“I missed Pa, I surely did. But things got really bad when Mama married the preacher. Reckon I just couldn’t take no more.” Crystal May Snow sniffled loudly, and wiped her soft, cornflower blue eyes on the ragged sleeve of her tattered Army field jacket.
“There, there, darling,” soothed the wealthy older woman in furs, patting her arm. It was a cold gray November day, and the two of them were speeding down the Interstate in a long black limousine. “Would you like some hot chocolate? It’ll warm you up. Just a sip, that’s a good girl.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Even as she gulped hot cocoa from the silver thermos, Crystal May was careful to keep up her good manners. She was mighty lucky to catch a ride in a heated limousine. This was nice, so much nicer than freezing in the cab of a big old eighteen-wheeler. It was safer too. Some of those truck drivers were good old boys, but some were downright mean.
“Did the preacher begin making trouble for you right away?” Madeline Charles asked gently. The ragged little hitchhiker was obviously exhausted and undernourished, and she also needed a bath. But beneath the rags and dirt, the golden-haired girl had the delicate features and ripe curves of an All-American beauty queen. Even in faded jeans and a dirty green jacket, Crystal May Snow had sex appeal. It was natural, wholesome and totally unselfconscious, an innocent yet sensual allure. There was an awful lot of money to be made off this girl … if she could be properly trained.
“Well, at first all he did was nag at me.” Crystal May started her story from the very beginning, telling how Pa was killed in a coalmine cave-in last year. Then she told about the bills. She had to quit school and work, and even then the little ones went to bed hungry most every night. Ma near broke down. When the preacher came courting, it seemed like a true deliverance.
“But after the wedding, he changed,” Crystal May sighed. “That’s when the spankings started. It wasn’t like I was kissing boys or meeting them on the sly. He’d put me over his knee and spank me just for reading fashion magazines or wearing lip-gloss. My bottom was red all over!”
“Those things are all perfectly natural.” The dark-haired lady in the fur coat made a sort of clucking sound. “I can see now why you ran away, my dear. It’s perfectly normal and healthy for an attractive young girl to be interested in her appearance. And yet there you were, trapped in that dreadful place! It must be horrible to be hungry and cold and poor, with no chance of a better life.”
“No, ma’am, it wasn’t horrible. It was just my life. Until the preacher went too far.”
“Oh, dear. What did he do? A few smacks on the backside wouldn’t scare off a real country girl like you.” Madeline’s dark eyes revealed genuine admiration for the girl’s strength of character. This one had potential, she could feel it. All she needed was a firm hand.
“I reckon they wouldn’t.” Crystal May tipped up her chin, feeling just a mite proud of herself. “Pa whipped me many a time when I was a young girl, but only when I deserved it. I reckon I could stand it when I knew it was for my own good. I reckon I even liked it in a way. But the preacher, he wasn’t trying to save my soul. He was just trying to get at me behind Ma’s back! One night he even came sneaking into my bedroom, but I was ready. I had a baseball bat that belonged to my little brother Tommy. I laid into him till he ran out howling. But the next day, he beat on Ma when I was at work. He beat her bad. And I couldn’t stop it. Reckon that was when I knew I had to move on.”
“It wasn’t your fault, darling,” the big city woman said gently, patting the tearful young runaway on the back. “Why couldn’t your mother just call the sheriff?”
Crystal May choked back her tears, resisting the urge to cry on the older woman’s shoulder. Instead she straightened her shoulders, and drank more of the sinfully rich hot chocolate. “Preacher and the sheriff are old friends. They hunt deer together every fall.”
“Old friends,” Madeline huffed. “Deer hunting. The sheer barbarity of it all! Crystal May, you’ve taken some very hard knocks early in life. Are you ready to take a chance on a better future?”
“Not if it means doing what the preacher wanted me to do.” The blue-eyed girl gave the big city woman a steady look, letting her know that she meant business. “I’ve heard of people who take in young runaways, and then make them sell drugs on the street. Or have sex with strangers, or make movies with all their clothes off. I wouldn’t be interested in no kind of business like that, ma’am.”
