The Split Oak

It’s true that I lose track of days. But not seasons. This is an excerpt from a longer work-in-progress that fits with the weekend. The basics: Lonnie Winters and his new girl Toni head to Lonnie’s cabin for a long weekend in October. He is recovering well from a stroke-Toni is his physical therapist and more. Something in the mountain pulls them in-and Lonnie is off looking for Toni who, under a spell, has run off.

He was approaching the top of the draw where the hardwoods, thick in the bottom land, began to thin in favor of the gnarly pitch pines that thrived in the thin, acidic soil of the rocky ridges. Where it wasn’t exposed rock the ground was soft and cushy-decades of leaves and needles rotting into a  thick thatch  that slipped under his feet as he moved steadily upward. When it got too steep he reached for the small trees and saplings that presented themselves as ghosts in the moonlight. Out from under the shadows of the oak and walnut forest, the moonglow again showed him the way, the spots where something had kicked up the thick blanket of rotten needles. He really had no idea how he’d stayed on track to this point beyond a “feeling” that he knew where she was going. He had no idea where that feeling came from. He hadn’t been up here since the last time he’d hunted this ridge a decade before. He cursed himself for not going back for  a light. He was swallowing the thin air in gulps and genuflecting in the dirt when his left leg failed him.  He stopped to breathe and dug his fists into the small of his back where a knot that had tied itself.

He hoped she didn’t go off to the right where the poppies grew. Where what grew? He stopped rubbing his back and straightened. He had no idea why poppies came into his head. There used to be a peach orchard over there but a couple of dry summers put them under.

He resisted the continuing urge to call out to Toni, or Thomas or anyone else who might be in these woods this night. His resistance was borne of a weakness that made him feel exposed. He’d never been in these woods when he didn’t feel capable. In all his years of hunting and hiking up here he had never felt threatened or in any way incapable of handling anything or anyone that crossed his path. But now he stumbled where he once had flown with thoughtless strength. 

The flat light of the fog-dimmed moon gave him sight of anything within reach but dimmed farther out where the rocky outcrops, erased of all daytime definition and color, materialized as the lumbering shoulders of retreating giants. He was squinting too far ahead and tripped over an unseen root. No simple stumble this time he fell headlong. His left arm was too slow to react and too weak to catch him, he landed full weight on his side blowing all the air out of his lungs in one garbled “OOF!”

Still, he felt thankful, seeing that he was laying within inches of a sharp  rock shelf that had he hit it with his head, would have finished his evening and maybe much more. He brought his hand to the side of his face feeling for blood. There was none. And though his head pulsed, he’d been punched in the face enough in his life to know he’d suffered no lasting damage. He had almost recovered his breath when he felt fingers caress the back of his neck. “Jesus fuck!” he cursed and flipped himself onto his back instinctively balling his hands into fists and holding them in front of his face. He was looking up at nothing but trees disappearing into swirling fog. He could still feel the trails of the fingers on his neck 

Flopping again onto his knees he rose stiffly still looking around for who had touched him. The high wall of the upper ridge thrust straight upward from the reclining mountain loomed before him. He drifted to his right searching for the dark fissure that was the ancient shortcut to the top saving hundreds of steps of tortuous switchbacks. It was a path to be avoided in high summer because of the rattlesnakes and copperheads now sleeping deep in the rock clefts. Intent on his path he wasn’t looking directly down the wall so when he first saw the flash of whte it was a peripheral glance that he couldn’t easily pick up when he looked directly at it. What could it be? From the glance, he imagined a rag, shirt, a piece of something torn from a clothesline and carried on the summer winds as high as the ridge before fluttering to the ground. 

Squinting, he had whatever it was firmly in sight and limped toward it. His heart thumped when he recognized that it was an arm, pale and lifeless cast atop a mound of rotted mulch. Still feeling the cold touch on his neck, he swiveled his head looking for…anything. His tongue stuck and ultimately failed him when he tried to say her name. Closer now, the moon revealed her shoulder and then a dark swirl that had to be hair covering her face. Above her now he could see that she was on her side, crudely secreted under a small hillock of hastily gathered forest floor. Kneeling, the strong fecund aroma of turned earth filled him. There were mushrooms that had been uprooted, chunks of bark and handfuls of dark ancient dirt, the organic ending of us all. He lay his hand on the arm and felt it warm. Then his fingers on her cheek felt breath and on her neck found a pulse. 

“Toni”, he croaked, shaking her lightly. When she didn’t stir he fingered her nostrils to ensure they were clear then squeezed her cheeks together. Finding nothing in her mouth he began pulling dirt from her. He exposed her breast and was heartened by the steady  rising and falling of her ribs. “Toni”, he said again, shaking her gently. Her head flopped then was lifted and she awakened all at once blinking wild eyes and grabbing his arm. He didn’t pull her up as much as steady her as she rose, the covering litter falling off her leaving her naked and shivering. He rubbed his hands over her with quick flicks , dusting her shoulders and between her breasts gently,  then turned her. She shuffled her still-covered feet. He dusted her back, then lower. Her backside was caked with the mud of her shallow grave so he paid particular attention to dusting her bottom with the palm of his hand using light downward wipes.

“Don’t!” she cried. “I didn’t do anything!”

“Of course not, Toni. I’m just getting…”

“Don’t spank me!

“I’m not.” he stopped his hand on her left buttock. He felt a bump there, then, when he moved his fingers around, many more. She would wince at every touch no matter how gentle. He turned her so her back faced the moon to better illuminate her. Lonnie saw the dark worms of welts crawling across her backside from top to bottom even extending down the backs of her legs. He rubbed softly cleaning her as best he could with bare hands then moved his hand down her legs, knocking clods off.  

“I’m not bad,” she sobbed. A sound that tore him to pieces.

“No, Toni, you are not bad”. He spoke as to a child, trying to interpret what she was saying..  

She was now hanging onto his arm, her face tight against him. “She said I was bad! I didn’t mean to do anything…Tell her I’m sorry.”

“Shh..” he said, I got you…you’re fine” He stripped off his shirt and fed her arms into it. It wasn’t long enough to cover anything below the waist. Her feet, uncovered,  were pale, bruised and bleeding from the rocks and sticks.. How the hell had she made it the whole way up here with bare feet? She took a few halting, limping steps and stopped, still crying.

“Can you carry me?” she asked piteously. 

What? no! Said the voice of reason in Lonnie’s head. You of all people know I can’t carry you.

He sighed lightly. “Sure, I can carry you. You might not like it though”.

“I can’t walk anymore”.

“Shhh, shhh…I got you” Anything to stop her crying. 

He went down to his left  knee and slipped his right arm between her legs. Then he rose carefully, lodging-as gently as possible- his arm in her crotch. As he rose unsteadily to full height, she draped across his shoulders. He clutched her hanging arm with his left hand. 

“You OK?”

She continued to sob. “She hurt me,”

“You’re fine now”, he said trying to convince himself. With unsteady first steps, testing every foothold with a toe, he unsteadily picked his way down the kicked-up track they had left. Every time he passed a spot where he had stumbled, he paused as if waiting to be pulled down again. 

