Ellie glared at Mike. “Don’t you dare!”
“Don’t I dare, what?” He looked amused and that did not please her. She swallowed hard.
“You know!” She took a step backwards and crossed her arms in what she hoped looked like a position of power. He was so much bigger than she was though, she doubted it would scare him.
“I’m confused.” Mike opened the dresser drawer and she scrambled up onto the bed.
“No, I said! I do not want to get married with bruises on my butt!”
“Why not?” He picked up the nasty, wooden back scratcher from the drawer and she sighed. That one left very colorful bruises.
“Not a good reason. Come up with another one.” He rolled up his sleeves and moved the straight back chair away from the wall. Her heart thumped and she felt that thrill of nerves that always happened before he spanked her.
“People will help me change!” she said. “You don’t want them thinking things!”
“I don’t care what people think and if you wear those cute things you call tap pants, you won’t have to worry about it. It will cover the bruises.” He sat in the chair and looked at her expectantly.
“I don’t want a spanking!” she wailed.
“Well, I gave in about the obey in the vows,” he said. “So you get that adorable butt over here so I can remind you that you will obey anyway.”
“No one says obey, anymore! They say love, honor and cherish, instead.” Was she going to be able to talk her way out of this? Somehow she didn’t think so.
“We have to be at the rehearsal in two hours,” she told him. “And I have to pack to spend the night with Lucy.”
“Lucy is a dingbat,” he told her.
“She’s my friend,” Ellie informed him. “We are doing a little bachelorette party at her house.”
“Then if I was you, I’d get myself over here, drop those pants and assume the position,” he said. “You want to be done dancing before you leave.”
“Noo,” she moaned. Apparently he intended to spank her hard if he thought she was going to do what he called the dance of the well-spanked girl. Where she grabbed her bottom and rubbed and high stepped on her tiptoes, doing anything she could think of to extinguish the fire he’d lit in her rear. Mostly when her spankings were done, he just pulled her on his lap and cuddled her till she was calm. No dancing required.
She wasn’t getting out of it, she knew, and really, she’d enjoy the aftereffects when it was over. She did like a few bruises on her butt to look at—but man, not on her wedding day. “Can’t it wait for the honeymoon?” she asked, hopefully. “We will have lots of time then.”
“We could, but we won’t,” he said and tapped that nasty back scratcher on his lap. It wasn’t a dollar store one, noo. He’d gotten a good one from the farm store and that thing was sturdy. And harsh.
“So much for Jolly Old St. Nick,” she informed him as she slid off the bed and began the million-mile march over to him. They had met when she was organizing the Christmas parade and he was riding in the sleigh as Santa. It had basically been love at first sight for her, and then she learned that part of his package was spankings. Some were fun, making them both laugh, and get turned on, and some were extremely not. She found out that while she did not like being spanked, she did enjoy the aftereffects. How they made her feel about him, for some odd reason, it made her want to be closer to him. She did like looking at her badges of honor, the bruises he left on her butt, which was strange but true. The fact they were both more comfortable and easy with each other after, again, odd, but whatever. It was what it was as her Grandma used to say.
“Hey, we all know what’s happening when you get on the naughty list,” he said, and positioned her in front of him. He always started his spankings with a lecture while she squirmed in anticipation.
“Now, we have a couple of hectic days ahead of us,” he told her, and she nodded dutifully. Like, her wedding? Yeah, kind of a big deal. “I want us to start out on the right note.”
“What’s the wrong note?” she asked. Seriously, what was he talking about and why couldn’t he just get it over with?
He seemed a little taken aback. “Where you think you can do anything you want.”
“Like marry the man I love?”
He rolled his eyes, and told her, “Drop the pants and get that ass over my lap where it belongs.”
Her heart thumped and she sucked in her breath as she stepped to the side of him as he’d taught her. How had she gotten herself into this relationship? Did she really want an entire lifetime of this? Maybe he’d outgrow it in a few years? She could but hope, she thought as she didn’t listen to whatever drivel he was spouting about, as the lecture continued while her trembling fingers unbuttoned her pants. Like she could hear anyway when her heart beat so loudly.
“Mike,” she whined.
