Mi Spiace - I'm Sorry...
"Hey, sleepyhead," he murmured when he saw her eyes open.
"Mmm," she hummed, closing her eyes again, snuggling into his arms.
"How's your head, bambina?" he asked, his lips brushing her brow, one hand gently rubbing the back of her neck.
"How's your tummy?" he whispered as his hand slipped between their bodies, fingers reaching under her camisole, circling her navel. "Any better?"
"And your tush, baby?" he asked softly as he tilted her head up so she'd look at him. "How's your tush?"
"You spanked me!" she hissed, pulling back from his embrace, remembering the circumstances and angry all over again.
"I did," he admitted softly, pulling her back into his arms and rubbing her bottom cheeks. "How's your tush feel, bella?"
"Sore! And you know it!" she snapped, trying again to pull away from him.
"Good," he murmured, tightening his arms around her. "Gonna keep it that way until I'm sure you understand the consequences of your actions."
"But I didn't do anything!" Spencer protested.
"And you're not going to, either," her husband muttered in disgust. "I'm going to make sure of it."
"You are *not* spanking me for something that hasn't even happened," she yelled, aiming a fist toward his belly.
He grabbed her hand just before she made contact and brought it to his mouth. "I *am* spanking you, bambina," he promised as he rubbed his lips across her knuckles. "Sto andare sculacciarli (I'm going to spank you...) over and over until you can't stand to hear that woman's name again."
"You're not being fair!" Spencer complained. "I haven't even seen Harriet since we lived in Virginia. It's not my fault she's visiting the West Coast. And... and it was just a phone call!"
"I heard that phone call; she wants to meet you for lunch, today. You're *not* going! You're *not* getting anywhere near her. She's a menace," he muttered.
"JC, you're not being fair."
"Fair?" Both brows went up and suddenly, Spencer was staring at the carpet again as JC's hand slapped against her sore tush. Pulling her camisole up to give him an unobstructed firing range, he rained a dozen hard and rapid spanks on her rosy bottom. "Fair?" he said in a loud voice. "You think I'm not being fair? You should know better than to get anywhere near her! That woman almost got you killed! Only by sheer luck and the grace of God..." he paused, realizing he was shouting and that he was spanking her while he was angry. And he wasn't angry with Spencer; he was angry with Harriet, but Spencer was taking the brunt of it.
Sobbing softly, Spencer lay limp across JC's lap, her husband's hand resting on her back, the other gently rubbing the heat of her bottom cheeks. If she turned her head, she would have seen that he was inhaling deep breaths as he tried to control his temper and calm down. But she was concentrating on breathing and didn't turn her head. She didn't know what he was doing and she didn't know that he was mentally chastising himself for his lack of control.
"Bambina," he said softly, lifting her so she straddled his lap. "Mi spiace, bambina. I'm sorry, baby. Mi spiace. I should not have yelled at you. I'm *not* sorry I spanked you," he whispered as he held her trembling body close to his chest. "I'm sorry I spanked you when I was agitated. I should have waited."
"My own," he murmured as his lips caressed her brow, his hands rubbing her back and slipping down to her reddened cheeks. "Mia molto possedete my very own," his words soft in her ear. "If spanking you is the only way to keep you safe from Harriet, then..." He tilted her chin up, his eyes gazing into hers as he vowed. "State andando essere sculacciati Then you're going to be spanked."
"You're not being fair," Spencer whispered into his neck, leaning against him.
"Tell me why I spanked you, Spence," he whispered back, his large hand rubbing the back of her neck, his mouth warm against her temple.
"'Cause you're bigger than me," she sighed.
"That's true," he admitted, a fact she always threw at him when she was frustrated. "Why else?"
"'Cause I let you," she told him.
"You let me?" he laughed softly. Spencer was half his size... and she let him spank her?
"I let you," she affirmed, squirming on his lap as she tried to get comfortable, her bottom burning. "It's because I love you that I don't leave you," she added.
"Bambina..." JC murmured. "I just told you why I spanked you. I spanked you because I want you to..."
"JC, you hurt me," she said quietly, a hitch in her voice as the tears flowed again. "You hurt me because of your fears, not because I did something wrong."