Her sobbing ebbed to a soft whimper as her shivering grew to a shudder.  His shirt, large as it was, offered meager comfort, covering only her head and shoulders leaving the rest of her glowing alabaster  in the night air. He thought about stopping to rearrange her but feared once he put her down, he wouldn’t be  able to lift her again. He continued onward. 

Off to his left, a barren silhouette against the sky was the split oak, still deeply rooted and sturdy after being split by a lightning strike fifty years ago, The cold comfort of knowing his location was eclipsed by the chilling knowledge that they were still two-thirds of the way up the mountain and at that moment he had no earthly idea of how they were going to get down. 

Then, as sudden as flipping a switch, the night went black, no moon, no fog, no stars, no shadows. He could see nothing near or far as the wind kicked up. He heard the branches above his head clattering like dried bones and leaves from underfoot whirled in small twisters against his face. He could feel Toni’s sobbing across his shoulders but couldn’t hear her above the now swirling windstorm that circled them. His eyes were wide open but useless. There was no sound but the rushing wind punctuated by a  wailing that either came from Toni, himself or the mountain. He had no idea where to put his foot, so just put it down. Then again feeling weightless,, then once more feeling nothing, the ground opened beneath him, his feet pinwheeling as if he had jumped off a ridge, until, still blind in the inky darkness, he felt the ground as a shock that hurt his ankles first then paralyzed his legs. But he stayed upright, stepped out of the draw and splashed into the stream that ran at the base of the mountain. The chill water shocked him alert and he finally felt the pain in his left leg and shoulder. He could see again, as if his eyes had been closed and were now open. And the woods were dead silent. Directly ahead was the cabin, the orange glow from the fireplace dancing  in the windows.

He dropped to a knee and bent toward her feet. She resisted getting off his shoulders. 

“Here” he said, “We’re down, the grass is soft here..See? There’s the cabin.  In the glow of the moon which they now moved toward, she was white marble, veined and scratched, revealing all  where his shirt fell open. She hadn’t noticed that the return trip from the hour climb up the mountain had taken ten minutes. He noticed but was happy not to think about it. He squeezed her close, his arm around her shoulder as they limped toward the light. 

Inside, he stood her in front of the fireplace and tossed some pine kindling and a few split logs on top of the small fire that was already burning. Within moments the pine crackled and the hardwood was catching along the split face and the radiating heat warmed her bare legs and belly. 

“I’m glad there was still propane in the tank”, he said. “And I turned on the water heater.” He was holding his hand under the spigot waiting for the water to warm. “There’s a basin under here”, he said, reaching under the sink. Nothing he was saying needed to be said. He wasn’t into self-narration as people sometimes were: “I’m going to the bathroom”or ” I’m getting a drink of water” kind of thing.  He was talking to fill the room. To beat back the silence that held who knew what?

The basin full and steamy he tossed in a bar of soap which bobbed along the surface and a washcloth which floated until it sucked up enough soapy water to drop out of sight. “I got you some nice hot water to clean yourself up with”, he announced carrying it over to her like it was the Christmas goose.

‘You can clean yourself up” he said, setting the basin in front of the fire. “I’ll get some towels’. She sagged slightly as if burdened.”You do it…”, she said limply. “I’m too tired…” He pulled the day bed screeching across the floor and helped her to sit on it. She winced when her bottom hit the towel he had laid there, so he pushed her onto her back and rolled her over. “Let’s deal with this first” he said.  She only sighed. 

Nothing that he had done with her in the bedroom tonight or anytime previously could hold a candle to the intimacy inherent in his current ministrations. He touched her in ways and places that he never had, paying attention to “every nook and cranny”, as his mother used to say. But he was sure she could not have imagined her phrase being used in this context. Toni  moved into his soft touch, lifting and opening as prodded by washcloth or soapy fingers. The heat of the fireplace almost dried her before he could rinse. “Wait here”, he said unnecessarily. Patting her on the side of her leg well removed from her wounds, only a few of which, in the light of the hanging bulb, had drawn blood.

He went to the cabinet in the kitchen and found a tube of salve that had an expiration date years past and a bottle of rubbing alcohol which is what he used for any cut, abrasion, insect bite or rash. Adding the sting and burn of the alcohol to what she was already feeling felt a little cruel even if right minded so he grabbed the salve and returned to the main room where she still lay, bottom up and waiting. “This might help”, he said, dabbing a bit on his fingers and rubbing it gently into the worst welts. She whistled lightly through her teeth.

“I’m sorry”, he said.

“It’s OK” she replied, “Thank you.”

He sat on the bed beside her as he treated her. She subtly and naturally moved her near leg into his and  her right the other way. . Then her hips lifted just enough to open herself. Lonnie moved his hand from her tortured bottom to the inside of her near thigh where he kneaded gently. She moaned and flipped her head away burying it under the pillow. Taking that as a positive signal, he moved his hand up to her sex, pleased to find it sopping far beyond soap and water. He slipped his fingers in and around finding the firm nugget of her clit and rubbing it gently but insistently. Her arousal eased the guilt that he had  started to feel about his growing erection. 

She said something into the pillow that he didn’t hear. Without stopping his fingering, he leaned closer. “I didn’t catch that.”

She pulled her head from under the pillow. “Fuck me!”, she said forcefully, making sure she was heard this time. She also slid her legs further apart and arched wantonly. Her sex glistened against his hand. He knelt between her legs and pushed his pants and underwear down to, then over his knees. Seeing that his hips were going to contact her welts he warned her. “This is probably going to hurt your butt.”

“I don’t care!” she said. “I want you in me!” For emphasis she pushed backward. He grabbed her hips and slid himself all the way in, slapping his belly against her striped bottom. She moaned but he wasn’t sure about which. 

Night Watch

The chair in the garage came recently to mind;

Straight ladder back, built for utility not comfort,

Heavy enough for leaning back front legs off the floor;

Thick glossy shellac,

Chipped and yellow with age, 

Cigarette burns like smokey teardrops circle the seat.

It was the one my grandad sat in, to observe

The workings and comings and goings, when he was

Too old and infirm to work the saws and airhammers.

People still stopped to see him and commiserate as he sat, 

Shirt buttoned to his neck; hat pulled down

 Waiting patiently to be asked

A question or given a beer. 

There was talk that his father had used the same chair

To sit by the open door and take in the morning sun;

But that was well before me.

After grandad was gone, the chair stayed largely empty

But for short respites from labor or concrete floors. 

Until my dad settled into it after the first surgery. 

He had taken to wearing a hat 

and buttoning his shirt to the top. 

I’ve wondered about that chair;

If it stll exists in the building long sold

I need a place to sit now and watch the parade

That continues, but includes only my shadow. 

Goofing About

He let his mind wander as he pushed the small cart through the aisles.It was his first trip to the market in weeks. With Bethany in Europe for a time on business, he had eaten in restaurants and cafes. Sometimes in bars like the old days but only if he had cash to pay so she couldn’t follow the card bills and know where he’d been. There would have been hell to pay! Still though, it was good to have her back and the shopping list she had emailed him was, as always, meticulous. She had always been very particular in what she ate and had him prepare for her. 

