In Praise of the Small…

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Cause some days there’s naught to do but sit on the river in the rain

“When this twentieth century of ours became obsessed with a passion for mere size, what was lost sight of was the ancient wisdom that the emotions have their own standards of judgment and their own sense of scale. In the emotional world a small thing can touch the heart and the imagination every bit as much as something impressively gigantic; a fine phrase is as good as an epic, and a small brook in the quiet of a wood can have its say with a voice more profound than the thunder of any cataract. Who would live happily in the country must be wisely prepared to take great pleasure in little things.

Country living is a pageant of Nature and the year; it can no more stay fixed than a movement in music, and as the seasons pass, they enrich life far more with little things than with great, with remembered moments rather than the slower hours. A gold and scarlet leaf floating solitary on the clear, black water of the morning rain barrel can catch the emotion of a whole season, and chimney smoke blowing across the winter moon can be a symbol of all that is mysterious in human life.”

-Henry Beston from “Northern Farm”

Lifted from brainpickings.org

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Sweet James – The Letter

Our story started here

“Dear James”, it began…”I trust you remember our previous dealings, if not fondly, at least warmly enough to continue reading. I’ve heard (yes, one can never travel far enough to out-distance tales of home!) that you are currently without engagement. If that is true (and if it’s not I’ll have to give my sources a good talking to!) I have need of a man with your considerable talents and temperament. The man that I entrusted with the responsibility of the grounds at Goosington…”

James snorted and almost lost a mouthful of Scotch. He couldn’t believe she hadn’t changed the name of that pile of bricks. Around town they simply called it ‘The Manor’, ‘The Manse’ or the less charitable ‘Duck Town’…’The Asylum’…the names went on.

He went back to the letter. “…the responsibility of the grounds at Goosington has fled. As far as I can tell from here he’s completely run off-absconded with the money left him for the rebuilding of the docks and gone. As to the money, I say ‘Pish!’ but my concern is for the grounds. I trust you remember the gardens and lawns that are so dear to me. I don’t know what state of disrepair the place has been left in or what he has been doing in the six months that I’ve been gone. Indeed, two of the house staff are gone as well and I have to assume that they were in some sort of cahoots! But no matter now. Mrs. Fortescue-who I’m sure you’ll remember-is still there (though I might have a little chat with her upon my return.)”

He leaned back and drained the glass. Mrs. Fortescue. Of course he remembered her. Handsome woman-not young but not old either. She had seemed frozen forever near the top of her forties but in truth could be 10 years younger or older.  He remembered her dancing green eyes and glistening dark hair with only streaked with gray falling in waves to her shoulders. The idea of Caitlin Milan “having a little chat with her” truly gave him pause.

“There is no phone at the villa where I’m currently ensconced”, the letter continued. “Telegraph is down in the town (where I never go) and the post takes forever. Thus we have no time for back and forth correspondence. I will assume that you have accepted my proposal and as soon as you finish your coffee (see, I remember you can’t abide tea!) you will go straightaway to Goosington…”

He chuckled sotto voce like a boy in back of class, “Goosington….”

“…and begin to set the place to right.”

His eyes scanned to the bottom of the page where he found what he was looking for. He glanced at the sum and thought it appropriate-generous even-for the work he imagined having to do. But then he read the line more carefully and realized she had quoted a weekly rate. He would earn this sum times three or four if she took a month coming home?! “Sweet sweat!” he proclaimed.

“You okay over there, James?” Mrs. Sully asked.

“Oh, yes. Very much okay.” He said drilling through the last paragraph.

“Mrs. Fortescue will have an envelope for you with working capital. You will stay in the boat house-the small one, below the main house. It’s compact but has the advantage of being closed to the weather. More a house than boat house. I’ve enclosed a task list that I’d like you to review. Get back to me on the status of these projects by week’s end. Needn’t wait for me. Not for approval. Just get on with it and keep me informed…”

He was so engrossed in the letter and the list that he didn’t notice Mrs. Sully until she was at his elbow. Before he could look up the bottle floated into his vision and settled above his empty glass.

“Just half, Mrs. Sully…”

The woman made a big show of a gasp. “Are ye dying, Sweet James?”

“It seems I have an engagement at Goosington.”

“Ye mean Honkington?” she mocked.

“And it looks as if I might be leaving you.”

“Welp”, she shrugged. “Nothing for me now but to sell the place.”

“You’ll miss me”, he teased lifting his glass.

“More the pitty-pat of little tart feet”, she said sliding back to her perch.

(To be continued)

Pretty James- The Engagement

It would turn out to be an odd engagement that, unsurprisingly, began with an odd interview. The first entreaty came from Caitlin Milan herself in a letter delivered in person by knobby-kneed Mr. Caine the postmaster, directly to Mrs. Sully’s boarding house.

