The Pledge Mistress Ch. 36bycaligula97236©
Chapter 36 -- Damage control
That night news of the double scandal swept through the Four-Beta house. Alexandra was on the phone for hours, talking to various police officers and the sorority's lawyer. The chapter president's first priority, however, was Pledge Lisa, who had been taken to the university hospital to be treated for a dislocated finger. Fortunately she had escaped any further physical injuries apart from rope burns and some bruises from being kicked and paddled.
Alexandra's initial worry was Lisa's physical condition, but her second concern was her state of mind. The pledge still was in shock over what had happened and the emotional reaction had not yet set in. She asked Alexandra some questions that seemed totally irrelevant to her immediate situation, such as what happened to her books and whether or not anyone had told Kathleen where she was.
Finally the chapter president decided to explain what was going to happen to Heather and try to work backwards to the assault on Lisa. The Four-Beta lawyer was negotiating bail for Heather to secure her release so she could finish her classes. However, pending resolution of the case she would be removed as Sergeant-at-Arms and banned from entering the Four-Beta house. Later that night there would be an emergency meeting at the sorority to explain her status and make sure everyone complied with prohibiting her from entering the property. Also, President Alexandra would insist that any member of the sorority approached by the police was under direct orders to answer any questions as fully and honestly as possible. What mattered most was the truth. Once the full story was out, the sorority would deal with the consequences. Alexandra assumed, quite rightly, that the crisis would pass much more quickly if no one made an effort to conceal any of the facts surrounding the Sergeant-at-Arms' mistreatment of Pledge Lisa.
Alexandra's next problem was her own status and future with the Four-Betas. She felt that she needed to take part of the blame for Heather's behavior, because she had been Heather's friend and failed to notice her increasingly abusive behavior towards the pledges. She had not listened to Tracy's concerns and had sided with the Sergeant-at-Arms against the Pledge Mistress on several occasions.
"Tracy didn't think she could trust me, and I hate to admit it, but she was right. She was right not to trust me, because I really was never very nice to her. I have no idea how I'm going to make this up to either of you."
Alexandra admitted to Lisa that she had considered quitting as chapter president, because she knew that her lack of judgment had compromised her ability to lead the sorority. The only reason she had not yet resigned was that she felt she needed to present herself as the public face of the sorority and deflect any media attention by talking to the press on her own. Also, she now took it for granted Tracy would become the next chapter president. However, until Tracy and Shannon resolved their legal situations they were not eligible to participate in sorority elections. Essentially Alexandra had decided to stay on to hold her spot until Tracy was eligible to take it.
Alexandra sat quiet for a few minutes and then stated quietly:
"She'll make a good president. A lot better than me, that's for sure."
"There's nothing wrong with you, ma'am. I'm not blaming you. You weren't there. You couldn't have known what was happening."
"But I didn't do anything that would have stopped it, either. There's some stuff I should have seen coming, but I wasn't paying attention. I'm more responsible for everything than you think. I was elected to safeguard everyone in the sorority, and I failed in my duty. As I said, the only reason I'm not resigning now is I want to make it up to the Four-Beta house by taking the media flak. Also I've got to make sure Pledge Mistress Tracy has a clear shot at winning my position."
"So, speaking of her, what's gonna happen to Pledge Mistress Tracy?"
"Our lawyer seems pretty sure the disorderly conduct charge will have to be dropped. It's obvious she and Shannon didn't start the fight." Alexandra smiled slightly. "Actually, from what the lawyer told me, the police thought the whole thing was extremely funny, all those girls jumping them only to get their butts kicked. I guess they all were pretty badly busted up. The first cop on the scene commented that it was like watching one of those old Kung Fu movies, you know, where Jackie Chan is kicking the crap out of a whole bunch of bad guys...but...what else would you expect from Tracy, that she'd actually lose a brawl?"
"No, ma'am. I couldn't picture that. I couldn't picture her losing a fight."
"Anyhow, you're done here. You've given your statement to the police?"
"OK. Then we're out of here. I'll take you wherever you want to go."
