When she finally stopped crying, he was still rubbing her back, the hand that had spanked her soothing her with gentleness she hadn't expected. She thought he'd be angry, yell at her and storm out of the house - not that he had ever yelled at her or shown his anger in all the years she had known him. Frustration and annoyance, yes, but never anger.
She hadn't expected to be spanked. She hadn't expected to be turned over his knees, skirt tossed up and panties pulled down. She had no idea it could hurt so much.
"I love you, sweetness," he murmured, tilting her chin and bending his head to rub his lips against her mouth.
"I hate you," she said when she could speak. "And I'm not marrying a man who will spank me like a naughty child."
"Mmm," he replied, his hand dropping to cup her sore bottom. "Yes, you are."
"I'm not marrying you just because my father said I would. We live in the United States, not in Cuba."
"Yes, you are," he repeated and kissed her eyelids, his tongue tasting her tears.
"Arranged marriages might be the norm in some third world countries, but not here! You are the scum of the earth!" she declared with a huff, pulling her head back from his grasp.
Rafael Joaquin Ramirez smiled at the woman in his arms. She was delicious and she was his. They had been betrothed since they were children, an agreement between their fathers and one he had every intention of keeping. Watching Maria Elena Gutierez grow up had been a sincere pleasure, the 8-year difference in their ages giving him an appreciative edge. Her father had told him many times that Maria Elena would not be told about their betrothal until she was 18. Because of that, she mostly ignored Rafael when she saw him - he was *too old* for her to be paying attention to him. This made watching her grow up an easy past time. When they were thrown together for family affairs, she showed little interest in him and wasn't coy or silly the way some girls are around boyfriends.
For Maria Elena, the news of her long betrothal had been a shock. Not that Rafael wasn't a handsome man or a successful one. At 26 he was already an established businessman, working hard and on the path to even greater success - taking over his father's cigar factories when the elder Ramirez decided it was time for more siestas and less hard work. When he came calling on her 18th birthday, she was polite but distant and when he asked her to dance at her birthday party, she would have refused him until her father intervened and pushed her toward her intended. Her mother had passed away when Maria Elena was still a very young child and her long suffering father spoiled her shamelessly but rudeness was not something he would tolerate.
"You will dance with Rafael," he told her. "And you will marry him."
"Chica," Rafael smiled at the woman who would be his life long partner. "You are very beautiful."
"I will dance with you," she replied, her face blank of emotion. "But I will not marry you."
"We'll see," he said enigmatically as they moved into the dance and chuckled when she left him standing in the middle of the dance floor when the music ended.
When she told her father she planned to attend the university, he balked but Rafael thought it was a good idea. "Let her have 2 years," he told his future father-in-law. "It will broaden her education and settle her. But she must attend school here at home. I do not want her to go away from us. Then, after she has studied a bit of this and that, we will wed. In the mean time, I will expand my businesses in South America. By the time they are operating in the black, Maria Elena will be 20 and ready to settle down."
The 2 years passed swiftly and Rafael returned home to find his betrothed arguing for a 3rd year of college. Her father refused and said it was time for her to marry and start a family. Maria Elena scoffed at the idea. She had matured in 2 years, physically and mentally but she still wasn't interested in marrying Rafael. He was amazed at how much more beautiful she had become. When he came to court her, she was out. Morning, noon or night, she was unavailable when he was announced.
When she dined out with her father, he would suddenly appear at their table and Maria Elena would excuse herself against her father's will, remaining in the ladies lounge until it was time to go home.
When she attended Mass, he would appear by her side and in a whisper that he could hear, she voiced her fervent prayer that the ground would swallow him up.
Rafael would smother his laughter, squeeze her hand affectionately and drop a soft kiss on her brow. To those who observed them, they were a sweet loving couple. Those who knew Maria Elena knew it was a sham; those who knew Rafael knew he was a man of infinite patience and determined to have her. The odds were in his favor.
