Her right index finger was poised over the left mouse button as she stared at the pointer as it hovered over the "send" button. It was decision time. Certainly not a time for hesitation or self doubt. She glanced at the concise lines of text she’d inputted into the required slots proof-reading them just in case. Her mouth felt dry. But despite everything, despite numerous relationships and false dawns here was a cast iron guaranteed certainty - if she was willing to just click that dammed send button.
Drawing a sharp breath, she closed her eyes briefly and clicked her mouse.
There was an hourglass pause then the merest hint of something happening until, suddenly, an oblong yellow box popped up telling her: "Thank you for submitting your advert. We hope you find what you are looking for. To check for replies please go to our main page and log in using your username and password. Your box number is 765."
Opening notepad, Bethany made a note of the details and saved it under "Fingers-crossed" which made her smile. That just about summed it up alright.
There was an hourglass pause then the merest hint of something happening until, suddenly, an oblong yellow box popped up telling her: "Thank you for submitting your advert. We hope you find what you are looking for. To check for replies please go to our main page and log in using your username and password. Your box number is 765."
Opening notepad, Bethany made a note of the details and saved it under "Fingers-crossed" which made her smile. That just about summed it up alright.
"Hey you dumb sunofabeech, " shouted the cabbie as he forced the over-sized lump of wood called his head through the wound down window. "You wanna learn how to drive schmuck !!" To prove his point, he thrust out his hand and gave a one fingered salute to the victim of his road rage. Snorting, he looked at his passenger in the mirror as they were both sat in the middle of the parking lot otherwise known as evening rush hour. "See that ?" he muttered in exasperation. "They think because they drive a big flashy motor it gives them God given right to cut in and show us ordinary workin' guys who’s boss. I've seen monkeys with more sense." There was another loud blast from an irritated horn to their right. The cabbie swung back around to see who's turn it was next. It was a 4 by 4 built like a tank with tinted windows. "Hey lamebrain, you drive like my mother !!" he shouted and banged twice on his horn in reply. He held up both hands as if looking for divine help. "My job ain't worth this much hassle. I've got blood pressure up to here." He glanced in the mirror again to find his passenger staring out of the side window as the sound of rain began to drum on his cab roof. He gave a shrug. Looks like this was a one way conversation. Not that he gave a shit of course. Suddenly there was a burst of static from his radio speaker followed by the sound of his dispatcher hailing his call sign. Grabbing the mike, he had to shout above the din of traffic. "Ah ten four got that. Heading out on stateside freeway 8 via intersection 2-9er. On route to Hilldale. Should be free in about 30 minutes. Over" He clicked off. There was more static talk. "Wall to wall here dispatch. Seen snails move faster. Ok. Roger that. Will contact at drop off destination. Over and out."
Outside the rain got harder, heavier and wetter and sounded for all the world as if someone was using the cab roof as a drum. Jose Gonzales' passenger continued to stare out into the murk with its brief flashes of motorised colour. He'd heard everything the cabbie had said. It was just that his mind was elsewhere…on far more important matters.
"How was work dear ?" asked the woman smiling as she stood cooking dinner at the kitchen stove. It was casserole. Sure smelled good. "Take off your coat sweetie, this shouldn't be another ten minutes. Go wash up and I'll give you a call when it's ready."
Bethany stepped forward and kissed her mother's cheek. "Work was same old same. Same old routine."
Her mother gave her only daughter a comforting hug. Even though she wished for nothing more than to see her pride and joy in a relationship or happily married with 2.4 kids in tow she still enjoyed the fact that even at 23 she still lived at home with her and her father, Bob. The fact that she was neither married or in a steady relationship was rather surprising to her mother mostly because, and this was as an unbiased opinion as any mother could give, her daughter was undoubtedly attractive in an unspectacular sort of way. Moderately tall, she had a full figure, a fine head of deep red hair that was cut smartly to shoulder length and always kept herself looking and dressing pleasantly. Sadly, all the relationships with various boyfriends had always just, well…..fizzled out. From what she could tell, call it a hunch, she suspected it was more her daughters disenchantment than anything else. It was obvious she hadn't found what she was looking for. Same went for work. She knew her daughter wanted more than to work as a clerk in the towns local Government office. Still, money was tight and bills had to be paid. She glanced at her daughter who had hung up her coat on the hat-stand. As usual these past few weeks she seemed in a bit of a rush as if there was something on her mind. Her mother knew what it was.
"Ok mom. I'll be right down after I check my e-mails and stuff." Said Bethany. Blushing despite trying not too. "Dinner smells delicious mom, great !!" With that Mrs Oliver watched as her daughter disappeared upstairs to do whatever people did with those gizmo's they called computers.
As ever there was that excited tingle of nervous anticipation whenever she logged in. She sat listening to the muted screech of her modem as it dialled in its connection to her isp until finally her homepage popped up. Yahoo to be precise. There was no way she could use the main page of where she always headed first. If her mother and father ever came in when she was…. She licked her lips. Opening favourites, she navigated down until she came to her special folder. A folder called SWF. A place where she stored the url's of her most secret destinations. Swiftly moving her mouse, she looked for the one she had renamed as "Contacts". A deft press of the left mouse button and she was off on another journey of possibilities. A tinge of impatience too for the hourglass was aptly named as she watched it slowly rotate as it looked for Box 765. Would there be any new messages ? It had been three weeks since she'd placed her advert. All in all she'd had about 12 replies. The first two on the first evening she'd submitted it. All were pleasant enough, though one or two were obviously a pack of lies, but none felt quite "right". Something was missing. She'd discounted 5 immediately due to location. Travel was going to be a big problem. Hilldale wasn't exactly the centre of the universe. Only one so far had spiked her interest. It had been from someone called Rick from Chicago. About 100km away as the crow flew. Close enough to be interesting. "Hmmmm, you sound intruiging." She had mused to herself on the night of his arrival to her special posting box. This Rick shaped up real good in fact. But still, there was something not quite right. He wanted to be boss all the time. The fact that she didn't want to go that far down that particular road made this Rick not so much her knight in shining armour but her jailer too. Another one bites the dust. Come to think of it, all of her correspondents wanted more or less the same thing. She certainly didn't want that kind of relationship with a control freak. With a sigh, she realised that this whole escapade could be a frustrating waste of time. Having bucked up the courage to even attempt this sort of thing, failure wasn't something she wanted to contemplate. Not another disappointment. Not after so many. Perhaps she wanted too much. She wanted perfect not realising that perfect doesn’t exist. Only in fairytales and deep dark fantasies.
Suddenly there was a beep and her monitor screen sprang to life. There in Box 765 was the flashing icon of an old fashioned post box, the rusty kind that sat atop a rickety wooden pole. The animation showed a letter being inserted and re-inserted with the message: "You have ***ONE*** new mail." Bethany shivered. Positioning the mouse over the "Click to open your personal mailbox." she felt her heart thudding. Maybe after such a depressing day at work doing the same old same listening to the same old dirty jokes from little boys pretending and failing to be men that this time - THIS TIME - her prayers might just be answered. She clicked the button. Away went her cyber postman who came back moments, that felt like an eternity, later with a cheery beep as another box opened onscreen. The one filled with all her replies so far. In order of arrival, her newest contactee sat atop the list, flashing in a way that seemed different from the others. Her blue eyes read and re-read the introductory greeting.
"S.W.M SPKR looking for SUB S.W.F. Are you the one ? - message from Firm Hand Luke."
Bethany smiled. "Firm Hand Luke ?"
The site foreman entered the small portacabin to join the other various tradesmen who were already there standing around a table on which a number of design documents and illustrations were laid. The foreman, a tall burly bear of a man with dark curly hair and beard took off his hard hat and unrolled the architectural plans which he'd been carrying under his armpit and laid it atop the other papers. "Apologies for being late Mr Harkness." he said to the tallest individual in the room who was standing at the head of the table with his blue shirt sleeves rolled up and darker blue tie undone. "Girders and braces just arrived from Maine. Here's the plans for the whole site. They're number two duplicates so don’t be bothered about the coffee stains or smudges." Paperweights were used on each four corners as they all gathered around to keep the draught flat
The tallest man smiled. "No problems Charlie. Good to see things moving apace. I'm just discussing with the design team here a few little adjustments to the main conference room. Especially in conjunction with soundproofing and acoustics. A lot of important meetings are going to be held in there. Don't think the pencil pushers who run City Hall will be happy with anything less than perfect."
Charlie stood tugging his beard. "Well, fine by me. I'm sure we can accommodate any changes you or your architects suggest."
