Saturday Night Ordeals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust.

 

That was the cornerstone of their relationship.

 

One was one of the most (in)famous defense attorneys the state had ever seen. The other one of the fiercest (and just) ADA the town ever had to fight in the courts.

 

The way they had found out about each other’ secret life would be a private joke they, and the other dominatrixes that were present at that ‘gathering’, would laugh about for the rest of their lives! But since they had a lot to lose, and there were tons of bad blood between them, it took more than two years for them to finally start talking about their ‘other’ lives, and just because they found themselves, again, as part of a ‘gathering’ of the same kind! If they ever found who had convinced their mutual friend ‘Lady Dea’ (AKA as Cecile H. Tyson, CEO of a local restaurant chain) to set that ‘trap’…

 

They probably would thank the rascal quite effusively! After a good set of ‘pranks’ inflicted on her (and any girl under her responsability)!

 

Less than a month before they started their monthly meeting…

 

Of course, secrecy was an imperial necessity!

 

But the ADA was, also, one of the heiresses of the late Mr. Henry **********, who wanted to do more than just be the source of rumors and scandals like her two younger sisters (and brother), while living outside the shadow of their older brother (who was the financial and political heir of their father’s name). So even with the ADA’s salary, she had money, more than enough to buy the whole building in a quiet neighborhood where she lived in (at the penthouse), and way more than enough to have access to (and secret control of) the whole security system of the twelve stories structure.

 

Sure, wigs and shades (and fake tattoos), also helped.

 

But Sarah, the lawyer, knew that there would not be any record of the ‘blonde’ woman wearing provocative (and skintight) black leather pants and jacket, cool (and big) shades and fake gums (and some make up on her nose to change considerably her features so even if she was ever photographed/filmed…) entering the building.

 

She had called as soon as she left the cab a couple of blocks up the street and knew that Anastasia **********, or ‘Annie’ (how she hated to be called like that!), was watching her, and making sure that no one else would be able to do that.

 

She took a peek at herself in the mirror of the elevator.

 

Hmm… not bad, maybe she should try go ‘blonde’ for a while…

 

‘You look ridiculous.’

 

‘And you are looking just fantastic…’ – she answered to her hostess before they gave each other a light kiss. Once inside she took off the shades and the wig, the gums and everything else, tidied herself and entered the lobby… and whistled.

 

She was wrong, the ADA looked just great.

 

Fantastic was the girl waiting by the table! A real blonde girl, green eyes, the bust was of the right size for her (slightly big), the waist and the legs were just perfect.

 

All packed up in a very sexy set of black (and red embroideries) underwear!

 

‘Hello, are you feeling alright?’ – She asked as she approached the younger woman.

 

‘Yes, ma’am.’

 

She was now standing in the middle of room, hands behind her back (already crossed but not bound) and eyes looking down, as Sarah took a couple of turns around her body (but did not touch her), before she stopped in front of her and lifted her chin with two fingers. Such lovely (and delicious!) expectation in her eyes!

 

‘Do you know why you are here?’

 

‘To be the prize of a poker game between the both of you. The winner gets to have me for the rest of the night to use me in any way it pleases her, the loser gets to spend the night bound and gagged in a cramped fashion. Those are the rules of the game.’

 

Such a delicate voice! How old was she? She didn’t looked more than 20!

 

‘Tell me that she’s legal…’ – She asked to Anastasia as she returned from her bedroom carrying a small box made of white plastic that produced a metallic sound in her hands.

 

‘Of course she’s legal! I’ve got a career and a reputation to protect! She is 23, I swear. Mirella checked her background and everything from the moment I chose her, over a month ago, in one of my usual places. Do you have a coin?’

 

‘Very funny… (You try a simple joke once…)’

 

‘A simple joke?’ – Anastasia placed the box on the table and opened it. It had a pair of handcuffs, a pair of leg-cuffs, two thumb-cuffs and a bright red ballgag inside it – ‘She had two coins with her, one inside each breast pocket of her suit. One had two ‘tails’ and the other two ‘heads’. I chose ‘Head’ and guess which was the one she picked!?’

 

The girl in front of them did manage to suppress a smile, but looked at Sarah quizzically as she turned her head towards her. Harrumphing first, Sarah defended herself.

 

‘Hmmpff, I won, and then I showed her that the coin was false. It was a joke all along!’

 

‘A bad one. But I have a coin with me…’ – and she picked a quarter from a back pocket – ‘…and as you BOTH can see, it has one ‘head’ and one ‘tail’. YOU, girl, will chose which will be for me and which will be for her!’

 

‘Hmmm… ‘Heads’ for you ma’am…’ – and keeping her hands behind her all the time, the blonde girl turned her attention to Sarah – ‘…and ‘Tails’ for you, ma’am.’

 

And Anastasia flipped the coin. Minutes later, a very satisfied Sarah finished buckling the ballgag in place. A bit too big (like Anastasia liked them) but still great…

 

‘Shall we start?’ – Asked their hostess.

 

‘Why? You want to spend a night locked in a closet that bad?’

 

‘Just because you won the last three times…’

 

‘Exactly…’ – And breaking the script Sarah grabbed her by the hand and walked to the sofa, dragging Anastasia with her (who more by surprise than anything else went along with her). With the tiny steps she could utter now, the cuffs around her ankles practically had no chain linking them, their ‘captive’ followed them and was helped (by Sarah as Anastasia crossed her arms in front of her) to kneel on the floor in front of them, after she turned her around and made her face the wall.

 

‘What’s going on, girl?’

 

‘Excuse-me?’

 

‘We have been doing this for years. Years! Nearly six years now! Once a month, some poker and lots of fun for one of us, lots of misery for one of us and lots of sweet domination for the girl one of us makes walk through that door. The odd months’ girls are yours to find, the even months’ are mine. Once a year, each one of us has to ‘bring’ her own girl, so the winner will have two toys to play with for a whole weekend, while the other is their maid… And I like it. Sure, that itching powder that was dropped ‘accidentally’ over those clothes that I had to share a closet with…’

 

‘Oh yeah? And what about leaving me five times in such an ‘impossible to be released on her own’ fashion that I had to wait hours until Mirella showed up?’

 

‘The icy cold pole inside your closet, seven months ago?’

 

‘Those glued knots, spicy sauced black ballgag and the blindfold with a lock, whose key you threw away after you left the building!’

 

‘The reverse prayer of that night, when you ‘snatched’ Karyn from my hands…!’

 

‘The upside-down suspended hogtie, after the weekend with the twins!’

 

Before she retorted, Sarah looked at the captive’s big inquisitive eyes.

 

‘They weren’t really twins. Just two brunettes, one called Sharyn and the other Shelly, of more or less the same height, but while Sharyn was busty Shelly was almost flat, and Sharyn’s hair went to the small of her back while Shelly’s was really short…’

 

‘So, what’s the point of this ‘pause’ you have decreed? Why aren’t we playing poker?’

 

‘Because we are not exceptional poker players. We are good, really, really good indeed, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, once you won four in a row before I could finally lock you naked inside that shower stall and have sweet ‘Epiphany’ for myself… and I once had three victories in a row. But nothing like those past three victories…’

 

‘You mean?’

 

‘You were sloppy, distant and unfocused… and I want to know why or I am outta here.’

 

‘(…) But…’

 

‘No buts… no maybes… no nothing… If it’s something that, for you, is way too close and personal, I’ll understand, just say it and I’ll sit at the table immediately. But if it is something that I can help… don’t you dare to…’

 

Anastasia looked at her ‘foe’, thought for a full minute (during which the tension grew exponentially inside the apartment), sighed deeply and opened her mouth to answer…

 

And the interphone rang! Desperately so!

 

They looked at each other with disbelief; they always took all the precautions, only in the worst-case scenarios they were to be reached by their loved ones or subordinates, Anastasia and her ‘eccentric’ sexuality were a taboo issue in her family (and only her sister knew the truth about it, or so she hoped), but no one in town (besides a couple of common friends) knew that Sarah was there at the moment.

 

‘You…?’ – started Sarah.

 

‘Hold on…, I’ll handle this…’ – and she grabbed the remote control of her TV while pursing Sarah’s lips with her left fingers. Next, she made the ‘silence’ signal to the girl kneeling on the floor in front of them. And then she turned on the large TV on the wall.

 

A quick selection and they saw…

 

The live feed of the security cameras of the building?

 

But what left both women flabbergasted was the image in three of the eight screens the TV screen had been divided into. The District Attorney himself? Detectives Gomert and Huxley? Her older brother? And one… five… seven cops? And more were arriving!

 

‘Yes?’

 

Her brother, always the overprotective man, simply shoved the DA aside before…

 

‘Anastasia! Are you alright? Are you… alright?’

 

‘Henry! Yeah… Yes, I am fine? What gives? Is Jolene with you?’

 

‘Cut the crap! I know you have a connection to the security system of this building! You paid a lot of money for it… but the contractor only agreed to do that after he…’

 

‘…Talked to you. Fine, you got me. I am seeing you and Henry… wow… how many people are with you guys down there? You all want to go up?’

 

‘Yes, please, open quickly! We will explain everything once…’

 

Each woman looked at the others with incredulity in their eyes.

 

And then Anastasia pressed a button and the front door opened…

 

‘What are you doing?’

 

‘Sarah, Fiora, do you trust me? WE HAVE NO TIME TO DISCUSS IT! Do you…?’

 

The captive (Fiora? ‘Flower’? What an apt name…) was already nodding.

 

‘Alright. What should we do?’

 

The leg-cuffs were removed, and Fiora ran (dragged by the arm by Anastasia) to the master bedroom with Sarah in tow. There Fiora was told to kneel on the floor by the bed, and the two older women did a quick, but good, effort on placing her in a balltie (with the pre-cuts coils of rope that were sprawled over the bed). Next they stood up.

 

‘Sarah, put this on, turn around and cross your wrists…’

 

‘What?’ – Said Sarah as she hesitated to grab the blindfold that Anastasia had with her.

 

‘Neither you nor Fiora can be found here, I have the perfect spot to hide Fiora…’

 

‘…But you don’t want me to see it? I know that it is some kind of false room under your bed! I spent six nights locked inside it already!’

 

‘So you know that there’s no room for two, barely room for one and only if the woman inside it has her legs folded. Don’t worry Fiora, you’re not going to suffocate, but while I put Fiora inside it, you will be behind the fake wall in my closet. As long as you don’t make any noise… they can search it all they want and won’t gonna find you. Or her!’

 

Sarah looked at Anastasia, and then at Fiora (who was obviously having fifth thoughts now) and sighed while speaking to the blonde captive.

