Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Spanked! Chapter Three

Chapter Three

            I fought with the late afternoon traffic while making my way from the south side of Fort Wayne to the north, where 24/7 Fitness was located. In a few miles, I could get onto I-69 and zip up to Dupont Road.
            But crawling along during the rush hour on Spy Run Avenue, which followed the same curve as the Saint Joseph river, made me think about what was going on in my life. Trevor and Blake. Two total opposites. The honeymoon period had worn off with Trevor. I felt like I was still working on our relationship, while he wasn’t. I wanted some romance, and I hated that I had to initiate date night, and pay for it. True, I did make more money, but couldn’t he have saved a few bucks each week for a once-every-six-weeks-adventure outside of his house? All through the dinner and the movie, Trevor would sit silently, as if enduring the tedious burden of free food and entertainment. I remembered the anniversary of our first date, and bought him a gift and a card. He just sat on the receiving end unimpressed, while I felt like a plate spinner, frantically trying to keep the Corelle Dinnerware (or similar) from crashing to the floor while Katchaturian’s “Sabre Dance” played in the background. I remember the very early days of our relationship when he made an effort.
            Then there was Blake, totally out of my league. But he seemed interested—or was he? I’d been burned so many times, and experienced so many weird behaviors from men, that I never knew what to think anymore. My man radar was totally off. When guys were interested in me, I’d think that they weren’t. Then, when I thought a guy was interested in me, he wasn’t. Did Blake really care, or what he just out to get what he could? And was I horrible for craving our workouts?
            The traffic thinned out, and I was on I-69 north, speeding to Blake. I was starting to obsess over him, which is what happens when a guy pays attention to me. I tried to rein myself in—if I managed to lose weight and tone up with these “workouts”, then it was all well and good. But that’s all it might be. I tried not to get overly excited about him, but how could I not? Blake smelled good. He dressed in workout gear which actually fit him. He had enough hair on his head, not too short, not too long. He seemed sympathetic. He also seemed worldly, gentlemanly, but with a pinch of naughtiness to him. And I trusted him. Strange as it may sound, I trusted him. Maybe most importantly, he was nice to me. Not that desperate kind of nice, like so many guys attempted, but ended up making them seem wimpy, but a comfortable, confident nice.
            Then there was Trevor, with his skin-tight Pillsbury Dough Boy t-shirt that fit him 40 pounds ago. Trevor, who once stood in front of me and asked if he smelled bad. I couldn’t detect anything particularly rank, but asked him why he asked. He said it was because he couldn’t remember the last time he took a shower. Trevor, who practically shaved his head bald, to save money on shampoo. Trevor, with his robot-like approach to the world and spot-on ability to say the least appropriate thing at the worst possible time. Trevor, who washed cashmere for Christ’s sake. I pushed him out of my mind as I saw the exit for Dupont Road. Hopefully Blake would be there. Was that last workout just a dream?  I parked my car and walked towards the entrance, the butterflies fluttering in my stomach.
*  *  *
I used my electric key fob to open the door. The gym was starting to fill up with day-shifters. I looked around, but I didn't see him. Big Shoulders was in the office and didn’t look up. I put my stuff in a cubbyhole. The gym had cable, and the treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bicycles had television screens. I chose an elliptical, and plugged my earbuds in.  This was a treat for me, because I didn't have cable. I worked too much to waste money on it. Mom and I had it years ago, but I cancelled it soon after she died. I had enough money to continue it, but it brought back painful memories as I tried to do everything I could to keep her from dying. She knew she was dying, and she was probably okay with it, but naïve old me had that same childhood hope that she’d pull through. I knew damn well if I continued cable, I’d tune into VH-1’s I Love the 90s marathon starting at noon and commence crying. All I’d get from that is a stopped up nose and wondering why it was dark outside.
I flipped through the channels until I saw Clean House. It was one of my favorites. I also liked Hoarders, because I could always think, my house doesn't look like that. At least, not yet. And yeah, there was underwear on my coffee table, but at least it was in a pile and clean.
I was deep into the episode when all of a sudden …
“Hey!”
“Oh! Hi!” I squeaked.
            “Haven't seen you in a while,” he said, looking at me in a rather concerned way.
I was so excited, I forgot I was on the treadmill. In seconds, I was speeding backwards, my earbuds popping loose from my ears, and as I grabbed the cord, it popped out of the jack before I went sprawling ass first on the carpet. Smooth. I looked up at him. “I’ve been klutzy—er, busy.”
            Blake bent over and offered me a hand. He easily pulled me to my feet. “You okay?”
            “Uh, yeah.” Great. Not only was I fat, I was clumsy too.
            “So what do you do for a living? Blake asked. “I guess either I didn’t ask, or you told me and I forgot.”
            “I told you. Two jobs. I work retail, doing delivery for High’s, the home improvement store, and I teach at Oaks Community College.
            “Wow. You are busy.”
            “Yeah, and to make things worse, my schedule at High's is all over the place. I told them I needed to open two days a week on the days I have class, but of course, they will have me close the night before. On my days off from High’s, I usually grade papers.”
            “That sounds insane. As well as completely unhealthy,” said Blake. He paused. “I was wondering,” Blake said. “It's been weeks. I thought maybe, well ... maybe I'd scared you off.”
So it really DID happen! I seemed to get involved in situations where something so wild, so unbelievable had happened, I often just stood in shock, wondering if that customer had really said how women shouldn't work outside the home, or if that toddler had really head-butted me right above the back of my left knee. Working retail was a lesson in humiliation. No matter how much education you had, or how smart you were, if you wore a smock or vest, you were a servant.
            “No. Well, maybe a little. I mean … it was uh, a different experience. And I really have been busy and tired. And I've not been well, either. Work is frustrating, and I, uh, I cry a lot and I've been throwing up and my, um, periods really hurt.”
            “You've lost weight too, haven't you?” said Blake.
            I looked down at my still protruding stomach. “About 30 pounds. Um, well, actually I've lost additional weight since dropping the 30 ... I think it's an extra 15 pounds or so.”
            “Have you called the doctor?” he asked.
            “Yes. Twice. Both of them. They said, 'it's not uncommon, especially after surgery.'”
            Blake really looked concerned now. “Keep an eye on that. If it gets worse, call them. I mean it.” He looked right into my eyes.
"Have you kept up with your core exercises?”
            “Kind of. I've been in a lot of pain … my periods are making me miserable. Sometimes, I'm in so much pain, I can't move. I've been downing Aleve and Midol. That's the only way I can make it through my twelve-hour days.”
            “So … what about this pain you've been having? Did the doctors really blow you off?”
            “Yup. Both of them. So I guess I just keep going until I can't go anymore.”
            “Please don’t do that,” he said. “Keep bugging the doctors. Aside from everything else, have you gained any strength in your core? I know you said the pain is bad, but ...”
            “I think I've gotten a little stronger.”  "I can do more reps, and despite the menstrual cramps and pain, I feel different. Of course, that could be the tumor breaking up. “So in that sense, the operation did work. But as for my periods, they're pretty much worse than ever.”
            “That’s not good. Don’t let that go too long.” He looked at me, concerned. “So, are you up to a workout today? I'm assuming you are, at least to some extent.”
            “Oh yes,” I said. “I took plenty of Midol. I’m temporarily pain-free and completely wired on caffeine. Are you planning to 'motivate' me?”
