“Do you want a spanking?” he asked, the question voiced so mildly that he might have been offering me a glass of water.
My heartbeat quickened, uncomfortably aware that my language had been anything but respectful, “No, sir,” I assured him.
“Because that’s where this is going, Rob,” he warned me. I shook my head hard, surprised as always, at how that threat could make me feel. A flood of sensation overwhelmed me; apprehension that set my ass tingling and my stomach rolling, shame at having been disrespectful, flushed my face hot. And even though there wasn’t anyone here to overhear his blunt warning, embarrassment at his words. But mostly I was aware of that odd softening of my attitude that I was beginning to recognize as submission to Thane.
“All right,” he said, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees. “Let’s try this again. You’ve been to work how many days this week?”
I couldn’t believe I was so stupid to have been caught out. Thane had come home from work to find me still in the boxers and t-shirt I’d worn to bed the night before, unshaven and half-asleep in front of the television. We quickly established I wasn’t sick with a pointed conversation, which had been noticeably lacking in respect on my part, hence Thane’s polite query on whether I wanted a spanking. I took a deep breath, fighting down the urge to react defensively again, “Two.”
“Two,” he repeated matter-of-factly. “What’s going on Rob?”
Too many late nights at various clubs for a start, just because I was Thane’s boy didn’t mean I had stopped going out with friends. If anything, squeezing in my usual social life, on top of being with Thane, was running me ragged. At least having my own business meant I set my own schedule. If I felt like sleeping the day away, I did. I was good enough at what I did that clients cut me some slack. Although I did notice lately I’d been getting less referrals, no doubt my reputation for relaxed deadlines was making some impact.
It was difficult to explain to a man like Thane who worked as hard as he played. I sometimes wondered if he wasn’t tempted to just ….slack off. To be irresponsible. But apparently not.
“No big deal,” I smiled, trying to convince him it really wasn’t. “I just didn’t feel like it.” He didn’t return the smile though, if anything he looked more concerned.
“You didn’t feel like it because you came in at three in the morning,” he said frankly. He searched my face for a moment before speaking again, “Look, Rob. I think we need to talk about this. You’ve been asking to move in here with me.”
I nodded; I’d been pushing hard for us to live together ‘officially’. While I still kept my apartment, I spent most of my time at his house. That he hadn’t been as keen as I was to make it more permanent hurt, I’ll admit.
“I’m not sure if you’re ready for that. It means a big change for you. I would expect that you’re going to come home at a reasonable hour during the week. And that you have some sort of regular work schedule.” He hesitated before saying seriously, “That’s what I would expect and I don’t know if you’re ready for those kinds of expectations.”
He was leaving it up to me. Accept, knowing that this is what kind of man he was and that there were certain conditions attached to living with him and also accept the consequences of not meeting them. “I am,” I insisted. More than anything I wanted to live with Thane and I promised that things would be different. He did have a lot of expectations though: get up in the morning, eat breakfast, healthy breakfasts, at that, go to work, every day! I was trying though; trying to show him how serious I was about our relationship. I made a real effort to get home at a decent hour at night and I felt a hundred percent better, not tired and groggy all the time. And my clients were overjoyed that I was actually showing up on a regular basis.
Me, being me, it couldn’t last indefinitely. One night I phoned Thane to tell him that I was meeting friends for dinner. Thane thanked me for calling and I allowed myself to feel a bit smug at how responsible I was about letting him know. He reminded me that I was expected before as there was work the next day and I cheerfully agreed. It was just dinner; I fully intended to be home long before his imposed curfew.
I stopped checking my watch at around ten, if I didn’t acknowledge time, maybe it didn’t exist. Dinner became drinks at the bar which was followed by drinks at Matt’s house. When I did finally chance a look at my watch I was shocked to find it after one in the morning. I flipped open my cell phone, I hadn’t heard it ring and there wasn’t any messages waiting; Thane was letting me hang myself.
I’d left my car at the restaurant; one of the guys that hadn’t been drinking drove us to Matt’s but I couldn’t expect that he’d drive me all the way home. So I called a taxi and waited for forever before it came. My shirt was damp with sweat by the time it finally arrived. It’s quite a way out of the city to Thane’s house, and every mile seemed to take an hour, plenty of time for me to agonize. When we pulled up in front of the house it was almost and I was in a state of mild panic, afraid he’d decide we shouldn’t live together after all. Well, I wasn’t going to make excuses, I’d take whatever punishment he decided was fair, without any sort of fuss and then never do it again.
I paid the taxi driver a small fortune and walked into the house. The light in the living room was on, illuminating Thane sitting on the couch, reading a book. I felt a pang of guilt, he had work tomorrow too and I wished he’d gone to bed. More than ever I wished that when I spotted the paddle already waiting on the coffee table in front of him. Heart pounding, I stood frozen in the doorway of the large room.
He marked his place in the book and placed it on the table beside the paddle. Those intense blue eyes studied me for a moment. “Rob,” he nodded to me, casually like it wasn’t hours past the time I was due home and I wasn’t in huge trouble.
All the excuses I swore wouldn’t cross my lips came tumbling out in a rush, about the taxi and the long drive and somehow losing track of the time. When I finished I was out of breath, gasping and on the verge of hyperventilating.
“Come here,” he said, his voice rough with exasperation. I stumbled over to kneel in front of him. He took me into his arms and I burrowed gratefully against his warm chest.
“Calm down,” he ordered, stroking my back in a slow heavy rhythm, trying to ease my ragged breathing. “There’s no reason to get so worked up, is there?”
