The Pledge Mistress Ch. 38bycaligula97236©
Chapter 38 -- The Four-Beta oath
Lisa celebrated the first day of August by taking off the splint protecting her injured finger. The university intern advised her to "go easy" on her hand for a few more days, but added that she could resume most physical activity right away. Tracy advised Lisa that she expected her to go back to doing normal sit-ups and push-ups. Lisa's volleyball training now could include practicing serving, but returning to spiking the ball and conducting saves still was several days away because Lisa's hand still needed some more time to completely heal.
During the final push to learn the Four-Beta rules and history, it was Kathleen who took the lead among the pledges. She drilled the others to make sure there would be no problems during the final panel interview, impressing Lisa with her performance. Kathleen, who always had quietly stood in the background of the pledge group, finally had the chance to excel and gain the respect of Bernadette and Cherine. During the final days of pledging, the three freshmen truly were working together as a team, each member of the group bringing her own strengths to the group.
When finals week arrived, Lisa realized how many lives had depended on her over the past month. The other members of her pledge group had excelled in their training duties, largely because she had been there to motivate them throughout the most difficult periods of the summer semester. All three of her pledging companions had difficult personalities and totally different life experiences upon entering the sorority, but after three months of intense pressure and shared hardship they had become close friends. Yes, even Bernadette and Kathleen were getting along, and who would have thought that would have happened at the beginning of the summer? Now, under the leadership of Bernadette, the core members of the freshman class soon would take their proper place in the Four-Beta house.
As Bernadette took charge of the pledge group and replaced Lisa as their de facto leader, Lisa reflected that already she was beginning to become somewhat separated from the others. She was not a freshman, thus she would not be part of the freshman class. Once she became a member of the sorority, she would become one of the sophomores and hang out more with them than with the freshmen. Of course, the one exception would be Kathleen. Although Lisa would not be hanging out with the other freshmen very much, she would spend as much time as possible with her lover, training her and comforting her.
Lisa became an invaluable asset to Ruth Burnside as papers and tests flooded into the office to be corrected and graded. She could tell that Burnside was satisfied with having chosen her as her student aide and looked forward to continuing working with her in the fall. The professor dropped hints that soon Lisa would be assisting her with research. Assuming she performed well with the research, eventually Lisa would take Mark's place as her primary teaching assistant, once he graduated with his Ph.D. Lisa realized that, at age 19, she already had her place within the Economics Department.
As the semester drew to a close, Lisa continued working naked in Burnside's office and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. She did not much care for standing at attention in Burnside's "position of submission and respect" and was looking forward to ending particular detail once she swore in. However, she knew that she would really miss the comfort of not wearing any clothing while working at her desk.
A strange thought crossed Lisa's mind. Perhaps, during the fall semester, it would be possible for her to continue working at her desk in the nude. What she wanted was not to be required to strip, but instead to persuade Burnside to make her job clothing optional. She would slip on a dress if there were any visitors in the office, but have it off whenever alone or just with the professor. If she could be naked or dressed as she pleased, casually treating her clothing in the same way she would treat a sweater or jacket, that would be ideal. Knowing how much the professor enjoyed looking at her body and her over-all tolerance of personality quirks, she suspected that Burnside would go along with her request if approached in the right way and at the right moment.
Lisa decided to address the issue of her attire the day the professor gave the last of her finals. Both women had spent their day hard at work with grading, but finally Burnside decided to take a break and invited her student to lunch in the fancy restaurant on the top floor of the Student Center. Burnside was in particular good humor as the two women chatted about the upcoming fall semester. When the topic of conversation moved towards Lisa's swearing in and the end of her status as a pledge, the professor commented:
"You know, one thing I'll miss is your pledge uniform. Definitely that added a bit of fun to the office over the summer."
"Dr. Burnside, about that...I was kinda wondering..."
"Well, you know that I'm sort of a nudist, and I don't like wearing clothes...I mean...I wear clothes on campus because I have to...but I really prefer having my clothes off whenever I can."
"OK, so what are you getting at?"
