A lover’s tiff leads to unusual consequences at work and school.
By Jane Fairweather
“No! I will not go out to the pictures with you tonight!” Geraldine Hislop said very loudly in a voice that was close to a scream, though she had gone to the pictures with Gerald Ibbotson most Friday nights for nearly two years.
Her boyfriend of those nearly two years smiled sardonically, for he was well used to her flashes of defiance, and said quietly: “But it is Dr Zhivago and the reviews are wonderful. If we don’t catch it this week then we won’t. And I will pay!”
“You mean your bloody parents will pay. You ought to get a little job like me.”
He was a little nonplussed by that; normally she gave in when he mentioned paying.
“The church choir has got an extra rehearsal and I really have to go.”
There was a tone in her voice that suggested she might be open to contradiction so he contradicted her, saying he was sure she was the best singer in the choir, and thus she did not need to go.
“You always know fucking best, don’t you?” She exclaimed.
He noticed the ominous rise in the pitch of her voice.
“Of course I don’t.” He retorted rather uncertainly and lamely.
“Anyway, it is not going to matter much longer. You will be off to College or University or whatever in just a few weeks and I hate you!”
“Only if I get through my A Levels in a couple of weeks, I keep telling you. And I am sure you can come and see me one weekend. And I will be back in a few weeks. University terms aren’t that long.”
“I hate you! I hate you! You’ve just been stringing me along!”
“Love, I haven’t, really I haven’t!”
Then with no warning she flew at him as far as you can fly across a seat on the top deck of a double decker bus. He found himself tumbled onto the floor with her on top of him and her nails clawing his face. He managed to grab her hands and restrain her, but then she was suddenly pulling away from him and saying she did not want to see him anymore, and then the bus was stopping and she was grabbing her satchel and running for the stairs in her hurry to get off.
* * *
He spent a distressed weekend. Several phone calls to talk it through with his beloved had been received by Geraldine’s father obviously lying and obviously trying to be kind, saying his daughter was out.
The last time he had spoken to Mrs Hislop and she had said firmly, but not unkindly: “I am really really sorry, Gerald, and I have always liked you, but she really does not want to see you. Leave it a while, she might just come round. I should wait for her to ring you. Girls go like this sometimes. It can mean they are on the verge of a big commitment, but then again it may not mean that at all.”
This was no doubt very well meant, but it left Gerald with the feeling of something very final. He was convinced he would never see Geraldine again. He threw himself into frantic revision for his Chemistry A Level, which was only a few weeks away, though he had to keep brushing off the anxious enquiries of his own Mother.
* * *
“At least it stops me thinking about Gerald,” Geraldine thought to herself.
She was more upset about the break up with her boyfriend than she cared to admit, even if she had told both her Mother and her fellow waitress about it with an air of pride and scorn. But it was ten o’clock on Saturday night and Geraldine had spent a busy, sweaty evening at the Archibald café, earning the small amount of money that made up for the loss of her pocket money now she was in the Sixth form.
Her parents were still rather cross with her about insisting on staying on at school when she could be working full time. She was, she decided, weary of the smell of food and the constant chat ups and bottom pinchings from the male customers. Still, it was the end of the evening, the customers had gone, thank god, and the tips had been reasonable. This was more than could be said of the pay she was about to receive, but then she had done as her fellow waitress, Beth, had told her and discretely kept a few shillings back from the till in a way that was hopefully not be too obvious.
“You’ve got to be careful not to get caught, see. So it is a penny here and three pence there!” Beth had told her. “But it is how the game is played, girl, and they expect it. You just don’t ring it right every time, see. But don’t take too much; there will be real fireworks if you do that.”
Curiously Geraldine, who was an honest girl, had done as she was told because it seemed to be the way it was done. Certainly the wages were pitiful and no one had complained about the few extra shillings she slipped in to her pocket each week. But she always wondered what ‘real fireworks’ meant. Losing your job, she usually concluded, but there was the awful thought it might end up in the magistrates court, and there was the curious fact that Mr Smith, the café owner, had twice given her a single sharp slap on her behind for messing up an order. She could have resented that, but it was actually quite quick and practical and better than the elaborate lectures she had received on a couple of occasions at school. There was, she supposed, the real possibility that she could have a spanking, perhaps with her knickers down, or even the cane, though that much feared object was unlikely for a girl. However, she decided her come-uppance would probably be a spanking, if it happened. Still, it showed no sign of happening and in all probability she was safe. Beth, who had been here ages, had to be right.
“Come into my office, girls.” Mr Smith was saying.
He was being abrupt, but then Mr Smith always was a touch abrupt. She followed Beth into the small office.
“Turn out your pockets, girls!” Mr Smith snapped.
“We’ve only got tips in them!” Beth protested.
“We’ll see about that!” Said Mr Smith ominously.
