The Romantique Legacy


defiant“I get it,” she said rolling her eyes up, “I’m a screw up, what can I say?”

Zoe Frayne sat with her arms folded across a pink mohair pullover crushing her small but prominent breasts. The pink matched the tinge of dye in her black hair, the only visible concession the punk-come-Goth girl had made to her femininity. Her black faded jeans were ripped and the whole parody of an ensemble was covered with masculine leather biker jacket.

“Look at you, you’re 25 and… what are you wearing?” Masterson sighed, “You have no job, you have spent the allotment your uncle gave you at 18, and you have given up on that PhD in what was it… the impact of music on Western Civilisation?”

Masterson, Zoe’s late uncle’s lawyer listed her deficiencies on his fingers.

“I said I get it,” Zoe shifted uncomfortably in the overstuffed leather armchair of the lawyer’s office. “I had to make something of myself by the age of 25 or no filthy money.”

Masterson sighed again and sat back.

“That’s it then, I’m screwed,” Zoe threw him a sour expression as she got up to leave.

“You want to hear about plan B first?” he said wearily.

“I can see from your face that I won’t like it,” Zoe grunted and gave him another eye-roll as she slumped back down.

“Your late uncle Benjamin Romantique was a very wealthy man, but an eccentric one,” Masterson let out a long breath.

This was nuts, he admitted, wondering how he was going to broach the subject.

“He was out of the Ark, I know that, but I always thought he was kind of cool,” Zoe snorted.

“Old fashioned, yes, that’s a positive take I suppose and that brings me to the point,” Masterson leaned forward and made a bridge of his fingers as he clasped them as if in prayer. “There is a man called Anthony Barnwell Steel…”

Zoe shifted uncomfortably in her seat and blushed.

“…He was your uncle’s friend… I see you know of him?” Masterson put in.

“We met when I was a kid…” the words clung to her mouth like a childhood lollipop being removed from a saucer.

“If you spend the summer with him, on his terms, then however it works out you get an indexed £30,000 a year until you are 30 and then a first payment of 10 million with a second 10 million when you marry or when you turn 45, whichever is first.”

Zoe was still thinking of Tony Steel and that summer not so long ago when the ‘second 10 million’ got her attention.

“You mean I get 10 million quid when I marry?” she said incredulously, “But what if I don’t want to get married?”

“You have to spend three months with Mr Barnwell Steel first. On the same terms as you had when your uncle was alive. I believe you know what that means?” Masterson let the question hang.

He too had a pretty good idea and he was dreading explanations and the quite reasonable fall-out that would ensue.

“A three month holiday at the old family estate… it could be worse,” Zoe said brightly.

The 10 million was too far off to contemplate, but with 30 grand a year she could get a neat pad and hang for a while until something turned up. There was a certain amount of relief that she wasn’t off to the dole office just yet, but the thought was tempered by the rousing little bugs that begun to tickle the inside of her tummy.

The summer she had spent at her uncle’s after her gap year and before college had been the best of her life. It had been the only time she had not felt in utter free fall and the screaming need for attention had faded to a dull roar.

“It might not be a holiday…” Masterson said carefully, “I have read the side letter… I am not even sure that it is legal. We might…”

“I’ll do it,” Zoe rolled her eyes yet again. She hated all the boring faff.

“You have to sign an agreement first and if you do then you are pretty much committed. I am sure…” Masterson was suddenly uncomfortable with the whole deal.

“I said I’ll do it,” Zoe said impatiently.


The old house was much the same, although Zoe knew that it was now rented to a Middle Eastern millionaire. Tony had inherited it from her uncle, but he had chosen to continue to live at the old lodge which he had rented before.

Zoe had never been sure of the relationship between Tony and Uncle Ben; she only knew that they had met in the army and that Tony did various jobs around the estate for the old man.

She had first met Tony as a girl on her first visits to the estate, but in those days Tony had been a distant figure, always driving tractors and hefting great tools about the woods.

Only after her mother had died and she had come for an extended stay that summer had she really got to know him.

“Still a fright then,” Tony snorted as Zoe strolled up the drive to the lodge with a black denim bag hauled across her trademark leather jacket.

Her short pixie cut hair looked bedraggled as if cut with a knife and fork for a mixed salad.

“And you look so chic,” she countered, nodding towards his tattered checked shirt, which was rolled above his elbows to reveal his tanned and toned arms.

