They weren’t living in a fairy story. This was the real world. Alden Fisher wasn’t King Zepherus, and she wasn’t Princess Amelia. As they stood in the wood-paneled study, he quietly told her that while the book may have opened the door to their meeting, they were in the real word, and that’s where he would deal with her.
“Today we begin a new story,” he said. “A true one about a young woman who becomes student to a teacher in need of a pupil.”
“I can’t imagine you needing anything,” Emma said.
“I know more about my student than she does about me,” he said. “I fear you have a rather romantic notion of my life. But we have more in common than you realize. Haven’t you ever found it curious that I do so few public appearances? I’m introverted too, my dear. And it can be easy for introverts to hide. But we mustn’t go too far with it. We mustn’t lie. And we mustn’t deny ourselves human companionship when it benefits us.
“I sense a yin to my yang in you, young lady,” he continued. “I’m practical enough to acknowledge what I need, but romantic enough to believe in fate. I don’t think it was an accident that your email caught my eye, or that we engaged as we did. I believe…” He paused here. “I believe what is happening now—between us—is meant to be.”
Emma swallowed, drawing on her nerve to ask the question she needed to ask. “And what is happening between us?”
“Why, we’re picking up where we left off,” he said, and reached for her hand. “You have a punishment coming, young lady.”
Emma flushed. He’d not forgotten. Months ago, he’d promised to punish her when they finally met face to face. And now, given what she’d done…? She closed her eyes, remembering the excitement she felt, the toe-curling throbbing of her pussy at the mere idea of being over this man’s knee. But tonight, here in his very presence after the trauma of the day… the thought of it caused a knot of fear in her stomach.
“Go stand in the corner, Emma. Think about what you’ve done. After a moment, I’ll fetch you out, put you over my knee, and spank you quite soundly.”
“Wait.” She could feel her heart pounding. Her tongue darted out to lick her dry lips. “I’m not ready.”
“Not ready?” He crossed his arms, the very picture of controlled impatience. “And what, might I ask, are you waiting for?”
“It feels… different now. Wrong,” she said, seeking to put just what felt wrong into words. “Before, when you said you’d spank me, I felt…” She stopped, mortified over what she was about to admit.
“Aroused?” He arched an eyebrow as he finished her thought. Emma moaned from shame that he’d so easily guessed what she’d stopped herself from saying. “Oh, my bad, bad little girl. There will be time to introduce you to the sweet refinements of correction that mix pleasure and pain. But I didn’t just traverse an ocean and set up house in some sleepy American town to make your first real spanking a pleasant one.”
He paused. “Your first spanking will be real punishment. It will hurt. And neither of us will enjoy it. But you are in my care now, and we both know that this must be done if we are to move forward.”
Emma nodded. He was right, and she knew down deep that she’d never be free of the oppressive weight of her guilt until she’d paid for her deception. And could a spanking be any worse than the days of self-induced torture she’d endured? She didn’t think it could.
She walked to the corner as if in a dream, looking at the room on the way. She could see why he’d chosen this house. It was very much like an English country house. How long, she wondered, had he been here, preparing for this day, for her?
And now, standing there alone, she felt overwhelmed by the reality of what this man had done to put them both where they were at this very moment. He’d uprooted his life, had moved. Did that mean he loved her? But it wasn’t love she felt when he finally walked up behind her. No, it was something else—the weight of authority, and of the pending consequences she could not escape.
“Come, Emma,” he said, and walked over to a leather sofa, worn with use but still sturdy. Classic construction. Timeless. She felt timeless herself. What was happening to her now could have happened to any woman a hundred years earlier in this very room when the balance of power between the sexes was different.
She’d not changed when she’d left the office to come to Alden’s house. She was still wearing the gray pleated skirt that fell just below the top of her black boots and an oversized black sweater. The only splash of color came from the scarf that tamed her brunette hair into a thick ponytail.
Now as he pulled her across his lap, Emma found herself mentally comparing herself to other women. Even if he was an introvert, Alden was an exceptionally handsome man. Had he had other women in this position? Beautiful women?
“Wait!” She tried to catch his hand, to keep him from pulling up the hem of her skirt to reveal plain white panties stretched over the generous mounds of her bottom. But Alden stopped her. His tone was no longer warm, but stern, as he scolded her.
“We’ve waited long enough,” he said. “Why are you being spanked?”
“I… because… I lied!”
“Yes,” he said, condemnation in his voice. “You were reckless both with my feelings and your safety. You put yourself at risk, both legally and professionally. Identity theft is a crime.”