 

‘She has a weird sense of humor, but not that weird. I can assure you that she has the best of interests toward us for now, right with her reputationnmmmpppphhh?’

 

A strip of tape? Sarah reached for it but Anastasia was faster.

 

Sarah felt a cold and metallic bracelet being placed in her left wrist, then she was spun around and the handcuff was closed around her other wrist. In addition, more strips of tape followed that first one! Of course, she tried to fight… and got slapped in the butt!

 

‘Stay put! We have no time for jokes! (…) Of courseeeeumppphh my reputation matters to me. As well as the well being of both of you! Inside, Fiora, please…!’

Sarah could hear a grunt from Fiora, and then the doorbell rang…

 

Another huffing and puffing from Anastasia and Sarah felt a gentle, but firm, grip on her right arm. She was led inside Anastasia’s extra-large shoe closet, something was pressed and she heard the sound of something hydraulic, and next…

 

…She felt a key being placed on her left palm.

 

‘Don’t drop it. I do not know what is going on, but if you are to be found… well let us make sure you are more presentable than you are now…’

 

Then she whispered something to herself, cursed herself and kissed Sarah (hesitantly) on the forehead (she was, after all, six inches taller than her ‘foe’/’captive?’).

 

Something hydraulic again and Sarah knew she was alone. Less than a minute later, she was examining her surroundings. Okay, large, illuminated with a LED lamp, there were no problems with the flow of fresh air… but she was trapped. Or was she?

 

After discarding her leather clothes, Anastasia put on a robe and rushed to the door…

 

…Only to be greeted by her brother (who had a key and knew the code of the security system), her boss (who like her brother was dressed for a more formal event), and half the city’s police department! All with their guns in their hands?

 

‘Whooaaaa!!!! What is going on here?’

 

Her brother took a step forward while the cops scattered around, she tried to protest but by now Henry (who would always believe she was just six years old) was now…

 

Giving her a hug? A big bear one!

 

‘Henry? Henry…? H…???!!! Henry Phillip ********** III!!! Unhand me this instant!’

 

He finally let her go and her boss was now by her side.

 

‘Hello Anastasia…’

 

‘Hello Mike, I mean…’

 

‘It’s alright. Well, sort of… are you… alone?’

 

‘Yes, yes I am. I was going to watch a movie after I took a…’

 

No one in the room was falling for it…

 

‘Alright. What’s going on?’

 

‘That is something we would like to know. But first, it would be better if we let the ladies and gentlemen do their job. You sure you are…’

 

Annie’s look was enough to make her boss, mentor and friend stop talking.

 

The police did search everywhere in every room, twice!, but found no indication that there was someone else in the whole big penthouse. Detectives Laurie Huxley and John Gomert, and four other officers, stayed in the penthouse but gave Annie, her brother and the DA some room to talk more privately and openly.

 

‘My dear sister… I am afraid that, after tonight, your secret will be over…’

 

‘My… secret?’

 

Henry and Mike looked at each other, and then Henry spoke.

 

‘You are a ‘big’ lesbian who uses your personal assistant, and longtime friend, Mirella Antello, to arrange, every other week, female company for one night only flings…’

 

The look in their faces… no judgement, no ‘moral superiority’ whatsoever…

 

‘You… you guys… how long have you…’

 

‘I am your brother, lemon cupcake, I know you since the day you were born…’

 

‘Do you want a ‘super special’ kick in the groin that bad, Henry?’

 

‘Seven years and half’ – He conceded and she turned her attention to her boss.

 

‘Twelve years. Ever since… Danika. Twelve years. Give or take a couple of months.’

 

She sat on the sofa pondering what to say and ask next…

 

‘You know about…?’

 

‘You seem… to prefer… women that are younger and bustier than youuuuch!!!’

 

The third rib below his left armpit, he always left that wide open to a good punch or a ‘stabbing’ of her right thumb. It always worked, since she was eight!

 

‘Have the children left the room so I can speak to the adults?’ – asked the DA.

 

‘Yes…’ – both siblings answered together.

 

‘Well then… Ana, you were expecting a girl called ‘Fiora Montebelo’, right?’

 

‘Yes…’ – How could he… they know that?

 

’23 years old, Sagitarian, student of Arts at the…’

 

‘Ok, you know her… how? And why is this a case demanding so many…?’

 

The DA nodded at Huxley, who came forth carrying a tablet in her hands. It had ‘X-Men’ (and other Marvel movies) logos all over its back. And it was on.

 

‘Fiora lives with a couple of friends, co-eds like her, at the ********** Street. Nice cozy suburban place. Her next door neighbors are the Weltons (with an ‘e’), one of which is 14 years old Louie Welton. He’s the owner of…’

 

Detective Huxley turned the tablet on, rambled on it for a moment and handed it to Anastasia. Louie was a Peeping Tom, a voyeur, and the girl on the screen was his ‘easily distracted neighbor’, talking to a phone while wearing only her pink undies…

 

‘Okay, who’s she?’

 

‘Fiora Montebelo. You didn’t know her?’

 

Trying hard to suppress her incredulity, Anastasia explained how it was up to Mirella to ‘vet’ the girls she selected for their meetings. The whole ‘online thing’ (their meeting & befriending) was hers, the vetting process (which included private interviews) was Mirella’s… The girl in the screen was beautiful, a bit bustier than the ‘Fiora’ who was trapped under her bed, longer hair, and quite the body!, but then so was Fiora’s…

 

As the DA indicated to her, she started to flip the images on the screen. Six or seven more shots of the conversation, then the call was over… and three commando-like men wearing black from head to toe (mask and gloves included) stormed the room, jumping on Fiora, reducing her (in a quick sequence that didn’t lasted more than ten pictures) to a taped up and gagged captive (they worked almost synchronically, one at the legs another at the arms and torso and the third dealt with the gag and more tape over her body) before something was sprayed in her face (three pics).

 

Fiora, who was standing up and defiantly fighting her captors as they restrained her, went limp in the smaller black clad commando’s arms, who then deposited her over her bed (six pics). Next two other black clad commandos entered the room carrying a taped up and unconscious redhead (four pics) and, after two pics, another girl (this time a blonde) was brought into the room (three pics) making company to her equally slumbered, gagged, blindfolded and taped up friends! After a few moments (seven pics), the commandos left and the camera focused (for eight pics) on the captives…

 

‘How…? What…?’

 

‘We don’t know. The good part is that the kid, even knowing that his mom would, as she did, promise to destroy all the gear he used to take the pics…’

 

‘Gear?’

 

‘Oh, the kid is quite the geek… nerd… whatever. In addition, Fiora and her friends are not dumb and stupid. The window they have no problem leaving open while wandering around in their undies? It faces a big empty space, with a few trees about four hundred yards away. The kid spent a lot of his allowances and payment for small jobs buying this digital camera with big zoom lens, and some other stuff. He made up a camera that can be controlled at distance, a camera with very good zooming lens which transmitted the pics to… this. So he grabbed a good battery, some tape, went up one tree and…’

 

‘How many pictures…?’

 

‘About a thousand and a half, going back seven months at least…’

 

‘And he was the one that called 911?’

 

‘Yes, if the girls agree I may go easy on him… But, the fact is that they were all fine, saving the tape and stuff, when a pair of patrol cars arrived there. And while the cops were trying to find a reason why three co-eds would be assaulted by at least five pros and nothing, nothing (!), seemed out of place in the whole house… The doctors says that their signs are good, but they don’t know what drug was used to make them sleep... They found Mirella’s card by the landline, and after a quick search in their cellphones, they found about two dozen calls from and to Mirella. So they went to her house…’

 

‘Oh my god!’

 

‘She was fine, and so was her husband, but both were also taped up and drugged. They didn’t touch the baby. They took them to the St. Mary’s, and while they searched for clues... there was a note, left by Adriano, of a call you made to her that he picked up…’

 

In which she detailed how was the color of the corset, shoes and garter-belt ‘Fiora’ was supposed to be wearing now, the same kind Fiora was wearing under the bed!

 

‘So they called YOU…’ – and she pointed to the DA, who nodded – ‘…and YOU happened to be with him… at the mayor’s fundraising dinner?’

 

Oh noes! The start of his political career! The fact that everybody knew that they were of opposite political sides was the only reason why she wasn’t attending it…

 

‘Exactly. Your secret is…’ – started the DA.

 

‘Like I care!’ – But then she looked at her brother – ‘Henry…’

 

‘If there’s are millions of idiots out there that won’t vote on a guy because his sister is a Don Juan in skirts, and BTW… a BIG one, **** them! And **** them good!!!’

 

She really hugged her brother, and then it hit her. Don Juan?

 

‘DON JUAN’?

 

More like ‘U-69’! (…) How much did he… did they know?

 

‘Henry… about the girls I… meet…’

 

‘IF… you wanna talk about it, let’s wait for a proper occasion, OK?’

 

‘Ahem??!!!’

 

John Louis Gomert and his well-known ‘diplomacy skills’!!! But he wasn’t the only one who wanted to change the subject, it was in everybody’s eyes!

 

‘I am sorry to interrupt you, Sir, but we may have a few questions to…’

 

‘Sure. Absolutely. Do you mind if I put on something more comfortable?’

 

The men and women looked at each other in a weird and impatient way.

 

‘Just a Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt, detective, just that…’

 

Under obvious ‘eye’ pressure of the DA, Gomert nodded.

 

She went as fast as she could to the master bedroom, she put on a black Bermuda shorts and a green T-shirt, and opened the hiding space.

 

‘What’s going on?’ – asked Sarah as soon as Anastasia entered it.

 

‘I don’t know. Something big… ‘Fiora’ is not the real deal, but an impersonator…’

 

‘Whaaaammppphhh????!!!!’ – started Sarah before being grabbed and handgagged.

 

‘Shut up! My brother, my boss and a dozen cops are not that far away from this room!’

 

And Sarah went limp.

 

‘I am going back and I will stay as long as they want to, telling them the most edited version of my sex life, and doing my best to keep you out of it. You can watch…’

 

And then it struck Annie, she had not shown any of it to Sarah!!!

 

‘Here…’ – She walked past Sarah and pressed a few hidden buttons – ‘You are not the first gal that I have to ‘stash’ here because… anything… happened. But you are the first one that will not say or do anything on her own, is that clear?’

 

Sarah nodded, marveled at was she was seeing. A TV screen (showing live feed from the living room, this one didn’t change, and three other places of the penthouse chosen randomly) and a fridge with water bottles. Next Annie typed a code, too quick for Sarah to be able to memorize it, and one of the screens was fixated in the image of…

 

Fiora… almost totally freed of her bonds?