“Fair enough.” Madeline liked the girl’s spirit as well as her natural allure. “But how would you feel about going to a sort of school? Learning the proper way to speak and act and dress? Studying how to entertain, and practicing for when you catch a husband of your own. And you will catch a husband of your own. Any girl who graduates from Madame Madeline’s always does.”
“I reckon I’d like that. But I’m a little old for high school. I just turned nineteen last month.”
The sophisticated older woman suppressed a smile. “It’s not that kind of school, dear. Think of it more as a modeling academy.”
“Oh.” Crystal May’s blue eyes quickly narrowed with suspicion. “That sounds mighty fine, ma’am. But how would I ever pay you?”
“Oh, just by helping out around the house. You’re not afraid of a little hard work, are you?”
“No, I like hard work.”
“Then you have nothing to worry about. So what’s it going to be?”
* * * * *
When Crystal May woke up the next morning, she felt like she’d died and gone to heaven. She rolled over on her back, her sleepy eyes blinking in the sunlight. The window curtains were frilly and feminine, softening the light and making her feel protected from the world outside. It was mighty late, but she didn’t care. Just lying there in the warm, golden light made her feel so good. She was safe here. She could feel it right down to her bones. Only she couldn’t remember where she was.
Madame Madeline’s place! That was it. Crystal May stretched and yawned, waking up nice and easy while she remembered. She had been hitchhiking when she met Madeline Charles. The rich lady invited her to come and visit, and after she said yes they stopped for dinner at a fancy restaurant. Crystal May pictured herself at the table, shy at first, but then gobbling up everything in sight. It was downright rude, the way she ate. But she was so hungry! And the big city woman just laughed, anyway. They had peach ice cream for dessert, and a bottle of fancy red wine imported from France.
Crystal May fell asleep right after dinner. It was dark when they finally got to Madame Madeline’s place, and there were all kinds of pretty girls lying around the parlor in their pajamas. Everyone wanted to talk to her, and find out where she was from, but she was just too sleepy to chat. All she could do was nod and smile, until someone finally took her upstairs. She had a nice hot shower and fell into bed, and she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Now she got to wondering exactly where she was. Not what house, but what part of the country. Was this the country or the big city? Crystal May stumbled out of bed, nearly getting her foot caught in the lace bedcovers, and sort of hopped over to the window. It was country, all right. Crystal May saw mountains in the distance, but they weren’t the coal mining mountains back home. They were taller than that, so tall they were covered with snow. Crystal May shivered. And then she saw a truck parked just around the side of the house.
It was just a regular old delivery truck, but a huge amount of food and wine was getting delivered to Madame Madeline’s. And two real nice-looking boys were doing the unloading.
“Don’t even think about it, doll face.”
“Huh?” Crystal May spun around, her eyes wide and one slim hand flying up to her throat. Relief swept over her when she saw it was just one of the real pretty girls from the night before.
“Delivery boys are off limits, Goldilocks. That’s a quick way to earn a spanking.”
“Oh.” Crystal May felt a little shy. “Do you do the spanking?”
“Not me, baby doll. I just cook for the other girls. And this morning you’re going to help me. My name is Carla Brunelli. What’s yours?”
“Crystal May Snow.”
The two of them shook hands, real friendly, but also sort of looking each other up and down. Crystal May wondered if Carla was really just a cook. She looked more like an Italian movie star. She was dressed in dark blue pajamas just like Crystal May’s. But instead of being small and fair, this girl was tall and dark with curly black hair and a real ripe pair of melons.
“Why are delivery boys off limits?” Crystal May asked, as they were walking down the hall to the kitchen. Everything looked mighty clean and neat. There were no spider webs anywhere and the floors were all waxed, with a real nice smell like lemons. Every time they passed a door, Crystal May wondered who was inside. Were they all just runaway girls like her, sleeping late in their pajamas? Or was something else going on that she didn’t know about?
