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I Take Thee Matthew
The first time Matthew spanked me I realized he was the man I would marry. It wasn�t much of a spanking, only three hard swats over the seat of my jeans, but those three swats were enough to tell me that Matthew would be able to deal with my rotten temper and the trouble it seemed to get me into all the time. More importantly, Matthew believed in traditional values, and so did I. I was raised Catholic, and I still attended Mass on Sunday mornings with my parents. Matthew was Catholic, too, even though he belonged to another Parish. He�d teased me about my name, joking that I had to be a good Catholic girl with a name like Mary Frances. Not really, I�d explained. I was named for my two Grandmothers, and promptly nicknamed Frannie.
I�ll admit that I was very young, too young to be thinking of getting married by most people�s standards, but I knew myself pretty darn well. I wanted a husband to love, a house with a kitchen to call my own, and hopefully lots of children. While other girls in my high school senior class were talking of which college they wanted to attend, I was already working part time at the bakery for Mr. Samuels. He promised me a full time position after graduation, and after going on a two week �graduation present� vacation to Europe with my favorite Aunt, Sister Mary Katherine Patterson, I settled in to my job with satisfaction. I continued to live at home, and while it was true I paid my own way, I still followed the house rules set by my parents. They didn�t want me to move out and get my own apartment until I was at least twenty-one, and since I was able to put away most of my paycheck by living at home, and could afford a nice, brand new car, I accepted their rules, and did my very best to live by them. Not very modern by today�s standards, but I was happy. I was smart enough to know that I had a wonderful childhood, and that my parents loved me. I didn�t feel a need to rebel against them.
I met Matthew at the bakery. He came in every morning on his way to the office across the street where he worked as an Optician. He had a bright smile for me each and every day, and he would always make polite conversation� Not like most folks do, mind you� But the kind of conversation that grows out of getting to know someone better and becoming friends. I kind of thought and hoped he would ask me out on a date, but four months passed without so much as a hint that he thought of me as anything other than the girl at the bakery who waited on him every morning. I was a bit discouraged, especially since the telephone wasn�t exactly ringing off the hook with offers to go anywhere or do anything. Most of my friends were off to college by then, and I was spending entirely too many Friday and Saturday nights sitting in front of the television with my parents.
I Take Thee, Mark
loved Mark Callahan since we were fifteen years old, which was
ten years ago. Ten years of waiting for him to notice me as a
woman, ten years of longing for him to kiss me, ten years of
hopelessness as he saw me as nothing but the ‘girl next
door’. It nearly destroyed me when he fell in love with
Kathy. She was tall and blonde, and beautiful, and Mark thought
she was perfect. It broke my heart when she was killed during
a drug raid. A bullet proof vest can’t stop a bullet between
the eyes. She was killed on the job, and Mark grieved, and I
grieved for him. He took it real hard, but finally he started
taking an interest in life again, and I shed twenty pounds, hoping
he would look in my direction.
When he asked me out to dinner a few months ago, I was delighted. I thought that losing all that weight had finally paid off. I was into a size two instead of the six I’d been wearing for years, and I spent a small fortune on just the right dress for the evening. It was black and clung to my body in all the right places. I wore heels, too, hoping to make myself just a bit taller. Mark towered over me, and while I loved how that made me feel, I was still comparing myself to Kathy, and finding myself lacking in every way. I practiced walking in those heels so that I wouldn’t fall flat on my face, and when I was all ready, I was satisfied with the results. I looked as good as I possibly could, and if Mark didn’t find me pleasing on this magical night, he never would.
When the doorbell rang, I had to prevent myself from running to answer it. I didn’t want to appear too eager, but the truth of the matter was that I’d been ready for over an hour, and I couldn’t wait for Mark to see the new me; the plain little me that was wearing something very sexy for a change. I opened the door after one last check in the mirror, a huge smile on my face. “Good evening, Mark.”
“Hey, Molly. Have you been sick?” was his greeting. “You’ve lost so much weight!”
“I went on a diet!”
“What for? You weren’t fat, and you look like a toothpick now!” he exclaimed with his brand of brutal honesty. I tried not to be hurt, but the truth was, I wanted to sit down and bawl. Mark must have sensed that he’d touched a nerve, because he backtracked and said politely, “That is a very pretty dress, and it’s nice to see you all dressed up. I hope you’re hungry for Italian? We’ve been ripping up Matt’s kitchen floor, and I’m starving.”
