Sunday, 20 September 2015

Scott's Story - Miss Emily Writes

It has been brought to my attention that Scott Harris has been writing about the time he was put back into the Third Form at school and how I became involved in looking after him. My name is Emily Winters and I thought you might be interested to read how I came to look after Scottie, as I came to call him.

As Scottie has explained, I was thirteen at the time and he was a few weeks shy of sixteen. I had, for a year, been babysitting two young boys, twins aged eleven. However their family was moving away which was a great disappointment as I had enjoyed looking after the twins who were both very high-spirited. My responsibilities included bathing the boys as well as getting them ready for bed and generally making sure they behaved themselves. Once they were settled down in bed I could get on with my schoolwork, so the babysitting job suited me well. You can probably imagine how I felt having to say ‘goodbye’ to the boys and I think they were just as upset as I was to see them off to their new home.

I was at a bit of a loose end. There are always babysitting jobs to be had, but they tend to be mostly piecemeal arrangements with little time for any more meaningful involvement. Perhaps I was already seeing myself as a sort of putative governess who wanted time to get to know her charges. One day I happened to look at the adverts in the window of a local newsagent and saw the notice Mrs Harris, Scott’s mother, had placed there. Mrs Harris sought a sensible girl to look after her son. Duties would include letting him in after school and making sure he settled down to do his homework. It would be a permanent arrangement as Mrs Harris had commitments which prevented her from being at home to meet her son. It sounded to be just the sort of job I was after and I couldn’t wait find out more.

Reading Mrs Harris’s advert I assumed Scott to be a young boy much the same age of the twins and like the twins, in need of constant supervision. The job sounded ideal so I took a note of Mrs Harris’s phone number and contacted her straightaway. We arranged for me to come and be interviewed and I brought with me a letter of reference the mother of the twins had kindly written in appreciation of my work with her boys.

I have to say that Mrs Harris and I hit it off almost immediately. I showed her the letter and I could tell she was most impressed. I still had no idea how old Scott was and so asked Mrs Harris whether she would need me to bath Scott before bedtime. I was slightly puzzled that she was a little evasive in her reply, so I assured her that I had been responsible for the twins bathtime and gave them baths at least twice a week. However, the subject of bathtime arrangements were put on hold, as I heard footsteps in the hall which I assumed to be those of Scott. I think he must of been on his way upstairs when Mrs Harris called out to him:

“Scott! Come in here a moment, there’s someone I want you to meet.”

Imagine my surprise when a boy, clearly in his mid-teens and obviously older than I, stepped hesitantly into the room where Mrs Harris and I were sitting. Scott was wearing his school uniform, which at that time included long trousers. He was a smooth-faced boy, fairly smart and not unattractive although it was easy to see that Scott was in need of a haircut.

“This is Emily, who will be looking after you when you come home from school,” Mrs Harris said.

I don’t know who was more surprised by this announcement, Scott or myself. Mrs Harris hadn’t at that point said I was suitable, but from what she had just said, I gathered my services would after all be required. I was very pleased to know I had made the right impression.

As for Scott… well like all boys he thought he was old enough not to need a babysitter.

“I don’t need anyone to look after me…” he said, “... I can look after myself…”
“Now, Scott, you know that’s not true,” mum said and began to explain what had happened to her son…

“Why don’t you let Scott tell me what happened?” I suggested.

“Yes… yes, that is an excellent idea, Emily,” mum said as she realised it would be good for Scott and that it might even help him understand why he’d got himself into such a mess.

“Do I have to, mum?” was Scott’s immediate response to which Mrs Harris replied that as I would in future be looking after him, it was best if he told me what had happened.

Still Scott prevaricated. “But, mum… Emily’s not as old as I am… why should I tell her…?”

“Age has nothing whatsoever to do with this,” mum replied and by the tone of her voice I could tell that Scott was sailing perilously close to the wind. “Now let’s hear no more nonsense… Tell Emily exactly what has happened at school… and bear in mind she is to be your babysitter…”

On hearing this word, Scott’s mouth fell open, but wisely he said nothing.

“... and that means she will be acting with my full authority. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, mum,” Scott replied looking very sheepish indeed.

For a brief moment I almost felt sorry for Scott as he stood there in front of us. Both Mrs Harris and myself were sat in comfortable chairs in contrast to Scott, who looked as though he’d rather be anywhere than stood in front of us, about to tell me what he’d been up to at school. It was obvious he was a bundle of nerves.

“Come along, Scottie,” I prompted him and for the first time calling him by that name, “Mummy’s asked you to do something for me, hasn’t she?”

I could tell that addressing him using such language and in effect treating him like a little boy, annoyed him intensely, but one glance towards his mother and Scott saw it would best to bite his tongue.

“Um… yes, yes she did,” Scott said rather hesitantly.

“There is no need to be shy, Scottie,” I said, again using an inflection that made it sound as if I was talking to a little boy. I turned to Mrs Harris and added, “Little boys are often shy when they’ve been naughty. The twins often used to get tongue-tied when…”

“I’M NOT A LITTLE BOY!!” Scott exploded.

“Nobody said you were, Scottie,” I said calmly, “I was merely explaining to your mother how a couple of little boys I looked after would behave when they were naughty. You really shouldn't jump to such conclusions… particularly in matters that don’t concern you.”

“Now, if you’ve quite finished making a scene, Scottie, I’m still waiting to hear what you’ve been up to…”

Scott glanced in his mum’s direction once more and again thought better of complaining.

“I’ve been put back a year at school,” Scott said finally. His eyes were fixed firmly on the carpet in front of his feet and I could see that he was intensely embarrassed.

“And what exactly does that mean, Scottie?,” I asked, but he looked at me blankly. “You’ve been put back a year… what Year did you expect to go into…?”

“The Fifth Form,” he answered.

“Instead of which you’ve been put into…?”

“The Third Year…”

Scott’s shame at being made to say these words was palpable. He was red-faced and nervous, clearly dreading any more questions.

“How old are you, Scottie?” I asked. He glanced questioningly at mum again. “Your mum didn’t have chance to tell me your age before you came home,” I said by way of explanation.

“Fifteen… um, I’m nearly sixteen… um, in a few weeks.”

I wasn’t quite sure why Scott expressed himself in this manner. I assumed he thought that by making himself sound older it might in some way affect my ability to act as his babysitter. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

“Nearly sixteen,” I repeated, “And just how old are the boys in your new class… the Third Form?”

