“So, how should we take care of this?” Jarrod asked, his voice patient and calm, as usual. The only evidence that there was anything amiss was the fact that he kept tapping his foot as he looked at her. It was his tell, her way to know that he was more than a little irked and that her bottom would soon be paying for it.
“Um… maybe let me off with a warning, just this once?” Kaitlyn suggested, offering her most winning smile. She knew all too well that there was nothing she could say or do that would dissuade him from administering punishment, but at least she would have the satisfaction of knowing that she’d given it her all.
“I was thinking more along the lines of bent over the couch or across my lap. Your choice.”
How generous, she thought, squelching the urge to roll her eyes. As much as she wanted to, she knew that Jarrod hated it and would voice his displeasure loud and clear with several sharp smacks to her thighs. If she was lucky, he’d let her keep her panties on, but she was rarely that lucky.
“Uh, well…” She really was just buying time. It wasn’t that hard of a decision. She knew she would rather go over his lap. Even for a spanking, the experience was made more bearable when she was touching him rather than the cold, hard arm of the couch.
“Time’s up. What’ll it be?”
“Your lap, I guess,” she sighed.
Without a word, Jarrod walked to the couch and sat down, patting his knee.
Swallowing past the lump that was beginning to form in her throat, Kaitlyn walked toward him with the smallest steps she could manage. Jarrod made quite the imposing figure with his handsome features contorted in a frown. He was normally so light and carefree that seeing him so solemn was enough in itself to make her nervous.
“Now, ask me to spank you,” he ordered when she was finally standing in front of him.
“What?” she squawked in protest, though she’d come to expect it. For whatever reason, he liked her to ask for it. She didn’t know if it was to assuage his guilt over making her cry in the first place, or if it was one more way to prove to her who was in control. Like there could be any doubt of that when she was face down over his lap and having her ass spanked!
“You heard me.”
She scowled at him, for all the good it did her. He looked back at her nonplused, his golden brown eyes unreadable.
“You’re already going to spank me, I don’t see why I should have to ask for it.”
“You never do, and yet, you always end up seeing things my way.” He stated it matter-of-factly, without a hint of derision or amusement. “You know if you don’t it means a harder spanking, but that’s your decision. I’m not going to argue the point with you.”
She furrowed her brow in annoyance. She hated it when he was so calm, so logical. Just once, she’d like to get a rise out of him. Maybe then she wouldn’t feel so bad for always getting in trouble. Sometimes he seemed so perfect in comparison that she wondered why he bothered with her at all. “Fine. Spank me already. Please.” Without waiting to be told to, she put herself over his lap.
Jarrod made no response to her less-than-stellar attempt at obedience, other than to slide her skirt up and begin warming the seat of her panties. His hand slapped the same spot five or six times, just long enough to get her to wince before he moved on to the next spot. He made sure her entire bottom was tingling and warm before he stopped. “Now, tell me, why are you getting this spanking, Kate?”
“Hmm, let me think,” she mused sarcastically. “Because my husband is a jerk?”
She was rewarded for her sarcasm with a barrage of hard spanks to her upper thighs that left her crying out long before he was through. By the time he stopped, she had tears flowing freely down her cheeks.
“You know that’s not true,” Jarrod scolded. “Is it?”
“I guess not,” Kaitlyn sniffled begrudgingly. “But it still isn’t fair.”
“What isn’t? Sean said you were disrespectful to him on your Skype call last night. He said you were rude to him and then you hung up on him.”
“But you don’t understand, he—”
“He’s going to be gone another six months. Yeah, I know.”
“Well, it’s not fair!” she burst out. “He’s ten months into a year deployment! He was supposed to be home by Christmas! Isn’t he ready to come home already? Doesn’t he miss me?”
“I’m sure he is, and I’m sure he does, but don’t you think those are questions you could have asked him yourself if you hadn’t disconnected the call?”
Kaitlyn bit down on her bottom lip, feeling a wave of guilt knock her over. She’d felt bad for slamming the laptop closed right after she’d done it, but she just hadn’t been able to look at his perfect, chiseled face one more second. It made her feel so homesick for him she couldn’t stand it. Of course, she’d done her wifely duty and endured it, even looked forward to it, because she thought there was an end in sight. He’d told her there was—he’d promised. And then, in their last call, he’d broken that promise. His blue eyes were solemn and without feeling, it seemed, even as her eyes began to fill with tears. His voice hadn’t been understanding or sympathetic. Instead, he’d gotten on her, reminding her of all the sacrifices he was making! What sacrifice, she’d demanded. He didn’t make it seem like a sacrifice, he seemed like he enjoyed it. Like he’d rather be overseas than with her!
