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|Subject: Au pair|
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Date Posted: 16:10:11 09/07/12 Fri
This is a short story I've been working on from the point of view of a young English au pair working in America. This is the first story I've written at this sort of level so I'd love some feedback. Sorry it drags on a bit:
I finished my A-levels shortly before my eighteenth birthday. Unfortunately I had no offers for a university place, but I was by no means alone, the competition for places on medicine courses had been particularly fierce, and so it was no disgrace for me to take a gap year before reapplying. I wanted to get out and travel somewhere exotic before I started University, so rather than looking for work or internships I decided to spend a few months abroad. My first thought was interrailing, as a lot of my friends were doing, but then an opportunity came up to stay with a family in the USA. A relative of ours in North Carolina mentioned some friends of theirs were looking for an au pair. Peter and Antonia were quite young, barely out of their thirties, but already with three children, one fully grown, successful careers and a beautiful old suburban house bigger than anything I’d lived in, where they lived with two daughters, Katie, who was nearing sixteen, and Sarah, who was six.
Officially I was to be working as an au pair, but in reality I wasn’t expected to do too much work, just the odd bit of housework, helping the kids with homework and various other bits and pieces. Their eldest daughter, Harriet, was on her own gap year half the world away in China, wanting to stay there to study, and I think part of my role was filling the void she’d left until the family could get used to it. Katie was learning the piano, and I was able to keep my hand in by teaching her. After a while I started to teach her friends and soon I had a steady income of spending money.
From the outset I got on well with them all. Peter and Antonia were kind, welcoming and eager to make my stay enjoyable. Katie and Sarah loved having someone new in the house, and although I often acted as their babysitter or teacher, I ended up a lot closer to them than I would have expected, Katie especially, as she wasn’t that much younger than me. In that quiet community a new face, especially such an exotic one as a Geordie girl, got a lot of interest and I quickly made friends in the neighbourhood.
There were culture shocks of course. Not that I had had much of a chance to drink at home anyway, but finding the drinking age to be 21 was an eye opener. Living in ‘The South’ brought all kinds of surprises. Peter and Antonia weren’t terribly religious or conservative, but even so it was a world away from my very liberal and cosmopolitan upbringing in Newcastle.
One of the bigger shocks (and the important one for this story) came a couple of months in. Occasionally I would be asked to take Sarah out for an hour or so in the evening, to the park or the shopping centre which stayed open late. Sometimes Peter came with us, or went off on his own, and Antonia and Katie would stay in. When we got back, Katie would be in her room and wouldn’t reappear that evening. The same would also happen with Sarah, and Katie and I would go for a walk somewhere in much the same way.
Once I returned slightly early from a trip out, and was greeted by a muffled slapping noise from the living room, accompanied by the sound of Sarah wailing. This, to a liberally raised girl whose had never raised a finger in anger, was quite shocking at first. But I reasoned that in this part of the world, there could be nothing unusual about a little girl getting her bottom smacked now and then. Besides, Sarah and Antonia’s relationship was none of my business.
I hurried discreetly to my own room, making just enough noise to let them know I was in. As it was getting late and the living room was clearly out of bounds, I got into bed and read for a while. The reading became harder however, as my mind started to piece things together. This was exactly the same scenario as whenever Katie brought a not home from school, or missed her curfew. Antonia couldn’t possibly still be smacking her bottom surely? She was fifteen! Yet the more I thought about it the more the facts seemed to point that way.
My chance to find out for definite came shortly afterwards, in the first of several curious opportunities, when Katie once again missed her shoolnight curfew. The next evening, Peter and Sarah disappeared to the park, as usual. I was going to a party down the road, which took care of my presence for the evening. They presumably assumed I’d be back shortly before my own curfew of half eleven (a completely unnecessary and pedantic restriction in my view, but it stood). Instead, I made my excuses as soon as I could, and walked back up the road, took my shoes off outside the door and crept in as silently as I could. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to find, but the house was also silent. I tiptoed to my room, somehow almost disappointed, but not willing to go anywhere else in case I blundered into Antonia and had to explain why I was sneaking around the house.
