The Apprentice

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Another erotic story from the FLOGMASTER!

Copyright 1985-2016 by the Flogmaster. All Rights Reserved. Free distribution via electronic medium (i.e. the internet or electronic BBS) is permitted as long as the text is _not_ modified and this copyright is included, but _no_ other form of publication is allowed without written permission. This document _may_ contain explicit material of an ADULT nature. ***READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!*** Anything offensive is your own problem. This story is for **entertainment** purposes only, and it does _not_ necessarily represent the viewpoint of the author or the electronic source where this was obtained. All characters are *fictional* -- any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.

The Apprentice 1/3

(****, Mf/fff, Severe, Teen punishment)

A young lady visits her uncle for the summer in hopes of being his apprentice but discovers the meaning of discipline instead. (Approximately 13,353 words. Originally published 1996-02.)

Mandy was excited. She looked out the window and saw the ground looming toward them, faster and faster, and she felt her heart pound in fear and wonder. Would the plane actually land safely? Was it even possible?

Then she felt the bump of the wheels as they touched the freeway and the plane lurched slightly and slowed drastically. Slower and slower it went, and then it just rolled. All around her passengers were unsnapping their seatbelts and readying to depart even though the Captain had specifically ordered people to remain seated until the plane came to a complete halt.

Though it was only a few minutes, it seemed like hours later that Mandy emerged from the terminal and looked around anxiously. Her uncle was supposed to me her, but she did not see him anywhere. She frowned in disappointment and worry. Perhaps he was only late.

"Mandy! Mandy Jenkins!" a voice cried, and the teenager turned and saw with surprise her cousin Sarah. She barely recognized the older girl. "She's much taller and wow, more mature!" thought Mandy. "Look at those boobs! My God, she's huge!" She tried to remember how old Sarah was and decided that she must be seventeen, or maybe eighteen. As Mandy was only fourteen, though mature for her age, her cousin seemed quite like an adult to her.

"Sarah! I can't believe it's you! Look at you!" she cried and threw her arms around her cousin. They hugged and laughed and giggled, Sarah leading the younger girl toward the baggage terminal.

"Look at yourself," she said with a wave toward Mandy's body. "You are turning into a real woman!" Mandy blushed and looked at the dull airport floor, but secretly she was quite pleased. Her breasts weren't as big as Sarah's, but no one would mistake her for a boy, that was for certain. And though it wasn't that obvious in the dress she was wearing, her hips had swollen to feminine proportions and when she wore a bathing suit guys noticed her figure, especially her pert little bottom.

"Where's Uncle Henry?" she asked, changing the subject.

"Oh, he got tied down with some kind of banking crisis in Singapore. An exchange rate thing that's affecting the securities. He's been on the phone with the bank president half the night. You'll see him later."

Though Mandy knew her uncle was one of the top financial consultants in the world she felt quite proud, hearing how occupied he was. This summer she would hopefully learn a great deal about his business. It was her dream to become a businesswoman and to eventually head her own multi-million dollar international corporation. Her uncle had volunteered to take her on as an apprentice for the summer, so she could get a taste of financial life. Mandy almost drooled at the prospect she was so excited.

Her uncle had been firm with her, however. "This is not a game, my dear," he had said. "We deal with millions of dollars of other people's money. There's no room for error, no room for weak, slow-thinking people. You must have a gut instinct for what's right and take action immediately, before others can beat you to it. It's a shark eat shark world out here, darling, and you have to be quick, hungry, and deadly to get anything in your teeth!

"Now I'm going to train you myself," he continued, "just like I've been doing with my daughters; you'll be my apprentice. I will not kid you: it will be tough. There's a great deal for you to learn. Lots of studying and math and research. It will not be fun most of the time, though you will learn a tremendous amount, far more than you'd ever learn in school. Are you really up to it?"

"Oh, yes, Uncle!" she had cried and begged him to let her come.

"You'll obey my rules then, and if I hear even one word of complaint that something's too difficult you'll be going home on the first plane back to Colorado!"

"Yes, sir!" Mandy breathed, her heart pounding. His words gave the whole adventure a heady, dangerous atmosphere, as though it would be _real_. She could hardly believe he was going to do it. He was incredibly busy. She'd heard her mom (who was quite proud of her older brother) mention many times how he worked 100 hour weeks and was often called at all hours of the night by world leaders and presidents of huge corporations.

"This is a most incredible opportunity, young lady," her mother had told her. "Your uncle is being most generous. You do everything he says and I don't want to hear one word from him that you misbehaved or you'll be spending a lot of quality time across my lap when you get home!" Mandy had shuddered at that. She couldn't believe her mother had just threatened her with a spanking! After all, she was fourteen years old and well on her way to womanhood. Spankings were for children.

"It that it?"

"Huh?" It took Mandy a moment to remember she was at the airport with Sarah, waiting for her luggage. "No, mine's more pink and little larger. There--over there, just coming out of the tube, that's it!"

In a few minutes they were on the freeway heading toward Uncle Henry's house. Mandy could hardly control her excitement. "Will Uncle Henry be at home when we get there?"

"Probably, but I'm sure he's going to be busy, so don't expect to see him much right away. This currency situation is affecting dozens of his most important clients. He hasn't even had time to sleep in three or four days. It's a major crisis, though of course he can't let the clients know that. The main thing is comforting them so they don't become alarmed and think anything is wrong. A panic could cause a chain-reaction that could lead to a world-wide market collapse."

"Wow!" said Mandy. "Are you studying economics?"

"Certainly. I've been Daddy's apprentice for almost four years. In the fall I hopefully will be promoted to Assistant status and get to help my father on real projects for real clients. Right now I just handle the busy work for him. Occasionally he lets me do one of his pro bono cases, though he always double checks what I've done."

"How long before I get to do stuff like that?"

Sarah looked at the younger girl and smiled. "That's a long ways, off, dear. This stuff is frightfully complicated. I've been studying it for years and I still feel like a baby sometimes. International law changes almost daily and there's a ton of accounting stuff to learn. Don't even mention the tax code. Do you know how to use a computer?"

"Of course," snapped Mandy, a little crossly. Her cousin was treating her like an idiot. Mandy had been fascinated by money for as long as she could remember. Her father had always been impressed with her gift for numbers. For the past two years she'd been in charge of investing his retirement account and she'd gotten a 27% better return than with his old plan. That was _after_ her commission, of course. Mandy thought that she could handle herself well and resented Sarah's condescending attitude. She felt a little disappointed because it seemed like maybe she wouldn't get to work directly with her uncle the way she'd been planning.

"I've worked with all the top accounting software," she said smugly. "I even have a slew of custom COBOL programs I wrote myself for managing certain kinds of stock transfers. They're on my laptop. I'll show you when we get home, if you like."

Sarah's mouth opened in surprise. "You have a laptop?"

"Sure. It's almost essential in this business, don't you think?"

"Well, yeah. I've been saving for one for the last couple of years. I tried to get Daddy to buy me one but he won't ever do stuff like that. 'You want it, you earn it.' That's what he always says." Sarah frowned and in a rather arrogant tone, said, "I suppose your father bought it for you? What is it, some generic 386 clone?"

Mandy was very annoyed. Though she normally was a very polite and friendly girl, her cousin was getting on her nerves. She snapped, "No, I bought it myself. And it's not a cheap clone, either. It's a customized IBM ThinkPad with a Pentium-90 in it. I had a friend of mine upgrade it for me. We put in 16 megs of RAM and a 1.2 gig hard drive, and a quad-speed CD-ROM. Cost me almost $8,000!"

Sarah was astonished. Without thinking she said, "Where'd a girl like you get _that_ kind of money!"

"What does that mean?"

Sarah blushed slightly. "I mean, you are very young. What were you doing with eight thousand dollars!"

