Brat in Business

Written by Ellie Rogue ~ Edited by Mishi Dreamer

A late Christmas gift for Alyx Christmas Exchange 2018.

We hope you enjoy our little present, even though it came at the very edge of 2018. Actually, this is a very good time to wish you a happy new year! May it be filled with nice moments, trouble (the fun kind), joyous occasions, trouble, love and happiness, trouble, and of course naughtiness and swats!


 

Ryan dropped on the couch fully coated, one hand holding her phone and the other rubbing her tired eyes.

“Oh, Syd. Had one heck of a day. So glad I can finally stay home and relax.”

“Geez, so bad?”

“My manager wants me to come up with a brilliant idea for the tender by tomorrow. Brief from the client was emailed to me tonight. I worked three extra hours, I’m drained, and have no idea where to start.”

“Shit, that sucks. At least tomorrow’s Friday?”

“Yeah, that’s the only nice part. If I survive, then it’ll be the weekend.”

Ryan heard Sydney hum in sympathy as she sat up straighter and reached out to the box of food she’d grabbed on her way home: kebab and fries. Not the healthiest dinner for sure, but at least it was something. Ryan hadn’t been grocery shopping in a while now. Her frozen stocks were gone, and her fridge was definitely feeling lonely.

“What if I gave you something to look forward to other than survival, for tomorrow?”

Ryan lifted a brow as she listened to her best friend and swallowed a couple cold fries that tasted a lot like over-fried oil and not so much like potatoes.

“I’d be definitely impressed if you could come up with it.”

“Come see me.”

“Huh?”

“I’m serious! Brigitte will be away on a job transfer and I am grounded, so no getting out of the house. I could use some company and you live like, what, two hours away?”

“Two hours and 20 minutes, for your information. What did you do this time?” Ryan asked curiously, leaning against the back of the couch and forgetting about the food, an amused smirk on her face. This was so much like Sydney, always getting in trouble with her girlfriend.

“Got to class late this week. Thrice. Hey, don’t laugh at me, you are late to work on a very regular basis!”

“But I have no one to bust my butt, while you get caught so easily…”

“I know someone who would bust your butt alright!”

Ryan chuckled. She knew Sydney well enough to tell her friend was probably eye-rolling.

“Are you sure Brigitte would be ok with this? Last I checked, being grounded means you get no fun.”

“Mmh, give me a sec!”

Ryan shook her head as she listened to the muffled discussion between the couple. She rolled half her kebab and most of her fries back into the bag, before pushing them away. She didn’t feel that hungry anyway.

“She said you are welcome here as long as you let me do my homework, write my lines and you do not get me into any more trouble.”

“Oh, really?” Ryan laughed, and Sydney put her on speakerphone, just in time for the next statement to be heard by Brigitte. “I can’t promise about that last one.”

“Oh, I think you better do it, young lady, or I can promise you that you will get a taste of the same paddle I used to deal with Sydney this morning!”

Ryan heard Sydney’s outraged “Hey!” but sobered at once, blushing. She was glad they were on a simple call and not video-calling; although Brigitte was a little younger than Ryan, the girl had a toppy aura alright. It wouldn’t be the first time Ryan got a telling off – or a few swats – from the smart, authoritative mechanical engineer.

“Sure ma’am, no problem ma’am! I mean, you know me, I would never get Syd in trouble! I’ll be watching her like a hawk and make sure she doesn’t leave the house for a second!”

She distinctly heard the chorus of laughs on the other side of the phone and it was her turn to roll her eyes.

“Good. I’ll be practicing my wielding just in case. I’ll see you tomorrow, hon, hope I can catch you before I leave.”

“Sounds like I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” Sydney said merrily, putting the call back on private mode.

“Thank you, Syd. I’ll bring over a few movies, so we can have a marathon on Saturday. You won’t miss going out, I promise. How many lines do you have?”

“Oh, just 500. I’ll get them done in no time.”

The number itself gave Ryan vertigo. She was not used to that form of punishment – or any, for that matter. She did not have a Top, and most of her experience with domestic discipline and spanking came from a couple parties she had attended a few years prior (the first one, she had met Sydney for the first time), and of course from the spanking and roleplay community she frequented online.

Thinking of which, she finally got up to retrieve her laptop.

“Speaking of people who could roast my butt, what’s going on on the forum?”

“Oh, right! You gotta check out this roleplay thread. Looks like a couple brats have decided to sneak out and go get a drink after curfew. Bossy pants is not going to be happy.”

“Wait, who’s the genius that started this?” Ryan exclaimed “I wanna join asap!”

“I was hoping you would say that! I think Tay came up with the idea, but BlackFairy joined right after, and I think her sister is going to follow soon, or at least that’s what she private-messaged me. What are we going to do?”

“Syd, why are you even asking? If we can sneak in some mayhem before the Tops cut the fun, I’m fucking in. I’ll always be in.”

“MissK is going to kill us.”

Ryan smiled to herself thinking that yes, the forum administrator was probably not going to be happy about their mishap. It made her tingle and she squirmed on her seat, ready to roll up her sleeves. “Let her bring it, Syd. We’ll be waiting.”

***

“Ouch. Ow.” Ryan kept making faces as she read the post from MissK. She was nestled on her friend’s couch, cringing and flinching and blushing as she read the Top’s reaction to the turmoil they had caused in the roleplay scene on the forum. “Shit, she didn’t play around. And my poor ear, owie.”

“What were you expecting, cuddles and compliments?”

“Well, I did do a nice job of picking that lock. It took me 20 minutes to describe it accurately.” Ryan gave a little pout, massaging the tip of her ear as if someone had been actually pinching it and pulling it.

“Oh, your post was great. But you knew perfectly well it would’ve pushed every last nerve of hers.”

Ryan shook her head at her friend’s chuckle and turned around. Sydney was sitting at the table, writing intently, and Ryan took a moment to observe her.

Sidney was tall and slender, her blonde hair tucked in a ponytail, her light grey sharp eyes focused. She was dressed in a denim dungaree and a sweatshirt, no shoes, just her socks. It made her look even younger than her 24. Sometimes she shifted on the chair, making Ryan grin – her friend must still be feeling the uncomfortable consequences of her real-life misdeeds, but she did not look upset in the slightest. If nothing else, Sydney had been thriving since getting together with Brigitte, the woman she’d met on the forum – the same forum where Sydney had convinced Ryan to land a couple years earlier.

Despite being older than Sydney, Ryan had instantly enjoyed the online refuge where she’d gotten in touch with a very supportive, open-minded and motley community of spankos. Even though she’d never met a Toppy-Other-Half herself, having a place to go to when life was just too much had helped her keep her sanity on more than one occasion. Both girls were extremely grateful to the Forum people for the whole lot of things they had learned about themselves and their deepest wishes by simply sharing with kindred spirits.

Through the online community, Sydney had also finally accepted that she was a lesbian and had found the “love of her life”, even though at a rough price, as her family hadn’t been that understanding of the news.

Smiling affectionately, Ryan got up from the couch and reached her friend at the table. She was so proud and protective of the young woman.

“So, how is it going?”

“Not bad, I got over 250 done already.”

“Are you fucking serious, you started what – 20 minutes ago?”

“I’m fast at handwriting, you should know! I always hand my notes to everyone in class, because I am the fastest to take them. When I don’t lose focus, that is.”

Ryan shook her head and dropped on a seat across from her friend. She knew Sydney wasn’t allowed to bring her laptop to class because she would get too easily distracted, but she had no idea the young physics student had developed such useful skills.

“You’re brilliant. Remember me when you are a researcher at NASA. I expect a t-shirt and a sweatshirt and an awful lot of branded garbage.”

“I’ll never even graduate if you don’t teach me how to write essays. My papers kind of suck. I have a scientific mind, I do not enjoy playing with words like you artistic weirdos.”

Sydney meant it lightly, Ryan knew, but she could not help cringing and lowering her eyes.

“Well, look where my creativity got me, to a job that looks cool but drives me crazy, a lonely house and a disgusting amount of frozen pizza that is going right to my thighs! At least you are a successful student and will do great with your life – if nothing else, because Brigitte will chew your ass off if you ever think about giving up.”

Ryan busied herself with ripping a piece of paper out of Sydney’s notebook and trying to fold it into a decent-looking airplane.

“Hey now. What’s this pessimism?”

Ryan could feel her friend’s eyes on her but didn’t raise hers, too embarrassed to meet the other’s. Instead, she frowned when she noticed her friend was ripping a piece of paper for herself and scribbling something on it.

“You know what I think, R? I think you need a good spanking to shake you off this mindset.”

