Monday, 15 March 2010

The Reckoning

Story from Februs 13.

The Reckoning
By Paul Melrose (Alex's Birch pseudonym)

As Melody Prentice walked into the living room of Paula Simmons home to be greeted so affectionately by her hostess, she could have cried with delight for she had, with the help of Paula and the other girls, survived the greatest crisis of her life. Her whole world had revolved around her husband and when she came downstairs that fateful morning to find the note that told her Bob had left her to live with his secretary, she had felt that her life was one huge void. Twenty-eight years old and alone in the world. She should have known what would happen, for the relationship had been rocky for a very long time and now, with so much time on her hands, Melody had been able to see things in perspective rather than blame her husband for everything that had gone wrong... and the truth disturbed her greatly.

She had persuaded... well, virtually insisted... her husband to pack up his well-paid consultancy in London because she was homesick for her beloved Lakes, and after much cajoling and tears, she and Bob had settled in the small village of Branwick in the shadow of Scafell Pike five years before. It had been a desperate throw to save the marriage, succeeding only in making things worse, for Bob had struggled to keep his business alive so far from the nerve centre of commerce and worse, it treated the symptom and not the disease.

Melody was attractive with soft blonde hair and expressive blue eyes which were even more beautiful when moistened by tears, sadly a semi-permanent feature as her marriage had begun to disintegrate. She knew they were headed for disaster but she was too proud and too embarrassed to deal with the problem head on and then it was all too late.

Her husband was a kind, stolid man, his reliability attracting her at first for he was so like her late father, but his lovemaking was functional and predictable, lacking... sometimes she struggled to find the right word... excitement, perhaps. Melody knew too that it was not all his fault for, though Bob had been the first, she sometimes wondered whether any man would ever rouse her. She had never really been too enthusiastic right from their very first night of sex in the back seat of his car, but Melody had just assumed it was lack of experience and that the sex would improve, but it never did.

As time passed, Melody had always seemed to find reasons to avoid sex with her husband and they'd tried to talk about that, too, but the results was always the same... bitter recriminations with Melody ending up in floods of tears. Bob had begun to suspect an affair for she would wake in the middle of the night covered in perspiration, her hand between her legs, her sex moist and hot and he had begun to question her angrily about the moaning and sighing in her sleep, the frantic wriggling which he could only watch in helpless frustration. But she could never have told him about the dark thoughts that came in her sleep, the frightening and exciting thoughts which aroused her so much and made her bitterly ashamed.

Melody knew she had made her husband feel worthless by her nocturnal behaviour and it shouldn't have surprised her when he went, but it did. It hurt her and churned her up to a degree she had thought impossible and it was then she realised how much she missed him. Missed somebody, anybody who would take away this pain and loneliness. She would have put up with the lack of satisfaction, but perhaps he couldn't face the implied failure any more. Perhaps it was for the best. Maybe his new woman would satisfy him in a way Melody could not.

She had felt suddenly alone for, although she had returned to the place of her youth, everything had changed in so few years with all her old friends marrying and moving away to the cities in what had become, overnight, a strange place with few people to turn to in her hour of need. Her father had been long dead and her mother lived some fifteen miles away, crippled with arthritis and unable to travel. At first, after the break up, Melody had driven over to her mother's three times a week but, though greeted with love, had been told very firmly that she had to sort out her own life, that her troubles were as much her fault as her husband's and that she must not rely on her mother as a shoulder to cry on.

* * *

Weeks had passed with Melody at her wits' end with hurt and loneliness. She did a little dressmaking at home, which provided an adequate income for her, though she knew she should stir herself to try to get a proper job; but it was after one of her clients had arrived for a filling that Melody's life began to brighten. Jenny Cousins, the wife of the local doctor, asked Melody what she was doing with herself now that she was on her own, then suggested the local Women's Circle. At first Melody had been dubious, not being much of a mixer, and had suspected the Women's Circle to be a gathering of dumpy matrons who waffled on about the merits of breast feeding all day. However, she liked the impish and lively Jenny so reasoned that, if the Wednesday afternoon meetings kept the livewire doctor's wife interested, they might be worth a visit.

