Libby tried to close her eyes as the L lurched forward, taking her stomach with it. She tried her usual tricks of pretending like she felt alright. Pretending like she was just tired. But she could feel herself getting hot. Casually, as if admitting her fear would make it a reality, she looked around at her options. Of course there were no trash cans. She was wearing her carry on knapsack and her suit case was wedged in between her knees. She had nothing to be sick into.
Kris was standing in front of her, wedged against the wall for stability. One hand holding onto the jerky train rail, the other holding her phone to her ear. She hadn’t noticed yet. Libby was denying her motion sickness to herself as much as to her partner.
Libby could hear pieces of Kris’s business call. She mentally pleaded with the train to stop. If they could only get off, she would get better. Some fresh air, maybe a little food to settle her stomach. It was always like this. She wasn’t truly sick. Motion sick. Too many things had set her off. First a celebratory pint at the airport. Libby had a notoriously low tolerance for alcohol. Two beers in short span of time would have her tripping over her own feet. Although they left in the early afternoon, both women were thrilled for their week away in Chicago and had decided on airport beers just before the flight out. Then of course, was the flight itself. Not especially turbulent, but enough to rattle Libby’s easily upset stomach.
She had managed to keep things under control on the flight and descent and both women were feeling pleased at that.
Libby wasn’t afraid to fly, but she so rarely made it through a flight without getting sick that it had become its own sort of fear. Even for this very short flight from Cleveland to Chicago, Kris had asked for the vomit bags from their surrounding passengers. A precaution that was ritual.
Kris had strode off the plane, all long limbs and confidence as if she had only stood up from her own work desk. She was the very definition of level. In all of their years together, Libby had never seen her become physically ill beyond a common cold. She had a posture and physicality that made people stop and look. Kris stood at 6’1, most of which, Libby liked to joke, was leg. She had thick dark brown hair which she mostly kept up and off of her neck. Today she wore it up under her favorite faded University of Michigan hat from undergrad. Unlike many tall women, she never tried to hide her height or apologize for it. She wore heels regularly, more by far than Libby, who stood, on a good day, at 5’5.
Both women were feeling upbeat and excited about the evening as they boarded the train. They had made it into town early enough to grab dinner before Kris’s business meeting. They had a recommendation for a sushi place from a good friend and Libby was starving. Well, that might have been in part to her having skipped lunch. A fact that she was still concealing from Kris. She had been looking forward to trying the sushi at this Chicago restaurant so much she hadn’t wanted to ruin her appetite. Kris had suggested appetizers with their beers but Libby declined.
“Nothing for me thanks,” she said handing over her menu.
“Babe. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to have a drink and no food to balance it with, do you?” Eyebrow raising in a warning way. “When did you have lunch?”
“I’m fine! Really, I just want to save my appetite for Chicago.”
Kris laughed, “Libby, we won’t make it to dinner until at least 630, you’ll be plenty hungry. Are you sure you had enough for lunch? I don’t want you to get sick”
“I’m sure!” Libby answered excitedly, hurrying to clink glasses and avoid answering.
The first part of the ride into the city, they had grinned at each other. It never got old, being together. The excitement of 7 days and nights almost uninterrupted but for the first day of work for Kris was intoxicating. But as the train sped along into the city, Libby had become more and more uncomfortable. She knew she was getting motion sick. It was a matter of time. If she got off soon enough, they could get to their hotel and she would be able to calm down. The train kept stopping. Each time was like a jolt of nausea for Libby. She knew the pattern. First a slight headache, then a thick tiredness, feverish increase in temperature, excess saliva and then …
A few stops into the ride, Kris had started making and taking work calls. How she could handle replying to emails and attend to serious legal work all while the ground underneath her shook and shimmied made no sense. Even thinking about reading off of a screen now made Libby green. Kris being occupied was good for Libby, who was needing to focus all of her energy on pretending to herself that she wasn’t sick. This pattern of concealment had been the majority of the train ride into the city.. Leading up to this moment when she was, in fact, about to be Very sick.
Giving up the act, Libby rested her hot head against the side window. Kris, still on the phone, clicked her fingers at Libby to get her attention and made concerned eye contact. Although no words passed between them, Libby could see the question in her face “are you ok?”
Libby, pale as a sheet, slowly, almost imperceptible, shook her head no.
“I’m gonna throw up” she whispered.
Even in the noisy, packed train, Kris could hear her. She looked pathetic, weak as a kitten. It was moments away and Kris had not seen it coming. Libby, now that she had admitted it, felt almost completely drained and was resigned to the fact that if she had to vomit, it was going to have to be on the train floor. She pushed her suitcase under the seat, out of the way and put her head in her hands, leaning forward. Looking down, she felt, more than saw, Kris hand her her beloved baseball cap just in time. Libby retched the contents of her non-lunch into the hat just as the train lumbered to their stop.
Libby didn’t even register getting off of the train, or who had their bags. She came to the realization that she was standing on Michigan Ave still clutching Kris’s now dripping baseball hat.
Of course Kris had taken charge. She led Libby off of the train and up the steps. Seeing Libby shivering, she took off her blazer and wrapped it around her partners slight shoulders. Her sick girlfriends light colored hair fluttered in the wind. She looked lost, fragile and pale, except for the red flush in her cheeks.
Carrying both suitcases in one hand, Kris strongly wrapped her arm around the shorter woman. Holding her close, half for comfort, half for balance, she shushed her as they walked to their hotel.
“I’m so sorry Kris, I couldn’t stop it,” Libby spoke, looking down at the sopping hat clutched in her hands, “your hat is ruined, I’m sorry.”
“Shhh baby shh. You’re going to be fine. You’ll start to feel better now. You always do. I didn’t realize you were feeling sick, I thought the flight went well?”
If Libby had had the energy to look up, she would have seen maybe the hint of a raised eyebrow.
