaching. Talking. Listening. And all areas of the pools are being utilised. Small groups and individuals. Even the diving boards. And there's all of the noise as well. And I can see the Coach now, with his iPad, videoing a couple of people diving.

Gino returns with two pairs of goggles. "Blue or red?" he asks me.

"Blue, please," I reply, then I add, "I was afraid that you might have brought me a pink pair."

"What would you have said, if I did?" he asks, smirking.

"I would have said, 'thank you', worn them today and then asked my Dad to buy me a blue or black pair. Pink is definitely not my colour. You should see my sister's room! Pink and Purple! Yuk!"

"Then the blue ones are yours," he says. "Come here and I'll fit them properly for you."

He sits on the edge of the pool with his heels on the ledge in the water, and gets me to stand so that my head is actually between his elevated knees. I am only centimetres away from his dick and balls while he is putting the goggles on me and adjusting the straps.

"How's that?" he asks.

"Nice!" I answer, then deliberately look from his Speedos to his dark eyes and then back again.

"Would you like an even closer look, Robbo?" he asks. I stare up at his face and he swallows nervously.

"Not now, and not here," I say, and then I back away from him.

"You are like me!" he says, grinning. "I can tell."

"I don't think so!" I tell him. Then I smile back at him and say, "I'm not Italian and I'm not a swimming champion."

"Well, 'No', and 'Not yet'," he says. "We can't do anything about the first one, but let's keep working on the second one."

We move right to the end of the lane that we have been working in and he says, "Same as before with the kickboard. From the hips. Got it? Stiff."

"Not at the moment," I answer him. "The water's too cold."

"Come on, Robbo," he says. "Time to be serious for a while. OK?"

"Sorry, Gino," I say, apologetically. "Yes, I remember."

"Only this time, I want you to keep your face in the water. Breathe when you need to, first one side and then the other. Can you do that?"

"I can try," I say back.

And I push off. Kicking. Don't bend my knees. Breathe right. Keep them stiff. Breathe left. Ignore the 20-cent coin on the bottom of the pool. Breathe right. Kicking. Breathing.

I get to the end of the pool and Gino is waiting. He says, "Absolutely perfect, Robbo. Let's see how many laps you can do, exactly like that. All right?"

"Sure!" I say and push off.

Breathing. Kicking. Sore hips. Keep going. End of pool. Can't see Gino. Go back again. Sore hips and thighs now. Don't stop.

I get back to the deep end and I see Coach standing with Gino. They're talking. None of my business. Turn and do it all again!

Kicking. Aching. Shallow end. I stand up and rub my legs.

Coach and Gino are crouching at the end of the lane in front of me, waiting. "Hey, Rob," Coach says, "I was watching what you were doing. Have you learned all of that since Wednesday?"

"I guess so, Coach," I answer. "Because I couldn't do it before. You can ask my Dad." Then I add, "Gino taught me how. He's really good."

I turn and look at Gino. He smiles and mouths the words, 'Thank you'.

Coach says, "I can't wait to see what you can do when Gino gets your arms going next week! Great work, Rob. How are the legs at the moment? Getting sore?"

"Yes, Coach, but nothing that I can't handle. I think," I say so that he doesn't think that I give up easily.

"Good attitude!" Coach smiles at me. "Why don't you do two more laps and then rest. Gino will give your legs a rub down for you to help get rid of the lactic acid and prevent cramps. We don't want you in agony at school."

"Yes, Coach," I say.

Just before I start my next lap, I hear Coach say to Gino, "Remember the rules, Gino. Keep the Sick Bay door open at all times."

"Yes, Coach," Gino tells him. Then I don't hear any more with my head in the water, my legs kicking and my heart beating.

When I get back to where Gino is, my legs are killing me!

"What's up, Robbo?" Gino asks me.

"My legs are really, really sore now." I tell him.

"OK. Use the stairs then come with me" Gino tells me. "Leave the kickboard on the edge and we'll have a warm shower to rinse off the chlorine, then towel off and go to the Sick Bay."

I follow him but, while I'm walking, it's difficult not to feel like my grandpa looks when he walks. Except, he gets help from a walking stick!

I hang my towel on a hook, adjust the water so that it is really warm and give myself a quick wash. Speedos on. I watch Gino do the same and, even though he needs some cold water, I don't.

60 seconds is all that I need. I turn off the water, grab my towel and start to dry myself. I think that if I stand here any longer and watch Gino dealing with his 'stiff problem', then I might need to get back under the cold water myself. So, I go out to where the lockers are.

Gino joins me. "OK. Come on," he says, draping his towel over his shoulders, and I follow. I love walking behind his wet Speedos! His wet, clingy Speedos!

The door with the 'First Aid' sign on it is closed. Gino opens it and I follow him in. It smells just like being in a hospital!

"OK," he says. "This is the massage table. Your face goes in the hole so that you can breathe while I'm working on your back. Then we'll turn you over. Arms by your side."

He lays a towel on the table and I climb on. Face in the hole like he told me.

"Ever had a massage?" he asks.

"No," I say.

"Just relax, then I'll get to work, using a bit of massage oil."

I hear him squirt something, rub his hands together and then he places them on my back. He spreads the slippery stuff all across my back and I feel his warm hands rubbing and pressing. Up my spine and across the back of my shoulders. This feels great. Gino's hands on my body!

He does that a few times then also works on the tops of my arms.

"This is just to help your muscles relax and get used to my touch," he says.

"It feels really good," I tell him.

He works on my back for a little while then he spreads more oil on my thighs. He rubs them from my backside to my knees. Down and up and down. "Open your legs a bit wider," he says. I do and he rubs across my thighs. Both sides. Soft and hard. A couple of times I feel him get pretty close to my balls, but I say nothing.

"Right-o," I hear, "turn over."

As I turn over, I'm expecting to see the door wide open, but it's not. I say to him, "Didn't I hear Coach say to leave the door open?"

"Well, it's not shut, not quite, so therefore it's open," Gino says.

"Is that what Coach meant?" I ask.

"Probably not," Gino answers, smirking, "but sometimes, it seems to swing almost closed, all by itself."

I look at his face. He's grinning and I think he's telling fibs. He doesn't want people to see what he's doing! He stands on the side of the table so that he can watch the door to see if anyone comes in. Sneaky! Clever!

"OK, Robbo," he says, "arms alongside your body again."

Now I can observe what he's doing. He uses a squirt bottle to put oil onto one hand, then he rubs his hands together and spreads the oil on the front of my thighs. "Quad muscles," Gino tells me.

"You can either prop yourself on your elbows and watch or just lie back and totally relax," he says. "Your choice."

I watch for a while, as he repeats what he did on the backs of my legs. Lightly down and more firmly up. This time, however, he doesn't seem to avoid my balls like he did before, and he lets the back of his fingers rub along the sides of them as he comes right up to the top of each leg.

I look at his face. He turns to look at mine. "You OK?" he asks.

I grin, "Yes. It's OK."

"Rubbing upwards is the best way to move the lactic acid along," he explains, as if that is the reason why he keeps brushing against my balls, while pressing into my muscles with his hands.

