Something was going on with her kids. Theresa knew it. Ever since she and Jerry had picked them up from the boat, they'd been acting weird. Well, Max was acting normal… or at least what qualified as normal for Max. But her older two children were definitely up to something. They hadn't argued over the window seats, Justin didn't have any nerdy science stories, and Alex hadn't teased either one of her brothers at all. Theresa guessed that Alex had dragged Justin into some kind of mischief on the boat. Oh well, she would sort it out when they got home. For now she would just enjoy the quiet.

When they reached home two hours later, Theresa was stiff, tired, and agitated. Max had spent the entirety of the trip doing his impressions. Why his Jim Carrey had a Southern accent, no one could say, but the car ride had been torture. The family dragged their bags upstairs to the living room, and as her kids headed upstairs, Theresa called them back.

"Justin, Alex. You two stay. I need to speak with you. Jerry, you stay too", her two children sunk onto the sofa while her husband dragged his feet back.

"Aww", Jerry groaned, "Is this about the traffic ticket? Because the light was clearly yellow"

"It's not about the ticket, Jerry", Theresa said rolling her eyes, "Although, just so you know, it doesn't matter if the light is yellow or not when you're going eighty miles an hour!"

"Now, Justin and Alex. What happened on that trip? And don't tell me nothing, because I know when something is wrong with my kids", the two exchanged guilty looks, confirming her suspicions.

"Something happened on the trip? Who? What? ALEX!" the girl winced at her father's tone. Theresa could see her clamming up. God, she had to do everything on her own around here.

"Jerry, why don't you go help Max unpack?"

"What? Oh. Ok, yeah", Jerry hurried upstairs; glad to be dealt a reprieve in dealing with this one.

"Now, why don't you guys tell me what happened. Justin…" she decided to go with the more honest of her kids. She watched as her oldest fidgeted. He looked worried, as she had expected, but there was something else to his expression. Almost a resolve. He took a deep breath and braced himself, trying to think of the best way to tell her. In the end, it just came spilling out.

"Before we went to Hawaii, Alex decided to pull a prank on me, so she put blue dye in the hot tub I was getting into, so my whole body was dyed blue, and the hot tub was blue too, and then Moseby was all 'Who's gonna pay for the damages" And I was like 'I don't know' And he was all 'Give me your Jim Bob hankies', and I was all 'Ok, just don't sue', and he was like 'Fine', and you weren't there, and I knew she wouldn't stay in if I grounded her, and she would have convinced me not to tell you, so I spanked her", Justin watched his mother's face turn from anger to confusion to an unreadable expression. He gulped back his fear and continued, a little more pacified now that he had confessed.

"And if I overstepped my bounds, I'm sorry. I'll take whatever punishment I deserve, but I thought I was making a good decision. It was all I could think of", the silence that followed was worse on the boy than any words his mother could speak, but she needed to get her thoughts together. Finally, she turned to her daughter.

"Are you alright? He didn't hurt you, did he?" Alex almost laughed aloud at the thought of Justin hurting her, but she sobered when she saw her mother's serious expression.

"Not really. I mean, it stung pretty bad while it was happening, but it wasn't nearly as bad as one of yours", she answered honestly.

"Was it on the bare?"

"No, of course not", Justin answered quickly, "I'd never violate her privacy like that. But it was over her underwear"

Theresa paused again, then finally spoke to her son.

"Justin, I don't like the idea of you spanking your sister, but I think you're right. You didn't really have much choice. I think you handled it well. I'm proud of you mijo", Justin breathed for the first time since he'd last spoken. He got up and wrapped his mother in a hug. She hugged him back hard, pulling back for a moment to shake a warning finger at him.

"Next time, you call me before you do anything like that. Do you understand me?"

"Definitely", he said, still glowing with relief.

"Ok, go on upstairs. I need to talk to your sister", strangely, Alex felt almost as relieved as Justin at her mother's words. She should have been angry with him for blistering her bottom, but she had been kind of stupid. He had meant well, even if he had a funny way of showing it. Her relief quickly turned to anxiety, however, as she felt her mother's gaze fall back on her. Once again, she waited for Theresa to speak, but no words came. Finally, when she couldn't take it anymore, Alex spoke.

"Umm. Can I go upstairs now?" Theresa adjusted herself on the edge of the chair she was sitting on.

"Alex, do you remember when you used to go to my mother's in the summer?"

"Uh huh", she nodded, wondering where this story was headed.

