Going Straight

The lorry park was full, which seemed promising; I started at one corner and worked my way steadily along the first row. Almost at once I hit a target.

“I’m not going north myself, but I think Alec is. Alec! Alec! Are you going back to Scotland now?”

A big man – a huge man! – turned our way. “Aye. Why?”

“Young man here looking for a lift. Going to Glasgow.”

“Oh, aye, I’m stopping in Glasgow. Come along and welcome. Climb up, I’m just” (he said ‘chust’) “going to check the canvas, and we’ll be away.”

Well, that was easy. He said his name was Alec Morrison, and he drove for his father’s haulage firm. “I’m Chris Graves. I’m going to my dad’s.”

“He’s in Glasgow, is he?”

“Yes. My mum’s in Swindon; she’s remarried and there’s a new baby at home, and they need a bit of time and space. My dad’s always said I should go and spend some time with him, so I’m going to see if I can get a job in Glasgow.”

“Not perhaps as easy as you might think, but no harm in trying. He’d be a Glasgow man, then, your dad?”

“Born and bred. When he married my mum they went to Swindon, but I don’t think he ever liked it. You’re not from there, though, are you? You don’t sound the same.”

“No. Inverness. We’ve still got a branch there, but Head Office is in Glasgow, so I can take you all the way.”

I was very grateful, and I said so. Swindon to Scotland is expensive when you haven’t a car, and I had expected to have to pick up half a dozen different lifts. Alec was pleasant, not particularly chatty, but comfortable company. I tended to chatter – I always do, I talk too much – but he didn’t appear to mind. He did reveal that he was only six months out of the army, and he was being trained by his dad to take over the business. He had spent most of those six months on the road, he said, driving the spare lorry and going round the depots.

We stopped for the night in Matlock, where I helped him unload and reload, and he let me sleep in the cab. I bought him a meal, as recompense for the lift, and then he made up his bed above the back of the cab (all these bits probably had proper names, but I didn’t know them) and found me a spare blanket. He wanted to get going again in the morning much earlier than I thought desirable, but I held my tongue. I’m not good early in the day.

We saw a couple of his firm’s lorries on the roads, and he lifted a hand to the drivers, and called them over the radio for news of the road conditions. “You’ll be at your dad’s mid evening, then. Where is it you’re going?”

I pulled out the scrap of paper on which I had written the address. “Oh, aye, I know that. It’s a bit past the depot. I live that way myself. If you wait while I see to the unloading and the paperwork, I’ll drive you out there.”

I helped unload again, and presently Alec came out of the office jingling his car keys, and yawning. “I’ll be glad to be home tonight, and likely so will you. Your dad will be pleased to see you.”

“I hope so. What about you? Have you got family waiting for you?”

“Och no. It’s a cold house waiting for me. Likely you’ll be doing better.”

I hoped so, but I was beginning to be nervous. It was just starting to cross my mind that if dad wasn’t pleased to see me, this could be very awkward. Still, he had always said that I should visit, and that he would like to have me any time, so I was just taking him up on it. Alec insisted on driving me all the way to the door, although I tried to persuade him to leave me at the end of the street. “Thanks very much, Alec. Listen, I’ll call in at the depot some time, and buy you a drink when you’re not driving.”

“Aye, do that. They’ll take a message if I’m not there. Bye, now.”

I waved as he turned the corner, and then went up to the front door and rang the bell. And that’s when it all went wrong.

Dad was not at all pleased to see me. Not at all. He was there all right; you know, stupidly it had never occurred to me until afterwards that he might not be, but his girlfriend was there too. And the baby. I hadn’t even known there was a baby. I’d have brought a present if I’d known, because I quite like babies, and this one was a cheerful little boy with huge toothless smiles, unlike the crabby colicky little madam I’d left at mum’s. But it was made plain to me at once that I could only stay one night on the sofa. And although Katie was prepared to pretend at least that it was nice to meet me, it obviously wasn’t. She was more of an age to be my girlfriend than Dad’s (I’m twenty) and I got the distinct impression that Dad had implied to her that I was barely in my teens.

Anyway, we got into conversation about what I was doing and I explained that I’d done a two year computer course and now I wanted to find a job, and Katie said something vague about had I not left a girlfriend in Swindon, and I took a deep breath and said the thing I had never said before.

