The Cocktail Hour

 

 

 

“The cocktail hour?”

 

“Indeed – between six and seven, when those we like to visit are at their most relaxed, usually with a drink in their hand. We find they are at their most – generous when that is the case.”

 

“How do you mean?”

 

“Well, take a couple of months ago, when we visited Hailsham House...”

 

 

 

“Please, for god’s sake don’t do that, we’ll be gdddsad”

 

The blonde tried to stop herself choking as the rag was stuffed into her mouth, looking over instead to her fellow maid.  They were both lying on the bed in the master bedroom, where the two armed men had forced them a few minutes ago when they had answered the door.

 

There had been six of them, impeccably dressed in tuxedos, bowties and shiny leather shoes, but the fact they all had domino masks, and four of them were carrying guns, was a big issue with them.  Both of them had been forced up the stairs, while two others went into the front room.  They had heard Lady Hailsham shouting, but had been powerless to do anything as they were pushed into the room and onto the bed.

 

One of the men had kept them covered, the gun pointing at their face, while the other had produced rope – a lot of rope, which he had first used to bind the brunette, then the blonde.  Both had their wrists tied together, side by side.  Their ankles had then been secured, before they were pulled right back and secured to their wrists.  Now her mouth had been stuffed and she watched as strips of tape were stuck over her mouth.

 

Looking over she saw her colleague having the same treatment applied to her, a rag stuffed into her mouth and what she now saw was red tape stuck over.  Both women were dress in black dresses – the only difference been the blonde had elbow-length sleeves on hers, while her friend has a sleeveless one on.  This was the required uniform here at Hailsham House, with the heels an added extra.

 

“They’re not going to bother us now,” the man who tied them said as he stood up, “Keep an eye on them while I search the room.”  He started to search through the drawers, as from outside came the sound of “Who the hell are you?”

 

In the corridor, the Honourable Ophelia Hailsham was confronted by two extremely smartly dressed and extremely well armed men pointing their guns at her.  She was preparing for an evening at the opera, and was wearing a black tight fitting strapless dress, elbow length silk opera gloves and a pair of killer black heels.

 

“I said, who are you, and where is my mother?”  As she said this, Ophelia could hear crying from downstairs, and started to try to move past them.  To her surprise, and shock, she was instead grabbed and forced to lie face down on the floor.

 

“If I were you,” one of the masked men snarled, “I would stay still and put your hands behind your back.  If you don’t, my friend here may be tempted to be – forceful.”

 

Ophelia looked at the two men, their eyes shining behind the domino masks, and slowly moved her hands behind her back.  She grunted as her wrists were crossed and thick white rope passed round them, pulling them tightly together as the rope was woven round several times and then between.

 

“We will detain you no longer than is necessary,” the man said as Ophelia was rolled over onto her stomach and sat up, “but the time will pass even more quickly if you inform us where you keep your jewellery.  My associates are already dealing with your mother and taking care of the downstairs rooms, and I assure you we mean no real harm.  We do, however – forgive me – mean to prevent you raising the alarm.”  As he said this, he pulled tightly on the rope around her ankles, securing them together as he tied the knots off.

 

“That hurt,” Ophelia said as she watched a loop of rope pass over her head, before it was tightened below her chest, forcing her arms into her side.  “It was meant to,” the man said as he looked at the young blonde haired woman and smiled.  “Well, I suppose I can’t complain,” she said as she looked through the open doorway to her left, and saw the two tape gagged women on the bed.  “Who are you anyway?”

 

“Oh, that’s not important,” the man said as he passed the ends of a further length of rope between her knees, tightening the loops around her legs.  As he was doing this, the man behind Ophelia was passing rope over and around her shoulders, as well as her neck, so that her arms were held in a harness, keeping them close by her side as her breasts were forced up and out.

 

“Now, I need you to open wide,” the man said, and as Ophelia said “WHHH” a red plastic ball was pulled between her teeth, the straps passed around her neck and secured together before the ends were allowed to fall over her shoulders.  “U fcng cnt” she mumbled as she drew her legs up to kick out, but the man moved out of her way faster than she could move.

 

“Check the rooms,” he said as he headed for the staircase, “I’m going to check on Lady Hailsham.”

