‘Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Which was not a good thing, as that meant Fizzy had hit the snooze button on her alarm clock three times already, and she was going to be late for work.It was all the internet’s fault, she decided, as she tried to wash away the grogginess with a quick shower. She had just gone online for a few minutes to check her email, and the next time she looked at the clock it was past midnight. Which meant no exercising at the gym before work, no time to make a healthy sandwich for lunch, and driving like a maniac during rush-hour traffic.
It didn’t help that in her sleep-deprived stupor she nearly brushed her teeth with moisturizer instead of toothpaste. She swore to herself as she rinsed off her toothbrush, and then remembered to check herself in the mirror. The last time she’d gotten dressed in a drowsy state she’d put her sweater on inside out, and hadn’t discovered it until she gotten to work. And then only became aware of it when a coworker had asked her if wearing tags on the outside was the new fashion.
She was further slowed down by the discovery that someone new was moving in next door, and he’d left his belongings piled in the walkway. In her hurry to catch the elevator, Fizzy banged into one of the boxes, bruising her knee and nearly falling on her face. Swearing loudly, she kicked the offending cardboard and glared at it angrily. Her new neighbor was nowhere to be seen. Muttering loudly about inconsiderate idiots, Fizzy shoved it out of the way and headed to the parking lot.
Not a good start to the day.
Unfortunately for Fizzy, things weren’t destined to get much better at work. “I want you to clear out the shelves in the warehouse,” her boss instructed her. “We have a lot of new material coming in next week.”
She bit back a groan at this news. Clearly this didn’t fall under her regular duties as a “Curriculum Specialist,” but she was still a junior member of the staff and didn’t have much choice….not if she wanted to be promoted, and she did. They had asked her if she could lift 50 pounds when she was hired for the job, but she had thought it was just a formality. Good thing she had not lied about that, she thought, grunting as she shifted the heavy box of technical manuals from the shelf to the hand-truck.
The “warehouse” was basically a big room in the basement, hot and dusty and poorly lit. Fizzy dropped a box on her foot by accident and swore loudly. It was fortunate no one could hear her.
“Tsk, tsk. A bit unprofessional, isn’t it? I thought you were going to try to eliminate the cursing at work?”
Fizzy whirled around, expecting to see her coworker Julie. What she saw instead caused her to swear yet again.
“Holy shit, who are you?” she asked the woman incredulously. “And aren’t you hot in that get-up??”
The dark-haired, dark-eyed woman looked down at her snug-fitting Santa’s costume and shrugged. “It’s a special weave,” she explained. “Cool in warm climates, warm in cold places. A necessity in my profession.”
“Your profession,” Fizzy echoed. “Which would be….?” she trailed off, frowning.
Very full red lips curved in a smile. “Just what you would expect for someone dressed like this, at this time of year,” the woman replied. “But one of my main tasks is addressing the behavior of naughty girls.” One eyebrow cocked meaningfully in Fizzy’s direction.
Despite the ridiculousness of that reply, Fizzy felt herself flushing. How was it possible that some stranger could guess exactly what buttons to push to make her squirm?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Fizzy said shortly.
“Oh, I think you do,” the stranger said calmly.
“Look, Ms….whatever your name is, I don’t know how you got into a secured area, and I don’t know what game you’re playing, but I’m very busy and I don’t have time to stand here arguing with you.”
“You can call me Kris, and no, we’re not going to argue,” the woman replied. She stepped forward and took ahold of Fizzy’s wrist, pulling her without effort to a nearby table, and bending Fizzy over it.
“What are you doing?! Let go of me!” Fizzy’s loud protests were ignored as she felt the back of her skirt being flipped up.
“I should think it’s clear what I’m doing,” Kris said, patting Fizzy’s bottom through her tights. “I’m about to remind you of the importance of going to bed at a decent hour.”
“Are you nuts?! What the hell business is it of yours when I go to bed?!” Fizzy asked, outraged. Then a thought struck her, about the same time that Kris’s palm did. “How did you know—” *WHACK!* “Ow! Cut that out!”
