Michelle listened to the sound of warm air flowing into her room through the open vent above her bed. She was snuggled comfortably beneath flannel sheets, dressed in blue flannel pajamas that featured polar bears frolicking in the ice and snow. Given the choice, Michelle would rather frolic in the snow herself than spend her Friday at school, but she knew it would never happen that way. She had settled for staying warm and toasty in her bed until the last possible moment.
Her bedroom door rattled under the force of a double knock and then her mother’s voice echoed in from the hallway. “If you’re not dressed and downstairs for breakfast in twenty minutes you’ll be walking to school this morning.” As if to emphasize her mother’s point, the window rattled in response to a boom of thunder.
Michelle groaned in annoyance and sat up in bed, keeping her sheets hugged to her chest. “I’m up,” she said. Twisting to her side, she blinked at the red numbers of her alarm clock until they came into focus. More to herself than her mother, she said, “I’ve got plenty of time.”
The bedroom door swung open to reveal Mrs. Bennett with her hands planted firmly on her hips. “I’m not going to argue with you, young lady. You’ve been warned what will happen if your late for school again this semester.”
Michelle straightened back in her bed to glare at her mother. “I’m eighteen, Mom, what difference does it make to you if I’m late or not?”
“You’re still my daughter and this is still my house,” Mrs. Bennett said, stepping into the room. “Now do you want a spanking or are you going to get your butt in gear?”
Michelle rolled her eyes. “You got me Mom. I didn’t stay in bed cause I was tired and it certainly had nothing to do with the temp in the house being colder than a freezer. It was all because I wanted a spanking. Can I have it now or are you going to make me wait until after school?”
Mrs. Bennett scowled at her daughter. “Don’t get smart with me.”
“Fine with me,” Michelle said with a shrug. “How about I stay home from school then?”
The paddle was still in Mrs. Bennett’s hand from dealing with Rachel and she raised it for Michelle to see. “I’m not amused,” she said, “and you’re a count of three away from going over my lap this morning.”
Michelle tossed her hair to the side and stared her mother in the face. “I was adopted right? Somebody left me on the doorstep and you just felt sorry for me? I mean really, does no one in this house have a sense of humor besides me?”
“One.” Mrs. Bennett counted aloud holding a finger up for visual redundancy.
“Whatever,” Michelle said. She threw her covers aside and slipped her feet into the slippers waiting on the floor beside her bed. Pretending to ignore her mother’s finger, she stretched with an exaggerated yawn. She scuffed her feet walking across the floor to the end of the bed and stopped inches from her mother. “You’re slowing me down, Mother.”
Mrs Bennett raised the paddle in her hand to point at Michelle’s chin. “The ice is getting real thin young lady, but never you mind, just keep on skating.” After a moment’s stare into her daughter’s eyes, she stepped aside and followed Michelle into the hall, watching until she disappeared behind the bathroom door.
Fifteen minutes later Michelle, with damp skin and wet hair, joined the family in the breakfast nook. Her gaze caught on Rachel standing in the corner behind their father’s chair. Rachel’s jeans and panties were hanging midway between her knees and ankles giving everyone an unobstructed view of her reddened buttocks.
Michelle rested her hands on the back of her chair and opened her mouth intending to ask about Rachel’s misdeed. She looked to her mother, but found only a cold stare leading her back to Rachel. Guilt tugged on Michelle’s heart as she wondered if Rachel’s troubles had something to do with her staying in bed.
Mrs. Bennett smiled at Michelle and said, “That will be you for a whole week if I have to wake you up one more time this semester.”
Michelle scowled at her mother, convinced that Rachel was in the corner unfairly. “It’s not Rachel’s fault! I can’t believe you would punish her for something I did. I am my own person, you know.”
Mr. Bennett laid his fork and knife to rest on his plate and looked up at Michelle. “Lower your voice.”
Michelle’s gaze flicked from her mother to her father. “But—
“Lower your voice.” Mr. Bennett’s eyes hardened with the seriousness of his tone.
Michelle continued to frown. She looked between her mother and father, frustrated by their apparent lack of empathy and good judgment. Her gaze landed on her sister once again and a mixture of guilt and anger washed over her. She knew the wrong word could easily land her standing beside her sister in the corner and, lacking the right words, Michelle opted for standing in silent objection.
Mr. Bennett picked up his fork and knife and resumed cutting his sausage links into bite-sized medallions. “Don’t you think your sister is capable of getting into her own trouble?”
