Spring Break came and went.
The week leading up to Spring Break was particularly hard for Amy. The mention of the party spots that Amy and Courtney had been to last year forced Amy to remember the "better" half of her road trip. As the memories of the different party spots popped up in her mind, she began to realize that even at the beginning there were indications that the whole adventure with Courtney was going to end in disaster.
The sight of drunken "college chicks" on the video channels touting Spring Break forced Amy to avoid the Student Center restaurants. While drinking coffee between classes the Monday before Spring Break, she happened to see one video clip showing a group of girls on the shoulders of some fraternity guys in Daytona Beach, swinging their bikini tops. The girls were censored with that electronic fuzz over their chests, of course. The clip included a girl who looked identical to Courtney. In fact, it probably was Courtney, since Amy thought she recognized some of the guys.
She started having flashbacks. Suddenly she was behind the dumpster, looking into Courtney's face for the last time. Amy could not go to her next class. She ran all the way home; no small feat given that it was nearly a mile from the university. She burst into the apartment, where Suzanne was just about to go out. She rushed passed her astonished roommate and threw up in the kitchen sink. Suzanne ran to the kitchen to comfort her. For the first time in two years Suzanne missed a class, as she spent hours cradling her roommate in her arms.
Amy spent Spring Break with Suzanne. They traveled south to an isolated forest location that Suzanne previously had used for photo shoots. Amy felt the thrill of spending hours outdoors in the nude, as Suzanne shot over 40 rolls of both color and black & white film in four days. Amy walked in the shade, walked in the sun, sat with her feet in a cold stream, smiled, and looked serious. Sometimes Suzanne clearly told her subject what she wanted her to do. Sometimes she let Amy wander around with no direction at all, letting her do what she wanted and taking pictures spontaneously. Sometimes Suzanne backed away to shoot her with a telephoto lens, allowing Amy to forget the immediate presence of the camera. On the last day Suzanne left her model alone for two hours to shoot her with the telephoto lens. It was a strange sensation, spending a full two hours walking down a forest path in the nude by herself, completely cut off from her clothing and every other trapping of civilization. The feel of the sun and breeze on her body thrilled her. Amy completely forgot about the camera, which was what the photographer wanted.
Upon returning to their apartment Suzanne taught Amy how to develop pictures. They spent the next three days in the apartment's darkroom. Developed pictures from the forest session started to stack up. Amy thought that over half of the pictures were great, but Suzanne's critical eye picked out the final 30 prints that she would try to sell. An additional handful were separated to put in her portfolio. She tried to explain the difference between a truly great picture and a mediocre one, in technical terms that Amy only half understood.
Over the next several weeks it became evident that Suzanne knew what she was doing in selecting the pictures. She found herself digging through the rejected photos for others to offer clients after the first batch sold. The income from the sales was better than either the photographer or her model expected. Amy suddenly found that she had enough money to pay her tuition and rent through the summer, allowing her to tell Robert to leave her father's money in the trust. Several of the pictures from the Spring Break photo shoot later appeared in a national photo magazine. By the summer it was clear to both roommates that the forest photos were a turning point in Suzanne's career.
At the end of April Suzanne landed a contract with a publisher who was putting out a series exercise books, featuring people working out in the nude. There were going to be a total of 10 books altogether, each focusing on a different photographer and a different model. Suzanne was responsible for taking all the pictures for one book out of the series.
As Suzanne discussed the contract with the publisher, it became evident that the he was hoping for the same model that she had used in the forest pictures. “That's easy enough,” replied Suzanne, “she's my roommate.”
After showing the contracts to Robert to make sure she understood them, Suzanne presented the job to Amy. She was excited. The photographer drove home the point the session would be a major undertaking. "We're not talking about you just strolling around in the woods. This is going to take real effort on your part. You might hate me by the time we finish."
Suzanne was genuinely worried. She had to do a good job. She had to have a model who understood what was needed, who would work day after day and patiently allow over a thousand pictures to be taken only to have about 100 or so end up in the book. If Amy was not up to the task, it would wreck their friendship and possibly Suzanne's future as a photographer.
The university gym had reduced hours as soon as finals ended, opening up the opportunity for Suzanne to use it as a setting for the photo shoot. The art department chairman arranged for Suzanne to have after-hours access to the workout rooms, squash courts, and indoor pool until the end of June. He handed his student a master key. Suzanne thanked her chairman and immediately headed over to the gym to check the lighting.
That night Suzanne and her model went over to the gym for the first time. Amy left her clothes in the locker room. Suzanne stayed dressed because she needed to carry her photography supplies around in her pockets. Suzanne explained that Amy would actually be working out. "You're not just posing. Your actual daily workouts will be during our after-hours sessions."
The experience of entering the empty gym left a strange impression on Amy, being alone in a place usually full of people, being nude in a place she normally would have to be dressed. Since Amy already had worked out that day, Suzanne had to content herself with some shots of her model in the pool and the sauna. She did take some experimental shots of Amy in the workout rooms, just to check the lighting. Suzanne was not satisfied with the lighting at all. She would have to bring some of her own, which would complicate each night's session. Amy picked up on her roommate's anxiety.
Each night Amy and Suzanne entered the empty gym. Amy stripped and went through her routine in the nude. On Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays she did upper body, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays she did lower body. She finished in the pool. The pool was her favorite part. It was wonderful to be able to swim in the nude again. Suzanne's camera clicked continuously as Amy sweat on the machines and weights. Her camera clicked as Amy splashed in the pool. Her camera clicked on the racquetball court and the gymnastics room.
Trouble erupted between Amy and Suzanne during the third week of shooting. After a while it seemed to Amy that Suzanne was taking the same pictures over and over. She did not see the point of taking any more and became irritated with Suzanne's constant tinkering with the lighting. She wanted to spend the hot summer evenings outside, not working out.
Suzanne was becoming increasingly convinced that Amy was not putting all of her effort into the workouts. It showed in the pictures. Her muscles were not tensed. Her face looked too relaxed. She was not sweating enough. Suzanne shook her head in frustration as she slapped the latest batch of developed prints on her desk. These weren't going to work.
The fight came Thursday night, when a group of classmates from one of Amy's summer classes decided to see a movie. She left a message on the answering machine telling Suzanne that she would skip tonight's workout to go out with the others. The tone of the message made clear to Suzanne that Amy's enthusiasm was gone. As soon as Amy came through the door Suzanne confronted her. It was not the movie, she explained, it was her over-all attitude.
Amy rolled her eyes: "Look, you've taken the same stupid pictures of me over and over. How many shots of me doing leg presses do you need? Select your fucking photos already and send them in!"
Suzanne tried to explain what she needed and that Amy was not giving it to her. Amy rolled her eyes a second time.
"Then get a different model! I'm sick of this shit!"
Panic swept though Suzanne. It was too late to get another model.
Amy needed to be motivated. Suzanne remembered the story of the strapping that Robert had given her. It seemed that they both agreed that it helped her pull herself together. Suzanne decided to try discipline to motivate her model.
The next morning Suzanne surprised her step-mother by dropping over at her father's house. The photographer explained that she needed the paddle that her father had used on her when she was still in middle school.
"I'll see if I can find it." Suzanne watched while her step-mother rummaged through the drawers of the den. Finally she found it at the bottom of a drawer in a cabinet. She passed it over. "What do you need it for anyway?"
Suzanne explained about Amy and the photo shoot. Then she studied at the paddle in her hands. It brought back a lot of unpleasant memories.
She had not seen it since she was about 14. The implement was 18 inches long, about 4 inches wide, and about a quarter of an inch thick. It was strange to hold the paddle as an adult that had tormented her so much as a young teenager. Suzanne remembered that it had a vicious sting to it, but did not bruise the skin very much. She remembered that the marks from the paddle never lasted more than a day or two.
Suzanne remembered the evenings bent over her father's desk, her jeans around her knees, punished for almost anything that displeased him. She pushed her past out of her thoughts and lightly slapped the palm of her hand.
Amy, you're gonna get it, thought Suzanne to herself.
That night in the gym Suzanne had the paddle packed in her photo bag. She planned not to use it if her model’s attitude changed. However, that was not likely, given the unpleasantness from the previous evening.
Suzanne was right. Amy was sullen and uncooperative from the beginning. She continuously rolled her eyes when Suzanne told her to do anything. Finally the photographer picked up her camera bag and a small workout bench. "Amy, I need you to come with me."
Suzanne had nothing to say to Amy. She had explained everything last night. Amy had not listened. Suzanne's patience was exhausted.
Amy followed Suzanne into a small spare workout room that currently was empty. Suzanne locked the door and set the bench in the middle of the floor. She set the camera bag in a corner, unzipped it, and pulled out the paddle. She turned to face her roommate.
Seeing Suzanne with the paddle in her hand shocked Amy so much that for a moment she could not speak. Suzanne was pleased to see her friend's frightened expression.
"Amy, last night I explained to you how important this photo shoot is to me," Suzanne began quietly. "I explained that what I needed from you was what you promised from the beginning, 100% effort on your part, to make the photos convincing. You wanted to do this, even after I explained to you what it would entail. You told me that it would thrill you to be the model of the shoot that would launch my career."
This time Amy said nothing. Suzanne had told her all this last night, but she did not have a paddle in her hand while saying it. Suzanne continued with a calm cold voice that frightened her roommate.
"I am giving you two choices tonight. Either you can get dressed and walk out of here, or you can bend over that bench. If you walk out of here I expect you to have your things out of the apartment by this time tomorrow night. You can take the pictures that we have done so far out of my workroom. I will have no use for them. I won't come back until you and your things are gone. I'll send a check for the rest of your rent for this month to Robert's address. I might or might not be able to get another model and try to re-do the shoot in time. However, that won't be your problem."
"If you bend over that bench, we'll start the shooting all over, from the very beginning, on Monday. We only have four weeks left, which isn't much time. The paddle will stay in my camera bag until we're done."
Amy opened her mouth to try to convince Suzanne she would try harder, that she was sorry. Suzanne's cold voice interrupted her before she could speak.
"Amy, don't bother to say anything. Either go to the door or go to the bench. Those are your choices."
Amy stood silent. She now realized that she was to blame for this. She had placed Suzanne into a desperate situation by not giving her what she needed for the photo shoot. This, her first book, was Suzanne's big chance. A book of lackluster photos would ruin her prospects for future contracts. Amy knew that Suzanne was such a perfectionist that she would risk a breach of contract suit before turning in mediocre photos. Amy just wished that she had taken her friend more seriously the previous night.
Amy walked over to the bench. With sad eyes she looked over her shoulder, waiting for her next instructions.
"Put your hands on the bench, and put your feet about shoulder-width apart... Now, arch your back a bit so your butt sticks out."
Once in position, Amy bit her lip. She was nervous about the impending punishment, but more than anything else, sad and ashamed that she had let Suzanne down. She would not object to being punished; she had brought this upon herself.
Suzanne studied the paddle in her hand. She glanced at Amy's waiting bottom. She remembered this paddle's role in her own life, slightly less than 10 years before. She remembered the many nights bent over her father's desk. She remembered her father's long lectures while she waited with her pants down. She remembered her step-brother standing in the door of the den, smirking at her, whenever her stepmother did not chase him upstairs. She remembered the sharp sting. She remembered her step-mother, of all people, trying to comfort her afterwards in the kitchen.
Suzanne felt bad about having to punish Amy. There was something about her roommate that invited a feeling of wanting to protect her. Inwardly Suzanne was grateful that Amy had not taken off. Still, she had to go through with this. Amy had assured her that she would put all of her effort into the pictures. Instead she had wasted three weeks out of the seven that Suzanne would have access to the gym. Her attitude, especially during the last two nights, threatened to wreak the entire project. Amy seemed not to realize that there was a lot at stake for her as well; Suzanne had offered her 50% of her net income from the book.
Suzanne placed the paddle against both cheeks of Amy's bottom. She tapped her quivering target gently and pulled the paddle back. POP! Amy's bottom jiggled. Both cheeks turned a light pink. POP! The pink darkened slightly. POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! Amy's bottom turned slightly darker with each swat.
Amy stayed quiet at the beginning. The paddle had a sharp sting to it, somewhat lighter than Robert's strap. However, Amy's eyes quickly filled with tears, more from the humiliation of being paddled by her friend than from the actual pain.
Suzanne was not counting the swats. She was not as experienced with discipline as was Robert. All she had to go on was the memory of her own punishments. Suzanne suddenly realized that she needed to time the swats and spread them out. She decided to hit Amy on alternate cheeks. POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! Amy's bottom was now a deep pink. Suddenly Amy began to cry quietly.
After about 20 additional swats it became harder for Suzanne to continue. She hated doing this to her friend. She decided to give Amy 10 final swats and then stop.
POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! POP! Amy started to cry louder. The pain in her bottom started to make it harder to stay in position. She struggled to keep her bottom out. Her knees began to shake.
Suzanne decided to lay the final four swats across both bottom cheeks. POP! Amy sobbed loudly. POP! Suddenly she twisted out of position, but before Suzanne could say anything, struggled to get her hands back on the bench and her feet spread. POP! POP! Amy squealed loudly at each of the last two swats.
Suzanne stopped. Amy's bottom was a deep pink. Her bottom cheeks were swollen, with faint traces of purple. The punishment had not been all that severe, however; her bottom would be fully recovered by Monday. The effect of the paddling was more psychological than physical.
"You can get up. I'm done." Suzanne had tears in her own eyes. She had not realized how tough this would be on herself.
Amy stood up. Even through her tears she noticed Suzanne's sad expression. She hugged Suzanne and cried into her shoulder. The coldness had gone out of her soul. She hugged her crying roommate hard.
Amy's physical fitness improved dramatically over the next four weeks. Motivated by the shock of having been paddled by Suzanne, and by the knowledge that the paddle remained in the camera bag, Amy pushed herself hard during her workouts. Her strength increased as a result of the training, her muscles became more toned. Sweat poured down her body as Amy did her routine. By the end of June Amy could do 10 pull-ups. She could bench press her own weight. She could do sit-ups almost non-stop. By the end of the seven weeks Amy actually regretted the impending end of the photo shoot and of the opportunity to work out in the nude.
Suzanne was pleased as she examined the pictures from the final week of shooting. Amy's muscles were visible in all the pictures, her nude body glistening with sweat, her face set with a grim, determined expression. The last picture of the last day taken of Amy was a portrait in the sauna. The only thing Amy was wearing was a wet headband. She was exhausted and sweat poured down her face and chest. Amy's eyes, staring straight at the camera, had the same haunting expression as Suzanne's first portrait of Amy back in January. Amy and Suzanne both realized the quality of the picture as soon as they pulled it out of the darkroom. The shot turned out to be even more successful than either could have imagined; the publisher chose it as the theme portrait for the entire series.
Amy's time throughout the rest of the summer was divided between her classes and Suzanne's photo sessions. Suzanne took Amy all over the Mid-west for photo shoots on weekends and whenever she had a break in her schedule during the week. They hit all of the Great Lakes, and traveled as far as Minnesota to the west and Pennsylvania to the east. Amy saw a huge variety of natural locations during the trips and was amazed at Suzanne's knowledge of the region. There were always side trips to historical locations, and of course, to art museums and galleries. The summer trips opened the world up to Amy in a way she could never have imagined the year before.
It was during the trips in July and August that Amy began to realize how good a friend Suzanne really was. For the first time in her life Amy had found a person she could trust. Unlike Courtney, it would never cross Suzanne's mind to have Amy do something that would risk injury or embarrassment. She would never do anything to exploit Amy for her own pleasure or entertainment. She found it a relief to have a friend who would never dare her to do something just for fun.
Amy knew that Suzanne was genuinely concerned about her well being. In many ways Suzanne was strict with Amy, but always in ways that benefited her. Amy did well in her classes because of Suzanne. She was in excellent physical shape because of Suzanne. Her finances were in order because of Suzanne. She was neat and well organized because of Suzanne. Amy's character was changing. No longer did she feel that she was out of control and one step away from being back on the street.