She found, to her delight, that the meetings were nothing like she had imagined and although breast feeding was not on the agenda, breasts most certainly were... and lots of other things besides! The first meeting had been at Jenny's home and Melody discovered that the attendees were virtually all women of her own age, women of twenty-five to thirty-five who were either of independent means or who had husbands with high flying jobs, leaving them with plenty of spare time. She had been welcomed warmly and been entertained to a holiday video, projected unto a large screen in the living room, of Jenny and her husband's trip to a remote bay resort in Jamaica. Melody would have been entertained by the beautiful scenery and Jenny's humorous accompanying dialogue alone, but she sat with mouth open and her face pink in astonishment as the images flashed before her eyes. The holiday had been at a secluded nudist beach and there on the screen were pictures of lots of happy holidaymakers including Jenny and her husband... and all completely naked.

After the film, they'd played Adult Trivia and Melody realised that here was a group of women who were warm, friendly and out for a good bit of fun. When the meeting finished Melody felt as if she had cast off ten years and she had keenly looked forward to the next one. She still felt a little sell conscious and concerned that her own life had been dull by comparison with that of some of her new found friends. She had no nudist holidays to show and no disgusting jokes to tell, but no-one seemed to mind and she was made to feel a welcome part of the gathering.

Now here she was at Paula Simmons' home for her second meeting and Paula, once introductions had been effected, had announced 'an afternoon of self examination' which had prompted a few gasps and giggles from the assembled women. Melody had inexplicably blushed and trembled, although she had no idea what was in store. After sherry and cakes, Paula had turned down the lights, closed the curtains and lit half a dozen candles. Through the glow of the room and the warmth of the sherry, Melody had begun to feel unaccountably aroused. She had caught her breath, her face flushed, as Paula announced softly that everyone was to recount the most embarrassing incident in their lives with no holds barred. They were to be given ten minutes to think about the subject in the candlelight before lots were drawn for who went first.

Melody had no need to think about her most embarrassing moment for it had dominated her thoughts ever since that fateful day... but, oh God... could she ever talk about it? She felt her heart beat faster as her name was called out first and she swallowed deeply. She thought fleetingly of chickening out altogether, or making something up on the spur of the moment, both options being speedily rejected, for Melody knew she had to be honest in the presence of these keenly waiting new friends in whose company she now felt so secure.

Melody knew the time had come for a part catharsis, the time to publicly reveal her painful, shameful memories which haunted her dreams and made her so... oh no, surely she couldn't tell all of it, just couldn't, but she wanted to tell them, wanted to open her heart but...! She stood up unsteadily, walked to the centre of the room and closed her eyes, hoping desperately that her blushes couldn't be seen in the candleglow, grateful for the dim, comforting light. She cleared her throat and began to tell them all of that day ten years before which she would never, ever forget...

...she was eighteen, had just passed her A levels with flying colours and the academic world was her oyster. To her widowed mother's surprise and some concern, Melody had announced that, instead of going to University she had applied to join the WRAC through Officer Training School where she would complete her education and make a career for herself. The Army tradition in the family was strong, both her late father and grandfather serving their country with distinction, and Melody's mother had the sense to realise that this was her daughters way of trying to compensate for not being a boy. Melody had loved her father deeply, his death leaving an introverted and lonely girl completely devastated; thus her mother wisely decided to respect the decision and not even attempt to argue her out of it.

Despite her mother's misgivings, Melody had been sent to the WRAC Training Centre in Kendal and, while not being a natural for Army life, had gritted her teeth and literally soldiered through the unpalatable physical training while passing all her written Officer Training examinations with flying colours. Her shy and passive nature at first made her life difficult with Officers and fellow trainees alike but eventually all were won over, for she was almost impossible to dislike. Her class training officer, Captain Laura Martin, particularly seemed to like the youngster and went out of her way to encourage Melody in everything she did. The affection was returned, Melody hanging on to every word that the older woman spoke, and it seemed that her Army career would be one unbroken success story... until the night of Penelope's birthday party!

The girls in Melody's dormitory had decided to celebrate Penny's nineteenth birthday in style with a pub crawl in town and all had got got special night passes for the event with instructions to be back before curfew at 11.30 p.m. To her discomfiture, Melody had never been to a pub and was teased and taunted dreadfully when she confessed the fact. With some considerable misgivings, but afraid of rejection by her peers, she joined the other eleven girls on the jaunt to the town centre.