"It's profit from my investments and business ventures," said Mandy trying very hard to keep her voice level. "Since I was nine I've saved almost every penny of my allowance and babysitting money and invested it. Two years ago I started a couple businesses, a financial consulting services to students and teachers at my school, and a partnership with a friend of my mother's who wanted to open a catering business but was nervous about business issues. So I handle the books and business side of the things and she takes care of everything else. It's worked out wonderfully. Last fiscal year she had to hire two full-time assistants and I netted over $4000 as my share of the profits. We expect this year to be even better. With even moderate investing I an get 30% interest on that money and almost double it in two years."

Sarah felt her stomach tighten as her little bratty cousin spoke. She couldn't help but think of all the money she'd earned and squandered. She had made a show of saying she was saving for a laptop, which was true, but she hadn't mentioned that she only had $724 in her savings account. Her mouth crinkled with scorn and she gloated, "You can't get 30% interest. Not without undue risk! You're a fool if you try it. If something were to happen you'd be bankrupt overnight."

Mandy looked at her cousin with surprise. Her voice definitely had a real edge to it. She seemed to almost be attacking her personally. Perhaps Mandy had overplayed her hand a bit, but her cousin's attitude had been infuriating. She decided to try and calm her down.

"That's not really, true, Sarah, and you know it. I've got investments in high tech that double every six months. Very secure, too, if you are selective in your investments and spread the money around. Sure, some go down but everything balances out. Besides, if I'm not willing to invest my own money what business do I have recommending investments to my clients? That's the first rule of the cautious investor: never seek advice from a poor financial consultant."

The older girl clenched the steering wheel and tried to restrain her fury. She desperately wished they would change the subject. "The little pipsqueak!" she thought."Barely out of diapers and thinks she's so smart! Well I'll show her. She's got a lot to learn."

Out loud she said, "We're almost there. That's our house, right on the end. The one with the gate."

Mandy clapped excitedly. "Cool! It looks so nice. I can't wait until I've got my own house. I've been designing my dream home. I won't be able to afford it for a while--if I buy it in twenty years it's going to cost me $2.4 million just to get it built. The land could be half as much, depending on where I decide to live. I doubt I'd live out here in New York, though. With the internet taking off the way it is distance won't really be a factor any more. Consultants of all kinds will be able to work remotely."

"Right," said Sarah sarcastically. What a dweeb! The silly girl didn't know the first thing about reality. She probably had made up half the stuff she had said anyway. Like she really had bought that computer with her own money! Yeah, right. _If_ she even _had_ a computer. She probably had lied about that too.

After buzzing herself through the gate Sarah parked the Cherokee in the driveway and they got out and went inside. Mandy lugged her carry-on and the heavy pink suitcase as her cousin did not even offer her a hand.

Inside, Mandy was impressed with the beautiful house. It was large three story Victorian that had been well-maintained and decorated in keeping with its original design. Mandy thought it looked dreamy. Sarah told her that her father used the entire top floor for his business.

"Don't go up there," she said cockily. "It's a horrible place, wall to wall offices, computers, phones, faxes, and books. It's a lovely, chaotic place that's more desperate than a hospital emergency room."

Many missed the sarcasm. She thought it sounded like paradise.

They went up two long sets of stairs to reach the second floor landing and Sarah led Mandy, breathing heavily from carrying her luggage the whole time, down the corridor. "And this is your room," she said almost triumphantly, opening a door.

Inside was a tiny bedroom almost filled by the bed on one side. There was a small typing desk in one corner, a bookcase built into the headboard of the bed, a Sarah later showed her a dresser that took up half the closet, but there certainly no spare area for breathing. Mandy loved it immediately, however. It was hers. It was private. Being an only child she was used to privacy. She had begged her mother to talk to Uncle Henry and see if there wasn't any way to get her own room for the summer. She had dreaded the thought of sharing a room with one or more of her cousins.

"What's this?" cried out Sarah angrily, and Mandy looked up in surprise. Sarah was staring into the closet and the younger girl saw it was filled with junk: dusty old boxes, papers, books, and even some old clothing. Mandy immediately realized this room must have been used as a storeroom until it was converted for a bedroom just for her. She felt a little guilty at that but profoundly grateful. "I will make Uncle Henry proud!" she said firmly to herself. "I don't want him to think he went to all this trouble for nothing."

But Sarah was furious. "I told those brats they were to have this room _clean_ before you got here! No wonder we haven't seen them. They must be hiding. This is embarrassing. I'm really sorry. They _will_ have it clean before supper, I can assure you." She stormed out into the hallway and roared, "Julie! Jennifer! Get your butts in here in ten seconds or you're getting double!"

For a moment there was silence and then a frantic scurrying could be heard. Finally two heads peeked around the corner from the stairwell, and slowly two girls came forward. They looked nervous and afraid.

Mandy stared at her cousins. She hadn't seen them in over two years. Like Sarah, they too had changed a great deal. They were almost two years older than her and that time had been well-spent in developing their bodies. They looked like young adults to her, except for their rather childish expressions of doom. She was about to greet them when Sarah pre-empted her.

"You both knew that this room was to be ready when we arrived. What's your excuse?" Twins Julie and Jennifer glanced at each other and then looked down at the floor. "I thought as much," said Sarah furiously. "You didn't manage your time properly, did you? Got halfway through it and realized you would never finish so you just quit and ran and hid?" The two girls did not answer.

"Downstairs at once!" commanded Sarah. "Fetch the paddle." The girls' faces went hard and frightened and they instantly turned and raced down the stairs. Sarah and Mandy slowly followed, the younger girl trying to tell her cousin that it was okay, she didn't care if the room wasn't ready. "I'm not using the closet immediately anyway."

"That's not the point," said Sarah grimly. "Those two need to learn a lesson about commitment and responsibility. You will find that in this house, Mandy, we take discipline extremely seriously. My father is far too busy to handle these things, so since mother passed away I have been in charge in almost all household matters. I have been disciplining my sisters for years now, and I will be doing the same with you. We have strict rules around here--break them and you will find yourself taking a paddling."

"B-but that's for kids!" exclaimed Mandy, her mind and body rebelling at the idea of being taken across her cousin's knee. "You can't really expect to _spank_ me!"

"You _are_ a kid," said Sarah with a snort. "And I most certainly do expect to spank you. If you behave it won't be so terrible. After all, I am only allowed to use the paddle. For serious offenses we must disturb my father and he will administer the _cane_, but I can assure you that after your first time you will avoid that at all costs!"

They had reached the living room and found the two girls standing near the couch, one of them holding a large wooden paddle with obvious reluctance. Sarah took it wordlessly and nodded at the two. "Over the couch, now, and drop those jeans and panties."

Julie opened her mouth to protest, glancing pointedly at her their guest, but Sarah's face was a rock. Reluctantly Julie and Jennifer went to the back of the couch. They unsnapped their jeans and pulled them down to their ankles. With deep breaths they simultaneously pulled down their underpants, revealing two identically plump naked bottoms. The two girls bent over the couch and waited.

Sarah stepped over behind Jennifer and lifted the paddle. "Thirty each," she said. The two girls shuddered and shook their heads. "Please," said Julie. "Not too hard." Sarah pulled the paddle back and gave Jennifer's bottom a hard wallop. The girl grunted. Her bottom flared with a slight pink imprint from the paddle. Sarah gave her another, and then three in quick succession for a total of five.

Pausing, Sarah went to Julie's bottom and gave her the same treatment: five hard swats. Both girls were silent, other than a slight grunt or moan at the moment of impact, but both were wiggling and breathing heavily.

