I could feel their eyes dancing over me. It was gross. I mean really, wet eyeballs rolling over my skin is just a creepy thought and giving them rhythm to boot, well it was worthy of a massive shudder at least. Okay, sure the feeling probably had more to do with standing there butt naked, water dripping off my skin and soap suds drying in patches all over me, but they were all staring and we all knew it. I preferred the inside of my eyelids to actually facing them, my siblings, and if Dad hadn’t been nudging me forward I would have kept my eyes closed for the duration.
My four older sisters, Madison, Lisa, Jenny, and Trish, were all secretly relieved that it was me and not them that was in the deep stuff with Dad. Jeremy, my younger brother, was likely trying to decide whether or not it was alright to have an erection while staring at his naked sister, me. In his defense, I am hot and pajamas don’t exactly offer a lot of cover for male appendages. He had the good sense to look almost as embarrassed as I felt.
Dad cleared his throat. “We’re waiting.”
Trembling, I forced myself to say the words and hoped it would bring an end to the humiliating moment. “I’m sorry,” I said.
Lisa leaned to the side making an obvious point of looking at my throbbing red backside. “We can see that for ourselves,” she said.
My gaze snapped to her. I glared my feelings of annoyance and betrayal in her general direction. She appeared oblivious, projecting an air of angelic innocence. If she was either angelic or innocent I probably wouldn’t have let it bother me, but as she was neither it had the unfortunate effect of grinding on my nerves. Or maybe that was just the stinging from Dad’s paddling.
“On second thought,” I said tilting my head to the side, “I’m not sorry in the slightest. Maybe having less time to paint yourself pretty, people will see you for the bitch you are.”
Lisa gaped like a fish out of water. I considered offering her some from my still dripping hair, perhaps with a generous shake of my head, but that would have made me look too much like the female dog label I had just given her. Reluctantly, I settled on flashing her a smile that was too waited down by my embarrassed state and the burning in my backside to seem as pleased with myself as I would have liked.
Madison and Trish covered their amusement with strategically placed hands in front of their grinning mouths. Jenny planted her hands on her hips, taking Lisa’s side as usual and Jeremy was still too worried about his pelvic tent to react. Ten seconds later my smile faded when Dad’s open palm connected with my stinging butt.
Dad said, “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll watch your mouth and give your siblings an apology that at least sounds sincere.”
I flashed Dad a stone-faced glare before turning my attention back to Lisa who had the bad manners to be giggling. “I need to borrow your mirror.”
Lisa adopted a look of puzzlement. “What?”
I ignored a hot twitch in my sore backside and said, “Dad wants me to watch my mouth and we all know you’re the only one vain enough to be walking around with a mirror.”
Dad whacked my butt again. “Do you want another dose of the paddle?”
I glared back at him over my shoulder. “She started it. Why don’t you say anything to her?”
“I’m not fooling around,” Dad said.
I should have bit my tongue and listened to the twitching in my backside, but I didn’t. “Mom will be relieved,” I said and tossed my wet hair off my shoulder to give me a clear view of his face.
It was plagued with consternation as he considered what to do with me. “You want to act like a clown? Well we’ll just see how funny you think it is when everyone arrives and you’re standing in the corner with your red butt on display.”
I swallowed hard and strove for a serious tone in my voice. “No need for an experiment Dad. I can tell you right now, it wouldn’t be funny at all.”
Jeremy cleared his throat and raised his hand in the air like he was waiting to be called on. “Um, I got to disagree. I think it would be damn funny.”
I had a thing or two I would have liked to have said to my little brother, but Dad never gave me a chance. He said, “How many times do I have to tell you not to swear in front of your sisters?”
Jeremy looked to the others with a big smile still planted on his lips. “Forgive me ladies, I didn’t mean to offend you with my colorful language.”
Madison must have felt the same lack of remorse as I did. She said, “Don’t let it happen again.”
Dad swung his gaze to Madison. “Ladies in this house are gracious and forgiving.”
“If you say so.” Madison’s eyes shifted from Dad to Lisa.
Dad stayed focused on Madison. “I suggest you straighten out that attitude unless you want to share in April’s fortunes.”
Madison and Dad stared at each other in silence for a long awkward moment and then Madison turned to Jeremy. “I apologize if I didn’t sound gracious and accepting of your apology.”
Jeremy nodded to her, still smiling like he was king of the world. “Your apology is unnecessary, but I accept it as you’ve accepted mine.”
Dad grabbed my chin and turned my head to face him. “Now that you’ve witnessed two apologies from your siblings perhaps you’d like to give it another try yourself.”
I met Dad’s glare with my own. “I already said I was sorry and I’m not going to say it again just so Lisa can tease me some more.”
Trish, my usually silent sister, laid a supportive hand on my shoulder and spoke up in her whisper-like voice. “Don’t force Dad to prove he’s more stubborn than you because we all know he is. Just say the words and we can all put this thing in the past where it belongs.”
