The Headmaster, Mr Pears, and the Grammar teacher, Mr Saunders came out onto the quad, with Tamara Saddler between them. The crowd became silent, as they marched up to the pole.
Public punishments were formal events, and the teachers didn't waste any time. The Headmaster announced the crime and the punishment. Mr Saunders produced the cane. The Headmaster signalled to Miss Saddler to prepare.
The crowd enjoyed the preparation, almost as much as the punishment itself. There was an almost tangible tension and excitement, as Tamara prepared herself by removing her skirt, giving it to the Headmaster. Mr Saunders applied the cuffs on her wrists, as she stretched her arms on either side of the pole. He unceremoniously pulled the rope attached to cuffs to make her stand on tiptoes.
'I'm going to enjoy this,' a voice whispered in Tom's ear, as he felt a hand take his hand.
He turned his head and saw Stephanie by his side. She didn't look back, she stared at the spectacle and held her breath.
In that moment, Mr Saunders pulled down Miss Saddler's knickers, all the way down to her feet, took them from her and gave them to the Headmaster. Then there was silence, as he lifted the cane.
Tom felt the grip on his hand tighten. He knew Stephanie couldn't stand Tamara, and somehow it made a lot more sense to him, why Stephanie wouldn't let her have the pleasure of watching her being caned in public.
As the cane made contact with Tamara's round and very naked bottom, a surge of excitement washed through the crowd. No one spoke but the delight was obvious. They loved this, everyone loved a good whipping.
Someone sighed, another nodded, as the second lash made Miss Saddler lift her legs in agony. The third sharp cut made her whimper.
This was what they had waited for, the reaction, the moment when the culprit couldn't hold her reactions back.
Already at the number five she was crying. Tom felt how this made Stephanie tremble. She did enjoy it. He knew also, then, that he enjoyed it too.
The cane fell mercilessly on Tamara's unprotected bottom, painting the fair skin in pink and red. The sound resounded round the quad and was accompanied by sighs and gasps from the crowd, as Mr Saunders delivered a particularly good one.
Tom watched in amazement, as Miss Saddler received her punishment. He thought when he had caned Stephanie, in his room, when he had done the same to Amanda, in the Common Room of the Mushy Peas Club. He had never thought he would enjoy it as much as he did. He even enjoyed watching it.
When the last lash had fallen, Stephanie let go of his hand, and before he knew it, she was gone. He turned back to the centre of the quad, where Tamara was being let down, and stood trembling as her clothes were returned to her.
The crowd scattered, and Tom went his way. He had lectures to attend.