"Forse Maybe," he admitted, "but my fear for your safety is valid. You will stay away from that woman. You will not see her. You will not..."
"I am *not* one of your subordinates," Spencer hissed, gathering her mental resources and striking back. "You can *not* give me orders!"
"Maledicalo al hell! Damnit to hell!" he swore softly, his arms tightening around her. "You *will* obey me in this!"
"You have no faith in me," she argued as she pushed against his chest, trying to free herself from his embrace. "You always think the worst will happen. You never let me..."
"I *know* Harriet," he said stiffly as he cupped her chin, tilting her head up to look her in the eye. "I know what she is capable of and I don't want you anywhere near her. She has *no* regard for life or limb," he added, "and I won't have her endangering yours."
"JC! I was only going to..."
"You're *not* going to have anything to do with her. That's my final word on the subject. Capite? Do. You. Understand?"
Spencer was stunned. JC never raised his voice when he was angry; he always spoke softly and especially when he was spanking her. She clamped her lips together, her eyes blinking back tears as she looked at him.
"I'm waiting," he said, keeping a hand under her chin so she wouldn't waver from his gaze. "Do you understand? If you have anything to do with Harriet, sto andando sculaccialo cosė duro I will spank you so hard... I'm waiting to hear you say you understand," he said again, pausing to give Spencer a chance to reply. When she remained silent, he turned her over his lap once more. His hands held her in place, one resting on her heated cheeks. "Your bottom isn't burning enough?" he asked with regret. "You need to have the heat turned up a few more notches?" When she didn't answer, his hand came down hard, swiftly turning her rosy red bottom to carmine, a deep blood red.
He wanted her to associate Harriet's name with pain. He wanted her to remember how much it hurt so she wouldn't have anything more to do with the woman. Every time she heard the woman's name, he wanted her bottom to moan in remembrance. Vaguely, he was aware that his hand hurt but not nearly as much as his heart ached. He feared for her safety, her life, and he didn't want to have to repeat this lesson.
Spencer had reached her limit. When pain becomes a battle of choices... breathing with each spank or just breathing... Spencer chose breath and mentally drifted away. The body can take all kinds of abuse; pain is intensified in the mind and the mind only accepts so much... then goes into survival mode. Spencer's mind shifted... the mantra of self-hypnosis an automatic trigger... igniting... tuning out... drifting to other planes... survival.
When her gasps ceased and her body stilled, he knew she had mentally disengaged. The pain was nowhere as intense as the beatings she had received as a child... the few remaining scars on her back faded but still discernible if one looked. And more he didn't want to think about - not now when it was his hand that was the instrument of her pain. He rarely spanked her so hard that she sought escape, but this time, her life was at stake. He'd do what he had to do to keep her safe and if that meant burning her bottom until...
"Bambina, come back to me," he urged as he pulled her up into his arms. "I need you alive and whole. Come back to me."
She lay limp against him, her memory of another severe spanking early in their marriage brought to the forefront of her mind as if it were yesterday. She wavered in and out of conscious thought, mentally not yet able to register the pain in her bottom cheeks, not ready to acknowledge the soreness that would take days to fade. She let him hold her, not fighting his embrace, his whispered words of comfort a gentle hum in her ear, nothing more. She teetered on the edge of awareness.
"I almost lost you," he told her, remembering that she had missed death by mere inches the last time she had been with Harriet, a careless driver that had been playing when she should have been watching the road. She had crossed a median strip and slammed into a concrete barrier, their lives saved by a fluke of luck as the car slid onto its side. "And before that," he muttered, "when the two of you went out to celebrate her new job. Do you remember that night? Harriet drank too much and stepped up onto the bar to high-step a cancan and kicked the side of your head. By the grace of God, you weren't blinded by her recklessness. You're not seeing her again. Period."
His words bounced against her eardrums, a litany of sound... his warm breath brushing her neck, his hands rubbing her lower back. He was careful not to touch her burning cheeks and desperate to hug her tighter to his chest. If he could just take her into his body and keep her safe...
Searing pain washed over her, her body trembling, each breath halting and stuttered with every movement. Her chest rose and fell in tandem... inhaling oxygen, kindling the fire... exhaling... inhaling... breathing morphed to gasping air, the pain swallowing thought... and words.
