Party of Five- Adjustments,


It had been difficult for Claudia to adjust to the death of their
parents, Charlie had to give her that much. In fact, it had been
difficult for them all. Bailey was going through his own period of
rebellion, Julia spent a lot of her time away from home and when she
was home she was looking after Owen, The rest of the time Charlie
looked after Owen and Claudia as well as running the bar.

He had his hands full and his patience for Claudia was wearing thin.
Lately all that was heard between them was "Claudia put on a
jacket," "Claudia, finish your homework before watching
television," "Claudia eat your vegetables" and so on. The response
was "You're NOT my father Charlie."

It was a hard battle for him, and sitting here in the principal'
office of the elementary school didn't halp matters any.

"Mr. Salinger, we are very concerned abou Claudia's welfare," the
short, gnome-like guidance counseller explained.

"We've had many reports from Claudia's teachers that she's been
slacking off in class, not turning in assignments, and she's even
skipped class a few times." The principal added.

They continued lecturing Charlie on the work and effort it takes to
raise a child and how poor their circumstances were, and if he would
consider having Claudia being looked after by someone else.

"No. I can manage Claudia, she's just having a rough time adjusting
right now, we all are. I will not break up this family." Charlie said
firmly despite his inner feeling of fear. Fear that he couldn't make
things better at all.

"Very well. Sorry to make you come out all this way, but it is common
practice to have such conferences when there is a problem." The
principal extended his hand out to Charlie.

"I understand. Thank you." Charlie placed his hand inside the tall
man's and gave him a firm hand shake.

~~~~
The drive home was a silent one.

"Claud, you want to talk about it?"

"There's nothing to talk about Charlie."

"Look Claud, I'm trying to make an effort here, but you gotta make an
effort too."

"No I don't, you're not my father."

"You're right. I'm not. But I'm the closest damn thing you've got
right now, and I'm not going to put up with this attitude from you.
Got it?" he asked turning his eyes on her.

"Whatever!" she said flippantly.

Charlie pulled the station wagon into the driveway. Julia had taken
Owen to the park, and of course Bailey was out.

Claudia headed straight to her tent in the middle of the livingroom.

"Claud, we're going to discuss this whether you like it or not?"

"Discuss what Charlie?" she spat.

"Why you're skipping school, and not doing your assignments for
starters."

"None of your business."

Charlie had enough. He grabbed her wrist before she could make it
into her tent, and pulled her over to the sofa.

"You know that if dad were here he wouldn't put up with this."

"Yeah well he's not here is he!"

"No. he's not. but I am." Charlie pulled Claudia over his knee and
lifted the green pleated skirt she wore. He brought his hand down
sharply on her panty clad behind.

Claudia let out a gasp in shock and her tone quickly changed.

"Please Charlie don't"

"I'm sorry Claud but you've been needing this for a while now." He
brought his hand down again and again, keeping a timely rhythm in the
swats.

Claudia kicked and screamed for Charlie to stop but to no avail. He
stopped only long enough to pull down her panties. A trick he had
learned from their father. He continued his assult on her bottom
until it was a deep, dark red, and she was sobbing uncontrollably.

He stopped and rubbed Claudia's back. His heart was breaking with her
cries, this father thing was going to be difficult.

When Clauida stopped sobbing deeply, he lifted her panties and gave
her a reassuring hug.

"I love you Clauds."

"Me too Charlie."

~~~~~~~~
Julia returned home with Owen just as dinner was being set.

"Hey Clauds, you wanna go to a movie later?" She asked.

"Um no that's ok Jules. I've got homework to do."

"You can do it later, it is a friday."

Charlie interveined, "Homework first."

Julia didn't argue and secretly Claudia thanked him, her bottom hurt
too much to sit through an entire movie.