She’d glared at the computer screen and when he hadn’t answered, it made her even angrier. But the final straw came when he’d scolded her for her reaction, accusing her of being unpatriotic. She’d had a nasty word or two for him before her anger had gotten the better of her and she’d slammed the screen shut. After about two seconds of glaring at it accusingly, she’d realized what she’d done and pried it back open, but he was already gone. She’d begun to sob the moment she saw that blank screen. She missed him so terribly, but it seemed like these days even when they got a chance to talk she was always screwing it up and turning it into a fight.
The last thing she wanted to do was fight with him. She loved him, didn’t he see that? But she just couldn’t help it. When he’d told her he’d volunteered to stay, offered his services without even talking to her first, she’d felt as wounded as if her heart had literally broken in two.
And how did Sean respond? Not with apologies; no, he sent his watchdog to spank her for him since he was too far away to do it himself! Well, it served him right! If she had to suffer, so should he! He shouldn’t be able to punish her by proxy! It just wasn’t fair! Didn’t he realize how hard it was for her to see him knowing it’d be more than half a year before she’d be able to do so again in person? It hurt so badly, but even worse was the fact that he didn’t seem to care that he wouldn’t see her. So, yes, she’d acted childishly, she could admit that. But he was the one at fault, so why wasn’t anyone acknowledging that?
She could take a spanking for her part in it. Hell, she’d expected it. When she’d heard a sharp knock at the door at seven on the dot this morning and had opened it to find Jarrod standing on her porch in starched khakis and a pressed polo, she hadn’t even been surprised.
“You could have called,” was all she said before stepping aside to let him in. And now here they were, with her face down over his lap with a stinging bottom, knowing all too well that they hadn’t even begun. She was still too angry to even care that it would hurt much worse before he was finished.
“I get it,” she grumbled. “He’s halfway across the world, fighting against terrorism and all that, so I don’t have the luxury of having hurt feelings.”
“Of course you do, Kate. No one is saying that.”
“Sean seemed to think it,” she countered, hating herself when her lip quivered. “He said I was unpatriotic.” She spat the word out as quickly as she could so that he didn’t hear the sob in her throat.
Jarrod didn’t answer right away, and his pause made her wonder if he’d been privy to that part of the conversation. If he hadn’t, what did he think hearing it now? She’d give all the money in her bank account to find out. Yep, all fifty-six dollars and ninety-seven cents to hear the answer. But the real answer, not the patented brother-in-arms-stand-together answer that she was used to.
“I understand why you’re feeling hurt, Kate.”
He understood. Not Sean. It figured.
“And while you’re entitled to those feelings, you still have to be careful how you express them. Have you even thought, God forbid, that that could be the last conversation you ever have with your husband?”
Her eyes welled with tears that began to fall one by one down her cheeks. They were hot and angry. She was angry at everyone—at Sean, for being so Army of One that he put the stupid war before his own wife. Angry at Jarrod for exploiting her and any soldier’s wife’s worst fear. But most of all, she was angry at herself for not being able to be what Sean wanted, what he needed her to be: strong, smiling, and sweet, no matter what news he had for her on the other end of that computer screen. She wished more anything that she could be that for him, but she just wasn’t.
Jarrod seemed to sense that the time for talking was over. Without a word, he lowered her panties, allowing the cool air to kiss her skin before he began to pepper it with quick, sharp spanks. Those sobs that she hadn’t wanted him to hear broke free and though she tried to muffle them, between feelings of abandonment and remorse and the pain of the spanking she was getting, it was a losing battle. As her skin warmed under his strong, unrelenting hand, she dissolved into piteous crying and the room reverberated with the mingled sounds of his hand bouncing from cheek to cheek as she wailed.
He didn’t stop until she was spent and lying limply over his lap. He never did, damn him. But then he gave her a few minutes, her back still heaving and her butt still aching as though his hand was still punishing her bottom. She wasn’t sure if he did it for her to feel the full effect of her punishment or to rest his hand. Either way, afterward he pulled her panties up over her hot ass and set her clothing right before helping her up.
“Do you want—”
Before he could finish his question, she’d launched herself back into his lap, not even caring how much it hurt for her sore butt to sit on his hard knee. She sobbed into his chest and Jarrod, ever the gentleman, took her into his arms without another word and held her until she was through.
