"You think I'm kidding." 

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I told Emma during our engagement that things would be different after the wedding. When I proposed and she accepted, I intended to become her husband, I explained, not some glorified boyfriend with a ring and a mortgage. If she was to be my wife—the woman I chose above all others before the eyes of the world—certain expectations would have to be adhered to. I’d been gentle with her while we dated. Easygoing, letting things slide here and there. Girlfriends misbehave at times and what can you do, really? They come and they go. A wife, however, is a reflection of a man’s judgment, tied to his fate. Few things could mean more to me than the integrity of such an arrangement and I intend to ensure decorum is upheld, lest I lose Emma’s respect over time, along with that of those around us.

 

One nasty habit I’ve already vetoed is the arguing in public. Emma’s a bit of a spitfire and her ‘directness’ is endearing most of the time, but there are occasional days when she’ll take it too far regardless of who’s around. She even snapped at me once at a family reunion, branding me “insecure” in front of all my relatives because I couldn’t stand watching her flirt with my cousin. I’ve always kept my cool while she acts up and waited to spank her back at home once we’re alone. Hasn’t worked well enough for my liking though.

 

“If you disrespect me in public when we’re married, you’re getting spanked right there and then. I won’t have the woman I call my wife embarrassing me. Understand?”

 

She had blushed and giggled when I said this, thinking I was flirting while we cuddled in bed. 

 

“Sure, Mister Big Bad Wolf.”

 

“You think I’m kidding. I’m not.”

 

She’d rolled her eyes and I’d moved on top of her, parting her legs with my knee, making my way inside. Her breath hitched as I penetrated, plunging in gradually and whispering filth into her ear.

 

“Imagine Daddy bending you over and pulling your panties down in front of a bunch of strangers… giving you a good spanking like a bad little girl in the middle of a busy store…”

 

“You wouldn’t do that.” 

 

“Guess we’ll have to wait and see...”

 

The moment was sexual, but the spirit of the threat was genuine and I spent the rest of our lovemaking that night imagining it unfolding. A day would come when she’d test me and I’d have to follow through, asserting authority while somehow avoiding getting arrested or caught on tape in some viral Twitter video. 

 

And that day, it seems, has unfortunately arrived.

 

It was me that picked Cancun for our honeymoon. It’s glitzy and expensive and right up my alley. Emma usually likes backpacking and, y’know... hippie shit. She wants to hit up every rustic little hovel the locals hang at when we’re traveling. Not me. I’ve become old and unadventurous like my dad always was. I want room service, pool bars, and gourmet meals. Five stars, fluent English, and zero fucking stress. That’s a vacation.

 

“You’re so American,” she sneered when I showed her the resort I’d booked, saying the word like it made her want to puke. “I mean, it’s beautiful. I’ll enjoy it. I like Cancun in the way I like Disneyland, but it’s not really Mexico. It’s where the snobby boring gringos go, Daddy. That’s all.”

 

“Well thanks, babe.” 

 

(She’s American too, for the record.)

 

She doesn’t seem to have many complaints now that we’re here though. I’m watching her now out of the corner of my eye while skimming the copy of Sports Illustrated I picked up at the airport. Beads of salt water sparkle across her skin as she stretches out on the lounge chair next to mine in her sunglasses and little blue bikini. I’ve caught every guy on this beach checking her out since we got here, and some of the women too. Can’t say I blame them. Emma’s ass is like a parade—an in-your-face spectacle that’s impossible to ignore.

 

“I want another margarita,” she says right on cue, turning to check my reaction.

 

I hear the determination in her voice and sigh because I know I should stop her. She’s had four cocktails in the past hour and although it’s been fun splashing around with her while she’s drunk, we’ve got a reservation somewhere fancy in a few hours. Can’t have her going overboard and making a scene.

 

“You should take a break, don’t you think, babe? We’ve got to go upstairs and start getting ready in a minute anyway. You can have some wine with dinner later.”

 

She brushes me off, focused on her mission. “I just want one more before we go.” Perking up, she waves at a server over at the pool bar, beckoning him to us all giddy and sloshed.

 

“Did you hear what I said?” I toss the magazine on the table to my right and sit up, swinging my legs over the side of my chair to face her. “This is a nice restaurant we’re going to and I expect you to be on your best behavior. And call me old fashioned, but I’d actually like it if both of us could remember our honeymoon when it’s over.”

 

Her smile deflates into a scowl. I’m ruining her fun like some uptight parent. Big party pooper.

