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Happy Friday! As promised we have the second part of Ami wonderful story, Beating the Bounds. The first part of then story can be found here. These stories are long - you're getting a short book for free with these two Fantasy Fridays. You can read more about Ami and more of her writing at Ami's Star Song. Ami is not only a great write, she is also a warm, funny friend and blogger that I know everyone would enjoy getting to know better. For now settle in and enjoy...
Beating the Bounds
We stood at the back of the small, but rapidly growing, crowd of people outside the Parish Rooms. We had arrived laden with two quiches and a large chocolate cake, which we placed carefully inside on a long table, that was beginning to groan under the weight, as our contribution to the parish lunch. There were many villagers there that we were already acquainted with, some of them fledgling friends. The clergyman wore his ecclesiastical attire, and I noticed he was equipped with a fair-sized birch branch in his right hand, and three green willow switches, tided together with a piece of hessian ribbon, in his left hand. A number of young people from the parish clustered around him, making saucy comments and daring each other to be the first to volunteer to sample their delights.
I shivered and my hands went automatically back to rub my bottom. I caught Daniel’s eye and he grinned at me and gave a small shake of his head. My hands returned to my sides. Although the rosy redness had gone by morning, I hadn’t had the most comfortable of nights, and my poor butt still retained some of the bruises left as a legacy from that horrible hairbrush.
Finally the vicar decided no more people would be joining in the ceremony. He cleared his throat halting chatter and gaining the villagers’ attention. He welcomed everyone, drew their attention to matters of safety, and explained the old tradition of checking the parish boundaries as a way of preventing encroachment by neighbours, and determining the true extent of the parish. He bent his head and said a short prayer to bless his flock.
“We will now begin the perambulation of the bounds of the Parish.” He nodded to his two churchwardens who taking up an incense burner and a cross marshaled the six young people, four boys and two girls, who had volunteered to take part in the ceremony, into a small group to follow directly behind the vicar. Singing a well-known hymn, they all set off for the first boundary marker, which was a large oak tree.
Daniel and I, swept along with the flow, laughed at ourselves.
It took about ten minutes to reach the oak tree. The vicar turned and passed the ‘switches’ to the nearest churchwarden. He took the incense and a small silver sprinkler containing ‘holy water’. He swung the first, and sprinkled the latter liberally around the tree, saying “Cursed is he who transgresseth the bounds of doles of his neighbor.”
He passed the incense and the holy water back and the switches were returned to him. He looked at the young people, and said “Now it’s your turn!” and set about switching them around their legs and rear ends. He gave each of them a couple of good swishy swats, and I was glad, on their behalf, that they were all wearing jeans. I couldn’t begin to imagine what it must have felt like years ago to be whipped on bare legs, or even, I shuddered, bare behinds.
The vicar now recited psalm 103, and we moved off towards the next boundary marker.
“The youngsters seem very eager to take part” I mentioned to Daniel as we walked. “Do you think they can feel it through their jeans?”
Daniel was looking pensive, but he laughed. “Of course they’re eager to take part” he informed me. “Wouldn’t you be if you were going to earn a pound at each marker? When we were waiting outside the Parish Rooms, Sam told me that’s the going rate. They only earned half pennies years ago, although they were all allowed to partake of some beer when they finally got back to the starting point. Some of those perambulations took several days apparently. The boys might have earned their stripes, but they were well fed en route, and they all had some money to take home to their mothers.”
“Well you live and learn, don’t you?”
“You certainly do.” Daniel no longer looked pensive. He was looking speculative instead.
The psalm was finished, and another hymn took its place.
By the time the vicar and churchwardens, together with the flock of St Stephen’s poured in through the doors of the Parish Rooms, we were hungry and tired, and our feet hurt. We all collapsed into plastic chairs that had been set up around more long tables the down the centre of the hall. The ladies had put out cups and saucers, and soon everyone was tucking into the food and drinking large cups of tea. It was well earned. I looked around. Everyone was so happy. I smiled up at Daniel, who was deep in conversation with the vicar. What an interesting and unusual way to spend a Saturday.
It was Wednesday once again. How I had managed to successfully navigate my way through the week was beyond my capacity to understand. I’d had one or two raised eyebrows thrown in my direction, but nothing I couldn’t field.
My friend Polly, from a nearby farmhouse, sat on an overstuffed cushion on the swing seat, alternatively pushing her left foot on the decking, and then holding it up in order for the seat to complete one swing forwards and one swing back. I watched the deep red glint of the wine in her glass adjust itself like the liquid in a spirit level.
“So what do you think? Are you up for it? We can catch the 9.30 train, dash into town, do Marks and Spencers, and Debenhams in style. Do a quick gallop down London Street and visit Lush, return to the station by way of John Lewis, catch the 4 o’clock train, and you can be back ready to get dinner by 4.30.
“If you hide your purchases for a few days, Dan’ll never know you’ve been away from the house. We can have a leisurely lunch at that little Italian restaurant on Castle Hill. It’ll be wonderful to have a whole day to ourselves.” Polly was very convincing.
“Why not?” Having refilled my glass, I sat down on the swing seat next to Polly, leant back against the cushions, and closed my eyes. “That would be wonderful, Poll.
“Men are so hard to go shopping with. They know exactly what they want, and where to get it, and they make a beeline straight for the shop, buy the first item they see, and then they’re ready to go back to the car. It’s no fun at all. It’d be so good to have a change of scenery, and I like the thought of travelling together on the train and having a ‘girly’ day visiting just the shops I like, in a leisurely way.”
