Oliver adjusted his rear view mirror so he could make eye contact with his sister Jessica in the back seat. “I mean it,” he said, continuing the conversation they’d been having. “I expect best behavior this weekend. Danny and Emma are doing me a huge favor.”
His eyes went back to the road as the light ahead turned green, but not before he saw the eye roll that accompanied Jessica’s sigh. She was sitting behind Ben, who was staring at his phone in the passenger seat and trying to ignore the siblings as they squabbled. “You are the one who created this problem! We could just be at home right now!” she said incredulously.
“Last time you two were left alone, you tried to destroy the living room. I’m glad Mom and Dad are getting away, but Ben and I also had this weekend booked, so this is what we came up with.”
Between the girls were their suitcases, one bright pink and the other seafoam green. Sunny sat behind Oliver and now she pushed her feet against the back of his chair as she said sulkily, “We’re too old for babysitters, Ollie. Just take us back home. Mom and Dad won’t even have to know we stayed there!”
Oliver’s entire face tightened as he said, “Out of the question. We’ve been over this, and I agree that this is the best option. And they aren’t babysitters. And get your feet out of my back, little girl, or I am going to pull the car over.”
“No you’re not. You’re gonna hit ‘so much traffic if we don’t leave by three,’” she said, ending in a childish imitation of her brother’s repeated anxiety all morning before tucking her chin down and crossing her arms. But she put her feet back on the floorboard.
Ben stifled what sounded like a chuckle, but his face was completely blank when Oliver glanced his way. Oliver didn’t say anything else to his sister, but concentrated instead on continuing his spiel. “Danny and Emma are very nice. You’ll have your own bedroom and they have a nice backyard–“
“Do they have WiFi and do they have coffee?” Jessica interrupted. Oliver’s eyes flew to the rear view mirror again, but his sister was looking pointedly at her freshly painted nails. He noted a slight blush on her cheeks, though. She knew she was pushing it.
“Yes,” Ben interrupted before his boyfriend could say anything. Oliver glared at him, but Ben continued trying to fight for a safe topic. “They have WiFi and the password and stuff’s on the fridge. And they have really good coffee, actually. They’re obsessed with a place at the farmer’s market and have one of those fancy machines–“
“Ugh, they don’t just use K-cups?” Sunny said, sounding as if she’d just heard terrible news. Both girls flung their heads against the back seat of the car in unison.
Ben busied himself with his phone again while Oliver tried to scrape up the dregs of his already drained patience.
~ ~ ~
“It’ll be fine,” Emma said, trying to reassure Oliver as he hesitated to leave. His sisters had unloaded their suitcases and hadn’t left the guestroom they’d be sharing since. They were lying side by side on their phones with the door shut while the others stood in the kitchen. “They can be in there the whole time if they want. Or we’ll hang out with them if they do get bored enough to talk to us.”
“They just have such bad attitudes,” Oliver said, shaking his head.
“Well, Danny lived through Ben’s young adulthood. I’m sure he can handle your sisters,” she gently teased.
“I’m still living through Ben’s young adulthood,” Danny said in an overly-put upon tone that made them all laugh and made Ben roll his eyes good naturedly.
Oliver gathered himself, then said, “Okay, you’re right. You can handle them. It’s just two nights. I’m going to go tell them goodbye.” He squeezed Ben’s hand as he walked by him on the way to the guest room; he knocked on the door gently and then eased it open.
“Alright, I’m out of here. Please behave. Be nice to Danny and Emma. Maybe even have fun?
“Ollie, oh my god just go already,” Jessica said. She put her phone down as she spoke, though, and got up to give Oliver a hug. She stepped away to leave room for Sunny to get a hug as well.
“Okay, I love you both.You really could have fun, you know.”
“Doubt it,” Jessica said as she returned to her phone. “Love you, too.”
“Love you,” said Sunny, also climbing back onto the bed.
Oliver hesitated only a second longer and then he left, shutting the door behind him.
