"What's going on in here?" Mia asked as she walked through the door. Right in front of her eyes Eliza stood puffed up with Grace standing in front of her, blocking her path to Sam. Sam took a step back, Grace stepped to the side, but kept a hand on Eliza, Eliza, stayed where she was, eye's still trained on Sam. "I asked," Mia said, taking a step into the room. "What is going on here?"
Still no one spoke, but Sam backed up more at the second round of questioning, and Eliza finally broke eye contact and started to examine the floor. Grace moved her hand from Eliza's arm to her back, "Everything is fine, Mia."
"It doesn't look fine, it looks like there was about to be a fight in my preschool, and we all know how unacceptable that would be." Mia said curtly, "Anyone care to fill me in on why some of my most senior teachers were about to go at it?" When she was met with more silence, she quickly started to feel her temper flare. "Grace, Eliza, I'm not asking! Someone had better start talking, and fast!"
Grace hesitated, "I don't think it was going to get physical Mia. In fact, it probably would have been over in a few more seconds. Just a disagreement."
"Grace, were you involved in this altercation, other than trying to break it apart?" Mia asked her, knowing the answer already.
"No Ma'am." Grace said, softly, knowing that would mean her dismissal soon.
"Then go outside with the kids, please." Mia waited for her to comply and didn't miss the gentle squeeze she gave to Eliza and the dirty look she gave to Sam. "You two in my office, please." Sam made to move immediately, but Eliza stood frozen in her spot. "Eliza, now!"
Eliza turned and shot a glance up at Mia's angry face, "I don't think I can go in there with her."
Mia was taken back by this statement, usually after the emotion was gone Eliza was quick to back down, and lose her defiance, but it wasn't gone yet. Mia could see it written all over her face. She wasn't sure what to do. On the rare occasion that Eliza didn't lose her defiance, going strict usually pulled her through, but for the most part she was apologetic so Mia could be a little softer. Now, however, she didn't know what to give the girl. It was clear that she didn't have control of her emotions, but she also knew that she was trying to fix that on her own. "Okay, Go out to your car and take a moment, but in five minutes if you aren't in my office with a different attitude then I will not be happy, am I understood?"
Eliza's face still pointed down, but she gave a slight nod.
"I said, am I understood?" Mia pressed.
"Yes Ma'am." Eliza ground out before heading out the door.
Mia sighed, but went into the office with her other 'child'. "I came back to grab my keys for a second, and this is what I walk into. Suffice to say, I am not happy. What happened?"
Sam shifted in the chair that she was sitting in, and looked up at Mia, "She was calling Bella's mom a bad mom."
Mia, nodded like she understood, "Okay, then what happened?"
"Then I said that people like her, make it hard for people to miss work," Sam said, shifting.
"Then I asked if she had something to say to me," Eliza said from the door.
"Come in and sit down, please." Mia asked her. Eliza hesitated for a second, but then came in and stood, leaning against the bathroom door. So she needs strict, Mia noted in her head. "I asked you to sit down."
"I don't want to." Eliza said point blank. "I'm only in here because my five minutes was going to run out."
"Okay, then I'm not asking, have a seat Eliza." Mia told her.
"Why can't I stand?" Eliza asked, definatly.
"Because I've told you to sit." Mia told her. "We can excuse Sam for a second, have a talk between the two of us, and then continue on with this conversation, or you can sit down in the chair, like I am telling you to."
All three women looked over as the bell above the front door rang, and they watched, Ethan, Mia's husband walk through the door. Mia gave Eliza a pointed look and the girl sat down.
"What's going on?" Ethan asked coming into the office, "I thought you were grabbing your keys and then we were going to lunch."
"Me too," Mia said, "and then I walked in on fight club."
Ethan raised an eyebrow. "What happened?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out." Mia said, and then filled him in up until that point. Ethan shut the door to the office and leaned against the desk, waiting.
"Then, I said yes, she made me feel bad every time I had to go get my sick kids." Sam responded.
"Then I told her, that I didn't do that, and my problem that day wasn't that she had to go get her son, but that she had agreed to stay, and then didn't stay." Eliza said.
"And I said it wasn't up to her because she didn't sign my checks so I didn't have to listen to her." Sam said quietly.
Mia frowned at that, "Is that true?"
"No." Sam said moodily.
"Right, you do have to listen to Grace and Eliza." Mia reiterated.
