It had been six months since they all went to South Africa, and since it was such a great success, the four friends wanted to try it again. Darla knew her girlfriend Sam loved Pandas, so she suggested China. The idea brought on hoots and hollers. Now they need to convince their spouses.

   The easiest to bring on board were the guys. Jerry loved to travel, so when Wanda brought it up at dinner that night, he stopped eating and grabbed his laptop. Bob was just plain smitten, and all Candace had to do was bat her eyes. Bob would fly to the moon if Candace wanted. If she wanted something bad enough, she didn’t hesitate to turn up the charm.

    Darla was pretty sure Samantha would agree without having to resort to begging. She would push the Panda angle. Sam had loved those bears for longer than Darla was around. The chance to see them in their native country, how could she pass that up.

     Now Leana, on the other hand, was unpredictable. Sarah wanted to go, but she also remembered when she sprung South Africa on her. Assuming she would jump at the chance and crushed when she said no right away. She did end up going and having a wonderful time, but it was a battle. Leana never went anywhere until last year’s trip, well, except for a work trip or two.

     Sarah was racking her brain as to how to approach Leana. She wanted them to go to China. What if Leana had fun in South Africa but didn’t want to travel traveling again? What if she wouldn’t let Sarah go with or without her? What would she do then? The questions started to build up in her mind imagining one adverse scenario after another. Sure, Leana wouldn’t want to go, and sure she would also try to stop her from going.

     At six-fifteen, when Leana finally got home from work, Sarah was a moody mess. Just mad at the world and everything in it. She convinced herself the answer would be no, by her contradictory ideas that she snapped at everything Leana said. “Hi, Baby, How are you? Did you have a good lunch with your girlfriends?”

     Not even knowing where the anger came from, Sarah spat out. ”What do you care?”

     Eyebrow raised, Leana inquired. ”Excuse me? What in the world have I done to deserve this attitude, young lady?

     Sarah, unable to stop herself snapped once again, “I said, What do you care?”

      Not sure what was going on, but also knowing this behavior was a symptom of something bigger. Replied. ”Young Lady, I am going to say this only one more time, you had better listen. What is this attitude about?”

       Sarah was too far gone, convinced of Leana’s response, she just kept up the foul attitude. ”Leave me alone!”

       Having had enough of the attitude and tired of waiting for an answer, pulled Sarah along with her into the living room. “oh little girl, you know better than to speak to me that way.” only stopping long enough to unbutton and pull down Sarah’s jeans along with her panties. Then unceremoniously guiding her down and over her lap. “I don’t know what this is about, but believe me. I will soon!”

     With that declaration, Leana proceeded to paint Sarah’s alabaster bottom a hot crimson red. All the while lecturing on how to communicate her feelings. ”Sarah, this brattiness is not acceptable. If you have a problem, you need to talk to me. Not become a brat and put us both in this situation. Please let me know when you are ready to communicate like the adult you are?” landing two scorching swats on each cheek.

    Sarah was beside herself, from her imaginary feud to her self induced hurt feelings. ”I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please stop. Leana, please stop spanking me. I’ll talk, please stop.”

     Leana stopped but didn’t let Sarah up. Leana was securely keeping one hand on her back and the other rubbing away a little sting from the very sorry bottom over her lap. “Ok, Sarah, it’s time to talk. Please let me know what this fit is all about? I don’t appreciate coming home and right away, having a confrontation.”

    Sarah wanted to talk to Leana, but tears came instead as soon as she tried to get words out. Laying over Leana’s muscular thighs, the feel her girlfriend rubbed soothingly over her back and bottom started to calm her agitated soul. Slowly she began to focus, “Leana, Can I get up, please?”

    Gently Leana pulled Sarah up but only to have her sit on her lap. With pants and panties still around her knees. ”Ok, Let’s hear it. What’s the big thing you’re having trouble telling me?”

      Eyes wide, Sarah was amazed at Leana’s perception, too worked up to realize how apparent her behavior was. “Leana, how do you know it’s something big?”

    ”Hmm, How indeed? Alright, no more stalling. Spill.”

     Sheepishly Sarah said, ”Can I pull up my pants first?”

     Sternly Leana replied. ”No, If you don’t start explaining right now, you won’t be pulling them up for the rest of the night!”

     Eyes wider, she started to explain her great lunch, then coming home and imagining all the ways Leana would respond. Finally, deciding Leana would hate the idea causing her feelings to get hurt before even talking.

     Sternly ”Little girl, I should put you back over my knee and spank some sense into you.”

      Trying to get up, Sarah was shocked, ”No. Please don’t. I’m sorry,” finally giving up her struggle, she leaned into Leana.”Are you mad at me?”

       ”No baby, I’m not mad, but I do wish you would have talked this over with me before getting so worked up…Ok, I am not saying yes or no. I do want to hear all the details, so let’s get cleaned up and start dinner. We can discuss it while we eat. Sound good?”

      ”ok, but can I please pull up my pants first?” Sarah pleaded once again while looking up with a hopeful smile.

     Leana nodded her approval. Sarah redressed before Leana could change her mind. Not that she would have, but why chance it? Once dressed, they went hand in hand to the kitchen. Leana wasn’t one hundred percent on board, but she did agree to meet with the group and discuss it. She also was precise about how much money they had to spend, and if they did go, it would have to fall within that amount. 

      Everyone planned to meet at Samantha and Darla’s a week from Saturday. That would give them time to research separately and have ideas prepared. During that week, though, one text after the other was flying back and forth. Everyone had plans and couldn’t wait till they met.

    The communication was excellent because Wanda’s husband, Jerry, was keeping track. He got in touch with an agency in China. He sent an inquiry to them. He listed the cities they would like to visit and what they would like to see. Fortunately, they responded immediately and at a reasonably good price. They could change the itinerary, but this would give them a pretty good starting point.

     As was everyone, Leana was amazed that Jerry found an agency that would provide the itinerary they wanted. They would visit three cities in China. Chengdu to volunteer at a Panda rescue, which was on the top of the list for Samantha. Then Bob wanted to see the terra-cotta soldiers in Xian. Everyone wanted Beijing, for many reasons, the Great Wall, shopping, and on it went.

     The agency would provide all the hotel accommodations, airport transfers, private tours, flights, and most meals. They all decided on waiting a week to confirm so they could talk it over with their spouses. They did not want anyone to feel pressured if they couldn’t afford it. Plus, there was quite a bit of wine served tonight. Leana had a glass of wine earlier but switched to water because she was driving.

      Sarah was so excited on the drive home she couldn’t hold her question back.”OMG, Leana, please can we go. I want to go so much. Don’t you?”

       Concentrating on her driving, she responded with a noncommittal answer. ”Let’s wait until we get home to talk about it. Ok?” noticing the pout form, Leana added. ”Sarah, before you start pouting, I am not saying no. I am just trying to concentrate on driving.”

       Entering the house, Sarah was watching as Leana entered and put her keys on the table. Finally, Leana said. “Alright, let’s go into the living room and discuss the trip.” once seated on the couch, Leana continued, “You do realize this is a lot of money to spend on a vacation? And we just went on a big trip only six months ago.” 

    Assuming she was being told no, Sarah’s attitude started to deteriorate. “Yes, I know that Leana geez! But I still want to go, come on, Leana. You can’t say no. It was six months ago, but this trip isn’t for another four months.” folding her arms in a defiant gesture.

     “Young Lady, That is enough with the attitude. I haven’t said yes or no yet. But you keep it up, and you won’t like my decision. Understood?”…..”I am merely asking questions. Are you able to have a civilized conversation, or should we wait and talk tomorrow?”

     Sarah calmed herself and said, ”I’m sorry. We can talk tonight. I’ll listen.”