~ ~ ~
Emma stood hesitantly by the stove, wondering if she should offer the girls dinner one more time before she put it away. Danny walked over with his dishes and opened the dishwasher; she looked at him questioningly. He thought as he dropped his fork and knife into the silverware trap and then said, in answer to her unasked question, “I think we go ahead and clean up. We told them twice and they never came out. They’ll probably find something long after we’re asleep.”
“You’re probably right,” Emma said. She really wasn’t that much older than Oliver’s sisters, but they’d had no interest at all in making friends with her so far. Danny had given her a squeeze earlier when she’d expressed concern, reminding her that it likely had a lot more to do with being upset over being there, and nothing to do with them personally. Emma suspected he was correct, and was trying not to have her feelings hurt. She began to pull out some Tupperware and put away the leftovers. Danny finished the rest of clean up and shortly after they headed upstairs for the night.
~ ~ ~
Danny was up first the next morning. He stood at the end of the kitchen, taking in the counters that were now covered in crumbs and a sink somehow full of dishes, though they had left everything clean after dinner. He looked in the fridge, curious. The leftovers hadn’t been touched, but he gathered they’d made sandwiches. Big, messy, complicated sandwiches. He sighed, and decided to make coffee before cleaning it up.
He grabbed beans from the pantry, dumping the needed amount into the grinder part of their machine and twisting the knob to start it. Emma came dashing downstairs at the noise, waving her hands and shushing him, but then the machine stopped and there was silence again. “Danny,” she started to say, “The girls are probably still… ohhh.”
She’d reached the bar side of the kitchen counter, where she climbed up to take a further look at the state of things. It was more of a mess than she’d ever left in someone else’s home.
“Mhmm,” Danny said, watching the machine begin to whir as it moved on to the next step of fresh coffee. “I’m okay if they wake up.”
“Yikes,” said Emma, speaking quietly. The guest room was just off the kitchen and if the girls were awake, she didn’t want them to hear. “Do you think they’re always like this?”
Danny paused retrieving a second mug for Emma, thinking, then slipping easily back into motion as he said noncommittally, “Who knows?”
He started the coffeemaker on her cup, then grabbed the orange juice from the fridge and poured Emma a glass in the meantime. “Thanks,” she said when he handed it to her.
“You’re welcome,” he said. “I can handle a little mess. I’m glad the boys are getting away. I think Oliver really needs the break.”
Emma nodded in agreement, fingers drumming lightly on the sides of her glass. “Yeah, I can do that for a weekend. And maybe it was just late and they weren’t thinking about it.”
“Maybe,” Danny said as he began to unload the dishwasher and fill it up again. “I’m sure we’ll find out today. They’re going to have to interact with us sooner or later.”
~ ~ ~
Jessica did come out of the room eventually, but she didn’t have much to say to their hosts. She kept her headphones in as she fixed herself a bowl of cereal; when Danny greeted her from the couch on the living room side of things, she shrugged her shoulders in a helpless gesture, pointing to her ears with the hand that held the spoon and mouthing, “Sorry.” He watched her walk back into the room and shut the door behind her. He ended up spending much of the morning upstairs but when he did come down to the kitchen again later, there was evidence Sunny had been there as well. In the sink sat two bowls, one still partially full of milk and soggy Cheerios. On the counter sat both the milk and the open bright yellow cereal box.
He pursed his lips as he briefly contemplated just cleaning it up and going about his day. It was hard for him to believe that these two had been raised in the same house as Oliver and not learned better manners, though he had a suspicion this was not how they behaved at home. He approached their bedroom and knocked gently on the door.
After several increasingly loud attempts, he finally heard a yelled, “What?” from inside.
“May I come in please?” he asked, though it didn’t come out sounding like a question.
There was a pause, and then Jessica– he thought– yelled again, “Fine.”
Danny opened the door and stepped into the guest room. He was surprised by the amount of clothing piled on the floor; they’d barely been there for twenty-four hours. Not the issue, though, he thought, focusing. The teens lay parallel on the bed, both with headphones in and looking at their phones, almost as if they hadn’t moved at all. He slipped his hands into the pockets of the blue sweats he wore and stood there patiently, until finally Sunny rolled her eyes, popped her earbuds out, and said, “What?”
