Arising from something the Gnome said: here’s Phil playing Premiership rugby, and getting paid for it. And playing International rugby, and getting paid for it. And having advertising contracts, and getting paid for them. And writing a newspaper column, and getting paid for that. He must, said the Gnome, be rolling in money. What do you think he does with it? Spends it, I said.

We ended up at Piet’s again. It hadn’t been planned, we had just been out for the afternoon and we had thought that we hadn’t seen Piet and Phil for ages, and that they might give us coffee if we called. And Piet, unfortunately, did. Phil wasn’t home, so Piet made coffee. That’s never a good idea. But there, we love Piet dearly, so we peered into the muddy depths, and tried not to think about what might be hidden in there or how long it had been dead.

“So where’s Phil?” asked Hansie, swallowing manfully, and shuddering at the taste.

“Gone shopping. He had another bonus payment last week, and he says he needs new trousers.”

I set my mug down carefully, and looked at him. “You don’t agree?”

“Tim, we cannot open the wardrobe for Phil’s clothes. We have had to buy another wardrobe for the spare room: when we have visitors they cannot put anything away, because of Phil’s clothes in there. Our third bedroom is full of Phil’s clothes. The loft is full of Phil’s clothes. I do not think that he needs any more clothes.”

“But you let him go?”

“Ach, Hansie, I am his partner, not his keeper. He is so vain, we know that, but it is not as if he cannot afford to clothe himself the way he likes. By what right would I stop him? If he has pleasure from his clothes, why should I deny it to him? Although, if he keeps shopping at this rate, I think we will need to leave this house and get somewhere bigger. But it could be worse: he might want to have a motorcycle like Fran. Then I really would worry. Clothes are not a serious problem.”

“I think we all need to move – Hansie wants us to move somewhere with a proper garden. I’m not so keen, though, I think – oh, hi, Phil, how was the shopping expedition? Where did you go?”

“Hi, guys. Only into town, not anywhere special. Although I did see Fran, and she told me about a shop I hadn’t heard of before.”

Piet sighed, ostentatiously. “And no doubt you went there and spent a scandalous amount of money?”

“Well… yes.”

“And what did you buy? Let me guess. More clothes which you do not need, and which will be indistinguishable from the clothes you already have.”

“No, I don’t think so. I haven’t got anything like these. Actually, I… well, I’m not sure if they were a good buy. I have my doubts.”

Piet sighed. “Then why did you buy whatever it was?”

“It seemed a good idea at the time.”

“What on earth did you buy?”

“Trousers. Grey ones.”

I put in my fourpenceworth. “Come on, Phil, grey trousers can always be used for something. Unless… you haven’t bought some dreadful outré style, have you?”

He laughed. “No, not that. Just… well, I’m not sure Piet will approve. In fact, I’m almost certain he won’t.”

There was a silence while we thought about this. Then Hansie said carefully, “May we see these unusual trousers?”

“Yes,” agreed Piet. “I think perhaps I wish to know what it is of which I am not going to approve. And why am I not going to approve?”

“I think they might turn out to be ‘you aren’t going out dressed like that’ trousers.”

There was another silence while we thought about that too. “Koekie, what is so peculiar about these trousers? I think you had better tell me.”

“I just think you’re going to go all Alpha Top again.”

“Shall I want to spank you for buying these?”

“Ummmmm… possibly, yes.”

“Go at once and put them on. We will see them, while I am still calm, and while Tim and Hansie are here to restrain me lest I should be very upset.”

He laughed and went upstairs, and we gazed at each other.

“What do you think he can possibly have bought? He knows I take no interest in such things. His clothes do not concern me at all.”

I thought of some of the things I’ve seen worn in some of the more… advanced… clubs. “He said that Fran recommended the shop. You don’t think he might have… You don’t think it might be the kind of place used by the sort of people she photographs? A bit – um – specialised?”

Piet’s face hardened. “If that is the case, then a spanking will be the least of it. We have not spent the last however long preserving Phil’s good name just to have him break it open in a shop of dubious reputation.”

