April 15, 1896
Twelve days without my wife and children and then they have the audacity to return. When the front door opened without so much as a knock I was startled and looked up from my hot roast and sliced potato dinner. Caroline’s eyes were fixated on my plate and believe her expression was akin to having come upon her lover in bed with a younger woman.
“You’re not alone?” She said.
Her voice quivered as though she were afraid to hear the answer. I chewed slowly endeavoring to enjoy my dinner irregardless of my wife’s return. When I had sat to eat, I had taken a moment to be thankful for the intoxicating aroma of beef and onions. Now I was taking a moment to be thankful my mouth was full.
“Answer me!” She demanded.
I swallowed deliberately, extravagantly and obnoxiously. I cleared my throat. I smiled. I wiped the corners of mouth with a linen napkin. I wrongfully delighted in her impatience. I pushed my chair away from the table, laid my napkin next to my half full plate, and stood.
“Welcome home my dear.”
“Where is she?”
“Where is whom?”
“Where is she? The one who made that.” She pointed at my plate as though it were a bloodied knife at the scene of a crime.
“Next door in her apartment.”
“You are having an affair with Mrs. Jones?” She looked incredulous.
“An affair? My dear, the food is indeed sensual to taste and perhaps sinful in indulgence but I would hardly consider the pleasure I take in its consumption to compare with the pleasure you have given me.”
“Save the flattery for Mrs. Jones. I have already given you two children do not expect a third!”
“Caroline!” My father-in-law boomed from the doorway.
Orville Pauper has always been good at making an entrance. I still recall the first time I met him, my hand was cupped on Caroline’s breast as he entered the room to inform us dessert was ready. I would have replied but my mouth had been otherwise engaged as well. The slap from Caroline a moment later left me additionally speechless as Mr. Pauper attempted to extricate himself from the doorway he had lodged himself in. I had not stopped to wonder why he was not angry with me at the time, but that was only one of many warning signs I failed to notice.
Surprisingly, Caroline remained mute while her father squeezed himself through our front door. I would have offered to share my dinner with him but I fear he is only a morsel away from not being able to get back out. He paused once inside to re-inflate his lungs with air.
“Good to see you again, Charles.”
His voice was once again boisterous now that he was no longer straining to move.
“Do come in, Mr. Pauper. What brings you all the way here?”
He looked disgustedly at my wife and nothing more needed to be said. Although I began to wonder why my wife blushed under his disapproving gaze. Had I missed something?
At that moment my children came bounding through the door. I was nearly overran as they both screamed, “Father.”
I can only imagine the horrors they have been through, alone with their mother for twelve days. Clearly times had not been so hard if she had taken them to her parents’. Mr. Pauper has always had a taste for indulgences, self directed or not. Consider his enthusiasm at sharing Caroline, his only daughter, with me.
Josephine and Phillip each hugged me as though they might never see me again. It was pleasant and agreeable to hold them close to me. Phillip of course broke away first. He is at that awkward age in which displays of affection confuse. Josephine might never have let go if not for Phillip pulling her away with whispers about how the grown-ups need to talk in private. Sharp boy that one, he definitely does not take after me.
After the children were out of sight and up the stairs, Mr. Pauper began speaking again.
“Take your bags upstairs and wait for Charles in your room.” He ordered.
Caroline, to my surprise, said nothing, but picked up two of her bags and climbed the stairs. She seemed a touch downtrodden as she went. I have always been amazed at how well Mr. Pauper could handle her.
Mr. Pauper sat on our sofa and sighed.
“I could use a brandy, Charles.”
I poured for us both and took the chair opposite him. I sipped carefully, mourning my dinner cooling on the table. Mr. Pauper drained his glass in a single swallow and poured himself another from the bottle I left purposefully within his reach.
“How have you been?” I asked.
It was perhaps the furthest topic from my thoughts. He leaned back on the sofa and stretched his arms out to the sides. I had to stifle a laugh as it occurred to me our sofa for two was a mere armchair for him.
“I was well until, Caroline arrived on my doorstep unannounced.”
“You have wrote often that you wished to see more of your grandchildren.”
“I didn’t mean for them to come live with me.”
“I understand what you mean.” I stood to refill my own glass.
I turned my back to him and walked slowly to my chair as I spoke.
“You did just bring all of them back to me.”
There was silence in the room as I sat down.
“They are your family, Charles. Caroline has never been easy, I know that. She’s stubborn and manipulative and she has to be reigned in.”
“There is no reigning her in for me. Caroline has never respected me enough to allow it. I did not send her to you. She left without even so much as a note.”
“Does your horse decide where you are going?”
“Your horse, Charles, Does he decide what streets you take, how fast you go?”
“No, of course not.”
“Then why does your wife?”
“She is not a horse."
“She’s not so different. She needs boundaries, she needs to know you are in charge and that you will not tolerate stubbornness or laziness or insurrection.”
