Miranda’s Pond By Lynn Forest – Part One

Chapter One

The house was back a one-hundred-yard-long gravel lane, bordered on both sides by fields of wildflowers. There were no fences, and when approaching the house a visitor found that there was no yard in the classical sense. There was a paved circular driveway to make living there neater during rainy weather or the very occasional light snowfall, but all sides of the house were surrounded by even more wildflowers instead of grass.

There was a gravel path that led from behind the house to a clearing, but because of a slight roll of the terrain until one approached you could not tell that the clearing was the edge of a large natural pond of twenty acres, so tall were the wildflowers. Off in the distance, beyond the water, woodlands gave way to a small series of foothills. It was Tennessee countryside at its best.

The acres of land adjacent to the house had been cultivated and planted in wildflower seed when construction on the home itself was in its initial stages a year and a half ago. That was how the sole owner of the extensive property, Miranda Stevens, had wanted it. Only after six acres of ground surrounding the home had been seeded could the construction work begin in earnest.

That was just one more thing that added to the reputation of Miranda Stevens as an eccentric outsider since she had arrived there from New York upon completion of the house. The design of the home, even the colors of paint and wood finish, were handled by way of the web. Of course, it could truly not be said that Miranda was an outsider.

The property upon which her house had been built used to be where the home of her grandparents had lived before it was destroyed years ago, in a fire caused by lightning after they had already passed on, and she had spent large amounts of time there in the summer up until when she turned twelve. That was when her parents had moved the family to Atlanta, when her father was transferred. Now her father and mother were both retired and had come back to Tennessee and live in Nashville, the city her older sister had also moved to several years ago.

In her years away from the Malveaux area the local residents had found some amusement with Miranda in spite of her absence. The male residents certainly enjoyed looking at photos of her taken during her modeling career, although such interest in her waned when she finished college and took an internship with a publishing house, reducing her time available to model bikinis and revealing pajama sets.

In fact, she spent several years in the large publishing house in New York before deciding to go out on her own and contract with writers and publishers on an individual basis. It would also give her time to work with her sister Gina’s artistic enterprises.

***

Drake Sawyer walked up to Jimmy Stanton and slapped him on the shoulder. “My gosh, Jimmy, it is great to have you working here again after those years away.”

They stood in the sunlight just outside the large door where trucks delivered and picked up lumber from the cavernous wood-storage warehouse building at Connor Lumber Supply and Hardware on the edge of Malveaux.

Jimmy nodded his head slowly. “When I got my degree in engineering, I didn’t want an office job. Instead, all I could think about was heading for the Dakotas and operating those big pieces of oilfield machinery. Some of the guys I worked with out there thought I was crazy to give up that kind of money to come back and manage a lumber yard, but there were simply things about working there that just didn’t…”

Drake gave his boyhood friend a teasing elbow to the ribs. “Certain things and certain kinds of people were lacking there?”

Jimmy sighed loudly. “The hours were really long, and the weather could get pretty bitter.” He glanced at his friend and grinned. “And I must say, when trying to find someone to sit in front of the fireplace and drink a brandy with, the pickings were kind of slim. But in any case, when I was younger, I couldn’t wait to leave Malveaux. And when I finally did, I realized that I couldn’t wait to come back.”

Drake stubbed out his cigarette, as their lunch break was ending and it was time to go back into the office to see what orders needed to be filled. “We’re only thirty, buddy. We have a lot of life to look forward to.”

Jimmy nodded in agreement. “I know I’m not the only fellow from the old gang still living alone.”

“You know, while you were away Miranda Stevens came back. I remember how when we were kids you had that crush on her.”

Jimmy suddenly stopped walking. “My gosh, I haven’t seen her since they moved away after the seventh grade ended. What brought her home from the big city?”

Drake began to laugh. “Well, if you would like, you could find out by asking her yourself.” They walked to the sales desk and Drake pulled out a piece of paper from a file. “Of course, you are my manager and I would not pretend to make suggestions as to a work assignment for you, but Helen in sales happened to notice that when Miranda’s new house had been built, she had never been given this warranty certificate for her roofing. Of course, we could simply mail it to her.”

He began to wave it in front of Jimmy. “Or, perhaps our manager who had such a puppy love crush on her all through junior high may have other ideas. I still remember how she always used to call you her buddy.”

Jimmy plucked the document from Drake’s fingers. “You said she built a house?”

Drake’s expression grew somber. “Yeah, on the same site where her grandparents lived.”

“So, I suppose there’s some unhappiness about losing that property for hunting and being able to go fishing in the pond?”

Drake placed his hands on his hips and nodded. “That’s putting it mildly.”

Jimmy began writing a note to leave on the counter. “Tomorrow is Friday, I don’t have much in my schedule, so I think I’ll deliver this to her personally in the morning before I come in.”

***

It was nearly 8:00 a.m. when Jimmy drove cautiously up the lane toward a beautiful one-level log house he had never seen before. He was stunned by the scene of wildflowers blooming in all their late-May glory.

He slowed his approach, concerned that he had made no arrangements to let Miranda know that he was going to be stopping by, and it suddenly dawned on him that he could possibly wake her up that early in the morning. For that matter, he was somewhat doubtful that she would even remember him.

But just as he approached the house, he fixed his gaze on an enchanting sight: there was the petite Miranda, still with the dark-brown, almost-black, shoulder-length hair he remembered. Her back was to him, and he could see that she was pulling a weed out of her flowers. She did not even know he had arrived until he closed his car door and she turned around, confused at first before a wide smile came across her face. “Jimmy, hi, buddy. I’m so happy to see you. Just give me a moment, I want to get this last stubborn weed.”

He watched with some interest as the fetching young woman in the short red sundress bent forward and gave a mighty tug to an unwanted weed stalk. This time the weed relented, and Miranda fell backwards with significant velocity. Then there were two shouts of “Ouch” not a second apart.

The first cry of pain was from when her bottom landed on the upturned blade of the hoe she had fallen back upon, the second immediate cry the result of the handle of the tool being propelled upward against the back of her head with a thud so loud Jimmy could hear it.

He rushed to the side of the gorgeous but disoriented woman who lay on the ground, her left hand reaching to her bottom, her right hand rubbing the already developing goose egg on the back of her head.

He coaxed her to lay quiet and recalled enough of the first aid training he had been given throughout his life to check that her vision was not impaired and asked her to tell him her name and what day it was. “Jimmy, I feel kind of dizzy.”

“How about I carry you inside and get some ice to put on your bump?”

She nodded slowly with her eyes closed. “That would be fine, Jimmy. But please, when you pick me up, watch my butt.”

Jimmy scooped her up in his arms, and then Miranda began to laugh and shake her head. “I don’t think I phrased that very well.”

As he carried her slowly to the house and up the steps on the wooden front porch, he looked down at her and began to laugh as well. “, if I recall correctly, I spent a few minutes nearly every day in the eighth grade doing exactly that. I used to make it a point to walk behind you down the hall when we were changing classes.”

Now she began to laugh once again as Jimmy managed to open the front door without losing his grip on the still-unsteady woman, before entering the great room and carrying her to place her gently on her stomach on her sofa. Then he slid off her shoes and placed them on the floor and walked back and closed the front door.

He looked around for a moment to find her bathroom, and after retrieving a hand towel, he went to the refrigerator and took several ice cubes and wrapped them inside. Then he went to the sofa and sat down next to her, and gently placed the impromptu cold compress on the back of her head.

She jumped at first, then sighed in contentment and rested her head on her crossed forearms, “Oh thank you, Jimmy. And would it be asking too much of you to see if I’m going to need any stitches in my butt?”

She could not see the expression on his face as he hesitantly reached for the hem of the red sundress and slowly shuffled it up onto the middle of her back. That’s when he saw that both bottom cheeks had about a three-inch-long strip of red peeking through the sheer white nylon panties several inches below her waist, and several small dots of blood were beginning to appear. “Um, Miranda, looks like you scraped a little bit of hide off your, um.”

She turned her head slightly. “It’s okay, Jimmy. Just go ahead and pull them down and see how bad it really is.”

Shaking his head at the interesting turn the morning had brought, Jimmy could feel his own fingertips shaking as he reached for the waistband and began to very slowly and carefully lower the panties until they were past the injured area. “I think that when I leave here, you better put something on that.”

He then quickly but carefully pulled the panties back up, and Miranda turned more and looked at him with a smile while she held the ice cubes to her head. “You are so sweet, and such a gentleman, but I think it would be easier for you to take care of this. Everything should be in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.”

Jimmy stood up and rubbed his chin for a moment, then shook his head and walked back to the bathroom. He found a washcloth in the small cupboard and soaked it with warm water and wrung out the excess, then took a tube of antibiotic ointment from the medicine cabinet and walked back to the sofa.

He cleared his throat nervously, then sat back down on the sofa next to her before hesitantly lowering her panties once again. He then took the warm moist washcloth and gently rubbed it across the abrasions. Next, he opened the tube of ointment and placed some on his fingertip. He took a deep breath and then placed his fingertip on the end of the scraped skin on her right cheek and began to very carefully cover the wound, finding himself enjoying this first-aid event more than he felt that he should. He put a dab on his index finger once again then treated the wound on the left cheek, and with more reluctance than he felt he should have under the circumstances, carefully raised the panties back into place.

She finally raised her head up slightly and turned to look at him. “Thanks for checking out my ass.”

Jimmy began to chuckle. “I suppose that I would simply repeat the same thing I said outside about our walks down the hallway in the eighth grade.”

She smiled and laid her head back down. “I feel so flattered. I also feel kind of silly for bringing these self-inflicted wounds on myself.”

Jimmy leaned closer. “If you’re going to use tools, you have to be careful and not leave them where they can hurt you.” Then he surprised both of them by giving her a solid whack on her right bottom cheek, but well below where he had spread the ointment. In a near panic, he pulled her dress back down.

He was horrified at his impulsive action, but then Miranda began to giggle and she looked up at him. “I will give you a few hours to stop that.” No sooner had the words passed her lips than she squeezed her eyes shut and grimaced and placed her fingertips across her mouth. “I shouldn’t have said that, I think I’m still kind of woozy.”

The amused Jimmy patted her on the shoulder. “Maybe I should take you to get you examined by a real medical practitioner.”

Her face still red from her comment, she looked up at him and shook her head. “I’m tough, I’m still a Tennessee girl.”

He then happened to notice broken glass on the floor next to the door. “Did you drop a drinking glass?”

She buried her face in the sofa and moaned. “I threw it. I got mad at my printer and I guess I’ve developed a problem with impatience when I’m working.”

He cleared his throat. “I’ll take care of it.”

She shook her head. “No, leave it for me. I seem to do things like that every once in a while.” She laughed softly. “How about giving me a good whack for that, too?”

Jimmy began to chuckle. “Seriously?”

She looked back at him and giggled and shrugged. “Couldn’t hurt anything.”

Jimmy laughed and raised his hand and brought it down across the back of her dress with enough force to cause her to yelp. He leaned closer to her. “That’s how it could hurt.” Both of them began to chuckle and then he rested his hand on her shoulder.

Jimmy did not realize that the hand on her shoulder was suddenly massaging it with small motions. “I think you had best rest for a few more minutes. At least, I can stay here with you for a little while.” She looked up at him and bit down on her lower lip, then nodded her head and smiled.

