Alexey and Mikhail ~ Chapter 7: Swimming with Walruses


Winter comes early to St Petersburg but Mikhail always loved the city under a blanket of snow. The pastel coloured facades of the great baroque buildings seemed to glow as the snow reflected the weak rays of the winter sun. Mikhail especially enjoyed walking on the embankment where the snow lay undisturbed, watching the dark waters of the Neva River flowing fast as it carried ice floes towards the sea.

On the day when a fresh fall of snow made the palaces and churches look magical, and muffled the everyday sounds of the city, rehearsals finished early for the dancers. Alexey suggested that the two of them do the household shopping but relented when his brat begged to be allowed to go out in the snow with Vladimir.

When Mikhail had first moved in to Alexey’s apartment he had regarded food shopping as a boring chore and had accompanied his partner unwillingly. There had even been one shameful scene in a supermarket which had necessitated a rapid curtailment of the shopping trip and a return to the apartment. The ensuing discussion about responsibilities within the relationship had ended very painfully for Mikhail.

But recently Mikhail had begun to take an interest in cooking and had become much more cooperative about the weekly shopping expedition. He had started to enjoy discussing menus, selecting ingredients and taking his share in the running of their home. However, Alexey knew how much Mikhail loved to be out in the fresh snow and he contented himself by reminding his partner to wrap up warmly before going outside with Vladimir. The sun was shining but it imparted no warmth and the wind chill made it feel even colder than the weather forecast had predicted.

“I’m happy to do the shopping, Misha. Where are you going to go?”

“We haven’t got any definite plans but we may finish up back at Vladimir’s apartment if it gets too cold out. He promised to help me with my web page and this afternoon might be a good time.”

“When will you be home?”

“I’m not sure. Don’t cook for me this evening. You know what it’s like when Vladimir and I get on the computer. I might be late back.”

“Okay, love. I’ll have something you can heat up when you come in if you want. Ring me if you’re going to be really late.”

Alexey went off with his shopping list, glad that Mikhail was planning an enjoyable afternoon with Vladimir. Mikhail’s friend was one of the technical crew at the Mariinsky and, as well as being an expert on the lighting and electronics equipment at the theatre, he was also a whiz on the computer. It was true that Vladimir had, in the past, aided and abetted Mikhail with his practical jokes but Alexey did concede that, for the most part, Vladimir had acted as a steadying influence and had actually dissuaded Mikhail from some of his wilder schemes.

Mikhail and Vladimir headed toward Nevsky Prospekt where teams of street cleaners, both male and female, were efficiently shovelling the snow into piles at the sides of the pavement, making a clear passageway along this major thoroughfare in the city. There were plenty of shop windows to look at and they warmed themselves in the well heated stores, admiring clothes, shoes and electronic equipment. Mikhail felt a little guilty that he had avoided going to the supermarket with Alexey and was now visiting the shops with Vladimir instead, but he reminded himself that he didn’t have the money to buy any of the things he was admiring so it didn’t really count as a shopping expedition.

Eventually they decided to head back to Vladimir’s apartment, make themselves something to eat and work on Mikhail’s web page. Vladimir lived on the other side of the Neva River so they set off across the Dvortsovaya Bridge, walking at a brisk pace to keep warm. It was only when they reached the Peter and Paul Fortress that Mikhail suggested a detour round the fortress walls from where they could watch the fast flowing river at close quarters.

This was a popular spot with the inhabitants of St Petersburg in the summer months. As soon as the sun came out many of them could be found sunbathing in the shelter of the fortress walls or taking a dip in the river. Even on this freezing cold day in the middle of winter a small group of stalwarts, known as walruses, had broken the ice at the edge of the river and were taking turns to briefly immerse themselves in the freezing water. Traditionally this was seen as a cure for tuberculosis and some of the old people still believed in the health giving properties of a daily dip in the Neva, summer or winter.

Mikhail watched in wonder as one old lady in a sagging black swimming costume slowly lowered her body into the dark and uninviting waters of the Neva River. And from nowhere a wild idea to shock and amaze Vladimir came to Mikhail.

“Watch this, Volodya,” he shouted.

Vladimir had walked on and he turned to see Mikhail dropping his coat and gloves on the ground and beginning to undress. He ran back.

“Stop it. You can’t go in there.”

