Laura chewed her thumbnail thoughtfully as she watched the second hand on the clock tick slowly above the green chalkboard. Three minutes until the bell rang. Timing was everything, and she had things planned to the second.

She cast a sideways glance at Denise Blakely, who was crossing and uncrossing her ankles. Laura may have been watching the clock, but Denise’s eyes were glued to it. She had every reason to be anxious. Laura had watched this morning as Denise had received her third pink slip for being late to class. Denise was always late, and no matter how frantically she tried to explain herself, their homeroom teacher never let her get by with it. And every few weeks, she’d get that third slip, the one that meant detention or–


It was a big or. Denise was a basketball player, a senior, and had practice everyday after school, practice that she couldn’t afford to miss. It didn’t take long for her coach and the principal to devise an alternate punishment to detention, one which Denise could choose instead, one which she would choose, of course, if it meant not missing practice. While it wasn’t commonly used, it was certainly commonly known that corporal punishment was common in their district. Laura had discovered the arrangement when she had come back to the school one afternoon for a textbook. Her locker was right next to the principal’s office and as she had fumbled with her combination lock, she’d heard a muffled thud and a stifled squeak from the other side of the closed door.

The muscles of her bottom clenched at the memory, and she returned her gaze to the ticking clock. One minute left.

As far as she could tell, Ms. Hartwell, the school’s principal, waited for about ten minutes after the final bell before she began administering the paddling. It was enough time for the school to be mostly empty, though not completely. And she never waited longer than that. Laura knew because the second time it had happened, she’d made sure to lag behind, thumbing idly through an old notebook and pretending to be desperate for some note she had made or phone number she needed. It had been homecoming week, and there’d been more students in the halls after school than usual. There came a few moments, though, when the hall was completely empty, just as it was approaching the ten-after mark, and Laura had quickly pressed her ear to the door, her curiosity making her daring. She’d heard Denise pleading with Ms. Hartwell, and then the older woman’s unsympathetic response.

“Please, there are so many people still here! Just this once, pleeassse…”

“You have a choice. You always have a choice, but I will remind you once again: you may march yourself over to detention, or you may bend over my desk. You have three seconds to make your decision, Miss Blakely, or you will find yourself in detention AND with a sore backside.”

Almost immediately after the exchange, Laura had heard the paddling begin. The first swat seemed to land so forcefully that she had jerked her head away from the door just at the sound. It was a good thing, too, because just at that moment a group of students had turned down the hallway, too busy talking to each other about the upcoming game to notice the sounds from the 

office or the blushing girl kneeling awkwardly by her nearby locker.

Today, now, at the ring of the bell, Laura had a plan on how to be in the right place at the right time to hear poor Denise receive yet another paddling at the hands of their very strict principal. Laura had already played out how the scene must go, hadn’t been able to stop imagining it since the moment she saw Denise’s dejected face as she crumbled the pink slip in her hand that morning. Ms. Hartwell was presumably all business, as she usually was. She was an older woman with dark grey hair and fierce brown eyes, average height but always in black or grey heels as she patrolled the corridors of their school. The paddle that most students assumed was for show hung behind her desk, and she must get it down the moment Denise walked timidly into her office. Denise, who had long legs and long hair, the muscled girl who led their team to victory after victory, having to bend herself across the desk and wait for the punishment to begin…

Laura’s daydream was interrupted as the bell finally rang. She shook herself as she grabbed her books off the desk and walked toward the door, heading not for her locker but for the girl’s restroom on the second floor. She didn’t want to spend another ten minutes lurking awkwardly in the hall before the paddling even started, and there was always the chance that a friend would strike up a conversation and presumably move it outside as they waited for the bus or got in their cars. She didn’t want to take that risk, so she planned to waste the first six minutes in the bathroom before popping into her Calculus teacher’s room to look for a lost pen. He was an older man with wispy gray hair poking out of his barely functioning ears. He hardly noticed his 

students during their classes, and less so after, so she felt confident that she could dally another three minutes in his room without beginning any sort of conversation. Then she had a minute to make her way back downstairs, her route planned to avoid her English teacher, who would surely want to chat about the book they were reading and was never able to keep a conversation under ten minutes.

Everything went off without a hitch, and she found herself a little breathless at her locker just in a nick of time, trying to keep the metal from clanking as she opened it up and began to rummage through her things. As the last few students breezed through the side entrance, she heard Ms. Hartwell’s voice begin to rise on the other side of the door. A shiver went down her spine– Denise was being lectured! Usually Ms. Hartwell got right down to business, but she must be fed up with the repeat offense, Laura thought to herself. Her heart beat faster as she tried to make out the chastising words of her principal… something about effort… basketball… proper motivation… definitely a lot about motivation.

