Belted Plaid

‘What would you like for your birthday, Chris?’ ‘Smut.’ ‘A story with meaningful social comment?’ ‘No, I’d rather have smut.’ ‘A gentle romance with a happy ending?’ ‘Not unless it has smut in it.’

Right. Smut it is, then. Happy birthday.

It’s just one of those damn things which happens on a Friday night when you’re getting ready to go out. I’d come in from work, and dug something out of the freezer, and then I stuck it in the microwave to defrost while I went for a shower and a change of clothes. Hate the suit, but it’s what I have to wear to work, so there you are. Find something else, something more suitable for the pub. For that pub. For Gemini.

Which is one of the Zodiac pubs. The Zodiac chain bought out twelve pubs locally and did them up and called them. . . well, you can guess. Twee or what? Scorpio was a biker pub almost at once. The one nearest the law courts was called Libra, of course, but I don’t think they’ve ever managed to get a lawyer inside. And Gemini, which had a new sign with a couple of pretty boys arm in arm, was a gay bar within days. It’s the best pickup point in a hundred miles.

So back to jeans. Can’t go wrong with jeans, so old and soft they’re nearly white, so tight that you can be damn sure there’s only me inside. Trouble is, there isn’t much of me. What there is, is a good enough shape but I’m not tall and I don’t draw the eye. Add a white T shirt. That’s tight too. It’ll be cold going up the hill so find the Arran sweater.

Well, white suits me.

And that’s fine, except that I tipped half a plateful of my dinner into my lap when I picked up the newspaper and a big spider ran out of it. I’m not scared of them, I caught it and put it outside, but it made me jump, and. . . well, you get the picture. Fuck. I’m not going anywhere in these jeans because it was pasta with a tomato sauce and if you don’t get tomato out at once you don’t get it out at all. Rip jeans off, check shirt which appears to be clean, thank God I hadn't put on the sweater. Stuff jeans into washing machine, think that I didn’t run the machine earlier this week because – well, if you must know, because I was going to do it Wednesday night and I went out and. . . no, never mind that. And I just didn’t get to it Thursday. Stupid to run machine with one pair of jeans.

Back to bathroom, search through laundry basket, make up full load, fill washing machine, start it. Go back to bedroom for another pair of jeans.

And I haven’t got one. Fuck. All my jeans are in the wash, every single pair.

Back through wardrobe. Cords. No. Not tight enough. What? I’m going out to pull, for heaven’s sake. I’ll spell it out. Iain (that’s me, pleased to meet you) wishes to get laid. And maybe. . . No. It’s too cold for those cotton things. Fuck fuck fuck, surely I have something to put on? I may be gay but I’m not a bloody girl, complaining about not having anything to wear. Surely I have. . .

I have a kilt. And I have good legs. What? Yes, I’m vain. So sue me. I have good legs.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it came about that Iain went to the Gemini wearing a kilt in a tartan to which I am fully entitled, and a white shirt with an Arran sweater over the top. And I looked bloody good too.

There wasn’t another kilt in the Gemini, which was something, although there had been plenty in the streets. Well, the tourist season was still happening, so six men in ten will be kilted, although three of them will be from New Jersey and two more from Tokyo. It wasn’t particularly busy for a Friday night and I collected myself a drink and found a place to sit which was fairly far out into the flow. No point in cowering in a corner, was there? I wasn’t going to spot anything worth chasing from back there.

What? You’re looking at me like I’m about to tear the head off a baby or something. Oh, get a grip. I am gay, yes, and I am also what they delicately call Sexually Active. That means I get laid. And yes, I am careful. I am very careful. Only stupid people aren’t careful, these days. I am not in an exclusive monogamous relationship; in fact I’m not in a relationship at all. I have been and they haven’t. . . somehow they haven’t turned out to be quite what I wanted. So I’m going on looking for Mr Right, but while Mr Right is occupied somewhere else, I’m quite happy to spend some time with Mr Reasonably Acceptable.

Only Mr Reasonably Acceptable wasn’t drinking in the Gemini. Not even Mr Would Do In Low Light. Where was everybody? It was generally better than this. A couple of types tried to pick me up, obviously thinking that I would be Mr Reasonably Acceptable to them, but. . . not what I wanted. The second one was pretty enough, mind you, but not. . . not definite enough.

I was getting well pissed off, to the point of wondering whether to go home and watch a DVD or to stay and get totally bladdered in the hope of changing my mind about the gentle bloke – no, I wouldn’t really have done it, I don’t think, my self-preservation instincts seem to be good enough that I don’t pick up strange men when I’m completely plastered – when the door opened again and He came in.

I knew Him. At least, I knew who he was. Well, he’s got a profile on Environ-Men-t. I’ve seen it; I’ve got a profile there myself. It’s a site, bird-brain. It’s where men like me meet men like him. It’s a big site and there’s a lot going on. Chat rooms and one-to-one messaging, and you set up a profile of yourself, with a picture, if you like, and what sort of guy you are and what you like and what you’re looking for.

I was definitely looking for one like him. Definitely. Big man. Biiiiiiiiiiiiiig man. God, look at the shoulders on that. And the definition! Tongue in, Iain, don’t dribble. Muscles all over, and twice my size, at a conservative estimate. And nerve. He puts his own photo on his profile; I don’t, I’ve got a cartoon. Like I said, I’m small, but I’m smart. I’m not big enough to fight my way out of trouble if some man turns out to be Mr Absolutely Wrong, so I don’t put a photo up. I’ll take my chances with going to meet someone if I think it’s worth it, but I’m not setting myself up as a target. Not bright.

