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SNDCSL04 video cassette labeled `Miki My guts



This is a work of fiction by a twisted mind. If you
are offended by graphic descriptions of natural and/or
unnatural sexual acts, if you are underage, or if this
type of material is illegal where you are, don't read
any further.

This is a fantasy. You will have to loosen your clench
on reality a little when you read it. This is a tale in
which physical acts and human responses are not limited
to, nor necessarily based in, reality. Some acts and
responses in this story may be physically impossible
and/or physiologically improbable.

Also, as is the case with most of the stories in this
newsgroup, all the women in this story are beautiful -
gorgeous, even. Gravity has not caused breasts to
droop nor have wrinkles creased unblemished faces. The
men (the leading men, at least) are hung like bulls.
They can get it up and keep it up often and at will.
In this special little fantasyland, there are no STDs,
morals, or unwanted pregnancies. Guilt is a four-
letter word. Most important of all, neither strength
of character, courage of convictions, nor moral belief
stand a chance against any erotic stimulus. This can
be as benign as an accidental glimpse of a bared ankle
or as stimulating as a whipping on the genitals.

For those of you who didn't understand the preceding
statements, GO AWAY!

This story is intended for the salacious entertainment
of consenting adults. Do not try to do any of the
things described in this story. You could injure
yourself or your partner, be arrested, or shot by her

If you are under 18 years of age, GO AWAY! This story will burn your eyeballs and fry your brain.

If material of a strong sexual nature is prohibited
where you are, GO AWAY!

By continuing, the reader accepts all responsibility
for any disgust, revulsion, jail sentences, or pleasure
that results from reading this story. If you don't, GO

You have been warned!

If you enjoy this story and feel the urge to post it on
a <free> site, at least give me (NightShade) credit for

So, stick your tongue firmly in your cheek and enjoy
the story!....:)



by NightShade
Chapter 31

During this time we had been ignoring the symphony
concerts for the most part. There had been other
concerts since that first one, but none by composers
either of us wanted to hear. The second major concert
of interest in the symphony season was at the mid-
point. This one had some pieces by one of my favorite
composers and I announced that we would be going. I
gave them two weeks notice.

Again, as before, the packages from The Guild began
arriving in sealed boxes shortly after my announcement.
Whether they wanted to go hear the concert or not, they
wanted to go just to see what was in the golden boxes.

The day of the concert started early. This time the
two women knew what to expect and they fully enjoyed
the pampering and primping that was done to them. By
the time the last technician was done, they were about
as on edge as I had seen them.

I smiled at Sally standing there in her short silk
robe. I handed her a set of headphones and a new CD
along with a steaming cup of her favorite tea.
Gleefully she curled up in the over-stuffed chair in my
office and went off into her own world. I could tell
she was curious about what I was going to do to Janey,
but she knew I treated the two of them differently.

I led Janey into her room. She was so excited I
thought she would burst. When I selected the first box
and handed it to her, she even squealed. Opening the
box she saw a jeweled collar similar to the one her mom had worn to the first concert. She looked up at me,
eyes sparkling.

"I know you're curious about the other boxes, Janey,
but I thought you should know that the Collar Rules
will apply tonight. If you don't want to wear your
collar, that's perfectly OK. I want you to know that.
Half of these boxes are just in case you don't want to
wear it tonight."

"Do I still get to keep all the presents?" Typical

"Yes," I grinned.

"Wow! Dad, it's beautiful!"

"So are you, Janey. I noticed you haven't been wearing
the collar every chance you get, and I just wanted to
make sure it's OK with you now."

"I was kind of looking forward to it, Sensei. These
nights are always so special, and," she grinned
impishly, "I don't just mean the presents. I was
hoping you'd think of it, too." With that, she slipped
to her knees and offered me the gift of her collar.
She must have been practicing with her mother, because
the gracefulness of her offering was exactly the same.
I fastened the collar and helped her stand.

I slipped off the silk robe she had on and stood back,
admiring her naked body. She was much more comfortable
with her nudity now, and reveled in my admiration of
her beauty. I went over and selected a second box, the
largest of the ones she would get tonight. She opened
it and gasped.

She pulled out an exquisite corset of deceptively
sturdy manufacture. It felt light as a feather, but I
had been reassured by the designers that the material
was strong and that there was no give in it.

Janey stepped into the garment and pulled it up. "Oh,

I grinned. I knew what she was thinking. It didn't
cover a thing. The top of the corset rested snuggly
under her youthful tits. The bottom barely touched the
top of her trimmed pubic patch.

I had her lean over, her arms braced on her vanity
table, while I cinched down her waist. As this was her
first corset, it wasn't as restrictive as the ones she
would be able to get into later, when her body had
adapted. I pulled the drawstrings as tight as they
would go, tied them off and then zipped up the heavy-
duty zipper. The zipper gave the garment a finished,
smooth look from the rear.

"Am I supposed to be able to breathe in this thing?"
she said, turning to me.

"Dunno," I grinned at her. "But who cares, really.
Look in the mirror and see what it does for your tits.
God, Cricket, you're beautiful!"

She turned, and saw what I meant. The gleam in her
eyes told me she liked what she saw, too. She ran her
hands up over her cinched waist and ended with them
cupping her breasts. Her eyes closed and she shuddered
as a minor tremor swept through her.

I pointed to the remaining boxes, kissed her lightly -
copping a feel or two as I did - and left to get her
mother ready.

I walked in a bit ahead of schedule. I took the
opportunity to drink in the beauty of my love. I
hadn't had much time lately to observe her unobserved.
Her eyes were closed as she listened to the music. Her
empty teacup was cradled in her hands. She looked very

She cracked one eye open when the CD was done. "That
was nice. Thank you, Master. I hope you didn't wait

I grinned like a schoolboy at her sitting there. I
almost hated to ruin that picture, but there was more
to do tonight. I offered her my hand and she took it,
smiling back at me.

I led her to our room. I took her jeweled collar from
her jewelry box and handed it to her. Immediately she
knelt down and offered me her collar, which I locked
around her neck. I took her hand and helped her stand.

I left her standing there and went in to get Janey.
She was just finishing inserting all the Rosen's
gadgets. It still embarrassed her to have someone
watch her put them in, so I usually let her do it
herself. She looked flushed, the corset adding extra
pressure and making it harder for her to bend.

I took the last remaining items, a pair of high-heeled
boots made of the softest leather, and slipped them
onto her feet. I probably touched her more than was
necessary zipping them up, but she didn't protest.
From her moans and sighs, I would say just the
opposite. She just grinned at me when she saw how tall
the heels were. By now she knew of my penchant for my
ladies to wear very high heels, so these were not a
surprise to her. I helped her walk back to where Sally
was waiting.

"Oh, my!" was all Sally said when Janey appeared.

Sally looked around for her boxes and realized there
was only one on the bed. I picked it up and handed it
to her with a grand flourish. She tried not to look
hurt, but she didn't quite succeed. That all changed
when she opened it. She reached in and pulled out a
white leather riding crop. It was stiffer than any we
had in our collection.

I pulled a silk cord out of my pocket. I turned her
around and bound her wrists behind her back. I placed
the crop in her hands.

"Don't lose that, my Love, or there will be Hell to

While she was standing I had her stand with her legs
about shoulder width apart. I personally inserted the
Rosen's little devices in her. Sally didn't like them
as much as Janey, she said they took too much control
from her. They made her feel too good and they
frightened her. She was trembling when I finished
securing the earring posts through her pierced ears. I
sat her down and slipped a pair of hose on her legs,
then a pair of extremely high heels. She was flushed
and radiant.

I took another cord from my pocket and motioned for
Janey to turn around. I tied her wrists together as
well, and led both of them to the front door. There I
placed the green cape around Sally's nude form and
snapped the closures down the front. I pulled out
another blue cape for Janey and slipped it around her

The limo was waiting, so we exited the house and drove
to the concert hall. I made sure we had the same
excellent driver. Since Janey was not my `date' this
evening, both my slaves had `equal' status. I quickly
realized that both were very greedy when it came to
having possession of my cock in their mouth. It became
a near ugly contest very quickly, with Janey holding
her own.

I pulled Sally to me and kissed her deeply. As I
expected, Janey swooped down and took possession of my
swollen prick. "Let the youth do the work, dearest," I
whispered to her alone. Sally giggled as I slipped my
hand inside her cape and took possession of one of her
fine breasts. We made out like teenagers for the rest
of the trip.

The driver gave us the two-minute warning by flicking
the dome lights as she approached the concert hall. As
mine were the only hands free, I closed up my fly.
Janey actually groaned as it disappeared.

I helped both women out of the car, much to Sally's
surprise. She started to walk behind me, as she had at
the first concert, but I would have none of that. I
took both of them by their cape-covered elbows and
guided them up the steps and to our box seats.

The arrangements were similar to last time, but there
was only one chair flanked on both sides by padded
prayer benches for the girls to kneel upon.

As I settled them onto their knees I held the remote
controls that ran their devices where they could see
them. As I pushed each button, I showed them. By the
second button they knew what to expect and their eyes
got wider as I methodically turned on each device they
were wearing to a moderate level.

Sally was sweating immediately and, after seeking my
permission with a questioning look, gasped through the
first of her many climaxes that night. I knew they
didn't really appreciate my favorite music, but maybe
in time they would learn to have whole new appreciation
for it. It would certainly be fun to try.

As the orchestra finished its tuning and warm ups, I
leaned back and prepared to enjoy the music. I nudged
the remotes up as the first bombastic notes filled the
concert hall. I don't think either Janey or Sally
heard a single note. I nudged the remotes up another
notch as each selection began. Sally groaned with a
mixture of terror and pleasure as each piece ended.
Janey just knelt there, a glazed look of bliss on her
face. I could sense she was riding wave after wave of
pleasure. She wasn't fighting it like her mom was and
her enjoyment was palpable.

Intermission came and I turned their units off. They
needed a break. Janey wasn't pleased with the absence
of the stimulation, but grinned at me after her little
pout. I helped her to her feet, then turned to help
Sally stand. Janey wandered towards the front of the
box and was looking down over the audience. I was
embracing Sally, feeling her fabulous ass beneath her

Suddenly, it was like a flash of lightning stuck both
Sally and I. We looked at each other, then turned to
Janey. She was ashen and swaying like she was going to
fall. Her eyes were fixed on a point down below us.

I sat Sally down on her bench, then went calmly over to
Janey. I helped her back from the edge of the box and
sat her in my chair, away from the prying eyes below.
There was no need to look at what had frightened her.
I knew without looking. Sally knew. I looked just to
be sure. I was right.

Gary was back in town.

Chapter 32

When Janey was seated, I went back to the edge of the
box. I motioned for Sally to come up behind me, to use
my body as shield from being seen by anyone below us
who happened to look up. She understood and stood just
off my shoulder.

Gary was not hard to pick out. He, too, had two
beautiful women with him. They were as dark and tan as
Sally and Janey were blonde and fair. Upon closer
inspection, one was much younger than the other.
Another mother-daughter pair, I bet myself.

"I-I-I know her," came the quiet voice from behind me.
Janey had come up and stood, like her mother, behind
me, using my body as a shield. "She's new to my
school, a year younger. She has an accent."

I watched him. He was cocky, confident, and sure of
himself. He obviously dominated the older female and
enjoyed terrorizing her by fondling the younger woman
in public. His hands roamed the young girl's body
freely and nearly obscenely, causing more than one
matronly gasp from the staid bystanders. The mother stood meekly, eyes pleading. Strangely, the daughter was passive, not reacting at all, as if she were a

I don't know what it was or if we all came to the same
conclusion at once, but one moment I was standing there
despising that man and the next I was on the telephone.
I set in motion an information machine I hadn't often
used since I left the government's service. It would
take a few hours, but by then I would know all there
was to know about the man named `Gary'.

We left at the beginning of the second set. I called
the driver as we left the box. The car was waiting as
we exited the building, the driver holding open the
rear door. The drive home was silent and uneventful,
each of us lost in our own thoughts. Janey revived
sooner than Sally and I soon felt her steamy mouth
capture the head of my cock as she knelt down at my
feet. I caressed her smooth cheek as she lay her head
on my lap.

Her playfulness remained as we returned home. I'm not
sure if that was because she remembered my promise from
the last time or if she just figured that if both Sally
and myself were worried about Gary, she didn't need to
be. With both of us on the case, it was bound to turn
out right, right? Ah, the innocent trust of the na‹ve.

Inside the door, I relieved both of them of their
capes, exposing their beautiful bodies to my gaze. I
took the crop from Sally's hands and playfully swatted
her naked charms, teasing her with light to moderate
snaps on her very sensitive areas. She started to move
around the room and I followed her, finally finessing
her down the hallway and into our bedroom. There I
delivered a couple of harder swats to her ass, raising
her temperature several degrees. I laid the crop on
the makeup bench and turned her to me. Her eyes were
snapping, all thoughts of that ugly man pushed to the

I made her kneel in front of that bench and face the
crop. Her hands were still tied behind her. "Stay
here, please," I asked/ordered her. Then I left the

Janey was waiting impatiently, shifting from one booted
foot to the other. She was not facing the door I came
through so I was able to watch for several minutes
before she turned and saw me looking at her. Unlike
her mother, Janey blushed a deep, deep shade of red as
she realized I had just been standing there looking at
her nakedness. It made her seem all that more innocent
and alluring.

I took her elbow and led her to her own room. She got
suddenly shy and lagged a bit behind. I stopped
leading her and quietly took her and held her in my


She shook her head.

"What, then?"

"I don't know. I, I just don't know if I'm ready for

"Ready for what?" I teased.

"You know, for- for- it."


She was silent for a while, then with all the
enthusiasm of a kid who hadn't studied for an exam she
was about to take, led me into her room. She lay down
on her bed and awkwardly spread her legs. God, she was

"Now what?" I asked her.


"Now what?" I repeated.

"Aren't you going to, you know, do me now?"


She looked stunned, then slowly closed her legs in
embarrassment. "No?"


"But you promised. You said..."

"I said that next time it was your turn." I sat down
on the bed next to her.

"Right. I thought..."

"Cricket? Who's in charge here?"

Her slave name brought her up short. "Oh. Right. You
are, Sensei."

She lay in shivering disappointment as I removed the
various gadgets from her. Tears began flowing silently
as I unzipped and removed her soft leather boots. It
wasn't until I had her second wrist secured to her
headboard by the straps I had installed earlier that
she realized that something was going to happen. She
almost choked on her sob of relief.

I waited until she was breathing normally then patted
her on her legs, indicating for her to spread them
again. This was a touchy time. The last time someone
had been between them had been traumatic for her. I
wondered if she would do it.

It took her a little time, but she did, smiling bravely
up at me, offering me open access to her most private
areas. I moved between her spread legs and knelt
between them. I caressed the smooth skin of her thighs
gently. I could feel her fear and I almost pulled
back. I don't know why I kept on, but I did. I guess
I didn't want to waste her courage, to mock it.

"Now it's your turn, Cricket," I said softly as I bowed
my head and kissed that softest of skin on the inside
of her thighs. Nothing more was said as I proceeded to
bring her to heretofore unknown heights of ecstasy
using only my tongue. She was screaming and thrashing
her blonde tresses as she came over and over.

I started to remove her corset when she was sated, but
she shook her head `no', pleading with her eyes. I
silently nodded my assent, then inserted into her cunt and asshole the larger sized appliances that had been
custom made for her by the Rosen's. The diabolical
ones. The ones that plugged into the wall and didn't
wear down.

I tied her ankles to the footboard and left her
corseted and spread-eagled for the night. She wouldn't
get much sleep. I had programmed those big vibrators
for `simmer.' They would monitor her biofeedback and
keep her at a fever pitch until they were turned off.
About once an hour they would let her go over the edge,
then they would keep her at that higher level until the
next push to the next level. By morning she should be
nearly crazy. Of course, she could get loose with a
stiff pull, but she wouldn't do it. I turned my
attention to my next task, my love.

Sally was weeping silently as I came in the room. I
knew she was as unsure as I was of what she had asked
me to do with Janey. I opened my fly and pushed my
dick under her nose.


She did, hesitantly. She wasn't sure if I was rubbing
it in or what. She jerked her head up in amazement as
she realized she didn't taste cunt juice.

I leaned down to kiss her. "Taste," I said, smiling

She kissed me gently, then, with the tip of her tongue,
tasted her daughter's juices on my face.

"Forgive me, Master, for doubting you."

"You're forgiven. But I'm still going to use the crop
on you tonight," I said with a wicked grin on my face.

Sally gasped at that reminder. I thought she got a
little paler, too. As much as she sought the pain and
submission, she still feared my inexperience. I hoped
tonight would help her get over that fear.

I helped her kneel in front of the bench with it
touching her ass. I then bent her backwards over the
bench as she had been that first night. This time,
however, I tied her wrists to her ankles under the
bench. Her tits were prominently offered to my whims,
as was her defenseless twat.

I started lightly, teasing the tips of her tits,
flicking it with the end of the white crop, caressing
them, almost. I laid a couple of light strokes quickly
across her taut belly, warming the flesh there. Then I
worked her shoulders to a ruddy glow, avoiding the
super sensitive neck areas. Still, the numerous blows
tantalizingly close to her face and neck made her
shudder. Slowly, as I worked the tensions and pain and
pleasure in her higher and higher, she realized I had
not misplaced one single blow with the dangerous
weapon. I felt her fears relax as she gave herself up
to the pain and pleasure.

I led her down the path she desired, wringing cry after
heart wrenching cry from her. Still she wanted more
and harder from me. Her tits were blazing red, a mass
of mottled color, but without a single welt or drop of
blood. When she was maxed out and could go no higher,
I stepped in front of her and with a vicious but
calculated blow, I brought the crop up between her
thighs to land on her swollen and throbbing cunt lips.

I thought she was going to break her back. I had been
chasing and stirring the lights of her aura, teasing
her and arousing her with the pain she sought. But
this was like a super nova. I had never seen so bright
a light from either her or Janey's auras. I played the
crop off the sides of her inner thighs, as close to her
crotch as I could get. I teased her with the pain,
then I would deluge her with it. She slipped into a
state of mind I don't think she knew existed. She was
far beyond the singing stage that Bala talked about.

If I could not have seen her aura to help her, to watch
her, I would have been terrified for her. As it was, I
was able to sense her needs and guide her as she
existed on that sensual plateau. Later, I lay beside
her in bed as she dreamed, or whatever she did. She
was so relaxed, yet so energized. I drifted off to
sleep, Sally cradled in my arms.

I woke later to find her watching me with quiet eyes.
There was no fear anymore, only love. I was her
Master. I tossed and turned for the rest of the night,
troubled by dark thoughts. I felt Sally's cool touch
trying to sooth me.

I must have drifted off sometime during that short
night, as I woke up alone, the first time in a long
time. I remembered why I didn't like it. I also
missed my morning blowjob by Janey, too, but then I
remembered I had left her tied to her bed. Guess I
couldn't blame her for not getting up, huh? Still, I
wondered where Sally was.

I shaved and showered, again alone, so I finished in a
lot less time. I missed shaving Sally. She was so
appreciative of my attentions afterwards. I don't know
which of us enjoyed doing that more.

I dressed and wandered into the kitchen. I was
surprised to see Janey up and about, dressed and perky.
After the night she must have had, I was amazed she
could walk, but I guess they are right when they say
that `youth is wasted on the young.' She saw me come
into the kitchen and her smile lit up the room. I
caught her flying body in my arms as she threw herself
at me.

"Ooooooh, thank you, Daddy!"

"I take it you had a good time?"

"Oh, God! I didn't know it could be so good! I mean,
I've felt a little bit of it when you and Mom, uh, do
stuff, but - Wow! Oh, yeah, speaking of Mom, what in
the Hell did you do to her last night?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it's like I was feeling great, you know, and
then WHAMO, this tidal wave comes over the link, but it
doesn't stop. It just kept coming and coming." She
giggled at her pun. "But it didn't surge like usual,
it just flowed, but not a lot. It's hard to describe."

I kissed her on the nose and gave her my Cheshire cat grin.

"Oh, not going to tell me, huh?" she teased back.
Then, seriously, "That's OK, Dad. She is incredibly
happy. I enjoyed what we did, too," she blushed, "not
just the licking part - but that was great! - but I
liked wearing the corset and being tied up, too. It
was a weird feeling, good, though. I didn't think I
would like it, but I kind of, well, like, felt secure
in it. I mean, I was as good as naked, but it felt
good, not naughty."

"Well, you certainly looked naughty. Lusciously,
deliciously naughty," I joked.

She giggled, then got serious again. It looked like
that was the way the morning was going. "I don't think
I'm ready for what you did to Mom," she said quietly.

"You don't know what I did, though, do you?"

"No, that's not what I mean. I meant I'm not sure I
could handle how mom felt. I don't know I would want
to come back down. She's stronger than I am that way."

I hugged her even closer. "Just say the word and I
will stop whatever it is you don't like or whatever it
is you're afraid of, even if it's that you're afraid it
is too good. I almost didn't do anything last night,
you know. You were so scared, but so brave. I'm proud
of you, kiddo."

This time it was her turn not to answer. She snuggled
into my chest.

"Where is your Mom, by the way?"