Mikhail had kicked off his boots, had pulled his jumper and tee shirt over his head in a single movement, and was taking off his trousers. Vladimir grabbed hold of him to try and restrain him but Mikhail was so excited there was no stopping him. Incongruously, the last items of clothing he had to remove were his woolly hat and socks leaving him standing in just his boxers. He pulled away from Vladimir’s restraining hands and jumped into the river. Vladimir had the impression that it had been just seconds from hearing Mikhail’s call to seeing his blonde head disappear under the water.

Mikhail surfaced struggling to breathe. The shock of hitting the freezing water seemed to have expelled all the air from his lungs. His body was so intensely cold it felt as though his skin was burning and yet he had the impression of floating effortlessly before his vision closed in and everything went black.

The spectators on the bank saw Mikhail lose consciousness and his body fall forward to float face downward in the water. One of the old men who had been drying himself after his dip immediately plunged back into the river and grabbed Mikhail, hauling him to the edge where the walruses helped get him back onto the paved riverbank. A reflex cough expelled the water which had entered his airway and his rescuers turned him onto his side to aid recovery.

There was no question of drying Mikhail and getting him dressed. The priority was to check that he was breathing and to cover his body with as many warm clothes as possible. The onlookers generously stripped off their coats and covered him where he lay, while one of them telephoned for an ambulance. Vladimir was able to establish that, although Mikhail was unconscious, he was breathing normally and his pulse was regular if a trifle slow. By the time the ambulance arrived he did appear to be coming round and was able to protest feebly as he was lifted swiftly onto a stretcher. His sodden boxers were removed in the privacy of the vehicle and he was very efficiently rolled up in blankets so that he was unable to move.

Vladimir climbed in the ambulance with Mikhail, carrying his bundle of clothing and taking charge of his soaking underwear. By the time they reached the hospital Mikhail was speaking more clearly, though mainly to express remorse and concern about what Alexey would say. He was assessed very quickly on arrival and when Vladimir was allowed into the cubicle to see him he was wrapped in blankets and an aluminium coated foil. The nurse explained that he had not been in the water long enough for hypothermia to set in and it was just a case of warming him up slowly with hot drinks and plenty of blankets. She went on to say that it had obviously been a severe shock to his system when he jumped into the freezing water as he had lost consciousness and, in the circumstances, the doctor had ordered an ECG to check his heart rhythms.

By the time they had waited in a grubby and draughty corridor, with Mikhail still on a trolley, while others queued ahead of them for cardiography, they had been in the hospital for several hours. When the doctor finally came to see them with the result of the test it was late evening. Mikhail was relieved to be told that his ECG was normal. The doctor explained that the plunge into freezing water would have caused his blood vessels to contract, briefly cutting off the blood supply to the brain, resulting in the loss of consciousness.

“It’s not an uncommon reaction,” he explained. “The human body can’t take such rapid changes in temperature. The walruses build up to it gradually and they are taking a dip every day. Your body wasn’t ready for it, although in every other way you seem to be a very fit young man. You were lucky today. You could have died in that river!”

With that Mikhail was told he could get dressed and go home. His boxers were still not fit to wear so he had to go commando but he pulled on all his other clothes gratefully and as soon as he was outside the hospital he telephoned Alexey and conveyed the brief message that he was on his way home. Alexey did express concern about the lateness of the hour but Mikhail reassured him by saying he was getting a taxi.

As they waited for a taxi to arrive, Mikhail realised that the decision not to tell Alexey about the events of the day seemed to have been taken. He didn’t recall consciously planning to keep the facts from his top. Somehow the conversation had just turned out that way and he was too tired to correct the impression he had given. But on reflection, he began to feel it would be for the best if Alexey never found out and he resolved to say that he had spent the evening at Vladimir’s.

Vladimir accompanied him home in the taxi as Mikhail was still a little shaky. They said very little to one another on the journey, both reflecting on what a close call they had had that day. Mikhail only broke the silence to ask Vladimir not to tell anyone what had happened.

“Please, Volodya. I don’t want Alexey to know about this. It would only worry him and everything turned out all right in the end, didn’t it.”

“I won’t say a word if you don’t want me to, Misha. But I don’t know about everything having turned out all right. Can you imagine what it felt like to see your body dragged out of that river? I thought you were dead!”

“I’m sorry, Volodya. I shouldn’t have put you through that. I act like a total idiot sometimes. Just, please, don’t tell anyone.”

“Of course not. I promise. If that’s what you want.”

