“I haven’t quite finished the figures for this tender. I’ll come on later if you don’t mind.” Oscar hardly looked up from his computer screen as Simon approached his workstation at half past five.
“Actually, I do mind,’ Simon said mildly as he buttoned his coat. “You’ve worked late every evening this week and we agreed we’d leave on time tonight.”
“I’m sorry, Mr Carlyle.” The open plan office was more or less deserted but Oscar automatically addressed Simon as his boss when they were at work. “I’ve had a lot on recently and I’ve got a bit behind.”
“I know exactly how much work you’ve had on; I assign your tasks. And you would have finished long before now if you hadn’t had your mind on something else.”
Oscar looked up in consternation. It was true that his mind had been on other things for some days, to the extent that he couldn’t focus on the task in hand. The spreadsheet on his screen had swum in front of his eyes as he’d debated the right course of action and struggled to banish the memories which his father-in-law’s invitation had conjured up. “I haven’t got anything else on my mind,” he said firmly, every inch of his tense body proclaiming the lie. “It’s just that there’s a mistake somewhere in these costings and I can’t track it down.”
Simon gave him one long, appraising look while Oscar struggled to maintain eye contact and a neutral expression. “Right, have it your own way, Sunshine. But if you’re working late then we work together, in my office.” Simon started to take off his outdoor coat and turned to walk back to his desk.
“I need to work on the computer!” Oscar objected with some alarm.
“You can log in on my machine,” replied Simon without turning round. Clearly it wasn’t an issue he was prepared to discuss and Oscar was left with no alternative but to close the programs he was running, gather up his papers, and scuttle after Simon.
When he entered his boss’s office, Oscar found that Simon was moving his own files and personal laptop onto the small table at the side of the room, leaving his desk, chair and computer free. Oscar felt strange taking a seat behind the boss’s desk and was relieved when Simon casually flipped the lock on the door before sitting down at the table he normally used to conduct meetings with clients. Knowing that no one would stumble upon their unorthodox working arrangement gave Oscar one less thing to worry about.
He concentrated on logging into the network from Simon’s computer and soon had his unfinished spreadsheet up on the screen in front of him. It took him a few minutes to remember exactly where he’d got to and then he began once more inputting figures. Apart from a gentle click as Oscar used the keyboard, the two men worked for some time in total silence. But as he glanced down at the papers on the desk beside him, Oscar couldn’t help but be aware of Simon’s presence. His boss was sitting at right angles to him and, despite surrounding himself with documents and having his laptop open in front of him, he seemed more interested in what Oscar was doing than in any work of his own.
Oscar found his boss’s scrutiny unnerving, especially as he was finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the spreadsheet. He was beginning to fear that he’d entered some of the earlier figures in the wrong column and he wondered if Simon would notice if he deleted the whole thing and started again. As he stared at the work he’d done so inattentively earlier in the day, his thoughts spontaneously returned to the issue that had been bothering him then. Gradually, his visceral sense of Simon’s presence began to wane and his mind shifted to another plane on which he was barely aware of his immediate surroundings. The dilemma he was facing flooded his brain with intrusive thoughts and disturbing emotions which found physical expression in an abstracted tapping of his fingers on the desk.
But he didn’t have long to dwell in this distracted state. He was brought back to the present with a jolt as Mr Carlyle’s chair scraped backwards on the wooden flooring. “That’s enough of that,” Simon snapped. “If you can’t concentrate long enough to complete such a simple task, it’s time you stopped. Save what you’ve done and close the program.” One look at Simon’s face convinced Oscar that it wouldn’t be wise to argue. Slowly he did as he was told, gathered together his papers and made to stand up. “Sit still,” said Simon at once, “you’re not going anywhere until we’ve sorted out what’s bothering you.”
“Oh, let’s just go home,” said Oscar wearily. “It’s been a bad day and I can’t seem to concentrate on anything.”
“And I’m not standing for any more diversionary tactics,” continued Simon, as though Oscar hadn’t spoken. “Either you tell me what’s worrying you, or you go over my desk and I tan your backside until you’re prepared to speak out.” For a moment Oscar couldn’t believe what he was hearing and his expression must have conveyed his confusion. “Oh, I know you’ve fantasised about being spanked in my office ever since I first mentioned the idea but this won’t be the stuff of fantasies, I can promise you that. You won’t sit comfortably for a week!”
“You can’t,” Oscar protested. “There’s the caretaker… cleaners…”
“Why do you think I locked the door?”
