This story in particular will contain underage drinking, violence, sexual situations, recklessness, general teenage stupidity to the max, and of course the site warning applies (ie this is a discipline fic) You have been warned. Enjoy!
Aaron turned at some sounds coming from outside. He could see Liam out there, moving some stuff around.
“What are they doing?” Justin called from the treadmill.
“Looks like they’re gonna try jumping off that stuff into the pool,” Cory wandered over to stand beside Aaron. “I’ve seen shit like this on YouTube. It never ends well.”
“Ah man,” Aaron groaned. He dropped his towel on the ground and started for the door that would lead to the conservatory that had a door out to the back.
“You really have to go out there?” Justin stopped his treadmill. “I thought we were going to work out, ignore those guys, and pretend we have a chance at growing some serious muscles.”
“Man, your goals are sad,” Cory shook his head.
“I have to,” Aaron groaned. “They’re being stupid out there.”
“How are you going to stop them?” Justin walked over and crossed his arms. “They’re all bigger and stronger and actually good at playing football. We’re leagues below them.”
“I think they’re drunk,” Cory added. He was observing Liam and Fern through the window, and they were stumbling, laughing at each other and lifting one of the patio tables on top of the other to create a small tower.
Aaron glanced back outside and cringed. Ethan was not going to be happy. He reached his hands up into his hair, tugging at it slightly.
“Ethan’s going to flip!” Aaron mumbled.
“Dude, if my Dad comes back and your brother’s drunk?” Cory cringed.
Aaron groaned. “I have to get out there. Maybe he’ll go shower or something. Crap.”
“We should probably leave then,” Justin scratched his head.
“It’s barely been an hour,” Aaron cringed. “Wouldn’t that make Mr. Moore more suspicious?”
“Maybe.” Cory shrugged. “But if he finds those guys drunk, he might even call the cops or something. Dad’s a real straight-shooter, you know. He’d probably turn me in for jaywalking or something stupid.”
“I have to get out there,” Aaron repeated and he turned once again to the door. He headed outside, dashing towards the pool just as Fern was handing a chair up to Liam, who was already climbed on top of the first table.
“You’re in-fucking-sane!” Hawk was yelling at them, trying to hold the tables still. “Get your ass down Liam!”
“Fuck You!” Liam tossed over his shoulder. “I got it,” he said instead to Fern who released his hold on the chair and laughed as Liam tried getting it waist high to place on the table.
“What are you doing?!” Aaron yelled as he got closer to them. They were on the far side of the pool, where the metal tables and chair were usually set out for parties and such.
“Shit, Aaron!” Liam yelled back, almost losing his footing as he startled. “Go back inside!”
Aaron ran to Hawk’s side, grabbing at the upper table and frowning at Liam.
“Get back inside,” Liam muttered again, completely dismissing the younger teen.
“Damnit Liam! Get down, what are you doing up there?”
Liam got the chair on the table and smirked. He glanced behind him, at the pool and smirked. They really should get a diving board. This was going to be sweet.
“Dude, you built the tower, now get down!” Hawk called up to him.
“Hey, shut the fuck up already,” Fern groaned. “You’re killing my buzz, buzz-killer!”
“Fernando, he can get hurt. This pool isn’t made for diving. Stop being an idiot and get him down!” Hawk responded.
“I can hear you!” Liam rolled his eyes. He started to climb up the table easily, moving to place a foot on the middle of the seat to stand on it. He would probably be 10 feet off the ground or something.
“Liam! Don’t!” Aaron yelled. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Liam liked doing stupid things, but Aaron had never seen his brother like this before. One thing was running down the road naked or asking girls he’d just met for some nude pics, but this was downright idiotic.
Liam was definitely drunk. Aaron didn’t know what to do.
“Stop yelling at me!” Liam yelled back. “Aaron, go home!”
“We are home, you idiot!” Aaron cringed.
“Then go inside!”
“Whoo!” Fern cheered. He had been holding the table, but he stepped back, tossing his arms up in cheer. He turned and walked over to a mostly empty bottle and lifted it to his lips.
“Fern!” Hawk yelled at him. “Leave that already!”
“Yeah, yeah!” Fern waved his concern away.
Liam held the chair’s armrest for a moment, wobbling slightly and willing himself to keep climbing. He was fine, he knew he was. This was going to be great and he was going to be fine. He had no idea why his brother and Hawk had to be so worried about.
Once he steadied himself, Liam hopped up in one quick motion, settling his feet on the chair’s seating and standing up.
“Ha!” he grinned.
“Liam! Don’t!” Aaron yelled.
“What are you doing!?” a new voice joined them.
Aaron turned, surprised to see his stepmother running out to them. She was barefooted and had her hair up in a bun and she looked completely frazzled.
“Steph?” But she ignored Aaron for the moment.
