Jory worked hard at her new chores, and the brothers rewarded her with gentle smiles and kind words. The farm was happier than her foster homes and safer than prison. She spent almost every waking moment near one of them and every night curled by Nial’s side. There was a therapeutic effect as well. With each chore, she felt as though she achieved some atonement for the death of the innocent clerk. She may not have pulled the trigger, but her guilt was real.
The chickens were the worst part of her new life. The ugly rooster ran loose and sometimes chased her when she moved too slowly. To eat a smelly hen for a meal, Connell or Nial would chop its head off, then hand her the bloody mess to pluck the feathers and take the meat. Dead chickens were still preferable to the live ones. When she took their eggs, they pecked her hands bloody, and she tried to convince Connell to put them all in stew pots. But he just laughed. “If you kill them all, lass, there won’t be any meat for the rest of the year.”
Every minute of every day was a battle to keep the small cabin tidy. Hauling water from the creek proved to be as arduous a job as Connell predicted, and she found herself reusing water just like the brothers. She could wash the clothes, sweep the floor, and scrub the table, but when she was done with the rest of her chores, everything would need to be scrubbed again. The worst chore of all was the piss pots. Every morning, Jory gagged when she took them down to the creek for a washing. Flush toilets where the waste was magically taken to unknown destinations was the modern convenience she missed the most.
The McKay brothers brought her a sense of family and asked little in return except for the chores to help keep them all alive. When they thought she was asleep, she heard Connell say to Nial, “She is a sassy little shit, but she is a lot of fun to have around too. We shouldn’t skelp her for being who she is.”
Nial responded with a sigh, “I know. I’m proud of the chores she is doing, and she chases away a lot of boredom around here. She just has to remember to mind what we say to keep her safe.”
Jory was pleased until she heard Nial say, “Go to sleep, Jory. I’m not telling you again.”
She sat up in bed. “You said those nice things so I could hear, didn’t you?”
“I said those things to make you mind. Now do what I say before I forget Connell likes the sound of your sass.”
She did grow tired of their warnings. “That’s not fair. I’m old enough to vote. That’s grown. I should have some say around here.”
The raised eyebrows forced her to remember her history. Nial added, “We may not like it, Jory, but Virginia doesn’t allow women to vote and being a property holder is more important than age. We have our own chores, and you aren’t a child who needs to be minded all the time. Stay in the yard, don’t wander past the creek, and do your chores. It’s dangerous out there, and you’re too little to be on your own.”
She pushed her luck. “Which is it? Am I too little or too big, because you can’t have it both ways.” The remark cost her a few nasty swats, and she sulked herself to sleep in the corner of her bed.
Food was another adjustment. Foster children weren’t known for being picky eaters, but Jory was pretty close. Salt pork was a little fatty and tasted a lot like bacon, but the pickled things that had no identity were a struggle. She was also not a big vegetable eater, but fresh meat was scarce, and she faced many hungry afternoons before she learned to appreciate produce. Nobody forced her to eat for her health, but to waste something was determined to be sinful and she was threatened with a skelping every time she left food on her plate. Knowing Nial to be true to his word, she managed to gag most of it down.
When Connell showed her how to make stew out of squirrels, she muttered, “I’d kill for a fucking McDonald’s right now.” Jory hadn’t allowed for the small confines of the cabin, and her remark cost her more than the two identical glares.
“I’ve told you to watch your language, lass, and I don’t like repeating myself.” Jory took a few defensive steps backward, but Nial grabbed her wrists before she could flee. It wasn’t the first time his hand connected with her bottom, but she was in trouble when she lost her breeches down to the ankles, and he dragged her kicking and screaming over his knee.
“Wait. Wait. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. Leave me alone.” She tried to verbalize him into a pause button, but nothing worked.
His huge hand covered her bare ass with a dozen smacks while she continued to kick. “You’ll watch your mouth and if you’re going to fight me on a spanking, I’ll wear you out.”
The stinging smacks did not encourage her cooperation. She fought and kicked and used more than a few obscenities, but she was no match for his need to correct her behavior. His hand brought a mighty sting as each swat seemed to connect to her nerve endings from the inside. Nial held her firmly, but he wasn’t done until her bottom began to blaze, and she apologized with tearful earnestness. “I’m sorry. I’ll watch my mouth. Please, it hurts.”
Nial finally stood her between his knees to look her sternly in the eye. “It’s supposed to hurt. Did ye learn a lesson this time? I’m getting worn out with the teaching.”
Jory couldn’t decide whether she should shed tears or give him a scowl, so she did both as she yanked her pants back up. With as much dignity as she could muster, she said, “Yes. I learned pants give you some protection from a spanking, and you have very large hands.” The stinging on her bottom made her add quickly, “…and I shouldn’t swear or fight you when you’re spanking me.”
