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(****, M/f, Intense, school paddling)
A man remembers the price of True Love--what his girlfriend paid--and the important lesson he learned. (Approximately 3,781 words. Originally published 1996-01.)
Okay, I admit it, I'm a bastard. Or at least I used to be. Tiffani has long since forgiven me and I'd like to think I wouldn't do the same thing again, but you never know. Deep down I might still be a jerk.
What happened is this. Many years ago my wife and I were in high school together. We went to this rather exclusive private school on the East coast. It was very small and extremely strict. There were two "campuses" I guess you'd call them. The smaller one was called "Childers One" and it was for grades 1 through 6. Tiffani and I were in Childers Two, which housed grades 7 through 12.
There were only about thirty kids in each school and everyone was in the same room, though we each had a private cubicle. There were two teachers who would guide us and check our progress, but mostly we were on our own as far as studying was concerned. If you were aggressive you could finished a year or two ahead of schedule, and many of us did that.
I'd gone to Childers Private School all my life. Tiffani entered in ninth grade. It was quite unusual to have a new student as the school was so exclusive, but her parents were the sole owners of a major Fortune 1000 corporation and pulled some strings. I was also in ninth grade and I just adored Tiffani from the moment I first saw her. She was so pretty, with graceful dark hair and a round, pale face. Her eyes were large and she rarely blinked when she looked at you. Devastating. I was all thumbs when she even glanced in my direction.
It wasn't until we were both in tenth grade that I finally got up the nerve to ask her out. She'd been going out with one of the seniors and they'd just had a major breakup. I guess someone of moderate looks and fortune appealed to her and she agreed.
Well, we fell in love. We dated the rest of that year and that summer she let me touch her breasts for the first time. (Keep in mind that this was many years ago and people of our "breeding" didn't sleep around--or at least weren't supposed to, though I do know some that did. Tiffani and I didn't sleep together until long after we were engaged.)
At the start of our 11th grade year I was in ecstasy. Here I was, a growing young man with a wonderful career ahead of me, and I was the envy of all my classmates because I had this beautiful girl at my side. It was going to be a great year.
But I wasn't satisfied. I wasn't completely convinced that Tiffani loved me, for one. I had a pretty strong inferiority complex back then (I still bear the scars) and though I pretended everything was great I really was extremely insecure.
I guess you'd have to understand a little of my background to comprehend my attitude. My father is a famous architect. He travels all over the world designing buildings and homes. He specializes in unique homes for the ultra-wealthy. Some take years to build and cost millions. My grandfather was also an architect and his father before him. Naturally my father expected me to continue this grand tradition, but I was not interested. My interest was in the chemical sciences. This made my father rather disappointed in me, though he never really said anything directly. He'd occasionally point out the grand traditions of our family and how much he expected of me. This made me feel terrible. I had no skill at architecture at all. I couldn't draw worth beans and my father was extremely critical of my attempts. He finally left me alone and concentrated on my younger brother, lavishing him with attention. Growing up, especially during my high school years, this made me feel rather inadequate and defensive.
Of course I only know all this from years of self-analysis and hindsight. At the time I only knew that I felt uneasy around Tiffani when we were with others. I was insanely jealous. If she even talked to another boy I'd be furious, though I wouldn't say much, because I was afraid of losing her. She could tell I was mad at her, though, and bug me until I told her the reason. She would laugh thinking it silly and I would humor her, but inside I really wondered if it was all a deep ploy to numb me into complacence.
It was a frustrating time for me. On the one hand I adored her and would do anything for her, but on the other I almost hated her because she was so pretty and popular. I felt she was too good for me and yet we were together and she said she loved me. It didn't make any sense to my warped mind.
Well, these feelings continued and built up for quite a while. We had a few arguments and almost broke up once, but we always made up and never got to the root of our troubles, which was my own insecurity. After Christmas that year things got really serious between us. It was the first real love affair for either of us and we were in over our heads. We talked about eloping!
During this time I somehow became convinced that Tiffani didn't really love me. I shouted this to her during one argument and she was shocked. "Don't you trust me?" she asked. I could tell she was very upset. This was truly a shock to her, not to mention a severe insult. After all, we'd been dating for almost a year.
