Note: this is under a normal grading scale from back then... I realized that 2nd grade grading scale has changed. Just work with me on this one...
Seven year old Tyler pressed his back against his bedroom door. His heart was racing his body was heavy with Dread.
Trembles came over him as he held the History test tightly between his hands.
Tyler was very smart for his age and could pull an A from nowhere if he applied himself. Straight A's was what his father expected of him.
As such, there were consequences for anything lower than an A.
For a B, he was usually grounded for a week. And that was going lightly. One time he got a B- on his spelling test and his dad made him do everyone's chores that entire week. That's after getting a spanking with the belt.
Tyler was on the verge of tears.
He'd made a C on his history test. What was worse was that he had studied so hard for it, but the dates blurred into his math homework.
He had never gotten a C before. He couldn't even fathom his father's reaction. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before his father knew.
Anytime now his father would be walking through the front door after getting off of work.
Before he knew it, Tyler was starting to hyperventilate at the thought.
Pure terror rumbled through his small body.
Over and over Tyler blamed himself for the lousy grade and fought the intense urge to cry. Despite his willpower, tears rolled hot down his cheeks.
His father was going to be furious. Especially since somehow the man always knew when he had tests or even worse - his report card.
There was soft knock at his door, startling him from his anxiety attack, enough to calm down a little. His mother's soft voice broke the silence, "hey sweetie, are you hungry? I've got a snack for you."
Tyler swallowed, his voice cracked and wavered, betraying his emotions, "no ma'am."
The other side of the door was quiet for a second before he heard her walk back towards the kitchen. He never moved, even as she came back.
"Hey, sweetie, I'm coming in okay?"
"Okay." He quickly wiped away the tears and stood to let her in.
His mother, Eomeoni, stood at his door with a tray full of grapes, Triscuits, and a bottle of water.
Tyler moved out of the way and closed the door after her.
His mother sat down on the bed, and laid the tray out for him. Although he never made eye contact she smiled ruefully down at him, "Tell me what's wrong, sweetheart."
Tyler was very hesitant, but relinquished the offending paper. His mother was a lot more lenient than his father... There was a shred of hope that telling Eomeoni first may soften the blow later.
She collected the page in her hand and looked it over. Her eyebrows lifted and surprise, "A C?"
He absolutely cringed at her disappointed tone.
Eomeoni mused, more to herself, "Appa's not going to like this." At that his breathing picked up as anxiety threatened to take hold of him again.
A sympathetic look crossed her features as she set the test down beside her on the bed. Sliding off the bed towards his kneeling form, she collected him into an embrace. "It'll be okay sweetie." She whispered into his hair, and kissed the top of his head. "We'll work on doing better on the next test okay?"
"But I studied so hard!" Ty started to break down in her arms. "And I still failed!"
A short surprised chuckle came from her throat, "Fail? You didn't fail sweetie, you just got an average grade."
He sniffed and hiccuped, "But Appa said anything below a B is -hic- failing." He gripped her tighter, "and failing gets discipline."
Anne's eyebrows furrowed as she held her completely distraught son. Ty usually did well in school, so they never usually had an issue.
When it came to parenting, she and Jeong were mostly winging it, but after seven years, Anne was confident that her skills had improved since college. Especially when it came to discipline.
If Tyler got in trouble, Anne would have just chided him, maybe grounded and helped him study harder. Jeong took a physical route of discipline.
Unfortunately Jeong also had a short fuse and a fierce hand.
Tyler never usually got in trouble, and was a pretty good kid. Relatively happy most times. It was rather worrisome, however, that he would react this way to getting in trouble from something that isn't too bad.
Lord have mercy he could have been doing crack or something... But he just got a C in history.
What kind of discipline was Jeong really dealing to have their son this scared? His small trembling frame caused her blood to boil. A good boy like Tyler didn't need a harsh punishment.
A frown crossed her face as she rocked him gently back and forth, gently stroking his head until he calmed down finally.
The boy's sobs quelled, but he did not try to leave her arms.
Anne finally broke the silence, " okay sweetheart, I want you to understand that I know you are smart... you can do better than a c." Suddenly he tensed and looked up at her, fear mottled his face.
She hesitated - her heart breaking - but continued, "I will administer your punishment, not daddy."
A maelstrom of emotions played out on his face - he wasn't sure if he should feel relieved or even more afraid.
"You will be grounded to your room for a week. Where you will study hard until next week's test and if you get a good grade then you won't be grounded anymore."
Tyler's face finally settled on contentment and he nodded, "Yes Eomeoni."
Anne kissed his head and shifted back into a stand. "Dinner is at six when Appa gets home." She then walked to the door, opened it and looked back at him, "Go ahead and get your homework done. Alright?"
Tyler stood up and nodded.