"She left about an hour ago, just after she let me up.
I didn't want her to but she was really serious. I
wouldn't let her take off my collar, though. What's
going on? She wouldn't tell me anything. She made a
telephone call, then rushed out."

I reached behind her head and unsnapped her slave
collar for her. She sighed as I slipped it into my
pocket. We stood for a long time that way, a father and daughter. I could almost have believed we were a
normal family, until I felt her tiny hand wend its way
down to my jeans and unzip my fly.

"You didn't, uh, get any relief at all last night, did
you, Dad." It was a statement.

"Guy's won't explode if they don't cum, Janey.
Regardless of what your boyfriends tell you."

"Daaad! I don't have a boyfriend," she protested, a
bit too strongly, I thought.

"Well, last night was for you and your Mom. I can

"Well, this morning is for you," she quipped, as she
wiggled out of my arms and down to her knees. She
latched on to my cock with the full force of her mouth
and began seriously sucking and bobbing. Even though
she had been doing this on a daily basis, with her
nearly naked and in my bed, this blowjob seemed sexier
than any she had ever given me, with the exception of
the first one. This time both she and I were fully
clothed, and in the kitchen. It was somehow highly
erotic, highly charged. I held off as long as I could,
but I blew into that luscious mouth in much too short a
time. Janey didn't stop with one load, though. She
seemed determined to drain me of all the excess build-
up from last night.

Sally came in carrying a heavy canvas bag while her
daughter was still busy on her knees. She stopped and
looked at us and gave me a wry grin. "Damn, I wanted
to say `thank you' first. She beat me to it."

"Uh, I think there'll be more when she's done, Love," I
grinned back. I was amazed there was no jealousy
between them. "I missed you this morning."

She looked appalled, as if she had made a serious
miscalculation by leaving. "I, uh, I just, I..."

"It's OK, Love. I didn't mean anything by that. I
just missed you and our time together. I wanted you to

She got all teary eyed and blubbery on me. For the
second time that morning I had to catch a launched
body, only this time I had a hot sucking mouth attached
to my groin that hampered me. I managed.

Sally smothered my face and chest with kisses. Then
proceeded south. I don't know how she managed to
dislodge Janey from her possessive sucking, but soon I
recognized Sally's talented mouth on my shaft. I
cracked open my eyes and saw Janey standing there,
grinning at me.

"Feel better, now, Pops?"


"Yeah! You shot off so quick this time, like you just
`popped', you know? So... Pops!" She giggled at my
responding growl.

I maneuvered my butt over to a chair and settled in it.
With Sally on her knees, Janey busied herself with
breakfast. No fancy cooking today. Today it was dry
toast and yogurt. Only by wheedling could I get her to
make the coffee.

Sally swallowed, then stood up. She still looked
weepy. I guess she was still being whipsawed by the
emotions from last night. She settled on my lap after
carefully putting away my softening cock. She fed me
breakfast as I held her. I could tell she needed to be
held. But there was something else, too. She wasn't
normally this serious.

Janey cleared the breakfast mess and we sat together in
silence. When the last coffee was gone, Sally got up
and lifted the heavy canvas bag onto the table.
Unzipping it, she proceeded to set out two semi-
automatic rifles, two very large caliber pistols and
several dozen boxes of ammunitions for each. Talk
about breaking the mood!

"Done a little shopping, have you?" I quipped.

"You're going to be gone." Damn that woman! How the
hell did she know? I know for a fact I did not talk in
my sleep. How?

"Only a couple of days."

"He was too confident last night." She was referring
to that cocky son-of-a-bitch, Gary.

"I noticed. You want to tell me exactly what you said
to him to get him to leave?"


We both turned to face Janey, who never used language
like that. I raised my eyebrows in an unspoken
question to her.

"You're talking about him, right? Gary?" We nodded.
"God, I remember that night, what happened. I must
have only been, what, 11? Anyway, she didn't say
anything to him, Dad."


"Nope. Not a word. But we were patching bullet holes
in the walls for months. She must have shot a hundred

I turned to Sally. "I thought you said you couldn't

Janey chimed in before Sally could speak. "Oh, she can
shoot. She just can't hit anything. She missed the
bastard ..."

"Janey! Watch your language!"

"...every single time, except the last one that blew up
his car. And you called him a `bastard' yourself, Mom,
along with some other choice names."

I sat in stunned silence. It takes incredible talent
to miss that many times at such close range. I had
seen her shoot. I had suspected she was too good to
have been a novice, even if she had screwed up with the
safety on my gun. My pistol was an unusual model, so
she may not have known where it was or how it operated.
Regardless, I knew what it was like to be shot at. I
knew why Gary had stayed away. Up until now.

That didn't tell me why he was back. Or if he had
plans for Sally and Janey. He may have seen Janey's
picture on tv after the attack. It could have stirred
old feelings of revenge. I didn't know. I just knew
there was some unfinished business and I hated loose
ends. I had to tie things up.

I looked at the weaponry spread out on the table.
Sally had selected well, if she was going to stop an
elephant. Or an enraged man. I also didn't think she
intended to miss this time. I didn't intend to let it
get that far.

I knew what it was to kill a man, what it did to you
inside. In the course of my agency work, I had had to
learn to kill. I had done it very well. Too well, for
my taste, even if the targets had deserved it.
Something dies inside of you each time you take a life,
though, and there had been many times. Too many, but
even once was too many when it came to killing - or
dying. I did not want that to happen to Sally or, God
forbid, Janey. I, myself, would avoid doing it again
if I could. If I couldn't, well, that was a bridge to
cross when I came to it.

"You can't stay here. He knows the house too well."

"I was going to take Janey to Mac and CeCe's place for
a while."

I thought about that. "Mac's out of town for a series
in Seattle. CeCe works all over the area and couldn't
be there all the time. I'd rather you go stay with
Marion, my sister. She's just moved back into our
folk's house and has plenty of room. Her court isn't
in session right now and I know she'd love the

"I don't know her that well."

"My point exactly. Neither does Gary. He may know
about your relationship to CeCe."

"Oh. Right. OK. Will she be OK with those?" She
indicated the guns.

I grinned. "She can probably train you how to field
strip them, although something tells me you know how
already. There's a target range in the second
basement, too. Oh, and have her show you her assault
weapons collection."

"I thought she was a Federal Judge! Aren't those kinds
of guns illegal?"

"Yeah, but they only get really excited when you wave
them around on the White House lawn. Some of them in
the collection are mine, too." She looked at me even
more shocked. "What, I can't have some toys...?" I
asked in mock exasperation.

After that there wasn't much to say. Sally and Janey
packed and left. Just before they drove off, Sally
hugged me goodbye.

"Be careful, Larry. Janey's right. He is a bastard.
A ruthless and dangerous bastard"

Janey just squeezed me like she never wanted to let go.
I felt the same way, but things had to be finished. I
couldn't let that unknown threat stay out there. I had
to at least know what the man was like.

When they were gone I made my way to a nondescript
building in the center of town. Most towns have one of
these quiet structures, those buildings that look like
offices, generally close to the municipal offices, but
no one actually knows anybody who works there. They
may have the first floor or two occupied by small shops
to make the building look occupied, but the buttons to
the upper floors are disabled or missing in the

The entry to the upper floors in this building was
restricted to the underground garage, another part of
the structure most people didn't remember being built.
The entry to the garage was two blocks over, through
the restricted parking garage under the city hall, so
the general public never saw it. Most city employees
were too dull to notice the extra cars disappear
through that locked automatic garage door on the second
level. The ones who weren't were too smart to ask

Stepping off the elevator on the top floor of that
building, I slid my ID into the reader. I underwent a
retinal scan, a voice scan and had my fingerprints
checked. It always amazed me how much detailed
information the government had and to what extent it
went to hide that knowledge from the public. And all
this happened in what was supposed to be a so-called
democracy. If the public had even the smallest clue
exactly how much their government knew about them, they
would tear it down, brick by brick. I used to think it
was the price we paid for our freedom. Now I wasn't so
sure. Those nagging unanswered questions were the main
reason I was no longer active for the agency.

I still had full access, however. They liked me. I
had done well for them, and never screwed up, e.g., got
caught. I also knew where too many bodies were buried,

Our local analyst had just finished with the
information I had asked for. He looked up at me as I
came through the heavy metal door and grinned.
"Interesting case," was all he said.

That got my attention immediately. Most Americans,
99.99% of them anyway, live humdrum, mundane lives,
those `lives of quiet desperation'. They are
uneducated, unmotivated, apathetic, lazy, boring, bland
or any combination thereof, yet corporately, they have
been capable of achieving some of the greatest feats in
history, when properly aroused. Our current government
felt it was their sacred duty to keep the people from
becoming motivated to any action, whatsoever.

The analysts for the agency had seen it all. If agents
like me were the legs of the agency, the analysts were
the brains. They spent most of their waking hours
looking at trivial, seemingly unrelated data points and
finding critical patterns. From those patterns emerged
their best guesses. Some of them were able to make
very good guesses about the behavior of certain types
of people.

Our analyst was one of the best. We had worked
together before and kidded each other good-naturedly.
I accused him about being a closet voyeur and he was
always asking me to introduce him to my ex-girlfriends.
We never saw each other socially, however. It just
wasn't done. I think he grudgingly admired some of the
work I had done, or had been able to accomplish based
on his work, as he put it. What these guys never
admitted to was being surprised. So, for a case to be
`interesting' to him meant that Gary was different. To
me, that meant he was dangerous, unpredictable.

He handed me a surprisingly thin file. I took it to a
secure office and locked myself in. I would have to
give him back the exact same file before I could leave
the floor. Security was really tight and I didn't

The file on Gary was interesting. I reviewed his file,
always with the awareness that there could be some
critical piece of information that was missing,
something that the government just didn't know. Nobody
could know everything. I looked through the list of
his known girlfriends and the dates they had been
together. I saw Sally's name and cringed. That would
cross-link back to my file. I would have to be extra
careful that, if anything terminal happened, it
couldn't be traced back to me.

While he had been with Sally for a long time, there
were a number of others he had also seen during that
same time period. He had two-timed her. I saw that
pattern run throughout his relationships. One steady
girl, a lot of flings.

One of the other names I recognized, or thought I did,
and it brought me up short. A name from my past. I
got a sinking feeling in my gut. This girl was the
daughter of a friend of mine from Chile. I remembered
her as a high-spirited wisp of a girl, determined to
make it in a man's world and totally unprepared for the
consequences. Not exactly spoiled, but naively unaware
of the evils of poverty and the depravity of which
mankind was capable. Juan Miguel had protected his
daughter too well.

She had run away from his loving home, come to New
York, and then after a couple of months had gone
missing. I was in Chile when she had disappeared,
working with him. I owed him my life, in fact, but
that's another story. He had been distraught when she
ran away, especially to New York, but she was a
headstrong girl. Her subsequent disappearance had
devastated him. She called herself `Miki' and
pronounced it like the shoe company `Nike.'

I found the specific piece of information I was looking
for buried in a list of his assets, hidden under an
assumed name. He had used several aliases, which
didn't surprise me. That he used them as well as he
did, did. Most people get clumsy and screw up. He
didn't. He was too good to be lucky. Gary had been
trained, and by a top group, too, was my guess.

When I handed the file back to the analyst, I pointed
out the list of known associates. I knew several of
them, fellow agents or agents with other agencies. "Is
he one of us?"

He grinned at me, always seemingly amused that I could
think. "Not that I could tell. I looked as deep as I
could, and that's pretty deep. Hell, I can get your
file. The good one, your operations file."

I was impressed. I couldn't even see that file. "Any
chance he's deeper?"

"Not with his profile. He's interesting, but, well, we
know just a little bit too much about him. If he were
any deeper than you were, we wouldn't know anything.
Hell, your file is only two pages long and most of that
is what you told me!" He grinned wryly. "I haven't
gotten around to entering some of it, you know. Just
too busy. Of course, if I had a nice lady to go home
to, I would be even busier..." he tailed off, hinting.

I looked up at him sharply. He knew about Sally. I
had mentioned her to him several times, especially
since I was living with her now and had to let him know
where he could reach me in an emergency. He paled at
my look and knew he had tread too close to blackmail to
suit me.

"Damn, Sampson, you know I'm joking," he blustered
lamely. "Besides, they already know about her," he
added softly. "They are really insistent about knowing
everything about you, you know." He glanced around to
see who could overhear us. "I shouldn't even tell you
that, though."

"I know. This one just hits too close to home. For a
couple of reasons. But I'm a little touchy about

"Yeah. I saw that when that bastard spoiled brat of a
jock raped her daughter. He got off lucky only losing
one ball." His voice was venomous. "What exactly did
you do to get rid of all that media?"

"You don't know?"

"I tried like the devil, but corporate lawyers are the
hardest bunch to crack for information. We still
haven't got a clue."

I told him what I had done, about the letter, the

He just chuckled. "Damn, you play hard ball."

From him, I took it as a compliment.

The key piece of information I had found in Gary's file
was an address. Not just any address. It was an
address in a middle class residential part of town.
One of the biggest secrets the government doesn't want
you to know is that the greatest threat to the security
of America resides in the vast middle class
neighborhoods. Not from any of the middle class
Americans who live there, but from the enormity of the
apathy that does. No one cares who lives next door as
long as they mow the grass, don't make noise at night,
don't park clunkers on their lawns and above all, don't
lower the property values. No one knows who lives next
door to them, either. You could deliver an atom bomb
and then hide it in a basement in suburbia. No one
would know. No one would have a clue.

That's what I found here. Gary had discovered the
anonymity of suburbia. I had asked Sally if Gary had
ever taken her to his place for a party or anything.
She had said no, only her place, hotels or sleazy bars.
Towards the end, she said, he had been hinting that
they could do more bondage stuff at his special place
full time, but kept implying that Janey was a problem.
He had kept trying to get her to pull Janey out of
school and home school her. Sally had refused,
insisting that Janey needed the social interaction.
But he had never taken her anywhere that might have
been his safe house.

I was impressed when I drove by the house. He could
have qualified to entertain the president with the high
level of security he had installed. None of it was
classified that I could tell, as it was all
commercially available - at a hefty price, too. As it
was, it was almost a challenge for me to break in
undetected later that night. Almost. It was good. I
was better. It made me wonder what he had to hide that
was worth what that setup must have cost him.

I was sickened when I found out his dirty little
secret. With all the external security he had
installed, he didn't feel he needed a safe. It
wouldn't have done him much good, anyway, so he
probably saved himself some bucks. The bastard was
meticulous, all the photos and videos were neatly
labeled and dated. There were several files of photos
and videos labeled `Sally' with dates that corresponded
with the time they were together. There was also one
video cassette labeled `Miki.' My guts were in a
twisted knot as I slipped that one into the VCR. I
dreaded what I would find, but even I was unprepared
for the brutality of the film.

Miki, beautiful, proud, brave Miki was tied to a bed.
The film showed Gary talking to her, telling her that
he just wanted one more thing from her and then he
would let her go. He wanted to make a film with her.
She spit in his face. He slapped her. She spit at him
again. He hit her. Back and forth. He got tired
first, but they were both covered with her blood and
spittle when he quit hitting her.

He kept a knife at her throat as he released her
wrists, then handcuffed them in front of her. The next
scene showed her dangling from her cuffed wrists, her
beautiful face swollen and bleeding, but still
recognizable. He approached her with a heavy-duty
cattle prod. She was screaming in pain, swearing in
Spanish at him. Then he cut her intentionally with his
big knife. Badly, across her face. A look of horror
and realization flooded her proud eyes. As protected
as she had been from the seamy side of life, she still
knew what kind of film she was going to be the star of.
To her credit, she refused to cooperate with the

From that point on in the movie, she made no sound,
made no movement at all that wasn't literally forced
out of her body. Oh, he could still get her to twitch
with the cattle prod and moan when he cut her, but for
all practical purposes she was a slab of beef swaying
on a meat hook. Then, just as I was about as sickened
as I could get, she mustered her waning strength. In a
clear voice that would have done her father proud, she
turned her face and spoke to the camera.

"My name is Madonna Micheala Lucinda Carmalita de la
Fernando. The souls of those buried here around me are
crying out for vengeance. I swear upon their souls and
the soul of my sainted mother that my father, Senor
Juan Miguel de la Fernando, will hunt you to the ends
of the earth and bring you to justice." It had taken
all of her strength to say that, and from then on she
just hung there.

I sat there in the darkened house, stunned into
immobility as I watched him callously finish her off,
but her final haunting words gave me the structure of a
plan. Before I left, I checked out the rest of the
house. I found the room in which the film had been
made. It was the only room in the basement with a
solid floor. The rest of the basement flooring had
been removed, leaving only dirt. I looked over the
rows of mounds of dirt laid out in an orderly fashion.
Dozens of graves. One was Miki's. One might have been
Sally's. I vomited and left, taking the several videos of Sally and the one of Miki, as well as the two thick files with their photographs with me. Fuck the rules
of tampering with evidence. There was more than enough
evidence that I left behind. Even Clinton would have
had a hard time denying this one.

I called Juan Miguel the next day. It was one of the
hardest telephone calls I had ever had to make. I told
him straight out I had found what had happened to Miki.
And I had proof who did it. Would he like to see the
proof? I cautioned him it was the worst thing I had
ever seen. He knew I had been in some tough situations
and that I had seen a lot of the worst the human race
had to offer.

My bluntness seemed to stir him to life. He wanted to
see it. I over-nighted it to him. He called me back
the next day after viewing the tape. He wanted

Now that I had his cooperation, over the next couple of
days, it wasn't hard to get Gary to cooperate with my
plan. He had one Achilles heel, and that was he needed
money to maintain his lifestyle and his image. A lot
of money. A friend of a friend of a friend told him of
a lucrative opportunity in Santiago, Chile. His friend
told Gary that he would do this himself, but that hands
were full, etc., etc., but if Gary wanted to go down
and shepherd this deal through, this big South American
honcho would cut him in for a stiff percentage. Just
go down, bring back a fugitive for someone who couldn't
enter Chile for political reasons and so on. In other
words, a political kidnapping. Just the kind of thing
to hook a guy who hung around with black ops guys, a
`wanna be.' Gary fell for it hook, line and sinker.

I told Juan Miguel that Gary would be down the day
after next and which flight he would be on. I had Gary
shadowed by someone Juan Miguel knew, insurance that
Gary would arrive in Santiago and also to act as a
Judas to point him out to Juan Miguel's agents. When I
told the shadow, an acquaintance, what was going on he
did it gratis.

When the shadow reported back three weeks later, I was
pleased to hear that Juan Miguel had not blown Gary
away in the airport. I'm sure he was tempted to, but
he was a better man than that. A beautiful servant
girl had met Gary at the airport. He was ushered to a
waiting limo and then leisurely driven to a hacienda
deep in the hills surrounding that beautiful city.
Another agent working for Juan Miguel and known to the
shadow had met the shadow as well. He was offered the
opportunity to watch Chilean justice in action.
Curious, he too, was driven to the hacienda, taking a
quicker route. They arrived before Gary and the maid
and were waiting in a private viewing room, watching
the proceedings through a one-way mirror.

Gary was visibly impressed with the accommodations.
This was real power. He was seated in a comfortable
chair in a place of honor. Seated where he was,
though, he couldn't see the movement of the people
behind him. One by one, the august group of sham
politicians who had been there to greet him left the
room and were replaced by armed guards. Juan Miguel
kept Gary focused on him by telling one ribald anecdote
after another. When the last soldier was in place,
Juan Miguel told Gary he wanted to show him a clip of
the fugitive. They darkened the room and turned on a
huge wide-screen TV.

The image flickered then became clear. They had cut
down the image so that just Miki's face showed. Her
voice came across loud and clear, even into the room
where the shadow was watching. After the short clip,
Juan Miguel stood and said, "Perhaps I should formally
introduce myself. My name is Juan Miguel de la
Fernando, and that was my only daughter. I should also
introduce you to Col. Eduardo Perez. He is the
commander of a small government penal facility at the
southern tip of my country, outside of Punta Arenas.
He has seen the entire video you made of my lovely
daughter. He will be arranging for your accommodations
for the remainder of your stay with us."

With that, he turned his back on the murderer of his
child and walked proudly out of the room. Gary, true
to his nature, tried to fight his way out when he
realized he had been lured into a trap. His brief
struggles ended with his nose meeting a rifle butt. I
don't think the rifleman cared much for Gary, either.

The shadow was invited to observe Gary's confinement.
It was brief, but it left the man shaken to the core.
All he said was that Gary, or what was left of him
after living in a rat-infested hole, died in less than
two weeks, a very old man. I knew what he meant.

The shadow then told me that Col. Perez had asked him
to relay a message to me. Apparently Juan Miguel had
told him of how he came by the video. The message was
that `between honorable men, all is forgiven.' He had
also extended an offer to visit him in Chile.

I thanked the shadow, my friend, and shuddered to think
of re-visiting Col. Perez. I had already visited him
once. That was enough. That small government facility
was a maximum-security hellhole dubiously called a
prison. I had been there, myself, in the same place as
Gary, with a collar the size of a manhole cover locked
around my neck. With the rest of my body crammed into
a putrid, rat-infested sewage pipe and the manhole
cover locked to the ground, only my head was visible.
I shuddered as I remembered the horror of trying to
defend my weakened body from the attacks of the
ravenous rats I couldn't see. Sleeping under those
conditions was out of the question, too. I could
believe he died an old man. You aged very quickly
under those circumstances.

