"Time to get that fat arse out of bed!" Gwendoline stood over Jim, her
arms folded over her breasts and looking sternly down. "Time for an early
morning half hour run followed by a twenty minute swim and then another
half hour run - and mind you keep this up after we leave later today.
You have two slices of toast, tea without milk and fruit juice for breakfast - no more fried breakfasts for you as long as we live together! I think a banana and a cheese sandwich should be fine for lunch - and NO eating between meals. Only one cooked meal a day (in the evening), and make sure you always go to bed feeling a little bit hungry - you've a lot of weight to lose. Trust me - in a few weeks you'll be the trim fellow I fell in love with last summer."
"And I've got to endure all this misery, just so I can hang on to you?"
"You bitch - no wonder Harriet's so scared of you! I must be mad to put up with all this - you going through it with me?"
"You bet - only I run and swim faster and further and for longer, that's all. Let's wake up the others and they can enjoy all this as well. Then I'm sure good old Harry will do a lot more heavy labouring for you - she's coming on so well - that girl."
After the three had finished their morning marathon and eaten breakfast - watched by an envious and tired Jim, who had quickly swallowed his meagre meal, he and Harry went upstairs to continue clearing out unwanted furniture. Harry carried each piece out into a garden shed where it was to be kept for the time being. She had some difficulty with one large wardrobe and Gwen offered to help, but Harriet determinedly refused and somehow carried it downstairs and out of the house, without pausing once for breath. She was covered in dust and sweat by the time she had finished.
"I think we should make this place our home" said Gwendoline to Jessica as they watched the toiling pair. "The trouble with the other place is that it's too small for when the children start coming along and that wonderful rock would always be tempting me to climb it alone. Nor does it have a pool and a tennis court. Shame I got poor old Harry to clean up that kitchen for nothing! She can start on this one in the afternoon."
"Will you go on living here when you inherit the family seat and that lovely place in London?"
Gwen looked desperately sad as she always did at any hint about her father's precarious health. "No - we'll move in right away when the day comes. I only hope it won't be for a very long time!"
She changed the subject. "Harry's doing incredibly well with the kick-boxing training. She wants to fight one of us for real, just to see how she could do. What do you think - bit too soon?"
"She's a big girl, Gwen! It's her choice. I'll give her ten minutes tomorrow and hold nothing back - she won't be coming back for more for a long time."
"OK. But don't hurt her too much, Jessie. I won't tolerate a massacre. I'll be watching."
"You're getting very fond of her, aren't you?"
"I admire the magnificent way she put up with all the shit I gave her a few days ago. She never complained, except just a bit at first, perhaps. She's a very brave girl and I rate courage over all other qualities."
"All the more reason not to interfere on her behalf tomorrow. Let her learn the hard way that you can't run before you can walk. Just keep out of it Gwen - she'd thank you for that!"
Gwendoline's icy blue eyes looked angrily at her best friend and Jessica wilted.
"I don't like it Jessie - but as you wish. Just remember this - my friend, she's coming with us all the way and if she can't stand up, thanks to you, then you can be one to carry her"
"Don't worry Gwen, I won't kill your precious Harry - not quite!"
"It's never pretty to see jealousy. Just don't hurt her, even if you would love to."
Jessica scowled angrily but did not reply. Gwen later urged Harry to withdraw her challenge, but she angrily told her she knew perfecty well she was in for a torrid time but had to find out how well she was progressing, even though it meant getting a bit bruised in the process. Let them get on with it, then, was Gwen's sad conclusion.
Harriet prepared a magnificent lunch for Gwen and Jessica and a superb sandwich for Jim. Once again she refused to join the others at the table despite Gwen's almost tearful pleas, and waited on them as if she had been born a servant rather than the daughter of a peer.
"Can I do anything else for you before we all leave" she asked Jim after clearing away and washing up.
