Monday, April 25, 2011

The Winter Storm, Part 15

Miles stood silent in the hallway just outside Rachel’s bedroom. Even having heard her incriminating conversation he could hardly believe his own sister had indeed betrayed the entire family. The situation which had led her to it wasn’t her fault, he understood, but to undermine the family business for petty revenge remained inexcusable. He steadied himself with a deep breath and suppressed the boiling anger threatening to take control of his actions. One deliberate, calm step at a time, he walked into her room and confronted her.
“I really wanted to believe it wasn’t you,” he said.
Having had her back to the door, Rachel spun around coming face to face with Miles. Her phone clattered on the floor, dropped from her hand. She gaped at him, no doubt wondering how much he had heard.
“I heard enough,” he said, answering her unspoken question. He grabbed hold of her arm and stepped to the side, propelling her toward the doorway. “Let’s go.”
Rachel resisted trying to break free of his grip. “You know what she did to me.”
Miles held tight and said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“You can’t tell Dad,” she said. “He’ll never forgive me.”
“Never is a long time,” Miles said, walking her toward the door. “Forgiveness isn’t really the issue anyway. We all understand your reasons, they just don’t excuse the betrayal. It’s going to be a long time before you’re trusted again and I just hope you realize that this is your fault, not Jennifer’s or anybody else.”
Without further delay, Miles escorted her downstairs to the living room. From the top of the stairs they had heard the spanking in progress. Michelle was lying over their father’s lap, her skirt flapped up on her back and her white panties lowered to just below the crevice of her buttocks. Her legs kicked mildly with each rhythmic clap of Mr. Bennett’s hand against her fully pinkened posterior. Jennifer still sat on her stool in front of the fireplace with clipboard and pen in hand, but she was watching the scene in front of her more than writing. Richard sat on the nearby arm of the couch watching the spanking with a shameless grin while their mother stood closer to Michelle’s head on the other side lecturing.
—matter if the boy is a pig or not,” Mrs. Bennett said, shaking her finger at Michelle’s downturned head, “your language was simply unacceptable. And for that matter, your attitude of late hasn’t been very acceptable either. You better take this opportunity to heart young lady because if you throw me any more attitude or if I hear any more language like that coming out of your mouth, it’ll be my lap you’ll be over. And it won’t be my hand you’ll be feeling either.”
“I’m sorry,” Michelle said, her voice a mere squeak of its normal character. “It won’t happen again. I swear.” She continued to kick and squirm over their father’s lap.
Mr. Bennett ceased the spanking with a last pair of hard slaps, one to the center of each buttock. Her naked bottom bobbled up and down in the aftermath. He grabbed hold of the waistband of her panties and pulled them back into place, dragging the material over her irritated skin and making her squirm. His hands flipped her skirt back down and then guided her up off his lap to stand in front of him. She wiped at her eyes and upon seeing Miles, she blushed and looked away, but quickly discovered there was an audience to her embarrassment in every direction.
Miles prodded Rachel forward, walking around the couch until they stood in the center of the living room. “Rachel has something to tell everyone,” he said and let go of her arm.
She blinked at him. Everyone else in the room turned their eyes in her direction. The crackle of the fireplace and the patter of the rain outside were the only sounds beyond a single sniffle from Michelle as she dried her eyes. Rachel crossed her arms in front of her naked chest and stared at Miles.
“If I tell them,” he said, meeting her gaze, “things will be a lot worse.”
Mr. Bennett stood and looking at Miles, said, “I take it you’ve learned the whole truth behind today’s events?”
Miles nodded and Rachel turned her gaze from him to their father. She said, “It was me.”
An eyebrow raised on Mr. Bennett’s forehead. “What was you?”
She looked down at the floor and spoke in a whisper. “I gave Julian the files.”
“Speak up,” Mrs. Bennett said, stepping closer to Rachel.
“The files,” Rachel said, louder and looking at her mother, “I gave them to Julian, but it was only because you believed her— she looked pointedly at Jennifer sitting on her stool— instead of me.”
“What an excellent choice,” Mrs. Bennett said, her tone contradicting her words. “When someone fails to trust you why not show them just how untrustworthy you can be. It makes perfect sense to me.”
Rachel bristled and  her cheeks grew dark red. “Things don’t just happen in a vacuum Mother. I was meeting my responsibilities and then some bitch comes along and tells you I’m not and every last one of you gobbled it up. Face facts, you all betrayed me first.”
Mr. Bennett stepped forward and laid a restraining hand on Mrs. Bennett’s shoulder. Looking at Rachel, he said, “You’re right. I made a very big mistake and I owe you an apology.”
“You do?” Rachel blinked like she couldn’t believe her ears. She cleared her throat and said, “You do.”