“Not a girlfriend, no. There’s nobody special, but it would be more likely to be a boyfriend anyway.”

I admit it wasn’t worded well. I don’t know if there’s a better way to do it, but unless you get to write both sides of the dialogue, I suspect that there isn’t. I’m not very sure what response I expected, but not the one I got: Dad lifted me off the chair by my shirt and hit me in the eye. Then he back-handed me across the mouth, dragged me to the door and I fell out onto the path. A moment later, my rucksack landed on top of me and the door was slammed shut.

Well, that’s coming out, then, is it? It’s over-rated. I sat on the wall until my head stopped spinning, dabbing blood off my lip and wondering if I was going to cry. Frankly, I felt inclined to. What the hell was I going to do now? I had hardly any money, and nowhere to go. I couldn’t even go back to Swindon – my mother and step-father had moved house while I was at college, and I didn’t have a key for the new house, and they had gone to visit his parents. I had no phone number for them. And I really didn’t want to do that anyway; I didn’t much like my step-father, and I certainly didn’t want to come out to him until I was a bit more secure about it – I reckoned he would hit the roof. If I went back, I would have to cadge all round my friends, and I just couldn’t face that. They would want to know what had happened and I didn’t want to explain it. I wasn’t thinking very clearly; in retrospect, there were dozens of things I could have done, but I suppose I was in shock, from being hit, and from the lack of sympathy. I wandered off into the centre of Glasgow, and looked for somewhere to go.

I reckon it was about ten days after I came up from the south that I nerved myself to call on Chris. Oh, it had been quite deliberate that I had taken him all the way to the door. I wanted to know where he lived. I had every intention of pursuing the acquaintance if I could. I hoped that he would come to the depot first – I didn’t want him to think me predatory – but when he didn’t, I went to the house. It wasn’t Chris who came to the door, but there was enough of a resemblance for me to be certain it was his father.

“Mr Graves? I was looking for Chris. Is he in?”

“I don’t know you. Who the hell are you?”

Nice to meet you too. “I’m Alec Morrison. I’m a… friend of Chris’s.”

Later I worked out that it was the hesitation over the word ‘friend’ that threw him, but at the time I was just taken aback at the torrent of abuse. I don’t think there was anything he called me that I’d not heard before – in fact I have been called most of them at one time or another, but never all at once. I actually fell back a pace at the ferocity of the onslaught from a man barely half my size. I’m not repeating what he said; it was not nice and most of it was not true. In the middle of it, I grasped that Chris wasn’t there.

“Well, do you know where he is, please?”

“I don’t know where the little pervert is, and I don’t care. I’ve thrown him out of my house and I won’t have him back, and I won’t have your sort here after him. I didn’t ask him to come here, and I haven’t seen him since he turned up, and you can just…”

I raised my voice. “You don’t know where he went?”

“No, I bloody don’t, and I don’t care. I threw him out.”

I’m not a religious man, you understand, but if it should be true that there will be a Judgement, I hope it will be counted as a virtue in me that I didn’t hit that little weasel smartly in the mouth. I leaned forward. I’m a big man, and I know it. I’m threatening when I get too close. “You threw your son out in a strange city and it has not occurred to you to wonder if he has come to any harm?”

He leaned back. “Don’t you touch me! You wouldn’t dare!”

I grinned at him very slowly. I’m not good-looking, either, and I know how to make myself look scary. “No, you would be right there. I wouldn’t dare. I would be afraid of what I might catch.” 

Then I went back to the depot and wondered what to do. It didn’t occur to me that I had the option of not doing anything. My father was still there, fighting with paperwork. “That you, son? I thought you’d gone.”

“I’m back. I’ve been… Dad, I don’t know what to do.”

And I told him about it.

“Aye. I see. The boy was…”

“I thought so but I wasn’t sure.”

“And his father’s thrown him out?”

“Yes. Dad, how could he? How could he do that?”

“I don’t know, son. I couldn’t have done it. I don’t like it in you any more than Graves does in his boy, but you’re my son, and you are what you are, so… Would the boy have gone home? Where did you say you picked him up?”

“Swindon. I suppose he might. I don’t know where he lived there, so I can’t do anything about that. But suppose he didn’t? Where would he be? I haven’t a hope of finding him, have I?”

“Well, now, Alec, why would you want to find him? Would he turn to you?”

