Part of the Jessica and Katelyn series. Jessica is frustrated when she’s grounded during the big Mets game. But since when has being grounded ever stopped her from doing what she wants?
Robert and I were constantly at each other’s throats. This time it was about my school work. While Katelyn brought home all A’s on her report card, with one measly B, mine was scattered with B’s and C’s, and a D in American Studies. I mean really, who cares about all the dead presidents? Definitely not me.
“No more going out on school nights,” Robert told me.
“From now on, I’m checking your assignment book and no computer or TV until you finish all of your homework.”
“What?” I said, appalled that he was taking away not only my going out privileges, but basically turning me into a hermit… no contact with the outside world? No Farmville? No lame reality TV? My life was so over. “But what about my farm? What about Real World? The season finale is next week!”
“Once you bring up your grades, you can play games and watch TV. Until then, homework is your priority.”
“But my crops will wither!”
He rolled his eyes.
“This isn’t fair, Robert!” I shrieked, stomping my foot. “You can’t do this!”
He sighed that same exasperated sigh he always had when I began my tantrums. “Jessica, your grades aren’t up to par. And don’t blame it on Mom and Dad. Kate is going through the same thing as you and her grades are just fine.”
“But I am not Katelyn,” I said, glaring at him.
“The problem is that you’re not applying yourself.”
“The problem,” I began, inching up to him, “is that YOU are an asshole and never let me do anything. And I don’t want to live with you.”
He winced. I’d hit him where it hurt. But he remained stoic. He was pretty used to it by now. “No computer or TV until your homework is finished, end of story,” he said firmly.
“Fine. Whatever.” I snatched my signed report card from the table and stormed off. “Next time I’ll just forge it,” I muttered under my breath.
“Don’t even think about it, Jessica Lynne.”
I ignored him, angrily trudging up the stairs and slamming my door when I got to my room. Katelyn was sitting on her bed, books spread out, undoubtably working on our history paper that wasn’t due for another week. I hadn’t even picked a topic yet. And I couldn’t help but glare at her. It was her fault that Robert was being such a prick to me about my grade. She’d set his expectations so high for me because she was such a good student. Otherwise I could bring home an average report card and he’d be fine with me.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I said, realizing that I was still glaring at her. I loved my sister and all, but damn, she sure made my life more difficult.
I threw my backpack onto my bed and plopped down. “Can’t you make a C every now and then?”
She stared at me blankly. “What?”
“Robert’s being all pissy. Because you have good grades and mine are lame.”
I knew she wanted to say that all I had to do was do some homework every once in a while and he’d get off my case, but being the perfect sister she was, she just looked at me and let me rant.
“He gets on my nerves. He’s always bitching about something. If it’s not my grades, it’s my attitude. If it’s not that, I’m wearing the wrong clothes, not practicing enough, not playing musical instruments, not pretty enough…”
This is where she was thinking that he’d never said half of those things… I mean, my grungey-style of clothing bothered him, but he didn’t bitch at me about it anymore, and he never accused me of the other things, but I was just in a bad mood. But again Katelyn, didn’t say those things. She just said, “I wish you and Robert were closer. What do you have against him?”
“What does he have against me?” I asked, hot-tempered.
She went back to doing her homework and shrugged. “He doesn’t have anything against you. But you’re always mean to him. You always yell at him whenever he suggests something.”
“Ugh,” I said. “Whatever. I thought you were on my side.”
“I’m not on anyone’s side,” she said. There she was, perfect sister, remaining neutral. Of course she would. “I’m just telling you my opinion.”
I wanted to tell her where she could shove her opinion, but resisted. After all, she hadn’t asked me for my opinion on Robert either, and could’ve easily told me to shut up at the beginning of the conversation. So I just plugged my ears with my mp3 player and lay down on my bed, dozing off.
You know what sucks most about being grounded? When something fun comes up, like the Mets game you’ve been waiting to see, and you have to tell your best friend that you’ll have to pass because there’s no way that your older brothers will let you go on account of that D in American Studies. Oh, and because you’ve still been fighting them on everything and still haven’t finished that report that’s due in a couple of days.
