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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Gentleman’s Agreement

Photo-story from Janus 95 featuring the lovely Lucy Bailey as Juliet Tessler.
Juliet Tessler was quality. From the top of her sleek blonde hair to the tips of her patent black court shoes she oozed efficiency. The secretary supreme. Except that the last two firms she had worked for had gone down the tubes and she had been job-hunting for eight months. The recession was biting everyone.
This interview with one Nicholas Dickson whom she presumed might vulgarly answer to the name of Nick, was one in a long line of similar encounters. It was a buyers’ market, and she had been made to realise, with a bitterness bordering on contempt, that those doing the purchasing were not always able to recognise class.
‘Well, Miss Tessler,’ he was saying, ‘I’m impressed with your CV, but you’ll have to do a typing test’
Juliet almost yawned. From his strong-voiced, no-nonsense intonation she guessed he came from common stock. Unlike herself, of course. She adjusted her Nina Ricci scarf, stood proudly up and swayed across the carpet to the computer in the alcove.
‘You may start when I say “Go!” She waited, fingers poised, pulses tripping a little quicker. ‘Ready… steady… GO!’
Juliet nearly smiled. What was this, the school sack race?
Three minutes later he called, ‘Time’s up, Miss Tessler. Bring your work here!’
Juliet didn’t need some smooth-looking neanderthal or sophisticated barrow boy to tell her she was good. She knew it perfectly well from hard experience in genuinely testing circumstances. Even so, for some ridiculous reason she felt apprehensive as she brought the typed sheets to him. A little like reporting to teacher, she thought.
Nick Dickson scanned the lines and felt a glow begin in the pit of his stomach. At last! She sure as hell spelt better than he did and he liked her rather prim manner almost as much as the perfume she wore. Still, that could be changed. This one was a worker, he could tell. In the ironic terminology of the hard-dealing business circles he moved in, she had balls.
But there was something else about her, too. Anyone with Nick’s especial interests usually had a gut feeling that said this one might. It was an instinct deeper than conscious thought, and divined at the first moment of meeting. Of the seventeen would-be secretaries he had seen so far, Juliet Tessler was not only streets ahead as regards skills and experience, but had that indefinable aura that only a practised chastiser is able to recognise.
‘If I take you on,’ he began, ‘you’ll quickly learn that I’m a person who speaks his mind, doesn’t suffer fools gladly nor approves of idleness or mistakes deriving from slackness or inattention.’
‘I understand,’ said Juliet. And looked as if she did. ‘I try to avoid making mistakes, and can’t stand time-wasters.’ Her blue eyes seemed to challenge him. She had already decided that she was made for this job. Excellent salary, small but energetic businessman with international connections, transatlantic and European travel so she could use her fluent French, German and Spanish. He even had a certain charm that might be nice at candlelit tables when the day’s hard dealing and long hours were done.
‘I wonder if you do.’ His smile was rather nice. ‘You see, Miss Tessler, it’s important that you understand my requirement for strict office and time-keeping disciplines.’
Her eyes did not flinch as she assessed the implications of this remark. ‘I assure you,’ she said, ‘that no one can be harder on me than I am on myself.’
Nick Dickson leaned forward. ‘Then do I take it you’d have no objection to paying the penalty for any mistakes or lapses of judgment?’
Juliet swallowed hard. She had had an instinct about this one the moment she had walked in and shaken his hand. It was a strong hand. He had reminded her a little of her very first lover when she was still very young. His hand, too, had been broad and hard yet capable of great gentleness.
‘If you will explain precisely what you mean, Mr Dickson,’ Juliet said carefully, ‘then I shall be able to consider the matter.’
Nick saw no point in further delay. It was now or never. He reached under the desk and brought out a long, whippy, crook-handled cane. Juliet Tessler regarded it in silence. Had any other man done this, she would have thanked him politely for his time and walked out. But in the tense seconds which followed, she listened to her heart as well as her head.
And her heart was hammering. With fear? Excitement? Was it like being 18 again and learning correction from a much older man who, after the storm of pain was about to turn her tears to sighs?
‘Well, Miss Tessler?’
‘I… have never felt so confused in my life, sir,’ she found herself saying.
The unexpectedness of her reply made him smile. It broke the tension. Juliet’s usually well-ordered mind was in a whirl. Why wasn’t she leaving? Why wasn’t she storming out with a disdainful glare? The reason had only partly to do with securing this job, much as she wanted it — there would always be another, eventually; and anyway she had too much pride.
