|Primary Characters:||Nicky, Nazeer, Claire, Katherine|
|Warning:||m/m sex, f/m/m sex, dominance|
|Description:||Nicky’s feeling lonely, and he can’t understand what Claire wants. In the meantime he seeks comfort elsewhere. When Claire finds out, she wants to punish him.|
Detective Sergeant Nicky Cole yawned and stretched. His shift was over and he should be on his way home. It was just that he was suddenly tired of constantly walking into his uncle’s house. Of course it was his house, not his uncle’s, but that didn’t change the fact that it still felt as if he was fifteen. He decided he’d drop by his friend Nazeer Ahmed’s place and have some chips and a soft drink. Or why not a beer, now that his shift had ended?
He knew Nazeer would be glad to see him. It was nice fellow, and after Nicky had helped him and his family they had become quite close.
When he arrived at the fast food restaurant, he realized he’d left it too late. Nazeer must have closed up and gone upstairs to his place or even to his parents’ house. Shrugging, Nicky turned to leave, when he caught sight of Nazeer coming out into the restaurant from the kitchen. His face lit up and he walked over to unlock the door and let his friend in.
“Hello. Can I get you anything?”
“No, it’s alright. You’re closing up. I’ll just -”
“Nonsense. I’ll make you some sausages or eggs and beans. I have chips and -”
“Really, I don’t want to be any trouble. I should probably just go home. Errol will be waiting.”
“If you’re tired – but I’d be happy to get you something. I was going to have a meal myself, so it won’t be any trouble.”
“Alright, if you’re sure.”
“Would you like beer with that?”
“Well, I am off duty.”
“Of course. Come on out into the kitchen. I’ll turn out the lights here.”
Fifteen minutes later, they were seated at a table in the back, chatting and taking deep swallows of the beer. As always, the food was good and the company pleasant. Nicky began to relax. It was a bit sad, not having any other friends than his uncle and nephew. And even Errol seemed to be going out with a lady. Just like old times. Little Nicky stuck at home being a good boy, while uncle Errol was out, living a real life.
He knew Nazeer could probably relate to his situation. After all, his friend was looking after his parents. It must be about the same. And as far as Nicky knew, though Nazeer was constantly talking about women and what women liked, there never seemed to be any girlfriends. Perhaps it was his culture. One day, his father would send for a girl from the old country, and Nazeer would become a responsible family man. In a way, it was a pity it didn’t work that way for everyone.
Though Nicky suspected Errol would find him a dull, dutiful wife, and he was sure he’d never learn to love her. With a sigh, he recalled just how long it had been since he last went out with a woman. If Claire Maxwell could only –
“Oh, I was just thinking how hard it is to get a date in this town.”
“I know what you mean. The good ones are always married or going off to London.”
Nicky glanced at Nazeer’s face. The soulful eyes fastened on him in a way, he gathered women found irresistible. Or didn’t they? He could easily imagine someone gazing back, just as devotedly at his friend. A pity they couldn’t both meet some nice girl to go out with.
They finished the meal and Nicky regretfully decided he would have to go home. Nazeer put away the dishes for later. Nicky wondered if he ought to offer to wash them, but thought Nazeer would probably get one of the employees do it tomorrow. Or rather later today. It was getting late.
“Want to come upstairs and listen to some music?”
Nicky eagerly seized on the opportunity to delay going home. He always felt a little irritated at the way Errol always expected him to behave just like Matty. A well brought up school boy. He wasn’t particularly interested in music, but he wouldn’t mind chatting for a bit longer.
Upstairs, he found a room which looked an awful lot like a teenager’s room. The walls were filled with posters. Mainly scantily dressed females, but also some music stars and a fancy car, rather like Nicky’s own.
“Yes, I always wanted one of those. if I can save up enough, I’ll buy one.”
“You can come for a ride in mine any time, while you’re saving up.”
“Thanks. Yours is a very nice car too. Can’t you just see yourself riding in it with a beautiful woman? Someone like – Salma Hayek? Or – Gwnyneth Paltrow.”
“I was thinking more Halle Berry.”
“Yes, it doesn’t really matter, as long as she’s beautiful and loves you.”
“Oh, I think I’d like someone smart too, someone with a bit of an attitude.”
“Yes, yes. Smart and cool. Like – Madonna.”
“Madonna? Not exactly my dream girl. But I can see that you like her.”
One of the posters would probably have made Nazeer’s mother shriek incoherently. Madonna was lying in an extremely provocative pose, with a man in between her thighs. In another one she was indulging herself. Frankly, he wouldn’t have liked to see anything like that in Matty’s room, even five years from now.
“Who’s your dream girl? Kylie?”
Nicky laughed. Claire Maxwell. But he didn’t like to say so to Nazeer.
“None of those music stars or actresses. Just someone bright and sexy.”
Nazeer picked up some DVD:s and placed one in the DVD player and pressed play. The music video was – as Nicky had guessed – quite sexually explicit. Ten years ago, Nicky would have felt both hot around the ears and embarassed. Nowadays, he was a little more seasoned, but it still made him a little uncomfortable to see the video with someone else.
“Oh, look at that. She’s so lovely.”
Nazeer’s eyes looked a little glazed over, and Nicky smiled indulgently. What was the harm really? There were probably far worse videos to watch. Though come to think of it, perhaps Nazeer had some of those too. It was as if Nazeer had read his mind. Once the song had played out, he stopped the DVD and picked up another one. Nicky couldn’t help noticing that the cover hinted at exactly the sort of movie he’d had in mind. He knew he ought to get up and go. This was getting a little too intimate. On the other hand, he suddenly felt an urge to watch a little sex, since he wasn’t going to get any himself any time soon.