He was younger than she remembered, maybe not even 40, although his dark brown hair was dashed with grey flecks. But then at 10, 25 would have seemed old she now realised. It was a strange thought, because now at the same age she didn’t feel remotely grown up.

“I’m surprised you agreed to this,” he said in a non-committal voice.

Zoe shrugged.

“The old man can keep his millions, but the 30k a year is worth putting up with you for a few weeks,” she replied in a bored voice. “But I am not sure what the point is.”

“The point…” Tony sighed, “I don’t know there is one. Show half willing and you can bugger off and leave me in peace and you’ll get your cash. But that summer you were here… well you almost left here a decent human being. I think your uncle hoped that one more chance and you would stop wasting your life.”

“What didn’t he like me blowing his money on sex, drugs and rock and roll? Or was it that I wasted the rest?” Zoe said drily.

“That smart mouth of your will get you…” Tony let an edge touch his voice.

“What are you going to do, spank me?” Zoe challenged.

“You know I will,” Tony warned her.

Zoe blushed and worked her suddenly somewhat dry mouth. She remembered long hot days and the smell of freshly cut grass and of giving him attitude. It had been a duel between them and a way to get some attention.

She remembered taking the dump-truck after he told her not to and ending up in the ditch. He had hauled her over his knee and had spanked the seat of her jeans right there next to tumbled truck.

She had been embarrassed, especially as afterwards when her determination to show it hadn’t hurt had ended in a bottom-clutching dance and some barely supressed tears as Uncle Ben had laughed.

“You touch anything dangerous again without training or my permission and you’ll get some more. Only next time your pants and trousers are coming down,” Tony had promised.

No one had ever stood up to her before and the line he had drawn in the sand for her was the clearest of her murky life; a line that was shiny and sharp and a border to a foreign land.

It was too exciting not to cross no matter what the cost and cross it she had. Not that she had believed in the consequences. At 19, one never does. Not the first time or the last.

The industrial trimmer had been ripe with limb slicing potential, but the instruction not to touch it had seemed babyish. The topiary hadn’t appreciated her efforts and nor had Tony.

Across his knee, her skinny jeans and knickers had slid over her slender hips with a single burst of the button at his hands. She had been mortified, an emotion that retreated quickly with the first biting sting of his palm across her bare bottom.

“Are you determined to cross me?” he had snarled at her.

“Get off me you bastard,” had been just her opening tirade.

But even with what followed he must have heard worse and had spanked her for some long minutes until her bottom had sung to him and had taken on the appearance of two polished tomatoes.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she had sobbed.

“Are you?” he had asked.

“Yes, oh yes, please Tony,” she had pleaded.

“Then stop struggling and stick your bottom up to accept what you deserve,” he had ordered.

It had been too embarrassing and within the confines of the potting shed she had renewed her struggles. In response Tony had resumed the spanking as if from scratch. It hadn’t taken long for Zoe to tuck in her knees and proffer him her obscenely rounded bottom for continued punishment.

The rest of the spanking was neither token nor brief and afterwards Zoe would have obeyed any command.

In the corner afterwards Zoe had seen her real self for the first time in a long while. All anger and resentment had been stripped away as she was reduced to her rightful place as a little girl at the bottom of the heap. Or so it had seemed. And it had been liberating.

Every four of five days after that Zoe had found a way to challenge him. And each and every time she had earned herself a sound spanking and a good hour or two standing bare-bottomed in the corner.

It escaped her notice that her battles were not only small, but increasingly diminished as the bar was set ever lower towards a destination that represented civilised behaviour. By the end of that summer she had not only learnt some manners, but had enjoyed sharing them.

Despite her battles, she had vowed to return the next summer to continue her contest with Tony and Ben, but that winter her uncle had died and that chapter had been closed.

“I am here to work hard and learn some good old-fashioned values aren’t I?” Zoe broke from her recollections with a jocular tone and mock saluting punch to the air. “I mean I’m too old for… what happened before.”

Tony folded his arms and regarded her seriously.

“Pretty much, but I haven’t changed and you weren’t exactly a child then and you’re certainly not now,” he said examining her curves appreciatively. “So you mess with me young lady and you know exactly what to expect.”

“Does that mean I can’t drive your dumper truck?” it was an attempt at levity to disguise her embarrassment.