“Absolutely,” Mr. Bennett said. “I’m sorry for not believing you when I should have and to make it up to you, I’m going to cancel your punishment for the weekend.”
Rachel hesitated, uncertain if their father was toying with her hopes or legitimately admitting to a failure. “Really?” she asked.
“Really,” Mr. Bennett said with a nod, “but I think you owe the entire family an apology as well, don’t you?”
Rachel glanced around the room. “Um, sure. I’m sorry for giving Julian those files. I was angry and he took advantage of it, but I should have known better.”
“I think I can safely say we all accept your apology,” Mr. Bennett said. “Now, what are you planning to do for reparations?”
Rachel stared blankly at their father. “Huh?”
“As you know,” Mr. Bennett said, “certain mistakes require a bit more than apology to set things right. For example, I fired you without having all the facts and just saying I’m sorry wasn’t sufficient to correct that mistake. As a result, I’ve given you a free pass on the behavior that has gotten you into a bit of trouble today. What are you going to do to make up for giving proprietary information to Julian? It’s not like you can take it back, the damage is already done.”
Rachel chewed on her lip. She glanced around the room as if looking for assistance, but none was forthcoming. Looking back to their father she shrugged. “I don’t know. What do you want me to do?”
Mr. Bennett said, “Personally, I think a spanking from the various people you’ve hurt would be appropriate, but this is the sort of thing you should really decide for yourself. Your actions affect everyone in this household it’s probably going to take a significant gesture on your part to regain every one’s confidence.”
She sighed and said, “If taking a spanking from everyone will put things back to normal, then I can deal with it.” Looking around the room, she found them all nodding agreement. “Okay,” she said.
Richard cleared his throat and said, “And I think you should stay naked for the weekend, you know just to be sure you got the message.”
Rachel opened her mouth to object, but a quick glance around the room showed no one else disagreeing. She shrugged and said, “Fine, but no more spankings after today.”
Mrs. Bennett said, “As long as you behave yourself you won’t get spanked, but as long as you live in this house, when you step out of line your bottom is going to pay the price.”
Rachel cocked her head at her mother. “I wasn’t meaning ever, just that this spanking will end after everyone has had their turn. In other words, I don’t want to be getting whacked all weekend over this.”
Mr. Bennett nodded. “Then we’re in agreement?”
She nodded.
Mr. Bennett looked to Jennifer and said, “Why don’t you stand up and bring that stool over here to the middle of the room.”
Jennifer rose quickly and dragged the stool till it stood between Rachel and Mr. Bennett. She stepped back to wall beside the fireplace and held the clipboard to her chest. Miles shook his head at her and she rolled her eyes, but dropped the clipboard to her side, re-exposing herself.
Mr. Bennett said, “Richard, go and fetch the paddle please. Rachel, bend over the stool, grab the legs as far down as you can and stay there until it’s over.”
Rachel stretched herself over the stool while Richard disappeared to retrieve the paddle. When Richard returned, Mr. Bennett had the family stand behind Rachel where they could all see her pink bottom bulging out at them. It was decided they would each deliver two swats except Mr. Bennett, who would go last and give three. Richard, being the youngest, was elected to go first.
Richard approached Rachel with the paddle firmly grasped in his right hand. The grin on his face clearly revealed it was his first time to be up to bat with a paddle and he was savoring every second. He touched the paddle lightly against her buttocks and then raised it and brought it back to lightly hover against the skin again.
Miles said, “That’s one.”
The family laughed.
“That’s not fair,” Richard said. “I was just aiming.”
Jennifer said, “If you can’t hit her big ass with that, then you have no business even holding it.”
“Ignore them,” Rachel said. “Just take your time and do it your way.”
Richard pulled the paddle back high in the air and whipped it through the air, cracking it hard against her bulging butt. Rachel yelped. Richard lowered the paddle to his side and admired the red oval mark raising itself to prominence in the center of her bottom. Encouraged by the result, he raised the paddle again and swung it even harder. Rachel howled and kicked her legs up in the air giving an unfettered view of her naked sex.
“Not bad,” Miles said, nodding at his little brother.
“Michelle’s turn,” Mr. Bennett said.
Richard handed the paddle to Michelle as she stepped forward and he rejoined the rest of the family to watch. Michelle held the paddle a short distance from Rachel’s still quivering bottom. Rachel had calmed enough to plant her feet back on the ground, but the tension in her legs and back were testament to the discomfort Richard had left behind. Michelle flicked her wrist and snapped the paddle against Rachel’s buttocks.
“You can do better than that,” Richard said.
Michelle looked over her shoulder and said, “I can, but I don’t need to.” She flicked her wrist against and turned back to the family holding the paddle out for the next spanker.
