"I know. That's why I decided to drop in today."
Smiling coolly, Mrs. Baxter examined the young teacher. She was definitely still in her twenties, slender and very attractive, with long, blond hair streaked with darker bands, and glittering deep blue eyes. Her lips were full and cherry red from the freshly applied lipstick. Certainly plenty of fuel there for adolescent fantasies. Mrs. Baxter had voted against the emergency hiring approvals, and she certainly did not approve of senior classes being taught by a neophyte ten years her junior who looked more like a model for "Seventeen" than a teacher.
Still, sitting behind her big desk the young woman appeared professional enough. Her hair was mostly pinned up with a pair of gold combs. Stylish, gold-rimmed glasses perched on her nose. She wore a plain white blouse and a conservative gray suit jacket that looked properly academic. "Well, I guess, like, uhm, since you're here, like," she said, clearly flustered, "I'm like, really glad to meet you." She rose to her feet and extended a hand.
"Likewise," Mrs. Baxter said insincerely, but then her voice trailed off. Standing up, Ms Sexsmith had revealed the bottom half of her clothing. The conservative gray jacket matched the simple gray skirt, hip-hugging and distractingly short. The hemline rode high on perfect thighs just below the edge of the jacket. Her legs were long and lean, shimmering beneath sheer nylons with a dark seam up the back, and topped off with mirror-black, extra-high heels. The skirt caught for just a moment on one side, revealing the black lace garters barely covered when it fell back in place.
Mrs. Baxter was shocked again. "Is this how you dress for class?" she demanded.
The leggy blonde fiddled with a wayward strand of hair. "Well, uh, yeah, I guess so. Like, when the weather's warm. Is something wrong?"
The other blonde studied her keenly. "How old are you?"
"And when did you receive your teaching certificate?"
"Oh, well, uhm, probably in the fall. I have to, like, just finish a couple of courses over the summer." She looked at the older woman nervously.
"You don't have a degree!?"
"I will! I just have to repeat--I mean take a couple of courses to finish up. It's like almost a formality. Really."
Mrs. McLeod shook her head as the young woman glared at her across the desk. Of all the teachers to drop in on, it had to be Crystal. She was adorable, but such an airhead. The kids loved her though.
But this Baxter bitch was demanding an explanation, and the headmaster knew she had to do something. She was getting in over her head and if she couldn't come up with some ideas quickly there was going to be hell to pay. It was time to get some help.
"I, uh, I can explain all this," she said unconvincingly. "But will you, uh, just excuse me for one moment?" She picked up the telephone on her desk and punched a button. "Holly? Can you please find Jimmy and ask him to come in here? Right away. Yes, I know, but tell him we're having a fire drill. Yes, definitely. OK, thanks."
She put down the telephone and smiled at Mrs. Baxter, some of her confidence returning. Holly had recognized the code words "fire drill" which meant there was an emergency. So Jimmy would come by and help her out. He would figure out some way to explain the new school rules and mollify Mrs. rich-bitch Baxter. Jimmy was always there to help her when she needed him. He was such a remarkable boy.
Mrs. Baxter's patience was wearing thinner by the moment. "What is going on here, Mrs. McLeod?" she demanded. "Who is this Jimmy, and what has he got to do with hiring "teachers" who don't even have a teaching certificate? For god's sake, that's not even allowed under state regulations! Not to mention the Lovebright's tradition of hiring only first-rate faculty! Is it possible you have forgotten that too, the way you have forgotten everything else about running a school!?"
The shapely headmaster wilted before the other woman's rage. She tried to think of something to say, if only to buy time. That comment about Lovebright's first-rate faculty was another exaggeration. Still, blondie Baxter did have a point, Crystal's appointment was technically unsanctioned. Ordinarily Mrs. McLeod was punctilious about that sort of thing, but Crystal was such a sweetheart, and obviously so popular with the boys that she had decided to let it go this time. She would get her degree eventually.
Actually, it had been Jimmy's suggestion that she hire Crystal; he had an unerring sense for this kind of thing. Mrs. McLeod hoped he would get here soon. She wasn't sure she could hold off la Baxter much longer.