“Um… most… um, that is… um, thirteen,”

“Why was it thought necessary to put you back a year at school, Scottie?”

“Dunno…” came the immediate and in my experience default answer of a schoolboy asked an awkward question he’d rather not answer.

“You know perfectly well why you were put back a whole school year,” mum leaned forward in her chair, “Now tell Emily what your Headmaster said…”

Scott was trembling. I sensed that he would rather the floor opened up beneath his feet than have to stand in front of us and explain himself.

“He said I was lazy…”

“In what way ‘lazy’?” I asked, “Lots of boys are lazy… refusing to tidy their bedrooms, for instance… but it wasn’t that sort of laziness, was it, Scottie?”

“No…” he admitted, “The Headmaster said that I wasn’t trying hard enough… he said that he knew I could get much better results… do better work… but, but that I didn’t pay enough attention in class… said I mucked about and stuff…”

“And so he’s giving you another chance?” I suggested.

Scott nodded.

“Thank you, Scottie,” I said, “Now, why don’t you run along upstairs… your mother and I have lots of things to talk about…”  I added making it clear to Scott that although he would be the subject of our conversation, his presence would not be required.

Scott looked from me to his mum to see what he should do.

“Do what Emily says, Scott,” mum said without a moment's hesitation. Scott turned and left the room, but not before I caught a glimpse of his lower lip pushed out in a sullen pout.

As we heard Scott’s heavy footsteps ascending the stairs Mrs Harris turned to face me. There was a big smile on her face.

“I must say that was most remarkable,” she said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Scott behave like that before…”

“Did I do something wrong?” I asked.

“Good heavens no… Not at all. I’m sure if I had pressed Scott to tell me why he’d been put back a whole year at school, he would have had a temper tantrum and run off to his bedroom… But you, Emily, despite being younger… or perhaps it’s because you are younger... made Scott admit his failings…”

Mrs Harris and I continued to talk and I suddenly had an idea.

“Mrs Harris, do you have a copy of the School Uniform Regulations for Scott’s school?” I asked and the appropriate document was found.

“I’ll make some tea while you have a look through the uniform list… I’m afraid you’ll find it rather tedious, but if it’s of any help…”

“Oh, I think it will be a great help if I can just find… ah, yes, this is the page…” I said and began to read the rules and regulations regarding boys’ trousers. Mrs Harris left the room while I pored over the regulations which I guessed were rarely consulted by parents once their children started to attend school.

It was as I had hoped, while short trousers were compulsory for boys attending school during the First Year, there was no rule that prevented short trousers from being worn to school during subsequent years. Indeed the wearing of long trousers to school was specifically phrased as being at the boy’s parent’s discretion. So in fact one could read the uniform regulations in such a way as to say short trousers were the ‘default’ option for boys to wear to school and longs were simply a privilege to be awarded or withdrawn should it be so warranted… in whatever Form the boy happened to be.

When Mrs Harris returned with the tea-tray, I appraised her of my findings, paying special attention to the notion of long trousers being a privilege; a privilege which could be withdrawn should the situation call for it. I concluded by saying: “... and in Scott’s case I think the situation…”

“... more than warrants it..” Mrs Harris finished my sentence as she poured the tea.

“You know, Emily, Scott hasn’t worn short trousers for quite a long time. He hates anyone to see his bare legs and won’t wear shorts even when we have sunny weather…”

“But surely he must wear shorts for P.E.?” I asked.

“Of course, but I’ve never seen him wearing them.”

Mrs Harris thought for a while and I sipped my tea. She spoke again.

“You seem to have a wise head on young shoulders, Emily. What makes you think putting Scott back into short trousers will make any difference to his behaviour?” she asked.

“I think you’ll be surprised what a difference short trousers will make…” and then I expounded my theories about how boys are always trying to act beyond their age. How most boys are laughably immature. How they try, and usually fail, to impress. A lot of this misguided showing-off is brought about by treating and dressing boys as if they are grown-ups, whereas in reality it’s generally accepted that boys mature at a far slower rate than girls. Scott has failed and let himself down because he has tried too hard to be more mature than he really is. It’s not entirely Scott’s fault. There are a lot of pressures on young boys that you might not see, Mrs Harris. Boys are very competitive… it’s in their nature, but Scott needs to be helped to avoid that trap…”

I don’t think I put this argument in quite the same words when I spoke to Mrs Harris that first day. I was after all still only thirteen at the time, but even so I had enough experience in babysitting and looking after young boys to know how their minds worked. But however I expressed myself, Mrs Harris understood and gave me her whole-hearted support.

“You really mean to see Scott put back into short trousers, Emily?”

“It’s the only way to make Scott understand that he is not a grown-up; to make him understand how seriously you view what has happened to him at school... but it will also help to make him understand how much you are willing to help him…”

“I can’t be here all the time, Emily… when he comes home from school for instance… that’s when I’ll need your help. The way you have approached things today, Emily, has convinced me you are just the person I need to look after Scott. You will have my complete authority to do whatever it takes to get Scott back on the straight and narrow…”

I swelled with pride and I promised to help Scott… “whatever it took…”

Scott has described how I took him along to the School Outfitter (Scott’s Story - Part 2) to be measured up for a nice smart pair of short school trousers. Mrs Harris and I decided not to tell Scott that he would soon be wearing short trousers to school again, so he was a little puzzled by our trip to the shop. Once there Scott hung back and busied himself looking at the various items of school apparel on display. This gave me the opportunity I needed to discuss my requirements for Scott. The lady assistant was very understanding, although she professed to being at first a little surprised that I, clearly much younger, should be in charge of an older boy.

“I’m afraid Scott has been put back a year at school… into the Third Form,” I began to explain.

“... But boys in the Third Form at St Marks aren’t required to wear short trousers to school… Surely if Scott is put into short trousers, he’ll be the only boy in his class wearing them and if I know boys, he’ll likely be teased for having bare legs,” the assistant paused and we both looked over towards Scott who was blissfully ignorant of my plans. He glanced up and caught the eyes of the lady who looked as though she was ‘measuring him up’ and mentally noting the style and length of short trousers most suitable for a fifteen year old like Scott.

There must have been something in the way the lady was looking at him that worried Scott, because he blushed bright red and looked terribly worried. Perhaps subconsciously he was beginning to realise the purpose of our visit the School Outfitters.

The lady looked back at me. “I don’t think many boys in the Second Year at St Marks wear short trousers any more… It’s sad to see them going out of fashion. Why if it wasn’t compulsory for boys to wear short trousers in the First Form, there probably would be any boys in St Marks wearing them at all…”

“Except Scott…” I said, “His mother and I are in complete agreement that it would be best if Scott were put back into short trousers.”

