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The Plan

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This follows a Dramatic Interlude, and is the third installment of The Whipping Girl story.  I hope you like it!

Abraham glared as a flock of birds took flight, startled by the resounding yalp he had just released.  He had been pacing among the trees, trying to calm his temper.  It was time to do something.  He tired of seeing his wife punished for the whims of that woman-child daughter of the King.  He need to act, but Camilla was right.  She usually was.  Getting himself hanged wouldn’t do them much good.  She’d probably be forced to move into the castle full time if he died.  As it was, they lived just outside the grounds, in the nearby wood.  There were other servants’ quarters scattered about, all humble cottages spaced well apart.

Just thinking about Camilla suffering unjustly made his temper rise again and without thinking, Abraham turned and hurled his axe blindly.  It landed with a powerful thunk, buried deep into the trunk of a sturdy oak tree.

“I’m awfully glad I don’t walk any faster than I do,” came a dry voice from the vicinity of his ax.  Abraham looked over to see a woman, one dressed more finely than anyone he would usually see in these parts, but she didn’t strike him as royalty, and he didn’t kneel. She was standing alarmingly close to the tree he had hit, but she didn’t seem fazed and he didn’t dwell on it. Each one looked the other for a moment before Helena said, “I’m looking for Camilla, wife of Abraham.”

“What do you want with her?” Abraham asked, his entire body tensing.  If this was a summons, he’d risk a hanging.  She would not return to the castle tonight.  Helena eyed him appraisingly and then seemed to drop her guard.  “I want to know if she is okay,” she said.  “She had a difficult day.”

Abraham relaxed a little, though he still looked at her with scrutiny.  After a moment he said, “Follow me.”

They walked in silence back toward the cottage; Camilla ran out and threw her arms around her husband as he stepped out of the trees and into the clearing around the home.  Her dress was righted now and her face washed, even though her eyes were red from crying.  Helena observed them quietly; she was unsure what Camilla’s reaction to seeing her would be.  They had a strange relationship; there was a strong affection between them, given the nature of their interactions.  The governess knew about Abraham, about the garden Camilla tended, about her love of animals.  In the quiet moments after a discipline session, the two women often had time together while the princess was with her father.  Helena would smooth cooling cream on the other woman’s punished backside, distracting her from the discomfort by asking questions about her life.

To Helena’s surprise and delight, Camilla embraced her after Abraham.  They could not have shown such familiarity in the castle, and had never seen each other outside of it.  Helena should not be here now, but had decided to take the risk.  She was also glad for her own sake.  She didn’t know how Abraham would react once he knew that the marks Camilla bore came from Helena’s hand, no matter that she had no choice.  She could see he loved her well, though, and if Camilla could forgive her, he would find it in him to do the same.

Soon they were inside, and Camilla brewed tea as they made awkward introductions.  Abraham was angry to hear who Helena was, but calmed himself quickly.  He understood what it meant to be under the thumb of a leader to whom one did not willingly owe fealty.  Begrudgingly, he was able to admit that it was not upon Helena that he wished revenge.  Given the chance, though, he would thrash the princess within an inch of her life.  Camilla shuddered at these words; Helena grinned.  She wanted much the same, but there was no way she could lay a hand on Phillipa without surely losing her own life.

But perhaps there was a way to give the uppity princess her dues.

Helena had not come to the wood with a plan, but she and Abraham were of one mind when it came to this.  They both wanted the princess to know the sting of leather.

And so, a plan was hatched.  Helena knew the princess was foolish, and could be courted easily into danger.  Her plush life was indeed boring; on her more sympathetic days, Helena could see why the girl sought trouble so often.  They would lure her with a series of love letters, written by Abraham but dictated by Camilla.  Common women did not read, but she would know what to say.  She could give these letters to Helena, who would hide them for the princess to find.  With the smallest luck, they would be able to lure the impudent girl into the woods, past the cottages, where she would find no lover waiting for her.

~     ~     ~

It worked almost too well.  The princess was foolish and eager; she had seen too many women married off and found herself constantly jealous.  So when a letter from Sir Bartholomew found its way under her pillow, Phillipa bought his flimsy lines without question.  “Bartholomew” claimed that he had seen her at one of the banquets, and her father refused to grant him an audience because he was knight and not a prince.  That was about all it said of him, though.  The rest of the letter lauded her beauty, her grace, her wit.  He asked that if she would allow him, he would like to write her again; she was instructed to leave a blue handkerchief on the path she road the next morning.  Phillipa generally took her beautiful brown mare out after breakfast.

Helena fought not to roll her eyes as the princess spent an exorbitant amount of time readying herself, tucking a blue handkerchief among her skirts.  The ride was uneventful, the drop off successful.  Another letter came two days later.  He described what she had been wearing in detail, and she was dreamy-eyed over dinner.  An added bonus to the lover letters was that Princess Phillipa began spending much of her time riding her horse or staring wistfully out of her window.  She was not finding trouble as often as the castle staff was used to hearing.  Though incidents that required large implements were viewed by the king and selected audience, it was much more common to hear poor Camilla being spanked with a hand or hairbrush on an almost daily basis while Helena scolded the princess.  The governess avoided this where she could, but she was bound by her own constraints.  There were witnesses everywhere with much less pity in their hearts for the whipping girl.  They knew only what the king expected, and both Camilla and Helena would suffer greatly if he suspected any sympathies between them.

The governess was beginning to think that they may get to spring their trap without another severe punishment.  The letters came for two weeks; they knew that asking her to meet would be the riskiest part, and wanted to proceed with utmost caution.  Princess Phillipa was truly enthralled with her fictional knight, though, and they finally sent her a letter with detailed instructions on where to meet.

