Pedal Power: Part 3

After that amazing day which began with a spanking and ended with me spending the night in Brandon’s spare room I quite often spent the night at his house. Looking back on it I’m amazed that our relationship progressed so slowly but Brandon is such a gentleman. I gradually realised that I would have to make the first move if we were ever to progress beyond first base. The trouble was that I so looked up to Brandon, was so used to deferring to him and following his instructions that it went right against the grain for me to initiate our first sexual encounter.

I loved his company. I helped him cook in the evenings and over dinner we would chat about what we’d done during the day. Sometimes we told one another about our families and our schooldays or shared our hopes and plans. After we’d cleared the table we’d sit together on the sofa watching one of his DVDs if there was no decent sport on the telly. Sometimes I lay down with my head in his lap and he would stroke my hair or I curled up against him and he would put his arm around my shoulder. I felt so close to him, so relaxed and happy to be with him. I always got a goodnight kiss which would sometimes extend to a very pleasant session of kissing and cuddling on the sofa but I would eventually get sent up to bed in the spare bedroom.

One night, several months into our relationship, I lay awake in my bed, acutely conscious that Brandon was only feet away on the other side of the wall. I won’t deny that thoughts of him had fuelled my jerk off fantasies for ages but that night my greatest need was for comfort and company. I just felt lonely in his spare room and I acted on impulse. I swung my feet to the floor and padded along the corridor to Brandon’s bedroom. He woke at the sound of the door opening and turned towards me as I walked towards his bed.

“I’m cold,” I whispered. “Can I get in with you?”

I heard the rustle of the duvet being flung back.

“Come on then.”

My eyes had adjusted to the dark in Brandon’s room and I quickly climbed in beside him. He pulled me close, spooning up behind me and flinging an arm over my body. If he noticed how warm I was he made no comment about it, merely telling me to go to sleep. I relaxed totally, enjoying the weight of his arm across my chest, breathing in the scent of him and intensely aware of the points where our bodies touched. His breathing slowed as he went straight back to sleep and I leaned into him to enjoy the pressure of his chin against my shoulder, his torso against my back, his genitals against my bottom and his knees against my thighs.

I was in heaven and I didn’t think I was capable of falling asleep. The next thing I knew the sun was shining round the edges of the curtains, Brandon was sprawled on his back and I was virtually lying on top of him with my head on his chest. When I realised that I was crowding him so in a king size bed I hastily shifted over to one side and my movement woke him. He responded immediately to my presence in his bed, grinning with pleasure or, possibly, amusement.

“Good morning, beautiful.”

“Morning, Brandon. Did you sleep well?” I asked shyly. I was feeling rather nervous; the expression in Brandon’s eye was predatory.

“I slept very peacefully dreaming that you were beside me. Now I’m fully awake and I see you’ve found your way into the lion’s den.”

“Well, I’ll get out of your way and go and get dressed.”

I started to move towards the edge of the bed, panicking a little about the situation I’d got myself into. I was stopped in my tracks by a firm hand in the waistband of my boxers.

“Not so fast, young man. Where do you think you’re going?”

“My room. The bathroom. I need the bathroom.” I was babbling. What had seemed like a good idea in the dark of the night seemed more scary in the cold light of day.

“Use the en suite. There’s plenty of hot water if you want a shower. Then come back to bed. I’ve got plans for you this morning.”

I headed into the en suite bathroom and shut the door. The shower stall was enormous. We could both have stood in there with plenty of space to move around. I suddenly realised that was probably its purpose and put the thought out of my mind. I stripped off my tee shirt and boxers, turned the water temperature to hot and stepped under the powerful jet. I washed myself carefully, wanting to be fresh and clean for Brandon. I was no virgin but I felt like the blushing bride, I was so anxious that everything be right for our first time. I wanted to shave and clean my teeth but my toiletries were in the spare bedroom. I rummaged in the bathroom cabinet and found a bag of disposable razors and a toothbrush still in its packaging. Finally, clean, soft and smelling of almond scented shampoo, I didn’t want to put my crumpled sleepwear back on so I wrapped a towel round my waist and stepped back into the bedroom.

Brandon must have used the family bathroom while I was in the en suite. He’d shaved and his hair was still damp from the shower. He watched me hungrily as I walked uncertainly across the room and when I came to a halt in front of him he unwound the towel from my waist. Normally I’m at ease naked; I know I have a good body with the powerful muscles of an athlete but I blushed as Brandon ran his hands along my shoulders and across my chest, his thumbs just brushing my nipples as he moved downwards to finish by cupping my genitals.

“You’re so beautiful naked,” he whispered and I stood a little taller at the praise. His touch was electrifying and my cock was beginning to harden as he gently caressed it. I was so excited I knew my response would be fast and I didn’t want to disappoint him. I pulled away. Brandon took that as a signal to move back to the bed. He guided me with one hand on my arm and the other resting on my bottom, lifting the duvet to enable me to climb under the covers. I was grateful to be spared the intensity of his gaze but I was just as guilty of staring when he stepped out of his bathrobe.

His powerful musculature and six pack proclaimed his fitness. He had only a smattering of chest hair but a dark line ran down his belly to merge with the curls around his thick stubby penis. He climbed into bed beside me and pulled me to him. It seemed so natural and comforting to be lying naked against his strong, lean body that I began to relax. Brandon kissed me, encouraging me to open up to his questing tongue. When I was breathless with his kisses, my skin tingling with his caresses and my senses heightened with passion he shifted his attentions lower, kissing and licking my sensitive nipples before throwing the duvet back to gain unrestricted access to my cock.

He must have realised how aroused I’d become. He contented himself with just licking the head of my penis and then running his hand up and down the shaft, using his thumb to stimulate the underside. I gasped with pleasure and my body arched upwards from the bed. I put my hands on his shoulders and pushed him back. He was doing all the work and I wanted to return the favour before his touch made me lose control. I reached down and encountered Brandon’s erection curving proudly upwards from his groin. I ran my fingers along its length and then shifted back to look more carefully. I needed to check with my eyes what my hand had registered by touch. Brandon knew at once what had surprised me.

