03 August 2006

Story: Peer Pressure

Misc Story.  After convincing her older brother to grant her permission to go to a concert, Jen's curiosity takes her somewhere it shouldn't have.  Now she's stuck going home, under the influence, and not quite sure how she's going to get it past Steven.

Peer Pressure
by Breanna Carter

Peer pressure is a bitch, especially when the peers you're dealing with are in high school and you're a measly thirteen year old. I wanted to be as cool as my friend's older brother and his friends. And whatever they did, I followed. No matter what it was.

It started out as an innocent concert.

"I promise I'll be back home by midnight," I pleaded to my older brother who hated the idea of me hanging out with seventeen year olds.

"Midnight? Don't push it, Kid Sis."

"But Steven!" I pouted. "It doesn't look cool to have to be home too early."

"Um, I'm sorry? You're lucky that you're even able to go. You know I'm not a big fan of those guys."

I growled. "Okay, 11:30?"

"More like 10:30."

"Steven! The concert doesn't even start til eight!"

"That James kid is going to bring you home again?"

I nodded.

"Fine, I want you home at eleven. And call me if you're going to be late, do you understand?"

I jumped up and down. "Yes, I'll call! Thank you thank you thank you!" I yelped.

"And you're only going to the concert?"

"Yes."

"Stay inside, okay? That's not the greatest neighborhood."

"I know, I know," I groaned, then pranced to my room. Did I mention that I so totally have a huge crush on James, the guy who was going to take me home? Yes. Super crush. The joys of being a teenager.

That's why I took a shower and spent all that time washing, drying, and straightening my hair. That's why I dressed in my cutest pair of baggy black jeans and wore a tight shirt with rips and safety pins. And put on loads of black eye-liner and makeup. And even painted my nails. Because I had to look super cute for James.

He honked the horn in my driveway about seven, as the sun was going down. I waved a quick goodbye to Steven, who was getting himself ready for a night out with some friends or something, and hopped towards the van. James had recently inherited his mom's piece of shit vehicle... a seven passenger green minivan that was almost as old as me. But it didn't matter because we needed to get to concerts, and we had a whole route of people to pick up.

"Heya kid, how goes it?" he asked when I hopped in the back seat behind him. My friend, Paige, and her older brother were already stuffed in.

"Going great!" I said, tucking a lock of my hair behind my ear. One of those body language things that shows you have a crush.

James smiled that adorable smile and then everyone continued their conversation. We had two more stops, to both of the other friends, Shane and Jared. And then it was off to the concert.

See, the reason that Steven didn't really like the idea of me going to a concert was because of the fact that it was in sort of a rough neighborhood. Of course it was a downtown venue, and apparently in the middle of the homeless and prostitute community. So random people went around asking everyone for money. And there was another man who walked around with a bucket asking for soda cans. But inside it wasn't a big deal. There was lots of security to make sure that no one kidnapped anyone (at least that's what I told him).

I also told him that when I went to a concert, I stuck around inside for the whole thing. Which was another lie. Well, I mean, I was inside for some of the concert, but when there's not a band playing, EVERYONE stands outside to cool off and smoke cigarettes. So what's the point of being inside by myself? And the reason I say that is because once we got there, we didn't make our way inside. Instead we stood around, talking to random groups of people, introducing ourselves to those we didn't know.

I kept glancing at my watch because I knew the show would start soon, but no one else seemed in much of a hurry. Even when the guitars started playing inside.

I whispered to Paige, "are we going inside?"

"Ooh! I didn't tell you..." she whispered back. "They're waiting on a friend." She glanced around to make sure no one was listening then leaned in. "Shane's friend is going to bring him some pot. And Alex and James want to try. Alex said I could try, too, as long as I didn't tell our parents."

I blinked. "Are you serious?"

She nodded. "But you can't tell, okay? Promise?"

"Of course. Do I get to have some, too?"

She giggled. "If you want any. Have you ever tried it before?"

I shook my head. "Have you?"

She shook her head back at me.

"At least neither of us will be alone in this."

