Meredith sat comfortably in front of a studio audience of about one hundred fifty people and listened as Dr. Blake Brennan talked about pets, their unusual habits, and how to stop them from repeating undesired behaviour. During the open audience Q and A a woman asked about whether or not it was okay for her dog to crowd her and beg for food while she eats dinner.
"Absolutely not. It's crucial that you never feed your dog before or while you're eating. To correct this behaviour, always wait until you're finished." At this comment Meredith opened her eyes wider, and covered her mouth with her hand.
"Oops!" She said exaggeratedly. Then her tone turned a bit more serious. "So Blake. What if I've been feeding my Shep before I eat ever since he was a little puppy? And he doesn't beg for food?"
"If begging isn't an issue then it's fine."
"Oh good," she said relieved. "Because I just couldn't bear that I've been doing something to make me a bad mother!" She said jokingly. The audience laughed, Blake laughed, and Meredith laughed. This comment was meant to be a joke and to get a reaction, but in reality Meredith was thinking about whether or not she was being a good parent to her twelve year old sister.
Leah was sitting backstage in Meredith's dressing room waiting for her to be finished working. Usually when she came to the set with her older sister she got to sit in the audience, usually right in the front row, and was allowed to get up and chat with Meredith and the crew between takes. Today she was instructed to sit in the dressing room and not to leave it under any circumstances.
...earlier that day
John and Meredith were upstairs getting ready for their day and their respective jobs. It was a Friday and Leah was off school due to parent teacher meetings. She wasn't worried about this; she always excelled in school. John and Meredith weren't concerned either, because they knew this. What they didn't know about was the problems Leah was having with other kids at school. She had her group of friends and that was fine, but there were others who teased her because her family is so "famous," and in the recent past Leah had been doing things that she wouldn't normally do to gain their approval.
Meredith pulled her fitted dark denim jacket on overtop of her black zip-up hoodie, which is what she wore to the studio every day. Her shiny dark brown hair was pulled back into a pony-tail, and her olive coloured Italian skin was clean and fresh without the burden of makeup. She strongly took after the Italian side of her family while her two sisters were blond with pale skin, taking after the Scottish side of their family. She looked at John who was dressed in a black suit, with his also dark brown hair styled nicely.
"Sucks to have a job where you have to show up looking good huh?" she asked.
"Are you saying I look good?" John asked.
"Always honey." she said jokingly.
"I'm going to get my coffee...before the last one wears off."
"I'll be down in a minute." Meredith said, and John left.
He went down the stairs and through the hall. He was on his way to the kitchen when he saw Leah rummaging through something by the door. Instead of going to the kitchen he went the few steps further to where Leah was. She had her back turned to him and obviously didn't hear him come down the stairs. When John got closer he realized that she was going through Meredith's purse. She took a bill out and put it in her pocket.
"What are you doing?" John asked, curiously. Leah spun around.
"Uh.....I'm borrowing $20 from Mere, she said I could take it from her wallet." she said quickly.
"Oh, okay." John said. "Want some breakfast?"
"Sure" she said, and followed him into the kitchen.
Leah sat down at the table and John poured them both a cup of coffee. John thought it was a bit ridiculous to let a twelve year old drink coffee, but Meredith insisted that nobody should ever be deprived of coffee. This probably stemmed from her own need to drink several pots of it a day.
"So, what are you gonna do today?" John asked.
"Addie's coming over, we're going shopping." Addie is Leah and Meredith's 23 year old sister. She lives about an hour away from them with her fiance.
"Oh yeah, Mere did mention something about Addie coming for dinner. That's a nice idea." They heard Meredith in the hall going through her purse. A few minutes later she came in.
"Whatcha looking for sweetie?" John asked.
"Oh, I thought I had a 20 in my purse, I was gonna give it to Addie and Leah for lunch." she said as she poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down. "But it's not there, I must have just...thought about putting it there."
Leah's heart started pounding and a nervous feeling emerged in her stomach. This wasn't good. John looked at Leah, and then back at Meredith.
"What?" Meredith asked. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Leah just took a 20 from your purse, she said she had permission." Meredith looked at Leah, who looked down at her coffee.
"What?" Meredith asked, looking confused. "I didn't tell you you could take anything." They both looked at Leah.
"Leah?" John said. She looked up.
"Did you tell me Mere said you could take it?" Leah nodded her head, and looked back down, a long strand of fine blond hair falling in her face. She tucked it behind her ear.
"And did Meredith say you could take it?"
"No" Leah said without looking up.