 

The clock in the main room was showing ten to seven as he walked in and talked with the armed man standing guard.  “We’ve started to move the stuff out,” he said as he looked at Lady Hailsham, “She has been no trouble at all.”

 

Her ladyship was sitting on a candy striped couch, her head bowed down into her lap as she kept saying “msrere, msere, pls mk tstp.”  The lace hem of her long dress was hanging down, showing the tops of her thighs as she stared down at her crossed and bound ankles, while her wrists were tightly secured behind her back.  A royal blue silk square had been rolled into a band and pulled into her mouth, but her face could not be seen as her brown curly hair fell over her head.

 

“All right, let’s go” the man finally said as the others came down the staircase.  “Cocktail hour is almost over – move out!”  they left Lady Hailsham sobbing on the couch, the only other sounds that of muffled calls and groans from upstairs.

 

 

“I suppose I should be impressed – very efficient.  Do you approach all your visits in the same way?”

 

“Oh yes, we plan for weeks in advance and rehearse constantly.  Only with practice can we be perfect.”

 

“An admirable sentiment – but what leads you to these visits.”

 

“Announcements, articles in the paper, all sorts of things – in one case it was a radio interview with a lottery winner...”

 

 

“Can I help.... what the hell do you think you are doing?”

 

Carla had thought it was another batch of letters, so when she was pushed back into her house by the six armed men it was a complete and total surprise to her.

 

“Where’s your daughter, Carla,” the man had said as the door was closed.  “Uppp – upstairs, getting ready,” she had stammered out, and one nod had sent three of the gang up the staircase.  The others took Carla and frog marched her into the front room of the house.

 

“Do not panic, Carla, we just want your valuables,” the man said as she heard a scream from upstairs.  He looked at the brown haired woman, who was wearing a short black dress, the skirt coming half way down her thighs and the thin shoulder straps holding the dress up over her chest.  He took a chair from the set around the dining table and set it in the centre of the room.

 

“Have a seat,” he said as Carla watched another of the men take a length of white rope out of a bag, “and we will make you comfortable.”

 

 

 

“Lie face down and say nothing!”

 

Jenny slowly lowered herself down onto the blanket covered bed, her hands raised as she stared at the three armed men.  She had been finishing dressing before going out with her mother, and was wearing a slim fitting black dress with a lace effect on the shoulders, and black kitten heels.  Now she was trying to keep herself from pissing her panties, as two of the men started to search her room and the third drew a length of rope from his pocket.

 

“Hands behind your back,” he barked, and Jenny could only watch over her shoulder as he tightly bound her wrists together, crossing her arms before he did so.  He then ran a length of rope around her arms above her elbows, pulling them back as he wound the rope between them and then around the central coils.

 

 

 

“Look, just take the Monet and go.”  Carla tried to pull her wrists up, but once they had been bound together the ends had been tied against the central back support.  Her ankles had been tied together, side by side, before that rope was passed under the chair and secured to the rear spar, so that she could not move them either.  Now she was watching the men ransack her house, as one of them pulled her arms together behind her back, forcing her shoulders back and her chest out.

 

“We’ll go when we have finished,” he said as he tied the rope off, then passed it over her left shoulder, between her breasts and under her right armpit.  Coming back the other way, Carla felt herself been pulled back still further as her chest was forced out.

 

“Just try to relax,” the man said as he started to wrap some rope around Carla’s waist and the chair back.  She looked round, trying hard to listen for anything from upstairs.

 

 

 

“That should hold you,” he said as he passed the rope back under Jenny’s right arm and around her neck.  The bands of rope had pulled her arms tightly into her side, the lower band almost hidden by her breasts as she had been secured.  Her ankles and legs had also been bound, loops of cord around and between them, so that when he helped her to lie on the bed she knew she wasn’t going anywhere.

 

“Where’s my mother,” Jenny said as she watched one of the men take a clean pair of her panties and fold it into a pad, “and what are you planning to do with that?”

 

“Your mother is safe,” he said as he walked back over, “and these are going into your mouth.”

 

“No way –aargh,” Jenny said as the man reached back and pulled her long brown hair, stuffing the material in as she opened her mouth wide.  He then used a strip of cloth to hold the gag in place, pulling it tightly into her mouth so that as she closed her teeth and lips round it pulled at the corners.

 

“Stay there,” he said as he looked at the clock, showing five to seven.  “We’re out of here – go!”