Mandy stood to one side and watched the proceedings with a horrid fascination. She couldn't even remember her last spanking. She must have been five or six at the time. She mostly remembered the horrible pit in her stomach whenever she was threatened with corporal punishment. At school, one of her friends had been paddled by a teacher, and afterwards everyone had crowded around her in the girl's bathroom and made her show them her butt. Mandy remember she had felt a rather strange, dismal feeling and hadn't wanted to be there. She was interested--fanatically interested--but while everyone else seemed to treat the paddling like a joke, Mandy had felt frightened and mortified. The thought of being paddled like that in front of the whole class had petrified her.

Wham! Wham! Wham! The paddling was continuing, with Julie receiving another set of five. Both of the girls were up to fifteen now, and Mandy could see they were crying, tears dripping onto the cushions of the couch. Their bottoms were bright red, too, and starting to look really sore. Mandy discovered she was intrigued by the way the curvy flesh of their bottoms jiggled with each spank. It was even more interesting, the girls being twins, because Mandy got an immediate "before and after" look at their bottoms. During the brief period while Sarah shifted position Mandy could compare the two writhing bottoms, see how much redder one was than another.

Mandy couldn't help but wonder what the girls were feeling. She wondered how it felt, to be naked and bent over the couch, waiting for the pain. She wondered how it felt to lie there, waiting, listening to someone next to you get swatted and know in just seconds you will be writhing like that. Mandy wondered how much it hurt, and if it was really as horrible as it looked.

At twenty Julie let out a loan moan of despair and began to cry out loud, her body shuddering with light sobs. Her release seemed a signal to Jennifer who also began to cry out loud. At twenty-five both girls were sobbing uncontrollably, begging their sister for mercy. Sarah refused, paddling the girls soundly until they could barely stand still they were so sore.

Finished, Sarah ordered them to stand facing the wall in the living room for next twenty minutes. "And don't you _dare_ touch your bottoms unless you want double that!"

The twin bottoms glowed with a vibrant red, but as they stood there shivering and trembling, weeping without restraint now that the punishment was over, hands clenched tightly behind their necks as they struggled against the impulse to sooth their blazing bottoms, Mandy thought they looked strangely beautiful. Their skin was pale everywhere except for the soundly punished buttocks so that your eye was drawn to those deep red cheeks, and those round luscious curves, so delicate and smooth, seemed to have an attraction and sexual stimulation to them that Mandy had never noticed before. It made her feel rather uncomfortable, but she had work to tear her eyes away from the twins and look at Sarah's face.

The older girl was grinning. "Would you like a session with the paddle? Just a taste, to see how you like it?" Mandy's face went starch white. She shook her head, her body frozen in terror. Her cousin dragged her forward. "Come on, just a couple smacks, three, let's say. You obviously haven't been spanked in a long time. It's not so bad. The paddle's nothing compared to the cane! Come on, you can even keep your dress on."

Somehow, as though she didn't have a will of her own, Mandy found herself bent across the couch, her butt sticking out behind her. She could feel the skin tingling with little prickles just in anticipation of what was to happen. She was too frightened to move. She wanted desperately to run away, to leap up and give her cousin a firm "No! Absolutely not!" But she couldn't move. It was like this was all a dream, and she had no control over her limbs.

Suddenly there was loud wack that sounded like thunder and her butt just exploded. There was a furious tingling all over her bottom and she gasped and almost stood up. Without even thinking about it her hands moved toward her backside and she had to manually stop them and wait. The paddle smacked her again. This time she was more prepared and didn't panic. The sensation was not so foreign. She was beginning to understand the pulsing warmth that flooded through her body, but the fierce stinging still brought tears to her eyes. The third one made her cry out slightly, just a simple "Oh!" and her eyes filled with water. She discovered to her shock that she was dancing on her tiptoes, wiggling her bottom about in a rather lurid manner. She stopped hastily, embarrassed, and slowly stood and smoothed down her dress over her bottom, her hands soaking in the amazing heat. She glanced at the twins in astonishment. "Their bottoms must be too hot to touch!" she thought. "I can't believe how hot my butt is after just three spanks!"

"Not so bad, eh?" said Sarah smugly. She had enjoyed that immensely. Much more entertaining than spanking the twins. "This little brat deserved it and a lot more," she thought grimly. "I could spank her all summer long!"

"No, it's not so bad," said Mandy slowly, rubbing her bottom. "But all the same I think I will avoid it. Three's enough for me."

"We'll see about that!" thought Sarah, but she kept silent. She walked over to a small desk near the front door and opened a little drawer and took out a notebook there. Mandy walked over to see her write in neat script, "Julie and Jennifer, 30 strokes each, disobedience (failure to clean guest room as ordered)." Sarah added the date and closed the book and put it away.

Mandy noticed that the book was full of pages of such listings. "Do you write down all of the punishments?" she asked.

"Yes. Father looks them over every month or so. If he feels one of the girls has been needing the paddle too much she gets a caning."

"Oh," said Mandy.

Continued in Part 2...

The Apprentice 2/3

(****, Mf/fff, Severe, Teen punishment)

A young lady visits her uncle for the summer in hopes of being his apprentice but discovers the meaning of discipline instead. (Approximately 13,353 words. Originally published 1996-02.)

The next few days became a blur in her memory. There were so many new sights and sounds and events that she just couldn't cram them all into her head. First there was a brief two minute visit with her uncle that first day, while he held an international call on hold and welcomed her and told her to mind Sarah and asked if there was anything she needed. She had said no and he disappeared with the phone back to his ear. She hadn't seen him since, though she knew he was around.

Then there was the natural foreignness to everything: the house was different, with different smells and sounds; the shower and toilet felt strange; the food was good but it wasn't her mom's cooking; and the customs and habits of the household were different, making Mandy feel awkward and a bit lost.

The second day started early. Mandy was awakened at six by Julie--or maybe it was Jennifer--she still couldn't tell them apart. She didn't want to get up. She wasn't used to waking up so early, and the trip and everything had exhausted her. But she got up and showered and barely had time to check her e-mail and the financial news before she stumbled down for breakfast at six-forty-five. "Breakfast is at six-thirty," said Sarah primly. "This is your only warning."

Lessons began promptly at seven. Sarah met with her for the first hour and gave her assignments and outlined her course of study for the summer. She was given a dozen textbooks to study from and several books to read. To Sarah's surprise she had already read one of the books, a popular treatise on the Japanese economic system. "That's pretty advanced reading for a fourteen-year-old," said Sarah. "Are you _sure_ you understood it?"

"Well, why are you assigning it to me now if it's over my head?" asked the ever-practical Mandy.

Sarah didn't answer but gave her another book, the thickest one from her stack. "I want these all read by next week with a four-page essay on each one." She went on to quiz the girl on her accounting knowledge, amazed at everything the young girl knew. "Where'd you learn this stuff?" she asked finally. "You haven't taken any courses, have you?"

Mandy shook her head. "I read a lot, especially magazines, and when I was ten Dad took me to his work and I spent some time talking with their accountant. He was really impressed and I came back several times and he showed me a lot about how they did things. I used to run pretend businesses and do their books to learn how to do it right. When Martha and I started out--she's my partner in the catering business--I learned a great deal from doing her books. Some things I didn't know how to do so I just came up with my own methods. It works wonderfully, though. Even later when I learned how to do some of that correctly it wasn't as good as my system so I didn't change."

Sarah could feel heat rising to her face listening to her little cousin. "The smart alec!" she thought. Out loud she said, "Well I'm afraid we don't do things like that in the real world, Mandy. You'll have to follow standard accounting procedures to the letter or I'll grade you down."

"But I know those systems and they aren't as efficient," complained Mandy.

"Doesn't matter. You will do it the way I tell you." Mandy sulked a bit at that but didn't say anything. "Now Daddy also thought you should do some phantom stock tracking; you know, pick an imaginary portfolio and check the results each day over the summer and see how much you earn. You'll have to graph it, of course, and you must 'invest' in at least four different kinds of stocks. You'll have $5000 to start your investing."

