Part two A Mystery And A Sign
God made the wicked grocer
For a mystery and a sign,
G.K.Chesterton


Chapter One – Shopping For Food

The first week in November he was doing his regular weekly grocery shop in Best’s supermarket when he first noticed her. She had only a small basket, in contrast to the trolley he always used, and in that basket were only small sizes of each item, and only the supermarket’s “Best’s Value” range, which were, of course, the lowest priced, lowest quality of their three ranges, “Best’s Quality”, “Best’s Buy” and “Best’s Value”. Then he spotted that she was hovering by the price reduced shelves and when items which were very short dated, or had damage to the packaging were put up at half price or cheaper she would, occasionally, buy from the better quality ranges.
This was a small mystery which puzzled him. Why would an attractive woman in, I estimate, her early thirties need to be so frugal? She has on a wedding ring, so presumably has a husband somewhere. Are they so hard up? He decided, out of curiosity mostly, to see what he could find out.
When she left the supermarket he followed at a discrete distance but she clearly had no car there, and she walked past the bus stop, looking as though she was setting out for a long walk home. He left it at that the first time he had noticed her, as he was only mildly curious and had no wish to be in trouble as a stalker.
***
The next time he saw her it was well over a mile away from the supermarket, but the collection of bags she had with her suggested that she was going shopping. He was truly grateful to the government of the day which had introduced a small tax on new plastic shopping bags to encourage just such reuse.
Sure enough, half an hour later she came into Best’s supermarket while he was still mooching round picking up his weekly shop.
He made sure he finished well before she did and went out to the car park with his shopping. Driving out of there, he travelled some distance further than he knew she had come, to a small housing estate with a local shop which sold newspapers, drinks, cigarettes and children’s treats. Parking in a side road he watched for a while, and then thought, Am I really so bored that I want to play detective after a random quarry, and for no really good reason?
He had more or less given up waiting and was ready to go home when his guess turned out to be right, and his target came into sight. He watched as she went into one of the houses a short way down the road. It was a matter of moments to drive past it and note the number, 33.
Coming back into the local shop he bought an unnecessary newspaper and an even more unnecessary magazine. As he paid for them he asked the shop keeper, “Are there any houses for sale round here do you know?”
“Number 17 is the only one I know of sir,” was that worthy’s reply, “but an ‘under offer’ board went up a couple of days ago.”
“Oh. I had heard a rumour that number 33 might be up for sale, but there isn’t an estate agent’s board up.”
“Number 33? Well I hadn’t heard, but it wouldn’t surprise me. That’s Mrs. Parfitt. She’s living there alone since her husband took a job away last August, in China they say, and rumour has it he isn’t coming back, or sending her any money. I doubt she could sell the house without his say so though.”
“Oh, I’ll forget that one then. You know what rumours are like; people start off putting two and two together and pretty soon it’s added up to seventeen,” and he left the shop well pleased with his detective work. As he drove home he thought, I’ll take that as a sign that I am meant to meet Mrs. Parfitt, and hopefully on a bed, naked, because he realised that while she looked tired and worn down by life, underneath she really was quite attractive.


Chapter Two – Shopping For Advice

As it happened, and not quite by chance since they both shopped there quite regularly, they met again in Best’s supermarket as David was perusing the fish counter. Nothing ventured, he thought and said, “Excuse me, but might I ask your advice?”
“Mine?” Wendy asked.
“Yes. I’m sorry but I’m thinking of making myself a fish pie. I did so enjoy them when my wife made them, and I thought I would try, but I can’t decide which to use, cod or haddock, smoked or fresh, and dyed or plain. Do you know which is best?”
“Oh. I don’t know. I think it all depends on which you like. I haven’t made fish pie for ages, not since … I always used to use smoked haddock, but not dyed.”
“Thank you. I’ll take your advice.”
“Oh, don’t do that,” she said hurriedly, “It all depends on personal taste. Your taste might be quite different from my husband’s.”
Down boy, David cautioned himself, Now is not the time for smart answers. “The fishmonger here says recipes use all of those, so I expect trial and error will soon tell me which I like.”
“Yes, well …” her voice trailed off.
“How much fish do I need for one portion?” he persisted.
“Not much. I used to get half a pound for the two of us.”
“Thank you very much,” David said, “And I am sorry to interrupt your shopping,” he lied.
“Oh, no problem at all. I was happy to help,” she said as she moved away before he could ask anything else.