“It was, ugh I thought I was ok, I’m sorry about your hat, it just came up on me fast”
“Enough about the hat, it’ll rinse off. I couldn’t care less. I only wish you had said when you started to feel ill. I could have helped you. Let’s just get you inside. How are you feeling now? Any better? Looked like you didn’t have much to throw up but the beer?”
If the clue to Kris’s suspicions was missed in the raised eyebrow, this second one should have been clear. Kris and Libby had long ago come up with a set of rules. Rules agreed upon and enforced with punishments set by Kris.
It wasn’t that Libby was incapable of taking care of herself. Or that she was especially irresponsible. Far from it. She was hard working and hard on herself. Too hard. Before they begun dating, Libby had fallen into a set of unhealthy behaviors which she disguised to herself as being productive or healthy. Over exercising, under eating, sleeping too little, picking up absurd amounts of extra work. Given the choice, she would run herself into the ground under the guise of “being productive”. Kris was essential in protecting Libby from her type A self.
Only a month or two into their relationship, Kris had confronted Libby after realizing that she had arrived for their date after sleeping only 4 hours after an 18 hour shift at the hospital. Unsure of what prompted her, she gave her then girlfriend an ultimatum. Either you go take a nap before we go to dinner or you can have a spanking. Although Kris hadn’t ever spanked anyone before, she felt confident and almost eager to do so. Libby was, in Kris’s opinion, aching for help. She accomplished what she did at the expense of her self care. Her answer to anything was to try harder and push through and never. Ever. Ask for help.
5 years older than Libby, she felt naturally protective of her. Seeing her hurt herself, in any way, was completely unacceptable to Kris. It was true that she very much took the lead in their relationship and frankly in most of her relationships. She was a capable and confident woman. Controlled is how she was often described. (Controlling, Libby’s would occasionally tease). Seeing her girlfriend run down, prone to colds, often taken advantage of at the hospital where she worked, triggered in Kris a protectiveness.
Their very first fight had been after a trail run they took together. Back at Kris’s car, changing out of their running shoes and sweaty tops, Kris noticed that Libbys left sock was soaked through with blood at the toe.
“Libby! Your foot? What happened?!” She questioned.
Looking down at her sock, Libby became flustered and tried to hide her foot.
Kris stepped closer, bending down to peel off the wet sock for a closer look. Pulling away roughly, Libby shrugged and said “Oh it’s nothing, I wanted to finish.”
Kris shot up and towering over Libby demanded, “Elizabeth! Did you know you were hurt while we were running?!”
Libby, who was never called by her full first name, by anyone, had jolted. Realizing that Kris was angry and actually scolding her, she scowled defensively. Inside she felt confused to be thrilled. Kris was angry? What was this? To be noticed. Why would Kris care? She hadn’t ruined the run. Why did she care if she was hurt?
“It’s not a big deal, and don’t call me Elizabeth.” She said with an edge. Her insides were buzzing with an electric thrill she couldn’t name. She felt like she almost wanted Kris to be angry, to confront her.
Kris had stepped forward, grabbed Libby by the upper arm and swatted her hard on her track shorts with a controlled strike. “Don’t you Ever hid an injury from me. You tell me if you are hurting. Do you understand me Elizabeth?”
Shocked and nearly bursting with confusing emotions, Libby had nodded. Embarrassed tears came into her eyes, but Kris pulled her into a tight hug and dropped the matter. It was the start of something. Something Libby couldn’t name and didn’t, until that moment, know she needed.
The incident with the 4 hours of sleep was the first time Kris had spoken the phrase “spanking”. She had only added the threat because she already knew that Libby would push back hard at the suggestion that she needed any sort of help. Usually sweet, thoughtful and sensitive, when facing a punishment, Libby could display a tendency to push back. To brat out. Libby never wanted to be a brat, but she almost needed to be taken into control. She needed help to let go. That particular evening had ended with a sort of playful session and neither woman napping. But the precedent had been set. From there, Kris set rules, which Libby agreed upon, sometimes begrudgingly. Rules with consequences. The results were dramatic and beneficial for both Libby and their relationship. Kris had naturally taken control, seeing to it that Libby didn’t fall into habits of neglecting her health under the guise of being productive. Libby simply thrived being cared for even if she didn’t always relish the consequences. Kris was incredibly proud of Libby, but also very strict. It was an arrangement that allowed both women to feel safe and loved and respected.
At this moment, by her deduction, Kris was realizing that Libby was likely 2 deep in rules broken.
- No skipping meals. She had had her suspicions in the airport, but allowed the excitement of the trip cloud her judgment. There was no denying however, that when Libby was sick on the train, all that was in her stomach, was the pint from an hour ago.
- Not telling Kris when she wasn’t feeling well. Normally this wasn’t exactly a punishable rule, but it was something that they were constantly working on. Libby didn’t have to reveal every cough or sniffle, but she couldn’t go to any length at hiding illness or injury. If she was only motion sick and it came on fast, Kris would have only been empathetic and concerned. But a skipped lunch, coupled with alcohol on an empty stomach, plus Libby’s delay in admitting a problem, was pushing this incident towards consequences.
So, when Kris questioned Libby about the lack of stomach content, Libby should have taken notice. However, she said it without judgment and with a voice full or concern, and the warning was missed. Libby, was starting to feel a lot better now that she was up in the fresh air.
“Actually yeah I feel a lot better. I’m fine I think, good to get it off the train. Let’s just drop off our stuff and I’ll be ok.”
Arriving at their hotel, Kris sat Libby down in a plush club chair in the lobby with a glass of water that she had requested of a bellhop. Normally Libby would have protested, but she was thirsty and slightly weak from having been sick. Plus, this was normal Kris behavior. Even the bellhop jumped to complete her task when requested of him. Kris, never harsh, never needing to raise her voice, was able to command people in this way. She checked them in, gathered their room keys, tipped the bellhop and gathered Libby from the palatial lobby.
