Here’s a little overview of the show for people who haven’t seen it:

There are three siblings, Bradin (16), Nikki (13), and Derrick (9). Their parents recently died, and now the kids are living with their aunt, Ava. Ava has no husband, and no kids, and she was kind of living a wild life before the kids showed up. They all live in the same house with Ava’s three long time friends. First is Johnny who used to be her boyfriend. Now they are good friends, but still have some feelings for each other. Next is Susannah who is a close friend, and is trying to start a new line of clothing with Ava. Last is Jay who is another good friend. He lives in the pool house, and owns a surf shop. Erica is a girl who used to date Jay, and is still in love with him. Bradin has a crush on her, even though she’s older.

This story has spoilers for the third episode called Fireworks, but I’ve changed some of it to make it more enjoyable for me. If you want a laugh, go check out telivisionwithoutpity.com, and see what they had to say about the episode. (Well, I thought it was funny anyway.)

Summerland


Bradin hated sharing a room with Derrick. It was the absolute worst part about living with his Aunt Ava. Bradin had always thought that Derrick was annoying, but now that they were sharing a room, Bradin thought Derrick was a huge pain in the ass. Derrick was always touching his things and even breaking things sometimes. Bradin had warned him more than once to not touch his stuff, but Derrick just didn’t seem to listen.
Derrick was the youngest of the siblings, and was still confused about the loss of his parents. He wasn’t trying to irritate his older brother, but he was trying to be close to him. Derrick had always looked up to his older brother, but now that their parents were gone, Derrick also looked to him to see how to react to all the new things in their lives. When Bradin told Derrick not to touch his stuff, Derrick tried not to, but sometimes the temptation got too great, and he did it anyway while trying to emulate his older brother.
Derrick, being younger, was also more accepting about having a new family. He was happy to let Aunt Ava be his surrogate mom, and he was happy to let Johnny, step into the role of dad. Bradin however was not ready for that, and at sixteen didn’t think he would ever want someone to try and be that for him again. The loss of his parents was a huge gaping hole in his gut, and he assumed it would never heal. He kept telling himself that he would have to learn to live with the constant pain, and tried to get on with life. And if he was a little more wild and short tempered than he used to be, well that was just the way things were.
After being in the house for a month Derrick and Johnny had started working on a rocket together for Fourth of July. Bradin watched them working, and waffled between being happy for Derrick that he had Johnny to look up to, and being angry at Derrick for betraying the memory of their parents by letting Johnny be the authority figure. The more they worked on the rocket, the more Bradin didn’t like it.
Then on Friday night, the day before the Fourth of July, it happened. Derrick just couldn’t stop himself from playing with Bradin’s surfboard. Derrick knew it was important to Bradin. He knew it was one of Bradin’s prized possessions, but that was what made it so hard to resist. He had been pulling it away from the wall when Bradin walked in. Derrick was so startled that he dropped it, and it hit the dresser on the way to the floor. Bradin lost his temper. “You little creep! How dare you touch my surfboard! You know how important it is to me! It’s not a toy!”
Bradin picked it up, and looked it over for damage. He saw a small nick and yelled, “Look what you did!”
Derrick said, “I’m sorry…I just….I wanted….”
Bradin saw the rocket sitting on the floor beside him. He grabbed it, walked to the balcony, and tossed it off. They heard it hit the cement floor below where it broke. Derrick felt like crying, and almost did. He said, “That was mean! I didn’t hurt your surfboard on purpose!”
“You shouldn’t have been playing with it at all!”
“You shouldn’t throw my stuff off the balcony. Johnny and I worked hard to get that built, and we were gonna set it off tomorrow. Now it’s wrecked!”
“Serves you right!”

