A Perfect Christmas
by Constance Masters
Carol looked out of the window at the perfect scene before her. The rows of snow covered trees glinted in the moonlight, their reflection shining from the spectacular frozen lake. Yep, the outside was a frozen wonderland, picture perfect, unlike the inside which was about to become very heated and not from the homey warmth of the fire that crackled in the decorated fireplace downstairs in the living room. She sighed deeply and wondered just how much trouble she was in. Okay, so the fact that she was in the corner with her chubby bare backside on show...a bit of a hint. Carol winced as she caught sight of the rather ample target in the bedroom mirror. She really did need to lay off the full fat eggnog next year. And the cookies. As she looked back again, through the window at the peaceful Christmas card scene, her mind drifted to where it had all gone wrong...
She'd been preparing for the entire month for what she hoped would be the best Christmas ever. She was what her Mom would have called ‘A Christmas Person’. Most of her friends now shopped effortlessly, hunting for bargains on line, avoiding what they saw as the Christmas rush. Not many of them could tolerate the hustle and bustle, the pushing and shoving, let alone enjoy it, or revel in it like she did. Most didn’t even take their kids to sit on Santa’s knee. Carol didn’t care if she had to stand on the line all day. Listening to the whining and complaining were all a part of the magic of Christmas. She could tune her ears into the carols and bell ringing and ignore the rest. She loved nothing more than watching her kids as they barrelled along from one isle to the next, picking out choices for their lists. Once again, all part of the magic.
Unfortunately there were a couple of things that weren’t part of her magic of Christmas and they revolved around her husband Joe. Joe liked Christmas but he didn’t understand her need for perfection. The decorations that had to be positioned just so, with no two colours the same next to each other. No messy tinsel throwing on HER perfect tree, it had to be totally symmetrical from any angle in the room. HER star was placed firmly on the top of the tree and it sparkled and shone, proudly showing off its greatness to the rest of the room. There was mistletoe in every doorway and candles of deliberately chosen sizes and colours arranged on the mantelpiece. The stockings weren't up yet, they were waiting to be hung on Christmas Eve, but she had already measured the spots for the hooks so that they too wouldn’t let down the perfection of the room.
The greatest problem that her perfect Christmas had faced however was the dreaded budget. Joe was a stickler for not going overboard. He threw around words like indulgence and spoiling. Bah humbug! He'd set aside a fairly generous amount for each person, quite generous in fact for the children, by HIS standards. Trouble was he wasn’t counting in the, what Carol liked to call, ‘The Santa Claus’. The kids didn’t understand about budgets and being careful, they wrote a list and expected what was on there to be under the tree and no matter what the consequences for her would be, Carol had been determined to make that happen. HER children were going to have THEIR perfect Christmas.
Even though her naked bottom was suddenly tingling of its own accord as she stood in the corner nearest the upstairs window, Carol couldn’t help but smile when she thought of the helpful young man at the store. Now HE had understood how she felt about Christmas. See that’s the kind of personal attention you couldn’t get by shopping on line. She had been staring at the children’s lists and the money in her purse and wondering how the hell she was going to pay for all the stuff she needed to buy. She couldn’t disappoint the children.
Out of nowhere the young man with the flashy white smile had appeared like the Christmas angel and he'd offered her the perfect solution to her problem. The Christmas credit card. He'd taken a look at the children’s lists and patted her on the shoulder with sympathy as he produced the paperwork that would entitle her to a Christmas credit card with a very generous limit. The very best part was that it was foolproof, so he said. Joe had always had this idea that it was no good to shop with a credit card and have to pay it off with very high interest for the next half a year. Well this was WITHOUT interest. Well as long as you paid for it all by the end of the first month after Christmas and she had thought she had ages to think about that. She could always get a job if she had to couldn't she? Whatever. She'd been holding in her hot little hands the very festive looking answer to her Christmas dreams. She HAD felt a very slight twinge of guilt in the back of her mind but she pushed it back to be dealt with after. What choice did she have? Zachary couldn’t have possibly known that a Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle would be over two hundred dollars. Well, well over two hundred dollars actually but she never counted the spare change, it always made it seem so much less expensive when you rounded things down. And the DSI thingy that was apparently sooo much better than the one he had already. And what would be the point of a new DSI without new games. Well just a few at least. And for heaven’s sake! Who would have imagined that games in tiny little boxes like that could be over fifty dollars each? It had made perfect sense to get the package. And it HAD been quite expensive, so she really had to get the cover so it didn’t get scratched.
