Much to Learn: A Walk in the Park

With thanks to Paolo of Wholebean and I

Sarah and Mark’s Story began here

Sarah snuggled closer to Mark on the couch, all too aware that the minutes were ticking away, the hour when he would need to return her to the real world drawing ever closer. She leaned into him, a gesture that both let her indulge in his presence and took the weight off her smarting bottom.

“Was it better this time?” he asked.

She hesitated. Yes, of course it was, but how to put into words what she hadn’t even begun to process?

“Yes,” she responded, completely inadequately.

“We’re getting closer then,” he smiled.

“Yes,” she agreed again. “It certainly hurt a great deal more than last time. And it felt more. . .disciplinary. I think the only piece missing was that it wasn’t a real punishment. . .” she let the suggestion hang.

Mark paused before answering carefully. “We’ll get there. We’ve discussed your development plan, you’ve set goals. I would like to bring that in eventually, but not yet.

“Some ask me for rules,” he continued. “They never stop with the rules. I can do this, but I prefer not to. When we get together, I want what we do to produce an actual change in behaviour. Rules won’t accomplish that.”

Sarah was momentarily disappointed, but realised that he had a point. She wanted this to be authentic, and any artificial rules would only cheapen any attempt they made. When they played, it would be play; a way for her to be spanked without actually being bad. She had never liked associating the word “play” with spankings; it felt wrong to “play” with something that was so intrinsically a part of her, but he was beginning to change that opinion. It was practice in accepting punishment. It was a non-threatening, artificial scenario where they could go through the motions and emotions without touching reality too directly. She could become comfortable accepting his authority in this world they created together, and that would make it easier when he began to gracefully apply his correction when it became real.

Besides, there was no harm in pretending to be something that she really was.

She still wanted punishment- real punishment- but they couldn’t do that, not yet. She trusted him, or at least was starting to, but they would need a much deeper level of trust before she could accept meaningful correction. It would take work to get there, but the work would be enjoyable.

And he was only beginning to find her limits. What they had done so far had only barely constituted a pseudo-punishment for a contrived sin. They would need to find out how to cause and bear the kind of pain that would bring repentance- not just physical pain, but emotional as well. He would need to find a way to pierce through her shell, penetrate her defences with carefully crafted words, to speak to her from the inside in a way that would provoke change. The process would be painful, but would also heal, would also make her stronger. They both wanted that, but neither knew precisely how to do it. Not yet, anyway.

But they could learn. They could play. It would be an enjoyable process, but just as one can expect bruises and scrapes when learning to ride a bike, they could also anticipate a few rough spots along the way. Not everything would be as perfect as this weekend had been, and if it was, then they were either unbelievably lucky or, more likely, weren’t trying hard enough.

“And the implements? Any thoughts?” Mark’s question drew her back from her spiraling thoughts and made her smile.

“Plenty of thoughts. I appreciated the introduction,” Sarah offered before giving a few, disjointed explanations of her reactions to the gauntlet of instruments he had used on her.

“Thank you,” she finished, “it helped, oddly, to know what they feel like.” It would make future threats more real, though she couldn’t bring herself to say that out loud. Instead she let the next most self-damning thing come out of her lips. “I was a bit surprised that the belt wasn’t involved. I know you use it,” she said, thinking back to his not-quite whispered statement at their first meeting that he was wearing the very strip of leather that he used to punish.

“You’ll feel it soon enough. It is an implement I particularly enjoy using, and it won’t take much to tempt me,” he replied with a wink.

Sarah grew very still. Very, very still as she waited. It didn’t take long for the command to come, spoken deeply, softly, in a voice that must be obeyed.

“Go to your room. I’ll follow shortly, and I want to find you in the same position in which you took the cane last night.”

Sarah scampered off, both eager for the new experience and desperate to not make things worse for herself, well aware of the condition her bottom was already in after their previous activities.

It was like time travel, she would later reflect. One moment they were sitting together on the couch, the next she was kneeling up on the bed, watching as he unfastened the belt. She watched, transfixed, as he drew it through the loops. There was the sound- the subtle swish that she had heard so much about. It probably sounded just the same as when she removed her own belt at the end of the day, but the experience was wholly different in her current position.

He walked behind her and she watched in the mirror as he raised her skirt. After a few of his characteristic taps, he raised the belt over his shoulder. That was awfully high, wasn’t it? Surely that would hur-

CRACK

Sarah took a deep breath and let it out as she recomposed her thoughts. . . .hurt a lot. Why had she wanted to do this? Even as the pain doubled with the next stroke, she did still want it. She struggled with it, but she wanted it.

She looked back up at him in the mirror, pleading for- what? For him to have mercy and stop? For him to give her the full, unknown, measure despite any begging? It didn’t matter either way, his expression was one of focus and concentration, though his concentration was not directed at her face. He raised the belt again and she squeezed her eyes shut.

The belt struck again, and she let out a small gasp. In his hands, this truly was a fearsome implement. She began to struggle to hold position, arching her back after each stroke. For the first time, she began to understand the helplessness she had read about. The forcing of one’s self to endure the prescribed punishment, even though one’s more sensible side was sending up alarms and urges to run far, far away.

Of course, if she did run far, far away, there would be no hugs. That alone was reason to stay, she realised as he gathered her into his arms, ending the session.

“Quite painful, would you agree?” he asked as he held her.

She nodded in reply.

“I use this as punishment,” he continued, “for disobedience when you’re under discipline. I find it’s quite effective in ensuring my instructions are followed,” he added significantly.

Oh dear, she thought. I’m going to have to learn to be a bit naughty if I’m to feel this again. She knew she wasn’t particularly good at this bratting thing, the playful disobedience designed to incur a playful punishment. With the promise of the belt, though, perhaps she could learn. . .

