Authors: Rolf and Ranger
"Yeah. I'll be over before you know it," Chris said before hanging up the phone. He was hot and tired, and he knew Joe was going to be tied up in court late tonight.
Matthew hung up and called Michael, getting him on the first ring.
"Hey. Chris is coming over to swim, want to join us?"
"Yes, that'd be great. Can I bring anything?"
"We'll order pizza, so just a suit. Please," Matthew said, laughing.
"Aaaawwwww. If you insist. Five?"
"Yeah. I'll be home as fast as I can."
"Alright. See ya soon." Michael hung up the phone, happy to be invited. It was one of the long, scorching days of summer and he was bored to death of the air conditioner.
Matthew, having done the basic work, now picked up the phone and worked on the hard part. Rolf's voice was distracted, which meant he was knee deep in some project. Which was potentially helpful, as it left less of him to be manoevered around.
"Its waaaaaaaaaay too hot......"
"Yes." Rolf sounded amused. "And? Is it legal and what will it cost?"
"I invited Mike and Chris over to swim tonight- we'll get a pizza, we're all done in our classes-"
"Sounds like a good idea. I'll be home early anyway tonight. Don't order too much junk."
"I won't." Matthew, happy, hung up and worked on getting the last of his
He abandoned the office at four thirty and drove home, arriving sticky, hot and short tempered, to find Chris sitting on the doorstep, his book bag at his feet.
"Tell me you didn't go in to school today?" Matthew demanded, getting out of the car. Chris pulled a face.
"Two more papers. The last of the overdue stuff from last month."
"One is. The other one's due Monday, so plenty of time. Joe said to take the night off."
Michael's car appeared around the corner and Matthew waved, unlocking the front door and leading Chris towards the kitchen. Michael followed through the open door a moment later, carrying a box with him. Matthew peered at it around the fridge door.
"Beer." Michael said cheerfully. "One of my clients is a PR company, they had a surplus left over from a publicity do today and handed me a box to get rid of it. It's even chilled."
Matthew grinned, opened the back door and held out his hands.
"Come on then, toss one over."
Michael cracked the pack, tossed a can over and passed another to Chris.
"Can we change down here?"
"Sure. I want a shower, the office was disgusting- no AC." Matthew took his beer with him towards the stairs. "I won't be ten minutes."
When Matthew had gone, Chris and Michael quickly stripped and put on their bathing suits. Immediately they headed out the door and down to the pool, too ready for the water to wait on Matthew. The beers were left on the table in the shade and they both jumped in, splashing a good amount of water over the edge and towards the garden at the back of the pool.
Matthew turned the shower off and started to quickly towel himself off when he heard a yell from outside. He went over to the window and peered down, finding Chris and Michael already in the pool. He nearly choked as he realized Rolf wasn't home yet. He found his trunks quickly and put them on, grabbing his beer and heading downstairs at a run. Once out the back door, he started to yell.
"HEY! Guys! You need to wait!"
"What?" Michael said as he ducked Chris under the water, before getting pulled under himself. Matthew got over to the fence and tried again.
"We're not supposed to be in the water yet!"
"Don't be such a wuss!" Chris yelled back, splashing at him. Matthew swore to himself and jogged around to the pool gate.
"OUT. Rolf'll go mad, we're not supposed to swim unless he's here. Chris, you KNOW that."
"We're grown men for God's sakes!" Michael stood up, irritated. "I was a flipping qualified life saver at college, I'll handle anyone drowning."
"That isn't the point!" Matthew came to the edge of the pool, somewhere between furious and anxious. This was one of Rolf's strictest and most basic rules, and always had been- the water was absolutely out of bounds unless Rolf was home and around with an eye on the pool. Un negotiable and unquestioned. If Rolf pulled up now and caught them, Matthew knew all too well how he'd feel about it.
"Michael OUT. He'll only be half an hour or so, it isn't THAT long to wait."
"YOU tell him then!" Matthew retorted. "Chris come ON."
