House Rules

A lodger learns to follow the rules. By a new writer to us.

by Stephen Peters

Nicola Green was a 21 year-old graduate in English Literature from Exeter University. She had been fortunate to get an offer of a 6 month internship at a small, but respectable, London publishing house starting 2 months after she graduated with an upper second class degree. The problem was that, as so often is the case in today’s ultra-competitive market, the position was unpaid. The company were promising that there would be an opportunity to become a full-time employee at the end of her internship, but for the first six months Nicola was required to ‘learn’ for free.

Nicola came from Taunton and her family were not well-off. Her parents had scrimped and saved to help support her at University and Nicola had maxed out her student loans as well as working in her holidays. However, help was at hand. Her Uncle Mike had loaned her £2500. Also, a distant relative of her mum’s, Karin Ehmann, had been contacted by her mum’s cousin and had generously agreed to let Nicola stay, rent-free, for the next six months at least, in her flat in Palmers Green, an area of North London. Without the burden of rent and with a part-time job, Nicola felt she could manage it. If she had to pay London’s high rents, often £150pw even for ‘student’ (that is, grotty) shared accommodation, there was no way.

So, Nicola moved in to Karin’s flat. It was in a small modern block, on the 3rd floor. It had 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, living/dining area with a kitchen though an archway. Nicola thought that Karin had decorated and furnished the flat with a very modern and stylish décor. The rooms were not large, especially Nicola’s bedroom, but it was certainly much nicer than anything she would be able to afford, even if the promised paid job materialised at the end of her internship.

She found Karin welcoming, if a bit formal. Karin was in her late thirties or early forties, Nicola thought, and came from Bavaria, where one of her grandmother’s cousins had moved to when she married a local man. Karin had told Nicola she was welcome to share her flat but that she had certain ‘House Rules’ which she had found necessary with previous lodgers, to avoid disturbance of her routines. These were not onerous, she said, mainly cleaning up the bathroom and kitchen after use and keeping her room reasonably tidy. Also, she said that on weekday nights, she expected Nicola to be home by midnight. On Friday and Saturday, when Karin did not have to be up at 6:15 for work the next day, she was free to come in as late as she liked, provided she was suitably quiet.

All went well, though Nicola got into trouble after nearly two weeks when she came home at 1am after going out with her new friends from work one Wednesday. She had not meant to be late, but the regular buses had stopped running and she had to take a different route, which took longer. Karin spoke to her the next morning.

“You remember the House Rules we spoke about? Well, you were late home last night and woke me up. I am now tired as a result, and not happy. I should warn you that I do expect my rules to be observed, or there will be consequences,” she said ominously.

Things proceeded smoothly for the next 2 weeks and Nicola found herself enjoying her internship even more than she had hoped. She felt that she really had a natural talent for publishing, and she had the feeling that her employers were pleased with her hard work and enthusiasm. About a month after she started, a new editor joined the firm and the staff, mostly young and female, felt they should welcome her with a night out on the town. Unfortunately, a Thursday had to be chosen, as a couple of staff went out of London for the weekend. Nicola tried to excuse herself, saying that she could not afford to eat out and party, but her boss Rachael, no doubt meaning well, said that she would pay for Nicola too.

Of course, Nicola felt trapped. She ended up getting home about 2am.

The tension at breakfast the next morning was palpable. Karin reminded Nicola again about the House Rules. Then Karin warned Nicola that she operated a ‘three-strikes’ rule. Any further late work nights and she said Nicola would have two choices; leave, or take what Karin called an appropriate, old-fashioned punishment. Nicola apologised again.

What did Karin mean by ‘old-fashioned punishment’, she asked?

“When I was growing up, my family firmly believed in the value of corporal punishment,” Karin said. “And I know to my own cost just how effective a deterrent it is, so I would offer you the choice of being caned by me or leaving my flat,” she said sternly, looking Nicola in the eye while she did so.

Nicola smiled. Surely she was not serious?

“We banned the cane in Britain years ago,” she said. “You can’t just threaten to cane me, it would be illegal.”

“In schools and for use on minors, certainly” said Karin. “But for consenting adults? I doubt if I would get into trouble. I hear that lots of British people do that sort of thing as part of sex games. You would have to agree to take the punishment voluntarily, I am under no obligation to let you stay here.”

Nicola said nothing but she reflected on the way to work that she had better watch her timekeeping, otherwise she was going to face losing her place to stay. There was no way she was going to submit to being caned; the very idea horrified her.

