Chapter 12: The Morning After – part 5
Addison watched her son walk away with mixed pride and annoyance tinged with guilt. Shane’s hand slipped into hers, drawing her attention. We don’t have anything to feel guilty about, he said. What they did was wrong.
I know, but… Addison wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest. Shane’s arms tightened around her, prompting a contented sigh. Simply being held felt good. Two days earlier she’d have considered it a sign of weakness, but no longer.
Shane nuzzled her hair. But?
She tilted her head back to meet his dark eyes. But I feel like it is partially our fault. Did our behavior make them so miserable to resort to something this drastic? Jake wanted this quite badly, but I never thought it was this bad. And Lynn… She shook her head and looked away. I never saw this coming. Not from her. She said that she did it to make Jake happy, but with Lynn you have to read between the lines. She doesn’t make it easy.
Amusement pulsed from Shane. “I thought that was just women in general,” he murmured into her hair.
The quip made Addison smile. She gave him a playful swat, then smiled up at him. Shane smiled back, and her breath caught, family crisis momentarily forgotten. Standing on tiptoes and keeping her eyes open, she pressed her lips, etching the moment in her memory. She wanted to remember the feel of his lips and his arms and flow of affection and trust between them. I really do love him.
Addison’s thought made Shane’s heart skip a beat. I love you, too, he said as he hugged her close.
A wave of frustration and amusement came from Jake, reminding Shane why he was standing there hugging Addison and wearing her pink T-shirt. No matter how grateful he was that they were together, the ingrates needed to be punished.
After swapping the ridiculous shirt for the polo Jake had brought, Shane moved to the couch. Addison, whose mood had also sobered, sat beside him. Their hands clasped automatically. None of the parenting books I’ve read covered how to punish psychic, too-smart-for-their-own-good, willful brats.
Addison grinned as she shook her head. None that I’ve read, either.
Jake can be confined to his room. Or a less comfortable room, Shane mused. But Lynn can teleport. How do we handle that?
Addison’s smiled grew. After a moment Shane realized why: he’d said “we.” You’re right. Confinement won’t work. I’ve found that assigning her chores she despises works best.
Shane frowned. Why doesn’t she just teleport away to avoid them?
Confidence and a touch of weariness rolled off Addison. Clearly she’d been through this before. Because, although it may not seem like it now, the hellion does respect me. Also, she knows that I won’t stop harrassing, humiliating, and embarrassing her until she’s served her penance.
Shane nodded. He’d done the same a few times when Jake was out of line. That’ll work. The brats conspired together, so they should be reprimanded together. The question is exactly what and for how long.
Addison pondered the question. This situation was new; she hadn’t shared the responsibility of both children with someone else before. Despite having joint custody of Jacob, she and Shane, had never really worked together. Whoever Jake was staying with had the dubious pleasure of doling out punishment.
Grounding, I think, Addison said finally.
Shane’s brow furrowed. That’s not enough. Unless you intend to ground them until they’re thirty.
“No,” Addison laughed. That would be torture for all of us. But grounding them for a month is a good start. They conspired together, so they’ll be reprimanded together. If Ashlynn decides to break the rules and teleport, we’ll add more time to her and Jake’s restrictions.
Shane nodded while he considered. You think she’ll behave because she doesn’t want to get Jake in trouble?
Addison shrugged. Yes. She already lied tonight to protect him.
Kids, Shane sighed. If grounding them is a start, what else? I’ve found that assigning Jake housekeeping humbles him quickly.
And any other menial tasks we can find for them to do. Addison agreed. My mum was a firm believer in honest work building character. Gives you time to reflect on what you’ve done wrong.
Shane grinned slyly. We’ll give them lots of time. They’ve earned it.
Indeed. She scooted closer to Shane, pleased that their first foray into joint parenting was going well. Shall we assign them the worst tasks first?
Sure. Like what? Cleaning grease traps in the commissary?
A mischievous smile spread across Addison’s face. Worse.
Worse? Wariness colored Shane’s curiosity, which amused Addison greatly.
We’ll send them to the infirmary to change bedpans.
Shane shivered dramatically. “I love how your mind works.”
Addison leaned in for another kiss. I know.