“This is really quite good.” William smiled as he helped himself to another portion of Yorkshire pudding, and Ellie felt herself beaming with pride. She’d wanted to cook something special for the one-month anniversary of her moving into his house, and had surprised him with a traditional English dish.
“Thank you,” she said. “It’s the least I could do for all that you’ve done for me.”
“My dear, it’s an entirely symbiotic relationship,” he replied, and Ellie felt a twinge of guilt. They had been helping one another; she kept house and made great strides in cataloging the papers while he was at work. He kept her feeling safe and protected while providing her a sense of security she craved. But Ellie found herself feeling guilty at least once a week for lying to him about her appointments with Dr. Gruber.
Even though William had told her to go, Ellie had been skipping the sessions. Sometimes she’d go to see her mother instead; sometimes she’d take the train to the park. And at the end of the day she’d come home and put a check in the box next to the word therapy on the checklist William had put on the refrigerator a week after she’d moved in with him.
Those marks convicted her when she looked at them, so Ellie avoided looking at the list. She also avoided looking at her self-appointed guardian whenever he asked her how her sessions were going. Instead, she’d turn her back and pretend to engage in some other task while replying in the vaguest of fashions.
Tonight was no different. She’d missed another appointment with Dr. Gruber that morning, and now as William asked how her session had gone, she stood to clear the dishes from the table.
“Fine,” she said. “Would you like dessert?”
“I’d prefer something sweeter,” he said. “Honesty.”
Ellie had been placing the dishes in the sink and froze now.
“I know you’ve been skipping your appointments with Dr. Gruber.”
She turned to him. “You’ve been checking up on me?”
“Not intentionally,” he said. “But I was at the park twice on my lunch break recently and caught glimpses of a lovely redhead feeding the ducks or sitting on the bench. I’m really quite surprised she didn’t see me, but she was so lost in thought.” He paused. “Ellie, look at me.”
There was the clink of glass against stainless steel as Ellie put the plates down. When she turned back, there were tears in her eyes.
“I didn’t mean to lie,” she said.
“I disagree,” he said. “It seems to me that you went out of your way to lie, at least by omission. You’ve used the money I left for cab fare, but didn’t go where you were supposed to go. And when I asked you about the sessions, you always indicated they went well.”
Ellie’s face flushed from shame. “If you knew, why didn’t you say something sooner?”
William stood, wiping his mouth on his napkin before tossing it aside. “Maybe because I wanted to see if your conscience would eventually compel you to do the right thing.” He paused. “Or logic. You haven’t forgotten that there are consequences for breaking the rules, have you?”
No, she’d not forgotten. But Ellie had fallen into such an easy routine of work and companionable living with the man who’d established himself as her patron that the spanking she’d received the first day seemed almost a surreal memory.
“Go to the study,” he said.
“What for?” Ellie asked, even though she knew. Even though she knew, she needed to hear him say it, to be reminded of the reality of her situation, of what it meant to be living with a true, unwavering father figure.
“For your punishment, Ellie. You broke two rules—you did not keep to the scheduled appointment and you lied to me. You will go to the study, lift your skirts, bend over my desk, and wait for me.”
Ellie’s feet felt rooted to the floor as she stared at him dumbly.
“Go, or your punishment will be doubled.”
She went, her heart pounding in her chest as she clenched her sweaty palms tight. But even as she walked slowly to the study, she could feel herself becoming wet with expectation that seemed so inconsistent with the mounting fear she felt as she took each step.
It somehow seemed harder complying with Dr. Ashworth’s order before he came into the room. Leaning over and hiking her skirt up seemed lascivious, and as Ellie bent over, she realized to her horror that the crotch of her panties was soaked, and the only way to hide her shame was to squeeze her legs tightly together.
He did not speak when he walked in, and his silence only unnerved Ellie more. Was he staring at her? She imagined his gaze trained on her bottom. She squeezed her thighs together even more tightly.
“Ellie, look at me.”
She turned her head slowly and tried not to gasp at what she saw. He was holding a cane. Ellie had been steeling herself for the broad, burning swat of his hand. But this was something different, another unknown. What he said next only increased her anxiety.
“Lower your panties, Ellie.”
She stared at him from over her shoulder. “M-my panties?” The words were barely audible. “Oh, please… no.”
“Your offenses were serious,” he said. When she shook her head, he remained unmoved. “Do you not trust me?”
“I just don’t want to take my panties down,” she said.
“You have no choice,” he said. “You agreed to submit, Ellie. To refuse is to break that agreement.”
To what end? Would she have to leave? Ellie moved her hands back, hooking her fingers in the waistband of the undergarment, which she worked down over her hips and swell of her bottom until it rested at mid-thigh. Her face was burning scarlet; there was no way he could have missed seeing the wetness on her panties. She moaned in shame, but he ignored this.
“There will be six,” he said. “One for each session you missed, and two for lying.”
She felt a flood of relief. Six. She’d expected more. William was standing to the side, tap, tap, tapping the cane against the crest of her bare bottom. From the corner of her eye, Ellie could see his arm move back, could see the flick of his wrist bring the cane forward in a snappy motion.
