Emma scowled at Danny, who stood at the bottom of the stairs. He had his arms crossed, and he was unimpressed with her scowl. He had just ordered her back into bed, but she had no intention of going. She’d been stuck there for five miserable days with the flu, and she was so tired of being tired. So instead of turning around, she looked defiantly down the stairs, hands on her hips and scowl firmly in place… right up until Danny took a step toward her. She turned back around and stomped into the bedroom, slamming the door and furious with herself. What’s he going to do anyway? she grumbled.
Her scowl grew as she thought about this. Worst he would have done was shoo her back in here, considering he thought she was too weak to even walk down the stairs. Thoughts like these chased themselves around her head, and in a matter of minutes, she had worked herself up to getting out of bed again. This time she didn’t try to sneak down the stairs. She walked out of their room and announced over the railing that overlooked their open kitchen and living room, “I am coming downstairs.” As she took the few steps toward the staircase, she grabbed the railing to steady herself. Maybe she was a little bit more woozy than she thought. She looked up a second later, and back into the piercing blue eyes of Daniel Strauss. He had his arms crossed again, and had apparently stepped out of their home office at her announcement just in time to see her stumble at the top of the stairs.
“Emma,” he ground out, but she refused to turn around. Still, she couldn’t quite stand her ground, and so instead she sat down on the top stair. Danny’s eyebrows shot up, and she tried to ignore the way her heart jumped in her chest at his expression. When he started walking up the stairs, she scrambled to stand, but jumping up made her dizzy again and she had to stop and clutch the banister. Danny hurried up the last few steps, wrapping his arms around her and walking them back to the bedroom. “I’m fine!” Emma said, but even she didn’t believe it. She was surprised at how much energy that had taken.
She was far more surprised a second later to find herself horizontal, stomach flat against her boyfriend’s muscled thighs and torso resting on the bed. She shrieked and squinched her face up, preparing herself for the first swat, but it didn’t come. Her whole body stilled, and in the silence she could hear her own breathing, which was much heavier than it should have been for so little activity. She was keenly aware of Danny’s right arm around around her waist, holding her across his lap. His left hand tugged up her large t-shirt, then pulled down her underwear in two swift jerks, one on each side. His hand rested on her bared bottom as he began to speak.
“So you are so stir crazy that you would rather take a spanking than stay in bed. Is that what this is, Emma Grace?” he said quietly, his voice low and stern. She groaned softly and felt her face and neck go hot with embarrassment. Maybe she wasn’t exactly thinking just that, but maybe… maybe she had wanted to provoke some sort of response. Maybe. “Well I have bad news for you, kid. Because I am going to spank you,” he continued, gently running his hand up and down across the cool skin of her bottom, “but it is not going to be now. And it is not going to be tomorrow. You are going to stay in this bed, just like the doctor said, until she says it’s okay to be up.” A growl crept into his voice and Emma found herself whimpering through his lecture. “And the very second she says you are allowed out of bed, I am going to put you across my lap, just like this,” and he patted her bottom, “and I am going to spank your pretty backside until it glows.”
Emma buried her face into the bedspread, her ears burning with embarrassment. She felt her eyes well up with tears and she felt terrible for having provoked him at all, after all he’d done to care of her, and this was how— “Eeep!”
A single sharp swat had landed on her backside, and Danny said “None of that, little girl. I am not mad at you. I understand you are bored and frustrated. But bored and frustrated aren’t excuses.” He patted her bottom, and she jumped even though he was being gentle again. “And believe me when I say that I am looking forward to you being well as much as you are. Maybe more, now.”
And with that he slid her off his lap, situating her back on his thigh but seated, underwear still bunched around her legs and her arms around his neck, a magnificent pout gracing her features. “I don’t want a spanking,” she mumbled, “I just don’t want to be sick any more.”
“Well you are still sick and you are going to be spanked. All you have left to decide is how bad it’s going to be. Keep up this pouting and I’ll take off my belt when the time comes. Let tomorrow be another day like today, and I’ll get the hairbrush. Let me catch you wobbling near those stairs again,” and his eyes glittered dangerously, “and I will spank you every night for a week. Are we clear on that?”