But I would like some of that, thank you very much. Oh yes. So when he came past, I looked up, deliberately, and caught his eye. Nothing blatant, just a look. Just the implication: I see you. And I made sure that when he turned away from the bar, I was still looking. Nothing vulgar, no approach. Just looking. I must have waited a good ten minutes before I went to the bar myself, slid into the gap beside him, and set my empty glass on the counter. Didn’t look then, not at him, only at the barman. But there are rules, of a sort, as to how this goes. That was an approach and we both knew it, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when he spoke to me. Something anodyne about it not being very busy for a Friday night. Enough that if I wanted to I could make it the start of a conversation and if I didn’t I could nod and ignore it. Chat, Iain. Turned cold suddenly, people staying at home. Polite conversation actually meaning: well, yes, maybe, tell me what you have in mind.

Took us no more than a quarter of an hour to be sure that we wanted to investigate possibilities, so that when next we were looking into empty glasses, he said, “D’you want another of those? Look, there’s a table over there, you get that and I’ll get them in.”

Nice, Iain. Nicely managed. Going to take Duncan home with me tonight. Or going to go home with Duncan, one or the other.

We talked another hour, not about anything in particular, just about films we’d seen, people we knew, looking for common acquaintances, that sort of thing. Didn’t find any close, but a couple of casual encounters, yes, I’ve met him at a party, that sort of thing. Carefully not saying: saw your profile, thought you looked hot. No, polite enquiry on neutral subjects. “What do you do, then, Duncan?”

“Lecture in English at the university. Twentieth century poetry, actually.”

“Really? I wouldn’t have put you down as an academic. You look more. . . physical.”

“I row Seven in the second boat. What about you, what do you do?”

“Work at the bank. Not thrilling. And I’m not sporty at all. Neither a muddied oaf, nor a flannelled fool.”

“Kipling,” he said absently. And presently he encouraged me to talk, to chatter on, listening with his head on one side with a flattering attention. More fool me, I didn’t think to wonder why. I didn’t think anything of it, either, when he excused himself and headed for the gents, stopping en route to speak to someone at another table. And nor did I think anything of it when my mobile chirruped at me while he was gone. I hauled it out (what? Sporran. Big enough for a hip flask originally, big enough now for some money and my keys and a mobile phone and. . . essentials. I told you I was careful) and looked: text message. Only it was a number I didn’t know, and no message. Somebody putting their phone in their pocket and then sitting on it, probably. Duncan came back, stopping again to speak to the other guy, and looked down at me. “Want to come back to mine?”

Yes please, thank you very much, can we go now? I think I worded it a little better but that was what I meant.

It wasn’t that far: he had a flat in one of those big tenements on Hamner Street. They don’t look much from the outside, but his was large and warm and light. Right at the top, it was, which was a bit much for me. He just bounced up the stairs, there being no lift, and I trailed after him trying not to wheeze, and being thankful that I don’t smoke.

Three minutes later I was still out of breath and it was very pleasant, very pleasant indeed, thank you. That man can kiss. No, I mean, properly. No bumping noses. No feeling that my lips may come off under the suction and my whole face unravel. No feeling that I’ve been through a car wash without a car. Just. . . do that some more. And some more. And then some more some more.

Somewhere along the line we managed to make it from just inside the door to the sofa, and about a hundred years later he was flat on same sofa and I was flat on him, and one of his hands was inside my sweater and the other was resting on my bum. That one twitched every few seconds, and every time it did, my kilt rose another inch. I could feel it creeping up the back of my leg. I wasn’t complaining, you understand. Every time he twitched that hand, I was pulsing my hips against his and he liked me, that much was obvious. It had been obvious for the half hour (at least) in which we had been necking like teenagers. Outstandingly so. Then he wrapped an arm tightly round my waist and rolled us both over, to get me on my back and him propped on one elbow above me.

“You and I,” he said, seriously, “need to have a little talk before this goes any further.”

“There’s a pack of three in my sporran,” I mumbled, eyes shut, flexing my hips so that I rubbed against his denimed thigh.

“Not about that. Not yet. About. . . emment. . .”

Didn’t make a lot of sense, but I wasn’t sure if that was his voice not working or my ears not working. Didn’t matter. I rubbed some more, and so did he, and suddenly there was no more wool under his hand, just me.

What? No, of course I don’t wear anything under my kilt. What do you think I am, some sort of tourist? And he had a good grope round and then – and I hope it cost him as much as it cost me – he dragged his hand away, and sat up, running both hands through his hair.

“No. Talk. Here.” And he picked me up, toted me across the room and set me down in an armchair, retiring to the sofa himself.

“What?” I whined. Stopping in mid-frott (frot? Stopping him doing what he was doing, where he was doing it)  was not, in my opinion, desirable.

“I need to talk to you. I thought it maybe didn’t matter, but it does. I want to know how many people you are and what the hell they’re all playing at.”

All the words made sense. . . and I had a nasty sinking feeling that the sentence did too. Only I hoped it didn’t.

“Don’t know what you mean,” I said sulkily.

“Don’t you? Well, then, let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, a man called Duncan put up a profile on Environ-Men-t. You know Environ-Men-t, don’t you, Iain?”

Nod. Everybody knows it. Small chill settling in stomach.

“And Duncan had some visitors to his profile, and some conversations in chat rooms, and a few meetings. And then somebody called Halfpint came by. Chatty bloke. Keen.” He looked over at me. “Bottom. Looking for a Top. Am I interesting you?”

