Framed

Part of the Stabler Girls series.  Lenore gets accused of cheating on a test, and then her dad finds out that Bre forged his signature.  I know two people who won’t be sitting comfortably at dinner.

Framed
by Breanna and Lenore

Lenore sat looking confused, staring at her math test. She’d gotten a 96% on it – her best ever yet! But when Ms. Delphane had placed it on her desk, she hadn’t looked too happy about it. “I wonder why she wants Molly and I to stay in at recess?” She pondered, as she heard the school bell ring and watched everyone but herself and Molly hurry out.

She looked back down at her test, smiling a little. She was proud of herself.

Ms. Delphane came toward the girls and folded her arms, sitting on top of the desk in front of Lenore and Molly. “Do either of you girls have something to tell me?” she asked sternly, eyeing Lenore, sure that she had been the one who had cheated.

“About what?” Lenore asked, still not sure of what was going on.

“No, I don’t,” Molly answered sweetly.

“I just find it very coincidental that the two of you missed the exact same answers on the test,” Ms. Delphane said.

Molly’s jaw dropped open in feigned surprise. “She copied me!?”

Lenore’s eyes went wide. “No, I did not!”

“Lenore, I think it’s about time that I have a conference with your father. First, your sassiness, and now you’re cheating?” She walked toward her filing cabinet and took out Lenore’s file. “I’m also going to change where you’re sitting.”

Lenore’s jaw practically hit the floor. “Why am I in trouble? I didn’t cheat! I swear it!” She exclaimed. “And you can’t move me, Ms. Delphane! Jenny will be by herself then!”

“I think you should move her to a corner by herself, so she can’t cheat off anyone else,” Molly said a little haughtily.

“I think that the corner desk is a great spot for Lenore. Molly, you are dismissed for recess. Just be sure to cover your answers better next time.” Ms. Delphane pulled out Lenore’s information from the file with her Dad’s work number on it. “You, Young Lady, can move to your new desk and lay your head down until recess is over.”

Molly practically skipped out of the room, satisfied with her handy work.

“Why are you believing her over me!?” Lenore demanded. “I didn’t do anything wrong! I studied hard for this test! I even had my sister help me!”

“Quiet,” she said as she dialed Elliot’s phone number.

Lenore did her best not to cry, as she began to move her things to her new designated desk.

“Yes, Mr. Stabler; this is Judy Delphane from Pinecourt Elementary… Lenore’s teacher. Seems as if we have an issue and I would like to request a conference with you this afternoon regarding her behavior.”

Elliot sighed, “Yes, I’ll be there,” he said, wondering what trouble his youngest had gotten herself into this time.

Lenore felt worried about all this, as she finished moving her things and sat with her head buried in her arms.

As the conversation ended between Ms. Delphane and Elliot, Lenore’s teacher replaced the folder of information and graded papers. She was frustrated with the child; especially after all of the issues they’d had previous to this one specific incident.

The bell rang and the other kids came filing back in; they all eyed Lenore curiously, especially Jenny.

Lenore remained with her head down on her desk, crying softly, until the final bell had eventually rung and everyone left to go home – everyone, but her.

Elliot arrived right on time, pushing the door open to see Lenore at an isolated desk, while her teacher organized the desk. “Ms. Delphane?” he asked. “Elliot Stabler,” he introduced, thrusting his hand out to shake hers.

“Nice to meet you. Have a seat,” she said, offering one of the small chairs to him.

Lenore dared to glance up briefly, her face tear-stained and her eyes still full of tears. She hoped beyond on all hope that her Daddy would believe she hadn’t cheated. He’d taught her better than that.

“What seems to be the problem?” Elliot asked, sitting down across from the 5th grade teacher.

“Mr. Stabler, to be honest, I’ve had quite a few problems with Lenore in the last few weeks. I understand it must be difficult for her, being raised by a single father and especially after all that you all have been through, but she definitely has a problem with a smart mouth. She’s also been talking a lot during class. But all of these things I don’t mind explaining to you in a note, as I did a couple of weeks ago. And frankly, she did get better…”

“Wait,” he said, cutting her off. “Did you say that you explained these things to me in a note?”