Once a few ground rules were settled the meeting of minds passed without too much of a hitch and things were agreed and signed right there and then. Once everyone was satisfied and knew what was required of them they left to go and issue orders or do whatever they had to do to get the new City complex built. Mr Harkness stared out from his window at the construction going on. This was going to be another feather in his companies cap. It had taken him nearly 15 years but now he was a major player in east-side construction and was respected throughout the states for the quality of his and his men's workmanship. Such respect had brought him wealth and much more besides. But there had been downsides too. One in particular. He frowned slightly. Despite trying to deny it, it was always something that ate away at him whenever he was alone. His mother was always asking him when he was going to settle down and all that. Telling her that he hadn't found the right woman yet just made her throw up her hands in exasperation and shout "Type ? What type of woman do you want ?" she'd sigh. "You have women falling at your feet all the time !! Choose one before I wither up and die !!"
The door to the portacabin opened suddenly and in came his secretary, Mrs Jones. "Oh, are you finished the meeting Mr Harkness ?"
He nodded. "Yup, all done Helen. I just need you to frank these then mail them out. About time this lot paid me for services rendered. Once you're done you can get off home and pick your kids up from school. Say hi to John from me."
At 35 Mrs Jones, happily married with 3 kids, was the same age as her boss. He was a good boss too. A lot more personable and friendly than most she'd worked for over the years and who treated her with some semblance of respect. A good man obviously dedicated to his profession. Maybe too dedicated at times. She'd had to attend a number of functions with him in order he could have someone on his arm. She smiled at that. There must be something sadly lacking with the women in this city if he can't find the right one. She nodded as he picked up the letters and handed them to her. As always, she noticed that he had very masculine hands. Good and strong. And firm.
"Okay, if you're sure that we're done for the day." She said as she went over to get her coat which hung from a rack. Slipping it on she paused at the door. "See you tomorrow Mr Harkness. Don't work too late will you ?"
He laughed. "You sound like my mother. Go on, buzz off and no I won't. I promise."
He walked to the window and watched as his secretary made her way gingerly across the boards towards her car. What a great lady. He was lucky to have her as his personal secretary. When all hell was breaking loose she was always the one to keep things calm and in perspective. Involuntary, his gaze dropped to her backside which was rocking and rolling as she stepped tentatively around a puddle of mud. His face broke into a smile as he watched her cursing the mud splatters on her tights. Damn. "Now there's an ass that launched a thousand ships and a whole bunch of horny seamen." he muttered to himself. He started to laugh again as she got into her car and drove off.
Luke Harkness shook his head ruefully. "Trust you to be more than an ass man…"
In his rear view mirror Jose Gonzales glanced at the passenger sitting in the back of his cab. This guy was hard work. He'd hardly said a thing as they'd made their way off the freeway towards the small rural town of Hilldale. The guy was dressed in a dark grey speckled sports jacket, a blue shirt, tie and jeans. The jeans seemed out of place somehow for the man's bearing made him look like an important no nonsense kinda guy. He took his passenger to be in his thirties. He had dark hair peppered with the beginnings of a grey tinge and was clean shaven. The cab driver turned his gaze back to the road - at least what he could see of it for the rainstorm was lashing down and he seemed to be driving through a river. All he could hear was the hammering on his roof and the sound of his windscreen wipers swooshing back and forth. Judging from the over hanging cloud base it looked as if it was going to get a lot worse before it got better. Least he was nearly at his passengers destination. He lent forward peering into the gloom watching people scurrying here and there to get out of the rain. "Now amigo, where the hell are you…" he muttered to himself as he navigated round a sharp bend to reveal…
Now all he had to do was find the dammed restaurant.
Bethany clicked the message and sat biting her lip as it was plucked from box 765. This one felt definitely different. The name "Firm Hand Luke" was a good sign for starters. Sort of playfully firm in a fun sort of way. Totally unlike the others who had replied. There was a beep and up popped another box this time containing his personal message. Eagerly, she sat forward taking off her round spectacles and giving them a quick clean on the hem of her rose-flowered skirt. Replacing them, she started to read what this Firm Hand Luke had to say..
contact: Sub S.W.F. (USA 765)
contactee: Firm Hand Luke (USA 559)
Hi there Sub S.W.F. 765,
Just logged online an hour ago and saw your post to the "Women looking for: " board at Contacts Unusual. Taken me that long since I decided to say hello to think of something different to say that will make you look twice and not surf on by. What and how you describe yourself is exactly the kind of person I am looking for. In particular the way you said: - " I'm a spanking submissive in a non submissive way I guess. That probably doesn’t make much sense but it does to me. It's something that’s always there in the back of my mind. It doesn't rule me but reminds me of who I really am inside when I want to hide away from the outside world. I'm of an age now that I've come to realise it's the one thing missing in my life that has brought me to the point where I have to actively seek it out. There is a void at the heart of my soul and if you think you are the one who can fill it please get in touch by sending me a short note about yourself. I'm not after a knight in shining armour - what I'm after is a real man who wants to spank a real woman. If I like and feel comfortable with what I read we can take it from there." - was very profound and moving to me.
I like you have a restless soul and have been searching for someone to quench its thirst. For me its been a journey beset with many disappointments. So many in fact that I had just about given up hope and resigned myself to accepting that this part of my life would remain unfulfilled. I am a 35 year old, single, professional man who thinks he may be the answer to your question. If you're interested send your e-mail address to my box number 559 and we can take it from there.
In anticipation - your servant Firm Hand Luke. But you can just call me Luke.
Message ends: to contact this poster please click the reply button to the right.
Bethany sat staring at the screen for a long time. He sounded absolutely perfect. She frowned slightly and pushed the bridge of her spectacles up her nose as she always did when she was nervous about something. He also happened to be 35 years of age. She slowly sat back weighing the pro's and con's. Was that something that she should be concerned about ? After all it was just spanking they were discussing. She wanted to be spanked - he was offering to spank her. It wasn't like she wanted a relationship with this man after all. She frowned again. Did she ? Maybe she just wanted a spanking gigolo who would come round and spank her whenever she felt she needed a one. She made a face. That sounded so pathetic. It was then she heard her mother calling from downstairs. Dinner was ready. She stood up and was just about to switch off her computer when she had a sudden rush of courage. She reached for her mouse and placed its pointer over reply. She clicked it once. A short oblong window popped open.
To reply to the message from ** Firm Hand Luke ** enter a header and compose your message in the text box below. Click enter to send automatically to the senders private box.
Bethany bit her lip as she always did when she was nervous. She felt hot all over. Quickly, her hands skipped over the keyboard.
Header: Hi, I'm Bethany - Sub S.W.F seeks…
In the box below she entered her e-mail address.
There was a moments hesitation as she stared at the mouse pointer hovering over the send button. "Fair maiden never won so much as a smacked bottom.." she whispered to herself - then, as if she was in a dream, she clicked and sent her reply to this man who called himself Firm Hand Luke. There was another call from her mother. She switched off her computer and left her bedroom, slowly closing the door behind her. It was done.
Rubbing the ache in his neck, Luke Harkness poured himself another shot of whiskey and downed it in one. Better, much better. God, today had been a long day. Glad to be home, he pushed the recall button on his answer phone and stood listening to the voices of people who had called and left messages for him on a variety of subjects. He shook his head and muttered "Tomorrow." He could leave those to his secretary. Picking up the remote, he switched on the evening news and watched as the world went more downhill with each passing second. Another click of the remote and off went the tv and on came the soothing lilt of a classical cd he kept handy to help him wind down. He had a brief glance through his mail before heading into the kitchen to make himself a quick and easy snack of something or other. He opened his fridge door and smiled as he saw that his housekeeper had made sure that it was well stocked - as usual. "You velly silly person Mr Harkness. You need a woman. " she'd often tell him in her typically forthright Chinese way. He lent back against the sink as he ate his sandwich. Apart from the distant chant of music the house sounded still and quiet. Too quiet. She was right. She was so right. The problem was he had too much choice as far as women went. He imagined he had "eligible bachelor" tattooed on his forehead. Relationships - he'd had a few. Too many to mention. He'd also had his fair share of too many disappointments and heartache. Sure they'd all been beautiful or socially upwardly mobile. But every one, every single one had lacked something. Not in the physical sense, God knows he'd made every effort as far as that was concerned, no - it was something else. He shook his head and took another bite. What that something was he had no idea - only that when he saw it he'd know. He'd know as soon as he looked into her eyes. He'd know. Idly, he picked up his plate and went into his study.