I lay my head back down, and just enjoy the feeling of Gino massaging up and down my legs. My arms are by my side. Then I think that I feel his body lean against my hand. I raise my head and look at what it is, and at him. It's not just any part of his body. It's his dick. His semi-hard dick!

"You still OK?" he asks again.

For the second time, I just say, "Yes." And I relax.

Now, with his dick rubbing up and down my hand and wrist as he moves, and with his fingers touching my balls and with my brain reminding me of who he is, it's inevitable that my own dick starts to get hard. I try to ignore it, or pretend that nothing's happening.

He starts to massage across my quads, firstly up at the top and then down further, lower and higher. And he switches from one leg to the other. Suddenly, at the top of one leg, as he switches across from one to the other, his hand rubs directly across my dick and balls. Then he does it again.

I raise my head to look.

"Is everything OK?" he asks, stopping with the palm of his hand resting right on top of my 'privates'.

"I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't enjoying it," I tell him. "Are you sure that this is OK?"

"Why, are you going to tell?" he asks, very nervously.

"I told you that you can trust me not to tell, Gino," I say. "And, you are doing it so that nobody can see, like we agreed. So, I guess that it's OK."

"You can feel mine if you like," he says, pressing his dick against my hand a couple of times, as if nudging it into action.

"What if somebody comes in?" I ask. Now I'm nervous.

"They won't. Besides, it'll just be quick, then we can wrap our towels around ourselves and go have a cold shower," he replies.

If you had told me on Wednesday morning that, by Friday, the school vice-captain would be playing with my dick and balls, and letting me do the same to him, I would have said that you were taking some kind of mind-altering drug!

"You're not going to put your hand inside my Speedos, though, are you?" I ask.

"No," he says. Then he adds, "Not if you don't want me to. Not today."

At that thought, I feel my dick jump.

I tentatively reach for the front of his Speedos. He stands still while he lets me have a good feel of everything. Then, while I'm doing that, he forgets about my legs and just massages my dick and balls.

This feels amazing. I let out a moan of pleasure.

"OK. That's enough," he says. "We've been in here for sufficient time for me to have massaged your legs. Let's go."

He wraps his towel around him and I get off the table and do the same.

He opens the door wide. "Well, look at that!" he comments. "It's staying open properly, now!"

I look at him. He grins cheesily. I smile.

We head for the showers, 'to wash off the oil' first and then to make good use of the cold water.

When we both have our track suits on, he tells me to follow him to the Coach's office.

"How are your legs, Rob?" Coach asks me, as we enter.

"Did you know, Coach," I say, "that Gino is just as good at massaging away my pain as he is at creating it?"

"Work you hard out there today, did he?" Coach asks.

My brain says, 'and he worked me to hard inside too', but I answer, "No pain, no gain, I guess, as I have heard my Dad say. Now I know what he means!"

"Do you know, Rob," Coach says, looking and sounding very serious, "that some people take months to get to where you are after only 3 sessions?"

"No, I didn't know that Coach," I say. "I guess that Gino must be some sort of magician!"

Gino smiles at me.

Then Coach says, "I can really sense that you two are going to be great together!"

My brain says, 'I hope so!' I glance at Gino. His eyes and one raised eyebrow are saying, 'Me too!'

At that moment, my Dad knocks at Coach's door. "Come in!" Coach calls to him. "I have something to show you! Come around to this side."

My Dad walks around the desk and stands next to Coach who picks up an iPad and touches the screen a few times. Even though I can't see anything, I hear what sounds like everybody outside in the pool.

"Is that what Rob will be able to achieve after you've had him here for a while?" Dad asks. "How long do you think that will take?"

I suddenly realise what Coach is showing to my Dad. Coach, Gino and I all smile at each other.

It's Gino who says to my Dad, "Mr Armstrong, that is not what Rob will be like in a month. That is what he was doing today. That's him in the pool. After I came to get Coach to see what Rob was doing, he wanted to take a video to show you."

"And, we wouldn't want you to think that your son is lying at home when he tells your family what he has accomplished," Coach says. "Gino told me of your conversation this morning. If you give me your email address," Coach tells Dad, "I'll send you the clip so that you can show your wife."

Gino adds, "And, Rob, see if your sister is willing to take that bet about doing the dishes, after you tell her what you can do, but before your dad shows her the video."

We all laugh, as if my sister is suddenly our common enemy.

Coach is right. Gino and I are going to be great together! I sense it. I feel it. I know it. I want it!

Dad tells me, "Rob, if you're happy to continue with the swimming lessons, now that you've had a taste of them, I'll just fix up the paper work with the Coach and I'll be out in a couple of minutes." That's his way of telling me to 'Go outside'!

Gino says, "No competition tomorrow morning. Right, Coach?"

"Nothing's changed, Gino. It's a rest day. See you on Monday. And, terrific work this week!" Coach tells him. "Have a great weekend!"

"Goodbye, Mr Armstrong," Gino says to my Dad."

Dad shakes his hand. "Thanks, Gino. You've worked a miracle with Rob. We owe you, greatly!"

"Just happy to help, Mr Armstrong," Gino says. "Now I should be off home for some breakfast and then to school for my first class."

"Goodbye Coach," I say.

Gino and I walk out together. He asks me, "Hey, Robbo, I don't suppose you'd like to have a game of tennis tomorrow afternoon?"

"How would that work?" I ask him.

"Well, if you can have one of your parents bring you here around one o'clock, I'll pick you up and drive us to my school. We'll just play for an hour, maybe two, then I can either bring you back here, or drop you home. Do you want to check with your Dad before I leave?"

"Sure," I say. "How long do you think he will be with Coach? Won't you be late for your class?"

"Plenty of time." He says. "I'll just eat breakfast faster, or take something with me."

Dad emerges. "That was easy," he says. "Coach says that you really have great potential if you stick with it. I'm surprised, but very happy for you, son."

"Thanks, Dad," I tell him. "But I don't think that I could do this, if it wasn't for Gino. He just seems to bring out the best in me, and he's had me doing things that I could never have imagined I would be doing!"

I can tell from their faces that Dad and Gino have interpreted my words differently. I can read Dad's expression – amazement, pride and gratitude. Gino's, on the other hand, I'm not sure about. Is it telling me to shut up? Did I just say too much? I've never seen this anxious expression before, at school.

"Dad?" I ask, without beating around the bush, "Would it be OK if I play tennis tomorrow afternoon after I've done my jobs?"

"How come?" Dad asks. "When? Where? Who with? Where did that come from?"

Gino really got my Dad on side this morning. My turn to repay the favour! "Gino and I were talking earlier about the other things that we do. When I said that I liked tennis, he told me that he was going to play tennis with a couple of friends later tomorrow and that it would be OK with him, if I wanted, to come along and just have a hit with them. One of them is a junior coach, so I might pick up a few pointers, especially with my serving. May I, please, Dad?"

I can see my Dad's brain working overtime.

He turns to Gino. "Gino, that's very generous of you. And it's obvious that Rob really responds to you. However, I think that it might be too much of an imposition to saddle you with him for the afternoon."

