A Friendly Rivalry

 

By Rayron D’Olier

 

Cindy was a professional assassin. She had always thought that her name was perfectly absurd given her profession and had toyed with the idea of changing it to Dagmar or Eva or something along those lines, but her name was actually a part of her camouflage and it was too much trouble to really seriously think of changing it. In any event, Cindy frequently used aliases while working and she was now registered at her hotel under the name of Helen Liston: yet another non-threatening little name.

 

Cindy killed by contract. She didn’t accept all commissions – she only killed when she thought her target was a person who needed killing. She commanded a very high price and only worked two or three times a year. Her favorite targets were brutal, high-living criminals or rapacious, oppressive politicians, with the occasional out-of-control street thug thrown in. She used many methods: gun, knife, poison – but a silenced sniper rifle was her preferred method, along with a little silenced pistol for close work. She was strong and fit, but she was also very small at five feet, three inches tall and 110 pounds, so she was much weaker than her usual hulking male victims. Her very considerable success had depended to a large extent on her ability to be underestimated by her quarry and on her undeniable intelligence – a cool, analytical intelligence that could see all angles of a situation.

 

Because she was so cool and intelligent, Cindy had never been seriously caught off guard or at a loss for the next move and that is why she was now so deeply troubled and angry. She was angry because she had just been caught completely off guard and troubled because she could not for the life of her come up with an effective next move. In fact Cindy could barely move at all, literally or figuratively, because she had been bound and gagged in a surprisingly comfortable, but highly effective, manner.

 

Her hands were tied behind her with a thickness of rope wrapped around her crossed wrists and snugly cinched between them. Her searching fingers had been able to find the loose ends of the rope, but couldn’t reach the knot. There was also rope around her elbows that drew her arms back somewhat. That rope was also cinched between her arms and tied somewhere behind her back. Her long, muscular legs were tied at the ankles with the ropes cinched between her legs and knotted at the front. In addition, she was in a sort of loose hogtie with a rope attaching her wrists and ankles. She was sitting on the end of a couch and was forced by the ropes to sit with her legs curled around her – her heels near her butt. The only significant movement she had found herself capable of was the ability to move her feet from one side of her butt to the other. It was difficult to do, but she would change her position occasionally in order to stretch herself. The gag in her mouth was a long linen handkerchief that had been knotted in its middle. The knot had been firmly shoved into her mouth, keeping her teeth from touching, then the handkerchief had been wrapped twice more around her head and between her teeth, and then tied tightly behind her head.

 

Since she often sat the way she was positioned now under more normal circumstances – save for her hands being tightly pinioned behind her – she wasn’t uncomfortable physically, but she was unbelievably angry and frustrated. Her pretty face looked highly offended, but that hardly detracted from her beauty. She was in her late 30s and her face was beautiful and – some would say – cute. Her features were round and regular with plump cheeks and a proud chin. Her greenish-gray eyes were immense and her nose was straight and well sculpted. Her hair was a reddish blonde that today had been parted in the middle and allowed to fall loose around the top of her shoulders. Her hair was now trapped by the gag and was a mess. A lock of it fell in front of her eyes. Cindy’s figure was taut and hard but with all the correct curves. Her bosom was small, but everyone who saw it either envied it or wanted to touch it, depending on their sex.

 

When her day had been so rudely interrupted, Cindy had been preparing to attend a large social gathering where she had hoped to lure her prey into a back room and end his miserable life. She was wearing the classic “little black dress” that was tight around her body and legs and ended a few inches above her knees. The low-cut bosom had a sort of sweeping collar that was gathered over one breast by a stylized bow. She had on very thin, natural-color pantyhose and medium-heeled, round-toed maryjanes that showed a fetching glimpse of toe cleavage. Cindy thought her outfit gave her a shattering combination of innocence and sexual allure and would give her a deadly advantage over her extremely paranoid, but sexually undisciplined quarry.

 

But now she had been sitting alone, bound and gagged, in her own hotel room, fuming at her predicament, for almost an hour. She could see her portable alarm clock across the room. By now she should be making her appearance at what purported to be a charitable ball, but what was in reality part of a money laundering scheme where all sorts of public and private criminals would attempt to legitimize their ill-gotten gains.

 

Cindy had struggled a bit at first in order to discover if there was any chance of escape, but quickly decided that she had been expertly bound. Given that the larger problem of being tied up and gagged was so obviously insoluble, she found that smaller things began to be the focus of her irritation. Her inability to remove the lock of hair that dangled in front of her eyes was a constant reminder that she couldn’t do any of the things she would normally do without even thinking about them. There was a persistent impulse to move her hands from behind her and move the hair that only resulted in intermittent hand waving and - shoulder twisting. She also found to her horror that her gag was becoming saturated with spit and there was a creeping dampness along her cheeks and jaw. In fact Cindy was a little damp all over in spite of the air-conditioned coolness of the room. When she had first struggled to move her feet from one side of her butt to the other, she found that the frustrating exertion had made her break out in a slight sweat. It was no help that in making this movement she not only had to fight the ropes, which seemed to tighten in response, but also had had to deal with the fact of her sharp heels catching in the fabric of the couch.

 

But now she sat quietly, making only small, flexing movements against the ropes and chewing thoughtfully on her gag. Cindy was used to action and was only accustomed to inner reflection when she was planning for action. With physical helplessness she found that her mind began to wander into places it didn’t usually go. Although there was no reason for it in this case, her mind automatically went over the events that led up to and ended with her as a tightly bound captive. She was in the habit of taking an analytical look at her missions, both before and after in the spirit of self-improvement. Although all she could do now was sit and wait and try to keep her fury at bay, her mind did what it was trained to do and went over the present disaster in detail.

 

Cindy had taken special care to maximize her beauty and was fully dressed and ready to leave her room. She strapped her little pistol to the inside of one thigh, put on her shoes, grabbed her little black purse and went out the door. She had glanced up and down the hallway, found it empty and then turned to lock the door. The second she averted her eyes from the hallway, she felt a hand clamped over her mouth and an unreasonably powerful arm encircle her body. She felt herself propelled forward into the room and heard the door slam. Cindy knew how to defend herself and she kicked and punched as well as she could given that her assailant was behind her and she knew she had landed at least a couple of very effective blows, but she nevertheless found herself lifted off her feet and carried across the room, kicking and trying to scream, to the couch where she was laid face down.

 

Her assailant sat on the small of her back with his knees straddling her body, making it impossible for her to reach the gun on her thigh. When he removed his hand from her mouth, Cindy bit it as hard as she could, but then felt the breath rush out of her as she was punched in the ribs. When her mouth opened the gag was inserted. She redoubled her efforts to get free and by punching upwards and behind her she knew she landed at least a couple of blows on the man’s face, for a man it was and a very strong one. Her feet kicked his back with her sharp heels and Cindy was rewarded by the sound of the man grunting in pain, but he wasn’t diverted from his intention to tie Cindy up. When the gag was in place, Cindy felt her arms drawn sharply behind her and she felt rope wrapping around her elbows. She continued to thrash her arms around, but to little effect. She was held first by the man’s iron grip and then by the softer, but no less unyielding rope. Then she felt her wrists tied and knew that she had lost her fight for freedom.

 

Until now, the man hadn’t made a sound except for the occasional grunt when Cindy managed to hit him, but now she felt his voice at her ear. He said, “Listen, I know you won’t believe me, but I’m not going to hurt you or kill you or anything like that at all. I am going to have to tie you up for a while and I’m not happy about that.” The man paused and Cindy heard a little laugh escape his mouth, “Actually, I lie. I find it quite a bit of fun to tie up such a lovely lady, but it would be better if you liked it too. Anyway, it won’t do any good to struggle and it won’t do any good to worry. I know who you are, I know what you were about to do and I have to prevent you from carrying out your… um… mission because I have to carry it out myself. Hell, I’ve got more to worry about than you do. You’ll probably try to kill me when I let you go later, ha ha. So just relax and we’ll get you all fixed up here. And don’t go kicking me again. I hurt all over as it is.”

 

Cindy made no response. She hadn’t expected to hear reassuring words from someone who had just put a wad of cloth in her mouth and tied her hands behind her back. She had fully expected to be in the hands of someone who would put an end to her. She had long ago reconciled herself to the fact that it might happen some day, given her own deadly vocation and in spite of her undiminished fury at being made helpless, she did find herself relaxing a bit. Cindy felt the man turn around and gather her legs together in his arms. She felt a rope wind around her ankles and be cinched between them, finally being knotted. Then another rope was threaded from her elbow ropes to her wrist ropes and then down to her ankle ropes where it was knotted. She was still lying face down and found that her feet and calves were now held up in the air at about 90 degrees to the rest of her body.

 

Cindy had yet to see the man, but when he turned around to tie her ankles, she twisted around to see that he had on extremely expensive shoes and the material of his dark gray suit was likewise of the finest. When he had finished tying her, he sat her up and effortlessly moved her to one end of the couch where she could lean against one of its arms. He smoothed a couple of locks of hair out of her face, adjusted the shoulder of her dress and then stepped back to survey his work with what, to Cindy, could only be described as an infuriatingly bright and happy smile. Then he took up her purse, which Cindy didn’t remember dropping, and began pawing through it with a thoughtful look on his face.

 

He looked up and said, “I wonder where you keep your gun? I’m sorry, but I guess I’ll have to search you.”

 

Cindy glared at him as he approached and said, “You son of a bitch, don’t you dare!” What the man heard was, “Oo um uh uh iph, onph oo air!” She furiously twisted her arms and shoulders against the ropes. Her legs tried to kick out at him but were brought up short by the rope that attached her ankles to her wrists and her movements loosened the locks of hair that the man had smoothed back.

 

While she sat there squirming, the man lifted her skirt and peered at her thighs. “Ah, there it is. Perhaps you’ll be more comfortable with this out from between your legs.”

 

He unstrapped the small, flat holster from her thigh and placed the gun on a breakfast table next to her purse. He came back and smoothed her skirt back down. Cindy was astounded at how utterly helpless she was to prevent him from touching her. She had never been helpless before. She had certainly never been tied up before. She decided not to struggle in front of this man. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her demonstrate her helplessness in such an undignified manner, but she found it difficult to stop her legs and feet from tentatively pulling and pushing at her ankle ropes.

 

The man took his coat off and Cindy saw that his shirt was stained with blood where she had kicked him with her heels. He looked at his back in the mirror, but just laughed. She also saw that his face had a couple of decent bruises. “Fat lot of good that did,” she said to herself. Cindy was staring intently at this strangely relaxed and friendly man who had tied her so effectively. He was an unremarkable-looking fellow in his early 40s, Cindy guessed. His face was long and thin and seemed weathered and deeply lined as if he lived outdoors. He had no hair at all on top of his head and he wore what he had left on the sides a little long so that it looked like he had small wings on either side of his head. His hair was totally gray, but his moustache and eyebrows were still mostly black. He looked like the kind of fellow who might have to shave twice a day. His eyes were droopy, but were animated and alert. As she had noticed before, his clothes were extremely fine and she saw that they were almost certainly custom tailored. He was short at about 5 feet, 8 inches and seemed painfully thin except for his shoulders, which were disproportionately broad. It crossed Cindy’s mind that he was so strangely built that he probably needed to have his suits custom made.

 

After looking at his bloody back, the man turned to Cindy and said, “You’ll have to excuse me for a moment. I’ll be right back.” He put on his suit coat and left the room, locking it behind him and placing the “Do not Disturb” sign on the outside doorknob.

 

The second she heard the door lock, Cindy’s mind gave a direct order to her body to move now and go to her gun. Cindy’s legs tried to kick out and swing to the floor and her body leaned forward as part of that movement. All that was accomplished was that she almost pitched forward off of the couch and would have landed face down on the floor if she hadn’t been able to pull back at the last second and dig a shoulder into the arm of the couch. She sat back up and assumed her former position, but she had never been so shocked in her life. Not even being attacked, tied up and searched shocked her as much as the fact that now, with no one in the room, she was just as helpless and unable to move as she had been with the man watching her. The man had as much control of her now as if he was still gripping her body with his hands and arms, even though he couldn’t even see her. This brought home to Cindy, as nothing else had hitherto, that she was firmly bound, hand and foot, and gagged and there was nothing she could do about it.

 

She spent a little time trying to reach various knots, but found that they were all cunningly placed. She snorted in frustration and settled back in her seat. She looked at her gun on the table not 15 feet away and was tortured by the thought that it would normally take her 2 seconds to get up and grab her gun. Now she couldn’t even scratch her nose, get the hair out of her eyes or put her feet on the floor all because of some thin, soft, white cotton rope that she had been unable to prevent being put on her. She chewed her gag in the hope of biting through it, but she could tell that achieving that goal would be long and hard. Finally she just sat still, feeling the ropes relax as she did. She absurdly wondered at one point how she looked and had sudden images of movies and TV shows where a heroine had been captured and bound. She congratulated herself when she realized that she wasn’t frightened as most dramatic heroines were. Cindy reminded herself that she was a professional and that the man didn’t seem to be a terminal threat. What he wanted was a mystery, but he had promised to let her go after some unspecified event or period of time had occurred. Was revenge a proper thing to contemplate now? Cindy decided to make no decisions. She would wait and see what happened and merely be alert for opportunities to escape.

 

Her reverie was interrupted by the sound of a key in her door. The man came in carrying a suitcase. He strode into the room and smiled at Cindy saying, “Don’t get up sweetie, just keep your seat.”

 

Cindy found to her amazement that she said, “You just shut the fuck up!” The man laughed when he heard, “OO uph ut uh uph uph!” She actually found herself blushing at this impulsive loss of control.

 

The man paid no attention and thumped his suitcase on the bed on the other side of the room from where Cindy sat quietly flexing against her ropes and gently chewing her gag. He opened the suitcase and pulled out a fresh shirt. He took off the one he had had on when he was binding Cindy, when she had kicked his back with her sharp heels, and held it out it front of him. It was speckled with little blood spots. He shook his head and looked at Cindy, “Don’t worry, I won’t bill you for it. You were quite right to fight back and I admire you for it. In fact, I have been following your career for several months now and I’m a big fan of yours. As far as I know, I’m the only one who knows who you really are. And in the way of a brief explanation, let me just say that there are reasons why you cannot be allowed to kill your current target and there are reasons why I must. I doubted that you would be interested in hearing those reasons and imagined that you would insist on carrying out your commission so it occurred to me that you might be easier to deal with if you were a little tied up. I’m sorry for it, but there it is. Now here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to leave you like this for a couple of hours while I go and deprive our target of his miserable existence. After that, I will come back and we will get to know one another. When I cut you loose, I don’t want you trying to hunt me down, so I will insist that you hear me out. I really think by the end of our discussion that we will be friends. I would so much rather that be the case than that we end up as rivals… or enemies. Just in case I’m not as skillful as I think I am and I can’t return to this room, I have left instructions with the hotel desk that they are to wake you up in a little over two hours even if it means that they must come in the room using a passkey. I told them you were a heavy sleeper. So just relax. I assure you that you are inescapably tied and struggling will only make you uncomfortable. You already look a little damp. It’s quite fetching from my point of view, but I see from the look on your face that you find you situation quite a bit less charming than I do.”

 

The man then balled up his bloody shirt and threw it in the trashcan. As he went about selecting and putting on another shirt and tie, Cindy watched him. She noted that his upper body was as weathered and wrinkled as his face and his sparse body hair was gray, but she also decided that she had rarely seen a man with such hard muscles in her life. Every vein on the man’s upper body stood out in sharp relief and although he was relaxed (he was happily humming to himself) his muscle tone was such that his entire body looked clenched. His shoulders were absurdly broad and his waist was perfectly flat and narrow. It was almost as if his shoulders belonged to a larger, bulkier man, for this man wasn’t particularly bulky. The word that popped into Cindy’s mind was angular. Every muscle was long, hard and stringy under his weathered skin. When he turned his back on her, Cindy noticed three large scars that could only be old bullet wounds – exit wounds that had been surgically closed. When he turned around again to wash his back with a damp towel, Cindy saw the smaller entrance wounds in the front. She found that she had an instant and morbid curiosity about this fellow and wondered if the wounds were evidence of incompetence or were they something that could happen to anybody under the right set of circumstances? She had never been shot. Cindy found that she wanted very much to know how and why her captor had been so careless as to have been shot no less than three times. She found herself giving an internal, “hmmph,” and feeling just a bit superior, but the ropes that bound her reminded Cindy that she had no business feeling superior to a colleague who had so expertly ambushed her and now had her tied, gagged and completely at his mercy.

 

When the man was fully dressed and ready to go to the soiree that Cindy could no longer hope to attend, he walked over to the table and picked up her little gun, took it out of its holster and gave it a critical, but approving, once over, “So you like the 32-caliber Beretta? I congratulate you on your choice. And that’s a nicely done silencer, I must say. Personally, I prefer the 25-caliber. For close work, it’s more than sufficient and ever so much smaller. Let me suggest that it would also be much more comfortable considering you strap it between you thighs. I do like that silencer though. You’ll have to introduce me to your gunsmith, unless you see fit to try and kill me later, ha, ha.” He stuffed her gun into the inside pocket of his jacket and then backed toward the door, “Look at how you’re staring at me. You are a deadly little thing.” He paused and smiled. From the relaxed and affectionate look he gave Cindy one would have thought he was merely going out for a moment and giving a farewell smile to his lover, “Don’t worry and don’t assume that you should be angry. This sort of thing can happen to the best of us and if you had to get careless this one time, it’s best it happened with me because I mean you no harm. We’ll talk later. Bye bye.” He went out the door and locked it behind him.

 

When he was gone Cindy was once again overwhelmed by the helplessness of her situation. It was inconceivable to her that she was still under the man’s complete control even when he was out of the room and on his way out of the building. She struggled mightily for a moment twisting her hands and feet against the ropes and grunting behind her gag. She found it most frustrating that she was forced to sit in only one position. With her feet drawn up on the couch and attached to her wrists, she couldn’t even hop around, as she now desperately wished to do. She did switch her feet around to the other side of her butt, finding that the rope attaching her feet to her hands had just enough slack to do so, but finding that even that movement required her to twist against her ropes and move in small installments. It was particularly infuriating when the heels of her shoes kept snagging in the fabric of the couch.

 

When it was time to move her feet back to the other side of her butt, she decided to shed her shoes first. Although her shoes were very low-cut, they had a strap across her instep that prevented her from simply kicking them off. She could just reach her heels with her fingers if she twisted her hands and arms around, so she pushed her shoes off her heels and with them still hanging on her toes, she moved her feet around in front of her and made little flutter kicks until both shoes fell off onto the floor. Then with only her stocking feet to deal with, she was able to squirm around much easier. Losing her shoes had an interesting effect on Cindy. Her struggling and squirming had made her feel a little overly warm and the cool air on her damp and now shoeless feet felt surprisingly nice, but that was balanced by the fact that without her shoes Cindy instantly felt much more helpless and vulnerable. She found that she felt almost naked. She pondered on this in her analytical way and decided that being tied up made the smallest things seem vastly more significant than they would normally be. It was as if the absent man had taken her shoes off rather than Cindy. In fact, she felt as if he still had his iron grip on her. The ropes were his. He had put them on her. The ropes were his sentinels, guarding her every move and reacting by seeming to tighten whenever Cindy was less than perfectly still. She looked down at her bound feet. They looked cute gathered together with taut white rope, their smooth, stocking soles and heels nestled at the side of her butt, and Cindy had a sudden vision of what she must look like all tied up and gagged. She really dreaded the man seeing her like this, especially when it was so obvious that he enjoyed the sight of her. He seemed to be a more or less gentlemanly fellow, but he had been quite open about the fact that he thought it was fun that she was tied up.

 

What was it he had said? Cindy thought hard and remembered. He had said something about loving to tie up such a beautiful woman but regretting that she didn’t like it too. Why the hell should she like being snatched off her feet and done up like a package? Without realizing it, Cindy’s physical helplessness was sending her mind into places it didn’t normally go. Since she had nothing to do, her mind began to entertain her with thoughts and images that were rather more vivid than usual. As her mind rambled on, Cindy just looked around the room and saw everything in a new light. There was the window that she couldn’t walk over and look out of. There was the table that she couldn’t go and sit at. There was the telephone that she couldn’t walk to and call for room service. There were her shoes on the floor in front of her that she couldn’t put back on. There was the bed with its rumpled blankets. When she had not been tied up, she had rumpled those blankets. Now she was unable to rumple or unrumple them. She found herself a little worried at this train of thought and attempted to think along more practical lines – such as escape, but she found herself feeling a little lazy and unable to concentrate.