‘Don’t you feel; he was saying, ‘that this confusion should be dealt with in an appropriate manner? After all, a top secretary should never be confused — should she?’
And, in so saying. Nick Dickson found the trigger. Suddenly it all felt right: a common language discovered between them, and the first faltering conversation about to be broached.
The guilty dip of her head, the biting of her underlip were more eloquent than words. ‘Lift up your skirt, Miss Tessler; came the steely tones. ‘I shall require you to present an unimpeded target.’
Utter stillness followed. Her eyes were brave and blank on his. Then her hands gripped the dress-hem and she wriggled the garment up to her hips, revealing white panties and suspender belt above the prim pale stockings. Juliet always took as much care with her undergarments as with her outer clothes.
‘I intend to punish you with reasonable seventy,’ Nick was saying, ‘in order that we understand each other from the start, should I offer you the job and you decide to take it.’
‘Yes, sir,’ she whispered.
‘I beg your pardon?’ Nick said, flexing the cane in his hands.
‘Yes, sir!’ she said a little louder.
Nick stood up and stepped around the table. ‘Bend down, Miss Tessler, and touch your toes.’
Juliet doubled over. Her hair flopped floorwards, her face flushed pink. Could she endure such appalling embarrassment? Her outstretched fingers nudged the toes of her shiny shoes, while her arse — yes her arse, because it felt so rude and rawly exposed — seemed in her mind to have swollen to twice its usual size.
She watched his feet as he stepped up beside her. Her eyes felt hot with unshed tears, for she knew he was looking at that intimate part which decorum and decency normally kept hidden.
‘I am going to give six strokes to begin with,’ he told her. For Juliet this was quite bad enough, but what he said next made her gasp. ‘On the bare buttocks.’
Before she could protest. Juliet felt his fingers at her panties’ waistband, then peeling them down over her out-jutting rumps. If Juliet felt she could cry out her indignation, then why did this sudden baring of her bottom feed tingly thrills into her tummy and loins?
Nick Dickson swallowed hard. He raised the cane. His own heart thudded. Juliet Tessler’s buttocks were trim and firm, yet voluptuously rounded and inviting. It was like looking for the first time on a face which one knew would become familiar and well-loved; the first taste of sweet apples fresh from the tree. Exulting, he brought back the cane behind his shoulder and swung it in.
As the slender wand struck across both bottom-cheeks with an echoing crack, the fire of it burned through the tender skin, travelled to the top of her head and out to her very extremities, making her arms and legs shake.
She grunted loudly, as if lifting a heavy weight, and shook her hips. Nick drew back, measured, swung in again. The jarring sensation up his arm when the cane met the abrupt resistance of her buttocks and wrapped itself around them was simply glorious, eliciting a tiny yelp from the bent-over girl as the pliant shaft leapt away again, leaving a second tell-tale track.
The third stroke seemed to float through the air, swift but deadly-delicate, impacting loudly against those smooth ivory-hued pillows of springy flesh. The kiss was sweetly savage and fervent. Juliet felt it like a splash of ice and fire in her behind, and tried not to cry out.
She wanted to put her hands behind her to shield her sensitive cheeks and rub their furious stinging. but there was something about this man’s powerful presence and raw male energy which precluded such action.
Whack! The cane sailed in crisp and firm — not really hard, but enough to make her bottom know about it. This time as the shaft left its searing mark, Juliet was surprised, despite the extreme humiliation of her posture, that the burning kiss was almost tolerable.
Nick was enjoying himself. In fact he hadn’t been so happy for weeks. The cane felt light and venomous as he gripped harder, drew back his arm, swung again at the enticing target. The shaft struck the naked globes of Miss Tessler’s well-presented bottom and rebounded so hard that he thought the cane might leave his hand and keep on flying. The screech she gave was testimony to its effectiveness.
‘Aaahhh!’ she yelled. Just as he raised the cane high for the sixth stroke, the telephone rang.
‘Stay down, Miss Tessier,’ he commanded ‘I haven’t quite finished with you yet.’ The moment he had stepped away to pick up the phone, Juliet flung her hands behind her and gripped her burning cheeks, kneading and soothing the smooth-soft skin, cosseting the cane-tracks which throbbed and stung.
Juliet stayed bent over a short while longer, listening to him become more involved in his phone call, fiddling with papers and scouring files as he talked. Until at last, feeling utterly ridiculous in her present position, she straightened.