When it was time to announce the banns, the priest told Rafael that he needed to meet with him and his future bride. Rafael informed Maria Elena's father and in turn, her father informed his daughter of the meeting. When Rafael came to pick her up for that meeting, she refused to leave the house.
"I'm at my wit's end," her father shook his head when Maria Elena would not come out of her room. "You will be her husband," he told his future son-in-law. "You will have to put up with her. Do whatever you think necessary. I wash my hands of her." And with that, he left the house and Maria Elena to her future.
"Come out, little one," he said softly to her closed bedroom door. "Come out now."
"Go away! Go to hell! I'm not marrying you!"
"I will count to 10," he said softly. "If you do not open the door before I reach 10, I will break it down and I will turn you over my knee and spank you for behaving in such an immature fashion."
"Spank me? Over my dead body!" she shouted and grabbing her car keys, opened a window and shimmied down the water drainage pipe along the outside wall, a means of escape she had often used when she was younger. But she was older now and instead of shimmying down the pipe in her school girl jeans, she was slipping and sliding in a skirt that was slowly but steadily hiking up her legs until the tops of her thighs were clearly visible to anyone below.
Rafael thought the view was magnificent. He had seen her shimmy down these very same pipes many times and suspected she would try the same route to escape his threat. He caught her around the waist just before her feet hit the ground.
He laughed and hugged her tightly to his chest and then he kissed her.
Maria Elena was startled. It was a wondrous kiss, filled with sweetness and promise and...
"Let go of me!" she hissed when he let her up for air.
"I owe you a spanking," he said in that same irritatingly calm voice he always used with her. "And you're going to get one."
"You spank me and I'll tell my father!" she had threatened.
"He'll be happy to hear I can discipline my wife," Rafael chuckled at her indignation.
"I'll call the police and charge you with assault!" she spit and tried to kick him but found herself under his arm as he marched back into the house.
"You'll have to show your pretty bottom to them, the pretty bottom that will soon be a dark shade of red."
"I'll get even!" she sputtered helplessly.
"I'm sure you'll try," he laughed as he made himself comfortable on the couch and draped her over his knees.
His hand clapped down once, twice and a third time, each spank harder than the last and then he paused, holding her squirming body in place. "Will you go to the priest with me?"
"Go to hell!"
"I thought not," he replied in a soft voice and before she knew his intent, he had lifted her slightly, his hand pushing her skirt up and her panties down.
She shrieked before the next spank registered, the knowledge that she had been bared to his gaze shocking her and then the spanking began in earnest. She yelled and squealed at the pain. She took gasping breaths and hissed her displeasure and called him names he didn't know she knew.
And still he spanked. And when she was finally limp across his lap, he picked her up and held her to his chest. It was the first time he had held her this close to his body and despite the circumstances, he relished the feel of her in his arms.
"I love you, sweetness," he told her. "I have loved you for a long time."
"I hate you," she replied, trying to breathe evenly. "And I'm not marrying a man who will spank me when he feels like it."
"You *will* marry me," he said softly. "And we are going to be late for our appointment with the priest."
She said nothing as he stood her on her feet and then, because she didn't move, he straightened her clothing. "Go wash your pretty face," he said as he stood and dropped a kiss on her warm brow. "I'll give you ten minutes to get ready."
Maria Elena had never been spanked before and as she made her way up the stairs, she realized the ache in her backside wasn't going to fade any time soon. Rafael watched her climb the stairs, her steps obviously causing pain in her well spanked bottom. He was confident she would behave herself when they met with the priest.
But he had underestimated her. Maria Elena wasn't a changed woman just because she had been spanked. As soon as she had moved beyond his watchful gaze, she removed her shoes and despite the pain, flew down the back staircase and out into the garage. She had the car's engine revving by the time the garage door was fully open. The only fly in the ointment was her future husband... standing in the middle of the driveway.
She was angry and gunning the motor, aimed the car straight at him. She laughed when he had the good sense to jump out of the way as she flew past him on two wheels and soon disappeared from sight.