Within an hour or so, all Melody's misgivings and inhibitions had disappeared with the consumption of considerable quantities of vodka. She lost count of how many pubs they visited and were thrown out of before the inevitable consequence of too much alcohol on a stomach totally untrained for it took its toll. Some time during the evening, Melody had left her equally drinken companions, staggered off to the toilet and sat down dizzily on the seat. The next thing she knew was a feeling of intense cold as she opened her eyes, feeling like death warmed up. She'd looked at her watch... Oh Christ, it was 3.30 a.m. and she was still sitting on the toilet seat. With as much haste as she could manage, Melody had opened the toilet door and found the lounge door locked. She was trapped in the loo for the night! When the landlord opened up the next morning and found a pale, hollow eyed young WRAC weeping with self pity on his toilet seat, he'd roared with laughter, discovering some humour in the situation which seemed to escape Melody entirely.

She'd finally made it back to the Training Centre, trembling with fright and feeling dreadfully sick, to be met by a flinty eyed corporal at the entrance.

'Name?' the woman had barked, then with a smug certainty 'My, my... absent without leave and still in training? That's your career finished here, my girl!'

Melody had crawled up to her room and, to her shock had found a grim faced Captain Martin waiting for her. She had never seen the older woman in this mood and Melody had felt so ashamed. Her apologies were brushed aside and she was told to skip classes for the day and to get some proper rest... then to report to her Captain's office at 4 p.m.

That day had seemed to pass in a haze of intermittent sleep and tears before she found herself standing in full dress uniform in front of Captain Laura Martin, alone in her office. Melody was read the riot act and told that there was no excuse for such behaviour. She was told that girls who wanted to be Officers had to set an example and that while the ocassional drinking binge was tolerated, absence without leave most certainly was not and that, under regulations, Melody should be dismissed from the training centre and sent back home. Melody remembered that day as if it were yesterday... the shock of impending dismissal and the sense of failure. She remembered her pleas for leniency and her tearful apologies... oh Cod!... even clutching the older woman's hand and asking her to reconsider.

Then she remembered those fateful events which would live in her memory for ever! The moment when the lovely eyes of her senior officer softened as Captain Laura Martin got up from her desk and locked the office door while Melody stood transfixed. The moment when Captain Martin's soft but insistent voice said 'You have been very foolish, Melody, but to lose you from the service would be most regrettable, for you have worked very hard. Are you prepared to do exactly as you're told, Melody? Exactly as you're told?'

She remembered her eager gasp. 'Oh yes, anything, Captain Martin, I'll do anything you ask. Anything... I'm so sorry I let you down!' She remembered her eyes widening with shock and an inexplicable excitement as her senior Officer walked back behind her desk, reached down to the floor and turned back to face Melody holding in her band a three foot long whippy bamboo cane.

Melody had responded like a robot, her face red and her mouth agape, as the order 'Bend low over my desk!' was delivered. She recalled how her face had burned as Captain Martin had walked around behind her then firmly lifted her skirt before slowly tucking the hem into the belt at her waist, then how her heart had quickened and the gasp of shame had been forced from her lips as she'd felt the strong soft hands begin to pull her knickers right down. Melody remembered how she'd lain there in total humiliation with tears pouring down her cheeks, all her intimate areas on display, before that first ever in her life unforgettable cane stroke left its fiery brand across her bare bottom...

...Melody opened her eyes in the candleglow and realised she was trembling with the memory of that day and how that strong hand had held her down as the cane whipped across her bare bottom again and again. God, how she had shrieked and squealed, the warmth spreading across her tender buttocks taking her over, her whole body hot and perspiring, her thighs shaking with shock and... something else she could never tell them. Oh God, no she couldn't... she...

Every woman present sat on the edge of her seat, her eyes wide, lips pursed in an attitude of relishing something shameful, not a pindrop to he heard, gasps of disappointment around the room as Melody's narrative obviously finished, the young woman standing in the centre of the room nervously clutching her fingers with embarrassment.

Jenny Cousins broke the silence.

'Is that all, Melody...?' she said softly ' that all?'

Melody nodded and gulped.

'Yes, Jen, that's it... end of the story really. Captain Martin didn't put me on report and I finished my Basic Training and passed with flying colours. I got posted to London and there I met Bob in a wine bar and I left the Army to get married.'

Jenny smiled and looked meaningfully at Paula as Melody tensed with sudden alarm.

'Oh, I don't think that's all...,' Paula said, her voice quiet and steady ''s a great story and we want to hear more, don't we girls?' A roar of endorsement followed the remark.