“He might. And if he didn’t, I’d not die of it, and we could get him a lift back to Swindon and I could stop worrying about him.”

“Aye. I see. Well then, son, think of it as an initiative test. How do you find one English boy who might or might not be in Glasgow?”

Put like that it really did sound pointless, but I thought about it. “I suppose we could try the drivers. One of them might have taken him south again. I’ll get Kelly to ask around when she’s working the radio links. Even if it wasn’t one of our drivers, she hears all the gossip.”

“Good start. And there are clubs, are there not? Places you go? I know you go out at night, but I’ve never liked to ask.”

“Tactful, Dad. Yes, there are clubs and particular bars. I can do that. But I wouldn’t think there was any too much money in his pocket.”

“YMCA, then. Sally Army hostel. Places like that. I think you should try, but I think you might need to be prepared to fail. It’s a big place, Glasgow.”

I don’t think I had ever appreciated quite how big Glasgow was until I started to scour it for a boy who might not be there. It took me a month to find him, and eventually I did it by accident. I had made myself hugely unpopular around the bars and clubs, I had become a familiar face at the hostels, and in the end I all but trod on him in a doorway.

“Chris? Is that you?”

“Alec? Oh, God, Alec…”

“All right, now, up you come, let’s go. I’ve been looking for you for a while. Come on, you’re all right. It’ll be all right. We’ll go home. Dear God, you’re filthy.”

“I know. I’ve been… I’ve…”

“Never mind. It doesn’t matter now. Come on. We’ll go home. You’ll be better for a meal and a bath and a sleep, and then you can tell me what you want to do.”

I strong-armed him into my car, and turned to find myself nose to nose with a Peeler. “Good evening, sir, would you like to tell me what you’re doing?”

Actually, no, but I could see what it looked like. Big ugly man picks up pretty homeless boy. I did not look as if my intentions were honourable. Ten minutes explanation, production of business cards, driving licence and so on. By the time I made it back into the car, Chris was asleep. I took him home.

Alec woke me outside his house, and I staggered up the path behind him. I was almost crying with relief, although I had no idea what I was going to do next, but somehow Alec’s presence made it possible to believe that nothing bad could happen. Mind you, I was to discover soon enough that that wasn’t true.

“Alec, how did you find me? And why were you looking?”

“I called at the house. Your father said that you were gone, and he didn’t know where, and I was just a little concerned” (there it was again – ‘chust a leetle consairned’) “that you might have come to harm. So I’ve been looking for you. Now, when did you eat last?”

“Um… yesterday.”

“That first, then. A sandwich will be quickest. And I’ll get the kettle on. Now don’t you bolt that or you’ll be sick. I’m just going to ring my father, to tell him I’ve found you.”

“Your dad? Why would he care?”

“I told him about you. He was worried too.”

That made me weepy again. Someone worrying about me. I concentrated on the sandwich.

“Right now, next thing is a bath. And perhaps a change of clothes? Have you anything cleaner?”

“No. It’s all filthy.” I was past all pride.

“Leave your rucksack here then, and I’ll put everything in the wash tonight. I can find you something to sleep in. Come on. Bring your tea with you.”

Oh, God, a bath. Heaven. The water was hot and there was lots of it. I stood under the shower until my skin and my hair felt clean, and then I filled the bath and lay in it. I had never felt anything half so good. Alec tapped at the door.

“It’s not locked.”

“Do you want more tea? And I have a T shirt and some sweatpants for you. They’ll be far too big, but better than nothing.”

“Alec, I don’t understand why you’re doing this.”

“Because you shouldn’t be going about that way.”

“My dad…”

“Aye. I know. I went to the house.”

“Was he very…”

“He was not polite, no. Ah, no, Chris, don’t look like that. It’s not your fault. And I scared him a wee bit. But what have you been doing?”

“I went looking for a job. But you can’t get a job without an address, and you can’t get somewhere to live without a job. I got a couple of single days’ work, but it wasn’t enough, and I couldn’t go home, and…” I was beginning to lose it. He saw that.

“Aye, well, never mind. We’ll think of something tomorrow. Now, shall I just get all your clothes into the wash? And have you a toothbrush?”

“Yes, please, and I do, it’s in the bag somewhere. I’ll come and…”

“No, I’ll do it. You stay there. You’re getting a better colour. I’ll bring it up.”

