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Thursday, 8 April 2021

Sweet Seventeen

A story by Simon Banks from Janus 43

Beth was so engrossed in the magazine that she didn’t hear her mother’s footsteps outside as she approached with a morning cup of tea. The bedroom door burst abruptly open and Beth barely had time to slide down under the covers what she had been studying so intently. Well, it was not likely that Mrs Saunders would approve of that sort of reading material for her 17-year-old daughter.

‘Here you are,’ she smiled. ‘Wakey wakey! Getting up today are we?’

Her mother didn’t seem to notice Beth’s pinkly embarrassed face as she put the cup down on the bedside table and then sat down on the side of Beth’s bed. Sitting as it happened almost on top of the hidden magazine. Her mother had only to pull the bedclothes back, as a joke perhaps… Beth felt a hot flush of fear and excitement. She knew she shouldn’t be reading it; shouldn’t have taken it in fact.

‘Uh, I’ll be up shortly, Mum. It is Saturday. Thanks for the tea, though.’

Mrs Saunders could clearly have sat there chatting but Beth did not encourage it, not offering any conversation. For one thing she was scared with the magazine so close and unprotected; and also she wanted to continue looking at it. To study again every word, every photograph. Because frankly she had never seen anything so hotly arousing. Her mother eventually got the message and stood up, telling Beth with a smile not to lie in bed all day. The door clicked shut behind her. There was the sound of receding footsteps. Heart pounding, Beth took it out again.

She had never dreamt there were such magazines — not until yesterday afternoon when she had found this one at work. It wasn’t exactly a sex magazine, it was simply devoted to corporal punishment — of girls and women. The cane and spanking; also a strap being used in one set of photos. Girls bent submissively over to receive their punishment. Girls’ bare bottoms everywhere and in some of the photos it wasn’t only bottoms you could see. It was just mind-boggling. A glimpse into another world that made Beth’s heart thump at a frantic rate.

Beth had found it in an office she had been detailed to clear out, in a cupboard under a pile of documents. She had no idea whose it could be because she had only just started working there. Wilmot and Richardson, Solicitors. Presumably it wasn’t her own boss, Mr Grealey, because it was in a different section where she had been helping out for the afternoon. Beth had seen it and blinked — then quickly hidden it under a pile of papers, afterwards transferring it to her handbag. Last night and again this morning she had pored over it, transfixed.

Beth opened the magazine again. It wasn’t only pictures, there were stories as well — the whole thing devoted to girls getting caned and spanked. She read and looked, wide-eyed, her body throbbing as her tea got cold. Hotly she imagined herself in those stories, those photographs.

It was all quite fantastic. Beth didn’t normally get anything out of sexy books, not that at 17 she had seen much of that sort of thing, but this was different. Men must presumably buy the magazine, which was not cheap, because they got a thrill from the idea of spanking girls. And girls and women, did they buy it too? For the same reason, to imagine that they were submitting to it? There were a couple of letters from women, or girls, Beth saw. It opened up vistas of a whole new world.

It was new but it also crystallised something already present in Beth, that was why she found herself so responsive to it. She recalled something that had happened a year ago. They had some painters in the house and Beth had smudged some wet paint. One man had laughed and said, ‘What you need, young lady, is your bottom smacked!’ It had only been a joke but Beth had experienced a hot tingle thinking about it.

She had never had it smacked. Beth’s mother was indulgent and her father wasn’t there. Her parents had divorced when she was young and they didn’t see him, just a card at Christmas and her birthday. Beth would have liked a father around, a stern but loving authoritarian figure who would lay down the law and when necessary deal out some punishment. One or two of her friends got smacked by their fathers and Beth always felt a thrill when they mentioned it. Not that they ever got spanked like the girls in the magazine, on their bare bottoms. Or at least they didn’t say they did. Beth shivered under the sheets.

