Chapter 3: Consequences
I was angry, I'll admit.
More than that, though, I was disappointed; disappointed that Jasper had disobeyed me, disappointed that he gave me his word and then broke it, but most of all disappointed that he did not trust me to protect our family.
We arrived back home, and Esme practically smothered the boy in hugs and kisses, and then started scolding him for scaring us all so badly.
"I'm sorry, Mama," I heard him whisper to her.
Despite my annoyance with him, it made me smile.
He sounded so much like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
I reminded myself I had to be the stern father now, rather than the amused-at-his-antics father.
My son had deliberately disobeyed me, and it had very nearly cost him his life.
I did not think such 'antics' were amusing.
Before I got down to our discussion and his punishment, however, the doctor in me had to make sure that he was all right.
Vampires might heal quickly, but that didn't mean they still couldn't sustain an injury—in fact they could.
We might be ageless and long lived, but contrary to popular opinion we're not immortal—if we were nothing would be able to harm us (such as fire) and no one (not even the strongest of our kind) could rip us apart.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" I asked him, concerned.
He shook his head. "No, sir," he answered, automatically. "My stomach still a bit sore from that bit—uh—female's kick, but I'll be all right."
I nodded, relieved. Now, unfortunately, came the unpleasant part: the consequences.
"Let's go up to my study, Son," I told him, placing a firm hand on his shoulder, "and talk."
He nodded, looking resigned, and headed on up. I cast a glance over my shoulder at Esme as I followed, she nodded encouragingly at me.
She knows how much I hate having to be the disciplinarian—though I never hesitate when I need to be.
We entered my study and I stepped in front of Jasper, leaning on my desk. "First of all," I began, "I want you to know that Alice didn't 'tattle' on you."
He nodded. "I know she wouldn't," he said, "I told her that."
I nodded. He and Alice had a very deep bond, one I was very thankful for.
"However, she did have to tell us where you went," I continued. "She had a vision of them ripping you apart (he winced at that, I noticed) and came running to me. She was very upset, Jasper."
The look on his face was pure guilt. It was twisting his insides to know that Alice had seen something that horrible.
I sighed. "Why, Son?" I asked, bluntly. "Why did you disobey me?"
He looked down at his shoes. "I just…um," he stammered, "I…that is…I don't know."
I narrowed my eyes and reached out to lift his chin. "Yes, Jasper Lee," I told him, sternly, "you do know."
He gulped. "I…I didn't trust that you knew what you were doin'," he said, shame-faced. "I thought we should confront them, make them leave our territory—they didn't have no right to be here!"
I nodded. "You're right, Son," I agreed with him, "they didn't have any right to be here, but did you have the right to go confront them on your own?"
He looked back down at his feet. "No, Sir," he admitted, "but I wasn't gonna confront them. I was just gonna watch 'em."
"Either way," I told him, "it was disobeying my instructions to stay away from them, wasn't it?"
He nodded. "Yes, sir," he answered, quietly. He knew he was guilty, he wasn't about to deny it.
"Then you know I'll have to punish you, don't you?" I asked. This was the part I always hated.
He looked up at me with a mournful expression. "Yes, Sir," he said, his voice clear and sure.
I nodded, stepping away from desk. "Drop your pants, Son," I instructed him, sternly, "and bend over my desk."
His eyes widened, and I could understand his fear. This was only the second time I had ever had to punish him, but what he did nearly cost him his life.
As I said, I take my children's safety very seriously.
He obeyed, unfastening and letting his jeans fall to the floor. He bent forward over my desk, placing his head—shamefully—in his arms.
I placed a hand on his back to hold him down, but rubbed soothing circles into it as well.
I may have been about to spank him, but I still loved him and I wanted him to know that.
"You could have been killed tonight, Son," I spoke, allowing him to sense my distress and fear for him for the first time.
"I know, Daddy," he spoke, his Southern drawl thick with emotion. "I'm sorry."