“You know how important getting enough sleep is,” Kris continued sternly. “Certainly more important than wasting time surfing the internet.” Her palm landed several times more, shocking Fizzy with how much a mere hand could sting.
“Were you stalking me?! Who the hell ARE you anyway?!”
“I’m the one who ‘sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake,'” Kris said imperturbably, not slowing down in her swatting. “And I know how important your gym workouts are to your health.”
“Oh yeah? Then you should already be aware, Kris-the-Fucking-Industrial-Spy, that going to the gym this morning would’ve made me even later to work!”
In the silence that followed, Fizzy felt a sudden prickle of fear and reached back to cover her rear end. It wouldn’t be the first time that the young woman regretted her impetuous tongue, but it certainly was the first time for what followed. She felt both wrists grasped in an iron grip and pinned to the small of her back. Though she struggled with all her might, the woman – or whatever she was – possessed superhuman strength, because she held both of Fizzy’s wrists easily with just her left hand. With her right hand she reached for Fizzy’s waistband, and in one smooth motion pulled both tights and panties down to Fizzy’s knees.
Fizzy gasped. “Noooo! Stop it!” She kicked out in alarm.
“Settle down, young lady,” came the crisp instruction. “Yours is far from the first naughty bottom I have seen. And to answer your question, yes, I’m well aware of your tardiness to work. That, as well as the unprofessional swearing and your generally insolent attitude, is what we’re about to address next!”
If Fizzy had thought the previous swats were painful, she was about to be enlightened. Kris’s palm might well have had a titanium surface as it landed on her now bare bottom, so hard was the impact. She shrieked and struggled futilely. Though originally she had been horrified at the thought that someone might see her in this position, the pain overcame her embarrassment and she cried out for help at the top of her lungs. But unfortunately (or fortunately), it made no difference. No one came to her aid.
“No one can hear you,” Kris confirmed, as she paused, her hand curving comfortably against Fizzy’s left cheek. “You’re staying right there till I’m finished with you, so you better just settle down.” But Fizzy wasn’t struggling anymore. She lay there, sniffling and contrite, as Kris proceeded to lecture about the importance of getting a good night’s rest. She wasn’t saying anything Fizzy wasn’t already aware of, and there was many a morning Fizzy had struggled out of bed and cursed her inability to force herself to go to sleep on time. It was just…so hard, sometimes.
“I know it’s difficult sometimes,” Kris was saying now, almost as if reading her mind. “Which is why I am hoping this ‘reminder’—” here she resumed the spanking, slow but steady, till Fizzy was crying out and kicking with each bounce of her sore cheeks under the impact of Kris’s palm— “will be more motivation than your own lack of self discipline!”
A lifetime later, Kris paused again. “Do you think you will remember this the next time you are tempted to stay up too late?”
Fizzy’s immediate agreement was more than heartfelt, it was bottomfelt. As in, “a throbbing determination to get to bed on time” kind of sincerity. Kris nodded with satisfaction and released Fizzy’s wrists.
“I’m glad to hear it. Now back to work with you, and have a good day.”
“Easy for you to say,” Fizzy grumbled under her breath as she stood up and attempted to rub the sting away. She pulled up her panties and tights and drew in a sharp breath as her punished derriere protested at being covered by anything at all. She was so busy straightening her clothing she didn’t realize Kris had left until she heard the door click quietly shut.
Fizzy followed immediately after, intent on seeing where the mysterious woman had come from, but the corridor was empty. It was more than empty – it was silent in a way that suggested no one had ever walked down it. If not for the fiery burning of her backside, Fizzy might well have believed she imagined the whole thing.
“Something very weird is going on,” the brat grumbled to herself, “and I don’t like it!”
In spite of the morning’s unusual excitement, or perhaps because of it, Fizzy found herself slowing down even more as the day wore on. She needed an extra cup of coffee to stay awake, which meant her coffee budget for the month was already blown. She’d been trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses, and the extra trip to Starbucks wasn’t helping. Neither was the burger she had to purchase for lunch at the fast food joint that was thankfully just half a block away. Not having the time to prepare her usual sandwich that morning also torpedoed her good intentions to eat more healthily.
All of which combined to make her one grouchy puppy.