Down on the patio, the four adults, Ava, Johnny, Susannah, and Jay, were all in the hot tub trying to relax when they heard yelling. After the first yell, Johnny called up, “Knock it off you guys!”
But the kids apparently didn’t hear him, because the next thing they saw was Derrick’s rocket smashed on the ground behind them. Having kids around all the time was a new thing for all four of them, and it wasn’t always enjoyable. Johnny sighed when he thought of all the time he and Derrick had put into it. He hoped they could repair it before the next evening. He reluctantly got out of the tub and said to the other three adults, “I got it.”
Johnny dried himself off, and picked up the rocket on the way into the house. He got upstairs just in time to hear Bradin tell Derrick, “Don’t you ever touch any of my stuff again, or you’ll be even more sorry!”
Johnny was in the hallway, and could see into the room that the boys shared. He raised his voice to be heard above the yelling. He said, “Hey! What’s this all about?”
Bradin yelled, “He’s always in my stuff, and this time it was my surfboard!”
Derrick threw himself on his bed to hide his face when he said, “I didn’t mean it, and he broke the rocket.”
Johnny held up the rocket for Bradin to see, and said, “He touched your surfboard so you threw his rocket off the balcony?”
Bradin yelled, “I’ve told him and told him not to touch my stuff, and the surfboard is nicked!”
Johnny said, “So you broke one of his toys? He’s nine years old! Real mature Bradin.”
Bradin hated that Johnny was getting involved with this at all. He said, “I’m out of here.”
Bradin leaned down to grab his jacket from the floor, and Johnny said, “We’re not done talking yet.”
“Oh yes we are.”
Bradin tried to walk past Johnny and Johnny said, “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Out.”
Johnny had to physically stop Bradin from walking out by grabbing his upper arm. Bradin stopped and looked at the hand that held him for a second. He said, “Let me go.”
“No. You’re going to stay here and listen to me.”
Bradin tried to pull his arm out of Johnny’s grip, but couldn’t. He said, “The hell I am. I don’t have to listen to you. You’re not my father.”
Johnny said, “You’re right. I’m not your father, but I am the guy who’s grounding you.”
“What?”
“You can spend the whole weekend at home, and you can help Derrick fix this.” Johnny held up the rocket for Bradin to see.
“I have plans for this weekend!”
“You should have thought about that before you lost your temper.”
Bradin wanted to yell ‘Screw you’. He wanted to storm out of the house and let all the adults worry about where he was for the next couple of days, but Johnny was a muscular guy, and Bradin wasn’t really ready to flat out challenge him about authority. Bradin tried to yank his arm out of Johnny’s gasp again, and this time Johnny let him. Bradin grabbed the rocket, and went back to the room that he shared with Derrick and sat on his bed.
Johnny said, “I better not hear any more fighting. You guys work together.”
Johnny turned around and started walking back downstairs. He said quietly to himself, “Grounded? Where did that come from?”

Johnny went to the hot tub and got back in with his friends. He said, “I don’t think that went very well.”
Ava said, “What was the fight about?”
Johnny said, “Derrick was playing with Bradin’s surf board, and Bradin got angry about it and tossed the rocket over the balcony. When I got there Bradin was still yelling at Derrick who looked ready to cry.”
Ava said, “Maybe I we should move the kids so that Derrick and Nikki are sharing a room.”
Susannah shook her head and said, “No. You were right to give Nikki the room alone.”
Jay said, “Why should she get the room alone? Bradin’s the oldest.”
Susannah gave Jay a look and said, “It’s fifty times harder to be a teenage girl then it is to be a teenage boy.”
Jay looked offended and said, “No way!”
Susannah and Ava looked at each other and then turned back to Jay and said at the same time, “Yes way.”
Ava turned to Johnny and said, “Do you think you can fix the rocket by tomorrow?”
Johnny said, “I told Bradin that he had to help Derrick fix it.”
Ava looked surprised and said, “And he agreed to it?”
Johnny wasn’t sure if Ava would be upset about what he had done, but it was too late to turn back now, so he said, “I didn’t give him a choice. He was being rotten to Derrick when I got there, and when I tried to talk to him calmly, he tried to leave the house, so I told him he was grounded for the weekend.”
Johnny looked around at the surprised looks on the faces of his friends. He said, “I don’t know how it happened. It just came out.”
Jay laughed first, followed by Susannah, and last Ava. Soon they were all laughing hysterically, and Johnny was saying, “What? What’s so funny?”
Ava was the first to stop laughing so hard and she said, “You just look so lost. I know what you’re thinking too. How did you get from the guy who once drank half a bottle of tequila and went water skiing at night, to the adult who just grounded someone? It’s okay. We all feel that way. Kids just make you…old.”
Susannah said, “Hey now! Not old…just responsible.”