“Yeah,” he said laughingly, “I’m a grower all right.”

The penis I’d seen earlier nestling in his pubic hair had expanded to impressive proportions. The veins stood out along the shaft and the head was purple with arousal.

“With me it’s a case of what you see is what you get,” I countered. “But it comes in handy when I have to piss in the saddle.”

“Don’t you be flashing it about in front of the cameras,” he warned. “I don’t want a million people looking at your dick on YouTube.”

I laughed at the thought of the cyclist who was captured on TV taking what the race commentator described as a natural break. He’s never lived it down although we’re all adept at taking a leak standing up on the pedals. There are no comfort breaks during a long distance cycle race. You just have to choose a deserted section of road to pull your dick out of the tight Lycra. A bit of length comes in handy then. I started giggling as I thought of some of the unpleasant experiences I’ve had relieving myself at high speed.

“Do you remember that race where we did a whole stage into head winds and in the end I just had to let go and take the consequences?”

“If I remember rightly your team mates cycling behind took most of the consequences.”

This was the sort of banter and laughter which I always enjoyed with Brandon. I relaxed and stopped worrying about my performance. This was the man I loved and this was the moment I’d waited so long for. I no longer felt intimidated by the glitter in his eyes or the rigidity of his expression. They signalled his arousal and his whole focus was on me. I realised he was holding himself in check and taking things at my pace. It was time for me to take the initiative.

I pushed a pillow behind my head for support and then rolled backwards, putting my hands behind my knees and pulling my thighs apart with my hands. My weight was on my shoulders and the soles of my feet faced the ceiling. In that position I was totally open and exposed to Brandon. It was a gesture of abandon and invitation. I had never exposed myself in such an uninhibited way to anyone else. This was just for Brandon and the flare of excitement I saw in his eyes was reward enough. My erection lay upright along my belly. My hole was pulsing with anticipation. I grinned at Brandon and made a play of fluttering my eyelashes.

“Come on then, big guy. Are you going to do me or not?”

Corny line it may be but it was all the invitation he needed. He reached for the tube of lube and began stretching me with his fingers. My body opened in response to his gentle massage and he turned his attention to his own erection, coating it liberally with gel before gently easing into me. I welcomed the sensation of being stretched and filled. Brandon gazed down at me lovingly, taking my ankles in his own hands so I no longer needed to work at maintaining my position. I settled more comfortably on the bed and moved my hand to pleasure my own cock as Brandon began thrusting into me.

We both came quickly but with an intensity which was totally satisfying and utterly exhausting. There was great pleasure afterwards in lying back in Brandon’s arms, sated and happy. I was conscious that we had just made a huge commitment to one another. Neither of us are ones for casual sex and our courtship had lasted months. It was worth the wait to feel so totally comfortable in Brandon’s embrace, to feel so sure of his love and protection. I must have dozed for a while and then woken to feel Brandon’s breath on my cheek. While we were still basking in the afterglow of our intimacy we began, hesitantly at first, to share some of our deeper feelings.

“How long have you loved me, Brandon?” I asked as I snuggled against him in the bed.

“I don’t know, Alfie, it sort of crept up on me but I think I’ve known for a couple of years that you meant something very special to me.”

I realised this was the opportunity to ask the question which had been bugging me for months. “Why were you so nasty to me then? Why did you stop being friends with me?”

“What do you mean?” Brandon asked gently. “I’ve never been nasty to you.” He caressed my cheek and smoothed my hair back from my forehead. I refused to be deflected from my query.

“Something happened, Brandon. You know it did, and all the fun and the laughter went out of our training sessions. I thought you were my friend. I hoped we could become more than just friends and then you suddenly started to keep your distance. What was going on?”

I thought he wasn’t going to answer. There was a long silence but I waited for him to reply.

“It wasn’t easy, Alfie. I was horrified when I lost it with you… when I slapped you that time in the hotel. After that I made up my mind to keep things professional between us. I couldn’t allow anything like that to happen again. I promised you it wouldn’t.”

“But you’ve spanked me since,” I said slyly.

“That was completely different. You know it was.”

“How?” I asked provocatively. “I finished up with a sore ass both times.”

“For one thing, it was you that suggested a spanking second time round.”

He laughed at my expression of outrage. Well, I didn’t want him to think I approved of his methods so I had to put on a bit of a show.

Then he turned serious. “I’d never touch you, love, without your consent. I hope you know that. When I used the paddle on you I gave you every opportunity to say no and you still told me to go ahead.”

I hung my head, a trifle embarrassed. “I know,” I whispered. “It seemed the best way of sorting out that fuck up with Jimbo and the others. I felt better about things afterwards, although I couldn’t sit comfortably.”

“And you haven’t done anything like it since, have you?”

“I don’t fancy another taste of that paddle,” I said with feeling.

“So it works as a deterrent?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it makes you think twice if you’re planning something reckless, something you know I won’t be pleased about.”

“I suppose so.” I was reluctant to give him the satisfaction of knowing that his chosen method of punishment worked on me.

“So we’ll keep spanking as an option for if you ever go off the rails again, eh?”

“As long as I get the chance to say no,” I responded flippantly.

“No, Alfie. I’m giving you that chance now. Take as long as you like to think about it but I’m asking you to give your consent in principle and then leave the final decision about punishment to me.”

I sat up in bed to distance myself a little from Brandon and to give myself time to think. I hadn’t bargained for the conversation taking such a serious turn and I needed to get my head round what Brandon had just proposed. He lay still and watched me with an expression of loving concern.

“You’re asking me to agree to a spanking when I mess up, is that it? And I’m not going to be given the option of saying no.”

“You can always say no, Alfie, just not when I’m about to punish you. Think how hard it was to agree to be paddled last time. Trust me; it’s easier for you this way. You take the decision now when your ass isn’t on the line. When you’re facing punishment, the decision is mine.”