She knew that he had hoped for a warmer reunion when she got in yesterday, but the plane had been late and when the car finally dropped her off she was on the phone with Martin about the new contracts and continued to be for twenty minutes as he took her bags and made her the dirty martini-with three olives- just as she liked it. Then with a quick peck on the cheek and an apology, she took her drink to her office to finish something that couldn’t wait. He was sitting in the dimly lit side room nursing a club soda when her door opened. He took the offered empty glass and went to the kitchen. He knew better than to simply refill it. He took one of the three identical glasses from the freezer and began to build her next drink. Same base gin and olives, but clean this time. A splash of Lillet in lieu of vermouth. And achingly cold. 

“Thanks Love”, she said crisply. “Run me a bath would you? It’s been a fuckall of a day.” He noted that she followed him up the stairs after closing the office door behind. He went through her bedroom suite into the bath which was almost as large with a round freestanding tub in the center of the room, above it a wagon wheel sized rainfall showerhead. 

He put in the salts that she liked and set the water to tumbling to dissolve them. He was stirring the water with his arm when she stepped naked into the room. His disappointment at not being allowed to undress her was ameliorated by the vision that she was. He hurried to take her hand to help her into the tub. She folded languidly into the water and slipped forward to lay her head on a towel he had folded. She lifted an empty hand and he filled it with her drink. He kept a hand near it as she quaffed a healthy portion and returned it to him. He was about to set it aside when she said, “Go ahead. Finish it.” He did in a gulp then set it on the floor outside of harm’s way. Then, in well practiced movements, Bethany stood in the tub and raised her hands onto her head like a child so that he could take the well-soaped cloth and clean her underarms, then her arms frm shoulder to wrist. After resoaping he washed her breasts slowly, careful to lift up under them then between them and down her flat stomach to the thick tuft of walnut brown hair below her belly button. He dropped the cloth in the water and used his hands in its place, wiping and squeezing, raising suds in her bush.

Retrieving the cloth he turned her with a light touch to the elbow. She spread her legs carefully and bent, arching her back, opening all to him like a split peach. He soaped her backside then again eschewed the cloth to run his slippery fingers up and down her crevasse then between her legs. He paid particular attention to her asshole but was careful not to go too far. Insertion now would be for his pleasure, not hers. He shifted to give his groaning cock a clear route down his pants leg. 

She again sat in the tub, letting the water cover up to her eyes to rinse. Then she stood and stepped toward him, hands on the small of her back and pushed her breasts to him, offering. He leaned in and suckled then nibbled and licked them all over enjoying the bitter taste of the bath salts. He offered his hand, she took it and stepped out of the tub, dripping onto a bathmat he’d placed. He wrapped her in a thick towel and patted her damp if not dry then, taking a liberty he felt comfortable with, cupped a hand on her right butt cheek and pushed gently toward the bedroom door. She glided lightly before him allowing the towel to fall to the floor. 

Her path, like his, moved directly to the bed. Once there she turned and kissed him deeply, wrapping her arms around his neck, then releasing and falling backward onto the cool duvet. Leaving no room for misinterpretation she pulled her knees to her chest and wantonly offered her double damp pussy to him knowing he would do his best to reach her tongue with his from there. He licked and thrusted with his head, tasting soap and Bethany together in a heady mix. She moaned when his mouth settled on her hard clit then made a whimpering sound when he flicked it with his tongue. 

“Fuck me”, she said, giving the permission he was waiting for. Not willing to peel his mouth from her pussy, he lifted his hips and pushed his pants down

“Now, don’t come until I do”, she said in a voice that told him that wouldn’t be a problem. He slid in all the way then back out until only his swollen head remained inside of her, then thrust again, firmly and to the hilt. Again and again, their bodies slapping with the collisions. When her breath came in tiny gulps he decreased the depth of his thrusts while increasing the speed. 

Bethany wrapped her legs around him and bounced off the bed until a few quick gasps, a thin moan and a shudder finished her. She deflated backward with a loud, “AAAHHHH…” and continued to voice her pleasure at his deliberate piston-like hammering. “Now fill me up”, she said, and he changed cadence slightly until his cocked numbed and his body went rigid. Bethany moaned again and squeezed his clenched ass as his hot seed washed through her. 

Once he settled atop her she stroked his long blond hair pushing it behind his ears. . “Poor baby”, she cooed, “it’s been so long”.

He smiled behind the cart in the produce aisle, careful to keep his hardon concealed as he recounted the previous night. His wife’s schedule was what it was, and getting her attention-in a good way wasn’t easy, but when he did it was worth the wait. Of course it was never hard to get her attention in a not so good way. All he had to do was “goof”.

That is what she called it “a goof”. Such a silly, childish word to describe a transgression that had such, what some would view, as dire consequences. He of course didn’t view them as dire at all-certainly uncomfortable-but ultimately satisfying in that they helped Bethany mold him into the man she felt he could be. That he wanted to be. It was confusing in the beginning. Like when he had been given the dusting chores. He thought he was doing well and she even praised him as she did her white glove inspections. Then came the day when she shouldered the folding A-ladder into the entry hall and climbed up to run her  fingers over the blades of the ceiling fan. He didn’t even have to look at the gloves as clots of dust tumbled slowly onto his pristine hardwood. He was allowed to clean the fan, and every other one in the house, before she had him take down his pants and lay over her lap for a session with a ping pong paddle that he didn’t even know she had. 

Before then, the idea of men being ”punished” by women was always imagined as something prurient and unreal, staged fantasies existing in the back pages of magazines or the dark recesses of the internet for sordid entertainment. But being spanked by Bethany Brenton-Smythe seemed entirely natural and a culmination of something he didn’t try hard to figure out.. 

Even the time he came home having had one or many too many at the club. He was driving her red Cayenne which made it worse so he was sneaking through the back around the pool hoping she was in her office. She wasn’t. She met him on the patio with a breathalyzer (where did she get that?), and already confident in the test result, her old sorority paddle which she kept deep in her closet. It wasn’t easy to find a positive out of that experience, bent bare over the picnic table gritting his teeth. . Bethany had even apologized when dabbing at the little blood spot she’d coaxed out of a blister on the bottom of his right cheek. The upside was that all weekend she insisted on looking at it and dressing it with salve and a little bandaid. Her tenderness in his aftercare-even at one point kissing it to “make it better” almost entirely eclipsed the severity of his punishment.

Still, though, it had worked. His drinking was well under control, or at least well-controlled, and for what it was worth, their house had the cleanest ceiling fans in the township. For him there was contentment and a measure of peace in living with her enforced structure. As long as he could keep the sorority paddle in the closet. 