The next day was Fourth of July. Bradin spent the morning helping Derrick put the rocket back together under Johnny’s supervision, and they all had an okay time, even if Bradin was still angry that Johnny had grounded him. That night Ava went out on a date, Nikki went to visit a friend, and Jay went out to be alone. Johnny and Susannah were going to do fireworks with Derrick and Bradin. After dinner Bradin said, “I’m gonna go read in my room.”
Johnny said, “Don’t you want to do fireworks?”
Bradin glared and said, “No.”
Johnny held his hands up and said, “Okay. No problem.”
Johnny, Susannah and Derrick went out front by the beach and started doing fireworks. When Derrick was running around with a sparkler Johnny turned to Susannah and said, “Do you think I should go get Bradin?”
“No. Let him pout. He’ll come down if he want’s to.”
“Do you think I was too hard on him?”
“Not at all. From what you’ve told me, your mom would have tanned your little butt for doing something like that.”
Johnny thought about it for a second and then nodded. Derrick came running up to them with the dead sparkler and asked for another.

Once Bradin got to his room he shoved some of his clothes under the blankets on his bed in what he hoped was a human shape. He had been planning on checking up on Erica tonight, and he wasn’t going to let Johnny stop him. Erica had been seeing a new guy, Chad, for the past few days, and yesterday Bradin had overheard Chad telling his friends that Erica was a nice piece of ass, and he planned to have some of it whether she was ready to give it up or not. Bradin had tried to warn Erica, but she hadn’t believed him. He knew she was planning to meet Chad on the beach they liked to surf from tonight, and he wanted to be there to protect her if things got out of hand.
Bradin rearranged the clothes a couple of times, and soon it looked good to him. He climbed down the side of the balcony, and ran off towards the beach looking for Erica. It didn’t take him long to reach the area of beach he was looking for. When he got there he could see Erica pushing away from Chad, and he was pulling her towards the cave that was close by. His three friends were standing around watching and laughing. Bradin ran up behind Chad and shoved him hard enough to knock him down, and break the hold he had on Erica. Erica looked confused and said, “Bradin?”
Bradin said, “Get out of here.”
Erica looked around but didn’t move. Chad was up now and said to Bradin, “Didn’t I tell you to stay off our beach kid?”
Bradin said, “Fine. Erica and I will be on our way then.”
Chad laughed and said, “Too late for that. Now I’ll have to teach you a little lesson to make sure you stay off our beach.”
Before anyone really knew what was happening Jay appeared out of no where with a large piece of driftwood in his hands. He took aim at Chad’s arm and swung the makeshift club. Chad went down yelling in pain. Jay held the club in front of him in a threatening manner and said to Chad’s three friends, “You think rape is funny?”
One of the guys said, “There wasn’t any rape. We were just scaring her.”
Jay swung the club experimentally and said, “Right. I suggest you guys get off our beach and take your friend here home. Or to the ER if he has a broken arm.”
The guys stood there for a few minutes. Even though Jay had a club, there were three of them. Bradin who had been quietly watching said, “Go on you jerks. Get out of here.”
Jay didn’t take his eyes off the guys, but he said, “Go home Bradin.”
Bradin looked hurt and said, “But I…”
Jay was standing fairly close to Bradin and was able to grab the front of Bradin’s shirt without taking his eyes off the other guys. He said, “Go home. This is none of your concern. Take Erica home too.”
Bradin was torn and stood there. Erica had known Jay for a long time, and she patted Bradin’s shoulder when she said, “Come on. Let’s go call the cops.”
At the mention of cops the three guys helped Chad up and walked off. Jay stood there with his club for a few minutes to make sure they were really gone. Then he turned to Bradin and grabbed his shirt again and gave him a shake. He said, “What part of go home didn’t you understand?”
Bradin had always thought of Jay as an easygoing fun loving kind of guy, but this Jay was definitely none of those things. He stammered, “I….I thought….you needed help.”
Jay said, “You are going to turn around and run home right now. You aren’t going to stop until you get to your room. If I found out you did anything besides what I just told you to do, there’s going to be hell to pay.”
Bradin swallowed and nodded. Jay let him go, and Bradin turned and ran. Jay turned to Erica and held out his hand for her. She put her hand in his, and he could feel that she was shaking. He pulled her into a hug.

