A retired teacher learns there are strings attached to a business partnership

By Angela Fox

Chapter 1

Miss Sandra Jackson walked into the lounge area and saw Christine sitting on the sofa fiddling with the remote control for the television.

“Hello dear,” she said, “I was just unpacking my things and I found this laying neatly on my bed and wondered what you wanted me to do with it?”

Christine turned and looked over at the older woman. Miss Jackson was holding up a coat hanger that contained a starched white cotton blouse over which was draped an old-fashioned navy-blue box-pleated gymslip that, although larger in size, was almost identical to one Christine had worn as a schoolgirl over ten years ago. Draped around the blouse’s stiff collar was a striped tie from the same school.

“Oh, that!” She exclaimed. “Actually, I want you to wear it. In fact, I want you to wear it every day from now on.”

Miss Jackson looked startled but then her face relaxed and she smiled. “Don’t be silly dear, it’s an old school uniform, I can’t wear that. Besides, I doubt it would fit me.”

Christine turned her head back towards the television, clicked the remote control and turned it off. She laid the remote control carefully on the coffee table and stood up. She herself was wearing a knitted wool skirt that came just above the knees of her shapely legs, together with a cashmere sweater in light blue. She turned and stared at Miss Jackson who, although tall at five feet ten inches, was still quite smaller than her own six feet one inch. Funny, she had always thought of the deputy headmistress of her old school as very tall and powerful, yet now she realized that the older woman’s power had been a facade created by her position of authority over younger schoolgirls. That authority had apparently long gone and it was Christine herself who was now in control. Unfortunately for Miss Jackson, she hadn’t yet realized their roles had reversed. Still, no time like the present, mused Christine.

“Actually Sandra,” she emphasized the name ‘Sandra’ to let Miss Jackson know that from this moment forwards the name ‘Miss Jackson’ would no longer be used, “I had that gymslip made exactly to your measurements; it will even extend two inches below your knees, exactly as specified in the old school uniform regulations. And though the blouse is off the peg, you will find that it fits you perfectly.

A frown crossed Sandra Jackson’s face. She wasn’t used to being called by her first name, particularly by an ex-pupil, but she couldn’t take in what the younger girl was saying. She glanced at the uniform she was holding up, trying to decide whether to rebuke the girl for using her first name or whether to discuss the impossibility of her dressing like a child.

She started off, “But dear…”

“Another thing,” interrupted Christine, “since you are now going to be my junior partner, living in my house, we’d better get our names straight. You will refer to me as Miss Fowler, or simply ‘Miss’. Certainly not ‘dear’ or anything else like that. And I shall refer to you as Sandra. Now be a good girl and do as I say, run upstairs to your room and strip off your clothes, except for your brassiere. You will find some regulation school knickers in your dressing table and some knee-high white socks. And you should find a pair of Mary-Jane strap over school shoes in your closet that will fit. I got a couple of pairs in your size for you. Do not come down again until you are properly dressed.”

Christine saw clouds of disbelief verging on anger building up in Sandra’s eyes and was not surprised when the older woman said, “I shall do no such thing, young lady. You can’t talk to me like that and order me around. Show some respect for your elders. I was your deputy headmistress, the school disciplinarian and, as you pointed out the other day, I once gave you six strokes of the cane, six of the best, when you were only about fifteen years old, and if I remember correctly it was for failing a uniform inspection. I am fifteen years older than you.”

Christine said nothing during this outburst. She had expected it and had been planning this moment for the past week, ever since she had met her old deputy headmistress in the coffee shop in the centre of town just over a week ago.

Chapter 2

Christine had been orphaned at age six due to an accident that had killed her parents, leaving her to be cared for by an elderly aunt. Her aunt’s solution to every problem in life had been to throw money at it and this had resulted in Christine being sent away to an exclusive boarding school. She hadn’t particularly liked the school; lots of silly rules, an archaic uniform, and no rights for any of the girls. In the end, she had dealt with it the way nearly all the girls had. She had put up with it, done what she was told, had done well academically and gone on to bigger and better things.

A mathematics degree from a good university with a minor in computer science had led her into the world of computer graphics. It tuned out she had discovered an artistic streak that had led to her building her own business in video graphics. Now, with a turn over of several million pounds a year from just her own efforts, she had begun to look for an employee who was good at mathematics to help develop the next generation of her software package.

She had been coming out of the bank after fruitful discussions regarding venture capital when she decided to celebrate with a hot latte. There was a Starbucks across the street and it was raining pretty heavily so she dashed in and ordered at the counter. It was while she was waiting that she idly glanced around and saw a shabbily dressed woman sitting in a corner by the window. She looked vaguely familiar and Christine wondered who it could be. The barista had interrupted her musings by announcing her name that was grease pencilled onto a cup of steaming liquid. As she picked it up and turned, she suddenly realized who the woman was. It was Miss Jackson, the deputy headmistress of her old school.

‘Christ,’ she thought. ‘The old bitch must have gone through tough times.’

Her memory of Miss Jackson wasn’t exactly pleasant. She had been a tallish woman, thin, impeccably dressed in an austere sort of way, a spinster in her thirties who was had been very strict. She had been Christine’s mathematics teacher for two years and only the fact that Christine had been very good at mathematics had saved her from Miss Jackson’s frequent bursts of rage at a pupil’s inability to understand some arcane equation or problem, which generally resulted in the poor girl feeling the intense pain from Miss Jackson’s cane. It wasn’t for nothing that the deputy-headmistress was known as ‘Action Jackson’ as many a girl’s poor bottom, if it could have talked, would have been able to testify. The woman had left her marks on nearly every member of the school’s pupil population because Miss Jackson not only brought the girls in her math classes to task; she was also the school disciplinarian. The headmistress, Mrs Farnham, had delegated all the discipline tasks to her younger and fitter colleague many years before, preferring not to hear the screams that Miss Jackson seemed fond of eliciting from her charges.

Christine herself had not been totally immune either. One day, when she was sixteen, she had accidentally spilt some egg down across her gymslip during breakfast. She thought she had managed to clean it off with some dabs of water in the bathroom, but during a math class with Miss Jackson the damp spot had dried out revealing the pale left-over stain of the eggs. Miss Jackson hadn’t wasted a second before telling her to report to her study that afternoon after classes were over. There she had made Christine stand to attention for a humiliating uniform inspection which she had failed, not only because of the now easily visible egg stain on her gymslip which she hadn’t had time to change out of, but because she had also been wearing some pink panties instead of the horrid regulation navy blue school knickers.

Miss Jackson had almost seemed gleeful as she made Christine bend over her desk while she lifted up the hem of her gymslip across her back and pulled down those very same pink panties to her knees. Miss Jackson had then walloped Christine’s poor backside with six mighty strokes of her senior cane.

Christine had heard of the power of that cane, but she’d hoped she could cope with it. Unfortunately, her determination was one thing; the reality was another. By the fourth stroke, she was openly crying and the sixth had her screaming. She had done no worse than any other girl who had received the cane from Miss Jackson. Certainly, she had nothing to be ashamed of, yet forever afterwards she had nursed the humiliation of the older woman’s victory over her own determination.

And now that same woman was sitting alone at a Starbucks coffee table looking for all the world like an old bag lady. Somehow it was ironic. Part of Christine was pleased to see her nemesis in a broken-down state, yet she had to admit the old bat had certainly taught her mathematics well. It had been through her she had obtained a scholarship at Cambridge and that in turn had led to her overall success in life.

She decided to surprise the older woman.

“Mind if I share your table,” she had asked as she approached.

The woman looked up and stared through bloodshot eyes, “Err no,” and looked around the coffee shop confusedly eyeing other vacant tables.

“It’s Miss Jackson, isn’t it?” asked Christine.

“Err yes, do I know you? You do look vaguely familiar.”

“I’m Christine Fowler. You taught me mathematics at St Anne’s Grammar School.”

A smile came to the other woman’s face. “Ah yes, I do remember. You were one of the brighter ones, as I recall. Didn’t you go to Oxford on a mathematics scholarship?”

Christine sat down. “Almost,” she laughed. “It was Cambridge, actually. How are you?”

Miss Jackson suddenly frowned. “Oh, alright dear. I had to give up school. But you look very good. What have you been doing with yourself since you left school?”

Christine gave her a brief outline of the past ten years since leaving school and finished up saying, “But you said you left school. What happened?”

Miss Jackson had smiled through Christine’s account of University and starting her own business, and had generally seemed thrilled at the younger girl’s success. But now the frown returned as she said, “Well my mother became ill with cancer and I had to nurse her until she died. Unfortunately, right after she died, my older brother, a solicitor, suddenly found her will, leaving everything to him. I’ve sort of fallen on hard times.”

“But you are still a teacher, a rather excellent mathematics teacher; at least you did well by me.”

“Well thank you, dear. It’s nice to be appreciated for once.”

“So why don’t you go back into teaching?” persisted Christine.

“Well, it’s a little complicated. You see, well, you remember at St Anne’s, not only was I a mathematics teacher and deputy-headmistress, but I also had the unofficial title of Disciplinarian?”

Christine nodded, suddenly feeling a tingling sensation in her bottom, remembering just how effective a disciplinarian Miss Jackson had been.

“Well, it would have been about four years after you had left. I caned a girl for cheating on an exam. She was seventeen and would have been expelled, but she and her parents pleaded for her to remain at the school. Mrs Farnham, you remember her? The headmistress? Well, she gave them the option of allowing the girl to be caned on the stage in morning assembly as a lesson for all the girls to see instead of expulsion. I am sure you remember; it was a common practice at the school when you were there.”

Christine remembered those public canings very well, always being thankful that, though it happened to a few girls she knew, it had never happened to her. She said, “I remember. Go on.”