Hansie shook his head. “Surely not, Piet. Fran would not send him to such a place. She knows that he lives on his good character, and Phil himself has more sense than that.”

“Well,” I said brightly, “we’ll see soon enough, won’t we?”

We did. Phil came back down to show us what he had bought. He had told no lie. He had bought a pair of trousers of ordinary cut, and of a pleasant gunmetal grey.

They were leather.

They must have cost an absolute bomb – I had never seen leather like it. It was soft and supple, both thick and flexible. It draped across his body, suggesting a great deal without actually revealing very much. Heaven knows what sort of model had been used, but those trousers fitted Phil as if they had been designed for him. On him. And by someone who had intimate and carnal knowledge of him and wanted more. They were tight, yes, but not vulgarly so, and every time he shifted his weight or moved, the play of muscle drew the eye. These were ‘Look at me!’ trousers. If he wore them in the street, women were going to drive into lamp-posts. Then he turned round. Oh. Oh my. On another man they might have been trousers for going out in; on Phil these were trousers for Taking Off. Slowly.

“I’m not sure: are they too tight across the back?”

“No,” whispered Hansie. I opened my mouth, but nothing useful came out. Drape Phil’s backside in that sort of leather and it becomes something that should be illegal without a licence. Should be illegal with a licence. I don’t think he should go outside without police protection when he’s wearing those. I fought down thoughts of peaches, and biting, and looked at Piet.

“I see. Well, koekie, I agree, you have nothing in your wardrobe quite like that. I think I would have noticed. I may be older than you but I am not actually dead yet. Come over here and let me have a closer look.”

Yes, good idea, Piet, and Hansie and I will form an orderly queue. I would perhaps have been inclined to feel jealous at the way my Best Beloved was letting his mouth hang open while looking at another man, were it not for the fact that my own tongue was picking up carpet fluff.

“There were other colours, but I thought the black was a bit obvious. There was a lovely dark red, though, oxblood red, and a sort of olive green.”

“And did you buy these other colours?”

“Oh, no, Piet,” he said, virtuously, spoiling it only with, “I thought I had better see what sort of reaction I got to the grey ones first.”

Piet leaned forward, and ran his hands slowly upwards from Phil’s knees. I shuddered. The big hands, big hard hands, as I knew to my cost, eased lightly across the leather, and curved around Phil’s backside. Phil’s head went a little back, and he looked down at Piet, eyes half closed. “What do you think? Should I keep them? Or take them back?”

“It seems to me that they fit you very well. Hansie, what do you think?”

I’ve seen that look on Hansie's face before and it usually implies the absence of joined-up thinking of any kind. Phil moved across to stand in front of him, and Hansie took his turn at running a hand up the leather-wrapped thigh. He pulled slightly at Phil’s hip, and Phil obligingly turned his back for Hansie to fit a palm over the curves of his arse.

Ja, I think that is an excellent fit. But Tim has a better eye for such things than I do: you should ask him.”

Phil smirked at me as he came over, and I cast a glance at Piet for permission, before slipping two fingers into the waistband and then running my fingertips down the front. The leather was warm, flexible as silk. He pushed forward a little to my touch.

“I don’t know, Phil, the fit at the back is lovely, but I wonder if perhaps they’re a little tight just… here. See? Here? Piet, what do you think?”

“Here? You might be right, Tim, there is not a great deal of space inside here, is there? Phil, is that comfortable?”


“I think… I think you are right, my hart. I think I am indeed going to go all Alpha Top. I think I am going to lay down the law.”

Phil’s eyes snapped open, as Piet got up, wrapped one muscular arm around the tops of Phil’s thighs and lifted, dropping Phil neatly across his shoulder. He glared at Hansie and me. “I am Alpha Top, am I not?”

I nodded, confused, and Hansie murmured, “Ja, Piet.”

“Good. Come, both of you. Phil, on Monday you may go and see about the red trousers and the green ones.”

“They’re in the bag in the hall.”

“I thought you said you had not bought them?”

“I lied.”

“Excellent. Come and be spanked for it. Hansie, bring the bag. We will see them all. But I am Alpha Top, and the law is: me first.”