Once in their room, Kris directed Libby take a warm shower while she unpacked. Uncharacteristically, Libby agreed with no fuss. Excited as she was, to be in town. And feeling a little sheepish about the incident, knowing that she was partly to blame after all, for having skipped lunch.
In the shower, her stomach rumbled loudly. Grateful for the loud gushing water, Libby lathered up, anxious to hit the town with Kris. She wondered if she’d be allowed to drink at dinner or not since she had been sick already. She smiled to herself absently, knowing on some level that if she was denied it was because Kris was still concerned about her.
Stepping back into their bedroom, wrapped in a thick white towel, dripping and happy, Libby babbled excitedly about the sushi restaurant they had been planing to eat at.
“Let’s definitely start with some sashimi, oh and gyoza! I’m starving, oh I feel so much better! Kris? Do you think I could get a cocktail? I mean after I eat something of course-“
She stopped in her tracks confused. Kris stood in the middle of the room, all of her considerable height amplified by her change of outfit and heels. Before, for travel, she had been dressed comfortably in leggings, open necked button down shirt, blazer and of course the old U of M baseball cap. The hat now sat soaking in the sink and Kris looked imposing and gorgeous in a form fitting pencil skirt suit. Libby realized that she was dressed for work and not sushi at a Chicago dive. The bed in the middle of the spacious room was turned down and a pair of pajamas lay folded on the clean crisp sheets.
“Kris, what are you doing?” Libby gestured to the bed in confusion. Deep feelings of hurt took hold in her already. Kris was clearly preparing to go to work. What about their dinner?
“Baby,” started Kris calmly, walking over to put her arm around Libby’s wet shoulder and walk her to the bed. “I don’t think that sushi is the best idea right now.”
Kris started to try to help Libby towel off and get dressed in pajamas as she spoke. Libby pushed Kris’s hands away with a force that made her partners eyebrows raise dangerously.
“What?! Kris! No! You can’t do this!” She stomped her bare foot down hard to emphasize her anger. “I’m completely Fine!”
Libby was letting her hurt turn into anger and it spilled into her voice, “You’re being ridiculous, you know how it is, I feel fine, in fact I’m starving!”
Before she could really wind up, Kris stepped close to Libby, gripped her upper arms and spoke in a dangerously calm voice, “Elizabeth. I know that you are hungry. Sushi from an unknown restaurant, after you’ve been sick, is a bad choice. You are going to stay in tonight, No-“
She stopped, holding one hand up in warming, as Libby started to passionately object. Libby was prone to interrupting, and had to be corrected for it regularly. Although ready to fight, Libby saw the all too familiar palm and waited for Kris to finish speaking. Libby stopped listening , fuming, preparing her rebuttal, not taking in a word.
“You are going to stay in tonight and order whatever you would like from room service. I want you to rest, make sure you have your strength up for tomorrow.”
Kris paused here because she could see that her words were falling on heated deaf ears. Libby glared at her. Refusing to even speak.
“It’s over Lib. I’m going to go in early and knock out this meeting. You Will stay here in this room, eat and rest. You should be asleep when I get back.”
Intentionally ignoring all the warning signs, tone and mood, of her very dominant partner, Libby shook her still damp head, and looking away at the ground muttered, “This is bullshit.”
Swearing was an absolute hard stop rule. More important to Kris than to Libby, but well established and understood. Kris swiftly lifted the shorter woman’s chin and lowered herself to eye level. She growled more than spoke,,
“That. Is. Enough.”
The muscles in Libby’s stomach clenched hard, finally realized that she had crossed a very hard line. She expected to be corrected right then and there and was suddenly uncomfortable with being only clad in a towel.
“Ok, I’m sorry” she whispered.
Kris held her in a piercing stare for an uncomfortable moment before standing back to her full height.
“You aren’t sorry. You’re sulking. Do you want to talk about how you had nothing in your stomach when you got sick today? Not even a lettuce leaf Libby. You got sick because you made poor choices and because you lied to me. Believe me, we are going to deal with that, but right now you are going to get into bed and start studying that menu. You Will be asleep when I get back.”
Libby knew what was expected of her in that moment and mumbled “yes ma’am.”
After Kris left their room, Libby sat on the bed in her towel. She was hurt and angry. Completely ignoring her responsibility for the current situation, she instead focused on the fact that Kris had left her for a work meeting. Never mind that that was the plan all along, and in fact the reason for this trip over the holiday. Libby nursed the hurt until it became something bigger. Now it felt to her as if Kris had not even wanted her to come on this trip in the first place. Her own demons took hold of the darkest corners of her mind. Kris was mad at her for getting sick and ruining the evening. Libby berated herself. She was pathetic. Couldn’t even handle a train ride. Now Kris couldn’t even stand to stay in the room with her, probably furious over her ruined hat. Maybe she would send Libby home and stay here in Chicago with all of her work friends. Maybe she didn’t even want to be together…She felt like sobbing. Suddenly, she got up walked over to the closet and started to get dressed. She pulled out a pair of jeans, and a comfortable sweater. She couldn’t stay here if Kris hated her. Without thinking too much, she slipped on her boots and grabbed her purse on her way out.
When Libby stepped out of the hotel and onto the busy street she felt slightly frightened. Being terrible with directions was a defining characteristic for her. Kris always drove if they were heading somewhere new. Usually in a big city, Libby was happy to hold hands with her confident partner and be led. She hadn’t even paid attention to how they got to the hotel. She almost stepped back inside, into safety, back to the bedroom. Was that safe anymore? She was truly starving, but they had food in the hotel. The feelings of hurt washed over her, causing her to shudder. She stepped away from the hotel. Any idiot can type an address into google maps she told herself. She’d go and have sushi, maybe even a drink. Why not? Kris didn’t even want to be with her. The evening air in Chicago was cool on her still slightly damp hair, as she faked confidence by walking fast down the streets.