            “I thought you'd never ask. Well, come on, then.”
I started walking back toward the room (it was all I could do not to skip with glee) but Blake went to the front office, and spoke a few words to Mr. Shoulders. I paused in the open office that led to the back hallway. Blake appeared a few seconds later.
            “Sorry. I just wanted to tell Jim that I wouldn't be available for a few minutes. It's 4:15 p.m. now; I've got someone in for a training session at 4:30 p.m. I'll need to keep an eye on the time, but we can get some activity in. Better a little, than none at all,” Blake smiled wickedly. He walked to the back office and unlocked it.
I was pretty well worked up, and we hadn't even started yet. I couldn't help but compare this gym with Curves, the all-women gym I'd previously been a member of. It was nice and all, but there weren't any trainers that looked like Blake, that was for damn sure. And there were about twenty stations with workout equipment in a circle. The idea was to work out at each one for two minutes, then move on to the next one. I'm sure the premise was to keep from being bored with the workout. With Blake, there sure wasn't any danger of that.
He brought in a small mat and took out the paddle. “Okay,” he said. “Lie down on the mat on your back. Slide your sweatpants off.”
            Awkwardly, I got down on the mat and slipped my shoes off, then my sweats. Thank goodness I put on something resembling lingerie today, instead of my usual ancient, shredded white cotton bikinis. I laid on my back.
            Blake observed me for a moment, then grinned. “I like the undies.”
“Thought you would,” I smiled back.
“Okay then, legs together, up in the air.”
            I raised my legs. From my point of view, my feet looked like I was hovering over the ceiling tiles.
            “Okay, I want you to put your hands behind your head. Bend up as far as you can, then go back down. I'd like to see thirty reps.”
            I crunched up as far as I could go, then back down. I settled into a rhythm, but because of my belly, it was hard for me to articulate the effort of each crunch. It was also hard to breathe. I tried to squeeze in a breath when I eased back down, but it wasn't easy. Exhale on the way up, inhale on the way back down, I told myself.  I hoped I wouldn't cramp up. I thought I'd read somewhere that breathing deeply helped avoid muscle cramps. I fought through it, and got to fifty. I eased back down and smiled.
            “I'm impressed,” smiled Blake. “You've gotten stronger, that's for sure.”
            “Yes, I can feel it. But I don't think I've gotten any smaller in my torso. I've lost nearly fifteen pounds, so I can feel it in my pants, especially. I had to start wearing a belt with some of my jeans.”
            “Okay, take a break for a couple of minutes. Then, bend your legs. Keep your knees close to your chest.  Hands behind your head. Then, crunch up, but do it diagonally. Not straight, but angle to the left. Try to touch your right elbow to your left knee. Twenty reps.”
            I knew this would be harder. I looked at the clock on the wall. After the second hand had swept around twice, I took a couple of breaths and started. It was even harder to breathe, doing the crunches diagonally. But when I looked in the mirror sideways this morning, I was horrified. When I stood normally, I looked pregnant. My belly stuck out even more than my breasts, and I was rocking a 38D bra. Gritting my teeth, I curled as far to the left as I could. My right elbow barely touched my left knee. After the tenth rep, I could feel sweat on my forehead. At the fifteenth rep, I was starting to ache. At the seventeenth, the cramp hit. “Ow!” I whimpered. “Oh God, it hurts.”
            “Okay, on your stomach,” said Blake. “Stretch your arms out.”
            I rolled over, and took deep breaths. The cramp felt one percent better. Then, a smack on my behind. It wasn't hard, just enough to get my attention.
“So you did eighteen crunches, here come eighteen spanks." Blake just flicked his wrist, instead of putting a full, arm-length swing behind it. The first one was square on my behind, then the second one was lower, on the bottom of my butt. Then, the rest of the smacks made the full tour around my bottom. And the intensity varied. Here was a tap, there was a hit with a little heat on it, the next one was a bit restrained. Oh. My. God. This was beyond hot. The last five were hard—several seconds between each whack—and each one in a different spot. Blake finished, then said, “okay, on your back again. You need just two more reps, and you'll be done.”
I got into position, then completed my two reps. “I'm sorry I wasn't able to do them all at once.”
            “I'm not,” Blake grinned.
            I laughed. “Yeah, I didn't think you were sorry.”
            The clock read 4:25. “Twenty reps on the other side. And hurry it up. I've got a client at 4:30.”
            “Getting pushy, are we? So what will you do if I can't do them all at once?”
            “If I tell you, it ruins the surprise. The only reason I mentioned it that first time I ‘motivated’ you was to see if you'd take off. You didn't, so I figured if you came back, I could surprise you.”
            I thought about this. My bottom was tingling, I was sweaty, and I couldn't really understand why I was so turned on. Was it because it felt forbidden? Couldn't Blake get in trouble for this? Was he taking advantage of me and I was too dumb to realize it? Or did he have a radar for women with lousy sex lives?
            I made it through, keeping an eye on the clock the entire time. After I was done, I collapsed. “Two minutes to spare. And I got through all the reps. Aren't you impressed with me?”
            Blake smiled. “Yes and no. I didn't get to spank you that time. So I'm glad you're getting stronger, but I was really hoping to work you over.”
            “Maybe next time,” I smiled back. “And I'm going to work on the core stuff at home more. You're supposed to push me, remember? You were the one who offered to help.”
            Blake's face became serious. “That I did.”
            “And there's something else I'm doing, that I want to show you. But it's a surprise,” I said.
            He glanced at the clock. “Too bad we're out of time. I would have tickled and spanked that surprise right out of you.”
            My stomach flip-flopped. “Really?”
            “Yes, really. Be careful when you say stuff like that. Remember, I'm here during the day. I want to see you here more often.”
            “My schedule is all over the place. Sometimes I'm working seven days a week.”
            “Yes. And I also remember you saying sometimes you were scheduled 7-4, and then you close. You can come in after work, and you can come in before. I expect to see you at least once a week.”
            “Well, I do want to show you something. I want to, well ... I guess I want someone's opinion, and I don't want to show Trevor.”
"Trevor?"
"He's my um … boyfriend."
            Blake and I looked at each other for a moment.
            “Now I'm really curious; but it will have to wait. Come on, we have to get out of here, and I have to lock this office.”
            I went for the door, and Blake put the paddle away. He joined me, opening the door and leading me out. He grabbed the doorknob and unlocked it.
            “I’ll go out first, then you follow in a minute or so, okay? See you soon,” he grinned.
            “See ya,” I said.
            I waited for Blake to walk out into the gym, then I followed. I found I couldn't keep my eyes off him, but I managed to get a drink of water before I resumed my solo workout.
            But my eyes fixed on Blake again as I made my way to the front of the gym where the elliptical machines were. His client had indeed showed up. All the good, sexy feelings I had vanished as if I had been shoved into an ice-cold shower.
His client was Stephanie Zoslukova. An acquaintance of mine. I couldn't really call her a friend, because friends don't insult you in front of other friends, or let loose with condescending remarks. Stephanie always needed an audience, especially when she was putting me down. Stephanie, who made every gathering with my group of friends a minefield, was talking to Blake. That five-foot tall, three-hundred-and-fifty-pound total narcissist, all-around self-centered bitch was flirting with Blake (as she did with every man) and I went from horny to furious in a nanosecond.
Furious, and jealous.
           











