This is an excerpt rom Carly Zee’s novella, A Tale of Yvonique — a story of a French school girl and her instructor, Mlle. Dupuis. Set in the late 1800s in a boarding school for fine ladies, A Tale of Yvonique pushes relationships and boundaries to delicious heights. This section is Aux Chocolate, for part one, see A Good Student.
CHAPTER TWO – LA SALLE
Outside the rain streamed down the leaded glass window, spattering onto stone ledges. In spite of the fire in the grate, Yvonique shivered. Her head felt stuffy with the cold, sniffling quietly, she tried not to draw attention to herself. The paper before her was criss-crossed and smudged with faint eraser marks. Things were not coming easily.
Across the row of desks Genevieve smirked at her, and then bent back to her own work, lines of neat cursive already filling the second page.
Yvonique stared down at her own assignment, the page covered with twisted scrawl and fragmented sentences. She sniffed again; she was not truly ill, it was only a head cold after all; and at the school students were discouraged from remaining in their quarters, even when seriously ill, as it was believed that exercise and fresh air would cue most ailments.
“Yvonique, you are unwell,” Mlle. Dupuis looked up from her desk.
“Perhaps you should be resting, no?”
“Perhaps, mademoiselle,” Yvonique shrugged and glanced back down at her page, trying to make sense of her own scrawl.
Students snickered, and Mlle. Dupuis glanced around the room. Voices fell silent, and heads bent back over their desks. For a long while the sounds of papers rustling and pens scratching was cut only by Yvonique’s sneezes and sniffling.
“Cette lecture est fini.”
As the class rose, and amid the shuffling of papers and rising voices – never so loud as to draw a disapproving glance from Mlle. Dupuis, Yvonique sneezed again, and fumbled in her pockets for her handkerchief.
“Here Yvonique, you may take mine,” Mlle Dupris appeared beside her, smiling, dark eyes holding hers.
“Merci, mademoiselle.” Yvonique, flushed momentarily caught in attraction, and, fingering the lace-trimmed handkerchief, sank into the comforts of small kindnesses.
“You should be resting,” her voice lowered, Mlle Dupris drew closer, her dress brushing against Yvonique’s hand. The scent of violets filled the air, violets mixed with something else, a faint musk, perhaps.
Heads turned and voices groaned as the next teacher appeared, Monsieur Babineaux the instructor of physical education. Most students looked forward to the escape from academic duties.
“Attention, m’écouter,” Monsieur Babineaux stood in the doorway, his full figure straining against grey suit cloth, and his outdoor jacket draped over his arm.
Mlle Dupuis smiled at Yvonique, “Monsieur is ready to take you for your outing.”
“Oui mademoiselle,” she nodded.
“Suivez-moi, en plein air,” his voice boomed. “Dépêchez-vous, mesmoiselles.”
Students jostled together in the cloakroom, reaching for umbrellas and wool cloaks. Yvonique draped her cloak over her shoulders, and followed the line of similarly dressed figures outdoors. The cold wind caught her, tugging at her cloak; she shivered in the chill, a fine mist already soaking through her wool stockings.
“Ah, we are fortunate. The rain has stopped.” Monsieur Babineaux squinted at the grey sky, a steady drizzle was still falling down.
“That’s what he thinks,” Genevieve muttered, drawing her cloak tighter around her, “This rain’ll ruin my dress.”
“Your dress – look at my hair.” Marie vainly tried to smooth back spiralling tendrils, black curls seeking freedom from their tight bonds.
Grinning, Genevieve reached out and tugged one, watching it spring back in recoil. “Like a sea creature –”
“A sea creature,” Marie snorted, as she tugged at Genevieve’s blond braid, now lying limp, “You look like a drowned rat.”
“Better than having hair standing out all over – like a medusa,” Genevieve laughed.
Laughing Marie swatted her hand away. Monsieur glanced over at them, his bushy eyebrows raised in disapproval. They fell silent, fingers only reaching out to pinch the other amid muffled giggles.
“Follow me, mademoiselles,” Monsieur set off at a brisk pace through the gardens, past sodden hydrangeas; pink blooms now collapsing into a damp mess of scattered petals. Yvonique pulled her cloak tighter around herself to avoid the dripping leaves.