Strangely though, she kept returning to this idea over the next few days. She realised that with 21 weeks still to go, there was no possibility of completing her internship without the free room provided by Karin. Weirdly, the idea of submitting to a caning from Karin started to fascinate her. What would it be like? Just how much would it hurt? A lot, she was sure, but she was an adult after all and she didn’t regard herself as a wimp. She did some research on the internet from the safety of her bedroom. Karin was right. A lot of adults did seem to like playing games that involved corporal punishment. She watched some videos of women being caned. They varied, but many were not as horrible as she had imagined, though some made her shudder.

Life flowed on as normal. Nicola was enjoying work and felt as though she was gaining respect too. No more weekday outings occurred. She did her weekend job to earn money and often partied after until late, but all was harmonious on the domestic front. Then, her best friend at work announced she was leaving. A leaving do was arranged and Nicola’s heart sank as the others voted to have it on Thursday, Stella’s last day, as she had a day’s holiday owing. Nicola promised herself she would leave early but, when it came to it, she succumbed to the entreaties of her mates, especially Stella, to accompany them to a club after dinner and the pub. It was nearly 3am when she very carefully let herself in to the flat in Palmers Green. Surely she could manage to get into bed without waking Karin, who must be fast asleep by now, she thought. Maybe she could say that she had arrived at exactly midnight and avoid the confrontation that would, she was sure, follow otherwise.

Nicola tiptoed into the living/dining area as softly as she could; she just needed a glass of water before bed. As she silently crossed the living area, she became aware of her landlady lying in the corner on the sofa, draped in a blanket. Nicola’s heart skipped a beat, especially when she realised that Karin had not been not asleep, merely resting her eyes, which were now wide open.

“What time do you call this?” Karin asked, the sound of her voice seeming unnaturally loud in the quiet night.

“Ah,” said Nicola.

Karin stood up and the blanket fell to the floor. Nicola saw for the first time that she was holding a cane in her hand, which had been concealed by the blanket. Nicola had never seen a punishment cane before except in videos. It looked longer and thicker than she expected; it was pale in colour, straight with a coloured handle, she observed. Karin smiled grimly and, holding the cane in both hands, bent it into a half circle; clearly it was flexible too. The gesture seemed menacing to Nicola, who could not help staring at the cane.

“Yes,” said Karin. “You remember what we spoke about the last time you were late home. Well, now you face a straight choice. Either you leave my flat this weekend or you accept a caning from me as punishment, right here, right now!”

“No, please,” said Nicola. “You can’t really be serious. You’re not really planning on hitting me with that, that thing, are you?” Nicola literally squirmed with embarrassment, anxiety and fear.

“Oh, I am deadly serious,” said Karin. “Look,” she added. “It is not as terrible as you seem to imagine. Yes, it is painful; of course it is. It is supposed to be a punishment, after all; a deterrent too. But, you know, it is soon over. You will be a bit sore and tender for a few days, but in less than a week you will be back to normal, bar a few marks, and even they will disappear.”

“I don’t know,” said Nicola. “That’s the point, I’ve never even been spanked before. We just don’t do that sort of thing any more.”

“Well, perhaps if your parents had disciplined you better, you would have less trouble following rules,” said Karin. “I don’t think it is too late to start, even now. But, as I said before, it really is your choice. You must actively choose to accept a caning; you always have the option of moving out.”

Nicola knew that, with 16 weeks still to go until she had the prospect of paid employment, leaving the flat would result in her leaving her internship, sooner or later. She couldn’t let that happen; things were going too well.

“OK,” she said. “I reluctantly accept your terms. I will let you cane me for being late again,” Nicola said in a rather small, shaky voice.

“That’s not good enough,” said Karin. “You have to ask me to cane you. Partly, this is to show your acceptance of the fairness of your punishment and partly it is to protect me.”

Nicola looked at Karin with a baleful stare. She drew in a deep breath and said more deliberately: “Karin, please punish me for being late by caning me as I deserve,” hoping that this was sufficient humiliation and obeisance to satisfy her.

“Good, I am glad you are going to be sensible,” Karin replied. “This cane is just right for delivering a well-deserved lesson without being too harsh for a first-timer; a nice medium density rattan of a decent length and thickness with just the right degree of spring,” she added, bending the cane back in her hands and then letting it go to spring back.

Nicola was not at all comforted by these remarks and thought that the cane looked much too solid and springy for applying to her bottom. She also found Karin’s sudden good mood distinctly alarming; she appeared to be looking forward to punishing her way too much for Nicola’s comfort.

“Right, let’s get this over so we can both go to bed,” said Karin, though she privately thought that Nicola might have trouble sleeping at first. “Turn that tub chair around and move the cushion, then cover the edge with this blanket.” She held out the blanket she had been using to keep warm during the long wait.

Nicola did as she was bid, with a rapidly rising panic bubbling up in her abdomen.