"Don't let her, Jim" said Gwen. "Come and sit with us for the afternoon, dearest Harry and watch all this crap on the television, like a good girl"
"If you're so keen on hard work - why not make a start on that wilderness at the bottom of the garden, said Jim gratefully. " I'd like all those overgrown shrubs and brambles totally taken out and the whole lot dug over. I have visions of a lawn there. You won't do that this afternoon, but if you made a start I'd be for ever in your debt"
"Who says I can't do all that? Just watch me!"
And Harriet went out into the garden in the raw November cold and comprehensively demolished all the shrubs that Jim had pointed out to her, ignoring all the sharp brambles, scratching her skin and hurting the soles of her feet. By nightfall she had finished the job completely and was in a state of triumphant exhaustion.
Gwen put her arms around Harriet's stinking, sweaty, dirty, naked body and kissed her.
"You really are a wonder, Harry. I do love you so much!"
Jessica looked on in a rage.
"Just you wait, you bitch. When I'm through with you, your own mother won't know you."
She kept this angry thought to herself, but the look on her face spoke volumes. Harriet saw it and wished she had never been so silly as to issue her challenge, but it was a little late to be backing out now.
The three girls woke up well after sunrise to find that the ground outside their sleeping place was covered with frost. The sky was totally free of cloud and the sun was dazzling so low in the sky was it. They had spent the night in a cabin belonging to Jim and occasionally used by him . It was situated on a particularly bleak part of the moors and he had painted some of his best work in this area - so he claimed. The place was full of his stuff and also contained an oil stove which had given the three a pleasantly warm night. Only another twelve days and nights to survive and the initiation would have been completed. It would be touch and go whether all three girls' resolutions would last out.
Despite Jessica's protests that they could not possibly venture out until the frost had gone, Gwendoline insisted -with Harriet's enthusiastic agreement - that they all go for a morning jog around the moorland and even see if there might not be some stretch of water deep enough to swim in. With a shivering Jessica bringing up the rear, the girls found themselves about two miles away from their night - time refuge and looking at a sparkling and extensive stretch of water, blue under the cloudless November sky.
"Good - there's only the odd bit of ice floating on the surface here and there. You go in first, Jessica. Harry and I will follow in a minute or two after I give her her a bit more training for this stupid fight you both insist on. You don't get out until we two have finished our swim - you ARE going to be cold by the time it's all over."
And in a whisper, Gwen continued, "Of course you could always decline Harry's challenge and forget about all this nonsense and then we'd all go back to the hut for a few hours and be nice and warm."
Jessica responded to this plea by moving twenty yards back from the edge of the pool, running towards it and jumping in - landing in deep water yards out into the middle. She swam across to the other side and came back to the centre, treading water and announcing that it was absolutely lovely and she would like to stay in all day.
After Gwen had put Harry through a few more moves the other two got into the pool and cooled off. Gwen sadly decided after ten minutes that Jessica was totally obdurate and ready to freeze to death rather than pass up on her chance to demolish poor old Harriet , who was picking it all up very quickly, but not quickly enough. She signalled that they should all emerge and go back to the artist's cabin and warm up in front of the stove before going on.
By mid-day the frost had gone and they set out on the walk to where Jim was due to meet them with their evening meal and hot drinks. Apart from a couple of times when they had to take cover and wait shivering while parties of hikers passed by, the day was incident free and Jim duly appeared at the redezvous.
He and Gwen disappeared behind a convenient wall for a very long time and the other two ate their meal in silence until Jessica spoke.
"I'm really going to love altering that lovely face of yours, Harriet. You won't ever be pretty again - I promise you that"
"You and whose army? You don't scare me, Jessica." sneered Harry. "I'm far stronger and getting stronger every day - you're frail."
"We'll see. It's not brute force that decides these things."
Gwendoline rejoined them after bidding Jim a lingering and loving farewell until the morrow.
"Good! Having a nice talk are we? That's better, girls. It's been deadly the last couple of days with you two being so nasty to each other."
Jessica managed to twist her face into a semblance of a smile and Harriet beamed happily and said she had always loved Jessica and would continue to do so, no matter what.