I couldn't answer her. She left then, very upset. I let her go. I really wanted to trust her, but someone I couldn't. Not completely. (I told you I was a jerk.)
The real truth was I didn't trust myself.
Anyway, things were frosty between us for a few days. Then one night she came to me and we took a walk in the park and had a good long talk out under the stars. It was a very beautiful cloudless night and though the moon wasn't quite full there was plenty of light.
"I really love you, Jim," she said softly. "Don't you love me?"
"Of course I love you!" I snapped, a little defensive. This was about her, not me. I never even talked to other girls.
"How do I know that?" she asked.
"I tell you, I show you. You know it's true."
Tiffani nodded. "Exactly. And I trust you and believe what you say. But you do not trust what I tell you."
"Well what? How can I prove it to you, Jim? How can I convince you that you are the only boy I love?"
"How about a test?" I said.
"What kind of test?"
"Well, if you do something, something difficult, then it shows that you love me."
"What kind of thing?" she asked. Her face was serious. She really would do this!
I thought about this for a while. Now at Childers there's a dare us guys often do. Mr. Childers, the headmaster, has an office at the top floor of the school. (He holes in up there and we rarely see him, except for disciplinary sessions.) That whole side of the building is nothing but a brick wall except for his tiny office window at the top. When one of us is feeling adventurous, we dare another to throw a rock through Mr. Childers' window. There's a tremendous risk of getting caught, of course, but that makes it exciting.
The more I thought about this it seemed like the perfect test of Tiffani's love for me. She'd never felt Mr. Childers' paddle. If she was willing to risk it just to prove she loved me, it would mean she *really* did love me. Perfect. So I suggested it.
At first Tiffani was quite shocked. We argued for a bit, and then, after a moment of quiet, she agreed. "You have to break the window," I told her. "You must keep trying until you do. If you get caught, well, that's the risk you are willing to take."
I wondered what the punishment would be for a girl. None of us boys had ever been caught, though the window had actually been broken a couple of times. Mr. Childers was furious and threatened to punish the entire school, but of course that wasn't feasible. In the end he had never done anything but threaten, and that only made the dare that much more exciting.
Anyway, Tiffani resolved to take the dare the next day during morning break. At ten o'clock we went outside and I helped her find several nice rocks. I couldn't believe she was doing this. It made my heart swell with pride. Tiffani was a pretty good athlete. She enjoyed softball and knew how to throw. Her first rock only missed the window by about five feet. Her second was worse, but the third nearly banged the window frame.
I wanted to run at that point and wait for things to cool down in case Mr. Childers had heard the noise but Tiffani just picked up another stone and prepared to throw.
She scored a direct hit. I was gone in a flash, running around the corner and walking casually, pretending I had nothing to do with the window incident. I turned around but Tiffani was nowhere around. I peeked around the corner of the building and my jaw dropped. She was standing in the middle of the field, holding a couple of rocks and staring defiantly upward. I could hear Mr. Childers' voice bellowing at her and I knew she was caught. What had she been thinking? Didn't she know better than to run?
Mr. Childers was livid. I'd never seen his face so red. He looked rather excited, too, though I could tell he was very surprised it was a girl that had broken his window. Especially Tiffani, who had never been sent to him for discipline. But that didn't change things. I knew without question that he would paddle her. The only question was how much and where. I soon got my answer.
We were all at our desks working hard though none of us were concentrating. There was almost an audible murmur of shock and stunned silence flowing through the whole school. What was going to happen? A *girl* did it? Tiffani? How *could* she!
Tiffani herself was upstairs with Mr. Childers. We were all waiting for the beginning of the horrible explosions that signaled the wooden paddle was being put to use. But nothing happened.
Then Mr. Childers came into the room and clapped for attention. This was an extremely outrageous act of arrogance, vandalism, and disobedience and it would be punished most severely, he said. Rather than punish the child in private in his office as was the norm, Mr. Childers said he would take care of matters publicly. We would all watch and learn as he punished the naughty child. Then he snapped his fingers and a very pale and subdued Tiffani walked in, head bowed. She didn't look at me or anyone but stared at the floor.