Lenore’s eyes went wide, and she shrunk down in her seat a little more than before. Oh, crap. What luck. The teacher had snitched about the note he supposedly had seen.

Ms. Delphane blinked, somewhat confused. “Yes, the note I sent you a few weeks ago that you signed… Lenore brought it back to me saying that you had spanked her?” She pulled the note out of Lenore’s file and showed it to Elliot. He was shocked as he read it, then saw his signature at the bottom, only it wasn’t his signature, but he could bet whose it was. “Sorry, continue,” he urged the teacher, handing her the note back.

Ms. Delphane continued, explaining to Elliot that Lenore and another student had matching answers on a math test, and since Lenore’s scores were not usually so high, and she had quite the reputation for bad behavior, it could be assumed that she had indeed cheated on the exam. Elliot was unimpressed. “I’m very sorry for this,” he said. “I assure you that it will be taken care of.”

“I didn’t cheat!” Lenore dared to protest. “I studied hard for that test! Ask my sister!”

“Your sister, like you, has a problem with honesty. You close your mouth and wait until we get home before we can talk about it.”

Ms. Delphane smirked slightly. “Don’t worry, Mr. Stabler. I am sure that you will handle it appropriately.” She stood up now, shaking his hand and ushering them both out of the door. Elliot tried to keep his anger at bay as he walked out to the car with his daughter.

Lenore trudged along quietly behind him, before slipping into the car. She didn’t always lie, and he was acting as though she did. The note thing had been a fluke, and he was supposed to never know about it. She’d been on her best behaviour ever since – until now.

“I don’t even have words to express the disappointment I feel toward you right now,” Elliot said.

“I didn’t cheat,” Lenore replied, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I may be lotsa things, Daddy, but I am not a cheater.”

“How about you try telling the truth for once, Lenore? And when were you going to tell me about the note that your sister forged?”

“I am telling you the truth!” Lenore insisted. “And I’ve been on my best behaviour ever since then!”

“Do you honestly expect me to believe you after you misbehaved in class, neglected to show me the note that your teacher had sent home, and then had your sister forge for you? This will all be much easier on you if you stop telling stories,” he growled.

“I didn’t ask her to sign it – all I did was tell her I was scared to tell you!” Lenore replied. “And Bre said to tell the teacher I’d been spanked – which I had been, only she didn’t know it was for listening to Eminem! ” She paused a moment. “I’m not telling you stories. I worked hard to get that score on my test! I wanted you to be proud of me for my math, for once!”

“We’ll discuss it further when we get home,” he said. “But right now, I can’t bring myself to believe a word of what you’re saying.” Elliot said nothing more, just continued driving.

Lenore scowled, crossing her arms over her chest as she slouched down in her seat. She was more upset, than she was angry. They were supposed to be celebrating the fact she got a 96% on her test, not debating whether or not she’d cheated – which she had not! Soon as they arrived home, she got out of the car, slamming its door behind her. She stormed on into the house, and slammed that door behind her too – almost right in his face.

Elliot groaned and opened the door. “Go to your room,” he told her. “I will be in there shortly.”

Lenore cast him a cold stare, then stomped on up to her room, slamming her bedroom door as well.

She tossed her knapsack down onto the floor, then flopped down onto her bed face first. She lie there a moment, then began throwing a brief tantrum, screaming into her pillow as she pound her fists down onto the bed and kicked her feet. She was super frustrated beyond belief!

Elliot, meanwhile, sat in the living room; head leaned back, trying to make sense of what all had happened. He was upset with his daughters for lying to him and especially upset about Breanna forging his signature. But what hurt him even more was that Lenore would lie about cheating, and continue to lie even though they had, had the talk about lying a countless number of times. He knew what he had to do. Sighing loudly, he climbed the stairs to his youngest’s room. He gave a slight knock on the door, and pushed it open. “Are you ready to tell the truth now?

Lenore looked right into his eyes. “I AM telling you the truth, Daddy. I KNOW what lying gets me! I haven’t lied about anything since the Eminem stuff. I haven’t even lied about brushing my teeth!”