They decided to take advantage of the remaing hour of light to continue before finally finding some sort of shelter in a fold in the ground, so shallow as to give scarcely any protection from a stiff breeze which had been increasingly biting at their hardened bodies for the second half of the day. Only their physical proximity kept them from dying of hypothermia and even so they felt more dead than alive when morning came.
For once in the last few days, Jessica was glad of Harriet's ample form pressed against her for the whole night - she had to admit that it was indeed a strong and well muscled body that was lying both beside her and partly on top of her. Maybe she would be not such a pushover after all. When she was sure Harry was asleep she ran her hands along one of her thighs and realised that this girl, properly trained would have have the strength to give a kick that could fell a horse. She put a hand on the upper arm and shoulder and almost gasped at the layers of muscle she felt there. Maybe I will think again, she thought, before falling asleep herself.
"Another night like that and we're finished" moaned Jessica as the three of them got to their feet and stood in a circle, their arms wrapped tightly around each other and keeping as close as they possibly could. "My feet are completely numb after hurting all night. I mean - look at us all. We've so many ice hard goose-bumps on our skin you could use us as sandpaper!"
"Nonsense - we're still alive and after a night like that we can survive anything," she said. "By the way - I loved the way you were fondling all my muscles last night, Jessie. Made you think twice about your chances against me - I'll bet."
A furiously blushing Jessica said nothing by way of reply to this last comment, and suggested they be making a move before they froze solid.
Once again the ground was covered by frost and their feet seemed to cry out in agony at the cold. They all mechanically resolved to press on and try and ignore that terrible pain in their lower extremities - a pain that no amount of massage or exercise seemed able to alleviate. Finally the weak autumnal sun rose high enough to warm the ground a little and by noon they were all three beginning to feel that, after all, they might survive the day - although the prospect of another night as cold as the last made even Gwendoline and Harriet feel afraid.
As for Jessica, her enthusiasm seemed to be ebbing away by the second for the project which had been her idea for so many years. Only the desire to administer a chastisement to the Harriet who had so unaccountably supplanted her in Gwendoline's affections continued to provide her with any degree of motivation. She hated the cold and that never - ending nakedness which seemed to expose her body to every gust of wind, every sharp stone and every thorn and bramble. She wanted to be clean again and use a proper toilet instead of the open heath. She ached to be warm and wear lovely clothes and go to parties and do all the things their former school friends were doing at this second.
And just as she was giving way to despair an energetic Springer spaniel
seemed to appear from nowhere jumping up at them and barking in a friendly
way, obviously delighted to have met these strange people so unexpectedly
in the middle of the moors.
November 12th - continued
"What a lovely doggy!" cried a delighted Jessica - all her troubles and misery forgotten as she bent down and hugged the unexpected visitor. After having her face licked, she picked up a stone and threw it energetically as far as she could (which was quite a long way) for the animal to retrieve. The friendly and energetic spaniel scampered after it it and brought it back to her, dropping it on the ground at her feet and looked up eagerly, panting and grinning. She was about to throw it again, when Gwendoline, who had been looking out for the dog's owner, pointed at a figure in the middle distance coming in their direction.
"Looks like Fido's owner" she warned. "Fat chance of avoiding detection, not now you've gone and made friends with his dog. Let's hope he likes meeting three dirty, cold and very naked girls when out walking his pet."
"If he's a red blooded male, he should be delighted - and what if we could use a wash? We're still any normal guy's idea of heaven, as long he has a strong stomach!" was Harriet's reply to this.
They would not have long to find out. The gentleman was coming towards them at a very brisk pace. It soon became clear that he was not young - possibly in his late fifties. He was tall and thin-faced with an irritable air, like a fussy schoolteacher. The three became all the more apprehensive the nearer he came. His expression seemed to become more forbidding all the while and they dreaded that he would report them to the authorities at the earliest opportunity. Visions of disgrace and incarceration came before their eyes.
"He looks a really sour faced bastard" was Jessica's verdict."Do we have our fight in jail, Harry or wait until we get released?"
