Tarnished

Chapter 5

Elsie bent over the bed, her hands gripping the sheets as she waited for her husband to finish preparing. Hearing him come up behind her, she let her head fall to the bed.

“You know what you’ve done wrong.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“You know what the good book says about a woman submitting to her husband.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Connell sighed, “I thought I had broke your strong will to disobey me, but I suppose I was wrong. Do you enjoy this?”

“No, Sir.”

“Then why do you still do the things that you know displease me?”

“I,”

“No excuses.”

“No, Sir. Yes, Sir.” Elsie whispered, then cried out when the leather strap stung across the soft flesh of her buttocks. She knew that when he was through, she wouldn’t be able to sit properly for days, but that she would have to or face being punished again. Tears stung her eyes as they pooled then ran down her cheeks.

With each slap of the leather against her skin, she could feel welts rising, each stinging blow harder than the last. She knew that when Connell was through with the strap he would pick up the paddle and begin again. She would be bruised by the time he felt her punishment had been meted out. Then she would be expected to perform whatever wifely duty he desired tonight, having worked himself up into an aroused frenzy by the punishment.

Feeling his hand grip her braid, Elsie started and cried out when he yanked her up by her hair. This was not how things usually went. Staring at the manic look in her husband’s eyes, she realized tonight he would do his best to break her completely. She hadn’t thought his words earlier had meant anything.

As a bloodying blow landed on her cheek, she realized how wrong she’d been.


“Get to your bed, whore.”

Elsie nodded as she moved, her mouth opening to cry out from the pain but no sound came out, her voice gone from the screaming she’d done as her husband beat her then demanded she let him take his pleasure from her body. Barely able to walk, she slowly made her way to her corner, wincing as she lowered herself onto the blankets and quilts that made up her bed.

What little clothes she’d had on were torn beyond repair or use, but she didn’t care. All she wanted to do was lie down and sleep.

Sleep and forget everything she’d just been through.

Curling into a ball hurt, but she did it anyway. The ragged blankets she had to cover herself with weren’t much for warmth, but they were better than lying there exposed.

“For goodness sake, you stupid cow, clean yourself up and then come and change the bed. You’ve soiled my good linens.”

Elsie swallowed as she pushed herself up, trying to hurry as best she could to do as she was told. The last thing she wanted was to have this start all over again.

Finally on her feet, she turned toward Connell and nodded then made her way to the bathroom, her threadbare cotton nightdress in hand, head hung, eyes to the floor. Hurriedly washing herself, biting her lip through the stinging pain, she avoided looking in the mirror not wanting to see the damage that had been done. She already knew that her face was swelled and bloody, no need to confirm it. Gritting her teeth as she pulled her nightdress on over her head, she wadded up her torn and messy clothes and the rags she’d just used to clean herself, and threw them in the waste basket to dispose of in the morning.

“Hurry up, woman!”

Elsie jumped then bit the inside of her cheek as she forced herself to move through the pain, going to the shelves where she kept the linens for her husband’s bed. Moving to where he waited, she stumbled back when he slapped her across the face.

“I thought this would have taught you, but you just don’t seem to learn. Well, I’m tired, but rest assured, you will receive your punishment for this.”

Elsie nodded then turned to the bed and stripped it, her teeth biting into her lip so hard she drew blood. She hurt so badly that she was trembling which was slowing her down and in turn was only angering her husband more, but there was nothing she could do. Every ounce of strength and willpower she had was being used just to remain upright, there was nothing left to make herself move faster, even fear of what was to come couldn’t motivate her body into co-operation.

Stepping back from the bed, she waited with her hands clasped in front of her, her head down, eyes focused on her bare feet.

“Well, at least you’re good for something. Now get into bed. Remember to be up before I am and have my breakfast ready. I have an early meeting tomorrow.”

“Yes, Sir,” she managed to whisper, nodding her head just in case he didn’t hear her, praising what ever deity was looking out for her that this mad man hadn’t decided to beat her once again.

“Go on.”

Elsie nodded then turned and walked to her bed, slowly lowering herself down and curling back up into a ball under her thin blankets. As she slid into sleep, the face of Charles Carson floated into view. She hadn’t thought of him in two years, why was she thinking of him now?

He was her past.

This was her now and future.

What good would thinking of him do her?

Even after all of the questions, he was still there, her mind refusing to let him go.

She sighed in her sleep, a smile on her split lips as she heard his voice, low and rumbling, calling her name. A half full decanter of wine, two glasses, a nice cozy fire, all waiting for her in her sitting room.

“Mr. Carson?”

“Sit here,” he patted his lap. “Don’t you think it’s time we admitted what’s between us?”

Elsie stood in front of him, trying to get up the courage to sit in his lap. “Are you sure?”

Gently tugging her hand, Charles smiled when she settled across his thighs. “I rather like this.”

Elsie sighed as she snuggled close, her nose against his neck. “I like it myself,” she breathed, her warm breath whispering across his skin.

Charles shivered and bit back a moan. “That could get us into trouble,” he murmured causing her to chuckle. “I never knew you were a minx, Mrs. Hughes.”

“Me? A minx?” she asked as she sat up and looked down into his dark eyes.

“Elsie,” he breathed as he reached up to cup her jaw and draw her face down closer.

“Shh,” she whispered. “Just kiss me.”

Elsie jerked awake. Dear god, where had that come from? Dreams like that could only bring her trouble. She needed to stop and just sleep. Because tomorrow…

Tomorrow her hell would start all over again.


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