Jimmy felt a wave of happiness as he stood and walked to the door and stepped outside while he called the store. He talked to the assistant manager for a few minutes, and as he expected there was no problem in him remaining there to look after Miranda for a while. He walked back inside and then sat down on the floor at the end of the sofa where they could look at each other.

“Miranda, I know that it’s best that you not go to sleep after getting a good wallop to the head like that. Do you want to try to sit up yet?”

She squeezed one eye shut as she considered. “I think I’ll just stay like this for a few more minutes until I’m feeling a little more steady. After all, I have you here to talk to. So why don’t you tell me what’s been up with you? When I was talking to the construction guys, they said something about you being away somewhere out west working in something to do with oil.”

He drew his knees up and rested his arms on them. “Yeah, for a few years after I got out of college. It was okay for a while, but I just grew dissatisfied. I really surprised myself by wanting to come back here, but now that I’ve returned I don’t think I ever want to leave again. So, I’m okay managing the business for old Bill Tyree. He’s a good boss, and he pays me okay.”

“So, where do you live? I was sorry to hear that your parents are both gone.”

“Yeah, thanks. As a matter of fact, I never did sell the house, so that’s where I’m living.”

She seemed to be concentrating. “I think I just barely remember where that house is. Out on the other side of Malveaux, right? That little two-story place with the big yard in front?”

“That’s the one. I haven’t had any chance to change anything since I got back. Maybe I won’t for quite a while. And who knows, it may be where I live for the rest of my life.”

“Nothing wrong with that. For that matter, I certainly didn’t have this place built for a short-time occupancy. My parents are back in Nashville renting a condo, and about three years from now they’re going to move into retirement community there. And Gina lives in Nashville in a nice apartment with her two cats. She comes out here every once in a while so that we can collaborate.”

“Collaborate?”

“I kind of work a side job. Of course, my main thing is editing books for authors, and contracting with publishing houses who need a little extra help without paying a bunch of fringe benefits. That’s most of what I do. I named my business Miranda’s Pond. But Gina, as you may know, does quite well as an artist with watercolors and acrylics. But she is also a body-paint artist for fun, and I serve as her canvas.”

Jimmy’s eyes popped wide open. “She does body paint, and you are her model?”

Miranda began to laugh. “I am her primary model. She’s not going to be happy that one of my favorite parts of me for her to paint got kind of scraped up this morning.”

Jimmy put his hands up and tilted his head. “So, this is where she paints your body all over?”

Miranda began to giggle even more. “Except for a few small areas where we use little adhesive covers, yes that is right. She has won the quite a few competitions, and I have been the model in several of them.”

She looked at his expression and laughed as she continued. “So, yes, there will be lots of us on little pedestals, and we do walk out with robes on, but then we have to ditch the robes and stand there naked except for those little strategically placed covers I mentioned.

“The first couple of times I had a hard time getting through it. But then, after that, I realized that it’s just art. When it comes down to it, if I wear a very tiny bikini to the beach, which is what I often do by the way, there is not a drastic difference. Really, we are talking about a matter of maybe ten or twelve square inches on my entire body. Still, it does require one to be a little more daring than standard modeling, even the swimsuit modeling I used to do.

“My parents are not thrilled about that part of my life, and Gina still gets scolded by them about it, but we just don’t talk much about it. I’m really a fairly conservative person, but I am just not that shy about skin exposure. I understand the limits, and I have no desire to exceed them. But when we say this part of your skin is okay, but that part is not, we are talking about some very subjective matters of degree.”

She began to test her steadiness and began the process of raising herself up, but Jimmy insisted on helping her until she was upright and sitting on the sofa. She pointed to a large picture album on a coffee table in front of the sofa. “My sister always takes photos of her work on me and sends me copies. Would you like to see some of them?”

Jimmy nearly choked as he tried to speak, so he simply nodded his head and reached for the album and sat down next to her. She placed the album so it was resting on both of their laps, and she opened it.

Jimmy was astonished as he saw the woman sitting next to him appearing unrecognizable as he very slowly turned the pages. Her hair was always in a different style or even a different color, and her body was painted in all kinds of either geometric, floral or science fiction inspired themes. The colors were brilliant, and she actually appeared to be wearing unimaginably brightly colored, although skintight clothing.

He shook his head as he looked at the images. “These are beautiful. You look so…”

She began to laugh once again. “I enjoy this. And of course, Gina being my older sister, she has some fun at my expense. Sometimes she will paint something funny on my lower back or my butt when she is practicing for a show, then take a picture of it and send it to me. Of course, she never has any mirrors for me to see what she is doing behind my back.” Miranda’s face turned pink. “Those are in a special album, one that I don’t leave out on the coffee table.”

Both of them began to laugh as Jimmy continued to look at the pictures, finding himself becoming somewhat aroused against his will. He turned another page and Miranda began to laugh and pointed at her image taken from the back. “As you can see, Gina thinks that she is just so funny.

“This is from a competition in New York, and she thought that I should have a nice big red apple on each of my butt cheeks to honor the city’s nickname. She seems to get a lot of laughs out of painting things back there where I can’t see.” She looked at Jimmy and tilted her head and grinned. “Of course, today, you got a pretty good look at part of what she has to work with.”

Jimmy could feel his face turning hot and could only imagine what shade of red it was. “Well, I must say it was nice.” He cleared his throat and continued, “I hope it, I mean, I hope it heals okay. Soon!”

Miranda blushed for the first time that day that he could see. “I think I should call you in a couple of days and give you a progress report.” She looked at the expression on his face once again and began to giggle. She turned sideways gingerly, her minor injury still making its presence known. “Can you stay just a little longer, and let me show you around? I’d feel a little better anyway, to try walking with you here to make sure I’m okay. Besides, I’m just so happy to see you again after all these years. Among all the boys in our class, you were my best friend.”

She leaned over and surprised him with a kiss on the cheek. “Even in junior high, you were a little gentleman, and I always felt like you could be trusted.” She began to laugh. “And don’t think for a moment I didn’t know why you were always walking behind me.”

A mischievous smile appeared when she saw Jimmy’s face turning red. “And I’m going to confess something to you right now. I never told you, but I had a crush on you. As a matter of fact, when you were following me down the hall I sort of put a little extra jiggle in my wiggle, just for your benefit.”

They both burst into laughter, then Jimmy cleared his throat dramatically. “I think it’s time we see how steady you are on your feet.”

Jimmy helped her to stand up slowly, and she finally put the ice cube pack aside on the sofa, feeling much more steady than she had expected. She began to walk slowly and gestured toward the rest of the room. “As you can see, my construction guys bought a lot of wood from your business. They even ordered in the log exterior for us.

“I decided that the only interior doors I wanted were on the bathrooms and the two bedrooms. The two bedrooms share the second bathroom, and it’s not like I’m frequently going to have people staying here with me aside from my family. Right now, I just have a fold up bed in the closet of the second room in case someone visits.”

She placed her hands on her hips and stretched slowly, then looked around and smiled. “I love not having a lot of walls. It’s nice to stand in the kitchen and still be able to see out of the windows across the house.”

She pointed toward the fireplace. “That was one thing I had to have. I guess I’ve always had this thing about a cool day and sitting in front of the fireplace while…” She suddenly pursed her lips and turned toward a bank of windows overlooking the pond. “Let’s step outside.”

They stepped out a backdoor onto a small deck, right where the path began that led to the water. “Nearly every day I take a walk down to the pond. I like to see what birds have landed there, and I like to hear the fish splash and the frogs jumping in the water.”

Jimmy did not realize first that he had gently taken hold of her arm as they walked down the gravel path. “I did a lot of fishing in that pond. It was always pretty good.”

She looked up at him and laughed. “I think it still is. I really don’t know.”

Jimmy looked down at her and tilted his head with an inquisitive expression. “I was led to believe that all this property is off limits to hunting and fishing.”

She suddenly stopped and looked up at him and shook her head. “I wondered why nobody ever comes here to ask for permission. It wouldn’t be any problem.” They began to walk on. “As soon as I came back here from New York, I got the feeling pretty often that people were kind of standoffish to me. Maybe it’s because they expected that I had become a big city girl, but that’s not true. I’m still a Tennessee woman and I always will be.”

She stopped and gestured toward the pond and the woods beyond. “I wish people would come out here and ask to fish. I wish people would bring their children and grandchildren out here to the pond. And as far as hunting, I see some pretty good deer every once in a while. I’m not one of those people who sit in a restaurant dining on an expensive steak while I talk about how cruel hunting is.”

They finally came to the edge of the pond, and Jimmy found himself feeling wistful. “My dad used to bring me here fishing. He loved your grandparents. It’s been years since I’ve been out here. I think it’s even more beautiful with all of the wildflowers surrounding it. Everything out here is simply beautiful.” He wanted to add a comment, but kept his impulsiveness in check this time, the earlier scolding smacks to her bottom notwithstanding.

As if on cue, they both turned and began walking the path back to the house. “You seem to be pretty steady now. Are you going to be okay? Do you want to have somebody come and stay with you? I really do need to get to work.”

They walked slowly, not holding onto each other but their bodies frequently touching. “I think I will be fine now, but perhaps.” They stepped inside the door and Jimmy could see that Miranda’s face was pink. “I mean if you’re not seeing anyone, I mean if you’re not married of all things, I would love it for you to come back tomorrow evening for dinner. Then you could see for yourself that I recovered from my freak accident and that you can stop worrying about me.”

As they walked toward the front door Jimmy smiled and nodded. “I would like that very much.” And then, as if drawn by magnets, they leaned together for a brief kiss and she walked him out to his company truck and stood next to it as he got in and started the motor. Once again, she dissolved into giggles. “And Jimmy, thanks for the whacks on the butt. I need to be more careful with tools laying around. Maybe the next time I do some gardening you should patrol the area with a hickory switch in case I get careless again.”

He laughed and felt his face turn warm. “Or maybe when you have to use your printer.”

She laughed heartily. “Not a bad idea.”

As he put the truck in gear and drove away they exchanged teasing waves, Jimmy stunned but happy at the very unlikely turn of events before his day had really gotten underway. It was good that he only had a ten-minute drive to get to work, because he was distracted beyond belief.

He pulled into the store parking lot and turned off the engine, then sat quietly for a moment. He shuddered as he tried to figure out why he had felt sufficient familiarity with Miranda to give her that first, far more than playful, smack on her behind without having been invited to do so. Yes, they had been friends from kindergarten through the eighth grade, but that little action seemed forward beyond the pale.

At the same time, he could not get out of his consciousness the several references she had made to indicate that not only was she not offended by his impulsive act but made it clear that she more than welcomed it. Jimmy could not begin to convince himself that it was something he found the least bit repulsive. He wondered if he would be able to sleep that night, recalling the sensation of his hand smacking on her bottom and her joking invitation for him to continue, to say nothing of her thanking him for having done it, topped off by her reference to the hickory switch.

No, he did not find the prospect that she may enjoy such things to be something that would make him want to keep her at a distance. He finally opened the truck door and began to walk inside to see what orders for materials the day would bring, all the while admitting to himself that he could find such activities to be intriguing and quite pleasing.


Chapter Two

Jimmy arrived at Miranda’s house at 6:00 on Saturday evening. He found his spirits buoyed when she stepped out onto the wooden front porch as soon as he got out of his personal truck, and when they met she greeted him with a kiss. She gestured toward the gleaming green truck and grinned. “That is gorgeous.”