"So you stole from me and then lied about it?" Meredith demanded in a calm voice, still looking a bit confused. This confusion quickly turned to anger as Leah once again nodded her head yes.
"Why?" Meredith asked gently.
"I don't know" Leah said, shrugging her shoulders.
"Leah didn't we already speak to you about stealing, just a couple months ago?" John asked.
Leah nodded again. "Did you not learn your lesson?" Leah didn't say anything, unable to admit why she stole from her sister.
"So let me get this straight. You just stole money from me, and when John asked you you said you had my permission?" Meredith asked. Leah didn't say anything. "I want a real answer Leah. Is that what happened?"
"Leah I can't believe you would do something like that. Especially after what happened the last time you stole! It's wrong Leah! Why can't you understand that?"
"I do understand." Leah said softly.
"But you do it anyways" John said.
"Leah you're in serious trouble. This is totally unacceptable! What am I doing wrong? What are you not understanding?" She didn't answer.
"Leah we have to go to work, I want an answer."
"I just....I wanted $20. I didn't have enough money to go shopping."
"Yes you did, I just gave you money last night." Leah didn't say anything. "Fine. We don't have time to deal with this right now. Get dressed. You're coming to work with me."
"Because you've shown us that we can't trust you to be here alone. Get dressed NOW."
"I can't! I'm going shopping with Addie today!!" Leah cried.
"Well, you should have thought about that before stole and lied. We'll have to call Addie and tell her that you can't go today."
"NO!" Leah said. She had been looking forward to shopping with Addie for weeks. She's closer to Leah's age, and Leah absolutely adores her.
"Leah if you don't get upstairs and get dressed right now you'll be getting a spanking right now, in addition to whatever punishment John and I decide is suitable for what you did. Do you understand me?" Meredith demanded. Leah nodded and got up.
"Don't think this is over Leah, we'll be discussing it tonight after work." John said. Leah just turned away and went upstairs.
The car ride to the studio was silent and tense. Leah felt bad about what she did, though she had her reasons, yet she was also mad that she couldn't go shopping with Addie. Meredith was just in shock. She was furious, and didn't understand what would drive Leah to behave the way she did. She knew right from wrong, and definately wasn't doing it for attention. She just didn't know what to do. She parked the car in her usual spot, got out, opened the back door and got her bag, all without saying a word. Leah got out silently and followed her inside. They both forced themselves to smile and be friendly to Meredith's co-workers, but as soon as they reached Meredith's dressing room, and the door was closed, the smiles were gone.
"Sit in this chair and don't move. I have work to do. I don't want you to speak until you're ready to tell me why you stole from me. Got it?" Leah nodded her head and sat down in the overstuffed leather chair in a corner of the dressing room. Meredith started to read over her notes for the day's show. Not far into her reading her best friend and assistant Emily came through the door.
"Leah! Hey gorgeous!"
"Hi Emily" Leah said, being as friendly as she could manage.
"What are you doing here today? No school, no friends?"
"Nope" Leah said quietly. The producer of the show came in next, almost immediately after Emily came in. Meredith and Emily were sitting in front of the mirror reviewing their notes together as Meredith's hair dresser did her hair. They didn't see Holly come in until they heard her talking to Leah.
"Leah! What a cute outfit!" Holly exclaimed. Leah was wearing a white long sleeved t-shirt with the light green outline of a pear on it, and a light green skirt that flipped out slightly just above her knees. She had green flip-flop sandals on to match. The pear shirt had been bought after Leah insisted that she HAD to have it. It was unique and witty, and nobody else had one. Before Leah could answer her Holly continued to talk, as she usually did. "Ya know what? This would be a great time to do that photoshoot of you guys! We've been talking about it for so long, why don't we do it now?"
"This probably isn't the best time" Meredith said.
"Why not? Leah's looking beautiful, as always, and Blake the dog guy is running late. We have time!"
"Let's make a date and we'll be here." Meredith said. Holly realized that Meredith was in no mood for bargaining today, so she agreed and dropped it. About an hour later they were ready to start shooting the show. Emily and Holly, among others, were running around the dressing room preparing different things and comparing notes. Meredith went to where Leah was sitting. She kneeled down so that she was very close to Leah, forcing her to look into her eyes.
"Let me make myself very clear," Meredith whispered so that nobody could hear her except Leah. "If you move from this chair, there will be serious consequences."
"Don't I get to come out and watch?" Leah asked, shocked that Meredith might leave her behind.
"Absolutely not. Not after your behaviour this morning. I want you to sit here and not move. Do you understand?" Leah nodded. "Good." Meredith said. She stood up, gathered with the others, and they left the room.