“Well, at the time I didn’t think much about it. The girl was punished properly and she handled it reasonably well. It was about three months later that I received a letter summoning me to appear before the Board of Education. Apparently, a first-year girl had witnessed the event, and her father wrote a letter to the board saying the girl had been traumatized by witnessing the punishment and a full investigation was being initiated. I wasn’t particularly worried, it had been my unwelcome job to cane girls for about ten years and I knew Mrs Farnham would defend me to the hilt. And she did, but there was a new movement in government circles at that time wanting to ban corporal punishment altogether from schools and I got caught up in it. About two weeks after I had left the school to look after my mother, I got a letter saying my teaching license had been revoked. I can’t ever go back.”

Christine shook her head in astonishment. The older woman’s story was tragic and, even though she had once fantasized about getting the woman back and giving her a taste of her own medicine, it really didn’t sound fair being sacked for something that was a part of her job. Corporal punishment had always been a part of St Anne’s and, if truth be known, Christine herself would have enjoyed nothing more than to hand out a few strokes of the cane herself to a few of the girls. In earlier days the prefects had actually been issued with thin little whippy canes to do exactly that. However, by the time Christine had been made prefect, and later head girl, all prefects were forbidden from dispensing corporal punishment. By then, the only punishments the prefects had been allowed to give out were lines, essays or detentions. Corporal punishment had been the sole preserve of Miss Jackson. It looked like the older woman was now paying a heavy price for that privilege.

“So how are you managing to get by now?” Christine asked.

“I have a little council flat about half a mile from here and am living off of unemployment.”

“But you are a mathematician, a good one; surely you can find work with your skills?”

Miss Jackson smiled rather sadly, “I’m afraid not. Nobody wants to hire an ex-discredited school teacher, math or no math. And I’m not allowed to work with children, so I can’t even tutor.”

“I’m so sorry, is there anything I can do?”

“No dear, it’s very kind of you, but I’ll be OK.”

“Look, it’s raining; can’t I at least give you a lift home?”

“Well,” said Miss Jackson a little uncertainly, “if it’s not out of your way…”

“Of course not. I wouldn’t hear of my old mathematics teacher walking out in this weather. Let me get the bill and we can be on our way.”

Miss Jackson smiled. “Well, it’s very kind of you, Christine, my coffee is already paid for but it would be nice to stay dry.”

Later that night, in bed, Christine thought back to the day’s events. She had been both surprised and a little saddened to meet her old mathematics teacher. The once proud and strong woman had certainly come upon hard times. Her council flat had been small and dingy, but although tidy, it was devoid of the even the tiniest of luxuries. Somehow Christine felt sorry for her. The more she thought about it, she realized she was intrigued by the older woman.

Christine had never been attracted to men, and all the relationships she’d had with men had been tepid and meaningless. She knew she preferred to be around women all of the time and despite the fact that she’d had never had a relationship with one, she had begun to realize it was only a matter of time. She had in fact been a little attracted to her maid, Janet, although the girl was only twenty-three. Janet had fitted in very well and had worked for her these past five years, maintaining the house and doing the cooking. Christine believed that Janet was attracted to her and would do anything for her, including wearing a very subservient maid uniform that was more fitted to the old Edwardian maids. Christine had seen it in a store and had bought it as a joke to see if she could persuade Janet to wear it, knowing it would make the girl feel inferior. Christine rather liked the idea that the girl would be subservient to her every wish, though doubted Janet would consent to it.

Instead, Christine had been surprised at Janet’s eagerness to do just that, and Christine had come to distantly love her maid, though Janet’s childish nature was too immature for Christine’s taste.

But Miss Jackson would be something else entirely. Christine drifted off to sleep dreaming of breaking the superiority of the woman, humiliating her and having her at her beck and call. Christine had gotten out of bed and gone to the toilet, flushed and excited by her visions. She couldn’t sleep very well for the remainder of the night and by the time daylight began to break she had the workings of a wonderful idea. It would mean some careful preparations and acquiring a few items that might be difficult to find, but she had money and lots of resources and was skilled in searching on the internet. If it worked out, she would not only have a little fun but also solve one of the current biggest problems in her life. By the weekend she was ready to begin to put her plan into action.

She had obtained Miss Jackson’s telephone number when she had dropped her off on that rainy afternoon earlier in the week and on Saturday afternoon, she called that number.

Miss Jackson was clearly a little surprised when Christine said, “Hello, Miss Jackson. It’s Christine Fowler; you remember we met at Starbucks earlier in the week.”

“Oh, hello dear,” the voice on the other end of the line had answered a little nervously.

“I was wondering if I could invite you to dinner tonight, nothing fancy, perhaps a little Indian food in town, you know just to discuss old times.”

“Well I don’t know, I’m not particularly fond of Indian food; it upsets my stomach,” replied Miss Jackson with a voice that sounded as though she wasn’t particularly interested in discussing old times, especially since it would remind of her of the unpleasantness she had suffered when her teaching license had been revoked.

“Oh, it doesn’t have to be Indian food, but the truth is I really want to meet you again. There is something I would like to discuss and you might find it very rewarding.”

“Rewarding?” said Miss Jackson suddenly becoming more interested.

“Yes, let’s say I have a little proposition that you would find to your advantage.”

“What sort of proposition dear?”

“I don’t want to discuss it over the phone. Perhaps I could pick you up around six o’clock this evening and we can drive into town? I know a good French restaurant where we could have a nice bottle of wine and a little chat. Would French food suit you?”

“Hmm, I don’t think I could afford a French restaurant dear, I am on unemployment you know.”

“Oh, please don’t worry about that. Since we shall be discussing a little business arrangement it will be legally tax deductible for me. It will be my treat and it would please me greatly to have your company for dinner.”

“Well, if you are sure, dear? That would be very nice. Six o’clock you say?”

“Yes, I’ll drop by your house at six and we can drive on into town.”

“Well, then I shall look forward to it. I’ll see you then.”

Christine hung up the phone with a smug smile of satisfaction.

She arrived at Miss Jackson’s council house exactly at six o’clock that evening. It was dark and overcast, threatening rain later. Christine had dressed conservatively in a business suit on impulse. She wanted to appear the complete business executive, to impress Miss Jackson that she was now in command and she wondered how her new interest would react. Miss Jackson welcomed her at the door and invited her in. She had also dressed smartly. Christine wondered if she had dusted off her best clothes in order to impress her former student with a tweed skirt and jacket and blouse with a frill down the front.

“Come in dear,” said Miss Jackson. “I’ll just get my coat; it looks like it will rain later. It’s nice to see one of my old students being punctual. You are perfectly on time. I do like that.”

Christine immediately understood that Miss Jackson was trying to establish her position by referring to Christine as an old pupil and inwardly grinned at how the evening and perhaps the next few weeks would go if her plans came to fruition. It was certainly going to be fun putting her old nemesis in place.  ‘Well, nothing like the present time,’ she thought.

“We don’t have much time to chat here, I have made reservations at ‘Le Chat Noir’ and they will be busy, so we had better get going,” she said.

Miss Jackson appeared a little perturbed that the younger girl had made the reservations at one of the most exclusive restaurants in town and said, “Oh my dear, I couldn’t possibly afford to eat there, you know I am on unemployment.”

“Please don’t worry about costs, this is my treat. I eat there all the time and besides this a tax-deductible business dinner. Come on, we don’t want to be late, it would tarnish my reputation there.”

Miss Jackson was silent, a little piqued at the girl’s brusqueness. She picked out her hat and coat off of a series of hangers by the door and followed Christine out to the dark blue Jaguar parked in the street. Christine held the passenger door open for Miss Jackson to get inside and then she took the driver’s seat and drove with effortless precision across town to the restaurant.

Miss Jackson was clearly out of her element. She appeared a little flustered and didn’t object when the younger woman offered to order and select the wine.

After ordering, hors-d’oeuvres, a rather expensive wine was brought to the table. The wine waiter offered it for Christine to taste, then he poured a generous glass to each of the women and silently departed. Miss Jackson took a sip and, despite the fact that she was on hard times, recognized the quality of the wine Christine had selected. She was impressed by everything the girl was doing but none-the-less she felt ill at ease, like a fish out of water. Christine had been one of her successes. She believed that it was her own skills as a teacher that had paved the way for the girl’s success and felt in some small way that Christine actually owed her. It didn’t cross her mind that the young woman sitting across from her was a highly intelligent, motivated professional who would have succeeded in life no matter where she had been educated. She decided to open the conversation.

“So, Christine, you have brought me to this wonderful restaurant and it is very nice. However, I am curious as to your motivations. It’s rare that I come across one of my old pupils, and one that has clearly done so well. I wonder what was it you wanted to see me about.”

Christine smiled. ‘Ok,’ she thought, ‘she wants to get down to business, but there is plenty of time, let’s see how she views herself and her own achievements.’

“I suppose I really wanted to renew an old acquaintance, see how my old teacher was doing. You know you were quite influential in my life. I have made a successful business out of mathematics and to some extent you were very instrumental in helping me choose that field of endeavour. Tell me, besides teaching, have you ever done anything else with your mathematics skills?”

“No dear,” said Miss Jackson. “After graduating I did look around for a job, but the war had ended and many skilled mathematicians were released from government service and industry couldn’t absorb them all. It was a tough time and I did what many others did; I went into teaching. But I didn’t mind. I loved teaching and, though I say so myself, I think I was quite good at it.”

“You certainly were. It must have been hard for you when you lost your license.”

“You have no idea. Although I wasn’t teaching at the time, I was actually looking after my mother. It broke my heart. It was so unfair. To be thrown out so unjustly for just doing my job.”

“It was because of your role as school disciplinarian?” asked Christine.

Miss Jackson frowned, not really liking being reminded of this part of her past. “Yes,” she answered. “But it wasn’t something new. Strict discipline had always been a part of the curriculum at St Anne’s and unfortunately it had fallen on me to be the staff member in overall charge of that aspect of the school’s life. I didn’t ask for it, it was something that literally fell on my shoulders and I suppose I didn’t shirk that duty.”