"He probably meant when YOU were here alone!" Chris argued, sending another wave of water at Matthew. "That was last summer-"
"Yeah and you know EXACTLY what he meant!" Matthew snapped back. Chris pulled a face and this time he and Michael flipped the water, splashing Matthew from the waist down. Matthew retreated with a yelp, Michael hung over the side, grabbed his wrist and yanked.
Matthew came up spluttering and furious. "Damnit Mike, that wasn't EVEN funny!" he yelled, splashing as much water as he could at Mike before getting dunked for the second time by Chris. When he came up for air again, the fight was on.
Fifteen minutes later, Matthew climbed out of the water to get a drink as he was suddenly very thirsty. He looked around and realized there was no way in the world they could make it look like they'd not been swimming. As soon as he had that fact firmly in mind, he resigned himself to it, abandoned it as a bad job and became interested in the next priority.
"Anyone else need a refill?" he asked as he headed towards the house.
"Yes, another one each!" Michael said as he slowly swam around the edges of the pool. Chris got out and snagged a float from the toy container and jumped in, swamping Michael with the wave of water as he landed on the float. Mike immediately started working on getting Chris off of the float.
The horseplay continued unabated, even with the return of Matthew and the drinks. Matthew cast another brief look around at the poolside, then tossed a can into Mike's hands and slid over the side, cracking a second. In this heat, he was more than ready for the fluids.
Rolf parked on the driveway soon after five thirty, edging around Michael's car which as usual was parked perilously close to the flowerbeds. How Eric succeeded in maintaining a front garden was beyond Rolf's knowledge. He locked the car and headed towards the house, more than ready to change and to spend a few hours beside the pool himself. The house was not only empty but suspiciously tidy- clearly Matthew and co had only passed through it on their way outside. Rolf headed upstairs, pulling his tie loose, intending to change and get outside as quickly as possible. He had no doubt whatsoever that there were three extremely impatient young men waiting for him- he was already faintly surprised that his own particular one wasn't already up here trying to hurry him along. He was in the process of changing when a splash caught his attention. Anything to do with the water always made him have to look when Matthew and co were involved- Rolf headed for the window. And his stomach clenched at the sight of all three of the brats in the water.
Blood pressure rising fast, Rolf headed for the stairs, moving fast. Matthew KNEW- he knew absolutely- and so did Chris. NO swimming unless he was home, that rule was carved in stone. He covered the lawn at a jog, reaching sight of the fence in time to see Michael yank Chris off balance, making Chris fall ungracefully off the float. Rolf flinched hard, already aware of Chris's trajectory, and broke into a run. Chris hit the water, his head missing the stone walled side of the pool by inches. He surfaced without realising the nearness of his miss and struck out after Michael, Matthew in pursuit. All three of them froze at the bark from the side.
Matthew nearly sucked in all the pool water as he saw his partner's face. He scrambled quickly for the far side, not wanting to exit the pool anywhere near him. Chris and Michael were just as shell shocked and quickly made their way to the side and out, immediately realizing that maybe they should have listened to Matthew.
"Chris, Michael, wait for me in the kitchen. Matthew, I'd like a word with you."
The tone of voice spoke volumes about how hot Rolf was. Chris and Michael scurried out the gate and jogged up to the back door, entering the kitchen quickly. They both felt very sorry for Matthew.
Matthew walked slowly around the pool towards Rolf. His stomach was twisted tight. He KNEW the rules.
Rolf waited until Matthew was close. "What were you thinking?" he asked sternly, glacial eyes freezing Matthew in place.
"I....I took a shower. When I got out, they were already in the water. I tried ... I tried to get them out."
"Then WHAT were YOU doing in the water?"
"They wouldn't listen...." Matthew trailed off.
"I am very disappointed in you." Rolf let his displeasure sink in for what seemed like hours to Matthew. "Kitchen."
Matthew quickly walked away, eyes stinging. He fought back the tears as best he could as he knew Chris and Mike were waiting.
Rolf fished the float out of the pool, using the time to calm down now that the immediate panic and anger had started to dissipate. He then gathered the beer cans together, pouring the liquid into the grass and then tossing the cans into the container on the corner of the deck. He locked the gate back and headed up to the house.
