When a girl gets into a fight, her friend comes to her aid, with consequences for them all.
By Jane Fairweather
Jennifer Ivens wound herself up for an ace. She was well aware this was something she rarely achieved, but with her score in the final set against her best friend Becky Hadlee at 40-30 and 5-3, she so wanted to win this match before Miss Compton, the Games Mistress, called an end to the afternoon’s activities. They had already had two ding dong sets and taken one each, and although it was only a games afternoon, something in Jennifer really wanted to win this. She let fly as hard as she could, fully expecting to miss and have to deploy her very solid second serve, but no. For once the ball landed perfectly and shot past Becky.
“You got it right for once!” Laughed Becky with a gesture of surrender.
They met at the net and gave one another a lavish hug. Jennifer thought to herself she liked her friend’s smell, even when it reeked with sweat.
“Won Wimbledon, have we!” Came the mocking voice of Babs Taylor from the next Court.
She and May Coldstream had spent the afternoon in often rather unpleasant gossip with occasional rude asides to Jennifer and Becky to the effect that they were being much too keen. They had periodically served underhand and occasionally got the ball back once or twice. The only times they had been at all energetic had been when Miss Compton had made her periodic rounds to see how the girls were getting on, and even then they had not over-exerted themselves.
“Well, if you tried a bit harder you both might get a bit of weight off!” Becky was retorting.
It was certainly true that both Babs and May were carrying rather a lot of flesh for a tennis match on a hot summer’s day and Jennifer smiled at Becky’s witticism.
However, Miss Compton had also just arrived and was lecturing Becky on her rudeness. Jennifer reflected Becky had only been retaliating for the stream of mild abuse that they had had to put up with all afternoon, but it did not seem tactful to say so. And now Miss Compton was ordering everyone back to the gym for a shower, which Jennifer knew she would be very glad of, but half the girls would skip out of it because they did not like being seen naked in the shower, or whizz in and out so quickly they might not have bothered.
* * *
“Come on you two, you can’t stay in the shower forever!” Miss Compton was shrieking. “I’ve got things I’ve got to do.”
Not for the first time, Jennifer thought Miss Compton might be politer to the two girls who really liked games. It was a phenomenon she had noticed before that to be good at a subject by no means always meant you were important in the eyes of your teacher. Miss Vokins, the History Mistress, was, if anything, even worse; she seemed to resent it when Jennifer wrote a good essay and would read out work by girls who had in fact got lower marks.
She gave a brief last glance at Becky’s flat-chested body with its tight round buttocks and the flame red hair, and decided yet again that she really liked the whole look of her friend; it was something very special. They reluctantly traipsed out of the shower, took their towels from the hooks in the small ante room to the shower proper, and began to dry themselves vigorously. Then they wrapped themselves in their towels and headed for their clothes and satchels, which were hanging from hooks in the changing room proper.
At least the satchels should have been hanging there, but they had gone, and so had all the other girls.
“The cows!” Becky snarled. “They’ve taken our satchels; we will have to get them back. I bet it’s our two fat friends!”
“My History and English essays are both there and there isn’t time to redo them before I have to hand them in,” Jennifer said, feeling very startled. It had never occurred to her she was so unpopular.
She was fumbling as rapidly as she could with her clothes. At least they had not been taken. She wondered whether to leave her tights off and save time, but Miss Morris the headmistress was more than a little keen on girls, especially senior girls, being correctly dressed, and they might well need Miss Morris’s support, so she laboriously put them on. And for the same reason she very reluctantly fiddled with her tie and put on her half-slip under her skirt, even though she was tempted not to.
“Come on!” Said Becky who, as usual, had dressed more quickly than she had and even found time to put her red hair back up into a bun.
“We could go to Miss Morris; she isn’t stupid!” Jennifer said hesitantly.
“And be accused of grassing for ever after!” Becky replied with an air of all knowingness.
Jennifer shrugged and followed Becky out of the Gym. The Senior Girls playground came right up to the Gym door. Jennifer cast her eye round looking for the culprits who had taken their satchels. Her eye was drawn to an unusually large gaggle of girls, including some of their fellow Sixth Formers from the games afternoon. They were giggling and shrieking about something that was going on in front of them.