Monday, January 16, 2017

Spanked! Chapter Two


Here's chapter two. I pitched the novel as Bridget Jones's Diary meets Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Feedback, PLEASE!






Gloria Diaz/Spanked!
Chapter Two

            Despite Blake’s request to come back soon, it had been weeks since I’d been to the gym. I felt guilty about it, but then again, work was hell. Being a delivery driver for High’s was easily the worst job in the store. And driving was the smallest part of the position. In my previous truck driving job, I’d watch customer service associates unload the pallets from my trailer, but not at High’s. There was no such thing as “no-touch freight” here. Frequently, I got lip from customers who felt that it was a man who should be doing the job and not me, but I took it as a point of pride that I would probably be the first and only female delivery driver at the store with a Class A CDL. I could drive both the box truck and the flatbed, while only one other driver, Bob, could do so. My other, younger co-worker, Patrick, who looked like a young Satan, was the only other person who could drive the box truck. Cletus, a rather dim-witted guy barely out of high school was begging to drive the truck, but our delivery manager wisely told him he couldn’t. I sometimes told customers that yeah, I didn’t have the physical strength of a man, but I did have a Class A CDL, and it wasn’t my fault that other male drivers had quit because there was too much lifting for them. I maneuvered 364-pound Samsung refrigerators up front porch steps and routed these stainless steel, overpriced, shining beacons of yuppieness to the kitchens that made my own look like a closet. A food-spattered closet with urine-stained floors because my beloved Silky Terrier, Taffy, was getting up there in years and couldn’t hold it anymore.
Neither could I. My surgery earlier in the summer for the huge tumor (whom I named Arnold) wasn’t exactly a success. The surgery cut off the blood supply to Arnold (which had been pushing against my bladder and curling around my spine) and he was dying, but the awful period pain continued. To keep going, I’d turned into a Midol/Aleve junkie. That really didn’t help my appetite, however. Since nothing really sounded good to eat, I was surviving on water, granola bars, chocolate covered raisins, and those little cheese cracker packages with the little red stick to spread the processed yellowy goodness. It shouldn’t have been enough to fuel me through ten- and twelve-hour days, but it was. Not too long ago, I’d gone bowling with Trevor and his high school buddy Kyle after a 12-hour workday (fueled by Midol) and I’d solidly whomped both of them. I couldn’t believe that I’d won, but considering Trevor refused to wear glasses (but really needed them) and Kyle had fractured his forearms skateboarding, maybe it wasn’t such a triumph on my part.          
The doctors said Arnold would still continue to grow as long as I was producing estrogen. So I opted for the less invasive surgery. It had solved one problem, but not the other. I wondered how thin I would get. And there was that pesky vomiting. I’d called both my surgeon and the ob/gyn, but they seemed unconcerned.  “Those symptoms are not uncommon,” they said. Perhaps when I was found on the floor naked and skeletal, like Karen Carpenter, they might suggest I come in for an appointment.
            On the days I wasn’t popping the Midol, I was exhausted and frustrated. And a little bit nervous about the vomiting and the weight loss. My period pain was reaching epic proportions. The rotating schedule of High’s meant that I should have had had one weekend off a month. But in my case, I was one of those unlucky employees whose weekends off fell on holidays. So I had a whopping eight weekends off a year.
            Still, I tried to exercise at home. Part of me was scared to return to the gym. After I got home that night, I went over all the details I could remember. Blake fascinated and frightened me. I knew something about it was way off—it was undeniably sexual. Was he trusting me not to tell? Was I being sexually harassed? He wouldn’t have taken me to one of the back rooms if it was all innocent. There were no cameras back there, which meant he knew damn well what he was doing. And oh God, it was so exciting. I knew it was wrong, but if it toned me up, and gave me more excitement than sex with Trevor, I was all for it. So sue me.
            Speaking of Trevor, our sex life had fallen into sort of … a fuck buddy routine. Gone were the days of him fetching ice cold water after we’d made love, both of us sipping from a plastic tumbler that hadn’t been washed in God knows how long. Gone were the days of chatting after sex, talking about our pasts, then going at it again.
            On my day off, I headed over to his house. His place was actually pretty cool, but growing up in a house that had been condemned twice didn’t teach him anything about basic housekeeping. I knocked, and he let me in. The house reeked of cat piss, and shit. Trevor had had a bike accident when he was younger, and he fell on his nose. Something happened with the cartilage, but he refused to go to the doctor. His nose looked fine, but his sense of smell was affected. Since he never opened the windows, the only fresh air came in when he came home. I stepped over the plate with crumbs and dried barbecue sauce and moved a pile of mail off the loveseat, which was carpeted with cat hair. I sighed and sat down.
            “Wait until you see this video game I got,” he said, getting up from his computer desk. He turned on the television set and clicked on his Playstation 2. “It’s totally badass—Outlaw Tennis.”
            Trevor was quite a few years younger than I was, and there were times I felt like his mother. He wanted an easy relationship—and a somewhat twisted one. Trevor wanted someone to pat him on the head, praise his videogame skills, and give him sex with nothing expected in return. I was his childless MILF. Dating a 14-year-old boy might be cool when you’re a twelve or thirteen year old girl, but in your late thirties, you want someone a little more sophisticated than someone who didn’t know you couldn’t wash cashmere and who considered TGIF’s a “nice restaurant.”
            The graphics came up on the screen. Video games all looked the same to me—thuggish characters, impossibly buxom women, and lots of swearing and violence.
            “Here’s your controller—you push this to run, this to jump, and this is left and right. This is the A button and this is the B button. Ready? Go!”
After his generous two second tutorial, I was slaughtered in a nanosecond. “Wasn’t that fun?” asked Trevor. I sighed. Over in the corner, Libertarian the cat was taking a dump. The litter box was in the kitchen.
“Um, do you know that Libby just pooped?”
“Yeah, the cat box needs changing,” Trevor answered, distractedly. I watched him play for a few more minutes. I thought about Blake. Would he be living in a home like this, cat hair like little tumbleweeds against the Stainmaster prairie of Trevor’s living room? Would the floor be an obstacle course of Reason magazine, junk mail, and porn mags featuring “mature” women? Would there be giant plastic coffee mugs advertising some convenience store? Surely, there wouldn’t be boxes of discounted Little Debbie snack cakes on the floor with giant packages of paper towels? His valet parking uniform was sloppily draped over a chair. It dangled precariously over a huge half full mug of cold coffee. When Libby had done her business, she strolled over to the chair with the uniform, sat down, lifted her leg like a pole dancer, and kicked the coffee mug over. Fortunately, instead of 64-ounces of cold, putrid liquid, there were only 32 sinking into the carpet. Libby licked her ass like a pro. By this time, Trevor had finally realized I wasn’t playing anymore. “Wanna go upstairs and fuck?”
“Okay,” I said. Fourteen year old boys weren’t good at romance either, especially when they are trapped in the body of a 30-year-old.
Trevor zipped up the stairs; I trudged behind. His bedroom windows were still blocked off with tinfoil, from the days when he was a security guard and worked at night. The day was bright but overcast, but inside his room it might have been midnight. He switched on the lamp. “I’ve got to run down and get new sheets,” he said. I sat on the bed and heard his footsteps thump downstairs. There was Vaseline on the tiny night stand, and a copy of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition on the floor beside the bed. Suddenly, I got up. Did I just sit in something gross? I turned around, but didn’t touch the sheets. Well, these sweats would have to go into the wash when I got home. Cat hair was one thing, but jizz was another.
Trevor thumped back up the stairs. He tore the sheets off and I helped him put the fresh ones on. He lit the candles on the desk near the foot of the bed, and turned off the light.
“You know what I want,” he whispered.
I let him tie my wrists to the bedposts. The bed was a hand-me-down, a king-sized wood frame that was a bit wobbly. Having sex in it felt like every scene in every movie where the couple getting it on was dead broke—or trash. The sex itself was pretty much the same thing, every time: I was on the bottom, he was on the top. He always rubbed me too hard. The only part of my body he actually touched was between my legs. His technique made my body feel like a Porta Potty—he touched me as little as possible in order to keep the germs at bay. I tried telling him repeatedly what I wanted, but his response was “that doesn’t excite me.” Yet, I was supposed to be okay with having a threesome with him. Had I known more about these things, I would have been a smart ass and said, “Sure, as long as I can pick the other guy.” Every so often he’d ask, and every so often, I’d say no. He was inadequate with one woman, why did he think two of them should suffer?
I heard a soft “thump” and turned my head to see Libby sneak in. Trevor was busy shoving away at me, but I’d noticed the pillow had slipped. My head was hitting the headboard in triple time. I felt like I was being jackhammered into the wall. The sound we made was a cross between a squeaking and a thumping. For one wild moment, I thought of The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon knocking on Penny’s door. Squeak, knock, squeak, knock, squeak, knock times infinity at 24,000 r.p.m.
“Could you adjust the pillow? I’m getting a headache.”
Trevor just thrust harder. I could tell he was almost there. Sometimes I could finish him off by talking. I started in with my submissive, whispered patter that made him feel manly. He was almost there when—
THUNK! Reaaaaaaaaoooooow! Reaaaaaaaaoooooooooow!
“Oh shit!” said Trevor. “The bed fell on the cat!”
Reeeeeeaaaaaaooooooooooooow! Trevor leaped off the bed and grabbed the bottom edge of the frame. He struggled to get a grip, then managed to raise it higher. Meanwhile, I was still tied to the posts, the circulation cut off in my left hand, which was still bound to the post, as was my right hand. My lower body suddenly flipped towards the wall at a 45-degree angle. Was this how Jesus felt on the cross? Because this was dammed uncomfortable.
“Can you see Libby?” I yelled.
“Yes! But I think her leg is broken.” Trevor just managed to balance the frame of the bed on one shoulder, while he lifted up Libby, who was still yowling like…well…a cat who had a bed with two fat people collapse on her. He tucked her under his right arm, then used his left shoulder and right hand to ease the bed down. Trevor wasn’t the strongest guy. He meant to be gentle, but PLUNK! I was now facing the ceiling once more. My hands felt like they were going to be pulled off.
“I’ve got to get her to the vet!”
“Untie me first, Goddammit!” He laid Libby on the bed who continued her shrieking. Trevor leaned over Libby, a normally doclile long-haired white cat like it was his own child. “Well, there’s no blood, but--”
“Untie me now, Goddammit!” Finally Trevor got around to me. He untied my wrists. I couldn’t feel my hands. I heard him clump downstairs.
Libby was now hissing and making some sort of moaning noise, like her intestines were being Hoovered out, mouth first. Or maybe ass first.
Trevor was back upstairs again with a cat carrier. Libby was now howling. Trevor picked her up, and she promptly sunk her teeth into Trevor’s hand. “Ow! Libby bit me!” He managed to shove Libby into the carrier and then latch the door. Trevor went into the bathroom to wash his hands. I sat there naked, level with the floor, trying to mumble comforting things to Libby, who retreated to the corner of the carrier, a big, white, furry ball of hurt. Trevor came back into the bedroom and threw his clothes on, and grabbed socks and shoes. I’ve never seen anyone get dressed so fast before.
“I’m taking her to the vet,” he gasped. He grabbed the carrier and took off down the stairs. His “See you around,” echoed in the upstairs hallway. I heard his uneven galumphing on his way to the first floor. Libertarian wasn’t a small cat, and bringing 18 pounds of pissed-off feline down a flight of stairs, even in a carrier, was enough to throw one’s balance off.
I didn’t want to put my clothes back on. I took a shower (true to form, there wasn’t any soap to speak of in the bathroom) with a tiny trickle of lukewarm water. I pulled my sweatshirt and sweatpants on over my racy lingerie, and made sure to lock the front door on my way out. I planned to give some excuse to Trevor in order to get out of there early enough to go and workout, but I guess a squashed cat was good enough reason. Thanks Libby, hope you get well soon.
           
