He laughed as they walked inside. “You stole my line, because that’s what I was going to say about you.”

As they walked inside the great room, he could hardly avert his gaze from the petite beauty in the short white silky dress that highlighted her dark-brown hair. She stepped back and gazed at her guest in his khaki trousers and blue-checked shirt and nodded approvingly. “It looks like a gorgeous truck brought a gorgeous man to be my dinner guest tonight. Hope you like meatloaf. I don’t cook what you would call elegant meals.”

Jimmy grinned and nodded as they walked toward the kitchen area, and she leaned down and open the oven door to check on their dinner. She closed the door and turned to him and smiled. “My first impulse was to fix something that would impress guests in New York. Then I remembered that I much more enjoyed real people kinds of food instead, and I assumed you do too.”

Jimmy put his hands in his pockets and leaned against her island counter. “You certainly read me right. I get the impression that living in New York didn’t change you very much.”

She pulled a high stool away from the island and pulled herself up to sit on it. “I never felt comfortable there. But I wanted to model for a few years, and I wanted to do some work in publishing and editing, and New York is where those things are. Unless I wanted to go to Los Angeles, and I could never bring myself to do that.

“The modeling got to be a bit of a grind while I was still in college, and I wasn’t getting enough sleep or time to study. So, after I got my first job at the publishing house, I did a few modeling jobs here and there. With technology advancing to the point where there were certain jobs you could do anyplace you had an internet connection, I decided it was time to come back to Tennessee where I belonged and felt comfortable.”

Jimmy felt his face turned warm. “And not to pry, and let me know if I’m going someplace I shouldn’t here, but I take it that you never married?”

Miranda smiled and shook her head and seemed to want to break off I contact for the moment. “Just never met a guy who I sensed was really ready to meet my…” She looked back at him with what he took to be a forced smile. “And have you ever been attached?”

Jimmy simply pursed his lips and shook his head slowly. “I only ever had one long-term dating situation that got anything close to being serious. Aside from that, I just had a few dates here and there through the years. I finally came to realize that I was never going to be able to settle down with someone unless I was living in a place that I really liked. I guess that’s part of why decided to come back here to Malveaux.”

Miranda blushed slightly. “I guess we have something in common there.” Then she seemed to become rattled by her own words and began to stammer as she asked him about his job.

As she finished getting dinner ready and he helped to set the table, he talked with some enthusiasm about his duties managing the lumberyard that even had contractors from Nashville buying materials for construction. Sensing how much he seemed to enjoy his work, Miranda found herself paying rapt attention as he talked about his job.

They finally sat down at the table, and suddenly Miranda stood up and walked to the cabinet, then returned with two wineglasses and a bottle “The finest chefs in the most elegant and pricey restaurants in Manhattan told me that red wine goes best with meatloaf and potatoes.” They both laughed as Jimmy poured the wine, then they raised their glasses and clinked them together as she whispered, “To coming home.”

Throughout dinner they enjoyed small talk about some of their antics through elementary school and junior high. Miranda became wistful and at times appeared tearful as she listened as Jimmy recounted things that had occurred with the schoolmates she had been forced to leave behind when her father took that job in Atlanta.

After dinner, with their wineglasses refilled, they walked over to the sofa that was part of a sectional furniture set that faced the fireplace, although it was much too warm to have a fire going. Jimmy was finding himself a little too suddenly smitten with his childhood friend who had grown into such a beauty and decided to ensure that his actions and mannerisms and demeanor made it clear that he was not one to be forward or pushy.

At the same time, he felt himself becoming entranced and felt the sensation of something tugging at his heart when Miranda slid her shoes off and curled up on the sofa facing him with her knees resting against his thigh. Now it was his turn to ask her about her career and told her he was really curious about her work in publishing and editing.

He was taken by the wide smile she displayed when talking about some of the books she had assisted with that had gone on to become best sellers, a few of which had been turned into movies. She laughed as she talked about some of the quirks and idiosyncrasies inherent in some of the people she had worked with, both writers and coworkers in the publishing house.

She went into some detail about her transition from working in an office on the twenty-fifth floor of a building in New York City to working from her new remote home in which they now sat. She giggled as she recalled how she had almost forgotten to have cell phone and internet connections tested on the property before she made the final decision to build the home.

Their conversation was wide ranging throughout the evening as time flew by in a blur. And when it neared midnight, Jimmy glanced at his watch and said that it would be best if he was on his way.

“How about we take a couple of minutes and I show you the rest of the house?”

They stood up and she guided him toward a corner of the room where there was a computer on a corner desk. She laughed and stood back and gestured toward the small area. “This is my office. No reason for any other walls. But this is where I do my editing work.”

She pointed toward a closed-door. “This is a spare room.” She shoved the door open and revealed that there was nothing but a table holding a vast array of small containers of paint and a carousel holding numerous brushes. In the center of the room was a simple wooden box. “This is where Gina practices painting me. Depending on what part of me she’s working on, I may have to stand on that box so she doesn’t miss anything.”

They walked out the door and Jimmy felt a rush of amusement as his imagination went into overdrive wondering what such a scene looked like. Then Miranda open to the next door a few feet away. “This is my bedroom. Pretty simple, just a bed and a dresser.” Just as she was about to close the door, Jimmy spoke almost in a whisper. “Quacker.”

Miranda spun around with a look of stark surprise as she looked at Jimmy and then the well-worn stuffed animal that rested on her pillow. “You remember it? How?”

Jimmy’s face turned pink. “Do you still remember where you got it?”

Miranda tilted her head and looked at him suspiciously. “I was at the county fair the night before we left to move to Atlanta. And Caroline Landon walked up and handed it to me, but she wouldn’t tell me anything except it was for me from a boy who knew how much I liked ducks. I told her right away that I was going to name it Quacker. I haven’t spent a night since then that that duck was not either in my bed or close to it. It was always my connection to where I came from. So how did you know?”

Her eyes grew large and teary, and she pressed her fingertips together and pressed them to her quivering lower lip. “Oh, Jimmy.”

He laughed and put his arms around her and leaned down and planted a kiss on her lips “It took me six tries that night before I was able to throw those baseballs straight enough to knock down three of those stupid cats.”

She began to laugh and cry and wrapped her arms around his back and hugged him tightly. “I can’t tell you how many times I wondered who the mystery boy was who made sure I got that special going away gift.” She brushed away tears from her face and looked up at him and smiled. “I should have known it was you. You were always the one who was nice to me even when others weren’t.”

Jimmy nodded and looked down. “I know that some of the other girls in the class were jealous of you because you were the prettiest.”

She reached her hand around his waist and gave him another hug. “That’s so sweet of you to say that. When those silly rivalries would break out and I would be having a tiff with some of the other girls, you would be the one who would come up to walk next to me and tell me some corny joke that I pretended to not like but would end up telling others. Of course, I do understand that when you weren’t walking next to me, you were walking behind me watching my butt sway from side to side.”

Jimmy closed his eyes and laughed as he nodded. “Yeah, it seemed to take the rest of the girls in the class another year after you moved away to develop a walk like you had.” He looked down at the laughing pixie whose eyes were suddenly dancing. “I’m going to be really busy this week, but would you like to go to see a Minor League Baseball game in Nashville next Saturday? I have a cousin playing outfield.”

Jimmy thought that her smile was going to light up the room. She simply bit down on her lower lip and nodded her head enthusiastically. “Let me make sure I don’t have Gina coming that day.” She stepped to her desk and gazed at a desk calendar, and Jimmy noticed a gash in the frame of her computer monitor, then stepped forward to look at it.

Miranda closed the calendar. “Saturday works.” Then she saw him checking out the monitor. “Coffee cup. Another printer glitch I didn’t take kindly to.”

Jimmy raised his eyebrows and whistled. “I’ll try not to make you mad.”

Miranda blushed and nodded. “I’m afraid that I need fixing in one manner or another.”

He leaned down and kissed her. “See you next Saturday. Try not to break anything else.”

***

On Sunday afternoon, Miranda sat topless with her hair pulled forward on a stool in the spare room while Gina looked at the images she had painted on her sister’s back. “I just can’t seem to get those rings around Saturn as vivid as I would like.”

“When is the next competition you want to take me to?”

Gina straightened up and stretched her back. She looked very much like Miranda, although her hair was not quite as dark, she was more full figured and wore red framed glasses. “It’s in Charlotte in eight weeks. Double check your calendar so I don’t have to come up with a replacement naked person on short notice. So now, are you ready to tell me about him?”

Miranda laughed softly. “Well.”

Gina tapped her on her bare shoulder with the handle of her brush. “Can’t do that to the big sister. Big sister has to know everything. That’s one of the basic laws of family life.”

Miranda looked back at her sister with a teasing smirk. “This coming from a woman who is older than me and is still single?”

Gina tapped her sister on the shoulder once again, this time a little bit harder. “Single by choice. But in your case, my sweet little sister, I don’t think that’s what’s going on. Regardless, you live in a small community and you know that everyone here still remembers me, and I can find out just about anything I want to know about anyone’s business. After all, you already spilled the beans as to who you are seeing. And I don’t know if it makes any difference or not to you, but I certainly approve.”

Gina stepped around in front of Miranda and sat down on an empty stool to listen. Miranda took a deep breath and smiled, then she went into total minute detail about his Friday morning visit to her home, and all of the improbable moments that followed. As Gina listened to her sister relate the mishap with the hoe, and the extent to which Jimmy had gone to deal with the aftermath, she could not contain her laughter.

Miranda then went on to tell about their dinner date and found herself once again wiping tears from her eyes when she told the story of the stuffed duck that was always on display on her bed. Then she spoke enthusiastically about their plans to go to Nashville the following Saturday.

Gina took a deep breath and sighed loudly. “So, is Jimmy going to be the one you finally have the special talk with? Oh, Miranda, he had to pick up some of those hints. And I know that you told me that you said those things to him because you wanted to hear what I would have to say, now didn’t you?”

Miranda closed her eyes and bit down on her lower lip and nodded as her face turned pink. “You know me too well.”

Gina shook her head. “Uh, uh! You’re not going to dodge my question. You talk about this guy in a way you don’t normally talk about men you meet. So, let me ask you once again, Miranda Jean Stevens, is this the guy you’re finally going to have that talk with because you would like for it to be permanent?”

Miranda once again closed her eyes tightly and bit down on her lip “I want to. Just the thought of that with him just makes me crazy. But I guess I’m so afraid that’s what he’ll think I am, crazy.”

Gina put her hands on her knees and sat rigidly straight, and Miranda knew that she was about to be lectured some more. “Okay, he whacked you on the butt, and what was it you said to him?”

“I think I said something like, I mean it was…” She looked at her sister and winced. “I told him I would give him several hours to stop that. But then I tried to make him think it was just because I had gotten bumped on the head and wasn’t thinking right.”

Gina was nearly doubled over in laughter. “Go on!”

Miranda cleared her throat and her face turned pink. “I kind of found a reason to invite him to give me another smack.”

Gina continued to wipe tears of laughter from her face. Miranda placed her hands over her face and shook her head slowly. “Before he left I thanked him for giving me those whacks to my butt.”

Gina was now wiping tears of laughter from her face. “And?”

