Friday, July 2, 2010

The Preacher's Kid, a new series

I got a buzz in my brain about a year ago about preacher's kids.
I first heard the term PK from a girl I used to know whose father was an evangelical preacher. She grew up in a very strict home, partially because everything she and her sisters did was noted by the church congregation. She was expected to represent her family, her church and even Christianity in general with her behavior. That's some pressure.
So I was thinking about that and I decided to write about a preacher's kid who is looking for herself. Of course she finds love but in a place she wasn't expecting. This one has plenty of spanking, too.

Here's Chapter One of The Preacher's Kid. You can buy it (download or print) on Lulu.

The sofa was on fire.

Frankie stood staring at it for a few moments. She decided that it wasn’t on fire, really. There were no flames. But it was certainly making a lot of smoke. She tried to remember if her cigarette had been the cause of the trouble. She looked down at her hand. Through a mist of vodka, she saw that she no longer held her cigarette. It must be hers, then, that was burning a hole in the cushion.

“I smell smoke,” said a voice. Frankie wasn’t sure where the voice was coming from. It seemed to float toward her through the room. She craned her neck to locate it. Her straight, soft hair fell across her bare shoulders, and she wondered what had happened to her t-shirt.

“It’s the sofa!” someone else yelled.
She felt herself being jostled out of the way as the smoke was cleared. Someone dropped her cigarette into a glass of water.

“Hello,” she said.

The person looked at her. “Frankie? Are you okay?”
“Uh huh,” said Frankie, bobbing her blonde head up and down very slowly and peering into the person’s eyes. This person seemed to have three of them.

“How much have you had to drink?”

Frankie felt two hands on her shoulders that she recognized as belonging to her best friend, Jessica. Frankie sighed with relief.

“Jess!” she exclaimed, breaking into a grin. “What are you doing here?”
Jessica looked worried. “We came here together, Frankie. We came in your car.”

Frankie nodded again. “Okay, then. Are you ready to go home? I’m ready to go home, Jess. I don’t feel so good.”

Jessica shook her head. The motion caused her to slip a little, and she steadied herself. “Oh no, girl. I’ll drive. You’ve had too much to drink.”

“I’m fine!” Frankie protested. She started to take a step toward the door, but then she fell down onto the formerly smoldering sofa. She closed her eyes. “Just lemme rest a minute.”

“Frankie? Frankie?”
Frankie barely heard Jess. She felt like she was floating away.

Then everything went black.

“Good morning.”

Frankie squinted into the bright sun that streamed through the kitchen window. Then she slumped into a chair. It had taken all of her strength to move from the sofa to the kitchen.
The person standing in front of her handed her a cup of coffee. The smell made her stomach turn.

She looked up at the person. He was tall with dark brown hair and a bit of scruff around his face. He wore running shorts and a t-shirt advertising a 10K in New York City.

Frankie blinked several times. “Do I know you?”

The person shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He tossed her something. “Put this on.”

She flushed as she realized she was only wearing a skimpy undershirt. She took the offered t-shirt and pulled it over her head. It was several sizes too big, and the extra fabric fell off her shoulders.
She tried to look around, but the motion made her head hurt. She looked back up at the stranger. “Where am I?”

“You’re at my house,” he said brightly.

She moaned. “Did I… I mean, did we?”

A look of confusion crossed his face, and then he laughed. “No. You spent the night here, but you were alone on the sofa.”

“Oh,” she said. She looked at the coffee and then back at the man. “The party was here.”

“Yes,” he said. “And it looks like it was quite a party.”

“This isn’t your house. This is Mandy’s house,” she protested, remembering. She and Jessica had come here to see Jess’s new friend, Mandy. She was throwing the party.

“I’m Mandy’s brother,” the man said. “I own this house.”
“Oh,” she said again. She closed her eyes.

“But I wasn’t here last night,” he explained. “And apparently Mandy decided to have a wild time in my absence.”

She started to nod and then let her head fall down onto the table. It landed with a thump. “Ow.”

“You okay?” he asked her.

She grunted.

“I’m Nick,” he said. “I’m headed out the door for a jog, but if you need me…”
“No, I’m fine,” she murmured from her spot on the table. Then she lifted her head. “Where’s Jess?”
“I don’t know,” said Nick. “I don’t even know Jess. But Mandy’s not here either, so maybe they’re together? There’s a green Sunfire in the driveway.”

“Mine,” said Frankie.