“Where’s this going?” I asked sullenly. Nowhere good for me, I guessed.

“No guesses? Well, Halfpint was a bit light on the old manners. Very hot and cold. Wanted to chat, and then next time he turned up in the chat room, I couldn’t get a peep out of him. Lots of come-hither and then ran away. Very interested in me and then nothing to say to me at all. So I asked around a bit, and several people – several Tops, Iain – said they knew about Halfpint. Halfpint was all mouth and no trousers. Halfpint said he wanted to play but he never turned up with his kit on. Halfpint had made approaches to all the Tops – but as soon as anyone actually looked in his direction, he scarpered. It’s not that surprising, nor that unusual. Beginners tend to go that way: they like the ideas, but they won’t convert them to reality. So I coaxed at Halfpint, trying to make him feel safe enough to come out of his corner.”

He stopped; I waited while the silence stretched thin before asking, as if not very interested, “And did he?”

“No. Disappeared for a bit. Turned up again recently, same game. Talks the talk but he won’t walk the walk. Half the Tops on Environ-Men-t won’t talk to him now, they know he’s just a tease. But here’s the interesting thing. About three months ago, there was a new profile, somebody called Budget. Interested in finding a big strong man to smack his bottom. Beginner, he said he was, nervous. Wanted to be sure he would find the right person. Picky. Talked to everybody, including me. Gave me a faint feeling of déjà vu. But I didn’t think much of it, one novice sounds much like another, you know? Little mouse, he was, and any loud noises sent him scurrying for cover again.

“Only a couple of the Tops – Hastings was one, and I think Ripcord was another – said that he was another one with no manners. Budget went further than Halfpint. Budget made contact, gave a phone number, called people up. But as soon as anyone made ‘let’s meet’ noises, Budget was away. Well now, I thought that was typical novice behaviour again, and when Budget called on me, I was very careful not to be too threatening. I’d obviously not been Halfpint’s cup of tea, but I might do better this time.”

“And did you?” I asked, trying to conceal my nerves.

“No. I got brushed off like all the others.”

“Well, I’m sure it’s very interesting, Duncan, but I really don’t see. . .”

“No? Hear me out, though, and you will. A fortnight or so ago, there was another new profile. Clipper, his name was this time. Clipper was a bit braver than Budget or Halfpint. Clipper came round to see what was what, and turned up in the chat rooms, and talked privately to me, and I got a phone number from Clipper, who agreed to be texted but not rung up. And eventually, I got Clipper to agree to a date. Wednesday, that was. I stood for an hour in the rain on Bridge Street on Wednesday, and Clipper didn’t show.”

I shrugged. “Well, it’s very sad, but I don’t see what it has to do with me. If you’re looking for a replacement. . .”

“Don’t you see? Well then, let’s go on. I’m an academic, remember? Poetry. Language. Particularly the rhythms of language. Words. I know how the words go. Several people had been suspecting that Budget was Halfpint because of the way they behaved; I was sure of it because of the way they. . . not spoke, not in a chat room, but wrote. And when Clipper turned up, I was almost sure that Clipper was Halfpint too. And then tonight, there you were in the Gemini, with Halfpint’s turns of phrase.”

“What a curious coincidence,” I said, hoarsely.

“Yes, isn’t it? And here’s another one, Iain. When I went out, I went past my friend Malcolm, and I borrowed his mobile phone, and I asked him to keep an eye on you. And then I used his phone to send a blank message to Clipper. When I came back, Malcolm said your phone had rung. It’s not proof, but as evidence goes, it’s fairly damning, don’t you think?”

Utterly. I looked at my hands.

“Is it just nerves?” he asked, more gently than I had any right to expect. I nodded, and then shook my head. Very helpful.

“It’s time to pay up, Iain. You’ve played long enough; now you’ve got to join in or quit. I know who you are, and if you choose to go through that door, I won’t stop you; I won’t even tell anybody else what I know. But what you’re doing is dangerous: if I can work it out, so can other people and sooner or later you’ll get involved with somebody who isn’t as patient as me, with somebody who’ll just take what you’ve been offering without stopping to ask if you meant it. Now I can give you what you want – you felt that, over on the sofa. But you’ve got to choose now. Stay – and take it all – or go.”

Too much toomuch toomuch I can’t I can’tcan’tcan’t. . . Want him I do I daren’t. Want him want to. Daren’t. I got up and managed one step towards him – and bolted for the door, struggled with the lock for a moment, and then I was on the stairs in the dark where was the fucking light switch didn’t matter Run!

He didn’t follow me. The door swung quite slowly shut, and even above the sound of my own feet on the concrete stairs I heard the click of the latch.

It was quite dark when the door shut. And it was three floors down. And I couldn’t go out there into the street, I couldn’t assimilate all that he had said, I couldn’t. . .

I couldn’t bloody walk: I had the worst case of blue balls I’d ever had. I sat down heavily at the top of the last flight of stairs, and leaned forward with my head on my knees. Oh fuck. Oh fuck, what had I done? What had I not done? I was such a wimp. Such a wuss. Such an idiot. Wet hen. Coward! Pillock! It was only when I felt the dampness in the wool on my knee that I realised I was crying. Such an idiot. I had it, I had it right there, all I had to say was yes, I’ll stay, and he wouldn’t have made me say any more, I knew he wouldn’t. God, the man was obviously a decent type, he hadn't had to tell me that he knew. And, well, he was twice my size. If he had wanted to insist, he could have done it and there would have been absolutely fuck-all I could do about it. Not a sodding thing.

