Carly hated birthdays. There was nothing special about birthdays, if anything it was just a milestone in the relentless race against time. A race that she, and everyone else, was inevitably losing. Sure, birthdays were fun when she was little- when getting older felt like conquering the years. The parties were always carefully organised by the grown ups, and were generally a great deal of fun as it isn’t exactly difficult to entertain young children in large groups.
As one got older, all of that changed. With more and more birthdays, they ceased to be special. Twenty-three was particularly horrible, Carly reasoned this year. She figured she had passed the last of the “happy” birthdays at twenty-one. Twenty-two hadn’t been too horrible, as she had more or less relived her twenty-first, having apparently forgotten anything the previous year’s hangover might have taught her. Twenty-three, however, was completely devoid of expectations that could go unfulfilled. There was nothing special about being twenty-three. She was now just a twenty-something, one of those people who were undoubtedly too old for teenage antics, but not yet old enough to be taken seriously by the proper adults.
So she hadn’t told anyone this year. Having recently started a new job in a new city, no one she knew here knew that much about her yet, not even Rob. She had felt a bit guilty about not sharing the date with her new boyfriend, but what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. Besides, telling even one person would ruin her plans. If no one knew it was her birthday, she couldn’t be disappointed if they failed to be perfectly cheerful on her special day.
She had woken up and gone about her day assured that it would all be perfectly, predictably normal.
Except it wasn’t.
As Carly let herself back into her apartment that evening, she couldn’t help be feel hopelessly flat. The day had been fine, but nothing at all remarkable had happened, nothing that she could savour quietly on her own this evening. There was still time, she realised with a sigh as she helped herself to a sparkly pink wine she had placed in the refrigerator to chill before leaving that morning. The partly cloudy sky promised a brilliant summer sunset, and it was high time she broke in the new patio furniture out on her balcony. Having moved in mid-winter, so far the weather had been far too cold or rainy to enjoy the feature that had attracted her to this particular apartment, and she made up her mind to change that this evening. She had been here more than six months, she realised with a start. It was about time she had her first evening on the balcony.
She might well have succeeded, had she not been interrupted by a knock at the door just as she was fumbling with the lock on the sliding doors.
“Who would be calling after dinner mid-week?” she huffed aloud as she set down her wine and went to answer the persistent knocking.
“Happy Tuesday!” Rob proclaimed as she opened the door.
Carly gaped at him for a moment before stepping aside to let him in, thinking it the only reasonable thing to do. Sure, they were together most nights, but they were still in the stage where they phoned to confirm before meeting.
“I hadn’t heard from you all day,” Rob said as he paused on the mat his shoes on the mat and opened his arms to her. “I was beginning to worry about you.”
Carly allowed herself to be drawn into his hug, using the moment to compose herself. Had he really been paying that much attention to her quick quips of texts that he noticed the lack of communication today?
“I’m fine,” she mumbled. “Just busy.”
“Busy with what?” Rob asked. “Anything I can help with? Was it the new furniture? You know I would have come right over to help you with it, you know I love that kind of thing.”
“No, just. . . something I needed to do on my own. Nothing really.” Carly faltered as she searched her mind for a plausible story.
“Should I come back tomorrow?” Rob said, breaking their embrace to look her in the eye.
Carly paused. The sunset would happen with or without Rob. He might make a lovely addition to her perfectly normal evening. Then again, he might not. He might say something silly, or not understand her desire to have a quiet night.
“No. . .” she heard herself saying.
“Then do you want to talk about it?” Rob asked, his eyes still concerned as he led her over to the sofa and tugged her hand gently so she sat beside him.
“No. . . “ she finally offered into his patient silence.
“Then do you want to talk about something else?” Rob asked with a grin, as thought his was some sort of game to him. Carly stared daggers at him in lieu of words, hoping he would give up whatever he was playing at.
“You look like you need a good sharp shock to snap you out of whatever mood you’ve gotten yourself into.” Rob said with a wink. Without warning. he dropped his arm from her shoulder to her waist, and with a push guided her over his knee. Unsuspecting, Carly did nothing to counter the maneuver, and was still trying to comprehend what had happened when he delivered a firm swat to her upturned bottom. Carly gasped, but didn’t offer any resistance other than to wriggle her bottom against the mild sting. Rob placed a hand on her hip to hold her in place as he gave her a quick flurry of spanks before pausing to stroke her bottom.
“Do you want me to stop?” Rob asked, releasing his hold on her hip. Carly squirmed in place. As much as the pain was beginning to get to her, this position felt oddly empty without his arm encircling her.
Taking her lack of response for permission to continue, Rob cinched her close to him again before he resumed the spanking with gusto.
Carly wriggled under his assault, and suddenly a thought dawned on her that set her to giggles, despite the sting of the spanking.
“It seems we’re getting somewhere,” Rob said as he helped her sit beside him again. “Care to tell me what’s going on now?”
“It’s my birthday,” Carly said, blushing and giggling.
“Rob gaped at her. “Why didn’t you just tell me? I might have done something more. . .appropriate.”
“Like what? What could be more appropriate than a birthday spanking?” Carly asked as she and Rob both dissolved in fits of laughter.
“We can try this again tomorrow, you know,” Rob told her.
Carly smiled. “Try what again?” she asked. “The birthday bit or the spanking bit?”
“I hadn’t thought that far yet,” Rob said as he hugged her once more before carrying her to the bedroom and settling in for the night.