She entered Mr. Scott’s room on the third floor of SunValley High School with trepidation shivering along her skin; it thudded at her chest and made her want to run, screaming from the school. Mr. Scott was her favorite teacher, a man who could make history come alive, who was less concerned with dusty dates and more with context, connections, and analysis. She loved him like she had never loved another teacher and that love made her chest ache for what came next. She was at once thrilled and terrified, and it was her own fault. She shivered again from shoulders to toes.
Mr. Scott was sitting at his desk, head down, grading papers with a bright red pen. At her quiet footfalls, he looked up. When he saw her, his scowl turned to a small, surprised smile.
“Ms. Evans, good to see you. Where have you been this week?”
She took a deep breath, steadying herself for her answer. “Ditching.”
The shocked expression on Mr. Scott’s face was worth a good, long laugh, but she was too nervous to laugh. She didn’t understand why she wanted this, only that she couldn’t stop thinking about it, planning for it.
“Ditching? But why?” he asked, bewildered.
“Do you remember when we talked at the beginning of the semester?”
Mr. Scott just looked confused.
“You told me in the first week that I was an amazing student, that I was sure to get top marks and that if I didn’t, you’d spank me yourself. Remember?”
The slow light of realization crept across Mr. Scott’s shocked expression. He nodded slowly, “All right, I remember...”
“Well, your syllabus clearly states that a week of unexcused absence is grounds for failure.”
Mr. Scott laughed a little and shook his head. “There’s no way you’re gong to fail my class, Ms. Evans. A little ditching isn’t going to change that.”
“But, you promised!” She yelled, almost squealed, and stamped her foot like she had when she was little.
Mr. Scott stood and spread his arms. “Ms. Evans, what’s going on? You’re an amazing student. You’re not going to fail my class and I would never spank you. I was kidding. What is the problem?”
And she began to cry. She knew several girls who had been spanked at this school, a prestigious school known for its strict discipline. Never, in her four years attending, had she earned even so much as a reprimand. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t understand, and it wasn’t fair.
“You said you would,” she mumbled past the tears, the salty flavor slipping past her lips.
She closed her eyes and balled her fists and closed herself to the disappointment and humiliation she had created, so she didn’t see Mr. Scott come around to the other side of the desk. When he hugged her, she relaxed into the embrace.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I love you; I want you to spank me.”
She’d said it. She didn’t understand it, but she’d said it. Whatever happened next, she would never take it back.