The 19 inch monitor sprang to life as he watched and waited for his modem to connect. In no hurry, after he had checked his e-mail box and deleted the avalanche of spam he usually found there, he surfed idly around here and there with no destination in mind. Visiting favourites as he went, he could feel the tension of the day seeping away to be replaced by a melancholy that found him thinking deeper thoughts. He'd been so busy of late with the City Complex project that there was one subject he hadn't checked out for a while. Clicking open Google, he paused as he considered what to search for. He'd done this before many a time but had always ended up going down some dark cyber alley that whilst providing images to suit his particular palette it still left him with a feeling of disappointment and unfulfilment. Maybe he should try a different tact. He paused as his fingers hovered over his keyboard. Then he began to type ** contacts - personal - fetish - spanking - seeking ** Not expecting much he sent out his search. After a moment the results came back. He sat forward slightly as he read down the list. BDSM seemed to be the watchword. Definitely not what he was looking for. He clicked the second page of thirty given. Nothing there either. Looked like another dead end. He was about to try something else when he idly picked a page at random. Number 7. Lucky 7. He picked up his sandwich, took another bite and sat chewing as he looked down the new list of links. Then something caught his eye. It was near the bottom. He didn't know it but his searching days were about to come to an end. "Contacts Unusual ?"
A moment later, he sat watching as his screen flickered briefly as his connection entered an altogether darker room. White had been replaced by a deep red and he found himself looking at the face of an attractive woman who stared out at him with a seductive smile on her slightly parted lips. From his speakers he heard her say -
"Welcome to Contacts Unusual. We hope you find what you are looking for. If you are already a member please enter your username and password to access the member forums. If this is your first time here please register first to use our exclusive contact service. We sincerely hope you enjoy your visit."
Even as her voice faded he replayed it over and over in his mind. There was something about the way her eyes met his. Concentrating now, he read the rules and clicked the button to register. Even then he hesitated for he was not one to jump in at the deep end concerning anything. And this really was the very deep end as far as he was concerned. Still, who said he had to reply to anything or anyone ? He was only going to take a look. He could disappear as easily as he had appeared. More importantly, the service appeared to be free so he wouldn't have to give his credit card details. It was as his mother, secretary and housekeeper always kept reminding him "Nothing ventured means nothing gained." He sat looking at what information he had to supply and what fields needed to be filled in. Name - well, he could make something up. So that was no problem. Password too. Username ? Hmmm. Had to be something appropriate. After all, this wasn't exactly your everyday run-of-the-mill contact site. His gaze fell on the picture along the left-hand side of the screen. It was of another woman. She had her skirt hiked up to her waist and was showing a rather spectacular backside partially hidden in a pair of black panties. Nope, definitely not your run-of-the-mill contact site. But what user name to use ? Something catchy in a sexy way. He grinned. "Ah…."
There was a slosh of rainwater as the taxi pulled to a halt alongside a flooded curb. Its driver turned to his passenger. "Here we go amigo. 114 Hilldale Plaza. That’s the restaurant right there. If you're quick you shouldn't get too wet." Jose Gonzales glanced at his meter. "That'll be…."
Before he had time to finish, his passenger was already opening the left side door. "This is fine." he said with a voice that was low and had a rough timbre to it. "Here, keep the change." Grasping the lapels of his jacket, he pulled them together below his throat and exited the taxi into the rainstorm that was now a monsoon.
The cab driver looked at the note in his hand. He grinned to himself. Who cares about the weather when you get a tip like that ?! He watched as the man leapt gracefully over the puddles awash on the pavement until he was under the cover of the extended front of the restaurant where he shook his jacket and smoothed it down before adjusting his tie. Feeling the need to say something Gonzales wound down his window and shouted "Muchos gracias amigo. Enjoy your meal !!" Suddenly there was a burst of static from his radio. "Dispatch. All done here. One satisfied customer delivered right to the door. Awaiting next pick up. Over." He noticed that the man was standing looking through the window at something - or someone. Picking up a discarded cigar stub, he glanced into his rear view mirror to make sure the coast was clear and then slowly pulled his taxi out into the rush hour traffic.
His passenger watched the car's reflection disappear in the window before turning his attention back to what was going on in the restaurant. Or more importantly WHO was in there in the first place. He frowned slightly, his eyes squinting against the opaque shimmering of overhead lights distorted through the glass. He lent forward closer as his gaze scoured every booth where a number of people, couples or whatever were sitting enjoying an early evening meal. Where was she ? Would he be able to recognise her from the description she had given him ? "I seek her here, I seek her there," he muttered to himself. "I seek that elusive redhead everywhere." He stepped back suddenly as a waiter moved aside from a corner alcove which he had been partially blocking from view. His eyes narrowed. He had seen the flash of red lit from above by an overhead lamp. There was someone sitting alone at the table. It was a young woman sitting on her own sipping a glass of something the waiter had just brought her. He remembered what she had told him. The more he stared at her the wider his smile got.
Taking a deep breath, he pulled open the ornate glass door and entered the restaurant.
He was in the contact section where women were looking for men.
He'd gone through a number of posts mentally ticking off those who didn't appeal or were what he was looking for. Way too many looking for "A dominant man to deal with me when I'm being naughty. " or describing themselves as a "Little girl looking for her sugar daddy." Each to their own. So many shades of grey. So many dis-satisfied people looking for the solution to their problems this way. He smiled. Come to think of it, guess he really did qualify as a sugar daddy on that score. He clicked the button for the next page and suddenly froze. It was the first post at the top of the page. He could feel something wash over him. His gaze narrowed on the simple words that were typed into the header.
Sub S.W.F. seeks..
Alert now, he clicked again and after a pause her message appeared. In the background he could hear the sound of violins playing as he read what this complete stranger was looking for. He read the body of her message - then re-read it again - three times. He had to be sure. A short while later and he sat back from the screen deep in thought. The woman had also signed herself as Sub S.W.F. He smiled at that. There was something so right about its simplicity. What she was she had encapsulated in those six letters. In his mind he could feel the pieces of the jigsaw slipping effortlessly into place. He looked at the reply button. He could feel his heartbeat thundering in his ears. He took a deep breath. If he was going to do this he had to do it right and do it now before he had second thoughts. "Think about what you're going to say to her. Think about what she wants to hear." he told himself. Be determined - be sure. He clicked open Word and began to compose his introductory reply to this woman who called herself Sub S.W.F.
It had been a week since this man who called himself "Firm Hand Luke" had first contacted her. Bethany was sat at her computer as it booted up and immediately saw a flashing icon in the system tray that meant she had new mail. She glanced at her bedroom door, which she had purposefully left slightly ajar so she could hear exactly where her mother and father were. She certainly didn't want any sudden surprises or questions right now. She clicked open her personal e-mail box and saw it was from him. He had replied to her sending him her actual e-mail address. This put what was happening onto another level. "If he's some kind of weirdo." she muttered to herself shaking her head. She shook it again and chided herself for being so negative. "Don't be so silly." After all it was the way he sounded in his first post that had eased her initial hesitation somewhat. She smiled recalling that first one. His initial contact. The one that had turned her life upside down. There was something so thrilling about meeting - even if it was anonymously - someone of like mind. She had lain in bed thinking of what he would be like. Daydreaming in the dark. Only in the cold light of morning did she realise that this could all be a complete and utter deceit. "But the way he wrote." Well, there was only one way she was going to find out. She could always get another e-mail address if it was a hoax or whatever. That way she could just disappear and he would never find her again. She sat back and ran her hands through her thick red mane with a sigh. "Do it Beth. Do it now or you never will." This would be their first truly two-way conversation in a manner of speaking. She wondered what he was going to say. Noticing her hands were shaking slightly, she opened his e-mail and blinked with surprise when it popped open for her to read.
Buddy Name: F.H.Luke
E-mail is impersonal. This way we can talk properly.
It definitely wasn’t what she had expected - or anticipated. Short and sweet. But what EXACTLY had she expected? A more formal introduction with him telling her his life story ? Perhaps even a list of questions for her to answer. He was probably more wary of her than she was of him !! For all he knew she could be the one playing games. "AOL IM ?" she whispered. No, she didn't have that installed on her computer. It was obviously some form of instant communication. She would have to go and get it as well as setting it up and figuring out how to use it.