Libby tried at first to keep track of passing stores and landmarks so that she could find her way back if she needed. The further she got however, the harder it was. Sometimes she would be on a street with tons of recognizable stores and then the next nothing. She tried backtracking and realized she was a little lost. Libby kept walking as evening was settling in and the sky darkened. Trying to not be obvious, she looked down at her phone. Her green dot was way off of her intended goal. Giving up on the restaurant now, she went to type in the hotel name but felt a jolt of panic. She realized in horror, that she didn’t actually know the name of the hotel they were staying at. As usual, Kris had handled all of the travel planning!
Ok relax, relax she thought. But she couldn’t relax. Forgetting her hunger completely, she tried to backtrack her steps. When she had started out, crowds had been all around her. In hindsight that had been a sort of comfort. Safety in numbers. Now she found herself almost alone on the streets. Dark streets. Tears pushed forward in her eyes. She was completely lost. She couldn’t even ask anyone for directions because she wasn’t sure where she was staying.
She opened the map app on her phone again, while still keeping a brisk pace. Trying in vain to find a street name she could recognize. Fear set in deep. It was night. In a big city that she didn’t know, and she was completely lost. Looking ahead she tried to walk towards a better lit part of the street she was on. She couldn’t find a street sign anywhere and had stopped trusting her app.
Libby knew what she had to do. She didn’t even question the certain trouble it would bring. Tears thick in her throat, standing under a street lamp, she called Kris.
In an Uber downtown, Kris glanced at her ringing phone. The meeting had gone well, it had ended quicker and more positive than anyone expected. She was thinking about her fight with Libby and regretting the way that she had left. Libby always needed to be dealt with immediately or her imagination would get the best of her and plunge them both into trouble. She suspected that at this very moment, Libby was balled up in blankets, maybe even having a little cry thinking that she was unwanted. The thought pained Kris. She loved Libby, her sensitive fragile girl. She would get back, make sure that the girl had eaten enough, and deal with the lying this very evening. Libby didn’t need a severe consequence. She had gotten excited and skipped a meal, it wasn’t the end of the world. No, it’s true that she intentionally broke a rule. And when Kris had directly asked, she had lied as well. Plus there was the issue of her swearing also. That was Libby deliberately testing her boundaries. Kris crossed her long legs and flexed her long fingers. She would read her girl when she got there. Emotions were high, maybe a quick correction could set them right. It would depend on if Libby was ready to admit her responsibility. If she walked into a sulky sullen girl, well, she had packed a belt. Picking up the phone, she saw the very face she was thinking of. Surprised but pleased, she answered, “Hey Baby”
Shivering, Libby tried to swallow the lump of tears down so she could speak calmly. She knew that Kris would hear the emotion in her voice regardless. But she didn’t want to sound like she was actively crying.
“Kris… I … I need you to help me”
“Lib, what is going on? Help with what? Are you ok? Are you sick again?”
“No, I’m not sick, I just, I …” Libby paused. The outrageousness of what she had done was hitting her. Kris was going to be Livid. “I was hungry and I, and I thought you didn’t even want me around… and I think that maybe I’m a little lost,” and then she started to cry. Voicing the word “lost” made everything terrifyingly real. How was she going to get back? She couldn’t follow directions even if Kris could give them to her and Kris didn’t know where she was! Steady streams fell now from her eyes.
“Elizabeth! What do you mean lost? What is going on?” Her normally level voice had both risen in volume and deepened. Kris picked up on the trembling emotion right away. Libby was crying. Trying very hard to not cry, but she was. Was this about the fight?
“Im lost,” she grief hiccuped, “… I don’t know how to get back to the hotel.”
The news landed in silence on the other end. Kris was stunned. Libby needed boundaries for sure, and it’s true that she was prone to testing them. Nothing had ever even come close to this kind of direct and dangerous disobedience. That coupled with the FACT that Libby was absolutely horrible with directions … she thought quickly.
“You left the hotel” she stated.
It wasn’t a question. It was damning. Kris was both furious and frightened. Not a normal place for her emotions to be. She was Not happy to be put in this position and was already thinking of a few positions she would be putting her girl in.
“Where are you right now, do you know the street name?”
“I don’t know Kris,” Libby was crying openly now, “I’ve been walking trying to figure it out. But there’s nothing, there aren’t signs or I can’t see them. I didn’t know the name of the hotel or I would have asked for help…”
“Do you know how to drop a pin? Put me on speaker Libby, open your maps app.” She waited a beat. “Can you hear me baby, do you have it open?”
“Yes, it’s ah, it’s open,” came the response.
“Ok, now do you see where it says to drop a pin? Yea? Ok do that. Now underneath that, tap share”
“Oh ok, yes it’s like a pushpin, ok it’s pinned, should I keep walking or?”
Kris’s commanding voice came through the line with direction, “Do Not walk away unless you don’t feel safe baby, let me see where you are. Share that with my number, now.”
Bolstered by her girlfriends confidence and the trust that she could make everything right, Libby stopped crying quite so much and sent her girlfriend a link to her location.
Receiving it in the Uber, Kris quickly gave the street name to the driver. Then she looked at the map. Checking in with Libby she said, “Ok good job baby, I see you,”
Relief flooded through Libby’s whole body. She knew that everything would be ok now.
Well, maybe not everything.
Kris’s dominant voice came back on with clear instructions. Libby was to pick her phone back up to her ear and start walking down the street. Kris would follow her progress and lead her to a safe place where she could wait. As she approached the end of her street Kris asked her,
“Now at the end of this street, the intersecting street, to your right, at the end corner you should see a Barnes and Noble. Tell me when you see that? Got it? Ok great job. Now I want you to go in there, go to the cafe, order a drink and snack and wait for me. I’m coming to get you right now.”