"You used to be quite the terror. And when Abuela would spank you, you would just brush it off and go on doing what you were doing", Alex's eyes grew wide with fear.

"Mom, wait…"

"When I heard about your misbehaving, I made a rule, remember? What was that rule?"

"But this is different. I…"

"What was the rule, Alex?" the girl sighed, then whined out her answer.

"You said that if I got a spanking away from home, I would get one worse when you got a hold of me"

"Exactly. Now go get the hairbrush from my sink, and come back here", the look on Theresa's face showed that argument could be dangerous. Alex skulked off to her parent's bathroom, thinking about how unfair this was. Justin had already spanked her, and now she was getting spanked again? Her mom probably just liked to do this. Ugh. How mean could she be?

Theresa read all the thoughts from her daughter's expressive face. She almost laughed at the mutiny that was peeking through in all of her child's actions. It was time to speak before the girl said anything she would regret.

"Sit down, mija." they sat on the couch together, "Look, I'm not doing this because I'm angry, or because I like spanking you, or seeing you cry. I'm doing this, because you have to learn to behave yourself even when I'm not around."

"But, Justin already spanked me. It's not fair"

"Justin spanked you for the hot tub. I'm spanking you because you disobeyed me. I told you to behave on the trip. You didn't do that. And in addition to that, I'm your mother. When someone else has to discipline you, that reflects back on me, and I have to make sure that I do everything I can to make sure no one else does have to discipline you. Do you understand?" unfortunately, Alex did. Which made arguing with this punishment significantly harder. She nodded, looking at the floor. Her mother raised her chin so that their eyes met.

"You know I love you, right?"

"Yes, Mom. I know"

"Good. Now stand up and pull down those pants. Underwear too, mija, let's go", Alex bent over her mother's lap, acutely aware of the air on her bare bottom. She felt the cool hairbrush resting on her cheeks, and dropped her head. Experience told her (and much more experience than she cared to remember) that this cool feeling wasn't going to last very long. Experience was right. Theresa brought the brush down hard on her daughter's tan bottom, leaving behind a flaming red mark. Alex stifled a yell, listening as her mother started to lecture.

When I send you somewhere spank spank spank I expect you to be on your best behavior spank spank spank Do you understand me young lady spank spank spank spank spank

"Ooooo. Yes ma'am. I'm sorry Mom. Ouch! I'm sorreeee".

You know better spank spank spank I've taught you better spank spank spank And I expect you to act like it spank spank spank spank spank

"I wiiiiiilllll. Please mommy. Owwwwwww. I wiiiillll. I'll be goooood. Oww."

And if we have to have this discussion again Whack Whack Whack Whack We can have it with the belt Whack Whack Whack Whack

"Nooooooo. I'm sorry. Don't, not with the... owwwww. I'm sorry Mom. It won't happen again. I'll be... Owwww"

Her voice trailed off as her mother brought the brush down on her thighs and lower butt. This was always the worst part. It felt like she would never stop spanking, and Alex's butt was already on fire. She kicked her legs, wanting desperately for the spanking to stop, but her mother just kept up her rhythm until finally Alex gave up struggling and lay across her lap crying.

When she saw this change, Theresa stopped spanking quickly and ran her fingers through her daughters long, dark hair. With her other hand she stroked the girl's back, whispering soothing things until the girl finally quieted. Alex stiffly rose from her mother's lap, and pulled up her underwear, cringing. She wiped her tears and nose and stood awkwardly for a moment. Theresa got up and wrapped her daughter in a reassuring hug. The girl started crying again.

"I'm sorry, Mom. I was just, so mad at Justin, and I didn't even think. I'm sorry"

"It's ok, sweetheart. What we needed to settle is settled. Nobody's mad anymore. Everything's okay, right?"

"Right", Alex smiled a little. Although she'd never admit it, she always felt a little better after a spanking. It was like a clean slate. A really stingy, sore clean slate. She headed upstairs, passing Justin's bedroom on the way. He was waiting for her in the doorway.

"Alex. I'm so sorry. I didn't think she would... I'm sorry", the spanking had obviously taken a toll on him too. Alex didn't want him to feel bad, she didn't blame him at all.

"Justin, it's not your fault. I got what I deserved. No big", she couldn't help messing with him a little though.

"But, I did hear Mom say that she was rethinking her decision not to spank you. She might be up here sometime soon", she smiled at her brother's horrified reaction, and walked to her room. Revenge was sweet.