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 those ive words 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. 

The New Superintendent

Kinda Continued from The New Headmaster

Superintendent Madeline Jones stepped out of the cool shower and grabbed the thick towel that that Marla had set out on her dressing table.. She patted at the goosebumps up and down her arms and across her chest. Then, working quickly, her shoulders, back and backside finally her long legs. She would probably need another shower before going into the office. Forty five minutes on the elliptical worked up too much of a sweat to be stanched with one shower. Plus, she had left Marla to her own devices since her arrival this morning and she was no doubt feeling ignored. Never mind that she was technically on the clock and getting paid for doing her job in the Superintendent’s home office, but when she calls the night before to alert Madeline that she was “backed up” and would need to come to the residence in the morning to “catch up”, there was no need to read between the lines. 

Madeline picked the short green silken robe that Marla favored and fastened it loosely with the attached belt then hung the damp towel around her neck to catch the water still dripping from her long black hair. Stepping into the hall she immediately heard the tap-tap-tapping of her laptop coming from the office beyond the bedroom door. Her living quarters were essentially the entire third floor of what once had been the Mudge Woman’s Hall where female grad students had lived. 

Now, with fewer and fewer woman opting to live on-campus most of the building was being refitted as condos. Downstairs construction noises during the day-when she was typically in her office was a small price to pay for a rent-free three bedroom on-campus apartment. 

She lingered at the open doorway to watch Marla working. Whenever she could, she stole time to watch Marla do anything. She had found her Executive Assistant  alluring when she first got to campus. Given her role and the obvious age difference, Madeline had made it her business to keep her distance from the girl to the point that she had delegated the Assistant Head Master disciplinary responsibility the first time Marla as a student had merited a caning. But only the first time. 

Marla wore the same short blonde hair that she had as a student. Parted on the left and flipped at the collarline,  tucked behind her ears. She tended to be slim-and would look eighteen well into her twenties-but carried a light contour of muscle tone that was no doubt in some emulation of her boss’ maniacal workout habits . At present she was working in her underwear, a dark sports bra and matching boy panties, while her “uniform” of khaki slacks and a light blue long sleeved oxford button-down shirt hung neatly on the back of the closet door. Long sleeves were de rigueur for Marla whose left arm was a full sleeve tattoo that ran from her shoulder down to mid forearm. Eventhough the intricate work illustrated the tale of the Buendía clan from Gabrial Garcia Marquez’ “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (Marla had one time fancied herself a World Literature aficionado) Madeline decided  at the time that her ink be concealed from the board who had approved her hiring. The other, more recent,  ink she didn’t have to work to conceal. 

Marla  definitely had Superintendent Jones in mind when she chose her second tattoo. They were not yet lovers when Marla had accepted the EA  job a few weeks after graduating. Out of what she explained to her skeptical tattoo artist was a reverence for WIlliam  Faulkner and “his” South, she had a single lush flowering kudzu vine tattooed up the back of her right thigh. With a small tic toward the middle the vine slipped into the darkness between her legs and in a last run to daylight, emerged from her lower butt crack looking like nothing so much as she was growing a purple flowering kudzu out of her butt hole. As uncomfortable as the process was, she almost couldn’t wait for her first “after-hours” meeting with her cane-happy boss. 

It didn’t take long. Less than a month into her employment with the new Superintendent, Marla had distributed a report to the board in Madeline’s name, that included incorrect cost spreadsheets that were caught in an open ZOOM meeting by the board president. He was nice enough to shrug it off once the correct spreadsheets were provided all round. Marla absorbed the blame from the board good naturedly but finished the meeting with the familiar mixed feelings of dread, embarrassment, excitement and titillation.

Being a titular adult caned by a coworker (even a superior) entailed a different dynamic than being sent to the headmaster’s office at school, where all she had to do was report, bend, bare and hang on. Marla didn’t know how it was going to happen, just that it was. She kept to her task list following a schedule with hands that intermittently  shivered and breathing that caught now and then. Her belly roiled virtually non-stop. 

Finally late in the day, the inner office door opened and Madeline stepped out. She was wearing a brightly flowered skirt that rode the top of her knees. Her sleeveless blue blouse was tucked and belted accenting her flat stomach. Marla gulped wantonly at the vision her boss presented  even before she noted the cane in her right hand. Oh, no, she thought. Not out here in my office separated from the well trafficked hallway by only a door with a pane of frosted glass. 