"You won't be laughing when I catch you, little one," he said softly as he watched the car's exhaust dissipate. "I guarantee you won't be laughing," he promised.
He knew who her friends were but delayed going after her, giving her a chance to cool down. While he waited, he met with the priest by himself and explained the circumstances. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that pre-marital counseling was not something Marie Elena would sit through.
He spotted her car parked in front of her best friend's house. He made himself comfortable; she could be out in an hour or stay inside the whole night. She came out shortly after midnight. He followed her home and watched her circle the block a few times before pulling into her own garage and when the garage door came down, he parked his car in front of it, blocking it and waited again.
When her bedroom light went out, he quietly made his way into the house, grateful that her father had given him a key. She lay on her side under a light blanket, her body clearly outlined under the light covering, her long dark hair feathering the pillow. One arm was tucked into her chest, her fist under her chin and he thought she was even more beautiful every time he saw her.
And she was going to learn that he was not to be defied.
"Hello, my love," he said softly as he gathered her into his arms and then almost dropped her when the blanket slipped to the floor and he discovered that she slept nude, a fact he had not known before.
"What?" she answered half-asleep but awake enough to realize Rafael was in her bedroom. And then full realization hit her and she screamed.
"Shhh, sweetness," he chuckled softly. "You'll wake the neighbors."
"My father..." she began.
"Your father is out of town," he replied. "And I owe you a sound spanking."
"You already spanked me," she hissed, trying to wiggle out of his arms.
"I will spank you for defying me," he said calmly, admiring her nude form. "We were to go to the priest and you left me to explain to him why we did not meet with him. Then there's the little matter of you trying to run me down with your car," he added, wasting no time turning her over on his lap. "I will spank you and you will learn that I expect more of you."
"You will regret this," she warned and then hissed and gasped as his hand rained down on her exposed posterior. She still ached from the spanking he had delivered earlier in the day and she thought there was no way she could take more. Between breaths, she alternated between cursing him and asking her Savior to end her misery and when there were no more tears and her body had succumbed, he finally stopped the punishing spanking.
"You will be my wife," he told her as he pulled her to his chest. "And you will obey me. I will not tolerate childish behavior. Do you understand this, Maria Elena?"
"I understand," she wept bitterly. "I understand that you are despicable and I will do all in my power to avoid you. If you die tomorrow it will not be soon enough."
He tightened his arm around her and lifted her high enough to deliver another firm swat that had her gasping for breath. "I love you," he told her. "I have loved you since you were a child. We will be wed and nothing you do will change that."
At that moment, there was little she could do as she leaned against him, his body bigger and stronger than hers. Her nude state left her embarrassed and vulnerable and he knew it but he wanted her to know that his will was stronger than hers. When he was satisfied that she wouldn't fight him further, he covered her with the light blanket that had been on the bed and lay beside her until she was asleep.
In the morning he told her they would be wed within the month and that she should do whatever it was brides did to plan their weddings. Money was not an issue - she could buy a beautiful gown, order a beautiful wedding cake, hire a band, be extravagant. He and her father would indulge her every whim. A girl should have what she wanted on her wedding day.
Maria Elena knew what she wanted. She wanted to remain single and finish college and eventually choose her own husband but she remained silent. Arguing with him would probably get her spanked again and that wasn't something she wanted. She'd bide her time, marry him if it came to that, and when the time was right, she'd leave him high and dry.
She said nothing to him of her thoughts and in the days that followed, she remained in her room or if she went out, she didn't wander too far from home. Her father thought she was unusually quiet but assumed she had accepted her impending marriage as de facto and was simply nervous about the nuptials. Rafael wasn't sure but he was busy with his business affairs and had little time to spend with her. Her behavior was a welcome change and he was certain the spanking had caused her compliance.
Maria Elena had never been compliant in her entire life. He should have been alarmed.
"Are you happy with your dress?" he asked one night as he sat at their dinner table.
