Leah stood in the corner unable to believe what had just happened. She couldn't believe Meredith spanked her, and she couldn't believe how much it had hurt! Her sister was widely known for her kind, bubbly and almost too happy and perky demeanor, and although there were times that she was very serious and quiet, the no-nonsense punishment that she had just given Leah startled her a little, and definately convinced her that her sister wasn't playing around; she was in fact very serious.
Although this newly discovered fact comforted Leah in many ways it also upset her. She knew that she could no longer do anything she wanted and get away with it.
As Leah stood in the corner thinking about her punishment and the implications it would have on her life in the future, Meredith was in the kitchen discussing just that with her husband John. She surprised herself with her ability to take control of her little sister and discipline her in an effective way. The entire experience reminded her that Leah was only twelve. Meredith had to take control of her and her life in a way that would make her a more responsible person and would benefit her in the end. Thus far she had basically done whatever was needed to make Leah happy. When their parents left Leah with her four years ago because they just couldn't be bothered worrying about a kid when they were so famous, Meredith felt so bad for her sister what she did anything and everything she could to show Leah that she was loved by both herself and John. She realized now that this wasn't the best approach. Although spanking the child probably didn't make her happy, it did show her that Meredith cared about her enough to do something like that. Both sisters now realized this.
Meredith and John discussed what they expected from Leah, and the consequences that would follow her actions, should she disobey them. They weren't unrealistic by any means, nor were they any stretch from what Leah already knew was expected of her.
Without knocking on Leah's door Meredith entered the room and silently let out a sigh of relief to see that her sister had actually did what she was told, and remained in the same corner that she had been placed in thirty minutes earlier. She crossed the room and gently turned Leah around to face her, and kneeled down to face her at eye level. She was surprised to see that Leah was still crying a little bit.
"Thank you for doing as you were told honey" Meredith said, gently rubbing Leah's arm. "Are you okay?"
With that simple question Leah burst into tears again and allowed herself to be held in Meredith's arms. Meredith ran her hand calmingly up and down her sister's back, each time smoothing her fine blond hair.
"What is it Leah?"
"I'm so sorry for being so mean to you and John...please don't hate me!" Leah cried. Meredith held her at arms length so that she could look into her eyes.
"Leah, John and I will NEVER hate you. We love you so much...more than anything. I didn't punish you because I hate you...you understand that, don't you?"
"I do, but...I'm sorry!"
"It's okay pumpkin. This is how things like this work. When you do something wrong, you have to be punished. It has absolutely nothing to do with us hating you, it has everything to do with us loving you."
"Good. John and I have discussed this, and we want to talk to you about how things are going to be from now on. And I think it would be a good idea for you to apologize to him. Okay?" Leah nodded, wiped the last few tears off her cheeks, took a deep breath, and allowed Meredith to lead her downstairs and into the kitchen. John was sitting at the table reading, and when they entered he folded his paper up and looked at them.
"Leah has something she'd like to say" Meredith said to John, leading Leah forward so that she was standing right infront of him, looking at him at eyelevel. This made her nervous, but there was no way to escape with John in front of her, and Meredith behind her with her hands resting on Leah's shoulders. She took a deep breath.
"I'm sorry John" She said with tears building in her eyes. She stopped there, and when Meredith realized that she had no plans of saying anything more, she decided that her sister might need some prodding.
"For.....?" Meredith said.
"For...being so rude to you all the time, and for not coming home when you tell me to. I'm sorry you had to leave work to come get me last night too" she finished, trying to wipe away every tear that emerged to hide the obvious fact that she was crying. This simple apology touched John so deeply that he grabbed ahold of her hands and told her how much he loved her. This ended in a teary three-way hug. After a few minutes everyone brushed their tears away, and Leah was instructed to sit on a high island stool while John and Meredith stood, one leaning against the island, the other leaning against the table.
"So...I think it's been made clear that your behaviour lately hasn't been acceptable" John said. "First of all, we want to make it clear that I will never spank you. We don't think that it's appropriate. BUT- that doesn't mean that when Mere isn't here you can do whatever you want. If you do something or act a certain way that warrants a spanking, I'll tell you, and you'll go up to your room until Mere gets home, and she will deal with it." Leah nodded, and was secretly relieved. John spanking her...just the thought of it made her shudder in embarassment.
"We've discussed the new rules of this house, and we expect them to be followed. So pay attention, okay sweetie?" Meredith said, and again, Leah nodded. "There will be, under no circumstances, any disobedience. Meaning...if John or I tell you to do something...to clean your room, to do your homework, to get off the phone...whatever...you do it. If you don't, you'll be spanked. That's the big one. And the other big one is lying. If you EVER lie to us, you'll be spanked. Honesty is very important, and we expect it at all times. You will be respectful at all times, and polite. No name calling, swearing, arguing or rudeness. Okay?"
"We're serious about this Leah. If you break any of these rules, you WILL be punished. We aren't kidding, or taking this lightly." John emphasized.
"I know you're serious, I understand." Leah said grimly.
And with this acknowledgement, things went back to normal. John went back to his paper, Meredith started to make something to eat while working on her Blackberry, and Leah went into the livingroom, flopped down on her stomach on the floor next to Shep, and turned on the tv.