Heather Clarke held her infant son Mikey very close. He seemed to be enjoying the plane ride much more than she was. She usually enjoyed adventures like flying in a sea plane, but the reason for this trip took away any chance of her feeling joy. When the plane landed, she would have to live in a place she had never even visited, in a new home with people she did not know. A shiver ran up her spine.
Heather hoped that Mikey had not seen her brush away the tear that escaped from her tightly pinched eyelid. She continued to fight back her tears as she stared out the plane’s windows. Thank goodness Mikey was distracted. Every time she cried, his wise little eyes seemed to share her pain. “Mommy’s going to make you happy,” she whispered. “We’re going to be alright.” She hoped that she was not just whistling past the graveyard.
One thing was certain. Her life was not working out the way she had planned. Instead of enjoying her freshman year at the university, she found herself caring for a baby. She was only nineteen years old. It was not fair!
The generosity of Dad’s good friend Steven Baxter was the only thing that had saved Heather from resorting to the welfare system. Because of his largess, she and Mikey were winging their way to his home. Heather had not wanted to place herself under this stranger’s unofficial guardianship, but she had no other way to provide for her baby and still escape from Daphne’s unrelenting persecution. Her stepmother never missed a chance to torment Heather since she had learned about the surprise pregnancy. Things had only gotten worse when Heather had first refused to get an abortion, and worse still when she would not give Mikey up for adoption. Heather had only known an affluent life, and the thought of poverty terrified her. Steve Baxter was her best option.
All of Heather and Mikey’s possessions had been shipped to Mr. Baxter’s home a few days ago, so a small suitcase and diaper bag held all the necessities to sustain mother and baby for their trip. When Mikey stirred, she asked the pilot how much longer they would be in the air. She groaned silently when he said they had almost an hour more to go. The young mother used a pretty blue blanket to cover the baby and her breasts while he nursed. She did not feel completely comfortable baring her breasts in front of this stranger, but her baby’s needs had to come first.
The airman smiled and politely kept his eyes trained forward. “My wife nursed our children. It is one of the most loving things a mother can do.” Heather held her hungry baby close and blinked away the tears. She sighed in relief when her hungry little man was satisfied and she could button her blouse.
The pilot pointed out the huge Mackinac Bridge as the plane began to descend. “Dark Island is just a few minutes away.” Her new home’s ominous name did nothing to alleviate Heather’s anxiety. She would learn later that the spooky name came from the fact that bright sunlight could never penetrate the dense wood that covered it. The island was part of a beautiful archipelago on the south side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and had been a summer refuge for the well to do for over a hundred years. The place’s spectacular beauty actually lifted Heather’s sprits a bit.
“There’s Mr. Baxter’s place,” the pilot said. He buzzed the large house to announce their arrival before skillfully putting the plane down on the sheltered water of Goose Bay. The inlet looked like a small lake in the middle of Dark Island, but in fact a narrow passage connected the bay to the maze of channels that flowed past many other islands. The plane’s floats made a slapping sound as they touched the water’s surface. Little Mikey squealed happily. The plane slowly taxied toward a long dock, and a tall man in a blue flannel shirt and jeans strode onto the pier. Heather had never seen Steven Baxter before, but she had heard her father mention his name many times. The pilot skillfully placed the plane alongside the dock and cut the engine as soon as Mr. Baxter tied one of the floats to the pier.
Heather was impressed by this man. He was almost a foot taller than her, and his face was covered with a neatly trimmed black beard. His lean muscular body bore testimony to his active lifestyle. Heather knew the handsome man was older than her, but she was not sure exactly how much. Dad had indicated Steve was a little younger than him. The pilot deftly stepped onto the dock, and the two men held out their hands for Heather. She was not willing to hand her baby to either of them, so they steadied her until she was safely standing on the pier.
“Hello, Heather. I am Steve Baxter. Welcome to your new home.” His voice suited him. It was strong and pleasant. She had only heard it on the phone before. His blue eyes locked onto hers and somehow made her very aware of his strength.
“Hello, Mr. Baxter. This is Michael Clarke II, and we are glad to be here too.” Mikey smiled and cooed at the bearded man.
The pilot announced that he needed to hurry because the weather was going to get bad. He placed Heather’s luggage onto the dock and climbed into the cockpit. Mr. Baxter released the ropes and pushed the plane away from the dock. The big rotary engine roared, and the plane was gone in a couple of minutes.
