I was so shaken after the policeman left on Monday that I nearly rang Nathan on the spot, but it began to occur to me that this was my chance to make some changes. In the end I planned it out through the whole of the afternoon, and I’m afraid my employer got very little good from me. I’m not naturally a great planner, and Nathan is, which is a more or less constant cause of friction between us. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been spanked for arriving somewhere without some essential item, or what Nathan calls an essential item. I would just buy a new comb, or toothbrush, or change of underwear, but no, Perfect Nathan thinks it’s wasteful, so I get a hot bottom again. Actually, sometimes I do mind. I appreciate that he’s trying to make me a better adult (he’s thirty to my twenty-one) but occasionally I wish he would loosen up a bit. Mind you, if I say so, I almost always get a swat.
And I really don’t like David and Alicia. Well, no, that’s not quite true. I like Alicia a lot. She’s fun. David is a toad. He’s been friends with Nathan since God was young, though, so I have to put up with him. I’m not sure why they are friends, since it’s obvious to me that David doesn’t like gay men. Nathan says I’m imagining it, but the alternative is that David simply doesn’t like me, and although I’m prepared to accept that as a possibility, Nathan won’t have that either. David gets at me every time we meet, which is more often than I think necessary, and whatever I say seems to be wrong. He’s a lot brighter than me, so he manages to make the sort of remark that gives everybody a good laugh at my expense, and any response I make just comes out as rude. Then Nathan makes me apologise, and I just know that I’ll be going over his knee as soon as we get home.
So we were to have them over to dinner on Saturday, and I thought I was tired of being made to feel inadequate by David, and it wasn’t going to happen again. Hence the planning.
I started on Tuesday morning. For once when the alarm went off, I got up straight away, rather than waiting for Nathan to haul me out of bed. He’s a morning person and I’m not, and he always says I should get up straight off. So I did, and as a result I was in the shower when he surfaced. It rather threw him. I was washed and shaved and dressed before him, which meant that I got the best of the hot water from our rather idiosyncratic boiler, and I had already made the coffee when he came down. He opened his mouth to give me my usual blast about eating a proper breakfast, and I put a bowl of porridge in front of him. He hates porridge, but even Nathan can’t deny that it’s a good breakfast. I’m not that fond of it myself, but Nathan swears by eggs, which I really detest in the morning, and I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to work with a heated rear because I’ve tried to avoid a breakfast omelette. So this time, breakfast was porridge, and Nathan ate it.
I had, for once, packed my briefcase on Monday night, the way Nathan always says I should, so as soon as I had put my bowl in the dishwasher, I kissed him briskly, and trotted off to work. I was in with enough time to spare to get a decent parking space, and to go through the morning post and palm all the dull bits off onto someone else. We all do that: usually I’m last in so the someone else is me. I had a huge list of things to do, which isn’t at all my style, but I was determined that today, I wouldn’t forget anything and Nathan would have no cause for complaint. At lunchtime, I went to the canteen and ate a salad, rather than bolting a bar of chocolate and a cup of coffee. Nathan always says I need to eat properly, and he usually asks what I had, and I’m not a convincing liar. I bought a pint of milk and a loaf of bread before I went home, having noticed that we were running short. By the time Nathan came home, I had the dinner started, the dishwasher emptied and the cat fed.
He looked a bit battered. “I had a really bad day today. I don’t know how I came to be so late this morning. What did you eat at lunchtime?”
See? I told you so. “Chicken salad and an apple.”
“Come on, Mike. What did you really eat?”
I produced the canteen receipt, with my works number and name on the top.
“Good boy! It’s getting through at last!”
We ate, and as soon as we had finished, I cleared the table, restacked the dishwasher and washed the cat bowl. Nathan looked shocked.
“Mike? What have you done? You know I’ll find out in the end.”
“I haven’t done anything. I’m just getting this place sorted. I’m going upstairs.”
I cleaned the bathroom. Nathan always says I don’t know how, but he’s wrong. I just hate doing it. But I did it, and I washed the window, and when he came up, I was taking down the curtain.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m just going to put this in the machine. I don’t know when we washed it last.”