Then there was Natasha. She really did need that new IPhone. Carol could remember what it had been like to be thirteen. It would have been so embarrassing to be the girl with the outdated stuff. Of course, there hadn’t really been cell phones when she was young if she was to be honest, but she’s sure there was something they had that was similar. MMmm there was the walkman. You were a virtual out cast if you had a lesser brand than the walkman. Of course she knew that the IPhone could play music, but Natasha would need to save room for all her photos, so she’d need the Ipod touch and of course there was the fact that it could play You Tube videos apparently that would a plus. Of course she'd need an extra memory cards. She WAS going to use last years WII again with the new dance mat game, so that had been an economical choice, hadn’t it? And the beauty case full of makeup. Well maybe she was a little young but girls liked to be girly didn’t they?
The young man had fixed everything for her and she had managed to get nearly all her gifts bought in one day. She had been on cloud nine when she got home.
Carol had looked at the clock on the wall as she came through the back door for the last time and smiled. Only 2:00pm. It had of course taken her a few trips to get all the packages out of the car but she'd hoped that she would have enough time to get things hidden...put away before Joe got home. Wrong. Unless the stony faced man that was snooping through her shopping bags had been a figment of her imagination, he hadn’t been a figment of her imagination and he was home already.
And that was when it had all gone horribly wrong. The perfect Christmas ruined. There Joe stood already red faced and angry with a fist full of receipts in his hand, and he’d only gone through the first three or four bags. Carol had tried to discretely throw the last couple of bags behind the fridge but Joe had eyes like hawk....a very suspicious hawk when he was on a rant and he was about to be on a rant BIG TIME.
“Pick them up and bring them out here.” He said in a deadly quiet voice.
“Sorry?” Carol had said with a face that said she didn’t know what he had meant.
“Pick the bags that you just put behind the fridge UP and bring them out here!” he boomed.
Even the proud star on the top of the tree bent its perfect head.
Carol did as she was told, her head bent like the star with something akin to guilt, but more to do with the disappointment of her now ruined Christmas. As she stepped through the doorway she had a thought. “I’m under the mistletoe?” she called cutely.
The look Joe had given her had made her move much faster, thoughts of the mistletoe pushed clearly to the back of her mind to join the worry of how she was going to pay back the free credit card. Adrenalin had pulsed through her body bringing with it a serious attack of the butterflies. Her lower regions tingled with anticipation and trepidation. Not that she was scared of Joe, or a spanking really but there was something about being in this type of situation that made her feel kind of small.
As she reached her hapless husband, HE reached silently for the bags. She tried to offer an explanation first, but as a half a dozen sharp smacks bounced off her backside, lighting a less than festive fire, she was forced her to hand them over without any further explanation. It had seemed like an eternity until Joe spoke again, he had been clearly struggling to keep his temper under control.
“I know how much money I gave you to shop with.” He said quietly through clenched teeth. “Would you like to explain how you have over three thousand dollars worth of gifts here?”
Carol decided that she really wouldn’t....but the stamping of Joe’s foot told her that perhaps it was a rhetorical question.
“Would you believe it was kind of a miracle?” she had asked hopefully. Unfortunately, Joe took her hopeful answer as a smart ass comment.
“You really think it’s the best time to be a smart ass?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
Carol was offended. “I wasn’t BEING a smart ass Joe!” she said.
“Well the only other explanation I can see is that you’ve robbed a bank.” He had said putting his hands on his hips. “Now I want a straight answer! Where...did...you...get...the money...to pay...for ...all these gifts?”
“But Joe, it WAS a kind of a miracle. You don’t understand.” Carol had said desperately. This nice young boy with lovely white straight teeth gave me a Christmas Card.” She thought she might leave the word credit out while she explained, she had had the distinct feeling that it may be the final straw, and nobody wanted that.
“Start again Carol, and please try and make sense.” Joe had said with as much patience as he could muster.
Carol took a deep breath. She had known that she was going to have to explain fully about the card eventually. She had hoped that they would make it through Christmas though.
“Okay. Okay. See, I was in the store looking at the kids Christmas lists and I realised I didn’t have enough money to cover everything that they needed.” Joe rolled his eyes. “There is a BIG difference between WANTS and NEEDS Carol and you know it.” He had said with frustration.
Carol had barely resisted the urge to poke out her tongue childishly. “Maybe through the year Joe, but at Christmas, their WANTS, are my NEEDS!” she had said emphatically.
“Uhhuh. Get on with it. How did you pay for all this stuff?” he asked.
“Well if you’d stop interrupting me I’d tell you.” Carol had said bravely. It was actually a lot more bravado that actual bravery, but hey, anything to stall for a little while. Maybe there’d be a second miracle. “Okay, where was I?”
“Still somewhere fairly near the beginning I believe, something about a good looking young boy that doubled as a miracle worker.” Joe said drolly.
“Oh yes. So he offered me this card, it's kind of like...” she started but decided to take a step back first, no harm in paving the way in case a sudden escape might be necessary.
As if he had read her mind though Joe stepped forward to close the gap. “What kind of a card? It better not be the type of card that I think you mean.” He had said as he took hold of her arm to prevent any last ditch effort of an escape.
