Learning a New Piece

A female head of the family deals with her sister-in-law. By a new writer to us.

By J Grey

The piano moaned discordant and offended at having its keyboard buffed with a manic attention to detail that let the rest of the household know it was Anne herself doing the cleaning. Then it fell silent, and music began. C triad, A minor, tentative, exploratory and gentle, it filled the piano room, drifted down the halls through the open doors, and wafted through the great French windows to the garden. Anne tilted her head, quizzical and alert. C, F, G, A minor, F, G, E7! (like a chess move) and half home to A minor, C’s beautiful soul-mate and  friend.

“Clever,” said Anne. No-one would be able to tell you whether she meant the composer or herself for understanding why the composer was clever, not even Anne. Suddenly she launched into a full version of the song.

Her personal assistant, Julie, leaned over the mezzanine balcony and smiled.  What a privilege to be here and watch genius in action, every day. Like a personal concert.

“She tied you to her kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair, and from your lips she drew, hallelujah,” Anne saw Julie out of the corner of her eye and just played the piano part, smiling at her.

Julie lived for moments like this. She glowed in the warmth of Anne’s attention. Anne enjoyed creating the glow too.

“You know what this song’s about?”

Julie shook her head, smiling.

“Listen: ‘There was a time when you let me know, what’s really going on down below, but now you never show that to me do you? But remember when I moved in you, and the holy dove was moving too, and every breath we drew was… hallelujah.’ It’s about coming!”

Anne did her best impression of Meg Ryan’s orgasmic Sally; hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, halle-lu- jah.

Julie blushed, not because she was embarrassed by her employer talking about sex, but because she found herself full in the glare of her charm. In the movie of Anne’s life, and there would definitely be one, Meg Ryan wouldn’t be the actress you’d choose to play her; her high cheekbones and imperious manner would demand a young Katherine Hepburn. The red hair would be just right. Anne was a human torch, a forty-something force of nature. Even just out of bed in her silk pajamas, she looked majestic, like a movie star. The grand old house helped with the image. Any moment now a musical number could break out, dancers in top-hats with canes could appear as if from nowhere, and no-one would be in the least surprised.

“Isn’t it maid costume day today, darling?” Julie pretended to pout.

“It’s not nine yet. James and his mum are here. Are you going to see them?”

“Yes. I’m unusually enthused to see them, right now! I sense a change in the weather, a new beginning. Send them in at once!”

Julie was reassuring as she ushered the guests in, whispering: “She’s in quite a good mood.”

“Ah, my bastard nephew and his slut of a mother! How was the trek from the gate-house? Any news of my feckless brother? Of course not! And how can I help you, as if I hadn’t done enough already?”

James, twelve, and used to this sort of performance as he was a regular at the mansion, stayed mute. His mum, Sara, now nearly thirty, took a step forward and made a stammering announcement.

“We feel James would be best to be enrolled at public school. He’s not doing so well at the local…”

“I think not.” Anne cut her off, and the room fell into a ferocious competitive silence.

Sara glared and pursed her lips. Usually Anne would throw money at any problem, because money was readily available, so Sara was surprised at so robust a negotiating position so early.

Anne made it clear she had no more to say. A voice from the doorway to the conservatory broke the silence.

“Do you actually want to go to public school, James?”

It belonged to Anne’s daughter, Giselle, who leaned in the doorway to the conservatory, as majestic as her mother, the bud to her flower. Eighteen years’ worth of disciplined self-assurance. She was dressed for riding, her helmet and crop still dangling from her right hand.

James turned to look at her and bit his lip. He shook his head.

Sara took all this in and, fearing a lack of momentum for her cause, pressed on with her case. “Something’s got to be done! He’s not doing well enough in school!”

Anne contrasted the shouting with her gentlest voice. So quiet it sounded like a threat. “He’s doing very well at the piano, considering his conspicuous lack of ability.”