Michelle said, “Yes, and that’s precisely why it isn’t fair—
Mr. Bennett paused in his slicing to silence Michelle with his eyes. Once her voice trailed off he resumed cutting. “Your sister is in the corner because she chose to run down the stairs this morning. Isn’t that correct, Rachel?”
Michelle’s eyes widened as she looked from her father to her sister.
Rachel turned her head to the side slightly and said, “Yes, Dad.”
Finished with his work, Mr. Bennett stabbed a medallion and looked up at Michelle. “So you see, your mother and I aren’t quite as cruel as you might think.”
Michelle blushed. “I never said that.”
Mr. Bennett said, “No, I suppose you didn’t. Now, why don’t you take your seat and eat some breakfast before you run out of time.”
Michelle pulled out her chair and flopped down in the seat. Her wet hair bounced against her shoulders and the back of the chair sending droplets of water onto the table. She grabbed a slice of toast, dropped it on her plate and then shoveled a spoonful of eggs on top of it. The toast crunched, sending crumbs onto her plate and the table, as she folded it in half into a makeshift breakfast sandwich.
Mr. Bennett looked over his shoulder at Rachel and asked, “Do you think you can walk like a proper young lady and join us for breakfast?”
Rachel swallowed visibly and said, “Not with my pants and panties down.”
Mrs. Bennett scowled at the corner. “This isn’t a joke, young lady.”
“I’m not laughing,” Rachel said.
Mr. Bennett looked pointedly at Rachel’s red bottom. “That’s a good thing, young lady. I suggest you shut your mouth before it gets you in even more trouble.”
Rachel sucked her lips into her mouth and tried to look optimistic while watching her father. The rest of the family sat quietly, trying not to look like they were staring at her.
Mr. Bennett looked down at the black panties bunched around Rachel’s mid-thighs. “Pull your panties up, leave your jeans where they are and come stand at your place at the table. I’m sure you’d like to eat something before breakfast is cold.”
Michelle crunched into her egg sandwich and with a half-full mouth said, “Too late.”
Mrs. Bennett’s eyes narrowed on Michelle. “How many times do I have to tell you not to talk with your mouth full?”
Michelle managed a smile while she continued to crunch on the food in her mouth. She made a point of slowly chewing and swallowing. Rachel, taking advantage of her sister’s distraction, pulled her panties up and shuffled over to her place at the table, standing behind her chair.
Mouth empty, Michelle said, “I wouldn’t make you tell me at all, but it does seem like you’re compelled to mention it at least once a week.”
Mr. Bennett tilted his head at his youngest daughter. “Michelle,” he said with the hint of a warning dripping from his tone.
Michelle rolled her eyes toward the ceiling until the chandelier light made her see spots and blink in regret. “Fine, I’m sorry mother. I’ll not speak with my mouth full for at least another week.”
Mrs. Bennett looked ready to issue a threat in Michelle’s direction, but Mr. Bennett laid his hand over hers and said, “Now that that’s settled, does everyone know about the storm?” As if to emphasize his point, thunder rattled the windows and the chandelier lights flickered.
Michelle shrugged and swallowed the food in her mouth with a visible gulp. “What storm?”
Richard dropped his fork onto his plate with a clank. “The one that’s going to make your white blouse see-through.”
Michelle turned to her brother and said, “Sadly, the school has banned wet blouse contests and I’ll have to wear a blazer today.”
Mrs. Bennett said, “You’re supposed to wear one everyday.”
Michelle swallowed the last bit of her sandwich and said, “I know it was a long time ago, but if you try real hard I bet you can remember being a teenager, Mom and I have it on good authority that you didn’t always follow the rules either.”
Mrs. Bennett shook her head. “I’m beginning to think you were serious upstairs.”
Michelle shrugged. “About what?”
“About wanting a spanking,” Mrs. Bennett said.
“Oh that,” Michelle said. “Well, I have to say Rachel does look awfully cute standing there in her red sweater and black panties. I’m feeling kind of jealous.”
Rachel blushed brightly while looking at her sister with annoyance plainly written on her face. “I don’t think anyone will stop you if you want to take your skirt off and stand at the table.”
Michelle nodded. “You’re probably right, but I wouldn’t want to pull the center of attention away from you.”
Rachel said, “I could be stark naked and you’d still be the center of attention.”
Richard chuckled. “I think we should test that theory.”
Rachel glared down at her brother. “They’ve done test you know. It’s a scientific fact that boys who peep at their sisters go blind.”