“Yes, sir,” Emma mumbled into his shirt. She couldn’t help that her mouth was still turned into a frown, though she dared not express any further rebelliousness. She didn’t argue when he tucked her back in a few minutes later. It was still early in the evening, but she was drifting to sleep in a matter of minutes.
Danny adjusted the covers around his sleeping girlfriend, then gathered up the small bin full of tissues and replaced the bag, straightening up the room for his patient. She had been so pitiful just three days before, and now she was struggling in a different sort of way. No longer occupied with the worst of the symptoms, she was now mostly just tired and bored. And naughty, Danny thought as he washed his hands for what must have been the thousandth time since she’d gotten sick. He was trying to be patient, but she’d just used up the last of it with that stunt. He suspected Emma might have found herself searching for his limits out of sheer desperation to rid herself of the doldrums. He crossed his arms again as he gazed down at her. Not wise, little girl, he thought to himself. Not wise at all.
~ ~ ~
When Emma woke again, it was almost dark. She noticed immediately that her area was clean again, as it always seemed to be after she dozed. She felt a twinge of guilt at how stubborn she’d been all day, but then she remembered that she was now in trouble, and a nice pout pushed the guilt away and she glared at the plate of saltines that had appeared on her nightstand. A glance at her phone told her it was almost 9pm. She reached for her iPad and began to pull up Netflix, but she hadn’t even gotten to her profile before tossing it gently away again. Emma was tired of watching things. She was tired of reading things. She was really truly and un-ironically tired of sleeping.
The door slowly opened and Danny walked in, carrying a glass of ginger ale. “Good morning,” he said as he placed the ginger ale on the nightstand beside the bed. “It’s not good or morning,” Emma replied grouchily. Danny’s eyebrows raised slowly and she pushed herself back a little, as if the headboard might actually be a secret door. Her boyfriend’s face didn’t look half as pleasant as his greeting had been. He stepped toward her and put his hands flat on the mattress, one on either side of her frame, so that his torso was parallel to hers and their bodies were very close. She pulled the covers up over her nose, but couldn’t seemed to break her wide eyes away from Danny’s. He was calm and unblinking, gazing thoughtfully at her for a moment before leaning down to put his lips against her ear and say quietly, “That’s one.”
“No!” Emma found herself exclaiming as she pulled the covers down from her face, narrowing avoiding hitting his rising body. He replied as he casually walked around to his side of the bed, “Oh yes. That’s one, and if you keep arguing, it will be two. Now sit all the way up.” His voice became more commanding as he let out a string of orders. “Start sipping your ginger ale, and start working on those crackers. I want all of it gone in the next hour, before we go to bed.” He held up a silencing hand before she could protest, “Yes, bed. I don’t think you’ll have any problems sleeping, but if you do, you can spend your time thinking about how you are going to keep from getting to three in the next 24 hours.”
Emma’s mouth dropped open, then shut with a click. She crossed her arms and fought to make her face passive. A minute later she reached over and grabbed a cracker and shoved it in her mouth. She couldn’t see the small smile on Danny’s lips as she fought to chew the dry cracker, but it was there. He left her alone as he picked up his kindle and glasses; he was quickly absorbed but managed to keep an eye on the clock. He was happy to see that half of the ginger ale was gone and so were most of the crackers after half an hour, and finished before her time was up. He quietly put his book down and put his arm around her shoulders. She had been reading her own book, an actual paperback in her hands. She leaned into him and he kissed her temple. “Time for bed, honey.” She sighed deeply but didn’t argue. She put her book away and got up just long enough to complete her night time routine. She was again startled by how quickly she tired, even though her tasks had been simple.
Emma really really did not want to be spanked with a wooden spoon, or the brand new hairbrush Danny had recently acquired. And even though she didn’t want to go back to sleep, the thought of Danny holding her was now very appealing. She decided she was all finished being mad at him as she pushed herself up against him in the bed. He turned obliging, molding his body to hers and kissing the back of her head. They talked a little, mostly mindless and sweet chatter, and soon they were both fast asleep.
~ ~ ~
The next morning, Emma woke before the sun had risen. Danny was still asleep, having rolled over in the night to his side of the bed. She brushed her fingers through his hair gently, and then glanced at the bedroom door, biting her bottom lip.
She really wanted to go downstairs.