Camilla didn’t care, though. You know what her response was? “So tell them you’re coming to my house after school and we’re going to study for our Spanish test.”
I pondered this. “Yeah… and we can talk in Spanish during the game… so technically it isn’t a lie…”
I grinned. This was too easy.
When I got home that afternoon, I showed Daniel my assignment book and the homework I’d already copied, um, I mean, the homework that I’d already finished. He checked through the math, making sure that all the answers were correct (duh, of course they were… the answers are in the back of the book! I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t copy?) and then asked about my reading assignment.
“Already finished. We had free time in gym.” I then showed him the answers to the questions after the reading that Camilla and I had scribbled down somewhere in between making jokes about the people playing volleyball.
He nodded, skimming over them. “These aren’t complete sentences…” he said.
“She doesn’t grade for accuracy, just completion. Come on, Dan. Don’t make me redo it.”
He shook his head. “You would’ve never survived ten years ago.”
I rolled my eyes.
He handed me the paper back. “How much have you finished with your report?”
“I’ve looked up some stuff.” Another non-lie. I had looked up some stuff… I didn’t specify what stuff, exactly, that I’d looked up.
“I have the whole weekend to write it. I’m not stressin’. I’m more concerned about the Spanish test I have on Friday.”
He raised his eyebrows. If anything, Spanish was my best subject, probably due to the summers I spent flirting with the Latino guys at baseball games. I could say swear words in every Spanish dialect by now.
“We learned a new tense. It’s annoying and hard. But Camilla offered to help me study. Actually, we offered to help each other study. Tomorrow, after school. She said I could come over.”
“Oh yeah? To study, huh?”
“Well, you know,” I said, looking away. It was hard to lie to Daniel, but I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t a lie. She and I were going to study… while staring at baseball players in tight pants and eating foot-long hotdogs. But studying nonetheless. “We’ll probably goof off a little, but I promise promise promise that I’ll bring home an A on this test. If I don’t, then you can ground me for eternity. Please let me go.”
“Hm,” he said, thinking about what I’d told him.
“You’ll have to run it by Robert first.”
“Can’t you ask him for me? He’ll tell me no.”
He rolled his eyes. “Fine. I’ll ask him. But don’t let me down.”
Don’t let me down. “I won’t. Promise.”
He smiled. “Okay, kiddo. You’re good to go.”
I stuffed everything back in my backpack and skipped towards my room. I was in a super good mood now, excited to tell Camilla of the good news. I logged onto Facebook and shot her a quick message saying “im in!” and then harvested my crops. My poor farm on Farmville was so pathetic since my grounding.
The next day I went to school with my Mets cap stuffed in my backpack and wearing my favorite jersey. My best friend and I worked on homework during gym again (although this day wasn’t a free day, we just opted to not dress out and take the point deduction… which is why I had a B in gym…) and “found” some notecards that someone had made for the Spanish test. We quizzed each other a couple of times, but ended up talking more about the game we were so excited about going to.
After school, we went to Camilla’s house for a snack and some crop harvesting. And I couldn’t help myself… I had to update my status…
~Jess Parker~ is going to the mets game!!!
I was sure to lock it so that neither Robert nor Daniel nor any other adults could see it. Yes, I have my older brothers on my Facebook friends list. But don’t worry, half of the stuff I do on there is locked so they don’t see it.
After an hour of sitting around, we went with Camilla’s super cool older cousin and his best friend to the train station – no way would her mom let us go to the game without adult supervision… even though I’d hardly consider Adam and Ben as “adults,” but whatever. It was better than having to watch the game on TV. And they were both cool guys, even if they did pick on us the whole train ride.
I won’t bore you with the details of the game. I was super into it, though, when Adam gave me a hard nudge. “Phone,” he said, shoving his cellular device into my hand.
“What?” I said, looking at the number and noticing that it was my home phone that had called his cell. Uhoh. “Hello?” I glared at Adam as I said this, wondering why the hell he’d answered the phone. It was so obvious that I was at the game… all the loud chatter, the annoying “charge!” song that kept playing, the booming announcer’s voice.