He was deeply suspicious, and he went on being suspicious when I went to bed at half past ten without any argument about watching the football. He followed me soon after, but I pretended to be asleep.
On Wednesday morning, I gave him a kipper for his breakfast. He absolutely hates smoked fish, but I assured him the protein would do him good. “Mike, you know I would rather have an egg.”
“Yes, but I wouldn’t, and since I was up first, I’ve made breakfast, and it’s a kipper. Don’t worry, it’s the last one from the freezer. I’ll see you tonight. Don’t forget that if you want me to shop tomorrow, you’ll need to do the list today.”
I think that rankled a bit. He doesn’t forget that sort of thing.
On Wednesday night, I dusted and hoovered in the living room. Nathan had wanted to watch the film, but I said that the carpet was disgusting, and that he would be better occupied in sorting the laundry. I think he thought I was feverish, but I absolutely wasn’t watching some art house movie, and when I thought of the number of times I haven’t been allowed to watch something I wanted to see, because Perfect Nathan wanted to play at housework, I hardened my heart and ran the vacuum cleaner under the sofa. I was strategically asleep again when he came to bed, too.
On Thursday morning, he managed to blow the bulb in the shaver point. I had nothing to do with that, but it meant that by the time he made it downstairs, his porridge was cold. He tried to leave it, but I’ve eaten cold scrambled egg myself often enough, under duress, that I knew all the arguments. He was definitely giving me the evil eye, though.
I shopped after work on my way home, and when he put in front of me a meal of pasta, which I loathe, I ate it without comment. Then I washed the kitchen floor and turned out a cupboard, throwing away a variety of jars and packets.
“Mike, that’s my harissa sauce. Why have you put it in the bin?”
“Best before at least two months ago, love. Not healthy.”
He slid a hand across the bed to me later, in a hopeful manner, but I turned over and said placidly, “Do you mind if we don’t? That pasta has given me horrible indigestion.”
He curled round me and rubbed my stomach soothingly, and I felt a bit of a bastard, but he had this coming and I was actually enjoying myself. I admit the lack of sex was beginning to make me twitchy too, but I could sublimate my drive in the pleasure of, for once, it not being me who was on the hop.
On Friday morning, when he came down behind me he said “I can still smell that blasted kipper from the other day. Shall I poach some eggs?”
“Yes, do,” I said, enthusiastically. “You do it so much better than me, and a poached egg is traditional on top of smoked haddock.”
He still didn’t say anything, but his expression was priceless. I had never realised before just how much you can annoy your Top by doing precisely what you are told without argument. He ate his fish, although he gagged twice, and I chattered on about Omega oils and how good haddock was for the brain.
It was my turn to cook, and I did. I was home early, and I phoned my mum and asked for a recipe of hers, which she read out to me. Then she asked, suspiciously, what I was up to. “I think Nathan may be anaemic, and it won’t hurt to take some precautions.” I knew that would fetch her. My sister had bad anaemia when she was pregnant, and was really surprisingly ill, and the family got a bit twitchy on the subject.
Nathan came in with a pile of preparation work and marking, and I made “how dreadful” noises. “Never mind,” I said brightly. “I’ve got a piece of work to look at too, so after dinner we can have a solid catching up session.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Mike. It’ll wait until Sunday, won’t it?”
“Now, you know you’re always telling me not to put off my work. No, we’ll do it tonight and have the weekend free. Set the table while I dish up. Everything’s ready.”
“What is it?”
“Casseroled liver and spinach.”
Nathan’s hatred of smoked fish is only surpassed by his detestation of offal.
“It’s good for us, you know it is. We don’t eat enough iron rich foods. I was looking at that book you bought, the one about balancing your diet, and I thought we needed to make some changes.”
I nearly choked on the liver myself, watching Nathan trying to get it down. Every time he tried to stop, I would produce some encouraging sentence of the type that he uses when he wants me not to eat junk food. I even gave him seconds.