"What dress?" she asked.
"Your wedding dress, of course."
"I haven't bought one."
"What? What are you waiting for?" he asked, thunder in his voice.
"I'll find something in my closet," she dismissed him with a wave of her hands.
"In your closet? I would think you would want a special dress for your wedding day."
"She'll wear her mother's dress," her father said. "Have you tried it on, Maria Elena? Does it fit?"
"It will fit," she told him but in truth, she didn't know if it would. She didn't even know where it was stored. Her mother had died years before.
"What kind of cake did you order?" Rafael asked.
"Our wedding cake?" he queried.
"You want cake?"
"Maria Elena!" her husband-to-be rose to his feet, his face flushed with anger.
"If you're going to be this bossy when we're married, you can forget about it. I'm not living with a Neanderthal!" That said, she stormed from the room, leaving her father and her intended alone.
"You better tame her now, Rafael," her father intoned. "Otherwise, it will be a lifetime of misery."
"Never fear," his future son-in-law replied. "I know exactly how to tame her and I shall enjoy doing it."
He stood quietly against the wall as the people he hired swarmed into Maria Elena's house the next morning. Dressmakers, caterers, and a wedding planner hustled here and there with samples of the wedding details. All he had to do was make his selections and he did. Maria Elena was given the option to make choices based on the selections offered; she remained silent and furious through the entire process.
"Are you pleased with the selections I made?" he asked when everyone finally left. "Your gown?"
"You made choices that pleased you," she hissed. "I had no say in the mater."
"You could have spoken up," he said softly, pulling her into his arms. "I gave you that choice."
"I didn't care for *any* of the choices," she said petulantly.
"That's too bad, chica," he smiled at her pouting face. "You're going to look especially lovely that day no matter what you wear."
"Over my dead body," she mumbled, pulling away from his embrace.
"What did you say?" he frowned.
"I said go to hell!" she yelled and ran out of the room before he could catch her.
In the remaining weeks before the wedding, Maria Elena successfully avoided being alone with Rafael. She barricaded her bedroom door and made a habit of driving to a friend's house each afternoon. That's where she was the day before her wedding.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" her friend asked.
"Absolutely sure," Maria Elena replied. "And I suggest you leave your house an hour or so after I leave."
They had swapped cars... and clothes... and cell phones...
Maria Elena had bleached her dark hair blonde... and had it cut short and sassy. Less than 24 hours before she was due at the church, she drove out of town... away from her father... and her fiancÚ... and the life that had been chosen for her.
For the first time in his adult life, Rafael Joaquin Ramirez was frustrated... and angry... and out of patience. Maria Elena had left him standing at the altar and he was going to find her and... "I am going to blister that bottom!" he shouted as he left the church and her father to deal with the wedding guests.
She wasn't in any of her regular haunts. Her girlfriends hadn't seen her - the only one who might know her plans was conveniently out of town and not due back for weeks.
Her car was missing.
Her closets were empty.
Her bank account had been closed and all funds withdrawn.
He called an exclusive detective agency and promised a hefty bonus if she was found in the next 48 hours.
They found her with 2 hours to spare - in a villa tucked into the bluffs of a seaside town off the coast of Portugal, a villa once owned by her father. Rafael arrived the following evening... spied her walking the beach as the sun set... grabbed her... screaming... shrieking... cursing... hauled her over his shoulder.
He said nothing as he held her to his chest... his mind awash with emotion... relief... anger... joy... frustration... and quiet determination.
She was stunned to see him, certain she was free of him and speechless now that he held her. Her silence was brief. She shrieked when he flipped her over his lap and cursed him in two languages.
Rafael wasn't laughing. He was a man in love and frustrated and he had been humiliated on what should have been the most important day of his life. Every pore on his body demanded satisfaction and his hand rose to exact that satisfaction in an age-old way.
He spanked her, his hand coming down again and again until she finally burst into tears. And when she did, the punishment began. He bared her bottom, eyed the deep rose colored cheeks and spanked her hard, fast and furious.
