Nina squirmed restlessly in Ike’s arms. They were cuddling on the couch, on the screened in front porch, watching the vibrant sunset and listening to the frogs serenading the approaching night. Ever since she made her reflexive decision, she was having second thoughts.
She felt her husband tighten his grip: normally something she welcomed because it made her feel safe, tonight the embrace ratcheted up her irritation. She tapped his forearm and when he didn’t respond, spoke up.
“Honey, you’re choking me.”
“Sorry, Nina, I thought you wanted more.”
Nina hated, hated the whiny tone in her voice, but sometimes, it just burst out. “Just let me go, I’m not feeling well.”
She bolted inside, the panic causing her skin to flush with cold shivers and the lightheadedness left her grabbing the kitchen table for support. When the screen door closed a second time and she heard Ike’s footsteps, his large hands on her shoulders led to instant tears.
Before she could react, she was sitting sideways on his lap, her face buried in his chest, and clutching his shirt with clenched fists. The cotton polo quickly became wet as Nina sobbed.
“It’s okay, baby, let it out, I’m here for you.”
Nina heard the soothing words and felt the soft strokes on her hair. The random kisses on her crown, the pats on the backs accompanied by gentle swirls helped to ease the confusion. She slowly regained control. The whispered ‘thanks’ when a box of tissues was offered was tinged with shame.
“Sorry, am I too heavy for you?”
“No, Nina, you’re never too heavy for me. Whatever it is, you can tell me.”
She picked at the logo, her cheek nestled below his collarbone. “I don’t know what I want, Ike, I thought I did, but now…”
She tilted her head back to look at his face. “Why can’t I make up my mind? Why is this so difficult?”
“Ahhhh. Having second thoughts?”
She gave a little puffy snort. “More like fifth and sixth thoughts. The more I learn about it, the more confused I get. It seemed so simple when we found out what Jose and Aiko were doing, maybe my reaction wasn’t disgust after all, but jealousy. When I said there was no way I’ve ever let you spank me, I thought I was making the right choice for me.”
Nina watched as her husband nodded with his thoughtful expression that always preceded a complex and convoluted explanation. She tensed involuntarily, a lecture was not what she needed right now.
Instead, he patted her thighs and said, “Get up.”
She popped off his lap and finished wiping her face.
“I think you do know what you want, Nina. I’m going upstairs now, I’ll give you five minutes to join me. If you do, then the decision is made.”
His kiss was firm without being demanding. His fingers cupping her chin were strong without being overbearing. His eyes were stern without being frightening. “I love you, Nina, no matter what, because I only want to do what is best for you. Whether I spank you or not, our marriage will be strong. Five minutes, Nina, but no more second thoughts.”