“Take your trousers and shoes off, and bend over the blanket,” said Karin.

Nicola slowly unbuttoned her trousers, pushed off her shoes, eased her slacks down, stepped out of them and folded them over a dining chair. Then she stood behind the back of the tub chair and bent forward, inevitably pushing her bottom out as she did so.

When Nicola was in position, Karin put down the cane and moved directly behind her, grasped her knickers from both sides and, with studied deliberation, pulled them down to Nicola’s ankles. Nicola gasped; she had not expected that.

She protested: “I never said you could take my underwear off!”

Karin replied: “Caning should always be done on the bare bottom. That way I can see where the cane lands and how much damage it is doing, otherwise you might get hurt more than is necessary.” Then, she stood close beside Nicola and pushed her in the middle of her shoulder blades, making her bend right over the chair and lean her weight on the blanket covered back and seat cushion.

She went back to the sofa and picked up the cane. Carefully choosing her position, Karin measured her distance from the now prominently bare, white bottom displayed stretched over her tub chair. Then she swished the cane down several times to loosen her wrist.

The noise of these practise motions was terrifying to the prostrate Nicola. She dreaded the pain that she was sure this cane was going to inflict on her virgin behind. The position she was in and her nakedness from the waist down, accentuated her awareness of her vulnerability; her bottom almost tingled in anticipation.

Finally ready, Karin said: “I am going to give you 12 strokes. They will be firm not severe, but they will hurt a lot. Are you ready?”

Nicola felt a jolt of adrenalin course through her veins; 12 strokes! Oh my God she had NOT expected that. She said tremulously: “In the old days, people in England used to get ‘six of the best’. Surely six is enough; I know it will be enough for me.”

“No, you are not a schoolgirl, and I am not going to cane you as hard as they would have done at school in what you call the old days,” Karin replied rather sharply. She went on: “I want you to stay still, otherwise I might miss my aim and you could get hurt more or even injured. Also, you must not wail or scream as it will disturb the neighbours, which might be embarrassing for both of us, so if you do make excessive noise, I will gag you and start your punishment again. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes,” Nicola replied.

“Now, are you ready?”

Nicola felt her heart pounding in her chest and her pulse throbbing in her head. This was it, Karin was really going to thrash her for coming home late. She was really going to find out just what it was like to be caned. Nicola felt that this was so unfair, ridiculous even. But she had only one other choice and that simply wasn’t possible.

“Yes,” Nicola sighed softly. She waited.

Karin tapped her bottom once, twice, three times. Then Nicola imagined the cane being drawn back. A brief noise, zzipp, then thwick! Nicola gasped for breath. The cane had whipped down and struck her in the middle of her bottom with what seemed like terrible force, though in fact Karin had only used moderate effort. The pain rose sharply and Nicola raised her head, screwed her eyes up and grimaced. Surprisingly, the pain peaked quickly but a few seconds later seemed to return with lower but subtly different sensation. Then the new pain ebbed away.

The cane touched Nicola’s bottom again, slightly lower down this time. Again it was swished back and down. Zzipp, thwick! This caught her below the first. Again, a brief moment of intense pain, then an afterburn. Again Nicola caught her breath, then panted slightly.

Karin was giving her a reasonable time to recover between strokes. It seemed ages before the cane touched her again, though actually it was only about 20 seconds. It left her again. The third stroke landed above the first, another zzipp, thwick; another short burst of horrible pain. Nicola was gritting her teeth, trying to get her breath, her face a mask of pain each time the flexible length of rattan accelerated into her soft flesh. For just a second or two, the pain of each stroke seemed intense, all-consuming, but it became bearable surprisingly quickly. Another 20 seconds, another touch and moments later another stroke landed, lower still this time. Nicola cried out this time though she stifled her “ye-ow”, remembering too well what Karin had said about wailing.

Karin waited a tad longer this time for Nicola to recover, she tapped her again before drawing her arm only back only 70 degrees or so, and swiftly snapping her wrist to swish the cane back to its target, just as she had done each time. The fifth stroke went higher this time; she was spacing them out. Nicola just exhaled a small grunt of pain. Her bottom was beginning to feel sore all over, a kind of humming background pain stayed with her after the sharp momentary explosive flash had gone.

‘Oh God,’ she thought. ‘How can I hold myself in for another seven strokes?’

Once again, Karin flicked her wrist as her arm traversed its arc towards Nicola’s soft, yielding bottom, higher again this time. Zzipp, thwick, gasp.

“Half-way there,” said Karin. “You are doing really well.”