So much for romantic fantasies! Mark did open the car door for me, and then reminded me to fasten my seat belt, like he did every other time we got into a car together. He chatted about his day, and told me that his sister-in-law, Frannie, Matthew’s wife, had lit into him when he’d tried to tell her and Matt that they needed to rip up the old flooring, and lay new before they did any of the other remodeling in their kitchen. He chuckled when he got to the part about her throwing a hammer on the floor in a temper fit, and that it bounced and hit his knee. I was a bit concerned, and determined to give Mary Frances a piece of my mind when I saw her the next time, but Mark insisted he wasn’t hurt…
“I think little Frannie got the raw end of the deal,” he grinned.
“What do you mean?” I asked innocently.
“Matt gave her little bottom a good spanking,” he chuckled.
I Take Thee, Luke
I heard the pounding
on the door and smiled in satisfaction. I knew precisely who it was, and
I had no intention of answering. So what if Luke Callahan was upset? He’d
earned the nasty little trick I’d pulled on him. The man was uncouth,
and I’d been waiting ever since Molly and Mark’s wedding for
an opportunity to get even with the aggravating man! When the opportunity
came earlier in the evening, I took advantage of it, and hoped he was as
embarrassed as I was at Molly and Mark’s wedding!
“Ruthie Denison, you’d best open this door unless you want all your neighbors to hear what I have to say??? And, I swear by all I hold sacred, I’ll camp right here in the hallway until you come out, and then I’ll have you, and the longer I wait, the harder I’m going to spank your butt!”
I was outraged by his comments! How dare he threaten me like that, and at the top of his lungs! This apartment building was quiet, and all of the neighbors wanted it to remain that way! I would be tossed out on my rear with no place to go if any of them complained to management. I could be held in violation of my lease, and it would be all Luke Callahan’s fault! I threw open the door and hissed, “Be quiet! We have a noise clause in this building, and I don’t want to be asked to move!”
“I don’t give a darn about your lease, little girl,” Luke shoved on the door, forcing me to back up into the living room. He shut the door quietly, and put his hands on his hips and glared at me. Once again I was surprised at how little he resembled Mark. While Mark and his older brother, Matthew, were both tall and had dark complexions, with dark hair and eyes, Luke’s hair was a much lighter shade of brown, and he was shorter and had blue eyes. Molly told me that Luke was the only one of the brothers who took after their Mother. The other three resembled their Dad. “In fact, I hope you get fired for this stunt!”
“Fired?” I repeated, and felt my face drain of color. “You told my boss?” I was barely able to force the words past my lips. I hadn’t stopped to consider that possibility, and suddenly, I was wishing I’d talked myself out of pulling the prank. Of course Luke would call the restaurant and complain! He was that type of person!!!
“Yes, I did call your boss to complain,” Luke replied, his blue eyes flashing with temper and indignation. Although Luke was shorter than his brothers, he still towered over me, and since I’d taken off my restaurant clogs and my chef coat when I got home, I felt even more vulnerable. “What did you think I would do when my dinner was delivered, and completely inedible?”
“It was edible!” I argued, even though I knew that someone who didn’t like pepper wouldn’t enjoy it at all. And, since Luke ordered the meals without pepper, I knew he didn’t like the substance.
“Not to me,” he said firmly. “I have an allergy to pepper. One whiff of that stuff, and my air passages close off. If I eat it, I’ll die. I specifically asked for no pepper…. The food was covered with it! And, I certainly couldn’t serve it to my guest unless I wanted to end up in the hospital!”
“I didn’t realize you have an allergy,” I stammered, feeling guilty. “I’m very sorry,” I felt my lower lip start to tremble, and I warned myself not to cry. If he’d eaten the food he could have died, and I would have been guilty of manslaughter! It was unthinkable, and I was ashamed of myself.
“After I took my guest out for a burger, I called your restaurant to complain. It was after hours, and the owner answered; I explained what happened, but when he said that he was positive his Chef Ruthie made a mistake, I knew then and there it had to be you… only you…! I asked for verification… and he confirmed it…”
I closed my eyes, fighting the urge to cry, even as I knew my face was turning red. As a redhead, I didn’t stand a prayer of hiding my emotions from anyone!!! It wasn’t fair, just as it wasn’t fair that I didn’t even reach five feet tall! I was going to lose my job!!! A Chef tampering with a guest’s food… it was a horrible crime to do such a thing! Dimitri would let me go, and not give me a good reference. I was in serious professional trouble, and I wasn’t even close to saving up enough capital to open my own place!
When I opened my eyes again, struggling not to cry, Luke continued in his scolding voice, “I told your boss that this was in the nature of a personal prank, and that I wished to deal with the matter myself… in a very personal way. He seemed to think that was a very good idea indeed, but I am of the opinion that he is very disappointed in you, young lady.”