Mikhail was certain he could trust his friend and thanked him very sincerely when he was dropped off outside the apartment. Then he climbed the dark, stone staircase to the third floor, trying to compose himself before greeting his partner. As soon as Mikhail opened the front door, Alexey took in his white, haggard face but accepted the explanation that he had spent too long staring at the computer screen and had a headache. Mikhail escaped into the kitchen and heated up some of the food Alexey had kept for him before avoiding any further questions by taking a shower to get rid of the lingering smell of the river water, putting all his clothes in the laundry basket and going to bed early.

By the morning he was feeling much better, as a night’s sleep had dispelled the lingering side effects of his loss of consciousness. He found time to give a little more thought to the ill considered decision not to tell Alexey about his exploit of the previous day. Mikhail tended to act on impulse and not give too much thought to motives and consequences. On this occasion, however, he did question his own motives. In fact, he found himself conducting a silent question and answer session with himself.

‘What would Alesha do if he knew about this?’ he mused.

And the answer was unequivocal. ‘He would give me a spanking.’

‘So am I dodging punishment?’

‘Well yes, I suppose so. But that’s not the reason for keeping quiet.’

‘Really?’

‘Yes, really! There is no need to upset Alesha over this. He would be frightened when there is no need for him to worry. This is nothing to do with him. It’s not about our relationship, not about our agreement, not about our life together. It isn’t covered by our rules.’

‘So why would he be spanking you?’

‘Okay. So I was a careless… thoughtless even. All right! I didn’t think of the consequences of my actions and he has a real thing about that. But nothing happened! I’m all right. I don’t need to worry him. He doesn’t need to know about this.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘YES.’

The last was said very firmly and Mikhail then embarked on frantic displacement activity in order to shut up the dissenting voice in his head. He had long since perfected the art of distracting himself from what he did not want to hear.

*

It was some weeks before there was another heavy snowfall in St Petersburg. This time Alexey and Mikhail awoke on Sunday morning to the unusual silence of the city deep in snow. When Mikhail pulled the curtains he shouted in delight at the sight of the gleaming white covering on roofs, trees, parked cars and pavements. The sun was shining and the view from the tall windows of their apartment was stunning. Mikhail’s childlike delight in the snowfall communicated itself to Alexey who suggested that the two of them go out for a walk while the snow was still fresh. He was rewarded with a delighted hug from Mikhail who liked nothing better than to share his pleasures with his lover.

After breakfast they each put on boots, gloves, hat and padded jacket while Mikhail bounced about in his eagerness to get out before cars and people started to spoil the perfection of the morning. They needed no discussion about the direction of their walk. They set off towards of the river, passing the Admiralty, with the sun glinting on its golden spire and the snow piled high on all the ledges of its yellow fa├žade. From there they continued towards the Winter Palace which, in Mikhail’s view, only deserved its name under a deep covering of snow.

Crossing the Neva River they headed towards the Artillery Museum which was popular in the school holidays with children who loved sitting on the big guns and imagining themselves as soldiers. The gardens opposite the Artillery Museum were an attraction for inhabitants of all ages in the summer, providing as they did a sheltered spot for sunbathing. On this Sunday morning, Alexey and Mikhail had the space to themselves and Mikhail ran off to start rolling a giant snowball.

Alexey watched appreciatively as his handsome partner bent gracefully to put his shoulder behind the growing weight of snow, his trousers stretching tightly across the perfect curve of his buttocks. Alexey bent to fashion a snowball of his own which he threw hard and with perfect accuracy. It thudded into Mikhail’s backside leaving a fair amount of snow sticking to the fabric of his trousers and starting to soak through to his underwear. He reared upright with a yell of outrage and began immediately to create the ammunition for retaliation. By the time their fight was over both men had a fair amount of snow down their necks and their fingers were freezing in soaking wet gloves. But they were warm with chasing one another and laughing with the exhilaration of their childish activity.

They turned to make their way home, this time walking round the outside of the Peter and Paul Fortress where Mikhail was surprised to be addressed by one of the walruses.

“Hello. How are you feeling, lad? You had a close call the other week.”

Mikhail froze. If he responded to this greeting then Alexey would soon realise what must have happened. He briefly considered feigning ignorance. His confusion must have shown on his face but it was misinterpreted by the elderly man.

“Oh, you won’t remember me. Of course you won’t. You were unconscious at the time. But I was the one that pulled you out of the river.”

This man had saved his life. There was only one possible response and Mikhail made it, knowing as he did so that he was condemning himself even as he spoke his words of profound thanks.

