The next morning, Molly called and woke me up. I wasn’t surprised that she woke me up because I usually outsleep her, but I *was* surprised when I saw that it was only a little after seven.
“Molly?” I asked. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah,” she whispered. “Everyone’s asleep, though.. I wanna come home.”
“I have something to tell you.”
“Can’t you tell me over the phone.”
“No,” she said, then I could hear her begin to cry a little. “I really wanna come home.”
“Take it easy, babygirl. I’ll be over there in a couple of minutes, okay? Just let me get some clothes on.”
“Okay,” she whispered then hung up the phone.
I could only expect the worst. I mean, what would you do if she called you crying? She hates crying in front of other people, including me. The fact that she called me in that state just scared me more.
I made it to Ciara’s house in record time. Molly ran out to the car, eyes a little red and puffy.
“What’s up, kiddo? Does Ciara and friends know you’re gone?”
“I left them a note,” she said.
“Did you have a good time last night?”
We didn’t speak for a while. I figured it was best to leave her be until she was ready to tell me what was going on. I was curious as hell, though, so I was glad when she said, “I wanna tell you something when we get home.”
I wanted to say, why not now?, but I didn’t. Just said, “okay, babe… whenever you want.”
I think I drove home a little faster than I would have had Molly not had something to tell me. It’s normal to be curious about stuff like this, but I’d learned not to push someone to tell me something.
We walked into the apartment and I noticed the purple circles under her eyes. “Did you not sleep at all last night?”
She shook her head.
“And why not?”
She rolled her eyes, as if I should have known the answer to my own question. “You don’t sleep at sleepovers!”
“Oh… I thought it was called a sleepover because you were *sleeping* over at someone’s house…”
“So why not call it a ‘stay-up-all-night-over’?”
“I guess cause they don’t want to.”
I plopped down on the couch and patted my hand on the cushion for her to sit next to me. “What’s up, kiddo?”
She sat down, giving me a puppy look. “I feel bad.”
“Oh? Why’s that? Are you coming down with something?”
It took a minute for me to register what she was saying. Did that mean that she…
“It wasn’t Cole who called 911 last night…”
I could feel myself tense up. I kept repeating to myself to stay calm. “Oh? It wasn’t?”
She shook her head, staring at the carpet.
I lifted her chin, making her look me in the eyes. “And who was it?”
“Me,” she said softly, in almost a whisper.
There was a moment of silence.
“The first thing I’d like to know is why you let him take the blame if he didn’t do it.”
“Because I was scared of getting in trouble. I didn’t want you to be upset at me.”
“So why did you call it in the first place?”
“Because it was a dare.”
“A dare?” I asked, raising my eyebrows, getting a little angry. “So you broke the law because someone dared you to? Would you jump off of a bridge if someone dared you to?” I know, I sounded like a grandpa… but I was so upset that I couldn’t help it!
“I don’t know… maybe,” she admitted.
That just pissed me off more. “We’re not going to discuss this right now. Go to bed, we’ll discuss it when you wake up, Young Lady.”
“Okay,” she said weakly. “I’m sorry, Brian.”
“I know you are. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have fessed up. I’m proud of you.”
“And you’ll take that into consideration when you punish me?”
I smiled. She was growing up more and more everyday! “Yeah, I reckon so.”
She smiled back and kissed me on the cheek. “So Cole can go to the skating rink tonight?”
“Oh, he can, but I don’t know about you.”
She pouted slightly.
“To bed, Missy,” I ordered, halfway teasing, then popped her on the bottom as she walked off.
I stretched out on the sofa, wondering what I was going to do about this. Sometimes it was hard to remember what it was like being twelve, but this particular instance, I remembered exactly what it was like. It was cool being the one who did all the dares… the one who would do anything… the fearless one who just knew they wouldn’t get caught. And Molly even fessed up to it, which showed a great sign of maturity, and I admired that. So would it really be necessary to punish her so severely? I think the biggest punishment was the guilt she felt for letting someone else take the blame.
About two that afternoon, Molly came stalking out of her room, still looking as guilty and rundown as ever. She sat down next to me, lying her head on my shoulder.
“I hope Cole’s mom wasn’t too hard on him last night.”
“Me too,” I answered, putting my arm around her.
“I wish I could call him and apologize.. to both of them.”
“I have the number at the skating rink.”
She looked up at me, a look of terror, not realizing that she might actually have to call them after saying that. “Oh.”
We were quiet for a little while.
“Are you going to spank me?” she finally asked, staring at the tv so she wouldn’t have to look into my eyes.
“I don’t know. Do you think I should?”
She shrugged. “Probably so. I mean… I don’t know.” It was like she didn’t want to give into her fate.
“Go get ready, we’re going to go to the skating rink and have a talk with Cole and his mother.”
She looked at me again. “Do we hafta?”
“Didn’t you just say that you owed them an apology?”
“Yes,” she muttered, standing up.
“Then yes, we hafta… go.”
