Monday, December 16, 2013

The Fire Is Out

Vicky Stevens was in a great mood.  Her boss told her she would be getting a promotion and a large raise.  She had been working toward this for the three years she had been at Benson’s and it was finally going to pay off. She didn’t think anything could ruin her mood tonight. Tomorrow she would figure out how to tell Jeff the new promotion meant more travel and for longer periods of time.

She called Jeff to ask if he could meet her at Smithson’s.

“Smithson’s huh, you know that’s going to put a good dent in our budget.”

“Can you meet me or not?” Damn, lately he could really tick her off without even working on it, thought Vicky.

“Yes, I can meet you but I am not sure I want to.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means you have been really bitchy lately and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of your moods.”

She calmed herself down.  “I’m sorry, Jeff.  I didn’t mean to snap.  Will you please meet me for dinner at Smithson’s at 6:00 pm?”

“In that case, I will be happy to meet you there” he told her and hung up.

Jeff sat back in his chair and wondered what this was all about.  Vicky would never suggest Smithson’s unless something was up.  It was a place they saved for birthdays, anniversaries, special dates and celebrations.  He was worried and  hoped she would be in a better mood.

As Vicky hung up the phone she thought.  Why is Jeff getting on my last nerve lately?  It seems as if everything he says and does annoys me. I hate that.  What’s changed?

Vicky and Jeff Stevens had been married for twelve years.  Vicky worked as an Assistant Account Manager for Benson’s and Jeff was a fireman/paramedic.  They met when Jeff answered a call to Vicky’s workplace.  He called her the next day and asked her out.

“I don’t usually go out with strange men.” She told him.

“I am not a strange man.  I’m a fireman.  My job is to rescue damsels in distress.”

She laughed and answered ‘but I am not a damsel in distress.”

“Not yet.”  She laughed again and agreed to have dinner with him.  He had laughing eyes and an easy charm; and was no slouch in the looks department either.  He had to be over six feet tall with broad shoulders that tapered down to a narrow waist.  His biceps were works of art and she could just imagine the way he would look without that bulky fireman’s outfit he was wearing.

That first date was a fiasco.  He called her to say he would be late and she had forgotten she agreed to meet him.  They finally decided to meet at a local eatery, close to the station.  Unfortunately, that evening there was a bachelor party for one of the guys and it was noisy and raucous. The guys kept teasing him and trying to get him involved in their antics and were being obnoxious to Vicky.  At the end of the evening he asked for a do over.

“I think a do over would be a good thing because if tonight was any indication of what our dating life is going to be like, I think we should both just chalk it up to a bad experience.” Vicky said.

“I know we can do better.  But hey, you were the one that forgot all about it.  I, at least, remembered.”

She agreed. “My bad, I forgot to mark it down on my work calendar. I deserved a good scolding.  I’ll do better the next time, I promise.”

“Okay, how about Saturday night, and if you forget again I will not only scold you I might even have to spank you.”  She thought about that statement but didn’t acknowledge either him saying it or her hearing it.  He couldn’t be serious.  After all this was the 21st century.

Their second date went much better and it wasn’t long before they were seeing each other exclusively.  They dated for a year and a half when Jeff asked Vicky to be his wife.  Vicky said yes and they were married six months later. 

Their work schedules didn’t always coincide.  In the beginning, Vicky was off on weekends and worked pretty normal hours.  Jeff’s work schedule was three days on and three days off.  But the three days on were often 12 to 14 hours shifts and sometimes they wouldn’t see each other for days

As they became financially stable, they purchased a house and Vicky went off the pill.  They both figured it would only be a matter of time before becoming parents.  It hadn’t worked out that way.  They talked about all of the options available to couples these days but neither one of them were willing to acknowledge their dream might not happen in the way they wanted.  As the years passed, Jeff had achieved the rank of Captain and Vicky also achieved professional success.  Each had more responsibilities with more time spent at work and less time with each other.  They drifted along in this way day after day and year after year. 

Jeff was at Smithson’s at the appointed time.  He gave the hostess his name and before she escorted him to their table she said that Mrs. Stevens had called and would be a little late. With Vicky, a little late could be 5 minutes or 50 minutes.  She knew how much he hated to be kept waiting and yet she did it with regularity.  Granted, she couldn’t always control work circumstances but she could have at least called him directly instead of leaving a message.  He did have a cell phone and IF she wanted something she had no compunction about using it. 