Col. Perez was the only law in that part of Chile.
What he said overruled any other authority within his
jurisdiction. He and I had had a difference of opinion
while I was in his town. As a result, he wanted me to
stay in his prison. I did not. I think I am the only
person to have escaped from that place, though I still
regret the necessity of crippling two of the guards in
the process. Given the savagery they lived with, it
might have been kinder to kill them outright. I heard
later that the other inmates had found them crippled
and had tortured them to death.

That detail of the other inmates killing the guards had
been left out of the report to the local authorities
and thus, the search was on for a `cop killer.' The
search ended when I crossed out of his jurisdiction
with the quiet help of Juan Miguel, which is why I owed
him my life. Without his help, I am convinced I would
never have made it. I was wounded, exhausted,
penniless and drained of every ounce of energy I
possessed. I was down to my last hope and Juan Miguel
came through for me. Giving him closure on this
horrible incident was the least I could do for him.

As a final chapter to the story of Gary, I wrote up my
report on the incident, complete with my involvement
and of my relationships with Sally, Miki and Juan
Miguel. I never cut corners in my reports, I never
lied. Sometimes it hurt, but eventually, it had always
served me well. I wasn't about to change now.

I e-mailed my report to the analyst. He called me back
almost immediately and asked a couple of questions,
then rang off. A couple of days later he called me
down to the anonymous building downtown.

"Watch this," he said mysteriously. "The show is just
about to begin."

I looked at what appeared to be a video feed from a
stationary camera. I recognized the house as Gary's
suburban hideaway. Suddenly, like a scene from the
Keystone Kops, federal and local law enforcement
vehicles began filling the screen, lights flashing
crazily in the dark. Several agents with a yellow
"FBI" emblazoned like targets on the backs of their
dark blue windbreakers jumped out of a still-moving
vehicle and raced up to the front door, as if eager to
be the first ones on the scene. I knew, unless the
analyst had deactivated the alarms, that they had just
tripped three systems, two of which were booby-trapped.

"Did you tip them off?"

"Yep! Set up the camera feed, too, to watch the
fuckers screw up.

"Did you tell them about the security?" I asked him.

"Yep! I said the guy had tight security."

"Oh, God! You didn't describe the systems?" He shook
his head, grinning. "You know that to them, `tight
security' means the guy has a big dog."

I watched in horror as the first agent reached to open
the door. The ensuing explosion knocked him and his
partner flat on their asses. The other agents,
mistaking the explosion for resistance, proceeded to
try to blow the fucking house apart with small arms
fire and teargas grenades.

"You modified the explosives, you bastard," I chided
him. He just grinned. "You're just lucky those two
agents had the sense to stay down or they would have
stood up into friendly fire." He stopped grinning.
Analysts don't know or think of everything.

The FBI reported the shootout had been the culmination
of years of painstaking work by hundreds of agents to
capture a serial killer. They produced a credible
likeness of Gary and a conveniently bullet-riddled
corpse. The newspapers carried the photos of the dead
girls that were dug up in the basement. Due to the
carnage, several of the videocassettes had been damaged
so it wasn't too suspicious when there were more bodies
than tapes. Everyone just assumed one or two had been
destroyed in the shootout.

Miki was finally laid to rest in a proper grave.

Chapter 33

While I had been busy finding and setting up the sting
for Gary, Sally and Janey had also been busy. I should
have known better than to leave the two of them alone
with my sister. Although it still isn't clear what
part Marion played in all of this, I suspect it is far
greater than any of the three of them have ever
admitted to me, especially considering what happened as
a result.

To begin with, Janey had recognized the girl at the
opera as a student from her school. From there it was
a simple task to find out her name, Simone LeBrech,
that she was French, smart and extremely shy. Sally
took it from there and followed her home one afternoon
after school and found where she lived. The day she
had done that was the day Gary left for South America
and she saw him carrying his suitcase out of the house
and down to a waiting cab. She had been terrified that
Gary might have seen her, but she knew when he packed
like that he would be gone for at least a week.

She used the next week to set up a fictitious meeting
with the mother. Knowing Sally, she couldn't pull off
a lie to save her life, and the two women were soon
weeping and swapping horror stories about life with
Gary. Sally had come clean with her, so Nicole
confessed she was at her wit's end as Gary was sexually
abusing her little girl after he put Nicole into
bondage. He made her watch each assault. Lately, each
time he was getting rougher and rougher with the girl.

Sally liked Nicole immediately and wanted to help her
somehow. Her heart went out to her and being the kind-
hearted and generous person she was, she offered my
services, too. The only problem was, she hadn't asked
me first. In fact, I knew nothing of this, as I was
busy shanghaiing Gary.

So, there I was, innocently sitting at my desk, forcing
myself to work, or at least look like it. The last
week or two I had been out of touch with my clients
and, secure as their investments were, they liked to be
occasionally reminded I was watching out for them. I
managed to soothe a few ruffled feathers and nervous
nellies before I just gave up and stared at the blank
fucking wall.

That was how Sally found me when she popped into my
office. I was so preoccupied with not knowing how
things were going in Chile that I didn't notice her
until she finally cleared her throat.

I looked at her. She was sitting Indian-style on my
blotter and was offering me something. She looked very
serious. I really had been somewhere else mentally.
At first I thought she was handing me her collar, but I
knew this wasn't the position for that.

"What is that, Sally?"

"It is a thong of a bride." I remembered the story Amud had told me about the thong, and what it was for.
Sally's next words confirmed it. "I , uh, need to ask
you for a favor."

"Sally, you know that everything I have is yours. You
don't need a thong."

"Well, uh, it's kind of a special request, Larry. It
would require a thong. Believe me."

I should have known right then that something
catastrophic was afoot. I should have run like the
devil himself was chasing me. Did I? Nope! Call me
curious, call me stupid, I stayed.

"Is that your thong?" I didn't think she had had the
time to finish one, even if she had started when we
first knew about them.

She paused at that. " Uh, no. I borrowed one from

"Borrowed?" She nodded. "You've started one of your
own to replace it?"


"Borrowing is not a good idea, even from friends. Give
it back to her. Bring me your thong."

"It's not ready yet. This one can be used for singing

"Can the favor wait for the thong to be finished?"

"I don't think so."

I thought for moment, making her wait. She squirmed so
nicely when she was nervous. "Bring me yours. I will
accept it on the condition that you finish it."

Sally climbed down off my desk and left the room.
Three minutes later she came back in. Kneeling this
time, she offered up her thong to me. It was still
damp from having resided within her vaginal canal.

"You're offering me this as a slave?"

"Yes, Master."

"But you're not wearing my collar! How can I accept

Her hands flew to her neck. Blushing, and unusually
flustered for her, she scampered to the rack that held
hers and Janey's collars. Returning to her knees, she
offered me her collar. I fastened it on. Again, she
offered me the thong.

"Are you properly attired, slave?" I asked her in mock

Her look at me was definitely not that of a calm
submissive woman. She realized by now I was teasing
her. I think I liked her exasperated with me. Well, a
little bit, anyway.

It took her longer to return this time and I heard
other voices being shushed in the hallway. Still
glaring at me, she made her way over to my chair and
kneeled for a third time. Once more, she lifted the

"When was the last time you did your Head Time, slave?"
I realized that she was desperate enough that I could
get this to go on indefinitely. This could be

Her hands lowered slowly in surrender. She realized I
was going to make her work before I accepted the thong
from her. With a heavy sigh of frustration, she opened
my trousers and freed my hardening cock. This happened
far too rarely for me, having Sally in this position.
I settled back and relaxed, ready to enjoy the feeling
of utter silence and peace while having the head of my
cock bathed in my lover's mouth.

Sally gave an exasperated grunt as I settled back, but
did not break from her place. I let her wait for a
long 15 minutes before I gently caressed her cheek, a
signal she could finish.

"Thank you, Master. I have missed that, too." She
knew what I was thinking? God Damn!

This time, with utter supplication, she held up the

I accepted it, obliging me to honor her request. I
lifted the damp leather to my nose and inhaled the
scent of my love. I didn't realize yet what an
expensive bouquet it was going to be, but right then I
didn't care. I was still lost in the arousing aroma of
the thong and didn't notice when two other women
entered the room. Sally stayed bowed down, my prick
stayed standing free as she had left it, waving in the

I think she knew what my reaction was going to be to
her request. She was right to be a little afraid.
Pissed would be a nice word for it.

She introduced Nicole and Simone, mother and daughter.
They looked vaguely familiar. When she mentioned they
had been the two women with Gary the night of the
concert, it hit me. And I suddenly had an awful
feeling I knew what the favor was going to be. Really
pissed would be closer.

Her request was that I allow Nicole and Simone to join
the household. Permanently. Both were aware of our
lifestyle and were willing to join. Eager, in fact.
Nicole would be another slave and Simone would be,
well, another daughter, sort of.

I sat stone still, trying to convince myself of my love
for Sally, trying to figure out what in the fucking
Hell she was doing. Was she really offering me another
woman? I mean, sure, Nicole was nice to look at, but
shit, Sally and I weren't even married yet! I for
damned sure wasn't tired of her and didn't think I
would ever be.

My knuckles were white on the arms of the chair. This
one was metal, so they didn't snap like the one in the
kitchen. But they did bend a little. I tried really
hard not to yell at her, to humiliate her in front of
the people she was trying so hard to help. I zipped up
my pants for starters, my erection collapsing as the
totality of her request hit me.

God Damn fucking women. Don't they always know when
you've reached that last piece of rope? I was worried
about two of my friends, the shadow and Juan Miguel,
and she brings home two strangers. I had just sent a
man to his death, albeit justifiable in my mind, and
had put another friend in possible peril. The waiting
was killing me and I wasn't ready for this right now.

And things with Sally and Janey were going so well,
too! How is it that just when you finally get a good
grip on what's going on, they ask you to do something
that totally fucks up the system? And then want you to
fix it? God Damn it all to Fucking Hell!

I managed to do two things. I didn't yell at her and I
managed to remind myself that I loved her. I didn't
have a clue what she was trying to do, but if this was
important enough for her to ask for, it was important
enough for me to consider. OK, technically, by
accepting the thong, I had no choice. But,
technically, it wasn't our fucking custom, either.

I reached down and touched Sally's head. I nodded
curtly for her and the young girl to leave. Nicole
LeBrech stood before me, her head bowed down. I looked
at her for a while in silence. She was a fine looking
woman, different in most ways from Sally, and I will
admit, the sight of her stirred my blood. I felt
guilty, momentarily.

She sat down at my request in one of my office chairs.
I asked her to tell me her story, to be as complete and
honest as she felt she could be. It was odd, but I
could not sense her as I could Sally and Janey. It was
like there was a nothingness there, like the feelings
had been beaten out of her. When I thought back, I had
sensed something from Simone, but it felt different
than what I sensed form Sally and Janey. Like she was
more stiff or something. I couldn't place it and,
right then, I didn't have the time to think about it.
Nicole was talking.

She had been born in a little village outside of Paris,
France. Her mother had died in childbirth, so she had
never known her. Saddened by the loss of his true
love, but a proud man, her Papa had refused all help
from the village women and raised Nicole by himself.
He was a loving parent, but refused to dote on her. He
was a perfectionist himself and demanded her very best
efforts in all she did, often punishing her for
substandard efforts. He did not punish her for failing
when she had given her best effort.

Nicole had thrived in that atmosphere. She proved to
be exceptionally bright and finished her basic
schooling, the equivalent of American high school, by
the age of 15. At the graduation festivities, Nicole
got extremely drunk. Simone was born 9 months later.
She hadn't exactly been raped, but she didn't know who
the father was.

Papa took this development in stride. He moved to
Paris with her so she could start University. Simone
was born between end of term exams. Papa found a job
at night in an auto factory and helped Nicole raise
Simone until she finished with her Ph.D. work five
years later. She had a doctorate in neurochemistry.

Papa had been killed in an explosion at the auto plant.
Devastated and alone with a young daughter, Nicole had
latched onto - her words - the first man to come along
that showed any interest in her. Using her small
inheritance, he brought her to America, but, when the
money ran out, so did he.

Determined to make it, she called one of her Professors
who had taken an interest in her career. He referred
her to the president of a small biotech company near
where she was currently living in the US who needed a
neurochemist. For the next year or two, Nicole worked
hard, as Papa had trained her to and she did well.
Being beautiful helped and she had more and more
contact with the CEO of the company, an old curmudgeon
who had gone through several wives already. Nicole
rebuffed his advances, but the old bastard really fell
hard for her. He prevailed and they married, much to
the dismay of her other suitors.

She continued to do well, the company prospered from
her patents and, predictably, the old man died. He
died happy, in bed with Nicole, but it was traumatic
for her. He had left her everything her owned, other
than what went to the other wives and the stockholders.
He had been smart enough to have everything tied up
legally so they didn't contest the will. None of then
wanted to fight his lawyers again, it seemed.

Nicole and Simone had been naturalized to US
citizenship during this stint. She ran the company for
a while, but it wasn't what she wanted to do. She
missed the lab. She wanted out of the corporate rat
race. Through her own contacts in the industry, she
found a buyer for the company and made several people
very rich, including herself.

Being rich, single and beautiful would not seem to
present a problem to most people, but Nicole seemed to
attract smooth con men. She had invested her fortune
wisely and had put several roadblocks between it and
any confidence scheme, but that didn't stop the pricks
from trying. Most of them tried the wrong approach,
trying to sweet talk or woo her with flowers. Those
she felt comfortable with, as those she could handle.

Gary was the first one to touch her submissive nature,
and it rattled her to her core. Knowing of his quasi-
intelligence training, it did not surprise me that he
quickly found his way through her obstacles to her bank
accounts and was bleeding them at an alarming rate.
But even at the rate he was going, she had enough to
keep him in fresh Gucci's for another four years or so.

My ears perked up at that. That was serious money she
was talking about. It was also obvious that that
represented something more to her than just security.
If she became a part of the household, I would have to
make sure her money was kept totally autonomous from
mine. I would handle it the same way I did with Sally
and Janey's funds, but I knew I would have to take
special care to make her feel comfortable that I was
not after her money. It wouldn't be easy. If I had
that kind of money, I'd be suspicious of everyone, too.

She didn't say much about Gary. She didn't have to. I
knew what he put her through. The gentle seduction
into bondage, setting the hook, then the humiliation
and degradation. That he was actually abusing Simone
sexually to accomplish this humiliation disturbed me,
as I hadn't seen a pattern of young girls in his
profile. Simone was a mature young woman for her age,
that much I could see, but she was still a little
younger than Janey. There must have been something
special about her to attract Gary to her.

I had come to realize that I couldn't have been the
only person in the universe to have the ability to
`sense' emotions, as I had been doing with Sally and
Janey. I think, on some level, we all do. We just
never recognize it for what it is. I think pheromones,
facial expression and body language get confused in the
mix, too. Besides, being `sensitive' isn't always
considered to be a compliment to a male, although I had
always tried to be. I was beginning to realize that
Gary must have had the ability to sense a submissive
nature in women. Hell, he may even have had the
ability to project one onto them, but the thought that
that might be possible scared the living shit out of
me. He did seem to be able to `find' a lot of
submissive women, though, and I didn't recollect Miki
being like that. I shuddered and put the thought
behind me.

Nicole went on to tell me about Simone. It was like
watching a train wreck. Simone had shown early signs
of genius. Not like her mother. Smarter. Off the IQ
scale. She was also a pretty child and, for the most
part, well adjusted, especially for someone with her
brilliance. If she had a flaw, it was her instinctual
trust in males.

That had led to Nicole's first lover raping Simone at a
very young age. Nicole had not known about the
continued sexual assaults on her daughter until he had
run out. Simone's pediatrician had discovered the
signs of sexual activity after a routine exam. Nicole
was devastated at this. Children's services almost
took Simone away from her. If she hadn't found the job
at the biotech firm and moved out of state, they would
have. By the time they found her again, she was well
established at the company and the corporate lawyers
took care of the legal matters for her. For once, they
were good for something. I made a mental note to find
out more about that law firm. Lawyers with good hearts
were rarer than honest politicians.

Simone's escape from the misery and pain of the
betrayal of her trust was in learning. Books of all
kinds were her escape, the more challenging the better.
She was like a black hole when it came to learning.
She sucked in everything she came across from music to
medicine, Plato to physics. Often, she would have
trouble applying what she knew, but that was probably
because she knew too much. She had too many choices
and, really, how often in life is there just one right
answer? I had to smile at that. I was facing the same
situation right now, but I was desperately trying to
find a suitable alternative.

Nicole had kept Simone in school with children her own
age for her social development. She knew too well what
the consequences could be of being so much younger than
all the other kids. It was important for her that
Simone develop a social maturity that could help her
through the tough times she was bound to have ahead of
her, being as different as she was from everyone else
in the `smarts' department. Simone had been adjusting
well, trying to find her place in each class,
developing a friend or two to pal around with. It was
lately that things began to change.

Gary's abuse of Simone confused her. True to form, she
trusted him. He used that trust against her, then he
began abusing her, mentally and physically. Unlike
before, when she had been told to keep what was
happening a secret from her mother, Gary flaunted what
they did in front of her mother.

When Gary began hurting her, her reaction was to
withdraw. Nicole broke down at this point and I had to
wait for her to regain a semblance of self-control
before she could continue. Simone hadn't spoken for
the last three weeks, not to anyone, as far as she
could tell. At first she thought it was just a phase.
Then the notes from her teachers began to come home,
followed by a quietly panicked phone call from the
school counselor. From her previous experience with
Child services, Nicole was frantic, afraid she would
lose Simone for good this time, but didn't know what to
do. She had actually been preparing injections for
suicide for herself and Simone when Sally showed up.

I sat there, stunned that this woman could show such
composure with the trauma she had been though. I
wasn't prepared to deal with all her baggage, though it
seemed trite to label her very real emotional problems
that way. Another traumatized daughter was not on my
most-favorite list, either. I remembered the agonizing
Sally and I had gone through with Janey, and that was
just last week!

But, like Sally, my heart went out to her. She had no
one else. It touched a chord deep inside me,
challenged me to rethink the paradigms of my own life.
This time, it wouldn't just be me, but Sally and Janey
would help, too. Somehow I knew that was what Sally
intended, but making them a part of our family? It was
time to call Sally back in.

She entered at my call for her, apparently standing
right outside my door. One look at her face told me
she had known everything Nicole had just told me.
There was probably more tragedy, too, but the
highlights were enough for me. She came and knelt at
my feet.

"Go sit down, Sally. Consider your collar off for the
time being. I need complete and honest answers to some

I turned to Nicole. "In this house, I insist on
openness and honesty, even when you are in a submissive
role. Sally knows that, but I just wanted to remind
her. Now, I have to ask you some questions about how
you see yourself fitting in here. You know, as you can
see from Sally's attire and collar, that she has a
submissive role in this relationship. That is, by the
way, her preference, not my demand. Can you deal with

Nicole lowered her eyes, but didn't blush. "What that
awful man did to me gave me the most intense feelings I
have ever felt. I was hooked from the first soft rope
he used to tie me up. I am so ashamed of my weakness,
to have wanted it so badly, but I couldn't help myself.
It wasn't love. I knew that. It was worse. I could
find love almost anywhere. He was the only person I
knew who could make me feel like that. It was like a
drug, an addicting drug.

"It tore me apart when he touched Simone, but I was
helpless to stop him. I..." she broke down again,
"...I orgasmed at first, it felt so naughty, being so
helpless to stop him. At first he only touched her,
then he made her do things. Soon he was fucking her.
Three weeks ago he beat her."

She paused, thinking. "I have thought much about this.
I am not an ignorant person. I realize, since talking
to Sally, but not only that, that I need to be in a
submissive role, too. Yes. If this life is possible,
I want it." She looked over at Sally, who took her
hand in support. "I need it."

Shit! They were in this together, already. I still
had some questions.

"OK, you want to do this. What about Simone?"

Nicole looked up at me now, her eyes sharp and focused.
This seemed to be more like her normal approach to
life. "Sally has told me about how you are working
with Janey..."

In a moment of panic I focused my link on Sally and
shot her a questioning `Everything?' I wasn't sure if
it would work, but my heart rate and adrenaline were
high enough that if anything would make it work, it
should now. Amazingly, it did.

"No. Not `everything,'" she replied softly through the
link. I think we were both stunned at what we had just
done, but there were more pressing matters at hand.

" help her get over her attack. From what I have
seen of Janey, she seems very well adjusted. I
think..." she smile wryly, "...I think that this time,
for some reason, it is me who trusts you. I apologize
in advance, but Simone does not trust you or any man now, and is bound to give you trouble."

Ah, the magic button. The hook. A challenge. I
couldn't resist. Not after getting walking pneumonia
in college, not with the risk of losing Sally. Not
now. Knowingly or not, she had offered me the bait I

What was I thinking? It was going to be a challenge
fitting two more attractive and probably willing
females into a sexually charged environment. What she
was telling me about Simone made her an impossible
challenge. With emotional stakes as high as possible.
I was hooked.

"Sally, how did you see this working? How did you
think they would fit in here?"

She looked flustered. Thinking of something is one
thing. Saying it out loud, in broad daylight is
grounds for commitment to the loony bin. "They, uh,
well, they, er,..."