Danny raised an eyebrow and nodded at Sunny; Jessica elbowed her, and she looked up before giving her own eye roll. She removed her headphones and looked at him impatiently.
“I won’t keep you long,” Danny said amicably. “I just wanted to touch base about the common spaces. We’d love it if you wanted to join us for dinner, but of course you don’t have to. When you’re in the kitchen after us, though, could you please make sure to clean up after yourselves?”
He was certain there was a bit of a smirk on Sunny’s face as he finished, though it was Jessica who answered, “Yeah, sure. Fine.”
“Thank you,” Danny said.
~ ~ ~
Their next interaction was even less pleasant. Emma was in the middle of a conference call in their home office when music erupted from the Bluetooth speakers around the house at full volume. Danny, aware of her engagement, scrambled downstairs to disconnect the master speaker and stop it from pouring through the house. In the silence that followed, he heard Emma apologizing to her colleagues and giggling coming from the girls’ room. His jaw twitched, and he walked over, pushing on the door that sat slightly ajar. “What was that?”
“Oops,” said Sunny. “We found your sound system.” She was leaned up against the headboard with her laptop open; her sister lay next to her on her stomach, looking at her phone.
“It’s really loud,” Jessica said, her voice deadpan, not looking up.
Danny took a deep breath, deciding it wasn’t likely any apology was coming unprompted. “Emma’s on a call right now,” he said, trying to sound casual but hearing the sternness in his own voice. “I heard her tell you before she connected that she’d need quiet for a bit.”
“She should wear headphones,” Sunny said helpfully.
Danny stared at her curiously, mouth slightly agape. She could give senior-year Ben a run for his money. “Please try to be more considerate,” was what he managed to say.
“K,” Jessica said dismissively.
“Thank you,” Danny said politely before turning to leave again. He slipped his hands into the pockets of his jeans as he walked out into the living room, trying to ignore the sudden itching of his palm.
He shook his head, contemplating their choices so far. It was Saturday afternoon; Oliver and Ben would be home tomorrow evening. He thought surely they could make it that long without further incident. Surely.
~ ~ ~
He thought wrong. The final straw came when he was coming back into the house from outside where he’d just taken their garbage and recycling cans to the curb. Perhaps thinking they would be alone and unbothered, they’d ventured into the kitchen and were trying to make coffee.
“Can I give you a hand?” he asked after a moment of watching them press and turn several buttons and knobs on the machine without coming any closer to making drinks.
“No thanks,” Jessica said, reaching for the bag of beans that lived in the cupboard.
Danny left them be, walking into the living room to turn off the television and thinking that it made sense that they’d be up all night and raiding the fridge if they liked coffee so late. A sudden high pitched whirring sound erupted from behind him, followed by a loud bang and an explosion of giggles. He moved their way swiftly, joined by Emma as she came rushing from the laundry area under the stairs at the terrible mechanical sound.
The frother was still spitting hot cream across the length of the counter and a mixture of ground and whole beans had erupted from the attached grinder. It was clear they’d filled the wrong parts of the machine, and Danny wondered if they’d broken it all together. They made room for him as he rounded the long island and unplugged it; they were still giggling in the quiet that followed. Danny and Emma both stared at them open mouthed, but it was Danny who regained his composure first.
“Why didn’t you ask for help?” His voice held an authority it had been lacking before as he tried to be accommodating to their guests. He was finished with that approach, though. The girls had been nothing but thoughtless and rude since they’d arrived and he wasn’t going to have another minute of it.
Of course, they didn’t understand that Danny had reached his limit. They were still entirely too amused by the blunder, not even pausing to consider the inconvenience or the financial cost they may have just incurred. “Our bad?” Sunny said cheekily while Jessica rolled her eyes.
“‘I’m sorry’ is the phrase you’re looking for,” Danny said, his voice steely and hard.
“Sure,” Jessica said. “That one.”
