“A baker’s dozen of them. They’re still warm.”
Giggling, she turned then, and watched as Mr. Stephens undid the string bow on the bakery box.
“I love hot cross buns.”
He looked up at her. A hank of dark hair flopped messily over his forehead and his grey eyes sparkled behind the heavy tortoiseshell frames of his glasses. He was gaunt and rather tortured looking, but when he grinned, his face lit up. “So do I.”
It wasn’t his looks; it was the voice that made her quiver inside, that made her cheeks go red and her legs ache. It was the seriousness of it, the determination, as if the sheer strength of it could sweep everything away.
They took the tea things into the den. The small coal-fire in the grate had warmed up the room, even though outside, the sleety drizzle turned the April sky to grey.
Mr. Stephens sat in his armchair and sipped his tea in silence. Bettina sat on the rug at his feet and rested her head on his knee. No one knew where she was. Not her parents, not the school, no one. The train ticket to London was a day old, and still in the pocket of her school blazer. She had gotten as far as the station at Brighton, still undecided as to what she would do.
Now her small suitcase was on the floor beside the front door, still unopened. He had let her in without saying a word, as if he’d been expecting her. That’s when time stopped and the world changed. It felt like being lost and found all at the same time. Easter in limbo.
He spoke to her of strange things: big bangs, and optics and lasers and something about a cat in a box. Not being very good at science, she didn’t really listen. She just liked the sound of his voice and the even caresses of his hand as he stroked her hair.
“Can I have a fag?” she asked, idly.
“Only if you’ll pay for it.”
She lit the cigarette and smoked, gazing hypnotized at the small blue flames that licked the outlines of the pieces of coal. In the centre of the hearth, pieces crumbled and glowed white in the pressure and the heat.
When she’d finished the cigarette, she tossed the end into the grate and got to her feet.
“Yes, here will do.”
She pulled her grey school jumper over her head and let it drop to the floor. Then reaching beneath her flannel skirt, pulled her knickers down her thighs, and draped her upper body over his knees.
* * *
The girls of lower sixth descended on him like lamiae as he came into the classroom for morning mail call.
“Oooh! Nice jacket, Mr. Stephens. Very sharp.” Nadia slipped sinuously off her perch on the desk and walked towards him.
“Wearing it for someone special?” teased Camille. “Who’s the new girlfriend, then?”
“Right! Enough of that, girls, if you please. We have a lot of mail here.” Mr. Stephens pushed a recalcitrant flop of hair off his forehead and looked annoyed. He sorted through the letters, shuffling them like cards. “Miss Andrews, two for you. And, three – no, four – for you Miss Cardon-Scott.”
He called out the names, passing the letters out without looking at the recipients. When he came to Bettina, she walked to the front of the class. Before taking the letter he held out to her, she trailed a fingertip down his wrist and over his hand. It made him look up angrily. She giggled.
“It does make you look very dishy, that tweed.”
“Sit down, Miss Philips,” he said, his voice cold and bored as the grave.
It was something of a sport, teasing Mr. Stephens. As the only eligible bachelor teaching at Saint George’s School for Girls, he was the target of almost every student from lower fifth to upper sixth. He bore it with stony stoicism or ill temper, depending on the day.
It’s said that children can be cruel, but seventeen-year old girls can be crueller by far. They commented on every piece of clothing he wore, giggled and snickered at anything that could possibly be taken as a double-entendre in his physics classes, and generally made a concerted effort to render his professional life miserable.
He’d taken his Masters only two years before, at Cambridge, and uncertain whether to continue his studies or not, he’d opted for a break before making a decision as to whether life in the ivory tower was for him. With no teaching certificate, St. George’s in Brighton was the only school that would take him.
He’d found a small flat in the town, and settled into what he expected to be an interesting and challenging sojourn. It was turning out to be torture.
“Now. Just a reminder before you all rush off to Geography. The end of term dance is on Friday. If you have guests you wish to include, you need to let the office know by Wednesday so that invitations can be issued. Forlorn boyfriends who turn up on the day, without invitations will not be admitted, so please don’t dawdle about this.”
There was a collective groan around the room. St. George’s dances were notoriously rule-ridden and over-supervised. It was hard enough to get anyone to travel down to Brighton to attend, and almost impossible when, in the midst of the swinging Seventies, the affair was so stodgy and archaic.
