Monday night I couldn't sleep. Tuesday dawned with me playing Snood and checking my email. At 4:30 AM there was dreadful news.
A library notice. A second library notice. Though I swear, I never got the first one.
Overdue library books are not a happy thing for me. :(
Before Pablo and I met the first time, I had had a rather terrible problem of a pile of library books going into storage rather than back where they belonged. And then I moved and six months worth of notices never reached me. When I unpacked the books a year later, I snuck the offending books into the night drop slot. Consequently, I had a library fine of over $1000. My second and third years of graduate school were spent with me unable to borrow any books.
Finally, two years ago after some encouragement from Pab, I paid off my fines and could borrow books again. The university has on-line renewal now and so I've never had to pay more than a few dollars worth of fines again. Though it's very easy for me to rack up a lot of charges for reasons that will become clear as the story progresses.
I sat at my desk reading my little doomsday notice.
"SECOND OVERDUE NOTICE" The following library materials are now 15 days overdue and each item is accruing fines at the rate of 25 cents per day, beginning with the first overdue day. Your borrowing privileges have also been BLOCKED. To reinstate your privileges, you must IMMEDIATELY return the overdue materials and pay accrued fines. Please note: If this matter is not resolved within 30 days from the date of this notice, ACADEMIC RESTRICTIONS, which include the INABILITY to REGISTER for CLASSES, obtain TRANSCRIPTS, or GRADUATE will be placed on your records.
I did some calculations. We're being very frugal (well, for us) right now because getting married has some legal expenses attached plus restrictions on Pablo working until visa / green card issues are sorted. And jewelry costs too. :) I slid back into bed and snuggled close, planning to tell Pablo about the notice when he woke up. Waiting, I drifted in and out of sleep.
Sometime while I was curled up next to him, Pablo woke up. He knew I'd been awake and asked me when I'd come to bed. The news that it was 8 am (um, I guess I reread the notice more than once and then had to play Snood some more before I got to bed) didn't please him, but before he could point out that bedtime spankings with the hairbrush seem to put me to sleep, I blurted out that I had bad news, that I had overdue books that needed to go back to the library, mentioning in passing that there was a .25 cent per day fine.
"How overdue are they?"
He snuggled me close. I felt relieved and so fortunate to have married such a tolerant man.
"Um, I'm not totally sure," I replied, wiggling close.
"Mija, when were they due?"
He was still snuggling me, but there was that insistant tone. The one that makes it clear he's not going to be distracted.
"At the start of the semester, I guess. First day of classes."
"And when was that?"
I sighed. He works for the university, he knows as well as I do when classes began.
"Two weeks ago. About." I was determined not to give an exact count of days.
"Fifteen days ago." Okay, so I caved. Silence makes me nervous.
"Right. You have to go and see your doctor tomorrow so we'll take them back then. What if someone else is waiting for them? It's very inconsiderate of you. How would you feel?"
I almost sighed with relief. Maybe this wasn't going to be such a big deal after all.
"You're right, sweetie. I'd be very annoyed." I cuddled in close, feeling like a naughty girl, averting my eyes.
"What are you like?" Everything was all warm and happy now. Whew!
"A naughty girl. I'm sorry. I just forgot."
"You need to focus a bit harder."
"How many books?"
"Didn't they list them on the notice?" Warning note. The teasing had already happened.
And of course the university notice did. The notice listed every single one of them. All...
I'm going to spare everyone the details of this number sinking into Pablo's consciousness. He wasn't happy. He even made me do the math to calculate how much this was going to cost. =8-0
$112. I couldn't bring myself to tell him that several of the books had been recalled earlier (I swear I never got those notices either!) and probably had even more due on them. This was bad enough.
"I think we're going to need to have a little discussion about this tonight, Mija."
I tried, gently, to point out we had already been discussing it and perhaps the matter could now be considered closed. Pablo was not convinced. I reminded him that there were people on the newsgroup who would appreciate the chance to take my place. He agreed there might be, but that I was the one he was expecting. (Personally I think a whipping boy or girl would be an ideal addition to our household.)
"At 6:00 PM, not one minute afterwards, I want to find you waiting in that corner in a white tee-shirt, navy knickers, white ankle socks and your hair in a pony tail."
"But the blue ones are too tight."