In response he grabbed her arm and pulled her over his lap. Dang. Her mind kept drifting back to when they met and how she’d felt the electric zing the second their eyes met. He’d given her many zings since, some good, some annoying, but she found he fit into her busy life and lonely heart with astounding ease. He encouraged her, supported her goals and high ambitions, and endured her weird realtor hours, and all her extracurriculars she knew were important to advance her career, and was a solid rock she could lean on.
He also lectured her as if she were a child and paddled her bottom. For some reason, she just accepted that. Why? She didn’t know why. He countered her every argument against it with infuriating logic and reason. And honestly, with her hectic schedule, sometimes a good bout of cathartic tears really seemed to help de-stress her. It was a very odd relationship but it seemed to work for them.
But not her, now, in this moment in time. “Ow! Dang, not so hard!”
“Oh, you think you are in a position to give orders, do you? That’s cute.” He started out as he usually did, using his hand, then stopping and rubbing her bottom. Then more. He called it a warm-up. She didn’t know what she called it. Other than it was the most enjoyable part of the process. If he thought she needed what he called punishment, he didn’t do that, so maybe he wasn’t going to spank her as hard as he said. She could only hope. Other than not liking the position she was in, which was over his lap with her bare bottom on display, arms down and hands on the floor, trying to not fall on her head and her legs dangling, not touching the floor. He was just too tall.
“Mike! I’ve had enough, please! I’ll be good!” It didn’t hurt to try, she thought. Maybe he’d stop.
“I haven’t even started your spanking yet,” he told her. “And you have no choice when you’ve had enough. I can tell when you have gotten my point.”
No, he really couldn’t. She was always more than done before he thought she’d had enough.
“Ow!” Okay, he’d picked up the back scratcher. “Not that, please! Please!” Whoever called please the magic word was wrong. It never worked. “Ow! Mike! Not there! That hurts!”
“That’s the idea. Gets right to the point.”
“Ow! Mike! No more!” Ellie wiggled over his lap and didn’t even try to hold still. She would buck and squirm and throw her hand back to cover her bottom and kick and scream. If he couldn’t control her, then her spanking was over, right?
“Please!” she threw her hand back and knew it would get worse now. Why did she put up with this? “It hurts! It hurts, no more, please!”
She could feel the burn and it wasn’t a sting, it was pain! “No! No! Ow! Stop it! Please!”
Why did he have to spank so hard? Why did he have to spank at all? It was painful and humiliating and “It hurts!” Then he upped the paddling and she could no longer think, she just started crying. And it didn’t matter how hard or fast or anything because all she felt was pain. She sobbed out “Done, done, please, please.” It didn’t matter, it just hurt. Burned.
She didn’t even notice he stopped until he stood her up on her trembling legs, she tried everything she could to stand still and collect her shattered dignity, but her bottom hurt so bad. She sobbed and rubbed it and tried not to dance, because that was what he wanted and she didn’t want to make him more smug than he already was. But her feet pranced a little bit, while she sniffled and rubbed and tried to control her crying.
Mike held open his arms. “Come here, baby,” he said.
Without a second thought, she rushed into them. Stupid. He was the one who made her hurt and yet, she wanted his comfort. Ridiculous but true.
“Lie on the bed,” he told her after hugging her until she finally calmed.
Immediately she began to whimper, “No more, no more! Please!”
“No more,” he assured her. “Something else. On your belly.”
She did as she was told, but still felt apprehensive. However, he never lied to her and if he said no more, there would be no more.
Lying on her belly, she felt some cool cream on her hot throbbing bottom. “Did you learn your lesson?” he asked.
Well, there was only one answer for that question. “Yes, Sir,” she said. What lesson? Oh, yeah, he was the boss of her. Of course.
“This is arnica cream,” he told her. “It will lessen the bruises and take some soreness away.”
Ellie felt conflicted. Her bruises were the proof she took whatever he gave her. She liked her bruises, liked looking at them and remembering. She needed something like a badge of honor for tolerating the spanking as well as she did, after all! But! She was getting married tomorrow. She would be having help getting dressed and didn’t need to scare the vanillas. Was she not a vanilla anymore? She softly sighed as the cream started to soothe her aching butt. “Thank you,” she said.
“Anything for my girl,” he said. “Well, anything but letting you squirm out of a deserved spanking.”
“Maybe sometimes?” she asked hopefully.
“Don’t hold your breath,” he advised. “Feeling better?”
