by Abby Collier
© Abby Collier and ABCD Webmasters, 2010
She nearly missed the ad at the back of the campus paper. It was almost deliberately non-descript.
Seeking person to stay at my home. Own room. Special circumstances for the right person. Contact M.M. at 555-6572.
Granted, Alicia was getting pretty desperate, but it wasn’t just her wallet that was intrigued by this ad. In fact, it wasn’t her wallet at all, because there wasn’t a price mentioned, which should have been the first thing to raise warning bells. She circled it and punched the numbers into her cell before she could talk herself out of it.
A woman’s voice answered almost immediately, and was nothing if not no nonsense. “Yes?”
Suddenly shy about the call and what it might entail, she stumbled over her words. “I – uh, I w- was calling about the – uh- the ad that y- you had in the paper for – uh – the room?”
The voice on the other end softened somewhat. “Oh, yes.”
“Is it still available?”
“The most important thing is that you must be over eighteen. And I’m very selective about who I allow to stay in my home.”
That had Alicia immediately thinking that, whatever the restrictions were, they would apply to her, and she’d be out of the running. “I’m over eighteen,” she said, without much hope.
She was surprised to hear a light chuckle coming from the other end of the phone at her disappointed tone. “Why don’t we get together and talk about it? Are you available later today?”
Licia had knotted the napkin in her lap until it was in shreds. “I have some appointments but I’m free after three thirty.”
“Then why don’t we meet at four? Do you have a paper and pen? I’ll give you directions.”
Licia took down the detailed directions.
“Read them back to me, please. I don’t want you to get lost.”
She did as she was told without thinking. The woman on the other end was extremely detailed, and made sure she knew where she was going and that she wasn’t going to get lost. Alicia had spent enough time in Portland as a young girl on vacation with her parents, so, despite the fact that she was newly arrived to start college, she was relatively familiar with the city already. The part of town the house she was being directed to was in was called the Eastern Promenade, or the Eastern Prom, as the natives called it. It was a beautiful area with big old houses that looked out over the water, not far from downtown and the touristy Old Port shopping area, and relatively close to Southern Maine College, which she would be attending.
“Good girl. So four o’clock this afternoon. Be punctual. I don’t tolerate tardiness,” came the sharp warning.
“Yes, ma’am,” she answered, entirely without thinking, simply responding to the authority in her voice.
Another light chuckle. “You and I are going to get along well, little one. See you then.”
Licia stared at the phone for a long time after the woman on the other end had hung up, wondering what she’d just gotten herself into. On impulse, she dialed a close friend and gave her the scoop about where she was going - completed with directions and a phone number and the paper and issue the ad had been in, just in case. She made arrangements to meet her friend later that night for dinner, and if she didn’t show up at the agreed upon restaurant, Keri would alert the authorities.
Usually early, she only managed to be exactly on time for this appointment, since her others ran late. The house was a gorgeous old Victorian, complete with a tower room. It was painted in complementary pastel colors that surprised Alicia, but they seemed to go together. She nervously pressed the doorbell, and only had to wait a few seconds.
“You’re right on time. Good girl.”
She didn’t know why, but the praise made Licia flush with pleasure.
“Come in, come in.”
The house was as warm and inviting on the inside as it was on the outside, although the Victorian theme was definitely continued throughout, everywhere except the kitchen, which was extremely modern. Everywhere else, though, seemed to be crammed to the rafters with gorgeous period piece furniture, or what could have been artful knockoffs, for all she knew.
The house was mainly done in shades of maroon, with the occasional contrasting blues and grays, and the only negative Licia could see was that it was dark. The drapes at the tall windows were a heavy velvet or velour – she didn’t know which – and they blocked nearly all of the outside light.
The woman that answered the door was much younger than Licia had expected. She’d been picturing someone in her fifties, maybe even sixties, but the person standing confidently before her was probably barely out in her thirties, and maybe even not out of her twenties.
It was hard to tell, yet there didn’t seem to be an ounce of makeup on her.