“Music isn’t everything! He’s failing really basic subjects; Maths, English…”

Anne put her finger to her lips like a primary school teacher. “Shhhhh. Music paid for all this, Sara. It paid for your little gate-house with your new fitted kitchen in it and your ridiculous hot-tub and your car.”

“Well, music’s going to have to pay for him to go away to school as well!” Sara blustered.

Anne’s mood darkened and became steely. “James, go with Giselle and take a nice walk around the grounds. Lovely day. Get some fresh air. Julie? Where’s Julie?”

Julie appeared on cue, dressed in her maid costume, which amused Anne temporarily. They shared a knowing smile.

“Julie, close all the doors to this room, and wait outside in the hall.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Said Julie.

Anne broke temporarily into a broad smile. She enjoyed being called Ma’am.

The doors were closed and the youngsters of the family left the grown-ups to talk. Sara bristled with indignation, and then withered slightly as Anne turned her full attention to her.

“Listen to me, Sara. I’ll tell you what has to stop. Your appalling behavior. I’m not going to subsidise it any further. What’s seven times six?”

Sara took a step back, confused.

“What?”

“Yes. WHAT is seven times six?”

Sara was a rabbit in headlights. “I, this is ridiculous.”

Anne tilted her head to one side. “How about eleven times eleven? Seven times nine?”

Sara blushed crimson, and Anne stepped forward to take advantage of the show of weakness.

“Eight twelves?”

Sara looked up, imploring, confused and humiliated, and Anne took the opportunity to slap her across the face. As Sara reeled from the shock of it, Anne started in on a long lecture about Sara’s various short-comings as a mother.

“You’re ill-educated, Sara. You can’t help that boy with his school-work because you were terrible at school yourself, and all his problems stem from you and your pathetic party-girl lifestyle. Well, I have a newsflash for you. I’m not putting up with it any more. You, my dear, are going back to school. We’re going to get you and James a tutor, and you’re going to take all the exams he takes. And you’re going to take the whole enterprise very, very seriously. That’s what you probably think is the bad news.

“The good news is, I’ve decided not to exclude you anymore. I’m taking you into the fold, my dear little sister-in-common-law. And we all know what the fold means, don’t we? It means you do as I say, or you get spanked. And today, for you, it means you do as I say AND you get spanked. Julie!”

Julie appeared at the door.

“Fetch one of the dining room chairs, please, and the stingy hairbrush; the little plastic one. And don’t worry. It’s not for you. Off you go.”

Sara blushed furiously, and was clearly upset. The meeting was not going quite as she had planned. She started to say something, but Anne glared her down.

“You have nothing to say, missie. What you’re going to do now, and for some time to come, is listen to your elders and betters.”

Julie appeared with the chair and put it in the middle of the room. She knew exactly the spot; the place where anyone in the room would have an excellent view of the spanking to come. Where people on the mezzanine could look down, people sat on the chesterfields by the coffee table could get a clear view. A staging area second only to the position of the piano. On the seat of the chair she placed a hairbrush and some hairbands, then stepped back to await instructions.

Anne glanced at the hairbrush and then at Julie, smiling. “You’re such a minx Julie, honestly. Just wicked. You know the hairbrush I mean, so go and get it.  And then you can stand and watch holding this one, and we’ll see how my mood takes me when I’m done with this wretch.”

Julie giggled, delighted at this dramatic and unusual development, and skipped away. “And about time too,” she said under her breath.

Anne pointed to the hairbands. “Put your hair up, missie.”

They both knew this was the moment of choice for Sara, and there followed another silent standoff. The first to speak would lose. First to drop their gaze, even.

Sara weighed her options. The idea of being ‘brought into the fold’ held enormous appeal for her, though she’d never admit it. Anne’s keeping her out in the cold and never being kind to her, never giving her the time of day, well, in truth it crushed her on a regular basis. She so wanted to belong. The way Julie belonged, and Giselle and her own son, for that matter. She wanted to belong as an equal, but how could that ever happen?

