Dear friends, this is the final episode in the Delphine’s Schooldays, a fantasy historical saga with a femdom theme on which I’ve been collaborating with EveRay – to whom I owe huge thanks for her commitment to this project and for having the initial idea.
The action in 1952 ended with Chapter 18, which you can find on Eve’s blog (which is looking fabulous with a new theme and some re-organisation of posts).
And the whole story began with Eve’s Prologue set in 1976 – and it wraps up here with my Epilogue
BORDEAUX MAY 1976
The chateau was bathed in the golden light of an early spring morning, which seeped through a crack in the shutters to wake me quite early. Fucking typical! I could have slept til midday. XX was away filming and the children were safely stashed at school in England – not St Faith’s, I spared them that family tradition, theirs had a good reputation and the girls seemed to flourish there.
Rising, I dressed in a linen trouser suit with a Gucci blouse and heels; there are certain expectations of a woman in my position, and beautiful clothes are my indulgence. I sat in the morning room with a pot of black coffee and a cigarette. The cook had prepared an omelette with croissants waiting under a silver dome, but I was without appetite after a few mouthfuls.
The butler announcing a visitor at the door was a surprise, nobody was expected.
“Who is it?”
“An older woman, Madame la Comtesse,” his patrician nose wrinkled with distaste, “she gave the name Mademoiselle Ranson.”
I was startled, and yet something about this felt predestined. Grinding my cigarette out in a crystal ashtray I rose and smoothed the cream fabric of my suit over my hips.
“You’d better show her in. I’ll wait in the blue salon. Do not offer her any refreshment!” I cautioned him as he set off down the entrance hall.
I tried to calm myself, gathering hauteur around me like shining armour. This woman was my nemesis. Her agenda puzzled me, and yet I had expected it, this was the final shoe which had to fall.
I perched on a chair, deportment drummed into me at St Faith’s held my back straight. Crossing my legs I swung my foot, a sure sign of my agitation, so instead I went to stand at the window. With my back to the room I surveyed the parklands and the vineyards in the distance. I heard footsteps as the butler led my old headmistress into the room.
“Mademoiselle Ranson,” he announced.
I turned slowly. She looked different, not just from the passage of time, which had etched the lines deeper around her eyes and mouth while frosting her hair with grey, but she seemed somehow diminished. Away from the familiar surroundings of St Faith’s. the cocoon of her intimidating office, she appeared smaller, less self assured. Undoubtedly the ugly flowered dress she wore with the open toed sandals picked her out as a tourist. In my memories, Miss Ranson teamed structured tweed suits which clung to her buttocks with tightly laced brogues.
“Good morning, this is quite a surprise,” I arched an eyebrow.
“Delphine, it is lovely to see you,” she smiled as she approached. She held her hand to shake, the bag on her arm had seen better days. So English.
I gestured for her to sit and I took the chair opposite, arranging myself elegantly while taking delight in her unease.
“What a beautiful room, the Chateau is glorious.”
“Thank you, I inherited it on my father’s death 3 years ago.”
“Yes, I read of his passing in Vogue.”
“I would not have taken you for a Vogue reader Mademoiselle.” I cocked my head to one side. She ignored my implied insult and ploughed on.
“You’ve had quite the career Delphine. At St Faith’s we take an interest in the successes of our alumni.” She coughed. “ Could I trouble you for a glass of water? I’ve had rather a long journey.”
I rose to use the bell pull to summon a maid, when she appeared I asked for water and a pot of china tea. I placed my hands in my lap and waited, determined not to assist my former headmistress with the conversation. She had used silence often enough for me to know its power.
“Is your husband here?” she asked when she’d sipped some water.
“No, he’s away on location, making a film.”
“How glamorous,” she simpered, “and your girls?”
“At school in England,” I passed her a bone china cup. A slice of lemon floated in the pale amber liquid. She sipped at it and the silence stretched, heavy with curiosity on my part.
“Do you still ride?”
“Yes, but not competitively. As a form of exercise it serves me well.”
As she looked round the room, my skin prickled with anxiety. I needed to take control.
“Miss Ranson, what brings you out here so early in the morning? The Chateau is hardly on the tourist track.”
She squirmed then, and a flush crept up her neck. Her words tumbled out.
“The article in Vogue piqued my curiosity to visit you, Delphine.” She swallowed, a flush crept up her neck. “I was particularly keen to see the painting which was in the background … when you posed in those long boots. ” Sweat pricked on Miss Ranson’s upper lip. When she shifted in her seat again my stomach swooped. I recognized the source of the other woman’s discomfort.
