There were the stares and giggles. Nothing was too obvious or direct, but it was there, the same way the squeaking of rubber soles on the tile floor was there; in the background permeating everything. Michelle kept her head up as she weaved through packed hallway toward her second period class. No one would dare laugh at her face.
A cold hand dropped onto her shoulder. Michelle twitched, shaking free of the offending limb and twisting her head to look behind her for the source; Aimie Andrews. Their eyes met and Michelle exhaled, shaking her head briefly before turning back to her original course.
“You’re pissed,” Aimie said, taking pace next to Michelle. “That’s a good sign.”
Michelle cocked her head sideways and lifted an eyebrow. “It is?”
“Yeah,” Aimie said, “it means you haven’t turned into just another Cody cock whore. Or at least, I hope not?”
“You call yourself a friend and have to ask?” Michelle puffed on hot air and quickened her pace.
Aimie grabbed her arm, forcing a slowdown. “Hey, what do you expect? The dweeb has been spreading rumors all morning and you haven’t said jack to anyone. It’s not like you haven’t been hanging with him and everybody saw his paws all over you on Wednesday.”
Michelle waved a dismissive hand at her friend. “Cody think he’s far more relevant than he actually is and some of that comes from people like you putting way too much importance in what he says. Trust me, he’s irrelevant.”
Aimie shook her head. Spotting a free area to their left she tugged Michelle along with her through the thinning crowd. They stood in front of a maintenance door in a void created by the lockers on the adjacent wall. Across the hallway, the door remained open leading into their shared second period English class.
“He may be irrelevant,” Aimie said, “but your reputation is not. You can’t just let him trash you.”
Michelle laughed at her friend. “He’s only trashing himself, but it’s just going to take a little bit before he, and everyone else, figures it out. Besides, I still need him to remain stupid for a few more hours.”
Aimie shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I should have known you had scheme going here. So, what is it?”
“Ask me next week,” Michelle said and turned toward the open classroom door.
Aimie grabbed Michelle’s arm again. “Hang on a second. If you aren’t all pissed over Cody, then what’s up?”
Michelle turned back toward her friend. A flush of embarrassment warmed her skin and she looked at the sign on the door behind Aimie to avoid looking into her eyes. “Nothing.”
Aimie’s head tilted to the left. “Nothing? Bullshit. What’s going on?”
The crowd in the hall was getting noticeable thinner. Time was running down on the passing period. Michelle glanced behind her at the open door. “We should go.”
Realization dawned in Aimie’s eyes. “You’re in trouble.”
Michelle’s eyes opened wide. “How would you know?”
“Cause it’s like written all over your face,” Aimie said. “So?”
Michelle sighed and turned her full attention back to her friend. “I didn’t get my Civics done last night.”
Aimie laughed. “That’s all? Damn, I didn’t do my English homework and it’s the third time this month I’ve missed. You’re worried about one time in Civics?”
“It’s not Civics I’m worried about,” Michelle said.
“Then what?” Aimie asked.
“If my dad finds out,” Michelle said, “it’ll screw everything up.”
Aimie shrugged. “So, don’t let him find out.”
“If that was possible it’d be great,” Michelle said, shaking her head. “The problem is you know Wolfe will assign after school detention and that means I’ll miss my ride home this afternoon.”
“Make something up. Tell your dad you stayed after to do extra credit work with Mr. Wolfe,” Aimie said.
“That’s a little too bold,” Michelle said with a laugh. “If my dad didn’t believe me and call Mr. Wolfe, he would not only find out I lied, but also why I lied. No, the truth is the only way out of this is to get the work done somehow between now and third period.”
A flicker in Aimie’s eyes made Michelle look over her shoulder. Nick was walking along the corridor with post-it marked textbook in his hands. Michelle watched as he passed and turned left into the teachers’ lounge. She scowled at his absence.
Aimie cleared her throat with a shallow cough. “I see.”
Michelle’s eyebrows raised as she turned back to her friend. “What?”
“Nothing.” Aimie shrugged.
Michelle cocked her head to the left. “You’re really getting on my nerves today.”
