by Lucy Appleby
Jim sat on the sofa, his arm around his wife, Ria, as they watched TV.
"Mom," hollered Jane from the top of the stairs. "MOM!"
Ria reached for the TV remote and turned down the volume.
"I want you to iron my pink top. Do it now. I'll be wearing it tonight."
"Okay honey." Ria got to her feet and went through to the kitchen, blissfully unaware of Jim's darkening frown.
"And I'll have my dinner on a tray in my room. You can bring it up when it's ready ... and hurry up... I'm off out in an hour."
Ria glanced at the kitchen wall clock. It was just after six o'clock. "Alright Janey," she called, and pulling open the refrigerator, took out some chicken breasts and salad vegetables.
"You've completely ruined the girl," said Jim.
Ria whirled round to find her husband glowering at her as he stood in the doorway.
"I haven't," she said defensively, her face pinkening into a blush because she knew Jim was absolutely right.
Jim raised an eyebrow. "No? Then how come she's ill mannered, selfish, lazy, and spoiled? We've had this conversation before ... more than once ... and you said you'd have a talk with her about her attitude and behaviour."
"Uh ... well I did, Jim... honestly I did. But you know what she's like." She shrugged. "She's a very strong willed girl. She ignores me when I ask her to do something. I can't do a thing with her."
"She's out of control and you let her get away with murder. You've been far too soft with her for years. I won't have her ordering you around and making constant demands without even a please or a thank you."
"She's a good girl really," faltered Ria. "It's just ... well, you know ... it was hard for me after Barry left. And I admit I should have done more with Jane. I did try, but she can be so ... difficult."
"Barry left you five years ago, but you have me now. I know we've only been married a few weeks, but that's been plenty long enough for me to get the measure of Jane. She's unruly and undisciplined. In fact, that's exactly what she needs ... discipline."
"Yes, I reckon so," said Ria, nodding her agreement, blithely unaware of the precise nature of the discipline Jim was referring to. "So how about you take over her discipline? You be the one that tells her what to do and what not to do, what time to be home, etc. She might listen to you."
"Oh I will," said Jim, his grey eyes taking on an ominous, steely, expression. "And she will listen, and obey. If she doesn't, there'll be consequences. Let me get something straight, Ria; when I refer to discipline, I don't just mean I'll give her a series of instructions and a ticking off when she fails to deliver. I'm talking about corporal punishment. If ever a girl needed a damn good spanking, it's Jane." His mouth hardened into a firm, unforgiving line. "A spanking for Jane is way overdue."
Ria's eyes widened in surprise. "A spanking? You want to spank my daughter?"
"Our daughter. I'm her stepfather, and it's time I took control of things around here. Wouldn't you agree?"
Ria felt a mixture of emotions flood through her: first, relief that Jim was prepared to take charge of Jane. The girl needed a father figure, a man of authority to look up to, and Jim was that man. Second, she felt a degree of trepidation because she knew there was no way Jane would agree to being spanked... she'd make the most awful scene. And thirdly, as she looked at her husband, all powerful and masterful, her knees turned to jelly and her stomach did a back flip. She adored his dominance. She adored him. If he intended to spank Jane, so be it; the girl deserved it, and it might even be good for her.
"I hear what you say, Jim, and yes... I suppose I do agree she might benefit from a spanking. But, remember she's seventeen, not a young kid. She'll make a huge fuss and tell you she's way too old to be spanked."
"You leave that to me," Jim said. "I'll be back in a minute." Turning, he strode to the foot of the stairs and called his stepdaughter. There was no response, likely attributed to the loud thud of music that blared out from Jane's room.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Jim ascended rapidly, rapped twice on Jane's bedroom door, and walked in. His blonde, blue-eyed step daughter, attired only in bra and panties, was wiggling around the room, shaking her ample bottom to the beat of the music. Jim's eyes narrowed. Pretty soon there would be a different sort of beat going on in this household - the beat of his iron-hard palm against this sassy young backside. In two strides he reached the CD player and turned the volume right down.
"Hey!" Jane turned and faced him. "You ever heard of knocking?"
"And have you ever heard of good manners?" he barked.
"What do you want?" she said, a surly expression clouding her pretty face. She reached for a satin robe to cover her modesty.
"I want you to come downstairs right now to iron your top."
"What? No way. Let Mom do it. I'm busy."
"And so is your mother." Jim went to the door and held it open.
There was something about his tone and grim expression that made Jane's innards quail; and that something forced her to obey. But she couldn't resist a little quip.
"Mom always does my ironing," she said petulantly.
"Not any more she doesn't. She works full time. You will do your own ironing from now on."
"You gotta be joking!" Her face was a picture of righteous indignation.
"Do I look as though I'm joking?"