 

While a part of her mind dutifully considered a means of escape, other currents of thought continued to amaze her as they continued their independent and contemplative meanderings. Cindy wasn’t given to introspection, but she began replaying her life story. It was as if the ropes that bound her insisted. She had always been a physically courageous person. As a girl she had been as brave as any of the more adventurous boys she had grown up with. In college, she had fallen in love with a much older professor who had been in an elite branch of the military. He had operated behind the lines in several wars and in response to her persistent questions, he had confided in her. Finally he revealed that he was part of a group of men who had decided that governments were no longer capable of dealing with the breed of wealthy, violent criminals that displayed a legitimate front to the world at large. He and his associates would carefully choose a target and stalk the fellow until such time as they could conveniently eliminate him. They were paid to do so by other wealthy men who were disgusted at the level of violence and corruption represented by their criminal counterparts. At first Cindy had been skeptical. She wondered privately if her lover was perhaps a dupe who was simply a weapon used by one evil group of men against another – or worse, by an evil faction against the innocent. But she reserved judgment and her lover began to acquaint her with all the details of his secret world. Then in response to her enthusiastic desires, he had begun to include her in his missions. She was a natural. After several years, her lover was killed on one of his missions and Cindy’s first independent assassination had been to take revenge on his killers. After that she was contacted by one of her lover’s former patrons and set up in a legitimate business. She was made a partner in an investment firm along with a man who was both a lawyer and accountant as well as doubling as her logistics man. He did much of the research on their targets and set up all the arrangements for her travels. They never openly discussed her missions. Never a word passed between them concerning these affairs; it was all done by written message – messages memorized and destroyed. It had gotten to the point to where they could almost communicate by simply exchanging glances. Cindy often wondered if she was in love with her partner, but so far her sexual adventures had been short-lived affairs with other men who never really knew anything about her. She was tired of that, and often thought that she should retire from the killing. Let someone else do it. She was wealthy enough now to just change her identity and retire anywhere she wanted.

 

Cindy found that she had been trying to swing her legs off the couch every now and then and the ropes had made their surprising presence known each time. “Maybe being tied up like this is a hint that it’s time to retire,” she mused as she looked at her bound stocking feet pull and push against the ropes that circled her ankles. She watched as her stockings wrinkled where her smooth heels met the taut ropes. She turned her eyes away from her feet and sighed. She looked down at her bosom and noticed that her dress was slipping down a little on both shoulders from her earlier struggling and that a little too much of her bosom was showing. Cindy’s hands reflexively struggled to come around in front of her and straighten her dress and smooth her hair and she was once again a little shocked to be reminded that her hands and arms were firmly bound behind her. The gag was becoming alarmingly saturated with her spit and Cindy hoped she wouldn’t start drooling. She found herself musing on the subject of gags and how a truly considerate captor would provide a thick, absorbent gag that would spare everyone the sight of a drooling woman. For the first time, Cindy found herself giggling at this ridiculously inappropriate thought. But it did set her to wondering how much she was really silenced.

 

She had tried to yell things at the man earlier and she knew she was totally incoherent, but she hadn’t really noticed if the gag had affected her volume. It was late afternoon, so Cindy knew the maids had already made their rounds and she hadn’t heard any movement in the corridor, but she decided to test her capacity for noise making. She took a deep breath and let out a “Heeeyyyyyy!” She was startled at how loud that sounded and the word itself was tailor-made to come out with very little distortion. It sounded muffled as if shouted from beneath a pillow however. On further reflection, Cindy decided that the more garbled the words, the more distressed she would sound, thus attracting all the more attention. She yelled, “I awe ibe uph im ere! Elphh! Elphh! Elphh!” She listened and found the dead silence discouraging. She decided to wait until she heard steps in the hall before trying again.

 

In the meantime, she decided to switch her feet to the other side of her butt again. “That seems to be the high point of my day now,” she thought with resignation. Once settled in her new position, she again analyzed her situation. She found to her surprise that she wasn’t bored. In fact she felt almost hyper-alert and sensitive to the smallest things. She was aware that her hands were more or less constantly opening and closing behind her and flexing against the ropes around her wrists. Her hands were also automatically searching the ropes and looking for knots. She could feel some loose ends and felt what she thought was the rope attaching her wrists to her ankles, but it was unclear how the cotton web that bound her was constructed. At one point she found, to her disgust, that she was admiring her legs and feet. They were quite admirable and Cindy knew it, but this hardly seemed the time to engage in such a vain and frivolous line of thought. She finally decided to sit as still as possible in order to avoid becoming too damp and disheveled and just think about her situation, but remembering to yell out if she heard anyone pass by.

 

She reflected for a while on what it meant to be tied up. She had always been an adventurous, unafraid person and she found that she was accepting her bound and gagged condition as one of the unexpected setbacks that many adventures entailed. But since it was one that had never happened to her before, she was aware that the way it felt to be tied was not necessarily what she might have expected. For one thing, in the movies and on TV, the bound heroines she had seen had often been able to escape by simply struggling. Cindy was satisfied that she wouldn’t be so lucky. But like many things never before experienced there were aspects of being tied that had never occurred to her. For one thing there was a part of her that couldn’t accept it. There she sat and if she was very still she didn’t particularly feel inconvenienced and every impulse told her to move and do something. The ropes prevented her and it surprised her in spite of her conscious knowledge that she was, in fact, bound and gagged. Whenever she would try and toss the locks of hair that hung on either side of her eyes and blocked her peripheral vision, her hands would try to help her and would wave ineffectually behind her. Cindy also had the strangest thoughts about the simplest things. She looked at her clothes and remembered putting them on and reflected that she could no longer take them off, nor could she stop the top of her dress from slowly creeping down her shoulders and threatening to expose her bosom. Her skirt was sadly twisted and her struggles to reposition herself had made it ride up her thighs, exposing more of her silky-looking legs. She felt like she was slowly becoming undressed by degrees and there was nothing she could do about it.

 

There was also the slight dampness that she felt from having to exert herself every time she moved. The air conditioner was on, but she found herself a little sweaty, especially where her arms were held close to her body and also between her legs, which were more or less forced to lie together. And there was the problem with the rather wet gag. She had stopped chewing on it for fear of squeezing spit out of it like a sponge.

 

Cindy had also been aware for years that some people tied each other up for sexual pleasure. She had never met a man she trusted enough to even think of trying that, although several had suggested it. She had not been repelled by the idea and in one case she had been tempted, but being tied up for fun would never have occurred to Cindy on her own. Her idea of sex was as a tranquilizer. She liked getting excited and she liked having orgasms, but for her it was best when it was over and she was happy and sleepy. She also enjoyed playing the quarry for a change. Cindy so loved it when it became clear that an acceptable man was on the hunt and saw her as his prize. He had to be well bred and polite, but she did enjoy a self-assured, dominant alpha male smoothly and honestly insinuating himself into her affections. These men’s motives weren’t important to her because she enjoyed her independence and had never let a relationship go on too long. She often wondered if there was something wrong with her. She knew she wasn’t “normal.” “Normal” people didn’t live the kind of life she did – always hiding who she really was, stalking her prey and killing them with only a slight feeling of pity. Once she had rendered a vicious fellow quite dead, she would be sorry for them. If there were time to do so, she would reflect on what a mess they had made of their lives and the horrible damage they had done. She felt satisfaction at a successful kill, but there was always the sadness too and some of the sadness had to do with how alone she sometimes felt. She couldn’t even discuss this with her partner. He wasn’t a killer – although Cindy sometimes thought he had missed his calling, so cool and unflappable and funny was he.

 

But he held himself at a distance from her. Cindy suddenly realized that she had almost forgotten the man who had tied her and gagged her. She hadn’t given him any thought at all since she had kicked her shoes off and found herself feeling still at his mercy in spite of his absence. What kind of man was he? Cindy’s brow furrowed and she thought that he was certainly an odd-looking fellow. He was so plain looking at first glance, but then so weathered and scarred and powerful at second glance that he actually made a remarkable impression on her memory. And his cheerful demeanor was so at odds with his rather grim exterior. He had tied her up and prepared to go and kill a man with the same relaxed and happy-go-lucky air of a man looking forward to a picnic with his sweetie pie. She got the impression that the man (what was his name?) wasn’t a great deal older than her. She was 37 and he didn’t seem to be as old as 45 in spite of the obvious wear and tear. She tried to imagine how he stayed so incredibly toned. The memory of his hands on her was enough to remind Cindy that here was a fellow that handled her as if she had no strength at all. He had carried her across the room and held her arms behind her with no discernable effort. Her legs were quite powerful, but he had stopped their flailing with one arm and tied them together with the other hand. He had bound her and gagged her in spite of her skillful defense and he hadn’t even had to threaten to hurt her – he just did it. That’s strength, she decided.

 

How did she feel about him? She found that her anger had dissipated with her acceptance of captivity as an adventure that was unlikely to have a bad ending. When she had first been grabbed and bound, a part of her mind had readied itself for death or worse, but the man’s reassurances had done away with the need for that. It was all a mystery now. The man had mentioned the possibility that she might want to kill him when he “cut her loose,” but Cindy found that the last thing she wanted to do was kill him. She wanted to know about him. She had never had a discussion with one of her peers since the death of her lover so long ago. What would her captor be like in bed? He wasn’t her physical type. She liked aristocratic-looking men with a smooth, sleek look. Her captor looked like Popeye the Sailorman come to life, but without Popeye’s visual impact. His face and head looked like it belonged to an old, blue-collar worker – one of those contented, expert craftsmen who went about their work with pride and confidence.

 

In listening to him, Cindy thought she had detected a foreign accent of some kind, but it could just have easily been an unfamiliar English accent. After all, she sometimes found it difficult to understand people from the northern mid-western United States and her captor was almost without a discernable accent. But there was some kind of lilting intonation that was a little jarring – a hesitation, a strange vowel. She had had her mind on other things. But they were after all in a foreign country. They were in Switzerland where she had her secret bank account and where she was supposed to kill a particularly nasty specimen. They were very near the borders with Germany and France and she was staying in her “secret” hotel. That is to say, whenever she was on a mission, she always registered in two places. One would be a tourist hotel where she would have her baggage delivered and then the first night, she would move to a smaller, less conspicuous place. Cindy knew she must be getting careless when it finally occurred to her to wonder how the man knew about her and her mission and where she was staying. “Damn! That should have been the first thing I should have wondered about.”

 

For what seemed like the thousandth time, Cindy was jerked from her thoughts when she tried to move and found herself once again struggling against the ropes – her hands flapping like birds’ wings behind her back, her shoulders twisting and her stocking feet straining to put themselves on the floor – her toes spread and wriggling under the silky film of her pantyhose. She put a stop to this involuntary writhing, but since she was already moving, she took the opportunity to switch her legs from one side of her butt to the other one more time and she settled back a little angrily. But soon she was once again motionless except for an almost imperceptible flexing against her bonds – her little stocking feet pointing and pulling against the ropes and her arms and hands sort of pulsating. She looked at the clock across the room and found that she had been tied up for a little over an hour. “One more hour to go and then we get some answers,” she said inwardly.

 

Although she had decided, or rather found, that she felt no ill will towards her captor, the idea now occurred to her that she might find it fun to confound him in some way. She wouldn’t dream of leaving the room now even if she could get untied because she wanted to know who he was, but she thought it would be nice to amaze him if she could by getting loose. She decided to see if she could move from her seated position to a kneeling one and then see where that might lead.

 

Her legs were nestled along her left side, so she turned her body to the right and with her right shoulder pushed against the back of the couch and slowly, carefully pushed herself over her legs so that she was kneeling. With a few awkward sways back and forth, she balanced herself on her knees and found that the rope connecting her hands and feet was just long enough so that she could raise her butt off her heels about four or five inches. She found that she could “walk” after a fashion on the lower part of her legs, with most of her weight on her knees. Each step would only be a couple of inches because of the tightness of her ankle ropes, but she reflected that she was in no hurry. She also now wished that she were on the floor, the floor offering a greater scope for investigating ways and means of getting untied. So Cindy let her right shoulder fall back against the back of the couch and slumped sideways until her legs fell off the couch – their weight dragging the rest of her with them. She was now on her knees in front of the couch. She had a small problem. In sliding off the couch she had landed on top of her shoes, so she had to painfully maneuver – up on her knees and toes – so that she was no longer actually over her shoes and then she sank down until she was kneeling with her butt on her heels and the tops of her feet flat on the floor – her toes pointing straight behind her. There, about three feet from the couch and facing the hotel room window, she breathed for a moment and surveyed the damage to her clothing and found that apart from her dress being further down her shoulders and the top of one breast showing, she actually looked a little better considering that her dress had been able to untwist itself and fall back in place while she was kneeling. She scolded herself for lapsing into vanity and looked around from her new vantage point.

 

She found that the change in position relieved some of the creeping stiffness in her shoulders and allowed her to toss her hair back with more authority. It was a relief to be moving and doing something as well, however restricted her movements would still be. She decided her first goal would be to move across the room to her suitcase and try to empty it on the floor and get at her little sewing kit, which had scissors in it. She raised up as far as she could and by leaning forward and sticking her butt out behind her, she found that she could travel quite well by picking up one knee and foot, moving them forward a couple of inches and then doing the same with the other knee and foot. She was proud that she didn’t even have to ruin her pantyhose or chaff her knees to accomplish this and immediately thought that that was a fairly pitiful thing to be proud of. Every few minutes, she would sit her butt back down on her heels and rest. She wasn’t breathing hard, but she was still becoming quite damp again and leaning forward meant that some hair was always in front of her face. While moving, her arms and hands insisted on trying to help out and so were constantly waving around behind her and making the ropes feel tighter.

 

As she approached her suitcase, which was on the bed, she found to her horror that her exertions caused her to clamp her teeth down tight on her gag and she felt a couple of drops of spit roll out of the corners of her mouth. She heard herself say, “Ewww!” through her gag, but she just shook her head and continued toward the bed. When she finally arrived, she found that her head and the tops of her shoulders were above the top of the bed. She leaned down and bit her gag with all her might so that as much spit as possible would be squeezed out of it. She was relieved to find that there wasn’t a great deal, but what there was she wiped off her face on the bedspread and blotted the gag on each side.

 

With just a minimal amount of further knee walking she found herself at her open suitcase. She tried to grab the handle with her mouth, but the gag prevented her from getting a decent grip. She was now at a loss. She sank back down on her heels to think. She leaned forward to try again and this time she simply shoved her head against the side of the suitcase until it slid off the bed and fell to the floor, dumping its contents all over the place. Cindy was a neat person and this offended her greatly to see such chaos, but she was entirely gratified to see the sewing kit on top of the heap.

 

Cindy knee-walked a few feet until she was kneeling next to her sewing kit. She let her butt sink to her heels and arched her body to one side so her arms could point her bound hands at the kit. She grabbed it with the fingers of one hand and behind her back, began to try and unzip it. This was difficult because not only could Cindy not see what she was doing, but also her hands were tied with her wrists crossed so it was difficult to use both hands on the kit at the same time. The ropes around her elbows also made changing the angle at which her hands were tied more difficult. But she persevered. As the kit swung back and forth in one hand, it kept brushing against the soles of her shoeless, stocking feet and Cindy was a bit shocked to find that she was tickling herself. She was not normally ticklish. She loved for a man to massage her feet, but she hadn’t ever been susceptible to actual tickling before.

 

When Cindy got the sewing kit open, she found the scissors first and carefully drew them out of the little loop that held them. She dropped the kit and decided that the first order of business would be to cut the rope that attached her ankles to her hands. She was anxious to stretch her legs out and not be quite so restricted in her movements. With that rope cut, she even thought she might be able to stand up and hop to the mirror and actually see what she was doing as she tried to cut the ropes around her wrists.

 

Cutting the ankle rope was easy as it had a lot of slack in it from the way she was sitting and she didn’t have to slip the scissors under a whole wad of tight rope as she was going to have to do with her wrists. Like everything else she had had to do while tied up, cutting the rope was impossibly awkward. She held the rope with one hand and positioned the scissors so she could guide the rope between the blades. When she began cutting the rope she found that with the scissors reversed in her hands from what they would normally be, she had difficulty working them properly. What was more, the scissors were designed for cutting thread and cloth and didn’t so much cut the rope as gnaw at it. She kept working and working the scissors hoping the rope was staying still and she wasn’t trying to cut a different place every time. Her hand was cramping badly now and the rope didn’t seem to be coming apart, but Cindy redoubled her efforts until she was finally rewarded by the sound of the scissors blades sliding together. To see if she had accomplished her goal, she rose up and was unreasonably happy and delighted to find that she could straighten her body from a crouching position – her hands were no longer attached to her feet.

 

Making sure to hold onto the scissors, she knee-walked (much more easily) over to the bed and leaned one shoulder against it and let her legs swing out from under her. She rolled around in one motion so that her back was leaning against the side of the bed and her legs were straight out in front of her. She was very damp now and very happy to stretch her legs out. She was facing the couch and it seemed very far away. Her skirt had hiked up around her thighs again and she looked at her silky legs and feet stretched out in front of her. She wriggled her toes and pointed them and pulled and pushed against her ankle ropes in the slight hope that they might have been loosened by her cutting of the hog-tie rope, but found her feet bound together as tightly as ever. Cindy didn’t feel like moving just yet and she sat there looking at her legs and feet, once again feeling happy about their appearance, but wishing she didn’t feel so vulnerable. Her captor was going to come back in and find her a complete mess. To stand up, Cindy had to pull her feet up to her butt and dig her shoulder into the side of the bed and in one twisting motion move up so that she was bent over at the waist, face down on the bed and her legs were at an angle behind her and up on her toes. Then she wormed her way backwards with her head providing most of the traction and then carefully stood up.

 

Cindy was happy to find that she was a skillful bound and gagged hopper, so she turned and hopped with authority and even some grace towards the dresser and its mirror. When she looked up and saw her reflection, from the waist up, she felt that she was looking at herself for the first time ever. She didn’t look as bad as she feared, but she definitely looked strange. Her cheeks looked puffed out by the gag and her lips had weird shape curling around the thick cloth. Most of her hair was gathered under the gag but there were those rebellious locks that hung down on either side of her face and made her look a little crazy. The right shoulder of her dress had slipped halfway down her upper arm and her bra strap and most of her breast on that side were exposed, but she noticed her bosom seemed unnaturally prominent because her arms were drawn back behind her by the ropes around her elbows. She looked like a disheveled woman standing at strict attention. Her unbidden first thought was that she looked a little sexy that way – sort of kittenish. She was almost critiquing the look of her bound body as if she were critiquing an outfit – an outfit calculated to inspire a certain emotion in a certain man.

 

She shook her head and remembered what she was about to do and hopped toward her reflection. The sight of that too gave her a sudden rush of vulnerability and made her feel soft and feminine. But she pressed on and banished the thought. She hopped around so her side was to the mirror and she could see her hands, the scissors and the ropes binding her wrists. She carefully slipped a blade of the scissors under the first rope that they would reach and began again the awkward motion that would eventually cut the rope. She also could see that the knot was at the top of some rope that had been wound between her wrists. She found the angle at which she had to cut much harder going than with the earlier rope and when at one point she tried to reposition the scissors, she dropped them. She watched as they fell and her arms and hands twisted impotently against their bonds. The scissors hit the carpet on their point and cart wheeled to the side and came to rest under the dresser. Cindy looked at the ropes around her wrists and saw that the one rope she had been trying to cut was barely frayed – there was no hope at all of breaking it.

 

Cindy thought about what she would have to do to retrieve the scissors – get down on the floor and scrabble around with her back to them and feel with her hands under the dresser. Then assuming that she could even reach them, she would then have to struggle back up to her feet and once again begin the, perhaps fruitless, attempt to cut one of the ropes and then still she might not be able untangle the thick wad of ropes that held her hands fast behind her. She looked at the clock by the bed. The man was due in only thirty minutes. She suddenly felt tired and the bed looked impossibly inviting. “Finding me on the bed with the one rope cut will just have to be amazing enough,” Cindy said to herself and without further ado she hopped to the bed and threw herself down on it. She drew her legs up after her and wormed her way up to the pillows, her movements pulling the other shoulder of her dress halfway down her upper arm. She turned over on her side so she could see the clock by the bed and the door across the room and waited.

 

She felt she had won a partial victory because if left alone long enough, she would have been able to free herself, but it would have been a long hard struggle and if she had been tied to anything, it would have been hopeless. Because of his imminent arrival, Cindy’s thoughts turned once again to her captor. She decided to name him Gus until she learned otherwise and found that she was actually looking forward to his return – not just so she could be untied, but also because she wanted to talk to him. Anyway, he hadn’t specified when she would be set free. It could be that he intended to keep her captive for a while yet. This thought made her squirm with an emotion Cindy couldn’t quite identify, but it was not unpleasant. The thought popped into her mind that she didn’t need to plan or scheme or dissimulate. Gus knew who she was and what she did and was in complete control of her. He could take the ropes off her or leave them on. He could untie her now and tie her up again later. Cindy giggled at the thought that it was sort of like an enforced vacation with a trusted friend – something she hadn’t experienced since the death of her lover almost eight years before. She hoped Gus was as pleasant of a fellow as he had seemed earlier. She admired competence and he had certainly been competent to take her out of the game. If he showed up on schedule with his, and her, mission accomplished then so much the better.