 

“This is my honeymoon too, you know. I just want one more. I’ll even bring it up to the room, babe. The bar won’t mind if I borrow their glass.”

 

“I said no, Emma, and I mean it. Let’s get you some water. You’ve had four of those already and I’m still on my second beer. If you don’t pace yourself, you’ll be sick tomorrow morning and I’ll have to play babysitter. I’d rather do that day trip to Chichen Itza like we planned.”

 

“Play babysitter?” Her voice kicks up three notches in volume. “Why do you think I’m such an idiot all of a sudden?”

 

People can hear her and are starting to look. A familiar mixture of humiliation and frustration twinges in my gut.

 

Cool it, young lady,” I say, lowering my voice and hoping she’ll follow suit. “You know I don’t think that about you.”

 

“Well, you certainly seem to right now. You’re being a real drag out of nowhere.” She pulls her sunglasses off and shoots daggers into my soul, then looks back to the server. He’s approaching to take her order with a big smile, which she warmly returns. I shake my head and bite my tongue.

 

“I’ll have another margarita,” she announces in defiance.

 

“One margarita,” he says, nodding. “And for you, señor?”

 

“She’ll have water,” I say firmly, looking right into his eyes. “Water only.” Emma’s jaw drops.

 

“You’re being SUCH an asshole right now!”

 

The guy pauses, awkwardly glancing back and forth between us, trying to decide who to listen to. I hit my limit and reach for my wallet, resolving to put my foot down. Time to put the kibosh on this once and for all.

 

“Dos aguas,” I reassert, handing him my credit card. “And the check, please.”

 

Money talks. He plucks my Visa from between my fingers and nods, then takes his leave. Emma calls after him, but he keeps walking at a rapid pace to escape our tornado of drama. Livid, she scoffs and reaches down to grab her purse.

 

“Fucking sexist load of bullshit. Guess I’ll just go to the bar and order it mysel—”

 

Without a word, I grab her arm and pull her flat onto her stomach across the recliner, then splay my left hand over her lower back, pressing to hold her there. She knows what I’m doing and covers her mouth to stifle a gasp, frozen and shocked that I’m actually going through with it. With my free hand, I tug her bikini up into her crack, baring the hidden glory of her smooth, plump bottom for the whole beach to see. I raise my palm and bring it down over and over, laying ten heavy stinging smacks onto her left cheek, followed by ten more on her right. Her skin ripples with each swat, jiggling in the sun, and I’m keenly aware of all the people around us staring with eyes the size of golfballs. You’re welcome, fellas.

 

Finishing up, I lean forward and rest my forearms on my thighs, waiting patiently. A rosy glow flushes across the surface of her tush.

 

“Have I made myself clear, or do we need to get the hairbrush from your purse?”

 

I’m half expecting her to flip out, but thankfully my plan serves its purpose as intended. Lower lip quivering, she crosses her arms in front of her face and hides there meekly, shaking her head. Hot tears brim in her eyes and spill down her cheeks as the wind leaves her sails. Poor baby. She deserved it and I’m glad it worked, but the tears always get to me. I’m a sucker.

 

“Come here,” I tell her softly, laying back on my recliner and opening my arms. She obeys, avoiding my gaze and that of everyone on the beach, trying not to cry and failing miserably as she snuggles in close and weeps against my chest. I didn’t spank her all that much, or even all that hard, really. It’s more about the shame. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her so embarrassed.

 

Our server returns with two bottles of water and places them on the table before handing me the check and my card. With Emma sniffling in my arms, I scribble my signature onto the receipt and pass it back to him. He gives a nod and a taut smile, then thanks me and leaves. I’m not sure how they view this kind of thing in Mexico, but I assume he won’t be getting involved. Hopefully no one complains. At least there aren’t any kids around. They all seem to be goofing off over at the pool.

 

The couple closest to us is still speaking in whispers and glancing our way. They appear to be in their 70s just like my parents, and their gaudy clothes scream FLORIDA. The guy smirks and says something that makes his lady recoil with a deep frown, looking offended. 

 

“You will NEVER, do you hear? You just try it and see what happens!” 

 

He chuckles and waves off the joke. “Oh, I’m kidding. You know I wouldn’t, dear.”

 

‘Dear’ knows he wouldn’t because presumably, he’s not that kind of guy. I am, however, and will not have my wife treating me like a doormat. I plant tender kisses against Emma’s forehead and rub her back idly while she cries. After a minute, she reaches back to pull her bikini bottoms out from her crack to shield her pinkened cheeks from the eyes of our audience. I stop her and draw them back into a wedgie, then place her hand back on my chest and hug her close.