“Marla,” ordered Madeline using the cane as a pointer, “lock the door please and step into my office”. Relieved, Marla did as she was told and then had to slide against Madeline as her boss she stayed in the doorway forcing Marla to squeeze past her into her office. 

Marla stood facing the large desk even though Madeline stood to her left and slightly behind, delivering her lecture to the side of her neck where she could watch the fetching thump-thump of her pulse. That part of Marla’s neck was close to her favorite part of the younger woman’s body and she wondered how long it would be before she could lay her open mouth over it. The lecture itself  was almost a word-for-word repetition of what she delivered after the meeting and Marla could do nothing but wait for the end. Which finally came with a poke of the cane to her khaki-clad bottom. ‘And this,”, she said, is to acknowledge your shoddy effort and punish you for it and at the same time remind you going forward of what’s expected from you. Understand?

“Yes Ma’am”. She had always been Ma’am” when it was headmistress/student but she wasn’t sure what it would be in an office context. Since Madeline didn’t correct her, it seemed that she had chosen correctly.

“Take these down”, Madeline ordered flicking the cane at the seat of Marla’s slacks. The girl unbuckled her belt, unsnapped the button, then opened the zipper pushing them to her knees where gravity took over and pulled them into a pile around her ankles. “Oh, this is new”, she said touching the leafy vine at the back of her leg with the cane and tracing it up to where it disappeared beneath her panties. 

“Can I look?” Madeline asked.

“I wish you would.” answered Marla leaning forward, her hands on the desk. She felt Madeline’s fingers in the waistband of her panties then the scrape along her skin as she pulled them down. As Headmistress, Madeline had been very careful to follow school policy and never touch a student, skin on skin. When punished, Marla would have to remove her own underwear-nothing but cane or paddle ever touched her bottom or her legs. And she had never gone over the Headmistress’ knees; it was as if they both knew there were limits to their self-restraint. 

Madeline lay her hand on Marla’s back and pushed her lower, forcing her bottom higher as the girl’s elbows dropped to the desk and her cheek lay on the cool wood. Her mouth fell open and a small hiss escaped her lips as she felt Madeline’s fingers, opening her behind and following the vine. 

“What possessed you to…” Madeline asked as she slid a finger up the inside of Marla’s divide, then left it pressing lightly against her small puckered opening. 

“I thought you would like it”, she said, her face still on the desk. 

“You did it for me?”

“I thought it would be fun. Nobody sees my bottom more than you do.”

“Is that true?”, Madeline asked, sliding her hand to rub the girl’s smooth right cheek. “That’s a shame, this is such a beautiful little bum.”

“I love you touching it,” Marla said in almost a whisper, moving her bottom into her boss’ smoothing hand.

“I finally can”, thought Madeline, then said, “I’m afraid you’re not going to love what happens next.”

Marla had a line she had been practicing. “I’m yours’ to do with as you please.”

Madeline smiled at that, knowing she had prepared and rehearsed it. Still, it tingled her in ways words didn’t usually.

“Come on then”, she said stepping back and patting the other cheek. Let’s get this over with.”

As was expected, Marla relaxed, keeping with Madeline’s long-standing “no clenching” rule. Still, she jumped when the cane tapped her gently twice, measuring. The girl inhaled and held her breath waiting. She didn’t have to wait long, the first stroke slashed fiercely across the bottom of her bottom, bisecting the vine where it emerged from between her cheeks. The searing pain rose her onto her toes and she didn’ have time to cry out before the second stroke landed in almost the exact same place. This time she did screech and raised even higher on her toes which tightened the muscles in her bottom but no matter, Madeline slashed her again across the middle. Marla squealed and fell to the flats of her feet, her knees buckling. 

“Maddie!” She squeaked, her voice failing. “I can’t…I want to…but..”, she coughed a little sob. “It hurts so much.” with that she broke and the tears flowed. Her school canings never really Hurt, hurt. They stung but this was something different. 

Madeline placed her left hand on the small of Marla’s back in a way that was meant to be comforting. “Yes, my dear, adult caning is a little different than what you received as a student. There are real consequences in the world.” This last she delivered while sliding her fingers over the welts on her girl’s behind.  He hadn’t seen nor made her cry before and it gave her pause knowing that Marla would subject herself to anything that Madeleine deemed necessary. 