 

Cindy began to experience a lazy desire for Gus that she recognized was sexual, but that was also affectionate and playful. She pictured him walking into the room and reflected on the fact that he could put his hands all over her if he wanted. She squirmed against the ropes when she had the sudden vivid memory of how he had groped between her legs when searching for her gun and her struggles to stop him had been totally ineffectual. She found that the bedspread felt quite nice against her legs and feet – especially her feet and when her attempts to move too much resulted in the ropes tightening their grip, she was still surprised, but was now used to the surprise. It was almost fun. But she did need a break and she would love to have a drink from the bottle of scotch that was somewhere in the mess from her suitcase down on the floor by the bed. So she hoped he would untie her for a while even if he intended to keep her captive for some time longer.

 

When Cindy heard the elevator doors open and shut, her body was filled with anticipation that felt not unlike stage fright. She gave a brief, involuntary wriggle against the ropes that made her stocking feet point and her legs flex. She lifted her head off the pillows and propped herself up on one elbow to the extent that the ropes would allow and listened to the footsteps coming down the hall. When the footsteps passed by her door, her body made a jackknife motion as if she thought she could get up from the bed and then she relaxed again. “I totally forgot to try and yell,” she thought, “I don’t want anyone else but him to find me all tied up.” Cindy felt a mild wave of warm, glowing excitement pass through her as she realized that her captivity could be more of an adventure than she thought – and of a different kind than she was used to.

 

Her gag was soaked again, so she repeated her actions earlier of biting it hard in order to wring it out and then blotting her face on the bedspread. There was a wet spot on the pillow, but Cindy didn’t care. She lay on her side gently pulsating against her bonds, her hands and feet thoughtfully moving around like little radar dishes in a playful, rhythmic motion.

 

Meanwhile Gus, as Cindy had named him, was heading into the front door of the hotel with a brisk step. Anyone who saw him would have seen an expensively dressed, well groomed, but disjointed-looking man in a pensive, but decisive mood. Like Cindy, his work meant that he lived a more solitary life than most. Much of his time was spent waiting and watching until he could accomplish his goals in a few seconds of deadly violence. Then he would compose himself as if nothing had happened while every nerve would be on the alert for a reaction from his enemies. He had become an accomplished actor and could assume any mood at will. He could even will his eyes to abandon the cold, hard, lifeless stare they habitually projected when he was at work. Coming into the hotel, Gus was filled with his usual well-hidden feeling of sublime sadness that he felt after killing a particularly loathsome individual. It wasn’t sadness for his prey, but for himself. But now his feelings were tempered by the fact that there was someone waiting for him – someone who knew what he had done. He wouldn’t have to hide anything or pretend to be someone he wasn’t. His only worry was that he had tied and gagged the woman against her will and left her that way for over two hours. He didn’t know what kind of reception he would have, but he hoped it would at least be somewhat understanding. After all, she was in the business. She knew it was hard and she was tough. Maybe she wouldn’t mind so much. Maybe she would enjoy what he had to say and they could even laugh about it a little. God, how he needed to laugh with a woman and so much the better if that woman wasn’t one who would recoil in fear if she knew who he really was. He was a little ashamed of himself for looking forward to seeing Cindy still tightly bound. She was so beautiful and he liked to tie up women as a sexual game. He was always thrilled when women would consent to play it with him, which was surprisingly often considering that most of the women he had met had never entertained the idea before. Gus was good with women, but like Cindy, he drifted in and out of relationships like some kind of ghost.

 

Upstairs, Cindy was growing increasingly impatient. She was also aware of an incipient itch between her legs that had to do with seeing a weathered, broad-shouldered old assassin who had tied her up and gagged her. She was fascinated to find that being tied up could be something fun. Fun didn’t quite describe it. It was more serious than that. She had spent the last two hours roaming around in unfrequented regions of her head and even when she had been angry about being tied, she hadn’t been in the least bit bored. Now she felt downright playful and more than a little excited. All worries about being sweaty or having her clothes and hair disheveled were now transformed into rather stimulating evidences of her state as a helpless and now rather eager damsel. She decided to play it noncommittal and not give away anything. She would be pleasant and would pretend she was just entertaining a guest in her hotel room. She would suggest they have drinks and she would change her clothes – something more modest.

 

When she heard the elevator and footsteps in the hall she positively giggled at the thought that normally, given how she felt, she would be checking her makeup and clothes. It was rather thrilling not to give a damn that she looked like an unmade bed. She forced herself to relax, but when Gus came in the door, Cindy’s feet gave her away as she pointed her toes with excitement.

 

She watched Gus’ face as he first looked at the couch and saw only her shoes on the floor. A blank, hard look passed over his features, so Cindy laughed to get his attention and she waved one foot at him.

 

Gus looked relieved (not only that she was still there, but that she was laughing). He closed the door and stood looking at her with his arms crossed over his chest, “Well it’s nice you kicked off your shoes and made yourself comfortable. But how did you manage to get all the way across the room? Should I have tied you to something?” He bent over her and inspected her bonds and found the cut rope that had formerly kept her in a loose hogtie. “Well, you didn’t get all the way loose, although it appears that you have talents in that direction. If you promise to behave, I’ll untie you for a bit. OK?”

 

Cindy shook her head “yes” and said, “Um hmm.”

 

As Gus began untying her feet, Cindy was hard pressed not to giggle and pull them away. She found that her feet were incredibly sensitive to even the lightest touch of Gus’s fingers. When her feet were untied, Gus grabbed her by the shoulders and stood her up. He first took off the gag and then untied her elbows, leaving her hands for last. When Cindy felt the rope fall away from her wrists, she turned, blushing, and found that she couldn’t meet Gus’ eyes. She walked quickly over to her suitcase and began pawing through it for her bottle of scotch. Her body felt like it was floating; so effortless were her movements after being bound. Cindy lifted the bottle up and as an excuse to look at Gus, she said, with what she hoped was a pleasant, neutral manner, “Would you like a drink? I’m having one.”

 

“Yes, I would. I would like that of all things. A drink.”

 

Cindy’s glance at Gus showed that he looked thoughtfully happy and his droopy eyes seemed relieved. Cindy wondered if he felt the same sadness or pity that she often felt after a kill. But she looked away quickly so as not to blush right in his face. They were both so awkward and silent that Cindy had the same feeling she had had as a girl when she was on a first date.

 

Cindy made two drinks: two water glasses filled with scotch and ice, and handed one to Gus. She paused at the dresser mirror to straighten her dress and hair. Her makeup was pretty much gone, but she didn’t care. Then she flounced over to the couch where the whole adventure had started and sat with one leg curled up under her and the other crossed over that knee, one stocking foot stretched out in front of her bouncing up and down. Gus took a seat in an overstuffed chair at right angles to the couch nearest the end of the couch where Cindy now sat stretching her arms and peering at the rope marks on her wrists.

 

“Those marks will be gone in less than an hour. You seem unconcerned about what has happened – unmoved by the fact that I tied you and gagged you. Most women would have been afraid or angry. You don’t seem to have even noticed particularly.”

 

“Hmmm. Well. I’m not like most women just as you are not like must men, unless of course you are a perfect liar and my target is still alive and well. Perhaps you’re playing some other game. As for being so rudely bound and gagged, as the saying goes, it took some effort to get used to it, but at least it wasn’t boring. There was plenty to think and I have a lot of questions that only you can answer. For instance, am I still a captive? You said you would let me go, but has that happened yet?”

 

“I’m afraid you are still my prisoner, but I’ll fill in some of the more immediate blanks right now and fill in the rest later. It’s 7:30 in the evening and I’m sorry to say that I must keep you under wraps for about two days, at which point you will be free as a bird. I will try to keep you restrained as little as possible, but I won’t always be able to watch you. And let me assure you that the “target” is quite dead. I killed him with your little gun, just to try it out. The reason I must keep you captive is that your cover has been blown and the man’s friends knew you were coming. They didn’t, however, know I was coming, but now they will necessarily associate me with you. They are at this very minute lurking around your other hotel waiting for one of us to show up. I can’t let you run around loose while there are still unresolved details to be dealt with, but my associates, who are still unknown to the bereaved, are moving to take care of everything. Until then I can’t take a chance on you becoming a loose cannon. I know a lot about you and I admire your professionalism and what I’ve recently come to know of your spirit and courage, but I would be a fool to trust you so early in what I might loosely describe as our friendship. Ours is a brutal business. We are all practiced deceivers and I have no idea who I am really looking at when I see you sitting so relaxed and so prim upon the settee. For all I know you are seething with fury and have already planned how to get your revenge. At any rate, I want us to stay together and talk. In spite of some periodic discomfort, I think you will find our time together fascinating and profitable.”

 

“Discomfort implying that I will need to be… um… restrained again. Perhaps for my own good.”

 

“Good heavens! You are a perceptive lady – as intelligent as you are lovely. I feel guilty forcing myself on you given my unprepossessing appearance.”

 

“Don’t lay it on too thick Gus.”

 

“Gus?”

 

“Ha ha. When I was sitting around in here, tied so I could barely move, I decided to give you a name since you were so rude as not to provide one. You know my name, after all. In fact, you seem to know all about me and I don’t know anything at all about you. When you say my cover is blown, should I wonder if my partner is in danger?”

 

“Your partner is unknown to me. I didn’t know that you had a partner. You were identified because you were seen leaving the scene at your last success and someone put two and two together. It was in their best interest to warn your quarry. As for how I know about all this, well, I’m only certain that I can’t tell you yet. It is my business, but perhaps sometime tomorrow we will find that it’s your business too.”

 

“So I guess I can’t have my gun back.”

 

“Oh dear me, no. I must keep the advantage for a while. And I truly regret that I must put at least some of the ropes back on you in a couple of hours. I wish it weren’t so. I would much rather you like me, as I am growing to like you, and if I insist on tying you, I’m sure you will find that tedious and will resent it.”

 

To Gus’ secret delight, Cindy gave a little laugh and didn’t say anything. He didn’t know what that meant, but it did mean that she wasn’t furious at the prospect of being his prisoner and wouldn’t make awkward difficulties. They sat looking at each other though hard, professional shells – two killers who desperately needed companionship, but who could only betray that through the most subtle hints as they sized each other up. The fact that Gus held all the cards was neither here nor there. They weren’t after each other and they knew that killing each other wasn’t the issue. It was a larger trust in each other that was in question, but that was complicated by the unspoken fact that they were very lonely people and were uniquely suited for an exchange of confidences. The brittle dialogue hid a very real shyness that neither quite knew how to handle, so they continued to play their parts.

 

“I can’t have my gun back and I’ll soon be repackaged like some kind of parcel. You must be terrified of me. You should be ashamed of yourself – such a big strong man scared of little old me.”

 

“My dear lady, any fear I have of you is an objectively-considered and reasonable emotion. You should take it as a professional complement. But in my defense, my primary motivation in holding you is simply to remove you as a variable in the events that have been set in motion in the wake of the death of our ‘target,’ as you put it. As a person of extreme initiative and self-reliance, I must assume that you will feel obligated to try and escape – just as I feel obligated to prevent you. Holding you prisoner is to a large extent for your own good. On your own, you would be terribly vulnerable.”

 

“For my own good, huh? That is so corny. I shudder to think what you would do if somehow my continued existence was not for your own good. But who am I to question your concern for me? I’m sure it’s all so selfless and noble.”

 

“Listen my dear, I will make you a promise. Even if it transpires that we are deadly enemies in the future, on this occasion at least you walk away in two days time none the worse for your experiences. That is my promise as a gentleman. I swear to you on my good name.”

 

“So what is your name already?”

 

“You will be astounded. My name is Gus, although I’ve always been addressed as Gustav. But I would take it as the highest compliment if you would continue to refer to me as simply Gus. I rather like the idea of being named by you.”

 

“That’s such a lie.”

 

“No, no, I assure you. But you’ll believe me later. So you were in no pain from the ropes I hope?”

 

“You did a very nice job, Gus. Apart from my slobbering all over the gag, I felt pretty good. It was odd being helpless. I don’t think of myself that way and it became something of a challenge to get loose. I almost made it too, but I dropped the scissors under the dresser and gave up out of sheer exhaustion. It wasn’t like I had a frantic need to get loose and anyway, even if I had gotten untied, I still would have waited around to see what you were all about. Maybe I should be afraid of you, but I’m not.”

 

“Yes, the gag; there is no easy way with the gag. Some don’t mind it, others do. A few ladies of my acquaintance have actually adored it.”

 

“You sound like you’ve tied women up before. Do you make a habit of it?”

 

“I’m afraid I’ve betrayed a certain personal peccadillo of mine. Are you acquainted with the practice that some lovers have of tying someone up for fun? I’ve done that many times, but this is the first time ever I have forced the ropes onto a woman. But then you and I are peers and to some extent, rivals and I was obligated to get the better of you. And truly it is for your own good that you will be my captive for another day or two. I must re-emphasize that if you were to escape and go off on your own, it would be dangerous for you and for me and my associates. That is why we must insist. Have you never been tied up for fun?”

 

“No, I’ve never been tied up at all. But listen, don’t worry, I’ve decided I like you so I won’t make any trouble. I’m just gonna go along for the ride. I’ve been thinking of getting out of this business for a while and this strange little adventure might be a good way to end it. After all, if you hadn’t tied me up on this couch, I might be dead now. But I don’t expect you to fully trust me. I certainly don’t fully trust you.”

 

They talked and drank for a couple of hours, gradually becoming more and more open, but still maintaining an emotional arm’s length. Gus felt himself melting with affection for this admirable women who was so unaffected by a situation that would reduce most people to a quivering mass of nerves. Cindy was still feeling the itch between her legs and understood that her status as a captive was a very large part of that. She felt so exquisitely delicate and feminine whereas with most men she merely felt like an animal that needed to be fucked. Gus was quite the gentleman and the longer they talked, the more his strange appearance began to transform itself into an asset. Cindy was particularly thrilled by the memory of his scarred, rock-hard body and the way his hands felt when they were tying her, searching her for weapons and untying her. He was frightfully strong, but careful and precise. She wondered how his hands would feel between her legs, rubbing her genitals. Cindy blushed at the thought and was filled with anticipation for what the next couple of days might bring.

 

“How did you get those bullet wounds?”

 

“Let me just say that I am former French Foreign Legion and those bullets passed through me during my service.”

 

“I’ll bet that hurt.”

 

“First it was confusing, and then it hurt.”

 

“Hey, you know, I’ve been a little damp all day in these clothes and I’m not exactly fresh as a daisy. I’d like to shower and change. Are we going anywhere tonight? Is this a date or are we just gonna camp out here?”

 

“By all means, shower and change, although you could hardly improve your present loveliness. And we will be leaving tonight. I expect a phone call around midnight and we will be making a car trip over the border into Germany to my home. It’s not over an hour’s drive.”

 

Cindy showered and fixed her hair so that it was swept back from her forehead into a large, loose bun at the back of her head and tied with a lavender ribbon – in anticipation of being gagged again she wanted her hair out of the way. She had taken fresh clothes into the bathroom with her and had selected a short-sleeved, light lavender top that had a plunging neckline with the first button between her breasts. The top was tightly fitted and designed so that its bottom was cut like a vest and worn over her skirt. Her skirt was knee-length and made of a thin, silky, flowing fabric that had a dark lavender floral print. It was held at her waist with an integral sash knotted at her side. She dispensed with a bra entirely and chose rather thick tan pantyhose with reinforced toes and heels. Her shoes were very simple low-cut black leather flats with a half-inch stacked heel and moderately pointed toes.

 

She waltzed out of the bathroom and pirouetted on her toes. Her face went blank as she saw Gus at the bed pawing through her suitcase.

 

“I am packing for you.”

 

“You’re searching my suitcase.”

 

“That’s true. I am a liar, but only partly, because as I search I also pack. You should really keep your things a bit neater you know. They were all over the floor in a heap.”

 

“It’s not easy to neatly unpack a suitcase when your hands are tied behind your back and your feet are tied together and you can only walk around on your goddamned knees.”

 

“Ha ha. I see. It was part of your escape attempt. There is the sewing kit. I don’t see the scissors. You said they were under the dresser. I’ll get them.”

 

Gus finished his search of Cindy’s suitcase and only found a large folding knife, which he pocketed. He looked over his rope and found where Cindy had almost cut through her wrist ropes. He dangled that rope from one hand, took a longer length from his suitcase and cut another to the same length and threw the first rope in the trashcan.

 

“Fitting me for new ropes huh? Oh and by the way, if you gag me again, don’t use that nasty old thing that I slobbered all over OK?”

 

Gus looked hurt, “What do you think I am? Am I some kind of monster? You will get a fresh gag every time. Unless there isn’t one available.”

 

They looked at each other slyly. Cindy fixed them more drinks and they sat down in their former seats. When the clock reached 10 p.m. Gus said, “We might need to leave quickly. We need to prepare.” He paused and looked reluctant to speak.

 

Cindy said, “So you’ll need to “regretfully” tie me up again right?”

 

“Thank you, yes, that’s right.”

 

“What if I refuse to be tied up? You don’t have the advantage of surprise. Maybe I’ll fight you.”

 

“Please don’t. The first time, it almost broke my heart to handle you so roughly and now that I flatter myself that we are friends it would be even worse.”

 

“So I’m supposed to meekly submit to being tied just to spare your little feelings?”

 

“You can submit or not, but the end will be the same.”

 

Cindy unsuccessfully suppressed a smile and stood up from the couch. She crossed her wrists behind her and heard Gus approach. Then she felt his hands clasp her wrists and bring them up into the small of her back so that her forearms were parallel to one another and her hands were pointing in opposite directions. A surprisingly powerful and unexpected charge went through her body as Gus began winding the rope around her wrists with what felt like a loose, double thickness of the soft cord. Cindy found that her hands had become almost as sensitive as her feet had been earlier when Gus began to cinch her wrist rope between her wrists and she almost snorted from having to suppress a giggle. When she felt the knot being tied, she felt her mind shift into a patient acceptance of her captivity and once again every little thing began to seem highly significant. She had been looking at her drink on the table by the couch and when the knot was finished she said to herself, “I can’t pick that up anymore.” Cindy marveled at how being a captive made her feel not only helpless but dependent on Gus. She still felt an equality with him on one level, but that was overbalanced by the fact that he now had total control over her movements even if he moved away from her. Cindy shifted her hands under their bonds and Gus saw them flap like birds’ wings.

 

Gus gently turned her around and felt an overwhelming desire to kiss her. He mastered this impulse and helped her sit back on the couch. He bent to her feet and lashed them together in the same way as he had her hands. Cindy bent over to watch as the rope was wrapped, cinched and knotted around her ankles. She was impressed by the quickness and efficiency with which she was tied. She also tried to gauge the effect her appearance and outfit was having on Gus. Cindy had intentionally chosen her outfit to be what she thought was a devastating combination of sexual allure and innocence. Her smooth stocking legs and feet in their minimal little flat shoes had been especially calculated to melt the heart of any man and as Gus tied her ankles together, Cindy lifted her legs up on her toes and let the heels of her shoes slip off her feet.

 

When Gus stood up after finishing his work, Cindy continued to twist and flex against the ropes; not so much struggling, but investigating. When she looked up she was rewarded with the sight of Gus sneaking a look at her as he walked back to his chair and sat down.

 

“I wish I could finish my drink.”

 

Gus looked at her with admiration. With a smile he picked up the hotel phone and called room service. He ordered a new bottle of scotch and clean glasses and made the odd request that some drinking straws should be included. He did this in French and Cindy found herself rather thrilled to hear it. She wondered if that was his native language. Then Gus came over to her and picked her up as if she was a bride.

 

“We can’t have room service intruding on our private business.”

 

He carried her to the bathroom and sat her on the counter between two sinks. From his back pocket he drew a clean handkerchief, knotted it in the middle and held it in front of Cindy’s mouth.

 

Cindy decided not to cooperate. She pursed her lips and turned her head away indignantly. Without hesitation, Gus simply pinched her nostrils together. Cindy immediately said, “OK, OK, Gaa,” and opened her mouth wide. Gus inserted the knot and wound the long handkerchief twice around her head and between her teeth and fastened it behind her head. Then they heard a knock at the door. Gus left the bathroom and shut the door behind him. Cindy heard him dealing with the room service people. While she was sitting there with her feet dangling above the floor, she absent-mindedly let one shoe slip off her foot. She wished she could see what she looked like all bound and gagged in her new outfit, but the mirror was behind her and all she could see when she twisted around was the side of her gagged face and her bound hands. That was interesting, but she couldn’t estimate the full effect. She hoped that her tight top must look quite taut and full of bosom with her hands drawn so sharply behind her.