"Let's wait until we get out." said Harriet, "These Women in Prison flicks are so corny and utterly crass - let's not add to the genre. You're a lucky girl to get a reprieve"
"Reprieve - bollocks. You're the one whose been reprieved - but I'll still pulp you when the day finally comes."
"Shut up you two. As if we aren't in enough trouble" ordered Gwen.
And they waited until the man came up to them and smiled in a friendly way. All the sourness which characterised his face in repose disappeared and a look of eager delight spread over his features.
"Good morning ladies. I see you've made friends with Victor here - not my dog - walking him for a sick friend who can't get out and about for a few days. Delighted to meet you. I see you three all love the fresh air and open country like me"
"Good morning, Sir" replied Gwendoline. "I'm very relieved you don't seem to mind our nudity - it's become such a part of me that I can't imagine ever dressing again as long as I live - can't speak for the others."
Harriet nodded her agreement and Jessica neither said nor indicated anything.
" My friend here seems to have fallen in love with Victor. He's certainly a healthy active dog - must keep you fit trying to keep up with him"
"Oh! I don't know where he gets the energy from. My goodness, I don't. But what brings you three lovely people to this remote spot at this bleak time of year?"
Gwendoline explained something of the nature of their endurance test and how they were nearing the end, much to the relief of Jessica. She also told the stranger how much the experience had changed her and how grateful she was to have found out so much about herself these past two months. Jessica contented herself with reflecting that all she had learned was what terrible things bitter cold could do to the human body - knowledge she would be happy to do without right then. Harry said she was glad to have discovered how much physical potential she had and did not explain further. The man listened to them and seemed to come to a great decision.
"I have to deliver Victor back to his owner," he explained. "When I have done that, would you like me to come and pick you three up and take you to my house for a chat and a meal and maybe you could stay for the night or two nights even"
"We can only stay one night in the same place, I'm afraid - but we'd be delighted to accept your offer. We could use a shower, I'm afraid. We must all stink to high heaven" said Gwen.
The man earnestly assured them that they smelt only of delicious feminity and the wild open moors and promised to collect them in about half an hour's time. He directed them to a track which was about two miles away and promised that when they reached it he would be waiting for them.
He was as good as his word and within an hour they were disembarking from his shooting brake and staring around them at the extensive grounds of his fair-sized house. They went inside and were given a cold lunch and a hot drink. Their host smiled at them.
"I have a splendid idea, which I hope you will all like to go along with. Seeing such strong healthy girls has made me want to see you in action! What about a bit of a race of an unusual nature? I was thinking of a rickshaw race. I have a couple of these equipages in the stable. Splendid way to get the blood flowing. There is something intoxicating about the sight of a woman running - such grace and poetry."
He led them out to the stable and showed them the two vehicles. Gwendoline and Harriet eagerly agreed to the idea and said the gentleman and Jessica could be the passengers and that they would race around the grounds of the house. A problem arose from the disparity between Jesscia's and Jeremy's (Jeremy was their host's name) weights and it was agreed to place a sack of flour in the chariot with Jessica. The bathroom scales were used to ensure absolute fairness.
Jesica could not understand her two friends being so immensely keen on such a weird idea, but went along with them for the time being, and she still did not care to offend Gwendoline.
When the rickshaws had been taken out and cleaned and were fit to be used , Jeremy and Jessica took their seats and the other two girls stepped between the shafts and raised them, ready for the word to start. Gwen was to pull Jeremy and Harry Jessie.
"Perhaps I should explain the course, first of all," said Jeremy. You start by running down the driveway until you reach the main gates and then turn left and run around the ground, making a complete circuit and return here by way of the driveway. I have a couple of riding crops, if this is to your taste."
Jessica pricked up her ears at this. A chance to flick Harriet's shoulders a few times! Sadly for her, Gwendoline icily rejected this idea and Jeremy concurred albeit with a disappointed sigh. He had wanted to flick not Gwen's shoulders but her backside over which he had been fantasising ever since he had first seen her.
Very well, girls - GO!
Just as Jeremy was about to order the race to start, Gwendoline remembered that Jim would be at their next meeting place only to find nobody there.
