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.

July 13, 2009

Measuring Up: Balancing Act

It took four more days to finish going through the stack of books and random notes provided by Dr. Michaels. He and Kyra had been growing increasingly impatient over the week as I spent hour after hour sifting through the material and occasionally quizzing them on my interpretations. Contrastingly, Mr. Barker had approved and even seemed impressed by my diligence. I leaned back in my chair and scrolled through the 40 pages of notes I had taken with a feeling of tremendous satisfaction.

“Finished?” Mr. Barker asked, leaning his head in my doorway without stepping inside.

I glanced up at him and flashed a smile. His sporadic visits through the week had kept me from getting too bored. The way he showed up here and there had me wondering if he might be interested in me more than the report, but that’s probably just my wild imagination at work. Still, he was a pleasant interruption.

“Finally.” I said. “Do you want it printed or will a network copy suffice?”

“Just give me it’s location in an email and I’ll be all set.” He replied.

“Coming right up then.”

“Is she done?” Dr. Michaels asked coming up the stairs from the main room. “Really done? Like we can get back to real work done?”

Mr. Barker laughed at him and rather than answering, he walked away back to his own office. Dr. Michaels paused for a moment looking like he was trying to decide whether to follow Mr. Barker or come see me. I was hoping for the first but of course he did the latter. I’ll have to work on being less approachable.

“Yes Dr. Michaels, the report is done.” I said.

“Are you certain you’ve gone over every detail? I’m certain we could take a few more days just to be sure.” He said.

The sarcasm dripping off his tongue was really starting to get on my nerves.

“I understand you are anxious to get back to Italy and resume your search, but having read your report it is pretty obvious you don’t have a clue where to look next.” I said.

“Obviously you failed to read all my notes. I have several clues as to where to look.” He replied.

“Enough to keep us rummaging through half of Europe for the next decade.”

“Better out there looking than in here wasting time trying to figure out if we know what we already know.”

“It wasn’t your call and it wasn’t mine for that matter, but I happen to agree with Mr. Barker, it is better that we take some time to narrow our search rather than running around in circles.”

“I’m sure your exquisite report will lead us straight to it.” Dr. Michaels said.

I couldn’t help it. I rolled my eyes and slapped my open palm down on my desktop in frustration. He was really getting on my nerves.

“Don’t you have something better to do?” I asked.

“Like what? Find the lost Galilean Compass? I thought you already did that?”

“I did what I was asked to do. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with someone who cares.”

“I’m sure Joe will be very interested to hear how you don’t care.”

“Then run along and tell him” I said.

Right about then I’d have taken a spanking just to not have to listen to him anymore. I doubted Mr. Candle would have that kind of reaction anyway. In my short time with Q5 I had noticed, no one really listened to Dr. Michaels. Frankly, I was beginning to wonder why he was part of the team in the first place.

“Lucky for you I have better things to do with my time.” Dr. Michaels replied.

He spun around on his heel to leave and nearly trampled Kyra into ground. The two of them glared at each other for a long minute before Dr. Michaels remembered how to be a gentleman and stood aside. Kyra stepped inside with an exaggerated stride passed him which made me giggle slightly. Dr. Michaels frowned.

“I’m putting together final itineraries in the next couple hours so if you have any special travel requirement send them to my terminal ASAP. Mr. Barker wants us in the air by Sunday afternoon.” Kyra said.

“Do we stick with business attire or something else for these trips?” I asked.

Gene looked at the ceiling and shook his head as if I’d asked what color the sky was. Kyra huffed a little as if she expected me to already know.

“If it’s too much trouble for you to answer I’ll just ask Mr. Barker myself.” I said.

“No, no. Standard business attire is expected, but bring some evening and casual attire as well so you’re prepared.” Kyra said.

“Thank you.” I said.

“When will you have an ETD for Sunday?” Dr. Michaels asked.

“Two hours. I’ll message everyone when it’s finalized.” Kyra replied.

Dr. Michaels nodded and left my office without a look back. I watched him walk away wanting to strangle him.