I reckon I sat there half an hour, getting colder and colder and more and miserable, until my body, possibly with more sense than my brains, took over. I had stopped thinking about Duncan, stopped thinking abut anything. Maybe that’s what I should have done three months ago? My phone was in my hand – when did that happen, then? – and there was enough light on the little screen for me to find the number. I’d never rung it, not a real call, only texts. He took the call; I wouldn’t have been surprised if he hadn’t, although his tone wasn’t reassuring. I didn’t deserve reassurance.

“This” he growled, “had better be good.”

I held the phone to my ear; I hadn't any idea what to say. His tone sharpened. “Well? What is it?”

“Help me?” I whispered. Nothing else came to mind.


“Please,” I said, more strongly, despairingly. “Please, Duncan. Please. I’m sorry. I’ll. . . I do. . . Help me?”

“Mouse, where are you?”

“At the bottom of the stairs,” I whispered again. There was a moment’s pause and then his door opened, and he stood there with the light behind him, looming, enormous, until he reached out (of course, he knew where the light switch was) and turned the stairwell from a terrifying cavern into normality again. I looked up through three floors worth of banisters at him, and he looked down at me, and then he said, quite conversationally, “Get your sorry arse up here this minute.”

I’d have run if I hadn't been so cold and stiff. I stumbled on the stairs, and he came down to meet me, two steps at a time, swept me off my feet and against his body, carrying me towards the light. Inside he set me on my feet, took the phone out of my hand and turned it off, dropping it on the shelf by the door, before taking my hand.

“You’re bloody freezing! Come here, stupid.” And he picked me up again, sat down and cuddled me against his chest, rubbing my icy hands. I turned my face against his shirt and indulged myself in another few helpless tears, while he stroked my back and tucked my hands against his body, and scolded softly.

“Nitwit. You’re a nitwit, what are you?”

“A mouse,” I whispered, shivering. “But if you quote Burns at me, I’ll bite.”

“Cheek, is it now? You listen to me, buddy. You’re in so much trouble already that I don’t think it can get much worse for you, but I don’t recommend impudence, get that?”

I nodded against his chest, nervously.

“You’ve got it coming to you for bad manners, faffing about on Environ-Men-t, coming on to me half the time and then refusing to talk to me next time, messaging me one day and refusing to take my messages the next. And then there’s deceit – I’ve got no problem with you having several internet identities, most of us do, but using them with the deliberate intent to deceive isn’t something I’m standing for. And then there’s leaving me out in the street waiting for you, without even the courtesy of a text to say you’d lost your nerve and you weren’t coming. I’m not having it, is that quite clear?”

I nodded again, sliding helplessly down the slope of desire on the relinquishment of control.

“And you know what I’m going to do, don’t you, Mouse?”



“Spank me.” Barely audible. I was shivering again but it wasn’t cold now. Nor fear, exactly, nor lust exactly, but some combination of all three. And if he didn’t do it soon, I was going to break apart with an overload of emotion. He started on the Arran, working it up my back, pulling my arms out and easing it over my head.

“But I’m cold!”

“Not for long, buster. Trust me on that.” And with that he lifted me easily, turned me, yanked the sporran round to rest on my hip, tipped me over his lap, pinned me there with one huge hand – not as soon as this! No, I had changed my mind again, I didn’t want him to!

Well, tough. I struggled briefly and all it got me was picked up again and put down in a slightly different position. My right hand was caught and pushed firmly into my back, and the wool of my kilt rasped up the back of my thighs for the second time that night. Faster, this time, no equivocation, straight up, and tucked under my own wrist, leaving me bare-arsed and quivering. Vulnerable.

And that first smack was an eye-opener and no mistake. I don’t remember anybody ever smacking my backside before, not my ma or my da or anybody, ever. I had wanted it for years and this was it. And it HURT! Look, when you think about it, when it’s a hot little fantasy, it doesn’t hurt half that much! It’s stinging and smarting, enough for wriggling and squirming, that’s what I signed up for! Not that! Not so bloody hard! And I opened my mouth to say so, and some miniscule sign of intelligence, the first one of the day to make itself heard unopposed, shrieked “Shut up, Iain, he didn’t ask your opinion!”

Anyway, he would stop soon. He would stop soon. He – ow! – would stop – ow! – soon. Wouldn’t he?

No. He wouldn’t. He was a great deal more scientific about the whole thing than I remembered anybody having been in my fantasies. He seemed to have the notion that as a spanking, it would be a failure if he didn’t cover every single fraction of an inch, from the top flare of my hip to a hand-span down each thigh. Yes, it was a hand-span, I could tell. And he had big hands. And he was a lot stronger than me so when he pulled at my hip to make me roll left, so that he could get at the outside on the right, I rolled. And when he pushed to get the outside left within striking range, that was what happened. I wriggled. I struggled and I got my weight forward far enough that I thought I could escape off his lap. . . until he wound an arm under my waist and heaved, and I shot backwards through the air and landed across his knee again with a ‘woof’ as all the air was knocked out of me.

And then he started again, only this time I was yelping and squeaking and (after a moment) wailing, as well as struggling and kicking, and none of it served any useful purpose, and I damn well knew it. He’d got me bare-arsed over his lap to be spanked and I was going to be spanked, until he’d had enough rather than until I had. And I rather thought I haaaaaaaaaad!