“No, sir,” I admitted, a little embarrassed at how distraught I was. He waited until he was sure I was composed enough to really listen to him and then I got a short, sharp lecture about responsibilities. There wasn’t any mention of the inconvenience I’d caused him but when I apologized I made sure that was included. My remorse didn’t extend far enough that I kept quiet when he reached for the paddle though. But I wasn’t getting any sympathy, “You’re an adult Rob and you made a decision, as an adult, to be in this relationship. And when you made a decision to disobey me, you accepted the consequences.”
It was true; I’d had a choice about both of those things. The excuses I was telling him and myself were hollow. I’d known full well where this would lead, “Yes, sir,” I said miserably. I stood up and his hands went to the button of my jeans. A feeling of helplessness engulfed me as I allowed him to strip off my pants and underwear. He guided me across his lap and arranged me carefully, making sure I was well supported. It was peculiar, how physically comfortable this position was but how psychologically uncomfortable it made me. I was convinced I’d totally fucked up our living together. That he was going to tell me I was too immature, too selfish for him. It wouldn’t have been the first time I’d heard those words but it would have been the first time I cared. I lay waiting, my body stiff with anxiety.
The paddle cracked down on one cheek and then the other, alternately setting them on fire. He paused when he’d dealt out a dozen or so, by then I was absolutely rigid, every muscle tensed but I hadn’t made a sound. I know I’m not the most stoic person when it comes to punishment and I’m sure Thane noticed the lack of my usual noisy response. I was holding my breath, my teeth clenched, determined to show him I accepted his punishment.
“Rob,” he said firmly, “Breathe.” He placed the paddle back on the table and rubbed my back again. “You’re making this harder than it needs to be.”
I was light-headed from lack of oxygen and I finally took a long shuddering breath. What the hell did he mean, making it harder? I was doing my best to take it like I should.
“Do you think you deserve to be punished?”
“Yes, sir. I do deserve it,” I gasped out, surprised that he would think I was resisting being rightfully punished.
“Then why aren’t you accepting it?” he asked.
“I am,” I protested loudly, frustrated with him and he swatted me smartly across my already stinging bottom.
“Robbie,” he said. “Talk to me, what’s the matter?” He soothed my warm backside with a gentle hand now and I could feel the tears welling up. I made a choked, unintelligible sound, the only response I could force out of my closed up throat.
He let me take my time though, waiting silently while I tried to think things through. Eventually I managed some sort of coherent reply, “You’re not going to want to live with me,” I said, I could feel the panic welling up in my chest at the thought.
“Really?” he asked. “And how do you figure that?”
“I was late,” I started.
“Yes,” he said matter-of-factly. “That’s why I’m punishing you.”
“Yes, but…” I shook my head.
“Rob, just like you accept your part in our relationship, I accept mine. I’m not angry with you.”
I sighed, he didn’t seem angry but it seems like he should have been.
“You disobeyed me, I’m punishing you and I’m sure you’ll keep a better eye on your watch when you go out next time.”
“I will,” I promised fervently.
“And if you don’t, I’ll have no problem in reminding you.”
“Yes, sir,” I groaned.
“You were ‘late’,” he said pointedly. “That’s hardly an unforgivable sin. If you’d done something truly unforgivable I wouldn’t be paddling you for it, you can count on that. Never ever let someone punish you for something that you know they can’t forgive you for, Robbie. And if it was something that you truly couldn’t change, I wouldn’t be paddling you either. It would be pointless and cruel. But I have every faith that you can get home on time. I’ve seen you do it.”
I nodded and finally relaxed fully, limp with exhaustion and frayed nerves, across his thighs. Unfortunately we weren’t finished.
“Now,” Thane said, picking up the paddle again. “Are you ready?”
God, what a question. “Yes, sir,” I was able to say, barely loud enough that he could hear me.
This time I yelped on the first solid smack, the paddle searing its mark on the under curve of my bottom. He held me tightly when I started to squirm and kick, paddling me hard enough that I soon in tears. I could feel the hot rush of moisture down my cheeks as I howled out how I’d never be late again.
He dropped the paddle on the floor and brought me up into his arms, “Sorry,” I sobbed. His strong fingers carded through my hair, brushing it back from my hot, wet face.
“I forgive you,” he said, seriously and deliberately. He kissed my forehead once, hard and then pulled me close against his chest.
“I want to please you,” I wept, not really sure where that was coming from. It was something I said when we were playing, when I was deep in submission.
“You do please me,” he murmured into my ear. “You are a wonderful man and I love you.”
So raw and vulnerable after being punished his words made me cry harder. I was exhausted though and I soon stopped, falling asleep against him.
“Rob,” he nudged me. “Come on, baby. It’s late.”
I got to my feet, swaying and he reached out to steady me. He had to talk me through brushing my teeth and getting undressed. I was already asleep when he got into bed. In the morning, having only slept a few hours I was hard to wake and Thane finally resorted to taking all the covers off the bed. Naked and shivering, I curled up in a ball to keep myself warm.
“Rob,” he called and I waved a hand at him, gesturing at him to leave me alone.
His warm hand on my bottom got my attention. While the sting had faded the skin was still sensitive and I squirmed under his hand anxiously. “Up,” he said firmly and I nodded and scooted across the bed, out of reach and sat up.
“I’m tired,” I protested, I felt genuinely dizzy with fatigue.
“I’m sure you are,” Thane said wryly. “As am I. You’ll feel better after a shower.”
If my car had been at home I think I would have been tempted to drive a little ways, turn around and sneak back to sleep for a few hours. But there was no opportunity for that when Thane was driving. He dropped me off in front of the restaurant so I could retrieve my car. I leaned down to kiss him good-bye, “Thanks for the ride,” I said.
He smiled, his tanned face crinkling at the corners of his eyes. “See you at home.”
I stepped back from the car to let him drive off, “See you at home,” I echoed his words. Those words seemed to erase my tiredness and I went to my car, ready for the day, a wide grin on my own face.