Jennifer stepped forward and grasped the paddle. Michelle took her place next to Richard and Jennifer sauntered up behind Rachel. The way Jennifer held the paddle against Rachel’s bottom was as if she had somehow forgotten her own role in events and the fact that she too was stark naked and sporting a glaringly red backside. She pulled the paddle back and swished it through the living room air with all the force she could muster. The impact roared like the thunder outside. Rachel howled again and kicked her legs wildly in the air. Jennifer didn’t wait. The paddle bounced off Rachel’s bottom and Jennifer whooshed it once more cracking against the wriggling bottom on the stool. Rachel fell off the stool and on the carpet, her hands grabbing at her flaming rear while she rolled around moaning.
Richard rushed to his sister side, throwing a glare in Jennifer’s direction. “That was totally uncalled for,” he said. He helped a trembling Rachel back to her feet and left her alone when she pushed his hands away. Rachel bent back over the stool without a word or even glance in Jennifer’s direction.
Jennifer shrugged at the rest of the family, turning her back to Rachel. “It was just two swats.”
Miles said, “I’ll remember that later when it’s your turn.” He stepped forward and took the paddle from her hand. She fluttered her innocent eyelashes at him, but he walked right past without even blinking.
Taking position behind Rachel, he asked, “Are you ready?”
Rachel said, “Just get it over with, please.”
When he had first heard her on the phone with Julian, he had wanted to paddle her so hard he raised blisters and left her twitching for a week, but after Jennifer’s turn his anger mellowed. It was true that Rachel had brought her troubles on herself with a poorly made decision and it was also true that the decision had been proceeded by the actions of his girlfriend. He felt partially responsible and so when he raised the paddle he found he no longer had any desire to cause her pain.
He slapped it against her bottom hard enough to sting and loud enough to make his eyes blink. The second swat was delivered identical to the first and Rachel yelped and kicked her legs up. It was far less than he was capable of delivering, but his conscience felt it was appropriate to her crime. He turned back to the family and handed the paddle to his mother.
Mrs. Bennett took position behind her daughter and quickly delivered two echoing licks. Rachel yelp and kicked after each, but it was clear the swats had been no harsher than those delivered by Miles. Rachel’s bottom was shining red, almost glistening in the flickering firelight. Mrs. Bennett turned away once Rachel had settle back into position on the stool.
Mr. Bennett stepped forward and took up the paddle. Rachel tensed up and grabbed the stool tighter turning her knuckles white. Mr. Bennett laid the paddle on the center of her buttocks and after the briefest pause lifted it about a foot off of her and slapped it back down with enough force to bounce her buttocks inward and out. Rachel whimpered behind gritted teeth.
He raised the paddle again and repeated the first swat. Rachel kicked her legs up and yelped aloud. Mr. Bennett waited for her to settle back into place and then he raised the paddle another foot off her bottom and cracked it back down. Rachel leapt from the stool and grabbed her butt with both hand, jumping around in a circle. All her bits jiggled and bounced, giving the entire family an amusing show as she danced around in front of the fireplace, oblivious to them all. When she finally settled down the entire family, with the exception of Jennifer, encircled her into a reassuring hug.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Winter Storm, Part 14

Rachel stared out her bedroom window, hands lifted to rest on top of her head. The storm continued to worsen outside which was good news for her because it meant even if someone were in their home looking across the street at her window, they’d have a hard time knowing for certain they were seeing the naked torso of their neighbor’s older daughter. Behind her, Mr. Bennett finished his search of her bedroom and having found nothing of interest, he turned his attention back to her.
He said, “Take those panties the rest of the way off, you’ll be naked the rest of the weekend now. And then you can go back to doing what your mother told you to do in the first place.”
Rachel turned from the window and lowered her tired arms to her sides. She glared at her father, annoyed with him and not shy about him seeing the raw emotion in her eyes. He glared back with raw emotion of his own.
“Unless,” he said, “you want to bring me your hairbrush and spend another five minutes over my knee.”
Rachel didn’t answer. She leaned down and removed her panties, walked to her hamper and dropped them inside. Her eyes glanced at the dresser and her cellphone resting on top with its battery back in place. She could tell her father’s eyes were on her every move and so she avoided giving it too much of a glance as she walked out the door and went back to work on the stairs. Her father followed her out and returned downstairs, notably to Rachel, without her phone.
She busied herself with the toil of removing scuffs and dirt from each step. Working her way down, she was on the last step when the front door opened and Miles walked inside followed by Richard. Richard whistled. Rachel blushed, realizing just what he was seeing with her kneeling on the floor and bent down scrubbing on the step. It wasn’t a sight for siblings.
“Put some more elbow grease into it, wench,” Richard said.
Rachel sat back on her heels and looked up at her brother. “Yessir, right away sir. Just let me offer you a knuckle sandwich first.”