Until he started on what I have since learned to be my sit spot. Then there was no ‘rather’ about it. Then I knew I’d had enough, and I set about telling Duncan that I’d had enough too. He didn’t believe a word of it, and told me so cheerfully, punctuating his sentences with mighty slaps, while I added a commentary of yelps. And half a dozen down each thigh was not, in my opinion, necessary either, and reduced me to breathless silence. But that, fortunately, seemed to be all.

“No more, no more please,” I hiccupped into his thigh, and the world spun again as he turned me right way up and settled me back on his lap, head up this time. I gave a yelp as my arse landed on his thigh with my kilt rucked up underneath me. It’s wool – not soft fluffy wool but heavy weather-resistant wool with bloody knife edge pleats in it, and coming into contact with a soundly spanked bum, it is unbelievably uncomfortable.

“No more,” he agreed. “Yet.”

What? Yet? I was riffling through my vocabulary for the words to explain that no, I didn’t mean ‘no more yet’, I meant ‘no more at all’ when his hand slid inside the kilt again and all verbal facility went off for a cup of tea and a lie down. I felt. . . I felt. . . I just felt, very intensely. I felt, up the backs of my legs. I felt, across my bum, which was throbbing and scorched. And I felt on the inside of my thighs, which was where that hand was. It was exploring, very tenderly and gently, slow circles on my skin, feather touches which made me wriggle some more. And the wriggling, with rasping wool under me, inclined me to wriggle again, until he leaned sideways, tipping both of us into the depths of the sofa, and fastened his mouth on mine. The hand didn’t stop moving and when it slid round to my heated flesh I squeaked against him again. He squeezed and then started to scratch very gently, and I squirmed. I was so glad that was over; I hadn't enjoyed it at all. I hadn't! And the fact that the hand under my kilt was making me whine was neither here nor. . . oh yes. Yes, there. Do that thing with your thumb again, Duncan. Yes, that one. Just there.

“You,” murmured an amused voice in my ear, “are a right piece of work, did you know that?” He captured my mouth again, biting my lip gently, while the hand under my kilt continued to unfocus my eyes. I mewed with lust and shifted my weight and he stroked me again and I whined when the hand was suddenly withdrawn.

“Patience,” he whispered. “Not ready to go on yet.” No, I was, I was, really! But he was working my shirt over my head, dipping his mouth to my chest, and the blaze in my backside was burning down to a manageable level and I began to think that perhaps if I could persuade him that a spanking didn’t have to be delivered quite so hard, I could get to like it. It wasn’t that big a deal. Yes, all right, I had been a bit noisy, but he’d been overdoing it and I’d had a stressful and emotionally draining evening. Another time I wouldn’t make anything like that amount of noise. I could take that, specially if he was going to do that thing with his thumb. Yes, and that one on my chest with his tongue.

“Ready for your next go?”

Pardon? I must have said that out loud, because he grinned at me, and elaborated. “That was for bad manners. Now we’re going to deal with deceit. On your feet.”

“No! That’s enough! I don’t want any more!”

His expression hardened. “You’ve been asking for it for three months, sunshine, we both know that. You knew perfectly well that what you were doing was wrong, and I’m going to make sure that you never do it again. Now, you just trot into my bedroom – through there, look – and fetch me my slipper. Go on.”

Not bloody likely! I was giving him a rabbit in the headlights look, and then my head turned to the door again. I really, really didn’t want another spanking. Duncan. Door. Duncan. Door. He watched me, and then he carefully picked up my shirt and folded it tidily on top of my sweater, and stepped back away from both. I read that clearly enough: if I bolted again he would let me go. Duncan. Door. And I looked up into his face, and saw. . . something. . . and he answered me, he leaned a little forward and growled, “Slipper. Now.”

It was a large slipper. He’s a large man and he obviously has large feet. Expensive tastes, I suspect, too: leather slippers with leather soles, not that composite stuff the rest of us have. I didn’t know if it mattered. By the time I came nervously back into the room, there was an armchair in the middle of the floor.

“Now, give me that. Here, come here. Feet apart. Wider. Pull up that kilt and bend over. You’re going to hold that kilt out of my way, my lad, and if you let it drop you’ll be sorry. Come on, get that backside up. Knees straight. Keep still.”

It’s a slipper. It’s traditional for children. It can’t hurt that much. (Yeah, Iain, and you thought that about a hand-spanking too.)

“Right. What’s this for?”

I said something muffled into the back of the armchair.

“I beg your pardon?”


“Just so. You may not use multiple identities to abuse people’s trust. You absolutely may not find out things about people using one identity and then use that information or give it out in another identity, and if I catch you doing it again it won’t just be a slippering you’ll get, is that clear?”

I made the muffled noise again. Did that mean. . . what did that mean? Yes, all right, I hadn't exactly shown at my intellectual best all evening. I hadn't been thinking about Implements. What did he mean? What had he got? Strap? Very traditional in this part of the world. Cane? Crop? Paddle? All the things I dreamed about, which all of a sudden were seeming a lot more serious than they had.

A sharp slap snapped me out of my reverie.

“I said, is that clear?”

“Yes, it’s clear,” I said, rather sulkily.

“Good. Then we’ll begin.”

Aaaaaaaaand. . . FUCK! Right. Things they don’t tell you about a leather soled slipper. One. It’s very loud when applied to a bare backside; much louder than I anticipated at least. Two. It stings like a lorry-load of wasps. Three. If you’ve already been spanked, wasps aren’t in it.

