Previous: Chapter 22 — Molly Gets a Cat
“I called you three times on FaceTime already! What are you hiding from me?”
Vic’s accusatory tone made my heart pound so hard my ears throbbed. “Nothing! I’m cleaning for the meeting tonight.”
“Oh, okay. I figured maybe you adopted a cat or something…”
I paused with the broom mid-air, panicked at first, then realized what had happened. “Violet told you, huh?”
“You know she can’t keep secrets from me. That’s why I wanted a video call. I wanna see our new family member!”
With a relieved sigh and giggle, I rolled my eyes. “Fine.” And turned on the camera, gushing at Victor’s smiling face. His positivity was always contagious, perking up any mood. I flopped on the bed next to Crackers, who was snuggled up in my blanket, apathetic to the excited chatter.
After a few minutes of admiring our feline friend, I remembered why I’d rejected the earlier video calls… “Did you ask Vi to get Adderall?”
I kept my gaze on Crackers as the blood rushed to my cheeks. How was I supposed to answer? Not that it matters… my hesitation was enough of a response. “It will help me focus on paperwork, and it’ll probably be useful for her to be medicated again…”
“Wait…” He blinked and shook his head. “Did Toby agree to this plan?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but didn’t have any words. Thankfully, Violet arrived, loudly interrupting our call.
“Work is a fuckin’ pain,” she said, slamming the front door and not taking a breath. “We literally just finished so drove straight from the office. They stopped at the corner store to pick up snacks… Ey, hermano!” As she entered my room, her demeanor instantly morphed into that of an eleven-year-old chattering about her accomplishments from the day. Vic effortlessly entertained his little sister, who was clearly fishing for compliments, beaming when he obliged.
A tiny nudge of envy burned in my chest, even though my gay husband cared as much (if not more) about me as Violet.
“I’ve been teaching Crackers a few tricks. Bro, you’re gonna love it!”
Vic laughed. “Cats always like me… I’m sure I’ll be her favorite.”
“Obviously she will prefer me!” I said vehemently. But before we could get into a full-fledged debate, the buzzer sounded, cutting off the conversation for good. I’d have to settle for air kisses and a goodbye wave instead of winning (that’s okay though, love > arguing).
Violet skipped to her room to change clothes while I put away the cleaning supplies and invited my friends inside. Chloe was made up all fancy, wearing a loose indigo dress that fell to her knees, somehow still showing off her petite hourglass frame. Gabe wore an actual pinstripe suit (subtle, not tacky) that probably cost more than my entire wardrobe.
“What did you bring?” I pointed to his leather briefcase, remembering our earlier conversation when he’d promised to shut Violet up if need be. A ball of nervousness bounced inside of me.
A devilish grin formed, and Gabe opened his mouth to answer, but Violet strolled in, disrupting the exchange (like always) by smacking him on the butt. When he turned to grab her hair, she darted to my bed, giggling as she hopped out of reach.
“You will regret that. Stop jumping on Molly’s bed, you’re not a child.”
She stuck her tongue out at him but obeyed, plopping down and teasing Gabe about being the only guy in the room. I didn’t listen, though, too busy wishing I could be as bold as my purple-haired friend: Not giving a fuck what people think and unworried about consequences. Verbal altercations didn’t intimidate her, and Gabe rose to the challenge every time.
The way he handles her is so hott.
The buzzer rang again, and I jumped up, leaving Violet running her mouth as I let in the rest of the family.
Izaak was clad in a pressed navy suit and bent down to greet me with a kiss on the cheek. Before I had the chance to question the rope he held, Toby walked in, button-down black and gray shirt tucked into his charcoal-colored pants with a shiny belt. He emitted a super professional aura, especially next to Vanessa, who wore a tight aqua dress and white high heels. When her eyes flashed up at me, I automatically felt her panic.
I followed them to my room, where everyone gave awkward hellos, feeling lightheaded when Violet noticed the solemn blond girl behind Toby. She looked like Crackers, ready to pounce.
“In case we need it for Esperanza,” Izaak said, showing the bundle of twine to Gabe.
Violet’s nostrils flared as her eyes darted from Vanessa to Toby, then back again. “Are you fucking kidding me with this bitch?”