Emma gasped, taken completely aback by the intentional rudeness, but Danny never blinked. He suddenly understood what Emma did not: this was deliberate sabotage. The realization that crashed down on him allowed him to act with sudden confidence. He walked forward toward the guest bedroom, snagging Sunny and Jessica each by an arm as he passed them by.
“Ouch!” and “Hey!” came synchronous exclamations, although Danny was confident he wasn’t hurting either of them..
“We’ll be back shortly,” he said to Emma; she watched his retreating back as he and the girls walked into the bedroom. She knew exactly what was about to happen and found she had nothing much to say about it. They deserve every bit, she thought to herself as she walked into the kitchen to check out the damage.
~ ~ ~
In the guest room, Danny released the two young women, then stepped back to face them.
Sunny pouted and rubbed her bicep, fooling no one, while Jessica crossed her arms and stared at him. There was a look of victory in her eyes that made his jaw clench. She was about to find herself very mistaken.
“I understand that this is not how you wanted to spend your weekend,” he began, forcing himself to speak calmly. “But this is entirely unacceptable. This could have been your chance to show Oliver that you could behave like the adults you are so adamant you are. Instead, you’ve behaved like spoiled children.”
Sunny’s eyes went wide and she brought a hand to her chest, offended, while Jessica recoiled reproachfully and said, “Who do you think you are? You can’t talk to us that way.”
“I’m the person about to spank the pair of you,” Danny answered her, voice deadly serious. “And we are well past the debating stage. You’ve been rude and disrespectful, and I have no doubt Oliver would be ashamed of your behavior.”
He watched expressions of genuine anguish flit across both of their faces, but just as quickly it was gone, buried under their anger at the entire injustice of being forced into this weekend. Sunny’s hands balled into fists that she brought toward the ground as she stomped her left foot, and she said, “That isn’t fair!”
“What isn’t fair is that your brother can’t spend a weekend away without worrying about what you two are going to do while he’s gone,” Danny said pointedly. “I, for one, agree that you should be able to spend a weekend alone in your family home. I think we are all on the same page about that, as a matter of fact.”
“Well then why–” Sunny said, almost cutting him off before he could finish, but he overrode her.
“Oliver should be able to trust you, but he clearly can’t. You had an opportunity, and you wasted it. There is no reason to think you should be left unsupervised,” Danny said. He had his hands on his hips as he scolded the girls, knowing much of what he had to say was harsh; that didn’t make it untrue. “And until that changes, you can rest assured that Emma and I are here to lend whatever support he may need. And that includes knowing that when you’re under this roof, you’ll be well taken care of.”
Sunny held herself, arms crossed around her body in a hug as she twisted slowly back and forth, restless and now incredibly sullen. Her bottom lip jutted out and her eyelashes batted wildly. Jessica covered her embarrassment in anger, though, her face mutinous, but Danny continued, now beginning to roll up the left sleeve of his button down shirt with his right hand.
“And if there is a next time, maybe it will be easier. But you’ve already made your choices today, and now there are consequences.”
Danny sat down on the bed, placing one hand on his knee as the other crooked a finger at the girls. “One of you come here, please.”
Sunny took a step back, shaking her head violently “no.” On another day Jessica might have joined her, but she decided in a second that it would be worth a spanking just to tell Oliver what a monster Danny had been. There was no way he was going to make them stay with this animal again. She set her jaw, then took the few steps forward and practically flung herself across Danny’s waiting lap.
He wasted no time in securing her there, wrapping an arm around her waist while his other lifted to point a finger straight at Sunny. “Don’t you move, young lady. Not until it’s your turn.”
Something about being over Danny’s lap but being completely ignored for a moment made Jessica feel even more indignant. Her face was emanating heat and she was regretting her decision to comply with his orders. In the moment it felt like a bid for control. Now that she could feel her skirt being raised and her tights lowered, she didn’t feel in control of anything. She set her jaw as she felt his hand lift from her bottom, remaining silent when it landed a second later with a loud smack.
