The Case of the Disappearing Wife

"All right, Nancy. We've been over this too many times to count. What the hell were you thinking? Going out alone at night, off chasing some violent criminal or another, without leaving a note – have you lost your mind? I've spent the last few hours imagining every possible thing that could have befallen you. Then you traipse in at – oh – it's past midnight – you traipse in the middle of the night with some story about a crime and a mystery, but it's all better now because you ran off to help them. And you couldn't have told me where you were going? Or left a note? Or called my secretary? You made a promise to me when you married me. It's not just you anymore; it's us – which includes me. All of that stuff about sickness, health, better, cherishing – I was serious about what I said and I sure as hell hope you were as well. Otherwise, we've got some bigger problems!" Ned's voice, initially quiet and resigned had escalated as he talked. He opened his mouth as though he was ready to begin yet another tirade and suddenly a look of exhaustion crossed his face; he crossed the room and sat down at the kitchen table, looking back toward the blue eyes piercingly staring into his own from across the room.

His wife leaned against the edge of the counter on the island in their kitchen. Her titian hair was stringy and tangled, her clothing was sopping wet, leaving a puddle on the cold stone tile, and she was shivering, almost violently. Yet, despite her apparent physical discomfort – and the likelihood that she was hypothermic – she remained defiant, sticking her chin out and scowling at her husband. "You don't get to tell me what to do. I'm an adult. I'm sorry I didn't leave a note, but I am allowed to make my own decisions."

The anger that had flickered in Ned's eyes during his tirade returned. He stood up once again and stepped to the opposite side of the kitchen island, locking eyes with the now twenty-eight year-old detective. "No. You don't get to make you own decisions by yourself anymore. You said I do, and now we are a team. So we make choices and decisions – like the decision to investigate mysteries – together!"

"Well," Nancy shook her head, sending droplets of icy water from her hair throughout the kitchen. "You never had a problem with me solving mysteries before. You'd come along and help, sometimes you'd grumble, but you never objected then. Besides, you're not my father. You can't make these kinds of decisions for me."

This was the problem when two people who, although passionately in love and truly perfect for each other, were both equally hot-headed and stubborn got together – there was no relenting, no white flag raised in surrender; they were determined to fight this battle out to the bloody end. "Nancy, when we were kids and you solved mysteries, there was nothing that I could do. Back then, it was your father who could control you – although I wouldn't say he did so all that well… But after you married me, I was the one who assumed more responsibility for you; I promised to protect you and, let's face it Mrs. Nickerson, trouble has always seemed to follow you around—which is why I am going to make it a priority to protect you and make sure that you understand why this is making me so angry."

Nancy's eyes were almost entirely black, the dark pupil obscuring the usually brilliantly blue areas of her iris. There were only two things that this usually meant for Ned – either they were both amidst a struggle to violently rip off one another's clothing, or there was a very good chance that his wife would become violent, in an extremely non-erotic way, making the best decision for him to back away slowly. It was one of the few instances when survival instincts won out and surrender was declared. But on this day, Ned stood his ground, bracing himself for the full impact of the upcoming onslaught of words.

"How dare you!" Her teeth were gritted, her fists clenched tightly. "Talk to me, but don't you dare insult my father or his parenting!"

"Well, sweetheart," Ned's tone had taken on a menacing edge, effectively eliminating a bit of Nancy's aggressive exterior. "Nothing insulting was intended. I'm merely saying that I, as your husband, will take proper responsibility for you, keeping you safe and controlling you in a way your father apparently never did."

Against her will, Nancy was intrigued, while still maintaining her indignant air and her anger. "And how exactly do you plan on doing that, dear?"

"Well, darling, I am going to deal with you in the way that all misbehaving – maybe the better term is naughty - girls are dealt with." Ned's facial expressions were indistinguishable in the dark light in the kitchen, but Nancy was certain that, if she could see his face, a grimacing smile would be noticeable.

Nancy gulped. Audibly. "What are you going to do to me?"

The light shifted slightly – perhaps the moon moved out from behind a cloud at that moment, or Nancy just adjusted her position in the kitchen – and Nancy could see a dark smile twitching at the corner of Ned's mouth. And his voice encapsulated the pain of nails on a chalkboard and the cheerfulness that his voice could have on a warm day during a picnic in the park.

"When you misbehave, or I consider you to be naughty – or just you are being an irresponsible, careless, negligent, dangerous or simply bad girl – I am going to spank you."