The evening was unsurpassingly dull, but I did shift my monthly report, and he finished his marking. He made several attempts to stop half way, and open a bottle of wine, but I said mendaciously that I didn’t want any, and since he’ll never let me drink on my own, he couldn’t very well do it himself. By the time we went to bed, he was in a foul temper, and I feared for a few moments that I had overdone things and would be collecting a spanking anyway. I could see that he was thinking about it, but equally I knew that he prided himself on never disciplining me except when I deserved it, and plainly I didn’t. Well, I did, but not for anything he could quite put a finger on.
We shared the housework on Saturday, to make the place look nice before Alicia and David came. I asked what we were going to eat.
“I thought lasagne.”
“Didn’t we have that last time they came? The butcher where I got the liver had ox hearts, and I’m sure we have a recipe somewhere for hearts stuffed with bacon.”
He gave me a hard stare. “What about chicken and ginger?”
I gave way gracefully. Just as well. I haven’t the faintest idea how to cook a heart, or what it tastes like. But at least it wasn’t pasta.
David was in terribly David form. He patronised me half to death, and I, for once, kept my temper, and smiled and said nothing. He went on and on about me being so inexperienced, and ‘when you’re older you’ll know this, Michael’. I sat it out. Nathan was smiling at me, and I’m sure he thought that I was at last learning to like David. In his dreams. I waited until we reached the profiteroles, before I struck.
“I had a rather disturbing experience this week. The police came to see me at work.”
David laughed. “What, baby, to see if your employer was involved in child slavery?”
General laughter from Alicia and Nathan. I let it die away and then said gently, “Yes.”
“Mike, you’re not making any sense,” chided Nathan. “What did they want?”
“Do you remember my birthday party?”
They all did. I had thrown a party for my twenty-first at the Four Feathers, and they had been there. I had picked up a tanning for making a fuss about inviting them: I still don’t see why I had to. Like I say, David is Nathan’s friend, not mine.
“Sue brought a man called Vaughan, remember? He’s a big solid man with no hair. I liked him. What I didn’t realise is that he’s a police inspector. Some twit told him that it was my eighteenth, not my twenty-first.”
I saw Alicia stiffen. She had been there when David had been running off at the mouth about me being eighteen now. It’s the sort of thing he thinks of as very funny. I admit, I do look young; it’s a family characteristic. My sister has two children, one of them at school, and still has to carry I.D. to be served in pubs.
“Then it came up in conversation that Nathan and I had been living together for nearly two years. He didn’t say anything at the time, but he thought he ought to look into it, and he obviously couldn’t come here, so he traced me at work.”
Nathan blinked. “Sorry, Mike, but I’m missing the point of this. Why couldn’t he come here?”
“Well, in case I couldn’t talk with you here. If I were only just eighteen, then obviously when we got together I was under age. And since he knew that you’re a teacher, that would be serious.”
There was a dead silence. I looked round quizzically. “Nathan’s always telling me to think before I speak, and to consider consequences, and I have to say, he’s right. I had no I.D. on me, and I had to get Richard down to confirm that I’m twenty-one, and that he introduced me to Nathan, and that I was eighteen at the time. Richard’s spitting mad about it. He said that it wasn’t just Nathan’s reputation that could be shot, but his as well. And he really didn’t like having uniformed police in the office, and everybody asking what they wanted.”
Nathan looked stunned, Alicia, who was taking the point, looked furious, and David looked deeply uneasy.
“Inspector Vaughan was very apologetic, but he said, quite rightly, that he had to check. If it had been true, he would have had to tell the school, and Nathan would have lost his job, with no likelihood of getting another. I’m glad he started with me, and not with the education authorities. He thinks we ought to try to find out who started the story, and make a big fuss.”
David was turning a most peculiar puce colour. I went on.
“Richard rang the Feathers to speak to Carl about it. Carl’s the landlord, Alicia, we’ve known him for ever. Carl’s spitting feathers too. He says if the police had started asking questions about the possibility of him allowing under age drinking, the brewery would have had him out so fast that, well, you can guess. He says if he finds out who was saying it, a lifetime ban will be the least of their problems.” It had been surprisingly easy to manoeuvre Richard into telling Carl, and Carl’s care for his licence was legendary.