“Ok I’m walking there right now, thank you so much Kris, I don’t need anything to eat, I’ll be ok, I -“
“ELIZABETH! You are in absolutely no position to say anything other than yes ma’am! You walk in there and order a drink and a sandwich right now. It is almost 930 and I am trying to get to you as fast as I can. If you order food and eat it in the cafe they will not ask you to leave until you finish. Now, For Once, Do. As. I. Say.”
Libby felt her stomach muscles clench hard. All the relief she had felt at being found was quickly being replaced with dread at the certain trouble she was in.
“Yes ma’am” she said into the phone.
“Stay on the line until you are in the cafe. I want to be sure that you get in and can order. Under NO circumstances are you to leave this location without telling me. Is that clear? Repeat the instructions back to me Elizabeth.”
“Yes ma’am, go into the cafe, order a drink and snack, do not leave the cafe, for any reason, without first clearing it with you” spoke Libby submissively, trying to bank any sort of favor to her side.
Kris listened as Libby placed an order for a hot tea and deli sandwich.
“Now find a table and get to work on that sandwich. Don’t be afraid Libby, you are safe now, I’m coming to get you. Everything is going to be alright.”
“I’m so sorry Kris. I’m so sorry, I really am.”
“I love you baby, and I’m very disappointed. We are going to deal with your decisions tonight,” Kris answered before hanging up and exhaling loudly in the back of the Uber. She had about 15 minutes distance left to travel and she intended to spend that time getting her anger under control. She wanted to deal with Libby tonight. They both needed that. She couldn’t punish her in her current state. She would not allow herself to punish her girl until she felt calmed down.
Meanwhile in the cafe, Libby stared at her sandwich. All the hunger she felt earlier had absolutely evaporated. Replaced instead with a lead weight in the pit of her stomach. She shivered with her guilt. A voice in the back of her mind told her to make sure there were only crumbs left on the plate by the time Kris arrived to pick her up. She didn’t need to give Kris another reason to be angry with her. She took a long sip of the hot tea. It warmed her, she had gotten cold out on the streets. Libby got to work on the sandwich, chewing and swallowing without tasting.
Although it pained her, she kept repeating the damning phrase in her mind. “You left the hotel.” It spoke volumes. She couldn’t even piece together her previous logic for having so directly disobeyed. She had been angry and hurt. She hadn’t meant to get lost of course. She began to wonder if Kris had left her important meeting to take Libby’s panicked call. Letting out a soft groan, she pushed the now empty plate forward and rested her head on her arms. She had been truly scared. Now Kris was swooping in to rescue her yet again. Instead of feeling embarrassed, she mostly felt grateful.. With the threat of being lost in Chicago over, her thoughts moved to the consequences she might be facing. Had Kris packed the hairbrush?
Back in the car, Kris instructed the Uber driver to pull up to the curb. They were under a 15 minute walk (including plans for a quick stop) from the hotel. Libby had come close to finding her way back but probably had gotten too emotional to remain levelheaded. Kris was confident in the direction back, so she let the driver go with a thanks and a generous tip. She had decided in the car that it might be helpful to have more time to cool off while walking her disobedient girlfriend back to their suite.
Libby heard Kris before she saw her. Heels tapping the tiled floor of the bookstore cafe as she walked in. Libby turned sheepishly to see her. She stood quickly from the table, and hung her head, unsure if she could or should run to Kris, who looked positively murderous and about a foot taller than her normal domineering height. Or maybe it was that Libby felt smaller than usual.
To Kris, Libby appeared like a scared scolded dog. Her remorse was palpable. Kris’s heart thrummed with sympathy. As angry as she was, she knew how badly Libby must have panicked. How bad she was with directions. How scared she must have been. Half of her wanted to wrap Libby up in a blanket but the other half wanted to tip her over her lap right there in the bookstore cafe and blister her bottom. Scowling hard, she walked briskly over to Libby and pulled her hard into a breathlessly tight hug. Libby melted into her wordlessly, feeling safe in Kris’s control. The two women stood like this for a moment locked in tight embrace. Although they didn’t speak, much passed between them.
Finally, Libby managed to say, “Kris, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
Kris rested her chin on the top of Libby’s head and nodded slightly, acknowledging the statement, before pushing her forward and holding her out at arms length. .
“Give me your phone”
Confused, Libby took her phone out of her pocket and held it out to Kris. Kris opened it with the passcode she knew and thumbed through settings, quickly turning on the “find my friends” function. Never again she thought. Handing it back, she said, “Let’s go.”
Libby nodded at the floor, willing now, to be led. Kris wrapped her arm tightly around Libby’s wrist and walked them both out of the store.
It shouldn’t have been so hard to keep up, after all, Kris was still wearing heals, but Libby felt herself almost trotting alongside her girlfriend, wrist being pulled forward with every determined stride.
If it occurred to Kris to explain to Libby how close she was to the hotel, or to show her where the street signs could have been found, she didn’t acknowledge it. She set a brisk and purposeful pace that didn’t stop until they arrived in front of a large chain drugstore. Pulling a confused Libby inside she led her through the aisles until she found the one she was looking for.
Releasing her grip for the first time since the bookstore she said cooly,
“Pick it out.”
Libby glanced down the aisle and then back up at Kris’s stern face. She understood. The aisle was hair care, shampoos, conditioner, hair ties, oils, and brushes. Lots of different hairbrushes.
Libby knew what to look for and she obediently stepped down the aisle looking for the one that she knew Kris would want. It didn’t take long. Quickly she ruled out the plastic hollow looking brushes. This wouldn’t be for her hair. In a section with men’s hair creams was a flat solid wooden hair brush with short hard packed dense bristles. She reached out to pick it up and knew by the weight of the wood in her hand that this was the one. Libby carried it back to Kris, face flushing. Kris resumed her grip on Libby’s arm and marched them both to the cash register. Declining a bag, she turned to her girlfriend and held out the brush saying, “Merry Christmas baby.”
