Continued from Too Many Cooks…
His mind slipped back a couple of weeks when he was helping Darla set up for a wake in the main hall. It was just the two of them, so he was enjoying himself even if she was jittery and more than a little frazzled though everything was under control. He had known her since high school-sometimes very well-so he knew when to give her a wide berth. Easy to do-it was a big hall. Jimmy was setting up the serving line of sternos and chafing dishes when he heard a crash followed by a loud “MotherFUCKer!” out of the mouth of a woman who rarely said “Damn” without feeling guilty.
He rushed into the bar area to check the carnage but it wasn’t that bad. A tray of silverware and a few plates which they had close to a million of anyway. He was helping her pick up when she fumbled one of the surviving plates which crashed again to the floor this time it’s fate sealed. “Goddammit!” she said and actually kicked the shards scattering them.
“Yo!” He raised his voice. “What the hell’s the matter with you today?”
She sighed and straightened, her mouth a tight slash and her cheeks flushed. She stepped toward Jimmy kicking more tableware out of the way.
“Jeeze!”, he said, at a loss.
By virtue of last names they had been in home rooms together for five years, sometimes at adjoining or back to back desks. That allowed for a virtually endless stream of consciousness conversations that teenagers are incapable of censoring. They were both popular in school and ran with their own crowds-he the jock, she the majorette-but always found themselves paired off when hubbub settled.
Regardless of what everyone thought about them, sex, with a few notable exceptions, was not a part of their thing. Not to say they never did anything-it just never seemed to take. There was the time in her parent’s basement they were watching TV together on the couch. Darla’s folks were out to a movie and Darla felt relaxed in her own house that in a way she normally did not.
Darla’s mother was a bit of a martinet angrily jealous of a daughter who was taller, prettier and smarter than she was. She could see that the girl would do well by herself and soon be out of the house leaving her alone with the drunken bad choice she’d made twenty years before. Her mother’s free flowing anger and frustration manifested as frequent over the knee spankings when Darla was small and graduated to bare-bottom paddlings and strappings through high school.
It was no doubt a scandal and could very well have broken up the household had Darla not been so committed to keeping her home treatment a deep, dark secret. The idea that the head majorette regularly got her butt paddled at home was more mortification than she thought she could stand. The very secret, and her need to keep it, of course made her vulnerable when she balked at her mother’s orders and was told in no uncertain terms that she’d tell her friends that she still got spanked “if you don’t bend over right now!” Even now, ten years after leaving that house for good she still felt a pull when she saw a couch in the middle of a room like the one at home to kneel on it and bend over the back ready for her weekly thrashing.
Anyway, it was one of those relaxed times when Darla was feeling kind of hot and was trying to goad Jimmy. Which never worked when he didn’t want it to. She sat on his lap and kissed his neck. He answered every kiss but never served one up. His hands were around her waist but wouldn’t move up nor down.
She slid off his lap and sat at the end of the couch flopping her long majorette legs over his thighs hoping he’d be interested in running his hands up and down her blue-jeaned thighs. He was, but only for a minute until the zombie mayhem on the TV pulled his attention. With a huff, she unsnapped her jeans and slid them down almost kicking him in the face as she pulled them off her feet then flopped her bare legs over his lap. She had his attention then.
As she did now, standing in the splatter of the tray she had dropped to the floor. She ground her teeth hard for a moment then pushed the heel of her hand into her forehead exhaling. Trying to empty herself or at least defuse the bomb she felt inside. Jimmy watched her come back thinking this little tempest had passed. Then, her eyes snapped open and she stepped toward him, almost chest bumping him.
“Hit me.” she ordered, biting the words.
“Hit me!” she leaned closer and pushed him in the chest. Startled, he almost stumbled backwards. He’d given her a hug and kiss on the cheek at New Years and that had been the sum total of their physical contact this year. He wasn’t sure where this was coming from but from the look on her face he was pretty sure it didn’t have much to do with him.
“Come on goddammit!” She stepped closer and pushed again, but Jimmy had dropped his right foot back a step and didn’t move this time.
She was in his face closely enough that he could feel the heat rising from her cheeks. He did want to get some room between them but hadn’t seen her this wound in years and really didn’t want to lay hands on her. “Remember that time you told me how you couldn’t really get into a football game until you took the first hit? That’s what settled you down, cleared your head and got you into the flow of things?”
“No”, he said, remembering the feeling well enough but not seeing what good it would do to agree with her. He’d always been that way. Hell, he hadn’t paid close attention to Darla today until she shoved him twice. Apparently his attention had waned again because she, without warning, leaned back and swung her open right right hand, slapping him sharply across the cheek. Completely surprised, he absorbed the blow then did step back.
“Whoa!” he fairly yelled. “That was new.”
“I told you to hit…” She swallowed her words as Jimmy slip-stepped to her side and threw his left arm roughly over her back. With a quick hip check he had her bent in half facing away and tightened his arm around her waist. “HEY!”, she cried knowing what was coming before Jimmy did.
He was just reacting. His cheek was still numb from the slap and his quick flash of anger had passed given that it was Darla who slapped him and in his heart of hearts he knew she could do anything to him that she pleased. But in that flash, in the heat of the moment he’d grabbed her and bent her over. Now her blue jean clad bottom was pointing his way and not only was Darla not making any moves to cover up, she had grabbed his leg to brace herself.
“Hit me!” she said harshly.
He extended his arm fully and brought a slap down hard in the center of her right cheek. “YO!” she cried. And “WHOA!” as the second smack landed just as hard in the same place. He tightened his grip around her waist and paused to notice that she still wasn’t doing anything to avoid the blows and let fly with another to christen her untouched left cheek. She flinched with another yelp and cried out his name when another hit her squarely in the meetup spot between her legs and bottom, the deep swat sound echoing loudly through the bar.
She was concentrating on the floor and trying unsuccessfully not to cry out at every swat. They just hurt so damn much! Finally he paused and she was trying to catch her breath, gasping as much from the hot pain in her bottom as the constricting arm around her waist. She held his leg below the knee, squeezing not knowing if it was over. And really not knowing if she wanted it to be.
“You done?” he asked. She paused a moment too long and got another hard smack. Then one more.
“Ouch!” she said. “Done!…done!” though she wasn’t sure.
“Good”, he said, releasing his grip and allowing her to stand. “Cause your butt was wearing out my hand.”
She had stood bolt-upright and worked hard to regain her breath-as if she’d been running. “Poor baby”, she said pulling a pouty face while she rubbed her bottom. “Don’t expect any apologies from me.” As he watched her rub her backside he saw that the fire was gone from her cheeks and the tension around her eyes and mouth had melted away. She gave him one of those smiles that his mother would have called a “shit-eating grin.”
“Is that what you had in mind?” he asked.
“I guess it was.”
Taking advantage of their sudden intimacy he did something that was always on his mind but never acted upon. He slid his hand over her bottom moving hers aside so he could rub her a bit as well.
“Good”, he said, the rub turning into a dismissive pat. “Clean up your mess and get a move on. We’ll have fifty people here in a couple of hours.
“Aye, aye Cap’n” she joked, straightening up and flashing a three-finger boy scout salute off her right eyebrow. He saw her clear eyes glistening behind the loose bangs that had fallen over her forehead and his heart caught for an instant. This can’t be good, he thought watching her walk off looking for a broom.