Polly surveyed the garden for a minute before looking back to meet my eyes. She hesitated before speaking.
“Hmmm. Actually Ami, I’ll only be able to travel back as far as Deighton. Mike has to visit the Landrover dealership there, and he doesn’t know how long it’ll take. If you need to be back before Dan gets home, it might be better if you stay on the train. It’s only another ten minutes after all, and we can leave your car in the station car park, so you can just leap off the train and into it. It’s not as if you’ll have to walk anywhere, and the sun will probably still be shining at that time.”
Oh! I thought.
There always seemed to be conditions to everything I did with Polly. At least she was correct in that I wouldn’t have to walk miles to get to my car, and it would still be afternoon for goodness’ sake.
It wasn’t as if Dan objected to me having a day out shopping, it was just that the last time I had done so had been a disaster in more ways than one. I’d spent more than budgeted for on our joint credit card, been stopped by the police for speeding, and as icing on the cake had received a parking fine from an officious little Hitler who, despite the fact that I was only ten minutes over my time allocation, insisted on writing me a ticket. This time I would be travelling on the train, so at least speeding wouldn’t be a problem. I shrugged. I would just have to keep a tight rein on my expenditure.
“Okay. I think it’s a great idea. If I’m going to be tempted by all those shops, I’d better make a list. I’m not a millionaire you know.” We had both laughed.
The train journey into town was trouble free. The only slight hitch was that Polly had been on the drag when I had arrived to pick her up, which had resulted in a mad dash down to the station with Polly acting as ‘lookout’ in case of being gunned by a speed camera. There were certain locations where traffic police loved to hide in people’s driveways and behind hedges. However, we had made it down to the station car park successfully and Polly went to buy our tickets whilst I parked the car and fed the machine for a parking ticket to place in the windscreen.
We sat on the train laughing and chatting as it sped through the green countryside, cottages and farms passing like a blur. I stretched my legs as far as the seat in front allowed, and breathed out, letting go of my cares. The sun was shining, which was nothing short of a miracle, and I knew we were going to have a terrific day.
It was the shoes that were to prove my downfall.
They were, as often seemed the case at the time, the most mouth-watering and delectable shoes in the world. As I walked past the shop window on the way back to the station I stopped and reversed so quickly I nearly got whiplash. Then I just stood wide-eyed, speculatively biting my bottom lip, and wondering whether they would have any in my size.
Polly, who had continued to walk on along the street, came back when she realized she was talking to thin air.
“Oh no, Ami” she gulped. “Dan’ll kill you. You can’t possibly spend all that money on shoes you couldn’t even walk in.”
We both stood there as shoppers flowed past us like a river dividing to avoid boulders in its path, staring at the glorious pale green silk sandals in the window. The heels were high wedges, and the shoes had silken bands that were made to swathe over the arch of the foot and end in small bows on the outer side. The insides were embroidered in the palest of pinks in a delicate floral design, and the same design continued around the backs of the sandals and down the heels. They were stunning.
In fact, they were so expensive they would have gone a long way to paying off the debt of a small country.
Polly was regarding me with a mixture of horror and concern. She had seen me getting into trouble over shoes many times since we had first met, and was still incredulous that I had over a hundred pairs at the last count. After all, how many shoes could a person wear in a week?!
“I have to have them, Polly. I’ve never seen anything quite like them. They are amazing. So different. And they look very comfortable.” I slowly inched my way towards the shop doorway. I could hear what Polly was saying, but chose to ignore her.
“Ami, you’ll have to leave the country. Dan’ll go mad! You can’t possibly spend all that on a pair of shoes. When will you wear them? What have you got that they will go with? How will you walk in them?”
She noticed she was talking to thin air again. I was already in the shop, pointing out the shoes to a sales assistant.
Polly had to admit, as she watched her strut, imitating the way models walk on a catwalk, that the shoes set off a person’s legs like no other pair she had ever seen. Ami was perfecting her walk, swinging her hips slightly and crossing her feet over at the ankles. Okay, she wobbled a little on the turns, but the shoes still looked pretty damned good.
If it wasn’t for the price, she would’ve been tempted herself.
“I’ll hide them at the back of the wardrobe and bring them out in time for the autumn, when hopefully I’ll have found a dress to go with them. Dan’ll never know. I’ve done it loads of times over the years.” I waved a hand in the air nonchalantly. “They are just the shoes for a wedding, or a dinner at a posh restaurant.” I wobbled again. “Naturally they’re not the type of shoe you would walk in. What a stupid thing to say. How on earth could you walk in shoes like these?”
Polly arched her eyebrows. She could see I wasn’t going to be dissuaded from my objective. “I’ll prepare the spare room then?” She said to my back.
I hunted through my credit cards (all two of them) until I came to the card I shared with Daniel. I took a deep breath and held it out as if it were an everyday occurrence to pay over two hundred pounds for a pair of shoes. Suddenly my neck and upper back felt a little stiff.
The salesgirl wrapped the shoes very carefully in tissue paper before slipping them into a special soft material shoe bag and then laying them in a black and gold shoebox. She then slipped the box into a special paper carrier bag with the famous brand name emblazoned diagonally across it.
I carried the bag carefully out of the shop. My neck and back were still stiff, and my legs also suddenly felt a little weak. Strange.
We sat on the train once more, our purchases stacked around us, drinking large Costa lattes. Polly had the most bags. She’d taken the opportunity to shop for her holidays, and had bought three pairs of shorts, two bikinis, two sun dresses, a skirt, three tee-shirts and a pair of flip-flops with faux gemstones glued on them. She also seemed to have copious bottles of suntan lotion of varying ‘factors’ as well as aftersun and some new makeup.
