Alexey and Mikhail ~ Chapter 8: Cold Showers

Have you ever taken a cold shower? No, I don’t mean a shower when you’re the last in the queue and most of the hot water has been used. I don’t mean a shower when the mixer taps are dodgy and the hot water keeps cutting out. I mean a shower taken under an icy flow at a temperature just above freezing.

Unless you’re the type of hardy outdoor enthusiast who goes hiking in Siberia and thinks nothing of performing your ablutions under a waterfall at latitude 70 degrees north, you will have no idea what it’s like to take a really cold shower. I, on the other hand, now experience this punishment on a daily basis. Never mind the fact that it is an actual punishment imposed by my top for probably the worst thing I have ever done. I’ve got to the stage where I would almost prefer a daily spanking — although don’t tell Alexey that. At least I would finish up feeling warmer!

The cold water tanks in our apartment block are situated in the roof cavity and, although the tanks are insulated, the water is just above freezing point in winter. It takes every ounce of my determination to step under the icy torrent. Despite the fact that this is the sixth day of my punishment, I still get a terrible shock at the intensity of the cold each time I take a shower. It actually takes my breath away and I’m left gasping for air. I’ve even resorted to slapping my hands against my sides to try and counteract the pain of those icy droplets beating on my head and shoulders.

Needless to say, I keep my exposure to a minimum, standing under the flow just long enough to get myself clean. Alexey has made no attempt to check on me in the shower, although we neither of us normally lock the door when using the bathroom. Instead he exhibits a calm confidence that I am following his orders to the letter. It is this confidence which has prevented me from cheating, and I don’t say that I haven’t been tempted. But Alexey does seem to possess an uncanny omniscience, at least as far as any misconduct on my part is concerned, and I hate to think what he'd do if he caught me deceiving him.

Okay, if I’m being totally honest here then I’ll tell you that it isn’t fear of what he might do that makes me adhere to Alexey’s instructions. I love him and I did something without thinking — and that’s the story of my life — which threatened our whole future together. Alexey took a very serious view of an action which was life threatening on my part. Being trustworthy about carrying out the penalty is the very least I can do to make up for my stupidity and thoughtlessness. I don’t know whether you can understand that but I know that Alexey does. Not that I’ve told him in so many words; just the opposite in fact. I’ve whinged and moaned and begged to be let off but I know that nothing will ever change his mind. He puts up with my whining with a sort of amused tolerance and I know to knock it off before he actually steps in and makes me stop. Oh, he can do that all right; trust me.

After a week of cold showers, though, I am beginning to feel dirty. I suppose, in part, that’s due to the fact that I’ve kept the time spent under a freezing cold deluge down to the bare minimum. It’s also difficult to rinse well in such cold water and my hair is beginning to feel sticky; the golden shine has gone out of it. What I really need is one good, long, hot shower. After all, my body is my livelihood. Alexey and I are dancers with the corps de ballet at the Mariinsky. Even though the theatre is dark at the moment we are involved in daily classes and rehearsals for the forthcoming season. I owe it to my colleagues, if not to myself, to keep my body clean and in peak condition.

As I’ve already told you, I have no intention of evading Alexey’s punishment. I’ll take the required freezing shower before bed tonight. But I don’t see why I can’t have a hot shower this afternoon while Alexey is out; he’ll be none the wiser after all. This is an ‘extra’ shower so it’s not covered by his edict anyway. And it’s not really a treat for me. As I’ve explained, this is necessary for my work, to keep me as clean, sweet smelling and fresh as Victor Pavel expects of all his dancers.


How did he know? How could he know? Alexey hadn’t been back in the apartment for more than half an hour when he made a trip to the bathroom and then summoned me in very grim tones to join him in the sitting room. The question was simple and straight to the point. Had I taken a hot shower while he was out of the apartment? I couldn’t deny it. I had no wish to deny it. I embarked immediately on the explanation and justification which seemed so compelling when I rehearsed the case to myself earlier in the day. But my defence collapsed as soon as Alexey posed the killer question. ‘If you were fully entitled to take a hot shower, Misha, why did you feel the need to do so in my absence?’ He waited for an answer as the silence dragged on, but there was no acceptable response I could give. Being forced to face up to the truth, I acknowledged to myself that I’d taken advantage of Alexey’s absence because I knew that he would never have allowed me to take a hot shower if I’d asked permission.

