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Flower's Touch - Chapter One

The fog fell over the endless fields, a void as seen from the cottage, the straw roof providing the only warmth and security her family knew. Victoria awoke, just as her mother cleared the dust off the table, ready to serve breakfast before the field hands would go and pick the cabbage that grew plentiful, ensuring there would be money coming in to give to the tax collector who came every week. A bowl of oats and milk sat at the table ready for Victoria to sit down and have breakfast, and as she did, her family did too, an urgency in their body language made Victoria's stomach sink with guilt.

“And where is your share of the upkeep, Victoria?” her father, Harry, asserting his dominance, announced, as it was warranted, she would go five miles along the dirt road almost every day to work in the matchstick workhouse, a job that often left her exhausted and sore, the look of retribution in her fathers eyes. Today was Sunday, the foreman at the factory had generously given most of the workers the day off, the business had done well over the past month with most of the stock cleared by the purchasers, but always neglecting to pay anyone on the factory floor on time.

“Governor has kept the wages” she sheepishly muttered, ready for the wrath of her father to quickly unravel within seconds, and it did, after the look of disappointment flooded his face, and to her surprise it was not aimed at her. “That treacherous squab!” as her fathers fists tightened, the memories of his youth, an industrial child labourer, coming back to haunt him, “don't they know you are a grown woman now? I have half the mind to go and take the money right from him, the bastard!”. Victoria felt her stomach release into a cloud as she realised the blame wouldn't be put on her, as her father finished the last of his breakfast and stormed off to spend time in the workshop attached to the side of the cottage, inherited from the late land owner, who saw her father as a worthy successor.

She finally got to eat her breakfast, the comfort the milk brought her, a luxury not many shared in the nearest town, an extravagance the work done in the fields stretched to accommodate, feeling shaken from the mornings confrontation, she said few words to her mother Julia, who kept out of the way whenever any situation like this unfolded. She had worked a solid nine days before now, a well deserved rest was in order by lunch time as it had started to slightly warm up outside, enough to go and sit on the bench on the stone pavement at the back of the cottage, overlooking the fields where the field hands were watching the clock inch towards lunch time at 2pm.

“He won't stand for this, you know”, Victoria was startled as her mother came to sit by her side to offer words of support, knowing of Victoria's ever lasting timid resilience, “it's about time you had money of your own, never mind giving us a little bit, I feel for the poor souls with nobody but themselves, being given the runaround by the governor”. Victoria looked out into the fields, sighing in agreement with her mother, “the mayor will have heard of this long before now mother”, as she privately hoped that word was getting around town of the plight in the workhouse. Her mother extended her arm around Victoria's shoulder, giving a short cuddle before announcing she had to go and prepare the table for the field hands to come and eat their lunch, each a serving of carrots and recently fresh bread. She stood up, walked a few steps away before turning around, “we don't know if we'll manage the next few months if this carries on”, reminding Victoria that the farm was at risk if everyone didn't pay their way, a thought like a knife edge of all the already painful worry about her income.

She took a deep breath of the cool, crisp and fresh air to give herself a few moments to relax, as she realised this was the first time in longer than a week had she relaxed fully, before retiring to have a bath while the field hands ate their lunch, the warm water soothing her muscles, in which she could spend the rest of the day indulged in, with the walls of the cottage cutting the warmth short. Wrapping the towel around herself as she tip toed to her bedroom, the fact no one saw her, the relief which took the edge off the chill in the air, which alone, removed any incentive to masturbate, a secret she had hidden well from her family during the warmer months.

Looking out at the view in front of the window, she adjusted her dress to conform to the modesty her life had gotten used to, making sure everything was appropriate in the mirror before making her way downstairs to tidy the table and help herself to the last few pieces of bread that was always left over from the lunch break. No one was around and she was left alone to tidy the kitchen, her mind wandered of the freedom her nudity brought her, the oasis of dancing among the flowers with the sun beating down in the height of August, seldom having felt the skin of someone else, surely an effect of the sudden release from the non stop work, she enjoyed feeling focused on the beauty, her 26thbirthday just around the corner.

Her back ached as she cleared the last of the crumbs away, the cutlery wearing thin on the ground from rust, the wooden floor is starting to crack, the next time this will be looked at will be the first since the family took over the cottage, the local mason now charging more to buy medicine for his sick child. She always felt anxious being in the cottage alone, the tax collector would make random visits when a residence was in debt, she tried to calm her mind by trying to remember if her father mentioned that they were all paid up. Thinking best to retire to her bedroom for the rest of the day was wise, her mother would surely call her down for dinner if it was in any way a feast, the feeling of wonder returning as her anxiety quickly terminated as she made the first steps up the staircase.

Her feet still fleetingly aching from the weeks work, the hardness of the upstairs landing providing little relief as she walked towards her bedroom door, her mind and body instructing her to let loose in a way forbidden in the construct of modesty, her door half open as she could see her pillow through the gap. Gently pushing the door to carefully and inaudibly enter her bedroom, she closed the door behind her facing her bed, the full length mirror standing adjacent to her dressing cupboard.

She slowly established herself in front of her mirror, the psychological sensation of her fantasy of the plants and flowers touching her skin as she pranced, bearing all, in the non-descript field that lapsed up the sun. Her hands started softly shaking as she went to unfasten her dress at the front, feeling guilty to the point of punishment and shame, her breasts no longer a bust as they fell with the fabric coming away, her nipples still behind the cloth as she removed the sleeves from her shoulders.

Seeing herself as a sexual object brought great pain to the memory of her quick and rushed masturbation, talking of such would bring great anger from her family, one that still identified with fundamentalism. Sneaking a ripe banana from one of the rare visits of the fruit importer, an experience that rushed learning and was mildly painful, the thought in the back of her mind that her family could return at any moment, made her long to touch her vagina that was becoming engorged and starting to feel wet.

The air wisped a chill into the room, the day turning into night as the sky no longer bright blue, and with that, the cloth covered her skin once more, a lust unfulfilled.

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