She had jet black hair that fell in waves around her face and over her shoulders in an artfully careless style. She wore what appeared to be diamond studs in her ears and a matching diamond necklace, as well as a Byzantine gold thumb ring and a good sized diamond solitaire on her right ring finger. Her complexion was flawless, but very pale. No tanning booths for this lady.
She was wearing what looked like some sort of elaborate robe that looked very much like the curtains Licia had noticed at the windows, very feminine with wide lapels, and showing a modest amount of cleavage by today’s standards, belted at the waist with a beautiful matching flowery print belt. She was apparently wearing men’s style pajamas beneath them; the shirt and very tight, straight legged pants could plainly be seen beneath the robe.
The woman offered her hand. “It’s very nice to meet you . . .”
“Alicia Barnes.” Alicia shook the pristinely manicured hand.
“Alicia. I like that name. Very feminine. And you may call me Mistress.” Her real name was Margot, but very few people ever called her that. Certainly not someone who was going to be living in her house.
Licia’s heart leapt to her throat. How was it that she had managed to step into one of her own fantasies in the middle of stodgy downtown Portland, Maine? This place could have been the scene of any one of the turn of the century Victorian porn novels she’d stumbled onto in Boarders! Call her Mistress? She had half a mind to run screaming from the place . . .
Unfortunately, the other half of her mind was utterly intrigued by what was going on, and it was quite adamant that she stay and find out exactly where this was going to lead. She was safe – relatively. She patted the pocket in her purse that contained a large vial of pepper spray. Besides, Keri was her fail safe. She knew she’d do exactly what was needed when – and if – the time came.
She’d become so preoccupied, arguing with herself within her own mind about whether or not she was going to stay there or not, that she forgot to pay attention to her hostess, who, annoyed that her guest wasn’t following her, came back to find Alicia still standing in the doorway.
“Alicia, I asked you to follow me. You’ll find that I don’t like to have to repeat myself, and, if I end up having to do so, there will be unpleasant consequences. Follow me, please.”
The “Yes, ma’am” that popped out of her mouth was entirely unbidden. Licia found herself following the older woman entirely automatically.
She was lead into a beautiful parlor that continued the maroon, gray, and blue theme, with gorgeous reproduction – she assumed – pieces of camel back settees and gate legged end tables. Licia was motioned to sit at the end of one of the settees, while the other woman occupied a luxurious chaise lounge across from her.
“Tell me about yourself, Alicia. What brings you to Portland? Why are you looking for a room?”
Despite the circumstances – or perhaps because of them, in Alicia’s case – she was surprisingly easy to talk to. Alicia found herself confessing things that she might not have to someone else – like the fact that the reasons she was looking in the paper for a room was because she’d procrastinated in filling out the necessary paperwork to get a room through the college.
Her companion stopped in the middle of reaching for something and looked directly at her. “There are definitely remedies for procrastination, you know.” She reached for and rang a small bell. A tiny woman in an outrageously gaudy, old fashioned maid’s uniform appeared within seconds. “Would you like some milk or water, Alicia?” the Mistress offered.
“Do you have any soda or coffee?” Alicia countered, certain one of those common items had to be available.
“Milk or water?” she was offered again, more firmly.
“Neither, thank you,” Licia declined, just as firmly.
A small smile played about the older woman’s lips, but she turned to the servant and said, “Tea for me, please, Ella.”
It appeared as if by magic, minutes later, and Alicia was duly impressed to hear that the servant was thanked by her mistress before being summarily dismissed.
She was again encouraged to speak about herself, and had just begun doing so when they were interrupted by a young woman who was not too much older than herself who ran into the room and knelt down to kiss the Mistress’s hand most lovingly. “I’m back, Mistress.”
“I see that you are, my Amy. But the door was closed and you didn’t bother to knock, did you?” Her tone was gentle, but there was no mistaking the rebuke. “I’m with someone right now, and you barged in quite rudely, I’m afraid.”
Amy’s head hung in shame. It was unclear whether or not she’d even noticed Alicia’s presence, but Alicia didn’t think that would have mattered to Amy in the least.