I had bought two linen tops, three pairs of lace-trimmed knickers, (if you bought two pairs, you got one pair free!) and the shoes. The beautiful, gorgeous, far too expensive, shoes.
Fifteen minutes passed in no time at all, and Polly was leaving the train to go find Mike. She hugged me. “Let me know how you get on” she said. “I sincerely hope you get back before Dan does. I’d put them away for a whole year if I were you.”
Neither of us had given a thought as to what would happen when the credit card statement arrived.
I rested my head against the headrest. A few more miles and I would be home. The train jerked. I glanced out the window. It jerked again and came to a rapid and screaming halt. My purchases slid off the seat next to me and on to the floor. I nearly followed them, but fortunately I only pitched forwards into the back of the seat in front of me. The few people in the carriage were muttering and looking concerned. Some of them even stood up to look around. However, it wasn’t long before the conductor came trotting down the aisle on his way to reassure everyone.
“It’s all right” he told us. “A young woman has collapsed, and someone else has pulled the communication cord. It doesn’t look too serious, and fortunately there was a doctor in the next carriage who is checking her over, but until we know how she is, we will just have to sit here.”
He moved off in order to repeat his message to other people, and a quiet buzz of conversation broke out. I gathered up my shopping and replaced it on the seat. I looked outside, and then looked at my watch. It was nearly 4.30. Dan wouldn’t be back till 5.30 at the earliest, so I still had plenty of time, even if the train was delayed for a while.
At 5.30 the train eventually pulled into my station. I knew I looked harassed. Even if I could grow wings and fly home, I would be very lucky indeed to arrive back before Dan. I felt very hot. The sun was still shining although it was beginning to arc downwards. The evenings were just starting to draw in though it was still light at 9.30. I hated the thought of winter approaching and all the darkness. At least with the light evenings we could get out into the garden to do some weeding, lawn mowing, or even to sit on the decking and drink a gin and tonic and watch the fish in the horse pond.
After tussling with the door, and almost crashing down the steps to the car park in my hurry, I reached my car. An ominous yellow plastic envelope was lodged firmly under my windscreen wiper blades. I stared at it in shock. Glancing quickly around I wrenched it off the glass, glaring at it. I unlocked the car and threw my bags none to gently on the back seat, before slipping in behind the steering wheel and ripping the top off the envelope.
It was a £40 fine for being over my time limit. I snatched my parking ticket from where I had placed it on the top of the dashboard where it could be seen. “There must be some mistake” I thought. I studied it carefully. My ticket ran out at 5 o’clock. A quick glance at my watch told me it was now 5.40. The ticket must have been left recently, but I could see no one in the car park. Apart from cars, it was deserted.
With a grimace, I threw it over my shoulder into the back seat to join my shopping. Once again my day had plunged rapidly downhill.
Dan’s big black super shiny car was already sitting in the yard when I reached home, as I had known it would be. Rats! I thought.
I sat for a minute composing myself before swinging my legs out and then letting my body follow them. Dan poked his head round the side of the cartlodge where we kept our cars.
“Good day?” he asked, leaning his rake against the wall where he’d been strimming under the apple trees.
“You didn’t tell me you were going out. When you didn’t ring me at lunchtime, I was a bit concerned. I tried to ring you but it went to voicemail.”
I felt myself go red. Oh crap, I thought. I should’ve phoned him. I was so busy having a good time I forgot all about it. Could things get any worse?
“Um. I’m sorry, I know I should’ve phoned you. I went out shopping with Polly. It was one of those spur of the moment, last minute things.
“She wanted to do some holiday shopping and I hadn’t been shopping with her for years. We didn’t get much further than John Lewis, but it was a great day.” I stretched up to give Dan a quick kiss on the cheek. “What sort of day did you have?”
Daniel reached and took my bags. He glanced at them with only perfunctory interest until he came to the bag containing the shoes. I saw his eyebrows go up and the nerve in his cheek twitched.
“Not more shoes, Ami” he grumbled. “You’re going to run out of storage space soon. Are they really necessary?” He gave me what I thought looked a bit like a malevolent grin. “The bag looks expensive. I hope you didn’t pay over the odds for these. I suppose you used my credit card?” I saw the nerve twitch again.
I turned and headed towards the back door. “No, they were on sale” I lied, not daring to turn and look at him. I didn’t notice the plastic packet that fluttered down behind me like an over-sized piece of confetti landing at Dan’s feet.
Dan did. He bent down and picked it up. His grin became even more malevolent.
Oh dear. The tone of his voice had changed. “Come back here.”
I ignored him and walked through the kitchen and continued on and up the stairs. I needed a little bit of thinking time. Events were getting out of hand with alarming rapidity.
I changed into comfortable jeans and a tee-shirt.
“Ami, come down here now!” Dan didn’t sound amused.
I was going to have to go and face the music. I retraced my steps back down to the kitchen.
“Well?” I asked him, and stupidly rolled my eyes. “So it’s a parking fine.” I gave what I hoped was a Gallic shrug.
“It’s not my fault someone fainted on the train and we ended up waiting in the middle of nowhere for nearly an hour. For two pins I’d have walked home” I told him angrily.
“You always think the worst of me, Daniel. You never, ever give me the benefit of the doubt do you? If it had happened to you, it would have been fine, but because it was me, you think I engineered it on purpose.”