A couple hours had passed quietly, and Anne was completely on edge. Even though her eyes were gliding over the words of her micro biology textbook, nothing was registering.
The look of Horror on her son's face echoed through her mind. The expression was very troubling to her.
Tyler had always received excellent marks in school. The boy was incredibly smart and quite the gentleman. A few weeks before, Tyler came home with a B on his report card and Jeong had immediately punished the poor boy.
Anne had been on a 12-hour shift at work so there was no way for her to know how Jeong punished him. In fact, anytime she would bring up punishments he would either change the subject or get angry and defensive.
Tyler didn't want to leave his room for a week even though he was not grounded. Anne had assumed that he was popped.
Given the boy's reaction and her husband's notorious short fuse, it made her wonder if the punishment was far more severe than she first thought.
The thought of her child getting beaten made her stomach turn.
Anne quickly closed her textbook and walked to the oven to check on the chicken broccoli cheese rice casserole she'd thrown together.
Anxiously she glanced at the flowery.clock on the wall.
Jeong's office job usually got on his nerves. So when he got home, it usually took him at least an hour to de-stress.
She wasn't even sure how to handle what she knew was going to be a fight between them. All she knew was that her son was unjustly punished and on the verge of being abused.
Heaven and Earth would cease for she would allow such a thing to her offspring. Mama Bear was pissed.
Jeong arrived minutes later. Anne greeted him with a frown, and the four most dreaded words in the English dictionary.
"We need to talk."
Jeong narrowed his gaze, sliding his suit jacket off, "I JUST walked in, can this wait?"
Anne crossed her arms defiantly, "No."
"Well what ever it is, can wait 2 seconds while I get in the door." He set his briefcase down and all but glowered at her.
"How about we talk about it now?" She glared at him loosening her arms and put her hands on her hips, "and you explain why our son believes that a C is failing?"
Jeong looked taken aback, then angry, "He made a C?! In what?!"
"Answer my question Jeong."
"You don't get it Anne," Jeong grit his teeth, "If you make anything below an A, you are average. He'll never make it in this world if he makes less than an A."
Anne hesitated because she was downright flabbergasted, "Are you serious?! He is SEVEN."
"If we don't push him early, he will fall behind and fail." Jeong undid his belt and whipped it off on one motion. "I'll go find out, for myself."
He tried to push past her, but she managed to block his pathway. "Jeong, no, I already punished him!"
A hand clasped her shoulder and shoved her out the way, "Children don't listen to grounding." He walked down the hallway. "You have to make sure they remember the consequences -"
Anne recovered, having been shoved into the living room, and caught up to him as he disappeared into their son's room.
By the time she dashed to the doorway, Jeong had already snatched Tyler from his desk and raked the belt across the child's legs a couple times.
After 6/7 licks Jeong let go and Tyler crumpled to the floor choking on sobs. "You study hard! You get A's! Is that clear?!"
Tyler only nodded, grasping the chair and hiding behind it like a shield. "You answer me properly when I ask you a question -" he raised the belt again only to have Anne grab it before he could bring it down again.
"Jeong Stop!" Oh, mama bear was pissed. "You are being unreasonable! One C does not warrant a spanking!"
Jeong jerked against her, but her grip was strong, "Anne, let go!"
"Or what?!" She challenged, "You're gonna beat me too?"
Jeong swung and back slapped her against her cheek.
Anne cupped her cheek, staring at him dumbfounded..
There was a tense silence between all of them as Jeong realized what he's done. Even Tyler was shocked at what he had seen.
Jeong relinquished the belt to Anne.
She grit her teeth and grind out, "You need to leave."
It was Jeong's turn to look baffled, "Excuse me?"
"You have 15 minutes to pack your belongings, and get out of my house. Our I'm calling the police."
"You're out of your mind -"
"You just beat our son over a test grade-"
Jeong narrowed his eyes, "You're son, you mean."
A tremor of anger rocked her, but he continued before she could speak, "As you recall, I never said I wanted kids. Then this stupid accident occurred." He gestured to Tyler who was still gripping his desk chair.
Anne was seeing red while Jeong vented, "The only reason I stayed was because you pleaded with me to take care of him. If you don't like my method of discipline, then fine, I'm through being a father to this piece of shit!"
Suddenly Anne whirled and slapped Jeong so hard that it almost echoed through the small room. "Get. Out. Now." Every syllable was ground out.
Jeong sneered at the boy before leaving the room. Not even two minutes later, he'd gathered his essentials and left.
Anne reeled a bit, covering her mouth to quell the sob that threatened to release time Jeong slammed the door on the way out.
The whole house headed shook, then settled into an eerie quiet once more. Tyler timidly stood up from behind the chair and went to hug his mother.
Each held each other in a tight embrace.
Neither let go for a good 20 minutes.