She slipped one leg out from under the covers and planted it on the floor, then stilled. Now that she was contemplating the move, she was very aware of her boyfriend’s body heat in the bed and his rhythmic breathing, indications that he was sleeping soundly. She wanted it to stay that way, though she kept telling herself that he wouldn’t mind anyway. She just wanted to eat, really, and that was a good thing! She hadn’t been hungry in so long, and it meant she was getting better, for sure.
As her other foot made its way to the floor and she lay awkwardly twisted, she felt another twinge of guilt. Maybe she should wake him up.
Even as she thought it, though, she let her torso slide off the bed, snakelike in her movements until she was planted. Then she stood, and took a step toward the door. An overwhelming sense of freedom shot through her and she walked a little faster, until she was at the top of the stairs. Remembering Danny’s look at her wobbling yesterday, Emma decided to sit, carefully, on the top step, and scoot her way to the bottom. To hush the voice that told her this was a bad idea, she kept making small compromises, hoping to sooth the warning bells. She got down the stairs safely. He would be happy with her for that. Definitely happy.
She walked over to the kitchen, opened the fridge, and began to rummage for breakfast. The doctor had warned her that her appetite would return much faster than her ability to eat without being sick. At the moment she didn’t care, and she poured herself a large glass of orange juice and put a bagel in the toaster. She grabbed cream cheese, and container of berries, and some yogurt. She almost grabbed the granola, but her arms were full, so she turned to put everything down on the table…
…and found herself looking directly into a pair of very unhappy blue eyes. Emma almost dropped the food in her arms, but caught herself. “Hi,” she said meekly.
“Three,” Danny replied, his voice deep and gravelly from sleep. He wore plaid white and grey pajama pants, the drawstring dangling loosely. His chest and feet were bare and his hair was still mussed. That much authority shouldn’t have been possible from someone who had been asleep just minutes ago, but the air around him seemed to crackle with it. Or perhaps that was Emma projecting— her stomach knotted and she struggled to defend herself in the face of his stern gaze.
“You were asleep, though…” she said, trying to sound confident but hearing the confession in her almost-whisper. And then the actual word he had said caught up with her brain and she dropped everything on the counter to exclaim, “Wait, three?! You were only at one before! You can’t skip—”
“I can. I did. Go back upstairs.”
Emma paused, feeling overwhelmed. She couldn’t move, wanting so badly to argue but also knowing that it wouldn’t do anything but get her in more trouble. And now he was going to use his hairbrush tomorrow, and she knew that’s what he would use, it’s what he always used when she was intentionally naughty, and she hated the hairbrush. One quick glance at this face told her she was seconds away from being carried up the stairs. She heard the toaster pop, her bagel was ready, and it was somehow the signal her brain needed. She glanced back at the slices longingly for a second, and then walked around the kitchen island toward the stairs, where Danny stood, still watching her.
As her right foot landed on the bottom step, a wave of heat rush up her body. She realized that he was hovering nearby so he could walk her up them, and it made her feel small to have him in step behind her. Any argument died on her lips, though, and she forced her left foot up, onto the next one. When they got to the bedroom, she couldn’t help but cast an imploring look up at her boyfriend. She wanted to be anywhere, anywhere, besides back in this bed. She said quietly, “I feel a lot better today, though, I promise.”
Danny nodded, lifted the covers, and he said, “Good. I’m glad to hear it,” and she realized in an instant that this wasn’t about her being sick, not this particular small detail. He probably would have let her get out of bed once he woke up, if she had just asked him, if she had just waited for him to or woken him up herself. This was now a battle of wills. She had done exactly what she’d been told not to do, and she was suddenly sure that she’d be regretting that choice in more ways than one. Her shoulders sagged, because she knew, too, that Danny didn’t choose his battles unwisely. He would win. He always did.
And so, she climbed under the blankets and allowed herself to be tucked in, once again. “I’ll be back up in just a minute,” Danny said before kissing her forehead and leaving the room. And he was, with half bagel on a plate, a small glass of orange juice, and a large glass of water. She gave him a shy smile and sat up in the bed, blushing faintly but also a little pleased as he spread a napkin over her lap. He wasn’t too mad at her if he was pampering her, she thought happily. Not that he ever really got mad at her. Danny more just had… expectations. And consequences for not meeting those expectations. He was surprisingly good at dealing with chaos, and would have been described by their friends as laid-back or easy going. He’d told Emma once that it wasn’t that he minded not being in control; he just was or he wasn’t. So if it was his job, or his problem, or someone who belonged to him— like me, Emma thought, smiling— he was fully involved.