Luke’s expression was grim, and I immediately realized that he actually meant to spank me! Too late I recalled what Molly told me about the Callahan men being old-fashioned. I’d been shocked when Molly admitted that Mark spanked her at times, and I’d also found myself curious about what it was like. But, I sure as heck wasn’t going to permit this man to put a hand to me! Not in this lifetime! No, I would not!
“Okay… I was wrong, Luke. But, you have to admit that this was all your own fault!”
I Take Thee, John
I met John Callahan in the line of duty. His duty, not mine. I was robbed at gunpoint at the end of a very long day of doing hair, and John came in answer to my 911 call. I was terribly frightened, and angry, too, and when the tall policeman entered the beauty salon I owned, I reacted just like a girly girl, and threw myself into his arms, weeping hysterically.
�Are you injured, Miss?� he asked politely, trying to pry my arms from around his neck.
�No, just scared,� I bawled, not even caring if my make-up was ruined. I needed human contact, and the policeman was safe in his uniform, and I probably wouldn�t have cared at that point what he looked like, or if he was married� I just needed a hug.
�Is there someone I can call?� he offered politely, patting me on the back, and doing his best to make me feel safe.
�Nooooo! My parents are out of town, and my older brother is a pain in the patoots! He�d just yell at me, and I can�t handle that right now.�
He snickered a bit at the last comment, and said kindly, �I know all about older brothers. Try to take a deep breath now. You�re safe; I won�t let anyone hurt you.�
�Thank you,� I whispered, looking up into his dark eyes, and realizing for the first time that he was gorgeous. �I should have had the door locked while I was cleaning up, but I didn�t. This man just walked right in, wearing a ski mask, pointed a gun at me, and demanded all the money from the cash register.�
�Is there anything you can tell me about him� height, approximate weight�?�
�I know who it was; Jerrod Mays. I cut his hair two days ago; and I recognized his hands; he was wearing the same rings on his fingers. He was wearing the same jacket then, too, and the same shoes� and the gray eyes were his. I didn�t like the way he looked at me while I was cutting his hair, like I was a piece of meat. He asked me out, and I refused. He didn�t like it at all, and I was a bit concerned he�d throw a fit, but he left, and I hoped that was the end of him.�
�You have a good eye for details,� he complimented me, and called it in, asking officers to be on the look-out for Jerrod. While John was still questioning me, he got a report telling him that the suspect had been apprehended, and was still carrying my money in his jacket pocket, along with the gun he�d used to threaten me.
�You�re good,� I said in awe of him, and he smiled.
�We�re here to serve, it�s my job, and you made it much easier than normal.�
�Well, cutting hair is my job, too, but I�m good at it� just like you�re good at your job.�
He grinned, and I swear I was half in love right then and there. He finished up, and stayed with me while more evidence was gathered. I was able to tell them where to dust for Jerrod�s fingerprints, and once they were all done, John told me I could lock up and go home.
He must have seen the fear in my eyes, because he asked, �Why don�t you call a friend and ask if you can stay with them tonight, Miss Gallagher?�
�It�s kind of late to do that,� I answered. �What time do you get off?� I asked boldly.
�I was off about an hour ago,� he admitted. �But, Miss, you don�t even know me,� he stated.
�Are you married?� The thought suddenly occurred to me, and made me sad.
�No, and I�m not seeing anyone, but that doesn�t mean that I can spend the night with you, and you shouldn�t be asking a strange man to do something like that!� he scolded, and I immediately realized he thought I was asking for something else.
I blushed furiously, and then said, �Wait a minute; I�m not making myself clear. I�m not THAT kind of girl!� I declared. �I�m just scared, and I don�t want to go home alone right now. I was thinking about going to a diner and getting something to eat.�
�Can�t you get something to eat at home?� he asked skeptically.
�I could, but you just don�t understand� My parents� house is really creepy at night, and I�ll never be able to make myself walk in there alone after tonight.� I shrugged when he continued to look at me. �I just thought you might be hungry, too�? I�ll understand if you don�t feel like babysitting me.�
�I am hungry,� he admitted with a smile, �and there�s no reason we can�t share a table... But before I can do that, I have to go back to the station and check out. Are you able to drive yourself to McKinney�s?� he asked. �It�s close to the station, and I should be able to get there within an hour.�
�That would be perfect. Thank you� I don�t even know your name�?� I giggled nervously.
�John Callahan, Miss Gallagher.