I took control. “VyVy, come help get the chairs.” At least it’d give her a quick breath.
She grumbled and followed me to the kitchen. “Did you know she was comin’? Who the fuck does Toby think he is, bringing that bitch here? She’s lucky I don’t deck her right in the nose…”
“Just chill. It’s gonna be fine. Go with the flow. You can hold Crackers to calm you down.”
Violet shot me a glare, reaching for two chairs and not saying another word as she stomped back to my room.
An uncomfortable wooden stool rested in the heart of our circle, bucket of implements next to it. Violet perched cross-legged in my green recliner between Gabe and me, purring cat in her lap as if she were an evil villain. I was sitting on the end of the couch, Chloe and Vanessa occupying the remaining sofa space. Toby, Izaak, and Gabe were seated on chairs from the kitchen. We all looked at Toby to begin the meeting.
“While discussing Vanessa’s punishment for the altercation last weekend, it was determined she would suffer consequences in the group’s presence.”
“You can’t just bring random strangers. Ain’t that against the rules? We should’ve had to vote on this bullshit.”
“It isn’t, and you opted out of contributing a rule, so you have no leg to stand on.”
She rolled her eyes, but shut up. When Toby was certain Violet wouldn’t say more, he nudged Vanessa, prompting her to speak. “I apologize for disrupting the paintball game with my petty revenge tactics.”
“Oh my fucking god, she doesn’t mean that! Sounds like Toby’s words coming from her ugly mouth,” Violet groaned, earning her a scowl from Gabe and a raised eyebrow from Izaak.
It’s so easy for her to get what she wants from everyone. I wish I had her courage.
“Most of all, I apologize to you, Violet,” Vanessa said with fake niceness as she turned to my friend. “I shouldn’t have shot you like that, even if you were unfairly targeting me the entire game and aiming for my skull.”
“Yeah, whatever, fuck off.”
Gabe smacked her on the thigh, then wagged his finger in her face. “Enough.”
Toby ordered Vanessa to drop her panties and bend over the stool. Her bright pink lower lip poked out slightly, but she complied without objection.
If she’s that submissive, he probably mentally punished her already. His lethal weapon.
Vanessa’s tan legs turned lighter under her skirt, fading into a milky white bum. She gripped the bottom of the stool, panties bunched over her high heels. Violet was almost directly behind her, nose wrinkled in disgust.
How can she work with rich people all day while wearing knock-offs and still acting like she’s better than everyone else?
Reaching in the implement bucket, Toby pulled out a medium-sized wooden paddle, wide enough to cover her small bottom. The wood was moderately light, certain to pack a punch, but probably not leave any bruises. I peered around the room at everyone watching.
He certainly knows how to turn the vibe serious…
Toby didn’t speak as he moved behind the blonde co-ed and rested the paddle on her clenched cheeks. Vanessa squirmed slightly, gripping tighter onto the stool legs. Her eyes squeezed shut as the first loud SWAT! landed.
I peeked at Violet, who shook her head with an inaudible laugh. Crackers’s tail flicked left and right as she watched curiously.
Toby swung the wooden implement again, this time more forcefully, causing a squeak to spew from Vanessa’s pink lips. “Why are you sorry?” Another SWAT!
The white high heel stomped as her teeth clamped together to prevent a yelp. “Because my actions almost got us banned from paintball, and I could have hurt your friend.” The wood connected with her backside again.
“How will you avoid this behavior in the future?”
Vanessa winced at the next swat and kicked a little, then said, “I’ll go somewhere to cool off or channel my anger into winning.” Her face was redder than her bottom.
Now Toby landed a flurry of paddle swats, not allowing much time to breathe in between, increasing the intensity. It became more difficult for Vanessa to remain in position. She squirmed more, kicking up her feet and releasing her grip every so often, threatening to reach back.
I glanced up at Violet again, noticing Crackers first, pupils dilated, ears down. A flashback from yesterday entered my mind as I saw Violet tap the cat on her paw, sending her to attack Vanessa.
It happened in slow motion. The orange-black-white fur lurched towards Vanessa’s panty-covered shoe, claws latching into her foot as teeth sank into her heel. Vanessa screeched and shook her leg, getting out of position and startling Toby. Crackers bolted out of the room, then galloped back, stopping in the doorway to play with her toy mouse.
