Coming of Age

A headmaster seeks permission to cane a girl but her father has other ideas.

By Jane Fairweather

“What do you two think you are doing?” The voice of Mr Oakley thundered.

At around five foot and three inches, he was a diminutive man by the standards of the male staff at Kingsley Grammar and generally regarded as making up for this deficiency by quite excessive aggro towards his students. Perhaps Fiona Gibbon, who was actually quite proud of being five foot nine, thought the fact that he always wore a coloured shirt, which today was verging on red, was part of the same scheme of things; she really did not like Mr Oakley.

“Just having a cigarette, Sir,” was all she said aloud with calculated cheekiness, reflecting that it was a good job it had been her turn to be smoking the fag; if John had it in his mouth it would have meant a very painful six of the best from the Headmaster, Mr Griffin. At least that was what Mr Griffin had promised on the last occasion when Johnno had received four and suffered quite badly enough. She remembered rubbing Vaseline in for him. His welts had seemed huge.

“And I suppose, Miss Gibbon, you think just because you are a girl, not to mention an Upper Sixth Former, you won’t get the cane and you will get away with it. Well you can certainly go and discuss smoking and its attendant evils with Miss Montgomery. And be sure to mention that you were out of bounds with a boy, won’t you? I shall certainly be checking with Miss Montgomery that you mentioned all the facts, so don’t take it in to your head to economise on the truth; that is something that is reserved for our esteemed politicians. No doubt she will think of some suitable labour for you. And as to you, Master Johnson, you had better go to Mr Griffin and discuss being out of bounds with a girl.”

‘A bastard, but a fair one!’ Fiona thought to herself, though it probably meant another three or four of the best for Johnno who, unlike some boys she knew, quite genuinely hated being caned; but still Mr Oakley had not tried to pin the smoking on him as well.

Aloud she and Johnno just said: “Yes Sir,” for it did not do to protest too much on these occasions. They uneasily got to their feet and picked up their school bags and headed out of the small copse where they had hoped to stay hidden and off across the playing fields to the small corridor where the offices of the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress faced one another.

They looked at one another as they entered the corridor and very briefly squeezed one another’s hands. Fiona, for one, would have liked to kiss her boyfriend at that point, but it did not seem the right place. Johnno muttered he would be finished quite a bit before her, if it was one of Miss Montgomery’s long lectures like last time and he would head for the Library.

She did not say it but thought it might well be some time before Johnno reached the Library, if Mr Griffin was as severe as last time. She muttered she had some Vaseline in her bag and he smiled slightly and squeezed her hand again.

Then she resolutely went and knocked on Miss Montgomery’s door, wondering why at this, her umpteenth visit, her heart still pounded. Behind her, she could hear Johnno knocking on Mr Griffin’s door and Mr Griffin opening it. Poor Johnno! She felt sorrier for him than she did for herself, though no doubt the deputy head was going to twist the knife; they had never liked one another and Miss Montgomery had a way of getting into her innermost places and making her ashamed about things that she always felt she did not deserve to feel ashamed about.

The door opened. At least she was not going to have to stand and wait for an hour or more as had happened on several previous occasions.

“Yes, Fiona, what is it?”

“Mr Oakley sent me, Miss.”

“Well you had better come in and tell me about it.”

It was a curious little ritual, Fiona reflected. They both knew it more or less by heart. Miss Montgomery’s stout figure in its rather shapeless grey skirt and jacket went and sat behind her desk and looked her up and down. Fiona tried as a matter of pride to stand still and look unperturbed, but she hated being told off by Miss Montgomery and she knew Miss Montgomery was fully aware of it, which made it worse.

“So what have you done this time, Fiona?”

There was the usual reasonable tone to the Deputy Head”s voice, which implied: ‘We both know you have been a naughty girl, Fiona, and we both know you are going to leave this room convinced of the error of your ways.’

Except, she reflected, she was not sure she had done anything really naughty. The Staff Room was full of smoke every time she went to it.

“Well, Fiona, I am waiting.”

“I was with John Johnson in one of the copses by the Playing Fields and I was smoking and Mr Oakley caught us, Miss.”

