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.

October 4, 2009

Thawing Out: Playdate

I started the day off unpacking boxes and the first thing I unpacked was the charger for my phone. As it sat on the kitchen counter regaining its power, I continued opening boxes and putting things in their place while wondering just what I was going to say when I called Mark. The boxes were far from endless and it came as no surprise when I'd opened the majority of them by lunchtime and still had no ideas for calling Mark. It was tempting to leave the phone where it was and wait to see if he'd try calling me, but I forced myself to pick it up with the resolution to call Mark and get the inevitable over with.

Rather than calling Mark straight away I decided it would be smarter to at least listen to any messages he might have left for me. It took me a moment to remember how to call my voice mail having gotten used to my work phone and the one I had was frighteningly old, but it returned to me without too much effort. I pressed the buttons and heard my own voice through the phone at which point I punched in my access code and waited the brief pause before it gave me access to my messages.

"You have 27 new messages and 3 urgent messages." The computerized voice announced.

I think I let out an audible groan while I considered my options. There was throwing the phone in the trash and pretending I'd lost it, but Cherise wouldn't by that one. I could accidentally drop it in my garbage disposal, but I might lose my deposit if it breaks the disposal not to mention it would be tough to sell as a true accident. I could flush it but again, that would be a hard sell as to how it happened, "Oh I was cleaning the toilet and it just slipped out of my hand," sounds a little contrived even to my empathetic ears. That pretty much left only one possibility, listening to the messages and calling people back with a series of excuses about working too much recently and then moving out. I'm sure I'll sound like a complete flake, but on the good side, it's not my usual modus operandi, so I might just get the benefit of the doubt.

The first few messages were from Cherise, no surprise after her comment last night, but after that I was surprised to find my brother had called followed by his wife calling two more times and then there were several from Mark growing increasingly annoyed as he gradually assumed I was ignoring him and then the last three were from my brother again. Mark would have to wait a little longer I decided as family always comes first. I called my brother.

"She lives!" My brother boomed from the tiny speaker on my phone.

"Was there any doubt?" I asked, knowing in reality there was made it seem all the more humorous.

"Until I called Mom I was actually a little worried." He replied, unusually serious.

"I'd have called you sooner but I only just listened to my messages. My phone's been dead, but I promise I've been alive the whole time." I said.

"You'd say that even if you were a zombie." He said, with a little chuckle in his voice.

"If I was a zombie I'd just groan and grunt and I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out how to call you in the first place." I said.

"Sure, get all logical on me why don't you."

"We're talking about zombies and you think anything said is logical?"

"I saw 'em on tv so they must be real. My son tells me so."

"I hope he's wrong cause the second I see a six foot yellow bird walking and talking, I'm hiding under my bed for the rest of my life."

"No wonder you never liked that show."

"Actually it was the green monster in the trash can that really scared me." I said.

"That's why I always ended up taking out the trash. Now I understand." He said.

"You always were a little slow."

"Slow and steady, that's just how Jenny likes it."

"Too much info bro!" I said.

"So what's up with you?" He asked, changing the subject back to something more serious.

"I think I've got a heard of elephants living upstairs." I said.

The early morning thunder of my upstairs neighbors had been as good as an alarm clock. I hope when I go back to work, I'm gone before they start in, otherwise I'll be showing up at work with a pounding headache and everyone will start thinking I've got a drinking problem.

"You should have seen my first apartment. Twice a day it sounded like the Santa Fe was passing straight through my living room. I gave up hanging shit on the walls cause it always ended up broken on the floor."

"Yes, I know, you've always had it worse than me. Your first tooth hurt more coming out and your first day walking, gravity was heavier. Thanks for making everything a little better for me." I said, the sarcasm wasn't really dripping of the words but my eyes were making me dizzy with all that rolling.

"Yeah you've got no idea how true all that is little sister. I paved the way with so many first with Mom and Dad you really did have it easy."

"If you say so."

"I do."

"So, you rang me a few times while I was out of town and I just got my phone back up running." I said, moving on from the tired old arguments of who did what and when.