Jane fastened her robe, scampered downstairs and marched into the kitchen where her mother was putting the chicken pieces in the oven. Ria looked up as her daughter entered.
"I'm getting on with dinner. These shouldn't take long. About thirty-five minutes or so," she said as she closed the oven door.
"What's all this about me having to do my own ironing?" raged Jane as she yanked out the ironing board. "He says I have to do it all myself from now on."
Jim appeared and locked eyes with his wife.
"Your father is quite right," said Ria. "It's about time you started pulling your weight instead of leaving everything to me."
"But that's not FAIR. And anyway, he's not my real father."
"It's perfectly fair," said Jim, and I assure you, young lady, I will prove myself to be more of a father to you than your biological father ever was. There are going to be some changes round here, and all of them concern you."
"Huh," snorted Jane, and banged the iron down.
"I'll put some potatoes on to boil," said Ria, ignoring her daughter's bad attitude. "Then I'll get on with the salad."
"No. Jane will prepare the salad when she's done ironing her top," said Jim.
"Like hell I will," muttered Jane.
"What was that?" Jim took a step closer. A fraction under six foot, he was a stocky, barrel-chested man with muscular arms; a man with an intimidating presence and a natural authority. He was handsome too at 43, with a thick thatch of dark hair and grey eyes ... eyes which now sparked with a steely determination. He was not a man to trifle with.
"Nothing," said Jane. Pouting, she silently got on with her ironing, inwardly cursing her stepfather for making her do boring household chores.
Jim smiled. It wasn't a very nice smile. "As you appear to be in such a hurry to go out, there's no need for you to do the dishes this evening, but-"
"Do the dishes?!" Jane was horrified. "I never do the dishes!"
"Precisely. Which is why you will do the dishes in the evening and clean up in the kitchen every week night from now on. Your mother and I will take care of it at the weekends."
"But ... but ... I can't. I have homework every night."
"You can and you will. It will take thirty minutes at the most. There'll be plenty of time for your homework... which I will be monitoring."
Jane looked at Jim as though he had just sprouted a second head. She felt as though she would explode in anger and frustration, but a little warning voice inside her head told her to keep calm and stay silent. So she cast Jim a look of pure hatred and got on with her task.
Jane was stubbornly silent throughout dinner, and when she'd finished eating, got to her feet.
"I'm going upstairs to change, then I'm off."
"Fine, make sure you're home by eleven," said Jim.
"No way. I'll be home by midnight."
"You will by home by eleven on week nights, my girl, and if you're even one minute late, I'll put you over my knee and tan your backside."
Jane sneered in derision and disbelief.
"He means it, Jane," said Mom. "Be home by eleven. Or else..."
"Or else what?" snapped Jane. She glanced at her watch. "I'm going to be late now. And it's all your fault, making me do my ironing and stuff," she hissed, glaring at Jim.
"Get used to it," said Jim. "Off you go. Have a nice evening."
After Jane left the house, slamming the door loudly behind her, Jim leaned back in his chair and sipped his coffee.
"Well, we've made a start," he said.
"Yes, and she doesn't like it much."
"Too bad. She'll get used to it. Think about it, all we're asking is that she clears up after dinner during the week and does her own ironing. Oh, and keeps her room clean and tidy ... though I haven't told her that yet. When I went in earlier, it was a complete shambles. These are all small tasks she can fit in easily. And besides taking some of the load off you, it will encourage her to take some responsibility."
"Yes, she needs to learn to be accountable."
"And that there will be consequences for disobedience." Jim held back a grin. He just knew that Jane would be late home tonight, and his palm itched in anticipation. He was looking forward to spanking that sassy little bottom ... actually not so little. His glimpse of her in her underwear upstairs had shown her to have a very full, round bottom with a pair of meaty cheeks that strained the fabric of her skimpy panties.
Ria nodded. "Are you off to the pub soon?"
"Yeah." Wednesday was his night for having a couple of drinks with the boys and maybe a game of pool or darts. "What are you planning on doing?"
"I'll take a book up to bed and have an early night. I'm up at five in the morning. My shift starts at six." Ria reached up and gave him a kiss. "I hope Jane gets home on time."
"Well if she doesn't, she knows what to expect. Don't you worry about Jane. I'll sort her out."
The Rose and Crown public house was doing a brisk trade. Jim made his way to the usual corner. Mike, Steve and Joe were there already.
"Hey Jim. We got you a drink." Mike pushed a pint glass across the table.
"Cheers, I'm ready for this. Ryan not here yet?"
"Speak of the devil ... here he comes," said Joe.
"Hey guys. Sorry I'm late. Had a spot of bother with Megan."
"Again?" said Steve. "What's she been up to now?"
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