Bradin didn’t stop until he got home. He hadn’t been gone that long, and he hoped everyone was still out doing fireworks. He snuck in the side door, and made it to his room without getting caught. He sat on his bed thinking and worrying for most of the night. When Derrick came in, Bradin pretended to be asleep.
The next morning Bradin was up early. He was still too worried to sleep very well. He was headed out to the pool house to try and convince Jay not to say anything to anyone else when he saw Erica coming out of Jay’s door. Jay was right behind her, and she turned to kiss him before she left. Erica left, and Bradin went back to the kitchen to think. He really liked Erica, and had hoped he had a chance with her even though she was older than he was. He didn’t know what to feel, but he didn’t have long to think about it, because Jay came into the room. Jay said, “Hey.”
“Hey.”
“I want the whole story.”
Bradin sighed and told Jay about overhearing the guys talking about Erica.
Jay started some coffee and said, “It was really sweet of you to try and protect Erica. Completely stupid, and misguided, but sweet.”
Bradin crossed his arms and glared out the window. Jay said, “Did it ever occur to you to talk to me about what was going on?”
“No. You and Erica weren’t together anymore.”
Jay shook his head and said, “Bradin look at me.”
Once he had eye contact Jay said, “No matter what relationship I had with Erica, I would want to know if she was in danger. Even if I hated her I would try to protect her from getting raped. But even if we put that aside, I’m really upset that you would put yourself in danger like that. Don’t you trust any of us well enough to confide in us?”
Bradin felt his face heat up with a blush. He said, “I do, I just didn’t think it would be like that. I thought…”
Bradin didn’t know what he thought for sure. Jay said, “You thought you would be the hero, and Erica would fall for you.”
“Maybe.”
Jay shook his head. He said, “Those guys would have beaten the crap out of you and maybe Erica too, because she would have tried to stop them. You’re really, really lucky that you’re grounded.”
“What?”
“I saw you running along on the beach, and I might not have though anything about it if I hadn’t known you were grounded. But since I did know, I followed you.”
“I was wondering how you knew we were there.”
Jay said, “Look Bradin, I don’t want to be the bad guy here, but what you did was dangerous so I’m gonna have to tell Ava.”
Bradin looked at Jay pleadingly. He said, “Please don’t. I was really hoping this could just be between us. I mean, I’ve learned my lesson, and I won’t do it again, so really what’s the point of getting Aunt Ava all upset.”
Jay said, “Sorry mate. I’ve got to tell her, and Johnny too.”
Bradin shook his head and said, “Just think about it for a little while. They don’t need to know. You could punish me. Ground me for longer.”
Jay said, “Just stop. My mind is made up. I’m not too good at the whole being responsible thing yet, but even I know that it would be wrong not to tell them.”
Bradin shook his head and yelled, “Fine!”
Bradin went back up to his room and sat on his bed worrying.