All three of the brats were hovering in the kitchen, well out of reach of the doorway, all of them dripping, all of them white faced. Rolf shut the kitchen door behind him and folded his arms, looking past Matthew to the other two.
"Christopher, what's the rule about swimming in this house?"
Chris didn't even try stalling. Head down, barely getting his eyes up or his voice audible, he answered at once.
"Not to unless you're here."
"Correct. You've known that for a long time. Michael, did Matthew TELL you the rule about swimming?"
"I'm a lifesaver!" Michael said heatedly, "I could rescue anyone who-"
"DID MATTHEW TELL YOU THE RULE?"
The thunder made Michael jump and tears come to his eyes, answering immediately and softly.
"You were NOT on the side of the pool without distractions, concentrating on anyone's safety." Rolf said quietly, eyes still on him. "And even if you were, the rules for this house STAND. I am responsible for anyone swimming here and no one swims unless I'm present."
Anything to get those eyes off him. Rolf didn't transfer his gaze.
"So why didn't you listen to Matthew?"
"I didn't think we needed to." Michael said very softly. Rolf raised an eyebrow.
"Did you think he was exaggerating? Or that he'd mislead you about it?"
"So why didn't you listen to him?"
"Because we were having fun...." Michael said uncertainly.
Rolf sighed, unfolding his arms. "I'm sure you were. And my intention here, however it seems, is NOT to prevent you having fun. But you three just provided a perfect illustration of why this rule stands: when you're busy swimming, you're none of you thinking about anything else- not rules, not risks, not safety. THAT is when you need someone around to watch FOR you, and see things stay fun and don't end in a trip to the emergency room. Or worse."
Matthew, who'd heard this before, was staring at the floor. The other two looked close to tears.
"I have very few rules that I will not hesitate to enforce immediately. This happens to be one of them, because of the danger involved. Chris, you knew the rule going in. Michael, you were told, I'm sure in no uncertain terms, by Matthew. And Matthew, you have no excuse whatsoever to have not followed that rule. Matthew, Chris, get upstairs and get changed into something dry, and wait for me there."
Matthew and Chris quickly left the kitchen, climbing the stairs with heavy feet. Matthew went into the master bath and Chris to the guest one, to dry off, not even wanting to know what Rolf was saying to Michael right now.
Rolf pulled out a chair and sat down. He'd chosen Michael first, as he seemed to be the most skittish and the one that Rolf had spanked only once before. He intended this to be a firm lesson in abiding by the rules, but he didn't want him to suffer unneccessarily.
"Come here, please."
Michael knew the tone, and knew, now anyway, that when Rolf said no swimming, he meant it. He walked slowly over to him, quickly wiping away the tear that slipped down his face.
"I DIDN'T know."
"Matthew told you?" Rolf asked, taking his wrist. Michael nodded unwillingly. Rolf waited, watching his face.
"You've worked as a life guard. IS it a good idea to swim alone? Especially when you're drinking?"
Michael shook his head, eyes starting to brim properly. "No."
Michael shook his head still more unwillingly. Rolf drew him closer and turned him over his knee, giving him a minute to settle before he pulled the damp trunks down. Michael did start to cry then. Rolf rubbed his back, speaking quietly but determinedly.
"When you're here and when I'm responsible for you, you obey my rules Michael. And more than anything else, you behave safely."
Michael didn't answer, stiff and awkward over his lap. Rolf tightened the arm around his waist and delievered a short, sharp series of swats, thoroughly scorching Michael's damp and pool chilled bare bottom. It was over in barely a minute but Michael was sobbing from a mixture of shame and embarrassment by the time Rolf stood him on his feet, took one of the swimming towels left on the counter and wrapped him in it, pulling him close. Michael leaned against him, crying hard. Rolf held him for several moments, rubbing his back and shoulders over the towel, then kissed his forehead and let him go.
"Get yourself dried and dressed, I'm going to make you a drink. Go on, you can change in the dining room."
Michael moved away, still sniffling, and collected his clothes. Rolf made coffee, sweetened it and by the time Michael came back, still red eyed and miserable, a mug was sitting on the table waiting for him.