Just as suddenly as the lecture had started, it stopped, and with barely a pause Laura heard the crack of the paddle as it made contact with the unfortunate girl’s backside. It was sharper than usual, though, and another loud crack followed almost immediately. Laura found herself mesmerized by the new pattern, the fast and loud smacks and the increasing loud yelps from Denise.

“Ms. Hartwell doesn’t like to see students more than once for the same thing.”

Laura yelped herself as she jumped and turned, bolted from her careless state of listening by the woman behind her. It was the school’s secretary, Ms.Johnston, peering down at her over a pair of harsh black eyeglasses, a stack of books and papers in one arm and her free hand on her hip. Laura felt the heat of embarrassment rush up her body like a wave, forcing its way out of her tee shirt and surrounding her face. She looked up at the woman from her crouched position on the floor, taking in the tall heels, the pinstriped pants, the no-nonsense blouse, the stern eyes peering down at her. Laura was tall herself, as tall as Denise or any of the other basketball  players, but hunkered down here, caught listening with obvious interest to the girl just beyond the closed door, she felt small and powerless and ashamed. Ms.Johnston looked at her a moment longer, hands on her hips, before uttering the single word, “Come,” then turning to walk away.

Laura hesitated only a moment before shoving her things into her locker and rushing after her. She cast a backward glance at the school’s exit, briefly contemplating running in the other direction, but she didn’t dare. She caught up quickly, then slowed to match Ms. Johnston’s measured steps. Her eyes were focused on the clicking heels, so focused that she almost ran right into the secretary when she stopped. Laura looked up to find herself in an empty classroom, one of the biology rooms from the looks of the posters on the wall. Ms. Johnston turned, pointing to one of the desks in the front row. “Sit.”

Laura swallowed, heard the sound of her own dry throat in the silent classroom, and took a seat. Ms. Johnston watched her pointedly, making Laura avert her gaze while the secretary looked down at her. After a minute of heavy silence, Ms. Johnston walked over the intercom by the door and pressed a well-manicured finger on the button. “Room 108,” she said crisply. Laura breathed a sigh of relief to have the woman’s eyes off of her, but now she began to squirm again. These short, clipped phrases were somehow worse than a lecture. There was no room for interpretation, no gauging how upset the secretary was when she hadn’t said more than two words at a time since first coming upon the eavesdropping student.

The classroom door opened, and Laura was jolted out of her thoughts as Principal Hartwell stepped in the room. Ms. Johnston raised her eyebrows at Laura with a now-you’ve-doneit expression. Ms. Hartwell stepped just slightly in front of the secretary, her hands also on her hips as she peered down the straight line of her nose. She held out a hand, and Ms. Johnston handed her a thin manila folder from the stack in her arms. “So you’re the nosy girl from the security camera,” she said as she opened the folder, and Laura hunched down in her desk, wishing that the floor would open up and devour her right there. “Sit up, young lady,” and Laura suddenly felt terrified, because the principal hadn’t even glanced up from her review of the folder’s contents as she barked out the order. She continued lecturing, not pausing to see if Laura had obeyed, though of course she had.

“There is a live feed streaming into my office, Laura Nesbitt. You are a senior. You should be aware of that by now,” and Laura flushed all over again as she realized belatedly that the folder contained information about her. The principal shut it and handed it back to Ms. Johnston, who tucked it away before putting the entire stack down on the corner of the desk. She turned slightly, facing Ms. Johnston. “Did you bring the paddle, Rebecca?” 

Ms. Johnston nodded, and Laura’s jaw dropped open as the secretary removed a small slim wooden paddle from another of the manilla folders in her stack. 

“Excellent,” Ms. Hartwell replied as she accepted the implement, an entirely different sort of paddle than the large rectangular one hanging in the office. Laura, feeling smaller than ever, had to resist the urge to slink down in her seat again. She rubbed one sneakered foot with the other, feeling gangly and childish in her jeans and t-shirt. The two women in front of her both wore intimidating grays and blacks with sharp creases and matching expressions of displeasure on their faces.

“I believe you know what to do, Miss Nesbitt,” the principal said, before moving to the side of the desk opposite of the secretary. Gulping again, Laura stood shakily and stepped to the front of the room. She glanced at Ms. Hartwell, and then at Ms Johnston, looking for any sort of guidance. They both stared cooly back at her. She refocused her eyes on the long desk in the front of the room as she stepped closer and placed her sweaty palms on the edge of it. 