“Yeah.” She was starting to, anyway. And she really felt much calmer. And weirdly, better. Plus she loved his hands on her butt when he wasn’t spanking her. She sighed, almost happily as he continued rubbing.
“You girls are staying at Lucy’s house, right?”
“As far as I know,” she said. “Where are you guys going?” Weird, less than five minutes out of a painful, horrific spanking and they were talking like normal people. Mike was going out with his best friend Max and some of their friends this night before their wedding.
“Probably The Rusty Nail and get some barbeque and beer.”
“Just don’t overdo,” she warned.
“We overdid it a few weeks ago when we went to Vegas,” he said, giving her bottom a little smack as he stood up and put the lid back on the jar. “That was quite enough for a while.”
“What, you don’t intend to overdo on our honeymoon?” she teased, climbing off the bed, enjoying the coolness on her bottom. She liked that cream stuff. He needed to use that more often. The rubbing felt good too, she had to admit.
“Yes, but not on booze,” he said.
Ellie giggled. “Me, too!” She was looking forward to a few days away from work and her responsibilities that sometimes became overwhelming. And being with him. They were not having either a lavish wedding or honeymoon. They both decided they would rather buy some land and build a house instead of spending it all on what basically was a party. They were having a small reception at the place they were getting married, a rustic barn on the edge of town, and then a catered dinner from The Rusty Nail, just ribs, rolls, corn and slaw. A friend of Mike’s was playing some music for a couple hours for dancing. Nothing outlandish or outrageous, no drama.
They had put a down payment on three acres on the edge of town and were happily looking at building plans. Their land – she loved saying that – was secluded enough that they would have privacy, and yet within ten minutes of both of their offices. She couldn’t wait to get settled there, but in the meantime, she had just moved into Mike’s condo with him. They would probably be there for a year, she figured, even though they’d been told six months. She knew, from working with her many clients, that building or renovations always took twice as long and cost twice as much as the first quote. She didn’t know why, she just knew it did. But with Mike, she would enjoy the process. Despite his predilection for spanking her and pretending to be the boss, she wasn’t afraid to express her opinions and he took them as seriously as she took his.
“Bottom better?” he asked. “You might want to put some clothes on and get to packing. Or get to packing and then put some clothes on.” Hard to believe this grinning guy had her over his knee making her bawl, and beg, and sob just a few minutes ago. One of the many reasons she loved him so much. Like Shrek, he was an onion. Many layers.
She reached up on tiptoes to kiss him. There was a massive difference in their heights. She was almost five three, if she stretched, both the truth and her legs, and he was six three with no stretching. Plus he was about ten years older than she was. Did any of that matter? Nope. This was her guy.
And they were getting married tomorrow. “Let’s just stay home tonight,” she turned to him and said, “Just me and you.”
“We are going to be me and you for the rest of our lives,” he told her and kissed her nose. “You have to be at the hairdresser’s early in the morning, plus all that other girly stuff you have to do. Me, I just put on the tux and go. You will have fun with your girlfriends and one night apart won’t hurt us. Nothing will hurt us. Ever.”
Sighing, Ellie reached up and hugged him. “Yeah, you are right, and it would be more practical to leave with Lucy in the morning.” Lucy was her only attendant. It was going to be a simple ceremony. He had Max and she had Lucy. She and her new husband were spending that night in a hotel in town, and then heading out early the next morning for their honeymoon. They would be going to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. She’d found a lodge there, close to attractions if they wanted to go out and a very comfortable setting if they didn’t. A pretty little cabin, with a small kitchenette, a hot tub on the back deck, overlooking the woods, a pool and community center within walking distance in case they had a sudden urge to shoot pool or play ping pong. Dollywood was less than forty-five minutes away, if they wanted to go, but the amenities there, she felt pretty sure, would be quite enough for their honeymoon activities. A few days off sounded wonderful. Between her work and her community service committees, she often worked seven days a week. But these next few days were all about them, as a couple.
Truly, she was more excited for their life when they got home than the wedding itself. She knew that wasn’t very girly of her, but really, she wanted a real life with Mike, not a fancy party. However, it would be lovely to belong to him, truly and legally.
“You all packed?” he asked.
Her wedding dress was already at Lucy’s where it had been since she bought it. She hoped he liked it. He would. She knew his tastes by now. “Almost,” she said. “Just some pajamas.”
