It seemed like half an eternity before she was calm, her soft sobs always an ache in his heart, the occasional stuttered breath stabbing him sharply. When she was finally quiet, his palm on her cheek was drenched with her tears and he murmured soothing sounds as he bent his head to kiss her brow.
"It's over, bambina. It's done," he told her as he wiped her face. "No more tears."
"That hurt a lot," she said when she could speak, her words halting and heavy with recrimination. "You could have waited; I would have come down. I just needed more time."
"And if I had given you that time and you made it to the ground by yourself... and in one piece," he paused as he arched a brow at her. "I still would have spanked you for doing something so foolhardy in the first place."
"I like to climb," she whispered as way of explanation and then gave him a look of censure. "You climb all the time. Why shouldn't I?"
"I scale walls, bambina. It's something Seals are trained to do."
"And you climb trees, too," she told him. "I know you do," her tone accusatory.
"Yes," he agreed as he cuddled her, "but only high enough to seek cover and on branches strong enough to hold my weight and give me enough leverage to fire on any enemy and..." he added as he gave it further thought, his tone now stern. "Only in training or in battle. You climbed beyond your limit and endurance and were damn near swaying on that branch. Any passing breeze could have toppled you!"
She wasn't in the house when he came home earlier than expected and thinking she was walking on the trail behind their home as she often did in the afternoon, he changed into sweats and took off after her. The sky was clear, the sun still shinning brightly even as it began its descent in the summer sky. Pausing to enjoy the golden hues cast on the trees, some small movement caught his eye.
"What the hell!" he muttered under his breath. "It can't be. Oca! Damn it! I am going to blister her butt!"
His agile 110 lb. wife was up a tree, a tall tree, one of the tallest trees on their property. And she looked like a feather about to float away, the branch she clung to swinging back and forth with her slight weight. His heart leaped into his throat and stayed there, a huge lump pounding hard and fast and causing his breath to falter.
"I'm going to strangle you!" he said softly in spite of his fear. He didn't want to startle her with a shout or let her know how badly he feared for her safety.
Slowly, with stealth and caution, he climbed the tree... 10 feet up... 20... 30... and then quietly called her name. "Come down, Spence," he said as calmly as he could. "You're too high, bambina. Climb down to me." He would have climbed higher but he wasn't sure the higher branches would hold his weight; for certain, they wouldn't hold their combined weight. She would have to climb down 10-15 feet on her own.
"It's nice up here," she said with a smile in her voice. "I can see forever."
"Come down, bambina," he said with a calm he didn't feel. "My arms are empty. I need you to fill them."
"I'm coming," she answered and slowly inched her way down until she was within his grasp and when she was, she kissed him by way of greeting. And then she realized he was perspiring even though the late afternoon was cool... and he was holding her far too tightly... and the vein on the side of his neck was pulsing far too fast...
"Let's get down before we talk," he replied, still keeping his voice soft. They had another 30 feet to descend and his anxiety wasn't going to go away until their feet touched terra firma.
"You okay?" she asked as he pulled her arms around his neck and told her to straddle his waist.
"Mmm," he murmured, his focus on getting them to the ground as quickly as possible.
Unaware of the turmoil going through his head, she took advantage of her position - her body pressed into his - her legs around his waist squeezing him. Her warm breath heated the hollow in his neck as she tickled that sweet spot with the tip of her tongue.
He groaned at the sensation and shuddered visibly when her hips arched into his. "Bambina..." he whispered. "Let's wait until we're in the house."
"Don't want to," she murmured, rubbing against him and pushing all those buttons that made him crazy with desire.
JC thought the ground was miles away... he climbed down a little faster.
The moment he felt the earth beneath his feet, he had her on the ground on her back and his body hovering over hers. "You are in such big trouble, piccola little one. You scared the hell out of me and I'm going to spank you hard."
"What?" she squealed. "What did I do?"
"What did you do?" Both brows rose in exasperation. "You took years off my life! That's what you did!" he exclaimed, his mouth covering hers in a hard demanding kiss that left her without breath until he gave her, his own. His hands made short work of her jeans and his sweats and when he entered her - more roughly than usual - his actions betrayed the fear he had felt when he realized how easily she could have fallen to her death. Being inside her... their immediate joining... was the only option, the only reconciliation... the soothing balm for the heart that would have shattered beyond repair if she had been lost to him.
There were no necessary words as he pumped his body and his love and his claim on her, leaving her little leeway to return his demands. She acquiesced, her body receiving whatever he would give her and without framing coherent thought, she knew what he was doing and why. Her tears welled as her body received his, not from pain or fright but from the hurt he was feeling. Her arms tightened around his neck giving him what he wanted, giving him what he needed.