I smiled at them. “I told the Inspector that I was sure it was just a silly joke, malicious perhaps, but primarily stupid. He was muttering about wasting police time being an offence, but I think I managed to persuade him that it hadn’t been deliberate. I’m sure it was just somebody being inconsiderate, not thinking that they could have Carl and Nathan into serious trouble. But wasn’t it odd? I wonder who it was? I admit, I do vaguely remember somebody teasing me about my age, but I don’t” and I looked straight at David, “remember who it was.”
“I’ll make some coffee,” said Nathan in a peculiar voice, and went out. I could hear him clattering about in the kitchen, and presently he dropped a cup, which broke. I can’t remember Nathan ever breaking anything before.
The rest of the evening was somewhat flat. David plainly wanted to go, and both Nathan and Alicia jumped down his throat every time he spoke, while I was gently sweet to him. They went early, and the minute they were through he door, Nathan had me by the scruff of the neck, and ran me upstairs.
“Right, mister. How much of that story was true?”
“All of it, Nathan. Every last word. Except. . .”
“Ah. I knew it. Except what?”
“Except that I don’t remember who said I was eighteen. I do. It was David.”
“It was a joke, for heaven’s sake!”
“Nathan, it was a joke that implies that you like little boys. It was a joke that he has been making for two years, and that I have found offensive all along. I don’t know why you don’t.”
“He didn’t mean that!”
“He said it. Every time he called me your ‘little friend’, or your ‘pupil’, or every time he asked if you hadn’t taught me my manners yet, or suggested that you were responsible for me and for the way I behaved, he said it. I always understood that it was what he meant.”
“When did all this happen?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“What would you have done? You would have said that I was over-reacting because I don’t like David, and you would have forbidden me to speak to him about it. Nathan, the police came. It was serious. They thought he was saying that you might be a danger to children. I’ve dealt with it now. He won’t say it again, and I think Alicia is going to slay him. He knows I know. She knows I know.”
“You could have told me and I would have dealt with it.”
“You wouldn’t. You would have had a little man-to-man chat with David, and nothing would have changed. This wasn’t yours to deal with. It was mine. I know you want to look after me, and I love it. I love you. I know you want to protect me, and I love that too. But I don’t need you to arrange my whole life for me. Sometimes the only person who can protect me is me. And sometimes you have to let me protect you too. We do have a problem with the age gap: the way you treated me when I was eighteen won’t do as I get older, and I don’t think you’ve noticed. I’m happy that you’re in charge, and I’ll submit to your judgment as long as I think that your judgment is better than mine. But you have to allow me to think for myself. For heaven’s sake, women have been fighting for decades to be allowed the sort of autonomy that I’ve given up, and I’m beginning to see why! My opinion may be as valid as yours. I’ll keep to your rules provided you allow me to question them, and to change them if they aren’t reasonable. You’ve seen that this week.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that potatoes, which I like, are as good a form of carbohydrate as pasta, which I don’t. It isn’t enough to say that I have to eat pasta, otherwise why shouldn’t I insist on you eating offal or fish? We need new rules, that we both agree on. Then I’ll admit that if I break them, I’m due a spanking.”
“Do you mean to tell me that the way you’ve been behaving all this week is down to. . .”
“To me growing up. Yes.”
“But what on earth did you hope to achieve?”
“Since Monday night, I’ve kept every single one of your rules. Every one. And you haven’t liked it, have you? So I’ve shown you that I can’t live under them any more.”
“Are you leaving me?”
