I sat down excitedly to take my tests. It was the first time I had ever taken a test and I wanted to do my best. I could bring more stars home for Tommy! He'd be so proud of me!
Principal Daniel came in with our papers and I beamed and waved at him. He waved back. He was nice. He spent a lot of time with me, telling me jokes and asking me about Tommy. Finally Tommy would have a chance to have a friend who was really nice.
The papers were passed around and I began. All was silent in the classroom. A few children were shuffling nervously in their seats but I eagerly made the appropriate check marks. I knew all of these answers! Oh, Tommy will be so proud!
"Megan Buckley," Principal Daniel said and I looked at him. His face was angry, though. "Come here right now."
I frowned, feeling nervous. I picked up my finished test and followed him into his office.
"Give me your papers," he said and I held them out.
He snatched them from me and I bit my lip. He went through each answer, his face getting angrier.
"I never thought you'd do this," he said quietly.
"I knew all the answers," I said proudly.
"You cheated," he whispered and my jaw dropped.
"No!" I said quickly. "No, Principal Daniel, I didn't. I-"
He put the papers down and got out the one item that every student dreaded: the paddle. He shook his head at me, sighing.
"Megan, you're better than this. You should be so ashamed of yourself."
Tears spilled down my cheeks as he pointed at his lap. I shook.
"I didn't cheat," I whimpered.
"Don't make it worse by lying," he said. "Now come and get it over with."
"You're already getting five," he warned. "Do you want more?"
I sobbed and hung my head, walking over. I bit my lower lip. I had heard that it wouldn't hurt. It was more for humiliation and to teach a lesson. The minute the paddle came in contact with my rear, though, I let out a small whimper.
They lied! This hurt! This hurt a lot!
When my five spanks were over, he sighed heavily.
"That hurt me more than you, Megan," he said. "Now, I'll discuss this with your brother when he comes to pick you up after school." He shook his head and put the paddle away. "Goodness. You should be so ashamed."
"But I didn't cheat!" I sobbed, rubbing my backside. "And you hurt me!"
He stared at me then opened the door. "Back to class with you, Megan Buckley."
I was crying and hid my face in Thomas's chest. He was shaking as he held me.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he whispered.
"Th-They said it was normal," I whispered back. "When I told my teacher it hurt, sh-she thought I was just being over dramatic. Then, when I told Mr. Pink, he showed me how it was really supposed to feel. I made him promise not to tell you."
He held me tighter. "Oh Megan. I wish you had said something, baby!"
"It was too late," I said. "By the time Mr. Pink convinced me to, Daniel was gone." I sighed. "I lied to him. I told him I talked to you about it. That's why he never told you."
"Megan," he groaned and I could feel him crying. "All this time I thought it was because of what you saw. That was only part of it, wasn't it?" I nodded. "What else did he do, Megan?"
I shook my head. "That was the only thing, I swear it. After he paddled me, he was nice again. So, I thought that when a man gets angry, he hits you. When he's not angry anymore, he's nice and I can trust him again."
My eyes shot open as he began to sob. I looked up at him but he had let me go to cover his face.
"No, Tommy," I said, shaking my head and pulling on his wrists. "No don't cry! Please don't cry!"
Elvira came running in and her pale face told me she heard everything. She ran to us and put her arms around both of us. I dissolved into tears as she did and we held onto each other.
No matter what Elvira said, Daniel would always be in our family. Maybe now that everything was out there, though, it would get better.