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.

August 19, 2009

Diving In: A Delicate Dance

“Are you ready?” Jack asked.

He wore his black tux as casually as a cat wears fur. The bowtie was slightly crooked and before I even thought about it, I reached out to straighten it. Jack’s eyes laughed at me as he must have read the hesitation in fingers when I realized what I was doing. I patted his chest wistfully after finishing and momentarily forgot about everything else.

Dropping my hand I looked up and nodded, taking his proffered arm like the elegant woman I was meant to be for the night. The soft click of the closing door went unnoticed as we made our way to the elevator. Kyra stood there impatiently waiting, flanked by Tom and Dr. Michaels.

The elevator doors slid open with a soft ding.

Kyra turned and gestured into the empty elevator. Innocence looked like guilt on her smiling face. Whatever had happened between her and Jack behind those closed doors, it wasn’t enough.

“Going down?” She said.

Letting go of Jack’s arm, I walked passed her and straight to the back of the elevator. I turned on my toes and stared back at the others. On the inside I was laughing, but I tried to keep my face straight and I think I succeeded.

“Lobby please.” I said.

Without really trying, it appeared I had managed to annoy Kyra again. Jack ushered everyone into the elevator with me, but managed to stare at me the entire time. It was unnerving. He stepped inside, last, and reached out with his left hand to slap the button for the lobby and then entire time he kept his eyes locked with mine.

The ride was smooth and timeless and all the while, Jack and I stayed locked in each other’s gaze. When the doors slid open, Jack waited for the others to exit. I felt like I was being held after school and didn’t know what I’d done to anger my teacher.

“I realize it might be asking a little too much,” Jack said. “But do you think you could possibly not annoy everyone you meet tonight?”

I felt like fuming.

“Maybe I should just wait here at the hotel.” I said.

I didn’t mean it, but I couldn’t think of anything else to say in response.

“If I thought I could, I would. The problem is, trouble seems to find you no matter where you are.”

“That’s a bold statement from someone who barely even knows me.”

“Look. All I’m asking is you try to be a little less defensive tonight and maybe bite your tongue here and there instead of saying every smart thing that pops into your head. I’d really appreciate it.”

A thousand responses wandered the tip of my tongue, but in considering each and everyone of them, I came to the conclusion that he was more right about me than I wanted to admit. So, instead of defending myself and attacking him, I swallowed a little bit of pride and just accepted his words for what they were; Good advice.

“Okay.” I said.


“Okay. You’re right. I’ve been on the defensive ever since I met all of you. As a group, you make me feel like I need to prove my worth and it’s a feeling I don’t like. Because of that, I’ve probably said more than a few things that I should not have. So, in short, I’ll try my best to leave that in the past starting now.” I said.

I hadn’t thought there had been a right thing to say in response to him, but the look on his face told me I’d pulled a rabbit right out of the proverbial hat.

“You continue to bewildered me, Miss West. Just when I think I’ve had enough of you, you turn around and make me wonder if I’m just going about everything the wrong way.”

I allowed myself a hollow giggle and a forced smile. It was just what Jack needed to feel like he’d made his point to me. We exited the elevator and rejoined the others at the curb where a black SUV was waiting to take us away. Inside the car, we were all quiet as we waited to leave. I gaze back inside the hotel and for a moment I thought I saw a familiar face in the crowd. He was gone almost as soon as I’d noticed him but a cold shiver ran down my spine and even thought I wanted to doubt my eyes, I knew what I’d seen.

Somehow, someway, Mark had followed me. I kept the information to myself, but my thoughts swam in circles. There were the endless questions of course, but also there was a touch of real fear. Mark could, unknowingly and single-handedly, destroy the secrecy Joseph Candle had gone to such pains to create. I knew there was nothing I could do about it at the present time, but that didn’t stop the thoughts from weighing heavily on my mind.

Dinner was nothing short of fabulous and almost enough to take my mind off of Mark. We were far from the only guests of the ambassador for the evening. The dining hall was in fact packed with at least a couple hundred people. Most of them were in some way like Q5, attempting to gain permits for diving off the coast in search of treasure. Although not everyone was interested in the medallion it quickly became clear that it was the hot topic of the night. Dr. Michaels seemed ready to come to blows at one point as he argued with a European professor over the likelihood of the medallion’s existence.

After dinner we met privately with the Ambassador for a total of ten minutes. Jack spent them wisely arguing our case and negotiating terms in the event we found what we were looking for or anything else of value. I stayed quiet, and paid close attention to every detail. It was just a feeling, but it seemed like I was nothing more than eye candy for the Ambassador while they talked. Amazing myself and probably Jack too, I managed to avoid acting on the feeling and the impulses it brought with it.

When we stepped outside the Ambassador’s office back into the main hall, we remained uncertain as to whether or not we had succeeded. Clearly we were competing for a slot against numerous other teams and someone had arbitrarily decided to limit the number of people they were going to allow to search for relics off their shores. The politics of the situation were undoubtedly complicated.

“What do you think?” I asked.

Jack glanced back at the door behind us before turning to me.

“He liked you.” Jack replied.

“Yeah the way he was staring at me I was beginning to wonder if my dress had slipped a bit too low.”

“Sorry about that, but you handled it well. He’s a bit of a dirty old man but then you do look amazing in that.”

I had the good sense to blush.

“Care to dance while we wait?” Jack asked.

I looked around the room. Plenty of dancing was going on and the orchestra was performing nicely, but at the edges of the room there were also plenty of people watching the people dancing. I spotted Gina taking pictures and immediately decided that was the last thing I needed to be photographed doing.