Ned struggled to suppress a wide smile when his pretty young wife's mouth dropped wide open; it wasn't often that this highly perceptive and intuitive woman was surprised, but Ned, in his drastic movement out of character, had achieved just that.

"You're going to what?" The gears of logic were visibly turning in Nancy's head. This wasn't like the Ned she knew. The Ned she knew, although strong and fearless, acquiesced to her and was little more than putty in her hands. The Ned she knew would never propose something as preposterous as… as… a spanking. It would be disgraceful and demeaning and chauvinistic. Apparently Nancy's mind was more vocal than usual, as Ned chuckled, alerting her to the fact that she had inadvertently spoken every one of her thoughts.

Ned's demeanor as he spoke to her this time was gentle, as though he was explaining a complex idea to a small child. "It's not disgraceful, Nancy. Every child – I suppose with the exception of you – was put over a parent's knee at some point and given a good thrashing. The only difference is that you'll be getting your experience a bit later in life. And it's not demeaning, either. It'll be a valuable learning experience for you. As for it being chauvinistic, your father should have spanked a boy – long, hard and frequently – if a boy pulled the same stunts you did."

Ned's gentle voice, although he still remained a cautious distance away across the kitchen island, was comforting to Nancy and, immediately, she became aware of just how cold she was. Teeth chattering, she began to resemble the child that Ned seemingly reassured when talking, rather than the strong-willed and determined woman others normally saw. "But, but won't you hurt me? Your hands are really strong." As she looked hesitantly at his large hands, quickly comparing them to the size of her own tiny palms, she looked more and more worried.

"Nancy, dear, the point of a spanking is to make it hurt. Don't worry, you won't be injured, although I must tell you now, my hands will be the least of your concerns. But let's deal with this in the morning – provided you won't sneak off before then again. Right now, let's get you out of these wet clothes, into a nice warm bed." Ned's anger dwindled, seeing his wife in a vulnerable position – a position that only he, and even then on extremely rare occasions, was permitted to see.

As Ned led Nancy up into their bedroom, she was soothed by the comforting murmurs in her ear and the warm hands that stripped off all of her clothing, leaving her stark naked, and wrung out her hair. Ned stripped off his own clothes, leaving only his boxer shorts on, before wrapping her in his large, strong arms and cradling her against his lean, muscular chest. Just before she closed her eyes and fell into a dreamless, yet tumultuous, sleep, Nancy felt Ned's hands graze over her ass, squeezing slightly before resting on her lower back. She chastised her stupidity and shivered inwardly. Her last thoughts were of what awaited her in the morning and the lingering question on her mind: what did Ned mean when he said his hands would be the least of her concerns?

A sun-filled bedroom greeted Nancy when she awoke. The drapes had been thrown open, and she turned over to see that the clock read 10:57 and that Ned's side of the bed was empty - cold after being vacated earlier in the morning. Noting that she was naked underneath the wrinkled blue sheets – the mystery had taken over her mind for the past week and she hadn't gotten around to changing the sheets or doing any laundry – Nancy smiled, thinking of the fun that she and her husband must have had the previous night. Then, touching her still-damp, tangled hair, she remembered what really happened.

A spanking? Spankings? Ned couldn't possibly have been serious. He was just angry – he kind of had a right to be – and over-worked. If I just go downstairs and pretend that nothing happened, he'll forget all about it. Hmm… maybe I can distract him a bit; then he'll be sure to forget about his threats last night… Nancy's mind immediately began racing, as she formulated a plan to make her husband forget his idea of a spanking.

She padded softly down the stairs, drawing her white silk robe closer around her body, hiding the blood-red lacy lingerie she had donned beneath it, as she shuddered involuntarily, remembering the night that Ned had given her this very robe – the same night she had shown him this set of undergarments. He couldn't have – and certainly hadn't – forgotten about that night.

Nancy walked silently into the kitchen, finding Ned seated at the kitchen table reading a newspaper and sipping from a mug of coffee. His dark hair was tousled and he wore just a pair of plaid, flannel pajama pants, leaving his beautifully toned chest on display. Nancy raked her eyes over the sight at the time and prepared herself for the seduction of her husband. She cleared her throat, effectively catching his attention.

