Story from Februs 25.
by Darren Young
Ben looked around the room, a full house tonight. He enjoyed this weekly evening class, or should that he appreciated? Verbs, verbs, everywhere but never the right one. OK, 'Contemporary Literature and Society' was a pretentious title but the tutor, a 'serious' novelist, had a light touch and an amusing style of presentation.
His fellow students were the usual mixed bunch. Would-be writers in the main, anxiously analysing the work of already published authors, concentrating assiduously, taking things very seriously.
Others were more laid back, simply glad of a break from the kids or a chance to make new friends. They'd nothing to prove, future Booker prize juries could relax.
And which category do I fall in? mused Ben. Piles of books around his flat revealed a genuine interest in the subject but if he was honest – one of his better traits – he wouldn't be adverse to a brief encounter either.
For some reason the only other two males in the class had dropped out in the early stages, leaving Ben the sole remaining representative of his gender. Anxious not to dominate conversation, he'd opted for a low profile. I'm a newish man after all, he'd reasoned.
A couple of female students flashed smiles. Social interaction had progressed to the friendly chat in the canteen stage; polite opinions swopped, jokes benignly smiled at. Could this week's subject: Sex in Modern Writing – Erotica or Pornography? possibly be why so many souls had turned out on a wet April night? True, romantic fiction had also got a good crowd but he'd a feeling his cynicism was well founded.
'Hi Ben,' a warm familiar voice jolted him from his reverie and a smiling young woman drew up an adjacent chair. Ben beamed backed a greeting but had no time to talk before the lecture began.
As the tutor launched into a brief preamble, read a couple of college notices, distributed a booklist, Ben stole a series of furtive glances at his immediate companion; just to practise the character sketch techniques they'd learned last term.
Nicola was her name. Quiet, but certainly not shy. Friendly, if a little guarded. A responder rather than an initiator. Green eyes, red hair, mid-twenties, around five foot four with a slim, shapely figure. Face it, he fancied her.
Her voice jolted the daydream believer back to reality. 'It's warm in here,' she whispered shrugging off her blouson jacket. The jumper beneath emphasised a slender waist and small, high breasts.
Flicking back her shoulder-length curls, suddenly aware of Ben's gaze, she smiled affectionately then rummaged in her bag for a pair of round, steel-framed spectacles: 'I'd better put these on, don't want to miss anything.' Ben was still absorbing the implications of that remark when the tutor introduced the guest speaker.
Louise Lasalle was in her early forties, extremely good looking, confident and clearly well-educated. Resembling a successful business woman rather than any stereotype of a writer she was elegantly and expensively dressed.
She began her discourse with some historical examples of erotic writing – Chaucer, Shakespeare, the Decameron, before moving on to practical tips: how to handle commissioning editors, which of the various permutations of acceptable subject matter an aspirant author might consider. The first half of the session passed both quickly and divertingly, ending with a promise from Louise to throw the forum open for questions and discussion after the break.
'There's nothing new under the sun,' said Ben to Nicola as he fetched her a coffee. Without intending to he'd reached the canteen first where, to his surprise and pleasure, she'd made a beeline across the room to join him. 'They certainly weren't short of inhibitions in the past,' she agreed, 'but it's the second half, the more contemporary stuff, I'm looking forward to, I think we'll find things get a bit more controversial.'
Her guess proved correct. Louise was explaining the increase in erotic stories for women – on sale in a high street near you – when the argument started.
With a mixture of cowardice and prudence Ben, as token male, kept his head down and his own counsel while barbed words flew about his ears.
An especially tetchy teacher named Angela Dwight took the line that such paperbacks were just another way for men to make money from women.
'As a writer and a woman,' Louise pointed out gently, 'I feel far from exploited.'
'We shouldn't be allowing them on the bookshelves,' cut in Angela, who despite her education clearly hadn't absorbed the difference between aggression and assertion, 'erotica, pornography it makes no difference, people must be protected.'
'And look what strange bedfellows you end up with,' replied Louise sagely. 'Religious fanatics, right-wing bigots, anti-abortionists, people that love to proscribe. You say you're a feminist Angela,' she continued, 'did it ever occur to you that the self-appointed moralists you seen so anxious to court are the same people that want to deny women any choices at all?'