“And if I say no?”

“Then we’ll work out some other way of punishing misconduct. I’ve never had a problem dealing with you up to now, have I?”

“I suppose a spanking gets it over and done with,” I said, speaking mainly to myself as I started to come to terms with the idea.

“I’ll never punish you unless you deserve it, Alfie. You know I’ll always listen to anything you have to say. I will always act fairly and proportionately and I’ll never ask you to take more than you can bear. I’d never do anything to harm or injure you but I am asking you to trust me to know what’s best for you.”

I did trust Brandon to know what was best for me. I’d already committed my career into his hands and I was about to give far more than my career into his keeping. I remembered how distraught he’d been that first time he’d slapped me. He was on the point of throwing away his own career by resigning from his post as coach. The issue of consent was clearly of huge importance to him and he seemed very sure that a spanking was something I might occasionally need. I came to a decision. I can hardly describe it as a fully informed decision but I had understood that I could always change my mind later on. Anyway, I had no intention of doing anything in future which would warrant a spanking so the whole matter seemed academic anyway.

“Okay… all right then. If you ever decide I need a spanking then I’ll take it. I’m not over the moon about it but I agree.”

“Thank you, love. This is for the best. You’ll see.”

I was a little wary for a while after that conversation. I didn’t want to give Brandon any cause to test the sincerity of my agreement. We had our disagreements. I sometimes pissed him off by turning up late for dinner, leaving my stuff strewn around his house and being grumpy about helping out with the chores but, like every couple, we worked things out. He made no further reference to physical discipline and gradually I forgot about the whole thing.

It got so I was spending most evenings with Brandon as well as every weekend. I only went back to my flat to check up on the property and collect the mail and clean clothes. Eventually Brandon suggested I move in with him. I was more than ready to make that commitment to a permanent relationship but there was one thing I had to do first. I went to see my parents and told them about Brandon. They had known and liked him from the time he first selected me for the cycling team but I was unsure how they would view him as their son’s partner.

I wasn’t surprised that my father found the whole idea somewhat distasteful although it may have been Brandon’s age and his position of authority over me that worried Dad rather than the same sex relationship. I’d come out to my parents some years earlier but Brandon was the first partner I’d proposed living with. Dad tried his best not to sound disapproving though and I thought that he’d come round, given time. My mother understands me better and she had a little private word with me before I left the house.

“I’ve long thought you needed someone to take you in hand, son.” I’m not quite sure what she meant by that. “I think Brandon may be just the man for you and I hope you’ll be very happy together. Give your dad some time to get used to the idea and then the two of you must come here for a visit.”

I went home to Brandon feeling that my parents understood how I felt about him and were beginning to accept our relationship.

Brandon and I spent the next weekend moving all my stuff into his house. I was touched to discover that he'd cleared space for all my clothes in the storage units of the master bedroom. Not only that, he'd totally emptied one of the other bedrooms so I could fill it with my books and belongings, set up my desk and computer and have a den which was entirely my own. When I protested, he convinced me that he'd been pleased to clear out his accumulated junk so that the house could be as much mine as his.

It was a joy to make Brandon’s spacious townhouse my home. I'm such an outdoor person that my small apartment had always felt cramped. Brandon’s house was full of character with rooms on three floors. He'd been there some years, long enough to build a patio where we could eat outside in the good weather and long enough to cultivate the lawn and garden which was well stocked with shrubs and flowers. I'd always wanted to live in a house like that. To be sharing it with Brandon was a dream come true.

We made no public announcement about our change in circumstances. We didn’t need to with such nosey parkers on the team. They soon cottoned on to the fact that I was starting to hang around at the end of the day so Brandon and I could go home together. It was just a matter of time before one of them spotted us arriving together at the sports complex in the morning. To give the guys credit, no one made any unpleasant remarks. I’d been concerned that they’d accuse Brandon of favouritism but I needn’t have worried. He cut me no slack and if he found me stinting on any aspect of my training I heard about it in no uncertain terms, irrespective of who witnessed my embarrassment.

Actually, I think Brandon went out of his way to make sure everyone could see I got no favours. I could have done without him being so damn scrupulous. I’m sure he finished up being tougher with me than with the others. When they saw me running laps round the athletics field the day I took a shortcut back from a training ride I got some good natured taunts hurled at me. I was still flogging round the track as the guys left the stadium at the end of the day so I suppose I was fair game. After that I got teased occasionally for sleeping with the coach but Brandon and I maintained a professional relationship at work and for the most part my team mates respected that.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when I walked into the changing rooms one day and the chatter died away. I was always included in the changing room banter and I was a bit upset to feel that there were now things the guys didn’t want to say in front of me. I briefly considered making some smartarse comment but then decided it was best to ignore what had happened. Perhaps someone had made a tasteless or homophobic remark and there was no point in embarrassing everyone by insisting on hearing what had been said. I let it go and by the end of the practice session we were all back on friendly terms.

It was some weeks before a similar incident occurred. We were out on a training ride and the team had split into two groups. My group was in the lead and we decided to take a pit stop at a roadside cafe to wait for the others to catch up. I went for a pee while my three teammates went to buy bottled water. As I came out of the gents I saw them deep in whispered conversation which ceased abruptly when I rejoined them.

“What’s going on guys? I’m sick of you talking about me behind my back.”

“We weren’t talking about you,” said Danny Jackson. I liked Danny. He and I have a very similar sense of humour although at that point he seemed pretty pissed off by my accusation. “What do you mean about talking behind your back, anyway?” he continued. “We’ve never done that.”

“Oh, come on, I’m not fucking stupid. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that everyone shuts up when I walk into the changing room. If you’ve got problems about my relationship with Brandon then come right out and say it to my face.”

Danny glanced at the other two and gained some sort of unspoken agreement. Then he turned to me.