He sat facing the door so he would see her when she arrived.  It was about 6:35 when she walked in the door.  After all these years, she still took his breath away.  If anything, she was more beautiful now than when they met.  The years had softened her and though the youthful glow was gone it had been replaced by a patina of grace and confidence that showed in every step she took.  He was used to heads turning to look at her as she walked by. 

“You’re late.” He said with just a touch of anger to his voice.

“Didn’t you get my message?”

“Yes, when I was already here.  Why didn’t you call me directly and then I wouldn’t have had to sit here waiting for you?”

“I’m sorry.”

“You seem to be saying that a lot lately.  You are always sniping at me and treat me like I don’t matter.  I hate what’s happening to us.”

“Can we have a do over, like our first date?” She asked. “Can you pretend I’m not late, I will lose my attitude and we will have a lovely evening?  How’s that?

He remembered that first date and was amazed that she did too.  “I’d like that.”

They were on their third glass of wine when Jeff asked what the occasion was that prompted this dinner. 

“I got a promotion today.  I am the new Senior Account Manager for Benson’s with a $24,000 a year raise.”

“Honey, Congratulations, that’s wonderful.”

“Thank you. So see tonight’s dinner is not going to be a dent in our budget at all.  With this new raise we can get a bigger house, or get that little cabin on the river, a bigger car, and lots of things that have been on our bucket list.”

“Yes, we’ll definitely be able to scratch some items off our bucket list.  What is involved in this promotion?”
Vicky was hoping that Jeff wouldn’t ask that question, at least, not tonight.  She didn’t want to lie but she might as well get it out in the open.

She hesitated but then said:  “It will involve more travel because I will be overseeing all the other districts not just the regional offices.”

“So you’ll be gone more than you are now.” He said.

“Yes, but you can join me as your schedule allows.”

He was happy for her and she deserved the recognition.  She had busted her butt for that company but he hated they would see each other less than they did now.  He was very worried that if something didn’t change they would grow further and further apart.

Vicky was six months into the new job and they hardly saw one another.  She was due home this weekend and Jeff made arrangements to be off.  He scheduled a weekend away for just the two of them.  When Vicky got in on Friday afternoon he told her about the retreat he had planned for them.

“Honey, that’s so sweet.  But I travel all the time and I just want to sit home this weekend.”

“Geez, I can’t seem to do anything right anymore.” He said and stormed out of the house slamming the door behind him.

 Vicky felt bad but she was exhausted and just didn’t want to think about anything right this minute, not work, not Jeff and certainly not her marriage, which she knew was in trouble.  Vicky unpacked and ran a hot bath.  She had picked up a magazine in the airport and took it into the bath with her.  The magazine had one of those features “Is This Marriage Worth Saving”.  The article featured the husband and wife’s story and then the mediator would give suggestions.  One of the suggestions was the couple spice up their sex life.  Vicky thought, yeah, that would be great.  Jeff and I seem to be more like brother and sister than husband and wife.  The wife said she had been reading one of those seam ripper romance novels where the hero had taken the heroine in hand.  The wife suggested to her husband they may benefit from something like that.  They gave it a try and had the hottest sex they’d had in years.  The next two sessions found them getting along better and better and by the end of six months they had saved their marriage.

Maybe that will work for us, Vicky thought to herself.  Should I let him read this article and see what comes of it; or maybe make some suggestions?  She decided Jeff would be more receptive if she made suggestions rather than hand him the article to read.  When he comes back, I’ll surprise him.

Vicky got out of the tub and lay down on the bed waiting for Jeff to return.  She fell asleep and when she woke the next morning she was surprised to find that Jeff’s side of the bed had not been touched.  Maybe he didn’t want to disturb me so he slept in the guest room. He wasn’t there either.  She went downstairs expecting to find him on the couch.  When he wasn’t there either she checked the garage and his car was not there.  Jeff had never done this before.  She tried his cell phone and it just went to voice mail.  Now she was panicked.  She called around to see if any of their friends or family had heard from him.  In desperation, she finally called the police to file a Missing Person’s Report.  She was told the party had to be missing for 24 hours before anything could be done.  Several hours had passed and still no word from Jeff. 