This time Ryan rolled her eyes and gave the youngster a pointed look. “Wait, what are you writing?” She snatched the paper bit from her friend’s grasp and read it out loud.

“I, Ryan Kelly, aka RebelAngel, declare I am long overdue a good spank-are you nuts?”

“Nope, and I’m not done, give it back, I was about to write your signature so we can snap a pic and send it to MissK!”

“Now I know you’re nuts.”

Ryan laughed, her friend stealing the note back to add Ryan’s full birth name on the bottom.

“Yeah, that was close. You know, my handwriting looks a bit more like this…”

Ryan wrote her signature down on the wing of her paper-plane and Sydney frowned. For a moment, the blonde chewed on her pen, Ryan looking at her smugly, but then Sydney looked down, crossed out the fake signature and tried again.

Within a few seconds, Ryan’s jaw was falling.

“What the hell…it’s almost identical!”

It was Sydney’s turn to beam. “Welcome to Sydney’s secret talents. That’s why they asked me to be a 007 once. I refused, not enough trouble to get into.”

“Shut up! This is crazy!” Ryan took both pieces of paper and put them close together, unable to wrap her mind around the similarity. Finally, she put them both down and gave Sydney an amazed look before retrieving the pen again.

This time, Ryan wrote much more quickly and was careful to use characters she hadn’t used before. She gave her handwriting a slight inclination and then gave her friend a minute.

“Here, try copying this.”

Once again, she was left speechless. The two lines looked tremendously alike.

“How do you do that?”

Sydney shrugged.

“I’ve always been able to do that, I used to fake my mom’s signature on my school’s notes. Don’t tell Bri, I was 16 at the time and my butt has taken enough for a week!”

Ryan blinked at her friend, her thoughts on a completely different trail. At first Sydney didn’t notice, but Ryan watched her insistently enough that her friend narrowed her eyes and raised a hand to stop her.

“Before you tell me whatever you’re about to tell me, remember you promised Bri not to get me into any more trouble.” Sydney warned her, and Ryan faltered.

“Well…I’m not going to take you out of this house…but, Syd, don’t you get it?”

“Get what, that I could have a future in counterfeiting? Thanks, but I’m not interested.”

“Yes, I mean no, that’s not really what I was thinking!” Ryan ran a hand through her own brown hair and tried to weigh her words.

“Look, what am I?” she finally asked, staring at her friend expectantly.

“A troublemaker.”

And? What do I do for a living?”

“Make trouble.”

Syd-ney!

“Fine! You write stuff. You are a copywriter.”

“That’s right. I write things. Sort of like papers. And what are you good at? Other than math, and physics and all that?”

Ryan explicitly pointed to the piece of paper, amused and yet incredulous that Sydney hadn’t gotten it yet. Finally, she noticed a sparkle in her friend’s eyes, and their grins matched.

“I write fast. And can copy letterings.”

“That you do. Now, can you think of anyone that might benefit from these sorts of services?”

This time, Ryan was wriggling her brows shamelessly, and she pulled her phone back to show her friend the forum on the screen.

Brats. That’s true! Wait, are you suggesting we…” Sydney’s words died in her throat as her eyes widened.

“I think this is the best idea we ever came up with.”

“Wait a second, you came up with this, I just…”

“Sydney, don’t you see it? We could actually do something cool, for a change. We could be of help to the other brats out there. We could start our own brat-consulting agency! And…!” Ryan’s eyes glazed as she contemplated the full potential of the idea. “We could totally fuck the system!”

Ryan noticed Sydney was finally getting carried away with her enthusiasm, and her friend’s nod made her even more excited.

“It’s a good one. Could be our whole brand spanking new little business.”

“Exactly! And you wouldn’t have to get those extra crappy shifts at the fast food restaurant. It could be a little help.”

“But, Ryan…how…?”

“I have a few ideas about the realization, and we’ll get there in a minute. But let’s think about it rationally, ok? We are already in touch with a segment of possible clients. It’d take some time to pull things together before we spread our wings and we’d have to be careful, that’s true. It might also take some real effort, but…”

“They would totally kill us if they found out, R.”

“Then we’ll make sure not to get caught!” A shiver ran through Ryan’s spine and she got up and started pacing around the kitchen, barely containing her excitement. “I say we can do it.”

“But Brigitte…”

This time, Ryan slowly sobered and her huge smile faltered, as she measured the situation. She knew Sydney and Brigitte had an honesty deal of some sort, but she was also positive Brigitte would never allow such a project to see light.

“She can’t know.”

“I don’t want to lie to her.”

“Then don’t. You can tell her the truth, that you are helping with a little side-project of mine. Honestly, Syd, she might not be ok with this, but we might not even get it to work out. How pointless would it be to bother her now with something that won’t necessarily happen?”

Ryan watched as Sydney chewed on her fingernail. She didn’t pressure her friend, instead allowing her room to think it through. If this was to have any chance at working, they both had to be on the same page, and the last thing Ryan wanted was to get Sydney to join if she wasn’t 100% on it.

“Okay.” Sydney finally said, hesitantly. “I’m in. Let’s give it a try, alright? But if it doesn’t work…”

“It will. We’re resourceful women. Just follow my lead, SilverPants.”

“Wait…SilverPants, really?”

They spent the rest of the morning discussing their options and coming up with a plan to set up their small mischievous company.

For a start, they decided to create a couple new fake accounts (SilverPants and GoldenPants) and a new matching mail address their customers could write to to place their orders. Secondly, the two brats started working on a flyer. They were planning to forward it to all the brats of the forum by private message. Both Ryan and Sydney were confident that, at some point, someone would contact them and test them out. If they could provide a good enough service, perhaps the word would spread.

Ryan also had some tricks up her sleeve.

“So, how exactly do we plan to do that?” Sydney asked after some time, resting her hand on her chin.

“Hon, I work with web developers, I’ve learned the basics. The guys at the office once created an online meme-generator focused on our manager…it would only start if you typed a certain keyword on the website and then would throw off funny pictures with the manager’s most recurrent lines.”

Sydney laughed. “That sounds fun. And risky.”

“You gotta find ways to survive in that office.”

“So…are we creating a mischief generator?”

“Now, that would be cool…but let’s keep it simple for now, shall we?” Ryan giggled. She explained her little idea of attaching to the private messages a link that would open their flyer. She also explained how the flyer would go down after a set time.

“It’s like it will self-destruct after one reads it. That itself should be quite scenic.”

An admiring whistle came from the physics student.

“You, Ryan Kelly, are a scary person. A scary person indeed.”

***

After their brainstorming, Ryan let Sydney complete her lines while she arranged their lunch.

Her mind was still buzzing with the details of their plan, but there was something more tugging at the corner of her thoughts. She actually spent some time typing a quick reply to MissK’s post while she waited for the meal to be ready.

She was glad no one was there to witness the scene, as she blushed and fidgeted every time she scrolled back to re-read bits of MissK’s remarkable spanking. The woman always had a way of keeping her on her toes from a distance. With a sigh, Ryan wrote the final line where she (or rather, her avatar on the forum) would tear up from the punishment and MissK’s disappointment.

When she finally pocketed her phone, Ryan was surprised she felt conflicted. Along with the fluttering sensation MissK’s attention always seemed to give her, there was some sadness lingering.

As sometimes happened to her, she wondered if she would ever find herself on the receiving hand of a loving Top. She shook her head: of course not. She was a screw-up and was growing old; her mind was always racing and never at ease; she had been struggling with changing her life to the way she wanted it to be, even though she knew that, at the current moment, she was way far from being happy. All that alone would scare anyone away.

Feeling a pang of guilt, she quickly fetched her phone again and typed a private message to MissK.

“Thank you for your time, MissK. Evil streak as usual, huh? One day we’ll wear off the itchiness in your hand. Hope you are ok. RebelAngel.”

Ryan waited for a long moment, then forced herself to hit “send”. MissK probably wouldn’t answer anyway, as she was always busy and not a big tech-fan, apart from the forum, but that was ok. The thought that maybe her message would make MissK smile was enough for Ryan to be in a better mood.

***

Kelsey chewed slowly on her meal, savoring the dish as her eyes scrutinized the quiet restaurant. She knew that peace would soon be gone, replaced by the buzzing chaos of the rush-hour. It was why she enjoyed her lunch at that time of the day. It didn’t really come hard to her, as she usually had breakfast around 6am, lunch around 11.30, then a snack mid-afternoon and a very late, light dinner.