She read again one story which particularly gripped her — about a girl who went for a walk in the park with her dog. The girl was 17 like Beth who also had a dog, Dusty, and because of that Beth could really imagine it happening. The girl, Julie, got into conversation with a man, starting off with some remark about her dog, and after chatting a bit she agreed to go to his house for some coffee and to see his stamp collection. Julie also collected stamps. Perhaps this wasn’t a good idea, going off with a strange man, but he was nicely spoken and cultured, a respectable older man.

Anyway when he had given her coffee and she had seen the stamps he did say, smiling, ‘Nice girls shouldn’t go off with strange men, should they?’

Julie went pink in the face and then red as he continued, still smiling, ‘Maybe she should get her bottom smacked to teach her to be sensible.’

Julie thought he was joking but he wasn’t. He said perhaps he should go and see her mother and say she was hanging about in the park letting men pick her up. That was a bit unkind and maybe he wouldn’t have really done it but it scared Julie.

The man said, ‘Come on; take your knickers down.’

Just like that. It was quite incredibly exciting imagining a man saying that to you when you were alone with him in his house and you had no real choice but to obey. And Julie did obey. Not very happily but she did it, took her knickers down and got over the man’s lap. He pulled her skirt up and proceeded to soundly smack her bare bottom.

That was all the man did; he didn’t try anything else, no funny business, just smacking his hard male hand firmly down onto Julie’s soft bare bottom. It really got to Beth. She pictured it in her own lounge, herself over some unknown older man’s lap, with Dusty barking excitedly at the side like the dog in the story.

Beth lay back and stared unseeingly up at the ceiling as the magazine slid to the floor. The girl Julie in the story had got very excited by the spanking and Beth could picture herself reacting in exactly the same way, her hips writhing uncontrollably over the man’s lap. That in fact was what was happening now in her warm bed, Beth’s body absolutely on fire, pulsating. Through all this there was suddenly her mother’s voice from downstairs: ‘Beth! Are you getting up?’

Beth gave a groan and shook her head to break off the trance-like state. Putting her hand up she felt beads of perspiration on her forehead. With difficulty she dismissed all those visions and dragged herself out of bed. After some frantic thought she thrust the magazine in the bottom of her cupboard under a mound of old books and games boxes.

In the mirror the familiar full-lipped, softly pretty face was flushed and pink. Was it the face of a girl a man would like to spank? Or cane? But perhaps the face wasn’t the major item; the bottom was possibly more important. Beth had a shapely rear, in fact she was shapely all over. She shook her head again, trying to make all those hot and heady thoughts go away. She washed and dressed, brushing her blonde hair back in a pony-tail. Downstairs her mother said she wanted some shopping done.

‘OK. I’ll take Dusty.’

‘Will you be seeing Dave?’ her mother asked.

‘Uh, no I don’t think so, not this morning.’

Dave was her boyfriend but Beth didn’t feel desperate to see him right at the moment. She felt like being alone, or just with Dusty, like the girl in the story in fact. And Beth knew she was going to walk through the park on the way to the shops although it was the long way round.

It was a nice warm spring day and Beth had put on her favourite pink-and-cream candy-striped dress which she knew showed off the softly rounded figure underneath. She strolled through the park enjoying the warm sunshine, with Dusty off his lead frisking about. Was a man going to stop and talk to her — make some comment about Dusty — and then invite her to his house? And then…?

There were quite a few people about, mothers with young children or pushing prams, some men also with children. As she wandered along Beth’s blue eyes were bright and expectant and her heart was going pit-a-pat. Would somebody? She knew she was being silly, though. If a man did ask her she would be too scared to say yes. But still it was very heady stuff to stroll along and think about it.

Beth got the shopping and went home. After her private little game in the park and that earlier business lying in bed she felt a bit flat and vaguely dissatisfied with life, though she knew she had no real reason to be. She had a job, which many girls didn’t, and it seemed interesting so far; also it was a lovely day and she was seeing Dave this afternoon.

