Frankie and his boyfriend Hugo were in the sitting room surrounded by suitcases and cardboard boxes. Their first home together. What times they would have. Things would never be the same again.
They had been seeing each other for three years and now they were going to “the next level”, as Hugo put it. Frankie was fine with that. He wanted commitment; a wedding eventually. The whole nine yards.
Frankie was twenty-five and Hugo three years older. They loved each other; whatever “love” means. They were monogamous. Mostly. Frankie had once had a fling with a barman who worked in a straight pub near his parents’ house, but there was no need for Hugo to know that. Hugo didn’t stray too far; not for sex. He had other interests to consume him.
They had spent many nights together, weekends too, but they had never “lived together”. It would be a voyage of discovery.
They settled in quickly. It was a furnished house in an upscale part of town. Frankie was in advertising; Hugo, public relations. They did alright. But, The Avenue was anything but young and trendy. Their friends joked middle-age had consumed them.
But they both liked the house, even though the neighbours were a bit stand-offish. “They just lead staid, conformist lifestyles,” Frankie, who understood such advertising “demographics”, said with authority.
Hugo was preparing supper one evening when his boyfriend sauntered into the kitchen, a puzzled frown on his usually smiling face. “What’s this do you suppose, Hugo?” he asked. In his hand he held a worn strip of leather, cut into three pieces at one end.
“Oh, my word,” Hugo giggled. “Where did you find that?”
“In the cupboard under the stairs, it was hidden under some plastic sheets.”
Hugo reached forward and took the strap from his boyfriend. “You really don’t know what this is?” he enjoyed that for once he knew something more than Hugo.
“It’s a taws,” he said, and when the puzzlement on his pal’s face remained, he added, “Schoolmaster’s in Scottish schools used to use them.”
He couldn’t believe Frankie still did not understand.
“For beating,” he smiled. “Here, I’ll show you. Hold your hands out.”
“No way,” Frankie laughed nervously, he had begun to twig what Hugo meant.
Hugo saw his boyfriend’s face redden. “C’mon, I won’t really hurt you. Hold out your hand.”
“No,” Frankie pretended to pout. “Shan’t.” he shrugged his shoulders and turned his back on his partner.
“Do as you’re told boy,” Hugo’s rotten attempt at a Scottish accent made Hugo grin. “Come on, take it like a man.”
Uncertain, Frankie raised his right hand and held the palm up and to his side. Hugo grinned, “Not like that. Hold your hands out in front of you. Lay the right palm over the left,” he demonstrated. Still, unsure what would happen next, Frankie did as he was told.
Hugo fingered the worn leather strap. It was nearly two feet long and the “business end” was about three inches wide.
Hugo raised the strap and caressed Frankie’s palm with it. His boyfriend’s grey-blue eyes sparkled. “This is what happened. The schoolmaster would take the strap and whack it down across the boy’s palm.”
Frankie roared, “Owww!” as the leather hit home. “That hurt!” he roared and tucked his hand under his armpit. “Bloody hell, why did you do that!” He twisted his body as if in genuine pain.
“Don’t be a baby. I didn’t hit you that hard.”
Now, Frankie was licking the palm of his hand as if that would ease the pain. “Look,” he held up his hand to show Hugo the pale pink strip that decorated it.
“It’s not bad. The schoolmaster would have really thrashed it down. Then you’d have to change hands and by the time he was finished you would have had four, or even six strokes.” He watched his boyfriend distort his face comically. “On each hand,” Hugo laughed.
“Look at that,” Frankie grimaced and ran his index finger along the imprint the taws had left. “It hurts.”
Hugo pulled him forward, “You wimp,” he said, just before he slipped his tongue into his mouth.
Two days later, Frankie returned from work to an empty house. He went to the refrigerator for juice. As he put the carton away, he saw it from the corner of his eye. Unaccountably, his heart missed a beat. The taws hung on the wall from a plastic cup-hook. He couldn’t resist. He leaned forward and released it. It was heavy and much of the leather was pitted and scarred. It had seen some action in its time. Whose was it, he wondered. Had a previous tenant been a Scottish schoolmaster? Surely not; they were hundreds of miles from the border, and corporal punishment had been outlawed before Frankie was born.
The weight of the taws intrigued him. If Hugo had been correct the strap would have been excruciatingly painful. He remembered the sting he felt when his boyfriend had tested it on him. He took hold of the handle, stretched out his left hand and gave himself a thwack across the palm. It hurt, but maybe not as much as when Hugo did it. He whacked it down again a little harder.
Hours later, supper eaten and glasses of wine consumed, the boys snuggled up on the couch. Frankie had been anxious to ask all evening, now would be a good time.
“The strap. On the wall. Why?” He didn’t need to speak in sentences, Hugo knew what his boyfriend meant.
“Well, young man,” Hugo cuddled Frankie more tightly. “I think we need to discuss your behaviour,” he said sweetly.
Frankie blushed. The wine and his passion for Hugo were playing havoc with his feelings. He said nothing, hoping Hugo would say more. He did. “I didn’t realise what a slut you were until we moved in together. You leave your clothes all over the place. You expect me to washup your dirty plates. What did your last slave die of?”
Hugo caressed Frankie’s cock. It rose and pressed against his tight briefs.
