This is Chapter Two of a series of Choose-your-own-ending stories. If you have not read Chapter One yet, please start there at Amy’s site https://eric51amy49.blogspot.com and once you’ve made your choice, read the appropriate Chapter Two Follow Up (Red, green, or blue?)
Chapter 2: How The RED Grinch Gift Almost Stole Christmas
Dinner was a quick splash of chopsticks, paper boxed Chinese food, and fortune cookies. The clean up was just as easy, with Hugh hauling an extra large trash bag out to the cans on the side of the house while Becca got the kids ready for bed.
“Kiss kiss!” she blew from one to the next and then finally, raced downstairs to join her husband. Becca was about to bust and she danced around the dining room before pointing to the red package. She could hardly stand still as Hugh reached overhead, his smile lighting up the room, and gently laid it in her awaiting hands.
“Why thank you, Hugh,” Becca giggled as she gazed at the elegantly wrapped gift and her body practically shook with anticipation. Hugh was enjoying his wife’s anticipation and he was eager to see her reaction to his well thought out present.
The gift was wrapped in shiny red paper and tied with a silver ribbon with a curly ribbon to top it off. Hugh beamed as he watched his wife. So childlike and her eyes reminded him of their youngest daughter. So innocent and eager for her turn to unwrap a present.
“Oh, Hugh, are you sure, are you really sure I can open this one tonight?” He was always a stickler for the calendar and waiting for Christmas Day. Maybe Hugh would change his mind at the last minute.
“Go on, honey, open it!” Hugh encouraged her gently. Becca tugged carefully at the silver ribbon and it fell away easily. Sliding her finger along one taped end, the wrapping paper landed next to the silver ribbon in her lap. Impatiently Becca opened the box. Inside tucked under a layer of silver tissue paper lay a Christmas notepad with a snowman pen.
Becca’s face fell, filled with a moment of confusion and then hurt. Hugh knew Becca hated lists more than anything and what else could be done with a long skinny numbered notepad with a magnet stuck to the back. Tears came to her eyes as she tried to interpret what lay in the box before her.
“I don’t understand,” Becca said barely in a whisper.
Hugh gently lifted the box from her lap removing the notepad and pen. “I noticed this morning that you had yet to make a Christmas list of all the items you needed to get done. I figured this would be the perfect gift to help you organize yourself for the last week of the holiday season.”
Becca groaned. Then her sorrow at such an impersonal gift turned to frustration when he handed her the pad and pen. “Maybe you should start writing before this attitude gets you in trouble.”
That did it for her. The emotions flowed forth and she could not have controlled them if she had wanted. “That was just a sick joke! How could you get me such a thing? I can organize myself quite fine without that.” And without thinking she tossed it back at him. Her feeling of satisfaction was almost as great as when she’d tossed his car keys out of the car, the second time. She was not about to let him get her down, this was Christmas season after all and the last thing Becca St. Clair needed was to be stuck writing a stupid list. Becca went to stand up, when she felt Hugh’s well manicured hand reach her arm.
“Sweet Pea, I’d stop before I got myself in any more trouble.” Becca looked down at Hugh’s hand and let him pull her back onto the couch. She really had no desire whatsoever to end this night with a spanking on top of everything else.
He handed back to her the cute little pen and the notepad. “Now, I’d like you to sit here and write out all of your plans for the next few days that need to be done by Christmas Eve. Then we can figure out together how those things will happen. I’m here and I will support you, but you need to make the list yourself. And there will be NO more fits thrown here tonight unless you want to have a discussion in our bedroom. Now, you get started and I’m going to bleach the sinks since they’re finally empty and we can see the bottom of them.” Hugh stood up and kissed the top of her head. “I love you,” he said sweetly as he turned away.
Becca felt slightly guilty for her initial reaction until his words about the sink and dishes soaked into her pride. “You and your stupid lists and your stupid bleached sinks! I’m not writing a freaking list!” And with those words she flung the notebook and pen across the room and stood to storm off. Unfortunately for Becca, a man on a mission stood in her way. Um, maybe, Becca thought to herself, she had gone a bit too far this time….maybe? “Hugh, I’m sorry. I lost my head there for a second.”
“More than for a second, Becca,” he said with a growl to his voice that made her instantly regret her decision to throw the paper and pen.
“I’ll go pick it up, Hugh.” He grabbed her arm as she tried to push past him.
“Nope, leave them there. I think we have better things to discuss right now.” Hugh said firmly. Becca gulped at that voice and immediately began to feel the sugar plums and candy cane marching band begin twisting her tummy into knots.
How could this be happening to me? Becca wondered as Hugh firmly grasped her upper arm and guided her up the stairway, down the hall, into their bedroom and finally into the corner of their room.