Dave was 19 and Beth’s mother thought he was very nice. Beth herself supposed he was but at the same time he wasn’t exactly her ideal man. When she pictured herself married it was to a somewhat older man, someone who had been everywhere and knew everything and who told her just what she had to do. Beth knew this was a sort of father figure fantasy and of course Dave wasn’t like that at all. He hadn’t been anywhere much outside their own town, just like Beth, and apart from enthusiastically grabbing her when he was in the mood his main interest was sport. Beth’s ideal man couldn’t care less about sport.

Dave came round after lunch and they went up to Beth’s room. At least the football season was over but that only meant that Dave would now be getting all worked up about cricket. For the moment though it was Beth’s rounded form that clearly occupied his mind — and, if he had his way, would occupy his hands.

‘Don’t,’ she protested. ‘I’m not in the mood for that. Anyway it’s too hot.’

Dave didn’t look too pleased at this rebuff. Beth’s eyes, as they had when they first entered the room, darted over to the cupboard. She had wanted to have another quick look at the magazine when she got back from shopping but there hadn’t been an opportunity. She turned back to Dave, her face pink.

‘This girl at work, you know what she told me?’

‘Of course I don’t know.’ Dave was still bridling at Beth’s rejection.

Stammering in her excitement Beth related the story of the girl and the man in the park except that as she told it, it was this girl at work it had happened to.

‘What d’you think of that?’ Beth asked when she had finished. Her eyes were shining, her heart thumping.

‘She report it?’

‘No. I… I think she, well, liked it.’

‘She must be round the twist. Letting some dirty old bugger do that and not report it.’

Beth sniffed. ‘He wasn’t a dirty old anything. She said he was very cultured, you know, a gentleman.’

Dave was not impressed. ‘They’re the worst type.’

Beth put her arms round Dave again. Her voice was hot and excited in his ear. ‘I… I don’t know what I’d do if that happened to me.’

‘Just tell me,’ said Dave, his hands busy again. ‘I’d soon sort him out.’

Beth allowed herself to be pushed back down on the bed. She was getting aroused but it wasn’t so much what Dave was doing as what was in her mind. She remembered that painter again, the one who had said she needed her bottom smacked. He had been 30 possibly, quite good-looking. Beth imagined his hands on her. Strong masterful hands yanking up her skirt and then pulling down her knickers. It was in here in her bedroom, her mother was downstairs but he was doing it anyway. Unceremoniously pushing her down over his lap. And then his hand on her bare bottom…

‘Hey!’ Beth’s voice was sharp as she suddenly realised that Dave was pulling her knickers down. ‘Stoppit!’

‘I’m not going to do anything.’

There was a struggle for the knickers but they remained on. Sex was a recurring argument. Some of Dave’s friends had sex with their girlfriends and Dave couldn’t see why Beth shouldn’t allow the same thing. She wouldn’t. I’m doing that when I’m married and not before, was her stock answer. Dave finally gave up on the knickers and at least found that Beth was now prepared to indulge in a passionate embrace.

Some time later they went downstairs and out for a walk. Afterwards they came back for tea. Beth said she didn’t feel like going out that evening, she thought she’d have an early night.

‘Not sickening for anything, are you, dear?’ Mrs Saunders wanted to know.

No, Beth wasn’t sickening for anything unless it was her continued overheated thoughts. All she wanted was to get back in the cosy privacy of her bed. With that magazine.

She watched TV with her mother, with increasing impatience, until 9 o’clock and then said she was going up. Anything earlier than that would have had Mrs Saunders calling for the doctor, convinced that her daughter had contracted some terminal ailment. As it was Beth’s mother still flapped.

‘I’m OK, Mum. It’s just I feel like an early night, that’s all.’

Beth had a shower. Rubbing her hot body she decided to go to bed nude rather than in a nightie as she usually did. She put on her white cotton dressing gown, belting it tightly round her tingling flesh. In one of the readers’ letters in that magazine a girl or young woman had said she was regularly caned by her husband and for these sessions had to take a shower and then put on just a dressing gown. Beth hugged herself: it was almost too much.