"Morning, Nance. You're finally up. Are you hungry? I made some eggs and to—." Ned was silenced as Nancy dropped her hands, letting the robe billow open, and stepped silently over to straddle him at the table, running her tongue over her lips as did so.

"I guess you could say I'm hungry. But maybe not quite as much for the toast and eggs." Her voice was dangerous and by the time she finished speaking, her mouth was just centimeters away from his left ear.

Ned gulped and his breathing became slightly more audible. But then, just as Nancy's teeth had begun to graze his ear and his hands had snuck out, holding onto her waist, a growling sound from the almost-thirty year old detectives stomach was heard.

"Well, I guess you were a little hungrier for the eggs and toast than you thought." Ned's eyes were twinkling as he noted his wife's obvious discomfort. "We can work on sating your other appetite in a little while."

The couple sat in silence for several minutes. Ned handed Nancy a ceramic plate with a bunch of grapes and a piece of golden toast already placed on top. She took several bites of the toast as he placed a colorful dish filled with bright yellow scrambled eggs onto the center of the table.

"Nancy. You can't pretend last night didn't happen." Ned frowned at his wife's attempt at looking clueless and confused. "Maybe that trick works on other people, but not on me. You know exactly what I'm taking about and, no, I didn't forget." At that moment, Ned stood up and retrieved the metal spatula used to cook the eggs from the kitchen counter, realizing there was no other utensil on the table. At the sight of the flat implement, Nancy's face paled and she visibly jumped. To her annoyance, after noting her discomfort Ned laughed.

"This isn't for you. At least not at this very moment. We need to eat these eggs." Ned's eyes continued twinkling.

Nancy stabbed at the food on her plate angrily, realizing that her offensive tactic hadn't worked. Instead, she tried protesting. "Ned! You can't be serious. I have rights and you can't hit me. I – I – I forbid it!"

Ned laughed once more, this time at the ridiculousness of the suggestion. "Of course your have rights, dear. And as for you forbidding me hitting you, fine. I wasn't planning on hitting you – I could never do that! All I'm going to do is spank you. Thrash your hide a bit, you know."

"Hit, spank, thrash. It all means the same thing. And you can't do this to me, Ned. I'm your wife." Nancy's voice was escalating in volume.

Yet Ned remained entirely calm, the twinkling in his eyes remaining as he spoke. "Actually, yes, I can, and I will. And I'm doing it because you are my wife and I care about you. Honestly, dear, you've needed a good, sound spanking for quite a long time."

"Do I get absolutely no say in any of this?" Nancy seemed a bit more subdued, although the fire was still evident in her eyes.

"Pretty much, yes- that is correct. It will execution in a manner and at a time that is at my discretion. Although we will need some basic ground rules." Ned assumed the simple manner he had used the previous night when talking with Nancy, reasoning with her rather than arguing.

"Ground rules? Like what?" Nancy seemed genuinely intrigued, although perhaps worried about the sorry state that her bottom would be, as it now seemed that her husband was genuinely going to give her the thrashing.

"Like only when you've committed what I deem to be an infraction. A set number of spanks will constitute each punishment. If you misbehave during the punishment, you'll get more strokes. You will get a single 'safe-word' that is only to be used in the event that you think something horribly wrong is going on, in which case the punishment will cease immediately and we can re-evaluate, But this is only in extremely serious cases. These kinds of things. We can keep adding as we go along." Ned seemed to have genuinely given thought to this punishment.

Nancy once again gulped. She was at a loss for the proper response to this kind of conversation. So, instead, she finished her eggs and, with her mouth still full, she mumbled, "So, when's this punishment going to be?"

Ned considered the choices and laid out her options for her. "Some time today. For this one time, I'll let you choose. In the future, it'll be immediate – no grace periods or resting time. For today, choose."

Nancy gulped down the rest of her orange juice and finished her toast quickly. "Now."

"Right now? Are you sure?" Ned's face seemed genuinely shocked and, for the first time, a look of worry crossed his face.

"Yes. Go ahead." She seemed almost defiant, challenging him as though she didn't believe he could do it. Well, he'd prove her wrong.

"All right. If that's what you'd like. Go upstairs – do not change - and take out your wooden hairbrush, and sit on the bed. Don't move." Ned dispensed orders in a casual tone, although Nancy was genuinely scared about what would happen if she disobeyed.

"Now! Move, Nancy!" Ned's booming voice startled the girl, and she turned and climbed the stairs, moving toward their bedroom.