“You think he might start a trend… that more older boys will want to wear short trousers to school?” There must have been something in my expression, because the lady smiled and answered her own question, “No… I thought not… So it looks as though Scott will be on his own…”

As Scottie made it abundantly clear in his description of our visit to the outfitters, the lady assistant took it into her head to treat Scottie as if he actually wanted to wear short trousers to school! The expression on  his face was priceless as he was helped into the shortest of short school trousers available in Scottie’s size that were stocked in the shop. These had a somewhat generous 2 ½ inch leg-length, but of course on Scottie, with his long legs, these shorts revealed a significant expanse of bare thigh. The assistant did point out however that shorter leg lengths were available to order and would be happy to order a few pairs. I agreed straightaway.

“Then sooner we get Scottie into them the better,” I said.

“But… but, these ones are really short… look! Please don’t get them any shorter, Emily...” Scottie said as he showed us the hem of the brief school shorts.

“Don’t be silly, Scottie… the lady has already told you these are just the standard size and your mummy says she wants to see you in proper short trousers…”

Scottie actually gulped when he heard what ‘mummy’ wanted.

“Now stand up straight and let me see what you’re making all this fuss about… Show me where the hem comes to, Scottie…”

Scottie stood straight and pointed with his fingertips to the hem of his new short trousers. I could see he was pouting as I bent down to examine how far down his trousers reached.

“They don’t look that short to me,” I said, “Lift the hem up, Scottie… that’s it… a bit further… you can pull them up further than that, Scottie… that’s better!”

Scott did as he was told and I noticed how he was already becoming compliant… however, not without complaint.

“Oh, please don’t make them any shorter, Emily,” he pleaded, “Please, Emily… please.”

Scott had pulled the leg of his short trousers up as far as they could go and the grey fabric was stretched tight. Scott’s hand was about level with his hip.

“Look… see, there’s plenty more room to take them up,” I announced and turned to the assistant, “What do you think?”

“Yes, I agree… Scott could easily fit into a pair of much briefer school shorts…”

“EMILY! PLEASE! Please don’t make me…”

“... without any trouble at all,” the lady said, finishing her sentence and ignoring Scott’s outburst.

“Perhaps if I could just measure him up and that would give me a much better idea of how short…”

“OH, PLEASE, EMILY NO!!” Scott was getting very upset and his eyes were glistening in the way they do just before tears begin to flow. I must admit he looked a sorry sight standing in the middle of the School Outfitters, still obediently tugging the leg of his new school shorts right up... nearly far enough up for us to see the white cotton of his junior schoolboy underpants.

The lady assistant, in spite of Scott’s protests, slipped the tape-measure between his bare thighs. She took some measurements, pulling the tape this way and that, round the tops of Scott's legs, then down from his crotch. It was clearly all very upsetting for Scott, even more so when the lady remarked on how smooth Scott’s legs were.

I think Scott mentioned how embarrassed he felt when the assistant said what a shame it was when such beautiful legs were covered up and how boys were allowed to wear longs at far too young an age.

Scott cringed as his smooth legs were discussed and, even now when I look back, I recall how surprised I was to see just how unblemished and free from unsightly hair Scott’s legs were. I think this fact alone convinced me how much Scott would benefit from being put back into short trousers and I was sure Mrs Harris would agree with me.

It was the assistant’s idea for Scott to leave his longs at the outfitter. After all, he would not be needing them anymore. As the lady said, there was a good deal of wear left in them and she was sure to find some young boy who would be grateful to have the benefit of them.

I’ll never forget Scott's cry of anguish as he bleated out the words: “But they’re my trousers… my long trousers… why can’t I keep them?”

“You don’t need them, Scottie, because we’ve just got a nice new pair of trousers,” I told him, “… and you’ll be wearing them to school from now on…”

I could see that Scott was dreading leaving the shop wearing his new short school trousers. It was obvious he didn’t expect to have to wear them home… something else he made perfectly clear when he was writing about his trip to the School Outfitter.

As we were getting ready to leave the lady assistant, who had been very kind and helpful throughout our visit, took me to one side.

“I hope you don’t mind, but thought I might recommend Miss Fairchild to you. Just as we specialise in School Uniforms, she specialises in… ahem, little boy clothes to fit the… ahem, older boy. She has a shop just off the High Street in Flannel Lane. I thought that perhaps when you are considering play-clothes for Scott, you might pay her a visit. I’m sure you’ll find something there to suit him…”

I thanked her for the recommendation and said that I would visit Miss Fairchild’s at the earliest opportunity and take Scott’s mother along too.

“I’ve made a note of Scott’s measurements,” she said, “If you like I could pop them round to Miss Fairchild in readiness for your visit…”

I thanked her again and said that I was sure Scott’s mother would be happy for her to pass on her son’s measurements to Miss Fairchild. Then I called over to Scott who had been sulking in a corner of the shop, blissfully unaware of my conversation with the assistant.

“We’d better get a move on, Scott… mummy will be wondering why we’ve been so long... “ I turned to the assistant as we were about to leave, “Thank you for that information… it will be very useful…”

Once outside the shop Scott wanted to know what I meant about the ‘information’.

“It’s nothing to concern you at the moment, Scott…”

“Oh, please, Emily… what were you talking about? Please tell me…”

“I have to speak to your mother first and she might not want to tell you…”

“... but… but it’s not fair… Please, Emily, what’s it about?”

I felt it was time to make it clear to Scott that I was not about to argue with him; perhaps even to make it clear that boys wearing  short trousers would be wise to remember how vulnerable their bare legs are… but then it’s not in the nature of boys like Scott to be wise.

“Scott Harris you may be nearly sixteen year old,” I said sternly and speaking loudly enough for passers-by to hear me quite clearly, “but you are still in short trousers and as long as you continue to behave like a spoilt little boy, you will be treated like a little boy. I have told you once that what I discussed with the lady in the shop is not for your ears… I do not intend to repeat myself… Do I make myself clear?!”

Scott was quivering with embarrassment; ashamed to be told off in public and reminded that he was wearing short trousers. He pleaded with me not to speak so loudly and kept repeating how sorry he was.

“Please, Emily… I didn’t mean… I’m sorry…”

“That’s as maybe, Scott, but when I get you home, mummy is going to hear all about this behaviour and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you didn’t end up with a smacked botty!”

