It had been a horrid week - horrid being a relative term and depending from whose point of view the word was defined.
He was out of patience and more tired than usual from working night shift for a week. There had been a stream of excess paperwork left unfinished when he reported in at 0800 every morning and being senior in rank, he informed the night C.O. that they would swap places for a week so he could rectify the matter. His yeoman wasn't thrilled about the trade but knew better than to argue.
She had flu-like symptoms - sore throat, coughing, occasional sneezing and a slightly elevated temperature.
He strongly suggested she take cough medicine each evening so she could sleep comfortably and get some much needed rest while he was at work. As soon as he left the house, she dumped a healthy dose of the vile brew down the sink because she knew he'd check the bottle when he returned.
He came home earlier than expected one night... midnight... and found her chatting with friends on the computer when she should have been in bed, knocked out by the cough medicine.
"You didn't take your meds?" he asked when he pulled her into his arms for a hug and a kiss. "You should be asleep, bambina."
"Don't sleep so well when you're not home," she offered by way of explanation. "Meds don't make too much difference then and..."
"Did you take your meds tonight?" he asked, nuzzling her neck, one large hand cupping her bottom.
It was a direct question; it required a direct answer.
"It's midnight," she exclaimed. "What do you think?"
"I think you're gonna sleep on a warm tush if I don't get a straight answer," he said softly.
"I didn't make you take the meds while I was home; it was too early in the evening for you to go to sleep. I expected you to take them at an appropriate hour - like 2200 hours - and you didn't. So now," he said softly as he upended her and ignored her protests. "I'll make sure you get those meds before I leave the house." A solid dozen swats followed his words as he made his way to their bedroom.
And there, he pulled her sweats down and placing her over his lap, delivered the rest of his displeasure in the form of a very large and heavy hand communicating hotly with a previously ivory rear end.
It didn't take long for her to start coughing, the position she was in didn't allow even breathing and her chest was still congested. Pulling her into his arms, he soothed her until her breathing was calm again and then he told her what would happen if she didn't take her meds in a timely fashion.
"I'll spank you again, bambina," he warned. "I'll tuck you under my arm so that you're not on your belly and I'll burn your tush until you think there's an actual fire back there."
She concentrated on breathing and said nothing; there was nothing to be said. He wouldn't listen to argument. She had tried over the counter remedies that tasted better but their effect was too brief and the alcohol content in most of them made her woozy and still unable to rest comfortably. The prescription medicine was a witch's brew and almost impossible to swallow. Added to that, it made her sleepy and while she needed rest, she didn't want to be lethargic the next day. It was a no-win situation.
When it came to her health, he was adamant. And if he said he would spank her again, he would keep his word. She had to think of an alternative.
She remained silent while he prepared for bed and turned away when he told her to take a sip of the cough medicine.
"Just a sip," he said softly. "Not a whole dose; not even a spoonful. Just a sip, bambina."
She shook her head, refusing to turn toward him.
"I won't ask again," he said in that voice he used when he was close to losing his patience, the implication clear to both of them.
"You'd spank me again?" she asked, her voice moving to the sad monotone of resignation.
"If I have to," he answered and offered the small bottle to her.
It didn't take the intellect of a Cray Computer to figure out what would happen next. Her bottom was already an inferno of heat and he was ready to make it blaze anew. She took the bottle and touched the opening with her lips and then swallowed the saliva in her mouth.
He wasn't born yesterday. "Again," he said quietly.
"You said a sip; you didn't say a whole dose," she argued.
"Why don't you just pour it down my throat?" she yelled and threw the open bottle across the room where it splattered on the far wall... "Why don't you just drug me day and night and then you don't have to worry about whether or not I'm resting! Why don't you...?"
It was frightening how swiftly he could move.
Her protests were barely uttered when he had an arm around her waist, her body bent over his forearm, his other hand a staccato drum roll on her tender bottom cheeks, the heat of her posterior elevated to match his fierce determination to make her listen to reason.
She didn't beg and he didn't lecture, his hand doing all the necessary communicating. Her breath came in open mouth gasps and in no time she was hyperventilating, her body floating on a giant air pocket and oblivious to her surroundings. The nagging whoosh and slap of his hand on her bare bottom lay on the edge of her consciousness and unable to cope, she let oblivion take her.