"Mrs. Baxter, let me explain the situation with Ms Sexsmith," the headmaster said, thinking quickly. "We were lucky to get her, all things considered. She was finishing her master's degree in education and incredibly, taking the teaching certificate courses in her spare time. We realized that it was slightly unconventional to bring on a teacher who hadn't officially finished the degree, but Ms Sexsmith's other qualifications were so sterling that the detail of a few unfinished courses seemed quite trivial."
None of this was technically true, of course -- the hardest thing Crystal had ever learned was how to walk in five-inch heels -- but Mrs. McLeod knew she had to keep Baxter from leaving before Jimmy got there. She was pretty much making it up as she went, and she wasn't too surprised to discover the curly-haired housewife didn't believe her.
"Oh come now, Madam," she sneered, "do you really expect me to believe that that" -- she paused, looking for a word -- "that bimbo has a master's degree!"
"But we had to do something when Ms. Hardling resigned so suddenly." Almost as soon as the words were out of her mouth, the headmistress realized her mistake. Ms. Hardling had been one of the fiercest critics of the changes at Lovebright. Everyone in the state, especially the blonde inquisitor sitting before her, had been shocked when the forty-five year old spinster had suddenly resigned, being found pregnant with the baby of one of her students. Worst yet, she admitted to having slept with so many, she didn't know which one!
Mrs. McLeod was not a good liar and she could feel herself blushing under Mrs. Baxter's fiery glare. Fortunately, before she could dig herself in any deeper there was a polite rapping at the door. "Ah, that will be Jimmy now," the headmaster said, unable to hide her relief. "I'm sure he will be able to answer any of your remaining questions. Come in!"
The door opened and a student walked in. Mrs. McLeod jumped to her feet. "Lov--, er, I mean, Mr. King, thank you for dropping by. I hope you aren't missing a class." She gestured toward her still-seated guest. "This is Mrs. Baxter," she said, then added, significantly, "she's from the Board of Governors, and she has a few questions about the, uh, academic environment here."
"Mrs. Baxter. What a pleasure this is," the boy said, extending a hand.
The svelte blonde was nonplussed. The boy looked to be a senior and he was handsome in a kind of bland way, medium tall and kind of gangly. Unlike the female student body he seemed to take the school uniform seriously, and was wearing the regulation jacket, tie and button-down white shirt. But she had not missed the excitement in Mrs. McLeod's manner when he entered the room, or the almost fawning way she was looking at him now.
Automatically, she rose to her feet and shook hands. "Delighted, Mr. King," she said in a voice designed to put youngsters in their place. "Now will somebody please explain to me what this **boy** is doing here? Do you let the students run the school now, headmaster?"
Mrs. McLeod ignored the sarcasm. "Jimmy is one of the Vargas Scholarship students," she said proudly, "and also chairs our new Student-Teacher Committee. We decided early last semester that a forum was needed for the exchange of views between students and faculty. It provides the students with an opportunity for real input into regulations which affect them, as opposed to the traditional, autocratic approach." The education-theory jargon came out easily. She had almost forgotten that the committee was originally Jimmy's idea, and that he had even recommended the students and teachers that sat on it.
"You seem upset, Mrs. Baxter," the boy said with an easy self-confidence far beyond his years. "Why don't you tell us exactly what is bothering you, and we'll see if we can't allay your concerns." He pulled up a chair close beside the headmaster, sat down, and looked at the young blonde expectantly.
Mrs. Baxter was nearly speechless. The whole situation seemed unreal. Not only had the whole Academy turned into a travesty, but now a student was sitting behind the headmaster's desk, calmly taking over an administrative discussion as if it were the most natural thing in the world. This was too much. It was time to just walk out of here and go directly to the Board. She could pressure Vargas into calling an emergency meeting. When they heard her report this excuse of a headmaster would be out on her ear before sunrise. Something had to be done.
Yet she hesitated. There was something going on here, she was sure of that, and this cocky, smooth-talking senior was the key to it all. She sat down. "Very well then," she said archly, "perhaps the chair of the Student-Teacher Committee can explain how a miniskirted nitwit came to be teaching senior geography!"
But the boy only smiled. "You must be referring to Crystal Sexsmith. Her style is quite disarming, isn't it? Don't let her fool you though. Beneath that carefully cultivated little-girl image is a sharp and demanding mind. She is a born teacher, too. Her interview left us all stunned." Not nearly as stunned as Crystal had been when she found out she was hired, but he didn't say that.