It was probably the combination of stress and tiredness which made her lose her temper at McDonald’s. The place was packed, and the line she’d chosen seemed to move twice as slowly as the ones on either side. When she finally got to the front, she discovered a trainee who was clearly mystified by the intricacies of the cash register. He got her order wrong three times, but it was the attempt to charge her $7.57 for a burger and diet Coke that made her lose it.
“What?!! Are you crazy?! Are you absolutely INSANE?! How can an 89-cent burger and a $1.75 soda possibly add up to $7.57?! Where the hell did they find you, the IRS?!” There were a few other choice words thrown in to her tirade, but fortunately for the hapless employee, a manager came to the rescue and the error was straightened out. With a harried glance at the large crowd watching, he apologized to Fizzy and told her that there would be no charge for her meal.
Somewhat mollified, Fizzy took her meal to corner booth and sat down wearily. The burger and Coke revived her a little, and her mood was slightly better as she stepped into the restroom to wash up before heading back to work. As she checked her hair in the mirror, she glanced casually at the reflection of the woman entering behind her. Then froze. “You!”
Kris was now dressed in blue jeans and a short-sleeved knit sweater, but it was unmistakably the same woman who had ambushed Fizzy earlier. She crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow as Fizzy whirled around to face her.
“That was quite a performance you put on out there.”
Fizzy attempted to defend herself. “If you were there, you must’ve seen how that idiot tried to overcharge me!”
“What I saw was a trainee who made a mistake. And a brat who lost her temper very inappropriately.”
“It was so appropriate!” Fizzy knew she was now sounding like a 12-year-old, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. “You’re not being fair!”
“No? I didn’t just see you haranguing that employee? In a crowded restaurant? While wearing your nametag?”
To her horror, Fizzy realized she was still wearing her company badge. “Oh shit.”
Kris nodded. “Doesn’t reflect very well on your employer, does it?”
“I didn’t realize….” Fizzy trailed off miserably. She really didn’t like the way this was going.
“No, you didn’t stop to think at all. Perhaps one more reason why a good night’s sleep is important? For both judgment and patience?”
“Yes, you’re right, I’m sorry,” Fizzy said meekly. She began sidling slowly toward the door. “Well, I better get back to work.”
“Not just yet,” Kris said evenly, causing Fizzy’s tummy to sink. “I think we’d better have a little discussion about appropriate behavior.”
“Aw, c’mon, I didn’t mean it! I’ll go apologize to him right now!” Not waiting for an answer, Fizzy dashed for the bathroom door. But her escape was short-lived, as a firm hand gripped her upper arm and she felt herself being escorted into the largest stall in the restroom.
“Wait, you can’t do this! What if someone in a wheelchair needs to use the bathroom?! You’re violating the law!”
Kris chuckled. “That’s very civic-minded of you, Fizzy. But don’t worry – no one in a wheelchair will want to use the restroom while we’re here.”
Fizzy didn’t ask how she could know this for sure, but somehow she had the feeling that Kris spoke the truth. Either the woman was omniscient as she claimed, or she could control things like that. Or both. And then she lost that train of thought completely as Kris locked the door behind them and then bent Fizzy over her denim-covered thigh. With astonishing ease she raised her knee, lifting Fizzy completely off the floor as she rested her boot on the seat of the toilet. Dangling in midair while balanced over Kris’s muscular thigh, Fizzy made a panicked grab for the stainless steel bar that was bolted into the side of the stall. For the second time that day she felt her skirt being lifted and her tights and panties being pulled down, and she groaned in dismay.
“Stop it, please, I’m really sorry!”
Kris nodded. “You will be, young lady.” And then she raised her arm and began spanking.
The sound of palm hitting bottom echoed horribly in the tiled environment, and Fizzy cringed at the thought of someone walking in to use the restroom and hearing what was going on. She tried to keep from making a sound, but as the swats continued and Kris showed no sign of slowing down, Fizzy forgot her self-consciousness and could only think about the building pain in her hindquarters.
“Ow….fuck, that hurts!”
Kris tutted her tongue. “Do you think it’s wise to use the kind of language that got you into trouble in the first place?”