It was only seconds though it could have been a lifetime... he felt her body go limp and knew she had mentally withdrawn. He couldn't remember the last time he had spanked her this hard although he was certain it was probably for the same reason. Pulling her up and against his chest, he murmured the soothing sounds he made when she was in distress. It made no difference that his hand was the cause; she was upset and he would comfort her.
His soft murmurs penetrated and out of habit she clutched his t-shirt, fisting it in her hand.
"I'm not happy with you," she said between breaths, the tears continuing to flow as the heat of her bottom cheeks made her shift from one hip to the other and away from the pain.
"I know," he replied, tilting her chin up and aching at the redness of her eyes and the tears that still flowed.
"If you ever get sick, I hope you have to take humonguous doses of that stuff."
He smiled at her words and pulling her close, rested his chin on her head. "You know I have another bottle stashed away," he said softly. "The one you threw wasn't the only one."
"Spank me again," she said quietly. "I'm not taking that stuff."
"I mean it. Spank me again and get it over with."
"Bambina," he sighed. "Let's try to mix it with something to make it more palatable. Orange juice, maybe? I don't think it's as effective that way but I'm willing to give it a try if you are. I can melt some chocolate; would you like that?"
"A waste of chocolate," she muttered but nodded when he lifted her head and arched a brow.
The taste remained vile but to a lesser degree mixed with liquid chocolate. His kisses that followed helped considerably and she wasn't quite as sleepy as she would have been with a full-strength dose. Her coughing subsided and that pleased him more than anything.
"You love me too much," she told him while he held her to his chest, one hand easing some of the soreness out of her bottom with lotion.
"Impossible to love you too much, sweetheart."
"If you didn't love me so much," she explained, "you wouldn't spank me so often or so hard. Love me less, okay?"
"I don't spank you often enough," he chuckled. "If I spanked you as much as you deserve to be spanked, I'd be at it morning, noon and night."
"That's not funny."
He laughed softly, cupped the back of her head and drew her mouth to his own. "I love you so much, bambina," he groaned as his body responded to the heat in hers. "I couldn't begin to love you less but I *could* love you more."
"If more means you're going to spank me again, you can sleep in the guestroom."
"I'd love to spank you again," he whispered as his mouth found her breast and anointed it. "But I want to give you a sweet spanking and you're too sore for one of those right now."
"Please don't spank me so hard," she said softly as she melted in his arms, a different need for him asserting itself. Pulling his hand between her thighs she begged him to love her and told him he was a beast and a bully and far too bossy and if he didn't love her soon, she would tell the world that he wore thong underwear.
When they had given each other pleasure - when their bodies were sated and damp from their union, he remained in bed spooned around her until sleep gently took her. Watching her chest rise and fall, he listened to her breathing, satisfied that there were no hitches in each respiration, no wheezing, and no audible whimpers. And then he rose and sat in the wide leather chair beside the bed to continue his watch.
"Please don't spank me so hard," she had said just before he loved her.
Please don't spank me so hard, he mused and leaned forward to lift the sheet from her body. Her bottom was flaming red with a hint of bruising and he had done that to her.
... Because she didn't take care of herself, didn't take the meds?
... Because she lost her temper and threw the bottle across the room?
... Because she defied me?
... Because I love her too much?
All of the above?
"Damnation!" he swore under his breath. Had he lost control? His hand was large enough to cover a good portion of both of her bottom cheeks and he had just covered them thoroughly. The muscles of his left arm didn't show strain when he upended her; the muscles of his right arm flexed only slightly when he swung that arm with ease, his hand clapping off her bottom again and again. And his hand... it barely stung after most spankings, even the hard ones.
Not this time.
This time, his palm was reddened and slightly swollen, a little numb to the touch but nowhere near as heated as the small bottom he had punished. And he had spanked her hard... so hard that there was a hint of bruising - something he never did.
Her cries had been swallowed by her erratic breathing and he had been so determined to get her attention that he hadn't listened as closely as he usually did.
And she had taken it with minimal protest because...
... Because she loves me.
"Damnation!" he cursed again.
It didn't take an analytic mind to weigh the circumstances, the reasons, the excuses for why he spanked her. He gave her the occasional swat in passing, sometimes it was one firm reminder that she was pushing limits, or a swat to let her know he was aware of what she had done or said... more often it was one teasing swat between lovers. He didn't spank for sass; he didn't spank when she voiced a different point of view or an argument. He loved her independence, her feisty personality, her need to be her own person.