Chapter Three – Shopping For Coffee

The following week they met again, apparently by chance.
“We really can’t go on meeting like this,” he said, smiling, “People will start talking about us.”
She returned his smile and offered, “Well, when they are talking about us, they won’t be talking about anyone else, now will they?”
“I know. Let’s make it obvious. Come and have a cup of coffee with me, please,” he asked.
“Erm, well, where exactly?” she seemed very doubtful.
He decided it was time to see how submissive she was. “Here, where everyone can see us of course. No sneaking off to a quiet café for us,” and he took her elbow to steer her to the cafeteria at the end of the store.
“But I haven’t paid for my groceries,” she objected.
“We can do that on the way. No backing out now you’ve agreed. I hate drinking alone, even just coffee.”
This confused her, as she didn’t remember agreeing to anything, but she didn’t want to make a scene, and after all, what harm could there be, right there in the supermarket where everyone could see? He did seem a nice man and had listened very carefully to her advice about the fish the previous week.
When they got to the checkout she didn’t quite understand how, but her basket and his trolley ended up on the same bill which he paid. When she protested he waved her protests away saying, “You gave me good advice last week, and I’ll let you pay for the coffees if it will ease your conscience.”
“But …” she started to protest but once again her dread of attracting attention came to his rescue and she subsided.
Once he had collected their coffees, and toasted teacakes at his insistence, again somehow he had paid for them.
“Now you really should let me pay what I owe you,” she said as they sat down.
Ignoring this remark he declared, “Now we haven’t really been introduced, so here goes. I am David Ransome and I work in an office on the Honeybourne Trading Estate. I live in Stapleford in a house far too big for me. My wife died some two years ago and I have two adult sons, neither of whom lives with me.”
Clearly he was waiting for her to respond so she felt obliged to say, “I’m Wendy Parfitt and I live on the Greenacres Estate with my husband. We have no children.”
He thought Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and decided to risk it, “Is that basket of tiny portions enough for the two of you? Or is your hubby on a special diet?”
“He is working away at the moment,” and she suddenly started to sob quietly.
Putting on his most sympathetic manner, after a moment or two he asked quietly, “What’s wrong? Can you tell me about it?”
This brought a further flow of tears and she shook her head. “I’d rather not,” she said.
“Well, drink up and bring your teacake. I’ll drive you home as I really should be going to work now and I go past your estate on the way.”
Trying to recover some element of control in this conversation, as they sat in the car Wendy asked, “Yes. Why aren’t you at work now? Where do you work anyway, and what do you do?”
“I work in Stapleford Secure Systems and I don’t have to do much, mostly boring meetings and drink coffee. We work flexi-time and I have loads of time built up. I often work late and some mornings I go in very early. Our core time is only eleven in the morning until two in the afternoon, and even then I only have to switch my mobile on if I want a break and don’t have a meeting scheduled. The hours are designed to suit those with children at school.”
“Government contracts I suppose?”
“Yes. Mostly.”
Pulling up in a lay-by at the entrance to her estate he asked again, “Do you want to talk about your problem? I promise not to laugh at you, or your thoughts.”
“No, not now,” she said, “Thank you for the shopping and the coffee. You shouldn’t have paid for any of mine.”
“That’s OK. Aren’t you going to offer to pay for the cold toasted teacake?” and he was pleased to see that raise a tiny smile on her face. “Now just go and take your groceries and teacake with you. I won’t deliver you to your door because you might have nosy neighbours and it would set the curtains twitching.”
As Wendy got out of the car she smiled at him and gave a little wave as he drove off.


Chapter Four – Shopping For Company

The next week they met ‘by accident’ as they shopped at about the same time as usual. As it happened she was not averse to meeting him again as he seemed a nice, respectable and respectful person. In her straitened circumstances she never went out and so never met anyone to talk to from one week’s end to the next. Besides that he had paid for last weeks’ groceries, seeming not to notice the cost, and she was becoming desperate for funds.
For his part David was definitely interested in meeting her again, as he had high hopes of ‘having his wicked way with her’. There had only been one woman in his bed, and one over his desk, since his wife fell ill three and a half years ago, and his bedmate had moved away from the area with her husband some weeks earlier. For some reason he found this apparently submissive woman who was obviously going through a hard time totally irresistible. Perhaps it was the challenge of stealing her from her absent husband, or perhaps it was simply the desire to have someone to dominate.
After doing their shopping and collecting coffees and teacakes, David paying as before, they sat in a quiet corner of the supermarket café to enjoy a quiet chat. David rather surprised Wendy by asking outright, “Are you ready to tell me what your problem is? I can’t help you until I know what is wrong.”
“Not here,” she whispered.
“Well, on the way home then?” he persisted.
Reluctantly she nodded, feeling that she was being pushed into giving away her secrets. On the other hand he might be able to find out what has happened to Rodney, she thought, and that decided her.
***
Parking in the lay-by he turned to her and said, “Wendy, I don’t want to pry, but you obviously need help and I can’t help you if I don’t know the problem. Now you have a choice,” he put a little management emphasis in his voice, “tell me the problem or I won’t bother you again.”
I have some bills coming soon I don’t know how I will be able to pay, like the TV license and he seems very nice, she thought so she started to answer, “Rodney, my husband …” and then she just burst into tears.
Starting the car again, David drove off as she sobbed uncontrollably. He pulled into a public car park and drove to a deserted corner, well away from any other vehicles. Passing her a handkerchief he ordered, “Dry your eyes and tell me about it. Start when the difficulties started and tell me everything.”
It seemed natural to Wendy to obey this apparently caring and well meaning man so she told him, “It all started when I didn’t get pregnant. We’ve tried for a baby for years now and it just never happens. The doctors say it should as they could find nothing wrong with either of us after a lot of tests.” She started to cry again.
“Stop crying. I can’t help with that,” David said fairly brusquely, thinking, This one is really a submissive. I will get her.
Collecting her thoughts and drying her eyes, Wendy continued, “Rodney, that’s my husband, started an affair with his secretary and stopped having sex with me mostly. He used to tell me about their wonderful sex life and make me feel awful. He said,” another burst of sobbing, “he said all I was good for was doing his laundry.” She fell silent.
After a short silence David remarked, “I can’t help you with that problem. What is your immediate and solvable problem?”
“Well, money really,” she whispered, “and you have already helped me more than I have any right to expect.”
“He’s left you then?”
“Yes. When Angelica, the secretary, fell pregnant he arranged a transfer for both of them within his company and they moved in together.”
David looked surprised as he asked, “But isn’t he paying you anything? You can chase him through the courts for some help.”
Wendy’s voice was quite angry as she explained, “I could I suppose, but they moved to work in the Singapore office and a solicitor I went to told me it would cost far more than I would get, and they might both be put in jail there because their laws are very strict about sex. I wouldn’t wish that on Angelica because it wasn’t her fault.”
“So to sum it up, you have no husband to rely on and no income? Is that right?”
“My savings are almost gone and my parents can’t afford to keep giving me money. What I need is a job, but I have never worked and so I’m not trained for anything,” Wendy admitted, once again near tears, “The JobCentre didn’t hold out much hope. I suppose when I’m homeless the streets will be the only answer.”
“I’ll think about your problem and see if I have any ideas about a job. I can promise that, at least,” David said as he started the car again. He dropped her at the entrance to her housing estate without another word.
Wendy walked the few hundred yards to her house thinking, Well I suppose he might come up with something, but I doubt it.