She had been following those habits for years, now, and although she knew it was an unusual eating schedule, it had structure and it worked for her. The few other clients in the restaurant seemed to be on the same page, as she had seen most of them many times in the restaurant, around that same time of the day.

She tapped a napkin against her lips and sipped her glass of red wine. Her eyes met those of Mrs Kensington and she waved, offering a polite smile, then she raised her hand to catch Lucy’s attention.

“Coffee time, ma’am?”

Kelsey nodded at the waitress, encouraging. The waitress was young and new in the restaurant. A little feisty, which made her stand out a bit, but a very hard worker, judging from how tirelessly she was always moving around.

As she waited for her coffee, Kelsey pulled out her phone and decided to do her usual check of the forum before her work shift. What are those brats getting themselves into this time? She read a few posts and found herself shaking her head in resignation, subconsciously twitching her fingers. It was one particular post that caught her attention, though. This one held no excessive naughtiness – well, except for the standard amount that came with the whole RebelAngel package, which was already over the norm. The brat had posted a reaction to her online correction, and Kelsey was pleased to read that she had put some real effort and emotions into her post. Ryan’s writing always flowed so well; it was a pleasure to read her and interact with her on the forum. As an admin, MissK wasn’t allowed to play favorites, but she had to admit she was somehow drawn to that little rascal. She found her fresh and cute, and rather sensitive to everyone’s needs in the community. It wasn’t a virtue she got to see often, as maintaining relationships online was just as tough as keeping peace in a face-to-face dynamic; people were bound to irk each other, at one point or another.

As she was about to cast her phone away, Kelsey caught a notification icon on the top left corner of her phone screen. A private message.

Nothing could help her loud laugh as she read it, and she gave a dramatic sigh. “Oh, Ryan, I’m pretty sure the itchiness in my hand will only wear off when I wear off your backside!”

She didn’t realize she was actually speaking to herself until she noticed a movement out of the corner of her eye. It was Lucy, whose eyes were wide open. The girl was blushing profusely as she approached to lay the cup on the table, and her hand shook a bit too much. The cup actually slipped, and the coffee spilled everywhere.

“Oh my Gosh! Oh, fuck! Shit! I’m so sorry!”

“Lucy!” Kelsey scolded, grimacing at the stain of coffee that now colored her white shirt and hurrying to swab it with her napkin. Amazing, that would mean a trip to the laundry as soon as possible.

“I’m really sorry, ma’am, fuck, I shouldn’t have…”

Language, young lady!”

It looked like Lucy was going through the most embarrassing moment of her life, judging from the color of the tips of her ears.

“Of course, I’m so sorry. I’ll do better, I promise!”

Kelsey sighed again and held out her hand.

“I know you will pay more attention next time. Now stop self-combusting and pull yourself together, you didn’t do that on purpose.”

“I-I’m sorry ma’am, you are right. Do-do you want me to get you another coffee?”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll get one myself. It’s almost time anyway. Do you think you can clean this up?”

“Sure ma’am, right away! Thank you! And I’m sorry!”

Kelsey left the young waitress to it and walked towards the backroom, crossing the kitchen doors and having someone instantly approach her with a wry grin.

“Lucy’s doing, Kels?”

“Yeah, the girl got a bit nervous, but I’m not sure it was entirely her fault. How is it going in here? Everyone ready?”

“Aye aye, captain. I can’t believe you hired that girl. You knew since the very beginning she was going to be trouble, didn’t you?”

“I’m rather good at wrangling trouble, Sebastian. And, honestly, no pain, no gain. I believe she’s going to become a shiny little star, judging by how amazing her last cake tasted. You’ve got to keep rough diamonds when you find them. Give them a chance.”

“You won’t say that when she burns down this place.”

“Oh, I think we’ll be alright, my Sous-Chef. I think we’ll be alright.”

***

Ryan and Sydney launched their service on Monday, while they both had a pretty safe alibi. Syd and Brigitte were out together for lunch, and Ryan was in New York at the client’s, with a group of colleagues. Ryan had carefully considered it: if she launched the project from New York, the ip connected to GoldenPants, her fake account, would show a different place from where she lived – so no one would suspect her.

To be sure, she had also made it rather clear on the forum chat that this would be a very busy period for her. After all, most companies wanted the agency to come up with Christmas Campaigns, as Christmas was just about a month away and, of course, it was such a peaceful time of the year…except for business.

Ryan had pulled up an excuse with her coworkers to get some time for herself after lunch and had used those twenty minutes of freedom to forward her link to all the brats’ accounts. She had carefully warned them as well: the link itself would expire and leave no trace within 12 hours, so they better be quick and write down the email address of the Pants Team if they thought they might benefit from their offer.

Having been in the communication field for a while, Ryan was positive their strategy would pay off, and her hopes and excitement were growing just as much as her expectations. She logged off the account as soon as she was done, closing her laptop with a bit of nervous anticipation…

***

“Boom!”

“Who’s there? Syd!?”

“Yep, that’s me! Hi, Ryan, how you doing?”

“At the airport, waiting for loading. What’s going on?”

“Are you sitting there, bud? Because you definitely want to hear this!”

An excited shiver ran down her spine as Ryan stood quickly, warning Bob and Melanie that she needed to take that call.

She walked away far enough to avoid being overheard by her coworkers and leaned against the wall, pulling on the collar of her sweater. Dang, it wasn’t so hot 20 seconds ago.

“Come on, shoot it, whatever it is!”

“We got a dozen mails!”

“No fucking way!” Ryan said loudly, and a few people turned to frown at her. But Ryan didn’t have eyes for anyone; she was basically bouncing on the spot. “What do they say?”

“Well, Tay was one of the first to reply. She wrote we’re brilliant, whoever we are, and that she’ll mail again asap as she might soon have a job for us!”

“That’s awesome, Syd! What about the others?”

“Well, there is this Bookworm25 that says we’re great and our stuff rocks. And this Flicker dude, I think it’s a guy, congratulates and wishes our business the best. He said we might hear more from him in the next few days.”

Ryan’s smile grew bigger the more Sydney went through the mails and read them. When the airport staff called for her flight and she rejoined Bob and Melanie, she was basically beaming.

“Hey, Ryan, good news? You look like a kid on Christmas morning!”

“I’m fine, thanks, Mel. I guess I got an early present this year.”

***

Ryan and Sydney got the first real clients on Wednesday and Friday. Number one was Flicker, the nice guy from their first day, who ordered 500 lines.

“I will not play video-games over two hours a day!? Really?”

“Yep. That’s the line he got. And he said that having us writing it would give him more time to play videogames.”

Sydney recounted, and Ryan chuckled along with her partner in crime.

“And the best part is, he’s got a long-distance relationship with his Top, so he’ll just forward him the pictures I send him when I’m done.”

That’s an easy job, now. Is his handwriting bad?”

“Not at all. I got the gist of it on my third try. I sent him a photo and he approved. He was amazed.”

“Of course, he was. You are gifted, babe!”

Again, both of them chuckled. Ryan was perched on her bed, computer on her lap, and had Sydney on Skype.

“What about you? Did you get started on Tay’s assignment?”

“I did. It’s not hard to come up with a five-page paper about why speeding is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. I think it’s coming out nicely. I asked her to send me a copy of an old paper of hers so I could mimic her style.”

“Why am I not surprised Tay got such a paper? She’s always pushing her car.”

“She is. Apparently, her Top thought spanking her wasn’t enough anymore. Not after the third ticket or so.”

“Geez. We got the craziest clients!” Sydney laughed, and Ryan smiled too as she took a sip of her hot cocoa.

“Hey, I need to go, Bri should be home in around 10 minutes. Will I see you on the forum later? I hear we’re starting a new kinklet.”

“I would never miss it, Syd. Wouldn’t want to disappoint MissK. I’ll see you later!”

***

The next few weeks went by with Ryan feeling like someone had cast a spell on her. Their business had been steadily growing, so much so that not a day passed that Ryan didn’t have to pull up her sleeves again once she got out of the office, to work on some new paper for one of her brat-clients. She had so many requests, she had basically spent the whole time she wasn’t working at home. The fridge was even emptier than usual, and her hands and eyes hurt every night from the amount of activity she did in front of her laptop, but it did not bother her. Even at work, sometimes she found herself sneaking in some writing for the essays and, as far as she knew, Sydney wasn’t getting any more breaks, constantly filling pages and pages of lines. The two barely had time to catch up with one another, and sometimes they would Skype while working on their tasks. Neither of them would speak much during the calls, as they both focused on getting work done. There was a great reason for the girls’ incredible endurance. With everything going on, the few occasions she could relax, Ryan would spend her time on the forum, and she could easily spot the effects of their work:

the brats had been going wilder than usual, coming up with every sort of ideas and pranks to play as their online avatars. They were so much work the Tops could barely keep up, and it made them feel great as they teamed up and tried to beat each other with the coolest, craziest, funniest (and often most dangerous) ideas.