I didn’t hear him come back, he just appeared in the doorway. His expression had changed utterly, and I could suddenly believe that he had scared my dad.

“What would this be?” and he produced a small plastic bag full of tablets.

“God knows. There was a man… he gave them to me.”

“What are they?”

“I don’t know. He told me but I can’t remember.”

“What were you intending to do with them?”

“He said I could sell them if I wanted or take them if I wanted. I took the bag just to make him go away. I’m not completely naïve, Alec, I know what he wanted. He wanted me to deal them and go back to him for more. I wouldn’t have done that. At least I don’t think I would, no matter how desperate I was. I wouldn’t have sold them.”

“What about taking them?”

“I took two, the day before yesterday.”

“You didn’t know what they were and you took two?”

“Oh, God, Alec, you don’t know. It was so bad out there, and anything to make it better…”

He rolled the tablets in the bag, and then he glanced at me, to make sure I was watching, and did the really scary thing. He ground the bag between his hands, and the pills broke up. Try it some time, with aspirin tablets. You have to have very hard hands to break up pills, but he ground them to powder, and then he tipped it out into the basin, and rinsed it away.

“You’ll not do that again, Chris.”

I opened my mouth to agree that I wouldn’t but all I said was a faint squeak: Alec had crossed the bathroom and hauled me out of the bath. He’s such a big man, and I’m not, and after a month living rough I had lost a lot of weight. He lifted me like a cat lifting a kitten, and swung me out of the bath, and sat down on the edge of it and dropped me face down over his lap, and before I had grasped what was going on he brought his hand down on my backside and I squealed. Loudly. Well, it hurt. So I struggled, and a fat lot of good that did me: I might as well have fought with the lorry. He pinned me across his knee and he spanked me as thoroughly as I would ever have hoped to avoid. Like I said, he has very large and very hard hands, and one of them was applied to my bare bottom repeatedly and sharply. He obviously knew how to do it – he worked from the top swell all the way to mid thigh, both sides, and I fought and swore and bucked over his lap. I don’t think there was a fraction of an inch of flesh that didn’t feel the effect of his hand. Then he shifted his weight, and mine, and crossed his legs so that I was higher and more tightly bent, and he did it all again. Remember, I was dripping wet when he started, and I’ve discovered since that wet is not good. I had stopped swearing by this point, and started begging, and crying, and promising to be good, and I would never again take so much as a paracetamol without his express written permission if he would only STOP!

And that was the end of my career in recreational pharmaceuticals.

He did stop, and hauled me to my feet, and ran me, still naked, across the landing into a bedroom, where he whipped the covers off a single bed and pushed me into it. I hadn’t even time to be frightened before he snarled at me, “And I don’t want to hear another sound from you until the morning, right?” and stalked away, leaving me trembling under the duvet and wondering what the hell had happened. I reached very cautiously to touch my backside, which was still throbbing; it was quite dry, which was not altogether a surprise – nothing at that temperature could be wet, although the rest of me was still damp. I buried my head in the pillow and wept a little with shock and pain and confusion, and when I had calmed down I could hear Alec moving about downstairs. Presently I heard the rumble of a washing machine. It was all so ordinary, except that I was tucked in bed with a burning tail, and plainly in dire disgrace.

I thought it best to be very quiet and still, since that was clearly what was expected of me. I rubbed my sore bum gently, and the pain began to transmute to heat, and I thought about Alec and about how easily he had manhandled me, and how helpless I had been to stop him, and I re-ran how he had put me over his knee and suddenly I was ragingly turned on and not a little surprised. Oh, sure, I had occasionally had a spanking fantasy (who hasn’t?), but it wasn’t a big deal for me, and usually if I thought about it, I was the one in control, not the one examining the carpet from close quarters. It hadn’t been at all erotic while he was doing it, it had been a punishment, but oh God, he was just so big and so strong and so plainly in control, and I was simply defenceless against him.

I heard him come upstairs a little later, and he came very quietly into the room, but I kept my eyes shut and my breathing regular – I had no idea of what to say or do, so I just wimped out of the encounter. I could feel his presence, even without being able to see him, and after a moment, he leaned over and touched my cheek very gently, and whispered ‘bloody little fool’, and went away again, and I turned over and wept silently into the pillow for I didn’t know what.