Chapter Five – Shopping For Staff

Wendy was not surprised to run into David when she next went to Best’s supermarket, as she knew it was usually at the same time on a Tuesday morning, when she knew it would be quiet in there. She had thought of changing the day or the time but decided that he was relatively harmless despite his cross-questioning her the last time they met, and she would not be pushed into busier times or days just to avoid him.
As usual, he had a trolley full of much more expensive items than her pitiful basket. And as the last two weeks, he contrived to pay for her items as well as his own. However, this time he did not suggest having coffee and toasted teacakes in the supermarket café. Instead he offered to take her straight home and she accepted, thinking he must be getting bored with her problems.
When they arrived at the lay-by she thanked him for the lift, but he said, “Please don’t get out for a minute. I want to talk to you.”
“Why? What do you want with me?”
“You said you wanted a paid job to help you make ends meet. Did you mean it?”
She nodded as she admitted wryly, “But I am not qualified for anything. They even turned me down for shelf stacking in Best’s because I couldn’t reach the top shelves.”
“Well, I may have found something you can do,” he said, “If you are really interested, that is.”
“Oh, I’m interested, but where is it? Is it at your office?”
“No, it’s not at my office. That would take too long to organise in any case,” he admitted, “because we do a lot of work for the government and they insist on security checks which seem to take for ever, certainly months.”
“So what is it?” she was growing impatient.
“Tell you what, sitting in a car in a lay-by on a busy road isn’t my idea of an ideal place for a discussion,” he observed, “Shall we adjourn to somewhere we can talk?” hastily adding, “Somewhere relatively public.”
No harm in listening, she thought, asking, “Where do you suggest?”
“Well, if you don’t mind eating with me, I was planning to have lunch in the Lisboa. Do you know it? It’s close to the supermarket.”
The Lisboa! she thought, Just about the most expensive restaurant in town. “But I’m not dressed for anything like that,” she protested.
“It’s half past eleven now. You go home and get your best dress on and be back here in twenty minutes. Then we will get there before it gets busy.” He used his manager-giving-orders voice and she got out of the car without a word. After she left he mused, Looks pretty submissive to me. That is if she comes back promptly.
Just nineteen minutes later she slipped quietly into the passenger seat and said, “I hope I’m not late? It isn’t the lunch, and we don’t have to go to the Lisboa; we can just go somewhere much cheaper to talk.”
As he pulled out into the traffic she noticed that they were heading away from town and asked, “This isn’t the way to the Lisboa? Where are we going?” with a little nervousness in her voice.
“Doing a U-turn on this road is not easy,” he explained, “and I didn’t want to go into Greenacres with you in the car – nosy neighbours and so forth – so we go a few hundred yards up here then swing right round the roundabout and come back into town. Satisfied?”
“Sorry,” she said in a very quiet and contrite manner.
***
In the Lisboa she was not surprised when he was greeted by name and they were shown to a table marked ‘Reserved’. She tried to ask about the job, but he simply cut her off with a curt “Food first, talk after.”
The lunch was excellent though there was much more meat on the Pork Espetada than she could eat. David quickly asked for it to be wrapped and commented, “There’s your supper.”
Coffee was ordered and he said, “Now this job.”
“Yes. What is it? Where is it? What makes you think I can do it?”
“It is basically a housekeeper’s job. It is in Stapleford. You said you were married for ten years so I assume you can do things like cleaning and laundry and some cooking.”
“Yes, I could do that, but jobs like that are few and far between. How did you hear about it?”
He put on his managerial voice again and said, “Congratulations, you’re hired. We just need to sort out the details of hours and pay and so forth.”
Her heart sank as she thought, It’s for him and it’s two years since his wife died. I wonder what sort of mess the place is in with only a man living there on his own for two years?
“I suggest, if you have nothing better to do with your afternoon, that we go and look at it now,” and again the tone of voice made it an order rather than a suggestion.
It was a twenty minute drive to Stapleford and she was much impressed by the house which was double fronted and she guessed would have three or probably four bedrooms. Weeks of work to get it back to clean and tidy I expect, was her thinking.
“This used to be a farmhouse,” he said, “and it was built in 1895, but the land was sold off in 1970 when the family couldn’t keep it going.” Letting them in with a radio key he quickly turned off the alarm system. “The alarm is silent but you must remember to switch it back on when you leave if there is nobody else here.”
Her first surprise was that the living accommodation was immaculately clean and tidy, and there were no dirty dishes or glasses in the kitchen.
David stopped her as she went to go into the next room along the hall, explaining, “That’s my study. I don’t need you to do anything in there. I can keep that clean and tidy myself.”
Wendy wondered why that would be, then she remembered he said that his employers did a lot of government work and insisted on all staff having security checks.
When they went upstairs there were three bedrooms but one was completely devoid of furniture. David explained, “I only keep a bedroom for me and one for the occasional guest. Both have complete en suite facilities and the fourth bedroom used to be between them but it was converted into a pair of dressing rooms when the older boy left home.” Going back downstairs, he casually said, “I’d like a cup of coffee now, please. You’ll find the makings in the cupboard by the kettle and cups in the next one. Have one yourself if you like. Milk and sugar in mine please.”
As she automatically turned into the kitchen to obey she suddenly thought, Am I already his servant? Well at least his last housekeeper was efficient.
After making them a pot of coffee and taking it, and two cups together with milk and sugar, into the sitting room she said, “Hours and wages?”
“In answer to your thoughts, yes, you are being paid for your time now, and no I did not have a housekeeper. No other woman has worked here since my wife died, or for the last twelve months of her illness. I learned that it was necessary to keep things tidy while she was ill and I have just carried on. Does that answer your silent questions?”
Wendy nodded, “How did you know what I was thinking?”
“Do sit down,” he ordered and this made her realise that she was still standing like a servant in a period TV epic, “It was easy. I had started giving you orders, so I should be paying you, and this place is absurdly tidy for a bachelor’s quarters, so I must have had a woman in to sort me out. I assure you that I can keep my own house clean and tidy. It is just a matter of having formed the habit while my wife was ill.”
“So you are hiring me as an act of charity?” she asked bitterly.
“Far from it,” David replied, “I have various things I want to do, hobbies mostly, but don’t have the time. A housekeeper is the obvious solution and I didn’t quite know what to put in the advert, and more to the point, where to advertise the job.”