The phone rang. Nick answered it. Frankie noticed his large hands as he gripped the receiver. “Hello? Uh huh. Where’s Mandy? Yeah.” He put his hand over the phone receiver and turned toward her. “Are you Frankie?”
She nodded and held out her hand. He passed off the phone.

“When you’re done I want to talk to my sister,” he said.

Frankie put the phone up to her ear. “Hello?”

“You okay, Frankie?” It was Jess. “I didn’t mean to leave you there alone. I was a little drunk last night, and you were all passed out on the sofa.”

“Where are you?”
“I’m at the apartment. Mandy took me home.”
Frankie nodded. Her head was still spinning. “Oh. Nick wants to talk to Mandy.”

“Who’s Nick?” Jess asked.

“The brother,” said Frankie. “And the roommate, I guess.”

Then Jess was gone. Frankie handed the phone to Nick. He put it up to his ear, and Frankie dropped her head back down on the table.

“Where are you, Amanda?” Nick demanded.

Frankie groaned. The tone reminded her of her father. She did not want to be reminded of her father, especially when her head was spinning.

“I want you to come now,” he said. “We’re going to talk about this…. No…. no…. You’re nineteen years old! You’re not even old enough to drink.”
Frankie groaned. She hadn’t known Mandy was underage. No wonder the girl had asked them to stop for liquor on the way over.

“No,” said Nick firmly. “Right now.”

He hung up the phone and turned back to Frankie. His gaze reminded her of the police shows she’d seen on television. She half expected him to turn a spotlight on her. “So what went on here last night?”

“I don’t remember,” she said honestly.

“Figures,” he said. “You okay to drive home?”

She felt nauseous. “No.”

Nick sighed and helped her to her feet. “The spare bedroom is just down the hall, first door on the right. You go in there and sleep it off.”

He guided her down the hall, and she found the bedroom.

“And the bathroom’s across the hall,” he said, just before leaving her. “Use it if you feel sick. I’m not interested in cleaning up vomit this morning.”

She nodded obediently. Then she climbed onto the strange bed and fell asleep.

She awoke to a sound she thought was the clap of thunder. Then she thought it might be someone building something outside. As she became more awake and took in her surroundings, she realized what it was. She had heard that sound many times during her childhood.

She sat up and looked at the clock. It was after noon. She sighed, glad she had made it through the morning without being sick. She stood up and crept to the bedroom door. She opened it a bit, and the sound got louder. It was coming from one of the other bedrooms. When she stepped into the hall, she could hear voices with the sound.

“Nick! Nick, no!” a female voice begged. She sounded near tears. “Nicky, please. I’m sorry!”

The cracking sound got faster and louder. “This is never going to happen again,” said Nick.

“It won’t! It won’t!” the girl insisted. “Ow! Nicky!”
“No drinking, no parties and no strangers in this house, Amanda,” Nick said, emphasizing his point with some particularly harsh smacks.

“I won’t! I won’t do it again!” Mandy nearly screamed.

The cracks continued, and Frankie closed her eyes. She heard Mandy crying hard. In the sobs, she could also hear an echo of herself when she was back at home over the knee of her father or her own big brother. She slid against the wall and listened.

In a few minutes, it was over. She heard the siblings talking in low voices, but she couldn’t understand what they were saying. She went back into the bedroom and crawled under the sheets.

She pulled the covers up to her neck and let herself relax into the cool sheets. The sounds of the spanking hadn’t bothered Frankie in the least. She had grown up in a family with six children, and there was hardly a day when someone wasn’t getting spanked. Frankie’s own brother, Josh, had even done the honors a time or two when he’d come home from college. In fact, she had no doubt that if Josh were in this bedroom with her, he’d be doing to her exactly what Nick was doing to his sister in the other room.

She smiled and then sighed. She did miss her family. But she reminded herself that this move across the country was exactly what she needed to put her life in order. In Frankie’s small town everyone knew everything she did. To them she would always be The PK, the preacher’s kid. They knew her life story inside and out. They knew that she was the rebellious youngest daughter of Pastor Caro. They watched her like a hawk, daring her to make a mistake.

With everyone just waiting for her to sin, it was no wonder she’d started at such a young age. In the shadow of her gloriously well-behaved older sisters, there was no role for Frankie except to be the bad seed. It was how she got her attention, even if that attention usually involved her bare behind.

For this reason, Frankie had no problem knowing that Nick had just spanked his little sister in the next room. The thought actually made her feel a little bit homesick.

She closed her eyes and rested for a little bit longer. By the time she finally got out of bed, it was nearly two o’clock.