A short while later, she crossed her fingers as it installed. A reboot showed there were no problems and the program was now asking her to enter a "Buddy Name" for herself and a password as security. She took off her spectacles and chewed one end as she tried to think of something to call herself. Sub S.W.F again ? No, that would really be silly as well as rude. After all, she had told him her real name hadn't she. It had to be something simple and easy to remember. She slipped her spectacles on again and typed "Beth23" The password came easy too. She entered that and clicked "send to confirm" A moment later a box appeared saying that her account was set up and did she want to enter any of her "Buddy Friends" In the relevant section she carefully typed the name he had sent her. The program came back and asked her if she wanted to log on right now. She glanced at the clock. It was 6.15pm. Would he be online right now ? This was a big step. It also meant that this way she would be the one to initiate their first real " face to face" so to speak. It was better this way. He was letting her make all the running. She somehow felt it was what he intended. It would be her choice. He was leaving her a way out. She clicked the mouse button once and watched as the messenger logged on. She wasn't afraid to admit she was as scared as hell.
The man who was constantly in Bethany's thoughts was at that moment looking at his watch. She was as much on his mind as he was on hers. After he had sent her that short e-mail he was beginning to think it wasn't such a good idea suggesting they chat this way. Maybe she would think he was being far too forward. Presuming too much. What if she wanted to go slow? He stood up suddenly. He had to get out of the office. His mind was elsewhere. He was in no fit mental state to do any work. His secretary smiled at him as he slipped on his coat. "Off early again Mr Harkness ?" she asked. This was now four evenings in a row he had finished early at about 5.30pm. It was good to see him thinking of other things other than work for a change. Such a pity that he had no one to go home too. She handed him his briefcase and made sure he had everything.
Luke nodded. "Don’t say you aren't pleased Helen. You're always telling me I spend way too much time here in the office burning the midnight oil as it is. Over these past few days I've decided to take your advice. Get yourself off home too. No point you hanging around here either. I'll get Bob to lock up." He bent forward and gave her a peck on the cheek. "See you tomorrow."
Bethany didn't know whether she sighed with disappointment or relief when she saw that F.H.Luke was, as was shown in the messenger list, not online. If he had been what on earth was she going to say ? She hadn't a clue. She'd figured out that she had to send an invitation to him to chat. The ball was definitely in her court. The anticipation was killing her. It was definitely disappointment she finally realised. So close yet so far. She glanced at the clock again - 6.20pm. "Maybe he works shifts ?" she wondered aloud.
Luke sat down and switched on his computer. In front of him, on the wall above his monitor, the long hand clicked as it went from 20 past to 21 minutes past. Immediately he went to the Contacts Unusual site to check his box. It was empty. She hadn't replied. Maybe he had been right. Maybe he had presumed too much. He sat back and pulled open his tie. Meanwhile his AOL IM was automatically dialling in…
Bethany was about to switch off her computer when suddenly there was loud ding from her speakers. She jumped and her eyes widened as she saw an animated door open and F.H.Luke go from being offline to online. He was here - there - wherever. Right now. She felt her heart lurch and thud loudly in her chest. She knew that he couldn't see her - he didn't know her Buddy Name yet. But she could see him. It was definitely the moment of truth. She selected "Send Buddy a chat invite." from the menu. A box popped up asking for her to enter a greeting. Her mind was racing and she felt hot all over. "Keep it simple."
She typed. "Hi it's me - Bethany." and sent him her invitation.
Bethany smiled at the waiter as he handed her a glass of orange juice. "Thank you." she said as she noted he lingered a second too long than was necessary. She tilted her head looking around him towards the entrance to the restaurant. "I'm waiting for someone." she continued brightly with another smile to just ease him on his way. Thankfully he got the message. Taking a sip, she glanced nervously at her watch. She was early by a good ten minutes. She had thought about deliberately arriving late as per a woman's prerogative but she wanted to prepare herself beforehand - just in case. Holding her glass up in front of her face, she swirled the liquid slowly wondering if she shouldn't have ordered something a little stronger. She felt she might need it if it all went pear shaped on her.
The restaurant was small and cosy with a beehive of alcoves for couples to sit and be intimate. It had been her choice. It was her favourite and she thought the atmosphere would be convivial to their first meeting. It was also safe neutral ground. If he did turn out to be some weirdo or jerk there would be plenty of people around so he wouldn't be able to try any funny business. The words "their first meeting" echoed in her head. After nearly two weeks of irregular cyber chatting through instant messenger, she realised they had arrived at the point it was either do or do not. It was either going to happen or it wasn't. There was also the fact that she was by now climbing the wall with curiosity at what he was really like. Even though their cyber chats had grown more personally intimate to some extent, she had the feeling that there was more to him than met the eye. She knew he was in "construction" but he hadn't elaborated on the details. He knew she was in "admin" but she hadn't elaborated either for she thought that made her sound boring. So they'd danced around for the first few times until they had finally broached the subject which had brought them together in the first place. She couldn't help smiling when she recalled their first instant cyber contact. Awkward and tongue-tied didn't cover it.
There were few things in his life that caused Luke Harkness to exclaim out loud in surprise. But as his AOL IM burst into life - this one was it. "Whoa shit " he blurted out as the program told him that someone called "Beth23" had requested a contact with him. Sub S.W.F seeks was online and wanted to chat. In the panel below the "Hi it's me - Bethany" greeting there were two options the program was offering him - Accept or Ignore. Here was another big step. Direct contact. But what was he going to say? "Be yourself. Just be yourself." he muttered as he moved the pointer over one of the buttons.
There was one thing he did realise - going by her buddy name she was a good twelve years younger than he was. Normally such an age gap would matter. But this time was different for the most obvious of reasons. With a fair wind and luck this relationship would be unlike any other he had experienced - for her too he guessed. He could imagine she was sitting at her own computer thinking exactly the same thoughts and having the same fears and reservations. She knew how old he was - he had told her in his e-mail. So it didn't appear to be a problem for her. "Well, there's no fool like an older fool. " He clicked a button and watched as the program created a private room for them to talk.
Bethany sat waiting with baited breath as the IM window opened into three sections. The one on the right indicating who was online, the one on the bottom for to input whatever it was she wanted to say and the one top left which was now showing that "FHLuke" had entered to be with her. He was here and she suddenly felt as if her world had converged into that small space. Her mind was racing as she desperately thought of something to say by way of a greeting. But for once, he made the first move.
FHLuke: Hello Bethany.
Her eyes widened. He was talking to her. The absolute surge of adrenaline knowing that he was on the other end of the "line" was giddily intoxicating. "Don't type anything stupid." she told herself as her fingers danced carefully over her keyboard.
Beth23: Hello Luke.
She made a face as she took off her spectacles and gave them a quick clean. "Well, that was pretty pathetic." she thought with a wince. She could do better than that. She didn't want him thinking she was some insipid monosyllabic dimwit.
Beth23: How are you?
FHLuke: Doing fine. How about you?
Beth23: As of right now I'm doing much better.
Bethany bit her lip. "God, I sound like my mother!" she muttered.
Beth23: Now that I've met you that is - Luke.
Somewhere else, on the other end of this particular cyber highway, Luke smiled at the innocence and charm of her last entry. In those short few words he could sense she was something special. Someone who was warm and who had a good nature. She'd opened herself up a little and revealed a glimpse into something of her character. Something he appreciated. He responded in kind.
FHLuke: That goes for me too - Bethany.
Glancing at his watch, Luke saw that he had a few minutes left before he was due to arrive so he made his way to the small bar from where he could dry off a bit and look at this young woman who had reached out into the unknown looking for?. Looking for what exactly? Other than not looking for a "Knight in shining armour" or a "dom jailer" as she had wonderfully put it in her contact advert, they hadn't really gone into anything deeper other than the basics of why they had both taken this route in the first place. He'd learned that she, like him, had had her fair share of disappointment's relationship wise. How had she put it again? "I guess I always ended up feeling guilty about finishing a relationship for its not their fault they don't realise they can't give me what they don't have and that I need. I believe in a black and white fate. I want to know black but I may have to accept white. I'm a firm believer in that there's no point in going through life with one arm tied behind your back. I don't want to end up emotionally handicapped. I don't want a life of regrets. That's why I'm here."
He stared intently at the young woman sitting alone playing nervously with her menu and glancing every other second at the door where he just came in. "That's why I'm here too Beth23" he whispered to himself.
"Can I get you anything Sir?" asked the bartender as he came over cleaning a glass.