He ignored her tears, her cries begging him to stop and hardened his heart until the task was complete. And when it was, Maria Elena was too numb to speak, her body drained, eyes red, bottom bordering on purple and her voice lost as she tried to breathe.
"Sweetheart," he murmured as he turned her in his arms. "I love you."
His words didn't penetrate; she was too busy concentrating on each breath, wincing every time she inhaled and certain she'd never sit again.
"We'll stay here and honeymoon," he told her as he kissed her brow. "And when the time is right, we'll go back home and get married."
"I'm not marrying you," she managed to say.
"Yes, you are," he told her. "I've been waiting a lifetime to call you my own."
She said nothing - overwhelmed by his presence and the harsh spanking - sank against his chest - and let oblivion take her. And when she woke, she was in bed with Rafael beside her.
"I'm not sure I'm happy about your blonde hair," he told her as he lifted her to lie on his chest," his words uttered as if the color of her hair was more important than the fact that she had left him standing at the altar.
"I'm not interested in your happiness," she replied, painfully aware that she seemed to ache all over.
"I'm very interested in yours," he said softly as he gently lay her on her side and stroked her nude form.
"You could have fooled me," she said, her voice a monotone, the effort to speak weighing heavily as each breath she took seemed to intensify the heat of her bottom cheeks.
"I've loved you since we were children," he told her as if that explained everything that had happened since.
"You never asked me to marry you," she said out of the blue, startling him. "You took our betrothal for granted. You never courted me. You never made any effort to get to know me. You assumed too much."
Her little speech gave him pause. It was true. He had accepted the betrothal as if it were a birthright and had done nothing to win her affection, nothing to assure trust, not even a passing friendship. He had been sent away to school ...but he had come home on holidays. There was an age gap between them but he could have spent time with her even unobtrusively - as part of family affairs. He hadn't thought of that.
And in the past two years when she knew he was her intended, he had continued to neglect her. As always, his business came first - getting to know the woman who would share his life, give birth to their children... It hadn't occurred to him that she would be an unwilling participant in the plans that had been made on the day she was born.
He loved her. He had always loved her. He was determined to marry her. If they were going to have a loving relationship, he needed to rectify the situation.
"I'm ashamed to say I was wrong, chica," he told her. "I can't make up for the times we might have shared over the years but I can start now. Will you give me a chance to show you how much I love you?"
"How can you love me when you don't even know me?" she asked, her voice holding a bare hint of curiosity, her emotions still held in check.
"I know you very well," he smiled, tilting her chin up. "I've watched you for years. You're bright and witty and funny and so very sweet," he added as his mouth found hers and anointed it.
"But I don't know you," she asserted and tried to pull away from his embrace. "And you're far too possessive," she complained when he pulled her back onto his chest.
"You're mine," he responded, his arms tightening around her.
"I don't belong to you!" she was adamant, her ire quickly rising to the surface.
He laughed softly at her indignation. "You *do* belong to me. You just don't know that yet."
"I know what I know and I know that I don't belong to you or to anybody else."
"You belong to me," he said, his words firm and final.
"Is that why you took my clothes off?" she spit at him. "I'm yours and if you want me naked, I'm... I'm naked?"
"You're naked because you were wearing a caftan when I found you and I wanted it out of the way when I spanked you and pulled it off of you without thinking. And I'm glad you're naked," he murmured as he stroked her back. "You're beautiful and soon I will show you how beautiful it is to be loved when the man who loves you..."
"You don't love me," she yelled and pulled away from him.
"Don't fight me, little one. Let me love you," he implored. "Let me show you how good it will be for us."
She winced when he turned her onto their sides, the edge of her bruised bottom pressed against the bed. At her first gasp of pain, he pulled her back onto his chest and shushed her with gentle hands and light kisses interspersed with loving murmurs.