Richard patted her shoulder. “No, thanks, I’m not hungry, but if you want to do me a favor, my room could use some serious cleaning.”
Rachel shook her head. “I’ll just brush everything under your bed like you do, okay?”
Richard chuckled and said, “Works for me.”
Richard and Miles left her to finish her work and went to join their mother and Jennifer in the living room. A few minutes later, with her chore done, Rachel had nothing left to do but return to the living room herself and stand in her former spot next to the fireplace. Jennifer was working on her lines, sitting on her stool. Richard and their mother sat on the couch talking about the weather of all things. As if the constant drumming of the rain on the roof and occasional claps of thunder rattling the windows wasn’t enough reminder that it was cold and wet outdoors.
About an hour later, the front door clicked open and Rachel had do a double take recognizing the school librarian, Mr. Purdue following Michelle inside. They hardly paid a glance toward her as the entered the house and walked toward her father’s office, but Rachel was acutely aware of her nudity, especially the absence of the black panties she had been wearing the last time she’d seen Mr. Purdue, when she’d been out to fetch the mail.
A short while later, Mr. Purdue exited her father’s office. He waved at her before heading out the front door. A moment later, Michelle and Mr. Bennett left the office and convened in the living room with the rest of the family. Michelle lacked the look of being deep in trouble, but Rachel could figure no other reason for Mr. Purdue to have brought her home and spoke with her and their father privately as he did.
Michelle handed her phone to Miles. He stared at the screen and shook his head. His hand began to tremble and he looked up to Jennifer, sitting on her stool writing lines. Mrs. Bennett reached over and took the phone from Miles and her own eyes nearly exploded out of her head. Rachel wanted to see what was on that phone.
Miles said, “Well the evidence is here. I certainly hope this was blackmail and not your idea of a good time.”
Mrs. Bennett held the phone up with the screen toward Jennifer. Rachel leaned to her right to get a better look. The image on the display was dark and small, but it seemed clear the focal point was a naked, chained Jennifer, getting her butt strapped by a man Rachel recognized as a former high school jock from her year named, Brody. She knew Julian had planned to make Jennifer miserable, but this was going a bit too far. Still, Rachel kept quiet.
Jennifer said, “Oh yeah, it was a real good time and if you agree I imagine you’d like getting your dick caught in a paper shredder too.”
Miles ignored her quip and said, “So this jerk got you to participate in his private little fantasy? You let him wield power of you just because he could take your license away? And all of this because you crashed into Julian in Harper & Son’s parking lot? Am I getting this right?”
Jennifer rolled her eyes and almost fell off the stool. “More or less.”
“I’d like to hear the more,” Miles said.
“I’d like to win the fucking lottery,” Jennifer said.
From beside their mother, Richard said, “Me too.”
Rachel shook her head at him. “You’re not old enough.”
Miles hushed the room with a stern glare and a finger to his lips. “Let’s stay on topic here people,” he said and turned back to Jennifer. “I want to know what the connection is between Julian and this Brody.”
Jennifer shrugged. “They buy their leather at the same cheap ass store?”
“If you say so,” Miles said. “There is however a much more obvious one in the form of you.”
“If you already had the answer you wanted why did you make me guess?” Jennifer asked.
“Because I want you to stop lying and tell me the whole truth,” Miles said.
Jennifer said, “Are you sure? Cause the whole truth can be a lot like whole grain and we know that stuff gives you the shits.”
Miles huffed. “Would I get better results from you if I threaten to send these photos to your father?”
“Unlike some,” Jennifer threw a wicked glance in Rachel’s direction, “I don’t live under my parents’ roof anymore. What they think or don’t think of me, I really don’t give a damn.”
Richard said, “I got a pair of pliers up in my room. We can try pulling her fingernails out.”
Mrs. Bennett patted Richard on the knee and said, “That’s probably a little too extreme.”
Richard shrugged. “Well we could try a little pinch and twist on her nipples.”
Miles shook his head. “I’m not going to work up a sweat over this. What I know is someone has been feeding Julian our proprietary data and you, Jennifer, are the most likely suspect. If you don’t want to tell us what is really going on, why don’t you just get up and leave.”
“Hello?” Jennifer said gesturing at her naked body. “I’m not leaving without my fucking clothes.”
Richard laughed. “I thought naked was ‘fucking’ attire.”
The whole room laughed with the exception of Jennifer.
Miles said, “Look either tell me what the deal with Julian and Brody is or get up off that stool and leave. I’m done fooling around.”
“It’s about time,” Richard said.
Jennifer asked, “What make you even think there is a connection?”
Miles rolled his eyes. “Because if there wasn’t you’d have lost your license already. Julian has obviously been using Brody to make you do something, and the question I’m asking is what.”
