Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pinned

Title: Pinned
Author: Ranger
   
The card was the storm cone.
I came home to find it laid out on the mat, having been pushed through the letter box by a postman who clearly had no idea of the trouble he was about to cause. One little, innocent white card which looked at me and taunted from the doormat. Guess what time of year it is now Nicholas?
Arg.
I didn't have to think too much about it at all. I picked it up, gave the horrible thing a silent snarl and put it – well. Right at the very back of my briefcase, in amongst old drawings and receipts. Where I wouldn't have to look at it and where Damien definitely wouldn't see it. Nothing good was going to come of him seeing it, I'd much prefer to forget ever having laid eyes on it, and I hadn't actually disposed of it as such… as a solution, it worked.
It worked for about three days. I was actually making breakfast on Saturday morning when the phone rang and Damien picked it up in the hall, sounding as cheerful as he usually does on Saturday mornings.
"Hello? Yes – ah. Yes. No, I don't think we've received that."
You know that peculiar clunk and nose dive your stomach does? I stopped pouring tea and listened in horrible suspicion.
"That's very kind of you." Damien went on in the hall. "Yes, that will be fine, we'll see you then. Thank you very much."
I hastily went back to pouring tea as he came into the kitchen and leaned against the door post, folding his arms. He went right on leaning there too until I put the tea pot down and had no option but to look at him, trying not to look guilty as all hell.
"Who was that?"
"The hospital." Damien said mildly. "Ringing to confirm we'd keep the appointment on Monday, as oddly enough you hadn't contacted them. Where's the appointment card?"
There is a horrible, horrible difference between tactical evasion and what you have to do when you're asked an outright question like that one. I opened my mouth to stall for time and Damien's eyebrow lifted at me.
"Card Nick?"
"My briefcase," I said reluctantly. Damien's eyebrow rose a little further.
"And you planned on telling me when?"
I plead the fifth. We NEED the fifth amendment in this country.
"Nicholas." Damien said just as mildly, but with a lot of meaning. I felt my face get hotter still, and it wasn't the steam from the tea pot.
"I … forgot about it I suppose-"
"You suppose?" Damien repeated. "Did you forget or didn't you?"
I swallowed, trying to find a less disastrous way to explain it. "Well maybe not exactly forgot?"
"So what exactly?" Damien prompted when I didn't elucidate any further. "You hid it in your briefcase and hoped it would go away?"
Yes, that was about right. Normal people didn't have these conversations, I was sure of it. I SHOULD theoretically be able to give him a comfortable pat on the shoulder right now, smile and say I didn't want to go, and we could just carry on as though nothing had happened –
"Nicholas."
Arg.
"No…." I said somewhat helplessly, trying to find a better way to put it. "I just…."




"Hid it in your briefcase and hoped it would go away." Damien said at last, when he was quite sure I didn't plan on finishing that sentence myself. "Is that what we do with appointment cards?"
No. That wasn't what We did. And he did mean the Royal We.
"I don't want to go!" I said, banging the milk jug down. "I don't want the bloody tests, I don't want the admission, the whole THING is –"




"Is that what we do about the appointment cards?" Damien interrupted in exactly the same tone, as if I hadn't spoken. Which was mean. With no other justifiable refuge available other than to surrender and accept what I knew was going to be a thoroughly unpleasant outcome, my temper slipped sideways into a yell that just about expressed how much I hated those cards and all they stood for.
"NO, that's not what YOU do with the appointment cards! YOU stick them up by the phone and make sure we go and then YOU come home and I'M the one stuck in the frigging hospital!"
There seemed to be this unholy silence in the kitchen when I stopped, throat a little sore, and Damien's expression was not promising.
"Do not," he said very quietly indeed, looking straight at me from an apparent height of about thirty feet, "raise your voice to me, my boy. I asked you a civil question and I am waiting for a civil answer."


