Sir Elias Fortescue is an emboldened man. An early retirement beckons, cushioned by money, reputation and influence. he can afford to take occasional risks.
Nicola Flynn believes she is attending a meeting about changes in her role at Gouldings Bank: promotions and redundancies are in the air and she hopes the summons to great man’s house indicates she is in line for the former.
Nicola knows an invitation to Sir Elias’ Sussex home at the week-end is an unusual privilege, though she has heard of staff occasionally being asked to go to his London house after work, usually just preceding a turning point in their career.
Sir Elias is at the open door. She smiles and shakes his hand, friendly but not over-familiar. He shows her into an austere drawing room and leaves her without invitation to sit down or get herself a drink. She assumes he is fetching refreshments.
He returns. No refreshments, no indication that this is in any way a social encounter. In fact, he looks affronted, as though she has done him some great wrong. For the first time Nicola wonders whether she will be spending Monday on ???garden leave’, looking at the vacancy pages in the quality papers and emailing her curriculum vitae to specialist agencies.
???Miss Flynn,’ he intones, ???where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’
???I don’t really know. I’m very happy in my current position but may seek promotion some time during that period. Perhaps gaining experience in a different department …’
???Miss Flynn, you are thirty-four, have been with Gouldings for two years, working in one department, making consistent but unimaginative contributions and you “don’t really know” what you want to be when you grow up. In the same period I have seen young people complete Modern Apprenticeships and take responsibility for their career development; I have seen new graduates from various disciplines enter the bank and progress its work with their drive and initiative. I have seen nothing comparable from you.’
This is totally unexpected. Nicola regards herself as a good, steady worker, one that others can rely upon, one that ensures that every ???t’ is crossed and ???i’ is dotted. She wrings her hands and turns away, but Sir Elias circles her, continuing his barrage of criticism. Her clothes, her attitude, her professional relationships, her ability to network … all are found to be lacking.
???You have two options, Miss Flynn. You can tender your resignation with immediate effect or you can go into the next room and change into the clothes you will find there.’
Change into some clothes or lose her job? It barely needs consideration. She hurries into the next room where she is surprised to see what her employer has laid out for her. She hesitates, considers the alternative and quickly switches clothes.
She returns to the drawing room, dressed in a white blouse, tie, navy blue gym skirt, white socks and buckled shoes. She feels first ridiculous, then apprehensive as she sees that Sir Elias has also changed: now he is wearing a traditional master’s gown, his collar is fastened and a tie is firmly knotted at his throat. More importantly, he is holding a classic thin cane.
???You need to develop. You’ve probably been coasting since you left school, so I am going to bring you on: fifteen years’ maturation in the space of an afternoon.’
He flexes the cane and swishes it through the air. Nicola flinches and considers fleeing, but part of her is curious, and donning the schoolgirl outfit has already indicated her submission.
Sir Elias is relieved. He has taken a risk in inviting a staff member to his ???real’ home: all previous encounters have either been at the London house or in discreet hotel rooms. Still, the remote possibility of his predilections being exposed makes this moment all the sweeter.
???See how flexible my cane is?’ he asks, brandishing it before her. ???You are going to bend over and hear the cane cutting through the air before it slices into your rear. You will feel it alternately burn and chill as the sensation spreads through your body. You will want to stand, to grasp your buttocks and rub away the pain, but if you try, the stroke will be repeated.’ He sees her face turn pale below the make-up, relishes the tremble of her lower lip, admires her determination not to react as she obeys his command to bring an upright chair to the centre of the room.
???Only grown ups can undergo a thorough thrashing with a cane, so first we have to bring you to the threshold of adulthood. I’m going to spank your infantile lack of ambition out of you. Come across my lap!’
He hangs the cane on the fireplace and seats himself, pulling the stunned, confused, trembling, Nicola Flynn over his knees. His arm swings back and his palm slams into the white cotton knickers covering her bottom. The impact makes her gasp, but before she can get her breath back his hand has struck again. When she writhes, he holds her firmly in place, all the time lecturing her about her attitude and lack of achievement.
???You need to grow up … You need to set yourself targets … You need to progress, not stagnate ….’
Again and again his hand crashes into her nates, the flesh becoming hotter at each contact. The area around the white panties is deepening through several shades of red, from rose to crimson. He deliberately strikes lower, burning the backs of Nicola’s thighs, tugging down her knickers, ensuring her flesh from knees to waist is thoroughly punished. The litany continues ???…Lack of ambition … be a driver, not a passenger ….’ but Nicola can barely hear him above her own wails of pain.
She writhes and twists under the relentless onslaught and the banker struggles to maintain his grip around her. Eventually she breaks free and tumbles to the floor. It is painful sitting on her beleaguered bottom cheeks, but she cannot risk exposing them and inviting further punishment. There is no escaping the lecture, however.
???I would hope that your spanking will have instilled the ambition and drive in you that some of our younger trainees display. You should be influencing your team, inspiring your subordinates and impressing your superiors. Let me take you to that next level: to place you where you ought to have taken yourself
by now. Bend over the back of the chair.’
Slowly, reluctantly, knickers still at half-mast, she stands behind the chair and bends forward, hands resting on the seat.
???I’m going to deliver the traditional six of the best and you will remain in position throughout. Take this opportunity to contemplate what you have to offer us and how we can help support you. Make the most of this opportunity.’
Nicola is surprised that she barely feels the first stroke. Her punished buttocks are hot and engorged from her hand-spanking and, although she is aware of the rod landing and pressing into her flesh, it doesn’t seem to cause her any greater discomfort than she already endures.
The second stroke is another matter: landing a little lower, it cuts the skin and draws a screech from Nicola. The third brings her up onto her toes, sobbing. The fourth has her stamping her feet, letting the cotton panties slide further down her legs.
Her employer is somewhat disappointed to find she is coping so well. He puts renewed effort into stroke number five, swinging his arm back and following through so that the cane impacts across the fullest part of her buttocks, pressing in, making a perfectly straight indentation across both cheeks, then springing back allowing the crease to smooth out momentarily before the distinctive tramlines raise themselves above the flesh.
Nicola kicks out, almost reaching behind to ward off further blows until she remembers the threatened consequences. She holds her position, face scrunched up, tears welling, muscles involuntarily twitching.
Number six means her ordeal is over, but the knowledge does nothing to lessen the pain. Sir Elias is right, the heat and throbbing is spreading throughout her lower body, creeping through muscle and bone until she can hardly tell where its source lies. She stands up, gingerly inspecting the outcome of her ???motivational session’ and something finally snaps within her.
Rounding on her employer she begins a tirade about his arrogance, his immoral, possibly illegal, manipulation of her … Sir Elias grabs her hand as she jabs the air for emphasis and stops her mid-sentence. ???Hold out your hands!’ he barks and to her chagrin, Nicola finds herself obeying yet again.
The cane swings down across both palms, taking the fight out of her once and for all as lightning bolts streak through her forearms.
???Go next door, change and leave. I want you to come to my office after work on Monday with either your letter of resignation or a detailed career plan. Good day.’
And so Nicola leaves, her thoughts mature and focussed on the future.