"JC... please," she finally managed after a few minutes, her words barely audible.
"If I have to," he said, his voice tinged with deep regret, "I'll tie you to this bed to keep you away from her."
"Then tie me," she murmured. "If you can't trust me... tie me."
Her softly uttered words pierced him. He had always trusted her, knew that she would never intentionally endanger her life. She had made impulsive decisions in the past; didn't always think about the consequences of her actions - most of which found her swiftly upended and spanked - but she could be trusted not to willfully put herself in danger. He regretted his choice of words.
"Bambina," he murmured. "I trust you. It's Harriet I don't trust."
"I give you my word I won't see her," she whispered, her head dropping, her brow pressed against his chest. "If she calls, I'll just tell her goodbye."
"Truth?" he asked, his palm tilting her chin up so he could see her eyes.
"Truth," she replied with a heavy sigh, the burning inferno in her bottom radiating, waves of heat mixed with pain. She pulled her head out of his grasp, lowered it so he wouldn't see her bite her lip as she gave in to the searing blaze, circles of white heat consuming the remainder of her energy. Her body was propped against his, her eyes filling... overflowing... it hurt but his words had hurt her more. The thought that he would tie her... couldn't trust her to make the right decision... had little faith... where had she gone wrong?
In seconds he felt her warm tears on his chest - not a gush - a slow and steady cascade, soaking his shirt, drenching her face. She was limp against him and again, he regretted his hasty words. Life had challenged Spencer many times and each time, she had been fearless in the face of adversity, meeting each new hurdle alone and head-on. There were few things that frightened her; the thought that he doubted her solemn word was probably eating away at her. He had to disabuse her of that belief.
With a gentle arm around her waist, he carried her into the bathroom, straddled her over one muscular thigh, a thick towel beneath her and pulled her upper body back into his embrace. He ran cold water into the sink and dipped a soft cloth into it, soaking it and then applied it to her lower back. The cool water dribbled down to her flaming cheeks, sizzling...
She gasped, then breathed easier as the water began to cool the inferno from white searing heat to pain that was bearable. Again and again, he let the water drip until her breathing eased and when it did, he lifted her chin to rinse her face and neck.
Neither spoke for a while, each lost in thought as they faced this new impasse in their relationship. It should have been an insignificant event, just one of those discussions that two people share, each aware of the other's point of view and then some sort of agreement or compromise. It had taken on heavier overtones that neither had anticipated but both knew it needed to be addressed.
Spencer had a hard time thinking rationally when she was nursing a bottom that was so sore... and heavy with pain that was due to more than physical distress.
JC had a hard time thinking rationally when he knew he had uttered hasty words... words he didn't mean... and worse; he was the cause of her physical distress and emotional turmoil.
In their haste to make matters right, their words tumbled over each other.
"JC," she murmured.
"Spencer," he moaned softly at the same time.
"Bambina, Mi spiace. I..."
"I can't take any more," she said quietly, the pain talking. "And I can't fight you. If you can't trust me, tie me. If that's what it takes to ensure your... your... whatever it is... then tie me. And when Harriet leaves town, I'll... I'll..."
"I'm not going to tie you," he murmured as his hand cupped the back of her head, his heart aching at her acquiescence. Spencer had been tied several times when she was growing up; tied and beaten. Her occasional nightmares testified to memories that lingered, the fading scars on her back tangible testimony. Asking that he tie her was tantamount to giving up... defeated... total submission to his will, something neither of them wanted. He thought his heart would shatter.
"Do what you want," she said in a hushed voice. "I won't fight you."
She was limp against him, energy evaporated, the last of it a low hum hovering... dissolving... respiration slowing to subsistence. She curled into his arms, her body moving into a fetal position against him, legs bent beneath her, hands tucked under her chin, arms hugged to her chest. The pain in her bottom took second place, temporarily shelved to be met head-on another time.
He lifted her higher on his chest, cradling her close, his head dipping to kiss her brow, lips brushing the silk of her skin. She was warm to his touch, too warm, the heat of flush that could quickly turn to fever giving him cause to worry. "Bambina," he murmured. "Ti amo I love you. Li ho bisogno I need you. Come back to me."