Rolf pulled Michael down into his lap, seeing that he wasn't settled. "Here, take a sip of this," he said, putting the mug into Michael's hands.
Michael managed to take a drink before pushing the mug away.
Rolf put that back on the table, then brushed the hair from Mike's eyes. "Do you know how close Chris came to hitting his head on the side of the pool when you pulled him from the raft?"
Michael shook his head no, trying to stem his sniffling.
"It was too close. Nothing happened this time, but that's why someone, and in my pool that's me, is here and watching."
"Yes, sir," Michael said quietly.
"This is the first and last time I expect to spank for that. Understood?"
"Good. I still need to go and talk with your co-horts. If you'd like, you can sit here, or if you'd prefer, you can take your coffee and wait downstairs."
"I'm okay," Michael said, sliding off of Rolf's lap.
Rolf stood up and squeezed Michael's shoulder, then turned and headed for the stairs. Michael very gingerly took a seat at the table and curled his hands around his coffee, calming rapidly now it was over and Rolf was no longer upset with him- although he was well aware that the other two were in for a bad ten minutes. The only unpleasant part of this was that he was going to have to explain to Eric. Who was probably not going to be happy. It was bad enough to get into trouble with Rolf in itself without having to explain later on at home when your partner took a dim view of you causing someone else problems. And was decidedly unsympathetic.
"You know Rolf as well as I do," Eric had said the last time. "If you play up around him you know perfectly well what he'll do- the same as you know with me. You've got a simple choice- either you behave or you deal with the consequences."
"But at least tell him he isn't allowed to spank me?" Michael pleaded. Eric shook his head, unmoved.
"Neither Rolf nor Joe nor Steve will ever lay a hand on you unless you deserve it. Work on not deserving it."
"None of them- or me for that matter- morphed into tops the day they met their partners, they are who they are." Eric said simply, returning to his book. "I can't tell them to turn it off when you find it inconvenient. You wouldn't want them to turn it off if you were sick or hurt or scared and you needed them - it's no different if you get yourself into trouble with them. We both know them well, we both know they understand you, I trust them to do whatever they think necessary if I'm not there. You take the rough with the smooth Mike."
Michael shifted in his chair, wincing a little. Maybe rough wasn't the word.
Chris and Matthew had gotten dressed and were both sitting on the bed together. They were silent, both knowing how unhappy Rolf was, and knowing that Michael's 'appetizer' wasn't going to lesson the wolf's taste for roasted butt of brat. The footfall on the stairs was not reassuring. Rolf shut the bedroom door behind him and surveyed them; two familiar and apprehensive faces. He had little sympathy with either of them.
"You two have absolutely NO excuse. You BOTH knew perfectly well what the rule was, you've known for years. Matthew, there is no reason whatever for you having got into the water, no matter what the other two chose to do. And Christopher, if you'd done as you knew you should, Michael would never have gone into the water alone. If anything had happened this afternoon, you two would have been the most responsible for it."
Neither Chris nor Matthew had anything to say in defense of that. Rolf nodded at Matthew.
Matthew got up and moved slowly. Rolf waited until he was stationed, head down, back towards them, then took a seat on the bed and held out a hand to Chris. Chris got to his feet, not happy but not at all surprised.
"Chris, you've spent enough time around here and around me to know I don't make rules for my enjoyment. They're there for a good reason, and you're expected to follow them to the letter. Pants down, please."
Chris took a step forward. His embarrassment about begging was overrun by his embarrassment in getting spanked.
"Please. Rolf, I promise I won't ever swim again."
"If you amend that to 'when I want to swim at Rolf's house and he isn't there' I'll accept that." Rolf said calmly. "But that doesn't change the fact that you disobeyed me to begin with. And when your behaviour is dangerous you know what to expect."
That was undeniably true. Chris swallowed.
