Happy Memories

     Carly began to panic as she realized Easter was this Sunday. Money was tight; she barely had enough necessities, let alone the traditional Easter dresses for her sisters, baskets of goodies, eggs for decorating. Although they didn’t regularly attend church, Carly tried to bring up the girls with faith and traditions. Years earlier, way before their parents abandoned them, she remembered celebrating the Easter holiday. That was one of her few happy memories that included their parents.

     After cashing her paycheck on Friday, she had enough money for a few dozen eggs, a meager basket of chocolates for the girls, and maybe new hair ribbons. New dresses would have to wait for better times. She decided to pick up the girls to settle at home before heading out to the local Walmart for her shopping. Unfortunately, she forgot all about the plans she made with Vivian, so when Vivian arrived after dark, she found the girl’s home alone.

      The alarm soon turned to annoyance. The girls explained Carly ran to the store for supplies to color Easter eggs. They were excited about the upcoming holiday and the Easter egg hunt Sunday morning before church. Kimberly told Vivian how she liked to eat the ears of the bunny first and giggled at her expression, “You bite the ears off a poor little bunny?”

     Both girls were in hysterics, “Vivian! Not a real bunny, A chocolate one.” They laughed louder when Vivian dramatically lifted the back of her hand to her head. Further explaining, “The Easter bunny brings a chocolate bunny in a basket and hides the colored eggs while we sleep.”

     “I’m glad you clarified that, I was beginning to worry. Now let’s call your sister and see when she will be home. I’d like to know what she has planned for dinner.” Vivian’s first three attempts went right to voicemail. Turning the phone off was unusual for Carly; she liked to be available for the girls. The girls wanted Chinese, so Vivian had it delivered, and she fed the girls while they waited for Carly to come home.

     The trip to Walmart wasn’t easy. It took thirty minutes and two buses. Once she arrived, the shelve of Easter candy was almost empty. The store was out of the giant bunnies, but there were two smaller bunnies and enough candy to fill two baskets sparsely. On the way to find eggs, she decided to add fruit as a basket filler. Maybe she’d throw a carrot in each bag. The thought of Kimberly and her big eyes listening as she told them the Easter bunny dropped his snack in her basket made her smile.

     After checking out, she scooped up her bags, ready to make the long trip home. She paused a moment to check her phone, surprised it was off. She must have accidentally hit the button, so she quickly turned it on and was alerted to several messages. Vivian had been trying to reach her. She didn’t bother wasting time to listen to the voicemails; she called her right away. “Young lady Where are you?” Carly was stunned by the stern tone from Vivian.

     “Walmart, I had to pick up some things.” Right then, she remembered the plans she and Vivian had. “Oh, Vivian I forgot about our plans. I’m sorry. When I realized Easter was this Sunday I panicked.” The line was quiet for a moment. “I should be home in thirty or forty minutes.”

     “You will do no such thing! I want you to wait inside the store we are on our way. Do you even know what time it is?” She heard in the background, girls, get your coats on. Come on; we need to pick up Carly. “We will be there in ten minutes. I’ll call when we pull up. And Carly, you and I will discuss this tonight.”

     Stunned by Vivian’s reaction, Carly replied the safest way she could think. “Yes ma’am.”  disconnecting, she began pacing the store’s entryway. Time passed quickly, and by the time Carly made it to the vehicle, the trunk was up; placing her bags in, Carly climbed into the car on the passenger side. Cautiously she glanced up, daring to look at Vivian; she quickly apologized. “I’m sorry Vivian. I truly forgot.”

     “We will discuss it later, buckle up so we can get the girls to bed. It’s after ten, have you eaten? We ordered from the Chinese restaurant you like.”

     The girls chimed in, excited about decorating the eggs. “Can’t we stay up and decorate the Eggs? Carly how many did you buy? Did you remember to buy the tablet stuff to color them?”

     “I got four dozen eggs and we can decorate them tomorrow. It’s way to late tonight. Yes I remembered the tablets. How about you girls, did you save me some orange chicken? Or did you two eat it all?”

     Betty perked up, “Vivian ordered extra for you. Carly, it was really good.” Yawn, “We just finished cleaning up before you called and Vivian was helping us find a tv show” Yawn.

     Carly looked back into two tired faces. “Sorry girls but I think it’s bed time for all of us when we get back. I know I’m tired and by the sounds of all that yawning you are too.” When no argument came back, she took that as agreement. Pulling up, Vivian found a spot close to the building and parked. She unlocked the apartment door directing all three girls to go inside and change while she went about bringing the bags inside. Carly followed in line with her sisters, even though it slightly peeved her at being treated like a child.

     When she arrived in freshly donned PJs to the kitchen, she was thankful Vivian hadn’t unloaded the bags. She didn’t want the girls seeing their Easter treats. “I’ll check on the girls while you take care of these bags, maybe you should fixed yourself a plate first?” Vivian suggested, knowing Carly had a plan for the contents.

     Hungry, Carly left the bags on the counter and made herself a plate; she was heating it when the girls ran in to say goodnight. She gave them each a big hug before reminding them to wait until she woke up to color eggs. Vivian tucked the girls in then sat at the table with Carly. Still annoyed with Carly’s actions tonight, she decided to wait a little longer to bring it up. Vivian didn’t want the girls to overhear and get upset if their voices rose. Carly may not understand why she was upset, but she would by the end of their talk.

     Carly wasn’t nearly as hungry as she thought; after a few bites, she took her dish back to the kitchen and covered it with wrap. Then before Vivian spoke, she said. “Let me check on the girls, please. I know you’re upset, but I can explain. But first, let’s make sure they are asleep. Ok?” Getting a nod, she left the room to check.