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he concluded. “You’ve been misbehaving a lot lately, then today I find out about the note, and your teacher seems to be convinced that you’ve cheated due to your behavior in class… and because you rarely do so well on math tests… I’m very disappointed… and there’s no way I can believe you.”

Lenore’s face clouded over as she felt her heart break. “She doesn’t believe me ’cause Molly’s good in math. Daddy, I swear I didn’t cheat! This math was easier, and I studied really, really hard!” Her eyes filled with unwanted tears, which she brushed away in frustration. “You keep telling me if I study hard I can do better, and now that I’ve done better, nobody believes I did it on my own. That’s not fair. Why should I bother trying, if you’re not going to believe that I really did try and did it on my own?”

His heart broke slightly, but he maintained a firm demeanor. “I don’t believe you, Lenore,” he said simply. But it was obvious she wasn’t going to crack. “You’re getting a spanking.”

Lenore started to cry more then. “But I didn’t cheat!” She cried. “I don’t care if you spank me for the note! I know that was wrong. But I don’t wanna be spanked for something I didn’t do! Daddy, it’s not fair! I didn’t do anything wrong this time…Why can’t you believe me? I’m your daughter! Doesn’t that count for anything!?”

“I’m sorry, Lenore, but you’ve broken my trust, and right now I can’t trust you.” Being a cop and all, making sense of evidence was part of his job. And putting together the evidence of this case, he knew his daughter was lying. He pulled out the chair from her desk and sat down. “Come here.”

“No,” Lenore replied firmly, backing away from him. “I didn’t cheat! I was framed!”

Elliot quickly stood, taking her by the arm and delivering a few swats to her clothed bottom. “When I tell you to do something, Young Lady, you are to obey. I am your father and you will respect me.” He sat back down and ordered her over again. “Now get over here.”

Lenore sobbed, rubbing her bottom. “You’re gonna hafta spank me ’till I’m black an’ blue ’cause I’m NOT getting spanked for cheating! I didn’t cheat!”

“Fine, have it the hard way,” he said, reaching over to her and pulling her toward him. He forcefully pulled her pants and panties down, then pulled her over his lap. He began the spanking harder than normal, his large hand covering her tiny bum at a fast pace.

Lenore shrieked and struggled with all her might to get away. She did everything she could think of, finally leaning down to bite his leg hard as she could.

The bite didn’t phase Elliot much… after all, he received harder blows every day at work. Instead of saying anything to the young girl, he spanked her harder, hitting the sit spots now. “Lenore Edna! I am very disappointed in this behavior and this tantrum you’re throwing! If you would just tell the truth, this would be easier on both of us!”

“I AM!” Lenore wailed, still trying to get away. “I’M TELLING YOU THE TRUTH!”

He stopped spanking for a moment. “If you think for a moment that I believe this bull that you’re telling me, then you will be over my knee a long time.” He continued up the spanking, noting that her bottom was now bright red.

Lenore was sobbing hard, but refused to change her story for anything. She was telling him the truth, dammit! “Daddy, I’m NOT lying! Please! I’m NOT!”

He picked up the hairbrush, ears deaf to her pleas. He now reigned down the swats with the wooden implement at medium force, knowing that this would help her break.

Lenore wailed loudly, her hands flying back to protect her bottom. Part of her was more upset at not being believed, than it was for being spanked. “I’m no-ot ly-iiiing!”

Elliot grabbed her hands. “Baby girl, cheating is wrong, and so is allowing your sister to forge something. And this is what happens when you’re dishonest — you get a good spanking. And I’m determined to continue this spanking until you have learned your lesson.”

“I’m sorry!” Lenore sobbed. “I’m sorry for getting Bre to sign my note!”

“And cheating?” he asked, giving her a few more swats.

“No!” Lenore exclaimed midst her sobs. “But I’m sorry I’m so awful you won’t believe me!”

He sighed and gave her reddened bottom a few more swats before lifting her up. He marched her to the corner. “You may stand right there until I tell you otherwise. No rubbing.”

