In Control

Piper was surprised to see her neighbor Dan’s niece, Jenny, walking into her club. Jenny said, “Hi Piper.”
“Jenny, what are you doing here?”
“You’re not gonna get in trouble ‘cause I’m here are you?”
Piper smiled. “You mean because you’re thirteen and you’re in a bar?”
“Yeah.”
“No. It’s okay. The club isn’t open yet. At least I think that means it’s okay…So what are you doing here?”
“But if you were open, you would still let me come in right? I mean if I was hanging out with you it would be okay.”
“I don’t know Jenny. I guess, but…”
Jenny didn’t want to hear the but. She quickly said, “I just heard about tonight, and I wanted to know if I could come.”
Piper looked confused and said, “What do you mean. What’s happening tonight?”
“Dishwalla is the coolest. I really want to see them.”
“Dishwalla?”
Just then a man came down the stairs and said, “So you’ve heard.”
Piper was starting to get annoyed that she didn’t understand what was going on. “Heard what?”
The man smiled and held out his hand for Piper when he said, “Sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Jeff Carlton, and I’m the manager for Dishwalla.”
Piper’s eyebrows raised in surprise. She said, “You mean Dishwalla, like THE Dishwalla?”
“Yes. I’ve been looking for a smaller more intimate setting for them to do a show in, and I think your club is just the place.”
Piper and Jenny shared a look of excitement. Piper said, “Really? I mean…. Yes. This is the perfect setting. It would be wonderful for them to play here.”
“So tonight will work for you?”
“Of course. It will be….perfect.”
Jenny couldn’t hold her excitement any more, and she said to Jeff, “I can’t believe you actually know the band. I would do almost anything to meet them.”
Jeff gave her a sad smile and said, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Jenny had to get going home, and said goodbye while Jeff and Piper made arrangements.
Jenny waited at the bus stop, and thought about what her uncle might say about it. She had been living with him for almost a month now. Her parents were in Saudi Arabia on business, and they had left her with her favorite uncle, Dan. She had been very excited and happy to be spending time with him when she found out they were leaving her with him. She had always liked him best out of all her other uncles and aunts. He was younger than the others were, and he was still single. She had fond memories from when she was a small child playing with him. But now that the reality was here, it wasn’t as much fun as she had been hoping for.
She had expected him to be easy going. She could remember him letting her have snacks she wasn’t supposed to have, and letting her stay up and play well past her bedtime when he babysat her, but now he was no fun at all. He made her go to bed on time. He made her eat regular meals. And worst of all, now that she had started school he checked her homework every night to make sure it was done. She missed the uncle she remembered. Now he was more like a parent, and while she could understand that he was doing what her parents had asked him to do, she hated the fact that he was different.
She loved Dishwalla, and she had wanted to see them since she had heard their first song, but her parents wouldn’t let her go to any concerts yet. She had heard about Dishwalla playing at P3, and she just couldn’t believe her luck. She was sure that her uncle wouldn’t have a problem with her going since it was their neighbor Piper’s club. Especially since now Piper had almost said she could come.
The bus came, and Jenny got on and concentrated on finishing up her homework so that Uncle Dan couldn’t use that as an excuse to make her stay home.

She got home and let herself in. She got a snack and finished her homework. An hour later Dan came home. He yelled, “Hello!”
Jenny said, “I’m in the kitchen Uncle Dan.”
Dan came in and said, “Hi squirt. How was school?”
“Good. I’m just finishing my homework now. You’ll never guess what happened today.”
“What?”
“Piper got Dishwalla to play at her club.”
Dan’s eyebrows went up with surprise. He said, “You mean the band is going to be playing in Piper’s little club?”
“Yeah, isn’t that awesome?”
“Yes it is. That should be good for business, so I’m glad for Piper. When’s it gonna be?”
“Tonight, and she said I could come.”
Dan was quiet for a few minutes. Then he said, “Tonight? What do you mean you can go? It’s a bar.”