She would have liked to lock her bedroom door if only to increase the sense of privacy but she knew her mother wouldn’t think much of that. On tenterhooks she went to her cupboard. For one heart-stopping moment she couldn’t find it; then there it was, its sensuous glossy feel in her hands.

Beth stepped quickly over to the bed, unbuttoned the dressing gown and let it fall to the carpet. She slid in between the sheets, bare breasts and bottom and thighs all quivering, her hands clutching the magazine. She switched on the bedside lamp and opened the glossy pages. And entered that world, those worlds, of hidden heady delights.

She turned automatically to the park story again, devouring all the little details, reading and re-reading the especially arousing bits. The blunt statement ‘Come on; take down your knickers’ held Beth like a magnet. She repeated the words out loud to herself, but quietly. Beth’s nude body wriggled sensuously in the warm sheets.

After the spanking Julie was told she could pull up her knickers and the man in his cultured upper-class accent said, ‘There, that wasn’t too bad, was it. I’m sure you needed that.’

Julie didn’t say anything, too overcome by emotion and also embarrassed at the way she had been writhing about over the man’s lap. He offered her some more coffee but Julie shook her head. And then she left with the man suggesting that they meet again but the story stopped at that point so you didn’t know if they did or not.

So you could fill in your own next instalment. Beth, as Julie, after obviously feeling quite devastated by the afternoon’s events, was back in the park the next afternoon with Dusty, in her favourite pink-and-cream candy-stripe. Beth thought she would wear nylons and suspender belt as well this time, with her quite high white court shoes. Beth didn’t actually have any nylons but girls did wear them quite a bit more now and an older man would certainly think they were sexy. Naturally he was in the park again.

‘Hello,’ he said. ‘Fancy meeting Miss Beth Saunders here again. Not strolling around letting strange men pick her up, I hope?’

‘No!’ she gasped, almost too excited to speak. ‘It’s just… well, Dusty’s got to have his walk.’

‘Hmm,’ he said. ‘I don’t know about that. I think you should come with me, young lady.’

And naturally she meekly went. In his car he put an authoritative hand on one nyloned knee. ‘I really think we’ll have to try the cane today, Beth.’

What could you say to that? Beth, in the car, felt faint. In her bed she felt faint too. She wriggled her toes, while her hips and bottom writhed sensuously with a will of their own.

‘Take down your knickers please, Beth.’

His voice was gentle but at the same time firm and authoritarian, not a voice you could possibly disobey. They were in his drawing room again, elegantly furnished, with a white carpet so thick that Beth in her white high heels felt as if she was walking on air.

Her hands went up under her skirt, reaching obediently for her panties. Were they her pink lace-edged ones? Yes, probably, and the suspender belt was pink too, matching narrow satin straps tautly holding the dark welts of her sheer nylons. The man’s eyes opened wide when with her knickers lowered Beth innocently raised her skirt, up to her waist. There were the sexy undies; and there was also Beth herself. It was a sight which boyfriend Dave certainly was not treated to.

In her waking dream, Beth was made to bend over the chair. An upright chair of dark polished wood and a satin seat, mauve perhaps, obviously an expensive antique. Beth’s head was down near the floor, near that thick-piled carpet. Her skirt was up and she could feel the cool air on her bare bottom. She bit her lip, then gasped as his hand took hold of her bottom, placing her in just the right position. Beth waited, her heart in her mouth, with Dusty excitedly barking and licking at her face.

The cane naturally was extremely painful, it would have to be. A searing blazing pain that went right through her. It was agonizing but at the same time it was the most incredible turn-on. Being dealt with like this, being forced to submit. Over the satin-seated chair Beth gasped and cried out; in her cosy bed she groaned. The groans continued as her body jerked and writhed.

After the caning things calmed down a little but it wasn’t over. This time when he suggested some coffee Beth, with her knickers now back up again over her smarting bottom, said a hesitant Yes Please. As they had the coffee, sitting in that elegant drawing room, he told Beth that he had two tickets for the theatre that evening. Would Beth like to go?