"Start with Nicole, here. What would be her role?"

"Oh, well, uh, I though we could share, you know..."
She just left it hanging.

"You thought you and I would share Nicole? I don't
need another slave."

Sally blushed, and glanced over at Nicole for support.
She must have gotten it, because she actually said it.
"No, Larry. I thought Nicole and I would share you.
And before you ask, yes, I have thought about this,
and, yes, we would share you in every way." She was
rather abrupt at the end.

Well excuuuuse me.

"What if she doesn't appeal to me?"

Two sets of eyes widened and stared at me, one in
horror that the owner might be found unsatisfactory,
the other pair in the horror that their owner's master
could have voiced such a tactless question. One pair
caught on that I was playing with them.

"Sally, it's OK. He said `what if'."


"He said `what if'. That means he likes me." Nicole
looked at me, suddenly shy. "I think."

I smiled broadly at having been caught out so easily.
Damn, I was going to have to get sharper in a hurry to
stay ahead of this one. And the daughter was smarter
still? Deep, deep shit we're in here, bubba. Deep,
deep shit.

I tipped back my chair and closed my eyes, trying to
think this out. Sally was trying to alter our
relationship and I thought I knew why. As overwhelming
as I had found her submissiveness earlier, I had seen
indications lately that she found my possessiveness of
her to be equally overwhelming. There had been hints,
even a small rebellion, in her own fashion.

This was not just another shot across the bows, though.
This was her solution. Served up on as attractive a
platter as I had seen, I must admit, but I didn't like
it. I didn't like not having a choice. This tasted a
little like an ultimatum.


"I know, Larry. You love me." She stopped, got up and
came over to my chair. She tipped me upright and sat
on my lap. "I don't like to shout that across the
desk," she said tenderly. "I love you, too. I always
will. Believe it or not, it won't change because of
Nicole, or Simone, or even Janey. I am absolutely
convinced of your heart, of your love, of your
intentions. It is that absoluteness that gives me the
freedom to ask this of you." She didn't add that it
was also that total dedication to her that was driving
her crazy. She always did have a kind heart.

"I know this won't be easy," she continued, "but you've
never shied away from the tough things, have you?" She
leaned down and whispered in my ear, digging into my
ribs with her fingers at the same time, "This one you
can fuck, too, lover. Really!" She collapsed in a
giggling heap as I dumped her unceremoniously off my
lap and onto the floor.

"All right! All right!" I had the attention of both
of them. "I'll agree, but with conditions." Sally
groaned. Loudly. It was almost a `God help us' moan,
but I couldn't quite make out the words.

"Nicole and Simone may move in. Until further
arrangements can be made, Simone will move into Janey's
room. Agreed?"

Sally nodded. It was always easiest to give away
someone else's privacy. I wondered what the two girls would say to having a roommate.

"Nicole? You will be Sally's submissive. She will be
your Mistress."

Sally sat there, open-mouthed, stunned. Speechless,
for once.

Chapter 34

The new arrangement didn't work. It was an uneasy
arrangement to begin with. Sally got stressed out in
about two days, which made it worse. She became
overbearing, surly, bossy. She couldn't handle being a
mistress to Nicole.

The decision had not pleased Nicole, either, though she
was in a submissive role, as she had wanted. She
suffered from a reluctant mistress, however, and in
short order, her more aggressive personality made the
situation worse.

It got a little better for a while after I gathered
them together and told them what had happened to Gary.
I called them all into the Free Room. I answered every
question I could. I told them about Miki. We watched
the news coverage of the funerals for the dead girls.
Sally and Nicole understood they owed their lives to
their daughters being in a public school. I thought we
were all bonding nicely, and that the roughest part was
behind us. Boy, was I wrong.

Sally tried to assert her dominance, I will give her
that. I found her tactics intriguing and filed them
away in case I needed to impress my mastery over Sally
in the future. First, she stripped Nicole of all
clothing. Not a shred of covering. Not that I minded.
Nicole was indeed a beauty, but about as different from
Sally as you could get. Where Sally was petite, Nicole
was statuesque. Tall, almost 6 foot. Her dark hair and olive complexion made Sally seem pale, even with
Sally's lightly tanned skin. Together with her
intelligent piercing aristocratic blue eyes, she was a
striking woman.

Nicole did not seem to have an ounce of excess fat on
her, now that I could readily see all of her. That's
not to say she wasn't feminine, far from it. She had
all the curves necessary to qualify, and then some.
Her breasts were about the same size as Sally's but
seemed smaller on Nicole's larger frame. Her waist was
incredibly narrow. Sally told me it was only 20
inches. I detected more than a little jealousy when
she told me that. Nicole also had that feature that
millions of men react to automatically. She had that
natural diamond-shaped open space between her thighs,
right at the top. Prehistorically, that meant a wide
carriage for bearing young and the eroticism of that
image was programmed into the male sex chromosome.
Sally had it, too, but Nicole... Oh, my! ...the first
time I saw her silhouetted in the light from the window
behind her, I think I began to finally lust after her.
That perfect diamond of light just below her crotch lit
a slow burning fire in me.

Next, Sally had Nicole sleep on the floor at the foot
of our bed. This I found interesting, as well,
because, if anything, her presence during our intimate
times added to Sally's stress and distress. She became
uneasy when we made love, to the point I had to remind
her who was boss. Well, at least, who it was who
thought he was boss, anyway. I never forced her to
have sex, but she didn't enjoy it as much with Nicole

Third was that she had Nicole doing all the shit work.
Cleaning, dusting, scrubbing, shopping - grocery, not
clothes, gardening, and so on. Everything but what she
was suited to do, which was to use her brain. Mindless

Added to all this was that Janey and Simone were not
getting along, either. Janey only had a single bed in
her room, so they were not only sharing a room, but a
bed, too. Simone was jealous of Janey's popularity,
Janey of Simone's brains. There were phone messages
that didn't get delivered, sabotaged reports and tests,
and so on. Simone was really trying to mess with Janey
and doing a good job.

For her part, Janey was trying to get along, if only
half-heartedly. She came to me one evening in tears,
sweaty from one of the pick-up basketball games.
Simone had begun to put a damper on these events, too.
I really think she wanted to participate, but she was
shy and unfamiliar with basketball. Janey poured out
all her woes, blaming everyone, including me,
obliquely, for the crap she had to live with.

I held her on my lap trying to work things out. This
mess was largely my fault. I know, I know. Sally's
way would have probably been better, but it still
rubbed me the wrong way to have her decide without
consulting me. Even if she was right.

I asked what Janey had done to make Simone's situation
better. She looked at me funny, as if it was a strange
concept that she might have to do something to help
Simone fit in. I asked her if she had ever made her
feel like she was welcome. Again she looked at me

I hugged her to me and, without thinking, I told her
that it might help Simone feel like she belonged if
Janey went out of her way to do something special for
her, to make her know she was wanted.

"Like what?" she wanted to know.

"I don't know. Just think about what would make you
feel special and wanted and do that for her."
Honestly, I didn't have anything in mind at the time.

Later that night, I woke to a familiar elbow in my
side. "Larry? You awake?"

"Uh-huh. Now I am."

"Oh, sorry. Did you talk to Janey today?"


"About Simone?"


"What did you tell her to do?"

Suddenly alert to the edge in her voice, I was now
fully awake. And I sensed it, too, but it was
different somehow. We had both sensed when Janey had
an orgasm and we were familiar with that. This one was
different, like it was learning how to feel good.

"God! It's her first orgasm!" Sally whispered to me,
after leaning over and checking on Nicole, just to make
sure she wasn't fingering herself.

"Should I check on them?"

"No. Let them finish."

"Them? How can you tell there are two of them?"

I could sense her smile in the dark. "Don't know. I
just do. Janey's giving Simone an orgasm. Again."

We both felt this one, too, stronger, more sure of
itself, more welcomed into the body it was entering.

Janey was diligent, I'll give you that. Simone was
cumming like a pro when Janey finally stopped working
her over. I slipped in to check on them when it had
been quiet for a while. I was greeted by a gorgeous
tangle of teen limbs. Simone was zonked. Janey was
still awake. I sat by her side and took her hand.

"What was it you did, kiddo?"

"What you said."

"Uh, I don't think I said to do anything like what just
happened here."

She grinned up at me. "You could feel her, too? God,
she didn't know what was happening to her!"

"And what was happening to her, Janey? Inquiring minds
want to know."

She sort of snorted when she giggled, most unladylike.
"Well, I thought about what you said, about doing
something to make her feel special and wanted. I
thought about what made me feel that way. Then I
remembered the time you did me with your mouth, about
how good that made me feel and all. So I did her."

"She didn't object?"

"Well, uh, I, uh, I kind of surprised her. After a
minute, when I didn't bite, she quit struggling."


"Uh-huh! I sort of tied her hands to the bed first,
like you did mine."

Oh God, I had created a monster.

"You didn't mind that she was a girl?"

"You mean that lezzie thing?"

"Yeah. People can be kind of mean if they find out."

"Oh. Simone wouldn't tell. And even if she does,
that's OK, too. It was my gift to her. What she does
with it is up to her. Isn't that what you've been
trying to tell me all along, Dad?"

I leaned over and kissed this marvelous young woman
goodnight, my tears dripping on her sweaty and slimy

"I would have sex with you right now if you wanted,
kiddo." I knew she had not cum and was still sexually

She grinned up at me, then hugged me tight. I thought
for a moment she was going to take me up on my offer.
I wasn't sure if I hoped she would or if I hoped she
wouldn't. She held me for the longest time, then
whispered, "Thanks, Dad," in my ear.

Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was a Hell
of a touching moment. I went back to my room and went
to sleep.

OK. Now, if you came home and heard, `Oh, God, Oh,
God, Yes, Yes, Yes. Oh God that's so big and hard, Do
my ass, too, harder, please, please don't stop,' or
various repetitions and renditions thereof emanating
from your daughter's bedroom, screamed in a loud and
excited manner, what would you think? Right! You keep
a shotgun in the closet for just such an instance.

Unfortunately, it was Sally and Nicole who came home
from a foreshortened day of shopping, as Nicole was
being a real bitch. Unknown to them, Janey and Simone
had decided to play hooky from school to further
explore the territory discovered the night before.
What they walked in on was Simone pounding Janey with a
dildo, who was the one screaming. Simone was eagerly
returning the favor Janey had done for her the entire
hour before. The girls thought they were alone in the
house and were being as noisy and raunchy as they
wanted. It was all in fun, just girl stuff, sort of
like male bonding. Yeah, right!

Sally immediately knew what was going on through her
link with Janey. She thought it was strange that Janey
sounded like she was having a lot more fun than it felt
like she was experiencing through the link, but she
also knew that the other person in the room was not me.
We had said goodbye this morning in the shower, as I
had to run up to the Guild for some business meetings.
She deducted correctly that Janey's partner in passion
was Simone, and that was the reason for the verbal
encouragement. Janey and Sally had both commented to
me at the seeming inability of Nicole to feel anything
on their link, and that Simone's link felt funny to
them. The way they talked, it sounded as if they
really pitied them that loss.

Nicole, however, didn't know who was with Janey, only
that Janey seemed to be getting a good fucking, one of
a lifetime, from the sounds of it. Whether to herself
or if she meant Sally to hear wasn't clear, but she
muttered, "The little bitch will be as big a slut as
her mother soon." Of course, she muttered it in
French. Then again, maybe it was Sally's fault for not
informing Nicole she spoke fluent French and could
understand the colloquial vulgarisms she constantly
used when referring to her and Janey.

Needless to say, the comment didn't sit well with
Sally. I had learned early on that malicious words
would wound Sally worse than the whip. Those words
from Nicole cut her deeply. Unbidden, a vengeful anger
started to grow in her heart. Attack Sally and she
would fight back, attack her daughter and she would get

Uncharacteristic of Sally, she ignored her anger. I
had commanded her to be a mistress. She was trying to
do her best. She also didn't want to embarrass Nicole
by letting her know she understood French. There were
things to do, preparations for the next visit by our
friends. Sally still had to organize two more costumes
for Nicole and Simone, and, as she had discovered,
Nicole was domestically worthless. She couldn't cook,
clean, sew, iron, or straighten up. What exactly was
she to do with this worthless bitch?

Amud and Bala's next visit was to be a special
occasion. Not only would Nicole and Simone be
introduced to our friends and into the growing
relationship we had with them, it was also the occasion
for the first public dance performance by Janey. Bala
had been working them hard, and Janey had excelled
under her teaching. I truly appreciated the practice
drills that Sally showed me, especially when she was
impaled on my iron hard prick. But I think the very
fact that she practiced with me defeated the purposes
of the drills. She was still much improved from that
first dance she did for me.

Finally all was in readiness for the evening. The
women served Amud and I a sumptuous dinner, two
delectable maidens served the wine, and the cigars were
slowly smoldering down. It had been a delightful
evening. My belly was full, my cock was hard, all was
right with the world. I was beginning to look forward
to a wild night with my lover, when the ching-ching of
the music sounded. I leaned back to relax. I had
forgotten about the premier.

The occasion of a first dance was special as the women
were allowed to enter the main tent and sit with the
men. Bala sat with Amud. Simone, Sally and Nicole
came to sit with me, although Sally positioned Nicole
so she was not near Amud or myself. I wondered at the
intentional slight on her part, but just then Janey
danced through the veiled door. Or should I say she
floated through the door.

Her outfit, if it could be called that, was daring. It
was beyond daring. It was blatant. It displayed all
her womanly charms and then some. It highlighted her
coloring. You could see the blush across the tops of
her breasts. Hell, you could see everything! Even
that her normally tiny trimmed bush was now missing. I
don't know how that affected Amud, but my blood was
sure boiling.

Her dance was short, but energetic and erotic in the
extreme. Even the women seemed entranced with her
sexuality. She twirled and twisted, wiggled and
jiggled. I think it was probably a bit more acrobatic
than a traditional dance, but Bala had worked wonders
with what she had to work with. Looking over at my
friends, I wasn't sure she was entirely pleased with
Amud's obvious reaction to Janey's dancing. From the
way Bala was lying across his lap there was no way she
could miss his arousal. In fact, unless I missed my
guess, that hand I couldn't see was probably wrapped
around his throbbing swollen shaft. I chucked as I
thought of what his night would be like with that
wildcat of a wife.

At the conclusion of her dance, Janey ended up kneeling
in front of me, her head to the ground. She seemed to
be waiting for something. I looked over to Amud for a
hint. He seemed to be somewhere else, although his
eyes were still fixed on Janey's almost nude form.


He started, as if from a dream. I almost hated to
bring him back from where ever he had been. "Yes, my

"Is she waiting for something?"

He looked at Bala. Something passed between them, then
he nodded his head. "Ah, yes. Bala has told the fresh
one of the traditions of the first dance. In my
country it is traditional for the dancer to request a
favor of a sensual nature from her chosen benefactor.
It is always granted if the dance is deemed to be

He continued, "You seem to be her chosen benefactor,"
he sounded rather disappointed that Janey hadn't chosen
him, but a sharp nudge from Bala cured that, "as she
has ended her dance and bowed in front of you." He
sighed, earning him another playful elbow from Bala.

"For my part, if she had chosen me, she would have had
her most sexual of favors granted a million times over.
Gladly." He got a rather sharp elbow for that remark,
but the two were now laughing and showing more
affection for one another than ever before in our

I could see Janey blush from his compliment of her and
his implication that he would enjoy doing much more
with her. I let her stay bowed for a while, letting
her catch her breath. Also, I was somewhat leery of
granting favors, sensual or otherwise, before I knew
what they were. But some things you just don't learn
to resist, and a beautiful woman prostrate before me is
almost always going to get her wish.

"Janey, your first dance is deemed to be acceptable," I
intoned with all the pomposity I could muster. "What
is your sensual pleasure?"

I expected her to ask for that car she had been bugging
me for. The one with the leather seats. Or an
expensive trinket, maybe. But nope, not my Janey!

"I want to go to that place you took mom the night of
the concert."

I gasped. Sally paled. No one else in the room had a

"You told me you didn't want to go there."

"I told you I wasn't ready. I am now. I'm not afraid
of those feelings anymore and I am strong enough." I
could almost here `I think' or `I hope' on the end of

My, my. My little girl is all grown up. But then I
knew that. I had just seen her dance. Someone was
going to be a very lucky man someday, to have that
body, that spirit to come home to each night.

"What place is she speaking of?" asked Amud, thinking
that Janey was referring to a physical location.

Sally told them of the white crop I had used on her,
how I had tied her and pushed her beyond any experience
she had had before or since. It was beyond the
singing. It was just beyond.

Bala turned to look at me. In awe she said, "You can
see the dancing lights in a woman as she sings?"

I nodded.

Simone, still puzzled, asked Sally, "Janey wants Larry
to whip her with a stick?"

Sally nodded.

Nicole had passed the point of credulity. Again she
muttered, this time about Janey now being as big a
tramp as her mother. Again in French. Bala and Amud
both spoke French. So did I.

It was the last straw for Sally. Remind me to never
push her too far. She was a blinding fury as she
pummeled Nicole, screeching and shrieking as she did
so. When Nicole was sufficiently limp, she dragged her
by her hair out of the room. We heard the body
thumping down the stairs to the first floor, then all
was quiet.

Embarrassed at the outburst, I apologized to Amud. He
gave me a quizzical look, like I was an idiot.

"Lawrence, my friend. You are a good master, but
sometimes you do stupid things."

I must have looked puzzled.

"Sally, your beloved, is not like Bala. She cannot be
mistress, too. It's is not in her aura. Different
lights. Your new beloved, Nicole, is not mistress.
Janey, she is young, she can learn both ways yet.
Simone, she is a special one." He grinned. "You are
one lucky son of the bitch, my friend, but I do not
envy you."

He stopped and fixed me with a stare. "Learn to see
your women, as a master. If you see the dancing
lights, you are far beyond me in skill. But maybe I
can help you with wisdom, no?"

With that, he indicated I should tend to Janey who was
crying with gathering hysterics on the floor. Her
debut was ruined, her request forgotten.

As I tended to Janey, finally getting her settled down,
Amud and Bala quietly slipped out and drove home. Bala
had seemed incredibly agitated, perhaps aroused, at
Janey's dance and the ensuing conversation. Amud, to
my surprise, had not seemed jealous of her attraction
to Janey or to me. When I thought back, Bala may not
have been envious of Amud's reaction to Janey, but
could have actually been exciting him with her hand,
enhancing his pleasure of the dance. Such non-
possessiveness was strange to me, but seeing it in
practice made me think it might work.

As Janey quieted down I carried her down to her room.
Suddenly she cried out.

"Oh, God, Dad, she's killing her!"

"Who? Where?" I demanded immediately.

"M-M-Mom is beating Nicole. Downstairs. Daddy? Why
is she so angry with Nicole? It hurts, oh God, it
hurts...." Janey rolled over in tears, holding her

I dashed down to the dungeon, fully expecting the
worst. I just hoped I wasn't too late to stop her from
doing any permanent damage.

What I saw pained me. Sheer anger was being vented in
a blind rage. My meek, mild Sally had strung Nicole up
by her wrists and was using the heavy handle of a whip
to bludgeon her face and torso. There was no thought
to her wildly swinging blows, only rage.

My heart cried out to her to stop. I knew I couldn't
reach her before she struck a couple of more times, so
I did the only thing I could think of. I focused as I
ran to her, thinking of an iceberg and then wrapped it
around her. As corny as that sounds, it worked. She
froze, so to speak, in mid-blow.

My first priority was to secure Sally where she
couldn't harm Nicole any more. I led her gently over
to a set of kneeling stocks and placed her head and
hands in the appropriate half rounds, then closed and
locked the top bar. We had never used this device
before, but Sally had commented that if I ever wanted
to punish her, that was the way. It seemed

She hadn't resisted me. As soon as I had touched her
she had gone limp. I knew she knew she had made a
grievous error. So had I. Sally had known her
limitations and had tried to tell me. I hadn't
listened. I was too proud. This was my fault, too.

With Sally secured and unable to harm herself or
Nicole, I cut down Nicole. Her wrists were bleeding
from the plastic ties Sally had used. I wondered where
those had come from. I hated those evil devices. Not
only could they mark you permanently, they didn't have
a lock to pick. I quickly examined the unconscious
woman. As near as I could tell from a quick field
exam, there were no broken bones. I was more worried
about her spirit than her bones, though.

I carried her upstairs and took her into the Free Room.
We hadn't had to use this room much before, but
everything was there. A bed, a bathroom. I took the
pistols I had placed there and put them away. I hadn't
gone over everything with Nicole just yet, and didn't
want her running around the house with a loaded gun.
After Nicole was settled and as comfortable as I could
get her, I went to find Simone to tell her that her mom was going to be OK and to try to explain to her what
had happened.

I couldn't find Simone. I looked everywhere. I looked
in on Janey to see if they were together. I checked
the dungeon just to be sure. I searched the house. I
checked my security system and ran a check for infrared
heat sources. I could only count four in the house or
on the grounds. I ran the security tape loop.

Three heat sources had left the house at nearly the
same time. Two had gone together, one had slipped out
just after the others were in their car.