Useful things to bear in mind for any future occasion: don’t try to escape from the back of an armchair. Diving over the top is plain silly: Duncan leaned over after me, took me by the waist and put me back where he wanted me. This was about six inches further forward than I had been, with the unfortunate effect that my feet were off the floor. Makes for easy kicking, and kicking happened, also crossing and uncrossing the legs while I see-sawed on that chair. He stopped, much to my relief, lifted me again and settled me on the floor. “Stand still, feet apart, and keep hold of that kilt.”

“If you want it held, hold it yourself,” I snapped tearfully, and unintelligently. I knew the minute the words had left my mouth that it hadn't been a good idea. “Sorry, sorry,” I babbled, scrabbling at the wool to bunch it round my waist, “I’ve got it.”

“Spread your legs. Wider.”

I shifted my weight uneasily. A thunderous slap landed on the inside of my thigh and I squealed and jumped. I heard him move and braced myself just in time for the matching one on the other leg. Just my luck, an ambidextrous Top.

“Right,” he said grimly, “Now that you know how I feel about smart-arse remarks, we’ll go back to the question of deception.” And he added about another twenty ringing cracks of slipper on seat, stopping halfway through to add half a dozen by hand when I lost my grip on the kilt and allowed it to slide down my legs.

When he let me up, I actually did the cartoon thing. So embarrassing – clutch the bare backside and bounce from foot to foot, whimpering and snivelling. He dropped the slipper on the chair and pulled me into his arms, sliding his hands down my back to join mine on my arse.

“No more,” I whispered into his chest.

“Don’t like it?”

I shook my head childishly.

“What’s this then?”

Note to self: a kilt makes one a great deal too accessible both front and rear. Can’t exactly deny degree of turned-on-ness to a man who has only to pull a double layer of fabric out of the way. He turned me until my back was snuggled against him, ignoring my squeaks and attempts to keep my scarlet rump from touching anything, and then sat down on the arm of the chair, pulling me down too. One arm tightened around my waist, limiting my struggles to tiny squirms. The other explored, first of all my bare chest, broad-brush strokes to find sensitive places, and then little circles and scratches, while his mouth searched out tender spots on my neck and ear. He tongued my earlobe and the jolt of it went straight down through me. Heat was gathering in my groin, heat from what he was doing up above, and what he had already done down below. Every tiny move I made rubbed my smarting tail against the rough wool and it burned and itched so that I shifted again and again.

“Little wriggler,” he whispered, the heat of his breath making it impossible for me to catch my own. “Are you going to wriggle like that every time I put you over my knee?”

I pulled away from him, not very hard. “Not doing it again,” I muttered, defensively.

“Oh, yes, you are, sunny Jim. I reckon you’ll be arse-up for me very often indeed. Every time you step out of line, we’ll redden that pretty bottom – did you know you have a very pretty bottom? You do – and I might just do it once or twice for fun too.”

I shook my head. “Not fun. Don’t like it.” No, I didn’t notice either, not until afterwards, that I hadn't challenged his right to do it when I stepped out of line.

“Don’t like it. Fibber. You liked it. . . this much.” And the big hand wrapped round me, and the wrist flexed and I made a strangled noise. He didn’t need to tell me to spread my legs, they just opened, and my head fell back onto his shoulder and he went on, slow strokes, base to tip, slower than when I do it myself, and what the hell was that? That thing he was doing with his palm? French polishing? I turned my head into his neck and he twisted enough to get his mouth to mine, to tease his tongue along my lower lip until I let him in. Tongue tip to tongue tip, flick, suck, and meanwhile one arm was keeping me from moving, other than tiny wriggles as my kilt scratched my arse and that other hand was setting up a balancing heat and I relaxed against him until he swung me round and dropped me on my knees on the chair, kneeling behind me and gripping me in one arm to keep me still while he dropped snowflake kisses from the nape of my neck to my belt, and the other hand continued to tease under the front of my kilt. My fingers gripped the sides of the chair and I whimpered again, a whimper shifting to a moan when he trailed his fingertips round my thigh and touched my bum. He leaned down and rasped his cheek across my arse, and I let out a muted shriek. “You bastard! Shave before you do that!”

I felt him laugh before he kissed the chafe away and withdrew, only to pat my bottom again. “You’re very mouthy for a man with another spanking coming.”

“Wha-aat?” That shriek was not in any way muted.

“The little question of standing up a date? Leaving him standing in the rain?”

Oh. Yeah. That.

“Awww, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you then,” I whined. “And I got wet too. I stood out trying to. . . I just couldn’t. But I didn’t know you then.”

“And that makes it acceptable? You can be rude to strangers but not to your friends? Do you really think so?”

I opened my mouth to say: well yes, if that gets me out of a spanking, I do think so; then his hand shifted to the inside of my thigh and patted the spot still tender from the slaps he’d already landed there. The spot which pays for smart-arse remarks. Hmmm.

“No, sir.” Excuse me? Sir? But I hadn't time to think about it.

“No. Stand up.”

My knees weren’t any too sound, but he wound that arm around my waist again, while he nuzzled my neck and ear. I looked down and watched helplessly as the other hand flicked the tongue of my belt clear, and pulled it loose. Just my luck again – a Top who can undo buckles one handed. Not that kilt buckles are that difficult; the whole thing fell open and slipped down my thighs.

“Step out. Now, come along.” He led me to his bedroom, bare as a fish except for long socks and shoes – I must have looked a right prat. Well, I did. I saw myself in the wardrobe mirror, little skinny bloke rampant. Duncan glanced that way as well, and then took me by the shoulders, turning my back on the mirror. “Now look,” he said nodding over my shoulder, and I twisted to see. I was well reddened behind, hips to mid thigh – not as deeply coloured as I would have thought, crimson but not purple. I passed a hand lightly across my arse and the skin tingled.