“Jess?” I heard, grateful to hear that it was only my sister. Phew. That was close.
“Oh, hey, Katelyn. What’s up?”
I was only half listening because my team was batting with two on and two out, and a double would put us in the lead.
“I have some crappy news for you.”
“Robert knows you’re at the game.”
My heart stopped. “What? What do you mean he knows I’m at the game?”
She paused long enough for me to shout a few swear words at the umpire for the bogus call he’d made. “He was signing onto Facebook and I guess I hadn’t signed off earlier so it was still in my name… and… well… he saw your status.”
She sighed. A base hit caused the crowd around me to go wild. “He knows, Jess. I just wanted to give you the heads up.”
Shit. “Thanks, sis,” I said.
I closed the phone, in a daze. I didn’t even care when Camilla yelled, “did you see that?? We’re in the lead!”
I didn’t care anymore. All I cared about was inventing a story. And a good story.
I’d rehearsed it a million times. With Camilla, Adam, and Ben. All three of them helped me think of different things to say. Cam and I even practiced Spanish so that I could prove to them I knew everything that’d be on the test the following day, just in case they asked me. But none of that prepared me for what awaited when I came home.
“The Mets, huh?” Robert said.
Daniel was sitting in his recliner reading the paper, but folded it back up now as I stood there stupidly in front of my older brother, trying not to chew on my fingernail – that’d be a dead giveaway that I was nervous and obviously lying. “Yeah, how ’bout the Mets? Did you see the game?”
“No, I didn’t. How was it?”
“Was great. We watched it on Cam’s big screen. Was almost actually like being in the stands.” Okay, so that was a blatant lie, but anything to get me out of this mess was worth it, right?
“Oh yeah?” Robert said, standing now. “Because when I called Cam’s house her mom said that you’d gone with those hoodlum cousins of hers to the game.”
“Her cousins aren’t hoodlums,” I said.
“Hoodlums or not, you were at the Mets game, weren’t you?”
“I was studying for my Spanish test… look, I’ll prove it… yo estaba estudiando por el examen de espanol. That’s the new tense we’ve been working on. Imperfect. Cool, huh?”
“Did you or did you not go to the Mets game?” he asked firmly.
“Look, what’s it matter if I did? I still studied like I told you I would and I’m going to do fine on my test. I even finished all of my homework.”
“I didn’t ask you if you’d studied and I didn’t ask you if you did your homework. I asked you if you went to the Mets game. Yes or no.”
I didn’t say anything for a minute, trying to think of the best way to get myself out of trouble. My palms were sweaty. I wiped them on my jeans before saying, “I went to Cam’s house. And we studied. Just like I told you. And maybe I did go to the game, but what’s it matter? I still studied and I didn’t lie.”
He laughed – a big “HA!” shaking his head at me. “You didn’t lie? Well, maybe technically you didn’t, but you tricked Daniel and me into allowing you to go because we TRUSTED you when you said you were going to study. We trusted that you’d follow your grounding and not go out, but I can see that we can’t trust you from now on.”
“But I didn’t lie!” I protested.
He was getting angry now. “Omitting the truth is the same thing as lying,” he said, voice rising.
“You’re just mad because it’s me! If it were Katelyn and she’d wanted to go to a stupid game you would’ve let her.”
“If she’d made a stupid D in American Studies you would’ve been okay with it! You would’ve just dismissed it.”
“Katelyn actually applies herself. She’s been working on her report all evening! While you’ve been out partying it up, watching baseball games, killing brain cells, she’s been hard at work trying to get a rough draft finished before the weekend.”
“She’s just your favorite, that’s why you let her get away with everything.”
“Stop it,” Robert said. “She does NOT get away with everything, Jessica Lynne and you know it.”
“Whatever. She so does. You never give her hell about anything. But with me you’re always on my case!”
