Howard watched as Forrest carried a sturdy cane back into the bar room.
As Forrest turned his back towards him Howard felt the tug of Déjà vu.
In 1918 Howard was demobbed and was supposed to get on board a US ship to come home. Truth was that Howard didn’t want to go home. His Pa and brother hadn’t understood why Howard had chosen someone else’s fight over his duties on the farm. They sure as hell wouldn’t understand how he felt when the rest of his batalion had been slaughtered leaving Howard uninjured and kneeling, howling into the mud.
Post-war Europe was short of young, fit men so there was plenty of work and plenty of women to be had. Howard spent two pleasant years touring southern Europe. Towards the end of this period he met Danny, another post-war malingerer, who it turned out, hailed from Gills Creek about 5 miles from the Bondurant’s station. Maybe it was reminiscing with Danny that brought on the homesickness or maybe just the passage of time but within the week Howard and Danny were working their passage back to the states.
The Bondurant station was unusually quiet as Howard opened the door. No sign of his Ma and little sisters in the kitchen. Little sisters? – Hell they would be young ladies now. Maybe the womenfolk were out visiting. Howard looked at his watch and saw it was milking time. He headed for the barn where he would find Pa and Forrest.
Howard entered the barn, in the reduced light he saw Pa dressed in his old cardigan, hat on his head and cane in his hand. In front of Pa stood a young boy who was crying. For a moment Howard thought it must be Forrest till he remembered that Forrest would be a man now same as himself. Must be young Jack’s turn to be on the receiving end of Pa’s discipline. Howard's mind flickered back to when it had been Forrest and himself crying in that barn, pants round their ankles, buttocks stinging after one of their misdemeanours.
Once he had dared Forrest to go into the river after a storm. The river was a torrent. He had expected Forrest to just paddle at the side, but no Forrest stripped off and dived right in. The current dragged Forrest under and Howard ran screaming for help. It was three hours later they when found Forrest, clinging to an overhanging branch. Folks said it was a miracle that Forrest had survived. Howard had hoped that the scare would be considered punishment enough. Then a week later Pa strolled slowly into the kitchen in his usual unassuming way and said “Um. You boys go to the barn now and take my cane with you”.
Howard looked at his Pa and Jack and felt the security of being home wrap tight around him. He shouted happily “Hey I’m back”.
“Pa” turned round and said. I’m Forrest Bondurant. Can I help you stranger?”
Forrest led Howard to their parents' and sisters' graves in the top paddock. He explained “I got the flu first. Ma sent Jack to Aunt Winnie’s place so I couldn’t give it to him. As I was recovering they came down with it one by one. I couldn’t save them Howard. I tried but I couldn’t. “
Howard heard the catch in Forrest’s’ breath. He looked at his brother in the bright daylight and saw the toll it had taken on him. Forrest said quietly “You should have been here Howard”
This is my first attempt at any sort of fiction writing. I would appreciate any feedback you could give me. Apologies for the dodgy grammar
Howard was my favourite character in the film and when I saw his look at the end of the 'hat' scene I wondered what he thought about Forrest and Maggie's relationship. This story grew from there
I tried to be true to the characters but I did change a few facts e.g. how Howard's battalion died, to suit the story.
Here was Forrest six years later in the same position, cane in hand in the station bar.
Forrest laid the cane gently on the table and slowly removed the belt from his waist. Howard watched Forrest carefully lay his belt onto the table next to the cane. Forrest took a chair and placed it with its back to the table.
Howard thought that cane had long since gone. It must be three years since Jack earned his last caning. Gradually, a sharp word from Forrest became enough to mortify Jack. Least until Jack got it into his head to be a bootlegging gangster. Now, well between Bertha and Forrest, Jack was becoming all grown up and business-like.
When Pa became ill he’d willed everything to Forrest. Forrest had promised to look after Jack and Howard too, should he return. Forrest was just fourteen years old. The first winter Forrest had burnt his own bed to keep them warm. Forrest had started wearing Pa’s clothes out of simple financial need as his own clothes became too small.
By the time that Howard did return Forrest had beaten the worst of it and the station was making enough money to feed Jack and himself. Howard pitched in and discovered he had a talent for making quality moonshine. Now, between the station and the bootlegging, there was enough profit for Howard and Jack to take wages. Forrest, as far as Howard could tell, paid himself nothing. He still wore the same clothes and slept on a mattress on the floor.
The day had started just fine. Forrest had been persuaded to close the station for the evening and bring Maggie along to the dance where Howard and Jack would be selling moonshine. Howard had been hoping to enjoy the sight of Forrest having to get up and dance or maybe even making Forrest jealous by dancing with Maggie himself.
Then the main oven broke during lunchtime service. Forrest started to strip it down. By the time they were due to leave, it was fixed but the oven still needed to be re-assembled. Forrest had outright refused to leave the job half done and told Maggie to stay behind too. Well things got a little heated then. Maggie being all dressed up and excited. In the end Forrest had stomped off and Maggie went to the dance with Howard and Jack in Jack’s car.