Not for the first time, Fizzy’s uncontrollable tongue got her into even deeper trouble. “It may not be wise, but it’s a natural reaction when something fucking HURTS! What, don’t they swear at the North Pole?!”
Kris paused. “I think perhaps…you would benefit from some old-fashioned discipline.”
Fizzy opened her mouth to ask what could possibly be more old-fashioned than being spanked in the women’s restroom, but what emerged was a gasp as Kris proceeded to heft her up beneath one arm, open the stall door, and walk over to the sink. She held her finger under the soap dispenser and Fizzy watched in horror as a single pink drop of liquid soap landed on her fingertip. She held it out before Fizzy’s now tightly-clenched jaws. “Open up. Stick out your tongue.”
Fizzy shook her head, lips pressed together and struggling uselessly to free herself. She caught sight of herself in the mirror and blushed at the reflection. She looked like an overgrown kid tucked under Kris’s arm, legs kicking and panties and tights at half-mast.
Kris glanced over her shoulder. “There’s a mother and daughter getting ready to go to the bathroom before they leave the restaurant. They’re in for a surprise, aren’t they?”
Fizzy squealed in alarm. “No! Oh God! Don’t let them in!!”
Kris tilted her head at their reflection. “That wouldn’t be very kind, would it? Of course they have every right to use the facilities.”
“Then take me back to the stall! Please!! You can’t let anyone see me like this!”
“Back to the stall? Where your punishment will resume? Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“Yes, yes, please! Oh god, please HURRY!!”
“Very well. Open up.”
Desperate, Fizzy screwed up her eyes and stuck out her tongue. There was the swipe of a finger against its surface and then the acrid, perfumey taste of soap filled her mouth. But all she could think about was not being exposed to whoever was going to walk through the bathroom door, and felt absurdly grateful when Kris carried her back into the stall.
It was not a moment too soon. Fizzy could hear the voices of the mother and child who entered as soon as Kris shut the stall door. Immediately she was put back over Kris’s upraised knee, and the swats rang out as the spanking continued. Fizzy was mortified and tried to be as quiet as possible, but it became clear that the occupants, who were now in the stall right next door, could hear nothing out of the ordinary. Their conversation continued as if the sound of loud slaps weren’t filling the air and echoing against the tiled surfaces of the restroom.
“Mommy, I LIKED that Happy Meal!” SWAT!
“Did you, sweetie?” SWAT! “Well, remember that it’s a special treat…” SWAT! “I don’t want you eating junk food too often.” SWAT! SWAT!
SWAT! “I kno-ow…” SWAT! “Hey, do you think we can go to the park later and feed the ducks?” SWAT! SWAT! SWAT!
It was surreal, but Fizzy was thankful for whatever supernatural forces were in play, because with the building heat in her backside she could no longer keep her exclamations to herself. Gasps, whimpers, and eventually loud pleas for mercy issued forth, interspersed between the vigorous whacks from Kris’s palm, but the mother and daughter finished their business and left, still chatting to each other as if nothing were amiss. And finally, Kris took pity on her.
“You’ll be better about keeping your temper from now on, I hope?” she asked, tugging Fizzy’s clothing back into place.
Fizzy groaned as her throbbing cheeks protested at being covered when they were so sore. “Yes, ma’am, I promise!” she said breathlessly. She gave her bottom a tentative rub as she was set back down on her feet.
“Good. Now you only have a few hours of work left…try to behave yourself?”
Fizzy decided not to respond to that – her tongue had already gotten her into enough trouble for one day. Besides, there was only one thought on her mind now that the spanking was over: to rinse her mouth out IMMEDIATELY. She opened the stall door and rushed to the sink. By the time she finished rinsing and looked up again, the restroom was empty.
“Is it hot outside?” Julie asked her when she returned from lunch. “Your cheeks look a bit flushed.”