Suzanne only turned tyrant during a photo shoot. Even as Suzanne's harsh voice snapped at her from behind her camera, Amy realized it was only because her friend knew what was needed for the photos to be successful. Modeling for Suzanne had become Amy's job, and Suzanne expected top performance. However, as soon as the camera went back into its bag, the Suzanne that Amy loved and trusted was always there for her.
Amy usually enjoyed her time Suzanne during the modeling sessions. Increasingly she enjoyed the thrill of the air and sun on her body when outdoors, the cool breeze blowing between her legs and on her bottom. It thrilled her to be naked, taking orders, and submitting to her friend's commands. Amy loved the feel of Suzanne's self-assuredness during the shoots. Afterwards it thrilled Amy to see herself in galleries and photo magazines.
Towards the end of the summer Suzanne took a picture of Amy kneeling on a white surface in a studio, wearing a gardening hat and holding a huge bouquet of flowers in front of her. From the angle of the picture it was hard to tell whether Amy was naked or not. This picture became the theme image for a fall gardening festival and appeared in newspapers all over Chicago. So was the pretty model behind the bouquet naked? Only Amy and Suzanne knew for sure.
After several months Amy became as proficient in working with Suzanne's lab equipment as Suzanne herself. Amy's help freed Suzanne from many of the more mundane tasks of her profession. Amy became confident in the darkroom. By the end of the summer she easily could have taken a job at a photo lab. When Amy was not modeling for Suzanne, for example when Suzanne was taking landscape pictures, Amy was there with the cameras, cleaning them, changing lenses and film, taking them out of their cases and putting them away as needed. Suzanne came to rely on Amy as her assistant. Amy felt a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that she had become an important help in Suzanne's life and career, and that her friend relied on her.
Suzanne was as interested in traveling and showing things to Amy as much as she was in taking pictures of her. After a while Amy suspected that Suzanne partly was using the summer photo shoots as an excuse to take trips with a close traveling companion. It dawned on Amy that in reality Suzanne was rather lonely, especially following her last break-up during the sports book photo shoot. Amy did not complain. She did not want to sit at home during the summer. Nor was there any way that Amy was ready to take on another relationship with a boyfriend at that point in her life. She needed to find direction own life first, to determine her own needs before having to worry about meeting someone else's.
Suzanne and Amy never lacked for topics to discuss during their trips, given that their life experiences had been so different up until the time they started living together. Each came from a world so remote to the other that under any other circumstances they would never have become friends. Just a year ago Amy would have dismissed Suzanne as an art nerd, and Suzanne would have seen nothing but a shallow party girl in Amy. However, they had entered each other's lives in such a way that they could take an interest in each other. Whenever one of them talked about herself and her past, the other always learned something new, not about just her friend, but about life in general.
During their travels it was inevitable that Suzanne and Amy would talk about their relationships with guys. Neither had much experience with stable relationships, but for totally different reasons.
Suzanne's reasons for not having had a stable relationship differed now than they did when she was in high school. In high school she had largely kept to herself due to problems she was having at home. She hinted to Amy that she had serious problems with her father while in school, but did not tell her what those problems had been. She did tell Amy that the few times she dated in high school she had gone to great lengths to not let her father know about it.
Suzanne had another problem in high school that kept her alone. Her personality was too serious for most of her classmates to be interested in her. At an early age she became interested in photography. As Amy was well aware from her numerous trips with her friend and the countless hours spent in the photo lab, pointing the camera was only a small part of being a photographer. Suzanne took her work as the high school yearbook photographer way too seriously. The commitment that Suzanne's photos demanded prevented her from doing much else during her free time. The result of Suzanne's dedication was a yearbook that received commendations for three years. However, the other result was that everyone thought of Suzanne as "the school photographer" instead of thinking of Suzanne as a human being with emotional needs and a desire for companionship.
Suzanne's solitude fed upon itself. Her pursuits were quiet ones. She listened to instrumental music and became hooked on New Age and classical. She could not stand the rap and heavy metal that her classmates enjoyed. Sports, cheerleading, and other school activities did not interest her, unless there was an opportunity to take pictures. She retreated into her studies, invariably doing well in all her classes and being liked by her teachers. She never caused any problems in school, never raised her voice, never drank or smoked. The only movies she was interested in were foreign ones. She turned her nose up at the Hollywood pop culture that so captivated everyone else her age.
In high school Suzanne only had one serious boyfriend, during the second half of her junior year. He was a member of the marching band, and shared Suzanne's interest in music. He did not find it strange that Suzanne did not want her father to know about him, because he did not get along with his parents either. For the first time in her life Suzanne was able to open up to another person.
Suzanne's brief interlude of happiness only lasted about five months. Her boyfriend was a senior. He graduated, and not knowing what to do with his life, went in the Army. He chose a specialty that required a lengthy stint of hard training in Ft Benning Georgia, following completion of basic training. After six months of training his unit was mobilized, and he departed immediately overseas. Suzanne did not see him after that. Suzanne spent her entire senior year writing him and waiting for him to come back. He never did. Right after Suzanne graduated from high school, she learned that he had been killed overseas in a training accident. In spite of the loss, Suzanne moved on in her life. She already had endured many unpleasant experiences and her boyfriend's death was just one more.
Suzanne's time in college was not much happier as far as personal relationships were concerned. She entered the university thinking that, being with other art majors, she would have an easy time finding someone who shared her interests. Most certainly she did, mixing with other students who also, for the most part, had not fit in their high schools. What Suzanne had not anticipated was how self-centered most of her art classmates were. Suzanne quickly became sick of her peers who thought they were the next Van Gogh or the next Mapplethorpe, when it was obvious their talent was mediocre at best. If there was one thing Suzanne could not stand, it was a person on an ego trip.
Suzanne's first boyfriend in college gave her a rude shock. A few weeks after they started going out he started asking her for loans. Suzanne had no money herself and her boyfriend knew that. Still, he insisted and finally she gave him what little she had to live on that week. Within days he started demanding more.
Suzanne had nothing more to give him. She was wondering herself where she would get enough to pay her food for the rest of the week. She lost her temper and broke off the relationship. For several months afterwards her ex-boyfriend stalked her, until finally she obtained a restraining order.
Unlike Amy, Suzanne was the sort of person who quickly learned from her mistakes. She learned to quickly size up potential partners, looking for signs of financial dependency, unrealistic expectations from life, and abusive personalities. She learned, the hard way, that finding a reliable partner in the art department would be much more difficult than she had anticipated upon entering college.
Amy's reason for never having a stable relationship came down to a single word, Courtney.
At this point in her life Amy still adamantly defended Courtney. However, Suzanne picked up enough hints in her conversations with Amy to indicate that Amy was starting to recognize some of Courtney's faults. Suzanne did not like Courtney from Amy's description of her. However, Suzanne said nothing to Amy about her opinions about Courtney, wanting to give Amy time to question her past at her own pace. Amy was just beginning to realize that perhaps Courtney had not been such a great influence in her life. She was not ready to admit that out loud, not to Suzanne or to anyone else.
Deep down inside Amy realized that Courtney had bullied her mercilessly in school through peer pressure and by convincing Amy that only what Courtney approved of could be considered "cool". Amy began to realize that there had been many lost opportunities during her high school years due to Courtney's influence over her. This was especially true when it came to boyfriends. It was true with everything else in Amy's life as well, her classes, her relationship with her father, even her health.
Amy met Courtney in middle school the year that her mother died from cancer. Amy needed someone to look up to at the time and saw that in her classmate. Courtney seemed so self-confident, so arrogant to the guys, so sure that she knew how to be cool. Courtney had a comeback for anything anyone said to her. Amy loved the fact that no one could insult Courtney without receiving a sarcastic response that made everyone listening squirm. Some of Amy's teachers seemed almost afraid of her new friend. Amy stuck with Courtney, first out of insecurity, then out of not knowing anything else. Amy learned to talk with the same sarcastic in-your-face manner as Courtney, learned to use the same comebacks whenever anyone tried to insult her, learned to dress to draw guys' attention to her adolescent body.
Courtney loved living on the edge. She was what some people would call an adrenaline junkie, long before she became a junkie of much more dangerous substances. Courtney drank heavily. Later in high school she loved drag racing. She tried anything at parties being passed around. Any new substance she immediately pressed on Amy, which was part of the reason why at first Amy was so surprised that Courtney would not let her try heroin.
Throughout high school the last thing Courtney wanted was calm in her life. She was impatient and became bored very easily. She was repelled by safe, stable guys. She gravitated towards the ones who led to trouble and saw to it that Amy did the same.
As her 18th birthday approached, Courtney realized that the final restraint on her having fun as she defined it was about to come to an end. Upon turning 18 she could take off and do whatever she wanted. All she needed was money, and during her final month in high school she plotted how to finance her upcoming road-trip from her mother's bank account. By the time they left, Amy was so conditioned to doing anything Courtney described as "fun" or "cool" that the idea of not taking off with her friend never crossed her mind.
Amy and Suzanne had dinner with Robert several times over the summer. Suzanne seemed to trust Robert for legal advice and always showed him any contract she needed to sign. Robert spent hours with Suzanne and gave her hundreds of dollars worth of legal advice for free. Amy reflected that it seemed strange that Suzanne went to Robert for advice when Suzanne's own father was a lawyer and just as competent at reviewing contracts.
It was clear that Robert liked Suzanne. He seemed to enjoy talking to her. At first most of their conversation concentrated on how to study contracts to tell the difference between a good contract and a bad one. Suzanne had to tell Robert quite a bit about her work to give Robert an idea about her legal needs. Robert increasingly seemed to take interest in Suzanne's photography and her life in general as the summer ended and the fall semester started.
Every so often Amy noticed Robert looking at Suzanne with a longing in his expression. It was true that Suzanne had a sexiness about her, that she was mature for her age, and had a quiet, dignified manner of carrying herself. It was true that Robert had now gone a year alone since Tricia had died. However it was also true that Robert and Suzanne had absolutely nothing in common. Amy realized that nothing could ever come of Robert's thoughts about Suzanne, whatever they happened to be. Even so, Amy was jealous that Robert was looking at Suzanne instead of at her.
Robert was pleased about the influence that Suzanne had on Amy's life. He was hugely relieved at the thought of no longer having to act as a surrogate parent to a girl who had a crush on him. Being Amy's roommate, Suzanne had taken over that role.
Amy felt much more relaxed as she started the fall semester. She no longer felt so tense about doing well in her classes. She started relaxing more and more. Although Suzanne was every bit as adamant about forcing Amy out of the apartment in time to make her classes as she had been during the spring, she could not stand over Amy and force her to keep track of her assignments. As the fall semester progressed Amy started to let her guard down. By the end of October Amy's attitude would land her into serious trouble with one of her professors.
Midterms sneaked up on Amy before she realized it. While it was true that Suzanne had her on an aggressive photo shoot schedule, it was also true that Amy had not put forth as much effort into her classes as she had during the spring and summer semesters.
Amy's most pressing problem was a term paper due October 24 for her modern history of economics class. Amy hated both the subject and the professor. Just two days before the deadline Amy remembered the paper. Two days! She thought about talking to her professor to get an extension, but knew right away that would not work.
The professor's name was Dr. Ruth Burnside. She was about 40 years old or so, fairly good-looking for her age, about average height and stature. Burnside always dressed in immaculate dark business attire and usually wore her black hair pulled back in a bun, which added to the severity of her appearance. Amy's professor had a cold stare and a very severe manner about her in general. She seemed to look down on her students, and especially delighted in humiliating the fraternity guys. Her pet peeve was baseball caps worn backwards. The male students quickly learned to have their baseball caps off in her class, if they did not want to be the targets of her acidic comments. In class her favorite comment was "Excuses are like assholes. Everybody has one." It was easy for her students to picture her as a dominatrix. Amy knew that she would get no sympathy from her professor.
Amy briefly discussed her term paper situation with her lab partner from geology class. The other girl mentioned that there were a couple of websites that had term papers posted. Maybe Amy could pick up some ideas from there.
Amy spent that night on the Internet and found what she needed. She downloaded a paper on the Marshall Plan and went to bed, hugely relieved. Tomorrow she could make a few small changes and it would be ready to turn in on time.
She should have known better. The following Monday Dr. Burnside’s teaching assistant returned the term papers. Amy noticed the frustrated looks on her classmates' faces as they looked at their grades. When it was Amy's turn to get her paper back, instead of the report Burnside's assistant handed her an empty folder. A small note was inside. "See me in my office after class. -Burnside-"
Amy felt sick. She went pale and her hands shook. Before class ended she had enough time to wonder how Robert and her roommate would react when they found out.
As Amy entered the office area for the economics department, she came up to another student from the class standing outside Burnside's door. She was a petite Asian girl called Wendy Li. Wendy's real name was pronounced Wen-Chuan, but she preferred Wendy. Wendy looked back at Amy. Wendy had tears in her dark eyes. "Term paper?" Amy managed to get out, "Yeah."
Burnside called the two students into her office. She did not offer them seats. With a cold, fierce, expression in her eyes, the professor handed Wendy's paper to Amy, and Amy's paper to Wendy. Wendy had turned in the same paper as had Amy. Burnside gave the two girls enough time to let this sink in. Then she handed the girls another copy of the report, this time the original downloaded from the Internet.
"You two understand this university's cheating policy?" Both girls nodded. The cheating would be reported to the campus administration. Amy and Wendy would be expelled immediately and would take F's in their other classes. Furthermore, they would be placed in a database of students who had cheated for other universities to view, should they apply somewhere else. They were made to initial this policy line-by-line when they applied to study.
"Do you have anything to say for yourselves?" Wendy sobbed. Amy felt like she was going to throw up. Neither said anything. "Good. You know what I say about excuses. Now sit down."
Burnside stayed quiet for a few minutes, enjoying the increasing nervousness of her two students. Finally she spoke again. "How would you like me to give you an extension of two weeks to write an honest report?" Amy and Wendy looked up. They were too shocked to speak. Had they heard right?
"Well... answer the question."
Amy spoke for both of them. "Dr. Burnside, we would really appreciate it. We promise..."
"Stuff it. I don't want promises." interrupted Burnside. "Ordinarily I would burn you for this. I am willing to cut you slack on your papers simply because I need a couple of hostesses for my Halloween party. Every year I throw one and I always need hostesses. I will demand a lot from you and I can guarantee you a tough night. But it beats the alternative."
Wendy and Amy looked at each other. They nodded in agreement.
Burnside took the reports back from Amy and Wendy to place them in a folder. She dropped the folder in her filing cabinet and locked it. "You will get these back when you turn in your other papers."
Burnside then handed Wendy a picture of a model wearing straight black hair, cut shoulder length and curved in slightly at the bottom, with bangs in the front. Wendy passed the picture to Amy. "I want both of you to have your hair like this when you come to my house on the 31st. Amy, you will have to dye your hair black for the party." Burnside continued, "Be at my house at 3:00 in the afternoon. Here are the instructions to get there."
"One more thing. You'll need to sign these." Burnside took out two sheets of paper and passed them to Amy and Wendy. She passed a pen to Amy. Amy's copy read:
I, __________, admit to having attempted to commit plagiarism on __________. I have read and fully understand this university's cheating policy, and am fully aware of the consequences for committing an act of plagiarism under the student code of ethics.
In lieu of disciplinary action from the university administration, I, __________, freely and willingly choose to accept the disciplinary alternative offered by my professor, Dr. Burnside. I understand that upon completion of the disciplinary alternative to Dr. Burnside's satisfaction, I will continue my coursework and no further action will be taken against me.
Their hearts pounding, Amy and Wendy filled in their names and the date they turned in their term papers. They signed the papers and handed them back to Burnside.
At 3:00 p.m. sharp Wendy and Amy showed up together in Wendy's BMW at Dr. Burnside's house. Neither wanted to face Burnside alone. When the professor opened the door, her appearance shocked her two students. She was dressed in a black leather corset and a black leather bikini bottom. She had black silk stockings that came up to her upper thighs, but was still wearing bedroom slippers. She wore black lipstick, thick black eyeliner and black fingernail polish.
Inside items for the party were stacked on one side of Burnside's living room. These included standard party items such as coolers, a coffee maker, and food. The other items clearly indicated that this would be a BDSM theme and costume party. There were bondage items, leather furniture, and black sheets to hang on the walls.