Mandy looked annoyed. "Come on, Sarah, that's kids stuff. I've been managing my Dad's portfolio for years. I did two stock purchases before breakfast based on this morning's government reports on unemployment, which was lower than expected, by the way, and we all know what that will mean to the security market." Sarah didn't think it was all that obvious--there _several_ possibilities, but she didn't speak. Her mouth was a thin line of fury. Mandy didn't notice, continuing without stopping.

"Look, Sarah, I appreciate what you are going but you have to understand that I want to be challenged, to really learn some of the hot tricks your Dad uses. I want to learn about how he handles complex international transactions, what his feelings are regarding business ethics and the client/consultant relationship, and how he thinks the changes in the Middle East are going to affect the United States over the next decade. I thought that this summer I'd be working at his elbow, watching and learning from his every move. Now it seems like I shall be learning from you."

"My father is very busy," said Sarah coldly. "He doesn't have time for an apprentice. When you have reached a higher level of knowledge perhaps you will be able to appreciate what he can teach you, but for now you need to learn the basics."

"But I _know_ the basics!" said Mandy angrily, standing up. "I came her to learn the _advanced_ stuff, the stuff I can't learn on my own!"

Sarah glared at the girl. "Unless you wish me to bring out the paddle and warm your bottom soundly for insolence I suggest you sit back down and study. That is the _end_ of this conversation. One more word--just one--and you will be crying inside of five minutes!"

Mandy's face paled and she sat back down. Her face had gone hard and she looked ready to spit at her older cousin. "Why does Sarah have to be such a bitch?" she thought miserably. "She doesn't like me for some reason. Have I offended her somehow?" But Mandy could think of nothing she had done to hurt her cousin. She shrugged it off and sighed and opened her books. Most were entry-level but perhaps should could find something useful somewhere. At least the review couldn't hurt her.

Even that first day Mandy had a sense of foreboding that it would not be long before she felt Sarah's paddle again. She was painfully correct. On just her third day she received her first real paddling.

Compared to some of the twins' spankings it wasn't much, only twenty strokes, but Mandy sure felt it. She was crying before the tenth one and by twenty she was sobbing. Fortunately it hadn't been on the bare. She was being punished for being late to breakfast, of all things, and she thought it ludicrously unfair. But rules were rules, as Sarah constantly reminded her. Mandy was growing to hate that explanation.

When Mandy got her second spanking the very next day, she realized that this was going to be a very long summer. And indeed it was. Over the next month Sarah paddled Mandy every chance she could get, and unfortunately for Mandy, she gave Sarah many opportunities. Scarcely a day went by that Mandy wasn't bent over the back of the couch or stretched across her cousin's lap feeling that paddle smack her round little bottom. In her cousin's eyes she just couldn't seem to do anything right.

An only child, Mandy was extremely independent and had a tendency to say whatever she thought. Almost invariably this was taken as insolence and Mandy was paddled. Used to the practicalities and excitement of real life finances the lessons Sarah gave Mandy were dull and excruciating, and it was almost a rule that several paddlings a week were due to Mandy not completing assignments. Then there were always a few for other "crimes" like tardiness, a messy room, improper dress, mistakes, disobedience, and general incompetence.

Mandy became extremely familiar with the various positions of punishment, sometimes clothed but many times with her skirt humiliatingly up and panties down around her ankles. The twins always watched and giggled, not that they had much on Mandy. Two or three times a week, at minimum, it seemed, would find one or both of them in the same position taking their swats silently though their eyes were teary.

Mandy quickly discovered that the twins seemed to have the same disdain for her as their sister, for they were often rude and insolent to her, teasing her unmercifully when she stood silently in the corner after a spanking, her red bottom on display for them to jeer and even slap, when their sister wasn't around. Mandy endured these tortures silently. The twins were older than her and the two of them always stuck together meaning that they could tell any story they wanted to Sarah and she'd believe them over the visitor.

One day, for instance, after Mandy had taken twenty-five swats on the bare for accidentally spilling Sarah's coffee, the twins came to her corner and teased her. They laughed at her red bottom and pinched and slapped her cruelly. Finally Mandy couldn't take it and ran, half-naked, to find Sarah and report them. The twins were crying when the two came back and told Sarah that Mandy had tore up their homework. They showed her the ripped pages and without listening to a word in her defense Sarah ordered Mandy back over the couch for forty-five sizzling swats. After that Mandy did not say anything when the twins tormented her.

There were a few occasions when all three girls were punished together, three naked rumps bent over the back of the couch as Sarah dutifully spanked them in cycles of five swats each until the total punishment had been thoroughly administered. These instances, though humiliating, were better for Mandy because the twins had little to tease her about, their own bottoms fiery hot.

So the summer passed slowly for poor Mandy. It was a dull routine of busy work and tedium, and constant teasing and torment by the twins, each slow day culminating in one or two sessions of tears and a hot, throbbing bottom. The coursework was boring and Mandy learned little from the lessons Sarah gave her, though she read voraciously on the side, in fact preferring to neglect her lessons in favor of one of her uncle's books on tax theory even though she knew that the next day it would mean another paddling.

She thought many times of returning home, but two things prevented it. One was the humiliation of returning home in disgrace, her parents disappointed she couldn't or wouldn't learn from her uncle, and the second was the hope that somehow things would change, that she would get the chance to work with her uncle the way she had always dreamed.

Things did change, though not until much later. In the meantime she suffered greatly and bore it stoically, never saying a word in protest against her cruel cousins. There were a few interesting events that happened to break the routine, however.

The first was at the end of the second week of Mandy's stay, when Sarah announced she was going out on a date for the evening, and that Mandy should stay at home and mind the girls. As the twins had just received a royal toasting that morning for a completely botched research paper while Mandy had escaped with Sarah's reluctant praise for her excellent work, Mandy had no doubt the twins were not going to be friendly to her during Sarah's absence. Unfriendly was putting it mildly.

Not long after Sarah had gone the twins came in and announced that Mandy was supposed to do the dishes. Mandy protested that it was the twins turn, and besides, she was busy working on her assignments for the next day. There was a great deal to do and she needed every spare minute.

Julie held up the wooden paddle. "Do you need some encouragement, girl?"

Mandy's jaw dropped and she stood up angrily. "You can't spank me! You have no right!"

"We're older than you and besides, Sarah said you had to obey us. If you don't do what we say we shall give Sarah a bad report on you!"

Mandy was stumped. She knew that Sarah would take the girls' side no matter what the circumstances. She also was far too familiar with Sarah's manners to doubt that her bottom wouldn't be severely dealt with. Reluctantly, she obeyed the girls. That evening she became their slave, doing all their chores and homework, waiting on them hand and foot, bringing them deserts and drinks from the kitchen. When she protested, Jennifer would pick up the paddle and Mandy would reluctantly obey. A couple of times that evening the twins did spank her, for insolence or clumsiness. The swats weren't many or hard, just a dozen or so over her jeans, but Mandy resented them enormously.

When Sarah returned home the twins did not say anything negative, and Mandy was grateful for at least that respite. But the incident put her forever under the control of the twins. After that night the twins commanded her whenever Sarah was not around, paddling her themselves when she had trouble obeying their commands. So now she was getting it from both sides!

There was one incident when she became enraged by the twins actions. She'd gotten a particularly brutal bare bottom paddling from Sarah at breakfast, and later, that evening, the twins each gave her a dozen strokes on the bare simply "because." So when Sarah came home late that night Mandy was waiting for her, and told her what had happened, pleading with her to make them stop.

"It's okay if I deserve it," she said to Sarah. "I can accept that. But they are just torturing me for their amusement. It's not fair!"

