Grace’s brother is in charge while their mom is out of town. She isn’t even gone a full day and Grace is already in trouble, and a little drunk.
“Have fun!” my mother called one last time, and headed out the door wearing a pink floral print halter top and sunglasses perched on her artificially blonde hair.
“Well, at least we know she’ll have fun,” Rob said, grinning.
I smirked politely but failed to see anything funny about Mom going to Hawaii on her honeymoon without taking us. “Yeah, she’ll be having loads of fun,” I said acidly. “And the setting won’t make any difference.”
My brother shrugged. “There’s no reason to be so mad about it, Grace,” he pointed out. “I mean, she hasn’t been this happy in years. And Clark’s a great guy.”
“Whatever,” I muttered. “I’m gonna go shopping or something. See you later.”
“Okay,” he said. “I’m gonna go see a movie with Evan. Should let out by eight. You’ll be back by then, right?”
“Maybe.” I grabbed my car keys, slammed the door and started driving.
When I was out on the interstate, things were feeling better, same as always. I was also remembering that my Toyota was a present from Clark for my sixteenth birthday. When I reached seventy, I started flying high… high enough to get stopped by a policeman for going eighty in a fifty-five mile zone.
“Do you have any idea how much you were speeding?” he asked, acting like I ought to be locked up.
“No, sir. I’m afraid I wasn’t really noticing.” Hey, when they tell you to be polite to policemen, they really mean it!
“I see. May I see your license and insurance papers?”
That sucked. I had to dig around in my glove compartment for a while before surfacing with the insurance. He eyeballed me and scanned the license minutely.
“Very well, Miss Mitchell,” he said finally, writing me a ticket. “You know you could have killed someone at that speed.”
“Yes, sir. I’m very sorry,” I said, keeping up my whole polite attitude until I saw the amount of the ticket. Holy shit! There was no way I could afford that.
“You’re lucky I didn’t make you attend a driving course,” he said sharply. “Rest assured that further tickets will undoubtedly result in such action.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you very much,” I said. He walked back to his car and I started down the road at a leisurely fifty, figuring I’d call somebody and see if anything interesting was going on.
“Hey, Sam?” I asked, keeping an eye on the traffic. “Please tell me you have something to do. I’m dying out here.”
“Yeah, I’m going to this party at Joel’s house.”
“You know Joel. Joel… oh, what’s his last name? Hopkins or Hotchkiss or something like that… He was in our Wellness class. With the really great hair?”
“Oh, yeah. Okay, cool. When should I get there?”
“Whenever. It’s off of Berrywood, you know? Yeah, his parents are out of town. Hey, you should so throw a party while your mom’s gone!”
“Yeah, right,” I said. “There’s no way Rob would let me.”
“You could always tie him up,” she suggested. “Oh, well. Anyway, I’ll see you there.”
“Cool.” I snapped my phone shut and did a U-turn in the nearest apartment complex. On the way to the party, I stopped at the gas station on 21st where they don’t ID and got a pack of cigarettes, just in case the party sucked and I didn’t have anything else to do.
When I got there I was surprised because the house was actually pretty nice and Joel was way too much of a pothead to belong to an SUV-driving two kids and a dog house. But I took it at face value and went over to where someone had drinks.
“Hey, Grace,” said a voice from behind me. I turned and saw it was that guy from my homeroom whose name I always forgot.
“Oh, hi,” I said. “Do you want a drink?”
“Nah,” he said. “I don’t drink, but thanks. Having a good time?”
“The music’s too loud,” I told him. “And this band sucks, anyway.”
“Yeah, they sort of do,” he admitted. “I’m Joel’s brother, by the way,” he told me.
“Oh.” That made sense, because it had been weird to run into him there. I took a sip of the beer, which was actually really cheap, and looked around for someone interesting to talk to. There was no one in sight who wasn’t either stoned or making out or completely unfamiliar to me. “Joel never told me you were his brother.”
“I never told you I was his, either,” he observed. “We really try to ignore each other.”
I nodded and lit up, wishing Sam would get there. Just then she and Jen walked in with a couple of guys I knew from chem class.
“Well, sorry you’re stuck here,” I said, getting another beer and going over to join them.
After that things improved. Matt Tanner kept flirting with me, and I was getting drunk enough to be flirting back, and then we went out onto the back porch and started fooling around. He had his hand up my shirt and I was getting ready to take it off when someone shouted from next door that they were calling the cops.
“Shit!” I exclaimed. I kissed Matt full on the lips, slapped his hand away and ran out to my car, which was parked far enough down the street to get away without problems.
I had some difficulty driving home, which really sucked, but I didn’t get stopped by a policeman or anything. That was good, because I was too out of it to be driving and I knew it, or at least guessed when I realized I was halfway into the wrong lane.