Baxter grabbed the bags, and the little party headed for his house. They were a few steps from the porch when the heavy door flew open. A plump gray-haired woman stepped outside with her hands in the air. Mr. Baxter smiled and made the necessary introductions. “Doris is the person who keeps this place livable,” he said. “I am sure you are a good mother, but if you happen to have any questions, she will be delighted to play grandma.” The mention of “grand mothering” made Heather sad. She was acutely aware that her mother would never get to hold Mikey and that Daphne only wanted to curse his existence.
Doris’s warm smile lightened Heather’s gloom. The older woman poked Mr. Baxter playfully. “I raised this strapping fellow, and I’ll be pleased to lend a hand with your little man too. Forgive me if I get too pushy. I just can’t help loving these tiny bundles of joy.” Doris politely kept her hands to herself until Heather offered Mikey to the older woman. He screeched in sheer joy as he slipped into Doris’ loving arms. Heather was so glad to see her baby happy.
Mr. Baxter became more serious when the group was safely inside. “Heather, we will talk about what I expect from you later. For now, all you need to know is that supper will be served at six. I expect you to be prompt, and I want you to kindly change into a skirt. Proper dress will help you get back onto the right track.”
Heather resented that demand but wisely chose to hold her tongue. Doris read Heather’s reaction perfectly and herded the girl away before she could say the wrong thing.
“Don’t let Mr. Baxter offend you,” Doris said as soon as they were out of earshot. “He is very direct, but I know he wants you to have a good start in life. Your stepmother has told him about all the bad things that have happened, and he sincerely wants to help.” Doris glanced over her shoulder to make sure the two women were alone. “Mr. Baxter is fair and kind, but he will not tolerate any foolishness. Be smart, and always answer him politely and honestly. Everything will go better for you if you do.” Heather nodded, wide-eyed.
Doris opened the door to Heather’s new room. The sight of it made her very happy. It was large enough to have plenty of room for Mikey’s crib and playpen. A changing table sat in front of one of the big bay windows. The bed was even made up with her favorite spread. She blushed when she saw her favorite stuffed bear, Max, sitting on the pillow. Heather was a mom, but she could still remember being a little girl.
“I hung up your clothes and put your other things in the dresser with Mikey’s. The rest of your things are in the storeroom. I’ll help you unpack later.”
The two women sat on the edge of Heather’s bed. Doris touched the young woman’s shoulder before she spoke. “Mr. Baxter told me that you’ve had a very hard time. I don’t mean to pry, but I’d like to know a little more. What happened to your parents?”
Heather trusted Doris already, so she took the risk of sharing a little. “My mom died of breast cancer almost two years ago. Dad and I tried to keep going, but it was really hard. He got depressed, and I tried to be good, but I was missing Mom too. A year ago Dad married Daphne. I couldn’t believe it. She’s only five years older than me! I was so mad that I tried to give her a hard time.” Heather cried for a moment and Doris hugged her. “Anyway, two months ago Dad had a heart attack and died too. He’d told me about Mr. Baxter and said I should call him if I needed anything. There is no way that I can live with Daphne, so here I am.”
Doris hugged Heather again. She knew they’d talk more later. The girl needed to calm down a little. ”Please relax and make yourself comfortable. My room is next door,” Doris said. “Knock if you need anything. Mr. Baxter is very definite in his ideas about young women’s clothing. If you don’t have enough skirts, let him know. Jeans and slacks can only be worn when he says so. They are not acceptable in the house. Any clothing you wear has to be modest. Don’t test him, you’ll lose.”
Heather wanted to protest, but she realized that Doris was not the person in charge. She and Mr. Steven Baxter were going to have a talk if he thought he was going dictate how she was going to dress. She did not have to put up with his bossiness. Nobody was going to tell her what to do. She made the decision then and there to challenge the head of this household. He was going to be sorry.
Dinner started out very pleasantly. Doris had telephoned Daphne, so she knew some of Heather’s favorite foods. The evening menu included baked ham, mashed potatoes, tossed salad, homemade rolls and Dutch apple pie a la mode. Heather would later learn that these foods were some of Steve Baxter’s favorites too.
The after dinner conversation began pleasantly enough. “I hope you and Michael are getting settled,” Steve said. “Is you room comfortable?”
“Yes, it’s very nice. You have a beautiful home.” She remembered how her parents had talked when they were visiting. Polite conversation would be no problem
“Thank you. I’ve lived here most of my life. I inherited the place after my father died. When Doris decided to stay on, I didn’t want to live anywhere else. Dad passed away when I was just a little older than you are now, and Mom died when I was seven. The room you are staying in was mine when I was a boy.”