I knew my voice was getting higher and higher but I couldn’t help myself. I started opening and closing cupboard and fridge doors and getting the ingredients out to start dinner. I put a jar down just a mite too roughly on the granite work surface and watched as a crack appeared down it.
Daniel took hold of my hands and turned me around to face him.
“Ami, if I didn’t know you as well as I do, I’d think you were picking a fight with me. But something tells me that there is more to this than meets the eye. You look as guilty as hell.” Daniel wouldn’t let go of my hands. I was forced to look at him as he stared at me and waited for an answer.
“There you go again.” I could feel my face getting redder by the minute. “I’m just hot and tired and I hate it when you accuse me of things that are beyond my ability to do anything about.”
“You could’ve given me a call. That might have been nice. I hadn’t heard from you and didn’t know where you were, except you weren’t where you were meant to be.” I tried, unsuccessfully to free my hands.
“It wouldn’t have been any problem at all to have gone down to the station and put another ticket in your car window for you, if you could have been bothered to let me know where you were.
“Now you have a fine to pay. Because as sure as eggs are eggs, I am not going to pay it for you!
“And if you can’t speak to me pleasantly when I meet you at the end of a day, perhaps you need a bit of encouragement.”
Before I had time to draw breath, Daniel turned me around bending me over the work surface. Too late I realized what dangerous places kitchens could be as a large wooden spoon connected with my backside. Despite wearing jeans, I felt every single smack and Daniel showed no signs of stopping.
“I’m sorry Dan” I blurted out. “It just felt as if you were blaming me without asking for any explanation. Like you assumed I hadn’t put enough money in the meter in the first place.”
Daniel stopped and turned me around again to face him.
“Ami, what was I supposed to think. You strutted off into the house hardly bothering to say hello, and never even mentioned a parking fine.”
“Well, did you give me a chance?” I asked him, tilting my chin.
Daniel narrowed his eyes. She had been defensive from the moment she arrived home. Now what was it all about? He was determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Literally.
A thought occurred to him about then. He went over to where he had plopped her bags down on a kitchen chair. He started to go through them. A couple of tops and some underwear. He studied the receipts. Ami always stowed the receipts in with her purchases in case she had to return something. He arrived at the shoes. He pulled the shoebox out of the bag and fished about for the receipt. He noticed Ami had retreated to the other side of the kitchen island, and had started chopping celery for a salad. She was watching him like a mongoose watching a snake, and he felt quite anxious she’d miss the celery and chop off a finger instead.
At last he found what he was looking for. He pulled it out and glanced down at it. He nearly choked. Now he understood her reticence. Ami had gone outside and was marching up and down on the decking near the pond. He looked at the total on the receipt again, just to make sure, and breathed deeply. He felt like pushing her in the damn pond. He went and got himself a glass of lemonade and swigged it back, wiping back of his hand over his sweaty forehead as he considered the situation.
Ami continued to pace.
Dan leant against the kitchen counter. There was a lot at stake here. Firstly Ami hadn’t even bothered to mention her shopping trip to him, and as the day had worn on he had become more than a little worried as to her whereabouts. They always spoke for a few minutes at lunchtimes.
Then, not only had Ami tried to brush off the parking fine when she could have so easily called him to take care of it, but she had flagrantly lied to him about the shoes. There wasn’t a sign of these shoes being on sale. The sales hadn’t even started yet. £265 for a pair of shoes. He couldn’t believe it. He loved Ami’s taste in clothes and shoes. It was impeccable. But these hadn’t been bought for an ‘occasion’. They hadn’t been bought because she was desperate for shoes. She had simply bought them because she liked them. To add them to the other hundred or so pairs she owned.
Daniel breathed deeply, sucking air into his lungs and letting it go with a whoosh. He turned and made for the stairs striding up two at a time. He entered their bedroom and flung open the doors to Ami’s wardrobe. He scanned the shelves above where she hung her clothes. They were jammed full of shoe boxes, wedged in so tightly that when he reached up he could hardly move one. He managed to lever one out and he noticed that behind the front row there was another, similarly packed in. He began to pull the boxes out, depositing them on the bed. He was horrified to discover that the row he had thought to be at the back of the wardrobe had a further row behind it. The boxes were two deep and there were three rows. He could hardly comprehend what he was looking at.
Daniel selected and opened some boxes at random. There were shoes of every type and every colour, and several pairs looked either brand new or hardly worn. He shook his head in disbelief. He knew Ami had a shoe fetish, but he hadn’t realized how out of hand things were getting.
This situation had to be dealt with. Somehow he had to set some limits. Ami was buying shoes and squirreling them away like an alcoholic might hide whisky bottles. He had to ensure that she knew this kind of behaviour had to change. It was causing her to become deceitful, and that was selfish, hurtful and unacceptable.
About then an idea occurred to him, and he smiled grimly to himself. He knew they had never had much in the way of rules, but maybe now was the time to start enforcing one or two. He watched Ami pace the decking, and he moved towards the door.
“Ami” he said. “You and I are going to discuss ‘boundaries’.”
We stood at the far end of the garden, with the larger of the two horse ponds on one side and the spinney on the other. Daniel’s hands were on my hips and he had me facing a tree. A silver birch. My feet were rooted into the ground and he had frog-marched me through the garden until we stood in the middle of a triangle of birch trees. This one had branches that swooped down nearly touching the ground. I’d thought he had been meaning to trim it. Now he looked pleased that he hadn’t gotten around to it.