 

She was holding a small blade in her left hand, and sawing the last piece of tape, save for the ones over her lips, holding her ankles together. The small room seemed to be bigger than a really big trunk; she could maneuver inside it but very little at it.

 

‘Nighty night…’ – said Anastasia as she typed yet another code, kissed Sarah on the right cheek and left. In the screen Fiora coordinated efforts now seemed disrupted, she was hesitant and… yawning? And then she left the blade drop, and closed her eyes…

 

‘Bitch… I knew that there was no way I could get to sleep that well inside that thing!’ – said Sarah to herself as she remembered the times she was the one inside that room…

 

And then she noticed something else… a small safe? And open?

 

And then the word ‘ALARM’ flashed in all the screens!

 

 

 

 

 

As she was about to re-enter the living room, Anastasia saw det. Huxley having a tense conversation through the phone in the hallway. Was that a threat?

 

‘Excuse-me?’

 

Startled (and... terrified?), Huxley almost reached for her gun, but then she composed herself, apologized and closed the call while, deliberately (and poorly) tried to divert Anastasia’s attention from the screen of her phone.

 

All that the ADA could see (from the angle she had) was an indistinct picture with two unrecognizable women in their undies in it, apparently hugging each other.

 

Still, there was something odd with that picture…

 

‘Problems?’ – Anastasia asked.

 

‘My sister… and her wicked sense of humor…’

 

‘Tell me about it… Last summer our baby sister sent us some topless pictures…’

 

There was definitely something wrong with her, but by now, Gomert was already by their side, ‘asking’ her to join them while she answered some questions.

 

She sat at the table, between her brother and the DA, and faced Huxley and Gomert.

 

‘I am sorry if I took too long but… To be honest I thought for a moment in trying to hide and bamboozle… stuff from you all, but I can’t keep any secrets if we are dealing with such kind of professional and ruthless persons. What do you know already?’

 

‘Well, we found various annotations at the Antellos, it seems that Adriano is really an old fashioned guy who has a hater/hater relationship with computers, so he writes down a lot of things. They indicate that you… have a lot of partners…’

 

‘I seldom repeat the ‘experience’ with the same girl. Let it be clear that I never had to pay for sex! I paid for the hotel rooms when it happened in other towns, even others countries, I also paid for the dinners and, once when I was in Hamburg (Germany) and ‘Lenore’ (not her real name) was in Dresden (her hometown), I paid the tickets from and back to Dresden... That was the closest I came to paying for sex…’

 

‘One night only? The majority of them?’

 

‘I had… a very destructive relationship once… Maybe someday I’ll try again, but…’

 

And so she started to lie to everybody in the room.

 

She was honest as much as she could be, but since she quickly realized that none of them knew exactly what happened with the very submissive girls she welcomed inside her home, she did her best to hide that part of her sexuality to the others. Thus she omitted, hid, falsified and pulled things out of nowhere in her answers.

 

Aside that she was really honest and sincere in her two hours long questioning.

When it was over the police (and her brother and her mentor) told her that, at least for that night, they would leave some of their own in the area, one in the lobby, and another in front of her apartment’s door and two (women) with her inside the apartment.

 

She asked whom and was told that Huxley and a young cop, who was just arriving at the scene, called Irene Hogan would do it.

 

Anastasia knew Huxley from over a decade and trusted her; she was much tougher than her homely appearance made people believe that she was at a first sight. As for Irene she knew her, and her father (the very strict Lt. Hogan from Homicide Division), and while it was obvious that she was a bit nervous (she was what, two/three months away from the academy?), just by being a Hogan made her a reliable name. And the fact that she knew exactly what happened inside those walls, what she did to her lovers (she had been one just a couple of months back…), should make her interested in keeping it out of the limelight… could she (and Sarah) trust in her that much?

 

Lastly, the one who would stand in front of the door it was Marie Doyle, and who didn’t knew a few stories about ‘Mountain’ Doyle? The former pro-wrestler politely nodded at Anastasia and went to her duty, Anastasia told Irene to remove her cap and jacket and Huxley told Anastasia that she would make some coffee for them all.

 

So she kissed Henry on the cheek, he made a joke that earned him a failed ‘stab’ attempt and a quick run to the elevator, she then kissed her boss and left Doyle close the door.

 

She went straight to the bathroom, closed the door, opened a cabinet and grabbed a phone behind a pile of toilet paper.

 

‘You’re a control freak full of tricks, aren’t you?’

 

‘Try to keep a double life with two snoopy sisters, and two brothers, that have the bad habit of crashing in your home without warning; it’s amazing what you’ll learn...’

 

‘OK, I have learned how to control this stuff… you disabled any restriction I could be facing now, didn’t you? Anyway, there’s something wrong with Huxley and Hogan…’

 

‘What it is?’

 

‘They are going to ambush you as soon as you open that door…’

 

And she remembered the picture she had seen in the screen of Huxley’s phone.

Two women, still undistinguishable, standing face to face (but facing the camera) and with their bodies touching at breast level, but with their arms kept behind their backs with rope! Or tape (?), she wasn’t sure. But she was sure that they had no lips!

 

‘Does this rookie, Hogan, know about…’

 

‘I had her (and a leggy friend of hers) nicely roped up in my best nawa-shibari try so far… and Diane, my baby sister, decided that my guest bedroom was the best place she could sleep before she went to the airport to catch a plane to Paris! So I had no choice but ‘stash’ them where you are for a couple of hours! Look, there’s a vault above the…’

 

‘Already found it and I think I’ve got what you have in your mind in my right hand…’

 

The…! Well, they had a chance now, a good one…

 

At that moment there was a knock at the door. She flushed and composed herself…

 

As she left the toilet she saw that Hogan was at her left, blocking the entrance to the corridor that led to her room, while Huxley was at her right. They seemed nervous.

 

‘The picture in the screen of your phone at that moment… Which one is your sister?’

 

And Huxley, immediately followed by Irene, drew her gun at her.

 

‘I am sorry, I am really sorry, but she is barely eighteen and they have her… whoever they are they seemed way serious! So, please, turn around and…’

 

As she did so, and was handcuffed by Huxley, Anastasia looked at Irene…

 

‘The other woman, is she related to you?’

 

‘No. That’s Doyle’s daughter, Carlene’ – answered Huxley as she forced the ADA to walk towards her own bedroom – ‘We make the questions, OK? Where is she?’

 

‘By ‘she’ you mean the woman impersonating that poor co-ed?’

 

‘So you admit that…’ – started Huxley

 

‘I know where she is! I… I mean I am pretty sure…’ – said Irene as she cut her off.

 

For a moment, Huxley looked quizzically at her and then at the woman she was forcing to march ahead of her. So the rumors were true…

 

‘Alright. They told us to tie her up, I’ll do it while you go and find her. Do you know where she stashes anything that I can use to restrain her?’

 

‘Second drawer from the top’ – answered Anastasia as she sat on the edge of the bed pointing, with her head, to a dresser in front of the extra-large bed.

 

While Irene opened the one of the enormous built-in closets, Huxley (still pointing her gun at Anastasia, who was facing her and very passive) opened the drawer and found dozens of neatly stashed pre-cuts coils of rope (in six different colors)! And five rolls of tape (three colors), plus a box full of scarves! And another filled with handcuffs!

 

‘You… and…’

 

‘Every single girl I shared this bed with… minus a couple of Californians beach bunnies who asked me to ‘try it’ without roping them. It was… good. But not the same thing…’

 

‘Including…’

 

‘Irene?’ – Huxley nodded, and it was Anastasia’s turn to nod.

 

Dumbfounded, for a moment, Huxley decided that she had better things to do. So she grabbed a few coils (of blue rope) and a white roll of tape and told Anastasia to lie on her belly. She remembered a drug bust of a few years back, the guy was reading a comic book by some Italian fella about bondage… a position called ‘hog-tie’ or something…

 

‘I am sorry…’ she started but was cut short.

 

‘You have no other option. Do it.’

 

First she gagged the ADA. Three long strips of tape and from the nose down her face was now white, next she crossed her ankles, folded her legs and tied her ankles to the chain connecting the handcuffs. More rope on the legs, more around the elbows and…

 

Was she overdoing it? It was, more or less, what that blonde did to that girl in the comic book… Somebody tapped her shoulder.

 

She turned around and barely saw a clenched fist and the face of the woman to whom it belonged to. That *******???? What was she doing here???!!!

 

And then the fist connected to her chin…

 

And she was sent flying backwards, landing over the ADA folded and bound legs.

 

‘OOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!! ****!!! What’s this woman’s chin made of, steel?’

 

‘MMMmmmmpppphhhmmmm!!! MMMMMmMMmppphhhhttt!!!!!’

 

‘Sorry love, first thing first, neutralize the threat…’

 

At the very least, she did remove the detective’s body from over her own before she started to undress her. There was more than enough space over the bed for that (One of her still unfulfilled fantasies was having three rows of six topless, bound and gagged beauties sitting, rather comfortably given the circumstances, on the edges of the bed while she had sex with the three ‘Lucky 7th’s, so she had the bed and its mattress, and everything else on and over it, made on demand), so she rolled on her side and saw a very quick job of undressing a KO’ed woman.

 

Shoes, pants, shirt, tie… she left the blue and white underwear on, rolled her over and started to apply the black electrician tape on her body. She crossed the wrists, the ankles and then taped the legs, next, she sat Huxley on the edge of the bed and knelt behind her, and all over the arms and torso went the tape, finishing with a balled up hankie inside her mouth (but no tape over her lips). Only after she help Huxley to lie on her back, and pushed her body upward so she was completely over the bed, is that she turned her attention towards the owner of the whole building.

 

‘You OK?’

 

‘Mmmm?’

 

Carefully the tape was peeled from over her lips, she knelt over her bed with surprising ease and saw Sarah reaching for a back pocket of her trousers and bringing forth…

 

A taser?

 

‘Oooops!’

 

‘You used it on Irene?’

 

‘Yup’ – answered Sarah as she reached back again and this time brought forth the cutter she used to set Anastasia free in no time – ‘Should I bring her here?’

 

Anastasia nodded, composed herself as Sarah crawled out of the bed, and then went on all fours to the ‘pile’ of Huxley’s clothes that was lying two feet at the left of the now awakening captive detective. There it was, her cellphone…

 

‘MMMMMMMMMPPPPHHHTTTTTMMMMM!!!!!’

 

Anastasia merely used her almost patented ‘Bear Grip’ over the older woman’s lips and, with her free hand, she started to check the messages Huxley had received that night.

 

‘You really should have changed the password after that night…’ – she said to the increasingly angry woman, who was now writhing impotently (and quite furiously) in between her legs (as she was now kneeling over the bed), alluding to a situation in a case nine months earlier (which made the ADA have to use the detective’s phone).

