by W A Whyte
Arnold examined the carpet closely. He could tell it was a good carpet. He didn't really know much about carpets, but this one felt rich and expensive. His hands smoothed over it. He looked up... well, as far up as he could, and saw the subtle pattern. Yes, a good carpet as far as he could tell, his face about four inches from it.
He was naked, lying across his girlfriend-lover-mistress Annabelle's knee, his head and shoulders on one side of her lap, his legs dangling down the other. In her present mood, Annabelle was very much the mistress of Arnold. He was awaiting, with nervous anticipation, the start of a much-threatened damn good spanking.
He supposed he deserved it. No, he knew he deserved it. He had eventually gone out of his way to earn it by looking at (ogling Annabelle called it) other women... young, not so young; attractive or otherwise. He couldn't help it, it was his high libido, he kept telling himself. He also told Annabelle when she protested, and she kept protesting.
"I can't stop it, Bella. I love you. You know I do," he told her. "But I just like looking at and admiring other women."
Once he'd added, "You mustn't feel jealous." That was the first time she'd warned him about getting a damn good spanking if he wasn't careful.
The threat had sent shivers through his body and his knees went weak. He thought they might actually collapse under him had he not been sitting down.
Oh the thought of actually being spanked by Annabelle, of having his trousers and pants taken down by her and pulled across her knee, and then... It had taken hours for Arnold to get to sleep that night. He kept thinking of her warning to give him a damn good spanking – oh, those three special words - and he twisted and turned under the quilt. He finally woke up after half a night's sleep.
It was the one fantasy above all that had dominated his mind since he was a boy: being spanked by a female. It wasn't going to leave him now.
To be fair, he did try, when they went out, not to ogle other women, but eventually he couldn't, or more realistically wouldn't, keep it up. His mind, his libido, his fantasy wouldn't let him.
Finally, Annabelle had said, "This is the last warning I'm giving you, Arnie. Next time I catch you ogling another woman, I'm going to march you home and give you a damn good spanking."
Oh those three words!
Arnold had not long moved into Annabelle's house. He met her a few months ago when she walked into his bookshop on a quiet Saturday afternoon.
"I'm looking for a book," she said.
Instantly, he quipped, "Well as luck would have it, we've got quite a few of them."
She glared at him. She was over an inch taller than him in her flat shoes, with a shapely figure and very good looking too, though at that moment he found her stare quite intimidating.
"I'm sorry," he murmured, "that was a silly thing to say."
Her face was suddenly transformed by a Mona Lisa smile, not quite amused but leaning that way.
He was bewitched.
"Actually it was quite funny," she replied. "But I'm looking for a book..." She paused for a second to see if he would say anything this time. He didn't. "... a new book, the autobiography of Janet Sharpe-"
"Ah," he interrupted, "Armed To Thrill: The World's Best Woman Javelin-Thrower."
"Yes." She was impressed.
He was about to lead her to the biographies when he paused and looked at her again.
"I know you. Yes... you've got a nickname." He looked away in thought and didn't notice Annabelle's expression harden. "The sex bomb with the spear." He looked up and saw her grimace. "Erm..." He gulped.
"Shall we just get the book?"
"Yes... er, this way."
He took the book from the shelf. She gave him her credit card. The mood had changed. He recognised her name on the card.
"Do you want a bag... er, Miss Shaw?"
He held the book in his right hand and reached for a paper bag with his left and for once found he didn't have enough hands. He tried and failed to shake the bag open.
"Heh-heh," he laughed nervously.
She took the bag off him and opened it. He slid the book in and gave her the receipt and credit card.
He felt he had to say something. This was Annabelle Shaw, who was once, not so long ago, the world's best female javelin-thrower and Olympic gold champion: in his shop.
"It was a silly nickname the tabloids used."
"Do you still throw the javelin?" What a daft question, he thought.
"Competitively?" That's a bit better.
"No. I've retired."
"Oh yes, of course. I read it."
"Have you lived here long?"
"In this town? Yes all my life."
"I've just moved here. You can show me round if you like."
He felt his knees weaken.
"Certainly, where do you want to go?"
"Well I don't know yet. That's why I want you to show me round."
"Yes, of course. Now? I can shut the shop if you like." Oh control yourself.
"No, tomorrow. You're shut on Sundays."
"Yes, of course."
"Are you a bit tongue-tied? That's the third time in a few second you've said 'Yes, of course'."
"Is it? No. Actually I'm a bit overawed. Annabelle Shaw in my shop... sorry."
"That was unintentionally alliterative."
"You're a funny little man, aren't you."
"I can be. If you think so."
"That doesn't actually make sense. But all right. Are you doing anything tonight?"
"Er, no, no, I'm not... er, no."
"Yes, OK. Well, will you have dinner with me? I know it's a strange thing to say but I'd like to get to know you a bit first, before you act as my guide."