Sunday, January 15, 2017

By Popular Demand...

Okay, so I'm going to upload the chapters of Spanked!, my master's thesis in chronological order for a change. For you beta readers, I'm looking to improve tension. My director said it wasn't funny and didn't make her want to read more, so I'm wanting to pump that up.

You Lit/Linguistics/Rhet-comp people, I want the same thing, but more: I want to know if the setting makes you feel you are in Fort Wayne, that there is enough detail, what you do like, what you don't like, grammar mistakes, unclear passages, yadda, yadda, yadda.

There are eight chapters. I just need 100 pages for the thesis, but I'd like to get the novel done before I graduate. The thesis is due before March.

Here's chapter one of Spanked! Have at it!

Gloria Diaz/Spanked!
Chapter One
“For God’s sake!”
I looked at myself sideways in the mirror. I looked like I swallowed a watermelon. My belly was as round as my butt. What the hell, at least they were proportional. But still. My torso looked like Homer Fucking Simpson. And that’s why I was at the gym. So I wouldn’t turn into Peter Fucking Griffin. I’d lost thirty pounds, but something told me I’d still have that bulge. Even when I was a stick-thin teenager, I’d still had a bit of a belly. I got my dad’s legs, but my mom’s torso. With a lot of effort, I might thin down a bit more, but something told me my Guess Jeans days were way behind me.
I scowled at myself in the mirror. My body sucked and the rest of my life wasn’t great either. I worked two jobs, I was trying to lose my gut, and really needed to break up with my boyfriend. I thought about all this when I was in the women’s restroom of 24/7 Fitness up on Dupont Road, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You know—that town that gets voted “fattest” and “dumbest” every year.  I’d worked out at Curves, but thanks to my crazy work schedule of a full-time job and one part-time job, I needed a gym that was open past dinnertime. And bedtime.
It didn’t help that I was a stress eater. And I had a stressful job. My main gig was driving a delivery truck for High’s, the home improvement warehouse. I can’t believe I slogged through trucking school twice only to end up shuttling appliances, Trex Deck, drywall and plywood around northern Indiana. Some days, we didn’t get a chance to stop and have a proper lunch. So I learned to pack foods I could eat while I was riding along, or while I was driving. Other times, we stopped at fast food places, but I was trying to wean myself off that crap.
Today was my day “off” from High’s. However, I still had papers to look at for the English classes I taught at Oaks Community College. But I needed to get into some sort of exercise routine. So here I was in an old t-shirt and even older sweat pants. I knew I wasn’t very fashionable, but I really didn’t care.
I washed my hands and left the bathroom. I walked out into the main room, where the gym was chock-full of stereotypes: pumped up men who looked like they regularly downed 32-ounce steroid shakes, There were a couple of chunky people soaking in sweat. And one anorexic woman (if she wasn’t, she certainly looked the part) who was going at a full-out run on a treadmill, and thin, toned women who were lucky enough to not have to work, thanks to their super-successful husbands. If these women had jobs, it was to look as good as possible. I’d delivered plenty of appliances to those types. The gym was on the north side of Fort Wayne, in a moneyed part of town. I’m deep in debt and my 15-year-old Neon looks woefully out of place in a lot full of Escalades and BMWs. Come to think of it, my body was woefully out of place. It was as if you didn’t belong at the gym until you were thin enough—but you weren’t allowed to work out there in order to get the body you needed to hang out there. Curves limited hours didn’t work with my insane schedule. It had someone sitting at the desk who said a friendly “hello” whenever I stopped in, but 24/7 didn’t have anyone like that. There was an office to the left of the entrance, but the big-shouldered guy sitting in there was too busy to greet anyone. And in the three months since I’d joined, I’d yet to say anything to anyone. The last time I’d talked to anyone here was someone I’d nicknamed  “Mr. Shoulders” because he seemed about three feet wide and completely frightening.
I sighed, then opened up the bathroom door. There were anti-bacterial wipe dispensers all over the place. The customers were expected to wipe down the equipment. Well, I guess it was cheaper than hiring a cleaning crew. I grabbed a few of the clammy things and headed over to some contraption that was at a 45-degree angle to the floor. I decided to get the core work out of the way. I hated doing it because there seemed like there wasn’t any point. I could do a thousand stomach crunches a day, and I don’t think it would make a difference. But I owed it to myself to try. I started in with the side crunches. I’d get those over with, then start in on the other stuff.
Twenty minutes later, I was writhing on the floor, crying. I’d managed to do 400 stomach crunches (not all at once), and despite trying to breathe deeply, I had muscle cramps. I stretched, I arched my back, I was desperate to make the pain go away. But it made me wonder: if they make a device to make muscles cramp, sort of like a toned-down combination Taser/cattle prod, it could make a great torture tool. The pain continued, and I pulled myself onto one of the loveseats near the entrance. I took deep breaths. After I felt better, I’d get on the treadmill.
“Are you okay?”
I jumped. I turned toward the voice. I looked into the face of one of the trainers, those guys who floated around the gym offering assistance, and to those who paid, specialized training. This guy was in shape, but not one of the pumped-up steroid freaks. He had just enough muscle tone to make you want to touch him. He had good coloring, just tan enough. He had medium-brown hair with just the slightest bit of red in it, and blue eyes. The boy-next-door type. And totally out of my league. Handsome, but not so perfect-looking that he scared me to death. I knew those types and loathed them.
I was actually scared of men in general. That was the result of way too much bullying in high school. I felt like I never really blossomed, while the other girls did. If I had blossomed, it was brief, and I never realized it. Eventually, the boys stopped bullying me for the way I looked and just ignored me. I went from a verbal (and sometimes physical punching bag) to nothing. So when a guy was nice to me, it got my attention.
Plus, there was something about this man. He wasn’t overly pumped up. He was masculine, but not macho. His cologne was fresh and clean. I wasn’t sure why, but I felt comfortable with this man. Gut feeling? Or maybe my mandar (Guydar? Gentlemandar?) was really off and he was a cannibal/serial killer/rapist. Knowing my luck, it wouldn’t surprise me. This guy had a really nice smile. I managed to smile back.
“Yeah. I just had some bad muscle cramps, or maybe a spasm. I’m trying to recover.”
“Take deep breaths. Try to stretch away from the pain.”
Stretch away from the pain? The pain was right in my core. How do you stretch away from the center of your body? But I inhaled and exhaled as slowly as I could. I sat up straight. While I was doing all this, the trainer came around and sat down next to me. I turned and looked back at the vast room. There were six other people working out. I turned back to him. He was still smiling at me. Men don’t normally do that. If they look at me, the expression on their face is a cross between “we’ll appeal the decision” and “the cancer is terminal.”
“I gotta ask you something,” I said, rather abruptly.
“Fire away,” he said.
“Body types. Are they inevitable? I mean, my father had slender legs, and I’ve got them. My mother had this ball for a stomach, and it looks like I’ve got it too. Is this something I’ll have to deal with forever? I’ve always been doing stomach crunches, for decades, and nothing seems to work.”
He paused. “Body type is hereditary,” he said. “It doesn’t exactly mean you’re doomed, but, say, for instance, you can aim for a flatter stomach, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a flat stomach. What was your body type as a teenager?”
“Skinny,” I said, defeated. “I was able to eat anything I wanted. I didn’t weigh 120 pounds when I graduated high school. I think I might have been 110, tops.”
“Uh huh,” he said. “So, you were really thin. What about your stomach? Was it perfectly flat?”
            “I guess not. I mean, it wasn’t huge, like it is now, but it seemed like I always had a belly.”
            “Okay. I’m going to tell you something. Even though I’m a trainer, there’s no such thing as a perfect body. I try to tell the people here that, especially the women. I want people to be healthy. I don’t like seeing starved women, and even some guys do weird things to try and lose weight. What I can help you do is maybe give you a little push. We can measure your belly, and aim for a reduction. That way, you see some progress, your pants fit a little better and you can see a little bit of change.”
            “You really think it’s possible?”
            “I know people promise all sorts of things; you see all those ‘lose your gut’ things on television. Believe me, they are fanatical about selecting the models they want in those commercials. Even a slender woman might have perfect BMI, and have toned arms and legs and glutes, but if she has the tiniest bit of a belly, she won’t get the commercial.”
            “If I can just take maybe two inches off, that would be something, at least.”
            We looked at each other for a few seconds. He was so attractive. Despite his eyes being blue, there was a steadiness about them, an intensity, a sort of “don’t worry, I know what I’m doing” sort of vibe that was oddly reassuring. I was soaking in sweat, and my shame lingered around me like a particularly pungent fart. I didn’t normally find blue-eyed men appealing, but there was something about him. He seemed nice, and sympathetic.