It was that day, of course, that their good luck ended.  Phillipa breakfasted with the king and his court as she always did on Sundays.  She indulged too much in the sweet wines they served, and it made her clumsy and brash.  Near the end of the meal, her father took note and signaled the governess to take Phillipa to her quarters and away from the banquet table.  This wasn’t uncommon for the indulgent princess, but when Helena beckoned her, Phillipa refused come.  Frustrated and trying to avoid a scene, she leaned down to attempt a pleading conversation with the young woman.  Phillipa stood and turned, preparing for a tantrum.  Helena shifted her tone, and said firmly “Phillipa, this not the time.  Your father has business to conduct with his guests.  We are needed elsewhere.”  Without warning, Princess Phillipa turned, throwing her full glass of wine in the direction of her governess.

The only bit of good news was that in her drunkenness, the princess had missed Helena almost entirely.  The King had witnessed the entire event, and his face reddened with his temper.  Helena stood frozen with shock, as did most of the other guests.  Even Phillipa, who rarely even feigned fear of repercussion, was wide-eyed and still.  “Father,” she finally got out, but he interrupted her with a roar: “To the Discipline Room!”  Helena kept in step behind the princess as they immediately made to follow the order.  As they walked down the chamber, they heard another command echo.  “Fetch the whipping girl!”

~     ~     ~

In the small room adjacent to the Discipline Room, Helena glared at Phillipa.  She was furious.  The senseless girl had embarrassed her father.  Few things raised his ire more.  She kept her eyes on the floor and seemed genuinely contrite this time, but little good it did anyone.  Within moments, they were summoned.  The King felt it important that a spectacle be made of the one being punished, which was why the room was designed as such.  Helena had witness many spankings in this room in the many years she had been caring for the princess.  The king’s wife had born him eight sons before her namesake, Phillipa, and soon after she had passed away.  Unlike his daughter, the king had no qualms about the discipline of his sons.  Helena had seen all of them at various points marched up the very aisle which she now walked with the princess, followed by their tutors to the platform ahead.  No implement along that wall had gone unused for long when they roamed the castle, and to her knowledge, the king found no age of adulthood late enough to stop the use of them as he saw fit.

Only Phillipa escaped the actual punishment, and despite the added publicity, today would be no different.  The benches were fuller than Helena had ever seen them; it seemed most of the breakfast party had answered the invitation to watch.  Helena and her charge assumed their positions, with the princess standing to the side of the seated governess.  She was thoroughly scolded before the older woman began to declare, as she always did, “For this, you will receive a spanking and a strapping on your bare bottom, witnessed by–”

She was cut off by the monarch’s deep voice.  “The cane, governess,” he commanded  simply.  Helena kept her face schooled, though she winced on the inside.  She began again.  “For this, you will receive a spanking and a caning on your bare bottom, witnessed by your father the King. Six strokes.”

All too soon, they had completed the warm-up ritual.  Like so many times before, Helena had taken Camilla across her lap and spanked her, making sure every inch of her bottom was hot before re-positioning her for the cane.  Her eyes were shut tightly and she had a death grip on the chair.  Knowing that over a dozen witnesses were staring at the whipping girl’s exposed and sore bottom, Helena did not waste time making her choice of canes.  She picked one of both medium weight and medium thickness.  She found the thin ones to be too biting, and in many ways more painful than the thicker canes.  The thickest she found unwieldy.  She tested her pick in the air, swishing it twice and enjoying the sound it made in spite of her reluctance to perform the task.  She walked back to the chair and tipped Camilla’s chin as she always did before she began.  Today she said, “Be brave.  Remember tonight.”

And then the governess walked to the edge of the platform, looking directly at Phillipa as she did so.  The princess looked guilty, but she couldn’t quite pull off remorseful.  Helena was glad of their plans for her this night as she lifted the cane and tapped it twice on the waiting backside.  She took aim and the cane whistled and thwack– a line appeared across the fullest part of Camilla’s round cheeks.

The girl bent her knees and let out a cry, then righted herself quickly.  Helena didn’t give her much time before thwack, another line appeared just an inch below the first.  Again, she cried out and bent her knees before straightening them again.  Helena noticed the tremble in girl’s knees as she made ready for the third stroke, but she didn’t hesitate as she brought the cane down again, this time an inch above the original stroke.  She paused then, watching the three parallel lines raise.  She thought again of tonight and the princess getting a taste of her own medicine, and it steadied her hand as she brought it down again, a new lowest line, and again, a new highest.  Each time, Camilla cried out and bent her knees, almost to the floor by the fifth one.  It took her longer to straighten her knees, but after a moment she did so.  The second they were locked, thwack-– the sixth and final stroke landed just above Camilla’s thighs.

The governess turned and looked to the King, who nodded. Phillipa stood as she was supposed to, walking with a contriteness that looked out of place on her usually unapologetic face.  “Have you learned your lesson?” the king asked solemnly.  “Yes, Papa.  I’m sorry.”

“Good,” he replied, standing.  Helena found it ironic that he still seemed dissatisfied, though this appeared to her the only time a lesson had actually been learned.  He turned and left, and Phillipa followed meekly.

Helena adjusted Camilla’s pantaloons and lowered her skirt before gently thumbing the tears from the girl’s cheeks.  “Good girl, Camilla,” she said.  “Such a good girl.”

 

 

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Summer Flu

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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.”

“But I—”

“Now.”

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.

 

 

 

Dramatic Interlude!

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This follows The Whipping Girl.

