Vivian slid between the soft sheets, and immediately felt that something was wrong. This was supposed to be the way of things, and yet the feeling was off. She had been looking forward to this night for so long, yearning for when her day would end by simply slipping into bed. She had expected to relish the feeling, but her mind wandered back to the bedroom corner.

It was hard to believe that this ordeal had begun a full year ago- two, if she counted from the start of whatever it was that she was doing with Kyler that had gotten her into this mess. She struggled to remember the woman she had been then, frightened, proud, and resentful, and yet stubbornly determined to see this through. Determined to defeat him, she thought. How wrong she had been!

She had been guilty, and had fully acknowledged her failings. She had been unfaithful, thinking it all just a bit of excitement until suddenly realising that a line had been crossed so long ago that there was no turning back. No harm would come of it, she reasoned, so long as her husband never found out. She was intelligent enough, keeping a simple secret should not be a problem for her. And yet, she had left the computer on and that particular e-mail up. She tried to convince herself that it was pure carelessness, though even at the time she knew that there was more than coincidence involved when Derek learned of her indiscretion.

He confronted her that night, and she had confessed fully, if dispassionately. She told herself that a confession was a confession, there was no need to get overly emotional about things. She might have made it through the entire night without shedding a tear, if Derek had not asked one simple question.

“Do you want to try this marriage again?” he had asked. His tone had also been dispassionate, but even so he had managed to imbue the words with love, hope, and something akin to desperation.

She had prepared to wail against his vulnerability, to claim that it was his choice, not hers, and that she could not care less either way, but the words caught in her throat. Slowly, she let a bit of the tension ebb away, just enough to allow her to nod as a single tear worked it’s way down her cheek, betraying feelings she was far from ready to confront.

“Go to bed,” he had ordered her then. “I need to think about this.”

Inwardly relieved even as she was outwardly incensed at the childish command, she could not bring herself to disobey. Instead, she followed only the letter of his law, trudging up to their room while making as much noise as possible on the way, not caring that she sounded every bit the petulant teenager instead of the penitent wife.

She had rebuilt her defiant attitude while she waited, carefully mortaring in any holes Derek had poked with the simple question, and maintained her attitude right through his pronouncement of her sentence when he joined her a few hours later.

“You say this has been going on for a year?” he had asked. She nodded, as if to flaunt her ability to circumvent him for so long.

“Very well,” he said, with more sadness than hurt, “then I think it would only be fair for your punishment to last for a year.”

“My punishment?” she asked with a laugh behind which she hid her fear.

“I want to keep this matter between us, but there needs to be some sort of consequence. We need to make restitution. I’ve decided to spank you.” He had watched her reaction closely, and had probably read through her arrogant acceptance to see the fear and justice that she would only come to feel much, much later.

“Fine then, whatever makes you happy,” she had thrown back at him, plonking herself face down on the bed in preparation.

“Not so quickly,” he had corrected. “This is punishment, not some sort of game. It will hurt, and I do mean to follow through, regardless of what you may say. Every night, for the next year, I expect to find you standing in the corner when you are ready for bed. You will stay there until I feel ready to administer your spanking. If I do not find you in the corner, I will take it as a sign that you are not willing to see this through. We’ll start the divorce papers the next morning. Is that understood?”

“Fine,” she had huffed again as she shuffled to the corner, feeling more and more ridiculous as she stood waiting for him.

That feeling did not change much over the course of the year. There is no way to not feel a bit silly while standing in a corner, though the sore bottom she sported most subsequent nights certainly helped focus her thoughts.

She shuffled between the sheets as she eyed the corner that was vacant this night for the first time in many months, trying to tell herself that it was just the lingering ache in her behind causing her discomfort. She was still sore, of course; Derek had made her final spanking a very memorable one. She shuddered as she remembered the soft rustle as he withdrew his belt. He had not used it since her very first punishment night, but the dark look in his eyes told her that he intended to finish as he had started. The look sent shivers down her spine just as it had the first time, and yet both the look and the shivers were different. The first confrontation had been tinged with hurt and fear, and though those emotions were still present, the underlying love had grown and prospered until it outshone other concerns. She had genuinely feared him that first night, and though she still did fear the pain, she complied with his order to bend over the foot of the bed.