Scott, his eyes on stalks, looked about to see if anyone had heard what I said. There were indeed a couple of ladies who stopped and smiled. One “tut-tutted” and asked: “How old did you say this boy was?”

“Scott is nearly sixteen,” I replied, “Though you wouldn’t think it, the way he is behaving…”

Scott squirmed and tried to avoid all eye contact. He shuffled from one foot to another, rubbing his bare thighs together. As he fingered the hem of his school shorts, I talked to the ladies who were in no hurry to get to wherever it was they were going. They were clearly pleased to see a boy dressed so smartly, but in the end I had to tell them that it was time to get Scott home to his mummy and we parted.

Scott has told you how impressed his mother was by his transformation back into short trousers, so I will pause for now in my recollections of how I came to look after him.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Scott’s Story – Part 7

It’s been a while since I’ve felt able to continue with the upsetting story of how Emily had me put back into short trousers following my shameful academic performance at school. I was told I was to be given a second chance which meant I would be put back a year, back into the 3rd Form. Me, a boy of nearly sixteen in a classroom full of thirteen year old boys all wearing long trousers, but mum agreed with the school that it would be ‘for the best...’

I have related how distressing it was for me to be put back into short trousers. Like many schoolboys I’d progressed from shorts to longs as soon as school rules allowed, which at my school was the end of the first year. No more shorts for me! No more chilly winter days along with the inevitable tingling of cold thighs beneath absurdly short school trousers. No more teasing from all the older boys who wore long trousers… or so I thought. Some boys I knew in the first form said they didn’t mind wearing short trousers, but I hated them and couldn’t wait to get into longs.

Of course there were a few boys, not many, half a dozen at most who continued to wear short trousers to school during all or part of the second year. My classmates and I would tease these ‘shorties’ if we were bored or had nothing better to do (which was most of the time and undoubtedly contributed to my eventual, ignominious and humiliating return to the 3rd Form). A favourite sport was to twang the short-trousered boy on his bare thigh with an elastic band. This was most effective when the victim was standing up in class, perhaps reading a passage from a book during an English lesson. We thought it was great fun to watch the boy being ticked-off by the teacher when the boy yelped or lost his place in the book because of our horseplay.

If I happened to be sitting next to a boy wearing short trousers there was another game to be played and that involved teasing the boy by tickling his bare legs. Gradually I would work my hand further up the boy’s leg until my fingers were brushing the hem of his short trousers. Now boys at my school had hands that wondered quite freely and there was very little you could do about it if the boy sitting next to you decided he was going to do some exploring, but there was even more fun to be had if you were lucky enough to be sitting next to a boy wearing short trousers. By the time you’d finished teasing him, your hand might have found its way right up inside the leg of the little shorts and the wearer would be sporting a very stiff penis. What would make this game complete is if, as often happened, the teacher called on the boy to stand up for some reason. My hand would be quickly withdrawn from the leg of the boy’s short trousers, but not before I’d pulled my classmates penis into a position that made his erection perfectly obvious. Very embarrassing for the boy… but hugely funny for me and my classmates.

I recall these episodes so that you might understand the dread I felt returning to school after I’d been put back, at Emily’s suggestion, into short trousers. I felt sure the teasing and the tricks to which I’d subjected the boys wearing short trousers would be as nothing to what I might expect from the third-formers whose class I was to join. I had teased many of these boys when they were still in short trousers while I swanned about the school proudly showing off in my longs. I knew for certain at least two or three of these third-formers would seize the opportunity for revenge.

All in all I’d been wearing long trousers for three years. As I said I’d admit to doing my fair share of teasing of the first formers wearing their thigh-baring short school trousers and, yes, I suppose I was rather smug in the knowledge that never again would I have to go to school dressed like a first-year. In hindsight it’s easy to see how deluded I was and maybe more than a little conceited too. But as the saying goes, pride comes before a fall and between them mum and Emily made sure my fall was as steep and as memorable as possible…

It wasn’t long after mum agreed to Emily’s suggestion that I be put back into short trousers, the subject of my casual clothes was raised. Emily reasoned that since mum had agreed for me to be put back into short trousers for school, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to keep me in short trousers and shorts when I wasn’t at school? That way I would be continuously reminded of my ‘demotion’, as Emily called my ignominious return to the Third Form.

“It’s very important Scottie doesn’t forget how badly he has let himself down at school,” Emily explained to mum, “Letting him wear longs when he gets home from school will undo all the good work sending him to school in short trousers does…”

I couldn’t believe I was hearing this… and hearing it from a girl three years my junior who was talking to mum as an equal. My protests were all to no avail and often as not it was Emily who told me not to interrupt unless I had something sensible to say.

Emily explained that she thought it would be a good idea to buy me something she called ‘play-clothes’. I didn’t really understand what Emily was talking about. ‘Play-clothes’ sounded like something for really small boys, so I guessed Emily must have meant jeans, or something hard-wearing I could change into after I’d taken off my school uniform. Of course, I was wrong in all respects.

These play-clothes, my play-clothes, turned out to be even more humiliating than my new short-trousered school uniform. Hard to believe, I know, but it was true. At least when I was dressed in my short school trousers I had the benefit of school uniform white cotton underpants to wear, even if they felt far more juvenile than the boxer-shorts I’d become used to wearing. When wearing play-clothes I had no such advantage. It was made perfectly clear from the outset that I was never, for whatever reason, to wear anything underneath play-clothes.

This, Emily explained: “... was so that Scottie can experience all the healthy benefits proper play-clothes will give him.”

I soon found out just how my wardrobe was to be changed. Gone would be my old familiar tee-shirts and jeans; gone would be my collection of trainers; socks and underpants both boxers and coloured briefs, would disappear too. Emily’s influence on my clothing was complete. It seemed as if no aspect of my clothing would escape her attention… and mum agreed wholeheartedly with whatever new and humiliating decision was taken by a girl three years my junior!

Once I had been demoted and put back into short trousers it wasn’t long before I found out there was to be no going back. I couldn’t hold up my head among my contemporaries, the kindest of whom treated me as if I were a younger brother, but very definitely a junior brother who needed to be told what to do and how to behave. But that’s getting ahead of my story…

As I said it wasn’t long before my wardrobe was completely transformed… transformed on a never-to-be-forgotten day when I came home from playing football to find my clothes cupboard and drawers had been stripped bare.