"I'd really appreciate it if you'd let me...you know...continue working like I was over the summer...I mean like...when no one else is in the office..."
"In other words, you want to continue working in the nude?"
"Yes...I mean like...when no one else is around...I mean...I'd keep a dress hanging next to my desk and put it on whenever anyone comes in..."
The professor thought for a moment.
"It'd have to be a dress you can slip over your head, something you could put on in just a couple of seconds, no zippers or buttons."
"Like the dress I wore at the beginning of the summer?"
"So, you're OK with it?"
"Lisa, just so there's no misunderstanding, I want you to tell me, in your own words, exactly what you want."
The student took a deep breath.
"Dr. Burnside, I'd appreciate it if you'd allow me to not wear my clothes when I'm in your office. I'd like to work naked, like I did over the summer."
"Alright, you have my permission."
Then the professor gave Lisa a mischievous smile:
"Actually it'll make things more convenient for me. Whenever you screw up and I have to put you over my lap, I won't have to wait for you to get undressed."
Lisa's heart skipped a beat, as she wondered how serious Burnside's last comment was. Anyhow, it was done. She had her boss's permission to continue working in the nude.
Finals week brought very good news to the Four-Beta house and to Lisa in particular. The two failing juniors did amazingly well on their economics finals, just good enough to salvage their class grades and get a "C-" from Burnside for the semester. They made it, just barely, and in doing so saved themselves from academic probation and Shannon from a huge embarrassment. The other members of Lisa's study group also did quite well on their finals and credited their group leader with helping keep their grade-point averages from falling.
Even more important to Lisa and Tracy was the fate of the two pledge prospects, which entirely depended on whether or not they could pass their freshman classes. On Thursday afternoon Tracy, the three freshmen pledges, and the two guests returned to the sorority house in very high spirits, cheering and waving test papers. Brittany and Erin had passed all of their summer classes with low "C's". Obviously "C's" were not grades normally acceptable to the Four-Beta sorority, but considering how badly the two guests had been doing in class just three weeks before, merely passing was a huge accomplishment. Both girls got on the phone and excitedly called their parents with the good news. Parents usually are not thrilled to find out their daughters got "C's" in all their classes, but in the case of Brittany and Erin, what they had just achieved was a big accomplishment. In just three weeks they had salvaged their semester and narrowly missed flunking out of the university.
On Friday, August 12, the final day of the semester, Tracy and the pledges returned to the sorority house with their complete grades. The entire group, even Lisa with her more difficult classes from Burnside, had straight "A's". Tracy called Alexandra and asked her to "get the room set up".
Upon returning to the house, Tracy and her group stripped for the last time as pledges returning from class. Tracy then led her group into the sitting room, where Alexandra, the other three remaining officers were sitting at a large table, and the seniors were standing in formal gowns. Also present were the two pledge prospects, who had been invited to watch so they could learn more about what would be expected from them as pledges.
The Pledge Mistress motioned with a slight gesture of her hand that her pledges were to kneel. Once they were kneeling, she stepped in front of her group and stood at attention.
"Yes, Pledge Mistress Tracy!"
"I request permission to submit my pledge group's academic performance to the officers of the Four-Beta Sorority, as verification they have proven themselves as scholars!"
"Permission granted, Pledge Mistress! Please step forward!"
Tracy presented the grades to her fellow officers. Alexandra examined each grade sheet and passed it to the other three women sitting at the table. Then she took four certificates out of an envelope and uncapped a stamp. Lisa realized the documents were official Four-Beta membership certificates. To be a valid proof of sorority membership, the papers had to have three stamps placed on the bottom: academic performance, physical fitness, and knowledge of the history and protocol of the Four-Beta Sorority.
The president called each pledge to the table to verify that her grade sheet accurately reflected her academic performance for the semester. Upon hearing "yes, President Alexandra" the sorority leader stamped her certificate as verification she had "proven herself as a scholar".
Alexandra decided to take care of the panel interview next, but would leaving the PT test for the following morning. The formal vote of admittance would have to be delayed until Saturday evening, but that hardly mattered because it was a formality. Alexandra decided to hold the formal vote at 9:00, just before the swearing in ceremony at midnight.