 

When Gus reentered the bathroom with an apologetic look on his face, Cindy was looking relaxed and was swinging her bound feet back and forth against the bathroom cabinets, one shoe off and the other dangling from her silky toes. Gus picked up her shoe and slipped it back on her foot. He repositioned the other shoe so it would stay on her foot. He picked Cindy up and carried her back to the couch where he ungagged her and placed a fresh drink on the table next to the couch, complete with a drinking straw. Then he returned to his chair and once again they sat facing one another.

 

Being picked up and placed here and there somehow made Cindy feel catered to – cherished was the word that occurred to her. She couldn’t decide if being bound hand and foot enhanced that feeling or if it was irrelevant. But having Gus’ hands on her again had made her feel a little shy and for the first time in her life, Cindy had no doubt that she was enjoying that feeling. Her mood was quietly playful as if they were playing a game, in spite of the very real fact that she had been tied whether she liked it or not. Cindy leaned to the side and took a sip of her drink. She had had just enough scotch to feel a little woozy and she tossed her head back as if there were still locks of hair in front of her face. All she felt was her loose bun bounce on the back of her head.

 

Gus recognized the look Cindy gave him as one of surrender – surrender to what, he couldn’t tell. She looked content, but she also pulsed with a perceptible tension. Her shoulders were working a little as if she was not very seriously struggling against her wrist ropes and her legs and feet were fidgeting. First her feet would be flat on the floor, but opening and closing like the blades of a pair of scissors. Then she would lift her legs and feet up on her toes and her muscles would flex against her ankle ropes, her shoes opening out beside her toes and then the heels falling off her feet. Then she would once again flatten her feet on the floor, wriggling her heels back into her shoes. Gus wished he were invisible so that he could stare at Cindy without having to hide the fact that he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. He reflected that here was a deadly woman, as good at killing as anyone he had ever heard of in their profession, held tightly bound by two soft, white cotton ropes. He wistfully hoped that she might someday find it fun to be thus bound. Her face betrayed very little. She looked at him with what seemed to be quiet amusement and he hoped that his face was as opaque as hers.

 

Cindy was the first to break the silence, “So do you feel safer now? Let’s see… you have at least two guns and a knife in your pockets and I can’t even pick my nose, much less attack you. Hell, you could even take a nap right now without worrying too much about having your throat cut. Let me know in advance if I’m talking too much. I’d like to avoid that gag for as long as possible.”

 

“Oh, I rather like your hostile banter. What would bother me would be if you were frightened. I would not only be disappointed, but I would feel guilty. As for you attacking me, well, let us just say that with you roped securely, I’m relieved of the possible necessity of handling you roughly. I’m perfectly reconciled to the possibility that when you are released that you might come after me with deadly intent. But we’ll put that unpleasant scenario aside for the moment. I imagine that you’ve never before been caught off guard… never been seriously discovered or hunted?”

 

“No. It’s always been in and out with me. There have been a couple of times when the mission had to be aborted, but this is all completely new to me. I thought my planning was perfect. Perhaps I’ve become sloppy and arrogant. I should mind this a little more than I do, but on the other hand, I’ve long had the expectation that I would die a less than natural death. Someone very dear to me was killed doing the very thing that you and I do.”

 

Gus was almost shocked to see a lone tear trickle down Cindy’s otherwise impassive face. He pretended not to see and apart from an involuntary movement of her bound hands behind her back, she made no attempt to dab the wet streak off her cheek. It was the first chink in Cindy’s armor that Gus had seen. “Perhaps she is as much in need as I,” Gus said inwardly.

 

“I will tell you that with this commission, you would have found that you were in over your head. The target had protection at some extremely high levels of a certain government and you would never have been allowed to kill your man. I don’t know how they would have stopped you exactly, but they still assume that you were responsible for his death. They didn’t see how it was done and they don’t know exactly who you are, but they know what you look like and they know that I wasn’t supposed to be there in your place. As it happens, I have entrée to many places that the average person does not, so the target’s friends are not certain about my role, nor are they at all anxious to target me, but I can assure you that they are frantically searching to see if they can at least locate either of us. You, they would kill out of hand. Me, they would wait and try to arrange an accident or they would follow me to you. We know much more about them than they do about us and we will use that to destroy their plans.”

 

Cindy had leaned back against the couch and had discreetly dabbed the tear track on her cheek against the fabric. Her movement broke Gus’ heart and he was tempted to untie her and trust her entirely. But he was brought up short by his professional caution, just as Cindy was brought up short by the ropes that bound her. She leaned forward to take another sip through her straw and then leaned back against the couch so that her eyes were focused somewhere above Gus’ head. Her legs and feet were still slowly and constantly in motion. She had slipped her feet out of her shoes and her silky toes were thoughtfully playing with them – grabbing them and tilting them up and then letting them fall flat on the floor again. She was occasionally sliding a foot back into one shoe and then out again. To Gus it seemed she had assumed the sort of contemplative distraction of someone trying to make an important, fundamental decision. She appeared so deep in thought that she had apparently forgotten the ropes around her wrists and ankles. The movements of her feet against the ropes were no different than those of a woman distractedly plucking at her hair or popping a shoe on and off her heel.

 

“Hey Gus, I almost don’t want to hear about this shit. I’m just going along for the ride now and all I want to know is what I need to know to survive. To the extent that I have any choice at all, I find that I trust you. I even trust your inability to trust me. So stop worrying and stop explaining for a while. Let’s talk about anything else besides this horrible form of employment you and I find ourselves in. It’s been so long since I’ve just talked to somebody about normal stuff. I’m not even sure I can do it.”

 

Cindy sat up straight and looked at Gus. She had a strange, hopeful look. “I mean, here we are. We kill for a living. You are sitting there armed to the teeth and here I sit trussed up completely against my will. The idea that we could have a normal, happy conversation seems totally ludicrous, but I think we should at least try. Maybe it will seem forced and artificial, but I don’t care. Surely we can find something to talk about that isn’t completely grim. But first I want to know – what is it about me that you can’t trust?”

 

Gus was charmed beyond words. All he could think of to say was, “Well, I’m not ‘employed’ as you put it. I do what I do for reasons of principle. As far as I, and my associates, know, you will kill anyone for the right amount of money. I like you, but you’re an unknown quantity.”

 

“OK. Here’s the deal. I do kill for money, but I only accept commissions that will eliminate what I think are the scum of the earth. I’m sure that will require further explanation, just as I will require further explanation about your motives, but for the moment, let’s talk like we’re on our first date and we’re just innocent civilians who are merely trying to get to know each other. I’m sick of being hostile and distrustful and if that bothers you, you can just gag me and stuff me in the closet.”

 

Gus laughed out loud. To Cindy, he didn’t look like a laugher and his low, deep “ha, ha, ha” sounds were a bit ridiculous, but they were also infectious and Cindy had to join in with her more bubbly, higher-pitched noises of mirth. They were both out of practice when it came to full-blown laughter and were keenly aware of it when said laughter was spontaneously wrung out of them. Cindy was especially embarrassed and her body forgot it was tied up and tried to wriggle loose in order to make itself feel less emotionally vulnerable. This resulted in a sort of uncoordinated spasm in which Cindy shook and twisted her upper body and her legs kicked out, sending her shoes sliding across the carpet. Cindy covered up this unseemly writhing by pretending she had done it on purpose in order to pull her legs up on the couch and curl them around her. With as much grace as any tied-up woman could muster, she managed to achieve her new position without too much dishevelment. Then she put a bright and happy look on her face and asked, “So do you have any hobbies?”

 

No one had ever asked Gus if he “had any hobbies” before. He looked a little stunned, but after a moment’s reflection said, “Hobbies? I suppose I have a few hobbies. I am an amateur military historian and I have an unreasonable fondness for refighting some of history’s great battles. I believe it’s called, “military gaming.” I share this pastime with a group of others. We gather together around a miniature plaster battlefield, populated by absurdly detailed toy soldiers, and strive to prove that we are the equals and superiors of the great captains of the past. Last weekend, I was Frederick the Great himself and next month, I will have the honor to be the sinister Albrecht von Wallenstein – I will try to confound King Gustav Adolf of Sweden.”

 

Cindy looked at Gus with barely concealed amusement, “My little brother used to call your hobby, ‘playing army men.’ Ha, ha! Do you make little gun noises with your mouth and throw firecrackers at the other boys’ soldiers?”

 

“I know, I know. We are like superannuated children as we gather around our miniature field of slaughter, but I think you would be impressed by the grave and serious expressions of one and all, the complicated calculations of the umpires, the insufferably smug countenances of the victors and quietly shrill arguments about rules, tactics and even the accuracy of the small models which we carefully move about the little landscape. I am afraid many of my fellow enthusiasts imagine themselves to be Olympians looming above tiny mortals and deciding their fates. I have resisted analyzing why I am drawn to the past time. I sometimes suspect that my favorite part is the making of the toy soldiers and all their equipment.”

 

“Do you ever win your little battles? I imagine you have won the big ones, or you’d be dead.”

 

“I win most of the time. I have a head for it. I also play the piano and work on old automobiles, of which I own almost twenty. So, do you have any ‘hobbies?’”

 

“I play the mandolin and ride my bicycle. I read trashy novels and collect guns. You hinted earlier that you don’t get paid for killing people. Does that mean that’s a hobby too?”

 

“I consider that very serious business indeed, and like you, I have begun to wonder if it’s time to leave that to others. In the nature of things, there will always be those who need to be relieved of their earthly existence. Perhaps I’ve done my part. But I quite agree with you that we should leave that subject for another time.”

 

They talked about their interests and were careful not to let the conversation veer off onto the topic of their deadly vocation.

 

Gus was becoming almost certain that he could trust Cindy, but the situation was delicate and he had a disturbing vision of her escaping and becoming an unknown variable. He assumed that she had the capacity to act decisively and in what she conceived to be her own interests. There was also the fact that Gus couldn’t be sure at all that Cindy trusted him. Gus knew that he wouldn’t trust her if their positions were reversed. They might find one another’s company pleasant, but they had both had much practice in lulling their victims into trusting them. Gus felt bad about keeping Cindy tied up, but the fact that she was so chatty and relaxed gave him hope that here finally was a woman after his own heart. But he was so used to keeping an emotional distance that he wasn’t sure he could trust his own judgment. He wished Cindy could be an active partner, but he knew that for a while she must remain his prisoner.

 

While Gus was lost in these thoughts, he let his end of the conversation lapse. Cindy had finished whatever it was she was saying. She looked at Gus and found that his eyes were focused on the wall somewhere above her head. She felt a small shiver of emotion run through her as she found herself once again surprised at being bound. She wondered how she would feel talking to him when she was untied. She keenly felt his authority over her and her own inability to do anything at all. The fact that she wasn’t worried about the ropes around her wrists and ankles still didn’t diminish the monumental fact that for the first time in her life, Cindy was physically helpless and totally dependent. She looked at her bound stocking feet as if to remind herself that they were in fact held fast together by the coils of rope. She wondered if the sight of her was exciting to Gus. He had after all tied up women for fun by his own admission, but perhaps tying up a woman against her will ruined the fun for him. Cindy remembered the excitement and fun she had felt when first tied up in this very room. Did she still feel that way? The feeling was still there, but was it overbalanced by something else? Cindy decided that she had never been so confused and relaxed at the same time. “Enforced leisure certainly has its virtues,” she mused.

 

Cindy was the first to break the silence; “You said you were taking me to your home. With our enemies looking for us, do you think that’s wise?”

 

“Oh yes. I’m counting on them showing up there at some point. There is where we will trap them. You are, to some extent, bait. And very attractive bait you are. I should be receiving a phone call from my associates any moment. Then we will go.”

 

“How are you going to get me out of this room?”

 

“The lateness of the hour will help. We’ve made arrangements to take you down the freight elevator at the back of the building. My car will be waiting and you and I will drive alone – my associates will shadow us. I don’t need to warn you that you mustn’t cry out or try to attract attention to yourself in any way. As you said, you’re content to ‘go with the flow’ or some such thing. But keep in mind that I am determined that you will not escape.”

 

“There’s no need to get heavy with me. The last thing I want is to involve the citizenry. Imagine the questions, the lies I would have to tell even if I got you arrested. Oh no, if I escape, it will be to take off and disappear. In our line of work, it just doesn’t work to get ‘rescued’ by the constituted authorities. We’re simply criminals to them. Anyway, as I said, I’m curious. You could untie me and I’d still stick with you I think. It’s very strange to sit here all trussed up in front of you. Does it excite you?”

 

“These things must be mutual, but yes it’s pleasant to see you – tied or not. You’re quite lovely and your apparent lack of fear at your predicament causes me to respect you. That respect increases your beauty in my eyes. But we aren’t playing a game. I’d love to think I could untie you and that you would be our collaborator, but even if I did, I still wouldn’t trust you completely. For instance, I wouldn’t give you back your gun at this point. I wouldn’t allow you out of my sight with a comfortable mind. And since I won’t be able to watch your every move, it will be necessary to put the ropes on you from time to time. I hope you don’t mind too much. I hope you aren’t offended.”

 

“I’m not ready to share my feelings about being your captive, except to reiterate that I am curious enough about you that that cancels out any inconvenience – at the moment anyway.”

 

Cindy leaned forward and with one long pull on her drinking straw, finished her scotch. At the same time she swung her feet back onto the floor and stretched her legs. She twisted and stretched her bound arms behind her back, using that as an excuse to thrust her bosom out at Gus. Her stocking-clad legs and feet flexed against her ankle ropes and she darted a glance at Gus to see his reaction. She was rewarded by the sight of his battered face smiling with amusement and appreciation.

 

At that moment, Gus’ cell phone buzzed. He answered with the word, “ritter,” then he listened without speaking and then muttered another word, “hoch,” before hanging up.

 

He turned to Cindy and said, “We must prepare you for our little trip.”

 

“Don’t tell me. You’re going to mess up my cute little outfit with an unreasonable amount of rope.”

 

Gus laughed under his breath, “We’ll debate what’s reasonable and unreasonable another time.”

 

Gus approached Cindy and untied her feet. After doing so, he slipped her shoes back on. That small gesture caused Cindy to feel more helpless than ever and she felt her bound hands wave behind her in response. Gus helped her stand and with a hand on her upper arm, walked her over to the pile of rope on the bed. There he turned her so that her back was to him and Cindy felt him begin to wind rope around her upper body and arms. He made turn after turn of rope below her bosom and above her elbows – then cinching the rope between her arms and body. Cindy felt the rope tighten into one soft, solid band and felt Gus knot it between her shoulder blades. Cindy looked down at her low-cut top and saw that it was stretched very tightly over her breasts and that the rope made her bosom stand out quite prominently. She somewhat regretted the absence of a bra and had the strangest feeling of being naked with her arms and hands made so thoroughly immobile behind her.

 

Then Gus draped Cindy’s overcoat over her shoulders and buttoned it down the front. He was moving fast now and he went to the door and opened it, looking into the hall first one way and then the other. He grabbed Cindy by her shoulders and they walked rapidly down the hall to a part of the hotel she hadn’t known about, through two doors and then to a battered old elevator whose door was already standing open. Gus gently pushed Cindy into the elevator and they descended past the lobby level to what proved to be the loading dock. As they walked out of the building, Cindy saw a gigantic old Mercedes parked directly in front of them, but in an isolated corner of the courtyard behind the hotel. Gus opened the passenger door and helped her take a seat. He bent over her feet and swiftly bound them together. Then he attached a lap belt around Cindy’s waist and lifting a finger as if to indicate, “just one moment,” he shut the door, locked it and disappeared back into the hotel.

 

If Cindy had found it odd to be tied up in the privacy of her hotel room, she found it infinitely more disconcerting sitting in an automobile in what was essentially a public place. It was the middle of the night and there was no one around, but she was more or less outside and anyone passing by could see her quite clearly. Looking up the alley that ran beside the hotel, she could see lights and the occasional group of people passing by the entrance to the alley. She could hear music and talking and laughing and it was inconceivably strange that she couldn’t move from her seat. She marveled again at how doubly helpless she felt when she was left alone and tied up. All her instincts told her that she should be able to escape when not being watched and yet she might as well have had a dozen armed guards watching her every move, so thoroughly was she bound, hand and foot. She struggled against the ropes, not so much in the hope of escape, but simply to experience the feeling more vividly.

 

At that moment, Gus strode out of the hotel carrying their luggage. Cindy noted that he carried four heavy bags with no more effort than if they had been empty and made of paper. She was surprised to see that he didn’t put them in the trunk, but threw them into the cavernous back seat area. Then he opened the driver’s door and took his seat. He released Cindy’s lap belt and unbuttoned Cindy’s coat and, with what help she could give him by lifting her butt off the seat, he pulled the coat off of her entirely and tossed it into the back seat. Without a word, he cranked the car and slowly drove up the alley and into the street. Cindy’s eyes were a little blinded by the bright lights of the street and she was astounded at the charge that went through her when she observed the few people still walking the streets, free and taking that freedom for granted. A few glanced at their car as they passed and Cindy giggled as she wondered what they would think if they knew the car contained a woman tied up just about as tightly as a woman could be.

 

“What do you find so funny, dear lady?”

 

“Ha, ha. Well, the fact of being tied up is so obvious to me and such a major event that it surprises me that none of these people can tell. The fact that they can’t see the ropes doesn’t diminish my astonishment. I feel physically and mentally transformed and they should be able to see that.”

 

“I thought you were going to keep your feelings to yourself.”

 

“I am, unless I decide not to. I might not have control over my body, but I’ll think, feel and say anything I want, you villain. And I’ll kick my shoes off now too.”

 

Gus smiled and so did Cindy, but they didn’t look at each other. Gus breathed in Cindy’s scent. The combined smell of her perfume, her hair and her general odor of cleanliness was heady stuff he decided. He sneaked a look at her stocking feet when they passed under a streetlight and saw that Cindy was gently rubbing them on the stiff carpet of the car’s floor. The sight of her firm legs working against their bonds and her smooth stocking feet caused Gus a pang of guilt. He wasn’t supposed to be attracted in this case. Cindy was his prisoner and he felt it unfair to her that she might be the object of his lust. But in spite of himself, he noticed that she was sitting up in the seat with her eyes glued to the passing sights as if she had never seen them before.

 

Gus was reminded of some observations that had been offered by more than a few of the women he had bound for fun. One dear lady in particular had enjoyed sharing her thoughts and feelings with him while she was tied. She had expressed amazement at the fact that the mere fact of being tied up had heightened her perceptions and sensitivity. It was as if she were seeing and feeling everything from a wholly new angle and at a higher level. Cindy’s obvious interest in what she could see out the window of his car suggested that she too was experiencing some of this. This was an indication to Gus that she was perhaps having some fun as his captive. That didn’t mean that she wouldn’t try to escape, but it did mean that she would accept whatever came her way with a sense of adventure and good humor. After all, she knew she had nothing to fear – or at least Gus hoped he had convinced her of that. The suspicion crossed Gus’ mind that perhaps she was trying to lull him into relaxing his vigilance, but unless she was the world’s most skillful dissembler, she actually seemed to be betraying a genuine pleasure in his company and a sincere amusement at her plight.

 

They drove out of town and through the dark rural country that would eventually lead to the border crossing into Germany. About five miles before reaching the border, Gus turned off onto a side road and into the driveway of an isolated farm.

 

Cindy stiffened as Gus said, “I have to impose on your patience and I am afraid you won’t like what’s next. I’m going to have to put you in the trunk for the border crossing.”

 

Cindy turned on Gus and yelled, “You are NOT going to put me in the trunk like a bag of goddamn groceries.” She almost smiled in spite of her anger when she saw Gus’ face assume an expression of shy, embarrassed guilt. “What you’ll do is untie me right now and trust me for the time it takes to get over the border. If you put me in that trunk, I won’t rest until I hunt your sorry ass down and mmmm….”

 

As Cindy yelled at him, Gus had whipped a knotted scarf out of his pocket and stuffed the knot in her mouth. She thrashed and kicked, but she was so thoroughly bound that she could offer no effective resistance as Gus wound the scarf around her head and between her teeth until Cindy couldn’t even make her teeth and lips meet. She sat there radiating fury as Gus came around the car, opening the trunk as he passed. He opened her door and picked her up. He had made the huge trunk as comfortable as possible in advance. There were cushions and pillows and he placed Cindy on her side with some pillows elevating her head. She continued to spew incoherent invective at him this entire time and it was all Gus could do to harden himself. He was totally beguiled by the sight of her lovely body writhing against the ropes and by her defiance. The guilt he felt was extremely unpleasant. He left Cindy struggling on the floor of the trunk and went back to the passenger area to get her coat and shoes. He threw them into the trunk so they wouldn’t be in Cindy’s way and leaned over and said, “It won’t be but just a few minutes. We’ll go through the border crossing and then it’s just fifteen more minutes to our destination. There we can make you comfortable. I’m sorry, but I can’t take a chance at you even being seen at this point, tied or untied. Now be quiet for God’s sake.” Gus closed the trunk lid and smacked himself on his forehead in a fit of anger and frustration. “I’m supposed to be a hardened professional and I’m acting like an infatuated schoolboy,” Gus flagellated himself.

