Miles escorted Jennifer into his old bedroom and closed the door. He sat on the edge of the bed while she remained standing, chewing on her lip. There was no doubt in Miles’ mind that she was beautiful. Even the flaws she would see in the mirror, looked amazing to him, but the things she had done and the way she continued to act toward Rachel were not attractive or beautiful. They were ugly and they left him wondering if being with her was a mistake.
He looked up at her and said, “If I’ve learned anything today, it’s that the way things are between us is going to have to change.”
She frowned. “What do you mean ‘change’?”
He swallowed his doubts. “I mean, I will not tolerate you lying to me, hiding things from me, and above all, I will not tolerate your attitude toward Rachel.”
“She’s a bitch,” Jennifer said.
“And so are you,” Miles said. “I have to fire you after everything you’ve done, there is no way around that. The question I have left is whether or not our relationship is going to move forward or end right here.”
Tears filled into Jennifer’s eyes. “You’re dumping me? On a fucking day like this, you are going to fucking dump me? You’re a goddamn bastard!”
“It’s up to you really,” Miles said, “either we can end this thing or you’re going to have to accept going over my knee from now on whenever your behavior calls for it.”
Jennifer wiped the tears from her cheeks. “That’s it?”
She stepped forward and dropped herself down on his lap, pushing her butt up as a promising target. “What are you waiting for?” she asked.
Miles chuckled. “That went better than I was expecting,” he said and raised his hand. A clap of thunder outside echoed his hand impacting her fleshy cheeks. From there, he settled into a routine that complimented the patter of the rain against the bedroom window.
A while later, they returned downstairs, Jennifer exhibiting a bright red bottom and tear-stained cheeks, as they entered Mr. Bennett’s office. Michelle’s phone rested on the desk next to the larger telephone and plugged into the computer. On the computer screen, embarrassingly clear pictures of a naked Jennifer being strapped by a shirtless Brody were cycling through in a slideshow. Miles walked around the desk and sat in his father’s chair.
“Are you ready?” Miles asked, looking up at Jennifer, still standing on the opposite side of the desk.
She nodded. “Might as well get it over with.”
Miles picked up the desk phone and dialed the local police department. When a clerk answered he asked to be transferred to the internal affairs division. It took a few minutes on hold, Jennifer paced the floor in front of the desk, but finally a detective answered. Miles gave the short version of the story— Brody, a traffic enforcement officer at the DMV, had blackmailed his girlfriend into submitting to his personal sexual whims in exchange for not losing her drivers license.
The detective listened politely, but Miles could tell the man was skeptical. He handed the phone to Jennifer and she proceeded to fill in all the gory details. There was much, Miles wished he had never heard and having heard it, he couldn’t keep his blood from boiling in pointless anger. Once her story was complete, the detective asked for evidence. Miles sent the email with all the pictures. It was embarrassing for him to contemplate the number of people who would see those photos and therefore his girlfriend stark naked, but of course it was nothing compared to the humiliation she had to be feeling. The detective received the files almost instantly and even from across the desk, Miles could hear the change in the man’s tone. Brody was finished.
“Are you alright?” Miles asked, as Jennifer hung up the phone.
She nodded. “I’m probably going to lose my license you know.”
“And you went through all of that just to avoid it and now it’s for nothing,” Miles said.
Jennifer smiled and rubbed her red backside. “Well, not exactly nothing, seeing as we’re finally moving our relationship forward.”
Miles raised a questioning eyebrow.
Jennifer laughed at him. “You don’t think I’m going to let you spank me and not marry me do you?”
“Are you asking me to marry you?” Miles said, wide-eyed.
“No,” she said, “that’s a man’s job, sort of like taking a bitch like me in hand.”
Michelle laid on her stomach atop her neatly made bed. She hugged a pillow to her chest and propped herself up. Her hands travel beneath the folds of her school skirt and gently lowered the white cotton beneath it, exposing her pink buttocks. The worst of the discomfort had already faded away leaving only the color and occasional sting of a well-spanked bottom. It was a small price to pay and certainly far less than either Rachel or Jennifer had received.
Her fingers touched the delicate flesh, probing for warmth and sting. Memories of the days spankings came fluttering back into her head. The exhilaration of embarrassment and shame flushed her body with tingling warmth and then the image of Nick floated behind her closed eyelids. Her thoughts kept turning back to him and their morning fight. She should have said yes.
Before she could think better of it, she grabbed her phone from the floor beside the bed and dialed Nick’s number. The phone rang three times and she was just about to hang up when he answered. She hesitated considering what she should say or if she should just end the call.
“Michelle?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said. “I wanted to—
Nick said, “Hey, it’s okay. I just heard about Cody. I didn’t know, I guess hardly anybody knew, but I should have known you weren’t into him like that. I’m sorry.”
Michelle blinked at her telephone. “What are talking about?”