“Will you be coming, Mr. Stephen’s?” asked Bettina. Her voice was laced with cheekiness.
“Sadly, yes. No rest for the damned.”
The room erupted into peals of laughter. He strode out and slammed the door.
* * *
A small and very unremarkable grey box sat on top of the counter in the Physics lab, propped up with a couple of text books.
“We’re very lucky to have this. The University of Sussex has lent it to us for the day,” said Mr. Stephens.
Girls sat perched on lab stools looking bored and uninterested. Bettina had already had a run-in with a foetal pig in Biology and was still feeling slightly queasy. School lunch had been soggy shepherd’s pie and something swimming in custard. She hated Thursdays: no English, no History, no Art, just Science, Maths and Games. At least the grey box didn’t smell.
“Now, in order to fully get the effect, you need to see it something interfere with the beam, so, if you would get the lights, Miss Gordon.”
As Jane went to the light switch by the door, Mr. Stephen’s pulled a package of cigarettes from his jacket pocket, took one out, and lit it. “Turn them off, please.”
The room went dark and Bettina could smell the sweet tobacco burning. A soft hum filled the room and then, suddenly, a thin blue luminous line of light pierced through the darkness.
There were murmurs of surprise and delight.
“Look at the way it shimmers!”
“Does it cut through things?”
“No,” said Mr. Stephens. “It’s not that kind of laser. Watch what happens when the smoke interferes with the beam.”
A disembodied hand played the smoking cigarette below the line of light and twisting tendrils became almost solid in appearance as they drifted through it.
Something jostled Bettina’s arm. “Hold this, will you?”
It was Mr. Stephens, handing her the cigarette. She felt carefully for his hand in the dark and followed it until her fingertips closed around the cylinder. “I’ve got it,” she whispered.
In the dark, she watched the laser move, catching the wisps of smoke that hung in the damp air. She brought the cigarette to her lips, in the dark, and took a puff. The filter was slightly damp from his lips, and it felt wicked to smoke it, so she did. After getting caught for the eighth time sneaking a fag behind the games shed, there was a delightful feeling of vengeance about smoking with impunity in the Physics lab.
“You can switch the lights back on now.”
The roomful of girls sat blinking in the glare. Mr. Stephens walked over to Bettina. “We’re finished with that now,” he said, taking the burning cigarette from her. He looked down at the same time she did. A light pink stain of lipstick circled the white filter.
She smirked at him. “You didn’t tell me what to do with it.”
There was annoyance in his face. “Leave the class, Miss Phillips. Now.”
Bettina huffed, slid off her stool. “Fine. Shall I go to the office and report myself?”
“No. I’ll do that. Just leave.”
She shrugged and left the room, closing the lab door quietly behind her.
* * *
She was expecting a summons from the office, a message to report to the headmistress, but none came and on Friday, at mail call, she wondered if he’d reported her at all. Perhaps he’d forgotten.
For that reason, when Mr. Stephens came to distribute the mail, she didn’t join in with the other girls when they began their regular jokes and jibes. She had no mail and so she sat on the desk at the side of the class and watched him hand it out to others.
She considered asking him if he’d reported her, and then decided to let sleeping dogs lie. As the bell rang to call the girls to assembly, he looked up. “Miss Phillips, stay behind if you would.”
There were snickers and lewd noises as the girls crowded out of the room, but she ignored them. She sat on the desk, looking down at her grey skirt, swinging her legs, until everyone had gone.
Mr. Stephens leant back against the blackboard, his arms folded over his chest, and looked at her in silence.
“Did you report me?”
“No. I thought it probably wouldn’t do any good anyway. You’ve been ticked off for smoking more times that I can count. There didn’t seem much point.”
She looked down and studied the hem of her skirt with concentration. “Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me. But you’ll get sent up if you keep on this way. They will suspend you, you know. They’ll send you home in disgrace.”
“For smoking?” she asked in disbelief.
“No. For consciously breaking the rules again and again – the why doesn’t really matter. If they can’t control you, they’ll kick you out.”
“It wouldn’t matter if they did. It’s not like my parents care all that much. Why do you think they sent me here in the first place?”