The movie had very little plot and the performance of the actors was far from – artistic – but all in all, it did the trick. Now Nicky really wanted to be alone. This was getting just a bit too – intense. He felt hot and flushed and his heart was pounding almost uncomfortably. A familiar throbbing made it increasingly difficult to remain outwardly calm. Perhaps –
To his embarrassment, Nazeer couldn’t resist any longer and he began to rub his hands against his crotch. Nicky glanced uneasily at his friend. This was going a bit far. Now Nazeer opened his pants in front and –
He knew he ought to just leave, but somehow, Nicky couldn’t take his eyes off Nazeer’s hands and what he was doing with them. The sight of the growing member was making Nicky’s own arousal increase. He began to breathe faster and suddenly, he couldn’t resist anymore. It had been so long. After rubbing the area he became bolder and followed Nazeer’s example and opened his pants.
He caught Nazeer staring avidly at him and for a second, his arousal faltered. But the noises and the scenes on the tv screen made it hard to resist. He continued, trying desperately to ignore his friend and the noises he was making and the sight of his growing arousal. It wouldn’t be long now.
Suddenly, Nazeer let his right hand move across to Nicky. He glanced inquiringly at his friend and Nicky was about to open his mouth and tell him no, when he found himself changing his mind. Instead, he too reached out his hand.
When it was over, Nicky snatched back his hand and rubbing it against his pants, he got up and left, without a word of goodbye. He fled downstairs and outside, aghast at what he’d just done. If Errol knew – He kept imagining his uncle walking in and catching him in the act. That had happened once, but that time, the other kid had been a girl. Emily Mills, a neighbor.
Nicky recalled that he’d had his hand under her skirt and she’d been touching him too. Errol hadn’t said anything, he’d just stood in the doorway, until the girl had fled, avoiding his gaze and Nicky had turned and made a run for it, into his own room. Errol hadn’t said anything specifically about the incident, but not long afterwards, Errol had talked to him about responsibilities and being sensible. It didn’t take a genius to realize that he was referring to unwanted pregnancies. Nicky had been mortified and for a long time he’d avoided inviting a girl to his home.
For almost a week, Nicky stayed away from Nazeer’s restaurant. He suspected that Nazeer would be feeling just as embarrassed and probably be filled with regrets. One night, about six nights after the incident, Sergeant Rick Astel had suggested they go to Nazeer’s place for a meal. Nicky couldn’t think of any excuse not to go, so once again he’d found himself there, just before closing time.
He avoided meeting Nazeer’s gaze as he ordered and ate his meal. Rick finished his meal and got up to go. He knew Nicky and Nazeer were friends, so he expected his colleague to want to stay and chat.
“No need to get up. I’ll be going home now. See you tomorrow night, Nicky.”
Nicky fidgeted on his chair. If he got up to leave now, Rick would only wonder. On the other hand, now Nazeer wanted to close up and they’d be left alone together. Uneasily, Nicky watched Rick paying and leaving. As soon as Rick’s thickset figure had vanished into the darkness outside, Nicky got up to go. At the same time, Nazeer closed the door behind the last customer but one and turned and faced Nicky.
It was an awkward moment. He could see that Nazeer felt guilty about the last time, and he didn’t know what to say. Uncomfortably he shuffled his feet.
Nazeer seemed just as ill-at-ease. It looked as if he was trying to say something, but just couldn’t find the words. Eventually, he seemed to come to a decision.
“Do you need to go? I – would like to talk to you about something.”
“What is it?”
Nicky thought he had a good idea of what it was, and was wondering how Nazeer would phrase it.
“I – I’m sorry about what happened.”
“Oh. Well, it was just as much my fault so -”
“I just don’t want you to think that I -”
“Of course not. Me neither. Well, it’s getting late so – ”
“Yes. Of course.”
But somehow, Nicky didn’t leave. Instead, he remembered the feeling of abandonment he’d experienced upstairs. He couldn’t get it out of his mind. While certainly embarrassing, it had also felt really good to finally get some relief.
Noting his friend’s hesitation, Nazeer seemed to relax a little. He smiled, as if he a big weight had fallen from his shoulders.
“If you like we could – ”
Watch another movie?
Nicky knew he ought to just go. If what had happened the last time never happened again perhaps he could salvage some of his self-respect. But he found he didn’t want to. The thought of more sexually explicit movies and – gratification, excited him. He despised himself for his reaction but couldn’t master the desire for more.
Nodding wordlessly, Nicky followed Nazeer upstairs. They skipped the music video and moved on to another highly explicit movie. At the beginning of it, Nicky vowed to himself that he would at least stick to his own handiwork. A little later, his mind abandoned all pretences. They repeated the experience from the last time and Nicky knew, though he tried to repress the feeling, that he felt more satisfied than he would have if he’d been alone. Of course, he wished his partner could have been – well, to be honest, Claire – someone was better than no one.
From then on, he and Nazeer took to meeting in the restaurant or simply upstairs. They didn’t refer to what they were doing in so many words. It was just an unspoken agreement that they would pretend as if nothing had changed.
One night, Nazeer’s limpid eyes fastened on Nicky’s face, entreatingly. Nicky’s breath caught in his throat. He couldn’t guess what Nazeer wanted, but part of him was eager to find out. Nazeer got up and stood in front of Nicky. For a second, Nicky’s mind recoiled in horror, as he misconstrued Nazeer’s intention. When his friend dropped to his knees in front of him, he suddenly realized what was being offered. Part of him wanted to refuse the offer. He knew that if they crossed that line, what they were doing would take on quite a different significance. But he didn’t say anything and Nazeer did what he had set out to do.