Then you're going to wait a long time.
No, I didn't say it. Hazel eyes were still pinning me where I stood, which just about reached my sense of self preservation. Instead, politely and with dignity, I walked past him towards the hallway. His hand snagged on my wrist as I passed him and he turned me around, putting an arm across the doorway to block it.
"Nicholas."
When he says Nicholas in that tone, which is sinister enough to be x rated, my stomach usually starts cartwheeling. But something else was there right now, anger and a stupid, hot stubbornness that made me turn around and glare at him instead of doing what I should have done, which was apologise, fast, and stop digging the hole I stood in.
"I am not shouting." I pointed out to him, very calmly indeed. "I am not arguing. I don't want to talk about this."
Damien's eyebrow quirked at me and his arm across the door didn't move an inch.
"And whose decision is that?"
"I want to go upstairs." I said, declining to answer that.
"And I'm done with the answering back, Nicholas Hayes." Damien turned me around with a swat sharp enough to make my eyes water. "Corner. That one."
'I want to go upstairs' is NOT answering back! However not keen to invite another of those swats I hesitated on voicing the sentiment. Damien, apparently unimpressed with me taking more than a nanosecond to approach the appointed corner, dropped a hand on my shoulder and hustled me across the room, parking me with my nose in the corner by the kitchen door. Furious, damned if he was going to see me rub my backside and acknowledge that his swat had hurt or had any effect on me at all, I folded my arms tightly and spun around to glare at him.
"YOU aren't the one that has to –"

Damien turned me around and landed a swat still harder, squarely across the seat of my cords.
"Arms down. Now."
Blinking back tears from that swat, in spite of myself, my arms unfolded. I didn't put them at my sides, this was not surrender: I did however clasp my hands in front of me and swear silently at the wall about hospitals and bloody-minded boyfriends who appointed themselves judge and jury at the faintest excuse. Behind me, I heard the clink of cups as Damien poured tea, just as if we hadn't just had a short, sharp and extremely unpleasant run-in that had appeared out of nowhere. DAMN the hospital for confirming anything.
Every year now, shortly after the mid autumn flu jab that Damien infallibly demanded from our GP for both of us as a precaution against flu in either of us aggravating the bloody asthma, the hospital sent out this card. It was Time. The Bricanyl time. The time when I had to go into hospital to stay for usually three days while they did the arterial blood samples every couple of hours to check my blood oxygen levels (or even my bloody oxygen levels)  – and they were a hell all by themselves – while they worked out the level of the Bricanyl injections I would need to give myself twice daily for the next three months. They never let me leave until they'd got the levels right and the oxygen levels stable, and I HATED the entire performance.
Come into hospital for three days Nick, be bored and miserable and alone on the flaming ward while we do a lot of tests and set you up on the bloody winter Bricanyl injection system – the whole thing was foul. Made worse because it was the start of the winter bind. A minimum of three months of twice daily injections, which I hated. Hated having to do, hated having to carry the kit, hated the time I had to find morning and evening to do it, hated the knowledge that I was dependent on the whole bloody procedure which was a pain in the bloody neck. It was all very well for His Majesty to get all aeriated about it; it wasn't HIM who had to take three days off work and sit on a bloody hospital ward.
I heard the scrape of the kitchen chair drawn out and the creak as Damien sat down, then the chink of his mug as he drank tea. Yes, fine. Drink tea as if I'm NOT standing here livid. It would serve him bloody right if I had an attack here and now from the stress of this fight – except my chest when I took an experimental breath, was clear as a bell. There was no such thing as the asthma EVER working to my advantage. I made a few experimental coughs and heard Damien's voice, very matter of fact.
"Don't you dare."
Don't I dare WHAT? It was MY flaming chest, I ought to be allowed to suffocate in peace if I so chose. Incensed, I folded my arms once more and kicked at the skirting board.
"Why am I not even allowed to cough now?"
"You're not coughing, you're winding yourself up."
"How do you know?!" I demanded. "You DON'T know everything that goes on in my lungs, they're MY bloody lungs-"




"I know when you're faking it," Damien interrupted, "And if I hear you swear once more I'll get the cod liver oil down."
And he would. I opened and closed my mouth like a fish for a moment, furious but not quite willing to invoke the fish oil.  
"Arms." Jove said behind me.
Arms to him too.
"I've had enough of this," I said, spinning around to storm towards the kitchen door, "It's not fair and it's-"

For a big man he moves surprisingly fast when he wants to. I wasn't at all sure how it happened, but I found myself back in the corner, my backside blazing three separate prints of his palm, and Damien standing directly behind me like a wall. And at that proximity my desire to keep arguing made a prompt nose dive. For a moment I gulped and resisted the urge to rub or to let the tears go. And instead reached a little deeper for a kernel of calm and fury where the inclination to cry faded away.
Ok, if he wanted me stood silently in a corner, he could damn well HAVE me standing silently in a corner and we'd see how he liked THAT.