“I assume they wanted you to have a good education.”
“No. They just wanted me out of their hair. They can’t wait for me to finish my A’ levels and get the hell out of their lives. They’re arty and selfish.”
Mr. Stephens looked down at the floor. “I’m sure that’s not the case, Miss Philips.” He pushed off from the board and shoved his hands in his trouser pockets. “Just don’t get caught again.”
* * *
Of all the reasons why the St. George’s School dances were terrible, the worst was the tradition of making the girls wear their Sunday uniforms to attend it. Almost none of the girls’ boarding schools did this to their pupils anymore, and it made the whole thing into a boring farce.
Bettina stood in front of the only full-length mirror in the dorm, wondering why she was even looking. Most of the girls in her dorm-house had dates coming down for the dance. Having no one else, Bettina had begged her older brother, Sean, to come down, but it turned out he was busy on a field trip in the Cotswolds.
She tugged at the hem of her skirt and straightened her white blouse. The weekday uniform was grey with a pale blue shirt and tie. The Sunday uniform was only slightly different. The blouse what long-sleeved and white, and instead of a skirt, there was a dark grey tunic. She pushed her grey socks down angrily, until they puddled sloppily around her ankles. It was a small rule, but well worth breaking.
The dance was in the main hall where morning assembly was usually held. It smelled of furniture wax and morning prayers, and the miserably limp coloured streamers did nothing to take away the stink of everyday drudgery.
Up on the stage, some awful band was playing songs too old for Bettina to remember, and down on the floor, girls were milling around with their dates. Nadia sidled up to her, a tall boy in tow.
“This is David.” Nadia pushed the boy forward, grinning. “David, this is Bettina.”
He was copper-haired and lanky, with the kind of slouch that gave him away as a public school boy. Hormones hadn’t been kind to David, and his face was spattered with the ravages of a nasty case of acne. He smiled inanely.
Bettina ignored him. “He’s your date?”
“No…stupid!” burst out Nadia. “He’s my brother. He goes to Smithfield’s, in Cornwall.”
Sensing where this was leading, Bettina wished them both a good time, and escaped to the far end of the hall, to the refreshment table.
She helped herself to a glass of Orangina and a handful of crisps and sat down on one of the folding chairs that lined the walls.
Some of the girls danced with their dates, some danced with each other. There was something quite surreal about pretending that any of this bore a resemblance to real life, for Bettina. She’d been to dances at her brother’s University and they were full of loud music and people getting wasted. Her brother had been a little over protective, herding her about and steering her clear of anything that looked remotely wild, but she’d enjoyed herself anyway. One of her brother’s friends had pushed her up against a wall and snogged her, which had been thrilling, although Sean had put a stop to that before his friend could get his hand up her skirt. That was a real dance. This was just a pantomime.
Bettina watched and mused. She felt a little guilty for having been so abrupt with Nadia’s brother. It wasn’t that she didn’t like boys – she did – but boys of own her age irritated her. They cringed and panted, they groped messily, they couldn’t actually kiss and think at the same time. She’d lost her virginity on the last Christmas break, to the son of one of her parents’ friends. It hadn’t been awful… it had just been disappointingly quick and unsatisfying.
“Why aren’t you dancing Miss Philips? Where’s your date?”
She looked up and snapped out of her memories. Mr. Stephens hovered above her, his arms crossed as always, with a disapproving look on his face.
“Where’s yours?” she replied, smirking. No matter how dark things got, there was always some fun in tormenting Mr. Stephens.
“I’m on duty till nine. No date for me. But I can’t believe you couldn’t persuade someone to come down and attend. I’d have thought you’d be rather popular with the boys.”
It surprised her that he’d give her a proper answer, instead of dismissing it. In fact, it surprised her that he wasn’t talking like a Physics teacher.
“Then you’d be mistaken, Mr. Stephens. I don’t have a guest.”
He frowned a little and took the folding chair beside her. “That’s a pity. Shall I see if Mr. Edwards will give you a spin round the floor?”
“Don’t you dare!” Bettina almost shrieked. Mr. Edwards taught Maths, weighed as much as an elephant and was close to seventy. He was presently doing some embarrassing version of the twist out on the dance floor with the Games mistress. The suggestion was too cruel to let go. Bettina settled back in her chair and grinned. “Why don’t you dance with me?”