I watched the tape from the outside security camera as
the third heat source disappeared down the driveway and
turned toward the nearest Interstate. To have been
that visible, Simone must have been outside the car,
riding on the rear bumper of Amud and Bala's limousine.

Simone had run away.

Chapter 35

I could have panicked. An underage girl I barely knew
and had accepted responsibility for had just left for
parts unknown, and I had only one clue where she might
have gone. Her mother lay unconscious in my guestroom,
beaten senseless by my lover. The unconscious mother would have to be tended by the daughter of the woman
who had just brutalized her. What, me worry?

After checking on Nicole, I went up to Janey's room.
She was already getting dressed, her eyes still puffy
and swollen from crying, but her face set and


"Be ready in a minute. Where do you think she went?"

"How'd you know she was gone? Oh, I see. Gee, you're
getting pretty good with your link thing, aren't you."

"Yes, and you should be better than me, Dad. I mean, I
can sense stronger than Mom, but she's real sneaky
sometimes about what she knows, so I can't always tell.
Simone and I can hook up pretty good, but she's way
different than I am. Like, the last time we did each
other, she was doing things to me I didn't think anyone
but you could do. I made her stop, you know, it was
too much. She's like you that way in that she can tell
what turns me on, but still, she's no match for what
you can do."

"What do you mean?"

She turned to me, exasperated but patient, like with a
slow-witted child. "Dad. Stop thinking. Feel. Reach
out. God! You can do it when you don't think about,
you know? I felt what you did to mom downstairs."

I must have looked surprised.

Janey explained, "Don't you know what you did? You
were shouting how much you loved her, how this was all
your fault, how you would try to make things right, but
to please STOP! I mean, you weren't making words with
your mouth or anything, you were like shouting in your
mind, or something. It was really clear. You were
really scared, not just for Nicole, but for Mom, too.
That sort of made me feel good. Then I got really,
really cold. Stop thinking of pictures, will you? I
mean, it works sometimes, but Geez, an iceberg? Be a
little easier on us weaklings, why don't you."

"You got all that, all the way up here?"

"Clear as a bell, Dad. Just stop thinking. Feel. Can
you feel mom now? Can you tell what she's feeling?"

I stopped and felt. I reached out for Sally. I found
her, waiting for me. A lump formed in my throat.
Shit. And I thought I felt bad. I sent her my love.

"Don't worry. She'll get over it. She knows you love
her. That's all she needs to know right now. She also
knows she really screwed up, too. And that you will
fix it. She trusts you. She loves you. I trust you,

She finished tying her shoes. "Where do we start
looking for Simone?"

I was taken aback for a minute. "Uh, would you mind
holding down the fort here? I kind of need you to look
after Nicole. She's unconscious right now, but
nothing's broken, I hope. But when she comes to, I
need you to make sure she's OK. If she's not, call the
hospital and get her there.

"Your mother stays in the basement until I come back
home with Simone, or until I give up. That could be a
long time. Tough. Let her out of the stocks one hour
a day for a shower and exercise. You can change her
bondage if you think the stocks are too much for her.
I don't know how long I will be gone, so use your
judgement. I do not want to injure her.

"You may give her updates on Nicole's progress and
anything I tell you to relay to her on the telephone.
Otherwise silence. No chit chat, no making her feel
better. You'll need to feed her at least one meal
while she's in restraints. She cleans up her own
messes on her free hour. It will stink down there, so
be prepared for it."

Janey nodded, agreeing with everything I said, even the
tough parts.

"You're in charge, kiddo. I trust you, too. Remind
Nicole about the Free Room rules and that she can stay
there as long as she wants. That's where I put her.
Oh, the guns are put away, so you won't need to worry
about her getting a hold of one. Other than that, be
sure to sleep when you can, even if it's during the
day. You're going to need it. I'll call when I can."

She rushed into my arms. "Thanks, Dad, for taking
charge. I'm glad you're letting me do something."

I held her away from me. "You're not disappointed
you're not going with me to look for Simone?"

"That's your job. Besides, if you had to worry about
me, I'd just mess up your sensing thing. You have
enough trouble with it, as it is." Always the critic.
At least she was smiling when she said that.

"Good. I'm off then." With that, I turned and left
the house, knowing Janey would take charge. Just like
Sally would, if she could.

I called Amud on his cell phone from my car as I headed
for the Interstate.

"Amud, I'm sorry to disturb you, but Simone left the
house with you this afternoon."

"My friend, as lovely as the child is, I did not kidnap
her, I swear."

"Amud, again I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply you had
anything to do with it. I didn't make myself clear.
She left the house riding on your car. On the back
bumper. She has run away."

"Oh, dear!"

"Yes. I need to know the first stop you made after you
left the house that she could have gotten off.
Probably in a city or large town."

He thought a minute. "Oh, yes. We stopped in at a
leather warehouse over near the new stadium. From
there we are now heading home."

"Thank yo...."

"Lawrence? Lawrence? Hello? Here is Bala. The girl,
the new one, she is missing, no?" From the blustering
in the background, I could tell Amud was not happy that
his little wife had snatched the cell phone from him.
I smiled, in spite of the circumstances. He would
enjoy reminding her of his mastery over her. I knew
she would enjoy it also.

"Yes, Bala. I have to find her."

"Use the lights, Lawrence. Don't think, just use
lights. You great master, use it. Find the precious
one." She then got all soft, unlike the Bala I knew.
"I like her. Please. She is very special."

"I know. I like her, too, Bala. Goodbye, and thank
you." I rung off, slightly puzzled by their comments.

You know, it was beginning to irritate me. With all
advice I had been getting lately to quit thinking, I
was beginning to think..., well there I went again,
thinking. Anyway, perhaps people were trying to tell
me I did too much of it, or maybe that I didn't do it
well. I wasn't sure. I decided not to think about it.

I had a haystack, a place to start. All I needed to do
now was find the needle. Piece of cake. Yeah, right.

The warehouse Amud mentioned was in an industrial area,
busy on the weekdays, but almost deserted at night and
weekends. I could hear the ruckus from the tail end of
a Heavy Metal band concert in the stadium a couple of
blocks over. This being a Friday evening, I figured
Simone got here just when the streets were empty, the
workers gone home, the concert in full swing. A pretty
young girl, alone, would stick out like a sore thumb on
these naked streets.

I sat in my car, at a loss for what to do next. I had
driven to the spot Amud had stopped. I parked in a No-
Parking zone across from the local police precinct.
Even it was deserted at this time of the week, manned
by just a skeleton crew of rookies. It had been too
much to hope that Simone would be standing there
waiting for me. I know it was na‹ve of me, but I had
hoped, just a little.

I closed my eyes in quiet frustration and lay my head
against the steering wheel of the car. I may have
cried for her, I don't know. I guess I really had
wanted her to be there, tears on her face, cold from
the long ride on the bumper, frightened of the strange
darkness, a big van, a friendly face, old kind of, kind
of cinnamon smell, candy, a warm car, warm blanket,
warm up, feels good, food, voices, laugh, a funny
laugh, money through the window, a door opening
suddenly, a bad man, fear, scared, ...

I woke up with a start. What the Hell was that? I
looked at my watch. No. I hadn't been asleep.
Simone! I knew I was sensing Simone, seeing what
Simone was sensing. Somewhere near, close, but going
away now. Then just blank, like she was drugged. I
had felt the needle jab into her leg. I could sense
her drift away, then it was still, not any feelings
from her at all.

I found myself out of my car. I could sense better
outside in the open. I couldn't get a bearing on a
direction with this sensing thing and it frustrated the
shit out of me. I just wandered the streets, hoping to
sense when it was stronger, when she was closer. She
was so close...

I wandered the streets looking for her, half running,
stumbling, walking. Looking for her senses. Just a
trace, anything. I found that the harder I tried, the
fainter she got. I lost all sense of time and of
myself. I immersed myself into her aura, and just kept
wandering, apparently aimlessly.

It happened so suddenly. I distinctly felt it when she
woke up, the pain, the slaps across our cheeks, a kick
in the ribs, one broke. I hurt, she hurt. Too far
away, now, she was going away again. Another needle,
another sleepless dream, floating. I followed that
dream, walking blindly through streets.

Then the men started coming. I could see them, what
they were doing to her, to us. We were ashamed,
please, no more, not again. The sense from Simone
started to fade, but wasn't moving away anymore. She
was going into hiding, into her shell. It was her only
defense, her last hope. I sent her a message, but I
didn't know if she got it. I was coming. Hold on.
Then it was just like static on an open radio signal.

I kept wandering, trying to find her. The streets were
empty through Saturday and Sunday. Monday I had to
dodge traffic as I stumbled along the sidewalks. I
don't remember if I slept or not. I do remember I
stopped looking at people as people. I started looking
at them as lights. I wasn't surprised to find most
people were pretty dim, if they had any light at all.

Tuesday came and went and I was getting desperate.
Just before I collapsed in a doorway, I heard it.

"Help me. Please."

Simone! She was close! I looked around and saw her
light. There were no windows in that abandoned
building, but I saw her lights. Dimming, but there. I
knew it was her.

I found my way into the building and damn near fell
down the dilapidated steps into the cellar. It stunk
of fresh urine and shit. I began a frantic search for
her in the dark cavernous spaces. The lights from her
had gone back out. There was only static again.

I found her. She was naked, bruised and barely
conscious. They had used a staple gun to fasten clumps
of her hair to a wooden post. She was hanging by her
hair in a position where she couldn't stand upright or
sit or kneel. The muscles of her thin legs had
supported her as long as they could in the awkward
position, but they had given out days ago. The floor
around her was in places several inches deep in feces
and pools of urine. It couldn't have been all hers.

The two men surprised me as I was vomiting. Given
their poor fighting skills, my retching wasn't much of
a disadvantage. I disabled the big one first. He was
obviously the bodyguard. The asshole was trying to
pull an Uzi out from under his jacket, if you can
imagine that. The clip or barrel or something got
caught on his belt, but by that time, it didn't matter.
His knee when one way, he went the other, shit
splashing everywhere as he landed hard. He dropped his
Uzi when he grabbed for his knee. I kicked him in the
head for insurance, then kicked the gun into a far

The smaller man, a pimp by his dress, was smarter. I
could tell because he had chosen a more appropriate
weapon. He had his knife out and was trying to appear
as if he was ready for me. I like fighting idiots with
knives. Mainly because most fighters don't know how to
use them and it makes the motherfuckers overconfident.
They always get a big one like Rambo or that crocodile
guy and the weight tends to throw them off balance.
Then they fucking hold them upside down, like I'm going
to be stupid enough to step inside his down-swinging
arm. This pimp with the yellow hat had really
overcompensated for his inadequacies with the monster
blade he was holding. I left him writhing on the
floor, the knife buried to the hilt in his thigh, right
where he had it aimed. The knife had driven clear
through his leg with the tip stuck firmly into the
wooden floor. I knew he wasn't going anywhere for a

I was trying to get Simone free when the third guy
jumped me. He would have had me clean, too, but he
slipped in the shit trying not to get too close. A
little schmutz, and I would have been dead. As it was,
he still got my arm good with the deadly little knife
he was using. I think he thought he had me, now that I
was wounded, but he was wrong. He made the fatal
mistake of letting me get too close to him. Once I'm
in close, well, he died surprised. As I pushed his
lifeless body off me, I gave a start of recognition.
It took me a moment, but I finally placed him. He had
been in some of the pictures Gary had taken of Sally
during her humiliation.

I managed to free Simone using the knife I pulled out
of my forearm. I simply cut her hair free from the
staples and picked her up. They had not tied her arms
and she latched on to my neck with what seemed to be
all her feeble strength. I thought I felt her sob
once, but wasn't sure. Sensing the urgency of flight,
I kept trying to find my way to the stairs but my head
wouldn't seem to work. Every time I tried to look for
the door out of the room, my nose kept turning back to
the same dark corner. I would take a step to turn, and
my head would swing like a compass needle pointing
north. Same damn corner, every time.

I finally realized Simone was yanking on my ear,
forcing me to look at that particular corner.
Understand, I was brain-dead, tired, stabbed and trying
to escape, my survival instincts in complete command.
My mission was over. I had Simone. It was Miller
time. I was like a horse headed for the barn, ASAP. I
did not want to look in that stinking corner.

She was insistent, and my ear was starting to hurt. I
went over to the fucking corner. Nothing. I started
to turn away. My ear just about got torn off.

"What the fucking hell do you want!" I yelled at her in
my mind.

"Please. Hidden. Shiny. Silver. Important," came
the faint reply over our link. It wasn't exactly words
but images. I didn't really understand.

I shuffled around in the debris piled in the corner
until my foot kicked into an aluminum case. It was
heavy, and now my fucking foot hurt, too. I picked it
up with my good hand. Simone grasped my neck tighter,
easing the work I had to do with my injured arm. Where
she got the strength I don't know.

My ear released from her grip, I found an exit. On the
way out and up the stairs, I stumbled. I tripped over
a lit kerosene lamp one of the men had left on the
stairway. It fell to the basement floor and broke
open. The old newspapers that cluttered the floor
caught fire easily. The old dry timbers of the
crumbling warehouse exploded into flames, engulfing the
three bodies in the cellar.

I heard screams as I walked away, carrying Simone. It
didn't bother me at all.

As I cleared the killing zone, as I thought of it, I
had to stop and think where I was. I realized I was
many miles from my car. I was in the middle of an area
I didn't recognize right away. I couldn't see the
stadium. I couldn't see any landmarks or familiar
buildings at all until I got to the next large
intersection. God! I was two towns over from where I
had parked.

It was night, there were no buses running in this part
of town. No taxis were going to stop for me, not with
the way I looked after four days of wandering around,
bleeding from a big gash in my arm and carrying an
unconscious naked stinky little girl. I headed for the
one safe house I knew in this town.

Mac didn't recognize me at first when he opened his
door. I just hoped he would take over now. I
collapsed in his doorway.

Chapter 36

I woke up in a hospital. I knew that before I opened
my eyes. I could smell the familiar antiseptic odors.
My arm felt stiff and sore. I could feel the bandaging
they had used on the stab wound. Oh well, another
battle scar.

I kept my eyes closed and tried to link to Simone. I
was startled to find her so close. She was in the bed
next the chair I was sitting in. Sensing she was safe,
I drifted off to sleep again.

When I woke up again, it was dark. Simone was still
asleep, resting easy. I had been having some very
weird dreams. When I noticed she was holding my
finger, much like Janey had done when I had sat by her
bed, I suspected Simone and I had been communicating
over a similar link between us. I seemed to know her
better now. She was, indeed, a special person.

The dream had seemed so real, interactive. I had been
on a beach, and thousands, millions of others were
there, too. The fine white sand seemed to stretch for
eternity in both directions. When I looked down, I
couldn't focus on the sand around me, but it seemed so
real I could feel it between my toes. Most of the
people along the beach were building sandcastles. Some
castles were bigger than others were, as those people
had others helping them. Some others were struggling
by themselves to build one that could stand against the
relentless waves.

Some people along the beach were raging at the sea,
kicking at the water, trying futilely to keep the waves
from their sandcastles. As I watched, the waves would
come and wash away their castles or the castles of the
people near them. They were trying to stop the waves.
The waves would strike at random. You could never tell
when the waves would come, who would have to start
over, who would be wiped out, or whose castle would be
touched. Some sandcastles were barely touched by the
waves, some the waves wiped out. Wherever the water
touched a sandcastle there was sadness.

Sometimes the people would stop building and just
wander out into the waves, to become a part of the
vastness. Most of us just kept building our castles.
Like I was doing.

I had a bucket in my hand full of sand. When I
examined the sand in the bucket carefully, though, I
saw the grains were made up of the faces of Simone and
Nicole. When I looked at my sandcastle, I and I saw
that the sand there, too, was made up of faces, faces I
knew. I saw my parents, my sister, Sally and Janey.
Mac was there, as were others, some alive, some long
dead. I put the new bucket onto my castle and Nicole's
and Simone's faces became part of the whole.

Looking up, I saw Simone was there on the beach beside
me. The remains of two small ruined sandcastles were
visible beside her as she bravely attempted to build
yet another around the face of her mother. I saw in
her sand the face of an elderly gentleman that I knew
was the man she called Papa. The other man in the
ruins was younger. It looked as if she had kicked that
pile over herself, her tiny footprints visible in the
white sand, long deep scars where she had tried to kick
the face of that evil man away form her. But that
sand, that face, was still a part of her castle, a part
of her.

Simone wasn't raging at the waves as were many others
in less tragic conditions. The waves had touched her
as it had them, yet she persevered. I could also see
she was being very careful now, selecting the material
for her castle with greater care. She stood holding an
empty bucket, another was off to one side. Janey's
face was in her castle now, the new sand still bright
and shiny. I could see my face in the bucket she had
set aside. She was scared to mix it in with her
mother's sand. Unsure.

Suddenly, in my dream, I was telling a story, teaching
a history class. When I would turn to look at the
students, they would all have the same face, the face
of Simone. All of them asked different questions,
throwing them at me faster than I could answer as if
time was running out. I tried to answer as many as I
could, but some of them I knew I wasn't allowed to
answer, secrets from my past I could not share. Some
of the questions were easy. Some were hard. Others I
didn't know the answers to. The bell rang and the
questions stopped.

We were back on the beach. Simone was turning to me
smiling. Both buckets were empty. My face was in her
castle. I waved my hands and a space opened in the
walls of my own castle. When I looked around I could
see that Sally had her castle right next to mine, each
adding support to the other. Janey's was there, too,
as was Nicole's. I invited Simone to place her own
castle within the protection of mine, of my family's.
I could tell she wanted to, but she was hesitant,
afraid. It was not a feeling she was used to.

We were in the delicate and difficult process of moving
her sandcastle closer to mine when I woke up.

I tried to sit up. A pair of strong hands was there
immediately to help me.

"I called your house. Janey answered. She said to
tell you someone named `Bala' came over to help out.
Said you would want to know everything is OK and that
Sally is still in the basement, whatever that means.
Nicole, whoever she is, is awake and responsive and
didn't need to go the hospital. Now that you know
everything is OK, Lar, you want to tell me just what
the fuck's going on? Who are all those people?"

I relaxed as I heard the rapid-fire reassurances from
my friend. All the little things I hadn't been able to
think of, he had. Damn, it was good to hear his voice.

I smiled. "Mac! You should really watch your language
around impressionable young kids, you know?" Mac had
grown up on the streets in a very rough neighborhood.
Ever since high school I had ribbed him about his rough
language, helping him smooth out some rough edges. In
return, he taught me to fight dirty and about the hard
facts of life in the real world. We both learned and
improved, better individuals for our friendship.

He punched my arm, the good one. "Damn you, Lar, I've
been stuck in here for three days waiting for you to
wake up and tell them I had nothing to do with this.
Whatever this is. What is this, anyway, and who the
Hell are you and what have you done with my friend
Larry Sampson?"

"Oh, God, Mac, where do I start..."

"He can't tell you."

The two of us turned our heads as one to look at the
clear, sweet voice coming from the bed. Simone was

She repeated, "He can't tell you. He has integrity."
She said that last word as if it were the most
important thing in the world that a man could have.
She may be right.

"Damn, Lar, who is the beautiful woman who uses big
words with such a lovely accent?"

"Excuse my manners. Mac, this is Simone. Simone,

He stuck out his hand, "Hi, Simone." His trademark
grin that had won him more than one fair maiden lit up
his face.

"Pleased to meet you, Monsieur Mac." She said his name
with her delightful accent, and giggled at his response
to her. I had seen Mac in many situations, but I had
never seen him this flustered. I swear, he even

"I can get her to explain any big words you don't
understand, OK, lughead?"

"Fuck you!"

"Monsieur Mac!" That reprimand came from her, followed
by another laugh. I had never observed that particular
behavior they called coquettish before, but it was
truly amazing to see this teenaged girl keep Mac tongue-
tied and off balance.

After several minutes of valiantly waging a losing
battle, he turned to me for rescue. "Help me out here,
please! So help me God, I want to take her home with
me. But if you dare tell CeCe I said that, I'll make
you pay for our lunches for the next 10 years."

"I'm tempted to tell you to go fuck yourself, Mac," I
laughed, grinning at him. "But I don't think I could
afford you for the next 10 years with your new
contract." Mac had gone on a tear at the plate the
last month of the season. It hadn't been enough to get
the team into the play-offs, but it sure brought up the
gate receipts, which is what counts. He had been
expected to just be a part-time replacement for an
injured player. He had far out-performed expectations.
I knew he would, given the chance.

When the opposing pitchers kept getting hit, they
started walking him. Trouble with that was that Mac
firmly believed in scoring. Baseball to him was
simple. You get on, you score. He brought an exciting
sandlot quality to an aging team, invigorating the
whole team in the process. If you walked him to first,
he would steal the next three bases, including home
plate. The fans loved it. So did management. They
had just signed him to a huge contract for the next 3

"Lawrence, is he OK?" Simone asked quietly.

I knew what she meant. Was he safe to have in her
sandcastle? Would he hurt her, leaving her to trample
more sand?

"Uh, `Monsieur Mac', as you have dubbed him, is my
closest and best friend. I would, and have, trusted
him with my life and yours. I hope someday you will
find a friend as good as he is to me. I can't tell you
if he will be good for you, but I would bet he would
be. That decision has to be up to you. Always."