When he pulled into the courtyard he saw Charla Emerson’s blue BMW coupe backed into the spot closest to the door. He slipped in beside her; he didn’t have enough grocery bags to be annoyed. Charla was his wife’s closest friend. They had met two jobs ago and when Bethany had moved on to bigger jobs, Charla soon followed.Now she was on Bethany’s team at Lassiter International. Early on he had wondered if they were lovers on some level which bothered him not at all. In fact, the opposite was true, it turned him on but it was something he didn’t want to get into with his wife. There was no jealousy between them, even when the women would disappear for long weekends and he liked Charla-really enjoyed her company. No, the only thing about their relationship that annoyed him a bit was the assumption that Bethany kept few secrets from her. 

Charla looked up from her tablet as he crossed the living room juggling the market bags. 

“And a good day to you Prince William”, she called out.

“And to you, m’lady.” he teased back. ”But I wonder, should a man not be King in his own castle?” He noticed the empty wine glass at her elbow. 

“That my dear Prince, is entirely dependent upon the Queen.” Charla’s eyes were dancing, enjoying the banter and the feeling of free-flowing sexual energy she always felt when William was around. He wasn’t  a big guy, but well muscled and perfectly proportioned with wavy blond hair and a laid back demeanor that suited his surfer looks. At work Bethany was known, behind her back of course, as the “Ice Queen”: six feet tall with arresting blue eyes offsetting dyed jet black hair that she wore in a middle part. She was, and could look, severe. Charla was much more effervescent, with dancing brown eyes and straight brown locks that approximated a page boy cut framing her round dimpled face. Today she was wearing  a green and yellow top and cream colored skorts that accented her striking mahogany skin tone.

“Point taken”, said William moving into the kitchen. 

“Is that my sweet husband?” Bethany called down lightly

“Tis I”, he called up the back steps leaving the three market bags on the counter to return to the  living room. He took the open wine bottle with him.

Thank you, good sir” Charla smiled as he refilled, then set the bottle on the table. “Nothing for you?”

“A little early in the day…”

“Ahh…”she said as she raised the glass and sipped, eyes sparkling. All she knew was that he didn’t drink much. 

They heard Bethany in the kitchen but were surprised when she strode into the room in her plush purple bathrobe, towel around her neck still working on her damp hair.  

“No rush to get ready on my account.” Charla quipped.

“We’re not due at the salon for two hours. You came early.” 

“Billy”, she said turning her attention to her husband. “You got the wrong protein bars.”

“Really? You said mint, mocha and peanut butter.” 

Yes, but these peanut butter bars are milk chocolate. I get the dark chocolate ones. 

Oh, I’m sorry, I was just going down the line and saw peanut butter.

“When have you ever known me to eat milk chocolate?”

“I’m sorry love. I can take them right back. Exchange them”. 

“Sure you could, but That’s not the point is it?”They both, Charla and William noticed her change in tone.  

“It’s the details, Billy…”His heart sank a bit at her use of “Billy” instead of William or Bill. “Campaigns, empires rise and fall on details. Right Char?”

“Most certainly”, said Charla who had sat back watching and listening, not willing to add anything to the conversation. 

“You rushing about undoing your little goofs does not erase the fact that you made them, does it? And our goal has always been to get you to avoid making them. Is that not true?” 

He paused for a moment to understand her wording-wanting to get the answer right.  “That is true”, he said, his eyes drifting down to her feet. Was she really going to…? He wondered nervously. With Charla here? He’d never bucked her regime or challenged her authority over him. In fact, he depended upon it. Her strong hand kept him centered in his universe. Which was ultimately, hers.

There were times when he submitted to her grudgingly which usually resulted in a stiffer punishment. But sometimes she would hear his objections, but only after he was bare over her lap. Some of their longest and most heartfelt dialogs took place with him over her lap, talking to the floor or back over his shoulder, her hand resting on his bare bottom or top of his leg.. Only once did he recall her agreeing with him and relenting, patting him gently on the cheek and telling him to get up. That had turned into an interesting evening. 

“I’m sorry too. I was hoping the three of us could have a chill afternoon but now you know what I’m going to have to do”.

“You don’t have to.” 

“Oh I’m afraid I do”

“We could wait”

“And have this hanging over our whole evening? That’s not our way. “

It’s true, he thought. This had to happen. And it was going to happen In front of Charla. Would that make it better or worse?

“Hey,” said Charla, clearing her throat. I can head out for an hour or so-come back….”

“You’ll stay right where you are.” Bethany smiled in a way that belied the authority of her command.  “Isn’t that right Billy?”

“Sure. She should stay.” He glanced her way and she was heartened to see that his face was calm. Expectant maybe with a charming blush.

“Wait here”, said Bethany before she turned and walked down the hall to her office.

“You sure you’re OK with this? With me being here?”

“It’s what she wants. If it’s OK with you, I’m fine.” 

Bethany came back into the room, her robe cinched tighter a ping-pong paddle in her hand. He was relieved to see that paddle. It stung but overall was the least painful tool in what had become a large arsenal. 

“Charla”, she asked and nodded toward a straight backed chair against the wall. “Bring that over here please. Put it right there”, she indicated a spot in the middle of the room. Charla did as she was told and retreated to her seat which was well positioned to view the scene. 

Bethany sat and made a half-hearted attempt to pull her robe back over her legs when it fell open. Charla couldn’t help but to sneak a look at her long thighs. “Billy?” 

He moved over to stand in front of her, his back to Charla. Her blood was rising at what she knew was coming. William had to know that Bethany had told her about how she “kept him in line”, but she never thought she would actually be a witness to it. She didn’t know how to feel besides lustful, so she just went with that.

“Billy, Billy, Billy…Bethany sighed. He shrugged. “Details, right? You need to pay better attention.” With that she reached for his belt. He stepped closer so she wouldn’t have to reach as far. She unbuckled then opened his belt. 

Charla’s heart raced. Did she know his pants would come down? She was going to see this beautiful surfer dude’s ass?

WIlliam focused on Bethany’s hands  and raised his own to cup the side of her head then gently rub her cheekbone with his thumb.. She leaned lightly into his touch while unsnapping then unzipping his jeans. They came easily off of his slim hips. Bethany reached her hands around and cupped his butt while looking softly into his eyes. He returned her gaze as she pulled his underwear down.

Charla reached for her wine glass but didn’t trust her grip and let it be. William shuffled to his wife’s right side then lowered himself over her lap. Once there he pushed himself slightly backward into the  position she liked. In a final but critical adjustment,  he lifted so she could reach under him and lay his cock up against his stomach. 

He knew by her movements that her arm was raised. Charla’s heart flipped at the first crack of the paddle. She had no context, no way of knowing that compared to the sorority paddle, any of the hair brushes or the long handled bath brush, that the ping pong paddle might as well have been a feather. Not quite, but sort of. It delivered a pleasant sting-so he knew he was being paddled-but not the deep bruising impact that he would feel for a day or two.

It wasn’t a play spanking. Bethany gave those with her hand in the bedroom and they were usually both be naked. Then it came to him in a moment of clarity as the paddle glanced off the top of his thigh, that this was a demonstration. This was for Charla more than for him or Bethany. Of course! That had to be it. What did Bethany care about chocolate? All he did was give her an excuse! He yelped lightly and threw in a few “ouches” for his audience’s sake. 