"Are you ready to talk civilly about this?" he asked me a while later. By my watch it was about ten minutes, and I'd been burning for him to ask for at least seven. I kept my mouth shut, stood in my corner and remained the model of Properly Cornered Boyfriend.
"Nicholas." Damien said fractionally more sternly.
What? This is what you wanted darling. Silent surrender, here you go. How do you like those eggs Mr Mitchell?
Silence. Then Damien's voice, quite unmoved.
"All right sunshine."
And that was it. I heard the creak as he once more sat down at the table and the sound of a book being opened, and then nothing more. Victory gave way slowly to being mildly aghast. 'Let me know when you're ready to talk about this' I knew about – it wasn't a script I liked, as it meant basically admitting surrender, but it was a known way out – this was unchartered water. Well he wasn't winning this. I clenched my fists, looked back at the painted wall and began the times tables in my head to kill time. Once two is two, two twos are four-
Two thirteens are twenty six -
Ok, we were up to twenty minutes, he still hadn't said anything.
I wasn't about to risk looking back over my shoulder. There was a scrape as he turned a page behind me.
Two twenty threes are forty six –
Three thirty ones are sixty two –
We were up to forty minutes. And my legs were starting to ache like hell. And I was still determined he was not going to win this.
Two forty twos are eighty four –
"Take your jeans off Nicholas."
What?
My stomach gave an almighty lurch and I looked at him over my shoulder. Damien marked his place in his book with one finger and looked at me, waiting.
"Why?" I asked, somewhat stupidly and with deep suspicion. "I haven't done ANYTHING but stand here –"




"Jeans." Damien repeated, not changing his tone.
"But I –"

Damien's eyebrow raised. Stomach churning, stupidly feeling my face growing hot, I very slowly unbuttoned my jeans and lowered them, stepping out and feeling extremely cool and vulnerable standing in my shorts in the kitchen. Damien held out a hand to take the jeans from me, folded them and dropped them over the back of the chair next to his.
"Thank you. Hands on your head and face the corner please."
Ok, I don't think we were in Kansas any more – glacially slowly I put my hands on my head, interlinking my fingers, and turned back to face the wall. I had no clue what he was doing, but he was worrying me. My bare legs and the hanging tail of my shirt combined into making me feel very susceptible and suddenly about twenty years younger. This was not comfortable. And standing here in only shorts I was very and horribly aware that I was never going to make it out of this corner without a spanking that was going to probably pale into insignificance every other tanning I'd got so far this year. Exactly how had I dug myself in this deep?
The sensible thing to do of course would have been to apologise, earnestly, finish the conversation this whole horrible situation had started with, and take what would have been an hour ago, a short 'don't DO that' spanking that would have been over and forgotten by this afternoon. And which would now probably mean I wouldn't sit down for a week. Nicholas Hayes thy name is blithering idiot.
And yet my mouth still wouldn't open and say what needed to be said. I could swear on some days I was subject to demon possession. Damien this is not my fault, it's nothing whatever to do with me, I'm possessed.
Arg.
I found myself instinctively trying to tuck my bottom in and make it somehow less obvious – which probably wasn't going to do much good.
"Are you ready to talk about this?" Damien said quietly from the table, "Or would you rather stand there with those shorts off as well?"
I blanched at that particularly horrible suggestion which crushed out any lingering preference for standing here.
"I can talk," I promised, extremely politely. Damien got up from the table and held out a hand.
My arms and legs were aching from standing and I felt about three foot high with bare legs. I took his hand and he made no mention of my jeans, leading me instead upstairs and into our room where he sat down on the end of the bed. And instead of opening up what I confidently expected to be a lecture and a half, simply nodded at me.
"Pull those shorts down."
Arg, arg, and I say again, arg.
"Da-" I began, intending to make his name draw out over as many vowels as I could fit into a whine, but he cut in, quietly and politely.
"Darling, there's a corner there if you'd prefer. I really don't mind. But either way those shorts are coming down."
Oh GOD why couldn't I co operate with these discussions when they were still minor ones instead of pushing Damien up to defcon 5? I really didn't fancy seeing a corner again any time soon, even if the alternative was still less tempting. The only thing left to do was face up to it – metaphorically speaking – and get it over with as fast as possible.
I took hold of the waistband of the shorts and managed to slide them down, at least to mid thigh. And Damien, instead of doing the decent thing and taking my arm to draw me over his lap, simply patted his knee and waited. And with that expression on his face, it wasn't quite the polite invitation it looked like.
Absolutely scarlet to the roots of my hair and without any desire left to argue about anything at all, I bent over his lap and somehow managed to settle myself with my hips over his knee, my upper half on the bed. He was warm and solid against me, which was comforting, even if the position wasn't – his arm came around my waist and his hand pushed back the tail of my shirt and held my hip; I could feel the weight of his arm across my back, reassuringly heavy. Don't ask me how the two things went together, but they did. His other hand rested on my bare thigh, cupping it with a warm and familiar palm, and the contact was consoling. It made me aware my shoulders were aching and my neck was tight – and it had nothing to do with what he was about to do to my backside either, they'd felt like that for some time.
"You want to tell me why you're being spanked?" Damien asked.
No?
I took a breath, resisting the urge to bury my face in my arms.
"For hiding the card. I shouldn't have done, I'm sorry."
"For what?" Damien said just as quietly.
I took a breath, clearing it in my own mind. "For hiding it from you. I knew you'd make me go. I didn't mean exactly NOT for you to know – just if you didn't see it-"