"Yeah, I guess you forgot about your date with Geoff." He said.

It wasn't forgotten, just shoved so far back in my head it required closed eyes and a firm kick in my ass to dislodge it from its hiding place. We had planned it out months ago before I ever started working. Geoff had seen the place from the freeway on our way back from a shopping excursion to the Inland Empire Outlets. His parents had needed the afternoon alone, adults need time like that here and there, and so he'd came with me while I looked for bargains on last seasons fashions. The place, was a small fun center featuring attractions like miniature golf, go-karts, laser tag, and a selection of water rides, all guaranteed to amuse kids of all ages. Having just spent all my allowance money on clothing, I needed time to save up the necessary funds to take him and so we'd planned it for a date in the future which now was in the past. I'd been hanging out in an underground bunker the day we were supposed to go and if I'm honest, I hadn't given it a single thought at the time or since.

"Ah crap. I'm sorry, Steve. I was in the Philippines at the time on business and my phone was dead because I lost the travel charger. I was thinking about it and wanted to call when I left but Mom made me so angry on the phone I forgot until I was already gone and then I just got so busy over there it didn't cross my mind again. He's not too upset is he?" I said.

The mixture of lies and truth sounded so good it almost conned me into believing it. I had even accepted responsibility while at the same time pushing it off onto other things, like work and Mom, which was satisfying in a twisted, sweet little me, sort of way. Even so, I could hear Steve frowning on the other end of the call, but it wasn't his opinion of me I was concerned about, I didn't want little Geoff to be angry with me or think I was lying to him when I promised to take him.

"He'd be less so if his favorite Aunt stopped by and gave him an apology that sounded a little more like an apology and a little less like an excuse." He said.

"Right." I said and sighed, wishing I had not bothered trying to explain the unexplainable to my judgmental brother. "Is he home now?"

"Yes, he just got home from work." He said.

"You've got him doing a paper route already?" I asked.

"I was joking. Of course he is at home, where the hell else would he be, he's only six for God's sake."

"I was just making sure. I don't want to drive all the way over there and find out he's playing at a friend's or something." I said.

"You think you can just come over and make it all better with a hug and a kiss?" He asked.

"No, no, I was thinking, if it's all right with his dungeon keepers that is, I might take him to that fun center this afternoon." I said.

"Funny." He said.

"I was being serious. I could use a fun day and that's just what I promised him."

"Let me check with his mother to make sure she doesn't have plans."

"Your wife too, either one of them could throw a wrench in it." I said.

"I'd ask when you are going to grow up but I already know it's never going to happen."

"Yep, I'm Peter Pan with tits." I said.

"And I'm supposed to let you out with my son with that mouth?" He asked.

"I'm sure it's not any worse than yours during a hockey game."

"That's different."

"Yeah, your his Dad and he actually wants to grow up to be just like you. At least with me, he has no intention of emulating my life."

"We hope."

"Is there something I should know?"

"Just saying he's pretty attached to you."

"I'll be on my best behavior, I promise, cross my heart."

"That's what you said last time and I hear you took him in the changing room with you."

"Would you prefer I left him alone in the store while I tried stuff on?"

"I'd prefer he wasn't scarred for life before he reaches high school."

"Just go check with Mommy and see if Geoff can come out and play."

"Alright. Hang on a sec." He said.

I counted 315 seconds before he came back and invited me to come pick up my nephew. I decided to keep the second count to myself although it was difficult to not tease him about his tardiness problem. I'm a better sister than that though, I very rarely tease my brother, honest. Why is it no one believes me when I tell them that?

One hour later I was standing in my brother's living room, hair still wet from a record breaking shower, speed record that is, and dressed in shorts, sandals, and an AC/DC tee, just to make my brother frown. He would much prefer I wore something girlish and pink, but I think he's given up on telling me what to wear. Probably had something to do with my recording his comments one time and broadcasting them with a slight amount of editing to his friends. Was it my fault a rumor started that he was batting for the other team? I think not. Besides, it seemed fair enough considering he had "borrowed" a pair of my panties to prove he was a man to some of those same friends.