Susannah was the next one up, and Jay said, “Coffee?”
“Yes please.”
They sat and drank coffee and looked at the paper for a few minutes in silence. Next was Johnny who was never much of a morning person. He stumbled in and got some coffee and sat starring at it when he wasn’t taking sips.
Derrick woke up to see Bradin sitting there across the room looking angry. Derrick decided not to say much, and went to use the bathroom. He went down stairs and Jay poured him a bowl of cereal. Ava came in and said a cheerful hello to everyone. She got her coffee, and Jay said, “Hey Derrick, when you finish up the cereal, could you go out to the pool house and try to find my keys? I can’t seem to find them, and I know how good you are at finding things.”
Derrick smiled and said, “Sure!”
Derrick ate the last few bites and ran off to the pool house. Susannah and Ava were looking at Jay expectantly, and Johnny was still looking at his coffee. Jay said, “Guess who I saw last night?”
No one ventured a guess and Jay said, “Bradin.”
Ava and Johnny said, “What?!”
Susannah just looked puzzled. Jay said, “It was the strangest thing, I was walking along the pier just looking out at the water when I saw him. He was running along the beach, and I knew he was grounded, so I followed him. Apparently he had overheard some guys talking about Erica, and their plans to possibly rape her.”
Ava said, “Oh my God, is she okay?”
“She’s fine. Bradin had heard where they were going to be, so he went there to try and protect her. It was him and Erica against four men. I had the element of surprise, and a big stick that I found, so I was able to wound one of them before any fight started. Then Erica threatened to call the police and the guys went on their way. I sent Bradin home, and took care of Erica.”
Everyone sat in silence for a few minutes. Ava said, “I can’t believe it. Why would Bradin do something so reckless? Why wouldn’t he tell us about it?”
No one said anything, and Derrick came in holding up the keys. He said, “They were in the pocket of the shorts that were on the floor.”
Jay took the keys and gave Derrick a high five. “Thanks mate.”
Ava looked around and said, “I guess I’ll have to go talk to him.”
Johnny put his hand over Ava’s as she started to stand up. He said, “No.”
Susannah said, “Hey Derrick, why don’t you come with me to my room and help me….pick out my clothes for the day.”
Derrick gave her a funny look, but said, “Okay.”
As soon as Derrick was out of earshot, Ava looked at Johnny and said, “I’m going to have to.”
Johnny said, “Do you trust me with the kids?”
“You know I do.”
“I told Bradin he was grounded, so I’m the one who has to deal with this.”
Ava thought about it for a few seconds and then said, “What are you going to say to him?”
Johnny said, “You remember that story you told me a long time ago about when you were grounded, and you snuck out of the house to go to a party?”
“Yes, but I don’t see…”
“What did your dad do when he found out.”
Ava whispered, “You can’t do that!”
“Why not? What am I supposed to do? Ground him some more?”
Ava stammered, “I don’t know but….not that.”
Jay asked, “What’s that?”
Johnny said, “Spanking.”
Jay said, “Wow. I guess I can see that, but I’ve got to say that I want no part of that. I want to be far away when it happens.”
Johnny nodded and said, “It would be really great if you could all go out to breakfast to give Bradin and I some time alone to work things out.”
Ava said, “But…”
Johnny said, “Ava, you just said you trusted me.”
“I do but it just seems so….harsh.”
“What would your brother-in-law have done in the same situation?”
“I don’t know. It wouldn’t have come up, because Bradin wouldn’t be hurting so much.”
Johnny said, “Ava, you know me. This is the last thing I want to do, but I really think it’s the right thing to do. We have to be responsible now. We can’t just be big kids ourselves, we have to be the adults.”
Ava looked down and thought for a few seconds. She finally nodded and said, “I’ll go get Nikki.”
Johnny and Jay sat there together, and Jay said, “Good luck. I couldn’t do it.”
“We’ll see if I can.”
Jay said, “I’ll go tell Susannah and Derrick we’re going out, and get dressed myself.”
Johnny nodded and just sat there sipping coffee and looking into it, hoping it would give him courage.
Ten minutes later everyone was outside ready to go except Bradin upstairs, and Johnny and Ava downstairs. Ava put a hand on Johnny’s shoulder. He turned to her, and she gave him a hug. She said, “I never would have had the courage to bring the kids home with me if it weren’t for you. I love that you want to be a part of their lives.”
Johnny gave her a quick kiss and said, “See you in a while.”
Ava left, and Johnny finished up his coffee. He took a deep breath, and went to confront Bradin.