“Thanks, but I think I’ll skip it.” I said.

Jack looked disappointed and for a moment I almost felt guilty enough to change my mind. Then Jack led me over to the bar and ordered champagne for us both. I considered mention we hadn’t succeeded yet, but then I recalled his words in the elevator. I smiled and accepted my flute without a word.

“Would you like to meet some of our competitors?” Jack asked.

He was gazing out at the room and not at me. I felt insulted. The truth was, I’d been curious about meeting our competition from the beginning and I think Jack knew it.

“You go ahead. I’m just going to relax right here.” I said.

I don’t know why I said it. Maybe I wanted him to work a little harder at convincing me or maybe I thought he wasn’t being sincere, either way it was a silly game. Jack wasn’t up for playing. He paused for a moment, nodded his acceptance and left me alone.

“I’m an idiot.” I muttered to myself when he was gone.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Jack’s a real bastard more often than not.” A man said.

I spun around, nearly splashing my champagne on the man in the process. He was distinguished looking but then tuxedos do that to men. The gray hair and gray beard probably made him look older than he actually was because his voice seemed at least ten years younger.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He said.

“That’s quite alright. I’m a little jumpy I guess.” I replied.

“It comes with the territory I suppose.” He said.

I wondered what exactly he meant by that, but was reluctant to ask.

“I’m Virginia West.” I introduced myself.

“I suspected as much. You are much lovelier than your file.” He said.

“Hmm. Should I be concerned that you have a file on me?”

“Don’t worry. I have one on just about everyone in this room.”

“And just who are you to be keeping tabs on all these fine people?” I asked.

“I’d have thought Joey would have warned you about me already.” He replied.

“Joey?” I asked.

I suspected who he meant but I just had to hear it aloud.

“I’m sorry, you probably still call him Mr. Candle.”

“That I do and what should I call you?” I asked.

He chuckled.

“It’s been a long time since I had to introduce myself. I’m Alexander Kemp, but you can call me Alex.”

“So Alex, why would Mr. Candle warn me about you?” I asked.

He seemed amused as he studied me for a moment.

“Joey likes to think I steal things from him.”

“I don’t belong to him.”

“I find that very hard to believe.” He said.

“Why is that?”

“Joey possesses things. It’s who he is.”

“I’m nobody’s possession.” I stated.

The very thought irritated me.

“I meant no offense. I’ve known Joey a long time and he’s fairly predictable.”

I nodded.

“He controls everything and everyone around him in some manner. He’ll use money, fear, or anything that gives him leverage enough to ensure the people around him will do precisely what he wants. If you’ve escaped that, you’re one of a lucky few.” Alex said.

I wanted to deny the truth in his words. He was after all, the competition and driving doubts into my brain was no doubt his intention. It would have been easier if he was mean or menacing but he wasn’t any of those things. As much as I wanted to deny the charge I couldn’t avoid the fact that Joseph Candle had indeed used both money and fear to get me to do the things he wanted.

“Do you steal from him?” I asked.

He hadn’t expected the question and I took a little pleasure in the startled look on his face. It only lasted a moment but it was clear enough to me. Alex Kemp had definitely been trying to throw me off balance and I had momentarily turned the tables. I had the distinct impression, it wasn’t something that happened to him very often.

“Would you believe me if I said no?” He asked.

“That depends.” I answered.

“Depends on what?”

“Why are you talking to me?” I asked.

“You’re a very beautiful young woman. Do I need another reason?”

He really was quite good at being charming.

“You don’t, but you have one.” I said.

“I can see why he went to such lengths to obtain you.”

“Care to let me in on the secret?” I asked.

“Oh no, I wouldn’t dare rob you of the fun.” He said.

“Are you going to offer me a job Alex?” I asked.

“Would you accept?” He asked.

“No.” I said.

“Then I will not offer.”

“Don’t tell me you are afraid of rejection.” I said.

“I take risks all the time Miss West. I simply see no point in taking one where the outcome is definitely negative from the start.”

From across the room I noticed Tom and Kyra staring at me. They both looked angry and nervous which made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle. I finished off my champagne and laid the empty glass on the bar.

“It’s been a pleasure Alex, but I think I should be rejoining my group.” I said.

“Dance with me.” He said.

It was an order, a request, a demand, and a question, all in the same breath. Against my better judgment I accepted. I knew I should have walked away and left him empty handed. It was my gut though, that told me there was more to Alex Kemp than met the eye. Of course he was the competition and all that it implied and yet some instinct told me it was better to dance than walk away.

As we spun around the dance floor, I saw Jack watching. His eyes were angry and sad and for the second time, I felt guilty about turning him down.

As the evening came to an end, the permits were announced and we went back to the hotel with success. Jack remained quiet the entire drive and all the way up to our rooms. I could tell he wanted to say something to me and I nearly dared him to say anything at all, but in the end he kept his thoughts to himself.


  1. Ash,

    Good story...keeping it very interesting...Jack and Virginia Hmm...Not sure what that means for Mark but i have my suspicions...cant wait to see how the whole Alex kemp thing comes out.. I have to say another great title to the story

  2. Little bit of a burn there for poor Jack. It's way too soon for V to be playing hard to get with him. I'd love to see Mark make an actual appearance during this trip. Maybe then V would devote some time to thinking about where she wants things to go with him.

  3. Ashley, you are definitely keeping my interest, Saturday can't come round fast enough.
    Warm hugs,