“Liam, get down!” she held a lot of authority in her voice, but not only was the teenager drunk enough to ignore it, but she was usually using said tone on her seven year old, and maybe occasionally on the two younger Kingston kids, Owen and Bethany.
“Great!” Liam tossed his arms up in annoyance at her sight. “Steph go back inside. You guys are ruining all my fun!”
“Liam get down here, now!” Steph reached them, walking over to the other side of the table, where Fern had been standing. She looked up at her stepson, then over at the other teen still holding a scotch bottle.
Steph took the bottle from Fern’s hands in a quick grab, quickly dumping the rest of the liquor to the grass.
“Hey!” Fern complained.
“You’re too damn young to be drinking!” she chided him, but she turned her attention onto her bigger concern. She couldn’t even remember that kid’s name at the moment.
“Aaron, go inside and get your father,” she ordered instead.
“Dad’s home?” Aaron was thrown into further confusion.
“He’s probably in the office, please go,” she said, trying to appear calm. She didn’t want his help, but maybe the man’s presence would get the teen down.
“The fuck he home for?” Liam asked instead, crouching down on the seat.
“We all came home, now get down.”
“No,” Liam stated, standing back up again.
“Liam! Get down!” Aaron yelled at him.
“Go inside!” Liam jabbed his finger towards the house, the jerk motion causing the chair to wobble.
“LIAM!” Steph screamed, fearing he was going to fall. She reached forward and grabbed a leg of the top table.
This was not going well at all.
Ethan hated his father. It wasn’t a secret. The man didn’t think the world of him either, not for a long time. They fought often, and had even come to blows once, it was a miracle they could ever carry any kind of civil conversation, but Ethan made it work. He was a minor, until recently anyway, and he had his siblings to think about.
But this shit was too much.
The man was known for sleeping around. There were always rumors, but he made certain that he ignored them. He didn’t want any kind of involvement in his father’s romances. Back when his parents’ had divorced, his mother had insisted that he just keep his head up and let his father deal with whatever his actions warranted. She had been persistent that he, and Liam and Aaron, were not to blame for anything.
But they certainly took the hits.
Now, what? Ethan was probably looking at his father getting yet another divorce. And then what? Another stepmother? More kids?
“For fuck’s sake!” he punched at his glove compartment, causing it to spring open. It would’ve been funny any other time.
“Why don’t you call Liam? See what he’s up to? Maybe they didn’t send it to everyone?” Sean offered.
They had spent the past ten minutes calling and receiving calls and texts from some of their friends. Trent had especially been a bit shocked, having had his sister almost unknowingly seeing the picture as she handed him over his phone.
Personally, Ethan didn’t care who saw it. It would tarnish his father’s name in the small, family-oriented town, but overall it wouldn’t be the first time. Of course, this time around, there was more technology and this picture seemed to be catching wildfire, but Ethan couldn’t care less about that. His father would suffer, no doubt about it, but the family wouldn’t. Ethan was going to make certain of that.
“I don’t want him on his phone,” Ethan shook his head. “And if he had seen it, I think he would’ve called me.”
They were pulling into the driveway, because apparently Sean had known a bit of where they were and had been able to speed his way back home. Ethan would be mad at his friend if he wasn’t thankful. He wanted, more than anything, to be home right then. He had to get in contact with Steph, see how she and Cole were doing. Maybe she knew, maybe she didn’t. She probably suspected; her last minute insistence to join James on his trip had been surprising.
He would break the news to her if he had too. He wouldn’t let Steph live in that kind of lie and mockery. She was a nice woman, though he had kind of hated her when she had been the cause to end James and Heather’s marriage.
He knew one thing, Ethan wasn’t going to let any other women move into his house.
Arriving at King’s Landing, Sean cut off the engine and they stepped out of the car. They could both hear someone yelling from the backyard, and Ethan hopped back into the car.
“Drive ‘round!” He yelled as Sean too hopped in.
Ethan normally wouldn’t think about driving on the grounds, but he had to know what was going on. The day wasn’t pointing towards anything good.
He should’ve taken Quinn’s visit as an omen. Nothing good was going to happen.
“What the hell is that?” Sean frowned as the veered round into the back yard and spotted the small table tower.
“Liam,” Ethan grimaced. “Stop the car.”
They hopped out, somehow no one noticing their approach. Ethan didn’t want the car too close to the house, since there was greenery and gardens and all kinds of shit the gardeners would be pissed to have to redo, but he also didn’t want to startle his brother’s delicate balance.
Not until he got his hands on him.
“I’m going to fucking kill him,” Ethan muttered, not closing his door to avoid noise and running forward. “Fuck, I don’t have a belt,” he groaned.
“Dude,” Sean shook his head. “You’re not belting your brother! Steph is here.”
Ethan was more than willing on belting his brother, but he was too angry to do it just then. He didn’t want to be this angry when dealing with any of the kids, and if this didn’t cement the younger teen into the kid category, he didn’t know what would.