My heart sinks.

"Whatever you say, Mr Armstrong," Gino says. "But, when I offered, I thought that if Rob could spare the time to come along, he would actually be doing me a favour. It would have meant that I wouldn't have to bring one of my annoying little sisters to make up a foursome. And it could just be four of us guys. A very different vibe to having your little sister there! But you are Rob's father and what you say goes. It also occurred to me that it would be an opportunity for Rob to get a few tips from a tennis coach and for him and me to bond a bit which might help in his swimming. But, maybe, I was only being selfish. Maybe some other time, then. OK, Rob?"

I look at Dad's face, and he can see the disappointment on mine. There is a long pause.

"What about transport?" Dad asks. "His mother is taking our daughter to the movies tomorrow at two o'clock, and I have a morning golf game that won't finish until about three."

OMG. Yes. He's weakening. Gino could, what's the expression, sell ice to an eskimo!

"I understand," Gino says. "Rob told me that you only live about five minutes from here, so if it would be inconvenient for Mrs Armstrong to drop Rob here on her way to the movies, I would be happy to pick him up and also drop him home afterwards. No imposition for me, either way."

I look back at Dad's face, expectantly. Pleadingly.

"Well, I think that we can work something out," Dad says, smiling at me and ruffling my hair. "If you give me your mobile number, Gino, I'll talk to my wife and text you to let you know which option will fit in better with us and then arrange the details. Is that OK?"

"Of course, Mr Armstrong. Whatever you say," Gino tells him.

Dad takes out his phone to record Gino's number, which I memorise as he says it and Dad repeats it. As soon as I get home, I'm going to write it down.

Gino and I bump fists. He and Dad shake hands.

"See you tomorrow, Rob," Gino says.

"Message you later, Gino," Dad tells him. "And thank you."

Dad and I get into our car and we watch Gino slide into a black Alfa Romeo. With 'P' plates. It looks new.

"Nice car!" Dad says. "Is it his mother's or his father's. Do you know?"

"Actually, I think I heard Gino say that it was a present from his grandfather for his eighteenth birthday recently," I reply.

My Dad sits until Gino drives off first.

"What are you waiting for?" I ask.

"I just wanted to see how he drives that thing," Dad replies. "If you're going to get into a sports car with him, I just wanted to make sure that he was a responsible driver."

"And…?" I ask.

"Top marks!" Dad says. "You'll be fine!"

We drive. I smile.

"Do you know what Gino's last name is?" Dad asks. "I'll put it into my phone when we get home.

"It's Napolitano," I tell him.

"I know that name from somewhere," Dad comments.

"It sounds like a pretty common Italian name to me," I say. "Like Giuseppe and Giorgio and Luigi."

"Hmm," Dad says. "I just can't put my finger on it, but… oh, well, it doesn't matter!"

As soon as we get home, the first thing that Dad says to Mum is "Guess what sort of car Rob's young swim coach drives? No, you'll never guess. It's a late model Alfa Romeo. A birthday gift from his grandfather, apparently."

"Really?" Mum says. "He must have a rich grandfather."

"And you'll never guess what he taught Rob to do today!"

"Well, while I'm not guessing things," Mum says, "why don't you just tell me that too?"

"You tell her, Rob," Dad says.

I see my sister eavesdropping. As usual.

"Well," I say, loudly enough for her to hear, "I did eight laps of the pool, with my face in the water and breathing to both sides. Or was it ten?"

My sister goes into a prolonged, forced coughing fit, which is her usual non-verbal way of saying 'bullshit!'

I turn and challenge her. "Wanna bet?"

"How much?" she sneers.

"Same as last night. Dishes for a month!" I say, with a confidence which obviously annoys her.

"Agreed!" she snaps. "And I have Mum and Dad as witnesses. And if you can't actually prove that you can even swim half a lap like that, then you lose. Haha!"

"I'll prove it tonight," I say. "Right now, I need to get dressed for school and have some breakfast."

When I emerge from my bedroom, Mum and Dad have already had the conversation about me playing tennis tomorrow. Dad tells me, "Rather than having Mum drop you at the pool and have you potentially waiting around for Gino, we think that it would be better if he picks you up here, seeing that he offered. I'll send him a text message."

That reminds me. I go back to my room, sit down at my desk and write down Gino's number before I forget it.

I suddenly have one of those weird feelings that I get; somebody is watching me.

I turn around and Dad is standing in my doorway. "Rob, can we chat?" he says.

I have this sudden, creepy feeling that I am about to get a lecture about something. Maybe about Gino. Does Dad think that Gino is too old for me to be friends with? Or am I going to be warned that I have to finish all of my jobs tomorrow or to tell me that he's changed his mind about me playing tennis.

"Sure," I say, nervously.

Dad sits on my bed. "Rob," he starts, "I think that the time has come for us to talk about something."

"I already know about the birds and the bees, Dad," I jump in and tell him.

He laughs. "No, not that!" Then he says, "In the past, Mum and I have felt that you were too young to have your own mobile phone. We now think that it's time."

"What?" I say, shocked.

"I realised it this morning when I found myself agreeing to make all the arrangements for you to play tennis with Gino. That wasn't right. You are old enough and mature enough to do that kind of thing yourself. It's just that you've just grown up so fast! Look at you!"

I have to say to Dad, "All of the boys at school have a mobile. Sometimes they make fun of me because I don't have one." And I tell him, "That's why I don't have many friends. Some of them call me a 'mummy's boy' and push me around."

"What? I didn't know that," Dad says. "Why didn't you tell us, Rob? I'm so sorry!"

He stands up and hugs me.

I say, "I didn't want to worry you, Dad. I just put up with it. It's OK."

"No, it's not OK!" Dad says. He suddenly has tears in his eyes. "I feel terrible that I might have somehow caused you to be bullied. I remember that you asked me if you could have a phone when you turned twelve. And I wasn't really in a good mood when I told you 'no'. But you haven't asked me since. Why not?"

"Well, you told me that I needed to grow up first, and that you would tell me when you felt that the time was right. I didn't want to cause an argument with you, Dad, by asking again."

He reaches for a tissue from the box on my desk and wipes his eyes. He hugs me again.

"Well, I don't know what to say," he tells me. "I didn't realise that I was so controlling. I'm so sorry, Rob. But, to try to begin making it up to you, I'll organise a mobile phone for you today." He pauses. There is silence. "There I go again, making decisions for you." He wipes his eyes for a second time. "What if I pick you up from school this afternoon and we can go and pick out one that you want?"

"Are you serious?" I ask. I'm overwhelmed. I feel the tears pour out of my eyes, and grab a tissue. "Thank you!" I manage to squeak out. And I hug him.

"What time does your last class finish?" Dad asks.

"2:30 today," I say.

"I'll be there, the usual spot. Is that OK."

"Yes, Dad. Thank you," I tell him. And I hug him again.

"In the meantime, I'll text Gino that we'd like to accept his offer of picking you up here tomorrow, and that you will message him later about the time and any other arrangements."