The sparkle in his eye gave away his sense of humor, and he said, “I bet Mrs. McDonald doesn’t make as good of a squirrel as Connell. Eat it and don’t waste your food if you want to sit through your meal on that ass.”
She ate the stew and rubbed her bottom with a scowl of confusion. The feeling of Nial’s bare hand on her soft bottom had started something deep inside of her. When the sting began to give way to a quiet warmth, she felt a wet spot form on her linens. She closed her legs tightly in an effort to hide her reaction, but as soon as she got behind the barn for a few moments of privacy, she moved her hand to her own folds to find relief from the burgeoning sexual tension.
Food preparation for the winter continued, and the brothers weren’t content until the little house and barn burst with supplies. Jory was horrified when they told her two of the fat pigs and Donner the steer were to be slaughtered. Jory begged, “Please don’t kill them. They are so cute, and they know who I am. They trust me!”
Connell looked at her with disbelief. “Where do you think the food comes from in the smokehouse and the salt barrel, lass? Do you think the faeries bring it in the evening?”
Jory had envisioned a major grocery store in the town she hadn’t seen. While she’d expected there wasn’t a freezer section, she’d thought maybe there were large packages of meat from animals without names. When it became apparent her tears weren’t going to help, she hid her head under the pillows until she knew they were dead, but had to face the bloody carcasses that drained high from a tree to avoid bears and wolves.
Nothing was wasted on the animals. The smokehouse worked twenty-four hours a day and filled the farm with a thick meaty smell. Slabs of beef were laid out with salt to be dried. Parts of the animals she didn’t even think could be eaten were ground into fat sausages thick with spices, and her hands became dry and chapped with the work. The big barrel in the kitchen was emptied, cleaned, and filled again with fresh salt pork, a staple in their daily diet.
When they were done with the food, the three of them spent long hours using strange parts of the animals to make candles and soap to store on the shelves. After she saw the main ingredients in soap, she could understand why her hair was dry and stringy, and she didn’t feel quite so clean. She wondered how many years it would take before they invented Ivory. She cut her hair even shorter to avoid having to care for it. Connell scowled, “Did ye take a scythe to yer head? Ye look like a sheared sheep.”
Daylight hours grew shorter and the McKay brothers never stopped their hard work. On top of the food preparation and daily chores, traps and farm equipment also needed to be maintained. Nial made a chair for her personal use, but she still crawled into his bed and snuggled up comfortably to his back every night. As content as she was, she never dropped her habit of reaching out to him with her foot, and Nial teased, “Your toes are like ice, Jory.” But he never chased her away, and she liked the feel of his skin.
The lack of privacy in the small cabin was still a challenge for Jory. Every Saturday, the brothers hauled water to the cabin to bathe. The small wooden tub was a far cry from what she used in her past, but in front of the fireplace it was warm enough for a decent wash. The first night Jory spoke up. “Can’t we hang a curtain or something? It’s bad enough to have to watch everyone use the pot, but can’t I at least take a bath without being in public?”
Nial and Connell exchanged a private look. In a small concession, they moved their chairs so their backs were to the fireplace. Jory sighed in frustration, but knew better than to nag. She stripped silently and hoped they wouldn’t turn around.
Her hands took a new meaning under the quiet light of a fire. She worked to ignore her small audience and actually enjoyed the rare relaxation. She rubbed her breasts softly, and relished the feel of her own skin. Her touch relaxed her in a way life’s twenty-first century rush never allowed. She stopped only when the water grew cold and Nial scolded, “You’ll catch your death over there. Finish up and get into warm clothes.”
The McKays took their baths after she went to sleep, but there were nights she gazed at their glistening bodies while they stood naked in front of the fireplace. She could not compare these two men to the boys who had fucked her in Philadelphia, and the sight of their sex made her moisten while the gnawing tingles of electricity built deep inside of her.
She wondered what it would be like to have Nial play with her soft folds and bury his cock inside of her, but the men appeared to show no interest. With all of her other adjustments, she didn’t complain. She simply rubbed between her legs and kept the sounds of her growing enjoyment quiet until she finally fell asleep.
A few days later, the men took advantage of the mild weather and went to the edge of the woods to clear additional pasture. The fallen logs would serve a dual purpose and add to the pasture fence. The men warned, “Stay near the cabin, lass. It’s dangerous with the trees falling.”
Jory could hear the steady sound of axes in the distance and a smoky haze filled the yard as the stumps were burned off. She took advantage of a few hours of rare freedom to explore the off-limits parts of the farm with Angus happily by her side. They had become fast friends. If Nial knew about the little treats she snuck the dog’s way, she would take more than a few swats, but deception was still an easy skill and Angus didn’t give up her secret.