Camilla trembled as her husband unbuttoned her dress. It was not because of his touch, but because of the anger she knew would follow as he stripped her, and as he saw the evidence of her strapping. She tensed, and her anticipation was answered as her garments fell away and he saw the fresh bruises on her bared bottom.

“What did that miserable brat do this time?” Abraham ground out. His fingers traced the marks on her backside with a tenderness that did not match the fury in his voice. Camilla still bore the prints of his teeth on her shoulders; they were not a pair afraid of violence, or the pleasure that could be found through pain and control and tears. These were not his bruises, though, and not given with his blessing. These made him feel powerless, and it was not a feeling he sat well with.

“I’m going to kill her,” he yelled, walking abruptly away, quickly reaching the other end of their one room cottage and pacing back again. She turned, looking at him wide-eyed from the puddle of fine cloths around her, imploring him to calm down, saying simply, “Abraham…”

She spoke timidly, counted on her submission to hook his protective instincts and quiet him. It usually did, but this time she saw lightning in his eyes. This time was different, and fear gripped her heart at the sight of him. He was a woodsman by trade, and stood there looking grizzled and strong, sweat from the day’s labor dried and salty on his brow. He turned and walked through the front door, grabbing his axe from its home leaning against the roughly hewn wood of the house. Camilla scrambled to pull up the heavy dress and give chase, struggling with the sleeves and finally running after him, dress open in the back as she grabbed his arm tightly as she implored him.

“You can’t! You’ll be hanged! There’s nothing to be done, Abraham.” She could feel the beg in her voice, a desperation that usually she loved to feel for him, but now it was for the pain he might endure instead of her, and that hurt worse.

He turned, putting his free arm around her waist and pulling her to him. They stood for a moment, foreheads pressed together, her hands around his neck and her fears calming, until he pulled away and looked her squarely in the eyes. “Go. Get back in the house.”

“Abraham! No! You can’t-”

“Go. Go now.” There was no bend in his tone, no give in his expression. Tears leapt into her eyes. She spent so much of her time doing as she was told. She followed the orders of the Princess. Of the King. Of every bloody noble in the kingdom. But to Abraham, she had promised her obedience freely. And so, throat closing with grief, she turned, and walked back into the house.

The Whipping Girl

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Helena sighed as she eyed the smug face of her charge, Princess Phillipa. The young woman was reporting to her for chastisement, having nicked a basketful of treats from the kitchen that morning. The cook would be getting an earful from Helena later, because he had gone straight to the king instead of the governess, which meant she had to dole out what would be deemed a proper punishment- and to the King, that meant a spanking. Helena didn’t have a problem spanking Phillipa; she would like nothing better, in fact. However, it was the law of the land that no one could touch a hair on the young royal’s head, and so every swat landed on the poor rear end of Camilla, a young peasant woman who had been plucked from the village and “honored” with the task of accepting the princess’s punishments with as much grace as she could muster.

This was how they found themselves in the Discipline Room, a small space reserved for just such events. At the front was a raised platform, on which sat a straight-backed wooden chair. Behind the platform, mounted on the wall, was an intimidating array of paddles, canes, and straps. Helena eyed them as she walked down the center of the room, between three short rows of benches. The room could probably seat two dozen people comfortably, though Helena had never seen it close to filled. Today, there were three spectators: the cook, who sat on the right row closest to the door, looking pompous; his assistant, who sat beside him, looking curious; and the King himself, who sat on a small throne against the back left wall.

The Princess followed the governess in, walking obediently with downcast eyes and a wholly fake attitude of compliance. The King might see her as a contrite little girl, but the governess knew her for the conniving young woman she was. All of Helena’s sympathies were with Camilla, who sat nervously on the front row, awaiting punishment she hadn’t earned or asked for, but would nevertheless be recieving. It was her job to endure the spanking just as it was Helena’s to give it, and they would both be fulfilling their duties today.

The governess reached the chair and seated herself, arranging her long black and grey skirts around her legs so they pooled on the stone floor by her feet. Phillipa stood to her left, hands clasped behind her, looking down at the waiting lap, the corner of her mouth slightly turned up in a smirk no one but Helena could see. Helena’s own mouth was a tight line, and she was satisfied to see the princess’s smile fade when they made eye contact. Helena knew how to make the princess behave without laying a finger on her, which was how she’d kept the position longer than any other governess, and most of the staff knew better than go over her head. The cook was new. He would learn, though.

“I am so very disappointed to hear about the theft of pastries from the kitchens, Phillipa. You could have anything you desired with a simple request, but you chose to be naughty and disrupted Cook’s work. For this, you will receive a spanking and a strapping on your bare bottom, witnessed by your father the King.”

“Yes, Governess,” came the docile reply, and Helena patted her lap. Camilla rose from her bench and came forward, mirroring Phillipa’s position on Helena’s right side. Both women wore fine dresses over puffy white pantaloons, though the room would be treated to a view of only one pair. Phillipa took the whipping girl’s newly vacated seat, which would give her a perfect view of the other woman’s soon to be bared bottom. Helena turned, sympathy gone from her face now that she had a task to hone her focus. She lifted Camilla’s skirts, and the woman obediently reached to hold them up as the governess reached for the loosely tied strings that would allow the back of her billowy white underwear to fall open. Camilla’s face became heated with embarrassment, and Helena wasted no time. She pulled the girl across her lap, adjusted her slightly, and then began applying the palm of her hand with quick vigorous swats.

As the girl’s bottom became more heated, her feet began to kick. Helena glanced at the face of the princess, and noticed a look of glee at this development. No one else could see, as all eyes were focused on the girl being spanked, but Helena saw and she didn’t like it. She paused and rubbed the bottom in front of her, leaning down as she did to whisper firmly in Camilla’s ear, “Keep still. Not so much as a twitch.”