Chapter Six – Shopping For Clothes

“Now,” he continued, “Your hours are whatever they need to be, and you decide that. Your pay is ten per cent over the government approved Living Wage with a minimum of 20 hours a week payable. That should help a lot, especially as you can get one good meal a day here and I’ll throw in a season ticket from Greenacres to here on the bus. I will provide the necessary protective clothes, like aprons, gloves and so forth.”
“That’s very generous. I accept,” said Wendy, “but one good meal a day here? How do I do that?”
“Well you will be here most days I expect and when it gets round to lunch time you simply make a decent meal from whatever is in the larder. I usually have a reasonable amount in. Certainly there is always meat of some kind, eggs, vegetables and basic ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, lard and so forth. Often there is a meal ready cooked as I hate cooking for one, so I do at least two portions and then use the rest the next day or two. Go and have a look.”
Obediently, David noticed, she went to look and then came back nodding her head. “There’s certainly plenty there. Don’t you have to throw away a good deal when it gets past its ‘best-before’ date?”
“No. I don’t throw anything away. If the ‘use by’ date means anything I drop it off a couple of days before at the night shelter where they make meals for the homeless and can use almost anything. If the ‘use by’ date is meaningless, like say,” he paused thinking for a moment, “honey, which keeps for ever, I just ignore the age. OK, the honey will, over time, invert but it doesn’t go bad.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but what do you mean ‘invert’?”
“It goes from runny to cloudy. That’s called ‘inverting’ in the case of honey. If you want to do it quickly you add a tiny amount of cream of tartar to the honey; if you want to reverse it you just very gently heat the honey indirectly, like by putting the jar in a pan of warm water.”
“Oh. I knew there was runny or cloudy honey and I knew that bees made them, but I didn’t know they were actually the same stuff. Are you a food chemist then?”
David laughed aloud, “No. My father kept bees, that’s how I know about honey. However,” a certain sternness crept into his voice, “whenever I give a little talk like that one I don’t expect to have to repeat it. From time to time there will be an exam on what I have taught you.”
Wendy was momentarily frightened by the tone of voice until she realised that he had a wicked grin on his face.
The following Tuesday, when they went to Best’s together by arrangement for the first time to shop for food, David steered Wendy into the section where household goods were sold.
“Why are we here?” she asked.
“To kit my new housekeeper in an appropriate uniform,” he replied, looking at a sweater with
OH WHAT FUN printed on the front.
Wendy was horrified at the thought of wearing it, but then he moved on to something even worse – a lace-trimmed net beach dress. His next look was at bright yellow high visibility wear for motor-cyclists. Finally he settled on a sensible overall which was actually advertised as for laboratory or school wear.
“Don’t you think this would be a good idea for housework and round the kitchen, to protect your own clothes?” he asked and Wendy had to admit it might well be a good idea.
“Good girl,” he said and she felt proud that he seemed pleased with her, “what size are you?”
“In here I don’t know,” she replied, “Sometimes I’m a 12 or even a 14, but in one shop I was a 10. There doesn’t seem to be a standard size scheme any more.”
“Just try them on until you find one that fits then,” he ordered.
When she had found which fitted her he took one of each of the three colours they had, white, beige and sky blue, and proceeded to the cash desk.
“Wait,” she protested “Why do I need three?”
“Because I say so,” was his immediate response, but when that seemed to bewilder her he added, “One to wash, one to wear, and one for spare in case of accidents.” His tone brooked no reply. His purchase of rubber gloves was justified by pointing out that his hands were much larger than hers, so his would be no use to her.
“Did you notice anything else we needed?” he asked, “Do I need a whip to keep you working hard for instance?”