He then went to the bathroom and grabbed a bar of soap, rinsing it off and bringing it back to Lenore’s room. “Okay, come here,” he said.

Lenore’s body was wracked with sobs as she slowly made her way back over to him. She’d never felt so awful in her young life.

“Open,” he told her, practically shoving the soap in her mouth, scrubbing her tongue and cheeks, then finally sticking it in there. “That is for lying and swearing. You know better than this, Lenore Edna.” He gave her a final swat to the bottom and sent her back to the corner.

Lenore stood in the corner, crying and gagging a little bit. She refused to tell him what he wanted to hear – if she did, then she’d really be lying.

Elliot let her stand there for ten minutes, then beckoned her forth. He held out his hand for the soap. “You may rinse, and pull your pants back up. When Breanna gets here, I’ll have a talk with her. But I want you to do your homework, take your bath, eat dinner, then bed, understood?”

Lenore nodded, silent except for her whimpers and crying. She didn’t dare look at him. She quietly eased her panties back up and went into the bathroom to rinse. She refused to talk to him at all. If he wasn’t going to believe a word she said, why should she bother saying words at all?

Elliot sighed again and went back downstairs to wait for his oldest daughter’s arrival. She had softball practice, but would be home soon.

Lenore dared to pick up the phone and dial her sister’s cell phone number, wanting to warn her. She cried softly, as she listened to it ring.

Breanna was just getting out of practice when she received a call from home. In a chirpy voice, she answered, “Hello?”

Bre,” Lenore wailed softly. “I-I just wanted to-to tell you….you’re butt’s gonna-gonna be toast. He-He knows ’bout that note…”

Bre blinked. “What note? What’s wrong? What happened?” she demanded to know.

“Molly said I copied her math test…an’ the teacher believed her, ’cause math’s not my best subject…” Lenore cried. “I tried to tell them I didn’t. That you helped me study for it…But she called Daddy, and told him about that note you signed…And Daddy spanked me for something I didn’t even do!” She broke down into sobs again.

“Calm down sis,” she said in a soothing voice. “It’s going to be okay, Lenore. I’ll tell Dad that I helped you study. And he’ll believe you. I promise.” Breanna had a way with words, especially when it came to her father.

“I told him you helped me,” Lenore hiccuped. “An’ he said you’d a problem with lying too.”

Bre tried not to laugh at that statement. “Kid sis, don’t worry. Get some rest. I’ll be home soon and take care of it.”

“O-Okay….” Lenore managed to choke out. “Just – just don’t make him angrier….”

“Well, if he is, it’ll be toward me, but that’s nothing you have to worry about. But look, I have to go… Will talk to you soon.” She clicked off her phone and found Chris — her dad had been a lot nicer lately with letting her hang out with her 19-year-old boyfriend. She explained the situation to him and that she needed to get home fast to help her little sis.

Lenore hung up the phone, and buried her face into Mr. Stuffles. There was no way homework would get done – she was much too upset.

Bre finally arrived home to find her dad waiting for her on the couch. She wasn’t sure what to say to him, because she didn’t want to get her sis in trouble for having called her, so she just stood there. “Hey, Dad.”

“Hey, we need to talk,” Elliot replied, eyeing her warily.

“What’s up?” she asked, trying to remain unsuspicious

“Your sister got herself into some trouble at school today,” Elliot told her. “I won’t go into details, but it was brought to my attention that a note of hers had my forged signature on it. Care to explain?”

“All right. I’ll admit. I signed it. But she had nothing to do with it really. She just told me that she had gotten into trouble at school and I asked to see the note and signed it for her… it really wasn’t her fault,” she said, heart racing. She tried to maintain the look of a brave little soldier when in fact on the inside she was nervous as hell.

“You’re lucky that’s all you forged Breanna!” Elliot stated. “Forging things is against the law. And helping your sister stay out of trouble like that is against the rules of this house. How is she supposed to learn, if you keep covering for her?”

She squirmed. “She was scared of you, Dad. She was scared because you had yelled at her and spanked her really hard for something as small as listening to the wrong C.D. And she was terrified and crying when I saw her. I had to help her out. She thinks you’re a monster sometimes. It was the only way to protect her.”

