Eric's fate was sealed. He had just received his twentieth demerit for the semester. That meant a mandatory caning. The final three demerits that brought him up to twenty were given to him by his English teacher. He had begged her for leniency. He admitted to her quietly that he had never been caned before and was terrified. He worried about a panic attack. She had been sympathetic but wouldn't relent on the demerits.
"I'll turn this into the office right away," she said. "You should report to the Headmaster's office immediately after school. When I speak to the Headmaster, I will tell him that it's your first time and you're very nervous. That's all I can really do for you."
"Thank you anyway," said Eric. The way she spoke to him like he was a condemned prisoner just made him feel even more afraid. He had good reason to fear a caning. The other students who had experienced it have all said it was the most painful thing they had ever felt in their lives. It was rare that a student would ever be caned more than once, so it must have been an effective punishment.
Around lunchtime, Eric's English teacher had found him in the cafeteria. She smiled warmly at him. "I spoke to the Headmaster," she told him. "Unfortunately, he is not going to let you out of your caning. However, he made an appointment for you to speak with our guidance counselor, Ms. Taylor, right after lunch. Maybe she can help you with the anxiety you're feeling."
Eric didn't want to talk about how scared he was of the caning. He wanted to just not get it. But he realized this was all that could be done for him. He thanked his teacher for doing what she could, and he went back to trying to eat his lunch. He could barely get anything down due to his nerves though.
After lunch, he found the guidance counselor office. He had never been here before so it was a bit hard to find. He knocked on the door, and was immediately instructed to come in by a kind female voice.
"Lock the door behind you," instructed Ms. Taylor. "It's for student privacy. We don't want someone accidentally walking in on a sensitive conversation."
After Eric locked the door, he looked at Ms. Taylor for the first time. She was surprisingly young. He guessed late twenties. She was also strikingly attractive, although her modest clothing made it obvious she didn't wish to draw attention to her feminine features.
"So you must be Eric," she said. "I've been told you are due for a caning after school today, and you're feeling quite nervous about it."
Eric had trouble speaking, so he just nodded. Ms. Taylor stood up from her leather chair and walked up to him. "There are some breathing exercises we could do. I could give you reassurances that the pain is temporary and you will be fine after it's over. We could also talk about your feelings surrounding how fair or unfair you think you are being treated. But that's the professional in me speaking. I know what you really need."
Suddenly, she stepped closer and pulled him into a tight embrace. Eric was stunned. Teachers never hugged students. It was completely unheard of. She appeared in no hurry to stop either. She pulled him tightly up against her, and she stroked the back of his head. Eric was barely able to hold back tears. Nobody had shown him this sort of tender affection in a long time.
After several minutes of silent hugging, Ms. Taylor finally spoke. "Are you ready to talk about this?" she asked him gently. "Yes," replied Eric. "Thank you."
Ms. Taylor backed away, and then grabbed Eric's hand and led him to a couch, where he sat down beside her. "You really needed that hug, didn't you?" she asked. Eric nodded. "I can definitely understand that," she said. "There isn't much tenderness at an all-boys school like this. You all are expected to put on such a tough front, but you're all human, and you all need love too."
Eric burst into tears at that. Ms. Taylor grabbed a box of tissues and began drying his eyes. After a few minutes, he was able to regain his composure. After that, they finally began to talk for real.
Eric told her about his fear of the pain, but he also revealed another fear. "I'm pretty sensitive when it comes to pain," he said. "I panic whenever I see a doctor and I have to get a shot. I guess I'm afraid that the Headmaster will see me making a big deal over this and will judge me negatively for it."
Ms. Taylor shrugged. "Maybe he will," she said. "But so what? Does his opinion of your masculinity harm you in any way? It's very unlikely you will get a worse caning because of it. His opinion of you only has the power that you give it."