I gazed at the tree in disbelief. Surely Dan couldn’t be intending to cut some switches. Surely not. I couldn’t imagine how much they would hurt. I had inadvertently ridden into a birch grove once, at speed, on horseback. I knew all about how it felt as if my face was cut all over. Fine birch twigs rarely cut, but they burned like fire. I tried to pull away, but Daniel wasn’t having it.
He handed me his pocket knife. “Cut four” he instructed me.
“You must be mad if you think I’m going to do that. Completely off your rocker!” I shuddered and did my best to pull away.
“Okay. Then we’ll do it the hard way.” Holding on to me tightly, Dan reached around and quickly cut four small branches that divided and sub-divided into what looked like a maze of twigs. “Now we’ll go find some willow. It’ll be interesting to compare the two. I wonder which’ll sting the most.”
He manhandled me around the far end of the pond where there were several young willow trees. “Cut four” I was told again.
I backed away, trampling on Dan’s feet in the process. I had become totally speechless, my mouth dry and my throat closed up. “Don’t you even think you are coming near me with those bloody things” I warned him.
To my disquiet, Daniel sighed and shook his head slightly.
“Not only am I coming near you with them, but we are going to have a little stroll around our boundaries with them” he informed my. “But first we are going to go back to the house so you can prepare yourself.”
I stood in the middle of our bedroom. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. It had to be a joke. He couldn’t possibly be meaning to spank me with those birch and willow switches. That sort of thing only happened in books. No shoes were worth that. I would take them back. It would mean another trip into town, but so what?
I pulled open my wardrobe door and gloomily studied the contents. Daniel had requested I put on a certain pale green, floaty dress. It had a low neckline, and was ankle-length. Grecian-style.
He’d also forbidden me any underwear. I huffed. The bra was no problem, I never wore one with this dress, but going without knickers didn’t bode well.
I pulled the dress out of my wardrobe and laid it on the bed while I removed my jeans and tee-shirt. I slowly took off my bra and knickers and left everything in a heap on the floor. In fact I felt angry enough to kick it half way across the room.
“Ami, I’m waiting” Daniel called up the stairs.
“All this fuss over a pair of shoes and a parking ticket” I fumed to myself. “My life’s not my own anymore. Maybe I’ll withdraw consent. That will serve him right!”
I descended the stairs careful not to tread on the hem of my skirt, as I had been told to wear flat shoes and it was rather on the long side, and intended to be worn with high heels. In fact, now I was thinking about it, it was exactly the same shade as the wretched new shoes! I thought about Daniel and frowned to the best of my ability.
Daniel watched me come into the kitchen. I could tell immediately that he had remembered the colour of my dress correctly. It was written all over his face. But I was worried that now he would feel the need to drive the point home, and ensure it stayed there.
My eyes couldn’t open any wider as I saw what he had placed on the granite top of the kitchen island. He had removed all the leaves off the small birch branches and left a very fine tracery of twigs. He’d removed all the sharp nubs and leaves off the willow, and peeled the switches so they were white and smooth. He picked one up and flourished it. It made a horrid whistling sort of a swish as it cut through the air.
I lifted my chin and glared at Daniel. “If you think you are using those on me you are joking” I told him. “I’m not a dog or a horse.”
“If you were, there would be no need to use them” he answered me quietly, shrugging his shoulders.
“Don’t you remember telling me about those four “Ds”? Wasn’t dishonesty one of them? Aren’t we meant to be honest with each other at all times? You seem to have forgotten that in a hurry.” Truth be told, I could tell he was still feeling somewhat annoyed with me, but now he had a plan of action, at least his anger had abated.
He caught me by my left wrist. “Right, Ami. You and I are going for a little walk around our boundaries. The exercise will do you good.”
He dragged me out of the kitchen and started across the lawn and towards the gate to one of the meadows.
“Daniel let go of me! I am warning you. This isn’t even remotely funny. You’ve had your joke, now let me go!” I was furious with him.
“I assure you it’s no joke, Ami, and you know it deep down,” he replied. “I may not give you nightly spankings. I may not give you many punishment spankings at all. But it occurs to me that this one is long overdue. It’s something I should have tackled a long time ago. This ‘shoe fetish’ of yours has become a problem. You could supply the world with the bloody things. But to go out for the day without telling me, and then to lie about your purchases. And if that wasn’t deceitful enough, to react with nonchalance to your parking fine, is not something I find amusing after all these years of marriage. So it is going to stop now. And your bottom is going to pay the penalty. And there will be other penalties too.” Daniel had a firm set to his jaw. He pulled me through the gate and started off down the meadow.
I was seething. I tried unsuccessfully once more to jerk out of his grasp. For two pins I would have kicked him, except I was having trouble not tripping up.
We arrived at the bottom left-hand corner of our land. Daniel swished the birch branch through the air. There was a large ash tree in the hedge, with a curve to its trunk and a smaller branch reaching out from it.
“Bend forward and grab on to that lower branch, and stick your bottom out.”
His voice was so sharp that I realized that Daniel was as serious about this as I had ever seen him. The fact that I had lied to him and deceived him had shocked him to the core. I had never, to my recollection, been instructed to do this before and my breathing quickened. I debated running back up the meadow and locking myself in the house, but that would only make the situation worse, and with this stupid long dress Dan would catch me easily. And then what if he gave me extras?
I, unwillingly, bent forward and grasped the branch.
“Move yourself backwards a bit.”
I took a step back which made me bend forward more. The low neckline on my dress gaped and I had a perfect view of my own boobs and right down the front of my body to the grass.