Once again, Nicky fled in shame, but a few nights later, he was back and they continued as before. And so it went on until his relationship with Claire changed. Their interaction exploded like a bomb in his mind. In the past, his repressed desire for her had made him channel his sexual needs elsewhere. The first time he and Claire made love, he knew he’d visited Nazeer for the last time.
It didn’t take Nazeer long to realize that Nicky wasn’t going to be back. Part of him had known this day would come and he understood. If he’d met a woman, he would have seized on the chance immediately. He had hoped, however, that they could remain friends. Nicky’s absence and silence made him feel sad and abandoned. He had believed the policeman different from the others. Usually, the Asian community didn’t trust the English and they tended to keep to themselves. But when Nicky had saved him and his family from the reprisals instigated by the local organized crime, he had come to trust the handsome police officer. It felt bitter that in the end, Nicky hadn’t been any different from everyone else.
On the other hand, he understood that their – dealings with each other might be an embarrassment to Nicky now that he was involved with a woman. Still, he would have at least expected Nicky to come by in person to explain.
For a while, Nazeer tried his best to focus on his work and his family. In the end, he couldn’t resist approaching his friend again. In addition, he was eager to meet Claire Maxwell again. He couldn’t blame Nicky for falling for her. She was the sort of woman Nazeer could only dream about. Elegant, graceful, stylish.
Feeling pathetic and weak, he rang Nicky’s number and waited. He knew that Nicky’s shift would be over, so wherever he was, he’d be off duty, unless something extraordinary had occurred. Judging by his voice, Nicky was relaxed and contented.
“Oh, Nazeer. How are you these days? I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch, but you know -”
“Yes, of course. Perfectly understandable. I was just wondering – if we could go and have a few beers perhaps. Unless you’re busy.”
“When did you have in mind?”
Nicky didn’t sound too dismayed, so perhaps he’d missed his friend too. Nazeer liked to think so. Naturally, they wouldn’t do anything – inappropriate. They would just talk.
“Whenever you have time.”
“You could come by tomorrow afternoon. This afternoon, really. At Claire’s. The baby is at her mother’s house, so it would be a perfect opportunity.”
“That’s very generous of you. I’d love to see Claire again.”
“Oh, you’ve met. Of course.”
“How is she? And you?”
“We’re fine. Just fine.”
“And Errol and Matty?”
“Oh, they’re fine too. Errol is doing a fine job of raising Matty. And of course, I try to come by as often as I can.”
“Yes. I’m glad to hear it.”
“Oh, and you’re parents?”
“Fine. Both of them. Thank you for asking.”
Nazeer thought that they sounded like strangers, or just acquaintances. Again, he questioned the wisdom of his action, but he felt lonely and missed his best friend. In the time he’d known Nicky, he had soon come to realize that most of his other friends were just hangers-on. In Nicky, he felt he’d met a real friend. Perhaps he’d been wrong, but it would be good to see Nicky again. And Claire.
The following afternoon, Nazeer dressed up in his best clothes, and found his way to Claire’s house. Just as he’d expected, it was spacious and well furnished. He wondered how Nicky dealt with the difference in their respective incomes and lifestyles, but decided that this was Nicky’s business.
He had expected the house to be full of guests, but was amazed to find Claire and Nicky alone. They greeted him politely, and soon they were chatting over a glass of sherry. Claire had made sandwiches and other dainty food. Nazeer almost laughed. It was like finding himself in a movie. In the Asian community parties and celebrations tended to be crowded and lively, with much spicier food. Still, he enjoyed it all and the conversastion most of all.
After a while, he became aware of Claire studying him rather closely. It was making him uncomfortable. From time to time, he glanced at Nicky, wondering if he had noticed Claire’s speculative perusal of him. She was frowning in concentration. Nicky seemed unaware of what was going on.
“So, Nazeer. It’s been a while since you and Nicky last met, I hear.”
“Yes, of course, I can see that Nicky’s been occupied so -”
Claire smiled and nodded.
“Yes. But you used to meet quite regularly, at the restaurant?”
Why did he suddenly get the feeling he was being cross-examined? He had a feeling Claire wasn’t just asking idly.
“Yes, Nicky and his colleagues used to come in quite regularly. In fact, Sergeant Astel still come in from time to time.”
It seemed Claire’s interest in Ricky Astel was decidedly limited.
“What a shame, Nicky. I’d imagine that you could still go and have a meal while you’re on duty, couldn’t you?”
“I suppose so. When I can look forward to a homecooked meal, I hope -”
“But I don’t really cook, do I?”
“I’m not complaining.”
She smiled insincerely. There was something about Nazeer that had always made her uneasy. Something about his relationship with Nicky. She wasn’t naive enough to expect either of the men to confess, if there was something to confess, but her instinct told her she was right. There had been something going on between them and she would very much like to know what it was.
“I hear that you quite often spent the night out somewhere. Errol -”
Nicky suddenly felt cold. What a fool he’d been. Of course Errol would notice and of course Errol would see no reason not to tell Claire. Damn his uncle’s assumption that he could still keep a close eye on his grown up nephew’s comings and goings.
“Of course. Sometimes I’d be forced to work overtime. If there was a particularly pressing case.”
Nazeer suddenly felt uneasy. These questions were leading somewhere and he didn’t want to be around if Claire put two and two together.
“Well, it was very nice of you to invite me, miss Maxwell, but I’m afraid I need to get going. The restaurant -”
“Ah, the restaurant. Excuse me, for a minute. Nicky. In the kitchen. Now.”
