It was the sheepish grin that gave him away, that and the way he sidled round the door.
“What have you done, Hansie? I thought you were over at Jim and Mary’s helping Mary in the garden.”
“Ja nee. About that.”
“Out with it.”
“I think I am in disgrace with Mary.” He tried his best to look penitent, but the way he was biting his lip suggested that he thought the whole thing rather funny.”
“And what gives you that impression?” I put down the paper.
“The fact that she sent me home and told me to tell you that I was in disgrace.”
“Well, that would certainly tend to confirm it, I admit. And am I to know just why you have offended my nearest and dearest?”
“Of course, I was instructed to tell you that, too, and throw myself on your mercy.”
“So, you know we were enlarging the rockery?”
“Yes, that was why she asked for help. You should be honoured, she doesn’t let just anyone help in that garden. Jim is banned. So am I, since the time I – well, I am.”
“Ja, only I think I also am banned now. You see we had a mechanical digger, a small one, but still a proper one, and I was using the – the – what do you call that thing in the front? Scoop? Anyway, I was using it to lift a load of rocks, and I turned the wrong lever and dumped them onto the ground, not where I was supposed to be putting them, and they squashed some trays of flowers.”
“Oh, Hansie. Still, it was an accident.”
“Ach, ja, of course. I heard her yell – well, I would say more that it was a screech. A Scottish battlecry. So of course, I looked, and saw what I had done, and tried to recover the trays. . .”
“Trays? How many of them were there?”
“Oh, maybe 60 seedlings. Or maybe more. She was not so clear, when she was telling me. I think hundreds must be exaggeration, yes?”
I shook my head, mutely.
“Anyway, once I had removed the rocks and the glass. . .”
“What glass? Where does glass come into it – oh Hansie, not the greenhouse?”
“No, of course not the greenhouse, do you think I am an idiot?
Don’t answer that,” he added as my lips started to move. “No, it was the cold
frame. This is a new English word I learned today.”
“So you wrecked the cold frame and several trays of seedling. So what did you do then?”
“Well I tidied up, and picked out what I could, of course, but really none of them was left intact. And Mary came up, and I apologised, of course, for the frame and told her I would replace it.”
“Well, that was well done.”
“Ja, but she said: but who will replace my plants? So of course, I said: well, I am sure we can get some, they are only vygies. Practically weeds, we used to root them up all the time in the garden at home otherwise they would take over the beds.”
“Vygies. And she went a most peculiar colour and she said to me: ‘Hansie van den Broek, they may be weeds where you come from, but I grew those mesembryanthemums with blood, sweat and tears from seed, and you have no idea how hard that is in this climate. Go home and tell Tim you are in disgrace and he’s to make you suffer accordingly.’ And she slapped me on the backside, quite hard I might say, and pointed me in the direction of the gate, and here I am.”
I was trying not to laugh myself. It wasn’t really funny. No, not funny at all.
“So I’m to make you suffer, am I?”
His eyes glinted with innocent mischief. He looks about twelve years old with that expression. “Surely you won’t be so unkind, my liefie?”
I crooked my finger at him. “Come here. What did a certain person say to me last week when I forgot the milk two days in a row?”
“‘I think I can help you remember – and remember that I am doing this for your own good.’ Something along those lines,” he admitted.
“Just so. And what did that certain person then proceed to do to me?”
“He spanked you. But Tim, surely you are not going to spank me?” Eyes implausibly wide in fake horror.
“Come here, you monster of indiscipline, and take your medicine,” I growled, and pulled him close, so he was standing right in front of me. He was wearing track pants which was convenient, because I could slide them down with no further ado, rapidly followed by his briefs, and pull him down across my lap. He was giggling too much to give any serious resistance, even if he had wanted to, which is just as well because he’s a head taller than me and considerably broader of shoulder.
And of course, fabulously firm of arse, which is just rounded comfortably
to fit my hand. I proceeded to demonstrate that, at some length, by fitting
my hand forcibly to every corner of it. It wasn’t a serious punishment, of course,
but I had every intention of making him feel it. That ‘memory course’ last week
for the milk made sitting distinctly uncomfortable for an hour or two, and I
planned to return the compliment.
So I kept it up until my hand was feeling distinctly sore, and to judge by a few uncomfortable shifts and grunts when I concentrated on particular areas, so was his behind. It was certainly a lovely colour – his skin is so pale anyway, and on his bum it’s as pale as milk, only now it was more strawberry milkshake, and heavy on the strawberry. Contemplating it made me feel distinctly turned on. I ran the tips of my fingers lightly over it in an circular motion, just touching with the edge of my nails, and felt him shudder sensually. Felt something else, as well: seemed like somebody else was turned on too. I let my hand slide down the silky skin between his thighs and up to warmer and more inviting pastures, felt him hump my thigh langorously. . .