'That's true,' said a nearby voice arid Ben turned around to see Nicola on her feet. 'I've bought and enjoyed some of these books, I don't need your protection.'
'Like Louise's spanking stories I suppose,' sneered Angela sarcastically. 'Women being beaten or bound, what a wonderful use of our new found freedom of expression.' Nicola reddened but stood her ground. However it was Louise, still calm and in authority, who answered:
'You're twisting the argument again, Angela. You just can't seem to appreciate the difference between fantasy and reality. A lot of my readers are every bit as professionally and personally powerful and successful as you. If they want to act out a submissive fantasy with a trusted partner it doesn't make then servile, subjugated or second class. Simply it's a matter of being honest about one's sexuality. By writing our own erotica we make our own choices.'
The controversy was still raging when the session finally overran.
Ben was intrigued, and not just by the debate, although it'd been instructive to see women arguing in favour of one of his favourite fantasies. He'd also gained an insight as to where Nicola was coming from, and it was somewhere he'd very much like to go. Now or never, he thought as they filed out of the building.
Nicola stood in the corridor, chatting to Louise. 'Fancy a drink?' he asked. He'd intended the question for her alone but 15 minutes later the three of them were ensconced in the saloon bar of the Swan.
'Did you enjoy reading my books?' Louise enquired innocently. Her enquiry had been directed at Nicola. 'Yes,' they unintentionally answered at the same time, then giggled self-consciously at the revelation.
'Well, my stories usually feature a good deal of CP', Louise began; 'And sex,' Nicola interrupted. 'Of course,' Louise continued with a twinkle, 'but I'm interested in means as well as ends. Tell me,' she continued, 'is your interest in spanking purely literary, or have you ever indulged?'
The two younger people exchanged glances. 'No, not yet,' replied Nicola, 'but the idea sends shivers down my spine, in the right situation with the right person, I believe I would.' Impressed by the courage of this intimate disclosure Ben decided to follow suit. Somehow it felt easier to reveal such a long-held desire to a woman: 'I'd love to have a relationship in which I could be masterful, of course we'd be equal in every other respect,' he added hastily, 'if I could just find a submissive partner.'
'If you'll forgive me flaunting my age and experience I suggest you've found each other,' replied Louise. Ben suddenly became aware that Nicola was now sitting very close to him; unprompted she held his hand.
"Let's not prevaricate,' continued Louise, smiling at this overt conformation of her intuition. 'You must both come to dinner this Saturday; perhaps we can provide food for thought as well. A personal tutorial for two special students.'
'A masterclass,' responded Ben with a grin. 'Exactly,' confirmed Louise, 'between then and now I suggest you both read some of my stories, absorb the mood, study the characters and dress for the occasion. Oh, and you might like to bring some decent wine; Italian white would be good.'
'We'll be there,' said Nicola earnestly and Ben realised that she'd made the decision for them both.
* * *
Three days later the dinner party was going marvellously. Ben felt calm and at case. He'd an anxious moment earlier in the evening when Nicola had been nearly 15 minutes late at the station. Finally she'd arrived, in no apparent rush and looking ravishing, to greet him with a far from sisterly kiss.
Louise and Phil, her partner, owned a large Victorian house in a pleasant north London suburb, decorated inside with taste, flair and an eclectic selection of art.
Ben quickly observed a difference in Louise's demeanour, noticeably more subdued than at their previous meeting. Phil cooked while she welcomed and entertained yet, despite this apparent role reversal, within these walls a man was clearly in charge.
Just as Louise's appearance belied her occupation so too did Phil's. Tall and solidly-built with a Yorkshire accent and that county's celebrated directness he turned out to be an English professor at a nearby University. Adept at getting his initially somewhat over-awed guests to talk freely he proved an informed and witty host, able, without apparent effort or command, to subtly direct the evening's events.
The meat concluded Ben noticed Louise sitting silently, hands in her lap, eyes following the flow of conversation but making no comment. An electric tension began to suffuse the atmosphere of what might otherwise have been taken for an ordinary dinner party.