“Come on!” Said Becky. “They must be playing games with our satchels; it’s got to be fat May and porky Babs Taylor. Come on Jen, we are going to get them back.”
She rushed on ahead and shouldered her way through the crowd of girls. Jennifer followed rather more hesitantly, apologising as she forced her way through. She paused for a second and looked. Sure enough, Babs and May were playing catch with the two satchels at the same time, which must be quite tricky she thought. A number of books and a bottle of ink were on the ground, presumably as a result of the satchels being dropped. They would have to get the satchels while they were in the air, she decided, which no doubt would amuse everyone. Becky, though, had ignored getting the satchels back and was going straight for May Coldstream, and they were tearing one another’s hair out and god knows what else, and the satchels were on the ground.
For a second Jennifer almost left them to it, but then Babs had come hurtling in like a rugby player into a scrum and she felt she had no choice but to join in and help her friend. This largely took the form of keeping Babs away from Becky and, although there was a certain amount of hair pulling, neither girl went for the other with the real ferocity of the fight between May and Becky, who were screaming their heads off.
Then Miss Redhouse, Miss Vokins, Mrs Smith and Miss Compton and a number of prefects were there in a posse and pulling them off one another. Next thing, they were being frogmarched in the direction of the Headmistress’s study. Jennifer noticed that Becky and May both had horrible scratches on their faces and May was definitely minus some hair. At least, she thought, Babs and her had done little more than wrestle, and they had not done it that seriously, so they might get off lightly, at any rate she hoped so.
* * *
Miss Morris had interviewed half a dozen witnesses to the fight and now she was interviewing the participants to these unseemly events, one at a time, and Jennifer it seemed was last in the queue. The girls in the corridor were being forbidden to speak and the silence was being enforced by the formidable presence of Miss Vokins and Miss Compton, so Jennifer had no idea at all what was being said behind that door, which said Headmistress on it. Nor had she any idea what punishments were in store, but she was afraid that at least Becky and May were going to be expelled; it really had been a horrible fight. She wondered if she could face her parents if she got expelled.
The door opened and shut yet again and a very subdued Babs Taylor emerged in tears. Jennifer took a breath as she realized it must be her turn next. She wondered how much she was going to cry; Miss Morris was famous for extracting tears from culprits. The door opened again.
“Right Jennifer Ivens, in you come.”
Miss Morris was holding the door open for her as she always did for visitors to her study. Jennifer walked in with her heart pounding and feeling slightly sick. Miss Morris shut the door quietly and returned to an armchair and sat down in it before studiously looking Jennifer up and down. Jennifer felt slightly off balance because she had expected the Headmistress to sit down at her desk.
“So, Jennifer Ivens,” Miss Morris observed quietly. “As far as I can make out this all started because Barbara Taylor and May Coldstream took it into their heads to borrow Rebecca and your school satchels for a stupid little game in the playground and you and Rebecca were annoyed. Have I got it right so far?”
Jennifer stuttered, “Yes Miss, except I did not start the fight.”
“Yes, I was coming to that. Almost everyone seems to agree that the sequence of events was that Rebecca attacked May extremely violently. May retaliated in kind. Barbara came to May’s help, apparently rather half-heartedly, and you fended her off from Rebecca, apparently even more half-heartedly. Is that a fair summary?”
“Very fair, Miss.” Jennifer said with great relief.
“Still you must know you should not have got involved in the fight.”
“I was afraid that Becky was going to get really hurt, Miss, if I did not help her.”
“I can understand that, but I will not have fighting; it is as simple as that.” The headmistress said very quietly indeed, then added almost as an afterthought: “Would you object to receiving corporal punishment? It seems, in many ways, the most sensible way of dealing with this very unusual event.”
Jennifer was, in fact, not that keen on the idea and said: “What would be the alternative, Miss?”
“A month off school in your ‘A’ Level year; suspension. Not a good idea, I would have thought.”
