24 November 2013

Story: Christmas in Amsterdam

Misc Story.  Tessa is in the middle of all the insecurities that come with being a pre-teen.  While on winter break in Amsterdam, she worries that her cousin and friends think she's a loser, so she does what she can to prove them wrong.

Christmas in Amsterdam
by Breanna Carter

 When I was 12, the last thing I wanted to do was spend winter holidays with my dad's family in Amsterdam.  I didn't even know them that well, hadn't seen them in years, and had no interest in getting "reacquainted with my cousins" (as my dad called it), especially since my friend was having a huge New Years Eve party that *everyone* was going to, including my crush, Damien.

I begged and pleaded with my dad, but he'd already bought the plane tickets (before even telling me). "It's only for a week and a half, you can see your friends when we get back," he said, not looking up from the bills he was paying online.

"But Da-ad!  It's not fair!  You're ruining my social life," I wailed dramatically.  Hey, I was 12, I took everything as a personal attack against me and an attempt to rid me of any chances of survival in my peer group.

"Tess, I'm sorry that you think I'm ruining your social life, but we're going to Holland, end of story."

I growled and muttered something under my breath that my dad pretended not to hear, then stormed off, slamming my door.  I plopped down on my bed and cried for a few minutes, texting my best friend Chelsea about my futile attempt to persuade my father.  As if it wasn't hard enough for me to fit in already -- I was one of the "early bloomers" in my middle school, my curves feeling more like extra annoying weight than something to be proud of, and I had a frizzy mass of hair that was only remotely tame when I ironed it (and of course my dad didn't understand the importance of having a straightening iron and refused to buy me one).  Now on top of it, I'd be the only one in my class who didn't get to go to the super cool party everyone would be talking about when we got back from break.  I felt like such a loser.

I moped around the next couple of days.  At home I refused to talk to my dad, and at school I kept to myself because I didn't want it rubbed in my face that everyone else could go except me.  I stopped trying to smile at Damien from across the room in math class, because I was sure he would find a prettier and more awesome girl at the party and forget all about me.

On the last day of school before break, I'll have to admit, I was starting to feel a little better.  Firstly because a lot of the party plans were starting to fall through -- turns out a lot of parents weren't going to allow their pre-teens to go to an unsupervised New Years party.  Secondly because one of those not allowed to go was Damien (cue that math class smile).  And thirdly because my dad seemed so happy.

After my mom died a year and a half earlier, he kind of fell apart, though he tried to keep himself together for his only daughter's sake.  He didn't smile as much, seemed distant during dinner, and sometimes if I listened closely while I was trying to sleep, I could hear him crying through the thin walls in our home.

Don't get me wrong, I was pretty torn up myself, too, and I couldn't really talk to my dad about it because he always avoided the topic.  So I followed his example and acted like it never happened... then channelled all that energy into trying to become the second adult in the house.  I pretended that my mom was just on a long vacation, and needed me to take care of things while she was gone.  I did our laundry and tidied up the house.  I obsessed over my mom's cookbooks, almost burning down the kitchen a couple of times before I got the hang of it.  Within a few months, I felt like I practically was an adult.

Anyway, traveling always made Dad happy.  And seeing family would, too.  And now that Damien wasn't going to the party, I didn't have to worry about my social life being ruined.  So I was quite excited the next day when we finished packing our bags and set off for the airport.


We arrived early the next morning to be greeted at the airport by my aunt and uncle and one of their two kids, Jacqueline (or Jackie, as I called her), who was a year older than me.  My dad shoved me into everyone's arms for obligatory hugs and kisses on the cheeks, and I tried not to blush in front of Jackie who seemed so much older and cooler than me.  She was tall with blonde hair and blue eyes, a nose ring, and real curves, not the kind that make you look fat like I had.

"Tessa it's been forever since I've seen you!" she said happily when it was our turn to greet each other, and I was relieved that she hadn't automatically dismissed me as a loser.

"I know, right?" I answered, giving her a hug and a kiss on each cheek, now without so much embarrassment.

And with those words, we became almost best friends again, like we'd been years ago when we all lived closer together.

She had millions of questions for me about the US, my school, my friends, and my crush.  And likewise, I had millions of questions for her.  We stayed up all night most nights gossiping and talking trash about her older sister, Emma, who was rarely home.