She had thought back to the last time she had been in that position, that night when this all began. She had complied then as well, though her compliance had been a sign of defiance then. She was determined to suffer through whatever ordeal he had planned for her determined to show him that he could not break her. She was sorry for what she had done, but did not need his assistance to expunge her guilt. Maybe he needed this silly little ritual, but she was a fully grown woman and more than capable of handling her own emotions.

He had been harsh with her. The belt had left her bruised and sobbing, shedding heavy angry tears into the duvet. She threw her anger at him, thinking it was the pain he was causing her that made her angry , not the pain that bad been slowly eating her from the inside since she had first kissed Kyler, and not the pain that came from having the walls she had built around her heart begin to crumble under Derek’s ministrations.

When Derek had finished with her first punishment, he had hugged her compassionately. She didn’t listen to his softly whispered comforts, holding herself stiffly in his embrace until he released her. She had slept on the far edge of her side of the bed, wrapped in a spare blanket so that she had no reason to be close to him.

If she thought her behaviour would do anything to alter Derek’s plans for the next night, she was very much mistaken. He had just used his hand that night, as would become the pattern, but the light spanking had been crisp and painful on top of her previous punishment.

She had comforted herself with the thought that these daily spankings would become easier as the bruising dissipated from the awful session with his belt, but Derek had more than compensated. Over the course of the week, her spankings gradually increased in intensity, leaving her in the same state each night. Sore, but not sorry, she continued to huddle as far from him as possible.

It came to a head on day nineteen. The bruising having long ago faded. She threw herself over his knee with a huff as they prepared for bed. Perhaps it was the huff, her first sign of outright defiance since the first week, but he spanked her longer and harder than he ever had previously, continuing long past the point when she began kicking and squirming over his knee. In her frantic attempts to escape, she dug her fingernails into Derek’s leg, determined to distract him, compel him to let her go. And yet he kept on spanking her, doing nothing more than flinch as she dug in deeper. What kind of beast was he? Kyler would never do this to her, would never put up with this kind of treatment. He would not let her hurt him, while Derek tolerated her squeezing and scratching and thrashing. He tolerated her. . .he was still spanking her, but he was still here with her even as she clawed at him. The sudden realisation of what had kept her from fleeing from the days of punishment brought an onslaught of emotion as she dissolved into an entirely different kind of sobbing, squeezing into his leg still but, for the first time, as a gesture of love and gratitude for his support rather than a plea for an early end to the punishment.

When he finally let her up, she dove into his embrace, headless of the concerned look on his face, never knowing that Derek had feared for the first time that he may have crossed a line himself. When she had calmed, he gently wrapped her in the spare blanket she had taken to sleeping in before sliding under the covers himself and turning out the light. As she lay in the darkness reflecting on her spanking she felt tears prick her eyes yet again at the thought of what her husband was willing to endure for her, what he was willing to go through to be with her.

“Derek?” she called out softly.

“Yes?” he responded.

“Thank you,” she whispered, unable to find her voice.

He made no reply, and for a moment she worried that he had misunderstood, or worse, had correctly deemed her thanks had arrived far too late to be worth acknowledging. Then she felt the bed shift as a hand gently stroked her hair.

As before, his kindness drew out another sob. Headless of her sore behind, she rolled over into his arms, relishing in his embrace for the rest of the night.

After that night, their pattern had changed. The nightly spankings continued, but were always followed by a tender togetherness that the couple had never before shared.

The momentum from her breakthrough helped Vivian submit to the nightly spankings for the next several weeks. Her submission was rewarded each night with a tender embrace as she slept, which she had to admit was more than worth the sore bottoms.