Luke shook his head. "No." he smiled. "I'm just sitting here for a moment. I'm due to meet someone for a meal soon. I'll order something then." The waiter nodded and went to serve another customer. He had a clear view of her now and he liked very much what he saw. Very much indeed. She had wonderful rusty hair that was full and lustrous and curled around her like waves rolling upon the shore to her shoulders. Despite the low light, he could make out her features, which were understated, in a classical sort of way. Thin dark eyebrows and what appeared to be blue green eyes. Her nose was fine and tapered into a perky point where a pair of small though full lips were now slightly apart as he watched her licking them in a way that made him smile. He could imagine what she was feeling right now sitting there waiting - he felt exactly the same.
She was dressed to compliment her hair in a swan neck dress of darker red with billowing sleeves rounded off by buttoned cuffs from where a pair of very feminine hands were toying with her glass. He was seriously impressed. They had resolved not to exchange photos - more on her inclination, so he only had her description of herself to go on when imagining what she looked like. She had definitely underplayed herself when she had said, "I'm not exactly Miss America." No she wasn't. For him she didn't have to be. But seeing her now, for the first time, he had a sudden twinge of doubt. She looked younger than her 23 years.
There was a soft chime from his watch that broke into his musings. He realised that if her age had really mattered to him he wouldn't be standing here right now not 20 feet away from her. He could see she was looking at her own watch probably wondering if he was going to turn up. Taking a deep breath - he was more nervous now than he had ever been at any board meeting he could remember - he stepped down from the raised platform and made his way to where his most unusual contact was sitting.
Bethany sat back looking at the word onscreen.
Slipping off her spectacles, she chewed the ends for the umpteenth time that evening. She was chatting to him again. This was the third time they had got together in just over a week. She had explained to him that she wouldn't always be online every night for she often had to work late and that she couldn't get away. She didn't tell him that the extra overtime came in handy when having to pay off that quarters bills. They'd gone past the awkward introduction phase and had settled into that time in a "relationship" where curiosity and gentle probing were the order of the day. One of the tricks of on-line chat was interpreting what the other person was trying to convey. A tricky situation if the person didn't feel comfortable around a keyboard or able to type out their thoughts in a way that made their true feelings or opinions come through. But thankfully, he seemed pretty adept and was always able to get straight to the point. She wondered if he too felt they were going through a kind of ritual - a dance - as they chatted. She imagined them both swirling around the eye of a hurricane wary of saying or revealing too much about themselves knowing that at its centre was where they truly wanted to be. Whilst interesting - it was also frustrating. At least for her. For all she knew he could have done this thing a million times before. His last message brought her mind back from its wanderings. "Why?" she said puzzled sitting back in her chair. She sat forward again.
Beth23: "Why what?"
There was a pause that seemed to her to go on forever and ever.
FHLuke: "Why - spanking?"
Bethany gasped as the message appeared on the screen. He'd finally done it. There it was - out into the open. That word that was always, had always, lurked at the back of her mind. Spanking. A delicious word that whenever she heard it, or said it to herself, always quickened her breath. It was her magic word. The one that rang every bell. And he was asking her why? That was easy. There were a million and one reasons why. But as her fingers hovered over the keyboard she couldn't for the life of her think of a single one. At least one that would explain everything. Did she honestly truly know why herself? It just was, is, whatever!! How do you explain something you've never questioned? Something that?s always just been, well, there. "Why am I as I am?" she thought to herself. "I am what I am."
And then it came to her. One word. It was perfect. She carefully typed it in:
Bethany raised the glass to her lips feeling a sense of inevitable disappointment beginning to settle over her. Her date was either a master of precision timing or he was going to be late. Or, of course, he wasn't going to turn up at all. After everything, after a totally unbearable day at work living on a cocktail of high expectation and anticipation, it could end up being the worst of days. The thought was unbearable. Surely he wouldn't be that cruel? "Oh God, please don't let this be a joke." she whispered as a tall dark shadow fell over her. She blinked and sat back thinking that the waiter had returned. It took a moment for her to realise it wasn't the waiter at all. It was a man in silhouette, an attractive man with dark hair greying slightly at the temples. He was looking down at her with a curious smile on his lips. For a second she thought it was someone hitting on her but then he spoke and everything, every single doubt and every flush of hesitation she'd ever had disappeared when he said simply.
"Hi Beth23, I'm Firm Hand Luke."
"That was delicious. Thank you." said Luke to the waiter as the girl in a pale blue uniform with him cleared away the dishes from their table onto a service trolley.
"Would Sir and Madam like something more to drink?"
The waiter glanced at Bethany. She nodded "Yes. Same again thank you." She had noticed the young man's curiosity when they had first ordered their meal and again when he brought her another orange juice. It brought a smile to her lips. One or two other diners had glanced their way too. Maybe the age difference was noticable after all - not that she cared anyway. She took a sip of the cool liquid and picked up a napkin to dab her lips. Finally, she could feel the tension inside her begin to ease - no doubt helped in no small measure by the food and soft music. And the company too of course. She still felt painfully shy whenever he was looking directly at her - which had been increasingly often as the evening went on. By the way he conducted himself, he certainly had an air of complete confidence about him she sensed. The moment when he had stood looking down at her would be one she would never ever forget. It had felt like her heart was about to leap from her chest. He was nothing like she had thought he would turn out to be. She had visions of someone of far less stature and demeanour. She smiled to herself. Its funny how you can paint a picture of someone in your head and be utterly and totally wrong.
What had she expected?
Hadn't he said he was in construction?
That brought forth images of shaven headed roughnecks with muscles bulging out everywhere. He was anything but that palid stereotype. Now that the meal was finished she had a million and one things she wanted to know about him but she was so shy she didn't think she could ask him anything. He on the other hand didn't seem to be in any rush to find out everything about her at all. She sat toying with her napkin only meeting his gaze occasionally before drifting away as though something had caught her attention as they sat listening to the soft music playing in the background. They hadn't really said anything during their meal at all. Only small talk about this and that. She knew she was absolutely hopeless at small talk. Her cheek still tingled where he had kissed her by way of a hello. She glanced at him again to see he was still looking her in that way that made her heart drop to her shoes. He could probably tell she was completely tongue-tied. Like a little girl. He certainly didn't look 35 despite the onset of grey hair. He had a boyish presence about him somehow. She wanted to ask him so many things…
"You never really did answer my question." he said suddenly.
Bethany blinked blankly. "Question?" She looked at him and their eyes met. She blushed as she watched his smile widen. It was a smile that understood everything about her. That thought made her shiver from head to toe as she realised what passionate eyes he had. Unable to hold his gaze, her eyes dropped to his hands which made her blush even more. This was no good. She was as agitated as a teenager. If she carried on like this the whole thing was going to end up being a complete and utter disaster.
Luke sat back. Despite her obvious unease under his gaze he couldn't keep his eyes off her. She was everything he had hoped and imagined her to be. If he had a canvas and someone told him to paint his ideal woman - she would be pretty dammed close. As close as it was possible to get. What attracted him was her complete and vibrant femininity. He had always found shyness strangely alluring. A hint of vulnerability. He loved the way she had delicately picked her way through her meal. The exacting way she had examined the food with her fork and the way her lips opened when she raised it to her mouth.
"Why." He replied as he took a sip from his glass before putting it down in front of him. "Why spanking?"
Her blush deepened and she felt herself flush. No one had ever said that word in front of her let alone too her. She glanced at the table nearest to theirs but it was empty now. She suspected he had waited for the perfect moment to bring out into the open the reason they were here in the first place. She could feel her hands shaking slightly as she raised the glass to her lips in order to give herself a moment to regain her composure. He was still looking at her. Carefully, she put down her glass. "Because…because.." she frowned and glanced at him. "Does there have to be a reason?"
Luke shook his head. "No, no there doesn't." he smiled. "In fact, I'd of been disappointed if you had given me one."
They looked at each other for a moment. In that moment everything became clear - for both of them. It was charged with an electricity of understanding and meaning. It was the meeting of like-minded individuals no longer wanting to be individuals but part of a greater whole. It was the meeting of soul-mates. It was now only a question of where and when. Whatever he suggested she would do willingly. Bethany held his gaze as he reached across the space between them and laid his hand palm up on the table in front of her. She slowly slipped her own into his and shivered as his fingers carressed and closed over hers. She could feel his thumb gently rubbing over her skin as they continued to stare at each other oblivious to their surroundings. No, there doesn't have to be a reason. This was answer enough.
Her smile deepened as she sat forward and whispered. "Why?"
Still holding her hand, Luke sat forward until there was not six inches between them. He was drowning in a blue green pool. "Why what?"
Bethany lent further forward until their noses were practically touching. "Why spanking?"
Luke glanced down at her parted red lips. "Because..."