Nazeer felt torn between his intense discomfort and his wish to be polite to his hostess. He fidgeted nervously in the comfortable armchair.
Claire’s eyes held a steely glint and Nicky swallowed edgily.
“Alright. Tell me.”
“You and Nazeer. I want to know exactly what you were up to at his place. Don’t try to deny it. You and he were – what? I’m warning you, Nicky, if I find out you’ve been lying to me, I’ll -”
“I don’t know what you’re -”
“Really? Time is running out, Nicky.”
“We’re friends. You knew that already. And yes, I used to eat at the restaurant. What else do you want to know?”
“What you did. How far it went.”
Nicky felt his hands go clammy. How could she know? What had he done wrong to give himself away? Had someone – No, no one knew, except Nazeer, and he couldn’t imagine that Nazeer would tell anyone. It was uncanny.
“We didn’t do -.”
An angry glare silenced him. Nicky was thinking fast. If he was out of luck, it was over. He couldn’t accept that. If he confided in her now, perhaps she would forgive him. Provided he grovelled enough.
“I – we – I’m sorry. We – I’m not gay.”
“I never thought you were. Until tonight. I certainly haven’t had anything to complain about. What did you do?”
“Not a lot.”
“Am I supposed to guess? If you make me pry each word out of you -”
“Please. It was a stupid mistake and -”
“How many times? Once? Twice?”
“I don’t know. Not many.”
“If it wasn’t that many times, why don’t you remember?”
“You were – using him for your sexual gratification and when I – proved less intractable than in the past, you didn’t need to anymore? Don’t bother denying it. Unless – you want to tell me that you had an affair.”
“Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m not the one who’s being ridiculous.”
Nicky stared unhappily at Claire, feeling intensely at a disadvantage.
“Do you want me to leave?”
“No, I want your boyfriend to leave. No one treats me like this.”
“I’ll – tell him to go.”
“No, you won’t. I will. You stay here.”
Claire felt ready to lash out at someone. Nazeer? No. She was furious with him, but even more so with Nicky. Nazeer wasn’t the one who had lied to her. It was Nicky. Perhaps she ought to have been flattered that he considered her a better choice than Nazeer. Amazing. You heard of things like that among boarding school boys, but not nowadays. She suspected that her – former lover and the father of her child had known other boys intimately at his school. Since she hadn’t really cared enough to worry about it, she had never asked. Nicky was something different. She really thought she loved him.
In the sitting room, Nazeer was still waiting anxiously. He had no idea how Claire had found out, but he dreaded meeting her. He had been about to get up and creep out, while Nicky was getting his tongue-lashing, but he had felt too stunned to move.
“I think you’d better leave.”
“Yes. Sorry about -”
Claire silenced him with a glare. Her eyes glinted with repressed fury. Nazeer’s eyes drank in her appearance. All that rage contained within the lovely female body was beginning to have an effect on him. He felt himself grow aroused under her hard gaze.
She blinked in surprise as she sensed Nazeer’s reaction. In a way, that was gratifying. She stored away the information for possible future reference.
Under her peremptory stare Nazeer backed out and left her house, heart pounding and hands damp. He’d caught himself wondering what she would have liked to do to him. In a way, it was only fair. He’d wronged her by his involvement with her lover. It was only right that she should punish him. Guilitily, his mind filled with images of how this punishment would be carried out.
He spent the evening lying on his bed, imagining himself at the hands of a vengeful Claire.
In the meantime, Nicky was the one really facing Claire’s wrath.
Nicky tensely waited for Claire to return. He felt like such a fool. If he’d had any idea he and Claire had a chance together, he would never have turned to Nazeer in the first place. What a sordid thing to do. If he lost Claire over this, he’d never forgive himself.
She walked in, her head cocked at an unusually high angle. Her eyes were still blazing and though Nicky still feared for his relationship, he couldn’t help growing aroused by the anger directed at him. She looked so – powerful, so strong. He wanted to grovel at her feet, kiss her toes, let her walk all over him. Being the sort of man he was, he merely stood facing her, prepared to accept whatever she wished to do to him.
She didn’t say anything for so long, Nicky began to fidget nervously. Her eyes never left his face and he felt himself grow hot all over, under her scrutiny. He cleared his throat and wondered if anything he could say or do would make a difference. She silenced him with a look.
When she finally broke the silence, his nerves were on edge. Her voice was deceptively soft, but he recognized the tremor at the end of each sentence and knew she was agitated.
“Nicky. Perhaps I made a mistake trusting you. How can I be sure you haven’t betrayed me in other ways?”
“Claire, since we – I stopped seeing Nazeer the minute you -”
“I see. So you think you didn’t cheat on me?”
“Well, I didn’t, did I? Technically speaking. It was over before you and I even -”
“And that makes it alright? It never occurred to you that I might wish to know about – previous partners?”
His face felt uncomfortably hot and he had trouble meeting her gaze. But that was the whole point. To be able to face each other and tell the truth. What a fool he’d been.
“Yes. I just – I didn’t know how to tell you – that. It wasn’t – really – it was just – ”
“Sex? Oh, I see. And that makes it alright?”
“No, but -”
“Are you gay, Nicky?”
“You could have fooled me. How can I trust anything you say now? What if there’s something else you didn’t know how to tell me? Do you have five kids back in London?”
“No, of course not.”
“Of course not. If all your previous partners were male -”
“But they’re not. I’ve never -”
“Never until you moved up here?”
Nicky didn’t reply. What could he possibly say to her that would make a difference?
“I don’t know what to do with you, Nicky. Should I send you back to Errol? Or – ”
“Please don’t send me away. I love you.”