“You have no idea,” Fizzy informed her sourly. After the walk back to the office her poor rear end had cooled down somewhat, but she imagined she could still taste the bitterness of soap on her tongue. She went back down to the basement to continue clearing off the shelves, glad at least not to have to face anyone for the remainder of the afternoon. When her watch showed 5:00 p.m., Fizzy thought she had never been so happy to see anything in her life. The sooner she could get home and veg out in front of the TV with a glass of wine, the sooner she could put this horrible day behind her. There was just one more very annoying hurdle between her and nirvana on the sofa – rush-hour traffic.
“I don’t know why they call it ‘rush-hour’ when no one goes anywhere!” she grumbled to herself, her car one of thousands crawling along in the freeway gridlock. To save time she pulled out her cell phone and began answering some emails. The toot of a car horn let her know she’d had her eyes off the road a little too long, and she looked into the rear view mirror to wave an apology at the driver behind her. Instead she let out a shriek of fright when her eyes caught the gaze of an unexpected passenger in her backseat.
“Gahhh, what the FU—uh, FUDGE!! Are you flipping crazy, trying to give me a heart attack!!?” she shouted, the organ in question thumping like crazy and her knees weak with combined shock and anger.
Narrowed eyes surveyed hers coolly. “Take the next off-ramp, and find a safe place to pull over,” Kris replied, a very stern note in her voice.
“Because, young lady, we are about to have a discussion regarding proper driving behavior!”
“Aw, c’mon, I’m nearly home!” Fizzy pleaded. “I’ll pay attention from now on, I promise!”
“Oh, you will indeed,” Kris agreed. “Take this exit here, please.”
With a sinking feeling, Fizzy did as instructed and found as quiet a neighborhood as possible to pull over. She parked under a tree and shut off the ignition.
“All right. Now get the hairbrush that’s in the glove compartment and join me in the back seat, please.”
Fizzy had never put a hairbrush in her glove compartment, but she had no doubt there’d be one waiting when she opened it up. She swiveled in her seat to face her passenger with the most heart-rending puppy dog expression she could muster. “Kris, please, I’m really sorry! I’ve been spanked enough today, don’t you think?”
Kris’s expression did not waver. Whereas all the other times she’d delivered her discipline with a good-natured if not downright amused air, this time she looked truly disappointed.
“Elizabeth Riley McFizzy, how many people do you think have been killed or injured because someone was texting on their cell phone instead of paying attention to what they were supposed to be paying attention to?”
Fizzy’s eyes dropped. “I don’t know,” she mumbled, squirming at the sound of her full name.
“How would you feel if your foolish actions caused the death of some innocent person? How would you explain to a child whose mother you killed how she would never be coming home again? What would you say if you paralyzed someone for life because you weren’t watching the road and hit them? Can you imagine your OWN parents’ anguish if something happened to YOU as a result of your reckless driving?”
Fizzy wanted to say that she hadn’t been reckless, that the freeway traffic had only been going about 20 miles an hour, but she knew that wasn’t the point. When she got her license she’d promised her parents and herself she would take the responsibility seriously. She knew driving an 1800-pound vehicle meant the potential danger was always there, and that she had to remain alert at all times. There was no excuse for it.
“You’re right, I….screwed up,” she said, feeling simply awful. “I’m sorry.”
Kris nodded, her expression softening somewhat. “Yes, you did. But we’re going to address that now. Come back here….and bring the hairbrush with you.”
Reluctantly, Fizzy did as she was told. The hairbrush was made out of some dark hardwood and was dauntingly heavy. She opened the door and climbed into the back seat next to Kris. She hoped no one would be able to see or hear what was going to happen next.
Kris accepted the hairbrush and patted her thigh. “Over you go, missy,” she said.
It was one of the hardest things Fizzy had ever done. Whereas before she’d been pulled unceremoniously over Kris’s knee, this time she was expected to actually put herself into position. It was both humbling and humiliating.
“I….really don’t want a spanking,” she said, voice barely audible.
“I know. But I do think you need one,” Kris replied firmly. Her brown eyes were stern but sympathetic. Fizzy realized suddenly she was right. She felt extremely guilty and knew she deserved it. Awkwardly, she levered herself across Kris’s lap. The feeling of her skirt being lifted and panties being lowered was becoming all too familiar. Fizzy shut her eyes tightly as she felt the cool air against her bare bottom. She didn’t have to wait very long.