The El Paso Motel was as non-descript as it's name. It's drab grey exterior glistened with a fake diamond sheen as the rain continued to pour down. Bethany turned her car into the parking bay and drew to a halt in front of the flickering yellow neon glow of a sign that simply said "Rooms - Available." Switching off the engine, Bethany glanced at her passenger. Despite the dull thud of raindrops outside - everything inside was anticipatingly quiet. Another big step. The biggest so far by a long way. One more step would be all that was needed after this one. She could sense that he was unsure. But it had been her idea. "This is it." she said.
Luke stared at the unkempt man sitting in a wooden chair, front two feet off the ground, reading a newspaper in the reception lobby. As raindrops exploded on the windscreen, he frowned at the bleak surroundings thinking this wasn't exactly what he thought she had in mind. But then again what exactly did he have in mind once they had finished their meal and left the restaurant? Certainly not something as surprising as this. He always imagined she would use their first public get together as a way to size him up - to see if he was genuine and not some sort of loser or nutcase. Then a little more cyber-chat maybe where they would finally discuss a pre-arranged meeting where the deed would be done. Across the lot he noticed a man and a woman emerging from a room underneath an umbrella and after a brief exchange going their seperate ways. He still couldn't quite believe it was her idea in the first place. He had been quite prepared to let her take her time over this. Apparently she was not. But surely there was a better place than this for their first time? She had told him she still lived with her parents so that was out. Why hadn't he suggested going back to his place? Always one cautious step at a time as usual. Still, she had seemed pretty determined once they had agreed on doing it. At the thought of "it" he frowned. It had occurred to him that this was possibly, in all probability, going to be a one off event. He had a feeling that once she'd experienced what she wanted to experience she would simply disappear into the ether. That thought stiffened his jaw. He turned to her. "Are you sure?" Her face was half in shadow as he watched her quickly glance up at him and nod. He looked at her for a second then got out of the passenger side door and disappeared into the pouring rain.
Beth smiled. "You don't have to give me a reason. I'd be disappointed if you did." she gently teased, enjoying the way he looked at her with surprise. She had a warm glow inside and felt so alive. He was actually rather handsome in a quiet way she realised. He was obviously a man of conviction and someone who definitely knew his own mind and was confident in his own character. She liked and admired that in a man. A sure-touch that put people at their ease when in his company. With a spoon, she slowly toyed with her desert as she surreptitiously watched the movement of his hands. Firm hands. She could feel herself going hot all over. More than anything, she wanted to feel those hands on her..her..
Luke laughed. "Touche." He could see the sparkle in her eyes at her riposte. Charming, absolutely charming. "You're right. But all I will say is that the why of it has never been more important to me than at this moment - being here with you. Why? Because I'm with someone who understands that's why."
Beth took a deep breath. "I...I know of a place."
Luke looked at her slightly bemused. "Place?"
Beth felt she was going to burn up with the heat. She glanced to her right to make sure no one could hear what she was going to say next. "I know of a place where we can go."
Room 16 was at the far end of a row of eight identical to lets. The man and woman ran across from the reception until they found shelter under the overhang of a weathered canopy. Bethany glanced around nervously. She was consumed by a feeling of embarrassment mixed in with a sizeable amount of excited anticipation as she watched Luke slot the key into the lock and, with a shove, pushed open the reluctant door. She waited until he had gone in and looked around before entering herself. The room was as plain and stuffy as she thought it would be. And that's all it practically was. A room with an adjacent small bathroom to one side. The room itself was dominated by a double bed with a small night stand on the far right hand side nearest the window. In the opposite corner sat an old portable television looking as if it hadn't been used in a long time judging by the thin layer of dust on it. No doubt the last thing on the minds of the people who rented out this place would be watching a little tv. "I guess this is it." she muttered apologetically as Luke went over and pulled the string that opened the horizontally slatted blinds which immediately bathing the room in a dull multi-layered slideshow. Bethany opened the door to the bathroom and had a quick look. She made a face at the faint smell of disinfectant and the whirring hum of the air conditioner as she turned on the light. There wasn't enough room to swing a mexican rat let alone a cat. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. El Paso Motel had certainly seen better days although it had been a few years since she had stopped over-night with some friends after a girls-night out. She went to the sink and turned on the hot tap which wasn't so hot at all. In the streaked mirror above the basin she looked at her reflection looking doubtfully back at her. She certainly looked different on the outside to how she felt inside. Reaching up with her right hand, she ran her fingers through her drying hair. She had definitely looked better. She glanced at the door wondering what he was doing for she couldn't hear a thing. She glanced back at her reflection. Here it was. The moment of truth. Her heart felt twice it's normal size and the pulse at the base of her throat throbbed wildly in a rapid tattoo.
"Bethany?" said a voice. "You ok in there?"
Stepping back from the mirror, she called back. "Sure. I'm..I'm just." she started to reply. "I'll be right out." She stared at her doppelganger. "No regrets." she whispered. "No regrets."
Despite the best efforts of the air conditioning the heavy air hung humid and sultry in room 16 as the rainstorm finally passed over to leave a patchwork of grey clouds through which shafts of orange sunbeams peeked through. The city steets and pavements steamed as the water evaporated into a thin veil as Luke separated two blinds and looked out of the window. He watched as the man who had given him the keys to the room stood at the door to his office lighting up what looked like a cigar as two women of dubious morals stood flirting with him. Trade must be real slow he reckoned. He turned from the window as the bathroom door opened and she came back into the bedroom. As the sun reappeared, the room was bathed in an orange latticed glow as they stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. God she looked lovely. He should say something. He walked slowly over to her and took her small hands in his. She raised her head and looked up at him. He wanted to say so much but he realised it was only important he say the right thing at this moment. "I've never been as sure about anything in my life as I've been about wanting to do this with you Bethany. But even that's not enough. I have to know, you have to be sure, that this is what you want."
Bethany nodded. "It is. It always has been ever since you replied to me. I just need to know. I just need to do it."
Luke pulled her until he was able to sit down on the end of the bed. "So you really do want me to spank you Bethany?"
She was standing in front of him looking down into his eyes. "Yes Luke. I want you to spank me."
Luke stared out at the grey concrete landscape that was spread out below his office window. Above was a clear blue sky that made the world seem so different from the bluster of the rainy day before. He watched silently as a mass of humanity and machines moved en masse to wherever it was they were going during the ritual of morning rush hour. It was a new day unlike any other for him. It literally was the day after the night before. He closed his eyes and she was there again. She was the only thing on his mind. She completely dominated his thoughts and the rhythm of his thinking to such an extent he felt he was reliving yesterday over and over. He felt completely helpless and captive to her allure. Phantom visions and static images of her danced through his head all the time. Sensation upon sensation washed over him as he got to his feet and went to stand by the window with its panoramic view. Far below the show went on as it always did - but not for him - not now. Not after the events of last night. He lifted his right hand, turned it palm up and looked at it. Before last night it was simply an ordinary weathered hand - but staring at it now he knew it was no longer so for it had done extraordinary things. He could still feel her warmth upon it and still hear the sound of its impact as it smacked down on her....
He suddenly clenched the hand into a fist as he heard a soft cry of "Ahhhhh. Oh, that stings so." echoing invisibly around him. He slowly opened it again and sighed. In his minds eye there was the flash of a blue green pair of eyes twisting to meet his. A blue green pool that shimmered with everything he'd ever imagined or wanted. But there was only a feeling of nagging self-doubt and loss that hung over him now. It was the question he feared the most. The one that would end something that had been so wonderful. The question of "Ever again?"
There was a swift knock on his door and in walked his secretary carrying a sheaf full of papers and documents for him to review and sign. "Good morning Mr Harkness and how are we this bright and sunny day?" she smiled as he stepped back from the window and sat back down at his desk. "You've an exec meeting at 10 and are due to have lunch with the City VP at 1pm sharp. I called you last night to remind you but there was no one home."
Luke glanced at his secretary. "No, no there wouldn't of been. I had a ah prior engagement so to speak." For some strange reason he felt awkward to see she was staring at him with a smile on her face. She had been his personal assistant for nearly ten years now and he knew she could read him like a book. She had a way of knowing what he was thinking or feeling even before he did. Avoiding her gaze, he walked over to the window again. "Is there anything else?" he asked, more brusquely than he intended.