"Sorry, Jeremy, but I have to phone my fiance or he'll be going on a fruitless errand and be worried over nothing"
Jeremy stopped smiling and his face resumed its original severity.
"Of course you must tell him, my dear. What a shame you didn't think of this earlier. Run along and please be quick"
"Sorry, Sir. I'll let you two use riding crops on us both after all - just to make up for the delay"
Gwen ran inside the house and Jeremy resumed his good-humoured expression. He reached behind him and produced the crops, handing one to a delighted Jessica, who could not resist a preliminary try-out on Harriet.
"Have fun, Jessica. It's my turn tommorrow!" Harry said after a second.
"That bloody well hurt," was her unspoken reaction."Must try to do something about this".
Gwendoline returned and placed herself between the shafts and raising the crossbar announced herself ready to start.
Jeremy gave the order to start and the two started off down the drive. The gravelly surface was painful even to Gwen's and Harry's hardened feet and both girls proceeded gingerly until a sharp blow to Gwendoline's bottom caused her to break into a run and leave Harriet behind. Harry gritted her teeth and forced herself to run faster, trying to ignore the pain. Jessica raised her crop and prepared to raise a few weals on Harry's shoulders, but was thwarted when her intended victim sharply jerked the shafts upwards, causing Jessica to lose her grip on the riding crop, which flew out of her hands and fell onto the ground and bothered Harry no longer. Jessica contented herself with yelling encouragement which took the form if insults and abuse.
"Move that fat arse, you fucking cripple" was the kindest of the many unpleasant things which she said to urge Harriet to greater efforts..
By the time the end of the driveway was reached, Gwendoline still had the slight lead over Harry that she had gained at the start and whenever the other girl was starting to overhaul her, a stinging tap on her quickly reddening bottom caused her to up her pace a little. She realised somewhat guiltily that she was really enjoying this little foretaste of her forthcoming ordeal at the hands of Mrs Travers, even deliberately slowing down a little whenever Jeremy appeared to be ignoring her bum in order to attract more of his pleasantly painful attentions to it!
Harriet's more muscular thighs started to give her the advantage as soon as they reached the grass and she soon drew level with Gwen who despite all her efforts, to say nothing of Jeremy's energetic cropping, was unable to regain her lead. By the time the driveway was reached again she was a good length behind and grateful for the gravel surface, which she could deal with so much better than Harry - she realised that she loved the pain it caused her feet just as much as she did the stinging to her bottom. She steadily cut into Harry's lead and by the time they reached the finish the girls were level. They were both covered in sweat and gasping.
"Splendid race. Let's go round again and try to get a decision out of this" cried Jeremy as he contemplated his handiwork in the form of Gwendoline's scarlet posterior. A close observer might have noticed a bulge that he had not had earlier.
"It's not fair only one of us having a whip. Can I go and find the one I dropped" asked Jessica, who had not enjoyed herself as much as the other three. Sitting still in the rickshaw with nothing on had made her very cold while her two companions were working up such a sweat.
"I think the best idea is for Jeremy to give up using his" said Gwen. "I'm afraid we've both been enjoying it a lot more than is good for us!"
This was a very accurate observation. As she looked round, she quickly noticed the signs of Jeremy's arousal and had herself been feeling a delicious and increasing warmth between her legs from the first slap she had been given. As a healthy normal girl she felt ashamed of her mounting sensual preoccupation with physical pain and the exquisite enjoyment it was giving her. She only hoped that the excellent Mrs Travers would be able to beat this welcome/unwelcome perversion out of her system for ever.
Gwendoline immediately started off at a cracking pace at the start of round two and Harriet once again had to psych herself up to brave the cutting gravel surface. Jessica's insults were quite a spur as well!
She was still behind Gwendoline at the end of the driveway, but not by as much as the first time and Gwendoline realised that she was going to lose this one by quite a margin unless she could pull something extraordinary out of the bag on the last leg.
Although she positively tore along the drive towards the finishing line, she failed by a whisker to catch Harry who grimly held on to her lead despite the increasing agony to her sore feet.