Oscar gasped; clearly Simon had a course of action all mapped out and had planned for the possibility of a spanking right from the start. Oscar knew his partner well enough to believe that he had every intention of carrying out his threat but still tried to deflect him from his purpose. “We’d be overheard,” he objected. “It’s too big a risk. You’ll lose your job if the cleaners make a complaint.”
“The only risk I’m concerned about at the moment is the risk of you making yourself ill with worry,” responded Simon evenly. “It’s a risk I’m not prepared to take so I’m calling a halt to your antics right now. You’ve only got two choices; either you tell me what’s the matter this minute or you go over my desk and I spank your bottom until you decide you’d rather tell me what’s the matter. You’re an intelligent man, Oscar Williams; the logical choice must be obvious to you.”
It was more than obvious to Oscar that he was all out of options, if he discounted the possibility of unlocking the door fast enough to make a break for it. He was so anxious not to share his problem with Simon that he did briefly consider trying to make an escape but then realised there was nowhere to run when Simon himself was his place of refuge and his sure defence in time of woe. He raised pleading eyes to Simon’s face and whispered, “It’s nothing bad, I promise you. I just don’t know what to do.”
Simon immediately abandoned the firm stance he’d taken to deliver his ultimatum and went to sit on the desk immediately in front of Oscar. He rested his clasped hands on one thigh as he leant forward to look straight into his partner’s troubled countenance. “So let me help,” he pleaded. “I know you trust me, so let me share this problem with you.” Here was no unrealistic promise that all difficulties would be resolved, only a humble request to shoulder a burden and it broke the last vestiges of Oscar’s resistance. He felt for the envelope which he’d been carrying around in his jacket pocket for days and handed it wordlessly to his partner.
Simon withdrew a printed invitation which was enclosed within a brief, handwritten letter. One glance at the card was enough to inform him of the issue. In black, sombre lettering it was headed: One Year Anniversary Memorial Service for Marie Elizabeth Williams. He understood at once how Oscar must be feeling and was conscious of an overwhelming need to ease his pain. “Why didn’t you say, love?” he asked at once. “Why didn’t you tell me that this had come?”
“The letter’s from Derek Fletcher, her father,” Oscar explained, as though he hadn’t heard Simon’s question. “He says I must go. All the family will be there.”
“Well, of course you’ve got to go. Don’t you want to?”
“It’ll be hard. It’ll bring back a lot of sad memories.”
“But it says this will be a celebration of Marie’s life,” Simon pointed out. “Maybe it’ll be an opportunity to remember the good things too.”
“You wouldn’t mind?” enquired Oscar tentatively.
“Of course not,” said Simon with conviction. “Marie was an important part of your life. I’d never want you to deny that.”
“But I don’t want to go on my own,” Oscar confessed.
“Do you want me to come with you?”
“You can’t. I don’t know how I...” Oscar couldn’t find words to explain the difficulty which had been taxing his brain for days.
“...how you could take your new partner to your widow’s memorial service, especially when it’s your same sex partner,” supplied Simon with instant comprehension.
Oscar eyes were filling with tears as he nodded assent. “That’s why I couldn’t tell you about it. Don’t you see? It wasn’t the memorial service itself. It was having to go on my own. And not being able to tell anyone about you. And not being able to invite you because… because…” Oscar was becoming breathless with distress.
“Because you were afraid you’d upset me if you said I couldn’t meet your in-laws.”
This had, indeed, been the source of Oscar’s anxiety over the preceding days and he hastened to justify the need to exclude his partner. “They wouldn’t understand, Simon, and I don’t want to distress them any more. They’ve already lost their only daughter. I don’t want to destroy their faith in her marriage as well.”
“I can understand all that, Oscar, and I totally respect your wish to keep your present circumstances from Marie’s family. But that doesn’t prevent you making arrangements to suit yourself for this visit.” Simon looked again at the invitation to check the time of the service. “You’ll have to travel up the night before,” he pointed out. “I’ll come with you if you like and we could book a hotel room. Then I’ll either accompany you to the service and the meal afterwards as your travelling companion or I’ll amuse myself for the day until you’re ready to come home.”
Simon made it all sound so simple. He didn’t seem in the least bit disturbed by Oscar’s unwillingness to introduce him as his new partner and he appeared to be waiting patiently for Oscar to either approve or reject his plan. “You really don’t mind?” Oscar asked uncertainly. “You’d be prepared to attend as my friend and not disclose the fact that we’re lovers?”
“I’m happy with whatever you want to do.”
“But it’s not honest and it’s not fair to you,” Oscar objected, rehearsing the other side of the argument as he’d been doing in his head throughout the week. “I can’t ask you to climb into the closet just to suit my convenience.”