Tears sprang to her eyes. This wasn’t the way she’d thought her first spanking would be. She felt helpless over his lap, small. She felt real shame and embarrassment and then a searing pain as the room echoed with the sharp report of his hand meeting her panty-covered bottom.
“Ow!” She jerked on his lap, arched her upper body around and looked back at him. It hurt. She told him so, angrily. “Let me go!”
“No,” he said, and wrapped an arm around Emma’s waist. “You agreed to this, unless you’d rather I alert Ms. Trent of what you’ve done.” And she settled down, but couldn’t settle the panic she felt. Alden was so strong, so firm, and when his hand fell again, the blow was harder. He gave her no time to recover before landing a third, a fourth, a fifth. Her thin cotton panties provided scant protection against the heat that suffused the top layer of her skin to sink deeper and deeper until resolving into an unrelenting throb. She kicked her legs, the sting of his hand increasing exponentially with each blow.
She was aware of her legs, kicking and churning, aware that her vain attempts to kick and twist herself free had only served to work her panties up between her buttocks, leaving the lower half of her bottom bare. Her wails filled the room, plaintive and childlike, as his hand slapped against bare skin.
This thing she’d fantasized about—this debasing, infantile punishment, this correction—it was nothing like she’d imagined. There were no gentle rubs, no deep masculine scolding with sensual undertones to soften the pain of the blistering smacks. It was nothing but raw pain layered on pain, a deserved comeuppance by an authority figure bent on teaching her a lesson.
Emma was wailing her apologies, her fingers scrabbling on the sofa. The leather beneath her face was wet with tears, and when she turned her head to take a deep, gasping breath through her sobs, she felt the wet slickness under her cheek.
“Will you ever do anything like that again, young lady?” She felt gentle pressure on her bottom. His hand was resting on her throbbing nates. It was over. Thank god.
“N-n-n-n…” Emma could barely speak the word. She was hyperventilating, and struggled to catch her breath as he raised her to standing, turned her around, and pulled her back to sitting on his lap.
“Calm yourself.” The order was impassive. He pulled her head to his shoulder, but Emma was tense, unable to fold into his embrace as she’d always imagined she would after a spanking. It had seemed so… impersonal. A sob escaped from deep within, driven by the sense of loss she felt over the irony of having been so coldly punished by the man who’d gently guided her along the path to submission.
“It h-h-hurts…” Her pained tone expressed both her feelings of betrayal and her indictment of him for causing it.
“I know,” he said. “But wait, Emma. When the pain lifts, you’ll find what you need underneath.”
It seemed like an odd thing to say. Her bottom was throbbing as if it had a pulse, every beat painful. She was aware of the rough fabric of his pants against her bare lower buttocks.
A few moments later, he wordlessly tipped her off his lap and steadied her until she could stand on her own. Taking her hand, he instructed her to walk across the room to a desk in the corner. Alden pulled the chair out and sat her down. There was a pen and a piece of stationery on the desk. She looked up at him, shifting painfully, as he placed the pen in her hand.
“You were a good girl, taking the first part of your punishment so well,” he said.
“First part?” she asked tearfully.
“Yes,” he replied. “The spanking was to make you think about what you did. Now you will write a letter of apology.”
“I said I was sorry,” she said.
“Not to me. To Ms. Trent.”
“Mr. Fisher, no… please…” She looked up at him, mortified. “I could lose my job. I could…”
“Emma.” He barked her name and she fell silent. “Trust me. And write. Don’t you think an explanation is warranted? So explain.”
She’d nodded, tears blurring her vision as she turned her attention to the paper. The cream linen stationery swam before her eyes. She blinked hard and leaned over, shifting on her sore bottom as she began to write.
He’d sent Emma back to the corner. It was nearly nine p.m. now, and she’d been there since finishing her letter. Alden had listened to her sniffling as she wrote. A couple of times, her shoulders had shaken with silent sobs, and he’d longed to comfort her. But he’d told her to explain, because he needed to know what was going on with her. And she needed to know what was going on with herself.
Now he picked up the letter and began to read.
You probably don’t remember me. Why would you? We only roomed together for our second week of college before you requested a change in roommates. You barely spoke to me during that time. I’m not mad at you, though. If I’d been a former homecoming queen from a good family, I’d have been disappointed to be stuck with a dumpy art major.
I won’t lie and say I wasn’t hurt that you didn’t want to room with me. I really did admire you. We had a couple of classes together, and I always found myself wishing I had your courage. You always raised your hand and spoke up while I lived in fear of being called on. I went to see you play Titania in the school production of Midsummer’s Night Dream. You were so beautiful, the personification of everything I would have been if I could.