Alexey was briefly baffled by the exchange but he was nothing if not quick witted. Mikhail did not need to even look in his direction to know that Alexey was soon assimilating the full implications of the conversation. Mikhail fancied he could feel the waves of anger emanating from his top as the old man went on to ask how long Mikhail had spent in hospital. By the time Mikhail managed to get away from his rescuer, Alexey had heard pretty much the whole story.

They continued walking home in silence. When Mikhail was sure they were out of sight of any observers he timidly slipped his cold hand into Alexey’s. It was grasped in Alexey’s warmer one and gripped very tightly for a few moments in an unspoken message of relief and thanksgiving that Mikhail had not disappeared beneath those dark, swirling waters.

When they got back to the apartment they went wordlessly to change into warm, dry clothes and then Alexey instructed Mikhail to go and stand in his usual corner in the entrance hall. Mikhail raised troubled grey eyes to his partner’s stern, brown ones not understanding why this was being asked of him. He wasn’t angry, he hadn’t staged a tantrum, he wasn’t refusing to talk: all the usual antecedents to a period of corner time. He was quiet and subdued, more than ready to talk and fully expecting to be punished.

Alexey had no trouble understanding Mikhail’s unspoken question and he took a moment to explain the departure from their usual routine. “I’m the one that needs some time just now, Misha. I’m so angry and upset I can’t deal with you straight away. I want you to spend the time while you’re waiting giving some thought to how I feel now, knowing,” and here his voice cracked, “knowing that I nearly lost you and you didn’t tell me.”

Mikhail walked without further discussion into the corner taking up his customary position with his face inches from the wall and his hands at his sides. He could hear Alexey pacing in the sitting room and, as he realised the extent of his partner’s agitation, he began to reconsider his decision, so lightly taken, to keep silent about his leap into the Neva River and subsequent brush with death.

He thought back to a recent occasion when his thoughtless behaviour had resulted in the loss of their old television set. He had been sick with worry over that. He had been so desperate to confess to Alexey that he'd had to contact him while he was on tour in Paris. And it was only a television set, he thought.

‘This time my thoughtless behaviour meant that I nearly lost my life. And I didn’t think I needed to tell my partner, my lover, my life’s companion. I convinced myself it didn’t affect us as a couple! Oh, Alesha, how could I do that to you?’ And, as the full implication of his wrongdoing made itself felt, tears rolled unheeded down his cheeks and dripped onto his tee shirt, leaving wet splashes down the front.

When Alexey finally called him into the living room, Mikhail turned and walked purposefully towards his top and, in a sudden impulsive gesture of penitence, fell to his knees at his feet. He placed his hands in Alexey’s lap and bowed his blonde head onto his clasped fingers, choking out his remorse, “I’m sorry Alesha. I’m so sorry. I didn’t think. I really didn’t want to worry you with another one of my stupid mistakes. I’ve only just now realised what a dreadful thing I’ve done.”

Alexey ran his hands through the thick blonde hair, “Shush, shush, Misha. It was a dreadful thing but you’re here with me now and you’re safe. And we’re going to sort this out. Come and sit beside me.”

Mikhail reluctantly allowed himself to be helped to his feet and then drawn down onto the sofa to sit beside Alexey.

“I think I know precisely what happened now, unless there is anything else you need to tell me. So may I ask you, Misha, why you jumped into the river?”

Mikhail had to take a moment to consider the question which he had not even asked of himself. Finally he replied, “I hardly know why. I just thought it would be a laugh. I wanted to surprise Vladimir. I didn’t think it would be dangerous.”

“How many times, Misha, how many times have we discussed the importance of considering the consequences of your actions? This time the consequences were life threatening! What do I need to do to teach you to behave sensibly?”

Mikhail just hung his head in shame.

“And why didn’t you tell me what happened? Were you so afraid of me and what I might do?”

This time Mikhail was quick to respond.

“No, Alesha. I’m not afraid of you and I’m not afraid of the punishment… Well I am a bit afraid of the punishment but that… that wasn’t why I didn’t tell you, really it wasn’t.”

“So why didn’t you tell me? This was probably the most dangerous thing that you have ever done and you kept it from me. That’s telling lies, Misha, lying by omission.”

“I didn’t want to worry you. I was all right. It was over and no harm done. I sort of convinced myself it wasn’t about ‘us’ so you didn’t need to know. I know that was wrong. I do know that now. I’m so sorry.”

