The men returned shortly from their trip to the barn. The first one entered with his cloak pulled low over his eyes and carrying a full load of firewood. A light dusting of snow finished off the picturesque woodsmen look. Big, burly and stronger than an ox. The kind of man I liked.
I tried to be helpful to the attractive older Behr, whimsically snatching the top log off his stack. I severely underestimated its weight and promptly dropped it to the floor from by single hand grasp. Each log weighted more than a full bolt of cloth and my mistake took both hands to lift off the floor and carry to the reserve next to the fireplace.
As I rose with the log, the cloaked man shook his head to reveal Wendel Behr, and not the expected father. Those eyes as blue as the sky joined his gentle smile in cutting through my emotional defenses. I could feel my flush out of embarrassment, but it wasn’t the bad type of embarrassment associated with a shameful act, rather it was that innocent awkwardness feeling of a young girl confronted by her first crush. My eyes and throat required constant watering as I stood gazing at the handsome man before me. Mrs Behr’s hand helped me break my gaze though. A quick swat to my still smarting posterior provided all the focus I needed to transfer the logs from Wendel’s arms to the reserve stack, abet one log at a time.
With arms empty I immediately tried to make him more comfortable by assisting him in the removal of his cloak and coat. Sliding the flowing cloak over his shoulders provided me with a whiff of pine, sweat and something else. The something else melted my legs while spawning butterflies in my stomach. It was so wonderful and irresistible that I had to get more. I got closer to him as took his coat, being regarded with another couple sniffs of wonder.
Mr. Behr joined us as I was helping Wendel from his coat. He also carried wood, though transferred it to Wendel all at once, rather than waiting for my piecemeal approach. I was quite glad at this choice since my arms were starting to tire, and more importantly it allowed me to admire Wendel’s exercise his strength. Why had I not noticed him earlier?
I did not have much time to dwell on the question, with Mrs. Behr immediately demanded my attention in finishing the preparations for supper. A few bowls, spoons and a large pot of porridge soon decorated the table. Alongside the table stood two long benches which served as chairs. Mr. Behr and Wendel sat on one bench, while I gingerly took a seat across from Wendel. It was hard not squirming when my bottom made contact with the hard wood, but I pride and attraction prevented me from show him anything was wrong. I am an adult lady and a spanked bottom was not very ladylike, even if he had performed such earlier.
Over dinner, the Behr’s peppered me with questions. Initially it was just simple things like what was my name, where was home, and why was I out on the road alone. All questions I had previously answered multiple times during my journey. Eventually the questions became harder, focusing on my family’s business and religion. No one had yet to ask about either subject, causing me to stumble through my lie filled responses.
During the entire meal, Mr Behr sad barely five words; four of which were “yes please” and “thank you.” Consequently, when he directed his attention to me I was startled.
“Miss Locques, you seem like a nice young lady,” Mr. Behr said. “You vocabulary and manners indicate you were brought up in a good household, where a girl is taught the difference from right and wrong, and where one is responsible for their actions.” He told me directly. “I try to run good household also. I know Wendel here said you stay here while the storm passed, and I have no problem with you staying here for as long as you wish, but you will obey the rules of this household. I doubt they are much different than your parent’s household. Do you want to continue staying here?”
“Yes, Sire,” I answered, uneasy where he was going with this line of statements. I did not really have much of a choice, and everyone at the table knew it.
“Then do you have anything you would like to tell me?” He asked.
I shifted my eyes over to Wendel, who had started to become more animated. He look nervous and also a little scared by the direction of his father’s questions. I doubt he would have been scared, had he said something about our little encounter upstairs. I had never left Mrs. Behr’s side since the trip over the table, so this was about something else. But I could not think of anything else I had did wrong. With as much confidence I could muster, I answered, “Ah…No sir.”
“I know Wendel let out some details when he said you were caught in the storm and asked for shelter. You broke into our house and he was only doing what he thought was the honorable thing, and protect you by leaving out those details.” I was playing with my hands as he revealed what he knew. “You probably even thanked his generosity with kiss.” This statement caused me to blush and I thought back to laying over Wendel’s lap in a very unladylike manner. I wish it had just been a kiss.
“Pa, she was cold and stranded outside in the storm. No one was here and she was just trying to protect herself. Please do not be mad at her.” Wnedel interrupted. I just swooned over him more as he became my valiant knight trying to defend his damsel.
“I can forgive that, the storm was coming and a city girl like you probably feared for your life. Then there is the issue of you stealing food.” How did he know about that? Mrs Behr had not said anything to him about it. I glanced in her direction and she seemed as surprised as me.
“But I can not forgive you sitting her and intentionally lying to us. I know you are not from Munich. There are no Locques in Munich. The only Locques I know of are in Hamburg,” He continued.
The older man’s glare burned right through to my soul. Unlike like the couple other times I had been caught in a lie during my journey, it hurt. I felt like I had betrayed their trust after they had been so nice. There was something in his tone that reminded me of my father when I was a little girl. A mixture of caring, compassion and disappointment. It hurt deep inside.
“When I was younger, I would do business with your grandfather when I was up that way. I do not know why you lied to us, but I you knew it was wrong.” Mr Behr paused to let the words soak in.
Wendel and Mrs. Behr craned their neck towards me at the revelation. I opened my mouth to respond, but my tongue refused to work. A hundred responses flowed through my mind, but I could not speak any of them.
Mr Behr then let the hammer fall. “You and I are going to spend some time with my strap in the barn, or you can leave this house and never come back again. After which you will be repent for all the sins you have committed on this holy day, including breaking my chair outside.”