She was at her wit’s end when she heard the garage door opener.  She ran to the door as Jeff pulled into the garage.  She wasn’t sure how to react. She was so happy to see him but on the other hand wanted to pummel him.  She did both.

“I was so worried about you” she told him as she grabbed him in a hug and began kissing his face.  She realized tears were streaming down her face as she continued to hold on to him for dear life.  When she calmed down, she began beating her fists against his chest.

“How could you do that to me?  I didn’t know where you were.  You didn’t answer your cell phone.”

“Frankly, Vicky, I didn’t even think you would know I was gone, much less miss me.  Things haven’t exactly been all champagne and roses for us for quite a while.  Every time you come home from a trip I’m afraid you’re going to ask me for a divorce.”

“I know things haven’t been good but divorce never entered my mind Jeff.  I love you dearly and I hate what has happened to us.  I was just reading an article about that yesterday and there was a great suggestion about how this couple spiced up their sex life and it rekindled their marriage.  I was going to suggest we do the same when you got home and then you didn’t come home.”

“Well I am home now and all ears.” Jeff said.

“Well, it’s all about you being the hero and me being the heroine in our own lives.  You lead and I follow.”

He looked at her quizzically.

“Remember back when we first met and I forgot our date and I told you I needed a good scolding.”


“Well, you replied to me that if I did it again that maybe a scolding wouldn’t be enough, maybe you would spank me.”

“I said that.  I must have been full of myself that day, it’s a wonder you ever went out with me a second time.”

“I do remember thinking you had to be kidding but that was back then and this is now.  I’m not sure it would have worked then but I am willing to give it a try.  We need to do something because I love us too much to just give up.  If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.”

“I have already tried a couple of things and they haven’t worked.  Do you think counseling would help?”

“I don’t know, Jeff.  I only know I get aggravated with you over everything you do and do not do.  I am grumpy at work but not like at you.  It’s probably because at work I wouldn’t get away with it whereas with you, I do.  I wonder if it’s hormonal.”

“Call your doctor and talk with her.  She may have some suggestions.”

Vicky called her gynecologist that very day and made an appointment.  After discussing the problem with the doctor, the doctor concurred  it might be hormonal and they could run a test to determine the answer.  If it was there were things available to solve the problem.

The test results did not indicate any hormonal problems.  Vicky told Jeff about the results and if he was willing to give her suggestion a shot. 

“Right now, I am your damsel in distress.”  He grinned and couldn’t believe she remembered that.  It made him feel better about them than he had in a long time.

“Sure, I want to get back to where we used to be.  I don’t like being around you most of the time and I feel this new job has only made it worse.  So, when do you want to start?

“How about right now?  Instead of asking me, try telling me what you want.”

Jeff was a little hesitant. Suppose he did spank her and she decided it was abuse and had him arrested.  He was a Captain in the Fire Department; his reputation would be ruined and his job jeopardized.  Suppose she got really angry at him and left.  All these thoughts were running through his head.

“Well,” said Vicky.  “Are you going to man up?”

“Is that what you think that I am not man enough to stand up to you?  Well you’re wrong.”  With that he grabbed her arm, pulled her into the living room and yanked her down over his knee.  Before she even had a chance to think about what was happening, he had pulled up her skirt and bared her bottom.  All the frustration, verbal abuse and disrespect that had been building for years were being taken out on his wife’s ass.  He spanked hard from the get go.  Fast and furious came the spanks as he watched her tush turn red.  But he was not letting up even when she yelled out to him.

“Jeez, Jeff.  You’re hurting me.”

“Hush up Vicky, you’ve had this coming and you have even expressed a desire for me to ‘man up’.  Well, I am manning up so you just take what’s coming to you and if I want to hear from you I will let you know.”
“Jeff, it hurts so bad, please don’t spank sooooo hard.”

“WHAT DID I JUST TELL YOU VICKY?”  She didn’t answer but if he could have seen her face he would have seen the smile just beginning at the corners of her mouth.  Her fireman was definitely setting fire to her butt and she could feel the heat in other areas too.  Once this spanking was over, she couldn’t wait for him to start putting out the flames.