“It will be OK,” he assured her when she began to wipe her eyes.
“How do you know?” she sniffled, avoiding his gaze. “What if he hates me?”
“He doesn’t hate you, Kate.”
“It’s just… I miss him so much and sometimes I think… well, I worry that—”
“Don’t even finish that sentence,” he warned, putting a finger to her lips. “You can’t think like that. You have to remember, Sean isn’t over there because he doesn’t want to be with you, he just has a job to do. And I’m going to tell you what I’d want Sean to tell my wife, if the situation was reversed: he’s trying to keep the world safe for you, because of you.”
His gentle admonishment set her eyes to filling once more. “I know. But… I miss him.”
Jarrod gave her a little squeeze. “I know you do. So don’t you think you should spend every opportunity letting him know that?”
To her surprise, she realized that her earlier anger had evaporated. She still felt disappointed that her husband would be away for much longer than she’d expected, but she was no longer enraged. Instead, she found herself nodding in agreement, as she often did when Jarrod imparted his wisdom. She hated him for being right most of the time, but it didn’t change the fact that he was. “Yes. You’re right.”
“Good. Now that your spanking is over, what do you say you go wash your face and give Sean a call?”
“Sean?” she echoed in surprise, meeting his eyes at last. “But I thought…”
“He’ll want to talk to you.”
Kaitlyn’s eyes searched his face, then she frowned, knowing that the two of them must have planned it this way. For a moment, she thought of refusing. The idea of Sean seeing her red, wet eyes and knowing she’d been crying, knowing exactly why she was crying, was humiliating. And yet, she had deserved it. He should have called her first, he should have taken her feelings into consideration, but that didn’t excuse her for how she’d acted, either. Besides, she really, really wanted to talk to him.
“OK,” she agreed, standing. She gave Jarrod a small smile before excusing herself to the bathroom. While there she splashed her face with cold water and put a little cream on her eyes to get rid of the puffiness, adding a quick touch of lipstick before she came back out again. She’d intended to thank Jarrod—or, if not thank him, exactly, at least offer him breakfast, but when she came back out, he was gone.
Scant minutes later she was staring at her laptop, waiting for his face to pop onto the screen. She’d taken time in the bathroom to compose herself, but the minute she saw his familiar blue eyes, the sharp lines of his jaw lined with dark blond stubble, she felt her lip quivering and her eyes filling once more.
“Hey, babe.” His voice sounded rough with emotion.
“Hi,” she managed to choke out as she attempted a smile. God, she missed him so much. She wanted nothing more than to be able to reach through the computer screen and hug him tight.
“How’s everything on the home front?”
“Fine. Jarrod’s… looking after me, if that’s what you mean.”
“Good man.” To his credit, he didn’t so much as smile. “You make sure you listen to him, all right? He’s only got your best interests at heart.”
“I know,” she admitted, however begrudgingly. “I’ll do my best.”
“Good girl.” He returned her smile briefly. “And babe… I miss you. I’ll be home soon.”
“Soon,” she echoed, as though saying it aloud would make it true.
“I love you. I’ve got to go for now, but I’m glad I got to talk to you.”
“Already?” She bit down on her bottom lip, hard, so that she wouldn’t pout.
“Afraid so. I’ve got some paperwork to see to, then it’s lights out.”
“OK.” She swallowed her sigh and smiled instead, trying to put on the brave face he expected.
“What have you got planned for today?”
“Laundry,” she said with a shrug. “You know, boring housewife stuff.”
“Well, I gotta tell you, I envy the sheets you’ll be folding.”
“Because they’ll get to see your beautiful smile, get to feel your soft, sweet hands on them. I’m jealous.”
And just like that, he had her giggling and blushing. With just a few words, he’d made her feel special. That’s how things always were between them. She could be mad as a hornet at him one minute and then he said something to make it all better, to make her feel like nothing had changed.
“Write me later, all right? I love waking up to an email from my bride.”
She rolled her eyes, but not in the way that got her into trouble. “Sir, yes, sir.”
“That’s what I like to hear.” He blew kisses into the monitor just before he signed off.
She felt like a new woman as she gently closed the laptop. He could do that, her husband. He could turn her mood around and leave her feeling adored. She looked at the closed door, wishing for a moment that Jarrod was there so that she could thank him. Not for spanking her, of course, but for helping her clear her head so that she could talk to Sean again. Come to think of it, he’d take it to mean the same thing, so it was probably a good thing he wasn’t here after all.