The two girls reached uneasily into the pockets of their aprons and each put their little heap of coins on the desk. Geraldine felt a certain unease, but she could not see how Mr Smith could separate the tips from the rest. Mr Smith sat for a minute and counted each heap in turn.
“Can’t be certain to a penny,” he announced, “but I’ve been watching you all evening and there’s quite a bit more here than there ought to be from the tips by themselves. So you’ve both been fiddling me, haven’t you?”
Both girls averted their eyes. Geraldine felt light headed and her heart started to pound.
“You’re both good at the job, so quickest way’s to give you both a whacking and we forget it, unless you start this game again. Fair enough?”
Geraldine heard Beth gasp and start crying. Clearly no decisions were to be had from Beth. It was up to her.
“I am very sorry, Mr Smith, I will take your punishment.” She replied, feeling ridiculously as if she was at school, but she had never had the slipper at school.
“Good girl!” Mr Smith was saying abruptly, but approvingly. “And what about you Beth Thomson? We’ve been here with you before, haven’t we girl?”
Geraldine found herself wishing Beth had mentioned this little fact when suggesting the fiddle in the first place. Beth was wringing her hands and crying a lot, then saying she would take it, but please could it not be too severe.
“Should have thought about it before, shouldn’t you girl?” Said Mr Smith, producing a very straight, very flexible cane from somewhere. Geraldine in her dazed condition wondered from where, perhaps the umbrella stand.
“You first, Beth Thomson! I don’t suppose a nicely brought up young lady like Miss Hislop here has much idea, so you’d better show her the way.”
Geraldine watched in horrified fascination. Beth paused, then audibly took a deep breath, pulled up her brown waitress’s skirt and pretty green slip and bent over the desk. Geraldine viewed with some embarrassment the tightly stretched white panties above the nylon stockings with the suspenders, one on each side. She found Beth’s grown woman’s bottom embarrassingly large.
Mr Smith did not waste time beginning, but positioned himself carefully and brought the cane down hard, neatly bisecting the two large buttocks. Beth shrieked. Geraldine found herself wondering at the loudness of the shriek. Surely it could not be that bad, could it?
The cane swished again. Again a huge yell and Beth’s white knickers thrust forward and then back, which had a very odd effect on the waiting Geraldine; it seemed to her it was her own bottom that was doing this. The same thing happened with the third stroke and Geraldine, watching, found herself being very strangely turned on. It struck her, not for the first time, that one reason she had been growing discontented with her boyfriend, was his failure to make her go all the way. She hated being turned on and then the whole thing having to stop because of the fear of pregnancy.
Her lubricity increased during the fourth, fifth and sixth strokes, even though she was all too aware of the agony poor Beth was going through; her legs were kicking wildly and her bum seemed to move further backwards and forwards with each stroke. Finally when the horrible punishment stopped she realized it was her turn and she felt incredibly shaken already. Beth was still slumped over the desk, weeping and moaning and clutching her bottom. She prayed for Beth never to get up again, but of course she did, and Mr Smith was handing over her week’s wages as if nothing had happened. However the tips and the stolen money stayed on the desk. Then Beth was walking out of the office.
The door shut. Geraldine shivered and wondered why she was not crying.
“If Miss Thomson does that again, she will be out of the door.” Mr Smith’s voice was saying from a very long way off. “But don’t worry, girl, I know she led you on. Yours won’t be anything like as bad. You will just get three and they won’t be that hard. Over the desk with you.”
Geraldine wondered if she dared say she would rather be dismissed, but the voice repeated the command and she obeyed, remembering at the last minute to pull her skirts up.
“Tights eh! A very modern young lady!” The voice was saying with faint amusement. “Still, your pants look thin compared with Miss Thomson’s. I think we will leave your tights up.”
The cane swished. She had somehow vaguely expected it not to be as hard as the punishment she had just witnessed. Perhaps it was not, but the sting was incredible and she shrieked. There was a distinct unnerving pause and then the second stroke descended. It did not hurt quite as much, but it still really hurt.
“Please, no more. Please, no more, it really hurts.” She found herself saying desperately.
The third stroke remorselessly descended and stung if anything worse than the first.
“Punishment’s over. Don’t do it again, and don’t listen to what Beth tells you in future.”
Having been allowed to leave by Mr Smith, Geraldine staggered off home, wondering how Beth was doing after her even more severe beating.
Back home she threw herself into a hot bath and managed to get herself into a state to go to bed. She slept fitfully and kept waking feeling sore. In the morning she felt just about able to tackle her weekend homework and she spent most of the day doing it. She missed the Church choir because felt extremely guilty about stealing, but also because of a strange feeling she had half enjoyed being whipped for it and it did not seem right to go to church after such a doubly sinful experience. In so far as her family noticed anything was the matter, it was attributed to her breaking up with Gerald.