"It is frightening, Lawrence. How can I be sure who to

"Trust your mother. Trust Sally. Trust Janey. Learn
from them, watch them, see how they measure people, who
they let into their lives."

"But Gary, and that other man..." she didn't finish.

"Don't hold your mother responsible for Gary, Simone.
Sally fell for him, too. We all need to learn from our
mistakes and the mistakes of others."

"I know." She looked up at Mac with her sparkling blue
eyes, her decision made. I knew he was a goner. He
was going to be a part of her sandcastle whether he
liked it or not. Something told me he wouldn't mind.
CeCe's opinion was another matter, but one bridge at a

A first for Mac, he had not interrupted this short
exchange. He was puzzled at some things we were
saying, others began to make sense.

"So, anybody want to tell me what you were doing on my
doorstep covered in blood and shit? Can you tell me
that much?"

I looked over at Simone, who nodded for me to tell him.

"Remember a couple of weeks ago, that serial killer
they caught?"

He nodded, shuddering at the reminder. It was still
fresh in most people's minds. Even with his tough
background, some things still touched you hard.

"He was Sally's boyfriend before she kicked him out."

"You mean the one where she just about shot apart her
house when she kicked him out, oh about four or five
years ago?"

"You knew about that and didn't tell me?"

"Well, yeah, CeCe told me but she said Sally would tell
you. I thought you knew. Honest!"

"Thanks, buddy. Thanks a lot. Anything else you want
to tell me about my fianc‚e before I start?"

He shook his head sheepishly. I knew he hadn't meant
to keep it from me. I continued the abridged version
and told him the story about Sally and Gary, then of us
seeing Gary, Nicole and Simone together at the
symphony. I told him what I had done to set Gary up,
just not the connections I used or how I had made them.
He assumed they were from my financial clients. I let

I also glossed over exactly why Nicole and Simone were
staying with us, and what led to Simone running away,
just that there were some adjustment issues around the
house to work out. Then I turned to Simone and asked
her to tell both of us what had happened from that
point, as I was curious, too.

Simone lowered her eyes and spoke to her hands, which
were folded on her lap. Her voice was clear and her
words concise, no fear apparent in them.

"I was so jealous of Janey. She is so beautiful and
her dance was perfect. I will never be like her. She
has so many friends. It is so hard for me to speak
with people my own age, especially the boys. I try,
but I always say the wrong things and make them feel
stupid. I don't mean to. For Janey it is so easy.
Everyone likes Janey.

"I was angry at her for being so perfect. I did
something awful. I told one of her friends, a boy she
really liked, something that made him not like her. It
was a lie. She found out. It hurt her, and she cried
at night for several nights. She did not hate me,
though, and that made me feel so small. In fact, she
tried harder, spending more time with me, helping me.
I had never done anything like that before, to try to
hurt someone. It made me feel so dirty inside. It
shamed me.

"I know she tried so hard to make me feel welcome, but
it was still her room, her home. I missed my things,
too. You took us in to your home to help us, but it
was not my home. Mama felt the same way, a little.
Please understand, we were grateful for the help you
gave to us, but it hurt our pride to need it.

"I was angry with Mama, too, for saying those ugly
things about Janey. It was not the first time. Mama
isn't like that, really. Please do not hate her,
Lawrence, she is very frightened and alone. She needs
to have a man such as you take care of her. But she
kept saying bad things, worse and worse. I think she
was afraid you would not want me around with Janey so
perfect, so she tried to make her less perfect by
saying those things about her. I warned her that Mist-
, er, Sally was becoming angry with her. She didn't

"Then after the dance Mama said that horrible thing
about Janey. My Mama is bigger and stronger than
Sally, but I have never seen such a rage in a person.
I wanted to stop her from hurting Mama, but I couldn't
move my feet. It happened so fast, too. I could feel
Sally's rage with that thing Janey showed me. The
intensity of her madness terrified me and kept me from
moving. I was ashamed to be so weak and useless when
my Mama needed me most.

"When that nice couple left, I hid on the back of their
car. I am sorry for running away, Lawrence. I did not
mean to go. I did not mean to cause you so much
trouble. I thought if I were not there, Mama would not
have to worry about you not wanting me around. If I
were not there, I would not have to live with Janey and
be compared to her perfection. At least, that's what I
told myself later, as we both know those are just
excuses, really. In all honesty, at the time, I did
not think at all, Lawrence. For once in my life that I
can remember, I did not think. I just did it.

"I had gone outside to get away from the things in my
head. I could still hear Mama screaming. I could
sense Sally's rage. I could feel the thump of Mama's
body as she was pulled down the stairs. I could feel
the hairs pulling out of her head. I had to get away,
as far from the pain and screaming and rage as
possible. I am sorry I was so weak.

"Their car was leaving and I ran and jumped on. I
didn't think. I had to do it before it got too far
away and once I took that first step, I was flying. I
have never felt so free before. I was doing something
without planning it out. Without knowing what would
happen. My heart was racing from the excitement and
the wind felt wonderful on my face. Such exhilaration
I have never felt before. I was free!

"The first part of the ride was like a magic carpet. I
was gliding along. Then the went too fast and I got
frightened. I couldn't see the exit signs because my
eyes would water in the wind. The temperature dropped
as it got dark and I got cold. I kept my eyes closed
most of the ride so I didn't know what road I was on.
I got off at the first stop of the car, but by then, I
was cold and lost. I didn't know where I was. I
started walking towards the lights of the big sports
arena and the music, looking for a telephone or a
store. A big van drove by me as I was walking along, I
think maybe twice. The second time it went by then
backed up. I was so cold, I was shaking.

"A nice man in the van asked me if I would like a ride.
I said no. He said just get in to get warm, it was
cold out tonight, and it looked like rain. He said he
would just drive me around to find a telephone, then
bring me back to where I was standing. I said no. He
asked me if I was hungry. I am sorry for all the
trouble I have caused you, Lawrence, but I was so cold
and hungry. I did not eat at the dinner, I had been
too excited with all the new things Bala was teaching
us. The nice man pulled a big sandwich out of a bag
and took a bite. I could smell it though the open
window. The juices dripped down his chin and he
reminded me of Papa. Just a little. It looked so
good. I am sorry, but I got in.

"He started driving around. I wrapped up in a blanket
in the back, as far from him as I could. It was so
nice and warm. He gave me a cup of hot chocolate, to
help me warm up first, he said. It tasted funny and I
think he had put something in it. But it was warm and
I drank it all. I felt a little funny later, but not
bad. I suddenly didn't care if he didn't take me to a
telephone or back to where he picked me up anymore.

"He made a phone call while we were driving around. I
didn't pay any attention to where we were going. I
felt like I was floating. I didn't care about anything
anymore. Soon we were far away from the sports arena.
He stopped the van by another car on this dark street
with all these broken buildings. An ugly man in a
yellow hat looked at me and made an ugly laugh. I
didn't like him. He handed the nice man some money.
Suddenly the door I was leaning against was yanked
open. A big man ripped the blanket away from me. I
felt the cold again and I screamed. He hit me. Then
he stuck a needle in my leg.

"I woke up where you found me. I felt you coming, I
think, but I had to hide. They..., they did bad things
to me. I got thirsty, and they peed in my mouth. When
I got hungry, they backed up to my face and defecated
on me. The other men, they always kept coming and
using me, in my mouth, in my bottom, everywhere. They
paid money to the man in the yellow hat to use me.

"When you found me, they were getting ready to move me
to another place. The man said someone had paid cash
for me and I was going far away, where no one would
find me. They had taken pictures of me first thing
before I got too dirty, to show to the buyers. The
yellow hat was happy with the price the new people had
paid him. He called me `prime.'"

She ended her story. Both Mac and I sat there,
unmoving, shocked at what we had just heard.

"Simone," I asked her, "were there two men or three who
took you the first time. When they grabbed you out of
the van"

"Just two. The man with the yellow hat and the big,
dumb one. He made a lot of piss. He grabbed me and
leaned on me until I was still after he stuck me with
the needle. I remember he carried me to the other car
under his arm like a loaf of long French bread, but I
couldn't feel anything. Then I don't remember."

"There were three men in the cellar. Do you know who
the third man might have been?"

"When they went away and left me alone, they said they
were bringing back someone to take me away. Perhaps
that was him."

I hoped to God it was, and that he had been acting
alone. I just wanted this nightmare to end for Simone.

Chapter 37

At that moment the door opened and a distinctive aroma
filled the room. The smell, close to a stench, was so
intense it made your eyes water the first time you
experienced it. I had experienced it many times, and
still couldn't quite get used to it.

"Hello, Gertie. It's been a while."

"Hello, to you too, Mr. Sampson. I see you've been up
to your usual stunts. Rescuing fair maidens now, are

I was still sitting. I tilted my head back to look up
at an enormous block of a woman who was smiling warmly
down at me in a motherly fashion. She was as large as
her unique perfume was intense. As far as I knew,
there was still a sizable reward open in the NIH labs
for anyone who could duplicate that odor and make an
antidote. God knows why she insisted on bathing in the
stuff. She was an intelligent woman, a world-renowned
medical researcher. She was published in more than one
field, she had a likeable personality. She just
smelled. It was rumored that certain airlines had
banned her from flying with them. Too many customer

She was accompanied by an officious lab coat. The
local hospital administrator, was my bet. He started
right in on me.

"Yes, Mr. Sampson, I demand to know what is going on in
my hospital. Will you please explain to me what you
did to this young juvenile and why you were carrying
her naked though the streets? What is your
relationship to this black fellow, and what were you
two planning on doing to her? I have several important
questions I would like to have answered, mister.
You're going to be in real trouble if I don't get the
truth I'm after, and I'm talking criminal charges,
here. Your accomplice here has been particularly
insistent in trying to leave. Why? I want to know
what's going on, and right now!" he ended emphatically.

"And you would be...?"

"Carl Jones, Assistant Administrator."

"Well, Mr. Jones, in the first place, you'd better get
a lawyer real quick. I don't take kindly to
insinuations, aspersions or allegations, especially the
kind you have just made about my friend, this `black
fellow,' as you called him, and me.

"Now, I'm sure that Dr. Schwartz here will put you into
contact with some nice government people who will
satisfy your curiosity as to who I am. Of course, that
would be after you prove to them that you're capable of
handling that information, which could take several
years of their asking some very personal questions. In
fact, I'm sure those same government people would be
happy to bring several of their nice friends along who
will have questions of their own for you about your tax
records for the last 25 years."

I stood up for effect. I don't think the pompous
little snot knew how big I was. "Now then, I would
suggest you leave before I really get mad."

He was actually preparing to spout off again until I
mentioned the IRS. Blanching, he left the same pallid
color as his lab coat.

When the door was shut Gertie said, "Done with your
usual light touch, Sampson. Oh, by the way, we don't
use the IRS to threaten the populace anymore."

I looked at her, an expectant smile on my face. I knew
a punch line was coming.

"Uh-uh. Now we threaten them with the INS, ATF, or
Janet Reno. They go in with machine guns and point
them at your children."

She said this with such a straight face that, had I not
guffawed, Mac would have taken her seriously. Gertie
always was the one person who could be relied on to
have the latest sick government humor. As with most
sick jokes, however, there was entirely too much truth
in her statement.

"Excuse me, are you really Dr. Gertrude Schwartz of
NIH?" asked Simone from the bed.

The huge lady turned her considerable attention to the
girl in the bed. "Yes, I am, child. Do you know me?"

"You wrote a book, `The Dynamics of Hemoglobin Under
Physical Stress' published in 1985."

"Yes, I did," Gertie said with surprise. "How did you

"I read it," she stated simply. Simone could see the
disbelief in Gertie's face. I knew if it was Gertie's
book, it was undoubtedly a thick and very technical
book. Simone continued, "There were only four
typographic errors. I thought it was very well

"Well, thank you, I think. And there were only three
in the text!"

"You misspelled Claude Coutier's name in the
references. That was the fourth one. So you are
correct in saying there were only three in the text."

"Dr. Coutier is an arrogant sycophant," Gertie

Simone giggled, "He said nearly the same thing about
you! Only in French, of course."

Gertie sat on the edge of the bed, fully taken with
this amazing young girl. "You know Claude?"

Simone nodded, "I knew him. We corresponded until he
died last year. I had written to him to ask him if he
thought your radical theories were correct, as they
differed so much from his. He grudgingly admitted to
me you were most likely correct. Did you know him, Dr.
Schwartz? He would never say why he had such strong
feelings about you."

I had never seen the big woman this vulnerable. She
was as tough as they came, solid and dependable. I had
leaned on her for strength more than once after
returning from a hard mission. This young girl had her
near tears.

"Yes, I did know him, long ago at the University. Very
well, in fact. He and I were engaged. His mother didn't like me and we, he..." She didn't say what, but
it was clear.

"Oh, I am so sorry, Dr. Schwartz. I did not mean to
bring up sad memories. I know he would have liked it
that you did it on purpose, as a joke on his mother.
He said many nice things about you in his letters, like
he missed talking with you. I can see why he loved

Gertie sat quietly for a moment, alone with her own
thoughts. She wheeled on me suddenly. "I hear one
word of this from anyone, mister, and I will draw so
much of your blood for lab tests at your next physical
you'll blow away in a puff. Understood?"

I nodded, suitable threatened. My lips were sealed.
For now.

With that, Gertie was back to business. "What's his
clearance?" she asked me, nodding her head at Mac.

I looked at Mac. I shrugged. "I don't know. What do
you think, Mac? 410 feet? 415?"

He snorted, Gertie just looked puzzled.

"Mac is my oldest and closest friend, Gertie. From
before my Agency work. He, uh, he is a ball player.
Baseball. Gertie, this is Mac Washington, third
baseman for the Yankees. Mac, Gertie, my own personal
government doctor."

They shook hands, then Gertie's eyes widened in sudden
recognition. "You! You're THAT Mac! You're the one
who showed up out of nowhere and cost me all that money
in the Orioles game. Damn! Nobody can move that fast
on the bases. You must have stolen four or five bases
that game alone!"

Mac grinned, taking the praise, tainted as it was, in

"Gertie, you continue to amaze me. I didn't know you
followed baseball. And betting? Does the Agency know
about that?"

She glared over at me. "Screw you, Mr. Sampson. It
was a $10 bet with the director that went to double or
nothing when Mac got walked. He was an unknown who had
just been moved up from some hick Triple A club to
replace that injured player, what's `is name. Who was
I to know he could run like the wind? Besides, $20
won't get you a hot dog and a beer there, so shove it.
We went to the game on official business, too. Maybe
one of you will tell me, since we're on the subject,
why do they call you two `The Twins?' That name kept
coming up in some of your old teammates' interviews."

She turned to Mac. "It's an honor to meet you in
person. Excuse me for not recognizing you, Mr.
Washington. I didn't recognize you without your tight
pants..." For the second time she stopped short, not
finishing what she was saying. It was a most unusual

As much as she blushed when she realized what she had
just admitted, that she had only looked at his butt
during the game, Mac and I were still trying to recover
from her sudden unexpected question about our nickname.
The reason for the name was rather personal, and, thank
goodness, our teammates, though truthful about the
name, had had the loyalty to conveniently forget the
reason for it. I gave her the standard bullshit answer
we told anyone who asked.

"Well, it started out in high school. He would get a
hit, I would get a hit. I would pitch a no-hitter,
then he would. What ever happened, happened to both of
us. Ergo, `The Twins!'"

Gertie looked at me carefully. She knew me too well.
My answer had been too pat, too prepared. "Is that
your final answer?"

I nodded.


I shrugged. Take it or leave it.

Shaking her head in resignation, she finally got on
with why she had come in to the room in the first
place. "Well, first the good news. You, Mr. Sampson,
are as healthy as a horse. As usual. Even that little
scratch on your arm should heal nicely. That is due in
large part to me, as you well know." With that
prognosis she dismissed me from her realm of concern.
I was uneasy to get off so lightly with her.

She looked over at Simone for a moment. "More good
news is that the girl did not catch anything
particularly nasty from her ordeal. I did have to use
some, er, new things for a few of the bugs she had in
her system. You will have sign some, um, release
papers for her before I can let you leave." Something
told me we were very lucky to have this good doctor on
our side.

I knew more than a little bit about her `new things,'
as she called them, having been the recipient of a few
of them before. It was in large part the reason for
her continued interest in the state of my health. Or
that I had any health at all for her to be concerned
about. More than once I had heard the term `the guinea
pig' used when someone asked for my medical chart,
especially after she had patched me up after a mission.
I had a feeling the same label now applied to Simone.
Knowing Gertie, well, I trusted her to use her best
medical judgement, which, come to think of it, was
about the best in the world.

She hesitated for a moment, thinking and phrasing as I
had seen her do before when she was really serious.
When she spoke, she spoke directly to Simone, as if Mac
and I weren't there, "Young lady, I do not know who you
are or where you come from or why you are not more
affected than you are by what you have been through.
From the state in which you arrived, and the company
you arrived with, I have a very good idea of exactly
what you have gone through this past couple of days. I
saw the pictures they took of you when you came in, I
have read the physical exam notes from the emergency
room doctors and I have seen the lab tests. I have
also seen the results from the samples I sent to my
lab. I know many things."

Gertie seemed overcome with emotion, all choked up.
She pointed over at me. I thought I was a goner. "I
know this man. I know he did not do this to you. If
anything, he is probably responsible for saving you
from the people who were doing it to you."

Simone nodded her head in agreement. Gertie had her
rapt attention. Mine, too.

"I cannot imagine what would make one human being treat
another in the manner these people treated you. I
cannot fathom what would make a grown man think he
could treat a beautiful young woman in the manner these
men treated you. Not even among the most uncivilized
of peoples does this behavior exist. Only rarely does
it occur in the animal kingdom. I am beyond myself
with outrage. I ask you, give me one name, just one,
of one of the men who did this, and I will make him
suffer for what he did to you. He will beg me to let
him die. I swear to you, I will do it."

Simone shook her head. She didn't know their names.
Gertie misunderstood her, but, knowing me, guessed
correctly what had happened.

"You can't. They're dead, aren't they?" Not waiting
for an answer, she turned on me again. "Judge, jury
and executioner?" she accused bitterly.

I shook my head softly and held up my injured arm.
"One Uzi and two knives. Self-defense."

She snorted. "With your special training, that was
hardly fair odds..."

My alarmed look stopped her before she breached any
more major government secrets. I pointed to Mac, who
was staring wide-eyed at her careless slip that I had
had special training. I had never even hinted to him
what I had done after I left Triple A ball other than I
was working for the State Department. He thought I
worked at the embassies or something. I never really

Gertie, who had been nearly beside herself with rage at
the brutality of what Simone had been through, forced
herself to calm down. When she was back in control,
she turned back to the girl. "Simone, dear, I was
prepared for you to be traumatized and emotionally
battered from your ordeal. I was looking for you to be
withdrawn and sullen, bitter and hateful. A normal
person would feel that way. I was expecting to have to
recommend years of psychiatric help and counseling for

"But what do I find? A caring, sensitive, intelligent,
composed young woman. You reached out and touched my
heart with a fond memory. You had the sensitivity to
understand the love that old bastard and I had for each
other, two misshapen human beings that no one else
could love. You are truly an extraordinary woman.

"I would be pleased if you would keep in contact with
me. I would love to get to know you better as a
person, to watch you grow, to help you be even more
than you are now, if even in some small way. It would
be a privilege. Besides, latent repercussions of these
events may crop up later on. Rather than have to re-
educate someone new, I would be pleased to keep in
touch with you."

I nearly fell out of my chair. This was the woman who
had practically single-handedly re-invented the
rehabilitation program for traumatized agents. There
were today several active agents who, prior to her
program, would have had to be, well, put down, myself
among them. We could be a lethal bunch when we got out
of control. For her to offer to look after Simone
after the trauma she had been through was more than I
could have hoped for. It also indicated something of
the intensity of the trauma Simone had been through.

Simone's experience was, in many ways, the same type of
torture and degradation experienced by captured agents.
Simone's apologies earlier of her inability to resist
because of the cold and hunger had reminded me of
similar apologies I had made myself. We all had a
breaking point. When we reached it, we all felt it was
due to our weakness, a failure on our part. Gertie was
right. Simone needed more than my help for this.

I lost my head. I stood up and hugged Gertie, I was so
overcome with emotion. She tolerated it briefly, then
set me back down rather forcibly in the chair. "Don't
go soft on me now, Mr. Sampson. She's going to need
your help, too. I assume, somehow, you're in some
manner responsible for her? God help her."

I almost wished I were back in the agency. Almost. I
had so many things I could hold over her head from just
this afternoon, I could have owned her departmental
budget. Her former lover, betting with the director,
watching Mac's ass, her careless slip about my
training, oh, so many things. I could have had any
assignment I wanted. But, then, that was the trouble.
I didn't want any assignments, anymore.

"Yes, she is the daughter of my, uh, fianc‚e." I saw
Simone watching me to see how I would portray my
relationship with her mother. I thought I should
reassure her of the permanence of her situation with
me. I forgot about Mac.

"What!" Mac burst out. "Did you and Sally break up?
Holy Shit! CeCe's going to have a cow!"

"No, Mac. We didn't break up. Sally and I are still
going to get married. Too," I added weakly. My
position of superiority with Gertie had just been
eroded to nothing. I could see from her incredulous
expression that she was eating this up and just waiting
to hear my explanation. From her prior experience with
me, she knew to expect a doozy.