            “Okay, let’s measure the spot you want to work on.” He took a tape measure out of his pocket. “Pull up your shirt.”
            I pulled up. “Now, pull down your sweats.”
            Ugh. I pulled them down.
            He leaned in to me, and his cologne got stronger. He pulled the tape around my back and centered it over my belly button. I looked over his shoulder. He was uncomfortably close.  “Forty-seven inches.” He measured my waist. “Forty-one inches.”  He stepped back.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckety fuck. I didn’t know it was THAT bad. The belly/waist ratio was part of the reason finding jeans to fit was so hard, and why I never bought them online.
“You know, I don’t even know your name,” I said, sticking out my hand. “I’m Connie. Connie Hatcher.”
            “Blake, Blake McGill,” he said, taking my hand. His was warm and just a little bit rough. I couldn’t help thinking of my boyfriend, Trevor, who had such smooth hands—like a woman. I wondered how often he actually washed them—and if the softness was just a coating of dirt, bacteria and God knows what else.
            I looked into Blake’s eyes. We were still holding—er I mean, shaking hands. He squeezed my hand, then slowly released it.
            “I can show you some things that can help with toning. And I’ve got a couple of incentives that I think will be fun.”
            “Really? When do we start?”
            “Now,” said Blake. “Follow me.”
            Blake leaned off the loveseat, and started walking to the back of the gym. I should have been wary. Any other woman would have, but when you’ve been ignored by men for the last sixteen years or so, you figure you’re safe. I decided the motivation was probably something typical; some super-positive-thinking-Tony-Robbins-unleash-the-God-within nonsense.  I followed him to the back of the gym. I tried not to look at his ass. So I looked at his waist, then his back. He was wearing a dark blue polo shirt, and black crinkly nylon workout pants. We walked through a doorway into an office without doors, then through another doorway down a short, darkened hallway. Blake stopped outside a door, then reached inside his pants pocket and took out a ring of keys. He inserted a key in the doorknob, and turned it. He reached inside the room and the florescent light snapped on, revealing gray walls, a desk, a chair, and a filing cabinet. I followed him in and he shut the door. In one corner of the small office was an assortment of those big exercise balls. Those reminded me of the Hoppity Hops I’d always wanted as a kid, but never got. Another corner held racks of free weights. There were a few yoga mats leaning against the wall. I noticed that there weren’t any security cameras, but why would there be? In the main workout room, they were all over. With the gym being opened 24/7, it meant that if anything weird happened, there would be a record of it, even at three in the morning. I wondered what the incentive was. Boxes of Hershey bars? But no. Yummy motivators, but wouldn’t they defeat the purpose?
            “Grab a mat, and lay down, and we’ll get started.”
            I went over and grabbed one, and slowly unrolled it. While I spread it out on the floor, Blake unlocked one of the desk drawers. He took something out, but I was distracted by my torso. Years of wearing pants with unyielding waistbands had morphed my stomach into what looked like a pillow with a string tied around it. In layman’s terms, it was called “muffin top.” Ironic, since I tried to avoid baked goods.
            Blake turned around and was holding a thin leather paddle and a feather. I looked at him, puzzled. He smiled. It was … naughty.
            “This is the incentive I was telling you about. You’re going to do some core exercises … but you’re going to do them my way.”
            Huh. I was used to strange things happening when it came to men: seemingly innocent coffee dates that crumbled into shouting matches, insults about the way I looked that I didn’t get right away, but got later, my now former mechanic who sent me a dick picture along with the update on my car. Well, if it would flatten—excuse me, help make my stomach a bit flatter, my stomach why not? At this point, I was willing to try anything.
            “First I want you to put your arms behind your head. Then, curl up towards your legs, which you’ll keep bent, then back down, then curl up again. Do that twenty times.”
            I curled up, then relaxed, then curled up, then relaxed. On the tenth curl, it was starting to get difficult. On the fifteenth one, I had to rest for a few minutes. “Just for a little while, okay?”
            Blake didn’t look happy. “Raise your legs up in the air. Make them straight.”
            I did. Suddenly there was a quick, smart slap on my bottom. “Ow! What was that for?”
            “Honey, that was your incentive. There’s a time limit for these exercises. You have to execute them, and do it well.”
            What?
After a few seconds of disbelief, I managed a few more crunches, then collapsed back on the mat.
            “Okay, now for some more crunches. I want you to bend your legs, feet together. Then, extend your arms straight out. I want a hundred of these, and I want you to move a half inch forward, and a half inch back. Slowly.” Blake got down beside me on the floor to demonstrate. I began doing them, but I was doing them too fast. “Legs up again,” Blake said. He administered another couple of slaps with the leather paddle. Just some quick flicks of the wrist, really. I was noticing a pleasant warmth spreading over my bottom. Damn. This was kinda hot. Blake, who looked so boy-next-doorish in the gym was looking, well, commanding and sexy and in charge. Suddenly, I felt embarrassed for being so fat, so lazy. If this man could literally beat me into shape, I would be forever grateful. Granted, it was an unorthodox method, but if it worked …
            “Slowly, he said. We’re trying to work certain muscle groups.” I breathed deeply, then started in on some excruciatingly slow stomach crunches. On number 58, I laid back down. “I’m sorry, I have to rest a bit.”
            I lay there, looking up at the lights. The uncomfortable silence stretched. After a while, I started in again. “Wait,” Blake said. “You took a couple minutes to relax. Every second you take for a breather is going to count against you. He produced the feather. You just laid there for 120 seconds. So, for that, I’m going to tickle you with this feather 120 times.”
            “Wait—what?”
            Blake looked very serious. “Yes.  I told you I could give you some incentive if you wanted a flatter stomach. This is the incentive. His voice lowered to a husky tone. If you don’t do the exercises like I tell you to, or take too much time, this is your punishment.” I felt both panic and excitement. I barely knew this guy, and being with him was ten times more exciting than being with my boyfriend Trevor. I’d tried to convince him light touches were the only thing that excited me. But no matter how many times I told him, he continued to grab my breasts roughly whenever we made love. When I first met him, the sex was exciting, but now it was like making love to a robot. A robot with dirty hands.
            Blake gently eased up my t-shirt and pulled down the waistband of my leggings. My torso was soon on display. “I want you to stay very still. That’s extra punishment. If you flinch, I’ll spank you.” These last words were delivered in a whisper. My heart was pounding. This probably wasn’t proper trainer/client behavior, but I really didn’t care anymore. “Put your arms over your head.” I did.
            Blake counted off each stroke of the feather, counting down my punishment. They were short strokes at first, right below the strap of my bra. Then, he began moving downward, and the strokes got slower, and longer. I took deep breaths. Soon, he began tracing long figure eights, with the “strokes” lasing several seconds. Oh God, this was torture, and this was ecstasy, and so very, very exciting. He lifted up the feather, and gazed down at me, wondering where to strike next. He lingered around my ribcage, then a lightning flash down my side. I flinched.
            “On your knees,” he said. I flipped over and put my hands flat on the floor. The paddle cracked a little harder this time. Right square in the bottom. Then, firm flicks over all of my bottom. It didn’t hurt, at least not yet. Slowly, he pulled my leggings over my bottom and down my thighs. Starting at the backs of my knees, he stroked the backs of my thighs gently, then the insides, gradually moving to long strokes, endless circles, and figure eights.
My heart was now pounding. I was very wet. The flesh between my legs had a mind of its own. Oh my God. I wanted to squirm, but I told myself, staystillstaystillstaystill. What the hell was going on?!
Finally, Blake reached stroke 120. “We’ll work on your sides, this time. Back on the mat. Lay on a side; it doesn’t matter which.” I rolled over on my right side. He straddled my legs, and I tried not to realize that my Blake, er rather, Blake the trainer, was extremely well-endowed—and hard. “Now, what you’re going to do, is bend up towards me,” he said. “You’ll do fifty of these, in one-second intervals. Arms out to the side. And curl up as much as you can. I started in, afraid I’d have another muscle cramp. I breathed deeply, and tried to keep up with the pace. My mind was a non-stop chant of keepgoingkeepgoindkeepgoingkeepgoing. I smelled the trainer’s cologne, and that added to my excitement. A cute guy who smells good? Yeah, I’ll do anything you want. When was the last time Trevor smelled this good? Three years ago, on our first date. He’d stopped trying since then. I was able to get through the fifty reps without incident. “That was good!” Blake said. “Now, the other side.”