She heard a little moan escape the woman, so low no one else would hear, but Helena ignored the pitiful sound and resumed the spanking, not holding anything back as the swats echoed in the small chamber. She was pleased to see Camilla’s feet still, toes pointed obediently toward the floor. She could feel the muscles of the whipping girl’s stomach tighten occasionally, especially when harder swats fell low across her bottom. They were tense and hard against the governess’s sturdy thighs. Helena knew it felt cruel, that in some ways it was cruel to be spanking the woman so hard from the start. She wouldn’t being doing her any favors if she didn’t warm her up properly, though. There was still the strap to come, and the watchful eye of the King.

Mindful of this, Helena bent over, pulling the young woman’s body closer with her left arm and swinging her right arm mightily, listening to the carefully controlled breathing that she knew was Camilla’s only hope of being still. Eventually her arm slowed, then stopped, and she rubbed small circles across the girl’s back and bottom. She took a moment to look at the King, whose impassive face shared little of his thoughts. The cook looked mortified, as did his assistant, both embarrassed to witness the humiliation of an innocent girl. Phillipa looked bored, which satisfied Helena. There was no chance of the selfish princess feeling genuine contrition, so the best the governess could hope for was to not provide a show for the spoiled young woman. She eased Camilla up, then stood herself and arranged the whipping girl so that she was bent over the chair, bottom blazing and bared, framed by the white pantaloons that contrasted sharply with the color of her freshly spanked backside, face turned up toward the wall of implements.

The governess made a show of looking sternly at the princess, then eyeing the display, as if contemplating the appropriate measure to take. In reality, she knew exactly which strap she planned to use. It was a brown and supple piece of leather, heavy and loud, hanging by its polished wooden handle. She saw Camilla looking at the canes, wide-eyed at the quantify of them, ranging from whippy and thin to thick and terrifying. Despite her penchant for trouble, Phillipa hadn’t managed to get the whipping girl caned… yet.

Helena took her favorite strap, and moved to bend down face to face with the waiting and embarrassed woman leaning over the chair. She tipped her chin up slightly with her finger, and said in a low voice that carried only from her mouth to the girl’s ear: “Not a wiggle. Not a peep.” Camilla shut her eyes tight for a second and then opened them again, meeting Helena’s and whispering, “yes ma’am.” The governess walked slowly to the edge of the platform, affording her plenty of room to swing. She announced loudly, as the King would expect, “Twenty two with the leather. One for every year of your life, Princess Phillipa. May we not have to repeat this lesson again.” And with that, she brought the strap sizzling down on the bared bottom in front of her, letting the echo of the sharp “thwack” die off before she bought it down again, and again, until she had reached twenty-two. She was proud to see that Camilla had listened, kept her stoic silence until the end, letting the only evidence of her struggle be her white-knuckled grip on the chair.

The governess turned and looked to the King, who nodded. Phillipa stood and practically pranced to the back of the room, going to stand by her father and laying her head sweetly on his hand where it rested. “Have you learned your lesson?” he asked. “Oh yes, Papa. That was just terrible. I’ll never do it again,” she said, her voice saccharine sweet. “Good girl,” he replied, standing and putting an arm around her, and he walked with her out out the room, without a glance back toward the stage. The cook and his assistant followed awkwardly.

“Good girl,” whispered Helena quietly as she fixed Camilla’s pantaloons and lowered her skirts gently. “Such a very good girl.”

No Passing Zone

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“Go back! I like that song!” Jade said from the driver’s seat as she and Lisa headed home from a morning spent at the park with friends. Lisa fiddled with the stations, flipping back a few, and asking, “this one?”

“Yeah,” responded Jade, immediately beginning to sing along. Lisa, indifferent to the radio, pulled up Instagram on her phone and was quickly absorbed by the app. She glanced up a minute later, though, startled to feel the car accelerate rapidly. Adrenaline rushed through her as she watched the red cab of an 18 wheeler barreling toward them, seeming to take up most of the front windshield. “Jade!” she yelled, even as she saw that they were passing another huge truck on the right.

The younger woman slid quickly back into her own lane, narrowly dodging both rigs and decelerating to match traffic as the hill they had just sped up tapered off to flat highway again. Both women were quiet for a moment, just the sound of top 40 hits chirping cheerfully at them as they both tried to slow their beating hearts. Finally Jade began, “That was…”

“A no-passing zone!” Lisa cut her off, her voice loud. “That was a no passing zone! What were you thinking?!”

Jade blushed, her own adrenaline tempered by the immediate dread that had settled over her, and said defensively, “it looked clear?”

“It looked clear,” Lisa repeated, letting the words hang in the air.  She let the quiet fill the car, until Jade couldn’t handle it and blurted, “It won’t happen again! Seriously, I know that was dumb. It was like the scariest moment of my life.”

“Get us home, little girl,” Lisa replied ominously. “It’s about to be the second scariest moment of your life.”

~ ~ ~

Jade did her best not to fidget in the corner of the living room where she now stood, hands behind her back and nose nearly touching the wall.  She wasn’t very good at corner time but she needed every ounce of good will she could muster from Lisa.  There were times when the woman’s patience brought to mind images of saints and angels. This was not one of those times. The rest of the ride home had been painfully silent, and the young woman wasn’t sure if she was dreading the spanking or the lecture that would surely accompany it more.

“Come here, young lady,” she heard from behind her. She turned to see Lisa seated on the couch, trusty hairbrush resting on the coffee table, and suddenly she was sure: she was way more scared of the spanking.

