Copyright © 2003 by Leah Kelley





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    Twelve year old Declan chuckled as he walked back into the hallway where his brother-in-law worked to repair one of the boards in the hardwood floor, causing Greg to raise his brows in question.


     “It’s Sis,” Declan whispered so the lady in question would not hear.  “She’s cursing us like dogs because of all the noise we’re making in here.”


     Greg didn’t grin like Declan thought he would.  Instead his jaw clenched.  “She’s doing what?”


     His own humor fading a bit at the expression on Greg’s face, Declan repeated what he’d said.  “She’s doing her exercise.  I guess we’re drowning out her music,” he added.  “It’s just Sis.  She’s always had a bad temper.”


     Well…she used to have a temper anyway.  Since his pampered older  sister shocked the whole family by quitting her modeling job to move to the mountains and marry an old redneck like Greg, she’d not been the same.


     Not that Declan minded.  She was much easier to get along with now, but he had to admit it was weird that she’d changed so much.  Before, she would have stomped into the hallway where Greg wielded the power saw and pulled the plug out of the wall, outlet and all.  Now all she did was curse him behind his back.  He almost grinned again before he remembered Greg was mad.  He’d never understand these rednecks.  They had a code of honor all of their own.


     Greg handed the power saw to Declan.  “Give me five seconds then turn this thing back on.”


     Declan shrugged but counted to five and did as he was told.  After a couple of seconds he turned it back off again because he hadn’t the foggiest idea what to do with it.


     “. . .disrespecting me by cursing me behind my back,” he heard Greg say while the old song, “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, played in the background.  Declan supposed Greg had caught Candice cursing him this time.


     “I’m trying to exercise and I can’t hear a thing for that saw!  Can’t you do this some other time?” his sister shot back, though her tone seemed shrill somehow, a bit anxious.


     “You wanna exercise?” Greg asked, and his voice didn’t sound pleasant.  “I’ll help you exercise.”


     Declan heard a jingle followed by his sister’s gasp.  “Greg. . .no!”


     “Turn around, Candice, and exercise.”


     “Greg. . .”




     Declan carefully placed the power saw on the floor.  Just as he rose to his feet he heard a crack followed by his sister’s squeal.  His heart picking up in rhythm, he strode toward the living room but stopped on the threshold in pure shock at what he saw.


     His sister, still dressed in her tight, skimpy gym clothes, danced around in perfect timing to the music while Greg wrapped a leather belt around her backside every other beat.


    “Cel (crack) brate (crack) times, (crack), come on!  (Crack) Do, do, do, do, (crack), do, do, do,  (crack)hoo!”


     It looked so ridiculous Declan almost thought they were playing until he caught a glimpse of his sister’s face screwed up in sheer agony.  Greg wasn’t playing.  He was giving his wife the whipping of her life.


     Declan had first head that phrase, “whipping of your life” a couple of days ago when Greg’s brother threatened his wife with one.  He just hadn’t realized the man was serious when he issued the threat.


     Fascinated despite himself, he folded his arms and leaned against the threshold.  His sister was really squealing now, blending in near perfect rhythm with Kool and the Gang when they squalled “yahoo” or “wah-hoo” or whatever it was they were saying.  He’d never seen anyone get a spanking before.  He’d never gotten one either since he and his sister lived with their mother and she didn’t believe in it.


     The whipping went on and on while his sister’s squeals turned to all out screams and then hoarse sobs, off rhythm now.  He wondered just how much longer this song lasted.  Candice’s thighs, front and back, were covered in stripes nearly the same shade as the red Nike gym shorts she wore and he imagined her butt was not in any better shape.  He almost felt sorry for her as she wriggled around in circles, her backside writhing this way and that in a futile attempt to avoid Greg’s belt, her mouth open in a silent scream while tears poured from her eyes.


     Declan even thought about saying something, but he didn’t think Greg would take kindly to it.  He certainly didn’t want to make the big mountain man mad at him.  Besides, Declan admired Greg more than any man he’d ever met before, and if this was what it took to keep his sassy older sister in line then so be it.


     Greg whipped his wife until the very last note of the song faded.  He stared down at her when the next song began, belt still in hand.


     “That’s enough,” she sobbed.  “Please, Greg!”


     “Have you had enough exercise?” he asked.


     “Yes, Sir,” Candice sobbed.


     Greg nodded sharply and buckled his belt back on.  Candice walked gingerly to the couch where she laid with her head buried in the seat, her bottom facing upwards while she continued to cry.  Greg didn’t spare her a second glance, just walked past Declan and back into the hallway where he picked up the power saw.


     “Do you think she’s okay?” Declan whispered before he thought better of it.


     “She’ll be fine.  Just give her a few minutes.”


    He turned on the power saw and soon they were back hard at work on the floor that had gotten warped by a leak in the water pipes.  Declan looked up when he saw a pair of female bare feet come to a stop beside where he and Greg worked.  His brother-in-law turned off the saw and rose to his feet.


     “Greg. . .I. . .I’m sorry. . .for saying what I did.  Will you forgive me?” Candice said in between her sniffles.


     “I’ve already forgotten it,” Greg said, opening his arms.  “Come here.”


     Declan watched in amazement as Candice walked into her husband’s arms and rested her head against his chest.  He’d expected her to be mad the rest of the day, at least, and then maybe the next day, too.  He cocked his head and studied the couple still locked in their embrace and made a decision.


     He wanted to be a redneck when he grew up.