 

As he pulled back on the highway, he was relieved to hear Cindy stop her muffled yelling. He imagined her back there fuming, but accepting the situation. “I hope she gets over this extreme indignity. I’ll have to think of a way to make it up to her,” Gus thought without too much hope. He felt like a husband who had a lot to explain – explanations from a position of total moral inferiority. Gus got back behind the wheel. His guilt was centered on what was becoming, to him, an extremely precious burden, tied, gagged and locked in the trunk of his car.

 

In the trunk, Cindy was discovering the joys of moral superiority. Hitherto, she had keenly felt under Gus’ authority – he had caught her unawares and made her his prisoner. She had been helpless to prevent this in spite of the fact that she had always prided herself on being prepared for anything. She had felt a sense of fun and adventure and even a carnal glow as a result of being tied up by Gus, but she hadn’t quite been able to reconcile herself to the fact that she had been gotten the better of – she had felt suitably sheepish in a way. Now she felt she had a grievance.

 

From everything that had transpired between them, it should have been obvious to Gus that she could be trusted to cross the border without being tied up. He should have been able to trust her that much. And yet here she was in the trunk of a car, for the love of God, tied so she could barely move and gagged into total incoherence, if not silence. It was so useless. If she wanted to give the game away at the border, all she had to do was start yelling through the gag and kicking the trunk lid with her feet. It would be easy enough and even the most profoundly stupid, mouth-breathing border guard would die rather than ignore the sounds of a damsel in such undignified peril. Oh, it was all very well to say she shouldn’t be seen “tied or untied” but that didn’t justify him treating her like this. Cindy knew Gus was “sweet” on her and now that she was the offended party, she would make him pay. “How odd that the tables have turned. And I didn’t even have to go to the trouble of getting out of the ropes,” Cindy reflected.

 

It also occurred to Cindy that her life was beginning to resemble a movie or TV show. She had frequently seen the little dramas where the heroine was bound and gagged – and even dumped in the trunk of a car – and had always dismissed the very idea that it could ever happen to her. But there she was. She couldn’t move without being reminded that there were ropes tied around her body in all the right places. Lying there in the darkness, she had a sudden image of how her bound and gagged image had looked in the mirror of the hotel room and that image transformed itself into how she would look from Gus’ point of view when he opened the trunk. Cindy decided that for a good while at least she would be a sullen, uncommunicative prisoner, while making sure that she presented herself in the most fetching manner possible. It would serve him right and be deeply satisfying to her if she could escape. Cindy thought that unlikely, but there was a side of her that needed to play whatever game was available and escape looked like the only opportunity for her to really give Gus a jolt.

 

Cindy remained quiet during the border crossing into Germany. A part of her yearned to expose Gus and cause him as much inconvenience as possible, but there was still a part of Cindy’s mind that knew it was impossible to involve the authorities. And still, she was curious about Gus. If she didn’t see this thing though to the end, she might never know what he was all about and that would not only be unsatisfying, but could also be dangerous. So where did escape fit into that plan? Cindy realized she was trying to have her cake and eat it too, but that prospect didn’t dismay her in the least. She imagined getting untied and laying her hands on a weapon. Then, finally, she could openly defy Gus, but at the same time insist on being treated as an equal and a partner in whatever the hell was going on.

 

With all of these contradictory thoughts and feelings in her head, Cindy felt herself surrender to the necessity of simply not knowing what she would do. And in spite of her best efforts, she would still from time to time imagine what Gus’ hands might feel like on her body. She was certain he would be precise and gentle. She imagined him laying his hands on her while she was bound and helpless – helpless to prevent even the most intrusive attentions and she involuntarily shivered. She had to shake her head to snap out of this line of thought – a line of thought that she wanted to avoid, but that her body found very pleasant to contemplate. She decided that a bound body could be a very traitorous body indeed.

 

Cindy slowly became aware that she hadn’t even been thinking about being locked in the trunk of a car – much less resenting it. She had to work a little to regain her indignation and it helped when she tried to move around and in response, the ropes all seemed to tighten around her wrists, ankles and body. When she relaxed, so did the ropes. Her gag was becoming damp around her cheeks again, as was the pillow on which her head lay.

 

She was now aware that they were off the main highway and going much slower – stopping and starting as if going through intersections in a town or city. A feeling of anticipation began to build and this caused Cindy to fidget. She could feel her hands waving behind her, trying to do something and her stocking feet pointing and pushing against her bonds. She forced herself to relax as she heard a garage door open, the car move through and then the door closing behind them. Finally the trunk lid popped open and Cindy’s squinted against the bright ceiling lights.

 

Gus stood over her with a worried expression on his weathered face. Cindy was rather shocked to see that he almost didn’t look familiar to her. For the first time, she could see the younger, more classically handsome features that had been prematurely overlaid by whatever vicissitudes Gus had had to endure over the years. She saw his impossibly broad shoulders lean over and felt his iron fingers move her legs so he could get at the knot on the ropes around her ankles. When her feet were untied, she felt Gus slip her little flat shoes on her feet and then she was effortlessly lifted out of the trunk and set standing on the flagstone floor of a huge, windowless garage.

 

Gus stood behind her and ungagged her. Neither of them said a word. As he began untying the ropes around her arms, body and wrists, Cindy looked around. They appeared to be in an entirely stone structure with vaulted ceilings that looked positively medieval. There were about twenty old automobiles parked along the walls and Cindy remembered that collecting these was one of Gus’ “hobbies.” Soon she became aware that Gus was talking to her in a bright, soothing voice as if something humorously inconvenient had just happened and now they could laugh about it.

 

“I am so deeply sorry that I was deprived of your delightful company for the last part of our trip. I’m sure the scenery wasn’t ideal. Let me just get these ropes off you and we can be civilized again.”

 

Cindy tossed her head and said nothing. When she felt the rope removed from her wrists, she turned and faced Gus. “Don’t you dare think you can laugh it off. I’ve never been so offended.”

 

To Cindy’s surprise, Gus smiled warmly, “I’ve never in my life expected to be forgiven. But you will be my guest for the next two days, so let’s make the best of it. If you prefer to be locked in a room, tied and gagged, for that time, well, that’s your decision. But now, as it’s so late, I daresay you’d like to go to sleep. I wish I could, but I have things to do yet. We are in a town where my family has lived for hundreds of years. My house is built on the foundations of the old town gate. This is all that’s left over from when the fortifications were pulled down during the Napoleonic era. I’ll show you around later, but let me show you to your suite.”

 

Gus grabbed their luggage out of the car, bowed and with a nod of his head indicated that Cindy should walk in front of him to a staircase. They went up three flights and Gus opened a door that revealed a very nice living room furnished in the style of a hundred years before. He showed her that there was a bedroom, bathroom and small kitchen attached. Cindy was urged to make herself at home – eat, drink, sleep, browse the books whatever she desired. She was also informed that she would be locked in for the night and that Gus would call on her about noon – it was almost 2 o’clock in the morning and they both needed rest.

 

Gus left her standing in the living room with a blank expression and he backed out the door. Cindy heard a key turn in what sounded like two separate locks and then she went into the kitchen and made herself a very large scotch.

 

She found that she was sleepy, but very curious about her surroundings. While the house was obviously much newer than the basement/garage, it was also quite old. The light switches were of a kind she had never seen before and the plaster walls had a patina that only decades could bestow. The furniture was all a little shabby, but of the highest quality and when she sank down on the couch, Cindy found herself very comfortable indeed. She noticed that she felt restless and attributed this to being untied and able to move for the first time in a great while. And yet she was still a prisoner. She got up and strode over to a window. She peered though a gap in the curtains and found that her window overlooked a rooftop. Whether it was a roof belonging to this house or another, she couldn’t tell, but all the tops of the buildings looked very similar – very old.

 

Cindy had the strangest feeling that she was being spied on and found herself playing the part of someone only mildly interested in her surroundings and did nothing to betray the fact that she was now investigating a means of escape. Typically, she wasn’t wholehearted about the idea, but she found it irresistible. If she went out the window, she could easily drop down on the roof, but where to then?

 

She went over to the door and found it was so well locked that it might as well have been a part of the wall. There were no exposed hinges and the only internal evidence of a lock was the smallish keyhole under the doorknob.

 

Cindy sighed and went into the bedroom. The room was perfectly round and when she looked out the window, she discovered that she was in a corner turret. “Like a princess held captive in a castle,” was the thought that popped unbidden into her mind. She laughed, got undressed and threw on a while silk nightgown and let her hair fall down around her shoulders. The nightgown was a very plain garment that fell loose from her bosom to her knees. She went back into the living room and sat again on the couch with her drink. She analyzed her feelings and found that she was quite content. Being dumped, bound and gagged, into the trunk of Gus’ car scarcely bothered her at all now and she reflected that the same thing had happened earlier in her Swiss hotel room. When first tied up and rudely gagged, she had been hotly furious both at herself and Gus. She remembered how that anger had subsided, to be replaced by a sense of fun and adventure. She remembered her excited anticipation at the prospect of Gus’ return and how she had almost been – had actually been – sexually aroused.

 

Cindy looked at the fading rope marks on her wrists, ankles and upper arms and felt something of the same charge go through her body. She found that she regretted Gus’ absence. Then she decided what she would do. She would escape and then she would present herself to Gus of her own free will. That would prove she could be trusted and if she found herself tied up again, it would be for fun. She wondered if the very room she was locked in had been the location for any of Gus’ games. She tried to imagine other women happily bound and gagged and eager for his attentions. Her excitement at the idea made her more than a little eager to see how she might like it.

 

But then Cindy laid her head back on the couch and was instantly asleep.

 

She awoke some hours later and found that it was still dark outside. The clock informed her that it was 5 a.m. and that she had been asleep for a little over four hours. But she was alert and ready. Ready for what? Cindy decided that she would attempt her escape. She would drop to the roof outside the window, enter through another window and walk in on Gus, thus striking him speechless with amazement at her skill and trustworthiness.

 

Cindy rummaged through her baggage, found her walking shoes and put them on her bare feet. She quietly opened the window in the living room and dropped three feet onto the roof. It was a slate roof and slanted down from the wall. She crept along the wall looking into various windows as she passed them. They were all dark, so she picked one at random tried to open it. The window easily slid open and Cindy popped in and closed it behind her. There were no lights on in the room, but Cindy could see that it was a bedroom. She checked to see if the bed was occupied and then went to the door. Cindy moved into the dark hallway. She noticed her shoes squeaking and stopped to unlace them and slip them off.

 

The hall way ended in a staircase that spiraled down. It was a different stair than the one on which they had ascended from the basement and the spiral stair ended at the ground floor. The perfect stillness and near total darkness caused Cindy to assume her best professional stalking glide. If she hadn’t known better, she would have thought the house was empty. The only light was the little that filtered in through the windows from the street outside and the most innocent objects took on mysterious forms. It was like a dream.

 

On the ground floor the stair ended at the front door. Cindy peered into all the rooms that communicated with the entrance hall and found them so dark that she couldn’t make out what was in them. A dim light glowed from a window far above the front door. Cindy approached the door and tried the knob. It turned, but some other lock kept the door from moving so much as a fraction of an inch.

 

She turned to investigate a hallway that went back behind the spiral staircase. As she passed the space under the stair and entered the hallway, she was startled to find herself rising off the floor. Almost immediately after rising, Cindy was blinded by the hall light blazing on and then she saw the hall carpet – a very ornate, antique carpet – rise up and slowly make contact with her face. All this was happening in what seemed like a fraction of a second and she was simultaneously aware that she was in someone’s iron grip. It all seemed very familiar. First her mouth was filled with a cloth, which was then wound between her teeth a few times and knotted behind her head. When she tried to struggle she found that her arms were held by her side by her assailant’s knees.

 

After being gagged, she felt her arms pulled behind her, her wrists crossed and then the inevitable ropes began to be wrapped, cinched and knotted. She stopped struggling and looked over her shoulder to make sure it was Gus – it was. When he finished the knot on her wrist ropes, he gave her a little facetious smile as if to indicate that he would rather be doing something else at the moment besides tying up Cindy. Then he got up off her and stood over her with his hands on his hips.

 

“I wonder how you got out of your comfy suite of rooms? I wonder why you’re wandering around in the dark with almost nothing on? I wonder what your planned to do? Well, it’s damned irritating. I was very busy and to have to interrupt myself in order to entertain my guest at this time is most inconvenient. And you’re probably wondering how I knew to intercept you as you crept stealthily about the house. All in good time. I do so want to sit down with you and chat at length without all this gamesmanship and dissimulation.”

 

Cindy was quite put out at being the object of Gus’ humor and snapped, “Well, if you’re so goddamn busy, why are you standing there spewing bullshit?” Of course what Gus heard was, “Eoo, I oo o oddamm izzy I uh oo amming air ewwing vullshiph?” Gus’ face turned red and he turned away in order to stifle his laughter. Cindy’s face also went a bright crimson as she heard her incoherent babbling. She was furious with herself – for being caught again and for so forgetting herself that she tried to speak with a rather large wad of cloth in her mouth. She shook her shoulders and flapped her bound hands in a spasm of frustration.

 

“I’m sorry Cindy. It’s just that I was beginning to consider trusting you. Perhaps later. Now I’ll have to keep you restrained for a couple of hours until I can keep you company.”

 

Cindy noticed Gus glance at her legs and when she followed his gaze, she saw that her nightgown had ridden up on her body and left her completely naked from the waist down. Gus reached down and grabbed Cindy by the shoulders and helped her stand. He smoothed her nightgown back into place, readjusting the shoulder straps and making sure her modesty was once again intact. Then he walked her back upstairs the way she had come. When they passed her shoes in the hall, he reached down and carried those as they made their way back to her old suite of rooms.

 

Cindy was beginning to simmer down and accept that once again she was to be tied up for a while. She waited patiently while Gus unlocked her door. He bowed and indicated that she should please enter, which she did, but not before rolling her eyes at Gus in exasperation. She strode across the room and sat on the couch, looking at Gus with what Gus thought was an almost neutral expression, but he felt that his own feelings were being gauged. Gus shrugged his shoulders, smiled and got down on his knees and began tying Cindy’s feet together at the ankles. As he did so he said, “I notice by the open window that you must have flitted out onto the roof. I suppose I should have locked the windows too, but somehow I thought you would just, “go with the flow,” as you have yourself put it, and gone to sleep. Perhaps now you can relax enough to nod off. At any rate, I will not neglect to lock the windows and the door to the bedroom so there’s no use hopping around, looking for something to cut yourself loose with.”

 

Cindy felt him tie the knot and watched him go to each window and the bedroom door and lock them all. As the shock of being captured wore off, it was replaced by an almost equally shocking feeling of vulnerability. When she had been tied up earlier, Cindy had noticed something of the same feeling when she had lost her shoes in Gus’ presence, but now the feeling was increased exponentially. Not only were her bound feet bare, but her shoulders were bare except for the very thinnest straps holding up her nightgown and all of her private parts were covered only by the wispiest of smooth, diaphanous silk. To make matters worse, she had been gagged while struggling and her hair was straggling down on both sides of her eyes and allowed her to see only what was straight in front of her. Only by more or less constant tossing of her head, could Cindy keep her hair from falling directly in front of her face. That fact accentuated her feeling of helplessness to an unbearable degree. Whenever Gus looked at her she felt as if she might as well be completely naked and her hands were periodically trying to come from behind her back and brush back her hair and fold themselves over her bosom – a bosom that was only partially covered by her low-cut garment.

 

Gus paused at the door before he left and smiled, “I’ll only be gone a couple of hours – three at the most – and then we can get reacquainted. I hope you don’t mind this too much. It’s hard to tell with you. You’re so… um… calm.”

 

He closed the door and Cindy heard it lock. She looked around the room and this time had the enforced leisure to notice all the details. Every fillip and decoration of the furniture was duly noted and the pictures on the wall studied. It occurred to her, not for the first time, that being tied up increased the significance of the smallest things. Everything was more vivid in her mind. The lack of ability to be active in even the smallest way seemed to open up recesses of her mind that Cindy rarely, if ever, visited. There was a round ottoman in front of the couch and a little to her side. She extended her feet and rolled the ottoman along the front of the couch until it was in front of her and she could rest her legs straight out in front of her.

 

How odd it was to see her ankles tightly lashed together. How strange to see the knot in plain view and know that untying it would be as impossible as making herself levitate. In this frame of mind, Cindy began to relax. She wasn’t sleepy. She was actually quite alert and found that there was an unfamiliar feeling of combined excitement and lassitude. Once again she missed Gus’ presence. He kept popping in and out of her life and tied or untied, she found that she wanted to spend some extended time with him. Cindy couldn’t get the feel of his inconceivably strong hands out of her mind. His hands had handled her with a sort of expert precision. While controlling her body and tying it up, he had used only the most minimum force necessary. “Perhaps he is as precise and forcefully gentle in other ways. Maybe he’s a good kisser. Maybe he knows how to go slow and easy so it lasts a long, long time,” Cindy said inwardly.

 

Cindy looked again at her legs and feet and pushed and pulled against the ropes that bound them at the ankles. She imagined how it would feel if Gus’ hands were to start at her feet and slowly work their way up. Her hands flexed against their bonds and she was reminded that she wouldn’t be able to stop him in the least. This extremely vivid image caused a sharp throbbing to pulse between her legs. Her surprised response was in the form of a muffled giggle and the beginning of a rhythmic flexing of her legs and feet against the ropes. Her feet were pointing and waving at the ceiling and she thought how nice they looked and how nice her thighs felt sliding against the silk. She looked down at her bosom and shook gently from side to side. She was rewarded with a bit of friction on her nipples, but her growing excitement was also producing an increasing frustration. Her body was beginning to demand that somebody – Gus, Cindy, somebody – pay some attention to its growing need to be stroked, rubbed, hugged, kissed. It seemed impossible that such thin, soft ropes should prevent her hands from coming to her body’s rescue, but not only were her hands firmly bound behind her, but no amount of writhing around on the couch could give her any relief. It was as if she had just found out that she was really, truly, seriously tied up.

 

“I should be grateful. How often do I get to feel this way anyhow?” she decided. To divert her mind and to calm her feelings down to an acceptable level, Cindy once again surveyed her surroundings. She noticed that the walls were hung with quite a few portraits of people dressed in costumes from as long ago as the seventeenth century up to about the time of the 1930s. Their eyes all looked at her and Cindy found herself drawn to the portrait of a woman dressed in the way that women dressed in about 1900. The woman looked like an angel and Cindy wondered if she had ever been tied up. She shook her head to banish the thought after it caused her level of excitement to rise, but Cindy sighed and reconciled herself to the very obvious fact that she really couldn’t control her emotions. With her body bound, her emotions were liberated and her senses heightened.

 

But all in all and under the circumstances, she found it quite pleasant. There was a dream-like quality as if she was mildly hallucinating and more than once, Cindy caught herself admiring her legs and feet. She flexed her muscles against the ropes and was satisfied that she must appear an extremely fetching damsel indeed.

 

As she looked around and became lost in her thoughts, she exhibited only a slow, gentle writhing against her bonds – not much more than a constant pulsing. Her thoughts became more and more disconnected. She mused on the simple, but fascinating, fact that ropes had been put on her – she had been packaged. And it was so simple. She was completely immobilized by two lengths of soft rope and gagged into incoherence with what appeared to be a long handkerchief or scarf. But soon it occurred to Cindy that she wasn’t completely immobile at all. At present she was tied in a somewhat less restrictive fashion than she had been in her hotel room. Then she had been reduced to an extremely undignified, crouched-over, knee-walking sort of movement. With just her wrists and ankles tied, Cindy definitely felt she had options. If nothing else, she decided it would be fun to hop around the room – not so much to escape, but just for the sake of changing her frame of reference.

 

She kicked the ottoman out of the way and with a couple of forward rocks she was on her feet. A couple of tentative practice hops proved that she could cover a good six inches per hop and Cindy began hopping around in front of the couch in circles just to get the hang of it. Then she hopped over to the window from which she had earlier escaped and stuck her head in the gap between the curtains. She shook the hair out of her eyes as well as she cold and noticed that the horizon was brightening and she could see much better than when she last peered through this very same window.

 

There were sounds of an awakening community below her and she could see that she was in a fairly large town or village. All the buildings were more or less ancient and looming above all on a hill beyond the rooftops was a smallish castle or fort. She could see now that the roof below her was in fact part of the house she was in and that it ended only some twenty feet beyond her at a chasm that must represent a street. Across that street she could see rows of windows belonging to several houses lining the street. If anyone had cared to look out of those windows at this moment, they would have seen a very cute female head with impossibly tousled hair peering out between the curtains like a comic actor poking her head through the curtains on a stage. If the observer had been only moderately observant, they might have noticed that there was a very effective gag between the lovely lips of the woman peeking out of her tiny stage.

