How astute of him to notice. The salad on my plate had grown warm and the lasagna cold. My fork picked at the congealed cheese and swept aside the limp green leaves as if a rearrangement could bring about new life. It was hopeless. We were hopeless and yet to look into his eyes, you would not know it. Maybe there was love still residing within, but love is not a thing of maybes.
"I'm tired," I said, meaning of him and of us, but knowing he would not understand.
"Are you?" He asked, his tone suggesting he believed something else.
With a sigh, I tossed my napkin from my lap on top of my plate and pushed myself up from the table. His eyes followed my every movement, but I no longer felt the thrill of capturing his attention. My hand reached across the table to collect his empty plate with the intention of clearing the table, but he grasped my wrist. My heart was tempted to pause in anticipation but hope had already left. I lifted my gaze to meet his and bitterness found its way to my tongue.
"Let go," I commanded, pulling away from him. His grip remained firm and again I said, "Let go."
"Talk to me," He said, his eyes pleading while his fingers remained tight around my wrist like an iron bracelet. I continued to pull against him.
"There is more to life than conversation," I said, the words spitting form my lips like a victim's accusation upon the guilty. His head tilted in confusion and I shook mine in disappointment. It was too much to hope he would glean understanding and folly to expect it.
"What would you have me do?" He asked.
"Let me go," I said and after the briefest of moments his fingers released me. I laughed and turned away from him. He would never learn.
But then, as I began to step away, his fingers wrapped around my arm and pulled me back. I gasped, flailing backward and would have fallen except he stood and steadied us both. Twisting around, I caught the glint in his eyes and I smiled, but not for him to see. He yanked me toward him again until I had no choice but to stand, body to body against him, my eyes daring to hope as they turned upward to glimpse his determination. I waited as a worm on the hook.
"Do you even know what you want?" He asked, his hot breath sifting through my hair and warming the top of my head. I basked in dizziness.
"Let go of me," I said, punching a fist into his breast, "you brute!"
Unfazed and laughing he said, "It won't make you happy."
"You wouldn't know how to make me happy," I said.
He shook his head and said, "You could have just asked."
"For you to have a heart, courage or a brain? I dare say it might be a bit too much to ask," I said.
"I know exactly what you need," He said.
I was tempted to believe, but there was a lack of proof leaving me in doubt. I said, "Could it be another conversation about the weather or perhaps we should talk of politics and religions until the wee hours of the night?"
"A conversation?" He said nodding his head as if lost in the details of a forgotten memory. "Yes, my father often called it that."
"More boring words from you or your father are not what I need or want," I said, hiding my smile in the folds of his shirt.
"Not all conversations go from mouth to ear," He said.
I looked up at him, his face suddenly masked in an unfamiliar sternness. It suited him well, but I feigned surprise and shock in his gaze. "Oh?" I said, as if I knew not what he meant.
"Some things are conversed better between palm and bottom," He said.
I gasped and tried to pull away once more. A smile tugged at the corners of lips and was fulfilled in the light dancing in his eyes. My skin tingled with welcome anticipation. The firm grip of his hand felt like a loving caress and my heart dared to continue beating. Hope burned within me like the light of a thousand candles beaming as happiness through my every pore.
"You wouldn't dare," I said.
The time for words had come to an end. He spun me around and his fingers unzipped the back of my dress. I might have liked to resist a little, but fear held me still. If there remained even the slightest doubt in his mind, he might stop and my heart could not bear the disappointment if he did. I shivered as his hands brushed aside the straps and the garment fell to a puddle around my feet. Slowly, lovingly, he stripped me naked for his eyes' pleasure and I basked in the attention. His hands explore every inch along the way and when all was done, he pulled me into him, greedily tasting my lips and breathing my breath. He pulled away leaving me hungry and lusting for more.
Adorned in nothing more than jewelry and heels, I walked with him to the couch. He lifted the leather swatter from the side table, a gift from his parents' travels, never used except as a trinket set out for display. It swished through the air between us, letting me know what he intended. I raised an eyebrow, but did not object.
"Sometimes the hand needs a little help," He said in explanation.
I knelt on the open end of the couch and waited. My body was exposed to his every whim and he took his time, drinking in the view with laughing eyes. He knew what I wanted, what I needed and he enjoyed making me wait. I would not beg for it, but I could not keep my body from doing it through the bumps of anticipation along my flesh, the shallowness of breath drawn through my lips, or the twitching of my buttocks. Gently, almost lazily, he slapped the leather against my bottom producing nothing more than screaming cries of frustration.
I turned toward him and wagged my finger in the space between us. He shrugged, his arms waving out beside him and said, "What?"
"If you're going to spank me, " I said wagging my finger, "you damn well better do it right."
He said, "Just remember, you asked for it," and the leather came swishing down leaving in its wake the beginnings of a warm sting and a warmer glow.