     Leana started again. “I would like to go.” seeing Sarah’s excitement, quickly added. “But it is a lot of money. That price didn’t include the Chinese visa, some meals, and spending money. We would probably have to add on at least another two thousand dollars. Can you understand why I am so reluctant?”…….”Plus, if we make trips like this every year, we won’t have any savings.”

      Sarah thought it all over before she answered. Everything Leana said was right. This trip would cost a lot more than she first realized, but they both worked and had no kids, so why not?

    “You are right, and this will be a lot of money. Oh, Leana, I want to go. Let me think for a minute. Please don’t say no, yet?” pondering different ideas, “I can work extra hours. Maybe we can cut back on eating out. If we go this year, perhaps just a short trip next year, somewhere in the states?” Sarah didn’t want to give up her traveling altogether. 

     Sarah was looking up pleadingly into Leana’s wrinkled brow and soft brown eyes. “Ok, baby, before I say yes and we confirm this, we are going to sit down tomorrow and go over some basic rules. So that you know if we can’t agree on them, we won’t be going. Do you understand?”

    Ready to agree with anything, Sarah flung herself into Leana’s strong arms, practically knocking her off the couch. Her squeals were loud, making Leana laugh as she began to tickle her lover. Leaving them both breathless as they looked into each other eyes with passion. Without uttering a single word, they led each other to their bedroom, nearly ripping off their clothes.

     Leana woke up to Sarah, kissing her along her jawline, instantly aroused with each touch of lips to the skin. Heat built up between them until they came as one from the feel of the other. “Mmmm, That is one fantastic alarm clock, sweetheart.” Leana cooed. “Let’s shower; I’m starving.”

      “Then can we talk about China? I am so excited. Leana, it’s going to be amazing.” Stretching sore muscles and slowly pulling herself out of bed, then grabbing her lover’s hand, tugging her toward the shower.

     Sitting down after breakfast to discuss the conditions for travel, they each had a cup of coffee. Leana had a notepad, and on it, she listed five absolute musts. “Sarah, I know you want to go to China, but unless we agree on these five points, we won’t be going.”

      Anxious Sarah pleaded, “Leana, anything, I’ll agree to anything.”

      “First of all you will listen when I tell you to do something, Second no games, like when we were in South Africa, you don’t get to play with my feeling to get your way, Third there will be a lot of opportunities to shop, but we will not go crazy. We will have a set amount of money, and that’s it. Fourth if I think you need a nap, you will take it with no argument.” 

    Taking a deep breath, “Now the last and final thing and this may be the hardest to agree with, but it’s also non-negotiable. You had such a tough time sleeping the night before our last trip, causing you to be a little cranky. I have decided the night before administering a spanking that should help you relax and keep you centered. Kind of, I guess you could say, a maintenance spanking.”

     Stunned, Sarah couldn’t believe what she was hearing. A spanking before she got in trouble. ”Leana? What are you saying? You can’t do that. That’s not fair.”

   Leana confirmed that indeed she would do exactly that. ”It’s that, or we stay home. How about you take a little time and think hard. Let’s talk again in an hour or so. I’ll be in my office. Come find me when you’ve decided.” on that note, Leana walked out of the room.

    Sarah stared at the empty doorway. What on earth is going on? How was she supposed to agree to a crazy idea like this? But if she didn’t, would Leana call the whole thing off? Hmm, she usually napped after a spanking. Maybe Leana’s idea would work. Oh man, what to do?

     Sarah was shaking her head as she knocked on Leana’s open door. ”Come in, Sarah, have you decided? Will we be going to China or staying at home?”

     Sarah asked, hoping for a different outcome. ”Leana, is there any other way? I’m not comfortable with this?”

      She was shaking her head side to side. “No, These are the rules. You must agree to every one of them, or we don’t go. I know we will still have some issues, but we won’t have the same ones.”

      Closing her eyes, Sarah said. “Fine, I agree. We’ll do it your way. I don’t like it, though!”

      Chuckling softly, “I didn’t imagine you would. Now come over here and let me hold you. You had some tough decisions this morning. I’m proud of you, baby girl.”


     Tomorrow was the big day. They would be starting their tour in Chengdu. The west coast’s flight was red-eye, but they would have a pretty long connection in San Francisco. They didn’t have to go to bed early; even so, Leana was waiting for Sarah to fulfill her promise of pre-trip spanking. 

    Sarah just stepped out of the bathroom when her stomach did a flip-flop. Leana was sitting on the edge of the bed, hairbrush at her side. She was waiting patiently for Sarah to join her. Shoulders slumped, lip jutted out, she slowly made her way to Leana’s side. Leana didn’t say anything. Just pulled Sarah’s P j’s down and pointed to her lap. Following the silent instructions, Sarah draped herself over Leana’s lap.

    Rubbing a hand over the quivering bottom, Leana soothed. ”Sarah, I am proud of you. You are obeying the rules very nicely. Thank you, baby girl.”

     Glowing from the praise, She didn’t realize when the comforting hand raised, but she did feel it come down. Leana proceeded to cover every inch of Sarah bottom with sharp swats. Even though this wasn’t a punishment spanking, Leana did not go easy. Feeling like her bottom was on fire from the severe attack of Leana’s hand. Suddenly it stopped but only to start again even hotter, now with the brush reigning down.

     The pain was becoming unbearable. Her hand began moving slightly back. Luckily she caught herself before she earned extra swats. She was, however, begging for Leana to stop and wiggling. Leana knew it hurt, so she didn’t mind pleading, but extra wiggling earned some very harsh swats to the thighs. Excessive wiggling was never allowed. Finally, the assault on her backside ended.

       Leana eased Sarah up to sit on her lap, eliciting a painful hissing response. Hugging and cooing to her love, Leana continued whispering reassurances and endearments in her ear. The comforting words continued until she was practically asleep in her arms. Leana turning the comforter back, tucked Sarah’s limp body underneath, giving her a soft kiss goodnight. With a satisfied smile, Sarah drifted off into a deep, peaceful slumber.

    Since they didn’t have to be at the airport until 2 pm, they both decided to work a half-day. Sarah worked from home, and when Leana left, she promised to be back by one o’clock, therefore giving them plenty of time. Due to Leana’s organization, everything was together and ready to go. Leana left the office a few minutes late then got caught in traffic. By the time she pulled into the driveway, she was twenty-five minutes late, which had Sarah pacing the front hall. 

     Excitedly Sarah said, “Leana, oh my gosh, you had me freaking out. Why are you so late?”

     Leana apologized as she quickly directed Sarah, “Sorry, Babe, I wasn’t expecting traffic. I’ll just run up and change. Can you start bringing the suitcases outside? I’ll be right down.”

     They still had plenty of time, but Leana had to hurry a bit. Just as Sarah put the final bag in the car, Leana came racing out the front door. Sarah smiled, “Hey there, Slow down, we are ok on time. It might be good to leave now, though. Maybe we can avoid that traffic you got stuck in.”

     Taking a deep breath, “Yeah, let’s head out now. I was a nervous wreck trying to get home. I would rather have extra time at the airport than be rushing.”

     At the ticket counter, they met up with the other three couples. Once the four girls spotted each other, the volume seemed to go up several decibels. Giggling, squealing, and jumping around was the sight they presented to the entire airport. Each partner retrieved their spouse and proceeded to check-in. Passports, visas, and bags checked. In return, boarding passes, baggage claims tags, and passports returned.

     Fortunately for them, their flight to San Francisco was on time. They booked a long connection because Bob had experienced some nightmare delays connecting in San Francisco. Most due to air traffic control, usually fog. Unfortunately, they would be hanging out in the airport for five hours, but they wouldn’t miss their international flight. 