 

‘Where it is…?’

 

‘Can I see it?’ – asked Sarah as returned carrying the younger, taller and lighter Irene (who was still a bit droozy) over her right shoulder.

 

‘Did you have to remove ALL her clothes?’ – asked Anastasia as she helped Sarah to place the quite passive, and increasingly scared, naked girl besides Huxley.

 

‘Yeah, I know, a bit overdoing… but… Believe me… It was really necessary for my…’

 

Your plans?’

 

‘Whoever is behind the fake ‘Fiora’, he/she/them have her sister now, right?’

 

‘And Doyle’s daughter.’

 

Sarah looked at her puzzled, and then turned her attention to the rookie girl who was sitting on the bed and looking at her and Anastasia with an expression of pure stark fear, Anastasia shoved her backwards while Sarah added four strips of tape over Huxley’s lips. Both unrestrained women were next kneeling on the bed flanking Irene, Anastasia by her left side and Sarah by her head (and both making sure she stayed put), and when she turned to her right, to Huxley, for some support all that the more experienced cop did was look at her with sympathetic (but curious) eyes.

 

‘What do they have against you?’ – asked Sarah as she removed the big knot from inside her mouth. One last time Irene tried to plead, but Anastasia was now on all fours by her side, leaned closer, and then she whispered something in her right ear.

 

‘No, it’s not that… somehow… somehow she, the girl you captured earlier, somehow she knew about me. We… dated a few times; she confessed to me that dominating a cop turned her on and... She… is really… I let her into my apartment two nights ago. We had a good time, and while I was sleeping she made copies of all of my pictures…’

 

‘Oh no!’ – The expression in Anastasia’s face changed abruptly, she composed herself, but both Huxley and especially Sarah were curious about all that obvious raw fear…

 

‘Pictures? As in ‘pictures my mom must never put her eyes on?’ – asked Sarah.

 

‘More like her dad and caveman brothers…’ – answered Anastasia before turning to the sobbing girl – ‘… That’s how they knew about the relationship between us?’

 

‘They knew it beforehand…’ – Hogan said before Sarah placed the knot back inside her mouth. Next both women questioned Huxley (after checking the four e-mails with the threats and orders sent to her), but there wasn’t much she could say other than that she had received an email with a link, saw the picture of her sister bound and gagged in her undies with a (then) unknown girl in the same situation next to her, another (much bigger) email from an email address to which she could only send ONE message, and only if by any chance ‘Fiora’ was somehow incapacitated.

 

Anastasia then asked to Sarah to help her ‘finish the job’ (i.e. tie them both in an even more restricting fashion), and strip Huxley (?), while they discussed what they should do. They both had (more or less) had the same idea as to how to deal with situation, so their talk was just to fit one idea into the other, cutting off what didn’t fit.

 

Of course, their captives’ pleas and objections fell in deaf ears.

 

Both Laurie and Irene were quickly reduced to ultra-tight packages, but they had to agree that (so far) their captoresses had no reason to not act that way…

 

And besides, both women couldn’t help but try to nod when Sarah asked them if the quickly thought and yet carefully elaborated plan they come up with was ‘a good one’.

 

 

 

 

Twenty minutes later, ADA Anastasia ***********, wearing a very casual set of white pants and… yellow (?) T-shirt, opened the door of her penthouse apartment and made a proposition to ‘Mountain’ Doyle, who got in touch with the officer at the desk in the lobby and asked him if he wanted some coffee. The night doorman (who was a lip reader) translated to the Hulk-like cop at his side what was going on.

 

‘Yeah… Kona coffee. The rookie girl, Irene Hogan, she makes an awful coffee! I’ve made some… Oh, whom am I trying to fool? (…) My sisters, both of whom I love very much in spite of their hazardous lifestyle and behavior, like to think that MY apartment belongs to them too, so they always leave a lot of THEIR favorite coffee (among other stuff that, I confess, I like a lot too) around and… I…’

 

More intrigued than anything, Doyle contacted again the guys downstairs.

 

The night doorman (who had already lied shamelessly to the cops – as if he was going to lose such a paycheck, and the benefits!, without knowing firsthand if he had to be honest to the police or not!) told her that he never had to buy coffee for himself since he was hired, and it was always that Kona one, so she agreed to bring some for them in a few minutes. And then she went inside after Anastasia…

 

As soon as she entered the sitting room, she felt a gun against her left temple.

 

At the very same moment the ADA spun around, grabbing a Beretta 418 she had tucked in her waist, and aimed the pocket pistol at the big police officer.

 

‘Please, don’t make a fuss, we know about your daughter… Hands up front!!!’

 

Trying to remain calm, Doyle peeked at who was grabbing her gun. It couldn’t be, she couldn’t believe in her own ears, and then she turned her face totally towards…

 

‘Sarah Neumann??? What is she doing here???’

 

‘Believe it or not, I came here to play poker…’ – answered the lawyer as she took some steps backward. Now unarmed, Marie knelt on the floor, fingers intertwining behind her head. But Anastasia moved forward and (sort of) yanked her up, she ended up doing it alone (a bit hesitantly tough), forcing her to stand.

 

‘DOYLE!!! Marie. We know about your daughter… about Carly…’ – started Anastasia – ‘There are three ways to solve this situation. In the first, I call my brother and my boss and friend. Whatever happens afterward your career, Laurie’s and Hogan’s will be over, perhaps you gals can manage to avoid jail time but… In the second, we tie you up like we did to Huxley and Irene, keep you like that for hours while we pray that no one realizes that I am playing with the camera’s feed and don’t call you gals, meanwhile we, me and Sarah, deal with the kidnappers and whatever else they are. Or…’

 

Marie Doyle listened to her plan. Feasible and doable, and it could mean that her daughter would be safe in one hour, two at most.

 

And they needed her cooperation to make it work, so she nodded and started to unbutton her shirt, as they all walked to the living room where Huxley and Hogan, impossibly tied (naked?) to sturdy chairs, where waiting for them.

 

There was an empty chair at Huxley’s left, and coils and more neat coils of rope and a few white scarves were over the seat. Now wearing only her underwear, Doyle stood calm, sighed and told the duo of… dominatoresses? What was that word again?

 

She took off her bra and her panties and told them that she was ready…

 

And they nearly jumped on her!

 

The worst thing was that those two worked in unison, almost like machines! On her body!!! Not needing to exchange words at all! Sarah on her legs, Anastasia on her arms and torso and Sarah, after going excessively short of mummifying her legs with rope, was now almost delicately placing two folded hankies on top of her tongue…

 

Then it was time to melt her to the chair! Just like they had done with the other two!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIVE MINUTES LATER, IN A RENTED HOME A FEW MILES AWAY

 

They went after Nora Huxley first.

 

Piece of cake, who would be brazen (and suicidal) to invade a cop’s house to kidnap her sister? He and his brothers & cousins.

 

(But only because of the ones paying him were… THEM.)

 

The lock was ridiculous, the girl barely fought when they surprised her studying some pop art nonsense in her own room (as if it would have made any difference if she was, somehow, ready and alert) and they were back to the van in less than five minutes.

 

Next, they checked Carly Doyle’s Facebook account; she posted that she was leaving the college basketball game she had attended with a few friends about twenty minutes later. They had to wait for twenty minutes inside her apartment, and when she arrived, she was not alone. But fortunately she was a ‘good girl’, so she rejected the advances of her boyfriend (not that they would have any problem dealing with him as well if that was necessary) and closed the door, starting to take off her clothes as she found it weird that she couldn’t turn on the lights (since she had just replaced the old bulb last week)…

 

Four ex-military men against one girl wasn’t exactly fair, especially four wearing night vision goggles against a girl in the dark, but they were pros. Tape on her legs and arms and over her mouth and eyes, and nothing else, not even when Zeke took her to the van (and she did have had a really great… behind) about twenty minutes later (there was some domestic disturbance going on in the apartment next to hers so they had to wait).

 

Once back to their base, they put the girls kneeling side by side on a bare mattress (their hands were tied up in front and to their knees, there was a ‘triangle’ of rope connecting their crossed ankles to the knots between their arms and torsos, below their breasts, that kept their arms at their sides) and gagged them with thick strips of cloth taken from a towel. They shot a couple of pictures and put both girls to sleep with that spray Homer brought from a poker game (one of these days they would really question him about it…), next they were placed in a less demanding restraint (just with their hands tied behind their backs and ankles crossed and tied, the gags stayed the same), on their side and now blindfolded as well with their heads resting on soft pillows.

 

There were no instructions about it from them, but he was not stupid.

 

He had to make the case as they had told him to, but he also had to make sure that, if the cops ever got wise on him or any of his vast number of relatives…

 

He sighed, stretched and peeked, again, at the naked, blindfolded and bound girl sharing a selfie with Melissa… As weird as Mellissa’s sexuality was for her brothers and cousins, and they were not bothered the least with her bisexuality, it was useful sometimes… It was what, the fifth time they forced one of the gals she liked (as much as the gal) to rope up and… (??!!!), to do what they wanted?

 

According to their lookout, his cousin Big Jimmy, the building was now locked, at least four officers (besides those three that would do all their biddings) were still inside and with at least half a dozen cops (poorly) pretending that they were ‘not there’ doing a stake out… But they had not heard a word from any of the three gals…

 

He grabbed his phone…

 

 

 

 

 

ACROSS THE STREET

 

Of all the men in the family, and they were many, it was said that he was the hunkiest.

 

Which made his job so easy sometimes… Right now the owner of the apartment was sound asleep on her bed, her wrists and ankles restrained with (very) padded handcuffs

 

They had met, ‘accidentally’, at a singles bar she used to go a couple of weeks ago. Not too tall, not too pretty and very homely… it had been so easy… And then, a few hours ago, an ‘unexpected’ meeting at the CostCo near her home and…

 

The narcotic he had dipped on her wine had a very slow action (usually took about half an hour to take effect) but was very powerful, and even if she managed to (somehow) wake up, and find out what he had done to her, he had the small spray can a few inches from her face. A quick act and in the following morning she would be easily convinced that she had dreamed it all, how could she have been a prisoner in her own bedroom if there wasn’t any proof of it over her body? It had worked that time in London…

 

Right now, his job was to check the last floor across the street…

 

And pick up the phone.

 

‘Jimmy? Can you talk?’

 

‘Yeah, what gives?’

 

‘Don’t know, the detective was supposed to send that email like… hold on… It’s here… Weird… OH ****!!!!!! ********** ******* of a *********!!!!!!!’

 

‘What’s wrong?’