I sneaked a quick look at Alexey’s face and his expression frightened me. It wasn’t anger I saw in his eyes. I’m familiar with that and, although it distresses me, I’m never afraid of Alexey’s anger. There was an emptiness in his eyes, a lack of response to my presence which I’ve never experienced before and it chilled my heart more intensely than a freezing shower could ever chill my body. I knew that I’d disobeyed and disappointed him. I was willing to take whatever punishment he deemed appropriate but I couldn’t bear the way he appeared to have distanced himself from me. It seemed like rejection. That impression was strengthened by his implacable tone when he finally broke the uncomfortable silence.

“It seems that you cannot be trusted and so I will have to supervise your punishment myself. I had intended that you would take cold showers for a week and so tomorrow would have been your final day. Now we will have to begin again from day one.”

That was a horrible shock, especially in view of the fact that if I had just had the sense to follow Alexey’s instructions without cheating, my sentence would have been up tomorrow.

“You could have died last week, Misha,” he continued in a choked voice, “and yet you are so careless of the punishment which was meant to remind you never to take such risks again. For disobeying me and seeking to conceal your disobedience you’ll take fourteen strokes from the paddle, one for each day of the cold shower regime. Now get in the bathroom and strip.”

With that he turned on his heel and walked purposefully towards the kitchen where we keep the paddle, while I fled to the bathroom and began to undress with shaking hands. When he joined me he placed the paddle on the windowsill and then leaned over the bath to turn the cold tap of the shower unit up to full force. A firm hand under my elbow encouraged me to step into the bath and stand right in the centre of the icy flow. Then Alexey closed the toilet seat and sat down to watch me take my shower. There was no point in going through the motions of washing my hair and soaping my body. We both knew I had done all that already in much greater comfort during the afternoon. I concentrated on standing still and controlling my shivering, but I couldn’t control the tears which ran down my cheeks and mingled invisibly with the cascade of water from my hair so that Alexey was unaware that I was crying.

Normally he is so attuned to my responses. It was unnerving to see him sitting there and yet gazing right through me. I had no idea how long he intended to leave me standing under the icy water. He didn’t seem to be timing me but I had always got out much quicker than this when left to myself. By the time he stood up and turned the shower off I was chilled to the bone, my skin was covered with goose bumps and I was shivering uncontrollably.

Alexey helped me step out of the old roll top bathtub and then instructed me to bend over and grip the edge. When I was in position he grasped my hips and guided my body gently backwards, forcing me to bend at a more acute angle in order to present my buttocks in the ideal position for the ministrations of his paddle. I waited in trepidation as I heard him step over to the windowsill and pick up the implement which he then slipped between my thighs so that he could spread my legs a little wider. I was wet, shivering and frightened as I waited in the most vulnerable and humiliating position for the punishment to begin.

I think the sound of the first stroke terrified me most. I’ve never been punished wet before and as the paddle connected with my dripping buttocks a thunderous splat resounded in the bathroom. I reacted with a squeal of pain to the savage, biting sting which flared across my backside one millisecond later. It was all I could do to remain in position and my wet hands scrabbled to take a firmer grip on the slippery edge of the cast iron bathtub. The second stroke was just as loud. I had thought that being so cold might deaden the pain of this spanking but the searing agony of paddle on wet flesh quickly banished any such hope.

At the third stroke I flung my head back and howled. The fourth stroke caused my knees to collapse and Alexey had to wait a few moments while I got myself back in position. I hardly remember the fifth and sixth strokes. All I know is that after six of those agonising swats I could take no more.