Mistress hugged Amy without reserve, despite her gaffe, then leaned back and cupped the young woman’s cheek. “You know what you must do now, then, don’t you?”
“Yes, Mistress,” came the reluctant, mumbled reply.
“And what is that?” The question – which everyone in the room knew was much more of a command - was delivered in a soft but clear tone.
On a dry sob, Amy replied, “Go upstairs to my room and stand in the corner with my panties at my ankles and wait for you.”
“Good girl. I won’t be too long.” She reached up and patted Amy’s bottom as she turned and trudged out of the room, reluctance and regret more than evident in every step.
When she looked back at Alicia, the girl’s eyes were wide as saucers. “What do you make of that, Alicia?”
She could do nothing but gulp at her suddenly dry throat. “M-make of w-what?”
“I asked you what do you make of what just happened between myself and Amy?”
“Well, I . . . I don’t – I don’t know.”
Mistress’ eyebrows rose as if she highly doubted what Alicia was saying. “Come now. You must have felt something. The usual is revulsion or disdain that a young woman of Amy’s age – she’ll be twenty in six weeks – needs to be disciplined. Needs to stand in the corner of her room with her bare bottom on display, waiting patiently for her Mommy to come up there and blister it for her because she forgot to be polite.” She could see how Alicia was trying – unsuccessfully – not to squirm in her seat. But most young women were already halfway down the block by now.
The ones who weren’t were the ones who were usually interested in such things, whether or not they were willing to admit it to themselves. Some of them had to be convinced. Some of them knew it already, though, and just needed to be coaxed into it.
If she had to bet, she would put her money on the idea that Alicia knew what she wanted, but hadn’t quite come to terms with it.
She decided not to push her, for the moment. “How old are you, Alicia?” She asked as she got up, saying, also, “Follow me, please.”
“How old would you say you are mentally?”
Alicia shrugged, following as she was told to. “Probably twenty or so.”
Margo’s eyebrow rose at that answer. “So you’re really smart, or you think you’re really smart.”
She shrugged again. “I’ve been told all my life that I’m really smart.”
“How old would you say you are emotionally?”
The first answer that came to her mind was five or six – and, in her heart of hearts even younger than that - but she wasn’t about to give either of those answers to someone she’d barely met. “Early teens, maybe.”
When the women in front of her stopped short where they’d begun, in the big foyer, at the bottom of a beautiful staircase, Alicia bumped right into the back of her. She excused herself hastily. “You must learn to pay more attention to where you’re going, my dear. What was the first answer that came into your mind, Alicia? And don’t lie to me. I’ll know.”
That telltale blush was really all Margot needed to know, but it was important that Alicia learned to trust her enough to tell her that kind of information. “I – I – “
Within seconds, she found herself bent over Mistress’s lap. She hadn’t noticed that there were artfully placed straight backed chairs, all keeping with the Victorian décor, all with maroon velvet seats and high, ornately carved backs, strewn about the place so that there was always one within easy reach when needed. Her jeans were still around her waist, everything was still in its rightful place, but Alicia had never been spanked and she had no idea just how embarrassing and humiliating the mere position was.
Somehow, though, Mistress had known that.
She put her hand, which was a small, woman’s hand, but one with great power nonetheless, especially when you were on the receiving end of it, over Licia’s upturned bottom. Nothing more than that, just a well placed palm over a carefully presented female rear.
“I’d think carefully about my next words if I were you.”
But Alicia didn’t get a chance to respond before the front door opened, much to her mortification. She struggled to get up, but found the woman holding her over her lap was small and delicate, but surprisingly strong. She wasn’t going anywhere.
“Good afternoon, Mistress.” Another young woman dropped to one knee in front of her Mistress, kissing the proffered hand devotedly.
“My darling Kennedy, did you get your summer school grades today?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Licia could hear the girl rummaging in her bag, she assumed for the report card.
A few seconds later, “Ahhh, I told you you could bring up your physics grade with the right motivation, didn’t I? Good girl! Come to me tonight at ten and we’ll discuss a reward.”