Bradin wasn’t sure if it was a good sign or not, that no one came up to talk to him for so long. He could hear them moving around downstairs, but not what they were saying. He heard them getting ready for the day, and then the house got very quiet. He thought that was probably not a good thing. There was a knock at his door that made him jump. He said, “Yeah?”
Johnny opened the door, and closed it behind him. He said, “You wanna tell me about last night?”
Bradin closed his eyes and said, “No. Didn’t Jay already tell you?”
“Yes, but I want to hear it from you.”
Bradin gave him the same basic story, and didn’t leave anything out. Johnny went and sat next to Bradin on the edge of his bed. He said, “I know things have been really hard for you this past month Bradin, and I want you to know that you can come to any of us adults, and tell us anything. You should have told one of us what was going on with Erica. Both of you could have been hurt.”
“I know that now, and I’m really sorry.”
Johnny thought Bradin sounded sincere about that. He said, “Good.”
Johnny sighed and said, “Look Bradin, I want you to like living here with us, but I think it’s more important that you have respect for us.”
“I do.”
“And I think a big part of respect is doing what you’re told.”
“I….usually do.”
“I grounded you, and you snuck out while you were grounded. I can’t just let that go unpunished.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Spank you.”
Bradin tried to jump up off the bed, but Johnny had anticipated this, and had a hand on Bradin’s upper arm before he could get very far. Bradin yelled, “No! You can’t!”
But even as he was yelling, Johnny was pulling him face down over his lap. Bradin hadn’t gotten dressed for the day yet, and was wearing the tee shirt and pajama bottoms that he had slept in. Johnny started spanking as soon as he got the boy in place. Bradin yelled, “Screw you (Smack) Johnny! (Smack). How dare (Smack) you! (Smack). I’ll call (Smack) child welfare! (Smack. Smack. Smack.) Johnny! (Smack). Do you (Smack) hear me?! (Smack). Aunt Ava (Smack) will kick (Smack) you out! (Smack). You’re not (Smack) my father! (Smack). No one (Smack) else spanks me! (Smack. Smack. Smack). And he’s goooonnnnnne!”
Bradin broke down into sudden tears. Johnny kept spanking him while he said, “I know I’m not your dad, and I’m not trying to take his place, I’m just trying to help you grow up to be a man he would be proud of.”
Johnny decided he had made his point, and gave Bradin six more extra hard swats before he stopped. Bradin just lay there crying for a few minutes. Johnny patted his back, and said, “All done.”
Bradin pushed himself up, and was about to fling himself onto his bed, but before he could Johnny stood up too and pulled Bradin into a hug. Bradin tried to push away at first, but Johnny held him tight. Bradin gave up after a few seconds, and just stood there. Johnny said, “I know you think life sucks right now Bradin, but it will get better. Little by little it will start to hurt less to think about them. And in the meantime, you can’t go off doing dangerous things, because your family needs you. Nikki, Derrick, Ava, Susannah, Jay, and I all need you to be here, and to help us make this work. We all love you.”
Bradin was still crying, and when Johnny was done talking, Bradin hugged Johnny back. Johnny just stood there and held him until Bradin was done crying. Eventually Bradin let go of Johnny, and wiped at his face with his hands. Johnny let him go and said, “Why don’t you go take a shower and get cleaned up. Come see me downstairs when you’re done.”
Bradin nodded, and Johnny went downstairs. Johnny stood at the kitchen bar for a few minutes trying to calm his own emotions down. He decided to make them some eggs while Bradin was showering, and when he got the butter out he noticed that his hands were shaking. He shook them out and said to himself, “Pull it together man.”
He made some eggs and toast, and started eating. He felt better with some food in his stomach, and had a second cup of coffee.