 

As the day lightened, Cindy was rewarded with the sight of people moving about in some of the windows. The curtains in one of the windows suddenly parted to reveal a woman in a nightgown similar to Cindy’s. Cindy was surprised to find herself riveted by the sight of someone freely moving about. Here was a woman using her hands to brush her hair as she looked down on the street. Cindy keenly felt the contrast between the woman’s freedom and her own bound and gagged state. There had been something of the same feeling with Gus in the room, but with Gus Cindy had felt subordinate. Looking at the woman engendered no such feelings and it made Cindy feel all the more bound and helpless to be standing alone at the window watching the unbound woman. Cindy felt the ropes around her wrists and ankles seem to tighten as she began to fidget. She imagined Gus’ strong hands grabbing her and pulling her away from the window and felt an immediate tightening in her stomach and she withdrew her head from between the curtains. No one was there.

 

Cindy began hopping around the room, looking at the portraits and just seeing the room from different angles. Beneath one portrait, Cindy noticed an odd break in the wallpaper. Her eyes followed the break and realized it described a door-sized shape that was barely noticeable from any distance at all. She hopped up to it and gave the shape a gentle shove with her shoulder and to her amazement, the shape swung inward and an opening appeared in the wall. It was pitch black beyond the opening and Cindy had no desire to hop into that, but she did have an all-consuming desire to explore. She also felt a sudden need to be untied, right now. She wriggled against her bonds ineffectually for a moment and then stopped to think. She slowly sank to her knees and then let herself fall over on her side.

 

Drawing her knees up to her bosom and folding her calves as flat as they would go against her thighs she worked her bound hands under and around her butt. Now she felt a moment of panic as she realized that her hands were now pinned between her thighs and calves, but after a brief rest, she extended her legs and feet in front of her face and began working her hands up. After a furious struggle she finally managed to get her hands around her feet and found her hands in front of her.

 

Now she was able to untie the gag and begin working on the knot at her wrists with her teeth. When that was finally untied and the rope laboriously unlooped from her wrists, Cindy was able to untie her feet and she was free – exhausted, sweaty and sore, but free.

 

She entered the black opening and stood waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. There in front of her was the narrowest staircase she had ever seen. It was just barely wide enough for her to ascend without turning sideways. She closed the hidden door and began to take the stairs slowly upward. She could feel ancient layers of dust and grit beneath her feet and she thanked all the saints she could think of that there didn’t appear to be too many spiders living in the cobwebs that brushed against her face. There was no light with the hidden door shut, so she proceeded by feeling the wall and the steps.

 

After what seemed like forever, Cindy ran up against a closed door. She felt for a knob and found it curiously enough in the middle of the door. She turned it and pushed, but the door didn’t budge. She found another sort of latch or bolt and fumbled with it until it slid back along the door. With immense effort she was able to push the door open and found that she was in an attic. The roof above her was steeply pitched and there were giant beams exposed many feet above her head. There were rows of tiny dormer windows that let in rays of light like so many spotlights. The entire floor area, except for one narrow aisle, was crowded with shapes covered in filthy, dusty sheets or canvas covers.

 

Cindy walked along this aisle and when she took a moment to survey herself, she found that she was as dirty as if she had wallowed on the ground. She hated that, but she was very, very interested in discovering what she might do next. Again, she didn’t really want to escape out of the house – she wanted to satisfy her curiosity about Gus and perhaps even become his friend, but she did want to astonish him. She wanted to prove she could escape if she had wanted to and demonstrate that she could be trusted. So she stood there in her flimsy filthy nightgown, her entire body streaked with grime, her hair straggling in her face and thick with dust and cobwebs thinking about what to do next.

 

“God I must look a fright,” she thought. As she advanced silently down the length of the attic, she saw a door at the very end. This door opened very easily and Cindy found herself at the top of a spiral staircase that wound down through what looked like a tower – a tower much the same size and shape as her bedroom had been in her prisoner’s quarters. “Am I in a castle? But the castle is on the hill. Never mind. Go down the stairs you ninny.”

 

Cindy crept down and down, passing two landings with doors on them. She decided to do whatever it was she was going to do on what she thought would probably be the ground floor. When she exited the stairs and entered a hallway, she was almost sure she had guessed correctly. She passed a parlor and a modern-looking bathroom. She passed what seemed to be a library and then finally at the end of the hall, she looked around the corned and saw the main staircase where she had last been captured by Gus. She decided that Gus must be somewhere down the hall past the stair, so she looked both ways and quickly stepped out toward the entrance hall.

 

She made it past the stairs this time and entered the hallway. There were no lights on, but there was light flooded into the hall from an open door. She hugged the wall and soundlessly made her way toward the patch of light. She heard nothing except what she thought were the normal creaks and groans of an old house. There was also a ticking of a clock somewhere, but she might as well have been alone in the house for all she could tell.

 

As she got closer to the lighted room, she began to hear a light snoring. “He’s asleep! I’ll sneak in, wake him up and he will absolutely freak out!” Cindy almost giggled. But as she passed the last closed door before her goal, it suddenly opened and Cindy was grabbed and pulled into the room. She was dimly aware as she furiously struggled that there was a wet cloth over her face and a strong chemical smell and then she knew nothing at all.

 

Cindy wondered where she was and couldn’t remember anything at first. Then piece-by-piece her memory returned and the fog began to leave her mind and her eyes began to focus. She was back in her suite of rooms on the top floor of the house and was lying on the couch where she had been tied up before. She tried to move and was instantly aware that she had been retied and regagged. When she tried to straighten her legs, she found that they were roped to her hands by a very short length of rope. As her head cleared even more, Cindy became aware that there was a woman sitting in a chair just above her head. She had to look up and to the side a little to see her and the woman looked up from her book and was smiling at Cindy, twirling a little pair of reading glasses in her hand.

 

“Good morning. You’ve been asleep for some hours now. Gus took to his bed about sunrise and told us to look out for you. He said you were a very slippery customer indeed. We can’t imagine how you got out of the ropes and then out of this room, but at any rate, we got you back in both of them. You certainly are dirty. Perhaps you prefer it that way. If you promise not to cry out, I’ll remove that thing from your mouth. OK?”

 

Cindy nodded her head.

 

The woman stood up and removed Cindy’s gag. Then she sat in another chair where she and Cindy could see each other face to face. Cindy saw that the woman was about thirty and was astoundingly beautiful in a round, curvy, blonde sort of way. She had on a simple dress that buttoned up the front. It had long sleeves and a full, knee-length skirt. The dress was black with tiny white polka dots. The woman had on natural color pantyhose, and because she wore no shoes, Cindy saw that her hose had reinforced toes and heels. Cindy noted that the woman’s hair was almost white and fell straight to past her shoulders from a part in the middle.

 

The stared at each other. The woman was smoking a cigarette and had her legs crossed and a slight smile on her face. Cindy was hogtied and filthy on the couch with a rather blank, stupid, open-mouthed expression. She writhed gently against her bonds, her fingers and toes opening and closing thoughtfully.

 

The woman broke the silence first, “I’m surprised you were able to escape. When Gus has tied me, I could never do so though I would try ever so hard – in fun you understand. I admire you for your resourcefulness. I don’t suppose you could tell me how you did it?”

 

“Gus ties you up for fun? Who are you?”

 

“Yes, Gus and I have been lovers. We aren’t now, but we have been. I must tell you that he is a fine man, but his life is so crazy that it made me tired to be with him. We are friends now and associates in certain business ventures and I am married to another man.”

 

“Hey listen, if I promise not to try and escape, could you please untie me? I’ve got to take a shower and get dressed. I feel like a pig.”

 

“Ha ha, you look like as dirty as a pig too my dear, but I’m sorry. If you were untied you could probably overwhelm me. Gus warned us that you know how to take care of yourself. Believe me, I’d like to think we could trust you – it causes me pain to see you so dirty and uncomfortable, but Gus says you have tried to escape more than once and we cannot allow that. Wait until Gus comes back up here. Then you can be untied I think.”

 

Cindy instinctively tried to sit up and gesticulate in order to give better persuade the woman to untie her and her body could only worm around on the couch and her hands and feet wave ineffectually. Cindy quickly stopped her struggling in order to appear calm and reasonable – to appear as if she were certainly someone who could be trusted to be untied at least for a little while. She smiled sweetly behind the hair that was straggling in front of her face, “Those last two times I tried to escape were just to show Gus that I could do it, but I wasn’t going to go anywhere. In fact, I was looking for him to prove that he could trust me. I was going to say, ‘Look Gus, here I am untied but not running away,’ but both times I got caught before I could do that. How did you guys know I was out of this room anyway?”

 

The woman said, “There are motion detectors here and there. Nothing really great, but just to catch the burglar. So we caught you. I tell you what. I call my friend up here and we untie you, but you must promise to let us tie you again without fighting, yes?”

 

Cindy leaned toward the woman, “I’ll do anything and promise anything just to get clean and put on some clothes. Then I’ll help you tie me up.”

 

The woman laughed and picked up a tiny cell phone and entered a number. “Our dirty little prisoner wants to get clean. I need you to help me watch her. Ha ha, OK. She is coming. I’ll untie your feet.”

 

The woman untied Cindy’s feet and helped her sit up. Another woman breezed through the door. She was also about thirty, but was thinner than her friend and had dark hair cut in a rather severe pageboy bob. She had a sweet, angelic face set off with huge blue eyes. She was wearing a silk, blue floral-print cocktail dress that was well fitted and was accessorized with a pearl necklace and high-heeled blue shoes that looked as if they were covered with silk fabric. Her stockings were so thin and transparent that it was not at first evident that she even had any on. The first woman said, “My name is Flora and this is Giselle.”

 

“Hello Flora and Giselle.”

 

Cindy stood up, turned around and presented her hands to be untied. She felt the ropes loosen and then fall away from her wrists. When she turned around, both women had withdrawn a certain distance and she saw that Giselle was armed with a can of mace.

 

“Believe me, Giselle, that won’t be necessary.” With all the dignity she could muster, given her inconceivably filthy and disheveled appearance, Cindy walked into the bedroom. She grabbed the bag that held her bath things and went into the bathroom to get clean. While doing so, she weighed the possibility of getter the better of the two women. Cindy thought it would be so funny if she could get them tied up and present them to Gus. It would be difficult to do without a credible threat and Cindy had no desire to harm any friends of Gus. It would have to be all bluff and they might react in an unpredictably violent manner.

 

Cindy luxuriated in being clean and well groomed once again. She decided to dress in her traveling outfit, which was calculated to be comfortable and unremarkable looking. It consisted of a tightly fitted, sleeveless white blouse that buttoned up the front. Her skirt was knee-length and dark tweed with slits front and back and a thin black leather belt. There were thickish, but transparent white pantyhose with a slight sheen and the shoes were black leather pumps with medium-height Cuban heels and a sort of preppy fringe over her toes. Her outfit was calculated to savor of a somewhat sexy librarian. Cindy had no idea how Gus liked his women to be dressed, but she certainly suspected that he would appreciate the classic look.

 

While dressing she was still mulling over the idea of how to turn the tables on her captors. She had a gun that Gus hadn’t found, secreted in a little pocket in one of her suitcases. Giselle and Flora obviously felt that Cindy was somewhat dangerous and so the gun might be an effective bluff. She dressed slowly while she sorted this out. She decided to try it. She would pull the gun on them, but leave it empty in case she had to back off her bluff. That would prove she meant no harm. If they resisted at all, she would simply throw the gun on the couch and say it was all a joke and allow them to tie her up again.

 

The gun was in a false bottom of her big suitcase and if took a few minutes to lay her hands on it. She had never taken a gun in hand unless it was to actually kill someone and she found it disconcerting and against all her instincts to use an empty gun as a bluff. But nevertheless she found that there was a sense of fun and excitement rising within her. She was playing a game and goal of the game was to gain the respect and trust of Gus who she hoped would become her friend. She also realized without reservation that she wanted him as a lover. Cindy was used to getting what she wanted and now she knew what she wanted from Gus.

 

The door to the bedroom had remained open and Cindy surreptitiously spied on Giselle and Flora as she went about getting dressed. She had seen Giselle sorting through some ropes that she had been pulling out of a leather tote bag – ropes obviously meant for Cindy. Cindy found herself quite excited by the idea of resuming her accustomed role as predator rather than prey. She assumed an innocent expression on her face and walked out into the living room as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

 

The two women looked up at her as Cindy made her entrance and found themselves looking into the barrel of a rather large, frightening-looking pistol in Cindy’s right hand.

 

There was unmistakable authority in Cindy’s voice as she said, “You will both stand up, turn around and place your hands behind your back. You will not move and you will not speak until I allow it.

 

To Cindy’s surprise, the women looked at each other, gave a fatalistic shrug and did as they were told without the slightest trace of discomfiture or alarm. It was as if they had reconciled themselves to this possibility in advance.

 

Giselle had left the pile of rope on the couch where she had been sitting and Cindy selected two lengths from the pile. She slid the gun into her belt where it would be close to hand and threw one length of rope over her shoulder. With the other rope she tied Giselle’s hands behind her, making sure to use the same technique she had seen Gus use on her with a thickness of rope around both wrists, a few cinchings between the wrists and then a firm knot where searching fingers couldn’t reach.

 

Then she tied Flora’s hands behind her in the same way. While she was doing so, Cindy noticed Giselle testing her bonds a bit – twisting her hands, waving her fingers and then relaxing. When both women’s hands were tied behind them, Cindy directed them to the chairs that were at either end of the couch and that faced the couch at an angle. She tied Flora’s stocking feet together and then approached Giselle to do the same. As she approached her, Cindy noticed that Giselle seemed disappointingly amused. Cindy thought that the women should at least be somewhat put out at having been gotten the better of. Giselle had her legs crossed and as Cindy bent to tie her feet together, Giselle uncrossed her legs, slid her feet out of her shoes and extended her lovely legs and feet off the ground so that they might be more easily tied.

 

When her feet were tied, Giselle twisted and turned against her bonds in an exploratory way, looked up and Cindy and said, “A very good job. Gus will be very proud of you and we will never hear the end of it.”

 

Cindy shoved the pile of rope to the end of the couch, threw her gun next to the pile and sat in the middle – equidistant from each of the bound women. Flora had pulled her feet up onto her chair and curled her legs around her. Giselle had slipped her feet back into her shoes but was lifting her legs up on her toes and causing her heels to pop in and out of the shoes. They both looked at her in an almost analytical way that made Cindy feel as if she were still the captive instead of ostensibly being in charge of the situation.

 

“So what do you guys do for Gus? Are you his employees or something?”

 

Flora laughed, “No, no, we are Gus’ friends – trusted associates. Our husbands are his partners and beyond that we are not allowed to tell you anything. Gus will either tell you or he won’t. But one thing we can say is that he has saved your life by holding you prisoner and if you escape now – which we could not prevent you – you would be in grave danger. I should feel guilty if that happened. Gus warned us that if we untied you, you would certainly get the better of us, but I felt so bad seeing you all dirty and tied so tight like a little piggy. Shame on you for taking advantage and now we are the ones tied – more comfortably though and cleaner than you ha ha.”

 

“Like I said before, I have no intention of escaping. I am way too curious to leave now. I just got a little tired of being mistrusted so to prove I can be trusted, I wanted to show that I could escape, but then stick around. By the way, the gun has no bullets in it. I had no intention of shooting you.” Cindy let the empty clip fall out of the gun.

 

Giselle and Flora looked at each other and laughed like hyenas – extremely lovely, tightly bound hyenas. They began talking to each other in what Cindy recognized to be German – a language she didn’t know. They talked and laughed, looking at Cindy occasionally. Cindy found this extremely unpleasant so she got up from the couch, went into the bedroom and brought back two black scarves. When the women saw that she intended to gag them, they were beside themselves with mirth. Cindy walked up behind Giselle and Giselle opened her mouth wide to receive the gag. Cindy wrapped a huge thickness between her lips and teeth and knotted it behind her head. She did the same to Flora, but then the two began amusing themselves by making funny sounds through their gags.

 

Cindy resumed her seat on the couch just in time to see Giselle flip her legs and feet in the air and launch one of her shoes at Flora. The shoe landed against Flora’s stomach and came to rest on her lap. Flora squirmed and wriggled until the shoe fell on the floor and then she lowered her feet to the floor, hooked her toes into the shoe and launched it back at Giselle. Cindy leapt up and caught the shoe in mid-flight. Then she went to Giselle and snatched the other shoe off her foot and put both shoes on a table between the couch and chair, shaking her head in exasperation as both women protested through their gags at having their hilarious game interrupted, but the protests were leavened by a certain amount of muffled laughter.

 

Cindy decided she couldn’t sit with them anymore and she began to walk around the room. She went to the window where she had earlier stood tied and gagged watching the sun rise. She found that she felt jealous. Had both of these women been Gus’ captives in a romantic game? They certainly seemed to think that it was the joke of the world that they were now Cindy’s bound and gagged captives. She could hear them even now competing with one another to see who could make the most absurd noises through their gags. At one point they both stood up and began hopping around the room, forcing Cindy to chase them. Cindy lowered them both to the floor, one by one, and added a rope between their wrists and ankles so that they lay on the floor loosely hogtied – still laughing and occasionally struggling.

 

Cindy watched them from time to time and was curiously aware at how frankly sexual they looked all roped up, with their breasts straining against their dresses and their smooth stocking-clad legs and feet pointing and pulling against the ropes. It wasn’t that she herself was attracted to them, but she was keenly aware that most men would enjoy the sight of two such helpless and neatly packaged women very much. She now knew exactly how she must have looked from Gus’ point of view and she had a sudden desire to join her new friends in their happily bound state. She wanted Gus to trust her, but she also wanted him to come in the room and tie her up again. “That is so weird,” she thought, “I want to be tied up and taken against my will… except that it wouldn’t be against my will. When it comes to Gus, I’ve been bound and gagged against my will for the last time. From now on it will be my desire. I’ll have to do something to make him to it, but first he has to trust me. He can’t continue to see me as a potential enemy or liability.”

 

Cindy strode over to the door to the room and found that it was locked. She figured that she had to unlock it in order to appear truly unwilling to escape so she walked over to Flora, who was lying nearest to her, and said, “Where is the key to the door?”

 

Flora looked at her with exaggerated innocence, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Ummm, ummm, ummm.”

 

Cindy looked at Flora’s smooth stocking soles and ran the tips of her fingers across them. She was gratified to see Flora’s body immediately tense up as if from an electric shock and begin bucking in a desperate attempt to avoid the foot tickling. Cindy kept up the tickling for a moment in spite of the very real howls of gagged protest from Flora’s mouth and said, “I’ll keep this up until you nod your head in the direction of the keys.” Flora stopped struggling and nodded her head in the direction of the door to the bedroom.

 

Cindy looked around the room and saw Flora’s shoes and handbag on a little table clear across the room. Inevitably, Cindy assessed Flora’s taste in shoes. They were very delicate little leather pumps with less than an inch of stacked heel and a small formal bow at the toes. Her handbag was a tiny thing and Cindy rifled through it and was rewarded with several keys. She took them over to the door and tried them all and found that there were three out of the dozen or so that would unlock the door. She unlocked it and left it ajar.

 

As she passed Flora she saw that she was looking at her with a sullen glare. Cindy said, “You poor thing. Ha ha.”

 

Giselle had managed to work herself over to a wall and come to an upright sitting position with her feet flat on the floor and close to her butt – a position dictated by the fact that her wrists and ankles were connected by a not very long length of rope. She looked at Cindy with alarm – obviously they both understood that being tickled while bound was not something to be taken lightly. Cindy decided to take pity on them and untied the ropes attaching their hands to their feet. But she couldn’t resist a fleeting brush of her fingernails on each of their smooth, stocking feet making them both flinch and gasp in a most satisfying manner. Now Cindy felt in charge.

 

Cindy settled back onto the couch and waited for Gus to appear as the women had said he would. She was filled with anticipation and enjoyed sneaking the occasional peek at her bound captives. She saw both women stretch out their legs and begin to gently pulsate against the ropes. She wondered if they were aroused at all as she had been from time to time while tied and this thought actually caused Cindy to experience a slight throbbing between her legs.

 

As she was lost in her thoughts, she became aware of footsteps coming closer along the hall. The footsteps stopped at the door and Gus peered in, obviously not knowing what to expect. He looked at Cindy, fully dressed and free of the ropes that should have bound her according to his plan. Then he spied his two lovely associates, firmly bound and gagged on the floor and he laughed in a deep and spontaneous way that Cindy hadn’t heard from him before. Gus stepped into the room and the two women looked at him sheepishly.