“Don’t worry, I know all the tricks,” he added, as though reading her thoughts. “Gather your things, it really is time to leave. Make sure you have everything. If I lived alone, I wouldn’t mind if you missed something. I would punish you severely, but I wouldn’t mind,” he winked before growing serious again. “But that is not the case, so be careful.”
Sarah sighed at this reminder that there was a world that existed outside the two of them. A world that they both needed to get back to. She packed her bag carefully, checking everywhere that anything might have escaped, and then checking again before hauling the bag downstairs to wait for him.

He followed a moment later, carrying the hairbursh with him. Her breath caught.

“Relax, I’m just putting it away. I saw that look on your face. No need to be alarmed, we’re finished. . . for this time,” he added with a significant smirk as he slipped the implement into its drawer.

“Can you really blame me for being nervous? You’re armed,” she joked, though she couldn’t quite suppress the small part of her that, despite the throbbing ache in her bottom, was disappointed that he hadn’t planned one more lesson.

Though, when she thought back, that wasn’t entirely true. There was no more spanking that day, though the learning certainly hadn’t stopped. His final lesson was, if anything, more powerful than anything that had preceded it.

It wasn’t a painful lesson, merely a walk in the park.

She had been delighted by the news when he announced his intention before bundling her into the car for the brief journey. After all of the firsts that he had given her, he had no idea that this experience ranked right up there with the others. He did not know that she had been to this particular park many times before, before this place had been home, sitting and watching the couples meander past, happy for them and at the same time trying to suppress a vague sense of jealousy and inferiority. She’d never had that experience, the casual stroll with a man for whom she deeply cared.

The closest she had yet experienced were walks with Peter, though that hardly counted. The moment she met him, three thoughts had occurred to her in rapid succession. First: he was gay. He wouldn’t come out to her for several years, and she could never say just how she knew, but she knew. Second: she was irretrievably attracted to him, again without knowing quite how or why. And third: no good could come of this. Fortunately only the first two items proved true. While they had a deep friendship, and time together was enjoyable, it didn’t have quite the potency that the walk with Mark did.

Mark took her hand as the strolled along the path. The day was gloomy and grey, but it was paradise to her. They could have passed for a normal couple, or perhaps an uncle and niece, but for his occasional comments reminding her of who they were together. A quick note about how this would be an easy place to find a switch. A reminiscence of a film that had been made here, a film which of course contained a reference to spanking which he related with great detail and relish.

By and large, though, it was a wonderfully normal walk. They paused to watch the ducks swim in the pond, hopped out of the way of a passing cyclist, helped each other up a muddy slope to a bench at the hilltop which offered a magnificent view of the city.

“Thank you for a very memorable weekend,” he smiled at her as they admired the view.

“And you as well, Sir,” Sarah replied as she hugged into him.

He wrapped an arm around her, then grew serious. “Do not fly into a blind panic if I’m out of touch for a while. We were very lucky that we’ve been able to meet as often as we have. I don’t know how much longer our luck will hold, but you need to be prepared for when it does run out. You need to be prepared for when we may not be able to meet as often.” His eyes were fixed on the horizon.

She looked away as she felt tears prick her eyes. After all the pain she had experienced over the last day, why did she have to cry now? There was no news in his statement, after all. She knew that he had other demands on his heart and time. His family, his friends, other playmates. They deserved his attention and he wanted and needed to give it to them.

“I understand, Sir,” Sarah replied, also looking out to the distance. “I know, and I would be more panicked if you were dropping everything for this. You have a life outside of this, and that life is what made you who you are. It will be awful every time we part, but it’s worth it,” Sarah managed a smile through her tears, taken aback at the truth in her words.

“Know that even when we are apart, I am thinking of your well-being. I want you to feel very well cared for, very well looked after, even when we are not together.”

Sarah nodded, keeping her gaze on the horizon as the tears ran with more regularity.

“You’re crying,” he said softly. Sarah turned to look at him and saw his look of concern.

She wanted to say ‘It’s nothing.’ It’s what she would have done before, but it was a lie. “Yes,” she said instead. She should explain. Normal girls don’t just cry for nothing, normal girls don’t just sit there all teary and expect that this will be ok.

But it was ok. He pulled her close and they sat and understood.

The sun peaked out from behind the clouds, how it had found a way through was one of the great questions of the universe, but it did. It illuminated the city streatched out before them with a brilliant clarity, if only for a moment. It didn’t last long, nothing that pure ever does, but it was enough. Enough for now, at least.

“Come, I’ll join you for a drink,” he said, bringing their silent reflection to a gentle end. “It is fitting that we end this meeting back where we started all those weeks ago.” Hand in hand, he lead her off to the pub.

The room was crowded and the atmosphere lively, the perfect cover for a bit of personal conversation in the corner as they relived the weekend while mixing in bits of talk from the rest of life, gradually shifting from student and Sir back into the faces that they needed to present to the rest of the world. The other personae were still there, but masked so as to be acceptable and unremarkable in day to day life.

They talked and they laughed, savouring every last minute together until they walked hand-in-hand back to his car. He lifted her bag from the boot with a certain finality. This was it. It was over, it was time to disengage. With one last hug, he extracted a promise for her to be good, and promised consequences for failing to do so- a promise delivered with a stern look that she knew she would remember until their next meeting. She watched as he drove away. As much as she wanted to cling to him, it was time. She had plenty to sort through, memories and emotions to relive, analyse, savour and catalogue as one does when trying to make sense of something so new, so vastly different. The reflection, the incorporation of this experience into her being, would not be easy, but it was necessary.

To be continued

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