"Maria! I heard my brother, Aaron, scream from downstairs. "Get down here this instant!"
I immediately ran down the stairs. "What?" I asked, exasperated and very annoyed, holding onto the railing.
I sighed and walked towards him. He was standing by the cofee table in front of the couch. On that coffee table was a letter from my school addressed "to the parents/guardian(s) of Maria Daniels." Shit. It was my quarterly report card.
My brother picked it up. "Care to explain to me why you have a C in English and a D in history, Maria?"
Why don't you do the math, buddy. You're smart enough. Maria Lane Daniels is nothing compared to Aaron Lyle Daniels.
"I'm not that smart, Aaron. I told you the only thing I'm any good at is art."
"That's not true, Maria, and you should know it. If you just stopped telling yourself you're stupid and applied yourself a little more, you could be acing school. But no, instead you just put yourself down and don't even try to do better." He paused. "And what about this Spanish grade? A "C-", really? Come on, Maria, you're better than that. I know you are."
"Easy for you to say. Everything comes so naturally to you. You never had to work hard at anything!"
"That isn't true, Maria. I worked very hard to do well in school. You have the same potential. You just have to apply yourself."
"Right. And I suppose if you applied yourself to being an artistic genius it would happen."
"Cut it with the attitude, Maria." I didn't say anything. He sighed. "You shouldn't give up so easily like that."
"What do you know?" I muttered.
"More than you give me credit for. That's for sure." He paused. "Sit down."
"Just sit down, Maria."
I rolled my eyes and gave an exasperated sigh, "Fine."
He sat down next to me and turned towards me, scooting ever so slightly closer. I scooted away as far as I could to get away from him. It didn't work. "What makes you think you're stupid?"
"The facts," I answered bluntly.
"If anything makes you an idiot, it's only the fact that you THINK you're stupid."
"Well, my thoughts are fact to me, so that's all that matters."
He shook his head at me, sighing. "You have a serious self-esteem issue that needs fixing."
"No, I'm fine. Thanks, though," I replied, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Maria, seriously, I don't get it. You think you're stupid yet you're way smarter than I ever will be. Do you even remember how high your score was on your IQ test?"
"Why does it fucking matter, Aaron?" I began, my anger escalating quickly into fury.
"It shows that you're way smarter than you claim.
"I don't fucking care," I said, turning away. My intelligence didn't matter. I was an artist at heart and that's all I cared about. Why couldn't Aaron just understand and accept it? I wasn't him. I was no academic and I never would be. Who cares about history? It's all dead people. And why do I need to take an English class? I already speak the language. And Spanish? I don't plan on leaving the country so who even cares? Not me. Not now. Not ever. But clearly, Aaron did and would and will. And that was enough to make me want to cry.
"Maria Lane Daniels, look at me."
"No," I semi-shouted, my voice quivering a little bit.
"You're going to be in more trouble than you already are if you don't."
"I"m in trouble?" I whispered, turning to him.
"Yes. These grades are unacceptable for someone with as much potential as you."
At this I blew up. Rising to my feet, I began to scream at him. "Why do you keep telling me that!? I'm not smart! I never was smart! And I never will be smart! Why can't you just get that through your thick male skull? I will NEVER be you, Aaron, and the only thing that I'll ever be any good at or love is art! Why won't you just accept that!" I paused, breathing in heavily and then began to cry as I whispered to myself, "Mom and Dad would understand." I fell back on the couch, head in hands, tears falling from my eyes. Aaron tried to comfort me by putting his hand on my shoulder but I pushed him away. "NO!" I yelled, crying. "Just go away!"
"Maria," he pleaded, "just talk to me."
"What is there to talk about?" I choked out in-between sobs. "I think we already covered everything well enough." I paused. "Just go away," I told him.
"No," he answered, pulling me towards him and embracing me in a hug, "I'm not going away."
I wanted to push him away again but didn't and instead just cried into his shoulder. "I want Mom," I sobbed.
"I know you do, honey. I know. Shh..." he replied, rubbing my back gently.
"And I want Dad too. I want to see them again and I'll never be able to!" I cried again.
"They may come back someday, Maria. You never know," he whispered, trying to reassure me.
"But you said they're probably gone for good," I said, pushing up from him.
"Probably doesn't mean definitely, Maria."
"But it means most likely," I frowned, putting my head back on his chest.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see then, won't we?" he stated, still rubbing my back.
"Yeah, I guess," I answered, having finally calmed down to the point that I wasn't crying anymore, for now.
We sat there for a little while, not saying anything to each other. It was just him rubbing my back gently and me staring into space.
He sighed, taking a deep breath in and then letting it out. "You're still in trouble, you know."
"I figured," I answered, too exhausted from crying to fight.
"So I guess you know what that means then?"
"I'd rather not."
He laughed. "You do though. Sorry, kiddo, I gotta do this. You're smarter than what you're showing."
"I know," I replied, really only to the second sentence but he could think whatever he wanted.
"Okay, come on, Maria. Get up, pants down and over my lap."
I groaned. "Fine, but only because I don't feel like fighting." Clearly, I was feeling like being honest though.
