Part 5 of Practice Makes Perfect
Years after going to high school and college together, Amy and Jeremy end up living together in New York City. After she neglects to keep up with music lessons, he reminds her what happens to students who don’t practice.
“Amy,” Jeremy said one evening when he walked into our apartment, staring down at me, hands on his hips. “I was at your practice today… something’s up. Have you not been practicing like you’re supposed to?”
He was talking about the fact that I was playing with NYU’s orchestra. It was for a scholarship and I was a little tired of playing, but Jeremy encouraged me to continue (since I’d made the commitment) and even gave me money for private lessons. I’d forgotten to tell him that instead of spending Tuesday evenings practicing, I hung out in my best friend’s studio, sprawled out on beanbag chairs, smoking weed and contemplating the meaning of life. This was more therapy than playing a musical instrument. But Jeremy wouldn’t be too thrilled to find out how I’d been spending his money.
“I’ve been practicing a lot,” I told him, focusing on playing Angry Birds on my phone. I was a little stoned at the moment, truth be told, and too stressed out to really think about more than destroying little green aliens.
Jeremy snatched my phone away.
“Heyyy I was playing that!”
“I’m trying to have a conversation with you,” he said, glaring at me and then stooping down to my level. “What’s going on with these practices? Tell me the truth.”
I sighed, looking away from him.
“Amy, don’t be a brat.”
“I’m not being a brat. You took away my Angry Birds and I don’t feel like talking right now.”
“Because you know you’re in trouble,” he said, causing a shiver down my spine. “You’ve been smoking a lot lately, haven’t you?” he asked. When I didn’t answer, he continued: “You’ve not been keeping up with your practicing or studying because you’ve been smoking. I’m right, aren’t I, Amy?”
I still didn’t answer, just began chewing on my fingernail, feeling super uncomfortable.
“I asked you a question, Young Lady,” he said firmly.
“Jeremy, I was playing Angry Birds. Can I have my phone back please?”
He stood up now, towering over me. I caught a glimpse of his unimpressed expression and it sent a pang through my stomach. My heart began to beat quickly, my palms sweaty, ugh I was so guilty.
“Get out your viola,” he told me. “And all of your music.”
“You heard me,” he said. “You know how I take care of little girls who don’t practice.”
I chewed harder on my fingernail, remembering the very first spanking I’d gotten from him. How he’d given me swats based on how badly I messed up in the song I hadn’t practiced. If he did the same thing now, I wouldn’t be able to sit for a while… Especially since I’d been smoking. Arghhh, I just couldn’t win.
“Now,” he urged.
I groaned, rolled my eyes, and fetched my viola as ordered. He set up the stand and I gave him a pathetic look. “I really don’t feel like practicing right now,” I whined.
“I’ve been paying a hefty amount each week for this ‘private instructor’ you found and promised to go to. Apparently, he isn’t doing the kind of instructing you need, so I’ll take care of that on my own.”
I squirmed and placed my music on the stand, standing there with my viola under my arm, wishing this wasn’t happening.
“How many pieces did you go over today in practice?”
“Two,” I answered. “One of them is kind of a breeze, but the other is a pain in the ass and really fucking long.”
Jeremy folded his arms and looked displeased at my choice of words. Oops. “I think it will be even a bigger ‘pain in the ass’ tonight,” he said, smirking slightly. “Let’s hear the one that’s a breeze first.”
I really hated practicing because the viola isn’t really an instrument that sounds good by itself. It’s just the harmony, so it sounds kind of stupid without a violin or cello adding a lovely melody to the piece. Also, I play more by ear than by reading the notes, so that made it even more difficult to practice.
Needless to say, when I finished my first run-through of the song, I couldn’t tell if the expression on Jeremy’s face was more amusement or irritation. “I couldn’t keep track of the mistakes,” he said. “You’re in luck that I don’t have the score in front of me.”
I gulped, looking down at the floor and feeling suddenly like a 16-year-old again. It was amazing at how quick he could put me into that mindset of a kid who is in a lot of trouble… which is basically what I was.
“Let’s hear the ‘pain in the ass’ song,” he said almost tauntingly.
I whined slightly, changing the music, tears wanting to come to my eyes. I was in so much trouble. I’d been so bad… hanging out and smoking instead of practicing like I should have been. I really did deserve the spanking I was going to get. But ooh, it was going to hurt.
Placing my viola on my shoulder, I played with as much enthusiasm and gusto as possible, trying to save my ass and bluff that I was doing a lot better than I really was. The good news was that I was high enough to imagine the rest of the orchestra in my head, but a little too high to recover quickly when I screwed up. I still think the Mendelssohn song sounded much more lovely than it had that afternoon at practice… but not lovely enough to convince Jeremy to keep me out of trouble.
He pulled me towards him, where he sat on the armless, straight-backed chair. The chair I “practiced” in when I was at home (which was actually used more for old-fashioned spankings than practicing viola). He looked me in the eyes, a disappointed expression spread across his face. “Have you been going to private lessons like you’re supposed to?” he asked.
