Friday, October 9, 2009

Bookends No. Two

Peter's Little Wife

She liked people who made their own scrapes for themselves before they fell into them, and then got out without being fished for. She liked them because they were interesting, because they were strong, because they were clever, but mostly because they were something she was not. Never in her life had she been quick-witted enough to get out of problems of her own making. Like today.

After university she found a position in a small law firm. The smallness guaranteed she would be visible, highly so since she was secretary to one of the partners. The many men flocking to his office also guaranteed her a steady stream of flirtacious encounters. In the end another partner, young by law firm standards, has stolen her heart with his gentle wit and she was now his. He still stayed at their flat in the city during the week while she had retired to run the country house. She didn't mind the isolation at all, and with three in help she was able to keep a pleasant home for him with little effort on her part. He was gentle, kind, and twice her age. And therein lay her problème de jour. He was as much parent as husband.

She had a small acount to manage for the house - for the grocer, the chemist, a few others. She'd made an inconsequential error balancing the account, and the bank had rejected three cheques. When she realized her mistake she had tried at once to make it right, but she didn't have any money of her own. She could not see any way clear of this. Unfortunately Peter was rather unyielding on financial matters, and she remembered his words the first week they were married. He had presented her the materials for the household account, and casually said if she ever made a mess of it she could look forward to a caning.

So here she was - a twenty two year old woman about to be thrashed like a child. The last time her mother had thrashed her she'd been ten. She hadn't enjoyed it at all. And she wasn't looking forward to tonight either. She'd sent the chauffeur to pick up Peter at the train, and the smells from the kitchen hinted at a delicious dinner. The maid had polished the living room to a high gloss. Now all she could do was wait.

Once again she thought over her choices. She could bluff it out and just ask him for a little more this month. She could tell all and beg for his mercy. She could lie. She just didn't think she could out-bluff him, and she had never been able to get away with a lie, even a little one. She sighed deeply. Might as well get it over with and try to salvage a decent weekend, even if she couldn't sit comfortably.

She dismissed the servants early - she told them she'd like to serve him dinner on her own. She went to his den and fetched the cane from the closet. He'd never touched her with it - she knew that was at an end. She heard the Bentley on the gravel and hurried out to meet him, the cane held behind her skirt. The smile split his face the moment he saw her. She threw her free arm around his neck and kissed him passionately. She knew that after her punishment things would never be the same between them. After a bit he pulled back and looked into her eyes. Tears began to flow as she brought out the cane and handed it to him, He shook his head sadly.

"Tell me" he wanted to say "everything in the whole world."


A continuing series - see for more information. Two phrases are supplied - one must be the first, the other the last part of the story. We fill in the space between the bookends.


Casey Morgan said...

I thought you inhabited the Brit world quite well, actually.

"And therein lay her probleme de jour. He was as much a parent as a husband." Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Ohh, she's gonna get it now!