“I’m sorry”, Marla sniffed looking back over her shoulder. “I was just..surprised. I’m ready now. Strike me again.”

The Superintendent delivered two strokes to the middle of Marla’s bottom that were reminiscent in severity to what she had gotten as a schoolgirl. They stung but no more than that. The girl was so grateful she thrust her bottom further back, making the cheeks bloom leaving nothing unrevealed.  “Oh, thank you Ma’am!”, she said undulating a bit, her bottom waving like a sunflower in a light breeze. “A few more please.”

Madeline was conscious of turning the punishment over to the punished but cared not. She knew in her loins that this was never going to be a true punishment as soon as she laid her hands on the girl’s bottom. The hard strokes were an attempt to pull back control which she abandoned in a panic when Marla broke. Now the Superintendent delivered two more stoke atop the welts then two at the very bottom where bum and thighs met, then announced ”You’re finished”.

Marla stood bolt upright, fetchingly clutching and rubbing her striped bottom. Laying the cane aside, Madeline took the girl’s shoulders and turned her around to face her tear streaked face. “Move your hands”, she said with a smile as she reached behind to cup her bottom. Again she bumped her fingers over the wriggling welts. “I’m sorry Marla, I didn’t mean to hurt you. “

“That’s fine”, the girl answered, her arms wrapped around her boss. “Those last few were very nice.”

“We’ll get it right the next time.”

Marla pulled back a little and asked, “Well, can I have a kiss this time?” Madeline paused looking deeply into Marla’s damp hazel eyes and knew that though she had followed carefully the prohibition against relations between students and staff, the similar prohibition as related to administration and staff did not stand a chance. 

Complicated

Continued from “Hit me!”

Now, two weeks later she was in his kitchen-and it was his when he was here alone who else’s would it be-turning her back to him and asking again for something that shouldn’t have been his to give.

“Really? Work this out with your husband.”

She turned back to face him fully. “No. There are some things I’ll never work out with Ben. Ever!” She seemed to choke and made a sound-a tsk or tiff-it was hard to tell with the mask, but was clear when she said, “This I need to work out with you.” 

Well, you made your choice, is what he said in his head. It was a phrase that was quite popular between them for awhile back then. He’d say it, he’d yell it, she’d cry about making a mistake, then he’d cry about…and that was how it had gone on, and on before they settled into this uneasy truce that gave each of them something which actually turned out to be nothing. He bit his tongue not wanting to revisit and rehash things that had been said before. This was different and he felt it. Like he was standing in a river and the current was too strong. He stepped forward into the circle of heat that radiated from her. 

“I’ve known you a long time…I know what you went through at home. With your mother…”

“Don’t!”, she said. “This is different. This is my choice. My…want…” The words were failing her and, thinking to clarify, she tore her mask off. But he knew. The mask wasn’t covering her eyes and they told the story of her need. 

He also doffed his mask and tossed it onto the counter. “Shit”, he thought, “I might not survive the morning anyway…” He stepped closer and spoke slowly and quietly. 

“Do you know how hard it is for me to work here and keep my hands off of you?” She looked away. “Look at what you’re wearing! And don’t stop on my account. But Jesus, Dar.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about me, I’m fine. I work through it. But you are asking for a helluva lot right now.” 

“I know. I’m sorry”, she repeated robotically. “But do you know how hard it is to really, really need something that you can’t get your hands on, that’s just out of reach. And the one person, the one single person…” he braced himself thinking from her voice that she was going to hit him, “…that maybe knew what you needed-could give you what you needed-was too thick to…”

He pressed his finger against her lips hard enough to silence her. “Not thick, Darla. I know what you’re doing. I know what you want. I. Know. You. You do not stop. This is not a one-off. And this will complicate things…”

“Things are already complicated”, she pouted. “They’ve always been complicated for me…” She sounded deflated, defeated, forlornly clutching the spoon like a kid not willing to give up a toy. She had put it out there and it had fallen flat to the floor. She was breathlessly wondering how she was going to get through the day when she felt his fingers against her belly. She gasped as they slid down her pants and grabbed her belt. He pulled firmly as she allowed herself to be inexorably drawn into his shadow then melted into him everywhere their bodies touched. 