"Nicky," Damien said above me, and without criticism. "Does that really make it go away?"
If he was going to be kind now I was going to cry, that was all there was to it.
"No." I said softly, trying to stop my voice cracking.
"No." Damien repeated. "That’s making decisions on your own over something that we both have a say in, and making sure you worry about it on your own. Neither of which are on. If you didn't want to go, you needed to tell me-"




"You'd make me go anyway!" I said bitterly, trying not to struggle upwards or to slide back off his lap. I hated beyond measure trying to hold conversations in this position, bare and waiting and knowing very well what was coming.
"Yes, I would." Damien said matter of factly. "But we'd talk about the things you were worried about and deal with them. Not telling me doesn't solve anything at all."
Yes it DOES. It makes the whole problem cease to exist!
I didn't say a word, but I knew Damien was aware of what I meant. Mostly because his hand raised at that point and swatted, hard and extremely accurately, right across the crown of my backside. I'd had no few swats already in the course of the last hour, but they were nothing to the sting of that one. In spite of myself I yelped, but Damien took no notice. I swear he has more than one hand when he really gets going. My backside seemed to be blazing everywhere at once in seconds, and the rapid barrage of swats swept right across the entire ground, making my eyes start to water and my hips start to squirm in spite of myself. I HATE it when he starts on the rapid fire and he doesn't usually do it so early. I was breathless, miserable and rapidly becoming tearful when he paused and let me get my breath.
"Does it make it better Nick? Does that really solve the problem?"
I defy anyone to be dishonest with someone they love in this position. It never works for me. I shook my head, aware of my shoulders starting to shake and beyond wanting to pretend anything, even to myself.
"No. That wasn't fair, I'm sorry – really."
I knew he understood. It wasn't even the apology he was after- submission wouldn't shut him up, he wanted a lot more from me than that and he sounded very gentle- not at all the tone for someone pinning you over his knee and fully determined on spanking a lot longer and harder yet. I knew we weren't nearly done and so did he. 
"Why else are you being spanked Nick?"  
My stomach was churning and my backside was smarting like all hell and I desperately wanted this over with – anytime right now would be good – but I was also calm enough now to be genuinely sorry and genuinely aware of what I'd done in the kitchen and I owed him answers and courtesy now if I'd given him none then.
"Refusing to talk – answering back – being horrible-"




"You weren't being horrible." Damien said firmly. "That was a four star paddy, but that was all."
"Being stubborn then." I rephrased unsteadily. "And not explaining."




