At what point does joking become brattishness, play become punishable? It’s something I’ve often wondered with her. Those jokes, those games, that sense of fun – those moments that make me love her so, suddenly turning into one of those moments where she goes too far, crosses that line. A line which so intangible, so difficult to define – yet so clearly understood by us both.
It was the vase of flowers that did it: that beautiful vase of fresh blooms, that I’d had waiting for her when we arrived at the hotel after our flight to North Africa. That welcoming present, bringing a beaming smile to her face as we walked into the room, of starting the holiday in the way in which I hoped it would continue.
The hotel was as fabulous as they say. La Mamounia had been Winston Churchill’s favourite hotel, and I could see why: the suite luxurious to the point of total indulgence; the pool as gorgeous as can be; the gardens ideal to wander hand-in-hand; the food as exquisite as could be imagined. And Marrakech itself: amazing, amusing, a manic mix of colour and noise and bustle and fun.
We laughed, we explored, we played, we made love.
And then. And then… that vase of flowers.
I’d told her, of course, that she’d damage something, as she pranced around, re-arranging our things, laughing, playing with the ornaments, teasing coquettishly. I’d warned her. Asked her to calm down.
And then: “Catch!” Only I didn’t. How could I have done, writing notes in the guidebook as I sat at the desk reading about the museum we were planning on visiting that afternoon? The small, intricately-carved box that we’d bought together the previous day in the souks, that maze of small covered markets, flew straight past me and cracked into the ornate vase with perfect accuracy.
Cleaning water and flowers from the floor of a five-star hotel suite is not the way I like to spend my holidays. As she gasped and held her hands to her face in horror, I ran past, grabbing the towels from the bathroom, trying to soak up the damage, before reaching for the telephone.
The hotel staff arrived within moments, profuse in their re-assurances, gathering up the remnants of china from the floor, damping down the wall and carpet, proffering fresh towels, apologising almost as if they had been the ones who had caused the damage. But of course, they hadn’t. The one who had? She sat quietly on the edge of the bed, silently, a worried look on her face…
The one who had, when the staff departed (generous tips in hand), was made to sit at the desk and write her apology to the manager for the breakage, on the hotel’s embossed notepaper, offering to make good the damage.
The one who had was then told sharply to put on her shoes and get outside.
“Where are we going?” she asked as I pushed her towards the door.
“You’ll find out soon enough.” I ushered her out into the corridor.
We waited for the lift. “Please tell me.”
I remained silent.
She looked down at the carpet: “I’m in trouble, aren’t I?”
“What do you think?”
She nodded slowly. “But I didn’t mean to….”
The lift doors opened. “You were fooling around, and you broke what was a very beautiful, never mind very expensive vase.”
I ushered her into the empty lift. “So pleeeease tell me: where are we going?”
“For a walk, my dear girl. We have some shopping to do.”
The lift reached the ground floor, and we walked across the plush reception area and out into the warm Moroccan sunshine. The uniformed doorman saluted, smartly: “Bon après-midi, monsieur. Un taxi?”
I smiled at him, and wondered. No, I thought, the walk would do her good, would give her time to contemplate. I shook my head, “Non merci,” and led her across the perfectly-tended front garden of the hotel.
We turned out of the gate, to our right, proceeding quickly alongside the ancient city walls, the sun beating down. She tried to linger, to walk more slowly, until I grasped her wrist tight and pulled her close, alongside me, forcing her to keep up. I wondered how many of the drivers zooming past noticed her protests?
Crossing the road in Marrakech is never easy; with a recalcitrant young lady trailing behind, it could be positively dangerous. So as we drew level with the crossroads, I stopped and looked down at her. Placing my finger under her chin, I lifted her eyes to mine and issued my warning: “You will start to behave appropriately from this point on, or else you will be in even more trouble than you are already. Do you understand me?”
She nodded, her eyes almost filling with tears.
Yes, I thought, she understood. She understood how much trouble she was in. She understood how she is dealt with when she gets herself into trouble. Only she didn’t, yet, understand precisely how she would be corrected on this specific occasion.
I held her hand tightly as we darted across the busy roads, dodging cars, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. Held it tightly as we walked down the shop-lined street. Held it tighter still as we crossed Djemaa-el-Fna, the famous market square with is traders, merchants, conjurers and snake-charmers.