“You go anywhere near it, and you’ll get what you should have got last time,” he said in a dark chocolate voice rich with menacing promise.

Zoe blushed.

“You didn’t exactly pat me on the head last time,” she blustered.

“It won’t be your head I’ll be patting next time either and they really won’t be pats,” he said earnestly.

Zoe sucked in her cheeks and looked at the ground. For once her smart mouth failed her and the almost-girl from a summer long ago reasserted itself.


Zoe had been painting the fence for over an hour desperately trying to make an excuse to break off from it. The smell of the undercoat was vile and she was feeling a little sick. The hot sun made it even worse and she berated herself for not resisting Tony more when he had given her the job.

Still, she reasoned that he couldn’t have that many evil jobs for her and if she knuckled down for a few days as he had suggested, then he would soon tire of her and sign off for the lawyers. It was a mature attitude and Zoe wondered when and where she had acquired it.

However, as the morning rolled by the heat of the sun and the smell made her early clarity of thought a little fuzzy and she was bored. The trouble was the fence was only half done.

I could skip to an early lunch and finish it later, she considered.

She was still pondering the wisdom of her choice by the time she reached the pub. What the hell she thought, after a real worker’s lunch and some cider and she could get back to work.

The pub hadn’t changed a jot. Even the pictures were the same. She remembered how she had come here in the early days in a bid to get some reaction, but it seemed no one had minded a 19-year-old girl drinking and she had soon tired of that particular provocation.

“No workmen eh workers in the lounge,” the rather bored barman yawned.

“Worker’s?” she chuckled, “No that’s just…”

Zoe had been about to say that she wasn’t really a worker and then she realised that she still wore an old pair of overalls Tony had given her and stank to high heaven of paint.

“Can I get food in the public bar?” she asked, suddenly proud of herself.

Me, a worker, she grinned until the man gave her strange look.

Lunch went by without a hitch and the third cider tasted as good as the first. This really isn’t so bad she thought as she finished up.

The fence was no chore after that and Zoe finished before Tony came back to check up on her. His reluctant praise was welcome, if an anti-climax. But what had she expected?

The glory days are over aren’t they? I can’t even raise an eyebrow from Tony and I don’t even want to, she mused. A short working holiday then and what, back to her old life, the one she had tried so hard to wreck? It all seemed so hollow, but what had she wanted?

The last birds of the day sang in tune and as the light grew red the shadows stretched out on the lawn like fingers. Did they point at her or the house? Were they an accusation or… a signpost?

Romantique tosh, she giggled. And I used to think this place was magical.


“Dinner?” Tony grunted as she emerged from the bathroom refreshed.

Zoe looked up to see that he had forgone the usual shirt for a plain slate blue one and that he had shaved.

“I mean, would you like to go out for dinner? In the way of a welcome?” he expanded casually.

“The two of us?” Zoe asked.

It was a strange idea for both of them as neither usually did anything as civilised as dinner.

“I just thought… there isn’t much to do around here and no longer having access to the big house and a cook…” his voice trailed and he suddenly seemed unsure.

Zoe struggled for a snide comeback or a put down before she accepted. That would have been usual between them. Instead she shrugged and replied, “Sure.”

Then as an afterthought she added, “I don’t suppose you can cook anyway.”

He smiled, “Can you?”

“Fuck off,” she laughed dismissively, “Domestic Goddess I ain’t.”

That was more like the old Zoe, but a frown crossed his face, nonetheless. Such language in casual banter had once been her stock in trade, although she had never used it in front of Uncle Ben. But although he was used to urban language, even from women, he had never liked it.

“I’m not sure the old man would approve of your language,” he suggested.

He had said that once before long ago and she had replied with another foul-mouthed tirade. Then a cocked eyebrow had sent her into retreat.

This time she wistfully replied, “I suppose not.”

“The whole urban brat thing you have going on is just a façade isn’t it?” he observed drily, “I wonder who resides beneath the mask these days.”

Zoe glowered at him, bristling at his use of the b-word and disconcerted that he struck so close to her own doubts.

“Shall we go?” he smiled fondly.


“What will you do, when you leave here I mean?” he asked over coffee.

Zoe shrugged. She had expected him to take her to the pub, but the upmarket restaurant had been a surprised. She felt under dressed, another new experience for her.

