Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Kelsie has recently moved in with her older half brother after her parents’ death.  After failing to study for her test, she and her two friends decide to cheat, but get caught and suspended.  The ever-intelligent trio make up a complex series of lies, and eventually get caught.  Hence, the “pants on fire” part of the title.

———-

As a fifteen year old high school student, I was so interested in my half-brother’s job as a professor of philosophy at one of the local colleges that I read the books he lectured on, and sat in a chair across from him Indian-style as he took notes for class, bugging him to tell me everything. I guess that’s why it’s so ironic that I got myself in such a mess, seeing as his current lecture was about “lying.”

It really isn’t in my nature to lie, but sometimes, it’s just easier to get out of things. And even I knew that lying wouldn’t help… Chris didn’t have to add that in our weekly discussions about philosophy. I guess you’re probably wondering not only why I did it, but what exactly I did. Well, it’s a long story, but if you’re willing, then carry on. Hopefully this will be a philosophy lesson that you’ll actually learn from… I know it was for me.

“The whole point of it is to see from the perspective of the liar and the one lied to. That’s what philosophy is, seeing from both point of views,” Chris concluded that Tuesday evening, shutting his blue book and running his fingers through his hair.

I was sitting across from him in what I deemed “my chair” since I had sat in it twice a week for about three weeks, listening to my intelligent, 29 year old brother ramble on and on about different topics. He had just started teaching another year of college, and this year, the first book happened to be entitled “Lying.” I didn’t think it was much about philosophy, but being the fifteen year old I was, I didn’t really know much about philosophy anyway. That’s why I was so curious.

I stretched out, yawning. “About bed time, eh?” Chris said, smiling.

I nodded. “Yeah. Unlike some of us, I have to get up *early* to go to class,” I teased, grinning at him.

“Poor baby,” he teased back, punching me playfully in the arm.

I rolled my eyes and stood, then tottled off to my room, waving goodnight. Lying on my bed with a cd playing softly, I sighed heavily. Week three of living with Chris… and it wasn’t so bad. I actually kind of enjoyed our late night discussions, and he was a good listener, when I felt like talking, which wasn’t often… and, well, it was cool having an older brother for once. But my parents had just died, and week three of living with Chris meant three weeks since their death, and that it was getting to be time to move on. But it’s so hard sometimes, especially when you spend so many years with the same parents, the same routines, in the same house… and then all of a sudden it’s all gone and you find yourself living with an older brother that you rarely saw otherwise, only talked to on the phone occasionally. I pushed the thoughts away from my mind. Chris cared about me, else he wouldn’t have offered to let me live with him. I still wanted to cry, though. But I decided to turn the music up instead and let it drown out my emotions.

The next morning I woke after sleeping only half of the night. At least I was moving up to half of the night instead of only a couple of hours..

Chris was in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. The typical thing one would expect to wake up to, only perhaps not their older brother, but maybe a father drinking coffee and reading, while the mother cooks breakfast. Again, I had to push the thoughts out of my mind.

“Heya, kiddo,” he said, looking up from the paper and smiling. “How ya feeling today?”

“I’m fine,” I lied, and he knew I was lying, but it was a mutual lie, or something, so it was okay. I think.

He nodded and looked back down at the paper. “Hungry?”

“Nah. I’ll eat a poptart or something.” I plopped down across the table from him.

“Ya sure?”

I nodded.

“Want a ride to school?”

“Nah, I’ll catch the bus.”

He nodded again, turning the page and finally folding the newspaper up and sitting it on the table. “Kel.. if you need me, I’m here. You know that, right?”

I nodded, turning away because I could feel the tears forming.

“I just wanted to make sure you knew.”

“I do,” I whispered, taking a deep breath in and finally looking at him. “I should get ready,” I murmured and escaped from the kitchen, hiding in my room for a few minutes until finally dressing and doing all the monotonous morning activities until I was ready to go.

“See you this afternoon!” he said, waving goodbye to me.

I waved back, smiling slightly and walking out the door, down the street to my stop. Luckily I could at least go to the same school I had been going to.

I stalked towards homeroom and my friend, Cara, met me halfway.

“I have a great idea,” she said, flipping her long hair back. “You know we have that test in bio today?”

“Oh shit, I forgot,” I said, slapping my forehead.