"I think that was about the heart of it, don't you?" Damien said gently. I took another deep and shaking breath across his lap, still aware of his hands on me, warm and heavy.
"I HATE the Bricanyl. I don't want to spend the time in hospital, I hate it. I don't want to spend the winter doing the injections. It isn't fair that I have to. It's not my fault my flaming lungs don't work, I didn't DO anything, I don't deserve it-" I trailed off, very close to tears, and felt Damien's hand on my back, rubbing its way up under my shirt in comforting circles.




"No, you don't." he said with heartfelt sympathy. "You really don't, it isn't fun and it isn't fair."
"And I still have to do it," I said very bitterly. "I STILL have to do it, because the alternative is still worse – and it isn't fair to you taking the risks, I know, I know it all, but it doesn't make it any better!"
"I know." Damien said softly, and I could hear how much he meant it. "I'm so sorry. If there was anything I could do about it for you Nick……."
He would. I knew he would. He had sat with me hour after hour after hour, on oxygen, in hospitals, day to day with the bloody medications, he was the only one who made it manageable and bearable. And mostly he reduced it to a very minimal part of our lives. Which was partly why I was so furiously angry when this time of year struck and I knew I had to let it be an obvious part again for a while.
"But," Damien went on, just as quietly, "We are going to sort out whatever care you need, we're going to do it properly and thoroughly and without letting it become a major issue. Or be a battle."




"I'm not that bad." I argued as much as is possible in this position. Damien's free hand tapped my thigh where it rested, just below my extremely smarting backside which was still having a highly subduing effect on both my mood and the conversation.
"I don't mean us arguing about it, and you don't – you're very good about taking it and you don't make the meds a battlefield. I mean you fretting and worrying and torturing yourself about it for three months. That isn't going to happen this year Nick. I don't care if you don't sit comfortably until Spring, If you're upset you talk to me, we deal with it together, but there is NOT going to be stropping and worrying and working yourself up into a state. I'm absolutely serious. If I have to turn you over my lap every night I'll do it."
That was a shock.
"That isn't fair," I said at last with what outrage I could summon up under those kind of threats when I was already bare and over his knee. "I can't HELP-"




"Yes, you can." Damien said in his most flatly unreasonable tone. "You can be responsible for how you feel and how you handle how you feel, you can make the decision NOT to let yourself fret and bother over what you can't do and what you have to do, and you can concentrate instead on what you CAN do. If there's a problem we talk about it, and if we have to talk all winter to find a way around it we'll do that, but I don't want to hear 'I can't help it'. This is a simple obedience issue Nick. We are going to sort out exactly what you need to do – what meds you take and when, what hospital admissions are necessary – and you're going to do them cheerfully without sulking or withdrawing or driving yourself mad, or you're going to answer to me. Is that clear?"
"I'm NOT a bloody android!" I said in the end, furious. The swat I got in response to that was sound and extremely well placed and made me yelp and shut up fast.
"Is that what I'm asking?" Damien demanded extremely sternly. "Do you seriously think I don't care about your feelings or expect you not to have them?"
Damn him.
"No." I admitted, very, very reluctantly. "I know that isn't what you mean."




"What DO I mean Nicholas?" Damien said without changing his tone.
I took a deep, shaking breath, uncomfortably aware that I was committing myself and that this was going to be hard work- and not the soft option I much preferred of abnegating all responsibility or effort and just getting frustrated and letting it roll…. I was good at it, it was easy. And he was right; it got easier and easier, it turned into a vicious circle that fed more and more frustration, and dragged us both down. I could talk myself quite easily into getting depressed.
"That I don't let myself dwell on the bad stuff- or think and worry about things I can't change or don't want to do – or give in to it when I get upset or angry about it. I make myself stop and calm down. Accept the limits."




"That's what it comes down to." Damien agreed. "Accepting known limits and not fretting at them – which is no different to any of the other limits and rules we have."

And which he also demanded I accepted with cheerful obedience – he's old fashioned my boy, but I do agree with him in principle. Grudging obedience – or with scowling and muttering, outward only, is only just north of flat out disobedience, and its an attitude I can't stand in other people, I admit it. I hate it when he's right.
"Which means we need to deal with the paddy thrown this afternoon." Damien went on without tact or diplomacy. "Because it is not acceptable to shut down when you're upset about something. It is not acceptable to refuse to communicate with me. That is never acceptable for any reason. And it is not acceptable my boy, to take control of a situation by passive aggression. That is NOT how we deal with conflict in this relationship, is it?"
I was so dead. I shut my eyes and put my head down on my arms. Abandon hope all ye who wind up Damien Mitchell….
"No sir."




