I’d never been very good with guys. I guess that was pretty obvious to any outsider, given that I was thirty-five and still unmarried. I always seemed to choose the wrong ones, or screw up royally with the right ones. I’d proven that more than once, but the way I’d handled things with Jake had pretty much taken the cake. There was hardly a moment in his company that I hadn’t been rude, snappish, or defensive. There was no excuse for it, either, at least none that made a difference. I’d let my own insecurities get in the way of something that could have been great. Jake had been probably the best chance at happiness I would ever have.
I felt this more keenly than I’d ever felt anything before, because when I walked into the hospital thirty minutes early he was already there with an untouched coffee sitting beside him. I gave him a shy, tentative smile, hardly daring to hope that he would reciprocate.
He rose to his feet and walked toward me, the coffee in his outstretched hand. “Here. I figured you probably didn’t get a lot of sleep.”
“Thanks. Did you?”
“Slept like a baby,” he said, deadpan, belying the circles under his eyes.
“Look, Jake, I just wanted you to know—”
“I know. We don’t have to talk about it.”
I cleared my throat nervously. “But what if I want to talk about it?”
“Well, then, that would be a first.” He didn’t say it unkindly, but it hurt all the same. “By the way, you smell like cigarette smoke.”
The arched brow made my stomach tighten in knots, but there was hope beating beneath my breast, too. Because if he cared enough to get on to me, then it meant he still cared about me. I would give anything to know that was still the case. “I know, I just… it’s a stressful morning, and…”
“You don’t owe me any explanations, Sylvia.” He began to walk toward the plastic waiting room chairs while I watched helplessly. Before he reached them, he froze, his back still to me. “But I think you know it’s a bad habit. Especially with a son who’s sick.”
I smiled sadly, even though he couldn’t see me. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but it was better than nothing, I supposed. I walked over to the row of chairs and took the one beside him. “You’re right.” Even though I didn’t look at him, I could feel his eyes on me. They felt like lasers of heat on my skin and I knew if I looked into them I’d turn into a babbling mess again. No need to make myself feel like even more of a fool.
“Sylvia… I’m sorry I didn’t call. Things have been busy at work and with everything that happened at your mom’s I just assumed it was better if I made myself scarce.”
“That’s OK. I understand.”
“No, it’s not OK. I should have called to check up on you—I know you’ve been going through a lot and it wasn’t fair to leave you to handle it on your own.”
I felt the beginning stirrings of hope and I turned in the chair to ask him if maybe, just maybe he’d consider giving me a second chance, when I heard a nurse call my name.
“Sorry,” I said, standing up and walking over to the desk. “Yes, I’m Ms. Hawthorne.”
“I’m terribly sorry, but the doctor just called to say that she won’t be able to make it. There’s been an emergency and—”
“What?” Before I could stop myself, I let out an ear-piercing shriek. “An emergency? This is an emergency! We’ve been waiting for weeks for this test!”
“I understand that, but these things do happen. I apologize, but we’re going to have to reschedule.”
“What for?” I snapped. “So you can cancel on me then, too?”
“Ma’am, I understand you’re upset—”
“Damn right I am! This is my kid we’re talking about here, my son, and you need to do your damn job!” I fumed, not caring that the entire waiting room had gone silent, not caring that I felt every eye on me, every ear listening in on our conversation.
“That is precisely what I am doing, Ms. Hawthorne,” she replied with a smile that wouldn’t melt butter.
“Well, I think—”
Just then, I felt a tug on my arm. “Sylvia, let me handle this.”
I whirled on him, so angry that I was seeing red. I was going to tell him that he didn’t get to do that. He couldn’t ignore me one minute and try to take me in hand the next, but before I could say anything he reached around and pinched my butt cheek, hard, in full view of anyone who was watching. I felt my cheeks flush in embarrassment, but I knew it was a warning and I clamped my mouth shut, even though I did continue to glare at the nurse.