Jennifer blinked at him. It was as if up until that moment, she had somehow believed no one could put any of the pieces together. Rachel began wondering herself just what exactly Julian had gotten out of Jennifer, besides a little money of course. The money wouldn’t have meant anything to him though. Her thoughts turned toward her own interactions with him and the analysis made her shiver like a light suddenly snapping on and illuminating all the dark corners she wanted to pretend were never there.
The words came from Jennifer, but Rachel could have said them as well and in fact, she had the missing pieces that Jennifer could only guess at.
Jennifer said, “He set me up, somehow he knew about my driving record, probably your sister, and he set me up.”
“Julian?” Miles asked.
She nodded. “He used the accident to get me hooked up with Brody and then Brody gave me instructions every so often, which if I didn’t do what he said, he would process the accident report and take my license. I didn’t have a choice.”
Mr. Bennett said, “You always have a choice, you just made the wrong one.”
“What did he make you do?” Miles asked. “Beyond the obvious ‘meet him in an abandoned warehouse and take off your clothes’.”
“At first it was just little stuff,” Jennifer said. “He would have me make a late delivery on an update or delete a message from a client.”
“And then later?” Miles prodded.
“He wanted me to get Rachel fired,” Jennifer said.
“And so you did,” Miles said. “Is that when you started siphoning off our legal data to him?”
Jennifer shook her head. “I never did that. I swear.”
Miles rolled his eyes. “Please don’t start lying again.”
“I’m not,” Jennifer said.
Miles climbed to his feet and shook his head at Jennifer. He turned from her, clearly too angry to deal with her anymore at that moment and he walked out of the living room in the direction of the kitchen. Jennifer called after him, but he didn’t come back. Richard took the phone from Mrs. Bennett and started looking through the pictures. Michelle joined him and started pointing out some of the details she had noticed, like Brody’s uniform shirt on the floor and the building’s address in the background. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett moved closer to the two and joined in looking at the photos, while Jennifer sat helpless on her stool.
Rachel told her parents she needed to use the restroom and slipped out of the living room. She crept upstairs, careful not to make too much noise, and once at the top, she made her way into her bedroom. On her dresser, her cellphone sat waiting, battery still in place, just as her father had left it. He must have been too annoyed when he found nothing else in her room to raise his suspicions. It was good though, because the call she wanted to make couldn’t wait.
She lifted the cellphone and called Julian Harper. He answered straight away with his usual charming voice. The calmness in his voice irritated her, knowing that he knew his web of lies were falling apart and yet he felt not even the tiniest bit of anxiety.
“Your game is up,” she said, loud enough for him to hear the anger in her tone but not so loud as to attract attention from her family downstairs, or so she hoped.
“Game? What game?” Julian asked.
“Don’t act stupid,” she said. “You’ve been playing Jennifer and me and now we know it.”
Julian chuckled. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“You expect me to believe it’s all a lie?” Rachel asked.
“If you don’t fill me in on the details, I’m afraid I can’t participate much in this conversation. You always have been a slave to your emotions,” Julian said.
“Michelle got pictures from your idiot partner’s little brother,” she said.
Julian laughed. “I’d like to see you say that to my father’s face and he doesn’t have a brother, little or otherwise.”
Rachel seethed at her phone. “I’m talking about your partner in scum, Brody.”
“Who?” Julian asked.
“You may think I’m an idiot and it’s probably true since I ever trusted you, but that will never happen again,” Rachel said, “Do you hear me? You will never, ever get another piece of my father’s software that you don’t pay for.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Bad Attitude Bunny Escapades

Try not to fall out of your chair and if you’re standing, I suggest sitting down because I’ve actually published a new ebook. That’s right, one of those Coming Soon spots at the top of the page has finally graduated to Now Available. It’s not a supremely long work, but rather a pair of longer short stories, in the neighborhood of 10k words each. And they are both somewhat featured around the upcoming Easter holiday, although really it was just a great excuse to get my two newest heroines into some provocative looking bunny costumes. I mean really, doesn’t that sound like a fun spanking outfit, especially if those ears can stay in place?

Here’s a little taste from “Bunny Money”  to whet your appetite;

The staircase spiraled up to the second level from the front of the restaurant, just to the right of the entrance. Slabs of bull nosed, two inch thick marble— the same imported blue-gray as the floor— made for highly attractive and slippery steps.  Decorative wrought iron with a matte black finish framed the steps as railing and rattled for attention under my cautious journey to the upper level. I tried not to blush too violently when I realized at a certain point of my ascent the patrons who must have been watching surely saw nothing more of me than my presumably pink naked buttocks, legs and ‘fuck me’ heels.