      It was dinner time when they arrived, and they were starving, unanimously agreeing on a sit-down restaurant that also served cocktails. They had time to hang out and have a few drinks and a nice meal. Everyone planned to sleep on the flight to Chengdu. On the way, they passed by a money exchange, the decision to take care of that before they drank. 

    Sitting at the table for maybe two hours, Leana noticed Sarah order another drink. She wasn’t sure, but she thought it was her fourth one. “Sarah, I believe this is your fourth drink. After this, one its water.” Sarah started to argue but halted right away. “Young lady, we can change this one to water. I don’t want you drunk on the plane.” 

       Sarah realized Leana was right. ”Ok, you’re right. I’ll switch to water.”

       The time flew by, and soon they were lining up to board the plane. It was almost midnight, and the day between work and travel was catching up. Even Sarah was looking forward to closing her eyes and sleeping, hopefully for most of the next fourteen plus hours. Taking their assigned seats, Leana was happy to have an empty place in their row. And as soon as the plane took off, they both drifted off as well.

      The sun was rising when their plane landed at China’s Chengdu airport. Although sleepy, the air was alive with excitement. They were herded like cattle through passport control, then to the baggage carousel to retrieve their luggage. The packet Jerry had received said someone would be waiting right outside customs. Once they all had bags in hand, they exited together.

      The first thing they saw upon exiting was a young lady holding a sign with the group’s name. She brought them to the shuttle where the driver loaded the bags, then off to The Tibet Hotel Chengdu. Luckily early check-in was arranged in advance, and the following day the shuttle would pick them up at 8:30 am for a cruise on the Minjang river for a view of the Leshan Giant Buddha. It is the most massive stone carved sitting Buddhist statue in the world so far. They would also have lunch at a Leshan local restaurant.

    For the rest of today, they would be free to enjoy the city. All agreed to meet back in the hotel restaurant at 1:30 pm. That would give them time to freshen up and take a short nap if needed. Once rested, they were happy to explore the city. The first point of interest was Wenshu Temple, a Buddhist temple in downtown Chengdu. They were enjoying the exquisite architecture and calming atmosphere. This evening they would venture to Jinli Old Street. The hotel advised them to be bustling with activity, lively shows, local snacks.

    Walking down the narrow Jinli Street was an exciting experience tasting many local snacks. The stores around them sold embroidery, crafts, calligraphy paintings. Candace loved to shop and immediately ventured in and out of stores. Fortunately, they packed very light and were planning to purchase new luggage in Beijing. Bob would find a way for all her acquisitions to make it home.

     Exhausted, they made it back to the hotel. Once in the room, Sarah flung herself facedown on the bed. “I am so tired. I’m not even sure I can change.”

      Leana, in the process of getting ready for bed, said. “Come on, Sarah, Let’s get done. I’m tired too.” Begrudgingly Sarah did as instructed, silently returning to bed and falling into a sound sleep. Leana gave a tired smile and followed her lead.


      Waking up refreshed and starving, they both hurriedly got ready. Stepping into the dining room, Sarah spotted Bob and Jerry. Once greetings were out of the way, Bob pointed to the buffet where the others were filling their plates. Happily, they grabbed a plate and followed along. Full now there were ready for a day of touring and went to meet up with the shuttle.

    They arrived at Leshan’s beautiful city at the confluence of the Min and Dadu Rivers and took a little over an hour. The first stop was at the cruise dock, where they were all hustled to board their boat. The four younger girls quickly hurried up to the upper deck, leaving the spouses to follow behind, smiling, shaking their heads.

    Leana came up behind Sarah as she was standing along the railing, wrapping her arms lovingly around her waist and whispered. “Mmmm, Beautiful, isn’t it?”

    Leaning back into her, Sarah softly agreed. “Oh, Leana, It is. I am so happy we are here. I’m having so much fun.” 

     The boat was gliding smoothly along with the city then onto the base of the Giant Buddha. The trip was short, but the view amazing, bringing the ship in full sight of the entire statue. Looking straightforward at the giant Buddha was a line of tourists making the two hundred and thirty-three-foot climb to the top. The hike they would be doing after lunch.

      Candace grimaced as she saw the height. “Oh, Bob, I’m not sure it looks high. I don’t know if I can do it.”

     Bob reassured. “Babe, If it’s too hard, we can go slow or turn around. But I’m pretty sure you can do it, and I’ll be right by your side.”

     That was all the encouragement Candace needed as she smiled back.”You are so sweet. Ok, I’ll try.”

     Lunch was at a local restaurant. They ordered with the help of their guide. While waiting for the food Darla and Sarah together went to the restroom. Returning with giggles, Darla explained. “It’s just a hole in the ground. I’ve read about it, but it’s different when you have to use one.” Only then their food arrived.

      Climbing their way up to the top of the giant Buddha was not as bad as Candace thought, but they took several opportunities to stop and take it. Luckily for Bob, they didn’t need to turn around because one side of the Buddha was for up traffic and the other for down. If needed, he would have done it, though.

       The top had them walking around the statue’s enormous head, forty-five feet high and thirty feet wide. Jerry was flipping through pages in his guide book, reading tidbits aloud. “It says here, Monks first started to carve this Buddha in 713AD and lasted longer than planned because it suspended several times. It took many years and three generations to complete finally in 803AD.

      Saying goodnight to the guide and verifying tomorrow’s pick up times, the group made dinner plans, quickly running up to the room to freshen up then meeting back in the lobby. Tonight’s restaurant was just across the street. Their tour guide recommends it for the traditional hot pots dinner. 

     Early the next morning, as soon as the alarm buzzed, Sarah bolted out of bed. “Wake up, Leana. We are going to see Pandas today.”     

      Smiling groggily, Leana happily pulled the covers back. “Hmmm, I do have to agree this is exciting. I can’t wait to see them either. I’ve never even seen pandas in a zoo.”

      “Neither have I. I saw polar bears in the Denver zoo once, but nothing as cool as this. I am so glad we decided to pay extra to sit with one. I know it is expensive, but worth it. I’m sure.” Sarah’s enthusiasm was contagious as Leana’s head cleared, just listening to Sarah’s excited chatter.

      Arriving at the Panda rescue center, Luying, a volunteer, was introduced, and she would be with them for the day as they volunteered. The first stop was a video and overview of the center and the goals for the panda rescue. Then led to the locker room and fitted for a jumpsuit, finally a tour of the grounds to be put to work. 

      Excitedly as a group, they exited the center led by Luying. Sarah and Darla were so excited they practically raced out the door. Samantha quickly admonished while making eye contact with each Girl. “Slow down, you two. Stay near Luying and No wandering off.” 

     The day started with a walk through the sanctuary, stopping by each enclosure to hear each rescued panda’s history. Mesmerized by the sheer beauty and size of these creatures, they all lingered by each one. Taking videos and snapping pictures until it was time to get to work. Luying gathered their group, and they proceeded to a cluster of indoor enclosures. 

     After separating the group into two groups, one half was put to work cleaning the cages and breaking up bamboo for the panda to eat. After a while, the groups switched jobs. Soon it was time to sit with the pandas. All but Bob and Candace chose to add this extra. Candace loved the pandas, but no way was she sitting with a bear.

     After donning a plastic gown and gloves to protect the pandas from any germs, they hopped in the Jeep and were on their way. Darla was excited but more for her girlfriend Sam than for herself. Sam had always loved pandas, and they had traveled to both the San Diego and Washington DC zoo to get a glimpse of one.

      Exiting the Jeep, they waited in an open-spaced area with a bench for several minutes as excitement continued to build. Luying offered to use their cameras to capture this once in a lifetime moment. Jerry also brought his iPad to video the experience. A collective gasp went around the group as they watched a two-year-old panda as it was carried from a truck and placed on the bench. Darla glanced up at Sam to see an expression of awe.