“We know that this isn’t your fault, but naturally Ms. Hawthorne is upset by this news. Do you mind telling me when the next available appointment is?”
She gave a little sniff but seemed mollified. Did that charm of his ever fail? “We have an appointment on Friday.”
I could feel another meltdown brewing. Friday? Friday?! Like, three days from now Friday? Before I could say a word, Jake’s arm slid around my waist and when he hugged me tight I knew it wasn’t out of affection, but another warning to keep quiet and let him do the talking.
“Do you happen to know if any other hospitals in the area might have an earlier opening?”
“One minute, let me check for you.” Her fingers hammered at the keyboard and she began scanning her computer screen. Oh, sure, one smile from him and now she wanted to be all helpful. “The only one is the eastern location, about an hour from here.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Should I keep you penciled in for Friday?”
“Jake, my insurance won’t—”
“No, thank you, but if you could give me the number of the other hospital that would be a great help.”
She beamed at him as she wrote it down on a memo pad and slid the paper toward him.
“Thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful day, ma’am.”
Jake took me firmly by the arm and led me out. I was fuming. How dare he just assume he could take charge and do whatever he wanted without even talking to me? As soon as we were out of the hospital, I snatched my arm from him.
“For your information, that is a private hospital. One that my insurance won’t cover, which you’d know if you’d listened to me.”
“I’m beginning to get the feeling that you’re not that great at thank-yous.”
“Thanks. I’m going to have to call when I get home and hope that appointment is still available, so, thank you so much.”
“No, you’re not, because we’re going to the eastern location.”
“I already told you—”
“I’m covering it, Sylvia, whatever the cost. I will sign all the financial paperwork, naming myself legally responsible.”
My mouth dropped open and I stopped, right in the middle of the parking lot, to gape at him. “You can’t do that!”
“Because… because… where are you going to get the money?”
“Let me worry about that, OK?”
“No, I can’t. This is a huge financial burden and I don’t want you having to—”
“I’m Dominic’s father, Sylvia. I’m always going to do what’s best for him.” He’d said it in his end of discussion tone, not that I was going to argue any further. I just didn’t have the strength for it. “Now, come on, let me walk you to your car.”
“How can you be so nice all the time?” I asked as he took my arm again, leading me across the asphalt.
“I mean, like with that lady in there. Weren’t you pissed?”
“Of course I was upset, but you never gain anything by yelling unless you’re two years old. And while you could certainly pass for much younger…” He gave me a sly smile and for just a second, things felt normal between us.
When I remembered that they weren’t, tears began to well in my eyes. By the time we got to my car, they were rolling down my cheeks.
“Hey,” Jake said softly when he noticed. “Don’t do that. Why are you crying?”
Why wasn’t I? There was so much to cry about these days. For one thing, I’d ruined my relationship with my mom—not that it had been much to begin with, but still—and my relationship with Jake, and I was sure I was on the cusp with Dominic. Especially when he figured I’d scared away his dad, which was bound to happen one of these days. “I just feel so… awful…” I wailed as the tears came faster.
“Okay. Is there anything I can do?”
I knew that he was just being nice, but when he put his arm around me, giving me a little comforting pat, I clung to him, crying into his shirt. “I always make a mess of ever-y-thing!” I sobbed. “I just d-don’t know what to d-do!”
“Hey, listen, we’re going to figure this out—”
“No,” I hiccupped, looking at him with watery eyes. “We’re not. Y-you don’t wa-want me any-more!”
“And it’s all my f-fault!” I sobbed. “I ruined everything!”
“Sweetheart, you need to calm down.”
I did my best, crying into his shirt until it was soaked through. But all Jake did was hold me tight and pat my back until my sobs turned to cries and those cries turned to sniffles. When I looked at him again, I felt embarrassed by my sob-fest. It would have been better to do it in the driveway when I got home, but what was done was done. When he met my eyes, giving me a half-smile, I suddenly knew what I had to do. It was so clear, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it earlier.
“Jake, would you do something for me?”
