I’d just used moral blackmail, talking about how she’d hurt me, to ensure she agreed to being punished. This was new territory for both us – I’d never punished a submissive before – but I was sure that talking about how she’d hurt me was wrong. So I’d apologised.
But Emily shook her head. “No, I’m sorry, I really am. I’m so sorry. And … you should do it. Punish me. I want you to. Well.” So I held her again. Emily buried her head in my shoulder while I stroked her neck, feeling that I was, on the whole, a shit.
Eventually we stood apart, and I took the cane from her. We’d been here countless times. But never like with this meaning. I said, “All right, Emily, you’ve asked for this, and now you’re going to get it.” That was true. “I’m going to beat you. As you deserve.”
‘Deserve’ was weak; I wasn’t sure what it meant. But I bet Emily had liked ‘I’m going to beat you’; that had sounded ruthless. I added, “Take off your clothes. Everything, including your watch. Quickly.”
Emily undid and shed yesterday’s party clothes. I knew she’d prefer to be bending over the bed, tied down so she didn’t have to hold still. She wouldn’t have that. When she was naked I pointed the cane at her feet. “Put your feet apart. Wider.”
Emily bestowed a blessing on the rattan, easily. It seemed that I’d hoped for more reluctance.
“Thank you. Now turn around, please, Emily, bend over and touch your toes.”
Emily obeyed the traditional instruction, jack-knifing her body and reaching down to assume that simplest and most submissive of postures, beloved by bonobos, actors pretending to be teachers in bad porn videos, and me. It’s a hard pose to sustain for ten strokes, but she’d managed before. The position is emotionally as well as physically exposed. That seemed right.
“Thank you, Emily.” Still polite. I pressed the cane to the undercurve of her bottom, so she knew where the first stroke was coming.
I was enjoying Emily’s submission display – would I fuck her after I’d caned her? Of course I would – but I was aware of softer emotions that I hadn’t expected. I’d lost my anger. Emily was giving me an extraordinary amount of trust, and that meant I had to be loving and protective. I had to be worthy of her.
There seemed to be something I hadn’t expected in this, something loving. It wasn’t “parental” because Emily wasn’t at all childlike and anyway I don’t think adults should hit children. But I was calmer than I’d expected, and oddly certain that I was acting from love. I suspected that I might be doing the right thing. I raised the cane.
Emily closed her eyes tight. I let her wait while I considered how hard to strike. I knew this had to hurt her. I put some speed and force into the swing.