A Lesson on Etiquette.
Susan took a deep breath as she strolled down the brick paved sidewalk that ran along side the cobblestone paved street of McRae Street. Releasing her breath, she mentally counted to ten to calm her racing heart. She had heard rumors of Mrs. Vanderiere. Mostly good rumors, rumors that painted her as a loving instructor, though one very choosey with the students she took on, one thing was clear though, the girls the mentored and tutored, become the stars of the social season.
Beside that solid fact, the only other piece of solid information she had on her, was the fact that she married a tailor, one very skilled with the needle, well gifted one should say. Mr. Vanderiere, had been the one who had sewn her mothers wedding gown, a lowly pearl white, neo Victorian dress, that had fitted her like a glove. And had quite taken her fathers breath away.
Shaking her head, Susan soon found that in the course of her musing, she had traveled quite far for soon she was standing in front of a lovely manner house. The manner house was large, a wrap around screened in porch added a small touch of old southern charm. The cream colored paint a touch of old world grace. And the gray roofing titles seemed to bring everything into completion.
A winding brick paved driveway cut the yard in two half's. Four, tall trees, oak or cedar provided a little shade. square flowerbeds with blooming flowers accented the yard and filled the late afternoon air with there sweet smell.
With her eyes wide open, Susan took all of this in. Sweat dropping a little she reached around and pulled her purse close to her, quickly the popped open the brass buckle and reached into the confines, after ten seconds of frantic searching, she finally pulled out a stiff, cream colored piece of paper. Writing upon the surface, in a fine hand where the numbers "345" followed by the text of "McRae Road". Returning the piece of paper to purse, she started to look around. Soon her eyes spotted a simple, plain black mailbox. Looking at the front of the mailbox she noted the numbers printed upon it where. "345" A perfect match.
"We'll." Susan said taking a deep breath as she ran her hands down the front of her dress. "This is the place.. I guess I better go inside and get this over with." And with she started to walk down the brick paved driveway. The heels of her black pumps clicking with every step she took. As she walked, Susan tried to say her hips and let her arms rest easy as her side. Something she seen the models on T.V do before. She was finding it harder that it looked.
Soon, she found herself climbing up the gray concrete steps that lead up the screen in porch. Pausing, she reached into her purse and started to take count of everything. Mentally checking off each item as her hand touched it. A little trick she picked up from her mother. She moved quickly through the list, pausing only a brief beat of the heart to confirm each item. She paused a little longer when she came to her Smartphone.
"Well.." She said taking a deep breath as she looked around her. "I might encounter a Pokemon on the walk back. And I doubt anybody will call." Biting down her lip, she decided to leave the phone on. Despite a little voice in the back of her head telling her that the phone should be off. The nagging voice of her grandmother could he heard, scolding her and telling her she was risking a social blunder by leaving the phone on, during afternoon tea with one of the leading families of town.
Clearing her throat, Susan reached up and took in her hand the golden brass knocker. Closing her eyes she knocked once, then twice and finally three times. After the third knock, she stepped back and waited.
Soon she could heard the sound of boots, clicking upon wooden floors. And soon the wooden door swung open and there in the doorway, there stood a women, a good head taller than her. She had jade green eyes and long jet black hair that was hung lose over her shoulders. A stern look graced her face as shifted her eyes toward Susan.
"Hello." Susan said taking a deep breath as she looked down. She felt very small right now, the women was a good head taller than her. And that made her feel small and weak, humbled too. Collecting her thoughts, she started to play with the helm of her dress. Risking a look up, she noticed the women was still peering toward her, as if demanding a reason why she had knocked upon her door.
"I mean pardon me." Susan stuttered. "Good afternoon Mrs. Vanderiere, I'm Susan Elizabeth Mari Bell. My mother Mrs. Bell. Told me this afternoon, that she had phoned you and had arranged for me to start etiquette lessons with you this afternoon." She said trying to recall all the lessons she learned from the one week crash course offered by the local charm school. Earning her 'Etiquette Badge' had required attending several one hour lessons there.
"Good afternoon Susan." Charlotte said taking a deep. "Yes, Isabella did ring me up last week, requesting me to teach her daughter. Who is quickly coming of age. She told me the girl need some polishing. She a good girl, one with a good heart. But she has the odd habit of sneaking off, and sometimes letting her temper get the best of her." Charlotte paused and smiled. "She also warned me, she a head strong young women, who is very career minded. And will no doubt go far in the word. If she can master herself."