'Always an enjoyable part of the proceedings,' observed Phil expansively, 'the anticipation of things to come. I gather Louise has promised you two novices some instruction in our ways,' he continued. 'Well, Saturday evenings here are set aside for Louise to account and atone for her sins and for me to dispense discipline as I see fit.
If you, Nicola, and you, Ben, would care to join us we'd be delighted to share our knowledge and experience.'
'I'm willing,' replied Nicola decisively.
'Me too,' confirmed Ben experiencing an agreeable thrill of adrenalin-fuelled expectation as he spoke the words.
'Splendid,' Phil smiled. 'Now, you'll no doubt have noticed Louise has been looking a tad apprehensive this last half hour or so; well she might. Her conduct over the last week – I won't bore you with the details – has earned her a traditional three-part punishment which I now intend to commence. If you two would be so good as to follow us through to the next room we can begin.'
The lounge was large and warm, atmospherically lit with uplighters and furnished with comfortable antiques.
'Proper punishments begin with a spanking,' Phil pronounced, 'only a bloody barbarian goes straight for a rod or switch. Build up gradually and be surprised how far you can go.'
Ignoring a suitable-looking upright wooden chair he sat instead on a well-padded sofa. Catching Ben's quizzical expression Phil explained: 'I know in the magazines the unfortunate damsel touches the floor with hands and toes but if you're intending to keep her there for more than five minutes it's hellish hard on the back.'
Taking Louise by the hand he drew her to attention beside him.
She wore an elegant wool suit, silk blouse and black high heels. 'Lift your skirt woman,' he ordered. Louise glanced around, as if only now aware of the expectant looks on the faces of her invited audience. Nervously she ran her tongue across her red lips before obeying. From just above the knee she gradually inched the material up bare legs, teasingly revealing taut thighs and buttocks until at last it bunched around her waist.
Unhurriedly, Phil turned Louise in a circle running his hands over her silky-smooth, lightly suntanned flanks. A few strands of dark hair strayed from the front of a pair of black lace-edged knickers, barely containing a full firm backside.
Every inch a sensual, sexual woman thought Ben feeling the front of his trousers tighten involuntarily. Next to him Nicola put on her glasses. On the sofa Louise now languished across Phil's lap.
Slap, slap, slap, Phil applied his right hand to the rounded, pale checks. Elbows resting on the sofa cushions, chin in her cupped hands Louise stared into the middle-distance as if entranced. Some 50 or more smacks later Phil halted and instead tugged her knickers tightly into the furrow that separated the two reddening globes. Louise jerked her hips agitatedly, the sudden switch from pain to pleasure occasioning her first audible response. Sighing contentedly she turned to observe her partner's ministrations.
'Quite sufficient a gradual warm-up,' said Phil by way of reply. 'High time you had a proper spanking.' Slap, slap, slap. Nicola sat on the upright chair, leaning forward to gazed with rapt concentration as this live CP scenario unfolded. Ben noticed her wince in sympathy as noticeably harder smacks echoed like pistol shots around the room. Her skirt had ridden up revealingly and he watched in fascination as she unconsciously clenched and unclenched her thighs.
The effect on Louise was clearly less erotic. Little yelps and moans now escaped her lips as she tried vainly to twist her body from Phil's tight, waist-encircling grip.
Another pause, Louise groaning in pleasure as Phil's hand again soothed the hot mounds and his finger explored hidden depths. Told to raise her hips she instantly obeyed allowing Phil to slip the black scanties to her knees.
Smack, smack, smack, Phil redoubled his efforts. Protesting loudly now Louise wriggled fiercely on his lap earning a dozen scalding slaps to her thighs for her trouble. 'Women who struggle must pay the price,' announced Phil steadfastly. Ben stole another glance at Nicola who remained fixated by the sight before her, one hand twirling her red hair, the other beneath her skirt.
Phil's hard hand descended six more times to conclude the first stage of his wife's ordeal. Tugged to her feet, she stood hair awry and dishevelled, in marked contrast to the manicured, self-possessed woman of 15 minutes previously.