“Look, Alfie, this has nothing to do with you and Brandon. But you’ve got to admit that if something is going on in the team which he might need to know about… something which he should be aware of in an official capacity… well, that puts you in a bit of a difficult position doesn’t it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do I have to spell it out to you, Alfie? We all know that your loyalty to Brandon comes first now. We don’t want you to be faced with having to tell tales. We’re protecting you from something you don’t want to know about. Trust me.”

I did trust Danny. I was also rather touched that the guys reckoned I was now answerable to Brandon and obliged to tell him everything. I’m not sure I’d even got that message clear in my own head at that point. It would, of course, have been very much better for me if I had clearly understood the importance of openness and honesty with Brandon. It’s an issue which he feels very strongly about. I can only say in my defence that this was in the early days in our relationship.

“Okay,” I said rather reluctantly, having decided to take Danny at his word. “I accept that you weren’t talking about me. I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions. You’re just talking about something you don’t want Brandon to know about. Is that right? Are you sure it isn’t something you should be telling him about yourselves, anyway?”

Actually, Alfie, we’re not sure about that at all. It’s something we need to talk about amongst ourselves. I’m really sorry that we’ve made you feel excluded. It wasn’t intentional, was it, guys? You’ve just got to trust us on this one. I promise you we just want to protect you by keeping you out of it. Okay?”

“Okay, if you say so.”

We wandered back to our bikes as we saw the stragglers cycling up the road towards us. We continued as a group to complete the practice ride and nothing more was said although my brain buzzed with speculation. I couldn’t think what could be going on that Brandon ought to know about and I couldn’t be told about. I decided to keep an eye on my team mates and see if I couldn’t do a bit of investigation on my own account.

I don’t know why I fancied myself as Miss Marple on wheels but I began to watch my colleagues more closely. Once or twice I spotted two or three of them engaged in whispered and agitated conversation but I was no nearer to working out the subject of their concern. At the same time it dawned on me that Ben Fanshawe was never with the others when these discussions were taking place. He hadn’t been in the changing room that first time when I thought the guys were talking about me and he hadn’t come on our practice ride when I had challenged Danny and the other two. In fact, Ben hadn’t been involved with group training at all in recent months.

Now that wasn’t very significant of itself. Cycling is a solitary activity, for all that we compete as a team. Some team members, including Ben, travelled considerable distances for group training sessions and the intervening periods were spent doing individual practice rides or competing with clubs closer to home. When he did join us I watched him furtively. He seemed more withdrawn than I remembered but at other times he was hyper and quite difficult to work with. I didn’t want to get drawn into a confrontation when he seemed to be up for a fight so I kept my distance. I think I had an inkling of what Brandon would make of fisticuffs in the dressing room.

Nothing further happened to give me any worries until we travelled as a team to compete in a prestigious national road race. I was just beaten into second place at the finishing line but our overall team performance meant that we gained first place in the rankings. It had been a hard lesson but I’d learnt to work with my team mates and the tactic was paying off. This was one of my best individual performances and any disappointment I felt at losing by a fraction of a second was more than offset by the team victory. I would never have got a silver medal without the support of the others on the toughest sections of the course, including the hill climb. We were celebrating our team victory when Ben Fanshawe pulled me to one side.

“Are you clean?” he asked in an urgent undertone.

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean,” he replied angrily. “Would you test negative if you had to give a sample?”

“Of course,” I replied hotly. “Why? Are the officials asking for me?”

“No, but they’re heading this way. They’re bound to select at least one of us after our team performance. Come with me.”

He put a hand on my arm and I moved unresistingly as he pulled me into the gents and handed me a sample bottle. I took it without understanding what he wanted.

“Hurry up. I need to get fixed up before they walk in.”

He pulled a small plastic bag out of his pocket and I could see that it had clear tubing attached to it. I still didn’t cotton on to what was happening until he moved to the adjacent urinal and started to unzip his fly. Then it dawned on me and I reacted with disgust.

“Fuck off. I’m not providing a sample for you. I don’t know what you’re doing but I don’t want any part of it.”

I put the sample bottle on the ledge above the urinals and turned to walk out of the gents just as the race officials walked in asking for Ben Fanshawe. I don’t know whether he had time to hide the incriminating evidence of his attempt at cheating a drugs test. I don’t know because I didn’t look back.

I rejoined the others but it was difficult to join in the celebrations with as much enthusiasm as I’d had before that nasty encounter with Ben Fanshawe. As we packed up to head back to the hotel Ben walked in and announced that he’d just been one of the riders selected for a random drug test. He began throwing his kit into his sports bag, taking out his bad temper on his belongings. The others said nothing and I noticed the glances which passed between them when Ben’s back was turned.

I decided to corner Danny Jackson in the bar that night. I now had evidence that Ben had attempted to cheat on a drug test. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to work out how he could channel urine from a reservoir down a plastic tube to deceive the watching official. Did Danny and the others have evidence that Ben had been using performance enhancing drugs? I had a hunch that this was what the guys had been talking about and not telling me. I wanted to know what had been going on.

I didn’t know what I was going to do when I got the truth out of Danny. I was dimly aware that I ought to be talking to Brandon about the matter. He was responsible for the health and welfare of his team members, quite apart from the fact that he would be questioned if one of the team failed a drugs test. However, the whole situation was complicated by the fact that I didn’t like Ben Fanshawe anyway and I suspected him of reporting me to Brandon over my behaviour in the peloton. I didn’t want to be seen to be dropping Ben in it with the coach just to get my own back and I didn’t want the guys thinking I couldn’t be trusted. I was sensitive to accusations of favouritism so I didn’t want anyone thinking I would run to the coach and tell tales.

When I’d bought Danny a drink and got him sitting down in a quiet corner of the bar I went straight for the shock tactics, carefully watching his reaction to the direct question.

“How long have you known that Ben Fanshawe has been taking drugs?”