She felt his breath on her shoulder as he loomed, then gasped again when his hands opened her belt and unsnapped her shorts. “I’ve already swatted your jeans”, he growled sliding his hands inside her pants and pushing them down as he slid his palms over her hips and panty-clad bottom. He gently nibbled the bottom of her neck as he slipped his thumbs into the waistband of her panties and pushed them down as well, cupping her bottom cheeks as they fluttered to the floor. 

Suddenly, not content with fondling, he slipped all eight fingers into her crease and pulled, opening her roughly in a way that he didn’t think he could. Then he kneaded her backside until she choked out a small whimper. All pretense of being able to hold back-to deny what he had been feeling-to curb the welling lust within him was gone. His “rule” that he’d used before to fend her off, that he didn’t get involved with married women, had apparently been revoked. 

He raised one hand to her chin and lifted her face to peek once into her full and glowing eyes looking for something, anything, to give him pause. There was nothing. One kiss-soft and gentle-then, with both hands, he turned her and pushed on her shoulders, bending her over the stainless steel table. He kept pressing until she flattened pushing her bare bottom back into his hips. He leaned into her reaching for the spoon which she still held then he stood back to admire the view he’d only seen a few times and not for almost a decade. 

The way she dressed left few secrets but seeing her full bottom, bare and thus offered caused his breath to catch and, not surprisingly, his cock to stir. He put the spoon on the counter and pressed the small of her back with his left and cupped her backside, one cheek, then the other.  

When he pulled his hand away Darla flinched in anticipation and jumped when he touched her. When he finally delivered a tentative smack, she gasped then froze. Waiting. She didn’t have to wait long. Again and again he slapped her bottom as she mewled and undulated like a cobra to the charmer’s pipe. He spanked thoroughly, leaving no spot on her bottom untouched until he could feel the warmth of her skin when his hand lingered. 

She heard the small “snick” when he picked the wooden spoon off the counter and tightened her grip on the sides of the table. She hadn’t been hit with anything in years and her mind whirled as she tried to imagine what it was going to feel like. She wanted it, she wasn’t afraid of it, she trusted Jimmy…but she still-!*!

“YOW!” she yelped as the first swat landed on her right cheek short circuiting all attempts at thought. Then another landed on the opposite cheek. “OWW!” Jimmy rubbed the spoon along her bottom before delivering a third whack which bloomed into a third red egg dappling her all over pink bottom. She gasped and involuntarily kicked back when another blow stung her deeply where her left cheek met her leg. “GAHHH!”

“Too hard?” he asked.

“No!” she said, fairly panting, wishing for a moment that she had said yes and not knowing why she hadn’t. Then no, again. Not too hard. Then she felt his hand, Jimmy’s hand, on her bottom rubbing and kneading the aching flesh. Darla scooped her back and wantonly leaned her ass into his touch wanting more. More of the touch, more of the pain, more…Just freaking more! “Come on Jimmy”, she said. “More…”

He stepped closer and let fly again and again, standing out of the way as she kicked and bucked with every blow. After fifteen or sixteen swats she had passed through the place where she needed to wriggle, to dance, or to jump and kick in answer to her punishment. She released her grip on the table and stood upright, fingers tightly entwined behind her neck. Her whimpers offered a constant song of release as her tightly clenched red bottom ricocheted every swat backward. 

He would have long stopped had he not clearly seen how much she wanted this. How much she needed this. As he bent to deliver blow after blow, he wondered if he needed it too? As she continued to offer her bottom it occurred that he was giving her what she wanted, but she was giving him herself, in a way she hadn’t given herself to anyone before. 

As with many things in his life, the decision to stop her paddling was made by his cock, so engorged he feared for its, and his, safety. He tossed the spoon to the counter with a clatter. “Look at me”, he said huskily, turning her by the shoulders. Her tear streaked face-a kaleidoscope of pain, lust, and a sparkle of joy-pushed him over the edge. 

He tore at his own jeans as she attacked his mouth with her own. Her hands fumbled atop his in the struggle to get his pants down. Once unleashed, his cock jabbed forward like a lance punching Darla in the belly. Jimmy dropped his arms around her hot bottom and lifted her onto the steel table.

“Ooooh! Shit!”, Darla cried slipping up on one cheek then the other, her tortured skin sticking to the cold metal. “Hurts-hurts-hurts-hurts…” He reached for a dish towel as she hugged his neck lifting herself. He slipped the towel under her. “Man…”, she breathed, wincing. 