And then, with two harder than average swats delivered right to the soft bottom of his bottom, it was over. “Alright you bad boy”, she said, patting him with her hand, “You can get up now.” He did, slowly, then for effect rubbed his ass with both hands. Charla loved the show and wondered if his butt was hot to the touch. It certainly looked like it. Her attention switched on his thick cock that was bobbing in front of him like a ship’s spar. 

“And now, look at this”, Bethany said, poking his engorged member. I think you better go stand in the corner until this goes down. 

“Where?” He asked

She pointed to the space beside the bookcase and he shuffled over.  

“I’m going up to finish getting ready.” she told Charla. “Might even need another shower. You OK down here?”

“Totally fine”, she said, purposefully not looking at her husband’s glowing bottom. She’s leaving us alone here? Like this?

Once she was gone Charla approached Bill. “That hurt?”, she asked in a low voice. 

“What do you think?”

“I think it hurt.”

“Stung. I’ve had worse, trust me.” 

“Wow…You’re OK with that?”

“Sure, It’s what she wants. You’ll find out.”

“Me? Why me?”

I’m thinking this was your introduction. You been screwing up at work?

No! I…” she stopped remembering the issue with the contracts when Bethany was in Europe. “No. Nothing big…”

“Not as big as mixing up milk and dark chocolate huh?” he snarked.

“This is your little thing. Not mine.” 

“It’s hers’. And wait until she gives you the choice….”

“Which choice?” 

“When you goof. You’ll get something bad. Or a spanking. “

“Psh! That’s your thing. I’d just tell her no”. She said in a voice that didn’t carry the weight of the words.I’m a grown woman.  What could she do?

You enjoy your life with her? She’s fun, right? The casino, dancing…Wherever you’re going tonight.”

“Mani-Pedi at Stoneybrook.”

“Oh fun. Her treat I’m guessing. No matter, you girls have fun right? All the weekend hangs, The week in London this spring. I know Lassiter didn’t cover your expenses. What did that trip to the Outer Banks cost you? I don’t know-I don’t have access to her accounts but I’m betting nothing”. 

Unseen to him, Charla had moved closer because he was speaking in a lowered voice directly into the corner. Her face clouded. “How about the down payment on the Beemer? I don’t know that for sure, but I did overhear you guys talking out by the pool right after you bought it.”

“I was having a bad time back then.”

“I’m sure you were. it’s not my place to say anything”. Looking back over his shoulder, he said, “I’m literally  in no position, but you pay her back for that? I’m sure you did”, he said in a way that conveyed that he believed the opposite.

“We’re friends! That’s what friends do!” She had moved close enough to pinch his hot cheek. Firmly. He winced. 

“No doubt.” He answered.  “But just keep in mind that a lot of that stuff could go up in smoke with a simple two letter word. She how your life changes when you say no to her.”

Their whispering had gotten a little loud. 

“You okay down there”? Bethany’s voice called down. 

“Yeah, he’s a little feisty is all.”

They could almost hear Bethany shrug. “I’ve been away too long”. Then, “The paddle is still there if you need it. And there’s lotion on the side table, if you’re feeling charitable. Also, he likes a finger up his bum after he’s spanked.”

In the corner William’s hardon reignited even as his shoulders sagged.

Emboldened, Charla took him by the arm and walked him back to the couch having decided to lay him over her lap there. “Maybe you’re right Billy.” she said,’ Maybe this was a demonstration for my sake but not in the way you think”. She had taken a seat in the middle of the couch and was now face to face with his throbbing cock, which she addressed as Bethany had with a prodding finger. “Maybe this is a tryout for a babysitter for the next time she goes to Europe. She hates leaving you alone for so long.”

He moved to the side and put one knee on the couch readying to lower himself. 

“Wait, wait…” Charla said, patting the back of his thigh. 

He paused while she grabbed the towel that Bethany had discarded over the back of the couch. She spread it over her lap. 

“There”, she said. “These shorts are new. Come on over now.” she rubbed his warm backside until he settled, thoroughly enjoying the new touch.

Bus Stop Part 2

© HotBottoms

Continued from Bus Stop

A short hour later, Mary awoke from her post coital nap and blinked at the sun streaming through the blinds. She stretched and grinned sleepily as she rolled over onto the dildo which, having served her well, slept soundly beside her hip. She sat on the side of the bed for a moment before rising, then turned and stripped her sheets off the bed and made a pile on top of the mattress. Then, still feeling slightly buzzy from her session with the vibrator, opted not to dress or cover herself, she took the bundle down the hall, deposited it in the laundry room, then headed for the shower. 

She’d been experimenting with cold showers, but this morning after a mile run and two orgasms, she defaulted to hot and steamy. Since the haircut she washed her hair more often and this morning lay a heavy glop of shampoo and rubbed hard into her scalp as the water drummed onto her breasts. She lathered the washcloth and worked her underarms, then her legs and before she realized completely what she was doing, raised her arms to shave. It was odd-she was going to shave her legs as well. Did they need it? She was reverting back to her single days of leaving nothing to chance before heading out for the evening because you never knew, right? But she wasn’t heading out for a night on the town; she knew nothing but wine and sexy chit-chat-for her anyway, was on the docket but she was doing what she was doing. A righteous session of self-love always upset her equilibrium.  She detached the shower head and directed the stream to her smooth legs then, eyes closed, up between them. She wanted to, of course, but didn’t, opting for a complete southerly rinse then turned off the stream. 

Back in the bedroom she flipped through her closet and dresser. Her daily uniform was pretty routine: workout clothes of some description. Today It would be black sweats more loose fitting than yoga pants which she typically wore without underwear. Her first decision had been the new lilac hipster panties-the least sexy ones she owned. Tight black T-shirt instead of a bra and a silky V neck that covered her butt. It was just past noon. She slipped on sandals, grabbed the wine from the small fridge below the counter and headed for the garage for the half mile drive to Jules’.

Her friend came to the door in her usual worn jeans, sneakers and a faded coral long sleeved crewneck-. She looked better than she had at the bus stop, clear-eyed and pink-cheeked. Mary was pleased that she wasn’t the only one to have put some care into her appearance.  A thin headband that kept her hair behind her hair and off her face completed the picture of suburban chill

They exchanged a quick peck on the cheek as Jules took the wine. “Come on”, she said, nodding to the table in the sunroom. “Food just got here-I’ll open this.” They ate leisurely and too patiently for Mary who wanted to steer the conversation away from how nice the mums were this year and who had the best corn stalks. The wine was sharp and tangy, complementing the slight buzz in Mary’s head after the first glass. 

Lunch finished, they retired to the living room, Mary to the sofa and Jules across a coffee table, curled in a large leather recliner-obviously John’s preferred seat. 

“So”, said Mary, opening her hands. “Spanking.”

“What about it?” Jules asked coyly.