I’d come home that day and headed straight for the bathroom for a well deserved post match shower. Afterwards I wrapped a towel around my waist and went to my bedroom to put on some fresh clothes, only…

… only none of my old clothes were to be found. It seemed all that I had left was what I stood up in (a small towel) and my new school uniform which lay neatly folded on a chair. The muddy football shorts and shirt I’d tossed unthinkingly into the laundry basket. I was speechless. What had happened?

It took me about two seconds to guess what had happened… Emily had happened that’s what!

“MUM!!” I shouted from my room, “MUM!! What’s happened to all my clothes?!!”

It turned out the ‘kind’ lady from the School Outfitters had made a note of my measurements and had recommended some play-clothes for me to wear when I was not dressed in my school uniform. Unknown to me, mum and Emily had gone to the outfitters while I was playing football. Mum was impressed by the play-clothes she was shown and straightaway bought some for me to wear. Once they got back home mum asked Emily if she wouldn’t mind going to my room and to give it a good ‘clear-out’ of all my ‘unsuitable’ clothes.

“MUM…!!” I shouted again. This time leaning over the banister at the top of the stairs while clutching the towel at my waist.

“Come down here, Scottie,” mum called up, “We’ve got a nice surprise for you!”

I didn’t like the sound of that one little bit, but what choice did I have? There were no clothes in my room for me to change into, so with a great deal of trepidation I descended the stairs.

“Please mum, where are my clothes?” I asked as I gripped the towel tightly around my waist.

“Oh, those old things,” she replied breezily, “Emily and I thought you’d like some new clothes to go with your new school uniform…”

“But, mum…” I was confused, “what was wrong with my old clothes… I don’t get it… why do I need new clothes… I liked the ones I had.”

Then, to my amazement, Emily popped her head round the door. It was still early days and I wasn’t yet fully cognisant with Emily’s total involvement in my new regime. I didn’t understand why she was there. Then mum spoke again:

“It was Emily’s idea actually. She thought you should have some new clothes… play-clothes… you heard us talking about it the other day, surely you remember, Scottie? Clothes for when you’re not wearing your smart new school uniform. So we went and did some shopping…”

“… Yes, but… I thought… but what’s happened to my clothes, mum… the clothes from my bedroom?” I was desperate to know… to try and understand what was happening. My head was reeling with this new turn of events and I didn’t like the conclusions I was drawing from them.

“Those scruffy old clothes? Emily very kindly went up to your bedroom to sort out your clothes, but she said they were all quite unsuitable for you to wear…”

“MUM!! You let Emily go into my bedroom!! And… and… look through my things!!” I was furious and not a little nervous about what Emily might have found. “Mum… It’s not fair letting Emily go into my room…”

“Well it’s too late to complain about that now,” mum said, as if I’d even been asked! “Emily couldn’t find anything remotely suitable for you to wear and frankly I’m not surprised. It simply won’t do to have you wearing just what you like after Emily and I have taken so much trouble to dress you nicely in short trousers for school.”

“But what have you done with all my clothes?”

“Emily has sorted them out and bagged them up so that you can help her take them to the charity shop…” mum said to my astonishment.

My heart stopped… WHAT?!! MY CLOTHES?!! Take all my clothes… to the… the charity shop?”

“Not all of them, Scottie,” Emily said, “I’ve already thrown out those T-shirts and silly boxer-shorts… and as for your jeans, Scottie… why some of them had holes in the pockets big enough for you to put your hand through!”

If I hadn’t needed to clutch the towel around my waist to keep it from dropping off, I think I might well have run out of the house… run away… anywhere, just to get away from the nightmare that was overtaking me. As it was I just stood there… stood in the middle of the living-room facing mum and a stern-looking Emily, gripping the towel until my knuckles turned white. Shocked into silence, I said nothing.

I could feel tears of frustration welling up and the only way I knew of stopping them from flowing was to stay silent. So, biting my lower lip, I stood and watched as Emily produced some shopping bags… bags that I could see were from the very same school outfitters that had supplied my embarrassingly brief school uniform.

The first thing out was a pair of bright yellow shorts… at least that’s what I guessed they were, though at first sight they looked more like a pair of yellow dusters than anything any sane boy might wear. The label read: ‘Everyday Play-Clothes for Active Boys!’ and under this I could see the words: ‘Suitable for all boys aged 12 and over!

“The lady at the shop says they should fit you Scottie,” Emily said as she held up a pair of unbelievably brief and flimsy boy’s shorts.

The label might have said the shorts were suitable for boys of twelve and over, but I’d never seen any boy wearing a pair of shorts like the ones Emily held up in front of me. Yes, the label might have said they were okay for boys over twelve, but I was three years older than that! There was no way I was going anywhere near those shorts!

“Put your towel down on the chair, Scott,” mum ordered in the calm voice I knew from past experience was best obeyed.

“But, mum… please… not in front of Emily…” I pleaded. It must be remembered that at that stage Emily had not seen me in the nude… neither had mum, for that matter, not since I was about ten anyway.

I was fifteen for heavens sake! But my defiance quickly evaporated… I was fifteen and already I was pleading like a little boy not to have to take off the flimsy towel, the little towel which was all that stood between me and total nudity. I begged not to be made to stand in the nude in front of mum and Emily, a girl almost three years my junior. I felt utterly ashamed of myself. How did I let this happen? What a pathetic creature I was.

“Come on Scottie,” Emily coaxed me as she held up the ridiculously brief play-shorts, “come on, just try them on… I bet you’ll like them… won’t he Mrs Harris?”

Mum smiled, but I could tell she wasn’t in any mood to stand for any of my nonsense. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I took off my little towel and stood meekly, bare-nude in the middle of the living-room. Then the thought struck me that Rosie, my younger sister, might come home at any moment and then what would I do? Bad as it was to have to stand bare-nude in front of mum and Emily, the thought of Rosie seeing me without anything on was more than I could handle… so… with nervous, shaking hands, I fingered the towel around my waist and prayed that this could be done quickly… oh god it felt awful…

… but however awful it felt to be standing there on the verge of taking off the tiny towel, what made it a thousand times worse was that when I did finally summon up the courage to let go of the towel, mum and Emily would see that although I was as normally developed as any other fifteen year old boy (heaven knows, I’d compared myself with enough boys of my own age in the school showers to make sure), what I conspicuously lacked was any sign of pubic hair. As you would expect I was teased by the other boys at school, but that was as nothing compared with the thought that anyone else… anyone like mum and Emily, for instance… should see my hairless genitals.