Of course she had to phone her mother who didn’t raise any objections (this was a little bit unlikely) and then they went off, her gentleman driving them, in his Jaguar probably, into the West End of London. Probably they had something to eat first, in an expensive restaurant, and then there was the play which was really super. When they got back to his house it was quite late and he suggested that it might be best if she stayed the night. With her pulse racing Beth phoned her mother again. This really was improbable but Mrs Saunders did say that it was all right.

Putting down the phone Beth shivered. What was he going to do with her now he had her for the whole night? Well, clearly it wouldn’t be what Dave would be after if she spent the night with him. A mature gentleman would not be bothering a girl with that sort of thing all the time. He handed Beth something. Black, with a silky feel.

‘Have a bath, my dear, and then put this on and come into the drawing room. We’ll have a little nightcap before you retire.’

‘This’ proved to be a black silk dressing gown but very short. When Beth held it up against herself it barely reached to the tops of her thighs. It had no buttons, just a matching belt which tied. The bathroom was fabulous as you might expect, an oval sunken bath with gold taps. It was all real marble with mirrors everywhere giving multiple visions of Beth as she undressed down to that softly rounded nude form. Was it possible that one or more of the mirrors was see-through, with her host watching her? Not in a sneaky way but because he wished to admire her shapely young body. It excited her to think he might be.

Beth bathed and dried herself, applied perfume here and there and then put on that slinky dressing gown of jet black silk. In the drawing room he gave her a charming smile.

‘Ah, how absolutely ravishing.’ And then his hands were at her belt, untying. He slipped the gown right off. Beth was nude, glowing pinkly from her bath. He took her arm.

‘Do you think another little session before bed, my dear?’

And then Beth was over his lap again, nude this time, with his hand crisply cracking down on her squirming rear.

Afterwards she put the gown back on and had a cup of cocoa. Perhaps it was brought in by his manservant. Then Beth was shown to her bedroom which naturally would be a quite magnificent affair. Her host said goodnight and closed the door. There would not be any funny business, mature cultured gentlemen had respect for a girl. No, Beth would be left alone to sleep. Well, not alone because there would be Dusty curled up at the side of the bed.

In the morning quite possibly he would think of an excuse to cane her again and Beth would be forced to submit to this whether she liked it or not. After that she would be driven home. In the car he would tell her he was very desperate to see her again. Next time they would probably go somewhere in his yacht.

Long before this the magazine had slid forgotten onto the floor and Beth was writhing about in a manner her mother would not have thought very proper. As her fantasy reached its end Beth relaxed, exhausted. She was indeed feeling rather sleepy by this time and the yacht episode would have to wait at least until the morning. She pushed the bedclothes back: it was quite hot.

Then with a start Beth remembered the inspiration of her heated thoughts, lying abandoned on the carpet. She reached down to pick it up and push it under the mattress. Her mother could well come in later to check that she was all right. The thought of herself asleep and her mother picking up the magazine — well it didn’t bear thinking about.

----//----

Most probably Beth would have started on the yacht fantasy when she woke up had not something else caught her eye, something she had somehow overlooked before. An invitation for girls who would like to be models to phone a certain number.

Beth read and re-read it, feeling her pulse accelerating. Her active imagination went immediately to work. Being a model was quite respectable, you were doing it simply as a job, and you got paid for it as well; though a girl would not want to tell her mother, or her boyfriend for that matter. It might be necessary to ask if you could pose without showing your face but they would probably be understanding about that.

There was the number. She could just phone it. Monday morning? Use her own phone in the office when there was a quiet moment.

‘Oh hello, my name is Beth Saunders.’ No, you would want a model’s name, something catchy. Sandra Summers perhaps. Yes. ‘My name is Sandra Summers. I saw your ad. Uh, no I haven’t had a lot of experience. Just the odd thing. Yes I could certainly come for an interview.’

She could take a day off work, Mr Grealey seemed quite good about that. It would be in London of course. What would it be, some dingy little place, or perhaps bright and modern? The editor, would he be an older cultured gentleman? She would wear her grey suit, nice and business-like. Nylons? Beth remembered that she hadn’t got any but that was no problem, she could get them and they did seem to be the thing. Nylons and a suspender belt. And her white court shoes of course.