This was all too familiar now, though. Jade’s feet felt weighted as she dragged herself slowly to where her mentor sat, her face just as stern as it had been during the silent car ride home. That wasn’t good. Jade was sure she’d been in the corner for a solid 15 minute, which was long for Lisa. And she hadn’t appeared to have calmed down at all. Gulp.

Jade tried to make her face reflect how pitiful she felt right now. She didn’t have a good argument to make, and had kept herself from saying “but I made it” several times. She knew exactly how that would play out, and she liked her thighs the color they were, thanks all the same. And even she knew that it wasn’t a good argument anyway. She had gotten lucky. That was all there was to it.

So, she had her best “I’m sorry” frown in place when she stopped in front of the other woman, and even folded her hands compliantly behind her head without being asked. Lisa didn’t always start by taking Jade’s pants down, but the younger woman had a feeling. It didn’t stop her from shutting her eyes tight when Lisa reached up to undo her belt and unbutton her pants. Jade was startled into opening her eyes when she felt a hand on her hip, looking down to see Lisa grabbing Jade’s belt and pulling, watching it snake through the loops and then dangle there ominously.

Jade’s eyes went wide but she didn’t say anything, probably because Lisa was looking up with a dangerous “I dare you” face. But a voice in her mind yelled, “my belt? My own belt?!” She didn’t have time to contemplate further, though, because then her pants were around her ankles and she was pulled abruptly over Lisa’s lap, her hands leaving her head to catch herself on the couch. Her legs were moved up with infuriating ease, and she felt Lisa’s hand resting on her underwear-clad bottom as she asked, “Do I need to go over what happened today? Do I need to explain why I am about to spank your little backside all sorts of rosy?” Jade gulped again as she murmered, “no ma’am.”

“Good,” came Lisa’s voice, and then her hand was up and landing again, the muffled sound of her palm on the blue cotton underwear filling the room. Jade tried to stay still, but it was always a struggle at the beginning. She knew the spanking was going to get much worse before it got better, but those first swats always made her wiggle, and Lisa was clearly not in the mood for an extended warm up. All too soon, Jade felt her undies being pulled down, with hardly a missed beat between swats. The accompanying sound was much louder, sharp and echoey in the living room, and Jade clutched a pillow helplessly.

By the time Lisa’s hand stopped falling, Jade knew the dark skin of her bottom was a dusky rose shade, and she dreaded the next bit. She felt her body shift as her mentor reached over for the hairbrush, resting the cool wood on her hot bottom. She didn’t resume spanking immediately though, instead rubbing the younger woman’s back and asking, “What does it mean when you see two solid yellow lines on the highway?” Jade answered promptly, “don’t pass.”

“Right,” came Lisa’s response, along with two hard swats with the brush. “Why were there two yellow lines there?”

“So I wouldn’t pass?” Jade said uncertainly, and wasn’t actually surprised by the flurry of swats that came next. It hadn’t felt like the right answer, but she didn’t know what the woman wanted. “I don’t know I don’t know!” she squealed.

“What made them put two yellow lines on that hill?” she asked.

“Oh…” Jade bit her lip. She had a feeling this was the last question for a while, and as much as she hated having to answer, she really didn’t want the hairbrush spanking she knew was about to continue. Still, she answered hesitantly, “Because there was… low… visibility probably?”

“That is exactly right,” Lisa said above her, and as Jade knew would happen, she began using the hairbrush in earnest as she lectured. “You thought you knew something, little girl. Thought you knew better. You didn’t know better; you just knew less. And knowing less put you- and me- at serious risk for no good reason.” Lisa emphasized the last three words with particularly vicious swats to the young woman’s sit spots. She continued spanking and lecturing for several minutes, holding Jade in place when she started to struggle. She knew the girl couldn’t help it, but it didn’t slow her down. By the time she returned the brush to the coffee table, Jade’s bottom was hot and dark pink, every inch flushed with the impact of the spanking. The lecture has faded as the cries of “please” and “I’m sorry!” increased, and now there was only the sounds of Jade’s heavy breathing as Lisa rubbed her back with a gentleness that had not yet crept back into her voice: “We’re almost finished.”

“I learned my lesson!” Jade wailed, knowing her belt was laying on the coffee table, knowing it could only be for one reason, and knowing her protests weren’t going to change a thing. Still, she couldn’t help herself. “I’ll never pass another car as long as I live!”

Lisa patted her bottom, not hard, almost business like. “That’s unreasonable. You will obey the rules, though, or you’ll end up right back here. Stand up.” Jade took a deep breath, then eased herself backward, up on her knees. Lisa stood as Jade slowly planted her own feet on the floor, and guided the younger woman’s few steps over, until she was laying over the arm of the couch. Her tender backside was up in the air, toes just barely on the hardwood floor, keeping her balanced. She reached for a pillow again and she heard the clink of the belt buckle being lifted from the table.

Jade bit her lips, trying to prepare herself, as she felt the cool leather rest on the lower curve of her bottom. Before she could formulate a strategy, though, it was up again and whistling back down, landing across her sitspots. “Owwww!” she yelled, drumming her feet pointlessly on the floor. “Twenty-nine more” came the unsympathetic reply, along with another lick of the belt in the same spot. Jade had a moment where she thought having a number would help, but that moment ended as she quickly lost count of the number of times the black leather made contact with the same spot, kissing the meeting of her thighs and bottom.

At number 26, though Jade couldn’t have said what number they were on, she stood abruptly, hands flying to cover her sore bottom. She looked wide eyed at Lisa’s face, but the woman just raised an eyebrow as she continued to hold the belt, ready to continue. Jade kept eye contact, pleading silently for the end, but the only response she got was a question- “Should we start over?”