I was aghast. I had never seen Nathan look humble before, and I didn’t like it. I flew to wind my arms round him, but he didn’t respond. “Of course not! Not unless you want me to go! You know I love you. You were my first, and I’ve never wanted anybody else. But you have to let me develop. I don’t need to be told to eat my greens, and go to bed at a sensible hour. I know that if I stay up to watch the football, I’ll be tired in the morning, but sometimes that’s my choice, and it’s mine to make, not yours. Then if I’m rude to you the next day because I’m overtired, you have the right to be cross, but not otherwise. I started off thinking, why was David at my birthday party anyway? He isn’t my friend. I don’t like him. Why did I have to have him at my special event, just because you said so? And the answer was, because you said so. And when I objected, why didn’t you allow me to say no? You thought that because I’m younger, because I’m Mike, that if I didn’t agree with you, I was being a brat. Well, now you’ve seen. I don’t like David. He nearly did a lot of damage. No, I don’t suppose it was on purpose, but I don’t have to like him, I don’t have to agree with you about everything. I thought you wanted to live with Mike, like I want to live with Nathan. I didn’t think you wanted to live with another Nathan, to make me into another Nathan. Can’t you see?”
I was nearly crying with the need to make him see.
“Yes,” he said slowly. “I do see. I do want Mike. Mike exasperates me, but he’s funny and loving and kind and clever, and he has more sense than Nathan. I don’t want a Nathan clone. Perhaps it’s time to give up all the rules.”
“No.” I was quite sure about that. “No. Just different rules. I don’t suppose we can think of them all at once, but they need to grow with us. So far they haven’t.”
“Well, give up the penalties, perhaps.”
“I don’t think so. I admit I don’t like it when you spank me, but I also admit that sometimes I deserve it. And you don’t nag. I know I tend to sulk, and it isn’t attractive. I can afford to behave better, but you can afford to loosen up a bit.”
He smiled, rather shakily. “I’m sure. Perhaps we both need to develop, not just you. I’ve always worried about you being so much younger than me. I felt I needed to take care of you. But I don’t, do I?”
He looked so forlorn. “You don’t need to. But if I want you to, that’s another matter. Will you?”
He drew me down onto the bed and kissed me. “Always, and however you like.”
I felt I owed him something. “Nathan, I need to confess. I’ve been teasing you all week. I’m sure I deserve a spanking for that. Two lots of smoked fish was probably excessive.”
“It was definitely excessive. By the way, half of the second lot is probably still inside the washing machine. I couldn’t get it down, and when you turned round. . .”
“But I can’t spank you for being right, can I?”
“I think you must. I don’t really want you to, but I know I’ve hurt you with this, and I don’t want us to have to carry the hurt forward. So will you?”
He helped me up onto my feet, and neatly undid my trousers, dragging them and my boxers to my knees. I lay down over his lap; I had been there often enough to know how to do it. He dealt me a couple of light smacks, and I reared back up.
“No, Nathan. That won’t do. I told you: I know I’ve hurt your feelings. You have to admit that, and cope with it. Stop messing about and do it properly. It’s got to be enough to make you feel right about us again. We’ve always said that the punishment clears the slate, and I want us to OUCH!”
He had hauled me back over and started again. After about forty seconds, I wished I had kept my big mouth shut. His palm was coming down crisply, not particularly hard but achieving a sturdy resonance on my behind. I had been spanked harder: on the occasion on which he discovered that I had forgotten to insure my car and had driven it for a week with no cover, he had used a wooden clothes brush on my bare backside, and had turned me into one very unhappy individual; nonetheless, he was inducing a heated smart which made me wriggle and hiss. I knew that the effects wouldn’t last long, but I rather hoped they weren’t going to OH SHIT. He gave me six real stingers and I squalled with pain.
Then he pushed me up onto my knees, and before I could catch my breath, his mouth was on mine and his tongue was doing that thing that makes my brains melt.
“You’re one bad brat, Mike, did you know that?”
“I’m not. I’ve been spanked so I’m a good brat now. That’s how it works.”
I slid onto his knee to kiss him again. His hand slipped inside my shirt and he pinched a nipple. I wriggled again. Then he drew me to my feet, and redressed me. I sighed. I had hoped for better.
“Now,” he said briskly, “we are going to clear the table, and empty the washing machine of dead fish, and refill the dishwasher, and THEN, you will give me the spanking I’ve been asking for, for stupidity and for putting smoked haddock in the drum, and after that, I rather hope that we’re going to bed, because you turn me on something chronic, and I want to pin you to that bed and screw you until you squeak. How does that sound?”