She was just a girl who liked clubbing and using the fact that she was extremely cute to drive the events in her life. All that had been curtailed by meeting Anne’s brother and becoming a blood member of the family earlier than she’d planned. Sara faltered and felt small. Who was she kidding? She wanted to belong. She wanted the attention of the star everyone important in her life orbited. And ultimately, she wanted her approval.

Sara’s eyes fell to the floor. Somewhat crestfallen, she reached for the hairbands, and slowly moved to tie her hair back with them. It was a painful choice. Oh, she knew it would soon be painful. She’d heard about Giselle’s strict regime, a mirror of Anne’s own upbringing. And of course James was already in the fold. The tales he told of what it was like to be hairbrushed both terrified and fascinated her. The prospect of finding out for herself what it was like to belong, and to be so nervous of doing wrong… The choice was also a chance. And Sara wanted to take it.

The reaching for the hairbands brought Anne a twinge of profound satisfaction.

“Right, now you’ve got your hands to your head you can keep them there.” She said.

Sara obeyed with a somewhat defiant pout and Anne ushered her into position at the chair’s side. Julie returned with the required hairbrush and Anne made her stand a few feet away holding both brushes. Then she sat on the straight backed chair and demanded Sara raise her skirt.

With a cross-patch snort of outrage, Sara obeyed, and as her panties were revealed Anne reached out and hooked both her index fingers to the waistband just under Sara’s bellybutton, making eye contact with her as she slid her fingers to each side, ready to ease them down. The quiver of Sara’s lip, accompanied by the almost imperceptible turning in of her right knee, signalled her absolute submission.

Anne was thrilled. It was like the first taste of dark chocolate on the tongue. Delicious submission. And never more delicious than when it wasn’t certain to be. The first time was always very special. Anne slipped Sara’s panties to mid-thigh.

“Get over my knee, Sara. You’re just about to become a real member of the family. And I apologise for waiting so long to do this. I should have done it a long, long time ago. But in the next twenty minutes, I promise you, I’m going to make up for that.”

Sara had already started sniffling, feeling really sorry for herself.

“Yes, miss, you cry all you like. I’m going to give you something to cry about, believe you me.”

Sara gingerly moved her weight until she was poised like any naughty little girl over her mommy’s knee, and just as afraid of mommy’s displeasure.

Anne smoothed her hands all over Sara’s thighs and bottom.

“This whole area is going to turn a deep shade of pink, Sara. And then, when you think you can’t stand it anymore, I’m going to take that stingy little hairbrush to you. But that brush is nothing compared to the brush Julie brought first of all. If you displease me in the slightest bit from now on, that’s the brush you’ll be getting. Understand?

“This spanking is your friendly hello. Be a good girl, and it might never get any worse than this one. But if you cross me or seriously disappoint me, I’ll take that other brush to you until your bottom and thighs are just one big bruise. Do we understand one another? This spanking is just a little ritual of initiation. This is so you can prove to me your desire to be obedient. Understand?”

A muffled but resigned ‘Yes’ was all Sara could manage. It earned her the first hard slap. Sara moaned in shock and distress.

“When I tell you you’re due a spanking, you call me Ma’am until I inform you the punishment is over. Understand?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Another hard smack, on the other cheek.

“I don’t think you do, because that pause sounded resentful.”

And then a flurry of spanks, all hard, one cheek then the other, until poor Sara was wriggling to escape the blows.

“Do you understand a little better now?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Anne took a moment to consider the improvement in attitude, then rained down twenty more hard smacks, alternating sides with each slap.

“How about now?”

“Yes Ma’am.” Sara’s voice was stifled by a little choke. Tears were coming. Anne savoured the moment, more chocolate on the tongue.

“Stand up, missy.”

Sara stood awkwardly, flushed and confused.

“Hands on head.”