“You have to do something, another course perhaps,” he suggested.

“What has it got to do with you?” Zoe snapped as her old self reared.

Tony gave her a hard stare.

“Oh that’s right; you are my appointed guardian for the next three months,” she said with an amused sneer, recovering a little.

His stare did not soften as he weighed her up. In many ways she was still the same little girl dancing on the edge of womanhood, but when he looked on her, he could now see past the punk-Goth shock of hair to the woman underneath and felt an unfamiliar surge in his chest.

“Look, we’re stuck with one another for a while, but what I do is my business,” she said in a more conciliatory tone.

He cocked his head as if to say ‘is that it’ and she broke eye contact with his stare.

“Okay, I’m sorry but… I don’t know,” she sighed.

They didn’t say more until after they left. Tony paid the bill and then walked in silence back towards the lodge.

It wasn’t quite dark in the lane. The last of the summer glow was grey yellow against the western sky and in a couple of hours it would shift around and grow again until became dawn and herald a new day. Coupled with the full moon, this faux twilight gave everything a magical air so that a silver fire danced on the birch tree bark and the white painted posts that ringed the pond.

Zoe looked over at a thoughtful Tony and wished she hadn’t been so… rude was it? She had consciously abandoned manners long ago as a defence and now she could not remember them. The thought suddenly scared her.

“The moon is beautiful tonight,” he said unexpectedly.

She looked down into the water and saw the flickering sphere mirrored there before looking up at its true form. His words were an observation from a man she realised she hardly knew. Where was that old hard-arse?

“Yes,” she whispered.

Then shaking himself he said, “Come on, I’ll make some cocoa,” and he began to stride out for home.


The next morning Zoe awoke with a resolve to burn through the summer with a mission. There was another fence that required her attention and this time it would be creosoted by lunch time. The trouble was it was longer if anything than the one she had tackled the day before.

“Bugger this,” she sighed and without looking for Tony she threw open the shed door and began trawling through his kit. “What is all this stuff?”

It didn’t take long to seize upon a very large green plastic bottle with a hand pump and a nozzle on a hose; just the thing to fill-up with creosote and power through the damn fence.

Once she got passed the smell everything went well until halfway through the nozzle that up to then had worked so well began to clog.

“Bugger it,” she screamed, kicking the green bottle so hard that it split sending creosote into the flower bed.

“What the hell?” Tony barked from somewhere on the other side of some shrubs.

Zoe answered with a string of expletives and kicked the green spray bottle again so that it shot down the lawn.

“I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t,” she wailed.

“That’s a weed killer spray,” Tony groaned, shooting an angry glance at Zoe.

“So fucking what,” she spat.

“It’s ruined,” he said numbly, wondering how many other tools had joined it in the graveyard.

Then he saw the extent of the damage to the garden.

“This is my tenant’s lawn,” he said in a strained voice and swallowed.

“Stuff your stupid lawn,” Zoe said sullenly, she hated this feeling, she hated the lawn and she…

“Young lady I had thought that we could do this another way,” his voice was sharper now, “But I see that you need a firmer steer.”

As he spoke he advanced on her across the partially ruined grass, rolling his sleeves up as he came.

“Look I just…” she gulped, surely he wasn’t going to…

Zoe didn’t wait to find out and made a break for it. She made it all the way to the side door to the kitchen before he overtook her with great easy strides. There she was upended and draped across his lap.

“Tony, Tony, come on, you can’t,” she reasoned in a calm voice, but uncertainty clawed at its sides.

The overall was one of his and baggy, so it peeled off her like a Satsuma skin. The jeans underneath were tighter on her hips than he remembered and he struggled with them for a little longer. Fortunately she wasn’t wearing a belt and the once-tight faded black denim was more yielding. Her knickers were nothing but a thong and he paused.

Her full round bottom was more womanish than he remembered and for a brief moment he forgot himself.

“Tony,” Zoe was shrill, “Please I’m sorry.”

Then deciding on a symbolic action he tugged on the elastic and drew the skimpy briefs down her legs to join her jeans and overalls.

“Tony, Tony, you can’t… I-I…” Zoe’s voice wavered between reason and panic now.

He spanked her hard across both bottom cheeks, revelling in the sharp satisfying impact.

“Tony,” she shrieked.

The discarded green bottle rolled over in a breeze to highlight the damaged lawn.