Good Lord, she's asking me out, just like that. "Yes, of course."
"Mmm, there's that phrase again. What's the best restaurant?"
"Oh, er, Simpson's, just round the corner."
"I'll book a table for eight o'clock."
"Right. I'll pay."
"No, you won't! That's medieval. I'm inviting you."
"Thank you, Miss Shaw."
"Call me Annabelle."
That night clinched it. Everything, almost everything, went right that night.
Annabelle looked stunning as she walked into Simpson's wearing a gorgeous evening dress. Arnold was not good at describing women's clothes but he knew it was gorgeous, and he noted the two-inch high heels. All the men, and most of the women, in the restaurant turned their heads and watched her casually stroll to the table where Arnold was already seated.
He still had his mouth open when she reached him. She stood waiting.
"Well?" she said. "And close your mouth."
"Oh, yes." He closed his mouth and hurriedly stood up, nearly knocking over his chair.
"Here." He pulled out her chair. He felt his hands shake as he grabbed the back. He wondered how he'd cope with having this fabulous woman as his dinner-date.
"Well?" she repeated after they were both seated.
"Er..." mumbled Arnold.
"I'm rather partial to an aperitif."
"Yes, of course."
She rolled her eyes.
"Don't be. Just stop saying it."
"Yes... all right." He smiled shyly. "I'm not very good so far, am I?"
"I'm sure you'll improve." She smiled back.
He did. The aperitif helped and later the two bottles of wine they shared with what turned out to be an excellent meal. When it came to the postprandial drinks, he was in an expansive and humorous mood.
Before the meal started, however, Annabelle had said, "Let's do the background stuff now and get it out of the way."
They were both quick and concise.
Annabelle had chosen to the move to his town because it was pleasant, and being in the south-east of England, had relatively good weather. It also had good transport links to London and the coast, both of which were important to her: London because of business interests and the coast because she loved swimming in the sea. She wasn't very forthcoming about her business interests, just that it concerned some investments. In answer to Arnold's only question, she explained that Janet Sharpe was now the world's top woman javelin-thrower because she had won last year's World Championship with a record throw.
For his part, Arnold was even briefer. He had started the bookshop because it was a 'bookish' town with lots of literary types, and yet the previous shop, part of a chain, had closed. He lived in a one-bedroom flat above it. Previously, he'd been an English teacher and hated it. And his surname was Jefferson.
She was 31, he was 29. Neither of them were married.
Annabelle was very taken with Arnold's witticisms, which he began to sprinkle more and more throughout his conversation as the evening progressed. The subjects ranged wide and covered many diverse subjects... actually, anything that came into his head.
"Sprouts," he found himself saying as he played with his brandy balloon. "There's no child who likes sprouts. Yet parents insist on giving them sprouts." He was warming to the subject. "I was forced to eat them when I was young. Now, of course, it's different. I have a mature, grown-up palate, able to appreciate properly the savour and subtleties of so many tastes that I couldn't stand as a boy... and you wouldn't catch me eating sprouts for the world!"
She laughed. "You fool. Where do you come up with these things?"
"It's a gift. Not many people have it. Not many people want it. It gets in the way of serious conversation. I mean, what have I said tonight that's been of any consequence?"
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't spring trick questions on you."
"Come on, you, let's go."
She paid the bill on her credit card, shushing-up Arnold when he tried to pay half, and left a handsome tip.
As they left the restaurant, he felt like quite small next to Annabelle. With her high heels, she stood a good three inches taller than him.
Suddenly, she grabbed his arm and pulled it under hers.
He had seen couples occasionally walking with the man's arm under the woman's. Very occasionally; twice, three times at most. But it somehow felt right... in a way. It certainly felt cosy. Anyway, he didn't resist.
"Shall we walk by the river?" he ventured.
"Yes, that's a good idea. Where is it?"
"It's about a quarter of a mile this way."
In the pleasant, early spring air of the evening, they strolled along the attractive riverside. Arnold still maintained his jocular nonsense chat, the alcohol continuing its work of loosening his tongue and suppressing his inhibitions. Annabelle was duly amused, even laughing out loud now and again.
They eventually turned off from the river up a slightly sloping path, which levelled out and turned into a paved avenue with large houses and bungalows either side.
"Hang on," said Annabelle. "This is where I live! There, over there."
She pointed to a white, slate-roofed, cottage. If it had had a thatched roof, it would have made a perfect picture-postcard. As it was, it was still large and handsome.
"Gosh," said Arnold as they approached it. "I think this once belonged to the mayor. I reckon his family own half the town."
"Well they don't own this any more. Do you fancy a coffee?"
Arnold was fast asleep on the living room couch when Annabelle brought in a tray carrying two mugs from the kitchen.
She sighed and smiled as she saw him. She put down the tray on a coffee table.
Well, she said to herself, you kept up a non stop stream of amusing jabbering when you got going. It takes it out of you, boy.
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