Sarah had smiled grimly at Mandy and said, "You _do_ deserve it. I've never seen a naughtier girl in my life. And to complain about it! I guess I didn't give you enough this morning." And so she dragged the protesting Mandy by the earlobe into the kitchen, pulled Mandy across her lap, and gave her a couple dozen hard smacks with the paddle. "If I am not home then the twins are your parents," Sarah said spanking the teenager soundly. "You will listen and obey them just as you do me!"

Tearfully, Mandy complied.

During the fifth week of her stay Mandy got to see something that both pleased and terrified her. It was on a Thursday, during breakfast, when suddenly Uncle Henry popped into the kitchen. Miraculously the phone was not attached to his ear and he seemed to be in an extremely positive mood, greeting the girls and inquiring as to how the lessons were going. Sarah had not risen yet, having gone out the night before, no doubt to meet a certain young man she had grown fond of.

"Are you enjoying your learning?" Uncle Henry asked Mandy.

Though she was reluctant to offend his hospitality, she shook her head. "Not really, Uncle," she said. "It's boring. It's all stuff I already know."

Henry frowned. "You already know this stuff?"

"Certainly. I've been studying finance for years."

"Well, did you tell Sarah?"

"Of course, but she says I must learn the basics before I can get more advanced."

"That's true," said her uncle thoughtfully, "but it's no good if you aren't being challenged. Where is Sarah anyway? She ought to be here for breakfast."

Without thinking Mandy blurted, "She's still in bed, exhausted after meeting Brad last night."

Her uncle whirled on her. "She went out last night?" His face was grim, angry, and suddenly Mandy became frightened. "What I have done!" she thought. "Sarah's going to kill me!"

"She knows she's only allowed to go out on weekends. That was an established policy!" growled Uncle Charlie grimly. He crossed to the pantry and disappeared for a second, emerging with a long, white, crock-handled cane in his right hand. "Julie, go get your sister! Tell her if she's not down here in sixty seconds she'll get an extra stroke for every second she's late!"

A disheveled and rather grumpy Sarah was standing in the living room fifty-seven seconds later, trembling in her thin nightgown and pleading with her father. He shut her up with a look, her face pale and frightened, eyes wide with alarm.

"Sarah, I put you in charge of this household because I thought you could act like an adult! Obviously I was mistaken, if you have the gall to disobey my direct instructions and leave the girls alone on a weeknight!"

"Please, father, I'm sorry. It won't happen again, I promise."

"You had better believe it won't happen again. I'm going to cane you this time, but if I hear one more instance of your abusing your position I most certainly will not promote you to Assistant in the fall!"

"Oh! Father, no!"

"Be quiet and get over the couch for your caning. Lift up that nightgown of yours. I know it won't make much difference but you're getting this one on the bare."

Mandy watched with horrid fascination as her cousin slowly draped herself across the back of the couch in the position that Mandy had become so accustomed to of late. As Sarah got in position she removed her panties completely, tossing them aside, and lifted her nightgown so that her bottom was completely exposed. Mandy was impressed with Sarah's large, round bottom. The curves were so plump and graceful that it took Mandy's breath away. "Maybe someday I'll look that beautiful," she whispered to herself.

Sarah's face had grown hard with grim determination, though her hands trembled slightly as she placed them palm downward on the seat of the couch. Her legs were tightly squeezed together and her bottom thrust out behind her. She waited, her heart in her throat, as her father got in position behind her and lifted the cane.

There was loud whooosh of air as the cane swung downward and then a sharp report as though a small rifle had been fired. CRACK! Mandy felt the blood throughout her body grow suddenly cold and she shivered in spite of herself. The thin, flexible cane bounced away from the soft flesh of Sarah's hindquarters, leaving behind a thin pink line that slowly reddened and grew dark and blistery. Sarah stood sucking in her breath sharply, wiggling her butt in the air and trembling all over. "One!" she cried out in a shaky voice, slightly too loud, almost a cry.

Whoosh-CRACK! came the dreadful rattan again, leaving another stripe just beneath the first. Sarah's movements were slightly more animated this time, as she struggled for control over her senses. "Two!"

Mandy watched in silence as the caning continued. She had no idea how much the cane hurt, having never experienced it, but the loudness of the strokes, the bloodless face of her cousin, mouth twisted with agony, and the white-hot grip of her hands on the seat cushions told her the cane must be unbearably painful. She could not picture herself standing quietly for such a punishment. "Look at those welts!" she thought in awe. The earlier ones had grown into a dull, pulsing, angry red and made Mandy's stomach turn.

The sight of the cousin who had so often abused her being soundly punished did not bring special pleasure to Mandy. She was pleased, of course, to an extent, as it certainly was nothing less than the older girl deserved, but Mandy's instincts were alarmed at the thought of the future. If Sarah had been cruel and difficult to Mandy before, how would she be after this caning? Especially when she discovered it was Mandy that had told Uncle Henry about Brad? Mandy had no doubt that revenge was an active part of her cousin's vocabulary.

Sarah began to cry out loud after the fifth cut. Her body shuddered and convulsed as she sobbed. The sixth and seventh ones were very low, near the bottom of her buttocks, where the flesh is the plumpest, and her cries at each stroke were embarrassingly loud. Eight was the worst, right at the base of her butt where it joined the thigh, and Sarah let out a furious squeal and danced on her tiptoes, her weeping loud and intense.

Her father studied her for a moment and then sighed and set down the cane. "I hope that you have learned you lesson, young lady," he said sternly.

Sarah nodded frantically, still weeping uncontrollably. "Yes, sir! Definitely, sir. No more evenings out on weeknights, sir!"

"Or weekends either, for the next month!" growled her father, and though a grimace crossed Sarah's face she nodded agreement. Uncle Henry turned and left, then, leaving the four girls alone.

Sarah slowly stood and let her nightgown drop down and cover her striped bottom. "Shit that fucking _hurts_!" she exclaimed vehemently. "Oh, God, I thought I was going to die!"

Mandy gasped at her cousin's swearing. Boy, was she angry. Mandy couldn't blame her, but she dreaded what was going to happen next. Sure enough, Sarah turned on her in outrage.

"You little rat! You fuckin' tramp! Tell him about Brad, did you! Well, we'll get see how much sitting down you're going to be able to do over the next few weeks! From now on I'm giving you a double dose for every punishment, and you can just forget about keeping your panties on, because from now on you will only be getting paddled on the bare!"

Mandy paled and stared at the ground. "I-I'm sorry, Sarah, I didn't mean to get you in trouble."

"Trouble! You call this _trouble_? You didn't get me in trouble, girl, you got me caned black and blue, you little bitch! I won't be able to sit for a week! And I can't see Brad for a whole month!"

Mandy began to cry she felt so awful, but Sarah didn't care. "Now you all start on your lessons. I'm going to take a long cold shower and put some cream on my ass. Oh, God, how it hurts. I ought to take the cane to you, little bitch. You have no idea what you've done!"

As Mandy sat down she knew that she had made an enemy of Sarah for life. There was no way she was going to escape from this easily. She gave a deep sigh. Well, that was that. There was nothing she could do about it now. "I'll just have to take it," she thought grimly.

It began later that day when Sarah, too sore to do it herself, had the twins each give Mandy two dozen wacks. When they were done, Sarah, who was upstairs in her room, said she couldn't hear half of them so they must not have been hard enough, and to give them to her again. Mandy was exhausted and sore when she fell asleep late that night, and very unhappy.

She was on her best behavior for the next two days, but it did little good. The slightest cause she gave either the twins or Sarah quickly had her bending over the couch for a paddling. And though Mandy had grown accustomed enough to it that she could take almost fifty before breaking down and sobbing uncontrollably, every stroke still brought tears to her eyes.

Three days after Sarah's caning, on Sunday, Mandy was surprised to see her uncle standing before her that afternoon. His face was calm and relaxed but a tad stern. "Mandy, please come upstairs and meet me in my office. There's something I need to discuss with you."