“How was it? I mean how did you feel when you had to, you know, cane girls and that sort of thing?”

“I didn’t feel anything!” exclaimed Miss Jackson. “I certainly didn’t enjoy it if that’s what you mean,” she continued, sounding hurt. “I suppose there was a certain satisfaction seeing the odd bully getting her comeuppance as they howled out loud when I caned them. I suppose I also loved to see girls getting straightened out after their punishment. I knew it was the result of my efforts. That was indeed rewarding. Most girls only ever came to see me once or twice for discipline. They would learn a short sharp lesson and never repeat those silly mistakes again.”

“You don’t think you ever caned a girl unfairly? Maybe caned the wrong girl for something that was another’s fault?”

“I took great pains to verify the facts of a case before I dispensed any punishments. I’m not saying I never made a mistake but I did everything in good conscience,” replied Miss Jackson defensively.

“Were you ever caned at school?” asked Christine.

“Certainly not!” replied Miss Jackson. “And I went to a very strict school, similar to St Anne’s. I had a strict upbringing and, although the cane was used at my old school, I was a very good girl and never got punished.

“Look dear,” she continued, “I hope we are not here to talk about corporal punishment. I know I caned you once for having a dirty uniform and incorrect underwear, but this is not what this meal is about, is it? To make me feel bad about having given you the discipline you once deserved.”

Inwardly Christine laughed. That was exactly what this meeting was about but it was way too early to let the old bat know that. This was going to turn out so beautifully. She suddenly felt excited at the thought of seeing this proud woman hoisted on her own petard. But it was time to dangle the hook.

She smiled and shook her head. “No of course not,” she lied. “I’m sorry; I certainly didn’t mean to offend you. And it’s certainly not what this meeting is about. But at the risk of offending you a little or sounding mysterious may I ask you a couple more questions that, at first, you might think strange? I promise you there is a sound reason for these questions and I think you’ll be very interested in hearing me out.”

Miss Jackson looked a little puzzled and uncertain but she took another sip of the wine and leaned back and stared at the younger woman. “Well if you must dear.” Then she smiled as if to rob her words of offence and said, “I suppose if you offend me too much I can always get up, walk out of here and get a taxi home!”

Christine smiled in return. “I promise you that if you want me to stop or you get offended, just say so and I’ll run you home without bothering you again. But, and I really have a good reason for asking, what exactly are your qualifications in mathematics?”

Miss Jackson stared in surprise, not expecting that. “Well if you must know dear, let’s see, I graduated magna-cum-laude from Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a Master of Arts in applied mathematics from Oxford. I then went to Loughborough University where I obtained my teaching diploma.”

“By any chance have you continued your studies in any way?”

“Well,” said the woman appearing more confused than ever. I am a member of the Mathematical Society of Great Britain, and I have published several papers in advanced matrices calculus and have become a rather good amateur programmer myself. I have actually sold a computer program called MathCAD for computer-aided design, though I didn’t get much for it. I think I was swindled. But what is this, a job interview?”

“You developed MathCAD?” exclaimed Christine in surprise. MathCAD was a program she was quite familiar with. When the older woman across the table nodded, she said, “Wow, I am impressed. Perhaps I’d better explain, I want to offer you, no, maybe consider you is a better choice of words, for a partnership. Let me give you some background.

“Just over five years ago I took a job at the National Physics Laboratory in Harlow where I worked developing a computer program to help display nuclear particle interactions. I soon realized that my developments could lead to three-dimensional realizations in the real world; you know computer graphics modelling. So, I borrowed a little money and started my own business developing and selling a computer program to do exactly that. I was able to attract the interest of several movie producers and soon had my software being used for computerized special effects in the film industry.

“Of course, the software was mathematically intensive, developing models that could be rendered rapidly in three-dimensional spaces. However, I became very successful. In the year just past, my after-tax profits exceeded 1.8 million pounds, most of which was added to my own personal fortune of over three million pounds that I have developed from literally nothing. My company is the leader in this field and I am its only employee. Next year I expect to double my profits, already having sold options for software licensing that is two hundred and fifty per cent of where I was last year at this time.

“However, I could do much better. I have new ideas to improve and extend the capabilities of my projects that could make the current sales forecasts look like chicken feed. The problem is that I need another mathematician and computer person, to share the load.”

“Why don’t you just hire somebody, dear? I’m sure there are plenty of people with the necessary skills out there,” said Miss Jackson.

“Of course, I’ve thought of that. However, the problem is an employee would learn my cutting-edge techniques and although I could impose legal entanglements that would limit their ability to steal my ideas and set up in competition to my own interests, it would still be a headache I could well do without. What I really need is a partner. A partner I could trust. One whose efforts would be invested directly in the business and would thus have the incentive to produce top quality work and make our business a success.

“Does it sound interesting?”

Miss Jackson’s eyes opened wide in amazement.

“Are, err, are you serious? Are you officering a partnership in your business?”

“Maybe,” answered Christine. “There would be a lot of details to work out and not all would thrill you to be sure. But essentially, I would be offering you a forty per cent partnership in the business. In other words, provided you agree both to the work that would be involved and all the minutiae that I would insist on, you would from the moment of signing the contract be committed to working exclusively for our joint business and you would be entitled to forty per cent of all profits generated from the moment you sign on. I would also give you forty per cent of the current company’s assets; however, I warn you they are actually quite small. I have creamed off all the profits except for some working capital into my personal bank accounts and they will remain mine alone. The other assets right now are a few computers with their software, a copier and fax machine located in my house and some pre-packaged software in a warehouse that hasn’t been distributed. You would, of course, assume forty per cent of the liabilities which are actually quite small, a couple of small loans with banks for their interest and to give us a good credit rating. Your first year’s profits would easily pay off all loans with enough money to spare for anything you care to do, except perhaps buy your own Lear jet!” she joked.

Miss Jackson shook her head to clear it. She looked stunned. “I, I don’t know what to say,” she stammered.

“I would expect you to move into my house and there you would have certain responsibilities. You would work, and I really do mean work, from the house and this will not be open for discussion. You will find, if you accept, that I am a hard taskmaster both for myself and anybody that does work for me.” Christine smiled as she said, “after all, I was trained by a very severe taskmaster as I recall, one of the best, so you already know what to expect.”

“You really want me as your partner? I hardly know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything right now. Let’s have a nice meal and then I’ll take you home so you can think about it.”

Miss Jackson clearly couldn’t take all of this in. She said, “Did you say I would be entitled to a forty per cent share of your profits next year; I think you said double what you made this year of nearly two million pounds?  I can’t…”

“Let me make myself clear,” said Christine. “I expect to clear profits of four million pounds next year and a turnover in excess of ten million pounds. But that is only if I have to continue working alone. With a partner who can work hard under my direction, I would conservatively estimate the turnover would be over fifty million pounds with profits exceeding ten million pounds after taxes. You would be entitled to forty per cent of that!”

“You are offering me four million pounds, girl? I can’t imagine any such thing. Are you sure you want to offer an old has-been like me a partnership? I think you might want to see a psychiatrist, my dear. You need your head examining.”

The entrees arrived and, after they were placed on the table, Christine said as she picked up her first bite of food, “Look let’s enjoy our meal. I haven’t offered you anything yet. There are a lot of details to resolve, but that can wait till later.”

Throughout the meal, the conversation became more small talk and Christine noted the older woman became more relaxed. She made sure that Miss Jackson’s wine glass was always full and she herself pretended to drink more wine than she really did, raising the glass to her lips but not actually taking a drink.

Eventually, it was time to leave and Christine drove Miss Jackson back to the awful little house at about 10 pm. She had given her sales pitch to Miss Jackson and knew that she had to let the woman think about it for a couple of days. She had said all she needed to at this point, it was time to disappear and let the woman think a dream had come true. In the next few days, questions would surface that she was not yet prepared to answer and there would be some surprises in store for her old teacher, once the ink had dried on the contract. She reminded herself to make an appointment with Jennifer Myers, an old friend from school who was also her solicitor. She needed a contract written that would be just a little special and Jennifer would be the perfect one to write it.

On the following Tuesday, Christine called up Miss Jackson on the telephone.

“Hello, Miss Jackson, it is Christine. How are you?”

“Oh, wonderful my dear,” came the voice on the other end of the phone, sounding very bright and cheerful. “And you?”

“I am doing very well. But it’s Tuesday and I need to know if you have thought about what we talked about on Saturday evening. Because of certain time constraints, I have to know if you are interested in my little proposal. You should know I have already made a background check and verified your qualifications and I now know the circumstances surrounding both your brother and your mother’s will and also the details surrounding the revocation of your teaching license. I have confirmed that all the details are correct and therefore I am prepared to offer you a non-negotiable contract along the terms we discussed. However, I cannot wait. I need to know if you are interested so I can get the contract drawn up for your signature on Friday. I know it’s a little fast but in two weeks I must fly to California for a meeting and I need to know whether we can have a second-generation product available within nine months or merely an upgrade. I really can’t afford to wait. I’m afraid it’s now or never. What do you say?”

“Oh, my dear, you really have checked up on me, haven’t you?”

“Of course I have. Anybody in my position has to be sure of their facts before making important decisions. And this decision affects my future as much as yours.”

“And you really want me? You’re sure I shall be able to handle it?”

“Actually, if you accept and sign the contract on Friday as I have planned, you will not have any choice. I shall see to it that you will handle it. I shall train you myself.

“Incidentally,” continued Christine, “I hope you have a passport. If you do decide to sign the contract, you will be accompanying me to California so I can present my partner who will be helping develop our new second generation software.”

“Err, yes. As it happens, I do have an up-to-date passport. But you really want me to go to California with you?”

“I shall demand it. Now, do you have any questions that I can answer about our partnership or are you prepared to accept my offer now?”

“Well, if you are sure, Christine, I shall be happy to accept.”