“Feet shoulder width apart” he commanded.
Daniel knew Ami was hating every minute of this, but he didn’t want her to lose her balance. He was ready to catch hold of her if she did. He was determined to make it very stingy, but he didn’t want her to come to any harm. He lifted her dress and tucked the hem into the neckline at the back exposing her legs, bottom and most of her lower back. He placed the switches on the floor and selected a birch branch first, before placing his left hand on her waist holding her in position.
“I’m going to give you five swats with the birch and then five with the willow Ami, and I expect you to stay in position and not let go with your hands. If you let go you’ll get extra. I mean this. I’m planning on you remembering this spanking for a very long time.”
He raised his hand. This was a massive stride forwards for him, but he couldn’t back out now. Whatever happened, he had to see it through.
I heard the whistle of the birch through the air. For a split second nothing, and then it felt like it had cut my bottom to shreds. I shrieked loudly and danced on the spot, but Dan prevented me from letting go by holding me tightly in position between his arm and his hip. The horses in the neighbouring meadow lifted their heads and started to trot around looking across and trying to see what was happening.
The birch lashed down twice more in rapid succession. I screamed both times and tried to pull away. The pain was like nothing I had ever experienced or wanted to again.
The fourth time was too much. Tears overflowed and flooded down my face and I yelled loudly at Daniel.
“I withdraw my consent” I choked. “You’re killing me. Stop it and stop it now, you bastard!”
Daniel hadn’t liked those screams, but he managed not to lose his grip. The birch twigs landed a fifth time, and then he threw them in the bottom of the hedge. Ami sprang upright and whirled around madly rubbing her bottom and swearing at him. She checked her hands to see if there was any blood on them. She seemed astonished to see there wasn’t.
Daniel had anticipated a reaction like this, and if anything, it strengthened his resolve. He picked up one of the willow switches and swished it through the air.
Ami backed away, her skirts still tucked into her neckline at the back. “Don’t you dare come near me! Don’t you come near me ever again!”
Daniel merely pointed at the tree. “Back into position, Ami and stop complaining. Boundaries are boundaries, and this boundary is being enforced whether you like it or not. You can scream and yell and disagree all you want to.”
I looked around wildly as if help was going to arrive in the form of a knight on a white charger at a gallop. All I could see were the horses who had quickly grown tired of the excitement and had gone back to grazing and swishing flies off their rumps with their long tails.
“But I withdraw my consent!”
“No you don’t” Daniel disagreed. “You only think you do. The sooner you bend over the sooner we will be done here. There are always penalties to be paid for misdeeds, and the sooner you pay them the better.”
He grabbed me by the waist once more and pushed me back towards the tree, forcing me to bend. Initially I tried to resist, but then bent and took hold of the branch, calling him all the names I could think of and a few more. Daniel rubbed my lower back and raised the willow switch roughly to shoulder height. This was new to him as well and I could see he intended to get it right.
The switch landed across the middle of my bottom. He watched as a line appeared, white at first then a bright red. In those few seconds that it registered with my brain, I leapt upright and danced around in a circle shrieking. This time Daniel manhandled me and bending me over got in another two swats fairly quickly, each one slightly below the other. I squealed loudly with each one and broke into a series of loud sobs.
“I hate you! I hate you!” I yelled. “You’re a sadistic bastard!”
“Well hate away. This bastard now intends to give you two more and one extra for running around!”
I could scarcely believe the pain. I was never going to be able to move after this, let alone sit down. I loved and trusted Dan and now he was hurting me like this. The first thing I was going to do when I eventually made it back to the house, if I made it back to the house, was to pack my bags. We were finished.
The switch landed two final times. Daniel threw it next to the birch twigs and picked the unused switches up ready to proceed to the next corner of our property. He grabbed me unrelentingly by the wrist and dragged me behind him once more. I was still crying and refused to look at him let alone speak to him. It was a long and tortuous journey being towed across the meadow and then into the field where the horses were grazing.
The horses thought they were going to be given some horse nuts, and followed in us in procession to the corner. This time a tree stump was partly on its side, left from the storms the previous winter. Daniel didn’t try to order her into position this time. He pushed her across the stump, arranged her skirts, and then sat next to her holding her down. He’d seen her get angry before, and he knew he was just going to have to work through it. He couldn’t stop now.
She fought and fought, screaming at him and swearing like a trooper. It took all his strength to hold her firmly in position.
He raised the next birch branch and let it fall across her bright red buttocks. She screamed like a banshee, her fingers clawing at the bark and her sobs increasing in volume. He quickly followed the first swat with the other four. He couldn’t see the point in delaying the action as they were barely half way through. Her bottom was now a spider’s web of thin, raised, tangled crimson lines.
When he paused to reach for the willow switch she stood holding her bottom, sobbing, and telling him how much she hated him.
“What I hate, Ami, is when you deceive me and tell me lies. If you’ll lie about buying a pair of shoes, getting a parking fine, and in fact, just going off out for the day with a friend, what other lies could you be telling me? Do you care for me so little? I just find it hard to believe, and I’m telling you, it stops now.”
The switch lines continued to appear a couple of centimetres apart down both my buttocks. The last couple landed across my sit spots. I screamed so loudly the horses leapt into the air and galloped the length of the meadow, snorting and stamping their feet. I was stamping my feet too. I couldn’t believe how terrible this felt. I had never endured such pain in all my life. It was far worse than giving birth. Or, at least, it felt like it at this moment.
