"Was it worth it?" He asked and I turned my head to look at him. I hoped the dried tears on my cheeks would give the illusion of the contriteness he expected. The question elicited memories of the previous night, bringing a faint smile to my lips. The short answer was most definitely a yes.
The moment had been long in coming. It might have come sooner had I set out to accomplish it, but such a goal was not mine. The spark of it could change everything going forward, even if the goal seems contrary to my best interests. Not that I expect anyone to understand, but the moment has its allure.
When he flung the door open, I felt the cold flash of terror washing over me. Even the warmth of being nestled within my covers fled. Not a word was spoke as he walked across the floor ignoring my fearful gaze. His hands threw open the curtains, inviting in the morning sunlight from which I wanted to hide. I threw a hand up to shield my eyes from the light and groaned as the previous evening's illicit activities shot throbbing pain through my still tired head.
He marched to the foot of the bed and stood staring down over me with scolding eyes. The flutter of butterfly wings in my stomach washed over me, leaving me trembling. He had made the threats on previous occasions and looking up at him, I knew the time for threats had come and gone. The hard line of his jaw was sign enough of his intention to follow through and I knew the time had come.
"Up," He said. The succinctness of his command resonated within in my ears indicating the relative shortness of his remaining patience. I blinked at him, my pouting lip protruding just enough to search out a tenderness in his heart, but unsurprisingly finding it absent. My breath froze in lungs and my mind emptied itself of all coherent thought leaving me with nothing more than emotion and impulse.
I hugged the covers closer to my body, seeking warmth and comfort, but there was none to be found. He reached out, snagging the foot of the covers in his hand and ripping them from me. Instinctively, I reached for them only to have them slip through my trembling fingertips and be thrown across the room from his disgruntled hand. I watched them sail through the air and morning sunlight, crashing against the wall and tumbling into a puddle of softness hidden by shadows.He pointed to the spot on the wall above my bed. I had no need to look, but I did anyway. Sadness gripped me, my eyes began to water and nothing could make me look away. The strap hung against the barren whiteness of the wall. I knew what he expected, but my arms would not obey. The strap remained steady, unflinching, unmoving and his finger remained just as stubbornly fixed in place, pointing at the implement. Had I not intervened there might have been a cataclysm of untold proportions.
I reached up and took the strap from its home. It laid heavy in my hands as if it were almost sorrowful and laden with guilt for its purpose. I would have offered comfort, but there was little point because in his hands, there would be no comfort or comforting. He barely waited for me to offer it to him before taking it from my hands. I watched it fall limp in his hands and offered it a sympathetic smile before turning my attentions to him and his unflinching gaze.
His crooked finger pointed at the floor at the foot of my bed. I shook my head in protest, but the finger remained fixated on the spot on the floor. Dragging my feet along the smoothness of the floor, I approached the location indicated. The finger returned to his side and he stared at me as if he expected something more. I knew what he wanted, but I wanted to hear the commands from his mouth.
"Bend over," He said.
The resonance of his voice tugged at the corners of my lips, dragging out hints of a smile. I turned to face the bed and leaned over the foot board. My hands pressed against the mattress, my buttocks felt unnaturally pushed to protrude behind me. His hands came to rest against my waist, fingertips brushing against the skin of my stomach before gently pulling my pajama bottoms down exposing just enough of my bottom to make it feel like a target between my top and bottoms.
I enjoyed the quiet moment while he appraised the milky whiteness of my backside. The sunlight warmed the skin and relaxed my muscles. He waited, the strap held firm in his hand, and he stared as if he might have been having second thoughts about what he was going to do. Had I the voice to put words to the feeling pulsing through me, I would have nudged him onwards, but in the moment I was mute.
My body jerked, my eyes blinked and then I felt it. The lash of the strap against my bare skin rippled through my nerves, sending waves of warmth emanating outward to my extremities. I breathed just in time for a second lash to come crashing down. A scream might have escaped my lips, but it was only a natural response to the pain. It was not the strap's fault nor was it even his fault.
The strap continued to sing through the air. My legs began to kick in response and my breath grew more and more ragged with each successive lash. The burning discomfort began to pulse in sync with the gyrations of my body trying to avoid the next stroke. Tears dripped from eyes to the mattress below and as they did, guilt slipped away, replaced by a conviction to do better. Even in the moment I knew the conviction would last only so long as the burn and sting reminded me, but in truth I would have it no other way.