“Good. I need you to be at my solicitor’s office at three o’clock in the afternoon this Friday. I have an appointment before at two-thirty and may not be able to see you there. However, Jennifer Myers is my solicitor and she will handle everything, so it would be best if you could make your own way there. But if it’s a problem I’ll send a cab for you.”

“Jennifer Myers? That name rings a bell. Weren’t you and her…?”

“Yes, yes, we were in the same year at the school. Now, do you want me to arrange a cab for you on Friday?”

“No, it’s all right dear, I can take the bus.”

“Very well, please don’t be late. Oh, and you might want to start packing a few personal items that you want to bring with you. You can put your large belongings into storage. I shall want you to move into the house on Saturday because on Sunday you will be hitting the books with lessons from me so that you can be prepared for our trip.

“All right, if you have any questions you can call me and if you need money to rent a storage space you can call the house and get Janet to make the arrangements. Try to get your affairs taken care of and return the council house or whatever and finish with the employment office this week. You will have no time to deal with this small stuff after Saturday. Understand?”

“Yes dear,” said a voice on the phone that had sounded utterly bewildered.

That had been Tuesday. On Friday, Miss Jackson had signed the contract papers in Jennifer Myers’ office, without reading them and looking utterly confused as Christine had intended. It only dawned on her later that signing those papers may have not been a good idea after all. A forty per cent share of a ten-million-pound profit was certainly a wonderful salary for her first year of work; she just didn’t realize how much of it would come out of her hide. She never realized the power she had now given to her old pupil who she had once beaten with her cane and who now wanted retribution.

Chapter 3

Sandra Jackson stood looking at her erstwhile pupil in astonishment and anger as she watched the young woman walk over to the bay window overlooking the grounds at the back of the house.

Christine had her back to her and was grinning, relishing the fight that was about to happen. Part of her almost felt sorry for the older woman. She may have been a deputy headmistress once upon a time, and a school disciplinarian used to having her way and using corporal punishment on her charges, but here she was outclassed. She had never seen Christine in the executive boardroom of a major film studio using her cunning to outmanoeuvre a bunch of high-priced American lawyers.

Christine turned and looked at Sandra with an expression of disdain. “You ask for my respect? I don’t respect people merely because they are older than me. That is purely an accident of birth. I respect people who possess talents I want but don’t have. At the moment, you have none. As it is, it is you who should be respecting me. I have just made you a junior partner in a very successful enterprise that will bring you more wealth than you have ever imagined. You have a wonderful home to live in, an exciting position where you can use those skills that I know you have and an opportunity to learn many more that would cost you thousands if you attended a private school to gain them. In return, all I ask is that you work hard and follow my instructions.”

“But dear, wearing a school uniform is silly,” said Sandra, trying to regain some semblance of control of the situation.

“Once upon a time, I might have agreed with you. However, in the end, it did me very well. I learned discipline and I learned who was in authority and who made the rules. It will now do the same for you. You have already earned my displeasure by your insubordination. Unless you want to go over my knee right now, you will run along to your bedroom and get changed into your uniform. Don’t forget, you are going to be my pupil for quite a while until you learn the business and the techniques you will need to earn your way. Just like you stood no hanky-panky from the girl pupils when you were the teacher, I shall do the same. So, either go and get dressed right now or I shall give you the first good hiding of your life.”

“You wouldn’t dare!” exclaimed the older woman.

Christine didn’t argue, she merely walked over to Sandra, who seemed to shrink visibly before the younger woman, grabbed her in a vice-like grip above the elbow, and dragged her over to the sofa where she sat down and with what seemed like unbelievable strength, pulled the older woman down across her lap.

Sandra Jackson was almost too astonished to fight back, and too scared to string a coherent thought together. Instead, she merely yelled out, “Stop. Stop this instant, you are hurting me, I can’t move my arm. Stop it, I say. Ohh, you can’t, you can’t do this to me. Ooooaaahyyyyiee.”

The last was when the younger women smacked her incredibly hard across her bottom.

Christine merely grinned. She had looked forward to this for years and knew this was only the start. She continued walloping the older woman with all her strength, marvelling over the glorious sounds her former teacher was making.

“Owww, you can’t. Aiiiiyyy. Do, ohhhhh, you can’t do this to meeeeooowww! Stop it, aeeeeyyy ohhhhh, I can’t breathe. Help me!” She then tried to struggle violently off of Christine’s lap, to get away from those murderous blows to her backside.

But she was out of condition; well past her prime as she had previously said. She was also overweight and nowhere near strong enough for the younger woman, who merely wrapped her left arm around the older woman’s waist and clamped down in a vice-like grip and continued spanking with pile driver like blows.

Sandra Jackson wriggled and screamed. She kicked her legs off of the floor and beat on Christine’s thighs with her fists for all she was worth. It made not the slightest difference. She might as well have been trying to struggle against a world heavyweight wrestler or a steel beam, for all the effect she had.

She began to sob, great heaving sobs as she ran out of steam. She was still screaming and crying, and tears were filling her eyes. She was hurting and heartbroken, she had never been so humiliated and thoroughly defeated in her life, but, above all, her bottom was aching and burning under the merciless attack.

Gradually her legs stopped kicking but Christine merely used the weakened efforts to lift the woman’s dress up over her thighs and across her back and then eased her panties down. She cried desperately in humiliation and shame but it was to no avail. Christine began her attack again, enjoying the sight of the woman’s already reddened buttocks gyrating like a wobbly jelly as they turned a darker and darker red.

Christine was excited. It was better than she ever imagined. To so thoroughly spank her once feared teacher as though she was a little girl seemed like a dream come true. She wanted to humiliate the woman, to hurt her and pay her back for all those strokes of the cane she had once unfairly received.

The pain was now so intense that Miss Jackson could no longer think. She was gasping for breath but the fight was draining from her. She was crying helplessly, watching her tears splash onto the sofa without comprehending what was happening. Like many a girl she had broken with a good old-fashioned spanking in the past, she herself had become a broken woman. Her bottom had become as numb as her mind and she no longer cared about anything. She was lost in a sea of agony; a disaster had befallen her that she didn’t understand. Numbly she realized the girl had stopped but she couldn’t even find the where-with-all to get off her lap. Instead, she just laid there, her head bobbing up and down as she sucked in great quantities of air that fed her sobs of despair.

Christine let her stay there, basking in her victory, the first of many she expected yet to come.

Finally, she said, “There, there, Sandra. I’m sorry I had to do that but you really did deserve it. You are acting like a spoiled little girl. I am going to be your teacher, you are going to learn all sorts of exciting things but first, you have to learn to obey me. I shall not tolerate disobedience and when I give you instructions, I expect you to carry them out. You can do that can’t you? You know how. Remember you taught girls for years and surely you are able to do everything that you used to teach?”

“But you can’t, you can’t do that to me. I am not some little girl…”

“Now Sandra, stop that immediately. Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do. I suggest when you go to bed tonight you carefully read that contract you signed. You have agreed to obey the senior partner of our business in everything and to faithfully carry out her instructions. I expect you to fulfil that contract to the letter. You are an honest woman, I know you are, and I know you will abide by your word.”

“But, but…”

“There are no buts about it, Sandra. You will do as you are told or do you want another good hiding now?” interrupted Christine.

“No, no, don’t hit me again, but…”

“That’s enough! Do you hear me? I want you to go upstairs right now and dress correctly. Don’t disobey me or I promise you, you will regret it for a long time. When you are properly and neatly dressed, I want you to come down, back to the lounge and we can discuss your assignments beginning tomorrow. Now be a good girl and run along!”

Sandra Jackson was in a state of shock. She couldn’t believe what was happening but she couldn’t think of anything to say to stop this young woman who had suddenly become a tyrant. Numbly, she climbed off of Christine’s, lap and fell to the floor, and then felt her arm being tugged as Christine stood and helped her back to her feet. The girl then thrust the coat hanger with the old-style school uniform into her hands and then patted her backside as she pointed her in the direction of the door.

The older woman left the room and slowly mounted the stairs to her bedroom. She couldn’t believe it, but she removed the dress she had arrived in and stripped down to her bra and panties. Then, almost without thinking she slipped her arms in the starched cotton school blouse, fastened the cuffs and then tried to tie the tie around her neck. She wasn’t sure how it was done but finally, she thought she had it in some semblance of what a tied tie was meant to look like. She then slipped the gymslip over her head and tied the girdle around her waist. She tried not to look at herself in the mirror but smoothed herself down feeling very humiliated and foolish. She looked down her legs and saw her tights and numbly realized that Christine had mentioned socks and shoes in her dressing table and closet. She opened the bottom left-hand drawer of the dressing table and found a pair of pelerine knee-high white socks that the girls at St. Anne’s had been forced to wear. Shuddering at the thought of what she was doing, she removed her tights and sat on the edge of the bed as she smoothed the juvenile socks into place. Finally, she opened her new walk-in closet and, glancing down the mostly empty racks, she gasped as she saw a navy school blazer edged in yellow ribbon, and two navy gabardine Macintoshes complete with hoods hung up next to each other. On the floor below, she found two pairs of black school shoes that so often she had reprimanded girls about being dirty. Fortunately, these were spotless and she bent down and slipped them on her feet. She wasn’t in the least surprised that they fitted perfectly.

She glanced at herself in the mirror and shuddered. She looked horrible; her eye make-up was all smudged from crying and she looked ridiculous in the school uniform. She wondered whether she should just creep quietly out of the house and get as far away as possible before the mad woman downstairs caught her, or would that risk more violence? She needed a phone to call the police, but the only phone was downstairs. But if she did that, she realized she’d have nowhere to go. She had no friends and she had given her house keys back to the council that very morning. She had no money, no food, and only a few possessions she’d brought with her. Besides, she would literally be leaving a fortune behind, not to mention the comfortable living in this house. Her bottom was still smarting from that dreadful spanking yet, as she thought about it, it wasn’t too unpleasant; actually, it felt better than she would ever have guessed and yet it did hurt.