“You can ask whatever you want from me,” said Simon earnestly. “These are special circumstances and we’re talking two days at the most. I’ll do whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you comfortable.”
Oscar reached out his arms and clasped them round Simon’s neck. “Thank you, thank you,” he breathed. “I’d feel so much better if you came with me.”
“Then I’ll look online and book somewhere for us to stay.” Simon assured him. “You don’t have to decide whether you want me to join you for the day until we get there.”
Oscar kissed him on the cheek and then sat back in his chair. “I don’t know why I didn’t talk to you about this before. You always know what to do for the best. I’ve been worrying for days and now I think I might actually start looking forward to seeing Marie’s family again. We used to be very close before her parents moved back up north.”
“I don’t know why you didn’t talk to me before, either,” said Simon darkly.
Oscar, who was beginning to feel relaxed and happy for the first time since he’d opened the letter from his father-in-law, looked up in alarm. But something in Simon’s countenance was at odds with his tone of voice and Oscar had learnt to read his lover’s expressions. “Could it be because I’m a deceitful so-and-so who deserves to be punished?” he hazarded, with a grin.
Simon was reassured at once by Oscar’s response. His lover was ready to play and Simon was more than happy to oblige. He’d been watching Oscar for days, conscious that something was wrong, yet waiting for the right moment to manoeuvre his complex young partner into making a full disclosure. Despite his matter of fact approach to the problem, Simon understood exactly why Oscar felt so conflicted over the invitation. It would be no easy matter to disguise their relationship at the forthcoming family gathering but Simon could entirely appreciate Oscar’s reasons for wishing to do so. They would need to discuss the matter more fully closer to the time of departure but Simon was happy to provide Oscar with a distraction for that evening. To prevent any return to his state of agitated abstraction, Simon intended to so overwhelm his mind and body that he’d be incapable of thinking of anything except his immediate sensations from that moment until bedtime. “No,” he replied firmly, “it was because you were worried about causing offence and now I’m going to reward you for your misguided efforts to protect me.”
Oscar looked a little uncertain. Mention of a reward had confused him and Simon was pleased to keep him guessing. It took all his ingenuity to keep one jump ahead of his clever young lover but he liked to maintain the illusion of total mastery. He stood up, collected Oscar’s papers and one or two other items which had been lying on his desk and transferred them to the table where he’d been working. Oscar remained seated behind the desk, watching his movements with undisguised curiosity. Then, taking his time, Simon turned back towards Oscar and issued his instructions. “Get up, take off your jacket and come and stand over here.”
Oscar got to his feet, slipped off his jacket and, after a moment’s hesitation, hung it over the back of his boss’s swivel chair. Then he walked round to the other side of the desk and looked expectantly at Simon.
“Let’s be having you, then. Legs well apart, body flat on the desk.”
Oscar’s eyes opened wide with surprise. “What?”
“You heard me,” said Simon gruffly. “Bend over my desk.”
“But… but… what about the cleaners?”
“We won’t be disturbed. Come on; you don’t want to keep me waiting.” When Oscar still looked uncertain, he continued in a more persuasive tone. “I know you’ve run this scenario in your head a thousand times, Oscar. Now you’re going to experience it for real.” His voice quietened to a throaty whisper. “You’re about to find out what it’s like to bend over the boss’s desk and feel his belt across your backside. This is what happens to naughty boys who hold out on their partners.”
He knew at once, from Oscar’s indrawn breath and heightened colour, that he’d judged it correctly and tapped into his partner’s long held fantasy. He said no more but waited until Oscar stepped closer to the desk, bent forward and rested his forearms on the polished wooden surface. “I said flat on the desk,” he admonished and Oscar shuffled backwards so that he could lower his torso onto the surface. In that position his head automatically turned to one side, so that his cheek rested on the desk top, and his hands reached forward to take a firm grip on its edge. Still Simon wasn’t satisfied with his position. “Legs further apart,” he instructed as he slipped a hand under the waistband of Oscar’s trousers to pull the fabric taut across his buttocks. Oscar struggled to obey, acutely conscious of Simon’s proximity as his firm palm smoothed the remaining creases out of the seat of his trousers.
When Simon was finally satisfied he stepped back to gaze without interruption upon Oscar’s supine form. His long legs formed an inverted v-shape and his trousers were so tightly stretched that the hint of a bulge was visible at the crotch. His buttocks swelled upwards in a perfect curve which obscured any view of his lower back. Only his shoulders and the back of his head were visible from where Simon was standing and he could tell, from the rapid rise and fall of Oscar’s chest, that his breathing had quickened with the uncertainty of waiting.