I’ve certainly taken a lot more than six before but never wet and freezing cold. Remember, too, that Alexey had given me a spanking to outdo all previous thrashings less than a week earlier. But I don’t think it was a question of the pain at all, at least not the pain in my backside. It was the pain in my heart which came from knowing that Alexey wasn’t there for me. Oh yes, his physical presence was making itself felt with full force in our bathroom but the emotional support I always sense, even when I’m squirming over his knee, wasn’t there. I can’t tell you how I knew, but I did know with absolute certainty that Alexey wasn’t thinking about me at all. After six strokes I stood up and walked out of the bathroom, grabbing a towel on my way to our bedroom. Alexey just let me go and didn’t follow.

As I stood towelling myself with a ferocity which turned the flesh on my chest and back a bright red, I heard the telephone ring and then the indecipherable murmur of Alexey’s voice as he took a long call. I dressed and then lay down on the bed expecting him to come and talk to me. Something had gone wrong with our relationship and I was frightened. It was all my fault but I didn’t know how to put things right.

I’ve come to rely on Alexey to keep me on track and his love is the steadying influence in my life. Even his punishments are a reflection of this love; they wipe the slate clean and I never feel as forgiven as I do in Alexey’s arms after a spanking. Other people might not understand our dynamic but it’s something which we both value and it’s an essential part of our relationship in which I am a full, equal and consenting partner. Alexey has never coerced me and even as I stood up and walked away, I knew he would do nothing to prevent me leaving. Although I had walked out of the bathroom on impulse, I certainly wasn’t walking away from our relationship. Did Alexey understand that? He usually understood my motivation better than I understood it myself. Then why didn’t he come and comfort me and help us both find a way forward?

After a lengthy period of silence I heard Alexey’s voice on the phone again. I curled up and began to cry as I realised that his own affairs took precedence over comforting me. My sense of despair felt like a heavy weight on my chest as I feared for our future. How could Alexey still love me if he could abandon me so readily at such a time? I gave myself up to silent tears and didn’t hear him come into our bedroom until he sat down on the bed beside me.

“I have to go home, love,” he said. “papa’s been in hospital all week and that was mama on the phone saying that he isn’t expected to pull through.”

His voice cracked as I turned over rapidly to see him dashing a hand across his eyes.

“I’ve managed to book a flight to Kiev for later this evening so I can get there as quickly as possible. Victor is going to run me to the airport. I just need to pack some things. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”

He made no move to start packing but just sat staring into space as he had done while he was supervising my shower. But now his uncharacteristic behaviour made complete sense to me. I got up and sat down beside him. I ran my thumb across his cheek to catch a stray tear and then rubbed his back in the only gesture I could think of to offer my comfort and support. As I felt him lean into me and his body relax slightly my heart lifted and I knew everything would be all right between us, even though I was heartbroken by the news of Alexey’s father who had been such a friend to me in my formative years.

What Alexey needed most at that point was practical help. I collected his suitcase from under the bed in the guest bedroom and then began sorting through the wardrobe and chest of drawers, selecting items which I thought he might need. Normally I am the one who is useless at packing and Alexey always takes charge, but knowing that he needed my help made me extra careful and conscientious. I focused all my attention on the task in hand, folding clothes carefully and laying them out on the bed for Alexey to check.

Wordlessly, I took his black suit out of the wardrobe, matching it with a black tie and a crisp white shirt. As I carefully folded the items I prayed he wouldn’t need, I kept reciting in my head ‘just in case, just in case, please God, no, please God, no, just in case’. It was my way of trying to block out thoughts of the worst case scenario.

When my father was killed in Chechnya, Alexey’s father was the one to support my mother, my grandfather and me. He was like a father to me when I was growing up, taking me to watch the football, taking an interest in my dancing, even helping out on one or two occasions when I got into trouble at school. Why hadn’t Alexey told me his father had been taken ill? Protecting me from worry I suppose. And look where that strategy got us! Never mind. Our difficulties are as nothing compared to this crisis and they can easily be sorted out now that I know the cause of Alexey’s withdrawal and distress. No wonder he was so upset about me risking my life and then cheating on the punishment. Within a week he has had to face the fear of losing two of the people he loves most in the world.