Jenny sighed and said, “Well Piper said it would be okay. I mean it would just be to see the band, and I would be with her the whole time.”
Dan couldn’t believe Jenny would think he would let her go. He said, “I’m sorry Jenny, but you can’t go to a bar.”
Jenny got upset. She yelled, “Piper said I could, and Mom and Dad would let me. You just don’t want me to have any fun!”
“It’s illegal, and I don’t think your parents would let you go.”
“Haven’t you ever done anything illegal?”
“Not intentionally.”
Jenny was angry and before Dan could say anything else, Jenny ran from the room. Dan decided to go find out exactly what Piper had said before he talked more to Jenny.

After Jenny and Jeff had left the club, Piper found out from her sisters and Leo that Dishwalla’s manager, Jeff, had made a deal with a demon to become rich and powerful. He was taking innocent people and feeding them to the demon to keep up his end of the bargain. The demon kept the people alive inside him, and fed off their pain and suffering. Piper found out that the only reason Jeff had decided on her club was because Leo had cast a spell on him. She and her sisters were busy at home working with Leo on a plan to catch the demon and free his victims that night, when they heard the doorbell. Piper answered the door and saw Dan. She said, “Hi.”
He got straight to the point and said, “Did you tell Jenny that she could go see Dishwalla at your club tonight?”
Piper had almost forgotten about that conversation. She said, “Well not exactly.”
Dan smiled with relief and said, “Well, she seems to think that you did.”
Piper got worried, especially now that she knew there was a demon, she wanted to keep Jenny far away from the club. She said, “Would it help if I went to talk to her?”
Dan thought about it and said, “Yeah, I think it would.”
Piper and Dan headed to Dan’s house, and they talked about how Piper had been just as surprised as everyone else to find out that the band was playing at P3. When they got to his house Dan took her to Jenny’s door, which was shut. He knocked. They heard Jenny say, “Go away.”
Piper said, “It’s Piper sweetie.”
There was silence, and then the door opened. Jenny smiled at Piper and said, “Good to see you. Will you please let Uncle Dan know that I’ll be just fine at the concert?”
Piper looked at Jenny’s eager face and found it hard to say no. She took a deep breath and said, “I never actually said you could go sweetie. It’s illegal, and they could shut me down.”
Jenny picked up a couple of skirts that she had tossed on her bed. She said, “Well, who’s gonna tell. I’m not gonna tell. Are you gonna tell? Which skirt looks better, the red or the denim?”
Piper said, “I’m sorry Jenny, but it’s not safe, and your Uncle doesn’t want you to go either.”
Jenny glared at Dan, and was very sarcastic when she said, “Yeah. Let’s ask Uncle Dan about it. The guy who’s never done anything illegal in his life. The guy who’s never forged a signature, or used a fake ID. He’ll understand.”
Dan felt very uncomfortable about the confrontation. He remembered Jenny being a cute little girl who was easy to please, but now she seemed to be fighting him about everything. He wasn’t sure when she had turned into a teenager, but sometimes he thought she should have stayed with one of her other aunts or uncles. Someone who already had kids and experience with this kind of thing. He crossed his arms and used the same line he had used about twelve times the past month; “Your parents left me in charge.”
Jenny said, “Yeah, and that gives you all the control. Everyone has control. Everyone except me.”
Jenny reluctantly burst into tears, and ran to the bathroom to cry alone. This made Dan even more uncomfortable. He mumbled to Piper, “I’m sorry about that. It’s just that she feels…”
Piper finished with, “Betrayed. I’m sorry.”
Piper started walking out and said, “I didn’t mean to give Jenny the wrong impression. It really wouldn’t be safe for her to go tonight.”
Dan said, “It’s okay Piper. I’m sure she didn’t accidentally get the wrong impression from you. I’ll bet she was trying to guilt you into taking her.”
They were at the door and Piper said, “Good luck with her tonight. I’ll make a video, and bring it for her to see tomorrow.”