“Is that going to bruise?” I asked, fascinated.

“Doubt it. Be red until this time tomorrow, probably. This might mark a bit.”


He moved away from me to the ottoman at the end of the bed, and opened it. I craned my neck to see. Shit. Strap, yes, two tailed, no, three tailed tawse from the look of it. Cane. Fine selection of other things. What was he taking out?

A narrow paddle. Not what I thought of as a paddle, my mental picture was of something heavier, broader. That shouldn’t be too bad. (Yeah, about that. And about the hand-spanking. And about the slipper. About your conviction, afterwards, that you’re the hard man, that you can take this. About the yelling and kicking while it’s actually happening. And about your total failure, Iain, to use your bloody brains!)

He shut the ottoman and beckoned. “Come here, you.”

Complete mental shutdown, trot obediently to his side with bum trying to get a hearing, “No! Don’t! Had enough now! Want to go home!” Unfortunately, dick also has an opinion: “Yes, go on, it’s hot, he’s hot, I’m hot, afterwards he might do that thing with his thumb again, and have you noticed how long his fingers are? Want want wantwantwant.”

“Kneel here on top. Hands on the bed. No, come down onto your elbows. Arse up.” He patted my bottom, and I jerked. “Stings!”

“Good. Now, let’s get you how we want you. Spread your legs again. Nice.”

We? Who’s this ‘we’? Oh yes, Duncan, and Iain’s dick, which appears to be agreeing with Duncan. But which is currently. . . um, hanging into space and not touching anything. And not happy about it. Furtive wriggle and SMACK!


“Keep still, then. Keep still, and keep quiet. I don’t want to hear so much as a peep out of you, and you’re not even to fidget. You do not stand up a date. If you can’t go or if you change your mind you ring up politely and cancel, don’t you?”

“Yes,” I muttered into the bedclothes. This felt extremely undignified. Knees wide, arse in the air, everything on view to the man behind me. Didn’t like it, which was no doubt why my heart was pounding, why I couldn’t catch my breath, why I hadn't picked up my clothes and gone home. Why I was wondering about the possibilities of collapsing onto the bed and trying to get something to touch all my important places. Why I was at the same time arching my back to show off what he had said was a pretty bottom.

“Yes?” It was a whipcrack of a word and I jumped as convulsively as if he had struck me. This time, rather to my surprise, he hadn't. I re-ran the conversation.

“Yes, sir?” I ventured. He grunted. I felt the paddle, cool against my heated skin. The first smack made me jump again, but it was bearable. The second was in the same place and it was sharp. The third was in the same place again and so was the fourth and with the fifth I was cramping my thighs to keep still and I’d got a mouthful of duvet cover to keep silent. Move it, you sod! Oh, thank you, the other side. One. Relax a little. Two. Not as much as that. Hell, three, same spot, he’s doing this on purpose. Four. Five got a whimper from me, but he didn’t seem to count that as not keeping quiet.

Oh God, back to that first spot, and this didn’t feel like one, this felt like starting at three or so, and again, and again, and I was growling into the duvet, growling to stop myself squealing, jaw clenched to stop the sound escaping, fists clenching and unclenching in the fabric with the effort of keeping still. Didn’t like that – ah! – paddle after all, didn’t like it! And I sounded such a fool, I was squeaking like the mouse he called me, little throaty sounds of distress; thank God, he was changing sides again. And that one got a wriggle, I couldn’t help it, not much of a wriggle but he saw it.

“I told you to keep still.” And a slap to the inside of the thigh, a slap which turned to a caress, fingers tracing up towards my groin and another mouse noise from me. And the damn paddle again, building sting, unbearable and. . . and then he had stopped. Every breath was snatched and held, huffed out and snatched again. And the voice, slower, deeper, softer, “Don’t. Move.”

Oh God, why not? Not any more, really, not any more, I had learned my lesson.

Fingertips on my inner thigh. The slightest, slowest caress, up the tender line, across to the other thigh with the faintest trail of fingernails on sensitive skin, and I screamed into the bedclothes and bucked, all instructions forgotten, and collapsed, legs spread, begging mutely.

When he tried to get an arm underneath me I mustered the strength for one scramble against his chest. Then I grabbed the free hand and dragged it to my groin and snarled, “DO something!” And oh God, he did, those long fingers wrapped round me and I think my eyes rolled back in my head, and my hips humped, and hell, what a mess. His problem, I was dying. Probably. It didn’t seem to bother him.

When I could crowbar my eyelids up again – I wasn’t sure it was worth the effort so I didn’t push it – he was trying to get his shirt unbuttoned, hampered by my death grip on the front of it.

“Mouse, if you would let go, I could take this off before it dries on me and glues on.”

“Yssss. Plan. Yssss.”

“But you have to let go. Mouse! Let go.”


“Oh, good grief. The fingers, Mouse. Open the fingers.” He had to pry them up in the end. I rolled over onto my back, yelped and rolled hastily back. He pulled me closer. “All right?”


“Right. So my boyfriend is not a great post-coital conversationalist.”

I got one eye open. “Boyfr’?”

“Don’t you like the idea? I appreciate we haven’t exactly discussed it, but the position’s vacant, and you did rather imply in the chat rooms that you were looking for something on the permanent scale. We could perhaps give it a go for a while and see if it suits us?”