Aimie nodded. “Aside from Cody, that seems to be the rule of the day.”
“Be a bitch on your own time,” Michelle said and turned away, taking a step toward the open classroom door.
“Normal girls kiss the guys they like,” Aimie said, “and save the castrating for the bastards. You seem to have it backwards.”
Michelle turned back around on her heel and stepped up close to Aimie. “I wasn’t trying—
—to castrate Nick?” Aimie asked, tossing her brown curls off her shoulders. “I’m sure you fooled everyone, including Nick, this morning with your little stunt in the hall.”
Michelle squared her shoulders and stared down at Aimie. “That’s none of your damned business.”
“Then maybe you should have had your little spat in a more private place,” Aimie said.
“Look,” Michelle said, backing down a little, “it’s not what you think.”
Aimie shrugged. “So it’s got nothing to do with him being jealous as hell over the display you put on with Cody this week?”
Michelle sighed. “No, I asked for his help with my Civics problem and he refused.”
“Because of Cody,” Aimie said.
“No!” Michelle shook her head. “He... just forget it okay?”
“Uh uh.” Aimie shook her head. “Out with it.”
Michelle stared at the maintenance door. “He wanted to spank me before he’d help.”
“And you said no?” Aimie blinked wildly.
“Of course I said no.” Michelle stared down at her friend.
Aimie continued to blink. “You like him, right?”
“Not at the moment,” Michelle said.
Aimie scoffed. “Bullshit. You’re crazy about him. So, what you’re going to do is as soon as second period is over, you’re going to run, don’t walk, and find Nick. Then you are going to get down on your knees and beg the boy to put you over his lap everyday for the rest of your life or as least for the next week and if you’re really lucky, he might still help you with your homework problem.”
“You’re delusional,” Michelle said.
Aimie laughed. A shadow fell over the two girls from behind Michelle. They fell silent, noticing the hallways was nearly empty, except for them and the shadow. Michelle turned toward the source and looked up to see Mr. Wolfe, smiling down at her.
He said, “If I’m not mistaken, you ladies should be rushing off to class.”
They both straightened and lowered their gazes respectfully. “Yes, sir.”
“Off you go then,” he said with a wave of his hand before continuing on his way toward the teachers’ lounge.
The bell rang marking the end of the passing period. Michelle and Aimie barged through the door, scrambling to get to their seats before the final shrill fell into silence. Mrs. Rixford singled Aimie out with a stern gaze and a disapproving shake of her head before turning to her lesson plan on the podium.
Mrs. Rixford spoke to the classroom at large, flipping the page on her planner. “Pass your homework to the front and open your books to page 137.”
The classroom rustled to life. Books were opened, homework pages were torn from spiral notebooks and gossip was spread with the passing of each page toward the front of the room. Collecting the pages, Mrs. Rixford stopped at the front of the row seating Aimie and Michelle. She thumbed through the pages and cleared her throat, fixing her gaze on Aimie.
“Aimie,” Mrs. Rixford said, causing Aimie to twist in her seat to face the front of the classroom, “It appears you forgot to pass in your homework. Perhaps you would be so kind as to pass it forward now?”
Aimie swallowed and blushed while brushing aside strands of her curly hair from her face. “Would you believe I already did?”
Mrs. Rixford’s chin dropped a quarter of an inch and her dry lips flattened. “If you had it would be in my hand.”
“There must be some mistake,” Aimie said with a shrug.
Mrs. Rixford nodded. “Yes, such as for the third time this month you have apparently sluffed off the homework I assigned.”
“That would be a very serious mistake,” Aimie said, glancing around the room, “but don’t you think it’s more likely one of these jealous classmates sitting in front of me stole my homework?”
“No, I do not,” Mrs. Rixford said, “however, I do find it difficult to understand why you would even show up to class without your homework after the warning I gave you last week.”
Aimie shrugged. “Wishful thinking I guess.”
“Indeed,” Mrs. Rixford said, “if you thought I wouldn’t follow through.”