“Gene getting on your nerves?” Kyra asked.

“Like bees in honey.” I said.

“You’ll get used to it. He’s not so bad in the field when we’re working but he gets a little stir crazy around the office.”

“Somehow I don’t think either of us would get away with acting like that around here.”

Kyra laughed.

“Didn’t think so.” I said. “Was there something else?”

“Oh yeah. You need to get certified for travel with firearms. Tom’s waiting for you down on level 24.”

“Is that really necessary?” I asked.

“Just following orders. You’d be smart to do the same.” She said.

I nodded as she left back to her own desk in a hurry. She always seemed like a hub of activity and I had a feeling she liked it that way. I sighed and pushed myself back from my desk to head out.

I should have remember as soon as Kyra had said 24, but it didn’t hit me until the elevator doors opened up to two goons with guns, just where it was I was going. I glanced nervously at the palm scanner and swallowed hard before placing my hand on it. I had only slightly better confidence I would survive the scan than the first time, but just like before the light turned green.

The guns were lowered and the goons looked only slightly disappointed they didn’t get shoot me. I smiled, happy to be alive. Looking around, I realized I didn’t really know where to go to find Tom. I should have asked Kyra for more specific instructions but of course she knew I wouldn’t know and was more than happy to let me head off with only minimal information. What will it take to get the team to respect me?

“Excuse me, I know it’s a little unusual to ask, but could either of you point me in the direction of Mr. Tom Clark?” I asked.

The two goons looked at each other as if trying to decide if it would be a dereliction of their duty to respond to me. I guess it wasn’t or they thought I was worth the risk. Probably the first because I doubt they have much brains for thinking.

“First door on the left.” Goon one said.

I smiled and nodded.


My security card unlocked the door without issue, another relief since the goons were watching. I stepped inside and immediately wanted to walk back out. I hadn’t expected to walk in on anybody except Tom. He was there, but he was not alone.

He paused and looked at me with a serious expression on his face. The blink in his eyes said he was annoyed but the up tick in his posture indicated he was at least somewhat pleased by my presence. The young woman bent over the desk was less pleased.

Her skirt was folded neatly on the table and laying immediately next to her head. There was no way her peripheral vision wasn’t completely aware of it and I’m guessing the fact was contributing to the bright red blush gracing her cheeks. The glistening tears in her eyes probably weren’t helping either though.

Tom was standing behind her with a blue leather paddle identical to the one I’d felt from Mrs. Anderson when I was hired. It wasn’t anything like Dad’s paddle at home but it still did a good job of stinging and combing that with the humiliation of being de-skirted and spanked at work, it was certainly a bad enough experience to merit avoidance.

“Don’t you knock?” Tom asked, staring coldly at me.

“No one mentioned this was a private office or that you were occupied. I apologize for the intrusion.” I said. “I can come back later.”

Tom shook his head.

“Never mind. I’m almost finished here.”

“I can wait outside.” I suggested.

The woman on the table nodded emphatic agreement but didn’t utter a word.

“Don’t be silly. You might as well see first hand what you can expect from time to time, especially if you forget your manners very often.” Tom said with a wink.

I stood off to the side of the door with my back to the wall and waited for Tom to finish up. He laid six hard swats on her backside while I watched. Each one had her whimpering and struggling to stay down on the table. By the last, her tears where glistening on her cheeks rather than in her eyes, but that wasn’t really surprising. What caught my attention was the gentle way Tom helped her up off the table, wiped away her tears and handed her skirt back to her. Once she was composed, she even gave him a rueful smile.

“I’m sorry Mr. Clark, it won’t happen again. I promise.” She said.

He nodded and showed her out the door. When it closed he turned his attention back to me.

“What are you here for?” He asked.

“Kyra said you needed to certify me for traveling with firearms.”

“You’re already certified. You just need to sign some papers and check out your weapon.” He said.

“Is it really necessary?” I asked.

“I can paddle you first and then we can do it, if you prefer.”

“I’m sure you would like that.”