      Each person had a full minute to sit next to the bear. Two guys carried and gently placed the bear on the bench giving him bamboo to eat. When Sams turn came, she sat in stunned silence, amazed to be sitting with a creature she had always adored. 

    The most amusing moment happened while Leana was taking her turn. She was sitting there. The keepers were distracted, talking to each other, and didn’t notice the panda was out of bamboo. In the search for another bamboo stalk, the panda reached out, putting his paw with the most extended claws she’d ever seen on her thigh. Leana’s eyes went wide, then she looked over at the keepers, noticing their distraction. She focused her most Toppy look toward them, a look Sarah recognized right away. One she got when she was in trouble and made her shiver. They also must have sensed it because they fixed the problem right away.

    Once Leana got up, Sarah asked Jerry with a smile. “Please tell me you got that on video.”

    Jerry smiling in return nodded a yes and started to video his wife Wanda as she sat down.

        Once everyone had their turn, they went back to meet up with Candace and Bob. Excitement bubbling over, the younger girls talked over one another to share their experiences. Laughing, Bob raised his hand in a slow dawn gesture, “Hey one at a time. I’m guessing that it was a lot of fun, but we can’t understand you when your all were talking at once.”

     Looking at each other they giggled, and began again, only to start laughing still. Then each took a turn and animatedly explained the experience. Jerry added, “Wait until you see the videos. They are amazing. It was a great experience.”

     Bob smiled, “I can’t wait to see it, you will have to wait until later. I believe Luying is waiting for us. It’s time to go to a cooking class. We are making food patties to feed the pandas.”


    That evening at eight-thirty, they were taking China Southern Airlines from Chengdu to Xian. The next morning it was planned to visit the Terra-cotta Worriers and horses. They arrived late and tired from a long day with the pandas. After checking in, they all called it a night. They were hoping to rest up for another long day. 

      In the van the following morning, Bob had his guide book out and was reading aloud, describing what they were going to see. “It says here that it was a farmer who discovered the soldiers while digging a water well on his farm. There are more than 8000 soldiers, over 600 horses, and 130 chariots. The site was a form of funerary art dating back to the late third century BCE.”…”Wow, that seems insane to me. I saw a documentary about it once, and since then, I have wanted to see them.”

       They patiently waited at the front entrance while their tour guide purchased the entry tickets then distributing them along with a quick overview. “As we go inside, I will walk with you. Please do not hesitate to ask questions. We will be touring 3 of the four pits today. This first is pit 1, and it’s the largest. You will be amazed by the size. It is more significant than two of your American football fields combined, and you will see over 6000 figures. There is a lot to take in.

     Bob was so excited. As a history buff, this was right up his alley. He made a beeline inside. “Wow, they are not kidding when they call this a pit. Looking down, it must be at least thirty feet to the bottom. I knew it would be large, but this is incredible.” …”Candace, look at the faces. The detail is astonishing. And the horses, wow amazing.”

     The walkway encircled the entire pit. Trying to take in the enormity of it all as the group made their way and casually walked the perimeter. Each of the soldier’s faces appeared to be different, and the detail was truly amazing. Jerry commented. “How in the world did they manage to create this massive army and with such detail?” 

      From there, they continued onto pit two and then pit three. Both were equally amazing, although smaller. The tour finished up at the gift shop where the farmer who discovered this was signing his book. They all went over to greet him, and of course, Bob just had to have a signed copy.

      Finally, upon exiting, Wanda dramatically said, “OMG, It’s nearly two o’clock. I’m starving. If we don’t eat soon, I’ll faint.”  

      Samantha chimed in. “I don’t know about fainting but need to eat soon too. I am getting a little headache.”

      Hearing Sam, the guide reassured, “Our next stop is lunch. The restaurant we are going to is about a five-minute walk from here. If everyone is ready, we can go now.” Everyone cheered in agreement. True to her word, they seated just a few minutes later. Ready to enjoy another authentic Chinese meal.    


     On the flight from Xian to Beijing the following morning, Samantha, unfortunately, came down with a crippling headache. Her migraine came on quickly. Sam frequently suffered from migraines and needed to rest in a dark, quiet room. Having dealt with Samantha‘s migraine headaches in the past, Darla took care of her guiding her to the hotel, checking them in, and then tucking her under the covers before turning the light out and leaving the room. As Darla was leaving the room, Sam said weakly, “Be good, don’t get in any trouble.”. Darla nodded and smiled in return.

    Going straight to Sarah’s room, Darla was now looking for a little adventure. Leana was sitting in the chair, reading a book while Sarah answered the door. Today was a free day for everyone as the tours didn’t start until the next morning, so all the couples planned to relax and take it easy, maybe catching a little dinner later. Darla and Sarah wanted to go for a walk in the city. Leana, looking forward to some downtime, was content to read her book but not sure she wanted the girls to go off alone.

    “Leana, we are just going to walk around, maybe go to a few shops. We will be fine. We won’t even be gone long. Come on, Please, I don’t feel like sitting around.” Sarah pleaded while Darla shook her head in agreement.

     “Ok, you may go, but I want you back here in two hours. Stop at the front desk and get a card with the hotel name on it before you leave. Please don’t go too far and Sarah, I’m serious, two hours I want you back.” Leana said sternly.

      Both girls promised and nearly ran to the elevator. In the lobby, they quickly grabbed a card from the front desk and were out the door. Walking down the street, feeling more excited and empowered by each step, they went in and out of one shop after another, cooing over nick nicks and t-shirts. Neither one was paying attention to the time as they continued down several streets.

     Back in the room, Samantha woke up feeling a bit better but needing more sleep. Before drifting off again, she called Leana’s room to check in with Darla. Leana quickly answered, and Sam quietly inquired about her girlfriend. “Hi Leana, Is Darla there? I want to check in before I close my eyes again.”

     In a slightly worried tone, Leana answered. “Well, I permitted them to go shopping along the street, with a firm instruction to be back in two hours. Unfortunately, that was three and a half hours ago. I have been back and forth to the lobby, and I checked in with the others. I have no idea where even to look.”

    Samantha could hear the worry in Leana’s voice. “Leana, I’m sure they will be back soon. They probably got distracted by some silly trinkets or something.”

    “I’m sure you’re right, but I may need to borrow your paddle if they are any longer,” Leana said, feeling a little calmer after talking with Samantha.

    “Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll send Darla over with the paddle if you wouldn’t mind giving her the same treatment as Sarah. I don’t think I can do the job justice with this headache.” Samantha was still battling a migraine.

     Leana quickly advised, “Ok, Samantha, I’ll take care of them. Just send Darla to me along with the paddle. Try to get some rest.”

     As Leana hung up, she was thinking of the best way to deal with her two miscreants. By the time she had a pretty good plan, she had heard the Sarah opening the door. Sheepishly Sarah entered, “Leana, I am so sorry. We lost track of time. There is just so much to see.”

      Leana snapped a retort, “Sarah, Do not even try weaseling your way out of this, little girl. You are both in a lot of trouble. You knew exactly the time I wanted the two of you back. You both agreed, but you promised me that you’d follow the rules before you left. So now go put your nose in that corner over there. We will continue once your partner gets here.”

    Sarah stood dumbfounded. “Leana, what do you mean when my partner arrives? you can’t punish me in front of my friend, Leana?”

     Pointing to the corner, Leana confirmed Sarah’s biggest fear. “Since you both decided to break the rule and do it while Samantha was under the weather. She offered me her paddle if I’d take care of Darla, too.”…..”Now go put your nose in that corner before I give you a warmup.”

     Sarah quickly made her way to the dreaded corner.

    Meanwhile, Darla eased her way quietly into her room. Thinking she was in the clear, then suddenly jumping as Sam sternly asked. “Where have you been? You were to be back here over two hours ago! I haven’t been able to relax worrying about the two of you.”