The living room itself was huge; it was one of the largest living rooms either Amy or Wendy had ever seen in an average-sized tract home. Burnside had chosen the house years before precisely because of its over-sized living room, perfect for accommodating large parties.
"Ok. You two get started moving the living room furniture to the back bedroom except the chairs, which I want against the wall. Be careful with my stuff. I'll have the skin off your asses if you break anything."
Amy and Wendy spent the next hour moving furniture while Burnside worked in the kitchen. Their muscles were sore when they finished, but the work relieved their stress a bit. Next Burnside instructed them to hang the sheets on a line of hooks on the walls near the ceiling. The room's appearance totally changed once the sheets were up. The girls set up the party tables and placed the chairs against the black walls. It was past 5:00 p.m. when they finished.
"Now I need you two to get ready. Get your clothes off and put them in these bags" Burnside went back to the kitchen. Amy immediately started to undress. She had been nude for Suzanne often enough during the last year for it not to bother her to be nude in front of Burnside. She dropped her clothes in her bag and turned around to see Wendy still dressed, her face buried in her hands.
"Wendy, come-on. You got to do this. I can't do it without you," pled Amy to her classmate. Wendy, crying, started to fumble with her buttons. Worried that Burnside would come back in and lose her temper at both of them, Amy pushed Wendy's hands aside and quickly unbuttoned her companion’s blouse. She unhooked her bra and pulled both the blouse and bra off her shoulders. Amy then hooked her thumbs under the waistbands of Wendy's jeans and panties and pushed them to her ankles. Wendy covered herself with her hands as tears rolled down her cheeks. "Wendy, step up." Wendy lifted her right foot. Amy put both hands around Wendy's ankle and pushed the jeans and underwear over her foot. She did the same for Wendy's other foot. She dropped Wendy's clothes in her bag just in time. Burnside came back in and took the two bags to the bedroom closet. Amy glanced over at her companion to admire her thin, petite body and flawless brown skin.
"Now I want you two to clean up." Burnside handed two razors and a can of shaving cream to Amy. "And shave between your legs. Everything. That will be part of your outfit."
Wendy seemed completely immobilized. Amy grabbed her by the wrist and led her to the bathroom. Wendy watched sadly as Amy turned on the bathwater. When the tub was half full, Amy guided her trembling classmate into the water. Once Wendy sat down Amy told her to stand up and spread her legs. She quickly lathered the small amount of black hair on Wendy's pubis with shaving cream and carefully drew the razor across. She gently pushed aside Wendy's dark labia to shave her more thoroughly. She told Wendy to bend over and spread her bottom cheeks. Amy felt a tingle of excitement touching and shaving Wendy's most private areas. More than anything else Amy wanted to hurry, however, as if speeding up now would somehow shorten the long night that lay ahead of them. Amy quickly instructed Wendy to squat back down in the water to rinse off. Wendy said nothing while Amy quickly shaved herself.
Amy dried off. She held the towel to Wendy. Reluctantly Wendy took it and rubbed it around her body. "Let's go. Let's get this over with."
The two girls stood in front of Burnside. Naked, shaved, and with their straight black hair they looked much more alike, to Burnside's satisfaction. Burnside motioned them to come over to one of the tables. She grabbed Wendy's hands and clapped metal bondage cuffs on her wrists. She did the same with Amy's wrists. She handed additional cuffs to each for their ankles. Amy put on her own and then Wendy's. Next came metal collars. There was something scary about having cold metal locked around her neck, thought Amy, once her collar latched in place.
The next detail was temporary tattoos. Burnside ordered Amy to hold out her arms while she wrapped each upper arm with a thick black tribal design. She did the same for Amy's thighs. Amy now had thick black designs encircling her upper arms and upper thighs. Burnside then handed another set to Amy and directed her to put them on Wendy. Now the two girls looked even more alike, with matching metal cuffs and tattoos.
Burnside looked over the two students with a hungry expression that worried Amy. "Now you are almost ready for the party. Everyone will be here in about two hours. There is one more issue we need to settle before the party starts."
Burnside stepped next to the table full of S&M implements.
"Having you two work as hostesses is to make up for the fact that you tried to cheat and that I'm going to give you a second chance. But what angers me even more is the idea that you two thought you could trick me. What were you thinking? That I was born yesterday? That I do what I do as a hobby? I have a doctorate. I have published three books and God knows how many articles. I am a professional. I have been one for 15 years. I take the assumption that you two little sophomores could outwit me as an insult! And you’re going to pay for that insult!"
Burnside pulled a leather switch off the table and slashed it through the air. It made a sinister hiss.
"So, which one of you wants to go first?"
Wendy gasped. She cringed behind Amy. It was obvious that she had not been punished for a long time, if ever. Amy, who had submitted to two punishments over the past year, was only slightly less scared. She knew that Burnside's leather switch would hurt more than anything she had experienced so far from Robert or Suzanne. She felt no excitement like she had when Robert was about to punish her in January, just fear. The worst part of it was that the punishment was perfectly justified. Had Amy been in her professor's shoes she would have felt exactly the same way Burnside felt.
Still, Amy was determined that Burnside would not get the best of her. She would take whatever punishment Burnside chose to dish out. She would not beg for mercy or even cry if she could possibly help it. She wanted Wendy to have the same attitude: don't let this bitch get the best of you. She would set the example. She looked Burnside in the eye and said. "I'll go."
Burnside, slightly impressed with Amy's courage, ordered her to bend over what looked like a tall leather bench with several hooks on each of its four legs. Amy complied. She spread her legs and grabbed the feet of the bench with her hands. Wendy now had a perfect view of Amy's bottom and the backs of her legs. When Amy relaxed her neck and let her face hang upside down she could see Wendy's dark, petite figure and horrified expression from between her legs.
Burnside crouched to attach Amy's metal cuffs to the hooks on the bench, but Amy said, "Dr. Burnside, that won't be necessary. I won't move until you tell me I can get up."
Burnside let go of the hook in her hand. "Have it your way. You'll get extras if you break your word."
Burnside stepped back, placed the switch across the center of Amy's bottom to measure distance, and readjusted her position. Amy closed her eyes and held her breath. She heard the whistle of the first blow. Instantly a vicious burning sting radiated from the center of her left bottom cheek. A thin line appeared on her bottom. It quickly swelled and turned dark. The pain was different from anything that she had felt when punished by Robert or Suzanne, but at first it was not much worse than she had experienced the time Robert had strapped her. However, it quickly intensified. She gasped, but managed to stay quiet. Her fingers turned white from grabbing the legs of the bench.
Amy heard the whoosh again. Another line appeared, slightly above and parallel to the first. The pain from the two welts continued to get worse, but it was still bearable. Amy gasped again and started breathing heavily.
The third whistle announced the appearance of a thin line immediately below the first welt. Amy gasped again. The muscles of her arms tensed trying to keep hold of the bench. The pain was horrible. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
Burnside's fourth blow was much further down than the others, at the base of Amy's left bottom cheek. Burnside hit a fifth time, immediately above the fourth welt. Amy gritted her teeth. Her tears were beginning to drop on the carpet under her face. Her breathing came in and out in gasps.
Burnside hit Amy again between the third and fifth welts on her left bottom cheek. Amy now had six red welts on her left bottom cheek, evenly spaced. Amy's knees started shaking with the seventh blow, laid on the upper part of her bottom cheek.
Amy now had seven thin red stripes, evenly spaced, across her left bottom cheek. Burnside knew how to dish out a punishment. She had hit Amy with precision each time, never crossing any of the welts.
Amy was in intense pain, but she had not yet made any noise other than her breathing. She had not moved out of position. The only evidence of her suffering was her shaking knees and the growing number of drops on the carpet from the tears rolling off her face. Ruth Burnside was impressed. This girl had some spirit to her. Amy's punishment was only half over, but Burnside suspected that Amy would hold up as well for the welts on her right bottom cheek.
Wendy's wide, horrified eyes were glued to Amy's welts. Wendy was amazed that Amy was still in position and not screaming her guts out. She also was amazed that Burnside could be so cruel to another human being.
Burnside switched sides and continued. A whistle announced the first welt on Amy's right bottom cheek. It was low on her bottom, opposite the lowest welt on her left cheek. Amy's legs continued to shake. Her tears continued to stain the carpet under her face.
This time Burnside methodically worked her way up Amy's right bottom cheek, laying on seven welts to match the ones on her left bottom cheek. Amy stayed quiet the whole time, except a short groan on the final stroke.
Amy stayed bent over while Burnside and Wendy watched the final welts turn dark and rise. Amy used every bit of her strength to not cry. Although her punishment was over, the pain did not subside; it seemed to get worse. For a few minutes she could not think of anything except the increasing pain from her welts and her determination not to let the professor hear anything more out of her. Her breathing became irregular as she struggled to stay quiet.
Finally the pain eased slightly. "OK, Amy, you can get off the horse. You're done." Amy stood up and bit her lip as the change of pressure on her skin sent new waves of pain through her bottom. Her face was flushed and wet from tears.
Burnside gave Amy a few minutes to recover and for herself to enjoy the sight of her punished student. The darkening welts combined with the cuffs, metal collar, black hair, and tattoos to make Amy a perfect picture of hardcore submission. The professor licked her lips. Under her leather bikini she felt wet.
Still, Burnside had never punished a student who had held up as well as Amy. She had taken 14 hard strokes and had made almost no noise at all. For that Burnside held a grudging admiration for her student. She looked at Wendy.
Wendy panicked and ran to the bedroom to look for her clothes. Burnside admonished Amy. "Better stop her. If she leaves, she's history as far as her career is concerned."
Amy ran to the bedroom. Her welts seemed to scorch as her swollen bottom jiggled. She found Wendy and grabbed her hands. Wendy was shaking. "I can't... I'll fail the class... I don't care!"
"Wendy! You can't take off! Come on... we're in this together!"
Wendy sobbed. Amy continued, "Didn't you tell me that you were the first girl in your family to go to college? Do you want to waste that now?"
"Amy, how could you let her..."
"Because I know what the street feels like, that's why! If it takes a sore ass to keep from going back to the street, I'll take the sore ass! And I didn't let her win. I didn't cry or beg her for mercy. That's what she wants. I didn't give it to her!"
Wendy's dark eyes looked up into Amy's. Amy squeezed her classmate's hands. "Come on. You can do it. I'll be with you. And tomorrow this will all be over with." Wendy nodded.
Amy led Wendy back into the living room. Burnside pointed her switch towards the bench. Amy squeezed Wendy's hand before letting go. "Don't beg her for mercy. Whatever you do, don't beg her for mercy," Amy whispered in her ear.
Amy stepped aside. Wendy bent over the bench as instructed. Burnside clipped Wendy's wrists and ankles to the legs of the bench; it was obvious that there was no way that Wendy would take her punishment as well as Amy. Burnside held her switch to Wendy's bottom and positioned herself.
In spite of her own pain, the sight of the flawless skin on Wendy's petite bottom, stretched tight and waiting to be marked, excited Amy. This was the first time she would see an Asian girl punished. Wendy's body seemed so delicate to her, so different from Suzanne's. Amy suddenly wished that she could be the one punishing Wendy. Maybe in the future...
Amy looked at Burnside. Burnside, with her switch and her black outfit, was the perfect picture of a dominatrix. The professor was staring intently at Wendy's bottom with that same hungry look that had worried Amy when she and Wendy first had come out of the bathroom. Amy wondered if Burnside would be even harsher on Wendy than she had been on her.
Amy watched Burnside twist her arm up and shoulder backwards. The switch made its familiar whistle. A reddish line instantly appeared in the center of Wendy's small bottom. Wendy's high-pitched shriek was so loud that it hurt Amy's ears. The shriek died down to loud sobs. Wendy's entire body shook. No, thought Amy, she was not going to take this well.
Burnside twisted again and viciously slashed at Wendy's bottom, just slightly above the first line. Amy was amazed that Burnside could hit so hard with such accuracy. Wendy shrieked again. A second thin reddish line appeared on Wendy's bottom and quickly turned dark.
Burnside struck again. A third welt appeared below the first two. Another ear-splitting shriek from Wendy made Amy wince. Wendy started jerking around. The muscles on her legs tensed as she struggled against the restraints on her wrists and ankles.
Burnside's eyes shined with pleasure. There was nothing that she enjoyed more than watching a screaming, struggling student. This little Asian more than made up for the self-control that the other girl had shown...
Amy had been right about staying quiet through her own punishment. While Burnside had enjoyed marking her bottom and watching her efforts to control the agony when she had been let up, Amy still managed to take a lot of the fun out of her punishment for Burnside by staying quiet and still.
Burnside licked her lips. She slashed at Wendy again. Another screech. Wendy shook her black hair around as she moved her head. Her bottom tensed and relaxed as she frantically moved about, alternately exposing and hiding her dark labia and bottom-hole.
Amy's heart went out for poor Wendy. On their way over to Burnside's house Wendy had told Amy that she was the only daughter of a Chinese-American importer, and that her overprotective parents had spoiled her all her life. She was rarely punished, even as a small child. The position in which she had placed herself by downloading that Marshall Plan paper was totally new to her. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before.
Amy looked at Burnside's face with mounting concern. Burnside swung again and a fifth welt appeared on Wendy's bottom. Wendy's screams seemed to feed Burnside's desire to hurt her victim. There was no question that Burnside was hitting Wendy harder than she had hit Amy.
Burnside swung for the sixth time. Six dark red lines now marked Wendy's left bottom cheek, all perfectly parallel and evenly spaced. Wendy was now screaming non-stop from pain and panic. Burnside, her eyes wild with excitement, landed the seventh blow at the top of Wendy's small bottom cheek.
"Dr. Burnside" sobbed Wendy. "Please..."
Burnside jumped to Wendy's right side like she was possessed.
"That's right, you spoiled little princess! I'll teach you to cheat in my class!"
Oh my God, thought Amy. The idea crossed Amy's mind that she might have to intervene, free Wendy, and get her out of the house. If it goes any further than the seven extra strokes on Wendy's right side, she would have no choice...
Burnside took up position, tightened her lips, and slashed hard. Wendy had stopped screaming and was sobbing loudly.
Burnside laid the second line across Wendy's right bottom cheek, more severely than any of the others. Her face shined with excitement. Her black lipstick was smeared. Wendy continued to sob. Suddenly Burnside noticed that Wendy was moving her bottom in and out, momentarily exposing her vulva each time. Burnside timed the next blow at the lowest part of Wendy's right cheek to hit precisely when her tender labia were most exposed. Wendy jerked like she had been electrocuted. She screamed. Burnside did not wait, but quickly slashed Wendy two more times.
Wendy screamed again, a long shrill, ear piercing scream. Wendy, no! Your screaming is making her want to hit you all that much more, thought Amy.
Quickly Burnside hit Wendy three more times. She no longer seemed to have the same control over where the strokes landed. A couple of the welts on Wendy's bottom crossed the others, resulting in ugly blood blisters.
Wendy screamed again. Burnside raised her switch again.
"DR. BURNSIDE!" screamed Amy.
Burnside looked up at Amy and realized what she had been about to do to Wendy. She had lost control of herself, and it was Amy's voice that snapped her back into reality. Suddenly the spell lifted from the professor. The wild expression went out of her eyes. Breathing heavily, Burnside reached down to unhook Wendy's wrists and ankles. Wendy's hands immediately covered her face, but she stayed bent over the bench, her body shaking violently.
"Be ready to serve in 45 minutes." snapped Burnside. "There is some black lipstick in the bathroom. I want you to put it on." With that she turned to go into the kitchen.
Amy stepped over to Wendy. She grabbed the hands of her sobbing, trembling classmate and helped her stand up. Wendy seemed quite unsteady on her feet, forcing Amy to put her arm around her classmate to support her. Amy knew from her own bottom that, even though her punishment had ended, the pain in Wendy's bottom would get worse for a few minutes before subsiding slightly.