That was all Jade needed. She practically flung herself back over the couch arm. Lisa didn’t make her wait long. The next lick landed the moment she was settled, then three more, and then it was over. She felt her underwear being tugged gently up, and then felt Lisa settle herself on the couch, a hand running gently through Jade’s hair. Jade stayed that way for a moment, composing herself, before standing and stepping out if her jeans and easing herself down onto the couch, snuggling into Lisa’s open arms. A few quiet minutes of cuddling later, she said “Sorry, Lisa. It really won’t happen again.”

A kiss was planted firmly on Jade’s head as she heard simply from above her, “I know.” Jade smiled and snuggled closer.

Those Pesky Laser Pointers

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This is is the closest thing to fanfiction I’ve ever written and I’m simultaneously delighted and mortified to be publishing it. It’s just a drabble, but I hope you enjoy it!

“No one even knew it was me!”

“I don’t. care. You are the Vice President. You know better.”

“It was funny!”

“It was juvenile.”

“You just don’t like that you aren’t the only funny person in the White House.”

“And you can just spend some time in the corner thinking about your behavior when we get to my office.”

“Good thing we’re headed to the Oval Office,” the VP said smugly.

The President stopped abruptly, and there was sudden quiet as the ever-present security surrounding them stopped as well. “You’re right,” he said as he leveled a glare as his mischievous best friend, “we’ll skip the corner.”

“Wait, I didn’t mean that!” he said, scrambling with the rest of their entourage to catch up as the president began walking briskly again. A few of the guards glanced in his direction; usually the two men were able to have private conversations even amid the chaos, as long as they spoke in low voices. The expressions of the Secret Service would have been curious as they reached the Oval Office had they not been been trained to keep their feelings off their faces.

The President opened the door, keeping his hand on the handle as it swung inward, inviting his Vice President to walk ahead and into the empty office. A frown firmly in place, the VP did so, albeit hesitantly. The first of the team guarding the men began to step forward, but the president stopped her with his free hand and said simply, “We need a few minutes.”

She nodded, stepping back and assuming standard position outside the door as it closed, as did the rest of the team. It was generally frowned upon to leave the POTUS and VPOTUS alone within any room, even for a moment, but it had been established early on in this administration that these “talks” between the President and Vice President were going to happen from time to time. Like her partner, who flanked the other side of the door, she kept her face impassive as they heard the muffled sound of the president’s voice. They knew what sounds would come next, though they would never discuss it. When you were part of the Secret Service, it came with the territory.

~  ~  ~

Several minutes later, the doors opened again, and the two guards at the entrance moved deftly inside, taking up their positions silently. They avoided the eyes of the Vice President, which they knew would be red and watery. They always were after this sort of meeting. They also pretended not to notice that he was avoiding sitting, even on the softest straight back chair, or that the the president reached to touch the other man’s arm without even thinking about it on his way back to the desk.

The lead guard felt an unbidden grin tug at her face and she schooled her features. Nothing to smile about here. Just a secret to keep for her beloved President and VP.

If You Play With Fire

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“Fuck. Fuck.  A thousand times fuck.”

“I don’t think that’s how the saying goes.”

“A thousand times fuck off, Connor.  How’s that?”

“Better.  What are we going to do?”

Jade looked around at the backyard, which was currently more ash than grass.  Lisa was out of town, and Jade had had some friends over to sit around the fire pit in the mild winter weather.  That in itself wasn’t a problem; Jade was an adult, and plenty old enough to have a contained party at her house.  This meant that she was too old to forget to put the fire out before she had gone inside and fallen into a deep sleep in the wee hours.  Her best friend, Connor, had slept over and felt partially responsible.  He had convinced her to drag out the fire pit in the first place, and had gone to sleep after she had.  Unfortunately, he was also just as much at a loss over what to do now.  It a total fluke that the grass had caught fire, but a very avoidable fluke if they had just made sure to put the cover on and the flames out.

“I can fix this.  I can fix this.  I can fix this,” Jade was mumbling to herself as she walked around the backyard. Connor looked doubtful, but ready to do whatever he could to help.  Unfortunately, it was at that moment that he heard a car pull up in the driveway.  His eyebrows knit together worriedly as he said cautiously, “Hey Jade…”

She looked up, then followed his gaze toward the driveway.  Her view was obstructed by the house, but she read the signs. Connor turned to see her shoulders visibly sag.  He couldn’t blame her.  He’d had Ms. Eckridge in high school, and she could be scary when she wanted to be.  He shivered a little as he remembered the only time he’d ever been in trouble with her, and the telling-off he’d received.  He’d seen her again since Jade had moved in here, but it was always brief hellos and goodbyes.

“You gotta go, man.”

He looked at Jade as he heard the car door shut.  Miss Eckridge would be walking into the house now.  Jade was making her way toward the back door.  She had her time-to-face-the-music face on.  He followed her, but she turned to him as she reached for the metal handle of the screen door and repeated herself, “You gotta go.  Just go around the house.”

“I have to get my wallet and keys.  Besides, if you’re gonna get yelled at, I should get yelled at, too.”

Jade snorted.  “Okay, tough guy.”

He rolled his eyes and followed her inside.  Lisa was putting her purse down at the kitchen counter and looking confused.  “Hey guys,” she said.  “Why does it smell like smoke?  Is someone burning leaves?  It’s kinda late in the year for that.”

Jade took a deep breath, walked over to the window facing the backyard, and yanked open the blinds. Connor watched Ms. Eckridge’s eyes go wide and she walked quickly over to stand next to Jade and look out the window.  “What the hell happened?” she asked, taking in the large, vaguely circular patch of burnt grass covering her usually nice little backyard.