She immediately frowned again, because for her, fully involved meant that he was going to spank her tomorrow. She hated even thinking the word, even though a small voice reminded her that she would feel much better afterwards. She released a small sigh. No use thinking about it now. She picked up the bagel and had a bite.
~ ~ ~
The rest of the day passed almost without incident. Danny did let her go downstairs in the afternoon, and they watched a movie together. She didn’t start to nod off until the end, and then she took a nap on the sofa. She was able to eat soup for dinner without any problems. There were a few times where she began to protest his ministrations, but then she’d watch his eyes grow dark and she’d back down immediately. Mostly, she was able to push thoughts of tomorrow aside. The agitation at not working– Emma’s friends would not have described her as laid-back or easy going– even subsided, partially thanks to Danny’s efforts to keep her distracted. She suspected he might have pushed off some of his own work obligations, but she didn’t even feel bad about it. Mostly.
Emma only brushed up against Danny’s limits once more, when it was close to bed and she wanted to shower. “Bath,” he’d said back to her when she’d mentioned it. “I don’t want to take a bath,” she’d said back. “I just want a quick shower.”
“Sorry, love. Not tonight. I watched you stumble up the stairs, and you probably should have been in bed an hour ago. Take a bath tonight, and I’ll sit with you.”
“I said I don’t want to take a bath!” she had said back, with more force than she had intended.
“That’s one,” Danny had replied calmly, even as he went into their bathroom and turned on the tub’s faucet. She felt a sharp intake of breath as she stared as his back. What’s he going to do at three this time?! she’d wondered, this time with none of the challenge that had led to her very first big act of defiance yesterday. This time the question was scary. She had suspected that he was only half concerned with her falling, and half trying to prove a point. She had suspected that he wouldn’t be interested in hearing that argument. She had undressed, and climbed into the bath.
~ ~ ~
It was afternoon before Danny decided to address her punishment. She spent the morning on edge, not wanting to ask and also wanting badly to know. Now the moment had arrived. She was in their office on the desktop, sorting through emails she’d missed or not had the energy to answer before, when he appeared in the doorway. He leaned against the frame, arms and ankles casually crossed and said, “We need to talk, my girl.”
A small sound of disappointment escaped her, but she quickly got to a stopping point in her work and stood, walking hesitantly from behind the desk to take her boyfriend’s now proffered hand. He raised her knuckles to his lips and kissed them gently, then pulled her past him and out the door, planting a swat on her backside with his other hand. “Upstairs and find a corner,” he said, and she did exactly that.
About ten minutes later, Emma heard the soft sound of Danny sitting on the bed behind her. She clenched her bottom involuntarily as she waited for him to call her out of the corner. He didn’t make her wait long. Soon she was standing in front of him, slightly between his spread knees, anxiously pulling at the fabric of her shorts and bouncing slightly on the balls of her feet. It was like all of the energy she’d been lacking all week suddenly returned in an explosion of nerves. In comparison, Danny seemed perfectly at ease, but then didn’t he always? she thought. The hairbrush was already sitting on the bed beside him, and that didn’t seem like a good sign. Daniel Strauss had large, hard hands and a powerful swing, and when he did use implements, he typically sent her to fetch them near the end of her punishment.
There were times when she was made to explain whatever incident had lead up to the spanking, times when Danny wasn’t exactly sure about the details but was pretty sure she was guilty. There was even one time when she had successfully explained herself and he had nodded thoughtfully before deciding not to spank her at all. This time, though, there was no good explanation and they both knew it. He’d still ask her plenty of questions, she knew he would, but not until she was already sore and sorry and on the brink of begging for him to stop.
He reached out and tugged on the bottoms of her shorts, which slipped off her hips to fall limply on the floor. They were stuck around her left foot a second later as Danny pulled her forward and across his right knee. He reached down to pick her up by the torso, swinging her legs up and making her, for the second time that week, horizontal and reaching for the blankets. His easy maneuvering of her body made her feel especially vulnerable, and she was acutely aware that this time there would be no last minute reprieve.
