Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .
Michelle was enjoying her afternoon alone. Well, almost. Although the twins hadn’t started kicking yet, the pregnancy was sapping her energy.
With Drew, Alex, and Joey off to Seattle in search of emergency contraception, and Lizzie and Maddie at the home of a friend for a weekend sleepover, Michelle settled down for a well-deserved afternoon nap.
Then the phone rang.
“Mrs. Jackson, this is Cecelia Livingston, Katie and Amber’s mom.”
“Oh, hello Cecelia. Please call me Michelle.”
“Hi, Michelle. I’m on my way to your house with Lizzie and Maddie. We’re going to have to call an early halt to the sleepover. There has been some damage to the house.”
“Oh, goodness,” Michelle exclaimed, “Was anyone hurt?
“No, thankfully,” Cecelia replied, “but part of the living room ceiling has fallen in. There has been some extensive water damage and the plaster gave way.”
“Oh my gosh,” Michelle said. “Did a pipe break?”
“No, and that’s why we’re breaking up the sleepover early. It seems like the girls got in a water fight and the upstairs bedroom directly above the living room is soaked.”
Michelle didn’t know what to say.
“For some reason,” Cecelia continued, “Katie and Amber thought a rare 50-degree day in the winter time was a good excuse for a water balloon fight.”
“Inside?” Michelle asked incredulously.
“Well, not intentionally,” Cecelia replied. “But there’s something I need to ask you. How did Lizzie and Maddie come into possession of condoms?"
For the second time in a minute, Michelle was speechless.
“I’m sorry,” a stunned Michelle asked, “what did you say?”
Cecelia Livingston let out a deep breath and told the story. Her teenage girls thought it would be fun to throw water balloons on their 9-year-old kid brother who was enjoying the rare warm Montana winter day by playing outside with his elementary school buddies.
Then, when the four girls decided that regular size party balloons didn’t deliver enough hydraulic ammunition, either Lizzie or Maddie produced a package of condoms. The girls filled each condom with a gallon or more of water, stretching the birth control device to an absurdly oversized condition.
Then, on the way from the upstairs bathroom to the second story balcony, where they intended to throw the gigantic water bombs on the boys outside, something happened. One or more of the condoms broke, or else somebody tripped. The result was gallons of water on the bedroom carpet, which quickly seeped through the floorboards, weakened the plaster of the living room ceiling below, and caused the Livingston house to look like a disaster area. The wet plaster got all over their new living room furniture set.
There were still chunks of plaster falling off of the living room ceiling as Alvin Livingston headed into town to rent a water vacuum and purchase emergency repair materials.
The phone connection clicked off as the doorbell rang.
Two penitent girls stood beside Mrs. Livingston as Michelle opened the front door. Lizzie and Maddie each looked like the cat that ate the canary.
“Don’t be too hard on them, Michelle,” urged Cecelia. "It was Katie and Amber’s idea to throw water balloons. I just thought you might want to know about the condoms.”
“I’m so sorry,” Michelle plead. “Do you have any idea of how much we’ll owe you as Lizzie and Maddie’s share of the damages?”
“Don’t worry about that,” Cecelia assured. “We’ve already talked to the insurance agent and he says it’s covered by our homeowner’s policy. Katie and Amber can do chores around the house to earn the deductible.”
Turning to the two Jackson girls, Mrs. Livingston smiled and said: “But don’t be surprised if Katie and Amber have a hard time sitting down at school Monday. Alvin is going to wear their little bottoms out!”
“I’m really sorry,” Lizzie croaked. Maddie couldn’t bring herself to say anything.
* * *
“All right,” Michelle began, “we’ll put aside for a moment the issue of misbehavior at a friend’s house. Were those your condoms, and if so, where did you get them?”
“Uh,” stammered 16-year-old Lizzie, “We got them from Joey.”
“What?” Michelle interjected. “You mean he gave them to you?”
“N-n-n- . . . not exactly,” Maddie reluctantly said. Then she fell silent again.