Steph yelled as Liam jerked his arm. Sean and Ethan reached them just then. Sean reached forward to steady the structure and Ethan climbed the first table to reach out to grab Liam by the waist.
“Ethan!” Aaron yelled in surprise.
“Ethan be careful,” Steph cringed. She reached up, trying to hold him in a way.
“I’m fine,” he called over his shoulder.
“Get off,” Liam tried to push his hands away.
“William, knock it off,” Ethan’s voice was hard, his heart was throbbing loudly in his ears. He could smell the alcohol on his brother from there, which explained a lot. “You’re coming down. Now.”
“No, I’m jumping off,” Liam frowned at him. “And it’s going to be awesome!”
“William,” he glared, pinching his brother’s hip as he tried to wiggle from his hold. Damn idiot was going to fall, and Ethan would likely go down with him, trying to prevent the stupid shit from getting hurt.
“If you don’t come down, right now, I am going to beat your ass right here.”
There was no denying the threat, and it seemed to make headway through the drunken fog the sixteen year old was in. At least his hips stopped twisting.
“Did you hear me?”
“Yeah!” Liam yelled, anger coming back into his embarrassed look.
“Do not!” Ethan gritted out. “Don’t start. You get down, now.”
He pinched his hip again and Liam cringed. Ethan glanced behind him, and easily enough jumped into a clear spot. His heart was in his throat and would likely be for the rest of the day. Little shit.
“Climb down!” he yelled before Liam got any ideas. “How the hell did he get up there?”
“I think he’s drunk,” Aaron offered.
“I know he is,” Ethan nodded. His gaze was on Liam, turning and climbing down much more carefully than he had gone up.
“He uh,” Matthew started up, his attention on keeping the lower table from wobbling. “He wanted to stack all of the tables, and then he thought the chairs would be easier.”
“Stop talking, Hawk,” Liam groaned at him.
“You better start talking,” Ethan said instead. He moved forward once Liam was standing on the lower table grabbed him by the waist and plucked him off.
He had every intent of wailing on the kid’s ass right then and there, but Sean was right. He wasn’t against embarrassing them, but Ethan didn’t think that it would do Steph, or Aaron, any good just then.
“Are you out of your mind?!” he started to shake him. “You have any idea how easily you could’ve fallen and fucked yourself up just now? Jesus Christ, Will!”
He surprised himself them, tugging his brother into a tight hug. Too tight, since Liam just started squirming.
“I’m fine,” Liam groaned against his chest. “Dude, you’re embarrassing me.”
Ethan scoffed. “Not yet I’m not. But just give me a minute, I will.” He reached a hand up into the soft brown hair, tried not to imagine said hair crusted over with blood and his brains all over the grass beneath their soles. Ethan kissed his forehead and released his hold.
“I told you just last night you weren’t allowed to drink William! What are you thinking!”
“Stop being such a hypocrite!” Liam glared.
It was instinct, Ethan couldn’t help it. He knew - had personal experience and everything - that it was pointless to talk to a drunk, but attaching drunk to Liam just didn’t sit right. Liam was little brother and in my shadow and growing up so fast and mom’s big brown eyes.
Instinct, pure and simple. Ethan had five younger siblings and he didn’t take attitude from them very well. His left hand gripped Liam’s arm, turning him enough that his right landed two hard smacks on the back of slightly wet trunks. He hadn’t thought about smacking Liam. He had never hit the kids in front of their friends, though there were plenty of threats given. Ethan didn’t know what Liam had told his friends at those times, but the threat had always made Liam stop in his tracks and right himself enough not to have to push further than that.
Ethan had warned him, in retrospect, but the wide-eyed look Liam gave him then clearly stated that the teen didn’t think that had qualified. Oh well, little brother, should’ve kept you’re your mitts off the alcohol.
“Go to your room!” he said instead, releasing his arm and mentally daring Liam to say anything.
Liam’s right hand had moved to cover his backside, probably instinct there too, and he stared at his big brother.
Liam blinked back into the moment, reached up and wiped at the tear that Ethan hadn’t even noticed. He turned and walked hurriedly to the house. Ethan watched him a moment before turning to the rest of them.
Matthew had helped Sean get the chair and tables back down and Steph was standing beside a sick-looking Fernando.
“Campbell, you drunk?” Ethan asked, noticing how the kid kept blinking and fidgeting. It wasn’t like him.
Fern glanced up, pure panic in his eyes. Maybe he feared Ethan would beat his ass too. The kid wasn’t going to be so lucky.
“He’s fucking wasted!” Sean shook his head. He was leaning his butt against the bottom table and glancing over Aaron at Liam’s retreating back. Sean, and Trent, had been around enough to know that he spanked the kids. Sean thought he was crazy, Trent couldn’t even phantom the action. Sean understood better, though he was an only child. Trent had loving parents and a little sister, so he couldn’t even think of laying a finger on her, not in that way.