There was no rush on Danny’s part. He had plenty of experience changing bad attitudes and if a pep talk wouldn’t do it, a spanking usually would. Occasionally he glanced up at Sunny, but she remained almost motionless except for a bit of chewing on the tips of her fingers as she watched. Rarely did one of the girls get into trouble without the other, though it did happen, and always when it was the two of them, Sunny was spanked first. That didn’t mean she hadn’t had to witness Jessica’s punishments before, but she found it to be a much different experience without a sore bottom to distract her.
Now she watched her stoic big sister’s body slowly betray her under the constant assault of Danny’s hand on her bottom. She still hadn’t made any noise, but her fists had begun clenching and unclenching and Sunny noticed her feet start to twitch. She didn’t want to be next! Danny’s palm looked huge as it covered Jessica’s bottom, and every swat propelled her forward with its impact. Sunny shifted her weight nervously, unable to look away.
While Jessica’s bottom was slowly turning darker shades of pink under his hand, Danny knew she wasn’t anywhere close to the remorse he expected her to feel by the end of this lesson. That would come later. But first, he had a few things he wanted to say.
“Oliver speaks so highly of you,” he began, hand never wavering. “We hear stories about your school accomplishments, your track medals, your hobbies. He even talks about some of the mischief you’ve gotten up to over the years like you are the two cleverest girls he’s ever met.”
The second-hand praise made both sisters blush, and Sunny felt her frown deepen. Jessica was struggling to maintain her indifference, especially as Danny’s hand connected with more frequency on her sit-spots and the tops of her thighs. Occasional grunts began to slip from her mouth.
“I’m not entirely sure why we haven’t gotten to meet those two young women this weekend. At the very least, I expected basic manners. Instead, you have gone out of your way to be rude and disrespectful.”
His hand began to fall harder now, and Jessica gasped, then growled angrily, “We shouldn’t even be here!” Hearing Danny’s description of the way she’d been acting this weekend didn’t make her feel particularly good about herself, and so she clung to her indignation fiercely. “We’re too old for a babysitter and too old for spanking!”
“It may surprise you to hear that you aren’t the first to think so,” Danny said a bit dryly. He paused, reaching over the girl’s back to open the drawer of the nightstand by the bed. In it, among several extra chargers and a blank notebook and pen, rested a small black wooden hairbrush.
“No!” yelled Jessica, watching him grab it and flinging a hand back to cover her bottom before Danny could put it to use. She’d only ever been spanked with a hand or a wooden spoon before, but it didn’t seem likely that this implement was going to be any sort of upgrade. “I don’t want that!”
She wanted to be more articulate, but it was all she could get out. All she got in return was the capture of her wrist to the small of her back, followed by the swift removal of her underwear. She screeched, but Danny brought the brush down anyway, and said, “The expectations for you this weekend were minimal. You weren’t asked to be anything but civil, but apparently that was too much.”
Jessica could feel the dam about to burst inside of her; every sentence Danny uttered was like another bucket of water dumped behind the levee, and it wasn’t going to hold much longer. She’d considered Oliver’s decision that they stay here an affront to her maturity, but she now it sounded more like a measure of it. She struggled against his grip and her feet kicked at the bed, but now her body reacted to the hairbrush instead of her emotions. Still desperate to distance herself from this awful version Danny was painting, she said, “It isn’t like that!”
It was nonsense and they both knew it, but it didn’t stop Danny from pulling her closer to him and quickening the pace of his swats. Jessica squealed, but he said over her, “You are getting a spanking because of choices you made. You aren’t allowed to stay home alone because of choices you made. Oliver doesn’t trust you because of choices you made. But until you start acknowledging that these consequences you claim to hate are the results of your own actions, very little is going to change for you.”
Finally overwhelmed, Jessica began to cry. The brush was still landing and her bottom and thighs hurt fiercely and would for some time, she was sure. She had nothing left to say, except finally, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
Danny was glad to hear it, although he continued spanking her long after the apologies began and long after they ended. He was still keeping an eye on Sunny, who herself, he noticed, was keeping an eye on the door. He thought loyalty to Jessica would keep her there, but he didn’t want to tempt fate. Besides, it seemed to him that the older girl had finally learned her lesson. He delivered a few more searing swats to her red and swollen bottom, then stopped and set the brush aside.