Danny’s such an honest, open guy that I had my answer at once. His reaction told me that he knew Ben had been using illegal drugs.

“I don’t know… not for sure… we’ve suspected…”

“Is this what you’ve been talking to the guys about… what you couldn’t tell me?”

“Yeah. We didn’t have any evidence. We couldn’t prove anything. We didn’t want to put you in a difficult position of having to inform Brandon.”

“I don’t have to tell Brandon everything,” I said defensively but Danny didn’t seem convinced.

“I’ve seen Ben with a guy I suspect of supplying performance enhancing drugs,” he said. “We couldn’t tell you that. How could you have kept quiet about it and not told Brandon? And you’ve got to admit, Ben’s not been easy to work with lately… and he’s clocked some surprisingly good times in competition.”

“He’s certainly become very touchy,” I agreed, “but he’s always been capable of pulling a big finish out of the bag.”

“Well, he certainly could do that in his younger days. I’m not sure he can do it now without help. Why are you so certain that he’s taking drugs, anyway? What do you know?”

“No more than you, really,” I lied. “We can’t get involved. He was tested today. If there’s a problem the officials will deal with it.”

“Yeah, I suppose it’s none of our business,” he agreed and we left it at that.

In my heart of hearts I knew that the whole dirty business with Ben Fanshawe wouldn’t go away. The trouble was, I had some strange idea that if I stopped thinking about it I’d be off the hook. It didn’t take long before I was disabused of that notion. I was doing weight training in the gym when I received a message that Brandon Gates wanted to see me in his office. There was something about the wording of the summons which made me think this was no casual request so I took the time to shower and change into outdoor clothing before going to knock on his office door.

When I was invited in I saw that Brandon had two visitors sitting opposite him at the desk. His expression was unreadable but the atmosphere in the room was tense. He invited me to come and stand at the side of his desk where I felt very exposed with three pairs of eyes watching me closely.

The two visitors were dressed in suits and their briefcases were sitting on the floor beside their chairs. One man looked very distinguished with hair greying around the temples. The other man was much younger but with an alert and inquisitive gaze.

“These gentlemen are from the sport’s governing body, Alfie. They’ve come to tell me that Ben Fanshawe’s urine test came back positive.”

Brandon turned to the younger man who took up the story. “Yes, Mr Fanshawe’s sample had an unusually high ratio of the hormone testosterone to the hormone epitestosterone. If his backup sample registers a similar T/E ratio then he will be found guilty of using a performance enhancing drug.”

The second official then uttered a solemn warning. “This means that Mr Fanshawe may be facing a suspension and the team may be stripped of first place in the last race.”

I struggled to come to terms with my disappointment but Brandon had more to say.

“It seems that Ben attempted to cheat the test. Is it true that he asked you to provide a urine sample which he could pass off as his own?”

I felt winded, I was so shocked by the question. My eyes flew to Brandon’s in mute appeal but his gaze was unrelenting.

“I… I didn’t,” I stammered.

“You didn’t what?” Brandon asked. “Are you saying that you were not asked to collaborate in this deception?”

“No, I was… but I didn’t. Brandon, I didn’t.”

I was trembling with shock and I think Brandon realised that if I didn’t sit down I was in danger of falling down. He stood up and fetched me a chair. His hands on my shoulders, gently guiding me into the seat, calmed and grounded me. I took some deep breaths and tried to think what to say. Brandon must have sensed my confusion because he spoke to me very quietly but in that direct way which always cuts through my panic and confusion.

“Just tell us exactly what happened, Alfie. Take your time but tell me the truth.”

I kept my eyes on Brandon and ignored the two officials sitting beside me.

“I was laughing with the guys… you know… after the race. We were celebrating. Ben just came up to me… because I was the nearest, I think. He asked if I was clean and then pulled me into the gents. I didn’t know what he wanted. I just went with him. He gave me a bottle. I was stupid… I didn’t get it even then. It was only when he got out this bag… there was a tube thing attached to it. I’ve never seen anything like it before but I guessed what he was planning. I told him to eff off. I gave him the bottle back. I walked out of there just as the drug testing officials walked in. That’s the truth, Brandon.”

“And you didn’t see fit to report this to me.” It was more of a statement than a question and it was spoken in a tone of regret.

There was nothing I could say. My eyes filled with tears. I wasn’t stupid and I knew that by keeping quiet it looked like I had something to hide. But my tears sprang only from shame that I’d put Brandon in a difficult position by not telling him what had happened.

The older of the two visitors sought further clarification. “Were you aware, Mr Hayden, that Ben Fanshawe was taking illegal drugs?”

“No, sir,” I replied with vehemence. “I had no evidence of that before all this happened.”

The man wasn’t fooled. “You had no evidence. Did you have any suspicions?”

I hesitated a moment too long and I heard the faintest sigh from Brandon. I took a deep breath and told the truth.

“There were one or two things which struck me as strange, yes. But nothing I could really put my finger on.”

“Such as?” the official persisted.

“Well, Ben seemed more distant than usual. He didn’t hang around with the guys like he used to. Sometimes he seemed a bit hyper, more likely to lose his temper than he did in the past. Like I say, nothing you could really put your finger on.”

“Were you the only one to notice these things?”

I don’t think so. But the others never discussed their concerns with me. Oh, except Danny and I did talk. The day of the drugs test, we did talk about it then. Danny mentioned that Ben has clocked some surprisingly fast times recently.”

“That’s Danny Jackson,” Brandon explained for the benefit of his visitors. Turning to me he asked, “Did you tell Danny what Ben had asked you to do?”

“No I didn’t.”

“So we only have your version of events,” observed the younger of the two officials.

“And Ben Fanshawe’s,” I said with some anger before I was gripped by a sudden fear. “Is he saying something different? Is he saying I provided the urine sample?”