“No smoking, no screwing, no drugs. No drinking alcohol unless you’re dining with Madame and the other staff … or with our guests. And when you meet our regulars, honey, you’ll see right away why delivery boys are a total waste of time. I’m talking gorgeous guys with tons of cash.”
Crystal May put the brakes on sudden like, folding her slim white arms over her breasts. “This here ain’t any kind of school. This is a whorehouse, ain’t it? Well, I told Madame Charles I wouldn’t be no part of it. I’m not sleeping with any rich man for money!” She stamped her foot, but it didn’t make much of a noise because she was wearing fluffy bedroom slippers with furry bottoms. Stomping the freshly waxed floor didn’t hurt the hallway none. It did hurt her foot some, though.
Carla Brunelli rolled her eyes. They were as black as licorice. “God, you are such a hillbilly! Listen, dumbbell, a whorehouse is where they pay you to have sex. And you have to have sex with any trick who asks, no matter how old or mean or fat or disgusting the guy happens to be. What happens here at Madame Madeline’s is totally different. Us lucky girls get paid to behave properly, and wear nice clothes and act like young ladies. And if we don’t follow all the rules just right, we get spanked. Now there are guys who pay a huge amount of money to Madame Charles, just so they can do the spanking. And there are other guys who pay just as much money to watch. It’s like live theater, and to do it right you have to be taught how to sit, stand, and talk like a real classy actress. And the best part is, sometimes the guys who watch get really crazy about you and want to take you out on dates. And boy, oh boy, is it better than turning tricks or working in a strip club.”
“I reckon so.” Crystal May didn’t quite follow that last bit, but she felt deep down that Carla must have been in a whorehouse or a strip club not long ago. It made her sad and a mite ashamed. Nothing was more sinful than being lucky and not even being thankful for it. “Aren’t there some girls who never get spanked? I mean, girls who just cook and clean and do household chores?”
Carla grinned, a real sly but friendly kind of grin, and pinched one of Crystal May’s cheeks. “Just wait, baby doll. In two weeks you’ll be begging for a spanking and a show!”
* * * * *
When she put on a hair net, and rubber gloves for her hands, Crystal May felt mighty proud. She was doing honest work, and she didn’t need to be a part of anybody’s show. That was how she felt washing dishes for a solid week. And mopping floors for a second week. And vacuuming and dusting all up and down the stairs for a week after that. And then straight back to the kitchen, standing over the sink for hours with aching shoulders and big black sweat patches under her arms.
It wasn’t all hard work, of course. Madame Madeline kept her promises about schooling and becoming a proper lady. Crystal May had to laugh when she thought of how nice it felt to get out of kitchen overalls and put on a nice dress and sit down to a proper meal with the other girls … until the real teaching got started!
Some things came easy, like using the right forks or spoons, sitting up straight and so on. But the girls were expected to talk over dinner, or even lunch. They had to use educated language, and it was very hard work. The first thing Crystal May cut out was saying “ain’t.” Then she had to work on enriching her vocabulary. Instead of being hungry she was famished. And she couldn’t be “mighty” hungry either. She worked from dawn to dusk, from sunrise to sunset, and she was always either “terribly” hungry or “dreadfully” tired. The food was divine, but mealtime was not a break. Madame Madeline and her assistants carried a pack of cards everywhere they went, and on every card was a word a girl would want to employ frequently. Crystal May reckoned – no, she imagined – that in a few months she would look and sound exactly like a fine lady from a fancy college back east.
Either that or her bottom would be red as a lobster. The girls who couldn’t come up with a fancy word at the dinner table got a demerit. There were more demerits for girls who cursed or used slang or exhibited poor posture. Even girls who tried very hard were sure to get demerits for every little thing they did wrong. And when enough demerits piled up, it was time for a spanking.
“Getting hungry, Goldilocks?”