“Well actually,” Aimie said, “I was watching this movie and with the rainstorm I thought it might just be possible you’d melt away long before class.”
Mrs. Rixford’s lips curled upward into a scary smile. “Too bad for you we don’t live in Oz.”
“So you admit you’re wicked,” Aimie said.
“Thoroughly,” Mrs. Rixford said, still smiling.
The silence in the room filled with the gloom of the storm raging outside. Michelle shuddered in her seat when the lights flickered in sync with a loud boom of thunder. The ceiling tiles rattled in their frames and the whisper of hot air being blown into the room through strategically placed vents added an extra heft to the air. Michelle looked around the room, but all eyes were on Aimie.
“How about,” Aimie said, “I do an extra assignment over the weekend and we call it even?”
“That’s a wonderful idea,” Mrs. Rixford said.
Aimie’s eyebrows lifted. “It is?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Rixford said, nodding. “You can do the assignment from last night, your homework for the weekend and an extra assignment, all due on Monday.”
Aimie said, “Uh, okay.”
Mrs. Rixford said, “I’m glad we’re in agreement. Now if you would join me at the front of the class for your swats, we can move on to other business for the day.”
Aimie blinked. “But I thought—
Mrs. Rixford said, “Enough, Miss Andrews. Get yourself up here before I have one of these young men drag you up here.”
Aimie adopted a frown and pushed herself up out of her desk. She trudged quietly to the front. Michelle watched her go, envying the quiet confidence that seemed to emanate from her. Around the room, anticipation hung on the faces of people that were supposed to be friends. Michelle realized it didn’t matter, anyone pulled to the front for a spanking was a spectacle and for the largest part, everyone was going to enjoy the show. The butterflies in her stomach reawakened, reminding her that it was only a couple more hours before she would find herself in the same position unless she found a way to get her own Civics homework done.
Mrs. Rixford held her hand out toward Aimie and said, “Remove your blazer.”
Aimie slipped it from her shoulders and allowed Mrs. Rixford to take it. Mrs. Rixford draped it over her podium and lifted the long wooden paddle from its hook on the side. She sliced it through the air, popping it against the flat of her hand and making everyone jump, especially Aimie.
Mrs. Rixford barked orders at Aimie while the class remained in tense silence. “Feet, shoulders width apart, legs straight, bend down and touch your toes. You’ll count each swat aloud and stay in position until I say it’s over. If you don’t, the previous swat will be repeated and another will be added on at the end. Understood?”
Aimie said, “I think I know the routine.”
Michelle looked around the classroom, anything to avoid looking at her friend or more aptly, the specter of her future self. The collective eyes of their classmates were focused on Aimie and Mrs. Rixford. Several of the boys sat on the edge of their seats, as if suddenly uncomfortable. Their lack of empathy felt colder than the storm wind blowing outside.
Still, Michelle could hardly blame them when she too was watching the scene unfold. It was like staring at the last chocolate in a box and knowing you shouldn’t, but all the while lifting it up to devour it in all its sinful delectableness.
Aimie widened her stance and slowly stretched herself downward until her fingertips brushed the tops of her polished shoes. Mrs. Rixford swatted the paddle against the open flat of her palm. The class bristled in anticipation of the main event.
Mrs. Rixford said, “I think we’ll have five swats for not doing your homework and another five swats for sass and then two more just to make sure you’re getting the message this time. Is that acceptable Aimie or should I add a few more?”
Michelle cover her mouth to avoid her friend spying the amusement on her lips. Aimie gave an upside down shrug and said, “You’re the teacher.”
Mrs. Rixford raised the paddle in the air behind her. “Yes, I am,” she said and brought the paddle crashing down onto Aimie’s proffered posterior.
Aimie’s skirt flattened and then fluttered in the wake of the swat. Her voice was calm and steady as she counted, “One.”
Michelle gripped the edges of her desk. The paddle raised high in the air and hovered. Mrs. Rixford swung it down, popping against Aimie’s rear. The skirt fluttered again teasing the class with a flicker of white from beneath its folds of fabric. The clock on the wall above the whiteboard ticked off another second in the quiet aftermath of the swat.