"Uh, ma'am...aren't we going back to the Four-Beta house? I'm still a pledge, aren't I?"
"Yes, you're still a pledge. Not for too much longer though. If anyone's earned the right to become a full member, it's you."
Alexandra and Lisa got back to the Four-Beta house just before the sorority's lawyer returned with Tracy and Shannon. Kathleen ran up to Lisa and hugged her hard, while Bernadette, Cherine, and Brittany, the newest member of the group, noticed her rope burns, bandaged hand, and the splint on her finger.
The looming crisis over the Sergeant-at-Arms momentarily was overshadowed by a hero's welcome for Tracy and Shannon. The two disheveled combatants waved and smiled through their bruises and torn clothing as they walked in with the attorney. The sitting room erupted into a spontaneous cheer of:
"KICK THEIR ASS!...KICK THEIR ASS!...KICK THEIR ASS!..."
Once the cheering died down, a very subdued President Alexandra took her position at the podium. She gave a summary of what had transpired earlier in the day between the sorority's Sergeant-at-Arms and Pledge Lisa. She repeated what she had said earlier to Lisa about her own position in the sorority, that as chapter president ultimately she felt responsible for what had happened. As she talked, Alexandra's listeners sat in dumbfounded angry silence. These scandals happened to other sororities. Stuff like this wasn't supposed to happen to the Four-Betas.
The lawyer took the podium next, stating that Heather was out on bail so she could finish her semester. However, the sorority had requested a restraining order that prohibited her from stepping onto Four-Beta property or talking to anyone except himself, the chapter president, or the chapter vice president. Under no circumstances was she to have any contact with the pledges, their families, or their professors. Following the meeting her personal items would be collected and he would deliver them to her, to ensure she had no need or reason to visit the Four-Beta house until her case was resolved.
There was sure to be a scandal, because an entire fraternity had been arrested over the kidnapping of Pledge Lisa. President Alexandra had decided that she would grant press interviews on a case-by-case basis in an effort to keep reporters from hassling anyone else in the sorority. Hopefully the scandal would focus more on Heather and her fraternity friends than the Four-Beta's as a group, given that she had violated her own contract with the sorority and the principles she had sworn to uphold. President Alexandra would take responsibility for failing to control her friend, but ultimately it was Heather who was to blame for her own actions.
The women agreed with Alexandra that any contact with the press was to be handled exclusively by the chapter president. If a reporter approached anyone else from the sorority, she was to hand over one of President Alexandra's business cards and tell the media representative to contact the chapter president or sorority attorney. Alexandra distributed her remaining business cards at the meeting to make sure every member had some.
Alexandra took a deep breath, blinking back some tears. She commented:
"Might as well pass 'em out and get rid of them. Next month they won't mean anything anyway."
Brittany was present at the meeting, dressed in her borrowed shorts and T-shirt. Tracy assumed that the scandal over Heather's abuse of Lisa probably would make her reconsider wanting to join the sorority, but quite the opposite was true. Abuse of pledges was routine in Brittany's sorority, fully accepted, and certainly not any cause for scandal. The fact that her new hosts were so shocked by their Sergeant-at-Arm's behavior indicated that there was nothing normal or routine about what had happened to Lisa.
Once the meeting adjourned and the sorority's lawyer departed with Heather's possessions, Tracy took her pledge group to the basement. Brittany would be allowed to observe the pledge group and given the opportunity to see what would be expected of her, should she decide to pledge in the fall.
Brittany's mouth dropped open when the entire group, including the Pledge Mistress, stripped off their clothes. The pledges quickly dumped their items in a laundry basket and knelt. Brittany stared at Tracy in disbelief, wondering whether or not she was expected to get undressed as well. Tracy waved her finger to warn her to stay dressed.
The Pledge Mistress formally introduced Brittany and explained her provisional status. She then ordered Pledge Lisa to stand up, shake the newcomer's hand, and introduce herself by giving her name, her major and academic interests, followed by a summary of her life prior to joining the sorority. Lisa returned to her kneeling position and Bernadette stood up to introduce herself.