WHACK! The scorching spank of the hard wooden surface made Fizzy jerk in dismay. It was followed immediately by another smack, and another. The barrage of swats was steady, and Fizzy quickly found herself kicking and squirming. Kris wasn’t swinging with all of her might, but she didn’t have to. The skin on Fizzy’s bottom was already sensitized from the day’s earlier spankings, and it didn’t take long for the heat to build.
“Ow! Oh god, I’m sorry! Please Kris, I won’t do it again! I promise!”
“You certainly won’t,” Kris agreed, though she showed no sign of slowing down. The smooth solid wood visited every inch of Fizzy’s backside, and even the tops of her thighs, lighting flames wherever it landed. Fizzy squealed and struggled, but Kris held her pinned down without effort.
“Ouch! Please, no more, Kris, it really hurts!” she wailed.
The older woman paused for a second, hairbrush pressed against Fizzy’s cheek. “I expect it will continue to hurt for awhile,” she agreed quietly. “Because this is a serious punishment, sweetie. That mistake is one I never want to see you make again. You mean too much to too many people.” And she resumed her brisk swats against Fizzy’s rear.
Somehow, that was the brat’s undoing. To hear both her foolishness and chastisement confirmed so matter-of-factly, along with the wealth of caring behind it, made her realize just how much she’d gone astray. The whole day had been a disaster from beginning to end, and she couldn’t seem to do anything right. No wonder Kris was fed up with her! She burst into tears.
Kris put down the brush and finished up the reprimand with several smacks from her hand. Fizzy was crying hard, but she gradually became aware that the spanking had stopped, and Kris was rubbing her bottom gently. With her left hand, she was stroking up and down Fizzy’s back. In spite of the throbbing in her rear, Fizzy felt a welcome sense of release and relief.
When Kris could see that Fizzy’s sobs had subsided, she turned her over and pulled her into a sitting position.
“Owie.” Fizzy whimpered as her well-punished bottom came into contact with Kris’s lap. But she was grateful to snuggle into the arms that were cuddling her. “I’m sorry,” she said, still sniffling.
“I know, and you’re forgiven,” Kris replied. The good-humored note was back in her voice. “The slate’s been wiped clean for this year.” She was still rubbing Fizzy’s back in a very comforting way, and Fizzy suddenly felt very drained. “You need a nap, young lady,” Kris said, as if reading her mind. “I think I’d better drive you home.”
Kris maneuvered herself out from under the drowsy brat and lay her down carefully in the back seat. Fizzy felt herself being covered by a blanket she knew hadn’t been in the car earlier, any more than the hairbrush had been. But she didn’t care about that; she was just glad Kris hadn’t tried to pull up her underwear and tights, because her bottom reeeally didn’t want to be covered just then.
Kris got into the front seat and started the car. It didn’t even occur to Fizzy to ask how she knew the way to her house. But part of Kris’s earlier remark suddenly struck her, and she struggled up onto one elbow. “The slate is clean for THIS year? Are you saying you’ll be back again next year?!”
Kris chuckled. “I will be keeping my eye on you all year round, young Fizzy. But something tells me I won’t have to visit next year. Call it….my Christmas present to you.”
Confused, Fizzy curled up in the back seat and closed her eyes. She didn’t quite understand what Kris was saying, but some part of her felt a strange regret that she wouldn’t be seeing her again next year. The spanking she could live without, though honesty compelled her to admit her life would probably run a lot smoother if Kris were there to keep her in line. But the affection and reassurance Kris had shown her….she’d miss that.
Fizzy drifted off, and the next thing she knew she was in her own apartment, lying on the sofa in her living room. She could hear Kris’s voice talking to someone…someone in her apartment?? She sat up suddenly. Thankfully, her panties and tights had been pulled up under her skirt again where they belonged. But there was indeed another person in the room, as two sets of eyes turned to look at her.
“Oh good, you’re up,” Kris said. “I was just chatting with your new neighbor, Roslyn.”
