“Lizzie, what is it?”
Aleson Fleming, her bookbag over her shoulder stopped at the Alumni Bench at the entrance to the rose garden when she saw her friend Elizabeth Perkins sitting there forlornly chin in the palm of her hand elbow dug into her thigh. Lizzie was a year behind Aleson but they’d become fast friends the year before in the way some girls will when away from home for the first time.
“Oh Aleson, I”m afraid I’m to be caned!” The words tumbled out breathlessly and her eyes filled and glistened as she looked up at her friend. At school there were two basic groups of girls: those who were caned-whose behaviours warranted, who understood and accepted the sting of the cane to be as much a part of matriculation as books and calculators. Then there is was Elizabeth’s group- those whose sole purpose seemed to be to avoid even the possibility.of the pain and humiliation of the cane.
“Caned? You? Whatever for?”
It was stupid, she knew. That’s what she was chewing over on this bench for the last twenty minutes. Betty Hardin had supposedly come into possession of the answers to last Friday’s trig test. That was Elizabeth’s worst class and she’d already failed the first test so she copied the answers into her notebook not really planning to use them for the test. She thought rather to use them as a study guide to better prepare. She had not even had a chance to use them. Mr. Matson, in a surprise move had gathered everyone’s notebooks before class to supposedly review the class notes to ensure everyone was paying proper attention. He, of course, saw the answers. And sent her straightaway to Mr. Rousseau, the new headmaster.
Over the previous term, when Ms. Jones was Head MIstress, Betty had so many stripes across her bum that it could have served as the outline for a crossword puzzle. So she was deemed incorrigible and sent home for the term.
“Oh, LIzzie, I know how much the thought of a caning bothers you.” Aleson said rubbing her friend’s shoulder “Don’t fret so much-it will be over in a snap, far less than the time you are wasting fretting about it. In fact, I’m sure that’s why he told you he’d get back to you later-he knew how riled up you would get.”
“It’s working!” LIzzie said miserably as a single tear broke free from her right blue eye and slipped haltingly-from freckle to freckle-down her cheek. Aleson grabbed her hands one in each and leaned in to kiss the tear away. “Don’t worry my dear, word is, Mr. Rousseau hasn’t caned anyone yet. Even those who’ve deserved it. I’m thinking if he was going to cane you he would have already. Besides she whispered, her lips against the ruddy auburn locks that covered her ear, “But if he does, I’ll be here for you.. I’d love to kiss every stripe on your bottom and I promise you’ll feel so much better.
Lizzie closed her eyes, the misery and dread of the impending caning tempered by the thought of Allie paying that sort of close attention to her bottom, striped or not. Their intimacies had been rather chaste even given the communal shower where each could see the other in the soapy wet altogether but never alone to allow for more than fraught, hidden looks and “accidental” bumping into each other. In the rooms there was kissing, leg rubbing, hands under blouses, bras unsnapped and this Friday past Allie’s finger inside LIzzi’s panties and indeed, inside Lizzie. The electricity of that single touch had buzzed for the weekend. What were they waiting for? No, not they, it was LIzzie who had been holding back, afraid as always.