But when Ethan had asked Trent if he would stop his parents had they deemed it fit to spank either of them, Trent could only shake his head. In essence Ethan was the parent. There were a lot of little Kingstons running around, and Ethan certainly wasn’t cut out to constantly ground or threaten or take things away from them. They had lost enough, as far as he was concerned. A few smacks to their backsides when their bad behavior demanded it wasn’t going to kill them.
Ethan shook his head at the sixteen year old. He turned to look at Matthew, and while he didn’t think the kid had, he had to ask.
“No sir,” Matthew quickly shook his head. “I tried to get them to stop, but –
“We were being stupid,” the drunk teen added. Apparently, the smacks to Liam had been enough to snap Fern out of it too. “I don’t know what we were thinking.”
“I do,” Ethan shook his head. “Believe me, I do.” He glared at him, and Fern looked down.
“I’m taking him inside,” Steph sighed. “Get him some food and water. This is ridiculous.”
“I’m sorry you came home to this,” Ethan sighed. He wanted to tell her more, but it wasn’t the time to ask or confess anything.
Steph offered him a slight smile.
“Cole here?” Ethan frowned, looking at the spans of the greens to see if the littlest had been witness to Liam’s drunken stupidity.
“He’s up in his room,” Steph stated. “I think he fell asleep.”
Ethan nodded. “Sean, can you take Hawkins home? I’ll see to this one,” he nudged his head towards a newly mortified Fern.
“Uh,” Sean looked over at Steph instead. He was probably thinking that Ethan had more important things to do then, but the truth was he had a lot on his plate, importance withstanding.
“Gotta sober him up first,” Ethan explained.
“Fine,” Sean stood up and turned to Hawk. “Go up and get your stuff. And hey!” he reached out and grabbed the younger teen by the elbow. “You did the right thing today. Just because your friends are being idiots, doesn’t mean you have to be. But you didn’t abandon them either. You’re a good kid, Matt.”
“He’s right,” Ethan nodded. “Thanks Hawkins. Needless to say, Liam won’t be seeing you outside of school for a while, but that’s about him not you. You’re a good friend for him to have, even if he hasn’t been a good one back.”
“He’s a good friend,” Hawk shook his head. “He’s never been like this before.”
Ethan nodded. Boy, did he know that!
“See you in school, kid.”
Sean clapped him on the back and Hawk started walking to the house again.
Steph followed, tugging Fern with her.
“Don’t you dare give her a hard time,” Ethan glared at him.
“I won’t!” Fern shook his head.
“I’ve got this,” Steph addressed. “Thanks.”
“You shouldn’t have to,” Ethan shrugged.
She shrugged back and kept walking.
Ethan walked over to Aaron and grabbed him by his shirt front, pulling him into his chest. Aaron’s arms came around him tightly.
Aaron nodded against his chest and Ethan sighed. Sean stepped forward, rubbing at the kid’s hair.
“I’ve never seen Liam like that.”
“He was drunk,” Ethan stated. “And believe me he won’t be like that again.”
Aaron glanced up at him and grimaced.
“You smacked him,” Aaron whispered.
Sean scoffed and Ethan rolled his eyes. Ethan hadn’t had to do more than place a few smacks to Aaron’s bottom his whole life. The kid listened better than the rest of his siblings combined. The few times had been more for his grumpy nature at times than actual disobedience. Of course, that didn’t mean that Aaron didn’t know that the rest of his siblings were much more familiar with the treatment. Maybe Cole not so much, since he was still young and happy-go-luck, and eager to please. Besides, Cole had two parents around – or at least, he had had until now.
A knot formed in Ethan’s stomach. Things were going to change, and this change was going to hurt the youngest member of their family more than anyone. As much as Owen and Bear had grown close to Steph, they were used to their parents being apart. They were toddlers when James and Heather divorced.
“I smacked his butt, and he deserved it,” Ethan corrected.
“But, you’re going to,” Aaron bit his lip.
“Spank him?” Ethan said for him. The knot in his stomach started doing somersaults. “In a little while, yeah. Why, you don’t think he deserves it?”
“Not for me to say,” Aaron shook his head. “I don’t like the thought of him drinking, Ethan. That was really stupid, what he did. I was worried he’d fall off or Mr. Moore would show up or something.”
“What? Why?” Ethan frowned.
“Cory’s dad,” Aaron glanced over his shoulder. “Cory and Justin are here, ‘cuz you told me to do that workout stuff for football.”
“Your friends are in there?” Aaron nodded.
“Great,” Sean sighed. “I’ll drive them home too.”
“No,” Ethan shook his head. “If you’re okay. You guys can keep it up. I’m proud of you. Mind going up, getting Cole down there with you.”
Aaron frowned but nodded. That’s one of the reasons Ethan loved the kid, he was easy to direct. He probably understood the underlining messages behind motives too. He seemed to understand a lot more than he was told, and Ethan was grateful for it. He was insightful, like their mother had been. Ethan just wished he had inherited some of her zest for life too, Aaron was so serious sometimes.