Chapter Seven – Shopping For Underwear

The next step on his plan to seduce her was to buy her personal clothing, rather than the work items she had accepted without any real argument. Taking the spare overall into a respectable women’s clothes shop, one run by a local, not part of a chain, he inquired about simple underwear, knickers, brassières, slips, and so forth to fit a lady the size to wear that overall.
This got him some very odd looks, but when he mentioned the budget he wanted to spend there was immediate attention and much advice forthcoming. It didn’t harm his case when it was apparent to the shop owner that he was altogether too large to fit any of his purchases, so he wasn’t a cross-dresser as she had first thought, nor buying for a mistress as his wishes were described as, “Simple every-day wear, nothing fancy.”
Late in December he gave them to her wrapped in Christmas paper.
“I haven’t got you anything,” she said apologetically but he waved her objection away, “Don’t you want me to come in over the holiday?” she added, “or are you going away?”
“No. I’ll be here as usual, or even more as the office is closing from Christmas Eve until the Monday after New Year. I suppose you are away?”
“No, I can’t burden my parents. They are really beginning to resent my attitude, as they think it’s my fault I haven’t conceived and my mother was determinedly on Rodney’s side,” she confided as a tear rolled down her face.
“If you could put up with my cooking, we could eat together here on Christmas Day,” he suggested, then putting a little more steel in his voice he added as more of an order than a suggestion, “or I could book us a Christmas lunch somewhere?”
“Either of those would be lovely,” she replied, “I’ll leave it up to you.”
That’s the attitude I want, he thought, acquiescent. I’ll be taking that underwear off her body by the end of January or I’m a Dutchman.
***
Christmas Day came and David had managed to find a fairly small goose which he had stuffed and roasted with all the vegetable trimmings. For sweet there was a traditional plum pudding with white sauce, also cooked by him. The wine was a very tasty red which she did not recognise, called Barolo, which David explained was one of his favourites and which, as he put it, “could stand up to the red cabbage”.
“Do the Lisboa serve it then?” she asked, made bold by three glasses.
“Of course not,” he answered, “The Lisboa is a Portuguese restaurant and this is a wine from northern Italy. I was lucky to get this, ottanta due is the very best at prices I can afford.”
“I thought it was called Barolo?” she was confused.
“Yes, ottanta due is the year. 1982. A truly superb year.”
“You mean it’s fifteen years old?” she was incredulous, “We never had anything that old. Me and Rodney I mean.”
“Changing the subject, was my present acceptable? You can always change them if they don’t fit.”
“I wondered why you gave me intimate underwear?” she said, suddenly cautious, “And how you guessed the sizes?”
“Oh don’t worry, I don’t want you to model them. I just thought it was the sort of thing you might need, but not yet be able to afford. As to size, the shop staff guessed from one of your overalls what you would need.”
“What can I do to say thank you?” she asked cautiously.
“You may not know but one of my hobbies is photography, so far railway trains mostly. You could do some photographic modelling for me?” Seeing her worried look he hastened to add, “I’d like to try some portraiture, head and shoulders only,” adding silently, At first, “but get your hair done at my expense. And of course I’ll pay you for modelling. Cash in hand, not through your wages, and double the housekeeper rate.”
Wendy thought about this. I suppose head and shoulders is OK. He hasn’t shown any sign of making advances, but if he took me on as housekeeper out of pity that’s fine; out of loneliness might mean that he is after sex. But he is so masterful, I wouldn’t mind him just taking control of me and my life, especially financially, and I suppose that would mean marrying him, or something like. Stop it. He offers to pay you to help his photography and you have imagined that up to fucking him! Better get back on the pill, though, just in case.
After a few moments she said, “What do you want done about my hair?”
“Don’t ask me. I’ll make an appointment for you to have it done and let the experts do whatever seems appropriate to them and you. Now as to my photographic studio, I’ll get some lights and reflectors and so on and we can use the empty bedroom.”
And so Wendy found herself a few days later at an expensive beauty salon being given a full morning’s treatment, starting with to advice on hair shapes, cuts and colour tones to suit her face shape, and natural hair texture, then moving on to manicure, sun bed, skin tonic, and so many other things that she couldn’t remember them all.
At first they used Wendy’s own clothes, but then they tried to use some clothes that had been June’s, David’s first wife’s, but he decided that they were all the wrong size, though a picture of Wendy draped in a much too large anorak had both of them giggling as they suggested captions to each other. Wendy actually felt much more at ease than usual with David as they did this, so much so that she accepted his offer of buying “one or two” things for her to wear for these sessions, and it was only later that she realised he had not actually offered to buy them so much as told her he was going to buy them.
***
It was when she was wearing a blue evening dress which was fairly low cut with spaghetti straps on the shoulders that David risked his next move. “Just push the straps off the shoulders so as not to spoil the line of the neck in the photograph,” he suggested, or rather ordered, and she found herself obeying without question.
The next time they had agreed to have a photographic session, which was, as usual, a Sunday morning, David said, decisively, “I need to move on. I think we have exhausted the possibilities of these dresses. The next stage of your modelling career is to be a little more daring, bathing costumes, nightwear, things like that.”
Wendy found herself saying, “ If you say so,” and almost adding “sir” on the end.
“Good,” David said producing a large shopping bag, “Go and change into some of these in your bedroom and then come in here with a dressing gown over them.”
When she opened the bag there were two sets of underwear and a couple of flimsy nighties, one floor length and the other barely reaching her knees. Besides that there were two bathing suits, one a yellow bikini, and the other a flesh pink one piece swimming costume.


Chapter Eight – Shopping For Nudity

It was after a week of shots of her in the flimsy nightwear, “I really would like to try some life studies,” David said, “Nudes, you know. How do you feel about at least one of the nightdresses without the underwear under it, as a first step towards that?”
Wendy felt the inevitability of this progression, but decided that as he had not made the slightest move to touching her, contenting himself with verbal instructions as to where and how to pose, she would go along with it.
“Well, won’t you turn your back while I change, please sir?” she asked.
“Use your bedroom to change, as you always do,” came the reply.
Well at least he isn’t going to try to sneak a peek at me, she thought as she fled to her room, What shall I wear? I know, the short nightie, it will show him I trust him.
David correctly interpreted her arrival a few minutes later wearing only the knee length nightie as a desire to please him. He was, however, sensible enough not to touch her as he told her how to pose. Softly, softly, catchee monkey, he thought, I might well be allowed to cup a breast while posing her, but it could set me back weeks. I want her as my willing sex toy, not struggling and saying, ‘Unhand me Sir Jasper’.
After one or two sessions in the nightdress, which really hid nothing under the array of spotlights he had assembled, he had achieved the effect he was aiming for. The model had felt that the flimsy material nevertheless meant that she was decently covered, while the finished photographs were as revealing as could be. Nipples, areolae and pudenda were all clearly delineated, if not actually revealed. All I need to do now is show her how much can be seen in the prints and then I can ask her to strip completely for me, David thought, [/I]The worst she can say is ‘no’. Wait a minute, I am the artist and she is the paid model; I’ll just order her, in the nicest possible way, to strip off.[/I]
David enthused to her about the prints as he left the darkroom. “Just look at these!” he exclaimed, “I think I’ve got exactly the effect I wanted, you’re hidden behind a mist, a vapour, a mystic veil.”
She had to admit the effect was entirely that of a nymph hidden behind a curtain of mist. “Do you want …” she broke off, embarrassed, “Do you want to blow that mist away?”
Got you. “But of course. That is the next stage of the photographic odyssey, to order the model to reveal herself,” said David. Then he added, “But would you want more money to persuade you of that?”
“No, of course not, if it’s what you want?” she offered.
“Naturally,” David enthused.
With no more need for privacy, she did not retire to her bedroom to change, but simply shedding her only garment there in front of him she stood naked before him and smiled.
“You know, I expected you to be shaved, but I like the neatly trimmed pubes,” complimented David trying to decide how he wanted her posed, and how to achieve that pose without offending her. Just give her her orders, I suppose. “Right, I want you hiding your nipples with one arm and your pubes with the other hand, but looking coyly tempting. Can you do that?”
“I don’t know,” she said, “But I’ll try.”
It took twenty shots before David gave up on this pose. “It’s no good,” he finally said, “Your either look nervous or actually available and pretending.”
“Well I am nervous, standing in front of the camera with no clothes on.”
“Wrong, Wrong, wrong,” David raged, “There isn’t a camera here. It is a lover’s eye and you are trying to tempt him, but make him bed. Oh hell, let’s try the other emotional extreme. Try full frontal looking eager to be bedded by your lover. That means arms outstretched, feet slightly apart, smiling, ‘Come and get me’ look.”
This she found much easier and was very gratified when it took only a few shots before David said, “That’s it. I’m feeling your emotion myself,” hastening to add, “through the camera, of course.” Mustn’t frighten her off the first nude session we’ve had.


