New to Quest Five?
The stories are best enjoyed when read in order beginning with May 1, 2009.

Welcome To Quest Five
Allison Beaumont is having trouble finding a job after college until one day the wealthy and powerful Joseph Candle offers her a job at his rather unusual corporation, where mistakes can lead to bare bottomed spankings. Adopting the alias of Virginia West, she joins four highly skilled colleagues, racing around the globe in search of mysterious treasures, but wherever she goes, trouble is sure to follow.
Note: Some stories contain scenes of a sexual nature, corporal punishment, non-consensual corporal punishment, and strong language which some reader's may find offensive. If you feel this material might be inappropriate for you please move on to another blog by clicking the next blog link at the top of the page.

May 4, 2009

Great Expectations: The Interview

Sitting up, I greeted the morning with a yawn and brushed the stray hairs from my face with stiff fingers. The morning sun shined brightly through my thin, white curtains as I donned my red, lightweight robe and tied it loosely around my waist. I made my way downstairs to the kitchen where my neatly folded skirt, still laying over the back of my chair, brought a blush to my cheeks.

The kitchen was alive with the sound of crackling grease and a sputtering coffee pot. I breathed in the aroma of bacon, eggs, and fresh coffee and recalled my last meal was lunch. I made my way to the cupboard and grabbed my coffee cup from the shelf. Mom smiled at me from the stove and pretended not to notice my embarrassment.

“Good morning.” I said.

“Good morning, dear. How did you sleep?” Mom asked.

“Better than I expected.” I replied.

“I thought you might. You looked tired when you came home.” Mom said.

Nursing a full cup of coffee I plopped myself down at the table. I indulged in a quick sip to distract myself from the immediate urge to leap back off my sore backside. After a difficult minute of squirming, I noticed the piece of mail sitting on the table in front of me. It was one of those security envelopes nicely disguised in a heavy linen stationery that practically screams, “professional correspondence”.

“What’s this?” I asked.

Mom glanced over at me and the envelope on the table.

“It came in the mail for you yesterday.” She said.

The envelope was already open, a nasty habit of Mom’s but she would never admit to it. I pulled the letter out and admired the feel of the stationery as I unfolded it. Anyone would have recognized the logo on the top of the page, but where most would have been excited, I was filled with a sense of dread.

The letter was an invitation to an interview at the corporate headquarters of Quondam Innovations. Six months ago I would have ripped the letter into pieces and thrown it away, but now I’m desperate enough to consider going. So what if they stand for everything I’ve always opposed? Maybe now is the time to grow up and live in the real world where sometimes it is necessary to choose between ideals and cold, hard cash. The latter being a necessity and the former becoming a lot more flexible as my choices have dwindled down to sucks and sucks worse.

The interview was scheduled for 11 AM. Glancing at the clock, I realized I had very little time to get myself dressed and out the door if I was going to make it on time. Angrily, I glowered at Mom while she continued about making breakfast as if nothing were amiss.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” I asked.

“Why should I?” Mom asked.

“How can you even ask that? Obviously, I barely have enough time to make this interview unless of course you would rather I didn’t go!”

“It is not my responsibility to get you out of bed and to your interviews on time.”

“I’m not asking you to, but it would have been nice if you could have mentioned the letter last night.”

“You’ve made it perfectly clear you don’t want me involved. You can’t have it both ways.”

I have told her to stay out of my business more than a few times in recent weeks, but like usual, Mom was taking it all to the extreme. On the tip of my tongue, I wanted nothing more than to point out the hypocrisy of her words considering she was still opening my mail, but much as I would have liked to finish the argument with her, there simply wasn’t time. I shoved my coffee aside nearly spilling it on the table and stood up to go back upstairs and get showered.

“Watch that attitude.” Mom warned.

“Sorry, Mom.” I said.

“Go on you better hurry.” Mom said.

I climbed the stairs two at a time and barely avoided slamming the bathroom door. I showered so fast, I was out the bathroom door before the last of my soap suds found their way to the drain. My closet didn’t have much to offer in the way of professional attire for the interview so I made do with what I had, a black pencil skirt and white frilly blouse. Not exactly my favorites but it beat jeans and a t-shirt. I tied my hair back in a ponytail so I didn’t have to waste time styling it, threw on a quick dab of make up and I was on my way, buttoning my blouse as I descended the stairs like a rhino with a mission.

My purse and car keys were waiting by the door along with the envelope containing my interview appointment. I grabbed it all and was out the door without a backward glance. I groaned inwardly when I saw the morning dew on my car windows. A quick glance at my watch confirmed I didn’t have time to squeegee them off nor to wait for the annoyingly slow defroster to do the job. I turned the ignition, hit the windshield wipers and pressed the defroster button hoping I’d have a clear view a couple of miles down the road. With 100 miles to go and less than two hours to get there, I put the transmission in drive and married the accelerator to the floor board, praying I’d catch a break with below average traffic. God must have been in a good mood.

