The Dating Game
“So, what time is Jed picking you up at?”
Lucinda turned from her dressing table, where she was applying her favourite deep red lipstick, and looked at Tara sitting on the bed, smiling as she pulled on her boots.
“Seven-thirty, since you asked – I expect you’ll be out of the house by then?”
“You know I will be – I’ve a meeting at seven with the governors of St Blazius, but once that is done I’ll be back here waiting for the phone call.”
“Yeah – it must be tough having Bobby away on the American visit on the 14th of February.” Lucinda put the lipstick down, removing the excess with a tissue, before standing up and slipping on the pair of black suede heels by her feet. “So, right idea for St Valentine’s”
“Well, Red and black is the right combination,” Tara said with a smile. Her friend was wearing a red tie-necked blouse, made from satin with puffed sleeves, a new black leather skirt that came to just above her knees and creaked slightly as she walked, and opaque black stocking, the top of which could just be seen from behind through the slit in the skirt as she walked.
“Whereas for you, it has to be business dress,” to which Tara laughed. She had to be more formally dressed, in a white silk blouse, a dark blue knee length linen skirt, dark stocking and knee length leather boots to keep the chill out. She wrapped a large square shawl that had a tartan pattern around her neck and picked up her coat.
“Just enjoy the evening,” she said as she walked to the door, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning, with any luck.”
“Luck,” Lucinda said as she tried to do an impression of Mae West, “has nothing to do with it.” She watched her flatmate leave, before turning her attention back to her hair. Concentrating on the brushing of her chestnut locks, she heard the apartment door shutting and thought nothing more of it.
As Tara closed the door to the house, and set off down the street with her greatcoat buttoned up, she failed to notice the car parked outside. After all, cars park there all the time, although not normally with two large men watching people coming and going. When a tall, smartly dressed young man came to the front door, however, they looked at each other and watched as he pressed the intercom button.
“Come on, Luci, the table is booked for eight.”
“Hold your horses, Jedadiah, I’m coming,”
As Lucinda adjusted the neck of her blouse, the front door bell rang. She had been expecting a surprise delivery – which is why she was taking twice as long as usual – and smiled at the knowledge of what she thought was coming.
“Be a darling, Jed, and get that for me would you?” she shouted from the bedroom. She listened as footsteps went down the corridor, and Jed could be heard speaking to whoever had rung the bell. Instead of the expected call of surprise, however, Luci heard some angry exchanges and a thump that sounded like somebody falling.
“Jed? Who is it?” Luci called out from the bedroom, but there was no reply. Putting her coat down, she walked to the door and slowly opened it, looking out as she did so.
“Jed?” she called out again, but there was still no reply. Concerned, she turned to go for her telephone, but that was prevented by the door being forced open and a tall, burly man in a boiler suit forcing his way in, pushing Luci onto the bed and forcing her head down onto the mattress.
“Not a sound, little girly,” he said as the light flashed on the large blade eh showed Lucinda. “We have some business to discuss with your boyfriend, and we thought while we were here we’d have a look round as well. Do you have a problem with that?”
“No,” Luci whispered as she looked at his nylon covered face, “No problem at all – just please, don’t hurt him.”
“Everything all right in there?” Luci heard another man say. “No problem – throw a bag in and I’ll get started,” her captor replied, and Luci saw a carrier bag from a local supermarket passed into the room. “Now, are you going to do as you’re told?”
“Yes,” Luci replied a little more confidently, “Just do what you’ve got to do and leave us alone.”
“All right,” the man said as he let Lucinda go and put the knife on the bedside table. “I promise you I won’t hurt you if you do as I say. You’re just a way of getting your boyfriend to do something for us – nothing more or less.”
“He won’t” Lucinda said as she lay still, “He’s a soldier, and he knows his duty.”
“We’ll see,” the man said as she walked over to pick up the bag. “Stand up, with your back to me, and put your hands behind your back.”
“So much for the dinner,” Luci mumbled to herself – she knew what was coming, having been in this situation many times before, and knew staying calm, was the first step to getting through. “So, what’s it going to be?”
“You’ve been through something like this before?”
“More times that you can imagine,” Luci replied as she stood there. “So?”
Her question was answered as she felt the fibres from a length of rope as it was passed around her elbows, pulling them together as the cord dug into the red satin and forced her shoulders back. “At least it feels soft,” she said to herself as her arms were drawn together, and the rope played down to be wrapped around her wrist, over the cuffs of her blouse.
As she felt them being drawn together, palm to palm, Luci said “So, what are you going to do with my boyfriend?”
“My friend is going to take him for a little drive,” her captor replied as he pulled the rope between her wrists, “Once he sees how – comfortable you are.” He turned Luci round and looked at her, focusing on the way her breasts had become pushed forward under the satin. She looked at him, then down, before looking up and starting to say “no...”