"She's always out with her hippie friends," Jackie told me.  "And she comes home completely blitzed and thinks nobody knows, but it's soooo obvious."

I giggled even though I had no idea what she was talking about.

She lowered her voice a little, saying to me in a soft voice, "once I found a cake she had hidden under her bed, and I was curious so I tried a little."  The bewilderment must have shown on my face because Jackie said, "what?"  I couldn't believe cake was so scarce that Emma was hiding it under her bed and Jackie had never tried it before.  I told this to Jackie and it took her ten minutes to stop laughing long enough to explain it all to me.  "Not regular cake," she giggled.  "Space cake.  The kind that has marijuana in it."

That explained a lot.  And as I thought about it, I guess I had known that weed was legal in Amsterdam, just hadn't considered it at first.  "Is it really easy to get?" I wanted to know.

"Yeah, you can just go to any coffeeshop and buy it, but you have to be 18."

"You can just get it at a coffeeshop?!  Like Starbucks?"

She almost died laughing again, "noooo... it's like a special coffeeshop, just for weed."

This idea boggled my mind.  Weed was something kids at my school smoked in secret behind the gym because they had a "friend of a friend" who knew someone who could get it for them.  It was something that we'd been instructed since a young age not to try, because "if you do the crime, you'll do the time."  And all that nonsense.  So of course I was intrigued.

Christmas rolled around and we enjoyed a delicious meal and gifts.  My aunt and uncle gave me a jewelry box and Jackie gave me a friendship bracelet.  And of course I got other gifts from the rest of my family, though nothing was as memorable as what my dad got me -- the very exact straightening iron that I'd been begging him to get me for months and a wooden hairbrush that apparently would help with keeping the frizz out!  I was so excited that I momentarily forgot about all the hatred I'd had for him just days earlier.

But after Christmas, I started to get bored.  Jackie was hanging out with her friends more than with me, and after chatting on facebook with Chelsea I remembered the New Years party I was missing -- so what if Damien wasn't going to be there?  I still wished I could be.  I could find another boy to kiss at midnight at least... in Amsterdam I could barely get my cousin's attention when just days earlier we were BFFs.

"Mom, I'm going to meet my friends at Central Station, Tania is coming back from Rotterdam and we're going to pick her up and go for crepes," Jackie shouted across the room to my aunt.  "Do you wanna come with me?" she asked, looking down at where I was curled up on the corner of the couch playing Candy Crush.

I was so surprised that she'd asked me that I stared at her for a second before saying, "yeah, sure," trying to hide the enthusiasm from my voice.

"You're going now?" my aunt inquired.

"Yeah, we won't be too long," Jackie said, motioning for me to get moving.

"Take your coat, it's cold out there.  And be careful -- it's almost dark already and you know that area can be dangerous for a couple of teenaged girls."

"We know, Mom.  We won't go anywhere we're not supposed to."

I could tell Jackie was a bit anxious, ready to go, so I hurriedly put on my shoes and announced that I was ready.

"So here's the thing," Jackie told me when we stepped into the Dutch winter air.  "Tania's big sister promised her a space cake for Christmas, and Tania said she would share it with us.  That's what we're going to do.  I figured you'd want to try, too, right?"

I nodded even though I felt a pinch of panic in my stomach.  "Of course I do," I said doubtfully, following her to the tram stop across the street.

"But no word to anyone, okay?  My parents would kill me if they found out."

Her parents?  I'm pretty sure my dad would have a cow if he knew that his little princess had tried drugs.  I didn't even want to think of what would happen.

"No worries, I won't tell anyone," I assured her.

There was a moment of silence as we waited for our tram, both of us fixed on the couple next to us arguing in a language that neither of us understood.  And I trying to convince myself that I was brave enough to try it.  I mean, I didn't have a choice now -- everyone else would be doing it, and I couldn't be the one loser cowardly American who opted out.  Maybe I could just take a little bite.  But would someone find out?  Would it be obvious that I was drugged?

I was almost relieved when we arrived to Central Station to Jackie's group of friends and Tania wore a sad face.  Apparently her sister couldn't get it for her that day because she was too busy, so we were stuck smoking cigarettes instead.

"Well, let's at least have crepes," Jackie suggested.