"Okay. Then you walked in." Sam said.
"That isn't true, because when I walked in you two were much closer, than across the room arguing, and Grace was standing in the middle. So who took the first step forward?"
Both girls remained silent, and both owners sighed. "Who took the first steps Eliza?" Ethan asked.
Still neither girl answered, "I can call in Grace," Mia said.
"She's just going to agree with whatever Eliza says, just like you all do." Sam objected.
"Does that mean Eliza took the first step forward?" Mia asked. Still both girls were silent. Ethan and Mia shared a look before he left the office to go get Grace. When they both came back, Eliza shot Grace a shut-up look. "Alright Grace, who escalated this?"
"I…" Grace hesitated, "It happened really fast."
"Okay, so then, slow it down in your mind, and tell me who it was." Mia said waspishly.
"Let me clear this up a little bit, Grace if you don't start talking then there will be consequences for you as well." Ethan told her.
Grace bit her lip, and looked first at Sam, frowning, and then at Eliza who shot her a pleading look, Grace sighed and turned back to Mia and Ethan, "I'm sorry, it was so fast."
"Sam?" Mia asked.
Sam looked over, and could tell that neither other girl was going to tell the truth for some reason. "It was Eliza."
Mia watched Eliza hang her head, and Grace's body stiffen at this pronouncement, but neither said anything. "Is that true?" Still both girls remained silent. "Okay, Sam, you need to listen to Grace, and Eliza, they are your bosses as well. I don't want to hear a single person tell me that you were anything less than 100 percent cooperative with any order she gave you, am I understood?"
"Yeah." Sam said, sulking again.
Mia sighed at the obvious lack of respect. "Also, you don't start an argument on my time in my preschool, am I understood on that point?"
"Yeah." Sam said, looking down at her hands.
"For the next two weeks, you are off any job that has any sort of decision, and you are on everyone's diaper duties for your shift. If that is understood, you are free to leave."
Sam stood up and walked out of the door, that Ethan quickly shut behind her, "That girl has an attitude problem, if anyone needs a spanking, it's her."
"Please don't," Eliza whispered.
"Don't worry I think we have enough spankings to hand out right now as it is." Mia told her. Eliza whimpered. "It's not like you to start a fight, and I can tell by you and Grace's body language that there is more to the story, but if the only information, I have on this is that you got aggressive, then I have to punish you for that."
"Eliza was not the aggressor here, on any front!" Grace quickly rushed in.
"Shut-UP!" Eliza snapped.
"Elizabeth, settle down, now!" Ethan snapped.
"Yes, Sir." She said, sitting back tensly in her chair.
"Go on Grace," Ethan said. Grace shook her head no. "I wasn't asking."
"There is nothing more to tell." Grace said.
"Who got aggressive first?" Mia asked.
Grace looked over at Eliza and frowned, "Eliza never got aggressive."
"That's not what I saw, coming into the room." Mia said.
"Just be quiet, Grace." Eliza sighed.
Ethan pulled the blinds on the office and then walked over and hoisted Eliza out of her chair. He landed five hard swats to the seat of her pants and then marched her to a corner. "Do not move, and do not speak, am I understood?" When silence rained, he spanked her hard another 5 times. "Am I understood?"
"You said not to speak!" She cried out.
Ethan landed ten very hard swats, "get your attitude under control, this second!"
"Yes, Sir." She whimpered.
"Thank you," Ethan said as he turned his full attention to Grace, "Spill it."
"There is nothing left to spill." Grace said.
"Did Eliza take the first step forward?" Mia asked, for what felt like the hundrth time.
Grace's eyes flicked over to Eliza in the corner. "Yes, Ma'am" she whispered.
"Final answer?" Ethan asked.
"Yes, Sir." Grace said.
"Okay, in the emotionally charged situation, I think we all forgot about a very important thing," Ethan said, as he pulled Eliza from the corner and stood her in front of the computer screen. He pulled Grace next to her, "Let's watch it on the cameras."
Eliza and Grace both groaned. They watched the argument play out, and watched as Eliza asked Sam to go outside, and Sam refused. They watched as Eliza turned to take a break and Sam went to block her movement, they watched as Sam grabbed Eliza's wrist and Eliza shook it off. They watched as Sam blocked her movement again, Eliza went to push past her, and Grace stepped in the way, receiving the shove meant for Sam. Sam stepped closer, and so did Grace and that's when Mia stepped through the door.