....after the show
Meredith came into her dressing room alone, and shut the door behind her. Leah had been alone for almost two and a half hours, and was bored out of her tree. She decided that she would tell Meredith the reason she stole from her for no reason other than to put an end to her boredom. Maybe if she told the truth, Meredith would understand, and she wouldn't be punished.
"Mere?" Leah said hopefully from her chair.
"I'm ready to tell you why I took your money." Meredith turned to face her. She saw that Leah was genuine and somewhat distressed, so she decided it would be best to kindly listen to what she had to say. She rolled her computer chair over to infront of Leah's chair so that they were facing eachother at eye level.
"Okay. Go ahead" Meredith said kindly.
"Well, there are these girls in my class...and they make fun of me a lot because they say that you make so much money. Some of them think we're snobs and they won't let me be on their team in gym class. So they said that if I got them $20 for pizza on Monday that I could hang out with them. I know I shouldn't have, but I just want them to know that I'm not a snob."
Meredith's face softened when Leah said this, and her heart broke. She had suffered the same treatment when she was in school and their mother was on one of the most popular shows on television. She had done everything she could to make sure Leah wasn't treated the same way, but it clearly hadn't worked.
"Sweetie, why didn't you just talk to me about it?"
"I don't know, I was embarassed."
"Leah these girls won't be good friends. You already have good friends. You don't need to impress these people. They're trying to get you in trouble, and they got exactly what they wanted. Trust me, I know people like that. You can't let them push you around or they'll get you into trouble, like what happened today."
"I know. I know that stealing is wrong, I just so badly wanted them to be nice to me!"
"I know sweetie" Meredith said, hugging Leah. "Let's go home."
When they got home Leah was sent to her room and told to stay there until she was told otherwise. Meredith took the opportunity to be alone and calm down. She had a shower, changed back into her non work clothes, and sat out on the porch to wait for John to get home. When he did she explained to him what Leah had told her, and they decided on her punishment. They went inside and called Leah downstairs. Meredith sat her on an island stool in the kitchen, and she and John stood in front of her.
"Leah, we understand why you did what you did, but that doesn't make it okay, and I think you know that." John began.
"We love you and we want you to learn not to be influenced into doing bad things by people" Meredith continued. "We also want you to learn that no matter what the reason is, your actions will always have consequences. So for stealing from me, you're going to be spanked, and for lying to John, you're going to be spanked again later tonight with the spoon."
Leah hadn't been spanked in two months, not since the last time she was caught stealing. She quickly began to remember just how much the spoon hurt. This caused tears to glaze her eyes and roll down her cheek. She was trying not to cry.
"And Addie is still coming over for dinner. While she's here, you'll have to stay upstairs in my office. I'll bring you up your dinner, but you won't be allowed to join us." This news was almost worse than the news of her spankings.
"Excuse me?" Meredith said more sternly. She expected obedience from Leah when she was being punished.
"That's not fair! You know how much I wanted to see Addie!" Leah cried.
"Yes, we do know how much you wanted to see Addie, which is why is a very suitable punishment." Meredith explained calmly. Leah covered her face with her hands and cried. John gently rubbed her back with one hand and removed her hands from her face with the other.
"We love you sweetheart. You aren't alone in this world. You have us, and you can talk to us about these things. We can help you sort the situation out before you act thoughtlessly. You can avoid getting in trouble altogether if you're just honest with us, and you know that." John said. Leah nodded through her tears.
"Why don't you go up to my office and calm down. I'll be up in a minute" Meredith said. She took Leah's hands and helped her down off the stool. She quickly ran upstairs, wanting to get away from her sister and brother in-law as soon as she could.
John started making dinner, and Meredith went up to her office. She found Leah looking out the window. She hadn't heard her come in, and jumped when Meredith said her name. She turned around to see her sister holding the dreaded spoon.
"Come over here Leah" Meredith said, sitting down on an armless chair that was sitting in a corner of the room. Leah reluctantly went to her. Meredith gathered her into a big hug. "I love you so much kiddo. I just want you to do the right thing."
"I know, I'm sorry"
Meredith released her and pulled her over her lap. She flipped her skirt up gently, exposing Leah's pantied bottom. Leah took a deep breath and prepared herself as Meredith pulled her closer and held onto her tightly around her waist. Without further explanation she began to redden Leah's small bottom. Fast, sharp, and carefully placed spanks hit her left cheek and then right, over and over again. Before long Leah was struggling.
