Unsure of where to begin for party preparations, Hadley started his day off in the training room. He chose Mia to begin with, unwilling to let Cameron get into his head and start down a path of conversations he will unprepared for. Cameron understood his place, he lot in life, but that did not mean that he did not possess the means to fuck with Hadley as well as Hadley could fuck with him.
Lady Barkley had not been clear on the type of demonstration she wanted, only the implements to be used, with the off handed remark of whippings being to harsh for distinguished company. To that end, Hadley figured that welts and reddened skin would be okay, where as blood would not. Gags would not be appreciated, muffling moans that would accompany the sound of abused flesh. However, screams of pure terror and pain would rank in the same fashion of drawing blood.
Mia sat on the oilskin table, swinging her bare feet and waiting for Hadley to begin. She was the best mannered slave of the Barkley’s lot. She had not willfully touched Lisbeth nor had she entered into compromising positions with Daniel. She seemed to seek out Cameron’s company and dote on Cade in a manner that was appropriate.
He could ask her, her reaction to being caned. He had decided based on Cameron’s reaction to being paddled that being flogged would be too much, especially in his Master’s parlor being observed by guests. With her intelligence, Mia could be a wealth of information, the same as Cameron. Or he could take the morning, testing lengths and widths of canes, observe how she would react. Watch the telltale moisture gather between her thighs, follow his own body’s needs and enjoy her body, her femaleness for himself.
And completely lose sight of his goals in the interim. There could be a compromise that would promise an efficient outcome.
Sitting on the single chair across from Mia, he held her file that Smithers had compiled. With a nod of his head, he gestured to the lengths of cane hanging from hooks along the wall. “You have been caned.”
It was a statement of fact, rather than a rhetorical question but Mia answered anyway. No doubt stilling feeling her way along boggy ground after her time with predicament bondage as well as the trysts with Daniel being discovered. “I have been caned many times, Sir.” Her voice was husky and low as she picked at the hem of her pale blue tunic. “In training at the Lotus House as well as the early days of being owned by Lady Barkley.”
“You know how to test a cane?” She nodded. “Select three from there. One thin, one thick, and one that you know would make a good warm-up cane as well.” Mia slid off the table and went about his bidding.
Mr. Smithers had been very detailed at the beginning of his employ with Lord and Lady Barkley. There were notes from his arrival, the Lord and Lady Barkley had been wedded for six months time. His employ had been arranged by Lord Barkley’s father and within the file, there was also a summary of Mia’s training from Lotus. In neat script, Smithers jotted that Mia responded to various forms of impact, bondage, and sexual training with both men and women, though she rated higher with her interactions with women. Hadley considered the information, Mia’s foolery with Lisbeth, being requested by Lady Barkley.
He paused, “Does Lord Barkley make use of your services?”
Mia looked up from testing a rather stout cane on the inside of her forearm. “In the beginning, yes, Sir. Cameron and I were used by both Lord and Lady Barkley.”
Hadley motioned to continue, “When did that change?”
Mia placed the thick cane next to a much thinner one on the oilskin-covered table.
“Lord and Lady Barkley’s wedding was in the summer. From what I remember, Lady Barkley said that Lord Barkley took extra courses in the summer terms to finish university early. When Lord Barkley’s friends began returning home from university at later times, they started taking Cam and I to separate functions. Then I would go with Lady Barkley and Cam stayed behind more and more.”
As she spoke, Hadley followed the line items noted in Cameron’s file. Smithers documented when Lord Barkley made visits to Lord Orland, Cameron was left behind. Smithers had written his concerns along the margins. There were notes for ways to make Cameron more tempting besides his physical appeal.
Cameron had been provided lessons in literature, painting, as well as music. A far-reaching thinker, Hadley commended. The palace did not place that much investment in the capriciousness of the royalty. Pleasure slaves that had outlived their usefulness or interest had simply been sold and then the inventory restocked.
In asides notated as well, Smithers had not wanted the Barkleys to take on too many slaves too soon. It was per the elder Lord Barkley’s dictates in employing Smithers for his son and new bride. As such to head off potential concerns for Mia, Smithers cross-posted in Cameron’s file that she would be included in lessons as well.