“Sort of being half expelled, Miss?” Asked Jennifer thoughtfully.
“Sort of being half expelled, Miss Ivens; yes, that is not an unfair summary. And I doubt you would manage to catch up, though a bright girl like you might just.”
“And what would I get, Miss, if I took the corporal punishment?”
“Four sharp smacks with the slipper on the seat of your tights and pants. Quite painful, but you will live and the matter will be over. And as far as I am concerned it will be forgotten.”
“Alright.” Said Jennifer, feeling in fact it was anything but alright and it was going to be horribly undignified, quite apart from the pain. “But what happens to the others Miss. Do they get the slipper too?”
The Headmistress sighed and said: “I don’t know if I ought to tell you, but you will no doubt find out quickly enough. I am going to expel Rebecca. I am doing it with regret because she is a decent well-behaved girl normally, but an attack on this scale on a fellow pupil cannot be ignored. And before you start pleading for her I must tell you I have no intention of changing my mind. As for the other two girls, they have both agreed to be slippered. I am seriously angry with May Coldstream and she will have six. Her partner in crime will have four, like you. I don’t think either of you were particularly to blame, but you will have to be dealt with.”
Jennifer found it intriguing that Miss Morris was thinking aloud to her and seemed to be barely angry. Did it show particular favour? It had never struck her that she was a favourite of Miss Morris, but perhaps she was.
“That was a very intriguing essay about the Armada you wrote for Miss Vokins!” The headmistress was saying, unexpectedly echoing Jennifer’s thoughts. “I am afraid I sneaked a look at it in the Staff Room. Very few people think much about the fact that so many people in England under Elizabeth were Catholic. Did you think of all that for yourself? Or did you find a book I don’t know of?”
“I mostly thought it up for myself, Miss.” Said Jennifer.
She went slightly pink with embarrassment, not least because Miss Vokins had sneered at her conclusions. Then a thought came into her head, though she barely dared say it, and when she did get it out of her mouth she stuttered.
“C-couldn’t B-Becky h-have s-six of the b-best, M-Miss?”
“Speak clearly girl! I could not make out a word of that!” Miss Morris snapped, then added not unkindly: “But take your time. If you have anything sensible to say about Rebecca I am quite happy to hear it.”
“Couldn’t Becky just get s-six of the best?” Jennifer said, just about managing to get it out audibly this time.
“You mean six with the slipper, like Miss Coldstream will shortly be getting, but perhaps that little bit harder?” Miss Morris said, then added without waiting for the answer: “I understand your logic, Miss Ivens, but an attack on a fellow pupil on that scale necessitates something more severe than that and I think expulsion is the only course. I am sorry.”
“I didn’t mean the slipper, Miss. I meant the cane. That hurts more, doesn’t it?”
“I’ve never caned anyone and I am not sure this is the best time to learn how to do it.” Said Miss Morris dubiously. “But now, young lady, you had better go and await your punishment outside my door with the other culprits. But I may well think about Rebecca a little longer before I finally tell her what her fate is.”
Jennifer felt, in an odd way, she had earned her friend a very slight chance, though how it had come about she was not quite sure.
* * *
It was at least twenty minutes later and all four girls were still standing outside the Headmistress’s study. It was now well after the ending of the school day and the place was strangely quiet except for the occasional noise of the cleaners. The one who was responsible for the Headmistress’s study had already come and been shooed away and told to come back later. Miss Compton and Miss Vokins were still jumping on the slightest hint of speech from the four girls, with the result that Jennifer really did not know if Becky knew she was to be expelled, or not. However, the mistresses were also becoming rather irritable at the delay themselves.
“Whatever is she up to? It is getting on for half an hour since Jennifer Ivens came out. I wish she would get it over with and we could go home.” Grumbled Miss Vokins.
“Oh I expect she is trying to ring the parents and failing.” Said Miss Compton.
“Would she ring the parents? I expect the girls already know what is happening to them.” Miss Vokins queried.
“Do you know your punishments girls?” Miss Compton enquired.
“Slipper, Miss” May said with obvious embarrassment, hanging her head.