"It's not fair.  Why do we have to wait until we're 18?" Tania whined.

"You know, I bet if we walked through the Red Light District, someone would go into a coffee shop and get one for us."  I don't know who suggested that, but a little bell rang inside my head.  I'd been struggling for attention with Jackie and her friends for the last couple of days, and even though everyone dismissed the idea of finding someone else to buy it for us, it resonated with me.

"Let's just get the crepes."

"Yeah, too many weirdos and prostitutes over there."

"We'll just have to wait until next time."

The group started walking towards the crepe place when I piped up:  "I'll go get us one."

They all looked at me like I'd just offered to sell my body out of one of the windows of a sex club.  "Tessa..." Jackie began, but never finished the thought.

"You have to be really careful.  Make sure you don't talk to anyone who looks dodgy.  Just find a nice stoner friend.  And lie about your age.  You could almost pass for a small 16 year old," Tania said.

Jackie looked at her like she was crazy.  "Do you know what 16 year olds look like?" she asked, then looked at me, too, studying my features.  At least my hair was straightened, so it looked good.  And I was wearing something reasonably fashionable that I'd convinced my dad to buy me while we were there.  "Actually..." Jackie began, then took some makeup out of her purse.  She smeared on some powder and eye shadow, then looked at me again.  "Here, put these on."  She handed me her pair of fake glasses (I could never understand why anyone would want to wear fake glasses) and I put them on.  "Now you look closer to 16," she said and smiled.

I got a plethora of instructions then set off on my mission, agreeing to meet them at the crepe place after I got the cake.  I was in a daze of happiness, not clearly thinking about what could happen to me out there, a 12 year old female, in the midst of endless prostitution and drug use.  All I craved was that attention, that social acceptance.  After my mission, I would be the center of everything, the person everyone else wanted to be like, the brave and tough American who didn't care about walking in a rough neighborhood at night, who didn't mind walking up to strangers asking for drugs.  I would re-tell the story to all of my friends at school and they would stare at me in awe, realizing that my experience abroad was so much cooler than any of their stupid parties.

Lost in a daydream, I hadn't seen the guy until I bumped into him.  "Oh, I'm sorry," I said, as he turned around and looked into my eyes.  He was probably in his late teens or early 20s, but he was definitely over 18.  He had curly black hair, green eyes and a carmel complexion, and was wearing a big smile on his face.

"No worries, love," he answered.  "Where you headed?"

"Just walking around, being a tourist," I said, giggling uncomfortably.  My heart rate increased and I became a bit anxious, talking to a stranger like this, but I had to get that cake for my cousin and her friends.

"Oh?  Where are you from?"

We chit chatted for a little while until he decided he wanted to accompany me on my walk through the Red Light District, and then we flirted casually.  I was starting to get bad vibes and feel a bit weird, and knew I should meet Jackie and her friends soon -- I'd been gone well over a half hour.  But as we walked, eventually we approached a coffee shop and I mentioned I wanted to try a space cake.

"Let's go in... I'll treat you."

"I can't... I'm not old enough, I'm only 16," I told him.

He leaned in and I could feel his breath against my neck which gave me the chills.  "What do you say I get us one and then we go back to my place?" he asked.

"Yeah, sure," I answered quickly before he could change his mind about getting me one.

"Wait here."  He popped inside and within minutes he was out again, holding the space cake, which was actually a brownie, in his hand.  "Just for you, love," he said, then took leaned in to try and kiss me.  This wasn't the type of New Years kiss I wanted!!  I leaned back awkwardly, turning my head so he kissed my cheek instead and then gave an uncomfortable chuckle and a lame excuse about my breath smelling bad.  He said he didn't care and tried again, and we repeated the same awkwardness.  Finally he gave up and held my hand, leading me to "his place" and my conscience screaming at me "what are you doing?!?"

I was starting to get really nervous now.  How was I going to get back to my friends?  To my aunt's house?  What if this guy kidnapped me and locked me in his closet and tortured me?

Suddenly I looked at my cell phone (which was on airplane mode) and said, "shit!  I have to meet my cousin.  Sorry, I was supposed to meet him five minutes ago."  I enunciated the "him" so this guy didn't think about following me.  "He'll get worried and come looking for me if I don't leave right now..."  I shoved my phone back into my pocket and casually grabbed the brownie from the guy's hand.  "Thanks for getting this for me, I owe you one."