“Now it is Tony,” he growled and spanked her again, not once but several times until the pale flesh of her bottom coloured-up to a reddish orange. “I’ll give you Tony. You should have called me before if you didn’t know what you were doing.”

“Ah,” she yelped as he began in with a fresh volley, “Alright I’m sorry, please,” she wailed.

“You’re always sorry aren’t you? But where does that ever get us?” he snapped at her, “Well if you are so sorry then you know what to do.”

“What? Tony, nooo…” she squealed.

What did he want?

He held her firmly as she bucked under the onslaught of twice a dozen hard spanks. The fire-red well and truly staining her bottom rounds and with no signs that it was over.

Zoe he knew he wanted her surrender but she wasn’t ready. Years of being lost crystallised in her mind and now she was 19 again with a future maybe.

“I can do this all day and I am a long way from finished,” he barked at her as the spanking continued.

“Is this about last night?” she yelled.

“It’s about the bloody lawn, it’s about the garden, it’s about everything,” he beat out the punctuation on her scarlet bottom.

Zoe clenched her teeth determined to give him no satisfaction but the veil opened in her mind and she saw that all her protests were unjust. The unbidden sobs chuckled from somewhere in her throat and with an effort she pushed her bottom up to meet the spanks, presenting it to him in surrender.

Encouraged he brought his arm back and with great flowing swats he belaboured her bottom until she was bawling like she had of old.

“Now you can stand and face that wall while I assess the damage,” he ordered her.

Zoe looked miserably at the wall to the lodge and desperately prayed he wasn’t serious. What was wrong with the corner in the parlour or kitchen? That was a haven compared to this. But Tony was implacable and one hard look sent her tottering to the wall with her overall, jeans and thong still wrapped around her ankles.

Still there was no one about; not even Uncle Ben anymore and no one to see her. Zoe broke to great heaving sobs at the thought, the tears falling freely down her cheeks as she clawed at her thighs as a proxy and tried to shake the sting out of her bottom by doing a tight shimmy.

Thoughts of her uncle and lost days opened the flood gates and she truly cried for the first time since he had died. Why was she never angry with the man who had spanked her? How could he know what she needed so well?

The cathartic vigil facing the wall outlasted its welcome and little by little Zoe became aware of the breeze on her thighs and as her tears abated she became aware of other sounds. She felt silly and embarrassed with her knickers around her ankles where however unlikely someone just might come by, but all rebellion had fled now. She would not dare move until told to.

Somewhere a woodpigeon called mockingly to her and biting her lower lip she let her fingers stray to her bottom to feel it out. Twenty or 30 minutes had gone by, it was hard to tell, but finally Tony returned.

“It’s a mess, I’ll have to dig some of it out,” he sighed.

“Shall I…?” she said meekly he hands snapping away from her bottom as she stood up straight.

“You won’t touch it,” he snapped, “You can go and finish the fence; this time the old-fashioned way.”

Zoe sighed and stooped to gather her things.

“Leave them,” he barked, “They can stay at half-mast while you work. Step out of them if you must.”

“But…” Zoe’s eyes were wide.

“Then you can come back here and face the wall as soon as you think you are done and wait,” he continued.

“Oh please,” she wailed.

“You can have another spanking first,” he warned.

“Can’t I at least stand in the corner inside after?” she pleaded.

“Very well,” he agreed, “Now jump to it.”


The afternoon had been a difficult one for Zoe. The garden was secluded enough but not from Tony and she could almost feel his eyes studying her as she worked. Her bottom felt huge and exposed so there was little guessing needed as to where his were drawn.

Several times she had nearly snapped and had been on the verge of rounding on him in a rebellion, but then she remembered the spanking. Neither was it so much the fear. With every stroke of the brush on the fence she remembered the green spray she had destroyed in a childish outburst and she blushed. She could not even look herself in the eye and honestly say she did not deserve her predicament, far less Tony.

By the time she was finished hunger gnawed at her belly and Tony was nowhere to be seen. But the garden looked more or less in one piece, no thanks to her, so she made her careful way to the house.

Earlier she had opted for removing the clothing from around her ankles, it was too difficult to work and in any case it made her feel completely stupid to be hobbled so. However, the act of placing them in a rough pile on the ground had been a commitment to her imposed submission and had brought a fresh onslaught of blushing. Now she gathered her clothes and scurried for the back door out of sudden fear that she would be seen before the last hurdle.