She was carrying the paddle.
The paddle Mr. Childers' uses is huge. It's an oak board about a half-inch thick and the blade must be at least 18" long. It is wide, too, perhaps eight inches. It's got about ten dime-size holes in it for airflow and Mr. Childers makes that thing whistle when he swings it. It hurts far more than you're expecting, even if you've felt it before. You feel like your butt just exploded. Every guy I know is sobbing after just six of those whacks, and Mr. Childers said Tiffani was going to receive twelve.
I couldn't believe it. This was not exactly what I had been expecting. I guess I had kinda figured she'd get six in his office if she was caught, but since no one had ever been caught I figured just the threat was enough of a test. Now my lovely girlfriend was to receive a terrible punishment, and in public, too. This was all going down wrong.
I thought about leaping to my feet and pleading guilty, but two things stopped me. For one, I doubted the headmaster would believe me. He had seen Tiffani in the yard holding rocks. For another (and this I admit with a horrible reluctance), a part of me thought Tiffani deserved this. After all, it was part of the game, right? She knew the risks before she agreed to the test.
Mr. Childers guided poor Tiffani to the front of the room. She still held the paddle and I could tell it was heavy. She looked like she was about to burst into tears. She was frightened but she looked resolved, as though she was going to tough this out. I wished I could somehow console her, but I had no words. This was all my fault!
At the front of the room is Miss Bird's desk. She quickly cleared it off. Tiffani was bent over in front of it and stretched out her arms to grasp the other side. She was trembling. Everyone had rearranged their chairs so they could see her clearly. Miss Bird stood by her desk in case she was needed.
Mr. Childers picked up the large paddle from the desk. Tiffani was wearing a dark blue skirt. I prayed that the headmaster wouldn't lift it up. It wasn't that it would really hurt that much more or less, but it would humiliate Tiffani terribly to be so displayed before her peers.
He didn't lift it. Instead he pulled down on it a bit so the material laid flat across her rump. Then he pulled back that paddle all the way to his shoulder and slammed it down. I couldn't believe the speed of the blow. Then the sound hit us. Every kid in the school cringed and leaned backward. It was awesome, a furious wallop followed by a loud gasping cry from Tiffani. I almost stood up as I saw her knuckles going white as she gripped the desk tightly and held on for near life. (Mr. Childers has a rule that if you get up during punishment he'll start over.)
The paddle came down again, and then again. By this time I was sweating and from my angle I could see Tiffani was crying. She wasn't making much noise, though, and I was incredibly proud of her. I couldn't imagine how much pain she was enduring.
WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! Three cruel strokes in a row, fast and hard. I watched Tiffani's poor bottom quivering and wiggling as she struggled to keep her feet on the floor. She was on tiptoe and almost dancing in pain. But Mr. Childers didn't even pause. WHAM! WHAM! He continued on like an automaton. Tiffani was sobbing audibly now, and I knew she was really hurting. She had already taken eight, the most I'd ever received, and I knew how badly that hurt. Four more may not seem like it would make that much of a difference but when your ass feels like there's a sizzling frying pan pressed against those cheeks any more pain can just make you go crazy and lose your ability to reason. I was just praying that she'd keep still and not lose her nerve and get up!
Tiffani let out a yell at stroke ten. By this time I don't think she even knew she had an audience. She was hurting so bad all she could think about was the pain stopping and with that tenth smack she just threw back her head and howled.
That cry did something to me. Something broke inside my heart and I just began to bawl. I couldn't stop. I vaguely knew others were watching me but I didn't care. All I knew was that this was all my fault and I would have done anything to have taken back my challenge to Tiffani, to take the punishment myself if I could have done so. I wept and put my head on my desk and I didn't even care to live any more. I just knew that Tiffani hated me, that she'd never speak to me again, and how could I blame her? How could I have been so stupid as to throw away something that precious just because I was a little unsure of myself?