She buried her face as his right hand pulled her more snugly against his body, and then the first swat fell and she wasn’t thinking about anything except the sharp sting of his palm on her backside. Danny’s broad hand found it’s target over and over again, and though her underwear were still up, it didn’t do much to save the round curves of her bottom or the tender skin of her thighs. He spanked her steadily, turning his hand into a metronome, not losing his rhythm even when she began to squirm, or later when she began to kick. The only pause came after several minutes, when he decided it was time to lower her white panties. She moaned into her arms; she always did. It wasn’t the nudity itself but the lack of autonomy, the voteless decision to strip her of the smallest garment she wore, that made her flush with embarrassment.
There were times when he lingered at this moment, rubbing her back and observing his handiwork, but today he resumed the spanking with a sense of purpose that even in her vulnerable position, Emma recognized. The echoey cadence of the spanking was interrupted by the noises escaping her, which were happening more and more frequently. She had always been easy to bring to tears, but usually she did little more than squeak until the end of a spanking, when apologies would come spilling out of mouth. She knew it was way too early for that, but her bottom already hurt so much! Her hands, too, couldn’t be contained, though Danny was used to pinning one hand to her side or back. Emma didn’t like to have them restrained, and so always fought to keep them forward. At this moment they were both pressed against Danny’s thigh and she was pushing so hard that her back arched and only his strong grip around her waist held her there.
“Please, Danny!” she finally said, and to her surprise and against all precedent, he slowed down. She relaxed her upper body as best she could, bring her hands in front of her to grab the blankets again. As the swats slowly faded into gentle caresses, he began to speak. “I know it has been a very hard week for you, little girl,” he said as his fingertips gently slid up and down her hot bottom and the tops of her thighs, circling the edges of her punished skin, “but I am not currently accepting ‘the flu’ as an excuse for bad behavior.” He landed a tremendous swat at the end of his statement, then continued over her yelp, “I know it is very trying for you to not be working, and that the boredom probably felt like a punishment. It wasn’t.” She groaned as she felt him reach for the hairbrush, but he didn’t pause his lecture. “By the time I’m finished with you, you will understand the difference.”
He placed the smooth wooden back of the brush against the hot skin of her backside, and pulled her body closer to his, so her side was plastered snugly against his stomach. He reached up and placed his right hand on her right shoulder, letting it slide down her bicep so that he could untangle her arm and align it with her body, his grip settling firmly on her wrist. She gave a little kick at this, then said pitifully, “But I’ve been good!”
She couldn’t see the brief affectionate smile on his face, but it was there. “You have been good about your hands. And I’m sure now that you will continue being good until I’m finished. I’m afraid there’s no chance of it otherwise.”
Emma heard the threat in those words and began to scramble when she felt the brush lift a second later. “No don’t don’t don’t I’m already sorry! I’m already sorry, Danny!”
Her voice went up an octave at the last word; the brush crashed down and even though Danny knew they weren’t anywhere near the intensity of his usual “finishing” hairbrush swats, Emma was too overwhelmed to tell the difference. For his part, Danny wanted to make good on his promise– the promise he felt was implicit when he counted to three. Three promised consequences. Three promised regret.
He brought the hairbrush down again and again, unfazed by her apologies or her tears or her wildly kicking legs. Soon all of her words were lost, her entire vocabulary erased save his name, which she repeated with increasing desperation. Eventually, even that was lost, and all that was left was the sound. Swat. After swat. after swat.
~ ~ ~
When Danny finally ended the spanking, Emma’s bottom was swollen and her breathing ragged. He knew that it wasn’t the worst spanking he had ever given, but she was delicate now and he felt that as he held her. Her body was worn and her emotions drained, though she had the strength to cling to his shirt and mumble into his chest, quiet “I’m sorry, sir, I’m so sorry,” while he mumbled his own “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay,” over her.
She napped without complaint that evening. He stayed in bed with her, reading while she slept. When she woke, he massaged her back and rubbed lotion gently over her tender backside. Emma pouted where she could get away with it, but generally after being spanked she felt small and doting. She did as she was told, and he lavished praise on her for every small detail. She even managed to keep from working one more full day. It helped that she couldn’t bare to sit at the desk.