I had almost lost interest and dozed off when I heard what I knew to be Katie’s footsteps on the stairs. I crept to my door, which as luck would have it was ajar and gave a clear view towards Katie’s room. I hid in the shadows hoping she wouldn’t glance in my direction as she came into view, sniffing as she went. She was wearing her pyjama top, but below the waist only her knickers; the white cotton stood in glorious contrast to what I first thought was red lace trim, then suddenly realised was the crimson of her bottom peeking out below the edge. In a moment she was through her door and out of sight, but I had all the evidence I needed. I had never seen a well smacked bottom in my life, but those flaming red cheeks spilling out of her underwear, which were sore even to look at, could be nothing else.
Well there was no getting to sleep after that. My mind was in complete turmoil as I tried to come to terms with it all. Katie was a remarkably responsible girl, she got on well with her parents, she wasn’t babyish or immature, she didn’t seem resentful or restricted. Peter and Antonia were reasonable, intelligent people who seemed like good parenting personified, and they weren’t overly conservative or strict, yet apparently their late teenage daughter was being punished like someone half her age and from the last century.
I had to talk to someone about it, try and get my head round the whole situation, but how? It would have to be one of the family, this was clearly a family issue and I doubted they would thank me for chatting about it with my friends. It would have to be Antonia, I decided – Katie would probably be far too embarrassed and I just wasn’t comfortable discussing it with Peter. But even if I managed to bring up the subject, in conversation, how would it be received? Would she be uncomfortable discussing it?
In a second golden opportunity it turned out to be a lot easier than I expected. Only a few days later, I was helping Antonia in the kitchen, and plucked up the courage to mention I’d come home early from the party the other night, making up some excuse about it getting too raucous for my liking. When this seemed to get little reaction, I mentioned Katie had come upstairs shortly afterwards.
‘And you no doubt saw she’d gotten a pretty good spanking?’
The abruptness of it left me almost speechless, but prompted by Antonia I described exactly what I had seen. I left out that I had crept back home in expectation, making out I had just happened to be in my room at that particular moment. I was fairly sure she believed me.
‘Well you were bound to find out sooner or later, I know. I guess it must seem quite strange to you, from how you’ve talked about your growing up. I don’t imagine it happened all that often back home. Did your parents ever spank you at all?’ I shook my head.
‘Well over here that would be pretty strange. Almost every family I know at least believes in spanking, and you’ll find most kids have been spanked at some point growing up. It’s just part of life.’
‘But Katie’s nearly sixteen, isn’t that a little old for... that?’ I queried.
‘Hannah, in all honesty I think age has very little to do with it. Besides, everyone is different, how can you say when is too old? Maybe in England only small children are ever spanked, but here? There’s nothing unusual in teens getting a spanking occasionally if it still works for them. Harriet was spanked until she left home; it’s possible she will be when she comes back. When I was growing up I got plenty spanked by my parents, even when I was your age. In fact, and this is something not even Katie and I have discussed freely, it doesn’t end there. I was spanked by Peter when we dated, and after we were married. I know plenty of couples who are the same. Maybe one day Katie will have a boyfriend who spanks her, but that will be her decision and not mine. I would hope he would never consider spanking her against her will. I know Peter never has with me. Spankings from your parents and in a relationship are very different ideas, but there has to be a certain amount of cooperation in both.
‘I want to make it perfectly clear that I am always thankful Peter and my parents have always cared enough to spank me, all clichés aside it has helped me become who I am today. I never once felt abused or taken advantage of. I know that Katie would say the same, and that she doesn’t resent it at all. As a teenager and still today I was always glad my parents would spank me rather than just hitting or yelling, and I infinitely preferred getting it over with to being grounded and stuck at home for weeks on end. Katie would rather be spanked to kingdom come than lose her iPod or laptop for a month like some kids her age.’