He pulled her roughly to the edge. His entry was quick and complete, buried to the hilt in a single, sopping thrust. Darla moaned loudly and lifted herself on his neck again, tearing at his face with her mouth in wild abandon, freeing every pent up desire and emotion from the last ten years. Jimmy pushed her back down and locked his arms around her holding on as best he could while they each matched the other’s pounding and thrusting until the slapping of their middles and the painful banging of her butt on the table filled the room.

“I’m…coming…”, she gasped. “I’m…going to…”

“Do it!” Jimmy bit. He was holding off as best he could but his resolve, unlike his staff, was wilting. He slipped his hands under her and lifted as she locked her legs around him. “Come!” he said. “Come for me…”

Her legs gripped him tightly as she hissed through clenched teeth until, unable to hold back, exploded with a coughing bark then “AAAHHHHH!” as she futilly tried to pull him deeper inside. He held her tighter than he’d held anyone as, in a final thrust, he released what felt to be a flood deep into his first and only love. “Oh my fucking…god…” was all he could say. 

They held as they were, him standing, arms squeezing and her sitting, legs wrapped tightly around his middle holding his pulsing cock inside for as long as she could. Then, resuming regular breathing, she released her legs and he allowed her to collapse backward onto the table, her outstretched arms knocking a stack of metal serving trays to the floor with a loud crash. He laughed lightly and withdrew in full, painting a little drizzle along the inside of her thighs and onto the towel below her. 

He bent and smiled into her face. “We are noisy fuckers…”

She grinned, squeezing more tears out of her eyes-not of pain this time, not even of release, but of relief. Of happiness.

“That’s it you know”, he said.

“Mmmm…?”

“I’m never giving you up again.” To make sure he wasn’t misunderstood, he repeated, “I’m never giving you up again.”

“I know.”

He lowered his face closer to hers but neither went for the kiss. Instead he looked deeply into her eyes.

“I love you”,  she said. He let his hand slide down her hip where he could still feel the heat radiating there.

“And your butt?”

Her wicked smile slashed her face like a watermelon slice. “My butt really loves you…”

He kissed her softly but quickly. “Come on”, he said, pulling away. “We have to clean up before your husband gets here.”

“He’s not coming…”

“What do you mean?”

“I might have told a teeny tiny lie. I told him more than I said…”

“So he’s not coming.”

“It’s you and me, babe”. She said. “Are you ready for me full time?”

He squinted down at her. “I think I just got played.”

“Not the first time, won’t be the last.”

He pulled up his pants feeling lighter, maybe even a little taller. He tossed her another towel which she caught still laying on her back. 

“Well, you gotta move. If it’s just the two of us, we have our hands full. Wipe down that table first…”

“I’ll clean the fuck off of it”, she laughed looking at the ceiling.

Jimmy, smiling to himself, turned up the heat under the pots. He was suddenly happy to try “complicated” for a while.

Separation

It doesn’t take many words to end a thing. Sometimes one. One measly word. Maybe two or four if they’re the right ones or many times, none at all. He sat on the edge of the bed thinking about putting on pants. There was plenty of time for that. The morning sun-somehow different here in the city-sliced through the rheumy window spotlighting his feet which he always hated-short and square and now with bright purple starfish bursting spidery on his ankles. She has them too! Don’t for a moment think he was the only one getting old. Had she ever seen the backs of her own knees? She’s not special-time marches on for everyone regardless of what anyone thinks. Standing, he gazed at the rooftops around him. He’d done business in this part of town back when. Just couldn’t remember with who. And it wasn’t because he was old! People forget things, that’s all. They had to-there was too much new stuff every minute of every hour of every day. Things had to be jettisoned to make room, that’s all. Were the water towers on the buildings new? Couldn’t be, they looked older than fuck, he just had never seen them that he could remember. He wished he had a cigarette. He’d given them up years ago but they would at least give him something to do with his hands. His old man wielded a cigarette as a maestro did a baton-directing, punctuating, prompting: allegro, lento-the smoke leaving whirling white trails drifting to the ceiling. He wondered if he could smoke in here. These rooms weren’t bad by the week, considering. He’d have to think about it. For now though, checkout was at ten. It would be no problem. He could leave earlier if he had anywhere to go.

The Springhouse

It was an old springhouse on a farm long forgotten, set into the center of what had been a foundation wall, now a roost for lichen, ferns and whatever slippery plant could gain purchase along the cool damp stone where the sun rarely touched. But she did, running her hands along the rough face as she slipped through the opening into the musky dim, rusted nubs of hinges the only hint of the thick doors which once hung there. 