If he knew what I was wearing underneath my clothes he would definitely freak out because I wasn't planning on getting into water in my street clothes. What he doesn't know though, doesn't hurt me, or something like that. Fortunately there wasn't a long awkward waiting period while we stood around trying to figure out what to say without ending up in a fight. Geoff was ready to go and in no mood to socialize with his parents with me there for him and him alone, at least that's how he saw it and on this occasion it worked for me.

It was a little after 1PM when we arrived at the fun center. The place was busy but not frantically so, with a half full parking lot and the roar of children at play coming from the various attractions. Geoff was all smiles when we climbed out of the car and started walking toward the main entrance. My stomach was growling, but the background was loud enough to keep my little friend from noticing.

"Have you had lunch yet?" I asked.

"No. I want to go on the water slide." He announced.

His big eyes were staring straight up at the source of his desire. It was a tall slide that wrapped its way through a course of twists and turns that would make a pretzel seem straight. Most of the slide was actually tubular with strategically place openings on top to allow for onlookers to get excited, like Geoff, and of course allow parents to judge speed and safety concerns, I'm sure. It did look like fun even if the aqua green color did make the slide look a hundred years old.

"We'll do it." I said. "But, unless you can't wait one more second I think we should have some lunch first."

"Okay." He said, simply.

That's what I like the most about Geoff, he's easy to please. There isn't any arguing or fighting about what happens when, as long as he gets to do what he wants at some point, he's happy as a clam and definitely looser jawed.

"Pizza, nachos, or burgers?" I asked.

I was pulling for pizza, but since it was his day, I didn't want to choose for him when anything was fine. His father, my brother, would have a heart attack over any of it anyway.

"Pizza!" He decided.

That's my hero. Somehow he always knows the right things to say, it's like I put the words in his mouth. I would never do anything of the sort but it sure is nice to have someone around that actually agrees with my choices on things.

I ordered a medium pizza with pepperoni and pineapple, a modified Hawaiian that we've grown to enjoy, and the two of us finished it off along with a couple of large Cokes and a basket full of bread sticks. For amusement center food it was halfway decent and I didn't even feel like I got mugged at the counter when I paid for it all. I glanced at my watch as we got up from our red and white plastic table, knowing I would need to make sure we didn't get into the water for at least a half hour or my brother would skin me alive. If he finds out what I've fed him, I'm in enough trouble as it is.

"What do you think about playing mini golf, while our lunch settles?" I asked.

"Can I win?" He asked.

I laughed, not because he can't win, but because he asked as if I would go out of my way to make him lose. I'm not the kind of person who thinks you give a kid a pat on the back and a large trophy just because they showed up, but I'm also not so competitive that I can't hold back a little to allow a kid a chance to win if they try hard enough. I know it isn't all that simple to find the right balance, but I like to think challenging my little nephew is better than handing him victory on a silver platter.

"I'm sure you can, but will you?" I asked.

He regarded me with his big brown eyes and a face that reminded me of the competitive face his father often wore when the two of us had played games. It was a subtle reminder that he was his father's son, even if he did like me better than his father ever would. I donned my own competitive face, although nowhere near as serious, and gestured toward the counter where a young man was handing out putters, golf balls and score cards with half size pencils. He bounced on over with a youthful energy I remember having and found myself having again while I was with him.

"I'm going to win." Geoff told the young man at the counter.

The man smiled and laughed with his eyes while looking between me and my nephew. He looked over the putters with a practiced eye, searching for the right sizes for Geoff and me as well as trying to figure out which colored balls were best suited to us. I liked him instantly and I could tell he was great with kids, young and old alike.

"Well then, you'll be needing my most special putter." The young man said, pulling one from his rack that looked well proportioned to Geoff. "If you hold it right, do you know how to hold it right?"

Geoff nodded emphatically that he did indeed know how to hold it.

"Right. Of course you do. Now, as long as you hold it right and don't swing it too hard, it will do its very best for you." He finished.