“You own pajamas?” he asked, with that grin that made her crazy.
“Of course I do! Most people do! You just won’t let me wear any!”
“You should probably wear them for a girl’s night, “ he agreed. “Let’s see what they look like.”
Ellie shook her head. “So we’ve been living together for six months and now you want to see my pajamas? Here you go.” She held up a pair of soft cotton blue pants with a matching short sleeved top.
“Is that it?” he asked, obviously disappointed.
“Yes,” she folded them up and put them in the suitcase. “Did you think I was going to wear a negligee?”
“Kinda,” he said, a little sheepishly.
“Well, so you know, we won’t have pillow fights either.”
“All my boyhood dreams shattered,” he moaned dramatically.
“Sorry. That’s married life, so you know, one shattered dream after another.”
“Good thing I have time to back out,” he said.
“Don’t you dare!”
“Last time you told me not to dare, I paddled your cute little butt for you.”
“Yeah, well, I guess I need to change my vocabulary.”
“Nah, I kinda like being dared.” Mike stood up and grabbed her suitcase. “Come on, I’ll drive you to Lucy’s.”
“Thank you,” she said. “I’m going to miss you tonight.”
“I’m going to miss you too, but I will see you tomorrow.”
“Darn right you will,” she said. “Mike?”
He opened the car door for her, and she waited till he got in to ask, “You won’t stand me up, will you?” Now that would be some publicity, ‘local realtor gets left at the altar!’
“I wasn’t planning to.”
He didn’t even ask if she was going to stand him up. Hmph. Well, she wasn’t. He knew that. She was insane about him, despite a few flaws here and there. He wanted the supper dishes done before bed, when she knew that nothing bad would happen if they waited till morning. He almost always missed the dirty clothes basket with his socks and was utterly oblivious. Threatening to curtail her extracurriculars when she got stressed about them was not a good look on him. And she wasn’t even going to bring up the spanking thing. Despite those little things, she adored him and would be so happy to be married.
“Next time I see you, I’ll magically turn into Ellie Thompson-Murphy. I had to get new business cards and signs made and everything!”
“I am so annoying,” he agreed, pulling her suitcase out of the trunk after he’d opened her door for her.
“You are!” They stopped at the door and he set the suitcase down, and took her face in his hands. Kissing her softly, she wanted more, wanted to cling to him and felt as if they would be apart forever. That was silly. Only till tomorrow.
“Your friends are waiting,” he said. “I love you, Ellie. Have fun, but not too much and I’ll see you tomorrow.” Her knees felt like buckling. Amazing what he could still do to her.
He turned to leave as Lucy opened the door. “There you are!”
“Here I am,” Ellie said, then turned to wave to Mike. “See you tomorrow, Groom.”
“You will. Have fun, love you.”
“Ditto,” she called as he got back in his car. “Lucy! My last night as a single lady!”
Just then a small dog slipped out the door to the yard. “Gypsy!” Lucy called. “Come back here. Go on in, Ellie. I have to get this dog. Max would kill me if anything happened to her.”
Ellie walked in to see many of her friends there. She’d grown up with some, met some as an adult, and loved them all. Was she getting sentimental because of her wedding tomorrow? Probably. But it made her almost tear up to see her friends. There was Joni, her brother’s very good friend and she thought she’d be more at some point, but he was a slow worker apparently. Or oblivious like most males were. Shana and Izzy who both taught middle school with Joni and whom she had known since grade school. Bella who owned a dog boarding kennel. And Jordyn who was mostly Lucy’s friend but they’d hit it off. She was a private chef for a few people in town. She had no idea how Lucy met her but Jordyn was snarky and funny and Ellie knew they would be good friends. They would have a nice little party.
“It is supposed to be sunny and seventy tomorrow,” Izzy told her. The music teacher was almost ethereal. Fair skin, no matter how much she stayed in the sun, blonde hair, slight and, while taller than she was, small.
“Perfect wedding weather,” Ellie said, and almost shivered. Was this real? It often didn’t seem like it.
“Can you not wait for tomorrow?” Shana asked.
“I’m more looking forward to being his wife than the actual ceremony if that makes sense,” Ellie said.
“But tonight is party night!” Lucy came in with Gypsy in her arms.