‘How peculiar,’ she thought. ‘Well, I suppose I’d better not keep the bitch waiting any longer or there may be hell to pay.’

She shrugged her shoulders and tried not to think how she looked and decided to try and make the best of it until she could find some way of extricating herself. She walked a little stiffly downstairs and into the living room.

Christine was again standing in the bay window area looking out. She turned as she heard Sandra enter and looked at the older woman.

“You really are going to have to do something about your make-up, my dear. If you are going to be crying a lot then perhaps you should re-think the mascara. Now let me look at you.”

She went over to where the uniformed woman was standing, determined to extract the last ounce of humiliation she could. This was going to be so much fun, she thought.

“Sandra, where ever did you learn how to tie a tie?” she asked.

“Err, isn’t this right? I haven’t ever had to tie one before.”

“I take it you never wore a tie at your old school?”

Sandra shook her head in shame, feeling stupid that she couldn’t even tie a tie.

“Well then, since I want you wearing a tie for the foreseeable future, I’d better show you how to do it. Take it out from below your gymslip and unfasten it, and let’s start from the beginning.

Christine went and stood behind her and positioned her in front of the mirror on the far wall. She took the older woman through the steps and then made her undo it and refasten it three more times until she was satisfied Miss Jackson could tie her schoolgirl tie correctly. And she emphasized all the old school rules about making sure the knot was symmetrical and that it covered the top collar button. Finally, she made absolutely sure that Sandra understood there must be no part of her tie showing below the collar in the back since such was a sign of slovenliness, something that had been punished at St Anne’s school.

Miss Jackson was, of course, familiar with all of St Anne’s school rules, especially all those relating to wearing of the uniform. It had been her job to discipline girls for slovenly appearance though of course, she had never expected the rules would be applied to her. It felt dreadfully humiliating to be reminded of all these rules and regulations now, and be subjected to them, particularly by a girl she had once disciplined herself for breaking a rule.

Finally, Christine turned the woman around and looked at the tie. Then she couldn’t believe what she saw.

“Tell me, over the time that you worked at St Anne’s, just how many gymslips did you see?”

Sandra looked up with bloodshot eyes at her tormentor. “Wha-, wh-, what do you mean?” she stuttered.

“Come on, Sandra, get with the program. How many times did you see a gymslip being worn by one of the girls at St Anne’s? You are a mathematician, estimate!”

“Err, I’m so confused, I can’t think.”

“I hope you won’t fold this easily under pressure when we get in a boardroom full of clients and their lawyers! I wonder how many girls you cut some slack for when they were confused over a math’s problem. Not many! I seem to remember you enjoyed dishing out extra assignments or caning those who couldn’t do your problems. I am guessing you averaged about three classes per day of twenty girls in each class, say five times a week with thirty weeks in a year. Say you taught for over twenty years. A conservative estimate would suggest you saw close up to one hundred and eighty thousand girls in their gymslips.”

“I never caned girls who tried, only those who were lazy!”

“Hmm, leaving that aside, you certainly saw enough gymslips to know when one was around back to front as yours is right now.”

“This gymslip is symmetrical and had no label. There is no difference between front and back, three box pleats on each side with a square neck yoke. I couldn’t possibly tell whether it was back to front or not,” moaned Miss Jackson.

“Well,” said Christine, “then perhaps you are not as smart as I took you for. Any first year at St Anne’s would know which way to put on her gymslip. There are two buttons on each shoulder strap. They always go on the back straps. The straps with the button holes are for going over the top of your shoulders and they fasten in back. I don’t know who designed it; I always thought they were rather silly. However, every prefect had to check the first years at the start of each school year so they could get it right. Looks like I’m going to have to keep my eye on you. Now come on, slip that gymslip over your head, take it off and turn it around.”

“Look, Christine, why are you making me do this?” sobbed an almost broken ex-deputy-headmistress.

“Because I want you to smarten yourself up. Shortly, you are going to be representing our company and it is important that you learn some discipline, understand the priorities and learn from me, the way I learned from you. At the moment you are a pupil, you have to be. You know nothing about the business. Wearing this outfit will emphasize that; it delineates our relationship until you can start to operate independently. You don’t want our company to suffer because you can’t handle the job, do you?”

“No of course not, but…”

“But nothing! For now, just do as your told and put up with these conditions. I promise you, you will soon get used to it and then we can progress to the important things. For now, get out of that dress, turn it around and put it back on.”

Miss Jackson fumbled for her girdle, untied it and then pulled the gymslip over her head. As she stood there in her shirt and panties, Christine couldn’t believe her luck. The old dear hadn’t followed her instructions; she hadn’t put on the regulation school knickers that she’d placed in the woman’s dressing table.

‘Oh,’ she thought, ‘this is so much fun.’

Just as Sandra was about to put the gymslip back over her head Christine yelled, “Stop!  What are those you are wearing?”

“Oh, what now?” sobbed her old teacher.

“When I told you to put the school uniform on, I also told you that there were knickers and socks in your dressing table. I can see you found the socks even though they are crooked up your legs, but those pink panties are not regulation school knickers. Can’t you follow even simple instructions?”

Christine wanted to die laughing. The look on Sandra’s face was priceless. She turned red in embarrassment and shock and looked like she wanted the floor to swallow her up.

“Ohhh, I forgot about the knickers,” she said. “Surely you don’t expect me to wear those old-fashioned school knickers? Nobody can see them under my gymslip.”

“Of course I expect you to wear them. I procured you ten pairs of them so you could change every day. It is part of the uniform that you are going to wear every day while you are learning. You have promised to learn, haven’t you?”

“Yes, but…”

“But nothing! You are going to learn how to be my partner and while you are learning I want you properly dressed as my pupil. I thought you would want to wear this outfit because we both know it so well. It should make you feel proud to wear it but we are not going to be doing it by half measures. I expect you to wear the full uniform properly. There will be no shortcuts. It’s no use saying no one can see your knickers. They couldn’t be seen at St Anne’s either yet girls, including myself, were caned for not wearing regulation school knickers. Surely you don’t want me to make an exception?”

“Well, no, but…”

Look, you directly disobeyed my instructions to change into the proper knickers I had placed in your dressing table. I want you to go back upstairs right now, put your gymslip on correctly and change into the knickers you will find in the top left-hand drawer of your dressing table. And just as we had to at St Anne’s, make sure your shirt is well tucked into them, not free floating as it is now. Put your gymslip on properly and straighten your socks while you are at it. Then I want you to look behind the door, of your closet. You will find something there hanging on a hook. When you are satisfied with your appearance take that item down and bring it down to me here. I shall be waiting.”

“What is it?” asked Sandra with fear once again in her eyes.

“I suggest you go upstairs and find out. And don’t dawdle!”

Miss Jackson turned slowly and walked in fear out of the room, retracing her steps back to her bedroom. She was now shaking in fear and humiliation and anger but she felt helpless. She couldn’t believe this was happening to her. She left the room, climbed the stairs, entered her bedroom and walked over to her dressing table. Outside, she could see the sun pouring down onto the long tree-lined drive. How wonderful it would be, she thought, to go for a walk amongst the cool trees instead of being mercilessly persecuted by a deranged former pupil.

She opened a drawer and at once found the pairs of neatly folded navy-blue cotton knickers. They looked hideous, they were big with elastic at the waist and each leg hole and when she put a pair on, she found them clinging over a third of the way down her thigh. They were, she thought, the most unattractive garment she had ever seen, yet she ruefully realized that she had in the past caned many a girl, including Miss Christine Fowler, for not wearing them. Surely Christine wasn’t meaning to cane her now?

‘Oh God,’ she thought. ‘Surely not. The bitch wouldn’t do that to me, she couldn’t!’

She dashed to her closet and looked behind the door. She stopped in horror. Hanging there was her worst nightmare, a senior school cane. A cane like she had used thousands of times on unwilling girls at the school. She had literally whacked hundreds and hundreds of bottoms, some covered in gymslips, some covered only by a pair of the dreadful school regulation knickers that she was now wearing, and some that were naked. She had witnessed girls literally screaming their heads off as her cane bit into their flesh.

Her legs almost gave way at the sight of it. With trembling hands, she lifted it down off its hook and experimentally bent it in her hands. It was made of three feet of the best quality rattan. At one end was the crook handle, the other end had been neatly sanded smooth to prevent it from directly cutting the flesh; her flesh, she realized. It was about three eights of an inch thick, quite heavy yet superlatively flexible. From her experience, it was of superb quality and would cause as much if not greater pain than any she herself had ever produced with her own canes.

Numbly, she carried it out of the closet, holding it like it was a deadly snake between her hands. She was just about to leave the bedroom and descend downstairs when, luckily, she glanced at herself in the mirror. She still looked dreadful with the streaked mascara, but something inside her judged her appearance, the way she had judged other schoolgirls who had been dressed the same way as she was now. She eyed her gymslip and saw that the pleats were straight, her tie was perfect but then she saw her legs. The knitted pattern in the socks was still crooked. She threw the cane on the bed, and like a little girl she knelt down and straightened them till they were perfect. She glanced again in the mirror and decided to fix her face. She went to the bathroom, washed and then re-applied her make-up. She suddenly didn’t care how long she took. She wasn’t going to let that bitch see how terrified she really was. She also saw that her long hair was a mess so she picked up an expensive hairbrush that was lying on the top of the table below the bathroom mirror and brushed her long blonde hair until it was smooth.

On the table, she noticed a ponytail-tie so, on impulse, she brushed her hair into a ponytail and tied it neatly in place. She gave herself a final once over in the mirror and saw that she looked much better. She didn’t really look like herself, more like a smartly dressed schoolgirl and for some obscure fleeting instant, she felt proud. But as she turned back into the bedroom, she saw the cane she had discarded on the bed and that numbing fear returned. She picked it up and flexed it, and then she suddenly grinned. It occurred to her just how much she’d like to have Christine Fowler once more in this same gymslip, haul her across her old school desk and beat the, well, never mind. Instead, she realized this time it was she who was going to get beaten and the grin faded from her face.