I went back to the bathroom to collect Alexey’s shaving kit and the toiletries he would want to take with him. The paddle was lying on the toilet seat where Alexey had abandoned it. I took a minute to stand quietly and regret my decision to walk out on my punishment. I would happily take any number of strokes from Alexey if it could in any way alleviate the pain he was suffering now. I knew that was a stupid thought but I was so sorry that I'd created more problems for my partner when he has so much else to worry about. I determined there and then that I would find a way to make things right between us again, as soon as I had the opportunity. I picked up the paddle and returned it to the kitchen drawer before going back to the bedroom where I asked Alexey if he was ready for me to put his things in the suitcase. He gave only the briefest of glances at the selection I had assembled before nodding his head. It seemed that he trusted me to do all his packing for him.

When I finally got his case closed I went to the kitchen and heated up the bortsch we had made the previous evening and, cutting a couple of slices of rye bread, I asked Alexey to eat before Victor arrived to take him to the airport. He said he wasn’t hungry and I knew there was no mileage in trying to insist that he eat. Instead I put my arms around him and told him I couldn’t bear to think of him setting out hungry. I knew he would eat the food I’d prepared if he thought a refusal would leave me upset. He was just finishing his coffee when Victor rang the doorbell. Although I wanted to go with Alexey to the airport, he convinced me that there was no point and it would only mean that Victor would have a longer journey late at night to bring me home. So we clung to one another in the entrance hall before Alexey opened the door, picked up his case and kissed me once more before following Victor down the stairs.


I had a few miserable days in the apartment alone waiting for Alexey’s brief telephone calls to give me an update on the situation at the hospital. His father had had a series of minor heart attacks but was conscious and alert when his only son finally got to his bedside. At first he appeared to be improving and things seemed hopeful. Then on the fourth night Alexey broke the heartbreaking news that his father had had a further major heart attack that day and had died, with his wife and son at his bedside, without regaining consciousness.

Alexey seemed calm as he gave me the details over the phone. He even seemed relieved that his father had not been left incapacitated. Apparently that had been one of his father’s fears which he'd shared with the family during his final days. Alexey told me how much he valued those few days he'd spent with his father at the hospital. He'd been able to tell his papa how much he loved him before having to arrange the funeral and look after his mother.

When I told Alexey that I would be flying out to join him he tried to insist that there was no need for me to make the long and costly journey to the Ukraine. I had to remind him that his father had been like a father to me too and there was no question of mama, grandpa and myself not being at the funeral. I sensed his relief when I told him I’d already got leave of absence and bought my ticket. My intuition was confirmed when I heard the longing in his voice as he said how much he was looking forward to seeing me.

The funeral service took place in church according to the lengthy liturgy of the Orthodox rite, followed by interment in the family grave. The grandeur of the ceremony marked the significance of Sergey Baranov’s passing and the traditional wake gave all his family and friends the opportunity to reminisce and to recall his exploits with love and affection. I can quite understand why people have so readily returned to the old ways to mark our rites of passage. Nothing in the soviet system lent such splendour and dignity to our lives as does the Orthodox Church. I could see how much Alexey and his mother were comforted by the traditional customs and ceremonies.

I also knew how much Alexey was comforted by my presence. We were, initially, very careful to give no outward show of our affection in front of family or friends but my mother knew right away when she watched us together. She sat beside me the second evening I was home, after grandpa had gone to bed, and just said, “I’m so pleased you’re happy, Mishenka. Fancy you finishing up with Alexey Baranov! He’s grown into a fine man and if you and he are happy together then I could wish for nothing more for my son. Your father would have been so proud of you, my love. His boy, a dancer with the Kirov Ballet! All he ever wanted was for you to find happiness and follow your dreams.” There was nothing more that needed to be said after that. I hugged mama and we rested for a little while in each other’s arms looking at the framed photo of my father in uniform before he left for Chechnya.

For the remaining few days we spent in the Ukraine I divided my time between my home and Alexey’s. Mama loved having me back in the house and I chatted non stop about St Petersburg and the Mariinsky. But I was also able to spend time helping Alexey and his mother sort out Sergey Baranov’s affairs, his clothes and belongings, and I was happy to find a good home for some of the things they hadn’t the heart to dispose of themselves.