“No, Alfie, no he’s not,” said Brandon reassuringly. “Ben had to explain what he was doing with that paraphernalia when the officials approached him but he was very clear that you refused to co-operate with his request.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d never really liked Ben Fanshawe but I didn’t have him marked down as a liar. When it came to the crunch, we all supported one another and Ben had done the decent thing. He hadn’t tried to sacrifice me to save himself.

Brandon turned to his visitors. “If you’ve finished with Mr Haydon now, I’d like to send him home.”

When the officials indicated that they had no further questions Brandon turned to speak to me with special emphasis.

“I’d like you to go straight home now, Alfie. You and I will discuss this later.”

I had a fair idea what he meant by that. I said a polite goodbye to Brandon’s visitors and got myself out of his office as quickly as possible.

I couldn’t settle to anything in the house. I wandered around in a distracted state getting myself more and more worked up. As time went on I got increasingly worried about Brandon. What sort of a grilling were those officials giving him? If an athlete is found to be taking drugs then the coach always comes under suspicion. I was desperately hoping that they would find his answers satisfactory and would decide not take any further action. If I had just shared my suspicions with Brandon in the first place then all this could have been avoided. As for the request to help falsify a drugs test, I suspected that Brandon would take a dim view of me keeping that piece of information to myself.

I was almost more afraid of what he would say than of what he would do, although I had a strong suspicion that he would be bringing the paddle home with him. I expected him to be angry and I could understand if he wanted to shout at me. I just couldn’t bear the thought of cold rejection. As for the punishment, I’d coped with being paddled when my behaviour had threatened to damage my own sporting career. That had been bad enough but now I was guilty of risking Brandon’s reputation in the sport. It was beyond my ability to imagine what I deserved for letting him down so badly. Nor could I see myself facing him and explaining what I’d been thinking when I decided to keep silent about Ben Fanshawe. It was hardly a rational decision. I was only just beginning to realise that I'd put my fear of losing face with my team mates above being honest with my partner.

When my agitated pacing brought me to the front door, I seriously considered leaving the house. I even got as far as putting on my coat and picking up my car keys. Only then did I realise that I had nowhere to go and driving round in my car would just postpone the inevitable. At the very least I owed Brandon the duty of obedience and the courtesy of an apology. He had told me to go straight home and the ‘wait for me there’ part of the message had been clearly understood between us. Nonetheless, it was just as well that I heard his car on the drive soon after I was tempted to run; I don’t know how much longer I could have stood the waiting.

As Brandon walked to the front door I rushed into the hall where I stood white faced and frightened, waiting to welcome him home. He looked tired and dispirited as he put down his briefcase and hung up his coat but as he turned towards me there was no sign of anger or disappointment in his face. He held out his arms and relief washed over me as I received my customary greeting. I stepped into his embrace, whispering words of anguished apology. His arms tightened around me and he rested his cheek against mine drawing comfort, I think, as well as giving it.

When he straightened there was a resolution in his expression which made me go without protest when he guided me into the sitting room. He sat down beside me on the sofa which gave me the comfort of his body close to mine without the embarrassment of having to maintain eye contact throughout our discussion. I was so agitated and upset I started babbling.

“I’m sorry, Brandon, I’m so sorry. I should have told you. Are you in trouble? What did they say?”

“Calm down, love. There’s no need to get into such a state. Everything is going to be all right. Nothing further will come of this as far as you and I are concerned. We have neither of us done anything wrong and the official report will make that clear. I’ve been assured of that.”

“B…b…but I suspected Ben was taking drugs,” I objected. “I said nothing when he asked me to help him cheat.”

“You only had your suspicions; you had no proof that he was taking an illegal substance. When you were asked to help falsify a drugs test you refused to participate. As far as the sport’s governing body is concerned, you did nothing illegal. You have no obligation to police your team mates.”

It was a huge relief to hear that but I knew I wasn’t off the hook. “What about you, Brandon?” I whispered. “Wasn’t I obliged to tell you?”

“Well, that’s another matter altogether, isn’t it?” he said kindly. “I did think that you trusted me. I would have expected you to tell me if a member of the team asked you to fake a drugs test for him.”

It was such a mild reproof but it broke me. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I said with all the force I could muster, “I do trust you, Brandon. I do.”

“Then tell me why you kept silent, love. I need to know; I want to understand why you lied to me.”

“I didn’t lie.” At least I was innocent of that charge.

“Ever heard of lying by omission?” Brandon asked quietly.

I had heard of it. I can honestly say I had never considered it in the context of my relationship with Brandon but I could see at once how it applied to the matter in hand. I dropped my head into my hands as the full import of what I had done hit home. Brandon said nothing, and the silence eventually became more than I could bear. I rubbed my hands across my wet cheeks and wiped the tears out of my eyes with my finger tips. Then I turned sideways on the sofa to face Brandon and struggled to tell him the truth.

“I didn’t mean to lie to you, Brandon. I just didn’t want the others to think I was telling tales.”

“Have they been making things difficult for you?” he enquired at once.

“No… No, they haven’t. But it’s not easy being… I sometimes worry what they think about… you know… us. I want to be one of the lads. I don’t want them to think I’ll go running to you with tales from the dressing room.”

“This is hardly a tale from the dressing room, is it, love? Why didn’t you tell me when Ben asked you to provide a sample for him?”

That was the crunch question. It meant being honest about my dirty little secret.

“Well, I don’t like Ben Fanshawe, never have. He was the one who reported me over my behaviour in the peloton, wasn’t he…?”

I waited but Brandon said nothing.

“I’m damn sure it was him who dropped me in it,” I said fiercely to cover my embarrassment, “so I wasn’t bothered about keeping silent to protect him.”

“So why didn’t you tell me what he’d done?” Brandon gently insisted.

“I just didn’t want the others thinking I’d got him into trouble to get my own back.” My aggression was short lived. I was bitterly ashamed of what I’d done. It was hard enough to face up to the truth myself let alone share it with Brandon. “I kept the truth from you because I was afraid of what the others would think of me,” I confessed in tones of self loathing.

I think Brandon realised what it had cost me to make that admission.