She desperately didn’t want the girl to cane her. Setting aside the humiliations and embarrassment of having a younger woman and former pupil cane her, she doubted she could stand the pain. She knew it would hurt and hurt badly. She had caned enough girls in her time to know that it packed a dreadful sting. When she had first had to do it, she had felt dreadfully sorry for them as they screamed and yelled. She knew it was for their own good and knew they deserved it, but it was very hard to watch them howl and squirm. However, over the years, she had seen its beneficial effects time and time again and had always been impressed how these young girls matured and how the cane had actually benefited them, a benefit she knew stayed with them all their lives. Gradually, she supposed, she had become a little hardened to it until she could deliver its therapeutic effects more-or-less oblivious to the recipient’s short-term distress.

She had often wondered what it would feel like and on one occasion had actually tried to cane herself. But it had been awkward to bend around and whack herself and the blow had fallen across only one cheek and down her right thigh and even though it was a glancing blow it had hurt terribly. She had not tried again though occasionally she had fantasized what it might be like to receive it from another woman. But now she was going to face it, she was terrified. She wondered what would happen if she just broke it into pieces and threw them in Christine’s face. But she knew she was not strong enough to tackle the younger fitter woman and who no doubt had more canes stashed away. She might even call on that young maid in to help her hold her down and that would be just too embarrassing for words. Or perhaps she should run out of the house and forget the whole thing. The trouble was, deep down, she really wanted this partnership that Christine was offering. It was the chance of a lifetime and although it had come somewhat late in life, it really was an amazing opportunity. Perhaps getting the cane would be worth it.

She decided to steel herself and try not to think how bad it could be. She remembered that when she had caned Christine over ten years ago, the girl had cried out before she finished. If she could just hold on for six strokes; she assumed that Christine would attempt to give her six because that was the number she had given the girl. Yes, if she could just hold on for six strokes without crying out then she would gain a victory. ‘If’ was such a big word!

She stood erect, and took one last glance at herself in the mirror, and was surprised at how well she looked. She put the cane in her right hand, grasping it around the middle and walked as proudly as she could out of her room, down the stairs and into the living room.

Christine had resumed her position on the sofa and was watching the television, and didn’t appear to notice her new partner had returned. Miss Jackson coughed.

Christine turned around and looked at Sandra over her shoulder.

“Wow!” she exclaimed. “You have certainly smartened yourself up and I like the way you have done your hair. Your socks and tie are straight, and the creases in your gymslip are perfect. You don’t look half bad. In fact, I can imagine that if many menfolk saw you dressed like that you would have to fight them off.”

She turned briefly back to the television and turned it off, then she stood and faced the older woman across the sofa.

“Look, Sandra, we have gotten off to a rough start. I think we need to talk and make some decisions, come around here and sit on that chair.

She waited while Sandra sulkily walked around the settee and sat in one of the matching easy chairs.  Christine had to smile because she had the cane in her hand and, as she sat down, she had to decide what to do with it and in embarrassment, she laid it across her lap.

“I see you brought the cane. Good. I’m glad you didn’t throw it out of the window or try to break it, which would have been foolish. I have already placed another in the office we shall be sharing so it is within easy reach should it be needed.

“You must have guessed by now that I do intend to cane you. I shall cane you for not following my instructions and putting the gym knickers on as I requested. I hope you are wearing them now?”

Sandra nodded with what seemed like hatred in her eyes.

“Good, we shall know in a few moments in any case. While you were gone, and I must say you did dawdle rather a lot upstairs. You only had to straighten your socks and change your knickers. However, be that as it may, I made a decision. I intend to explain my position fully, including what I need from you and what I expect from you. I shall also discuss the consequences of when you fail to measure up to my expectations.

“Then, against my better judgment, I am going to do one thing that I have never done before. I am going to offer you an out of your partnership contract. For me, this is like sacrilege. A contract is a promise, a promise that to me at least is sacred. When I agree to something it is my word and literally my word is my bond. I never break a promise, no matter what, no matter how much personal trouble it brings to me. It is a vow and I take them very seriously. It is something I never break.

“Furthermore, I fully expect all parties to a contract do the same. During the past few years, I have had several clients try to escape their contracts and I have blocked them. I use every legal means at my disposal up to and including making them bankrupt. You may call me ruthless. However, I don’t see it that way. A promise is a promise and I feel an honourable person will keep it, or die trying.

“I assumed you were of the same mould, at least when I knew you at school, although I originally saw you like a bit of a tyrant. I came to respect and admire you and assumed you were the same. You stuck to your guns and you were always fair and ethical. I’m hoping you haven’t changed.

“However, I am beginning to suspect that you haven’t quite realized what you have got yourself into. Did you read that contract you signed yesterday, I mean really read it?”

“No, I just scanned it. I trusted you,” said Miss Jackson with her eyes appearing to look down at the cane in her lap. “Besides, what has that contact, my accepting your position as a partner, got to do with all this?” she continued pointing at her gymslip and cane.

“Actually, it has everything to do with it. I’m sorry you didn’t read the contract but I suspected as much. That, and the fact that you were once my teacher, are the only reasons I am going to give you the chance to get out of this agreement and tear that contract up, despite all that it has cost me. In a few minutes, I am going to give you a chance to leave here.”

“I have nowhere to go now. You made me give up my house!”

“Don’t worry about that. If you decide to leave, I shall take you to a hotel tonight where you can stay until I have my friends restore your crummy little council house to you, if that is what you want. You can even keep the school uniform you are wearing, I don’t care. I will give you money for food and keep you safe and comfortable till your life as it was yesterday is restored. However, in that case, I shall never want to see you again.

“On the other hand, if you decide to stay I shall expect you to stand up, bend over the back of this sofa and put your hands on the seat cushions while I raise your skirt, pull your knickers to your knees and give you six of the best with that cane you are holding. I shall expect you to do your best to hold your position and not try to move or avoid my strokes. In the event that you do, I shall call Janet in and will order her to hold you down until you have received your full punishment. After the punishment, I shall expect you to stand in the corner for thirty minutes with your skirt up and your knickers down. After that, you may, if you choose, go up to your room and take a shower or rest on your bed. However, I shall expect you in the dining room at five o’clock for the evening meal that Janet is presently preparing.

“Those are your only options. Now, before you decide, I am going to give you my reasons why we are going through all this. These reasons aren’t negotiable; nothing about the contract you have signed is, except for the fact that I am going to give you this one chance to get out it.

“As I told you earlier, I need a partner. One who I can trust absolutely to do whatever is right to make our business the biggest success it can possibly be. I can do alright on my own. However, I can do so much better with a partner such as yourself who can bring loyalty, experience and skill into the relationship. My problem is that I do not have much time to think about this. I have spent two years looking for the right person and have failed miserably to find him or her. The problem is, I have to make a decision whether to merely continue with just an upgrade of my product or leapfrog to a new technology with a second-generation product. The sales cycle begins in ten months and, although I know what the specifications of a new product would be, I can’t develop it alone in the time necessary. If I can’t find that person it will take me that long just to produce an existing product upgrade.”

“What does that have to do with caning me or making me wear this silly get-up?” pouted Sandra.

“I’m getting to that. I have to decide this week because I, or the two of us, whichever you decide, have to fly out to California in two weeks from today, to pitch either the upgrade or the second-generation product to our largest client. Once I have them on board the others will follow suit. But, if I pitch the second-generation product, I cannot fail to deliver. Failure would mean disaster and I might as well as sell up shop right now. So, I have to know that my partner can deliver as much as I can.

“Since nobody but me knows how the product works, any partner has to learn fast. This is going to demand incredible effort; sixteen hours a day of pure slog. They must be bright and able to work. Above all, they must be loyal and obedient. There will be no time for niceties. When I give an order, it will have to be carried out. I will rarely need a second opinion and will not welcome yours until I know you know your stuff.

“Obviously the person must be fit to accept these working conditions and not be put off when I yell at them or tell them about their mistakes. I can’t afford the luxury to say do better next time. It has to be perfect or very near perfect first time and every time.

“Now, I’ve known you and seen how you strive for perfection. I’ve seen you discipline your students to get the best out of them. It occurred to me that because you understood discipline; you could also be trained in the same way. Your students in the past had to wear that uniform, even though it wasn’t fashionable. Why? Because it worked! It kept them from outside distractions, they did what they were told and accepted the consequences when they screwed up. It helped enforce discipline and prevented their minds wandering off on thinking about silly fashions and fads.

“Because you are going to be under the gun, it occurred to me that I should treat you like one of the girls we both knew at school. I thought you would accept me as a leader; learn what I have to teach you until you can stand on your own feet. Making you dress in that outfit, which incidentally makes you look so dam good I think I might wear it myself, at least around the office, will force you to realize that for the immediate future you have no life other than to study up and then help produce this next generation product. You will understand that every time you screw up, that cane in your bedroom or the one in the office will get an outing on your backside. If you fail to carry out an order, make silly mistakes or generally don’t perform, that cane will be waiting for you. I hung it in your closet as a reminder but, instead, I suggest you hang it over your dressing table mirror where you can see it from your bed. It will help remind you of how serious a business this is. The other cane is hanging on the door of the office.

“I shall give you a uniform inspection every day just to remind you who is in control, and I warn you I shall cane you for the slightest infraction. As I said before, you will exercise with me every morning and evening because I need you fit and in perfect health all the time and, again, I shall punish you if I think you are being lazy or not putting sufficient effort into it.