“This way,” Monsieur continued, pushing past heavy evergreens. The sculpted topiaries were now overgrown and falling into themselves. A misplaced branch caused rising horse to have a well-developed phallus, Genevieve pointed, and tugged at Marie’s sleeve, both breaking into peals of laughter.
“Attention, mademoiselles,” Monsieur called out, trying to stop the laughing. “You must act like young ladies – attention.” He waved his hand broadly, brushing the phallic branch.
“Oui, c’est attention, indeed,” Genevieve whispered, causing both her and Marie to burst into further laughter.
Yvonique stared at the ground, her thoughts lost in a fog of cold.
“Nearly there, mademoiselles,” Monsieur puffed, his cheeks flushed with effort. Suddenly the sky opened up, and a heavy downpour struck them, and screaming, the girls ran as one, skirts and petticoats flapping in the mud, cloaks thrown back and open to the rain as they scurried back inside the school.
Laughter and squeals echoed down the corridor as they clattered into the foyer, their muddy feet squelching on marble floors. Headmistress Mlle Lablanche appeared from her study and stared at them; voices abruptly fell silent and girls removed wool cloaks now sodden and smelling faintly of lanolin.
Mlle Dupuis caught her in the hallway, Yvonique, turned, startled. Mademoiselle’s dark eyes smiled at her, “Would you like, perhaps, after class to come to my quarters for a cup of hot tea. I have a book I think you will like.”
Yvonique took her place in the classroom, forcing herself to follow along with the grammar exercise, verb tenses and pronouns flew by her; idly she wondered what Mlle Dupuis would have in store for her.
Perhaps it really was about a book.
“Yvonique, attention, m’écouter,” Mlle Bauchene’s voice broke through her thoughts.
Blushing, Yvonique stammered an answer that she knew was incorrect, and, her head already turned away from the laughter at her mistake; she did not hear the instructor call her to the front.
A hush fell over the class.
“Yvonique, you are clearly not prepared for today’s lesson – I give you one more chance, what is the correct form of the verb essayer?”
Last evening’s homework flashed before her, all assignments dutifully completed, and yet she could not remember a single thing. Yvonique shook her head.
“Such impertinence,” Mlle Bauchene flushed with quick anger, “I ask you again.”
Yvonique scarcely recalled the question, and she stared at the floor, blinking in dumb misery.
The class sat silent in anticipation.
Mlle Bauchene grasped the ferule, and raised it above her shoulders; Yvonique held out her hands, waiting. Two sharp cracks, across both hands, and then, turning the hands over, the same again across the palms.
Yvonique blinked as tears started; whether from sudden pain or humiliation she did not know.
As she took her seat, the blood rushed to her ears, the dull roar drowning out the whispers around her, and as she bent over her cahier, she was oblivious to the stares.
The remainder of the class passed in mute misery.
“Mes filles, c’est fini,” Mlle Bauchene stood at the front of the class, closing her books and pulling out fresh papers, readying for the next lesson.
Girls stood up, gathering belongings, and a familiar figure stood in the doorway. Mlle Dupuis frowned at the class, “Yvonique, I’d like to have a word with you.”
Yvonique sighed with relief, for, nothing could be worse than this. Gathering her books in her arms, she ignored the stares of the other girls.
More whispers and laughter drifted behind her as Yvonique followed her idol out the door.
CHAPTER THREE — AUX CHOCOLATE
Mlle Dupuis led the way up the narrow stone staircase, into the hallway for instructors. Students were strictly forbidden to enter this sacred domain. As Mlle pushed open the heavy oak door to her quarters, she smiled, “How fortunate, Minet has already made up the room.” Moving lightly across the red wool rug, she lifted the copper kettle onto the hearth. “Now, it will only be a moment, won’t you sit down?
Yvonique glanced around, seeking the wooden hard-backed chairs that were for student use.
“Ah, ma chere, do sit down, for you are my guest,” Mlle Dupuis waved her hand carelessly at the overstuffed armchair before the fire. Yvonique sank into plushness, and glanced around curiously. A silk screen stood separating what she believed to be the bed and washstand from the sitting room. A tall bookshelf stood in one corner, near a fine writing table. A pitcher of water stood waiting beside a sheaf of papers.
Picking up a single plate and spoon, Mlle smiled, “You must forgive me for such untidiness, I often dine alone. I find myself busy with work.”
