by Angela Stone
Sarah was emptying drawers and cupboards, throwing their contents around randomly, determined to find it and oblivious to the mess she was creating. She was getting more and more frantic; she knew that Joan had kept a copy and she needed to see it, now!
Twenty-year-old Sarah had 'cared' for the old woman for nearly three years and now that she had done the decent thing - as Sarah saw it - and died, she wanted to know if Joan had left her anything in her will. As far as she was concerned she was the closest thing Joan had to a relative and as such she had high hopes of owning the sprawling Victorian house she was currently ruthlessly trashing.
Finally, realising that she needed to think about this and not make any further mess, Sarah sat down and sighed. She had actually hated the old biddy but when she had been sent to work there she had seen an opportunity. Because of this potential, plus she'd been sacked from Caring Carers for theft, she had been to see Joan and told her that she had left so that she could look after her full time. Joan was pleased and being well off had agreed to pay Sarah for her work as well as giving her somewhere to live, rent free. This was not enough for the selfish, dishonest girl though and she had been stealing from the elderly woman from the very beginning.
Sarah smiled to herself as she recalled the various antiques and nik-naks she had taken and then sold a few weeks later, once Joan had failed to notice they were missing. Not to mention the amounts she had redirected from the ex-teacher's pensions. It had been almost too easy really... Joan loved having her for company and trusted Sarah with all of her affairs; in exchange the twenty-year-old had ruthlessly taken in any way she could think of.
"Ha! Got it!" Sarah grinned as she grabbed the rolled up scroll which she had found in a box deep under Joan's bed. She marched downstairs and placed it on the table. It appeared to be written on quite thick paper and had calligraphy style writing on it Sarah noted. It was also tied with a purple ribbon which Sarah removed and used to tie her dark curly hair back into a pony-tail. Five minutes later and Sarah was jumping for joy - the old bat had left her everything! Who says crime doesn't pay she thought to herself.
The next day, a very hung-over Sarah received a phone call from Leather, Wood and Wood Jr associates, the main solicitors in town, asking her to attend that afternoon regarding the will of Mrs Joan Palmer.
Later that night, sat with a takeaway and a bottle of wine, Sarah was still on a high. Not only was the house hers but it was to be refurbished for her, and while it was being done Sarah was going on a prearranged three month holiday cruise round the Caribbean. Life could simply get no better.
Sarah could hardly sleep that night from excitement. She had a lot to do before she went away in only two days time and, burning a hole in her handbag - bought from the profit made on selling a Tiffany style lamp of Joan's - was the £1,000 advance that she had been given by Mr Wood earlier that afternoon.
Early the next morning, a tired but happy Sarah headed into town to buy everything she needed for her cruise. She had never been on a proper holiday before and couldn't wait to see all the sexy seamen on the ship. Maybe she would even meet Mr Right when they locked eyes over dinner at the captain's table. Sarah spent every penny of the £1,000 given to her; she now had enough dresses, swimsuits and new underwear to last a year! After all, three months was a very long time, and she could hardly be seen wearing the same dress over and over could she!
Three months later, a bronzed and extremely happy Sarah returned to terra firma. She'd had a fabulous time, met some amazing people and seen countries she had only ever dreamt about going to. As soon as she got back she headed to the solicitor's office to get the keys to her house. She waited impatiently in reception for ten minutes before Mr Wood senior called her through and asked her to sit down. Sarah was anxious to get home but complied. Mr Wood sat down and cleared his throat nervously.
"Now then, Miss," he glanced down at the folder. "Ahhh yes... Miss White. We have a few things to go over before I can release the keys to you."
"Ok," Sarah said. "Let's get it done then, I have been travelling you know and am wanting to get home and unpack."
Mr Wood seemed uncomfortable and shuffled in his chair, noting Sarah's look of disdain as he gathered his thoughts.
"Well, Miss White, there is a codicil that Mrs Palmer added to her will a few months ago and it needs ratifying by yourself before transfer of the house deeds can go ahead." Seeing the surprised look on the younger woman's face, Mr Wood felt better about the news he was about to impart. "I shall read it for you," he continued.
"Dear Sarah," he began. "I realise that you had a bad start in life, my dear, but it has made you selfish, duplicitous and worst of all, a thief. Did you really think I had no idea what you were doing? Honestly, you should have known better than that! Of course I could have fired you and even had you prosecuted but you reminded me of someone, so I decided on another tack. The house is yours, despite everything, but only if you agree to my terms.