“Whose cigarettes were they?”

“Mine, Miss.”

“Just as well for your boyfriend, young lady. Presumably you paid for them?”

“I’ve got a Saturday job and he hasn’t, Miss.”

“Well if you are thinking of him in a long term way you’d better persuade him to be a better provider than that.”

“That really is not fair, Miss. We aren’t old enough to think about things like that.”

“Young lady, if you go off by yourself in places like copses, or the bike sheds wasn’t it last time, with a boy, even a nice one, sooner or later something will happen. Indeed you are looking less and less like a virgin.”

“Miss, that is most unfair; Johnno and I are very careful.”

“You mean you and Johnson have had intercourse!” Miss Montgomery exclaimed.

“No, of course not, Miss. I mean, we only go so far.”

“I see!” Said Miss Montgomery, obviously, Fiona thought, imagining far more than had actually happened.

“And yet again you have been caught smoking. I think that makes the fourth time since you entered the Sixth Form! Let alone earlier on! All the way up the school, practically every time you have been sent to me, smoking has been involved. If you had received the same punishment as a boy, I wonder how many strokes of the cane you would have had by now.”

“Quite a lot!” Fiona retorted. “And I am not sure I would not have preferred it to you going on.”

She wondered if she dared walk out of the door. But her Father would be deeply upset and she would get a much better job if she had ‘A’ Levels.

“Miss Gibbon, that was very insolent. I would be grateful for an apology before we go on any further.”

Miss Montgomery”s voice sounded icy, whereas up till now there had been a touch of faint amusement.

“I don’t see why I shouldn’t smoke. Whenever I go in the Staffroom they are all smoking. And why should I apologise to you for telling the truth. And I have been very careful with Johnno. I am not going to apologise!”

Fiona was normally very mild tempered, but she was aware something was exploding inside her that she had never previously encountered. Possibly Miss Montgomery had similar thoughts, for she stopped and deliberately drummed with her fingers on the desk for what seemed a very long time.

Fiona waited to be expelled, half quaking and half relieved; she knew a girl would never be allowed to get away with insolence on this scale. Perhaps it was for the best. But then Miss Montgomery’s tightly pursed mouth opened to reveal the wintriest of smiles.

“There is clearly very little point in continuing this conversation, and normally if a girl behaved like this I would ask them to leave the school and that would be that. However, for all your endless naughtiness you have always worked quite hard and been a genuinely good member of the school in quite a number of directions. You will have to accept it, I cannot force it on you, and the Headmaster will have to agree, but I am wondering if a good hiding might not be the simplest solution for a tomboy like you, Miss Gibbon.”

Fiona’s fraught reaction was to burst in to tears.

‘Not very heroic!’ Her inner self said, as she wondered whether she was pleased to be offered a way out, or not; and then there was the awkward question of whether she could take the pain. She remembered the weals on Johnno”s bottom all too well.

“You can still apologise.” Said Miss Montgomery not unkindly.

She knew she would never forgive herself if she apologised; her pride would not allow it. She stood mute.

“Well then, Miss Gibbon, it is a good hiding or expulsion. Which do you prefer? Hurry up, would you, I have not got all day.”

“I thought girls did not get the cane.”

“They don’t normally, but nothing in our rules actually forbids it, as far as I know, though the Headmaster might have other views.”

It took her a little while to summon up the strength to say it but eventually she came out with: “Could I please have the good hiding, Miss.”

“Certainly, provided the Head agrees. I suppose I shall have to go and discuss it with him. If he doesn’t agree then I suppose we are back to square one.”

“Please ask him, Miss.”

“Yes, I will.”

Miss Montgomery rose, a touch uncertainly, and headed out of the door. While she was gone, Fiona struggled with her contradictory emotions. She felt reasonably sure she wanted to stay in the school and finish what she had begun, but the thought of the pain that was coming was very frightening and she kept crying and stopping herself and then crying again.

Miss Montgomery, in her own agitation, left the door to her study wide open and forgot to completely close the door to Mr Griffin’s. Fiona could have heard some, at least, of the conversation if she had wanted, but it registered only as a blur of sound.