He tugged him back into a hug and kissed his forehead. “Go, get your brother and see to your friends.”
Aaron nodded and released him, turning to walk towards the house. He stopped besides Sean and frowned at him a moment.
“You’re a good friend too,” Aaron told him. Sean smiled and swiped at Aaron’s head, moving forward to capture the young teen in a tight hug, kissing the back of his head, before releasing him to the ground. “Jeesh, I take it back!”
“Ah man!” Sean pouted, reaching down to pull Aaron back to his feet. Aaron just rolled his eyes and headed inside.
Ethan nodded. He wasn’t. But he was as okay right then as he was going to be. Everything was going to go downhill from there, and knowing that just made the knot tighter and tighter.
Liam laid face down on his bed. He could not believe that had happened. What had he been thinking?
He wasn’t feeling so good either.
His door opened and he sprung up to look over, but the movement made his head spin and his stomach lurch. Liam barely noted that it wasn’t Ethan before he sprung to his feet and ran over to the bathroom he shared with Aaron.
He was so screwed.
“Dude, you okay?”
Hawk was leaning against the door jamb, frowning at him.
“I’m drunk,” Liam groaned. “So no.”
“You going to puke?”
“Apparently not yet.” Liam stood, his arms wrapped around his waist.
Liam hadn’t been drunk before. Last night’s party, he had two beers. And he had been eating the whole time. And he had probably worked off a lot of the effects by dancing and goofing off. Not so much that day.
Scotch and cognac were definitely not the same things as beer. Ethan was going to kill him.
“You look like shit.”
“Thanks,” Liam groaned. “You were smart not to join us.”
“So I’ve heard,” Hawk shook his head. “Your brother, he’s uh, more than pissed, huh?”
Liam grimaced. Ethan was livid. Drinking was bad. Very bad. But the table tower had probably made things worse than they had to be. And then he had to just run his mouth.
And then Ethan had to go and –
“Ah maaaaan,” he rubbed his face. “I’m so dead.”
Hawk shifted uncomfortable, glancing behind himself and then at Liam.
“Are you going to be okay?”
Liam shrugged. “I think people have gotten worse than this. I don’t think it’s taken its full effects yet.”
“They were pretty bad a moment ago,” Hawk shook his head.
“I think Ethan took care of that,” he rubbed at his neck, feeling the warmth growing from his ears and around his neck.
“Yeah,” Hawk cringed. “I didn’t expect that,” his friend sighed. “I mean, your brother’s always telling you what to do and all that, and he’s not someone I would want to mess with.”
Liam cringed and glanced over at his friend. His best friend. Hawk and Fern and Liam. The three of them went pretty far back together. They had met his mother, though they hadn’t spent much time with her.
His mom would be so proud of him now. Not.
“I didn’t exactly want to tell you about it,” he sighed.
“About, what Royal just did?” Hawk rubbed his head.
“So, it happens a lot?”
“Probably,” Liam shrugged with a cringe. “I’m kind of a troubled teen, if you hadn’t noticed.”
Hawk scoffed. “You do all that stupid shit knowing Royal Kingston is going to hammer your ass for it? Dude, you’re crazy!”
“Probably,” he repeated.
Hawk shook his head. “He looked pissed as hell!”
“He is,” Liam cringed. “And I’m pretty sure this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”
“Enough that he-
“Smacked me in front of everyone?” Liam felt his blush growing. “Yep.”
“Dude,” Hawk sighed. “What were you thinking?”
“I was actually thinking I wanted to get Ethan mad.”
“Well, mission accomplished. Though, what a stupid mission to have!”
Liam nodded. “My body hates me right now.”
“It’s going to hate you a hell of a lot more later on,” Sean said coming up beside Hawk. He glanced in on Liam, who made certain to look down at his feet.
“You puking?” Liam shook his head. “Then get back in bed,” Sean ordered and Liam sighed but moved to do as told. He didn’t need Sean mad at him too, though by the looks of things, Sean wasn’t any happier with him.
“You pissed at me too?”
“Yep,” Sean reached out, and smacked the side of Liam’s head, hard. “You’re one of the smartest kids I know. And what you just did is beyond stupid. All things considered, you have no idea how lucky you are.”
“Don’t feel lucky,” Liam waited as Hawk moved enough to let him pass back into the bedroom. He almost thought Sean was going to swat him too, which wouldn’t be the first time but it would certainly add to his mortification.
“Things are going to get hard enough,” Sean lectured instead. “You already got the whole responsibility lecture yesterday, didn’t you?”
Liam dropped onto his bed with a groan. His bed hated him.
“Liam,” Sean shook his head.
“I got a couple lectures yesterday,” he turned his head enough to see them. “None of which apparently sunk in.”