Wendy buried her face into Amy's shoulder. Amy put both arms around her classmate to comfort her as best she could. It was obvious the experience had devastated Wendy. Amy wondered if she would be able to perform her hostess duties in just 45 minutes. She badly wanted to comfort Wendy, to hold her, to reassure her. However, Amy resisted the temptation to tell Wendy that everything was going to be all right, because she was not sure herself that everything would be all right.
For fifteen minutes the two naked girls stood with their arms around each other, one sobbing, the other saying nothing. Finally, Amy told Wendy to hold on to one of the tables so that she could get her some water. Wendy seemed in a daze. Amy had to place her hands on the table for her.
Amy walked into the kitchen and found Burnside laying out cocktail ingredients. She stared straight into her professor's eyes. With an edge of defiance in her voice she stated, "Dr. Burnside, I need a glass of water for Wendy." When Burnside handed her a glass Amy continued, "I don't know if she'll be able to serve your guests or do anything in half an hour. I'll do my best to help her get ready."
When she returned to the living room, Amy found Wendy slumped on the floor with her hands still on the table. She was still sobbing. "Wendy, come on." With difficulty Amy managed to get Wendy back to her feet. The sharp pain shooting through her own bottom made her task twice as hard. Amy fought back her own tears as she struggled to get Wendy upright.
Repeating what Robert had done for her after he had punished her, Amy pressed the glass to Wendy's lips. Wendy seemed to recover a little after she drank. She threw her arms around her classmate again and continued sobbing into Amy's shoulder. Amy knew that they both needed to sit down for a few minutes and rest, but that obviously was out of the question with their bottoms so badly marked. She instead led Wendy to the back bedroom and onto the bed, face down. Wendy stopped crying. Her sad dark eyes looked into Amy's. Amy knelt beside the bed and gently brushed her classmate's hair out of her face.
Amy badly wanted to lie down herself, but there was no time. She had to concentrate on getting Wendy back on her feet as quickly as possible. Amy went in the bathroom and wet a washrag. She wiped her classmate's face. Finally she tried to reassure her.
"Wendy, the worst is over. All we have to do now is put on some lipstick and serve drinks for a few hours. Your parents won't even know." Wendy smiled shyly and raised herself up on her elbows. Amy helped her off the bed.
When they entered the kitchen Burnside told Amy and Wendy what they needed to do. First they would greet guests and take their coats to the bedroom. Then they would work as hostesses. Essentially one would take drink orders and the other mix the drinks in the kitchen. They could change every so often if they wanted. A drink recipe pamphlet lay near the ingredients for the drinks they did not know how to make. Burnside handed Amy a small notebook to take orders. This enormously relieved Wendy. She could stay in the kitchen most of the time mixing drinks and not have to be out in the crowd with nothing on. She took it for granted that it would be Amy who would interact with the guests.
Amy and Wendy spent the first half hour of the party opening the door and running back and forth to the bedroom with their arms full of coats. Most of the guests wore outlandish outfits, representing every shade of S&M: nurses, rubber, cops, medieval, diapers, nuns, leather, whatever. Guests continued to arrive until the party overflowed out Burnside's back door onto her patio. Amy recognized at least two professors and several graduate student aides.
Burnside's S&M Halloween party had been a yearly tradition since she had started teaching. It seemed that everyone there knew each other. Amy realized that this was more a costume party than a real S&M party. Amy was shocked to see Burnside laughing and skipping around playfully swatting at her male guests with her switch, jumping away before they had a chance to swat her back. Burnside almost was acting like a little kid.
The party itself was an interesting experience for Amy. This was a strange, dark world she had only heard about previously. The outfits intrigued Amy, as did their promise of the mixture of pain and pleasure. Every so often Amy looked at her professor, wondering what experiences Burnside might have had in her past to make her so obsessed with being the queen of this bizarre collection of individuals. She watched Burnside flirt shamelessly with both male and female guests. It was one thing to imagine Burnside as a dominatrix in class. It was quite another to see Burnside among her own crowd, with her black outfit, black make-up, and black switch. Watching Burnside fascinated Amy. What Amy liked most about her professor was that Burnside played by the rules only when she felt like it. The fact that Amy and Wendy were not facing having their lives ruined by being expelled under the student code of ethics was proof enough of that.
Amy moved continuously through the crowd with her notebook and tray. She found that she was starting to enjoy herself somewhat. It thrilled her to be naked in such a large crowd, casually asking people what they wanted to drink. She flirted with the men, and even some of the women. In a strange way, she even enjoyed the stares her marked bottom received when she walked away from the guests with their orders.
Wendy was kept busy mixing drinks and thumbing through the drink mix pamphlet looking for recipes. She was so busy that she did not have time to think about the experience with Burnside that she had just endured. Amy, who had briefly worked in a restaurant during high school, systematically laid the orders out in a row for Wendy to fill. Sometimes there were a few extra minutes between orders, which allowed Amy to mix drinks and help Wendy stay caught up. Wendy smiled in gratitude whenever Amy was able to take a few minutes to help her. Amy started to feel deeply satisfied from having helped another person through a difficult experience. The two students now shared a strong bond, which would last well past the night.
The highlight of the S&M play was when four male graduate students placed a bet, the loser having to take a caning from Burnside. Amy stopped her work for a few minutes to enjoy the sight of the good-looking student, naked from the waist down, bent over the same bench she had been punished on a few hours before. Burnside used a cane, punishing the student even more severely than she had punished Wendy. Amy noticed the familiar hungry look in Burnside's eyes as she wielded the cane. When the student's companions pulled him off the bench and forced him to turn around, he had a furious erection, to the delight of the crowd. Suddenly Burnside grabbed his face with both hands and kissed him. He grabbed her upper arms and returned the kiss. She pulled the student by the hand into one of the bedrooms, the guests cheering them on.
Shortly after Burnside and the student reappeared from the room, once again to the cheering of the crowd, the party began to wind down. Burnside told Amy to stop taking orders for alcoholic drinks and serve only non-alcoholic beverages. The change eased Wendy's workload to almost nothing. Wendy even managed to come out for a while and watch some of the party. The guests started taking pictures and many of them wanted the hostesses included in their scrapbooks. Amy and Wendy posed over and over with the arms of different guests wrapped around their shoulders. Finally Amy and Wendy began the task of shuttling the coats out of the bedroom back to the front hallway to pass out to people going out the door. When the last of the partiers left they had their first truly good piece of luck of the night.
Burnside originally had planned that Amy and Wendy would stay to clean up before being allowed to go home. However, Burnside's caning victim remained with her. He had a strange look in his eyes, from both being excited and feeling guilty about it at the same time. He already had a metal collar around his neck. He was erect under his costume. Burnside had other things on her mind than putting away dishes. She wanted to get rid of Amy and Wendy as soon as possible and enjoy her new sex toy.
Clean-up could wait until tomorrow. Burnside would have a cute guy to boss around to do the clean-up, a far more delicious prospect for her than ordering two tired girls to do it. Burnside handed them their clothes and unlatched their cuffs and collars.
Amy and Wendy were dismissed. "You are not off the hook." Burnside reminded them. "I expect top-rate term papers from both of you. Originals, this time."
Amy and Wendy slowly slid their jeans over their bottoms, wincing as they eased the coarse cloth over their welts. Slowly they walked back to Wendy's car. Sitting down in the car seats was tough.
On the way back the two girls agreed to get together in two days to start work on their term papers. Amy suggested that they write a joint paper, if Burnside agreed to the idea. Wendy dropped Amy off at her apartment building's door and they hugged each other goodnight.
Amy expected to quietly slip into the apartment and into her own room. She would have to sleep on her stomach. She would have to figure out how to get the temporary tattoos off before Suzanne saw them. She needed to figure out an explanation for her hair. Most of all, she needed to figure out an explanation for the dark red marks on her bottom. But she could deal with all that tomorrow. At that moment she just wanted some sleep.
Amy quietly put her key in the door and eased it open. She was startled by the loud metallic crash of pans falling on the floor. A light went on in the living room. "Amy, get in here... Now!" snapped Suzanne's voice. So much for a quiet entry.
Amy pushed open the door into the pans, which seemed to clatter in protest. Suzanne had stacked them next to the door precisely to warn her when Amy pushed it open.
Suzanne sat up on the sofa, a blanket wrapped around the lower part of her body, glaring at Amy. Her bare, folded arms covered her breasts.
"Amy, you have one chance, and one chance only, to tell me where you were tonight."
"I... I was at a professor's Halloween party."
"WHICH professor's Halloween party, Amy?"
"My economics professor."
"The name. I want to hear the name."
The expression on Suzanne's face and the tone of her voice made it obvious that she knew something. Amy wondered how much.
"Amy, were you a guest at this party?"
"I was invited..."
"That's not what I asked you. I didn't ask you if you were invited. I asked you if you were a guest."
Amy felt sick. Suzanne knew. "I... I... was a... hostess for Dr. Burnside. With another girl from my class."
"Now for the question that most interests me. WHY were you a hostess for Dr. Burnside?"
Amy looked that the floor. She could face Burnside easily enough, but not her roommate. Finally she managed to answer.
"I... I... downloaded a term paper from the Internet. I... made a couple of small changes and turned it in as my own work. Burnside caught me. It turned out that the other girl, Wendy, downloaded the same paper. Burnside... told us that... if we hosted her party, she'd let us re-write our papers."
"Were you planning on telling me this when you got back?"
Amy's emotional strength gave out. She had held up all evening, impressing Burnside and helping Wendy get through the ordeal. She was not prepared for the shock of having to face her roommate. She was beyond exhausted. Her spirit collapsed. She started to cry.
"And what were you planning to do if Dr. Burnside had not let you re-write your paper?"
Amy buried her face in her hands. "I would've gotten kicked out of school."
Suzanne looked harshly at her roommate for a few minutes. "Take off your clothes. I want to see happened to you."
Reluctantly Amy pealed off her clothes. At least she no longer needed to worry about getting the temporary tattoos off before Suzanne saw them...
"Turn around." Sadly Amy turned around. Fourteen dark red stripes, seven on each side, marked her bottom. She would have them for at least several days, possibly a week. Suzanne was infuriated. This would cause her to have to cancel the photo shoot she had planned for the following weekend.
"You're probably curious how I know. I guess you weren't aware that Lisa Campbell, your TA, is a friend of mine because she's a member of my photography club. Two nights ago Lisa mentioned that the professor who she works for caught two students cheating. They turned in the same term paper about the Marshall Plan. I thought that was somewhat interesting so I asked her for more details. When Ruth Burnside's name came up, I remembered seeing the Marshall Plan paper near the computer last week. I'd been wondering what it was for. Figuring out you were one of the cheaters was not rocket science."
"You really put yourself at risk, Amy." Suzanne continued. "It'll be interesting to see what Robert thinks."
"SUZANNE! PLEASE, NO!" pled Amy. "Please don't tell him! I've been punished enough!"
"Not by us you haven't. You stay right there, as you are. I'm taking you to Robert's place as soon as it's light outside. I want to watch you explain this to him."
Amy could not have been more miserable. Obviously there would be no sleep for her any time soon. She was terribly afraid that Robert might strap her over her welts. She dreaded having to face his cold stare once he found out that she nearly got kicked out of college. She stood in the middle of the living room crying.
It was getting light outside. Amy had not realized how late it was when she and Wendy left Burnside's house. Suzanne dialed Robert's apartment and handed her roommate the phone.
"Hello Robert? Suzanne and I... are going to come over in a few minutes."
"Great. What do you want for breakfast?"
Amy put her hand over the phone to pass the question to Suzanne.
"Tell him I'll have whatever's convenient for him to fix. Tell him that you're not having anything."
"Suzanne says that she'll have whatever you want to fix. She says I can't have anything."
Robert was silent for a moment. "Amy, what's wrong?"
"I... have to tell you something when I come over." Amy's voice broke. "You're not going to like it."
When she hung up Suzanne passed her a robe. There was no point in getting dressed, she explained. As soon as they got to Robert's place he would see the full picture.
For the second time in less than an hour Amy's bottom throbbed as the welts were pressed into a car seat. Suzanne, normally a cautious driver, seemed to delight in hitting all the speed bumps hard that morning.
Suzanne was genuinely infuriated at her roommate. Amy's clumsy effort to cheat with the Internet paper disgusted her. Suzanne was an idealist when it came to academic integrity, to the point of not being realistic in her expectations of fellow students. There were two reasons for her feelings. First, about four years before she met Amy, she had been accused of plagiarism herself when she had actually been innocent. She managed to prove her innocence by showing her notes and the list of books she had borrowed from the school library, but still felt that she was not really being believed. Much worse for her was the time that another photography student stole and attempted to copyright some of her pictures. Suzanne was unable to prove the pictures were hers, but got revenge by helping the photos' model file a suit against the thief for not having a model release. For Suzanne a breach of academic integrity was unforgivable.
When the two roommates entered Robert's apartment, he looked at them with astonishment. Suzanne was almost speechless with anger. Amy, with a miserable expression on her face, was wearing only a thin bathrobe with nothing underneath. She had that strange black haircut. When Suzanne ripped off the robe, Robert shocked eyes first went to the tattoos on Amy's arms and thighs. "What in hell did you do that for?"
Amy mumbled "They're temporary. They'll come off in a few days."
"Turn around" snapped Suzanne. When Amy hesitated, she grabbed her arm and twisted her around. "Now, explain please, why you look like this."
Amy, between tears and sobs, told him the story of the paper, her office visit with Burnside, Wendy, and the party.
Robert's reaction relieved Amy and dismayed Suzanne. He did not explode; he did not pull out his strap. He simply said, "Sounds like you had one hell of a night. I take it that you learned your lesson, that you won't be doing this again?"
Amy nodded. Robert picked up the robe from the floor and handed it to her.
"Good. Let's sit down for breakfast. Then Amy, I want you to take a bath and go to bed."
Suzanne stared at Robert in disbelief. "I don't believe this! You're going to just let her get away with plagiarism? Plagiarism?"
Robert looked at Suzanne. His temper began to get short with Amy's roommate. "Look, you need to calm down! You need to get some things into perspective! I'm not letting her get away with anything!"
They sat down for a very strange breakfast. Amy was so tired she could barely get her food down. Suzanne was fuming at both Robert and Amy and ate very little. Robert looked from Suzanne to Amy and back again, more interested in Suzanne than in Amy. The idea was forming in his mind that he needed to talk to Suzanne once Amy was asleep.
Amy's remaining energy was fading fast. She skipped the bath and collapsed on the guest bed. Robert took a closer look at the welts on her bottom, and then covered her up. That professor had been quite vicious. Robert did not fault Burnside for having whipped Amy. There was no question in his mind that she had deserved her punishment, because what she had done was sheer stupidity. She was lucky to still be enrolled in college. However, now that she had been punished and the matter apparently settled, it was time to move on.
Robert was irritated that Suzanne wanted to punish Amy further. To hit her on these welts would risk real injury. What on earth was she thinking? Her apparent desire to hurt Amy disappointed him, because he had always liked Suzanne. He was seeing a different side of her, one that he did not like.
Suzanne glared at Robert when he re-entered the living room.
"She's asleep. Come on, it's a fairly nice morning for this time of the year. Let's go for a walk."
Once on the street Robert pondered how to begin talking to Suzanne. Finally he said, "You know, it seems that the issue of plagiarism pushes your buttons a bit."
"I just can't believe that Amy could do such a thing! She knows how I feel about it!"
"Oh, I think you made your feelings quite clear, to both me and Amy. I take it that you had negative experiences in your own life as a result of plagiarism?"
"Of course." With that Suzanne launched into long description of her bitter feelings about the two incidences of cheating in her life. Her bitterness about having been falsely accused of plagiarism weighed on her even more than the photo incident. She wanted to get her hands on the people who actually did cheat and caused her so much embarrassment...
Robert sympathized, and laid out a couple of examples of ethical violations he had witnessed as an attorney. "The point is that these violations exist everywhere. They're a part of life."
"Well, I don't want them as part of my life!" snapped Suzanne. "I don't want them as part of the life of anyone around me!"
"Maybe. Many people would think that your outlook is admirable. But the point is that I am curious as to what exactly you expected when you dragged Amy over here."
