The girl in the red party dress smooths down her skirt nervously. The layers of chiffon petticoats fluff the skirt right out wide again. She pressed against the wall as another couple of girls passed by giggling loudly, dancing a conga line with two college boys hugging their hips. The gramophone blares Be-Bop-A-Lula and the porch shakes with pounding feet and twisting bodies. I don't belong here, she thinks.
A girl with bouffant and a pink hair pink polka dot skirt grabs her elbow.
"Judy? Stanley and me are taking a little stroll. There's Coke in the ice-box and plenty of hot guys in the sitting room. So long."
"Ok Dayna." Judy watches Dayna's swaying hips retreating down the hall with Stanley.
Stanley squeezes Dayna's waist. "You were a bit tough on her, sweetie. She doesn't know anyone here."
"She's just the foreign exchange student. I'm sick of Mom and Pop making a big fuss over her like she's some kewpie doll. Buying her a party dress!"
"I thought she looked nice..." Stanley stops as he sees Dayna's face. You wanna make out, then drop the subject, her frown says.
Judy turns towards the sitting room door. A tall man is leaning in the doorway looking at her intently. Broad shoulders, about 6' 2" and the nicest smiley eyes she's ever seen. He grins at her with arms folded. "What you doing by yourself little girl?"
"I'm not so little!"
"Hmmm." He looks her up and down like she's the menu special. "Well you need looking after. There's bad boys around."
He takes her by the shoulders and steers to her to a big wide armchair in the corner of the sitting room. She's almost giddy at the warmth of his big, strong hands and the pace that things are moving.
He pats the chair seat. "Best seat in the house. Coke? I'll get you an Iowa special."
It's full house now. People are crowding the hall and legs sprawl across the sitting room floor. A few brave couples are trying to bunny hop.
Just moments later he's back with a tall frosty glass. "You going to let me share that seat, or are you going to make me stand?"
"Sorry." She scrambles to her feet and takes the glass from him.
"That's not what I meant," he says, and pats his knee.
She hesitates, feeling her face getting hot.
"I'm not going to bite you," he winks at her. "What can I possibly do in a room full of people?"
She perches on the end of his knee like it's a nest of spiders.
He leans forward and clinks her glass. "You always sit on the knees of men you haven't been introduced to? Come ON, I'm just kidding you. I'm Eric."
"Judy," she says.
"You're not from around these parts, Judy."
She takes a gulp of her drink, gasps as a spike of bourbon hits her between the eyes, and says, "Australia."
Three conversations and two more bourbon and cokes later, they have discussed boomerang throwing, cattle ranches and 3-D Movies. The ice has thawed and she's curled nicely in the crook of his arm with her wide shirts spread over them both.
"Nice dress," he says, patting her skirt. "Red's my favourite colour."
"It was a present." She has that up-from-under way of looking at him that is driving him wild.
"Ohhhh? What's the occasion."
"My birthday – yesterday."
"I hope your folks gave you a spanking."
"Spanking?" She sits up indignantly. "Whatever for?"
"You have to be spanked for your birthday. That's a tradition. You must know that: you get the same number of spanks as your age, plus one to grow on. They don't do that in Australia?" Eric gives her a little preparatory slap on her thigh.
Judy starts to push away.
"You think I'm making it up? Katie! Isaac! Mat! Come and tell this young lady about American birthday spankings!"
"Yes, he's quite right, honey. Yes, YES. You have to be spanked for your birthday." A mass of flushed faces crowd into her corner.
"You have to spank her, Eric. She can't get out of it that easily."
Judy's eyes get that wild, startled pony look. She shifts on his knee like she wants to make a bolt for the door.
"SPANK! SPANK!" they chant.
Looking at her flushed face, Eric decides that a spanking is just what he needs to give this girl right now, and that the big old armchair in the corner will be just the place to do it.
Ignoring her protests and her blushes, he bends her over his knee.
He positions her carefully: head down, bottom at just the right height for his hand; her rear to the wall and her wide skirt spread over her.
"SPANK! SPANK!" Everyone in the room is watching, drinking, and smoking. A few girls giggle nervously.
.... There is more of this story ...