"I know, Son," I told him. "I'll take care of it."
With my other hand, I pulled his underwear down past his thighs. He hid his head again.
Raising my hand back, I brought it down hard across his bared backside. He hissed at the searing pain I knew I had just inflicted.
Setting my jaw, I raised my hand back and brought it down again.
I began spanking rhythmically, concentrating on the upper part of his buttocks and the lower under-curve, the two most sensitive areas, while at the same time spreading a few smacks evenly over both cheeks.
I was hard on him, harder than I had hoped I'd ever have to be with him.
I hated every second of it, but it had to be done.
Jasper had to tame the raging feral instincts within him; otherwise one day it would get the best of him.
I would not let that happen to my quiet, empathic, sensitive child who went out of his way to help any of his siblings, and fought against his 'up-bringing' everyday so that he could attend school.
All my children hold a special place in my unbeating heart, but Jasper's place was especially important.
I continued to spank his bared bottom, hard.
After the fortieth smack, he couldn't keep quiet any more.
"P-Please, Dad," he hissed, crying tearlessly into his arms. "I-It won't happen again, I swear."
"I know it won't, son," I told him, delivering a couple of more swats to his under-curve. "I won't let it happen again."
I then delivered the last swat, aimed a center of his butt, making it the hardest of the lot.
It brought him up on his toes, hissing and sobbing at the same time.
The sight twisted in my gut, and I quickly pulled up his underwear and lifted him off my desk.
Turning him around, I pulled him into a tight hug. His head was nestled to my chest and his arms wrapped around mine.
"Shh, shh, Jasper," I whispered, sending soothing feelings at him, "I know, I know. It's over now, and you're forgiven."
He continued to sob a few more minutes and then got control of himself.
He pulled away from me, and then bent down to pull his jeans back up.
He looked me squarely in the eye then and said, "I am sorry, Sir, and it won't happen again. I swear."
I smiled, shaking my head at him. "I thought we had gotten past this "Sir" business?" I asked him, teasingly.
He glanced down, a small smile on his lips. "Uh, sorry, Dad," he whispered.
I chuckled, reaching out to ruffle his hair. I lifted his chin so that they we were looking each other in the eye.
"You're grounded for the rest of the week," I told him, firmly, "and that includes your car keys."
He nodded, and dug into his pocket for them. He handed them to me without a word or grumble.
"Jasper," I told him, gaining his attention again, "I love you."
His eyes widened at that, but then he looked down at his feet.
"I love you, too," he whispered, though I still heard him quite clearly, "Dad."
I smiled, and again I pulled him to me for a hug.
"Don't ever scare me like that again," I warned him, quietly yet firmly. "Got it?"
He smirked. "Oh, Ah got it all right," he said, reaching back to rub his backside.
I chuckled, shaking my head. "Uh huh," I reminded him, "you won't even feel a thing in an hour."
"But until then," he said, smirking, "I think I'll lay on my stomach."
He headed for the door. "Jasper?" I called after him, remembering something.
"Yeah?" He asked, turning back around.
I smiled. "I'm proud of you, Son," I told him, again allowing him to feel my sincerity.
"What you did tonight was very brave—not too bright, but definitely brave."
He smiled back, a genuine smile that we rarely saw on his eternally young face.
"Thanks, Dad," he said, and then headed for his room.
I sighed, but then I felt arms wrap around from behind and glanced over my shoulder to find a certain pixie-like girl there.
I noticed my open window and realized how she must have entered. She lifted up on her tip-toes to give me a kiss on the cheek.
"What was that for, Sweetheart?" I asked her, curiously.
Not that she ever needed a reason to show affection, of course…
"For being such a great dad," she told me, and then headed out the door to join her bonded.
I smiled. "Thanks," I whispered, "for being great kids."
My family was my world and I would not give them up for anything or anyone…
…even they did need taming every now and again.
After all, wasn't that what fathers were for?