It had been an idle threat. I knew it would be, which is why I went ahead with my determination not to join The Scouts. I hated organisations that made you wear a stupid uniform, do ridiculous things to get sew on patches to prove you could do them and then take you off on what they considered to be "exciting trips" into woodland areas.
My parents were disappointed, as they figured, for reasons known only to themselves, that I would "benefit" from being part of the organisation.
"Benefit?" what did that mean? What could I possibly get out of doing things I hated doing? Come on, guys, give me a break, I'd have more fun sticking pins into myself. Not for me that campfire thing.
"If you don't join then you won't be going on that school trip to France," my mother had said. Yeah, right - like I believed that! I'd already heard her discussing with my father that it was an opportunity I shouldn't miss and that they had already saved the deposit needed to book a place, so the threat was an idle one and, even if it were carried out, I would still have won - I wouldn't have had to join The Scouts.
No offence to anyone who was ever a member of the organisation - but come on, when was the last time you needed to know what a fox's paw print looked like in the snow?
My parents resigned themselves to my stubbornness and my deposit for the trip was duly paid and, within two months, I was sat on board a coach taking us from our little town to the big city of London. I'd never been to London, though I did know the Queen lived there in Buckingham Palace and that The Wombles lived there on Wimbledon Common, but that was about it.
When we arrived in London it was about 5.30 pm. We were staying overnight at a youth hostel in Tollington Park and had got lost on the way - great start. I think the driver had to ask about six people for direction before we finally arrived.
Stepping from our coach, the girls were all ushered inside first and then the boys and I found myself sharing a room with Kevin Bradshaw, Mike McKenzie and Simon Taylor. All three were in most of my lessons in school, so I knew Mike and Kevin quite well. Simon I had known since we were eight years old and had grown up together, living next door to one another when we first moved into the town. He was gorgeous and I loved everything about him - his hypnotic blue eyes, his silly grin, his cute button nose, his blonde hair, the way he walked, talked and the way he smiled at me. I was sharing a room with two guys and a god.
"Not exactly The Ritz, is it?" mumbled Mike, as we entered the room we had been allotted.
He was right. It was a dingy room with a table in the middle of it, one leg missing and a pile of books where it should have been. There were two chairs, the back of one was broken and the beds looked uncomfortable and were placed in a row against the back wall. A small, freestanding wardrobe occupied a corner opposite the door and standing next to it a chest of drawers that had seen better days. There was a fireplace, but as this was the beginning of July it wasn't lit and there was a washbasin - good enough to use for brushing your teeth. That was it. No TV, no radio, nothing that would provide entertainment.
Mike placed his suitcase on one of the four single beds that occupied the room - two lined the back wall and one bed each stood on either side of the room's two side walls - Mike took one and Kevin the other, leaving the two at the back for myself and Simon. I couldn't have planned it better.
Silently, we gazed around the room in dismay until a voice from the hallway called out that we should grab our coats and hurry up downstairs.
Our English teacher, Mrs Hunter was waiting for us at the bottom and ushered us into a room where all the other kids on the trip had congregated and stood facing Mr Hamilton and Mrs Pearce, our French teachers and Mr Gordon, our Music teacher - they, along with Mrs Hunter were the tour de force of teachers sent to keep an eye on us.
Having gathered us all together, we were told we were all going out and before we knew it we were being ushered into the street and heading towards London's underground.
Purchasing 30p return tickets to Finsbury Park, we were delighted to find that we were given a period of time in which to explore. Checking our watches, it was 7.10 pm and we had to meet up again at 8.45 pm. Just over an hour and a half in which to do anything we wished.
Mike quickly disappeared and so Kevin, Simon and I headed off on our own, but were quickly joined by three of the girls on the trip - Susie Miller, Melanie Atkinson and Donna Simpson.
Not having eaten, we found a Wimpy bar and discussed our Hostel accommodation. The general impression was that we weren't alone in our disappointment with our rooms, as Melanie had even overheard Mr Hamilton telling Mrs Hunter that he would be making an official complaint when we got back home.
Following our burger dinner, we strolled back into the street and I was annoyed to find Susie Miller pawing at Simon, I tried my best to smile, but I couldn't help glaring at the back of Susie Miller's head every time she giggled and lay her head on Simon's shoulder. I did my best to listen to the conversations taking place between Melanie, Donna and Kevin and tried to join in, but my mind was elsewhere.
As it turned out, it wasn't too bad an evening. I found a leaflet that told me that "The Royal Tournament Parade" had taken place that day in The Mall and that the Tournament itself would be taking place at Earls Court a few days from now. I had missed one and was too early for the other, but I kept the leaflet to stick in my "diary" - oh, yes, we all had to keep a diary of our trip. Yawn!
The evening passed pleasantly and we had quite a laugh. I even managed to get Simon away from Susie Miller for a whole five minutes - admittedly, we had to go to a public lavatory in order to achieve this.
"I'm not sure I need to go," said Simon as we headed into the gents.