Miranda groaned and pressed her fingertips against her temples. “I told him that maybe the next time I was out gardening I should have him, I think I said something like maybe supervise me with a hickory switch or something like that.” She lowered her fingertips and opened her eyes to see her sister was laughing out of control, and Miranda simply shook her head. “I’m happy that you’re finding my personal angst to be so entertaining.”

Gina once again wiped the tears from her face and took a deep breath. “I know we have gone through this before, but I have to ask you again. If you would like to have a man spank you in a relationship, so what? There’s nothing wrong with having a spanking fetish.”

Miranda sunk her head down between her shoulders and squeezed her eyes closed and made her hands into fists. “I don’t know if I have a spanking fetish. I just know that it appeals to me, and those two times he smacked me on the bottom did feel kind of nice. It just doesn’t seem normal. He’s probably never heard of a woman wanting to be spanked just for pleasure or for real to help her control her temper.” Miranda stiffened her arms out and growled in frustration. “And what if people found out about it? Like our parents.”

Gina moved her stool over to sit next to her sister and put her arm around her. “I think you handled it very well when you told them about the modeling you do for me. And they seemed to not want to make any big deal out of it. I know that you don’t talk about it, but you get along with them very well, and that tells me that they are accepting of you the way you are. So, I don’t think you should have that concern over something they would probably never find out about.”

“What if he thinks that it’s really out there that I would enjoy something that is going to hurt, and hurt quite a lot if he understands what I’m saying that I want him to do?”

“Miranda, I know that you have watched pro football games on television.”

Miranda shrugged and nodded. “Sure, I like football. But what does that have to do with my wanting to be spanked?”

“Now I understand what you’re saying about what people may think about liking such a thing. But tens of thousands of people will file into a stadium to watch a football game. Now isn’t it true that nearly every time they run a play, there are all these collisions, and all those collisions are painful, right?”

Miranda began to laugh. “Of course they hurt. Those are big, fast strong guys running into each other.”

Gina put her hands out as if pleading with Miranda to understand what she was saying. “So, tens of thousands of people in the stadium, and hundreds of thousands of people watching on television are sitting there enjoying these guys purposely doing things that are going to hurt for sport and their entertainment. So, tell me, Miranda, which probably hurts the most? When a couple of extremely large men collide, or a man gives you a good whack on your bottom?”

Miranda put her fingertips to her forehead and giggled. “I’m sure the high-speed collision between two oversized men would hurt more than me getting whacked on the butt.” Suddenly she held up an index finger and looked up as if reconsidering what she was saying. “Actually, I’m really not certain about that. I guess it would depend on who’s doing the whacking and what one was being whacked with. But I’m not about to go to a football tryout camp to find out what that is like.”

Gina began to laugh as she continued. “I think you get the point I’m trying to make. We both know that people are sitting in the stands paying outrageous prices to watch these guys inflict the pain upon each other but would indeed look askance at a sweet little lady like yourself telling some guy she wanted him to take her across his knees and repeatedly whack her. It’s all a matter of context. Those big overgrown athletes do it for money. You want to get your butt whacked because you think it’s arousing and romantic and will turn both of you on.

“But for gosh sakes, little sister, when it comes to Jimmy I think that you have been more than giving him enough hints for him to figure out what you may like to do with him. And if you really think that it would help you control your flashes of anger if you knew you were going to get spanked for it, why not?”

She put her hands on Miranda’s shoulders and turned her slightly to face her. “Miranda, if this is going to get serious between you and Jimmy, you need to be honest with him. Just tell him what’s on your heart. If he’s not accepting of that, you need to know that before either of you gets hurt. And if he is indeed accepting of it…”

Miranda arched her eyes wide and blushed. “Wow!”

Gina smiled and nodded and leaned over and planted a kiss on her sister’s cheek. “Yes, I think that says it all. Wow!”

Miranda closed her eyes and leaned her head back and moaned. “And still, for the life of me, I don’t know why I have this craving.”

Gina reached out and patted her knee. “I can only give you one answer to that question, Miranda. The answer to your question is, that it doesn’t matter why. You simply have to decide if you’re going to allow it to frustrate you, or if you’re going to turn it into something that’s going to make your relationship with a special man even more special.”

Gina stood up and began cleaning the paint off of Miranda’s back. “I’m going to have to get back to Nashville. I have an art distributor who wants to stop by this evening and look at a couple of works I’m selling. Besides, I think you have things to think about while you’re editing that long World War II novel this week.” She gave her sister a wink. “Good luck concentrating.”

***

After Gina left, Miranda slid on a T-shirt and some shorts, and walked barefoot back the path to the pond. She sat down on her wooden lounge chair and leaned back and closed her eyes to try to slow down her swirling brain. She knew that everything that was happening was out of character for her.

For one thing, a couple of rare moments of intimacy with a man had never come attached to a real commitment or long-term relationship as much as a little too much wine. Nonetheless, after an improbable morning and one dinner date, she was having all of those thoughts about Jimmy. But she found her pulse racing and a sensation of butterflies quivering in her abdomen and below as she realized that she was probably going to reveal to him in plain and distinct language what she would most like to experiment with in terms of carnal pleasure, and even for discipline. She smiled as she realized from somewhere out of the blue that she was going to be able to have that special talk with Jimmy because she felt a trust in him that was probably not logical considering the brief amount of time they had spent together as adults.

Then she started thinking about her inanimate but nonetheless beloved Quacker, and she smiled and once again had tears running down her cheeks. There was something about that caring act of a shy eighth-grade boy that was seeming to accelerate her falling for the thirty-year-old man he was now.

Giving up on relaxation and no longer entertaining any false hopes of some lightning bolt of sanity dissuading her from doing what her heart was dictating, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes and shook her head and got out of the lounge chair and began to walk back to her house. She decided that if she was going to pursue this with Jimmy, she was going to be prepared to give every yearning fantasy she had ever had a real chance of coming true. She walked over to the sofa in front of the fireplace once again, opened up her tablet computer and clicked on the list of websites she had bookmarked for the moment she was experiencing.

***

All through the week, Miranda had to struggle to overcome her distracting thoughts. She was thinking ahead to the third following weekend, as she was planning to once again invite Jimmy to her home for dinner. Then she would reveal to him her plans for an after-dinner treat. At least, she hoped desperately within her heart that he would consider it to be so. She tried not to think of what the hours and days afterward would be like for her if that was not to be the case.

At least she had always prided herself in being able to block out the rest of the world when she was reviewing a manuscript. It was tedious work, but she dearly loved it, using electronic markings on the digital copy to note where she suggested changes be made. This time she was having to double check herself and be extra careful, because she had never before dealt with such an issue screaming at her for attention. Now she was about to spend the next three weeks second-guessing herself.

It had been an easier week for Jimmy, as his hectic week of work was driven by customer requests, not requiring the same type of concentration. Nonetheless, he had to be careful with orders from customers who could not afford lost time by having the wrong materials placed on their delivery trucks.

What distraction he felt was simply a euphoria of the blossoming relationship with Miranda. He could not dispel from his consciousness her hints indicating that she had a bit of a kinky side to her, but as the days went on he simply found himself looking forward to exploring with her anything that would bring her contentment and could make their relationship solidify.

When Saturday finally arrived, Jimmy had become a bit frantic when he was delayed getting away from the business. But things worked out so that he was able to pick Miranda up and get them to the baseball park in Nashville just before the first pitch was thrown. Jimmy very much enjoyed watching a member of his extended family play in the game as he tried to work his way up to the Major Leagues, Miranda simply enjoying the setting and all that was going on. She even commented to Jimmy that she felt quite relaxed and happy to be sipping on a cup of beer and enjoying the ballpark hotdogs, so much so that they decided to enjoy the treats there and not go out for dinner afterward.

As they watched the game and conversed with some others sitting nearby, Jimmy could not help but be distracted by the quiet beauty of the woman sitting next to him in cut-off jeans shorts and T-shirt. He once again reminded himself that as hard as he was falling for Miranda, he still had to keep his wits about him.

It was also true that several times per day it would flash through his mind that she had seemed to hint to him that she truly enjoyed that impulsive smack to her bottom as she lay on the sofa recovering from her mishap and asked for yet another one. He could not help but question whether he had simply misunderstood her words, but as the days went by he knew that he would be disappointed if that was the case, and he had no idea where that had come from.

After the game he took Miranda home quite late that night and they spent a little while on the sofa kissing and holding each other, after he left and headed toward his house his mind was spinning. He walked into his house and locked the door behind himself, then went straight up to his bedroom and was under the covers within minutes. Then as he was about to fall sleep his eyes opened and he sat up on the side of the bed resting his head in his hands. It had finally dawned on him that if Miranda indeed was wanting to engage in some activities with him that were a little on the kinky side it appealed to him simply because it would appeal to her.

He lay back down in bed and smiled in the darkness, for he had come to terms with the understanding that no further reasons would be needed. The prospect of it all was proving to be quite arousing to him.

For that matter, when they went out to go to a movie and dinner in Nashville the following weekend, Jimmy was finding the mysterious and still unspoken matter less in the forefront of his thoughts. Miranda had received a call from her mother reminding her that they would like to meet this man of hers that they remembered only as an awkward and shy young boy.

Miranda and Jimmy decided to surprise her parents, and even though it was late in the evening, they dropped in on them to their delight. They ended up staying there talking to them until well into the night, and it was quite late once again when Jimmy delivered Miranda back to her house. As they stood inside the house kissing good night, Miranda’s lips began to move but no sound came out. She began to laugh at herself as she made another attempt at speaking, and Jimmy noticed that she took a deep breath first. “Come to dinner here Saturday night?”

There was no verbal response. Jimmy simply nodded his head with arched eyebrows and gave her a deep kiss that made her go weak in the knees.


Chapter Three

Several times during the next week, Miranda had to pause her editing program and get up and walk around the room to settle her nerves. She had made a decision, and she did not know whether she felt more relieved or frightened, finally decided it was a strange combination of both.

When Friday finally arrived, she made a final decision for dinner on Saturday. She decided that simplicity was the best thing in her distracted state of mind, assuming she could not somehow ruin a dinner of T-bone steaks and baked potatoes with salad. And just to make life even more simple, she had purchased a ready-made apple pie at the small grocery in Malveaux.

Somehow, she managed to get some sleep overnight, and she woke up that Saturday morning feeling so calm that she teased herself how it seemed something just had to be wrong. But then she pictured the image of that clean-cut man with the dark hair and deep eyes and strong shoulders that often embraced her, and she found herself stunned that she could not deny she had fallen in love. He was such a good and decent man, a man of kindness and gentleness and caring, and she could not remember the last time she had met anyone to compare to him.

Her day was somewhat frantic as she tried to get her whole house in order and be ready to cook their dinner, while also doing some editing to keep her mind occupied when she didn’t have a particular task to perform.

One thing she realized was that due to an unusual cool snap, she needed to bring some firewood and kindling inside from the back porch so that they could take a chill off the room if they sat on that sofa in front of the fireplace after dinner and oh, my. Yeah!

***

On a day when she had nowhere to go, Miranda had somehow managed to almost not be ready when Jimmy was supposed to arrive at around 6:00. She had found herself rushing through her shower, shampooing and blow drying, rather than having those activities calm and relax her as usual. She was just fluffing her hair with her hands as she stood in front of her full-length bedroom mirror in her mid-thigh length silver pleated dress, the satiny fabric decorated with black spirals.