‘I realise this is probably all a very strange concept for you Hannah, but I’ve tried to give my perspective, I hope it helps you to understand.’
I said it did, which was half true, and we carried on with what we were doing, Antonia steering the conversation onto something less challenging. My mind was only half in it, however. I couldn’t tear my thoughts from that brief conversation. I had never heard the word ‘spanking’ used so much in my life, and it carried on spinning round my head long afterwards. I also began to think more about the other things she had said. She was grateful she was spanked by her parents. Katie was too. Would I have been? I never was and I had turned out fine hadn’t I? Actually to tell the truth I had been a bit of a brat at Katie’s age... who was to say I wasn’t still? Katie was one of the sweetest natured, most conscientious and well rounded girls I had ever met.
It was a small step from this to wondering about myself being spanked. By Antonia’s standards I was by no means at all too old, but my parents were a thousand miles away and set in their ways, and at that time I was happily single with no potential boyfriend, let alone one I would trust with that sort of thing.
Besides, there wasn’t much reason to get hung up on this. I hadn’t broken my curfew, unnecessary though it was, I wasn’t getting in any kind of trouble. As far as I knew Peter and Antonia were happy with how I was getting on, I was certainly enjoying myself. I could see no way to solve this roiling internal debate, so with some difficulty I managed to put it from my mind, and carry on with the day to day business of being Peter and Antonia’s nominal au pair.
That is, until another remarkable opportunity.
Peter had taken Katie and Sarah upstate for a week to stay with his parents, while Antonia, unable to get time off work that week, stayed at home with me. Life carried on as usual for the first few days, until I went to another party a little further afield. For situations like this I was allowed to borrow Antonia’s car, which I realised showed a great deal of trust on her part. The party swung on brilliantly, and someone had managed to smuggle in some beers, one of which I was coerced into drinking. I left a little after eleven, realising I would have to push it to make it back before my stupid curfew. I was haring along the quiet suburban streets when suddenly I was confronted by headlights and found myself about to collide with a goods van. I swerved off and ended up on the pavement. I was in no fit state to drive the rest of the way, mostly with shock, but I also realised the beer had done me no favours on that score. Half eleven was long passed by the time I’d pulled myself together and parked the car properly. I phoned Antonia to let her know what had happened, then called a taxi, which got me home well after midnight.
Antonia’s first reaction, thankfully, was relief, but I realised underneath she was pretty pissed off with me. I was sent upstairs with a promise we would ‘talk tomorrow’, and I crashed out and slept until late the next morning. Antonia had already left for work, so I had the whole day to myself with my thoughts. I’m sure you can guess that pretty quickly those thoughts turned to spanking. Antonia had left a message saying she wouldn’t be back until eight, giving me until long after supper to work out what I was going to say, but I still struggled. I resolved finally to write her a letter, which I did, saying over and over how sorry I was and how guilty I felt for abusing her trust and breaking the few rules she had set. I talked about our conversation about spanking (just writing the word was strange, the first time I had ever done so) and how it had really got me thinking, and concluded in a rambling way with something about feeling thankful for things and opportunities to make a change and how much I hoped I could make it up to her. I left it on the hall table where it couldn’t be missed, and went up to my room.
I heard Antonia get home, and in my mind’s eye watched her find the letter, take it through to the living room and read every word I had just written. The time had passed for her to have read it twenty times, the minutes ticked past until she had been home well over than an hour, and I was beginning to despair, when I heard her footsteps on the stairs, followed by her voice at my door asking me to come down to the living room for a word.
My legs all of a sudden turned to jelly; I made my way slowly down and sat down on the sofa opposite her.
‘Hannah. We both know what this conversation is going to be about, so let’s just get on with it. Your letter took me kind of by surprise, as you must have guessed. It’s made me think a lot and I’ve even called Peter to discuss it with him.’ This could clearly go either way.