We’ve tricked ya, this time. We won. That was the spirit in the air, and Ryan couldn’t feel prouder that Syd and herself had helped building that strong feeling and overexcited state of mind. They felt like they had officially, royally, fucked the system up, and there was no doubt they could take credit when the brats on the forum started changing their online nicknames, as a tribute to the Pants Team.

Tay had suddenly become Tay_SpeedyPants. BlackFairy had made Ryan laugh her ass off by switching to FairyPants, and they could easily see so many similar nicknames around. SparklyPants, BrattyPants, CopperPants, NaughtyPants, GeekyPants, even SuperPants. It drove the Tops nuts as they all could tell something was going on, but none of them was able to quite place what.

It was while Ryan read the bantering on the forum chat, with some of the Moderators and Admins trying to figure out why everyone was switching names and the brats offering all sorts of funny excuses, that her Skype started ringing. She picked up the incoming call, unable to wipe her grin off her face.

“Hey there, you reading?”

“Hey Syd. Yep, I couldn’t help it. They’re so much fun.”

“Just remember Judy’s paper must be done by midnight.”

“Sure thing. No problem. I’m just chilling some, I’m so tired. Also, ‘Why I should keep a balanced, healthy diet’ is not my favorite topic.”

“I figured that. Maybe it’ll do you some good, you look like you’ve lost a lot of weight, recently. You been eating enough?”

“What’s this, an interrogation? Keep it up and I’ll make you write the paper, instead, SilverPants!”

“Well, GoldenPants, I doubt you’d be able to pull up 250 ‘I will never ever talk back to my Top again’ within one hour or so.”

Ryan made a face, but then nodded.

“Fair enough. You look drained, by the way. You getting enough sleep?”

“You know what? I’m ok with dropping all the questions.” Sydney replied in an amused but strangely defensive tone that made Ryan’s forehead crease. “Except for one.”

“Oh? Which one is that?”

“Will you be here for Christmas?”

The question took Ryan by surprise. With all the things that had been on her mind, she had barely thought about her own Christmas. Sure, she’d been copywriting Christmas spots and online campaigns, but hadn’t even started thinking about gifts or her own holidays in general.

“You’re celebrating at your place?” She asked, raising a brow.

“Yeah. I mean. I surely won’t go home for Christmas, and I think Bri is trying to make me…ya’ know, forget that my folks are a bunch of idiots.”

Ryan didn’t miss the sadness behind the sarcastic remark. She flinched. She had not thought about Sydney’s situation with her family. Coming from a very conservative background, her parents had not come to terms with Sydney being a lesbian, and their relationship had spiraled downwards since her friend’s coming out. Ryan suddenly wished she could be there to hug Sydney and remind her that she was loved without conditions.

“I’ll talk with mom on Thanksgiving, but that should be ok. I’ll do my best to be there, I promise.”

“Thank you. My parents-in-law will be here, of course, but they’re fine. And Bri is inviting a couple friends herself. I think MissK will be here.”

This time, Ryan almost choked. She coughed desperately, ignoring Sydney’s frown.

“What’s up with you?”

“I’m fine, I’m fine. I just…didn’t see that coming.”

“What, that MissK is a real human being with a real life?” Sydney chuckled, and Ryan blushed harder than she would’ve liked, earning a sudden glimpse of realization and a sly grin on her friend’s face.

“I just didn’t know she was so close with Bri, ok?”

“They are. They’ve met a few times. Bri said she’s as toppy as she’s beautiful. And she’s single.”

“She what? Wait, aren’t you jealous?”

Ryan stared as Sydney laughed and shook her head.

“Seriously? Brigitte and another Top? They’d kill each other within ten minutes if they were together. Or their life would be a total boring disaster. Thank God she has me.”

“That’s true. And Bri loves you so much it’s impossible to imagine her with someone else.” Ryan admitted, nodding. Her mind, though, kept twiddling with Sydney’s words. Toppy and beautiful. Ryan knew MissK to be smart and have humor, but it occurred to her that she didn’t know much else about the woman. How old was she? What did she look like?

“This is the bit of information you should always share with your bestie, Syd.” She pouted, crossing her arms on her chest.

“True. I’ve been so out of world as of late…look, if you promise to forgive me, I’ll send you a picture of her, later.”

“You must be joking.”

***

Kelsey and Brigitte were sitting on Kelsey’s black leather couch, blissfully sharing a cup of steaming tea. Fire was crackling in the chimney, and the Christmas tree shimmered in golden and white. Everything seemed perfect as the two friends caught up with each other, sharing a smile and tales of their daily life. Their matching knowing looks spoke for their chemistry as they went from one topic to another: life, work, families, partners or love interests, hobbies and even plans for the holidays.

Everything seemed perfect, yet the subtle wrinkle on Kelsey’s forehead betrayed that something was bugging her. Kelsey tended to wear that expression every time she sensed something was wrong but could not quite wrap her fingers around it.

Brigitte Watcher had almost finished her tea when she finally dared to ask the unspoken question, setting the cup down on the coffee table.

“What’s up with you? I can tell you are…distracted.”

The older woman sighed. She shook her head and tried to soften her expression, rubbing her temples.

“I’m sorry, dear. I’ve been worrying.”

“Oh? Do you want to share?”

“You see…” Kelsey hesitated. She stared at Brigitte like she was trying to decide if she wanted to burden her friend with the matter. Finally she nodded, seemingly making up her mind. “I can tell something is amiss.”

Kelsey’s brow was lifted, and Brigitte shifted on the couch, but her expression mirrored that of the older woman. The few words were enough to make her smell trouble.

“What do you mean, Kels?”

Brigitte was sitting slightly sideways, so that she could face her friend, and she made sure to hold the older woman’s eyes in hers, giving the subject at hand her full attention.

Kelsey was an incredibly witty woman, whose senses and experiences had no rivals when it came to handling troublemakers, so much so that even the hint of concern in her attitude was enough to alert Brigitte.

“The brats on the forum have been…twitchy, lately. Strangely restless, even for their standards.”

Brigitte nodded quietly, considering Kelsey’s words but allowing her to continue.

“I spoke with Arianne the other day. She was beside herself with worry about Taylor. The brat’s been keeping her on her toes.”

“But Kelsey, it’s Tay we’re talking about. Isn’t she always keeping everyone on their toes?”

“You must know what I mean, Brigitte. Arianne told me it’s like Taylor’s suddenly become impervious to punishments. She keeps testing her, all the time. Ari’s been spanking her, giving her lines and papers, corner time and whatever she has on her arsenal. It’s like Tay grows wilder every day. Wilder and more flustered.”

For a few moments neither of the tops spoke, both letting those words sink in and trying to make sense of them.

“I may have noticed that those rascals have grown impatient, yes. I also saw they recently changed their nicknames on the forum? Do you think that’s related?”

Brigitte received a small nervous smile in reply, and couldn’t help but notice how Kelsey rubbed her palms against her thighs, maybe without realizing it.

“Oh, I do. I can’t quite understand how, but…”

“You don’t think Tay is setting up some sort of giant prank, do you? You know how the girls and boys look up to her. Whatever it is, must be big for them all to get so excited.”

Both ladies shuddered at the thought of Tay planning a prank that would involve all the brats. Taylor Juliet was a very loving brat, protective of her friends, and one of the most active users on the forum, but when she went astray she would usually play a nice “go big or go home”, and more than once the Tops had had a tough time reigning everyone in before someone got seriously hurt.

“I will be keeping an extra close eye on her, and so will Arianne, and Terry, Amelia, Andy, Diane and the others – to each, their own. It’s everyone else I’m worried about. Those that don’t have a Top.”

Brigitte pressed her lips into a thin line, her thoughts going to a certain someone that was very close to her sweet Sydney.

“I should be glad my own imp has been so taken with school and work, recently. Even though she is under tons of stress, that might be keeping her out of trouble. I will try to talk to her anyway, in case she has heard of something.”

“Thank you, Brigitte, dear. I think that would be good. What about that other scamp, the little writer? She’s been nowhere near as active on the forum, recently. I haven’t heard from her in private either.”

Brigitte pressed her lips into a tight line as she thought about it, aware of the sneaking suspicion in Kelsey’s tone.