"What about?" asked Mandy.

"In my office, please. And oh, those jeans you have on are rather loose. Do you have a pair that are tighter?"

Mandy stared at her uncle in surprise. "What a strange request," she thought, but she nodded. "I think so."

"Good. Put them on a meet me upstairs in five minutes. Don't be late."

Mandy got up and left for her room, her uncle smiling and heading for the kitchen. In her room Mandy changed to an old pair of Lee jeans she had from last year that just barely fit. They were one of her favorite pairs but her hips had grown so much lately she practically had to hold her breath to get them on. Nervously she went upstairs to her uncle's office. She'd only been in there once before, on her initial tour of the place. She wondered what he wanted. His expression was rather serious. Perhaps he was upset with her? She couldn't think why, but then maybe Sarah had told him something.

When Mandy entered the small room, books lining the walls from floor to ceiling, he was there waiting, and she froze when she saw the white cane lying on his desk. A chill went through her body and heart pumped wildly. It couldn't be! He couldn't be serious! What had she done?

Her uncle looked at her a little sadly, and told her to close the door. In his hands was the little black punishment logbook where every one of Mandy's paddlings had been recorded. He flipped through it as he talked.

"I have spoken with Sarah about your lessons. She tells me that you are quite gifted, perhaps brilliant even, but that you do not respond well to authority. She showed me that she often has to punish you for late or incomplete or even missed assignments. There are also many, many punishments for various other offenses that have little to do with academics, which is the only area where I am concerned. I do not wish to force you to be here if you are unhappy. As I told you when I invited you here, there is a great deal for you to learn. Finance is a tough business. Instructions must be followed exactly or there are severe consequences. It is not a career for those who wish to flaunt the rules. In real life that will get you thrown in jail!"

The man paused. "Are you interested in finance at all? Do you really want to be here?"

"Oh, yes sir!" exclaimed Mandy excitedly. "I want to be just like you!"

Uncle Henry smiled. "Well, good. But I cannot see that from these records. Much of your work is exemplary, but some is far below those standards. Why such division? Can't you work consistently?"

"But so much is just busy work," complained Mandy. "It's pointless and boring. I think Sarah makes it that way on purpose."

"Now, now, none of that. Much of the financial world is utterly boring. I personally find certain aspects of accounting to be that way. You will not succeed in this business if you are bored by a few figures."

Mandy shook her head. "But it's not just a few. It's pages and pages, and she makes me write it out long-hand instead of using my computer. What's the point of that? There's no reason to half the stuff she makes me do--"

She froze as she saw Uncle Henry standing up holding the cane. His face was dull and stern. "I told you _not_ to complain about Sarah. She's has gone over her lessons with me and I approved them. She worked very hard all spring at preparing that material for you. You will not blame your shortcomings on her!"

Suddenly everything made sense to Mandy. She realized now what had upset her cousin so much. She'd done all that preparatory work to be able to instruct her visiting cousin only to find that her cousin knew as much or more about accounting and finance than she did! No wonder she had been furious every time Mandy had wanted to change the lessons. It was a matter of pride. She was embarrassed by Mandy's knowledge!

"Now I am afraid that you are not listening to your cousin properly, and I agree with her conclusions that you are rude, impulsive, and extremely likely to violate the rules. Obviously her punishments have little effect on your behavior, so I am going to cane you, Mandy."

The words echoed like thunder in Mandy's head and she could only tremble as she pictured Sarah's naked buttocks streaked with welts. "Oh, please, sir, please Uncle Henry, not the cane, please!"

"You are young," said her uncle coldly, "and as this is only your first time I will just give you four strokes over your jeans. But if you continue to whine and protest I shall make it six!"

Mandy closed her mouth carefully lest some unthought word come out that would seal her to an even worse fate. She nodded and stood quietly as her uncle showed her the position he wanted her in, standing on a large leather chair and leaning over the back. Mandy obeyed, her heart racing. She felt extremely vulnerable and exposed standing on the chair, and when she bent over her bottom seemed to swell and thrust backward giving her uncle a large round target.

"Now, Mandy, since this is your first time with the cane I will explain the rules. You will stay in this position until I tell you to get up. After each stroke you will say the count out loud and clearly. If you fail to count, miscount, stand up, try to cover your backside, or interfere in any manner, I will resume the caning from the beginning, even if we are on the fourth stroke. Do you understand?"

"Y-Yes, sir," answered Mandy in a small voice. She had never felt so afraid in all her life. Her knees knocked together slightly as she stood there. She was profoundly grateful that she was wearing jeans, but they were so tight against her skin that she knew they would not protect her much. The denim was just not that thick. Worse, these jeans had no back pockets, which meant there was only a single smooth layer of cloth between the cane and her panties and her oh-so-tender bottom.

She heard it before she felt it. It was rather strange. A whistling sound as the cane whipped through the air. Then she felt pressure against her bottom. It pushed her forward with such force she panicked thinking she would fall over. Then she heard the CRACK! as it echoed around the narrow room. Her breath sucked in in fear and then she felt the pain wash through her. It was a sharp, pulsing stinging that burrowed deeper and deeper into her ass. Her bottom wavered, quivering, and shook. It took all of her strength to not reach back and grab her butt and scream. The thin line of fire was near the top of her bottom and she just ached to touch it, to caress her burning skin. It seemed impossible to not sooth the agonized flesh. How could she just stand there?

But she did. Somehow she managed to stay in position and say "One." There was another whoosh and a loud crack that sounded like a stick breaking. She wondered for a second if the cane had cracked, but then the pain came, and she forgot all else. She could only writhe and moan, tears pouring from her eyes without her control. "T-Two!"

Twice more that cane came down, each time slightly lower so the last two were full across the plumpest part of her bottom. Mandy quivered and wiggled frantically, aching to grab her ass and run. The lines of fire across her butt seemed to be multiplying, spreading across her buttocks and down to her thighs. She had never felt such an intense sensation in her entire life. She wept miserably and tried to comprehend her confused emotions. It hurt, that was true, but it was an overwhelming pain; not overwhelming because it hurt so much, but because it was so intense. Feelings flooded through her whole body. Her every nerve was on edge, screaming at the top of its lungs. She could even feel sensations through odd parts of her body, like the nipples of her breasts, which were hard and stiff, and her crotch, which was very moist. Even the hairs on the back of her neck seemed raised and alert for pain.

"You may stand," said a voice from a million miles away. Mandy slowly stood up, her buttocks crying out in agony in protest of her movement. "I hope you just learned a great deal. I am sorry I had to do that, but if I have to see you up here again I promise you that it will be without the protection of denim jeans."

Continued in Part 3...

The Apprentice 3/3

(****, Mf/fff, Severe, Teen punishment)

A young lady visits her uncle for the summer in hopes of being his apprentice but discovers the meaning of discipline instead. (Approximately 13,353 words. Originally published 1996-02.)

"You may stand," said a voice from a million miles away. Mandy slowly stood up, her buttocks crying out in agony in protest of her movement. "I hope you just learned a great deal. I am sorry I had to do that, but if I have to see you up here again I promise you that it will be without the protection of denim jeans."

Mandy nodded ruefully.

"And what do you say?" said the voice.

"S-say?" Mandy said, her voice weak and breaking in strange places.

"Yes. Don't you want to thank me for such an effective piece of discipline?"

Mandy didn't at all but understood the implied image. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir, for such an effective caning. My behavior will improve, I can assure you."

"Excellent! You are a bright young girl." He turned away, implying their business was finished. Mandy turned to go but stopped at the door. She waited but the man did not acknowledge her.

"Sir?"

"Yes?"

"May I ask a favor?"

The looked down at her and smiled. "You may _ask_."

