Grace & Favour

Approaching my second year at university, I was really stuck as to accommodation. A planned house share had fallen through, many of the other options were too far away from the campus (I was a music student and needed to practice regularly) and there was no space left in the halls of residence.

Finally, I came across a small ad in a newsagent advertising a room. The positives: it was cheap and about two minutes walk from the rehearsal rooms. The negatives: it was in a family home, and that didn’t quite fit in with my bohemian aspirations of student independence!

I finally decided to call the number on the card anyway – as I say, things were getting desperate and I had nowhere else to go once the term ended. The woman on the other end of the line seemed as surprised to get the call as I was to make it; in retrospect, I think she’d been hoping for (and expecting) a female lodger.

Her name was Grace, a single mum of West Indian origin, and she had two young daughters; Shawna was seven and her younger sister, Candy, was five. I hadn’t expected children and my heart sank further as Grace began to recite a plethora of house rules – this was going to be like being at home again!

The room itself was fairly large, with a desk suitable for studying, but there was no en suite so I would have to use the family bathroom and toilet like everyone else. In the end, I only took it because of that nagging voice within, telling me I had no other choice.

The children were mixed-race – their white father had left for another woman, I gathered later, and he had no contact with his original family. Both girls were prone to giggling but were generally amiable and well-behaved. I guessed Grace kept them on a pretty tight rein.

I’d only been living there for a couple of weeks when it happened. We had just finished dinner, during which Candy had been pretty obnoxious, and as her bedtime approached, she overstepped the mark once too often.

Grace exploded and drew Candy towards her, staring her straight in the eye as she scolded. For a moment, I thought that would the end of it and the girl would be simply sent to bed. But without another word, Grace flipped her daughter across her knee

Grabbing Candy around the waist, Grace gave her a soundly smacked bottom. It didn’t last very long but by about the third smack, Candy was crying bitterly. Once the punishment was over, Grace sent both girls to get ready for bed, Shawna following in short order as she didn’t dare to disobey.

After the crying had receded upstairs, Grace came over and sat next to me – quite close – on the sofa. She apologized if she’d embarrassed me, but added that it was a sight I’d have to get used to.

I’m sure Grace must have noticed my reaction because she then began to ask me about my own childhood, in particular the smackings I had received from my own mother until little more than around five years ago. She asked me about my spankings in great detail and I found myself blushingly mortified. I was relieved in all senses of the word when she finally went off.