I had been so angry about the drugs. I have no patience with that sort of thing at all, and it was obvious to me that Chris was not interested in them when he was in his right mind, but that he had been about as low as he had ever been, and had done something buck stupid. I have no patience with that either. I can cope with ‘not very bright’, but I have no time for ‘has brains and won’t use them’. I don’t really know what prompted me to spank him, certainly not that hard. Oh, I had given out a few spankings before – taken a few too – but never other than as play with a consenting partner. And you could tell from his voice and his language and the way he struggled that he did not consent, not even a wee bit. But I thought he wouldn’t mess with drugs again.

He wasn’t asleep when I went back up, but he was giving a good impression of it, and since he plainly didn’t want to talk to me I let it pass. To tell the truth, I didn’t know what to say to him either. I didn’t want to apologise for spanking him – he’d got off lightly compared with what would have happened if that Peeler had caught him in possession, but it wasn’t my place to have done it.

In the morning, he came downstairs when he heard me in the kitchen. He was wearing my clothes, and he looked very young and terribly scared, but he faced me, so there was courage enough there. We stood and looked at each other for a moment, and then he glanced away and said faintly, “May I have some coffee?” and I thought, right, we’re not referring to that at all, we’re going to pretend it never happened.

I took him to work with me, and my father looked him up and down, and then smiled and said “I’m glad you’ve turned up, we were worried about you.” And Chris for some reason blushed and looked as if he was going to cry, and I hastily said, “Dad, Chris knows about computers and he needs a job until he decides what he’s going to do, and I thought perhaps he might do the spreadsheets for us”, and that was agreed on, and I went out and did local deliveries and apparently Chris and my father got on like nobody’s business all day.

When I came back at six o’clock, they were sitting together at one of the computers and Chris was explaining some way of doing something that was apparently much better than the way we did it. He obviously knew his stuff, and better yet, he had the way of explaining it to other people. My father looked up. “You’ll be away home then, you two. Chris, we’ll look at this again tomorrow, if you don’t mind, and you just give some thought tonight to what I said to you.”

We went out to the car; I was curious. “Has Dad been giving you a hard time?”

“Oh, no! He’s been very kind. Only, he thinks I should call my dad and tell him where I am, and my mum as well. I will call my mum, tomorrow, she’ll be worried if she doesn’t hear anything from me, but I don’t want to call Dad.”

I chewed on this a bit. I could see exactly where he was coming from, and I was sure that my father would have seen it too, so there was more to this than met the eye. “What did he say?”

“Well, he started with shouldn’t I call my mother and let her know how she could get in touch with me since I have no mobile phone. And so I should, and so I will. He said you wouldn’t mind if I gave her your number…”

“I don’t mind.”

“And he said I should tell Dad too, only I really didn’t want to. I said so, and he said that if I wasn’t on speaking terms with Dad, I could maybe send him a postcard with the depot phone number on it, and say that they would take a message, only he thinks it’s wrong for me just to disappear and not tell him anything. But he made it plain he didn’t want anything more to do with me!”

We were home by this time, and I thought about this while I locked the car. “Did you tell my father that?”

“Yes, but he said that if we were ever to be reconciled one of us had to make an effort, and it would give me the moral high ground if it was me.”

“No denying that. I know you quarrelled and I can guess what about, but…”

“Alec, he hit me! I don’t want to be reconciled to a man who hit me!”

“You’re talking to me, and I hit you too.”

“That was different!”

“Was it? How?”

He had to think about it. He started to speak several times and stopped again, and finally came out with “You… spanked me” (he blushed: the word didn’t come easily off his tongue) “for what I’d done; he hit me for what I am.”

“Yes, I see. Well, I’m not interfering, but if you want to send your father the depot number or my phone number, I think you make yourself better than him. But you decide. Do call your mother though.”

It wasn’t in the end that big a deal to call my mum. I did it at the end of the day from the depot. (I did ask permission first – the Morrisons were being so good to me that I was on my best behaviour.) It wasn’t Mum who answered, it was my step-father.

“Um, hi, Roy, it’s Chris. Can I speak to Mum?”

“She’s not here, Chris, she’s having her hair done. She’ll be sorry to have missed you. Have you a number she can get you on later? She’s been worried about you since your dad rang.”

“Oh, shit, he didn’t, did he? What did he say?”