Alicia could feel from where she was lying in ignominy over the Mistress’s lap, how the girl was vibrating with pleasure at the older woman’s praise.
“Give us a kiss and go upstairs to your room. Don’t disturb Amy, dear; she’s got a punishment coming. Anyway, it’s time for your nap before dinner. I’m so very proud of you, my dear. I knew you could do it.”
After a scene of genuine praise and affection between the two, Kennedy did as she was told and practically ran upstairs. “Now, where were we? Ah, yes.” She patted Alicia’s bottom pensively. “You were about to tell me what your first thought was, before you had a chance to censor your answer about what your emotional age is. Come on, Alicia, out with it.”
It wasn’t going to be easy to say, regardless, but she was realizing that her position, since she was facing the beautiful Berber carpeting, was much easier than if she actually had to say this face to face. “About five or six,” she barely whispered.
The swat that landed on the rounded top of her bottom was a complete surprised, despite her position. Somehow she never really thought she’d end up with a spanking, which she realized was kind of stupid, but it hadn’t really crossed her mind; she was so caught up in how the environment and the entire setting was working on her mind and, frankly, her crotch, to even get that far ahead.
“If I can’t hear your response clearly, then you didn’t respond to me, Alicia. House rule. My rule. And if you didn’t respond to me, then you’re going to be corrected, because I expect to be obeyed. You can be shy and answer quietly. But you must answer me clearly.”
Alicia lifted her head and said, “Five or six.”
“Hmmmm. I was actually thinking much younger than that, but I won’t push.” Margot helped Alicia off her lap very carefully and attentively, and they ascended the stairs as she had originally intended, as if nothing unusual had happened. When they reached the top, Margot turned to Alicia and said, “You may have noticed that this is not your usual boarding house. I don’t treat the people who stay with me as renters. They’re my daughters, and in the rare instance, sons. They treat me as if I’m their mother. I am very parental with them, and most of them stay with me throughout their college careers, some even though graduate school. I make sure they eat right, study, get enough sleep, keep up their grades, take their meds, everything that a mother would do, including, and most importantly, discipline, of varying types and degrees.”
They had arrived at Amy’s room, where the girl was, as expected, standing in the far corner of the room with her nose in the corner and her pants and adult little girlish panties around her ankles. Amy apparently knew better than to make a sound of protest at the fact that she was on display to the older woman as well as a strange young woman she knew nothing about. Alicia heard not so much as a whimper from the poor young girl in the corner.
Alicia’s entire lower body contracted at the sight. Not because she was excited to see another woman in that position, but rather because she was putting herself in Amy’s place, and it was easier for her to do so since she’d already been over Margot’s lap. She also took the time to look around Amy’s room and noticed that it wasn’t quite what one would expect from a college girl in the way of decoration.
It was a tower room, so it had a beautiful window seat, complete with pastel cushions and lacy pastel curtains. It was the sunniest room she’d seen yet in the house. But it also was the little girliest. Pooh and Tigger were everywhere – all components of the bed, which was a canopied twin, were coordinating Pooh. The furniture had all been decorated with the tubby bear, as well as the wallpaper boarder, mobiles, posters and framed pictures. There was a Pooh nightlight, Pooh television and Pooh telephone.
And Amy was twenty, Mistress had said.
She also noticed that, just above Amy’s bed hung several implements that made it almost impossible for her to resist the urge to squirm where she stood – there was a pink paddle that looked like a small cutting board. It looked like anything but a toy. There was a long, lethal leather tawse, as well as a wooden spoon with a big hole in the middle, and one other incongruous item hanging from a pink ribbon: an adult sized pacifier, with, of course, a Pooh clip.
Whatever was going on in this house, Alicia decided then and there that she wanted to be a part of it.
Except, of course, the spankings.
Margot watched Alicia’s reactions to Amy’s room carefully. She didn’t have a lot of girls – or boys – in the house right now. At one point she’d had entirely too many and she’d learned her lesson well. She’d been unable to pay attention to that many charges, and they had suffered from it, so she had kept the number of students she’d taken in down to the below five for the past several semesters and that had worked out very nicely. It kept the squabbling down to a minimum, and allowed her to concentrate her extreme attentions on those few she’d chosen.