He leaned in now, towering over me and sufficiently pissed. “That’s because all you do everyday is sit on your ass playing on Facebook and watching mindless television. If I actually saw you do homework every once in a while, maybe I’d be a little more lenient on you.”
My eyes narrowed and, yeah, that temper I have? It came out. “Fuck you,” I said, pushing him away.
My adrenaline was pumping and I would’ve probably began yelling more, but somehow, Daniel appeared next to me now, grabbing me by the upper arm and, like the rest of us, pissed as hell. “You do NOT talk to your brother like that, Young Lady, nor will you push him,” he said, voice raised more than I’d ever heard from him before and pointing a finger in my face. I was so taken aback by his anger that I softened up a little. “This is ridiculous, Jessica. You have no right to talk to your brother like that, after all he’s done for you. You should be thankful that you have someone who gives a damn about you and the kinds of grades you make. What is it that you want anyway? You want him to just let you half-ass your way through school and end up flipping burgers the rest of your life? Is that it?”
Ugh, Daniel sure knew how to make my stomach twist into knots.
“I’m sick and tired of the way you argue with him on every little thing he says. There’s no sense in it at all. We could have resolved this the easy way – you went to the game and had lied about it and do NOT open your mouth to argue. All you had to do was admit that you’d done something wrong and apologize and maybe we could have lived with it. But what do you do? You come in here telling more lies and treating your brother like shit? Not going to fly, Missy. Now I suggest you apologize.”
I gulped. “I’m sorry,” I said pathetically, looking at Robert who was breathing heavily, seeming to try and calm himself down.
“Kate is already asleep, so I want you to find a corner in our room and plant your nose in it until one of us comes up there. And I want you to think about what you’ve done.”
I hung my head, near tears after the tongue lashing Daniel had just given me. Well, not only that, but the fact that I knew I was about to experience a pain in my posterior region which may have been well-deserved but definitely not something I was looking forward to.
As I turned to walk off, Daniel sent me away with a hearty swat to my backside. Just a prelude to what was to come.
I slowly climbed the stairs, letting a few tears slip. I had always tried to be tough as nails on my exterior, but I’d just been broken down. I felt like a four year old. I guess that was the point, though. When I arrived in front of Daniel and Robert’s door, I sighed, pushing it open. Standing in the corner was the last thing I wanted to do, and with good reason. Anticipation was what I hated most, and there was no way to avoid it when I was staring at the diversion of two blank, boring walls. All I could think about was what I’d done wrong and how I was going to atone for my wrongdoings.
My palms were still sweaty and I wiped them on my jeans about a hundred times. My heart was racing. I kept hearing things. Kept thinking that either Daniel or Robert was coming up the stairs. But nothing. Except for thoughts about my night and how it probably hadn’t even been worth it. Even if the Mets had won. And won after being down. Why had I convinced myself that it would? Oh, of course. Because I always had to get what I wanted. And this time it had consequences. Damn.
Finally the noises I heard were that of someone walking upstairs. I wanted to hide… wanted to crawl into their bathroom and stuff myself underneath the sink and cry, like I’d done when I was a kid and Robert would tease me. But now I was too big for that – literally. There’s no way my fatass would fit in the cabinet under the sink.
The door behind me opened and I couldn’t help but turn slightly to see Robert standing there. He was still dressed in his khakis and button down shirt that he’d worn to work. I chewed on my lower lip. I guess he had to care for me in some kinda way, or he wouldn’t have taken me in. But I dunno, that didn’t really change my feelings that he favored my twin sister over me. Or that he always gave me a hard time. And I guess maybe Katelyn was right when she’d told me once that I was still mad at him for the childhood taunting. Part of me wished I could just get over it already, but part of me wouldn’t let myself.
“Come here,” Robert said after closing the door behind him.
My mouth was dry and voice cracky, so when I started to apologize, it just came out all hoarse-like. So I swallowed, walking slowly towards him, then said again, “I’m sorry.”
He gave me a big hug, something I totally hadn’t been expecting, then sat me down on his bed. Leaning against the bedpost, he said, “it bothers me that we aren’t closer than we are.”