“Nothing you want to hear. He ranted a bit. Apparently it’s all my fault.”

“Oh, God, Roy, I’m sorry. I never thought he’d do that. Why your fault?”

“Well, somebody had to be blamed, and it plainly wasn’t him, so presumably it was me.”

“Roy, I’m so sorry, I honestly never thought…”

“Chris, don’t worry about it. Why would I care about his opinion? I don’t know the man. Where are you? Are you all right?”

“I am now. I’m staying with the guy who brought me up here and I’ve been working for his dad. Listen, have you got a pen? This is the number. It’s the office, so I’m here in the day.”

“I’ve got it. And you’re happy enough?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Chris, you can always come home. If you’re short of money, give me a call and we can fix it. Don’t…” (I could almost hear him thinking of a tactful way to put it) “don’t get yourself into a position where you feel you have to do anything you don’t want to do, just because of where you are. You can come home.”

“Well, yes, but there isn’t really room now that Emily’s come.”

“There’s always room. We’ll make room. You may not want to live here full time but until you choose somewhere of your own, this is your home. I understood when I married your mum that you came as part of the deal. And if your dad is… struggling to accept this, you can come home if you want to.”

I said something non-committal, and wrapped it up. I was very badly shaken. When I went back into the main office, Mr Morrison was still there. He saw that something was wrong. “What’s the matter, son?”

“I’m just… I’m just so confused. It’s like all the things I thought I knew have turned out to be wrong. I thought my dad would be pleased to see me and he wasn’t, and I thought I would be safe to… to come out to him, and I wasn’t, and I thought my step-father was a complete waste of space who didn’t like me much, and he’s just said that if I want to go home he’ll send me the money to do it, and they’ll make space for me. I think I must have awfully bad judgement.”

He laughed. “I’ve got forty years on you, son, and I’m surprised by people still. They’ll do this to you all your life. Your stepfather’s sympathetic, then?”

“I… yes, he was. Much better than Dad.”

“Aye. Well, that’ll be a comfort to you. Have you thought about contacting your dad?”

“I can’t. Not yet. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologise to me, it’s not my affair. You’ll do as you think best.”

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t really want to go home, but I couldn’t see an alternative. I couldn’t go on living off Alec, specially not once I had admitted to myself that I fancied him like mad, although God only knew why. He wasn’t at all the type of man I normally looked at. And plainly he didn’t fancy me. He felt responsible for me, but no more. No, I would have to go home. But not yet, please, not yet. Perhaps at the end of the week. I wanted to spend some more time with Alec. Just… just to have, you know?

I lasted until Friday, and on Friday I got up very early and very quietly, and left a note for Alec and crept out. I made it to the motorway junction and I started to try for a lift. It took me quite a long time, because I had to avoid all the drivers from Morrison’s, but eventually I found someone who said he could take me to Dumfries at least, and I jumped at it.

Honestly, this is just a tale of me being stupid, isn’t it? It didn’t occur to me that all the drivers keep in touch via the radios, and that it would take Alec all of half an hour to discover where I was and where I was going. He must have driven like an absolute maniac, though, and it was only by the grace of God that he didn’t get a ticket for it, because he was at Dumfries before us, waiting for me. The driver dropped me off at a service station, and I thanked him and waved him off, turned round and walked straight into Alec’s chest. I was back in his car before I had got my brain in gear.

“Is that all I get? A bloody note? And you’re away again? Not a word to my father or anything? If you wanted to go home, did you not think that we have drivers going further than Dumfries who would take you? And that then I wouldn’t have to worry about you getting into trouble? In fact, did you think about anything at all?”

There was a good deal more along the same lines, and I didn’t get a word in edgeways for about five minutes. Then there was still more and the word I did get in edgeways was “sorry” which I said at the end of every phrase. At last Alec calmed down a little. “Are you determined” (there were more ‘r’s in ‘detairrrrmined’ than usual) “to go today? Would you not wait until Monday? There’s a load going south on Monday and you can go with that.”

I was too dispirited to argue. Monday would do. I was pitifully aware that no part of Alec’s diatribe had included a statement that he wanted me not to go. I was desperate to stay, but he didn’t want me to. “I’ll go on Monday. Thank you. I’m sorry.”

