Spanked, p.2
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       Spanked, p.2

           Lolita London
 
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TWO

  Searching inside, she found the details of Robert Cortege to take them out. The black and white picture was grainy, but showed a handsome, upright man. The information gave his height as over six feet tall and that meant he would tower over her petite frame. The picture showed his head and upper body only and he seemed to have a powerful physique. The smart Stetson, jacket and shirt he wore gave an indication of his wealth and Madeline wondered why he would turn to a mail order service to find a bride.

  The details the agency gave her weren't the only information she knew about her future husband. While the small town she lived in didn't have a local newspaper, her father often brought one home from his travels for work. Madeline usually scoured them for details of what was happening in the wider world around where she lived. On occasions there were stories about Robert Cortege, which speculated on everything from his net worth to the growth and success of his company, his supposed dominating personality and the women he was said to have dated.

  He was well enough known in the region that plenty of writers and commentators producing articles for newspapers were prepared to speculate on his professional and personal life. As Madeline stared out at the passing scenery, she wondered how much of the details she'd read about him were true and how much the invention of creative journalistic minds.

  There was no doubt at all that he was rich. The company his father created was one of the biggest gold depository businesses in the region. It was already thriving when Robert was given the job of running it and he'd only increased its success. This gave him riches that most people could only dream of and while he didn't exactly flaunt his wealth, by all accounts he was happy to luxuriate in the comforts it brought him.

  Madeline guessed that the well documented facts about his professional life were more or less accurate, but suspected there was less truth and more make-believe in the stories she read about his private life. Robert was in his late thirties and there was plenty of speculation as to why he remained single. This ranged from him not having met the right woman to conjecture that he was a confirmed bachelor, that he didn't want to risk losing part of his fortune to a divorce and that his apparent dominating personality manner meant that he couldn't find a woman that would say yes to a proposal.

  The one fact in it all was that he definitely was still single, although that would change the following day when they tied the knot. She could barely believe it, but that was what she was traveling towards. That she was doing it with a man she barely knew, and had done no more than correspond with, made her shake her head. It seemed unreal, but she knew that she would be Robert Cortege's wife by the end of the following day.

  Madeline again wondered why a man as wealthy and handsome turned to a mail order bridal agency to find a wife, but guessed there could be any number of reasons. At nineteen years old, she was around half his age and maybe he thought that would give him a partner that he could more easily control. Perhaps he'd given up on the conventional way of meeting woman since it hadn't got him what he wanted or maybe his business interests meant that he didn't have the time to devote to his personal life and he was just looking for a simpler way to meet a bride.

  In the end it didn't really matter. After the agency introduced them, he'd written offering her the chance of marriage and she'd accepted. The train she was on was taking her to a life that was going to be a million miles and a million dollars away from what she was used to. She thought about her father asking her if she was sure it was what she wanted to do when they stood on the platform. She let out a sigh as she dropped her gaze to the picture of Robert on her lap.

  "Am I doing the right thing?" she asked it, a bittersweet smile breaking out across her face. She would find out soon enough.

  The idea of her father going home on his own after her departure brought out her guilt. It left him looking after her sick mother and she wondered if he would be able to cope on his own. The illness came on six months before although it seemed innocuous to start with.

  Complaints of aches and tiredness prompted a visit to the town doctor, whose only diagnosis was that her mother needed some rest. This seemed to do nothing to help and her condition worsened to the point that it was a struggle for her to get out of bed in the morning. She needed to give up her job and this only put an added strain on the situation. Madeline and her father did their best to look after her and she seemed to improve although she was nowhere near back to her old self. Repeated visits to the doctor didn't help in finding out what the problem was and while he gave her medicine to help cope with the pain when it got bad, a cure didn't appear to be around the corner.

  The marriage proposal from Robert Cortege didn't come completely out of the blue, since that was the aim of her joining the agency in the first place. It still came at a time when she wasn't sure if it was a good move for her to leave home. In the end she knew that she couldn't pass up on an opportunity that might never come her way again. The larger town of Melrose was only a six hour train ride away and she meant to keep her promise to her father that it her mother's condition worsened she would come home to help. How her new husband would view this was another matter entirely, but she wasn't planning to get married and abandon her parents entirely.