She shuffled off, taking her time to get ready. She took a long shower, then dried her hair and fixed it all up in braided pigtails, then applied her makeup like she was going on a date or something. Finally, after a little over an hour, she was ready.
“Took ya long enough,” I said.
“Was thinking about what I did,” she answered, smiling at me.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” I said playfully.
She didn’t even bother turning the radio up to listen to whatever band she had in the cd player. I think she was a little nervous about what was going to happen with Cole, not to mention that she still had no idea how she was going to be punished by me. I’d already told her that she was going to lose skating rink priveleges for the night as well as next Friday, since Cole was asked to leave early on a Saturday night.
We arrived at the skating rink minutes later and Molly was a little hesitant to get out of the car.
“Come on, MollyCakes,” I said sternly.
She sighed and got out of the car, poking out her lower lip and gently touching her backside. Ah, yes, she was suspecting what was going to happen, she just wasn’t sure yet. And quite truthfully, I wasn’t exactly sure, either. But we were to find out very soon.
“I’m not here,” I told Heidi, the morning DJ, as I walked inside.
“Could’ve fooled me,” she answered, smiling at me and waving to Molly as we stalked off to my office. I sat down behind my desk and she took a seat in front of me. I dialed the number that I’d scribbled down on a sheet of paper the night before, then put it on speaker phone.
“Hello?” the lady on the other line said after about two rings.
“Hi, Mrs. Lofton?”
“Yes, this is she.”
“Hi, this is Brian from the Skating Palace… we talked last night.”
“Oh, yes,” she said and it sounded like she was sitting down.
“I have someone here who needs to speak to you,” I said, then looked at Molly.
Molly gave me a pleading look then cleared her throat. “Mrs. Lofton… this is Molly Collins,” she said.
“Ah, yes, hello Molly.”
“Um, I wanted to tell you that… It wasn’t Cole who made the prank call last night. I’m sorry for getting him in trouble, but it wasn’t him. It was me.”
She bit her lower lip, waiting for the lady’s response. “Oh,” was all she said.
“I really am sorry.”
There was nothing said on the other line.
I spoke up. “I’d like to let you know that Cole is not kicked out of the rink for the day and I apologize for the misunderstanding.”
“But didn’t he tell you that he was the one who did it.”
“So are you sure he didn’t.”
“Pretty sure. If you could, Molly has something she’d like to say to him as well.”
“Okay, just a minute,” the lady said then covered up the phone to yell at the boy to come there.
Seconds later I heard the muffled voice, “Hello?”
“Hey Cole, it’s Molly.”
“Oh, hey Molly…”
“I’m sorry for letting you take the blame.”
“It’s okay… we all egged you on and I knew you didn’t need to get in trouble ’cause you’ve been in trouble at the rink so many times.”
“But I should stand up for myself, and shouldn’t have got you in trouble. I told Brian that it was me, and he said that you can come back whenever you want.”
“You didn’t have to tell him.”
“Yeah, I did… I felt bad because I got you in trouble.”
“Cole? May I speak to your mom again please?” I interrupted.
“Okay.” He handed the phone back to his mom and I picked up the receiver, apologizing again for what had happened and finally asking her the question that would determine Molly’s fate: How had she punished her son.
She was quite taken aback until I explained to her that I was Molly’s guardian until her mother came back from a family emergency and I felt it appropriate to punish her in a similar way as her peer. With that statement, she was more than willing to let me know that Cole had been put on restriction from the skating rink for the next three weekends, and that he could not use the phone or internet for the week, nor could he hang out with any friends. Seemed like quite a punishment to me, but that was because I wasn’t used to putting Molly on restriction. I preferred to get it over with so she wouldn’t have to dwell on it.
“Thank you, Mrs. Lofton. I apologize again for the inconvenience and assure you that Molly will be punished accordingly.”
As I hung up the phone I caught a glimpse of Molly staring at me with her puppy eyes.
“Don’t even try it, Molly,” I said.
“I called and apologized, wasn’t that enough?”
I shook my head. “I wish it could be, baby…”
“But don’t you get to choose? If you wish it could be, couldn’t it?”
“Did you know that had you not fessed up, Cole would have been grounded from the skating rink for two weekends and not been able to do anything for a week?”
“Wow… that, um, sucks.”
“You’re telling me. I felt sort of sorry for the kid. Thinking he was just helping his friend out but getting into so much trouble.”
“Does that mean that I’m grounded for a week?”
“Do you think you should be grounded for a week?”
“I don’t like it when you answer me with a question,” she pouted.
“Well, let me explain the situation to you. Someone at this skating rink committed a federal offense and her friend stood up and admitted to it when he hadn’t done anything to begin with. His parents were called and she felt totally embarrassed that her son would do such a thing, when he didn’t even do it. Then, when he got home, he was fussed at and scolded and probably sent straight to bed after being grounded for a week. It’s, what, nearly four o’clock right now… so since he’s been awake this morning, he hasn’t been able to do anything but sit around in his room. Now, what do you think about that?”