"I expected you to come down on her! I expected that you would punish her so hard that she wouldn't even think of trying to plagiarize again! I didn't expect that you would simply hug her and say 'It's OK, Amy, I understand. You had a rough night. Go beddy-bye.'"
"You don't think she had a rough night? That professor punished her worse than I would have. I, personally, think she behaved admirably with that other girl, if I understand the story correctly from the way she told it."
"The point is she did something that disgusted me. She knows how I feel about plagiarism. She knows it's the one thing I can't stand. She did it anyway! I take it personally and I think she should pay for it!"
"And you don't think she paid for it last night? You don't think that being stripped, being caned, being forced to serve drinks in the nude all night, having to keep that other girl from going to pieces the whole time, facing an angry roommate at the end of it all, and finally having to re-do the term paper... that's not paying? You don't think she was punished?"
"Not by me. Not for her betrayal of my principles..."
"Your principles? What does this have to do with you? It's Amy that we're worried about, not you. Didn't you see those welts? Do you really think that punishing her over those welts would in any way help her?" That punishing her when she can barely stand on her feet would help her? That punishing her, when she still needs to complete that make-up term paper would help her?"
Robert paused. Suzanne said nothing, not liking the direction of the conversation. Suddenly he felt that he had enough information to understand what she really wanted.
"Suzanne, I've always liked you. I've always thought that you've been a good influence on Amy. She loves you like you were her sister. But this morning I'm seeing a different side, a vindictive side, of you that I don't like at all. I believe that it is not Amy who you are trying to punish. It's that guy who stole your pictures. It's the people involved in your plagiarism accusations that you want to punish. Subconsciously, because Amy did the same thing they did, you were going to take out your anger on her. You were going to take out all your hostility against everyone who ever committed plagiarism on one person, on Amy."
Robert paused then drove home his point. "Think about this for a second. You are struggling with your own issues when it comes to this, not Amy's. You're mad at everyone who ever committed plagiarism. Because Amy tried it, you wanted to transfer your anger against the world of plagiarists onto the one person who trusts you the most. You wanted to humiliate her, punish her, hurt her, grind her down. Not because you wanted to help her, but because you hate all plagiarists. If what I'm saying is true, then I find it reprehensible. I find it reprehensible that you would want to hurt your best friend because of personal issues that you are dealing with. You tell me if I'm close to the truth."
Suzanne went white. She looked directly at Robert. It was not in her nature to look away when confronted with an ugly fact by another person. She paused to think, to try to give him an honest answer. He had pushed through her veneer of self-righteousness and had forced her to do so as well. She realized he was right.
"I guess that's the truth. I never thought about it like you described, but you're right. I'm afraid I owe Amy an apology. I owe an apology to you for disappointing you."
They walked in silence for a long time. Suzanne was lost in thought. Robert had forced her to see something about herself that troubled her. She now realized how cruel she had been to Amy. She felt horribly ashamed for what she attempted to do to her friend at Robert's apartment. Worst of all, she had disappointed Robert, the only man in her life she had ever respected. Suzanne was not one to cry easily. However, her face clearly reflected her sadness and anger at her own behavior. Suddenly she looked up.
"Robert, I have a favor to ask of you when we get back."
Robert glanced over at Suzanne. Her next words surprised him.
"I'm the one who should be punished, not Amy."
"I think that Amy should be the one to do that. She's the one you wanted to hurt."
Suzanne looked at Robert, her eyes full of sadness and fear. She struggled to express her next words. "Amy is not that strong. She wouldn't be able to... hit me hard enough. She wouldn't want to hurt me anyway. You'll have to do it."
They said nothing more on their way back. Robert could tell that Suzanne was terrified of the impending punishment that she had requested for herself.
Outwardly Robert maintained his cold demeanor towards Suzanne. Inwardly he was thrilled at the thought of seeing and punishing Amy's attractive roommate. Although her figure was not girlish like Amy's, Suzanne's body was intensely feminine. She was much more solidly built, with full hips and a nice large bottom that would take a lot of punishment.
Robert's emotions were much more confused than the simple conflict between his anger at Suzanne and his thoughts about her body. He looked over at her sad expression and the long strands of loose hair that were blowing about her face. Robert actually found Suzanne extremely desirable. Secretly he had wanted to ask her out for several months. There was not the issue of her having been under his care, as had been the case with Amy. However he had held back, worried about their difference in age and the possibility of problems with Amy.
As soon as they got back Robert checked on Amy. She was deeply asleep. He closed her door.
Suzanne looked sadly at Robert, waiting for him to speak.
"Do you still want to do this? Have me punish you, I mean?"
"It's not that I want to. But I have no choice. I have to. I don't know how else I can... I mean it's what I wanted you to do to Amy." She walked over to an easy chair. "Is it OK if I put my clothes here?"
When Robert nodded, Suzanne began to undress. She neatly folded each piece of clothing as she took it off. As was typical for her, she wore no underwear. When finished she stood next to the chair, one hand resting on the back, waiting for his next instructions. Her figure reminded Robert of the Roman frescoes of Venus he had seen when he and Tricia had visited Italy a few years before.
"The strap is on the wall in my room, next to a dresser. Go get it."
Robert admired Suzanne's bottom as she walked to his room. Quickly she re-appeared with the strap in her hand. From Suzanne there was none of the modesty that Amy had shown the time Robert punished her.
Together they moved the side table to the middle of the room. Robert realized that there was no need to tell Suzanne to be still during the punishment. Quickly she bent over one end of the table and grabbed the other end with her hands.
"Put your feet on the outside of the table legs." Suzanne complied, exposing herself to Robert. Suzanne did not shave, but she did not have much hair on her vulva nor between her bottom cheeks. Robert had as clear a view of Suzanne as he had of Amy when he had strapped her. He paused for a moment to enjoy the sight of Suzanne's bottom, and then tapped it with the strap.
Robert stepped back. Suzanne closed her eyes.
CRACK! The first blow landed in the middle of Suzanne's left bottom cheek. The familiar pink rectangle made its appearance on Suzanne's bottom. Suzanne did not move, or make any sound at all other than a faint gasp.
CRACK! Robert landed the second swat across both sides of her bottom. Suzanne gasped again. CRACK! Another swat across both cheeks, immediately below the first. Robert realized that it was going take a longer and more severe punishment to get through to Suzanne than had been the case with Amy. He would not time the strokes like he did with Amy at the beginning of the year. If he did, he and Suzanne would be here all day. CRACK! Robert landed the fourth swat to overlap the others. He hit hard, but the only result was a slightly louder gasp from Suzanne. She was tough, no question about it.
Robert moved to Suzanne's right side. CRACK! A back-handed blow to her right side shook her whole bottom. CRACK!...CRACK! Robert laid two more backhanded swats against Suzanne's right bottom cheek. CRACK! CRACK! Two more back-handed across both bottom cheeks deepened the color somewhat. Her breathing became heavier. She bit her lip. Still, she had not made a sound or even started to cry.
Robert switched sides again. This time he did not hold back. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Robert laid five vicious blows into the left side of Suzanne's bottom. He switched sides. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Robert laid five backhand blows into Suzanne's right bottom cheek. She gasped with each swat. Her voice broke with the last three. Tears were running down her face. Robert was just starting to get to her.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Robert laid three backhanded blows across both Suzanne's bottom cheeks. She began to cry quietly. Robert switched sides. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Three more swats across both sides of her bottom. Suzanne sobbed quietly on the last one.
Robert stopped to look at Suzanne. Her bottom was a deep pink, but not marked as badly as Amy's had been at this point in her punishment. Robert actually had been hitting Suzanne harder than he had hit Amy, but with less effect. She had been right about Amy not being up to the task of punishing her. Robert was stiff under his pants. The sight of this voluptuous, pink bottom in front of him...
"Suzanne, spread your legs as much as you can for the next ones. The next swat's going to be on the base of your bottom." Suzanne managed to spread herself slightly. Robert lightly tapped the tender skin on the inside of her left bottom cheek, near the base... CRACK! Suzanne jerked, and sobbed. CRACK! Another swat in the same spot made her squeal with pain. CRACK! CRACK! Two back-handed swats on the inside of Suzanne's right bottom cheek seemed to finally start breaking her resistance. She started to cry more loudly.
Robert moved to Suzanne's left side. He tapped the strap on the swollen left side of her bottom. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Full force, he laid on five swats to her left bottom cheek Again he moved to her right side. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Suzanne now was crying continuously. Her body shook with sobs. Purplish welts began to form.
Robert was impressed with Suzanne's endurance. He actually was starting to get tired from swinging the strap. Still, her bottom was now in bad shape. The punishment was almost over. Robert decided to finish with five full-force swats to both bottom cheeks. CRACK! Suzanne squealed. CRACK! She screamed for the first time. CRACK! a second scream. CRACK! Suzanne now started to sob uncontrollably. Her knees began to shake. CRACK!
Robert stepped back and set the strap down. Suzanne's body jerked with sobs. This was by far the most painful experience that she had ever had, one that she would remember for a long time. Robert experienced a flashback to Amy's punishment, when it took every bit of effort to not unzip his pants and take her from behind.
This time it was even more difficult because there was nothing girlish about Suzanne's voluptuous body. Her figure invited sex, not protection.
"Stand up!" snapped Robert. Suzanne stood up and turned around, looking at Robert though her tears. She noticed the swell in his pants. The pain from her bottom intensified her emotions. She suddenly realized that she badly wanted him.
Although Robert did not realize it, Suzanne had noticed his glances and longing expression over the summer. She had wondered why he never said anything to her. Now she wanted him to hold her. She threw herself into his arms. Robert was too shocked to react right away. Then the feel of having this young woman, one that he had wanted for such a long time, actually pressed up against him, brought back the old physical sensations. He moved his hands over her back, causing her to hug him all that much harder.
For a long time Suzanne had her arms around Robert, as tears fell down her cheeks. As he would shortly find out, she had been through a lot in her short life. The pain that had built up inside her was coming out, first with her explosion at Amy, then with the feeling of needing Robert.
At first the hug was one of gratitude and forgiveness, but suddenly Suzanne stepped back. Her emotional state and physical needs were starting to take control of her. She took Robert's hands in hers. She looked into his face, her eyes with a hungry, wild expression.
It had been over a year for Robert since he had last been with anyone. The passion built up from a year of missing Tricia suddenly came out of him. He let go of Suzanne's hands and moved his hands to the sides of her face. He buried his mouth into hers. She reached for his belt and struggled to unlatch it. Robert's pants dropped to the floor, his erection freed from its cloth restraint. He struggled to step out of them as Suzanne wrapped her hand around his penis. She massaged his hair and balls. It felt so good.
They dropped to the floor. At first Suzanne straddled Robert, pushing up his shirt. Suddenly he rolled her over on her back. The intense pain coming from her bottom as it pressed to the floor heightened her desire. Robert grabbed her hands and pushed them to the floor above her head. The feeling of Suzanne's helplessness exhilarated both of them. Robert pushed inside of her. She grunted faintly with each breath. Robert stayed hard after he came. He wanted to give her another orgasm and continued thrusting. Within seconds his efforts were rewarded, Suzanne let out a series of high pitched groans that differed from her normal voice.
The passion did not fade with the end of their first lovemaking session. As Robert struggled to unbutton his shirt, Suzanne got up and bent over the table. She spread her legs and wiggled her red bottom mischievously. Robert was hard almost immediately. He squeezed her swollen bottom cheeks and moved his hands up her back. He grabbed her shoulders and again thrust inside of her. This time was even better. He took his time, enjoying the feel of Suzanne's body. Again she let out a series of high pitched groans. Sweat was pouring down their bodies when they finished.
They calmed down enough to move to Robert's bedroom. They tore off the blankets from the bed. For a while they simply lay quietly, Suzanne happily in his arms. She started to teasingly touch him. Within a few minutes Robert was hard again. She got on her elbows and knees, her marked bottom on full display. Again he took her from behind.
It was fortunate for everyone that Amy stayed asleep the whole time. Robert and Suzanne had forgotten all about her. They took a bath together in the Jacuzzi bathtub. They slept together for a little bit. Suzanne remembered that she was hungry from not having eaten breakfast, so they had a late lunch. They cleaned up the mess in the living room. Finally Robert decided to get dressed. Suzanne put on a robe.
They sat on the sofa. Suzanne lay in Robert's arms, content to stay there quietly. Finally they heard Amy's door open. Suzanne jumped up.
Amy had on the white terry-cloth robe that she had worn when she was staying here at the beginning of the year. She shyly walked out, not knowing what to expect from her roommate and her father's law partner. She was surprised to see Suzanne in a robe in Robert's apartment.
Suzanne took Amy's hands in hers. She spoke immediately. "Amy, I treated you horribly this morning. I am so sorry. Please forgive me."
Amy embraced her roommate.
Amy and Suzanne slowly walked back to Suzanne's car shortly after dark. Both of them were stiff from their punishments. Amy noted with amusement that Suzanne was much more careful about hitting the speed-bumps on the way back. Suzanne's cautious manner of driving had returned, and then some.
When it became clear to Suzanne that Amy was perfectly willing to forgive her for her behavior in the morning, she seemed almost bubbly with happiness. On their way back Suzanne seemed to be happily lost in thought. For once she seemed to have something else on her mind besides her next photo shoot. It was strange for Amy to see Suzanne like this. Amy started to wonder what had gone on between Suzanne and Robert while she was asleep.
Amy's problems with her history of economics class were not over. The make-up term paper loomed over her and Wendy. That night Amy e-mailed Burnside to ask her if she and Wendy could do a joint paper. Burnside surprised her by responding within a few minutes.
"Have it your way. Remember that double the researchers means double the paper. Hope you know what you are doing. -Burnside-."
Amy called Wendy with the news. They agreed that they needed to meet early the next morning. Amy then decided to have Wendy drive her to Robert's place to see what insight he could give them on choosing a topic.
Amy and Wendy showed up at his apartment at 8:00. He delayed going to work to help them with their problem. He posed a question to Wendy that had never occurred to her, her family was in trade, why not research something related to her father's business?
Robert's probing of Wendy's family history revealed that they had made most of their fortune selling supplies to the US Army during the Vietnam War. That's a coincidence; said Robert. Both his father and Amy's grandfather were lieutenant colonels in charge of buying supplies from Taiwan during their tours of duty. Robert pulled out a photo album and showed Amy and Wendy his father's Vietnam War pictures, which also included many photos of John's father. Most of the shots were of groups of US officers, but suddenly Wendy's face brightened. She pointed to a picture of Amy's grandfather and two other US officers posing with a group of Taiwanese businessmen.
"That's my grandfather!" exclaimed Wendy as she pointed to one of the Chinese executives. Wendy grabbed the album and thumbed over the next several pages. She found two more group pictures that included her grandfather. It turned out that Amy and Wendy were linked in a way that neither could have imagined; their grandfathers had done business together.
"Well, it looks like you two have your research topic. My Vietnam books are on those two shelves. There are a couple about the economic impact of the Vietnam War and some others on logistics. Amy, your grandfather's Army file is in that file cabinet, with your father's other papers. That'll get you started. I got to go. Make sure you lock up when you leave."
After Robert left, Wendy pulled out her cell phone and called her uncle in Taipei. In Chinese she asked him to send her any information he had on her family's contacts with the US Army during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Amy started paging through Robert's books and her grandfather's military record.
Amy's suspicions about her roommate and her father's friend intensified over the following weekend. Suzanne was gone and Robert was not picking up his phone. She did not know what to make of that. It was inevitable that Suzanne would find another boyfriend, and that Robert at some point needed to get over Tricia. But, Robert and Suzanne? What on earth did they have in common? Amy felt jealous, but she knew that she had no right to feel that way.
Suzanne headed over Robert's place Friday night. She had missed him tremendously. She felt an excitement that she had rarely felt in her relationships. While it was true that he was almost twice her age, she had hopes that this relationship would be different from all the others.
Suzanne's love of photography and the arts had come at a huge price, loneliness. Most of the men in the art department were self-centered, irresponsible, or both. Suzanne had gone through several relationships with guys from her department, none of which had given her any satisfaction.