“Why do you have Gypsy?” Ellie asked and was delighted to see Lucy blush.
“Umm, I’m watching her while Max goes out with Mike and the guys tonight,” she said in a way that made Ellie know she was only telling part of the truth.
“Max moved in!” she exclaimed.
“He did not!” Lucy said. Then kissed the little yorkie on the top of her head and put her down. “He might stay over a night or two now and then but there is no moving in!”
Why not?” Joni asked. “Too early or–?”
“I just don’t think it’s proper,” Lucy said. “And my mama would kill me.”
Ellie nodded. “Yeah, I can vouch for that.” She knew Lucy’s mom and she was as straitlaced as they came. She still couldn’t believe Lucy had been allowed to move out with a ‘headship’ to watch over her. She’d never heard the term before she met Lucy, but had learned that it meant the transfer of a woman from her father’s care to her husband, and her husband would become her headship. It apparently meant something like ‘the boss of her’. Archaic? Yes, but so was the spanking she’d just received, so she couldn’t judge. Lucy had more backbone than her ditzy personality showed. None of her siblings had been allowed to move out until they were married. And she had a lot of siblings. Eight or nine? She’d never been able to keep track. Lucy had always come to her house after they were about ten and Ellie got tired of sharing Lucy with her half a dozen sisters and sitting through three hours of church which often happened when she went over there. She often suspected Lucy’s mom didn’t even realize Lucy was gone most of the time which was the only reason she could come over. There were just too many of them and Lucy was one of the ignored middle ones.
“So what are we doing tonight?” Ellie asked.
“Drinking!” Shana lifted her glass full of something red with a lot of fruit floating in it.
That looked really good, Ellie thought, and remembered what Mike had said. No overdoing. She’d behave. She really had no desire to be hung over for her wedding, but one wouldn’t hurt and it looked like there was a big spread of food, too.
“Hi, Gypsy,” she said as the little dog jumped on her lap when she sat down with her drink. “No, you don’t get alcohol.”
“But I do!” Lucy said.
“Yes, you do.” Ellie smiled at her.
“So! I want to hear about the proposal,” Shana said, sitting down on the floor with her drink in front of her.
“Me, too!” Izzy chimed in.
“Well, it’s a little silly,” Ellie said.
“Mike can be silly? He never seems silly. He’s just a little, well, stern,” Lucy said. She had been hired as the administrative assistant in the office he and Max shared.
“Yeah, he can be silly,” Ellie said, and twisted her ring. “Well, he knows I have this collection of books from my mom. She collected classic children’s books.”
“I never knew that,” Bella said. “Is that where your brother got his bookworm ways?” Bella had gone to school with Hank.
“Probably,” Ellie said. “Anyway, I’d been looking for this one book to finish her collection of Louisa May Alcott, “Jack and Jill” and somewhere he found an old copy. He gave it to me, and there was my ring tied to the bookmark.”
“Oh, that is so sweet,” Joni said. “Did he get down on one knee or anything?”
“No, we were at a restaurant,” she said, smiling. It had been a lovely moment. She’d looked at the ring and looked at him. He’d basically said, ‘And you will marry me soon’ and she’d nodded with her eyes full of tears. Soon apparently was three months out. Arranging her small, simple wedding had been less stressful than organizing the Christmas parade, thank goodness. Taking a sip of the fruity drink, she felt surprised at the amount of alcohol in it. Squirming on her still sore, despite the wonderful cream, bottom, she vowed this would be her only glass. She wanted to feel great tomorrow and enjoy the day.
Lucy, in her own way, made the party fun. There were lots of finger foods and desserts, she hauled out board games they hadn’t played since they were kids. Candy Land, Life, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit, the old version. At least they weren’t the regular dreaded bridal or baby shower games.
After a few hours of giggling and drinking, Shana stood up and said, “I’m calling the Uber. We need to get home so you two can get your beauty sleep. We will see you tomorrow afternoon!”
She turned to Ellie. “We are all so happy for you, and here, we got you a little something for your wedding night.”
Taking the small package, Ellie opened it and blushed when she shook out the see-through nightgown. A soft pale rose color, with lace and was barely there in many places.
“Thank you?” she said.
Joni laughed. “You only get married once, hopefully, might as well have a little fun!”