 

 

 

“Whrs jne?”

 

“Your daughter is quite safe,” the man said as he pulled back on the blue silk scarf he had used to keep the cloth in Carla’s mouth, forcing her into a strange grin as he bound the ends together at the back of her neck.  “Someone will come to free you eventually.”  She watched as they left as quickly as they had come in, before kicking down on the floor and screaming in anger and frustration...

 

 

 

 

“You see, I still do not understand why you do this. Surely there have been times when there have been men on the premises when you enter?”

 

“No – we always make sure they are alone.”

 

“So you are cowards?”

 

“I prefer to use the term cautious – and sometimes these women can be real spitfires.”

 

 

 

“Now listen up little lady – either you stop trying to fight, or your two little friends here are going to be very, very sorry they called by on their way to the party.  Do I make myself absolutely, perfectly crystal clear?”

 

Naomi looked from the armed man standing in front of her to Kate and Polly, who were both been held by two more masked intruders.  Both were gagged, Kate with a knotted strip of white towelling that had been pulled deep into her mouth, the ends dangling from the back of her neck, while Polly had a long black and brown silk scarf that had been around her neck now holding her tongue down to the floor of her mouth.

 

“All right, all right,” Naomi finally said as she raised her hands, “just take my things and get the hell out of here.”

 

“All in good time,” the man said as he turned to the others.   “Get those two out of here and tie them up somewhere else.”  He then turned back to Naomi, her green eyes staring malevolently at him from under her red hair.  “You – park your bum on the stool there, put your hands behind your back and shut up.”

 

“Only because I don’t want them hurt,” she said as she sat down.  Her dress was a stunning affair, a black silk strapless one with silver trim at the sides and around the zigzag cut skirt.  The dress was cu thigh up both thighs, showing her net stocking clad legs to their full advantage.  Not that this was helping her, as the man who had spoken threw hanks of red rope to the other one behind her and she felt her arms been forced behind her back.

 

As her wrists were crossed and tied together behind her back, she watched the man force her ankle against one of the front legs of the stool and lash it against the wood.  Repeating the process on the other side, he stood up and said “Hold her back.”  Naomi felt the man behind her pull her back, as more rope was used to lash her thighs to the stool seat.

 

“You’ve already cost us a great deal of time, young lady,” the man said as he stood up, “so forgive me if I curtail our conversation.”  Naomi looked at her clock – six thirty, thirty minutes since they had come in.  “I don’t have anything to say to you anyway,” she snapped as she looked back.

 

“Good – then I won’t delay,” he said as he picked up a roll of duct tape and tore off a strip.  Several long lengths later, Naomi leaned forward and grunted several obscenities through the silver mass that was her mouth and lower jaw.

 

 

 

“Whr ru?  Whts gnon?”

 

Kate had been taken into a work room, where she had been sat firmly down on a folding wooden chair.  The hem of her cocktail dress had ridden up as this had been done, revealing the tops of her stockings and her black panties, but she was in no position to argue about that.

 

The men had worked quickly, tying her wrists together behind the back of the chair and securing them to the wooden slats.  They had then almost constructed a harness to hold her arms to her sides and the chair, with ropes above and below her breasts, coils under her arms between the two bands and then around her neck, down the front and back up again.

 

Tight as this was, it was nothing compared to what they had done to her legs.  Her ankles had been pushed to the outside of the front legs of the chair and tied into place, her five inch heels meaning her shoes were firmly on the ground.  As for her thighs, rope had been tied round them and then taken back to the back support of the chair, so that her legs were forced up and apart.

 

“Cute kid,” she heard a man say, and she turned her head to see if she could work out where he was.  She could not see – a white band had been tied over her auburn hair as a blindfold – and she was afraid of what might be coming next.

 

“Yeah, well, not today,” she heard another man say, “We have a timetable.  Come on?”

 

“Nme?  Ple?”  Kate called out as she twisted her head from side to side, but there was no answer – both girls were well out of earshot.

 

As for Polly, she had been taken into the kitchen.  When the men had burst into Naomi’s house, she had done precisely nothing, except throw her hands up in surrender immediately.  She and the others had been planning to go to this party, and she still wanted to get there if possible.  Having spent a week’s wages on her sleeveless dress, with a plunging neckline and short skirt, she wanted to get a man.