The kitchen was at right angles to the dining area with one obvious corner that could be seen from both. She knew if she appeared to be hiding Tony would move her and he might even make stand outside again. Zoe sighed. Going unbidden to the corner he would chose was almost as hard sticking her bottom up in submission to the spanking; almost but not quite.

“Bugger it,” she murmured as she surrendered.

She had known that it might or perhaps would come to this when she agreed to come. Now that it had happened she was mortified yes, but also something else, something like familiar ground or an old friend. As her breath lightly dusted the wall she could not help feeling that buried somewhere in her humility was a second chance at something just out of her view.

Almost at once Tony was behind her nodding in satisfaction at her penance.

“The fence look’s okay, but the lawn will die off in places,” he grunted.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled and felt it.

“I only hope the roses survive, they have a chance at least and if not,” he shrugged; there was nothing to be done.

“I suppose I do have this coming then,” she said weakly and pulled a face over her shoulder.

He motioned that she should turn and face the wall, but not before noting her coloured cheeks and the contrition in her eyes.

“I’ll make some sandwiches, you can eat them in the corner,” he said casually as he moved off to the kitchen.

“Oh come on,” she groaned, “This is silly.”

“Do you want to still be standing there at bed time?” he countered with a growl.

“No,” she answered sullenly.

The silence that followed was unbearable and with every scrape of knife on plate as he worked she imagined him studying her behind. So to claw back some dignity she struck up a conversation; it seemed more like a game that way.

“How did you get to know Uncle Ben in the first place?” she asked.

“The Army, you know that, he was briefly my company and then battalion commander,” Tony told her.

Zoe had no idea what that meant but was desperate to fend off the scrutiny of silence.

“Uncle Ben was a… colonel wasn’t he? What were you?” she ventured.

God it was a strange feeling having a casual conversation with a man she hardly knew with her bare bottom on display.

“I would have made Major but the warrior got pranged; a roadside job. Ben was on staff by then; this was in the Gulf. He was due to retire and despite our best efforts the Army invalided me out,” Tony realised he hadn’t spoken of these things for years.

“You don’t seem that much of an invalid to me,” Zoe observed ruefully.

“Plenty had it worse,” he said quietly, “Even so I was in the hospital for a year.”

“How comes you never married?” she was suddenly very interested in his answer.

“I was,” he laughed, “We lasted almost three years. The army wasn’t for her.”

“She was a soldier?” Zoe didn’t care, but she was desperate to know more.

“Army wife, same thing,” he shrugged. “Ironically the decree absolute came the week after I got pranged.”

“So why not since… I mean the army, that was years ago?” Zoe pressed him.

She risked a look over her shoulder and scrutinised his face for any sign of a soul-wrecked past as he cut the sandwiches.

“There have been a couple of times, the last one was two years ago,” he said looking up.

She whipped her head back to face the wall.

“What? Didn’t they like being spanked?” Zoe found that she could smirk with her back turned.

“You know that is almost the last thing women ever complain about,” he said as if only just realising it; “Most wanted to change me and get me a high-powered job.”

“I am not the first who has stood in this corner then?” The question was more loaded than the teasing tone she was going for.

He chuckled, “Not by a damn sight.”

The answer made her feel better and worse at the same time; less of a fool maybe but also less exclusive. At that moment he put a sandwich-half over her shoulder. The green lettuce under a layer of cheese and ham was somehow appropriate.


As predicted within days of the spanking the lawn broke out in brown patches like a stain on paradise. Only the survival of the roses was any consolation and Zoe felt an unfamiliar pang so strongly that she wouldn’t have blamed Tony if he had spanked her again for good measure.

She stood a little way back pensively folding her arms as Tony stooped to examine the lawn. He reminded her of a doctor about to pronounce on a patient.

“Some of it can be repaired by reseeding but the rest will have to be re-turfed,” Tony sighed. “I have a good mind to make you repaint every fence on the estate with a toothbrush,” he scolded her.

Zoe blushed and dipped her head.

“Will it cost much? Maybe I can pay,” she suggested.

“Oh listen to lady muck,” he teased, “Not a penny in the bank and already spending it.”

“I-I only meant…” Tears pooled in her eyes.

He smiled warmly.