He tried to figure out how to handle all of this, only coming up with, "can we meet later?"

"Yeah, sure," I said, scribbling down a fake number for him.  "Thanks again, cya!" I said then scampered off towards the crepe place.

When I finally got to the crepes place, nearly an hour had passed since I'd seen Jackie and her friends.  And half of them were gone.

"You took forever," Jackie explained.  "We thought we would have to come find you."

"Well, I got it," I told them, a bit disappointed that more people weren't around to bear witness.  I pulled out the brownie from my bag and waved it around, grinning ear to ear.

Too bad what followed wasn't applause, but Jackie's lame friends making excuses about how they weren't feeling well or needed to get home.  And then it was just me and my cousin sitting there alone.  "Are we going to do it?" I asked.

"You can try some.  Maybe we can save the rest for later."

I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw the cake at her face.  How dare she be so nonchalant about the whole thing when I'd almost been kidnapped by a thug!  True, she hadn't asked me to get it for them, but still!  I put my butt on the line and all I get is a lousy "save the rest for later"?

Irritated I ripped open the package and took a big bite of it, fighting the urge to spit it out.  It was disgusting, nothing like the chocolate delight I'd imagined.  "Yeah, maybe save it for later," I said cooly, stuffing it back into my bag.  This double sucked.

Jackie gave me a cigarette to smoke on the walk home and entertained me by asking if it'd kicked in and what it felt like.  I lied and said it was much more awesome than it really was, because I couldn't feel anything and I'm pretty sure I hadn't eaten enough to cause an effect anyway.

We stubbed out our cigarettes before entering her home and having forgotten about the half-eaten brownie I was hiding, I threw my bag against the wall in the room I was sharing with my dad, ignoring the contents that spilled onto the floor.  I needed a hot shower -- I was cold and irritated and singing in the shower always made that better.  Besides, my dad wasn't due home for a couple of hours which meant I had the bathroom all to myself, a luxury I hadn't enjoyed since we arrived in Holland.

I plugged in my ipod to some speakers and turned the music up as loud as it would go, singing loudly as I scrubbed myself of any remaining cigarette odor.  I was in the middle of conditioning my hair when there was a knock on the door.  Great, private time ruined.

"Tessa, I'm back," my dad called out and I answered back with the Miley Cyrus song I'd been singing.  I figured he was shuffling around the room now, maybe changing into his pjs, checking his emails, you know, the things dads do.  After Miley finished her last line of the song I figured I'd had enough alone time to keep me satisfied for a couple of days and turned the shower off.  I brushed all of the tangles away with my new brush, lathered straightening cream in my hair and dried it just a little so I could straighten it the next morning.  I slipped into my yellow smiley face thong (that my dad didn't know about), my white teddy bear pajama pants and a tank top, then skipped happily out of the bathroom, smiling at my dad who greeted me still in street clothes, no emails being checked, and a stern expression on his face.

I almost chirped a "hi Dad how's it going?" but quickly stopped myself as I saw the space cake in front of him on his nicely made bed.  I stared at it for a moment, dumbfounded, then looked at my bag still against the wall, everything spewed all over the floor.  As I began to realize how much trouble I was in, this terrible feeling crept into my stomach.

"What's this?" he asked.

"Just a brownie," I said defensively.

"Just a brownie, Tessa Marie?"

I nodded, unable to make eye contact and fidgeting so much I radiated guilt.

He waited for a moment and when I kept silent he said, "come here."

"Daddy..." I began in a whine.

"I said, come here," he repeated a bit more firmly than the first time, but didn't wait for me to move.  He grabbed my wrist and pulled me in front of him.

"Look at me," he ordered.  I peered up into his eyes, trying to put on my best angel face.  "What is this?" he asked and held the cake up.

Looking him in the eyes, shivering in guilt and anxiety, I somehow managed to croak out, "a brownie..."

He gave me a real disappointed look, mixed with anger, and before I could even say anything else he had tugged down my pjs pants to the floor, leaving me in my little tank top and thong.  I was mortified.  "Daddy, no, please, everyone will -- owwwwww!!" I was interrupted by a barrage of swats to the thighs and began to blush profusely.  There I was, twelve years old (practically an adult!) with my pjs down to my ankles in front of my father, getting swatted like I did when I was a little kid.  So not fair.