Mrs. Baxter looked at the boy unbelievingly. He sounded absolutely serious. That barbie doll a natural born teacher? "Mrs. McLeod! Is this true?"
"What? Oh, uh, yes, uh certainly. Absolutely true," the headmaster said, brushing back her hair. She was a little distracted at that moment because Jimmy had his hand on her knee, just below the hem of her skirt, and he was lightly stroking the inside of her leg. It made it kind of hard to concentrate on the conversation. She spread her legs a little wider.
Mrs. Baxter was taken aback. "Well I...you can't honestly believe....Very well, let's let that go for a moment. There are many other things. How can you account for the bizarre goings-on in the physical education class?"
The corridors were mostly deserted by the time Mrs. Baxter left Crystal Sexsmith's classroom. There did seem to be a little more noise than usual coming from the classrooms, occasional bursts of laughter or shouting, and what sounded like ... yes, it was definitely music coming from the gymnasium. It was lively dance music with a pulsing disco rhythm. The trim blonde's heels clicked smartly on the tile floor as she made her way to the gym.
She opened one of the big wooden doors a crack and peered inside. The music was coming from an oversized boombox set on a chair by the wall. There were about a dozen or so students in the gym, and a taller woman who must be the teacher. But this was no ordinary gym class.
For one thing, the girls were not wearing the regulation blue top and knee-length shorts that Lovebright students always wore to gym. These girls were dressed in bright blue leotards and sleek white leggings, with matching blue ankle socks and high- topped white shoes. The stretchy Spandex outfits flattered the young, if slightly rounded, figures and well-turned legs. The girls were doing some kind of aerobic exercise, stretching and moving to the music. Their supple, easy movements suggested ample practice.
The exercises were unconventional; at times they involved bending and turning at the waist, arms overhead and breasts thrust forward, at other times slow graceful steps and pirouettes like ballerinas, high on the toes of their fancy shoes. Then the music dropped to a sensual, pulsing beat and the girls began doing in-place exercises, thrusting their hips forward on one beat, bending and pushing out their behinds on the next. They seemed to be having a great time. Basketballs and other gym equipment was piled in a corner gathering dust.
The only person not dressed in leotards was the instructor. Instead she wore a white, sleeveless tennis dress trimmed with blue stripes, and silvery white tennis shoes tied up with wide blue ribbons instead of laces. Something seemed out of place about that dress. Trying to ignore the infectious beat of the music, or the blatantly sexy movements of the girls, Mrs. Baxter studied the instructor. She was young, and impossibly well-built. Large buoyant breasts and long, athletic legs burst out of the tiny rag of a tennis dress. Long black hair flowed freely down past her shoulders.
Her smile was radiant. Swaying gracefully with the music she strolled among the students, correcting a misplaced arm here, encouraging a more exuberant thrust there. She was wearing big hoop earrings patterned in blue and white, and matching bracelets on both arms.
What in the world was going on? Mrs. Baxter peered in through the gym door and watched the girls go through their well-practiced routine. There was a compelling harmony in their movements, the whole class stretching and bending together like a chorus line. Many of the leotards were quite skimpy along the bustline and around the bum, and when the girls bent over to touch their toes the gym was filled with bouncing breasts and behinds.
It was hard to tell from the door, but the girls didn't appear to be wearing anything beneath the leotards. They straightened slowly, following the sensuous tones of the music, drawing their hands up their legs and over their torsos. Mrs. Baxter drew in her breath. She found one hand mimicking the girls' movements and she forced it to stop.
"What in god's name are you teaching these girls in gym class!" Mrs. Baxter exclaimed, glaring first at the headmaster, then at the student beside her. "Why aren't they learning basketball or field hockey or gymnastics? Why, that wasn't even proper aerobics. Those....movements the girls were doing were practically obscene. It was as if they were practicing to be bawdy dancers! Mrs. McLeod, I demand an explanation!"
"Ex--explanation?" the headmaster gasped, her eyes darting about. "Yes, I can, ooooh, yes, I---I can... uhm, explain... oh! ... explain...." Jimmy's hand was now above the middle of her thigh and the curvy headmaster was finding it increasingly difficult to focus on the conversation. Her skirt was rucked up around her hips. Jimmy was deftly stroking her stocking-covered inner thigh, moving a little higher with every pass.