“Don’t worry,” he said with a smile under his stocking mask. “I’m not interested. Now, sit down.” He pushed her back so that she sat with a thump on the bed, before walking over to a chest of drawers and opening one. Taking out a pair of clean black knickers, he then opened another drawer and drew out a large cream coloured headscarf, in the centre of which was a picture of a horse at full gallop.
“Like horses, do you,” he said as he walked back over. “You might say that,” Luci replied sarcastically as he placed the scarf on the bed next to her along with the panties, then picked up the carrier bag and shook several coils of rope out.
“So,” he said as Luci’s skirt squeaked as she moved a little on the duvet, “What shall it be first, hm?”
Tara walked quickly down the street, wanting to get home before the crisp February air got too cold for her. Even with the great coat on, and her boots covering her legs, she could feel the chill and damp outside. As she got closer to the house, she noticed there was a light on through a bedroom window, but thought nothing of it. Given their past experiences, the girls were very careful to give the impression of somebody at home in the evening when they were both out.
As she opened the door to the flat, Tara thought she could hear somebody in the kitchen, but as she stood still for a moment and heard nothing else she concluded it was her imagination. Closing the door, she took off her greatcoat and placed it on the stand, with her scarf on top, before making her way towards the kitchen. As she passed Luci’s room, she didn’t realise the bedside lamp was on, or hear the muffled calls from the girl lying on the bed.
Reaching the kitchen, Tara opened the fridge and took out the open bottle of chardonnay she knew was there. As she reached for a glass, placing both on the counter, she wondered how her friend was getting on with her date. To her delight, the phone rang as she was pouring the wine, so she took the glass and settled into a chair, picking up the receiver as she did so.
“Hi Booby,” she said as she sat down, “How are things in North Carolina?”
From the bedroom, Luci could hear her friend talking on the telephone, and tried to call out a warning. She looked over her shoulder at the ropes holding her wrist and ankles, and tried once more to wriggle herself free, but all that happened again was the sound of leather on cotton as her skirt rode still further up her bottom. Frustrated, she lay still and listened, hoping that Tara would notice before it was too late.
“All right, I’ll talk to you tomorrow – I wish you were here.
“And you, lover boy – bye for now.”
Tara switched off the handset and stretched her legs out, with a view to taking her boots off. She placed her glass on the small table in front of her, but before she had a chance to begin she was grabbed from behind and a hand clamped over her mouth.
“Not a word,” a voice said from behind, “just open your mouth when I take my hand away. Understand?”
“ndrsnd” Tara mumbled, while thinking “What the hell is it this time?” As the hand was taken away, she felt a tug on her blonde shoulder length hair, and as she opened her mouth to scream she caught a brief glimpse of cotton napkin before it was pushed into her mouth. “Whrs lse” she mumbled as the all too familiar sound of tape ripping off a roll reached her ears.
“Your friend is just fine,” the voice said as Tara felt the tap pulling on her skin as it was smoothed over her mouth, “just do as you’re told.” Tara saw a dark band before her before she was plunged into darkness, something thick tied over her eyes.
“Shuffle forward,” she heard the voice say, and as she did so she felt her arms as they were forced behind her back. Even through her silk blouse, she knew the feeling of rope around her wrists, and tried to relax as much as possible as her arms were bound together.
“All right, Luci,” Tara said to herself as she felt her arms been drawn tightly into the side of her body, “what the hell have we got ourselves into this time? More horse problems, or is this just a straight forward robbery?” She knew she would have to have a word with her on the subject, but that could wait. Instead, she offered no resistance as she felt herself been forced to kneel on the floor, her face pressed against the cold leather of the long couch they had in the front room.
“Just stay still,” the voice said again as Tara tried kicking her legs up, in the faint hope she might connect with something fleshy. Instead, what she heard was the sound of rope against leather and the feeling of restriction as her ankles were pulled roughly together, more and more tightly as more and rope was passed round. She tried to force them apart, the squeaking more and more audible, but for her troubles all she got was a smack on the bottom and her body turned round so that she was sitting on the floor.
“just stay still,” the voice said as she felt rope around her legs above her knees, and Tara realised that her skirt had slipped slightly down her legs. Realising she had no chance so long as someone else was there, she began to relax and let her mystery attacker finish the job of tying her up – which he seemed to do as the rope was passed between her legs. She wondered what else he was going to do when she heard a mobile phone ringing.
“Oh shit – I thought you had made sure he would not be able to do that!
“All right, all right – I’ll meet you there. Just don’t balls anything else up.”
She heard the voice cursing under his breath, and then to her surprise he said “Happy Valentine’s Day” before she felt his lips kissing the tape over her mouth. Footsteps could be heard running down the corridor, a door slamming, and then silence.
Tara sat still, allowing her hearing to adjust to eh silence, and realising that she could hear somebody calling from another room in the house. With some difficulty, she managed to turn over so that her head was resting against the couch, and started to try and force whatever was covering her eyes off so that she could see clearly.