“And you others are the same, I expect.” Miss Vokins said glancing round.
“Yes Miss.” Babs and Jennifer said in more or less in the same embarrassed breath.
“What about you Rebecca?”
“I don’t know, Miss Vokins. She didn’t really say. She said she would think about it.”
“I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means.” Miss Vokins observed with a significant glance at Miss Compton.
“I hope so too!” Said Miss Compton.
At this point May announced she was desperate to go to the loo and the two mistresses sent all four of them. They went in a very subdued manner for teenage girls and said barely a word. Then they staggered back to find the door to the Headmistress’s study was now open and Miss Morris was standing there looking purposeful.
“Right I think I will have Miss Coldstream first.”
A very nervous looking May followed her headmistress. The door shut and there was the sound of a very severe lecture and the voice of a teenage girl trying to sound apologetic. Then there was a rather tense silence.
“I think they usually bend over her armchair don’t they?” observed Miss Vokins to Miss Compton. “Not that she does it that often, so it is quite hard to know what the form is. I always wonder if she takes their skirts off, or turns them up. In my day you got the cane with your gym slip turned up, but knickers were thicker then, of course.”
Jennifer found herself feeling slightly sick listening to Miss Vokins, but also wondering what colour May’s pants were and whether you would be able to make that out through her tights. Light blue or pink she wondered? Both seemed quite likely.
There was a loud thumping noise and a yell.
“She squeaked early!” Said Miss Vokins. “I thought May was braver than that.”
“Some people have a lower threshold of pain.” Miss Compton observed thoughtfully.
The thumps and the yells accumulated with distinct pauses between them. After four, there was a tremendous shriek of: “Please no more! Please!” that was quite audible even through the thick door.
“The head really is quite efficient.” Observed Miss Vokins admiringly. “I had no idea she was as good as that.”
Jennifer wished the bloody woman would shut up. She felt she could put up with the noise of this very efficient beating, but she could have done without Miss Vokins’ commentary.
There was the remorseless sound of two more extremely severe whacks, each followed by heartfelt yells, then another pause.
“I expect the poor girl needs a chance to catch her breath.” Said Miss Compton, which Jennifer thought a reasonable guess.
“I wonder who she will have in next?” Observed the remorseless Miss Vokins. “I expect she will keep Rebecca for last.”
“Do you mind not talking like that, Miss? It is not fair.” Jane burst out, suddenly realizing how annoyed she was at the constant chatter from the two mistresses, especially Miss Vokins.
“I suppose a certain licence is allowed to the condemned, Miss Ivens, but if I have another word out of you I will tell the Headmistress who will no doubt increase your already severe punishment.” Miss Vokins retorted, sounding genuinely angry.
Jennifer bit her lip, but was pleased to notice that Miss Vokins seemed to shut up.
A very shaken May emerged, walking most awkwardly and with her eyes full of tears.
“Did it really hurt, or were you putting it on just a bit?” Babs asked, making Jennifer think that Babs was in denial about the severity of what was coming.
“It hurt!” Said May with real feeling. “I will see you at the bus stop.”
She waddled off down the corridor.
Miss Vokins and Miss Compton were resuming their irritating commentary.
“She will have Jennifer in next,” Miss Compton was saying. “She will have to deal with Rebecca last, and the obvious thing is to have one girl from each pair of them at a time.”
Jennifer braced herself, on the basis of this, to walk through the door for her punishment, but then Miss Morris was summoning a rather disconcerted Babs, who obviously was thinking it was not her turn because of what Miss Compton had just said. Perhaps because of this there was the voice of a very frightened girl pleading.
“She’s a bit nervous.” Observed Miss Compton.
Then the Headmistress was in full stride and Babs was getting a ferocious lecture. Now there was more pleading. Then Jennifer noticed they seemed to have reached the interesting silence again and both the angry words and the pleading had stopped. Then there were four distinct whacks, though Jennifer had the impression they were less severe than the ones that May had received. At any rate Babs yelled less and she came out of the door much quicker than her friend. However, she also looked extremely shaken and kept touching her bottom through her skirts as she walked down the corridor to find May at the bus stop.