Eyes stinging, Christopher slowly unbuttoned his shorts and lowered them, along with his underwear. He could feel the heat rising in his cheeks, and knew his bottom was going to quickly surpass that. Rolf was right, he knew the rules and knew the consequences. He just wished, vehemently, that he thought about this BEFORE, as he found himself looking at the duvet on Matthew's bed. He watched as the design grew sharp, and then disappeared as the tears started, even before Rolf had touched him. He vowed to himself to take this spanking like a man, and not give such a show for Matthew in the corner. The first swat landed and took his breath away. The second fell much too soon for Chris to get a handle on the first one, and by the fifth one, his vow of silence was broken.
Matthew's hands were at his shirt hem, pulling and stretching. Not only was he cringing at the thought of what Rolf was going to do to him, he was cringing at what Christopher was feeling right now, being over the knees of a man not his partner, and getting his tail toasted. Stephen- truth be told- Matthew found something of a pushover. And Eric's geniality was very hard to dent. He didn't lack for assertiveness by any means and Matthew didn't doubt for a moment that Eric wouldn't hesitate to spank if necessary, but the most Matthew had ever seen him provoked to was a few sound swats. But Joe, whom he knew well and who, with Chris, was probably Rolf's closest and oldest friend in the group, had very clear limits and no problems in enforcing them. And Matthew had found himself over Joe's lap more than once. Admittedly never once without having thoroughly earned it, but they were still memories he preferred not to linger on.
On the other hand, he lived in this world, and with all its minor inconveniences, he liked it. It was like having an extended family, and a web of concern and caring that seemed to envelope the city, instead of just his home. He knew too that he relied on knowing that Joe's love and support was there whenever it was wanted or needed.
There was just the other side of it, which was fine in theory but distinctly unfun in practice.
Chris's cries rose in volume as Rolf concentrated a few solid swats to the underside of buttocks, and Matthew was brought unwillingly back to the present. Finally, the only sounds in the room were of Chris, and a slightly soothing murmur from Rolf as he helped him to sit up. Matthew's stomach clenched, knowing that his turn was next and was going to be too soon for him.
When Chris's cries had moved from shocking pain to sorry for himself, Rolf helped put his clothes straight and moved him to an empty corner in the bedroom.
Matthew listened sharply to Rolf's footfalls. When his weight was replaced on his bed, he swallowed on a dry throat and tried to melt into the wall when he heard Rolf.
Matthew moved slowly into reach. Rolf held onto his hand for a moment, looking straight into his eyes. Matthew winced, not able to look away.
"You need to work harder on remembering when you're having fun. It isn't safe to tune out like that." Rolf said quietly. Matthew flushed even more darkly.
"And no matter what everyone else does," Rolf went on, still quietly, "I expect you to do what you know is right. If you couldn't get Chris and Mike to listen to you, what should you have done?"
"Waited until you got home." Matthew mumbled. Rolf nodded.
Which would have been HARD. And which is- admittedly- what Matthew knew he should have made himself do. Getting distracted was all too easy. Rolf pulled him closer, unbuttoned and tugged down his jeans and shorts and turned Matthew over his lap, casting a quick glance over towards Chris. He was still shuddering - as well he should be - but was calm. He turned back to Matthew, raising up his hand and bringing it down, hard, on his upturned bottom.
Matthew tensed and sucked air in, the first swat starting the blaze, and the following swats only fanning the flames to greater heights. Again, Rolf wasn't interested in giving Matthew time to absorb the spanking gracefully. He spanked hard and fast, covering random circuits across Matthew's reddened bottom, using the color of his skin for knowing when to stop, not Matthew's cries. He finished the spanking with a series of stinging spanks to the most tender part of skin, causing Matthew to squirm for a moment, before the hand fell for the last time. Matthew sobbed hard for several minutes, recovering his breath, then Rolf lifted him to his feet, adjusted his clothes and pulled him close, giving him a rough and hard hug. When Matthew's crying had died down to sniffling, Rolf let him go and called to Chris who scuffed slowly over, still red eyed.
"Is Joe at home?" Rolf asked sternly. Chris shook his head, eyes down. Rolf dropped a hand on his shoulder and steered him and Matthew to the door.
"Okay. I'm guessing none of you've had dinner??"
Matthew gave him a faintly guilty look. Rolf shook his head and guided them both downstairs and into the kitchen where Michael was finishing the last of his coffee.