“So,” Hugo spoke quietly. He was serious. He needed his boyfriend to understand that. “If you don’t buck up your ideas a bit, young man, I think you know what the consequences will be.” He unzipped Frankie’s fly and inserted his fingers.
Next morning, Frankie rushed off to work, running late again. His breakfast bowl festered on the draining board; yesterday’s shirt and underpants lay on the floor by their bed. Hugo sighed and picked up his phone. His text message read: BOWL. CLOTHES. REMEMBER WHAT I SAID.
That evening, Frankie sat in the kitchen, sucking on a can of Coke, staring at the cereal bowl. His clothes remained untouched. Nervously, he paced the room. There was still thirty minutes before Hugo was due home. He sat, rubbed his palms and inspected them. All signs of his strapping had cleared. He went to the living room, slouched on the couch and surfed through satellite television.
Hugo walked into the room. They embraced. Hugo adored his boyfriend’s smell; always so fresh and boyish. He pulled away. He needed to check a thing or two. He left Frankie waiting. Frankie paced some more. Seconds passed, but it felt like hours to Frankie.
“Well don’t say you weren’t warned, young man.” Hugo let the worn leather taw dangle from his hand. He tap-tap-tapped it against his thigh as he spoke. He had been rehearsing his speech all day. The warning. Frankie’s disobedience. He only had himself to blame.
Frankie stood before his boyfriend, his eyes glistening, his heart thumping. His head was bowed. He held his hands behind his back. He couldn’t make himself look Hugo in the face.
“Do you remember how I told you to do this?” Hugo spoke reasonably, as if what was about to happen was the most natural thing in the world. Frankie’s face flushed to Hugo’s great delight. His boyfriend was adorable when embarrassed. It brought out the pigment in his skin and the colour of his eyes.
“Look at me.”
Reluctantly, Frankie raised his head.
“Hold out your hands in front of you. One palm on top of the other.”
A moustache of moisture soaked Frankie’s top lip. Then, the tip of his tongue darted in and out of his mouth, making him look like a lizard. His grey-blue eyes seemed distant to Hugo. He looked deep in thought.
Hugo held the leather strap between two hands, waiting. Perhaps, he thought, he should have ordered his boyfriend to bend over the coach and take it on the arse. That way Frankie wouldn’t face the added humiliation of looking him in the eye and showing his fear.
Then, Frankie held out his hand as instructed. He didn’t look at Hugo, instinctively his head turned away to the wall. He had stretched his arm and hand out in the required manner, directly in front of his body; one hand on top of the other. His shoulder ached from holding his arm so high.
He felt the strap stroke the centre of his palm. Suddenly, he panicked. What if Hugo’s aim was off and he slashed the taws into his fingers or his thumb. The pain would be excruciating and the damage would make it impossible for Frankie to use a computer or hold anything for days. How would he explain that to the people at work?
As the cold strap tapped his palm he screwed up his eyes and readied himself for the first stroke. The taws swooped down and cracked across his flesh. The burn was intense, it felt like he had accidentally leant against the glowing ring of a cooker. Some dormant schoolboy instinct stopped him withdrawing his hand and blowing air on it or wrapping it under his armpit to ease the pain.
He was inordinately proud of himself when he managed to hold the palm steady, while Hugo readied himself to deliver the second cut. It fell with a deafening Crack! Fire burned into Frankie’s delicate flesh. He scrunched his face like an ugly gargoyle. Tears pricked the back of his eyes. His palms throbbed like crazy. Never before had he felt such pain.
“Other hand.” Hugo’s instruction sounded as if it had come from a hundred miles away, Frankie could barely hear for the blood rushing through his ears. He switched hands, groaning as the weight on his untouched hand pressed into the scorching flesh of the other.
He closed his eyes shut and waited. The next stroke whipped expertly into his palm and tears fell freely. Still, he held his hand firmly for the next lash. Absurdly, he felt tremendous pride that he had not (at least not yet) howled the house down.
“Last one,” Hugo intoned. “Raise your hands higher please.”
Although every nerve in his body seemed to tremble, Frankie stretched his arm further and raised it to the required height. He was rewarded by a cracking slash into the centre of his palm. All dignity was lost, he bent double, howling with agony. He blew on the palm to no effect, so he tried rubbing his hands together. That made it worst, so, he stuck them between his knees. Still there was no relief. His palms were crimson and throbbing. They seemed to be twice their natural size. He held them out for Hugo to see. His unspoken words were, “Look what you’ve done to me.”
Hugo threw the taws onto the couch and advanced on his boyfriend. Bulges in both their trousers betrayed their true feelings. Hugo unbuckled Frankie’s belt and ripped down his zipper. When it was clear Frankie’s hands were too tortured to do the same to Hugo, he did it himself. Two steel hard cocks pointed at the ceiling. Frankie’s was about to take off like an Exocet missile. Hugo sank to his knees and took the glistening top of Hugo’s cock in his mouth.
Later, spunked out, they lay on the carpet gasping with ecstasy. It had been some time, if ever, that they had made-out like this. Hugo held his lover’s head in his arms, delighted that Frankie had been so quick to find the taws he had planted in the cupboard under the stairs.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second