“New neighbor?” Fizzy frowned as she struggled to her feet. She walked over to meet the woman standing next to Kris. Roslyn was older, with intelligent gray eyes and a few strands of silver in her short dark hair. Fizzy suddenly remembered the boxes she’d nearly tripped over that morning. “Oh, you’re the one who was moving in!”
“That’s right,” Roslyn agreed pleasantly. “The one whose box you kicked on your way out.”
Fizzy flushed as she recalled the incident. Damn. That’s right, she had kicked one of the boxes, and had also made an insulting comment about its owner. She wondered if Roslyn had overheard that. From the amused look in her eye, it was quite likely that she had.
“Unfortunately, Fizzy struggles a bit with her impatience and her temper,” Kris put in at that point, sounding very much like a kindergarten teacher discussing a problem child.
“Is that so?” Roslyn replied. One dark eyebrow rose.
“Yes, she needs taking in hand at times, I’m afraid.”
“Excuse me?” Fizzy said, astounded at the turn the conversation was taking.
“Well, as I live right next door, I don’t mind looking in on her from time to time,” Roslyn said.
“Oh would you? That would be wonderful,” Kris said gratefully. “I’m afraid I’m not able to visit very often.”
“Hey, wait a minute!” Fizzy protested. But no one paid her any mind.
“No problem. I know what it’s like to worry about your kids. They can get up to the darndest things, can’t they?”
“They certainly can,” Kris agreed, not bothering to correct the assumption that Fizzy was her daughter. “And some of them are naughtier than others.” They both turned to survey her then, and against her will Fizzy found herself looking down and shuffling her feet.
“Does she have a bedtime?” Roslyn asked.
“She should be in bed by 10:00 p.m., but she frequently stays up beyond that,” Kris said in a disapproving tone.
“I go to bed when I like!” Fizzy announced firmly, resisting the urge to stamp her foot for emphasis.
“Well, we can work on that,” Roslyn said. Her expression was perfectly pleasant, but something in her very even tone reminded Fizzy of Kris, and Fizzy felt a shiver run down her spine.
“Wonderful. I’m glad we’re on the same page,” Kris said with satisfaction. And then the two women were shaking hands and saying goodbye, settling everything between them as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Fizzy felt like she was in the Twilight Zone.
“Goodbye, sweetie. Behave yourself.” Kris leaned in to give her a hug and kiss. “Oh, and Merry Christmas!’
“Merry Christmas,” Fizzy echoed, perplexed. She watched as Kris left, and wondered if she’d ever see her again.
“I brought over a casserole,” Roslyn said. She pointed to a covered dish on the counter that Fizzy hadn’t noticed till then. “Have you eaten dinner yet?”
“Oh! Thank you, you didn’t have to do that,” Fizzy said. “No, I haven’t eaten yet….” She watched in bemusement as Roslyn went over to uncover it. The scent of it reached her and her stomach growled loudly.
Roslyn laughed. “Well, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll go now and let you have dinner, as I’m sure you’re tired and are probably going to have an early night.” The last was said with the slightest bit of emphasis, and Fizzy was suddenly determined to stay up late, no matter how sleepy she was. How dare the two of them treat her like a child!
“Thank you again, you have a good evening,” Fizzy said politely, carefully not confirming the bedtime remark.
Roslyn paused at the door. “I placed a pillow on your dining room chair, thought it’d be more comfortable for you,” she said, her gaze very direct. “Goodnight!” The door shut quietly behind her.
Fizzy’s jaw dropped and she felt the blood creeping up her neck and burning her ears. With that one remark, the older woman made it very clear that she was aware of the state of Fizzy’s hindquarters. And the fact that she had voiced it so deliberately after the discussion of an early bedtime was no coincidence, Fizzy was certain. “Damn you, Kris,” she muttered under her breath. The woman’s “Christmas present” remark suddenly made sense.
But that reminded Fizzy that the next day was a holiday, and she didn’t have to work. “Thank god…and I can stay up as late as I like!”
However as she sat down at the table with a plate full of casserole and a glass of wine, Fizzy shifted uncomfortably in her chair, despite the cushion beneath her. Well, maybe I WANT to go to sleep early, she decided, rubbing surreptitiously. And it has nothing to do with bossy neighbors!