"But, but, that's illegal," blustered Mac.

"Multiple partner marriages are an accepted practice in
37 different cultures," piped up Simone from her
pillow. She was on my side, at least. She wanted to
get her mom married off and safe. I wanted to change
the subject.

"And just how many of those 37 cultures are in the US
of A, Miss Smarty-pants," howled Gertie, now shaking
with laughter. She was really enjoying this. Turning
to me, she said, "Which wife will you be bringing with
you to the festivities in Washington the week after

I looked at her blankly.

"Oh, right! You haven't heard, yet. The President
thought it would be nice to have a quiet bash or two -
complete with photo ops, mind you! - for all the hidden soldiers that keep this country safe for democracy. To
protect the actives, the agency PR guys are pulling in
every coherent inactive agent they can find, and you,
Mr. Sampson, are at the top of their list. A very
short list, too. Since the festivities will be at the
same time as your next scheduled physical..."

I groaned at the thought of another 4-day stint as a
rat in her laboratory.

"...I have already taken the liberty of RSVPing for you
and the Mrs. Maybe I should specify a table for
three...?" She was really enjoying herself. If
laughter was the best medicine, Gertie Schwartz, MD,
was a very healthy woman at the moment.

Simone, however, remained fixed on the problem that had
been staring me in the face ever since I realize what
it was Sally was really asking me to do with her and
Nicole. What she said next was like a thunderbolt, a
revelation. The answer was so simple, it just might

"But, it's only illegal if they file the papers with
the courts, isn't it. I mean, they could still pretend
or something, couldn't they?"

I don't know about the others, but I just sat and
stared at Simone, my angel. All I could think of was
that quote `And a child shall lead them...'

Chapter 38

Simone and I were kept for observation for 4 more days.
Gertie visited everyday. Shit, she did more than
visit. She spent more than 6 hours a day with us,
talking with Simone mostly. With her workload at the
NIH, I realized how important this was to her, that
Simone be OK. I left them to their talks. I used the
time to sleep, as I was awake at night, still on alert.
I think Gertie knew that. I didn't look, but I knew
there was an inconspicuous guard watching our door 24
hours a day.

I spent the nights by Simone's bed. We would talk
until she fell asleep. She would insist on holding my
finger as we talked. She quietly admitted it helped
her dreams. Other than that she didn't like me, or any
male, to touch her much. She liked me to talk while
she slept, too.

I remembered what I had done for Janey, so I did the
same for her. I didn't have that much history with her
to relive, so I told her things I remembered from my
own youth. I told her all about Mac, and how the first
time we met, we had defended each other back to back in
a playground fistfight. The rich kid and the ruffian.
We had been inseparable from then on. Our parents and
teachers never understood.

I told her about growing up poor, then suddenly
stupendously rich. I told her about my father and
mother, how the sudden riches had torn them apart and
how I missed them. I told her about Marion, my sister.
How proud I was of her being a judge. I told her
things I had forgotten and things I tried to forget,
but couldn't. I told her what I could about my time in
the Agency, and why I couldn't work for them anymore.
I talked until I would drift off. Then we would dream

Each night the dream would be the same as before. The
beach. The sandcastles. Each night I would show
Simone a different set of faces in my collection.
Some, like Gertie and Mac, she liked and she would try
to touch them with her fingers. Pieces of the sand
from them would cling to her delicate fingers and she
would scurry back to her own castle and brush the tiny
shiny grains into her own mixture of faces. I would
watch her as she would sit and watch the grains fit
together. Her radiant smile was all the reward I need
for sharing those memories.

Some of the faces in my castle frightened her and she
would protectively move her own sandcastle a little
farther away from mine again, leaving that part of the
wall open and unprotected from any errant wave. I
would leave the gap open for her and gently show how
all the faces in the sand were mixed. The good with
the bad. I showed her that the bad would fade away,
while the good would continue to shine. I showed her,
too, how the bad sometimes made the whole castle
stronger. Not all the time, but sometimes.

I showed her the remains of my father's castle, down
the beach a ways. It was almost gone, as he hadn't
been there to tend it for a long time. The only faces
left in the ruins were Thorny's, his partner, Marion's
and mine. Everyone else had faded away or forgotten

We found her Papa's sandcastle and carried it closer to
where ours stood. Simone seemed to like knowing his
sand was close by. She visited his crumbling castle
often. Once I watched her try to fix a breached wall
in his castle. Every time she dumped a bucket of sand
on the wall, it would disappear. I didn't know how she
would react to that, but slowly she came to terms with
the futility of it. Only the living could build
sandcastles. She didn't try to fix it again, but
focused on building her own.

From that time on, each morning when we woke, I would
sense she had moved her sandcastle a little closer to
mine. I would grin over at her as she opened her eyes.
Neither one of us understood what it was we were
experiencing, but we accepted it. I knew it would be a
huge step for her to commit to another relationship and
that it would take a long time before she was ready to
do it. That was fine with me. I would be there when
she was ready.

Mac came everyday, too. He had been `released' as soon
as Gertie had cleared him. He visited the children's
ward on each visit, too. I'm not sure who liked it
more, Mac or the children. When he visited with us, he
spent most of his time tripping over his tongue trying
to talk with Simone. She continued to fluster him and
took great delight in her ability to keep him
floundering. He brought her little gifts, trinkets and
flowers that she accepted as if he was presenting her
with the crown jewels. I could tell he was having
trouble justifying his feelings about Simone on several
levels, not the least of which being her young age, and
kept trying to draw me into a conversation about Sally
and Nicole. I ignored his unsubtle attempts, and left
him to work it out by himself. I slept when he was
there, sounder than when Gertie was there. I felt
safer with my friend.

Mac had retrieved my car while we were recovering in
the hospital. I drove home after they released us. I
was a little nervous about our homecoming. I was going
to insist on carrying Simone through the door, but she
kissed me shyly on the cheek. "I am not the invalid,
Lawrence." Flabbergasted, I let her walk.

The house was quiet when we entered. Janey had heard
us drive in and was preparing the bed for Simone.
Another bed was the last thing Simone wanted to see.
The two teens saw each other and ran into each other's
arms. There was more said in the fierceness of that
hug and in the mingling of their mutual tears than
could ever have been said with mere words. I think, at
that moment, they started thinking of each other as
family, as sisters.

I had not told Janey what Simone had been through. She
just knew it had been terrible. Simone did not
apologize to Janey for being jealous. She wasn't
anymore. It was too expensive an emotion to own. She
couldn't afford it.

I stood and looked at the pair. Simone was taller than
Janey, but not as tall as Nicole. Her coloring was
deceptive. It was dark like her mom's, I guess. I
would have to say it was best described as having a
porcelain quality, like fine china. I knew she was a
lot tougher than she seemed, but the fragile quality
came through in every fine feature, every gracious
movement. She made you want to wrap her up in your
arms and protect her. A china doll. A very feminine
china doll.

They broke their hug. Janey looked up at her and
grinned, "Nice hair. You meet a lawnmower salesman?"

Simone looked stunned for a moment, then proudly poofed
her hair, like a Parisian model. "You like?" she asked
seriously. "He has a nice truck, he'll come to the
house. I can get you a quick appointment. I think he
said his name was `Roto-Rooter.' Very exclusive. 24-
hour service, too!"

It was Janey's turn to be silenced. Simone had never
bested her before, but it was fun to watch. Her squeal
of delight at having found a sparring partner ended in
another hug, this one of excitement.

After the extended greetings were over, I took the two
girls into the living room. I noticed the door to the
Free Room was closed. I had not told Simone what had
happened to her mom, but she knew most of it. She had
felt it through her newly discovered link. I asked
Janey to tell us what had happened while we were gone.

"Well, Nicole was sleeping when you left, so I went
down to check on Mom. I could, like, tell she was OK,
but I wanted to see for myself. I told her Nicole was
resting quietly. I also told her she was to stay down
in the basement under restraint until you got back with
Simone. Or came home alone."

She looked up at me. "I hope that was OK to tell her
that. I don't think she knew Simone had run away."

I nodded.

"Well, I wasn't sure. She got really scared, not for
herself, but for Simone. She started to cry, really
cry. I made sure she wouldn't choke or anything, and I
left. I couldn't take it. I don't know how long she
cried, but I felt her sorrow. I still do.

"A couple hours after you left, Bala showed up. You
called them?"

Again I nodded.

"Yeah, well, she ended up being a great help. But
right at the first I wasn't sure. Ten minutes after
she got here, I sensed a change in Mom, like a panic or
something. I raced downstairs and found Bala standing
behind her with a whip. She hadn't hit her yet, but
she was teasing her.

"I'm sorry if I didn't do the right thing, Dad, but I
let Bala have it. I told her this wasn't the time or
the place for teasing. I told her she could stay if
she wanted to help, but it would be on my terms. You
had left me in charge. Otherwise, she could get her
little butt back to Amud." Janey grinned at that
recollection. "She looked at me funny for a minute,
then she got that neat twinkle in her eye. You know
the one? Then she hugged me and apologized."

She looked up at us. "I wouldn't have made it through
without her help, Dad. Anyway, I spent most of my time
with Nicole. When she woke up, I tried to talk to her,
but she was really far away. I got scared and started
to call the doctor. Bala came in and looked at her.
She got in bed with her, naked, and lay down with her,
front to back, like you and mom like to do. Bala just
held her, singing to her, holding her like a baby.

"I watched them. Nicole settled down and seemed to
like the touch of Bala. When Nicole went back to
sleep, Bala had me take off my clothes and change
places with her, so that I was in the bed with Nicole.
She went off to fix us a meal. One of us was always
with Nicole, holding her.

"Eventually she started crying. I got scared again,
but Bala was really happy about that. She said that
now that she was feeling again, she would be OK. Even
if she were feeling a lot of sadness, it would pass.
It was the blankness that never went away that was
dangerous. Some women never come back to the living,
she said.

"About then Mac called. He was so worried about you,
but he said you were in the hospital now and would be
OK. Scared the shit out of me - oops, sorry Dad - but
he reassured me you were OK. I had to ask him if you
had found Simone. He didn't know your name, but when
he described you, I knew it was you. He didn't do
justice to your haircut, Simmie!"

Simone, who had just acquired a nickname, snuggled her
head into Janey's shoulder. Her tears had been
silently falling as Janey told of her mother's

"She wants to see you, Simmie. That's the only thing
she has said to either of us. She just asked if Simone
had returned, and to please send her in immediately."

She looked back up at me. "I didn't tell her, Dad, I
swear. Bala swore to me she didn't, either. She just
knew Simone had run away.

"She's asleep right now, or I would have sent you right
in. You could go in and sit with her until she wakes
up if you want."

Simone nodded and went to the door of the Free Room.
She hesitated outside the door. "Janey?"


"Thank you."

"Any time."

Chapter 39

When Simone was gone, Janey came over and sat on my
lap, curled up in a ball and wept. All the fear, all
the terror, all the unknown came rushing out. Things
were OK, now. Simone was back safe. She could let go.

I let her cry. In between her tears, she told me that
she had remembered what I had done for her when she had
been hiding from reality. How I had sat by her bed and
talked to her. So she did that with Nicole. She told
about Steven's attack on her. What she had felt like.
How she had wanted to die. She told her of Sally's bet
with me, the whole thing. How I had agreed,
reluctantly, to help her adjust sexually. That that
was why we were so open in the house, why Janey could
tease me like she did.

I let her cry herself out. We were both lying there
when we felt the reunion between Nicole and Simone. I
felt almost guilty eavesdropping on their emotions like
that. I asked Janey if she ever got used to it. I
think she felt as guilty as I did. It was a rather
touching reunion.

Nicole and Simone came out of the Free Room together.
In European fashion, they were holding hands. They
came over to where Janey and I were sitting. Nicole
was naked, as she had been with Sally as her mistress.
That would have to change. I whispered for Janey to go
get her one of Sally's slave outfits. Janey jumped up
and came back with it in a flash.

I had Janey help Nicole put it on. It didn't fit quite
the same as it did on Sally, but it did wonders for her
ego. She knelt down at my feet and grabbed on to my
ankles. I felt her tears washing over them. I looked
up at Simone to see what she was thinking. I wasn't
prepared for the beaming smile she gave me. Whatever I
had done seemed to have been a step in the right

I had been dreading going down to get Sally. When
Nicole seemed to be less weepy, I told her to get up
and follow me. I told the girls to have Bala call Amud
and to help her pack. I knew he didn't like to be away
from her any longer than necessary. I knew he didn't
like her in the house with me when he wasn't here, too.
It's not that he didn't trust us both. He just didn't
trust us both together. I didn't blame him. Bala was
beginning to grow on me.

I had been sensing Sally since I got home. I had shot
her a message to prepare herself when I had arrived. I
had sensed a quiet resolution and peace from her in
return. I wasn't sure I liked that serenity in her
and, frankly, it scared the shit out of me. I made my
way to the dungeon, sending her reassurances the entire
way. All I got back was that damned calm message that
she was at peace with herself.

Nicole followed me into the dungeon. She gasped as she
saw Sally. Her face was drawn, haggard, as if she had
not slept in the week we were gone. It was entirely
possible that she had refused herself that luxury. In
preparing for us, she had fouled herself. There was a
trail of urine beginning at her knees that was slowly
heading for the floor drain. Streaks of brown on her
thighs indicated the path of her feces. The stench was
just beginning to reach eye-watering intensity. Her
eyes clouded with tears for another reason as she saw
Nicole wearing one of her slave costumes. I felt the
fear in her heart. I did nothing to still it.

"Master? Has she been here the entire time?"


"Mon Dieu!"

The whip Sally had used to beat Nicole was still on the
floor where it had fallen that night. It had been
within her view the entire time as she knelt in the
stocks. I went over and picked it up. I handed it to

"Get it out of your system."

She looked at the whip as if it was of alien origin.
She looked up at me confused. "Master? I do not

I pointed at Sally. "She hurt you, beat you badly.
Now it is your turn."

Sally, already pale, whitened completely at that
statement. That was not what she thought I had meant
when I told her to prepare herself. She braced herself
when Nicole went up to her holding the whip in both
hands like a club. I was prepared to intervene if
necessary as she raised it high over her head.

The whip crashed down, but I didn't move. The force of
the blow broke the shaft of the weapon, knocking it out
of her hands and across the room. Nicole walked over
to it, bent down and picked up the now ruined whip.
She handed it to me. "It is out of my system. May I
help her clean up now, Master?"

I looked at her and smiled in gratitude. She had made
the first important unilateral step of forgiveness in
the process of reconciliation between the two women and
made it in such a way that ensured a healing. She had
broken the whip over the post behind Sally. I was
looking forward to getting to know this exotic looking
woman better.

"Come into the Free Room when you are both ready." As
I was leaving, I heard the two women crying and
sobbing, asking each other's forgiveness. They had
both been wrong, they had both been hurt. It had been
my all my fault. We all knew that, too.

They made me wait. Amud came and gathered Bala. Janey
and I expressed our thanks to him for letting her come.
He sincerely wished me peace in my house. Bala,
surprising both of us, requested Janey to come visit
her. She had been impressed with her taking charge,
how she had handled herself. There was much she could
teach her, she said, if I would allow it. She didn't
ask Amud's permission before speaking up, and I saw him
roll his eyes in exasperation. He did give me a quick
nod of assent before I agreed, however, grinning as he
did. As much as he protested, I think he enjoyed his
wife's unpredictable nature more and more. It was
exciting, anyway. I agreed that Janey would go over in
a few days and stay for an extended visit.

When Sally and Nicole did come into the Free Room, I
saw immediately what had taken so much time. Sally had
whipped up a slave outfit for Nicole, one that fit her
like a glove and showed off her charms in a most
appealing and inviting way. I'm not sure who was more
pleased with my stares at Nicole, she or Sally. I kept
checking my sense for any jealousy from Sally, but
there simply wasn't any. So I kept staring.
Eventually at both of them.

Sally, giggling, finally broke the lustful interlude,
"Did you want to see us, Master, or just see us?" She
giggled at her own joke. It was good to hear her
laugh, but there were serious matters to discuss.

I grinned at her, and held out my arms to her. She
collapsed against me, dissolving in the sobs of the
deep sorrow that was still just below the surface. I
held her to me, consoling her. Nicole stood watching
our embrace. She was not embarrassed at this intimacy
nor did she turn away. It was simply not her turn.
She would wait.

Setting Sally down in one of the comfortable chairs
around the table in the room, I held another chair out
for Nicole. I took another chair facing the two.
Briefly, before I started, I checked with my senses on
the two teenagers. Both were intense sources of
curiosity, standing just outside the door. I gave them
a good-natured growl over our link, thought of a
picture of a grizzly bear, which I knew Janey would
hate, and sent them to clean their room. We heard mock
screams of terror as they fled the vicinity.

Nicole looked puzzled at what had just happened. She
had not experienced the link, perhaps never would.
Sally looked stunned. I had just sent a message with
such apparent ease over my link where a week before I
couldn't hardly come to grips with having the ability
at all. I didn't try to explain it to her, but she was
clearly impressed with my grasp of it.

"This is the Free Room. Free Room rules apply. Is
that clear?" I asked them.

Both nodded.

"I made an error in judgement giving Sally authority
over you, Nicole. I apologize." I turned to Sally.
"I made an error of pride in not listening to you,
Sally. Please forgive me." I waited.

Nicole spoke first, after first glancing at Sally, who
nodded. "Lawrence, what works with some will not work
with all. You need to see Sally and me as different.
You need to see us for who and what we are. For
myself, I do not wish to be a mistress and have
authority over someone."

"I find that hard to believe, Nicole. You were the CEO
of a successful company. You made decisions and
controlled people's lives every day."

"I was terrified every minute of the day, every day of
the week. It is not that I cannot make decisions, or
think, or act on my own. I just do not wish to have
responsibility for others. It terrifies me. Can you
do that, Lawrence?"

"You are asking me to treat you differently. I can do
that. Will you also accept that many times, most of
the time, in fact, I may need to treat you in the same
manner? That there may not be much difference?"

She grinned, nodding. "Apology accepted, Lawrence."

Sally was quiet for a minute. "You hurt me, by not
listening to me."

I nodded. This was not going to go well, I could tell.

"I forgive you."

It couldn't be that simple.

It wasn't. I suddenly felt an awful pressure on my
balls. I looked at Sally. Both her hands were on the
table, as were Nicole's. Both sat too far away to
reach me with their feet. Still the pressure
increased. Sweat broke out on my forehead. I groaned
in pain. I saw spots. More than anything I wanted to
reach down and break the grip of whatever it was that
was slowly grinding my gonads. But I knew there was
nothing there. I groaned again, fast losing

Opening my senses, I saw two dainty hands holding an
oversized garlic press to my nuts. I recognized those
hands. I had just seen them. They were resting on the
table across from me. I looked up in terror at Sally.

"Don't you ever ignore me like that again, buster,"
came her sweet voice lilting across the link. "That
hurt me, that you, you, you toyed with me. Oh. By the
way, you aren't the only one who has been practicing.
I've had a lot of time on my hands lately..."

I gasped as the pressure suddenly disappeared. "One
more thing. I love you, Master," she ended. I didn't
know you could giggle across the link.

I had to wait to stop shaking before I continued. I
would never be safe in this house again. With my voice
still shaky, I asked, "Are you done?"

"Lawrence, is something the matter. You don't look
well. You are flushed."

"He's OK, Nikki." Nicole, too, had apparently acquired
a nickname. Sally was looking at me, talking to me
through her explanation to Nicole. "Its just something
that happens to a man when he realizes how stupid he's
been. This time the pain passed quickly, but the
reason for it will be remembered for a long time. That
about right, Larry?"

Nicole looked puzzled, but didn't press it.

I nodded in full agreement, then got on with the
meeting. "There are going be some changes. First,
Sally, I want you to take Nicole down and set up hers
and Simone's accounts like yours and Janey's. Nicole,
the way the money is handled around here is like this:
I don't touch your money. Any interest, wages or other
income is yours. It goes into the accounts that Sally
will help you set up. You are free to spend or invest
your money however you want. Until Simone is of legal
age, you will have signatory authority on her account.
I will be paying for all living expenses for my
household out of my own funds. Anything having to do
with the functioning of the household, I will pay for.
Is that clear?"

Sally and Nicole both nodded in agreement. It had been
bothering Nicole that this issue had not been

"Second, we are moving."

That got a bigger reaction from them. Nicole relaxed a
bit more. It was another area of concern for her.
Sally looked surprised, and a little distressed.

Before she could protest, I explained my reasons,
"Sally, this is your home. Nicole is uncomfortable."
I waited to see if she would accept that.

Sally looked over at Nicole, pleading in her eyes.

"Don't hold this against Nicole. It's my decision."

"Where will we move, Master?"

"To my family home. You just stayed there with

"But Janey..." she started to protest. I cut her off.
I had thought this out. It was decided.

"...will commute to her high school here for her senior
year. She has her license and I will get her a
dependable car. Simone will be seeing a kind of
counselor in Washington on a weekly basis, and the new
house is closer for her commute. It is also closer to
the symphony, Mac and CeCe, and Amud and Bala. It is
also closer to the Guild, which is important for a
reason I will explain later"

Sally sighed in resignation. That attitude wasn't what
I wanted to see in her. She had to not only accept
this but embrace it enthusiastically.

