“She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.”
Lord Byron “She Walks in Beauty”
I am suspended at the edge of a light beam. All that glows around me is made of gold. She walks in beauty before me, and I am reminded of that day in class when we read Lord Byron. She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies. Nora stands in front of me in a long flowing dress. I hear her voice, distant, like an angel’s and my vision, hazy. Leah. Her hands reach towards me and I wonder for a brief moment if she’s going to kiss me. Then I feel a shake, like an earthquake
“What, huh?” I focus my eyes. “Oh, Nora. How you doing? You enjoying this party!?”
“Listen, we need to go home,” she says, looking me in the eyes.
“Woo-hoo! Don’t you wanna keep partying!?”
She hands me her cell phone. “Call Shane,” she says.
“Blech,” I roll my eyes. “Shane’s no fun. But fine, for you,” I say, bopping her nose, “Just for you,” and make a pitiful attempt at dialing the number before she sighs and takes the phone from me, dialing it herself.
“Shane? I’m sorry. It’s Nora. We went to a party after the dance and… uh, I had a little to drink. But Leah’s completely wasted. Neither of us can drive, can you pick us up?”
“Yo, is that Shane? Yo, yo, yo. Hand me the phone.” I tilt the phone away from Nora’s ear so I can shout. “It’s a party in the USA, Shane! Woo!” and take another gulp of my beer.
“Leah, stop it!” Nora half shouts, half whispers, and grabs the beer away from me, placing it on the counter behind her. “Yeah, it’s on Evendale. Please get here soon, Shane. Thanks.”
She hangs up the phone and I grab the beer again, taking another gulp. Party music is blasting in the background. People are dancing. It’s loud and there’s some girls passed out on the couch. Nora seizes the beer from my hand. “Seriously, Leah. Stop it.” And dumps the rest of the beer on the floor.
“Hey, what the fuck? That’s good beer!”
“Yeah, and now it’s good beer on the floor. You drank too much. Come on, let’s go,” she shouts, sharply, and grabs my hand, pulling me through the crowd and outside to the curb, a few doors down, to wait for Shane.
“What are we doing, here?” I ask, leaning my head on her shoulder.
“We’re here to wait for Shane. Too many stupid mistakes for one night,” she mutters.
I groan. “Mneh, okay,” placing my head on her shoulder and dozing off for awhile, when I hear a man’s voice, telling me it’s time to go and a foot gently tapping my leg.
“Oh, hey Shane,” I say, “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to pick you up, kiddo. Get in the car.”
“I don’t see a car,” I mutter, stumbling to my feet. “Where is it?”
Shane sighs and grabs my arm. I can feel Nora’s hand on my back, gently pushing me forward, and I’m being helped into my brother’s car. By the time the engine is put into gear, I’ve already fallen back into sleep and find myself suspending once again on the edge of a light beam.
Leah… Leah. Somebody’s shaking my arm, but I don’t want to move. It’s so warm and comfortable—“Leah!!”
“Wha—what,” I mumble, like I’ve just been woken up from a dream. I look up and see what looks like my brother’s face, but it’s so blurry, I can hardly make it out, “Where are we?”
“We’re home. Come on, inside,” he says, holding out his hand to help me out. I topple face first towards the pavement, but he catches me before I hit the ground. I giggle, “Some party, huh?”
“You’re drunk, Leah.”
“No, no, I’m just happy.” I poke my brother’s chest and look up at him, “You could use a little of that couldn’t you? You look kinda grumpy.”
“Alright, inside, Leah. Now,” he enunciates, as he half pushes, half carries me to the front door.
I wake up the next morning, delirious and dizzy, stomach churning and growling. My face is stuck to the floor and my head is pounding. Somehow, I manage to lift my head and find myself in the bathroom, next to the toilet, which I had apparently thrown up in all night, judging by what it looked like. I rubbed my eyes and groaned, trying to remember what had happened, how I had gotten back home.
“Oh shit.” I paused, shaking my head, “No. No. There must be some other explanation. Maybe this is Nora’s bathroom. Maybe she brought me back to her place.” But it was Shane and Anthony’s towels, and Shane and Anthony’s toothbrushes and Shane’s electric razor and Anthony’s blowdryer, and their shower and their bathtub and the walls were the same light blue as Shane and Anthony’s bathroom. And, oh shit, I was dead. I was really, really dead.
