Is there a difference?
In the words themselves, no. I really don’t think there is. Really, where the difference lies is in how those words make you feel.
“Punishment” is negative. At least to me it is. Punishment evokes feelings of guilt and images of severity. No one wants to be punished, although I’ll confess, when I’m reading about it in books, that word can take on a whole new meaning. In a book, it becomes an erotic trigger.
Casey stared down at her shoes. Yes, she should have kept her mouth shut, but being told in front of everyone to stay behind while the rest of the lecture filed out past her, giving her those looks, those sniggers, just smacked a little too close to high school and detention halls, a stern talking-to by either teacher or principal, every one of those things being something she had left behind years ago. This was college and she wasn’t a kid. How was it that Thomas Shaffer could, with a look over the rim of his glasses, reduce her to feeling like one all over again.
He was giving her that look right now–perched as he was on the edge of his desk, long legs braced on the sterile white tile floor before him, arms folded across his chest, sleeves turned up, baring the solid musculature of his forearms. He had tiny veins standing out against his flesh. Teachers shouldn’t have arms like that. Lumberjacks did. Construction workers, athletes, men who did hard physical labor all day long had arms like that, but not pencil-pushing, paper-shuffling teachers.
He lowered his head and there it was, sharp hawk-eyed baby blues glaring at her over the gun-metal gray of his glasses. God, she hated that look. It shot straight to her stomach, turning everything inside her into quivering knots. Her knees actually trembled. She was thirty-flippin’ years old and her knees were trembling! How did that even happen?
“Without a doubt,” he suddenly began, getting up from his desk and walking toward the exit, “you are the smartest person I have ever tried to teach, but you seem to take great delight in busting my chops in front of every other student every chance you get. Today is the very last time you will ever do that.” Reaching the door, he locked it. He turned out all four lights, casting the majority of the room into instant darkness. Only the lamp on his desk remained brightly lit. He turned and headed back to it. “You can leave at any time, by the way. You might even want to consider doing that now, but I warn you now, if you walk out that door before I dismiss you, then you will not be permitted back within my classroom, and I do mean ever. I will fail you.”
Casey’s jaw dropped. “You can’t do that!”
“The hell I can’t.”
“I need these credits to graduate!”
“Then you have a choice. You can either find another major, or take the punishment your big, fat, ill-mannered mouth has just earned you.” Reaching his desk, he opened a door and withdrew what Casey’s eyes at first tried to conjure into a cutting board. That meek attempt failed when he set it down on top of his desk with a wooden clatter that seemed to echo through the empty lecture hall. It was a paddle–pale, shaped like a tennis racket only much smaller and with a shorter handle. There were bright red letters across the front. It said ‘Jokari’.
“What is that?” she asked, knowing full well–regardless of what it had been created for–exactly how Thomas Shaffer intended to use it. Her bottom erupted in crawling dread.
“Like I said–” Arms once more folded across his chest, he glared back at her, hard and unyielding, no trace of pity or chance of reprieve anywhere in his expression. “–you want to bust my chops in my own class, fine. But now it’s my turn to do a little busting of my own, and believe you me, little girl, this is not going to be anywhere near as much fun as what you had at my expense. This is punishment, and you’ve earned it.It’s going to be skirt up, panties, bare ass bent over my desk. It will not be gentle, or over with quickly, and I promise you’re going to remember it every time you try to sit down for the next three days at least.”
Casey’s chest was thumping. Her head was too. She had stopped breathing, and that tremble in her knees, it was a full-blown earthquake now. Her voice shook every bit as badly. “Y-y-you can’t do that.”
“The hell I can’t,” he said again, every bit as hard and as unforgiving. Then he unfolded his arms, snapped his fingers and pointed at a spot on the floor directly in front of him, his desk and that waiting paddle. “Front and center, or leave. That’s your choice and you have until I could three to make it. One…”
Okay, this is a punishment scene I’ve whipped out for illustrative purposes. I find this erotic. It’s a titillating scene and I wish there was more written of it so I could keep reading. If this was real life, however, I would not want to be in Casey’s shoes. Period. In fact, I would have a very hard time not fleeing the classroom. But take those same two characters and move the whole scenario into a Domestic Discipline type of situation and you have a completely different feel.
Casey sat on the living room sofa, absentmindedly wringing each of her fingers, one after another after another, and tried her very best not to fall apart. She’d known better. She’d known when she very first opened her mouth that it was a mistake she would later regret. She hadn’t meant to be disrespectful. She’d been trying to be funny, but even when she’d said it–lightly poking fun at her husband–she’d known both her timing and the location were inappropriate.
