She needed a job, he needed a personal assistant. It seemed like a match made in heaven until he laid out the rules he expected her to follow.
The stinging slowly subsided. Just one more, Pam. He merely wants you to learn listening and obeying are not optional. He's not at all like Stanley. He's not taking a belt to you, and his objective is to teach, not hurt. Eyes scrunched closed, she said, "Two."
The third swat was the hardest yet, and it brought a flood of tears to her eyes.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be disrespectful. Please don't hate me."
"I don't hate you, Pam. However, I still need you to give me the count. You will remain in this position until you do."
"Three," she cried, and within seconds he had her enfolded in his arms.
"Shh. It's over. All is forgiven, and you were very good about it. I'm proud of you."
She clutched his shoulders and sobbed harder than she could recall crying in her life, and yet, despite the slight tenderness in her backside, she felt amazingly free. Almost light. He rocked her until her tears finally subsided then reached for the tissues and helped clean her up.
She laughed a little at the scene she'd made. Though she'd cried like he'd whipped her bloody instead of giving her three firm smacks with his hand, his soft reassurances soothed her more than anything else could.
When she'd finally settled, he carried her back to the table and eased her into a chair.
"Tender," she admitted with a smile, which he promptly returned.
"All right. The first time is always the worst, though usually the lightest."
"That was light?" she choked out.
"Relatively speaking, yes."
"It hurt more than I thought it would."