Elliot ignored the pang of guilt that flashed through him upon hearing those words. “I’m not a monster. Believe me, if you want monsters I can show you girls the ones that get brought into the station daily.” He shook his head. “And that’s still no excuse! You’re supposed to be setting an example for her!”

“I always set a good example for my little sister. Maybe you’re the one who should be setting a better example. You should listen to her sometimes… she has some interesting things to say… and then maybe she wouldn’t be too scared to give you a note when it’s sent home.”

“Don’t you be telling me how to parent you two!” Elliot snapped. “I’m your father and I know what’s best!”

“Whatever,” Breanna said. “You’re going to lose us both if you don’t stop being such a douche.”

“Get your butt upstairs to your room!” Elliot ordered. “I’ll be up to deal with you soon.”

Breanna rolled her eyes and stormed upstairs, throwing a similar tantrum to her younger sister’s. Except she knew this time that she really *did* deserve a spanking.

Lenore was lying on her side on her bed, when she heard someone coming upstairs. “Bre?” She called out hopefully. She needed her sister. She was a mess! She hadn’t moved from her bed since she’d gotten off the phone. Her hair was stuck to her face, which was caked with tears. Her nose was running some, and her eyes were blood shot from all the crying sheÕd been doing.

Bre made a detour to Lenore’s room and lay on the bed next to her, throwing an arm over her shoulder. “Awww, sis,” she said, hugging her tightly. “I’m going to make sure Dad knows what an asshole he’s being.”

Lenore buried her face into her sister, as she started to cry all over again. “Daddy doesn’t love me anymore,” she cried. “I’m never going to be his little Princess ever again. I’m too awful to have that title.”

“That’s not true, Lenore,” Bre said. “Don’t say that. You’re not awful. He’s just PMSing. Shhhh, don’t cry. It’s going to be okay I promise.”

“He was s’pose to be proud of me today, not angry!” Lenore sobbed. “I worked so hard! And all for nothing!”

“He will be. We’ll show him that you studied. I promise.”

“But how?” Lenore wanted to know. “He won’t listen to me. He believed the stupid teacher who believed stupid Molly.”

Bre wasn’t sure how they could get him to believe that the grade really was Lenore’s. “I’ll think of something. I always do.”

Lenore clung tightly to her sister, neither of them hearing Elliot come up the stairs, nor aware of the fact he was currently eavesdropping.

“I hope so,” Lenore whimpered. “I don’t care that I got spanked for that note…But it hurts inside that Daddy wouldn’t believe me about the cheating. I don’t cheat.”

“I know you don’t,” Bre said, supporting her sister.

“If he won’t believe anything I say, then I just won’t say anything anymore…” Lenore concluded. “Why bother? You an’ Jenny are the only ones who listen anyway.”

“That’s what me and Jenny are here for,” Bre concluded. She kissed her sister on the forehead. “I’ll always believe you, squirt,” she said. She then took a deep breath in. “I should probably go to my room before Dad catches me in here and gives me double. But don’t worry, sis, k?”

“Kay,” Lenore sniffled. “I love you, Bre…. YouÕre the greatest sister ever.”

“Love you too, kid,” she said and pushed herself up, opening the door to Lenore’s room to see her father outside. “Uh-oh…”

Lenore’s eyes went wide, as they filled with tears once more.

“Let’s talk,” Elliot said, having calmed down substantially since the whole incident occurred. Breanna moved away and sat down on the bed next to Lenore, scooting close to her. “About what?” she snapped with an attitude. “No need to get sharp, Young Lady,” he said firmly. “I heard you two talking about this cheating incident. I’m ready to listen.”

Lenore leaned closer to her sister; still making sure her bottom didn’t touch her bed. Mr. Stuffles was still wrapped tightly in her arms as well. She wasn’t in the mood to talk anymore. She’d tried talking, and had been spanked.

Breanna took Lenore’s silence as her cue to tell the story. “Lenore didn’t cheat. We sat up and studied for the math test for hours the other night. We didn’t tell you because she wanted it to be a surprise. She wanted to make you proud. But I really and honestly did help her study. And Lenore is better than cheating. She would never do that.”