Two more street corner turns away from the drugstore and Libby was shocked to see the hotel. She had never even been that far away. Her embarrassment was compounded by being made to carry the hairbrush in plain sight while Kris maintained her grip around her wrist all the way through the lobby and into the elevator. Kris didn’t slow her pace at all down the long carpeted hallway to their hotel suite. Stopping in the parlor of their room only to replace the do not disturb hanger from the inside to the outside of their door.
Kris turned back to face Libby who was now blushing furiously and staring at the carpet. With a sigh she said,
“Alright young lady, get changed into your pajamas, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. Then you get yourself in that corner.”
This wasn’t uncharacteristic of a punishment. Usually Libby was so worn out after a good spanking, physically and emotionally, that she would be nearly asleep on her feet. This was another example of Kris’s planning. She would be ready to put her naughty girlfriend right to bed once she was through with her.
Libby hurried through her instructions to show how seriously she was taking this. Peeking bashfully out of the bathroom to see what Kris was doing once she was finished. Kris, who had removed only her heels and suit jacket, stood (not appearing an inch shorter) in shirt, pencil skirt and stockings against the dresser and pointed hard to a corner of the room.
Libby gasped softly at being caught sneaking a look and scurried to the corner. Kris walked up behind her once she was in place. The closeness made Libby shiver. Roughly, Kris adjusted Libby’s body into position. Hands atop her head was normal, what came next was not. Libby felt the waist band of her pajama bottoms pulled hard down off her slight waist. Already loose fitting they dropped quickly to the floor. Kris wasted no time pulling down her panties to meet them. Libby let out the quietest gasp she could allow and flushed violently into the corner. Her pajama top came down just barely past her waist leaving the curves of her bottom cheeks on display. Libby felt Kris retreat back into the room and wanted to know where she was going, but didn’t dare move a muscle.
Corner time was always hard. Libby could be her own worst enemy in most ways and hardly ever needed the time to reflect. Kris found it mostly useful for those times when Libby was pushing back at submitting to a punishment. Now it felt more like Kris needed the time to settle and Libby found herself praying for extra time. She had never been in quite as much trouble as she suspected she was in right now. The memories of her worst spankings to date were making her stomach do flips. Kris was a skilled disciplinarian. She may have only started with Libby, but she came to it naturally. She could bring Libby to tears simply with only the use of her hand. In lighter moods, Libby had joked that Kris could strip the bark off of a tree with her palm. She knew that Kris would be fair and controlled, but she also knew she had broken several of their biggest rules. She was embarrassed and worried to already have had her bottom bared.
Kris filled a cup of water for herself in the bathroom. She went through a mental checklist, objectively testing her ability to punish. Of course she was upset, her anger wasn’t going to naturally evaporate. Was she in control of her emotions? Could she discipline Libby in a way they both needed? This would have to be a harder punishment than usual. The behavior too egregious. She would need to make this clear before they began. There could be no uncertainty or confusion. Libby knew the trouble she was in. She was already behaving completely submissively. Kris knew that feeling lost had scared Libby deeper than it would have affected most people. Libby was tender hearted and sensitive, emotionally receptive and eager to please. Kris loved all of these traits in Libby. In Kris’s line of work, everyone was cutthroat cold and practical. Emotions were weaknesses to be exploited. She felt very protective of her girl.
Kris left the bathroom and walked over to where Libby stood in the corner. Kris leaned in over her, placing her hand on the wall above Libby’s head for balance. When Libby was feeling guilt, the act of looking Kris in the eyes was next to impossible. Almost torture. It was something that Kris did not insist upon because the level of distress it caused Libby prevented productive and honest communication. Corner talks were a work around they had come up with.
“We have a lot to talk about Lib,” Kris began, “before we get started I want to ask you a few questions. I want you to answer me as honestly as you can. I don’t want to hear the answer you think I want to hear. I want the truth. Can I count on that?”
Eager to please, Libby replied “yes ma’am”
“Baby do you trust me?”
Libby paused confused. Was that the question? “Yes ma’am?”
“Libby, do you know that I love you?”
Surprised at the line of questioning, Libby replied eagerly, “yes ma’am!”
“Libby, do you think I want to hurt you?”
Libby shook her head in the corner, “No ma’am.”
Bending down now, and gently tugging her panties back into place, then her pajama bottoms, Kris whispered, “Do you know that I want to protect you, that you are the most important person in my life?
“Kris…yes ma’am” breathed Libby
Turning her from the corner by her shoulders and looking into Libby’s calmer face she asked “then why did you leave the hotel?”
Libby couldn’t speak. Kris nodded and walked Libby over to the edge of the bed, sitting her down beside her.
“Let me run a theory by you,” Kris put her hands over Libby’s and held them in her lap. “Do you think, perhaps, that when you swore at me, and I left for work, instead of punishing you… do you think you decided to act out. No wait..” she squeezed Libby’s hands gently in hers. Libby hadn’t spoken, but she had begun to squirm.
“Let me tell you what I think happened. You’ll have a chance to speak. I think that when I left, you got to feeling like I had abandoned you. That I was angry with you. That I didn’t love you. Hmm? Because we’ve been here before haven’t we little girl?” She bent her head to try to make eye contact with a badly flushing, silent Libby.
“We have. It’s ok that you get worried, it’s ok if you start to question things. But what have we talked about doing when you start to feel like that? What have we decided, together, that you should do.” She stopped here. Libby knew the answer. Kris wanted to hear her say it. Kris gave her hands another squeeze. Libby balled them into fists, staying silent. Kris cleared her throat and began speaking in a more commanding, dominant voice.
“Ok then. Let me tell you what I think happened and you tell me if I’m wrong.