Claire’s eyes bored into him, making him feel as if he was a witness in court and she was bullying him into telling the truth.
“Hm. I suppose you do. No, that won’t be a good idea. But you need to learn your lesson, because if you ever do this to me again -”
“No, please. I’ll do anything.”
A strange glint lit up her eyes and Nicky was wondering what it was he’d said that had set her off. He felt a shiver go down his spine. It wasn’t at all unpleasant.
“In the bedroom. Now.”
He took care not to smile. It was going to be alright. She forgave him.
A stinging blow to his cheek took away the urge to smile. She was surprisingly strong and his hand flew to the smarting spot.
“Take off your clothes.”
He stared at her, as if he couldn’t quite see what she was asking of him, but an impatient movement of her head made him comply.
When his clothes lay in a heap on her floor, he stood before her, feeling more naked than ever. It was the idea that she knew what they’d done. As if she had somehow been able to see it happening. Perhaps, this very second, she was imagining the scene inside her head. He sitting on Nazeer’s bed, Nazeer on his knees – Despite himself, Nicky was growing aroused again.
As if she’d read his mind, she issued her next command.
“On your knees, Nicky. Stay there, while I – go and get something.”
Astonished, he stared after her receding shape. She was back before he had time to wonder what was about to happen. In her hand was a thin belt. It wasn’t leather, but it did have a small metal buckle and the material looked sturdy enough. He was beginning to guess where this was heading. Part of him felt a little unnerved, but mainly, he was begining to relax. It was going to be alright.
She sat down on the side of the bed and waved at him to approach. He started to rise, but a hand gesture made him reconsider. On his knees, he made his way towards her. She made it clear that she wanted him across her knee and he hurriedly obeyed.
There was a pause, in which he felt his anticipation grow, then the first lash fell. It hurt more than he’d expected, but it was a pleasurable pain, which left him wanting more. In the next ten minutes, he felt his buttocks and upper thighs grow raw and sore. The skin tingled pleasurably and his arousal kept growing.
She pushed him to the floor and began to remove her dress and nylon tights. The panties followed next. Nicky felt his pulse beat faster and his breathing picked up. Eyes glazing over, he crawled closer.
As he obeyed her command, his left hand strayed to his own crotch, but a stinging blow to his ear made him withdraw his hand.
“No. Not you. If you can’t control yourself, this is over now. Go back to Errol or Nazeer, whoever will have you.”
The realization of what she was asking him to do, began to sink in. Part of him felt cheated, but another part of him recognized this as the punishment. If she’d allowed him to continue, this would have been nothing but a sex game and he had to earn the right to enjoy anything like that again. After all, considering what he’d done, it was only fair.
it took all his willpower to follow her rules, but in the end, it was over and seeing the contented smile on her lips was almost as satisfying as the real thing would have been.
The same thing was repeated again, as soon as his next shift was over. The fabric of his clothes had tormented his skin, but the pain was a reminder of what had happened and he didn’t mind.
Afterwards, when he was allowed to stretch out at her side, he caught her eyes roaming across his face.
“I was wondering – You’ve had your fun with Nazeer, but what have I got out of all this? There’s you, of course, but since you get me, that’s only fair. No, I think I need more. It’s funny, but I didn’t see Nazeer staring at you, the way he was staring at me. You don’t suppose he’d be interested in – a return visit?”
Was Claire saying what he thought she was saying? The idea was – outrageous, yet – strangely alluring. He wasn’t sure exactly what she was after, but perhaps – In due course, he was sure she would let him know. And somehow, he didn’t think she would be asking too much.
“I think perhaps he would. He’s – quite partial to elegant ladies himself.”
“Is he now? Then I shall ring him and ask him over. After all, it’s only polite. The last time, I’m afraid I asked him to leave rather abruptly.”
Just as Claire had expected, Nazeer did sound pleased to be asked back. The situation had possibilities. Definite possibilites.
They drank some wine, and chatted as if nothing was out of the ordinary, but all the time, they kept studying each other out of the corners of their eyes. Speculatively. Nazeer looked almost overwhelmed. His eyes were fixed on Claire, in such an admiring gaze, she couldn’t help smiling. She was still upset about Nicky’s betrayal, but that was hardly Nazeer’s fault.
Claire pondered the right way to introduce her plan. Talking about it in advance would certainly make everything above board, but – perhaps it would detract from the spontaneity of the moment. And she’d learn soon enough if Nazeer was willing to play along. Nicky, she had already learned, was more than happy to do so. And after what he and Nazeer had already done, she had no doubts that nothing she might ask of them would be too much.
She got up and after turning an imperious gaze on to each man in turn, she walked into her bedroom. Nervously, Nazeer glanced inquiringly at Nicky, as if the ask permission. Nicky shrugged and began to walk towards the bedroom. This was Claire’s game, not his.
After some hesitation, Nazeer followed. He wasn’t sure this was such a good idea, but he couldn’t make himself resist the temptation. This was beyond his wildest dreams. Claire – If he’d had any idea this might happen, on the night when she’d interviewed him, he would have accepted her duplicity with a much easier mind.
Once inside the bedroom, all his fantasies about punishment and more were realized. It was like living inside one of his movies.
Claire stretched out on the bed, while she gave orders to the two men to undress. Slightly awkwardly, they did. Avoiding each other’s gazes, they awaited her next command. Nazeer, who had been hoping to be punished by Claire, was a bit disappointed to find that he was expected to lie across Nicky’s knees, not hers. But once they entered into the spirit of things, he began to enjoy himself. Pain proved as satisfying as any other type of pleasure.