Oh, this is the way its going to be, thought Mary. Gonna have to pull teeth. Before she could restate the question, there was a rumble of the garage door below them. that startled Mary-she looked toward the kitchen and  the stairs from the garage.  Jules had  not reacted, as if she hadn’t heard anything. She maintained eye contact and her teasing smile. Then there were  clearly footsteps on the basement stairs. 

“Someone’s here?” Mary leaned forward as if to flee, when she saw the door open and Mary’s husband nonchalantly step out of the stairway. She collapsed back into the cushion, then deeper as if a weight had been placed on her lap. “John”, she breathed, the tight smile on her lips not reflecting the confusion of emotions in her eyes.  She took comfort in Jules’ warm and relaxed smile. John strode into the room and kissed his wife on the cheek, then moved over and stepped  behind the couch. She stiffened slightly when he lay a hand on each of her shoulders. Okay, they’d established this morning that John liked her, but he’d never been handsy with her.

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary”, he recited leaning down, “how does your garden grow today?” the last words popped breathily into her ear.

“F-fine, John.” she stuttered and looked wide-eyed at her friend who sat peacefully, smiling beatifically. “Just fine.”

“Sorry for the surprise, sweetie, but we really can’t talk spanking without John. This is our thing, but he’s the boss. In the beginning, all I did was supply a sometimes willing bottom.” Mary started to feel that familiar fluttering in her stomach just hearing about a “willing bottom.”

“Babe?” said John, moving toward her and Jules popped up out of the chair and moved over to the couch.. Mary did not sit at the other end of the couch which might be expected but beside her friend, close enough to take her hand. 

Once they had all settled, John asked, “What do you want to know?”

Mary hesitated, then asked meekly “ How’d it all start?”

“The first time?” John mused, settling into his chair. He and Jules shared a look and she nodded a go ahead. 

“We had been married six months…

“Too long for me to easily get out of it,” Jules teased.

‘Shush! It was this time of year-late September’

“Early  October actually.

He gave her a look that Mary couldn’t place-not exactly threatening but enough for Jules to pantomime locking her closed lips and tossing the key over her shoulder. 

We had gone down to The Highlands to see the leaves.”

It’s so beautiful down there”, Mary piped up.

“Yes, and it was a beautiful weekend, were were at the Lodge on old route 40. It was their last weekend of the season, place was pretty much deserted.

“The first day was bright and clear, colors were fantastic,. We hiked a little,…gathered acorns, buckeyes, walnuts everywhere…

“You had a bottle of brandy..”, said Jules. 

“We had packed a lunch…

“We laid a blanket out in a field of dead wildflowers…It was a perfect day.

“Then it rained. 

“Not till that night. We had the whole day. Then over night we heard a couple of rumbles of thunder and the wind kicked up, by morning it was gray and rainy-the leaves were plastered in puddles and against the windows. Good morning for snuggling.

“I love rainy mornings”, said Mary.

“Except this one”, John nodded toward Jules, “wanted to play tennis. All she did was look out the window at the rain falling on the courts and whine.”

“I wasn’t whining!”

He shook his head, “Whining…”

When he called me over, he was sitting on the end of the bed-I was in my undies-so what did I think? A little rainy morning nooky. I figured, OK, can’t play, might as well..”

When he pulled me down over his lap, really ddn’t know what was going on.  I just went with it.

You should have that printed on a T-shirt, “I just went with it.”

“Like I said, I didn’t get it right away. There I am, bottom up, looking at the floor then he pulls down my panties and the first slap gets me. 

“Did you yell?”

“No, I didn’t know what I should be doing so I didn’t make a sound. Took it…”

“Hurt, I bet..”

See Honey,” John spoke up, “In all my years in any learning or training situation, you’re told “don’t tell-Show. That’s how people learn, by being shown…not by telling…” Mary squeezed Jules’ hand lightly to keep her own from quivering. This is what she had hoped for, to see her friend spanked over her husband’s knees. Whatever she was feeling in her stomach, surged lower. 

“Sorry sweetie”, Mary said, patting her friend’s leg.

“For what?”

“ I didn’t mean to get you spanked…”

“Oh Honey, I’M not getting spanked…”

Mary’s eyes were saucers as her mouth fell open. If watching Jules being spanked was her hope, herself being spanked was her dream. She had assumed it could happen…eventually. It would be a long term dream-that maybe after weeks of talk and daring back and forth, something might happen. But no. It was here and now and she was conscious of her blushing with all four eyes on her.She opened her mouth to speak but could only croak, 

“What?” John and Jules laughed, enjoying her discomfort.

“Johnny, I think this is a bit much for Mary. She just wants to talk about spanking…”

Well that’s boring”, said John leaning toward his flustered quarry. More than flustered, Mary was almost paralyzed now that something she’d fantasized about most of her adult life was here to be had. If she wanted it.

“It’s up to you,” he said, If you wanna talk, we’ll talk. But if there’s anything else you want to do, that’s on you.”

“Why me?” she asked, finding her voice. 

“I can’t do any of this myself.” John went on “Here’s what you have to know about spanking. It’s a two person job. A cooperative effort. No adult can spank another without their agreeing to it. Explicitly or implicitly. The act of submission, giving yourself up to receive a spanking is the most important-and intimate part of the thing.”

John just thought he was giving information. What Mary heard were instructions on what was expected of her. 

“I want it”, Mary squeaked, then turning to Jules, “I’m just nervous.”

“I know, Sweetie.” Jules said and squeezed her hand again. “We’re all friends here.” She put her hand on Mary’s back and lightly pushed. “Go, go to John.”

Mary stopped thinking and stood on weak knees.. John’s chair was wide and deep but the arms were short and plush. If he sat forward, which he did once Mary rose, his wide lap was accessible. She crossed in front of Jules, still sitting on the couch and was surprised to feel her friend pat her butt as it passed. She liked the feel of it. She looked back and answered Jules’ smile with a pouty grin that was the best she could offer through the whirls of emotions that were coursing through her. How could something that she wanted so badly confuse her so? 

When she reached the chair, John put his hand on her hip and positioned her in front of him, then pulled at the hem of her jersey. “Take this off”, he said. “It’s going to be much too warm for this.” She crossed her arms and grabbed the jersey at the bottom and carelessly pulled it up over her head realizing too late that her T-shirt had rolled up in it. John watched her flat belly appear then her ribs then her small breasts rising and falling with every breath.

“Oh my God”, Mary gasped and made a move to pull her jersey back over her head. He stopped her with his hand on her upper arm. “That’s fine”, he said gently. “It’s good like this.”

From the couch, all Jules  could see was Mary’s back but her heart flipped, knowing what John was seeing.  What they were doing here clarified in the clear view of Mary’s s naked back. She had never felt jealous or feared the influence of other women on her husband. She had always thought that her submission to him and ‘their thing’ bought them an extra level of intimacy, a sort of force field, that would keep others out. But now she, herself, had opened the gates.

What was she thinking? Mary was a few years younger, not many, but younger. And that mattered to men, didn’t it? With no kids or husband she had more time and energy for the gym and tennis. Jules had seen enough of her body to know how she was put together. 