He was being terribly naughty, teasing her at a time like this, but Mrs. McLeod couldn't bring herself to try to stop him. Jimmy's touch was always such a turn-on. With a few strokes he could render her weak-kneed and helpless.
Mrs. McLeod spread her legs apart as far as the tight skirt would let her. She wished he would let her wear minis, as he did the other teachers, but Jimmy said she had to present a more conservative image to the public and she grudgingly agreed he was right. She compensated, however, by wearing the wildest underwear she could still find.
"I think I understand your misapprehension," Jimmy interrupted smoothly, his hand still busy between the squirming headmistress's legs. "That would surely be Miss Libertina's class. She has introduced a new concept in isometric exercise, blending together, as I understand it, diverse elements from aerobics, modern dance, ballet and even tai chi. The result is an effective, low-impact routine that works the muscles while simultaneously teaching balance, poise and rhythm. She explained it to us one evening at a Student-Teacher Committee meeting."
For a moment Mrs. Baxter was dumbfounded. That explanation was so bizarre it almost made sense. She ignored the headmaster, who seemed to be twitching in her seat, and concentrated her anger on Jimmy. "Do you mean to tell me," she said in measured tones, "that those exercises the girls were doing were intended as instruction?"
Jimmy smiled. "Absolutely. Though of course traditional sports have not been abandoned. In fact, our new football team is doing rather well, considering the small pool of talent we have to draw on."
The football team's success was probably due to the success of Lovebright's large and energetic cheerleading squad at distracting the opposing teams with beaver shots, but again Jimmy let the details pass. Ms Libertina was also the cheerleading coach and she applied her new dance ideas to their routines as well. In fact, Ms Libertina had been a professional cheerleader herself until very recently.
"Football," said Mrs. Baxter blankly. It figured, she conceded with a sigh. There were boys in the school now. "But what about the girls' championship field hockey team?" she inquired.
Jimmy smiled, realizing that it would be cruel to make Mrs. McLeod try to answer. Leaving her to bask in his delicious manipulation of her sex, he spoke up. "It was offered this year as usual, but there just wasn't enough interest." Actually, quite a few girls had been interested at first, including a senior who had been hoping to gain athletic scholarships under Title IX programs. She soon realized, however, that time spent on the field meant less time on her back practicing the new sport her ninth-grade boyfriend had just taught her. She probably wouldn't be going to college, anyway.
"If I may ask you one question," the student prodded her gently, "If you were curious about the aerobics program, why didn't you just ask Ms Libertina? She is very enthusiastic about it." Actually, enthusiastic didn't quite cover it. Since the idea had occurred to her at a Student-Teacher meeting, the statuesque gym instructor had gradually become obsessed with the new dance routines, until eventually they had pushed all the traditional sports off the curriculum. The girls too had grown to love the exercises, especially since they were allowed to wear the new Spandex uniforms.
For once Mrs. Baxter hesitated. "Well, I...the fact is, I, well, I never got the chance. I mean, I'm here to do an inspection, and I can't go around interrupting every class." In truth, she had been very reluctant to go farther into the gymnasium. There was something disturbingly captivating about the dance the girls were doing, and the rich young housewife was surprised to find herself getting warm just watching them. Just as she was getting warm right now from remembering it.
She shifted uneasily in her chair. "Besides, young man," she said more firmly, "we still have other things to discuss. Much more serious things. Such as openly lewd behavior in the corridors of the Academy!" She raised her voice dramatically.
Closing the door to the gymnasium, Mrs. Baxter hurried on down the hall until, mercifully, the catchy beat of the music faded. She fluffed up her hair, trying to regain her composure. In the relative silence of the hall she could make out whispered voices coming from a narrow side corridor. Curious, she turned to find them. There should not have been any students about. Lovebright's traditional strict discipline forbade students to be out of classrooms or the library during school hours.
The corridor lead to a narrow back staircase, one of many such byways and alcoves in the complex architecture of the old building. Walking on tiptoe, Mrs. Baxter approached the voices. There were two students, seniors by the look of them, standing in an unused space beneath the staircase. Old stuffed chairs and sofas were stacked up for storage. The boy was tall and dark blonde, with hair too long for the regulations. He wore the uniform shirt and pants without a tie. His jacket was thrown over a chair.