'There isn't any more to tell...,' Melody muttered, almost in a whisper '...there isn't...'

Then the colour drained from her face as a voice at the back of the room said softly 'You're lying, Melody, there is more and you know what happens to naughty girls who tell lies don't you?'

Melody turned her ashen face to the source of the comment, making out the familiar features of the woman who had entered the meeting quietly during the telling of the story. Her hands flew to her face and she gasped.

'C... Captain Martin... how... how could... oh my God!'

The woman stood up and walked to where Melody stood, her firm strong face so compulsive, so insistent.

'Used to be, Melody, used to be...,' she said with a smile ' I'm plain Laura Martin, for I left the Army six years ago. I teach at the local school now and I'm a good friend of Jenny's. I only missed the last meeting through illness but what a good job I did or you would have got away with half the truth. Tell them, Melody...,' she insisted softly ' want them to know. Tell them everything... or I'll do it for you!'

Melody was shaking like a baby as she clutched at the woman's sleeve.

'Please, no...' she muttered '...please I'll die of shame!'

The hand on her arm and the voice in her ear were gentle but compulsive.

'You need to tell them, Melody... now do it!'

Almost in a trance, Melody cleared her throat and with a shaky voice, her eyes closed she began again...

' the time I'd had six strokes my bottom was red hot but things, shameful things were happening to me down below and I couldn't keep still. I began to cry, not through the pain, but because I knew my... my pussy was soaking wet and I was terrified that it would be so... so obvious. I... I had never had a climax before and I couldn't stop it. My legs were shaking, my bottom was shaking and my... my fanny was tingling, hot and wet. I didn't know what was happening until I felt Captain M... Laura's... hand under the cheeks of my bottom. She began to stroke the lips of my fanny and I was so shocked... and excited... but I couldn't believe it... couldn't believe what was happening to me! I tried to cry out but nothing happened and then she... she slipped her fingers right in and began to bring me off so gently and the feeling began again. It just welled up inside me and I thought I would burst and I was squealing and shaking until her arms pulled me around and she held me close, stroking my hair and kissing me gently on the lips. Oh Cod, I'm so ashamed but I responded to her and I don't know what would have happened but a knock came on the Office door and we broke away immediately. I got dressed very quickly and tried to wipe my eyes so no one would know I'd been crying...'

Melody stopped suddenly as she became aware of the impact of her confession on the entire room and she hung her head, the tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes.

'I've never told anyone before because I am so ashamed of admitting that it turned me on. I... I've never... never been that aroused since.' She gripped Laura Martin's hand and stared into those wonderful, comforting eyes. 'I missed you so much and I always wondered if...' her voice faltered and she was suddenly conscious of arms around her waist and a soft kiss on her lips.

'I know, my love, I know...' said the woman she had always known as Captain Martin '...and when Jenny told me about your marriage break up, I was very sad. I knew then that marriage was wrong for you, that you had special needs and that no man would ever satisfy them. Melody, you need a woman's hand, a woman's guidance, a woman's discipline to keep you strong... you always have and you always will...!'

Melody hung her head and cried as the implications of her public confession began to ripple around the small room and the women began to chatter in breathless excitement. Despite her shame she fell as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders as Laura Martin spoke again, firmly and insistently.

'...and you will find, in this group, a haven for your desires, Melody, for yon are not the only woman here who seeks relief through punishment. That is why the Circle was formed, to provide relief for the active and the passive among us, though our aims are never specified until we are absolutely certain of our new members...'

As Melody opened her eyes she gasped in astonishment when she saw Jenny Cousins pick up a three finger tawse from behind the sofa, rise and walk towards her as Laura's hand tightened on her wrist.

' we all love you Melody and we will meet all your deepest needs, beginning today. You lied to us, Melody, and you will be punished for it. Turn around and face the table. That's a good girl! Now... pull your panties down and bend low over the table! Eighteen strokes of the tawse on your bare bottom!'

Trembling with excitement, Melody obeyed the command, pulling her panties right down to her ankles then, as she lifted her skirt, baring her bottom to the assembled gathering she suddenly cried out 'Thank you, Laura ...oh Cod, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!', her words interrupted as the tawse whipped across her naked bottom to a squeal of ecstasy which let the whole world know that Melody Prentice was happy at last.

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