  Madeline rested her head against the back of the seat and the rattling of the train and the mid-morning warmth made her drowsy. She put thoughts of her impending wedding and her sick mother out of her mind as she dozed off. It was over an hour before she opened her eyes again when the jolting of the train woke her up as it came to a stop at a station. She blinked her eyes a couple of times as she tried to sweep the drowsiness away and looked out at the passengers waiting to board the train.

  "TEN MINUTES," the conductor shouted as he walked along the platform.

  Madeline decided to stretch her legs for five and got up to walk to the door. She stepped down to the platform then moved along it and back again. When she came to a stop, it was at the window she'd spent the journey looking out of. She glanced in to check on her belongings before turning her attention back to the station platform. A man selling snacks walked by and the sight of the drinks he was carrying made her thirsty, so she stopped him to buy one. It went down well and when she was finished, she moved to get back on the train. A glance at the station clock showed it was just after ten in the morning. There were still four hours or so to go before she arrived at her destination and she let out a sigh as she stepped back on the carriage and made her way along to her seat.

  She flopped down in it and stared out at the station building as she waited for her journey to carry on. When it did, she just kept her mind blank for a while and watched the passing scenery. The small houses they passed reminded her of her parent's property, but they quickly disappeared from view as the train sped through open countryside again. It wasn't long before her mind was on her future husband again and she wondered why he picked her in particular.

  Madeline never considered herself to be anything special when it came to looks. She always thought her long blonde hair was her best feature and while her face was pretty, she wasn't in the same league as some of the girls in her home town. It was they that managed to catch the attention of the eligible bachelors rather than her and she sometimes wished she'd been more beautiful.

  She wasn't completely inexperienced when it came to the opposite sex and enjoyed a few encounters with young men in the last couple of years. Her suspicions were that their interest was to do with her blossoming curves more than anything else and that they were only interested in one thing from her. She made it clear to them that only marriage would entice her into giving it and she wondered if that didn't have a bearing on why she remained single while other girls paired off. She'd heard rumors about what some of them were prepared to do to get and keep a boy's attention, but was never tempted to do the same. It was why she remained a virgin although with a wedding night looming on the horizon, she knew that was about to change.

  The agency asked if she remained pure when she joined it and
she knew there was only one acceptable answer. Unlike most of the other women in her town, however, she didn't need to lie. She wondered if that was the reason Robert picked her or whether he just saw something in the picture of her that attracted him. For all she knew it could have been something else entirely that got his attention. There was no way of knowing and she wasn't even sure she would find out the reasons for his interest when she arrived.

  Her apprehension began to rise as the journey progressed and she got nearer her destination. She finally got a book from her bag to try and turn her mind away from what was happening in her life. It worked to an extent and she concentrated on the story as the train sped on through the picturesque landscape. She closed the book when they arrived at the last stop before Melrose. The train remained stationary for only a few minutes before it set off again and gathered speed. The next time it came to a halt, she would be getting off and she worked to keep herself calm as the minutes ticked by.

  As she stared out the window, buildings began to dot the landscape and as they became more frequent she knew they were coming to the outskirts of Melrose. Some of the other passengers began to stand and gather their belongings and she guessed it wouldn't be long before the train arrived at the station. It brought on her nerves even more and her hands began to tremble. She tried taking deep breaths, but they did nothing to calm her as she continued to stare out at the passing scene. The bustling streets of the town began to dominate the view and it was far busier than anything she'd ever seen in her home town. When the brakes of the train engaged to slow it down, she got to her feet and her mind was on how she was going to cope with her new life.

  "Time to find out," she murmured under her breath as she joined the line of passengers waiting to get off.