"Pledge Mistress Tracy!"
"Yes, President Alexandra!"
"Have your pledges properly learned the rules, protocol, and history of the Four-Beta Sorority?"
"Yes, President Alexandra!"
"Very well. You will choose one member of your group to converse with us. Tell the others to wait in the pool area until called."
"Yes, President Alexandra! Pledge Kathleen!"
"Yes, Pledge Mistress Tracy!"
"You will demonstrate your knowledge of the rules, protocol, and history of the Four-Beta Sorority to the officers and seniors! Pledge Lisa, Pledge Bernadette, and Pledge Cherine, please exit to the pool and wait until you are summoned!"
Tracy had chosen Kathleen to go first, partly because she knew the material better than her fellow pledges, and partly so she wouldn't have a chance to get nervous while waiting to face the panel.
The shyest member of the pledge group trembled as she stood before the officers, but her performance was flawless. The Social Director, curious to see how much the pledge really did know, asked some rather obscure questions, but always got correct answers. After 30 minutes, Alexandra stood up and congratulated Kathleen.
"You can be proud of yourself. You got a perfect score. You're the first pledge I've ever seen who's made it through the panel interview with no mistakes."
Kathleen forced a smile, but Tracy could tell that she was becoming more and more nervous. She was very relieved when the pledge left the room and would have a chance to calm down. Anyhow, Pledge Kathleen now had the second of the three required stamps on her certificate.
The other three pledges took advantage of the delay to drill each other on the Four-Beta material. Kathleen exited the house so nervous that she still was shaking, but it was obvious she had passed. Lisa hugged her as Bernadette left to face the panel.
That night, the summer group slept on their cots as pledges for the very last time. Tracy, determined to keep her promise to the very end, slept with them.
The PT test was the final task that needed to be completed by the pledges, but it also turned out to be the easiest. The Four-Beta officers, the four pledges, and the two pledge prospects walked to the university stadium for the test. Polk was there to let them in, obviously hoping to see one or more of the Four-Betas out of uniform. Unfortunately for him, for once there was nothing out of the ordinary, just four young women in shorts running around the track for 30 minutes and doing push-ups and sit-ups. The pledges tested and received their final PT scores. The group left the stadium after about an hour to cross campus and return the Four-Beta house.
And, that was it. Lisa, Bernadette, Cherine, and Kathleen had passed the final task that stood between them and full-membership in the Four-Beta Sorority. The group returned to the sitting room and Alexandra put the third and final stamp on each membership certificate. With that the pledges were released for the afternoon. They would not be allowed to get dressed or leave the sorority house until the swearing-in ceremony, but were free to relax in the back yard, sleep in the guestroom, make phone calls, or use the Internet. The freshmen immediately headed for the swimming pool, but Tracy pulled Lisa aside to go to the sorority office and look over the training record of Brittany and Erin.
Now that the pledge challenges were completed, both Tracy and Lisa were in reflective moods. Before dealing with the pledge prospects, Lisa needed to talk about her own feelings, about her pending transition from pledge to full member.
It was strange to think, that after nearly three months, Lisa and her companions would finally be allowed to come and go as they pleased, wear clothing in the sorority house, and above all, sleep in normal beds with sheets and covers. No longer would they have to address everyone as "ma'am", nor kneel in front of anyone. It was a very weird feeling, to still be in the Four-Beta House but suddenly be treated as an equal and have all that freedom. How best to use that new freedom and enjoy her time in a productive way weighed heavily on Lisa's mind:
"You've just grasped the most important thing I wanted to teach you this summer. I want you to enjoy all the small good things in your life and appreciate what's been given to you. A person doesn't normally appreciate having choices and freedom until they're taken away. That's one of the points we're trying to make with the Four-Beta pledge program. Make you appreciate all of the details in your life, all of the trivial liberties you normally take for granted. I've got an example of what I'm talking about, from my own past. A couple of years ago, I spent 11 weeks in Basic Training for the Army. That was 11 weeks that I never had a chance to be alone, never had a chance to so much as have a cup of coffee or even take a piss without some drill sergeant yelling at me to 'hurry up'. I never got a chance to read a book, or watch the news, or sleep without getting woken up, or just go for a walk by myself. I never thought about any of those things before Basic. After those 11 weeks I appreciated a lot more in my life. To this day I still appreciate all the stuff I missed in Basic Training. And that's the lesson I wanted to pass along to you."