I pulled into the parking garage with ten minutes to spare. The security guard looked more than a little shocked when I showed him my letter, but whatever he was thinking he kept it to himself and merely directed me to a reserved parking spot on the 4th level. Why it is that every company sends their visitors to the highest levels of the parking structures and then requires them to hike back down to the ground level to enter the building is beyond my comprehension.

The Quondam Innovation building is a monstrous tower in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Gazing up at it, I was nearly blinded by the sunlight reflecting off its tinted windows and then I realized, they were not all windows. Several of the reflective surfaces were actually solar panels, something I would never have expected to find considering Quondam‘s reputation for excess and waste.

The lobby was antiseptic. The floor tiles were a strange reflective blue and on one side leading back to a bank of elevators, a long narrow fountain provided the only sound beyond the clacking of my heels. A second glance exposed a unique lighting within the fountain creating a rainbow behind the falling water. I could have stared at it for hours but I was quickly running out of time and turned my attention to the rounded reception desk instead.

Three women close to my own age sat there quietly looking busy. They all smiled at me as I approached. The tallest one stepped out to meet me with her hand extended. I grasped it firmly and gave her my best professional smile.

“Miss Beaumont?” She asked.

“Yes.” I replied.

“You’re expected in the third floor conference room. I can take you up if you like?”

“Yes, please that would be most helpful.”

“Right this way.”

I followed her onto an elevator neatly hidden behind the reception desk. She pressed the button marked 3. The elevator shot upward at such high speed, I grabbed the handrail to maintain my balance and forced myself to breathe normally. The woman’s eyes had a glint of a laugh in them but otherwise she kept her thoughts to herself.

From the elevator I was led through a double door and then through a maze of monotonous cubicles until I stood before what was obviously the conference room. The walls were not glass but they were clear as glass and inside was a twelve foot oval table surrounded by dark blue leather chairs with cherry wood bases and arms. Even from a distance I could tell the table was made of solid, slab marble, probably imported from Greece or Italy if the sandy color and pink, blue, and silver flecking were any indication.

Inside the room, a woman looking to be in her late forties sat waiting. Her blondish brown hair was tied up in a neat bun giving her a distinguished and slightly intimidating appearance. She wore a single pair of diamond stud earrings for jewelry and except for the lack of spectacles on her nose, she would have looked right at home working behind the counter in any library. From the hem of her skirt to the collar of her blazer, the dark gray suit she wore complimented her features in a very auspicious manner. I felt sloppy by comparison and the glint in her eye left little doubt she had come to the same conclusion.

I stepped inside the room and extended my hand to the woman.

“I’m Allison Beaumont.” I said.

“I expected as much. You may call me Mrs. Anderson.” She said.

She took my hand but only for the briefest of moments before stepping passed me.

“Thank you, Cathy. I can manage from here.” Mrs. Anderson said.

Mrs. Anderson walked the length of the table to a file folder and then brought it back to a place directly across from me. She gestured for me to be seated and then sat down herself. Her long fingers flipped open the folder and slid two small packets across the table to me. Instinctively my hand came to rest atop the pages and I looked at her with questioning eyes.

“Formalities before we can begin. You should read through them and sign where marked if you agree to the terms.” Mrs. Anderson said.

“What is this?” I asked.

“The first one is a non-disclosure agreement the other is an interview agreement. If you want to have your own legal representative review them you may but I am not permitted to discuss anything further with you until you have signed both documents.” Mrs. Anderson said.

“And if I don’t?” I asked.

“Then I think you know your way out.” She replied.

I stared at her for any hint of what this was all about, but her eyes were as cold as ice and as empty as my wallet. My attention turned to the pages in front of me. I thumbed through them giving a cursory scan to the legal jargon, but it was all well outside my realm of understanding. I almost walked out but then shifting in the chair, I thought of the disappointed look on my father’s face. I picked up the pen and signed.

“Now maybe I’ll get some answers. How did you get my information and for which position am I being considered?” I demanded.

Mrs. Anderson placed the signed documents back inside the folder and then pulled out what was clearly an original copy of my résumé. I couldn’t quite read her expression but I had the distinct impression she did not like me.

“Does it really matter?” Mrs. Anderson asked.

“If you think I am so desperate I’ll take any position, then you don’t have a clue who I am.” I replied.

“You have a degree in psychology, Miss Beaumont. Tell me what position is it you think you are best suited for.”

“I’m just looking to understand why it is I am here, Mrs. Anderson.”

“I’m not here to answer your questions. I’m here to ask a few of my own. I would think you’d be familiar with this process.” Mrs. Anderson said.

The thinly veiled barb referring to the number of interviews I have attended in the last year was revealing, but not in a comforting way. If she knew that much, she might well know a few far more personal things I would rather no one knew.