“Where are we going?”
Yet still I ignored her, leading her round the stalls selling flavour-full freshly-squeezed orange juice, piled high with wonderful dates. Leading her into the hustle and bustle of the main souk – past the shops selling the tacky souvenirs, deeper into the heart of the ancient market. A right-turn here, a left-turn there, past the metalworkers, past the carpenters… and then a left turn, into a quieter, calmer market.
Her eyes widened: the leather souk. And the speciality of this first street? As we looked ahead, we saw countless tiny shops, each selling one product: leather belts. Newly-made, hand-crafted leather belts.
She looked up at me, eyes wide. “But…”
“Choose a suitable belt, my dear.”
A panicky look on her face. Questioning, feebly: “Suitable?..”
I nodded, “Suitable.”
She stood by me. I folded my arms: “Well go on. I’ll wait here.”
Slightly panicky, she set off, looking nervously into the first shop. Then on to the next, eyeing up the huge piles of belts hanging from their buckles in the shop entrances. A trader spoke to her, but speaking no French or Arabic, she could not reply; he pointed to me, and she nodded. He, presumably, assessing my waist size; she, presumably, with different thoughts in her mind.
She ran her fingers down some of the leather, then moved on to the next stall, again reviewing the goods. Again she toyed with the belts, before selecting one carefully and disappearing inside. Moments later, she was back at my side, handing over a black plastic bag.
I looked inside, frowning at the lightweight belt she had selected. And closed the bag again, handing it back to her without a word, and shaking my head.
“That won’t do. As you well know.”
She looked at me, then turned away, taking the black bag with her, disappearing back into the shop.
And then returning to my side, proffering her purchase for my inspection once more, the thick, well-crafted belt this time meeting the necessary standard.
She huddled into me: “I’m sorry, really I am.”
Placing my hand firmly on her shoulder, I led her forward, along the narrow souk, past the gaze of the merchants, before turning left through an ancient wooden door, into a high-ceiling, brightly-lit alleyway. Once more countless stalls lined each side of the market – this time, the souk specialising in another Moroccan speciality. Her eyes widened as she took in the sight of the slipper souk – each stall displaying hundreds of items of leather footwear.
“The yellow slippers are the traditional ones,” I commented, pointing her in the direction of the first small shop. Eyes wide, she scanned the rows of slippers, then selected a pair, paid hurriedly, and came back to my side.
“Where do you think we should go now?” I asked her.
She looked at me: “Back to the hotel?”
I nodded, putting my arm around her and pulling her to me. As she looked up at me, I asked: “And what is going to happen when we get back to the hotel?”
She blushed. “Pppleeease… people might hear.”
She looked up at me. “You’re going to punish me for breaking the vase.”
I placed my hands on her shoulders, and kissed her gently on the forehead. “Let’s get going, and get this over with, shall we?”
She nodded, meekly. I led her back through the labyrinth of narrow, interlinking streets, and several minutes later we emerged blinking into the daylight once more. I flagged down one of the yellow Mercedes taxis; after agreeing a fare of 20 Dirhams, we jumped into the back for the short, silent journey back to the hotel that was our bolt-hole from the chaos and confusion of the city.
We reached our room, and I walked straight over to the large sofa, sitting to one end. I beckoned her to sit next to me, and put my arm around her shoulders. I spoke with sadness in my voice: “I thought you had agreed that you were going to behave yourself this holiday?”
She nodded. I continued: “It so disappoints me when you let yourself down like this. When you show that you can’t quite behave in the way that you should. When you’re childish and careless.”
She was blinking back tears as I hugged her close and proceeded with the lecture: “We’ve had such a lovely time so far, and now you have spoiled it. I’ve tried before to make you understand that there are times when your behaviour goes too far, and I’m clearly not getting through to you.”
As I took my arm away from her shoulders, she murmured a tearful: “I’m sorry”.
I reached for her wrists, and pulled her over my lap, her hands reaching forwards to touch the ground in that by-now so familiar position. “If you behave like a naughty little girl, young lady, then I shall have to treat you like a naughty little girl.”
She sniffed loudly, as I lifted her slightly, reaching under her body to unbutton her trousers and push them downwards, lowering them until they reached her ankles. And then I very gently lowered her plain black panties, feeling her shudder slightly as I bared her pale buttocks.