“Misha, if I lost you, my life would be ruined.” Alexey drew a shuddering breath as he took a moment to reflect on the significance of what he had just said. “If you can’t see that risking your life affects our relationship then I don’t know how I can prove it to you.”

“You don’t have to prove it to me. You don’t. I won’t ever keep anything from you again. I just wasn’t thinking straight. Please, Alesha, please forgive me.”

“I’m so relieved that you’re safe, I forgave you as soon as I realised what you had done. Now I just have to consider a punishment that will convince you never to take such risks again. Is there anything else you wish to tell me or you wish to say first?”

Mikhail shook his head miserably.

“Well, you really deserve to be caned for risking your life so recklessly.”

Mikhail gritted his teeth but said nothing. He hated the cane with its wicked bite and searing burn but he understood that caning was a fitting punishment for what he had done. However, Alexey went straight on to qualify his initial judgment.

“But when I punish you this time I want to hold you, I want to feel you close to me; I want to convince you never to think of behaving like this again. So, for the first part of your punishment you’re going over my knee and you’re going to get the spanking of your life.”

Mikhail realised he had been holding his breath as he focused all his attention on Alexey’s final decision. Having heard the verdict, he let it go in one shuddering sigh and gulped a fresh lungful of air as he gathered his courage for the forthcoming ordeal.

“Remove your trousers and underwear, Mikhail,” came the firm instruction.

Alexey was clearly set on making this a punishment to remember. Mikhail struggled to obey, fumbling with his clothing as his hands shook with apprehension. When he was reduced to standing in his socks and a tee shirt which reached just below his waist, he felt ridiculously exposed and didn’t know where to put his hands. His embarrassment was short lived, however, as Alexey sat back on the sofa to make a firmer lap and summoned his brat to his side with one simple command.

“Bend over.”

Mikhail bent himself awkwardly over Alexey’s powerful thighs, shifting forward to get his torso onto the sofa with his head resting on his arms. Alexey was not satisfied, however, until he had lifted Mikhail’s hips forward to align his bottom at the perfect angle for a spanking. Alexey then ran his hand gently over Mikhail’s trembling buttocks before lifting his arm to administer the first smack with a force which immediately overcame Mikhail’s resolution to take as much of his punishment as possible in silence. He yelped with dismay and tensed in expectation of worse to come.

Alexey spanked at a steady pace and with uniform ferocity. Sometimes he concentrated on one spot, forcing Mikhail to squirm in a fruitless attempt to present his backside at a different angle, and then he moved from one side to the other, ensuring that the whole of Mikhail’s bottom and upper thighs received even coverage. The intense sting took Mikhail’s breath away and soon he was gasping and yelling as Alexey’s strong arm and firm hand communicated exactly how he felt about Mikhail’s gamble with death.

Then Alexey concentrated for a while on the tender area at the crease between buttocks and thigh. As the pain became unbearable Mikhail lost the battle to keep his hands under control, flinging an arm back to protect his abused thighs. Alexey immediately halted the punishment, lifting a steadying hand from Mikhail’s back and leaning back slightly to allow his partner to move. Mikhail was expecting to feel strong fingers around his wrist drawing his arm back — these moves were as familiar to him as the steps of a dance — but Alexey did not take his usual role. Instead he remained immobile and through his pain it dawned on Mikhail that the initiative had been passed to him. This punishment was taking place with his full consent. If he withdrew his cooperation then Alexey was not going to continue and he was certainly not going to restrain his brat. It took all Mikhail’s remaining reserves of courage to pull his arm back and secure his hands under his head. With a whispered, “Sorry,” he moved his hips along Alexey’s thighs to get closer to him and made a conscious effort to relax his body ready for his punishment to resume.

Alexey saw with a rush of emotion that his partner had given him total submission. He took time to rub slow circles on his partner’s back until he felt Mikhail get his breathing under control. He then dealt out the final swats as hard as the first ones, moving round Mikhail’s bottom quickly to leave the whole area ablaze with the smart which eventually died down to a deep, dull ache.

Afterwards, lying in Alexey’s arms on the sofa, Mikhail finally gave way to the tears he had not shed during his spanking. He was so quiet that only the spreading wetness on his shirt front alerted Alexey to Mikhail’s distress. Alexey buried his face in the blonde head nestled beneath his own and then slipped a hand under Mikhail’s chin, lifting the tear stained face to be kissed. There was no need for words; they huddled against each other to both give and receive comfort. Mikhail was still reeling with shocked incomprehension at his blindness to the hurt he had caused his partner. But he was profoundly sure that he was forgiven. Alexey was shaken to the core at the risk Mikhail had taken and was still trembling inwardly at the thought of what might have happened. He clung to his partner knowing that the warm, strong, breathing body in his arms was totally his own to love and cherish.