“I’m sorry. Can’t. Chaperone on duty. I can’t be distracted from my supervision. Wouldn’t do at all.”
She giggled and prodded onwards, turning her voice small and teasing. “Would you if you could?”
“I very much doubt it, but I suppose if you’re still here aftert nine, you’ll find out.”
Bettina pressed her leg alongside his, feeling the scratchy wool of his trousers all along the bare part of her thigh. It gave her a shiver. “I think you’re lying, Mr. Stephens. I don’t think you can resist.” She nudged her knee in his direction to make sure the contact wasn’t lost on him.
“Miss Philips, I’d be very careful if I were you. The game you are playing is a grown up game and it often ends in tears.” He delivered this in a whisper, barely audible above the music and the shrill laughs of girls swinging each other around on the floor.
She felt fingers of electricity streak up her spine. The warmth of his whisper washed over her skin. It spoke of dangerous things, thrilling things. But she didn’t want him to know that. She answered him back, boldly and in kind. “I know exactly what kind of game this is, Mr. Stephens. You’re the one who needs to be careful.”
He got to his feet without a word and strode away through the clumps of dancers.
“Got you,” Bettina muttered to herself. She was proud for not backing down. She hated it when adults tried to shut her out of their world, as if she didn’t belong there. His words echoed softly in her head. She’d never heard him speak that way before; there was a wholly different kind of seriousness to the tone. But she’d shown him, anyhow, that she could give as good as she got.
By nine-fifteen, she was sitting with a group of dateless girls from her dorm house, joking and making fun of the dancers’ silhouettes. Someone had finally persuaded the school staff to turn the lights down properly, and so it was harder to pick people out and identify them. There was a mix of feelings brewing inside her: triumph that she’d finally broken Mr. Stephens’ stony reserve and a little disappointment that he hadn’t come back and asked her to dance. She excused herself from the group and went to get another Orangina.
“So, will you dance, Miss Philips?”
She tried hard not to show the pleasure on her face as she turned around and looked up at Mr. Stephens. She didn’t want him to see her being girlish or immature.
“Oh, I think I could manage a dance, Mr. Stephens.”
Just then, as she was setting down the bottle, the song ended and the next one began. It was slow. She hesitated.
“Changed your mind?” he asked, holding out his hand.
“No… Not at all.”
He didn’t pull her out into the middle of the hall, where the lights from the stage made the dance floor bright. Instead, he led her over to the darkest corner and pulled her towards him, slipping a hand around her waist and settling it on the small of her back.
She was nervous as they began to dance, even though she told herself to stop being silly. He was taller than she’d ever though he was, and bigger too. It was funny how, after months of looking at someone a certain way, your view of them could change. He smelled of tobacco and wool, and something earthier underneath, and there was nothing to do but stare at his chest, because she wasn’t tall enough to see over his shoulder.
It was very subtle at first. She thought she was imagining it. Slowly she could feel the heat of his body more distinctly, and the scent of him became stronger. It was only then that she realised he’d slowly pulled her closer and closer until their chests were touching, until their bodies were pressed tight together. Then, the hand that had been so politely on the small of her back, slid down over her bottom and gave it a sharp, painful squeeze.
Bettina looked up at his face in shock.
“There now, Miss Philips. After two years of putting up with your cruel and unmerciful teasing, I believe it’s time to pay you back.” There was absolutely no expression on his face. It was a blank wall.
The hand on her bottom pulled her tight against him. She could feel her hipbones digging into his upper thighs. It wasn’t the fact that someone was groping her bottom that pushed her towards panic; it was the shock of who was doing it. She fought to keep her cool veneer, she refused to run off in panic and have him laugh at her.
“Cat got your tongue, Miss Philips? Or can I call you Bettina now that you’re helpless?”
Her mind raced, she craned her neck to see if anyone was watching them. She fully expected whoever was acting as chaperone to walk up to them and push them apart. “I’m fine, Mr. Stephens,” she said pathetically, leaning sideways to peer past his arm and see who was coming.
“I’m afraid there’s no one to save you. Mr. Edwards is on duty now, and he’s more than a little drunk.”
His hips shifted and she felt the distinct outline of an erection against her stomach. “I… I don’t need saving. I can take care of myself.”