On the final afternoon before our return to St Petersburg, I felt the time had come for Alexey and me to address the unfinished business we had left back in the bathroom at our apartment. After the funeral we had just slipped back into our comfortable, loving relationship but I hadn’t forgotten how my disobedience had placed all that in jeopardy. Usually it was Alexey’s role to point out my faults and failings. My instincts are to ignore what I don’t like in the hope that any unpleasantness will go away. This time I had made a promise to myself, when Alexey was overwhelmed by the bad news from home, that I would take the initiative in restoring our relationship to its former footing and I was determined to hold myself to that resolution.

We were together in the bedroom which had been Alexey’s throughout his childhood; his suitcase was open on the floor and we were folding and packing his clothes. I noticed the amused glint in his eye when I reminded him that we had unfinished business and invited him to sit down on his narrow bed so that we could discuss it. He looked at me expectantly as I gathered the courage to say what needed to be said. I forced myself to meet his gaze and explained that I wanted, first of all, to tell him how sorry I was for all that had happened before he left St Petersburg. I’m afraid it came out in a bit of a jumble but I managed, I think, to cover everything, including my original crazy leap into the Neva River, my ill advised effort to hide the fact that I had finished up in hospital, my attempt to avoid the full effects of my original punishment and my refusal to take the spanking that I had subsequently earned.

Alexey listened with silent attention and then took my hands in his own, drawing them onto his lap. He then brought his face closer to mine which lent additional emphasis to his quietly spoken response.

“You have nothing to apologise to me for Misha, my love. You were long since forgiven for your jump into the river and everything associated with it.” He laced his fingers in mine and gave them a gentle squeeze. “It should be me begging your pardon for the punishment in the bathroom. That was brutal. I wasn’t thinking straight. You were frozen and dripping wet, and I made you bend over the edge of the bath and I just laid into you. I was so upset and worried about papa, and somehow that got mixed up with a fear that you weren’t taking your life threatening escapade seriously enough.”

At that point I interrupted Alexey’s self recrimination, “You have nothing to reproach yourself for Alesha, darling. I won’t deny I’ve been upset about the spanking, although that was partly because I walked out without taking the full punishment. The minute I knew about your father’s condition I understood everything and, you know, Alesha, it really is true what they say: ‘to understand all is to forgive all’.”

“Let me say the words though, Misha. I won’t feel comfortable unless I do. I am so sorry for the way I treated you and I want to ask for your forgiveness.”

At that point I suddenly saw how I could make sure that everything was put right between us again. “I will forgive you, Alesha, when you’ve done what’s needed to make me feel comfortable too.”

“I’ll do anything you want, love, within reason of course.” My lover looked a little uncertain. He hadn’t realised what I was asking and I had to steel myself to spell it out for him.

“Well, I’m still owed eight strokes with the paddle. I presume you don’t have a paddle here but I’m sure we can improvise. I put on my leather belt before I came over to your house. You can use that if you want.” It cost me something to make that offer, I can tell you, but Alexey was outraged.

“There’s no way I’m using that heavy belt on you, Misha, no way at all.”

“OK. It’s your choice. But I mean it, Alesha. If you want my forgiveness you must let me put things right with you. I’ve never refused a punishment from you. Oh, I know I’ve whinged and moaned and begged and tried to put it off.” The last was said in response to a quizzical raising of Alexey’s eyebrows. “But you know, when the chips are down, I’ve never refused outright before. The minute I walked out of that bathroom I regretted my rash action and I swear to you, Alesha, I made up my mind that very evening that we would deal with this unfinished business at the first opportunity.”

Alexey looked at me with calm appraisal. I prayed that the vehemence of my protestation had reached him. I’ve never been more serious or more determined in my life and I think he realised it. Finally he came to a decision and responded with an assurance that told me the Alexey I knew and loved was back in fully functioning top mode.

“You’re quite right, Misha, there isn’t a paddle in the house but we do have an alternative. When I was a boy mama sometimes spanked me with one of her khokhloma spoons. They’re hanging on hooks in the kitchen. Go and select one for me, please, and we’ll get our outstanding business out the way before she comes home.”