Bradin was in the shower thinking about what had happened. He thought, ‘Johnny doesn’t have the right to spank me. Dad wouldn’t have spanked me…well, he probably wouldn’t have. I was nine the last time, and that was a long time ago. But he would have been really disappointed in what I did. Did Aunt Ava know what Johnny was planning to do? She wouldn’t have just let him. But then Mom did tell me a few stories about Grandpa spanking Aunt Ava, so maybe she did.
I can’t believe I cried so much. I thought I was done crying. It seems like I cried for days when they died. But it hurt, and it made me think of them. Aw, crap…’
Bradin found himself crying again, even though he didn’t want to. Soon the water started to get cold, and Bradin turned it off, and got out. By the time he was dressed, he wasn’t crying any more. He really didn’t want to go face Johnny, but he didn’t want to stay up there so long that Johnny came looking for him either. He took a deep breath and walked downstairs. He could see Johnny in the kitchen. He didn’t want to get too close, so he said, “Johnny.”
Johnny turned around and said, “Hey Bradin, come over here and eat some breakfast. The eggs are almost done.”
Johnny had heard the shower go off, and had started some food for Bradin. Bradin said, “That’s okay. I’ll just…”
Johnny said, “Bradin, just come eat and listen to me for a few minutes.”
Bradin didn’t want to, but did walk over to the bar and stood there. Johnny put the eggs on a plate and handed it to Bradin along with a fork. Bradin muttered, “Thanks.”
Johnny waited for Bradin to put a bite in his mouth, and then said, “Look Bradin, you’re a smart kid, and you know that what you did was wrong, so I’m not going to go over it again. I want you to know that when I ground you I mean it. I’m not playing around, and I expect you to respect me enough to follow the rules I set up for you when you’re grounded.”
Bradin wasn’t sure what to say, but what came out was, “Okay.”
“I really hated spanking you Bradin, so I hope you don’t keep pushing the limits.”
Bradin said, “I don’t plan to.”
“Good. Oh, and Ava and Jay know, but no one else does, and I don’t plan to tell them. Ava might want to talk to you about it, to make sure you’re okay, but I doubt Jay will bring it up unless you do.”
“Okay.”
“When you’re done with your breakfast, you can head back up to your room where you’ll be spending most of the day, because you’re still grounded until tomorrow.”
Bradin nodded. He finished up his food, and went back to his room.

Later when everyone came home, Ava went up to Johnny and said, “How did it go?”
“It was awful. I hope it worked. He seemed….remorseful.”
Ava said, “The more I thought about it this morning, the more I think you did the right thing. I mean, he wouldn’t have done it if his parents were still around, but they’re not, and now he has to learn to follow our rules. If the punishment he got for sneaking out was being grounded for longer, well….I don’t think that would have stopped me from sneaking out again.”
Ava patted Johnny’s shoulder and went up to talk to Bradin. She knocked on the door and Bradin said, “Yeah?”
Ava walked in and said, “Hi there.”
Bradin blushed, because he knew that she knew what he had done last night, and what had happened this morning. He said, “Hi.”
He was lying on his stomach on his bed reading a book. She went and sat next to him. She brushed the hair away from his face and said, “How are you doing?”
He shrugged like it was no big deal and said, “I’m okay.”
“I’m sure both Jay and Johnny have already said it, but I’m gonna say it too. You should not have gone out by yourself to protect Erica. You should have told one of us about it. It was dangerous, and foolish. And then there’s the fact that you were already grounded.”
Bradin said, “I know. Trust me Aunt Ava, I know I messed up, and I’m not gonna do it again.”
Ava reached down and gave him a tight hug. She said, “I’m glad to hear it. I love you Bradin.”
“I love you too, and I’m sorry.”