“Get a move on, Scott,” mum said sharply, “Emily and I haven’t got all day…”

Finally and with a heavy heart, I pulled the towel away. Feeling utterly ashamed of myself, I went and put the towel on the chair mum indicated. I couldn’t help but feel supremely conscious of my penis as it swung between my legs and brushed my thighs. I turned and faced mum and Emily. As I did so, I caught sight of myself in the mirror which hung over the fire-place. My face was redder than any fire which had ever burnt the living-room grate.

“Now that wasn’t difficult, was it Scottie?”

“No mum,” I replied, knowing from the tone of her voice that mum expected an answer.

Any scintilla of doubt that she might have had about putting me back into short trousers, must have evaporated when mum saw how smooth and hairless I was. I reckon I could have read her mind at that moment: Clearly it was a mistake to allow Scottie the privilege of ‘longs’ so soon… yes, it’s best to put Scottie back into short trousers, she’d have thought… Yes, Emily is quite right… what a clever girl. And now Scottie’s wearing short trousers, of course he’ll need a baby-sitter more than ever…

It was a circular argument from which I had no escape. Emily was making sure I stayed in short-trousers and the longer I was in short trousers, the more I needed Emily to look after me and if I needed Emily to look after me, then it followed that I needed to be kept in short trousers!

Once I’d placed the little towel on the chair I hardly need to bother saying how much I wanted to put on those flimsy little play-shorts! I wanted anything, anything at all to wear, anything to cover up my embarrassing nudity. I think at that moment I’d have put on pretty well anything.

So I took the bright yellow play-shorts from Emily, who smiled sweetly as she told me how much I’d soon look forward to wearing them after school.

I wasn’t in any mood to argue the point, as I just wanted to cover up my shamefully hairless penis and testicles, so I stepped into the ‘pull-up’ play-shorts with their fully elasticated waist. I soon found out how embarrassing it was going to be for me to wear them. For a start the play-shorts were painfully short… shorter even than the supremely short trousers I had been put back into to wear to school. The play-shorts were made from a cotton jersey fabric and there can’t have been more than half an inch of inside leg. Whereas the legs themselves were a comfortable fit against my thighs, the rest of the shorts were fairly tight and went up no higher than my hips. This meant the bulge of my ‘boy-bits’ was obvious… very obvious, but this didn’t seem to bother either mum or Emily as she next produced my ‘top’.

I thought that at least the play-shorts might be hidden underneath a baggy tee-shirt… some hope! The top which Emily produced was nothing more than a short singlet made from the same stretchy jersey fabric of the play-shorts. Even before I put it on I could see the top would hardly reach my belly-button… I was right. When I pulled on the equally bright yellow top I was left with a large expanse of bare flesh between my midriff and the low waist of my ridiculously brief play-shorts. This accentuated the appearance of the shorts, drawing attention my embarrassing boy-bulge. The shorts had no fly, however there was a seam running up the middle of the front which added to my embarrassment, since my bulge was of necessity pushed to one side of the seam.

It got worse… Next Emily produced my ‘play-sandals’. I couldn’t believe that mum would make me wear them. A pair of bright yellow plastic sandals, just as you would see little boys wearing when they played at building sand-castles at the sea-side!

As I bent over to put the sandals on I could feel my new play-shorts creeping up at the back as the seam pulled inwards between my bottom cheeks. When I checked, running my hands round the back of my legs, I could actually feel the lower curves of my bottom were completely bare! I was horrified! Everything about my play-wear it seemed was designed to embarrass me! It was so unfair! And what was worse was that mum didn’t mind in the least! It was a signal, if any were needed, that I’d better get used to play-clothes. I might be fifteen years old, but I clearly wasn’t too old to be taken down a peg or two…

“My what a difference!” mum said as she looked me up and down, “It’s a definite improvement on all those horrid baggy clothes you were wearing Scottie.” She turned to Emily, “I’m so glad you suggested we get some new clothes for Scottie… he looks so much smarter… I should of thought of it years ago… Still, I guess it was my own fault for allowing Scottie to wear long trousers far too soon…”

I noted the use of the word ‘we’ when mum spoke to Emily. It was further proof, if any were needed, that Emily had the full support of mum in dressing me in my humiliating new clothes.

I stood in front of mum and Emily. My red face contrasting with my bright yellow play-clothes. I felt like a ripe banana ready to be taken to a fancy-dress party.

I’ve already told you about my Auntie Violet and how she bought me a ‘continental suit’ (Scott’s Story - Part 4), so you know she was a strong-willed and independent woman, the sort of lady who lurked in the works of P G Wodehouse ready to blight the life of Bertram Wooster. Needless to say it wasn’t long before Auntie Violet saw me dressed in my new play-clothes. Somehow I don’t think it will come as any surprise to learn that she came up with some ideas of her own for play-clothes she thought would be suitable for me to wear. That’s when Emily first saw the undoubted benefits of shortalls. Shortalls themselves were bad enough, but the ones Auntie Violet made for me were truly hideous… appalling… frightful! The more I objected, the worse they became. I would plead not to be put into a pair of purple crushed velvet shortalls, so the next time I was taken to visit Auntie Violet I would be presented with pink satin, eye-wateringly brief shortalls complete with a shirt which had lacy collar and cuffs with a floppy bow tie. This outfit was accompanied by black court shoes with silver buckles rather than the more familiar single strap maryjanes I was normally made to wear with I visited Auntie Violet.

Each time I was put into one of these hideous outfits Emily would make sure I thanked auntie and told her how grateful I was to be wearing it. I would be paraded in front of Auntie Violet’s friends who delighted in examining the clothes I wore, commenting on how smart I looked and saying how lucky I was… Lucky!! Me… a fifteen year old boy, lucky to be wearing some of the most sissy-looking clothes imaginable… Lucky? If it was possible I’d have run away, but where would I have run to wearing such shameful, girly clothes?

These women just didn’t seem to understand I was a boy and I wanted to wear proper clothes… boy’s clothes.

With mum’s blessing Emily also established my pyjama-times. I was told Emily would be putting me into pyjamas at 6 o’clock each evening, apart from bath nights when I would be put into pyjamas at 6:30, to give Emily, Emily! time to give me my bath.

I was so distressed on hearing these new arrangements that I ran upstairs to my bedroom, threw myself onto my bed and wept. Me, a fifteen year old boy... I actually cried into my pillows. What made it worse and added immeasurably to my shame was that mum came up a bit later to ask why I was so upset. I’m sure mum wanted to comfort me and she sat down beside me on the narrow single bed and stroked my head as I continued to sniffle.