He spanked for health and safety issues - nothing else. Spankings were meant to hurt and he made sure they did but they didn't happen often. He always let her know how much he loved her regardless of what had taken place, held her until she was calm again, soothed her with loving cuddles and soft words, eased the pain in her bottom cheeks while assuaging the ache in her heart and in his.
And he spoiled her as often as possible because that was one more way he showed his love for her.
So why had he spanked her unnecessarily hard tonight?
Had it been unnecessarily hard? Or just hard enough? He wasn't sure. He knew he was shocked to see evidence of bruising surfacing on her bottom, knew it wasn't necessary to spank her that hard to get his point across. And then he kicked himself mentally because...
... Because I could have stopped spanking her sooner if I had paid closer attention to her breathing and her cries.
... Because I could have used a lighter hand and delivered the same lesson.
... Because, if necessary, I could have repeated the lesson in the morning... or the next evening when she has to take the meds again.
... Because I'm bigger than she is and far stronger and without thought, I used that advantage over her.
... Because I should have talked with her at length before spanking her a second time. Because I should have realized her temper was released out of frustration and not because she was angry with me.
... and... because I love her so much I can't believe I spanked her to the point of bruising.
A soft whimper broke him out of his reverie, emitted when she had turned in her sleep and her fiery bottom made contact with the bed. He slipped in beside her and spooned behind her, holding her close. The slight gap between her bottom and his belly did little; he could feel the heat she generated and he knew if he moved closer, it would burn. Afraid he'd touch her and hurt her further if he moved in his sleep, he gently pulled her onto his chest so she lay prone on top of him.
"Bambina, bambina," he murmured, settling her head between his shoulder and neck, his arms around her back. "I love you so much."
"You love me too much," she answered and wiggled around on top of him until she was comfortable.
"I didn't know you were awake," he whispered as he turned his head to kiss her brow.
"I wasn't but my bottom hurts and then you moved me and..."
"I acted too swiftly, bambina. I apologize. I shouldn't have spanked you so hard."
"Say that again," she said softly. "Not sure I heard you right."
"I said... I'm sorry I spanked you so hard."
"Is it okay if I remind you of that again when you get all bossy and..."
"Don't push it, Spence. You know I'll spank you when you need a firm reckoning."
"I knew it was too good to be true," she sighed and then pinched a flat male nipple because... Because it was right there... where it always was and because... it was a natural reflex to do so and because... it would annoy him and because... she knew he wouldn't retaliate.
"Tell me again how much you love me," she whispered and then yawned, sleep creeping toward her like a slow incoming tide.
"I spanked you too hard," he repeated. "You deserved that spanking but I got carried away. I'm not perfect; I make mistakes," he paused, thinking. "I try not to make too many, especially when it concerns you, but sometimes I overreact. I'd rather make that mistake, though, than have you get so sick you need medical intervention. I need you well, bambina," his heart speaking. "I need you healthy and whole and driving me crazy with your love for me. And you make me crazy," he murmured as he slipped lower under her body and found respite between her breasts. "So crazy," his warm breath tickling her flesh, his hands on a southern path. "I love you so much."
"You love me too much," she protested but so softly he almost didn't hear her words. "And all that love makes you spank me too hard. The loving is good," she breathed audibly then, reacting to his hands and mouth and wavering between being unhappy with him about what had occurred and pleasantly surprised that he had admitted he was fallible and then almost giddy because he loved her so much and cared enough to pay attention when she most needed that attention and... what he was doing this very moment felt so wonderfully good.
"You love me too much and you spank me too hard," she told him again. "Love me less and spank me less often and less hard," she said and then amended her thoughts. "Sweet spankings are good; you can do lots of those."
"Love you so much and gonna spank you when you need it," he murmured, knowing full well that was not the last word on the subject.
"We're at an impasse," she acknowledged and then gave in to the sensations of two lovers eager for each other.
"An impasse is a good place to be," he agreed as he turned them so that their bodies were joined.
"But you'll keep loving me, right?" she asked and then focused on showing him how much she loved him regardless of his heavy hand.
"Love you, will always love you," he groaned as his body proved it to her in an aged old way. "Gonna love you, spank you, love you again and the next time we're at this impasse, I'll love you and spank you and love you again."