“Good Morning Mrs. Sully”, he sing-songed from behind a walrus mustache sparse enough to resemble nothing so much as a waterfall in drought. “I’ve a missive for James. From Tuscany!” he held up the letter as if just now finding it in his hand. “In Italy.”

Virginia Scully’s glowering squint penetrated the suspended webbing of cigar smoke that encircled her head in the dead air. “I know where’s Tuscany”, she said. “You mook”, she thought. “Leave it here-I’ll put it in his box”. To close the transaction she picked the smoldering cigar from the tea saucer and inhaled deeply.

“Uh…” Mr. Caine dawdled. “I’m sure it’s an important notice. Do you know when he’ll be….”

She looked back at him, shocked he was still in the room. As she opened her mouth to speak, smoke seemed to billow from every open orifice. “There’s twelve boxes here Mr. Caine-twelve boarders who gets their mail through me. All manner of letters, missives and messages. Father’s dying. Mother’s dying. Babies born. Babies dying. Weddings. Divorces. Fortunes made, fortunes lost. All important-all getting to who gots to get them. You can leave it Mr. Caine. It will be attended to.” She popped the cigar back into her mouth.

The little man had begun skittering back toward the door. “Of course, Mrs. Sully. Not for me to tell you how to do your work. I’ll leave it with you…” And he was out the door. She had no sooner settled in for another prodigious huff on her cigar when she was distracted by the clattering of heavy, if tiny, feet on the stairs behind her. Knowing who it was, she continued her smoke without looking back.

“Ewww-I can smell that all the way up in the room” said the florid little brunette. The girl, in her early twenties, was slightly plump and had grown at least a half size beyond the red dress she was trying get one more season out of.

“Since I own the place”, said Virginia Sully puffing like a locomotive, “and you’re only here by the hour, I’m comfortable saying I do as I please.”

“You should have more respect”, the young girl scolded her, “For respectable guests.”

“Find me one under this roof and I’ll lay on the respect like marmalade and honey.”

“Now you’re just being rude. I’ve a mind…”

Virginia Sully pointed the wet cigar butt at the girl. “I’m sure I’ve a large enough wooden spoon back in the kitchen to do the trick if you want to continue telling me what you’ve a mind to.”

“Good bye Mrs. Sully. Until next time.”

“I’ll try to hold my water.”

The young woman was no more out the door than the light dancing tread of James Cooke pattered down the stairs.

“Mrs. Sully-Did you frighten Millicent?”

“Is that her name now? I thought she was born Aileen.”

“That wouldn’t exactly fit her now, do you think?”

She pushed the envelope across the counter. “Letter for you. The pinhead brought it special.”

James looked at it. “Caitlin? From Tuscany?”

“In Italy, don’t you know? Pinhead thought you should know.”

He took a step toward the small round table at the window and stopped. “You wouldn’t have any coffee back there would you?” With elbow on the counter he assumed the pose that brought girls like Aileen Fennick home with him. Not a pose that Virginia Sully had any interest in.

“Don’t you even think of leaning in and giving me that smile, or that twinkle that all the gals fall for. And never while I have a weapon within reach-which I do-throw your hair back like one of those women in the shampoo commercials on the TV. Your dimples are lost on me, Pretty James.”

He smiled slyly. “You know I can’t abide tea.”

“Your failings and perversions are no concern of mine.” She paused long enough for James to begin turning toward the window table. “But I do have something here that you might abide.”

She pulled a bottle of Macallan from under the counter with a small glass that glinted in the sunshine.

“Ahhhh…” sighed James admiringly.

“I’ll pour”, she said filling the glass. “Make it last. The Mister left me some when he went on and I am on ration…” She winked and placed it back behind the counter.

He took the whiskey and the letter to the table by the window where sunlight flowed like maple syrup. He tore it open and began to read.

To be continued…

Graduation

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He would have looked absolutely adorable if she wasn’t so pissed at him. Long dark bangs cut across thick eyelashes above dark brown eyes that almost glistened. He was an engaging kid-if you could call a man five months eighteen a kid. Maybe that’s what it was about him; he was older than most of his classmates by almost a year. And not that much younger really than she was. To say those were the reasons she was attracted to him though would have been a bit of a lie. The first attraction was clearly physical.

This football player had darkened her doorway last semester wanting to take her Intro to Art Class. She had seen him in the halls and knew who he was in the way that everyone “knows” the football hero but hadn’t really spoken to him until that day. Arms bulging against his shirt, shoulders seemingly as wide as the door that V’d down into a tight waist. She had worked her share of models in figure drawing but nothing that her eyes wanted to linger over like him.

The first thought that had popped into her head when he tapped on her door jamb that day was “Uh Oh”. Right off she knew that he was the kind of student that her senior advisor warned her against back when she was student teaching. Of course, she might have paid the warnings more heed had they not come in bed while he was suckling at her titties like a balding, middle-aged kitten. Poor near-sighted Stephen, with his little pot belly and bandy legs-that was the kind of guy she typically ended up with. Not this ruddy Adonis across the desk.