“What? No, please!” I instinctively pleaded. “You cannot throw me out into that!” I pointed to the window where snow started to pile on the sill.
“I am not throwing you out, I am giving you a choice, stay her and pay for your sins or leave on your own regard.”
“You can’t do that to a lady!”
“A lady takes responsibility for her actions, you are not much more than a grown child.”
“But….but….but” I couldn’t think of anything else. I put up my hands like they would protect me, even though my backside would was more in need of protecting.
“I can see what your answer is. Wendel you mind lending Miss Locques your coat for a little bit?” Mr. Behr asked his son.
“No sir.” Wendel said, shooting me a compassionate frown.
The storm outside was not the only one brewing as I was dressed and dragged out the door. I tried resisting, but no one took them seriously, least of all Mr. Behr. My emotions were a complete mess; with everything from the embarrassment of my upcoming situation, to the shame of my lies to my infatuation for Wendel all swirling around inside.
Before long Mr. Behr and myself inside the narrow room adjacent to the barn. Two cords of split wood were neatly stacked from floor to ceiling along one wall while some cut boards and other tools lined the other wall. A large cutting block sat near the doors we entered while a pair of heavily reinforced sawhorses sat in front of the doors at the opposite end of the room.
“You even been taken to the woodshed?” Mr Behr asked, shaking snow from his cloak.
“No sir,” I managed to say as I was escorted towards the sawhorses. Each had a sallow curve cut into the top, presumably to hold a log in place while it was being cut. This shallow curve though was where my hips were destined to lie.
“Well, it’s a place were you’ll learn to follow the rules,” Mr. Behr said as moved one of the sawhorses away from the wall then took the coat from my shoulders. The cold air in the woodshed sent a shiver though my body. I did not have much time to complain, as he unceremoniously bent me over the sawhorse.
I stayed there looking at the dirt floor for a moment, while I my response. Should I plead forgiveness, beg for mercy or protest these barbaric actions? The latter probably wouldn’t work, though the former two might. He was a man after all.
My thoughts where interrupted when he tossed my skirts over my back, revealing my bloomers. I squeaked in protest, though he didn’t care as he unfastened the flap buttons, revealing my bare posterior. The cold air reaching such an intimate location startled me. I instantly tensed everything down there, which only reignited the previous tingling I had felt when gazing at Wendel.
“What…no..I..” I tried protesting but nothing that came out made sense. Mr Behr said something, which I did not understand due to my focus on getting my tongue to work correctly.
I have felt the slap of a palm, the wail of a hairbrush and even the bite of the junior cane, but nothing compared to the explosion of that strap. It was, well indescribable. I doubt childbirth even hurt that much.
The second stroke shot stars through my eyes. I tried to claw myself upright while I cried out in pain, but a strong hand on my lower back gently held me in place. That really messed up my head. How could someone creating such a barbarian act with that strap have such a compassionate touch? He didn’t allow me much time to dwell on the question, as the third stroke refocused my attention on my poor bottom.
I wailed like a banshee for the rest of the punishment. Something in my mind replaced the whole experience with a simple memory; DO NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN! I am glad, because I probably would have had nightmares, even if I deserved it.
“Pa, can I take her to my room and let her rest there?” Wendel asked as he took his coat.
Wendel lead me to his room and gently laid me on his bed. He left me there for a few moments as he left the room, returning with a jar in hand. He closed the door before asking if he could lift my skirts. I was crying to much to really answer and must have nodded my head, because the next thing I realize was my skirts were over my back and my bloomers were around my knees. I didn’t really care about modesty at the moment, especially since the cool air felt good on my hot bottom.
“Eekks!” I cried out when Wendel touched his cream covered fingers to my bottom. The cream was much colder than the air, and helped temper the fire I felt there. He rubbed it around and around, working it into the bruised muscles before getting another dose. His slow gentle motions, mixed with my emotional exhaustion and a light humming by him, lulled me to sleep.
I woke up the next morning feeling at peace for the first time in months. Mr. and Mrs. Behr treated me like their own daughter and I tried to help out as much as I could. The storm had passed during the night, giving way to a bright sun dancing across the snow covered hills. It looks so peaceful and pretty. I wished everything would stay like this forever.
Wendel spent the rest of the winter courting me, with us enjoying each others company more than once. After Christmas, Pa Behr, as I took to calling him, put me under Wendel’s care, which including teaching me the realities of a farm and providing adequate discipline as needed. After Easter, Wendel, and I made the trip north, to see my parents and for him to ask my hand in marriage. My two week journey south on foot took less than a day to cover on horseback. It was a long trip on horseback, especially since I had spent the previous evening with Wendel in the woodshed. It was not all bad though. His touches afterwards were always delicate.
Mother and father were happy to see me, and even happier when Wendel ask for permission to wed. I know father would have preferred my previous suitor, but accepted Wendel. The land Wendel brought help……
Southey flipped the page and found only water logged blurs. What about the land and wealth brought to the marriage? There was nothing else legible in the entire journal. He grabbed another book from the chest to find it filled with random recipes. The next book was an almanac. The next, a hymnal. None of the rest of the books were journals.
He slumped down beside the chest as he flipped through the journal. He had never known any of this about his grandparents. Even so, it would not help his current financial problems. He shook his head in disappointment as he looked over the books spewed about. One of the titles caught his eye, “The Works of William Shakespeare.”
The story in the journal was intriguing, what if he retold it? “The story of Goldie Locques and the Three Behrs,” he said to himself. “I’ll need to change a few details, but it could work as a child’s tale.”