“There, there Scottie…”

“It’s… it’s not fair… I hate shorts… and I hate… school...and...and…”

“... and…?”

“It’s not fair…”

“But Scottie, you must understand that you’ve let yourself and everybody down… that’s not fair, is it? Everybody wants to help, but you’ve got to let them help you… it’s not fair if you don’t let people help you, is it?”

“No, mummy…”

“That’s better, Scottie. Now, are you going to promise to be a good boy and do everything you’re told?”

“Yes, mummy…”

“... and you’re not going to make a fuss when you’re told to do something you think is not fair?”

“No, mummy…”

I was still sobbing into my pillow, but was just about ready to dry my eyes when Emily appeared at my bedroom door.

“Is Scottie having a good cry, Mrs Harris?”

“Yes, dear… Scottie and I have been having a little talk and he’s promised to be a good little boy from now on, haven’t you, Scottie?”

This was too much, the floodgates opened again as I buried my head into the pillow once more and my shoulders heaved as I sobbed.

Emily must have come right into my bedroom because the next thing I felt was her hand stroking my back as she too began to comfort me.

“There now, Scottie, you have a nice big cry,” she said, “It’s good to have a nice cry… boys have to cry sometimes, don’t they Mrs Harris? I expect it’s been a long time since you had a good cry, Scottie, so just let it all out…”

But I didn’t want to ‘let it all out’, I wanted to be brave... brave like a boy of nearly sixteen should be brave. I didn’t want mum or Emily to see me crying. The presence of them in my bedroom just made me feel worse and more ashamed of myself than ever.

“I think it might be better if we got Scottie settled down,” Emily said, “He’s had a busy day and a nice early bedtime will help him, don’t you think, Mrs Harris?”

“That’s a very good idea, Emily,” mum replied, then explained how she would put me to bed if I got ‘over-tired’ when I was a little boy. Emily wanted to know all about my early bedtimes and it was very embarrassing having to listen to mum giving Emily all the details, including the times when I had my mouth soaped for using naughty words. I could tell Emily was very interested to hear this; I was mortified.

“Oh, please, mum… do you have to tell Emily everything?”

As far as I was concerned mum was giving Emily ideas, when it was apparent to me that she had plenty enough of her own!

“Come along, Scottie,” Emily said, “Let’s wipe away those tears… there are some lovely new pyjamas warming for you downstairs… It’s about time we got you settled down…”

I was so exhausted and completely overtaken by events that I meekly let Emily help me. I sat on the edge of the bed and let Emily dry my eyes. I felt like I was six, not almost sixteen. Emily even made me blow my nose as she held a handkerchief to my face. I glanced up at mum and could see she approved of the way Emily treated me.

I was still wearing my new school uniform complete with eye-wateringly short grey trousers and as I stood up from my bed I wondered how long I would have to endure Emily and mum treating me as if I was a little boy.

Emily took my hand: “Come along Scottie… let’s get you downstairs and into your pyjamas…”

“But why do I have to go downstairs? Why can’t I put my pyjamas on here in my bedroom?” Then I had another thought: “And… and besides it’s not time for me to put on pyjamas… it’s too early,” I said as I blurted out my pathetic attempt at defiance.

“Now Scottie,” Emily said with a firmness that belied her age, “I don’t want any nonsense from you. Mummy’s got a nice pair of pyjamas warming for you downstairs. If I hear any more complaints, you’ll find yourself with a smacked botty before pyjama-time… Do I make myself clear?”

One more glance in mum’s direction and I knew what to say: “Yes, Emily,” I replied sheepishly.

Downstairs we went to the front-room. It was still light outside and the curtains remained open. No attempt to close then was made and I was so terrified that Emily would make good on her threat to smack my botty, that I didn’t dare complain.

“We’ll have to make do with a strip-wash today,” Emily said to mum and then to me added, “Come over here into the light, Scottie, where I can see you better…”

Emily proceeded to pull me towards the window. “Let’s get you undressed…”

“MUM!!” I shouted, “MUM!!”

But mum simply ignored me and said to Emily: “I’ll go and get a bowel of water and a flannel while you get Scottie ready…”

I suppose it shows what a laughing-stock I’d so quickly become when I say that Emily proceeded to undress me as if I was a little boy, while I stood still and whimpered that it wasn’t fair. Emily took off my school tie and unbuttoned my shirt. She pulled out the shirt-tails from my short trousers and then knelt down to undo the clasp and pull down the zip. I begged Emily not to undress me, at least not there in the front-room, so close to the window. I could see children outside playing and knew that if they looked up from their games, they would be able to see me quite easily.

I must have complained a bit too much because the next thing I knew Emily had given me a couple of very sharp smacks on my bare legs. I flinched. The smacks stung horribly. Nothing more was said and Emily continued to get me undressed.

It didn’t take long before I was standing in just my white school uniform underpants. I had to bite my tongue in order to stop myself from saying anything as Emily, without a moments hesitation, pushed her small fingers into the waistband of my junior boy Y-fronts. Emily slipped my underpants down my smooth legs as I looked out of the front-room window, desperately worried in case any of the children were looking towards our house. My underpants were removed and I was completely nude. Now I was less concerned by my nudity than by an understandable eagerness to get my strip-wash over with and my pyjamas on.

Mum appeared with a bowel of warm water, soap, flannel and a small hand towel. She left Emily to attend to my strip-wash while she went fetch my pyjamas. First my head and face were scrubbed and I spluttered as some soap bubbles found their way past my  lips. This brought an instant rebuke from Emily who told me to keep still. Next my ears were pulled as Emily told me how boys never washed behind their ears properly. She also muttered something about my needing another visit to the barber… even though I’d had my hair cut little more than two weeks previously!

“Chin up!” Emily ordered as she set about my neck and shoulders with the rough flannel.

Remorselessly Emily worked her way down my bare chest and back before taking hold of my left arm and lifting it right up. It was at this point I saw one of the children outside look straight at me. I knew I’d been spotted and I instinctively moved my right hand to cover my genitals. The youngster, who couldn’t have been more than eight or nine years old, called to his friends and pointed towards me. They started to make faces and clearly enjoyed seeing my distress. They laughed when they saw Emily push my hand away from between my legs. I was only grateful they couldn’t have heard Emily’s admonishment:

“I don’t want to see any of that sort of behaviour! Keep your hand by your side, Scottie.”