“Anything I can do to help, you know that, Sylvia.”
“Good. Because I need you to spank me.”
I had to admit I was more than a little surprised when he didn’t just haul me over his lap and begin whaling on my tail. I’d thought he’d be more than happy to spank me—I certainly had it coming.
Instead, his brow furrowed and he pulled back to survey me. “Excuse me?”
“Well, I know it won’t change anything… you know. Between us. But you said the next time you spanked me it would be because I asked for it. And I’m asking for it.”
“Man, when you say you’re going to make a girl beg for it, you’re not kidding.” I shook my head with a grimace. “It’s a joke,” I added when I saw the look on his face. “I’m asking for one because I deserve it. And I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I need it. And… I need you to be the one to give it to me.”
“Are you sure about this, Sylvia? Let me make one thing clear before this goes any further.” He was using his serious, in-charge tone and it made me feel hopeful. I crossed my toes, just in case it might help. “If I agree to spank you, it’s not going to be some light, over-jeans affair. Do you understand?”
His eyes were piercing and serious and made my heart flip—as well as knowing what was probably about to happen. “Yes, sir. I understand.”
It would have been hard to miss how his face softened when I said those words, not that he acknowledged it. “And I’m not going to stop until you’re one very sorry little girl.”
A little shudder ran through me and I was surprised to realize it had nothing to do with fear. “Yes, sir.”
“Are you sure this is what you want?”
I met his eyes, not shrinking from the firm, unrelenting look in them. “Yes, I’m sure.”
“OK. Then I think we should go somewhere a little more private.”
“Really, I thought we’d do it right here in the parking lot. Privacy’s never been an issue for you before.”
The warning look he gave me told me that the joke must not be as funny as it had sounded in my head. “All right if we take my car?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied dutifully, vowing not to make any more sarcastic comments—at least until the spanking was over.
I hadn’t seen his house in half a decade. Yet, when he pulled in the driveway I could tell that not much had changed. It was still a light, calming blue framed by vibrant green hedges that also lent an air of privacy. There was a flowerbed built around the mailbox where pink spider lilies bloomed. It was, in a word, charming. There was no doubt in my mind why I’d assumed he lived with his mother—not that I was going to remind him of that. Most of the guys I was used to, even if that wasn’t a high number, weren’t very adept at picking up after themselves, much less planting flowers.
Then again, maybe he’d hired someone. The thought made me smile and for a moment I almost forgot that I wasn’t exactly here on a social call.
“Coming?” Jake asked and I realized that he’d opened my car door and was waiting for me to move.
Funny, now that we were here and he was looking at me with those blue-green eyes all serious and stern, I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I took a deep breath, trying to summon whatever courage I could muster, and unbuckled my seatbelt. I’d asked him, after all, and I did have much to atone for.
Jake took my arm with a light grip and helped me out of the car before walking me to the front door. We were inside within minutes and I took a look around, surveying the room. It still looked much too organized to belong to a man, but hey, bright side: maybe Dominic would inherit those tidy genes.
I found my eyes being drawn to the cream carpet in the living room. Momentarily, I was transported back in time and I could see us there, rolling onto the floor and too lost in the throes of passion to notice. We made a child there. It was odd to think about, but I couldn’t help it. When I looked at Jake, he was looking back at me and I wondered if he had been thinking the same thing.
“Living room? Or bedroom?”
Oh, so no small talk this time. “Bedroom, I guess.”
I started to shuffle forward, but considering what I had to look forward to, I was easily distracted. “Hey, is that a new TV?”
“Sylvia,” he prompted in a stern warning tone.
“All right already,” I muttered under my breath. “I was just asking.” Despite my obvious trepidation, I couldn’t deny that I was curious to see his room. Would it be as surprisingly clean as the rest of the house?
The minute I entered the bedroom, trailing curiously, if not reluctantly behind Jake, I burst out laughing.
“What?” he queried, his brow wrinkled in confusion.