"No Sir. Nothing that springs to mind." she replied as she opened the door to leave. She paused and saw that he was still staring out of the window, his back to her in silhouette. She had a feeling that it wasn't the view he was seeing at that moment. He seemed troubled and she wished she could ease whatever it was that had noticeably been on his mind these past few weeks. "If you ever need someone to talk to Mr Harkness." He didn't answer but she saw him incline his head and nod. Quietly she closed the door.
At that same exact moment Bethany was standing looking out of her bedroom window watching people coming and going as they went about their daily lives. Each in their own little sealed cocoon thinking their own thoughts and trying to attain a sense of achievement and peace with their inner self. Were they happy and content with their lot? Had their lives turned out to be everything they had hoped it would be? Or were they resigned to their own unfulfilled and particular fate?
Bethany closed her eyes feeling an ache in her chest. What about her? Had she finally achieved peace with her own inner demons? She somehow doubted that she had. Despite everything - despite last night. It had been nearly 2am when she had pulled into the drive of her home and she had sat for a long while simply trying to gather her thoughts about what had happened over the preceding three or four hours in the motel. It had truly been a whirlwind of emotion and sensation that had left her feeling shattered. She had finally discovered the answer to her question. But the answer had only given way to another question. It was a question that went beyond everything and it's answer would truly change everything in her young life.
There was a soft rap on her bedroom door which slowly opened as her mother came in carrying some clean linen. "Oh." she said noticing her daughter was still dressed in her soft pink dressing gown. "Aren't you a little late for work sweetie?"
Bethany shook her head. "No mom. I've decided to take the day off. I just called my supervisor."
Her mother came across and held her at arms length. "Oh my, you're not ill or anything are you?" she asked feeling concerned.
Bethany shook her head. "I'm ok mom. I'm fine. I didn't fancy work today that's all. I'm due a couple of days leave anyway."
"Well, that's reassuring dear. I thought you may of caught something last night when you were out with some of your friends in that rainstorm. I can't remember it raining so hard as that for a long time. You want to be careful dear, you could of caught a nasty chill." smiled her mother.
Bethany blushed for she already knew she had a chill of sorts. But it wasn't the kind of chill her mother was talking about. It was the kind that cuts to the very marrow of your being. She gave her mother a peck on the cheek. "Think I'll go take a shower mom. Need to freshen up." She grabbed a towel from her closet and disappeared into the privacy of the bathroom.
The rays of the waning sun cast the two people in Room 16 of the El Paso motel in an orange glow as it set slowly in the west. For them the world outside had faded into an inconsequential haze as they finally reached their own sense of reality now that they were here. A reality that had brought them together in this place as the young woman standing said simply "Yes Luke. I want you to spank me."
Bethany stared down as she saw him visibly draw breath. His eyes held hers as he let go of her hand. Despite an overwhelming urge of relief and excitement, she suddenly felt unsure and nervous. His gaze was so intense and powerful that it made her shiver inside. What was she supposed to do now? Was he waiting for her to make the first move? Did he expect her to remove her clothes? All of them?? She felt the flush rising up her throat. The idea of actually being spanked had blinded her to the obvious fact that he would have to see some of her at least semi-naked in the first place. Maybe she should just reach under her skirt and slip off her...
But it was his turn this time take charge of proceedings. "Turn around Bethany."
Puzzled, she looked at him for a moment before doing as he asked. Everything was still apart from the hum of the air conditioning. For what felt an age she stood there with her hands down by her sides knowing he was doing nothing more than staring at her ass. Men - such simple creatures to keep entertained. She smiled to herself as she glanced over her left shoulder to confirm her suspicions. And all because of her ass. She'd never really considered her butt before. After all it was just something that was like - always there. Suddenly, how it appeared to someone else was important enough to concern her. Does he like it? Does he like what it looks like? Oh God, what type of taste in the female bottom does he have? Is he a small, compact, medium. large or so big it was too big to be called huge man? From her wandering hands she'd label it - medium going on large. Would he be satisfied with that? She felt a twinge of self-doubt for she suddenly realised she wanted to satisfy his own curiosity just as much as her own.
"Pull up your skirt." he said behind her suddenly - at last.
Grasping the skirt either side of her hips, she began to tug it up her thighs in a rush.
"Slowly....slowly." he told her.
She lowered the skirt. Of course he wanted her to do it slowly. She should pay attention more to the rhythm of her revealment. For him, a man, it was an audio visual experience more than for her, a woman. For her, it was the rise and fall of tempestuous emotion and the great breaking waves of cause and effect that were cascading over her as she stood there waiting for him to drink his fill. She dropped her head and gathered her skirt again. This time, for him, do it right.
"Slowly." he muttered. "You have to do it...slowly. I need for you to do that."
Bethany did as he asked and raised the hem of her skirt slowly over her thighs. She heard his sharp intake of breath as the pale skin of her upper thighs appeared above her stocking tops and then the bulging swell of each buttock ensnared in her panties. She felt strange and wonderful all at the same time as she finally gathered her skirt around her waist. There was also no small measure of thrillingly debauched lewdness too she discovered. She suddenly shivered for she felt the whisper of his breath on the backs of her thighs. She couldn't keep the smile from her lips. He must of sat forward a little so that he was closer to her. She arched her head back and sighed with delightful anticipation.
Without a doubt, she could make this man do whatever she wanted him to do.
The instant messenger sat redundant as it had done for over a week now. Luke stood over his monitor, his arms folded with a drink in one hand staring at the screen. A week. He shook his head. A week that felt like an eternity. It had finished as he had expected - and feared. Beth23 had disappeared. He stared at her name on the "not online" list as he had done every night for that past week. He felt as if a great weight had settled on his chest. Reasons why she hadn't contacted him played like vignettes in his mind over and over. But the dawning realisation was the simplest explanation - for her it had been a once in a lifetime experiment. An experience to satisfy some inner craving, some secret need. She had needed someone to help her achieve that experience and she had deliberately sought that someone out - in the ether of cyber-space. She had taken the risk. He had been the one she had taken that risk with. And now it was over. Over.
He turned and walked out of the room with just his memories of her now.
"Are you going to spank me over my panties?" asked Bethany as she felt him adjusting her weight until he found the balance he was looking for. After removing her skirt, he had taken her hand and helped her to position herself over his lap in a way that satisfied both their fantasies. Through this, she found that her hips were slightly raised and in perfect pose for what she anticipated as a thorough spanking. Truly her first. But was it going to be over her panties? Why was she bothered about something like that? It did matter of course. Everything mattered for it had to be perfect - it had to be as she always imagined it would be. She saw him look at her and after a brief hesitation, nod. Good. That was good. Taking down her panties and spanking her on the bare straight away just wouldn't be right. This way, she felt, she had the best of both worlds.
"Ready?" she heard him ask. He sounded so far away to her now. She could feel every ridge and bump as she lay over his lap. Especially one. But even that wasn't important. Not now. For the moment had arrived. Her journey, her long dreamt journey had reached its destination. All she had to do was say "Yes." she gasped. Her heart was a trip hammer now. Its pounding filled her head and every ounce of inner concentration was on her undulating rear. Her ass had developed a mind of its own and had started to tingle and twitch as it lay there waiting. She was ready - her ass even more so.
She sensed the air above her shift and move as he raised his hand and then watched wide eyed as it's dark shadow on the far orange wall suddenly fall upon her.
The water cascaded over her like a miniature waterfall. She stood in the shower letting the warm stream wash away her cares for a long while before she stepped from it and began to slowly towel herself off. Naked, she turned and looked at herself in the mirror above the wash basin. Well, she didn't look any different to the young woman she had been yesterday morning. But that had been before last night. Inside she was overwhelmingly different. Inside was a raging torrent. A mass, a mix of free emotion that made her feel light-headed and giddy. God, she felt so...so aware. Aware. That was the word. Her perception of the world had changed. Her self, her very core had undergone a transformation. She had bloomed like a late flowering rose. Every sense was piqued. Every sense was alive. Staring at herself, she turned slightly so she could look over her shoulder. At her buttocks. Her eyes widened slightly for they still had that red shadow caste. The spanking tinge had lasted longer than she had anticipated or expected. Idly, she reached behind herself with her right hand and ran it over both cheeks. Hmmmmm. Nice. They still had that dull throb and hum. God, she loved that. More than the anticipation. More than the electric flash of the strike. "I am a grown woman who likes to be spanked." she said to her reflection. "Do you like being spanked too?" The reflection smiled at her and nodded.
A short while later...