Suzanne knew that making a living off the arts was next to impossible for most people; that a career back-up was needed for any aspiring artist. Most of her male classmates seemed either not to realize that fact, or to care. Suzanne saw the same pattern in relationship after relationship; this guy is going to live off me if we stay together. As a result of her caution about choosing a partner, Suzanne had become unpopular among the men in the art department. One of her ex-boyfriends even tried to spread a rumor that Suzanne was gay.
Robert was as different from her other boyfriends as Suzanne could imagine. He most certainly had his faults; his age, the ghost of his dead wife, his lack of any artistic taste, the fact that he seemed to think that he was right about everything. What made up for all that was that he was focused, he intensely cared about the other people in his life, and was more than willing to take the time needed to help others.
Suzanne fell into Robert's arms as soon as she walked through his door. He had fixed her dinner, but that could wait. She was hungry for something else. She buried her mouth into his. She pressed her pelvis against Robert's. The reaction from him was immediate. He reached for the waistband of her skirt and pushed it off her hips to the floor. Suzanne suddenly made a strange sight, dressed in winter clothes from the waist up and nude from the waist down. She struggled with his pants and pushed them down past his knees. She grabbed his penis and massaged it, enjoying the feel of Robert's erection throbbing in her hand. Robert ran his hand between Suzanne's thighs and brushed it past her crotch. She was wet immediately. Robert pulled off his shirt. He pressed his nude body against Suzanne's coat. He ran his fingers into her hair and kissed her hard.
Suddenly they were on the floor. Robert thrust hard, his sweat dripping onto Suzanne's coat. She dug her fingernails into his bottom, the pain just enough to excite him even more. Robert took his time, stretching his orgasm out as long as he could. This time was even better for him.
When they finished, Suzanne suddenly started to laugh. "You know, we didn't even say hello to each other."
That night, after another round of sex, Suzanne lay across Robert's lap. He took his time to enjoy the sight of Suzanne's bottom. He studied the marks remaining from her strapping a few days before, and gently ran his hand across her bottom cheeks. Suzanne enjoyed the feel of Robert's hand on her bottom. He pressed between her legs, teasing her. He traced her labia and bottom hole with the tips of his fingers. Suzanne closed her eyes, enjoying the intimacy Robert's touches. He took his time with her, a nice change from her last boyfriend.
The next day, while Amy and Wendy buried themselves in the labyrinth of military purchases and economic development, Suzanne and Robert enjoyed their first full Saturday together. Robert allowed Suzanne to do most of the talking, since what he did as an attorney was hardly the stuff for romantic conversation. They went to several art galleries. Suzanne actually was able to make art interesting for Robert, a real accomplishment. A couple of the galleries had photo displays that included Suzanne's pictures of Amy. Robert had seen some of the pictures before, but it was interesting for him to hear Suzanne describe how the pictures were taken and what Amy had to do for the poses. After the galleries, Robert took Suzanne to his favorite restaurant, the one that over-looked Chicago.
Suzanne's caution forced her to wonder about Tricia. When they returned to Robert's apartment, Suzanne walked over to Robert's desk to examine the items on top. From a large desk portrait, Tricia stared back at her. Suzanne picked up the picture, trying to read Tricia's personality by studying her eyes. Suzanne knew two things about Tricia. She had been killed by a drunk driver, and she had a wildness about her that made Robert think that he needed to keep a strap in his room. Suzanne needed to fill in the blanks, before committing herself any further to Robert.
Robert sat down in the largest easy chair in the apartment, with Suzanne sitting on his lap. They sat in the dark, looking out his living room window.
"Robert, I have to know about Tricia." Suzanne finally said.
Reluctantly at first, Robert began the story. As he progressed, he loosened up and the details flowed out.
Robert and Tricia had known each other since middle school. They started dating in the 9th grade. They broke up and got back together again several times over the next 10 years. Finally they got married, each convinced that they were made for each other, given the numerous break-ups and reconciliations.
Tricia was addicted to alcohol. Robert was addicted to Tricia. He spent night after night helping her recover from her latest binge. Time after time Tricia apologized to Robert and promised to stop, but never managed to stay off alcohol for more than a few weeks. In a perverse way, her dependency fed his desire to take care of her.
After 10 years of dating Tricia, and 5 years of being married to her, Robert watched his wife get drunk and then sick at a party at her boss's house. She threw up on a sofa, in front of 30 guests. That finally did it for Robert. He left immediately. How Tricia got home was not his problem. He packed up the clothes he would need and headed over to his office, where he had a sofa to sleep on and a bathroom with a shower.
Tricia spent the next two months begging Robert to take her back. He had always taken her back before. They both knew that sooner or later he would take her back again. However, one night Robert decided that this time he would call the shots as to how they got back together. When Tricia got drunk, she would get punished. It would be that simple.
Knowing that Tricia would call him that night and do her usual begging for him to take her back, Robert went to a couple of adult sex toy stores after work to look at something that would be effective to use on her. Finally he settled on a thick leather strap and a pair of leather cuffs that hooked together. That task accomplished, he went his office to wait for Tricia to call him. Sure enough, she called him within a half an hour.
"I guess I'll come back tonight. From this point on there will be a condition if you want to stay with me."
"Oh please, anything. I want to be with you. I've missed you so bad."
She always said the same thing when they got back together. Robert was not sure if this would work, but he had tried everything else. She had gone for treatment three times. He could see no point in doing that again.
Tricia was no better than she had been when Robert left her. He could smell that she had been drinking as soon as she rushed into his arms. Robert sighed. She was getting worse. She started sobbing as she gripped him. She spent the next hour sobbing as she held on to him. Finally he ordered her into the bathtub. He gave her a couple of glasses of water to help her flush out the latest round of drinks. Tricia was quiet when she got out and came into the bedroom. She seemed fine, but Robert knew this was all part of her pattern.
"Don't bother to get dressed. You told me that you would do whatever it takes to have me back. Instead I show up here to see you drinking again. OK. I'm not going to take off again. We're going to do something else."
With that he ordered her to sit down. He told her that she was not to get up from that chair. If she did he would leave and she would never see him again. Then, in the same way that he would cross-examine any other witness, he cross-examined his wife. Pacing the floor, Robert bore into Tricia. He started with the latest incident, which, he found out to his dismay, had resulted in the loss of her job.
For hours, as she sat crying, Robert forced confession after confession out of his wife. He forced her to remember her worst binges in detail. He forced her to remember what she drank each time and how much. He forced her to remember all the times she threw up. He forced her to remember embarrassing incidents. He made her describe in her own words, the results of several of her binges. Then he returned to the latest incident. He forced her to describe the faces of her co-workers as her vomit spread across the sofa. She could not remember, so Robert filled in the awful details.
Tricia was terrified, because she had never seen her husband like this. The truth was that Robert was acting; he had put on his lawyer's mask. But in the end he extracted from Tricia what he needed, a confession.
"Tricia, explain to me why you have done all these things. You have a problem, and that problem has a name. What is it?"
Tricia was still crying, but she had been crying so long that she was no longer sobbing. Robert repeated the question.
"I drink too much."
"You're close, but you haven't named your problem. I need the correct term, Tricia."
"I... I'm an alcoholic."
"What does that mean for our relationship?"
"If... I don't... stop, you'll leave me."
"Do you want to stop?"
"There will be no 'trying", Tricia. Either you will stop, or you won't. Now answer the question. Do you want to stop?"
"Yes Robert, I want to stop."
"And how do you plan to stop?"
Tricia started crying again. "I don't know. I need you to help me."
"Well, here's the deal. I am going to make you pay for your drinking from now on. If you want to stay with me, when you drink, you will have a sore butt." Robert held up his strap. Tricia's eyes went wide with horror.
"You can't do that to me. You don't have the right..."
"You're free to go. You're free to tell me to take off. The choice is yours. You can drink, or you can stay with me. You can't do both. I told you that if you stay with me, it will be under a condition."
Robert held out the strap in both hands. "This is the condition. Every time you drink..." Robert swatted the dresser hard. The loud crack against the wood made Tricia wince. "you'll get it."
"Robert... Please, I promise..."
"Yeah-yeah-yeah. You promise. You promise. You always promise. Well, don't promise, because we both know how much your promises are worth!"
She got up and tried to hug him. "I'm sorry." He pushed her away.
"Tricia, you don't get it! It's always the same! You promise. You're sorry. So's the damn airlines! They're sorry too! But they never improve their service! Just like you never stop your drinking. Everyone is sorry. 'Sorry' has become just a lame excuse to not do anything! But now you are going to learn what 'sorry' really means. Don't move."
Robert got a couple of hard pillows from the living room and stacked them on the bed. Tricia clasped her hands in front of her chest in anticipation and worry as she watched him.
"I'm going to do this to you every time you drink. You'll need to get used to it. Or, you can get dressed and leave."
Robert tapped the pillows and motioned his crying wife to lie across them, her bottom in high the air. She started to cry louder when he wrapped her wrists in the leather cuffs and hooked them together in front of her. Now she would have to keep her hands in front. She could not try to cover her bottom.
Robert suddenly felt aroused seeing his wife's nude body draped over the pillows, her white bottom waiting to be marked. He had not expected that he would actually enjoy this.
Tricia buried her head between her arms. She could not believe that her husband was actually doing this to her. Still, she realized that she had forced him into this situation. It was true that she had made his life a living hell for 15 years. In a way she actually respected him more at this moment. He had demonstrated that indeed he was not going to put up with this any more. Tricia had unconsciously held power over Robert by always coming back to him. Now with the threat of punishment every time she drank, the balance of power in the marriage suddenly shifted to his favor. Every time she drank, Tricia would be faced with a choice; leave, or take a punishment.
Robert hit Tricia hard. A thick pink stripe immediately appeared across both of her bottom cheeks. Tricia screamed and rolled off the pillows. He hit her across the thighs. "That's fine. Butt or thighs, you'll get it either way."
Tricia, sobbing, struggled to get back over the pillows. She managed to stay in place for the next four swats. He hit Tricia hard across both bottom cheeks. She screamed each time her husband struck her, and sobbed in between. Robert had to learn through trial and error how to punish effectively. He had not yet worked out the technique that he later used on Amy. However, what he lacked in technique he made up for in anger. There were 15 years of anger built up in him that came out in his strokes.
Tricia again rolled off the pillows. "Robert! Please! I'm sorry!" She curled up on her back to protect the fronts of her thighs, but in doing so she again exposed her bottom, leaving it turned up and at a perfect angle for another hard swat. Robert swatted hard, marking the spot where Tricia's bottom ended and her thighs began. Tricia screamed again and flipped onto her stomach. "Robert! I'm sorry! Please!"
"Sorry" was the worst thing that Tricia could say to Robert. She had been "sorry" for 15 years. He was sick of "sorry". He clamped his left hand on her back and slashed as hard as he could with the strap in his right hand. In spite of the inconvenient position, Robert took out 15 years of resentment over Tricia's behavior in his next series of swats against her bottom. She clenched her bottom cheeks hard, which seemed to reduce the effectiveness of the strap. Suddenly Robert stopped.
"Tricia, put your legs over the side of the bed! I'll show you sorry!"
Crying, Tricia managed to throw her legs over the bed. She put her cuffed hands close to her forehead and sobbed.
"SORRY!" screamed Robert as he laid the next swat hard against Tricia's bottom. This time Tricia struggled to stay in position for him. "SORRY!" he screamed again. He laid on another hard swat. "YOU'RE SORRY!" CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! He hit her hard with three rapid strokes. "You're..." CRACK "always..." CRACK "SORRY!" CRACK! CRACK!
Robert ended the punishment and left her crying for a few minutes. Finally he helped her up. She was sobbing and shaking, but she threw her cuffed hands over Robert's head and hugged him. His anger turned into passion. He motioned Tricia to get on her knees and elbows on the bed. He pulled off his own clothes. The sight of the marks on Tricia's bottom excited him in a way that she had never excited him before. He grabbed her thighs and thrust hard into to her. Tricia's sobs mixed with groans of pleasure. She had her first orgasm in months.
Afterwards they lay together, their arms around each other, Tricia still in her handcuffs. She seemed relaxed in a way that Robert had not noticed before. Finally he took off the handcuffs. Tricia rolled on her back and held her arms out to him. Robert was aroused at the sight of her. They made love yet again.
The marriage changed after Robert started strapping Tricia. She still had episodes of drinking, but they became fewer and farther between. Tricia could count on a severe strapping whenever she drank. Robert improved his technique over time, making the punishments longer and more painful.
Tricia found that, as much as she feared being punished, she was always extremely aroused afterwards. Her best sessions of sex with her husband were always after a strapping. As much as she dreaded the strappings. she loved the sex that followed.
Robert approached his wife's boss to ask him to help her get another job. The response from Tricia's boss surprised him.
"I am changing departments two weeks from now. I can take her back then, if she gets some counseling. Tell her to turn in an application." Tricia's boss continued "I didn't want to fire her, but, you see, I couldn't just let her throw up on my sofa in front of 30 of my employees and not do anything about it. Tricia’s actually a good worker. I fired her because I had to for the morale of the others, not because I wanted to. I'll take her back when I transfer, because there won't be anyone from my old department in my new one."
Eight more years passed. Finally Tricia went for alcohol counseling and was serious about it this time. The punishments became more sexual, since the original reason for them disappeared. Tricia discovered that she was a masochist, which was part of the reason she drank. She enjoyed the pain and humiliation of being strapped, which over time replaced the pain and humiliation of binge drinking and getting sick. She was able to accept that part of herself and enjoy it with her husband.
Robert's anger with Tricia faded. They started to travel and have fun as a couple. They had passionate sex, at the cost of welts on Tricia's bottom. They had eight good years together. The Tricia of the final years was the Tricia that Amy saw and remembered as a young teenager.
It was ironic that Tricia's life was cut short by a drunk driver. Robert felt that it was fortunate that the drunk driver was killed in the accident as well; usually that does not happen.
The loss devastated him. Tricia had been a good partner for him over the last eight years. They had even been thinking about having a child, since Tricia had been completely clean for a long time. The morgue revealed that she was two months pregnant. There was a prenatal care book in her purse.
Robert closed his eyes and leaned his head back on the easy chair. This was the first time he had been able to talk about Tricia to anyone since she died.
Suzanne said nothing. She realized that Robert needed a few minutes of silence to compose himself. She realized the responsibility she had assumed by getting him to talk about Tricia
Her thoughts went back to the picture on the desk. It must have been taken after the change in the marriage, she reflected.
Amy and Wendy were together constantly until November 10, putting in grueling 16 hour days in their push to get the make-up term paper done on time. They realized how much they complimented each other doing research. Amy was excellent at writing, but bad at math. Wendy breezed through anything having to do with equations, but left the writing to Amy. They both found their topic extremely interesting, escaping into the era of their grandfathers. Amy learned much about Asia, while Wendy came to a better understanding of what happened to the US during the Vietnam War. Without each other, their research would have gone nowhere. This time the closest they came to cheating was simply to have Robert and Suzanne look over the paper for mistakes, the night before turning it in. On a last minute inspiration Amy scanned one of the photos of her grandfather with Wendy's and added the scan to the beginning of the report.
Two days later, Burnside called Amy and Wendy into her office. She said nothing at first, but then handed the paper back to them. Amy looked at Burnside's comments and passed the copy to Wendy. On the cover Burnside had written...
<"Excellent research. Masterfully written paper. You brought to life an interesting topic not examined enough by economists. Theoretical analysis needs better incorporation of material covered in class. Outside research partly makes up for that. 93% A-"
Burnside looked at her two students. "You got the second highest grade in the class. I never give an 'A' unless I learn something from a paper turned into me. Now, why didn't you do this two weeks ago?"
"We didn't know each other. We didn't know about our grandfathers either." Amy responded.
Amy left Burnside's office with a sudden understanding about herself. The experience of writing the paper made Amy realize that she actually liked economics. If she could get over her fear of math, she felt that she might have found her field of study. That night she thumbed through a couple of old course catalogues to start thinking about what to take for the Spring semester.