But Simon was in no hurry to proceed. It was true that he was enacting Oscar’s fantasy but he himself had sown the seed when he’d first mentioned his desire to turn Oscar over his desk and spank him. The notion of disciplining his partner in the workplace was a turn on for him too. The fact that they were both dressed in suits and surrounded by the adjuncts of office life made the scenario doubly delicious, to say nothing of the exciting possibility, albeit remote, of their activity being overheard. “Have you any idea how magnificent you look from this angle?” he asked. It was a rhetorical question as he knew Oscar wouldn’t be capable of answering. “You have the most beautiful bum and I’m really going to enjoy playing with it tonight.” Speech might be beyond him but Oscar’s wriggle and whitening knuckles betrayed a rising excitement tinged with apprehension. “Yes, your bum is going to experience every sensation known to man,” he promised, “and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.” This time Oscar couldn’t remain silent although the sound he made could best be described as a squeak.
Simon moved round the side of the desk to place himself in Oscar’s line of vision. When he was certain that he had his partner’s full attention he flicked back the edges of his jacket and lowered his hands to his waist. Then, very slowly, he unfastened his black leather belt and, grasping the buckle, pulled its full length through the loops on his waistband. It made a swishing sound as it slithered against the fabric and then a slight slap as the end came free and swung against his leg. He waited a moment and then gathered up the end so he could double the belt in one hand. In truth, it was only an inch or so wide and made of lightweight leather but he was able to flick the double thickness through the air to generate a respectable crack which made Oscar jump.
Satisfied that he had his partner on tenterhooks he resumed position behind him and gently drew the belt across his bottom, in part to line up the first stroke but mainly to prolong the process and stretch Oscar’s nerves to the limit. Then, without warning, he swung the belt to make contact with the crest of Oscar’s buttocks. He put sufficient force into the swing for the leather to make an audible impact but not enough to do more than impart a mild sting. Oscar gasped but more in surprise than in pain. The second swing was much lighter, more of a flick than a crack, but falling across the back of Oscar’s thighs it elicited a convulsive movement which was hastily suppressed. Simon smiled to himself with satisfaction as he monitored Oscar’s reaction.
He continued to vary his delivery, sometimes making Oscar wait until his body shook with anticipation and sometimes delivering one stroke immediately after another. Sometimes the belt landed with feather lightness and sometimes it left a sharp sting in its wake. If Oscar clenched his buttocks, Simon caught him across the thighs. Occasionally he stood back and brought the belt down vertically from waist to thigh, imagining the pleasing latticework effect which must be forming on Oscar’s bottom. This was confirmed when he ran an exploratory hand over the seat of Oscar’s pants. He could feel a distinct heat emanating from his flesh and he suddenly couldn’t wait to get home where he could examine his handiwork at close quarters before proceeding to further delights.
But first there was a message to be delivered and underlined. He delivered it fast, punctuating each word with a firm crack from the belt. “Don’t. Keep. Your. Worries. From. Me.” Oscar was in no doubt that the intention had changed and that this was a punishment and a warning, pure and simple. He took it in silence, without movement, and with a curious sense of fulfilment. Acknowledging to himself the justice of Simon’s words and actions, his lingering sense of guilt was expunged. Much as he’d enjoyed the fun and games, those swift, stinging strokes left him feeling totally at one with his partner and filled with a new serenity. When Simon placed a hand on his shoulder, he levered himself up off the desk and leant into the offered embrace.
“Thank you,” he whispered. “That was amazing... And I’m sorry I’ve been so difficult these last few days. I’ll try not to keep things from you in the future.”
“I’m sure you won’t. But did you really enjoy a taste of workplace discipline?”
“Enjoy? I’ll be messing up deliberately in the hope you’ll do it again. I can’t tell you how often I’ve imagined this scenario and it was even better in reality than in my fantasy. You’re so masterful when you’re being stern!”
“Well, you’d better get that spreadsheet finished tomorrow or I’ll be spanking you in earnest.”
“Come on. I want to get you home. I’ve got more plans for your bottom tonight!” said Simon, patting Oscar’s derriere with deliberate intent.
Oscar couldn’t suppress a wince, which pleased his partner, but he started for home with a sense of eager anticipation. Far from feeling any anxiety at Simon’s words, as would once have been the case, he now knew he’d enjoy whatever his lover had in store for him and would be able to reciprocate in full measure.