"Thanks, Dad," I say again.

He hugs me, then says, "Come, on, son. Breakfast!" He adds, "Oh, and when Coach sends me the video of you in the pool, I'll forward it to your email address so that you can show it to your sister yourself on your iPad."

"Thanks Dad!" I tell him, almost laughing. "I'll enjoy that!"

"I thought you would!" he tells me.

We go to breakfast with his arm over my shoulder.

This has already been the best day of my life! And it isn't even 8:30 in the morning yet!

Saturday. I wake up happy, even though my pyjamas are wet, again. I had a great dream about Gino massaging me and letting me have a good feel of his 'privates'. I can't get over it, me playing with the dick and balls of 'Gino Italiano', the Year 12 school vice-captain!

And now, as a bonus, I don't have to do the dishes for a month!

And, I have an iPhone. The latest model. Dad suggested that it might be more compatible with my iPad. That's the only thing he said. The rest was all my decision. However, we agreed on the way to the shop that I would have to pay for all of the messages and calls. He would help by increasing my allowance by ten dollars a week, but he would only give it to me once a month, after the money for my pre-paid costs were taken out, seeing that he had to set it up in his name. Only because I'm 'under age'! He said that, that way, I might not use it too much.

However, I did suggest that he sign up to the cheapest plan which allows unlimited texts. So, no real problem! And, because I use our home wi-fi for my iPad, there won't be a lot of data usage on my phone. I might even make some extra money on this deal!

Last night, after I had put Mum and Dad into 'Contacts' on my phone, the next person was Gino Napolitano. Then I texted him and gave him my address. He is going to pick me up at one o'clock and told me to make sure that all of my jobs were done early. He also said that he would show me an app which was encrypted so that messages and video were secure from hacking, and we could message each other privately, if I wanted to, using that one.


I bag up all of the dog poo early, and get started on washing Dad's car before he goes to golf. The grass won't need cutting this week, but I will do the edges, which I skipped last week.

Dad comes out from the garage with his golf clubs. "Nice job, son," he comments. Then he says, "If ever you want to learn to play golf, just let me know. I would be thrilled to have you play with me."

Now, if Gino had said that, I would think of something totally different to what Dad meant.

"Have a good game!" I tell him, then head to the garage for the edger.

My jobs are all done by 11:00. And, I made sure at breakfast that I used as many things as possible for my sister to wash. Cereal bowl and spoon. Plate for toast and butter knife. Different knife for the marmalade. Coffee mug. Teaspoon. To rub salt into the wounds, I said to her, "Make sure that you wash those properly or the person drying might get you to do them again. Oh, hey, that would be you!" I'm sure that she would have given me 'the finger', or said something starting with 'fuck' and ending in 'off', if Mum and Dad hadn't been around.

I try not to appear too anxious for Gino to arrive, so I don't get dressed for tennis until 12:00. Instead of underpants, I put on my pale blue Speedos under my tennis shorts. These are the same blue ones that I picked out at the shop after I first saw Gino wearing that colour over two years ago. These ones are tight on me now, but I don't care. I have a new-found liking for Speedos. Particularly wet ones! Especially when Gino is in them!

I fill in time, by checking options on my phone and downloading apps that I think I might use.

Alerted by the sound of its engine, I look up and, from my window overlooking the front yard, I see Gino's black Alfa pull into our driveway. I immediately grab my tennis racquet and my phone and head downstairs. There is a knock at the door. Mum gets there first.

"Good afternoon, Mrs Armstrong," he says. "I'm Gino, Rob's swimming coach."

"Pleased to meet you Gino," I hear Mum tell him. "Rob should be down in a…"

She doesn't have to finish. I appear beside her. "Hi Gino," I chirp.

"Hello Rob," he says. "All of your jobs finished?"

I look at Mum's face. I can tell that she approves of him instantly.

I call to my sister, "See you later, sis. Enjoy your movie!"

This time, I do get 'the finger', from where Mum can't see her.

Mum bends down to kiss me goodbye. I must turn fire-engine red with embarrassment.

Gino notices it and tells me, "It's OK to kiss your mother, Rob. We Italians do that all the time. Mothers. Aunts. Cousins. Even Uncles. And, usually one on each cheek."

To pick up on what Gino has said, I kiss Mum on each side of her face.

"Thanks, Gino," Mum tells him. "You two have a good game. See you later, Rob."

Mum and my sister stand at the door and watch Gino's Alfa growl slowly out of the drive. Mum is smiling. My sister has no expression on her face. Maybe disbelief, that her number-one tormenter is riding off in a brand-new Alfa Romeo, with a handsome teenage Italian.

Gino opens with, "So, is your sister doing the dishes for a month?"

"Absolutely!" I laugh. "She fell for it hook, line and sinker. I didn't show her the video until after she had committed to the bet, and she's even the one who suggested that Mum and Dad were witnesses to it, thinking that I would back out."

"What did she say when she saw it?" he asks.

"She reckoned that it wasn't me in the pool. So, I went and grabbed my Speedos, so that she could see that they were the same ones. And Dad told her that Coach had filmed me and he could guarantee that it was me." I chuckle.

"You have a wicked sense of humour," Gino says, patting me on the thigh. Then he adds, "I like that!"

"I like your sense of humour, too," I tell him, and pat him back. He turns and flashes me a smile.

We are silent for a couple of minutes. We drive past the Swimming Centre and Gino asks, "By the way, how are your legs this morning?"

"Great," I tell him. "You have magic hands."

"I could teach you, if you like," he says.

"What?" I ask.

"Massage. My uncle taught me. It's easy when you know how. And your hands get to feel things and sense things, so you can tell what to do."

"Yes," I say, smiling, "Your hands have already felt a few things of mine, haven't they?"

"So have yours, eh?" he asks. "Did you enjoy that?"

"Yes," I answer. I don't know where this conversation is going, but my dick starts to 'do its thing'.

He notices, reaches across and puts his hand on it. "How many are you up to today? Not a hundred yet?"

"Probably only half-way there," I tell him, jokingly. Then I ask, "What about you?"

"Right, now, probably about the same, mostly thinking of you" he says, and flashes me one of his grins. Then he says, "You can check it out, if you like. Just to make sure that I'm not lying."

At his invitation, I reach across and his hard dick is pointing sideways, towards me, as if waiting for my hand. I wrap my fingers around as much of it as I can in his shorts, and it jumps. "It likes you," he chuckles.

"Nice," I tell him. "And mine obviously likes you too," I say, as it jumps in his hand.

"Later," he says, taking his hand back. I remove mine as well.

I don't know if his goes down, but mine doesn't until we get to the school.

I don't let on that I recognise anything.

He drives through the main gates, then down to the tennis courts and gym and pulls up. There is an SUV already there, with two people on the first tennis court.

The most obvious thing that I notice, apart from thinking that I recognise one of them, is that the other one is in a wheel chair.

"Before we get out," Gino explains, "there are a few things that I should tell you. The guy who is not in the wheel chair was our school captain two years ago. He was our school champion tennis player, too, and has played the junior circuit around the world, with some success. Now, he is a senior. He is my tennis coach."

