“Yeahhhh!! Girl’s night!!” Violet giggled as she shoved Chloe through the beaded door. The Sunday evening aura was thick with fog and sad-sounding indie music. Mixed with the low purple light, it oozed tranquility… just what I needed to get over my anxiety about Adam and paperwork.
I welcomed my blue-eyed companion as I puffed on a joint. “Do you smoke?”
“Bro, she’s an artist, of course she does.”
Chloe nodded, plopping down on the soft rug next to me. I passed her the weed, watching as she took a puff and ignoring my heart jump when my phone dinged with another message.
“Who the fuck are you texting?” Violet asked, reaching for the joint. “You’ve been obsessive tonight.”
“Toby fucking told Gabe,” I spat, punching in a snarky reply to my friend’s text-lecture.
Violet almost choked on the smoke. “The fuck? They don’t even vibe like that. Why would he blab?” Then continued smoking.
“I dunno.” Though Toby was a mind-reader, so he probably knew his threat to punish me in front of the family would need Gabe’s support. Oof… the image of them talking about me behind my back made my insides quiver in nervousness. “Whatever. Gabe won’t do anything. He always gives in to me.” With an eye roll, I tossed my phone aside and accepted the joint from Violet.
“What did you do?” Chloe asked.
I didn’t have time to answer because my phone blasted a classical music tune, vibrating in sync with the violins. Swearing under my breath, I reluctantly answered.
“Why is it so dark? Turn on a proper light so I can see your face.” Gabe’s voice was a different kind of stern than he was with others… more gentle, but still no nonsense. Sensing he wouldn’t be pleased at how I was passing the time with my friends, I dropped the joint into the ashtray before obeying. Once my room was illuminated, Gabe asked, “How did you get so behind on your work?”
“I’ve been busy…”
“Getting high and gossiping with Violet? Is she there listening to the scolding I’m about to give you?”
Blood rushing to my face, I looked down and gave a weak nod.
“Clo’s here too!” Violet scooted into view of the camera. “You still workin’? Good you never FaceTime me, I wouldn’t answer that shit.”
“You think I’d waste my time on calls? I’d come straight over with a bag of implements.”
“Ooooo, so scary,” she teased.
Violet’s attempts to shift his attention were futile — Gabe was too focused on me. “The doc spanked you two weeks ago, and you still haven’t caught up.”
I chewed on my lower lip, twiddling my thumbs and squirming. “I didn’t have time.”
“Bullshit.” There was an intense silence as I continued avoiding eye contact, Violet pondered how to intervene, and Chloe took a hit off my discarded joint. When Gabe had enough of making me suffer in his disappointment, he said, “Tonight is your final warning. If you don’t accomplish something tomorrow, we’ll discuss it at our next meeting.”
Now I looked up. “What?? Noooo!! That’s not fair…”
“Ooooo I didn’t know she could get in trouble, too.” Violet slapped me on the arm. “Better do your shit, sis.”
“It’s my day off! That’s not fairrrrrrr!” My eyes welled up with tears.
“These are the consequences of not completing your tasks sooner.”
Violet laughed. “Bro, you’re so much nicer to her!”
The panic of potentially getting disciplined in front of the others had me sputtering. “But… I won’t have time… I already have plans… and I’ll just… not go to the meeting!”
Gabe’s sigh was so loud it felt like he was in the room with us. “Violet, fetch the wooden school paddle.”
My BFF and I protested simultaneously, but it didn’t matter. When Gabe wants something, it happens.
“I wasn’t asking,” he snapped at Violet, sharper tone than he used with me. “Get it now or I’ll have Chloe do it. She knows how to obey.”
Violet shot a glare and sighed (though she loved when he fussed at her), then pushed herself up from the floor. “Fine.”
“Wait, no!!! Gabe… this isn’t funny!! I’m serious about being busy…..” He didn’t respond, so the only noise was that of my friend digging in the closet. The wooden objects knocking against each other made me so uneasy I started crying, wondering when Gabe would feel sorry for me. But when Violet returned with the vicious-looking paddle, his narrowed eyebrows told me I wasn’t getting out of this.
“Stand up, drop your pajamas, and bend over the bed.”
I stayed frozen in silence for a minute. This is the most embarrassing situation ever… spanked by basically my little sister? I need to get out of this!
Chewing on my fingernail, I shook my head.
“Young Lady, I’m losing my patience.” His eyebrows raised as I opened my mouth to argue again, but he abruptly cut me off. “Stand up, now.” His cutting tone caused an explosion of butterflies in my tummy and prompted me to stand, slipping into little space.