“You can’t blow off all of my classes Dixon!  You are seriously taking advantage of our friendship here you know that? That is not cool.”

Everything was in place for Dixon. He had already accepted the scholarship to play football at State in the fall so most of his time was spent in the weight room and on the fields getting ready for summer workouts. So he wasn’t paying the strictest of attention to his classes or schoolwork still on his plate. Which meant he wasn’t going to the ones he didn’t “have time for.” It didn’t matter to most teachers. To this one it did.

“…and you know” she continued sternly, “this is an elective art class so even if I failed you-which I wouldn’t-it wouldn’t matter. Wouldn’t mess with your plans. It was just a shitty thing to do. I thought we were beyond this.”

His apologies were profuse and heartfelt. He knew that he had betrayed a friendship and felt horrible about it but all he could do was apologize. And she accepted it-she knew he was beating himself up over it-but she had to keep teaching. Had to make him know what was acceptable and what wasn’t. But that was enough.

She let him up and smirked. Emboldened by his sad puppy look she pushed a little. “I’m sure I could rummage through the closet here and find a board or something suitable that I could use as a paddle. Maybe that’s what I should do to drive home my message. What would you think of that?”

“What?” he thought. Did she just say that? His cheeks burned in a surprising way and he quickly sifted through his memories to see if he had ever hinted to her in class about the things that he dreamed about. No. He wouldn’t have-ever.  But he couldn’t stop himself from saying “OK, but only if its pants down and I can go over your lap.”

The last shred of anger in her eyes shattered in a high pitched titter of laughter. “I don’t guess so. I’d want to punish you-and I think you’d like it too much. Now, get out. Don’t you have a class to go to…?”

“I was going to go look in the closet…”

“Get going….”

“OK, we’ll save that for our first date….”

“Out! Go lift some weights or something you goof ball. And come to class!”

She watched him walk out of the room and couldn’t help but focus on his hard-looking ass wrapped in tight jeans. It wasn’t the first time she had wondered what it might feel like-to touch. To squeeze. And his arms, his shoulders that cascaded down into the strong firm waist. She had stayed away from athletes when she was in school so hard bodies like his weren’t her specialty…but…She shook her head hard. Down girl, she thought smiling.

After commencement, June disappeared. Dixon was off to State for orientation and when he got back, Emily Palmer who spent most of the month playing tennis, was off to the beach for a couple of weeks. Not to say they didn’t stay in touch. She had given him her phone number and told him to stay in touch if he “needed to talk” over the summer. It was sort of a manner of speaking-she didn’t know if she’d hear from him but when he was away-as most young men-he got homesick. So they had talked…and talked…but didn’t see each other again until the Fourth of July Party at Bill Necture’s house.

Events conspired against them and they didn’t get there until around seven when the party was in full swing and they had no real time to catch up. At nine, a dozen unspoken plans began to play out. Coolers were packed, bottles were grabbed and everyone headed for the door. The fireworks wouldn’t start for an hour at least but getting a prime parking place and watching spot was key.

Dixon thought he’d park up the hill a bit-where the woods thickened and the lights of town were left behind. He looked around the room, assuming Ms. Palmer would go with him. He had no real plans-there was no conquest in mind-he was looking forward to continuing a conversation. Where was she though? Had she already left? That would have been a drag.

The house emptied. Directions were shouted from room to room-from the porch back to the kitchen-and glass tinkled and the refrigerator door opened and closed incessantly. Plans for the after-party all revolved around the Club and downtown. Nobody was heading back here.

Damn, had she slipped out? Where the hell was she? He looked around a little too frantically for his taste before he saw her, back to the room, leaning against the wall going through albums. Short skirt, tanned legs, madras shirt-alone in the corner.

“You going to the fireworks?” he asked ready to invite her to his secret spot up on the hill.

“Naw”, she said. “I’m not much of a sky flower girl.”

“Sky flowers?”

She pantomimed two exploding sky rockets with her fingertips. “They all look the same after a while. Smell like smoke and you get covered in ashes. Don’t think so. Plus, Billy has some killer albums”, she said still leafing through them. “I think I’ll sit here, listen, enjoys a few more drinks before I drag myself home.”

Careful not to loom, he reached over her shoulder and began leafing through the albums she’d already seen.

“Beatles or Stones?” he asked.

“Neither really. Stones, though if I have to choose…”

From behind he put his hand on her hip-careful to not extend too far forward or two far backward. Just contacting the hipbone which felt warm and firm under the skirt. He felt a tingle in his crotch as she reacted not at all to his touch. He took that as permission and his next move was going to be sliding the hand down to feel the tight bare skin of her thigh.