Once she was done with Burnside's paper, Amy had other worries. The year anniversary of Courtney's death was coming up. Courtney had been a demon haunting her over the last year. Amy decided that she needed to face it head on. She told Suzanne that she wanted to go to Detroit. Suzanne had doubts about the idea, but she understood. If Amy wanted to go to Detroit, Amy would go. Suzanne also knew that she would have to drive her roommate there. Amy would need someone with her.
Amy's personality changed during the days leading up to her personal pilgrimage. She became quiet and sullen. There was deep sadness in her face that Suzanne had not seen since the week before Spring Break. Amy was stepping back into her own past and was scared.
Well before sunrise on the dreaded day Amy pulled out her old street clothes and put them on. Suzanne was shocked when Amy came out of her room. She looked like a bum.
"This is what I had on a year ago. I wore these clothes almost three months straight without taking them off. I need you to bring a camera. Let's go."
They had a silent, grim drive to Detroit. They started out well before sunrise and were in Detroit by mid day. Amy spent the entire trip quietly staring out her window while Suzanne drove. First they passed the rustbelt cities of Gary and Hammond, then they continued across the bleak, frozen countryside of southern Michigan. There was no music from the radio, no conversation, nothing to break up the drive except a stop for gas. Suzanne wondered about the camera. If Amy wanted to take pictures of the spot where her friend died, that was just plain sick.
Once in Detroit, Suzanne found a parking garage close to the bus station. She was terrified of all the creeps standing around and staring at them as they made their way past the station. She also was worried about the fact that she was carrying a camera worth several hundred dollars, and that she and Amy were two young white women alone in a hostile city. The only thing Suzanne and her friend had in their favor was that it was extremely cold, keeping most of the bad types indoors. Amy was not dressed warmly enough, Suzanne thought. Amy seemed not to notice any of her roommate's concerns. With a quiet, mechanical way of walking, she made her way along the unpleasant streets, Suzanne struggling to keep up.
Amy suddenly turned off the sidewalk and walked between two buildings. Suzanne quickly looked in both directions to see who might follow them in, then went in after Amy. The ally opened up into a bleak courtyard with two dumpsters. Amy quickly walked behind the closest dumpster and stopped. She stood there, without moving, for what seemed forever to Suzanne.
Suzanne stood back, terrified. She was worried about what might be happening to her friend, as well as concerned about who might follow them into the ally. Amy's silence scared her the most.
Finally Amy turned around. "Come over here. Take my picture."
Suzanne walked over to Amy. The forlorn young woman, with her hands in her pockets, stared straight at her. Her face was discolored by the cold. Amy's eyes had an expression of anguish that Suzanne had not seen before. It would make one hell of a portrait, but it would be pure exploitation to put that on film.
"Look… I mean, I can't take a picture of you like this."
"Do it! All year long you've been trying to figure out who I am with that camera. This is who I am. Take the picture!"
Reluctantly Suzanne adjusted her lens and snapped three photos.
"Amy, this is who you were for a day! One day! It's not who you are now. Don't you understand, you have to put this behind you! You didn't kill Courtney!" Suzanne tried to hug Amy.
Suddenly Amy broke away from her friend. She leaned her elbows up against the wall next to the dumpster and buried her face into her arms. Her body shook with sobs. "NO!" She sank to her knees. She sobbed louder, "NO!" Amy, on her knees, collapsed with her side against the wall. She sobbed continuously.
Suzanne had no idea how to handle Amy in this situation. Part of her told her that her friend had to be given time to cry it out. Another part of Suzanne made her continuously glance at the entrance to the street, still wondering who would be coming in. She could not get out of her head the idea that she and Amy were in danger staying here. Amy was not showing any sign of recovering. She remained crumpled up against the wall, sobbing.
Finally Suzanne decided that she had to drive home the point that Amy was not responsible for Courtney's death. She knelt next to Amy and took her hands.
"Amy, you did not kill Courtney. You need to say it! Please, Amy! You did not kill Courtney!" Amy looked up at Suzanne. "Amy, say it!"
"I didn't kill her..." mumbled Amy.
Suzanne sighed with relief. "Amy, say it again!"
Amy sobbed. "I didn't kill her! It wasn't my fault!"
Finally Amy managed to stop crying. For several minutes she knelt quietly and simply stared at the filthy pavement. At last she got up. She hugged Suzanne.
"I'm sorry I put you through this."
"Amy, I'm your friend. You don't have to be sorry about anything."
Amy and Suzanne walked out of the ally and back onto the street. They made their way back to Suzanne's car for the long drive back. Amy was just as quiet going back, but there was a difference. Suzanne realized that Amy had achieved her goal in traveling to Detroit. She had managed to purge whatever it was that had tormented her over the past year.
It was dark by the time they returned to Chicago. Amy asked Suzanne to drive her to the Fast-Mart where she had been arrested. She wanted to see it as well, on this day of facing her memories. To her shock, it was gone, replaced with a car wash. Life does go on, thought Amy, whether we want it to or not.
Suzanne was relieved to find out that Wendy was coming over to the apartment that night to help Amy with the latest chapter in Burnside's textbook. Suzanne desperately wanted to spend time with Robert and talk to him about the Detroit trip, but she would not have wanted to leave Amy alone in the apartment after what she had just gone through. More importantly, Suzanne had her own issue to discuss with Robert: that of her own father, Robert's partner Ed.
Suzanne's final break with her father had come only two days before her trip to Detroit with Amy. Suzanne had not said anything to Amy about her father, knowing that Amy was burdened enough with her own situation. Suzanne was deeply hurt, but she forced herself to defer her own pain to help Amy get past the Detroit trip. Suzanne had made a huge sacrifice for Amy by putting off her own problem, one that Amy would never know about.
Once she was sure that Amy would not be alone that night, Suzanne rushed over to Robert's apartment. Talking about Amy was easy enough. Robert had not known about the Detroit trip. Had he known, he would have wanted to take Amy. Suzanne disagreed.
"She needed me. I'm not sure she could have opened up to you. All I can say is I'm glad it's over with." Suzanne was unsure how to continue. She walked over to Robert's window. For a long time she stared out at the city. Finally, without looking at him, she said, "It looks like I'll be spending Thanksgiving with you after all." After a long pause, she opened with a question. "Robert, what do you think of my father?"
He paused for a moment, because he did not have much good to say about Ed Foster. Robert's partner was under investigation for several ethics violations and was at risk of losing his ability to practice law in Illinois. Ed's problems threatened to taint Robert and the other two partners in the office. How to tell that to Suzanne? Robert realized that she might as well know now. She was quiet for a few minutes when he broke the news.
"I guess you'd expect me to be upset." Suzanne began. "I'm not, really. I feel bad about how it will affect my step-mother, that's about it."
Finally Suzanne was able to tell Robert her story. Robert did not have much good to say about Ed. Suzanne did not have anything good to say about him.
Suzanne's relationship with her father was somewhat distant, but fairly normal until she was eleven. That year, her parents divorced and her mother suddenly left, not giving the girl a clue as to where she was going or how to get in touch with her. With her mother gone, Suzanne noticed an immediate change in her father's behavior toward her. Suddenly she felt that her father could not stand the sight of her.
Two days after her mother disappeared, Ed called Suzanne into his den and gave her an hour lecture about her faults and bad behavior. In the same way that he would cross-examine a witness, he berated his terrified daughter. Suzanne spent hours crying afterwards. She had never seen her father like this.
The lecture was the beginning of three very unhappy years for Suzanne. Three days later Suzanne left some dishes in the sink and went upstairs to do her homework. She forgot about the dishes until about a half an hour later, when her father came storming into her room.
"GET INTO MY DEN, NOW!" Suzanne's father slapped her hard across the face as she passed him. The shock of being hit disoriented her. Ed suddenly grabbed her and shook her hard. "YOU DON'T OBEY ME! I'll teach you!"
Suzanne was terrified. She had never been so scared in her life. She stumbled down the stairs. Her father's next orders terrified her even more.
For the first time Suzanne took down her jeans and bent over her father's desk. He took off his belt, and for an hour berated Suzanne, punctuating his speech with swats of the belt. The eleven-year old was so shocked that she had trouble breathing.
It was only afterwards that Suzanne could pull herself together enough even to cry. She couldn't figure out what had happened to her father. He had never behaved this way before her mother left. It would not be until much later that she would realize that it was actually her mother that Ed wanted to punish. Ed was furious about having been abandoned by his wife. Suzanne would never know where her mother went or why she left, but it was the daughter who remained behind to pay for her actions. Suzanne had the misfortune of looking like her mother. Ed, in his rage at his wife, seemed not to be able to tell the difference.
Suzanne paused. She turned from the window to face Robert. "Now you know why I wanted to punish Amy when she got caught with that term paper. It wasn't just the plagiarism. I was replaying what my father did to me. I wanted to punish her like he punished me. That's the reason I felt so bad about it after we talked in the street. You only knew part of the story when I asked you to strap me."
The punishments went on for three years. Ed quickly re-married, to a woman who was not exactly loving, but who felt sorry for Suzanne and did her best to comfort her. The sessions disgusted the woman, but she did not know what to do about the situation, other than to comfort the girl afterwards.
Ed graduated from his belt to a paddle. He was smart enough to know that belt marks could raise the issue of abuse if seen by a teacher, so he bought a paddle that did not leave much in the way of bruises. Ed seemed to delight more in humiliating Suzanne than in actually hitting her. He always hit her over her panties. Later in her life Suzanne quit wearing underwear, largely because the sight of panties always reminded her of the hours spent in her father's den. She even hated seeing Amy's lingerie catalogs in her mailbox.
Time went on. Suzanne slowly came to realize that she did not deserve what was happening to her. She had done nothing wrong. It was her father who was bad, not her. She never talked to anyone about what was going on in her father's den, but even at her young age she had the ability to perceive the truth about people and situations, a trait that would later help her as a photographer. During the sessions in the last months before her 14th birthday, she repeated over and over in her mind "I don't deserve this... I don't deserve this." She forced herself to stop crying during the paddlings.
Then, as abruptly as the punishments began, they stopped. There never was any discussion about what was going on or any explanation, but she bent over her father’s desk for the last time just before her 14th birthday. For years afterwards she silently lived in dread of another punishment, but after she turned 14 Suzanne never again felt her father’s paddle. Still, her problems did not end. The physical torment had stopped, only to be replaced by constant verbal abuse. All through high school Suzanne never seemed to be able to do anything right for her father. He cut her down no matter what she attempted to do, no matter how good she was at what she set out to achieve. The yearbook was a joke to him. Suzanne never took her friends home and went to great lengths to not let her father find out who they were. When she dated, it was in secret, because Suzanne knew that her father would do his best to humiliate her in front of any boyfriend.
During her bleak high-school years Suzanne found her escape though taking pictures with a vintage 35-millimeter camera. She learned how to capture moments in life, the power of an expression, of the unspoken word. Her school had a journalism class that published the school yearbook. Suzanne joined the class and quickly became the yearbook photographer. She could see her classmates in a way that no one else could. During the three years she photographed for the yearbook, her class received commendations for the quality of its yearbook pictures. Suzanne, at an early age, had found a focus in her life.
Even though Suzanne graduated in the top 5% of her class, her father tried to convince her teachers and counselors that she was no good as student. The counselors, used to dealing with students who refused to study and meet their parents' expectations, had to deal with the opposite in the case of Suzanne, an excellent student with a father who wanted her to fail. No one could understand Ed's attitude. Three of Suzanne's teachers, with her counselor and a vice-principle, knowing Suzanne's personal situation, had gone out of their way to obtain a series of grants and scholarships that would pay for her first year of college. Without their help, Suzanne would have not gone to college at all. When she graduated from high school her father had said "I don't see what the point of spending the money is, Suzanne will never amount to anything."
They had very little contact while Suzanne was in college. Ed took only a marginal interest in his daughter, and that only because of the prodding by her step-mother. He did give her some spending money, but that was only because her step-mother insisted. He seemed to be glad to have her out of his life. It was as a favor to Robert, not to Suzanne, that he mentioned his daughter when Robert had discussed the need to find a place to live for Amy.
Suzanne did not give up easily. She desperately wanted to prove herself to her father. With a book of her own, pictures published in two national magazines, several local prizes, and permanent contracts with several galleries, she had hopes that she could convince Ed that she was successful after all, perhaps in a field that her father did not approve of, but a success nevertheless. She had hopes that her father would finally accept her and dreamt of a Thanksgiving with her family.
Suzanne should have known better. Her father briefly looked through her portfolio and commendations, and tossed them aside with contempt. "So you do pornography. That's what you wanted to show me? Of course you're successful, everyone in your business is. Don't expect me to pat you on the back, however. I find it pretty pathetic that's all you could do with your life."
That did it. After all these years she had enough. She picked up her portfolio. "I don't know what your problem is! You are the most sick, disgusting person I have ever known! I tried to be a good daughter to you. I really tried! I don't know why, but I kept trying! But that's it! You won't be seeing me anymore!" Suddenly the last twelve years of anger came out of Suzanne. She spit in her father's face. He was so shocked that he did not have time to react before Suzanne charged out of the room.
Suzanne fled her father's house and the contamination he had inflicted on her. She drove off, angry at herself for all the effort that she had wasted on trying to get her father to accept her. Her father could rot in Hell. At first she felt exhilarated over have made such a dramatic break with her father. Spitting on him. She could not have done much better than that. But then the unfairness of her life sank in. Why had her father been so rotten to her all her life? Why had he gone out of his way to try to make her fail?
She had to talk, not to Amy, but to the one person whom she felt that she could truly open up to, Robert. Having to wait for three days was torture for Suzanne, but she had been determined to do what she could for Amy before taking care of herself.
Suzanne spent a long time staring out the window after she finished telling Robert about her father. This time it was Robert's turn to stay quiet until Suzanne was ready to talk again. He felt an enormous hatred towards Ed. As he sat in the dark, looking at the unhappy young woman standing at his window, Robert resolved to do what he could to help the investigation against Ed, even if it ran the risk of harming himself and the other two partners. He wanted Ed out of his life as fast as possible. He had some phone calls to make tomorrow.
Robert, Amy, and Suzanne spent Thanksgiving together. Robert and Suzanne tried, not very successfully, to conceal their relationship from Amy. It didn't matter, Amy had it figured out within a few days after Suzanne and Robert fell for each other. She still did not understand what on earth Suzanne had in common with her father's law partner.
That Thanksgiving was special for each of them, given that each had spent the previous Thanksgiving alone. Amy had spent her Thanksgiving in a daze on a bus, Robert spent his having dinner alone, and Suzanne spent hers alone in her apartment developing photos. None of them could have anticipated the strange turn of events that would bring them together a year later.
Amy's friendship with Wendy developed throughout November and December. They went out to a couple of times to movies and met for lunch or coffee almost daily. They liked the same music and planned for concerts they wanted to attend over the next few months. For Amy, having a person in her life with who she could share her interest in music was a nice change from Suzanne, who mostly listened to European New Age or Classical music.
During the days immediately following Burnside's party Amy and Wendy pulled down their jeans to study each other's welts whenever they met to work on their paper. They had a fascination with the experience they had endured together, and studying the marks as they slowly faded became part of that shared experience.
Wendy was simply curious to see how long it would take Amy's bottom to heal. Amy, however was fascinated by Wendy's bottom as well as by the welts from Burnside’s switch. Wendy had been more severely marked than Amy during her punishment because Burnside had hit her harder, and also because her skin was more delicate. On the first day they got together to study at Amy's apartment, Wendy lay on Amy's bed with her jeans and underwear around her ankles, while Amy put lotion on Wendy's welts. Amy was fascinated in tracing the marks on Wendy's bottom with her fingertips as she gently spread the lotion. Wendy, still traumatized by her experience in Burnside’s house, was content to just lie there and let Amy do what she wanted.
As Wendy's welts faded and her soft brown skin recovered, Amy remembered how fascinated she was watching the beginning of her friend's punishment, seeing her bent over, that smooth flesh on her bottom stretched tight as she waited for the first stroke of Burnside's switch. Amy had a guilty fantasy; she badly wanted to punish Wendy herself. She remembered a time in high school that she and Courtney had tried spanking each other and how much fun it had been. Amy wanted to have a similar experience with Wendy, nothing severe, but some nice sharp smacks on that soft petite bottom of Wendy's. Amy figured that it was just a fantasy, since she would have a hard time finding a reason that would convince Wendy to submit to a punishment.