They spent the rest of the day relaxing in the apartment and gradually their pleasure in one another’s company and the conversations Alexey initiated on everyday household matters overcame any lingering feelings of shame on Mikhail’s part. By the evening his customary good humour had returned and he grimaced when Alexey raised the subject of the rest of his punishment.

“Oh, Alesha, please. I’m still sore from the spanking. You’ve given me a lesson I’ll never forget. No more, please, no more.”

“I told you that the spanking was only the first part of your punishment. You need something a bit longer lasting to drive the lesson home.”

Mikhail pouted but sat listening quietly and without further protest as Alexey delivered the remainder of his sentence. There were no further recriminations, just one simple and straightforward instruction.

“As you were so keen on an icy bath, you can take cold showers from now until I tell you otherwise. Go and get ready for bed.”

Mikhail grimaced but went without protest into the bathroom and undressed, turning to look at his burning backside which still glowed red against the winter whiteness of the rest of his body. He thought about the second part of his penalty and grinned as he realised that Alexey was taking no steps to enforce it. He leaned over to quietly lock the door. As long as he didn’t fill the bathroom with steam Alexey would be none the wiser about the temperature of his shower.

But as his hand closed on the hot tap, before he set the mix to lukewarm, Mikhail realised that he couldn’t deceive his partner. Their whole relationship was based on trusting one another. Mikhail was being punished for betraying that trust and yet Alexey was showing Mikhail once again that his trust was freely given. Having thought that through, he resolutely turned on the cold tap and stepped under the flow of water, gasping as the icy shower hit his shoulders. The cold water tanks for the entire building were located in the roof and at this time of year the water temperature wasn’t far off freezing point. He gritted his teeth and hammered his clenched fists against his thighs as he ducked his head under the icy flow, before turning off the tap as soon as his hair was wet.

He stood washing his hair and then soaping his entire body as he braced himself for the longer immersion that would be needed for a thorough rinse. Although his body was prepared for it this time, the shock of the cold water was just as intense. Mikhail found himself jumping about as the icy droplets stung like pinpricks on his skin. Only his sore bottom seemed to be deriving some benefit from the anaesthetising effect of the cold.

When Alexey took his turn in the bathroom, after Mikhail had called goodnight and climbed into bed, he too undressed whilst pondering a dilemma. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer to his question. And he wasn’t sure what he would do if he got the answer he feared. Only when he was quite certain that he would take no action that night, whatever the outcome, did he climb onto the side of the bath and reach up to the hot water pipe which ran along the ceiling, linking the hot water tank to the shower head. He had done most of the restoration and redecoration in the apartment himself and he knew where all the plumbing was situated. If any hot water had been drawn off, the pipe to the hot water tank would still be warm. As his hand touched the old copper pipe his heart was warmed by confirmation of his brat’s obedience, just as his hand was chilled by contact with the cold metal.

When he climbed into bed Mikhail snuggled up to him.

“Aren’t you going to ask then?”

“Ask what?”

“Whether I took a cold shower.”

“I don’t need to ask that.”

“Why not.”

“Because I would always know if you had disobeyed me.”

Mikhail snorted and pushed his icy feet up against Alexey’s warm body, making him gasp with shock. But he did not pull away. He took hold of Mikhail’s toes and shifted his feet so that the soles were flat against his warm tummy and he could reach to massage heat back into Mikhail’s extremities.

“Better?” he enquired.

“Mmmm.”

“Then we had better see what other parts of you need warming up,” he whispered as he released Mikhail’s feet and slipped his hand down the front of Mikhail’s pyjamas.

Mikhail had been intending to plead for a relaxation to the cold shower rule but he soon lost all interest in pursuing the case as his pyjama bottoms were efficiently removed and Alexey’s questing mouth took over from his hand. Mikhail lay back on the pillows, closing his eyes and giving himself up to the pleasurable sensations which gradually began to overwhelm him. Much more of this, he thought, and I’ll soon be needing another cold shower, otherwise I’m going to… He started to pull away but Alexey grasped his hips and took his pulsing erection back in his mouth as Mikhail’s body convulsed with the intensity of his release.

Alexey’s pleasure came in watching his lover, cradled in his arms, fall quickly into a deep and untroubled sleep.


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