An Unusual Courtship


2009  Mael DelaVara

Chapter 1
The words caused Michael to feel as if he'd been expelled, for a second time, from the womb.
"I don't believe in sex before marriage," Audrey repeated, noting the spread of alarm across Michael's delicate features.
This was their third date, and the after-dinner conversation in Audrey's tidy duplex had taken a sharp turn. Michael seemed too shocked to say anything, so Audrey cast about to find a way to rephrase, maybe even explain, her belief. Instead, her mind took her, inexplicably, to a memory of the only occasion she'd ever seen her mom in an ungovernable rage. She must have been about nine at the time, and her brother was a little over two years older. Her mom had caught her brother "playing with his thing," and for some reason found this act so wicked that she dragged the unfortunate boy by his ear into her bedroom without even troubling to close the door. There she snatched up her hairbrush, grabbed the child around his waist, bared his bottom and, while standing, administered a spanking that seemed interminable. As a girl, Audrey had not understood the exact nature of the offense, but as a woman now in her thirties she regarded men's sense of entitlement as destructive of true intimacy. She cast a suspicious glance at Michael.
"How often do you masturbate?" she heard herself say before she even realized that she'd uttered the question.
Michael squirmed and paused before stammering, "Maybe every day."
"Don't you have any self-discipline?" Audrey shot back, her eyes flashing with momentary anger.
"All guys do it," Michael mumbled sheepishly.
Audrey began to doubt if the relationship had a future. She liked Michael. It had been many years since she felt so attracted to a man. He was courteous and witty and, above all, kind and gentle. But she would have to deal with the pressure of his ungoverned sexuality; and she felt it an affront to her dignity that he would be pleasuring himself while they were dating..
"I do love you, you know," Michael interjected quietly.
He'd never said those words before. Audrey caught his eyes and held them firmly in her gaze. Yes, I believe he does, she thought to herself as she began to experience a confusion in all her faculties.
"Well," she replied precipitously, "if you lack self-discipline, then you need discipline."
Michael blinked uncomprehendingly, but then under Audrey's steady look, he came to see what she was saying.
"You mean I need to be spanked?" he offered by way of a paraphrase.
"Yes," Audrey said, with a quiet confidence that restored her to herself.
Michael was at a loss for words, so Audrey broke the silence. "If you want a relationship with me, you will stop all self-gratification and you will submit to whatever correction I think necessary. And you will take your punishment like a man."
After that declaration, Michael was even less prepared to gather his thoughts into coherent speech. Audrey took advantage of the pause to continue: "You don't have to decide anything now. In fact, unless there's an emergency, I don't want to see you or hear from you until Saturday. If you accept my proposal, come by in the morning, say around ten, and if things go well, we'll have our fourth date in the evening. I'm sure we can find a restaurant neither of us has tried."
Michael was on the brink of saying something, anything, but he became suddenly aware that Audrey had stood up. He took this as a cue for his departure and lingered over putting on his coat, hoping for a kiss longer and deeper than the one he'd enjoyed at the end of their previous date. Instead, he was embraced by a lingering hug that made him feel surprisingly comforted and reassured.
Audrey recognized that she had enveloped Michael in a deep sense of calm, and she began to tingle at the prospect that he might, he just might find it in his best interests to submit to her plans for him. Only next Saturday would tell.
Chapter 2
Audrey was glad that Michael had left, but she found no pleasure in her own company. It was as if the embrace that gave Michael an unaccustomed sense of peace also emptied her of what she needed to relax. Her fingers clenched and, involuntarily, she loosened them by tying her hair up into a bun.. She moved toward the the heavily used upright piano, an inheritance from her grandmother and a source of all her bliss and all her frustration. She lowered herself gently onto the stool, as if she had just been spanked, and felt her jaw tighten as she registered what she already knew. She could not reach the pedals. The stool would have to be shifted unnaturally close to the instrument. She did not have the heron-like legs of a ballerina. Her brows furrowed, and the lines deepened as she glanced at the sun-faded cover of the Schirmer edition of Beethoven's music for solo piano. She wanted to pound the keys in an ecstatic play-through of the Hammerklavier sonata, but she was incapacitated by a sudden fixation on her hands. Her fingers never had the reach to play the late Beethoven comfortably. She was built for Bach, but only physically, not emotionally. And she wryly recalled how in an E. M. Forster novel--was it Howard's End?--a supercilious male character opined that young women should not play Beethoven, indeed even listen to him, because his music posed a threat to their emotional well-being. And she began to fantasize about being Beethoven's pupil, and everyone knew what a grouch he was, and so what would happen to her if she hit a wrong note. She wriggled on the bench. Such fantasies were not healthy, she told herself, and she returned to look at her hands.
They were still dumpy. Pretty enough, to be sure, but the fingers lacked the extended elegance of those in Rossetti's painting aptly titled "La Bella Mano," a painting she adored yet resented. Whenever she visited the Delaware Art Museum, especially at the request of visiting relatives, she made a point of denying herself the joy of buying a reproduction. But she had come quite some way in accepting her hands as they were. Yes, her fingers were short, but they were powerful. They were made to grasp and to clench and to pinch . . . . and to smack. Yes, they may have cost her a concert career and consigned her to a life as a teacher and a church organist, but they also liberated her into a secret servitude--an obsession with bottoms, with squeezing them, and beating them, and reddening them, and . . . . 
She felt herself getting light-headed, and she wondered if she had entered the wrong room after Michael left. After all, in a box beneath her bed, there was a well-thumbed stash of forbidden spanking literature. How she would now like to read some of Edith Cadivec's paeans to the joys of birching a shapely bottom. And how she would like to tread again the path that Harriet Marwood set out for her charge Richard. But she could not bring herself to rise from the piano bench. Instead, her bottom pressed relentlessly against its hardness, and she focused again on her hands.
They were a constant source of worry. Not just her livelihood, but her life--her very sense of being--depended on them. Her nightmares most often took the form of car doors slamming on disembodied fingers. What was she to do, she wondered, if Michael actually showed up on Saturday morning. He was not a football player, but he was a good deal bigger than she, and her hand alone would not make much of an impression, at least not without it getting swollen. She drifted into recalling that there was a major concerto written for a pianist for one hand--yes, the Ravel. And there were a few others. But how was that relevant, she snapped at herself.
Her shoulders clenched, and she doubled over, bringing the full weight of her upper body to push her bottom deeper against the bench. As she did so, her mind freed itself to roam over her duplex, and she began to see, in her mind's eye, wooden spoons and spatulas in the kitchen, a ruler in her home office, belts in her closet, a hairbrush in her bedroom. But there was something missing. She did not have a bath brush, and she needed one. She'd put off buying an old-fashioned model, made in Vermont, that the Bed and Bath store at the mall had in stock because she was sure it would go on sale at some point. Who buys these things anyway? Now, however, was the time for a purchase. If Michael didn't show on Saturday, it would be his loss, she found herself thinking with a chuckle. At least she would still have an item she could put, with some reluctance, to its intended use. But who intends these things anyway. Now she was giggling, and she bounced off the piano stool to finish the glass or so of wine left in the bottle from dinner.

Copyright (C) 2009 Mael DelaVara
(the rest of this story can be read on the Member's Section!)