Ellie laughed and hugged all her friends. “You guys are the best. I’m so glad you are going to be there tomorrow.”
“We wouldn’t miss it,” Bella said. “There’s our Uber, bye! Sleep well!”
“I’ll walk you out,” Lucy said. “I have to walk Gypsy anyway.”
Ellie looked around Lucy’s small living room. It reflected her light and bubbly personality perfectly. Not her taste, but it was cute with colorful throw pillows on the bright blue couch, vases of flowers, wild contemporary art on the walls, gleaming hardwood floors with soft throw rugs over them. What would her and Mike’s house look like when it was done, she wondered. She was always busy, so her apartment had been what she called functional. Clean, uncluttered, with everything in its place. She didn’t have time to look for things. Moving in with Mike had created a bit of chaos, and she still felt, a little, as if she were intruding on him and didn’t want to make too many changes. However, the new place would be both of theirs. Maybe it would feel like home? Her parents had died when she was fifteen, and she’d moved into her Grandma’s house. Her Grandma died three years later, right before she started college. She hadn’t felt like she had a home for ages. Maybe that was why she got into real estate. But she and Mike would have their home, together.
She rubbed her bottom, then began to pick up the glasses and take them to the dishwasher. This time tomorrow she’d be a married woman! Hard to imagine.
She continued cleaning, while Lucy was walking Gypsy. Maybe they would get a dog? Probably not. She was gone too much and that wasn’t fair to a dog and while Mike could take it to work, Max always had Gypsy there and how many dogs did one office need? A cat? Yeah, maybe they could get a cat. A cat didn’t mind being alone most of the day, did it? She had never had a pet. But that was what married people did, right? Got a starter baby in the form of a four-legged critter. She shuddered. She wasn’t thinking about that yet. She was only 26 and had lots of time before her clock started ticking. It would be something to think about later.
Lucy and Gypsy came back in. The little yorkie was adorable, she had to admit. She’d spent the evening sitting on laps while they played games, occasionally kissing and wagging her little stub of a tail.
Speaking of tails, she needed to check hers out, see if he’d left any bruises, in the morning before she got dressed. “Lucy! This time tomorrow, I’ll be married,” she told her.
“Are you nervous?” Lucy asked. “Scared? We can jump in my car and make a run for it! You, me and Gypsy on the road!”
Ellie giggled. “No, I’m not scared and don’t want to run, but I’ll keep that in mind if it comes up, okay?”
“Anytime, I’m always here for you.”
“I know, and I love you,” she said and grabbed her phone as it rang. “It’s my brother, probably checking on me. Hey, Henry,” she answered.
“Eleanor,” he said. “What are you doing?”
“Getting ready for bed. How about you?”
“Checking on you,” he said. “We had dinner at the Nail and now are back at my house. I just saw Joni get dropped off next door and thought I’d talk to you before tomorrow and see how you are doing. If you need anything, or want to talk or anything.”
“I’m fine, big brother,” she said.
Lucy called over her shoulder, “Party is over, Hank. We are going to bed like good little girls.”
“You better be,” he said, making Lucy giggle. “I’ll see you both tomorrow.”
“You are lucky to have so many people who love you,” Lucy told her as Ellie hung up her phone.
“I am feeling pretty lucky right now,” she admitted. “And pretty tired. I think I’m going to change and get ready for bed.”
She’d spent the night at Lucy’s and vice versa often over the years. When work was being done, or power was out, or one of them threw a party and they didn’t want to drive after, or before a vacation together where they planned to leave early. She was as comfortable in Lucy’s house as in hers. Well, as in Mike’s now. Still, the house they were building together would be her real home.
“Night, Lucy,” she said half an hour later.
“Night, Ellie soon to be Murphy,” she said.
Ellie lay awake and stared at the ceiling. She was feeling a little nervous. That was to be expected, though, right? This was the end of… something? What? Her childhood? No, she had grown up a long time ago. Just being single, she guessed, though she really hadn’t felt single since the day she met Mike.
Did it matter? Not really. She just needed to sleep because tomorrow was a big day, as her mom used to say. She felt an overwhelming longing for her mom and dad and grandma right then, wishing they could be there tomorrow. Well, she’d have Hank, who would always look out for her and she would have Mike. She was lucky. Very lucky.
With that, she rolled over and went to sleep.