     Darla felt terrible and immediately apologized. “Oh, Sam, I’m sorry. We got distracted looking at all the shops. I didn’t think you would be up.”

     Clarifying, Sam said, “So you knew you were wrong, but since I wasn’t feeling well, it was ok not to keep a promise?”  

     Realizing she screwed up and was making things worse, Darla started to back-peddle. “Sam, I wasn’t trying to worry you. We lost track of time. Please don’t be mad, Sam, I’m sorry.”

     “Well, I am very upset about your lack of consideration for our feelings. Leana and I have been worried sick, not sure if something bad happened. We are in China, for crying out loud! How would we even start looking for you?”…”Argh,”  This was not helping Sam’s head. Finally, she added. “Darla, I want you to get the paddle. Bring it to Leana and ask her to spank you. She knows your coming. We will talk when my headache lets up.”

    Darla stood frozen in place. Sam never asked someone else to discipline her. There was no way she could do that. “S-Sam, I can’t do that. You’re the only one who’s ever s-spanked me. Please, Sam Nooo.”

    Sam said softly but with an edge. “Darla, you will do as I say, and you will do it right now!”

   Tears now trickling down her face Darla agreed and went to retrieve the dreaded paddle. She was looking over toward Sam one last time before quietly leaving the room. Slowly she walked down the hall, unsure she could even knock on the door when she arrived. To allow someone beside Sam to discipline her, she couldn’t imagine. But she trusted Sam, and she knew better than go against one of her decisions. Unfortunately, she also knew when Sam felt better, they would be talking. So her sitting days were over for the rest of this trip.

     All too soon, the door was in front of her. Using the back of her hands, she wiped the tears as best as she could. Then take a deep breath, proceeded to knock. She wished more than anything for nobody to answer.

    Inside, Sarah tried in vain to plead her case with the saddest puppy dog eyes. “Leana, please don’t do this.”

    Swiftly shot down, ”Hush now, I don’t want to hear another word. And turn around.”

   The next thing Sarah heard was the door opening and Leana greeting Darla. “Hello Darla, I assume Samantha spoke to you?”

     Stuttering sadly, she replied while reaching out to hand over the paddle. “Y-yes M-ma’am, Sam told me to give this to you. She said to ask, um, I mean…C-can you; please s-spank me?”

   Reaching out, Leana took the paddle and asked. “Darla, Are you ok with me spanking you? Because if you are too uncomfortable, I can talk to Samantha.”

    Quickly Darla shook her head back and forth. “Honestly, I’m nervous, but if Sam trusts you, then so do I. I’m sorry for breaking the rules today. We did lose track. It wasn’t intentional.”

     Leana’s response was kind but firm, “Thank you for the apology and your trust. Do you have a safe word? I don’t imagine you would need it, but if this becomes too much for you, I expect you to let me know.”

      Letting out a breath, Darla shakily said, “Clementine is my safe word.”

      “Ok, Darla, Do you see that corner over there? Go park your nose in it, please.” As soon as Darla was in position, Leana called out to her girlfriend,” Ok Sarah, Come here, please. It’s about time we got down to business.”

      Ever so slowly, Sarah turned, quickly glancing toward Darla, then looking pleadingly at Leana. The look she got in return made her stomach drop. It was going to happen, and it was going to be embarrassing. Without further protest, she picked up the pace until she was standing directly in front of Leana.

      “Sarah, do we need to talk about why you are getting a spanking?”

       Lips were quivering. She replied softly. “No Ma’am”

       Swiftly unbuttoning the snap-on Sarah’s jeans, Leana started to relieve her of her pants. When Sarah reached out for Leana’s hand, needing just a little reassurance. Leana understood and held on while meeting Sarah’s eyes. It only took a moment for Sarah to settle and give the nod for Leana to continue. 

      Leana made quite a work of the clothing before helping Sarah over her lap. Without delay, the spanking started. Randomly swats reigned down one right after the next. Fully aware of her friend in the corner, Sarah tried to be stoic. She kept her responses to a grunt or a groan, becoming increasingly difficult as the swats landed. Once Leana had painted a lovely rosy backdrop, she stopped. Rubbing lightly before picking up the paddle, Leana placed it on Sarah’s sore bottom, causing Sarah to tense. 

    “Sarah, honey, we have a little further to go. Please try to relax for me.” In response, Sarah whimpered but relaxed. Once Leana started with the paddle, Sarah could no longer hold back. Tears and sobs were now freely flowing. After a couple of dozen swats with the paddle, Leana pulled Sarah to her lap, eliciting a yelp. Once Sarah calmed a little, Leana guided her back to the corner. “Stay here until I call you. Ok, baby?” Sarah nodded and ducked into the hole.

     In the opposite corner, Darla was squirming as her anxiety was rising. Her nerves were on edge; she didn’t even hear as the room became quiet. Very gently, Leana placed a hand on Darla’s shoulder. Receiving a jump and squeak in return. “Ok, Darla, It’s your turn. Let’s get this over with.” Leading her by the hand to the bed, Leana sat on the edge with Darla in front. Looking up, she asked. “Darla, can you tell why you about to get this spanking?”

      Looking anywhere but into Leana’s eyes, she stumbled for words. Leana patiently lifted Darla’s chin, so they were making eye contact. “Please look at me, sweetheart, and tell me.”

     “Um, b-because we didn’t listen and got distracted, and we were late, and we made you worry.”

    “That’s right, very good. Now let’s get these pants and panties down. In this family, we spank on the bare.” Leana proceeded to pull them down and guide Darla over her lap.

     The feel of Leana’s lap was so unfamiliar; it caused a temporary panic to well up in Darla, which Leana felt. While rubbing the quivering cheeks, Leana cooed words of reassurance. “You’re doing good, sweetie. Try to relax. Do you need to use your safe word?”

     Softly Leana smiled as she heard a soft “no, I’m ok” from Darla. It was not Sam, although Leana wasn’t a stranger. This whole situation was scary.

     “Fine, then let’s begin.” Lifting her hand, Leana brought it down swiftly for what seemed like forever to Darla. She continued to even out the color on the naughty little bottom in her lap before stopping.

    Taking a moment to rest her hand, she rubbed Darla’s bottom before reaching for the paddle and finishing this lesson. Hearing a groan as she lifted the paddle, bringing it down quickly, giving Darla the same number of swats as Sarah. Although she tried to be stoic as Sarah after a few swats with the paddle, she didn’t care anymore. Her legs were kicking, and she was crying out her displeasure.

     Feeling both girls learned their lesson, Leana helped Darla up and sat her on the bed at her side. Then called for Sarah out of the corner. Cuddle time was necessary after a spanking. Leana needed it as much as the girls. Wrapping an arm around each girl, Leana held tight, rubbing backs and whispering reassurances.

      A good five minutes passed when Darla looked up with tired eyes and asked. “Leana, Can I go back to my room now?”

       “Sure, honey, Let’s get you back to Samantha. I bet she’s missing you too.” Getting off the bed, she instructed her girlfriend. “Sarah, Why don’t you get cleaned up while I take Darla back to her room. When I get back, we can take a nap before we go to dinner.”

      Sarah smiled shyly, but before going to the bathroom, she gave Darla a quick hug. “See ya later.”

    Walking down the hall, Leana asked. “Are you doing, ok?”

     Quietly Darla said, “yes, but I can’t wait to see Sam. I’m sorry for causing you to worry today.”

     Leana reassured. “Well, your punishment is over, and now you’re forgiven. Please try not to let it happen again. Ok, here we are. You have your key, right?”