“You do know that I got a fair wedge from old Ben without strings don’t you,” he assured her.

She hadn’t. His interest in her was… was what? Zoe’s heart flipped like she had stumbled.

He was still watching her from the lawn and held her gaze for a long moment.

“Just… just how old are you?” Her eyes slid sideways coyly.

“I’ll be 40 next year,” he said wistfully.

“Before or after I turn 26?” she asked quickly.

In her head she ran the little calculation ‘half plus seven years.’

He frowned and shook his head in utter bewilderment. What had that got to do with the lawn?

“Oh, it doesn’t matter,” she blushed.

I’ll be a year or two short… she shook herself; silly game.

“Get some grass seeds from the shed, let’s see how much we can do here,” he suggested.

They spent the rest of the day chatting on the lawn while they scattered seeds on the smaller bare patches.


The summer went by and in time the lawn recovered and even Zoe and Tony’s dining adventures became less fraught. In fact, away from the gardens and grounds Tony was far less dour and he was given to making witty observations and telling stories of his time in the army.

Zoe as well became more relaxed and was able to laugh at her innocent notions in academia and her failures in the workplace.

“No boyfriends then?” Tony asked casually one night.

“No one in particular,” Zoe shrugged, “I tend to burn through boys too easily and the men are turned off by my style.”

She made an exaggerated Cecile B De Milne type pose and put her nose in the air.

“I see you have let your hair grow out and those pink tinges have gone,” he said carefully.

She shrugged again.

“Time for a new look maybe,” she replied, “When I get the dosh I might buy some new clothes.”

“Don’t grow up too fast,” Tony said with a wink.

“But just grow up, is that it?”

“Maybe a little,” he conceded, raising a glass.

So as July turned to August Zoe began to consider September with some trepidation. The change in season would mark a new chapter in her life.

Over the summer Tony had trained Zoe to use many of the tools and her role had expanded greatly. He had even given her a couple lessons on the dumper truck, but he had still cautioned her not to use it until she was ready.

Nevertheless, one day after it had been raining Zoe contemplated a pile of deadwood by the gravel path and considered where to move it. It couldn’t be burnt, certainly not where it was, and the wet wood made it the devil to heft into wheel barrows.

With a sigh Zoe eyed the dumper and turned over an idea in her mind. She had never owned a car, but she had a license. And in any case they were on private land. She knew that the steering was backwards on the vehicle and when Tony had showed her, she had managed it fine.

“He did say when I was ready,” she mused aloud, “How hard can it be?”

The dump scoop was no easier to load than a barrow but it did carry almost half the deadwood at a time. Zoe reasoned that she could pile it all up behind the old sheds in an hour or two and then once it was dry it could be made into a pyre.

Steering was difficult at first and she kept instinctively turning the wrong way so that the dumper tended to weave dangerously along the gravel. But soon she could more or less do it right and made rapid progress.

It was only when she made her first return journey did she see the ruts in the wet grass.

“Cripes, maybe I should have gone around,” she groaned, visions of the last spoilt lawn loomed. “Well, what was I supposed to do?”

Even so on the next run she tried to keep to the track but steering between the trees was tricky and a couple of times she clipped one of them. Then to make an approach she took it wide but the 90 degree turn was beyond her and the back wheel slid.

“Shit, shit, shit,” she screamed as the dumper slipped.

There was a splinter of bark as she hit a juniper tree head on, the force of which threw her backwards onto the wet ground.

She was still sitting on the grass in a daze when Tony came running over.

“Zoe,” he yelled anxiously, “Are you okay?”

“I think so,” Zoe said in a strained voice as she got to her feet.

“That was a hell of a knock,” he said, concern carried on his face.

Without further comment he grabbed her into his arms and held to him.

“I’m okay,” she said softly, enjoying the contact.

She looked up at him and his face softened. It was hard to tell who kissed who, but in an instant they were in a firm embrace and their lips were pressed together.

“I’m sorry, I should have been more careful,” she said shyly.

Tony frowned and then he took in the damage. The tree was in a bad way and the grass alongside the path was churned to a quagmire.

“What did I say about driving the dumper?” he scolded her.

“I tried to be careful, I thought I was ready,” she said, biting her lower lip.

“You nearly broke your neck and… look at the grass,” he sighed heavily. “That tree is over 200 years old.”