Instinctively her hands flew to rub her burning bottom, now a uniform ruby red. 'Oh, no you don't,' Phil's directive was punctuated with a sharp slap to the front of each thigh, drawing a wail of complaint. 'Hands on head and into the corner, now.' Fettered by her tangled knickers Louise hobbled across the room to stand facing the wall her dark glistening thatch just visible to three pairs of admiring eyes.
'Your turn, I think, Ben,' said Phil mildly, returning to his seat, 'I'm sure you can find an excuse to punish that pretty young person next to you.'
Ben was equal to the moment. 'I'm not sure I need one,' he replied in an assured voice, 'there again,' he added after a piquant pause, 'I certainly do not like to be kept waiting by a date.'
Nicola's reaction to this new authoritative tone was not quite as he'd imagined. He'd expected to be treated to an expression of fey shock, contrarily she merely poked out her tongue. With one stride Ben covered the distance between them. Grasping her wrists he'd pulled the miscreant to her feet and, before she knew it, seated himself on the chair and pushed her over his lap. Drawing up her short pleated skirt with his right hand he reached with the left to deftly remove her glasses.
'Bravo old chap,' said Phil taking them from Ben while the latter surveyed his prize. Ignoring Nicola's token protestations he allowed his hands to glide over a pair of damson coloured briefs. Similar coloured suspenders were fastened to once-again fashionable tan stockings.
'Now hang on a min...' Nicola's last ditch plea for clemency died on her lips as Ben swung down his arm. Resisting the temptation to spank too hard too soon he followed Phil's example and built up the tempo slowly, working skillfully to both chastise and arouse. Painted finger nails scrabbled at the rug, painted toe nails in high strappy sandals kicked in the air.
Ten minutes later, knickers round her ankles, bare bottom an angry pink, Nicola stood next to Louise sneaking a glance over her shoulder to watch the men sip their wine in companionable, contemplative silence.
Phil's plan for the next stage of this practical introduction to the not so gentle art of CP proved ingenious. Plump cushions were placed at the two ends of a long oak dining table and the women bent over them to lie face to face. He instructed each to grasp the other's wrists before personally taking on the onerous task of removing knickers and spreading legs.
Walking over to a cupboard in the corner Phil took out two tawses which, judging from their appearance, had given sterling service over many years. He handed the lighter of the two to Ben with the words, 'I'll go first, then you follow suit.' Taking his place Ben noticed the older couple were standing in front of a full-length mirror. He watched carefully as Phil raised the burnished two-tailed leather strap to shoulder height before bringing it down across the crown of his wife's upturned hindquarters.
Louise cried out, sliding forward on the polished table top. The twin hillocks of her cheeks flattened with the impact before springing back into their former spherical shape. Ben followed suit but was disappointed to deliver a rather feeble sounding swat. Phil's turn again and a satisfying crack of leather on skin drew another shout from Louise who, were it not for Nicola's firm grasp, would no doubt have shot bolt upright.
Ben tried again but still had not mastered the technique. Nicola's cry was one of genuine anguish and, as her feet performed an agonised tap dance, he was horrified to see an angry red weal form on her right thigh. He swallowed the urge to apologise as Phil blithely advised, 'A little too far to the right, don't let the tails curl round or you miss the proper target'.
Fortunately Ben hit his stride with stroke number three, going on to deliver five crisp, blazing stripes, one after another, each accompanied by increasing cries of woe.
'Very good,' observed Phil. 'You're quite getting into the swing of things.' He ran his hands reflectively across Louise's now blotchy, blaming buttocks. 'Another four should fit the bill nicely – tell you what, let's try to synchronise them.'
It was an image Ben hoped he'd never forget: a pair of tawses concurrently swishing down to punish two already very sore bottoms whose owners, self-possession rapidly deserting them, yelled and twisted in unison, tightly grasping each other's hands for support and succour. Taking his cue from the reflection in the mirror, Ben ensured his final cuts lashed low into that supremely sensitive area where buttocks and thighs merge, forcing the recipient up onto her toes. Louise's lip trembled, her face flushed but, although breathing rapidly, she maintained her composure.
Less cushioned to resist the searing impacts by the tenth stroke Nicola's mascara was running in rivulets down each cheek, her high heels drumming on the polished parquet. She looked absolutely gorgeous, thought Ben, at once proud, vulnerable and thoroughly dominated. His erection neared critical mass as he floated on the biggest high of his life.
