(Continued from A Shower Interrupted)
Propped on three pillows, Jenni stretched out on her bunk. Her honey streaked hair, now dry, framed her face and glasses as she pretended to read the book in her hands. There were about a dozen women about, reading, tidying, dressing, coming and going-probably none aware of what was about to happen. At 25 Jenni was the oldest on the team and had come back to play with the semi-pros who headquartered at the Academy under her old coach.
For a while it had been fun, playing the game she loved as a kid for money (if a pittance) and it wasn’t like she had anything else to do the job market being what it was. But the tedium and rules that Max Cherry had in place for the girls of course rankled her. He only knew of one way to coach, whether it was teens or women.
Only once in her scholastic career had she been told to “prepare herself” so she knew what it meant. Bare from the waist down, on your stomach with a pillow under your hips-splayed and displayed- as it were. Many times had she walked to her bunk past girl’s tightly clenched bum cheeks waiting for the visit from Dr. Cherry. The humiliation of waiting like that was as bad as the caning for some. Almost, anyway.
This time though, she had decided to push back a little, as she had been for the last couple of weeks. If quizzed, she wouldn’t be able to say why she was pushing, which frustrated her, but here she was, in T-shirt and sweat pants lounging on the bed nervously glancing up every time the door opened. Did she think he would let her slide? Did she doubt he would walk through that door at any moment? And if he did how would she react? How would he?
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice Max Cherry enter the room. In fact, he was halfway to her bunk before she saw him carrying a rattan cane roughly the length of a yardstick and as thick around as her pinky. The moment she saw his face she knew she had made a mistake. To everyone else in the room-who parted from his path like flotsam before a steaming ship-he looked coolly implacable but she knew better.
She fixed him with her green eyes over the tops of her reading glasses trying to pull off a kind of disinterested glare. The attempt broke apart on the rocks of his burning dark eyes. She looked away quickly hoping to regroup.
“Is this the way you want to play it then?” He asked quietly biting off the words as he reached her bunk.
“No, I…” she blathered, not regrouping well at all. “I didn’t know when you…” She noticed that the women who had been quickly on their way to other places began to slow their paces. Began to linger-finding something interesting on the table two beds over, or at that moment thought of something to write in their notebook. Another moment and Dr. Cherry would raise his voice and tell her in no uncertain terms what to do and how to do it. She couldn’t abide thought of a lecture on top of everything else that was coming.
“No, no…you’re right”, she said quickly closing the book and laying it on the bedside table. Her glasses followed. “I…I should have been prepared for you. I’m sorry.”
Averting her eyes, she untied the drawstring on her sweats and lifted her bottom to slide them over her hips. She had at least had the sense to not wear panties. As she rolled onto her belly she had a quick glance of most of her teammates pausing for a moment. Impossible to tell, she thought with her face in her pillows, who would watch and who wouldn’t but she was betting there would be close to a capacity crowd.
This was the first caning Dr. Cherry had been forced to dole out this season and Jenni, though knowing her role, was not at this moment, happy that she was the main player in the act. She wriggled uncomfortably and revealingly to push her sweat pants as far down her legs as she could, then lifted to slip a pillow under herself. With a jerk, she felt her pants yanked all the way off. Hopefully it was Dr. Cherry doing the yanking and nobody else was taking part. She then, as so many had before her, held her legs as tightly as she could so as not to reveal any more than necessary.
“Alright Jenn. I don’t know how many I’m going to give you-but I want you to count, you understand?” By his voice he wasn’t talking to her, but to the team. Christ! Now she felt not only exposed and vulnerable, but humiliated and…frightened. She hated the thought of counting. Her idea had been to stoically take this caning-she was sure she could take the strokes without too much of a struggle-but didn’t know how she would be able to modulate her voice. If it….her thought process was interrupted by the first searing stroke dead center across her upturned bottom. “One”, she puffed on a gasp. “Two!” she said calmly if a little stridently when the second landed. Jesus! This was hurting more than she remembered.