Susan blushed a little and offered a small smile.
"But, as of now Susan, you are fifteen minutes late. That will be your first check of the day. Two more checks and you and I will be having a little talk at the end of the day. I'm warning you, I have my ways of smoothing out the wrinkles in young girls and during them into women of class." She paused as snapped her heels together. "Likewise, my husband and I have a way of taking young men from the rungs of the social ladder and turning them into gentleman of class."
Susan nodded her head as she followed closely behind Charlotte. She felt like a little puppy following behind its owner. Taking a deep breath she shifted her eyes around as she was lead through the living room. The floor of the living room was highly polished red oak, that seemed to glow in the later afternoon sunshine that filtered through the heavy velvet curtains.
The room was furnished with vintage Victorian furniture. Everything from the chairs, to the sofa to the small coffee table, reminded her of something that seemed lifted from her grandmothers parlor. Old oil panting hung upon the walls, depicting scenic views of the English landscape.
"Tea." Charlotte said taking a deep breath. "Will be served in the solarium in the back of the house." Charlotte paused and grinned a little as she looked over her shoulder. "Fix your headband, its crooked. A lady must always be checking her appearance. She must know when to apply a little make-up, to keep her appearance fresh."
"Yes ma'am." Susan said taking a deep breath as she reached up and fixed her pink headband. She played with it a minute before removing her hands. Smiling a hopeful smile she peered toward Charlotte, seeking her approve. And after a minute, Charlotte spoke.
"Good." She said smiling a little smile.
Soon, the pair found themselves standing in front of a highly polished, tan colored door. Taking a deep breath. Charlotte reached down and took hold of the brass plated door handle. Giving the handle a little push, she swung the door open. Reveling a room filled with light colors.
"One of the boys will bring us some tea. You will the serve me the tea. I will take note, and correct you. This is your first lesson. A young lady needs of your social standing, needs to know how to serve and host." Charlotte paused. "On second thought, allow me to host this time, next week you will host and I will grade you. At the end of the day I will provide you with some reading marital."
Susan raised her eyebrow, but held her tongue.
"Something the matter?" Charlotte said easing down into one of the wicker chairs that sat scattered around a small table. Soothing her dress with her hands, she brought her jade green eyes to rest upon Susan. Even sitting, she seemed like a viper ready to strike.
Susan shook her head and took a seat. Smoothing out her light pink skirt, she smiled a little and looked Charlotte in the eyes. Then in a calm, measured tone of voice she said.
"Nothing really," She said folding her hands in her lap and brining her knees together. "Its just, I had no idea I'll be given homework. Not that I mind you, but between homework and badge work, I'm not sure how much time I will to read your book." She paused and then sweat dropping quickly added. "I hope you understand Mrs. Vanderiere."
Charlotte took a deep breath and closed her eyes and slowly she started a mental countdown, starting with the number ten and working her way back to one and finally zero. Once she reached zero she opened her eyes and in a calm tone of voice she said.
"You have just earned your second check for the day Susan." Charlotte said with a shake of her head. "I should make it two checks, and haul you over my lap right now, but I'm going to overlook your rudeness this one just this one time. I doubt your mother would approve though, of your manners so far. And from what I've seen, you need far more than a little polishing." She said with a little sigh.
Susan frowned a little and bite hard upon her lip. Fighting to control her rising anger she took a deep breath and once more started to smooth her dress. If she been a cat, her tail would be bristling and her claws would be out. After counting backwards from ten to zero. She found herself calmed down enough to speak.
"Please tell me." she said grinning, though she felt like biting. "What I did to earn my second check Mrs. Vanderiere." She said trying to sound meek and humble, but really fighting to keep her angry from working its way into her voice.
"First, you took a seat without me telling you, you may be seated." Charlotte said in a lecturing tone of voice. "In a formal setting like this, the host always seats the guest. And the guest wait till be shown to there seats. Since this is your first lesson, I was only going to give you a half of a check and be done with it. Then you started running off at the mouth." Charlotte paused and reached over and rung a little bell. "I expect you to be more mindful from know on."
Susan blinked and blinked again.
"You might have been born into the social elite of Vicksburg, Susan Marie Elizabeth Bell. But as of now, you do not have the social grace to be called a lady. You only four years away from marriageable age. And yet you act like a girl, who still should be tied to her mothers apron strings." Charlotte paused and eased back into her chair. "Do I make myself clear?"