Me? I didn’t get to see the amazing trousers for another week, and from the hints I’ve heard, Phil spent most of that week putting them on and having them taken off again. Certainly, by the time I saw him, both he and Piet had that sleek ‘getting enough’ look about them. It was the end of the rugby season, and play was tailing off, although Phil, obviously, was still working quite hard at keeping himself fit. He said something about training with the League players occasionally as well as the Union ones, and Hansie made contemptuous noises. Apparently they don’t mix.

Anyway, I saw him at a party, wearing dull green leather trousers, and instantly demanded that he come and pose for me.

“I could sell those pictures to any one of the women’s magazines. Actually, Phil, that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Given that they’re trying to sell rugby as a family entertainment, an article in one of the big mainstream glossies might do you good.”

Piet nodded. “That is indeed true. But how would we arrange it? Who would solicit such an article?”

“Oh, that’s easy enough. Let me take a couple of pictures and we’ll send them to the manufacturer of the trousers and suggest the possibility of Phil advertising for them, and then the slightest hint about magazines, and they’ll set it up and think it was all their own idea.”

I wasn’t very serious about it, but I did think that a couple of photos of Phil the Sex Bomb might be a good thing for the portfolio. Piet was getting regular requests for pictures and I wanted, for my own professional satisfaction, to ensure that there was something suitable for every request. Well, all right, and because I got paid every time a photograph of mine was printed, too. So I had a morning with Phil, and I photographed him in the green trousers, and then in red and grey ones too, and Piet looked at the pictures, and then passed me a slip of paper with a website and an email address on it.

“That is where the trousers come from. You think it might be worth sending them one picture and asking if they are interested in more?”

“Can’t hurt, can it? Let me put a ‘Sample/Copyright’ text across the picture and we’ll try. I think that one. Unless you have a preference?”

“You are the expert. I know about rugby, you know about photographs. You choose.”

I was fairly sure that the company would want the pictures – I didn’t expect the speed with which they made the decision. They called me back within forty minutes to ask if I was authorised to contract for Phil Cartwright, and I passed them on to Piet. He came back to me almost at once.

“Fran? A Mr Kennedy will contact you shortly about a photoshoot. He may try to be difficult about it – they wanted to use their own photographer, but I said the contract depended on it being you, so if the dates I have offered him are not good for you, we will find others. You do not need to go to a lot of trouble to rearrange your schedule.”

“Excellent. Do they want specific locations, or can we do studio work?”

“Both. They wanted something outdoors and urban, but the rest can be studio. I think they want Phil to take off his shirt, but they only hinted at it.”

I laughed. “Surprise! O.K., Piet, I’ll set it up and let you know.”

“Oh, and Fran?”


“This was your idea, and I have negotiated a very favourable contract for Phil, so you will bill me at our standard rate plus ten per cent. And the cost of hiring the studio will be paid by Mr Kennedy, not by you.”

I’m going to get my Gold Wing sooner rather than later, at this rate.

It’s so easy taking photographs of Phil; the camera loves him, he takes direction beautifully and I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a bad picture. Some don’t come out quite the way I envisage them, of course, but he always looks gorgeous, and an afternoon with a large wardrobe of leather clothing was money for nothing. The trousers came in more colours than we had realised – the black was too predictable, and the blue was the wrong shade for Phil, but there was a pale tan, hardly more than cream, which looked good, and a light grey too. An intelligent wardrobe mistress had provided an excellent selection of shirts and jackets, and two hours in the High Street gave us forty photographs, from which I reckoned the most demanding advertiser would have no trouble choosing a dozen. Then we went back to the studio and searched through the wardrobe again.

“Phil? Have you had these on yet? The dark brown?” They were the colour of bitter chocolate.

“No, there wasn’t a suitable shirt.” That was Kennedy.  “We don’t want the same colour shirt used more than once, and the white shirt went with the grey, and the cream shirt with the green.”

I smirked at him. “Phil? Put those on. And take off everything else. Shoes and all.”