Dan smiled and thought Piper was one of the nicest people he had met in a long time. And he thought she was very pretty too. He said, “You don’t have to, but it would really mean a lot to Jenny if you did. It’s really sweet of you to think of her like that.”
Piper smiled and said, “See you tomorrow then.”

Once the door was closed Dan sighed and leaned against it for a few minutes. He hated arguing with Jenny, but he knew he should still talk to her about what had happened. He went to the kitchen and got things ready to start dinner. Then before he started to cook he went and knocked softly on the bathroom door. Jenny said quietly, “Go away.”
Dan said, “I’m going to start making dinner. You could come down and talk to me while I’m cooking.”
There was no response, so Dan went down and started dinner anyway. Five minutes later Jenny came in and sat at the table and watched him. He said, “It wasn’t very nice of you to try and manipulate Piper like that.”
Jenny felt herself blush but didn’t say anything. Dan continued with, “I understand that you really want to go, and I’m sorry that you can’t.”
“I could, you just won’t let me.”
Dan wasn’t facing her, so he rolled his eyes at this comment. He said, “It’s not just me. It’s the state of California too.”
Jenny let out an exaggerated sigh and said, “Well that’s just stupid. It’s not like I’m interested in drinking, I just want to see the band.”
“Stupid or not, it’s the law. Besides that, Piper is our friend and neighbor. It’s her club, and she said no. You aren’t being a very good friend when you try to make her feel guilty when she’s trying to do the right thing.”
After a few minutes of silence Dan said, “Have you finished your homework?”
“Yes.”
“Let’s see.”
The rest of the evening was pretty normal. They both avoided talking about the concert. Dan didn’t tell Jenny about Piper taping the concert, mostly because he didn’t want to bring the subject up again, but also because he thought it would help Jenny to get over being angry with Piper if she surprised her tomorrow.

That night Jenny said she was tired an hour before her usual bedtime. Dan thought this was strange because usually she pouted and tried to stay up later when he told her it was time for bed. He said, “You’re going to bed early?”
“I might as well go to bed since you aren’t letting me go to the concert. I just want to go to sleep so I can get this horrible day behind me.”
Dan thought she was being overly dramatic, but he was starting to get used to that from her. All her emotions seemed extreme to him. He said, “Okay then. Sleep good sweetie.”
Jenny was still mad and didn’t say goodnight or give him a hug like she usually did. She just walked to her room and shut the door a little more forcefully than usual. She thought about how unfair her life was. She sat on her bed with her arms crossed and kicked her dresser. She thought, ‘Uncle Dan is so mean. I can’t believe he won’t let me go to the concert. He’s been mean to me all month. I wanted to stay with him while Mom and Dad were gone because I thought he would be fun, but he’s not. He’s just making my life miserable!’
She kicked her dresser again even harder, and hurt her toe. She groaned and held her foot for a few seconds. She got a determined look on her face and thought, ‘I’ll show him who’s in control. I can go to the concert if I want to. He can’t tell me what to do.’
With that thought she smiled and started to get dressed up. Then she packed her purse with make up and a comb. Once she was all ready, she got into her bed and turned out the light. She pulled the covers all the way up to her chin and waited.
Dan waited until he hadn’t heard any noises from upstairs for about fifteen minutes and went to check on her. Sometimes she was still awake when he went to check on her, but more often she was asleep. He thought since it had been an emotional day for her that she would be asleep. He looked in on her and saw her sleeping peacefully. She always looked younger and innocent to him when she was sleeping. He smiled and quietly closed the door again.
Jenny kept her eyes closed until she heard the door close. Then she listened to Dan walking back downstairs. Soon she heard the TV go on, and she knew he would be less likely to hear her sneaking out. She got out of bed as carefully as she could, and put some pillows under the covers to look like her, just incase he checked again. She grabbed her purse and her shoes, and quietly opened her door and started down the stairs. She could see the back of her uncle’s head as she got to the bottom of the stairs. She very quietly walked to the back door. She knew he usually left the back door open until he went to bed to let the cool night air in. Dan had just replaced the screen door last week, so she knew it wouldn’t squeak when she opened it. Once she was out the door, she put her shoes on and walked to the bus stop.