“How about this?” She asked holding up a black album cover with silver script.

“Huh”, he said. “I don’t know ‘War’”.

“Sheltered child”, she grinned. “I’ll put this on. Go see if they left us anything in the fridge.”

As he expected, the pickings in the fridge were pretty slim. He grabbed two beers as the funky beat of “Me and Baby Brother” filled the rooms. Ah, he thought. This was War. He knew the music-just not the name.

He came back into the room to find it empty. Good Lord, he thought. Had she moved right to the bedroom? He looked down the hallway and saw light leaking out from below the bathroom door. Ahhh, he thought. In his primitive mind he assumed she was performing some pre-sex ablution that was only going to work out well for him. He talked a good game and really looked the part, but he wasn’t much of a sexual being back then. Only twice removed from virginity and he was sure, if pressed, he’d have to admit that his best sex would have been the wet dream he had on the morning of the Riverside game.

He turned when the bathroom door clicked open. As she came out of the dim hallway he focused on what she was carrying. She came into the living room with the bath brush that had been hanging on the inside of the door. He felt his pulse rise as she approached with a slight smile.

“Look what I found”, she said, patting her off hand with the brush. “I think I owe you something.” The smile widened a bit and her eyes didn’t wink-but he felt like they did. He shifted uncomfortably on the couch looking from her to the brush and back again but not moving-using workout techniques to keep his breathing in check. He didn’t know the next move. She did though.

“We can leave now and still catch the fireworks.” She held up the brush to her eyes regarding it as a swordswoman might her weapon. “Or we can stay here and I’ll make our own.” She let the silence hang between them.

“Let’s…” he coughed as his voice caught. “Let’s stay.”

“Alrighty then.” She moved to the couch-in front of him. “Get up.” It wasn’t a request.

He stood and they traded places. Sitting on the couch, he in front of her now, she was conscious of his size. She reached out and hooked a finger through his belt loop and pulled him toward her-knowing she couldn’t move him unless he wanted to be moved. He took a step forward.

“You did say bare-bottom as I recall…” she said grabbing his belt buckle.

“I…I did…” he stuttered, then hesitated. “But….”

“But what?” she asked looking up feigning innocence.

He looked ready to say something but instead reached down and cupped the side of her face with his strong right hand. She was surprised as much by the gentleness of the touch as by the roughness of his palm-callused from constant weight lifting. Again, she thrilled slightly at the quiet power coiled in every inch of him. “Nothing”, he said finally. “Never mind. Proceed, Ms. Palmer.”

“I was going to tell you to call me Emily, but I kind of like Ms. Palmer, in this context.”

She grinned and without looking away from his eyes unclasped his belt then unsnapped his jeans. He filled them so that they wouldn’t be falling to the floor in a bunch. She unzipped his fly then worked the bleached denim down over one hip, then the other. She peeled them down over the bulging thighs to his knees where they stuck.

Emily ran her hands slowly up Dixon’s thighs with a sculptor’s appreciation but at the moment was more interested in the bulge at eye level. Dixon was wearing black briefs which looked like silk. This brat either had a plan for the evening or he was a snappy under dresser. She ran her hands over the sides of his hips-Damn! They WERE silk-before catching her thumbs in the waist band and pulling them down. She had to pull outward-far outward-to get over the hard-on which sprung free and was perfectly positioned to put an eye out.

“My Oh My”, she said touching the tiny hole in the middle of the pulsing head. “Someone is excited about getting their bum spanked…”

“Oh, yes.”

“How long?”

“How long what?”

“Since you’ve had a spanking.”

“Ever I think.”

“Ever?”

“Look at me. Who’s going to spank me?”

Stroking his cock gently she let her eyes swim over the thickly muscled arms and heavy shoulders and took his point.

“How long have you wanted it?” she asked softly’

“Forever….”

“I think it’s time we fix that.”

“Yes, Ms. Palmer…”

As she spoke she directed him lightly-hands feathering his hips-to her side. She then leaned back opening her lap to him. Looking lustfully down at the tanned thighs he needed no further direction. Shuffling through the pants and briefs that now bound his ankles he knelt one leg on the couch and slowly lowered himself gingerly pinning his engorged cock between himself and her legs.

She enjoyed the view his squirming afforded her. His round muscled bottom thrust skyward even in repose. They both gasped in tandem when she rubbed her right hand over the firm cheeks, squeezing and kneading. “You’re being such a good boy Dixon”, she cooed “It almost makes me regret what I have to do.”

He felt her reaching for the brush on the back of the couch. “Yes, Ms. Palmer”, was all he said but the three words turned the butterflies in Emily Palmer’s stomach into ravens as she patted his butt gently with the brush. He pulled a throw pillow up to his face and waited, tensing.

“Spankings don’t always have to be about pain”, she said as she smacked the brush down hard on is full and firm right cheek.