It was madness - mating and making love - in the open forest of their backyard. She was the anchor to his sanity, his arms around her all that really mattered. And then it was done and still he covered her with his body easing up just enough to let her breathe.
"You will *never,* under *any* circumstances, scare me like that again," his voice soft but firm, his breath in short shallow gasps. "If I have to tie you to my side..." he glared at her and then seeing her tears, rolled onto his back with her in his arms and soothed her. "Did I hurt you, zucca pumpkin? Did I love you too hard? Tell me."
"No," she murmured. "Are you still going to spank me?"
"No," she shook her head. "Don't do that."
"You took your life in your hands foolishly and carelessly. You didn't stop to think of the consequences of your actions - that you could have lost your balance, fell... And what do you think would have become of me? Without you... bambina, I can not bear the thought of losing you. Si, you will be spanked and..." he added as he stood with her in his arms and righted his clothes, leaving hers in disarray. "It will be a memorable spanking so you will never do that again."
He remained silent, ignoring her protests, her attempts to get loose from his hold on her, the kicking and pinching and fists landing wherever she could make contact. He said nothing as he pulled her jeans completely off and flipped her over his knees when he sat on the top step of their back porch. One hand held her securely in place, the other never pausing in its descent as he warmed her bottom with solid firm spanks that had her reeling as the heat rose from heavy stinging to a solid fiery burn. And when she thought she could take no more and stopped fighting him, her body limp across his lap, he paused to rub her tender bottom, thinking she had had enough. But then... a flash of what she looked like when he saw her at the top of that swaying branch... and his hand descended yet again.
"No!" she choked as she realized he was going to repeat the spanking. "Enough! I can't take any more!"
"My hand again, bambina, or would you rather I use a paddle?"
"You don't have a paddle," she foolishly reminded him as she tried to find the energy to squirm away from his hand.
"I have a belt," he said with jaw clenched and teeth locked and his heart racing again at the thought of losing her.
"Please..." she sobbed.
He stopped the hard punishing spanks and without missing a beat, raised her into his arms, her tender bottom straddling his thigh. His mouth took command of hers, the tears she was shedding dripping onto his lips. He tasted them, his tongue savoring the salt and then his hands cupped her sore bottom and he growled at her. It was a foreign sound - wild and loud and feral, halting her tears and making her blink.
"I'm going to spank you again, later," he told her when he inhaled enough oxygen to speak.
"Do it and get it over with," she snapped and then sagged against his chest, her energy dissipated.
"No," he murmured as he tilted her chin up so she'd look at him. "I want you to feel this burn again and again until I'm satisfied you'll never do anything so foolish again."
"You call that love?" she asked so softly he wasn't sure he had heard her words correctly.
"I call that love and I love you so much," he groaned as he took her into the house. "So much, bambina. If I didn't love you so much, I would have let you take your chances on your own. I would have..."
"Really? You wouldn't have cared?" she asked, astonished at the thought.
"No," he admitted. "I probably would have taken my belt to you the moment we were on the ground, might do it anyway," he muttered in disgust. "Beat some sense into you."
"But you won't," she said softly, the tears flowing again, the burn in her bottom cheeks intensified with every step he took.
"No," he admitted as he lay her on their bed. "I would never beat you... never take a belt to you... I love you bambina. I want you safe. Don't do this to me again."
"I apologize for worrying you," she told him, cupping his cheek. "I would have come down as soon as I saw you, but you saw me first."
"You apologize for worrying me but not for climbing so high and putting your life in danger?" he laughed in spite of her words. "Oh yeah, another spanking for you, mia adora, another spanking to make sure you never do that again."
"No!" she yelled and tried to get away from him but his arms pulled her back against his chest and into the safe haven of his embrace.
"Another spanking before bed," he told her, holding her tight, his breath hot on her neck. "Another spanking and maybe another in the morning and another and another until I can breathe easy again."
"JC?" she turned her head to look at him, the question clear in her eyes.
"No, my love. Not that many, but definitely one more!"
"I won't forgive you!" she said as if that made a difference.
"I know you won't," he whispered before his mouth claimed hers. "But you'll be alive and in one piece and mine to love again and again."
True to his word, he spanked her again before bed and once more the following morning. She complained, argued, protested and finally stopped fighting him.
In the heat of their passion, he demanded answers to his questions. "Whose tush is this?"
"Mine!" she snapped and then gasped when his heavy hand reinforced his possession.
"Whose tush?" he asked again. "Whose tush am I spanking?"
"Yours," she squealed when he swatted her sore cheeks again. "And who do you belong to?" he asked in a softer tone as his body melted in hers.
"You," she answered in the same tone. "I'm yours."