“So… this is acceptable to you? You like this?”
“I…” Feelings warred inside her: anger that he’d called her bluff, and humiliation, too, at her shock. And something like what she’d felt before: a surging, pulsing thrill. He was expecting her to bolt, but she wouldn’t. She didn’t want to.
He lowered his head and whispered into the tight dark space between their faces. “You what?” The hand on her bottom clutched and kneaded, grinding her against him.
“I like it,” she whispered back. The moment the words were out of her mouth, she knew they were true. And with the admission of it, her heart began to race and the crotch of her knickers grew warm and sticky.
“Oh, what a foolish little girl you are, Bettina. You have no idea what you are playing at.”
The tone of his whisper brought the anger back. She looked up at him and sneered. “You think you have some idiot, virgin schoolgirl on your hands? Is that what you think?”
Suddenly he stopped dancing. His fingers curled around her wrist painfully and he bent down and hissed, “I don’t know, Bettina. Shall we find out?”
Then he was pulling her out of the hall, through the double doors and down the dark hallway. His grip on her arm was bruising, and she would have yelled, would have fought and run, but somehow she couldn’t. The assembly hall, the girls in Sunday uniform, the awful spotty boys, the flat Orangina, she didn’t want to go back to that – not that.
He pulled her into the darkened teachers’ common room and closed the door behind her, twisting the key to lock it.
There was enough light, coming from the window, to see that his face had changed. He walked towards her, shrugging off his jacket. Bettina backed up until she met the common room table.
“Let’s see what you are, Miss Philips,” he growled.
His arms shot out and caught her by the shoulders, twisting her around and bending her over the table. A hand circled the back of her neck firmly, holding her there. She felt his body cover her, pressing her into the wood. “Are you worried now? Because you should be. Tell me you are, and I’ll let you go.”
His hips pressed into her, grinding her painfully into the edge of the table. Her tunic was pushed up over her hips and the scratchy wool of his trousers raked the backs of her thighs. Half of her was terrified, and the other half was so aroused it frightened her. “No.”
“No, what?” he hissed.
“No. I’m not worried.”
He laughed softly and lifted his body off her. A thousand thoughts rushed through: he was going to let her go anyway, she’d won, she wanted to feel his weight on top of her again, she was so wet, would he kiss her?
The slap that came made her gulp air, and the hand on the back of her neck tightened, holding her to the table. The pain flashed in neon colours behind her lids. With the second slap she yelled, and the third and forth too… until she had no more breath, and thought her buttocks would melt and slide down her legs.
When he hit her a seventh time, she whimpered into the table and found the breath to gasp: “Mr. Stephens… please.” He smacked her again, hard. She hissed at the sting.
“Not quite what you were expecting, really, was it?” There was a triumph in his voice, sleek and self-satisfied.
He slapped her again, and she caught her breath and sobbed. Her cheek slipped on the wood beneath it and she realised she’d been crying. She hiccupped.
“Grown up games are often quite different from what you think they are. Say you’ve had enough and I’ll let you up, Bettina.”
He laid his hand on her bottom softly, slipping it under the top of her knickers, and smoothed the curve of one stinging buttock. It felt almost like velvet against her stinging skin, soft and soothing. The contact made her shudder and inhale.
She tried to shake her head, but it was impossible. “No.” It was just a whisper.
As much as the spanks had hurt, the way he was touching her now was unbearably good. She’d take any number of blows to have him touch her like this.
He bent over her again, and she closed her eyes and moaned at the feeling of his weight.
“I beg your pardon?”
“No,” she said louder.
He hesitated for a moment, as if he was thinking. Then he stood and she felt his fingers, taking hold of the edge of her knickers. He pulled them down and the cold air washed over her stinging skin.
It was then, in the silence of the room, just as she was wishing that he’d slide his hand over her bum again, that she heard his breathing – like a man running.
That’s when he hit her again. With nothing between his hand and her skin, the pain was much worse. Perhaps she cried out, perhaps she didn’t, because as the punishment continued, she began to feel like she was melting into the wood beneath her, flowing like treacle over its edges. She could feel the slaps, she could hear his breathing, and somewhere, far, far away, she could hear her own sounds, raw and torn from her throat. And then she was sobbing and begging in nonsense words that only had meaning until she uttered them.