Violet was dying of laughter.
“What the hell was that?” Gabe asked, pulling Violet’s hair to shut up her sniggering. “Did you train that cat to do your dirty work?” He shook his head, tsking at her. “Izaak should have tied you up.”
“Fuck off! I was just sittin’ here!”
Gabe glanced at me and I nodded — she had kind of trained Crackers! “When the doc finishes, you’re next. And none of your sass, or I’ll get out the gag.”
With a glare, Violet found the loophole and flipped him off.
“You were literally bragging to Vic about it right before the meeting,” I scolded.
Violet’s mouth dropped, and she folded her arms. “O-M-G what a snitch!…”
Gabe cut her off with a snap of his fingers. “Since you enjoy being the center of attention so much, strip and get your nose in the corner until it’s your turn.”
“Bro, what the fuck!” She let out a sarcastic laugh. “First of all, this requires a vote. Second, that’s fucking harsh. And lastly, this bitch shouldn’t be here.”
I glimpsed at Vanessa, who stood up straight, hands rubbing her bottom through the fabric of her dress. A frowning Toby was at her side, arms folded and still holding onto the paddle, growing more impatient by the second.
“Okay, let’s take a vote,” I said before the arguing continued.
Of course Violet wanted to cause a scene when she lost, but Gabe quickly ended that, leaning in and whispering something menacing in her ear. I dunno what he threatened, but she got really pale, toddled to the corner, stripped, and put her hands on her head.
Impressed with Violet’s obedience, Toby thanked Gabe and continued with Vanessa’s paddling. She took it like a champ, only shedding a few tears. Her bottom glowed bright red, but we all knew the actual punishment was accepting a reprimand in front of everyone.
When the spanking finished, Vanessa stood and tried to soothe the sting as Toby’s arms wrapped around her, promising forgiveness. He excused her to the bathroom to clean up and regain her composure, rather than have to immediately endure our scrutiny.
The grumbling from the corner was ignored until Vanessa left the room. “We have a little show off over here,” Gabe said. “I propose the doc provide a paddling of equal intensity for Violet’s role in the dispute, and I administer additional discipline in private to deal with her poor attitude. Then she can be in the spotlight when she returns with soap in her mouth and an apology.”
“How the fuck do you expect me to talk with soap in my mouth?”
Gabe’s head whipped towards Violet and he snapped, “Was I speaking to you? Nose in the corner, now!”
She gave her classic exaggerated eye roll and turned back to face the wall.
Feeling evil, I piped up. “He’s right. She loves the attention too much. And looks like her bruises are fading… she needs a few more to keep her in line.”
“You’re such a little narc! Why aren’t you on my side?!”
I ignored her, turning towards the others in the circle to collect votes. Only Chloe opposed, as expected, which sealed Violet’s fate.
Vanessa returned all freshened up and slightly embarrassed, relieved to no longer be the prime focus when Gabe ordered Violet to the stool. My roommate turned around, belly sucked in to show off her gorgeous frame. Black and purple strands of hair fell in front of her eyes, but she shamelessly pushed them away as she smirked and bent over. She tossed her head to the side and glared at me with pretend-anger, sticking her tongue out.
Gabe saw it and reached for a thick strap from the implement bucket, lashing the leather down with extra force. A loud WHAP! echoed through the apartment, followed by Violet’s anguished cry.
“Fix your face,” he ordered as a red stripe formed across her bottom. “You think it’s cute to be disrespectful to everyone in this room?”
“I wasn’t disrespectful to Clo, she’s my girl…”
The strap slapped down again, this time across her thighs, causing a bit of a squeal from Violet as she gripped onto the stool’s legs.
Gabe spanks so much harder than Toby…
“Your behavior is impolite to all of us. First at the outing where you picked a fight with Vanessa…”
“Fuck her, she started it!”
“Stop lying,” he said, swinging the leather to connect with her reddening backside. “You targeted her unfairly and you know it. Then when she fought back, you lost your shit.”
“Fuck off, you weren’t there. Haven’t I already been lectured for this bullshit? And nobody voted for you to be allowed to beat me right now…”
Gabe grabbed her hair and made her confront him. “Who is the boss in our dynamic?”