“As to why you would suffer all this embarrassment, humiliation and pain at my hands? Well, it’s simple. Although the work will be hard, I can promise you it will be rewarding. You will become rich beyond your current dreams. You will travel all over the world and, once you are trained, you will help run a successful business empire. You will be fulfilled. And after the first year, which you may consider to be a highly paid apprenticeship, we can re-evaluate your need to wear the schoolgirl uniform and suffer the indignities of the cane on your bare bum. However, as I look at you dressed like that now I think I am getting a little jealous. And because you have already tried my patience so much today, and already spoilt my last day for relaxation for a long time to come, I think as an extra punishment I am going to require that from tomorrow forward, you put your hair in braids. I think two pig-tails tied with a nice red ribbon will help keep you in your place. That way, if I choose to wear the outfit myself, I can put my hair in the ponytail as the prefects used to do and I can maintain my authority over you.

“As I look at you right now, I think that it is quite likely that after the first year, one or the both of us may decide to wear that uniform quite often; however, we shall see. I can also see that after a year you will know the business as well as me and then you will gain the right to punish me if I screw up. Your opinions then will be highly valid and we shall probably discipline each other.

“Now, I’ve talked and argued long enough. Today was supposed to be my last day of relaxation before the marathon teaching I have to do with you starting tomorrow. Yes, it’s Sunday tomorrow but the first day off you will get will be the day we fly to California two weeks from today. That is if you decide to stay. So, make your choice, either bend over this sofa or pack your bags and I’ll take you to a hotel. I have no time or inclination to waste discussing this further. But understand this; either choice is irrevocable. One way leads directly back to where you were that day I met you in Starbucks, the other leads directly to the back of that sofa for the first caning of your life and with the promise of many more such punishments to come, but also the promise of money wealth, power and an exciting life. It’s your choice. Make it now.”

“May I ask a question?”

Christine paused, she had already said more than she wanted to but she was also getting tired. She wanted Sandra Jackson badly, in all sorts of ways. The woman was exciting her; she was looking forward to using that cane that Sandra was nursing on her lap on those lovely wobbly cheeks that she had already darkened with her hand. But she was also tired of playing around with her. She was enough of a businesswoman to know when to stop negotiations and make the sale. If she let it go on too long with Sandra asking questions, it would turn into a long drawn out discussion that wouldn’t achieve anything. It was time to set the hook once and for all.

“No,” Christine finally said. “I think not. You have enough information, more than enough in fact, to make a decision of whether to put up with a few inconveniences for a year or so in return for an estimated four million pounds in the first year, and perhaps as much as several hundred million in five years, or you can return to your squalid little hovel. What is it to be? Give me your decision now or I shall make it for you. If you are this indecisive about what, to me, seems an obvious choice then you will be no good to me when it is your turn to negotiate for our business. Or are you as weak as dishwater where a few minutes of severe discomfort every now and again will prevent you from thinking clearly? I need somebody strong who can put up with a little adversity now and again. I’ll give you thirty seconds and if I don’t have an answer, I’ll make the decision for you and just run you to a near-by hotel.”

She stopped and looked directly into the eyes of the older woman and almost held her breath. She saw her once powerful teacher break and suddenly become a little girl. Sandra stood up, offered the cane to Christine who took it gently from her and then she walked around the sofa and, as Christine stood, she bent over the sofa’s back. Christine saw that the woman was crying, trying not to think about what was going to happen but it was obvious that she accepted it; Christine had won.

Christine waited till the woman had settled herself. Then she calmly walked behind her, lifted the hem of her gymslip and smoothed it across her back, exposing the now properly knickered twin mounds of her buttocks. She smiled at the wondrous sight, not really believing her own luck. She wondered how many children who had been caned on their bottoms at school had ever had the chance to turn around and cane the teacher who had caned them. Perhaps this was really going to be a first!

Slowly, savouring every moment, she reached her hands around the woman’s waist and felt the woman quake in shame as she gently pulled her knickers down to her knees, the tight elastic of the leg holes keeping them at her knees. Finally, she pulled the woman’s school shirt up over her back making sure every inch of skin of those buttocks was exposed. Then she stepped back to admire the view. The buttocks were already going a pale blue where she had thoroughly spanked those mounds about twenty minutes ago. There were still dark red marks around the blue and Christine knew, that even without the cane, the woman was going to be sore for a few days. The cane was going to make it difficult to sit for quite a while.

Sandra was desperately fighting the urge to be sick. The butterflies in her stomach were the worst she had ever known. In fact, they felt like rocks rolling around and it was all she could do to try and stop from trembling. She knew she didn’t deserve this and felt sure it was some mean trick by Christine to get her own back for the caning she had given her some thirteen years ago. But she couldn’t think of a way to avoid it so she tried to close her eyes and not think about it.

But Christine wasn’t about to let her forget it. She said, “Sandra, I need you to spread your legs so that your feet are about twenty inches apart and keep your knees straight. I know you know how to do this properly; I watched you tell many a girl in class how it was important to keep the knees locked and the muscles in your bottom as relaxed as possible. You know it is going to hurt but let’s not have a lot of silliness. Try to keep in position and don’t make a spectacle of yourself. I won’t demand that you count the strokes like I saw you do sometimes and there are no penalty strokes for movement. However, you are older and more experienced than those children you used to cane, so try to behave like an adult. I shall not be overly severe on you, especially since this is your first time. Now, are you ready?”

“No, but Christine, if you must cane me, just get it over with,” said Miss Jackson sulkily.

Christine almost screamed. “Stand up this instant!”

Shaken, Sandra stood up and immediately Christine slapped her across the face. It sounded like a pistol shot in the immaculate living room.

“You just don’t get it, do you? Are you stupid or do you just want to see how far you can push me? Believe me, I am far more experienced at dealing with powerful people than you can imagine. You may have been able to push children around and strike a little fear into their hearts, but you have never come up against someone the likes of me, have you?”

Sandra was too shocked for words, her hand rubbing the terrible burning pain that Christine’s slap had caused on her face.

“I won’t abide insolence from you. I have told you before that you will call me Miss Fowler. My first name is off limits till you can hold your own in our partnership. I am doing this for the good of our business, not for you and not for me. If I have any more of this bullshit from you, I shall get Janet and we shall tie you down and gag you. By God, if it’s the last thing I do I’ll teach you how to behave. Now get over that sofa and resume your position before I really lose my temper! Do you hear?’

Sandra Jackson, shocked to the core with tears pouring from her eyes, slowly got back into position and remembered to set apart her feet and lock her knees. Once again, she felt the younger woman adjust her clothes. Then she felt the tap of the cane across the middle of her buttocks.

Suddenly, without warning, she heard a whistle and crack as the cane bit into her flesh. Christine had not struck particularly hard. She knew the woman was a virgin to anything like this and she didn’t want to break her completely, not yet at least. There would be plenty of time for that and Christine really wasn’t that cruel. She just wanted to teach the woman a lesson, let her know that she was in charge. She had practised with these canes during the past week since she had bought them and could hit a chalk mark with deadly accuracy. She could strike with much more severity with complete accuracy and without letting the tip of the cane wrap around.

Christine may not have struck very hard but the effect on the poor woman was electrifying. She jumped bolt upright, grabbed both buttock cheeks with both hands and screamed. She danced around hopping from one foot to the other and Christine just stood, amused, and waited.

Eventually, Sandra was able to get herself under control and she tried to relax back into position. She nursed a desperate hope that Sandra had proved her point and wouldn’t strike her again, but deep down she knew it was a vain hope. Sure enough, Christine walked up behind her, readjusted her clothing and then said, “That was a pretty pathetic display of self-control. How many times in the past did you tell a girl to stop dancing around after you cut them with a cane like this? I hope you can do better with the next stroke. I’m using nothing like the power that you used on me. Do try to maintain a modicum of decorum. Otherwise, we shall be here all night.”

Sandra Jackson felt terrible. She had been determined to hold her position yet nothing could have prepared her for that terrible burning sting. It felt like a knife had cut her in two. And yet she’s seen girls, including Christine herself, take as many of four strokes without making a murmur. Was she really so weak? The humiliation and burning shame were overwhelming and then her brain almost seized as the next stroke cruelly whipped into her backside.

She clamped her jaw together to try to muffle the scream of agony and her back jerked a little as she desperately fought against jumping up. Her brain went numb with the pain and she held her breath. Then slowly the white agony receded into a terrible burning glow. Gradually she relaxed and felt the sofa take her weight, her eyes filled with tears.

“That was much better,” cheered on Christine. “I think you are getting the hang of it. The trick is to hold your breath, clamp your jaws shut and try to force your muscles to relax. Then, as soon as possible after the strike, breath in and out deeply, expelling the air with all the force you can muster. After a few seconds the pain dies down and you can think again. Now get ready, here comes the next one.”

The third stroke was a little harder and lower than the first two. Sandra tried to follow the younger woman’s advice and almost managed to hold back the terrible moan that was desperately forcing its way out. The urge to reach behind her and rub the crack of her butt, between the top of her thighs and where the flesh ballooned out, was almost overwhelming. She shuddered and shook desperately, trying to remain still and finally the intense pain passed.

“Remember to keep your knees locked. Occasionally you would cane a girl who was just bent over. If she didn’t keep her knees locked, she would have fallen down. Don’t let the sofa be a crutch. Use your inner strength!”

Another stroke ripped into her. This time it hit about half an inch above the first two strokes and the pain was crucifying. She gasped in agony, reached for the cushion on the sofa and squeezed it as though her life depended on it. She sucked in great quantities of air and blew them out, uncaring of whether she looked like an idiot or not. She was weaker now too and the urge to stand up was less overpowering. She also knew that if she could just hold on for ten seconds the searing agony would decrease to something more tolerable. And sure enough, the wave passed and she readied herself for the next stroke.

The fifth stroke was higher yet. Somehow it didn’t seem as brutal as the other strokes and indeed Christine had let off on the power. But still, it cut her like a knife. Again, she panted in and out and her legs seemed to jerk of their own volition. A small scream did escape but she had it quickly under control, and dimly in the back of her mind she knew she had only one more stroke to go.