            I got through those as well. Blake unstraddled me and got one of those big exercise balls down off a rack. “This is your last exercise. I don’t want you cramping up, and eventually, you’ll be able to do more reps. Put your feet on here. No, like this.” My heels were resting on the top of the ball, my legs straight and angled up. Blake was holding the tops of my feet so they wouldn’t slide off. “Now, curl up as much as you can, and when you get to where you can’t curl anymore, move back a half inch, and continue to move back and forth just a half inch.” I took a couple of deep breaths. “How many reps?”
            “One hundred total; fifty at a time. Take a break after the first fifty. I won’t do anything. Just take a break.”
            I found I was sore, but I felt a little stronger. I got through the first fifty with no real agony. I laid back down and breathed deeply.
            “One thing you’re not doing is breathing,” Blake said. “You need to breathe as normally as you can while you’re doing these.”
            Fat chance of that, I thought. It was hard to breathe normally when I was curled up and fighting gravity plus my belly fat, plus my tits falling into my face. Still, the exercises felt different somehow. I summoned up enough energy for the second round of fifty reps. “Okay,” Blake said, “now I want you to stretch.”
We left the little office/storage room, and went to the main part of the gym. “Let’s go over here,” he said. He led me over to a weird-looking machine with a bar at the top. I stepped up and reached for the bar. “Stay there for as long as you can,” Blake said. I dropped after only a few seconds. “Again,” he said. I stretched for a fraction of a second. “Okay, now lay down on the floor, arms spread to the sides.” I lay down, looking up at him. “Just lay that way for a minute or so,” he said. “Take deep breaths.”
I breathed deeply for a couple of minutes.
            “Tell me Connie, what sort of problems do you have with food?”
            “I like it too much,” I snapped. “Isn’t that obvious? And I don’t exercise enough. And my metabolism shut down at the age of 22, I swear.”
            He looked at me. “Do you self-medicate with food?”
            I sat up quickly. “Yes. I work two jobs, and my main job is super-frustrating, and it seems like every time I make a vow to eat healthier, something bad happens at work and I think ‘fuck it, I’m going to have a candy bar.’ Or I go to a fast food place, even though I have something healthy packed for my lunch.”
            Blake nodded. “Lay back down. You need to relax. Breathe deep. You’re not alone.” He sat down on the floor beside me. There were a couple other people who had entered the gym and walked to the back wall to stow their jackets in the storage bins. “I think that’s a big part of people being overweight. They get bored, and they eat. They have nothing else to do but sit down and put a movie in the DVD player and eat. Or, like you, they have jobs that are stressful, and instead of smoking, or drinking, or doing drugs, they eat. It’s really common. Here, let's do some more stretching. Legs together, then bend over and grab your feet.”
            I complied. Gently, Blake pushed on my shoulders. “I’ve had this problem for a long time. I just plain like food.” I started to cry. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t just starve. And if I never get back to my high school weight, I’d be okay, I just don’t want to … be so fat.”
            “Does that hurt?” He pushed down further.
            “I feel a little tight, but it's not bad.”
Blake held his position. “It’s hard. Were your parents overweight?”
            “Yes, they were.”
            “I won’t say you’re doomed to your weight. I think you can lose some weight, but getting back to your high school weight might not be possible with the lifestyle you have now. Two jobs, wow. That’s quite a load.”
            Blake released the pressure on her shoulders. “Now, what I want you to do is to spread your legs out as far as you can. I'll push down, little by little. When you've reached your limit, tell me.”
            I felt the muscles in my hips as I spread my legs and bent forward. Blake pushed on my shoulders as my face got closer to the floor. “If I could find just one job that paid as much as my two jobs did, not that they pay a lot, but it’s enough for me to live on and for me to be able to save a little, I’d get that job. I work an uneven schedule, and I just barely have time to walk my dog, and I’m so tired all the time.”
            “Again, you’re not alone. It’s really not surprising to me that most of my clients who are in great shape are either retired, or they have jobs where they have set schedules, or they can really be flexible with their time.”    
            “So I can get better, but I can't get perfect, right? Ow. I think that's as far as I can go.”
            Blake removed his hands from my shoulders and suddenly flopped down beside me. “I said earlier there's no such thing as a perfect body. Everyone has a different definition. Talk to ten different people, five women, five men, and you'll get ten different answers. With you, you're concerned with your torso. I do think that diet plays a factor. Try, I mean really try to cut out the bad stuff. More fruits and vegetables. No more junk food. If you've eaten it for a long time, your body is probably toxic. Have you had any recent health problems?”
            I sighed. “Yeah. For a long time, I've had problems with my period. About ten years ago I was diagnosed with endomitriosis. Then, I developed fibroid tumors. And then, in the past few years, I get nauseated when my period is starting. I'm bloated and sore. I just had an operation about seven weeks ago, something called a uterine artery embolization.” I stopped right there. Usually people didn't want to hear any more.
            “And?”
            “The operation was a success, I guess. The operation was supposed to kill off the tumor by cutting off the blood supply. And it’s, um, working, but I don't understand why I still feel nauseated though, especially in the morning. I still have my period, and I'm in a lot of pain when I get it. I had an MRI before the operation and the tumor was huge. The doctors couldn't say why I developed it. But when I got the films for the MRI, the tumor was so big it was curling around my spine.”
            “And the doctors didn't know why the tumor developed?” Blake asked.
            “No, but I suspect it was maybe all the junk food I've consumed. I mean, I don't smoke, I've never smoked. I've never done drugs. I'm thinking it's a build-up of all the chemicals and sugar and stuff.”
            Blake looked serious. “It could be.”
            “No. And I asked both the surgeon and the Ob/gyn. Twice. They said no one knows why women develop fibroid tumors.”
            He looked at me. “I'm not really a nutritionist, but the more natural the food you eat, the better off you are. Really good food is expensive. Like, free-range meat, and organic fruits and vegetables, things like that. I mean, look at Madonna. She has a better body than most women half her age. She works out a lot, of course, but being a vegetarian and not eating junk has a lot to do with it. She's disciplined. But to be fair to you, she doesn't work two jobs, and doesn't really have to answer to anyone, except herself,” Blake said, with a little bit of a smile.
            “And she has plenty of money to buy really healthy food, and she's got a home gym, and can afford a really good trainer.” I looked at Blake. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by that. It's just--”
            “No, it's okay. I know what you meant. But I don't think that Bob Parr gets to spank and tickle Madonna,” he grinned wickedly. “Our little secret.”
            I blushed.
            “And remember what I said about food. No more fast-food. If you need to gradually cut back, do it. I'd recommend cold turkey though. Harder, but sometimes it works better. If you don't have a tape measure, get one. Note your measurements on the three areas of your torso you want to tone up. We'll work on reducing those areas.”
            “Okay. Well, thanks for the incentive.”
            Blake grinned. “No problem. I'm here during the day from eight to five. I'd better see you soon.”
            I smiled, and rolled onto my knees and got on my feet before my face started burning again. “I'm going to stop at the restroom before I leave. I'll see you later,” I said, over my shoulder.
            I went back to the cubbyhole where my work clothes, purse and jacket were. I gathered them, then went to the bathroom. What the fuck just happened? I pulled down my leggings and underwear, and saw they were damp. The tickling and the spanking was the most excited I’d ever been. Like, really excited. Even the first time I’d had sex with Trevor didn't compare to what had just transpired in that back storage room. And Trevor didn't listen to me like Blake did.
            I drove over to the adjunct work room at Oaks. I graded papers, and there were lots of mistakes. Years ago, I was professional proofreader, and that meant my students’ papers looked like a murder scene, but all of that nitpicking would pay off during final exam time. The mistakes were good. They helped keep my mind off Blake.
When I got home, I jogged for a half hour. Then, I took my dog Taffy for a walk. When we got back, I got a garbage bag and soon, the bag was full of packaged food, chips, cereal and the last remnants of ice cream. I took it out to the garbage can, and tossed it in. Then I got online and researched core exercises. After doing another 500 stomach crunches (not all at once), I drank some water and got ready for bed. I thought about my encounter with Blake and how wrong it seemed.
And how good it felt.
                                                                                                                     