She stopped worrying her fingers, instead stabbing them into the curls of her hair as she held her head, elbows braced upon her knees, staring in wide-eyed dismay at the carpet between her feet. Why had she done it? She had no idea, but the minute those words left her mouth, she’d known she’d crossed the line. She’d seen it on his face, the way his expression hardened just a little and closed against her. She’d tried to laugh it off, to show she was kidding, but Thomas hadn’t laughed with her and neither had anyone else in that stuffy old lecture hall.
“Sit down, Miss Shaffer,” he’d said (not Mrs. Shaffer, or honey, or even just Casey…he’d called her ‘Miss’…oh God), in tones that promised there would be consequences to face later on. That tone had made her bottom crawl. After five years of marriage to a man who considered himself to be both a figure of authority in their house and a disciplinarian…oh yes, her bottom had crawled all right.
Why had she done it?
Across the living room, she heard the metallic fumble of a key being slipped into the front door lock and the click as the deadbolt turned. Casey came up off the couch as only a woman in trouble would, and while one look at Thomas’s unsmiling face confirmed her worst fears, the only thing it didn’t tell her was just how deep in trouble she was.
“I’m sorry,” she immediately volunteered, hoping to mitigate the consequences she could already feel coming into the house along with him.
Thomas did not answer right away. He put his keys and wallet on the small table by the door and set his briefcase on the floor, tucked up by the wall. A man fastidious in his habits, he hung his jacket in the coat closet before starting toward her with slow and measured steps. “I’m sure you are sorry,” he said, in a tone so somber that her stomach fell all the way to the floor. “What I’m not sure of, is exactly what you’re sorry for.”
“I should have kept my mouth shut.” Her stomach was trembling and with each heavy tromp of his shoes coming across the floor towards her, that trembling got worse. It became a rattle. A nervous, vibration that shook up her insides until she felt almost sick from it.
And Thomas just kept coming. But worse than that, he wasn’t just coming, he was unbuttoning his cuffs and rolling up his shirt sleeves with every stalking step. “When you decided to go back to school, honey, I don’t think I could have been any more proud of you. When you decided to take my class, I was fine with that too. You need the credits. I’m the only one who offers the course this semester. But what did I tell you?”
“Our relationship stops at the door.” She was wringing her hands all over again. She was in trouble all right and now her bottom was crawling all over again. She could feel it, that dreadful prickling sensation moving across her skin, sweeping up her spine, brushing up across the back of her neck, caressing down over the backs of both thighs before moving, inexplicably, in between them until the worst of that prickling became centered in a place it never should have been. Her clit. Her breathing was shallow and fast. Her heart felt panicked. Her sex was swelling, tightening, pulsing with erotic heat and flowing with moisture that never should have been there. She hated this. She absolutely hated being in trouble. It was a physical pain any time she did something that made her feel as if he were disappointed in her. And she absolutely did not want to get spanked–well, okay…sexy fun and games, sure; but when it was for real…when Thomas was looking at her the way he was right now–oh, hell no!
“Our relationships stops at the door,” he re-affirmed. “And what did you do?”
He was so incredibly calm. She was shaking now, her knees dipping in and out so weakly it was a wonder she hadn’t fallen yet. How could he be this upset with her and still be so calm? “I m-made a bad joke.”
“You mocked me in front of the entire class.”
And there it was. Flatly stated. Barbed with guilt-laden spikes. It made her next breath catch in her too-tight chest. “That’s not what I-I-I–“
“Do you think there’s a single person in that room who does not know you’re my wife? Do you think there’s a single one of them who doesn’t take their cues on how they themselves treat me directly from you?”
“I’m sorry, Thomas,” she whispered, truly devastated.
“So am I,” he said. And he was too. She could see the regret lurking deep in his dark brown eyes. “You’ve backed me into a corner where I have no choice but to discipline you. So, go get your Bad Girl Paddle and put it on our bed. I want you standing in the corner, ready for your spanking by the time I get there.”
Her legs felt like jelly, but without argument, Casey turned and did as she’d been told.
Again, the severity is there, but to me in real life this would feel more loving and less cold. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. I’m interested to see what everyone else has to say about this.
Don’t forget to check out the other authors and their points of view in this month’s Spanking Round Table.