Richard said, “It’s not peeping when the sister has been a bad girl. It’s just a fun and effective punishment.”
Rachel blushed a notch brighter. “Hey, you were running too.”
Richard smiled. “Yeah, but you’re older and supposed to be setting a good example for me, not dragging me into trouble.”
Rachel said, “Yeah, well I got spanked for it and you didn’t.”
Richard nodded. “And I’m grounded.”
Rachel blinked and stared at her brother. “So am I.”
Richard said, “I didn’t say you weren’t.”
“Then what are you saying?” Rachel asked.
Richard shrugged. “I’m just saying it’s your fault.”
Rachel huffed at her brother. “I didn’t make you run.”
“No,” Richard said, “you just encouraged me. I’m just saying I would feel better and things would be a lot more fair if you had to walk around naked while we’re grounded.”
Rachel stared at Richard with blatant disapproval. She thought about slapping the smug smile off his face. The only thing that stopped her was the knowledge his suggestions and thoughts had less pull with their parents than that of a total stranger’s. Rachel allowed her scowl to speak to Richard and kept her silence.
Michelle watched her parents as they watched the exchange between Richard and Rachel. She said, “If we’re putting it up for a vote, I say Richard gets spanked and walks around naked for the weekend.”
Miles joined the conversation, pushing his empty plate forward on the table. “Fortunately for us all, discipline is not a democratic process in this family.”
Mr. Bennett leaned forward in his chair. “Quite true. I do however feel it’s important that I listen to any of you when you voice your opinions or concerns over discipline.”
Rachel twisted to gawk at her father. “You aren’t seriously considering the twerp’s suggestion that I go naked?”
Mr. Bennett said, “Why shouldn’t I? Considering your reaction, the idea obviously has merit.”
Rachel gaped at her father for a moment and then asked, “How was I supposed to react?”
Mr. Bennett leveled his gaze wholly on Rachel. “Tell me, how many times in the last year has your mother had to talk to you about running in the house and more specifically, about running down the stairs?”
Rachel looked down at the table and shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Mr. Bennett leaned back in his chair. “Neither do we, but I do know this is not the first or even the second time you’ve been spanked over it. Clearly you forget the rule almost as quickly as the redness fades from your bottom, but I wonder if you would forget so quickly if you spent the weekend like your brother suggests or perhaps with a fresh spanking every morning.”
Rachel’s arms wrapped in front of her as if she were standing naked. “It won’t happen again, I promise.”
Mr. Bennett nodded. “Now that is the kind of positive attitude I like to hear. I think this time, you can spend the weekend without your pants. If we have to revisit this running in the house issue anytime soon though, you’ll be wearing less and you’ll be grounded longer.”
Rachel’s lower lip quivered. “It’s not fair.”
“If you think it would be more fair,” Mr. Bennett said, “you can spend this weekend in your birthday suit.”
“I’m not arguing,” Rachel said, glancing at her father.
He said, “Good. Now, I want you to go upstairs to your room, take your jeans all the way off, put them away in the hamper and come back down to help your mother with the day’s housework.”
Rachel shuffled back from the table. “But it’s my vacation.”
Mr. Bennett said, “And you’re grounded. Be glad it’s only the weekend and not the rest of the time you have off from school.”
Rachel shuffled out of the room without another word or even a look at anyone. When she was gone from sight, Michelle turned to her father and asked, “Don’t you think you were a little mean to her?”
Mr. Bennett looked calmly at Michelle. “I’m your father, not your friend. Now, I believe you and Richard should be heading off to school.” He looked down the table to Miles. “Are you ready to leave?”
Miles shook his head. “Give me five minutes. I need to make a call.”
Mr. Bennett nodded and turned his attention back to Michelle and Richard. “Did you two finish all your homework?”
Richard said, “Of course. Did it before bed last night.”
Mr. Bennett looked to Michelle. She nodded looking at Miles as he left the room with his phone in hand. Michelle said, “Uh huh. All done.”
“Good,” Mr. Bennett said. “Now as I started to say earlier, the storm is supposed to get pretty severe today. I expect both of you to wait under cover for either Miles or myself to pick you up from school this afternoon.”
Richard nodded and Michelle, still watching Miles, said, “Sure, Dad.”
Mr. Bennett tapped her arm, getting her to look at him. “That means no running off with your friends after school today.”
“I know,” Michelle said.
Miles re-entered the room, putting his phone back in his shirt pocket. “Alright, let’s go.”