 

Barely containing another outburst of honest laughter, Gus shook his head and addressed the two tied women, “What a pretty sight! I told you she would do something like this to you, but I had no idea how thorough and effective she would be.” He turned to Cindy and bowed to show his respect, “But I thought you would be long gone. Perhaps you are willing to be a volunteer? Let me assure you that you are still a prisoner however. Any hint that you might want to abandon us will result in us preventing you.” He looked at Giselle and Flora again and laughed. He untied their feet, but left their hands tied and the gags in their mouths and as they struggled to stand, Gus took a seat in Flora’s former chair.

 

“We will let them see if they can free themselves. I assume you made them think you were pitiful and they felt sorry for you?”

 

“That’s about right. I’ve got to tell you that I have no desire to leave this house as long as you will have me. I want to know what’s going on.” Cindy left unsaid that she also wanted to be well and thoroughly ravished by Gus, but her deeply blushing face conveyed that unmistakably to Gus’ immense inner satisfaction.

 

Giselle and Flora had finally managed to lurch to their feet and were now back to back – Flora picking at the knot holding Giselle’s wrist ropes.

 

Gus smiled at Cindy in a way that made her blush even more deeply and said, “Let’s go down to my office where we can talk. These amateurs can amuse themselves I think. “Ladies, when you’ve finally managed to free yourselves, please bring the rope down to the office. We may need it again.”

 

On hearing this, Cindy said nothing, but felt a surge of uncomfortably strong excitement. “I simply can’t control myself. I can’t believe I’m enjoying this,” Cindy said to herself.

 

She and Gus made their way to the office – the room she had almost entered before being captured by Flora and Giselle. Gus invited her to have a seat in a large leather chair in front of the fireplace. He made them both a stiff scotch and sat opposite her in an indentical chair. “I assume you found the hidden door?”

 

“I did.”

 

“And you got untied. I can see that from now on I will have to secure you somewhat better. You are a veritable Houdini.”

 

“I’m surprised to hear that you might feel the need to secure me at all.”

 

“I might not. Although I suspect you realize you are in no real danger here and that you have remained our guest out of curiosity. Once your curiosity is satisfied, you might feel anxious to depart before we are ready for you to do so. Tomorrow night we should be able to free you. It’s about noon now so that’s 36 hours give or take.”

 

“So are you going to satisfy me? Do I have to ask questions or will you simply fill me in?”

 

Gus seemed quietly amused as he looked at Cindy over his drink. “As I have already told you, your quarry had protection in high places and many of his henchmen are now searching for us. We have helped them find us. We let them see us together in the car as we left your hotel, but they were afraid to attack us in public. They know that this is my home, so we are now expecting them to be drawn here where they can be dealt with all at once. We hope to slaughter them to a man and make them disappear, but we have to wait until they show their hand. In the meantime, you and I will make another little trip. The little castle that sits above this town is also my property. It is in a perfect state of preservation, but has little in the way of modern conveniences. I occasionally open it to the public, but at the moment we would have it all to ourselves. Our adversaries will assume that we are here in the house. After we get you settled in the castle, I will be moving back and forth from time to time. It will be necessary for me to be here when the villains make their move. I haven’t decided what, if any, your role will be. It may be that I will feel better if you are the damsel held captive in the castle. I have a liking for you and I should hate to see you get involved. After all you said yourself that you were thinking of retiring. Perhaps I shall too. I know you are an impetuous person, so my guilt at holding you captive could be overbalanced by my piece of mind at preventing you from even being close to what is about to happen. There is the explanation. We have lured the forces of evil to what they think will be their victims and we will turn the tables on them. Eliminating these vipers will be quite satisfying.”

 

Gus’ concern for her safety and his expression of friendship made Cindy feel more valuable than she had ever before felt. She thought it so ironic that by being made a prisoner she was being treated like a rare treasure.

 

“So once again, I’m to be held captive ‘for my own good’ is that it? Are you sure you’re not being just a little selfish here Gus? Are you maybe rationalizing this a bit much?” Cindy let out a low, gurgling laugh.

“It’s true, it’s true! All you say is true! And yet I won’t have you weighing on my mind. You mustn’t be involved. If they were to capture you or kill you all our plans would be utterly destroyed. I can’t take a chance. You are the bait, but our prey will only be allowed to taste the hook. I will be honest with you. I am like a schoolboy with you. I want to take you on a happy picnic, but will you allow me to after all this? I don’t know.”

 

“So have you tied up Flora and Giselle for fun? Flora said you did.”

 

“Only Flora and it was long ago. She ended up marrying my lawyer and he doesn’t know about us. Flora and I speak of it, but I’m surprised she said anything to you. As for Giselle, she is I think as deadly as you, but not so careful or intelligent. She would like very much to marry a rich man, but most men fear her after a little while. She is a nice girl, but she is also difficult to know very well. I don’t know what will become of her. I think she rather enjoys being tied and taken against her will, but in her case I’m not sure if she prefers a man or a woman or some combination of the two. She speaks in riddles.”

 

At that moment Gus and Cindy both became aware of what sounded like a herd of high-heeled gazelles running down the hall. The noise was accompanied by one laughing voice and another attempting to express her anger through a gag. Giselle trotted gracefully into the room holding the bag of rope in one hand and the end of a rope in the other. The other end of that rope was attached to a thickness of rope binding Flora’s arms to her sides. Flora’s hands were still bound behind her and her mouth was still packed with a rather damp, black scarf. She had been made, or allowed, to put her shoes back on.

 

Giselle flung the bag of rope on the desk with a smiling flourish and with both hands pulled her captive toward her. Flora had been attempting to thrust her hands out at Gus, signaling for them to be untied, but Giselle was having none of it. When she had pulled Flora back towards her she spun her around, pushed her back into Gus’ leather office chair, tilted her back, grabbed both of Flora’s legs in her arms and is spite of Flora’s thrashing and struggling, managed to loop a rope around Flora’s ankles and tied them tightly together. Then Giselle stood up and said to Gus and Cindy, “She is all yours. I play a joke.” Then Giselle flounced out of the room laughing and looking over her shoulder at Flora as she went.

 

 Flora spun around in her chair toward Gus and said something in German through her gag. Gus laughed and said, “I’m sorry my dear lovely lady, but I can’t understand a thing you’re saying.”

 

Flora let her shoes slip off her heels and flipping her legs and feet in the air, she launched both shoes at Gus. Gus laughed and caught one in the air, “Nice to see you making yourself comfortable, but I think we’ll leave you like that for a while until you calm down. Perhaps our friend Cindy will untie you. Although she may not have forgiven you for tying her in what I understand was a rather stringent manner.”

 

Cindy looked at Flora as she sank into her chair, rolling her eyes in exasperation and waiting for somebody to take pity on her and end this humiliating joke. Cindy was highly impressed by the way Flora looked and wondered if Gus was moved in any way. Flora’s dress had been pulled open at her bosom, apparently while struggling with Giselle and the ropes around her body and arms caused her breasts to strain against the wrinkled fabric. Flora’s now shoeless stocking feet were smooth and shapely and Cindy understood how cute they looked bound together at the ankles. But Cindy also decided that she was weary of Flora’s presence. If anybody was going to be tied up around Gus, it was going to be her.

 

Cindy wordlessly moved to Flora’s feet and untied them. She helped Flora to stand, turned her around and untied all the ropes binding her hands and arms.

 

Flora ungagged herself and glancing at Cindy said, “Thank you dear.” She avoided looking at Gus, but was obviously suppressing a smile as she retrieved her shoes and with a wave of her hair, she left the room, closing the door behind her.

 

Gus was tapping a finger on his chin, “I hope that’s the end of that nonsense, but knowing Flora, she’ll find a way to put Giselle in her place. So now, it’s time for us to make a little visit to my grim old ancestral home. Did you notice it when you were peering out the window and planning your escape?”

 

“I did. It’s a very cute castle. Why don’t you live in it?”

 

“It’s horribly inconvenient. No heat apart from ancient fireplaces. Very little electricity. No air conditioning. The only plumbing is to one bathroom and a kitchen, both quite ancient themselves. No it would never do. I would rather leave it more or less as it has always been. It’s a lovely place for picnics and small parties however. And we don’t even have to leave this house to get to it.”

 

“Don’t tell me. There’s a secret tunnel.”

 

“That is correct! It was built so that soldiers guarding the gatehouse could retreat to the castle if the town walls became untenable. They had to run, but we will travel in the comfort of a golf cart. Come with me.”

 

Gus gathered the loose rope and placed it in the leather tote bag with the rest.

 

“I gather we might have a need for a bit of rope?”

 

“Perhaps. I haven’t decided yet. But I am a boy scout.”

 

“You sure know how to tie knots like one.”

 

“And yet you’ve escaped at least partially several times. That won’t happen again.”

 

“And yet every time I’ve gotten untied, I hang around for more. One would think that under the circumstances that tying me up might just be a little redundant.”

 

“Let me point out that redundancy is at the heart of all successful planning. I’m happy though that you don’t seem to be terribly angry with me. As I’ve said; I like you. When this is all over you can leave if you like. It is my hope that you will stay around and you and I can have a little holiday together. I have no expectations. You would just be my guest and we could talk and drink and do a lot of nothing. But until then, I must be completely certain that I know where you are at all times and you’ve proved to be a very curious and industrious snooper.”

 

“I have to admit that’s true, but you can’t expect me to go to the trouble of getting untied and then just sit there.”

 

“Ha! Well no and that is why I suppose we must after all be certain to restrain you quite thoroughly from now on. In fact, please turn around and cross your hands behind your back.”

 

“Do you really think I’m going to attack you, overcome you and run away? I don’t feel like being tied right now. I don’t think it’s necessary. So there!”

 

Cindy crossed her arms over her bosom and stuck her tongue out at Gus.

 

Gus faked a move to the left and then spun Cindy around with his right hand. Cindy felt his impossibly strong hands grab her by the elbows and almost effortlessly pull her arms behind her back. She was chagrined to hear a giggle escape from her mouth and was painfully aware that she was blushing.

 

Cindy let her hands be gathered together at the small of her back to that her forearms were parallel to each other and she felt Gus wrap the rope around her wrists, cinch the rope between her wrists and then as the knot was being tied, she felt her entire frame of mind change to that now familiar state of relaxed excitement that was so odd to her. She reflected on the fact that the second or two it took to tie the knot that held her hands fast behind her back had become an extremely significant second of transition to a state, not only of captivity, but of heightened sensitivity and surrender. She was not only Gus’ captive: she was also totally dependent on him and had no choice but to either trust him utterly or be afraid of him. One soft, white cotton rope now denied her any control whatsoever of her body.

 

She introspectively investigated the manner in which her hands were tied and found that she was tied much more restrictively that she had been when her hands were simply crossed diagonally so that they rested on the top of her butt. Gus watched as Cindy’s fingers flapped like wings as they searched the limits of her movements.

 

He was deeply moved by the sight and thought it best to say nothing. He gently encircled her upper arm with one hand and led her to the stairs that wound down and down to the basement/garage. Neither of them said anything and both were aware that they were a bit embarrassed by their undeniable excitement. Cindy was keenly aware that Gus had actually invited her to spend a “holiday” with him. Gus was feeling like a schoolboy anxious to hear Cindy say “yes.” She hadn’t, but he thought she might. Cindy knew she would, and she was bowled over by the contrast between her present situation – walking down the stairs with her hands securely tied behind her back – and the situation as it would be when they would simply be a fun couple. A fun couple of assassins, but who’s to say assassins can’t have innocent fun too? Cindy almost snorted at the thought of either of them being described as innocent and yet they both were beginning to feel the stirrings of what could only be described as youthful infatuation for each other.

 

Gus led Cindy to a golf cart in the basement/garage and they lurched off down a dark, sinister tunnel. The lights from the golf cart dimly revealed ancient stonework with smaller tunnels leading off the main one. There were iron fittings here and there on the wall whose original functions Cindy couldn’t begin to imagine. After what seemed like the longest, spookiest journey she had ever been on, they stopped in yet another dank old stone basement.

 

Gus said, “Let me turn on the electricity. I hope it works.”

 

Gus walked off into the gloom and Cindy heard a loud metallic clunk as if from a giant switch and from the high ceiling there glowed light from about a dozen hanging glass globes.

 

Gus helped Cindy alight from the cart and they walked to another flight of stairs, but each step was so high that, with her hands tied, Cindy couldn’t easily negotiate them. Gus picked her up like a bride and they ascended the stairs, looking at each other with a strange awkward good humor. At the top step, Cindy kissed Gus on the cheek and he kissed her back on the mouth. They locked in a rather long, deep, wet kiss that shocked them both at the effect it had on them. To Cindy it was as deeply exciting as the first kiss she had ever had and the fact of her hands being tied and thus her inability to participate to the fullest in their embrace made the kiss all the more shocking in its intensity.

 

As they kissed, Gus lowered Cindy to her feet and then broke the kiss off.

 

Cindy looked at him, “I’m beginning to suspect that that’s why my hands are tied you cad.”

 

“Let me remind you that you started it. And if you think that will convince me to untie you, you are sadly mistaken.”

 

They both laughed a bit sheepishly. Neither was sure in what proportion this was all a game and in which it was serious.

 

Cindy looked around. She had never been in a castle before and this one was almost like a time capsule of various eras. They were in an extremely large hall. It almost gave Cindy vertigo to look up at the high, vaulted ceilings – ceilings that were almost lost in the gloom. The hall was lit by the same simple glass globes hanging from iron rods that she had seen in the basement. The furniture seemed formal and uncomfortable except in one corner where there was a group of ancient leather couches and chairs that looked like something out of a Victorian men’s club.

 

Gus led her out of the hall by a low wooden door and into a rather lavish bedroom/sitting room. “This room, the kitchen next door and the bathroom through that door in the corner are the only remotely modern places in the entire building. Out that window is a sheer cliff that drops over 200 feet and looks out over the valley behind the town. Here is where you will be until late tomorrow night.”

 

“I think you’ve forgotten something.”

 

“What?”

 

“My luggage?”

 

Gus slapped his forehead, “My God. I am desolated. I promise I will bring it back with me in a couple of hours. Yes, I have to leave you. And as you can imagine, we will have to tie you up a little more.”

 

“Oh yes, I’m sure we just have to do that.”

 

Gus chuckled and turned Cindy around. He wrapped turn after turn of rope around her body and arms below her bosom and above her elbows. Cindy felt him cinching the rope between her elbows and body, pull the whole mass of rope somewhat tighter and then she felt that strangely electrifying moment when the knot was tied. The rope around her body felt like one solid, soft, but firmly constricting mass holding her arms against her sides. This combined with her hands being tied horizontally in the small of her back held her arms and hands almost motionless.

 

“Now you get to choose: where would you like to sit?”

 

Cindy looked around the room and her body twisted against her bonds as she tried to point at a comfy-looking couch that was against the wall and in front of a row of windows. She tried to hide this inadvertent struggling by simply walking over to the couch and having a seat.

 

Gus followed her and bent down to her knees. He pulled back her skirt and tied her legs together above her knees; wrapping, cinching and knotting in a way Cindy now recognized must be the standard way of tying someone up. Then Gus straightened her skirt back over her knees and knelt to tie her feet together at the ankles. Cindy bent over to watch, but almost immediately sat back because of a sudden spasm of carnal emotion that was precipitated when Gus’ hand accidentally brushed against the instep of one of Cindy’s stocking feet. Her shoes were rather low cut and her insteps were quite vulnerable even with her shoes firmly in place.

 

But Cindy found that being so firmly bound and being so totally at Gus’ mercy had made her entire body somewhat hypersensitive and this applied all the more so to her feet. She had noticed this earlier, but everything about being tied up still had the capacity to surprise her. She had to force herself to be still when she felt Gus tie the knot on her ankle ropes and then absent-mindedly stroke her smooth stocking-clad calf in a way that was supposed to be reassuring, but was most definitely arousing. She smiled weakly at him as he stood up and prepared to gag her with one of the scarves from the leather tote bag.

 

Cindy opened her mouth to protest, but this only made Gus’ job easier as he took the opportunity to thrust the scarf into her mouth. He wound it around and around her head and between her lips and teeth, knotting it firmly behind her head. Then he bent down to her face and said, “forgive me,” kissed her on her gagged lips and strode towards the door. Cindy felt it very keenly that she couldn’t follow him and she was aware that she had well and truly entered the strange realm of altered and heightened perceptions that she had experienced before while bound and gagged.

 

Gus turned at the door and held up a huge medieval-looking key. “You are locked in too, so please promise me you won’t go hopping around. I would never forgive myself if you fell and hurt yourself. Just sit there. Nod your head and say “yes.”

 

Cindy rolled her eyes, nodded her head and said, “eph.”

 

“Good. I’ll be back sooner than you think.”

 

Gus closed the low, heavy door behind him and Cindy heard the huge iron key turn in the equally out-of-scale iron lock and she was alone again.

 

Cindy sighed and assessed her situation. She was a little bit aroused by the entire process of being tied up, being kissed and being invited to be a guest when Gus was through keeping her a prisoner. She had to laugh at the very idea. She writhed around in the ropes and discovered that there was very little scope for movement. She was like a worm or a sausage. She decided it was much, much more comfortable than being hogtied, but it was almost as restrictive. She leaned back against the couch and was relieved to find that with her hands tied up in the small of her back they weren’t in the way and if she stayed very, very still, she could almost tell herself she chose to sit this way.

 

She looked around the room and noticed one more time how every little thing was more vivid because of her physical helplessness. Her thoughts were twice as interesting as usual and the images in her head began to run like a movie. She moved from time to time and felt the soft pressure of the ropes awaken to their duty to keep her helpless. The gag began to get a little damp around her cheeks and she knew what was next. What was next was thinking about Gus and the unavoidable, the inevitable desire was for him to come back soon and ravish her completely while she was tied up and unable to prevent him. Cindy almost sobbed at the sudden strength and uncontrollable triumph of this desire – this veritable need.

 

The room was cool, but Cindy soon perceived that she was just a tad damp all over. She wished her blouse were unbuttoned. As her legs tensed and lifted up on her toes, her shoes fell off her heels and the cool air in the room washed over the soles of her stocking feet. She finished kicking off her shoes and pressed her feet flat on the cool, polished stone that was the floor of this ancient place. There was nowhere to go and nothing to do, but Cindy felt the keen anticipation of what could happen in the next day or two. She and Gus had been playing their emotional cards rather close to their chests. Gus hadn’t scrupled to tie her up whenever he liked and Cindy had done her best to prove that she could escape, but whatever it was that was about to happen between them had only been hinted at. Cindy knew that they would at least try to make love and the thought was making her buzz like a little motor. Future excitement not withstanding, she was also driven to see if she could amuse herself in the present.

 

There was a row of windows, with their curtains closed, behind the couch on which she was sitting and Cindy thought she might like to see the view. For the thousandth time, Cindy was astounded at how a person had to plan for the simplest movements while tightly bound. She decided that she should try and get on her knees and face backwards over the backrest of the couch and shove the curtains aside with her head. As a first step, she brought her legs up on the couch and curled them around her. She couldn’t help but admire the way her muscular legs looked as they flexed against the ropes at her knees and ankles. She had to shake her head to banish the thought of how the sight would affect Gus. Next she turned her body sideways and leaned forward. She pushed off with her shoulder against the couch and simultaneously willed her body to rise up so that she was up on her knees, leaning sideways against the backrest of the couch. The top of the backrest was now at about the level of her bosom. She twisted her body so that it was facing a gap in the curtains and with the tiniest of movements worked her legs around so that they were aligned with her body and her feet were hanging off the edge of the seat behind her.

 

The ropes that bound her didn’t like all this movement and had seemed to tighten accordingly, so she maintained her new position for a moment and remained as still as possible except for some minor adjustments in order to keep her balance. With a tentative delicacy, Cindy inserted her nose into the gap between the curtains and then followed with her entire head. She shook her head back and forth like a dog in order to get the curtains to fall back to her neck and then directed her attention to the view out of the window.

 

A hidden observer in the room behind Cindy would have seen a tightly-bound woman with a lovely figure pointing her butt almost straight out behind her. He would have seen her stocking-clad legs and feet held firmly together with white rope unconsciously flexing and making minute adjustments in order for Cindy to keep her balance. He would have seen the stocking soles of her feet rising up and down and from side to side as they also helped her keep her balance. Cindy’s bound hands, crossed together at the small of her back, would have been seen to have been opening and closing in a way that looked almost thoughtful.

 

There could have been no observer outside the lofty window of the castle except for the odd bird or two and as it happened there were some birds drifting about on the air. They would have seen an adorable face framed by blond curls peering between the gap in the curtains. They might also have noticed the lips of this face parted by a thick gag that made Cindy’s cheeks look unnaturally chubby and which trapped her hair at jaw level.

 

Cindy’s huge green eyes took in a rather breathtaking scene. She was in fact about 200 feet above a valley floor that had some curvy roads running through it and numerous houses on largish lots. Just as the height of the ceiling in the great hall had made her feel a bit of vertigo, so did this view from such a height. She felt as if she were hanging over a sheer precipice. And she could have been if she had been able to inch herself out onto the foot-wide sill of the window and open the old wooden sash.