Sara’s hands shot to her head. All there was left now was to obey, any fight subdued, any flight impossible. Anne unbuttoned Sara’s skirt and let it fall to form a puddle of pink linen around Sara’s feet. Sara flushed further at the extra humiliation. Anne looked her dead in the eye just in time to see the first big tear form, fill the lower lid and spill over the side, taking a stain of mascara with it as it escaped down her slightly over-powdered cheek. Sara was guided back into position, and Julie picked the discarded skirt up, folded it and put it on the coffee table, instinctively arranging it so that it formed a neat tableau of cloth and glossy magazines.

“Yes indeed,” said Anne, as she relished the sight of Sara’s upturned bottom and felt Sara trembling with nervous anticipation. “We should have done this a long time ago. You’ve been neglected and excluded from the family for far too long, Sara.”

Anne started the spanking, hard and slow, concentrating on the area where Sara’s legs met the curve of her bottom. Sara’s last defences were spent and she broke into sobbing, crying like a small child. Anne spanked on mercilessly, covering the whole of Sara’s bottom with a flush of pink, and working to make the colour even all over. She spanked the tops of her thighs to a hand’s width below the curve, and concentrated with the same attention to detail as she had applied to her cleaning of the piano keys on the inner thighs and using stinging little finger spanks to even the colour. Sara was a natural submissive, essentially unresentful and passive. Anne spanked and spanked, and Sara’s sobs became more and more heartfelt as she became more and more wretched and sorry for herself. Anne stopped when Sara seemed completely defeated, and ran her hands over Sara’s now pink and glowing bottom.

“Hmmm, prawn cocktail.” Said Anne. “That was just for starters, you see. Some people think that’s a corny old starter, but I see it as a classic. Give me the brush, Julie.”

Julie offered Anne the brush, handle first, and then made a mock reverent courtesy once Anne had taken it, complete with a glowing smile. Anne shook her head in feigned disapproval.

“You really are such a minx, darling.”

“Now then, Sara, we’re going to have a little meeting of the family seniors. You should be proud, because once the meeting’s over you’re going to be a full member. You should also be slightly nervous, because if you think that was a spanking, and it sort of was, you have an even bigger surprise and shock coming, because this little toy is a mean friend to have.”

She tapped her on the thighs with the old bakelite brush, one of the few family heirlooms kept from a poorer time. Anne had been brought up with this brush and she loved, cherished, feared and revered it. It connected her to her own mother, her siblings, her roots as a person. As a girl, simply seeing it in her mother’s hand could reduce her to fearful tears. As a teen, she’d learned to submit to it in an almost religious, ritualistic fashion. And as a mother, she’d continued the tradition. Anne had faith in the brush and thought it a force for good in the world. It was a privilege for Sara to be introduced to it. A terrible privilege, but a privilege nonetheless.

Sara hid her head and flopped boneless over Anne’s knees. She wanted the ground to swallow her up, but the opposite of that was the moment on offer.

“Sara, what’s seven times six?” Demanded Anne.

“I don’t know.” Said Sara.

“At least that’s an honest answer. When I was twelve, my brother, you remember my brother, the one who impregnated you with our James, when I was twelve he was half my age. Now I’m forty, god help us all. So how old does that make my brother?

Sara’s usual answer to a question like this would be: “Oh, I was hopeless at maths, no good asking me that sort of thing!” Accompanied by a cheery waving away with a charming flutter of her eyelids.

Sara couldn’t answer.

“Is he twenty?” Helped Anne.

“No.” But the no was all Sara could manage.

Anne sighed. “In case you hadn’t realized it already, Sara, you are a poorly educated n’er-do-well who’s survived all her life on the back of the fact that she’s extraordinarily pretty and can be fun and charming. You’ve avoided all and any hardship and, since you got pregnant and subsequently supported by me, any kind of work. James will not be going to boarding school so that you can party again and pick up your frothy little life where you left off before he came along. That is simply not going to happen, understand?”