“Don’t ask if you don’t want to know.” He replied.

“Let’s just get this over with.” I said.

“Sure thing, honey.” He said with a wink, “Just take off that skirt and fold it up neatly and then you can bend over the table just like you saw.”

I cocked my head at him and gave him my best woman out of patience look.

“Ha. Ha. Ha.” I said.

“You can’t blame a man for trying.”

“I can and I will.”

“You need to lighten up. You might be the hottest thing around this week but after a couple of months you’ll be just like the rest of us.”

“Better get that gun checked out to me then.” I said.

He raised an eyebrow at me.

“If I start acting anything like you, I’ll need it to shoot myself.” I said.

He shook his head at me. I shook my head at him. He huffed. I sighed. Finally, we sat down to the paperwork at hand and after a few minutes I left with a loaded gun inside my blazer. It was awkward and heavy and I was determined to hate it. Too bad I couldn’t just say no.

When I got back up to the 32nd floor, Kyra had finalized all the trip details and I printed out a copy of my itinerary to have Cathy make the necessary arrangements to keep my parents thinking it was just a typical business trip. Mr. Barker rode in the elevator with me on the way out.

“I hope you didn’t have any plans for the weekend.” He said.

“Only for tonight actually and they could have easily been postponed if needed.”

“That’s the only way to live.”

“I take it you’re single?” I asked.

He frowned at me slightly and I wished I could take the question back.

“I don’t like to mix my personal life with work.” He said.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”

“Forget about it.”

The doors opened and he walked away without another word. I watched him for a moment before talking to Cathy and she watched me watch him. I blushed a little when I noticed but she said nothing about it and so neither did I. She arranged my paperwork for home in less than fifteen minutes and I was finally on my way home. When I got there, I didn’t even have a chance to drop my keys coming in the front door before Mom attacked.

“Aren’t you going out tonight?” She accused.

“Yes, Mom.” I answered.

I know the annoyance I was feeling came through in my voice and I didn’t even care. She already knew the answer to the question before she asked. It was just her way of needling me about coming home late from work. No doubt she thought it was some surreptitious protest of mine about being setup with Mark. The concept that my job might actually require more than an 8 hour commitment was obviously beyond her comprehension.

“Isn’t he going to be here any minute?” She asked.

It should have been rhetorical considering she was standing right next to me when I made the date with Mark. I rolled my eyes toward the grandfather clock and nodded my head in agreement. Mom wasn’t too amused but I was.

“Oh! By the way, I’m leaving for Italy Sunday morning, so I’ll need to pack tomorrow. Do you think you could take care of my laundry tonight?” I said.

“You were just gone for a week! How can they expect you to travel this often?” Mom asked.

“It’s part of the job Mom. I already mentioned I’d be doing a lot of traveling.” I said.

“It’s not appropriate just you and this male boss of yours going off together on these trips. How long will it be this time?”

“It’s not just the two of us. I’m not even the only woman going and I’ll have a private room. It’s not like I’ll be sleeping with my boss Mom.”

“Don’t even say something like that young lady. It’s bad enough you are traveling with him and someone else might think it.”

Is it murder to strangle your own mother? It seems like temporary insanity or even self defense ought to cover it from a legal perspective.

“It’s my job. I realize you don’t approve, but you didn’t approve of unemployment either. You really make me feel like I can do no right sometimes.” I said.

“You should be happy I take an interest in your life. It would be far easier to wash my hands of you.”

I balled my hands into fists, closed my eyes, and breathed out all the tension. Arguing with mom is like trying to move a wall, it isn’t going to happen unless you want to break it. I forced a smile, unclenched my fists, and opened my eyes.

“We’ll talk about it later okay? I need to get ready.” I said.

Mom huffed clearly not happy with me. What would make her happy with me is probably something I will never understand. Fortunately, a knock at the front door prevented the conversation from dragging on any further.