“Thank you for your honesty, Alfie. I can see you know what you did wrong. You very nearly jeopardised both our careers but you haven’t jeopardised our relationship in any way. I’m not pleased that you kept such an important piece of information from me. I expect your loyalty to me to outweigh your feelings towards your team mates. I won’t deny that I am feeling annoyed and disappointed at the moment and you are clearly feeling very guilty. But these are all things we can deal with.”

“Are you going to spank me?” I asked quietly.

“I think so, don’t you?”

“I thought I’d signed away my rights on that question?” I can come up with some feeble jokes when I’m in a panic.

Brandon didn’t laugh. He gave me a serious answer. “No, I wasn’t asking for your opinion. It was a rhetorical question. I am going to spank you. Stand up and drop your pants.”

I gazed at him as though he was speaking a foreign language. I think he realised that I had no idea what he intended.

“I want you to drop your jeans and underwear and bend over my lap,” he explained. “I’ll use my hand on your bare bottom and I’ll spank you until I feel you’ve paid the price for deceiving me.”

I gasped. I’d been expecting the paddle. This sounded a lot less painful but one hell of a lot more embarrassing. I wanted to say no but we had just agreed that refusal was not an option. Added to which there was a little voice in my head saying, ‘You deserve this; bend over and take it. Show Brandon that you’re sorry and that you accept his discipline.’

I undid the fastening on my jeans and pulled down the zip as fast as my shaking hands allowed but then my resolution deserted me. I looked at Brandon in miserable appeal and he took the matter out of my hands. He reached up to my waist and efficiently stripped my jeans and underpants down to my knees in one swift movement. He then took my hand and guided me down to bend awkwardly across his lap. I balanced rather precariously on his knees, bracing myself with my hands and feet on the floor. Brandon placed one hand on my hip to move my body closer to his own, shifting my torso to rest more comfortably on the sofa and leaving me with just my toes touching the floor. I grabbed the edges of the seat cushion and hung on for dear life, my breath coming in gasps as I waited to feel Brandon’s hand connect with my bottom.

“Calm down, calm down,” came the reassuring voice from above me. “Breathe normally. You can take this. There’s no need for all this panic.”

Brandon pushed my tee shirt up my back and rubbed comforting circles on my trembling skin. I forced myself to relax and breathe more deeply. As my panic receded embarrassment took over. I was glad my face was hidden in the plump cushions of the sofa because I could feel myself blush as I considered what I must look like, turned bare bottom up over my lover’s knee. I decided that the purpose of this punishment was to shame me by treating me as a child, subjecting me to an embarrassing but essentially benign chastisement. That thought helped me calm down as I considered that a hand spanking wasn’t going to hurt too much. I’d done the hard bit by dropping my pants and getting into position.

Brandon must have felt me relax because he simply asked, “Ready?” I reckon it was another of his rhetorical questions because I had no time to answer before his hand descended on my vulnerable bottom. One slap was all it took for me to radically revise my estimation of this spanking. This was no walk in the park. It was certainly no childish punishment. Brandon meant business and he spanked hard and fast. I was spared the paddle but his hand felt equally unyielding and I had no idea how many swats I’d have to take. He covered my entire backside with shocking efficiency imparting an intense, burning sting which shook me to the core. Just when I thought I could take no more Brandon turned his attention to my sensitive thighs. Without thinking I flung a hand back to block his access but he grabbed my wrist and held it in the small of my back, barely interrupting the rhythm of the spanking. I squirmed and yelled but the onslaught didn’t let up.

Through the pain it began to dawn on me that I was going nowhere and Brandon wasn’t going to stop until he felt I’d learned my lesson. I gritted my teeth, did my best to keep still and made no further attempts at resistance. I focussed on the explosive sound of each slap against my sore butt and the hiss of breath through my teeth as I struggled to contain the powerful smart without disgracing myself. When he finally stopped I remained tense in case there was more to come but his hand rubbed lightly across my burning flesh.

“All done, Alfie. All finished. Good lad. It’s all over.”

I slumped with relief over his lap, in no state to get up. Brandon let me lie there and I was glad of the opportunity to pull myself together a bit before I had to face him. As soon as I began to struggle he helped me right myself and pulled me into his lap, taking care to keep my weight off my blazing backside. I leant with relief against his broad chest and, having got through the spanking without crying, I gave way to my emotions and shed a few tears of relief and penitence which soaked into the front of his shirt. His arms encircled me and I felt loved and forgiven but that didn’t prevent me feeling that I had to apologise once again.

“I’m sorry, Brandon, that I didn’t tell you what was going on with Ben. I do trust you and I don’t want to keep anything from you. I’m so sorry.”

“Apology accepted, love. Everything is forgiven and forgotten. That’s how it works. I forgive you and you don’t need to feel bad about all this. You just need to forgive yourself now.”

“I do. I have… but only because I’ve paid the price. I know it wasn’t my call, Brandon, but I want you to know that if you’d asked me, I would have given my consent to that spanking. I still feel the same way, even now my backside is on fire.”

“Bit of a shock to the system, was it?” he enquired kindly but with a touch of amusement.

“You can say that again. I didn’t know your hand could hurt so much. I shan’t be lining myself up for another spanking like that in a hurry, I can tell you! But I do understand how it works and I know there are times when it’s the right thing for me.”

I ducked my head with embarrassment at that admission but Brandon didn’t seem to think there was anything to be embarrassed about. He encouraged me to get to my feet.

“Come on, love, stand up and get yourself properly dressed. Then you can come and help me cobble something together for dinner.”

“I really don’t feel hungry.” It wasn’t just because I didn’t fancy sitting at the dining table as Brandon always insisted we did at meal times. I was still too overwrought to be thinking about food.

“You’re not going to bed without eating, love. How about we microwave some pizza and garlic bread and we can eat it on the sofa in front of the TV?”

