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.

April 10, 2010

Losing Control: Truth Be Told

"How's it going?" Tom asked, standing in my doorway and leaning against the frame.

I looked up at him from my computer screen and said, "How do you think?"Sighing, I pushed myself back from the desk and swiveled to the side in my chair. "We don't have a clue on Jack or Gene's location and Kyra's running out of leads to chase. Brian will need weeks if not months to get up to speed on all of Gene's notes and to top things off my mother is complaining about how long I've been out of town and accusing me of having my priorities all mixed up. Other than all that, I'm doing just great, how about you?"

"Whoa," Tom said holding a hand up to me, "I was just being polite. I didn't think you'd actually tell me anything."

I sucked in a frustrated breath and glared at him. A slow grin started spreading across Tom's face under my scrutiny and a chuckle escaped his lips when he could not hold it back any longer. I shook my head, a smile finding its way to my lips and a touch of laughter eased the tension in my neck and shoulders. Tom certainly had a way of figuring out just what I needed at any given moment.

"Thanks," I said and he walked inside, sitting himself on the corner of my desk.

Tom said, "Anytime. So, there's doesn't seem to be much more you can do around here tonight, but you can go home and patch things up with your mother."

I scoffed and said, "Yeah right. You don't know my mother. Besides, she expects me to attend a dinner at my brother's this evening."

"Neutral ground," Tom said, "It sounds like a blessing."

"My brother might not always be on the same side as my mother, but he is definitely not neutral," I said, glancing at the clock on the computer. "This whole dinner thing is for his wife anyway."

"Oh right, the Retreat," Tom said.

"Yeah, and you can bet she, if not everyone else, is blaming me," I said.

"Why? You weren't even involved in her rather questionable actions," Tom said.

I smiled and said, "I was the star in the photo that made it all come crashing down."

"You really think they blame you for that?" He asked.

"I don't know," I said, shrugging. "Truth is, I'm not sure I'm in the mood to face any of them right now."

"They're your family," Tom said.

"Ever since I first came here, I've been lying to them about who I am and what I do," I said, turning my back to Tom and looking out the window, over the city. I could hardly face him, because until recently I had been lying to him too. "It's not me. I never wanted to do it, but I let Joe spin my head around to the point it seemed like it was the right thing to do."

"Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't," Tom said, turning my chair and forcing me to face him. "What's done is done, you can only go forward."

"What are you suggesting?" I asked.

"Tell them the truth," Tom said. "You did it here and nobody hates you. They might not understand, but at least everything will be out in the open and the one nice thing about family is they always forgive you, even if they don't understand you."

"I'm not so sure about that," I said, thinking of my father's reaction the last time he caught me in a lie.

Reading the thoughts in my eyes, Tom said, "I didn't say there wouldn't be consequences."

"You're suggesting they're worth it," I said.

"Yeah," Tom said, nodding his head, "You're not seeing because you're too wrapped up on yourself. It's understandable, all things considered."

"Are you saying I'm harming them by not telling them?" I asked.

"Maybe," Tom said, "or maybe you're putting them at greater risk. We both know they're lives could be in danger and while ignorance is bliss, they still have a right, and a need, to know the truth."

"I'll think about it," I said.

Tom asked, "What time is this dinner?"

"About an hour," I said and he replied, "Then you probably ought to be going, don't you think?"

"If I'm going," I said, still not certain I was.

"Come on," Tom said, standing up and gesturing toward the door, "I'll walk you out."

"What if I'm not going?" I asked, standing up anyway.

"You're going," He said.

I cocked my head to the side and said, "Really? Are you telling me what to do?"

"Think of it as a firm suggestion," Tom said, offering his arm, "from someone who cares about you."

I took his arm with a sigh and said, "Alright."

Tom escorted me all the way to the elevator and even inside. He pushed the button for the lobby and I chuckled at him, digging into my purse for my car keys. My fingers stumbled upon the set for Virginia's company car first and I tugged them out to look at them. Maybe it was time to start enjoying the perks of my position, especially if I was going to come clean with everyone.

Tom nodded and said, "You might as well."

"What?" I asked and he replied, "Take the car, it will help or at least it won't hurt."

I laughed and said, "Do you read everyone's mind or just mine?"

"Just yours," He said and the elevator doors slid open, revealing the lobby. "Should I bring a pillow for you tomorrow?"

I shook my head, blushing and said, "I might regret it, but I think it would be better if you don't."

"Can't say I didn't ask," He said as I stepped out of the elevator. I turned around and watched as the doors slid closed and stole him away from me. I almost asked him to come with me, but I guess we both knew this was something I needed to do alone.

The family was all gathered by the time I arrived at my brother's house. I could feel their eyes on me as I walked to the front door. They were probably all wondering about the car or maybe that was just my way of diverting attention from the real issues. I raised my hand to knock on the door and Steve opened it before my fist could fall.

"You made it," He said, inviting me inside.

"I told Mom I'd try," I said, stepping inside.

"I thought you were just placating me," Mom said from the sofa next to Dad.