“I don’t wanna.” With a whimper, I let my pjs fall to the floor, exposing my black cotton panties with a picture of grumpy cat saying “NO!” on the butt. Then I laid the top half of my body on the bed, bottom sticking up, legs straight. The phone rested against the wall and I covered my face to avoid Gabe’s scowl… until he commanded me to look at him.
“Are you embarrassed?”
“Yes,” I said, burrowing into my blankets again.
“I agree with the doc. Getting spanked in front of everyone would be an actual punishment for you. Trust me, you don’t want that. Find time to finish your work.” He glanced up at Violet, who was standing over me, arms folded. “Give her ten swats, make them count, but don’t apply full force. Do not use this as a revenge opportunity.”
“Or else what?”
Without missing a beat, Gabe said, “You’ll see the humiliation I’m capable of when you return from Seattle.”
As if she’d envisioned herself at the receiving end of his wrath, Chloe began coughing madly, causing a pause in conversation and everyone to stare at her. “Sorry,” she said meekly as she stubbed out the mostly smoked joint in the ashtray, then curled up in the corner, hiding.
I looked back at Gabe, whose eyes focused solely on me, which made me kinda uncomfortable, kinda warm and fuzzy. “Please don’t.” My lower lip poked out as far as it would stretch, eyes big and pathetic.
“Let this be motivation to get your work done,” he said firmly.
With a whine, I buried my face in my arms, having an internal tantrum at my inability to persuade Gabe to let me off the hook. Why did Toby fucking tell him?! Though deep down, I felt so loved, glad my friends cared about me this much. And even deeper, terrified that I’d disappoint them all.
The first POP! landed loudly against my bottom, startling me back into the present moment. I kept my face hidden, eyes squeezed shut tight and teeth clenched so I wouldn’t cry out at the heat radiating from my butt cheeks. Which wasn’t nearly as bad as the embarrassment of submitting to Violet! She popped the second and third swats harder, getting into the role and causing my leg to kick up a little.
Gabe ordered her to pause. “Molly, look at me.”
I peeked up, still hiding half of my face.
“Are you sorry?”
Ugh… I don’t know what gets into me sometimes… “Not really…”
He peered up at Violet. “Next two on the sit spots.”
Gabe nodded at Violet to deliver the blows, and I struggled to stay in position as the wood cracked against my bare skin.
“What will you do tomorrow?”
Instead of answering, I wept into my hands, unable to face him anymore. He had no idea how overwhelming the paperwork would be, especially with the heaviness of my sorta-depression (which he also had no clue about).
After giving me a few more seconds to answer, Gabe sighed, patience expired. “Next five on the bare bottom.”
“Noooooo,” I said, head shooting up to give him pleading eyes as my hands flew back to cover my warm backside. “I’ll do my work tomorrow.”
“And what happens if you don’t?”
More tears and hesitation, but eventually I muttered, “I’ll get spanked at the next family meeting,” then blushed deep red and re-hid myself in my arms.
Gabe thankfully didn’t make me drop my panties, instead directing Violet to deliver the final swats harder. As the paddle descended, I carried on like a little girl, braided pigtails flying as I thrashed about. Violet tried to stay strict, but she also has a soft spot for me.
“Give her a hug,” Gabe ordered when the punishment was over.
“Since when do you care about hugging? You never embrace me after an ass beating.”
“Stop being a brat and obey.” Then Gabe glanced back at me. “You’re grounded from smoking until your paperwork is at least started. Am I clear?”
Pouting, I nodded, not looking him in the eyes. He knew that would be impossible, but I couldn’t argue and risk more embarrassment!
We waved goodbye and Violet invited Chloe to our cuddle puddle, scolding her about the coughing fit, then giving me a hard time about my work.
“Sheesh, get off your ego trip,” I said, rolling out of the snuggly pile as Crackers sauntered into the bedroom. I swept my kitty up in my arms and brought her to the bed, excited to return to smoking.
Tired of joints, I reached for my favorite vape pen, sucking in a coma-inducing indica strain. My negative feelings blew out with the vapor. I glanced over at my friends.
Violet was grilling Chloe. “What’s the deal with you and Sergeant Douche? Are y’all an item? Do ya sleep together?”
No amount of weed or cuddles could have stopped her blushing, but Chloe rolled with Violet’s directness. “Oh, um, no. We’re just friends.”
“You don’t dig him like that or…?”
“I’m pretty sure I’ve been friend-zoned.”
“Ha! Hott bitches like you don’t get friend-zoned! I don’t buy it. You’ve known him how long? And never fucked? Your cheeks turn so pink, that’s adorable.”
Chloe kept a straight face, not showing any signs of being bothered by the rude line of questioning. “When we first met, he just left a serious relationship that fucked him up. And I was fucked up by my parents. Neither of us wanted more than friendship.”