“Now this is more like it!” I exclaimed, taking in the row of action figures lining the dresser and the B-horror flick posters that hung framed on the walls.
“More like what?”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “More like the person I remember meeting six years ago, I guess.”
He followed my gaze to the action figures, then seemed to understand. “Yeah, I guess. Although, for the record, I haven’t played with those in years. I swear, it’s been at least two.”
As I laughed I felt some of the tension drain from my body. If there was one thing about Jake I loved—yes, I could admit it, loved—it was his ability to keep me laughing when I’d rather do anything but.
Jake went to sit on the bed—messily made, but made nonetheless—and once he was on the edge he patted his knee. “Come here, honey. Let’s talk a minute.”
Biting my lip, I walked toward him, lowering myself gingerly onto his lap, my legs dangling above the floor.
“I had to grow up eventually, you know? We all do.” He stroked my hair as he spoke, his touch so gentle that I could have purred. “Your problem is that you had this enormous responsibility thrust on you, all of a sudden. One which, for whatever reason, you chose to shoulder all by yourself. Now it seems you feel like you have to be serious all the time, always on your guard.”
“I know how to have fun!”
The hard look he gave me, coupled with a sting as he pinched my bottom, told me that he wasn’t finished yet. “I’ve really tried to break that protective wall you keep around yourself all the time, but it doesn’t seem like you want me to. I want to help you, Sylvia, I swear I do, but you have to want it, too.”
“I do want it,” I protested, but my bottom still stung, and knowing that it would be far worse in a minute lent a mulish tone to my voice.
“Say it like you mean it now,” he chuckled, pressing his forehead to mine. “Sylvia… I’m in love with you.”
For a minute, my heart stopped beating, my breath trapped in my chest as my throat tightened. It was strange that hearing him say it made me realize I’d known it for a long time. Why else would he have stuck around despite the abuse I kept tossing his way? For Dominic, sure, but he didn’t have to have anything to do with me, and yet, he kept coming back no matter how badly I treated him. Then and there, I decided that I didn’t want to be like that anymore. Maybe I had a little more growing up to do after all.
“Would you just spank me already?” My voice came out husky with emotion and Jake put his lips to mine in a quick but tingle-inducing kiss.
“Over my knee, baby girl.”
I wasn’t sure that I could do it on my own, so I was relieved when he offered me his hand. He quickly pulled me over his lap, still holding my hand as he used his other one to unbutton my jeans. Once he’d pulled the zipper down, they followed in short order. I hadn’t thought it was chilly in the room until only my panties protected my otherwise defenseless bottom. Then, a breeze wafted over my exposed skin, making me shiver in anticipation of the spanking to come.
“I don’t like doing this, you know,” he said as he began to warm up my bottom with light smacks.
“No. Not like this. Sure, I like giving you a red bottom under the right circumstances, but… I don’t like giving punishment spankings, Sylvia. You asked for this spanking and if I didn’t give it to you, I’d be letting you down. But I want you to know that I intend to make a lasting impression so that this isn’t a lesson we have to repeat often. Understand?”
My tummy was somersaulting from the strong, sexy quality of his voice, as well as from the punishment he promised. As nervous as I was, I couldn’t hide the fact that my thighs were quivering in an altogether different kind of tension. “Yes, sir.”
“Good girl.” With a squeeze of my hand, he began the spanking, raising his hand and lowering it on my panty-clad butt with a smack that resonated throughout my entire body. From the get-go, he had me wincing.
As the spanks continued to rain down, I became increasingly grateful for his hand clutching mine. It lent me a strength I didn’t think I would have found otherwise. I took deep breaths after each hard swat, forcing myself to think about why I was over his knee in the first place. Smack! His hand landed hard on my bottom, and I thought attitude. Smack! Harsh words. Smack! Being ungrateful. Smack! Lying by omission.
On and on it went until I could not think of one thing I’d done right. As my bottom heated from the attention it was receiving, I thought of how lucky I was that Jake put up with me and loved me anyway. He loved me. What an incredible feeling.