“All I know is she’s been overloaded with work as well, but I’ll be sure to check on her or have Sydney check. We will keep in touch and share any news we get.”

Brigitte waved away Kelsey’s thanks and gathered both cups to set them on her friend’s counter. She shook her head, smiling fondly.

“There is no need to thank me, Kels. We are all in this together. We all care. But for now, tell me, how’s the restaurant been going? Are you really thinking of taking a bigger one?”


***

Ryan let out a deep, frustrated sigh. She rubbed her eyes angrily before crossing her arms together on the table and diving her face into them, hiding in the comforting darkness. She was so tired, but still not done with the paper she needed to send one of the girls. It was about consequences, which wasn’t unusual, but in this specific case, for lying to a Top.

There was no reason for Ryan to be so wound up about the job per say, but something about the topic drove her crazy. She had grown flustered and nervous, and she was smart enough to realize how that actually hid something deeper. Sadness, a sense of abandonment, loneliness? Whatever it was, it made her cringe and want to shake it off herself.

She shut her eyes to trap the stinging tears, pressing her forehead into her arms. It was one of those days when she started regretting her crazy idea, and everything that had come with it.

Her phone rang while she was still seeking refuge in the comfy nest. She picked up the call without checking who it was and brought it against her ear, sniffling quietly.

“R? Are you ok?”

Ryan could instantly tell something was wrong from Sydney’s hoarse voice.

“I’m fine. What’s wrong, Syd?”

The younger girl went quiet on the other side, making Ryan frown and straighten, in full-alert mode.

Ryan patiently waited for the younger woman to muster up the courage to talk, even though it took a couple minutes.

“I failed.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

“My final. I did not pass, Ryan.”

“What? Oh fuck, are you sure?”

Ryan felt stupid for asking the question, knowing her friend would never joke about such a topic, but Sydney had never, ever failed a test before. She was known to be a little nerd, very passionate and good at what she did. It seemed impossible to Ryan that something like this could happen to Sydney of all people. She winced, listening to her friend’s soft sobs.

“Hey, hey, Syd, it’s going to be okay. Look, I know you are smart, you are the smartest, and you’ll get this. Maybe you just need a break and you’ll rock it the next time you try.”

The quiet sobs turned into whimpers of protest, but Ryan kept soothing her friend until she had calmed down enough to take a deep breath.

“I can’t do this anymore, Ryan. I need to talk to Brigitte.”

“What do you mean? You didn’t tell her?”

“I told her about the stupid test, but I can’t keep lying to her, Ryan. Please…”

It took a few seconds for Ryan to understand what Sydney was talking about. She slowly got up and started pacing the room, her expression growing bothered.

“Do you think this was the reason you failed? Our…our project?”

“I…yes. No! I’m just…”

Cursing that she couldn’t be in the same room as Sydney to watch her reactions, Ryan forced herself to wait for the other to speak. She realized her heart was now pounding in her throat. For some reason, she had entered some sort of fight or flight mode.

“Look, I’m not saying I failed because of it, but I’ve been under tons of pressure and…and I hate lying to Bri. She’s being so nice and going beside herself to organize this special Christmas for me, and I’ve been…”

“You are not doing anything bad, Sydney.” Ryan growled. “You told her you were helping me with some project, no?”

“I have been covering for you, Ryan. Covering for us both. I’m just so tired of hiding it, I need a clean slate.”

That made Ryan freeze. The woman shook her head, thoughts swirling in her mind much like the snowflakes outside of her window.

“Is that what this is all about? A spanking? Can’t you just ask her to spank you for failing the test?”

“Ryan, that’s not how it works. It’s…it’s…”

“Oh, that’s exactly what this is all about!”

Ryan clenched her jaw, hear heart beating fast, before adding “getting in trouble is no fun if you don’t get your comeuppance, right? You can’t stand doing something naughty and having no one taking you to account for a feckin’ month! Flash news: not everyone has that privilege. We all have to live without sometimes.”

“Ryan…”

“No, you know what? I don’t give a damn. Do what you want, Syd. Drop the project, drop me. Just get what you need. It’s not like anyone is going to fucking spank me anyway.”

Ryan did not hear Sydney’s response, because before her friend had time to process Ryan’s sudden reaction, the older girl had hung up.

Ryan marched to the bedroom and threw herself on the bed, hiding her face in the pillow. Before she knew, it was warm with hot tears.

***

The next day, when Ryan logged in on the forum to submit her paper for her last customer, she expected the game to be over, and for Sydney to have chanted out the truth to everyone.

She was surprised –  and deep down in her heart, disappointed – that no one addressed GoldenPants, or even her RebelAngel account, with the harsh tones she was expecting. She exchanged a couple messages with MissK and had another quick chat with a few of the brats, but logged off as soon as she noticed Sydney was online.

Could it be that Sydney was still protecting her, after their discussion on the phone? Had she even come out to Brigitte herself for being in the project? Ryan could only assume so, or that no one cared enough about her to even say something.

The young woman was not proud of her poor choice of words, and she regretted snapping at Sydney, even more so because she knew her friend had been upset. Something inside her had cracked, though, and still made her want to keep her distance a few days later.

The lonely feeling and the subtle frustration hadn’t left Ryan with the last paper, and she had to reject a few orders for lines because she couldn’t keep up with the work Sydney used to do, nor had the physics student logged onto her SilverPants account since their argument.

As she snuggled on the couch one weekend, binge-watching Christmas movies on Netflix for the first time in forever, Ryan considered turning down her own orders as well.

She went through the few new messages on her fake account and ignored the first couple, focusing on the last one instead. It was from a brat who had named herself “FlippedPants”. Ryan wondered if they had ever chatted before (she could not keep track of all the brats that had switched nicknames for them). FlippedPants was frantically begging her for a paper, offering double the price just for a chance to receive it asap. It amused Ryan that the poor girl was so desperate. They had never charged much, as their fun had always primarily been playing the system around, but – given how eager the client was – Ryan ended up accepting, for free. She looked up the topic of the assignment and frowned: Why do brats need consequences?

“Is that it?” Ryan blinked, nervously biting her fingernail. Well, at least it was challenging. The girl lay down, abandoning Netflix and instead staring at the ceiling as she gathered ideas.

A few hours later the paper was still a blank page, and Ryan was getting impatient. She got up, put on a pair of boots and a coat and went out into the snow to take a walk, hands deep in her pockets.

Why do brats need consequences?

She could write the obvious, of course: because they are brats. They are undisciplined and messy, they break things and create chaos, they fuck up all the time. Wasn’t it what she herself did 24/7?

But then, the more she thought about it, the more Ryan felt like that was just scratching the surface, staring at the tip of the iceberg.

Despite their fight, she loved Sydney dearly and would never think of her as a fuck-up. Sydney was brilliant and fun, and open-minded and brave. She had always been there for Ryan. Ryan blushed in the cold as a wave of shame rushed over her. She hid in her jacket and pulled down her cap, shivering.

Sure, most of the brats she knew liked to cause mayhem and mischief, prided themselves in spicing things up with their shenanigans, but they were also free, kind, gentle, shy, quiet, hard-workers, mothers, fathers, lovers and, overall, responsible adults.

No, she realized, they didn’t need rules or consequences because they were natural screw ups. They needed rules and consequences because that gave structure to their lives and made them feel loved and cared for.

Ryan cringed in pain as she thought about how hurtful it was when everyone had their comeuppance coming, everyone except for her. She also thought about how loved and cared for she felt simply because MissK had taken the time to address her in a brief post and made her feel special for a few minutes.

She paled as she thought piled up on each other and started to make some sort of sense.

Brats weren’t simply at war with their Tops. They needed them, needed their attention to feel safe, or lighter, or less lonely, to feel like they were good enough, like they could make mistakes and still be loved, still earn a clean slate.

Ryan pulled her phone out of her pocket and quickly reached the forum home page, but didn’t have it in her to write a message in the chat-board.

Had they messed up big time?

After skipping their consequences thanks to their brilliant plan, was everyone now feeling just like Ryan? Angry and abandoned, like their Tops wouldn’t see that they were crying out for attention?

“Shit. Shit shit shit.

Ryan had wanted to feel smarter than the Tops, and be just like the others brats for a change…but she had ended up taking everyone down with her.

She didn’t stop on her way home and, after dropping her coat on the coffee table, she gathered her laptop and started typing.

***

Ryan woke up to the insistent sound of her phone vibrating. She had no idea what time it was, but the sun filtered through the shutters, drawing stripes of light in her room.