Susan felt her face flood with color as she soaked in every word Charlotte told her. Closing her eyes and opening them again, she said.
"Yes ma'am. That was very rude of me, please forgive me." She said trying to sound humbled by the scolding and not ready to jump up and slap the women across her high cheeks. She had been expecting to be hauled across the coals, but this, this was too much.
"Very good. You have the makings of a lady." Charlotte said closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "Your very much a diamond in the rough. You need to cut and polished to bring out your true beauty." She then opened her eyes a little and offered Sue a little smile. "So, please don't think of me being harsh or rude when I scold you. I'm only doing my job as a jeweler of young ladies."
Susan nodded her head along with Charlotte little speech.
"I understand. Mrs. Vanderiere." Said Susan as she started smooth out her skirt again. "I was in the wrong, you had ever right to correct me, and scold me. I will be thankful for any and all reading marital you offer me. I shall take careful notes and try to pattern myself after your wonderful example."
Charlotte smiled again and even allowed herself to reach over and pat Susan on the shoulder. After a few loving pats she then withdrew her hand and folded them once more upon her lap.
"I'm thankful that you can see things my way." Charlotte said. "After all, I would hate for you to make a social blunder at your cousins up and coming wedding." She said grinning a little. "Such a blunder might come back and haunt a young women, making her way in society." She said smiling a well meaning smile.
"Anyway." Charlotte said smiling. "While we wait for tea, please tell me a little about yourself? Beside your name, your date of birth and the fact that you need a lot of polishing. I honesty know nothing about you." Charlotte paused and peered toward Susan. "So please, tell me a little about yourself. Just enough to paint a picture, no need to tell me your life's story."
Susan took a deep breath and tried to collect her thoughts. After a few minutes of thinking, and plotting everything out, she started to speak.
"We'll. Right now I'm attending St. Katherine's Episcopal School. I'm in eighth grade there." Susan started, "I'm on the Cheerleading Team, We'll be having are first home game soon. So Mrs. Bright, the girls P.E teacher has been pushing us pretty hard." Susan said.
"A cheerleader." Charlotte said smiling a little. "No wonder your mother signed you up for these lessons. Cheerleaders are keepers of school spirit. There manners are a direct reflection on the school. And St. Katherine's being a private school with a rich and colorful history. Will no doubt take pride in there teams. And expect the utmost from the students on those teams." Charlotte mused as she started to smooth out her dress.
"I'm also a scout. Recently I've been appointed lead to my patrol. I'm also in the anime club. A few months ago, my friends and I did a Maid Café theme thing for a school party. It was pretty fun." Susan said smiling a little as she eased back into her chair. "I really loved going around, serving tea to everybody, being called pretty and being petted by all the boys." She said blushing a little.
Charlotte even chuckled a little as she peered toward Sue. Giving her knowing smile, she felt she should scold her, but then again, she had asked the girl to frank with her. And she was being frank enough with her.
"I understand, you are at that age after all." Charlotte said smiling softy. "Its only right that you desire to be the center of attention, when your surrounded by boys. But I must warn you, you must govern that desire with iron bands dear. There a fine line between trying to attract the attention of a certain boy and becoming a harlot. Remember, the key that opens for many doors is a wonderful key. The lock that opens for many keys is a horrible lock." She blushed a little.
Susan flushed a deep red color. "Yes ma'am." She said making a mental note of that little saying. It seemed every women she crossed paths with, always had some advice about being a women, and some small bits of information on how to become a lady. Her mother often took time to take her to the side and point out small flaws in her dress, always telling her to fix her headband and to check herself. She was finding the whole ordeal of growing up very tiresome.
"Very good." Charlotte said. "Women always offer advice to other women. We support each other and look after each other. A husband might be the king of the household, but behind him sit's a wife who is queen. She governs the house through him." Charlotte cleared her throat, she felt a lector coming on.
Susan blushed a little and nodded her head. She was only twelve years old, yet she was being groomed already to govern a household. Despite her better judgment she opened her mouth and said.
"And how do I do that? Mrs. Vanderiere?" She said taking a deep breath as she peered into the women's jade green eyes. She felt like she was entering into a mental game of chess with the women. The women had already made her opening move and now it was time for her to make her own move.
"That's a lesson for another time, you need to wait a bit before that little piece of adult wisdom is given you. Once you have a ring on your fingers, and you've walked down the isle and took your vows. Then I'm sure your mother will sit you down and have that little talk with you. Until then, I suggest you stick with learning how to be a lady." It was a bold sweep. Charlotte had placed Sue in checkmate, and she knew it. It was always a good way to bring the topic to a end, and force, a gentle change of topic.