She was far beyond her boundaries when she had to pee. Feeling like an eighteenth century frontierswoman, she simply lowered her pants, but her foot slipped and landed her bare ass on a log. A sting followed as a splinter entered her tender cheeks, but its small size made it invisible. She was back in her chair and using a needle to darn one of Nial’s shirts before anybody noticed, but the lingering prick of the splinter was a reminder of her naughty trip.
But the splinter seemed to have a mind of its own. Within two days, she could hardly sit but she tried to keep the ailment to herself. It didn’t take long for the men to notice her discomfort. Connell finally said, “Did ye skelp her, Nial?”
Nial shook his head. “Jory, are ye alright?”
She spoke quickly. “I’m fine. I just pulled some muscles on the potatoes yesterday.” They accepted her story, but she continued to struggle.
By the next day, her movements were even worse. Nial finally insisted, “It’s not a muscle. Lower your breeches, lass. We need to take a look.”
Jory panicked. “You aren’t looking at my butt. I’m fine. It’s just a little splinter.”
Connell said, “A little splinter can get infected, Jory. We aren’t interested in your ass, just the splinter.”
But Nial said, “How the hell did you get a sliver in your ass?”
Jory tried to hide her guilt, but the look in Nial’s eyes made it clear she was not successful. In a panic, she went for the lie. “It was in the barn, Nial. I was coming down the ladder and slipped.”
“Ye got a sliver with your breeches on?” he said suspiciously.
Connell interrupted, “Let’s look first, then we can get answers.”
Jory’s attempt at argument ended in failure, and her request for a doctor brought outright laughter. “There isn’t a doctor around for miles, Jory. Drop your breeches and stop fussing.” When they picked up a small knife and an ugly-looking tweezer, Jory’s panic turned into full blown refusal. “No way. I’m fine. You aren’t using those on me.”
Nial took a few steps toward her with determination in his eyes. He said, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way, but we can’t let you die of an infected ass. Drop your pants or Connell and I will drop them, and you won’t be getting them back anytime soon.”
A quick mental math calculation on the size of the two men summarized her lack of choices. Her mortification was complete when she was bent over Connell’s bed, and they began to examine her naked ass.
“It’s got to come out, Jory. It’s already red and swollen.” Jory’s protests were limited to soft tears and whimpers, but she did manage to make them disinfect the surgery tools over the fireplace. She squeezed her eyes shut as tightly as possible with the hope it would not be nearly as embarrassing if she couldn’t see them. When she felt Nial’s hand on her ass, she shrieked. He said dryly, “I haven’t even touched it yet, Jory. Relax.”
While Connell held her hand and the small of her back, Nial dug out the swollen sliver and Jory howled in pain. A spanking for disobeying their rules would have been far preferable. When he was finally done, Nial brought some salve that was supposed to stop the infection, but the sting of it made her leap and swear, “Fuck that. Where is the stuff Laura gave me?”
Both men demonstrated pity for her pain and limited their response to raised eyebrows and a verbal warning over her language. Connell added, “This salve will be better since you already have redness and infection.”
Nial put a clean bandage on her cheek, but he gave the other one a sharp smack with a firecracker-like snap that filled the room.
The tears that were threatened by the impromptu surgery spilled over at the correction. “Ow, what was that for?”
“Don’t ever tell a story like that again. Now, how did you really get the sliver?”
Jory spent a lifetime perfecting avoidance of the truth, but Nial’s glare cut to her soul and she began to talk. She tried to leave out the part where she was so far from the cabin she couldn’t get back to the outhouse, but even that was discredited with more questions. Finally, Jory admitted the whole story.
Nial said, “I couldn’t redden your ass any more than it already is, so you can just stay in the cabin until it heals to give some thought. There’s reasons why we don’t want you wandering, and ye know it.”
Connell added to her scolding, “It’s all about trust, Jory. We can’t watch you every minute of the day. We have to trust that you’re doing what you’re told, just like you trust we are taking care of you. We aren’t trying to lock you up. All you had to do was ask if you could go, and one of us would have gone with you or explained why it wasn’t safe.”
Jory hung her head in shame. They asked very little of her, and she really hated letting them down.
It took five days of stinging salve before she could sit on her tender bottom and get out outside again. It took two full days before she realized she could have said the sliver came from the rough wooden seat of the outhouse, and they probably would have believed her. Under their guidance, she was definitely losing her deceptive edge.
When Nial complained they were going to wear their hands out before the girl learned to behave, Connell got a twinkle in his eye and went to work on a small plank of wood. When curious Jory asked, he spoke in a vague tone, “It’s a gift for you, lass.” Within a few hours, Jory came to the disappointing conclusion that he crafted a paddle to hang by the fireplace. Both brothers laughed and Nial said, “Be glad he sanded it so well. Feel the wood here. No slivers for your wee little arse.”