Although she had felt calm all day to that point, when Jimmy knocked on the door it startled her. For she knew that on this particular evening things were either going to go very, very well, or very, very badly. She nearly ran to the door to open it, and before he could even say hello, he found himself enveloped in an urgent and deep kiss. Miranda, feeling embarrassed by her impulsiveness, backed a few inches away and began to giggle before nearly whispering, “Hi.”

Jimmy leaned down and kissed her long and hard once again. “Hi, yourself. I’m happy to see you, too.” He looked down at the blushing woman and shook his head. “You look simply beautiful.”

She whispered a thank you along with a flutter of her eyelashes, and then took him by the hand. “Let’s go out to the kitchen, because I have steaks under the broiler and I don’t want them to burn.” When they approached the oven, she pulled the door down to look inside, then Jimmy picked up the plates and silverware that were still in the counter and he carried them to the table and put them in place.

He noticed two potatoes wrapped in paper towels and ready to be popped into the microwave oven, then he carried the bowl of salad and two bowls to the dining table as well. When he turned around, Miranda was displaying an impish smile while holding two wine glasses in one hand and the bottle and the other. “Red wine isn’t just for meatloaf, you know.” As they laughed, Jimmy poured them each a glass, then set the bottle on the dining table.

They made small talk while they finished preparing the dinner, and Jimmy did not know if it was his imagination that all of a sudden Miranda seemed rather tense. And even while they sat and enjoyed their dinner, although she was as talkative as she typically was, he could detect that there was definitely an edge to her demeanor.

She was not standoffish or at all trying to put any distance between them. Throughout the meal, whether she realized it or not, she was casually running her foot against his ankle and lower leg. But something was making her feel nervous.

As had quickly become their custom, they made sure their glasses of wine were full and walked toward the long sectional sofa in front of the fireplace. Jimmy noticed the firewood and kindling sitting on the hearth. “Care for me to build a fire?”

She chewed on her lower lip for a moment and she nodded in the affirmative, but this time her expression was also one highlighted by her arched eyebrows when she replied in silence. It just took a couple of minutes to get the flames licking the air as Miranda looked on with a building level of arousal as she watched his torso as he knelt in front of her getting the fire started.

When he turned around, Miranda had silently slid her shoes off and curled up in the short little dress, patting the cushion next to her. When he sat down next to her she leaned down and placed her glass of wine on the low table in front of the sofa, and when Jimmy reached to her to embrace her she crawled over onto his lap facing him. She shuffled her dress up and then straddled him as she put her arms around his neck and they began to kiss.

In that position, she did not want to embarrass Jimmy, but she had to restrain from giggling as she felt the stark evidence that he was also quite aroused by the moment. They shared another long and deep kiss, then she murmured in contentment and rested her head on his shoulder. “You know I love you, don’t you Jimmy?”

She heard him sigh in response at first. “Yes, I know that. And I know there’s no secret that I feel the same about you. As a matter of fact, I fell love with you rather quickly.”

Miranda began to giggle as she drew her head back and looked at him with a smile on her face. “And what grade were we in at the time?” They both began to laugh, then moved into another kiss that lingered as they stroked each other’s backs and shoulders. Miranda pretended to shiver in pleasure, then rested her head on his shoulder once again.

He teasingly pressed his fingers to the back of her head. “The big bad bump is all gone.” Then he reached his hand down and began to caress her bottom across the silky surface of the dress. “And I assume all is well down here too?”

She began to giggle and nodded her head. “Thanks to you and that little tube of ointment, my behind is in very good shape.”

He laughed and reached down and patted her bottom several times. “It always has been.” She began to laugh, then leaned up and kissed him again before settling against his shoulder.

Jimmy began to stroke her back, then his hand reached down and began to stroke her exposed thighs. “That was quite a morning, wasn’t it?”

She leaned back and looked at him again, giggling as her eyes danced. “Kind of wonderful, if I remember correctly, in spite of my self-inflicted injuries.”

Jimmy suddenly felt his face turning warm as he considered his words. “Sitting here on the sofa in front of the fire, reminds me of something you said that morning, except you never finished your thought.”

Miranda’s mind raced, but not for very long before she remembered exactly what he was talking about. “You said something about looking forward to some cool day and sitting in front of the fire while…” He gently took her by the shoulders and moved her back several inches so that he could look her in the eyes. “You never finished the part about what you wanted to be going on while you sat in front of the fire on that cool day. You left me kind of curious. You see, today is a cool day, or I should say this is a cool evening. And we are indeed sitting in front of the fire. I was just wanting to know what you wanted to happen under the very circumstances that we have right now.” When he completed his comment, he gave her a teasing tap on the nose.

Miranda’s lips were suddenly taking turns being chewed on, until she finally took a deep breath and blew it out slowly through her nervously puckered lips. She took another deep breath, then closed her eyes and began to speak slowly. “Oh, gosh, Jimmy. I don’t know quite how to say.”

He put his index finger beneath her chin and raised her head up to look him straight in the eye once again. “Whatever you have to say to me, you say it one word at a time, until you have said everything that will you intended to say.”

Her face was pink, and she licked her lips as she started again “Let me say what I’m truly feeling right now, Jimmy. All week long, I have looked forward to this cool evening, so we could be here in front of the fire while you did something I would crazy love for you to do, and I’m so afraid you won’t because you’re such a nice guy.”

She began to chew on her lips once again, but this time she raised her head and looked at him without his prodding her. “I think it would just be so sexy and so hot, if you would spank me.” Her face then turned a deep red and her expression changed to one of fear.

Jimmy totally stunned her when he simply nodded his head crisply. “Okay. I would love to do anything you would enjoy.”

Her eyes were suddenly as large as saucers and her jaw dropped. “You will? I mean, you’ll really spank me, like, spank me for real?”

Jimmy nodded matter-of-factly once again as if she had asked him if he wanted a beer. “I take it you would find that pleasurable?”

Her eyes were watery, but Jimmy understood they were not tears from anything but relief and happiness. “I think that I would. I’ve always thought that I would. I’m certainly ready to find out. I guess I’ve just never had anyone before that I was in love with enough to ask that.”

She let out a deep breath and nodded. “But, Jimmy, I also think it would be good for me to get a good spanking when my temper goes out of control. I mean, I should get spanked pretty hard for something like that.”

Jimmy began to rub his chin as he seemed to be considering something, his teasing antics causing her abdomen to erupt into fluttering in her yearning and anticipation. “You have any particular details you would like to give me about how we go about this? Am I to assume that I am to do this in a manner that you will experience the sensations you crave in a most direct manner?”

Miranda looked at him and began to laugh and shake her head. “Yes, I wouldn’t mind one little bit if you spanked me on the bare behind, if that’s what you mean by ‘most direct manner’.”

Jimmy’s expression turned a bit more serious. “I trust you’ll tell me when it’s too much?”

She went silent for a moment as she considered what he had said. “Yeah, I know what you mean, sure. But at the same time, I want to feel like I’m getting a real spanking, and the person giving the spanking is really in charge. So, I’m probably confusing you.”

Jimmy leaned toward her look her straight in the eyes. “I’m going to do everything I can that you want me to do. I just need for you to remember that you can call this to a halt.”

She lowered her head and shook it slowly. “I really can’t explain why I want to be spanked.”

Jimmy pressed his nose against hers. “Do you think it will turn you on?”

She blushed and nodded her head in silence. Jimmy smiled and kissed her on the cheek. “That’s reason enough for me.”

She responded with a whispered, “Thank you,” and then nodded slowly and leaned forward and kissed him once again as they embraced each other tightly. She began to slide off his lap to kneel next to him in preparation. He arched his eyebrows and grinned. “So, you haven’t been a bad girl? You just want to be spanked?”

She fluttered her eyelashes and leaned close to him and gave him a light, teasing bite on his neck. “Yeah, I just want to be spanked. I think I’ll enjoy it. But I hope that you do, too.”

Miranda took a deep breath, then began to whistle in a lighthearted manner as if trying to dissipate her fear, causing Jimmy to laugh as he slowly assisted her in laying across his knees. He laughed even more as her whistling continued at a faster pace as he shuffled her dress up onto her back, then reached inside the waistband on the sheer black panties and lowered them to the middle of her thighs.

Suddenly she stopped whistling and looked back at him and blew him a kiss, before she rested her chin on her interlaced fingers and closed her eyes in preparation. Jimmy placed his left hand in the small of her back, and she jumped in anxiety when he rested his right hand upon the center of her now bare bottom.

There was no caressing or warning taps, as she told him that she wanted to experience a genuine spanking. He drew his hand up in the air and brought it back down with a verification to her that he did intend to provide her with an actual spanking.

Seconds later, his hand made impact for the second time, and there was sufficient sunlight coming in through the windows that he could see two distinct handprints. The third landed with the sound like a gunshot, and he heard her whimper momentarily. But nonetheless in the next ten seconds the fourth, fifth and sixth sharp cracks were the only sounds to be heard.

The spanking continued, a sharp smack breaking the silence every several seconds. She was beginning to cross and uncross her ankles, and her arms were now extended, and she was gripping the far edge of the end cushion of the sofa tightly as she attempted to cope with the sting.

Her bottom was already a dark pink, but as Jimmy continued to deliver her requested spanking, he was stunned that she had remained so silent. He did see however, that she was beginning to wipe tears from her eyes, so he halted the spanking for a moment while he reached into his back pocket to pull out his handkerchief and hand it to her.

As she wiped the tears and laid the handkerchief aside, he could not resist the urge to speak to her. “Are you doing okay with this?” She turned back to look at him slowly and although her eyes were rimmed in red they were open wide. She flirtatiously fluttered her eyelashes and wiggled her bottom several times. “Oh, gosh Jimmy. This is so hot. I love it.”

Jimmy could not recall in many years feeling such a sense of relief. He raised his hand again and brought it down with a loud crack, and he reestablished the rhythm of the spanking, no more forceful or less forceful than before.

He had probably whacked her ten more times since handing her his handkerchief when she first uttered an urgent, “Ouch.” She reached for the handkerchief and wiped more tears and blew her nose, then clutched tightly as he continued. But now, every time his hand landed, there was a muted squeal or yelp. That was when she suddenly raised up her hand and reached back to grasp his arm. “Jimmy, I got a delivery the other day.” She turned to look at him with an expression of mischief in spite of the ferocious sting she was already feeling in her bottom. “It’s something you can spank me with. If I go and get it from my room would you use it on me? It’s a paddle.”

Jimmy gently raised her panties back into place, and she sucked in her breath when he did so. He then helped her back into a kneeling position. He scrunched his face into a mock expression of rage, and she began to giggle in spite of the fire on her backside as he took her by the arm and drew her face to his. “Now, young lady. Bring your paddle to me, and don’t make me have to tell you again.”

She began to giggle once again as she got up from the sofa somewhat unsteadily, and Jimmy found the sight of her swaying toward her bedroom while rubbing her bottom to be nothing short of surreal and highly erotic.

Only seconds later, she reentered the great room carrying a rectangular flat box and seemed to be looking around. That was when Jimmy realized that she had never opened the box, and he reached in his pocket and pulled out a pocketknife. She sighed in relief and smiled as she walked back to the sofa and handed him the box.