At this point, the door of the room was gently pushed open. A young man, with golden colored hair gently made his way into the room. In his hands, he held a silver tray, sitting upon the silver tray was a chine teat pot in the pattern of blue willow. A matching blue willow sugar bowl had been place next to the tea pot. Two saucers with tea cups upon them could also be found upon the tray. The young man holding the tray gently eased the tray down and upon the glass surface of the wicker table.
Moving with gentle hands, he gently started to unload the tray, placing the teapot down upon the glass surface. Once the teapot was in place, he gently removed the sugar bowl, followed the two saucers holding the tea cups. Smiling then, the boy picked the tray up and moved out of the way.
"Ladies." He said in a soothing, polished tone of voice. "Please enjoy yourselves." Bowling his head, he gracefully moved out of the room. Leaving Susan and charlotte along once more.
Charlotte took a deep breath as she poured herself a cup of light brown tea, "Thank you love, that will be all now." Smiling a little she handed the saucer toward Susan.
Susan turned a deep dark red as she watched the boy leave the room. Signing deeply she quickly took the offered saucer. Once the saucer was safely down upon the table, her full attention returned to Charlotte.
"Thank you Mrs. Vanderiere for the tea."
"Your quite welcome Susan." Charlotte said pouring herself a cup. "I thought it wise to have you master this skill first. Since you wish to become a maid, and since your cousin Josephine Sterling Bell, is to be married soon. The article I read in the 'Evening Post' named you one of the junior bridesmaids. As a bridesmaid, you'll be expected to attend both a formal dinner party and a formal tea party. The date of the wedding is seven weeks away, so we have very little time to waste." Charlotte said raising her cup to her lips, gently she blew upon it, to cool it.
"Yes ma'am." Susan said taking a deep breath as she turned her cup around. Now it seemed like all the pieces where starting to fall into place. Her mother had arranged for lessons, because of Josephine wedding. Dang her mother was playing the game of house again it seemed, or was she trying to teach her the game. Taking a small sip of her tea, she gently eased it down upon the table.
"Good, where at a understanding." Charlotte said taking a deep breath as she took another sip of her tea. "Not only that, but with the social season coming, we need to press hard to get you ready. Your going to playing a deadly game of politics. The country club, can be a mine field of backroom dealing and swindling. Young men, often take after there fathers, and use there fathers connections to maneuver there way into cozy positions." Charlotte said closing her eyes. "Young women do the same, though they play a far deader game. In the coming weeks, I plan on teaching you not only how to be a lady, but how to think as one. Its not as simple as asking for a duel.."
Susan blushed a little as she soaked in Charlotte words. Susan was new to the whole country club scene, her father though a lawyer, kept to himself and shunned such places. Though.. She knew from her own experience.. It had been her attending the yearly junior ball of "La Petite Mardi Gras" a invention only carnival ball.
She had attend the ball last year. And had seen with her own eyes, the deal making and the swindling that happens, behind the closed oak doors. Easing into her chair, one could even call her a product of that years carnival. One could even go as far, as to say her being on the cheerleading team this year, was because she had befriend two girls, both of whom had transferred to Jackson Prep at the end of year, but still, those two girls had supplied the proper paper work and put her into contact with all the right people to secure her a spot in a small time cheerleading summer program being hosted a local community collage.
Charlotte only smiled as Susan started her musing. The older women could tell from the way the girl looked, she was deep in thought. And it pleased her, she loved it when young people started to think it made her job so much easer. Slowly she took another sip of her tea. Only a small sip as she started to savor the fine blend of cut black leaf and orange. Then something happen that made her brow shoot up. A loud string of Japanese words, that meant nothing to her filled the air. Quickly her eyes fell on Susan was starting to dig through her skirt pocket. Frantically searching for the source of the noise.
"Did you turn your phone off before are lesson?" Charlotte said easing her cup down, once her cup was down she stood up and pushed her seat back and stood up. She now towered over the twelve year old girl, who looked quite frighten.
"No ma'am." Susan said taking a deep breath as she reached into her purse and wrapped her fingers around the phone. Quickly she pressed the first button she felt her fingers touch, and soon the noise ceased, but the damage had been done.
