Colin, 40, successful, dark, handsome, and my new boyfriend invites me out to dinner the night before he leaves for his business trip. It will be the first time since we started going out a month ago that we’ll be apart for more than two days. We want to have a good night before he leaves. It feels even more important to make it special because last night wasn’t a good night at all. I really upset him and I have a bruised bottom to show for it. I hate for this to be your first impression of our relationship. You’ll just have to believe that as weird as it sounds, spanking is something we both like and it helps us. We’re in love and Colin makes me happier than any man ever has; it’s just that I told some lies and they almost ruined everything. It began right after I met him. To make a long story short, there was a boy who was on his way out, but I kept him around as an insurance policy in case Colin dumped me. Well, Colin found out. When I finally confessed the truth, I was sure Colin would dump me, but he didn’t. Instead, he spanked me. I don’t have to tell you how much it hurt. It was a real spanking for a real reason. I didn’t know whether it was really a good way to deal with the problem, but afterwards it felt more intense and more intimate than sex ever had.
“Can you forgive me?” I asked him after I stopped crying.
“If you can forgive me.”
I reached out and he leaned over to hug me. He knew how far he pushed. With the spanking, he was telling me how difficult it was for him to stick around after what I did to him. The spanking was his way of making me notice him, of making me see who I had hurt by what I had done. I thought I could never understand how hard that was for him. I thought I’d never understand how he could forgive someone who had hurt him so. I even worried whether I’d ever really believe that he had forgiven me. But after the spanking, forgiving him after he’d hurt me so badly, after he’d been so intentionally vicious, I understand exactly. I forgave him and could believe that he’d forgiven me. I cried for a long time when I thought about how close I was to losing him.
So, tonight when I step out of the cab and he’s there to take my hand, I smile and hope as hard as I can that tonight will be perfect. Antonio (Colin is on a first name basis with the maitre d’s at all the restaurants we go to) takes us to a private table in the corner. The restaurant is fancy and full of people twice my age, but being with Colin makes me feel comfortable. We talk a little about his trip. I miss him already. The waiter comes around. Colin orders a glass of wine and I order a beer. The waiter asks to see my ID. He looks at it for a long time. All the bouncers at the bars where I’ve worked have said that my fake ID is the best they’ve ever seen. It’s from Michigan and belonged to someone I once sold weed to. I gave her a freebie for the ID because her picture looked just like me. I’m sure he can’t tell it’s not mine, so his scrutiny doesn’t really worry me. Besides, at nice restaurants like this, no one really cares.
“Actually, we’ll just have some mineral water,” Colin says to the waiter, who shrugs and gives me back my ID.
“For some of us, breaking the law would have serious consequences,” he says to me in an icy whisper. What’s the big deal? No one cares about a stupid thing like… Then I realize what I’ve done. After all the business last night about honesty and not lying about who I am. Oh, shit. Plus, he needs to be squeaky clean to do for his work. He’s not some twenty-year-old slacker like me. He doesn’t have a police record or a mom who bought liquor for him when he was fourteen like I do. That’s my world. In his world, it would look pretty bad to be arrested for taking a twenty-year-old girl out for beers. He doesn’t even know about my suspended sentence and how much trouble I’d be in if I were caught. I’d go to jail. Why didn’t I think about it? He knows that I’m not 21 and that I’m not from Michigan. I didn’t even really want a beer; it just seemed like the thing to do. I was pretending to be something I wasn’t and it’s gotten me in trouble. Again.
With a few quiet words to the waiter, he makes a graceful exit from the restaurant. Now I see why he doesn’t get in trouble. That’s why I like him. That’s why I need him. On the way out, he apologizes in whispers to Antonio. I know what’s coming. I remember all the talk about the consequences of my actions. Thoughts rush through my head: my sore ass, promising him I wouldn’t lie again, the threats of a worse spanking if I did. I was good for all of ten hours. What’s wrong with me? Why did I order that beer? Why? Why? Why?
I hope the walk will last forever, but soon we’re back at his apartment, back in the room where I got my first spanking. It’s the room where I’m about to get my second spanking. He’s firmer tonight. He doesn’t need to reassure me that it’s safe or that he’s trustworthy. I know that. Nor does he really have to explain the spanking I’m about to receive or why. He was so elegant and affectionate when I arrived at the restaurant, but he’s angry now. I know he’s the same person. He’s angry with the thoughtless Lauren, the one who’s late, the one who breaks laws, the one who acts like she doesn’t give a shit. I’m so used to my what-the-fuck attitude that I don’t even realize when I’ve slipped into it. No wonder I’m always in trouble. It makes me scared, scared of myself and scared of what he’s going to do to me.