I shrugged. I wasn’t about to let him know that it bothered me a little, too. Or that I was pretty certain it bothered Katelyn as well.
“And I am sorry that it sometimes seems that I favor your sister over you, but I promise it isn’t the case.”
If I wasn’t exhausted from A) the game, B) the stressing out I’d done since the game, and C) fighting him already, I would’ve told him that I didn’t believe a word of what he was saying. But I had been defeated. I just let him say what he wanted to say. There was no use in fighting anymore that night.
“Regardless of what you think, Jessica, I do love you. And I care about you a lot. I know it’s hard. It’s hard on me, too.”
Not as hard , I wanted to scream at him. You’re an adult. You can handle this. You weren’t close to them anyway. But I said nothing, just stared at my purple shoe laces.
“But I can’t let you stop living. Mom and Dad wouldn’t want that, would they?”
Again, I didn’t answer him. Even though he paused and waited for me to agree with him. I just wouldn’t do it. I was too stubborn.
“You know they wouldn’t, Jessica.” He sighed, and I looked up to see that his head was in his hand now and it seemed like he was crying. He sniffled and I felt kinda bad, making him cry like that, but what else could I do? I didn’t like admitting that he was right. And I certainly wasn’t going to tell him that he was right. “Talk to me,” he said, almost pleadingly.
“I think I’ve done enough talking for one night,” I said weakly.
He nodded, wiping a tear away and looking at me. “Okay. You understand that you need to be punished for this, don’t you?”
I shrugged. “I guess.”
He was going to say something, but I guess he was tired of fighting, too. Instead he just walked off, leaving me sitting there on his bed, wondering what was going to happen next.
Within seconds, Daniel appeared at the doorway. He still wasn’t happy with me, I could tell by the way he was frowning. “You let me down,” he told me, closing the door. He stooped down to my level. “And you’ve really hurt your brother.”
I shrugged. I wasn’t too concerned with my brother’s feelings at that time.
“I’m not impressed, kiddo. Not impressed at all.” He lifted my chin, forcing me to look into his eyes. “You never cease to amaze me with this attitude you have. Tonight you crossed the line. And I’m not going to tolerate that. You will respect your brother and me. No more yelling and fighting. You are thirteen years old, not three, and these tantrums will stop. And any tantrum throwing that occurs will earn you a spanking – a barebottomed, over the knee spanking, just like you’re three years old again. Do you understand me?”
“I am not happy with the stunt you pulled tonight. And while I do not want to do this, Robert and I agreed that it’s necessary. You’re getting the belt.”
My heart stopped, my stomach dropped, and I began crying. All of those pent up emotions were flowing out of me now. The belt? He really thought I deserved that? I’d been so bad that not only had I caused Daniel to lose his cool, but also had caused he and Robert to think that I’d deserved getting spanked with a belt? They’d never spanked me or Kate with it before.
He put a hand on my back to comfort me. “You understand why you’re getting this, don’t you?” he asked. When I didn’t answer, just continued crying, he said “you damaged our trust, Jessica. And you especially disappointed me. You promised me that you wouldn’t let me down, and you broke that promise. Lying to me like that? It’s hard to even believe. And what if something had happened to you? We didn’t even know where you were.” I was crying too hard to point out that he could’ve just called Camilla’s house and her mom would have, obviously, told him where we had been. “And you shouldn’t speak to anyone the way you spoke to your own brother today. I’m especially disappointed in you for that. I understand that you were upset and I understand how you feel. But that doesn’t give you the right to treat anyone that way, does it? Didn’t we already talk about this?”
I nodded softly.
He grabbed ahold of my wrist and unbuttoned my jeans, letting them fall to my ankles. He then turned me around, pulled down my panties and gave me a few swats with his hand to my bare backside. “Your days of disrespect are over, Jessica Lynne Parker,” he said firmly, enunciating each word with a hard smack.
“Owwww!!” I wailed, still crying. “I’m sorry!”
“Do you understand me?”