"...and the lesson we'll be passing to Brittany and Erin...and the fall pledge group..."
Tracy paused as she looked at Lisa's latest entries for Brittany and Erin. She commented:
"Of course, you know that you're not gonna have as much free time as you thought. Your fellow pledges are gonna get to relax. Not you. After you swear in tonight, you're gonna hit the ground running. Remember Brittany and Erin?"
Tracy tapped the computer screen displaying their training records:
"Tomorrow I want them to sign their pledge contracts. Now that they've passed their classes and are eligible to pledge, we've got to get their status in the Four-Beta house legalized ASAP. For one thing, I want to bring them under our health coverage plan so they can get some counseling about their drinking. We've also got to finalize their separation from their old sorority. You know the other sororities are still trying to force us to give them back, and President Alexandra has had to put up a real fight to keep them with us. Once they're signed up as pledges, I think that'll take a lot of the pressure off her, because once a pledge has signed a contract we can't give her up, even if we wanted to. Right now they don't have any legal status with us. Once they sign the pledge contract, they will. You follow me so far?"
"Here's the deal as far as you're concerned. Since I don't know who's gonna be taking my job as Pledge Mistress in the fall, I need to put your name on their contracts as 'acting Pledge Mistress'. Until further notice, I need you to be charge of those two, and I want to formalize that arrangement on paper."
"...until the new Pledge Mistress gets elected?"
"...until I decide they no longer need you as their mentor. To be honest, I don't know when that'll be. Right now you're the person for the job, and the reason I say that is not only because of their improvement, but also your training log entries. So far you've done a very good job assessing their needs and documenting their progress. I couldn't have done it any better. It's obvious you give a damn about them, so until further notice, starting tomorrow morning their training's gonna be your show."
With that Lisa and Tracy went to the pool. They sat down next to each other in chaise lounges in the shade, enjoying the peaceful hot summer afternoon. The three freshmen were in the pool with the two pledge prospects and several sophomores, playing an impromptu game of water volleyball. Lisa glanced over at the Pledge Mistress, only to see that she had fallen asleep.
I wonder how much sleep she's gotten over the summer, wondered Lisa to herself. A lot less than us, that's for sure.
With that Lisa opened the Pledge Mistress manual to a chapter titled "Pledge discipline, motivation, and morale." She started reading, in preparation for the huge responsibility that awaited her within just 24 hours.
At 9:00 that night the entire membership of the sorority crowded into the sitting room for the formal vote that would bring four new members into the sorority. Lisa was surprised that the women were wearing casual clothing, but later found out there would be a break afterwards to prepare for the swearing-in ceremony at midnight. Once the women were seated, Tracy led her pledges single-file to the president's podium. Like her pledges, Tracy was still naked.
The pledges lined up on the right side of the chapter president and stood quietly while Tracy summarized the group's training during the summer. The sorority's social director read aloud the pledges' grades, Four-Beta training scores, and their PT scores. She stepped away from the microphone, turning it back over to the chapter president. Alexandra gestured towards Lisa:
"I believe that Pledge Lisa Campbell has proven herself and will become a valued member of our community. Those of you who agree with me, please raise your hands."
Everyone's hand went up, and with that Lisa was voted into the sorority as a member-in-full-standing. Alexandra's comment and the unanimous vote were repeated three more times. Even Kathleen received a unanimous vote. Maybe she wasn't the most outgoing person, but certainly she had proven herself with athletics and knowledge of the Four-Beta Sorority. Her personality not withstanding, she would be made welcome, become part of a group, and finally find her place in life.