“I had some friends over and we got the fire pit out, and it got really windy later, and I guess some of the dried leaves in the pile blew out and…” She made a sweeping motion with her hand.

“It burned this much before you could stop it?” Lisa’s eyes were still wide with disbelief, confusion, and worry.  Jade glanced at Connor, then said to the older woman, “Can I say goodbye to him first?”

Connor saw Ms. Eckridge’s features shift, as she put on her impassive teacher face and said, “Of course.”  But Connor didn’t want Jade getting yelled at by herself, not when he had been just as dumb.  “It wasn’t her fault,” he blurted out.  “I went to bed later than she did and I should have doused it.  It was mostly just embers but still, it was my bad.  I’ll pay for the damage.”

Jade closed her eyes in frustration and brought both her hands to her forehead as she sighed, “Coonnnoorr.” Miss Eckridge’s attention all on the younger woman, and she spoke through her teeth now.  “You went to bed with a fire still going?”

Connor started to interject again but Lisa held up a silencing hand without even looking in his direction, her eyes still on Jade, who slowly cracked her eyes open and said, “Yes, ma’am.”  Connor felt compelled to look out for his best friend and couldn’t stop himself from interrupting. “I said I would put it out though.  It’s my fault, Miss Eckridge.”

Lisa’s eyes snapped over to look at the young man in her kitchen, and he took an involuntary step back, though she hadn’t moved an inch in his direction.  “Her house, her responsibility Connor.  You need to leave.”

“I’m not leaving!  I’ll help… clean it up,” he said uncertainly.

Jade gave him a frustrated look and said “There’s no more fire, nothing we can do right now.  Just go.”

“I’m not going,” he said stubbornly.  He wasn’t sure why he felt so sure that he needed to stay, but he did.  He wasn’t the best guy who ever walked the earth but he was loyal to a fault, and something about this felt like trouble, though he couldn’t figure out what exactly he was afraid was going to happen.  Lisa threw her hands up, saying to Jade as she walked away, “Work it out.  I’ll be back down in thirty minutes.”  And she grabbed her small rolling suitcase and walked down the hall toward the stairs and up to her room.

As soon as they heard the first stair creak, Jade pulled the blinds shut and walked over to Connor, grabbing his wallet from the small dining table and shoving it into his chest before physically pushing him toward the front door.  “Bye, Connor.”

He dug his feet in, pushing back against her.  He was several inches taller than her and lanky, and easily turned around to avoid being herded.  “I’m not going!  What is she gonna do to you?  She can do it to me, too.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Just go home, Connor!”

“No,” he said, crossing his arms stubbornly and planting his feet.  “I’m staying.”

“You know what, fine.  Stay.  Enjoy being a hero.  It’s not gonna make my ass feel better tomorrow, though, I bet you that.”  She stomped down the hall and yelled up the steps, “We’re ready, Lisa!” in an irritated voice, though barely five minutes had passed.  She stomped back into the living room and sat on the couch, arms crossed, adding a quick, “Come on, Connor.  Come sit.  Let’s wait on the grand finale together.”  He made his way nervously toward the couch and did sit next to her.  After a few minutes of silent fuming, she even uncrossed her arms and leaned against him.  He didn’t speak, but watched the ticking second hand of the clock on the wall.

A few minutes later Lisa did come downstairs; they heard her walk through the kitchen and rummage for something before she entered the living room. Jade groaned as she saw the wooden spoon in her mentor’s hand, and Connor eyes were glued to it.

“He’s still here?” Lisa asked Jade.

“He’s too stubborn for his own good.”

“And you’re okay with it?”

“It’s not my favorite thing but I just want to get it over with.”

“And does he–”

“I’m right here!” Connor interjected indignantly, though as both women turned their full attention on him, he suddenly wished he was anywhere else.  Lisa contemplated him for a moment, then pointed at a chair behind her. “Sit,” she said, pointing. Connor looked over at Jade, who made her eyes wide as if to say “what are you waiting for?!” So, Connor got up from the couch and moved to the chair, and Lisa took his spot.

She put her arm around Jade and said, “Do I need to go over why you are about to be spanked?” The younger woman felt her face begin to burn with embarrassment. Now that the moment was here, having Connor around seemed like the worst possible idea.  She resisted the urge to glance in his direction and just nodded.  Lisa must have been feeling sympathetic, because she accepted the nonverbal response.  But of course, Connor wasn’t finished yet.

“You can’t do this!  You can’t… spank her.  She’s 27 years old!”

This time it was Jade who exploded, leaning forward and shaking her hands in Connor’s direction.  “You see any handcuffs?  Does this place look like a prison to you?  I told you to leave.  You stayed.  So shut the fuck up, Connor.  It’s bad enough that you’re here without you talking. Besides, you’ll get your turn,” she added caustically. “Fair’s fair, right?”

And before anything else could be said, she flung herself across Lisa’s lap.  The teacher rubbed her back for a moment as she shared a silent exchange with Connor.  He had finally been startled into silence, and she felt confident he would remain that way for a while.  She leaned down, running her fingers through Jade’s hair and whispering things he could not hear, though he noticed Jade seemed to scoot even closer to Ms. Eckridge’s body and her right arm curled around the woman’s left ankle.  When the first swat landed, he jumped at the noise, though Jade didn’t seem fazed.  The soft thud of a hand on denim didn’t last long.  Soon the girl’s pants were around her ankles, and Connor watched as his friend’s brown skin began to turn pink around the edges of her underwear.  He winced with every swat.