The conversation went on for a while, and the young mother had almost forgotten how much her host’s authoritarian tone had angered her. That feeling flooded back, however, when Mr. Baxter changed the subject.
“Heather, I want to complement you on your appearance this evening. I expect you to be dressed like this whenever you are in this house.”
She stiffened. “I don’t understand why I can’t just be comfortable. I thought this was supposed to be my new home. There is no reason I should have to dress up all the time.”
Baxter forced a smile. This girl would test his patience. “You will learn to be more comfortable when you get used to thinking of yourself as a young lady. The way we dress influences how we feel about ourselves.” Steve tried to steer the conversation back to peaceful waters. He gestured toward his faithful housekeeper. “Thanks for a great meal, Doris.” A second later, he turned back to Heather. “Be sure and tell Doris how much you enjoyed the food. I know she went to some trouble to fix some of the things you like.”
Heather grimaced. “Thank you, Doris,” she said. “I was about to thank you on my own.” She glared at Baxter. “He doesn’t understand that I am an adult, and I don’t need to be reminded like some child.” Steve tightened his jaw and tried to let that remark pass, but she was just getting started. ‘Of course, I’m not even mature enough to pick out my own clothing. How could I possibly be mature enough to thank you for a good meal? He can’t see that I am grown up.”
“I can see that you are choosing to spoil your first evening here. You’re acting like a spoiled brat,” Steve said in a threateningly low tone.
“I don’t like being told what to wear. I’ve been dressing myself for years, if you can get that through your head.”
Steve interlaced his fingers and rested his chin on them. Heather did not realize that he only did that when he was struggling to keep himself under control. “And how much have those decisions contributed to your current situation? What message have you been giving to the young men around you?”
“Just what are you accusing me of?” she flared. “Are you saying that all the things that happened to me were my fault?”
“I don’t know all the details, but I suggest that you watch your tone of voice, young lady.”
Instead of heeding his warning, Heather noisily scooted her chair back from the table. “I’ll bet you think you’ve got everything all figured out. You’re too damn smart to ask me anything. Why should you? I’m just a slut who got herself knocked up. Is that right? Was I asking for it?” Mikey heard his mother’s anger, and he began to fuss. “You think I went to that frat party to get laid. You think I’m a no good slut, and I got what I deserved. Well, it’s not true! Why does the girl always get blamed? You don’t care what happened. You’re just a bastard, a fucking chauvinist bastard!”
Those vulgar words surprised everyone at the table, including Heather. They had just tumbled out before she thought, and she was not sure what to do. Her angry outburst had been fueled by months of unrelenting pain that Steve did not deserve to pay for. He did not give her any more time. He rubbed the back of his neck before he spoke. “Doris, please take Master Mikey and get him ready for bed.” She picked up the fussy child, and he calmed down immediately.
“My son has not had his last feeding,” Heather barked. “I hope that meets with your high and mighty approval, but what would I know, I’m just his mother.” Her eyes met Steve’s. When she did not see the anger she had expected, she burst into tears. “I cannot do this,” she whispered. “I have no idea what got into me. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’m really afraid. I have nowhere else to go.”
“I am very glad to hear you say that,” he said tenderly. “I realize that you do not know me. I hope your vulgar words were your misguided way to express your pain. You are safe from molestation here, but you are not safe from correction for crude behavior.” He got to his feet and kissed Mikey’s forehead. “Doris, please give the mother her son. When he’s fed, take him to your room for a while. Heather and I have some important matters to settle that her baby should not witness.” He wiped his palm across his face and turned toward Heather. “Your foul mouth has earned you a spanking, Miss Clarke.” He turned on his heel and left the room so Heather could feed her baby without embarrassment.
Heather’s tear-filled eyes sought out Doris’s kind ones. “Is he really going to beat me?”
The older woman smiled kindly. “I’m afraid you’re earned a spanking, and a spanking you will get. Mr. Baxter is not a cruel man, but he is a stern one. I suggest that you do your best. That will make your punishment as light as possible.”
Mikey filled his tiny stomach and fell asleep in his mother’s arms. Heather delivered him into Doris’s loving embrace and covered her breasts. “I suppose I should get this over with,” she said as she wished for some miraculous reprieve.
Steve Baxter was sitting on a small bench outside the dining room when Heather emerged. Her rude talk had been intended to shock her new guardian. Instead of giving her power, it had succeeded in getting her into real trouble before the first full day in her new home had passed. She cursed herself for her foolishness.
“I am ready for my beating,” she spoke with bitter resignation.