"Pleeease stop Mere, I'm sorry!" Leah said through her cries. Meredith said nothing, and continued to spank. She soon noticed the pink colour shining through Leah's white cotton panties and decided to move her focus to Leah's upper thighs. She spanked the same spot on each leg several times which caused Leah to cry out even louder. When both thighs were the same pink colour of her bottom, Meredith stopped for a minute. She pulled Leah's panties down to her knees, all the while Leah was howling a long "Noooo!" As Meredith continued to spank Leah's now exposed bottom, each swat harder than the last, Leah cried. She stopped yelling for Meredith to stop, she just cried. She kicked and squirmed and even resorted to trying to cover her bottom with her hand, which earned her an extra hard few spanks to her sit spot and an angry demand from Meredith to move her hand. She did, knowing that she would be in more trouble if she didn't. When Meredith noticed that Leah was digging her nails into the bottom of her leg, which she was gripping for balance,she realized that Leah had had enough. She finished up with a few extra hard spanks to each cheek, then pulled Leah's panties back into place. They looked extra white against the now reddened skin. She smoothed her skirt back into place and helped her up. Leah's hair was falling out of its pony-tail, and her face was stained with the many tears she had cried in those few minutes. Meredith smoothed her hair and held her. Soon Leah's crying reduced to a tearful sniffle as she rubbed her bottom trying to eliminate the intense sting. Meredith released her.
"I'm sorry Meredith. I shouldn't have stolen from you."
"You're forgiven. Don't do it again."
"Okay. Addie will be here in a few minutes so I'm going to help John finish up dinner. I want you to stay in this room, and don't leave it except to go to the washroom. I'll bring your dinner up when it's ready."
"Why can't I go into my room instead?" Leah asked innocently.
"Because your room is filled with things you like. You're being punished, and I won't have you in your room on the computer or watching TV. Don't play with anything in here. I'll be back" Meredith said, and left.
Leah stood in the middle of the room and watched as Meredith walked away from her and closed the door. She didn't know what to do other than to just stand around. She watched out the window facing into the backyard. There was a hummingbird perched on the feeder in the back yard and the sky was clouding over. Meredith brought up a plate of food, placed it on the coffee table next to the large chair, and left without saying a word to Leah. A few minutes later Leah heard the front door open and close, and happy voices below. She started to cry again, and as time went on and the laughter and dinner conversation got louder, Leah grew more angry. She had so badly wanted to see Addie and to be banned from having dinner with her was just mean, in Leah's opinion. Her anger got the best of her and in an outburst of frustration she flipped her plate of pasta on the floor, the plate breaking and the tomato sauce staining the carpet. Then she saw the spoon sitting on Meredith's desk. She picked it up and tried to break it but it was too strong. She tried several ways to destroy it, and succeeded when she wedged it between the wooden beams holding the desk together and pryed and pryed until it snapped. She threw the piece she was holding onto to the floor and collapsed into the chair by the window, crossing her arms and crying into her knees that were pulled up to her chest. She didn't care about the consequences until later when she realized that Meredith would be really angry.
About an hour after Leah's outburst Meredith entered the room. Leah was still sitting with her head down and her knees pulled up. Meredith was quiet coming in and Leah wasn't paying attention, so when Meredith saw the mess and angrily exclaimed "LEAH!" Leah jumped up, looking afraid.
"What happened?" Leah didn't say anything. Silence seemed to be her best strategy. "I'm only going to ask you this once and I want honesty. Was this an accident?" Meredith demanded, pointing at the broken plate and pile of pasta. Leah shook her head no. Meredith looked furious. Then she spotted the spoon. "Oh, so that's what this is? You're mad that you're being punished and that you couldn't see Addie so you did this on purpose?" Meredith asked rhetorically. She stormed over to Leah, took hold of her upper arm and marched her out of the office and into the bathroom. She shut the door behind her to prevent Leah from running. She released her grip on her and started rummaging through a drawer. She pulled out a bar of soap, unwrapped it, and forced Leah to look at her.
"You will not lie to us, we don't tolerate it." She said sternly. "Open your mouth" she demanded. Leah did and Meredith placed the entire bar of soap in it. She held onto the back of Leah's head and scrubbed it around a bit. Leah knew better than to spit the soap out, so she made a face and tried to tolerate the horrible taste. Meredith started looking through drawers again.
"You don't want me to use the spoon, that's fine. We'll just have to find something else." Her hand emerged from a drawer holding a large wooden hairbrush. Leah nearly choked on the soap when she saw it. "I think this will work just fine" Meredith said, taking hold of Leah's arm once again and dragging her back into the office. She took her to the chair she had found her in and told her to sit. Leah did, still holding the soap in her mouth, fresh tears running down her face. She rubbed her arm where Meredith had been holding onto her- it hurt.