It did not take long to put the tool into practice. When Connell planned a trip to town, Jory begged to accompany him. Instead, Nial told her she needed to do her chores and be quiet. Increased comfort in her new home made her bold and careless, and she spent a half an hour being a whiny pest to two impatient men. Connell finally left without her.
When Nial sent her back to the cabin, she yelled to Connell’s retreating back, “That just isn’t fucking fair.” The words were no sooner out of her mouth when she registered the depth of her mistake. She had been warned about her language in the past, and she wasn’t getting away with a few smacks over somebody’s knee.
Nial turned on his full glare and said, “Fetch Connell’s paddle, lass.” Jory balked, and Nial added solemnly, “Dinnae make me chase you, Jory.”
Jory was very much afraid of the look in his eyes, and the thought of the wood in his hand caused her to visibly tremble. “Please, I’m sorry, Nial. I won’t say it again. Please don’t paddle me.”
When it became clear that he planned to continue, there was only a moment to make a choice and running far away was clearly her best chance to protect the most tender of spots. She made it all the way across the creek before she realized Nial didn’t follow her. Instead, he stood in the doorway to the cabin with his arms crossed and the ugly paddle in his hand.
Jory looked ahead to the fields and back to the cabin. From her forbidden location, the battle in her brain was fierce. To meet her consequence was the last thing she wanted, but as she watched the small cabin from a distance, she realized it was a lot more than a building. It was her home as well, and she didn’t want to run. It still took her almost a half an hour before she could bring herself to go back to where Nial waited with little patience.
His voice was stern. “Get into the cabin, lass. You’ll feel this one for a few days. I’ll not be ignored when I give ye an order.”
Jory said softly, “I’m sorry, Nial. I was… I was scared. You looked really mad and it’s scary.”
Nial sighed. “If you don’t like the way I look before I spank you, then behave yourself and do what you’re told. Start with dropping those breeches. I’m going to wear out your ass, Jory. Not your pants.”
Jory hesitated again, but Nial’s expression won. She took her pants and folded them carefully, hoping the extra time would help her in the long run. It didn’t. He delivered a sharp smack to her naked ass. “Get over the stool.”
Her feet barely reached the floor, but her bottom was dangerously exposed to his punishment. He didn’t connect right away and instead gave her a few minutes to stew. Finally, he said, “And why are you getting this spanking, Jory?”
Shivering fear and an exposed ass generated no smart, sassy answer. “I swore when I’m not supposed to, and I didn’t mind what you said. I ran away instead of coming to the cabin. I’m sorry. I was really scared.”
She wiggled while she spoke and was painfully aware her naked bottom was probably the only thing that moved. She only had the briefest of chances to be embarrassed before he connected with the solid piece of wood, and her mind refocused to the bite of the paddle. He delivered a dozen stinging smacks that piled one on top of the other without a break.
Unlike the palm of his hand that could rotate from spot to spot, the paddle covered most of her ass with one giant smack. “Ye can’t talk like a sailor, Jory. I won’t have you sounding like a whore.” When he was done with the first round, he added a dozen more and said, “And the next time, ye mind what I say.”
Jory howled and kicked with a desperate and loud intensity until she thought the fire would consume her from the inside, but she never left the stool. Between her howls, she tried to apologize. “I’m sorry, Nial. I won’t. Ow. I promise… Ow… I won’t do it again.”
He didn’t stop until she shed tears in earnest. When he set her on her feet, she desperately tried to rub the flames from her burning bottom, but the fire was determined to live inside of her soul.
Jory crawled into the hayloft for a few lonely hours. She took a physical inspection of the damage and came to the conclusion he was damn good with the thing. There were no marks other than the redness, but she was going to be uncomfortable for quite a while. She sulkily avoided Nial the rest of the day.
That night, Jory took the small goose down pillow and the soft quilt she had claimed as her own and went to Connell’s bed to curl up without a word. She wondered if she would be ordered out, but Connell joined her and she stayed the night. The bed was smaller and Connell was more restless so she didn’t sleep well. When she woke with her nightmares, she wanted Nial’s comfort, but he was sound asleep on the other bed.
The next day, Nial stopped by her side. “You deserved that yesterday, Jory. Are you ready to stop pouting?”
Jory spoke just above a whisper, “I guess.” She hung her head in a veiled attempt to hide the small tears.
He gave her a gentle smile and held out his arms. With a whimper, she easily fell into his embrace. It felt right to be held, and she tried to put the stinging smacks out of her mind. “I’m really sorry, Nial. I will try to be better.”
Nial said, “I’m proud how you took that spanking. I ken it hurt, but you were a good girl and didn’t try to move away. It’s over and done with now, lass. Let’s move on today.”
That night, she was glad to return to the warmth of Nial’s side. When she reached her foot out to find him in the dark, he mumbled, “You’ve got to do something about those frozen toes, lass.”
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