At the same time, knowing that he felt that way made me realize just how unworthy I truly was. It was that realization—not the throbbing in my backside—that made me surrender to the tears that had been threatening. For some reason, I’d assumed that once he’d reduced me to tears he would stop. So imagine my surprise when I felt his fingers in the band of my panties, pulling them down and baring me completely.
“You’re a nice pink back here,” he mused, in a voice that told me he was talking to himself more than to me. “But I want you cherry red and hot to the touch.”
“I’m sorry,” I sniffled. “Jake, I’m so sorry.”
“I know, baby.” He gave my back a quick rub before taking my hand again. He held me tighter this time, as if he could sense how much I needed him. When his hand came down this time, I knew two things: one, I’d taken for granted how much my thin panties had shielded my butt. And two, I never, ever wanted to experience this kind of spanking again. I was glad he didn’t like giving them, because I couldn’t say I appreciated being on the receiving end any better.
He certainly wasn’t holding anything back this time, either. His hand landed on my upturned bottom like a thunderclap, making me shudder with the impact. He paused just long enough for me to be able to feel the full effect of blistering pain before delivering another equally hard swat. My tears quickly turned to hiccupping sobs as his relentless hand fell again and again.
“I’m sorry!” I wailed. The only response I received was another scorching lick that left me twisting in his grasp. “I’m sorry!” I pulled my legs up, trying to shield myself, but he clamped his stronger one over mine, pinning them before I even had a chance to recover.
“We’re almost through, honey.” But almost turned out to be another twenty or so spanks, doled out in slow, burning smacks that left me lying limply over his lap as I cried my eyes out.
Just when I thought we were done, just when I’d begun to relax—although the heat in my rear was rapidly coming to a boil—he said something that made me catch my breath.
“I don’t like you smoking, Sylvia. It’s not good for you, and if you want us to be together, it’s not allowed. Am I clear?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied, without giving a thought to how hard that order might be to obey.
“Good girl. Now, as a reminder, and as punishment for lying to me on the phone the other day—did you really think I’d believe you were drinking coffee?—you’ve got ten more coming.”
“No,” I wailed in sharp protest. “I can’t, please! I’m already so sore!” I began twisting and turning, trying to slide out of his hold. Jake didn’t speak and didn’t move, simply held me right where I was until I gave up struggling.
“Ten more,” he repeated. “Don’t fight me anymore or that number will have to go up.”
I began to sob again before his hand even made contact with my bottom. When it did, it was to the previously unspanked skin where my bottom and thighs met. I’d never felt pain like it before and I howled, gritting my teeth to keep from biting his leg, which was what I really wanted to do. But I had a strong suspicion that doing so wouldn’t end well for me.
By the time the ten were up, I was panting breathlessly over his knee, completely worn out from my struggling. Jake moved his leg, freeing my own, and let go of me, but I didn’t make a move to get off his lap. Instead, I stayed face-down, crying out all of my pain and frustration as my bottom tingled from the lesson his hand had imparted.
“Come here, sweet girl,” he murmured, pulling me into the haven of his embrace. “You did so well.” He pressed kisses to my cheeks, trailing the places where the tears had fallen. “I’m proud of you.”
“You shouldn’t be proud of me,” I said brokenly. “I’ve been horrible, I’ve—”
His hands gripped mine firmly as he shook his head. “Enough of that. It’s been paid for, and we’re starting over. Yes, sir?”
“Yes, sir,” I parroted, all of the anxiety leaving my body in a rush as I repeated those two words. He truly was something special and I glowed from his loving attention as he held me, murmuring comforting words in between kisses until I truly believed that I was forgiven. “Jake?”
“I think… I think it would be a good idea for me… if we… if we told Dominic the truth. About who you are, I mean.”
He pulled back to study me, his eyes roaming my face as a hopeful smile curved his lips. “Do you mean it?”