It was a mistake. ‘You will remain bent down until I give you instructions to rise, Miss Tessler,’ he called out, covering the telephone mouthpiece as he did so. ‘My brand of office discipline is exactly that, and I want you to be in no doubts about it!’
With an alacrity which surprised her, Juliet doubled over again. Legs trembling, heart pounding, she touched her toes and waited. Time went on. Her prospective boss’s voice on the telephone was in turn jovial, terse, insistent, uncompromising, generous, firm. In the several more minutes during which she remained humiliatingly bent over, Juliet learned more about Nick Dickson’s character and style than she might have done in a dozen interviews. What made it all the more galling was that she more and more liked what she was learning.
She heard the receiver replaced, and the slow measured tread of his approach. She was breathing shallowly. One more, and this would be over.
‘You seem to understand discipline fairly well, Miss Tessler,’ Nick Dickson said approvingly. ‘In which case you will appreciate that deliberately to rise when my last instruction was to stay down merits its own reward.’
‘Yes, sir.’ Juliet never knew why she said that. Perhaps it was simply that she felt more secure when the rules were clearly defined. Crazy though it sounded, she could relate far better to a boss as vehemently positive as Nicholas Dickson, than to one who deferred decisions and needed constant ego-massaging.
‘So it will be the one we missed, and another six for standing up when I hadn’t told you to.’
‘No, Mr Dickson, that’s not fair!’ But she knew that, under his rules, it was.
‘Stay down, and perfectly still,’ he rumbled ominously She felt the coolness of the cane across her bare bottom as he laid it there a moment and lightly tapped a couple of times; then heard him grunt, the swish of the shaft through the air — and her buttocks flamed with the shock of an impact far more severe than any previous stroke.
‘How dare you stand up!’ was his only comment as Juliet fought to control the fearful blazing in her rumps. Her eyelashes were wet and she gritted her teeth.
Whop. Nick watched the soft flesh flatten and ripple as the cane stung home again. This one was a treasure. Never mind her rather snooty manner, she was a game little toughie with fire in her soul as well as — at the moment — elsewhere in her anatomy.
‘How many more, Miss? I’m afraid I’ve lost count.’
‘F-five.’
Nick smiled as he hefted the cane, re-firmed his stance and readdressed the delectable bottom before him. My God, this one was honest, too! Surely all secretaries should be soundly caned as a vital part of their assessment interview — it certainly sorted the women from the girls. He again brought the cane hissing in to bury itself in the soft crests of those twin peaks with a noise like a gunshot, yet Juliet Tessler confined her vocal reaction to a squeal.
‘Straighten those legs. Get them straight! Push that bottom up and out!’
Juliet adjusted her sagging body, straining her knees backwards and buttocks upwards Then down it came, scorching against her tormented arse-cheeks with another streak of ice and fire.
Whop! The gasp she gave was almost as loud as the impact.
Three more.
The cane flew back, hungry now. This stroke cracked in against the downy undercheeks of that delightful bottom, further reddening the roasting moons. Juliet felt its sting a little less keenly, as if her behind were numbing in self-defence. For the next one, however, she made the mistake of clenching her buttocks, as if the tensed muscles beneath the silky surfaces would somehow fend off the hurt.
Thwock. She lumped; the pain was appalling.
‘Nature made your pretty bottom soft to absorb impact, Miss Tessler,’ came Nick Dickson’s chiding tones. ‘If you try to harden it up, you must suffer the consequences.’
‘Yes, sir.’ How dare he be so right! Her mind was beginning to swim. How many more was it…?
‘How many more?’
‘One, sir!’ she sang out. And was, of course, correct.
In it came, swishing through the air in a blur to judder hard against Juliet Tessler’s well-punished buttocks, setting up further waves of heat and pain. A throbbing, pulsing, blazing, prickling heat that would not allow her to sit in comfort for many hours, or maybe days.
Nick stepped back. ‘You may rub,’ he said. Miss Tessler did so. Half-crouched, she rubbed and squeezed each bottom-cheek as if her hands were water putting out flames.
‘Pull up your panties and readjust your dress.’
Painfully Juliet eased the flimsy fabric up over her seething bottom and pulled down her skirt. Her buttocks still burned beneath the tight sheath, and she continued to rub while she turned to face him.
Nick Dickson smiled. ‘You’ve got the job, Miss Tessler,’ he said. She smiled too, and took his outstretched hand.
‘Thank you, sir.’
‘Start Monday.’

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