"Your behaviour is completely unacceptable. You stole, you lied, then you didn't get what you want so you broke things. You're way too old to be acting this way Leah. You have to learn to take responsibility for your actions and act like something other than a spoiled rich kid. You've acted today exactly how those girls said you were. You don't want that do you? I know this isn't you Leah. I know it's coming from somewhere else, but you have to learn to control that. You know, I'm just a waitress and a cook who got really lucky. I work hard for everything we have and you're going to be the same. You don't have everything you want handed to you and you never will." Her tone softened a little. "So the next time those girls are bothering you you can tell them about all those years I spent scooping ice cream and working in busy kitchens 16 hours a day. What I do now is glamorous, yes. And it probably seems like we're rich snobs to some people. But we're not. Those girls didn't see all the hard work that's gone into what we have. Do you understand what I'm saying?" Leah nodded her head. "Good." She reached out and took the soap out of Leah's mouth. Leah stuck her tongue out and said "blah." Then she looked up and melted Meredith's heart with her big blue eyes.
"I'm so sorry Mere. I was mad that I couldn't see Addie. I shouldn't have broken the plate or the spoon, I wasn't thinking!" She cried, and flung herself into Meredith's arms. She cried, and Meredith comforted her. After a few minutes Meredith forced her back.
"It's going to be okay Leah. We need to deal with the lying issue, and we'll have to come up with a day to deal with your tantrum." She didn't want to spank Leah any more than she already had promised, so she immediately began racking her brain for an alternative punishment. "So here's the deal. For lying to John, you're getting another spanking. For your tantrum, tomorrow you're going to stay home with us and help John re-organize all of his clients' files." Leah took a deep breath and agreed. She hated filing. Hundreds of files had to be taken ot of their folders, put into new folders, and re-alphabetized. She wasn't happy, but she'd take it over another spanking.
Meredith seated herself in the armless chair for the second time that day, and pulled Leah to her. Leah was already in tears as she was pulled across her sister's lap. Her skirt was pulled up and her panties were tugged down. Her bottom was still pink and stinging and the taste of soap filled her mouth. This wasn't a punishment she wished to repeat. Meredith gripped Leah around her thin waist, secured her legs with her own, lifted the hairbrush high, and brought it down hard to Leah's left cheek, and then right. Judging from Leah's reaction this was worse than the spoon. She yelped loudly as the first two spanks were brought down onto her bottom. The sting lasted longer and was accompanied by a throbbing pain. Meredith continued with this rhythm until she noticed a deeper shade of purple and some indents. She then turned her attention to Leah's upper thighs. After only one spank Leah flung her hand back in a desperate attempt to stop the unbearable pain. Meredith caught it and pinned it at the small of her back and continued. When Leah was sobbing uncontrollably Meredith decided to stop. She gave each of Leah's bottom cheeks two of her hardest spanks, and put the hairbrush down. She noticed that Leah's bottom was a deep purple colour and there were several indents that were likely to turn into bruises. It would likely be painful to sit down for the next day, and it was decided that Leah would definately be sitting down to do the filing.
Meredith pulled her panties back into place which caused Leah to cry out above her sobbing. She flipped her skirt back down and helped her up. She pulled her into another big hug, lifting her small body up off the floor and jokingly shaking her from side to side. Leah managed to laugh a little, and Meredith put her back down.
"I'm sorry. I know I've said that a lot today, but I am. I'm sorry."
"I know you are pumpkin. Now, why don't you go rinse your mouth out and we'll go apologize to John for your behaviour." She suggested kindly.
"Okay" Leah said wiping her face and sniffling the last tears away. She tried to rub the sting out of her bottom but touching it made it worse. This was unlike the other spankings she had received; it was much worse. She rinsed her mouth, and went back into the hall where Meredith was waiting for her. She put her arm around Leah's shoulders and lead her downstairs. They found John in the livingroom watching TV. He looked up as Leah and Meredith approached him. Meredith gently pushed Leah close to him and he took her hands.
"John, I'm so sorry for lying to you this morning, and for stealing. I know it's wrong, and I know that I'm responsible for my actions" she said through fresh tears. Seeing her hair messed up and her eyes red and puffy from crying made his heart break, but he too knew that it was for her own good.
"Thank you for the apology sweetie. I forgive you." he said, and pulled her into a hug. He released her after a minute, and Leah was told that she could stay up and watch a little TV with them. This showed her that she was forgiven. Although she hadn't acted like she felt badly, she did. She hated disappointing them. She layed down on her stomach on one of the large couches and watched TV.