"Wait here," she said suddenly. "I have something to show you." She stood up and walked behind her desk. She returned holding a cane. Eric's eyes locked onto that evil rod of torture, and his heart froze in his chest. "The Headmaster let me borrow this," Ms. Taylor explained. "I'm going to let you hold it so you can get used to it. Think of it as exposure therapy."
She handed the cane to Eric, who held it like it was a venomous snake. He ran his fingers along it and found it was surprisingly flexible. He imagined what this would feel like striking him on the bare buttocks. He had heard canings were given bare, but it could just be a rumor. He decided to ask Ms. Taylor.
"That's right," she responded. "I'm told it's a matter of safety, although I think it's more likely that it's intended to be humbling. Either way, there's no getting out of it. Your underwear will need to come down. That's probably a pretty uncomfortable thought for you, isn't it?"
Eric nodded. Ms. Taylor patted his shoulder reassuringly. "Yeah, bodily privacy is pretty important. It's unfortunate that this school's disciplinary policy doesn't seem to think so. But let's go ahead and imagine the worst case scenario here. What's the worst thing that could happen if the Headmaster sees you with your pants and underwear down?"
Eric blushed. "I'm afraid I might have an involuntary reaction because I'm not used to it." Ms. Taylor had a look of confusion on her face for a few seconds but then her eyes suddenly widened when she understood.
"Ah yes, I suppose an involuntary erection would be pretty embarrassing," she said. "Hopefully it will bring you some amount of comfort to know that this is much more common than you might think. You are almost certainly not the first boy that has gotten an erection when they pulled their underwear down for a caning. No doubt the Headmaster is aware of this already, and hopefully he won't react negatively."
"Hopefully?" asked Eric. "So you don't know?" Ms. Taylor shook her head. "I would like to think an experienced educator would understand this issue, but I can't be absolutely certain that will be the case. It's possible he may become disgusted with you, but you will just have to be fine with that. I think some exposure therapy could be helpful here too. No pun intended."
"What do you mean?" asked Eric in an alarmed tone. Ms. Taylor smiled. "I think you know exactly what I mean. Please trust me. This is for your benefit. Would you please take off your pants?"
"Off?" confirmed Eric. "But I thought the Headmaster just has students pull them down?"
Ms. Taylor nodded. "I believe so, but I don't want you to trip and hurt yourself, so better to have them off than to try to move around with them around your ankles. There's nothing to worry about. It's not like your legs are that interesting. This will help you later."
Eric decided to go along with it. He kicked off his shoes and removed his pants. He was uncomfortably aware of the bulge visible through his underwear. His awareness only caused his penis to become erect. His underwear was being stretched out tightly by his erect penis. "I'm sorry!" he cried to Ms. Taylor, but she only grasped his hand between hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
"It's totally alright," she said. "I know it's involuntary, and I want you to know that you don't need to be ashamed around me for something you can't help. But that looks very uncomfortable on your penis. Go ahead and remove your underwear too."
Eric hesitated, but it really was starting to become painful. Ms. Taylor seemed to read his mind. She grasped the waistband of his underwear and carefully stretched it so she could get it over his penis. She then pulled it the rest of the way down and had him kick it off.
Eric looked uncomfortable. Ms. Taylor was seated on the couch and he was standing in front of her with his erect penis right in front of her face. "There's another fear realized," she said. "You were terrified of getting an accidental erection in front of the Headmaster, and now you've got one in front of me."
Eric stared at the floor. He started to turn away so he wasn't giving Ms. Taylor such a direct view and she grabbed his hips and turned him back around so he was facing her. "I know you're embarrassed, but I need you to try to think about this situation objectively. Are you being harmed in any way right now?"
"What do you mean?" asked Eric.
"I mean, is being exposed like this in front of me causing you any actual problems? I can see your penis and testicles quite clearly, but notice that I'm not reacting negatively in any way. I'm still just as supportive of you as before."