They stayed at the dance long after the decent folks had gone home. Jack had Bertha penned into an alcove and was trying to do more than just kiss her. Howard’s own advances to Maggie had met with friendly refusal and he’d gone outside to take a piss and get some air.
Howard heard Forrest’s truck pull up and he strolled back round to the door. As Howard entered, Jeb Johnson came flying towards him and landed on the floor. Maggie was holding the front of her blouse together and looked upset. Forrest was stood next to her, perfectly still and dangerous. Jeb moved to get up and found himself prevented by Howard’s boot in his chest. “You’ll stay where you are if you want to live boy” growled Howard.
Forrest looked around and found Jack. “You take that girl home now Jack and don’t you be letting her daddy catch you. You take Cricket too and stay at his place tonight.”
Forrest took Maggie by the arm and half dragged her outside pausing only to kick Jeb Johnson. Howard caught them up and climbed onto the back of Forrest’s truck.
Forrest drove in silence, flinging the truck round every corner. Howard threw up and sobered up along the way.
When they got out of the truck Forrest went to give Maggie a hand climbing down but she shook his hand away.
In the bar Forrest spoke. “Maggie go and change your blouse and then come back down. I want to speak to you” Maggie turned her heel sharply and went upstairs.
Howard took up his usual place at the end of the bar where he liked to sit to enjoy the entertainment that was Forrest giving one of his brood a talking to.
Forrest turned his glare towards Howard.
Howard shrugged. “I went for a piss was all. I didn’t know that Johnson hillbilly was gonna rip Maggie’s blouse”
Forrest said quietly. “You might want to go to bed now Howard. I want to talk to Maggie. Besides you need to be up early to dig that new latrine”
“What latrine?” Started Howard.
“The one I just decided you’ll be digging”
Forrest would never get physical with Howard the way he did with Jack. Only a fool would hit Howard. No, Howards’ reward for pissing Forrest off was be given all the shit jobs around the place until Forrest said otherwise.
Howard looked at Forrest and nodded in acknowledgement. He reached for a jar of moonshine to replace the one he’d lost over the side of the truck.
Forrest grunted and walked into the back office.
Forrest was usually happy for Howard to sit at the end of the bar while Forrest gave Jack or Cricket a talking to. Maggie, unlike Jack, was more than likely to kick back. Forrest might not want his brother witnessing Forrest being bested by a woman but Howard sure as hell wasn’t going to miss it.
So Howard walked quietly to the darkened area at the back the bar where he couldn’t be seen. He pulled up a bench, put his feet up, took a swig from his jar and got ready to enjoy the fireworks.
And then Forrest returned with the aforementioned cane.
Forrest looked up as Maggie re-entered the bar “Um Maggie. You come here now”
Howard watched Maggie stride over to Forrest. “Oh you speaking to me now Forrest Bondurant?”
Maggie sounded more confident than she looked.
“What happened Maggie?”
“I asked you a question Maggie”
“I told you. Nothing”
“Look at me Maggie. What happened?”
“He knew that I used to be a dancer and he thought I was easy. He tried to grab my breasts. I slapped him and then he ripped my blouse. So now you know”.
Howard decided that he would be a calling on Jeb Johnson tomorrow. Seemed like Forrest had gone too easy on him.
“Maggie. I vowed to protect you and you vowed to obey me. I cannot protect you if you disobey me and put yourself in danger. Do you understand?”
“Okay Forrest. I’ll take more care in fut…”
“I don’t think you do. “ Forrest took a breath.
“Here it is. As long as you are my wife you will obey me so that I can protect you“
Howard started to sit up before he remembered the need to be quiet.
Wife? Since when were Forrest and Maggie married?” Howard knew that Forrest was in love with Maggie. Any idiot could see that. Ages ago, Howard had even suggested to Forrest that if he tried kissing Maggie then he stood a chance of ceasing to be Franklin’s oldest virgin. Forrest had responded by muttering something about Maggie being a lady and then finding several jobs for Howard to do. After that Howard had left the hapless sap to work it out for himself.
Maggie sighed. “Okay Forrest I’m sorry. I won’t go dancing again without your permission. Now are we done here?”
“No Maggie. You disobeyed me and put yourself in danger. I need to know that you will obey me from now on”
Maggie looked confused “But I said I’m sorry.”
“Um I’m ah going to sit on that chair over there Maggie and I want you to come and lay yourself over my lap. I’m going to give you five strokes with my belt and then we’re done here. ”
“What? I’m not going to do that. Forrest“, Maggie sounded incredulous
Forrest walked over to the chair and sat down. “Maggie. I’m waiting”
“Oh yeah and what if I refuse?”
“Then that would be disobeying me again“. Forrest paused. ”If I have to come there and get you then I will be using this cane instead of my belt. “ Forrest picked up the cane and showed it to Maggie.
The silence was long even by Forrest standards
Howard watched Forrest slowly weighing the cane in his hands, his eyes never moving from Maggie’s face. Maggie fruitlessly searched Forrest’s face for a get out clause.
Silently Howard urged Maggie on. Surely she knew the difference between the painful thud of a belt and the piercing sting of the cane.
Slowly Maggie moved towards Forrest. Howard released his breath.