“Kid, don’t smart off now,” Sean shook his head. “You’re in enough shit.”
“Sorry,” Liam sighed. His brain was still debating where he should do whatever the fuck he wanted to – like drink himself stupid – or listen to reason. He didn’t want Sean to smack him.
“You got your gear?” Sean asked Hawk instead. “We’ve got to get going.”
“Right,” Hawk moved towards Liam’s closet, where he and Fern had stashed their bags the day before.
It had been a pretty cool party, and Liam had loved having his friends there. Why had he had to go and ruin everything?
“Wait! Where’s Fern?”
“Steph’s got him,” Sean answered.
“Ah man,” Liam covered his face with his hand.
“Liam,” Sean waited until the teen peaked out. “Don’t puke in your bed.”
“I won’t,” Liam sighed.
“I’ll see you tonight.”
Sean led Hawk out, closing the door behind him. Liam just stared at the back of the closed door. His eyes started tearing up and he turned, burying his face into the pillows. He wished they would swallow him whole.
Steph shouldn’t have to deal with his drunken friend. And she shouldn’t have had to deal with a drunk, mean Liam either.
Ethan was going to kill him.
He must have fallen asleep, because the next thing he knew, Ethan landed a hard smack on his ass.
Liam groaned into the pillows and turned to see Ethan seated on the edge of the bed looking down at him.
“We need to talk.”
No shit. Liam’s head was really throbbing now. His body felt like something was crawling on him.
“Can it wait? I don’t feel good.”
Ethan shook his head. Liam started to sit up and paused midway, groaning.
Ethan wrapped his arm around his chest and sat him up, the movement caused his body to swim.
“You gonna puke again?”
Liam shook his head. “Stop asking me that,” he groaned instead.
“You’re in no position to tell me what to do,” Ethan retorted.
Liam stayed silent, bringing a hand up to his head. Blinking still hurt. Everything hurt. Ethan had his arm around Liam’s back, keeping him upright when all the kid wanted to do was curl up and rot.
He opened his eyes to a bottle of water and two pills waiting for him in Ethan’s hand. It wasn’t by any means a peace offering, but at least his brother wasn’t willing to have him suffer his own teenage stupidity in its full effects.
Liam took the offerings and relished the cool water as it trickled its path down his throat.
“Thanks,” he muttered as he placed the bottle to the side. Ethan’s responding silence spoke volumes.
He was so dead.
“I don’t even know where to start with you,” Ethan said, getting to his feet and pacing in front of Liam.
The younger teen stopped watching him after a moment, the constant motion not helping his head in the slightest.
To think, Liam had thought that kids were exaggerating when they described the after effects. He had been sure it was all no big deal. No worse than food poisoning even!
Boy was he wrong!
“Sorry,” he tried, grimacing as his own voice caused him discomfort. Did he always sound so nasally, he wondered.
“A part of me seriously doubts that!” Ethan shook his head. “But I seriously hope you are. If not for getting your stupid ass caught, at least for the pathetic state you now find yourself in.”
Liam cringed. He felt pathetic, but it wasn’t nice to hear it. Not that he was expecting anything nice coming his way, no with the morning he had had for himself.
“Sorry,” he repeated. There was nothing more he could think to say. He honestly couldn’t think at all.
And then, there he was. Ethan in all of his fury. He stopped in front of Liam, dropping to a crouch in front of his brother, resting his hands on either side of Liam’s legs. He was, effectively boxed in.
Liam shouldn’t have mentality wished for the pacing to cease. He didn’t like the full, face-on attention he was getting and he squirmed.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” Ethan glared at him. “Drinking! Getting Fern to drink! You lot downed two hundred dollars in alcohol, and I sure as fuck don’t think you have a clue as to how serious that shit was getting outside! You could’ve been seriously hurt, William! Damnit boy, think!”
“Clouded judgment,” Liam cringed, leaning back away from the rapidly raising voice and the intense glare.
“Clouded judgment,” Ethan scoffed back. “You were drunk, and acting accordingly. You, and your best friend, were acting foolishly and recklessly and while I’ll admit that’s not all that new, this is an all-time low.”
Ethan stood back up and grabbed the bottle water again, thrusting it into Liam’s hand with an order to drink.
Liam didn’t really want any more, but he didn’t want to anger his brother either. He took a few sips and tried to clear his mind.
He had no idea what he had been thinking.
Well, he remembered thinking that he wanted to piss his brother off; show Ethan that he couldn’t tell him what to do. He was, of course, terribly wrong.
Ethan stood glaring down at him, and Liam couldn’t look over at him for two long. His head was pounding out a rhythm that was likely Morse code for YOU’RE AN IDIOT or something.
“What the hell am I supposed to do with you?” Ethan shook his head at him. “You must really, really want your ass beat. I can’t think of any other reason to do half of the shit you managed to do today.”