 

‘Call you later, there’s… there has been a change of plans…’

 

Thirteen tense minutes later, he received an email from his cousin.

 

It had a forwarded email with it, and five simple new ‘duties’ for him to perform.

 

The surveillance ‘duties’ were not that weird or even difficult to perform, Larry had just reinforced the previous ones (a bit ‘dramatically’ as usual) and added an order for him to send to the hacker Larry had hired, a Chinese teenager that was at an hotel downtown under protection and guard of their cousin Patterson, all the pictures he had on whoever had entered the building across the street, either on foot or in a car.

 

As if the angle he had was good enough to catch but the driver of any of the seven cars that had entered the building since 09:15!

 

The reason to it all were in the forwarded emails…

 

‘EPIC FAIL’ (in the first) and ‘Who will save me?’ (in the second) were the only words in them, but attached to each one was a set of two different pictures.

 

The two pictures of the first one showed a row of naked women overly tied up to and on wooden chairs, from the back and from the front.

 

He recognized the rookie (he had seen some of the pictures Melissa had copied) and the former pro-wrestler (out of curiosity he had managed to dig the five short videos of her fights available), the one in the middle was the detective…

 

None of them had any chance of freeing herself!!!

 

There was rope under the armpits, around the necks (??!!!) (… okay, apparently there were no chance for them to be strangled accidentally…), under the sole of the feet!

 

(White) Rope enough to tie any of them properly (as he would do if he had to) was used in one the women’s arm alone! Then there were the ropes (these ones were either pink or red) making the captives one with the chairs they were sitting on! And what about the gags? Whatever was that green stuff parting their lips open it was thick!

 

But the second set of pictures… they were the worst!

 

Melissa, au naturelle, over a very big table, with a wide strip of white tape over her lips and just some tape (barely enough to hold her for more than thirty seconds if he recalled that lost bet against the Seahawks correctly) around her crossed wrists and ankles.

 

OH F***!!!

 

 

 

 

 

AT THE SAME TIME

 

Why hadn’t they set them free yet? All that overkill was supposed to be for the pictures!

 

‘HMMMM!!!!’

 

‘What was that?’ – said the male voice on the phone on Anastasia’s hand.

 

Sarah was behind Huxley before the owner of the whole place reacted, her two hands merely covering (weirdly in a gentle way) what they had already… Okay, okay, she was going to calm down. ‘Thank you’ mouthed Anastasia before answering.

 

‘What else? One of your forced helpers’ feeble protests for freedom or whatever…’

 

‘Be quiet’ Sarah mouthed to the impotent older woman after the last of the four or five strips was carefully smothered over her already well taped lips.

 

‘There, that’s better… Now Mister… what about my proposition?’

 

‘You must think that I am…’

 

‘An idiot? No, or I would really try to set a trap to you and the others…’

 

And now Sarah was finishing the last of the reinforcements on the other women’s gags. Irene had stayed very passive as the tape was pressed against her face, while Doyle was more curious than anything… She knew that she had been fooled by those two, but at the same time they seemed really sincere about wanting to rescue her daughter…

 

‘You don’t want to know who I am or why…’

 

‘Mr… Hmmm… Do you mind if I call Mr. K?’

 

‘From ‘Kidnapper’?’

 

‘Exactly… Mr. K, of course I want to know who you are, who’s the girl that I wanted to have with me on my bed and who hired you both, and the others, and why. And if you don’t want to be forced to answer those questions I suggest you to, as soon as your wife/relative or whatever is back to your arms, to hit the road!!! Run as fast as you can and as far as possible. To make things easier for you, I promise that I will not take the fingerprints or a swab of DNA from whoever she is. But tomorrow, about this hour, I will meet with the guy my father contacted when he had a ‘nuisance’ to be dealt with…’

 

‘And what is preventing you from doing it right now?’

 

‘Nora Huxley and Carly Doyle, plus all the pictures of Irene of course.’

 

‘You care that much about them? Even the sub chick?’

 

‘Mr. K, I…’ – Anastasia seemed hesitant for a moment…

 

And then Sarah started to ‘say’ something to Anastasia with her hands.

 

None of the captives could see what was it, and even if they could none of them knew ASL, but Anastasia’s face went white for a moment. Then the ADA mustered all the control she had, closed her eyes and went back to the ‘private’ conversation.

 

‘Mr. K, fifteen years ago my father WAS going to be the next mayor of this town. But then he decided that politics weren’t his ‘ground’, at the same time that he made three horrible decisions that nearly cost him the post of CEO of the empire he helped his father build, as well as (at least) 20% of all his net worth...’

 

‘So…?’

 

‘Although he managed to recover part of what he lost, he was a broken man from them on. And you know why he made those decisions knowing full well how… how much… he was going to lose, how much they were going to cost him?’

 

‘No…?’

 

‘Because the woman for whom I would gladly sell my soul…, she had taken pictures and mini movies of our meetings and had sold them to those who profited from his ‘bad decisions’. She got greedy by the way… She wasn’t supposed to sell anything, she had already been paid, but she got greedy… And, by the time the person who I will contact tomorrow found her, she was in an unmarked grave… Not that it prevented him to find out who had hired, and ultimately killed, her. And to deal with them…’

 

The way she was looking at Sarah… What the… she was lying! She was lying!

 

‘You think that I will fall for such a lame story?’

 

‘If you are going to believe in me or not is not my problem, Mr. K, the facts are that two innocent girls are in your power, and the reputation of a third lies in the balance as well, and all because of my family… A situation that I know very well. I am giving you the chance to save ‘Fiora’ from jailtime, to have a good headstart in your run… but if you choose to outsmart me and do something to the girls…’

 

She looked at Irene and Marie, and they had felt for the act as well…

 

‘Suppose that I believe in what you just said… what makes you think that I will drive a car to a building surrounded by dozens of cops, with a number of them inside it, with two bound and gagged dames with me?’

 

‘Mr. K… My father died the day after I was hired as an ADA. I created a foundation with most of the money I got as inheritance, but I kept some for my… necessities…’

 

‘Yeah, I know that the whole building belongs to you.’

 

‘Exactly. I own the whole building…’

 

She told him what (and how) to do and he agreed.  They felt lucky that he, apparently, cared for ‘Fiora’, and all women let out a collective sigh when he hung up.

 

‘You think he’s for real?’ – asked Sarah.

 

‘You’re smelling a trap too?’

 

‘Whoever hired Sleeping Beauty over there and him and the others...’

 

‘Must be paying them a big number. Which is why…’ – Anastasia told Sarah, with her right index, to follow her to a corner of the very large room.

 

They had a quick conversation in which Sarah’s expressions of surprise and incredulity were anything that the others could get from it.

 

Not that it matter for the captives.

 

To Huxley it only meant one thing… Nora was going to rescued! She looked at the others, the shine in their eyes was probably mirroring hers…

 

But then their captors returned. First her and Irene’s bonds and gags were all rechecked and even retightened, *********!!!!!, and they were told what they knew all along.

 

They were too emotionally involved to be considered reliable or trustworthy, so through all the action they would stay as they were. Doyle had to promise four times that she wasn’t going to do ‘anything stupid’ before she was set free.

 

She put on her uniform, tidied herself and went downstairs with a package of coffee, a whole pack of lies to tell the others downstairs and a mug of the hot beverage.

 

And she had agreed to return and be put back in that unbelievable situation…

 

After she closed the door for the former bodybuilder/wrestler, Anastasia returned to the dining room on time to watch Sarah ready to press the unconscious redhead’s left (and inked) palm over a sheet of paper. They started a discussion, Sarah arguing that she hadn’t promised to do or not do anything since ‘Mr. K’ didn’t knew she was here and Anastasia saying that it did not matter, until Anastasia again grabbed Sarah’s hand and took her to her room, they stayed there for ten or more minutes, and went they returned Sarah was babbling that it was a mistake, a huge mistake, but helped Anastasia to clean the girl’s palm, and then put her in a taut hogtie while Anastasia re-welcomed Marie.

 

This time Sarah took care of Doyle’s bond all alone, after she ungagged Huxley so she could talk to Gomert (while Sarah held the radio for her) and said that everything was fine at the apartment. Meanwhile, Anastasia was making many phone calls in the studio. The tallest woman in the place finally took off all her clothes and stood passively as she was, again, turned into a reel of rope. She told Sarah, and the others, the outrageous lie that would explain to the other cops why she would spend the rest of the night inside the apartment (and they all hoped that Anastasia was in her forgiving mode!), and, by the time they arrived, she was back to her chair…

 

 

 

THIRTY SIX MINUTES LATER

 

The car was spot as soon as it turned the corner three blocks down the street. It was a 50’s model with tinted windows. By the time it reached the entrance of the building’s garage the owner had been identified as the tenant of apartment ‘34’, a man whom the night doorman (who had been informed of his ‘new special duties’ minutes earlier by an email he claimed was from his wife…) told the cops he suspected was a bigamists due to his ‘crazy hours and lousy transformations’.

 

A mid-forties black woman wearing a light business suit left the apartment ‘34’, the man’s friend and ‘accomplice’ according to the doorman, and went to the garage about the same time the car entered it, she said something to the driver, a discussion followed and then the driver’s door was opened. The images in the monitors showed a bald man in his late forties, the same face on the DMV’s documents, a bit overweighed, wearing a brand new dark suit a carrying a small suitcase. He and the woman went up, he stayed in his apartment for about twenty minutes, and then he returned (alone) to the car, now wearing a light (and quite old) suit and carrying two black suitcases.

 

He went back to the car and left, and even at that hour of the night (with all the light to almost nonexistent traffic), he managed to escape the net that the police had sprung to catch him after he left the surrounding area.

 

The woman was quickly interrogated by Gomert, identifying herself as Dr. Rena White, and confirmed the ‘bigamist’ story, but refused to explain any further.

 

The next morning all current and future investigations about the tenant were suspended, forever. Rena White officially vacated apartment 34 one week later, moving to another state after she bought a house that, apparently, she could not afford.

 

And, with the further political development involving, and the public ‘betrayal’ of, the former ADA and her siblings a few months later, the events of that night, the bald guy, Dr. White and the forbidden investigations became part of the local legends…

 

 

 

 

THE EXCHANGE

 

The car was where she said it would be, in a garage downtown, and the keys were hidden where she had told him they would be too.

 

Still, he drove to an alley and, with one of the gizmos the Hong Kong born kid had given him; he checked the car up and down.

 

Nothing. Just a regular white and blue Dodge Coronet… a Royal Lancer if he wasn’t mistaken. He almost felt offended for the tinted windows.

 

They were useful, but what a heresy!