Pretty good, actually.
It took us about ten minutes to get downstairs, because we stopped on the landing to neck, and again on virtually every step. The cat was on the table and had eaten the last two profiteroles, but we cleared everything away, including the fish in the washing machine. Nathan remembered that David had brought a bottle of wine, which we hadn’t drunk, and recovered it from the fridge. “Let’s take this to bed. That stupid prat owes us something. Find two clean glasses.”
We necked all the way back up the stairs, and had struggled back into the bedroom when Nathan began to laugh. “Did you see Alicia’s face? David is definitely a dead man walking. Do you think he’s sleeping in the car tonight?”
“Maybe she spanks him too?” I suggested. We both thought about that for a moment. “No,” we agreed.
I poured two glasses of wine, and turned to my lover. “I want to undress you. I want to kiss you. I have quite a lot of other ideas, too.”
“Ah, but you’re forgetting one. I put the haddock in the washing machine, so I have to be punished. And punishment always comes first.”
“Come on. We don’t do that. Perfect Nathan doesn’t get spanked.”
“Perfect Nathan put the fish in the washing machine. If you had done it I would have spanked you. And I have been spanked in my time.”
“Honestly? Who by?”
He hesitated. “I shouldn’t have said that, should I? It was before your time, love, when I was about your age. I had a boyfriend who spanked me when I bratted. The relationship didn’t last long. He was in the army, and they sent him off to some obscure place, and he never came back. The last I heard, he was living in Catterick with a wine waiter. So do the deed, Mike, and let’s get to the fun making-up bit.”
“Why am I going to punish you, Nathan?”
“Because I put my breakfast in the washing machine, and because I didn’t notice that you were all grown up. And you need to work on your delivery. That wasn’t nearly severe enough.”
“Everybody’s a critic now. Come here.”
And then, of course, I couldn’t get his trousers undone. He had a buttoned fly, and I couldn’t undo the buttons, and by the time he snorted with exasperation and did it himself, we were both helpless with giggles. I managed his briefs better, and pulled him down over my lap, rather tentatively. A voice from shin level suggested helpfully, “I need to be further forward, or you won’t be able to get any leverage. That’s better. Go on. Oh, come on, Mike, you can do it harder than that. I won’t break.”
It’s surprisingly difficult to spank someone who’s giving you instructions. I began to giggle again, which didn’t help, and so did he, until I gave him several sharp whacks, which made him gasp. I could see my handprint on his backside, so I worked all round until he was evenly red, and asked solicitously, “Is that better?” He agreed, rather breathlessly, that it was, and I went on until I heard a high pitched yelp. Then I let him up, and he rose to his feet, rubbing his bottom and trying to scowl at me, but losing it into giggles again.
“Take those damned jeans off, and your knicks too, and come closer.” I drew him towards me, until he was standing between my legs as I sat on the bed. Then I cupped my hands on his cheeks, which were definitely warmer than usual, leaned forward, and opened my mouth. He sighed, and his fingers wove into my hair, and as my tongue began to work, he made a little throaty noise of pleasure. I licked, and kissed, and nibbled, and rasped my teeth infinitely gently, and drew back for a moment to smile at him. Then I leaned round him and took a mouthful of wine, and went back to work, and he gave a squeak of surprise. “That’s cold, you little horror!”
Thirty seconds later we were both naked, and laughing like idiots, and he did indeed pin me to the bed and screw me until I squeaked. Afterwards, we drank the wine (David may be a prat, but he has a good wine merchant), and I said, thoughtfully, “I love it when we do it like that, fast and hard.”
“I know you do. Why do you think I did it? Are you happy?”
I pulled his head down to kiss him again. “But you like it better when we do it like this. . . Slowly and tenderly. So it’s your turn. Isn’t life fun, Nathan? How long do you think I can keep you going? Do you think I can make you beg?”
I can, actually. It took me an hour and ten minutes, but I made him beg. He said he would have spanked me for it, but he didn’t think he could move. We’re going to be all right. I’m sure of it.
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