"What you doing here then?" I quizzed.
"I had to get away from Susie. She's okay in small doses, but her giggling is beginning to grate."
"I know what you mean."
"You're not the only one who's had to listen to it all evening, you know."
"No, I guess not, but at least she hasn't been giggling down your ear."
"Well tell her to get lost."
"I wish I could."
"What's stopping you?"
"I like her."
"In what sense?"
"She's good fun, she's attractive and she likes me."
"I'm good fun, I'm not bad looking and I like you. Tell her to get lost and I'll paw at you and giggle in your ear."
"Dummy!" was Simon's only response as he grinned at me from the wash-hand basin. "Come on, they'll be wondering where we've got to."
We exited the public lavatory and found Susie, Melanie, Donna and Kevin patiently waiting for us.
"You took long enough," was Melanie Anderson's first comment.
"Yeah, they probably had problems finding their dicks," laughed Kevin Bradshaw. The girls giggled.
"I'll help you find it, Simon," said Susie, in her most seductive voice as she ran her fingers down Simon's chest and towards his trousers, being stopped short by Simon's hand removing hers from his body.
"No need - I know where it is and," he turned to Kevin, "it's bigger than yours, so if I have problems, you must really need help."
The girls giggled again as we headed off, followed by a dejected Kevin and an even more dejected Susie.
I was pleased to have been left out of this, as the thought of a size contest between Kevin and Simon had caused my own dick to stir. I guessed that, at that moment, I would have beaten them both.
We all duly arrived back at the Underground at 8.45 pm and waited for the tube train that would take us back.
"It's been a good evening," said Kevin, earlier put downs forgotten and all friends again. I agreed - it had been quite fun, but the sight of Susie Miller holding onto Simon as though her life depended on it kept whizzing through my mind.
I looked towards them. There she stood, giggling like the silly schoolgirl she was, as Simon, a broad grin spread across his face, told her another joke. I moved in closer, an attempt to share the jokes and get Susie on side - perhaps if she saw how likeable I could be, she wouldn't be bothered about me hanging around and then I could at least be close to Simon, even if it was me I wanted to see draped from his arm.
"What's so funny," I asked, as I got close enough to where they stood.
"Oh, nothing," was Susie's curt response.
"Must have been something good, I could hear you laughing way over there," I threw my head back slightly to indicate the direction from which I had walked.
"You had to be there," said Susie and turned her back to me.
The rumble of the tube train approaching the station could be heard and in an instant, as it came into view I so wanted to push her under it and, despite attempts to resist the temptation, I felt my arm extend and before anyone could do anything about it, Susie Miller screamed as she fell into the path of the oncoming train. I heard Mr Gordon call out my name.
"Carter! What are you doing, boy?"
"Wake up, boy, get on the train, or we'll leave you behind."
I glanced towards the tube train, which had arrived in the station and saw my classmates already aboard, starting out of the window at me. I joined them to rapturous applause and took a seat. Susie Miller sat with Simon and my heart sank.
It was 9.45pm when we got back and we headed straight upstairs to our allocated rooms and to bed - it had been a long day and before our heads touched the pillows, I think all four of us in that room had fallen asleep.
The following morning, we had breakfast at 8.30 and then went to pack the few things we had unpacked for our overnight stay, before heading back towards the London Underground and Victoria Station, where we caught a train to Newhaven from Platform 17 and the ferry to Dieppe, the French town in which we would be staying.
The ferry trip was a blast. It hardly seemed as though we were moving and Simon and I kept going on deck just to check that we were actually on our way. It was on one trip to the deck that I took the opportunity to speak to him about Susie Miller.
"Is she going to hang out with you all week?"
"I doubt it, she's got her own friends on this trip."
"Looked last night as though she was throwing them over."
I was. I knew I was. I felt myself colouring up as I denied it.
"No, of course not! Don't be so stupid."
Simon raised an eyebrow and grinned.
"Why not? Am I not good enough for you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, Susie isn't my girlfriend, you know."
"Not for want of trying."
"She'll have to try very hard if she's going to prise me away from you."
At that he leant forward and kissed me on the forehead.
"What was that for?"
"For being you - for being jealous - for being here with me. A whole week together in France, you and me - we'll get some time alone, won't we?"
"Paul, are you okay?"
"What? Yes, of course, why?"
"I was asking your opinion and you just smiled."
"Sorry - my opinion on what?"
"On whether you think we'll get some time alone in France."
"Us - the whole lot of us. I mean, the teachers won't be watching us all the time, will they. We will be able to do stuff by ourselves, won't we? It won't all be one long French lesson, will it?"
"I doubt it. Though whether you'll get some time alone is another matter."
"What do you mean?"
"She's not my girlfriend, Paul, besides, she's got her own friends this trip and I have mine - including you - if you stay awake long enough to hold a conversation with." He grinned, a broad grin that melted my heart. My God, how I loved this boy.
Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.
[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]
* Some browsers may require a right click instead