On the bus, Jenny did her hair and put on make up, so she looked closer to fifteen than thirteen. When she got to the club, Jenny snuck in while the bouncer was arguing with a couple trying to get in. She was small enough to sneak in behind him, without anyone noticing. Luckily everyone was listening to Dishwalla, and not looking at her. As soon as she got down the stairs and into the main area of the club she started looking around and saw Dishwalla’s manager Jeff. He saw her too and smiled. She walked over to him and said, “Hi.”
Jeff smiled and said, “It’s Jenny right?”
Jenny was happy that he remembered her. It made her feel important. She said, “That’s right. Looks like a good crowd, and the band sounds great.”
Jeff was short on time to find a new innocent person to feed the demon and said, “Would you like to meet the band?”
Jenny’s face lit up and she said, “Really? That would be soooo cool. I would do anything to meet them.”
Jeff smiled and said, “Right this way.”

Earlier Piper and her sisters, along with Leo, had tried to vanquish the demon. They had failed, and then they gathered together to try and come up with a new plan when Piper said, “Isn’t that Jenny?”
Piper and her sisters all looked towards the staircase to see Jeff taking Jenny towards the back room where the demon was. Piper froze the whole room, and the four of them started towards Jenny. But the room unfroze before they could reach her. Jeff and Jenny had time to slip into the hallway before Piper could freeze the room again.
They kept running, but they were too late. Jeff had pushed Jenny into a room, and locked her in with the demon. Piper, Prue, and Phoebe all hesitated at the door, because they weren’t sure how they were going to vanquish the demon, and save the tortured people inside, because the potion they had made had spilled all over Phoebe’s dress. They tried to convince Jeff to help them.
Meanwhile Jenny looked around the room and screamed when she saw a large demon with a long black robe and hood on. When she looked up to his face, there was nothing but the black hood. Then the demon’s red gnarled hands reached for her, and she felt herself getting sucked towards him. She screamed even louder, but the scream was soon swallowed along with her body.
All she could feel was pain. Jenny had never felt much pain in her short life. Once she had fallen off her bike, and scraped up her leg, but that was the worst pain she had felt until now. Now there was pain everywhere. Unbearable white-hot pain on the surface of her skin, and dull throbbing pain inside her body. She writhed and screamed with no sound.
Prue soon realized that even though the vanquishing potion had spilled on Phoebe’s skirt, they could still use it because of her power. She used her power to unlock the door the demon was behind, and before he could disappear, she used her power to pull the potion out of Phoebe’s skirt and pushed it into the demon’s hood. The demon screamed and soon disappeared leaving behind the six women he had been keeping locked inside him.
Piper and Phoebe reached down and helped Jenny up. All the women who had been in the demon were in shock from the immediate end to the pain. Prue’s friend Darrell, who was also a cop, arrived and arrested Jeff for kidnapping all the girls. Piper asked Prue and Phoebe to stay and watch the club while she took Jenny home. Leo went to each of the women who had been inside the demon, and touched each one on the face. As soon as he did it to Jenny she looked around her and shook her head. Piper looked at Leo questioningly. He whispered, “I’ve helped them all to forget the pain and the demon. They’ll all remember Jeff taking them, so they can convict him, but they will have a memory lapse from the point of seeing the demon until now.”
Piper looked at Leo with love in her eyes. She nodded and said, “I’m gonna take Jenny home.”
Leo nodded. Jenny was finally coming out of her trance like state and said, “Piper?”
Piper looked down at her and said, “How do you feel sweetie?”
“Fine. What are you doing here, and where’s Jeff? He was going to introduce me to the band.”