Anne brought the hairbrush down on Sara’s upturned bottom with the mean skill of a practiced disciplinarian. The brush was loose in her hand, her technique impeccable. The noise it made with its first contact was un-nervingly familiar to Anne, and to Julie too. Sara gasped with shock at the pain as it demanded her entire attention, and then howled in an effort to inform Anne that this kind of pain was too unbearable.  It was two stages of wordless communication; Ohhhh, AWWWWWW!

“You are an undisciplined and ill educated wretch. But today is the day all that stops.” Anne emphasized her point with another cruel stroke of the brush on the opposing cheek.

Sara squealed in pain.

“Poor Sara. Facing up to reality at last. But everyone else will be pleased, I’m sure. I think everyone around here was completely fed up with you. I certainly was. Today, a new beginning.”

Anne took the brush and a moment’s pause. A holy moment, like the clearing deep breath before a great concerto began. She slid the face of the brush over Sara’s neat little bottom, contemplating all its curves. Who knows what it is that propels the conductor to lift his baton, that inspires the player to strike the first note? There must be a moment when there is no music, and then for the music to begin. Anne lifted her arm away and brought the brush down flat and mean and perfect on Sara’s right cheek.

Sara gasped again with the shock of the pain. But this time there was no time for a complaining AWWWW, because the spanking was underway, and the tempo was too fast for that. Some believers in spanking say that a spanking only really starts when the spankee can’t stand the pain any more. Anne’s philosophy, learned at her mother’s knee, or to be more accurate, over her mother’s knees, was that a spanking ends once the spankee is completely defeated in their soul.

Sara kicked and whined and screamed and cried. She put her hand back to try and cover her bottom and had it expertly clamped away half-way up her back. Her bottom turned bright red, and Anne was fastidious in keeping a uniform colour scheme, all the way down to her earlier undercoating of pink where Sara’s panties indicated the boundary had been for the hand spanking. They’d been long wriggled away from their original position, first to her ankles and then just one ankle, and then off altogether. Julie deftly picked them up and added them to the coffee-table tableau.

Anne knew it was coming to an end when the wriggling was over and Sara lay there shaking and sniffing as more spanks just made her whole body twitch. Again tracing the dynamic of an epic piece of music, there was a marked slowing of pace, and several epic final flourishes. Then Sara was done.

Anne allowed her to slip down from her knees into a broken, foetal heap on the floor, and then turned the old brush over in her hand, smiled, lifted it to her lips, kissed it, then pressed it to her cheek. It was warm from its work. She looked down at her newest conquest.

“Welcome to the family, Sara. High standards are expected. And remember, this little brush is not the worst one we have. You can spend the next hour bent over the arm of the sofa here.”

Sara was helped to her feet and led to the sofa by Julie, who softly guided her into position over the soft leather arm.

“There you are, Miss Sara. The idea is that everyone who comes by will see how naughty you’ve been.” Julie turned to Anne. “Shall I rub some cold cream in to her?”
Anne nodded approval. “And later, twenty with the mean brush, you little madam.”

Julie curtseysed. “Thank you Ma’am.” And then, as she drifted away to find the cream: “I love maid outfit day.”

Sara trembled over the sofa arm like a brave swimmer back from a long, cold dip. Her lips quivered and her breathing was fast and shallow. Anne calmly sat on the opposing end of the sofa, drawing her bare feet up under her, confident and assuredly at home. Julie was back with the cold cream and at Anne’s approving nod, started to apply it. Sara tensed in shock, then relaxed.

“Look at me, Sara.”

The forlorn Sara looked up, found eye contact and kept it. Somehow she knew she deserved the privilege of that.

Anne smiled. “Do we understand one another?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Anne reached over and pulled off the hair-bands, and Sara’s hair fell around her face.

“Oh, call me Anne, for now at least.”

Leaving Sara humiliated and on display, Anne returned to the piano and arranged her music. “Leonard Cohen. Just as wicked and mischievous as Julie, really.”

She played the triad of C, and whispered: “Hallelujah.”

The End

© J Grey 2017

 


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