     Assured The girls were out. Carly made her way back to Vivian, who was now sitting on the sofa. Carly began with an apology before explaining. “Vivian I am sorry, I totally forgot we had plans.” She received a nod to continue. “I panicked when I realized Easter was this Sunday. I mean I knew it was coming because of all the orders and the temps you’ve hired. I just want the girls to have fun things, like the Easter bunny and holiday traditions. So when I got paid my only thought was getting to the store before they ran out of candy.”

     Carly stopped to look up at Vivian, and when her expression didn’t budge, she continued. “I am glad I went tonight because the shelves were practically bare. I had to buy fruit to fill the baskets, and the bunnies are the small ones, but at least I can give them a decent Easter to remember.” Carly was proud of herself; she didn’t understand why Vivian was so upset. She hadn’t missed their date on purpose. She was genuinely distracted and forgot.

     Vivian listened to every word Carly said, and she understood the urgency, but what she did not understand was why she needed to go it alone. They had been dating for several months, so to Vivian, they were a team. This incident wasn’t the first time Carly chose not to include her, but Vivian would impress on her how it should be her last.

     “Carly, I am proud of you. I think it’s lovely all you do for those girls. You are the best big sister and guardian, and I know you would do anything for them. But sweetheart, you also have me now, and as long as I’m in your life, dating or not, you will lean on me. You are no longer going to take the bus after dark for the last-minute anything.” Vivian watched as Carly’s face betrayed her. “I am not trying to control your movements, but I want you safe. And I will do whatever it takes to keep you that way.”

     Carly sat stunned as the oldest; she had always been the rule maker. She wanted to scream. How could Vivian think her words weren’t controlling? “No Vivian, Thats exactly what you’re doing. You deciding I can or can’t do things is controlling! With work and being home when the girls get home from school, when am I supposed to shop? I can’t call you every time I need something.” by the time Carly finished explaining, her voice had risen a few decibels.

     “Young lady, you may want to lower your volume. Now I don’t feel comfortable with you taking the bus at night, I don’t think it’s safe. So this is what’s going to happen. If you need to go I will take you.” Carly started to argue, but Vivian stopped with a raise of a hand. “Before you get upset please listen.” Carly nodded, she would listen, but she wasn’t happy. “I will drive you until you get your license then you can take my car. In the mean time, if something comes up that I can’t drive you, you will let me know where you’re going and what bus you’ll be on.”

     Carly took a few minutes to absorb this information; several things caused her concern. The primary concern was losing independence and maybe having to account for her whereabouts. “Vivian, that’s not fair; I don’t want to account for my every move. Plus, how can I get a license? I don’t even know how to drive!”

     “First of all, you will not have to account for every minute, only when your safety is in question, and I am not saying you have to stay home. I care about you, and when you ride the bus alone at night, it scares me. Second, I can teach you how to drive. Once you get your license, you can even earn extra cash making deliveries, if you want?” Vivian gave Carly a few seconds before adding, “If you have no more questions, it’s time you climbed over my lap.”

     Carly pulled away from Vivian shaking her head no, “Viv, Wait, what do you mean? I haven’t done anything wrong.” she tried to get up from the sofa only to feel Vivian pulling her back down.

     “That’s true; technically, you haven’t broken any rules, but I still want you to climb over. Tonight when I couldn’t get hold of you, I felt scared and hurt. Hurt because you excluded me from something important to you, I sat here with your sisters, trying not to panic. I barely held myself together, and I want to make sure you understand the consequences when we don’t rely on each other.”

     Carly sat next to Vivian, thinking over her words; Vivian waited patiently, watching the expressions cross her girlfriend’s face. She wondered if this was the right approach, but that uncertainty only lasted until Carly’s posture softened. And soon, Carly truly submitted when she rose from the couch and lowered her body over solid knees.

     Vivian’s hand rested on pajama-clad cheeks, lightly squeezing and rubbing. Once she felt Carly was ready to listen, she spoke. “Just so we are clear little one, you are not in trouble. I am spanking you, so you remember, you are no longer alone. We are a couple. That means we communicate, we help each other and we are here for each other.” Vivian hand found the waistband of Carly’s pj’s and pulled them down, exposing twitching pale orbs. “Is that understood?”

     “Yes ma’am, ” then looking back, she added. “Vivian I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for you to worry.”

     “I know, baby girl, and I forgive you. Now let me warm up this bottom. I want to give you something to look back on if you ever think to leave me out in the future.” Carly groaned right before Vivian’s hand began a staccato of swats. She slapped each cheek, leaving overlapping handprints in their wake.

     Carly’s groans became whimpers that led to pleading. “Please, Viv, Stop; it hurts. I’ll be good.” Vivian smiled down at Carly, slightly amused by the fuss she was making. As far as the spanking went, this one was pretty mild.

     “Oh baby, you are my good girl. I’m almost done warming your bottom.” swat, swat. Rub, swat, rub. After another couple dozen swats, Vivian was satisfied. “There we go, that should do just fine.” She rubbed the sore cheeks tenderly before helping Carly up. “I think it’s time I held my girl; come on and snuggle.”

     Carly got up with a bit of help, then sat on Vivian’s lap while wiping tears with the back of her hands. Although Vivian only used her hand, Carly’s bottom was on fire, and the act of sitting was almost torture. Still, she burrowed in, trying to get as close as possible While Vivian showered Carly with love. Ten minutes later, Vivian announced bedtime; Carly was so exhausted, she agreed immediately. Once snuggled under the covers, Carly whispered dreamily, “I love you.” and although they hadn’t spoken those words yet. Vivian responded by squeezing Carly’s hot cheeks and repeating Carly’s words. “I love you too.”

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