Piper looked at her and thought about what had happened. She was angry that Jenny had shown up at the club in the first place, since she had told her she couldn’t come, but she was also worried that Jenny was so trusting. She had gone with a man she didn’t know to the back room at a concert without a second thought. Piper gave her what she hopped was a disapproving look and said, “No Jenny. He wasn’t going to introduce you to the band. He was going to kidnap you like he did to five other women. The police just got here and arrested Jeff when they found out where he had been hiding them.”
Jenny gasped. She shook her head and said, “But he was so nice.”
Piper crossed her arms and said, “You shouldn’t be here at all. I told you not to come. It’s lucky for me that I know the policeman who came to arrest Jeff. If it had been another policeman he might have shut the club down when he saw you.”
Jenny felt bad that she had almost gotten Piper into trouble. She looked down and said, “I’m sorry.”
Piper gave her a quick hug and said, “I’m just glad you’re safe. Let’s get you home.”
Jenny felt a rush of panic set in. She said, “I can get home on my own. I’m sure you have things to do here.”
“There’s no way I’m letting you ride the bus home this time of night alone. I’ll drive you.”
“Umm….Okay.”
The whole way home Jenny bit her nails and worried about what her uncle would say about her sneaking out. When they pulled up in Piper’s driveway Jenny said, “Okay, thanks for the ride. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jenny got out of the car and started towards home hoping that Piper wouldn’t follow. Piper got out of the car too and put a hand on Jenny’s shoulder and said, “Not so fast. I know Dan didn’t want you to come to the show, so that must mean you snuck out.”
Jenny looked down and said, “Yeah, but you don’t need to tell him. I swear I won’t do it again.”
Piper was torn. She knew she should tell Dan since Jenny was in his care, but she didn’t want Jenny to hate her, and she also thought that Jenny probably had learned her lesson, and wouldn’t do it again. After a few seconds Piper made up her mind. She said, “I’m sorry Jenny. I hope it doesn’t make you hate me, but your uncle is responsible for you while you stay with him, so I have to let him know.”
Jenny almost started to cry, and she said, “Please don’t.”
Piper had to look away as she walked towards her neighbor’s front door. She kept a hand on Jenny’s shoulder, and Jenny reluctantly followed. All the lights were out in the house, and she couldn’t hear any noise coming from inside. She rang the doorbell and waited. Soon they saw a light go on upstairs. Jenny felt her stomach clenching.
After a few minutes the front door opened to reveal a sleepy looking Dan in a bathrobe. His bare feet were poking out from under his pajama pants. He looked confused and said, “Jenny? Piper?”
Jenny looked away and kept her mouth shut. Dan couldn’t believe the way Jenny looked. She had on tight clothes, her hair was up, and she had on way too much makeup. Piper said, “I’m sorry to wake you Dan, but I thought you should know that Jenny came to the club to see the band tonight.”
Dan raised his voice when he said, “You what!?”
Jenny couldn’t stand her uncle sounding so angry about what she had done, so she yelled, “I hate you!”
Jenny ran past Dan and into the house. She ran to her room and slammed the door. Dan stood there in shock. Piper put a calming hand on Dan’s arm. Dan said, “I don’t understand. What happened?”
“I’m not sure how she got there. I was looking around making sure all the people were having a good time, when I saw Jenny. She must have somehow snuck past the doorman. Before I could get to her, I saw her talking to Dishwalla’s manager Jeff. Then I saw her go with him to the backroom. She told me later that he had promised to show her the band. But then just as I got to the room they were in, the police arrived.”
Dan shook his head and said, “Police? Oh no, did her being there get the club shut down?”
Piper said, “No. Lucky for me, my sisters and I are pretty good friends with the policeman that was there. The police were there to arrest Dishwalla’s manager, Jeff. It turned out that he had kidnapped five women from five different states over the past three weeks. Jenny would have been number six if we hadn’t gotten there in time.”