At the top, a glass door isolated the private upstairs room from the noises and scents of the bustling restaurant below. It also kept in the sounds from the private room as I quickly discovered opening the door and stepping inside. My eyes blinked involuntarily at the loud whap echoing in the mostly empty room. I blinked again at the sight before me.
The Blackburn’s occupied only the center space of the room, leaving much of the area empty. It appeared that four of our normal square tables had been pushed together end to end forming a long rectangular table, covered with a single lilac tablecloth. In total, there were only six Blackburn’s present, three men and three women. Four of them were seated comfortably at the table while one, the eldest man stood near the closest end of the table and the other, the youngest woman, laid her upper half over the near end. The man held a leather belt, doubled over, in his hand and the girl, no more than twenty-two, held tight to the edges of the table with her dress folded up onto her back and her yellow panties encircling her knees. Her bare buttocks showed the unmistakable marks of a belt lashing against the tender flesh. If I had any doubt, the tears glossing over her eyes while she stared at me with her cheek pressed against the table, illuminated the occasion as an unwelcome one. The man stopped swinging the belt and looked at me.
“I’m sorry,” I said, trying to keep my voice steadier than my fluttering heartbeat. It was hard not to feel like an unwelcome gawking intruder, particularly with my own public spanking from only moments before still burning in my buttocks. “I can come back in a few minutes.”
“Nonsense,” he said. His tone carried authority and confidence that only a man accustomed to power and success could even attempt. I presumed him to be none other than Roderick Blackburn. “Surely you’ve witnessed a spanking before?”
“I have,” I said. I stayed near the door still uncertain whether I should leave or stay. “I simply didn’t want to intrude.”
Roderick grumbled something incomprehensible and then louder, said, “You’re a servant are you not?”
For just a moment, I forgot how embarrassed I was to be standing there in the bunny getup. I took a step forward. “I’ve been called a waitress, a waiter, and even a server, but if you’re looking for a servant you’re not only in the wrong place, but the wrong century.”
The young Mr. Blackburn, probably in his early thirties, looked to me from his place at the table and said, “You’ll have to forgive my grandfather, he has the manners of a house cat on his good days.”
He was breathtakingly handsome with golden brown hair and expressive green eyes that felt like they were swallowing me whole. Maybe he wouldn’t have given me a second look in my regular clothes, but I still felt foolish, dressed as I was, under his scrutinous gaze. I was glad he had missed the spectacle downstairs and if it was at all possible, I wasn’t going to let him see the results of it either.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Winter Storm, Part 13

The remainder of the school day flew. Michelle entered the library with her school bag packed for the weekend’s homework assignments. She laid the bag on an empty study table and looked around for Mr. Purdue. Nick waved to her from a reference aisle pausing in his task of putting away books that had been left out throughout the day. Michelle, seeing no one else, walked over to join him.
When she was close enough to hear without shouting, Nick said, “Mr. Purdue is waiting for you in his office.”
“Oh.” Michelle stopped after another step. Her intentions wavered in the face of uncertainty. She had thought he wanted to talk to her, but clearly he was only doing his duty as a library aide. He still deserved an apology from her, even with the explanation she wanted to give him, her behavior toward him hadn’t been justified.
Nick turned more fully toward her with a book in his hand. He seemed to sense her hesitation and the reason for it. “We can talk later. You don’t want to keep Mr. Purdue waiting.”
“Alright.” Michelle nodded, relieved he wasn’t too angry with her. She turned away from him and walked toward Mr. Purdue’s office behind the information counter. The door to his office was open and she could see him sitting behind his desk, shuffling through a mess of papers. On His right, a school paddle rested on top of a dictionary. She stopped in the doorway and knocked on the frame. “You wanted to see me?”
Mid-shuffle, Mr. Purdue looked up and nodded. “Good, you’re early. Come in.”
Michelle took two steps inside his office, but remained a safe distance away from his desk and the paddle. Her gaze kept drifting toward the prominent wooden implement though she tried to remain focused on Mr. Purdue. “Did you call my father?”
“I did,” Mr. Purdue said. He stood, pushing his padded chair back against the wall. “As I suspected he was very interested in your discovery. I suspect he is rather proud of you, though he and I are in agreement that your actions have been risky.”
“I’ve taken precautions,” Michelle said. She chewed on her lower lip looking at his disbelieving face. “It’s not like I didn’t try to get someone to listen to me first.”
Mr. Purdue’s lowered chin and narrowed eyes disagreed. “You should have gone straight to your father.”
Michelle breathed out her disappointment while her gaze flicked to the paddle again. Mr. Purdue stepped around his desk and blocked her view. He sat on the front edge recapturing her attention. He shook his head at her, offering support in the form of a sympathetic smile. She considered the possibility she had misread the paddle’s placement— That it could have been meant for someone else or even no one at all.