 

Instead, she got two – two armed men who had tied her hands together behind her back, sat her in a chair and then tied her ankles and legs tightly.   She sat there, watching the two of them with two thoughts in her mind.

 

One was how long they were going to be – after all, she was in a kitchen, and where there was a kitchen there were knives.

 

The second was whether she could see the tall one again, he was cute...

 

 

 

 

“I suppose I should stop to thank you for allowing me to talk to you.”

 

“It’s my pleasure – it is not often we meet a member of the fourth estate, and I always have believed in advertising.  After all, it helps us as well.”

 

“Yeah, you mentioned that – how can that help sometimes?”

 

“A month or so back, we noticed an announcement of a private audience with Myra Breckenridge, the well known writer, and that it was been hosted by her agent.  So, given the reading was due to start at 8.30, we knocked on her agent’s door at 6...”

 

 

 

“All right, Myra, Heather – both of you turn round and put your hands behind your back.”

 

The two women looked at each other and slowly turned their back to the man, while two others watched over them.  They could hear the remainder of the gang looking through the house, but their own safety was the only thing on their mind at that moment.

 

Heather was in her late forties, with long light coloured hair.  Her backless dress hugged her figure like a black sheath, coming to just above the lace tops of her black stockings.   Myra was slightly more conservatively dressed – in that her dress had a back, but it was held by thin straps over her shoulders, and was just as figure hugging as the older woman’s.  She looked over her shoulder, her auburn hair falling over her face, as she felt her wrists been tied together with soft rope.

 

“I’ve long been an admirer of your work,” the man said as he moved to Heather, “You are a very powerful writer.”

 

“Thanks, I think,” Myra said as she watched the man tie Heather’s wrists together, and then pull her elbows together with a second coil of rope so that they touched.  As her chest was forced out, Myra felt rope going around her own arms and chest, and felt it pulling tightly under her breasts.

 

“I read of your condition,” the man said as he turned Heather round and made her sit down on the couch, “so we will merely make sure you cannot use your hands without been too restrictive.”  He knelt down in front of Heather and pushed her ankles together before doubling up a long length of white rope.

 

As Myra was sat down, the man moved over and pulled her ankles together, the gold buckles on her strapped heels glistening in the light.  “This is not normally how I expect my readings to go, Heather,” she said as she watched her agent’s legs been tied tightly together above her knees.

 

“Not my idea, I assure you,” Heather said in reply as the second man stood up.  Reaching into his pocket, Heather gulped as she saw him retrieve a large orange ball with a think strap running through the centre of it.  He walked behind Heather and held the ball in front of her mouth.

 

“Let him to do,” the man at Myra’s feet said as he passed a long length of rope under her thighs, “or I promise you will regret it.”  Slowly, Heather opened her mouth, as the ball was gently eased between her teeth.  The straps were passed around her head and secured together under her hairline, Heather’s eyes widening all the time.

 

“I think she needs some quiet time,” The man said, and Myra was the one who gasped as her agent was blindfolded, then helped to lie on her side on the floor.  As her legs were pulled back so that they touched her wrists, she let out a sound like “Nggfdhsffgh” as the ankles and legs were secured together.

 

“Not for you, I promise,” the man said as he folded a black head square that Myra has been wearing when she first came in, “but we do need to keep you quiet.  Open wide, please.”

 

“Thank you,” Myra said before the cloth was forced into her mouth.  There was then the sound of tearing and ripping, as strip after strip of silver duct tape was smoothed over her lips and lower jaw, sealing the cloth into place as she looked on.

 

The clock struck seven as the man put the tape away.  “Cocktail hour’s over, boys – move out,” he shouted as the six men who had entered an hour earlier quickly left.  Myra sat still for a few minutes, listening carefully before sliding herself off the couch she had been left sitting on and shuffling over to her friend.

 

 

 

 

“so you knew?”

 

“About the lumpectomy?  As I say, we do through research – be sure to mention that in your article.  Anything else you would like to know?”

 

“Yeah – what happens if nobody is home?”

 

“Then it is not as interesting, but we get the job done.  On occasion, however, we do get disturbed by a late return...”

 

 

 

 

 

Dehlia drove up the winding road to her friend CJ’s house, the wind blowing her long red and purple chiffon scarf back as she moved along.  Her convertible had the top down as she was enjoying the early evening air, aware that she was already fifteen minutes late in picking her up for the office party.