Baxter liked this girl. Her rude talk had been inexcusable, but he was sure that his old friend’s daughter could be saved from the self-destructive course she had set herself on. “We need to inspect your wardrobe first,” he said. He took the trembling girl by the upper arm and escorted her to her room.
In a little while, a pile of scandalously tight jeans, thong panties, vulgar short shorts, wicked miniskirts, and tops too tight for a self-respecting girl to ever wear filled the center of her bed. A few borderline garments were spared. Heather had done a good job of selecting the most unsavory parts of her wardrobe. Eight modest dresses and a dozen reasonable skirts and a good selection of blouses remained. They would provide plenty for her to wear at mealtimes. He even let her keep some dressy slacks and modest jeans to wear on special occasions.
“You have done a good job,” Baxter said. “You do know what to wear when you get your rebellion in check.” He gathered the offending garments into a large basket. Heather could not keep from shaking. “Last, I want to see your night clothes.” None of Heather’s pajamas or other bed wear could be characterized as risqué. Baxter still found fault with them on two grounds. “The pajamas are modest enough, but they have pants. I want you to begin to think of yourself as a lady, and ladies in my household do not wear the pants.” Heather seethed as he stuffed the warm p.j.’s into the basket. “The other things are way too short.”
“I am only wearing them in bed,” Heather protested. “I want to be comfortable.” Baxter’s stern expression stopped her from saying any more.
“The clothing that we wear reminds us of the kind of person we are. And you need to understand that I regularly have friends over to hunt and fish on the island. I don’t want them to see you in any inappropriate way. They might run into you in the night, and I don’t want an ugly scene.”
“These are all I have,” Heather’s voice rose. “What in the—”
His fingers touched her lips to silence her. “Watch your mouth, young lady. It does not need to get you into more trouble. I had Doris purchase some appropriate night clothes for you.” He held out a new long pink flannel nightgown to the furious girl. “I am going to turn my back. Take off everything you’re wearing and put on your new gown.”
Heather gritted her teeth but hurriedly complied. She had no desire to be caught naked. “I look like an old lady,” she fussed. “Nobody young wears stuff like this.”
“You are no longer a girl,” Baxter said sternly. “When you chose to conceive a child, your girlhood ended. You said you are grown up, so I am going to have you dress that way, understood?”
“Okay… Sir.” Heather knew that she was not going to win this argument, and there was no sense in making the beating she faced worse than necessary. The gown may have looked stupid, but it was soft and warm.
“You look very nice,” Baxter said. “This is a new life for you. Try to learn to enjoy it.”
She hated to admit to herself that now she did looked more feminine than she had earlier. The soft cloth molded to her body and flattered all her feminine curves. Was Steve actually trying to cover her or did he have another intention? The gown covered everything, but it also showed everything. Her hands clutched each other nervously.
“I am going to let you rest tonight. I try to never spank when I am angry. Doris will wake you at seven. Meet me on the porch. Come dressed exactly as you are now.” He smiled sternly. “Get your precious little boy and go to sleep.” He took the basket of forbidden garments and strode away.
Heather needed more than a few minutes to finally close her eyes. The soft flannel seemed to mock the agony she knew her bottom would feel in the morning. She hated being told what to wear at any time and being told what to wear in her own bed was especially infuriating. The soft gown felt strange. In spite of the fact that it covered her far more completely than anything she had worn for a long time, sleeping without her confiscated panties made her feel strangely naked. All of her panties had been thongs so none had passed inspection. She guessed that Mr. Baxter wanted her to feel vulnerable for her whipping in the morning. Oh well. Wherever her mean guardian decided to spank would be well covered.
Heather’s parents had never laid a hand on her, so the idea of being spanked was foreign to her. A few of her girlfriends had told scary stories about discipline in their homes. One girl said that her father spanked both her and her mother. They told tales that Heather could hardly believe about belts and paddles and switches. Some even whispered about having to bare their bottoms for their punishments.
Heather did not believe any of it. She hoped that the girls were just exaggerating like she did so often. People spank little kids, but they didn’t spank big girls or adult women, did they? What kind of beast would make a woman lift her skirt and pull down her pants for a spanking? Was Steve Baxter that kind of man? She rubbed her bottom for a moment, and a chilling thought came to her mind. He had sent her to bed without panties. What was he going to do?
For a long while, she listened to her baby’s peaceful breathing until she finally drifted into sleep.
* * *
Doris shook Heather gently. “It’s time for you to meet with Mr. Baxter.”