She absorbed three and four by flexing her shoulders to offset the burning pain on her bottom and bit off the numbers tightly. Dr. Cherry could see that she was holding her breath between blows then heard the slight quaver in her voice when she said “FOUR!”
She wondered again how many were watching. She assumed some had walked away out of embarrassment for her, just as others were there watching in solidarity. She had not been the only one out drinking the other night and she was, in a sense, taking this for the team. And she knew at least two would be watching breathlessly with definite dampening between their legs.
Her stoic wall cracked when he delivered the fifth stroke to the soft bottom of her right cheek and she grabbed the pillows firmly in her fists. She fairly barked the number “FIVE!” and when the sixth burned into the soft flesh at the top of her thigh she yelped loudly without a number. Coach Cherry let it slide and delivered the seventh stroke in the same tortured spot causing Jenni to growl and almost roll onto her side. Instead, she pulled her knee toward her head as if beginning the first step in crawling up the bed and away from the lashing cane.
But she was going nowhere. The next stroke caught her high on the bottom and she bucked. Though it felt better to move her leg, all she did was open the whole of her bottom to the prying eyes of everyone behind her-something she cared nothing about at this moment.
She was pretty sure she wasn’t going to cry but not so sure she wouldn’t be a wailing kicking baby if this went on too much longer. Would she have to ask for mercy? THAT would be the worst. She felt the cane tapping softly on her almost untouched left cheek.
“No, no Jenn…come on”, He was saying gently. “Lay back over.”
She did as she was told. No need to pretend anymore, she gripped the pillows strongly the veins popping in her arms and lifted her bottom. Then next strokes fell hard and mercifully on the newly striped left cheek and she grunted for each. She took a breath and he, as if waiting for that, lashed the tip of the cane into the soft palp below her left cheek.
“YOWL!” she cried loudly and raised on her toes again exposing herself to any and all. Quickly, when she was up on her toes and exposed, Cherry swung hard and laid a stroke that reddened immediately right across her bottom crease which was now taking on the deep brick color of the building itself. She flopped back into place and tensed everything. Her muscles hardened from calf to finger as she tightened everything she could tighten.
That was it, she thought quivering. I can’t take another. Not one more stroke. She opened her mouth to ask for quarter-when Dr. Cherry spoke up. “What do you think team? Do you think she’s had enough?” Mouth still open she heard some murmuring and shuffling that she could only hope were nods of assent. Then she felt the end of the cane tap lightly down her thigh.
“Yep, you’re done, Jenni. Relax.”
With a sigh, she let her rigid body go lax.
“Give me your phone, Cheryl.” She heard him say. “I’m setting this for twenty minutes. You will lay here like this till then. Got it?” She nodded and listened as he walked out the door the way he came in. Once the door closed, women walked past and said things like good job-thanks for that-some just a tap on the calf. One, she could guess who, tapped her on the hip-chastely avoiding her bum. She felt Cheryl beside her before she placed a tube in her left hand. “A little salve”, she whispered. “It will take the sting out.”
“Thanks…” she whispered.
“If you want, I’d be happy to apply it”.
Jenni smiled and returned the pinky shake-the woman was incorrigible.
“Lift” she said gently and when she did, Cheryl pulled the pillow out so she could lie flat. Jenni felt the heat in her bottom radiate through her body and another warmth spread from between her legs. She allowed it to flow thickly from her as her body drifted away from where she lay exposed and marked to a warm quiet place. In moments, she was asleep.
When she next opened her eyes, the empty dorm was suffused with a late afternoon glow as the sun, lower now, filtered through the thick sycamore leaves outside the window. Dinner, she thought, pulling her face from the damp pillow. Someone, before leaving, had thrown a sheet over her and she felt a welling of gratitude until she sat up and placed her feet on the floor. Then she felt the burning on her bottom anew and wiggled before standing. She reached back to rub the weals gently.
“Damn, Max”, she said softly. She tossed her sweat pants over her shoulder and walked to the bathroom. Dinner sounded good, but it could wait. She first had to get something straight with Dr. Cherry.