“Do you?” Yvonique felt her eyes grow heavy in the heat, she forced herself to make conversation, for it would not do to be impolite to her idol.
“Oui, ma toute petite,” Mlle Dupuis smiled at her, dark eyes gleaming in the firelight. She pulled up a low ottoman near to the fire and sat down.
Taking up Yvonique’s hand in her own, Mlle’s cool touch permeated her core. She smiled again, “Tu essaierais de dormer, ma petite. You should rest.”
The room swam around her, Yvonique had time to just take in lush tapestries and flickering candlelight before closing her eyes in the radiating heat.
It seemed a long time passed, or, no time at all.
“Forgive me, my little one,” a light touch and deft fingers tugged at her clothes. Yvonique opened her eyes and smiled at the lithe figure before her. Mlle Dupuis bent tugging, unrolling her stockings, and then smoothing each one, hanging each item over the wooden clothes horse with great care.
“There now,” she smiled, “These will dry in no time at all.”
As her fingers touched her dress, Mlle pulled at it. “This my dear, I’m afraid must come off, you’ll be ill sitting in damp clothes.”
Doll-like, Yvonique held out her arms, allowing her instructor to unbutton and lift off her heavy wool dress. Mlle Dupuis smoothed it with the same care across the wooden clothes horse.
In a white petticoat, no longer starched crisp, Yvonique folded her arms across her chest. She glanced at the fire, feeling strangely exposed.
It was like Mademoiselle could read her thoughts. “Ah, ma petite, you have no need for such modesty avec moi.”
Cool hands pressed against her brow, loosening straps and untying ribbons and laces; softness tracing light paths across her breast. Yvonique felt a strange stiffening, and sank under tender ministrations, her eyes closed, lost in sensation. Tickling fingers alternately stroked and soothed.
She was startled by a china cup brought to her lips, had she dozed off?
Mlle Dupuis appeared before her, “Ici, ma chere, here, drink this.”
Exotic fragrances of warmed spiced wine wafted toward her, Mlle Dupuis held the cup to her lips. “I thought it might be a better start to our tea, given the circumstances, no?”
As Yvonique took the cup in her hand, her instructor nodded approvingly. “Ah, yes, the wine will warm you – far better than simple tea.”
Yvonique smiled as the warmth flooded her chest – indeed Mlle Dupuis was right. The cup now empty, Yvonique placed it on a small side table, and turned back to the fire, watching the flames grow bolder as they wrapped around an oak log, their heat threatening to consume everything.
“C’est la vie, non?” Mlle Dupuis’s voice came from far away. “That which is created, is destroyed, and then born again from ashes.”
Nodding, Yvonique closed her eyes.
Softness swept over her lips; Yvonique lay sinking into plush warmth, taking in the rustle of skirts, and the aroma of violets, mixed with something else.
Suddenly, the taste of chocolate rolled across her tongue.
Her eyes flew open, Mlle Dupuis’s face hung close to hers. Yvonique smiled.
“Ici prendre ce,” Mlle held a morsel of chocolate between her fingers. “Take this, ma chere. Chocolate is said to be an energy-giver, we can save the English cucumber sandwiches for later.”
Yvonique glanced down at the tray beside her, her appetite suddenly returned. Plate of chocolates, slices of fine cake, petite fours, she nibbled; sweetness surrounding her, and then she looked up.
Mlle looked on approvingly, “I’m glad to see you nearly back to yourself.”
Mlle reached out and swept her finger through creamy chocolate icing, and then popped it into her mouth, and closed her eyes momentarily, savoring the taste.
Yvonique stared at such manners from her idol. Mademoiselle smiled, and swept her finger through the icing again and pressed it to Yvonique’s lips. Her mouth opened, licking eagerly, and chocolate filled her very being.
“C’est bien,” Yvonique breathed.
Softness again pressed to her lips, the flicker of a tongue; and the taste of chocolate.
Velvet brushed her arms; the rustle of skirts pressing against her legs, and then softness sweeping over her lips.
Her eyes still closed, Yvonique smiled. Her hands rose of their own accord, wrapping around a firm waist, fine satin and velvet were soft beneath her fingers as they swept over Mademoiselle’s full figure.