‘Now my first thought was that you were simply trying shock tactics to get yourself out of trouble -’ She looked at me hard for a moment -‘but I don’t believe you are. Hannah, this is serious stuff. It’s a deeply personal familial issue we’re talking about. I am not your mother, or any relation.’
‘But I’m living under your roof, and you are responsible for me.’ I blurted out. ‘And you’re the only person I’ve ever talked to properly about this stuff.’
‘I would hardly call those five minutes last month talking seriously.’ She said, peering over her glasses. Then after a pause: ‘But I see your point. But my goodness Hannah this is something big, I’m not sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. You are asking me to spank you, let’s be perfectly clear on that right now. You may not have said that explicitly, but that’s what you’re asking.’
‘This isn’t an easy solution you’re proposing here. You are talking about handing over complete trust, trusting me to take responsibility for your discipline in a manner I doubt your parents approve of.’
‘But I’m eighteen, I’m not legally their responsibility anymore.’ I argued. ‘I need to find my own way to keep myself in check.’ And then my trump card: ‘How old were you when Peter started punishing you, rather than your parents?’
‘I was eighteen Hannah, but Peter was my boyfriend, I trusted him explicitly. Besides...’
‘Well you and Peter are the only option I’ve got out here. I need something to happen and I’m willing to do it on your terms.’
After that I felt I had at last won her round. She thought hard for several seconds, before she finally sighed and resignedly smiled.
‘Well you can certainly argue a corner Hannah. I may have to watch out for that in future. But do you really know what you’re getting yourself into I wonder. This will not be an easy way out, you understand? A spanking hurts bad, and if this is on ‘my terms’, as you say, don’t imagine you’ll be getting it easy.’
I nodded nervously, as my stomach knotted itself madly. It started to hit me that this wasn’t theoretical anymore.
‘You’ll get no special treatment in this, you’ll get the same spanking Katie or Harriet would if they had pulled a stunt like this, although I’ll take into account this is your first time. I think you’re old enough not to be spanked like a little girl like Sarah, even though you’re not used to it.’ She paused, and I realised I was shaking slightly with the anticipation.
‘Waiting won’t make it any easier, and my girls would usually have been over my knee by this time, so I think we’d best get on with it. Why don’t you go and shower and brush your teeth beforehand. There’s a hairbrush on the dresser in the bathroom I’d like you to bring back down with you, and you should just wear your cami and panties, like you saw Katie was that night.’
With that I shuffled nervously upstairs to the shower room. After I’d managed to shower with my hands shaking as they were and climbed out dripping, I spent a minute staring at the heavy old-fashioned wooden hairbrush I had been told to fetch; I could all too easily guess why. I toyed with the idea of trying a test smack beforehand, to see what I was expecting. I quickly dismissed it. That information would be of little use now, I would find out soon enough. Once dry, I slipped across the landing to my room, and pulled on my short blue pyjama top and a pair of full fitting black knickers, for modesty’s sake. Holding the hairbrush shakily in one hand, I took the long walk back down the stairs to the living room. Antonia was sat on the sofa reading when I entered.
‘There you are sweetie. Just pop the brush on the table and then go and stand in the corner there facing the wall and think about how you’ve gotten into this situation.’ Wordlessly I did so, acutely aware of my underwear and legs on full display. I had been in the corner only a few moments when Antonia, presumably finishing a paragraph, got up and came over to me.
I suddenly felt her hands at my waist as she yanked my knickers down to fall around my ankles. I gasped and made a grab for them in shock, half turning out of the corner, but some sharp words from her quickly got me back in position, this time with my hands on my head.
She went back to her book, and for what I later guessed was twenty minutes, (though at the time it felt like hours) I stood in the corner naked from the waist down, my face as red as I knew my bottom soon would be.
With a mixture of relief and terror, I heard the sound of a chair being moved and Antonia’s voice, firm but calm, and not unkind.