The pain was concentrated into one blinding streak that seemed to burrow into the soft, exposed skin. Ellie stood up, cupping her bottom protectively and whirling on her guardian, her face a mask of pained betrayal.
But he was perfectly calm as he tapped the desk with the cane. “Back over, Ellie,” he said.
“No!” She rubbed the welt now puffing into a ridge on her skin. “It hurts!”
“It’s supposed to. Now bend back over the desk. Any longer and that one won’t count.”
She held her ground, facing him. The anger that she felt was new.
“You’re mean!” she cried. “You hurt me!”
“Yes,” he said. “I hurt you. But I’ll happily risk your ire if it means giving you the kind of life you deserve. And I can’t do that unless you are honest with me.”
Tears were coursing down Ellie’s cheeks as she slowly turned and leaned back across the desk. It took all her effort to present her bottom to him for correction, but his words had struck her as surely as the cane had. She deserved this and what’s more, she realized his resolve was somehow comforting, even now.
If she’d expected the subsequent blows to be lighter, she quickly found herself mistaken. The blows fell at a rate of one every five to ten seconds, each one landing an inch or so below the first so that Ellie’s bottom was marked from the swell of her buttocks down to the crease between buttock and thigh, their location guaranteeing she’d not sit comfortably for hours.
“Now,” William said when he finally tossed the cane aside and reached for her. Ellie was sobbing openly, past caring how infantile she looked, or how much of herself she’d displayed as she’d gyrated her bottom during the punishment. “Would you like to tell me why you’ve been ditching Dr. Gruber’s sessions?”
He held up a handkerchief and mopped Ellie’s face before holding it so she could blow her nose. Then he tipped her chin up until she was looking at him.
“Ellie, I’m waiting.”
She took a ragged breath before answering. “I didn’t want him to ruin everything,” she said.
“Dr. Gruber? How would he ruin things?”
“He asks me how my life is going, what I’m doing. If I tell him about us, about our arrangement…” Her voice trailed off.
“You think he’d tell you we were doing something wrong.”
“You’ve got it backwards,” he said softly. “You only think that because you feel like we’re doing something wrong.”
“No,” She rushed to deny the truth of what he was saying, but he wouldn’t allow it.
“Yes.” His tone was firm, but gentle. “The only way he could ruin it is by reinforcing whatever it is you’re afraid to admit. So tell me, Ellie.” He paused. “Tell me what’s bothering you.”
“If I tell you, you’ll send me away.”
“I don’t want to complicate things for you.”
She dropped her gaze, unable to meet his. “You’re right. I’ve not been honest with you. My reactions to you—to this—to being treated like a little girl. I’m afraid if I tell Dr. Gruber, he’ll tell me it’s unhealthy.”
“Does it excite you, Ellie?”
She closed her eyes and looked away.
“Don’t be ashamed,” he said. “I sensed it in you when we met, the need for what I’m giving you. But understand that the need in you to submit is matched by the need in me to receive that submission. We are two sides of the same coin, Ellie, and if you would just talk to Dr. Gruber, I believe he would tell you there is nothing wrong with your needs, or mine.”
Ellie took a moment to process what he was saying. “You… I mean… it turns you on?”
“It’s deeper than that,” he said. “I’m aroused by your submission, not by the act of hurting you. I’m not a sadist. I’m a dominant. Your willful acceptance of my authority is just one of the things I find attractive about you.”
Ellie felt her heart quicken. “You find me attractive?”
“Very much,” he said.
She caught her lower lip in her teeth and furrowed her brow. “But I’m living here as… your child. You don’t think that’s weird?”
“No.” He smoothed her hair away from her face. “Because while you agree to live as a child, you are not a child. I realize that you are an adult, but an adult who has placed herself under my control to an extreme but wonderful degree. Ours is not the only relationship like this in the world, Ellie. We are far from alone.”
“Do you want to have sex with me?” The frank question was out before she could stop it, and she covered her mouth, her eyes wide in embarrassment. But William only smiled.
“Not after punishing you. Regardless of perceptions, my correcting you is not a sexual act. It is an act of paternalistic affection, something for your own good.” He put his hand to her face then, his large warm palm against her cheek. “But do I want to explore the body of this beautiful woman who shares my house—this lovely, alluring creature who has so sweetly given me the gift of her submission? Absolutely.” He leaned over and pressed his lips to her forehead. “But not yet,” he said against her skin. “Not until you are comfortable with what we have. Not until you get that outside opinion you’ve been avoiding. I may be the authority in this house, but I will not touch you in that way until I have your consent. And you must be comfortable with yourself before you can give yourself to me. Do you understand?”
She did, and at that moment Ellie realized that she was falling in love with William Ashworth. He could have easily taken advantage of her, but he wanted her to grow into the role he’d so lovingly crafted. He was raising her, she realized. This was what having a father felt like—a guiding, caring presence who shaped and shepherded and coddled and corrected. She could have that wonderful relationship as long as she wanted, but also something more, something adult.
“I’ll call Dr. Gruber tomorrow,” she said.
“That’s my girl,” he replied.
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