Sometimes having a husband who was older and controlling was difficult to handle. Like now. Kristina stood like a little girl, shifting from one foot to another while Jack held the printout of the email in his hand.
“So now after I have spent nearly five thousand dollars on a piano that takes up our whole great room and several thousand dollars more in lessons, now when I can’t get any of it back, now you decide you’ve changed your mind? Don’t you think you could have thought it through at the beginning?”
He wasn’t yelling, not really, but his words frightened her as if her was. Her heart was racing, she could hear every beat. She hated being criticized, and hated being forced to admit how young she was compared to him. Unfortunately their whole relationship was based on her playing the part of a little girl to his daddy. Sometimes it would be a lot nicer if he could just accept her for what she was. She took a deep breath.
“She’s a hard teacher and she always can’t accept the way I play, it’s never good enough for her…”
“Oh, so now it’s the teacher’s fault?”
She could see his face getting redder and she shook her head. She didn’t want to make him any more angry than he was already.
“No. I just have a hard time learning from her. Maybe we could get someone else for a teacher?”
“Bah… All right, But I will interview her and choose her, do you understand? You may be twenty Kristina, but sometimes you act like you’re ten.”
He stalked off and she took a deep breath. At least she had gotten out of that one. Learning to play the piano was something she thought would be quick and easy – she was surprised just how much work it was. Music took way too much of her time – time she could have spent shopping, or driving around showing off the new Porsche he had bought for her, or with her friends at the country club. So far she had gotten everything she wanted from him. He was just a big teddy bear, and she knew exactly how to press the right buttons. She was spoiled, she supposed, but she was just tired of music. She would find something wrong with any teacher he brought in to be interviewed.
* * *
Two weeks of pointed interviews with six music teachers had given her the feeling that she was wearing him down. She found an obvious fault with every one of them, something she just couldn’t live with. Weariness was obvious – the lines on his face looked deeper and the shadows under his eyes darker. She felt bad – maybe she should just do it to make him happy. His first wife had been a concert pianist, which was why Kristina had come up with the idea in the first place. Anything to take her place in Jack’s mind. She stood while the latest candidate for teacher, an older woman, a big, no-nonsense lady sat with her arms folded.
“Mister Blackthorne, I’m sorry, but I don’t see this working out. You aren’t aware of it, I’m sure, but all of us, the women you’ve interviewed have discussed your wife’s attitude. I knew what I would see when I got here, and I just thought it would be fair to talk to you. Kristina won’t make any progress unless either you or she change her attitude. Or I could, I suppose, but it would not be anything pleasant.”
Jack was quiet for a long time.
“What do you think it would take? I mean, could you really teach her to play? All the other teachers just gave up on it.”
“Well, of course. There are no poor students, only poor teachers. But you’d have to give me a totally free hand.”
He looked Kristina in the eyes, a cold look that struck to her heart. He couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t. He loved her too much to let someone else control her.
“What do you mean, Miss Collins?”
“Mister Blackthorne, I’ll expect certain things from her. I’ll expect her to meet my standards.”
A shiver went through her body. This was a woman who wasn’t malleable. This just wouldn’t do.
“Jack, I don’t think I can deal with this…”
Both of them stared at her.
“Kristina, please, I just…”
He hesitated, but Miss Collins didn’t at all.
“Young lady, I think your wishes aren’t the issue. You seem to think of yourself as an adult, although frankly I don’t see adult behavior. If you think you’re a grown-up, THEN ACT LIKE ONE.”
The woman raised her voice at the end, the echoes bouncing around the small room. She closed her eyes in fear for a few seconds – that kind of raw power was scary. When she finally looked it was unbelievable – Jack was smiling.
“Miss Collins, Perhaps you might be good enough to show us what a sample lesson would be like? I will, of course, pay for your time at the rates you quoted previously.”
“The piano is…”
“Next door in the great room.”
“Of course. Young lady, would you lead the way.”
Kristina was infuriated and she had a childish urge to stamp her foot and say no. Scream no. Miss Collins’ eyes focused on her, leaving her chilled. She couldn’t think of something clever to say so she just led the way. As they walked in to the cavernous room she heard a gasp behind her.
“Oh, Mister Blackthorne…”
He interrupted her.
“Oh, all right. Jack, an opportunity to play a concert grand from Steinway, how wonderful.”
She reached out and gently pressed one key, then another, looked back at him.
“Sounds like perfect tune.” She turned to Kristina. “Do you have any idea what a privilege it is to be allowed to play on such an instrument? You should be thanking your husband every night for the chance.”
She pulled out the bench and sat for a moment, laying her purse and her music case next to her. In an instant the room filled with the strains of a classical piece, much too backwards for Kristina’s taste. She looked and Jack’s eyes were closed tight, a smile on his face for the first time in several weeks, his whole body swaying with enjoyment. She had to bring this to an end quickly. She didn’t want him expecting this kind of thing from her, and she certainly didn’t want him reminded of his first wife.