When he released his grip on her neck and laid his palms on both her throbbing, stinging buttocks, she whimpered, breathlessly, and pressed her ass back against them. Her whole body was vibrating, singing, and her cunt was spasming as if she were on the edge of orgasm.
He stroked her buttocks and let his hands trail down the back of her thighs. When he brought them up again, they were slippery and wet.
She heard him groan. The edge of one of his hands slipped between her legs, and she felt his fingertips brush into the furrow of her cunt. She held her breath. ‘Touch me, please, touch me’ she prayed.
He made a noise like a man in pain, and then, he was pulling her knickers up and tugging the hem of her tunic down over her hips. Bettina pushed herself off the table and looked around at him.
“It seems… I was wrong, Miss Philips.” His voice trembled, broke. “And you were right.”
Then, to her utter disbelief, he turned on his heels, went to the door, and let himself out.
She stood there, leaning against the common room table for a long time. As hard as she tried, it was beyond her to understand what had happened – any of it. She didn’t understand why he’d spanked her, or why he hadn’t shagged her, or why he’d seemed so upset. More than anything, she couldn’t fathom why he’d left.
He’d left her alone. In this awful room.Wanting him. She sat down on one of the battered common room sofas and cried.
The voice made her look up. The lights switched on and she blinked, blinded by them at first.
“Have we had a fight with a boyfriend? Been jilted, have we?” It was Mrs. Walker, the games mistress. Her face was a comic mask of compassion.
Bettina sniffed and wiped the tears of her cheeks. She had no idea what to say, so she nodded.
She fled past the concerned Mrs. Walker and out of the main building, back to her dorm house. It was almost empty; most of the girls were still at the dance. Thankful for the solitude, she shed her clothes, pulled on her pyjamas and crawled into bed. Even as she fell asleep, she could still feel the heat of his hands on her bottom.
* * *
Saturday morning was end of term. The whole dorm house was in a frenzy of excited packing. Everyone had plans: they were going to Corfu, or being picked up by someone for a break in the countryside, travelling up to London for Easter with their family.
And that was exactly what Bettina had intended to do. She’d packed her small suitcase and piled on the bus with the rest of the girls and been dropped off at the train station in Brighton. She’d even bought a ticket.
She was sitting in the little station cafe, with the rest of the girls, waiting for the train to arrive. A very thin girl, who Bettina didn’t know very well, sighed and said, “I wonder what Mr. Stephens does on his holidays.”
“He probably has family somewhere else,” said another, eating an orange segment.
“No. He’s got a flat in Brighton. I bet he just reads and fucks his girlfriend,” corrected Jane.
Bettina looked at her. “How do you know he has a flat in Brighton?”
“Cos my aunt was the estate agent who found it for him. It’s in that old block of flats near the front. Just before the Crescent, where it gets all posh.”
“The one that has windows like a ship’s portholes round the bottom? The really old one?”
“Yes, that’s the one. Art Deco. They say it’s going to be made a heritage…”
Bettina didn’t hear the rest of the sentence. Suitcase in hand, she was flying out the station doors down towards the seafront. People on the sidewalk blurred as she ran past them.
Perhaps her parents would wonder where she was, when she didn’t arrive in London in the afternoon. She didn’t care. Perhaps Jane was wrong, and he’d already left for where ever he spent his holidays. Perhaps he had a girlfriend and Jane was right, they were up there right now, shagging their brains out.
But none of it mattered. She ran on, along the seafront. She had questions that needed answers and she knew with complete certainty that he was the only one who could answer them.
She was out of breath by the time she reached the block of flats. There was a row of bells, with numbers beside them, but no names. She looked around frantically; perhaps he was in the phone book. Just as she was about to dash to the nearest phone booth, an old lady came out of the front door with a small, yapping dog. Bettina thought a moment, and ducked behind her and through the doors before they closed and locked. She looked around the lobby, searching for some sort of directory, but it was a very old building. Then, she spotted the pile of letters scattered on the hall table. She walked over and began to look through them. It didn’t take her long. There was an electric bill, addressed to Mr. Peter M. Stephens. Flat 23.