When Claire gave the sign for them to stop, they were told to switch places. Now Nicky found himself lying across Nazeer’s knee, receiving the same kind of beating. Though Nazeer was stronger, it felt almost the same.
Eager to continue, Claire let them move on to the next stage. She allowed them to get on the bed, but held back, eyes fixed on their bodies. Both men were well made, no question about it. Perhaps Nicky was a little more muscular, but it was clear Nazeer worked out as well.
Claire wanted to reach out and touch their shiny dark skin, but resisted the temptation. First they had to earn her rewards.
“Alright. I’ve been thinking and perhaps I was being a little – cruel – to keep the two of you apart. Your – friendship – must mean a lot to you, so – I’m going to be generous and let you – express that friendship now.”
Nazeer stared at Claire in incomprehension. He’d grown up in England and he’d believed himself completely fluent in English. Perhaps it wasn’t the language, as much as the situation which was confusing him.
Nicky breathed in, as he interpreted Claire’s indirect order. This wasn’t what he’d had in mind when he’d accepted to obey her every whim. What he and Nazeer had done could perhaps be considered more intimate than this, but – his mind rebelled at the thought of kissing another man. On the other hand, he didn’t wish to disappoint Claire either. He still felt as if he was on probation. Resigning himself to his fate, he turned reluctantly towards Nazeer and after a questioning glance at his friend’s face, he pulled him closer.
As their lips met, Nazeer’s eyes widened in astonishment, but he didn’t resist. Feeling Claire’s gaze on him, Nicky forced himself to kiss Nazeer as he would have kissed her. With his eyes closed, it was actually alright. Different, but alright.
And afterwards, they were at last allowed to enjoy their reward. Claire held out her arms to them, and almost oblivious to each other’s presence, they moved closer, to take turns kissing her mouth, breasts and thighs.
Her legs slid apart to allow them both access and though they weren’t allowed their own release, the exquisite sensation made up for what they were missing.
From that night on, they began to meet as often as Nicky’s work made it possible. Claire, of course, had the baby to look after, but fortunately, the child was very easy to induce to sleep. A meal and a little rocking would put it to sleep, leaving most of the early morning for the grown ups.
After some time, they became more adventurous and playfully tried new tricks. It was almost as if they were egging each other on. Nicky dared to take more initiatives and Nazeer’s hesitation and resistance grew less. Claire began to feel the limits to what she’d been prepared to do, dissolve.
One night, as they were lying together, Nicky ended up lying almost on top of Nazeer, with Claire underneath them both. Their weight pressed against her in a way not unpleasant, and she felt contented, though restless. This was growing stale and her mind was casting about to find something new to explore.
She knew that both men had been frustrated by not being allowed to climax. Perhaps the time had now come for that to change. Nicky’s breathing was shallow and quick and when she caught sight of his eyes, they were glazed over, as if he was only barely managing to control himself.
She shifted around a little and manoeuvred herself so that Nazeer would be positioned between her thighs. His startled expression told her he hadn’t expected that. Nicky’s face underwent a startling transformation, but eventually, he prepared to pull back. Claire’s will was law, after all.
“No. Don’t move, Nicky. Go on. Both of you. At the same time.”
Again, there was a moment of incomprehension, until finally her meaning filtered through to Nicky. Once more, his mind rebelled at the suggestion, and for the first time since they had started their strange game together, he was considering refusing. Fear of losing Claire made him hesitate, and while Nazeer moved underneath him, his own arousal returned. The excitement drowned out any trace of reason and he began to move along with their rhythm.
When Nazeer became aware of what was going on, he tensed up and began to push away from Claire. She grabbed him with both arms and pulled him closer. Nicky pressed into him and caught between them, Nazeer had no choice but to let matters proceed to a close.
Shocked and stunned, he lay on top of Claire until she wriggled away, exhausted now, and content. She had promised herself never to smoke again, but at this moment, she felt a sudden craving for one.
Nicky lay as if he too had subsided completely.
As he saw his friend and Claire lying so – close, so – evenly matched, it struck him that he had no place here. They loved each other. He was just a passing phase in their lives. Part of an exciting game they played, but never a part of what they had. The shock of what had just happened had opened his eyes to the fact that he didn’t belong here.
Aching and sore, he slid out of bed and began to look for his clothes. Neither Claire or Nicky appeared to miss him. Their even contented breathing told him they were fast asleep. He hastily pulled on his clothes and crept out, feeling miserable and dejeted.
The physical pain was a constant reminder of what his base needs had brought him to, but he couldn’t blame Nicky or Claire. After all, he’d accepted to play by their rules. They must have thought this was what he’d been after.
Angrily, he blinked to clear his sight. He wasn’t a poof, no matter what they might have thought of him. As he looked up, he was startled to stare straight at one of Nicky’s colleagues – Katherine something. He felt his face heat up uncomfortably. She must have seen him leave Claire’s house and – what conclusions must she draw from that? It was clear that she’d seen him and that she knew he’d seen her. Mortified, he turned and walked away, without a word. They had been introduced to each other and he had the impression she was a nice girl. A good sport as the English liked to call some girls. Under the circumstances, however, he wished himself anywhere but here.
Sergeant Katherine Brookes stared in surprise at Nicky’s – Detective Sergeant Cole’s – friend Nazeer – something or other. What on earth had he been doing at Claire’s house at this hour of the morning? And judging by the look in his eyes, whatever it was, couldn’t be something he was proud of. If she had had a choice, she would have walked right back to her car but her duties demanded that see Nicky on an urgent matter.
Musingly, she walked up the front steps and rang the doorbell. After a while, someone could be heard padding down the stairs. The lock clicked as a key was being turned and the door opened to reveal Claire Maxwell, standing in the doorway, looking startled and sleepy at the same time.