Chapter Nine – Shopping For Mastery

David surprised Wendy the following Monday by telling her that she could add his study to her cleaning routine, “But don’t touch anything on my desk. That is important.”
“Why do you think you need to tell me that I shouldn’t touch your desk?” she replied.
I’d better make my dominance felt, he thought so he said, “If you are going to work for me you need to obey without always questioning me. Of course, you are at liberty to leave this job at any time.”
Wendy was very worried by this prospect, as she was only just beginning to get on her financial feet, and losing the income from being David’s housekeeper would be a disaster. So she protested, “But I don’t always question you. I only ask questions when I need you to explain something. Why do you say I am always questioning you?”
David smiled and said, “I rest my case.”
“What do you mean?” she persisted.
He sighed and then replied, “I have given you an order about my desk and you ask me ‘Why?’ I object being questioned and indicate that if you don’t like my giving you orders you can always leave, and you deny questioning me and ask me ‘Why?’ again. When I try to indicate subtly that this is what I mean you ask me to explain myself. Do I take it that you want to leave?”
“No, not at all,” she hastened to say.
“Then stop asking me why I want something when I give an order.”
“Sorry. I’ll try, I really will.”
We’ll see. Let’s try something, David thought as he gave an order, “Right. Here is an order. I am going to take some more pictures of you. Go up to the studio and undress. I will be there in a minute and I want to find you waiting for me, nude. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir,” and she left the room.
David waited exactly one minute and then made his way unhurriedly up to the studio, wondering whether she would be waiting as he had ordered. He was somewhat relieved to find that she had done exactly what he had said. I could have blown it by giving that order, but she seems very obedient. Let’s try taking advantage of that, he thought. “Lie on the couch as if you are watching a television set in that corner,” was the next order.
She lay down on her side and looked in the direction he had indicated.
“No,” he said, “your arm should be under your breast supporting it.”
Wendy squirmed for a few moments and then looked worried at him, not quite understanding but mindful of the earlier spat and so not daring to ask a question..
“Here, let me show you,” he said and, for the first time in their photo sessions, he lifted her by one shoulder and slipped the arm under her. Then he lifted her naked breast out of her armpit and rested it on the arm so that the nipple could clearly be seen.
Wendy was a little surprised that he had done this, though she had been expecting it ever since she was first persuaded to pose nude for him. Still, she reflected, he hasn’t made any sexual move towards me. I wonder what I would do if he did? Obey orders, I suppose. After all I am on the pill.
David spent half an hour taking photographs, but was clearly not pleased with any of them. Then he said, “No. I can’t seem to get the effect I want. Call it an hour at modelling rates and you can get dressed now.”
***
After she had dressed and was preparing to leave, David offered, “Stay here and have dinner with me. I’ll drive you home afterwards.”
“Why would you feed me a second meal today?” she wondered.
“To tell the truth I hate eating alone.” David replied aloud while thinking, And it’s the next step on the pathway to my bed.


Chapter Ten – Shopping For A Live In Housekeeper

One day as they were about to sit down to one of their now frequent dinners, after which he was due to drive her back to her house, he said, “You know, Wendy, I would love to have some wine with my dinner tonight, but I can’t do that and drive you back afterwards. How about if you stay in the guest room for tonight?”
“Well, I don’t want to spoil your dinner, so I can order a taxi to take me home.”
“That’s silly. If you don’t yet trust me enough to stay here I’ll manage without the wine.”
She thought for a few moments and then said, “It isn’t that I don’t trust you. I don’t have any night things here to start with, then there’s a toothbrush and a hairbrush, and so on.”
David seized the possibility, “As you know the guest room has its own en suite with a brand new disposable toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. You could make do with your photo modelling nightwear perhaps, or the pick of June’s old nightwear for the one night, surely? And then you could perhaps keep an emergency set of your own here for just such occasions as this.”
“Well … I suppose for once it would be alright.”
“Good. That’s settled then. Since it’s salmon tonight we’ll have a nice bottle of Prosecco to accompany it.”
She was strict at first and said she would only have one glass. He did manage to persuade her to have a second glass, but it wasn’t really so difficult. The third glass went down a treat.
***
In the course of the next few weeks it became most nights that David would have wine with his dinner and Wendy join him and then she would stay in the guest room. Eventually David suggested, then insisted, that she should move into his guest room on a more permanent basis and pointed out that she could make some money letting the house at Greenacres to carefully chosen tenants.
This was agreed, with the proviso, at her insistence, that he cut her wages to the national minimum as she would not have the housing cost. David was doubtful, but wisely did not push her on this topic as he realised that she was totally serious about it. If I let her have her way occasionally it won’t seem too much like a take over. In any case I can put the difference to one side for her if, or more likely when, we split.
Although he still had her into the studio for photo sessions, and some of those were nude, and although they watched television together most evenings, there was no overtly sexually contact between them. In fact they had not yet even kissed; the modelling sessions could have been with a plastic dummy for all the interest in her personality he showed when moving her flesh into the pose he wanted.