                 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bad Dreams

When sleep is not an escape, where do you go?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mor Feedback pleez!

Here's the next chapter in my novel. Tell me what you think!

Chapter Three

            I fought with the late afternoon traffic while making my way from the south side of Fort Wayne to the north, where 24/7 Fitness was located. In a few miles, I could get onto I-69 and zip up to Dupont Road.
            But crawling along during the rush hour on Spy Run Avenue, which followed the same curve as the Saint Joseph river, made me think about what was going on in my life. Trevor and Blake. Two total opposites. The honeymoon period had worn off with Trevor. I felt like I was still working on our relationship, while he wasn’t. I wanted some romance, and I hated that I had to initiate date night, and pay for it. True, I did make more money, but couldn’t he have saved a few bucks each week for a once-every-six-weeks-adventure outside of his house? All through the dinner and the movie, Trevor would sit silently, as if enduring the tedious burden of free food and entertainment. I remembered the anniversary of our first date, and bought him a gift and a card. He just sat on the receiving end unimpressed, while I felt like a plate spinner, frantically trying to keep the Corelle Dinnerware (or similar) from crashing to the floor while Katchaturian’s “Sabre Dance” played in the background. I remember the very early days of our relationship when he made an effort.
            Then there was Blake, totally out of my league. But he seemed interested—or was he? I’d been burned so many times, and experienced so many weird behaviors from men, that I never knew what to think anymore. My man radar was totally off. When guys were interested in me, I’d think that they weren’t. Then, when I thought a guy was interested in me, he wasn’t. Did Blake really care, or what he just out to get what he could? And was I horrible for craving our workouts?
            The traffic thinned out, and I was on I-69 north, speeding to Blake. I was starting to obsess over him, which is what happens when a guy pays attention to me. I tried to rein myself in—if I managed to lose weight and tone up with these “workouts”, then it was all well and good. But that’s all it might be. I tried not to get overly excited about him, but how could I not? Blake smelled good. He dressed in workout gear which actually fit him. He had enough hair on his head, not too short, not too long. He seemed sympathetic. He also seemed worldly, gentlemanly, but with a pinch of naughtiness to him. And I trusted him. Strange as it may sound, I trusted him. Maybe most importantly, he was nice to me. Not that desperate kind of nice, like so many guys attempted, but ended up making them seem wimpy, but a comfortable, confident nice.
            Then there was Trevor, with his skin-tight Pillsbury Dough Boy t-shirt that fit him 40 pounds ago. Trevor, who once stood in front of me and asked if he smelled bad. I couldn’t detect anything particularly rank, but asked him why he asked. He said it was because he couldn’t remember the last time he took a shower. Trevor, who practically shaved his head bald, to save money on shampoo. Trevor, with his robot-like approach to the world and spot-on ability to say the least appropriate thing at the worst possible time. Trevor, who washed cashmere for Christ’s sake. I pushed him out of my mind as I saw the exit for Dupont Road. Hopefully Blake would be there. Was that last workout just a dream?  I parked my car and walked towards the entrance, the butterflies fluttering in my stomach.
*  *  *
I used my electric key fob to open the door. The gym was starting to fill up with day-shifters. I looked around, but I didn't see him. Big Shoulders was in the office and didn’t look up. I put my stuff in a cubbyhole. The gym had cable, and the treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bicycles had television screens. I chose an elliptical, and plugged my earbuds in.  This was a treat for me, because I didn't have cable. I worked too much to waste money on it. Mom and I had it years ago, but I cancelled it soon after she died. I had enough money to continue it, but it brought back painful memories as I tried to do everything I could to keep her from dying. She knew she was dying, and she was probably okay with it, but naïve old me had that same childhood hope that she’d pull through. I knew damn well if I continued cable, I’d tune into VH-1’s I Love the 90s marathon starting at noon and commence crying. All I’d get from that is a stopped up nose and wondering why it was dark outside.
I flipped through the channels until I saw Clean House. It was one of my favorites. I also liked Hoarders, because I could always think, my house doesn't look like that. At least, not yet. And yeah, there was underwear on my coffee table, but at least it was in a pile and clean.
I was deep into the episode when all of a sudden …
“Hey!”
“Oh! Hi!” I squeaked.
            “Haven't seen you in a while,” he said, looking at me in a rather concerned way.
I was so excited, I forgot I was on the treadmill. In seconds, I was speeding backwards, my earbuds popping loose from my ears, and as I grabbed the cord, it popped out of the jack before I went sprawling ass first on the carpet. Smooth. I looked up at him. “I’ve been klutzy—er, busy.”
            Blake bent over and offered me a hand. He easily pulled me to my feet. “You okay?”
            “Uh, yeah.” Great. Not only was I fat, I was clumsy too.
            “So what do you do for a living? Blake asked. “I guess either I didn’t ask, or you told me and I forgot.”
            “I told you. Two jobs. I work retail, doing delivery for High’s, the home improvement store, and I teach at Oaks Community College.
            “Wow. You are busy.”
            “Yeah, and to make things worse, my schedule at High's is all over the place. I told them I needed to open two days a week on the days I have class, but of course, they will have me close the night before. On my days off from High’s, I usually grade papers.”
            “That sounds insane. As well as completely unhealthy,” said Blake. He paused. “I was wondering,” Blake said. “It's been weeks. I thought maybe, well ... maybe I'd scared you off.”
So it really DID happen! I seemed to get involved in situations where something so wild, so unbelievable had happened, I often just stood in shock, wondering if that customer had really said how women shouldn't work outside the home, or if that toddler had really head-butted me right above the back of my left knee. Working retail was a lesson in humiliation. No matter how much education you had, or how smart you were, if you wore a smock or vest, you were a servant.
            “No. Well, maybe a little. I mean … it was uh, a different experience. And I really have been busy and tired. And I've not been well, either. Work is frustrating, and I, uh, I cry a lot and I've been throwing up and my, um, periods really hurt.”
            “You've lost weight too, haven't you?” said Blake.
            I looked down at my still protruding stomach. “About 30 pounds. Um, well, actually I've lost additional weight since dropping the 30 ... I think it's an extra 15 pounds or so.”
            “Have you called the doctor?” he asked.
            “Yes. Twice. Both of them. They said, 'it's not uncommon, especially after surgery.'”
            Blake really looked concerned now. “Keep an eye on that. If it gets worse, call them. I mean it.” He looked right into my eyes.
"Have you kept up with your core exercises?”
            “Kind of. I've been in a lot of pain … my periods are making me miserable. Sometimes, I'm in so much pain, I can't move. I've been downing Aleve and Midol. That's the only way I can make it through my twelve-hour days.”
            “So … what about this pain you've been having? Did the doctors really blow you off?”
            “Yup. Both of them. So I guess I just keep going until I can't go anymore.”
            “Please don’t do that,” he said. “Keep bugging the doctors. Aside from everything else, have you gained any strength in your core? I know you said the pain is bad, but ...”
            “I think I've gotten a little stronger.”  "I can do more reps, and despite the menstrual cramps and pain, I feel different. Of course, that could be the tumor breaking up. “So in that sense, the operation did work. But as for my periods, they're pretty much worse than ever.”
            “That’s not good. Don’t let that go too long.” He looked at me, concerned. “So, are you up to a workout today? I'm assuming you are, at least to some extent.”