Alicia was interested to see that every door to every room on the second floor, which was where everyone who was staying at the house was, was open. Apparently no one was allowed to close their door. They peaked in on Kennedy, who was in a room that seemed fit for a five or six year old, decorated liberally in a princess theme, with Disney Princesses everywhere. Mistress walked into the room quietly and tucked the sleeping girl in tightly, then dropped a light kiss on her forehead.
This fall semester would be Kennedy’s last in the house. She was to be married next spring, to a man of Margot’s choosing, and who agreed with a lot of her philosophies about how young ladies needed to be treated.
Margot always tried to bring new girls in while the more experienced girls were still there. It seemed to calm the new arrivals to have older ones there to teach them the ins and outs of the household, although she knew for a fact that the thing they stressed the most was simply to obey the Mistress of the house.
And they were very right.
There were several other bedrooms on that floor, some occupied, some not, the very last of which Margot informed Alicia would be hers, if she decided to stay there. That door was closed, but Margot opened it so that Alicia could look in. It was a complete nursery done in a pastel pink and purple carousel theme, with an actual carousel horse in one corner, but with one corner left conspicuously empty. The crib was large enough to accommodate an adult, but was completely outfitted as if to receive an infant – bumper, blanket, mobile – the entire nine yards. One thing that stood out, though, was that one corner of the crib housed a triangular hubby in the same fabric as everything else. That looked distinctly out of place. And, hanging off the changing table, upon which was stacked row upon row of diapers, was a row of what were clearly implements very much like those that had hung above Amy’s bed, only they were also color coordinated to this baby room.
“This is your room, Alicia, if you want it,” Margo whispered into Alicia’s ear from directly behind her.
Alicia turned around to look at the woman who would become her Mistress if she decided to take the room and swallowed hard. She wanted to do this. She wanted to do this bad. But she wasn’t at all sure it would be right to do it. She could see this becoming very . . . overwhelming. Very all encompassing. She could see wanting to do nothing but be involved here. Like the way adolescent boys got involved in video games to the exclusion of real life.
“I won’t let you drown, little one. I won’t let you sink. Not here, and not in school. I won’t let you procrastinate.”
Alicia opened her mouth to say yes, but nothing would come out.
Margot understood more than Alicia knew. She smiled and patted Alicia on the shoulder. “Well, I don’t need an answer instantly. Why don’t we continue our tour and we’ll talk a little more, and then you can go and think about it?”
The entire third floor was Margot’s room. It was sumptuously appointed, with a huge, four poster bed with a gorgeous lacy crocheted canopy, gorgeous antique looking furniture, a television so big it looked like it belonged in a movie theatre, and a closet that was the size of the bedroom Alicia grew up in.
As they left the room, Mistress said, “There’s a little more to the house, but I don’t want to scare you off. That’s enough for today.”
Alicia was intrigued, but agreed. They settled back down in the parlor. “Are you hungry?”
“No, thank you.”
Mistress smiled. “Your manners are reasonably good, Alicia. That’s very nice and unfortunately rare, lately.”
She was pinned by that dark gaze. “Did you tell someone where you were going when you came here?”
Alicia instantly wondered if she was trying to trip her up. “Yes, I always try to be very careful about my own personal security. A friend of mine knows where I am, has your number, knows where the ad was placed, has the directions and is expecting a call from me by a certain time.”
Margot was impressed. She was often dismayed by how many young women she encountered who were entirely willing to come meet someone they knew nothing about – just because she was a woman – without taking the proper precautions. “Good for you.” She took a sip of what had to be cold tea. “What do you think? You haven’t run away screaming, so I have to think that you’re somewhat intrigued . . . ?”
Alicia cleared her throat, and couldn’t meat the older woman’s eyes. “I – uh, yeah. I’m definitely intrigued.”