Three red eyed, sniffling brats assembled around the table didn't make for a happy sight. Rolf left them in peace, snapping the radio on, and set about making sandwiches, handing out plates already piled instead of leaving them to serve themselves.
It wasn't easy to sniffle and eat. Rolf waited at the table until all three had cleared their plates, well aware that at this moment in time none of them were likely to try refusing anything. Once the table was cleared, he glanced at his watch and herded all three of them into the living room with him, sending Matthew to put a video on, and settling down on the sofa. Michael, who looked the calmest of the lot, took the armchair. Chris hesitated a minute and Rolf leaned over, snagged his wrist and pulled him down on the sofa, wrapping an arm around him. Chris curled up willingly. Matthew, still very red eyed, also settled on the sofa, but at the far end, his arms wrapped around his knees. Rolf looked at him but said nothing, understanding.
They watched in silence which became steadily more comfortable until eight pm when Rolf glanced at his watch and sat up.
"Will Joe and Eric be home by now?"
Chris nodded, Michael hesitated for a minute, mentally scanning Eric's shifts, then nodded too. Rolf got up.
"Okay. I'll get your things from the dryer."
Michael gave Matthew a subdued half smile, Chris just gave him a silent wave on his way out of the door. Matthew, wrapping his arms more tightly around his knees, heard their voices in the hall and then the front door shutting. Rolf came back and settled at the other end of the sofa, giving Matthew another brief look as he sat down. The film rolled on. Matthew didn't move as it finished, nor as Rolf snapped the set off and got up, murmuring something about a drink and dropping a hand on his shoulder as he passed, headed towards the kitchen.
The livingroom was quiet when he'd gone. Matthew sat where he was, feeling steadily more horrible by the moment. Finally he got up and padded into the kitchen. Rolf was sitting on the porch, visible through the open doorway, and Matthew understood the expression on his face as he looked out over the garden. He wished he didn't.
Quietly, he went out onto the porch and slid into his lap, pushing his fingers through Rolf's hair. Anything to distract him from that look.
"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
Rolf remained slightly distracted. "I know, sweetheart. We've done that, it's okay."
"No, it's not okay," Matthew said, making Rolf look at him. "What we - I - did, was stupid. I know that. But it wasn't your fault, just like it wasn't back then."
What Matthew was referring to happened several years back, before they met. Rolf had invited over several co-workers for a cookout and pool party, as the two families had young children. Rolf had realized, too late, that he didn't have enough of something and had to run to the store. He wasn't gone twenty minutes, and when he returned there was an ambulance in his front yard. Rolf had run to the back and found that one of the young boys had knocked himself out on the side of the pool. The parents were up on the kitchen deck and it took a moment for them to realize what had happened. Thankfully the boy was given CPR soon enough and survived with only a cut on his head. The family, looking for a scapegoat, blamed Rolf, who did shoulder a lot of the blame as it was his pool that it happened in. The relationship became strained and it was a tough year working with the guy before he quit to find other employment. Matthew knew that story, though the other boys didn't, and he knew that's exactly where Rolf's mind was. On a small, blue faced body laid on the side of the pool, not breathing.
Rolf turned to really look at his lover, who sounded years older than he was. He started to refute what was said, but was quickly rebuffed.
"Look. Accidents can happen. Why the parents weren't at poolside is beyond me, but that may still not have changed what happened."
"But I would have been there," Rolf said gently.
Matthew flushed, but carried on. "Mike, Chris and I are all old enough to make our own decisions. We made a bad one, and suffered the consequences. If that spanking doesn't make Chris and Mike think twice about breaking that rule again, rest assured I will," Matthew said ruefully. "You did what you had to, and you did it well. The rest....is up to chance."
Rolf wrapped his arms tight around his favorite brat. "When did you get so smart?"
"Hey!" Matthew said, playing hurt. "I've always BEEN that smart," he said as his bottom lip slipped out.
Rolf captured the lip in his mouth and used that to pull Matthew in for a deep kiss. When he came up for air, he smiled his special smile and his eyes were full of laughter.
"You just keep it hidden behind your brat persona most days," he said, kissing him deeply again.