Obediently I went to the kitchen in search of the required implement. I hadn’t taken much notice before of the colourful display of painted, wooden spoons which hung on the wall above the work surface. The bright red and gold of the painted decoration glittered against the black background on the lacquered, ornamental tableware. I know these spoons are quite light and I couldn’t believe that one would do much damage to my backside. I contemplated the collection for a few moments before picking up the one with the longest handle which would give Alexey maximum swing.

He clearly approved my choice when I handed it to him in the bedroom and he performed some practice flicks against his hand as I lowered my jeans and underpants without being asked. Then he shifted forward and spread his knees slightly so that I could bend right over his lap. With my toes just touching the floor on one side, my head was only a few centimetres from the floor on the other side of Alexey’s legs. I reached downward to take a firm grasp on the cuff of his jeans where it rested on his trainer. I was determined to remain still and, if at all possible, to take my punishment in silence.

I didn’t have to wait long before the bowl of the khokhloma spoon snapped down on one cheek, imparting quite a sting. Alexey counted ‘one’ and then directed an equally firm swat to my other cheek, counting ‘two’. Clearly he meant to leave me in no doubt that justice would be served and all eight strokes administered.

I turned my head slightly and in doing so caught sight of some battered old boxes under the bed, their once bright colours faded to a grubby reflection of former glories. I didn’t need to see the writing to know at once what each box contained. There was a wooden jigsaw puzzle of the Moscow Kremlin over which Alexey and I had laboured for hours, laying all the pieces out on the floor, much to his mother’s annoyance. And there was a construction set which I hadn’t thought about in years but seeing the box reminded me of all the little compartments it contained for nuts and bolts and perforated metal strips and brackets.

As boys we spent so much time on the floor of Alexey’s bedroom and now that my head was back at floor level, looking at our childhood toys, I was transported back to those happy days. It no longer mattered that Alexey was blistering my backside. I deserved it and I loved him. I just hoped that my silence, coupled with my total and unresisting immobility, conveyed that message to him.

In some strange way I felt that my life had come a full circle. I was back where I had grown up with my childhood playmate but now he was my life partner, my lover, my rock and my inspiration. My mind returned to the present where I was slumped over his knee taking a spanking which was turning out to be much more than a token punishment. I bent my head and kissed his leg so gently that he wouldn’t feel my lips against the fabric.

Alexey continued wielding the wooden spoon with expert efficiency. I was going to be feeling the after effects of this spanking for a good few hours. After Alexey’s count reached eight, he reached down to lift me into his lap and I went willing into his embrace, flinging my arms around his neck. Our whispered words of apology and forgiveness, one for the other, soon turned into terms of endearment and assurances of love.


The following morning we set off early for the railway station in Kiev. We decided that we couldn’t justify the cost of flights back to St Petersburg and instead we booked accommodation on the daily sleeper service. The train left at 9.30 am and wasn’t due into St Petersburg until 11.00 am the next day. Like most of the long distance travellers we were dressed in loose fitting track suits suitable for sleeping, as we would most likely have to share a four berth cabin. My mother and Alexey’s mother came with us to the station to see us off and Alexey sat very quietly after the train pulled out of the station. I had watched him exchange a tearful farewell with his newly widowed mother and I knew he was thinking about how she would cope, living on her own. I reminded him that mama and grandpa had promised they would keep an eye on her and provide as much support as they could. He nodded and leant back in his seat, gazing out of the window with unfocused eyes.

As we left Kiev in the far distance the landscape became more barren and the train travelled for hours through endless expanses of birch forest and marshland. The only signs of human incursion into this wilderness were occasional settlements of simple wooden houses surrounding a wooden church topped with traditional onion domes. I was enjoying the journey as it reminded me of the last time I had travelled on this train. Then I had been filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation as I left my childhood home to join the Mariinsky Company in St Petersburg. This time I knew I was heading back to my new home, and a sense of calm and wellbeing enveloped me as I thought with pleasure of the life I now shared with my lover who was sitting beside me, his hand discreetly clasped in mine.