      Digging in her pocket, Darla produced a key card. She gave Leana a big hug before opening the door and slipping in. The room was dark, but she heard Sam softly say. “Darla, oh, baby. Come here. Let me hold you.” Darla kicked off her shoes and pants then practically flew into bed. She was snuggling as close as she could get to Sam.

      Having her girlfriend’s arms around her brought all of her emotions to the surface, and she cried. Worried, Sam asked. “Baby, shh.. shh..shh. It’s ok.  She didn’t hurt you. Did she?” Darla just kept crying, worrying Sam more. Then with a little more assertion in her voice, she asked again. “Darla, answer me. Did she hurt you?”

     No matter what was happening, that tone always produced an answer. “no, Sam, she didn’t, I’m ok. I just missed you. Please just hold me.” They stayed that way most of the night. Luckily Sam woke up the following morning headache free. She showered, letting Darla sleep a few extra minutes. 

    Sitting on the edge of the bed, she rubbed her back, softly saying. “Darla, baby, it’s time to get up.” Darla smiled but quickly grimaced as she rolled over. She was feeling the after-effects from last night’s spanking. Sam grew concerned and directed. “Turn over, baby. I want to see.” Pulling back the comforter, she examined Darla’s bottom. Sam saw signs that a spanking occurred last night but better than if she would have been the one to do it.

     Giving a sharp swat, she said as Darla jumped, trying to scurry out of the way. “Looks good to me. Up you go. We have a group to meet.” Careful to stay out of the swatting range, she hurried to the shower. 

     Entering the restaurant, they proceeded up to fill their plates from the buffet. They were amazed at the variety and selection. Plates full, they joined the group at a large table. Samantha offered a seat next to her for Leana, and Sarah sat next to Darla. Leana started the conversation. “Samantha, It looks like you’re feeling better. I am so glad. I would hate for you to miss The Great Wall.”

     “Yes, that was a bad one. I have been lucky lately. I haven’t had a headache like that in longer than I care to remember. By the way, Thanks for all of your help yesterday. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything the way I was feeling. Did they give you any trouble?”

      “No worries. No, I had no trouble. Everything worked out fine.”

       Listening to this exchange, both girls groaned and rolled their eyes, eliciting a laugh from their partners before returning to the meals. They had just enough time for a second cup of coffee before the van would arrive. Today was a drive to The Mutianyu Great Wall via cable car than a Hutong tour in the Dongcheng District.

     When booking this trip to the Great Wall, Bob had heard this was the best section to see. Not only was it beautiful but it was a little further from the city so less crowded. The part nearer the city was also more strenuous, with no cable car and a harder climb, with each step being a  different height.

     Driving along through the mountainous countryside, they arrived in a little over an hour. As the van neared the high wall, China’s smog dissipated slightly, giving the first blue sky. Getting to the cable car was a little bit of a hike but worth every step. The views riding in the car up the side of a mountain were beautiful. But not nearly as breathtaking as the view once they arrived at the wall itself. Along the rolling hills were miles upon miles of the Great Wall.

     All but Samantha decided to hike, she usually would have, but she didn’t want to push herself after yesterday’s migraine. But before they left, she took Darla aside and warned. “Young lady, you had better behave. We are already going to talk tonight, so don’t let me find out you’ve been causing mischief.”

        Blushing slightly, Darla replied with a whine. “Sam, that’s not fair. I already was punished.”

       With a quick retort, “Yes, and that was for not listening to Leana, you later answered to me for your behavior. Now hurry up and catch up with everyone.”

       Pouting but knowing better than to argue, Darla ran to catch up with the group. Leana stopped to take a picture when Darla caught up, and at seeing her expression, she inquired. “Hey Darla, what’s wrong? Are you feeling, ok?”

        Shrugging, she explained. “Well, Sam said we are going to have a ‘talk’ about yesterday. I don’t think it’s fair, when I was already um, talked to.”

        Understanding. “I see. By any chance, yesterday, when you left her, did you make her a promise to behave?”

        “Yeah, I guess so.”

        “So, did you keep your word?”

        “Do you think that was fair to break a promise, especially when she was not feeling well?”

        “Oh, man, you’re right. I guess I screwed up.”

        “As long as you understand as Tops, we take our promises seriously. I know you can appreciate why. Right?”

         “Yeah, I can, but I still am not looking forward to having another ‘talk’ tonight.

         “You will once it’s over. You can move on. For now, though, let’s enjoy this beautiful scenery, and maybe we can catch up with the others.”

          “Thanks, Leana, Talking helped. I’ll race you to the others.” That said, Darla took off, leaving Leana, shaking her head before snapping out of her shock. She finally surprised Darla as she flew by. Many people misjudged Leana’s athletic ability.

       After a two-hour hike, everyone was ready for food. Half of the group decided to take the cable car back down while the other chose to take the luge. The luge is a plastic sled or toboggan with brakes that each person would sit on to travel down the mountain. The more adventurous half that chose to would be flying down the mountain in a metal tube at exhilarating speed and breathtaking views. Agreeing once they met at the bottom, they would continue to the restaurant.

      After lunch, a family-style variety of Chinese dishes, they tour the Hutong in the Dongcheng district. Hutong is a historical Chinese neighborhood that is joining one residence to another and, in doing so, has a shared courtyard. Each couple paired up with a rickshaw driver who would follow one another through the neighborhood. Stopping first at a small Buddhist temple and then to a home of a resident.

      Entering the home was interesting, although awkward as the residents were there and spoke no English. Feeling rather intrusive, Candace tried to ease into a conversation to get a blank stare in return. Their guide tried to translate but that it was also strange.

      Gladly leaving the residence, they all hopped back on the rickshaws and taken down narrow alleys. At times other vehicles blocked the intersections causing short backups. The rickshaw drivers would peddle around the blocked streets whenever possible. It seemed easier than stopping and starting then finally ending the ride at a group of reasonably priced shops. 

       It was four o’clock by the time they made it back to their hotel. Once everyone was out of to van, Wanda said. “Jerry and I are going down the road to Wangfujing Snack Street. Anyone up for a centipede on a stick? Or a scorpion? There are other more traditional snacks if you’re too squeamish. We were going to go after we cleaned up, so maybe in an hour or so.”

       Bob chimed in, “I don’t know about the foods you mentioned, but I’d like to go. How about you, Candace? Do you feel like an adventure?” Smiling, Candace agreed, which left the last two couples. Sarah looked to Leana and smiled when she nodded in agreement.

       Darla, afraid to look up, was surprised when she heard Sam say. “Oh, that sounds like fun. We can meet you all in the lobby last say about five-thirty. Would that give everyone enough time?” In unison, the group replied and retreated to their rooms.

       Once in the room, Darla waited for Sam to speak. She was happy to be going out with everyone but was unsure and maybe a little nervous about Sam’s intentions. Was she still in trouble? Or maybe Sam forgot? That scenario seemed very unlike Sam.

     Noticing Darla’s unusually quiet demeanor and the fact she was fidgeting, Sam said. “Ok, Darla, come here, let’s talk.” It startled Darla out of her musing, and she slowly made her way to Sam’s side. “So Darla, what’s going on in that head of yours? You seem jumpy tonight.”

       Darla sighed and tried to explain. “Well, um, You see, I, um was upset today when you told me I’d get spanked again. Leana saw and stopped me on the wall. We talked, and I get why now. She said each time I break a promise, it has consequences, and you are both Tops, and I would have to answer to each because I broke a promise you both of you. I understand that, and I’m sorry, Sam. I didn’t mean it. I swear.”

      Taking Darla’s hand, Sam pulled her to sit on her lap. “Well, I’m glad she explained it to you. I know this is hard for you, baby. The fact is, you did break a promise, and that has consequences. Let’s take care of it right now. What do you think.” Darla nodded sadly as a tear slide down her cheek.