* * *
Gerald was finding it hard to concentrate on Mr Byrne holding forth on a tricky and involved bit of Applied Maths, which he had never quite understood. With A Levels looming, he knew he ought to give it his attention, but he still felt upset about the fracas with his girlfriend, even though that had happened on Friday and it was now Monday. He had half hoped to talk to Geraldine at the bus stop, but she had refused to do so quite bluntly and when the bus came had stomped off to the further end of the lower deck, where he had felt it wrong to pursue her. He found it so hard to believe the relationship was over.
There was a knock at the door. Gerald lifted his head to see it was the Headmaster’s secretary, Miss James, a brisk middle-aged woman with a perpetual icy smile.
“The Head would like a few minutes with Ibbotson, if you don’t mind Mr Byrne.” Miss James was saying unexpectedly and Mr Byrne was saying he did not mind at all, not that it was really in his power to refuse.
Gerald followed Miss James back along the corridor, wondering why the Head wanted him; he could think of no obvious reason. She knocked and opened the door for him in advance of several people who were already waiting. He wondered why he had priority. He walked in and he saw, as he expected, the large figure of the Headmaster, but then, which he was not expecting at all, the disconsolate figure of Geraldine, who was standing in front of the desk, slouching her head and looking distinctly sorry for herself.
“Oh do come in Ibbotson and do stop looking so worried. There is nothing to worry about.” The Head was booming. “Fact is, I had a phone call from Miss Mackenzie this morning. You probably don’t remember her. She taught Latin, but she retired five or six years ago. Anyway, she was on the top of a 32 bus last Friday evening after school and she saw a most unseemly scuffle between two of our Sixth formers, the sort of thing we really do not want. Anyway, she remembered Miss Hislop here from teaching her in the first and second year. Got a memory for faces has Miss Mackenzie. And she identified her as the one who started a fight without any provocation and says she should not get away with it just because she is a girl, which I wholly agree with. I presume the boy was you, since I know you and Miss Hislop have been going out together recently. And Miss Mackenzie says you were quite the gentleman and behaved really rather well. So you see, you’ve nothing to worry about. Just thought you’d like to know and get an apology.”
Gerald looked at his woe-begone former girlfriend, who was hanging her head, crying her eyes out and looking as if she wanted to be anywhere else, and felt intensely sorry for her. He wondered if she was going to get the slipper, or worse the cane. Very few girls got the cane, but it could just happen.
“Apology, Miss Hislop!” the Head was snapping like a sergeant-major on parade.
“I really am very sorry, I shouldn’t have attacked you.” Geraldine was forcing herself to say with great difficulty through her tears.
“I am sure you really did not mean to and I said a few things first, didn’t I?” Gerald replied, improvising desperately, knowing he was lying, but prepared to say anything to help Geraldine escape the cane.
“You said a few things did you, young man?” Said the Head, looking at him quizzically.
“Yes Sir. I said a couple of things I shouldn’t have.”
“That does not excuse Miss Hislop attacking you, but I will take that remark into account. Now off with you back to your lesson, whatever it is. Chemistry is it?”
“Well, whatever it is, keep at it, Ibbotson. We are expecting good things from you in these exams.”
Gerald shut the door and went back to his class in a state of perturbation. He found himself being haunted with the thought of Geraldine holding her hands out for the cane.
* * *
“Gerald! Wait! I want to talk to you!”
He had walked past her and continued at speed towards the bus stop, but somehow, despite distinct feelings of injured male pride, he now stopped and turned. He noticed her eyes were very red under her navy blue beret.
“I just wanted to thank you. You didn’t have to say that and it wasn’t even true. And it made a difference.”
“What did you get?”
“Oh a lecture from the Turtle. She well and truly made me feel the lowest of the low. It was horrible and I cried my eyes out.”
“I thought you were going to get the cane; it was why I said it.”
“Oh no, not the cane, though I think the Head was thinking about it, till you said it was just a bit your fault, which it wasn’t.”
They walked to the bus stop chattering as they always had done, though Geraldine in her head was asking herself if the half truth she had just told was a fib or not? She had, after all, just had the slipper very severely and it had been worse because they always made you wait till the end of school. The waiting had been horrible.
Geraldine thought back to the words: “I have rarely met such behaviour from a Sixth Former, and you are going to be punished accordingly. Bend over and touch your toes!”
As they sat on the bus she kept remembering Miss Hemmingway’s voice and the humiliation she felt as she reached very embarrassedly for her toes and her skirts were pulled above her waist. Then the very painful thump of the slipper on a bottom that was still quite tender. She particularly resented having to touch her toes, but the pain was all too real. She wondered if the ache in her bottom was going to win, or the not unpleasant glow, but she was quite determined not to say a word about what had happened.
“We could go to Zhivago on Friday, it is still on.” Gerald was saying and she was accepting the date.
As she accepted she suddenly thought to herself that this Friday, the tenth of April 1965, could well be the day she lost her virginity. She felt ready for it and she wanted to lose it with Gerald, or would he be too nice again? It was the trouble with Gerald, he was so nice.
© Jane Fairweather 2015
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