She hung her head. “Sounds like I deserve a lot worse than being grounded for a week.”
“I don’t know about that, but I did like it when she said that he couldn’t come to the rink for the next two weekends. I think that since I have to work anyway and I don’t want you staying at home by yourself, instead of not being able to come here for two weeks, I’ll have you write lines next weekend and allow you to come back the next weekend without being grounded for a week. But I also think that a spanking is in order.”
She winced at that statement. “Somehow I knew that a spanking would be brought into the picture.”
“Well, then, I’ll let you decide. I’ll either spank you or let you be grounded for the week… but let me remind you what being grounded means — you come straight home after school, no sleepovers, no talking on the phone, no computer, and no tv.”
Suddenly I saw the look in her eyes that said a spanking sounded better. “Oh.”
“You can think about it on our way home,” I said, then stood up, opening the door for her.
I could see her weighing her punishments as I drove home. I was also weighing them. I had no idea which I’d rather she choose, though I was leaning towards the spanking. As much as I hated hurting her like that, I don’t think I could bear to see her moping through the house for a week. The worst part about that would be that I’m such a softie that I’d end up letting her do something. Hopefully she wasn’t thinking about that…
When we walked into the apartment, I said, “Okay, what’d you decide?”
She bit her lower lip. “Erm… I never thought I’d say this… but, um, I’d rather take the… er, spanking,” she stammered.
I tried not to breathe a sigh of relief. I pep talked myself not to go as easy on her as I’d wanted. I mean, I was proud of her for standing up and taking responsibility, but couldn’t she have done that the night before when I first addressed the question?
“Very well then, come here,” I sat down on the couch and she followed me, standing in front of me. “I want you to know that I’m very disappointed in you for lying,” I said, and before she opened her mouth to refute my statement, I added, “I know that you don’t consider it exactly lying, but it’s still dishonesty because you didn’t fess up to the truth. I think I’m more disappointed in that than what you actually did.”
“But, it is still not wise to make prank phone calls. You could get in serious trouble for that with the law, okay?”
“Come here, baby.”
She inched closer and I unbuttoned her jeans, lowering him to her knees before turning her over my lap. She whined slightly as she found herself in that position once again. I tugged her panties down to meet her jeans and took a deep breath in, bracing myself. She was most likely doing the same.
I lifted my hand and landed a loud *pop* on her backside.
She yelped. “Owww.. that hurt!”
I ignored that comment and slapped down again and again, concentrating mainly in the same spots on her cheeks. It didn’t take much spanking before she was squirming. I’ll have to admit, I had started the spanking off a little more severe than usual.
“I do not want you to do anything like this again, Young Lady, do you understand?” I asked, peppering her bottom with hard smacks.
“Ooowwwwwieeee, yeeesssss!! I promiseee I won’t!!” she howled, squirming enough for me to circle her waist with my left arm.
I kept up the spanking, focusing on her sitspots for a little while and noting that her sobbing usually meant that she was broken. Now, while she probably deserved a bit more, it just wasn’t in my heart. I truly felt like she’d learned her lesson and that she honestly wouldn’t do anything so stupid again. But just to make sure, I wanted to hear it from her.
“Tell me why I’m spanking you, Molly.”
“B-because I made a prank call and let someone else take the blame and I’m reallllly sorry!” she begged.
I delivered about three more smacks to each cheek and then two very heard smacks to her thighs. She wailed then lay limply over my lap. I let her lie there for a few minutes until she realized that I was all finish. She was probably a little shocked that the spanking had been so short. I was a little shocked myself.
I lifted her off my lap and looked into her big blue eyes, full of tears. “Listen to me good, Molly. I am very disappointed in you, but I trust you’ve learned your lesson. Can I rest assured that you won’t be putting the blame on anyone else?”
She nodded, wiping the tears out of her eyes. I hugged her tightly then dismissed her to her room to get herself cleaned up. It was Sunday night and nothing great would be happening at work, so I decided it’d be a good night to hang out with Molly and watch tv. The next day was a school day anyway and she had her big volleyball game, so she’d probably be going to bed early anyway.
She shuffled back into the living room about thirty minutes later clad in her pjs and snuggled up on the couch next to me, Bonkers in her arms. “I’m sorry for what I did.”
“I know, hon. And I know you won’t do it again.”
She smiled, resting her head on my shoulder and petting her cat softly. We went through our typical Sunday night tv schedule, finally watching Full House and then some stupid Ashton Kutcher show on MTV. Finally I carried Molly off to bed and tucked her in, just in time for my phone to ring. I kissed my babe’s forehead and ran to the phone.
“Hey Brian,” I heard the voice say. It sounded strikingly familiar… like an old friend I haven’t talked to in a while… “It’s Rachel… I know you’ve been calling me a lot lately, and sorry it’s taken so long for me to get back to you. Law School is hectic!” she teased.
I smiled. Just the person I’d been waiting to hear from.