I was beginning to get exhausted. Daniel had no trouble grabbing my wrist this time and heading for the other side of the farmhouse. It was quite a walk, and I did manage to calm myself down a little. Strangely the gravity of Daniel’s words began to sink in. We’d come so far, done so well, yet I still found it necessary to lie to him. Just thinking about it made me start to cry again.
This time there was a water trough in the corner of the meadow and Daniel perched on the edge of it taking a birch branch in his hand. He pulled me over his left knee and put his right leg over mine keeping me secure and preventing any kicking. I had to put my hands down on the grass to keep my balance, my hair hanging down in my eyes mixing with my tears and perspiration. My boobs were practically falling out of the neckline of my dress, which was still tucked up at the back. I felt sick with pain and misery.
The birch still caused me to scream loudly as it landed. The network of fine lines had nearly fused together and now looked very red and angry although they hadn’t broken the skin even slightly. The dark red and raised lines of the willow formed a neat pattern of parallel lines on top. The final stroke of the birch landed rather quicker than I think Dan had anticipated, and caught me right across my tender and puffy lower lips. I screamed so loudly I nearly deafened him, trying to scissor my legs and almost upending him in the water trough. I was sobbing steadily now, my chest heaving with hiccupping sounds as I tried to get my breath.
Daniel laid the willow lower down across Amis sit spots leaving very small gaps between them. The final two cut across the tops of her thighs, immediately leaving raised red and purple weals. She put her hand back to try to rub away the awful pain. Daniel released her legs and she fell to the floor in a heap.
“I’ve had enough Daniel. Please don’t make me have any more. It’s just too much. It’s killing me. I can’t stand it” she implored him.
Daniel knew, through experience, that she was softening. The hard edge she had assumed, was disappearing, and the woman he loved was returning. But there still remained one more corner.
I don’t know how I had made it to the final corner of our land. I certainly don’t remember much of the walk through the long grass of the hay meadow. I stood forlornly gazing at the post and rail fencing that ran along the boundary. Dan had told me to lean forwards and grasp the top rail and keep my bottom well out. At this point I didn’t think I had much of a bottom left. It had fused together in one painful pulsating throb. I didn’t care if I never saw those vile shoes again. How could I ever consider wearing them after going through all this? I would never forget this punishment if I lived to be ninety. I’d read all about barn warmers and decided this fit neatly into the very top of that category.
Daniel rubbed my back. He told me afterwards that my bottom looked truly awful and he was worried he had overdone it. There were no bruises, just lines over lines, and that very accurate pattern of welts that reached midway down my thighs.
He brought the final small birch branch down on those thighs once, twice. I squealed and kicked, but managed to keep my hands on the fence rail.
“They are beautiful shoes, Ami” he told me. “They go with this dress a treat. It’ll be just the outfit to wear at that garden party next week. I look forward to seeing you wear it.
“But until then, you are just going to wear these flat sandals, you hear me, all the time. No fancy shoes allowed. And you are banned from driving for a week as well. If you need to go anywhere, I will take you. Are you listening?”
I met him with silence, so he landed two more swats across my crimson thighs.
“This one is going to be the hardest. It’s so you remember not to lie to me ever again in the future.”
It swept down right across the middle of my bottom, encompassing both cheeks and stinging my soft underneath bits so badly my knees nearly buckled. I let out a thin sort of wail that seemed to go on and on until I ran out of breath.
“I am so sorry, Daniel. I won’t ever lie to you again. I don’t even know why I did. Please, no more. Please…..” I begged him between sobs.
“Just the willow left, and then it will all be forgotten. I will pay for the shoes and you’ll get the fine paid immediately. If you pay straight away you get it half price.” He actually chuckled. He was thinking that he’d never been able to understand that rule.
“Next time if you want something that is so expensive, ask me and we’ll discuss it. After all, it’s your money too. You have as much right to spend it as I do. It’s the lying I’m upset about.
“Surely that’s better than being spanked?”
I was almost too exhausted to reply. I simply nodded my head limply.
The willow swept down on my thighs leaving livid red weals almost immediately. Once. Twice. Three times.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’ll never, ever deceive you again Daniel. Not ever” I sobbed out, almost incoherent with pain. This was more than a barn warmer, it was a spanking of epic proportions, a spanking of the type to be avoided at all costs.
Daniel then changed direction and created two lines that crossed over leaving a vivid scarlet X on my buttocks.
He threw the willow switch down and caught me before I collapsed in a heap. He freed my skirts and let them fall back into place.
I had leapt about so much that one of my boobs had escaped the confines of my dress completely, and he gently tucked it back where it belonged. Then he bent and carefully picked me up and carried me home.
I cried and sobbed all the way. I felt aflame from waist to knees although I knew Daniel never spanked as high or as low as that.
Dan carried Ami upstairs, although it was a struggle, and he was worried he would put his back out. He laid her down on the bed on her stomach and lifted her skirts once more. Her whole bottom and the tops of her thighs were an angry red and extremely swollen. He left her for a minute and went downstairs to the kitchen. He opened the freezer and removed a large pack of frozen petits pois. Then he poured a large glass of cold water and found a couple of paracetamol tablets from the cupboard. He returned upstairs. Ami was lying exactly where he had left her. Her sobs had subsided into tears and hiccups and she was moaning.
He stepped inside their bathroom and picked up the tube of arnica gel. He knew it usually took care of any bruising, although he didn’t think he could see any, but it would help the weals to heal.
He rubbed it very gently into her bottom and thighs. She hardly moved, just cringed away from his touch. Her bottom felt as if she had sat on a hot stove.