Lenore pouted, giving their father a sad and very hurt look.

Elliot sighed. “Breanna, I want to believe you guys, but given the evidence, it’s really hard.” Bre retaliated. “Fine. It was last Wednesday night. That’s my night to watch Real World. But instead I came upstairs early. Remember? I always hog the TV on Wednesday nights, but not last Wednesday.”

Elliot racked his brain to remember the last Wednesday night. He had found it quite curious that Breanna hadn’t been downstairs all evening. That, plus the fact that even a spanking hadn’t convinced Lenore to tell the “truth” was almost enough to make him sick. Maybe his baby girl had been telling the truth the whole time.

“I even asked you if I could stay up a little later for homework,” Lenore finally whispered. “I wanted to study long as I could.”

Elliot sighed. “You’re right,” he said. “I remember.” He pulled out the chair to Lenore’s desk again and sat down across from the girls. “So you didn’t cheat on that test, Lenore?

“No,” Lenore answered, her voice cracking some. She hugged her teddy bear tighter. “I like fractions. Fractions are easy.”

Elliot felt awful. It was all making sense now. He couldn’t believe that he’d ever doubted his baby girl. “Oh, Lenore,” he said. “I’m so sorry I didn’t believe you.” He held out his arms, requesting a hug.

Lenore’s lower lip trembled a little as she eyed him warily. She wasn’t so sure it was safe.

Bre gave her sister a push toward their father. He was trying to make peace, better to establish it before he got cranky again.

Lenore finally moved, crawling into his lap and clinging to him tightly, as she began to cry yet again.

He held onto her. “I’m so sorry,” he repeated. “I’ll go up there tomorrow and tell the teacher that you didn’t cheat, and have her move you back to your old seat.”

“She won’t believe you,” Lenore whimpered. “Molly’s the teacherÕs pet.”

“Oh, she will believe me.” Elliot had a good plan on how to get Molly to fess up to what she’d done. “For now, I need to take care of Breanna.” He kissed Lenore on the top of the head. “Love you, baby girl.”

“Love you, Daddy,” Lenore whispered a moment later.

Breanna nervously stood up, not looking forward to this part of her punishment. She chewed on her lower lip, waiting for her dad, who was easing Lenore out of his lap.

Lenore crawled back onto her bed, feeling a little better now. She knew she could count on her sister to make things right. She always did.

Elliot stood. “C’mon Breanna,” he insisted. “Let’s go to your room for our talk.”

Breanna nodded, subdued, and followed her dad into her own room. “Before we get started,” she began, “I want to apologize.”

“Go on,” Elliot encouraged.

“I’m sorry for forging the signature and setting a bad example for my little sister. And I’m sorry for calling you mean names, but I knew what had happened with Lenore and the cheating thing, and I was trying to help you see that you weren’t being fair. I’m sorry, though.”

“I’ll forgive you for today’s actions,” Elliot replied. “Only because you were right. And I do accept your full apology, but you’re still going to be spanked for the note incident.”

Breanna nodded. “I understand, Daddy,” she said softly, looking at the ground.

“Fetch me your brush, Breanna,” Elliot told her. “Then come here.”

Bre couldn’t help but whine, but did as her father had said and brought him back her wooden hairbrush, quivering slightly as she handed it to him.

“I’m disappointed you helped your sister to be dishonest,” Elliot lectured, as he lowered her pants, then panties. “Over my lap, Kiddo.”

Breanna wiped a tear away as she placed herself over her father’s lap. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”

“I know you are, but that still doesn’t make it right,” Elliot replied, smacking her bottom with his bare hand for a bit.

Breanna winced and squirmed at each hard swat, trying not to kick, not unable to help it. “Owwww, Daaaddd,” she yelped.

You’re not going to help your sister commit crimes, young lady,” Elliot stated, firmly spanking her sit-spots. “I won’t allow it.”

“Yes, s-sirrrr,” she cried.

Elliot spanked her with his hand until her bottom became slightly red, then he picked up her hairbrush. “You’re not to do it ever again, you hear me? You need to set examples for her, and show her right from wrong. She’s still very young and impressionable, thanks to her naivety.”