She reached out to get her phone but swatted it on the floor by mistake. She gave a desperate groan. Her head was pounding and it did not get any better when she rubbed her sleepy eyes. Thoughts of the previous night slowly came back, and she tried to put them together: her message to FlippedPants to politely decline her request because “she needed to talk it out with her Top”; the bottle of white wine her dad had gifted her last Christmas; her last post on the forum as GoldenPants, to disband the “company” and apologize to everyone involved; a homemade Cosmopolitan; her private message to MissK holding a confession and the two hours it had taken her to hit send; a couple beers; the long wait for an answer that had never come.

Ryan did not remember much after that and thinking harder wasn’t really an option. She cursed when her phone started vibrating once again and she had to roll on her side and finally grab it.

As she grudgingly brought it to her ear, she caught sight of the time: 11am.

“Who the hell is it?”

“Is that how you always answer your phone, Miss Kelly?” came the polite, pointed, contained voice from the other side.

“Only on alternating Saturdays” Ryan shot back. Then she frowned in confusion. “Wait, who am I talking with?”

There was a brief silence on the other side before the answer came.

“This is Kelsey Brian, but “MissK” might ring more of a bell for you, Miss Kelly.”

Ryan’s reaction was slow. She went quiet as her brain tried to process what was going on, but her body reacted faster. Her eyes went wide open; her heart skipped a beat. She bolted awake and sat straight in the middle of her bed, so quickly she had to grab her rumbling stomach.

Pardon me?

“Oh, I think you got that the first time. I thought I would be so unnecessarily kind as to let you know in advance that I am on my way to your place. Will you be able to greet me there in one hour or so?”

Again, Ryan opened her mouth but no sound came out of it. Then she recovered.

“Fuck, I must’ve pushed it a little too far last night. This stupid dream is too vivid.”

“Oh, that you surely did, Miss Kelly, judging from the sound of your voice, but I can assure you that this is not a dream. Might become a nightmare, depending on how badly I decide you need my assistance.”

Ryan gulped. She was still in denial, but part of her could tell that nausea and headache should not be symptoms of a dream.

“Is that really you, MissK?”

“It is really me, young lady. I hope you don’t mind that I asked Miss Watcher for your contacts and address. After your message last night, I believe you and I need to have a talk. A long, thorough one.”

By now, Ryan was out of bed and wobbling her way to the kitchen, where she shakily made coffee. She paled as her mind registered the words. She looked around frantically. Adrenaline was helping her wake up but, judging from the mess around her, there was no way she could be ready before MissK’s arrival. She felt panic rising.

“Ma’am, I – huh…I just woke up…” She murmured the first thing that came to her mind, her cheeks burning.

“That I can tell. Pull yourself together, Miss Kelly, you have one hour sharp to eat something decent and get a shower, which I’m sure you need. I’ll see you later.”

“B-but…”

MissK hung up, which left Ryan staring at her phone until the coffee demanded her attention. She poured herself a cup with trembling hands, still moving slowly in her state of shock. This could not be happening, could it? MissK had received her contacts from Brigitte? That might be possible. If Bri and her had met a few times, like Sydney said, then MissK likely did not live too far either. And she knew Ryan was GoldenPants, because of her confession the previous night.

It suddenly occurred to Ryan that MissK must be livid.

“Holy hell” Ryan mumbled, caffeine now running through her veins. She shook her head before launching herself into a race to gather all the bottles scattered through the house, get some pills, have a cold shower, fix her bed and cover it in all the outfits she could consider for the occasion. She knew she was in trouble, and she could not help but clench her butt and blush every time she thought about it, but at the same time Ryan found it far too easy to visualize MissK, from the photo Sydney had shared with her. That, along with the relationship the two had built online, was enough to send what little was left of Ryan’s sanity into absolute chaos.

She checked her watch as she tried to choose between a pair of leggings and a short black skirt.

Too cheeky, she thought, looking at the skirt. At least she knew what to wear on top. She was just pulling up her leggings when she heard the bell.

“Fuck.” She fell on the bed, leggings to her knee, and squirmed to try and pull them in place. “COMING!”

A few moments passed before the bell rang another time. Ryan shot up and retrieved all the clothes from her bed, before roughly pushing them into the closet. She hurried to kick the closet shut and ran to the door, stopping briefly in front of the first mirror that came her way, to check if she was at least presentable. There were circles under her eyes, and her wavy hair was messy on her shoulders, but it could be worse, considering the amount of drinks she had consumed the previous night.

Ryan pulled the door wide open right when the bell rang for the third time. She found herself facing a slightly taller and bulkier woman with light brown reddish hair and a raised brow, full lips perfectly drawn and bright hazelnut eyes. Ryan’s breath broke and she ended up staring, her mouth open. She had thought Kelsey Brian looked sexy in the photo, but now she knew pictures didn’t do her justice.

“Good morning to you too, Miss Kelly. May I come in?”

MissK’s tone was firm and even, but Ryan was certain it held a hint of amusement. She could spot it in her eyes.

“Huh – sure.” She moved to allow the woman inside. “Sorry about…well, the mess. I wasn’t expecting you.”

MissK stepped inside, unbuttoning her coat. “I am aware.”

Ryan swallowed. This was going to be tough. She gracefully took the other’s jacket, inviting the woman to make herself at home. She wasn’t very surprised when MissK actually walked through the living room and towards the kitchen, looking around.

“Let me be very clear, Miss Kelly, I don’t usually do this sort of thing. Given the situation, however, I deemed it necessary. And I don’t think I was wrong, was I?” This time, Ryan watched as MissK froze and turned back around to stare at her, inspecting her from head to toe. “At least your choice of clothes is very appropriate.”

Ryan blushed, realizing MissK was referring to her black sweatshirt, whose front was adorned in a colorful “Dear Santa, I can explain…” line. She mustered a little smile.

“Miss…MissK, please, have a seat. What can I offer you? Coffee? A drink?”

“You may call me Miss Brian, or Kelsey. And I believe you’ve had enough drinks for a while. Sit, Ryan, I want to talk with you.”

Ryan fidgeted, but her self-preservation instincts got the better of her when the woman’s stare pierced through her. She went to sit on the couch while MissK – Kelsey – sized her over. She had never felt like that in her life. She realized that, for the first time, she was actually squirming. Unless it was the drinks from last night, she was positive she suddenly knew what butterflies in the stomach felt like.

“You are cute,” Kelsey stated, crossing her arms on her chest “but you look exhausted. And you are so thin. When was the last time you had some healthy food?”

“Hm. Can chicken wings be considered healthy, ma’am?”

Kelsey’s brow creased again and she quickly covered the distance that separated her from the kitchen, eliciting a protest from Ryan. Ignoring her, Kelsey opened the fridge and turned around with narrowed eyes. The look she gave Ryan made her cower like a prey caught in a corner: it seemed like the simple sight of an empty fridge was insufferable for the woman.

“Did you have a decent breakfast like I told you to?”

“…I had coffee?” Ryan said softly, swallowing – her mouth felt dry.

“Indeed. You will learn to listen to me, young lady.”

Ryan bit her lip and her heart fluttered when the woman took a seat beside her on the couch. She could not believe this was happening. If anyone had told her it would, she would’ve laughed in their face. And now there she was, sharing her living room with the Top of all Tops.

“But first, let’s chat. Care to explain what on earth you got yourself into, this time?”

Ryan did not miss the last part, her cheeks flushing, but the straightforward question made her groan and she realized she couldn’t find the words. Ironic for a writer, wasn’t it?

She was very surprised when, in the thick silence, she felt a gentle hand tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear, and then a warm hand rubbed her back.

Ryan felt herself relaxing ever so slightly as she inched closer and leaned towards Kelsey’s chest, sniffling the woman’s perfume. It was lovely, but even more so was the fact that Kelsey did not pull away, instead wrapping an arm around Ryan.

“Alright, missy, I’ll start. Is it true you set up a company to write lines and papers for any brat that would request your services?”

Ryan gulped. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Is it true that you advertised your business on my forum, by using a page that would go down in a set time?”

“Yes ma’am, but – how do you know that? I didn’t mention any of it in my message.”

“Oh, we’ve been watching those sneaky fake accounts of yours. We finally managed to get one of the brat twins to talk about what the deal was around these GoldenPants and SilverPants, last week.”

Ryan bit her lip, but did not ask which twin had betrayed the Pants Team. If she had to be honest with herself, resentment was the last of her emotions at the moment.

“I’ve suspected you for a while, Ryan. When I sent you the request for a paper, I was hoping to recognize your writing style in the assignment, but you turned it down.”