‘Right sweetie, you can come over now, but keep your hands where they are.’ Slowly I turned around to see Antonia seated on an armless wooden chair in the middle of the room, the hairbrush on the floor by her feet. I was beckoned over and soon found myself draped across her lap like a rag doll. My top slipped forward leaving me stark naked from the middle of my back downwards, her tweed suit trousers prickly against my bare skin. I felt her hand against my bottom and suddenly it had begun. I could still see the hairbrush unused on the floor, but I couldn’t believe it would stay there.
SLAP SLAP SLAP SLAPSLAP
Her hand came down relentlessly and with astonishing volume, alternating from left to right, every now and then staying on one cheek for several slaps, as my bottom slowly warmed up and the slaps began to sting more and more. It became increasingly difficult to remain still and I found myself gasping with each slap and gripping the legs of the chair tightly to restrain myself.
SLAP SLAP SLAP SLAPSLAP
My gasps soon turned to a series of soft cries, punctuated by moans whenever she dwelt on a particular spot for any length of time. I could feel tears appearing in my eyes and trickling down my cheeks. It somehow felt as if each slap was harder, as they built up layer upon searing layer.
Then came a pause, and out of the corner of my eye I saw her hand reach down and grab the hairbrush, and then her right leg skilfully swung over to pinion both of mine between hers. The brush tapped once or twice against my smarting backside, before raining down a torrent of smacks across both cheeks. She smacked slower than she had with her hand, but each one felt a hundred times worse.
My low cries were now full blown wails as I sobbed and wriggled and under the blows. The hairbrush rained down on my bottom from my tailbone down to the tops of my thighs, where it elicited screams of pure agony. I lost my restraint and reached one hand back to try and protect myself, but before it got anywhere it was skilfully pinned to my back. One leg broke free briefly and my plan to keep my legs together was forgotten as they momentarily flailed wide apart before Antonia had me back under control.
I was almost hoarse from screaming, my face was drenched in tears, my hair tangled, and my top bunched up under my arms. After a particularly fierce volley the slaps ceased. I lay racked with sobs across Antonia’s lap before being lifted into a kneeling position, where I remained for several minutes while she hugged me tightly, hushing me and stroking my hair.
‘Well done on taking your first spanking Hannah, I’m very proud of you. Now we’re not quite finished, I want you to have another twenty minutes in the corner to let it sink in, then I think you’d best be getting to bed.’
Still sobbing, I limped back to the corner, placed my hands on my head without being told and stood, thinking of nothing else but the fire she had set in my bottom, until the twenty minutes were up:
‘Right, that’s it. You can put your panties back on and then you’d best be getting to bed. Goodnight Hannah.’ I hastily pulled on my knickers which lay discarded by the chair, but flinched as they came into contact with my scorching bottom. Before I was half way up the stairs I had taken them off again. I inspected the damage in my bedroom mirror, wincing at my shockingly scarlet bottom hot to the touch, with patches of lurid crimson. Antonia hadn’t missed a single spot, and had really gone to town on some. Not bothering with my pyjama bottoms, I flopped face down on the bed and despite the burning and itching was asleep within minutes.
The next afternoon I was sitting awkwardly on several cushions on the sofa reading when Peter and Katie returned. Katie stuck her head round the door to say hi before disappearing upstairs, and I stuck to my book as Peter and Antonia chatted in the kitchen. Sometime later the door Peter came through the living room, apparently on his way to the garden.
‘I hear Antonia gave you a spanking yesterday Hannah.’ I instantly went as crimson as my bottom had been the night before. I was too taken aback even to nod.
‘I have to say I think that was a good decision, on both your parts. She called me beforehand to ask my advice, and I said the two of you would have to work it out yourselves, but I thought if the issues were worked out properly it would be a good development for everyone. I think now it’s done and the ice is broken it will be a lot easier in future.’
He carried on through to the garden, and left me suddenly out of breath. What did he mean by it being easier in the future? That was a stupid question, I could all too easily guess what he meant by that. What in God’s name had I let myself in for?
But that, I have to say, is another story.
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