“I promise I’ll be gooooooood!!” Bre promised, kicking her legs up and hands threatening to reach back. She balled them into fists in an effort to keep them in front of her. “Oooowwwwww Daddyyyyy I’m sorryyyy!!”

Elliot reigned the hardest of smacks down upon her sit-spots, before tossing the brush aside and standing her on her feet.

Breanna rubbed her bottom, tears streaming down her face. “I’m s-sorry, D-daddy-y,” she stammered, sniffling. She desperately hoped it was over.

“You’re to spend some time in the corner, no rubbing, hands on your head,” Elliot instructed. “I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.” He stood, leading her to the corner and kissing her head.

Breanna stood there sniffling, wishing she could rub the sting out, but not daring to reach back.

Lenore heard her father in the hallway, and called out to him softly. “Daddy?”

“Yes sweetie?”

Lenore poked her head out of her room; Mr. Stuffles still hugged tightly to her chest. “Am I still in lotsa trouble?”

“No, princess, you’re not,” he said, pulling her in for a hug. “And tomorrow we will fix this, okay?”

Lenore hugged him tightly. “Kay…. I hope Molly gets her bum-spanked good. She’s not very nice.”

“Yeah, that really wasn’t fair of her to put the blame on you like that,” he said. He kissed her forehead. “Get your homework finished. We’ll be eating soon.”

Lenore sighed heavily. “Okay….”

The next morning, Lenore walked into her classroom early, with her father at her side. She was holding his hand, as she was a little nervous about all of this.

She shrunk a little as Ms. Delphane eyed her warily.

Elliot was dressed in his police uniform, tall and scary in the eyes of the fifth graders. He had a word with Ms. Delphane about the incident, assuring her that Lenore had indeed not cheated on the exam. To further prove his point, he asked if he could speak with the class. Standing in the front of the room, he looked amongst the students.

“Good morning everyone. I’m Detective Stabler. I’m here to talk to you all about the importance of honesty.” He stared pointedly at Molly, then looked around at the other kids in the classroom. “Honesty is very important. If you’re not honest, people wonÕt believe you if and when you call for help. Or, you could end up in a situation, where you’re framed, and end up in detention or even jail for a crime you didn’t commit. I’ve seen a few innocent people go to jail, because someone lied about who had committed the crime and blamed someone else.”

Molly squirmed in her seat a little bit; unaware Lenore was watching her intently.

“And blaming someone else for your misdeeds is wrong as well,” Elliot continued. “You all need to learn the importance of taking responsibility for your own wrong doings. Nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes sometimes,” he told them, eyeing his little girl briefly as he thought of the mistake he’d made just last night. “But at least if you come clean, you can be forgiven and not have to live with the guilt of getting someone else in trouble.”

“I DID IT!” Molly suddenly screeched. “I DID IT! I CHEATED!”

Lenore smiled in relief, as she squirmed in her seat a little. Finally. Molly had finally cracked.

“I did it!” Molly cried, placing her head in her hands.

Ms. Delphane was shocked at Molly’s outburst. “You… cheated?” she asked.

“Yes,” Molly confessed midst her sobs. “I don’t get fractions. I don’t understand.”

Lenore looked at her father smiling. He’d done it; he’d caught the liar!

Ms. Delphane shook her head. “Molly Simmons!” She yelled. “I cannot believe you let Lenore take the blame for all of that! That will get you sent to the office, and hopefully paddled!”

Molly blanched. “But Lenore never got sent to the office!” She exclaimed. She’d never been paddled. She was a spoiled little brown-noser.

“Lenore didn’t lie like you did!” Ms. Delphane quickly wrote up a referral and called the office, requesting that someone take the child out of her classroom. She then apologized to Elliot and Lenore, offering Lenore her old seat back. Elliot smiled, told his little girl goodbye, and waved to the children.

Molly sobbed the whole way to the office.

Lenore grinned and happily moved back to her old desk, hugging Jenny tight. She was glad to be back where she belonged – next to her best friend.

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