Then slowly, lifting my hand high, I delivered the first two smacks, one on either side, feeling her wince and watching the red marks forming, the outline of my palm and fingers clear against her skin. She knew too well by now to wriggle too much, but as I built up the momentum of the blows, she could hardly help but struggle under the whacks. Again and again my palm descended – some blows stinging, others firmer and harder – until her behind glowed a most satisfactory red.
And then it was time to make use of our purchases. “Take off your trousers, and go and fetch a slipper,” I instructed, pointing her to the black bag that lay on the floor near the door. Slowly, hesitantly, she lifted herself up, kicking off her jeans. She pulled her panties back up, as she walked across the room and rummaged in the bag, before returning, holding the slipper out to me, avoiding my eyes.
I patted my lap, and she draped herself reluctantly into position once more: she had long ago learned not to argue with me once the punishment had started. Again I slid down her underwear, running my hand gently over her warm backside as this time I pulled her knickers off and threw them to one side. “We’d better see how effective the local punishment implements are for young ladies who damage local property, hadn’t we?”
No reply: not that I expected one. I lifted the slipper in the air, and flicked it down hard against its target, generating a yelp – of surprise and pain. A most pleasing reaction, in fact, continued to be achieved by the impact of the slipper as I worked its way thoroughly and repeatedly around her backside, my left hand now positioned carefully in the middle of her back to hold her in place.
One advantage of staying in such good hotels is that they are built so robustly that one need have no concerns about what the neighbours might overhear, and so the cries that met every blow belonged only to the two of us. By now she had started to utter her apologies, begging me to stop, and with two final hard smacks low down, I threw the slipper to one side and barked at her to stand. I got up, and stood behind her, my arms around her shoulders, hugging her tightly: “You’re being very brave, and I would assume you are learning your lesson, my dear?”
She nodded her agreement.
“Good,” I continued, letting go of her and allowing my hands to run gently across her buttocks. “Then we are presumably in a position to finish this conversation before we go down to lunch? You know where to go next.”
I stepped over to retrieve the firm leather belt from the bag, as she positioned herself over the end of the bed: buttocks raised as she stretched her upper body face-down along the bed, and placed her folded hands on the back of her head.
I folded the belt double, running the thick leather through my fingers. “I’m going to finish your correction, young lady, by whipping you twelve times with the belt which you selected for me this morning. And once I have finished, we will forget all about the broken vase, and more importantly all about your selfish and thoughtless behaviour in breaking it.” And with that, I thrashed the strap down hard, drawing a cry from her lips.
She has been punished with various instruments, of course: the slipper and belt weren’t new to her. She has more than a passing familiarity with the feel of my hand, hairbrush and tawse, while – I’m sorry to have to say – on a number of occasions her behaviour has merited the use of my trusty cane. Yet there is something about a sound strapping with a belt that always gets through to her – bringing back memories of past punishments, no doubt.
And so as I disciplined her so hard, I talked softly to her, re-assuring her, telling her how much I cared; letting her know that she would get a hug when it was finished; reminding her that if only she could rein in her brattishness, she need never find herself in this position again. Whilst, of course, continuing to deliver perfectly-judged, fierce lashes that striped her behind, as she sobbed her apologies.
And then it was over. Throwing the belt to the floor, I reached forward and ruffled her hair softly, then climbed onto the bed next to her, pulling her towards me, and feeling her wet face nestle into my chest. And I kissed her and comforted her, and stroked her backside soothingly; we cuddled and hugged as we lay close, intertwined on the bed.
She knows how much I care about her; how I find her so cute, so bright, so witty, so kind, so pretty.
And she knows that she is only disciplined when she really deserves it. That she is only disciplined because I care enough about her to want to help her to behave in the way that she should.
She’s lucky too, in that way, I guess.
We held each other until we were both relaxed, calm, the spanking in the past – forgiven if not totally forgotten. And then wandered slowly into the gardens; sat on the hotel’s lovely terrace, under the bright Moroccan sun, sipping vintage champagne and holding hands. She squirmed uncomfortably on the hard seat – I’d mischievously confiscated her cushion. And we looked at each other, fondly and happily, both reflecting that this really was a rather marvellous way to spend a holiday.