“Hello, Carla.” Crystal May smiled, but she didn’t cry out “hey there!” That was bad vocabulary. She was entitled to a short break every hour, but Madame didn’t like girls congregating in the kitchen. And she certainly didn’t like to see them eating chocolate bars!
“Where did you get these?” The slim blonde asked, her blue eyes lighting up as she quickly unwrapped the forbidden treat. She had gone four weeks without a spanking and she was really mighty proud … certainly quite pleased with herself.
But she had been dreaming of junk food the entire time.
“Right out there.” Big beautiful Carla’s sun-browned cheeks bulged out as she stuffed half the candy bar into her mouth at one time. With her thumb she pointed to the delivery truck outside. “Let’s see if we can get them to leave us some cookies for after lights out!”
“We really shouldn’t, Carla.” Crystal May nibbled on her chocolate bar, savoring the taste. “You know Madame is always watching.”
“Not today she’s not,” Carla snorted. “She’s got some big law-enforcement type in her office. I think she’s trying to convince the guy that we’re really a private school!” The sexy Italian girl rolled her eyes as if Madame Madeline’s wonderful school was really just a nasty old whorehouse.
“We are a school,” Crystal May said, in an injured tone. “We learn new things every day!”
“I’ll say.” Carla wolfed down the rest of her chocolate. “Are you coming outside, baby doll?”
“Oh, no, I really shouldn’t. I have so much work to do!”
“Well, I’ll see you later then, honey. There’s more to life than scrubbing pots and pans!”
“Be careful!” Crystal May felt torn as she watched Carla scamper off to flirt with the boys. She wasn’t trying to escape or anything, but even just talking to a delivery boy would get her in trouble. Carla knew that, of course. She was the one who had taught Crystal May all the rules weeks ago. The shy country girl felt mighty obliged — deeply grateful — to the sexy, wise-cracking big-city girl. But it was more than that. She looked up to Carla like a big sister. And she didn’t understand why her best friend had gotten so careless lately.
Crystal May sat down on a low stool behind the kitchen door, frowning as she finished her candy bar with dainty little bites. Maybe the reason Carla was getting such an attitude lately was because she had gotten off kitchen duty and gone back to doing shows. The girls who performed in public always enjoyed their extra privileges. But was it really worth it?
“… and it’s certainly better than being a checkout girl or working at a fast food place,” a very sexy and cultivated female voice was saying. Someone was coming down the hall. Crystal May cringed, but there was no place to run. She hoped Madame Madeline wouldn’t see her!
“Crystal May? What on earth are you doing back there?” Madame peeked around the kitchen door. Her kindly dark eyes were puzzled at first, then indignant. “Eating chocolate, I see. Do you have any idea what that can do to your complexion? Not to mention your waistline and your hips.”
“Daisy Mae’s figure looks fine to me,” said Madame’s male companion. He was terribly good looking, with curly black hair and piercing dark eyes just like Madame’s. But he was definitely not a lady. He was a tall, broad-shouldered football type in a black suit, sort of like a policeman.
“My name is Crystal May,” she said sharply. She hated being in trouble. She hated letting Madame down. But she also didn’t like the way the tall, dark stranger was looking at her.
“Wait until you are introduced, child,” Madame said sternly. But her eyes were twinkling. Deep down Madeline Charles liked a girl with spirit, even if she ran a very tight ship. “Special Agent Matthew Gold, allow me to present Miss Crystal May Snow, one of our most charming new faces.”
“How do you do, Crystal May,” the Special Agent said politely. He did have a nice smile.
“How do you do, Agent Gold? Is someone in trouble? Are you here to arrest someone?” Crystal May knew from watching television that a Special Agent was with the FBI.
“It’s against the law to transport a young woman across state lines for immoral purposes,” the FBI man told her. “Madame Madeline here says she’s running a school, not a house of prostitution.”