"I was wondering, would there be a possibility I could watch you? You know, see you work. I promise I wouldn't interfere, just observe, as a part of my training. Say a few hours per week, or maybe at a set time each day. I would love to learn from you, sir." Mandy stopped speaking and held her breath.

"Hmmm," said her uncle. "Interesting idea. I often deal with confidential information, though. Can you be trusted?"

"Absolutely, sir!"

"I might have to dismiss you at any time, without warning, if I received an important call or client."

"That would be fine, sir," said Mandy.

"And you couldn't interfere--no questions or comments or interruptions."

"None, sir!" said Mandy boldly. "If you hear a peep out of me feel free to cane me as much as you'd like!"

Uncle Henry smiled. "All right. I'll discuss the matter with Sarah, but I'm sure a few hours of observation each week can be arranged."

Mandy left the office feeling warm and happier than she'd ever been since arriving at her uncle's. Her bottom burned as she walked and she knew it would be a while before she could wear jeans like these again, but it didn't matter. She was going to get a chance to watch her uncle! To see him solve problems, to learn how he worked, what he thought, and why. It was a dream come true.

Sarah was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs. "Where have you been!" she scolded. "I have been looking for you everywhere. You are supposed to be helping the twins prepare supper!"

"Oh! I forgot. I was with your father, you see..."

"My father! What did he want?"

Mandy did her best to look crestfallen. "H-He caned me. He said I haven't been doing my best at my studies."

"Well, he's right," said Sarah with such a satisfied smirk that Mandy suddenly realized that the older girl had known about the caning. "In fact," Mandy thought, "I bet she put him up to it, feeding him that logbook. She was waiting here for me knowing I just got caned and wanting to gloat about it!"

"But that doesn't excuse your behavior. You should have informed me where you were going. You caused a lot of unnecessary worry on my part. Go get the paddle!"

"But Sarah!"

"Now, young lady! Or I'll give you thirty!"

Mandy hurried to fetch the instrument of punishment, dread in every step. She knew why Sarah was doing this. She wanted to see Mandy's cane marks. And what more convenient way could there be than to have her bare her bottom for a paddling?

* * * * *

The next few weeks were tortuous for Mandy. Sarah seemed insatiable in her desire for revenge, punishing the girl ruthlessly at every opportunity. The paddlings got harder and longer and more frequent. The twins were worse too, leaping at the chance to pick on the weakened member of the family, taunting her and taking advantage of their superior age to spank the poor girl.

But Mandy scarcely noticed. For her, the only thing that mattered was that three days a week she got to spend two hours upstairs, watching and listening to her uncle. She sat in the room while he talked long distance with clients. She observed his computer system and how he organized his schedules. She was fascinated by the advice he gave clients, and intrigued by his take on the world economy. Best of all, he would occasionally speak to her, whispering comments or even asking her to fetch him something. She never spoke unless he asked her a direct question, which was rare, and even then she kept her answers brief.

She took notes on everything, carrying her laptop with her everywhere and writing down opinions, ideas, theories, and comments. There were numerous occasions where she wanted to speak out, to say what she thought, but she kept silent. There was one case where one of her uncle's clients was making some extremely poor financial judgements, in her opinion, but her uncle did not correct him. She was shocked and ached to discuss the matter with him, but she refrained. A few days later she discovered the client had thrown out all his own ideas and was listening to her uncle. Somehow he had convinced the man to change his mind, though he had played along at first. It was an important lesson for Mandy, because she would have been inclined to simply attack the man and tell him how stupid he was, which probably would have sent the client packing.

As time went on, Mandy was given some little responsibilities. At first it was simple, silly things, like getting coffee for the guests. These things she did without hesitation, however, feeling honored just to be there. The clients treated her kindly, though a little condescendingly, either because she was so young or because she was a girl. Maybe both.

But eventually her uncle had her taking notes for himself, fetching information for him, sending out international faxes, and even inputing data into his computer. He was quite impressed with her drive and intelligence, and though he had never taken any time to ask what she was thinking, he thought she seemed very capable. He increased her observation sessions to every day, which thrilled her.

One day, not long after that "promotion," Mandy came across something that troubled her. She was inputing client information into her uncle's database when she noticed that some of the figures the client had given her uncle didn't seem accurate. She didn't want to alarm anyone, however, and so she began some investigation on her own.

It took a while, but she managed to track down several of the clients holdings in various companies and discovered that the numbers reported by those corporations were quite different from those the client had indicated. It was carefully done; the numbers given her father were supposed to represent _net_ sales of each division. She verified this in two other places. But the client had reported _gross_ sales, and only of single products in each corporation. This meant that at a glance the numbers from the companies represented matched those in the client's report, but if you really looked, you saw that those identical numbers represented completely different kinds of information.

"Why would anyone do that?" thought Mandy. She thought at first that she had misunderstood the purposes behind the reports, but soon came to the inescapable conclusion that the client was attempting some kind of fraud. "Surely Uncle Henry will catch it," she thought, but he did not mention it.

As time progressed Mandy became more and more worried. She had calculated the impact of the miscalculation and realized that it distorted the client's entire financial picture. With those errors the client seemed like a good risk, but the truth of the matter was that the client has barely above water. Most of his investments were tied up in long-term properties but the errors gave him some much needed cash flow. Mandy didn't understand enough to know how much of the man's dealings were illegal, but she knew they were unethical. Her uncle could be seriously liable for a great deal of money if a shift in certain securities and metals caused them to go south, as the client did not actually own the money invested.

Mandy debated about telling this to her uncle. For one, she might be wrong. Then again, she could be right. Reluctantly she decided she had to tell him, even if it meant running the risk of upsetting the man. This was much more important than just her. She decided she tell him that afternoon, at her session. She gathered all her evidence and reviewed it. Everything was in order. He would be convinced. He _had_ to be. She could not stop herself from thinking that maybe she had made some kind of mistake. But the numbers seemed clear to her. There was fraud. It could be nothing else. Mr. Franklyn was a crook.

As she sat in her room she heard a car in the parking lot. She went to the window. It was Mr. Franklyn! There were several men with him, all dressed in dapper suits and smug looks; undoubtedly lawyers. Lawyers! That could only mean that the contract was to be signed right now! She had to talk to her uncle immediately!

Mandy raced to gather all the papers together and hurried out the door. She had to reach them before they went into the conference room. Visitors always used the express elevator to the third floor so they would already be there. She had to hurry!

She opened the door to her room and ran towards the stairway. On the way she was stopped by Sarah. "Where do you think _you_ are going? Didn't I just give you instructions to clean and mop the kitchen floor?"

"Yes, Sarah, but I _have_ to talk to your father."

"You can't. He's busy. You ought to know that!"

"It's just for a moment; I've got to do it."

"No. Now get downstairs or I'll spank you!"

Mandy glared at the older girl. "Sarah," she said slowly, enunciating her words as though speaking to a child, "this isn't about you and me. This is about your father. He's upstairs right now with an important client and I think he's about to make an extremely costly mistake. I must warm him."

Sarah laughed. "My father? Make a mistake? Give me a break! You had better rethink whatever it is you've thought because my father does not make mistakes."

"He will if I don't talk to him!"

"Downstairs, now! You're really going to get it. Give me those papers." Before Mandy could move Sarah had snatched the papers from her and pushed Mandy away. She looked over them quickly, not understanding the significance of anything. "Hmmm," she said with a sniff as though she found them inadequate, "just as I thought: a lot of garbage. Now get downstairs!"

With a burst of energy Mandy darted past her cousin and ran up the stairs. She could hear Sarah yell in anger and race after her. But Mandy was younger and lighter and more determined. She not only kept but increased her lead and closed and shut the door at the top. Lenora, her uncle's secretary, looked up at her in surprise.

"Why, Mandy, it isn't your time to observe!"

"I've _got_ to talk to Uncle Henry!"

"Well, I'm sorry, but he's in a meeting."