“Cody,” Nick said. “Haven’t you heard?”
Nick said, “He came out to everybody in the locker room this afternoon. It was like he was suddenly free, he was practically jumping up and down, trying to show everyone pictures of what he likes.”
Michelle laughed. She hadn’t expected to learn if her plan had worked or not until Monday at school.
Nick continued, “I guess he’d just got these nudes from some guy he was really into. Too bad for him someone in the administration found out and they walked in while he was showing off the pics. I hear he’s going to be suspended for a week, having porn on his phone and all, but you know I never figured him for gay. I guess I should have considering how badly he treats the girls at school, but I just thought he was an asshole.”
“He is that,” Michelle said, still laughing. Not only had she seen to it that Cody’s reputation was trashed, apparently he’d helped complete the image and got himself suspended on top. It couldn’t have gone better if she’d planned it. Then again, she did plan it.
“So look,” Nick said, “I’m sorry about acting all jealous. We’re not even going out so I really had no right and it’s pretty obvious to me now you were trying to help Cody and not betray his secret. I feel like a complete dick, can you forgive me?”
“It’s not all your fault,” Michelle said. Telling him the whole story was out of the question, because even if he understood, he would probably not approve, but she couldn’t have him thinking he was to blame for everything. “I haven’t made things easy and I was way out of line with my attitude this morning. If you forgive me, I’ll forgive you and we can move on.”
There was silence.
Nick said, “I’ll forgive you but I’m not so sure I want to move on quite yet, unless you’re telling me you just aren’t interested.”
Michelle laughed. “That’s not what I meant. Of course I’m interested. Why else would I be calling you?”
“I don’t know,” Nick said.
“Do you still want to go out tomorrow night?” she asked.
“I thought you were grounded?” he said.
“I managed to get my Civics done even without you, remember?” she said.
“Ah, that’s right. So, seriously tomorrow night?”
“The storm supposed to have past by then,” she said.
Nick said, “Okay, but I swear if I show up and you’ve changed your mind, I’ll spank you right on your own doorstep.”
Michelle laughed. “Deal.”
Rachel walked toward her bedroom hearing footsteps trailing behind her. At her doorway, she spun around and said, “Are you following me?”
Richard stopped in his tracks, grinning at his naked sister. “As a matter of fact, yeah.”
“I’m not much in the mood for company,” she said, turning away and stepping into her room.
“Sure,” he said, “but you owe me.”
She turned back to him. “I don’t think so.”
“A deal is a deal,” he said.
“Right,” Rachel said, “but Dad let me off for the running.”
“Nice try,” Richard said. “If you recall, I didn’t specify whether it’d be for running down the stairs or something else, I just said I’d get Dad to keep you naked for the weekend.”
“Then why did we run down the stairs this morning?” Rachel asked. “I could have just flown under the radar all weekend and won.”
Richard laughed. “I seem to recall you mentioning that you were too old to get a spanking.”
Rachel recalled her morning assertions that she could get away most anything because she wasn’t a teenager anymore. It should have been true or at least she thought it should have been true, but then her mother still hadn’t gotten around to treating her like an adult. Of course, adults don’t make foolish bets with their little brothers either, or do they? “I didn’t say I was too old.”
“Yes, you did,” Richard said, crossing his arms and narrowing his gaze on her.
Rachel sighed. “It doesn’t matter anyway. You lost.”
“Really?” Richard said, blinking. “Are you or are you not grounded in your birthday suit for the weekend?”
“That’s beside the point,” she said.
Richard laughed and pointed at her breasts. “No, those are the points.”
Rachel glanced down at herself and quickly wrapped her arms over her cold nipples. “You’re real proud of yourself aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” Richard said, “you were the one who said it wouldn’t happen no matter what I did, but looks like I proved you wrong.”
“Fine,” Rachel said, “this wasn’t exactly our bet, but if it makes you feel better, you won. Okay?”
“So does that mean you’re going to pay up?” Richard asked.
Rachel rolled her eyes and sighed. “Sure. What do you want?”
Richard said, “Well I was going to ask for your computer, but considering what you’ve been up to with that jerk, Julian, I think I have a better idea.”
She frowned at her brother. “What?”
“Just stay away from him. Don’t call him, don’t visit him, don’t email him, don’t even wave at him. Stay away from that bastard and we’ll be square,” he said.
“Don’t worry,” Rachel said, “I don’t plan on ever talking to him again.”
Richard left her alone. She closed her bedroom door and walked to the window. The curtains were still drawn and the blind pulled up. Outside the storm was finally easing. The heavy raindrops were nothing more than a mist and the darkest clouds were rolling out into the distance. Tomorrow there would be sunlight and blue skies, but even though the storm would be gone, its aftermath would remain. The damage done would need repairing, fences would need mending, bridges would need rebuilding and the debris would need clearing. And when it was done, things would be as they were and different, new and better.