"Tell me the truth Tessa Marie!" he said a little louder and angrier this time.

I rubbed my thighs and gave him a pathetic look when I realized he knew that I didn't have just any old brownie, and continuing to assert that it was would make this much tougher on me.

"Be still," he ordered, "hands by your side."

"Daddy, please... I'm sorry!  It's not mine!"

"If it's not yours then why are you sorry?"

"I mean, I'm sorry because I know I shouldn't have it, but I just got it for Jackie and her friends so I could fit in and be cool."

"What do you mean 'got it for Jackie and her friends'?  Where did you get it?"

Ugh, I was just digging myself into a bigger hole.  "Daddyyyy," I whined.  "Please don't do this, everyone will hearrrrr!"

He swatted my thighs again, popped each of them four or five times sending me yelping and dancing and trying to rub the sting out.  "I asked you a question, Young Lady!"

I began crying... big wet crocodile tears, desperate to get my dad to stop treating me like a little girl.

"Daddy I'm sorry I went and asked somebody to get it for us from a coffee shop because we just wanted to try it but now I don't want to anymore please Daddy I'm sorry!"I said in one long breath, still crying dramatically, vaguely aware that I was wearing a thong in front of my father and really hoping he wouldn't take it down, too.

"Where were you, Tessa?  Were you alone?"

I was so tired of the interrogation, so worried at how this would turn out.  It'd been a couple of years since my dad had turned me over his knee but I couldn't forget how much his spankings hurt, and how they always left me sobbing with a sore bottom, and, well, since I was practically an adult we could just talk about these things now, right?

"Answer me," he growled.

"Daddy I don't wanna answer anymore questions, I've learned my lesson and I won't do it again," I promised.

He sighed loudly and reached for my underwear.

"Noooooo," I pleaded, grabbing them so he couldn't pull them down.  Though it didn't matter -- he was stronger than me and somehow the little protection and modesty that I'd had was now ripped out of my fingers and pushed down to the floor to meet my pajamas.  "Daddyyyyy," I wailed then tried to reach back down to pull them up.

Instead of letting me, he grabbed my upper arm and pulled me over his lap, locking me into position and giving me a few very hard spanks to my bottom.

"Owwww owwwww!!! Daddy pl-OW!-easeeee!!!  I'm s-sorryyyy!!"

He lifted me up again, holding my hands in front of me so I wouldn't rub the sting out.  And ouch, it really did sting.  Tears were streaming down my face, more out of embarrassment than anything else.  Not only could he see *everything*, but also everyone in the house would surely be able to hear everything.  I just wanted this to be over.

"Where were you, Tessa?  Did you go alone?"

"Yes, sir," I said weakly.  "I left the rest of the group to find somebody to buy it for us.  It was close to the Central Station."

"What on earth would possess you to do something so stupid?" he wanted to know.  "Walking around a strange city alone at night, in probably what's considered the rough part of town, looking for drugs?"

I shrugged.  "I wanted to look cool in front of everyone."

"I bet everyone's going to think you're 'super cool' when they hear about the spanking you're getting.  Maybe I should bring them all in here to watch it, what do you think about that?"

"Noooooo Daddy nooooo!"

He shook his head at me, sighing loudly.  "I'm very disappointed in you, Tessa," he said.  "I'm very disappointed that you would do something so irresponsible just to get approval from your friends."  He paused.  "Take off your pajama pants and underwear -- or whatever you call that -- and put them on your bed, then go stand in the corner."

Defeated I said, "yes, sir," and did as told.

The corner is the most terrifying yet uneventful place I've ever been.  I tried to focus my thoughts on something other than my impending punishment.  Tried letting my brain sing Miley Cyrus.  Tried making patterns out of the lines and marks on the walls.  Tried practicing the few words in Dutch I'd been taught.  But nothing worked.  All I could think about was the fact that I was exposed and waiting to get the spanking of my life.  And that everyone would be able to hear everything.  And that I'd most certainly be sobbing within a few minutes.

I heard my dad shuffling around behind me, but I didn't dare look back.  That's one of the worst things about being in the corner -- not being able to see what was going on.  What was he doing anyway?  Was he going through the rest of my stuff to make sure I didn't have any other contraband?  Was he looking for his belt to use that on me instead of just using his hand (he'd only used his belt on me once and it was the worst thing I'd ever experienced!)?  Was he going to get my family so they could watch the spanking?