Karin decided that she could up the tempo a bit, now that Nicola was acclimatised to the cane and also, since she seemed to be coping so well, she would make the strokes a bit harder.  After all, she told herself, she intended this to be a real lesson for Nicola and she was still cross about the loss of sleep; deep down, though she did not admit this to herself, Karin was quite enjoying the feelings of power that punishing Nicola were engendering. She did not tell Nicola her plan, though, let it be a surprise.

Instead, she moved closer to Nicola and examined the six red lines now imprinted on her bottom. The earlier strokes were clearly distinguished by a darker hue and some were already swelling into puffy ridges. Karin allowed herself the pleasure of running her fingertips over the lines, smiling as she did so. She had to admire her accuracy. She paused there, deeply enjoying the picture before her; Nicola, bent right over the chair, bottom raised, displaying her handiwork, so submissive, so vulnerable.

She took up position again and swished the cane down vertically through the air, hard, several times.

“Right, are you ready for the last six?” she asked.

Nicola took several deep breaths and said: “Yes.”

The seventh stroke, placed now quite low on her bottom, was definitely firmer, though still nowhere near as severe as she could have made it. Nicola noticed the difference though! She made a small ‘ahh’ sound with sharply indrawn breath, and her breathing became more urgent. Then, Karin delivered the eighth stroke only 8 seconds after the last. This caught Nicola off guard and she let out a louder ‘Ow’.

Karin kept up the new tempo. As the unmarked bottom area became less, she had to go even lower still, onto the crease, which caused Nicola to be unable to help herself from uttering her loudest yelp yet; still it was only to be expected and nowhere near a scream or wail and Karin ignored it, concentrating on keeping up her new pace and intensity. She had run out of bottom, so she tried to put the last 3 strokes into the remaining small white gaps between previous marks. Stroke number 10 landed on the top edge of the first mark, which caused Nicola more pain then ever, though this time she merely hissed in response.

Her breathing now was ragged and uneven as though she was having trouble holding back her cries. Karin managed to squeeze the penultimate stroke into a gap between the first and third mark. Nicola held on to the edge of the chair desperately. She, like Karin, had been counting; only one more stroke to go. Her bottom was hurting more now. The faster cadence and the firmer delivery had taken her to a new place; Nicola was holding herself in tightly, willing herself to remain still despite the knowledge that another stroke was imminent.

Karin decided to deliver the final stroke to more or less the middle of Nicola’s bottom and to make this the hardest of all. She drew the cane back further and put perhaps fifteen per cent more power into it, no more. Tzziippp, whack! Nicola’s body jerked involuntarily and she cried out sharply: “Ahh, oouch.” The pain was the most intense she had felt so far. She rebounded back to lay limp, her bottom firing all sorts of pain messages up her spine to her brain.

At last, it was over. Nicola felt a wave of relief and a surprisingly strong sense of elation. She had got through it. Her bottom felt as though it was burning, though. There was now a deep, all over, background pain, far less intense that the sharp momentary explosion each time the cane had struck her, but persistent. She was reluctant to move as she was sure that it was going to set off a new wave.

However, eventually she got to her feet and tentatively explored her bottom with very gentle hands. Wow, it was hot! Her fingers lightly touched the swelling ridges blasted into her flesh by the wickedly flexible rattan. Even the slightest touch made her stripes spark off new little sharp localised sensations. She forgot all about her nakedness, she turned round to face Karin, who still held the cane in her right hand. Nicola’s breathing was still deeper and faster than normal.

Karin, too, was different; her eyes sparkled, she was wired though, of course, Nicola was much too preoccupied with herself to notice. Nicola did not know what to say. In one way, she wanted to ask Karin bitterly if she was satisfied that Nicola had been punished enough. On the other hand, she almost felt like throwing her arms around Karin and hugging her for giving her the most intense experience of her life, for showing her just how capable she was of controlling herself in extremis. Then, the intensity of emotion overcame her and she did indeed hug Karin hard, burying her face in Karin’s shoulder and finally letting herself shed a few tears of relief.

Karin understood Nicola’s conflict well enough. She dropped the cane, put her arms around her and said: “You were very brave and I am proud of you,” patting her on the shoulder.

When they let each other go, Karin said: “Turn around and let me see the damage again.”

Nicola turned her back and Karin said: “Bend over so I can see better. You have a lovely set of marks.”

The marks were no longer all individually distinct. In the middle of her bottom, the strokes had merged and the dark red lines turned purple in places, though the outer strokes could still be seen as clear double red tramlines.

“Let me get a camera; you want a record of this to remind you to get home on time in future,” Karin said with a smile in her voice.

She took several photos and Nicola kept them, carefully encrypted for privacy, for many years, to remind her of her first ever caning.

The End

© Stephen Peters 2018