“Well, that’s good. I don’t offer to take in very many girls, you know. I have a lot more interviews than I do offers, about one offer to about twenty appointments.”
Alicia was suitably impressed.
“But I have a good feeling about you. Of course, you may have noticed that there’s a bit of a hierarchy about living here. You’ll be a new girl, and new girls are – quite literally – the babies. You’ll have to agree to be treated as such. You’ll have to agree to give me quite a bit of power over you, and I know that that goes against the grain of a lot of why you’re probably here, going to college. It’s usually a time when you’re trying to get away from parental restraint, and here you’d be stepping back into it, probably back into a much more restrictive form of it than you grew up in, by a very long shot, if today’s current parental trends are anything to go by.”
She was right on the money with that, Alicia thought to herself.
Margot leaned forward. “But if the idea of being most actively, most strictly parented makes you slippery; if knowing that you’re expected to be home at a particular time, that your grades and behavior in school will be closely monitored, that you’ll be put down for naps every day, and you’ll have a very strict, early bed time, that you’ll sleep in a crib and wear diapers and be spanked with alarming frequency . . . and much, much more makes you worry that you didn’t wear a pad today, then you have some serious thinking to do.
“I want your answer in three days. But before you give it to me, I want you to think very carefully. This is not a game to me, nor to any of the other women – or occasional men – in this home. It’s very real, and the spankings and punishments – and the pleasures –“ she said, drawing the word out deliberately, “ however infrequent - are also very real. The bruises are very real. You will be asked to sign something that states that you understand exactly what will happen and that you won’t hold anyone here legally responsible for those bruises. You will, for all intents and purposes, become a child. A baby, and then, if you’re well behaved enough, a child. You will lose the rights and privileges you’ve worked for all of your life. This is not something to enter into lightly.”
“And if you do, I will never let you go. You will be my child, forever, to raise as I please. You can stay with me throughout all of your studies – post graduate, included, and remain a baby, if that’s what I think you need. If you like, I can procure you a husband, who will continue to raise you in the same vein as I have. Kennedy has chosen to have me do that for her. She will leave the house when she graduates at the end of the fall semester, and she will marry a husband of my choosing in the spring.”
Alicia looked nonplussed, as if she’d hit her limit of information, or maybe even gone a bit beyond it.
“Why don’t you toddle on home, sweetie? I think I’ve piled enough on you for today. You feel free to call me any time you like if you have any questions. I have your number on my phone if I need to contact you. Remember, I want to hear from you in three days. That would be no later than Thursday. As a matter of fact, I want you to come here Thursday at two to tell me what your decision is. I know classes don’t start until next week, so you shouldn’t have anything going on . . . “ She looked at Alicia expectantly.
“I don’t think I do,” Alicia bit her lip, not entirely sure.
“You may call me and we’ll talk if you do.” Margot gave Alicia a pink appointment card, and Alicia was reminded of the ones she got at the dentist. Margot rose and Alicia followed dutifully behind her. “One more thing. Regardless of whatever your decision is, whether you come to stay with me or not, you are not allowed to touch yourself until you give me your decision three days from now. Say that for me now.”
Blushing furiously, Alicia repeated, “I’m – I’m not uh, not allowed to touch my-myself until I give you my decision three days from now.”
They went to the door, where Alicia turned around suddenly and said, “You didn’t mention how much it was for room and board.”
Margot almost giggled. “Oh, silly, I don’t charge my girls for room and board. They pay in . . . other ways.”
Not entirely sure she was happy with that answer, Alicia never the less allowed herself to be hugged tightly and gently hustled out the door. “Oh. This is the last thing, I promise. If you decide to stay, you must bring me a copy of your birth certificate and a photo id, as proof of your age.”
Alicia nodded and continued on her way, her mind full of the possibilities.
Her decision made, she darted to the door and exited quietly. Hiding her treasure in a pocket of her gown, she rushed back to her room and entered with a sigh of relief.
She'd no sooner heaved the sigh when she again caught her breath.
"Where have you been?" demanded Aidan, his ash-grey eyes smoldering.