Heather groaned. She felt like a condemned prisoner marching to the gallows. Why had her father ever suggested that she ask this cruel man for help? Daddy must have not known how mean Steven Baxter could be. She just knew the chauvinistic brute was going to whip her until her body bled. She would be scared for life emotionally and physically. Her commitment to care for Mikey was all that kept her from diving into the frigid lake and drowning herself. Then, she laughed at that thought. That would be too much drama even for her.
When she got to the porch, Mr. Baxter had his back to her. She was surprised when he faced her. His hands were empty. The cruel cat-o-nine-tails or nail studded club she expected was nowhere to be seen. When she saw his solemn expression, she fell at his feet and began to beg.
“Please, Mr. Baxter,” she wept. “I know I was very bad. I have learned my lesson. Please, please, please don’t beat me. I’ll never sass you again.” She gripped his ankles and prayed that he would show mercy.
Steve Baxter shook his head in amusement. This pretty young woman had so many sides. At one moment she was a loving mother demonstrating maturity far beyond her years. The next moment she was a sobbing child trying to avoid a paddling that she had to know she richly deserved. In between those extremes she could be rude and defiant one moment and genuinely charming the next. She was going to be a handful, but he owed her father too much to send her away. Steve Baxter never backed away from a challenge. If he failed to follow through, Heather might never be saved. Thank God he had not said how many spanks he was going to give her.
“Stand up, young lady.” He struggled to keep his voice stern. “Why are we here this morning?”
“You are going to beat me for being smart-mouthed yesterday.” Heather was playing her frightened little girl to the hilt.
“You will not be beaten,” he said as he tried not to chuckle at her silly act. “I am going to spank you, and I hope you will learn a valuable lesson. I sincerely want you to become a young woman that your father and mother would have been proud of if they had not tragically died.” He pulled her to her feet and took a chair. “Get across my lap, young lady.”
Her trembling surprised him. She felt smaller than he had expected, but recalling her vulgar words from the day before steeled his determination. He grabbed her gown’s hem and bared her round bottom.
The chill of the morning air on her exposed skin made Heather frantic. “Stop! You have no right to do this. I am not your daughter.” The little girl had been replaced by the outraged teen. She did not count on the fact that this persona would be a lot easier to spank. Her next words made warming her ass easier still. “I am a grown woman, a mother, you have no right to strip me naked.” She had a marked tendency to exaggerate any situation she did not like. Steve had only bared her from the waist down.
Steve’s hand crashed down on the whining mother’s round butt. “Stop complaining and start counting. Before she could react he began alternating spanks with words. I, SPANK, am, SPANK, going, SPANK, to, SPANK, teach, SPANK, you, SPANK…”
“That is seven,” she wailed before he could sear her bottom again.
He considered telling her that the first blows would not count because she had been too slow to speak, but he chose to admire her spunk instead. Her bare bottom took on a rosy glow. He gave her six more searing licks that she counted dutifully. Up to this point, she had kept her legs clamped modestly together, but the next six blows set those shapely limbs into frantic motion. She kicked wildly as the fire in her bottom began to rage, and each of her carefully concealed feminine charms quickly came into easy view. He administered another dozen hard spanks. Her bottom was deep red and blotched from his well-deserved chastisement. Her frantic sobbing and discolored skin told him that he was close to punishing her enough.
Steve Baxter had not spanked a physically mature female since his wife, Amber, had died, and this disciplinary session was creating a serious and unexpected problem for him. His intentions had been completely pure. This young woman was his solemn responsibility, and he would never take advantage of his authority to molest her in any way. Still, he was a man, and pretty young Heather was very attractive. His intentions had been pure enough, but his penis was shamefully stiff. He prayed that she could not feel his guilty bulge as he pulled her to her feet and made her quickly face away.
“Stand facing the lake and keep your gown held high,” he croaked. His mouth was very dry. “You need to think about what you did so you can learn from this punishment. If you dare to move, or touch your bottom, or drop your gown…” He needed to decide what to say next. Suddenly the obvious solution flashed into his mind. “If you misbehave, I’ll bend you over that porch rail and whip your thighs with my belt.”
Heather gasped and pulled the gown a couple of inches higher to avoid earning any more pain. Her bottom was so sore that she actually forgot about the humiliation of being exposed in front of this stern stranger.
Baxter needed several minutes of gazing at the lake to get his penis to shrink to an acceptable size. He berated himself for his shameful lack of self-control and almost vowed to not bare Heather for future punishments. He shook his head. The next time he spanked Heather, her bottom would be bare. That was the best way to spank a female. He would keep himself under control and not put her over his lap. That would work…it had to.