“Yeah, me too,” Cara admitted. “And I’m sure Tracey did, too.” Tracey was my other good friend. “But anyway, here it goes… since the test is on chapters thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen, why don’t we each pick a chapter to cram for during gym and then during the test we can just text the answers to certain questions to each other.”

I bit my lower lip. “Great idea, Cara, really… but, erm, since we’re not supposed to have cell phones, if we got caught, we’d be up a shit creek.”

We walked inside our homeroom class and she patted me on the back. “We won’t get caught,” she assured me. “Think about it, though?”

I nodded. I mean, there wasn’t much to think about. If I did get caught cheating, I could just assure Chris that it was a last resort and I felt like I had to do it. Since the death of my parents and everything… I mean, come on, anyone would buy it!

My two friends and I met up to go to French together and I explained that it would be a good idea, no matter if we got caught or not. We split up the sections between the three of us and I immediately started studying my chapter. Cara and Tracey were a lot smarter than me, so they’d catch on a lot quicker. I didn’t want to let them down by not studying enough.

In gym we sat at the top of the bleachers and goofed off while studying a little. We helped each other come up with crazy acronyms to remember stuff, mostly using stupid phrases that didn’t make much sense and had loads of bad words in them. Finally, after our gym class we hurried to biology where we could get our phones all set up. I felt kind of bad about cheating like this, but I was usually the doormat between my friends. If they wanted to do something, I’d probably do it, even if there was no logic in it. There was actually logic in this, though. What’s the worse that could happen? And besides, I’m sly, like my friends. There’s no way we could get caught!

My teacher handed out the tests, going over a couple of notes that she needed to make and then allowing us to begin. My heart thumped in anxiety. I looked at the test and noticed instantly that I was uncertain about many of the questions. I just went through and filled out the answers I knew, then felt my phone vibrating softly in my lap. I looked up and saw my teacher going through some papers in a file folder and glanced down at my phone, clicking that I wanted to read the message. It was Cara asking for the answers to a couple of questions, and not seconds later did Tracey ask for more answers. I finished the questions that I knew and started asking them for answers. It was actually going well. One cannot be too careful when cheating on a test, and I admit, we were very careful. Sometimes it took a couple of minutes before a friend would send me a message because the teacher was beginning to look around the room.

Towards the end of the test, I realized that I still had over half of the answers blank. I started panicking and decided to just write all the numbers I needed in one long text message to both of my friends. I was getting a little too into it, I guess, because I neglected to see that my teacher had begun walking around a little. Luckily, I managed to get the message sent before she came towards my table. I quickly looked at some of the questions and racked my brain for what the answer might be. My fingers were shaking because I was so nervous. I felt my phone vibrate again and nervously looked at it where Cara had answered some of my questions. I memorized the few that she’d given me then heard my teacher begin shouting.

“Cara Robinson!” she shrieked.

I jumped halfway out of my seat, quickly hiding the phone in my backpack.

She was scolding my friend to no end, waving her phone around, then glancing at it to see that her two main contacts were Tracey and me. Without another word, she found a yellow slip and began scribbling down our names on it, ordering us to the office. I gulped.

“I don’t know how she fucking caught me,” Cara was scowling.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have sent all those questions at the same time,” I admitted.

“It was nobody’s fault,” Tracy said.

“You’re right,” Cara said, nodding. “I should have been more careful with my phone and we should have planned it out better. Next time we will.”

I thought it quite ironic that we were in shit for cheating and the only thing we felt bad about was getting caught. It was amusing, really.

Our assistant principal scolded us for about ten minutes then claimed that we’d have to spend the rest of the day in In School Suspension and the next two days we were suspended. Apparently our school had a zero tolerance policy with regards to cheating.

“This time,” he began, pointing his finger at us, “you are getting off lightly. If this happens again, each of your parents will be notified immediately and you will be sent home for the week. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” the three of us chanted.

“And rest assured that I will be calling each of your parents to make sure they know about this infraction.”

I tried not to make a sour face when he said that, but truthfully, I was still a little crazy when people mentioned parents. I guess it happens to everyone. He didn’t notice that I was taken aback, though, and dismissed us to the I.S.S. room. You’d think we’d have felt ashamed being in that room with all of the people who just blow off school, but we had more fun than we should have. The teacher was old and senile and could barely hear, and if he did hear, we straightened ourselves up and pretended like we were engrossed in our studies, so he ended up blaming someone else.