Brittany was taken aback by both the nudity and the military-style discipline of the Four-Beta pledges. When they stood, they stood straight, absolutely unashamed of their bodies. It was obvious the pledges had long since become accustomed to their strange lifestyle. She also knew that if she chose to stay with the Four-Betas, within a month she would be standing at attention, in the nude with her hands at her sides. Brittany found that detail both frightening and fascinating.
Even more strange to Brittany was seeing Tracy, as naked as her charges, address them with absolute authority. There seemed to be no difference in her mind between being naked and being dressed. Certainly Tracy's behavior had not changed. Her military bearing and harsh manner of speaking were identical to what they had been just a few minutes before, when the Pledge Mistress still was wearing her uniform. It was as though she didn't even notice that she was naked and Brittany was still dressed.
Something else surprised Brittany as the minutes passed and she talked to the four pledges. She began to feel uneasy about being the only clothed person among the six women in the room. She actually found herself wishing she could take off her clothing, but Tracy's treatment of her indicated that she would not be expected, or even allowed, to undress until she began formally pledging. To be naked in the house was to symbolize that the Four-Betas had granted her the opportunity to join their group. She had not yet been accepted as a potential member.
Although she was not yet a pledge, from the beginning Brittany's new life would extremely regimented. Along with the push to pass her classes, she needed to begin the difficult process of restoring her health. Every morning and afternoon she would perform remedial PT, which would consist of stretching and light exercises. Tracy would give her a meal plan and she would eat in the kitchen. She would not be allowed to buy food or carry money on campus. There was one final detail in Brittany's life that would change. She would be expected to call her parents on a nightly basis and give them updates on her progress. If she passed her classes, her status in the sorority would change upon signing her formal pledge contract. Once the contract was signed, she would be issued a pledge uniform, allowed to use the pool, exercise with the sophomores and freshmen, and be required to be naked whenever she was in the sorority house.
Tracy ordered Brittany to sit on one of the cots while she addressed the pledge group concerning changes that would result from the sudden absence of the Sergeant-at-Arms. Until the end of the summer Tracy would be the only member of the sorority with direct authority over the pledges, because Heather's position would remain vacant pending the final resolution of her legal status. Anyhow, less than three weeks remained of the pledge period. Tracy flatly announced that, pending the final panel interview, all four members of the pledge group had qualified to become full members of the sorority. However, she added:
"Don't let that go to your heads. As of now you're still pledges. I'm only telling you this to let you know there's light at the end of the tunnel."
In the meantime there would be some changes in the pledges' routine. The first change would be temporary, the shorts worn as part of their uniform. Instead of their skimpy jogging shorts, Tracy had decided that for the next week her group would wear somewhat longer athletic shorts. The reason for that change was simple. Lisa's backside would be bruised over the next several days, and Tracy saw no need for her injuries to be on display to the entire university. Once her bruises healed, the pledge group would go back to wearing their normal jogging shorts. Tracy casually added that Lisa's days of wearing a thong on campus were over. Looking hard at the sophomore pledge she stated:
"Even if you wanted to wear your thong, with me running the show it's not gonna happen. It's a uniform violation, and from this point forward we're gonna be a bit stricter about the uniforms."
The pledges had expected that, with Heather gone and the threat she presented removed, Tracy might return to her room and resume her life with the privileges of a senior and officer. However, she decided, along with adhering to the Four-Beta pledge uniform rules, she would continue to live with the pledges and share their daily lives. That included being naked whenever she was in the house and sleeping on a cot in the basement uncovered.
Brittany, because she was not a pledge, would not be sleeping with the current pledge group. She would be sleeping in the guest room. Once she officially became a pledge, it would be her turn to sleep naked on a cot in the locker room.
Tracy dismissed the group for the night. Brittany was to return to the library and study under Elaine's guidance while the three freshmen pledges were to go to sleep. Lisa was to follow Tracy back to her room to talk in private.
When Lisa entered Tracy's room, she knelt, but Tracy told her to get up and take a seat.