It was really weird, because at that time in my life, drugs were only something I heard about in health class. You know, how they damage your brain and fuck you up. How you act stupid. I mean, geeze, I was still at the age to where I'd never gotten drunk before. So the world of drugs was foreign and forbidden, something I yearned for. And some little part of me knew that if I did this with James, I'd be accepted by him. Because of course he would like someone daring enough to try marijuana, right?

I was beginning to feel nervous. My heart racing and palms sweaty. I was on high alert, just waiting for my brother to drive by and see that we were standing outside. Or waiting for cops to come by and know that we were planning on getting high. But nothing ever happened... no Steven, no police. Thank God.

Shane's friend finally showed up and passed him a small ziplock bag in exchange for ten dollars. They talked for a minute and by this time my nerves were killing me. I was ready to get it over with, be cool, and go to the concert. I was so busy concentrating on chewing on my fingernail that I almost didn't realize it when his friend left and he looked back at Paige and me and said, "you guys coming?"

I looked at her and she looked back and we nodded then followed them to the van. "Where are we going?" I asked.

"Shane's dad has a farm out in B.F.E. and we're going to drive out there for a few," James said. "No worries, though. I'll have you home on time so your bro doesn't have a cow."

I smiled.

"And not a word of this to anyone," Alex, Paige's older brother, warned me.

"Not a word," I assured him.

I wondered how many of them had actually gotten high before, and pondered that on the drive to Shane's farm. It was pretty far out, about thirty minutes or so. I had plenty of time to think about it. I was also freaking out because James was going seventy when the speed limit was fifty-five, but didn't say anything. They seemed to know what they were doing, and all I had to do was deny everything... pretend like I didn't know what was going on, that I had no control over it.

"Did Jared not want to come along?" I asked Paige when I realized that we were one person short of our normal group of six.

She shrugged. "I guess not."

Shane pulled the bag out of his pocket and found a magazine then poured the weed out onto it. I watched as he picked some stuff out, then threw it out of the window and stuff. I was wondering what in the world he was doing throwing shit out of the window, seeing as he paid $10 for such a tiny bag, but didn't ask.

James finally pulled down a dirt road and parked the van, turning the car on idle so we could listen to music. My heart thumped wildly inside my chest. Steven would so kill me if he found out.

Shane stuffed the marijuana into the pipe and handed it to James. He lit up and sucked in, then held his breath before passing the pipe back to Shane. I observed what each person did, and after Alex took his whiff, it was my turn. Paige was the only other person who hadn't smoked yet and I kind of wished that she'd go before me, so I wouldn't feel too stupid if I coughed or something, but that would mess up our chain and I didn't want to seem like a wuss.

I carefully took the pipe from Alex. I glanced at it for a moment, then took the lighter in my other hand. "Have you ever smoked before?" he asked me.

I shook my head.

"Just suck a little in, then breathe in, then hold it, and blow out," he instructed.

I nodded and put the pipe to my mouth, then lifted the lighter, turning it towards the pipe and burning my finger instead of actually burning the weed.

"Shit!" I yelped and dropped the lighter.

Everyone thought that was mildly amusing. I glared at them, thought they couldn't see me for the darkness, then I realized that everyone was watching me.

I nervously picked the lighter back up and tried again, then whined because I'm an idiot and couldn't figure out how to do it. Sensing my pain, Alex took the lighter from me and lit the pipe himself. I tried to do as he instructed and sucked in, but I guess I sucked in too much and then tried to swallow the smoke but then took a sharp breath and began coughing like crazy. I was choking on all of the smoke and I noted that the guys were smiling when I handed the pipe to my friend.

"It's okay to cough. That'll make sure you feel the high."

I don't know who said that, but I nodded in response.

Paige didn't even attempt to light the pipe herself, but let her older brother do it for her. And her situation was similar to mine. So now they had two coughing thirteen year olds instead of one.

We countinued the pipe around the circle a couple of more times until I'd coughed so much and felt the burning in my throat long enough to call it quits. Well, Alex was actually the one to do it, because after his third hit, he decided that we needed to be finished. Shane, having smoked quite a lot before, wasn't high yet, so he took a few more hits, but they didn't dare pass anymore to Paige or me.

I wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to do to me. I mean, sure, I'd heard before... you know, you get the munchies and you giggle a lot. But that doesn't mean you actually know anything about it.