He pulled her underwear and tights up, hearing her sharp gasp when the fabric grazed her newly spanked behind, and then tentatively offered her the comfort of a backrub as she calmed down. She leaned into his touch, sliding down after a few minutes to kneel on the floor, where she flung her arms around his middle. He smiled gently and stroked her hair until she calmed down. He had a feeling that this display would later embarrass her as much as anything else, but for now he was happy to care for her in the wake of her punishment.
When she had quieted some– still sniffling, but no longer gulping air, Danny urged Jessica up as he spoke to her sister. “Your turn, young lady.”
Sunny burst into tears. Of course Danny’s lecture was floating around in her head now, but it was the brilliant color of her sister’s bottom and the subdued noises still coming from her as she slowly stood, clutching a tissue she’d been handed a moment ago, that made her take a step back. She knew she deserved it– Danny had painted a pretty clear picture, and shame had crept up on her. It was just really sinking in now that there wasn’t a second option. This was about to happen, to her, and it was going to hurt, a lot.
Jessica stood slowly, not looking at Danny, the embarrassment he’d predicted at her comfort-seeking starting to settle in. One hand slipped back to rest lightly on her bottom while the other dabbed the tissue at her nose. She didn’t quite have a smile for her sister, but she did manage a look of sympathy. Danny stood, reaching across the queen bed to pull the corner of the blanket down and gesturing to Jessica. “Thank you,” she sniffled quietly, though she pulled the cover back up before laying down. She had no interest in anything else touching her backside right now.
Danny turned back to the younger girl while Jessica settled, and said, “I’m sorry it has come to this, but here we are. You’ve earned the same spanking your sister just got. And then, I hope, we can start over. Come here please.”
Sunny’s whole body shook with her frustration, but she couldn’t make her feet move. When Danny stepped forward to take her arm, though, she didn’t fight. He guided her the few steps forward and then across his lap, where he lowered her leggings down to her mid-thighs, scooted the long duster she wore out of the way, and rested his hand on her bottom.
She grabbed for a pillow, which she promptly pressed her wet face into and said again, “I don’t want a spanking.”
It wasn’t so muffled that Danny didn’t understand, but all he said in response was, “Then let’s make sure not to earn a second one.” Then he lifted his hand and brought it down hard on her bottom. She began kicking immediately, and it wasn’t long before Danny found it prudent to pull her body forward across just one knee and lock her legs in place with his. He decided to scoop up her wrist as well, holding it firmly down out of the way.
He didn’t let her antics get in the way of the spanking he’d decided to give her; his hand fell just as hard and just as steadily as ever. When he paused to yank down her underwear and pick up the hairbrush, she kicked at the floor with her barely-free toes and yelled, “No I’m already sorry enough!”
“Well I appreciate the sentiment,” Danny said as he brought the wooden implement down, ignoring the shriek that followed. “And I hope when we are done here, you remember this punishment and make better choices in the future.” The brush never wavered under his lecture, nor did Sunny stop struggling for even a moment. “You’ve earned every swat of this spanking already, though.”
“It hurts so much,” she wailed pitifully.
“I understand,” Danny said, even as he continued spanking her. “It is supposed to hurt. You shouldn’t need a spanking to know that the way you’ve behaved is unacceptable. But since you did go so far out of your way to ask for a punishment, I plan to be thorough. I don’t want you to walk into this house again without at least remembering briefly what it was like to earn a spanking on your very first visit here.”
There was little to say after that. Danny had no trouble keeping the writhing girl in place as he delivered a long, sound hairbrush spanking. By the time he was finished, her bottom and the tops of her thighs were welted and swollen and her crying had taken on a different tenor entirely. He applied the last few swats with a keen precision to her sit-spots, each causing renewed squeal or cry, and then set the brush down.