I thought that he looked familiar. He was the school captain in the year that I started here. He probably won't recognise me.

"And the guy in the wheel chair, is his young brother. He doesn't come to my school. He goes to a sports academy so that he can get specialist help. He's tipped to become a really good wheelchair athlete. Just look at him move that contraption around the court! Wheelchair tennis players get two bounces of the ball before they have to hit it back, instead of the usual one, to enable them to get to it."

"He's pretty good!" I comment, after watching for a while.

"And he's been able to beat me a couple of times," Gino says. "I used to go easy on him. But, not since the first time that he thrashed me! He can move pretty quickly. Their names are Carlos and Franco."

Ah, yes, it's Franco that I remember!

"I've told Franco that I'm bringing a member of my swimming squad with me instead of my sister, and that you would like to play tennis, but are only a beginner at the moment. So, he knows a little bit about you."

"Not, too much, I hope," I say.

"Listen, Robbo," Gino says, seriously. "There are some things that I would never tell anyone, if you get what I mean. And I'm trusting you to do the same. Are we on the same page?"

"Perfectly," I tell him. "There are things that I wouldn't want my parents to know, or my sister, or the guys at my school."

"And, I would die of embarrassment if even one person at this school knew that I was gay, because a single hint of it would spread in this place faster than a contagious virus," Gino says. "And it would shame my family if any of them found out, which would probably happen if just one guy here said anything to somebody. Even accidentally. Good news and good gossip travel fast, as they say."

"Did you just tell me that you are gay?" I ask, surprised.

"Can I trust you to keep that secret for me, Robbo?" he says, looking into my eyes.

"Of course, Gino! I promise," I say. Then I add, "I don't know if I'm gay, but I really enjoy being with you and mucking around with you."

He says, "I have to be very careful with what I say and what I do, and I wanted to give you the same advice, after I saw you constantly checking me out on Wednesday morning. I noticed the focus of your eyes straight away, and other people might pick up on it too. Be aware and be careful, Robbo."

"What about in the pool, when you grabbed my dick and balls? That wasn't very careful," I tell him.

"Yes, I know. That was stupid of me. You just excited me. It won't happen again, if I think that anybody is around. So, it may not even be safe muck around in the showers. But we could always come here on a Saturday afternoon, if you want to do anything, or talk about anything, or ask me anything."

"There is one good point to what you did though," I say, smiling.

"What's that?" he asks, with a funny expression on his face.

"Well, we both might have found a new friend," I answer and grin. "And we have a shared secret." My heart thumps at suggesting it.

He grins back, and ruffles my hair.

"OK. Let's go. Franko and Carlos will have to leave soon. They have hung around, just so that they can meet you and give you a few tips, then they have other commitments."

I have to ask, "Is Franco or Carlos gay? And do they know that you are?"

"No, on all counts," he answers. "So, be careful that you don't drop any hints, like you did in front of your Dad at the pool yesterday. Remember? Telling him that I had you doing things that you could never have imagined doing?"

I recall my words. I get what he means. I thought that it was funny at the time, but now that I think about it, it was pretty stupid and risky, for Gino and me both.

"My lips are sealed," I say, making a zipper motion across my mouth, and grinning.

Franco and Carlos are terrific. I hit balls with them and Franco gives me some coaching on the position of my feet and my arm and body positions in preparation for hitting a shot.

"He's a quick learner!" Franco tells Gino.

"Same in the pool," Gino replies.

I say to Franco, "I really have trouble with serving."

He looks at his watch. "Maybe next week, Rob, if you are able to come back. In the meantime, practise with Gino what I have shown you. Rome wasn't built in a day!"

We say goodbye, with the expectation that I will be back next Saturday afternoon. And, I think, with the promise of some free, expert coaching from Franco, it will be a legitimate excuse, if I need one, to come again with Gino.

Gino and I spend about half an hour just hitting balls, forehand and backhand, to enable me to practise everything that I have learned from him and Franco.

"Getting tired?" Gino asks.

"Yes, a bit," I answer. "My shoulders, arms and legs have been getting a real workout."

"How about a shower and a massage," Gino asks. "I have the keys to the gym."

"Sure," I say. Then I add, "It looks like a great gym, from the outside." It's not exactly like telling a lie, but I don't want to let on that I already know what it's like inside."

Gino locks the gate to the courts. We put our racquets and tennis balls into his car, and he grabs two towels.

We enter the gym and Gino disables the alarm. "I've also turned off the CCTV," he tells me. "Remind me to put everything back on again when we leave. OK?"

"Sure!" I answer. Then I throw in, "Wow! This place is really nice!"

"It's what our school fees help pay for," he replies.

I have a sudden appreciation of my parents' commitment in sending me to a private boys' school.

Then he leads me to the Sick Bay, unlocked, and we go in. I've never been in here before. Never needed to.

"Just like yesterday," he says, pointing at the table. "We can shower afterwards. Face in the hole while I do your back."

A difference that I notice here is that, instead of having to use a towel, there is a wide roll of paper towelling on the wall. Gino tears off a length of it and lays in on the table.

I strip down to my Speedos. Gino whistles. "Nice!" he says, then removes his own clothes. We are standing in identical swimming costumes! "Hey, come and look in the mirror," he says.

He's only a little taller than me. His hair is very dark. Mine is light brown and sometimes looks blond. He has muscles. So do I, but not like his. "Nice legs," he comments.

"Yeah, well I did tell you that they do get a bit of exercise," I say.

He gives his 'privates' a jiggle. I can tell that not everything in there is totally soft.

I lie, face-down. "Same as yesterday?" I ask.

"Yep!" he answers and gets to work on my shoulders.

"This feels so good," I tell him. "Did you say that you can teach me to do this?"

"Absolutely," he says, "And you can have my body to practise on."

"Nice!" I moan, as he digs into a sore spot near my right shoulder blade.

I note that he does everything exactly the same as yesterday, including avoiding my balls while he is doing my thighs, "Hamstrings," he says, adding to my anatomical knowledge.

I turn over and he starts at the top, but this time, includes my chest. "Pecs," he comments. Then he moves down to my "Abs".

With more oil he re-commences on my quads. And, just like yesterday, he brushes against my balls on his upstrokes.

We get to the point where, yesterday, he massaged across my quads instead of up and down, and I wonder whether he will do exactly the same things. My dick hardens in anticipation that he will.

When I feel him lean his body against my hand, I know that we are in instant-replay mode, or 'Groundhog Day'.

"Same as yesterday?" I ask him.

He laughs, does his cross-over from one leg to the other routine, and his hand rests on my hard dick. "Erection. Woody. Hard-on. Stiff problem," he rattles off, not knowing the extent of my vocabulary.

I reach for his Speedos, hold my hand there and say, "Balls. Bollocks. Nuts. Family Jewels."

He laughs, and adds, "And 'testicles'."

"Yeah, I knew that," I tell him, and move to his "Penis! My vocabulary isn't totally lacking, you know."

We play with each other, for longer than yesterday permitted. Then he asks me, "May I put my hand inside today?"