“Always the art lover,” I smiled. Initiating a power shift, I stood and looked down, glimpsing the shadowy mystery of Miss Ranson’s cleavage. “Let me give you the tour.” I swept out of the room leaving my former teacher to follow in my wake.
I strode around the large, ornate rooms of my childhood home drawing her attention to a marble figurine here, a collectable urn there. In the library I showed her some first editions of poetry. Finally I brought her to the reception room where we hung the renaissance painting in which she’d expressed an interest.
“Voila!” My voice dripped with boredom.
I stood back with arms folded as she considered the canvas, while I wondered how this woman always deconstructed my cool exterior. Ever since our first encounters, she’d wielded a power over me that I couldn’t explain.
“Is that really what you wanted to see Mademoiselle?” My voice sounded a little hoarse. “Or was there something else in the image which caught your interest?”
“I don’t know what you mean!” Miss Ranson turned to me, seeming more flustered than I had ever seen her.
“Oh I think you do.”
I stepped closer, into her personal space, my heart seeming to beat at my ribs.
“Come with me.” I grabbed her wrist and strode out of the room, down the marble hallway.
Miss Ranson struggled to keep up with me. The soft soles of her shoes were silent but I was taller, and I used my rangey cat-walk stride. We descended one flight of stairs to the basement. I didn’t stop until we reached our private film room. I’d had it decorated like a theatre, a womb-like dark red, complete with plush velvet seating and heavy draped curtains to frame the screen.
Miss Ranson stood, her face a mixture of bewilderment and admiration as she surveyed her opulent surroundings.
Stepping away I started the projector running. A black and white film began to play on screen, depicting young girls in costumes. They were acting out Romeo & Juliette, playing both male and female roles. Miss Ranson looked from the screen to my face then back to the film again. I was certain she remembered the film as well as I did.
“Do you know what you did to me back then, when I arrived at school aged 16?”
She shook her head mutely so I continued.
“I despised you and yet, I strove to please you. I wore a hard shell, carefully constructed from years of my mother ignoring me in favour of her peccadillos while my father put work before family.
All the girls told me you were strict but fair, but that wasn’t true for me.” Warming to my theme, I pressed my old adversary down by her shoulders til she sat in one of the velvet seats. She faced the black and white film and I stood over her.
“Any time I stepped out of line, you came down on me hard, singling me out for punishment. How many times did I stand in your study, dressed in my cotton nightshift? You made me balance books on my head, or volumes of an encyclopedia in my outstretched hands?”
Miss Ranson remained silent, biting her full bottom lip. I glanced at the screen. The action in the film was leading up to the first time the schoolgirl, dressed as Romeo, kisses her schoolmistress.
“You changed me, Miss Ranson. Irrevocably.” Her eyes flicked up to mine, and locked.
“I began to crave your attention, your punishments. I messed up deliberately to be called to your study after lights out.”
Her mouth hung open with shock, her chest heaving with emotion. I felt satisfaction that this was hitting home.
“You brought out the sapphic side of me, and I can’t put it back in the box!” I had her full attention now. “My marriage to Xavier has been a sham. I hate his clumsy hands on me, his kisses are wet and his ways are too gentle. Many would call him a gentleman, but he makes me want to scream.”
“How is this my fault?” my ex-headmistress looked stunned, but flushed.
“You unleashed my dark side, you know you did! I crave punishment, I seek pain with my pleasure and I enjoy being controlled.”
I raised my hand to the buttons of my blouse, unfastening them as I spoke – my old teacher seemed riveted by my hand’s progress.
“I’m too high profile to start a relationship that’s more to my liking. Instead I’ve let Xavier have dalliances with his leading ladies, and when he comes home I punish him.”
My blouse hung open and she seemed fixated on my braless breasts, which threatened to escape the patterned fabric.
“I think you need punishing to redress the balance Miss Ranson, what do you say?” With these words I pressed against a panel behind one of the curtains and a concealed door opened.
Wide eyed, Miss Ranson surveyed the racks of whips, crops and paddles which hung along the wall in the secret room. Her gaze rested on the St Andrews cross and the straps on the adjustable bed against the long wall.
My heart was thumping so hard I couldn’t speak while I waited for her to make up her mind.
“Madame La Comtesse je vous adore,” she said in reply, then sank to her knees.
~ FINIS ~