Inside, the cistern was empty as it had been the first time she’d visited save for the skittering daddy long-legs that enjoyed whatever moisture she couldn’t see. She remembered the feel of the low stone shelf which, with no cheese, cream or jugs to store, could serve as a crude bench. As it had.

They were young then and spry. It had taken no more than a single shared glance to melt the clothes from her body which glowed like a pearl in the stoney dusk. A momentary gentle man, he took the rough seat and had her mount facing him which she did easily being constantly dewy in her memory. She was first, mewling, keening and scraping her toes against the stone feeling gooseflesh wash across her back as mouth over mouth he stole her breath.  

Then, sated and spent, but still feeling his pulsing strength inside her she allowed him to bend her over the cistern where he took her hard, pushing into the place she dreaded. But she took it, knowing it would take but a few minutes then be over and their lives would continue. But for that lesson, learned by every woman since the dawn of time, the species would have mercifully flickered out eons ago. 

What kind of idiot was he?

He was the kind of idiot who bought the “European Berets for $20” advertised in the glossy magazine because “one size fits all”, never accepting that nothing fit his oversized dome. He’d stubbornly wear it for days, laying atop his head like a cow pie. “See”, he’d say, “It fits fine.”

She’d smile and put up with it for as long as it took to find it sitting alone on the bench in the mudroom like a discarded black flapjack. Over the course of an hour, she cut it into small pieces, some of which she flushed, some of which she buried out beyond the fence, marking the spot with a mossy flat stone, and some she burned in the fire pit. 

“No, hon”, she would answer when asked. “I haven’t seen it.”  And he’d believe her.

The Stray

Olive didn’t wear a mask which was fine with Clay because she was uncommonly pretty for a woman in The Stray. Woman, hell, she was more a girl, and decidedly misnamed, pale to the point of luminescence, with only one chipped tooth in a bright smile that held up freckles, a button nose with only the hint of a bump and eyes the color of a summer sky. Her alabaster skin glowed brighter, accented by the dark T-shirts she always wore-even on the coldest of days which this one certainly was. “I run hot”, she’d say. 

The short sleeves did nothing to hide the scars on her wrists and the wispy gossamer of old track marks up and down her arms that probably explained, at least in large part, what she was doing astride a stool at Strays, which everyone called the place, on a snowy Saturday evening. No longer a death wish and clean, if not dry, she felt comfortable among “her people” whatever the fuck that meant. 

She pushed her empty glass just enough so Robin would see it and refill. Again, playing against type, she drank thick stouts and porters exclusively which everyone figured was a good thing since she barely ate. “Gotta pee”, she chirped and hopped off the stool and headed toward the back. She left her cigarettes so she would be back. Olive lived in a couple of rooms above the bar and was known to slip away from time to time.

Robin pulled a beer from the tap and placed it in front of the empty stool, glancing at Clay’s Manhattan. It was his third and now that he was settled with a soft glow in his cheeks and the glint in his eye dulled, they would go down slower. She was thick and rangy wearing seasonal flannel over a dark camisole. Not a beauty, she had an androgynous look that some women would call handsome and kept her thick brown hair in a ducktail that would have shamed Elvis. She followed his gaze out the window where a snow squall had wrapped the world in a dirty gray blanket. “Hey”, she patted his hand to draw his attention from outside. “You going back to work next week?”

He was. She prodded for more. Sometimes, when they were alone or it was slow, she’d get him talking about work. She didn’t understand most of what he did, but it stopped him from thinking. Tonight his mind was clearly elsewhere so all she knew was he’d have a day in the office, then downstate for a day or two tops, on the new install. “Book my reservation for right here next Friday happy hour,” he said, tipping his glass. 

“Done”, she said. “Anything else I can do for you?”

“You mean liking bending me over a chair and having your way with me?”

She gave him the tight smile reserved for friends who keep repeating a joke that had long ceased being funny. “Well”, she said, “Seeing I don’t get off till ten and I don’t think Sweet Martini Olive”, she nodded toward the girl coming back from the bathroom, “will wait that long,” she pinched the back of his hand before sliding away. “I’ll make a note of it though.”

