He waits, bent over her desk, just as she instructed. The building is silent but for the soft hum of the air conditioning, cool air leaving goosebumps across his skin. It’s way past working hours, the time of night when even those with the best work ethic have gone home.
She’s late. He knows it’s on purpose, to make him sweat. Because everything Jessica Pearson does is calculated, and she is always punctual.
But it won’t break him. Him following her instructions doesn’t necessarily mean he obeyed; it’s more about the fact that even if he’d never admit it out loud, he needs this.
And that’s why he waits, until he finally hears the steady beat of her heels against the floor.
She leans over him, one hand on his back. He feels shaken inside by her presence, but he doesn’t show it.
She knows though. She always knows.
“You. Will. Learn.”
Her voice is steady, she speaks the way she always does, yet so differently. It makes him want to arch into her, to fall to his knees and beg forgiveness.
But he holds fast.
She places one kiss - quick, warm, secret - at the top of his spine. It leaves a mark of expensive lipstick.
She doesn’t ask him to recite his wrongs. She doesn’t ask him if he’s sorry. She won’t. She knows that he knows and she knows that he wants her forgiveness; just as surely as she knows he won’t say it. Not verbally.
She draws away; there’s a few clicks of her heels and the rustling of her jacket.
He adjusts his stance subconsciously; dropping away everything else from his mind to focus on pleasing her.
She doesn’t speak - he can’t take words when he’s like this - but the warm touch of her hand on his hip says he’s doing good.
It’s a harsh contrast to the flare of pain when it’s pulled back and lands against his ass.
The sound is loud in the silence. If there was anyone else around they would know.
There is always a risk that they are not really alone.
The next slap is harder.
He jerks, and there’s another one, then another. Each one hurts more and he can’t focus and what if they are not really alone.
She pauses, her hand coming to rest in the small of his back, gentle.
“Focus on me, Harvey.”
He drops it. He trusts her.
“I trust you.”
His admittance is quiet. He never says things like this, but he’s perhaps not as shocked as he would be.
Neither is she. “I know you do. You’re doing good. Stop thinking.”
For once, her words feel more soothing than her hand.
Two more slaps, then she picks up the ruler - the only item left out on her cleared off desk.
He braces himself.
She taps the plastic gently against his skin. Relax, relax...
He breathes. In - out - in - out.
The ruler leaves more pain in its wake than her hand. It lands repeatedly with little pause, and she aims it with practiced precision.
He will be reminded for the rest of the week, and he will listen better to that than her words.
He doesn’t notice the hurt whimpers falling from his lips, would try to swallow them if he did.
No one understands just how much she actually controls him.
He’s trembling when she stops, hands gripping the edge of the desk like a lifeline.
She gives him a few moments, hands caressing his arms and back. She doesn’t speak.
When he stands to retrieve his clothes from a chair, she picks up her jacket and leaves.
He moves gingerly as he puts her office back in order. There’s a cab waiting outside to take him home when he’s ready.
She will check on him the following hour and if he needs anything else she will be whatever he needs.
But right now, like every other time, they both need a bit of space.