“Fine ask your questions then.” I said.

“Let’s begin with your degree. Why psychology?”

“I thought it would be beneficial in any job to understand what motivates people.”

“Has your opinion changed?”


“Then why did you phrase it in the past tense?”

“Because I made the decision in the past.”

“Would you make the same decision today?”

“Probably not.”


“Because principles and ideas don’t pay bills.”

“So you are willing to sacrifice your principles for money?”

“I would call it a compromise.”

“How far are you willing to compromise?”

“On what principle?”

“All of them.”

“There are still lines of right and wrong that I will not cross.”

“Do you believe you always know the difference between them?”


“Confidence. That’s an admirable trait, but do you honestly believe your judgment is unimpeachable?”

“If I have all the facts at my disposal, I am more than capable of discerning right from wrong. It is not so difficult.”

“What about when you don’t have all the facts?”

“I try to reserve my judgment in those cases.”

“Very well. For the following statements please answer as true or false based on your feelings.” Mrs. Anderson said.

I nodded my acceptance although my understanding was out the window along with any pretense that this was a job interview. Whatever it was about, it had nothing to do with my professional qualifications. If I didn’t know better, I would say it was more of a personality test.

“Tomorrow is another day.”


“Some things are better left in the past.”


“Rules are meant to be broken.”

“Depends on the rule.”

“We are speaking generically Miss Beaumont. A true of false answer is required.”


“It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”


“True or false, please Miss Beaumont.”


Mrs. Anderson raised an eyebrow at me. I stared back, unblinking until she moved on to the next question.

“Change is inevitable.”

“False, but it is likely.”

“The future is not ours to see.”


“It’s a small world.”


“Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.”


“Miss Beaumont.”


“Death is just another marker on the roadmap of life.”


“Never make a promise you can’t keep.”


“The bigger they are the harder they fall.”


“Money can’t buy love.”


“Money is the root of all evil.”

“False, people are the root of all evil.”

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


“No one lives forever.”


“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

“False, it just isn‘t spent.”

“Chocolate is better than sex.”

“That depends on the man.”

Mrs. Anderson gave me a disapproving stare.

“False.” I said.

“I chose the path less traveled by.”


“Thank you Miss Beaumont. You were very helpful.” Mrs. Anderson said.

“True.” I replied.

I gave her a smile, hoping she would find some amusement in my response. I swear there was a twinkle in her eyes, but her serious expression was cause enough for doubt. Quietly she placed the page where she had been taking note of my responses into the folder in front of her. I had the impression this strange interview was coming to an end and I still had no idea what it was all about.

“Are we through or is there something more?” I asked.

“We have one more matter to cover, but first, if you will excuse me, I need to verify something.” Mrs. Anderson said.

“Of course, take your time.” I said.

She left me alone in the room with her file folder and I have to admit I was tempted to open it up and look through what all she had in there, but something told me it would be a mistake. Instead I looked around through the clear walls into the office area. There were a few people going about what appeared to be very busy work and a few others who appeared to have nothing to do but surf the internet. I wondered if they were not the least bit concerned about being caught doing nothing or if their jobs somehow involved mindless web searching. The latter seems unlikely but then you could say the same about me interviewing at QI.

Mrs. Anderson returned after a few minutes. She was holding a blue leather paddle in her right hand, making no attempt to hide it from sight. If my eyes could have popped out of their sockets, they might well have done so, instead I found myself swallowing hard, remembering yesterday afternoon over my father’s lap. I blushed as I searched for words.

“Stand up and remove your skirt please.” Mrs. Anderson said.

Her voice was distant like through a long, dark tunnel. She was smiling, really smiling, for the first time since I had met her. I was flooded with emotions from outrage to fear. My eyes darted to the door and every instinct screamed run. I took a breath and stood to face Mrs. Anderson.

“Are you insane?” I asked.

“Miss Beaumont, if you are to join QI, you will quickly learn that disciplinary spankings are part of our corporate culture. I realize it is a bit unusual, but you did agree to a demonstration when you signed the interview agreement.”

“First off, whether it was in the document or not I don’t agree to this demonstration as you call it and if you try to force me I’ll own QI by the end of the week.” I said.

“Nobody is holding you here, Miss Beaumont. You are free to leave if that is your decision.” Mrs. Anderson said.

“Why wouldn’t it be? You have given me nothing here. Am I being offered a job? If so, what job is that? If somebody is going to whack my ass it isn’t going to be for nothing.”

“I am not authorized to make any offers or to divulge any information about the position you are being considered for. I don’t know if you’ll be offered the position or not but if you walk out that door right now I guarantee you won’t be. It’s your choice, but please make up your mind.” Mrs. Anderson said.

“I want some answers.” I said.

“I don’t have any to give you.” She replied.

I sighed in disgust. With a last glance at her and the blue paddle in her hand, I walked out the door.

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