“I don’t,” Liam cringed. He doubted that anyone would actually want to be sp – punished. He could barely think it! He had already lost most of the sting from the hard smacks his brother had given him out by the pool. The more recent wake-up call only slightly tinged at his pain senses.
Of course, that wouldn’t be near what Ethan had in mind for him.
“You’re not stupid,” Ethan glared. “I keep reminding myself that regardless of your actions, you’re not actually stupid. You chose to do this shit. You knew exactly how I would feel about it.”
“Wait,” Liam held up a hand to stop his brother’s lecture.
“This should be good,” scoffed Ethan.
“I know I was drinking and all,” Liam cringed. “But that stuff by the pool was fully alcohol related. I was out of my mind, I never would’ve done that kind of crap.”
“Wow,” Ethan nodded. “Yeah, that was as bad as I thought it would be.”
“Ethan,” Liam groaned.
“You seriously think that telling me your actions were a drunken disaster helps you? William, that shit was obvious!”
“You don’t have to yell,” Liam groaned again, bringing his hand to his head.
Ethan walked over to him, crouching down enough that he was leaning his hands on either side of Liam’s hips, their faces inches apart.
“I’m not yelling,” Ethan told him, his voice barely above a whisper. “Not yet.”
“I know it’s my own fault, but this whole talk is hurting my head.” Liam frowned, trying to lean back away from his brother and his super intense gaze. “Can’t this wait?”
If looks could kill.
“Absolutely not.” He straightened up again and took Liam’s chin in his hand, tilting it up for a moment. “You gonna puke?”
Well, they were back to this again.
Liam shook his head. His stomach was feeling jilted, his head was playing Bohemian Rhapsody in a loop of dots and dashes, but all in all, he was okay.
Good was an understatement. Liam couldn’t think of a single good at that moment.
Ethan took a seat beside him on the bed and pulled his arm until he was lying cross his brother’s lap. Such the picture of independence and maturity.
He wasn’t even surprised when Ethan tugged his trunks sleep pants down. Liam hadn’t even noticed he’d been wearing different pants. He’d managed to go to sleep with his swim trunks still on. Which meant that someone had already stripped him bare and redressed him. Like he was a little kid or something.
Maybe he could still make believe in elves and fairies and their ways. Maybe he didn’t have to think of Ethan, or even Ross, having to do it for him.
But all thinking was tossed to the side once Ethan really let him in on his displeasure.
He didn’t often think it, okay never, but at that moment he kind of wished his big brother was a small, skinny wimp of a man. Instead, he got a brother that was over six feet, built up like a bull and growing, who took to weight training and such like a fish to water.
In other words, though Liam knew in his heart that his big brother wouldn’t put the full force of his gorilla sized arms’ strength into torturing his fragile posterior, his mind was screaming that he was going to be split right into two.
“AH!” Liam tried to leap off his brother’s lap after the second slap struck down.
“Hold still,” Ethan’s arm didn’t even tighten around him, because honestly he had no reason to because Liam was no match for him. The casual tone and the continuance of the ass assault did nothing to appease the younger teen.
“Shit, Ethan! Not so freaking hard!” Liam tightened his eyes closed and buried his face into his arms. He didn’t get a response from his brother, and he wasn’t actually expecting one either. Ethan rarely talked when he was dishing out a –
Well, there really wasn’t a point in any words being said when his brother had breached that threshold. Even with the littler kids, they knew what they had done when they had garnered their eldest brother’s angered attention.
“Ethan! Come on! Please!” He didn’t even know why he bothered crying out. Ethan always ignored him.
Sometimes, Liam would count, but he had long ago realized that there was no good in counting the smacks. Ethan would stop whenever he wanted to, and not one second before.
Liam tried to focus his breathing, but the continual attention he was receiving was turning up a kind of heat that he was not pleased with.
He was pretty sure he was never going to ever sit again. He might never walk again either, if Ethan didn’t stop soon.
“Don’t be dramatic,” Ethan said from above him.
As if the situation couldn’t get even more embarrassing, now he had spoken out his thoughts when he hadn’t even meant to!
“Ethan! Please! I’m sorry!” he pleaded to unmoved ears.
The smacks however, did move. Further down, striking at the curve of his ass and the back of his thighs.
Shit! He was going to start school with a sore behind!
“No!” he cried out into the comforter. He tried squirming off of Ethan’s lap, tried kicking, elbowing, screaming. As the slaps kept coming down, burning their message of disapproval and obedience straight to the core of him, Liam knew it was all pointless.
Still, he couldn’t honestly just sit there and take it, could he? Lay there. Whatever.
Ethan’s hand stopped. He could hear his brother’s labored breathing above him just over his own muffled cries into his sheets. He was miserable and a great big part of him hated Ethan for what he did. They had a father, Ethan didn’t have to do this to him!
But, Liam knew better. He knew James wouldn’t likely give a damn. It would take a nuclear war for that man to notice his children. Unless they were needed to make some kind of public appearance, James gave them quite the wide berth.