Chapter Eleven – Shopping For Ecstasy

The furniture was positioned so that it was natural for them to sit side by side on the sofa, and she simply sat where David indicated, next to him. He murmured, “Allow me,” as he put an arm round her shoulders in a comforting manner when she sat next to him. This quickly became a habit, and David didn’t ask permission, any more; he just assumed that she would sit next to him and lean companionably against him.
It went on like this for a fortnight or so, until they watched, for want of anything better on TV, the film “Jaws” which frightened her and Wendy buried her face in his shoulder to avoid the scary scenes. As she carefully peeped round to see if the frightening bit was over, David let his hand cup her breast, and when she looked up at him he moved a fraction and their mouths met in a kiss.
Then he noticed that she wasn’t stopping him, nor moving away. In point of fact she was returning his kiss with a degree of enthusiasm and when he moved his hand away from her breast she pulled it back to cup her eager tit. Somehow, between them, they managed to make that caress, which started outside her clothing, slip in and under and past all the barriers so that David suddenly realised that it was luxuriating on warm skin, and that a nipple was quickly stiffening in his palm.
Sensing that she was feeling a mixture of fear, excitement and arousal, he lost no time in slipping his hand under the waistband of her skirt and on to her mound, gently rubbing her knickers into the crack between her labia. There was no objection from Wendy, quite the opposite, as her legs parted to allow him more freedom to explore her most private parts.
Slipping a finger under the edge of her knickers and on to her clitoris, where he stroked and twiddled until she was overtaken by a small orgasm signalled by a whispered, “Yes. Oh yes.”
“Was that good?”
She nodded shyly and blushed, once again burying her face in his shoulder.
“Can I ask you to return the favour?”
Should I? she wondered, Yes. That’s really an order dressed up as a request isn’t it? She nodded without taking her face out of his shoulder. Then she was aware of some fumbling whereupon her hand was gently moved onto a warm flesh tube which was rapidly hardening. She stroked the flesh as she had done to get her husband interested, but didn’t know quite what to do next. We aren’t in bed. He wants pleasure but I don’t think he wants to go all the way. Should I suck him off? Should I swallow if he cums?
David solved the problem for her by producing a linen handkerchief and saying, “Use that to catch it.”
She started to rub much faster, as she had seen her husband do when he was sneering at her and wanted to spurt all over her. Fairly soon she felt the prick in her hand jumping and twitching as it filled the handkerchief.
“Thank you,” David said, thinking, Well that went OK. Sucking next week after a few mutual masturbation sessions.
It didn’t take that long. The very next evening as they were supposedly watching television She whispered in his ear, “Rodney liked me to kiss him. Do you like being kissed, sir?”
“Yes, of course I do,” David replied, wondering where this was leading. He got his answer when she bent her head down to his lap and began to kiss along his prick.
When she had thoroughly kissed its length she took the head in her mouth and began to titillate it with her tongue.
As he felt he was about to cum, David gently lifted her head away and bent himself to kiss and lick her clitoris.
“You don’t need to do that, sir,” she murmured, “And I know you were near cumming in my mouth, sir. We can do whatever you want, sir.”
David redoubled his efforts and she climaxed almost immediately.
It’s a good thing this house is detached, David thought, or the neighbours would have heard all her gasps and screams. As she calmed down he asked, “Would you have been angry if I had cum in your mouth? You know men like to do that and women are supposed to submit to it.”
“I know, and I will,” she said before leaning down again and enthusiastically tonguing him until she drank all he had to offer.
That was the beginning of a regular nightly drink of his semen for her, and the occasional oral ministration from him. Mostly, though, he just used his hand to give her her climaxes and she seemed content with that, though very effusive in her thanks and addressing him always as ‘sir’.


Chapter Twelve – Shopping For A Live In Mistress

David suggested, “This is silly,” as Wendy was about to go to bed one evening in April after they had spent the evening on the sofa watching television while gently masturbating each other.
“What is silly?” she asked.
“Pleasuring each other but not sleeping together,” he said, and then hardening his voice to what she knew meant an order rather than a request, “If you get yourself on the pill it would be quite safe.”
Her heart leapt at this and she replied, “I went on just after I started in here. I guessed you would want me, and I knew if you ordered me into your bed I wouldn’t be able to refuse, or want to. Want to refuse, I mean.”
“And?” he asked.
“And if you want me, I am yours, Master, for anything you want.”
And so the mystery of how to get everything sexual he wanted had been solved and the sign he had thought he saw on his first visit to Greenacres Estate was fulfilled. But, he thought, I know I shall tire of her, probably quite quickly, and what then? And it was with that thought he led her by the hand up the stairs and into his bedroom.
***
In the bedroom it all went much better than he had expected. She simply stripped off her clothes, folding them carefully and putting them on the dressing table, as if it were the most habitual procedure in her life. Then she pulled the duvet back and lay down on the sheet to watch as he undressed rather more slowly than she.
David climbed on to the bed and they restarted the mutual hand jobs that had been their usual evening entertainment until David moved down the bed and leant over her cunt to open it with one hand and start to lick along the slit.
“No,” she murmured, “You don’t need to do that. Just fill me with him.”
“I want to,” he murmured, “I know you like it and I know I enjoy doing it.”
“Please?” she begged.
“Please what?” he teased.
“Please … fuck me?” she seemed embarrassed to use the word.
“Not yet,” and David redoubled his efforts with his tongue teasing her clitoris. It was when he sucked the nubbin in between his lips that he got the reaction he was looking for.
Her legs lifted off the bed with her knees bent beside his head, and then those knees straightened and the feet were high in the air as a moan came from her lips and she was obviously on the verge. The toes started to curl as the orgasm hit her. “Yes, yes, yes,” she cried out.
David moved quickly to push his prick firmly into her cunt as deeply as he could. The feeling of her cunt milking his prick almost immediately brought him to a climax as she was still in the throes of her own ecstasy. After he finished cumming he rolled off her and lay for a few moments on his back.
“Well, aren’t you going to clean it?” he asked.
“Oh, sorry,” she apologised, “I wasn’t thinking clearly after that. It was wonderful, better than I ever …” she broke off and got off the bed heading for his bathroom.
David let her go, thinking, I bet she comes back with a warm facecloth.
Sure enough she returned with a warm damp cloth and started to wipe his penis.
“What do you think you are doing now?” he asked petulantly.
“Cleaning him,” she offered, “I thought you wanted me to do that?”
“Yes,” he said, “but with your mouth.”
“Oh, I never …”
“You never did that for your husband after you had sex with him? I expect that’s why he never gave you as wonderful a time as I did. You were going to say that weren’t you?”
She stared for a moment and then admitted it, “Yes. It was the best sex I ever had.”
“Even better than on your honeymoon?” David persisted.
She blushed, “Yes, even better than then.”
“Well I expect a reward for that, so clean him with your mouth. You’ll taste some of my semen and your own juices but you need to get used to that. The next load of cum goes down your throat, but not without the added flavour of your juices,” David ordered, thinking, God, I need to get it up again straight away, but it seemed that his penis agreed with his tactics. “You can suck me to clean him and then carry on until I cum. Mind you swallow all of it.”
Wendy wondered, Can I do that? I never did for Rodney, though perhaps he would have liked it. He just never asked me for it; only let me suck him after his bath, even as she was leaning forward over the bed to suck at his burgeoning erection. It took quite a few minutes but she was pleased that she succeeded as her husband had never cum twice in the same session with her.
After that they spent every night in his bed together, except when she was unavailable. David never suggested any alternative during her periods, and for that she was glad. She would have sucked him off then if he had asked, and she had even contemplated letting him have her arse. She didn’t enjoy being buggered the few times she had tried it, but for her Master she felt she could not refuse anything.