"And I'll do this as often as I need to." Damien said with a certain grimness.
I believed him. He said nothing else and a second later I jumped, hard at the resounding smack that landed across my cooling backside, the first of many. Far TOO many. By the time his hand moved down and started to address the top of my thighs the tears were flowing and within a few sharp swats I admit, I lost all control, choked and started to frankly cry into my folded arms. It made no difference. Twisting made no difference, squirming didn't help, he held me firmly and spanked until I was absolutely, positively sure I did not want to lock into a battle of wills with him again any time soon and that the luxury of giving in to a tantrum was really NOT worth this.
I was blazing from hips to thigh and sobbing when he finally stopped, and he let me lie where I was for some minutes, unable to stop the emotion flooding in all directions. And there was a lot of emotion unleashed, a lot of which I'd only been semi aware of. It seemed a long, long time before he eased me back to my knees, stooped and wrapped his arms tightly around me, gathering me close enough to feel his breathing and the deep, steady thud of his heart against my chest as I clung to him. He rocked, saying nothing, but I felt the hard pressure of his lips against my face, not once but over and over, moving from my temple to wet eyes. There is nothing in the world better than the scratch of his jaw against mine when we're pressed this close.
Eventually he helped me to my feet and I put my hands tenderly back to cover an extremely scorched backside. He gave me a wry look that lacked sympathy.
"Yes. And I'll do it again as often as I need to. I'm serious Nick. I'd rather you had a sore backside all winter than you tore your nerves to shreds."




"You're rotten." I told him, pushing back into his arms. It's a variant on 'I love you' that he's pretty used to. He hugged me tightly, one hand sliding down my back to rub briefly and comfortingly at my scalded rump before he patted.
"Come downstairs and let's finish breakfast hmm? Yes, I know." He added as I swallowed down another gulp that properly was a sob. I wasn't quite done yet and feeling this pathetic all I ever wanted to do was cuddle. And right now cuddling sounded very good to me, I felt safer than I had done in some time.
"Come down and we'll make some more tea and read the papers. It's all right baby. We've got all weekend. We'll cross Monday's bridges when we get to them and it'll be fine." 
~The End~
Copyright Ranger 2010

2 comments:

jen vieira pinto said...

You know, I love these stories, but I get really pissed off, too, when reading them. That's the sign of a great writer, one who can elicit great emotions in the reader. I think the thing that pisses me off the most is when a Top says "I expect you to talk to me" or "you need to talk to me about these things". I felt like smacking Damien every time he said something to that effect because it's bull. The Brat talks and the Top listens politely, but doesn't give two craps about what he's being told. They never listen and even if they do they still do whatever they want and then spank the Brat for disagreeing. Anything the Brat disagrees with them on is a paddling offense just for disagreeing. And then for the Brats to turn around and cling to the Top after being beaten is too much. I'd be telling them to get away from me and not to touch me just because of the unfairness of most spankings. Some are seriously justified, but others are nowhere near deserving of that kind of brutality.

I know it probably sounds as if I don't enjoy the stories, but that isn't the case. I really do love them and I'm slowly working my way through everything you've written, I just needed to get that issue off my chest because it was really bothering me.

So, now I'll continue on and silently fume about Nicky getting such a sever paddling about the hospital when talking and actually listening would have been a better course of action. Blood gases hurt like a son-of-a-bitch and I really don't blame him for not wanting to go and have it done every 20 minutes for 3 days. They'd have to knock me unconscious, like a medically induced coma, to even get near me to do a blood gas once for any reason much less repeatedly. I'd really rather die, that's how much they hurt.

Anyway, keep up the great work. Even though I get annoyed I keep coming back because I cannot stay away the stories are just too good not to read, so thanks for all your hard work and for sharing. ^_^

Anonymous said...

love this story :)
Really great job
Thank you

Most of the artwork on the blog is by Canadian artist Steve Walker.

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