Instead of communicating with me. Instead of asking, clarifying, or even texting me, knowing, as you just admitted, that you are loved, that I want to protect you, that I would never hurt you. Knowing that, you jumped to the dramatic conclusion that you were unloved and therefore none of our rules applied any longer. You acted out for a reaction instead of communicating your feelings. I’m willing to bet that not 15 minutes passed after I left, before you decided to walk out of this hotel room. Is that correct Elizabeth?”
Libby’s head couldn’t have hung any lower. That is exactly what had happened.
“Elizabeth, I cannot excuse the decisions you made tonight. I know that you were hurting. That holds value with me. But you can’t decide to break our rules when your self confidence gets low. That is unacceptable. Your behavior has been unacceptable.”
Libby began to cry softly. The scolding, as usual, hit her hard.
“Tell me which rules you broke.” Kris’s voice was hard business, as she used her thumbs to wipe the tears off of Libby’s face.
“Ah um… I disobeyed you.” Libby’s voice froggy with emotion.
“Yes, that’s true. You disobeyed a direct order. Let’s start from the beginning though Lib. Did you skip lunch today?”
“Yes I did ma’am. I wanted to save my appetite for the sushi.”
“Yes you did. And when I directly asked you? You what?”
Libby squirmed here, it was hard to admit lying. Lying was probably their biggest rule and came with one of the most unpleasant consequences.
“Elizabeth, I’ll warn you that I am very thin on patience this evening. Further lack of communication is going to cost you.”
“You lied, yes you did. Ok let’s keep going, there’s more. Let’s see, you withheld from me when you started to feel sick, and I think we can safely say that you most certainly put yourself into danger by walking out into an unknown city on your own without anyone knowing where you were. Correct?”
Kris counted on her fingers:
“Skipping meals, lying, hiding injury, Swearing, disobeying a direct order and putting yourself in danger. That’s everything Elizabeth. That’s every single big rule we have. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
Miserable, neck aching from her head hanging so low, Libby could barely answer a pathetic “no ma’am, I’m sorry”
Kris sighed and gently pulled Libby to sit in her lap. She wrapped her in a warm hug and rocked her gently.
“You know I have to be hard on you tonight. I’m going to wash out your mouth for the lying and the swearing. I’m going to spank and paddle you for the disobedience and for the danger you put yourself in. I’m not going to punish you for skipping lunch or for failing to tell me when you started to feel sick. You punished yourself for that. I could have helped you. Elizabeth, you know you deserve to be bent over for my belt don’t you?”
Libby wrung her hands but nodded her head.
“I’m not going to spank you with my belt. Because you did the most important thing right. You did the most important thing perfectly. Do you know what that was? When you got into a dangerous situation, you called me. You asked for the help you needed and I’m proud of you for that Libby. I really am.” Libby leaned in to Kris, bashful but thirsty for the praise.
“You’ve still got quite a list and a serious spanking coming. Come on, march over to the bathroom and have a seat. You’ve got a mouth that needs washed out.”
Kris walked Libby over to the hotel bathroom and sat her down on the toilet lid. Libby grimaced as she watched Kris unwrap a bar of hotel soap and work it into a lather in a washcloth. Kris lifted Libby’s chin with her hand and instructed her to open. Libby obeyed with reluctance, regretting it almost immediately. A mouth soaping never got easier. There was no tolerance you could build. It didn’t start slow and manageable, there was no warmup. Every taste bud in her mouth recoiled at the punishment. She wanted to gag, she struggled to hold open her mouth. Kris was having none of it. She worked the wash cloth over teeth and tongue, coating every corner of Libby’s mouth. Libby ached for the soap portion if only to know they were closer to the end. She begged herself to remember this, to never ever lie or swear at Kris again. It would never be worth this. Finally, Kris removed the wash cloth and placed the thin bar of soap in Libby’s mouth.
“Close. You’ve got 5 minutes Elizabeth. No, I don’t want to hear it, you’ve earned at least this. Be good now and I’ll let you rinse after. Give me a reason and I’ll bend you over this counter top and start your spanking with the bar in your mouth.”
As miserable as she was, Libby would not test Kris on that threat. Being promised a rinse was an olive branch she didn’t deserve. She knew the worst was coming, after all, she had picked out the brush.
After the 5 agonizing minutes were up, Kris, leaning in the doorway, beaconed Libby up with two fingers. Pointing to the sink she said “You have 45 seconds to rinse, starting now.”
Libby threw her mouth under the faucet, unselfconscious gulping and spitting out water, trying in vain to get the soap taste out of her mouth. She was only vaguely aware of the continued scolding Kris was giving her from the doorway. How lying would never be tolerated in their relationship. She promised herself she’d never lie again. Ever.
Kris held out a hand towel, indicating that the 45 seconds were up. Libby dried off her face, still grimacing at the lingering taste of soap.
Back in the bedroom, Kris sat on the side of the bed, holding Libby in front of her.
“Libby, I need to know you’ll never do something like this again. You could have been seriously lost. What you did hurts me. I’m grateful that you called me, but I’m going to have to punish you very hard. You know you have a safe word. I want to hear it.”
“Please Kris … I know it,” Libby squirmed. It was something they never said. Yet it would be absolutely normal to anyone if they heard it. The brilliance of it hit them early on. Hearing it would instantly queue to them both that something was wrong. It could be used in casual conversation without raising question. Kris had liked the idea that Libby could safe word in any situation that made her feel dangerous or uncomfortable. Libby had never used it.
“Right now. Don’t make me ask again.”
“Please, it makes me so uncomfortable, I know it, you know it …”
Kris turned Libby to the side and pulling back, landed an almost full strength swat to the seat of her pajama bottoms. Libby could feel the imprint of Kris’s hand setting into her cheek moments later. So strong was it that Libby gasped and quickly whispered, “Kristina”. Their safe word, her full name.