As Maggie bent over, Forrest guided her into place. “I don’t want you to be scared Maggie. It will hurt but I won’t injure you. I have to do this so your heart knows to obey me”
“That’s it. Now hold the chair legs“. Forrest gently closed Maggie’s legs. He started to methodically fold up the hem of her short skirt. Maggie jolted. “Calm down“, soothed Forrest.” I need to see where the belt lands so I don’t go hitting you in the same place twice”
Howard smiled at the care that Forrest was taking. When Pa used his belt on his sons he would turn them round, swiftly deliver half a dozen smacks on their bare legs and then send then back out. The belt was for everyday misbehaviour like fighting or swearing. The cane was reserved for life threatening stupidity. The day Howard witnessed Forrest caning Jack was in consequence of Jack and Cricket stealing moonshine and drinking enough to pass out. After that Forrest had kept the moonshine in a locked store and worn the key around his neck.
Forrest pushed up Maggie’s folded skirt. He placed his fingers inside the waistband of Maggie’s panties and eased them down to the floor.
Howard had admired Maggie’s rear every time she shimmied past him in a tight skirt. At this moment he had a perfect view of alabaster cheeks atop long slender legs.
Forrest reached behind for his belt, and folded it.
Smack! The flash of the belt was in sharp contrast to Forrest’s demeanour.
Maggie yelled and moved her hands to protect her backside. “Please. That hurts Forrest”
“I know. Now put your hands back on the chair legs.”
As Maggie’s hands started to move Forrest took hold of her wrists and guided them back. He wrapped her fingers back around the chair legs.
“Now. I don’t want to hit your hands so you just keep them there”
Smack! Maggie’s hands flew round again.
“Move your hands back Maggie”
“I can’t. It hurts too much” Maggie sobbed between intakes of breath.
“It is going to hurt a lot more if I have to use the cane on you Maggie”
“Please Forrest I can’t. Please I’ll obey you from now on. “
“Shush Maggie. It’s Okay. You can take this” Forrest moved her hands back into position
Howard could see Maggie’s legs trembling and her back rising in time with her sobs.
Smack! Once more Maggie’s hands flew round to protect her backside.
Forrest put the belt down on the table and massaged Maggie’s shoulders to reduce the tension in her body.
Maggie was crying steadily now.
“I’m going to hold your hands while I finish this Maggie”. He grasped both of Maggie’s wrists firmly in one hand and held them firmly against her lower back.
Forrest reached back round to the table. To Howard’s relief he took hold of the belt not the cane.
Smack! Smack! Forrest delivered the last two strokes and dropped the belt to the floor. He pulled Maggie’s upper body towards him and lifted them both into a standing position. He held her in his arms while she cried onto his shoulder.
“It’s OK my love. We’re all done”.
Howard could see Forrest’s hands circling on Maggie’s back to sooth her while Maggie mumbled apologies and promises.
Forrest’s stroking gradually turned to kisses and fondling. Maggie’s cries turned to sighs as Forrest caressed her breasts through her blouse.
Forrest stood Maggie a little further away from him and expertly slipped open the buttons on her blouse then pushed it off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. He reached round and flipped open her bra. Forrest used his finger to slowly trace the outline of each of Maggie’s breasts in turn, sliding her bra out of the way as he did so. By the time he finished the bra had joined the blouse and Maggie was groaning in frustration.
Another man might be embarrassed at witnessing his brother’s private lovemaking. Howard, however, had as little concept of embarrassment as a dog humping a nun’s leg. He was mightily turned on though. It was only the need for silence that kept Howard’s hands on his jar of moonshine.
“Open your legs a little more for me Maggie” Forrest had one hand on Maggie’s breast holding her steady. The other hand was between the tops of her legs. Howard could see Forrest’s thumb sliding over the Maggie’s pleasure button while his fingers rhythmically thrust upwards.
Maggie’s eyes were half shut and she was rocking backwards and forwards.
Forrest was encouraging her “Push down on my fingers. That’s it. Faster now Maggie.“
Maggie moved her hands to the sides of her head and threaded the fingers through her hair. She was gyrating and panting.
“Louder Maggie. There’s only us here. I want to hear your pleasure“
Maggie groaned loudly, and Howard watched as her whole body shuddered and Forrest supported her weight. He leant forward and kissed Maggie on the forehead then pulled her in close and hugged her.
“I love you. Now go to bed“. As Maggie turned to walk away Forrest breathed “Leave the light on. I ain’t finished with you yet."
Maggie walked unsteadily towards the stairs.
Forrest, meanwhile, methodically tided away the cane, picked up Maggie’s clothing and his belt. He turned the light out and followed Maggie.
Howard swiftly completed his own pleasure. He shut his eyes for a few minutes to give time for Forrest to be in his room before he risked making a sound climbing the stairs, and promptly fell asleep.
The next morning Howard awoke to the sight of Forrest standing over him. “What you doing here Howard? You sleep here?”
Forrest was looking to one side, the way he did when he was recollecting something
Howard stood up, stretched and flung his arm around Forrest and grinned. “Sure did. But don’t you worry little brother. I never saw a thing” and with that Howard sauntered off in the direction of the latrines whistling a happy tune.