“I’m sorry to disturb you at this hour, ma’am, but I’m afraid I need to see Detective Sergeant Cole urgently.”
“Oh. Come in. Nicky – It’s Katherine, isn’t it?”
“Yes, ma’am, Katherine Brookes.”
“I’ll go on up to bed. Nicky will be down in a minute.”
At the top of the short flight of stairs, she could see Nicky zipping up his pants and trying to button a shirt. He was carrying a tie, jacket and his shoes.
“Brookes? What’s going on?”
“A homicide, sir. It seems like the same MO as the last one.”
Nicky sighed. A serial killer, in Newcastle? They’d have their hands full, until they could catch the killer.
“Oh, no. There’s no doubt about it?”
“I’m not sure. It does look the same, but -”
“Exactly. No use jumping to conclusions just yet. Alright, Brookes, you can fill me in on the way.”
“Yes. No problem. I have the car so, -”
“Good. I’ll leave mine then.”
Katherine couldn’t get the odd incident out of her mind. Nicky’s friend came out, and not five minutes later, she saw first Claire Maxwell, standing there, wearing just as filmsy neglige and then Nicky, his chest bare and his feet too. They must have come straight out of bed and judging by the state of the barrister’s hair, they must have been up to more than just sleeping, only moments ago. Well, that only showed you that you never could tell.
Their fears concerning the serial killer were never realized. The post mortem and the forensic evidence pointed out significant differences between the two killers’ MO’s. Within four days, they had the second killer and were making progress in the unrelated earlier case. But Katherine didn’t forget the odd incident. Nazeer and Nicky and Claire. Who would have guessed?
She couldn’t help smiling at her secret knowledge, but wouldn’t dream of passing it around to the others at work. Still, there was a part of her which couldn’t get over the unfairness of it all. Some girls, like herself, couldn’t even find one decent bloke to go out with. Then there were the Claire Maxwells of this world, who could have as many as she liked, apparently.
On Friday night, she went out after work, as usual. Even if she didn’t meet a nice fellow, a little music and some beers would do her good. Katherine believed in working hard and playing hard. And she could drink as much as the next officer.
The pub she went to had really decent music and the blokes that went there were alright. Not too young or too old, like in some places. Some of her friends went there too, so she was sure to meet someone to chat with.
As she walked into the bar, she caught sight of Nazeer – Ahmed. That was it. The Asian fellow who worked in or managed a restaurant. A fast food place in any case. She knew Nicky and Rick Astel and the others would go there during the night. When she worked the graveyard shift, she’d sometimes look in there as well. She remembered Nazeer as a pleasant enough bloke, nice looking too and well dressed.
If he was happily sleeping with Claire and Nicky, what was he doing here? Drinking up a bit of courage before he went to Claire’s house? He didn’t look as if he was in a party mood. The doleful look in his eyes made her doubt that.
She sat down in the bar stool next to him and ordered a pint. He didn’t look up from his own glass. When he’d finished it, he glanced around for the bartender. Katherine caught his eye and though his skin didn’t reveal a blush as well as her own would, she had the impression that he was embarrassed to see her. He must be recalling the last time they’d run into each other.
“Want another one?”
He stared at her in surprise.
“Well, let me buy you one.”
“It’s Katherine, isn’t it? Katherine – ”
“Brookes. But call me Katherine.”
“Katherine. And I’m Nazeer Ahmed.”
“I know. We’ve met at the restaurant. Nice place. Good food.”
“Thank you. You’re very kind.”
He was almost literally squirming under her gaze, and Katherine was wondering what he thought she was up to. Did he think she was going to blackmail him?
“So. Do you usually come here?”
“No. It’s my first time. I used to go to The Fox and Hounds. In Lancaster Street. At least sometimes.”
“Right. Nice place too. But the music’s better here. Do you dance?”
Again, he was staring at her, as if he was having trouble following her. Did he think she was trying to pick him up? She was only making conversation. And – to be honest – fishing a little.
“Yes. Do you?”
“Oh, you know, a bit. When I’m pissed.”
For the first time since they’d run into each other, Nazeer smiled.
“I’m sure you’re a good dancer.”
“Don’t be too sure. It’s just an excuse anyway, to get closer to a bloke.”
Again, he smiled a little. Despite the embarrassment of having run into her as he was leaving Claire’s house – and her bed, he couldn’t help feeling cheered up by Katherine’s high spirits. He’d been right about her. She was a nice girl.
“Now then, will you let me buy you the next one?”
“Why not? It’s very English, isn’t it? To let the girl buy the drink?”
“What’s it like in Pakistan?”
He was beginning to relax a little.
“I’m not sure. I’ve never been there, but I can imagine that if I had been there, I would have been sitting alone and drinking tea or a soft drink, or perhaps alcohol, but I would be risking a lot, even then.”
“Oh. Doesn’t sound like much fun.”
“No. I don’t think it is. No girls and no beer.”
“Lucky you’re here, then.”
He sighed. If he hadn’t dared to go to this pub, he would still have been sitting alone, or with his male friends. At best, they might have picked up a tart, and flirted with death that way. From now on, he decided, he would go to places where he could meet women. At least the time he’d spent with Claire and Nicky had shown him he could make friends with the English and mix with them as one of them. As long as he didn’t run into any racists. He sighed. There was no escaping them, even if he stayed in his own part of town. All he could do was hope that he’d be safe.
They had a few pints together, and after turning the idea over in his mind for a while, Nazeer asked Katherine to dance.