Mr. Purdue said, “I understand why you would go to Miles first. He’s your older brother and you look up to him. That’s not wrong, but contrary to what you might think, he’s not infallible. He was wrong to dismiss your concerns and even more so to suggest going to your father would be improper and you should have realized that. He made an incorrect assumption about your intentions and knowing that as you did, you should have gone to your father without any fear of reprisal.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Michelle said.
“Has your father ever given you reason to think you would be treated unfairly?” Mr. Purdue asked.
Michelle’s gaze dropped to the floor. Her father was strict, but try as she may, she could not recall a single time he had ever punished her or even one of her siblings for something they hadn’t done. In truth, he’d often allowed her to get away things he’d never have allowed from the others. Unfair to her siblings perhaps, but certainly not to her. “No,” she said.
“You made a mistake,” Mr. Purdue said. The bluntness made Michelle blink. “It’s alright, you’re young and it’s just part of growing up.”
Emboldened by his casual, semi-supportive tone, she raised her head to meet his eyes. It sounded as if her mistake only deserved a mild lecture. She didn’t feel the need to object. “I guess I should have handled it differently.”
“I would say there isn’t much ‘guessing’ about it,” he said. “Allowing a boy, any boy, but especially a boy like Cody to grope you in exchange for anything is beyond poor judgment. Fortunately, the damage is mostly limited to your reputation.”
Michelle said, “I’ve never been too concerned with what my classmates think of me. Their opinions change more often that the weather anyway. By this time next week, they’ll have completely forgotten I ever even talked to Cody.”
“I hope you’re right,” Mr. Purdue said, watching her with an intense gaze, “but the question remains; How will this effect your decisions in the future?”
Confused, Michelle bit at her lip and raised her eyebrows. Cody would soon be a thing of her past, not her future. “Sir?”
Mr. Purdue sighed and glanced out the interior window to the main room of the library. Nick was settling the rest of the afternoon detention attendees to their assigned spaces and giving them their work assignment. Most would be writing lines or doing some written work correlated to the offense that landed them in detention, but a few of the more trust-worthy would be helping Nick straighten shelves and put away books.
He turned back to Michelle and said, “You’ve started down a dangerous path with Cody, using sex to get what you wanted.”
Her jaw dropped and she inhaled sharply. It was the only immense respect she had for Mr. Purdue which kept her from lashing out at him. The very thought of sex with Cody rattled her to her core and that Mr. Purdue would even think such a thing despite her earlier assurances to the contrary, felt nothing short of betrayal. The hurt moistened her eyes with tears.
She said, “I would never— How could you even think—
The tears burst from her eyes. She wiped angrily at her cheeks, sniffling back the outburst threatening to overwhelm her. Mr. Purdue lifted a pair of tissues from the box on his desk and crossed the few feet between them. She snatched them from his fingers and turned her head away as she wiped at her face.
“I did not mean to imply you engaged in intercourse with Cody,” Mr. Purdue said. He stepped back, giving her room to breathe. “Sex is more than the act of coupling. It can be provocative actions, as simple as a tone of voice and as complex as the excretion of pheromones.”
“Oh,” Michelle said. She dabbed at the slowing flow of tears from her eyes. Her cheeks turned pink, embarrassed about the misunderstanding and her reaction to it. Still, her chest remained panged by the possibility those closest to her might think less of her for her interactions with Cody. “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.”
Mr. Purdue waited until Michelle stopped sponging tears and turned back to him. “What I mean is you used Cody’s sexual desires to manipulate him into doing what you wanted. It might not seem like much to you now, but now that you’ve ventured into this arena and seen how easily it can get you what you want, you might find it tempting to continue.”
Michelle shook her head. “After Cody sends me those pictures, I have no intention of even looking in his direction again.”
A smile graced Mr. Purdue’s lips and he chuckled. “I wasn’t referring to Cody so much as future situations where you find getting what you want out of some other man is difficult. It could be a college professor you feel is grading you too hard or an employer who isn’t rewarding your hard work as well as you feel is deserved. Whatever the situation, using your sex appeal to get what you want from men works and it’s easy. The problem is that it comes with a heavy price; Your self-respect and the respect of those who care about you.”
“What you’re saying is men are pigs,” Michelle said, “but if I use the fact against them, I’ll be the one branded immoral.”
“Not all men are the same,” Mr. Purdue said, “but yes, when you exploit your sexuality, you’re going to pay a much heavier price for it than the men who take advantage of it. It’s unfair, but that’s life.”
“Do you really think,” Michelle said, “after Cody and his brother are exposed, anyone will give a second thought to how I got the pictures?”
Mr. Purdue shook his head. “The point is not about what others think, it’s about what you think of yourself and whether or not you will repeat this sort of behavior in the future.”