She heard John talking but was too distracted to follow. ‘Sit here’, he was saying, pulling her between his legs and turning her. Like a child she obediently sat on his knee. Jules watched his hand  press on his chest between her breasts as if watching a movie. “Your heart is beating like a bird’, he said. 

“I’m so nervous.”

“Why?” he smiled warmly as he pressed his hand firmly against her breastplate.  ‘Jules put this together for you.’ 

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m not ready.”

“That’s up to you, but if we waited until we thought we were ready we’d be waiting the rest of our lives.’

Jules’ ears perked up at that old chestnut. She remembered the first time she heard it and wondered now how many women might have been cajoled by it. Stop it! She chided herself, don’t put this on him, this is your own doing!” She thought she had been doing a good thing for a friend and for her husband but now, viewing the action before her, she wondered how much of it was for herself. Knowing what was coming excited her in a way she hadn’t expected. 

Mary was calming, his warm hand on her heart serving as a weighted blanket to slow the tumbled jumbles rolling through her. Watching his lips, Mary’s breathing settled into his slow relaxed rhythm. His hand slipped up to her neck where his fingers caressed her pulse there. 

“There, there,” he said lightly, “That’s much better.”

“I feel better.”

“Ready then?”

She nodded once.

“Words, please”, he said

“I’m ready”

“Ready for what , Dear?” he coached.

She looked into his eyes for the first time. 

“Ready for my spanking.”

“Ahh, very good. Stand please.”

Back on the couch Mary was giving into her wanton thoughts as she watched her husband’s hands slide gently from Mary’s waist, up to her ribs and back down again as his eyes, unseen from where she was sitting, drank in Mary’s breasts and flat stomach. She realized that she envied him his view, and Mary, her closeness to him just then and how close she would feel when she offered her bottom. The only evidence of Jules’ surrender to lasciviousness was the rising heat in her face. It was warm in here! She settled back into the cushion.

Mary wriggled slightly as the waistband of her pants loosened and she knew John was untying the drawstring on the front. As was his torturous wont, he did it slowly and deliberately. Then Jules watched her husband’s fingers on both sides as he slipped his thumbs into the waistband and pulled her sweats slowly down. He did it gently, saving the panties for a different unveiling. 

The purple panties snugly held the woman’s firm round bottom. His hands ran over them and down the backs of her thighs which, Mary knew from many hours on the tennis court were clean and tight with nary a dimple, deposit or wrinkle.

She watched John shift her to the side and guide her over his lap. For balance, she reached first for his knee, then for the coffee table.. Small enough that she didn’t reach the floor on both ends Mary felt extremely exposed and she balanced bottom up, head down, her hands finally flat on the floor, almost upside down. She allowed herself to be handled and pulled so that her hips broke over his legs pushing her bottom subtly backward. 

“Comfy?” he asked, his strong left hand splayed on the small of her back while his right, between her legs, pulled them slightly open. “Oh, my. Jules, come look at this,” he said gazing down at the wide wet spot darkening the crotch of Mary’s lilac panties.

“You ARE ready, aren’t you.”

I’m sorry”, she squeaked.

“ Don’t apologize. And, don’t be embarrassed. You feel the way you feel. The body reveals all, in time. Doesn’t it honey?”

“Yes sir”, said Jules weakly looking down at her friend’s upturned bottom. She felt a little queasy with her own desires, wanting to reach and peel the panties down herself.

“We better get on with this,” said John, raising his hand and bringing down what Jules thought to be a rather light swat on Mary’s right cheek.

“Ouch”, she peeped. 

Not much of an ‘ouch’ said John. 

“Not much of a smack”, Jules said. . 

John, hand still on the bottom where it had landed, said “Jules thinks I should spank you harder”. He squeezed lightly. “What do you think?”

Mary lifted her head slightly to look back over her shoulder. “Whatever you guys think is fine with me.”

Jules thought that Mary could have no idea what she was thinking. 

“Alrighty then’, said John raising his hand. Jules was sitting back on the couch when the second swat landed, then the third and the fourth right after. He was alternating cheeks with more force than before but much less than he was capable of. 

Mary finally began to answer the swats with grunts, small “mmm-mmm’s” and John raised the intensity slightly until he got a nice yelp. He stopped then and rubbed her bottom. Is that warming up a little?”

“Yes, she said breathlessly. “It’s fine…”

“Fine, huh? Maybe it’s best we move along”. And with no further warning of preamble he snatched the top of Mary’s panties and pulled them off her bottom, slowing when they stuck in her moist folds.  He slipped his hand between her legs to free them, allowing his fingers to gently caress her sopping crotch. Jules clenched her fists but didn’t move or say a word, even when her husband’s finger elicited a louder cry than any of his smacks had. 

His first two swats on her bare bottom were hollow sounding thuds as he aimed at the void where Mary’s cheeks met her legs at the bottom of her bottom. Jules clapped her legs together knowing the vibrations that such attentions sent down between the legs. Then there were more loud cracks as he spanked thoroughly, spreading the pink evenly from side to side, top to bottom. Jules was so deeply curating her own fantasies and desires that she didn’t immediately hear Mary’s moans that had very little to do with pain or discomfort. 

“I think that should about do it”, John said cupping her glowing bottom with his big warm hand.He helped her up with his left hand and patted her bum with his right as he guided her toward the stairs. “Go upstairs. Wait for us in our room.”

Jules moved toward her husband as she watched her friend’s red bottom move quickly up the stairs.

“Our room?” she asked.

“That’s where the hairbrush is.”

“You’re giving her the brush?”

“Not her. That would be rather severe on her first time, don’t you think?”

“Yes it would”, Jules breathed, straddling her husband’s knee.

“She’s a girl,” he spoke into her face as she leaned closer, rubbing herself on his thigh “It’s best she sees how a woman handles the brush.”

“Whatever you say love”, she said as she covered his mouth with her own.

Bus Stop

Last night’s chill had blanketed the subdivision in a thick soup of autumnal fog. Mary Lysle, out for her morning jog, was surprised to see her best friend Jules lingering at the intersection of Spruce and Vine as the school bus disappeared around the bend toward the state road. Mary knew that Jules’ kids, Tony and Kayla, were old enough to drive themselves, at least Kayla was, so they weren’t regular bus riders anymore.

“Hey Jules”, Mary said, having come close enough to startle her. “Oh, I’m sorry,”she patted her friend’s elbow. I thought you saw me coming.”

“No, uh…in a fog this morning”

“Aren’t we all? Car in the shop?” 

“What?”

“Why the bus? I thought walking your kids to the bus was in your rear view”

No, Just Kayla. Tony has his permit, he’s driving himself later. Kayla’s being punished, She has to take the bus for a month…”

“A month?” Having no children, Mary often found herself empathetically exhausted by her friend’s strains of raising kids. “That’s getting up an hour earlier….”

“Sure is. It’s like I’m being punished too.”

“What she do?”