“OWWWW! Easy for you to say!” he gasped.

“Shhhhh”, she said swatting him again. “How about not only about the pain.”

She smacked him two more times eliciting yelps.

“Too hard?” she cooed and he settled.

“No…Its fine…I mean it hurts. But it hurts….in a good way.”

“See? That’s what I meant.

“Ouch!” he wriggled.

“A pity…all these years fantasizing and never getting it…I’ll try to make up for lost time.”

“…Ahhhh,” he sighed raggedly as she began to pick up the pace and delivered swat after swat on his behind as if testing how far she could take him. He bucked at the hardest swats-pushing up on his knees and tried to burrow through her during a couple of volleys. It must have been forty or fifty smacks delivered….He was all over pink with red splotches in the center of each cheek before she slowed. She set the bath brush aside and cupped his hot bottom. As if given permission he began to slowly and subtly rub is cock between himself and her thigh as if she would wouldn’t notice.

But she did notice and slapped him hard.

“Ow-your hand hurts worse than the brush!”

“Thank you kind sir”, she said smiling widely-which he couldn’t see.

“Have you been punished enough?”

He had no idea how to answer. He didn’t want to move except for the slow back and forth and her hand could rub-which it was now doing-his ass till dawn. “I don’t know….I’ve been really bad…”

She laughed lightly and rubbed his red bottom letting her fingers linger between the cheeks.

“You always have the right answer…but come on get up”-she slapped him again.

“OW!”, as he scrambled to his feet.

“I have something else for you…”

He stood before her, his hard-on like a battering ram threatening her forehead. She took it in her right hand and kissed it gently on the head-flicking her tongue below its chin. His moan now was different than the ones from earlier. She ducked and pushed his pants down to the floor and lifted his legs out of them.

“Time to switch places again.” She slipped off the couch and he sat, pleasantly surprised at the harsh tingle that burned across his bottom. “Bum hurt?” she asked wickedly kneeling in front of him.

“Yes”, with his eyes closed.

“Good”, she said and reached under him to pinch at the bottom of his cheeks. His wiggling was less about pain than…other things. She rocked forward and, grasping his hips, opened her mouth just wide enough to accommodate him and swallowed the length of his cock. He sucked air between his teeth as she rocked back withdrawing then sliding back carefully scraping her teeth along his throbbing thickness as her fingers kneaded the heat of his ass cheeks.

His body froze though when her finger touched the locked door of his asshole. She prodded lightly-knocking-and didn’t hear him say ‘no’ or ‘don’t.’

He was green-woefully inexperienced in the sex business-but not stupid. He grew up in locker rooms. He knew the perceptions of someone who “took it up the ass”. Who took anything up the ass. But right now, at this moment, lifting his butt slightly off the couch to give her better access, he wanted nothing more than Emily Palmer inside of him. He gasped slightly as she probed then rimmed his tiny dry hole-teasing. Then teasing some more.

“Do it”, he hissed.

She pulled her mouth from his cock but left her finger where it was.

“Do what?” she asked wickedly.

“Your finger…”

She crawled up his body so that they were cheek to cheek and whispered teasing in his ear. “What about my finger?”

“Put it in my ass!”

Her heart flipped and her clit quivered a bit knowing that he was surrendering something to her that he never had before. He moaned lightly as she pulled her finger away. His eyes were slits as he watched her squat before him and reach between her own legs to find the thick lubrication she needed. She met his gaze for a moment before her own eyes closed in turn as she swirled her finger and let it linger a moment. But only a moment before kneeling close and putting it back wet on his tight hole.

He moaned as the slippery intruder opened the door slightly. He tried to push toward it but it wasn’t necessary. Opening to the gentle but unrelenting pressure as Ms. Palmer finger slipped in to the first knuckle. Then the second. His mouth fell open in a perfect O mirroring his anus stretched to accommodate the new wriggling life form that had found its way up there.

It didn’t hurt exactly, but it did do…something. He had settled into a low moan when her finger found what she was looking for. She rubbed the slick little nut up in there and the moan grew into a roar. She had thought about a second finger but right now she was struggling to hold on as he bucked upwards bridging on this neck and feet. She never lost rhythm-fingering his prostate in and out while pumping his quivering cock up and down.

Then, growling like a bear, with one uncontrollable thick shuddering spasm, he came. Too much, he thought deep in his wiring-it had to be too much cum! He envisioned the back of her head blowing off even as he tensed his 240 pounds into a firm pile of muscle and kept thrusting into her mouth. She milked him as he deflated, swallowing quickly and completely until his body came down to contact the couch again.

With a quiet pop her finger slipped from his backside.

“I thought sure you were going to break my finger”, she gasped, almost giggling.

“You broke my….everything”…he sighed collapsed on the couch.

She kissed him lightly and patted his cheek before heading off to the bathroom.