“Please, Colin. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. I’ll throw it away. We all do it. The drinking age is so ridiculous. Please, Colin. Don’t spank me. I’m still sore. Remember how good I was this morning. Don’t do it again. It’ll hurt too much.”
“You should have thought of that before,” he says sternly. I wasn’t thinking before, I want to protest, but I’m thinking now. I’ll think next time. Really.
You can’t do this to me. I’m not some little girl you can do whatever you want to. This isn’t some stupid foreplay thing that can happen every night. No way.
I stand still, unwilling to move. I’m stubborn and sullen. I look at the floor. He’s surprised by the change in me, but I can’t help it. He wants me to stand in the corner, but I won’t go. He digs his fingers into my arm and pulls me. I stumble over, practically making him drag me.
“Bend over,” he says, and I refuse. I don’t want to be spanked. I’m too sore and it’s not fair. He didn’t tell me he was such a hard-ass that he couldn’t break some stupid law that we all break every day anyway.
“Bend over, Lauren,” he says again. “You’re only making it worse for yourself.”
I won’t. He tries to take off my skirt. I grab the zipper in my fist and won’t let it go. He struggles with me for a minute. I’m not thinking of anything except keeping him from prying my fingers off the zipper. Specifically, I’m not thinking about how exactly this will make it worse for me.
Suddenly, he leaves the room. Now I’m thinking about what he meant by worse. I’m scared now. What have I done? I know I could turn around, leave the corner or even leave his apartment, but now I breathlessly want to be good. Is he going to get something to spank me with? I’m sure it will be something that will hurt more.
I quickly unzip my skirt and step out of it. I hope he’ll see I’m trying to be good. I wonder if I should pull down my panties, too, but he hasn’t told me to yet, so I don’t. Then I wait. My mind flies from fear to fear. I feel a bit of sweat under my arms and wetness between my legs. I’m startled when I hear his firm voice tell me to pull down my panties. Even though I’d almost done it a minute ago and I still want to be good, the scared part of me comes back and I hesitate. I’d do anything not to be spanked, but in the absence of any way to escape, postponing it seems like the next best thing. I don’t know why I’m fighting him, but I can’t help it. I don’t want the pain. It’s going to hurt so bad. I don’t want it. It’s not fair.
I pull my panties down a few inches, not even to the bottom of my ass. I know this isn’t what he wants.
“All the way.” I pull them down to my knees, embarrassed even though he’s seen it all before.
“Now bend over.” I incline slightly, dipping my head. My hair falls into my face and I hide behind it.
“All the way, Lauren Richardson,” he says with derision. “Grab your ankles.”
God, I didn’t expect to hear that. I’m too flush with surprise and arousal at his dominance to fight him. As I grasp my thin ankles, right on top of the pixie tattoo, I feel my ass way up in the air, the cool air reaching all the way inside my crack, which is wet from nervous sweat. Bending over like this pulls my ass taught, causing the sore skin to ache. Suddenly I hear a loud crack and feel the horrible sting of his hand landing hard on one cheek. He’s skipped the light start, the lecturing and the buildup. That was as hard as anything I got last night. I get five more on the same cheek before he switches to the other and gives me the same thing. Each smack is so loud. I know he’s not even begun. It’s just a taste to remind me of how it’s going to feel. He wants to command my respect.
I feel him back away, but I remain in the same, bent-over position. The silence is too much, though. I’m filled with fear. I wish I’d cooperated. I can’t believe what I’ve done.
I’m beginning to cry, not from the pain, which is over, but from the overwhelming anticipation of more.
“I can’t stand it. That hurt too much.”
When he called me earlier today, he asked me on the phone if last night’s spanking had hurt too much. I told him it hadn’t. Now I wish I had told him that he has to be gentler with me. My skin is so sensitive. It’s like years of thinking about spanking had made my ass sensitive to the slightest touch. It can’t hurt other people this much, not as much as it hurts me. I can’t stand how much it stings. Now I’m really going to get it. Why do I do this to myself?
“I won’t do it again. I promise I’ll be good. I was just trying to…” I was just trying to act grown-up so he’d like me. Grown-ups order beer, don’t they? If I keep talking, I know I’ll start to sob.