“Well, shall we get this over with?”
Her voice was harsh and Miss Collins stopped.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”
Jack opened his eyes. The smile was still there.
“Miss Collins, any time you’d like to come over and serenade us, I’d enjoy it tremendously.”
She seemed embarrassed.
She stood, picking up her things.
“Please be seated, young lady.”
She opened her music case and extracted folded sheet music, set it on the rack. Kristina slid onto the seat, stared at the confusing mix of lines and notes dancing before her.
“Your previous teacher is a friend of mine and she told me you had learned this. Is that correct?”
She nodded. She had.
“And when did you last play this piece? Wasn’t it right before she tendered her resignation?”
Kristina bobbed her head. This wasn’t going how she wanted. Next she would…
“Please play it then. It’s only been two weeks, and you certainly should remember it. How many times have you played it?”
Kristina took a minute. She knew the answer, but she hated to admit it.
“But that was always during lessons wasn’t it?”
Kristina’s throat was very dry all of a sudden. She tried to speak, but her voice came out in a squeak.
Miss Collins turned to Jack.
“I think I know what the problem is, Jack. And I have the perfect solution for it. You may want to leave the room.”
She turned back to Kristina.
“PLAY THE PIECE.”
The loud command was frightening and she lifted her hands to the keyboard, positioned her fingers, and began. Her hands felt clumsy, tight. Her fingers wouldn’t go where she wanted them. The tune came out staggering, slow, an occasional dissonant key irritating.
“No, no. Stand up.”
Miss Collins quickly sat as Kristina slid off the bench and stood spellbound as the woman’s hands flew over the keys with unimaginable grace. The music was beautiful, even Kristina had to admit that. The melody haunting, gliding, caressing the soul. At the end, Miss Collins spun around, reached down and lifted her purse. As she fished around inside she spoke in a cold, clear voice that paralyzed Kristina.
“Do you know the problem, Mrs. Blackthorne. Yes, Mrs. Blackthorne, not Kristina, not young lady, because I want you to try to act like an adult and accept this as a grown woman. We’ll have no more of your girlish behavior. Is that clear? You should have played that piece at least fifty times over the five weeks of lessons that your were studying it. You should have played it, because music doesn’t just come to you. You need to practice. Over and over until you get it perfect. I know that’s hard to accept so I’ll say it again. You need to practice. Do you understand?”
The lecture was demeaning, and she wanted to sarcastically respond, but she had no chance. The woman finally found what she wanted in her purse and pulled out an old fashioned hairbrush, the back thick, with a long handle. She set it on the piano bench next to her, then took Kristina’s arm.
“Actually we both need practice. You need to practice this piece, and I haven’t spanked a student with my hairbrush for a long time.:
Kristina felt herself pulled off her feet and across the woman’s lap. She struggled but her small size was against her from the beginning. It was seconds before, in spite of her best efforts, she lay like a small child, her skirt lifted up and her panties down.
“Jack, I’ve found that this is the most effective way to deal with an attitude like hers. I think you may find an improvement in other areas as well. Also, I’d like you to keep track of her practice time. I’ll be able to tell from the results, of course, but you’ll be able to watch her. I’d suggest that you discipline her if she shirks as well as whatever discipline I give her. I’m sure you can find a way to do whatever’s necessary. I’d suggest your belt is appropriate.”
“Jack, make her let me go. Owwww.”
The first swat stung as it landed on her skin and she twisted and tried to get away. She wouldn’t have thought anything could sting like that, and it got worse as the woman continued.
“Miss Collins, perhaps I should have you over every evening. This seems like an excellent solution. Who knows, we may have you move in.”
It was a long time until loud sharp impact of the hairbrush on a bare bottom stopped, and Kristina’s face was covered with tears as she was stood in front of her teacher. It was even more humiliating as her underwear was pulled up for her and her skirt smoothed down.
“Now, sit down and you will play the piece over and over until you get it right.”
It hurt to sit, even more as she slid over the piano bench, and the woman’s presence behind her was frightening. It was hard to keep playing, but she did. Jack was sitting on the couch watching. Once she looked over and he had a small, mysterious smile on his face.
“Please, Jack. If I’m going to be here that often it’s Beatrice.”
“Oh, what a beautiful name. Please come over here and sit next to me. We can watch her together.”
The woman’s heels clicked on the floor as she walked over. Kristina turned and watched as she dropped onto the couch next to her husband.
“I’m so sorry I had to spank your wife.”
“Oh, don’t be. Obviously she needed it. And still does. Kristina?”
She lifted her eyes to his.
“I think it’s time for you to get back to practice. We’ll be watching you.”
Kristina began to play the piece again, wishing her bottom didn’t hurt so bad. Practice. She would practice. And keep on until she got it right. She hated it.
But she would … practice.
This is part of the #wankwednesday group run by Ruby Kiddell. To look at all the entries see http://eroticnotebook.co.uk/erotic-writing/wank-wednesday/practice-wank-wednesday