Without another word between us, he pulled me to him until we nearly melded into one another, kissing me so forcefully that I could only submit to his embrace. “I love you, Sylvia,” he said when he came up for air. I opened my mouth to reply, but he shook his head. “You don’t have to say it. Not yet—not until you’re sure that you mean it.”
“Actually,” I grinned at him. “I was going to ask you if we could… you know.”
“Ah,” he chuckled. “Well, I generally have a strict policy about naughty girls not being allowed to come.” His words invoked a delighted, submissive shiver that traveled through my body, which only intensified with what he said next. “But maybe this one time we can figure something out.”
My heart was beating hard as I stood up and waited for him to tell me what to do next. He didn’t tell me so much as showed me by leading me over to the wall. My panties were still down, tangling around my ankles as he pushed me forward.
“Now, I think that corner time should give you time to think about what you’ve done wrong, so I’m going to have to make sure you stay focused.”
I uttered a breathy little sigh, becoming so turned on by the profound effect his words had on me that I could feel it when my pussy began to drip. When I heard the sound of his zipper being yanked down, I turned my head to look but he quickly had me facing the wall again when a quick smack peppered my bare ass.
“Naughty girl. Do you want me to show you what I do to little girls like you?”
I gave an eager little nod that made him chuckle.
“All right, then. You stay facing the wall at all times, understand? Don’t make me regret my leniency.” But I could tell from his light, easy tone that he was far from angry, and as for me, my heart felt so light I thought any moment my feet might lift from the floor.
When his hand cupped over my hot pussy, my breath hitched in my throat as I arched on my tiptoes. In less than a moment his fingers were replaced by his rock-hard cock as he slipped inside, taking me from behind. “Oh.”
“Remember: stay facing the wall.”
As he began to thrust in and out, inadvertently pushing me against said wall, my hands came up to brace against his. There was something different about him tonight; his thrusts were primal, his hard body pressing against mine unrelentingly as his hands roved, roughly caressing everything from my breasts to my bottom hole. It was in the way he pushed me forward again and again, the way that he bit down on the nape of my neck, the whispered reminders: he was consuming me utterly, making my body submit to anything he might do. It felt like anything but punishment.
Not only did it fall in line with my every wish, my passion was evident in the heat rushing through my body. His balls slammed into my punished ass, making me mewl in protest. Yet, I really didn’t want him to stop. I couldn’t remember the last time that someone had brought me to such a state of heightened arousal—though that was probably because it hadn’t happened before.
“God, Sylvia,” he groaned, clutching my red, hot ass cheek in one hand and a tender breast in the other. He rolled my hardened nipple between his fingers until I thought I would come then and there. “You feel like heaven, baby girl.”
And he was hot as hell, so I guess it balanced out.
I’d never felt so wound up in my life; every muscle contracted until I felt like a coiled spring as his cock, his mouth, and his hands made themselves known to every part of my body. When I finally unraveled, it was in an orgasm so explosive that I threw my head back and yelled. “Oh, yes! Oh, God, yes!”
“That’s it, baby,” he growled in my ear. “Come for me.”
I was coming whether he wanted me to or not and it didn’t feel like it was going to stop anytime soon. Wave after wave shook my body until I hardly felt like I could stand up straight.
Jake was right behind me, reaching his own orgasm with a muffled grunt that made me smile. We leaned against the wall, our bodies pressed up against one another, not speaking for several minutes. The only thing I was capable of right then was trying to catch my breath, and speaking would only spoil the afterglow I was feeling.
“Think we can make it to the bed?” he panted.
“The floor… looks pretty good.”
“You got it.” He pulled me down to the floor, on top of him, and reached around to yank the comforter from his bed, wrapping it around us.
I closed my eyes, not intending to fall asleep. But in that moment I felt more at peace than I’d ever been and I had a lot of sleep to catch up on.
“If I ever catch you smoking again,” Jake’s voice interrupted my near-slumber. “I’m going to take a paddle to that cute little ass of yours.”
With a smile on my face and love in my heart, I answered, “Yes, sir.”
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