“That’s right,” Crystal May said breathlessly. “None of the girls here ever have sex with any of the men who come to watch them.” Color flooded her cheeks at once. Had she said too much?
“Watch them do what?” Agent Gold asked, his black eyes sparkling just like Madame’s.
“As you know, Agent Gold, this is an old-fashioned boarding school.” Madame Madeline sounded grand yet not quite truthful, like she was reading from an official press release. “We believe in strict discipline and corporal punishment. Public humiliation is a powerful deterrent as well.”
“You mean you spank your girls in public?” Matthew Gold came on all innocent, like this was news to him. But Crystal May could see the all too knowing way he checked out her behind.
“We never force any girl to take her punishment in public, unless she chooses,” Madame said silkily. “But some girls accept it for the good of the school. Isn’t that right, Crystal May?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Crystal May blushed, but her big blue eyes were innocent as she looked the handsome FBI agent right in the eye. “I’ve only been here four weeks, Agent, but I’ve already learned a heap — that is, a considerable amount. I’ve learned better grammar, diction, and vocabulary, and I’ve also improved my table manners and my posture.” She paused, letting her long lashes screen her eyes as she gazed modestly downwards. “I’ve never been spanked once since I’ve been here. But I’d be happy to let you all spank me here and now, if Madame Madeline thinks it’s appropriate.”
“I think that’s a splendid idea!” Madame’s laughter was like icy silver wind chimes, but her hand was warm and reassuring on Crystal May’s shoulder. “Since you’re still new, my child, we needn’t drag you in front of the entire school. Let’s go back up to my office, Agent Gold. You may do whatever you like with Crystal May, within the limits of safety and propriety.”
“Of course.” The tough, seasoned FBI agent had played this game plenty of times. But the sexy blonde projected an air of innocence and mystery that intrigued him. Where did she come from? Why was she here? She was different from the big city runaways Madeline Charles usually served up. Matt Gold wanted to help the soft-spoken country girl. But he also wanted to teach her a lesson. He wanted to hear Crystal May whimper for mercy with her bare ass quivering under his hand.
The three of them walked up the stairs to Madame’s private study, and along the way they passed several other girls. A couple of them winked at Crystal May. They knew she was in for it and didn’t want her to be scared. But some of them looked at Matt Gold in a real interested way too. Crystal May didn’t like that. She was the one who had earned a spanking from the gorgeous FBI man. She felt proud and nervous and excited like she was going to her first dance. Madame was holding her by one arm, and Agent Matt Gold had her real tight by the other. In no time at all they reached the book-lined study, which was both elegantly furnished and very luxurious.
“Would you like something to drink, Special Agent?” Madame settled in behind her desk like a queen sitting down on her throne. She reached for a fancy jar of liquor, what they called a decanter, a lovely and expensive item made out of frosted, shimmering glass.
“No, thank you,” Matt Gold said, in a scratchy voice. He did sound like he needed a drink. But instead he looked at Crystal May, a hot, smoky sort of look. “I’d like to see her undress first.”
“Very well. Crystal May, you may remove your kitchen overalls. Over there, by the fire.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Crystal May felt like Madame was counting on her. And she felt the heat of the fire on her bare skin as she slipped off the rough, heavy garment, bending over to fold it up neatly and set it in the corner. But most of all she felt the hot and heavy way Matt Gold was looking at her. When she bent over she knew that he was looking at her behind and thinking how it would feel.
“Beautiful,” the lawman said. He was sitting on a leather sofa that faced the fire, with a real nice view. And he sort of groaned like it hurt him even to see such a fine behind. “Oh, baby, you should be modeling in New York City, not scrubbing floors in a Nevada whorehouse.”
“This isn’t a whorehouse, dang it!” Crystal May’s voice was usually soft and whispery, but this time it cracked like a whip. She spun around with hands on her hips, not even caring that all she had on were a little old push-up bra and some frilly little white lace panties. “You think you’re such hot stuff, don’t you? Well you ain’t! All you are is a policeman who likes to make trouble for decent folks instead of catching criminals. I bet you like watching me take off my clothes, don’t you? And I bet you like pretending you can make me do any low-down thing you want. ‘Cause you know a girl like me wouldn’t even look at you if I wasn’t true and loyal to Madame.”