“You should count yourself lucky, William Richard,” Ethan started to lecture again. His hand started rubbing at his back and his arm loosened from around Liam’s waist until he was threading his fingers through his little brother’s hair.
“I’m not,” Liam groaned, wiping his face and snot into the sheets and wishing irrationally that his brother’s arms would fall off.
“I should give you more for the stupid stunt you just did,” Ethan continued.
“More?” Liam groaned, turning his head enough to catch a glimpse of Ethan above him. His brother was looking down at him, and he looked sad, but Liam really couldn’t bring himself to care about his feelings just yet. Not when his ass was a freaking volcano.
Seriously, Ethan needed to lay off the protein and the weights.
“Loads more,” Ethan patted his backside and then fixed his pants. Whoever had changed him hadn’t bothered to putt any underwear on him, which would have probably felt like fabric fire just then.
Ethan had him on his feet and while Liam told himself he didn’t want his brother’s comfort, he quickly returned the hug he was pulled into.
“You scared the shit out of me you little fucker,” Ethan groaned against his head. “Fucking crazy drunk.”
“I’m sorry,” Liam cried out.
“You scared your little brother, you friends, Steph, Sean,” Ethan gripped at the back of Liam’s hair. “You could’ve gotten seriously hurt!”
“I know,” Liam closed his eyes, he didn’t want to hear this. It was only a few hours ago, but it felt like ages. The hangover wasn’t making him feel better either. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”
In truth, he had scared himself.
They had a big pool, but it was not a diving pool. And it would never be one either, with how Liam had just acted.
Ethan’s hands went to Liam’s hips and he pushed him back slightly enough to meet at Liam’s crying eyes.
“You are never to drink again. Period. Am I clear?”
Liam nodded. If his ass were a separate entity, it would have nodded too.
Ethan took a deep breath, letting it out and pulled Liam back into a tight hug before dropping a kiss into his hair.
“I’m real sorry, Ethan,” he repeated as his brother finally let him go.
Ethan took a seat on the bed again and Liam couldn’t help but look at him in disbelief.
“Sit?” Liam repeated, frowning.
“Sit,” Ethan stressed. “Dogs understand it, why can’t you?”
Liam didn’t want to sit. He looked at his bed, expensive and comfortable like a fucking cloud, but it would still be hell on his backside.
“Uh, can’t I stand?”
“Sit, or I can continue,” Ethan glared.
Liam groaned, turning slight and took a seat beside his brother. He wasn’t normally made to sit right after. Ethan would normally let him have some time to himself. Sometimes, he fell asleep, sometimes he was put to bed, but most of the time it was the middle of the day and he was expected to get on with his things.
“We’ve got to talk,” Ethan said.
“I thought we just did,” Liam tried not squirming, but he couldn’t. Instead he placed his hands down and lifted himself up enough that his butt wasn’t touching anymore.
Cripes! They should call his brother Superman, not Royal.
Ethan turned to look at him, and his gaze wasn’t the usual “Set Liam Straight” look he was used to.
“It’s about Dad.”
Ethan Kingston groaned as he sat down on his bed that night. It had been one of the longest days of his life.
He glanced over at the clock on his night stand, and wasn’t even surprised at the hour. It was already Wednesday, school would start in just over four hours.
He hadn’t had the kids set up their clothes for the morning, hadn’t made their lunches, hadn’t even bothered to set their alarms up.
Morning was going to be epic hell.
Stephanie had gone to a hotel room, taking Cole with her. James was probably passed out drunk in his office. The kids were all upset about Cole being away from them, especially Cole. He’d been inconsolable when Steph had announced she was taking off.
James hadn’t even bothered to show his stupid face.
Sean had texted him that he would pick up the younger kids as he was out dropping of Liam’s friend, and Ethan had spent half an hour with Aaron and his two friends, training. Those three reminded him an awful lot of his own younger days and Liam’s, and he just hoped that they would make better choices in their high school days.
Telling Aaron had sucked. Telling Owen and Bear had killed him. Then having to spank Liam and tell him everything had sealed his coffin.
Now all of the kids were in their beds, asleep.
Ethan had no idea what he was going to do now. He was eighteen, senior in high school, and the already fragile foundation of his world was all of ruins.
But if this was never an option to just give up. Ethan wasn’t looked upon like royalty for his ability to just chock things to the winds and lay down. At least, he didn’t think so. He knew that plenty of the attention he got was from his looks, and he couldn’t help that, but the thing that kept him at the top was his attitude.
He should probably take the day off. Hell, they probably all should, but he didn’t want the kids home and he didn’t want to be home.
He had no idea if Cole was going to school or not. He had no idea where they were staying. Ethan had texted Steph, and she had said they were fine, but she hadn’t wanted to talk.
Ethan hadn’t felt this horrible in a long time.