Why was I so stupid anyway?  I shouldn't have gotten that stupid brownie... it wasn't even worth it since no one even tried it.  And at least I could've been more careful about hiding it instead of letting my temper get the best of me and throwing my bag around without even thinking about what I had in there.

Was he coming towards me now?  Was he watching me, making sure I was standing still enough?  Was my bottom already pink where he'd given me the few swats already?  Did he notice that my body was awkward and curvy instead of small and thin like it had been the last time he spanked me?

"Tessa," he said, interrupting my thoughts.

"Yes, Daddy?" I said sweetly.

"Come here."

I turned around, covering myself as best as possible and blushing.

"I don't know why you bother with that," he said, gesturing towards me covering myself.  "You know I used to give you baths when you were a baby, so I've seen it all before."

That just made me blush more.

He pulled the straight backed chair away from the desk and I felt my heart drop.  Ugh, he was really going to do this wasn't he?  Some optimistic part of me had hoped I'd been punished enough, but clearly I'm a dreamer and sometimes refuse to see reality.  It was obvious that he would still spank me more -- I'd done something in his eyes that was very dangerous and stupid, and in my eyes was just a mistake that I'd never repeat again.

"Bring me your wooden hairbrush that I got you for Christmas."

I was confused for a moment, wondering what he'd want the hairbrush for, then it clicked.  "Nooooo Daddy please!! Just use your hand pleaseeeee...!  I've learned my lesson I promiseeeee," I whined.

He didn't say anything, maintained a stern expression, and pointed towards the bathroom.

Tears began to fall again and I stayed put, frozen in shock and anxiety.  "Please Daddy..." I begged.  "I'll be good I promise.  Please don't use my hairbrush!"

"Tessa, do NOT make me get up and get it myself."

I stood there crying and wiping the tears away, still pleading weakly, even though it wouldn't help.  Once his mind was made up, nothing could sway him.

"If I count to three and you still haven't brought me that hairbrush, it's going to be much worse for you.... One..."

I let out a bigger whine and "Daddy pleaseeee!"


I scampered to the bathroom and grabbed the brush, glancing at myself in the mirror.  I looked pathetic with my puffy red face, tears streaming down my cheeks, in only my tank top.  I glanced at my bottom and the pink had almost faded where I'd been spanked earlier.  I'm sure that would be short-lived.

"Two and a half...!"

"Coming!" I said and went back to the bedroom where my dad was sitting on the chair now.  I tiptoed towards him slowly, wanting to prolong this as much as possible, but the walk was too short and I was there much sooner than I'd wanted to be.

He took the brush from my hands and moved me directly in front of him.  I stared at the floor chewing on my fingernail.

"Tessa, do you understand how irresponsible what you did was?"

"Yes, sir."

"And why was it irresponsible?" he asked, then lifted my chin up so I was looking at him.

I thought for a minute, thinking about how the most irresponsible thing I'd done was thrown my bag against the wall and let the stupid brownie fall out, but I didn't tell him that.  "Because it's dangerous to walk alone at night and I shouldn't do drugs anyway?" I said, more as a question than a statement.

He was quiet for a moment, staring at me with disappointment.  "Baby, you have to be careful.  I know that you're a bright young lady, and I usually trust that you will use your common sense and not get yourself into dangerous situations.  I'm very disappointed in the poor judgment you used today, and even more disappointed in the reason you did this in the first place."  I looked down at the floor, not liking the feeling of looking into his eyes.  "Look at me," he said more gently now, and I did, tears forming again.  "I don't know why you're so worried about what Jackie and her friends think about you -- you're a beautiful and intelligent young woman, a great singer, and you cook better than I do."

I let out a soft laugh and said, "you're just saying that because you're my dad."

He chuckled, too, and said "no I'm not.  It's the truth, baby."  He pushed a lock of hair behind my ear.  "Tess, you have so many great qualities, and if your friends don't see that, they aren't worth your time."

I nodded.

"You can't go around doing stupid things to try to get people to like you more.  You could really regret it later.  What if somebody had raped you?  What if you had eaten all of this brownie and it made you really ill?"