I got up and he scooted over to the middle of the couch as I unbottoned my jeans and pulled them down to my knees then reluctantly let Aaron help me over his lap.
He pulled my panties down before he even started. It took everything in me not to protest.
"Why are you getting this spanking, Maria Lane?" he asked, resting his warm hand on my cold bottom.
"Because I got bad grades and I can do way better."
"That's right. You aren't living up to your potential. And what else?"
What else did he want? Was it that stupid self-esteem thing? Well, it was worth a shot. "I have self-esteem issues?" I said in a questioning tone, not really sure of what this had to do with anything.
"Let me explain it to you, Maria. Part of the reason you're getting this spanking is because you don't think you're good enough and have a lot of self-esteem issues that need fixing. The other part is the bad grades. Do you understand now?" I nodded. "Well, I'm going to make sure you understand. With that, he lifted his hand and began the spanking.
It didn't take long for me to begin screaming. he had started out super hard, not bothering to give me a warm-up. That made it a million times harder to take. Not to mention how fast he was going! I could have sworn I was going to die! But, I didn't protest. As much as I wanted to, I didn't. I figured it wasn't worth it. So I just took it and listened to his lecturing, despite what I wanted.
"Maria, you need to work harder in school," he said, talking about the sound of the deafening smacks. "You are so much smarter than you're showing. You can't just let that go to waste. Do you understand me?"
"Yes!" I cried out as he spanked me swiftly.
"You have so much potential. Why can't you see that? Are you just going to let it all go?"
"No!" I screamed, biting my lip so hard I thought it would bleed.
"And you have got to start taking better care of yourself, not just with the physical but with the emotional as well. I know you think bad things about yourself. We're going to work on that, got it?"
He gave me two last (and very hard smacks) to each of my thighs, then lifted me up. "Go get the bigger wooden spoon out of the kitchen, Maria. And hurry up!" he added with a smack to my right cheek.
"Yes, Aaron," I whispered, going to the kitchen and getting the bigger of the two wooden spoons we owned. This was only the second time Aaron had spanked me but it didn't surprise me that he would use this. After all, I guess it did make sense.
Upon returning to hte living room, I handed it to him. "Good girl," he said, then patted his lap. "Come on, let's get this over with," he ordered, helping me back over his lap.
"I want you to remember this for a long time. You're better than you think you are. You should know that, shouldn't you, Maria?"
I nodded, tears beginning to stream out of my eyes.
"I'm just making sure," he responded. With that, he lifted the wooden spoon and smacked it down hard, alternating between the right and left. I felt it immediately
"Oww, Aaron," I cried. "That hurts!"
"Good. Then you'll remember it for a long time."
"Yes! I screamed. "I will!" He didn't say anything. "Aaron, please!"
"I'm not stopping yet, Maria. You earned this one, for getting bad grades, for not living up to your potentaial, for not believing in or taking care of yourself at all. You deserve this and you know it."
"Yes!" I cried, now sobbing. "I do!"
He continued spanking me for what seemed to be forever then he paused and gently said, "Almost done, kiddo. Just a little more and then we're done."
I nodded my head, sobbing. He gently rubbed my back before lifting the spoon and smacking it down on my thighs and sitspots for what seemed to be forever but was probably only thirty seconds to a minute.
"All done, Maria," he whispered gently. "I'm not going to spank you anymore."
He rubbed my back softly as I cried, just lying over his lap, and attempted to regain my composure. "I'm sorry, Aaron. I'll... I'll, tr-try to do be-better."
"I know you will, honey. I know," he responded, pulling up my panties and lifting me into a hug. "Come on, now. Give me a hug," he said.
I complied willingly, embracing him for all it was worth. He continued to rub my back and shushed me until I had calmed down to the point that he could speak to me.
"You know how high your IQ actually is, Maria? he asked, pulling away from me.
"I don't want to know," I whispered, turning my eyes away from his.
"Maria Lane Daniels," he warned, "do I need to give you another spanking?"
"No, sir," I answered, shaking my head."
"Then let me tell you, okay?"
"When mom nad dad had you tested when you were 12, it was an overall 140 or 141, maybe 142... somewhere around there. Does that shock you?"
"Yeah," I ansered. It actually did. I hadn't known I had such a high IQ. It didn't change my feelings about things though; just like the spanking hadn't changed anything either. But don't tell Aaron.
"So I want you to work harder, okay?"
"Do you promise me?" he asked, looking me dead in the eye.
I stared straight back. "I promise."
"Okay, I'll hold you to that. And you know what's going to happen if you break that promise?"
"That's right. But it won't happen again because we won't have this problem again, will we?"
"No, Aaron, we won't."
He smiled at me. "Good girl," he said, then, "Oh, I love you so much," as he squeezed me to death. "Now go get cleaned up and we'll go out to dinner as a reward for you taking your punishment so well," he told me.
"Okay," I answered, glad that my brother still loved me.
But I wasn't under any delusions, even if Aaron was. This would definitely happen again. When, I didn't know. It could be this week or next year. All I knew was that promises are broken just as easily as they're made.