Dan felt sick and had to put a hand on the doorframe to steady himself. Piper said, “Dan? Are you okay?”
Dan took a deep breath and said, “I just can’t even imagine loosing her. What that would do to her parents and to me….”
“I know, but it didn’t happen. She’s home, and she’s safe.”
Dan looked up towards Jenny’s room. He nodded and looked back to Piper. He said, “I can’t thank you enough for saving her and bringing her home.”
Piper waved him off and said, “It’s okay. I think she’s a really sweet girl, and I would hate to see anything happen to her.”
Dan nodded again as his imagination ran wild with images of Jenny hurt and suffering. Piper said, “It’s late, I should be getting back.”
Dan nodded and said, “Thanks again Piper. I’ll see you soon.”
Piper headed back to the club, and Dan shut the door. He stood there thinking about what he had just found out. The thought of something bad happening to Jenny was horrific. He tried to shake the thoughts out of his head. Soon he heard the water go on in the bathroom, and knew Jenny must be getting ready for bed for real this time.
He walked up to her room while she was in the bathroom. He sat on her bed and thought, ‘What the hell should I do now? She hasn’t been exactly agreeable since she’s been staying with me, but I never thought she would do something like this. This was dangerous. She could have gotten kidnapped or worse. And then when she got home, she yelled at me and ran off. What would my sister and brother-in-law do? I guess I’ll have to ground her. God, how do I do that? Okay Dan, you can do this. Just be confident, and tell her like it is. For how long? A week? Two? Man, why can’t she be five again? Back then she still thought I was cool. Back then she didn’t do much to get herself into trouble. And back then when she pushed the limits, I could just give her a swat and it was over.’
He heard the bathroom door open. He stood up, and tried to gather his courage to do what needed to be done. He crossed his arms and waited.
Jenny had stayed in the bathroom as long as she thought she could stall. She had washed off her makeup, and combed out her hair. She had put on her favorite pair of pajamas, gone to the bathroom, and brushed her teeth. Finally she looked in the mirror and whispered, “This is so not good.”
She hoped that her uncle would be in his room, and that they were going to talk about it tomorrow. She opened the door to her room, and saw her uncle standing there. She wasn’t sure what to say to him. She looked down and said, “So are you mad?”
“Yes. I’m angry and disappointed. I just can’t believe that you snuck out of the house to go to a concert after I told you that you couldn’t go.”
Jenny crossed her arms too and said, “Well if you had let me go, I wouldn’t have snuck out.”
Dan shook his head with disbelief. He said, “So it’s my fault?”
“Well not exactly, but if…”
Dan interrupted her. “No.”
“No what?”
“No blaming any of this on me, or Piper, or anyone else. You did this all on your own. I want you to tell me exactly what you did, and before you even think about lying or leaving something out, you should know that Piper already gave me her version.”
Jenny thought this sounded bad, and she thought the best way to get out of being in trouble was to go on the defensive. She said, “Okay, I’ll tell you my version. First Piper said I could go to the concert, and then you made her change her mind because you didn’t want me to go. I knew you were both wrong, so I went anyway.”
Dan tried hard to keep his voice level when he said, “You’re already in a lot of trouble Jenny, and you’re making it even worse with your attitude. Tell me how you got to the concert, and what you did there.”
Jenny thought about Dan calling her parents, and what they would say. She decided to try and tell him the rest without quite as much attitude. “I went out the back door, and road the bus to the concert. Once I was there it was pretty easy to sneak past the security guy at the front. Then after a few minutes Piper found me and brought me home. I didn’t even get to see much of the concert.”
Dan almost couldn’t stop himself from swatting her. He had to keep telling himself that she was too old, and that it wasn’t what people did to kids anymore. He settled for taking a step towards her and leaning down into her personal space when he said, “What about Jeff?”
Jenny thought, ‘Damn. Piper would tell him. That sucks.’
Jenny said, “I saw him there, and he said I could meet the band, but I never got to.”