I looked frantically around me for my phone. I tried to check my pockets, but I wasn’t wearing the same jeans as the night before, just my pajamas. I guess Shane had helped me into them the night before. There was even a pillow and a blanket,that I had somehow managed to kick off in the middle of the night, on the other side of the bathroom.
“Ugh,” I groaned, slapping my hand to my forehead. “How could I be such an idiot!? They’re going to kill me.”
At that moment, I heard a gentle rapping on the door and buried my head into my knees, trying to hide my face from whoever showed up, Shane or his husband, Anthony.
“Leah,” he said softly.
I looked up, confused when I saw it was Anthony instead of Shane. “Where’s Shane?” I asked.
“He had a conference in Lexington today. Don’t you remember?”
“ I guess not,” I muttered, pulling my knees closer to my chest.
“You got yourself pretty trashed last night.” I buried my face into my knees again. “What were you thinking, Leah? Huh, can you tell me that?”
I didn’t say anything, just tried to make myself as small as I could, shrinking further and further into myself, pulling my knees closer and closer, burying my face deeper and deeper and turning it away from Anthony. “I don’t know,” I whined. I felt like shit. My stomach was empty but somehow I thought I might throw up again. My head still pounded, like my heart had somehow crept its’ way into my temples.
He sighed. “Shane will be home later tonight. I want you to take a shower and get dressed and come downstairs for breakfast.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, looking up at him, my eyes beginning to water.
“We’ll discuss it downstairs. Shower, now,” he demanded, pointing and giving me a stern look as if to say, “You’d better if you know what’s coming to you.”
I nodded, wiping my eyes, as he closed the door to give me some privacy. I could have gone to my bathroom, but my head was pounding and I couldn’t bare the thought of walking down to the other end of the hallway before having to climb into the other tub. So I turned on the water all the way until I could see the steam rising from the showerhead, took off my shirt and pajama pants and underwear piece by piece and stepped in, letting the water rush over me and ease at least some of the pain that was radiating throughout my body.
When I was finished, I grabbed a towel to dry my hair, then wrapped it around my body and walked down to the hall to my room to get dressed—sweatpants, a t-shirt and a hoodie—I wouldn’t be feeling up for anything else today, and walked downstairs to the kitchen where Anthony was sitting at the table with a plate of eggs and a stack of papers, grading. He looked up upon hearing me come downstairs, and gestured to the chair across from him for me to sit.
“So, Leah, tell me about what happened last night,” he said, leaning back and folding his arms.
“We got invited to this party and I really wanted to go. So Nora picked me up and we went.”
“After you explicitly told Shane and I both that you were just going to the movies and then to spend the night at Nora’s house.”
“So maybe it was a little white lie.”
“That’s a little more than a white lie, Leah. What happened after that?” he asked, choosing to ignore the white lie for the moment.
“We got there, and there was beer and some wine coolers and some other stuff. I don’t remember what. Some guys offered us some beers and I decided it would be alright if I just had one but then one turned into two and two turned into three and it just got out of hand.”
Anthony unfolded his arms and leaned forward looking me in the eye. “Listen, Leah, Shane and I understand that you’re curious and that you’re going to want to drink from time to time. But if you’re going to a party, we want you to tell us. And if you’re curious about alcohol, we’d rather it be under our supervision. You are under NO circumstances to drive after you’ve been drinking, do you understand me? I don’t care if it’s one shot of whiskey or 1 sip of beer. You are to call either Shane or me and we will pick you up, okay? And I know if Nora hadn’t called last night, you would have driven yourself.”
“No I wouldn’t have,” I argued.
“Do not lie to me, young lady. Shane told me you were trying to convince him to let you drive when he got there and that you were planning on it.”
I looked down at my hands. “Maybe I did. I don’t remember. It’s a blur.”
“That’s what happens when you get passed out drunk like that, Leah. Do you like how it feels?”
“No,” I whined.