She was impressed with his style. Not many fellows danced that well. And he did dress very nicely. She was wondering if he worked out, but reminded herself that he was most likely otherwise engaged to put it delicately. Shame on you, old girl. No trespassing on other women’s territory.
They drank some more, and by the time they were pleasantly tipsy, Katherine had forgotten about her earlier vow to keep away. In fact, she began to flirt with him quite shamelessly. Nazeer had difficulty recalling why he’d been so embarrassed earlier. Katherine was a brilliant girl. Good clean fun. Not like – With a start, he suddenly remembered what the problem was. She’d have guessed by now what they’d been up to, he and Claire and Nicky. His next thought was, if she had, and she minded, why was she pressing herself against him like this?
The only other times, he’d been this close to a woman, who wasn’t Claire, someone had footed the bill. It had either been strippers or tarts. This felt much more invigorating, knowing that if Katherine hadn’t found him attractive, she would have left to find some other bloke. Surely, her behaviour had to mean she – wanted him? He realized that he didn’t exactly have much experience to draw on, even at his age. How much time he’d wasted.
“Nazeer? Where do you live?”
“On top of the restaurant. You know.”
“Oh. That’s too far. How about my place?”
A wide grin spread across his face. Apparently, his lack of experience wouldn’t matter. Katherine was way ahead of him.
“That sounds like an exsh- a very good idea.”
“Good. I was beginning to think you didn’t like me. Or that you’re into men.”
“No. I like women much better.”
“Oh, well. It was just a thought.”
They made their way outside, only a little unsteadily. And they had each other to lean on. Amazing, how much difference it made. Katherine’s flat really wasn’t that far away, and though they met other pub-crawlers, no one seemed to find the sight of an Asian man with his arms wrapped around an English girl offensive in any way. Nazeer even saw a West Indian girl arm in arm with a tall Scot, with long red hair.
Much later, he woke up, finding himself pinned down by someone. Momentarily, he panicked, but Katherine’s long hair which partially covered his face, reassured him. His sudden movement woke her up and she rolled over onto her back. She turned her head to look at him. Nazeer was getting uncomfortable again. What if she wanted him to leave? But Katherine only smiled contentedly.
“Hello there. What time is it?”
He fumbled for his mobile phone, which he’d left on her bedside table.
“It’s four forty-three.”
“Brilliant. I don’t have to be at work until Monday morning. What about you?”
“Oh, we open the restaurant at eleven, but I need to be there about nine.”
“Alright. Then we’ll have time for breakfast first, if you’re hungry.”
Hungry? He hardly knew. This felt far more exciting even than the games he’d played with Nicky and Claire. As if Katherine had read his mind, she reached for him and soon all thoughts of Nicky or Claire were forgotten.
But when they were lying together, awake but quiet, the thought of what Katherine had seen returned to him. She must be wondering, but how could he explain? What they had done – On the other hand, if she kept wondering wouldn’t it ruin every chance he had of seeing her again? If she did want to see him again. He had an idea English girls sometimes took a man home for only one night. Perhaps she wasn’t even interested in what he’d done before they met.
“Katherine – that night you came to Claire Maxwell’s house -”
“Yes. I needed to find Nicky. Something to do with work.”
“Yes. You must have been wondering -”
“Alright, since you mention it, I did wonder, but hey, you don’t owe me any explanations.”
“I – don’t see them anymore.”
“Oh. I see. Well, their loss is my gain.”
Again, she treated him to the brilliant smile which warmed him from head to toe. She really didn’t seem to mind. But if she’d known what they’d done –
“You know, Naz – you don’t mind if I call you that?”
“No, it’s fine.”
“Naz, I’m not prejudiced. If you had something – unusual going on, that’s fine with me. I’m not an old prude.”
No, he could tell that she was far from that. Excusing himself wouldn’t be dignified, but he couldn’t help explaining anyway. He found himself eager to confide in Katherine.
“It’s not that I’m really – interested in that sort of thing. I don’t know if you know what it’s like in our culture – but we can’t really meet girls, like English boys do. So – when this happened, it was hard to resist.”
“I thought you’d never been to Pakistan?”
“No. I haven’t. But we live the same way here, among ourselves.”
“Oh. I see. Well, what’s stopping you from seeing English girls?”
“Nothing. I just – never thought any would be interested. We mostly keep to ourselves. Then I met Nicky and – I realized that I can meet English people. Not everyone is a racist.”
“No, you’re right. I think you’ll find that there are plenty of us who don’t give a toss about your colour or culture. It’s who you are that counts.”
“I wish it were that easy. But – I’m glad we’ve met. I – hope we can get to know each other and -”
He didn’t want her to get the impression that all he cared about was the sex, although he had enjoyed that even more than the ritualized games with Claire and Nicky.
“So do I. You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for a nice fellow. I was beginning to think it was hopeless.”
“Oh, no. I can’t believe a beautiful girl like you has trouble meeting someone nice.”
“I was hoping you would prove me wrong.”
His face lit up and his eyes beamed at her. If she felt that way about him – He purposely chose to ignore the problems he could foresee. His family wouldn’t be happy about him seeing an English girl, but he wouldn’t dwell on that now. If Katherine wanted to see him again, he would.
She might have believed she was without prospects, but he had been sure he would never be able to love anyone. A bride sent for from the old country would hardly fill the same void inside him, though he might have been able to have children with her and do his duty to his parents and the rest of the family.
He knew all about duty, but he wanted more from life. Unfortunately, his parents would never understand, but again, he managed to push away the thought. He and Katherine would have breakfast together and though he would have to leave for work soon, they would see each other again. Was this how Nicky and Claire felt about each other? He couldn’t wait to find out.