Some of my calm contentment must have transferred itself to Alexey because he came out of his reverie and began talking about the work we would have to do to make up for missed classes and rehearsals. We continued our conversation, interspersed with long and comfortable silences, until the fading light prompted us to get ready for sleep. Then we took turns to go down the corridor to the grubby and smelly bathroom where I had a pee and then washed my face and hands and cleaned my teeth as quickly as possible. While I was in the bathroom, Alexey went to the end of the carriage where an elderly lady tended the samovar which dispensed four cups of steaming black tea. He brought them back to the cabin on a tray, carrying it slowly and carefully to avoid spillage.

It had been too much to expect that we might get a cabin to ourselves. We were sharing with an elderly couple and Alexey, with his customary good manners, offered them first choice of berths. The man asked if we would both mind taking the top bunks as he and his wife found it difficult to climb up. In fact, that suited us just fine and I was soon lying on my back gazing across at my lover who was settling down with a book in the top bunk on the other side of the narrow cabin.

I’ve never been much of a one for reading in bed. In my view, there are better ways of getting to sleep. I glanced at the old lady in the bunk below Alexey and she seemed to have her eyes closed so I slipped my hand cautiously down the front of my tracksuit bottoms and under the waistband of my boxers. I kept my eyes on my lover and began to fantasise about climbing over and undressing him as the old couple snored peacefully, in blissful ignorance of the goings on above them.

I swear Alexey has some sixth sense for when I’m up to no good. I was suddenly aware that his eyes were no longer focused on the deeds of The Brothers Karamazov but were boring into mine with a look that I knew only too well. It was a look that I haven’t seen for a while and, in a perverse way, I was rather pleased to see Alexey back on his usual form. Normally that look would have worked its magic on me but this time I realised that I could continue my activities with impunity. Alexey couldn’t say anything without drawing the attention of our travelling companions and I was certainly immune from any immediate penalty.

I turned my body slightly in his direction to give him a better view of the distinct bulge down the front of my trackie bottoms. Then I tipped my head back on the pillow as I rubbed my hand slowly up and down my stiffening cock, giving myself up to the mental image of a naked Alexey straddling my prone body. As I was overtaken by the urge to quicken my pace the bunk began to squeak loudly in a way which could hardly fail to alert my bedfellow to the nature of the activity taking place right above him. My head reared up immediately and I caught the amused gleam in Alexey’s eyes as I stared at him in panic, although he mouthed a reassuring ‘okay’ after glancing down at the man lying beneath me.

Now I had no choice but to lie still. I pulled the single, threadbare blanket up to my chin and put my hands behind my head, trying to think of something to distract me from my aching need. Alexey would have plenty to say about tonight’s little episode and, as I thought about the view he would most certainly take and the inevitable consequences of my wrongdoing, my immediate problem rapidly resolved itself.


Well, all is right with the world; my top is back to his customary dictatorial ways. I could myself have written the lecture he treated me to when we got back to our apartment. ‘Illegal activity in a public place’…‘disgraceful lack of self control’…‘risking my reputation and career’…‘appalling disregard for fellow travellers’… etc, etc. I took it all very meekly and penitently, of course, secretly feeling relieved that my provocation had elicited the response I’ve come to rely on. Alexey understands me so well; I’m half convinced he knew what I was thinking. His anger certainly seemed to be tempered with some amusement, although when I ventured to suggest that we didn’t give our travelling companions a chance, that maybe all they needed was a bit of encouragement to engage in wild, abandoned sex, he threatened to wash my mouth out if I couldn’t speak more respectfully of the elderly. I then waited in some trepidation to hear the penalty for my offence.

“You were the one who reminded me about unfinished business, Misha,” he began.

I found myself wondering where he was going with this.

“I had intended to forget about the week of cold showers you were due to take,” he continued, “but now it seems you could benefit from something to cool your uncontrolled passions. Starting tonight you will recommence the week of cold showers which I will supervise.”