I shrugged.

"I don't want to lose you," he said and took a breath in, lip quivering slightly, and I knew that he wanted to cry.  And that just made me want to cry, because he never broke down in front of me, and now he was about to and it was all my fault.

"I'm sorry, Daddy."

"I know, sweetie.  I love you."  He hugged me tightly.

"Love you, too," I said, hoping that this meant there would be no spanking.

Yeah right.

"I don't want you to do anything like this again, do you understand?" he said after our embrace, getting firm again.

"Yes, sir."

"Okay, come on then."  He patted his knee, indicating that I should get over it.

"But Dad..." I said.  "I've learned my lesson..." my voice started getting whiney again and I was about to start crying again.

"I'm going to make sure of that," he responded, taking my wrist and moving me to his side, then over his lap.

"Daddy please," I begged as he positioned me with my bottom in the air for the whole world to see.

"Tessa Marie, if I ever find out you've done something so stupid again, this will seem like nothing, do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," I said, holding on to the legs of the chair and squeezing my eyes shut, telling myself that I could take this like a big girl.  I was twelve years old for goodness sake, a spanking couldn't hurt *that* badly, right?

He rested the cool wooden hairbrush on my bottom for a minute, making me flinch.  Maybe I wouldn't be able to take this like a big girl... I was already about to start crying.

"Ready?" he asked.

"No," I answered, unsure as to why he would ask when clearly he wasn't going to listen to my answer anyway.

"Maybe you should go back to the corner until you're ready then?"

"Noooo," I whined.  "I'm never ready, Daddy.  Do you really have to spank me?"

"Yes, I do."  He patted my bottom with the brush and said, "okay, get ready," then lifted it up and gave me the first flurry of swats.

"Oowwww Daddyyyy oohhh it hurtssss!!  Ooowwwww!!" I cried, tears now spilling from my eyes, and my legs flailing like crazy.  "Pleaseeee I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!!" I cried.

"I don't *SMACK* want you to *SMACK*  ever *SMACK SMACK* do anything like this again *SMACK* do you understand? *SMACK SMACK SMACK*"

"Owwww yes sirrrr!!" I tried my best to keep at least some composure and dignity... I wasn't howling (yet) and I hadn't reached back to make him stop (yet).  Of course, that didn't last long.

"The next time *SMACK* that you do something stupid *SMACK SMACK* to impress your friends *SMACK* I will bring them here to watch your spanking *SMACK SMACK*.  Do you want that?  *SMACK SMACK*"

"No sirrrr!" I shrieked.  My bottom felt like it was on fire, I could feel the warmth and redness radiating, and imagined my bottom wiggling and jiggling with every swat.  Thinking about this just embarrassed me more and I desperately wanted him to stop.  "I'm sorryyyy!"

"Are you *SMACK* starting *SMACK* to learn *SMACK SMACK* your lesson? *SMACK SMACK*"

"Yesssss!!!" I cried, and now I was howling a bit, suddenly forgetting about everyone in the house who was surely listening to this, and even forgetting about the fact that I was bare from the waist down and my dad could see everything.

He started spanking me on the sit spots then, and that's when I could no longer keep my grip on the chair.  I reached back, trying to stop him.  "Please Daddy, please," I begged, sobbing like a baby.

He grabbed my hand, holding it against the small of my back as he continued to pepper hard swats on my sit spots until I was sure I wouldn't be able to sit for a week.

"What have you learned today?" he asked me, pausing the spanking for a moment.

"T-that I sh-shouldn't d-d-do stupid things," I hiccuped, still sobbing.

He waited to see if I was going to say more, but I was crying too much to really add anything else and besides, I think that response pretty much summed it up.

"Almost finished," he told me, and I whined more.  He tightened up the grip on me and gave me a final flurry of hard swats to my bottom, then a couple of more to my sit spots, then stopped.

I lay there weakly, exhausted from all the squirming and crying, and my bottom throbbed like nothing I'd ever imagined.  I'm pretty sure that hairbrush hurt more than even the belt had!

My dad let go of my hand and lifted me up, sitting me on his lap (even though I didn't want to because it hurt to sit!) and let me cry into his chest.  He embraced me tightly and rocked me a little, telling me that it was all over now and that he hoped I never did anything so irresponsible again.  And of course I promised I wouldn't.