  THREE

  Madeline ducked her head down to look out of the window as the train finally came to a halt. There was a mass of people on the platform although she couldn't see the one individual she really wanted to pick out. When the door of the carriage opened, she shuffled slowly forward with the other passengers getting off and looked around when she stepped down to the platform. Her small size meant she couldn't get a view over the people around her and she moved against the side of the train to just wait for the platform to clear a bit.

  Once it did she cast her gaze around again and knew she was looking at the right man the second she set eyes on him. The large Stetson he was wearing was similar to the one in the picture of him and he stood head and shoulders above the people around him. That wasn't the only thing that made him stand out from the crowd. While most of the men on the platform were wearing outfits that could be termed drab, this was definitely not the case with Robert Cortege. His smart, stylish suit easily marked him out as a wealthy man and he definitely cut a fine figure as he looked around.

  Madeline was slightly intimidated straight away and needed to gather her nerve before stepping away from the side of the train and making her way towards him. She kept her gaze lowered as she approached, but lifted it from the wooden platform when she approached him.

  "Mr. Cortege," she said nervously and smiled.

  "You made it then," he replied as a confident smile spread across his face.

  Madeline simply nodded her head and said no more. The clothes Robert wore looked all the more impressive close up and she glanced down at the slightly threadbare coat she was wearing. It was the best one she owned, but she thought it looked like a rag compared to the smart outfit of the man she was standing in front of. The silence stretched out as his gaze slid down her body to her shoes and back up to her face.

  "Well, let's not stand about here," he said and held out his arm towards her.

  Madeline gripped hold of it and followed as Robert led the way towards the exit. They walked out to the street at the front of the station and she glanced around at the busy scene. There seemed to be so many people and the street was filled with riders and carriages. She saw eyes looking in their direction and guessed people must recognize the man she was with. Either that or they were impressed with his style and confidence. It meant they looked at her also and the scrutiny brought out her nerves even more. She couldn't help tightening her grip on his arm and clinging to him.

  Robert walked along to a small two-seater carriage that was parked at the side of the street. The driver greeted him as he stepped up to it and she guessed it was his personal property rather than a public carriage for hire. It surprised her at first, but then why wouldn't a man of wealth have his own transport.

  "Where to, Mr. Cortege?" the driver went on.

  "Take us home Carter," Robert replied.

  He eased her grip from his arm and helped her up to the seat of the carriage. He then got in beside her and the driver looked back before a gentle flick of his whip got the horse moving. The carriage set off down the street and Madeline continued to glance around.

  "How was the trip?" Robert asked in a pleasant voice.

  Madeline turned to him and smiled.

  "It was fine thanks," she replied.

  The stories of his abrasive personality flitted into her mind, but she'd seen no sign of it in their initial exchanges. If anything, she would have described him as charming and that didn't change as they continued to chat during the journey.

  "Do you live in the town?" she asked.

  "Not right in then center," he answered. "The property my father built was originally in the countryside outside the town. The growth of Melrose in recent years means that the outskirts of the place now encroach on it, but he also bought a large area of land surrounding it. That keeps it relatively isolated from the hustle and bustle around it."

  "It sounds nice," Madeline said.

  "It suits me fine and I have renovated and extended it to put my mark on it," Robert added. "It's close enough to my businesses in town that they are easy to get to, although it is quiet enough to make it a good place to relax. I spend most of my time here although I have businesses elsewhere and it means I need to travel sometimes."

  Madeline froze as his hand slid onto her knee and squeezed it. The thought of moving it away jumped in her mind, but she suspected that might annoy him. She remained completely still, but Robert's hand didn't move any higher.

  "I'm glad you're here," he said.

  "Really?" she replied as she looked up to catch his gaze.

  He laughed at the apparent surprise in her voice and the blush of embarrassment spread across her face. She glanced down to the floor of the carriage as he spoke.

  "Yes?, really."

  His words ended the conversation and she brought her gaze to the hand on her knee. The thought of her wedding night came in her mind as the journey continued. There would be a lot more to that than simply a hand on her knee and the idea brought shivers to her spine. She knew that it was mostly nerves that were causing them, but it wasn't only that. The flicker of anticipation and excitement came on unbidden and she couldn't shake them off.