“I am powerless to prevent it.”
“You are a school teacher! By God would you allow this behavior from a student?”
“I have little choice in the matter. Father Mc Gregory does not allow chastisement of pupils.”
“It is no wonder the youth today are riding circus acts on the sidewalks and talking about flying in the sky with birdies. The worlds gone mad.”
He paused, red faced and swallowed his glass again. He refilled it, swallowed, refilled it, swallowed, and refilled it again.
“She needs discipline, Charles, just like your horse.”
“But I don’t have a horse.”
“No, you have a wife and she needs breaking.”
He finished his glass and stood up with a surprising amount of speed. Without a further word he opened the door and began the slow process of squeezing himself outside.
I considered helping with a few pushes but thought they might be misinterpreted. Once he was outside, he turned back to me one last time.
“Birchwood, you would think a man with a name like that would know what a birch is for.” He shook his head as though disgusted. “Take my advice, break her before she breaks you.”
With that he stepped into his carriage and was gone.
I closed the door and settled back down to finish my dinner. It was of course cold but still tasted better than split pea soup. I was amazed to not be bothered further but as ordered Caroline waited in our bedroom and the children were clearly exhausted from travel and fast asleep by the time I arrived upstairs.
Caroline had dumped her bags on the bed and was sitting on one edge pouting when I entered. She looked up as I came in.
“Bastard.” She nearly spat at me.
I slapped her across the cheek. Not hard, I was afraid to hurt her, but my father-in-law was correct. I can no longer tolerate this behavior from my wife. Her eyes grew wide and I think for a moment she was actually afraid of me.
I grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her up from the bed. She gasped but did not fight me. There was something very attractive about her timid stance. Her downcast look and fluttering eyelashes, made my heart race like I was young again.
I am not certain whether it was Mr. Pauper’s words or the brandy or perhaps something else entirely, but I stood firm with her for the first time since we married.
“Strip.” I half whispered and half ordered.
She trembled as I let her go. Her clothing fell to the floor piece by piece. She could not bring herself to look at me and instead stared at the floor like a naughty child. When her last garment was removed she held her hands strategically to hide her private bits from my view. I slapped her hands away.
She was beautiful. Her face was flushed like on our wedding night. She seemed unsure and nervous. If I allowed myself to forget all the years of marriage since that night I could have taken her in my arms and passionately loved her until dawn.
Instead I took her by the arm and guided her. She looked worried as we descended the stairs. I sat on the sofa with her standing beside me. I considered her carefully. I thought of letting her run back to our room and forgetting the whole business. It was the look of contrition on her face that spurred me onward.
I pulled her down over my lap and rested my hand on her upturned buttocks. They were marked lightly in a clear sign she had been in the position before and not so long ago either.
I ran my hand over her soft skin and she shivered. I raised it and slapped it down quickly and sharply. She twitched. I continued. After a minute of continuous spanking she began to move around and moan. I quickened my pace and her gyrations became more and more frantic.
I paused and rested my hand on her bottom. I relished in its reddened color and basked in its warmth. She was breathing heavily but otherwise gave no indication of her discomfort.
I slapped my hand down on the back of her legs. She began to kick slightly. I continued, happy to see her squirming. I reddened the back of her legs from mid thigh to buttock. She kicked and squirmed. As I returned my hand’s attention to her bottom she stopped kicking and her noises became less pronounced. I paused again and considered my goal.
I raised my hand again and slapped it down hard at the crease between leg and buttock.
“Charles!” She screamed in a pleading tone.
I repeated my aim on the opposite leg.
I continued. I alternated between the creases at her left and right legs. She kicked and screamed and finally she began to sob. She stopped kicking and squirming. She lay limp on my lap and her body shook as she cried. I continued the spanking for a few moments more before stopping.
I caressed her reddened flesh with my hand until her tears subsided. When they had I helped lift her up to stand before me. She wiped at her eyes with her hands and sniffled. Her head remained tilted down.
“There are dishes that need cleaning in the kitchen.” I said.
After a brief moment she headed back toward the stairs.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To get dressed.” She replied quietly.
“Chores first.” I said.
I wanted the moment of contrition to last and I felt certain if I allowed her to dress, the moment would pass. She looked at me with pleading eyes.
“Please Charles. What if the children come down?”
“Then you will have to explain to them.”
She walked toward the kitchen without further protest. I waited for her in the bedroom. It was some time before she came in but I was still awake. When she entered I took her to bed instantly. I paid no mind to her scattered clothing as I took my satisfaction from her for the first time in more than a year.
Lust consumed us both and I think I never enjoyed being with her more than tonight. After, we laid exhausted, side by side. I looked over at her and smiled as she was smiling at me.
“Happy Birthday, Charles.”
“I thought you had forgotten.”