“You know she started smoking. I told you…”

“She’s still doing that? I thought it was a phase…”

“Teenagers”, Jules shrugged. “That wouldn’t be bad enough, but with band practice and majorettes, she had to quit her job. What’s a pack of cigarettes cost? She doesn’t have the money for that…So yesterday John gets a call at work from Mr. Rugg, down at the Village Market to tell him he caught Kayla stealing a pack of smokes.

“NO!”

Kayla gave the impression of being the well scrubbed girl next door. Her mother’s petite features and honey blond hair, her Dad’s rangy build. Nice enough-Started calling her “Mary” after the divorce when reverting to her maiden name had confused her. Or was it the transformation from a Missus, to a Miss, Maybe a MZ? Anyway, the girl was polite about it and usually only spoke when spoken to.  

“Oh yeah” So Mr. Rugg, being a vet knows John from all the VFW stuff and calls him instead of the cops.”

“Oh man” said Mary “Better for her he’d have called the cops.

John Fine was a retired Army gunnery sergeant who managed the service department at the Volvo dealership down in town. Forty-four years old, he looked ten years younger, his sandy hair kept short, his body still youthful from regular basketball games in the men’s league.

“Yeah, well…When I got home last night from Tennis, what time was that?” 

“We played till eight.”

“OK, so I got home, soon as I walked in the door I heard them…”

“Fighting?” 

Mary gave a short “tsk!” “Not hardly. Well maybe they had been, but by the time I got there, she was getting a serious spanking.”. 

“Spanking!?” Mary took a step backward and  raised a fist to her chest as if to quell the flips her heart was doing.  

“Apparently he came straight home from work and was waiting for her when she got home from practice.”

Mary was stunned but wanted details. How to prod her friend without being intrusive? 

“Did you see it?”

Mary shrugged. “They were in his office with the door open-so it wasn’t like I was spying.. He was sitting in his desk chair and Kayla was over his lap, pants and panties down to her knees.

“On the bare?”  she gasped, this time raising her fist to her open mouth.

“He had warned her before. I guess he thought it was time. Look-I’d appreciate you don’t tell anyone about this. In fact, I insist that you don’t. I shouldn’t have said anything. But, it’s a lot to hold on to.”

“I bet”. Jules was staring at the curb as Mary tried to read her silence. Mary had no kids, hell, at present she had no husband, but she remembered when she was a kid and she or one of her sisters did something to warrant a spanking or a paddling, it set the whole house askew for days. Longer for Mary. 

“DId he hurt her?” She asked gently

“He hurt her butt, I know that. He has a heavy hand.” She shrugged. “It was a spanking. A hard one.” 

“You didn’t interrupt or say anything?”

“No, he saw me, she, in her position, couldn’t. So I put my finger to my lips for him to not say anything and backed out. I didn’t want to embarrass her more than she already was plus I wanted to be able to comfort her later-be the good cop, you know? 

“Was she bruised?” 

“No,  just red and sore.  If he’d have used the hairbrush, well then she’d have been purple this morning.”

“Hairbrush?! He’s hit her with a hairbrush.”

“No! God no!”

“Tony?”

“God no, that kid is straighter than a yard stick. No trouble from him.”

“So, who gets spanked with a hairbrush?” Mary asked already knowing the answer.

“Nobody!” Snapped Jules, biting the word harder than she had meant to. 

The two friends stood in silence for a moment. Mary’s face felt hot-the warmth washing down through her chest. She tugged at the collar of her jersey and imagined steam rising from the opening.

“I really don’t want to talk about it.” said Jules, looking back toward where the bus disappeared as if hoping for some kind of intervention. 

Mary reached down and took her friend’s hand and was happy with the answering squeeze.

“How do I not know about this?”, she asked finally.

“It’s not something I want to talk about”, she repeated almost petulantly.

Mary slipped her arm playfully around her friend’s waist. “That’s too bad girlfriend. I felt weird pumping you about your daughter’s spanking-but I want all the details of your’s” 

“Oh, Jeez. I shouldn’t have said a word.”

“But you did. And I want more.”

Jules sighed. “OK, but not now. Go finish your run. Come over for lunch-I’ll order in from Minutello’s” 

OK-cool. Get me the chicken salad, no fries.

“12:30”

“Good. I’ll bring a bottle of Pinot Grigio.” Then pausing, “Will that be okay, you won’t get in trouble will you?” It was a casually curious question with no-or not much-underlying sarcasm.

“No, not as long as I’m with you. He likes you.”

“Really?” This was a revelation. Mary had no reason to think that John DIS-liked her but he was so rigid, she assumed that her flightiness somehow offended his military sensibilities. 

“He thinks you’re good for me. He thinks I’m too tight sometimes. You loosen me up.”

“That’s me, loosey goosey. OK, see you later then. And try to behave yourself-wouldn’t want you getting in trouble.”

“GRRRR-! I’m already regretting this.” She growled through a rueful smile. 

“Just teasing sweety. Toodles”, she called over her shoulder, surprised that her knees were a little weak. When her husband left her, one of his complaints was that she was too flighty. “Not a serious person” he had actually stated in the paperwork as if to codify it for all time. Now he’s remarried to a partner in a downtown law firm-and living out in Parks. Good for them, hope they are serious together working their crossword puzzles and listening to classical music. She is going to spend the afternoon drinking wine and talking spanking with her best friend. After she takes care of the tingling that gets stronger with every step. Is that flighty enough for you? Prick!

She jogged up her driveway having decided to cut her run short. The tremors and fibrillations coursing through her as she imagined Jules’ slim ass bare over her husband’s lap had to be dealt with. She hadn’t had any release in weeks. No wonder this set her off. She punched her four numbers into the key pad and the garage door rumbled open. She ducked inside before it was completely open, stepping over the light beam that would have stopped it. At the back of the garage she pressed the lighted button that dropped the door and pulled her hoodie and T-shirt over her head in one move, tossing them onto the hood of the RAV. In the kitchen she sat to remove her runners and short socks. She wanted to be naked before reaching the bedroom. 

She stood and untied her sweats, letting them fall then marching in place till she had left them a cotton puddle on the floor. Her underwear followed without ceremony, then her sports bra over her head. Liberated, she sighed deeply and stretched her arms over her head. She opened the fridge and grabbed a water and headed back toward the bedroom. 

When married, her buzzy little friend pretty much stayed on the top shelf of the bathroom closet, it so mortified her husband. Now it lay in a place of honor in the top drawer of her bedside table with her Xanax. Of course, her bed was unmade and it welcomed her as she flopped backwards, legs spread, loving the cool of the sheets and lumps of blankets rubbing her everywhere. Yes, she would wash the sheets, finally. She yanked the drawer open and took hold of the ribbed blue silicone vibrator. Now, naked in her bed, she slowed her movements from frantic to just frenzied. There was lube in the drawer as well, but a quick slippery touch confirmed it would not be necessary. 

She rolled onto her right side and pulled her knees up, the way she liked. Then, with a twitch of the knob at the end, Ol’ Blue came to buzzing life in her right hand. Her eyes closed and her mouth went slack as she slid the vibrator down her belly and between her legs while rubbing her bottom with her other hand. Her deep sigh morphed into a moan. This wouldn’t take long at all.