However, quite suddenly, Mr Griffin raised his voice.

“I could cheerfully murder Mr Oakley, Miss Montgomery. Why could not the wretched man just ignore them? They were only doing what young lovers do!”

Fiona pricked up her ears and stopped crying. Mr Griffin wasn’t going to be nice about it and let her off with a warning, was he? However, the Deputy Headmistress’s voice followed the Headmaster’s and it sounded extremely firm.

“But Headmaster, if we once start down that road goodness knows where it will end! Girls will get pregnant and goodness knows what other disorder will follow. We have no option but to take action.”

“Yes, I know, but I still don’t like it. You’d better bring the girl in.”

“Thank you Mr Griffin, I will fetch her immediately.”

Fiona felt oddly relieved that at last something was going to happen, and brushed the tears from her face and blew her nose. Whatever happened in the next few minutes she was not going to make a fuss! She purposefully straightened her back, tossed her head with its mane of long black hair and attempted something approaching, if not a smile, then a normal expression.

Miss Montgomery strode into the room.

“Mr Griffin says it isn’t absolutely forbidden for you to be caned, but he wants to discuss it with you first. You’d better follow me.”

Fiona followed Miss Montgomery the few yards into the Head’s study. Mr Griffin was sitting behind his desk. She found her eyes meeting his. Clearly this was now between her and him. Miss Montgomery was standing rather irresolutely to one side.

“Miss Gibbon, if you don’t mind my saying so, you are being extremely stupid. A simple apology will get you out of all of this.”

“There is nothing to apologise for!” Fiona said fiercely as her temper flashed for the second time that afternoon. “I was only doing what any ordinary shop or office girl would be free to do.”

“That sounds very common.” Said Miss Montgomery’s voice in the background, but this was ignored by Mr Griffin and Fiona, who were locked eyeball to eyeball.

Mr Griffin was the first to lower his gaze.

“You really are a very determined young lady.” He observed, and then added: “Well, since Miss Montgomery has already offered you the choice of cutting short your time with us, which in fact none of the three of us want, I suppose we shall have to discuss the very unpleasant alternative.”

“I am quite happy to be caned, Sir.” Fiona exclaimed, just a touch desperately, for she really wanted to get it over and not wait any longer.

“I really dislike the idea of caning a senior girl, or indeed any girl at all.” Said Mr Griffin, a touch sententiously. “It somehow runs across my idea of chivalry, which is no doubt old fashioned. And then there are the purely legal aspects. The rules governing corporal punishment at this school do not forbid caning girls, but we have not actually done it for a great many years. If your parents violently objected they might well be within their rights to take me and the school to court.”

“Why should girls not be caned?” Fiona demanded ferociously. “We’re as good as boys at most things, and just as naughty. It’s part of us being treated as the weaker sex and it is a disgrace. I just want to be caned and get it over with. I am sure you just caned my boyfriend and he did not have to go through all this arguing and telling off.”

“I am reluctant to cane you without your parents’ express permission,” said the headmaster very firmly. “Much though you have deserved it, not least for that last little speech, which is the culmination of an awful lot of plain old fashioned insolence this afternoon.”

“Well ring my Mother, then. I am sure she will give you Dad’s work number if that is what you need.”

“Do you know your home number?”

The next few minutes were another blur, during which Fiona felt that she was barely there, but was mentally practicing touching her toes a couple of minutes later. Would she have the courage to do it without any fuss? Well she would have to, wouldn’t she?

But then she was listening to Mr Griffin talking to her father and to her horror he was refusing to allow her to be caned. Oh god, she was going to be expelled and after all of this! What a waste of time!

After that there was a pause while her father said something at some length to Mr Griffin. What was left to be said? She found the delay extraordinarily exasperating.

“Yes, I think I can go along with that.” Mr Griffin was saying. “If you prefer that, I am sure we can go along that road. Thank you for your co-operation, Mr Gibbon. I will get on and deal with it. I fully understand your views.”

Mr Griffin put the phone down with an odd look on his face.

