The ruler was made out of cedar, lacquered, with a metal straight edge. The numbers were a deep black, with inches as their only measurement. When it struck my hands, there was a snap in the air, not just from the sound but from the tidal shift in my world.
Mr. Ebon’s class on Monday was just as brutal as ever. A pop quiz on the weekend’s reading greeting his beleaguered students. I breezed through the questions and sat patiently as the rest trudged through it. As I waited, hands crossed on the desk, staring straight at the chalk board, though I never saw even a whisper of a glance from his direction, it felt like his eyes were always on me, always watching, always noting even my slightest twitch. It was unnerving, and exhilarating.
We passed all our quizzes, after the fifteen minute limit, to Hilda. Her desk was the most to the left, the closest to Mr. Ebon’s. She left the pile on the desk next to hers and never dared look at them again. Once, when she happened to lean over to straighten the messy pile she’d originally left them in, Mr. Ebon burned her with a searing stare. His voice, though its same volume, took on a chilled quality. “Ms. Caron, don’t.” She never did, again.
Class over, the period bell rang, and our night’s assignment given, everyone filtered out. As we all gathered our things to go, I had hoped maybe he would acknowledge me in some way. Maybe he would ask me to stay after, if only for a moment. Maybe he would give me a subtle cue, a knowing glance, something. I left his classroom, nary a whisper from his lips.
At 5:15pm, around the same time as my stroll on Friday, I made my way up to the History wing. Just like before, his was the only classroom who’s door was closed. I stood outside, taking deep breaths, trying to quiet my nerves. Why was I nervous? Why did my heart flutter, my chest feel light as air?
“Come in, Ms. Ivory.” I hadn’t knocked, and yet he knew I was there. A second later, I realized half of the door was clouded glass. Who else would be at his door at so late an hour? I bit my lip from the slight embarrassment, and walked in.
I stood, just inside the door, my back against the wall. Though I’d done this before, though I’d been in this very room just a few hours before, it all seemed different. Holding my hands behind my back, I lightly brushed the wall for balance.
“You may sit as you did before.”
Hesitantly, after screaming at my legs to move, I took my spot like last time, cross legged on the top of the desk. I pulled out my knitting and started a new row. I wanted to look up, but wanted just as much to breathe. After a few rows, and my breath nearing normal, I dared to tilt my head.
He sat, arms crossed, eyes locked on me. I had no idea what was going on in his head. Had no idea what he thought of me. Had no idea the next word to emanate from his lips. But I yearned for him to speak, to say something, to do something besides concentrate on me. He sat there for what seemed like forever.
“Do you know what domination is?” It seemed like an obvious question.
“To have control over someone or something.”
“Do you know what a Dominant is?” Though I could not see it myself, I’m sure my face looked puzzled.
“Um, someone who has control over someone or something?”
“Yes. And do you know what submission is?”
“Giving up control or allowing oneself to be controlled.”
“Good.” He let a breath out, uncrossed his arms, and rested his hands on his desk. “Ms. Ivory, do you know what a submissive is?”
“Uh, one who gives up control, who allows oneself to be controlled.”
“Yes.” He leaned forward, looking very intently at me. “Ms. Ivory, are you a submissive?”
The question made no sense, and yet made perfect sense. I was at a loss for words.
I tried multiple times to find something, anything, to say. Finally, leaning back in his chair, he spoke again.
“Ms. Ivory, what happened on Friday was inappropriate. I am your teacher and you are my student. That conflict alone is… difficult. But I see in you what I felt in myself at your age: longing and a desperation to understand this part of you that, I suspect until a few minutes ago, lacked a name.
“You are a submissive. You do not fully realize what that all entails, but I see it. I saw it as soon as you walked into my classroom that first day. You are brilliant, and will do great things with your life, but you will not feel fulfilled unless you acknowledge this side of yourself and find an outlet for your desires.”
Desires. What a perfect word for the swirling emotions in my head. Because, in that moment, all I wanted was to please him. To be at his beck and call. To do whatever it took to be his. I desired Mr. Ebon, had for almost as long as I’d known him, and now I possessed the words.
“Submissive.” I let it roll on my tongue like a piece of hard candy. “Mr. Ebon, are you a Dominant?”
“Yes, Ms. Ivory. I am a Dom.”
“Then, you can teach me to be a…Sub.”
“You can teach me to be a Sub! You’re my teacher. Teach me.”
“Ms. Ivory, it’s not that simple.”
“Yes, it is! You’re a Dom and I’m a Sub. You’re my teacher, I need to learn, so teach me.”
“Ms. Ivory, I’m your History teacher, not your…”
“Oh please, I’m acing your class just fine and probably could do it without your instruction.”
My hand hit my mouth before I finished my next breath. His eyes grew wide, and his lips pursed. I couldn’t see it, but I’m sure he started grinding his teeth. A moment later, he relaxed his face.
“Stand up.” His voice was cold, calculating, chillier than even when he’d reprimanded Hilda. I put my knitting to the side, which I’d been holding the entire time, and slowly slid off the desk. He stood as well, once again towering over me.
“Turn around.” I gulped hard and turned to the back of the classroom. My heart thumped in my chest.
“Bend over the desk, hands and arms flat.” I carefully leaned into the position. The warmth of my breath bounced off the wood of the desk. I heard the drawer with the ruler open and close.
He stood beside me, his leg brushing up against mine.
“Five strokes this time for making the same mistake, twice in a row.” Using the ruler, he lifted my skirt. I, like most of the girls, wore boxer shorts over my panties. Again using the ruler, he hooked the elastic waist band to help pull the shorts down. He let my panties stay on.
He placed his hand on the small of my back.
“You will count each stroke and follow the number with a Sir at the end. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” He grabbed me by my hair and pulled my head back. His mouth was on my ear.
“Do you understand?”
“Yes Sir.” He shoved my head back down.
Smack! “One Sir.” It stung like a hundred bees stings.
Smack! “Two Sir.” The sound was louder than on Friday, cracking through the entire room.
Smack! “Three Sir.” I could tell he swung harder than before.
Smack! “Four Sir.” My ass began to ache, but so did something else…
Smack! “Five Sir.” I breathed hard, heavy. I knew I would go home and think of this tonight while in bed.
He walked back to his desk and sat down.
“You may stand and pull up your shorts.” I fixed my clothes, but remained looking towards the back of the room. “For now, Mondays and Fridays. You will come to this classroom and I will teach you. But, if anyone finds out about this, and I think you know this, I will loose my job. Are you worthy of me taking such a risk, Ms. Ivory?”
“Yes Sir.” I tried to convey all of my gratitude, all of my wanting and yearning for both his lessons and him into those two words.
“Very well. Gather your things and go. I will see you again on Friday.”
Like before, I hurriedly grabbed my bag and knitting. Like before, I quietly slipped out of the room. But, not like before, I dared a glance at his direction as I left. He sat, staring at me, the whisper of a grin on his lips.
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