 

And then the van was there, the still drug-induced sleeping duo was placed in the trunk, Kenny and Pete joined him and off they went.

 

They knew all along that they were being recorded as they entered the subterranean garage of the building, but they also knew that what the cops would be seeing through the monitors was something quite different from reality.

 

They stopped the car where she told them to, just a few yards away from the elevator’s doors, which opened as soon as Kenny and Pete were holding in their arms a half naked, and now awakening, girl bound at the hands and ankles and gagged with tape over their cloth-parted lips. Inside there were… four people?

 

Melissa was there, still doped and now wearing a revealing black set of underwear (but at least it could be said that she was ‘dressed’ with something) and some rope and tape as well, tied to a swivel chair. Behind her stood Anastasia, and flanking her was a black couple, wearing casual black clothes (pants and t-shirts for both), black leather gloves and black masks. And each one of them had a gun in his/her right hand…

 

Kenny, all 6’5” of him, reacted as usual, and ended up waking up Carly as he fumbled to grab his gun holstered at his waist in his back. But Larry held his hand down, without breaking eye contact with the ADA, and took a step forward.

 

If, at least, he wasn’t wearing a ‘sad clown’ mask…

 

‘What’s the meaning of this?’

 

‘You honestly expected me to meet two or three, maybe more, armed people whose names and faces I still don’t know… all alone?’

 

And they all heard the cocking of a gun, coming from behind them…

 

A third black person (Larry couldn’t see if it was a tiny man or a woman) emerged from behind a column, aiming a third gun at him and the others.

 

‘You…’

 

I am going to move this girl ten steps in front of me, YOU alone will carry (one at the time) each captive girl to the right side, MY right side, of the chair, then you will grab ‘Fiora’ and…’ – And Anastasia placed a cell phone on the blonde’s lap – ‘…wait for my call. Right now the policemen upstairs are watching a pre-recorded video of a Dutch guy that comes to this town, once a year, only to be the ‘star’ of a new whole series of ‘decoy movies’ I make for such situations. WE will take the girls, and all hardware with the pics, upstairs and you will wait for as long as it’s needed, until I am sure that you tied up and gagged your captives, and nothing else. THEN, and only then, the footage that will allow you to escape this place will be sent to the monitors… Is that clear?’

 

‘Perfectly… (Put that down!)’

 

She placed the chair with ‘Fiora’ right at the middle of the distance between the elevator and the car, the ‘sad’ clown grabbed Carly from the hands of one of the two ‘happy’ ones and carried her, bridal style, to where the chair was, and then he went back to the car. Anastasia walked back to the middle of the distance and brought Carly to the elevator, and the former Seal offered himself as a human shield while the exchange continued. The ‘sad’ clown had Nora in his arms as he walked, and after he placed the still unconscious girl besides the swivel chair he grabbed a small plastic bag with three pendrives in it and two memory cards from a breast pocket.

 

‘All the other copies have been erased, I swear…’

 

One minute later Anastasia, cradling Nora in her arms, nodded at the clown as the elevator’s door closed and she turned her attention to Carly, who was almost completely freed from her bonds and starting to sob, the black man grabbed Nora from her arms and she held Carly all the way to apartment 34. Ten minutes later, as the doctor put the girls to sleep (Nora was awakening); Anastasia grabbed the phone and told the ‘sad’ clown to wait. She went through the stairway to the penthouse, and only as she arrived she gave the nod to Sarah who pressed ‘enter’ in the notebook she had in her lap, and the footage of the bald guy leaving the apartment appeared in the screen. She and Sarah coordinated the kidnapers/whatever departure and then turned to their captives.

 

The good news; the doctor (a friend who didn’t mind to be her ‘on call’ doctor given the outrageous rent she had to pay for her apartment) had not found any sign of sexual assault, although she would make more exams to be sure and, if needed, find a way to have them removed to a private clinic first thing in the morning; were music to Laurie and Marie, who quickly put back on their clothes, and then they very audibly cursed Gomert as he took too long to leave the apartment ‘34’…

 

Meanwhile, Sarah freed Irene from her chair, and (pretending that she would give the girl a massage) escorted her to one of the three guestrooms in the back of the penthouse.

 

So focused were the two older women in the screen of the TV in front of them that, aside a small nod and ‘goodnights’ to the younger former-captive, they barely looked at her… Which allowed Sarah to viciously grab the still partially bound girl, shove a napkin into her mouth and carry the pleading brunette to the nearest bed…

 

Before Anastasia finally allowed Marie and Laurie to go, through the stairs (!), to the apartment where Nora and Carly were sleeping under… heavy guard? (Aside the black couple that lived there, another man was just entering the ‘34’ and he was carrying an Uzi!)... She gave them back their cellphones and com-links. They were not supposed to answer the phones unless the incoming was from their families (to whom they would have to tell the lies they had agreed to spread) or her.

 

She would discuss a strategy and a cover-up story with them, as soon as she had a talk with… Sarah? Irene? Where was… were they?

 

She grabbed her TV’s remote control and pressed one of its ‘secret codes’ (she still found it a ridiculous description, however apt it was)… The image on the TV screen switched to four windows, showing aleatory footage of the many security cameras of her apartment, every window changed the footage (unless Anastasia interfered) after 20 seconds. There were them. Sarah was just finishing an overkilling tape mummy-hogtie on Irene? For crying out loud! What was going on in that

 

In the window right above the one showing Sarah helping the crying girl to kneel over the bed of the first guestroom, and then comforting her, the footage switched to a woman in her undies, thoroughly taped up, struggling inside… the closet of another guestroom, the one closest to her own room! The image wasn’t good, she could see that the captive was a woman but couldn’t see much of her face.

 

Yet, there was something… familiar with that woman…

 

BUT WHO WAS SHE????!!!!

 

Time to get some answers, pronto!

 

She found Sarah hugging her captive, as she sat at Irene’s left at the edge of the bed, and calmly waiting for her when she got there. Before she could say anything Sarah broke the hug, stood up and walked in her direction.

 

‘Don’t worry about anything…’ – Sarah said over the shoulder to Irene, who nodded in return, and then she gave a bear hug to Anastasia!

 

‘Before anything, let me commend you’ – she whispered in her ear.

 

‘For what? What’s going on? Why did you…? Who is…?’

 

But then Sarah put her right index finger over Anastasia’s lips, and took her back to the main living room of the penthouse, where the TV was still showing the images of the two captives and images of the other cameras.

 

‘When Honoria gave us those tips about who should we call if we ever wanted to feel safe inside our inner sanctums, you followed her advices, didn’t you?’

 

‘Just like you and everybody else who was at Milady Howard’s refuge in Kentucky five years ago… I called you-know-who the very minute I came back home!’

 

‘So… You like to call girls to have one-night-only flings with them, but handle the stuff through your personal assistant. One night, the girl you chose, and SHE vetted, is attacked and substituted by an imposter (whose professional accomplices also deal with your assistant and her family)… But fear not! A teenage peeping tom watches part of the action and calls the police. A quick investigation and your brother, who may or may not become this town’s next mayor, and your boss, are warned of the ‘impending treat’ against you. The District Attorney calls the brass and two dozen cops are with them when they break into this place, twenty minutes later only six or seven are still here when you start to give your hours-long statement… Right?’

 

‘So far, yes, just like I told you…’

 

‘Then, supposing that exactly two dozen LEO entered that door over there, how many had already left when you sat at the table to talk about your sex-life?’

 

‘Well I think…’ – And then it dawned on Anastasia’s mind, who took a good look at the unknown captive woman in the screen in front of her, then at Sarah, then back at the woman, back at… Irene. She looked at the woman and at Irene… They were related?

 

‘Wendy Hogan!!? That’s… Wendy Hogan?’ – Anastasia asked pointing at the screen.

 

‘Yup… the former pride of the Hogan family, until three years ago that is…’

 

‘But…’ – Anastasia stopped and started typing code after code on the control, the options appearing in the screen made it obvious that, indeed!, Anastasia had followed Honoria’s advices to the letter! She had recorded, through a couple of dozen cameras that officially didn’t existed, the past six hours inside that apartment.

 

Fiora’s arrival, her own arrival, the brief talk-talk, the toss of the coin, she restraining the imposter, the sudden arrival of the cops and her boss and her brother… there it was.

 

The search.

 

The cops came and went through ALL the rooms of the place, in a quite confuse way due to being so many of them, and then Wendy Hogan stayed behind while searching that guestroom, and the words ‘HACKING ATTEMPTED’ flashed briefly in the screen. Wendy waited for a sign in her commlink, it came and she hid inside a closet.

 

The search ended shortly afterwards, Anastasia returned to her room and opened the secret ‘room’ inside her own one’s large built-in closet, the flashing words ‘HACKING ATTEMPTED’ appeared again, but fortunately the angle of camera didn’t showed anything that happened inside it, she leaving and going back to…

 

‘Is there any way to show what I did inside the… how do you call that room?’

 

Gwendoline’s Locker, hold on a minute… And stop smirking! How would you call it?’

 

‘Hmm… Damsel Stasher?’

 

Chuckling, she finished the code, and the image showed Sarah as she reacted to the word ‘ALARM’ that suddenly appeared in front of her…

 

Aside regular and unsuspecting tenants, Anastasia had arranged that a private covert security team moved to her building. Their rent was ridiculous, as long as they were ready 24/7 to rush to her help, including the (not so) former hacker of apartment ‘51’.

 

Therefore, when the first hacking attempt happened, Jules stopped watching a marathon of ‘Firefly’ and took the reins of the whole action, while the other four member of the team stood ‘locked and locked’. He prevented any attempt to interfere with the cameras (a glitch was supposed to have allowed Wendy to hide), got in touch with Sarah, told her whom he was and managed to hack into the text conversation between Wendy and ‘Father’ (although by the content of the messages it was clear that it was somebody using her father’s phone)… The text messages appeared in the window showing Wendy’s futile, but still vigorous, struggles against her tape bonds.

 

Anastasia smiled. He really was not joking when he told her how good he still was even after those mandatory ‘no-computer’ years…

 

‘This Jules guy… is he that kid that, nine years ago, broke into…?’

 

‘Himself… Officially speaking he works at the flower shop down the street, but in exchange for an electricity and internet bills that I pay, more obscure and gone TV shows’ episodes than he will ever be able to watch, and some other stuff…’

 

At some point, that only Jules would be able to explain exactly when, instead of just watching the text exchanges he took over the ‘role’ of ‘Father’, and convinced Wendy, that was only waiting for a chance to break into her bedroom!, that the coast was clear.

 

So Wendy opened the closet’s door… and was immediately tased by Sarah!