Jade was being unusually stoic.  For all her bravado, she usually spent her time over Lisa’s lap whining and kicking, sometimes arguing about how unfair things were and sometimes promising the moon if she thought that’s what Lisa wanted from her.  Today, though, she felt guilty, angry, and embarrassed.  So she didn’t do much wiggling… at first.

Soon after Jade’s body began to shift, Lisa broke her steady rhythm and reached over to grab the spoon.  She clutched it firmly in her hand and leaned down again to talk in Jade’s ear. Connor was transfixed; he was mortified to be watching and equally unable to look away.  He heard his friend groan into the pillow, her fist coming down in front of her to bang the couch.  Then he watched as Lisa slowly pulled down the black and white striped underwear she wore, revealing a bottom that was already a dusky shade of pink.  Soon the spanking had resumed and this time it was a wooden spoon landing on bare skin.  The sound was distinctly different and his mouth was hanging open as he watched white oval patches appear and disappear.  Jade was making lots of noises and moving all over Lisa’s lap by the time the woman finished. Connor seemed not to exist as the older woman rubbed Jade’s back and bottom, then fixed her underwear and pulled her up into a hug before sending her with a push toward the corner of the living room.  She didn’t even glance in Connor’s direction.

Ms. Eckridge, however, shifted her full attention to the young man sitting in her living room.  “Well?” she asked.  “Are you ready to go home now?”

“No,” he replied immediately, though his voice sounded much higher than it normally did.

“You are going to take the same consequences as Jade?”

“Yes,” he said, and then at her raised eyebrow, “…ma’am.  Yes, ma’am.”

“Good,” she replied, “because I happen to agree with you.  You deserve a spanking almost as much as she did.  Come here.”

Connor rose, and walked unsteadily to the side of the couch where his former teacher still sat.  She gestured at his belt and jeans.  “Undo those, please.”  He did so, fumbling and blushing the entire time, and then took the hand she offered him.  She guided him down over her lap, and adjusted his body until she felt comfortable.  She wrapped her left arm around his waist, then rested her right hand on his denim clad bottom for only a moment before she brought it up and back down. Connor’S eyes darted back and forth as he thought about what was happening.  It stung, though barely.  But she was spanking him.  It was really happening.

He was almost comfortable, and he began to wonder if maybe she would leave his jeans up because it was his first time.  No such luck– she pulled them down without so much as a warning, and when her palm landed on the thin cloth of his blue boxers, he heard himself yelp.  There was suddenly nothing comfortable about this position, and he tensed his arms in an effort not to reach back.  Before he could analyze his thoughts on this second phase of the spanking, she began to scold him.

“You know, I think Jade is fully aware of what went wrong last night, Connor. I think that you think you’re getting spanked because you stuck around. Because you’re still here. Well let me make something very clear to you,” Ms. Eckridge said, picking up the pace and adding some strength to her swats, “you are being spanked because you made poor choices. Under no circumstances should either one of you have gone into the house for the night, much less crawled into bed, with a fire still burning.”

Connor was unable to control his rear, though no amount of wiggling seemed to keep the teacher’s hand from landing on his quickly reddening behind. He made constant noises, little grunts of pain, and felt his blush intensify at her scolding.

“And it’s not because I’m upset, or just because there are physical consequences for girls and boys who misbehave in this house. It’s not because of the damage to my property, though I am not particularly thrilled about that.” Her hand seemed to be finding the meeting of his thigh and bottom more and more often at this  point in the lecture. “You put people needlessly in danger. It may have felt like a low risk, but it was also low reward, young man. You are lucky the fire just burnt a big hole in my yard. What if the wind had carried those escaped leaves further? To my house? To the neighbors’ houses?”

“I’m sorry!” Connor said, straining to stay still.

“No,” Ms. Eckridge replied, “sorry comes next.” She stopped spanking, and the young man took several deep breaths; his backside burned! She rubbed his back and bottom as she spoke, though not to him. “Jade, come over and have a seat.”

“Lisa…”

“I’m not asking, I’m telling.” Connor heard the chair he had vacated scoot a little, then a hiss from his friend as she sat. He didn’t turn his head to see, instead becoming engrossed in the floral pattern of the sofa.  Ms. Eckridge began talking to him again, saying “We’re almost finished, Connor. I wish it was over now, but this was a big deal. Very big.” And the next thing he knew, his boxers has been whisked down to his knees. He reached back with his right hand, grabbing for them and turning his head without thinking.  He made eye contact with Jade, squeaked and jerked his hand back as he turned toward the couch again.

“Give me that hand,” he heard the voice above him say firmly, and he reluctantly did as he was told, slowly reaching his right hand back and having it grasped around the wrist.  The next thing he knew, pain was exploding on his already sore bottom and he completely forgot about Jade, and being embarrassed, and anything that existed in the whole wide world besides the awful smack of the wooden spoon on his hot bare skin.

Thankfully, it seemed to be finished almost as soon as it was started. The throbbing ache in his bottom continued, and she let go of his hand, rubbed his back and his hair.  He leaned into her comforting touch, needing it more than he had realized he would. Soon, he felt his underwear and jeans being pulled up, though he could have done without the jeans. He sat up and felt himself being hugged, and he hugged her back hard. He felt like he should say something, but he had no idea what. He opened his mouth, and all that came out was “ouch.”

Both women burst into laughter, and he peeked up to see Jade smiling at him. “You’re an idiot for staying,” she said affectionately. He grinned back at her. Maybe she was right, but not all the way right. His bottom hurt and his pride was bruised, but he wasn’t worried or anxious like he had been all morning. He felt like he had just joined a secret club, one with high dues, but totally worth the cost.