       “Ok, up you go. Let’s get these pants down and get you over my lap. Do we need to talk anymore about why you are getting this spanking?” 

         Darla sadly shook her head no as she was pulling down her pants. Once her panties were around her ankles, she quickly positioned herself over Sam’s lap. Tense from nerves, her bottom cheeks were tight and only relaxed once she felt the gentle rubbing of Sam’s hand. Unfortunately, that was short-lived when the gentle rub turned to swift swats. Darla’s voiced her displeasure, “Owie, Sam, please, it hurts. I’m sorry. Please stop.”

      Swat slap swat. “Oh baby, of course, it does. Hopefully, you’ll remember next time and listen.” Swat swat swat. After a good five minutes, Leana ended with a small firestorm of swats. Sam wasn’t too hard on Darla, but her bottom was on fire between last night and today. Once Darla calmed slightly, Sam lifted her now limp body to sit on her lap. Kissing her forehead, she rocked and soothed before tucking her into bed. Setting her phone alarm for 30 minutes, she climbed in next. 

       Hearing the alarm, Darla stirred. Sam reached over to shut it off. “Ok, Baby, if we get up now, we can shower and meet the gang for dinner. What do you think?”

       Darla whined, “I’m sleepy.”

       Sam asked gently. “Do you want to skip dinner? Are you too tired?”

       She is opening her eyes. “No, I want to go. I’m getting up. Oh, man, I hope a shower wakes me up. My head is foggy.” Rubbing her bottom, she added with a pout. “And my butt is sore.”

       Sam offered with a wink. “I’ll help you wash it. Let’s go.” That got Darla moving.


       Wangfujing Street was alive with activity. It was a walking street with no cars, and on each side were vendors selling everything imaginable, from live bugs to seafood to fruit on a stick. Candace being squeamish, squealed at almost every stall. “Bob, look at that, they are still alive. All wiggly, OMG. I can’t believe someone would eat that.” Bob cooed and comforted her as he led her onward. Candace could be sensitive, so best not to linger watching the live critter snacks.

       Now Wanda was just the opposite; she and Jerry decided to try something new. Although brave, they weren’t crazy enough to try live bait. Jerry suggested. “Hey Wanda, How about we try some of that squid, or there is duck over there? At least it’s on the grill and not moving.” Wanda chose the squid. As they were paying, Darla and Sam found a pastry, they looked yummy, and Leana and Sarah couldn’t resist the candied fruit on a stick.

       After trying a slew of snacks, going to dinner was out of the question. They roamed around for a couple of hours, munching and gawking. They were intrigued by the excitement and hustle-bustle of their surroundings. Bob and Candace were the first of the group to say goodnight and head back to the hotel. Not much time passed when Leana, Sarah, Sam, and Darla followed. Jerry and Wanda decided to stay longer, maybe have a drink somewhere.

       Getting ready for bed, Darla sighed when Sam came up behind her tenderly, wrapping both arms around her waist. Whispering, “Hmm, you smell good. If I weren’t so tired, I’d make you squirm like those snacks.”

      Slapping Sam gently on the arm, “Sam, unless you can follow through, don’t tease.”

      Letting go reluctantly, Sam yawned loudly. “Alright, maybe not tonight but be forewarned once I get sleep lookout. I’ll be coming for you.”

      Darla giggled. “Hmm, say the word, and I’ll be ready.”

      The second full day in Beijing was for shopping, and the Pearl market was their destination. The valet at the hotel hailed two taxis, negotiated a fair price, and instructed the driver as to the destination. The building was massive, with five floors of vendors and thousands of people. Before entering, Leana gathered everyone together. “Ok, I knew it would be big, but this is insane. Let’s make a plan, so we aren’t looking all over for each other.”

       Jerry chimed in. “That’s a great idea. There is a restaurant across the street. How about we meet there for lunch. Let’s say, at one o’clock. That gives everyone four hours to shop.”

       Bob agreed, hoping he could drag Candace away after four hours. “Sounds good to me. I’ll probably have my hands full by then..” Candace just smiled, knowing as she agreed while pulling Bob toward the entrance. She loved to negotiate and was ready to shop.

       Samantha was shaking her head. She was curious about the place, but shopping wasn’t a big turn on for her. Four hours seemed like an eternity dragged from one stall to another. The last three couples started together, deciding to see what was on the top floor and work their way down. Level five was store after store of every color pearl imaginable. 

         Walking along, they were lured into one of the stores. They were all seated at a table given waters and shown a variety of pearl necklaces. Even Samantha, the reluctant shopper, was taken in as the prices were terrific, and the pearls necklaces were lovely. By the time they left the store, they had purchased accessories for themselves and family and friends back home.  The jewelry made quickly right there as they waited.

    The top three floors were pearls, so they choose the 2nd floor. Silk and clothes were a few knockoff name brand purses became new acquisitions, along with new luggage, pashminas, and a varied array of items. Finally, the first floor was watches, knockoffs, and a few Rolex Cartier and Patek Phillippe found their new homes. Hands full, and hours later, it was time for lunch. They all luckily were regular meeting for lunch at the restaurant.

         Leana was the first to express shopping fatigue. “I think I’m finished shopping. Now, I could use a message. All of the hagglings, although fun, has made me quite tense.”

         Bob chimed in, smiling. “I didn’t do the haggling, but shlepping all these bags is exhausting. A massage sounds wonderful. I think that’s the best idea I’ve heard all day..”

         Wanda agreed. “How about we bring everything back to the hotel? We can check with the concierge to find out a good place to go. I’m sure they can recommend a place.” That brought on sighs of the agreement as they ordered lunch along with a round of beers.

        Candace admitted as she stood and began stretching. “Believe it or not, I am tired of shopping. I could go for a full body rub down. All that haggling is fun but exhausting too. Bob, how about we get a couples massage?” That got a smile in return. Bob would do anything Candace wanted.

         Later that afternoon, everyone was relaxed and dreamy from being pampered, oiled, and rubbed all over. Jerry recommenced, “How bout we stop somewhere for dinner before we head back? I’m starting to get hungry again.”

         Wanda chimed in. “That’s a great idea, but can we please find food that’s not Chinese. I know we are in China, but enough already. I need some American food.”

        Sarah laughed. “So I’m not the only one we need a change. There is a mall down that street. I saw it when we were walking over. They have got to have some restaurants.”

       Leana added, “Yeah, let’s give it a try. Hopefully, they have pizza.” Turning the corner, Leana smiled as a huge Pizza Hut sign came into view. Laughing, she said. “Must be fate.”


      The last full day in Beijing was jam-packed. Starting with a breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant followed immediately by the arrival of the shuttle. The tour started with Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Summer Palace. They also visited the Temple of heaven, along with several places along the way.

      Leana sat Sarah back down before leaving the room; she began taking a seat next to her. “Now, Sarah, I want to be clear. Today will be a long day, and I don’t want to separate you from your friends. You need to behave yourself, and I want you to listen. You are to stay with the group and not wander off.”

       Sarah annoyed already with the lecture, said with a pout. “Come on, Leana, I’m not a little kid for crying out loud!”

        Reaching out and grabbing Sarah’s chin with her index finger and her thumb, Leana sternly said. “Young lady, Do we need to have a little reminder before we meet with everyone?”a

        Quickly Sarah pleaded. “No, no, no, we don’t, Leana, I’ll listen. Come on, Leana, I’m still sore from the other day.”

        Leana acquiesced while standing up and grabbing Sarah by the hand. “Ok, baby, let’s go-to breakfast. I’m starving.” Little did Sarah know, but Darla had a similar lecture just a few rooms away. Both Tops were fully aware that when their brats got together plus both were tired, trouble would soon follow.