"When you and me are talking in private, I don't want you kneeling anymore. And, by the way, I don't want you calling me ma'am anymore, in private that is. Obviously, you still gotta play the game in front of your group mates. But, as far as I'm concerned, you're in. You've more than proven yourself."
Lisa took a deep breath, blinking back her tears. She was overwhelmed, not just be Tracy's announcement, but by everything that had transpired throughout the most traumatic day of her pledging experience. Tracy continued:
"There's a couple of reasons I'm telling you all this now. For one thing, and this is something I've told you before, you've helped me, a lot, to keep your group mates motivated. There were times, to be honest, that I felt the real Pledge Mistress this summer was not me, but you."
The two women's eyes met.
"But now, there's something else that's a lot more important. I'd apologize to you about what happened with Heather, but to be honest, I don't think simply apologizing would do you much good. An apology is just words, and I don't want you to think we can make up what happened today with words..."
"That's OK, ma'am...I mean...Tracy...really..."
"Lisa, you're only saying that because the reaction to what you went through hasn't set in yet. Trust me, it will. Tonight, or tomorrow, or next week...that shit Heather pulled is gonna hit you. And you're gonna feel very angry, and you're gonna need to talk to someone about it. When that moment comes, I want you to remember that I'll be here for you. That's when we're gonna figure out if there's any way we can make it up to you. And that's why...I'm not gonna try to blow you off with an apology. You deserve much more than that."
Lisa realized there was something unspoken in what the Pledge Mistress was trying to tell her. Without directly expressing it in words, Tracy was letting Lisa know that she desperately wanted to be friends with her. It made sense, because the two women had so much in common in their personalities. They both were outsiders with strong characters, both perceived as intimidating by the people who surrounded them. So far, their roles as Pledge Mistress and pledge had kept them apart, but that now was coming to an end. In just three weeks Lisa would be a full member of the sorority and there would be no further need to "play the game". Lisa, as a full member of the sophomore class, would become the person who the new chapter president would turn to for emotional support. It turned out that Tracy was the one who desperately needed a friend, and had found one in Lisa.
At that moment the reaction Tracy had predicted set in. Lisa did something she could not even have imagined doing just an hour before. She hugged her Pledge Mistress. For a very long time she stood in Tracy's arms as tears ran down her cheeks. It turned out that Tracy was right. An apology in words wouldn't have done her any good. She needed to be held. Her friend Tracy understood, and was there to comfort her when it really mattered.
Tracy and Lisa went back to the basement as pledge and Pledge Mistress, and returned to their normal routine of sleeping naked on top of the cots. Within minutes all five women were asleep. An hour later Elaine escorted Brittany to the pledge room to brush her teeth, and then told her to go to sleep in the guest room. Brittany slipped past the five naked sleeping women, marveling at their athletic figures in the dim light of the room. Assuming she stayed with this sorority, she too, eventually would have a figure that looked like that.
It would take a lot of hard work, just like the studying, but in the end she would be rewarded with good health and a respectable academic life. Was there anything wrong with that? Of course there wasn't. Then, why did the other sororities hate the Four-Betas so much? Was it because their lifestyle made them not "cool"? Or was it because in reality the other sororities saw the Four-Betas as a threat? Perhaps, in reality everyone knew that the Four-Betas were superior, which was why everyone hated them so much.
Anyhow, Brittany had spent a long evening in the Four-Beta library and was tired, but at the same time she felt good. She had eaten nothing but healthy food all day, and for the first time in two months, not touched alcohol. Yes, she somewhat missed having alcohol, but knew that the following morning she would wake up after a good night's sleep, not hung over, and begin her new exercise regimen. The restoration of her mind and body already had begun. For the first time in over two months her priorities were where they needed to be.
She was in bed at 10:30, exactly 24 hours after Tracy had found her gagging in the nearby park. Her hosts had not given her any clothing to sleep in. As first she thought about sleeping in her shorts and T-shirt, but then she realized that it would be better to not wear anything while in bed. Assuming she passed her classes she would be spending most of her time over the next four months in the nude. Might as well start getting used to it now.