He started the engine and we went back towards Glasgow in silence. He didn’t take me home, but back to the depot, and we got there just before mid-day. He put me out in the yard and I made my way inside while he went back to deal with the drivers. His father greeted me calmly. “He found you then. You were away home, I’m thinking.”

“I…yes. I’m sorry, Mr Morrison. I really didn’t know what to do and I thought that would be best. Alec’s going to arrange me a lift on Monday. I can’t go on being a burden on him.”

He made a most peculiar noise, but he said no more, until closing time when Alec came back in to collect me. Then he said, almost as if it were being dragged out of him, “Chris, you might like to think that you’ve been misjudging people since you got here, and you’re maybe doing it still.”

I couldn’t make anything of that at first. I sat in Alec’s car, and turned it over and over, and suddenly Alec said, “My father likes having you in the office. He says you’re good with the administration. He was inclined to ask if you wanted to train as manager, and maybe share the job with him. It’s too much work for one man, and I’m needed in the yard to plan the routes and the loads.” We drove another few minutes, and then he added, almost painfully, “If you didn’t want to stay with me, there’s several of the drivers would like to have rent coming in for a spare room.”

I didn’t say anything, but I began to have just the faintest glimmering of what his father had meant. Just the smallest idea, and I clung to it and felt it grow, and it sat in my chest almost like a pain. Alec had a face like a rock – no expression at all. We went into his house and I wondered how to manage the next thing. I knew what I wanted but I had no idea at all of how to get it. Alec, unwittingly, helped me. “I want a drink tonight before I think about a meal. Do you want one? There’s beer in the fridge.”

“I’ll get it,” I said, automatically, and went to the kitchen. When I came back, Alec was sitting down. I gave him his beer and opened my own, and took a huge slurp for courage. Suddenly I could see what to do. I hoped to God I was right, because if I wasn’t, this was going to be a scene that would give me screaming nightmares of hot-and-cold-sweat embarrassment for the rest of my natural life. I put the can down. “Alec? I shouldn’t have run away from you. It was stupid and it was rude. I’m sorry.” And I walked across, knelt down beside him and leaned forward, putting myself across his knee.

The hiatus was just long enough for me to think, “Oh, God, I have got this wrong,” and then his left hand dropped onto my back, and he twisted to place his can on the table, and then he stroked me very gently from the back of my knee up to my waist, and I quivered. “Aye,” he said thickly, “it was both those things”. And then he slid a hand under me, and I lifted to give him access, and he unfastened button and zip and eased my jeans down my legs and my briefs after them. I lay still, offering everything, and he stroked me again and I gasped. And then his palm came down and I gasped again, and he spanked me, not hard, not like before, but crisply and I found it was actually harder to keep still. It didn’t exactly hurt but there was a definite sting and I began to wriggle and squirm, and I could feel… well, you can guess what I could feel, and Alec could feel it too, I could tell. He kept going until I began to yelp, and then he stopped and said severely, “Now, are you going to make me chase you all around the country, or are you going to stay here with me where you belong?” And I twisted over on his lap and hooked an arm round his neck and pulled myself up to attach my mouth to his, and that seemed to be a satisfactory answer.

When we came up for air, he slid an arm under my knees and lifted me, frighteningly easily, and rose and carried me upstairs, and put me down gently on his bed and came down to kiss me again. And I said, in a small voice, “You’ll have to be patient with me, Alec, I’ve never…”

A look of pleasure crossed his face. “Never?”

“No. Not all the way.”

He drifted a hand up my bare thigh and stroked gently and I arched to his fingers. “That far?”

“Yes, a couple of times.”

Then he leaned over me, and trailed his tongue downwards, and I gasped and whimpered. “That far?”

“No. Never.”

“Like it?”

“Oh, yes. But I won’t be able to stand much of it. I’m sorry.”

“Never apologise for it. But it is what you want?”

“I want it all. Everything. But I’m afraid of being clumsy, because I don’t know what you like or how to please you or anything.”

“We can find out together. I’ve got as much vanity as the next man, now, and if you’ll trust me to be your first…”

“Oh, yes, Alec. Please.”

“Tell me then if I hurt you. It doesn’t need to hurt. Trust me.”

I did. I do. I wanted everything, and I got it. Get it. And some things I’d never thought of. And the occasional tanning to keep me straight too. Straight? Dad would say it was the wrong word, but what does he know?


Idris the Dragon

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© , 2005