I’m not a stalker, I promise. But because I admired you, I kept up with what you were doing after we left school. I went on to work as an art director for a firm that caters to artists, writers, and musicians. We do book and album covers, websites, ads, things like that. Outside of work, I don’t have much of a life. I love to read, though, and books have become my escape and my salvation.
One book series especially touched my heart, and last year I contacted my favorite author, Alden Fisher, to tell him how much his book Kings of Autumn meant to me. I really didn’t think he’d write back, but he did. We started corresponding, and when things took a personal turn and he started talking about meeting me, I panicked. I’d been using the email address I used for fanfiction—kittychat1029—and I’d signed my emails Kitty instead of using my real name. I was afraid if he knew my real identity and looked me up, he’d see a plain woman and stop talking to me.
When he asked if I had a Facebook page, I panicked. I wasn’t ready to break the spell of what we had. I thought if he saw someone pretty, someone glamorous, he’d want to keep talking to her. He made me feel so good. I wasn’t ready to let that go. It was selfish, I know that. And in my selfishness, I did something very wrong. I made a fake Facebook page using photos of a woman who represented everything I believed appealed to men—beauty, charisma, confidence. I took your photos, Melanie. I took them from your page. I didn’t take many; just a few. But I had no right to do it.
I’m sorry I took your pictures. Wanting to be someone else, someone better, does not give me the right to steal their identity. I wronged both of you, and am willing to face the consequences for what I have done.
Emma Eugenia Holland
Alden folded the note and placed it in the inside pocket of his blazer. Later, it would join the other things she’d written, all printed out and saved. During their correspondence, she’d revealed small insights about herself. They’d been enough for Alden to flesh out that she was intelligent, introspective, and articulate. There had been an undercurrent of sadness to her, though; that had been what made him originally suspect that the laughing redhead featured in the newly made Facebook profile might not be the woman he was talking to.
It had been Emma’s mind that had captivated him and it frustrated and saddened him that she thought herself so lacking.
He walked over to her now and sat her down.
“That was a very honest letter, Emma,” he said. “I know it wasn’t easy to write.”
She didn’t respond. He could tell she was still afraid and uncertain of what he would do with the information she’d given him. It gave him power over her, not the sexual power she craved as a submissive, but real world power he could use to destroy her life. That she trusted him enough to do this meant she was ready for what came next.
“Forgive me, Emma,” he said.
She looked up at him, surprised. “What?”
“Why are you apologizing?”
“Because that is what a man does when he is wrong. I suspected that the woman in the pictures wasn’t you. That woman looked brash and loud. She lacked the quiet intelligence of the woman I fell in love with through email and phone conversations.” He took her hand. “It’s no wonder you panicked. I thought when I arranged a meeting, that you’d come clean either just before we met or when we met. But you surprised me by disappearing.”
“I should have told you,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
“It doesn’t matter now, Emma. The punishment has wiped the slate clean. There’s no need to speak on it again.”
From across the room, the clock chimed the half hour.
“My, look at the time,” he said. “You need to get home. You have work tomorrow. And homework tonight.”
“Homework?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I want you go to home and enjoy a bubble bath. Your bottom will be tender this evening. While you’re in the bath, I want you to think about the spanking—not the pain and fear—but what it represents. I’m going to take care of you, Emma. I’m going to guide you. I’m going to care for you. I’m going to protect you. And when you’re ready, I’m going to experience every inch of that soft, lush body. But tonight, while you’re thinking about all this—about us—I want you to touch yourself just as I taught you to do.”
She stood stock still in front of him, her eyes large with wonder.
“While you’re touching yourself, I want you to think on what it means to be mastered, to be accountable. I want you to remember how it felt to be helpless over my lap and to know that should you do anything to endanger or disrespect yourself, I will spank you just as sternly and dispassionately as I did earlier this evening.”
He took her coat from the back of a chair and helped her into it.
“I’ll see you at the meeting tomorrow,” he said. “I want you to wear something bright. Can you do that for me?”
She flushed, remembering how she’d once confided in him that she loved it when he told her what to wear.
“I think so,” she said.
He kissed her on top of the head. “Good girl.”
A half hour later Emma was at home. In the confines of her cozy apartment, the day’s events seemed surreal. But when she went to her bedroom, lifted her skirt, and turned to look at her bottom in the cheval mirror, she could see the evidence of her new reality. Her bottom, still slightly tender, bore the fading marks of Alden Fisher’s hand. She stared in wonder, her fingers tracing the reddish imprints left by his.