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to lie… but if I told him the truth, he’d be really super mad and I’d be in so much trouble… and I didn’t really want that either. He stared at me as I pondered this in my brain and finally I blurted out, “yes!”
He raised his eyebrows, doubting me. “You have? Is your instructor just not that great or what?”
“We’ve been practicing the other pieces,” I lied, fidgeting a little.
“Oh? Is that so?” he asked, now certainly amused with what I’d said. “Well, how about let’s hear those.”
Fuck. I hadn’t thought of that. Now I was really in for it. “No wait, Jeremy… I…” Ugh, I had no idea what to say.
He waited patiently for me to admit to what I’d done.
I shifted from one foot to another, chewing on my thumbnail, taking deep breaths and trying to think of how I was going to get myself out of this one. “I mean, we haven’t been… okay… fine… no, I haven’t been going to practice.” I took a step back to avoid a swat.
“And what have you been doing?” he wanted to know. He pulled me back towards him, moving my chin so I was looking into his eyes.
“I dunno…” I muttered.
“I… dunno…” I repeated.
He shook his head. Now I’d really done it. Now I was in so much trouble. Ugh, he was going to kill me.
“Go get the hairbrush,” he said softly.
Ouchhh… I totally didn’t want the evil wooden hairbrush! It hurt so much and ugh, I really didn’t want that. But the look on Jeremy’s face told me that he wasn’t going to accept my pleas, so without a word, I turned and shuffled towards the bathroom where he kept the brush in the top drawer, a constant reminder every time I searched for a washcloth of what would happen when I super misbehaved. It definitely had to be the most evil thing Jeremy had ever used on me.
I was somewhat scared to come out of the bathroom, and probably would’ve delayed coming out even longer if Jeremy hadn’t yelled, “Today, Amy!” I closed the drawer and went back to the living room.
He reached for the button of my jeans and pulled them down, then helped me over his lap and pulled my panties down, too. I held onto the floor as best as possible, fearing what was about to happen.
“Amy, I’m not very happy to hear that you haven’t been practicing like we originally agreed upon,” Jeremy said, resting the hairbrush on my bottom. “And it upsets me even more that you’ve been deceiving me into thinking I was paying for private lessons.”
I squirmed. “I’m sorry…”
“From now on, you will work with me like we used to… and there will be consequences for failing to practice… do you understand?”
“Yes…” I mumbled.
He lifted the hairbrush and crashed it down on my bottom, taking me somewhat by surprise at how much it actually hurt. He didn’t give me much of a break to learn to tolerate the pain, but instead, kept crashing it down.
“Owwww, owww!” I howled.
He kept a steady pace, ignoring my cries. “I’m very disappointed in your behavior, Amy,” he said firmly, giving me some hearty swats to the sit spots. “I’m disappointed that you would stoop to this level of immaturity.”
“Ahhhh but, oww, I’m… ahh!… sorryyyy!” I yelped, reaching my hand back.
He moved my hand out of the way and kept the hard swats coming, making my backside colorful. I kicked up a little and he gave me a swat to the thigh. “You’ve earned every bit of this spanking, Amy, and you know it,” he bellowed.
“Ooowwwww!” I replied, feeling my bum warming up. It hurt so much. I just wanted him to stop! I regretted that I’d smoked instead of practiced… and I regretted that I’d lied to him! And I super regretted that I’d gotten caught. “Jeremy I’m sorry!” I pleaded.
He gave me some harder swats now, and faster. I was kicking and squirming all over the place while he peppered my cheeks, then sit spot, making sure that I would feel this for a while.
“Are you starting to learn your lesson, Young Lady?” he asked, giving an extremely hard smack to my already throbbing sit spot.
“Ooowwwwwww yessss!” I promised, tears now streaming down my face.
He started spanking me harder and faster then, causing me to kick and squirm and cry like crazy until he finally stopped, releasing my hands that he’d taken in an effort to keep me from blocking. I immediately rubbed my backside, warm and surely a dark red by this time. I wouldn’t be sitting comfortably for a while!
“Amy, I don’t appreciate you lying to me,” he said softly. “I’m serious. That’s not cool.”
I slid off his lap, rubbing my bottom with one hand, wiping tears out of my eyes with the other. “I’m sorry,” I choked out, crying more and giving him a big hug.
He gathered me in his arms and sat me on his lap. “I forgive you…” he said, kissing my forehead. “I just want what’s best for you. I know that things are stressful now, but I don’t want you to get into the habit of smoking to deal with it. Practicing is much better… and much less painful,” he added, chuckling slightly at his bad joke.
“Thanks, Jeremy,” I said, sniffling and cuddling up to him.
We cuddled like that for a few minutes until he sent me to shower, put on pjs and practice while he made dinner. I felt like I was a kid again. And even more so when he tucked me into bed early, told me a cheesy bedtime story and sent me off with a kiss to the forehead. Of course when he left the room I rolled over onto my tummy… no way was I sleeping on my back that night!