 

A quick undressing and tape-restraining followed, and Wendy was put back inside the closet by Sarah as she was coming to herself. Carefully, Sarah snuck back into the hidden room and pretended to be Wendy, under Jules monitoring, until ‘Father’ got wise and said a nonsensical phrase (a code of sorts)…

 

But in the five messages he had texted to ‘Wendy’, he made clear that ‘Plan B’ had been put in motion, and that Wendy could await for her little sister’s help…

 

‘So the theft/copying of her pictures…?’

 

‘No…, check back her footage. I was watching it at the time…’

 

Anastasia brought the footages five minutes back, and paid more attention to the rookie’s participation in it. She got a phone call, went to the kitchen to have it in privacy, and looked dumbfounded at her phone for a good minute! Sarah was handing her Irene’s phone when she turned to her. It had a message in it, from Scott Hogan (the youngest of her brothers). It was a treat (of exposing her publically with the use of very vulgar terms) that, obviously, he was supposed to have done with another phone…

 

In the screen, Irene managed to get her wits back and called her brother…

 

Two minutes later, she was rushing to the nearest toilet.

 

‘According to him, they found out about her ‘tastes’ months ago…’

 

They?’

 

‘The whole Hogan’s Crew… From papa Hogan to Wendy, all seven of them (including her mom)… The only reason he had not expelled her from his home at the time was that she could be ‘useful’ somehow, and her dad yelled him to tell her that ‘her ****’ had been already erased/destroyed, if she didn’t want that her clothes and other personal stuff followed, she was supposed to find out what had happened to Wendy and…’

 

‘Help her?’

 

Sarah nodded, and an horrified Anastasia returned her gaze to the screen. From them on she had no further surprises, and with the images showing the facts in sixteen times the original speed, minutes later she was watching Sarah carrying Irene to the bed.

 

They had a conversation, Sarah held Irene as she finally broke down, and next Sarah (obviously) convinced Irene to allow herself to be reduced to her current situation.

 

‘Wendy I understand… but why is it necessary to keep Irene a captive?’

 

‘Do you honestly believe that any of the Hogans, or anyone from that cavemen’s church they go to, could pull such an elaborate act to do whatever Wendy was supposed to…’

 

‘Not a minute. It’s obvious that ‘Father’ is not Ralph Hogan…’

 

‘Yes, the writing style is younger… And besides…’

 

And Sarah held a cellphone in her left hand.

 

‘Wendy’s phone…’

 

‘Did Jules…?’

 

‘Yes, one of the first things he did when he broke into the text conversation was to track any phone call to and from this little thing. I checked emails and previous messages and as we both know, there is no such thing as a permanent erasing of a message of email unless it’s done by a pro. And the Hogans are pretty dumb with these kind of things…’

 

‘She hadn’t erased…?’

 

‘Oh she did, too bad that it took Jules like twenty minutes to bring them back once he got inside her email account, and got his hands on this thing, while you were down at the garage with the others… He’s really good with that sort of thing…’

 

And Anastasia took a look at the screen of the cellphone…

 

It showed an email, originally sent to Ralph Hogan and shared by him with Wendy, from her boss, the District Attorney Michael Henley…

 

And that was not the worst thing she read from him in the next forty minutes!

 

 

 

 

MORNING

 

The day dawned at the same time that orders came from the top brass and the whole police force in and around the number XX of Maple Street was told to back off.

 

In less than twenty minutes, save for the three women that spent the night inside the ADA’s apartment (and were ordered to stay there), there was no other policemen (or women) nearby as the regular people took the streets, including the man who had just bid adieu to the latest name on his extensive list of useful victims, and couldn’t wait to go to the airport and leave town. The woman in question woke up to find him gone, and never suspected of the reason why they had met again…

 

The District Attorney, in person, went to Anastasia’s penthouse and, supposedly, spent two hours questioning Irene, Laurie and Marie there.

 

The reason why Anastasia ********** resigned that day would never become public…

 

 

 

 

10:00 AM

 

He was punctual, as always, and alone, which was unusual. Not that he had any choice.

 

He looked tired, and frightened, in the images from the cameras.

 

How much he knew that he was ****** up?

 

‘Mr. Henley…’

 

Cold as an iceberg! Moreover, who was the man that was posing as her secretary?

 

‘Hello… Ms. **********… The Hogans?’

 

Anastasia gave him passage and they walked to the living room. The TV was on, and the screen had been ‘cut’ in two windows. In one of them, Irene Hogan was writhing over a bed, trapped inside a very weird but inescapable cocoon of silver tape. In the other Wendy was short of being mummified with black and white tape, sleeping (or drugged) over another bed. He turned to Anastasia, and two men were flanking her!

 

Two masked men, wearing hockey masks and blue suits, he could be able to tell their heights and body features, aside from the fact that they were both whites, and nothing more. Trying to pose as barely affected by the guns, he made a question.

 

‘The Huxleys and the Doyles?’

 

‘All four were removed to a clinic owned by a friend of mine about two hours ago. Officially speaking, both Nora Huxley and Carly Doyle just won two-year scholarships in out-of-state colleges from unknown donors, which will not (if that’s the case) be traced back to me or my family… Unexpected, but very deserving for both girls.’

 

‘Their families, loved ones and the likes?’

 

‘Both Laurie and Marie said that they would manage it since, of course, for the next few months only one thing will matter to those girls, erase what YOU…’

 

‘I don’t know what…’ – And then he stopped and paled considerably.

 

She was holding a cellphone, her cellphone!, in her right hand.

 

‘I just have to press ‘Enter’ and your liberty, career and marriage are gone…’

 

And the men now had guns in their hands!

 

‘Let’s not precipitate ourselves…’

 

‘Do you have, or not, anything to do with what happened to Carlene ‘Carly’ Doyle and Nora Huxley during the night between June, **th and **th of 201X?’

 

‘So you can record me? You think that…?’

 

I think that I am ready to face the ridicule and snark of the whole state after I expose myself as… whatever they may come up with, as long as YOU and everybody else I already know of, and those whom the press and your old ‘friend’, the State’s Attorney, will find out that were involved in last night’s events are exposed as well. If only… Wendy wasn’t sooooo overconfident… She would have done as you told her and erased those pictures… Which WILL give my accusations a ton of credibility!!!!

 

Stupid ****!

 

‘So…’

 

And she teasingly played with her thumb around the buttons of that phone!

 

Michael Henley thought about his career, the promises he had heard from him, the lack of a prenuptial contract in his 35 years long marriage, his political and social status.

 

His ambitions…

 

One movement of her thumb and he would lose everything!

 

‘Alright! I hired the persons responsible for Carlene Doyle and Nora Huxley’s ordeals during the night between June, **th and **th, of 201X!’

 

‘What ordeals are you talking about?’

 

‘Their kidnappings, in order to force Marie Doyle, Carlene’s mother, and Laurie Huxley, Nora’s big sister, to take part in my plans against you…’

 

‘Don’t overpat yourself in the back that much…’

 

‘What?’

 

‘I WILL find out WHO is behind all this! But for now… Their names?’

 

‘I don’t know of anyone save the leader’s one, Patrick H. O’Connell…’

 

He gave a few details more, enough to incriminate the Hogans but no one else, which explained among few things how he had managed to implicate Fiora and the Welton kid… Simple stuff, Fiora had been caught doing credit card fraud, while the Welton kid was a terribly failed prankster (his victim ended up with a broken arm).

 

And, of course, it all had been done with Mirella’s help!

 

But the way he said it, and after some questioning from her part, made it clear to both Sarah (who was hearing everything along with some friends across town) and Anastasia that he definitely was NOT the brains behind the events of the past night…

 

He couldn’t explain how Anastasia’s friend and private secretary had been forced to create a background to ‘Fiora’, and after a while he had to admit that, at most, he had helped to ‘put some pressure’ over the Antellos…

 

‘…And that’s all I know.’

 

How could he have changed that much in less than twelve hours? The man she looked up to, the friend she thought she had… a ******* blackmailer and…?

 

‘A few things: One, I quit, effective immediately. You handle all my cases to whoever you want, minus Chartemberg and Ford. The others are reliable enough to not make a mess out of this situation, but not these two, and I would like that those who were counting on me to help them receive the justice they wanted to be satisfied with the outcome of this mess. We’ll discuss a proper excuse before you leave. Two, whatever investigation that is going on in this town about last night, especially about the ‘bald guy’ or Dr. White, is now closed. Three, wait here, I’ll have to check a few things…’

 

She nodded at the masked men, who nodded in return, and went to her private study. She wanted to punch and kick and break stuff, and also wanted to feel miserable and cry. She had known the pathetic man she had just left behind in her living room for more than two decades, and had always loved (as a friend, nothing else) and respected him. But she would find a way to ‘vent’ it all later…

 

She sat on her chair and grabbed her phone as it started to vibe…

 

‘How are you feeling?’ – asked Sarah.

 

‘Like a hen who just found out that her bestest friend is a small fox in disguise…’

 

‘Do you want to talk about it?’

 

‘Maybe later… How did it go?’

 

‘Check your emails…’

 

Aside the accounts she used regularly, there were a few that no one outside a handful of friends knew about (and that she only could access through specific computers).

 

Five minutes later, she saw what was supposed to be the last known image of Irene Hogan for the next few months. She seemed fine, her hair’s new color was almost perfect, the fake gums and fillings in her clothes changed her features considerably, and her ‘boyfriend’ (whoever he was, Sarah swore that he was reliable and trustworthy), the same guy that had broken into her apartment and removed all her most cherished and personal belongings, seemed fit for the job to take her to wherever and whoever Honoria had gotten in touch with. She took a peek at the image in the small window at the corner of the other notebook over her desk.

 

Sarah had made her record over three hours of Irene and Wendy’s useless efforts to free themselves (fake ones in Irene’s case, but she was almost convincing her that she wanted to be free for real), just to give their most valuable witness to the whole affair a good headstart in her travel to… wherever Honoria’s acquaintance would keep her safe until she could (and would?) be useful to solve the mess she (and Sarah) were neck deep now. At the time she was honestly expecting that Sarah was unusually (and annoyingly) in some twisted ‘prank mode’, but now…

 

She was glad that for once she was on the same side of… somebody who had a good burglar/bodyguard at beck and call 24/7.

 

She did not know if the couple was inside an airplane, a ship (?), a bus or a train, or inside some vehicle on their own. She only knew that as long as she kept that… maggot thinking that both girls were still inside that building, whoever was pulling his and the Hogans’ strings would think the same.

 

As for Wendy, the other image showed her current condition…

 

Well, they were at the late days of spring (almost an early summer), so stay a few more hours inside a trunk, bound in the buff as she was… Arched like a bow and with the oral cavity filled in the fullest as it seems, and those knots seemed big and ugly…

 

‘Where’s that car parked?’