Too much trouble to argue, even if I wanted to. “’Kay.” Eyes shut again. I think I noticed when he got up; I certainly noticed the damp cloth. Hey, I like it when somebody else clears up. I liked being brought a drink too, and propped up to drink it. I liked leaning on his chest and feeling his fingers drift over my body.

I didn’t like looking down the bed and realising that I still had my shoes and socks on. Looked very, very silly. I gave some slow consideration to taking them off. It meant moving, though, and was the payoff going to be that great?

“What about a shower?”

Payoff. Yes. I looked at Duncan.

“You’ve still got your clothes on.”

“This is not an insurmountable drawback. I can take them off, I know how: I had an expensive education.”


“If you like.” And he rolled me over and patted my bottom warningly. I squeaked again. “No!”

The pat turned to a caress, easing down between my thighs. “No?”

“Maybe. Not quite yet.”

“Shower. Come on, get up.”

Shoes. Socks. I followed him to the bathroom, watched greedily while he dumped his own clothes and I got a proper look at what I’d signed up for. Ooooooh. Sporty type. Gentleman, too, he sorted the shower and then let me in first, sliding into the tiny space behind me and reaching for the shower gel, working it down my back and over my shoulders. I groaned with pleasure and then squeaked again as his hands slid frictionless over my hot bum. I was really going to come to regret that ‘Mouse’ business, I just knew I was. He reached round me, washed my chest, slipped lower. Oh, nice. Just enough to get me interested again. I leaned back against him and let it happen for a minute or two and then I turned, soapily, in his arms and began to return the compliment.

“Is that for me?”

“If you want it, Mouse, it’s all yours.”

I leaned back to rinse the soap off both of us, and dropped to my knees; above me Duncan turned the shower head so that I wouldn’t actually drown. Definitely a gentleman. I nuzzled in, dropping butterfly kisses up his thigh, and he leaned back against the wall and sighed. So I nuzzled some more, and kissed the other thigh. And then I rubbed myself against him, and stretched to lick across his stomach. And after a minute or two, he said, warningly, “Mouse, I thought I had made you understand about making approaches and then not following through? Or do we need to go back outside and go over it again?”

Hmmm. No. O.K. Open wide, Iain.

Ah. Now who’s in charge? It’s not me with wobbly knees now. Not me making noises like a mouse. Not me with my head tipped back against the wall whimpering. And oh joy, a man who didn’t grab at my head. He rested his hands on my shoulders, he let me feel how fast he liked it, but he didn’t try to make me do it his way. My turn to tickle and caress. He tasted of warm clean skin, slightly of soap, of enthusiastic man. Quite a lot of that. That spot there, Duncan, just there, that was where you had your thumb earlier when I liked it so much. Good for you too? This is much easier in the shower, you know, your mouth doesn’t dry up, you don’t gag so easily. I made a little humming noise of pleasure and he said, “oh, God, yes, do that again.” So I gave him a verse and a half of ‘Scotland the Brave’ – well, it was all that came to mind. Never mind what your mother said about not talking with your mouth full, it doesn’t apply. Wasn’t talking, ma, I was singing. Nothing wrong with singing in the shower. And he was beginning to pant, beginning to give little flicks of his hips. . .

The hand did go hard into my hair and I was just thinking of being disappointed – look, I don’t know anybody who likes that, having somebody hanging onto you while you’re giving head, it’s scary – but he wasn’t pushing me on, he was dragging me off.

“Out. Towel. Bed.”

This is Tops’ communication, I’ve since learned. Single words. Never nouns and verbs in the same sentence, and you just have to work out the bits they aren’t saying. We didn’t bother with looking for a second towel and actually we didn’t bother much about getting dry. Just enough of a slick over and a rub at the hair to stop us dripping on the carpet, or down the neck. Damp wasn’t a problem. He rubbed lightly down my back, dropped the towel, squeezed my bum. I struggled a little; that still hurt, but not. . . It was. . . Oh fuck, I liked it, O.K.? Not easy to disguise the fact when you’re starkers, either.

“The colour’s going off you.”

Ding! Warning bell: fading colour didn’t sound like something Duncan would be in favour of. I ran for it, made it out of the bathroom and about three steps down the hall before he caught me, spun me round and hitched me up over his shoulder. Undignified. And leaves the bum – ow! – vulnerable again. Hardly more than pats, but I was damp, and I was wriggling a good deal when he dumped me unceremoniously on his bed.

“Now. All this is very pleasant, but what I have in mind is fucking you through the mattress. Any objections?”

“No. Yes.”

“Pick one.”

“Um. . . safely?”

He leaned to the bedside table and yanked open a drawer. “Durex, Mates or Boys’ Own? Oh, and there’s one of the vegan ones left. Actually, it’s a bit old, I don’t recommend it. We’ll bin that.”

“What else have you got in there?”

“See for yourself. Anything you fancy?”

“You first, and then some time I want to try that one. And. . . that one. Not this time. Just you this time.”

“Don’t grab, then. Come here. What you were doing five minutes ago. . .”

“Want me to do it some more?”

“No, I think it’s my turn. Come on, on your back.”

“Owwwww, Duncan!”

“Serves you right if it smarts. On your back, I said. Spread your legs.”

Oh. Ohh. Don’t grab, you don’t like it when somebody does it to you. Oh God, that’s so ooooooh! Oh, he has got long fingers!

Oh yes, there. Again.

What? Oh God, any of them, even the elderly vegan one, just hurry up, I don’t care. I can’t do decisions when you’re doing that. I don’t do good decisions anyway. Well, except one.

‘Stay’ was a good one.

Idris the Dragon

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