From her spot leaning against the back bar, she could see that the squall had subsided and fretted that Olive wasn’t distracting him. She knew he could see now, not only the bridge but the exact spot at the railing where his wife Merin, was last alive. Thing was, she was a decent swimmer and the bridge isn’t all that high. His fantasy was that she would have survived the jump, the water would have revived her-snapped her out of what he couldn’t-and she would have swum over to the marina and come home to him, wet but renewed. 

But she hadn’t seen the line of empty coal barges coming upstream from behind her. You’d think she would have heard the tow boat, but their sound is more of a powerful low thrum than the whine of an outboard. The lead barge poked out from under the bridge just as she leapt. He imagined her hitting with a loud metallic clang like the cartoon sound effect when the mouse hit the cat over the head with a skillet. Sad truth was, nobody had seen or heard a thing and her body wasn’t discovered until the barges settled into dock in Weirton days later. 

“You wanna go upstairs?” Olive asked quietly not looking at him but at her half empty glass. Wouldn’t be his first trip, counting her ribs or tracing the outlines of her hip joints on her tumescent skin. Or maybe she’d stay dressed and just take care of him. Whichever. He left two twenties on the bar-twice what he owed-and they headed for the back steps. 

Robin did not turn around but watched them leave in the mirror behind the bar. 

Kinda continued in Another Stray Day

Happy New Year

The light came in soft and buttery, slicing through the bent blinds. It was after noon, certainly, but the sun stayed low-skirting the hilltop across the river and bleeding through the mill smoke. The crash and rumble of a coal train starting to crawl must have been what woke him. He felt better than he had when he’d awakened earlier and left her in the dark. Sleeping in the chair was good, he could keep his feet up. But still his knees ached. And his hands. The fucker was going to rain, or snow for that matter. His joints always let him know. 

She must have been watching from the other room-for him to stir or his eyes to open-because she was suddenly there, sitting on the arm of the couch. Her hair was down, wrapping her face and she was wearing the same striped top from last night but had thrown his vest over it. Her jeans were gone in favor of dark sweats and her feet were bare. 

She looked none the worse for wear but for the little mouse under her left eye which he would have remembered had he done it. Plus her gray eyes wouldn’t have been so soft and caressing had he hit her. She perched lightly-on her toes more than her butt-the air between them twitchy and alight. He didn’t feel tired as much  as empty, though he wished he was still asleep.

She cleared her throat then asked quietly, “You okay?” 

He shifted so the recliner would pop him up a little. Christ, everything hurt. He could manage no more than a phlegmy “Yeah”, before he had to close his mouth against the pain. He didn’t quite remember getting hit in the jaw, but he knew this particular ache too well. Wasn’t too bad, he thought as he moved his mouth around. Nothing broken, loose or bleeding. 

She watched him for a few moments then stood, rubbing her hands on her thighs. “Alright. Now you’re up. I’m going in the bedroom. To get ready.”

“For what?” he asked. 

She was already out of the room and he could only see her from the waist up as she passed behind the couch. “You said you were going to whip my ass in the morning. Remember?”

He let his eyes drift back toward the window as he kept working his jaw. He felt her eyes, so he said, “It’s afternoon…”

“It’s not my fault you slept through”, she answered. Then, “I’m going to go get ready…”

“You really think that’ll help anything?”, he asked the window.

“Trust me”, she said. “It will be worse if you don’t.”

She padded away down the hall. The bedroom door creaked open then, after a long rustling moment, the bedsprings squeaked and settled. He tried to remember what his old man had told him about younger women, but couldn’t. Truth be told, he had a helluva time conjuring up the old man’s voice anymore. He could see him on a stool next to him, even see his mouth moving around the bouncing cigarette, but couldn’t come up with his voice.  One more glowing coal of sadness that he didn’t need right now.

Endeavoring



He found himself at sea;
alone, misfiled, misplaced:
a spoon among the forks trying
To understand where he fit. 

What did he know about menopause?
About what years did down there 
Turning wetlands into deserts;
Lush marshes into 
Craggy rocky places.
One adapts, he was told.
She had a plan.

Will you take off your pants
At least? he asked.
She played tennis and
knew her legs drove him wild. 
Of course, she said.
But strip now.

He did as he was told and she,
Like a mom with a recalcitrant toddler,
Took him by the ear and patted his bum
Toward the bedroom.

Am I going to regret this 
In the morning? he asked.
Of course darling, she purred.
That’s what mornings are for.