At the end of the day I’d convinced myself that I’d had the best day ever… the worst part was failing my biology test, and that would have happened no matter what!

I caught my bus, waving goodbye to my friends and somehow mustering the courage to sit next to a cute guy. He didn’t talk to me much, though. He was more interested in the music he was listening to. In no time, I made it back to Chris’s house, and called Cara on my cell.

“Ohmygod!” I shrieked. “I almost forgot that tomorrow’s my birthday!”

“Awesome!” Cara answered.

“I just had the best idea ever!”

“Oh? Do share!”

“You know, Chris just bought that new Eclipse? Well, we’re supposed to get my license tomorrow morning before he has to be at work, and I decided that I could just convince him to let me stay home, since it’s my birthday and I need a break from school, because I bet that either Mr. Cruz didn’t call or he just left a message, cause I bet he doesn’t care that much if they know what we did.”

“He left a message,” Cara informed me. “And I’ve already deleted it.”

“Perfect. Now all I have to do is delete my message, convince Chris to let me stay home from school tomorrow and then…”

She stopped me. “So what does the Eclipse have to do with this?”

“I’m getting there! So then I can beg him to let me use his car to drive to your house tomorrow night and we can all crash there and get drunk as shit and I can tell him we’re studying for a big test and I want to drive us all to school tomorrow.”

The other line was silent.

“Cara?” I asked, making sure she was still there and looking around to make sure that Chris hadn’t magically come home and she somehow knew it.

“I’m here,” she assured me, “and damn! That’s a great idea!”

I beamed.

“So make sure you can get everything done, and then call me and I’ll tell Tracey.”

“Make sure she deletes the message first.”

“She has.”

“K, see ya.”

“Bye.”

I hung up the phone and found the message machine, deleting the message from my assistant principal who had just wanted to let my brother know I was suspended for two days. Too bad I’m smarter than him.

I watched tv for the next couple of hours til Chris came home.

“Heya, how was your day?” he asked.

“It was fine. Hey, you know my birthday’s tomorrow?”

“Oh, is it?” he asked sarcastically.

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, it is.”

“Well, you seem significantly happier,” he told me.

“I am because I’m excited to get my license, but I’d be even happier if you’d let me skip school tomorrow.”

He sat down on the recliner next to me. “I don’t know about that, Kelsie,” he said. “You’ve missed enough school already.”

“Awwww, come on. I’ll even go to the psycho doc so I can get an excuse. Please let me miss?”

“I’ll think about it.”

I gave him a puppy face, but he wasn’t paying much attention. I’m sure he was thinking about my pleas, since he’s all philosophical and stuff. And he can also see right through lies, for the most part. I desperately hoped that he didn’t catch me in this one, though.

By dinner, my older brother had agreed to let me skip class. Unfortuantely, I had to take it one step at a time. The next morning I’d start hassling him on letting me drive his car to Cara’s.

I passed my driving test with flying colors. Things were a little shakey when I had to make a U-turn at a median and didn’t realize which side of the road I was supposed to be on, but otherwise, I did fine. I smiled big for my license picture and then Chris bought us a meal from Sonic which I quickly scarfed down. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty because he thought I just innocently wanted to skip school. Truth was, I couldn’t go to school even if I wanted. The thought of that made it hard to swallow my food.

“You okay?” he asked me.

I nodded. “Yeah, just, you know.”

I’d had many silence bouts since I’d lived with him so I’m sure he excused it as thinking about my parents like always. Well, truthfully, I was sort of thinking about them and how upset they’d be if they knew what I was doing. Here Chris was doing all he could and I was being a brat by lying to him.

He dropped me off at home, giving me a list of rules to abide by while he was at work, as if I’d never stayed home alone before. I shrugged him off, smiling and wishing him a good afternoon.

I don’t understand why schools think it’s a punishment when they suspend us… especially more than one of us at a time! Man, I had a good time. I talked to Cara and Tracey on three way for a little while then turned my music up super loud and played an air guitar while jumping on my bed, then settled down to watch tv for a little while. Chris despised MTV so I hadn’t watched it much lately. Luckily, they were playing reruns of my favorite shows so I got to catch up on what I’d missed. When he came home, I was so ecstatic I could barely contain myself.

“CHRIS!” I shrieked, and ran up to him with a hug.