The paddle on his desk re-entered Michelle’s thoughts. She’d felt certain it was for her from the moment she saw it, but in the ensuing conversation she had began to doubt her instinct. “You’re going to spank me for this?”
He twisted to look behind him at the paddle and turned back to Michelle. “No,” he said, “I felt a discussion was warranted, but I believe punishment is unwarranted over this matter. I only hope you’ve learned from the experience and will take my words into consideration should you be tempted to do such a thing again in the future.”
She smiled, almost giddy with relief. “I think that’s very fair of you.”
“I’m pleased you approve,” Mr. Purdue said. “However, there remains the matter of your earlier language.”
The smile faded along with her hopes of escaping his office without feeling the paddle’s burn. “It won’t happen again,” she said, hoping to encourage some leniency.
Mr. Purdue adopted a firm stance. “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”
Michelle remained quiet. He was right of course and agreeing with him wasn’t going to do anything except possibly make him think she was trying to manipulate him. And silence agreement had advantages too, because it wasn’t an argument and it wasn’t an excuse.
He twisted behind him to retrieve the paddle and then, using it like a pointer, he indicated a spot in the middle of the open space before his desk. “Stand here and remove your blazer.”
Her knees went weak as she took the necessary two steps to comply. The breath in her lungs felt thin and hot, washing her entire body in a tingling numbness. She shrugged out of her blazer and he took it from her unsteady hand, laying it to rest on his desktop. Her eyes wandered to the interior window overlooking the larger library and the handful of detention attendees busy with their assignments. She knew they would see nothing, the glass of the window was tinted black on the other side making it a virtual one-way looking glass, but she also knew they would hear every pop and any noise she might make in response.
“Four swats for four-letter vulgarity sounds appropriate,” Mr. Purdue said, “don’t you agree?”
Michelle nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Touch your toes,” Mr. Purdue said.
She adjusted her legs slightly farther apart and leaned down stretching her arms toward the tops of her shoes. Her school skirt rode up until it barely cover her thighs. The heated air blowing in from the vent in the ceiling felt cold on her legs. She closed her eyes.
He tapped the paddle against her skirt and raised his arm as far back as he could before swinging it down hard. The crack of impact echoed like thunder in the small room. Michelle imagined her peers jolted from their work and staring blankly at the tinted window for a moment. Then their faces broke into amused, knowing smiles. They could see nothing, but still they knew. She breathed through the sharp tingles left behind in the wake of the swat.
Michelle’s eyes popped open on the paddle’s return visit. Her skirt fluttered against her legs. The tingles grew more pronounced and the temperature began to rise. She took a deep breath and squeezed her hands into fists, resisting the urge to leap up and grab at her bottom. The instinct faded, even as the warmth and prickling grew. She relaxed her hands and her fingertips resumed their place on the tops of her shoes.
Mr. Purdue waited until the tension in her stretched body reduced from the weathering of pain. Her muscles tightened even more than before upon the third impact of the paddle. She cried out softly, unable to remain quiet, but still painfully aware of the listening audience just on the other side of the window. Her butt screamed its discomfort through her nerves and she endured it with ragged breath and tears stinging in her eyes.
The fourth swat followed before she had fully assimilated the third. She yelped louder and surrendered to reflex, leaping upward and grabbing at her buttocks. Her hands dived beneath her skirt and rubbed directly against her panties, desperate to assuage the fiery skin beneath. She hopped in place all too aware of how ridiculous she looked and thankful it was only Mr. Purdue witnessing her humiliation and not her peers.
“Settle down,” Mr. Purdue said. He laid the paddle to rest on his desk and handed her another tissue.
After another few seconds of hopping she took the tissue and dabbed the tears from the corners of her eyes. Her bottom continued to sting and burn hotter with every passing moment. She looked out the window, expecting to see everyone staring back in her direction, but the other students remained seemingly focused on the assignments. Swallowing her embarrassment, she turned back to face Mr. Purdue.
He lifted the dictionary from his desk and proffered it in her direction. “For the rest of your detention, I want you to come up with 20 alternative words you could have used instead of ‘shit’ and write them down along with their full definition from the dictionary. Hopefully, you’ll think to use one of them in the future.”
Michelle bit on her lip and took the dictionary, nodding. “Yes, sir.” She hesitated a moment before turning toward the door.
When she reached the doorway, Mr. Purdue said, “Oh, your father asked me to take you home this afternoon on account of the rain and your detention.”
Michelle nodded and left his office. She settled in the vacant table where she had left her bag and started her assignment. A buzzing noise emanated from her bag and she glanced around to make sure no one was watching before reaching into it and pulling out her phone. Despite the uncomfortable sting pulsing in her bottom, she smiled looking at the screen. Cody had finally come through and she had the proof she needed for her father and Miles.