I'm tempted to say 'Go for it', but all that comes out is "Uh-huh".

He undoes the cord on my Speedos and slides his hand inside to encounter my growing hairiness and rakes his fingers through it. I stop fondling him, and just absorb the pleasure of feeling his warm, soft hand invade my private space. Then, avoiding my stiffness, he moves straight down to hold my balls.

"Nice!" he says and plays with them.

He comes back up and wraps his hands around my hard-on and rubs it up and down a couple of times. Then he pulls his hand out and proceeds to remove his own Speedos, totally. His erection is pointing over my stomach. "It's long," I tell him, wrapping my fingers around it and feeling it jerk.

"And yours is thick," he says, taking hold of it again.

It's the first time that we have commented on each other's dick, despite having seen them every day at the pool.

We start playing with each other and I copy exactly what he does to mine. Mainly up and down movements.

Then he pauses, and slowly begins to pull my Speedos down, probably waiting for me to say 'Stop!', which he doesn't hear. I lift my hips as a sign of my agreement and to help him remove them.

He takes hold of my erection in one hand and my balls in his other. "Nice!"

I roll onto my side, and wriggle closer to him, so that I can use both of my hands too. My bottom hand makes a cup for his heavy balls and my top hand takes over doing things to his dick.

After a minute or so, he says, "Wait!" and he gets the massage oil, squirting some on my dick and some on his own.

We re-commence.

"Shit! That feels nice!" I tell him.

"So does your hand!" he replies.

We both keep going, both start moaning about how good it feels, and then I feel something strange. It's a sort-of tingly feeling near my balls, but deeper. Kind-of like when I've been busting for a pee, make it to the toilet just in time and am about to let fly. But different.

"Something's gonna happen!" I tell him. I take my hands off him and lie back on the table. I hold my breath, grit my teeth and try to stop whatever it is. Then all of a sudden, I feel an urgency and my dick erupts and all this white stuff comes spurting out. It feels fantastic. It hits my face and neck and chest and stomach.

"What's that?" I ask him.

"You've never done this before?" he asks me the question back.

"No," I say. "What just happened? What is this stuff?" Then, taking deep breaths, I add, "Man, that felt fantastic!"

I touch it. It feels very slippery. Sticky. Sort of like the front of my wet pyjamas. Hmm.

"Well," Gino tells me. "What we were doing is called 'masturbating' or 'wanking' or 'jacking off', and what came out we can refer to as 'spunk' or 'dick cream'. And there are other words for both."

"Oh!" I say, joining the dots in my mind about what I have overheard some other guys talking about.

I repeat, "Shit, that felt so good." Then I say, "But yours didn't do that. Does yours do that too?"

"Nearly every day," he says. "Do you want to make mine do it?"

"Yeah. How?" I ask.

"Just keep doing what you were doing with your hand, like I did to you. I was getting close."

I look at the spunk all over my body. Gino tears a small piece off the paper towelling and cleans it all off. "I'll flush this down the toilet when we've finished," he tells me.

His dick is still rock-hard! He squirts some more oil onto it and I resume masturbating him. Wanking him. Jacking him off. I like my new vocabulary, with meaning.

Every now and then his dick jerks by itself. I like it when it does that. I keep going and I hear him gasp, "Keep going. I'm really close. It's coming! Then, as he grabs my hand and points his dick at my chest, he shouts, "Now!" and it fires out a whole lot of spunk too. Spurt after spurt of it. "Ohhh!" he moans. "So Nice!" And it seems like he is gasping for breath. When his breathing gets back to normal, he says, "Thank you, Robbo. You were terrific!"

He cleans my body up for a second time and wipes off some extra spunk that has come out of my dick, and his.

He helps me off the table and we hug. With both of his hands on my naked backside, he pulls me against him. Body to body. Dick to dick.

"Thank you, Robbo. It was so good watching you spurt and then feeling you do it to me."

"And, thank you, Gino, for teaching me. I loved it! Can we do it again next week, please?"

"I hope so, sport," he says. "Now let's go to the showers via the toilets while I get rid of 'the evidence'. Besides, I need to pee."

"Me too", I say, and I am about to head off to the toilets when I remember that I'm not supposed to know where anything is. I gather my clothes and follow him.

"Showers to the right; toilets to the left; dressing room and lockers straight ahead," he says.

When we've put our clothes in the dressing room, he flushes 'the evidence' of what we did down a toilet, then we stand at the urinal and watch each other pee, then he presses the button to flush.

There are no partitions in the showers here. Just 5 shower heads in a row, with the floor sloping to the drain. I've never been in here in the three years that I've attended the school. We juniors tend not to shower after a gym class, unlike the seniors who seem to hang out in here a lot. We can hear them.

We adjust the water, step in and I squirt some of the liquid soap onto my hand.

"Want to wash each other?" Gino asks.

"Yeah!" I say, and turn my back to him.

He starts at my neck and works his way down, fairly thoroughly, spending a lot of time on my "Glutes".

I feel him slide a finger between my legs. I'm not sure that I like him playing with my arse hole. "Please, Gino, I don't like that."

"Sorry," he says. "Turn around."

Again, he starts at the top, works his way down my front and I love the feeling of his soapy hands on my dick and balls.

"Rinse off," he says. "Your turn," and he turns around.

I wash his back muscles and massage his glutes just like he did to me. Then his legs. Then his bulky pecs and his flat abs. His dick is hard again, but I enjoy 'cleaning' it, and his balls. I finish with his legs. Can you believe it? Me in the showers, with the school vice-captain. Naked. And feeling each other's body?

He hugs me. This feels so good. "You're going to need some cold water," I tell him, and I step out, take one of the towels and dry myself while I watch Gino 'cooling off'.

We get dressed.

Gino resets the alarm and re-activates the CCTV. We get into his car but instead of starting it, he turns sideways in his seat, facing me and says, "I hope that I haven't offended you with anything that we've done, Robbo. I enjoyed every moment of everything, including watching Franco give you some pointers. But, especially the stuff that we did in the gym."

"It's all good, Gino. I'm not offended. I loved it. But, can I ask you one question?"

"Sure, Robbo," he says. "What do you want to know?"

"What were you trying to do, wiggling your finger around my arse hole?"

I think that he is stunned. "Well, I'm told that some gay guys like that. So maybe you're not gay, and you just enjoy the other mucking-around stuff."

I answer, "Do you like having a finger do that to you?"

"I don't know, Robbo," he says, very quietly, "And, I've never had this conversation with another guy before, so I can't really answer you."

"Thank you for being honest with me, Gino," I say, "and for trusting me, and for teaching me things, and for getting Franco to help me, and for making me feel so good!"

"No worries, Robbo," he says, "and I'm sorry about the finger. Can we still be friends?"

I'm cruel. I don't answer straight away. He suddenly looks very nervous. Then I lean towards him and say, "Come closer, and I will tell you." He leans towards me. I take his head in both of my hands and I say, "I like having you as my best Italian friend!" and I kiss him on both cheeks.

I think that he is going to cry. He kisses me back and says something in Italian, which I think is all good.