 

As she finally parked outside the house, and jumped out, her heels crunched down on the gravel driveway.  This was a big occasion, and she hoped the low cut black dress she was wearing would create the right impression.

 

Had she parked a foot or two further along, she may have caught a glimpse of the black van parked there, and had some warning of what was going on inside, but that was her bad luck.  At least, that was what she was going to think in five minutes time.  For now, she walked in the front door and called out “CJ?  You ready to party?”

 

She heard some sort of grunting, and called out again “CJ?”  As she walked into the main room, there was no sign of her friend, so she made her way to the kitchen.

 

The first thing she saw was CJ sitting in a folding chair.  The second was the well dressed man wrapping a very large white bandage around her jaw and mouth, staring at the new arrival.  He looked at her, before saying “Someone get her out of here!”

 

She felt her arm been grabbed from behind, and as she was spun round she saw two more men, impeccable in evening dress and masks over their eyes, staring at her.  “Come with us,” they said as they frog marched her through the room, CJ staring at her mutely the whole time, and out into the back yard.

 

One of the men took a small wooden stool and set against a pole that was supporting a sloping roof, a pile of wood behind it.  “Sit down,” he said, and as Dehlia sat herself on the small wooden seat the other man produced a roll of black electrical tape from his jacket pocket.

 

“We don’t have time to be creative,” she heard him say as her arms were pulled round the pillar behind her.  She felt the tape pulling at her bare skin as he started to wrap it around both arms, and staring at the man in front of her said “What’s going on?”

 

“We’re robbing your friend, and the cocktail hour is half gone,” he said as he shook out a clean handkerchief.  “Now, open your mouth.”  Realising her predicament, Dehlia allowed him to push the cloth behind her teeth, before he unwound the scarf from her neck and wound it twice around her head, covering her mouth and preventing her from doing more than mumbling.

 

Her chest had been forced out by the way her wrists were tied, and now as she felt more tape going around her waist she was forced back against the old wooden support, the pendant she was wearing dangling down across her breasts. 

 

“Edntndrsnd,” she mumbled as she watched the man tape her ankles together.  “You don’t have to,” the other one replied as they stood up and walked back into the house, “You just need to stay still.”

 

CJ looked at the other two as they came in, grunting as her legs were pulled back under the seat she was secured to.  She was also dressed to impress, her long sleeved cocktail dress hugging her petite body.  Even more so with her wrist pulled behind the chair back and tied, and her waist lashed to the chair back.  As her ankles were pulled back, and the rope wrapped around the chair support and up to her legs, she tried to move round the large sponge that had been stuffed into her mouth, but with little success. 

 

“Jasdttgdsafdsf” she mumbled as the man who seemed to be leading the gang looked at her.  “Tip her onto her side,” he said as his teammate stood up, “I want to make sure we have time to get out of here.”

 

“dDNTDDDTT” CJ screamed as she was laid on her side in the chair.  Looking up at the man, he just smiled as he said “Seven o’clock, boys – time to move out.”  As she watched them leave, she lay still, wondering what the hell she needed to do to get free...

 

 

 

“Quite a set of stories – neat, efficient robberies, done in an hour, in and out with minimal fuss.  I don’t know whether to be privileged or scared out of my wits.”

 

“Both are appropriate, Sandra.  Well, I see it is five to seven – any other questions I can answer for you?”

 

“Why should I ruin your well laid plans – just tell me the other four are all right.”

 

He looked down at Sandra, lying on the floor.  He had personally her wrists behind her back, her arms to her side as well as her ankles and legs, forcing her breasts to strain against the front of her black velvet evening dress.  Her phone was lying in front of her, recording their conversation.

 

“They will be just fine – after all, we came especially to see you so that you could tell our story.”

 

“And to rob the hostess?”

 

“Yes, and to rob the hostess.  Now, if you will excuse me?”

 

Sandra looked at the large red ball, attached to the strap he held in his hand, and simply nodded.  A minute later, she was closing her lips around the hard object as he fastened the straps under her flowing red hair.

 

“Seven o’clock, boys – cocktail hour is over,” he called out.  She watched the six men leave, with only the muffled grunts and groans of the other women to listen to as the door closed on her.

 

 

 

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