It still puzzles me why I put up with Emily bossing me around. Don’t forget she was only thirteen at the time this took place. Nearly three years younger than I was. I suppose the fact that I’d been put back into short trousers must have been the key factor, along with my demotion at school. Being put back into the Third Form had undoubtedly knocked me sideways. And once Emily had me put back into short trousers with mum’s wholehearted approval, I was sunk and I had only myself to blame.

My strip-wash continued, now with an excited, giggling audience, since word had quickly spread among the children playing outside the house.

“Please, Emily,” I pleaded as I became ever more anxious about the children watching me through the window, “Please, can’t I put on my pyjamas now?”

“Don’t be silly, Scottie, I haven’t finished… besides it was only a little while ago that you told me it was too early to put you into pyjamas…” Emily said with that word-twisting logic that would become all too familiar to me over the forthcoming months.

“Yes, but…” I started to explain that I was fully dressed then, not fully nude and standing in the front-room window where all the local children could see me. I soon realised though that my complaints were simply holding things up and that the sooner I stopped talking, the sooner I’d be safely dressed in my pyjamas.

Emily kept me facing the window as she rubbed the flannel down my back and over my bottom. I’d rather draw a veil over the final part of my strip-wash, but suffice to say that, yes, Emily did rub the flannel (non too gently) over my hairless boy-bits. It was not a pleasant experience. Emily did not appear to have learnt how sensitive a boy’s testicles are and that, coupled with the laughing faces of the children outside, made me wish I’d not been so stupid as to end up in the situation in which I found myself.

I had been conscious in the meantime of mum standing in the room keeping a watchful eye on me as Emily proceeded with my strip-wash. Mum told me not to be ‘so silly’ when I complained about Emily’s rough handling of my boy-bits. I could see mum was holding a pair of boy’s pyjamas. The pyjamas were blue and white-striped and definitely not the ones I was used to wearing. Another one of Emily’s ‘suggestions’, I thought. Yet another sign of my changed status.

Finally I was put into my new pyjamas. I have to confess that I found the soft cotton winceyette from which the blue and white-striped pyjamas were made very comforting. The pyjama-top was buttoned all the way up and Emily made sure the top button was properly fastened. The pyjama-bottoms were pulled up afterwards so the top could be tucked in neatly as the white cord was pulled tight and knotted. My feet were slipped into a pair of tartan-patterned boy’s slippers and I was almost ready to be put to bed.

Mum thought I looked lovely and said so as she brushed a stray lock of hair from my forehead with her hand. I felt and looked like a ten year old.

“Well done, Emily!” mum said, “Scottie… you can thank Miss Emily for getting you ready for bed.”

“Please, mum… do I have to?” I said as I realised this would be a final capitulation and acknowledgement of Emily’s authority.

“You most certainly do, Scottie. Emily has gone to a lot of trouble on your behalf and I think it’s the least you can do to show her the respect she deserves…”

“But, mum… Emily’s not as old as me… she’s only thirteen…”

“But Miss Emily hasn’t been silly enough to get herself demoted into a lower class at school. Miss Emily is a sensible girl and displays a maturity which you, Scottie, singularly lack,” mum said and then added, “Now, no more arguments; do what I said and thank Miss Emily…”

I did as I was told: “Thank you for getting me ready for bed, Miss Emily.” I hung my head in absolute shame and added: “Thank you for putting me into my pyjamas…”

“That’s no trouble at all, Scottie,” Emily replied, “And guess what? I’ve got a special surprise for you… Look what mummy has found…!”

My jaw dropped.

“It’s Teddy!” Emily said as she waggled the rather bedraggled fluffy yellow teddy that I’d last seen when I was about ten before I’d moved on to Action Man toys.

Emily held Teddy up to her ear as if she was listening to something he was saying. She nodded as Teddy ‘spoke’ to her. All the while mum was smiling, but I was horrified by this performance.

Finally Emily spoke: “Teddy says how much he’s missed your cuddles, Scottie. Teddy says he was very sad when you left him… Teddy was very lonely. Teddy says he never wants you to leave him ever again… and… what’s that, Teddy?” Emily held Teddy to her ear again, nodded, “Yes, Teddy, I understand.” Emily spoke to me and told me what Teddy had ‘said’: “Teddy wants you to promise to take him to bed with you every night from now on, Scottie…”

I looked at mum, then at Teddy and back at Emily. I was dumbfounded, but Emily hadn’t quite finished.

“I think you should say sorry to Teddy, Scottie…”


“Now, Scottie, you’re not to upset Teddy,” mum said firmly, “Do as Miss Emily says and apologise to Teddy for being such an ungrateful little boy.”

Standing there as I was in the front-room after having been put into my new winceyette striped boy’s pyjamas, I didn’t want to risk a spanked botty, as Emily had so succinctly put it earlier. I pouted and did as I was told:

“I’m sorry Teddy…” I looked up and saw from the expression on Emily’s face that this was not a sufficient apology, so I was forced to continue: “... um, I… I’m sorry I left you, Teddy and… um, I won’t do it again, I promise and… um, you can, um, sleep in my bed… if you would like to that is, Teddy…”

I must have looked a totally pathetic sight as I again looked to Emily for her approval.

Once more Emily held Teddy’s face to her ear and nodded sagely as Teddy ‘talked’ to her.

“Teddy accepts your apologies, Scottie,” Emily said and then dropped another bombshell, “Now kiss Teddy and make up…”


Emily ignored my outburst (and thankfully so too did mum) and simply held Teddy up facing me. I reluctantly stepped forward and leant down slightly so that I could press my lips against Teddy’s.

“Kiss Teddy properly, Scottie,” Emily said, “That wasn’t a proper kiss. Kiss Teddy again… properly.”

I pressed my lips against Teddy’s furry face until Emily was satisfied that I’d kissed Teddy properly. As I drew my head back I glanced over Emily’s shoulder and saw the children standing outside watching; some giggling; some smirking. They had seen everything. Mum and Emily either didn’t see the children staring at me, or had simply chosen to ignore them. Either way I knew I was a laughing-stock and that I would be teased mercilessly by the children when our paths crossed.

“Time to get you tucked up in bed, Scottie,” Emily said breezily, “Take Teddy and hold him close… that’s it, now come along... let’s get you upstairs.”

I took Teddy and clutched him to my chest with my right hand, while Emily took hold of my left hand and led me out of the room. As we walked through the door I glanced back over my shoulder. The children who had witnessed my shameful embarrassment were still standing outside the window. They made faces and one or two poked their tongues out at me. I tried hard not to cry as I had done earlier...