“Crystal May Snow! You will close your mouth and cease this vulgar behavior at once!” Madeline Charles smacked her hand down on the desk, her diamond rings flashing in the firelight.
“Yes, ma’am.” Crystal May lowered her eyes, like a girl in trouble. But deep down she knew she had said the right thing. Madame’s dark brown eyes were bright and shiny with pride. So instead of waiting for orders on what to do next, the country girl decided to push right on ahead. “Agent Gold, I’m sorry for my rude behavior. This is my first spanking, so I’m just a little scared.”
“Like hell you are.” The big city agent grinned, and patted a spot next to him on the sofa. “You’ve got guts, honey. I like it when a girl talks back. Of course I know it’s all just part of the act. Come on over here, Daisy Mae. Let’s get to the climax of our little drama.”
Crystal May felt like sticking her tongue out, and saying no. She wasn’t putting on any act. She honest to God meant every single word, and she hated Special Agent Matt Gold! But the only way to keep Madame out of trouble was to do exactly what he said. So without being a bit sassy, she sort of slinked her way over to the couch, and let the dark-haired lawman get her laid out just right. Her long legs were dangling over the arm of the sofa with her behind sticking way up in the air.
“Now when I start, you can make me stop at any time,” Matt Gold told her. He had taken off his fancy jackets and rolled up his sleeves. “All you have to do is say the following words. ‘I’m not a naughty girl. Please take me away from here!'”
“But I don’t want to — ow!” Crystal May was totally taken by surprise. The first smack came out of nowhere and it hurt worse than she expected. It was like something hot stinging her behind!
“What did you say, dear?” This was Madame, talking from behind the desk. But it sounded as though she were a million miles away.
“I didn’t say anything — owww!” This time the hot sting nearly brought tears to her eyes.
“You are a brave, sweet girl, Crystal May,” said Agent Matt Gold. His hand was already in the air for another smack. “All you have to do is beg me to take you away from here.”
“No! I don’t want to go! Ow! I like it here and — ow! You know it’s not — ow! Ow! Oh!”
Crystal May couldn’t stop howling. Pretty soon she was crying her eyes out too. She couldn’t believe how fast her resistance crumbled. It wasn’t just the way Matt Gold’s heavy hand kept coming down harder and harder on her burning ass cheeks. Each new slap hurt worse than the one before!
But it wasn’t just the pain, sizzling and scorching like a forest fire burning out of control. It was the way his voice got right inside her head. Matt Gold had a lovely voice, low and deep and sort of soothing to listen to. He kept saying she was good and kind and sweet, that she didn’t deserve to be locked away in a low-down place like Madame’s. And it seemed like the pain made her want to believe him, even though she knew it was all just lies. Before long she heard herself giving in, saying things that weren’t even true, but crying her eyes out as though they really were.
“Stop! Please stop! I’m not a naughty girl! I’m not! Please, please take me away!”
“Ah,” Matt Gold said. And he let his hand fall down on her butt, but softly now. “Ah.”
“Will we see you again soon, Agent Gold?” Madame asked, as if the two of them were old friends who had just run into each other at the market and been chatting away about the weather.
“I think so, if I’m not called back to D.C.” The handsome agent was already standing up. First he was rolling down his sleeves, and then he was putting on his jacket and buttoning it up. “You take care now, Madame Charles. I’m glad to see everything is still running so smoothly around here.”
“Drive safely, Agent Gold.”
Crystal May Snow heard the door close softly behind him. But she didn’t look up to see Matt leave. She felt like a fool, a frightened child who had gotten sucked into the play-acting of others. She knew it was just a show. But when the show was over, all she could do was lie there and cry.