“Well Joe, there's credit cards and credit cards.” She'd said with a wince at the look on her furious husbands face. “Really Joe, this one has NO INTEREST! None at all.”
Joe ran a hand over his face, he'd wanted nothing more than to tip her over his knee that second and spank her ass so shiny that he could see his face in it, but he was too angry and he really needed to find out exactly what kind of mess she’d gotten them into this time. “Get me the paperwork you signed.” He said.
Carol had opened her mouth to speak and he had put a hand up to stop her. “Don’t even try to tell me that there was no paperwork. There’s ALWAYS paperwork. They’re not just going to let every crazy Christmas woman that enters the store walk out with thousands of dollars worth of goods without having them sign for it first. Get it. NOW!” he had bellowed when she had stood frozen to the ground.
She had suddenly found herself hunting through her purse for what he’d wanted.
“And just quietly there is ALWAYS INTEREST! Once the first month is up they double what the interest would have been on a normal credit card, which you know damn well you weren’t allowed to use.”
Suddenly that guilt that Carol had managed to push way, way back into the recesses of her mind started to surface. It had stirred up the butterflies that were already fluttering around frantically in her tummy. Maybe she should have read the fine print before she signed, she had thought nervously as she chewed on her bottom lip. She passed the papers over to Joe and took a step back.
“Upstairs.” He said. “Pants down and in the corner.”
Carol’s mouth dropped right open. “You expect me to stand in the corner like a child? Without my pants?” she had asked incredulously.
“And your underwear.” Joe had said without looking up from the papers. Carol had opened her mouth to argue but found herself spun around and sent towards the stairs with another sharp flurry of spanks to her jean clad bottom.
“Stop! I’m going.” She’d said with her eyes narrowed. Big bully, she had thought, but kept the insult to herself. Wisely, considering that Joe's mood.
Carol jumped and her mind came crashing back to the present when she heard the familiar footsteps on the stairs. She clenched her butt cheeks together involuntarily as she heard the squeak of the mattress springs as Joe made himself comfortable on the bed. She turned with a sad smile.
“Would it help if I said I was sorry?” she said.
“A little, not gonna save your ass though this time.” He said as he beckoned her over with a crooked finger. He patted the side of the bed next to him. “I rang the store. Do you even know how much money you spent today?”
“Um....” Carol said as she tried to quickly add up the figures in her head.
“Nearly the whole five thousand dollar limit.” He said seriously.
Carol gulped. She hadn’t realised it was quite that much.
“Why don’t I let you use the credit card at Christmas?”
“Um...because I have trouble keeping my perspective at Christmas?” she answered, hoping it was the right one.
“And?” he asked. Carol brushed away a stray tear that ran down her flushed cheek.
“We can’t afford it on one salary.” She said.
Joe took his wife chin between his thumb and forefinger and tilted her head so that he could look into her eyes. “Nothing's changed. How do you think we’re going to pay back all that money?” he asked. Carol brushed away more annoying tears and tried to come up with an answer but sadly she had none.
“Right. So tomorrow, you’re going to go back to the store and return a lot of the stuff that you bought today. I’ll help you choose which gifts we’ll keep.” Carol nodded. “That’s an excellent punishment.” she said hopefully.
Joe chuckled. “You wish.”
Carol sighed. “You’re still gonna spank me aren’t you?” she asked with resignation. It had been worth a try.
“Oh hell yeah.” He said as he gave her arm a small tug and tipped her over his knee. He brought his hand down with hard thwack.
Carol jumped. “Ow, Joe! Not so hard!” She yelled as she stuck her hand back for protection.
“Move it!” he said sternly. When she made no attempt to move her hand out of the way, he shrugged and brought his hand down smartly on each of her thigh’s, leaving a large angry handprint on each.
Carol made sure she pulled her hand back quick smart before she told him what she thought of his dirty trick.“That hurt Joe!” she shouted.
“Should’ve moved your hand then.” he said with a grin. He started spanking in earnest. Carol kicked her legs wildly but it didn’t help her effort to get away or the fast building burn that her husband’s hard smacks were building in her rear end.
“Please Joe!...It hurts...ouch...you’re do...ing it...Ow JOE! Too hard! PLEASE!!!!!” She begged.
But Joe just kept on spanking. The job wasn’t anywhere near done yet.
“Joe?...OW...Joe...for God’s sake JOE!” Are you even listening to me? Shit...Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.” She yelled as a group of rapid fire spanks landed one after the other onto her very pink bottom. “JOE!!!!!”
“Can’t stop yet Carol, you’re not the right shade.” He said with a chuckle.
“Ow Joe...what the hell...ow, ow, ow, ow...are you...ow, ow...talking about?” she asked between deep gasps and sobs.
“The Christmas theme...just making sure your ass matches the Christmas decor.” He said as he renewed his task with great vigour. “We couldn’t possibly have your PINK ass messing up the red and green theme now could we?”