Dressed in a plain white blouse and blue denim jeans, Bethany sat at her computer staring at the screen. Her thoughts had moved on and questions were waiting to be answered now. Important questions. She wasn't sure she would like the answers. The most important question had been answered last night. What would being spanked feel like? The answer to that was everything she hoped it would be. No words were needed. Now came the next question. Had it satisfied that thing which needed satisfying the most? Yes, oh yes. No doubt in her mind about that. More alive and aware. Onto the next question. An obvious one. The one that suddenly was the most important of all. The one concerning him. Her spanker.
She could hear the last thing he said to her. "No, its ok. I'll get a taxi." and the last image of him standing there on the sidewalk in her rear view mirror. Her thoughts and perceptions were coming in ever faster waves now. Each plus and negative seeking to be weighed carefully before being discarded or kept safe for the future. The future. She frowned. Her future. Did she want a future involving him? She slipped on her spectacles and with a click of her mouse opened up Word. Maybe it would help if she expressed herself by typing out the question and possible answers. Her hands paused over her keyboard.
DO I WANT A FUTURE WITH THIS MAN - THIS MAN WHO SPANKED ME?
THIS MAN WHO LAST NIGHT WAS THE CENTRE OF MY UNIVERSE - DO I WANT A FUTURE WITH THIS MAN?
There it was. THE question. Right there in front of her.
She frowned at the bald statement. How vain. How insular. How totally selfish. What on earth made her believe HE wanted to be a part of her future in the first place?! That was the doubt. That was the answer she didn't want to contemplate at all. For that answer meant there would be no future at all. A sudden sadness swept over her and she gasped at its force. She didn't want to answer that particular question. The fear of rejection was too great. She switched off her computer and went downstairs. It would be a long while before she returned to it.
The pain came in waves. Like thunder rolling across the valley. She could feel its pounding fury after every lightning strike that crackled across her now bare bottom. Her virgin spanking was continuing. The faux respite of her panties had long since gone and they lay on the bed beside her. Another spank landed and she gasped and winced. They sounded so loud!! Fearing someone should hear, she fought to keep her wails and cries inside but as time went on such vocal explosions escaped from her lips freely. Moaning at the latest strike, she kicked sharply and twisted around - or at least tried to for he had her firmly held in his grasp. She wanted that. Being held meant everything. "Ahhhhhhhh." she whined as her bare right cheek glowed hotly in the hot and steamy room. So this is what being spanked is like. It was better than she had imagined. So much better than even those in her dreams. "Ohhhhhh." she gasped as another smack smacked her on her left cheek. Each getting harder and harder. But not hard enough for they hadn't reached where she needed to be. "Harder..." she whispered. "Please."
"Ohhhhhhh...ahhhhhhhhhhh. Yes yes yessssssss."
The shadowman smiled as he raised his shadow hand again.
Bethany looked up from her desk as Bob Beezley, one of City Halls planning architects, came over towards her holding a large brown envelope. She smiled as he stopped and looked around. "Hi Mr Beezley." she said brightly. "You look lost can I help you?"
The older middle-aged man, short, rotund with a shiny balding pate was obviously looking for someone. "Uh hi Bethany. Is Edith around?" he asked. "I've got some important documents I need delivering asap." Edith Strange was Bethany's head of department.
"Umm no. Afraid not Mr Beezely. She called in sick this morning." Bethany explained. "Think she's come down with that bug thats going around. She didn't sound too good on the phone."
"Damn. That's awkward." sighed the man. "I have a meeting at 2 that I can't get out of and I really need to get these delivered right away." He reached up and scratched his head. "Normally I'd send it by courier but this is important stuff. I'd feel better if I knew they were going to be delivered on time by someone I could trust."
Bethany stepped into the breach. "Um, what about me?" she offered. "After all, I guess I am in charge here until Edith gets back."
Mr Beezely looked at her. Could he delegate that responsibility to someone young enough to be his daughter? He glanced at the clock on the wall behind her. He didn't exactly have a choice now. Time was pressing and time in his business was money. "Are you sure?"
"Sure I'm sure." smiled Bethany. "My cars parked nearby and its still a couple of hours till rush hour so traffic shouldn't be a problem. Just write down the address on a piece of paper and I'll do the rest."
He looked at Bethany for a second then sighed - more with relief than anything. "Ok. You win." He put the envelope down on her desk and picked up a pen which he used to scribble down where she had to deliver it. "Here's the address. Has to be there before 3pm. I think there's a planning meeting or something going on. Thanks Bethany. Saved my bacon." He ripped the page out of the notepad and handed it to her. Giving her the thumbs up he left the office.
Bethany got up and put on her coat then fished in the pocket for her car keys. She picked up the envelope and put it in her bag. She then looked at the address on the notepaper as she made her way to the elevator.
Harkness Engineering and Industrial Corp
2732 East Side
For the attention of: Mr L. Harkness.
"....most of west side is nearly finished now Mr Harkness. Only need that revised plan from City Hall to tie up some loose ends. " said the man who sat with six others around a large rectangular shaped oak table. He was looking at the man at the top of the table who was studying the latest reports. "Then it just needs the fixtures to be added along with the furnishings. North, East and South annexes are ready to go. Health and safety are due on Thursday but I don't forsee any problems there."
Luke nodded with satisfaction. "Good job Charlie. I knew I could count on you and your crew." The project was on time and on budget. Another job well done. His companies share price had already gone up several points and millions of dollars in value. Lately, he had immersed himself in his work to try and overcome the disappointments in his personal life. In a way it had helped to dull the pain a little. Though he imagined the pain would always be with him. How long had it been? Ten days? Ten long days. He had to make a decision - and soon. He had even contemplated hiring a private detective to look for her. But that would just be... stupid. He just had to realise that it was over. Forget her. It was time to move on and get on with the rest of his life. There would be someone else. There had to be someone else...
There was a soft rap on his office door and he looked up as his secretary came in. "Mr Harkness." said Helen nodding at the other people in the room. "Excuse me interrupting Sir but that package has arrived from City Hall. The person who brought it says she needs you to sign for it. Do you want her to bring it in?"
Luke got to his feet and went over to look out of the window. "Sure Helen, send her in."
Bethany smiled as the older woman came back into reception area where she was sitting nervously clasping the envelope on her lap. Whilst she was waiting, she had looked around admiring the sheer oppulence and magnificence of her surroundings. Not gaudy or tacky but tasteful in decor. This Mr Harkness, whoever he was, must be absolutely loaded she thought with a smile. His secretary approached her.
"If you come this way Mr Harkness will see you now." she indicated, leading the way for Bethany to follow.
She self conciously patted down her skirt and brushed stray strands of hair away from her brow with her hand. "Thank you." she smiled as she followed the woman down a short corridor towards a double mahogany door with gleaming gold handles. She waited as the secretary knocked again and opened the door. After a brief exchange, the woman turned and smiled at her. "Please go on in." Bethany took a deep breath and walked hesitantly into the office hearing the woman say "Mr Harkness, this is the lady from City Hall."
Upon entering, Bethany saw a tall man in a white shirt with his sleeves rolled up standing looking out of the window. Smiling shyly, she reached out her hand as he began to turn to greet her. Everything changed at that moment. She suddenly froze. It was as if time itself had stopped as she stared at the man who was staring back at her with a look that was a combination of surprise, shock and bewilderment. She imagined she looked exactly the same to him. A hot flush rose and washed over her as her hand dropped slightly and she stepped back in reflex. Her heart was beating wildy in her chest as it dawned on her just who this man was. He was Mr Harkness? That's impossible. He can't be. This...this man spanked me?!! She could feel her cheeks beginning to burn as her blush rose. She couldn't move. She couldn't even think straight let alone talk. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She was conscious of the other people in the room. Thankfully, they seemed to be more interested in what looked like building draughts and plans that were spread out on the table than her. Only his secretary was looking at them with a raised brow. Trying to gather her wits, she raised her eyes to meet his intense gaze - one she had seen often in her dreams as she had lain in bed every night since they had met. "Hi, I...I'm Bethany." she said softly, her hand still extended. "I work at City Hall. I was told to deliver these."
Luke saw her hesitation and the flash of distress in her eyes. He stepped quickly forward and took her hand. The same hand that had let him lead her over his lap those many days ago. He grasped it tight and squeezed it to reassure her that everything would be alright. He could sense and see the relief in her blue green eyes as she stared back at him in a way that made his heart leap. He returned her gaze and looking into her eyes, smiled with love. He could see his secretary look inquisitively at him. Explanations would come later. "Hi." he said, keeping his voice level and calm which was totally the opposite to what he was feeling inside at that wonderful moment.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Bethany. I'm Mr Harkness. But you can call me Luke...."