“Moreover, I will not tolerate your blatant disobedience. I don’t know what was going on in your head, Young Lady, but you better get this rebelliousness out of your system ASAP.” He was still smacking me. My bum was having a hard time accepting the blows – they were so much harder than I’d remembered the last spanking being… and this was just with him using his hand!
I kicked up a foot with each swat, which probably looked quite humorous, like I was doing some funky dance or something. It would’ve been funny had he not been wailing on me, giving me swat after swat without a break, giving my thighs something to whine about every so often.
“Owwwww ohmigod owwww!! Danielllll pleaseeee!” I begged. “I’m s-sorry!” Tears were streaming down my face, quicker than I could wipe them away. “Pleaseeee…” I stomped my foot a little, trying to make the pain go away. It didn’t work.
He did stop for a second though. I had a false hope. Then I remembered what he’d said about the belt. And then he unbuckled his belt. And I started sobbing. I backed away, covering my bottom, trying to plead, but my words ended up dissolved in hiccups. He folded the belt over, then pointed to the bed. “Over the bed, Jessica,” he said calmly.
“P-plea-se!” I gasped.
He shook his head. “You know that you’ve earned this. For making bad grades, for misleading us about your evening’s plans, for breaking grounding, for lying when you got home tonight, for disrespecting Robert. You deserve this spanking.”
I shook my head back. “Y-you c-can-‘t.”
He waited for a minute, letting me somewhat regain myself before pushing the issue further. As my sobs died down, I realized how serious he was, and how I was only making this harder on myself by not doing as he told. The look on his face helped me move forward, but I wouldn’t have leaned over the bed without him physically placing me there. “Think about this next time you decide to disobey or disrespect.” With that, he swung the belt, and it landed on my bottom with a loud crash. I cried out, then buried my head in the blankets, praying this would be over. This was utterly the worst punishment I’d ever gotten in my life. By the third lash, the physical pain was becoming unbearable and I reached back to block him from continuing. “Would you rather get the belt to your hands or to your bottom?” he asked. I’m assuming that was a rhetorical question because I was crying too hard to answer. Besides, my answer would have been “neither”… but anyway, I got his point and moved my hand. A belt to my hand didn’t sound pleasant. Not that a belt to my bottom did either, but I guess of the two, it seemed more bearable.
I managed to not reach back anymore during the spanking. Instead, I gripped onto Daniel and Robert’s comforter as tight as I possibly could, trying to concentrate on happy things, like the smell of my mom’s favorite candle, or my dad’s cooking, or the sound of Kate practicing her violin when she first got it and I thought my eardrums were going to burst. Or the sound of ball-meeting-bat of my first home run and how proud everyone was of me. Or going on family vacations. But the happy thoughts made me sad because it made me realize that those things were all different now. Childhood was gone, parents were gone, and now I was just a young teenager living with her gay older brothers. And then I started crying harder. And then something else happened – I realized that maybe it wasn’t so bad living with my gay older brothers, because they loved me. Even if Robert and I had issues, and even if Daniel was wearing me out with his leather belt. They cared about me enough to take me in and still put up with all of my crap. And when I didn’t think it was possible, I was crying even harder!
That’s when I realized that the spanking had stopped. And not only was Daniel scooping me into his arms, but Robert was right there, pushing my hair out of my eyes and crying with me. My bottom ached like crazy, but right then, what hurt most was the way I’d let down my brothers, and the guilty feeling I’d gotten from treating them so badly.
“I’m s-sorry,” I whispered to Robert, leaning my head against his chest and wetting his shirt with my snot and tears. I know he appreciated that.
He kissed the top of my head. “You’re forgiven.”
Just like that. I was forgiven. It might have taken the spanking of my life to get me to be genuine enough to apologize, but at least I was forgiven. That’s what proved to me that Robert cared about me.
When I calmed down, after loads of hugs and coddling from my brothers, and promises to behave, Daniel gave me a serious look. “I hope that you really did study for your Spanish test,” he said. “Because if you don’t get an A, I promise I will blister your backside, Young Lady. Understood?”
I nodded. “Don’t worry. I’ll get an A.”
And I did.