"Let's make it best out of three" gasped Gwendoline. "And Jessie can go and find her crop. I was heaps better with a bit of encouragement at the right time! You any objections, Harry?"
"None at all. I'll pay her back tomorrow and with interest!"
Gwendoline knew what a vain promise this was and her heart bled for the poor girl who had incurred Jessica's dislike so soon after Gwen had befriended her. She so wished they would both make it up and then all three could be friends again.
The third race was a draw like the first and Harry's back and shoulders were even more red than was Gwen's rear end. She had not bothered to repeat her earlier trick, realising that Jessica would be ready for her this time and hardly likely to be outwitted the same way twice.
Jessica was more cheerful by now and less cold, having had a bit of exercise wielding her crop ceaselessly down on her friend - or former friend. Harry had started to hate her in the last twenty minutes with a venom she had never before felt towards anybody.
"Let's have another three races" said Gwen "And I'll swap places with Harry"
This was agreed to and both girls went unchastised as Jeremy compassionately realised Harry had been through more than enough already and Jessica sensed that Gwen was developing an unhealthy obsession that she, Jessica, was not about to encourage.
Harry was declared the overall winner and the four returned inside the house. Gwen and Harry were hot from all the effort, but poor Jessica was blue with cold and shivering horribly after sitting still for so long in the dying hours of the day with the temperature dropping like a stone.
"Time for us all to go and have a nice cold shower before dinner" cried Gwendoline and all three went up to the bathroom. Jessica knew it was fruitless for her to resist and prepared to be made to feel even colder then she already was. Never mind, she thought, I'll deal with Harriet in the morning.
November 12th - Continued.
After the six "chariot races" which their amiable, if eccentric host had persuaded the three girls to participate in were over, two of the trio were sweating and hot. Gwen had pleasurably acquired an extremely sore bottom which still tingled wonderfully, giving rise to much continuing moistness in her private parts. Harriet had a sore back and shoulders, which she inwardly knew to be but a foretaste of her ordeal at Jessica's hands (and feet) on the morrow. Jessica was extremely cold having had little exercise and that only in the third race when Gwen had selfishly agreed to the two drivers' being given their riding crops back, just so she could enjoy once again that delicious stinging of her handsome rear. When she had seen what Jessica had done to Harry, she was full of remorse and had insisted on changing places in order to save the poor girl further misery from the jealous Jessica.
Jeremy promised to have dinner ready for them when they had finished their shower and toilet and had time to rest after their tiring ordeal. He politely and charmingly refused Harriet's offer of help. He explained that he was a very good cook who took extreme pride in his prowess and allowed no one apart from himself into his kitchen.
Gendoline was first into the bathroom and took a quick look around.
"Oh -look girls there are only the two shower heads. You two get under first and when Harry has finished, I'll take her place. Jessica can stay under until we have BOTH finished - serve you right for being so cruel to dear old Harry and wanting to beat her up tomorrow. I do wish you two would kiss and be friends again - all this enmity is making me really upset and miserable."
Jessica made no reply and stepped under the shower next to Harriet. Gwen turned on the water, making sure Jess had much, much more pouring over her than Harry. She directed her to move over a little so she could have her head directly under the ice-cold cascade.
"It looks so much more symmetrical, Jessica when it drips equally off
both your tits. And stop that silly shaking and shivering - try to enjoy
yourself and stop being such an old misery!"
Several minutes had passed and Harriet was beginning to feel uncomfortably cold, but forced herself to stay under for rather longer than she would have normally done. She wanted Jessica to suffer, both in advance of what she was going to do to her the next day and also for what she had already done. She smiled to herself as she heard Jessica's teeth chattering and saw in the corner of her eye how uncontrollable her shivering had become. Somehow Jessica endured the ice-cold hell that Gwen had decreed for her until, after what seemd an age, Harry finally stepped out and Gwen took her place.
"Just tell Harry the fight's off and you can go downstairs and warm yourself by the fire. Go on, Jessie my sweet - it's not like you to be so mean"
Jessica made no reply and Gwen finished her shower and stepped out. Jessica started to follow, but Gwen told her to stay where she was until she either changed her mind or dinner was ready.