‘Hello. I have an appointment for an interview. Sandra Summers.’

Yes he probably would be oldish. There would be no reason to be scared, it was after all simply business. Nonetheless Beth would be dead scared, there was no doubt about that, but also it would be quite mind-blowing to be standing there in front of his desk.

‘Yes, you are very attractive, Sandra. Just what we’re looking for I should say. Yes, really excellent. Now what I need to know, Sandra, is have you ever had the cane? You understand of course that we want shots of a girl being caned.’

It might be best to say yes. Say she had gone to a private school where she got the cane once for smoking. That would be better than saying she had never had it.

‘Good. That’s wonderful. But we do need to know how you take it. Simply business of course, it’s the normal procedure. You do understand?’

‘Oh yes.’

‘Can you take your skirt off then? And your knickers if you’re wearing any.’

If she was wearing any. Could he say that?

She would presumably take off her suit jacket first. Then the skirt. Standing in front of him now in blouse and knickers and suspender belt and nylons. Trying to meet his eye and appear nonchalant.

‘Now the knickers please. Right off.’

Just tell yourself this was strictly business and routine for a model. Beth slid off her knickers and then bent over his desk as instructed. He would probably fondle her bottom a bit, under the guise of getting her positioned right. And then he would have his cane in his hand.

‘I’m going to give you six. I’ll start quite gently and then get harder.’

That was what he did — while his assistant was bending this way and that with his camera to get the best shots. Click. Click. Click. The whole thing naturally would be in the full glare of floodlights so that the photos would show all the fine detail. Beth’s bottom was really killing her but you had to pretend it was all right.

‘That was excellent, Sandra. Don’t worry about those marks on your bottom, they’ll fade quite quickly.’

Beth had her knickers back on and was pulling up her skirt. He had offered her an excellent rate and she had accepted. He said there would be no problem about not showing her face in the magazine. Was it her boyfriend, he asked, and Beth said yes. The editor said boyfriends were a bit silly sometimes.

His assistant, with the camera, might well ask her for a date as she was going out. He was young and handsome but Beth thought it best not to get involved. She gave a charming and sophisticated smile and said thank you very much but she was rather busy with her appointments at present.

‘But I expect I will be back again for some more poses soon.’

Surfacing from her fantasy Beth saw it was 9 o’clock and she had better get up. It was Sunday and therefore no work but she had to go to church with her mother. Beth groaned, then struggled out of bed to put her magazine back in its hiding place in the cupboard.

Church was boring as usual but at least on this occasion Beth could amuse herself by surreptitiously eyeing the older male members of the congregation and wondering if they had ever spanked or caned a girl; or whether they secretly wished to do so. She also got a little fantasy going about the Rev Goodacre as he delivered his sermon which certainly made it go more swiftly than usual.

After lunch she saw Dave again. They went for a walk, at Beth’s instigation taking in the park where yesterday she had looked for that elusive gentleman. Today one older man sitting on a bench in the sun did seem to eye her up as they strolled by. Beth made Dave walk back the same way so that she could get a second look and he did seem to be eyeing her. She felt a little tingle and as they walked on Beth allowed her bottom in her tight skirt to sway more than was strictly necessary.

The trouble was that if she had been by herself Beth knew she would have been scared stiff. And it was the same with those heady fantasies about modelling: Beth knew she would be much too scared to actually do anything. Fantasies were all right and very exciting but you did feel a bit flat afterwards. Then she suddenly thought of something she would be brave enough to do — mainly because it didn’t take a lot of courage. She could write a letter.

A reader’s letter to the magazine. About her experience with that painter for instance. Not her real experience of course because that was virtually nil; no one wanted to hear that he had said ‘What you need is your bottom smacked’ and Beth had blushed and that was it. No, what should have happened. Only Beth could say that it did.