“Two,” Aimie said.
A flash of lightning outside the window on the left wall grabbed Michelle’s attention. The pop of the paddle impacting Aimie’s bottom turned Michelle’s head back toward the spanking. A moment later, thunder rattled the window as if it was an echo to the latest swat.
Aimie’s voice wavered and her tone took a turn toward the contrite. “Three,” she said.
Michelle blinked and looked around the classroom. No one was looking anywhere except at Aimie and her prominent rear end. Nick’s offer to spare her the same humiliation in Civics suddenly seemed a kindness. Of course, the prospect of laying herself over his lap for discipline remained equal parts daunting and exciting, but maybe Aimie was right.
Mrs. Rixford swung the paddle.
Aimie swayed from side to side for a moment. Even at the back of the classroom, Michelle could hear the ragged breathing of her friend as she attempted to weather the formidable sting being imparted by Mrs. Rixford. Michelle twitched in her seat as if her own bottom was stinging.
“Four,” Aimie said.
The paddle swooshed through the air. Michelle squeezed her eyes shut a second before the impact and reopened them in tune with the pop. Aimie’s skirt fluttered in the paddle’s breeze. “Five.”
Mrs. Rixford lowered the paddle to her side and took a step back from Aimie. “Flip up your skirt for the next five,” she said.
Michelle, like her classmates, was transfixed by the scene. Aimie reached up from her bent position and tossed the back hem of her skirt upward. The material landed on her back, exposing a pair of plain white panties to entire room. Her redden buttocks gave the white undergarment a pinkish glow.
Aimie’s fingers returned to the tops of her shoes. Mrs. Rixford stepped up into position again and raised the paddle in the air behind her. She brought it down on the panties flattening the buttocks. Waves of wobbling force shuddered through Aimie’s legs and the red became redder.
“Six,” Aimie said.
Michelle peered through shuttered eyelids.
“Seven.” Aimie counted in the aftermath of another swat.
Michelle looked down at her desktop and the open book in front of her. She tried to focus on the words, but all she saw was her blank homework for Civics. It taunted her. She shuddered at the echo of the paddle impacting Aimie’s bottom.
“Eight,” Aimie said.
Mrs. Rixford paused to address the class. “I hope everyone is learning from this.” She swung the paddle like a period on her sentence.
“Nine,” Aimie said.
Michelle’s ears tingled at the tone in her friend’s voice. She could hear the strain coming through and the limits of tolerance being reached. It would take little more to bring about tears and though it would seem only natural there was something about crying in front of classmates that made it a shameful act to be avoided above all others. Aimie understood, but there were limits and if an experienced rule breaker like Aimie couldn’t withstand the full swats of a middle-aged woman, how could Michelle hope to withstand the efforts of a younger and stronger man?
“Ten,” Aimie said.
“Final two,” Mrs. Rixford said. “You can stay quiet for these.”
Michelle wondered if it was kindness in Mrs. Rixford’s decision or if it was a taunting of sorts. Perhaps she too had heard the fragile edge in Aimie’s last counts and realized silence was not on the menu for much longer. It was more than a spanking going on at the front of the room. It was a battle of spirits, student and teacher, each vying for a symbolic victory over the other. It was idiotic and yet Michelle knew she would play the same game with Mr. Wolfe if it came to it.
The final two swats landed in close repetition. Silence fell upon the room. Mrs. Rixford hung the paddle back on its hook. She lifted the blazer from the podium and stood facing Aimie, still bent over. The patter of rain on the roof counted the long seconds. Michelle and her classmates waited with held breath.
“Stand up,” Mrs. Rixford said.
Aimie rose. She turned to face Mrs. Rixford, brushing her hair with her fingertips. She took the blazer from Mrs. Rixford’s outstretched hand and shrugged her way back into it. Michelle noticed a trembling in Aimie’s legs as she walked back toward her desk. There was wetness below Aimie’s eyes as she took her seat. Michelle decided to do whatever it would take to avoid Mr. Wolfe’s paddle.