"I'm hungry," I said unexpectantly.

"Munchies," James noted.

"I'm hungry, too," Paige added.

"What are ya craving?"

I don't remember who asked that either, because that's when the actual high hit me. I began to feel dizzy and disoriented. I all of a sudden had a higher connection with the music and everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, like those flip books that have pictures on different pages, and when you flip through it, it looks like the picture is moving.

Holyshit, I'm fucked up, was all that I could think.

I turned my head to look at my friend, then turned to look back at Alex. They were all talking, but I couldn't understand what they were talking about. James started up the van to drive off. I couldn't imagine trying to drive in such a condition.

"Jen? You okay?" Paige asked.

My mouth was dropped and I looked at her, nodded, then started giggling.

Hell fucking yes, I'm so completely fucked up.

James and Shane rolled down their windows, then Alex pushed open the windows in the back. Paige's was finally kicking in so she was feeling all f-ed up like me, and it was actually quite amusing. We were so completely in our own little world.

When we pulled up to the gas station, I knew that I was in no condition to attempt to walk inside. So I opted for everyone else except James to go in. Because I have a crush on James, and I was so ready to make out with that sexy boy. And for some reason, they actually left James and me in the car alone. Score.

I was too fucked up to actually carry on a conversation, though. So I just kind of stared at him and listened to the music.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Uh huh, just really... high."

He smiled. "You'll be okay. Are you okay to go home? You only have about twenty minutes left."

Only twenty minutes? Not fair!

"I could always call Steven and ask to stay out longer."

Steven must have a brotherly intuition or something, because as soon as I said that my phone began vibrating in my pocket and I took it out to see that he was calling.

"That's crazy," I said aloud, then opened the phone, mouthing to James that it was my brother calling.

"Where are you?" was the first question he asked.

"We stopped by Circle K to get some drinks. Everyone was thirsty."

"Get home, now," he ordered.

Shit, I muttered to myself. "Okay, I'll be home soon."

He hung up the phone and I gulped.

"What was that about?"

"He wants me to come on home now. What am I going to do? I'm so messed up right now... Shit."

"Shane has some eyedrops... and use some of Paige's perfume. You'll be fine. Just tell him you're tired and worn out from all the moshing. Besides, I'm sure Steven's gotten stoned before, too. So if he finds out, he shouldn't be too mad. But don't take any chances."

I nodded and sat in an uncomfortable silence until everyone came back with arms full of food and drinks.

"What's up?" Shane asked when he plopped down in the front seat, throwing food at his friend. "Everyone's so solemn."

James pointed at me. "Her bro called and wants her home, so she's freaking. I told her you had some drops."

Shane nodded and looked back. "Yeah, kiddo. Don't worry. You'll be fine."

It wasn't my bloodshot eyes or smell that made me think Steven would know what was up. It was the fact that I was totally fucked up and unsure of what exactly was going on. I couldn't comprehend the conversations that my friends were having, much less actually try to carry on a conversation with them. So how was I going to convince Steven that I was fine?

It didn't matter. In no time the drops were applied and perfume successfully sprayed on. Everyone pumped me up and made me repeat my story to them several times before dropping me off in front of my house. The porch light was on and I could see Steven's figure in the living room.

"Good luck, kid," Alex said and patted me on the back, and then I hugged everyone in the van and stumbled out. I walked as straight as possible to my house. Steven was seated on the couch, watching tv, but immediately stood up and to meet me at the doorway.

I closed the door behind me and listened as the van pulled off. I tried to clear my head enough to tell myself to climb the stairs to my room. That was my goal. Just get up the stairs.

"Where have you been?" Steven asked.

Though he wasn't much taller than me, he certainly seemed to be towering over me at this time, and he didn't appear to be too happy. "At the concert."

"Oh? That's funny, because I went by there about an hour ago and saw Jared, but no sign of the rest of you."

"I must've been in the bathroom."

"Funny, because the van wasn't there either."

"Oh, they left for a little while."

"Did they? Where'd they go?"

I hesitated. "To pick up a friend."

He so knew I was lying.

He shook his head. "I'm going to ask you again, Jennifer. Where have you been."