'Feel free to rub,' said Phil expansively as, a thorough tawsing completed, the two women stood stiffly, tentatively reaching behind to gently knead their ravished nether regions.
'And finally,' he added returning to the mysterious corner cupboard, 'the cane.' Again his choice of implement was rather heavier than Ben's. 'I suggest half a dozen for Nicky as it's her first time, but for Louise, who seems determined to be stubborn, the full dozen.
Right woman, centre of the room. You know the drill.'
Head held high, Louise did his bidding. Shedding her blouse and skirt en route she stood erect in just heels and a Wonderbra, revealing that nature had allocated equally generous curves to the upper half of her body. Taking a deep breath she gracefully bent forward to grasp her ankles, feet half a metre apart.
Phil delivered half a dozen hard, unhurried strokes spaced at roughly ten second intervals and leaving a legacy of neatly spaced parallel lines that would decorate her derriere for several days. Between each whack Louise struggled to maintain her stance but, despite the all too obvious pain searing through every nerve ending, failed to shed a tear.
'Very impressive my dear,' said Phil affectionately as she stood to once again rub the target area 'but you're the architect of your own misfortune. Bend again please, knees together, legs straight, and this time push that bottom right out.'
'The trick,' be addressed this remark to no one in particular but spoke with the voice of one uttering a universal truth, 'is to know and respect your partner's limits, but each time take them just a fraction further. Louise has demonstrated self-control, I shall now exercise complete control.'
Ben and Nicola stared speechless, this was a scenario far beyond their dreams. Chastened and humiliated, nevertheless Louise was visibly sopping wet. 'Do you accept this final chastisement?' asked Phil quietly. 'I do darling,' came the unhesitating reply.
This time the strokes fell rapidly, one after another, each criss-crossing those applied earlier. Squirming in pain Louise had tears in her eyes by the second and to Ben's amazement, was both smiling and sobbing by the sixth.
Having kept position throughout Louise straightened as if released of a burden to address the remaining participants: 'If you'll forgive us we've some pressing business in the bedroom...' she paused wincing as she massaged the corrugated globes, 'please take your own time to finish and make full use of the facilities.' Another pause, Phil strong and silent stood behind gently cupping her breasts in his large hands.
'I'm pleased to confirm you've both excelled at this first lesson,' he added with mock severity, 'next month we're holding an advanced class, I look forward to your attendance.'
Their hosts departed. Nicola walked gingerly over to Phil, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him long and hard, moulding her body to his as she did so.
'Just you wait your turn,' responded Ben firmly, as he led her unprotesting to the well-upholstered arm of the sofa. Off came the pleated skirt, the T-shirt followed. Two diminutive but prominent breasts, each nipple erect, were proffered. 'Not yet,' said Ben his voice barely a whisper but suddenly possessed by a confidence and authority he'd only previously imagined.
Having bent Nicola face down over the sofa's broad cushioned arm, legs straight and slightly apart, he stopped for a moment to survey his handiwork. Her glorious pert little bottom positively radiated heat. Angry red stripes embroidered the centre and a livid crimson hue gradually faded as it spread to her flanks and thighs.
Ben left a long interval between each of the subsequent six strokes of the cane, allowing the full stinging effect to warm its way towards the glistening treasure awaiting him in the valley below. Her beautiful, bare, blush-red arse bore marks that would stay for several days, yet he'd not thrashed her hard. There'd been no need.
And she knew. 'Now you've beaten me, what's next?' she enquired rhetorically, replacing the proffered spectacles. A visible tremor of desire ran through her lithe body. 'Please Ben. I need you, inside me, now.' By way of reply he loosened his belt and grasped her hips.
One step to heaven. Once more Nicola bent forward then once again went up onto her toes, the heat from her beaten bottom firing her loins and suffusing his as her new lover thrust deep and hard inside her.
Three months later, Nicola's first erotic novel was published to wide critical acclaim, even gaining plaudits from mainstream book reviewers. It was dedicated to: 'My two oldest friends, Louise and Phil, and my new mentor, Ben.'