From the sounds of the leather cushion, Tara figured it was some sort of cloth over her eyes, so she started to gently rub her face down as she rested whatever it was against the front edge of the seat. It took some time, but eventually she managed to ease the blindfold up her head, and as the light went from blackness to the dim light from the outside lamp through the windows she took a moment to look at her own situation.
As she allowed her eyes to adjust to the moonlight, she could see clearly around her ankles a length of white rope, wrapped round and between her legs, the leather of her boots compressed underneath. A similar coil was around her legs above her knees, and from the fact a number of lengths of rope had been abandoned on the floor, she figured she would have been more strictly secured had there not been that phone call.
Turning herself round and getting into a seated position, Tara could also now see the coils of rope around her arms and chest, above and below her breasts, forcing them to a more prominent position as the white silk of her blouse strained against them. She felt the rope around her wrists, but could not find the knot that held it in place, and realised she was going to need some help to get free.
That was when she heard again the muffled calls from elsewhere in the flat. “Lse?” she called out as loudly as she could and there was a noise in response. Realising she was going to have to make the next move, she braced her feet against the ground and pushed up, forcing herself to come off the floor and take a seat on the couch.
Tara paused for a moment, breathing deeply through her nose as she tried to regain her composure, and then pushed herself up into a standing position, her legs protesting and leather squeaking. Slowly, carefully, she started to take short bunny hops, around the couch and towards the open doorway to the corridor, resting as she reached the door to catch her breath. She saw the sweat stains starting to appear as dark patches on her white blouse, but ignores them as she made her way down the corridor towards Luci’s bedroom.
Reaching the doorway, she pushed down on the handle and thanked her stars that it opened into the room rather than out. Jumping round as the door opened, she watched as the sight of Lucinda lying on the bed became clearer to her.
Her friend was lying on her stomach, her skirt fallen down onto her bottom as her legs had been pulled back and tightly secured to her wrists. The short length of rope was tied between the coils around her wrists and those around her ankles, while her legs were also lashed together below and above her knees. As with herself, Tara could see coils of white rope around her arms and chest, while the large knot that had been tied in the cream coloured scarf in her mouth was obviously holding something inside from the way her cheeks bulged.
Luci’s chestnut hair was lying around her face, wet from sweat, as she looked up and saw Tara standing in the doorway. “Hlp m,” she called through the saliva sodden gag, and watched as Tara hopped over to the bed, turning herself down and motioning with her head as she sat next to her friend’s head. Luci shuffled over, coming closer as Tara reached back as far as she could with her hands before finally reaching the scarf and hooking her fingers underneath. She gingerly moved them round, easing the gag out of her friend’s mouth until she managed to bring the knot out from between her lips, the dark stained mass hitting the duvet with a thud. Tara looked over her shoulder, and saw the edge of some dark material sticking out from Luci’s mouth. As she hooked her fingers round and withdrew it, she realised that it was her fiend’s lace knickers that had been stuffed in, as Luci took several deep breaths and licked her lips.
“Sorry about this, Tara,” she eventually said, “Jed and I obviously never got out on the date.” “Dd h d ths,” Tara mumbled, making her friend look at her in a strange way. “no – he didn’t, someone else did. Two men, one of whom took Jed somewhere. The other open stayed to rob us - what happened to him?”
“Lft – n hre” Tara mumbled. “Cn u ss a knt?”
“Yeah – give a moment to wriggle round,” Luci said as she started to shuffle a little closer, “and I’ll see if I can get to it with my teeth. We really have got to stop meeting like this – you know that don’t you?”
“H h” Tara mumbled as Luci started to pick at the knot on the top of her wrists with her teeth, slowly extracting the strands as she started to untie the jumble. Tara sat patiently, watching as her friend eventually loosened the ropes enough to allow her to shake her hands free and wriggle her arms round to the front. Bending her head forwards, she picked at the side of the tape over her mouth, slowly peeling it away and dropping it on the floor, followed by the napkin from her mouth.
“Some Valentine’s day, huh?” she said with a laugh as she worked her jaw around. Before she could say much more, however, the door to the flat opened and Jed ran in, accompanied by two police officers. “Are you all right, Luci,” he said as he came over, the officers starting to untie the two women.
“All the better for seeing you,” Luci said as she stretched her legs out. “Next time, however, make sure you check who is at the door – I thought it was the present I ordered for you.”
“My mistake,” Jed said as he rubbed his jaw, and Luci saw the bruise developing around his eye. “They were the stupid ones, though – thinking I would betray a sacred trust. Does it hurt?”
“We’re stiff, but it’s not like the first time this has happened,” Tara said as she rubbed her wrists. “You two lovebirds can look after each other – I’ll let the officers check the rest of the flat.”
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