Dan shook his head again and pointed to the bed. He said, “You sit, and listen up.”
As Dan was listing her crimes, he pointed to a finger for each one to count them up. He said, “First you snuck out. Next you walked to the bus stop and road the bus alone at night, which isn’t safe. Then you went into a club that doesn’t allow minors. You went to and saw part of the concert after I told you that you couldn’t go. And to top it off you went to the back room with Jeff, who you don’t know, and who IS dangerous, because he promised to let you meet the band.”
Dan held up five fingers to Jenny. He said, “You are grounded for two weeks young lady.”
Jenny yelled, “What!?”
Dan started pointing to the five fingers that were up, and put one down at a time as he listed her punishments. “No phone, no TV, no computer, no going anywhere except school, and lots and lots of extra chores.”
Jenny stood up and yelled, “You can’t ground me!”
Dan couldn’t believe she was arguing with him about this. He thought about it for about two more seconds, and decided if he was going to survive the next few months while Jenny’s parents were away, he would have to take a stronger stand. He said, “Oh yes I can, and I have.”
Dan grabbed Jenny’s wrist and before she knew what was happening, he had turned her to the side and swatted her bottom. They were both silent for a second, and then Jenny yelled, “I hate you! I’m gonna tell my mom that you hit me, and then you’ll be sorry!”
Dan quickly realized that one swat didn’t do the same thing that it used to when Jenny was five. He calmly sat on the bed and pulled Jenny over his lap. She screamed, “Stop it!”
Dan started spanking Jenny and said, “I’m sorry Jenny, (Smack) but you have to learn (Smack) to listen to me (Smack, Smack) and do what I tell you to do (Smack, Smack).”
Jenny yelled, “Stooopppp. Uncle Daaaannnn stooooopppp!”
Dan felt bad, but kept spanking her. Jenny soon started to cry and yelled, “I’m sooorrrrryyyyy.”
After about fifteen swats Dan stopped and looked down at his niece. He pulled her up, and sat her in his lap. He hugged her close to his chest while she cried. He rocked her back and forth, and smoothed her hair when he said, “Okay, it’s over now.”
Jenny said between sobs and sharp intakes of breath, “I want my mom.”
Dan hugged her a little tighter and said, “We’ll call her tomorrow.”
Dan was quiet for a few minutes while Jenny cried. When she was quieting down he said, “I love you Jenny, and I want us to have a good time while you’re here with me, but you can’t run wild. You’re only thirteen, and that means that you need an adult around to tell you what you can and can’t do. I know it’s hard for you to have both you’re parents gone for so long, but if you would stop fighting me, I think we could have a good time together.”
Jenny sniffed a few times and said, “You used to be fun, but now you’re just mean.”
By the end of her sentence she was crying again. Dan sighed and said, “I know you want it to be the way it was when I would watch you for a day here and there, but it just can’t be. I can’t let you do whatever you want for six months, especially while you’re in school. If I let you do whatever you wanted, and if I let you make bad choices, it would prove that I didn’t love you, not that I did.”
Jenny thought about it and nodded. She said, “I’m sorry I snuck out, and went to the show. And I don’t really hate you.”
“I forgive you, and I love you still, but…”
Dan paused and said, “I really hated spanking you Jenny, and I hope you don’t make it necessary again, but I’m warning you now that if you fight me the way you have been I will do it again.”
Jenny started to cry again and said, “Nooo.”
“I’m sorry sweetie, but I will. I can’t let you do the kind of dangerous things that you did tonight. Starting tomorrow morning you’re grounded for two weeks. I’ll let you talk to you’re parents, but that’s the only exception. And since you weren’t very nice to Piper, I’m going to ask if she wants you to do some work over there to make up for it.”
They sat in silence for a long time. Eventually Jenny drifted off to sleep, and Dan put her down on the bed and covered her with the comforter. He kissed her forehead and then went to his room to try and get some sleep.