"Sally, this is not a punishment or a reflection on you
in any way. You will still keep this house. You can
use it as an escape, a haven for yourself. I'm sure
Nicole will use her own home for the same thing, from
time to time. What you two are asking me to do means
we're going to have to turn all of our concepts of
marriage and the traditional gender roles of who does
what upside down. It could get intense during the
adjustment period and for a long time afterwards. New
things may come up and disturb the environment from
time to time, too. You may need to regroup, readjust
to the new situation. You may need to leave for a
while. You can't do that now."

"I would never leave you, Larry!"

"Never is a very strong word, Sally."

"I..." She stopped, suddenly realizing the enormity of
the implications of what she had started by bringing in
Nicole. It had felt right to her, she knew it could
work. She just hadn't bothered to work out the
details. Putting it into practice needed planning, not
feelings. I knew her a little better now, I knew this
was how she functioned. She went on feeling, I went on

"You are right, Master. I hadn't thought about that.
I'm sorry I doubted you."

"It's still going to be tough. I haven't worked out
everything, you know. You two will have to do some
thinking, too...." I grinned at them both. "Sally,
since you are in charge of the household - yes, that
will continue to be your chief function - you will be
in charge of the remodeling and the move. I want to be
moved by the start of school, so you're going to have
your work cut out for you. Work out with Marion which
rooms she needs, which ones we can have. There should
be more than enough room for all of us in one wing.
She can have the other. Work with her. Whatever you
decide is OK. Clear?"

She nodded, her mind already working. Give a woman a
reason to spend a lot of money, and you could generally
count on a few peaceful days.

It was going to take more than a few days to remodel
the monstrosity of a house my father had built. He had
been a struggling family lawyer, barely making enough
to feed his family and keep us out of the slums. As it
was, we were right next door to them. It was a hard
time for us - even I remember that - but we were happy.
I remember the laughter, the stories around the table,
the love.

Something happened to change him. He never said what
it was, exactly, but I suspect that he finally realized
the futility of trying to change human nature. The
people he represented were no more interested in truth
or justice than was the legal system. They just wanted
a ticket to easy street. He fought against the trend
towards frivolous lawsuits for years and refused to
file them, mostly as a matter of honor. He tried to
work out equitable settlements between the parties when
there was a real injury or loss. He was a highly
respected man, but you can't eat respect.

It nearly broke his practice when the courts started
making punitive damage awards on the basis of pain and
suffering or mental anguish. I can remember one winter
we had almost no food and less heat. Momma got sick
and any money we had went for medicine. We all chipped
in and helped, and she got better, but she wasn't ever
the same.

Whatever happened, he did a complete about face. Fuck
the system, seemed to be his new motto. He was going
for the bucks. As he did with everything, as he had
taught me to do, he went after it with all that he had.
He was good, too, but it ate him up inside.

Within a year, he had nailed several large contingency
cases with exorbitant damage claims. His contingency
fee was 50% for an out of court settlement, and the
usual 30% for a court settlement. He couldn't seem to
lose a case, even with the most ridiculous positions.
He took particular relish in quoting the liberal
court's rulings and turning them against the particular
perversion of justice that had instigated the ruling.
Most people remember the Bakke reverse discrimination
case, where a white male sued a medical school because
minority students, who were less qualified than he,
were accepted while he was not. My Dad was the
architect of that strategy, although he didn't
represent Mr. Bakke. He took particular delight in
setting the liberal court on its ear. I think he was
hoping the system would come to its senses.

When the dollar amounts of the court settlements he was
winning started reaching the stratosphere and going
even higher on the appeals, opposing counsels quickly
began offering out of court settlements to avoid having
to pay those judgements. It made no difference to Dad.

With more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes,
Dad decided to build a house. Not just a house,
though. He wanted it to be a fitting monument to the
ludicrous manner in which it had been earned. Against
all advice of the city planners, real estate agents and
pretty near everybody who knew about it, he bought a
huge parcel of land about 10 minutes from his office,
surrounded by low and very low income housing. An
imposingly high and very solid brick wall also
surrounded it. The property, about four city blocks
square, or 16 square blocks, had belonged to a cloister
that had consolidated with another order. Its close
location to Mac's house was the reason I went to the
same high school as Mac. As a white boy and girl,
Marion and I were in the minority in that school.

Whether he was a savvy investor or just plain lucky, he
bought the place, probably to spite the experts.
Knowing my Dad, though, it was more likely because he
hated a long commute to work. The reconstruction
project was initially called "Sampson's Folly", not
very original, but just try to buy that house today.
The last offer we had was approaching one billion.
Some country wanted it for an embassy or something.

Originally there was a monstrosity of a building on a
hill in the center of the estate. Veritable park-like
thickly wooded pastures surrounded it on all four
sides. A long sweeping drive led from the gatehouse up
to the house that I humbly called `home' during my
formative teen years. I still remember the first time
I saw it. I thought it was a hospital, it was so big
and had so many rooms with beds in them.

Dad gutted the place, starting on one wing. We lived
out of boxes in the other during the reconstruction.
The building was basically `U' shaped, about 3 stories above ground, and at least 2 below. I say at least,
because it was rumored by the construction crews that
the floor at the lowest level didn't sound right. It
wasn't solid enough, as there were hollow sounds and
echoes that seemed to come up from below. Dad figured
that's where the nun's had buried their dead, as there
weren't any other burial grounds on the property. We
never found any way that led deeper, and the place had
really been torn apart during the remodel.

That make-over had been in the late 1960's. The task I
was giving Sally was to upgrade the place. Cable,
telephone and Internet access to the living and working
areas, modern fixtures in the bathrooms. In
particular, to revitalize the industrial sized kitchen.
That room was such a key area in our family life, and I
expected that to continue. She was going to have her
work cut out for her to add any functionality to that
monstrosity of a kitchen.

From the twinkle in her eyes, I could see she had
already accepted the challenge. I wanted to add a
small twist. There was one room I had in mind for a
particular use. It had been my favorite room growing

The main entrance to the house was at the base of the
`U'. A huge double door opened onto an expanse of
marble flooring that seemed to stretch forever. Twin
staircases wound down from a salon on the second floor.
A mammoth chandelier hung from the ceiling, three
stories above the floor. Glass French doors along the
far wall separated the huge entry from the main
ballroom. These doors could be opened to nearly double
the floor space for a cotillion.

It was the salon on the second floor that was my
favorite room. The room above it, on the third floor
had been gutted and the floor removed. From the peak
of the roof and extending down the entire expanse of
wall to the floor of the salon had been glassed in as a
kind of solarium. When I had to think, I would go in
there, lie on the floor and stare at the stars high
above. It was like you were outside, they were so

I wanted that room to be the center point for our new
relationship. I told Sally to take the ideas from the
Arabian room we had here at her house and apply them
there. She looked puzzled, but on that point I was
insistent. There were to be pillows, thick carpeting,
a few plants, but no telephones, TVs or large
furnishings. I also wanted two distinct areas, a
Women's area and a Men's area.

Having said that and given Sally her tasks, I turned to
Nicole. "You will go to work. I've contacted some
people I know who could use a good neurochemist. You
will have the opportunity to meet them first and test
some of their devices before you decide to work for
them." I thought Sally was going to explode with
laughter when she figured out what kind of `testing'
Nicole would be doing with the Rosen's devices. A
sharp look from me barely contained her gaiety.

"If that place doesn't work out, we will find something
else, perhaps teaching. But you will work in your
field. Agreed?"

Nicole's face was streaked with happy tear-tracks. She
nodded her agreement happily. If she thought she had
been getting the best end of the deal so far, she
hadn't heard anything yet.

"Sally, I need you to know that my next decision was
very tough for me to make. I made the decision I did
for one basic reason, all other things being equal. I
know you have asked me to treat you differently, and I
will. I will also attempt to do so without showing
either of you a preference. With our history, Sally,
that will be hard. I know you, I'm comfortable with
you. Our feelings for each other have been tested and
found to be strong.

"That's the reason I have decided to take Nicole to
Washington with me. The President has decided to throw
a party, balls and fancy dinners and stuff. I have to
go. I need to spend time alone with Nicole to get to
know her. So, if Nicole will consent to going off for
a long weekend with me on our first date, she will
accompany me."

Sally took it hard. If she had one vice, if was for
fancy dress parties. She didn't like to throw them so
much as she loved to dress up and go watch the people
interact. She said it was like nothing else she had
ever seen. People who would stab each other in the
back if they met on the street would smile and talk
like old friends at a ball or cocktail party. It was
where she and I had met the first time.

Trooper that she was, she nodded. She understood, and
would try hard not to let it get to her. Besides, with
the deadline I had given her on the remodel, she was
going to be a busy lady. I knew she was going to make
me pay for it later.

We called the two teens in and broke the news to them.
Janey wasn't too thrilled about moving until she heard
she was going to get a car out of it. She was talking
Beemer or Porsche, she was getting a Nissan or Toyota.

Simone's eyes glistened when she heard she would be
seeing Gertie regularly and would be close enough to
her Agency office at the new house to see her whenever
she could. The only fly in the ointment came when I
told her she was going to have her own room. I could
see that disturbed her. I asked why. She asked,
looking shyly at Janey for confirmation, if they
couldn't just have a larger room and call it their
room, rather than one for her and one for Janey.

Janey nodded her agreement quickly and I looked at
Sally and then Nicole. They both agreed, a secret
smile shared between them. Already I didn't like the
way this was going. Four against one was just about
fair odds when I was in a combat situation against men.
I didn't stand a chance in this circumstance with one
woman, much less four! It was going to be a Hell of an
adventure, though.

Chapter 40

The next week was a flurry of activity. Nicole and
Simone spent most of their days at their old house
packing their things. Some things they moved in now,
some things were staying there and some would move to
the new house. Nicole had taken Sally over to her
house and asked her what would be OK to take where. As
far as I could tell the new relationship was working
out. I kept everything crossed that I could cross in
the faint hope that it would continue and thrive.

Sally met with Marion and got carte blanche to do
whatever she wanted to the family house. I had this
nagging feeling once again that I should be worried
about the apparent nonchalance with which my normally
stuffy sister was treating this unusual family structure I was building. More than that, I was going
to be moving it into the same house she was living in.
I asked Sally what she had told Marion about us and our
living arrangements, and Sally said `pretty much
everything.' Including Nicole and Simone living there,
too. I checked.

Sally had already called in contractors and actually
had work being done by the end of the week. Marion
invited her to come down and stay with her while I was
gone so she could be close to the action and they could
talk. Again, that nagging feeling that I should be
worried something.

Later that week I managed to slip out for one of the
lunches Mac and I liked to grab whenever we could.
These lunches, which used to be weekly occurrences, had
now gone to catch as catch can because of his game and
travel schedule during the baseball season. He was
getting ready to go south for Spring Training soon, so
we would meet whenever we could.

We had a good lunch. I could tell he was dying to ask
about everything that was going on, but I held him off.
I explained I would tell him everything I could later,
but that he would have to be patient. There were some
things I needed to work out, and so on. I did give him
a little gift from Simone, kind of a `Thank You' from
her for all the time he has spent with her at the
hospital. It was a gold chain necklace.

It was funny to watch his reactions to the gift. It
was obvious he dearly loved the chain. Not only was it
a gift from Simone, it was tasteful and of high
quality. Mac, however, had this aversion to what he
referred to as the `Mr. T' syndrome. He didn't wear
jewelry, other than our championship ring and, now, his
wedding band. He looked up at me.

"How do I explain this to CeCe?" I don't think he knew
he'd already decided to wear it.

I just sat there, shaking from laughter. I couldn't
answer him. I almost wished we'd gone to a bar for
lunch instead of the trendy restaurant we were in.
That way I could have let it out. As it was, I nearly
hurt myself keeping relatively quiet so the management
would let us back in next time we wanted to eat there.
I did get several glares from the head waiter and one
offer for the Heimlich Maneuver from a neighboring

As we were leaving, Mac pulled a briefcase from the
trunk of his car and handed it to me. "Here," he said.

"Why, thanks, Mac. You didn't have to get me a gift,"
I half joked.

"I didn't," he said puzzled. "I think you left this in
my entryway that night you brought Simone. CeCe
tripped over it when she came back from her trip and
asked me to put it away. I had thought it was hers,
when I saw it there, so I hadn't touched it. It's not
hers, and not mine. You were the only other people
there. So, here." He held it out to me again.

I took it from him, but I was puzzled as to what it
was. Not wanting to make a major point of it, I put it
in my trunk. We shook hands and went our separate
ways. He would be at training camp for three to four
weeks before he got a break. I had told him to keep a
particular weekend free, if he could. We were planning
a small get together at the house. He grinned like a
high school kid when he realized he was going to get to
see Simone again. He paled when I said the invitation
was for CeCe, too. I was still laughing at him as I
drove back to the house.

Janey's spring break came the following week and she
went to Bala's for a visit. She wasn't dreading it,
but I could tell she wasn't thrilled, either. I asked
her about it.

" I dunno, Dad. I like her and all and I want to go.
Her country and culture are so neat. Not neat, like
cool, but like, tidy, you know. It's so old, too.
Everything and everyone has a place and reason, but at
the same time it's an exciting time of change there.
I, I really want to learn more about it and, if I can,
help them, be a part of it somehow. But, it scares me
that I want to be a part of it so much. I hope she's
not mad at me for the way I talked to her, and all,
too. I was pretty strict."

I reassured her that Bala wasn't angry with her, that
she just wanted to spend some time with her. She was
probably lonely, all by herself in that house when Amud
was at work. I knew she didn't go out without him.
Yet. Maybe that was why she had asked Janey to visit.
I hoped Janey wouldn't teach her to drive.

Simone asked if it would be OK if she stayed at Aunt
Marion's with Sally. Gertie had said she would pick
her up there for her first visit and they would spend
the day together. Sally agreed and so did I before I
realized with a sudden sinking feeling that there was a
good chance that Gertie, Sally and Marion would all be
together at once. I had expended entirely too much
effort keeping all the compartments of my life neatly
separated and, in one fucking coincidental fell swoop,
the three women who knew more of my life history than I
did would be in the same place at the same time. If I
had been so inclined, I would have had a panic attack.
I kept a firm grip on my emotions, though, and just
shit myself instead.

Nicole and I left for Washington after everyone else
had gone off on their own ways. I wasn't looking
forward to being in Gertie's lab anymore than usual,
but getting to spend some time alone with Nicole
certainly was a definite plus. She was kind of quiet
on the drive down. At one point I looked over and saw
her wiping away a tear. I pulled into to the next rest

"We don't have to go, you know," I told her.

"Oh, no! I wish to go."

I kept silent. She would tell me when she was ready.
That much I had already sensed.

"I am terrified, Lawrence. I have never been so
terrified in my life."

"I will be there with you, Nicole. You don't need to
be terrified."

"It is that which terrifies me, Lawrence."

Again I stay silent. It seemed to be what she needed.

"I wish so much to please you, to be perfect for you.
This is so important to me. I need you to want me. I
know it cannot be like with her. You and Sally are so
comfortable with each other. I can see you love her,
as she does you. It is hard to enter this, this family and not be envious of that love."

I knew there was more. I was right.

"And you haven't touched me. Not once. Not when Sally
made me stay naked all the time in front of you, not
when I lay at the foot of your bed like a dog. I saw
you look at me and become aroused, but you would take
Sally. Not me. Am I not good enough for you,

"Are you fishing for a compliment, Nicole, or are you
questioning why I have not had sex with you?"

She blushed, then gathered herself. "I know myself, I
know what I am, and I know that I arouse you. It is
difficult, though, to be sure of my attractiveness when
I put myself at your disposal and not wonder when you
refuse to use me. I have asked Sally about that, too.
She said you were very particular about the timing,
especially the first time. That you would make it
special, as special as possible for me, for us. She
told me of your trip to the beach. She let me borrow
her swimsuit, if I needed it. Forgive me for
questioning you, for doubting you."

Oh, God! Was nothing sacred between these
conspirators? I was a dead man, but there was still
one more thing to come out.

"Put all together, Lawrence, I am terrified about what
you expect from me on this trip. Please help me to
please you this week. What is it you require of me?
Tell me, please. I will be your slave, your mistress,
your slut, whatever. Please tell me."

OK, so that one I hadn't expected. I took a moment to
look at it from her perspective and realized she had
every reason to be petrified. I told her what I wanted
from her, not just this week, but always. As we sat
there at the rest stop, I told her to be herself. I
had seen glimpses of her personality sparkle through at
times when she had been relaxed. Simone had not
learned her delightfully coquettish behavior on her
own. I told Nicole I wanted her to feel free to dance
if asked, but only if I had fallen over dead from
exhaustion and couldn't dance with her, that is. I was
an aging man, remember.

She laughed at my weak joke and we got back on the
road, talking and laughing as we neared the Capital. I
sensed her lack of confidence in certain things and
tried to give her direction whenever I could. She
learned quickly to read the subtle signs of my body
language and my expressions. She ended the trip her
head on my shoulder, resting easily, enjoying the
initial closeness between us. Suddenly, Gertie's lab
didn't seem so terrible.

When Gertie found out I had selected Nicole to
accompany me, she insisted that I bring her with me for
the first day of labs. She wanted to meet Simone's
mother. Gertie wouldn't be conducting the tests. She
just did the analysis of the results, so she had time
to spend with Nicole. Mostly the exams they put me
through was a strenuous physical and endurance testing,
reflex response times, some skill testing, and taking
lots of samples of every possible bodily fluid and
tissue. I hated those the most. They took tissues and
fluids from every major organ system, including a bone
scraping. I would rather they would have yanked off a
fingernail. I was afraid to mention it, though, as
that seemed to be the one thing they were not
interested in.

I completed the whole battery of tests late that night
and dragged myself back to Gertie's office to pick up
Nicole. The peals of laughter, light sounds from
Nicole, a heartier tone from Gertie, met me far down
the hallway and danced around me as I crawled to the
open door. They saw me enter and were suddenly silent,
conspirators in some manner. I was not too tired to
notice. I was just too tired to mention it or even
lift a questioning eyebrow.

As I handed Nicole out the door, I turned to say
goodbye to Gertie and thank her for keeping Nicole. To
my surprise, she was sitting there watching us leave,
tears in her eyes. Then, to totally blow me away, she
gave me a two thumbs up sign and shooed me away, like a
blustering aunt.

I checked the schedule at the front desk for the time
of my next appointment the following day. Another
surprise. I was done with the physical tests and
didn't have to come back, unless they found something
in the analysis. I thought there had been an awful lot
more tests and needles than usual. I didn't complain
about it too loudly.

The round of cocktail parties and ball started the next
evening. Nicole and I had spent the morning doing one
of the Smithsonian exhibits and then the National
Gallery. It relaxed her to see things of such beauty.
It made me happy to see her so happy. She was so
attractive and vivacious as she warmed up to the
paintings that several other couples tailed along after
us, eager to hear her opinions of the masterpieces or a
story of the artists. She spoke as if she had known
all of the artists personally. Nicole was beautiful,
smart and confident. I was the envy of all the men there. Some of the women, too, as I saw a couple of
them eyeing her hungrily.

We called it an early day after a leisurely lunch.
Nicole had brought several gowns with her, waiting to
decide which she was going to wear until the last
minute. The bellhop at the luxury hotel I had booked
for our stay had been astounded to find we were only
going to be there a night or two. From the mound of
luggage he had hauled into our suite, he had figured a
month at the least. I shut his mouth with a sizable
tip before he could insert his other foot as well.

Nicole looked up at me. "How should I dress for this
evening, Lawrence?'

I had just seen this woman enthrall total strangers
with her intelligence, her exotic accent and her charm.
She had a much better sense of these things than I did.
Having been burned recently by not playing to the
strength of my lover, albeit Sally, I took Nicole's
hand, kissed it lightly, and told her I trusted her

I don't know if it was the kiss on the hand, our first,
or the fact that I said I trusted her, but it was as if
a fire had been lit inside of her. She glowed,
radiated, shone. I heard her singing a light tune in
the next room as she went about getting ready.

I prepared myself for the worst. A baggy burlap rag
slung over one corner. A horribly fashionable garish
lime-green tutu with striped purple and yellow
leggings. I was prepared to accept whatever she chose
to wear, to tell her she was beautiful and set her on
my arm with pride. In other words, I was prepared to
lie though my teeth and back it up with a smile.

I was not prepared for the vision that wafted though
the bedroom door an hour later. I knew Nicole was a
beautiful woman. I hadn't known she had the kind of
beauty that could take your breath away. She disguised
it well, behind the humdrum of life, but now, released
into the open, Holy Shit!

Apparently, my reaction to her was typical of other
men's as she patiently waited for me to put my eyes
back in their sockets, catch my breath and shut my
gaping mouth after I had pulled my panting tongue back

"Is this suitable, do you think, Lawrence?" she lilted
in a melodious voice. Where had she hidden all this
before now?

My mouth working like a fish gasping for air, I nodded
dazedly. I was speechless. I think it pleased her,
the effect she was having on me. In a daze, we went to
the ball.

I felt like a sheep headed to the slaughtering house.
I didn't realize how close that was to reality.


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