In the buzzing silence between album tracks he could hear the pop and rumble of distant fireworks.

 

Best Kitchen Shelf EVER!

Best Kitchen Shelf EVER!

From Woodenspoonguy’s Tumblr feed

A few weeks ago a very dear, very vanilla, friend stayed at our house to feed the cats and hide from her house for awhile when we were at the shore.

You know how it is when someone stays at your place? When you get back, everything looks about the same-nothing is really amiss-but there are things that are a little off. I was sitting at the end of the couch-my spot-and reached for the lighter to my right on the bottom tier of a multi-level table.

“The spoon’s gone”, I said. “Did you move it?”

“No”, she answered putting down her book.

“I know I left it here…”

“Of course you would”, she said rolling her eyes. (I have a habit of leaving things around the place for visiting vanillas to find. My wife insists on a final run through of the house on the days the cleaning lady is scheduled. Another story for another time.)

“Wait a minute”, she said and went into the kitchen. I heard the drawers opening and closing until she came in slapping the spoon against her open palm.

“She must have put it away…”

And she had. Somehow fitting the long handled wooden spoon into the cutlery drawer where it had never been. Which of course leads me to wonder what she had to think finding a wooden spoon in the living room next to the couch.

The thought even made her smile-a little one, but a smile.

Training Day

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From Google Images

She breathed heavily eyeing the line of barrels before her. Despite the cool of the morning a bead of sweat-not the first-broke free between her shoulder blades and traced down her back. Gripping the reins a little too tightly she nudged the horse forward briskly.

First barrel, second, third, they cleared them well enough but she was dirt-kicking choppy, not gliding-not smooth. Fuck! She pulled off the last barrel and away from them. “Come on Sandy…”she implored under her breath as she moved toward the fence line.

“Nothing the matter with Sandy”, Braxton Taylor growled as she passed him. This guy heard everything! she thought. “Run them again”, he ordered, “and finish this time.” She yanked at the reins-digusted.

What a shit morning! Every drill-every run-had been off. She lifted her hat and wiped her sleeve across her forehead. Stalling, she stood in the stirrups and pushed her long, dark hair behind her ears then settled the hat back in place. Maybe bringing Braxton here was a mistake-she’d felt that when he first stepping into the ring. Then she relaxed and felt better. Now worse. The forested ridges of the Appalachian Range pushed skyward around her. Often shrouded in mists with fog tumbling down the hollows, today the sky was clear and the air crystal and piney. If only Lynette Holt’s mind were that clear.

Why had she pulled off the barrel? Braxton wondered. She hadn’t completed one course this morning. For a few moments she would look in control-the horse and she one-as she had during her six year reign as the state’s barrel racing queen. Then-for no reason-she would fall apart. Maybe not so badly that a layman could tell, but he knew, she knew and the judges would know.

At the top of the line of barrels, she took a breath and leaned a little forward. “Go”, she breathed and Nancy launched forward. One! Two! Three! Four! All clean then she leaned too far right and missed the last one again. “FUCK!” she barked aloud then slumped in the saddle.

Braxton hated swearing in the ring. He hated harsh words around horses. Everyone thought he was some kind of damn horse whisperer. He was good-she’d give him that. She hadn’t lost one championship in the years they were married. Of course, she hadn’t won one since they split. Didn’t place last year. Fuck it, she thought. I’m paying him. It’s my place now. I’ll swear if I want.

That was better, thought Braxton reading her body language right up until it wasn’t. The racer he knew was in there but was only showing up in spurts for quick peeks. They’d been out here for the better part of an hour and he’d cajoled her to this point-but it was like trying to wring water out of a dry towel. He sidled up closer to where she moped, Sandy pawing at the dust.

“Any chance at all you might get your head out of your ass so we could get some actual work done today?”

She could almost hear the blood rushing to her head. “You’re not exactly helping!” she barked.

“Only room in the saddle for one.”

Her chest tightened and a low keening sound-like a steam kettle-started in her ears. She white-knuckled the reigns and leaned over Sandy’s neck; her horse’s signal to “GO!” And Sandy went. They wheeled away from the barrels and in a flash were out of the circle, through the open fence and up along the edge of the field. They veered past the lone walnut tree and jumped lightly over a deadfall she had been meaning to move. With a tight turn she came back and jumped it again. There she is, Braxton thought watching her loose in the field. One with the horse, anticipating moves, initiating others…Finally, in the middle of her little tantrum, he caught a glimpse of the rider she had been in her twenties. Not so long ago in years-but decades in attitude and confidence.

She pulled Sandy up. What the hell was she doing? That hadn’t helped at all. The bands around her chest still constricted, her ears still rang and she was squeezing the reins like they were rattle snakes. Breathing in gulps, she settled into a soft lope back to where Braxton was watching her. His eyes were hidden deep in the shadow of his hat but she knew they would be slits-not so much against the sun-he squinted at night. No, he’d be trying to figure her out-overthinking as usual-trying to find a different answer to the question they both knew too well.