“I was hoping we could have a nice night before I had to leave.”
He’s not comforting me. He’s stern and disappointed. I know I deserve it. I want to feel loved, but if I’m really going to believe he loves me, I’m going to have to let him see the real me first, even the 20-year-old, prone to lying and hiding from the truth parts. I can’t feel like I have to order the right thing for him to like me.
“I knew you’d be sore and I didn’t want to have to spank you again. But you’ve shown me how badly you need it. Tonight I’m going to spank you with my belt. Maybe that will help you behave yourself when I’m gone.”
For a moment, I think that maybe, just maybe, the belt won’t hurt as much as his hand. How could it? Maybe he thinks it’s worse but really it isn’t. Maybe he wants to use his belt because his hand is too sore from last night. Maybe he’s afraid he won’t spank me hard enough if he uses his hand. I hear the metallic clinks as he unbuckles his belt and the swish of the leather against cloth as he pulls it through his belt loops. I guess I’ll find out soon. I wonder when he’s going to take me across his lap, but then I worry he’ll make me stay here bent over like this, with my asshole and pussy spread way up high.
“Come over here and bend over the arm of the couch. I’d keep you bent over like you are, but I don’t think you’ll be able to keep your balance when I’m using the belt.”
My panties fall to my ankles and I wobble over to the couch, ashamed. I bend over the cushioned arm. I stretch my hands out in front of me and squeeze them into fists. I promise myself to keep them far from my bottom to make sure my punishment doesn’t get any worse. He folds the belt in half and grabs onto the buckle and the opposite end. I feel the limp leather brush against my ass as he lines up his stroke, then I feel the rush of wind a fraction of a second before the sting of leather splits my ass in half, setting it on fire and digging deep into my fleshy cheeks. Ow. Shit. Oh, fuck. My fingers spread involuntarily outward in panic. He doesn’t pause long. There’s another and another and another. Oh, my God. Damn. Fuck. The belt crosses my entire ass except when he alters his stroke so the fold in the belt lands in my crack or wraps around my thigh. I’m panting loudly, my breath short and jerky. He’s relentless and there’s not time to recover. The spanks keep coming and I’m crying but there isn’t even time for that, so my cries come out clipped. I squeal in ways I didn’t even know I could until the belt sears my flesh it a particularly horrible way. I tip forward over the arm of the couch and kick my feet in the air. My panties fly off my ankles. I don’t care about the spectacle I’m making of myself.
“It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. Stop. Stop. Stop.”
Whatever I say, I say quickly. There’s no time for sentences or explanations. The belt isn’t loud, not like the sharp smack of his hand, but I hear the soft whistle it makes through the air. When I hear it coming, I clench my ass involuntarily, even though it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Sometimes, he lowers his arm so the belt comes from lower down. When he aims for my thighs, the belt wraps around and skims my pussy lips, causing a new kind of sting and a new kind of fear. So help me, it feels like my labia absorb the full sting of the wicked blow. I stand bolt upright, panting, and grab my ass with both hands. The skin feels different from last night. It’s covered with ridges. I can feel the each welt that the edge of the belt made. My smooth skin is bumpy when I rub my fingers over it. I feel my pussy. It’s warm and tender on my labia where he hit me. I’m soaking wet.
“You have to stop. I can’t stand it. Don’t spank me there. Not there. I promise I’ll be good. I’ll do anything.” And I’ll promise anything, but I know the awful truth. I do need this; I can’t be good; and my respite, even as I need it and am recovering as the burning fades, will only make it worse for me.
“I was almost done, but now you will get another two minutes. More if you so much as flinch. If you behave the way you do, you’ll have to learn to accept the consequences.”
How many times have I heard that in the last twenty-four hours? How many more times will I have to hear it before I can change? He puts his hand on my shoulder and gently pushes me back in position. Why did I have to stand up? When he starts again, harder than before, his anger at me makes me cry even more than the spanking.
“You promised me you’d be good just a few minutes ago, but you can’t even behave through your punishment. I know you want me to stop, but I also know that you’ll forget your pleas and promises after it’s over. You think you can’t take anymore, but I know you can. You keep telling me you can’t stand anymore. Well, I’ll show you how much you can stand. You take the easy way because you don’t know how strong you are. After this, you’ll remember what you’ve endured on that red ass of yours and you’ll realize just how strong you can be.”
