Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 18 Apr 2011
“I'm proud of you, son,” Dad said, beaming as he laid a hand on my shoulder.
“Thanks, Dad,” I replied, blushing awkwardly.
It was one of those phrases I never knew how to respond to. I knew it was meant to be positive and encouraging, but it always felt sort of cringe-worthy and embarrassing. I've always shied away from praise, even when I was fourteen.
“Let's go out for dinner to celebrate!” he declared.
We ended up at my favourite Italian. On the drive over, Dad couldn't stop talking about how proud he was with my SATS results. I blushed and grunted my acknowledgement a few times, but really didn't see why it was such a big deal. Teachers had spent the past months anxiously reminding us the exams were to test their teaching skills and not our ability. Still, Dad couldn't have been more proud.
“What can I get for you?” the waitress asked politely, pen poised.
“Um... er...” There were a few favourites on the menu, but I hadn't come to a decision.
“Get whatever you want,” Dad said, then he turned to the waitress, “he got his SATs results today...”
“Daaaad!” I protested, my cheeks pinking up. “She doesn't care.”
“He did well, huh?” She said, offering a smile.
I sunk deeper into my seat just hoping it would suck me away. I was so embarrassed, but Dad just kept talking, telling her my grades and how I'd really outdone myself in Maths. She was sweet about it, humouring him, but it just made me more uncomfortable.
“I'll have the lasagne!” I almost shouted over Dad, hoping it would shut him up. Luckily, he did take that as his cue to order and the waitress disappeared.
I spent the rest of the meal trying to talk about anything else. I even encouraged the boring political chatter which Dad could go on and on about. It was almost a relief when the meal came to an end and we could get back to the house. At least there was no one there to brag to.
The phone rang when we arrived back and Dad answered. I didn't know who was on the other end, but it was only a matter of seconds before he started talking about my results. I couldn't believe it!
“Dad, for fuck's sake!” I shouted at him, horrified. “Please, just stop!”
He stopped. The room went silent and his eyes fell heavily on me. We do not swear in our house. It was a complete no-no, and an instant spanking offence. I felt a flutter of anxiety as I tried to stare him down, but it was just so frustrating. Why couldn't he just shut up about my stupid grades?
“I'll call you back,” he said down the phone, and hung up. “That was Grandma, she called to ask how you did.”
“I don't care!” I cried back, desperately, “I just want you to shut up about it for one second. It's fucking embarrassing!”
And I'd sworn again. That flutter elevated to a wave. I struggled to hold Dad's eye, and suddenly wasn't all that bothered about his boastful praise any more. He looked very far from proud.
“This has been a very good day,” Dad said, “it's a shame you had to spoil it.”
“Dad...” My protest died on my lips. Disappointment hung heavily over the room.
“Go on upstairs,” he told me, calmly. I swallowed hard and went.
My legs felt shaky on the steps, and my heart pounded in my chest. It had been several months since Dad had last spanked me, and I was beginning to think they were a thing of the past. I'd just gone and spoiled that, though.
It was difficult to concentrate as I moved the pillows into a neat pile at the end of my bed. I wasn't much of a swearer at the worst of times, I didn't know what had possessed me. I guess part of me wanted to make him mad. Perhaps I wanted to prove that I wasn't this perfect kid he was portraying? I couldn't really explain it.
My breaths were shaky and I struggled to undo my jeans. I eventually got them down, and pushed my boxers to join them. The air felt chilled, and I heard footsteps on the stairs.
By the time Dad came through the door, I was bent over the pillows with fistfuls of duvet in each hand.
“I am sorry we have to do this, especially today,” Dad said, but my attention was on another sound; the jingle of a belt buckle. “I will not have that language in our home, as well you know.”
I didn't have anything to say. I knew that well enough, and I shouldn't have let my anger get the better of me. A tear crept down my cheek. I was such an ungrateful wretch. Gritting my teeth, I braced myself for the belt. Dad didn't leave me waiting long.
I hissed as the leather scalded a band across my backside, and screwed up my face against the pain. A second lick quickly joined the first, and in a matter of moments I was yelping in time with the belt. It didn't take long for the yelps to graduate into sobs, and soon I was in tears. Pain crashed over me in intense waves, and my guilt just let me take it.
I counted fourteen before Dad finally took mercy on my damaged rear. I continued to cry over the pillows for a moment, but I quickly found my way into Dad's arms. He held me close as my tears receded, and whispered that he was proud of me. A short laugh choked out through my sobs, and I couldn't resist rolling my eyes.
“I know, Dad,” I replied, indulgently. I certainly did know.
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