When Violet rolled her eyes, he yanked harder, and she finally said, “You are.”
“I will lecture you about whatever I please and whenever I desire. Am I clear?”
“Yeah, fine, whatever.”
He released his grip and tossed the strap back into the bucket. “The backtalk continues, but I have a way to shut you up real quick.”
Violet looked up at him in terror. “Wait… what?” His sinister grin communicated all she needed to know, though the rest of us waited in confusion. “No!! You said… you can’t… no!!”
“Submit to your punishment, and I’ll consider something less humiliating.”
Grumbling, Violet bowed her head in resignation, accepting the reprimand from Toby without batting an eyelash. She didn’t so much as grimace, despite his cutting words and quick pace that left her butt cherry-red. As she relished in the spotlight, appearing badass instead of letting us see vulnerability, I once again fantasized about being her.
When it was over, Gabe spoke in his no-nonsense, bossy voice. “Stand up, get my briefcase, and take it to your room. You will wait for me in the corner, hands on your head, bottom sticking out, and thinking about the whipping you’re about to receive. And remember what I said will happen if you get sassy with me again.”
As she complied without resistance, everyone looked at him in awe. “You’ll have to share your tricks,” Toby said.
I nodded. “Yeah, give me access to your playbook, please! I could use that kind of submission from her!”
With a smirk, Gabe fetched a stingy leather tawse from the bucket before answering. “Someday I will.”
While Violet was being punished, the rest of us munched on snacks and made small talk. Vanessa only hung around for a few minutes, asking Toby if she could leave early to finish homework. We had more to chat about without her there, anyway.
“Were you really gonna use that?” I asked Izaak, reaching for the rope at his side.
“Yes, if I needed to.”
I fingered the braids, breath shortening as I wondered how suspension play would feel. “Have you done that before? Tied people up?” His rigid expression reminded me I didn’t need to know about his military experience… “Like, in a scene…?”
“Of course. My ex was into it.” He sensed I wanted more information because his eyes pleaded with me to not dig. Discussion of that relationship was off limits.
“What would you have done to Violet?”
Now Izaak’s lips curved up as an image entered his mind. “A wrist to ankle hogtie. She would eventually stop fighting if we kept her in that position long enough.”
“Yikes… that sounds scary…” I turned to ‘the lovebirds’ (as Violet called them). “Have you guys ever played with rope?”
Toby shook his head. “Words are what I use as restraints.”
The thought made my tummy jump, so I looked at Chloe to answer. Her blue eyes stared at him in admiration. “I’ve experimented some, but only if it’s safe. I’ll give up control, but not thaaaaat much.”
“How did you get into the lifestyle?” I asked.
Chloe tucked her wavy chestnut hair behind her ears and smiled at me. “Always kinda felt something weird, you know, with punishment and aftercare. I was finding videos and stories online as a pre-teen, fantasizing about what it’d be like to have a strict guardian. It’s gotta be hereditary, right?” she asked, glancing back at Toby.
“I think there’s a strong genetic basis for having a fetish. The science is still out, but within the next few years I’ll study it on my own. DNA research is exploding these days.”
I chimed in. “I’ve always wanted to do one of those tests! Would be cool to discover the spanko gene.”
Toby nodded. “That’s the goal. And speaking of jobs, where are you with notes? Did you catch up, or will someone paddle you at the next family meeting?”
My entire face scorching, I sank into my seat, wanting to disappear.
Izaak’s eyebrows raised, ready to join in on the scolding. “Again with the paperwork? Not good, Collins. Don’t get so behind they dock your pay like before.”
“It was more fun when we were talking about DNA…” I said, chewing on my fingernail.
Our newest family member took the hint and went back to stroking Toby’s ego. “Your research idea sounds so cool! I bet you’ve met so many spankos. Have you noticed any genetic similarities yet?”
“My sample size isn’t large or unbiased enough to draw conclusions.”
“What does that mean?”
“Everyone has the tendency to gravitate towards a certain type.”
“And your type is…?”
“Those into more ‘real’ punishment spankings. People who respond well to guilt, or exceed at poking my conscience.” Chloe blinked in confusion, and Toby’s ears turned pink. “I’m a switch, and define my sexual orientation as pansexual, not sure if you knew that. I have a mentor who spanks me.”