He raised his eyebrows. “What’s up?”

“I’ve had an epiphany!”

“Oh?” he asked, moving from the doorway and throwing his keys on the table. “And what kind of epiphany is this?”

“Well, see, I have a test tomorrow and Cara got some last minute notes and said I could go over there and cram with her tonight. And I really really really wanted to stay the night and I thought it’d be *great* if you let me drive the Eclipse, you know, as sort of a birthday present.” I was grinning from ear to ear.

He walked away from me, sitting in his recliner and flipping the tv to the news or something boring. “What are you going to do at Cara’s?” he asked.

“Study,” I lied, trying to look him straight in the eyes, even though he was staring at the tv and didn’t look too keen on the idea.

“Is that all?”

“Well, you know, what do girls usually do when they stay the night at someone’s house? We’ll probably stay up all night and talk about cute boys.”

He smiled at that statement. “And that’s all?”

I shrugged. “As far as I know.”

“And how do you expect me to get to work in the morning?”

“Take the bus, a cab… or you can just drive my car,” I said, grinning. Yes, I had just turned sixteen and already had a car. I got most of my parents things after they passed away.

“So if I let you borrow my car I can go ahead and take back the things I’ve already bought you?”

“Or, erm, you could just be extra nice this birthday!”

He smiled, shaking his head. “Okay, you can go, under two conditions,” he said, looking me straight in the eyes and making my heart jump.

“Mmmk.”

“One: You call me when you’re in for the night and you don’t go anywhere else unless it’s an emergency.”

“Okay.”

“Two: You will get up and go to school in the morning no matter what, and you’ll be on time.”

I nodded. “I can do that,” I teased. “Geeze, I thought you were going to give me something philosophical to do!”

“Nah, but speaking of that… I need to make my notes for class in the morning. Would you like to join me?”

I wasn’t much in the mood for hearing about how bad lying was, especially since I had lied to him about nearly everything the past couple of days. But I’d always enjoyed having our time together, and I knew I’d miss it if I didn’t sit in there with him. “Of course I would!”

He read the chapter of the book aloud and made notes as he did so, allowing me to ask questions. It was the same as it’d been two nights ago, but this night, I felt terrible because he was talking about the one who is lied to, and how bad they feel to be deceived.

After about an hour, he said, “I guess that Cara knows you’re coming over?”

“Of course!”

“Well, it’s getting late, maybe you should go ahead and get your stuff together.”

I glanced at the clock: 7:25. I wouldn’t call that late, but it was getting dark outside and I’m sure she wouldn’t want me stalking in at nine. “We’re not going to finish?”

“I’ll talk to you about the rest later. Of course, I’m sure most of it is pretty self-explainatory.”

I nodded. “Okay then,” I said. I could feel something different in his voice and actions, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. He couldn’t know that I’d lied to him, could he?

I arrived at Cara’s house about thirty minutes later, dialing Chris’s number to assure him that I’d made it there in one piece and his car was fine. Cara literally squealed when I came inside.

“We’re going to have soooo much fun tonight!” she said, opening her front door to reveal Tracey who was sitting on the couch watching tv. “Parents are gone to some social thing, Amelia got us some vodka and orange juice…”

I cringed… that didn’t sound some great together!

“And they agreed to let us stay in the camp house since there’s three of us and it’s bigger than my room. That way we can stay up all night drinking and they’ll leave before we would anyway.”

I nodded. “Sounds great! Where’s Amelia?”

“Oh, you know her, she’s never home.” Amelia is her older sister.

“Hey Tracey,” I said, waving at my friend.

She smiled. “Happy Birthday!”

“Thanks!”

The three of us gathered our things and stalked down to the camp house, which was a tiny loft-like building near the lake. It was great for sleepovers and drunken nights, according to Amelia. Amelia was nineteen, but had her share of friends who were over twenty one, not to mention that she loved Tracey and me because we were natural trouble makers.

We hadn’t been down there ten minutes before Cara was mixing us drinks. The first one I had was really gross and took me forever to drink, except that my two friends kept trying to get me to have chugging contests with them. After that drink, I made the rest of mine, and they weren’t too bad. Cara said I was a natural-born bartender.

“To Kelsie!” Cara announced, raising her glass.

Tracey raised hers as well, “Kelsie!” she chanted and we all clanged our glasses together.