That was when Jimmy surprised her and ushered in a new element to their activities. He handed her the box back, along with the knife, and spoke to her in a voice that was a little more realistically stern than she had expected to hear. “You open the box and take out your paddle. And then you’re going to find out just how well it works.”

Even though she was smiling, Miranda gulped as she took the knife from him, unfolded it and began to cut the box open. That was when he surprised her once again. “No, Miranda. I want you to sit down on that sore bottom while you open it.”

Miranda’s eyes were once again large and round, but her smile was just as obvious as she gently lowered herself to sit on the sofa and winced as soon as her weight came to rest on her sizzling flesh. She had never anticipated that Jimmy would so adequately address her fantasies, and she had never realized just exactly how arousing it was going to be when he did so.

Just as she was beginning to cut the packing tape on the end of the box, Jimmy reached to her hand to still her movements. “You need to be careful with that knife.” The look on his face, if not stern on purpose, made her feel chills and another wave of the fluttering took over the center of her body.

To her own stunned amazement, she realized after several seconds that she had replied to him, “Yes, sir.” She halted cutting the box because the realization of what she had said left her rattled, although increasingly pleased and aroused.

She got her wits together once again, then completed cutting open the end of the box. Holding the knife out in front so that Jimmy could see how carefully she was handling a sharp object, she pressed the blade closed and handed it back to him.

She hesitated for a moment and seemed be holding her breath as she tilted the box so that the contents would slide out. It was one thing for her to see the image of the paddle and read the description on the internet. To have it fall into her lap and become real to her was a whole other matter.

The paddle lay in her lap as she pressed her fingertips together and lifted them to her lips as she considered what was truly taking place. She looked down at the oval-shaped paddle that was twelve inches long, including the handle, and about four inches across at its widest point. It was about three eights of an inch thick and made of oak. But what really caught Jimmy’s attention were the two rows of dime-sized holes.

Once again chewing on her lip, Miranda slowly handed the paddle to this man who was providing her with more than she could have ever hoped for. To her unstated approval, he turned the paddle back and forth as he examined it closely. “Miranda, I want you to tell me why you bought a paddle with holes in it.”

She took a deep breath and winced as she answered. “It’s supposed to, I think, I think it’s supposed to make it sting more.”

“Just so that I understand this correctly, you got on the internet and ordered this paddle? And you passed up paddles without holes, and made sure that you got one that would sting more than the others?”

Miranda’s eyes were large, and she nodded in the affirmative almost imperceptibly. There was something about the way he had commented on her selection of the paddle that made waves of heat course through her body.

“So, you did not want to take any chance that the paddle you bought would not be very, very painful?”

Miranda once again simply nodded in silence.

At that point, he could not maintain a serious expression, a grin escaping his failed attempt at maintaining a stern and threatening presence. She could also not help but smile and shrug and even fluttered her eyelashes as Jimmy set the paddle aside and took her by the arm as she lowered herself across his knees once again.

Once she was settled in, she once again rested her chin on her interlaced fingers as her bottom was bared slowly so as to heighten her anxiety, although it was also making her arousal spiral more than Jimmy could ever have suspected.

He felt a moment of pause when he saw how bright red her bottom was, and now she wanted him to give her a paddling. She looked back at him as if asking him a silent question until he held the paddle up so she could see it. Then, still maintaining her silence, she winked at him while swaying her bottom several times.

The first time the paddle slammed down upon her bottom, she let out a loud yelp. Jimmy suspected that the sting it generated may have taken her by surprise. But as he was beginning to understand what she was going through, he assumed that the unexpected level of pain would only arouse her more.

Now he waited five seconds before bringing the paddle down with another formidable crack that resulted in a high-pitched squeal, but she remained in place and had still never reached back a single time to catch a respite. Now his rhythm with the paddle was established. Every five to eight seconds, a muffled cry or squeal would result from the oak instrument making its presence known.

The paddle was obviously having a profound effect upon her in a variety of ways. She was struggling to hold her feet down. As the slow paddling progressed she was catching herself in the process of beginning to finally reach back, but always reaching her hands forward once again and gripping the edge of the sofa cushion.

When the paddle had brought its fiery sting to her bottom for the fifteenth time, she lost any semblance of control. Jimmy did not stop paddling her, but he watched in fascination as she began to raise her midsection and writhe, along with her urgent moans in tandem with her squirming movements.

He was startled by the speed and ferocity with which she was suddenly once again up on her knees facing him and straddling him, their arms in an embrace and their lips pressed together with passionate force as her legs squirmed and her feet rose up in the back as she struggled to slide her panties off.

Suddenly the wisp of black silky nylon was dangling from the big toe on her left foot, but she at least had freedom of movement as she pressed against Jimmy. She became undone when suddenly his left hand was beneath her and fondling her, while his right hand roughly pressed and stroked her blazing and red bottom.

She began to cry out and she wrapped her arms around his neck as tightly as she could while she pressed the side of her head to his. Her body began to quiver and quake inside and she arched her back in response to the crescendo of physiological sensations, but also the emotions, taking place inside of her.

She remained in that position as the spasms and waves of pleasure finally began to subside. Through it all she held on tightly to Jimmy with her head still pressed against his, her breathing fast and labored, tears running down her cheeks from not just the pain of the paddle but also the emotional shock of what she had just experienced.

They remained in their embrace for several moments after Miranda’s body and mind had both come back to earth. Finally, he heard a murmured, “Wow,” and he thought he had never heard anything sweeter in his life. Her hushed exclamation was followed only moments later by a whispered, “Oh, my.”

Jimmy held her closer still and stroked her long dark hair, his lips close to her ear. “I got the impression you enjoyed all that.”

The first response was the shaking of her body as she laughed silently, even as tears were still running down her cheeks. She finally drew her head away so that she could look at him with a mischievous smile and a shrug of her shoulders. “I guess that now you could say I’ve been a bad girl. But I have no intention of changing after that.”

Her hand slowly slid down his chest, then to his abdomen, then she reached inside his clothing and began to giggle. “Now I’m going to assume command. You get into the bathroom and take off all those clothes and get under the shower. Then I’m going to come in and resolve an obvious issue for you.”

They embraced with a deep, long kiss once again, then she slowly slid off of his lap and rested on the sofa next to him with her legs curled up, finally kicking the unneeded panties off the end of her toe and onto the floor as they both laughed. Jimmy stood, leaned down and planted another kiss on her lips, then slid off his shoes and walked toward the bathroom.

Jimmy had just been under the relaxing stream of water for less than a minute when he heard the door quietly open. As Miranda stepped inside the bathroom, she was impressed to see that Jimmy’s clothing rested on top of her laundry hamper, neatly folded and stacked. She considered that she had just discovered another admirable quality in the man, as every stitch of clothing she had been wearing was resting on the living room floor in a chaotic pile.

Suddenly Jimmy felt his heart begin to beat more quickly when he saw a small hand reach around the edge of the shower curtain and begin to draw it back, and he was stunned at just how beautiful she looked without any clothing at all. At the same time, he was rattled when she turned around to retrieve a small bottle of body wash and he saw that nearly her entire bottom was a mottled surface of shades of red and crimson.

She coaxed him to turn away from her, then he felt her soothing soft hands and fingertips as she began to lather the liquid soap over his chest, slowly but steadily lowering until her hands were gliding across his lower abdomen. Then her left hand slipped behind him and began to sensuously stroke his buttocks and the crack between them, while her right hand descended to the part of him that she knew needed some attention before he walked into a wall and injured himself.

As she stood behind him and began to stroke, her fingertips drove him nearly mad as they teased and excited him even more. She listened happily as he leaned his head back and moaned in pleasure as the teasing and arousing movements of her fingertips continued.

She kissed him on the back several times, then placed her head against his back and began to talk to him in a manner that could only drive the poor man closer to the edge as she continued the maddening work of her fingertips. “I think I’m going to finish you off now, but I’m going to be very gentle with this darling thing, because I think we’re going to need it again in a little while for some serious work.”

His head leaned back once again as he moaned in pleasure as her stroking and tickling and grasping became more urgent, and after all that had happened in the past hour it did not take long before he finally cried out in his release. His legs grew momentarily weak as her right hand continued on its mission until he had experienced every exhilarating bit of pleasure possible.

He turned around slowly, and they embraced and kissed as the water ran over them. He arched his eyebrows and shook his head. “You have sensational hands.”

She began to giggle as she laid her head against his chest. “Actually, I was going to tell you that your fingertips seemed full of magic.” She looked up and smiled and winked at him. “I think that we have two sets of hands between us capable of some really pleasurable mischief.”

They embraced for another minute, and then they looked at each other as if reading each other’s minds, and Jimmy turned off the shower. Miranda reached to the towel rack and retrieved two large, fresh towels and they laughed and teased as they dried themselves and each other off.

Jimmy stepped toward where his clothing rested on the laundry bin, and Miranda immediately took his elbow in her hand and looked up at him with a yearning expression. “I know that I risk seeming too forward and presumptive, but I guess I was feeling kind of hopeful when I went out and did some shopping this week.”

She opened a door and Jimmy saw that it was a cupboard with shelves full of towels and bed linens. But Miranda reached to the top shelf and when she turned around she was holding a folded terrycloth bathrobe. “I was hoping you would need this this evening.” Her face turned pink. “I guess it was the same hopeful mood I was in when I ordered that paddle.”

Jimmy took the bathrobe and put it on as he grinned provocatively. “Then indeed, we will make use of this bathrobe this evening.” He suddenly displayed a sinister grin. “And we definitely made good use of that paddle, now didn’t we?”

Miranda nodded with her eyes arched wide open and reached back and rubbed her bottom. “We most certainly did. And I’m quite impressed with how well that paddle works.” Her face turned dark red and she reached toward a drawer in the bathroom counter. “And most of all, I was hoping we would need these.” When her hand came out of the drawer she was holding a pack of condoms.

Jimmy pursed his lips and looked at her with a passionate gaze at the dark-haired beauty who still stood naked in front of him. “Actually, we both had that covered.” Both of them began to laugh as they embraced once again. Jimmy leaned his head down and ran his hand over her cheek. “I hope the fact that I brought some too doesn’t appear predatory. I want you to understand that I meant it when I said that I’ve fallen in love with you.”

He looked deeply into the brown eyes that met his own, her eyes that seemed to twinkle and dance while also brimming with tears of emotion. “Miranda, I think that this is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. I never thought I could fall for someone as fast as I have fallen for you.”

Tears began running down her cheeks. “Jimmy, that’s just how I feel too. When we’re not together I can’t wait to see you, and while we’re together I don’t want to let you out of my sight.” She began to giggle. “Perhaps we should consider that we had a bit of a head start all those years ago when you use to watch my butt when I walked down the hall at school.”

Jimmy peered at her with a wink. “And you still have that that unbelievably cute wiggle to your simply exquisite butt.”

They embraced once again, and she looked up at him and laughed. “Who knows? Maybe it was some psychic thing, and maybe all those years without realizing it I was getting you ready for the day when you would have that butt of mine all to yourself.”

Jimmy glanced to his left and saw a silky beige robe hanging on the hook in the wall, and he took it down and helped her put it on. “How about we go out and sit in front of the fire some more, and sip on some wine, and then…” They exchanged mischievous grins and she treated him to another flutter of her dark eyelashes before she slipped the pack of condoms into the pocket of his robe.