"So you were provoked all the way around?" Ethan asked. Mia felt really conflited about the whole situation. "Why don't you two get back to your job, while Ethan and I talk for a minute?"
"Yes Ma'am." They both chimed in, and walked out the door.
"If I had remembered the cameras, I wouldn't have pressured you to lie, I'm sorry if you get into trouble for this." Eliza told her.
Grace shrugged, "It's okay, why did you want to protect her then?"
"Because I'm older I know better."
"That doesn't mean you have to just take crap from her either," Grace said.
"I'm sorry, I shoved you, Grace." Eliza said softly.
"It's okay." Grace said again.
"It's really not." Eliza told her.
"That's what we decided too." Ethan said from the doorway, "We're going to take this conversation back to the house, both of you in the truck please."
"Yes, Sir," Both girls said. They both got into the truck and went down the street to the house. When they got to the house, and had walked into the living room, Hannah was sitting on the couch and looked up, "Hey, you guys should be working!"
"You should be in bed miss I'm too sick to go to school or work today," Ethan scolded as he came through the door.
Hannah, quickly reading her fathers mood, and knowing that it had something to do with her sisters nodded, "Yes, Sir, going there now."
"Hannah, make sure you shut your door," Mia called up the stairs afer their youngest.
"Yes, Ma'am!" She called down, and they heard her door click.
Ethan sighed, "Okay, both of you go upstairs to your rooms and get ready for us please."
Safe to drop the pretenses in their home, Eliza looked up at her dad with big puppy dog eyes, "Does Grace really have to be here Dad? I mean really she's a hero!"
Grace and Mia both rolled their eyes at Eliza's antics, "Come on, up the stairs with us," Grace said, pulling on her little sister's arm.
"I earned a spanking, but Grace didn't!" Eliza said, pulling back against Grace.
"Grace, did your mother and I ask you several times to tell us what happened?" Ethan asked.
"Yes, Dad." Grace said dutifully.
"And did you obey?"
"Were you honest with us?" He pressed further.
"No, Sir. I lied." Grace said softly.
"Both of those things are spankable offences in this home." Mia cut in, "Now, listen to your dad and go to your rooms please."
"Yes Ma'am." Grace said, again tugging on Eliza's arm.
Eliza reluctantly followed her sister up the stairs. When they got to the top landing, Grace walked her sister to her room and pushed her gently on her bed, "Mind Mommy and Daddy, Eliza, don't get sassy on my account, I earned whatever they dish out fair and square, okay?"
"I don't want you to be in trouble," Eliza said, falling back into her bed.
"I'm already in trouble, and so are you, so you need to obey please."
"Okay, Gracie, but come in here after."
Grace kissed her sister's forehead before walking into their jack and jill bathroom to her room.
Mia knocked on her door. "Can I come in Gracie?"
"Yes, Ma'am." She called before sitting on her bed. Mia came in and sat down next to her, "I'm sorry for this mess, Mom."
"I know Baby," Mia pulled her daughter in close and kissed the top of her head, "You just don't always think the clearest where Eliza is involved, but I know we raised you better than you lying and disobeying us."
"You did." Grace confirmed. "But do you really think Eliza earned a spanking, she was provoked on all ends."
"That's true," Mia said squeezing her daughter, but like you, she made a few poor choices in that. Your dad and I were willing to let all of that go with a different punishment though…but the way she reacted, we knew she felt guilty. So, we are helping her get rid of that, because you know that a guilty Eliza makes crazy choices."
Grace nodded. In to her mom's side.
A knock came at Eliza's door. "Elizabear, can I come in?" Her dad asked.
"Yes, Sir," She said, sitting up and looking attentive.
Ethan came into the door and sat down on her bed, "Do you want to talk before or after your spanking?"
"Do I have to talk at all?" She asked.
"Well, a little at first, and then we will see how you feel after, how does that sound?" Ethan asked his middle child.
"That's fine." She said agreeably.
"Okay, then, over my knee Elizabear." He said affectionatly.
Eliza whimpered, but obeyed easily. "Yes, Sir."
"Atta girl!" Ethan praised. "Why are you here?"
"I didn't do a good job setting an example." Eliza said.