. . .then I returned to the attack, smacking the lower halves of both cheeks until my hand stung, and he yelped with surprise and dismay.
“That’s more like it,” I grinned. “Now your disgrace is getting to you I hope.”
“Ouch. Ja, I am truly sorry. I think I will try to find a grower of vygies and surprise Mary with some replacements.”
“Good idea. You really don’t want to have her pissed off with you, I can tell you. And by the way?”
“The next time you want bloody milk for your cornflakes, get it yourself.”
He began to giggle. It’s infectious. Soon we were both at it.
There was a sound of discreet throat clearing.
Well, if you had told me that a 6’2” man could levitate from the over-the-lap position to a standing start, pull up his pants, and vanish behind the sofa with a squeak all in one continuous motion, I don’t think I would have believed you.
“Sorry, but the side gate was open, and so were the patio doors,” said Jim, evenly.
I looked at him, wishing the earth would open and swallow me. I’ve no idea what colour Hansie had gone behind the sofa, but I know I was crimson.
“I, er, I . . .we were. . . that is. . .”
He smiled, slowly, though he was a bit pink himself.
“Och, laddie, it’s not the first arse I’ve seen spanked, including yours.” Thank you for reminding me of that, that makes me feel a whole lot better. “Besides, you don’t get to play rugby for as long as I did without knowing every inhumanity that man can inflict on his fellow man’s backside. Did I ever tell you about Davy McLellan and the cactus?”
“I – yes, yes you did.”
“There you are then. Hansie, will you stop hiding behind the damned settee?”
There was a muffled ‘no’. Then his head popped up, flushed and tousled, long enough to add: “I am never coming out of here again, never,” and popped back down again.
“Jim, did you want something?”
“Ah yes, sorry. The keys to the digger. Young Hansie walked off with them in his pocket after he had his little accident.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Hansie. . .”
More fumbling sounds, and a set of keys arched neatly over the back of the sofa. Jim caught them without noticeable effort.
“Nice pass,” he said. “You’ll be showing the lads how to do that at training on Wednesday, I hope.”
“I cannot. . .”
“You’d better, otherwise I shall come round that sofa and drag you out for a spanking myself.”
His head popped up again, looking alarmed. Jim smiled sweetly at him.
“Goodbye lads. Play carefully. Tim, walk me to the car, will you?”
I rose and followed him out of the patio doors into the side-way.
“Look, I’m sorry laddie, I didn’t mean to barge in on you like that.”
I shook my head. “No, it’s our fault. Well, Hansie’s really, he should have closed the side gate when he came in.”
“You won’t take it out on the poor fellow, will you? I think he’s been punished enough for that mistake.”
“You’re probably right,” I agreed.
He paused, as if there was something else he wanted to say.
“Your aunt had said to me, that there were, um, elements of discipline in your relationship. That’s fine with me, I don’t have a problem with that as such, I just. . . did it always – I mean, did I . . . did my punishing you make you like this?”
“No. No, I’m certain of that.”
“I hope so.” He got into his car, and I waved him off, thoughtfully.
“Has he gone?”
“Yes, you can come out now.”
“I meant it, I wish never to come out. Oh God, I am so embarrassed, liefling. How will I face him at work?”
“Well, I suppose we could wall you up behind the sofa like an anchorite, pass in a bowl of gruel and your day’s work through a hole, but it would make interviewing difficult. And if you don’t think Jim was serious about hauling you out and spanking you himself if you don’t turn up to the lads training session tomorrow, I suggest you try it. I’ll sell tickets.”
“Bastard.” He got up and came around the sofa in a tackle that upended me into the cushions, and proceeded to get in a little revenge on my own bum.
“I’m serious. And I’m blaming you. Don’t your family know how to knock?”
“Hey, ow, that’s not fair. But I’m glad you’ve – ow – come out because otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to go and pick Piet up at the airport on Thursday, and he would have been very, very annoyed. And then you – ow – would have got another one when he found where you were hiding. And probably one from Phil when he gets back from training camp.”
“Hah, you know what your trouble is, Englishman?”
“You talk too much. We Afrikaners only talk when we have something to say.”
“That’s why you all have such mean mouths. Atrophy.”
“Ach, nee. Because we use them for this. . .”
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© , 2005