They stopped at the kitchen counter and refilled their wine glasses, and Miranda walked over and curled up on the sofa while Jimmy got the fire build up once again to the point where there was significant warmth flowing over that part of the room. He sat at the end of the sofa, and Miranda placed her glass on the small table in front and settled herself onto his lap and he wrapped his arms around her.

She looked up at him and they leaned together and kissed, then she settled her head against his chest and began to speak in a soft and sultry voice. “I hope this is not a dream. This just seems so”—she snuggled more tightly against him, and he enveloped her even more tightly in his arms—“I don’t think I have ever felt so secure and protected in my adult life. I hope this doesn’t sound creepy, but this is kind of the feeling I had when I was little girl and I would fall and scrape my knee and my father would pick me up and cuddle me to make me feel better. That’s how I feel now, Jimmy, safe and protected.”

He could feel her beginning to laugh, and she looked up at him with a grin. “I also feel totally and thoroughly spanked. And I’ll tell you, buddy, I just absolutely love that feeling.”

She leaned her head more tightly against him once again and was silent for a moment before she looked up at him and spoke in a near whisper. “You’ll do that again, won’t you? I mean, giving me a spanking and then sometimes letting me have it with the paddle?”

Jimmy took her gently by the shoulders and leaned her back so she could see how serious his expression was. “I take it you enjoyed that as much as you hoped you would?”

She opened her eyes wide and nodded rapidly. “And I think that my reaction to it all kind of indicated that.” She began to giggle.

“Miranda, of course I’ll spank you again. All you have to do is ask, and after finding out how much I enjoyed doing it, there may be times when I’m the one to suggest it. I have to tell you, for something that had never really crossed my mind before, doing that pretty much blew me away.”

She closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. “It was just all so much more than I could ever have imagined. You did such a wonderful job of giving me that spanking. It was like you were reading my mind and, even sensing what I hope for you to do next and how I hoped you would do it and”—she began to laugh—“I will confess that when you started using the paddle, I was taken by surprise by how much it stung when you weren’t really whacking me that hard. But oh, I loved it even more because of that. It was such a rush, such a turn on.”

Her giggling returned. “So, what are you doing next Saturday evening?”

Jimmy sighed and shrugged and tried to act indifferent. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll spend the evening out in the country at some remote house giving some hot little number the tail warming of her lifetime.” He glanced down and saw the expression on her face and the way she was looking at him. “Are you getting turned on talking about this?”

She leaned forward and began to nibble on his neck, then slid off of him and pulled him by the hand to get up and follow her to the bedroom. Once inside the room, Jimmy was greeted by the sight of the bed covers already having been turned back he felt a building passion. He tossed the pack of condoms onto the middle the bed, then shrugged off his bathrobe to fall on the floor.

In an instant he had stepped toward Miranda and shuffled her wisp of a wrap off of her shoulders and it fell immediately to the floor. He wrapped her in his arms and gave her a kiss like she had never had before, his hands roaming across her body, causing her to suck in her breath when his hands began to roughly caress her inflamed bottom. But that only made her already nearly out-of-control arousal spiral upward. With her still encased in his embrace he virtually tossed the both of them onto the bed and began to hungrily kiss her neck, but just for a moment before she was writhing and moaning on the bed as his lips and tongue hungrily went to work on her nipples.

She was wildly aroused, and Jimmy was teasing her by restricting his pleasurable actions to her breasts, but that in and of itself was nearly driving her over the edge. He knew that their discussion of the spanking she had received and his promise of another one of the following weekend was doing chaotic things to her libido. They laughed as they both scrambled to open one of the condom wrappers, and she eagerly rolled it on to him.

In an instant, while his lips and tongue continued the arousing work on her breasts, his left hand, which was caressing the insides of her thighs, began reaching back to tease her with gentle fondling of the red and warm sections of her lower bottom cheeks. His fondling brought back the sensations and memory of finally receiving what she had yearned for for so long.

He thought that she seemed almost to the point of climaxing, so considering the condition of her tender backside, he brusquely rolled her onto the top of him. She immediately inserted him and began to rock and undulate wildly, crying out unintelligible sounds as the wonderful pressure inside of her became more than she could withstand.

Her cries of ecstasy, seeing her curling toes hovering above her backside in the way that she pressed down upon him, arched her back and then pressed down upon him one more time with a guttural cry of surrender was all more than Jimmy could withstand, and he joined her in her unrestrained and uninhibited release.

She remained on top of him a while as they recovered from the cumulative effects of a remarkable evening. The room had turned dark, and neither of them seem to want to disturb the special moment as they lay together with her body resting on his. It was Miranda who finally broke the silence, speaking so softly Jimmy could barely hear her. “I don’t want you to leave. Please stay the night with me. I want to wake up next to you in the morning.”


Chapter Four

Around 6:30 the next morning, Jimmy slowly opened his eyes, feeling overwhelmed with contentment as he realized where he was waking up and all that had taken place. He opened his eyes just slightly and decided that his timing could not have been better. Between the bed and the dresser stood the naked Miranda, patting the towel against her breasts one more time before opening up a hamper and tossing it inside. He watched with affection and enchantment as Miranda opened a drawer and withdrew a pair of red and white striped panties and pulled them on, then opened another drawer and pulled out a solid red oversized T-shirt and let it slither down her arms and over her head.

Feeling mischievous, Jimmy closed his eyes to feign sleep, wondering if she would arouse him from his slumber, giving him the chance to surprise her by wrapping her in his arms and pulling her to him. But instead, she carefully slid back beneath the covers once again, then very slowly and gently slid next to him with her back to him so that she could feel his warmth and presence without waking him.

He wondered if she may have been disappointed that she did not find him awake, but he also knew that she simply may have wanted to just silently snuggle with him in the morning for their first time together. He opened his eyes and watched her, even though she was facing away. He felt his heart swell seeing her next to him like that in the wake of all they had shared the evening before. And something about knowing they had slept side-by-side through the night made his eyes began to tear up, and he could not remember ever before knowing such emotions.

All of a sudden, he heard the most sweet and endearing sound as she snored softly. It was all he could do to restrain himself from wrapping his arms around her, but he knew that she had gone through a lot the previous evening. She had come to grips with things she had never discussed with a man before, and he knew that in the process of finally having her desires fulfilled she could be both physically and emotionally exhausted.

He still heard the gentle snoring, so he carefully got out of the bed and took his own shower, even finding that a guest toothbrush still wrapped in plastic rested on the bathroom counter. Every little thing that she did and said was making him fall more deeply by the moment.

He put on the robe once again, then rested carefully on the bed next to her. Although he would have been pleased to simply stay there watching her does next to him for hours, he was pleased when he saw her move and she turned over slowly and treated him to that heartbreaking smile across that slightly round face and that special flutter of her eyelids that seemed to trap him in her gaze.

Their process of telling each other “good morning” was cut short by their long and deep kiss. They smiled as they looked into each other’s eyes, as she opened his robe and began to teasingly run her fingertips across his chest and down his abdomen. Her eyes twinkled and fluttered all the while. Jimmy reached for another condom packet that Miranda had teasingly placed in the beak of the stuffed Quacker who rested watchful and vigilant on the bedside stand.

Then she began to giggle as she helped put it on him, and Jimmy reached for her to slide her over on top of him while still giving consideration to her sore bottom as she nearly sung, “Rise and shine. Everyone and everything is up early this morning.”

***

They lay in the sweet aftermath in an embrace. Miranda closed her eyes and snuggled against his chest. “I suppose that if we were feeling ambitious, we could go get a shower together and then make ourselves a nice brunch, because we certainly have stayed in bed past what most of human civilization would’ve considered breakfast time.”

They looked at each other, then laughed and shook their heads as both of them uttered, “Naw.”

Jimmy leaned his head back and moaned in contentment. “I suppose that since tomorrow is Monday, I’m going to find myself lying to some of my friends at work.”

Miranda looked at him with a smile. “What’s that about?”

“It’s how guys are when they come back from work after the weekend. They shout out to the single men asking them if they ‘got any’.”

Miranda leaned on her side and placed her hand on her hip and looked at him with a false expression of exasperation. “After all of this work I’ve done on you, the least you can do is brag to them that you went to Miranda Stevens’s house and she screwed your eyes out. That’s exactly what you should tell them, or my feelings are going to be hurt.”

He looked at her with a theatrical scowl and shook his head. “I’m going to remember that next weekend when I’m giving you your next spanking. I just may have to turn it up a notch for that.”

She began to giggle and rested her head on his chest once again. “I doubt that I would object. But you did tan me pretty good.” She reached up and caressed his cheek. “Just right, I can’t say that enough. Just so right.”

Jimmy reached down and patted her firmly on her still-red bottom. “When I saw that paddle slide out of the box, I was afraid it was going to be just a little bit too intense. But you handled it pretty good. Of course, I’ve never paddled any other women, so I’m making some assumptions here.”

She looked up at him and laughed and arched her eyes. “Right at the beginning, I thought maybe that paddle was a mistake. But then after a while, oh my gosh. I just loved it. Of course, I’m certain you remember how I expressed my happiness.”

She sighed softly. “I remember when I ordered that thing, I really doubted I would ever get to experience it. I just had this image of somebody really cared about it who really cared about me holding me across his knees while it was used on me. But that man in my imagination never had a face, but now he does. In fact, it’s a very handsome face that I just love to smother in kisses.” The laughing woman pounced on him and began peppering his face with her lips until he finally wrapped his arms around her and pressed his lips against hers and held her there.

He brushed the hair out of her eyes and felt as if he was hopelessly entranced. “I’m so glad that I’m the man you envision. And I must say, whacking that cute butt of yours over and over again is not something I will ever hesitate to do.”

Suddenly Miranda’s expression indicated she was thinking about something. “What you just said made me think of a question I thought of last night. Is there something else that would make you want to spank me?”

“Well, you know that whenever you asked me to.”

“No, no I mean, I’m wondering if you would ever think that you might want to give me a good tail warming simply because you thought I needed it, not necessarily because I asked for it. For example, if you think my temper goes too far out of control.”

Jimmy let out a deep breath and she could see that he was looking away for a moment collecting his thoughts. “Really, Jimmy, I’m serious about this. You see, last night even when we were just playing around with the spanking thing, there were a few times when you kind of went into this kind of domineering demeanor, and to be very honest with you, I like that. It really gave me an extra thrill that I didn’t see coming.

“So, I was just wondering, if that was something, I mean, I’m not sure what I’m saying. Let me put it this way, if you and I were to be together all the time. Do you think there would ever be something you would happen that you would want to tan my hide whether I wanted you to or not? I’m kind of curious about that, and I can’t get the thought out of my mind.”

Jimmy began to chuckle, then leaned his head back once again and exclaimed quietly, “Oh, boy.”

She tapped him on the nose teasingly. “Now I’m the one telling you to just take it one word at a time and be honest with me.”

He looked at her with an expression of sternness she did not think was anything but genuine. “Case in point. That special morning, I dropped in and everything about my life changed. I have to tell you that when I gave you that whack on your bottom for being so careless and getting yourself hurt, well—”

“Come on, Jimmy. Let’s hear it.”