She made her way back into the kitchen, this time feeling much more chipper. Brother and sister sat together at the kitchen table. The house had been cleaned, and everything looked like it was back to normal.

“Hey Frankie,” said Mandy brightly. “Feeling okay?”

Frankie smiled. “Much better, thanks.”
Nick was standing by the microwave. He’d changed into jeans. “You want a bagel or something?”
Frankie nodded and accepted the food gratefully. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes, thankful that there were still several left.

Nick shook his head immediately. “Nope. Not in this house.”

Frankie grimaced. “I did it last night.”

Mandy groaned as her brother shot her a look.

“You’re not doing it now,” said Nick.

Frankie’s anger began to rise. She glared at Nick. “Who says? I’m an adult. I’ll do what I want.”

Nick raised his eyebrows at her. “This is my house,” he reminded her. “And waking up hung over on a stranger’s sofa is not the behavior of an adult, young lady.”

Frankie rolled her eyes and stuffed the cigarettes back into her pocket.

“This is what your friends are like?” Nick asked Mandy.

“Hey, don’t talk about me like I’m not here,” Frankie protested. She looked at Mandy. “Brothers are a pain.”

Mandy started to smirk but then set her mouth into a straight line when she saw her brother watching her. Her eyes laughed when she glanced at Frankie.

Then Nick turned his gaze to the visitor. “As long as you want to be part of the conversation, why don’t you tell me about how you and your friend came to buy alcohol for my teenage sister.”

Frankie shrugged and looked at Mandy. The teen was tall and slender with a mass of brown curls. “She looks twenty-one,” said Frankie helplessly.

Nick was incredulous. “You didn’t ask her?”

Frankie shot her hands up. “Hey! I’m not on trial here.”

“You could be,” Nick growled, his dark eyes zeroing in on her. “Buying alcohol for minors is illegal.”

“Wait,” said Mandy with a sigh. “Jess asked. I told her I was twenty-one.”

Frankie looked triumphantly at Nick, but he was focused on his sister.

“You what?”
“I told her,” Mandy said softly. “I told her I was twenty-one.”

Nick shook his head and then folded his arms. He stood there breathing deeply for about thirty seconds. Then he said, “I am going to blister your butt.”

“Nick!” Mandy protested. Her cheeks turned pink.

“’Manda, I am way beyond caring who knows that you get your little hiney spanked,” Nick said threateningly.

Mandy looked like she wanted to crawl under a chair. Her cheeks blazed red. She turned to Frankie. “We come from a very conservative family.”

“You don’t have to explain anything to her,” said Nick. “This is between you and me.”
Frankie ignored him. “It’s okay, Mandy. When I was sixteen, I snuck into a frat party and got drunk on beer. I had to stare at the empty beer can on the floor while my brother smacked my bare behind with a paddle.”

The room went silent. The siblings both stared at her.

“Really?” Mandy breathed. “I didn’t know anyone else had a family like that.”
“Lots of people do,” said Frankie. “Especially back in Georgia. Why do you think I left?”

Mandy laughed. Then she remembered how much trouble she was in, and she looked at the table.

Nick was still staring at Frankie. “I wondered about that accent.”

Frankie smiled. “I’m a Southern Belle.”
Nick laughed, and Frankie was surprised to notice that he had a fantastic smile. “You certainly are,” he said.

Frankie’s eyebrows went up. He seemed to be flirting with her. She glanced at Mandy and then looked back at Nick. “Don’t you think she’s been through enough?”
Mandy looked up hopefully.

“No,” said Nick.

Frankie smiled. “You are just like my brother, Josh.” She pursed her lips together. “Tell you what? You let Mandy off the hook this time, and I’ll buy you lunch.”

Both girls looked at Nick expectantly. He seemed to consider this offer for a moment. Then he said. “Okay. Just this once.”

Mandy breathed a sigh of relief.

“But if this ever happens again, you are in real trouble,” he told his sister, his voice low and serious.

She nodded solemnly. When Nick had turned away from them, she mouthed the word thanks. Frankie winked at her.

Nick stepped into the hallway to pull on a jacket. When he returned, he addressed Frankie. “Come on.”

She looked up. “Where?”

“You promised me lunch,” he said. “You drive.”

Frankie laughed and stood up. Then she smiled at Mandy. “I guess we’re going to lunch. See you later.”
Mandy grinned and watched them leave. Just as the door was nearly shut, it opened again. Nick stuck his head through. “You are grounded,” he told her. “You’re not going anywhere for a week.”

She pretended not to hear him.