"That's silly. It's just a tool and a tool is only as good as the person using it." Geoff said.

"If that's how you feel, I think I'll save this one for someone who believes in it." The young man said, pulling it back and reaching for another putter that was nowhere near as shiny or new.

"Wait!" Geoff said. " I want that one."

"I don't understand. What difference does it make if it's only your skill that matters?"

"Maybe I should try it just to see if you are right." Geoff said.

The young man looked at him with a contorted face, obviously torn between allowing Geoff to use the new putter in his hand or giving him a different one. He was teasing of course, and I knew it, but Geoff was getting worried. I wondered for a moment what his father would think of the conversation I had just witnessed and suspected he would be proud of Geoff's original response.

"I suppose if you promise to treat it nicely--" The young man said.

"I will. I will." Geoff said.

"I guess I can let you see for yourself." The man said.

Geoff took the putter from the young man before he had a chance to even consider taking it back again. I would have laughed but I knew Geoff would have wanted to know what was funny and explaining that it was him whom I was laughing at, would not have gone over well at all. I settled for a smile and a polite nod at the attendant. He winked at me as if we were sharing some great conspiratorial secret and then handed me a well suited, although clearly old, putter. I took it without complaint and kept my eye on Geoff who was eying the rainbow of golf balls in the bin in front of us.

"What color do you want?" Geoff asked.

I knew he wanted the green, but his parents have gone to great lengths to teach him a few manners, of which was it's not polite to simply take what you want when others are involved. I could tell the young man behind the counter was impressed with Geoff's restraint which made me proud even though I have very little to do with Geoff's excellent behavior. It was definitely his day though and that being the case no matter what color I preferred I wouldn't dream of picking one he would want.

"Any of them are fine. Why don't you pick for both of us?" I said.

Geoff smiled and grabbed a green ball and a red ball. He handed the red one to me and kept the green to himself. I picked up a score card and a pencil and then paid for our admission while Geoff tried to contain himself looking through the gate at the course outside. I was watching him from the corner of my eye and for a second I thought I caught a glimpse of Joseph Candle's daughter but when I turned my head for a better look, she was gone, if she had ever been there at all. My heart raced a little either way and the hackles on the back of my neck made themselves known.

We walked through the tall iron gate leading outside to the courses and stopped for a moment to take in the scenery before us. The miniature course was divided into two halves, each half featuring nine holes. Each hole was a progressively more elaborate maze complimented by physical constructs ranging from the Eiffel Tower to the Pyramids of Giza and everything imaginable in between. Each construct made itself something of an obstacle in the putting course for the hole it featured along with an endless series of bumps, turns, twists, and running water ways. The scaled down size of everything made me feel particularly tall and I wondered if like me, Geoff felt a touch like Gulliver wandering around the streets of Lilliput.

The first hole was deceptively simple. The entire course was slanted toward the hole which lay in the center of a simple circle at the end of a short straight way. The trick was to not hit too hard or too soft, but aim was rather unnecessary. As long as the ball reached the circle and wasn't traveling at a speed to send it jumping out of the course into the small pond beyond it, the ball would eventually roll its own way into the hole. Geoff insisted I go first and my first shot landed in the water where we both managed to get soaked from the waist up trying to fish it out. Once we succeeded, I lined up for a second attempt that went right in, Geoff did it on his first try. We celebrated by raising our putters in the air and running to then next hole while screaming like barbarians on the rampage.

Our first hole set the tone of the rest, with me going first and making all the mistakes only to watch Geoff, having learned from watching me, go through it with ease. It was only the ninth hole which caused him to go beyond par for the course and even so, it was only a single stroke. My own score would be a shame to putters, golfers, and Lilliputians everywhere, but I had fun and so did my little nephew and that is all that really mattered. I glanced at my watch and noted an hour had passed, making it perfectly safe to go into the water, or so I hoped.

"Alright Champ, water slide or the back nine?" I asked, as if I even needed to ask.