 

“You leave those right there. You’re being punished,” I murmur. “What’d I say before about acting up in public?”

 

Her weeping intensifies. “I’m sorry.”

 

“Shhh… I know you are. Answer my question, baby.”

 

“You d-don’t... l-like it,” she blubbers, catching her breath between sobs.

 

“I don’t like it at all. You know why?”

 

“It’s… dis...respectful…”

 

“That’s right. What else?”

 

“It m-makes you... embarrassed…”

 

“Mmhmm. Do you like being embarrassed? You like being spanked like a little kid who can’t behave herself while we’re out?”

 

“No…”

 

She inches in as close as she can get, wrapping her arm around my waist and squeezing tightly. I feel the sticky sweat of our bodies merge between our skin, smelling of salt and sunscreen. Sliding my right hand down over her hip, I cup the roundest part of her closest butt cheek. Still nice and warm.

 

“I warned you I would do that, didn’t I?”

 

She nods reluctantly.

 

“You had to push and see, right? Gotta test Daddy’s rules to make sure he means business?”

 

Burying her face in my chest, she shrugs. “I dunno…”

 

“I think you do,” I say, reaching for a bottle of water and opening it for her. “I wasn’t kidding about what I said. You’re going to find that out on this trip. If we’re gonna spend our lives together, I need you on my team no matter what’s going on. We’ve talked about this.”

 

I drape a towel over both of us and go on quietly scolding for a while, emphasizing the importance of consideration in our relationship. She sips her water and listens, crying until she’s drowsy, then dozes against my shoulder after I pick my magazine back up. Light, smooth breaths flow through her while she snoozes and I think about how much I love her despite how stubborn and sensitive she is. Every weird little thing about her fascinates me. The clumsy things, the sexy things, and the spunky things especially. Most people are boring, if I’m honest, but this one’s fucking fun and she’s mine. She loves me. I run my fingers over the stones on her ring to remind myself this is all actually real.

 

Emma stirs back to life eventually and starts rubbing at my swim trunks, searching for my dick like she usually does as she’s waking up. I take her hand and drape her arm back around my waist, not wanting to encourage her. Don’t want to get hard.

 

“Not here, sweetheart.”

 

She’s turned on though, obviously, and I never want to discourage that. As a compromise, I slip a hand under the towel and free one of her breasts from its squishy bikini prison, then draw slow circles over her nipple with my thumb. A moan slips away from her and she tilts her head upward, catching my lips with hers in a kiss. The couple looks over again and sees what we’re up to. Apparently disgusted, Madam Florida shakes her head and gathers her things.

 

“I’ll be at the pool,” she declares before walking off in a huff. Nodding, her man rises and follows, eyeing me for a moment with a small smile. I give a halfhearted smirk back, trying to mask my pity but likely doing a piss-poor job.

 

We stay until I’ve got Emma worked into a frenzy, panting and reaching her fingers into her bikini bottoms as she loses herself. She’s still tipsy, after all. If I don’t get us out of here, we might end up making another type of scene for an entirely different reason.

 

“Let’s go back to the room, hon,” I say, patting her butt over the towel. “We’re gonna finish your spanking up there. If you take the rest of your punishment like a good girl, I’ll make you cum before dinner. Okay?”

 

She looks a bit put out by the interruption, but adjusts her bikini and nods, shaking off her haze. “Okay. Let’s go.”

 

Arms looped around each other, we amble past the pool and through the lobby, arriving at the elevator just as its doors are closing. I reach out to stop them, then usher Emma inside. There, wrapped in their sandy towels, stand our Sunshine State neighbors from the beach. They make eye contact with me and break it just as quickly, striving to look around at everything except us.

 

“I love you,” Emma sighs, smiling with closed eyes and hugging me as we ascend, blissfully untroubled by our company.

 

“Love you too, baby,” I whisper, kissing the top of her head. Visions of what I’m gonna do to her all night race through my head and I’m grateful when the bell finally dings at the 26th floor. 

 

The doors part and we get off, heading for our room. I consider glancing back to throw a smug wink at the vanillas but brush off the thought, all out of fucks to give. I spent decades giving every fuck I had, fearing everyone’s little opinions. Not anymore, I tell myself, watching Emma’s pink butt wobble and bounce while she walks in front of me. All that matters right now is this incorrigible wife I’ve chosen and this thing between us that leaves lust and chaos in our wake wherever we go.