He disappeared behind the curtain again, and emerged in the chocolate trousers. Oooh. Oh God. Mental note – keep back at least one print as a gift for Piet. That boy has muscles on his muscles, and yet he hasn’t bulked up like so many sportsmen do. There’s still delicacy at wrist and neck, sensitivity in his mouth. God, it isn’t fair. He even has beautiful feet. And he’s been playing rugby for how long? Without any injury that would cause a scar.

“Unfasten the button, Phil, and make sure the zip has caught so that you stay decent.  Now, come and lie down for me. And…”

And I went through my box of tricks which includes make-up, and no, of course I didn’t make him up. But I found my copper shimmer highlighter, and I dusted it very lightly from his throat to the waistband. Just the faintest of highlights. Just a little more than healthy gloss. And then I took some pictures. Even Kennedy was impressed.

“We’ve got three magazines interested in this article and we’re just waiting to see who’s offering the best terms. Two of them are… well, they’re women’s glossies, and the third is one of those music and motorbikes things.”

“Don’t send these to them, then. These are for women. A men’s mag won’t be able to use them. Phil, move your left knee forward, and slide your weight back and to the right. Further. Lovely. Now drop your head back.”

“You think the women’s magazines will be happy to print something so… They aren’t a little… much?”

“Have you seen the big glossies lately? The gastro-porn alone is all but indecent. And sexy models sell copies. Women notice that sort of thing, believe me.”

“I’ll take your word for it. And Mr Cartwright is sexy, is he?”

“Makes me wet.”

I wasn’t thinking, it was just the sort of remark that keeps the punter from changing his mind about the pictures, but Kennedy snorted, and Phil rolled over and gagged “Awww, Fran, yuck!” and made fingers-down-the-throat gestures.

And then he realised what he had done. I don’t know how far out he is among his acquaintances – but as far as the general public goes, he’s not out at all. Not even a little bit. We most decidedly did not want Kennedy putting two and two together and making twelve; Phil Cartwright is young, beautiful and straight as a Roman road, and nobody is even to think anything else. Particularly, nobody is to think that the notion of a woman finding him attractive might give him the yips. Think of something, Fran, quick.

And as I said once to Piet, visual conjuring is my trade. Misdirection. The camera lies like a flatfish. Piet trusts me to – his own phrase was, to sell the dummy. Here, Mr Kennedy, catch. I leaned over Phil and gave him one hard spank.

“Cheeky puppy! Honestly, you boys! Just because I’ve turned forty doesn’t mean I’ve given up completely, you know. I can still go clubbing and pull. Sex isn’t reserved for the under thirties.”

He was quick enough to respond to me with embarrassment, assuring me that he hadn’t meant anything, that he didn’t think I was too old to… um…, that he knew that Piet de Vries fancied me like mad (in my dreams), and we turned it off as a joke. I think. I hope.

“Um, Piet?”

“Hello, koekie. How was your photoshoot?”

“It went very well. Most of it. Only… Hell. I screwed up, Piet. I think we got away with it, because Fran rescued me, but it was a close thing.”

“So come and – you did not have those trousers when you went out, did you?”

“No, they gave me three more pairs. Fran liked these ones best.”

“I think I do too. You had better come and confess what dreadful thing you have done before I decide to investigate how much I like them.”

Actually, that sounded much better than what I thought was the other likely option, but I sighed and sat down opposite him, and told him about what Fran had said, and what I had said. His expression turned serious.

“This Kennedy, did he pick it up?”

“I don’t think so. I think he followed Fran’s line of thought that I didn’t find her attractive.”

“Fran is smart, I have always said so. She looks after you better than you deserve.”

“I know. I did thank her for it. I asked her if she was going to tell you, and she gave me a Look, and said she wasn’t, and then I felt bad about even asking. I think perhaps I should send her some flowers or something tomorrow. Except, she isn’t really a flowers sort of person, is she? Or chocolate.” I was babbling, to put off the evil hour. I could feel in my backside, plain as anything, that there was a spanking coming at least, if not worse. Piet ignored the gambit.