"Water slide!" He said, jumping in the air. "Water slide! Water Slide!"

It was contagious and I found myself jumping up and down right there with him and getting everyone in the vicinity to stare at us as if we'd lost our minds. Although if any of them had been around while we were running from hole to hole, they should not have had any doubt left, we were a pair of lunatics, with golf clubs and bathing suits.

We went back inside and I laid our clubs and balls on the counter for safe keeping until we were ready to come back and finish the course. I thought it would be a clean escape but the young man working the counter caught sight of us and made his way over to see how Geoff had made out with his special club.

"Did you win?" The attendant asked.

Geoff nodded with a big smile on his face.

"It's not over yet." I said. "I've still got nine holes left to catch up."

Geoff put on his competition face.

"No way. No how." Geoff said.

The attendant chuckled at him and winked at me again.

"Off to the water slide now?" The young man asked.

"How did you guess?" I asked.

"Oh it wasn't a guess, I think everyone here knows where you two are going next." He said with more chuckling.

"I can't believe we are disturbing anyone at a place like this." I said.

"Not at all but I'm still trying to figure out which of you is the adult." He replied.

There was a twinkle in his eyes which told me he was teasing, but I was still a touch annoyed he would dare to make such a comment to someone he barely knew. For Geoff's sake I kept my tongue in check and leaned in close to the counter so I could speak to him without my nephew hearing.

"Is that your way of saying you'd like to spank me?" I asked, sweetly batting my eyelashes in the most provocative way I know.

The young man's eyes nearly popped out of his head and his cheeks turned the kind of red you'd expect more after a spanking than at the mere mention of one. Still I had to give him credit for not turning tail and running, but of course that could be because he was still trying to catch his breath after blowing it all on the shock, or was it excitement, resulting from my far from innocent question. What surprised me is I actually had a split second vision of the attractive young man taking me over his knee and doing his worst and rather than being revolted or ashamed I found the image to be exciting and alluring.

"Well uh," He said. "If you think it would help, I think I could arrange it."

My eyes found their way to his big, strong hands and before I realized what I was doing, I had taken his hand into both of my own and was examining it like one might a steak before purchasing. I lightly stroked it for a moment and looked up into the poor boys eyes and fought back the evil laughter in my throat. He looked equal parts excited and scared as he waited for an answer from me with baited breath. I patted the top of his hand in a patronizing fashion and watched the light dim in his eyes while the smile on my face grew wider.

"Not in your wildest dreams." I said.

I turned and walked away with Geoff holding my hand, but I'm reasonably certain the young man was staring at my bottom until we were out of sight and even then I bet he was still trying to get the image out of his head. I know I was trying real hard to forget what had just happened and more over what I had said to a total stranger in a public place, surrounded by children. It was wrong, utterly so, but then why did I feel so invigorated and not at all ashamed?

The entrance to the water slide was near the front door and as we approached there was a crowd of people standing around which made me wonder if the wait was going to be too long, but even as I began to consider the crowd I noticed something much more distracting and disturbing. He was only in my sight for an instant but I was certain it was him, even without his ceremonial garb and practically bare chest. I had left him for dead underneath Fu Xi's pyramid but as impossible as it seemed I was certain it was him. He disappeared into the crowd and when we reached the entrance he was no where to be seen at all.

I considered leaving immediately. If that man was around, it was dangerous for Geoff to be anywhere near me, but worse than that, if he was following me, he had to already know all about my dual identities and anything he wanted to know about my family. I hadn't brought my work phone with me, but if I had, Joseph Candle would have been the first to know exactly what I was thinking. Instead, I tried to keep myself calm, telling myself it could all just be my imagination anyway. Then I saw the girl again. She was standing on the other side of the gate leading up to the water slide and waving at me as if we were old friends. I did not wave back, but rather frowned until she disappeared up the stairs.

Fortunately, Geoff didn't seem to notice any of it. I paid for our tickets and we quickly stripped down to our bathing suits, leaving our things in a locker, which felt safe only because there were two guards watching them . We climbed the switch back stairs all the way to the top where there was only a small line and not the lengthy one I had feared at first.