It was another two months before she thought to disobey him and break their routine, though she reasoned that he would understand. His parents had dropped by for a visit, and though she found their unannounced presence in her house rather irritating, she rejoiced in the reprieve it would buy her bottom. He could hardly spank her as they slept in the next room, she reasoned as she peeled back the bedsheets and slipped in, languishing in the luxury.

When Derek entered the bedroom, his face darkened. “Why are you not in the corner?” he asked, both quiet and authoritative.

“Your parents are here,” she explained, as though to a child.

“Why are you not in the corner?” he asked again in the same tone, and she felt the blood drain from her face.

“You couldn’t-” she started, but his gaze held firm. “But- but-” she stammered again, unable to string together a sentence in her sudden fear. His steely grasp on her arm as he steered her to her proper position did nothing to assure her. She tried to fight him, but could neither break his grasp nor bring herself to make any attempts that might cause him pain. She trembled in the corner where he left her, hardly daring to believe that he might actually go through with it.

“Come,” she heard the order come from behind her. She turned and searched his face in a silent plea, but found no hope of reprieve. Dreading the explanation she would have to give in the morning, she draped herself over his knee.

She felt his hand descend on her bottom, so softly she could barely feel it, never mind hear it. Confused at first, it took her a moment to understand that this is what he had planned all along. The realisation brought more tears than the pain ever had.

After only a few of his token slaps, he pulled her up into a hug. “This whole ordeal is partly about me learning to trust you again, but you also need to trust me. I said that we would keep this between us, and that’s where it will stay.”

She nodded her acceptance into his shoulder, ending her brief rebellion, at least for that night.

“You will pay for this later,” he whispered softly after he turned out the light.

She tensed, but couldn’t find her urge to rebel again. It was only fair, she decided, and allowed herself to relax into his arms and enjoy the moment.

She would later blame the unseasonably hot weather, or her hormones, or simple restlessness. Whatever the reason, she lashed out again exactly six months after her first spanking.

“Why are we still doing this?” she had asked, sweetly at first. “You know that I’ve learned my lesson. You know that I love you and would never hurt you again.”

“Yes,” Derek replied, “but the year is not yet up.”

“And why should that make any difference?” she asked with growing irritation. “A year of spanking is far, far too long. Hell, even half a year is far too long.” When Derek gave no reply other than a stern glare, she continued more loudly. “It’s cruel and unusual, that’s what it is. There’s no need for this.”

“We are doing this because I said I would,” he said as he firmly turned her toward the corner, “and I keep my promises.”

The relevance of his words to the reason she was in the corner in the first place were not lost on her. That night, for the first time she was sobbing thoroughly before she even went over his knee. He did not allow her tears to temper her punishment, being just as thorough as he had every other night and adding a flurry of particularly crisp swats to the backs of her thighs at the end of the punishment as a reward for her earlier outburst.

The punishment was harsh, but he compensated compassionately as they got into bed afterwards, reconciled yet again.

She accepted her punishments without undue complaint for the remainder of the year. To be sure, some were harsher than others when warranted, but she accepted his judgement and the reconciliation afterwards. She was hardly the perfect wife, but she tried, and she paid her price each night.

Until tonight. Tonight it was over. She turned over in the bed again, decidedly uncomfortable as she waited for Derek. This was supposed to be normal, and yet it felt anything but. The corner called to her, a place she thought she was glad to see the last of, and yet it held a power over her now. Try as she might to hide in the warmth of the blankets, the call pierced through her layers of protection, beckoning her back to her place.

With a sign somewhere between frustration and acceptance, she threw back the covers and plodded back to her place of vigil to wait for Derek. She could not say how many minutes passed before she heard the door creak open and his footsteps stop on the threshold.

“You know that your year is up,” she heard him remind her gently. She nodded in reply, no more capable of speech than she was of removing herself from the corner.

In silent understanding, Derek sat down on the bed and issued the same order he had every night for the past year. “Come.”

She did.

She draped herself over his knee, right where she belonged.

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