We were three-fourths of the way through our bottle of vodka, and as you can imagine, walking was beginning to become a chore.

“Hey! Remember when we used to go to summer camp?” Cara asked, gulping down her drink.

“Ohmigod! Yes!! Those were the days!” I giggled.

Tracey didn’t look so great and sort of stumbled towards the couch, plopping herself down.

“Trace? You okay?” I asked, attempting to walk towards her but crawling instead.

“Ohhhhh!!! I just got a great idea!!” Cara shrieked, causing me to jump a little then start giggling in amusement. Tracey’s eyes were closed so I figured she was asleep.

“What?” I asked, deciding to stop crawling and listen to what my friend had to say.

“We can go check out the camp! It’s not too far from here… about ten minutes or something.”

I digested that, not realizing that in order to go there, I’d have to drive, and that driving was illegal in my condition. “GREAT IDEA!” I announced. “Tracey!! Wanna go?”

She shook her head, mumbling something I couldn’t make out.

Cara stood and helped me to my feet. We stumbled out the doorway and somehow managed to find my brother’s new car. I actually pet the damn thing, like it was a dog or something, then started talking to it, announcing that we were just going to take him out for a little ride, then we’d come back home.

I inserted the key in the lock and for the life of me couldn’t figure out how to get the damn car open. Cara was laughing so hard that it made me giggle and finally I was like, “if you don’t stop, I’m going to piss all over myself!”

That just made her laugh harder.

Somehow, I managed to open the door without peeing all over myself, then reached over to unlock her side. After numerous tries, I got the key in the ignition, still not realizing I was in no condition to drive. I turned the car on and backed out of the driveway, concentrating as hard as I could.

Cara wasn’t helping. She turned the music up as loud as it would go, singing and dancing along with it, until I was doing the same. So much that I hadn’t realized it started raining, nor did I realize that the light we were approaching was red and that a green Mustang was headed straight towards us.

Guess I didn’t realize it til I heard screeching breaks and felt it slam into the side of my brother’s car. I screamed. Cara screamed. The cd kept playing.

I nervously turned the car off and opened my door, falling onto the concrete into some glass. A man with a mustache and baseball cap came up to me.

“Are you okay?” he yelled.

I stared straight at him, not answering.

“Can you hear me? Are you okay?”

“Please don’t be too mad at me, Daddy,” I replied, weakly, swearing that the man speaking to me was my father. “I didn’t mean to wreck Chris’s car. I’m sorry for drinking… please don’t be mad..” And I don’t remember what happened after that.

I guess the police brought Cara and me to the station, though I don’t remember the trip. I don’t remember them hauling me in and placing me in the hard plastic chair, either. I remember Cara giving me a worried look.

“Cara? Do you remember what happened?” I whispered as they escorted us to a holding cell.

“I don’t remember what happened five minute ago. I think we got in an accident. Is that what happened?”

“Why is your hair wet? Did you take a shower?”

“I think it was raining.”

“Why is everything spinning?”

“I don’t know.”

A police officer opened the cell and helped us inside.

“Where are we?” she asked.

“In jail..” I answered.

“My parents are going to kill me.”

“And Chris is going to kill me.”

“Maybe they won’t tell them.”

“They will,” I answered, lying back on the bed and closing my eyes. “I feel so sick.”

“Me too.”

I think we talked the whole time we were in there, until the officer came and told me that my brother was there for me. In any normal situation, I would have been scared to death, but I felt so sick and dizzy and confused, that there wasn’t any room for fear.

I pushed the wet hair out of my face and allowed Chris to lead me to my car.

“How did you expect you could drive when you can’t even walk straight?” he muttered rhetorically to himself, but at the time I didn’t realize that.

“I’ve always been a better driver than a walker.”

“Obviously not tonight.”

I leaned my warm cheeks against the cool window, listening to Chris start up the car and drive off.

“I’m not feeling so well, Chris.”

“I’d imagine not.. looks like you’ve drank a lot.”

“Too much,” I mumbled, looking around for a bag of any sort, finding a walmart sack with a shirt that I’d bought a couple of days before. I dumped out the shirt and threw up into the bag a couple of times, beginning to cry for feeling so rotten. I’d sort of fallen asleep in my bag of puke when we got home and Chris helped me out of the car, escorting me towards our house. I barely made it up the porch stairs without falling. Hell, if Chris hadn’t been there, I would have fallen and just slept in the yard.