Without warning, Ms. Johnston grabbed her wrists and pulled them forward at the same time that Ms. Harwell unceremoniously kicked her legs apart. She found herself suddenly bent low, ass in the air, face pressed against the cool wood. Next she felt her jeans being unbuttoned, and a whimper escaped her when they were jerked down below her knees along with her underwear. She didn’t move, though. She wasn’t sure she could. She was completely frozen.

“Be very still, Miss Nesbitt. This is going to hurt quite a bit.”

The warning was barely out of the principal’s mouth before she brought the paddle crashing down on Laura’s right cheek. The girl squealed– squealed!— as she felt the impact, and she felt her right right leg twitch even as a second blow landed on her other cheek. She felt absurdly glad that her hands had been pulled to the edge of the desk, because now she gripped it desperately as one smack after another landed on her bare backside. There was no scolding, just the steady smacking of the paddle, some solidly landing with a splat in the middle one cheek or another, others catching the under-curve of her round bottom and propelling her forward with their strength. As tears began to form in her eyes, Laura glanced up to see Ms. Johnston watching the whole ordeal, a look of grim satisfaction on her face. Laura shut her eyes tight in an effort to forget the embarrassment on top of the growing pain in her backside. This wasn’t the comparatively tame introductory paddling she’d first heard her unfortunate classmate receive. This was every bit as hard and fast as whatever punishment Denise had gotten just half an hour ago. Laura’s feet danced in a rhythm, steadily along with Ms. Hartwell’s unfaltering swing, tiny little kicks and shifts beneath the desk. She didn’t dare move far out of position, though. A particularly hard swat landed, followed by another, and above her own shrieking she realized Ms. Hartwell was speaking. The harder spanks continued as the principal repeated slowly, “Am I going to catch you eavesdropping again?”

“Nooooooo! Never, you won’t, I swear,” Laura wailed, and the swats returned to their original strength before the principal continued. 

“I should hope not. But if you do, or if you step out of line in any way between now and graduation, you can expect to find yourself right back in this position. Is that clear?”

“Yes ma’am,” Laura yelped. The swats stopped and she opened her eyes again, only to see the secretary moving to grab a hold of her wrists, pinning them down. Next she felt Ms. Hartwell’s body against her own, an arm encircling her waist, and the fear she’d felt early on re-emerged and she instinctively began to struggle against whatever was about to happen.

“Tsk tsk, none of that,” came the voice above her as she felt the sharp pain of two swats on each of her thighs. Laura shrieked, then whimpered as she tried to plant her feet on the ground.

No more steady rhythmic swats– the paddle came down in a thundering flurry, hot and fast across her already sore bare bottom, and she couldn’t resist kicking her legs up. It didn’t seem to faze either woman, though, as both held their firm grips and the spanking never wavered. She was being supported by Ms. Hartwell’s hip as much as she was by the desk, the woman’s strength and balance holding her easily in place. She could barely hear the clap of the paddle over her own begging, but her pleas fell on deaf ears as the onslaught continued.

Laura registered the absence of the hand around her waist before she registered that the spanking had stopped. Her bottom throbbed in time with her heartbeat, feeling ten times larger than it had when she first bent over. Tears dripped off the tip of her nose and she struggled to breath for a moment. “Stand up,” she heard the principal stay, and she obeyed, her breath catching and her tears changing course to flow down her flushed cheeks. She fought the urge to rub her backside, fearing that it might earn her more swats, instead standing awkwardly with her jeans and panties puddled around her ankles.

“Get yourself together, Miss Nesbit. I will see you tomorrow, I’m sure.” And with that, Ms. Hartwell exited, paddle still in hand. 

Ms. Johnston walked around the desk to stand in front of Laura, who stood sobbing, trying to regain her composure. She gave her a look that verged on sympathetic but didn’t quite make it there. “Pull your pants up, Laura.” The girl obeyed, wincing as she bent over and again at the brush of the fabric against her backside, first her underwear and then her jeans. The secretary reached out with one hand, cupping the girl’s face and brushing a few tears away with her thumb. “I trust your curiosity has been satisfied.” Laura nodded silently, embarrassed and subdued and still in some shock about the whole ordeal.

“Take as long as you need,” she continued, before releasing the girl’s face and exiting the room herself. Finally alone, Laura’s hands flew to her bottom, grabbing her paddled cheeks and crying out again even at her own touch. She was too sore even to rub, so she resorted simply to cupping her hands gently around her poor swollen backside and feeling the heat against her palms. She stood there for almost five minutes before she felt ready to walk the distance to the parking lot, groaning at the thought of reaching her car. It was going to be a long drive home.

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