It was pleasurable to see Katherine Chambers. She stood at the table during dinner, leaning down every so often to take another bite. Her usual place at the head of the table was taken by Gary and Katherine in turn stood behind his customary chair just to the right. Having just been in the position myself, I understood the embarrassment factor quite well. Standing naked for meals in a dining hall filled with comfortably dressed coworkers and students makes a significant mental impact. Of course, there were others standing, mostly students, but against the masses, standing and eating naked is a lonely adventure.
I suspect my pleasure at the turn of events was shared by others at the table, but I rather think the intensity of mine was greater. There was the obvious factor that I had only days prior been in the precise same circumstances and that Katherine had seemed to revel in my embarrassing and painful condition. But it was deeper than that. At those times when my Uncle had disciplined me, there was never a time when I had walked into the room and found another girl standing bare bottomed in the corner. In a way, seeing Katherine, naked and red bottomed, made the world feel balanced.
After dinner, I was walking back toward Tanzanite House, lost in my thoughts on the overall fairness of Rosecliff Institute, when Gary settled into pace beside me. His mere presence was distracting. A single glance in his direction revealed a certain deviousness at work behind his eyes. I suspect he is a master at chess, always planning out the future with dozens of favorable movement possibilities.
He asked, “Do you have plans for the evening?”
I was tempted to lie. The thought of spending an evening with him filled me with trepidation. But I was not foolish enough to believe that if he wanted something from me, I would be successful at keeping that something from him for more than a few hours, days at the most. “Nothing important,” I said.
A small smile crept the corners of his lips upward. “Excellent. I’m in need of your assistance.”
My imagination offered terrible images of what assistance he might think he required from me. I pushed the thoughts away, convincing myself that whatever I could think of would never approach the thoughts being plotted in his mind. A polite smile found its way to my lips. “What can I do?”
“You are familiar with Katherine and her current troubles?” he asked.
I knew the rumors. She had defied the Dean and was currently learning the cost of defiance. “I’ve heard it had something to do with a disagreement with Dean Rosecliff.”
Gary nodded. “That is the short version. Katherine has decided to stick her neck out for a student. A poor decision, I assure you, and one you would be wise not to copy.”
“I see.” Curiosity demanded I ask the obvious and I could tell he was merely waiting for the question. I asked, “Which student?”
He smiled, “It matters not. They’re all bad apples and unworthy of such risk.”
I suspected he was right. The students at Rosecliff were all guilty of acts which, without the charitable intervention of Rosecliff, would have landed them behind iron bars for years. These were not innocent souls in need of protection. “What would you have me do this evening?”
He nodded ahead toward Katherine. She was walking up the steps into Tanzanite House. Her red butt wagging slightly from side to side. Were it not for Gary’s presence I might have laughed.
Gary said, “I need you to watch over the common room tonight while I deal with a situation in the House office.”
It sounded simple enough. “I can do that.”
His smiled widened. “See to it that Katherine remains busy and exposed to the students during the evening. I wouldn’t want her to find the night the slightest bit pleasant. She is, after all, being disciplined.”
I smiled. An opportunity for revenge was not something I had expected so soon. “I think I can manage that.”He nodded as we climbed the steps. “I thought you might.”