Why didn’t I see that one coming? I hate cold showers with a vengeance and this is the third time we've started a week’s worth of freezing punishments. Now that Alexey is back to his regular toppish ways I didn’t see why I shouldn’t indulge in a bit of whining and moaning. I even resorted to begging. Finally, I offered to take a spanking instead and that should let you know how much I abhor icy showers. It all got me nowhere, of course, other than eliciting a very stern reminder that Alexey is in charge of the punishment regime in our household and that I have no say in the choice of penalty. When I opened my mouth to reply I was halted mid breath by a very calm enquiry as to whether I really wanted to discuss the matter any further. I know when a strategic retreat is called for, I can assure you, and no further comment on the subject passed my lips.

That evening I undressed without complaint under Alexey’s unwavering gaze and climbed unwillingly into the bathtub to stand beneath the glacial flow. To be honest, I found it rather unnerving to be the focus of his undivided and solemn attention in the shower and I found myself taking extra care to wash behind my ears and dry between my toes. Nonetheless, I was reassured by his calm and unhurried manner, although the only time he spoke was to give me permission to turn off the cold tap and get out of the bath. I noticed that he glanced at his watch and I decided that he was timing me.

I could swear that I got a shorter exposure to the icy torrent on the second night. Again, Alexey limited his conversation to essential instructions but his smile and expressive brown eyes gave me a powerful sense of his understanding and sympathy. By the third night I was sure he was cutting the time by a couple of minutes each evening. I was determined to do nothing which would cause him to reevaluate this policy. With any luck I would be allowed to duck straight in and out of the water on the final night of my punishment.

When we got to day seven, Alexey undressed in the bathroom at the same time as I did. I wondered what he was planning to do but I didn’t ask any questions. He climbed into the bathtub beside me and waited with a rather apprehensive expression on his face until I turned on the cold tap. Maybe he felt he owed me some recompense for what had happened before but, actually, I think he felt I was due a little entertainment on the final night of my punishment. His eyes were sparkling with amusement, even as he braced himself for the forthcoming shock to his system.

I had never yet managed to suppress a reflex gasp and wince as the icy stream engulfed me but this time I stood stock still and looked him straight in the eye as he fought to catch his breath and danced about in a futile attempt to lessen the pain of the freezing water hitting his body. They say that people can perform superhuman feats when circumstances make it necessary and I never moved a muscle as I enjoyed the spectacle of him struggling to master his physical response.

When he was more or less still I ran my hands lasciviously down his body and cupped his genitals, or what I could find of them, in one hand. We’ve had quite a bit of fun in the big old bathtub together and this was a tried and tested method of getting the party started. Of course, there was no way I would ever be able to coax a response out of my lover in such freezing conditions but no man likes to be taunted for the miniscule size of his penis or for his failure to perform. So I took the risk and began teasing him in the hope that he’d make me pay for my impertinence as soon as he warmed up enough to function normally again.

I must say my lover didn’t disappoint. Once we were dry and warm and back in the bedroom he grabbed me and tipped me effortlessly over his knee before I realised what was happening. I got a slow, light spanking which stung just enough to get me squirming, although I’m prepared to admit that some of my movements were designed to rub my boner against his thigh. He knew perfectly well what I was up to but he pretended not to notice. Don’t tell me he wasn’t enjoying being humped!

Nonetheless he eventually put paid to my antics, rolling me back on the bed and grasping my straining erection in his warm hand. I thought he was going to manipulate me to climax but it soon became apparent that he had other plans. Reaching across me for the lube he squeezed a generous dollop onto his fingers and then slowly rubbed it into his own body, taking the time to stretch his tight orifice which I rarely penetrated.

Usually I loved the sensation of Alexey inside me and I know that he prefers to top. I don’t quite know how he knew that I fancied a role reversal that evening. I’m not sure that I even knew myself. But when he slowly lowered himself onto my rigid cock, gasping slightly at the initial burn as I stretched him further than he was quite ready for, I was intensely aroused. Kneeling astride my body, Alexey was initially able to control our coupling until I felt my orgasm approaching; then I began thrusting fiercely upwards until I came with a long groan of satisfaction. As my softening penis slipped out of his body, Alexey tensed as he brought himself to climax, fountaining his release all over my belly.

When we had cleaned up and curled up in one another’s arms we lay laughing at our increasingly stupid observations about the benefits of cold showers and hot spankings until eventually we fell asleep.