"Yes, but you're a guidance counselor," said Eric. Ms. Taylor nodded. "That's true. I'm less judgemental than most people. Being supportive comes more naturally to me. But this is still good exposure therapy. In fact, let's take it a bit further. Your genitals are already clearly on display, so the rest of your clothes aren't doing you much good. Go ahead and remove your shirt and socks so that you're completely naked. I promise it will be alright. The door is locked and there aren't any windows here."
Eric was surprised to realize he wanted to do this. Ms. Taylor was looking right at his penis and not turning away in disgust. She accepted him. If it were possible for him to become any harder at that moment, he would have. He quickly removed his shirt and socks and then stood there completely naked in front of Ms. Taylor.
He desperately wished she would reach out and touch his penis, but she didn't. Instead, she grabbed the cane and smiled at Eric. "I'm going to show you the position for a caning. I think practicing now will better prepare you mentally when the time comes."
She stood up and pulled a small wooden chair from the corner of the room that Eric hadn't noticed before. She set it down in the center of the room. "Stand behind the chair and bend over the back of it."
That sounded kind of embarrassing but Eric figured it couldn't be worse than his erect penis practically stabbing Ms. Taylor in the face. He walked behind the chair and bent forward. He placed his hands on the seat.
"Not quite," said Ms. Taylor. "You're leaning forward. You need to stand up straight and then bend over at the waist."
Eric did as she instructed and immediately noticed how helpless it felt to be bent over like this. "Not a very comforting position to be in," said Ms. Taylor. Eric tensed up when he felt the cane gently rest against his butt. "It kind of feels like your butt belongs to me now," she continued. "You feel vulnerable like this, don't you?"
She withdrew the cane. "Stand up and look at me for a moment, Eric." He was relieved to not be bent over near that cane anymore so he quickly stood up straight and faced Ms. Taylor. "Do you trust me?" she asked him. Eric was confused by the suddenness of this question. He had only just met her, but then he reminded himself she had convinced him to strip naked in front of her. "Yes," was all he could say. She smiled appreciatively.
"I have a proposition for you," she said. "I told you that the Headmaster arranged this appointment today, but there's a detail I purposely neglected to mention until now. Maintaining discipline is important, but we don't want you having a panic attack over it. That's why for your case, he gave me permission to handle this a bit differently."
Eric grew hopeful. Handling his case "differently" sounded like he might just get out of a caning, after all. He hoped that was what Ms. Taylor was implying, anyway.
"You can report to the Headmaster after school to receive your caning from him as planned," she said. "Or I could take care of the caning myself right now and get it over with. It's going to be unpleasant either way, but I figured you would be more comfortable mentally taking it from me since it seems like we've built up a bond with each other."
It wasn't the outcome Eric had hoped for, but it was still somewhat good news. "I would prefer if you did it," said Eric. "I heard the Headmaster canes very hard."
Ms. Taylor sighed and placed a hand on Eric's bare shoulder. "If you take it from me, I will have to cane you very hard too. The condition for allowing me to do this myself was that I uphold this school's strict standards when it comes to discipline, which means that a caning should be so painful that you have a strong incentive to avoid earning another one."
That didn't sound good to Eric, but he reminded himself that this was a woman. Surely she couldn't cane him as hard as the Headmaster could, but it seemed that Ms. Taylor could tell what he was thinking. "I went to a private academy for girls, where I was a prefect. I obtained plenty of experience both giving and receiving canings," she said. "I know what I'm doing. If you are hoping to get off lightly with me, you should get all those thoughts out of your head right now. I want to be perfectly clear upfront with you now. This will hurt. Do you still prefer to get it from me?"
Eric nodded. "Yes, I do. But before you start, can you… umm…" Ms. Taylor smiled. "I think I know what you want. She pulled him into a tight hug again. Eric was relieved to find that his erection had gone away. All this frightening talk about canings seemed to have helped. This hug was more awkward than the first one had been because Eric was completely naked now, but Ms. Taylor didn't seem to notice."