Still clutching the bill, she climbed the stairs to the second floor. The hallway was musty and reeked of boiled cabbage. When she reached his door, her heart was pounding against her ribs. What if he didn’t want to see her? What if he told her to go fuck herself? What if he called the school? What if…
She pressed the bell and held her breath.
When he opened it, he didn’t smile or even look surprised.
“Come in,” he said, stepping away from the door so she could pass.
She walked into his flat, dropped her suitcase on the floor and watched him close the door behind her.
He walked past her, into a small kitchen and called out behind him, “Want some tea?”
She followed, not understanding why her throat was closing up and her eyes were flooding with tears. She wasn’t sure what she wanted, or why she was even here.
He turned, waiting for an answer, and then his face changed, suddenly softening. As he put his arms around her, she crumbled and sobbed into his chest.
“Sh-h. It’s okay,” he whispered, caressing the side of her face. “You don’t want tea. Silly me for asking. I know what you want.”
“Do you?” she moaned into his shirt. She closed her eyes and inhaled his scent again. It seemed so familiar now, as if she’d known it for a long time. “Do you know?”
“Yes. I think I do.”
He pulled himself away from her gently and stood her in front the kitchen counter. Still sobbing as she let him press her head down onto the cool tile, she felt him lift the back of her skirt up over her hips. He stroked her buttocks through her knickers.
Bettina closed her eyes and stopped crying. Little, short breaths stole air down into her lungs like sips of water. He bent over her and kissed her softly, just beside her mouth.
“Is this it?” His hand pulled the back of her panties down, exposing her. She could feel his gloriously warm hand against her bare skin again. “Is this what you want?”
“Yes…” she peeped.
“Mm-m. I’m glad you came.”
His second spanking went through stages, just like the first had. At first there was nothing but the sting and she cried out. But then it changed into something far more complex than simply pain. Each stroke felt like her mind was being cleaned out: all the fear and the loneliness, all the anger and the pettiness, the sense of being abandoned, and trapped, and hopeless. He swept it all away until there was nothing but a pool of warm, still water and the delicious wetness between her legs.
He touched her, the way he had the night before. Velvet slipping over burning skin and in between. She moaned and arched her back. His fingers entered her, invading the slippery folds. He pressed his lips to her ear. He was panting too, excited just as she was.
“Please don’t stop this time,” she whimpered. “Please, Mr. Stephens.”
“No…no… I won’t. I promise. Spread your legs wider.”
She groaned in relief and placed her feet further apart. She wanted him to know that she was his, that he could do whatever he liked with her, that he owned her now.
His fingers teased her, played her, making her hips move. “Such a good girl. And so wet.”
He kissed her face – little soft kisses – and he eased a finger up inside her cunt. She thought she would die with the pleasure of it until he began to work it, and then another, in and out of her. She reached blindly for him, trying to find the crotch of his trousers, but he sidestepped her efforts and, releasing her neck, trapped her arm on the counter.
“No. Not yet. Come for me, Bettina.”
“I… I want…”
He kissed her mouth quickly. “This is my game, my rules. Just relax and do as I say.”
She moaned and looked at him, into his eyes. He nodded encouragingly and began to fuck her with his fingers in long, deep strokes.
It was too much. She gave over, letting every thrust push her body on the counter, becoming nothing but an instrument he manipulated. She felt her lower belly tighten and begin to ripple.
“Mm-m. That’s it.” He was staring at her, their eyes locked, as he pushed her closer and closer, willing her up that last part of a very steep hill.
When she was at the crest, he held her there – she knew it because the world had disappeared and there were only his eyes and the fingers in her cunt – just teetering on the precipice in a way no one had ever done before. He curled his fingers inside her and smiled as she gasped.
“I’m coming…” she whispered.
Then the world was collapsing and fragmenting and she was screaming and riding his fingers, fucking them with abandon, impaling herself onto them as far as they would go. She felt fluid gush from between her legs and trickle down her bare thighs. And even when she stopped moving, he still stroked her, pulling the last dregs of spasms out of her like silken threads.
She lay on the counter panting. The legs that had held her up through all of this threatened to fold beneath her. Gently, he pulled his fingers out of her.
“Fuck me…please.” It was all she could think of to say.
“No. We’ll have some tea first, then we’ll see.”