The thought of writing it and having thousands of readers see it was spell-binding. Even if they didn’t publish it the editor would read it. It was fantastic, something real and actual. Beth dug her fingers hard into Dave’s arm. He looked, surprised. Beth gave a tinkling laugh: because of course Dave had no idea.

She was suddenly eager to finish the walk and get back home. They had to have tea, Mrs Saunders had prepared one of her special Sunday teas and Beth normally had a good appetite for the jellies and various rich cakes that were produced; but today all Beth could think of was getting out her writing paper and pen.

Her mother expressed surprise, for letter writing was not usually one of Beth’s favourite occupations.

‘It’s, uh, that Janet Mitchell. Her family moved up north remember and I really owe her a letter.’

Beth worked at it through the evening, various drafts, bits added here and there as her fantasies grew and became more concrete. By bedtime she had it pretty well sorted out. She would have to rewrite it, neatly, but she could probably get that done tomorrow in the office. Beth could feel a great urge to get it finished and sealed and sent off. And then… She wasn’t sure how she would see it if it was published because that would mean another issue of the magazine and where would she get that? It would be in London presumably but would she ever have the nerve to go in a shop and ask for it?

But that was in the future. For the moment all that mattered was getting it done and posted. Writing it and reading what she had written made it all seem very very real.

At work next morning Beth was able to get on with the final version quite well in between what she was supposed to be doing. She had a separate little office to herself next to Mr Grealey, her boss, and so she could get on undisturbed between tasks. Beth stayed at her desk through her coffee break, not going into the main office with the other girls, so that by late morning she had it almost finished. She was keen to get it posted at lunch time. Then at about 11.30 her buzzer went. Mr Grealey wanted her to come in immediately.

With a look of annoyance Beth put what she had written in an envelope and slipped it in her desk under some other things. Mr Grealey would only want to give her some work and then she’d be right back.

Mr Grealey was a nice boss, in his fifties she presumed, usually with a friendly twinkle in his eye. He looked up from his desk.

‘Ah Beth; bit of a flap. Could you please take this round to the bank right away. Nat West in the High Street, the manager’s expecting it.’ He held out a small brown parcel.

‘Uh…’ Beth’s thoughts were of her almost finished letter.

‘Won’t take you quarter of an hour and it’s got to be there right away. Anyway it is a nice sunny morning.’

‘Uh… ok sir.’ Beth took the envelope. Her letter only needed five minutes more and she could easily get it done when she got back.

She turned and strode smartly out.

----//----

Arthur Grealey watched her go, watched especially that twinkling bottom in the tight grey skirt. Very choice; yes, very choice. Come to think of it there had been a girl a lot like Beth in the last issue of the magazine. A pretty young blonde bending over a chair for the cane. At least as he recalled she looked a lot like Beth but the fact was he had misplaced the ruddy thing, at the end of last week. He didn’t think it was anywhere in the office but it was not completely impossible because he did have the unfortunate habit of having a quick look through when he’d first got it and if he was suddenly wanted had been known to stick it on a shelf somewhere. He was pretty sure he hadn’t done that; it must be somewhere at home.

Arthur Grealey got up to stretch his legs. He had a very pleasant mental picture of his delightful Beth Saunders bending over for the cane. There were always stories coming out of secretaries accepting the cane for one thing or another but they were just delightful fantasies. They had to be.

With Beth still in his thoughts Arthur wandered into her office. She was a good little worker, a very nice sweet girl, in addition to being such an attractive one. Idly he opened the drawer of her desk. It wasn’t that Arthur was nosey, not really. There was the usual range of odds and ends: pencils and paperclips and elastic bands; a lipstick; a plastic bag containing three fruit sweets; two United States stamps torn from an envelope. Under some notepaper at the side was an entire envelope, no address and unsealed and clearly with something inside. It wasn’t that Arthur was nosey, just a little curious. He lifted out the envelope and after a quick glance at the door took out the two sheets of pale blue paper. They were covered on both sides with closely spaced, neat feminine handwriting.

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