Dad said, “Listen to your sister.”
“Fine,” I said seething in defeat and forgetting all about my embarrassment. The throbbing in my butt seemed to migrate to my head. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re an ass and Lisa is a bitch and I’m real damn sorry I have to spend my Thanksgiving in the same zip code as any of you.”
Dad’s eyes turn cold as ice. “You think you’re funny?”
“No.” I stared back with my fear, better judgment, and common sense all abandoning me. Even the hot state of my butt was insufficient to curb my tongue. “I think you are.”
“I’m through messing around with you,” Dad said.
I smiled. “Good, I’ll just finish my shower and be downstairs when I’m ready.”
Madison said, “April, just apologize before things spiral out of hand.”
Dad shoved me a step back and let go of me. “It’s too late for that. Get your butt in the downstairs corner and don’t even think about moving until I tell you.”
I crossed my arms in front of my naked chest. The fire in my bottom seemed to be fueling my temper in a most unwise manner. “Make me.”
Dad pointed the way down the stairs, as if I didn’t know the way. “NOW!”
I rolled my eyes and turned my glowing backside to him. “That doesn’t sound like an indoor voice to me,” I said and pushed my way through the astonished sea of my siblings’ faces. They were standing between me and the bathroom, but none of them dared to try and stop me.
Jeremy turned to Dad looking more than a little shocked. “You aren’t going to let her get away with that are you?”
I glanced at Jeremy with giggles in my eyes. “Mind your own business pipsqueak. Oh, and you might want to go wax off before you put an eye out with that thing.” I pointed at his tent and forced a laugh that sounded evil even to my ears. There was a part of me that knew I should stop before things really got out of control, but I wasn’t listening to the burning bush I usually call my butt.
Jeremy turned scarlet in some combination of shame and anger. “Yeah, well your obviously wet enough to drown the whole fucking U.S. Navy.”
Still walking toward the bathroom, I ticked my finger at Jeremy. “Language, language. You don’t want Dad to swing his paddle in your direction or do you?”
I was two steps away from entering the bathroom when I came to a sudden and complete stop. It wasn’t really my choice unless ripping one’s hair out is a choice. Dad had grabbed hold of my hair once again and he was yanking in the opposite direction from where I was heading. A pair of scissors would have been handy.
I said, “Hey! That’s my hair and it’s still connected to me.”
Dad put his mouth close to my ear so I could get the full effect of his voice, complete with spit and hot air. “You can either march yourself down to the corner or I can drag you there kicking and screaming. Either way you’re going.”
I stopped struggling but only because continued resistance was going to rip my hair out of my head. “Do you have any idea how much I hate you right now?”
“Not nearly as much as I love you,” Dad said, “and to prove it, I’m not going to let you get away with this rude, reckless, and rebellious behavior. Hate me today all you want, but someday you’ll thank me. Now get walking or I will get to dragging.”
Given my lack of options, I turned myself around. Dad loosened his grip on my hair and as I started walking, he let go entirely. I bumped into Lisa on my way to the stairs and we shared an annoyed stare momentarily. There was gloating in her eyes, in the way she stood and it took loads of self-restraint to stop myself from slapping her silly. I swallowed the angry, blaming words threatening to escape my mouth and kept on walking, descending the stairs without a backward glance. Dad followed me with his heavy footsteps letting me know he was only a couple of paces behind.
The corner was an outcropping of wasted space near the center of our house and only a few steps away from the bottom of the stairs. It was uniquely visible in part or in whole from all the major rooms of the downstairs and from the lower half of the stairs themselves as well as from the front door. The walls on either side of the joining were no more than a foot and a half in width, possibly an ideal location for a houseplant, but for a person like me, there was too little space to hide within.
I arrived at the corner and turned my head to look back at Dad. “This is ridiculous.” I pouted hoping Dad would relent.
He pointed at the corner. “Not as ridiculous as your behavior this morning. Now get your nose in that corner and plant your hands behind your head.”
Tears escaped my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I bit my lip and hesitated a moment longer before turning away from Dad and stepping fully into the corner. The white wall was cold against my nose. I shivered and blinked back the storm of tears flooding my eyes. Everything was blurry and part of me wondered why I hadn’t just played along with the apology upstairs while the rest of me stewed in the angry turmoil blaming everyone except myself. My stinging butt played on both sides of the argument.
Dad said, “You’re going to stay there until I dismiss you and in the meantime I suggest you spend some time thinking about the behavior that’s landed you here.”
I listened to Dad’s footsteps retreating toward the kitchen where I could hear Mom laboring away for the traditional Thanksgiving meal. My arms felt heavy and tired within seconds and I carefully leaned my elbows against the walls cupping me into their hold. I should have been thinking about why I was so stubborn as to land myself in the corner, naked, spanked and dripping wet from an incomplete shower. Instead, all I could think about was the impending arrival of relatives and the fact my siblings were never going to let me live this Thanksgiving down.