What Not to Say (in front of Danny)

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Danny put both hands on the table and leaned in toward them. “Unless you’re looking for a pair of sore backsides before supper, I suggest you quiet down and let me get this finished. I’m not going to ask again.” He turned back towards the office/spare bedroom as Emma’s eyes rounded and she felt her face grow warm. Danny had never given any hints about that part of their relationship in front of anyone, no matter what was going on in their home! And in front of his brother! What would he think if he knew… she risked a quick glance sideways at her new companion. Ben seemed to be as flustered as her was, his cheeks a bright pink and his eyes fixed blankly on the table. Danny had threatened both of them. Did Danny still…?

No way. Emma knew that Dan and his younger brother were really close, and she’d heard her boyfriend get on to him a few times over the telephone about school work and other little things, but nothing to imply that he still… And besides, Ben was twenty-two… of course, she was twenty-two it didn’t stopped Danny from busting her tail whenever he felt like it.

Ben looked up, catching her eye, and they both looked quickly away. As the silence grew deafening, Ben grabbed a pen and scrawled on the margin of Emma’s magazine. “Does Danny…?” She nodded slowly, took the pen, and wrote “you?” Ben nodded solemnly, took back the pen and smiled a little as he wrote “he’s got hands like canoe oars!” Emma barely suppressed her giggle, which grew as Ben began to draw a portrait of his brother, complete with paddled hands and an ass’s head. Soon they were cutting up again. Ben had come to visit them in California for the first time since Dan and Emma had moved in together; he was in his last year of school in Atlanta, where he was getting degree in graphic design. Ben and Emma had hit it off immediately, teasing each other and laughing as if they were long lost siblings themselves.

Danny’s threat was forgotten as Ben began to tickle Emma and she screeched and began hurling anything within her grasp toward her attacker. It was forgotten, that is, until they heard the scrape of the office chair. They were immediately quiet, too little too late, of course, as Dan appeared in the doorway. He leaned against the framed, surveying their guilty faces as they sneaked glances his way. “Come here.”

Slowly they both scooted away from the table and shuffled his direction, stopping in front of him with their eyes on their shoes and their hands behind their backs. “Ben,” and his brother’s head snapped up, “take this,” and Dan handed over his debit card, “and Emma,” now her eyes on him, too, “take these,” and he handed her the car keys, “and go get a pizza.” He fought to keep his face firm as he watched their slow smiles start and their bodies relax. “And if you’re not gone the better part of an hour, you’ll both sleep on your stomachs tonight!” he said with mock severity. They didn’t need to be asked twice, making it out the door in record time as Dan turned back towards the desk and his unfinished stack of papers to grade.

***

That evening found them in the local pub, sitting round a small table close the a little stage where local musicians played the usual classic rock covers. After two pitchers of beer between them, Ben and Emma where shouting requests and singing along, Danny laughing as he sipped his second mugful, having been designated the driver before hand. Danny laughing, that is, until Emma noticed an ex-classmate of hers and decided to point her out to Ben, who immediately proceeded to give his critiques on everything from the girl’s dangerously high heels to the beefy boyfriend she had on her arm. Drunk and giggly, Ben began a running commentary on the patrons of the bar, Emma egging him on as he got louder and louder and ignored every warning signal Danny sent their way. Ben finally snapped something about a woman sitting at the table to the right, loud enough that they all turned his direction as he slurred his catty remarks about the lady’s blouse being see-through. Danny was up in a heartbeat, apologizing to the woman and her bigger-than-average husband, glaring at his brother and girlfriend and their sloppy unapologetic grins and berating himself for not dragging them out five minutes earlier.

“It wasn’t a big deal, Danny, and besides, it was a slutty shirt,” Emma said as they trekked down the street towards the car a few blocks away. Danny took a deep breath kept walking, ready for the pair of them to be sober so he could make clear exactly what he thought of their impromptu “What Not to Wear” mock-up. Ben was stumbling behind Emma, his face a bit pale as the last couple drinks entered his system. Emma began to mumble again, and Danny turned sharply, her nearly running into him, and brought his face very close to hers. “Emma Grace, I am three seconds from–”

And that’s when Ben stumbled over and released the contents of his stomach on the sidewalk at their feet.

***

Emma’s eyes opened abruptly and she was awake, although she remained very still until she realized that the other side of the bed was cold; Danny must be awake and moving. She relaxed a moment, physically at least. It really wasn’t a good sign. She tended to be an early riser, while Dan was a big fan of sleeping in on Saturdays… her watch said it was just now eight, and they hadn’t even left the bar until almost 3… and if Danny was already up… oh boy. This was bad. This was very bad.

She saw a big glass of orange juice and a pair of Advil sitting on the night stand beside her, but she told herself that they didn’t look appealing and stubbornly closed her eyes again. Thirty minutes later she was still trying desperately to fall back asleep when Danny came back in the bedroom. “I know you’re awake,” he said from somewhere above her, “and I don’t know why that juice is untouched.” She remained perfectly still. “Ben should be awake by the time you’re out of the shower. I’ll see you in the living room.” As he shut the door, she groaned inwardly and began to sit up…***

In the guest bedroom, Ben woke with a mild headache and an unexplained sense of doom. Unexplained until he took in his surroundings, the corner desk and the flowery curtains: Danny’s guest room. “Shit,” he mumbled, turning to find the glass of juice he knew would be sitting on the night stand. He vaguely remembered downing several glasses of water and a couple Advil before being put to bed. Ohhh, a little voice inside his head whispered, last night wasn’t just a regular night of drinking with Danny putting you to bed… big brother was mad. Just how mad, Ben couldn’t remember– he could barely remember getting home last night– but he had an uneasy feeling that maybe he had something to do with it.