 

As wonderful as the view was, her feelings were more of a wonder. She couldn’t have been more helpless. She was not only hopelessly bound and gagged, but she was in a castle room at the top of a cliff and was locked in. She marveled at all the trouble that had been taken to keep a cute little female assassin a helpless captive. She marveled even more that one of the motives given for her captivity was to keep her out of trouble. She giggled as she thought about how disingenuous that sounded. She scolded herself when the thought entered her mind that Gus was simply keeping her under wraps until he had time to fuck her. Then she realized that that was just fine with her. Her body also signaled its own happiness at the thought by beginning that familiar throb between her legs.

 

Cindy watched a tiny car thread its way along a miniature road. “That person can use their hands on the steering wheel and their feet on the pedals. They could smoke a cigarette or scratch their nose. I can’t even control my thoughts or emotions.”

 

At this point, Cindy was given another lesson in her lack of control. She had forgotten to pay attention to her balance and had begun to lift her calves and feet into the air in response to a bit of nascent sexual excitement. She felt herself begin to fall sideways and could do nothing to stop herself. Her hands and feet waggled ineffectually against their bonds and she found herself lying on her side with her face to the backrest of the couch. She didn’t like that at all. She initially tried to sit up and of course found that entirely impossible. The ropes weren’t going to make anything easy. She breathed for a moment and looked up at the gap in the curtains where she had been. It was only a few feet away, but it seemed like it might as well have been a mile.

 

Finally she gave in to the inevitable and began to plan for her next movement. She decided she just wanted to turn over and face the room. Simply turning over on her back wasn’t so hard, but then she noticed that if she turned over onto her other side, she would roll off the couch. Lying on her back wasn’t an option because she didn’t want her weight pressing on her arms. Cindy began to wriggle like a worm toward the end of the couch where there was a pillow for her head. As she pushed with her feet and used her shoulder to advance her upper body, she slowly worked her way back against the backrest of the couch and by degrees turned over onto her side so she would be able to look out into the room.

 

Finally she achieved her goal and laid her head on the pillow. She was surprisingly tired and out of breath considering she had only traveled a few feet to the end of the couch. The fact that she couldn’t fluff the pillow or smooth her wrinkled clothes only accentuated her feelings of being in an altogether new realm of bound helplessness. She was used to the creeping dampness from the gag and she was now almost used to being tied up, but being so thoroughly tied made her doubt her ability to even hop across the room. She stretched her legs out and wriggled a bit until she was as comfortable as she could hope to be and then tried to be as still as possible. Immediately the ropes seemed to ignore her and while she incessantly looked at her surroundings, she was also entering a very deep place in her own mind – a place that she was usually too busy to enter.

 

She found that there was something about being tied up that freed her imagination in a way that she was totally unfamiliar with. At the same time there was a level of vivid concentration that she had only felt when she was waiting motionless with a high-powered rifle to assassinate a worthless villain. The images that came flooding into her head had a dream-like quality. Her bound, stocking feet pointed and wriggled as she thought about what she wished would happen. She wished that Gus would come through that door now and put his hands on her and make her come. It was that simple. She became quite damp between her legs and her hands kept trying to come from behind her and join in the fun. Cindy made no intense struggles, but she couldn’t help a more or less constant, gentle writhing that made the ropes around her obvious but not intrusive.

 

Occasionally her body would shudder as she felt in her mind what it would feel like at this moment to have a very large male member inserted into her, but mostly she lay there quietly in a waking dream. Her sexual experience had never found her to be very passive. She loved to be on top and help matters along. She loved strong manly arms around her, but had never felt herself to be at all helpless. Now she was the classic damsel waiting to be rescued and she found this to be delicious.

 

She pictured herself in a Victorian-era dress, or better yet, in a dress from the era before the French Revolution when women wore almost nothing over their bosoms. She had seen a movie once about this era and one woman had asked another, “Did he bind you?” At the time she saw this, she remembered that she had been aware that the woman had asked this as if it was a completely reasonable and unshocking suggestion. Later in her life, Cindy had known that some people tied each other up for fun, but she had never found anyone she would let do that to her. Now that she was tied up against her will by a man she desperately desired, she knew that this was a unique situation. If Gus ever tied her up again, it would be with her permission. It might be magnificent, but it wouldn’t quite be the same as this. Cindy decided that she would have to make it clear that she must be fucked, while tied up, when Gus next came back. She couldn’t wait and she wouldn’t wait. She might be a prisoner here for the next night and day, but she would by God be a satisfied prisoner.

 

Cindy giggled uncontrollably for a moment at this thought and lay back looking at the tall ceiling above her head. She wondered what she looked like from up there and had a surprisingly vivid image of herself. The ropes around her arms and body were surely causing her bosom to strain against her blouse in an extremely fetching way and she knew that her firm, stocking-clad legs and feet must look smooth under their bonds. She flexed her entire body just to feel the ropes and was rewarded with a burst of renewed sexual excitement. If only Gus could come in and play the game properly. She would love to be struggling and pleading as he walked toward her and have his response be to ignore her plight and take her as she was.

 

Cindy was now far, far into an excruciatingly intense need for sexual attention. It seemed so odd that her hands couldn’t come to her rescue. It seemed as if the power coursing through her should be able to defeat the soft, white ropes that bound her hands behind her, but the ropes simply insisted that her hands remain where they were and that Cindy would just have to wait. She would have to wait for help from another person and that was that.

 

Her thoughts and the ropes reinforced each other. All the images and feelings made her squirm against the ropes and the resulting pressure of the ropes wherever they were tied acted like levers that ramped up the intensity of what was becoming an almost hallucinatory state of excitement. But it was excitement that was all mixed up with a strange serenity – a serenity forced on Cindy by the inability to do much of anything physically. Cindy laughed at the thought that all she could do was drive herself nuts. She also decided that she wanted to sit up again just for the variety. She was also a little sweaty on the side she had been laying on.

 

With her hands tied the way they were, she couldn’t use them to push herself up, so she simply extended her legs out over the floor and began waving them up and down while leaning against the back of the couch and pushing with her fingers as much as she could. She finally managed to sit up on the very edge of the seat. She stood up for a moment and found that her balance wasn’t all that bad. She hopped backwards and then sat back down, shaking some loose hair out of her eyes. She looked back over her shoulder at the gap in the curtains and saw that it was dark. “Time sure does fly when a person’s tied up and excited.”

 

When her breathing had become normal again after her exertions, she thought she heard footsteps. She listened closely and with mounting excitement decided that they were in fact just that. But they couldn’t belong to Gus. The footsteps were the light clicking of high-heeled shoes and they were coming closer and closer. Then the lock on the old door began to thunk as it was unlocked and into the room walked Flora. She was dressed as she had been earlier in the day, but was wearing simple, low spike-heeled shoes.

 

She smiled at Cindy and put the key on a table by the couch. She said, “Hello my dangerous friend. You didn’t get away this time?”

 

She bent over Cindy and untied the gag and then waltzed over to a chair facing Cindy and sat down. “Gus wanted me to come check on you. He couldn’t come back when he expected and will be another couple of hours. Apart from looking a little damp, you seem to be fine. Are you fine?”

 

“I am fine, but I could use a drink and a cigarette.”

 

“We could do that, but I can’t untie you. I’ll have to help you.”

 

Flora went out and came quickly back with a large glass of red wine. She sat beside Cindy and helped her sip the wine and she lit a cigarette and helped Cindy smoke it.

 

Flora was amused by something as they sat there and talked Flora said, “You know of course that Gus is hopelessly in love with you. He’s tried to hide it, but I can see it. I think that keeping you prisoner all this time is as much his way of protecting you as it is to keep you from disrupting his plans. I believe he has been waiting for someone like you for a long time. Are you angry with him?”

 

Cindy had an involuntary spasm as she heard this and Flora laughed. She snubbed out the cigarette and helped Cindy finish the wine. Then she lounged back on the couch. Cindy thought it rather bizarre. Here they were chatting together about a man, but one of them was so tied up she could barely move.

 

Cindy considered Flora’s statement. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how she felt, but she didn’t quite know how to answer this relative stranger. But she decided that she and Flora had shared enough to take a chance on trusting her. After all, Flora had also been tied up by Gus, for fun, and had even been tied up by Cindy. Flora had furthermore tied Cindy in a hogtie and had shared an intimate secret or two.

 

Cindy finally responded, “Can you keep a secret?”

 

Flora leaned forward eagerly and said, “I love secrets so much, I always keep every one.”

Flora kicked the shoes off her stocking feet and curled up on the couch with all attention focused on the great secret she was about to hear.

 

“I’ll trust you. I have never desired a man as much as I desire Gus, and strangely enough, although I was angry at first that he tied me up, I can’t help but be excited by it now. I’ve been sitting here actually buzzing with the thought of him. I’m afraid he’s going to feel guilty and shy, but what I want – and here’s the secret – is for him to come through that door and take me, tied up, gagged and all. I don’t want him to hesitate or anything. I want him to know what I want and take what he wants. How can we arrange that?” Cindy was leaning forward and her hands were trying their level best to escape from the ropes in order to accentuate her words with gestures. Her stocking feet were bouncing up and down slightly as a reflection of her excited pleasure.

 

Flora clapped her hands together with glee, “I can help you. And I can do it without Gus even knowing what is about to happen. Now that I know all this, I can even untie you for a while if you’d like. But you must be tied again when I leave. I can trust you?”

 

“Absolutely. I am getting a little stiff. Gus tied me up really good this time.”

 

“That’s what you get for escaping so much.”

 

Flora untied Cindy and they both giggled a great deal in the process. They sat there for about an hour having more wine and cigarettes. Flora told Cindy a great deal about Gus – some things she knew and others only a former lover would know. Flora told Cindy how she would tell Gus that they had talked at length and that Cindy had confided in Flora how much she wanted Gus to ravish her to the fullest extent possible. Flora would hint that Cindy hadn’t mentioned it, but that she would like to be taken while still bound. Flora would simply present this as her opinion as a trusted friend and offer her strong advice to Gus that he must take advantage of Cindy as the surest way to cement her passion for him. Flora was sure Gus would believe her.

 

A light bulb went off over Cindy’s head, “I’ll tell you one way we can be doubly sure and give Gus a little shock at the same time. You’ll tie me differently when you leave. You’ll tie me to the bed with my hands above my head and my legs spread wide. Ha! He’ll go nuts.”

 

They laughed about this and other things until it was time for Flora to go. She said, “Now we must get you ready for the villain. Place your hands together palm to palm in front of you.”

 

Cindy did as she was told and Flora expertly lashed them together much as Gus might have done.

 

“You know what you’re doing. But it’s a little different to be tied up by a woman.”

 

“Yes it is. But we are both beautiful and we are friends now. It’s so much fun to tie up one’s beautiful friends. Giselle and I were both quite excited when we were tied in each other’s presence.”

 

Flora then replaced the damp gag in Cindy’s mouth and marched her over to the bed, which was in a far corner of the room, well away from the door. She helped Cindy climb up on the high bed and attached a length of rope around the ropes holding Cindy’s wrists together. Then she pushed Cindy down so that her head was on a pillow and tied Cindy’s wrists to a horizontal wooden post on the old four-poster headboard. She left no slack. Cindy’s wrists were attached directly to the post, but were even with the level of her head. This forced Cindy’s elbows to rest against the sides of her head.

 

Cindy watched as Flora grabbed one of her legs and wrapped a generous thickness of rope around one ankle and knotted it tightly. With yet another length of rope, she looped that beneath the knot of Cindy’s ankle rope and then lashed it to the post of the footboard in a way the left very little slack at all. She did the same with Cindy’s other foot.

 

Then Flora stood at the foot of the bed and surveyed her work. She absent-mindedly reached out her hand and tickled the smooth sole of one of Cindy’s stocking feet, causing Cindy to struggle mightily for the few seconds Flora tickled her.

 

“Sorry, I was just seeing how much room you had to move. I lie. I wanted to see my beautiful friend thrash about on the bed. Forgive me, but perhaps you would like me to do this to you again some time? Gus wouldn’t mind. He would even like to watch I think. Do you think we are so very strange?”

 

Cindy giggled beneath the gag and felt an impossible surge of excitement flow through her as she surveyed her own beautiful friend standing free as a bird at the foot of the bed while she could barely move. It was her first moment while being tied up of being in an unambiguously sexual situation and she found herself deeply moved. She wished Flora would play with her until Gus arrived and wondered if she were the one that was strange. In answer to Flora’s question, Cindy just shook her head, smiled and said, “Fank oo.”

 

Flora smiled sweetly and said, “It is I that thanks you. But I must go.”

 

Cindy watched in growing excitement as Flora padded across the room to her shoes and slipped them on. There was something about Flora’s languid movements – her unfettered freedom – that made a shattering contrast in Cindy’s mind with her own bound and gagged predicament. Once again she was a helpless captive, totally dependent and at the mercy of those around her and Flora’s graceful movements gave her shivers of anticipation at what was about to come. Flora waved as she shut the door. Cindy imagined Flora’s lovely hands turning the huge key in the lock and then she heard the gentle clicking of Flora’s dainty shoes on the stone floor and Cindy was filled with images of smooth stocking feet tied together with soft, white rope.

 

Cindy could barely lift her head enough to see her own stocking feet – feet that were spread more than wide enough to leave her completely vulnerable to any attention that anyone might care to pay her. She wriggled on the bed and found that the cool air that flowed between her legs was welcome, but was also heightening her sense of total vulnerability. She had little idea how long she would have to wait like this, but from previous experience she knew it wouldn’t seem long with all the vivid, powerful emotions that would course through her until the great moment of Gus’ arrival.

 

While Cindy lay bound to the bed thinking about how to cope with a very strong deferred sexual need, Gus was wrapping up his business and listening to Flora give her report on their lovely captive. Gus was aware that Flora was trying to tell him something beyond merely reassuring him that Cindy was fine and as comfortable as could be expected. She bluntly stated that she thought Cindy was in love with him and hinted in an almost openly clumsy way that Gus could perhaps take advantage of both this love and Cindy’s bound condition. Flora pronounced Cindy a very lucky girl indeed and suggested that she thought Cindy was more than a little aware of how lucky she was. When pressed, Flora would say no more except to sigh and mention that when two killers made love for the first time, it might be best if one of them was firmly bound. As it happened, one of them was. Then Flora laughed and swished out of the room.

 

Later when Gus was driving his golf cart down the long dark tunnel to the castle, he found himself almost overcome with passion. Could it be true that Cindy was waiting for him as eagerly as he was wishing to see her? He was hard as a rock and imagined how she would look.

 

In the meantime, Cindy had been struggling gently against her bonds and feeling the cool air between her legs. The openness caused by her feet being bound to opposite bedposts gave her a vacant feeling that she would certainly enjoy being filled. Her heart was in her throat as she tried to imagine Gus’ surprise as he walked in and saw only her shoes in front of the couch and then finally noticed her across the room. Her rising anticipation and surging stimulation made her damper and damper between her legs and tied as she was, she couldn’t even rub her legs together to get a little relief. Hers was a helplessness that caused a rising tide of passion to collect to the bursting point like floodwaters behind a dam.

 

Then she finally heard heavy footsteps and a huge iron key in a huge iron lock and then the great wooden door to the room creaked open on its ancient hinges. Cindy looked over at the door and saw Gus lunge into the room when he saw only her empty shoes. He had drawn his gun and then he looked over at Cindy. She laughed through her gag as she had never laughed before and began struggling against the ropes for the sheer fun of feeling them hold her fast. She was about to be taken by a hard man as much against her will and with as much pleasure as was possible in this unique situation. She prayed that Gus wouldn’t ruin it by feeling misplaced pity or guilt.

 

Gus laid the gun down on a chair and approached Cindy. He was smiling rather broadly as he looked her over. “It looks as though Flora decided you needed a little nap?”

 

Cindy watched with bated breath as Gus walked to the foot of the bed and she giggled as the suspense built to an unbearable height. At least he wasn’t rushing to untie her. It appeared that he was savoring the sight.

 

Finally he walked to the side of the bed and gently rubbed the inside of one of her legs. Cindy actually groaned with pleasure tried to arch her body toward him, but there was so little slack in the ropes that she only managed to twist a little to the side. She closed her eyes and felt Gus’ hands on her smooth stocking-clad legs and feet. His touch already gave her as much pleasure as a powerful drug – or even the prelude to an orgasm. He touched her lightly all over, unbuttoning her blouse at one point. She opened her eyes to see him open a knife and her body buzzed like a chainsaw as he cut her bra off entirely and then she felt him slit her pantyhose. She watched as if she was a million miles away and as if the intense pleasure she felt was from a remote control.

 

She noticed she had begun a rhythmic pumping of her hips and was alternately pulling and pushing against her footropes with first one leg and then the other. It was indescribably exquisite and it drove her mad when she realized that it would only get better.

 

It drove Cindy even madder when Gus stopped stroking her body and moved away from the bed so she could see him undress. Every nerve in Cindy’s body willed her to get up and go to him and the fact that the ropes prevented that almost made Cindy come all by herself. If she had been able to touch herself, orgasm would have been instant at that moment, but she just had to lay there and feel the power within her grow and grow.

 

When Gus’ impossibly hard, scarred body was fully revealed he approached her slowly and with a curiously gentle expression on his face. He began by kissing her face, her breasts and then he kissed his way down to one foot and began to massage it. Cindy was almost desperate. She like having the odd foot massage, but she needed something else entirely right now and was in more need with each passing second. She began bucking and writhing on the bed and said, “Please fuck me now!”

 

Gus looked up smiling when he heard, “Eeph uck ee mow!”

 

Gus whispered, “My helpless little killer. I will fuck you now and only then will you be set free.”

 

The next minutes were the most confused and beautiful Cindy had ever known. She knew she was still tightly bound to the bed, but she couldn’t feel the ropes as anything but something to hold onto as Gus slowly entered her and filled her to the brim. The dam broke and a giant wave of emotion carried her body into a dark, stormy fairyland that was like an acid trip. She was dimly aware that she had been ungagged because she was kissing Gus and there was nothing in the way. He was slow and ever so hard. Cindy had very little leverage and had to let Gus do all the work.

 

In Cindy’s mind and body a vast upheaval began to build. It was like she was rising on a wave that seemed never to end. Just when she thought the wave would top, it would keep rising higher and the pleasure would grow ever sweeter. Her feet kept trying to wrap themselves around Gus and make him grind her, but she was just barely aware that they were held apart and were making desperate, uncoordinated jerks against the ropes. Her body was out of her control altogether. Her emotions were likewise unhindered by anything. Cindy now knew what it was like to be an animal. She had the sudden flash of insight that by being bound, she had been turned into the sort of beast that needed to be restrained. All inhibitions were cast aside. She absurdly hoped that she made a lovely animal.

 

A huge great swelling of power continued to build from within Cindy. It was like a frighteningly powerful weather system combined with an out of body experience and then suddenly without warning everything seemed to freeze and Cindy arched her body into Gus as much as she possibly could and slowly her wave of mounting passion broke and Cindy went sliding down the face of it, jerking spasmodically and desperately as her orgasm pounded her from within. To her great surprise, she found that she was laughing and at the same time yelling incoherently. This went on for what seemed like a great long time and then slowly, finally the surging release began to end.

 

Cindy was laughing and crying at the same time as Gus rolled off her. Through half-closed eyes, she saw that he was laughing too. Cindy stretched luxuriantly and was surprised to find herself still tightly bound as before. Gus leaned over and they kissed a long, deep, tender kiss. Cindy was almost cold. Her clothes were in hopeless disarray – her breasts were glistening naked below her eyes and she could see that her skirt was pushed up all the way around her waist.

 

Gus untied her feet and then her hands. He helped her sit up and Cindy found that she was drained, weak and limp as a rag doll. Her head bobbled as Gus undressed her completely and then he joined her under the covers. They slept for hours.

 

When they awoke about noon the next day, Gus brought champagne over to the bed and they drank it out of frosted water glasses, which Gus apologized for. Gus was the first to break the silence.

 

“You should still be my prisoner until tonight. How do you feel about that? How do you feel about everything?”

 

“Tonight huh? So it must be morning and you must still have some of what you laughingly call ‘work’ to do. As far as I’m concerned, I’m the damsel in the castle and if I’m to be roped up then that’s how I’ll be happy. Speaking of which. Do you think we’ll make a nice normal couple? Are you going to ask me out on a date? Will I meet your parents? Are you going to send Flora in here to tie me up again?”

 

“Yes, I will ask you on a date and I will keep you bound and gagged until you say yes. But as for normal? Ha! Normal is long ago and far away for us both. And yes. Perhaps Flora would consent to prepare you for me again tonight. I think you would enjoy her company in the meantime. Then tomorrow we’ll go to the movies and hold hands.

 

Copyright, Rayron D’Olier, 2005 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

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