The Corridor and other stories - excerpt

 Excerpt from Burdens

 Adam and Phin


By the time Phin awoke on Sunday morning some of the rawness he felt at having to miss the trials had dissipated and the optimist within him was convinced that maybe, just maybe, Adam might change his mind. So what if experience told him that this was a vain hope, a grasping at the proverbial straw, there was always a first time for everything. He accepted Adam’s morning kisses and caresses with enthusiasm, giving a small sigh of pleasure as the kisses travelled from his mouth down throat and shoulders to his chest. He moaned, arching his back slightly as a practiced mouth began to suck his nipples.

Adam knew every inch of his lover’s body, every contour, and the lump beneath the dark aureole of Phin’s left nipple was not a familiar part of that territory. His tongue suspected it first as it circled the nipple teasing and cajoling it to a stiff peak, and then his finger confirmed it. He sat up all desire for sex gone.

  “You’re making a fuss about nothing.” Phin gazed down at the area of concern, probing it with his own fingers.

  “All the same I’d like you to make a doctor’s appointment first thing tomorrow morning.”

  “Oh come on, Ad,” Phin got abruptly out of bed, “so I’ve got a slight swelling under my nipple. You probably nibbled it too hard or something.” He grinned, “it’s not as if I’m likely to have breast cancer is it, seeing as I haven’t got breasts, well,” he squeezed his chest and pouted seductively, “none that would get me a slot on page three of The Sun.”

  “It does happen apparently, men have breast tissue that can develop cancers in the same way as for women. I read an article about it in the dentist’s waiting room once. You’ll arrange to have it checked.”

Phin silently inspected his bottom in the wardrobe mirror. It was still tender and a bit reddened with some dark bruising on the lower cheeks and upper thighs that would make sitting uncomfortable for a day or so, but otherwise not bad considering how hard he’d been paddled. He pulled on clean boxers. “I’m not having some strange man handling my nips, it’s embarrassing.”

  “He’s a doctor, he’s handled worse than nipples.”

  “Exactly,” Phin dragged a t-shirt on, “there’s no telling where he’s had his hands and he’s not clamping them to my chest.”

  “It’s probably nothing, but I want to know that it’s nothing, so you’re going.”

 “No. I’ll just feel stupid if I go to the doctors about it.”

Adam shook his head. “I don’t understand your logic. Going to consult a doctor makes you feel stupid, while riding a motorbike at breakneck speed makes you feel what...intellectual?”

  “I’m not going, Adam. I don’t want to.”

  “Just bear in mind the time you refused to see the doctor for what you termed a strained wrist that turned out to be fractured.”

  “As there’s no chance on earth that my nipple could be fractured, I’m not exposing it to the chilly mitts of the medical profession.”

  “You have no choice,” Adam got out of bed. “As head of house I’m ruling in this matter and you’ll obey me, end of story.” He headed for the bathroom.


Phin punched a frustrated fist into a pillow. Sometimes he hated the structure of the relationship he shared with Adam, fucking hated it. He went downstairs, his mood souring further as he saw that his bike keys were missing from their usual place, hanging from the stainless steel banana tree. He couldn’t even go out for a ride to cheer himself up. Pointedly making coffee for one he took it into the living room, flicking through the Sunday papers shaking his head when Adam appeared and asked if he wanted some breakfast....