“Wait, what?” Ryan’s eyes went wide, and she pulled away from the older woman, gazing into Kelsey’s twinkling eyes. “That’s right, FlippedPants. It was you all along! You gave me the paper that sent me into a loop!”

“I suggest you watch your attitude, Miss Kelly, but yes, that was me.”

Ryan cringed, her bottom lip sticking out just barely at the thought of the Top playing a trick on her.

“Isn’t that sort of bratty, to create a fake account in order to bait me, ma’am?” She challenged.

That did it. Before she knew, Ryan found herself pulled out of her refuge and over MissK’s knee, the woman’s hand landing soundly on her upturned backside.

“Hey! Ow, ouch!”

“You asked for it, young lady. Maybe you’ll be more cooperative in this position.”

Ryan was amazed at how much Kelsey’s hand smarted as she wiggled over her knee, an uncomfortable warmth sneaking down her neck.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I got it! You can stop!”

That earned a loud bitter chuckle from the Top.

“My dear, we haven’t even started your warmup yet. This was just an appetizer to get you in the right mood.”

Ryan groaned, but at the same time found it hard to ignore the subtle sensation between her legs as Kelsey rubbed her leggings-clad bottom.

“I rejected your request because it got me thinking and I decided to disband!” Ryan cried out, and Kelsey patted her gently.

“At last. So, let me get this straight: you thought founding a mischievous society to help brats out of their punishments was a good idea, and you involved a mysterious partner into it? Or am I wrong in thinking SilverPants was a different person?”

Ryan held her breath, confirmation that Sydney had kept her secret echoing in her brain. She couldn’t bring herself to say anything until two loud swats landed on her right cheek.

“It was a different person, but she wanted to come out way sooner! She didn’t because…because she was covering for me!”

“Indeed. I think I might know who this person is.”

“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that I would be hurting anyone. I just wanted to…” Words died in Ryan’s throat, and she tried to squirm off Kelsey’s lap, only to have the woman tighten her grasp around her waist.

“…to get my attention.”

That made Ryan’s ears burn as well.

“Shit, this is so embarrassing.”

“Language.” Swat! “If you are talking about the spanking, then I’m afraid it is supposed to be.” Kelsey made sure to reinforce the concept by applying a flurry of swats to the tender zone of Ryan’s sit-spots, making her twist hard. “If, instead, you are talking about trying to get my attention, then let me correct you: there is nothing wrong with needing a little help. What’s wrong is how you sought it.”

Kelsey gave Ryan’s backside a rest, rubbing again.

“We’ll discuss better ways for you to do that in time. I plan to stick around for a while. Clearly, I have been underestimating the dangers of neglecting one of the most promising brats on my forum.”

If Ryan could blush more, she would have, but she was already near self-combustion. Instead, she merely tried to bite back the small proud smirk that was tugging at the corner of her lips.

“Am I, ma’am? One of the most promising brats?”

“You, my dear, are a full-blown brat leader and instigator.” Swat! “My mistake was to think you were merely promising.”

The assault to Ryan’s cheeks started again as light swats fell on alternating cheeks, in a steady rhythm. They wouldn’t sting on their own but, as the spanking went on, Ryan realized they were starting to build up. She began letting out soft groans every now and then.

“Wait…” Ryan choked out at some point, a sudden thought crossing her mind. “Yellow, yellow, ma’am!”

Ryan knew Kelsey had recognized the word from the safe-code they used on the forum and the Top’s hand stilled immediately. Ryan’s cheeks were rubbed once more before she was helped up so their eyes could meet.

“What is wrong, Miss Kelly? Don’t tell me this is too much? I haven’t gotten started yet.”

“It’s not, ma’am.” Ryan looked down at Kelsey’s lap longingly, and Kelsey understood. She silently helped the younger woman to move on her knee, closer to her.

“I was just thinking that…I don’t deserve this.”

“Excuse me?” Kelsey’s frown made Ryan want to hide, but the girl somehow managed not to break the eye-contact.

“I mean, if I really did all this mess because I wanted attention, perhaps I don’t deserve to get it. It’s like…it’s like giving me a prize, isn’t it?”

MissK’s eyes narrowed again as she studied Ryan, whose look fell on her hands this time. Ryan nervously played with her fingers.

“Now you listen to me, Ryan Kelly. This is not about what you deserve. This is about what you need.”

Kelsey trapped Ryan’s chin with a gentle hand, forcing her to look up once again. Ryan felt Kelsey’s thumb stroking her gently.

“And what you need is to give up control and stop topping from the bottom, for a start. Get up.”

Ryan was not expecting that. Her eyes went wide, but a pat to the portion of her backside that was available to MissK pushed her to oblige. Kelsey stood as well.

“What I plan, if you will let me, is to stick around as much as possible in the near future and teach you how to take care of yourself – how to give yourself the affection and attention you need and deserve just for being you. I plan to take some of that guilt you’re always carrying around and punishing yourself for and with off your shoulders, if I have to spank it out of you. I will make sure you don’t sit comfortably for the next few days, but trust me, this won’t be remotely as fun as you were hoping when you subconsciously tugged at my sleeve.”

Kelsey’s eyes burned into Ryan’s, the girl pressing her lips shut. She had been left speechless.

“Like a friend of mine would say, I’m afraid you just bought yourself more attention that you bargained for. You know how to stop me if you are not ok with this, don’t you?”

All Ryan could say as she met Kelsey’s stern look was “Yes ma’am.”

“Good. I want you to pull your pants and panties down and get back over my knee. It’s time we address the trouble you got yourself and the other brats into. And I hope for the sake of your backside that it is metal indeed, GoldenPants.”

Ryan hesitated just a moment as she fumbled with the waistband of her leggings. In a way, as Kelsey’s authoritative tone stabbed at her, the noise in the back of her mind seemed to fade, for the first time in so long. She was now fully focused on the here and now.

When she went over Miss Brian’s knees once again, her bottom was exposed and felt warm and tingly. Ryan could not help her squirming, but Kelsey knew how to reign her attention in; her palm rained on the bare skin much harder than it had before, over and over without a break, filling the apartment with the unmistakable sounds of a well-placed spanking.

This time the scorching swats piled up on each other in the exact same spot for a while before the Top moved her target. Ryan could tell that Kelsey had been playing around until now, as the sting of the fresh blows was unlike anything she had felt in way too long.

Soon the brat started groaning again, and then her moans turned into yelps. Kelsey had methodically painted the biggest portion of Ryan’s bottom and was now focusing on her sit-spots and the top of her thighs, lighting her rear end up.

By the third smack on her left upper-thigh, Ryan was kicking wildly.

“You better watch your kicking, missy, you won’t like what happens if you hit me.”

“But it hurts! Ouch!”

“It is supposed to. What were you even thinking, Miss Kelly? That just because you did not have a Top, you could mess with all the Tops in the community and go unpunished? Did you think you’d never get caught?”

Ryan cringed and tried to keep her kicking to a minimum, though the swats were now catching her bottom with an upswing. She gripped one of the couch pillows to avoid reaching back and mumbled a string of apologies.

“Did you even stop to think about how hard it was for the brats who had a Top to lie to them? Or how broken those Tops would be when they found out their trust had been misplaced?”

“Ow, shit, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry ma’am, I didn’t! I never meant to!”

“Did you think about how hard it was for Miss Pierce to keep this huge secret while struggling with college and hurting for her first Christmas without her family?”

The reference to Sydney brought tears to Ryan’s eyes, but the young woman couldn’t let them slide down her cheeks. Somehow, she was experiencing a surge of fury. This was unfair. Kelsey had never even cared for her, how dare she bring this up now, how dare she handle Ryan like she was just a selfish little brat?

The show went on for a while with Ryan growling and fighting her spanking as hard as she could now, even after Kelsey had her own leg wrapped around Ryan’s.

It seemed like forever to the wild imp before Kelsey finally paused, giving her backside a rest and her lower back a rub.

“This won’t do. I don’t think we’re quite there, yet. Do you, Miss Kelly?”

“We are!” Ryan growled, frustrated. “We’re all the way there, ma’am!”

The spirited reaction seemed to confirm Kelsey’s suspicion, for she gave Ryan a subtle hint with her knees.

“What I thought. Up.”

Ryan hurried to get up and rub her backside, but her hands were intercepted half-way.

“I want you over the back of the couch.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary, ma’am, I’m fine!”

Now, Ryan. Don’t make me drag you by your ear.”

Ryan shot the woman a deadly glare but met only firmness in her stare. Beside that, Kelsey seemed perfectly calm and in control of her emotions – unlike the girl. It made Ryan even madder.

“Whatever! I don’t care! There you go!”

