Here we go...I hope people like. Thanks to thesameguest and TheTBone for all of their help in the idea generation and writing of this story!
A couple of weeks later...
"First day of the school holidays!" Jesus leaped past the TV, flicking on his console and diving onto the sofa.
"You got plans?" Brandon distracted him as he emerged. A couple of weeks had passed now and their mid-term break had begun.
"Other than chilling? Nope. No school work. No school. No worries. Emma will probably be round a bit."
"And I am going to wear out my shoes at the mall." Mariana joined in the conversation.
"So you can buy new ones?" Callie added, walking behind.
"Hey, B, can you flick the Kinect on? I must have not done it right."
"Slave driver." Brandon rolled his eyes as he walked over.
"Well look at you kids all ready for your holiday, huh?" Stef chimed in.
"So ready." Jesus laid back against the cushions.
"Uhm…this isn't coming on, Je. Is it broken?" Brandon looked over as his younger brother sat up briskly.
"No way, that can't be right." Jesus jumped over pulling it out.
"Wait…" he scratched his head.
"The cable's gone…"
"Oh right." Stef replied. "We forgot to mention…you're grounded."
Jesus turned, confused, quickly searching his brain for a reason.
"Ha! Too bad, bro." Brandon nudged him.
"Oh, you are too." Lena added. "All of you are, in fact."
Callie's heart was the first to drop in realisation, followed swiftly by Brandon's and then the twins.
"Anyone wanna guess why or are you still going to pretend we don't know you hosted a drunken party the night of our anniversary?"
There was a mixture of eyes closing and mouths dropping as Stef delivered the blow.
"Knew?" Lena finished Callie's question.
"Since when?" Jesus added horrified, the shock removing any chance of filter.
"Well, round about the time we heard Brandon whispering to Callie while she was on the phone but the empty beer bottles, resurrecting glasses, scurrying feet and pot brownies gave us pretty good confirmation."
"Yes. We know about the drugs and alcohol and there's going to be an extremely invigorating series of lectures on those for you to look forward to at some point during this so far undefined period of Amish existence - along with a few smacks of 'what the hell were you thinking'-s, but it can wait till we get back. We're pretty sure you'll be going over what you did wrong again and again during your punishment so we look forward to hearing your thoughts on our return." Stef encased Mariana under her arm.
"Where are you going?" Brandon asked nervously, not even considering attempting an argument.
"We're going to have the anniversary trip that was so heinously interrupted. But don't worry, you kids will have plenty to do while we're gone. We've left a list, well – book may be more apt. If you're smart, you'll make sure it's all done before we get back…but then again, it's not like you will have anything else to distract you with seeing as your phones, cables, computer batteries and social lives will be with us."
"Who's gonna be here?" Callie asked cautiously, not sure she wanted to know.
"Morning all!" Dana's voice chimed in from the kitchen as the kids all turned.
"Well, if anyone can be trusted to make sure a job's done properly in excruciating detail - it's my Mom." Lena smiled, Dana giving her a gently nudge.
"So, we'll be back in a few days. If you'd all like to go and retrieve your cell phones and computers, we'll take good care of them." Stef clapped he hands together as the kids slumped off their chairs towards the stairs.
"Hold up..." Stef put a hand on Callie's shoulder as she passed.
"Listen, we know that this party wasn't your idea." She assured her as her eldest daughter looked up.
"Yes, Mom heard you guys talking about it that night in the bedroom."
"So you were there!" Callie replied, barely noting the fact she seemed to be being pardoned.
"Yes...I'm always there." Stef squinted. "So, we would actually like to thank you...for at least attempting to keep control of things and staying sober. We know that you tried to stop it and that it can't have been easy." She squeezed her shoulders with affection as Callie's eyebrows raised.
"So...does that mean I'm not grounded?" She asked with a hopeful cock of her head as Stef looked to Lena, pulling the young girl under her arm.
"Of course...you could have tried harder." Lena replied, hinting that the obvious answer didn't need to be voiced. "By, I don't know, telling us what was going on one of the million times we asked, not trying to cover up, not lying to the police..."
"How did you even..." Callie's voice raised before her eyes closed with a sigh. "Never mind. I guess I should have seen that was you too."
"Mmhmm." Stef added smugly, rubbing her shoulder.
"So I guess I am still grounded then." She resigned as Stef walked her to the stairs.
"I guess you are." Her Mom confirmed. "But we'll make sure Gram goes easier on you than the others, and it won't be for as long." She added with a light pat on her daughter's behind. "Now go on, beat it." Stef crossed her arms as Callie scurried up the stairs in defeat.
"Well, I've got to hand it to you two, you're creative." Dana turned to them.
"Creative... sadistic... as long as the message gets thumped in I don't care. Thanks for doing this Dana." Stef hugged her.
"Hey, it's my pleasure. It'll be nice to spend some time with them, even if it's with a whip."
"Oh and it goes without saying Jude isn't being punished, though obviously he won't be able to play any of the games considering the cable's gone!"
"And you heard what we said to Callie." Lena added. "She may have lied to us but we know she is probably responsible for keeping everyone alive."
"Yeah...mainly because she kept us away." Stef snarked with a laugh.
"Noted." Dana nodded. "Well, I am off to assemble the cleaning products and get a good look at that attic. See where we're going to start." She moved out of the room as Stef made Lena jump slightly, pulling her tightly in.
"4 days, just you and me while our kids do all of the chores we've been putting off for a decade. Why do I feel like the hot tub at this hotel is going to be even better?" She nuzzled her.
"Well maybe we should roll celebrating our honeymoon into it too, seeing as we had that stolen as well. About time we had a chance to relax and have some fun of our own."
Stef dipped forward to kiss her wife strongly on the lips.
"You got it. Just one thing…" Lena pulled her head back to look at Stef, intrigued as to what she was going to say.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to search your bags before we go."
Lena squinted momentarily before pre-emptively rolling her eyes.
"It's just I've heard stories about the kind of fun you have…"
Lena pushed Stef away and cast off towards the stairs.
"I just want it to be clear that under no circumstances are narcotics allowed during any part of this trip. I know you vice principal types. "
"Keep talking there, honey. You think you can get creative with punishments…just wait."
"Oh!" Stef laughed as Lena strode up the stairs. "Now this is going to be a fun trip!" She chased after her as they waltzed on – celebrating the end of a crazy year in the best way they knew how.
Well, there you have it! I know a lot of folks were expecting a confession but I didn't want to lose the impact. If one kid confessed they wouldn't have kept it from the others and I wanted the blindside factor.
Anyhow - now we're at the end, I would love to know overall impressions and any feedback. It always helps improve my writing! A couple folks have mentioned sequels - I am always up for ideas, you just may have to suggest what it is you want to see! Just give me a shout.
On that note, if you feel anything was missing or want to see something specific from this story tell me, has to be quite specific request though - and no promises I'm afraid - but I'll try.
Obligatory self-promo: if you liked my style you may wanna check out my other stories. Certainly Fostering Fun, and if you're brave enough I have a full series in my AU.
Thanks for reading, putting up with my British spelling and all the reviews! You're all fantastic!