“You see, if all of that wouldn’t have happened the way it did, then I wouldn’t be here next to the woman I’d like to…” His face turned red, and while it made Miranda want to squeal with delight, she decided it was best to not put him on the spot.

“What I’m trying to say is, what you really needed for that was just a good hard paddling for carelessly throwing your gardening tools around without regard to what could happen. Can you imagine if that had been one of those pointed hoes, or one of those garden rakes with all the prongs sticking up?”

Miranda reached her hands back to her bottom and whistled. “I understand. I guess what you mean is that if I had you around all the time, you would be watching over me and putting some rules in place for my own good.”

Jimmy simply nodded in response.

A smile came over Miranda’s face. “And that morning you gave me that one whack on the butt, you would have really wanted to give me a long hard spanking for my own good?”

Miranda seemed to look off in the distance and shake her head. “Against all reason, that has a strange appeal to me, having that as part of the understanding.”

Jimmy began to laugh. “I’ve never had such thoughts about something like that until that morning. I saw this sweet, beautiful woman laying there on the sofa with that bump on your head and that little strip of hide scraped off your butt, all because you were being careless. So, I suppose that’s why I whacked you on the butt, except that you needed several dozen more much harder than that one.”

He raised his hands up and nearly shouted with a wide grin, “And then I find out you would have liked that, and you even had a paddle hidden away in the house. That just doesn’t seem right.”

Miranda began laughing so hard at his over-the-top antics that tears were running down her cheeks. “And I wouldn’t have had to have ordered a paddle over the internet, not when I’m seeing a guy who manages a lumberyard.” Suddenly her fingertips rushed to her lips. “Oh, my gosh.” She began to giggle. “The possibilities are endless.”

Suddenly Jimmy was looking at her with an expression that made her abdomen begin to flutter. He had a sinister grin the looked a little too mischievous considering what they were discussing. He simply nodded his head silently for a moment, then said, “Let’s get a shower and something to eat. Then I’ll talk to you about something.”

***

They enjoyed themselves and each other in the shower, each having to resist the urge to engage in war hijinks that would further delay their having anything to eat. This time Jimmy finally got dressed once again, while Miranda put on her worn but favorite pantsuit. She teased Jimmy that he needed to see what she looked like much of the time when he wasn’t around for her to try to impress and allure.

They had scrambled eggs and toast with their juice and coffee. They made small talk as they prepared the food and ate, Although Miranda felt totally distracted as Jimmy had left her hanging earlier and she knew that he intended to resume the conversation that definitely had to do with the subject of paddles.

Their brunch finished, the scooted their plates aside and Miranda could tell that Jimmy was finally ready to talk about some serious business in her regard. “So, if I were to go out to my workbench in my garage and make you a paddle that you think you would really enjoy, what would it be like?”

Miranda’s face turned red as she rested her chin on her hands and thought for a moment, an enchanting smile creasing her lips. “I like the paddle I have. But I wouldn’t mind having another. So, perhaps the question should be, what kind of paddle would you enjoy using on me?” They looked at each other for a moment and broke into laughter.

Jimmy looked up and away, feigning impatience. “This may not be as simple as I thought it was going to be. So, let me ask you this, what do you like the most about being spanked with the paddle that suddenly appeared last evening?”

She’s scrunched up her face to consider, turning pink in the process. “I love the hot sting. Of course, your hand provides a pretty hot sting, too. And I liked it when you were spanking me with your hand, because, I guess because it was your hand.” Both began to laugh once again before she continued. “But I also love that terrifying loud smack sound the paddle makes. It’s like it gives me chills except for where the paddle just whacked me, and that spot gets pretty hot. But it’s an emotional roller coaster, this kaleidoscope of senses, that I just love so much.”

She reached over and took his hand in hers. “Just make one that you would like to use on me. And next Saturday evening, we can go to our designated spanking sofa over there and you can break out whatever you bring me from your workshop. Of course, I really have this need to feel your hand first. Then you can show me my new paddle, and then we can try it out. And I’m going to be crazy horny all week just thinking about it.”

Jimmy picked up her hand and kissed it. “I think there’s going to be a lot of that going around this week.” He glanced at his watch and his expression turned one of disappointment. “I have to go out to a job site a contractor asked me about to make sure that the right things were delivered. They’re starting a big barn project tomorrow, so everything has to be okay. And this is going to be another one of those weeks where I probably won’t see you until Saturday. “

Miranda suddenly displayed a wicked smile. “Saturday, Saturday, Saturday. Oh yes, that’s when I’m going to have you over here for dinner and a paddling.” She reached for his hand and began to rub his wrist. “And I have no idea what else may take place. Maybe you should bring an overnight bag. You may have a hard time getting away from me again.”

“I guess that you are assuming that you’re going to be in the mood to get spanked again.”

“After all that we just did, going several days without seeing you, I don’t think there’s any question about it.”

***

When Jimmy had left Miranda’s house, he was arguing with himself as to whether he could take the chance that everything was all right at the construction site. But then he remembered the man he worked for and decided that he could not take the chance on letting him and the customers down, no matter how much he would have liked to have spent more time with Miranda.

When he finally arrived at the site, he called up the records of the customer order on his phone and was appalled to find out that the materials that were delivered had nothing to do with that particular construction. He admonished himself for even having considered not checking the site, and he began to call the delivery supervisor to get started on a project that was going to not get finished until long after midnight.

He moaned as he thought of the equipment and trucks that would have to be brought there to take away all of the wrong rafters and the ninety-eight-foot-long planks of wood that had been delivered instead of the one hundred fifty fourteen-foot pieces that were needed. And once a long afternoon and night was spent correcting such an unnecessary error, the next day he would have to find out how it had happened to ensure there would be no such repeated instances.

He did not get to bed until the middle of the night, and when he tried to get to sleep he kept reliving the visions of trucks being brought there to load up the wrong materials so that they could go back to the lumberyard. Everything was made right and delivered so that the construction crew would be ready to start at 7 o’clock in the morning.

He pounded his fist into the pillows to try to get them just right, then realized that the plethora of problems had done something he didn’t think was possible, it had temporarily taken his mind off his new relationship with the only woman he had ever fallen in love with.

He realized he was smiling as he lay the dark thinking about the special little woodworking project he had signed on to for the week. He wondered at how ironic it was that while she had been embarrassed, fearful and reluctant to tell him about her desires, it had enthralled him that he had entered into a relationship with someone who was willing to pursue different forms of carnal activities. Even if they were viewed by some people to be unconventional, he just saw it as a great bonus that she had such an imagination that would bring added delights into the relationship. And, he hoped, a marriage.

He found himself sitting on the side of the bed. Regardless of the fact that they had known each other throughout their childhood and early adolescence, they had just known each other as adults for a matter of weeks. He was stunned that he was already reaching the point of feeling that he could not fathom not having her with him the rest of his life. Suddenly he was overcome with worry that it would not end up being the case.

After a short night of sleep, and a day filled with mopping up problems in the aftermath of the huge order error, he found himself trying to catch up for the next three days during the week that was already heavily scheduled for him. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights saw him finally crawl into bed around midnight, to be back at work at a business that opened at 6:30 each morning.

The week had flown by on him, and the unusual circumstances that had made his week on a job he truly enjoyed very frustrating only made him miss being with Miranda even more. But at least Friday was going to be a fairly normal day, though once again he would be busy through the evening. Of course, that was because he would be out in his workshop crafting something special for Miranda that she was obviously looking forward to experiencing.

***

For Miranda, the week had dragged on as slowly as it had sped by for Jimmy. As always, she fought through her distractions to do a good job on her editing, but she was also facing an unusually heavy workload. In fact, she had very few opportunities during the week to get up from the computer and walk around a little. She had been so busy that she had not made a single trip out to the pond.

Her thoughts were of nothing other than Jimmy, and the stunning fact that she had made such revelations to him on the previous weekend. And, almost beyond belief, had acted out on them. Only at night when she closed her eyes would she allow herself to drift back to the memories of laying across his knees with her bottom bared as either his hand or the paddle landed with the fiery sting. A sting that built in intensity each time she received another smack to her bottom.

She shook her head in amazement as she recalled how her arousal had spiraled nearly out of control, and she sighed in contentment as she relived first what they had done to each other with her fingertips then their sweet lovemaking in her bed. And when she wanted to ensure that she wouldn’t go to sleep for a while, all she had to do was wonder about the paddle he was making for her.

She wouldn’t have wanted to spoil the surprise or dilute the intense yearning in anticipation she was feeling, by asking him to tell her about it or even send her images. Her mind reeled from her yearning at the prospect of spending some time across his knees being spanked, before her new paddle was revealed to her, and immediately put it to use where it was highly desired.

She had to call Gina and tell her that if she wanted to come over and do some practice body painting, they would have to be finished by midafternoon. Gina began to laugh in happiness for her sister and implored her to someday tell her everything that had taken place. And considering how much Gina had encouraged her to pursue what she was so enjoying now with Jimmy, she decided that she probably would.

***

It was late Friday afternoon when Jimmy finally arrived home at the end of his crushing week. Although he was tired, there was nothing to boost his spirits and energy more than looking forward to a night with that little carnal dynamo Miranda.

He smiled to himself as he thought back to their brief phone conversation that morning. On the spur of the moment, he had arranged to take Monday off when Miranda told him that she could get by putting her work off until Tuesday. Now they’re going to have Friday night and Saturday to themselves, go to Nashville and visit her parents for the day on Sunday, then have Monday to themselves once again.

He could not help but feel a twinge of self-consciousness over his own eagerness to get to work at making something that he would use to inflict pain upon her. But after all, he had encouraged her to accept that part of herself. He also needed to accept the part of himself that was becoming much more enthused about it all as each day went by.

As a result, he found himself nearly trembling with giddiness as he set things out on his workbench at the prospect of handcrafting an object that would bring her arousal by being paddled with it. He would not only feel arousal by doing the paddling but would also benefit from her resulting sexual energy.

He looked down at the plank of scrap plywood he had brought home from the discard bin at the lumberyard. He also opened a package of sandpaper to ensure that there would be no possibility of splinters on the edges of the finished product, or around the rims of the two lines of dime sized holes he would add to ensure that the paddle brought a satisfactory level of smarting sting to her lovely and curvaceous bottom.

He made one cut with his electric hobby saw down the length of the three-eighths-inch-thick plywood to make it easier to work with. Then he looked at it for a little while and envisioned what it might look like when he was finished, took a deep breath and went about his work.

He felt a little bit uneasy as to how much he was enjoying the task, but then reminded himself that when it had been taking place the previous Saturday evening he had been spurred on by the excitement and passion the spanking and subsequent paddling had provided for the woman he loved. When the breathless intoxication of it all was removed he had found himself beginning to waiver.

But there was certainly nothing to make him think that Miranda was doing anything but seeing her zeal climbing. It was who she was, and if he wanted Miranda, he would take all of her. He had to decide whether, at the bottom line, he respected and trusted her. And as he looked at the plank of wood in front of him, he realized that he did indeed need to respect and honor her desires. And as he began to work away in earnest he knew that was all that really mattered, and that she was now dependent upon him to enhance it all. Part of why she had so quickly fallen in love with him was that he had been so understanding of and open to her confessed kink. It was time for the self-doubts to be cast away. He picked up his hobby saw and turn the power on, and never looked back.


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