 

‘At a corner of the Landrieu Park, the one and only she and Saykel used to ‘interrogate’ that poor kid. There’s a guy guarding her, of course, so if the Hogans are smarter than they look, or she’s found before you let Henley know that he’s being fooled…’

 

‘You’re not paying him, are you? How many criminals owe a favor to you?’

 

‘Do you really want to know the answer to that question?’

 

‘No. See but I want to you in a couple of hours if possible…’

 

‘I have already reserved a table at Marino’s at 12:30, I’ll be with Honoria…’

 

Over two hours later, she gave her former boss the conditions upon which the emails between him and his mistress (and former, and disgraced, police officer) would never become public. When he found out that he had been fooled he almost reached for his phone, but then he merely said ‘Well played’, grabbed Irene’s resignation letter and left the building… Irene Hogan was found by one of her father most trusted friends twenty three minutes later. There were no records of the whole investigation that followed the never reported rescue, and since they never had any clue, it went nowhere.

 

 

 

 

EIGHT DAYS LATER

 

Laurie Huxley got in touch with everyone she could think of, and officially asked them all to be at Marie’s home that night to convince her to accept ‘The Bribe’ as she called it. Fourteen current and former police officers showed up and, after hearing what little they were told (by those two dominatresses or whatever) to tell them, they used all sorts of arguments to make her accept it.

 

Something, that neither Laurie nor Marie could say much about, had happened at the now former ADA’s apartment in the same night in which her big brother launched his much anticipated (and predicted) bid for mayor. Something so secretive and dangerous that the Hogans (the Hogans!) had ‘demanded’ that their youngest member on the force was pulled out, and had her sent to the West Coast? Which was the same coast both Laurie and Marie had sent their immediate next of kin?

 

And for whose secrecy the former ADA’s family was going to pay a ‘bribe’, in the shape of financing the start of the new life of Laurie’ sister and Marie’s daughter? Full scholarship included? Of course she had to take ‘The Bribe’!

 

Jones (from the 12th Precinct) came up with a few stories about good cops (‘such as you two’) that had made bad calls in similar situations, while Jones (unrelated and from the 5th) gave some of his usual ‘nothings that are somethings’ (small talks that he had heard about town the past days that he thought that could be related to what had happened, in this case they weren’t, but neither woman could tell him that). Prewitt and Landas (both formerly at the 10th, the one Marie worked at) were more concerned about Nora and Carly’s safety. All the others shifted from one to another to another…

 

In the end, Marie was ‘convinced’ to accept ‘it’, but in doing so she managed to make the whole issue, that the city hall and top brass wanted to be forgotten as soon as possible, became spread throughout the whole police force of the town (even if it impacted her reputation in a negative way for a while).

 

 

 

AT THE SAME TIME OF THE REUNION AT MARIE DOYLE’S HOME

 

‘Melissa O’Connell (…), from left to right James ‘Little Jim’ O’Connell, Harvey O’Connell, Pembroke (I don’t know his first name), ‘Big Jim’ O’Connell and Stuart O’Dea (a cousin) (…) and these are the leaders: Pat O’Connell and his mother Eleanor O’Connell. Last but not least, the most dangerous of the pack, Liam O’Connell…’

 

‘Dangerous?’

 

‘Give him a nail and he will kill five full packed Navy SEALs, slowly.’

 

The three women looked back at the picture. To them it showed a man in his early 30’s, with freckles and a big nose, a bit thin and of average height, wearing a black ‘I’m with stupid →’ T-shirt. Honoria raised an eyebrow to the young man in front of them…

 

‘Ask around about Donegal, five years back, when Padric Ó Maolchatha made his last mistake. But I must warn you, it’s a no-heroes story with too much gore and blood…’

 

They looked at each other and Anastasia, then Sarah, nodded at Honoria.

 

‘Very well, here’s your money… Could you please give us a moment?’

 

‘Bugs’ Kremp just nodded and left the room, one moment later Kara (‘dressed’ in a stripper version of a French maid, with lots of hemp rope all over her limbs and a tight white cleavegag wrapped a good dozens of times around her head) entered the room...

 

‘Before anything…’ – And Sarah pointed at Kara with her left thumb – ‘Really?’

 

‘She won a bet… Baseball. So for a week, as soon as we are alone... Saturday she was a ‘captured (and really roped up) cowgirl’, yesterday it was ‘mummy time’, tomorrow she will be a ‘kidnapped beach bunny’, after that a ‘surprised lingerie model’ and so on…’

 

Both younger women at her right chuckled, Kara mentally stuck her tongue at them and she suppressed a smile, and then they all got serious… And the three women at the table looked at pictures that the man that had just left had brought with him.

 

‘What do you think?’ – Asked Anastasia to Sarah.

 

‘He has the reputation of being wrong in like… once out of a thousand times.’

 

‘He has eidetic memory, maybe even some degree of hyperthymesia, so it is more likely once in a ten thousand times. And he owes me a couple of things…’ – said Honoria, who had to add, after seeing the reaction on the other two – ‘…Legally speaking, his brother and he are not related, in any way you may think of save that, they’re brothers.’

 

‘And you…’ – Anastasia was more than just curious.

 

‘I have been treating his brother with all fairness and strict legality that I am known for, and yet… remember when Tabitha was burgled?’ – The judge asked, talking about a girl (that all three knew very well)’s worst experience in their town.

 

‘He was the one that made that anonymous phone call?’ – asked Sarah.

 

‘No, he was the one that paid a homeless man to make the phone call, after he had that worm beaten (not on my orders or even suggestions!) by a big bully of a friend of his as he took back… all the pictures I had taken of her (among other stuff)… and he dared to tell me that he still owed me a lot after that one!’

 

‘So if he owes you that much, what’s the money for?’

 

‘To track the O’Connells for me… Sarah… Probably… (…) Do you still want…’

 

‘From all this mess all I know, for sure, is that I have something in my apartment that someone, someone very close to me, wants badly. To the point of using Henley’s ambitions to make him create a situation in which I would not have any way to deny the entry of all those police officers in my penthouse at the time I would not want it to happen the most! The whole thing has layer upon layer of misdirection!’

 

‘Yep, it was carefully planned to make you jumpy, unable to defend yourself with all those people (your brother included) around due to the fact that they knew you were supposed to be keeping a bound and gagged (albeit willing) captive somewhere in the penthouse and, obviously, you would not want anyone of them to know about it. You were supposed to destroy, as you did, every proof of Fiora’s presence in the penthouse! The same Fiora that, who knows (?), would end up tying and gagging Irene after she did the same to Marie and Laurie! That was diabolical! She would be the one that YOU would be the looking for if you ever found what had happened… according to what you were supposed to discover if the plan had been successful!’

 

And both women turned their heads synchronically at Honoria.

 

‘Oh, come on, Sarah… Your presence there that night was as much as pivotal to the monkey-wrenching of that plan as were my humble suggestions to improve the cyber-security of you both. And I made those suggestions years ago…’

 

Which is why my presence there was unexpected in the first place! Had you not gave us that book It has as many pages as one! (…) ‘Suggestions’…’

 

‘Hah!’ – emphasized Anastasia.

 

‘Double hah! Had you not gave us that ‘book’, all one hundred and something pages of it, neither me nor Anastasia could have been so well protected that the whole thing was planned under the condition that Anastasia was supposed to be alone that night! My presence or at least the possibility of it, in the penthouse, would have been known…’

 

‘Jules has been warning me of ‘good attempts’ (his words) of breaking into my database the past six months! I had already booked a visit from you-know-who for next month and now… you-know-who is due to show up this Thursday!’

 

‘Exactly! Whoever is/are the hacker(s) involved in those ‘failed attempts’, can we honestly say that he/she/them was/were not supposed to be really good? Whoever is behind this might be wondering why we have been meeting that much this past week…’

 

‘The whole ‘partnership’ ruse did not work?’ – asked Honoria.

 

Instead of answering, Sarah grabbed her cellphone, fidgeted with it and showed her (and Anastasia) a picture. A young blonde woman, no more than twenty/twenty-one, was sitting on a stool. She was wearing only her blue underwear and tape, black tape, around her limbs and over her eyes and mouth, beside her, in what looked like a regular living room, there was a TV screen, with a baseball game on it.

 

The game that was on TV last Friday night… The one of the bet…

 

‘Her name’s Tanya, Tanya Hughes. She was an intern in my firm until three days ago. Officially speaking, a female burglar did this to her before ransacking her place. Extra-officially speaking, I spent half an hour talking to a robot-like voice trying to convince somebody that my relationship with you is merely professional… or else!’

 

‘So it’s still happening?’ – asked Anastasia.

 

‘Oh yeah… I had her in the first flight to her hometown this morning. She really could not understand why it mattered so much to me… Oh… ****!!!!! We dated a few times this past month, nothing serious… She’s flexible and ticklish, a lovely combination that we enjoyed the fullest! But… it was serious enough for her to become a target!’

 

‘And now it’s personal?’ – asked Honoria.

 

‘You bet!!!! (…) However, I can control myself… I will not do anything stupid…’

 

‘You don’t have the right… Until we find out who’s behind this…’

 

They talked a little more before she nodded at Kara, quite statuesque in that very fetishistic ‘captive maid persona, who bowed before leaving the room in the short steps she could produce. She returned less than a minute later, with Bugs right behind her.

 

‘Are you sure that you can find them in less than a month?’ – Sarah asked as soon as Kara had left the room before locking it behind her.

 

‘Yes… Hey!!!’ – Anastasia had just grabbed another envelope and threw at him!

 

‘We need to know where we can find them in a week, better less. Spare no expenses, hire and bribe whomever you have to and don’t worry about getting reimbursed.’

 

He looked at them, and then at the money inside the envelopes.

 

‘And once I find them?’

 

‘Is this Liam that dangerous?’ – He nodded and Sarah continued – ‘Hire somebody to neutralize him, not kill him. I don’t care if it’s inside a cell or a hospital room, but he must NOT be able to interfere to what will happen to his family…’

 

‘And what will happen to the other members of the O’Connell Gang?

 

‘They will have to come back to this town, in a rescue mission…’

 

And Anastasia grabbed and waved the picture in which Melissa O’Connell, wearing a micro black and white string bikini, was all smiles…

 

‘I will need… A couple more envelopes… At least.’

 

 

The End of Part 1

 

Who’s behind the attempted robbery (or whatever)?

What does Anastasia has in her penthouse that is so important (and why)?

To be continued in Part 2: ‘Who Are You? (Do I Really Wanna Know?)’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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