***

Emma walked timidly towards the couch where Ben sat, looking miserable in his loose plaid pajama pants, eyes puffy from the drinking and hair still mussed. Dan wasn’t in the room, but she guessed he wouldn’t be long in coming. Sure enough, he walked in carrying a chair from the kitchen a few seconds later and planted himself across from the 22 year-olds.

“Any reason I shouldn’t wear the two of you out?”

Protests, blaming their actions on the alcohol, died in Emma’s throat. She’s learned early on in their relationship Danny’s feelings about that old excuse. “If you’re old enough to drink, you’re old enough to know your limits.” She shook her head miserably alongside Ben.

“Right then,” and his damned decisive nod, “Emma, you’re up first.” She walked to his side, put her hands to her waist band and looked at him pleadingly as she glanced at his brother on the couch. He’d never so much as threatened a spanking in front of anyone else, and now she was about to be on the receiving end with an audience. Her stomach tightened and a lump rose in her throats as he simply raised his eyebrows at her and gave a small unsympathetic shrug of his shoulders. With shaking hands she dropped her pajama bottoms. As she was trying to work up the nerve to take down her white panties, Danny took hold of wrist and pulled her across his lap. She barely had time for to be thankful before the first smack landed solidly on her backside. She managed a stoic thirty seconds of his rapid spanks before the squirming began; another minute and her hand shot back of its own accord. Danny snatched it up quickly and pinned it to the small of her back without breaking his rhythm. He paused after another moment, observing the pink blush escaping the outer edges of her underwear. He grabbed the top, pulling them down to the top of her thighs, ignoring Emma’s mumbled “Oh, nonononono…” and the tensing of her body as his hand came down, leaving a flicker of white before descending again. Emma’s legs began to kick as her tongue tripped over apologies, not exactly asking him to stop (she knew he wouldn’t until he was good and ready) but offering everything she could by way of penance. Finally the spanking slowed as he began to talk. “Why am I unhappy with you, Emma?”

“Because I was rude and- and mean” came her choked reply.

“And who is responsible for your behavior?” he asked, still spanking her very dark pink bottom.

“I am!”

“Even when you’re drinking?”

“Yes siiiir!” she cried, feeling ashamed. Daniel briefly increased the force behind his swats, making Emma shriek, before slowing and finally stopping.

Emma cried quietly as she lay limply across his knees. He rubbed her back for a moment, listening to her ragged breath and letting his simple question rest. He eased her to her feet, kissing her hand tenderly and giving her a gentle nudge back toward the couch where Ben sat, looking paler now than he had last night. He had a blank look on his face, eyes on the ceiling, evidence of his failed attempt to tune out the spanking of his semi-sister-in-law. Danny called his name sharply, and Ben moved quickly to his brother’s side, not nearly as hesitant about dropping his shorts as Emma had been. Of course, he’d been on the receiving end of Dan’s discipline more times than he cared to remember, including several times right in front of (and often alongside) his friends and playmates growing up. Before the spanking even started Ben grabbed the lower rung of the kitchen chair, gripping it tightly, knowing he would struggle to keep them there. And so the spanking began, Danny’s rapid slaps turning his little brother’s backside a bright pink before whisking down his briefs and turning the skin a deeper shade of red. As with Emma, he stopped after a minute and rested his arms on Ben’s back for a moment, except he didn’t move his brother’s shorts back up. Not yet. “Benjamin, I hope you’re learning more at school than how to judge your peers. I know- or I hope, anyway- that you were raised to be a much better person than you showed yourself to be last night.” Ben mumbled his yessir, tears forming in his eyes. “Emma, go get the hairbrush.” At that Ben began to squirm fiercely, making protests until Danny tightened his grip around the young man’s waist and delivered half a dozen stinging slaps to his upper thighs. Emma hadn’t moved, except to open her mouth in disbelief. “Listen here, young lady. You had no problem pushing Ben last night to your amusement. You contributed to his behavior. You may contribute to his punishment.”

With a look of horror Emma rose and fetched the round oak hairbrush from its place in their bedroom. She forced herself to bring it back, motivated with the fear that she might make things worse for Ben if she didn’t do as she was told. Danny tapped it lightly on Ben’s red rear end before bringing it forcefully down twelve slow and solid times, Ben bucking and Emma wincing with each loud smack. Finally Danny allowed Ben up and back on the couch, running a hand through his brother’s hair affectionately before standing up and carrying the chair back to the kitchen, returning a moment later and offering a hand each to the two on the couch. “Back to bed, kids. You still only got about 5 hours of sleep.” They allowed themselves to be tugged up, and Danny pulled Benjamin right into a hug; he held his little brother tightly for a minute before sending him back toward the guest room and turning his attention to Emma. As much as Emma hated spankings and as much as she tried to talk herself into a good sulk afterward toward her brute of a boyfriend, she never could. Instead she became clingy, wanting to mold herself to Danny for hours after the punishment. He kissed her head, then walked back to the bedroom, where she spooned against him and squeezed his fingers in her own until they both fell asleep.

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