Daniel laid the pack of frozen peas across the worst of the redness. He scrutinized Ami’s bottom and was thankful to see that there wasn’t a single cut and that he hadn’t broken her skin anywhere. He had been careful not to use anything like his full strength. He’d intended to cause maximum sting, not to harm her.
He glanced at the clock in the bedroom. They had only been trailing round the fields for little over a half hour. The switchings themselves, had taken mere minutes.
“Have a drink love” he encouraged her.
Ami was very thirsty from all the crying. Despite her exhaustion, she raised herself up on her elbows and took the glass of water. She must have been thirsty because she completely drained it. Apart from the occasional hiccup she seemed mostly recovered. How long it would take her scarlet bottom to recover was another matter completely.
By the time the peas had defrosted on what amounted to the slopes of Mount Etna, Ami was fast asleep. Daniel left her on her front, and covered her with a light mohair throw, before tip-toeing carefully out of the room.
I slept for just over two hours. When I awoke the sky was pink and gold from the setting sun. For a while I felt disorientated, wondering why I was up here on the bed lying on my stomach. Then, as I rolled over I yelped and remembered. I lay there, careful not to move another inch. I couldn’t imagine my bottom ever feeling normal, not ever again.
It amazed me how Daniel had managed to change my mind on a number of points.
I would never, ever tell another lie if I lived to be a hundred, and neither would I ever be the recipient of a parking fine. I also decided that I would not only ensure the battery on my mobile phone was charged up on a regular basis, but that I would take advantage of the aforesaid fully charged mobile to make copious phone calls and/or texts to Dan. I would explain where I was and always notify him of any desire I had to spend his money on frivolous items like pale green silk sandals. In fact it was strange, but my desire to shop for shoes seemed to have evaporated like early morning mist under the hot rays of the sun. Beating the Bounds would always carry a deep significance for me in the future.
Daniel must have heard my thoughts as he chose that moment to enter the bedroom. Seeing I was awake, he crossed the room and sat down on the bed next to me. He lifted the throw and inspected my bottom. The arnica had already calmed the bright scarlet to a more acceptable shade, although the stripes from the willow and the fine thatching from the birch still looked on the angry side.
He gently gave my sore globes another coating of the soothing gel.
“So do you want me to lift your suitcase down from the loft?” he asked me quietly, a worried look in his eyes.
“I’m so, so sorry, Daniel” I told him. “I wish I hadn’t bought the shoes at all. Perhaps I should return them to the shop.
“But most of all I’m sorry about all this lying to you. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m a horrible person.” I shuddered. “All those shoes. Do you still love me? I don’t really hate you, you know. And I’m not going anywhere. Where would I go?”
I rose and clambered very carefully up on to his lap putting my arms around his neck and holding him tightly to me. Daniel reciprocated.
“You’re not a horrible person, Ami,” he told me. “You’re just too impulsive for your own good. This is why you’ve got a wardrobe full of shoes, many of which rarely see the light of day.” He dropped a kiss on my forehead.
“Of course I still love you. I’m still around after all these years aren’t I?” He kissed the tip of my nose. “I’m just not prepared to put up with dishonesty any more. I don’t want to go back to how we used to be, Ami.
“Remember how you would bring out a pair of shoes, or a new bag or dress, and swear you’d had them for months? I always knew you were lying, but I chose to ignore it. Now,” he looked away out of the window and across the meadows for a moment, “it seems more important that we are truthful with each other, and that we communicate.
“There will be times when we can’t agree…”
“…and then you will make a judgment?”
“Let’s just say my decision will be final. Sometimes I’ll make the wrong decision. You’re just going to have to live with it.”
“I’ll happily do so, Daniel.” I wriggled a bit to try to get comfortable. I gave up. “I needed that spanking.” I shook my head and frowned.
“I needed it a lot. It didn’t feel like it at the time. At the time it felt like I was being forced to sit on top of a cooker! I feel thrashed within an inch of my life.”
“Oh, Ami, it wasn’t that bad. You don’t have a single bruise, just a few lines and welts. It may have felt as if I used my full strength, but I can assure you I didn’t. I never would.” Daniel was rubbing my back. I didn’t entirely agree with his description of my bottom. I knew what it felt like. But somehow my eyes filled with tears again.
“Come on. I cooked us some tea.” He lifted my gently off his lap. “Now that’s something you don’t get every day. Me, cooking.”
I gave him a watery smile. “You go on down. I’ll follow in a minute. I need to use the bathroom and I want to put my dressing gown on.”
Daniel moved to the doorway.
“And Dan?” I called him.
“Yes?” He turned back to face me, his hand on the door jamb.
“I’m glad you put those boundaries in place even though I know there will be other times when I feel the need to test them.” I thought a minute. “They’re like boundaries of love, keeping me safe and warm in your arms.”
He smiled at my, his eyes full of that love. “They are Sweetie, they are.”
He went downstairs to the kitchen, getting plates out of the warmer. He hoped he would never have to administer such a severe punishment ever again, but he knew Ami wouldn’t be able to stay on the straight and narrow for very long.
Life in the country with Ami was never going to be boring, and he wondered fleetingly what lay ahead.
It wasn’t too long before he was due to find out.
Thank you so much Ami. This was a wonderful story and I've loved hosting you. I hope you will keep writing for a long time. Now you know my theory - everyone reading here has a Fantasy Friday story in them (you know the scene in your head as you go to sleep every night) now write it up and send it to email@example.com