It was in the thin lines of text in the later margins, Lord Barkley thought it prudent for the slaves to be used in a much more limited capacity of a ‘physical nature’ only. There should be little sexual proclivity between those enslaved. In an almost glib note, very unlike Smithers previous documentation, he had scribbled ‘almost impossible to enforce.’
As the same missive was annotated in each file, Hadley had thought it necessary to discipline and train those he handled to abstain from engaging in sexual inclinations within the hall. Smithers had employed a much more lax hand.
Rubbing his chin, Hadley considered the information in Cameron’s file and Mia’s revelations. Lord Orland had cropped up yet again. Where did Daniel fit into the grand scheme?
Mia coughed quietly and drew him from his musings. She stood beside the table, each cane lying neatly in line with the next. Setting the files aside for the time being, Hadley went to her side and turned her arms in his palms until her inner forearms could be surveyed. He had Mia show him which welt accompanied which cane she had chosen. Absently, he kissed her forehead, “Good girl.” He sent her back into the hall.
He should call Cameron; follow the same steps with the various floggers as he had with Mia and the canes.
He really should.
Gathering up the files, he checked into the hall. It was of little surprise that only Mia and Cameron remained. Cameron sat beside Mia examining the welts and holding a quiet conversation. Hadley left them to it.
He had the threads of a mystery to follow.
Cameron. Daniel. Lord Barkley. And the mysterious Lord Orland.
Lady Barkley sent a party missive to Hadley by way of Brookings. The slaves were to wear matching white tunics. Daniel would be sent along with Brookings to help attend the meal, where upon he would return to the hall to be a part of the formal presentation in the parlor. She had originally wanted the St. Andrew’s Cross to be moved but decided it would be much to unwieldy in for the small sitting area in the formal parlor. The whipping post would be more appropriate.
She included a long diatribe on the pros and cons of the cross versus the whipping post that Hadley ignored.
Please to remember that each slave should be prepared for use, if the guests so chose, she stated. And Hadley’s attendance through the duration would be required. Not an unusual request, he had been required to pick up the pieces of broken toys too many times at the palace.
This party, however, had Hadley uncertain. It was the first showing and no doubt many more to come, if Lady Barkley’s social circle decided it was new favorite for entertaining. It was not the current dynamic of the household. He understood that with his employ those dynamics would be changed.
But how much preparation for transition were Lord and Lady Barkley providing for the slaves? What went on behind closed doors that Hadley would have to adjust to? His arrival had already upset the dynamics and he had to react to them.
Hadley much preferred being proactive to change rather dealing with fall out of the aftermath.
Placing the heavy stationary aside, he looked over his own notes.
With Lord Orland arriving to King’s Cross, that seemed to be the event that lead to the fracturing of Lord Barkley’s standard relationship with Cameron. The Lord and Lady Barkley had been married almost a year and a half at that point in time. There were no mentions of Lord Orland ever making an appearance to the Barkley manor but several trips to the Orland estate on the edge of King’s Cross. There was a three month period were it seemed as if Lord Barkley stayed home. And then there it was in Daniel’s file with a cross post in Cameron’s, at the end of Lord and Lady Barkley’s second year of marriage, Daniel was added to the household.
There was very little in the way of training documentation within Daniel’s file. There were just a diary of the comings and goings that Lord Barkley required of Daniel. No disciplinary actions taken for either male slaves. There were also no more lessons for outside subjects outside of sex. Daniel was at the forefront of service to Lord Barkley and Cameron retreating to almost non-existence.
Why had Lord Barkley kept Cameron? Not that he was not a well-trained slave, owners lost interest routinely. There was no notation from the elder Barkley that Lord Barkley could not sell his slaves. He just simply did not. He had Cameron but did not use him and eventually purchased Cade as well.
There was no logic, rhyme or reason in such decisions, Hadley thought. More would be revealed at the Lady Barkley’s party, when Lord Orland would actually make an appearance. Hadley would have a chance to observe and take some measure of the man that seemed to be at the center of the mystery.
Closing the files, he joined Cook in serving the evening meal. He told Cameron not to get too comfortable. He would need to select demonstration floggers just as he selected canes for Mia.