"OK. Home, Gino, and don't spare the horses!" I say to him.

He laughs.

We're good!

When Mum and Dad both get home, I tell them about my tennis lesson and who gave it to me.

"Wow!" Mum says, "You're starting to move in influential circles, aren't you?"

My little sister, who is normally the world's greatest sceptic when it comes to anything that I say, doesn't question me. Perhaps she's afraid of ending up doing the dishes on her own for two months!

Monday's swimming practice goes well. Very professional. Today I learn to take one arm at a time off the kickboard while I'm breathing on that side and how to take it backwards then forwards again. Gino and I both behave ourselves. Even in the showers. Cold water really helps.

Tuesday, I get the arm motions going properly. 'Fluently' is the word that Gino uses.

Later, at our school assembly, my class is seated to the side of the auditorium and half-way back, so I'm fairly sure that Gino won't spot me. He's the prefect speaking today and telling the juniors of the importance of having at least one good friend whom you can trust. He shares some funny moments but gets serious when he moves to introduce the topic of teenage suicide.

He introduces the guest speaker for the day, from Lifeline, who tells us how to look out for a friend who may be at risk and in need of help, and how each of us might even prevent the death of one of our friends by being alert to certain signs, and what we can say, and do. She shows us, in her visual presentation, some statistics. My eyes fill up when she mentions the proportion of soldiers, teenage drug takers and gay young men who take their own lives, some due mainly to bullying or their perceived rejection by people who should love them, shame about something, or isolation – real or self-imposed.

I'm shocked that, on her checklist of things to look out for, many of the boxes are ticked for Gino. It's all I can do to stop myself from crying. I use my handkerchief to blow my nose as quietly as I can and then, while I have it up there, wipe my eyes. I stare at Gino's face. From this distance, I can't tell if he is upset, or just thinking. I feel his pain at not having anyone that he can talk to, about being gay.

On Wednesday morning at the pool, I try really hard to achieve what he is trying to teach me and I take every opportunity to thank him, and to tell him how much I owe to him and how I will always be his friend.

I continue my praise and thanks in the showers, tell him that I'm really looking forward to next Saturday, and say to him as privately as I can manage it, that he can even 'give me the finger' if he wants to do it. He hugs me and we go to get dressed.

He waves goodbye to Dad and me and we all head off on our own ways.

It seems to be a normal day at school, but some of the teachers are at a conference, so the prefects are rostered to supervise 'study periods' for classes without a teacher. I'm in my normal seat, three from the front, in the row closest to the door. I like to turn sideways in my chair, lean against the wall and use the back of the chair as an armrest.

It's the period before lunch, and I'm reading when a prefect enters and takes up his place at the teacher's desk at the front on the other side. Oh no! I turn my body back to the front and put my head down so that Gino won't recognise me.

"Right-o, gentlemen," he says, "I don't know what you are supposed to be doing, but if you just happen to have your phone in your hand, just make sure that it is set to 'silent'. OK?" Then he gets on with doing some things of his own.

I have my phone out on the desk and, a few minutes later, I see a message flash onto the screen at the same time as the alert goes off. Loudly. Aargh! I was so engrossed in my book that I forgot to turn it off!

All eyes turn towards me, as I read the message:

<<Thank you for everything, Robbo. You are my one and only true friend!>> plus a big love-heart emoji.

"Whose phone was that?" Gino says, looking up from the teacher's desk, with his phone still in his hand.

I don't need to stand up. The direction of everyone's turned head and stare is as good as pointing their fingers. I watch Gino's eyes follow their indication until he focuses on me. His expression alters to one of shock, even horror, when he recognises me!

I've just shattered his security of being secretly gay in his school!

What can I say? "I'm very sorry Sir, it's a new phone and I forgot that it was on. I'll turn it off now."

Gino responds in a very authoritarian voice, "Very well, lad. But, don't let it happen again!"

"Yes, Sir. I mean no, Sir," I stammer.

Then he adds, "And I will speak with you after class when everyone else goes to lunch."

"Yes, Sir," I say, and absorb the tut-tuts and ooh-ahs from the people around me.

I'm feeling awful. I think that the look on Gino's face is a combination of fear and anger and hurt. I have to do something. I send him a message:

<<I'm sorry, Gino. I didn't know how to tell you>>

He replies:

<<You lied to me. I thought that we were going to trust each other and be truthful >>

I say:

<<Gino, I didn't lie. I just didn't want you to get hurt if anyone found out that you were friends with a boy in Year 9>>

He says:

<<Well, I am hurt. It's as good as a lie. Some friend!>> plus an angry emoji.

My eyes fill with tears. Another box ticked on his 'suicide alert list'. Betrayal.

Somebody says, for all to hear, "Look mummy's boy is gonna cry because he got into twubble." And there is a loud, sniggery comment from someone else.

"Who said that?" Gino demands, standing up.

I've never seen him angry before. Not ever! And, I don't think that anyone else has either!

Everyone is motionless.

The culprit slowly stands.

"What's your name, lad?" Gino demands.

"Peter, Sir," he replies.

"Peter… what?"

"Peter Johnson, Sir," he says, defensively.

"Well, Mr Johnson," Gino puts to him. "Didn't you learn anything in yesterday's assembly?"

"Yes, Sir," he replies.

"And what was it that you learned, Mr Johnson?"

"That we should be careful of other people's emotions, Sir," he replies, standing stiffly, "and not say or do anything to hurt them, Sir, because we don't know how it might affect them, Sir."

"Well, it is good to know that you were not asleep, Mr Johnson," Gino rails on him, "but that won't save you from a Prefects' Detention tomorrow at lunchtime. Come and get your slip."

Gino returns to the teacher's desk and takes out a Detention Slip from his folder. I've seen other people's before, but I've never had one.

Peter takes it and says, "Thank you, Sir," and turns to head back to his seat.

"Just a minute, Mr Johnson," Gino continues. "I'm not finished with you yet."

Everyone in the room looks stunned at Gino's out-of-character sternness.

"You will apologise to Mr Armstrong there, and if I ever hear of you making comments like that ever again, to Mr Armstrong or anyone else, I will have you before the headmaster. Do I make myself clear, Mr Johnson?"

It dawns on me that Gino didn't ask for my name, and yet he has used it. I wonder if anyone else picked up on that. Hopefully, they might think that he has demanded it of me in the past, for some reason!

"Yes, Sir, Mr Napolitano. Very clear, Sir," he says. Now Peter is nearly crying. Rumour has it that he's on a final warning from the headmaster. It's only his star role on the football team that has saved him from being suspended.

"Well?" Gino says, raising his voice. "We're waiting."

Peter comes to me and says, "Rob, I'm very sorry for what I said and for offending you. Will you accept my apology?" He puts out his hand for me to shake. It's all very formal.

I do and reply, "Thank you, Peter, and yes, I accept your apology."

Gino says more calmly, "You may sit down Mr Johnson." He continues, but reverting to his angry voice, "And who was it that sniggered in agreement with Mr Johnson's comment?"

There is no confession.

And there is silence.