I gulped. If I'd been in the right state of mind, I could've conjured up a good excuse. But no such luck. "Look, can we talk about it tomorrow. I'm really tired and --"

He cut me off. "Have you been smoking?"

I blinked. "...No."

He lifted my chin and stared me in the eyes. I knew that they were supposed to not be bloodshot, but it didn't matter. They were so dazed that I knew I was caught.

He kept staring and it was making me even more nervous. His brown eyes can be so piercing sometimes, and I felt bad for lying, and shit... I was in so much trouble.

"Okay, okay, okay," I howled, turning away. "We went out driving and I smoked a little, but only a little and I'm sorry I won't do it again."

He dropped his hands and shook his head. "Go to your room." And that's all he said.

I'd reached my goal. I climbed the stairs pathetically and pushed my door open, immediately falling onto my bed. I stared at the ceiling for a few minutes, wondering if he was coming up or if I was to go to sleep or what. Everything was still sort of spinning and I realized that I was still high.

What have I gotten myself into.

After about thirty minutes of steady staring at the ceiling and trying to get it to stop moving, I heard him climbing the stairs. I bit my lower lip nervously and almost jumped out of the bed whenever he opened the door. Not because he did it violently or anything, but because I was paranoid as hell.

"Jennifer," he began, "we're going to have a talk about this in the morning. So get some sleep. I'm very upset with you."

All I could do was nod. I didn't have any excuses, nothing to say to him. He caught me in the middle of a lie. Dammit.

I drifted off not too long after that and awoke the next morning with makeup smeared and my hair matted to my face. I'd slept damn good for knowing the amount of trouble I'd be in. But as I woke, the pit of guilt began forming in my stomach. It took a moment to remember the previous night's events, but once the images formed in my mind, they didn't stop. The night played in my head like a movie... the concert, the weed, the disconnected feeling, and finally being caught. Steven was already upset enough with me, but while high, at least it didn't bother me as much.

I pushed myself out of bed and stumbled down the stairs. My brother was sitting on the floor with the computer in front of him, parts spread out and trying to piece them back together. It was his current project: fixing our P.O.S. since we couldn't afford to buy a new one.

I cleared my throat so he knew I was standing there.

He didn't look up. "I see you finally decided to get up," he said.

I nodded. "Looks like you're having fun with the computer."

"Loads," he answered sarcastically. I watched as he took some things out, then put some back in, and finally sat down the screwdriver and looked up at me. "So why don't you tell me about your night last night."

I gulped. "Oh, it was nothing too spectacular."

He stood up and moved the computer out of the middle of the floor. "So what'd you do, Jen? I was under the impression that you were just going to go to the concert then come home, but apparently that's not what happened. So I'd like to know exactly what went on."

I winced. "I thought we were going to go to the concert, too. But then Shane had to meet up with a friend and next thing I knew, he was smoking and then you called and..."

He stood up straight and looked me dead in the eyes. "You know I don't buy a word of what you're saying."

"Y-you don't?"

He shook his head, now folding his arms. "I think that you knew they were going to smoke pot and you went with them with the intentions of doing it yourself. Is that right?"

I shook my head. "N-no... I didn't know..."

He walked closer to me. "No? You had no idea, huh?"

I shook my head again, backing away as he edged in closer, obviously very upset.

"Then how come Jared was at the concert? Doesn't James always pick him up, too?"

"Erm, well... last night, h-he didn't.." I stammered. He was right in my face by this time.

"You know, if you're going to lie, you should go over it with your friends first," he told me, then shook his head and grabbed my wrist, pulling me over towards the couch with him.

"W-what do you mean?" I asked, attempting to free myself from the grip he had on me.

"I mean that your story doesn't match up with everyone else's, and you should check on that before you decide to make something up."

"I'm not lying, though!" I persisted.

"You should quit while you're ahead," he told me, sitting on the couch and dragging me towards him.

"What are you doing?" I asked suddenly when he jerked me over his lap.

He tugged down my pj pants and panties. "What do you think I'm doing?"

I bit my lower lip and began squirming, trying to roll off of his lap. "Steven, no wait... you can't do this to me..."