Violet looked like she still didn’t believe her. All I could think of was my exchange with Toby a few days ago. “Notice how she adapts to each person when conversing.” Few people handled Violet with such grace. He was probably right — she did seem like classic child of a narcissist…
“What? It’s true. I’m sure Molly knows.”
Now the two glanced at me, so I snapped out of my thoughts and confirmed.
“Come on! Someone’s gotta tell me the juice.”
Chloe looked at me, and I shrugged, so she went back to Violet. “His girlfriend cheated and got pregnant by some dude but pretended it was Izaak’s for like 2 years.”
I can’t believe she’s divulging Izaak’s personal information so carelessly — he’s private about that kinda stuff! He probably doesn’t realize how manipulative she is… or does he? Maybe that’s why they don’t have sex? Izaak is a good protector. A security blanket. Even if he suspects manipulation, he won’t leave, he’ll just keep the walls up.
“Ouch, que feo. Yo, that’s brutal. I guess it makes sense he didn’t want to open up for another girl. But at least fuck?”
Chloe sucked in a deep breath, wondering how to respond. “I dunno. You’ll have to ask him.”
Violet glanced at me, but I stared at her with droopy, bloodshot eyes, still curled up on my side as a purring Crackers nuzzled up against my chin. “The guilt must be eatin’ you alive… smoking after that talk with Gabe.”
I barely glimpsed up at her, poking out my lower lip. “Why’d you have to remind me,” then pulled the blanket over my head.
“Yo, why didn’t you get with him instead of Adam’s punk ass. I’m ready to punch him in the throat for bailin’ on you all the time.”
I poked my head out. “As if Gabe would want a relationship with someone like me.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Instead of responding, I shook my head and snuggled back under my quilt with Crackers, who now assumed it was playtime.
“He would totally be your knight in shining armor. Rescue you from the dragon and the evil stepmother or whatever.”
“Oh god, shut up. Gabe would do that for any of his friends.”
“Yeah, but you’re special. He ain’t nice like that with anyone, right Clo? He’s got feels for you.” She made kissing noises until I chunked a pillow at her, which completely missed and knocked over her drink. Crackers jumped after the flying object, stopping to take a sip of the wine until Violet shooed her away.
After cleaning up the mess, Violet took the hint and stopped bugging me, instead telling Chloe dramatized stories from the old days… crazy nights at Dominic’s with Andy, Gabe rescuing us, the retribution that followed.
Hearing about the past made me nostalgic. Everything seemed so simple back then (though it wasn’t really). When I didn’t have stupid Adam to worry about, or two jobs and a shitload of paperwork. Ugh. Life sucks.
Tired of listening to Violet’s embellished tales, I muttered, “Andy and his people are assholes. I’m glad you paid him off and he’s finally out of the picture. Don’t get wrapped up in his bullshit anymore. You deserve better.”
It poked the exact button I’d hoped. Violet rolled her eyes. “Thanks, Mom.” Something more than expected shifted with her demeanor, though, and she anxiously fidgeted with her phone. “Ha… Gabe messaged me: Stop being a bad influence and get your ass in bed. Tell Molly I know she’s smokin’.”
It was my turn to blush, tearing up, because I was high enough to believe her.
“Nah, I’m fuckin’ with ya, he didn’t say that last part. But for sure he knows. I’m goin’ out for a cigarette. Wanna join me, Clo?”
Chloe was also high as fuck and shook her head, looking over at me as Violet skipped out of the room. “This shit is awesome,” she said, holding up one of the disposable vape pens I’d received as a gift from my dealer. “So calming.”
She seems so sweet. So what if she’s a little manipulative? I am, too! “You can have it,” I offered. “Your job must be ridiculously stressful… I can’t imagine working with such strong personalities.”
Even her giggle was perfect-sounding, not annoying at all. “I got used to it after a while. And thank you!” She paused for a moment, taking another puff off the pen. “Speaking of jobs… I told Izaak, um, I’d talk to you about something.”
A flashback came to mind of my teddy bear friend, all concerned about Chloe. “His protectiveness is cute. I miss that.”
She smiled. “I’m really okay, I promise.” I only half-listened, sorta dozing off now that Crackers was purring next to me again, reassured that everything would be okay with Chloe. “Please tell Izaak I’m fine. He doesn’t understand that sometimes I prefer to take care of myself. You get it, right?”
I nodded, even though I didn’t. How could anyone not jump at the chance of Izaak caring for them?? “No worries, I’ll talk to him.”
“Thanks, Molly, you’re the best.”
The last thing I imagined before falling asleep was Izaak’s muscular arms around me, guarding me from harm, keeping me safe. I dunno from who or what… but it was pleasant.