From his reply, I suspected he already knew that. My stomach turned over and I started to tear up a little. Pab held me tight and absently stroked my hair. After a few minutes, I had to speak (again, silence is hard when I'm nervous). I told him I was sorry.
"I know you are, sweetie."
"So, um, what are you thinking about?"
Lame question, I know. And Pab always says "nothing." Except, he didn't.
"I'm thinking about what I'm going to do to you."
Eeep! I think I fainted.
I stood in the corner, nose pushed in, waiting. Pablo had left the cane on the bed. Long, leather handled, very flexy. Maybe he just wanted to scare me? Yeah, maybe he was going to come in with ice cream for us both too. I'd regarded the cane as a snake while I dressed. I hate being caned. Especially for punishment. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been seriously caned. A long time.
I'd taken a lot longer to get ready then the clothing options warranted. My hair had gotten brushed better than it had in days. I'd even found a bit of blue ribbon to tie it up with.
Still, I'd been in the corner for a while when I heard him come in. Long enough to find some calm. To realize that there would probably be 28 strokes. Long enough to panic over that prospect. And the fact our upstairs neighbor was away for another week.
There was a time a while ago when 28 strokes with the cane, while not to be sneezed at, would not have caused me to shake with fear. When I'd taken over 100 strokes bent and tied over a make shift block. But that was when I was braver. Before eczema had left my skin extra sensitive. When I didn't feel the sting and pain the way I do now.
And before a very severe caning had drawn blood.
Maybe I'd be lucky. Maybe it would only be 15, one for each day the books were late. The idea of 112 wasn't even allowed to enter my head.
Pablo came in. I heard him behind me. I heard him pick up the cane and swish it, cutting air. This did not make me want to turn around.
Pablo must have talked to me, must have called me over, but I don't remember any of it. What I remember is being told to kneel in the middle of the bed, shoulders down, bottom up. I did, scrambling for a pillow to curl myself around. I told myself to be brave. That I really did feel very sorry. But in my head I was getting ready to safe word. There was no way I could take a heavy caning. I couldn't bear it. Not tonight.
I squeaked in protest as Pablo pulled my navy knickers not down, but UP. In addition to being very embarrassing, my school knickers have heavy elastic so this hurt. Pablo seemed quite unmoved, however.
The first four strokes were worse than I could have imagined. After each, I flattened myself on the bed, gasping at the sting.
Safewording was seriously in the front of my brain (not usual for me). But the thing was, I was already letting P know how much this hurt. And this was a punishment spanking. There really wasn't a reason for me to safe other than that I was worried I couldn't take this caning, something I knew Pablo wouldn't be very keen to hear.
And so I knelt and pushed my bottom up. Oh and cried, lots. I lost count of the strokes, each one seeming like it must, must be the last. Finally I flipped out of position and onto my side and could see P standing over me with the cane. Again, I don't remember what was said, but I got back into position.
I can't tell you how much relief I felt on hearing that. Though each of the three was hard and burned, especially the last. I stood in the corner, gasping and definitely not rubbing.
When I was called out of the corner, I wasn't altogether surprised that it wasn't yet time for comfort. Instead there was an otk spanking. Happily though, Pab used his hand, not the horrible hairbrush. I was grateful enough that I barely complained about this spanking, even though it really did hurt a lot.
After, there were many tears and much comfort. No lotion though -- he said he wanted it to sting for a while. Still, I was able to change into soft pjs.
At bedtime, there was lotion. But also, sadly, another otk spanking first.
Still, on Wednesday he helped me bring all the books back to the library. The final fine was $138. And the librarian gave Pablo a bad look when he called me a "naughty girl" in front of her. (o so embarrassing!)
[Pablo: I did nothing of the sort. I told the librarian that "she's been a very bad girl". (And that's verbatim, because I remember it as if it was two days ago). When we discovered that three of the books we'd brought are in fact Mija's own property, it was then entirely reasonable that I'd scold her a little in front of the librarian for not taking the time to sort the books properly - particularly since I'd specifically asked her if the books we were about to return were the right ones. Oh, but when I asked Mija - still in front of the librarian - if I was embarrassing her, well, that was just gratuitous. Bad man.]
So now I'm back in good standing with the university. And even though it still hurts a little bit, there's no sign of the caning.
And there you have it -- my first punishment since our wedding. :-S