Disciplinarian was undoubtedly in Michelle's future, with twins on the way. But she didn’t relish filling that role with teenagers. She had been Lizzy's stepmother for just over a year, after Drew adopted her off of the street when she had become Alex's best school friend back east. Maddie, Drew's troubled niece, had lived with them for only a few months, was still in rebellion, and was the only family member not in yet in accord with the pending adoption.
Michelle didn’t like playing the role of interrogator. So, she just folded her arms and remained silent until the girls continued with the story.
“I found them in Joey’s underwear drawer when I was putting away the laundry,” Maddie finally blurted out. “I told Lizzie about them.”
Michelle was stunned.
It was hard for her to hide her reaction to the bombshell Maddie has just dropped. The girls wondered why she seemed to turn white.
“Girls, there’s more to this than you realize,” Michelle began after a long pause. “Do you know why Alex, Joey, and your Dad aren’t here now? Do you have any idea where they are and what they're doing?”
After two teenagers shook their heads in silence, Michelle began her recounting of the day’s events. There weren’t many secrets kept in the Jackson household, so Lizzie and Maddie’s soon-to-be-adoptive mother told everything. By the time she got to the part about Drew and the two older siblings leaving for the airport, Maddie was trembling with a look of death on her face. The tears ran copiously down Lizzie’s cheeks.
No, Lizzie and Maddie weren't responsible for their siblings' sexual escapade. But the two younger teenagers realized that if Joey had found his stash of newly purchased condoms, instead of having to rely on an old, outdated one in his wallet, there would be no family crisis now. Joey wouldn't have used the wallet condom that broke during intercourse. Nobody but Joey and Alex would know about their last little amorous adventure.
Maddie, new to the family and resentful of Drew's strict parenting, could only think of the excruciating paddling she’d get when Drew came home. To her credit, a more mature Lizzie took her own culpability to heart.
“I don’t care how hard Dad whips me when he gets home,” Lizzie sobbed. “I deserve to have my ass turned black and blue. Alex and Joey will hate me but I’ve got that coming, also.
“But if Alex turns up pregnant because of what I did, I don’t know how I will forgive myself. I hate myself for what I’ve done.”
Maddie finally began to think of somebody other than herself, and she, too, broke down crying.
Michelle let out a long, deep breath and did what a mother did best. She gathered the girls in her arms and let them cry into her shoulders. Being a stepmother to four teenagers from varied backgrounds hadn't been easy; on Monday she'd legally become their adoptive mother. With two more on the way, sometimes she wondered how she could handle the burden. But when a crisis arose, she always met the challenge.
After a few minutes of saying nothing, Michelle began: “Okay, I’m sure there will be a price to pay for all of this when your dad gets home. But you didn’t mean to cause anyone the trouble that Alex, Joey and your father are going through now.
“Also, Alex and Joey made the decision to have sex, not you. You should have realized that those condoms were there for a reason, but you probably didn’t think Joey would need them so soon.
“And Alex is not coming back home pregnant. That’s the reason for the trip, to obtain emergency contraception. She’ll be mad at you, but she’s the one who got herself into trouble.”
“That’s one thing.
“But there’s another,” Michelle continued. “There’s the matter of your misbehavior as in invited guest at the Livingstons.”
“Hey, the water balloons were Katie and Amber’s idea,” 14-year-old Maddie protested. “They even asked us before we came if we could get some condoms.”
Thankfully, the more mature sibling intervened and explained the obvious.
“It’s still our fault,” Lizzie corrected. “We didn’t have to go along with the mischief. And you and I were the ones who supplied the condoms for the large water balloons. Without those, there would have been no damage to the house.
“We were pretty poor and inconsiderate guests,” Lizzie concluded.
Michelle remained silent, and then finally spoke
“Okay, girls, we’ll discuss this more when your father gets home tomorrow. For now, go up to your rooms. You’re grounded for the rest of the weekend. You may come out for meals and to use the bathroom. Otherwise, you stay in your rooms. No television. No computer, understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” two sorry girls replied. Such a formal recognition of parental authority wasn’t required in the Jackson household. Drew and Michelle didn't make their kids say ma’am and sir. But Michelle was glad to hear it for a change.