“That’s right.” Kris spoke, turning her now over her knee. Feet scraping the floor, upper body laying across Kris’s lap and on the bed. Libby felt her pajama bottoms pulled down to her knees. Kris began landing hard strikes in rapid fashion to the panty covered bottom in her lap. Much faster, but not harder than usual. The speed was what would break Libby. She needed to slow down if she was going to make this a long session. The bottom was pinking up already, giving off heat.
Libby tried holding her breath through the strikes. At some point, Kris would stop right? She couldn’t maintain this speed. Usually there was more lecture, pacing. Libby knew they had barely begun but her bottom was scorching. The heat was trapped in by her panties. She ached to remove them and let the heat dissipate. She tried hard to lay still, wanting to show obedience. Gritting her teeth, gasping, she choked the bed sheets tightly in her hands. The spanking was beginning heavy and intense.
Kris slowed down the pace while increasing her strength. Libby couldn’t resist crying out now, gasps and squeals. Top of the cheek, sit spot, top of the other cheek, sit spot, repeat. Libby timed her breathing and braced for the painful sit spot strikes. Each time Kris’s palm landing on soft skin like a firecracker. Finally, Libby couldn’t keep from trying to lean into Kris or away from the spanking. She kicked out hard and tried to adjust the target. Suddenly Kris stopped, and rested her hand in the small of Libby’s back.
“You wanted trouble Libby and now I’m afraid you’ve got more than you can handle.”
Libby’s bottom was throbbing, itching almost with the trapped heat. She couldn’t help but squirm trying to relieve the discomfort. Kris slipped her fingers into the underwear waist band, but instead of pulling them free of Libby’s scorching bottom, she hiked them up a little, exposing the tender pink skin where bottom meets thigh.
THwack, Thwack, thwack, thwack! The hairbrush came down hard and fast on the newly exposed crease. Completely unable to stop herself , Libby arched up and reached back “oh owowowowoooo! Kriiiiis! Pleeease! Ohmygosh it huurts!”
“Oh no you do Not, Elizabeth Clare Kettering. Don’t you Dare block me,” Kris growled, clamping Libby’s wrist in her palm and pinning it into her lower back.
Four equally hard smacks of the paddle came down to the left sit spot just as fast as before. Libby sputtered apologies began to cry earnestly. Kris continued to paddle the sore bottom in her lap.
“This is supposed to hurt little girl. You broke every rule we have. What’s more, you didn’t need to break a single one of those rules. Those were all decisions.”
Now, she pulled down the panties, tugging them all the way to Libby’s knees. Libby didn’t have a chance to appreciate the cool air on her hot skin. The paddle brush rose and fell in a windmill arc, catching Libby’s bottom cheeks in an upswing. Landing so fast and solid it was hard for her to breathe through. Sobbing and babbling, right arm still pinned down, Libby released her death grip on the mangled bedsheets and pushed hard against Kris’s pencil skirt clad thigh. Arching her back, crying hard as the spanking continued, unrelenting.
Eventually, Kris slowed down, paddling now in a rhythm and gently pushed Libby back down onto the bed.
“You are safe with me.” Paddle working the sides.
“I love you.” Paddle kissing the tops of her thighs, producing squeals.
“We have rules specifically so that you know how loved you are. I understand what you need.” Paddle dropped now.
Libby was sweaty and lying limp, exhausted. She cried with no hesitation. Crying over what she had done. The danger she had put herself in. Finally releasing the fear she had felt. Of being lost. Of being unwanted. She felt safe now, bottom on fire, safe in Kris’s lap.
Kris rubbed Libby’s throbbing hot cheeks and resumed a medium strength hand spanking.
“Elizabeth. What rules did you break?”
Libby, still crying answered in an almost incoherent babble. Kris accepted it.
“Elizabeth, what happened as a result of you breaking those rules?” Still spanking, but slower now.
“I hurt yoooou and I made you worrry,” Libby answered correctly.
“You did baby. Don’t do that again. I don’t deserve that. Now. You’ve been spanked?”
“You’ve been paddled?”
“You’ve had your mouth washed out.”
Kris stopped the spanking and helped Libby up to standing. Her knees were wobbly from the spent adrenaline. Walking her to the bathroom, Kris wet a washcloth with warm water and gently washed Libby’s face clean of salty tears. She encouraged Libby to blow her nose several times before helping her back to bed. In she went under the cool covers, hissing a little as her bare sore bottom made contact with the sheets. Laying Libby on her side, Kris stepped out of her skirt and stockings and got under the sheets, spooning Libby tightly to her.
“I’m sorry,” Libby sighed, nearly asleep already.
“Shh, it’s over. I love you. Clean slate Lib.”
Letting someone throw up in your favorite hat?? That IS true love! *LOL* But Kris is certainly one of the most authoritative tops I’ve seen, and Libby is very lucky — they are perfectly suited for each other. Thank you for this lovely Xmas gift, KM! I’m very happy you participated and hope it won’t be the last time. 🙂
This was awesome. I love a good spanking story where the characters really connect with each other and love each other so much. I am so glad you decided to join our tradition, err Alyx’s tradition that we’ve all fallen in love with. I hope you will have many more stories to share in the near future.
So tenderly written.
This was SOOO good!!! Please write more!! If you start a blog please let us know! Seriously, so good. Never apologize for length.
Thank you all! I’m delighted that you enjoyed. Thanks to our host for providing the format. I’ve enjoyed every single submission through the years, so it was a lot of fun to try my own. Your kind comments will definitely spur me to get over my shyness and share more. Merry Christmas to all, be safe and healthy. -km
Wow… that really hit me emotionally. Really awesome story!
Great story! Really enjoyed it, thank you for submitting it (no pun intended 😉 ).
I really enjoyed reading this story. Libby’s insecurity is described so well and I’m glad she has Kris in her life! Thank you for sharing, KM.
PS, I can appreciate the panic involved in realizing that you are lost in an unfamiliar big city at night! Yeah, been there done that. lol
Happy new year!