Amy's fascination with her friend's body increased the week after Thanksgiving, when Wendy realized that Suzanne knew how to give massages. As her photography took off, Suzanne had slowly reduced her massage schedule, but she still had a few regular clients. Wendy badly wanted a capable massage therapist, and offered herself to Suzanne as a model in exchange for massages. Suzanne gladly accepted the arrangement. Within minutes Suzanne had some backdrops put up on one side of the spare room and Wendy had her clothes off, waiting for the photographer's instructions. As Amy helped her roommate put the lighting in place she could not keep herself from continuously glancing over at Wendy.
The photo shoot itself was brief, since Suzanne only intended to test the lighting on Wendy's body. The only pictures she planned to use would be a couple of portraits of Wendy's face. For the figure studies she called to reserve a studio at the art department for a more serious shoot for the next day.
Once Suzanne put down her cameras Wendy laid face-up on the massage table. Amy watched as Suzanne calmly spread massage oil on her friend's dark skin. She worked from the feet up to her neck then finished with Wendy's arms and shoulders before having her turn over. When Suzanne started massaging Wendy's bottom, kneading and pressing the soft flesh and the muscles underneath, Amy's imagination was fired. She felt her heart pounding in her throat when Suzanne finished the massage by lightly slapping Wendy's skin. Suzanne was too involved in her work to notice Amy's expression, which was lucky for Amy. Had Suzanne realized what her roommate was thinking, she would have ordered her out of the room.
The next day Suzanne and Amy prepared the lighting and selected backdrops for the studio at the art department. Suzanne had all of her cameras with her and an assortment of tripods and flashes. Wendy arrived in a sweatsuit with nothing underneath, following Suzanne's instructions to avoid pressure marks from underwear or other tight-fitting clothing. She stripped and stepped into the center of the room.
Suzanne shot roll after roll of film in different lighting arrangements. She learned to her great pleasure that her new model had been a gymnast as a teenager, and still had incredible flexibility in her body that Amy did not have. Suzanne was able to experiment with Wendy on poses totally different from the ones she had taken of Amy. There would be pictures out of this shoot that would sell for sure, thought Suzanne.
Suzanne realized that Amy and Wendy were the same height and had the same build, the only difference being that Amy's hips were slightly wider and her breasts had a slightly different shape. The similarity between Amy and Wendy gave the photographer an idea. She decided to do another shoot the next day with Wendy and Amy together. They would shave their pubic hair and have the same hairstyle, which would make the two models almost mirror images of each other. Amy and Wendy agreed immediately and took off to Wendy's hairdresser to agree on a hairstyle and cut.
Suzanne decided that not all of the photos of Amy and Wendy would be figure shots. That evening the three women went to various clothing stores to buy matching outfits, ranging from business attire, to formal dresses, to leather jackets, to jean clothing.
Suzanne and her models spent an entire day in the studio. They put on different clothes, posed nude together, posed topless, posed bottomless, posed one nude and the other fully clothed. They took opposite sides of each other and mirrored each other's movements. The shots were excellent and many of them would be marketable. Suzanne was very pleased with both of her models.
However, as the day went on Suzanne began to see much greater potential in the shoot. She decided that she wanted more from Amy and Wendy. She wanted their faces to come alive with intense emotion. She wanted the shoot to be a real experience. She wanted to experiment with her two models and do something really on the edge. Suzanne decided to reserve the studio for a third day and ask the two young women to give her another day out of their lives. "Tomorrow I want to do something really intense. We have some excellent energy going here and I want to take you two to your limits." Suzanne was all business now. Amy and Wendy nerved themselves for what promised to be a difficult, but interesting day.
That evening, Suzanne still did not know exactly what she wanted from Amy and Wendy. She randomly developed several pictures from the first shoot of Amy and Wendy together to see if she could get any ideas from the pictures taken so far. One picture she developed was of Wendy and Amy taken from the back. They were wearing nothing but matching jean jackets and sneakers. They were holding hands, but at the same time pulling away from each other. The muscles in their legs and bottoms showed the tension. Suzanne studied their expressions, then their bottoms. Suddenly she had an idea. Had Amy and Wendy been spanked, had their bottoms been pink and their faces reflecting the emotion of just having been punished, this picture would have been shocking indeed.
Suzanne decided that what she really wanted to do for the next day was to spank Amy and Wendy during the photo shoot. There was no question that punishment would give Amy and Wendy the intensity of emotion that Suzanne wanted. She remembered the effect that paddling had on Amy during the exercise photo-shoot in June. She approached her roommate with the idea. At first Amy objected.
"Uh, I still don't get it. Why do you want to punish us? We didn't do anything!"
"Amy, it's not about punishment. It's about the intensity of your experience in the studio. I want everything from you. I want all of your emotion to come out in those pictures. I want to see the fear and nervousness in your eyes come through. I want you to be scared about not knowing what's going to happen next. I want the pain and passion of your day tomorrow to jump right out at the viewer."
Suzanne was dead serious. Amy knew that she was on to something. Her heart pounded. "What are you going to use on us?"
"I still have my father's old paddle, the one I used on you in June. I'll use that." Suzanne looked at her roommate. Amy's face was full of concern and worry. Suzanne put her hand on Amy's arm. "It would really mean a lot to me if you and Wendy could do this. I know it's a lot to ask, especially of Wendy."
Amy sighed. "OK, I'll do it. I'll talk to Wendy and try to get her to go along as well. I need you to take me over to her place and drop me off. I need to explain this to her in person."
Wendy was surprised to see Amy at her door. As soon as Wendy closed the door behind her Amy began, "I need to talk to you about the photo shoot tomorrow. It's going to be pretty rough."
"I gathered that. What does Suzanne have in mind?"
"She wants to paddle us."
"WHAT?! Why? Is she mad at us?"
"No, not at all. Actually she was real happy with our work today. So much so that she wants to take it further. It took me a while to figure out what she wants. The way I understand it is that she thinks we are on the edge of something really... exciting, I guess. She thinks that if she can somehow give us an extra push of emotion her pictures will really be something special."
Wendy shook her head. "No way. I don't want to... It's too much for her to ask."
Amy paused. She had her doubts as well. She put them aside and defended her roommate. "Suzanne is a good photographer. She knows what she's doing. I know that she wouldn't ask us to do this for her unless she had a really good reason."
Wendy sighed. "Amy, what exactly did you tell her?"
"I told her that I would do it, and that I would talk to you about it. Look, I'm nervous too. The only thing that I can tell you is that she used that paddle on me back in June. It hurts, but it's not as bad as what we got from Burnside."
Wendy was silent for a long time. Finally she sighed again and looked at Amy nervously. "Alright. I just hope it's worth it."
The next day Suzanne, loaded down with her photographic equipment, led her two models, who were loaded down with suitcases of clothing, back into the art department studio for a third day of shooting. She quickly turned up the heat in the studio and started laying out her supplies and cameras. She snapped at Amy and Wendy to unpack their suitcases and systematically lay out their clothing for quick changes.
Suzanne became a different person during a photo shoot, especially one in a studio. Amy was amazed that the dominating, no-nonsense photographer in the art department was the same person who just a few days before had driven her to Detroit and knelt with her in an ally.
Suzanne decided to use a white backdrop for most of the photos. She planned to experiment with other colors and designs, but would mostly stick with white. She checked the other backdrops, and then turned her attention to the lighting. Amy and Wendy, wearing sweatsuits, stood together watching Suzanne move about the room.
Suzanne suddenly left the studio and returned with a small wooden stool. She reached in her camera bag and pulled out the paddle. She placed it on the stool. Amy and Wendy exchanged glances. Both were visibly nervous.
Suzanne turned to face her two models "OK. Wendy, Amy, drop your sweats and move to the center of the room."
Amy and Wendy complied. The nervous tension in their eyes pleased the photographer; this was what she wanted. She shot a couple of close-up shots of her models' faces, and then backed off for the poses. The close-up shots would work for sure, thought Suzanne. There was an intensity in the eyes of her subjects that was lacking the previous day.
Suddenly Suzanne ordered Amy and Wendy to the stool. "Wendy, pick up the paddle. Look at me." Suzanne took another series of close-up portraits of Wendy. "Wendy, hand the paddle to Amy, put your hands on the stool and spread your feet a little. Please try not to cry."
Suzanne snapped more pictures of Wendy once she was in position. Wendy looked back at Suzanne with a sad, nervous expression. Amy suddenly felt incredibly aroused, seeing Wendy's body once again bent over for punishment. Suzanne took the paddle from Amy, and swatted Wendy hard 10 times. The loud pops reverberated in the room.
"Amy, your turn." Wendy's eyes had tears in them, but she managed not to cry as she stepped aside for Amy. Amy placed her hands on the stool.
"Amy, look back at me." Suzanne's camera snapped a couple of times. Suddenly Amy felt the sharp sting of the first swat. Amy bit her lip against the pain. Like Wendy, Suzanne swatted her hard 10 times. Suzanne snapped two pictures of Amy still bent over.
Quickly Suzanne ordered Wendy and Amy back to the center of the room, for a long series of dual poses. She had been right; there was an intensity of emotion that was not in the pictures from yesterday. Suzanne knew that the pink color on Amy's bottom and the pinkish tone on the brown skin of Wendy's bottom would add shock value to the pictures.
Suzanne was now ready to re-do the jean jacket shots. She ordered Wendy and Amy back to the stool. She wanted more color on her models' bottoms for the next series. The two girls exchanged a glance of nervousness and fear that Suzanne just happened to catch with her camera.
Once again, Wendy took 15 hard swats on her bottom. This time it was even harder for her not to cry, but she managed to stay quiet. It was Amy's turn. Again came the sharp sting. It was worse this time, having the 15 new swats laid on top of the first 10.
Quickly Suzanne ordered Amy and Wendy to get their jean jackets and tennis shoes on. She re-posed all the shots from the previous day with the jackets, including the one that gave her this idea in the first place. As Amy and Wendy pulled against each other, their teary eyes and nervous faces, as well as their pink bottoms, exhilarated Suzanne. She ordered her models to clasp their hands and press together, front to front and stare straight into the camera. Amy felt Wendy's bare thighs against her own.
Suddenly Suzanne ordered the models to put on their matching business outfits. As Amy and Wendy posed fully dressed the only evidence of their pain and emotional turmoil was in their faces, but it was clearly present. Suzanne then ordered Amy to strip again but for Wendy to stay dressed. She handed the paddle to Wendy and ordered Amy to move to the center of the room and to bend over with her hands on her ankles. She positioned Wendy and took a couple of preliminary shots from different angles.
"Wendy, I want you to start paddling Amy. Go slowly and take your time between the swats. Amy, please keep your eyes on me."
Wendy hit Amy almost as hard as Suzanne had, laying a third set of paddle swats on top of the first two sets. This time the stinging was almost unbearable. Amy struggled not to cry. Suzanne was fired up, taking pictures with two different cameras. She did not tell Wendy to stop paddling until Amy had taken 20 hard swats. It took all of Amy's internal strength to stay quiet.
Suzanne quickly switched rolls of film. "Amy, Wendy, stand face to face. Hold hands and look at me."
Tears were rolling down Amy's cheeks. They both looked into Suzanne's camera. Suzanne took several shots.
"Put your arms around each other. Hug and make up." Amy's face, full of tears, came closer to Wendy's intense wide-eyed expression. Suzanne snapped some close up portraits then stepped back to snap some shots of the contrast between Amy's naked body and Wendy's business attire. Suzanne then ordered Wendy to change into a formal dress for another set of poses with Amy still naked. Suzanne re-took all the pictures with Wendy dressed differently. The dress gave the new pictures an entirely different mood than the ones with the business suit. Suzanne had Wendy change yet again, this time into jeans and a leather jacket. She re-took all the poses yet again in this new variation of Wendy's attire.
Suzanne moved a wooden chair into the center of the room. She ordered Wendy to sit down and Amy to go across Wendy's lap. She switched to a high-speed camera. "Start spanking Amy. Put some force into it." Once again loud slaps rang through the studio. Suzanne quickly moved about her two models, taking dozens of pictures.
Amy struggled yet again not to cry. Wendy was not showing her any mercy, which of course, was what Suzanne wanted. Wendy had become as enthralled with the session as had Suzanne. Wendy was not spanking Amy full force, but instead with calculated precision to maximize the effectiveness of the swats. Wendy's eyes met Suzanne's camera. Suzanne had found her moment with her model. She took several close-up shots of the intense expression in Wendy's face.
Reluctantly Suzanne broke the spell with Wendy. She ordered Wendy to let Amy up. Wendy stopped spanking Amy, although it was clear that she wanted to continue. Amy struggled to her feet, trying with all her effort not to cry. Through her teary eyes Amy gave Wendy a hurt look, which Suzanne was able to capture on film.
Suzanne handed Amy her jean jacket. With trembling hands Amy managed to put it on and close the buttons. Suzanne ordered Amy to turn her back to the camera but then look over her shoulder. Amy's red bottom contrasted with the dark blue denim of the jacket. Amy was still hurt that Wendy could have spanked her so hard over the three paddlings she had already received. That hurt in her eyes became the focus of the next series of shots. Suzanne had found her moment with Amy.
Suzanne shot a couple more rolls of film on facial and figure shots of Amy and Wendy, but she already had what she wanted. She briefly thought about having Wendy and Amy switch places, but she realized that the moment to do that had passed and that the shots would not be as good as the ones she already had taken. Thus Wendy was spared any further punishment and Amy never got the chance that day to get even with her.
While Amy and Wendy studied for their finals, Suzanne spent days in the darkroom developing the photos. These were good, she thought. Suzanne had been pleased with the pictures from the first day of Amy and Wendy together, but the first day's shots were nothing in comparison to the shots from the second day. Suzanne showed some of the better pictures to her models, who were amazed that they had actually been the subjects of the photos. Suzanne, in her usual way of dealing with her best subjects, offered them half of the income from the shoot, this time to be split evenly between Amy and Wendy.
Suzanne quickly asked Wendy and Amy to sign model releases and visited her publisher with the complete set of photos from both days of shooting. Suzanne's editor looked through the pictures in silence. The pictures impressed him, something that clearly showed in his face. He called two assistants to have a look, as Suzanne sat nervously watching. No one said anything, but every so often the editor exchanged glances with the two assistants as they nodded. He dismissed them, folded his hands on his desk, and looked at Suzanne.
"Suzanne, do you realize what you have here?"
"Not really. I shot all these without much of a plan. I wasn't sure how they would turn out."
"Well, the way they turned out is going to put you in the same league as the top group of photographers in New York. These are going to be controversial. I got to warn you about that. I'll take as much of the heat as possible, but you are going to get some as well."
"I... don't understand."
"I'm going to give this collection top billing. It has tremendous shock value. What I like about the pictures is that you weren't trying for shock value, but it's there, plain as day. I'd be neglecting my responsibilities to this company if I passed up the opportunity to market your work to its fullest potential." The editor paused, and then continued. "One question, just out of curiosity; you actually punished the two models? That wasn't make-up?"
"Yes. I wanted to get all of their emotion out onto film, and couldn't think of how else to do it. The idea to spank them hit me at the end of the first night of shooting, because I wanted to push them to their limits. Besides, I wouldn't use make-up for something like that. You can tell the difference."
"Well, you succeeded. You got just the right amount of emotion in the pictures. As for the controversy over what you did, it'll be there. It's there for every collection of this class."
Suzanne and her editor spent the next several hours going over the photos to be published. Suzanne was still a bit astounded by her editor's enthusiasm and more so by seeing how many of the pictures he wanted in the book. He separated some others for promotional purposes, and still others for submission to magazines.
Suzanne was even more surprised when she finally saw the draft of her contract. She realized that she had been quite generous with Amy and Wendy. The money that each of them could expect from this shoot would easily put them through college and graduate school.
"Suzanne, your boyfriend is a lawyer, right?" She nodded. "Show this contract to him. Talk it over. I want to make sure you are completely satisfied with it."