“But you think Kennedy believed it was about Fran and not about you?”

“Yes. See, Piet,” (I got up and started to pace) “I’m the only person I know who’s less out now than he was three years ago. I was much more out before I met you. The squad knew, and it wasn’t a big deal for most of them, and by now it’s yesterday’s news for them. It didn’t matter because I wasn’t going any further than that in rugby. And I was happy to be – well, maybe not out exactly, but the door was open, you know? Marshall knew, remember? Or suspected at least. There was gossip. And then there was you, and I was going places and suddenly it mattered again, and we were pushing the door shut and denying it. I hate that. I want to get an invitation to ‘P Cartwright and Guest’ and to send back a reply saying that Phil and Pieter would love to attend. At least…” I ground to a halt and looked at him. We hadn’t really talked about this before – not about how it would affect him and me, rather than how it would affect my career.

“I don’t know, Piet – maybe that isn’t what you want. I would be quite happy to face down headlines of ‘Phil loves Piet’ – well, not happy exactly, but I wouldn’t want to deny them. But you’ve never shown any signs of wanting to make a declaration… I wouldn’t do it if you wanted not to.”

He swept me off my feet in the approved romantic fashion, kissed me thoroughly and sat down again, this time with me wrapped around him. “My hart, when you have retired from international rugby, we will take a double page spread in all the national newspapers and announce that we are lovers. Apart from anything else, it will be good for the sales of the autobiography that seems to be compulsory as soon as you retire. For my own sake, I am not out simply because I think it is no business of anyone but ourselves, but you would still have something to lose by it, and therefore you will not do it.” His tone hardened on that last, and I sighed. I knew what was coming next.

“No, sir.”

“Come, then, and we will deal with it.”

If it’s a punishment, I get it in the study. Always. If Piet spanks me anywhere else in the house, it’s for fun. I’ve never… that’s not true, is it? Hansie and Tim have both spanked me by way of punishment in the sitting room, but the circumstances were different. I trailed after him, and he sat down on the couch and reached for my waistband. And goggled at my choice of underwear. As well he might: there wasn’t much of it and what there was, was remarkably uncomfortable.

“Good grief! You did not go out in those this morning, did you?”

“Fran made me go and get them. She said anything else showed.”

“Well, I am saved the trouble of taking them down, at least. Bend over, Phil.”

I settled myself miserably across his lap. I was so not looking forward to this: I hadn’t been seriously spanked in months and I was out of practice. At least he hadn’t gone for the cane, or for that spiteful paddle – he had only used it on me once, and I felt no particular urge to repeat the experience. But I never have any difficulty in distinguishing between a punishment and a play spanking. It’s not anything to do with the intensity of it – well, not much – it’s to do with how I feel inside rather than out. With knowing that I’m over his knee not because we’re on our way to bed, but because I’ve let him down again. I hate that; even knowing that we are likely to go to bed afterwards doesn’t make up for knowing that I’ve disappointed him.

He didn’t waste any time. He shifted me slightly to position me exactly the way he likes, and set about tanning my behind as thoroughly and efficiently as he does anything else. I tried not to wriggle: when we’re playing I squirm like fury because we both know it turns him on, but when I’m in disgrace I try to keep still and just take what’s coming. I try to be quiet too, although I don’t usually manage it. It’s funny – that’s because it’s Piet. Hansie used that damned strap and I got away with a squeal or two, and he spanked me bloody hard over the soup-throwing incident and I didn’t make a sound, but even a lighter spanking from Piet, when I’m in trouble, and I’m yelping. I nearly strangled myself trying to be quiet when Tim tanned me over the home-brew affair, and if I hadn’t already been comprehensively caned by Piet I think I would have managed it. This time? Thorough, and efficient, like I said. And I squalled a bit. Not specially severe; over much sooner than I had expected. But when he lifted his left hand from my back, always the sign that I may get up, I was gasping and breathless, and my tail was blazing and throbbing. Quite enough, thanks.

