For a few days following their tempestuous introduction to Carstairs, both Juliette and Lucy maintained a low profile. Lucy found herself reminded of her interview with Miss Parkin every time she sat down. Nonetheless, her naturally good spirits did not remain depressed for long, and she soon began to enjoy the experience of being a resident at what was, to all intents and purposes, a correctional establishment for young women.Could a birching be in Karen's future? It seems to me that she invites punishment, so she is probably looking forward to one.
Although her encounter with the tawse earned her some respect from the other girls, Lucy quickly realised that her experience had a limited shelf life. Almost all the other girls' bottoms had been warmed by one or other of the various members of staff at some time or other, so it was only the fact that she had suffered a severe punishment so early in her stay at the establishment that merited any comment. The novelty value of Lucy's tender bottom wore off within a day or two, even before she was able to sit without being reminded of her first day at Carstairs.
For the next week or so, Lucy felt quite lonely. Although most of the other girls made her welcome, she was left with the feeling that she did not really fit in. Her background was different to that of most of the other inmates and her habit of spending an hour or two each evening thinking and scribbling notes made her stand apart from her classmates. Despite her feelings of isolation, once she had become reconciled to her enforced stay at Carstairs, Lucy decided that in order to organise her thesis methodically, she would concentrate her attention on just a small group of girls at Carstairs. She included Juliette as one of her central characters and she quickly found that there was a natural grouping of friends who were ideal for her study. The group consisted of Joanna, Emma, Samantha and Karen, with Karen as the clearly established leader.
Apart from Juliette, Karen was her nearest contemporary in age, and, although they got on well enough, Lucy had the distinct impression that Karen was out of a different mould to the other girls. She was obviously very strong-willed, and, as Lucy quickly found, this willfulness landed her in a number of scrapes. Indeed it was the frequency of these brushes with authority that partially devalued the status of Lucy's early encounter with the tawse as a topic of conversation.
After the initial induction on the first day, Miss Parkin reviewed the distribution of students in the various classes and both Juliette and Lucy found themselves in the class which included Karen and her friends. This was one of the reasons why Lucy decided to make them the subjects of her most detailed study.
By the end of her first week, Lucy became so accustomed to seeing Karen's plump curves being soundly tanned that she wondered if the girl had developed a leather bottom. Twice within a matter of days, Miss Edwardes found reason to call Karen to the front of the class.
About the same height as Lucy, Karen had a shapely hour-glass figure; she had a slim waist, with well-rounded hips and firm but not over-developed breasts. She bore quite a resemblance to Lucy herself. Had it not been for her hair, which was more auburn and curly, compared to Lucy's which was black and cut into a slightly boyish short style, they might have been sisters. The similarity made it easy for Lucy to visualise that it was she who was making the lonely walk to the front of the class instead of Karen, and to fantasise that Miss Edwardes was carrying out the threat she had made on that first day.
Miss Edwardes did indeed give Karen exactly the treatment she had threatened Lucy with. The slightly sheepish-looking girl was made to pull the low wooden chair out to the centre of the room , with its back to the wall. Under Miss Edwardes's stern glance and without needing to be prompted - for she had clearly enacted this routine before - Karen knelt on the chair, her back to the class. Then she bent over the chair back and, reaching behind her, flipped her skirt up over her shoulders.
Lucy wondered if she would ever have had sufficient bravado to be quite as nonchalant as Karen seemed to be, had their roles been reversed. She imagined how she would feel, knowing that all eyes were on her while she peeled her knickers down as Karen was now doing.
Karen bent further over the chair-back and took a grasp on the lower rungs of the chair legs. The action raised her bottom, causing Lucy to tighten the muscles of her abdomen in an involuntary spasm as she caught sight of the tuft of curly brown hair in the dark crevice between Karen's legs. Her panties, twisted into a narrow band of white, linked her legs at the knees. Lucy tried to visualise herself in that position and knew that she would not have been able to take up the pose voluntarily as Karen had done.
Miss Edwardes seemed to be in no hurry as she went to her desk and withdrew a wicked-looking strap from the desk drawer. Lucy's attention was divided between the strap and her admiration of Karen's deliciously plump curves, so prominently displayed.
Miss Edwardes pushed Karen's skirt a little higher, to ensure that her target was fully exposed, and placed her left hand on the patch of bare skin thus exposed at the base of her target's spine. The strap was drawn back and then those well-displayed haunches received six swinging slashes in swift succession. Lucy winced as the staccato of crisp whacks echoed round the room and realised that she had indeed been let off quite lightly with a hand-spanking, although it had not seemed so at the time.
As the gentle pressure on her back was removed, Karen straightened up on the chair, allowing her skirt to fall back over her now scarlet posterior. Her face was only a little flushed, and Lucy thought this could have easily been caused by her head-down stance on the chair. Karen eased herself off the chair and with an almost cheery "Thank you, Miss", bent over and pulled her panties up. Lucy noted that she was quite gentle as the garment was hoisted the last few inches, and agin wondered if she would have been as brave if her own bottom had been smarting, as Karen's no doubt was.
* * *
As her thesis developed each day, so did Lucy's realisation that her chosen subject was becoming more than just an academic curiosity. At first, she did not recognise her craving for what it was, and just felt increasingly frustrated at her inability to focus on whatever it was that was unsettling in the back of her mind. As the red welts across her bottom faded and then disappeared completely, she found it more and more difficult to cope with the images that haunted her.
Only a few days later, Karen was in trouble again and defiantly marching to the front of the class. As she once again took an almost graceful dive over the chair back, Lucy could plainly see the previous strapping had left a faint tracery of lines across the previously unblemished cheeks of Karen's pert bottom. Miss Edwardes was clearly determined to win the battle of wills between student and teacher, and reddened the girl's posterior considerably, this time giving her eight sound stingers, the sound of which ricocheted off the classroom walls like bullets. Even so, Karen seemed quite unconcerned as she hitched her knickers up after being released.
"I warn you, girl, not to try my patience too far. If I have cause to discipline you just once more this term, then I will send you to Miss Parkin with a strong recommendation that you be birched. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, Miss Edwardes," Karen smiled.
"Go and sit down, if you still can." The teacher's frustration was obvious.
As she worked on her papers each evening, Lucy's imagination more than once savoured Karen's position, head down over the chair back, displaying her bare bottom to the watching class. Just as often, though, she pictured Juliette, bent over in a perfect curve across the table, her creamy-white bottom as yet unmarked by the strap. Sometimes, she also saw herself, in a kind of 'out of body' vision, placed in similar circumstances. Oddly, it was not her session under Miss Parkin's tawse which featured in this vision; the severity of that punishment was such that she wanted to blot it from her mind. As if from a point high on the wall at the back of the room, she saw herself sprawled across Miss Edwardes's lap. Her skirt was flipped up over her shoulders and Miss Edwardes had ensured that her panties offered no protection from the stinging slaps she administered. Lucy could still remember each one and shivered at the thought. She knew that every eye in the class had been on her quivering bottom and flushed scarlet. How many of them, she wondered, felt the same way towards her as she was beginning to feel, first about Juliette and now Karen?
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