I wheezed into the Walmart sack some more until Chris brought me to the bathroom and helped wash my face off, then lay a pillow down on the floor, and a towel next to me.

“You’re still going to school tomorrow,” he told me after I lay down beside the toilet.

“I’m suspended,” I answered.

“You’re what?”

“Suspended. Can’t go tomorrow.”

“Well, I’m glad you told me that while you were sober and not half-passed out on the floor. But we’ll talk about that tomorrow. You’re coming to work with me in the morning.”

“I’m sick.”

“You’re drunk.”

“Sick, too.”

“That’s what happens when you drink too much.”

I tried to speak some more, but fell asleep in dizziness too soon.

Everytime I woke up during the night to throw up in the toilet some more, Chris was there. At the time I thought he was just like superman and knew exactly when I was sick, but now that I think about it, I can sort of remember seeing him sitting against the wall, reading one of his books and underlining different things.

The next morning I woke up by myself around six in the morning. I felt like complete and total hell. The first thing I noticed was that Chris was fallen asleep on the floor close by me. Then I wondered what the hell had happened. I looked at the ceiling and pieced my night together. Drinking, driving, accident, jail, vomiting. That’s about how it’d went. I’d never been told exactly what happened, but I wasn’t itching much to find out, either.

I left Chris lying on the floor and stalked to the other bathroom to have a shower. I thought maybe a nice warm shower would ease the pain in my head and stomach, and make me feel a little better. The only thing it did was make me wish I was still sleeping so I wouldn’t have to deal with my brother’s disappointment.

I dressed in something halfway nice because I’d remembered Chris telling me that I was going to work with him. Or maybe I’d just dreamed it. At any rate, I dressed decently anyway. I brushed my teeth half a dozen times to get the stupid throw up taste out of my mouth, then felt like gagging again. I went to the kitchen to think about eating, but passed and plopped down on the couch anyway, not feeling anymore rejuvenated.

Chris emerged from the bathroom a couple of hours later, after I’d dozed on and off for a little while. “How are you feeling?” he asked, buttoning up his shirt.

“Like hell,” I answered.

“Not surrpised. Are you almost ready to go? Want something to eat?”

“Nothing to eat, and yeah, I’m ready whenever.”

I was glad he didn’t want to talk about the previous night’s events so early in the morning. I wasn’t too clever at thinking up excuses that early. Of course, lying’s what got me into the whole mess, so maybe the truth would get me out.

He drove me to the college in my car, parking miles away from campus and making me walk for what seemed like forever. His office and classroom were on the second floor, so we had to climb some damn stairs and I hate stairs. When we finally made it to his office, I plopped down across from him.

“If a student comes in, you’re going to have to move.”

I nodded, “okay.”

He didn’t much talk to me, just graded some papers and stuff, drinking his coffee.

“I’m sorry?” I said, wanting to have some form of communication with him.

“We’ll discuss it later. I don’t want to talk about it right now,” he answered, not looking up from the papers.

I just looked around the room, reading the titles of the books on the bookshelf. I’d expected well-known philosophers like Plato and Socrates, but there were only a couple of those. Most of them were books like the one he’d been reading to me on lying. There was one about the existence of God, one about racism, and one about animal liberation. Then there were a few that looked like they hadn’t been opened in ages, some by Locke, Rosseau, Descartes… a bunch of guys that I didn’t care to read.

After a few minutes, he looked at his watch, then up at me. “Come on. My first class is about to start. There’s some extra seats and you can grab one.”

I nodded and followed him a couple of doors down to the classroom. I found an empty seat next to a dorky guy and a girl who looked like she was just taking the class ’cause she had to. Both extremes. The girl sort of smiled.

“Are you new?”

“Nah, Chris is my brother.”

“Oooh, that’s cool.”

I nodded. Chris was handing out different notecards to different students.

“Wanted to see your brother in action?” she asked.

“Something like that.”

“Are you interested in philosophy?”

“Sort of..”

“That’s awesome.”

The class fell quiet as my older brother went to the front of the room and began writing on the board, explaining things. His classes were just as interesting as our nightly discussions, and his lecture was just as he’d discussed it with me the night before. Wow, it was hard to believe that the day before was my birthday… that within the last 24 hours, I’d gone from being on top of the word to being in loads of trouble. How does this happen?