I don’t feel strong now. I feel so weak. I’m not lying when I tell him I can’t stand anymore. I want it to stop. I’ll never be glad for this. It hurts too much. My tears soak the couch cushion, spreading across my face and wetting my hair as I writhe with pain. This time I have no words or thoughts. His belt skims my pussy several more times. Each time, I feel a shiver of panic, worrying whether I can survive, whether I might split open or bleed. What if I have to stand up again? What if I disappoint him and he never finishes punishing me? I need him to finish. I need it to be over.
“Ten more,” he says.
I remember last night and know that these will be the hardest. The whistle of approaching leather seems longer, like he’s taking longer strokes so the belt will be going faster when it cuts into my ass. He takes more breaks between strokes and I try to fill the time by telling myself that it will all be over soon, that afterwards he’ll hold me and I’ll feel so much better for it. I know it’s the truth but it’s no consolation. I can’t talk myself through this. No words can assuage the savage pain. At seven I begin to scream with each of the strokes, which are farther and farther apart. He gets my labia for the last time at four. Three, two and one are deliberately in the very same place, concentrating the fire along a single line and making it linger there after he’s done. I lie there crying until he takes me and guides me back to the corner. I know this spanking has been shorter than last night, but it’s been so much worse. I just want him to be like he was after last night’s, but he makes me stand alone in the corner while he talks to me.
“Please, Colin, just hold me. I need you to hold me.”
“You need to stand in the corner and think about what you’ve done, Lauren. You need to think about what you can do so you don’t need this when I’m gone. I can’t always be there with you.”
How will I make it without him? How can I be strong when I’m alone? All this has shown me is that I can’t be strong unless he forces me to. Why does he even bother with me? I’m hopeless. I just want to sit in his arms and cry.
Instead, I stand in the corner and knead my tender, fleshy ass. I finger the welts. I’m sure he likes to watch this, but I don’t care. I don’t care about anything now except not being spanked again.
“Don’t touch it!” He orders sharply. I let forth an involuntary sob. His words hurt me. His disapproval is like further punishment. Can’t I do anything right? I don’t know what to do with my hands so I cross them in front of me, my fingers resting on my abdomen just above my pubic hair. I begin to think about what’s in my head rather than what’s on my ass, and I’m not sure which hurts more. I suppose this is where he wants me to be. He doesn’t want to comfort me yet. There’s discomfort I have to learn to live with, and pain he won’t always make go away. It’s trying to escape life’s discomfort and pain that gets me in trouble. I just want him to hold me and tell me it’s all right. I want us to have a happy dinner together, like a normal couple. I don’t want to be such a fuck-up. I don’t want to need this so badly.
Finally, when I’m too deep in my head to even notice his approach, he comes over and wraps his arms around me. He takes me to his bed and holds me. He speaks to me softly and affectionately.
“I’m so sorry you needed such a severe spanking, Lauren. There are things that you do without thinking of their consequences. You can’t live like that, darling. I care about you too much to let you ruin things.”
“OK,” I sputter, my breath still jerky from quiet sobs. “Please don’t be mad at me, Colin.”
“I was angry because you were thoughtless. I just need you to think about what you do. I’m not mad at you anymore.”
“I was so scared, Colin. You sounded so angry. I thought you really wanted to hurt me.”
“Oh, darling. If we couldn’t be together because of something you did, that would hurt us both so badly. I do this to prevent that. I’m just sad that you feel like you have to lie so much for people to like you. It only makes things worse. I like you just the way you are. You have to be yourself for us to be happy together. You’re such a wonderful girl underneath it all. I know it must be so hard for you sometimes, but you can’t pretend to be something you’re not.”
“I’ll try, Colin.”
But it does seem hard. It’s something I’ve never done before. No one’s ever wanted me before.
Everyone has always wanted me to be someone else. What’s a fake ID compared to faking a whole identity? Some women fake orgasms; I fake my entire life. Being me promises to be hard, not least because I have to be me, but I have to be better, too. I can’t lie or bullshit or run away. In other words, I can’t be the old me. I know I won’t get it right the first time or maybe even the hundredth time. I know I’ll be here in Colin’s lap again.
“I can’t do it by myself, Colin.”
“I’ll help you. I promise.”
Brooke Stern is the pseudonym of an established writer who has master’s degrees in literature and psychology and whose fiction, essays and reviews have been translated into eight languages. “Old Habits Die Hard” is adapted from Brooke Stern’s first novel, Suffering the Consequences, which can be purchased at Chimera Books or Amazon. Email Brooke.