Chloe tried not to let her mouth drop in surprise, instead nodding and half-smiling. “And where is your mysterious mentor? Why isn’t she… or he… here?”
“She’s in her 40s with a family and prestigious job, so doesn’t attend events like this. I believe I’m her only mentee currently, but we don’t meet often.”
“Do you spank her, too? Is she a switch?”
He shook his head. “Power dynamics are important for me. I haven’t been successful at switching with a single play partner. Topping comes easier because, pardon the arrogance, I hold moral high ground with more people than not. For me to submit, I must believe that my punisher isn’t a hypocrite.”
“To be a good disciplinarian, it’s important to follow our own demands,” Izaak chimed in, fiddling with the rope.
“Being a mentor by default makes me a better person, because I’m hyperaware of practicing what I preach.” Toby moved his attention to me. “Maybe you need to coach someone so you’ll stay on task at work.”
I blushed, thankful to hear Violet’s bedroom door opening. “No, thank you. I’m fine with occasionally playing for fun. Not ready for that responsibility…”
Everyone glanced over at Violet and Gabe as they walked in the room. She was now dressed in her schoolgirl uniform, but the purple plaid skirt was tucked into the back, exposing her bare bottom. Hot red splotches from the tawse covered her butt cheeks and thighs.
Part of me craved those same marks. I deserve to suffer that pain.
I looked up to see a bar of ivory soap in her mouth, Gabe holding onto her upper arm. Violet’s hands stayed submissively behind her back.
What did he do to her?
Everyone watched as he gave Violet permission to take out the soap. Her nose scrunched up at the bitter taste, and her tongue smacked against the roof of her mouth. When she saw Gabe’s warning glare, she finally spoke. “I’m sorry for being a disrespectful brat. Hey, Vanessa left!” It was impossible to hide her smirk, so Gabe shoved the bubbly bar back between her lips and pointed to the stool in the middle of the room, ordering her to sit.
To make Violet suffer in silence longer, we killed time by giving final thoughts and impressions. I convinced Izaak to demonstrate his rope tying abilities on Violet, though he wouldn’t do the wrist-ankle thing since she didn’t earn it (yet). Instead, he made a normal knot behind her back that I’m sure she loved.
As the meeting ended, Gabe finally allowed her to rinse her mouth, and I glanced at my phone, noticing a text message from Adam. It was the first I’d heard from him all day.
Sorry, life has been busy. The kids’ grandmother went to the hospital. I’m driving to CT in the morning to take care of them. Catch up next week?
Without responding, I stuffed the device back in my pocket and focused on saying goodbye to my friends. Except Gabe. I wouldn’t let him leave yet.
“You’re staying to hang out, right?” So he couldn’t refuse, I gave my most adorable angel face. He obliged, of course, and picked out green CareBear pjs for me, now that I was almost fully transformed into ‘little’ me. “I just wanna snuggle and hear about your day.”
We settled into my bed, Gabe’s arm around me as my head laid on his chest. I breathed in his fresh-smelling cologne, enjoying the familiarity and comfort. Until he spoke. “What happened to you yesterday?”
“I was getting Crackers.”
It took a second for him to remember I was talking about a cat, not food. “That couldn’t wait until the weekend? Last-minute cancellations are for emergencies.”
I shrugged, unable to make eye contact. “Did you fix your one case with the sad guy and the obnoxious kid, or whatever?”
The way his breathing slowed, I could tell he was debating whether to accept my deflection or call me out. “Not yet, but we have a settlement hearing Tuesday. Don’t think I didn’t notice what you did there, young lady.”
Curling up into a ball, I nuzzled up even closer, making sure he couldn’t see my face. “What? I get emotionally invested in your clients. Hopefully you win, though. The sad guy doesn’t need anymore drama.”
Gabe sighed but entertained me with sorta psychoanalyzing his clients until I was yawning and half-asleep on his chest, kinda drooling on his tie. Oops. When he pried me off, I swallowed back my tears, not wanting to guilt trip him into staying. Instead, I let him tuck me in and kiss my forehead, bidding me goodnight.
As I snuggled into bed with Crackers, I regretted not asking Gabe to be my disciplinarian again.