  "There it is," Robert said a few minutes later.

  Madeline was startled out of her thoughts and looked to where he was pointing. The large, imposing gate was a sign of things to come and as they rolled up to it the carriage was brought to a stop by the driver. He got down to open it wide then grabbed the reins to lead the horse through. When he closed the gate, he returned to his seat and got the carriage moving again to climb up a short incline.

  When they got over it the house came in view right away and Madeline's eyes opened wide. It was huge. She was sure her parent's home could fit in it ten times over and she turned to Robert and just pointed.

  "That's your?, house," she said.

  He laughed, but said nothing and Madeline turned her attention back to what was more of a mansion than a house as the carriage approached it. She'd never seen so many windows on a building in her life and wondered just how many rooms there were inside. The door opened as they approached and she watched as an older man and younger woman stepped out of it. The carriage rolled to a stop at the bottom of a short
path that led right up to the property and the man stepped forward to help them down.

  "You have a visitor, sir," he said.

  Robert nodded his head and turned to Madeline.

  "I have business I need to attend to," he told her. "Gillian will show you to your room. I've assigned her to you, so if you need anything just ask and she will assist"

  "OK," she said and watched as he walked off with the man she assumed was a butler for the mansion.

  She turned her attention to Gillian, who reached out a hand. Madeline shook it without even thinking and heard the quiet giggle.

  "Your bag Miss," Gillian said.

  "Oh?, umm, sure," she replied and handed it over.

  She felt foolish that she didn't realize that's what Gillian wanted, but then she'd never been in a home with servants before. In her parent's house it was her that did the fetching and carrying and to be in the situation where somebody else was doing it for her seemed strange to say the least.

  "This way Miss," Gillian went on.

  Madeline inhaled deeply as the young woman walked off then followed on. Her gaze went up to the high domed ceiling of the lobby area when she walked inside. Light flooded through glass panels to create a shimmering pattern on the stone floor and she stopped to stare at it.

  "Is everything OK Miss?"

  She looked up to see Gillian waiting at the bottom of a sweeping staircase that led up to the first floor of the property.

  "Yes," she answered, but she could barely believe that she was inside what was to become her home.

  She moved across to the staircase to climb it and continued looking around. The d?cor of the place was immaculate, with the wood paneled walls and stone floor at the top of the stairs looking like it must have cost a fortune to install. There were pictures hung along the hallway they walked along and she wondered who the people were. Her attention was focused on them and she just managed to stop herself before she bumped into Gillian. The servant girl was standing at a door and she reached out to open it.

  "You'll be in here for the night," she said as she walked inside the room.

  "This place is amazing," Madeline said as she followed and looked around.

  It was luxury that she'd never come across in her life and the thought came in her head that she should really be one of the servants rather than on the verge of becoming the mistress of the house. She suspected her background wasn't a million miles removed from that of Gillian's and shook her head as she looked around. A four poster bed dominated the room and she stared at its huge size. It looked like it could easily sleep six, but it was there just for her.

  Gillian walked across to a wardrobe and put Madeline's bag down beside it. She then opened the door.

  "These are all for you," she said. "There are also undergarments in the drawer at the bottom."

  Madeline walked across to look at the clothes draped on the hangers. The dresses were beautiful and she reckoned just one of them probably cost more to buy than all the outfits she owned. She ran her fingers along them and marveled at the beautiful material.

  "I can do seamstress work," Gillian went on. "So if anything needs altered to fit better just let me know." She then walked across to a door in the corner of the room and opened it. "You can bathe in here."

  Madeline stepped across to the door and looked in at an ornately decorated bathroom. The tub looked huge and there was also the luxury of a shower. It was something that she'd never seen before, never mind used and she walked inside.

  "Is the shower easy to use?" she asked.

  "Just let me know when you want to bathe," Gillian replied. "I'll come in and get it running for you."

  "How exactly do I let you know?" she asked.

  "I'll show you," the pretty servant girl went on.