Mark had ditched his tie and unbuttoned his collar by the time he knocked on the door. Dad was there to greet him and I bet it was quite the site from the street. Mark had brought a half dozen red roses and had to quickly retract the offering when he became aware it was Dad and not me on the other side of the door. There was awkward throat clearing before Dad invited him inside.

“I’ll be ready to go in five.” I said on my way up the stairs.

Mom collected the roses. Dad restarted the inquisition.

Three minutes later Mark and I were in his car.

The restaurant was packed. It was the kind of place my parents would never set foot in and that made it perfect. The tables were all covered in red and white checkered cloths and the floor was lightly covered in dry straw mixed with peanut shells. A red plastic basket sat in the middle of each table full of peanuts waiting to be broken free from their shells.

It was something like an indoor picnic, complete with the aroma of simmering woodchips and dripping BBQ sauce. It took me a moment to notice the country music playing in the background because there was so much rhythmic clapping and dancing going on, the music wasn’t really needed.

We were seated right away, apparently Mark has friends in low places. Rather than sitting across from me he decided to park himself right next to me on the bench at our table. It was unusual but I give him high marks for originality. Given the noise in the place it was also probably the only way we were going to understand anything beyond sign language from each other.

“Chicken, beef, or pork?” He shouted at me.

“Chicken.” I replied, leaning in closer than I really needed.

He didn’t seem to mind. His arm slipped around me and it felt nice, comfortable. I have to admit he was shaking my first impression quite well. Then he started swaying with me on the bench and I couldn’t help but relax. It was almost like I had known him for years instead of mere days.

When our waitress arrived, dressed in a long brown skirt, red boots, and a checkered shirt that matched the table cloth, he quickly stood up and whispered our orders into her ear. I was waiting for her to slap him for getting so close but she just smiled and giggled. I was slightly jealous but probably for no reason since he sat right back down next to me and continued our little dance.

It didn’t take long for dinner to arrive. By the looks of it we got the whole chicken minus the neck and head. It was served like royalty on a faux silver platter with a large carving knife neatly planted on the side. Mark did the honors, but not before affixing a disposable bib around my neck and layering my lap with paper napkins. I wondered if a yellow slicker would have looked better.

Mark didn’t seem to care about how ridiculous I looked and oddly enough that made me not care either. I’m not used to being fed at the table, well at least not since I was two, but Mark never gave me chance. He insisted I try every bite right from his hands and by the end of the meal I was glad it was his hands covered in sweet, sticky sauce and not mine.

As we walked outside into the cool evening air, I slipped my hand inside of his. There aren’t many men who could pull off a dinner experience like that without coming off as a complete jackass, but he’d managed to make it romantic and fun. I hated the fact the evening was coming to an end, but dragging it out longer would make me seem like an immature teenager or a desperate hussy. Being neither, I knew it was time to go home.

Mom and Dad were probably watching us while we stood on the doorstep saying goodnight. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care. Mark just had a way about him that made me feel like nothing else mattered when he was close. I know there are supposed to be rules about first dates, but they aren’t for nights like this one. I kissed him warmly, making sure he knew just how much I enjoyed the evening. From inside, I watched him walk back to his car with a kick in his step and a smile on his face.


  1. Ashley, nice chapter, still don't like Allison's parents, they sound like monsters, or at least Victorian.
    Warm hugs,

  2. ashley,

    good story. I like the virginia and mark scene, made for interesting reading. oh the scene on the 24th floor was also well written and interesting. good job

  3. I was all set for Tom to spank Virginia! Nice tease thought, should make it all the better when he finally does get the chance.

    I don't think I much care for Mark. He's seems a little controlling. I hope she doesn't get too involved with him.

    Overall, a great read. Thanks for putting in all that effort. I honestly don't know how you write these stories so fast, but I'm glad you do.

  4. I love the mother daughter exchange here. You can't blame Allison's parents for getting worried about long hours, constant trips, or the appearance of impropriety. What are parents for if not to worry about things like that?

    I am rooting for Mark by the way. He seems like a good guy and I hope things get more serious with him soon.

  5. Interesting to see all the different way's V is pushed to the edge already with the team.