The first class was over and the girl next to me asked if I’d enjoyed the lesson and of course I had. If I’d been in college, I would have definitely taken philosophy… at least my brother’s classes, cause they had to be interesting.

Other students came filing into the room. This wasn’t the same class, but an ethics class or something. Yeah, it just happened to be that when I lied the most, it was all being rubbed into my face. First a book about lying and next was making ethical decisions. What class would be next?

After his second class, we took a little break and he took me out to lunch at a pizza place across the street, but I didn’t eat anything because my stomach wasn’t feeling happy enough with me. Students must have approached him dozens of times while we were there.

“How are you feeling?” he finally asked.

“I’m okay. Not okay enough to eat.”

“I’m not mad at you, just disappointed.”

I blinked. That was random. “Okay.”

“You’ve been giving me the sad puppy look all day, and I know that I’m hurting you by being distant, but I’m so disappointed and upset that I don’t want to say something that might hurt you even more.”

I nodded.

“Hopefully by the time we get home, I’ll be calm enough to where we can talk about it rationally.”

I nodded again.

I sat in his office for another couple of hours, then he taught his last class which was another lecture on lying. I’d enjoyed it a little more than the first because I wasn’t feeling as crappy and the class got more into the discussions since it wasn’t so early in the morning.

About two, we went home. He drove in silence… the kind of silence when you’re in deep thought. I guess he was racking his brain to figure out what he was going to do with me. I was sort of scared, to tell you the truth. I’d never seen Chris so upset before. He never lost his temper and never really got upset. He always wanted to be calm and rational, and, well, lying was one of his pet peeves, and since he knew that I knew it was wrong from all of those damn conversations we’d had, I guess this would be his time to get upset.

We walked inside and I waited for his instruction before doing anything. He pointed towards the couch and I sat.

“Can you start out by telling me why you’re suspended?”

Ech, I’d forgotten about that tiny detail. “Erm, because I cheated on a test.”

“I wonder why your principal didn’t get ahold of me…”

“Because, er, I deleted the message.”

“Ohh, I see. So I guess you and Cara cheated and then decided to make it look like just an innocent sleepover when you stayed at her house? But wait… you didn’t go to school on your birthday..”

I nodded. “Because I was suspended.”

“And why didn’t you tell me?” he asked and I could tell he was getting angrier by the second.

“Because, uhm, I didn’t want you to be mad at me.”

“And you didn’t think you’d get caught?”

I shook my head.

“So my lectures haven’t taught you a damn thing?”

I bit my lower lip.

“Okay, let me get this straight.. You cheated on a test Wednesday, and got caught, so your principal suspended you and you erased the message he left me, then tricked me into letting you skip school, and finally begging to use my car to stay at Cara’s house so I wouldn’t know you were suspended?”

“I wouldn’t call it ‘tricked,'” I answered.

“Well, I would. So when you got to Cara’s what’d you do?”

“Um, we drank a little.”

“A little?”

“And then a little more?”

“Apparently. Do you remember the agreement I made with you with regards to whether or not you could stay over there?”

I shook my head.

“You promised me that you wouldn’t go anywhere after you called me and said you were in for the night, and that you’d be going to school the next day. So I guess you lied to me about both of those, too, huh?”

I hung my head, fighting back tears. “I’m sorry..”

“So what happened after these drinks.”

“Cara decided that we should go look at the camp we went to when we were kids, so we did.”

“And then?”

“I don’t remember.”

“The police says that you ran a redlight and someone ran into you… does that sound familiar?”

“It was raining, I tried to stop.”

“Don’t lie to me,” he said, shooting me a look that caught me in the pit of the stomach. “You’ve lied enough. It’s time to tell the truth.”

“Okay, maybe I didn’t try to stop. I don’t remember it that well.”

“You were drinking and driving, do you realize you could have killed someone? Not to mention that my car is totaled, not to mention that you lied about the whole situation.”

“I’m sorry… it won’t happen again.”

“Oh, you’re right, it won’t happen again. Because in the first place, your car is mine for a very long time. I’m sure when you go to court, you won’t be having a license for quite some time, and the community service you’re going to have will be outrageous. Secondly, you’ll be getting a job and saving up to reimburse me for my insurance costs and the fines I’m going to pay. And thirdly, you’re going to get the spanking of your life.”