“She’ll remember that for a while.” Miss Compton observed.
In her mind Jennifer dared the two mistresses to start arguing about whether she was going in next and kept telling herself she did not care. Still, she was fairly sure she was indeed next and her mouth was extremely dry, the butterflies in her stomach were dreadful and she was frightened she was going to be sick.
Sure enough the door opened and Miss Morris was calling her in. She noticed the slipper on the armchair; it was in fact a rather large tennis shoe. Why did they call it a slipper?
“I think you are the least culpable of the girls I am having to punish this afternoon,” Miss Morris said with unexpected quietness. “But you were involved in a serious fight and you do have to be punished. Walk over to the armchair, bend over the side of it and take a firm grip on the seat.”
Jennifer felt slightly disconcerted at missing out on the lecture; the slippering was coming with unexpected speed. She looked at the armchair, took a deep breath and braced herself. She was interrupted by Miss Morris apologising for having left the slipper there and rushing in to move it, which somehow made her feel very slightly less frightened. She took another deep breath, walked to the chair, bent over the side and gripped the seat of the chair extremely hard so it almost hurt. She felt her skirts being pulled high above her waist. God this was so embarrassing! Having to show your undies like this! She blushed and almost made a protest, but then thought better of it.
There was an agonising wait of several minutes while Miss Morris fiddled with several things on her desk. Jennifer wondered if one of them was the punishment book. She felt her knees knocking; this really was frightening, but she did not dare to say anything.
Finally she heard Miss Morris draw back her chair and walk towards her.
“Right girl, you will now have four of the best with the slipper. Are you ready?”
“Yes, Miss Morris.”
There did not seem much else to say.
The slippering was hard, but not very hard. The four spanks were delivered at disconcertingly long intervals and you had time to consider the pain the last one had caused before the next one took its place. By the end she was sobbing quietly, but not hysterically.
“You can go when you are ready.” She heard the distant voice.
She rose from the chair, touched her aching bottom with some feeling, pulled down her skirts and started to move rather uncertainly towards the door.
“Oh, before you go, I have thought of another solution for your friend, if she will accept it. Thank you for making me think about it.”
“Is it the cane Miss?” She found herself replying from somewhere in her very giddy head.
“No, I’ve got another idea.”
She came out of the door still sobbing and muttered to Becky that she was heading for the loo in the next corridor and would see her there. The two mistresses seemed to have gone; presumably they had got fed up with waiting. She staggered along to the loo, where she permitted herself the luxury of a really good cry. After this she felt slightly better. She also noticed the aching in her bottom was turning to an odd warm throbbing that was almost pleasant.
Suddenly, the door opened and Becky entered in a far worse state than she had been.
“Poor thing!” Said Jennifer giving her friend a close hug. “Was it really dreadful? You look absolutely awful.”
She could feel her friend’s body was shaking and throbbing.
“She gave me a choice between being expelled and a spanking with a large wooden hairbrush. I chose the hairbrush.”
“Well you would do. How many did you get?”
“Only Six, but they were really, really hard and I yelled, and now I feel on fire.”
“Show me!” Said Jennifer briskly.
Becky lowered her tights and pants. Jennifer lifted her friend’s skirt and slip at the back. Her friend’s two small round buttocks were bright red and hot and moist to touch. Cream would have been a good idea, but she did not have any.
“You need to go home and soak yourself in a good bath,” Jennifer decreed.
“Were you as bad?” Said Becky sounding as if she felt she ought to ask, but was more concerned with her own problems.
“Not quite; she was really quite kind to me. She could have done it a lot harder. She said I was the least culpable, whatever that means. But it was so embarrassing bending over. I never want to have to do that again.”
“But I bet you would not mind a warm bath as well,” Said Becky. “Come on, let’s go to my house. Mum and Dad are out this evening.”
“Sounds fun!” Said Jennifer, thinking her own parents would be at home and she would much rather they did not know what had happened.
They staggered out of the school arm in arm and both still walking awkwardly, only just missing being locked in by the caretaker.
© Jane Fairweather 2015
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