         At the hotel restaurant, Darla saddled up to Sarah. “So, Did you get a big ole lecture this morning? I swear Sam thinks I’m a kid sometimes. We broke the rule one day. Geez!” Rolling her eyes, Darla continued. “I mean, give me a break already. What can happen with both Leana and Sarah watching us.”

       Sarah was in full agreement when she answered. “I know, Right! It’s like they don’t trust us or something. Whatever, it’s getting a little old. I swear.”

         Shaking her head Darla was in full agreement. “Yeah, I know. Let’s forget about that. I can’t believe we fly home tomorrow. This trip just flew by. It’s been amazing, though.”

        Sarah agreed. “It sure did, but what an amazing trip it’s been so far. I never knew there was so much to see here. I always thought it was where people went to go shopping for knock offs. Except for the smog, China is beautiful.”

        Right then, Jerry sidled up. “Hey, you two. You had better hurry up; the shuttle will be here in fifteen minutes.” Not realizing they were standing there so long, they added a few things to their plates before hurrying back to the table and digging in.

        The shuttle stopped not too far from the Tiananmen Square hotel, which they remembered from watching the 1989 protests and massacre on tv. Thousands of protestors and one of the most dramatic images Bob remembered was of one man in a white shirt and shopping bag standing in front of a line of tanks. Solitary but with the conviction of his beliefs. Seeing this brought a strange feeling of awe when remembering all who sacrificed.

        Next, they walked through the Forbidden City, home to emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and closed off to the public for over 500 years. They walked outside along the inner courtyard. Apparently, inside the buildings were mostly empty, the contents were mostly in museums. The architecture was amazing and provided an insight into the way of life and customs of past emperors. The bus was waiting once they exited the Forbidden City, and as soon as everyone was loaded, they were off to lunch before continuing to the next sight.

      Arriving at the park’s entrance leading to the Summer Palace, the bus driver quickly dropped them off. The guide led them along the lake to a dock in front of the Palace. They boarded an ornately decorated boat for a cruise around the lake. As the afternoon continued, they wandered through imperial gardens, under canapés of lattes work, down Halls.

   On the way back to the hotel, the mood of the group was jovial. This trip had been excellent, and tomorrow they would be flying home. Bob said aloud. “I am going to have to start packing although we have been pretty organized, I still have a pile of goods from our shopping spree to pack..” with that comment, a groan went through the van.

      Jerry wasn’t worried about packing but, He was, however, ready for a cocktail. Sarah agreed enthusiastically. “Yes, That sounds like a good idea. Let’s go to the hotel bar when we get back.”

       Right away, Leana shot that idea down. “Not so fast. We need to pack before we do anything.”

       Not happy to be told no, Sarah started to argue. “Oh, come on Leana, We can pack later. I’m going for a drink.”

        Not backing down Leana firm response. “You may want to rethink that response and get rid of the attitude.”

      Sarah knew that tone, but she didn’t care. It was their last night in China, and she wanted to hang out with her friends. Leana was unfair. Unable to stop herself, she snapped back. “I’ll pack later. I’m going for a drink.”

      Leana didn’t say anything about it for the rest of the ride. Once they arrived at the hotel and exited the van, she leaned close to Sarah. “I am going to the room, and if you know what’s good for you, you will be right behind me.” That said, she turned, walking over to the elevator.

     Sarah stood for a minute before slowly following Leana to her doom. Now kicking herself for arguing, she reluctantly complied. But with each step, her worry intensified. Maybe it would be better to turn around and go to the bar. If she didn’t get on the elevator, Leana wouldn’t notice. ‘Yeah, right fat chance.’ She thought. The ride up was too quiet. Nervously she chanced a glance toward Leana. Seeing the stern set to her jaw made her tummy quiver. Leana was mad. 

      Opening the door, Leana held it for Sarah to enter. Not sure what to do, Sarah sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for instructions. Sure from Leanas silence that she was getting a spanking at least. Tears started to slide slowly down her cheek. Using the back of her hand, she began to wipe them away. The sound of soft sniveling got Leana’s attention; she came over to the bed and sat next to Sarah. She quickly lifted and placed her on her lap and then enfolded her arms tightly around her baby girl.

       Sarah cried out. “I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad.”

        Leana cooed. “Shh, It’s ok I’m not mad. I was a little annoyed by your attitude, but we are all tired and need to regroup. Let’s relax for a few minutes. We can pack and get everything ready for tomorrow’s flight. Then we can go downstairs for drinks. How does that sound?” 

       Sarah looked up, unsure if she heard correctly. “Seriously, We can still meet for drinks? I just thought I screwed everything up.”

        Smiling Down at Sarah, “No babe, I just wanted to have everything ready before we started drinking. I don’t want to be rushed in the morning and forget anything.”

         Looking up into Leana eyes, Sarah meekly asked. “Um, Leana, Are you going to spank me for having an attitude?”

         Kissing Sarah’s forehead softly, Leana said. “No, baby girl, I don’t think that’s necessary. I didn’t appreciate it, but maybe we are both tired.” 

          Happily, Sarah snuggled into Leana’s embrace. “Leana, can we just stay like this for a while?” Leana mumbled her agreement as she cuddled and rocked Sarah. Contentment settled over them as they enjoyed the closeness. Fifteen minutes later, Sarah looked up into her lover’s eyes. Feeling a sense of love wash over her, she brought her lips to Leana’s and devoured. Trying to convey the love she felt. 

        Leana wanted a little more, reaching down she slipped her hand between Sarah’s leg, causing Sarah to squirm and her breathing to hitch. Then she quickly lifted Sarah up and, with a command, said. “Strip! I want you naked, you and my shower now!”

      Sarah scurried to do her bidding quickly. Stripping out of today’s clothes and tossing them carelessly in a pile. Once truly naked, she ran giggling into to bathroom, Leana hot on her trail. After a long and wonderfully invigorating shower, they packed, setting aside clothes for the next day. Once their suitcases were packed and everything prepared for the next day, they went to meet their friends downstairs in the hotel bar.

     Darla looked up just as Sarah and Leana were arriving, smiling and walking hand in hand. Darla motioned to the chairs next to her. Happy to see her best friend and more pleased, she was smiling. Being witness to the scene when they arrived, Darla was sure Sarah would be squirming and not laughing. Now more curious than ever, she wanted answers.

       Whispering as not to let the others hear. Inquired. ”So, What happened?”….” why and how are you sitting so comfortably?”

       Sarah gave a sly smile in return. ”Oh, we had a lovely talk and an even more delightful shower.”

       Shaking her head, Darla said. ”Girl, you are lucky. I thought for sure you were heading for trouble.”

      Sarah agreed. “Believe me, so did I. I almost didn’t get on the elevator.”

      Darla laughed. ”Yeah, I have been there. Imagine how much trouble we’d be in if we ever followed through on that thought.”

      They both shivered at the image. ”That would bring things to a whole new level. I don’t want to find out.”

      Just then, Jerry raised his glass for a toast. “Hey, everyone. Thanks for another fantastic trip. I couldn’t have asked for a better travel group.” with that, everyone agrees and clicked glasses. Then he added, “What’s the plan next year? Maybe Egypt or Portugal?”

       Quickly Leana chimed in. ”Oh no, Jerry. Sarah and I agreed on a short trip next year. These grand trips have been fantastic but tough on the pocketbook.”

        Bob spoke up next, ”I have to agree. Let’s save Egypt or Portugal for the following year. That will give us all time to save a little. Maybe we can try to make a big trip every other year?”

        With everyone in agreement, they went on to other subjects. The conversation went from what they saw on the trip to the long plane ride tomorrow and more. Jerry ordered plenty of appetizers and another round. Sarah reached for Leana’s hand under the table and squeezed it. Leana squeezed back and mouthed, “I love you.” We are ending this year’s bucket list trip on a very positive note.

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