She hastily threw herself over the back of the couch, faltering when the angle brought her backside into a particularly uncomfortable position. Her eyes widened a bit and a shiver ran down her spine.

She heard a noise behind her and she could tell Kelsey was fumbling with something metallic. Ryan let out a whimper as the Top laid her leather belt on the scorched cheeks.

She stiffened.

“Trust me, Ryan. Let go. You are just torturing yourself.”

“You’re the one torturing m-ouch!”

Ryan jerked her upper body as the pain from the whack registered. The belt licked her again twice, printing red stripes across her cheeks.

“Ma’am!”

The belt fell again on her right cheek and then her left; it finally bit across her sit-spots, making Ryan cry out loud.

Each swipe seemed to drag a little fury out of the wriggling girl and, before she knew, Ryan had stopped fighting and lay limp against the back of the couch, her vision blurry, her cheeks wet. It was then that Kelsey dropped the belt and pulled Ryan up and into her arms, holding her tight, rubbing her back, kissing the side of her head.

Ryan sobbed in the embrace, hiding her feverish face in the crook of Kelsey’s neck, and felt safe, safer than she had felt in years, maybe safer than she had felt in her whole life: safe and cared for.

“I’m so sorry. I w-was so blind!”

“Oh, hon. It is alright. I’ve got you. You did well. I’ve got you.”

“I’ll never pull something like this again, I promise.”

“I well dang hope it, brat. I’m sure you’ll be good for a while. A couple days, at least.”

Ryan’s sniffling cracked, and she burst out laughing, pulling away enough to look into Kelsey’s eyes as the woman brushed her hair away from the wet face and dried those flushed cheeks.

“Thank you. For this. For being here.”

“You are welcome, Ryan. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I did this for myself as much as I did it for you.”

Ryan watched the beautiful smile now drawn on Kelsey’s lips and, maybe for the mix of emotions still flowing through her, she felt like she could probably fall for that woman in the blink of an eye.

The thought made her sober, though, and she blushed furiously again as she realized that she was standing pantless in the woman’s arms. In MissK’s – Kelsey’s – arms.

“But…Kelsey…what now?”

“Now?” Kelsey laughed. “It’s Christmas Eve, my dear, and we have an invitation for tomorrow. Now we take care of you, then go grocery shopping and I’ll make us something good to eat. And, if you wish, we may spend some very vanilla time together this afternoon.”

Ryan smiled back at the woman and squeezed her again, mischievously brushing Kelsey’s ear with her lips. “I’d love that, Miss Brian. More than any other Christmas gift. Though I can’t promise I won’t sneak in some naughtiness.”

***

Ryan would remember that Christmas Eve for a very long time. She and Kelsey had spent the day together just like promised. They had gone shopping and Ryan had found out that Kelsey was a chef, and a very talented one, looking for a new restaurant to open in the area. They had both cooked and enjoyed some very good food, had battled the chaos of Ryan’s apartment to snuggle on the couch in front of Ryan’s TV and had watched a movie together. They had spent many hours chatting and had gone for a walk in the snow, Ryan much preferring walking to sitting, even though every step made her backside itch.

The longer they spent together, the more the two women seemed attracted to each other and the more they wanted to find out about each other.

After taking Kelsey out for dinner, Ryan had insisted they both sleep at her place, forgetting the B&b Kelsey had planned to stay at in the first place. Besides, as Ryan had wisely suggested, they should leave together in the morning to reach Sydney and Brigitte, and sharing Ryan’s place would allow Kelsey to pull Ryan out of bed at a decent time.

Ryan had run into the shower first, to escape the flying swat Kelsey was loading when the mountain of clothes Ryan had pushed in the closet earlier that day had landed on the Top. Now she was simply laying on her bed on her belly, listening to the sound of the water running in the bathroom. She was having a great time picturing what the woman might look like underneath, with all her clothes gone.

Ryan was still amazed by everything that had happened today; amazed that her life might reserve her such a nice twist and amazed that her deepest dream might, maybe, someday soon, come true. Or at least that she could take her chance.

When she absently glanced at her phone and noticed it was past midnight, she made up her mind.

Her heartbeat sped up as she brought her phone to her ear, and she bit her bottom lip when a sleepy voice answered on the other side.

“Hello? Ryan? Is that you?”

“Hi.”

“Do you know what time is it? Never mind – what do you want!?”

“Merry Christmas, Syd.” Ryan said tenderly. Sydney went quiet, though Ryan could swear she heard her hold her breath. “I was a jerk.”

“Yes, you were.”

Ryan grimaced. “I know and I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

There was a pause and Ryan crossed her fingers.

“Will you be here tomorrow?”

“If you still want me.”

“Hell, yes! I want to kick your butt in person!”

“You’ll have to take a number.” Ryan chuckled.

“Wait, what do you mean?”

“I will explain. Let’s say Santa came early this year.” There was a surprised noise coming from Sydney, but Ryan did not say more. Instead, she focused on a more pressing matter “Syd…you can tell Bri. I’ll apologize to her as well, tomorrow.”

I can? Wait…I can?” Ryan laughed, as the first answer had been filled with hope and then Sydney had probably realized what that implied, for the second one has been much less excited.

“You can. Or you might wait until tomorrow night…”

She could tell Sydney was giving It a thought, but it was a brief one, for the young student gave a resigned sigh.

“It will be a sore Christmas.”

Ryan squirmed, reaching back to rub the sensitive skin of her backside, but her lips quirked into a small grin. “Tell me about it.”

 

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24 thoughts on “Brat in Business

  1. Wow! Thanks, Ellie! ❤ What a wonderful gift! 😀 I didn't mind that it was late at all. When I first started reading I was like, "Man… this is looooong", but I got so hooked. I was sad when it ended, because I really wanted to read more about Kelsey and Ryan. 😉 They really are perfect for each other, aren't they? And I loved how Ryan was responsible for her own downfall and not Sidney even though she wanted to say something. I loved how Kesley tricked her. Hehehe. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I figured you ladies would think that, I felt very sorry for you! 😂 Wouldn’t know if anyone would finish reading the story, but congrats to you for making it to the end!

      I will hopefully write more about the people involved, and I have mentioned characters that appear in stories I’ve started, but never posted yet!

      I’m very glad you enjoyed it, Ash! I found FlippedPants’ move amusing as well, but I wanted to show how even Tops can get creative when the need arises 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to echo Ash here: Wow! What an adventure! I have to say, you brats can be very enterprising….if not downright scary! *LOL* Thank you, Ellie and Mishi, but this lovely holiday story. I felt for Ryan, being so lonely, so was very glad it had a happy-ever-after type ending. 🙂 This was a great gift, and still very timely. Thanks for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Alyx! I think the general idea Ryan had wasn’t bad at all, was it? We should consider it. Or the mischief generator! I’ll admit the manager-line generator was something my colleagues and I built in real life 😁

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Alyx! It was so long you win a chocolate medal!

      I can’t promise Kelsey and Ryan’s will be a happy-ever-after, but it sure will be a new beginning 😊

      Like

  3. Wow this is a long story! But I got sucked in and finished reading in one go!!! lol I think you did a great job conveying Ryan’s desires and needs and very glad that MissK stepped in to help. Hope things work out for them … 😉
    Thanks for this lovely gift. Happy new year Eliie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know this is lots of work, apparently I didn’t want to let you ladies relax this year 🙂

      I also hope things will work out for them 😉 Maybe I’ll write more about them in the future.

      Thank you for dropping a comment, Peachie! I just finished your story today as well and I’m about to comment 😁 Happy new year!

      Like

  4. Thanks for the great story, Ellie! I was planning to read it over a couple days, but once I started reading it I couldn’t stop and ended up reading it all in one go. The business idea was creative to say the least and it was very entertaining to read about. I also love the name Ryan! Thanks for such an enjoyable read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know its super late to comment now but thank you so much for your lovely and wonderfully long gift Ellie and Mishi! So happy Ryan got her Top and a sore butt for xmas! 😍 She started out so sad and lonely I wanted to hug her😔. I loved the story, it was fun, exciting, squirmy and very creative. Also you give us food for thought too as you often do 🙂 The answer to why we need “it” can be complicated but also simple…
    And Kelsey is a clever Top, gotta love her little trick. It worked even better than she expected, i reckon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin, it’s never too late to comment! In fact, I was really looking forward to yours 😊

      Thank you! I think I speak for the both of us when I say we’re happy you enjoyed the story and also found more food for thought in it! 😁 Feel free to share what you think about that “why we need it” matter!

      Hugs!

      Like

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