“Good. Hopefully that will be a deterrent, then.” He paused, letting a few moments of silence pass between us. “Do you feel up to eating anything?” I shook my head, holding my hand to my stomach. “Alright, go upstairs to your room then and take it easy. We’ll talk more when Shane comes home.”
“Knock, knock.” I heard my brother say from outside my door, waking me up from my nap. He opened the door, and sat down next to me on my bed.
“We need to have a talk, kiddo,” he said, patting my knee.
I looked at the clock beside my bed. 7 PM. Had I really been asleep that long?
“Do you know how foolish and irresponsible what you did was?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“You really understand, then? How utterly dangerous and disrespectful and irresponsible that was? First of all, you lied to Anthony and me. You told us you were going to the movies and then to spend the night at Nora’s. Then you went to a party where you got drunk and you were planning on driving home. Had Nora not called, and gotten me there, you could have killed yourself or someone else, do you realize that?”
I buried my face into my hands, trying to hide from him. “Look at me when I’m talking to you, Leah.”
“I’m sorry,” I cried.
“I know you are. I know. And I know you’re curious about alcohol. But if you’re going to drink, I want it to be under my supervision. You’re to tell me if you’re going to a party where there’s alcohol involved. And if you do drink, I want you to call me. You might be in trouble for going to the party, but it’s better than ending up dead in a ditch somewhere.” He paused. “Do you understand?”
“Good, but none of that changes what you did. Stand up. You’re getting a spanking, Leah Marie.”
“Shane, no! Come on, I learned my lesson! I won’t do it again!”
“I’m glad to hear that. But I’m spanking you for what you did, not for what you might do in the future. Stand up, pants down.”
I stood up, but that didn’t mean I stopped whining. “Shane, please, no.” I covered my bottom with my hands.
“Leah,” he warned, “Pants down. NOW.”
“Shane, please, I’m 16 years old. Can’t we solve this any other way?”
He grabbed my arm and turned me around, smacking me three times on the seat of my pants. “I mean it, Leah. Pants down now, unless you want me to take them down myself.”
I whined. “Fine,” I muttered, pulling them down and lying across his lap before he could yell at me again.
He rubbed my back. “I love you, Leah, but I’m not going to tolerate this sort of behavior.” With that, he lifted his palm and started smacking my bottom from side to side, left cheek, right cheek, left sitspot, right sitspot, left thigh, right thigh, before pulling my panties down and continuing the same pattern. He spanked me for 5, maybe 10 minutes, straight without stopping.
I was panting by the time he stopped and I made the mistake of trying to get up but he pushed me back down. “Oh no, we’re not done here, Leah. You lied to me, went to a party behind my back, got wasted and tried to convince me to let you drive home. You are not finished.”
I felt him move behind me to pick something up. “Shane, what are you doing?” I asked.
He smacked me, once. “Shh,” he answered. “Not a word.” I felt him turn around again to pick whatever it was up and then what felt like wood on my bottom. “I’m giving you a final spanking with this paddle. When we’re done here, you’re going to write me a paper on the dangers of drinking and driving and explain to me exactly why what you did was wrong and why you’re never going to do it again, do you understand me?”
He hit me once with the paddle. “Do you understand?”
I screamed. “Oww, yes, I understand!”
“Good.” He lifted the paddle high in the air and continued the same rhythm as before, over and over again, from left to right, up and down. I kicked and screamed, until I was crying and then sobbing and limp over his lap. He didn’t speak much during the spanking. If he did, I couldn’t hear him, just my own cries. He spanked me for what felt like hours but was probably only 10 minutes and then stopped, rubbing my back as I sobbed.
“Was it worth it?” he asked me. “Was the party worth it?”
“No, sir,” I sniffled.
He sighed and I pushed myself up from his lap, accepting his hug. “You worry me, Leah,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry,” I answered.
He kissed the top of my head and let go of me. “I know. You’re forgiven.” He handed me my pants back and started walking towards the door. “You can give Anthony the paper when you’re finished. If you’re hungry, he made you some chicken noodle soup. It’s in the fridge.”
I smiled slightly. “Thanks, Shane.”
He nodded. “You’re welcome,” and closed the door.