Gino waits.

"Mr Johnson, stand up again, please," Gino says, very calmly. "Now, gentlemen, if the person who sniggered does not own up within the next 10 seconds, Mr Johnson will be given a red card. Do you all know what that means?"

There is a muttering around the room. Yes, we all know what a red card means. It's a black mark on your report and disqualification from all privileges for a month. Including elected positions, representative sport and school excursions. The football coach would be totally furious if one of his best junior players earned himself a red card!

Gino starts counting, slowly, and scanning every face in the room. Peter Johnson looks pleadingly at his mate, Jack, then tears appear in his eyes. We all know that it was Jack, from his distinctive voice. Gino keeps counting. He gets to eight.

Peter turns on Jack and growls, "Man up, you louse!"

"Was it you, lad?" Gino asks, pointing at Jack, who is shamed into standing. He confesses.

"And your name is…? Gino puts to him, returning to the desk and taking out another Detention Slip.

"Jack Miller, Sir," he says very tentatively.

"Mr Miller, you will join Mr Johnson at lunchtime tomorrow," Gino tells him, more in control of his voice, but still very authoritatively. "Firstly, Mr Miller, you will apologise to Mr Armstrong, then both of you and Mr Johnson will come and stand at the front of the room."

"But…," Jack starts.

Peter cuts him off. "Just do it, louse!"

Jack comes to me, extends his hand and says, "I'm sorry Rob. It won't happen again."

"Thank you, Jack," I tell him.

They both stand at the front and Gino walks back and forth in front of them, just the way that the headmaster would do, with hands clasped behind his back. Then he stops and says to them, but for everybody's benefit, glancing around, "There is a lesson here, gentlemen. Anyone who is willing to humiliate others is not worthy of another person's friendship. And anyone who will not admit to doing wrong is not to be trusted. A gentleman should always be trustworthy. I will say no more about it, and see you outside the Prefects' Common Room tomorrow at the beginning of lunchtime.

"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir," they both say and sit down.

There is a deathly silence until the bell rings.

Gino says, "The class will stand." He waits until all are standing, motionless, then he says, "Class dismissed, except for you, Mr Armstrong. And the last person out, please close the door."

The silence in the room is replaced by an increasing buzz as they spill out into, and move along, the corridor. And the last person out does close the door. Quietly.

At that point, Gino sits down, almost collapsing onto the chair, and begins to sob, silently, into his hands.

I used to be annoyed that this classroom only has high windows, which lets the light in, but prevents anybody from seeing out. Or in. Right now, I'm truly glad of it!

I can't imagine what Gino is feeling, but on top of all of his checked boxes in Assembly yesterday, I've now caused him to think, perhaps, that his one true, new friend has lied to him and may no longer be trusted to keep his most personal of secrets.

I want to go to him.

But don't know why he wanted me to stay behind. Is he going to yell at me? Or hit me? Or do something drastic?

I can't bear to see my hero, and my only friend, in pain.

I have to go to him.

Maybe he doesn't hear me coming because he flinches when I put my hands on his shoulders.

He says nothing.

I slowly start to massage his shoulders, copying how he has done it to me, twice already.

I'm expecting him to scream something like, 'Go away!' or 'Liar!' or 'Leave me alone!'

But maybe it's a good sign that he's saying nothing.

I keep massaging. Around his shoulder blades and across his shoulders to the top of his arms. I try to make it a real massage, using my thumbs to rub and squeeze deeply, to try to ease his pain, even if it isn't physical.

He takes a deep breath. Here it comes! Now I'm going to cop it!

Instead of yelling, he asks, softly, "Who taught you to do that, lad? It feels really nice."

"My best friend, Sir," I answer. "He's very good at it."

"Why do you think that he's your best friend, lad?" Gino says.

"Because he told me so, Sir, and sent me a love-heart emoji," I say, and keep massaging.

"Is that the only reason, lad?" he replies.

"No, Sir," I say. "He's my best friend because I really want to make him happy."

"And just how would you intend to make him happy, lad?" he asks.

"By being there for him, whenever he wants me to be, Sir, and to learn everything that he teaches me, as best as I can, and to keep all of his secrets." Then I add, "And by learning to speak to him in Italian."

"What would you say to him, lad, if you could speak Italian?"

"I think, Sir, that I would say, 'Grazie per essere il mio migliore amico in tutto il mondo."

Gino turns in the chair and grins at me. "Where did you learn that? Your pronunciation is terrible!"

"Off the internet, but I don't know how it's supposed to sound, properly," I say to him, smiling.

He repeats my words, with the most musical Italian pronunciation, then gives me back the translation, "Thank you for being my very best friend in the whole world."

"I know what it means," I tell him. "That's why I learned it."

"So, you would like to be an Italian, would you?" he asks.

"Oh, yes, Sir," I answer.

Without speaking, he stands, grabs my head and kisses me on both cheeks. "That will do for starters," he says. Then he hugs me.

I kiss him back as tenderly as I can, on both cheeks, and ask, "Did I do it right, Sir?"

"You do everything right, Robbo," he says, going back to using my name again. Then he adds, "I'm sorry, for getting upset. But, it was quite a shock to look up and see you here. In this class. In my school. The one and only person who knows my secret. At first, I thought that I was imagining that some Year 9 twerp just looked like you, because I can't get your face out of my mind. How long have you been coming to this school?"

"Since the beginning of Year 7," I say. "This is my third year."

"Then, how come I've never seen you before?" he asks.

"Big fish like you probably don't look for little fish like me in a large ocean," I reply. Then I add, "But this little fish has certainly been watching one particular big fish for nearly three years."

"Do you like fishing?" Gino asks, changing the subject, but using my analogy.

"Hate it!" I tell him. "My Dad took me once. It was the most boring day of my life! Sitting on the end of a wharf with stinking prawns. Not even a nibble!" From memory, it was even worse than the piano lesson!

"Would you like to go fishing on a big boat and catch big fish?" he asks. "I could arrange that."

"I think that I might have caught a big fish already!" I smile at him. "One who can not only swim, but who plays tennis, and gives terrific massages."

He gets it!

"My uncle goes fishing for marlin," Gino says. "Tag and release. Let me know if you want to try it."

"I'm happy to try anything once," I say.

He grins at me as though he might have something new in mind.

Gino has recovered his composure, and I reinforce the point to him that I want to keep out of his way at school, so that nobody suspects that we are 'best friends', "migliori amici".

He, again, shakes his head at my pronunciation.

He looks at me and says slowly, "Migliori amici," in beautiful Italian.

"Migliori amici," I repeat, smiling, and attempting to copy his pronunciation.

We hug.

"You go first, to the Year 9 lunch area," he tells me. "In case anybody is watching, I'll wait for a minute and then head in the opposite direction to the Prefects' Common Room. That's what anyone would be expecting."

"See you in the morning, Coach," I say, and he swats me, friendly and firmly, on the tail for being cheeky before I open the door and leave.

On my inside, I'm thrilled. However, sensing that people from my class are staring at me, I put my head down and walk as though I have been chastised, trying not to appear happy.

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