“Oliver. Oliver. Hey. Can you hear me?”
”Emma? Hey, what’s up?” Oliver pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at the time. It was close to 11pm. “Everything okay?”
”I don’t know. Is it? I can’t go outside and check.”
Oliver furrowed his brow, trying to make sense out of what his friend was saying. Before he could respond she was talking again.
”Oliver. Oliver! Shhhh.”
”I wasn’t saying anything. Emma, are you… are you high right now?”
She errupted into giggles, but they stopped almost as soon as they started. “Oliver. Can you come over here?”
He rolled his eyes, but said “Yeah, I’ll be there in just a minute. Don’t go anywhere.”
”I’m not! And Oliver! Don’t tell Danny.”
”Just sit tight. I’ll be right there.”
Oliver put his phone in his pocket then stood for a minute, hands on his hips as he thought about what he should do. Danny and Ben were out of town, visiting their parents for a long weekend. He walked to the bedroom and threw together an overnight bag. Might as well see what was happening before he made any decisions.
~ ~ ~
He had to ring the bell three times before she answered, and when she did it was with a conspiratorial air. She grabbed his hand immediately and pulled him inside to the couch. “Oliver,” she said, making intense eye contact, “I wanted to be good at smoking weed so I tried to practice but now I think it was a bad idea.”
Oliver just stared at her for a minute, unsure of how to respond, then said “What did you smoke? Just weed?”
She nodded solemnly at him and replied, “I asked my friend and she gave me a joint just like we had before but this time we weren’t packing so no spankings.”
Oliver blushed, and thought Emma might be wrong about that. There was no point in talking about it now though. Instead he asked, “Are you feeling okay? How much of it did you smoke?”
”I was scared before but now I feel better. And sleepy.”
”And how much did you smoke?”
”All of it. I’m an over-achiever. Can I go to bed now?”
Oliver smiled and shook his head, amused at her. “I think that’s a great idea. Let’s get you ready.”
Emma flopped back against the couch and said “I can just sleep here. I like it here. This is a good couch for sleeping.”
“I don’t think so, miss Emma. Let’s get you upstairs,” Oliver said as he stood.
”Hmph,” she said, pouting, which made Oliver raise an eyebrow at her. “Noooo, don’t look at me like that! No looks.”
”Then quit fussing and get up, little girl. I’m gonna crash here tonight.”
”Duh, you can’t leave me like this. Danny would murder you,” she said, giggling again.
”I think you have plenty to worry about without throwing me in the mix. Are you going to behave yourself and let me put you to bed?”
Emma heaved a long dramatic sigh, but in the end said simply, “I guess.”
”Good choice,” Oliver said as he extended his hand and she took it. “We’ll talk more tomorrow.”
~ ~ ~
The next morning, Emma came downstairs to find Oliver making eggs in the kitchen. “Hi,” she said sheepishly, climbing up onto one of the stools by the kitchen counter and putting her hands around the glass of orange juice he’d set out for her.
“Good morning, sunshine,” he said as he took the pan off the stove. He turned, giving her a smile as he dumped the yellow scrambled eggs on to two plates. “How are you feeling?”
”Pretty good,” she said. “I slept really hard.”
Oliver let out a laugh as he put a plate in front of her and then handed her a fork. “I bet you did. A whole joint by yourself?” He stood across from her as he took a bite.
She blushed and kept her eyes on her plate as she scooted her eggs around. After a minute Oliver said, “You gonna eat those or just rearrange them?”
She took a bite, swallowed, and glanced up. “Are you gonna tell Danny?”
Oliver gave her a scrutinizing look. She kept eating, trying to be good. He finally said, “How do you think Danny would feel about your little experiment?”
She stuck her lip out and stabbed a bite of egg. “It depends on if he knows or not. If he doesn’t know about it, he won’t have any feelings about it.”
When she glanced up again, Oliver was giving her a look that made her gaze drop right back to her plate. She took another bite to avoid having to look up.
”You can talk to Danny about it, Emma. And you can be grateful I don’t spank your butt before he does. I probably should.”
She squirmed in her seat. “Oliveeeer,” she whined. “Stooop.”
He picked up his empty plate and waited for her to take her last bite before grabbing hers, too. “Stop what?” he said, “Telling you what you already know?”
”Hmph. He wouldn’t punish me for the same thing twice.” An idea formed in her brain as she spoke. “Actually…” she said hesitantly, watching Oliver close the dishwasher and turn to her, drying his hands on a towel.
”Yes?” he said.
”Would you?” she said, blushing furiously but keeping her eyes up.
“Would I what?”
”Would you… take care of it?” She didn’t think she had ever blushed harder in her life.
Oliver leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms, contemplating her. “You think I’m gonna be nicer than Danny, huh?”
”No!” she squeaked, even though that was exactly what she had been thinking. “I just hate waiting.” That part was also true; she wasn’t sure she could carry this weight in her stomach until Danny got home on Monday.
Oliver continued to contemplate her. “You know I won’t be nice either. I don’t think you made an especially wise decision.”
Emma frowned and played with the condensation on her glass of juice. “You and Ben smoke all the time, though.”
Oliver nodded. “We do, pretty regularly. But we also know how much, and how it makes us feel. And you could have called me earlier last night. We could have smoked together if that was what you wanted. I don’t think it was about that, though.”
Emma made a face, scrunching up her nose. “How do you know what it was about?” she said.
”Call it a hunch,” Oliver said, but his tone had changed. He stood up straight and gave her a look that made her insides squirm. “Do you have a favorite corner?”