“Why did you hire me?” he asked as she pulled up beside him. “There are a slew of trainers in this valley would work for free for the chance to put you through your paces.” She jerked her head and met his lidded gaze with her own sharp glare.

“Already had them!” she snapped with more venom than she intended.

“And how did that work out?”

She opened her mouth to snap again but bit her tongue. She needed to look away and pulled her eyes over toward the cursed barrels.

“I think it’s time we take a walk to the tool shed”, Braxton said flatly.

Lynette looked away from the barrels and over to the small outbuilding-more workshop than toolshed-beside the barn.

“Not likely”, she said, avoiding his eyes.

“Pretty likely” he answered.

“No way.”

“Get off your horse.”

“No. Fucking. Way.” She spat every word like it was poison to be expelled.

His implacable gaze didn’t waver and his stance betrayed none of the roilings starting to rise in him. He looked up at her, into her and through her, watching the veins in her neck redden, twist and climb like pulsing vines. “Suit yourself” he said breaking the look and turning away.  “Let’s run it from the top”, striding toward the barrels.

Her hands-squeezing and releasing the reins-sweated and the tightness hardened in her breast. She sucked air in quick swallows and watched a red film cover her eyes from her temples in.  Sandy was calm-but attentive-awaiting any signal.

Walking away Braxton heard her grumble “God Damn It!” then a leather creak, then the sound of boots hitting dirt. He turned to see her stalking away from him toward the tool shed. He absently stroked his jawline with his knuckles watching the perfect inverted heart of her taut backside stomp off then disappear through the open door into the dim interior. Which then disappeared itself when she slammed the door. At that he grinned-he didn’t even know that door shut. “Come on Sandy”, he led the horse into the ring, taking his time. He closed the gate and headed to the shed.

Inside, dust motes rose and whirled in the slashes of sunlight burning between the roughly hewn barn siding. She had a corner of the shed where she kept her tack and some odds and ends but didn’t spend much time in here where the memories lay thick like coats of old milk paint. The old saddle shone on the stall rail where she kept clean and oiled after swearing to get rid of it. The low bench was in the same place it always was but she stayed clear of it.

She took off her hat off and hung it on a peg, shaking her hair back to hang loosely around her shoulders. Her breath was coming easier – still shallow and quick-but easier. The bands she felt in her chest were loosening but replaced by cold flutters low in her gut. She knew these feelings well having many times gotten herself into something that there was no way out of.

Outside the open widow she watched a small flock of chickadees swarming the thistle bushes along the back fence. Further down the line a few wild canaries flashed and lit and beyond them the dark green of the foothills rolled. She was finally seeing the beauty of the morning when the door scraped open behind her. Her heart quickened.

Because she had closed it, he pushed it shut behind him and stood waiting for his eyes to adjust. Lynette was a silhouette backlit by the window until she eventually clarified and materialized out of the gloaming. She kept her eyes averted-not down-but not looking at him. He ran his hand over the smooth leather of the old saddle-not really surprised that she kept it so well.

She thought she wanted to say something but decided to let it be. She could manage her words well enough but was afraid her voice might betray her. Did she want this or not? Was she wrong to want this? Why couldn’t she just ask-just take what she wanted? Why, why, why? The badgering questions were tightening her chest again.  Still watching out the window she listened and knew what he was doing. She heard him lift the old saddle then place it on the bench. Waiting for Braxton to speak first would be a fool’s errand. But she engaged in the game…listening to the birds and waiting. Truth was, she was weak in the legs and suddenly concerned that she might stumble.

Ready in time, she turned slowly and walked carefully, almost weightlessly, as she might wade through a deep hole down in the creek.  Gone were the sharp angles and precise stomping of a few short minutes ago. Her head swam slightly as she walked up on the saddle for the first time in close to three years. She glanced over at Braxton who was also hatless and spending an inordinate amount of attention on rolling up his sleeves.

The window was still her focus as she loosed her belt from the buckle then unsnapped her jeans. With a deep breath she pushed the zipper down then pushed the pants down off of her hips squatting slightly to send them all the way down to her boots. Then, linking her thumbs in the waistband of her panties, pushed them down as well. The cool air on her naked parts excited her.

Braxton watched as she rubbed her butt up under her shirt tail as if trying to smooth the creases. He really hadn’t expected his day to wind up here but had prepared for it. Had set it in his mind as a possibility. But nothing could prepare him for the sight of Lynette Holt lowering herself over the saddle and pulling her shirt up her back.

The woman he had loved and lusted after for years before was splayed before him-backside high and luscious-hands flat on the dirt floor in front of her, boot toes dug in behind. The sight hadn’t changed much in three years. He knew the contours of her body better than his own. Maybe a little thicker, maybe a little rounder, maybe the dividing crease between the two milky moons a little deeper, but only something he would notice.