  Madeline followed her back in to the bedroom and over to a string pull hanging down close to the bed.

  "Just ring this if you need me," Gillian said. "It's connected to a bell in our room downstairs, so I'll know to come. Is there anything you need just now?"

  Madeline stood thinking, but she was slightly overwhelmed by the situation she found herself in and her mind came up blank.

  "No," she eventually said. "I just want to rest for a bit."

  "OK, well just ring if you need anything."

  She nodded and watched as Gillian walked to the door and left. It was like she was in the middle of a dream as she looked around her new surroundings. She removed her coat and slung it over the back of a chair then moved across to the bed. Dropping down on it, she spread out her arms and legs and they didn't even come close to the edges of the mattress.

  "This is truly unbelievable," she said as she closed her eyes to enjoy some rest after the long journey.

  When she eventually got to her feet again, she walked over to the bathroom door and stepped inside. She was used to doing things for herself and the concept of calling others to help seemed weird to her. A look at the shower convinced her that she should at least get Gillian to show her how to use it one time before she got around to trying it herself.

  She walked back out to the string pull in the bedroom and tugged on it. She sat on the bed to wait and a couple of minutes later heard the knock on the door. Gillian opened it and walked inside.

  "What is it that you need?" she asked after closing the door.

  "I want to have a shower," Madeline replied. "Could you show me how to use it please?"

  "Of course," Gillian replied.

  Madeline followed the young servant girl to the bathroom and watched as she went through the process of getting the shower running. She waited until she was alone then stripped off her clothes. Standing under the warm cascade was a new experience for her, but she knew immediately that it was one she could get used to. She closed her eyes to just enjoy it for a while before reaching for some soap. There was an array of sweetly scented bars on a shelf and she picked one up and started to wash the grime of the day's travel from her body. Five minutes later, she stepped out from under the water and almost shrieked when she saw Gillian standing waiting with a towel. She'd been so engrossed in the shower that she didn't even realize that she wasn't alone in the bathroom any more.

  "You didn't need to do that," she said.

  She was self conscious that she was completely naked in front of another woman and hurriedly grabbed hold of the towel to secure it in place around her upper chest. Gillian began helping her to dry her body, but Madeline backed away.

  "I can manage," she said.

  The weirdness of having someone trying to help with such a simple task wasn't lost on her and she suspected that getting used to having servants around wasn't going to be easy. She was used to doing everything for herself, but that was going to be turned on its head and she wasn't altogether sure it was such a good thing. While being pampered seemed like a nice idea, she didn't want to spend her life being reliant on others all the time and guessed she would just need to find a way of dealing with it as best she could. She waited for Gillian to leave the bathroom before using the towel to dry herself properly. She then wrapped it around her body and walked back to the bedroom.

  "What would you like to wear?" Gillian asked.

  Madeline let out a sigh.

  "It's OK," she said. "You can go back downstairs."

  Gillian's brow creased in a frown.

  "You don't need my help?" she asked.

  "No, it's OK. I can get dressed myself," Madeline told her.

  She ignored the protests of the servant girl and assured her that she would be fine. When she was alone again, she moved over to the wardrobe and opened it. The finery inside seemed too good to actually wear and the same thought struck her when she opened the drawer and saw the lacy undergarments. In the end, she went to her bag and put on some of the clothes she brought with her. It was the most comfortable option and when she was dressed she went to sit on the bed and wondered what to do.

  She didn't think leaving the room to just wander about the house was such a g
ood idea, but as the evening darkness began to fall the hunger of a long day with virtually no food caught up with her. Ringing for someone came in her head, but she couldn't bring herself to do it on the basis that she told Gillian to leave only five minutes before.

  Madeline sat debating what to do when the knock on the door caught her attention. She waited for it to open, but it didn't and there was a second knock. Getting to her feet, she crossed the room and swung the door open to the sight of the older man that greeted the arrival of the carriage earlier in the day.

  "Mr. Cortege has requested that you join him in his room," the man said.

 
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