Something made me look up then. The spanking was over. Tiffani stood sobbing in front of the class and Mr. Childers was droning on about vandalism and respect for school property and all kinds of bullshit and suddenly I was on my feet, walking to the front of the room, taking Tiffani in my arms and wiping away her tears. She threw her arms around me and sobbed against my shoulder. Practically carrying her, I shoved past Mr. Childers and headed for the exit.
"Listen here, young man--" he started to say.
"Shut up you cruel old bastard!" I cried out heedlessly. "You didn't have to do... to do *that*!"
I turned my back on him and walked out. My heart was beating a mile a minute and in the back of my mind a warning gauge had just redlined but I didn't care. I took Tiffani in my arms and led her out to the grassy park near the ball field and we stretched out on the grass and she laid her head on my stomach and hugged me.
"I am _so_ sorry, Tif," I said with tears dripping down my face. "I never should have doubted you. I can't believe you did that. I can't believe that bastard Childers had the gall to paddle you! I love you, Tif, and I always will. You must hate me, I know, and I deserve it, but I'll never stop loving you. When I saw you up there my heart just broke--I couldn't stand it. I wished so bad it could have been me. I'd have done anything to take your place, you must know that. Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you."
I hugged her and petted her sweet hair and she was quiet and didn't say anything for a long time. When my apology had turned to gibberish she finally lifted her head and placed a finger against my lips.
"Shhhh," she whispered. "Be quiet. Now, Jim--I am only going to say this once, so don't interrupt. I did that on purpose, Jim. I _wanted_ him to paddle me. I knew that would convince you. Throwing a rock didn't mean anything. That was just taking a chance. But getting spanked for you--that really meant something. Now it is done. I am fine. I'll be sore for a few days, but I'll get over it. It's over and done with. I never want to speak of it again, okay?"
"I told you, don't interrupt! I'm serious about this, Jim. It's over. Forget it. It never happened. You have the proof you wanted, so take it and be happy. I'll never do anything like that for you again--you had your one shot at mistrust and that's all you get. I truly love you and I will always love you. I will never lie to you. That is a vow I make with all my being, and I would take a thousand paddlings rather than break it. I know you love me, Jim--and you know I love you. So can we just forget this whole nasty business and move on?"
Tears were pouring down my face. I hugged Tiffani close to me and begged her forgiveness again. She slapped my arm, hard. "There's nothing to forgive, you idiot! I told you, it's gone, over, forgotten! We love each other and we will protect and defend each other in all manners and that's all there is to it. Now be a man and stop bawling and hug me!"
I did. I dried my tears and hugged her like I'd never let her go and I thanked God for sending me such a treasure of a woman. We sat out there until school let out and though I saw Mrs. Bird come outside and look at us for a moment, no one came and got us. The next day I went to Mr. Childers and apologized for shouting at him but he just gruffly told me he understood and to go away. Later, Tiffani told me he called her into his office and apologized to her saying that he had been in a rage and shouldn't have punished her so severely. But she didn't really care.
Well, Tiffani and I were married shortly after graduation. We had our problems, to be sure, but if there was one thing I was certain of, it was that Tiffani wouldn't lie to me or I to her. I made that vow to her when I proposed and we promised each other that we would always be truthful with each other and I know without a doubt that we have.
To this day if I mention this incident she shakes her head and frowns at me and says, "Never happened, never happened," and refuses to discuss it. I've never quite figured out why she won't talk about it (that's part of why I am writing this) but whatever her reasons, I'm sure its only for our own good. (I have a sneaking suspicion she was afraid of using the incident against me, manipulating me with my guilt. By pretending it never happened she could never pull that out and use it against me. I don't _know_ if that's really her reason--but it would be just like her.)
I don't know if Tiffani and I would have made it without that test--I wish I could say I know I would have been strong enough to stick with it, but I can't. In some ways I wish I could undo the past, but then again, that event is an integral part of our lives, even if we don't discuss it. It's a part of me that I can be a jerk. And it's a part of her nature that she's a Giver and willing to sacrifice her heart for me.
God, I love her. Truly I would do anything she asked.