Soft fingers glided along her cotton petticoat, pushing aside rude lacing, and took hold of her breast. Yvonique gasped as her nipple was stroked and teased, Mademoiselle’s lips and tongue occupied her mind.
Yvonique arched in the chair, hips straining toward her.
“Ah, ma chere,” Mademoiselle whispered, and deftly eased her free hand beneath the cotton petticoats. Trailing softness across young thighs, they parted, and her fingers traced over the full mound, probing and seeking wetness.
Slow strokes soon grew faster, more frenzied, and Yvonique twisted, her hands now braced against the sides of the chair, she arched and bucked as golden waves filled her core, Mademoiselle’s lips still on hers.
As the orgasm struck she let out a yell, and fell back into the chair, panting. Mademoiselle smiled at her, dark eyes holding hers.
Suddenly, Yvonique burst out laughing, in soft giggles; smiling, Mademoiselle eased her arms around her, stroking her hair and pressing her face to her breast. “There now, my sweet – perhaps you would like a chocolate?”
Yvonique glanced down at the plate; petite fours and chocolate confection lay melting in the heat. She smiled and picked up a bon-bon, and then biting into it, pressed her lips to Mademoiselle’s as the taste of chocolate rolled over both their tongues.
Mademoiselle sighed. Shifting her weight, she eased onto the broad chair beside Yvonique, her dress rustling. Both of them found themselves caught by the fire, staring for long moments into the flames, and then suddenly turning toward the other with soft lips and chocolate flavored kisses.
A loud knock at the door interrupted. Yvonique, jumped, startled.
Mlle Dupuis frowned and called out, “Who is it?”
“Mlle Beauchene, mademoiselle. If, I could have but a word –”
“One moment please,” smiling Mlle Dupuis’s dark eyes flashed. She rose. “Here, let me help you dress.”
Her fingers trailing over her body, lips seeking hers, Yvonique smiled as her clothing still hung draped over the clothes horse.
The door rattled again. “Mademoiselle, a word, I won’t take much of your time.”
“Oui – un minute,” Mlle Dupuis called toward the door as she held out Yvonique’s stockings for her; her soft fingers caressing shapely muscle as her legs eased in. Reaching further along her thighs, light fingers trailing across soft skin, they glided over the tender mound and paused for a brief touch, a moment of sensation, Yvonique gasped as another wave of pleasure flooded her body.
Mlle smiled at her.
Tugging, and pulling, with soft lips pressing in, and fingers reaching, the wool dress was eased over Yvonique’s head amid muffled laughter.
Finally dressed, Yvonique stood to leave, “Au revoir, mademoiselle.”
“Ah — J’ai oublié. I nearly forgot.” Mademoiselle turned, glancing around. “Now, where is it?”
Yvonique stood gazing around the apartment. Nothing out the ordinary.
“Ah-ha!” Smiling, Mlle Dupuis darted across the rug and plucked a small book from the shelf. “And this –” she pressed a leather bound volume into her hands, “This is what you came for, no?”
“Ah, then, it is time to go. Au revoir, ma chere.” Fingers twisted together, their lips met again, pressing softness into softness; leaving the taste of chocolate behind.
Stepping aside, Mlle Dupuis opened the door, and held it. Mlle Beauchen stood blinking in the hallway, “Pardon, mademoiselle – ” She broke off, confused, and glanced at Yvonique.
Mlle Dupuis placed her hand on her shoulder, “I was just showing Yvonique out – you have the book I told you about.”
Yvonique nodded, and held up the slim volume.
“Good – now go and study.” Mlle Dupuis smiled at her.
The door closed behind her, Mlle Dupuis’s voice came from behind it, sounding sharper, the tones of Mlle Beauchen lower and questioning.
As Yvonique left, she glanced down at the leather volume in her hand, and smiled at the scrap of silk twisted between the pages; serving as a both bookmark and guide.
The title, ‘The Ladies’ Finishing Manual – instructions for girls becoming on women’ was embossed in worn gold lettering, and, as she flipped through it, illustrations of women walking arm in arm down wide promenades, dancing and seated together in drawing rooms, at teas, and at dinner parties filled her imagination.
Carly Zee is a reader and writer who spends far too much time with Katherine Mansfield, Anne Rice, and Tanith Lee; and sometimes they all come together in weird and wonderful ways. You can connect with Carly at https://carlyzee.wordpress.com/