“I have a good mind to paddle you raw… what did I say I would do next time you…?” he seized her by the shoulders and shook her.

“That was years ago, anyway…” Zoe broke off.

Tony frowned. He had forgotten that this was the second time she had pulled the same stunt. One look in his eye and Zoe knew what was coming.

“Tony…” she said backing away, “Not again please… I… I…”

“You…” he accused his hands moving to meticulously roll-up each sleeve.

Zoe offered little resistance as she was thrown over his shoulder. She could only hope for at least some privacy.

Nearby the woods were deep and cool. The tenant was away and anyway this end of the estate was not much visited by the household. Behind a screen of trees was a fallen log and it was to this that Tony took her and deposited her on the ground.

“When are you going to learn?” he rasped as he sat on the log.

Zoe’s overalls were already rolled to her waist and underneath she wore nothing but M&S cotton briefs on account of the heat. It did not take long until both items were draped over her work boots so that she was bare-bottomed and served up over his knee.

“Ooh, this is so unfair,” she lied and squirmed for a less tummy crushing position.

The first spank struck her as hard as any yet from him, not that she was given long to ponder it. The second, third and fourth spanks came one atop of the other until Zoe was all fire in the tail.

“I’m sorry,” she wailed.

If there were any there to hear it, they might have thought that someone was applauding in the woods. And had they dawdled they might have amended that to an ovation, for log minutes on minutes did the spanking continue until Zoe’s shrieks and squeals were heard even above the impacts on her bottom.

Zoe kicked and strained, crossing and re-crossing her ankles as she began to bawl. She even remembered to offer up her burning bottom in submission as he demanded but it gained her no respite.

Finally he deposited her face down on the log and strode over to a stand of wild apple trees.

Zoe lay panting, her eyes tear-dripped and her bottom burning.

Across the glade from where she lay Tony availed himself of a lock-knife and snipped off two or three lengths of apple branch. They were as thin and stout as a spinster’s fingers and made sharp swishing sounds as he tested them in the air.

“I’ll never touch the truck again, I swear,” she pleaded, “I’ll stand in the corner for a week, I’ll do anything…”

The first stinging cut was as bad as she feared and she shrieked.

“Spank me every day for a month,” she continued pleading.

In short minutes a dozen and more weals striped her bare bottom, some of them fresh standout proud flesh-coloured scratches while the earlier lines were swollen and purple in hue.

“Please Tony, I’m sorry,” she wailed, but the switching sting went on for as long as she had yet been spanked until she was a bawling mess.

“Don’t ever do that again,” he said at last, all passion spent.

He hauled her into his arms where she clung to him sobbing and crying over and over that she was sorry.


Corner time had been a bitch. For the rest of the day he had put her against the wall, not letting her sheepishly emerge until late into the evening.

“Sorry,” she said shyly.

“I suppose that’s the last spanking you’ll get from me,” he sighed.

“Is it?” she whispered.

“Isn’t it?” he countered.

“I could stay until Christmas maybe and learn some more about gardening,” she offered.

“In that case, I can’t imagine you won’t get spanked sooner or later,” he said in a soft voice.

“Nor can I,” she smiled. “And what about after? Won’t you need help in the spring?”

“Plenty, but be warned a green sapling hurts worse than apple,” he said quietly.

“Ouch,” she said ruefully, still not confident about touching her raw behind. “I think I’d rather just go over your knee.”

“That would be for me to decide,” he said in a stern voice.

“Oh yes,” she said with wide-eyes, “I didn’t mean…”

He silenced her with a kiss and she kissed him back.

“Do you think… do you… I mean can this work?” she said eagerly.

“Let’s plant a seed and see,” he replied kissing her again.

She smirked and looked up to where the bedroom was.

“I think this is what Benjamin Romantique wanted all along,” he breathed.

“Maybe, maybe not, at the moment I really don’t care about Romantique or the legacy,” she sighed, “Not one jot.”

The end.


5 Responses to “The Romantique Legacy”

  1. 1 bahamagirl1996

    That was a beautiful love story

  2. 2 paul1510

    you old romantique, you. 😉
    A really beautiful story, thanks. 😀

  3. 3 DJ

    Glad you liked it 🙂

    I thought it was time for some straight romance. 😉

  4. 4 Ansh

    Come to think of it, Romantique would be a nice pen name for you, too! Nicely written, DJ.

  1. 1

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