This also lasted for a good bit of time but it eventually had to come to an end. Ms. Taylor moved her mouth close to Eric's left ear. "It's time, Eric. Please turn around and bend over."
Eric hated to leave her warm embrace but he had to get this over with. He bent over the back of the chair and grabbed the seat. "Bend over a little further," Ms. Taylor instructed him. "That's perfect," she said when Eric was properly positioned. "You're getting six strokes, but that could turn into more if you get out of position. I would prefer to be done at six though, so please don't make me give you more."
"Is six strokes a lot?" asked Eric. "It's the normal amount for first canings," replied Ms. Taylor. "It goes up to twelve for repeat offenders, but it's very rare that anyone is caned a second time. Almost everyone learns their lesson from the first one, and you're about to find out why. I'm going to start now."
The cane struck Eric hard across the buttocks. At the moment of impact, he had a brief thought that maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, but then the pain hit him. He let out an inhuman noise. Ms. Taylor had clearly not been exaggerating when she warned him it would be painful.
He wished she would hurry and get the other five over with, but she seemed to be taking her time. Eventually, the cane struck a second time. Eric let go of the chair and pressed his hands over his face. “I forgot to warn you not to let go of the chair,” said Ms. Taylor. “There will be no penalty this time, but if it happens again, I will have to give you extra strokes. Please try to get through these remaining four without earning yourself any more.”
“I will try,” gasped Eric as he grabbed the seat once more. “But this really hurts!” Ms. Taylor rubbed his back. “I know it does. Just think about how determined you will be to never be in this position again.” Just then, the third stroke caught Eric by surprise and he let out his loudest cry yet. The fourth stroke that followed was just too much.
“Please! No more!” cried Eric. “I won’t earn any more demerits! I swear! You can cane me all you want if I do, but please stop now.”
“You know I can’t do that, Eric,” said Ms. Taylor gently. “Six strokes is the assigned punishment for twenty demerits. The Headmaster would never stop at four, and I’m not allowed to either.”
“Well can you not hit so hard for these last two?” asked Eric desperately. Instead of answering immediately, Ms. Taylor delivered the fifth stroke, which was just as hard as the others had been. “I can’t do that either,” she replied. “I promised the Headmaster that I would do this properly, and I always try to keep my promises. A good counselor needs to be someone who you can trust to do what she says she will do. Now then, try to think about something else. What’s your favorite class?”
“World History,” replied Eric without a second thought. “Mine too!” said Ms. Taylor. “What are you learning about now?”
“We are just starting the unit on the Byzantine Empire,” said Eric. “It’s kind of interesting because–” He was interrupted mid-sentence by the sixth stroke. He realized then that asking about his favorite subject had been a distraction to calm him down before the final stroke. He appreciated that Ms. Taylor did that for him.
“Don’t get up just yet,” said Ms. Taylor. “I’ve carried out your punishment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something to help you feel a little better afterwards. I have some pain relief ointment that I can rub on your butt.”
Ms. Taylor walked quickly to her desk. She placed the cane down on a small table, and then retrieved a bottle from her mini-fridge. “This is going to be cold,” she warned. “But it will definitely help with the pain.” She was right. It was cold, but after the initial temperature shock, it started to feel good. Her hands rubbing against Eric’s cane stripes was quite painful, but it was still providing a bit of relief. He was a bit shocked when her hands slipped between his buttocks. “Trust me,” said Ms. Taylor. “It won’t feel good in here if you start swelling. You’ll definitely want me to be thorough.” And she was certainly thorough.
After she was done, she excused herself to wash her hands and left Eric to get dressed in privacy. It took a while to get his pants on because it hurt for fabric to touch his butt. When Ms. Taylor returned, Eric had just finished getting dressed.
“Umm… Ms. Taylor,” said Eric a bit nervously. “I just want to thank you for everything. That caning really hurt, but I’m still glad it was you doing it. Before I go, umm… can I have another hug?”
Ms. Taylor laughed. “Anytime you want,” she said as she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer.