Caroline's Folly

November 5, 1896
Charles Birchwood

“What were you thinking?” I demanded.

Caroline barely looked at me. At first I thought it was shame. Then as I watched her pace the floor I realized she was actually proud of herself and afraid of me. I shook my head at her.

“This absolutely has to be the dumbest thing you have ever done, Caroline.” I said.

She stopped pacing and turned to look me straight in the eye.

“Dumb? It is dumb for a woman to desire a voice in an election that effects us all? Is that what you think Charles?” She said.

The tone in her voice I remembered only too well. For years she had addressed me with it in our every conversation and only in recent months had it begun to slip away. I did not like its return and moreover she had no right to be disappointed in me.

“This is not an appropriate location to have that discussion.” I replied.

“There is never an appropriate time or place.” Caroline said.

She turned her back to me and began pacing the small cell of her confinement. I shuddered considering the reaction of Dean Steadward if he were to learn of this. I sighed heavily and walked back to the sheriff’s office.

“How much so I can take her home?” I asked.

The question sounded of hilarity to me as I spoke it but I did not laugh. The prospect of paying to take the woman home who at that very moment wanted nothing more than to escape my very presence was far to sobering to appreciate the comedy.

“That will be up to the judge.” He replied.

“When can we ask him?”

“He’ll be holding court on Friday and decide then.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Afraid so. I can’t release her until the judge sees her.”

“Surely arrangements can be made?” I asked.

“This isn’t a small town, Mr. Birchwood. I have to answer to people for what I do and she broke the law.”

“She attempted to break the law. You caught her before she was able to do so.”

“The attempt is a violation of the law. I’m sorry but it’s out of my hands.” The sheriff said.

“She is a woman, a mother and a wife, this is no place for her and I will be damned before I leave her here alone with you.”

“Maybe if you’d taken better care of her while she was in your home, she wouldn’t have ended up here.”

The sheriff was bristling with a touch of anger. Clearly words alone would not solve the problem. It was time for action. I reached into my pocket and took out my wallet. I took a twenty dollar bill from it and slapped it down on the sheriff’s desk. He looked less than amused. I slapped another down and before he could say a word I lifted the keys from the corner of his desk and walked back to the cell holding Caroline.

“Mr. Birchwood, I cannot allow you to take her out of here.” The sheriff said from behind me.
I unlocked the cell to a surprised Caroline. She looked about to hug me when her expression turned from joy to concern. I turned around to face the sheriff. He had his gun drawn.

“She’s going home with me sheriff and I promise to have her in court come Friday morning, but unless you’ve got the nerve to use that thing, we are leaving.” I said.

I grabbed Caroline roughly by the arm and pulled her in step with me. The sheriff stared hard for a moment but then relented and holstered his gun as we went out the front door.

As soon as we reached our home I sent her immediately to wait for me in the bedroom. I added the instruction for her to removed my suit that she was wearing once she got there. She did not speak but went up the stairs without argument. As she went I noticed she no longer seemed quite so disappointed in me.

I drank two glasses of whiskey to calm myself before ascending the steps to our bedroom. Caroline was sitting nervously on the edge of the bed without a stitch on from head to toe. Were I not so angry it would have been a pleasant enough sight but such was not the case this time. Her body, beautiful as it is, could not distract me from the disgrace she had brought to us.

I picked up her hairbrush from our dresser and took the chair away from the wall. I sat down in it and before I could say a word she was standing at my side, waiting to be pulled over my lap.

“This is not because you tried to vote.” I said.

“Then why?” She asked.

“Because I am your husband and you have no right to jeopardize my reputation without at least affording me the courtesy of knowing that you are doing so.”

“I thought you would try to stop me.”

“Have you ever wondered why I never spanked you before you left me no choice?”

“Everyday, but what does that have to do with me voting.”

“Everything, you have disrespected me for years because I have tried to respect you as an equal. You of course, have done everything you could to make it impossible both before and now again.”

“I…I never realized.”

“Of course not. “

“I’m sorry Charles.”

“As you should be, now get over my knee.”

She laid herself over my lap without fuss or complaint. As I began swinging her hairbrush down on her plump cheeks it was almost as if she was raising them up to meet the brush. She cried to be sure, her legs kicked wildly in desperation before I was done, but not for the first time I realized she craved the discipline.

When I stopped she seemed not to notice at all. She continued to kick and sob for close to a minute. When at last she began to regain some sense of calm, I lifted her to stand and turned her so placed her hands on the seat of the chair. Quickly, I lost my suit as well and then took her from behind in a frenzy. Exhausted, we fell asleep in our bed, arms and legs intertwined like young lover.


Paul said...

Melanie, now that is honest.
Warm hugs,

Steff said...

its amazing to think it was once a crime to vote if you weren't a white male

btw i loved the ending