When I'd somewhat regained my composure, the embarrassment came back, being there half-naked with a red bottom, in front of my father who'd just spanked me, loud enough for everyone in the house and maybe even the neighbors to hear.  I think he noticed that I became uncomfortable because he stood me up and told me to get washed up, and then we were going to go talk to my aunt and uncle.

"Whaaaat??" I said.  "Nooo Dad, don't tell them pleaseeeee!"

"Are you saying that Jackie didn't have anything at all to do with this?"

I shook my head.

"Are you sure?"

He could always see right through me when I was lying, and having just gotten spanked, I was feeling more truthful than I had in a long time.  "I mean... it was my idea to go get the brownie... but she might have, um, invited me to try it before I had the idea..."

He raised his eyebrows, confused as to what I was saying, so I explained everything to him, about her friend's sister, about how they all helped me look more like I was 16, about how they all wanted to try with me.

While I explained, I redressed myself, blushing a little when I put on my thong, and put the hairbrush back in the bathroom (I'd never look at it the same way again).  He reaffirmed that we would be discussing this with my aunt and uncle, and I excused myself to the bathroom to wash up, almost crying again.  The only thing that could make this more embarrassing and horrible was bringing Jackie into it all!

I stalled as much as possible in the bathroom, washing my face about three times, brushing my hair again, inspecting my poor red bottom.  Oh, and my poor sit spots!  I definitely wouldn't be sitting comfortably for a while.  And I would for sure be sleeping on my tummy.

"Come on, Tessa," Dad called from the bedroom.

"Coming," I said weakly, rubbing my bottom and pulling my pjs back up.  I opened the bathroom door and stared at my dad with my lower lip poked out in a pout.  "Dad please don't talk to them," I begged again.

He didn't answer me, just opened the bedroom door, took me by the hand and dragged me downstairs with him.

Fortunately my face wasn't tear-stained anymore so maybe I looked like I'd taken the spanking better than I actually had.  Unfortunately, by the sympathetic looks everyone gave me, I knew they'd heard the whole thing.  And more unfortunately, my aunt and uncle seemed very displeased by the incident, and shouted for Jackie to come downstairs this instant.  I wanted to disappear... I felt like such a rat.  I should've been braver, or a better liar, and not told on my cousin.

It wasn't as bad for her as it was for me, partly because I don't think my aunt and uncle are very big on spanking, and also because she's a year older so even more of an adult than I am.  And I guess, too, because she didn't really do anything *that* bad.  But they did scold and lecture her about being a bad influence and allowing me to go off on my own.  And then they said something that shocked us all:

"Since Tessa got a spanking from her father for all of this, I think it's only fair that you also get a taste of it yourself."

"Whaaaaat??" Tessa shrieked.  "Dad, no, you can't!  I'm too old for that... I haven't been spanked since I was little!"

Her mom piped up, "well, if you weren't acting like a child, we wouldn't have to treat you like one."

"Come on Jacqueline," her dad said, sitting down on the sofa and pulling her towards him.

I wanted to say something, to assure him that it wasn't necessary, that it wasn't really her fault, but I suppose part of me was smirking (on the inside) that I wasn't the only one in trouble.  I also thought it was kind of rude for me to watch, but then remembered that she'd probably heard my own spanking, so it wasn't such a big deal.

I noticed that I took my spanking much better than she did.  She was whining and squirming before he even pulled her over his lap, and she was lucky to be wearing pajama pants during the measly hand spanking, but still kicked and cried more than me.  After a mere twenty swats she was sobbing and promising to behave better.  What a baby!

Anyway, he let her back up and she ran off to her room, still crying.  I hoped she didn't hate me, but if she did, I realized I didn't really care that much.  It wasn't worth it to try and impress her, or anyone else for that matter.

I think I really did grow up a lot that day.  I'm sure that my insecurity didn't go away completely, but it did start to diminish.  I stopped trying to make people like me so much, and tried to stop being so self-conscious.  But for the record, I did get a lot of attention when I told the story to my friends at school -- it was a much bigger hit than the party my friend threw.  Oh, and I finally got the nerve to talk to Damien instead of just smiling at him in class.  For some reason the whole Amsterdam incident made me feel more confident, and it was a nice change.

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