"With Mr. Franklyn?"

"Yes, their about to close the deal. They've got London and Tokyo on a conference call."

"Shit! I've got to stop them!"

"Mandy! My word! Come back here! George!" Lenora called to the computer guy for help as she ran after the teenager. But Mandy had already opened the door. Her blood pumped wildly. She knew she had to go all the way, that she was risking everything: a caning, her relationship with her uncle, her career. But she could not stop herself. She had to go with her instincts and do what she believed was the right thing to do.

She burst into the conference room like a miniature tornado. Her uncle was there, at the far end, his speech cut off when his niece entered so rudely. Next to him was Mr. Scott, his attorney, and Mr. Franklyn, the client, with two associates and two attorneys of his own.

"Uncle Henry, don't sign anything!" Mandy cried out in terror. Her uncle stared at her in astonishment.

"Mandy, this is not the time or the place!"

"But Uncle, you don't understand! That man's a crook!" She pointed an accusing finger at Mr. Franklyn.

Henry's face drained of blood and he stood up, furious, but managing to control himself. Picking up the phone he spoke quietly for a moment, and then pushed the "hold" button. Turning to Mr. Franklyn, he bowed. "Please excuse this interruption, Mr. Franklyn. I don't know what has gotten into my niece but I can assure you that her attitude does not represent me or my firm. If you will excuse me for a moment."

He took Mandy by the arm, gripping her with such strength she gasped, and led her from the conference room. He waved aside Lenora and George and a panting Sarah and dragged Mandy into his office and threw her in a chair. His face was a mask of fury.

"That's done it!" he roared. "I had thought you were making wonderful progress, but you just ruined everything. No, don't you even open your mouth, young lady. I don't care _what_ you think you have found you have no right--I repeat--no right to speak to my clients that way! Do you hear me?" Mandy nodded weakly.

"Now you sit right here young lady, and when I am finished with my meeting I will return and give you the worst caning I've ever given! And it will be only a fraction of what you deserve, little girl. I've never been so embarrassed in all my life! I'm ashamed of you."

"Uncle, please," said Mandy softly, "I understand. You can cane me if you want but please, please listen to what I am saying: do not sign that contract! Whatever you do, do _not_ sign that contract. I don't have time to explain it right now, but just don't sign that contract. That Franklyn's fed you some bad numbers and it totally changes the whole affair."

"Mandy, you are a child. These are adult affairs. Mr. Franklyn's finances have been gone over by some of the best minds in the business and he is as clean as rain."

"He is not."

"Mandy, I will not discuss this. Now sit down and be still until I return. I want you to think about what you have done and how you have offended me."

With that, her uncle went out the door and Mandy collapsed in heap and began to cry. She knew in her impetuousness she had ruined everything. She would be caned, sent home, and her uncle would never forgive her. She felt just awful. Even worse, he hadn't believed her about Mr. Franklyn. He was in there right now closing a deal that might cost him millions. It could ruin him in the business, too, for what client would trust him after that? Mandy wept again, and then fell asleep.

It was a long time later when the door opened and her uncle came in. His face was grim. He did not say anything for a long while, but only stared at the frightened little girl curled up in the big chair. He did not want to cane her. Sure, she was rude and did not understand how to treat people, but she was intelligent and good-hearted. She could learn. She would make one hell of a businesswoman some day. He sighed, wondering what it was she had found that had so alarmed her.

"Mandy," he said gently. "Wake up, darling." She opened her eyes slowly and then when she realized it was him leapt to her feet, her mouth opening, and then she shut it and sat back down silently.

"You are here to cane me," she said simply.

"Do you deserve any less?" he asked.

She shook her head. "I'm sorry, uncle. I didn't mean to ruin your meeting. I had to wait until I was certain, until there was no doubt, and then it was too late: you were about to sign the contract. It doesn't matter any more. It's all over now."

"It is really that serious?"

"The mistake?"

"Yes, whatever you've found."

"I'm afraid so, sir. It's only a few numbers but they affect others, and those affect some big profit projections. The actual compared to the fabricated is a difference of several million dollars. In five years that grows to almost thirty million."

Henry stared at the girl in shock. Could she be right? She certainly sounded like she knew what she was talking about. It was crazy--a twenty-year veteran taking advice from a fourteen-year-old girl--and yet he had always prided himself on his instincts. Instinct told him to listen to his niece.

"I didn't sign the contract."

"What?"

Uncle Henry shook his head. "I told them I had some minor reservations about a few clauses and I was waiting for some numbers to come into from one of my sources in Asia. We moved the meeting to Saturday. Will that give you enough time to show me that error?"

"Will it! Oh, Uncle Henry! Thank you! Thank you for believing me!" She threw her arms around him and kissed his cheeks again and again, tears pouring down her face. The man smiled rather shyly and kissed her back, hugging his little niece. It felt rather awkward; it was not his nature to be very affectionate, especially since Alicia had died. He patted her back and pulled her away.

"I didn't really say I believed you, you know. I just thought it couldn't hurt to see what you had found. I'm sure it's nothing, but you never know."

Mandy looked at him, her eyes shining. She knew he was just talking. He believed her alright. She could see it in his eyes. He didn't want to admit taking advice from a little girl, but he did believe her. She led him to the door.

"Come downstairs. Sarah threw my notes in the trash but we can find them and I can show you what he was trying to do."

* * * * *

It was a week later. Mr. Franklyn was no longer a client of Henry Bryant Investments, Inc. Mandy was a hero. Her uncle gave her the office next to his and promised that she should work at his side for the rest of the summer. He was astonished by all she knew. Despite everything she had managed to learn a great deal about his business, and her suggestions and questions were both astute. She soaked up his lectures and recited them back to him word for word the next day. He had never had a pupil like her.

"Why didn't you tell me about her?" he growled at Sarah, who simply looked annoyed and didn't answer. "And to think you had her doing her ABC's! No wonder she was bored!"

And though Mandy had begged her uncle not to do it, he had caned the other three girls. His suspicions aroused he had done some investigating on his own and had discovered how the girls had been treating Mandy. He was furious. Mandy had calmed him down, but he still promised to cane them.

"If you cane them then you must cane me!" Mandy said stubbornly.

"What? Why?"

"For bursting into your meeting."

"But that was okay. You turned out to be right. Besides, I told I forgave you."

"Doesn't matter. It was wrong for me to behave like that. I should have been more dignified."

"Then you would never have managed to warn me in time."

"Look, Uncle, it was wrong and I deserve a caning. Not as badly as my cousins, perhaps, but three or four certainly."

Eventually he had agreed, and Mandy had been given four strokes along with the others.ĘThe twins were given eight each, and Sarah was given fourteen with the promise of another fourteen in two weeks. She was pretty meek and mild after that.

So, in the end, Mandy had a terrific summer. She grew up considerably. Her knowledge of financial affairs increased dramatically, especially under the direct tutelage of her uncle, and even her character had improved. She actually went and thanked Sarah for all the punishments she'd been given, saying that she had probably deserved most for one reason or another, and the two became friends. Even the twins seemed to want to put the whole mess behind them, and Mandy forgave them for all their tormenting.

"I hope you were a good girl for your Uncle Henry!" said Mandy's mom when she returned home.

"The best," said Mandy. "I hardly got spanked at all."

"Well, good," said her mother. "I'm proud of you."

The End

*** Author's Note ***
Okay, I had this idea, right: an Apprentice. Yeah, lots of spanking, tortured by the other apprentices and punished daily by the Master. Well, somehow I decided to modernize it and look what I got! Can't get what you pay for any more. ;-)

Anyhow, I hope you liked it! Let me know what you think. Any financial experts out there who can assist me in any errors in the accounting BS I put in here are welcome to send me suggestions! (I am the _opposite_ of an accountant.)

Frank
(The Flogmaster)
***

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