Finally it was Braxton who, stepping close, spoke first.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked.

“Yes”, she hissed but he couldn’t tell if it was still in anger or something else.

She heard the dry rasp of his belt being pulled through the loops. She had noticed the belt he wore as soon as he had walked into the ring that morning. It was an old one-one she had bought for him when they were married. One she had felt before. He eyed her bottom goose-bumped in the cool shade of the shed and took measure with the strap swinging in his right hand.

She expected the pain-but pain in memory against reality. She gasped when the first lash fell hard and squeezed at the dusty floor. The second cracked across the middle of her backside and she opened her mouth wide but made no sound determined to take it stoically. She tensed as the third slash whistled and gasped when it landed. He slapped the fourth swat above the others-below the tan line but high enough to burn anew.

Yes, she expected the pain but what she hadn’t expected were the burning eyes. She didn’t cry. She once finished a ride with a separated shoulder and no one was the wiser. She remembered that now as she squeezed her eyes tight in a futile attempt to hold back the tears that would not be denied. She coughed a sob, then another-tiny cracks and trickles in the face of a dam that finally broke with one more brilliantly placed slash dead center on her bottom.

Her wail chased the chickadees and finches into the woods. The next slash angled lower to kiss the top of her right leg and she screamed afresh. This was new-she had been stoic under his strap before. But this time she cried and kicked her boot toes into the dust.

She spread her legs as wide as her confining jeans would allow-wide enough for Braxton to see her womanhood open to him. He pulled his eyes toward the floor looking up only to bring another lash down on her heaving bottom. It was like looking at a favorite place from the seat on a train-he’d been there, would love to be there again-but right now couldn’t reach it.

And it was harder to avoid knowing how wet she would be in there now. How thickly welcoming would be her embrace of him. He could feel the warm pull of her, sucking him in-gripping him tightly as he thrust deeply into her the heat of her strapped bottom rubbing against him. He felt his own surge lifting from inside and…Jesus! He blinked and shook his head. He cleared his throat and swung-hitting high again leaving a strawberry ribbon across the deep dimples just below her belt line that he oddly, suddenly remembered the taste of.

But he was with Vera now. And she had been less than thrilled as it was that he was going back to training his ex-wife but the money was good and she relented. Obviously not knowing what all training Lynette Holt entailed. He couldn’t very well go home with his ex-wife’s scents and juices drying over him. But there it was.

Braxton paused and gulped air almost as raggedly as she did. Lynette’s bottom glowed red like the coals of a banked cooking fire.

“I’m done if you’re done”, he said huskily.

The wave of tears ceasing, she caught her breath and looked back over her shoulder. The hair stuck to her face and he couldn’t see her well. “Six more”, she said. “Across the bottom.” That second direction could seem redundant but he knew her “bottom” meant the bottom of her bottom-the sit spots-where her legs met the swell of her cheeks.

After the sixth and final lash she collapsed like a pricked balloon over the saddle. The tension and hard muscles deflated as she lay limply breathing. Braxton glanced at the work bench seeing-and secretly happy-that there wasn’t the jar of aloe unguent that they used to keep there. He felt he would have been somehow duty bound to rub some on her hot and tortured bum and that might be more than a man could stand.

She heard him stride across the floor and saw the light spread across the room as he opened the door. Not a word. Not a touch. She was fine with that, she thought pushing herself upward and standing slowly. She bent in the knees slightly and cupped her cheeks feeling the heat. “Damn, Braxton”, she whispered squeezing and rubbing lightly-gingerly. “Damn…”

Outside Braxton leaned against a fence post and lit a cigarette with a shaking match. He pushed himself down his left leg to make standing more comfortable. Sandy came over and nudged at him. He was careful to blow the smoke away from Sandy’s muzzle. He stroked the horse gently and scratched at her ears. “Sandy, you are about the only woman I understand”.

He heard her walking up on them. Her face was blotched and red-eyed and her hair was pulled back severely into a pony tail. She stood beside him and breathed deeply, gazing at the ridgeline.

“Sorry about that Brax. I shouldn’t have…”

He cut her off. “Never a problem Nettie.” She smiled for the first time that morning at the nickname she hadn’t heard in three years.

She walked around to Sandy. “Let’s go to work”, she said pulling herself up into the stirrups and settling-very gently-down into the saddle.

Vintage Advertising

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Found this on Tumblr today while looking for something else. I’m assuming this is a bit of Photoshop fakery that looks like a vintage 60’s ad. I think it’s a fake because my old man subscribed to all the magazines (from Argosy through Playboy) that this ad would have run in.

As a kid, I guarantee, if this was in any mag in the house, I would have found it. And I would have run to my room with it. Never. To. Return.