"Susan Elizabeth Mari Bell." Charlotte said taking a deep breath. "I would like you to stand up and follow me if you will. We're going to correct this." She scolded as she walked over to the door. Quickly she pulled the old oak door open. "Now, if you will, please follow me, somewhere private. So we can have a one on one talk. Something between ladies."
Blushing a deep dark red, Susan stood up and followed Charlotte out of the room. Quickly she followed the older women back through the sitting room. Muttering under her breath, she followed the women up the polished wooden stairs and down a long hallway.
Finally they came into a small room. A simple room, plain in furnishing, the room was smaller than the rest of the rooms. A small coffee table sat in rustic looking armless chair. Upon the table, there sat a bottle of lotion, and a broad looking brush. The brush had been crafted out of fine maple wood. The bristles where yellow and looked like horsehairs.
"I gave you three chances to correct yourself young lady." Charlotte said taking a deep breath as she eased her bottom down upon the cushioned seat of the armless chair. "I mean to make myself clear Susan, I do not have time to waste on a ill mannered young women. I have other matters that need attending too." Charlotte then pointed to the spot in front of her. "We'll front and center, skirt removed, panties lowered. I don't have all day you know."
Susan blushed as charlotte scolded her. But slowly, she made her way toward the spot that Charlotte was pointing two. Taking a deep breath she reached up and unhooked her skirt, slowly she eased it down before stepping out of it.
"Now." Charlotte said taking a deep breath as reached up and took Susan by the hand. Once her fingers where wrapped around Susan's thin wrist, she gently pulled the girl across her lap. Settling her with her tummy firmly pressed upon her knees. Once she was in position, she folded her arms back and pinned them to her back. With her free hand, she picked up the brush and gently started to tap Susan's bottom.
"Yes ma'am." Susan said weakly as she felt her bottom being tapped. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes and tried to steady her beating heart. She failed for soon a blinding wave of sting and burn came rolling into her bottom. Charlotte had landed the first of many strikes. A split second later another one came crashing in, followed by another one and yet another one. Charlotte pacing herself was striking Sues bottom every other heartbeat.
Groans of pain escaped Susan's lips as she felt her bottom being assaulted by the brush. A deep dark blush colored the ridge of her nose. Her mind became blank, void of every thought beside the roaring furnace her bottom cheeks where becoming.
"All of my students." Charlotte scolded as she cracked Susan's bottom again and again. Brining the once cream colored skin up to a nice pink color with spots of red in the middle. "No.. let me rephrase that. The young people I mentor. Always seem to live a fuller, healthier and more productive life." Each word spoken by Charlotte was followed by a harsh, cracking of the flat brush upon Susan's bottom. A blinding wave of sting and burn followed the cracking of the brush and made her bottom cheeks jiggle like two molds of jelly.
Soon Susan felt tears building at the corner of her eyes. As the brush kept falling upon her bottom, those tears started to roll down from her eyes. Soon her blushing cheekbones where stained with hot, salty tears and more and more fell. The spanking was hammering away at her mental defenses. Causing the proud tomboy to crumble under the pressure of the assault.
"I will not." Charlotte was slowly backing out of her spanking now, the brush strokes where still falling at a pretty fast pace, but the force behind them where starting to lighten a bit with each passing second. "I will not have you being late," She brought the brush hard down upon Sues already tender bottom to drive this point home.
"I will not have you being rude to me." again the brush fell hard upon her bottom, sending a blistering wave of sting and burn rolling through Susan's tender bottom. "And above all, I will not have your phone ringing during are lessons!" And with that, Charlotte smacked Susan's bottom a third time, bringing the spanking to a close.
Susan could only lay there, sniffing as she felt the wave of sting and burn roll over her body. Her whole bottom felt sore and tender. All she wanted to do was curl up in a little ball and try to sleep off the pain.
"There there." Charlotte said easing Susan off her lap. "Your spanking is over with, everything is forgiven." Charlotte said taking a deep breath, as she gently pulled up Susan's panties. Once her panties where place, Charlotte then gently pulled up Susan's skirt. In a loving, almost motherly short of way. She wrapped the skirt around Sues waste and hooked it back. Then she picked up the brush and started to brush out Susan's hair, soothing out the lose hairs and fixing her head band.
"Now, lets try to keep this from happing again."
Susan finds herself enrolled in etiquette lessons given by the fable Mrs. Vanderiere a former belle of the social scene. Though the lessons get off to a poor start when Susan arrives fifteen minutes late for afternoon tea. From there one thing leads to another, snowballing if you will. Finally resulting in Susan going over Charlotte's knee.