“And one more thing,” Michelle added. " Joey thought he was going to get kicked out of the family for impregnating Alex. There was never a chance of that. When your dad gets done with the four of you, there may be some red hot bottoms sitting in that court room on Monday afternoon—but we’re coming out of this situation as a family, understand?
The two girls smiled for the first time since the first water balloon exploded earlier that morning.
* * *
Michelle was unaware of how long she had napped. But when she saw Lizzie and Maddie as she awoke, she asked: “Oh my goodness, is it dinner time yet? Are you girls hungry?”
“We didn’t come down for dinner, Mom,” Lizzie replied. “We wanted to ask a favor.”
“What can I do for you?” Michelle inquired. It did not occur to Michelle, burdened by four stepchildren and pregnant with twins, to be offended by a "favor" request from two misbehaving teenagers who had ruined her afternoon's peace.
“Maddie and I have talked,” Lizzie continued. “We’re having a hard time living with the guilt of what we did, and we don’t want to wait for Dad to come home.
“Would you discipline us first, even if that’s not enough and Dad has to follow up on it?”
“But I did punish you,” Michelle replied, somewhat incredulously. “You’re grounded for the rest of the weekend, and after I talk to your father, that might continue for a while.”
This time Maddie got brave and took the initiative from her sister.
“No . . . we mean . . . we’d like to ask you to punish us, Jackson style!” the younger girl blurted out.
Michelle was astonished to hear that from a child who had resisted integration into the family, and who had a hard time adjusting to Drew's intense corporal punishment.
“You want me to spank you?” Michelle asked.
Lizzie sat down on the ottoman at Michelle’s feet. “Joey says it best, Mom. When we get whippings from Dad, they really hurt. They hurt our butts and they hurt our feelings. But a spanking lifts a lot of the burden of guilt from our shoulders.
“I know we’re being selfish for asking this,” Lizzie continued. “We know you’re pregnant and you’re tired all time. We know we’re asking you to give us a punishment you’re not used to using. But I can’t take one more minute up in that room with all this guilt. Maddie is going crazy, also.
“We’re not asking to get out of the grounding. After you whip us, we’ll go back to our rooms. But it will be easier to take the isolation if we’ve already had a good dose of what Dad may give us later.”
"If my ass is hurting my heart might feel a little better," Maddie added. That was the most mature thing Michelle had heard Maddie say since the young girl came to live with family.
Michelle paused to think for a minute.
“Okay, girls” Michelle said with a wry smile, “go get the paddle.”
Rather than dread what she was about to do, Michelle felt a strange sense of relief, even a bit of unexpected excitement, at the opportunity to whip the bare fannies two young daughters whose misbehavior had disturbed the tranquility of her afternoon. She planned to give them all the punishment they asked for, and then some.
“Mom, the maple paddle isn’t here,” Lizzie shouted from across the house.
Michelle smiled. “I’ve got a pretty good idea where that one is. The other one will do just fine!”
The two sisters-to-be returned to their mother’s presence and handed her the oak paddle. Then the reality of what was going to happen set in. With quivering fingers, they slowly unsnapped their shorts and reluctantly lowered their panties.
“Could I ask one more favor, Mom?” Lizzie implored. “Instead of bending us over like Dad does, which is kind of like an execution . . . could you take us over your knee? It’s a lot more personal that way, a lot more like mother and daughter.”
“So you want a little bonding time, do you?” Michelle inquired with a smile. "I'll be glad to give you that, dear. I'm going to spank you girls hard, but you know I love you, don't you?"
“Okay, who’s first?”
Lizzie blushed and gently plopped herself over Michelle's lap, adjusted her position, crossed her bare feet at the ankles, and grabbed a pillow to clutch while the painful blows rained down.
"Okay, Mom, I'm ready."
Michelle, finding the paddle a bit unwieldy in this position, chocked up a bit on the handle, put her left hand in the small of Lizzie's back, raised the fearsome looking instrument, and then delivered the first blistering lick to the bare flesh of the 16-year-old's pasty white, upturned bottom.
To be continued . . .