That was a departure from our normal routine but I made no comment, just nodding in agreement. When Brandon got up to go into the kitchen I followed at once, fastening my jeans as I walked. I wanted to stay close beside him so I leant against the counter and watched as he went through the drawers of the freezer in search of the ready meal which was a rare treat in our household. While the pizza was in the microwave he turned his attention to the salad which he’d removed from the crisper compartment of the fridge. Normally I would have taken over the job of washing and chopping but I was so shattered I felt incapable of making a helpful contribution. Brandon threw one glance in my direction and then did the job himself.

We carried it all into the sitting room, turned on the sports channel and settled down together on the sofa. I lay full length with my head against Brandon’s chest and he fed me slices of pizza, chunks of garlic bread and forkfuls of salad. It was so restful leaning against him, and such a treat to be fed tasty morsels, that I quite forgot I hadn’t felt like eating. I almost forgot I’d just had a spanking but not quite; the sting in my backside was beginning to subside but it hadn’t gone away, not by any stretch of the imagination.

When the televised game came to an end Brandon took our plates and mugs through to kitchen and I could hear him loading the dishwasher. When he returned he pulled me to my feet and led me, unresisting, up the stairs. We were clearly both heading for an early bed and for once I had no desire to protest.

Once I was washed and ready for bed I twisted round in front of the long mirror in the bedroom to survey the damage and Brandon came over to run his hands over my butt which appeared a very pronounced shade of pink against the white skin of my torso.

“I think you’ll be more comfortable sleeping on your tummy tonight, love,” he said in tones of affection.

“Bastard,” I replied in an equally affectionate tone.

He flung his arm round my neck and dragged me with him into bed, taking care that I fell face down on top of him as he tipped us both back onto the mattress. He pulled the duvet up to cover our bodies and leant over to turn off the bedside light. Lying in the dark, cocooned in the warmth of Brandon’s embrace, I felt confident enough to ask for a bit more reassurance.

“Are you sure everything’s going to be all right, Brandon?”

“What do you mean, love?”

“You were telling me the truth, weren’t you? You’re not going to get into trouble over this business with Ben Fanshawe?”

“I wouldn’t lie to you. Those two officials told me that we’re both definitely in the clear. You’ve got nothing to worry about. I’m just upset and worried about Ben.”

“I’m not,” I said with just a hint of satisfaction in my tone which Brandon picked up on at once.

“Don’t judge him too harshly…”

“Why not?” I interrupted defensively. “He judged me, didn’t he, and then came tattling to you.”

“Whoever spoke to me about you did so on behalf of the team. I thought we agreed at the time that the team’s concerns about your conduct were valid. Are you now saying that those complaints were malicious?”

Brandon has such a way with words. He can make me squirm even when I’m curled up in his arms. I was still feeling the effects of the spanking which provided a forceful reminder of the results of wrong doing. I decided very rapidly that I’d embarked upon a line of argument which I didn’t wish to pursue. There was one simple way out and I grabbed it with all the eagerness of a drowning man thrown a lifeline.

“No sir,” I said with conviction. “I admit that the complaints were valid and you were right to reprimand me.”

“And what about today?” he asked with just a touch of hesitation in his voice. “Do you still feel that a spanking was right for you?”

I cuddled up more closely to Brandon. It was my turn to reassure him. “I meant what I said, Brandon, I earned that spanking. I knew when I decided to keep quiet about Ben’s behaviour that I should have been talking to you. Okay, I didn’t think the situation through; I hadn’t appreciated that I was, in effect, lying to you but I felt very uncomfortable nonetheless. Now I just feel very sore… but much happier inside. I won’t be repeating that mistake in a hurry.”

“Thank you for that, love,” said Brandon sincerely. “I’d hate you to be feeling resentful.”

“Never resentful, Brandon. Why would I feel like that? I know I’m free to say that I don’t want you to spank me ever again. I’m not saying that and I won’t say that. Much as I dislike it, a spanking is sometimes what I need. I know that now. It gets me to focus on what I’ve done wrong instead of trying to pretend it didn’t happen or beating myself up with guilt. I won’t deny I’m hoping that it won’t be necessary again. I’m still getting over the shock of it. I never realised your hand could hurt so much. I’ll definitely think twice before I ever keep anything from you again. Tomorrow I’ll be giving you a list of the Christmas presents I’m planning to buy you.”

I felt his amusement in the slight tremor of his body against mine. I tightened my arms around him and we cuddled in silence for a bit. I was beginning to doze when Brandon said softly, “Don’t think too badly of Ben.”

This time I was prepared to listen to his reasoning. “Why not?” I enquired in genuine confusion. “You don’t approve of him taking drugs, do you?”

“Of course not. But I can understand what drove him to it. He was a great rider in his day and I’m heartbroken to see his career end like this.”

“He knew what he was doing. He tried to involve me in illegal activity too. He knew the risks.”

“I know,” agreed Brandon wearily, “and I find it hard to forgive him for getting you mixed up in the whole business. But this past year has been tough for him. He’s had a number of injuries. He used to be the powerhouse of the team and then you came along, a new, young superman. I think I can understand the temptation to take something to speed his recovery times and boost performance.”

“So you’re saying he did this because I’m a threat to him,” I said questioningly.

“You are in no way to blame for this, Alfie. Ben has to take responsibility for his own actions. It’s the way of sport that last year’s champions are beaten by younger, fitter athletes. I’m just saying I understand what must have prompted him to make such a terrible mistake. I don’t forget all he’s done for the team or what a fine sportsman he was in his heyday. I’m going to stand by him now, help him to face this and perhaps enable him to end his career with some honour.”

“You’re a good man, Brandon.”

“So are you, Alfie, so are you. You didn’t have to think twice. You immediately rejected the request to help falsify a drugs test. Don’t you ever be tempted to do what Ben has done.”

“I wouldn’t dare, Brandon. A lifetime ban would be nothing compared to what you’d do to me.”

“I’m glad you see it that way,” he said, laughing.