He glanced over his handiwork and found himself satisfied that she would be a sorry and sore girl long after her brother had returned home, then pulled her up to sit on the opposite knee from where she had just been spanked. He half-expected her to immediately rise, but she settled herself there, scooting back so her weight fell mostly below where she’d been spanked on her thighs, and accepted the tissue Danny handed her gratefully. She didn’t wrap herself around Danny like she would have Oliver, but she did feel safe and wanted the comfort of touch after her punishment.
Danny rubbed her back, glad to have them dealt with and hopeful it would make the rest of the weekend more enjoyable– or at least more tolerable– for everyone. He wondered if he should have been firmer with them from the beginning and saved all four of them a day of tenseness. Ultimately though, he felt he’d done what he needed to do– by the time it came to a spanking, they had well and truly deserved it, so there was no need to question or regret his decision. He did intend to be rather strict from here on out, though.
After a few minutes, he helped Sunny stand and then grabbed the wastebasket by the bed and tipped it toward them, accepting their tissues and small grateful looks. “Dinner will be at 6:30. Tonight I will expect you both to be there, and to help with clean-up afterward.”
They both nodded, to which Danny responded patiently but firmly, “Yes, sir, please.” He’d spent enough time trying to be buddies with them this weekend. His highlighting of the power differential now was just as intentional.
Even sore as they were and with tears still drying on their cheeks, there was a moment of hesitation. Then came two quiet voices, “Yes, sir,” and Danny was satisfied.
“I think it’s a good idea for you to rest until then, but come out whenever you’re ready. We’ll be around.”
Sometime later, the girls might complain to each other or lament the state of their punished bottoms together, but in the moments right after a spanking they often remained quiet, stuck in their own heads. Today was no different. Each drifted off after only a few minutes, too exhausted and sore to do much else. Just before she fell asleep, Jessica batted at her phone, finding the home button and mashing it.
“Set an alarm for six o’clock pm.”
~ ~ ~
The rest of the weekend passed without incident; more so, they ended up having a really nice time. Emma had thoroughly cleaned and reassembled their coffee maker, relieving an immediate tension, and Danny’s punishing hand had given Sunny and Jessica all the motivation they needed to become perfect houseguests. But it was more than that. As the girls had considered Oliver’s feelings more, they began wanting their hosts to have something nice to tell him. And in trying to earn good favor on their own behalf, they accidentally had fun.
Once they stopped viewing him as an adversary, they found Danny to be easy going and even funny. Emma was delighted by the change of attitudes and eager to befriend them. Another perspective shift found them viewing her with the sort of affection only a very cool teenager can show an earnest adult. Oliver tried unsuccessfully to hide his shock when his sisters actually hugged the couple goodbye after they packed up the car on his return. Ben grinned, delighted to see it and happily affirmed. They’d had a wonderful weekend away, but he’d had to assure his boyfriend more than once that everything was fine back home.
Oliver didn’t want to ruin a good thing, but he knew his sisters well enough to at least be curious. “So it went alright?” he asked tentatively. They were standing on the front porch; Jessica and Sunny were waiting in the car as they said goodbye.
Emma felt the color rise in her cheeks as Danny answered, “We had a bit of a rocky start, but I think we got it sorted out.”
Ben and Oliver felt heat growing in their own faces. They had all been “sorted out” by Danny enough times to know what that meant. It was plenty for Oliver, though. He didn’t have any more questions.
“Good. Thank you so much for letting them crash here.”
“Any time!” said Emma enthusiastically, and Danny nodded in agreement.
“You had a good trip?” he asked.
The boys smiled and started to tell them about the hideaway they’d found and how beautiful the drive was. They were interrupted by the blare of the car horn behind them. They all turned to see Sunny’s face in the back passenger window as she mouthed Let’s goooo! Jessica was behind her, leaned over the driver’s seat and mashing center of the steering wheel. Ben guffawed, and the others chuckled while Oliver rolled his eyes. They said their final goodbyes and left, and Emma and Danny went back inside to enjoy their newly quiet home.