I sighed and decided it was better to say nothing than engage in a pointless debate over what I said and what I meant. With Mom they are often not the same thing and she believes herself to be infallible in translating my tone of voice. Jenny stepped out of the kitchen interrupting the silence before it became heavy.

"I'm glad you could come," Jenny said. "Dinner will be a few more minutes."

Steve gestured toward the living room where our parents were sitting and said, "Why don't you have a seat, while we wait. Would you like something to drink?"

"No thanks," I said, sitting myself in an armchair a safe distance from Mom and Dad.

"I heard you were out of the country," Steve said, taking the armchair opposite me and Jenny sat on the arm, wrapping her arm around Steve's neck.

"I was," I replied. "Central America mostly and a few days in Ecuador."

"Sounds exciting," Jenny said.

"Not exactly the way I'd put it, but you could say that," I said.

"So what is it you do on these trips?" Mom asked.

"It depends," I said, gathering the nerve to spill the whole bag, "Every trip has its very own purpose."

"Such as?" Dad asked and I started to get the feeling they all knew more than they should.

I took a deep breath and said, "I'm not a secretary."

"We know that dear," Mom said with a touch too much sarcasm in her tone, "Administrative Assistant isn't it?"

"No," I said "and I think you already know that."

"Is that why you are telling us?" Dad asked.

"I had no idea you knew, at least not until now," I said.

"We don't really know, but we know you've been less than truthful with us," Dad said, his tone was surprisingly calm.

I dared to have hope and said, "It wasn't my first choice, but I allowed myself to be convinced it was for the best."

"Honesty is always for the best," Mom said and Jenny added, "The truth can hurt but lies hurt worse."

"I know," I said, looking away from them all, "I didn't mean for any of this to happen. I'm not even sure how it all did happen, but I think I was manipulated from the start."

"Have you quit?" Dad asked.

"No, and I won't," I said. "I may not have knowingly chose to be involved, but as things stand, I can't just walk away and pretend I don't have a responsibility in how things turn out."

"So what exactly is your job?" Dad asked.

Jenny said, "I heard rumors that you are part of Quondam's elite."

I glanced at Jenny, realizing she probably knew more of the truth than anyone else and for some reason she had left it for me to tell. "It's complicated," I said, "Joseph Candle offered me a job as part of a team of adventurers. The focus was supposed to be collecting valuable artifacts around the world, only that was just a cover for his own personal agenda."

"And what was that?" Mom asked.

"I'm still not certain, but I'm afraid it's lacking in ethics and morality," I said.

"That's what you said about him and that company before you ever worked there," Steve said.

I nodded, remembering and said, "He convinced me to take on an alias for working with this team and to lie about my actual job to all of you. I was resistant to the idea, but I caved when he suggested that doing otherwise would possibly endanger everyone I know."

"Why would you believe that and if you did why would ever take the job in the first place?" Steve asked.

"Because someone told her to," Mom said.

I looked into her eyes and knew she was referring to the ethereal girl, claiming to be her mother, my grandmother. I shook my head, telling her she was wrong, but her eyes did not believe me. Mom always knows best and I can never win, even when she is wrong.

"I took it because I didn't think the danger was real at first and I liked the idea of traveling around the world and seeing things no one else had ever seen," I said. "It didn't take as much arm twisting to get me on board as it probably should have."

"You think the danger is real now though?" Dad asked.

I nodded and said, "I've been shot at a few times and worse."

"Why?" Steve asked.

"We're racing against others, trying to find something or someplace, I'm not even sure what, but Candle and the others like him, must think it's more valuable than any amount of gold," I said.

"I don't understand why you don't just quit," Dad said.

I nodded and said, "I know. I almost did, but I'm involved in this somehow, connected in a way I can't really explain."

"All you have to do is walk away," Mom said.

I turned myself in the chair to look closely at her. There was a single question burning in my brain and I decided it was time to just ask. I said, "Is that what you did?"

Mom said, "How dare you?"

"I don't pretend to know what you did or didn't do in the past," I said, "but what I do know is there is some connection between us and Joseph Candle and for some reason both of you are keeping it from me."

"That's ridiculous," Dad said, leaning forward.

Mom said, "He's your grandfather, not that he ever did anything to earn the name."


  1. Ash,

    good to see Allison come clean and at least for right now her parents were listening calmly.still waiting to see if there is consequences.good to see her put everything on the table.looking forward to the next chapter. fantastic post
    AL :)

  2. Ash, well did you ever, talk about a right hook.
    I'd guess maternal, mom feels guilty and I think with reason.
    She certainly has been manipulated, every which way.
    Do I hear the whistle of the beginning of the final decent?
    Warm hugs,

  3. Riveting, as always, Ashley. Looking forward to the next "disclosure" and it's consequences.

  4. Al, It was time for Allison to stand up for who she is and the things she does. I think it's nice how her character has finally developed this level of confidence in dealing with her parents.

    Paul, There has been a ton of manipulation and this was just something of the first layer being pulled back. Lots more to come, although some of the things are probably less shocking than others.

    Karl, Nice to hear from you again. The finale is almost upon us and I'm quite proud of the few remaining twists and I hope you all enjoy them.