He tightened his grip on me and slapped my bare bottom really hard. "I can't? Looks to me like I am.." he responded, slapping me a few more time.

"Ooowww! Steven! Nooo! Stopp!" I begged, still kicking and squirming.

"Not stopping," he answered.

I moved my hands back to block the smacks, but he was three steps ahead of me and grabbed them before I had the chance.

"Don't even think about it," he told me.

"But Steven!" I wailed.

He ignored me and spanked me even harder, if at all possible. By this time I was writing around like a snake, trying to get him to stop spanking, even if only for a second, so the pain wouldn't be as intense. My bottom was aching and throbbing and I thought I was going to die.

"Puhleezeee stopppp."

"What did you do last night?" he asked a final time.

"I... oww... was going to... ahhh, I can't talk while you're spanking!"

"Well, we're going to be here a while then," he responded, still spanking.

"Nooooo," I howled, burying my face at this time and trying to get him to stop by attempting to free myself. No avail. Finally, realizing that I'd lost, I stopped trying to get free and admitted my crime: "We went to the concert and they told me they were going to smoke weed so I went with them because I wanted to, too." It all came out in one anguished, quick breath.

"I see," he said and smacked me hard. "So you smoked weed, huh?"

"Yes," I choked.

He swatted me again. "And was it fun?"

"Nooooo."

He lifted me up, my pj pants and panties still at my knees, then dragged me to the corner, planting my nose in it. "Don't move a muscle," he ordered, then disappeared.

I stood there, staring at the wall and sniffling, wanting to rub my battered backside, but not having the guts. It was throbbing and I was sure that it was probably a very deep shade of red by this time.

I didn't get too much of a break before I felt myself being dragged back to the couch. This time, Steven held a wooden hairbrush in his hand and I almost threw a fit...

"Noooo Steven!! Not the hairbrush... pleaseeeeee not the hairbrush!" I wailed.

He used his strength to push me back over his lap, then wallopped me a good one. "Not the hairbrush?" he asked, whacking me again. "You mean to tell me that you went out and directly disobeyed my orders last night, then smoked marijuana, and you think you don't deserve the hairbrush?"

That's a rhetorical question.. but I answered anyway, "I don't deserve it!"

"Oh, that's where you're wrong, little sister. You deserve this and you know it." With that he proceeded to whack me a few more time, until I reached my hands back and tried to block (again).

"Please, Steven," I said when I reached back.

He paused for a moment. "Move your hands."

"Pleaseee stopppp!"

He whacked my thigh. "Move your HANDS!" he repeated, a little more sternly this time.

I winced from the sting and moved them away, holding them out in front of me and nearly screaming everytime he beat me with that damn hairbrush. "S-stevennnn," I pleaded, kicking my legs and letting a few tears slip down my cheeks. I was still squirming and trying to get away, still to no avail. And he was still spanking me with all his might. "I'm sorry!!" I promised.

"I'm glad to hear that."

"Pleaseee no moreee," I begged, then reached back again.

This time he didn't stop spanking, just grabbed my wrist to keep my hand steady, then popped it really good. So now, not only was my bottom throbbing, but my hand hurt, too! "Do NOT reach back again, Young Lady, do you hear me?"

"Yess, owwww!! I won't!"

I put my hands in front of me and buried my face into them. That was about the point in which I began crying like crazy... because I was hurting so much and because Steven was so disappointed in me. I felt terrible and it's not like the drugs were worth it anyway.

"I don't ever want you to do drugs again, got it?"

"I won'tttttttttt."

"They're dangerous and stupid. And next time you tell me you're going somewhere, that better be where you go unless you call and tell me otherwise, understand?"

"Yessssssss!"

"And you'll not be going out for a while either, until I know that I can trust you again."

I nodded in agreement, still bawling, as he landed the final flurry of smacks and sat the brush down. I lay there and cried for a little while and felt him breathing and rubbing my back. We stayed there for a few minutes until he finally stood me back up and helped me in the corner. He kissed the top of my head and patted me on the bottom.

"Stay there until I tell you otherwise, okay? And then we're going to talk.."

As if I needed to talk after he spanked me! That was enough of a wake up call to know that I'd never EVER do drugs again.

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