The internal dialogue was practically screaming at her as she wrung her hands and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. How in the world could this have happened? She had been so careful to behave. After all, the holidays are typically over the top stressful. But why had she not taken the time to write that dumb list. Hugh had asked for the last three days for her to write down all the wonderful plans she had from now until Christmas. And yet, she was feeling so confident that she knew exactly what she planned to do, that she validated to herself that the list was unnecessary. She had this, did she not?
Becca thought through the last few days, weeks...she had been soooo good. Santa was the only one who needed a list at Christmas time, not Becca St. Clair who knew the Christmas plans for the next week.
Monday she would make those delicious Christmas cookies for the kids to leave on their neighbor's porches. Covid kept them from staying and chatting with the neighbors, but she just knew they’d appreciate the sweet treats they would leave for them. The kids would love that!
Tuesday would be all about Christmas cards (yes, they should have been in the mail weeks ago, but she’d been forgetting to get to them as each day was filled with so many holiday plans.) Oh, and she still needed to mail those Christmas gifts to her Australian friends. Ugh, those wouldn’t be there until after New Year’s if they didn’t get in the mail ASAP with priority shipping.
Wednesday….what were her plans for Wednesday again? Think Becca, THINK! Oh, crap, was Wednesday Hugh’s company party. Was she supposed to send out reminders for that or was that the night she was supposed to get a sitter for the kids? No, wait, Monday was the night of the party and she was supposed to bring a dessert tray. Okay, okay, Becca, maybe this whole list idea was not such a bad idea after all?
But still, why did Hugh choose today to snatch her into his trap, lower the boom, become his own holiday version of the Grinch? And why, oh why did she feel the urgent need to question her own sanity for even suggesting to Hugh they have a TTWD relationship to begin with???
Almost two decades of marriage and several children later and she could still not seem to get her act together for Christmas. They were always, always up Christmas Eve wrapping gifts and trying to catch an hour or two of sleep before the kids woke them with happy cries that, “Santa had come!” And every Christmas was the same. Fighting to stay awake while they went to her mother’s house for Christmas dinner. How many times had she tried desperately to catch a nap and ended up shouting at the kids for trying to show her some doo dad that they had got for Christmas.
Standing in the corner was supposed to help her figure things out, calm her brain, settle her before the spanking, but today was only making things worse. Guilt nagged at her and Becca was beating herself up, big time, and that made it feel as if...as if....Hugh knew it had all been an act. That she had just been trying to stay somewhat ahead so she could avoid writing that stupid list. Hugh knew she liked to keep things straight in her head. It was her “thing” And oftentimes it did work for her, but only when things were fairly low key. “Tis the season to be stressful,” kept tune in her head as she again shifted to her other foot. He knew she was rarely organized, struggled with managing her time, and was rarely on top of things. Why couldn’t things be light hearted and fun?
Making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers had been fun. Making them out of pop tarts was even better….Oh, she and the kids had made many hot dogs in the fireplace and don’t forget the mounds of s’mores they’d consumed. But had she not also been distracted looking at the mounds of dirty dishes and loads of laundry that needed to be washed instead of enjoying the kids’ faces and chatter as they learned to make their version of the perfect s’more? The many nights in mid-December she had lain in bed wondering if she could sneak out of bed and downstairs to get a few things done while Hugh and the kids were sleeping. All because she felt guilty that she was being stubborn about needing organization and lists were organization to her….Ugh! She could be absolutely so stubborn.
The realization finally dawned on her that she was stubborn. That perhaps Hugh was right. Who was she kidding? Becca knew in her heart of hearts that Hugh was extremely right. She needed to write lists to keep her organized so the tasks could all get done. And if she did go down a fun rabbit hole with the kids the list was there to help keep her on track. This spanking was going to suck big time. Not only because she’d already started to sniffle and have tears run down her face, but because Hugh had been right. And less than a week before Christmas she was now faced with confronting the fact that many of the to-dos would be to-don’ts because she simply ran out of time.
“Turn around, Becca,” the time had come to pay the piper, so to speak, thought Becca as she turned slowly around to face him. Hugh nodded towards the edge of the bed. “Pick your implement, my love.” Becca eyed the three choices.
The first was their leather fogger with the tresses knotted to resemble a “cat o’ nines”. Not a weapon to be considered as dangerous as the other two, unless in the hands of a skilled spanker. In the middle lay her oval antique wooden hairbrush. Each swat by that medieval torture device left her sitting gently or not sitting at all for at least a few days after it’s use. Lastly, was her sweet Hugh’s thick brown leather belt that he wore daily. Another foe, but one that brought mixed emotions to both her heart and her behind.
Now which will you, our lovely readers, choose?
The flogger, the brush or the belt? It’s time to make your pick and then jump back over to Amy’s blog https://eric51amy49.blogspot.com later this week to read the post that aligns with Chapter Three!
P.S. I am having difficulty responding to comments. My apologies. Please leave a comment and as soon as I can have Hoss work out the issue I will respond. Thanks!