Harriet felt pity for poor frozen Jessica and intervened.
"Let her out, Gwen. I wouldn't let her back out even if she offered. We both want this fight. Just stop interfering, please"
And so Jessica was finally given the chance to get some warmth back into her three-quarters frozen body.
"You won't save yourself by being nice to me" she whispered to Harriet. " I'm still going to pulverise you."
"I heard that, Jessica" stormed Gwen. "Back under the shower and wait until dinner is ready. Go on - make it snappy! I'm putting you on your honour to stay there. I know you can be trusted - you'd better be!"
And Harry and Gwen left Jessica to shiver under the cold water, went downstairs and sprawled in front of the roaring open fire.
"I wish you wouldn't be quite so hard on her, Gwendoline, but you know best I suppose."
Harriet sighed ecstatically and continued.
"It's so lovely to be nice and warm for a change, although I don't want us to get soft."
She stroked Gwendoline's shoulder and then noticed her still sore rump.
" Golly Gwen, he certainly made a lasting impression on that sweet bottom of yours! Just as well you loved every minute of it! I hated what Jessica did to me and I hated her for a while."
Gwendoline inspected the damage to her friend's back and was able to assure her it was looking less red and angry all the time. Harry allowed Gwen to embrace her and soon heat and tiredness overcame them both and they fell asleep in each others arms.
They woke up when Jeremy came in to tell them that dinner would be ready in twenty minutes. He asked where their friend was and Gwen said that she was cooling off upstairs. She looked up at the clock and realised that Jessica had been under the shower for over an hour and a half. She left Harry and went up to tell her frozen friend to get dry and come downstairs in twenty minutes.
Jessica had bravely obeyed Gwendoline and made no attempt to get out from under the shower. She looked as if she might expire at any second. Gwen picked her up and carried her downstairs and laid her on the floor in front of the fire. It was not until a minute or two before dinner that she stopped shivering and some warmth started to come back to her. When she was capable of speaking again she turned to Harry and snarled at her that she would take her to pieces on the next day and scatter the bits all over the moors for the crows to eat.
On this delightful note they all trooped into the dining room and took their seats around the table. Gwendoline declined Jeremy's offer of a cushion to ease the discomfort to her whipped bottom and sat down heavily, relishing the return of the pain to her sore cheeks as they made violent contact with the hard surface of the chair.
The conversation soon turned to the subject of the contest between Harry and Jessica. Jeremy expressed himself flattered that they should wish to grace his establishnment with such a spectacle and suggested that they use the lawn in front of the house and wait until the frost had gone from the grass. Gwen rejected such a late start, saying they had several miles to cover to meet Jim and she was missing him very much already. If they insisted on fighting, she said, then they could jolly well do so with frozen feet and serve them both right for being so stupid and stubborn.
Having settled this, the talk turned to general pleasantries for a while until Harriet said she hoped Jeremy had enjoyed himself flaying Gwen's bottom earlier in the day. He blushed scarlet at this and apologised to Gwendoline for any pain he had caused her, but she did have such a lovely posterior, just made to be spanked every now and again. Gwen assured him that the experience had been at least as enjoyable for her as for him and it was only concern for Harry that had stopped her allowing him to use the crop on her even more. Jessica's heart sank at this - Gwen had never shown any sign of this weird obsession with pain before the visit to the Travers/O'Toole establishment and it saddened her to see her dear friend, who she still loved desperately, turning into a compulsive masochist.
Jeremy refused all offers of help with washing up and drying and the
three retired to the lounge where Jessica continued to thaw out after a
day that had been the coldest of her life and seen her spirits sink to
their lowest ebb ever. Only the encounter with the delightful dog and the
chance to attack Harriet with the riding crop had rescued the day from
utter disaster. She was sure she would have nightmares about her time in
the shower for the rest of her life, and then she reflected that she had,
after all said and done, survived - and tomorrow she would demolish Harriet.
That made her feel much better.