Chapter Thirteen – Punishing A Mistake

“What do you think this is?” David demanded, staring at the mess on his plate.
“I’m sorry, Master. It was supposed to be a soufflé but it fell as I took it out of the oven.”
“You mean you dropped it?” he asked, knowing full well the answer and thinking, Just the chance I’ve wanted. An excuse to spank her.
“No. I didn’t drop it. It just collapsed on the plate. I’m sorry,” she apologised, looking a little fearful.
“Did you try to make a soufflé before?”
“No. I thought it would be a nice surprise for you. I did it exactly as the recipe said,” she mumbled.
“Recipes are not everything. And with a completely new item you should always practise beforehand until you know you can do it right. I thought you knew that?” he asked, looking for an opportunity.
“Yes, but …” she started.
David interrupted her, “You will be punished.”
“Oh just take the time and cost of materials out of my wages,” she offered, “I understand that I have to pay for my mistakes.”
“Oh no. It isn’t that easy. If this had been practice I would have had the costs but not the disappointment. Your punishment is to make you remember in future, not to reimburse me for the cost of your error.”
Wendy stared at him for several seconds then ventured, “What punishment?”
“Your mistake was a childish one, so your punishment will be just as childish. I shall spank you for it.” He held is breath as she took that in, then added, “I shall spank you hard for it.”
Then, to his great relief, she said, “I understand, Master. Will you spank me here?”
“No. In the bedroom, now.”
She rushed out of the room and up the stairs. David followed her at a more leisurely pace.
When he reached the bedroom she was standing waiting for him with the skirt of her dress rolled up. tucked in to its belt, and her knickers off, so that she was fully prepared to take her punishment ‘on the bare’ as was traditional in English schools. David sat on the bed and ordered, “Over my knee.”
The first signs of her fear were visible in the way she lowered herself slowly onto his knees, supporting herself with her legs one side of then and her hands on the carpet the other side.
David could not control his erection at this prospect and he knew that she could feel it as well. He did not let that stop him from administering the promised punishment.
SLAP!
One cheek reddened.
She remained silent until he said, “It is traditional to count the strokes aloud, and to thank me for each one.”
“One, Master,” she said in a shaky voice, “Thank you. How many is the punishment to be this time?”
“That is for me to know and you to find out,” he replied, actually not having decided how far to push her She seems to accept that this is the first of many. She said ‘this time’, he thought.
SLAP!
The second blow landed on top of the first one deepening the hue of the skin.
“Two, Master. Thank you,” she intoned in a firmer voice.
***
By the sixth blow David could clearly smell her vaginal arousal, and asked, “Is six enough?”
“Yes, Master,” came the reply, “Please fuck me now to make it better.”
“Why would I want to do that? It was a punishment, not foreplay.”
“Well it has me all fired up,” she said as she turned over and freed his prick so that she could take it in her mouth.
Sure enough, he came in a matter of seconds and she swallowed all she could, leaving a small amount of semen to ooze out of the corners of her mouth. “Oh Master, I must make some more childish mistakes if your punishments turn me on like that.”


Chapter Fourteen – Husband’s Return

After a few weeks sex had become much more of a habit than a joyous coupling as each of them felt duty bound to perform for the other’s pleasure. The spice added by the spanking also became more of a habit than thrill for both of them.
Then a letter arrived for Wendy from Singapore.
David said, “Well, aren’t you going to open it?”
“I’m afraid to,” she replied, “It’s bound to be bad news.”
“Well, it won’t get any better for waiting,” he offered.
She tore the envelope open and scanned the single sheet of paper. “Rodney finishes his assignment in October and wants to come back. Oh God what should I do?”
“That gives you four months to decide,” David observed, “Does he say what happened to the girl he ran off with? Wasn’t she pregnant?”
“She said she was. No, no mention of her. I expect it’s over. His liaisons never lasted.”
“But your marriage did?”
“Yes. I thought I loved him and always forgave him.”
Typical submissive, thought David but aloud he said, “And this time? Will you have him back again? Do you still love him?”


TO BE CONTINUED