Ethan started spanking hard with his hand over her jeans, "That's partially true, you made quite a few good choices today too, Elizabeth, but we will get to that later, can you elaborate on that?"
"I should have just kept my temper in check and ignored Samantha, instead of calling her out." Eliza told him.
"That's true," Ethan said, he picked up the hairbrush he had picked up off her dresser on the way to her bed. "You've worked really hard on your temper, just to raise to Sam's bait."
"Yes, Sir!" She exclaimed through gritted teeth. "I also wasn't nice to Grace, and I got her to lie to you."
"Grace made a choice, and she is facing her own consequence for that, you weren't very nice to Grace though, and we don't act that way with family."
Eliza tried hard not to squirm or kick her feet, as tears started to fall down her face. "I also disobeyed when you and Mommy asked me to tell you what happened."
Ethan started spanking her sit-spots, "Anything else?"
Eliza was sobbing now. "Daddy! That hurts!"
"I know, is there anything else you need to clear off your conscience?"
"I pushed Grace!" She sobbed.
Ethan moved down further to the tops of her thighs and spanked harder than he had the whole time, knowing that she needed to hit her limit soon. When her cries turned into wracking sobs, and coherent words were incabable, he stopped. He rubbed her back until she calmed down. "Hey, you're okay, Elizabear, I'm proud of you, you took that well. Do you feel any better?"
She snorted, but sat up on the bed next to her dad, "yes, sir, a little."
He kissed her sweaty forehead, "Oh good, baby."
A tentive knock sounded from the bathroom, "Are you alive?" Grace called through the door, quickly followed by a quick, "Ow, Mommy, I'm still sore."
"Come in," Eliza called laughing.
Grace came in and launched herself at her sister.
Mia kissed her daughter's head, "Okay, you're Dad and I are going to go to lunch, now that you are both sorted out, you need to be back at work at twelve-thirty but relax until then, maybe spend some time with Hannah."
Ethan stood up to join his wife, "However, I will say this, you are both grounded, until you can make more sound decisions…"
"So, forever?" Eliza asked.
Grace hit her with a pillow, "speak for yourself."
"For at least two weeks," Ethan told them, "Work, school, Church and Home, and when your home you should be working on things, not screwing around, am I understood?"
"Yes, Sir." Both girls said.
"Alright we love you," Mia said, "See you tonight."
"Love you too!" They both exclaimed.
When their parents left Grace and Eliza laid down in bed and it only took a second after hearing the front door click that Hannah ran into the room and jumped on Eliza's bed! "Two weeks of you two not being able to go out?"
"At least," Gracie sighed.
"Yay!" Hannah exclaimed.
"Hey squirt, that isn't nice." Eliza said tickling her sister.
Hannah laughed, "I didn't mean it in a mean way!"
Grace pulled Hannah close, and out of the tickling firing line, "What do you mean then?"
"Since you have both been in college, you are never home unless it's for church and I miss spending time with you both. It will be nice to see you more." She said, before cuddling next to Grace, clearly embarrassed.
"Why didn't you tell us this?" Grace asked her, stroking her hair.
"I wanted you to want to be home, not feel guilty about my feelings." Hannah said.
Grace looked up at Eliza sad. "We miss you too, I'm sorry we've been so busy, but we are never to busy for you." Eliza promised her.
"Don't you guys have a job to get back to?" Hannah asked, clearly uncomfortable with the emotion.
"Yes, but we have time to eat a nice lunch with our favorite baby sister." Grace said standing and pulling the younger two up.
"I'm not very hungry," Eliza complained, walking down the stairs.
"Oh, you want two spankings today?" Hannah asked.
"You won't have to wait for Mommy or Daddy to find out either, Elizabeth. If you don't eat lunch, I'll give you a spanking." Grace scolded.
"I didn't say I wasn't going to eat, I know the rules, I just said I wasn't hungry." Eliza grumbled.
"We can compromise, since it's just us. Why don't we have a chicken salad for lunch? That's nice and light." Grace said, putting chicken out on the counter.
"That won't meet the calorie count for lunch," Hannah said nervously.
"I won't go for my run tonight," Eliza tried.
The 16 year old still looked nervous, "Will you watch a movie with me tonight?"
"If Mommy and Daddy will let me," Eliza said honestly.
Grace tried to throw things into the salad that would bulk up the calorie count. "Okay, Lunch is ready, lets eat."