The morrow morning
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Jesse hadn't slept well. She kept waking, images of the caning she knew was going to get from Sister Mercy the next afternoon kept pulling her from her slumber. How much was it going to hurt? Would she be able to follow Angelica's advice and keep still and silent throughout the ordeal? She had visions of herself dancing around the study, yelling and clutching her bum.
The hours dragged past. In contrast to the previous day, when so many of her friends had thought it hilarious to leap about pretending they had just been caned, most of them now tried to mutter words of comfort and support.
The worst moment came during the Phyisical Training class. Veronica was accused of 'fooling around', a general term often employed by the nuns to justify a little casual sadism. The PT teacher, Sister Agnes, a stocky woman with a short fuze, pointed at the punishment stool and told Veronica to go and prepare herself. Despite Veronica's vain protests of innocence, the nun took off her heavy leather belt and started tapping it against her hand, asking whether Veronica wanted extras for not following instructions promptly. Veronica knew that argument was futile, took herself reluctantly over to the battered wooden stool, peeled down her knickers, lifted her skirt, bent over and held tightly on to the front legs. The rest of the class, including Jesse, looked on mesmerised.
Sister agnes tapped the well-worn leather against Veronica's pale cheeks and then slapped the belt down hard. Veronica bucked and cried out, but held her position until she had received the statutory six swipes and her bottom was striped and glowing.
Sister Agnes stood back. "Veronica, you may get up. The class will resume, without - I trust - any more tomfoolery."
Veronica sniffed and rearranged her clothes. Her friends gaped at her, admiring the fact that not a single tear had escaped her welling eyes.
Jesse, faced with this graphic reminder of what was to happen to her after lunch, felt her insides somersault: "Please Sister, I need to go to the toilet," she called over her shoulder as she dashed for the washrooms.