"While you were away, the house has been transformed into a small private school. It is staffed by people I know and trust and you are expected to spend a year there as a pupil, learning how you should behave in society and paying for your previous behaviour. If you do not agree to this and all it entails, you may walk away now... with nothing but your suntan. If, however, you are brave enough to follow my terms, in just one year the house will be yours and you may do whatever you like with it. Assuming you do agree to my terms you must immediately do two things: firstly sign this document and, secondly, hand over all your luggage plus the clothes you are wearing to Mr Wood who will provide you with your uniform. I have instructed Mr Wood to give you exactly five minutes and no longer to make your decision. Sarah, I am very disappointed in you but I have not given up on you... Your time starts, now!"
Fifteen minutes later a very chastened young woman left the offices of the solicitors, in her new uniform. Her face was washed clean of all make-up and her hair was scraped back into a pony-tail. She sported black shoes, white knee-length socks, bottle-green knickers, a grey skirt, a white shirt with a green tie and a green blazer. The effect was completed by a straw boater hat with a matching green ribbon around its brim. Sarah was appalled and was blinking back hot tears of anger and shame, but what choice did she have, her family had long since stopped bothering with her, she had no job, nowhere to live, no possessions and no prospects either. So it was that she trudged her way back slowly to her former home.
Sarah found herself trembling slightly as she walked hesitantly up the familiar path to the house, unsure of exactly what she was facing. She used the key provided by Mr Wood and cautiously opened the door into the hallway. Seeing how much the house had changed caused an involuntary gasp from Sarah who then jumped as a stern male voice behind her said, "And just what time do you call this, young lady?"
Without thinking Sarah replied haughtily, "How would I know what time it is? All of my possessions have been taken from me as you no doubt know!" Her proud eyes looked up - and then up again - until they met the steely blue ones of Mr Deen. She fought to maintain the contact but felt his eyes burning into her soul, and reluctantly she found herself looking away first.
"You left the solicitor's some forty minutes ago Sarah," retorted Mr Deen in a no-nonsense tone. "Where have you been and don't make me ask you again, you will not like the consequences!"
Sarah was unused to be being challenged, no one had ever set her rules or boundaries before, so she continued to dig the hole.
"Where have I been?" she replied sarcastically. "Oh you know, here and there... there seemed little hurry to get here after all," she finished.
Mr Deen nodded thoughtfully and then, before Sarah knew what was happening, he grabbed her arm, spun her around and landed six crisp smacks to the seat of her skirt. Sarah was shocked to the core. Shocked that he had struck her and shocked that it had actually hurt through the wool of her skirt and those vile knickers she had been forced to don.
"Ready to talk now?" Mr Deen inquired, one eyebrow raised. "Plenty more where that came from if not."
Sarah looked at him warily and then reluctantly nodded her head.
An hour later, Sarah was sat on her bed, in her old room, her head whirling. Mr Deen had reeled off a list of rules and regulations longer than his arm and had filled her head with the various punishments for any breaking of them, or any other misbehaviour. These all seemed to consist of the application of various things to her bottom. So confused and bewildered was Sarah that she had failed to notice an extra bed in the room until the door suddenly opened and a girl, a woman, Sarah couldn't tell, came gushing into the room.
"Oh wow, so you're Sarah," the girl intoned with an amount of awe. "We've heard so much about you! Oh I'm Maddy by the way," she added.
"We?" asked Sarah. "Who is 'we'?"
"Oh just Marie and Claire," Maddy said. "We've all been here a month and we have been waiting for you to make up the four and take some of the heat off us."
She giggled and threw herself on her bed as she spoke. For the next twenty minutes Sarah was filled in on the workings of the school. She was told about Ms Smart and how the woman took them for various lessons, using her trusty tawse on their hands as often as possible. Sarah soon noticed how Maddy's face reddened whenever she mentioned the evil Mr Deen and realised that she probably had a crush on the disciplinarian. No way would she fall for him she vowed.
So, by tea time Sarah had her rules, her timetable and had met the others. She had been filled in on the dos and don'ts by the girls and had been given all the gossip too. It was so much to take in, it really was. All in all it was amazing that Sarah managed to stay out of trouble for a few hours and made it to bed unscathed. Tomorrow, however, was to be another day!
Over those first few weeks, Sarah was never out of trouble. On the very first day she was spanked, over the knee to her utter mortification, by Mr Deen, who not only pulled up her skirt but also pulled down the hated green knickers, before belabouring her virgin bottom to the colour puce with his hard hand.
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