I looked up, a tear streaming down my face. “A spanking?” I asked.

He nodded.

I hadn’t gotten a spanking from Chris since I was a kid. In fact, I must have been eight and was staying with him for the weekend while my parents were away and strayed out a little too far after dark when he’d told me to stay close and come home early. And that spanking had hurt like crazy, I’d bawled for hours while I was over his knee and my pants and panties were down to my knees. But he couldn’t do that now, could he? I was sixteen and older and… oh man. The look in his eyes told me that he *could* do it and he was going to, no matter what.

“Chris, please… isn’t the rest enough? You haven’t spanked me in years.”

“I’m going to make sure that you will never drink and drive or lie to me again. Something much worse than the punishment you’re getting could have happened.”

“I knowww, but still..”

“You can’t tell me that your dad wouldn’t have done the same thing.”

I wanted to cry with him saying that. Parents were a touchy subject, and I wasn’t quite ready to start talking about them like that.

“He would,” I murmured.

“I’m disappointed in you, Young Lady. I know you have a good head on your shoulders. Why’d you have to let me down like this? If you hadn’t lied, we would have been spared all of this mess, wouldn’t we? Because cheating is dishonesty and lying, so without cheating, you wouldn’t have gotten suspended and lied to me about borrowing the car and hadn’t been staying at Cara’s house and wouldn’t have been drinking. See what one ‘little’ lie can get you into?”

I nodded.

He stood up, bringing me to my feet.

“Please, Chris. I’m sorry.”

“I know you’re sorry, but it doesn’t help the fact that the damage is done, and like I said, you will not be lying to me ever again.”

“I won’t,” I pleaded, but he’d already started unbuttoning my jeans and tugged them down to my knees.

“Get on your knees on the couch, and bend over the back,” he ordered, then grabbed my upper arm, deciding that I needed his help. I did as told, throwing my arms over the back of the couch, bending over slightly with my bum up in the air. I’d already started crying.

He tugged my panties down to meet my pants, then I heard him unbuckling his belt and looked back in time to see it sliding through the loops.

“Noooooo, please,” I begged.

“Back over the couch, Kelsie,” he ordered, folding the belt over.

I bawled to no end, bracing myself for the first lash of his belt. I knew the belt would feel loads worse than the last time he spanked me, using only his hand. But my dad had spanked me with his belt before when I got “too big for my britches” as he put it.

The belt was raised high in the air and he crashed it down on my tender backside, a howl erupting from my mouth.

“Ooooohhhhwwwww.”

“I expect you to be smarter than to lie to me, Young Lady,” he scolded, landing another stinging lash to my bottom.

“Ooowwww I knowwwwwwww,” I yelped, crying even harder now.

“And drinking and driving is one of the most stupid and irresponsible things you could ever do.” He landed another smack, and then another right after it.

“Oowwwieeessss!! I was stupid, I’m sorrryyy I’m sorrrryyyyy!!!”

He pushed me down slightly, then smacked me three times in a row which caused me to squirm and cry out more than ever.

“Are you learning your lesson?” he asked.

“Y-yessss,” I hicupped.

“Good,” he answered, then gave me three more.

My bum was hurting sooooo badly that I could barely feel it. He just kept spanking, though, til I was a sobbing mass. Actually, I’d been a sobbing mass the whole time, but you know, when I’d become so exhausted in my crying and struggles that I just kind of lay there limply.

He put his belt back on and plopped down on the couch, helping me to his lap, where I sat down on my tender bum, even though it hurt like hell. But the fact that his arms were wrapped around me and he was hugging me tightly made up for that. “I love you so much, little sis, and it would hurt me so much to see something happen to you,” he said.

I nodded, face buried into his chest.

“I want to trust you, but you can’t lie to me, hon, okay?”

I nodded again.

I snuggled up against him, sniffling. “I’m sorry,” I muttered when I was able to talk.

“You’re forgiven.”

I gave a halfway smile and felt like a burden had just been lifted off of me. I was forgiven, and that meant that this wouldn’t be hanging over my head anymore.

He kissed my forehead then helped me to my room. “We’ll look for a job on Monday?” I asked.

“Yep, we sure will,” he answered, smiling.

I smiled back and snuggled into my blankets, drifting off to sleep for the first good sleep in a loooong time.

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