”Oliver! No one has a favorite corner! Do you have to do that part, too?”
”I sure don’t,” he replied. “I’m doing it because I think you need a little time to think about why you were home alone last night, trying to hide something that you‘re now telling me you’re allowed to do.”
Emma huffed. “Well maybe I am allowed to do it.”
”Would you like your mouth washed out, too?”
Her eyes went round. “No sir,” she said quickly and without thinking. She’d never called Oliver sir before, but she had also never had soap in her mouth and she wanted to keep it that way.
”Good. Go find a corner, please.”
Subdued, Emma climbed down from the stool and went to a corner of the living room which, while not her favorite, was certainly familiar. She put her hands behind her back obediently, hoping that Oliver was wrong about being mean like Danny, but worrying that he wasn’t. He wasn’t wrong about her motivations. She shifted her feet as the guilt she’d been avoiding settled in.
When Oliver called her out a few minutes later, she was in a very different headspace. Though she still hoped that Oliver would be more lenient than her boyfriend, she knew she deserved to be punished. She walked over to where Oliver sat on the corner of the sturdy glass coffee table. She noticed a wooden spoon sitting behind him and groaned. “Is it too late to wait for Danny?” she asked tentatively.
”It is,” Oliver replied. “The spoon was actually his suggestion.”
Emma’s lungs seemed to freeze. “You talked to him?” she said, her voice much higher than normal. Heat rushed up her neck and face.
”Oh,” she said, unable to utter any more syllables after that.
“He pointed out that his hand didn’t seem to do the trick last time. Let’s get this taken care of. Over my lap, please.”
Emma practically dove into position, ready for Oliver to stop looking at her face. He pulled her pajama bottoms down, then adjusted her yellow underwear so they covered her bottom.
He began patting her backside as he spoke. “I can’t believe that after the trouble we were in just a month ago, you are messing around again.” The pats morphed into swats, and those swats were becoming harder by the second.
”You are not in high school any more. Weed is not something you need to become ‘good’ at, as you said last night.”
“I know, I know Oliver!” Emma said, pushing her palms against his thigh and kicking her feet. His hand was so stingy and he spanked so fast that she couldn’t catch her breath. He began to concentrate on her sit spots.
”You knew before you started this whole thing, which is why you waited until Danny was out of town to do it.”
Emma strained against Oliver’s grasp, trying to keep her feet out of his way but barely succeeding. He continued lecturing over her pitiful grunts and heavy breathing.
”You’re officially grounded from smoking, alone or with anyone else.”
”But Oliver—“ she said between wiggles, but he spoke over her.
”Danny’s decision. Which I fully support. If you can’t be responsible with it, you don’t need to do it.”
”But I feel left out,” she whined, and Oliver stopped spanking her. He rested his right hand on her bottom and rubbed her back gently with his left.
”Emma, you don’t have to enjoy everything. It doesn’t make you less fun or more fun. It doesn’t make us not want to hang out with you. Do you understand that?”
”I guess,” she said miserably, and Oliver gave a low hum of disapproval before using both hands to pull her underwear down, exposing her already sore bare bottom.
She moaned and kicked her feet, which earned her a swat to each thigh. “Keep those down, Emma. We aren’t finished. I need you to be a whole lot more sure first.”
Next she felt the cool wood of the spoon and she reached over to grab a fistful of Oliver’s pajama bottoms with her right hand while her left braced her against the floor. He didn’t wait long before he was spanking her with it, sharp and stingy swats all over her backside. She kicked her legs from side to side, but kept them out of the way; she didn’t want her thighs to match her bottom.
She was beginning to regret a lot of things as the spoon fell— asking her friend for weed, for starters. Smoking by herself, for another. And asking Oliver to be in charge of her punishment was currently at the top of her list. He kept Ben under control, for goodness sake! Why had she thought he would be a pushover?
“Let me tell you about my tolerance,” he said as the spoon made contact again and again. “It is very low when it comes to these sorts of antics. You are sweet and fun and funny, and that is all you need to be.”
He laid the swats on hard after he spoke, but only for a moment before he stopped spanking her. Her eyes were wet as she felt him rest his forearms across her back, and she released his pants leg to swipe the back of her hand across her face.
”I am really glad you called me when you got scared last night. And I hope that any time you’re in a situation where you feel scared, you’ll call one of us. Even if it means a sore butt for you.”
She squirmed, both embarrassed and pleased at the praise. He set the spoon down with a clatter on the table and patted her bottom with his hand.
”So, we are clear that you are grounded? And why?”
”Yes, Oliver,” she said meekly. She didn’t care if she never smoked weed again right now. He had been right earlier— she didn’t even enjoy it. And now she wasn’t going to enjoy sitting for the rest of the day.
He pulled her underwear and pajama bottoms up, then had her get up as well. She did so but then immediately sat in his lap, throwing her arms around his neck.
”Shhh, it’s alright,” he said as he rubbed her back. She just needed to be held for a few minutes, and she was happy with how comfortable she felt letting Oliver take care of her. Even if he was, most decidedly, mean. She actually smiled into his shoulder, thinking about commiserating with Ben when he got home.
”Alright, miss Emma, we better go call our boyfriends. I need to let Ben know you survived. He was very worried. You did survive, right?”
Emma giggled and sat up, nodding as she said, “Mostly,” and then, “thank you.”
Oliver smiled and hugged her tightly. “You’re welcome.”