When I finally pulled up into our driveway, I left the car out because I didn’t want to hit Rob’s trying to park in the garage. I was heading up to bed when I heard his voice behind me in the darkened living room.
“Yeah,” I said, yawning. “I’m really tired.”
“Where the hell were you?”
I blinked, surprised at his angry tone of voice. “A party,” I said.
“Did you know that I was trying to call you?”
I’d turned my cell phone off. “Oh, sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t cut it! I was worried sick about you. Get down here!”
I climbed back down the stairs and went to sit on the living room couch, flipping on the lights as I did so.
Rob sniffed. “Were you smoking, too?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“You do know that it’s fucking illegal!”
“And that your curfew is eleven? By state law?”
“I guess so.”
“Then you know you screwed up?”
That was a no-brainer. “Yeah, probably. But I’m not thinking too clearly right now, so why don’t we talk about it in the morning.” I got up to go, but he sprang up and grabbed my arm, landing a smack to the seat of my skirt.
“Ow!!” I said, trying to shake him off my arm unsuccessfully. “Christ, Rob, let me go!”
“Let you go?” he asked. “No way in hell, Grace Elizabeth Mitchell. You are in deep trouble, do you understand me?”
“Let me go!” I shrieked again. He landed another few spanks to my butt.
“Grace Elizabeth Mitchell!” he exclaimed. “Stop struggling this minute!”
When I didn’t comply, he sat down on the couch and propped his feet up on the coffee table. Then he threw me over his legs with relative ease and held me in place with a hand on the small of my back.
“What the hell are you doing?” I yelled.
“Spanking you,” he told me calmly, and flipped up my skirt.
“What? NO, you’re not doing that!” I screeched, struggling and kicking as hard as I could. Rob merely adjusted his arm so that I was pinioned across his lap.
“I’d say that I am,” he said, and brought his hand down again, hard. I screamed.
“You go off to some party without telling me, don’t leave your phone on, don’t come home till an hour after curfew, smoke- and I expect you were drinking, too!”
He punctuated his speech with carefully aimed swats, all of which made me yell with pain and frustration.
“No! You don’t get it! I can explain!” I yelled, kicking furiously. He stopped spanking for a moment and I thought he was going to listen, but all he did was put his right leg over mine, preventing any more kicks.
“You can explain, huh?” he asked.
“Yes!” I screamed.
That threw me off. I hadn’t gotten around to thinking up a good excuse yet. “Well, Sam called me and she really wanted to go because this guy she liked was there but she didn’t want to go alone and look like a loser so I didn’t think it would hurt for me to-“
“Wrong answer,” Rob told me, spanking me again. “You didn’t want Sam to look like a loser so you went to a party and turned off your cell and smoked and didn’t come home till after curfew?”
“You don’t get it!” I yelled again.
“No, but you’re getting it, aren’t you?” he asked. “And you’re about to get it pretty hard.”
He stopped spanking me briefly and I tried to get up but failed. He grabbed the sides of my panties and peeled them down, leaving me exposed over his knee.
That was when I completely lost it. I started crying and cursing and fighting as hard as I could to get up.
“Rob! Let me go, you bastard!” I shrieked. He brought his hand crashing down again and again until I was sobbing openly.
“I can’t believe you would do something like that, Grace Elizabeth!” he raged, breaking into a series of rapid blows that caused me to squeal with pain. “Just because Mom’s not here, you think you can go off and do anything you feel like! Well, guess what? You pull anything like that again and I swear I’ll take a belt to you.”
“I- I’m sorry,” I cried. “God, Rob, just stop it, please!”
“I’ll stop when you get it into your head that what you did was incredibly stupid!”
He kept on going for what seemed like an eternity, until I collapsed, no longer caring what he was doing to me. Then, miraculously, he stopped.
“I- I’m sorrrrrrrrry,” I wailed. “I’m sooooo sorrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy…”
“Yeah, I bet you are,” he said, pulling up my panties. I winced as they rubbed against my butt, but got up as quickly as I could, planning to run to my room. Rob stopped me.
He put his hands on my shoulders and forced me to look him straight in the eye. “Mom left me in charge of you,” he said, “and she’d kill me if you got into any shit like that. I’d kill myself too, before I let anything happen to you.”
Well, what did he call a spanking? That was definitely something happening to me…
“I know,” I said, sniffling.
He pulled me into a tight hug, which I returned, then released me. I smiled shakily and headed somewhat slowly to the stairs.
“Grace?” he called. I stopped and looked back. “Anything else you want to tell me about?”
There was no chance I was telling him about the speeding ticket. I shook my head and climbed wearily up the stairs, realizing it was going to be a long two weeks…