"Don't make me spank you like that again, chica," he said softly. "I want you to be happy in our life and I don't want to have to do that. But if you persist in this fashion, you will leave me no choice."
"You think I will marry a man who will spank me any time he feels like it?" she hissed against his chest.
"I think you will marry me when your belly is round with our child," he said calmly. Cupping her bottom cheeks with gentle hands, he turned her onto her back, held her there in spite of her discomfort and kissed her... from the top of her head... down the middle of her wondrous breasts... her belly... her inner thighs... and finally to the center of her ardor.
She succumbed to his lovemaking, his hands and his mouth taking her to new vistas and when he finally made them one... he was the one smitten with the pleasures of her body.
"How often will you make love to me?" she asked innocently, no guile intended.
"As often as I can," he answered honestly, knowing there would be nights when he would work late but... if this was what he had to look forward to... there wouldn't be quite as many late work nights in his future. Maria Elena was a delicious and willing partner in the physical joys of married life. If they kept this up... she would soon carry his child.
For almost two months, he wooed her, courted her, wined and dined her and spent every moment with her. They were children again, running on the white sands of Portugal's beautiful beaches, exploring the bluffs and stealing the occasional kiss. He talked to her... shared his life and his ideas with her, and listened to her chatter about anything and everything and when they were back in bed... He loved her gently like a princess... loved her roughly like she was a quick tumble in the hay... loved her sweetly like he would if she were pregnant... loved her passionately like the lovers they had become.
Maria Elena was wildly attracted to him and unable to tell him. She had scorned him for so long... she was unable to admit that she was growing more and more fond of him with each passing day.
"Tell me you love me," he said one night when they lay entwined in each other's arms and passion spent.
"I love you," she replied.
"No, you don't," he chuckled.
"No, I don't," she admitted but you're growing on me. Who knows? Maybe I'll really love you by the time we've been married 50 years."
He swatted her... hard... and then kissed the sting away.
She giggled and turned to him. "Make love to me, Rafael."
When she missed her cycle for the second month in a row... she stood before him naked, cupping her belly. "I want this child," she told him softly.
"I want this child, too," he said solemnly, pulling her into his embrace and thinking she was the most beautiful woman on this earth and she was carrying his child.
"I won't promise to obey," she told him firmly when they returned home and announced their wedding date to her father.
He arched a brow but said nothing.
"Do you promise to love, honor and cherish..." the priest intoned.
"I do," Rafael responded firmly, his voice carrying all the way to the back of the church.
"Do you promise to love, honor and obey..." the priest asked Maria Elena.
"I promise to love and to honor," she smiled sweetly.
"Will you excuse us a moment, Father?" Rafael interrupted, taking his bride's arm and escorting her to a private room.
"You will promise to obey," he told her as he flipped her over his lap, drew her skirts over her back and yanked her flimsy panties off.
"I will not!" she screamed at him.
"You will!" he said in that infuriatingly calm voice and emphasized his wishes with well placed smacks that left her bottom red and sore.
"You're going to hurt the baby," she shrieked, trying to get him to stop his assault.
"I doubt that," he said as he placed one extra hard spank on her bottom, his handprint clearly visible. "But just in case..."
He lifted her, his hands under her skirts, rubbing her sore bottom and kissed her tears. "Look," he pointed at the mirror behind her. "That's just a reminder of what lies ahead if you defy me. Please do not defy me, Maria Elena."
She looked back over her shoulder, his handprint clearly visible on her bottom cheeks and then she looked at him and smiled.
Rafael took that as a sign that she would promise to obey him. They took their places back in front of the priest.
"Do you promise to love, honor and obey..." the priest asked Maria Elena.
"I do," she smiled. "And I'll obey when I feel like it."
"Maria Elena!" her bridegroom hissed.
"Rafael Joaquin!" she replied.
"When I get my hands on you," he whispered.
"You'll make love to me?" she asked.
"After I warm your bottom? Yes," he said agreeably.
The priest turned red in the face and coughed... "You may kiss the bride."