She walked to the bathroom, plugged the garden tub, and turned on the tap. A bottle of lavender bubble bath—a gift from a coworker—sat by the faucet. She picked it up and tipped half the contents under the cascade of water rushing from the tap. As the tub filled, she stripped off her clothes and faced the mirror on the back of the door.
He’d said she was pretty, lush. Emma appraised herself in the looking glass, trying to see herself as Alden saw her. The woman staring back was, in her eyes, unremarkable. At 5′5″, she had ivory skin, teardrop-shaped C-cup breasts, a small waist, and hips she knew were fuller than average—a shape perfect for the Juno line of clothing carried at her favorite department store. Threads for Real Women, the labels read.
Although she had a car, Emma walked to and from work. She walked a lot of places, in fact, and her legs were well-muscled and shapely. She turned, eyeing herself from the side. There was a pleasant swell to her lower belly; her buttocks were soft but shapely, each cheek crowned with two dimples. Her hair, which she realized had come unbound from the scarf at some point, cascaded down her back. She turned back, looking at cheeks that were still a little blotchy from her tears. Her cheekbones were high, her eyes large and expressive. She wore reading glasses, and because she almost always was reading something, rarely took them off. Her chin was short and sharp, her nose pert. In school, she’d been nicknamed ‘Babyface’; she still looked younger than her twenty-seven years.
How old was Alden Fisher? His early forties? An older, wiser man.
She stepped into the tub, turned off the tap, and sank into the brimming bath. It felt good. She shifted a bit. Her bottom was tender with her weight on it.
I want you to think about the spanking—not the pain and fear—but what it represents.
He’d called this her homework assignment. Emma closed her eyes, leaned her head back against the side of the tub. She scrunched her eyes shut, remembering how tightly he’d held her.
An image flashed through her mind: her foster mother chasing her through the house with a belt or a spoon or whatever she could grab in a rage. “You’re gonna get it!” she’d scream, and Emma would run and hide. It had taken therapy for Emma to come to terms with the abuse. In so many ways, the beatings she’d endured had made it harder for her to accept her desire for sexual dominance. It wasn’t until she’d discovered Kings of Autumn that she’d discerned the difference between Amelia’s gift of submission to Zepherus and the dehumanizing treatment she’d suffered, or to draw parallels between the Night Mother who’d tormented the Princess Amelia and the woman who’d raised her.
In Kings of Autumn, Zepherus had seen the invisible wraiths clinging to Amelia, had known they were put there by the Night Mother, had known they were responsible for Amelia’s sadness and anger. He’d told her the only way to remove them was by bathing her in the Fire Fountain. He told her it would hurt, and even after she’d given him leave to cleanse her, she’d fought, surprised at the agony. But he’d ignored her, firmly putting her in the liquid blaze that destroyed the demons. Amelia had emerged naked and red from the tongues of flame, but obedient to the man she knew would only cause pain for her own good.
The spanking had been her fire fountain, the book an allegory for her life even now. Alden had spanked her, had held her down and spanked her despite her cries of pain. He’d spanked her because he’d known she needed the pain to kill the demons of guilt and self-loathing. Emma gave a little moan as something awakened in her, uncoiled in her lower belly, suffused her with heat that spread down through and into her core.
When the pain lifts, you’ll find what you need underneath.
Emma understood now what Alden had meant by the words. With the physical pain and humiliation fading, she was left with a promise of his dominance. Alden would watch for the demons revealed by the letter, had promised to purge them despite her protests. She threw her head back, remembering how strong he was, how she’d been unable to escape his grasp, how he’d spanked her until she’d expelled pain she’d been holding in.
Emma moved her fingers across her belly. The soft throb in her pussy had become a drumbeat of need, and touching herself to his image, to his voice, felt like coming home. She thought of the feel of his firm hand, the powerful smacks that left her red and wailing, his lecturing voice. Her hips bucked, sending water sloshing over the rim of the tub onto the floor. But she was oblivious, lost to everything but the spiking passion, to stoking it with one hand as her fingers found and pulled a nipple, the sensations connecting like electrical currents.
She came, bracing her feet against the edge of the tub, her hips rising from the bottom. Her body was suspended briefly in an arch as her pussy pulsed and pulsed and pulsed, the flood of her arousal warmer than the water, slick on her hand.
When she lowered herself back under the bubbles, it was with a satisfied sigh. Emma smiled. He was back in her life, not as a voice on the phone or an image on a screen, but as a real man. He was here, and he was making her part of the new life he was building on this side of the ocean. She threw her arm behind her head, turned her face to the side and smiled. She’d never been happier. It defied the odds. How could she be so lucky? It seemed too good to be true.
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