            “Oh yes,” I said. “I took plenty of Midol. I’m temporarily pain-free and completely wired on caffeine. Are you planning to 'motivate' me?”
            “I thought you'd never ask. Well, come on, then.”
I started walking back toward the room (it was all I could do not to skip with glee) but Blake went to the front office, and spoke a few words to Mr. Shoulders. I paused in the open office that led to the back hallway. Blake appeared a few seconds later.
            “Sorry. I just wanted to tell Jim that I wouldn't be available for a few minutes. It's 4:15 p.m. now; I've got someone in for a training session at 4:30 p.m. I'll need to keep an eye on the time, but we can get some activity in. Better a little, than none at all,” Blake smiled wickedly. He walked to the back office and unlocked it.
I was pretty well worked up, and we hadn't even started yet. I couldn't help but compare this gym with Curves, the all-women gym I'd previously been a member of. It was nice and all, but there weren't any trainers that looked like Blake, that was for damn sure. And there were about twenty stations with workout equipment in a circle. The idea was to work out at each one for two minutes, then move on to the next one. I'm sure the premise was to keep from being bored with the workout. With Blake, there sure wasn't any danger of that.
He brought in a small mat and took out the paddle. “Okay,” he said. “Lie down on the mat on your back. Slide your sweatpants off.”
            Awkwardly, I got down on the mat and slipped my shoes off, then my sweats. Thank goodness I put on something resembling lingerie today, instead of my usual ancient, shredded white cotton bikinis. I laid on my back.
            Blake observed me for a moment, then grinned. “I like the undies.”
“Thought you would,” I smiled back.
“Okay then, legs together, up in the air.”
            I raised my legs. From my point of view, my feet looked like I was hovering over the ceiling tiles.
            “Okay, I want you to put your hands behind your head. Bend up as far as you can, then go back down. I'd like to see thirty reps.”
            I crunched up as far as I could go, then back down. I settled into a rhythm, but because of my belly, it was hard for me to articulate the effort of each crunch. It was also hard to breathe. I tried to squeeze in a breath when I eased back down, but it wasn't easy. Exhale on the way up, inhale on the way back down, I told myself.  I hoped I wouldn't cramp up. I thought I'd read somewhere that breathing deeply helped avoid muscle cramps. I fought through it, and got to fifty. I eased back down and smiled.
            “I'm impressed,” smiled Blake. “You've gotten stronger, that's for sure.”
            “Yes, I can feel it. But I don't think I've gotten any smaller in my torso. I've lost nearly fifteen pounds, so I can feel it in my pants, especially. I had to start wearing a belt with some of my jeans.”
            “Okay, take a break for a couple of minutes. Then, bend your legs. Keep your knees close to your chest.  Hands behind your head. Then, crunch up, but do it diagonally. Not straight, but angle to the left. Try to touch your right elbow to your left knee. Twenty reps.”
            I knew this would be harder. I looked at the clock on the wall. After the second hand had swept around twice, I took a couple of breaths and started. It was even harder to breathe, doing the crunches diagonally. But when I looked in the mirror sideways this morning, I was horrified. When I stood normally, I looked pregnant. My belly stuck out even more than my breasts, and I was rocking a 38D bra. Gritting my teeth, I curled as far to the left as I could. My right elbow barely touched my left knee. After the tenth rep, I could feel sweat on my forehead. At the fifteenth rep, I was starting to ache. At the seventeenth, the cramp hit. “Ow!” I whimpered. “Oh God, it hurts.”
            “Okay, on your stomach,” said Blake. “Stretch your arms out.”
            I rolled over, and took deep breaths. The cramp felt one percent better. Then, a smack on my behind. It wasn't hard, just enough to get my attention.
“So you did eighteen crunches, here come eighteen spanks." Blake just flicked his wrist, instead of putting a full, arm-length swing behind it. The first one was square on my behind, then the second one was lower, on the bottom of my butt. Then, the rest of the smacks made the full tour around my bottom. And the intensity varied. Here was a tap, there was a hit with a little heat on it, the next one was a bit restrained. Oh. My. God. This was beyond hot. The last five were hard—several seconds between each whack—and each one in a different spot. Blake finished, then said, “okay, on your back again. You need just two more reps, and you'll be done.”
I got into position, then completed my two reps. “I'm sorry I wasn't able to do them all at once.”
            “I'm not,” Blake grinned.
            I laughed. “Yeah, I didn't think you were sorry.”
            The clock read 4:25. “Twenty reps on the other side. And hurry it up. I've got a client at 4:30.”
            “Getting pushy, are we? So what will you do if I can't do them all at once?”
            “If I tell you, it ruins the surprise. The only reason I mentioned it that first time I ‘motivated’ you was to see if you'd take off. You didn't, so I figured if you came back, I could surprise you.”
            I thought about this. My bottom was tingling, I was sweaty, and I couldn't really understand why I was so turned on. Was it because it felt forbidden? Couldn't Blake get in trouble for this? Was he taking advantage of me and I was too dumb to realize it? Or did he have a radar for women with lousy sex lives?
            I made it through, keeping an eye on the clock the entire time. After I was done, I collapsed. “Two minutes to spare. And I got through all the reps. Aren't you impressed with me?”
            Blake smiled. “Yes and no. I didn't get to spank you that time. So I'm glad you're getting stronger, but I was really hoping to work you over.”
            “Maybe next time,” I smiled back. “And I'm going to work on the core stuff at home more. You're supposed to push me, remember? You were the one who offered to help.”
            Blake's face became serious. “That I did.”
            “And there's something else I'm doing; that I want to show you. But it's a surprise,” I said.
            He glanced at the clock. “Too bad we're out of time. I would have tickled and spanked that surprise right out of you.”
            My stomach flip-flopped. “Really?”
            “Yes, really. Be careful when you say stuff like that. Remember, I'm here during the day. I want to see you here more often.”
            “My schedule is all over the place. Sometimes I'm working seven days a week.”
            “Yes. And I also remember you saying sometimes you were scheduled 7-4, and then you close. You can come in after work, and you can come in before. I expect to see you at least once a week.”
            “Well, I do want to show you something. I want to, well ... I guess I want someone's opinion, and I don't want to show Trevor.”
"Trevor?"
"He's my um … boyfriend."
            Blake and I looked at each other for a moment.
            “Now I'm really curious; but it will have to wait. Come on, we have to get out of here, and I have to lock this office.”
            I went for the door, and Blake put the paddle away. He joined me, opening the door and leading me out. He grabbed the doorknob and unlocked it.
            “I’ll go out first, then you follow in a minute or so, okay? See you soon,” he grinned.
            “See ya,” I said.
            I waited for Blake to walk out into the gym, then I followed. I found I couldn't keep my eyes off him, but I managed to get a drink of water before I resumed my solo workout.
            But my eyes fixed on Blake again as I made my way to the front of the gym where the elliptical machines were. His client had indeed showed up. All the good, sexy feelings I had vanished as if I had been shoved into an ice-cold shower.
His client was Stephanie Zoslukova. An acquaintance of mine. I couldn't really call her a friend, because friends don't insult you in front of other friends, or let loose with condescending remarks. Stephanie always needed an audience, especially when she was putting me down. Stephanie, who made every gathering with my group of friends a minefield, was talking to Blake. That five-foot tall, three-hundred-and-fifty-pound total narcissist, all-around self-centered bitch was flirting with Blake (as she did with every man) and I went from horny to furious in a nanosecond.

Furious, and jealous.