“What do you think?” Becky asked. She met Mom’s gaze with bold indifference laced with just a hint of smugness. “Don’t I just look fabulous?”
“Red is surely your color,” Mom said stepping past me.
Becky’s eyelashes fluttered with what she thought was a compliment. Having known my Mom longer, like all my life, I was painfully aware of the deeper meaning in Mom’s words. I took a step backward and looked for a place to hide because the last thing I wanted was for Diana to catch me watching my cousin get her tail tanned. Unfortunately, Mom had other plans.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Mom asked. The glint in her eyes held the answer for me.
“Nowhere.” I shrugged and stopped in my tracks. The wall looked like a good place to stand, but I waited to lean up against it until Mom turned her head back to Becky.
“So I should get this one?” Becky asked. Apparently, she was too busy checking herself out in the mirror at the end of the alcove to notice the subtleties going on with Mom.
I shook my head, but Becky still wasn’t getting the message.
Mom planted her hands on her hips, making the shopping bag hung on her wrist slap against her skirt. “What would your Mother say?”
Becky gazed lovingly at her own reflection. “She’d probably want to know if it came in her size. Red is her color too.”
Mom shook her head and sighed. “Well maybe that’s what they’re wearing on the beaches in California, but it’s completely inappropriate for a neighborhood pool party.”
Becky stopped gazing into the mirror and fixed her eyes on Mom. “What?”
Mom said, “We need to find you something more suitable.”
“I’m just fine with this,” Becky said.
Mom said, “I’m not.”
Becky smiled, but her look was decidedly more evil than happy. “That sounds like a personal problem cause I don’t need your permission.”
I leaned extra hard against the wall, hoping to disappear into it for Becky’s sake. The dark color rising in Mom’s cheeks told me a storm was brewing and experience had taught me that it was best not to be in the vicinity. Too bad I had no place to go.
Mom asked, “Do you want a spanking?”
Becky blinked and stammered. “No.”
“Then I suggest you drop the attitude, change out of that ridiculous bikini and pick out a respectable bathing suit for Saturday,” Mom said.
Maybe Becky really did want a spanking. Or maybe she just didn’t know when to quit. She said, “But this is the one I want.”
“I’m not going to warn you again,” Mom said.
Becky stamped her foot, reminding me of a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. “This is so unfair.”
Mom huffed. Her patience had run out. She stepped forward and grabbed Becky by the arm, pulling her toward the changing room. Becky broke free of Mom’s grip causing Mom to stumble backward into the changing room. I imagine Becky would have outright bolted, but I was in the way. An instant later Mom emerged from behind the half drawn curtain holding the number seven placard and waving it in Becky’s direction.
Becky backed away from Mom until she was standing on top of my shoes. “I’m sorry,” she said.
Mom didn’t answer. She grabbed Becky’s arm and pulled her off me. Mom let fly with that wooden placard on Becky’s behind making her hop in place. When Mom figured she had Becky’s attention, she stopped swatting and twisted things around until Becky was trapped between Mom and the alcove mirror.
Pointing the placard at Becky’s bottoms, Mom said, “Get ‘em down and touch your toes.”
Becky looked a touch pathetic trying to avoid meeting Mom’s gaze. “But we’re in a store.”
Mom glanced over her shoulder at the larger store. “Actually we’re in the changing rooms, but we can move this out there if you prefer.”
“No,” Becky said, sounding about half her age.
Mom shook the placard. There wasn’t any need for her to repeat herself. Becky kept her eyes low and chewed on her lip while hooking her thumbs into the red waistline. She turned her back to Mom and me, lowering her bottoms quickly. Her fingers were brushing her painted toenails an instant later.
I looked nervously out into the store. Fortunately, Diana was busy with other customers and not paying any attention to us. The sound of the placard bouncing off Becky’s bottom echoed in the small alcove as Mom did her best to drive her point home to Becky. It wasn’t long and Becky’s white butt had turned a glistening red with the faint impression of the number 7 showing up all over her jutted cheeks. I’m guessing she wouldn’t say it was her lucky number.
Satisfied with the results of the spanking, Mom let Becky stand up, but made her keep the bottoms down while standing with her nose against the mirror. I was left to make sure Becky didn’t move too much, or really at all, while Mom searched the store racks for something she considered acceptable for Becky to wear on Saturday. Mom came up with a yellow one-piece with brown stripes down the left side. It made me think of a rotting banana and I reckon Becky would have agreed. Unfortunately for her, Mom wasn’t asking, she was telling.
While Mom was paying for the swimsuits, Diana came by the alcove. I blushed on account of Becky still standing at the mirror with a bare red bottom, but Diana didn’t say anything to me. She paused next to Becky though and said, “I guess you know what I meant by a whipping now, huh?”
Diana didn’t stay around for a response. She opened a door I hadn’t noticed before and turned to me. She flashed a smile at me and disappeared behind the door before I could react. It was probably for the best because all I could think at that moment was just how much I wanted to kiss Diana.