I slid back to my knees, and pushed my face against his thigh, and tried to steady my breathing. As usual, he slipped one arm around my shoulders and the other hand went into my hair, and presently I made it to my feet and he refastened my trousers for me. The inside of the leather rasped very slightly against my hot bottom, and I winced, and Piet shifted to one end of the couch so that I could lie down and get my head into his lap.

“All right, koekie?”

“I am now. If you’ve finished.”

“Of course. Unless you would like some more, in which case I will be pleased to oblige.”

“No! No, thank you. I know it wasn’t much but I’m out of the way of it and it was enough.”

“I thought so. It was a careless thing you did, but you knew that. You knew you should not have done it. I did not need to convince you. And you confessed it to me of your own accord, which is also good. And those are new and once again very sexy trousers, Phil, and I am minded to take them and you upstairs.”

I rolled far enough to give him a rather tremulous smile. “Am I forgiven, then?”

“Well, I still think that a short lesson in control might be in order. But we can do that upstairs. Come.”

Idiot that I am, I went. I told you, Piet never, never punishes me in our bedroom. That’s where Piet and Phil are, not Cartwright and the Viper. Piet sat down on the side of the bed, and began to caress the leather, and, of course, me, and every time I reached for him, he would put my hands away, until I understood that he wanted to do everything himself. He undressed me slowly – I love that, I find it unbelievably erotic – and then he drew me down onto the bed, and started work.

“Just lie still, koekie. That is all I want you to do. Do not move unless I move you. Do not touch me. Do not touch yourself. Can you do that?”

Of course. I’m not twenty-two any more, and Piet has taught me control. I lay still. He kissed and licked, very slowly, from my hairline to my navel, by which time I was breathless again, although I didn’t move. Then he grinned evilly at me, and retired down the bed and started working upwards from my ankles, stopping just at the tops of my thighs. Breathless? Oxygen starvation. And no blood flow to the extremities. Except one.

“Turn over.”

Back to my ankles and working up, and one day I will find a scientific formulation for a drug which has the same effect on the human body as Piet’s mouth and hands, and then I will be one seriously rich ex-rugby player. Honestly, a grown man ought not to whimper like that, it isn’t dignified. Only the back of my neck is really, really sensitive, and my bum was still hot so when he blew on it, and rasped his tongue on the skin, I made very odd noises.

“Turn again.”

Oh yes. Now touch me. Please. Please?


Only he didn’t. He lay beside me, and caught my hands and pulled them above my head, and let go. And then he leaned close – close, but not touching – and he talked to me. He told me what I looked like, stretched out and ready for him (ready? I was past ready!), and he told me what he liked to do to me, and with me, and what he liked when I did it to him. Oh, God, Piet, just touch me? I need you to touch me. He was close enough that I could feel his breath when he whispered to me, and he moved, up and down the bed and from one side to the other, and I lay with my eyes shut and just the faintest sensation on my skin as he exhaled, and the burn and throb of a spanked bottom against the bedclothes and I needed him to touch me!

He told me what I looked like when he did various things, he told me how much he liked it when I cried out with pleasure under his touch. I never did that with any lover before Piet. Never screamed. I needed him to touch me…

And then he dropped out of English, the bastard, and he told me it all again in Afrikaans, and I recognised enough of the words to know what he was saying, and I needed him, I needed him to…

Apparently I didn’t need him to touch me, after all.

And I screamed this time too.

Afterwards, he put his head down on my shoulder, and I felt him laugh, and presently, he propped himself up on one elbow, and reached for tissues and began to remove the worst of the evidence, which was liberally distributed across me and him and the bed. Then he said, severely, “And let that be a lesson to you, Phil, that anybody can make a mistake, because I thought you would manage another minute, and now I will need to change my shirt.”

“I’m not going to apologise for it,” I said dazedly. “I don’t think that’s happened to me since I was about twelve. Not since I learned how to make it happen on purpose. Please note that I did as I was told. I didn’t move. Not on purpose, anyway.”

He kissed me. “You were beautifully obedient. And now, if you have no objection, I would like to do something about… this.”

“And may I move?”

“All you like.”

All you like, Piet.

Idris the Dragon

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