Geoff stepped off into the tubular slide first and I found myself counting the seconds like minutes until I was able to finally follow him. I hadn't thought he would be out of my sight for even a second, but with the safety procedures, I was forced to either leave him at the top or have him reach the bottom without me for a short time. I probably should have called it all off and just taken him home, but I couldn't make him leave without doing the one thing he really wanted to do.

The slide twisted and dropped in dizzying combinations as I slid through it like water in a hose. It was much longer than it appeared from the ground outside and I was beginning to think the twists and turns would never end when it finally spat me out of the tube and into a pool of water that created a tidal wave splash upon my impact. I blinked chlorinated water out of my eyes frantically seeking Geoff in the water or the sidewalk surrounding it. When I found him my heart stopped cold. The man from Fu Xi was talking to Geoff at the side of the pool. I swam to them as fast as I could, but when I reached them I had to stop myself from saying the threats on the tip of my tongue. The man was not him at all but merely a man of Asian descent with a kind smile and penchant for making kids laugh.

To say I was relieved would be an understatement of massive proportions, but there remained deeper concerns in the back of my thoughts. I knew the situation in the Philippines had rattled me, but I wasn't prepared for the reality that I was actually seeing things that weren't there because of a fear of something I had already survived. It occurred to me that I might need to seek out someone for a little professional help or at the very least talk it all over with someone I trusted. Mark would be a good choice since he actually knew the whole story, but would he have anything to do with me since I had, in his view, been ignoring his calls? I promised myself I would have to follow through on my promise to Cherise and call him before the day was through.

Geoff insisted on two more trips through the slide before we made our way back over to the miniature golf course. The young man I'd teased was still there but he was oddly quiet this time. We made our way back out once we'd collected our putters and balls and unsurprisingly, my nephew continued to beat my score, handily, hole after hole. When we left we were both smiling, very happy, and a little tired.

I got us both fastened into my car and started it up. Geoff looked like he was ready to take a nap and I figured it wouldn't be too bad of an idea for him since it would take a little over an hour to get him home and by then his parents would have dinner for us. I smiled at him in the rearview mirror and he smiled back at me. It had been a good day.

"Did you have a good time?" I asked.

"The bestest." He replied.

"Auntie?" He said.

"Yes?" I asked.

"Who was that girl that kept waving at you?" He asked.

I was stunned. By the time we were walking out the doors, I had convinced myself I was just seeing things and here he was telling me he had seen her too. Why was she here? What did she want? Was the man from Fu Xi here as well or was that my imagination or was it her? Questions burned through my mind and if it weren't for reflexes and instincts I would have likely driven us off the road. What could I tell him?

"The daughter of a friend." I said.

"Oh." He replied, with a yawn as he settled back to nap through the rest of the drive.

By the time I made it home to my apartment I was exhausted both physically and mentally. My thoughts were running ragged to the point I thought sleep would be impossible. I sat back on my bed, the only piece of furniture I currently have available to sit on, and picked up my phone. I called Mark and hoped the words I hadn't figured out to say would find their way to my tongue before Mark decided I wasn't worth his time. More than ever, I needed a friend like him and somehow I'd just have to figure out how to make him believe that.


  1. Ash, Another Great Chapter, like the communication between her brother and her and also the relationship she has with her nephew/Geoff... Allison sure has a playful evil streak in her teasing that attendant like that... I liked it (lol)

  2. The brother sister interaction here was great. I hope he shows up more in the story. That comment Allison made to the guy in the mini golf shop was just shocking. I can't believe any woman would would actually use that line with someone they hardly know. I'm sure if it was me in his shoes I would have been thrown even further off balance. He must have been really hitting himself afterwords over the missed opportunity.

  3. Ashley, nice chapter, good to see that Alison can be a bit of a brat, she has a normal relationship with her brother and a very good one with her nephew.
    If I'd been the mini putter attendant, my answer would have been, yes please, when!
    Warm hugs,