Christine waited until all the tremors in the woman’s legs had died down and she had her breathing under control. Then she said, “All right, just one more stroke to go, but like you always said, we have to make the last one the best. Remember to keep your knees locked and the rest of your body relaxed. It will be over soon.”

And with that, she delivered a really good stroke to the meatiest part of the older woman’s bottom. Sandra almost stood up again; she did actually come halfway up off the sofa with a small scream escaping her clenched jaw. Then she was panting for all her worth, her head bobbing up and down and her ponytail swishing back and forth. She almost collapsed back onto the sofa’s back, feeling the waves of agony wash over her. It was unbelievably painful, but at last, like all the other strokes she had endured the pain slowly declined to barely tolerable levels.

Christine waited another minute then she gently bent down and carefully raised Sandra’s gym-knickers carefully up the woman’s legs and over her swollen rump. As she did so, she noticed with satisfaction the six red parallel tramlines she had placed there with the cane. They were deep and angry, already beginning to turn a dark red from the blood that was leaking out from the torn capillaries beneath the skin. She knew from her own personal experience that those lines would be dark blue by tomorrow, but she thrilled to see all six were nicely evenly spaced over the two-inch-wide target she had aimed for. She carefully eased the base of the woman’s school shirt into her knickers and finally smoothed the hem of her gymslip down, back into its normal position where it just covered the tops of her knee-high socks. Finally, she gently lifted the sobbing woman by her shoulders from the sofa, turned her around and hugged her to her breast.

“There there, Sandra. It’s all over and I have to say I was quite impressed. For somebody who has never been spanked or caned in your youth, you did very well indeed. Except for that first stroke which must have been a terrible shock for you, poor thing, you held your position very well indeed and you really didn’t make much sound at all. In fact, you did better than many second years that both of us saw during our school days, me as a pupil and you even more so as a disciplinarian. I am proud of you. I was getting a little worried that I might have made a woman who was too weak into a partner, but for your first time with the cane, you showed surprising grit and determination. I’m sure I have chosen the right partner after all.”

Miss Jackson lifted her head to look into the younger woman’s eyes and, through her tears, tried to smile and said, “I’m sorry. It was so much worse than I expected, worse than I ever thought possible. After that first stroke, I really did try to stay silent and not move but it was so difficult.”

Christine smiled and said, “I know, I’ve been there remember? Anyway, you have done well for the first time but, don’t let it go to your head. Remember why you were punished. It was for not carrying out my instructions to dress properly. I’m certain that I shall be caning you again in the near future when you either don’t follow instructions or otherwise misbehave. Let it be a stern lesson that will help you become the best partner a businesswoman ever had.

“Now to let it sink in, I want you to go stand in that corner over there with your nose just touching the wall. You will keep your hands at your sides and not try to rub your bottom. It is a necessary part of any corporal punishment to stand there and think about what brought this on and how to avoid it in future. And just to drive the message home I am going to raise your skirt again, tuck it into your girdle and I’ll gently lower your knickers again. I know it is a little embarrassing, we always thought so at school too. However, you will find the cold air on your bottom quite refreshing.”

Christine led Miss Jackson into the corner, showed her how to stand with her nose lightly touching the wall, and raised her skirt and lowered her knickers. She felt the tremors in the woman’s legs betraying her humiliation but then smiled when she saw the ex-teacher take a deep breath and try to relax as she realized the inevitability of it all and decided not to fight it.

With the traumatized buttocks on display, Christine went back over to the sofa and turned the television back on. She had positioned Sandra that she couldn’t see the television but she would know that her tormentor was relaxing on the sofa.

Sandra wanted to rub her backside and face, where the tears of pain were still dribbling and drying in a thin crusty film of salt. She was humiliated beyond belief standing like a little schoolgirl in her gymslip with her nose pressed against the wall. Gradually the anger that she felt deep within began to surface and she seriously considered, not only moving, but slapping Christine across her face. She wondered what would happen but decided, wisely, that Christine was much stronger and fitter than herself. Yes, it was humiliating to stand there, but so what. If what Christine said was true, this wouldn’t be the last time she would be doing this and the girl had been right. It was a relatively small price to pay for the opportunities that had risen up in front of her. She gradually fought down the anger, embarrassment and humiliation. She knew deep down that she was strong enough. She had always been strong, strong at university, strong at the school where she had taught. It was only since her mother had died and her brother had irretrievably stolen her inheritance that she had given up. Seeing her mother on her deathbed had taken it out of her, so much that she couldn’t be bothered afterwards to fight her brother or the authorities that had taken her away from the job she had loved so much.

Christine was right. It was time to get back into the real world and if a little pain and humiliation were what it was going to take then she would show this proud and talented young woman; a woman she had in fact trained to a large extent, that she, Sandra Jackson, was just as good. Somehow it felt better now that she had decided this, though she wished she could get over the feeling that Christine had taken advantage of her, to get even with her for her treatment all those years ago. She also wondered why it had felt so nice when Christine had hugged her after the caning. She had desperately wanted to hug her back and actually thank her for the punishment. She had resisted, but there was no denying she had wanted to.

For her part, Christine sat on the sofa pretending to watch the television, but was instead transfixed by the wonderful sight of having her old teacher, a woman that had caned her on her naked rump thirteen years ago, at her mercy. The woman was dressed as a schoolgirl with her skirt up and knickers down crying in the corner, with her nose pressed against the wall, because of her well-caned bottom that was on full display to anyone who entered the room. It was almost too good to be true.

And yet, for the first time, Christine felt a little uncomfortable. Somehow it felt like she had pulled a cheap shot. She had put incredible pressure on the woman and the woman had been beaten. Christine had beaten much more powerful people before, attorneys of sleazebag clients that had tried to take advantage of her only to find out that she was more capable than them. She always took glory in such victories but this time it was like shooting a fish in a barrel. Why had she done it? Merely because the woman had caned her for a stupid uniform infraction when she was a child?

Somehow it wasn’t quite the sweet victory she had believed it would be when it had occurred to her early in the morning a week and a half ago. Perhaps it was true what they said; revenge is a bitter pill. Yet two things struck her as she relaxed on the sofa. It was how nice it had been when she had hugged the gym-slipped woman to her breast after she had beaten her. Sandra hadn’t resisted and had actually rested her head on her breast. It had felt surprisingly good. Was she actually attracted to Sandra? And how did Sandra feel about Christine? Presumably, she thought she was a bitch, but if so, why hadn’t she pulled away when she had hugged her.

But there was another thing; everything that she had told Sandra was exactly true. She did need a partner for her business if she was to take their business to stratospheric heights. She couldn’t do it on her own. And though it would cost her forty per cent of the profits, she knew she would easily bring in a tenfold increase in her own wealth if Sandra actually worked out as she hoped. And while Sandra Jackson had a sharp brain for the mathematics and technical problems they would have to conquer, at the moment she wasn’t the strong and efficient woman she needed. She had been strong in the past. However, the bag lady like individual she had met in Starbucks wasn’t the sort of person she needed in a boardroom full of lawyers. She must try to find out how she had got to that sorry state and pull her back into the formidable figure she had once been. Although the thing with the school uniform and the caning had been fun, perhaps, in reality, it was exactly the sort of psychological play she would we need to bring the woman back.

The more she thought about it the more she began to realize that, rather than victimize her erstwhile mathematics teacher out of revenge, she was actually doing her a favour, a favour that would ultimately benefit them both. The thing to do, she now understood, was to keep on as she had begun and carry on through with her plan. Revenge was no longer a part of it. She had had her fun and she was over it. She would keep on with the program of keeping the woman off-balance with humiliation and some pain from the cane, but it would now be done with the intention of strengthening her, re-making her character into that which had been when she had known her at school. That, together with the strict exercise program she was going to begin after dinner, and the intense regime of work and study would, she felt sure, bear fruit.

Her musings were interrupted when Janet entered the room and said, “Err, Ma’am; I had planned dinner for five o’clock. I’m doing an Italian chicken dish with salad and pasta; will that be all right?

“Oh yes, Janet, you startled me. But that will be fine. This evening, we are going for a run around the grounds, are you interested in joining in?”

Janet’s face lit up with pleasure. “Oh yes, Ma’am, that will be lovely.” She glanced at the older woman in the corner who, Christine saw, had suddenly become bright red in the face and pointed and mouthed silently the words, “Is she OK?”

Christine smiled and nodded. “Sandra is doing a little penance right now but,” she turned to Sandra, “I think you have been in the corner for thirty minutes, Sandra, so your penance is done. Why don’t you go up to your bedroom for an hour or so and lay on the bed? You may find it advantageous to leave your bum uncovered and let the cold air percolate around it. As you heard, Janet will serve dinner at five o’clock and you should be prepared to come to the dining room then. If you want to take a quick shower or even a bath it may help, it’s up to you, but make sure you are properly dressed in your uniform when you come down to dinner and see if you can fix your face again. I am afraid tears and make-up don’t go together very well.”

Miss Jackson turned away from the corner and, with her skirt tucked up in her girdle, she hoisted up her knickers, wincing as they slipped over her bottom, and then walked purposely from the room saying, “Thank you, Miss. I shall be ready for dinner at five o’clock.” She then nodded rather shamefacedly at Janet and walked from the room, up the stairs to her bedroom.

Janet grinned at Christine and said, “Will there be anything else Ma’am?”

Christine grinned back and said, “No thank you, except could you ring the dinner gong at five minutes to five to give Sandra a little time to get down the stairs?”

Janet nodded saying, “Very good Ma’am,” and left the room, leaving Christine alone with the television.

The End

© Angela Fox 2018

Angela welcomes contact from her readers. Email at: angelafoxbooks@yahoo.com

The above story is excerpted from the novel “Reversal of Fortune” by Angela Fox.  Ms Fox has offered to send the novel free of charge to any reader who contacts her wishing to know what happens to Christine and Sandra.