“For good or ill,” he said. “Your father takes the view that the cane is much too severe for a girl. However, he was all in favour of my giving you a good old fashioned spanking on your bare behind and that I now intend to do.”

“What a very good idea!” Said Miss Montgomery in a tone that Fiona thought was close to malicious.

“Please! Not my bare bottom!” Fiona found herself saying.

She had been building up, in her head, bending over and wondering how much the cane would hurt through her skirt and slip, but this caught her completely off balance. She found herself being seized by the two adults, frog marched to the sofa, and put over Mr Griffin’s knee. Miss Montgomery pulled her skirts up and out of the way, and then gripped her hands which had instinctively thrust themselves back to protect her bottom. Then, she felt the headmaster’s hand in the waist band of her knickers.

“Please, please, not my bare bottom!” Fiona screeched again, wondering how many times she had already said this.

“Are you sure about that?” Miss Montgomery was saying to Mr Griffin, clearly troubled at the thought of bare flesh.

“Her father specifically suggested it.” Said Mr Griffin very dryly. “And anyway her knickers are quite thick.”

“Oh I suppose so.” Miss Montgomery replied. “But for god’s sake don’t take them right down. Here, I will do it.”

Fiona felt her hands being released. Then Miss Montgomery was carefully sliding her knickers down, just far enough to expose her cheeks and leave her more private parts out of sight. Then Miss Montgomery had seized her hands again.

Next, there was a tremendous sting and Mr Griffin’s very hard hand was smacking her small buttocks in turn, left-right, left-right. At first he did it very slowly and hard and she found herself dreading the next spank. Then she started to cry and he seemed to respond to that by speeding up the punishment.

“Please, no more!” She found herself saying as the slaps rained down. “Please no more!”

Then she was past pleading and she started to screech and kick in a very undignified fashion. She kept wondering if anyone could hear her. She could easily become the laughing stock of the school if anybody did realise what was going on, but she could not stop herself.

Then they let her go and she rolled on to the floor and was lying there wailing like a three year old and clutching her bottom. The two adults left her there. Somewhere at the back of her head she heard someone, presumably Miss Montgomery, go out of the room.

That made her worry that she should not be alone with Mr Griffin with her knickers down; it was not fair to him or her. What would be said if someone came in? She staggered to her feet and pulled her knickers up, realizing they had slipped half way down her thighs. She hoped devoutly it had happened after the actual spanking and he had not seen anything he should not have seen. Then she adjusted her skirts and very uncertainly faced the desk where Mr Griffin was sitting looking at some papers.

“You can go, Fiona. As far as I am concerned the matter is closed.” Said Mr Griffin firmly, but not unkindly.

“Thank you, Sir.” She said very automatically, wishing the burning and throbbing would stop.

Then she added: “I am sorry to have caused you so much trouble, Sir.”

Mr Griffin looked at her surprisingly affectionately and said: “At your age we all make our declaration of independence sooner or later, Fiona. I know I did. I think this was yours.”

At the time she could not understand what her headmaster was going on about, but murmured her thanks rather vaguely; it was many years later that it suddenly became clear.

Then, being a practical young woman, she remembered that her school bag was in Miss Montgomery’s office and it had the Vaseline in, and Johnno would certainly need it. She headed in that direction as fast as her own very real discomfort would allow.

As she walked to find Johnno she asked herself, had she just been as silly as she thought she had? The whole thing was idiotic and she did not want anyone to know how silly she had been. Besides, she concluded, she really liked Mr Griffin. He had been far nicer to her than she had any right to expect. This strange happening could easily come back on him and she most definitely did not want that.

When she got to her very distressed boyfriend, who had received a very painful, some might say vicious, five of the best, she only told him that: “She had just had her worst session yet with Miss Montgomery and she hoped she never had to live through another one like that again.”

John half wondered if she had been beaten, but put it out of his mind. If anything like that had happened, she would have told him, wouldn’t she? And anyway, it was highly improbable. Why should such a thing happen to a girl at that school? The logic was irrefutable. It must be hard being a girl and getting told off like that!

The End

© Jane Fairweather 2016

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