Buttons and Bows
“Mum, will you please stop fussing! I will wait for Aunt Jessie to get ready and then go with her to pick up the tickets before coming back and waiting for you to join us. If I’m honest, I’d be more worried about you going out wearing that outfit than myself. You do know the eighties are long gone?”
“And now they are coming back into fashion!” Louise looked at her daughter, standing there as she pulled her great coat on. “After all, you are a child of that decade.”
“Just,” Barb said as she laughed. She looked at her mother, as she buttoned the coat over her attire and looked back. “I will be back in an hour or so, just remember that electrician is coming round to fix the light socket.” She pulled a woollen hat over her head and went to the door. “See you later!”
“Has she finally gone,” a voice called down as the front door shut. “Yup – it’s safe to come down now,” Barb called back up. “I’ll be there in a minute – I need to dry off and get dressed first. When that electrician arrives, let him in and show him the socket.”
Barb smiled as she went back into the living room and sat down, picking up the newspaper to flick through. She was starting to read an article on how thigh length boots were coming back into fashion, looking down at the ones she was wearing as she did so, when the door bell rang. She put the paper down, and walked quickly to the door.
“Mrs Beaton?” the young man said as Barb opened the door. He was dark skinned, about six feet tall, and wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans. In his hand was a large bag.
“My aunt’s upstairs – come in, I’ll show you where the problem is,” Barb said as she stood to one side. She looked at the man as he walked in, looking him up and down with an approving eye.
For his part, the man had looked Barb over as well. About twenty two, tall and slim with long blonde hair, and wearing a light blue long sleeved top and Capri pants. Over her top she was wearing a grey knitted half jumper, with cape like sleeves that covered her upper arms and large grey buttons from the shoulder to the edge of the jumper just above her navel. On her feet she was wearing a pair of grey corduroy boots with large buttons at the side.
“It’s over here,” Barb said as she walked into the front room. The electrician looked at the socket, before smiling as he placed his bag on a coffee table. “I can get this fixed easily,” he said as he took a pair of black leather gloves out and slipped them onto his hands. “What are you doing that for?” Barb asked, but the man smiled as he said “Well, there’s something I need you to do for me first.”
“Oh of course – the fuse box. I’ll turn the power off,” Barb said as she turned round. But her smile faded as she saw the pistol in the young man’s hand. “No, not that,” he said, “I need you to turn round and put your hands behind your back.”
Barb stared back at him, before slowly turning round and placing her wrists together behind her back, feeling the soft touch of a length of cotton rope as it was passed round them.
Jessie Beaton looked at herself in the mirror, adjusting the clasp in her short greying hair as she sought to get it just right. She had just pulled on a favourite top from her wardrobe, a light cream coloured top that had a thin long sleeved top layer over a sleeveless vest like top. The front of the top was covered in a number of roses, made from ribbons of coloured fabric that were twisted into the shape of the flower, the ends lying loose down the front of the material.
“Very nice,” she said to herself as she stood up and walked over to the bed. A pair of straight light brown leather boots was sitting on the floor next to the edge of the bed, which she picked up and pulled up over the legs of her dark blue stretch pants.
“How are things going downstairs, Barb,” she called out. After a moment, she heard her niece call back “The electrician needs a word with you – there’s a problem with the wiring.” “All right,” she said as she zipped the side of the second boot up. Hers was an old house, and the wiring had last been looked at some years ago, so she realised there could be an issue. Picking up her handbag, she closed the bedroom door and made her way down the stairs.
“So, how can I help...” Jessie said as she opened the door, only to stop in her tracks as she saw Barb sitting in the chair looking at her. Her arms were pulled behind her back, and a length of rope had been passed around her arms and chest below her breasts, holding them tightly into her side. “I’m sorry,” she said tearfully as a leather gloved hand was placed over Jessie’s mouth, and the electrician said “Please, do exactly what I say and you will both be unharmed. Go over and pull the blinds shut – we don’t need inquisitive minds looking in on us.”
“LL rght,” Jessie mumbled, and as the glove was removed she turned and looked at the young man standing there, pointing a pistol at her and smiling. Slowly, looking at both him and Barb, Jessie walked over and pulled the blinds down, making the room go into an array of shadows as the sun streamed through the slats. Turning round, she said “Now what?”
“Now,” the man said as he put the gun into one pocket of his trousers and pulled a length of cord out of his bag, “turn round and place your hands behind your back. I’m going to secure the two of you, and then steal your valuables.” Jessie looked over her shoulder as he doubled the rope over and passed it around her wrists, pulling the loose ends through the loop and bringing her wrist together as the rope was passed round them several more times. Bring the ends between her wrists, he pulled the rope tightly around them before tying the ends together and tucking them into the coils.
“This is a lovely top you are wearing,” he said as he walked back over to the bag and pulled a skein of rope out, shaking it loose and doubling it over as he walked back. “Flattery is rather out of place at the moment, don’t you think?” Jessie replied as she watched the rope pass over her head and around her arms below her breasts.
“Please, Aunt, this is no time for jokes,” Jessie sobbed as the man pulled her aunt’s arms to her side, wrapping the rope above and below her breasts before taking it over her shoulders and back around to tighten the loops between her arms and chest. “It’s the perfect time, Barb – we need to look at the positive side of this, or else we will lose our sanity,” Jessie grunted as the ropes were tied behind her back, her wrists been pulled up slightly with the last ends of the coil. The man smiled as he pulled Jessie over to sit next to Barb.
“Now, ladies,” he said as he sat opposite them, “I’d like you to tell me where you keep your jewellery, money and other nice things. I’d prefer not to make a mess, but if I have to I will, and you will have to clear up afterwards.”
“Well, we can’t have that, can we?” Barb said as she tried to twist her arms round. “Manners,” was the young man’s reply as he looked at Barb. “I can see we need to make you a bit more comfortable before we get started. Will you be as troublesome, Mrs Beaton?”
Jessie looked at the man, and quietly said “I don’t want any trouble. I’ll tell you where everything is.”
“Great,” the young man said as he stood up. “First, though, I need to make sure your young friend here does not get in our way. Slide down onto the floor and sit still.”
“Don’t worry, auntie,” Barb said as she slowly slid down onto the floor, “There’s no way he can tie my ankles together while I’m wearing these boots.”
“He could take them off,” Jessie replied as she looked over at her niece. “Actually,” the man said as he walked back over, “I have a much better idea, and you can keep your boots on as well.” As Jessie looked on, Barb realised what the man had meant as he took hold of her legs.
Five minutes later, the young man was escorting Jessie out of the room. Her chest was heaving slightly under the rope loops as she looked down at Barb, whispering “I’m sorry, as she was led out of the room. Barb looked up, unable to reply or stop the tears flowing down her cheeks as her head dropped.
“Hey – did you get the tickets?”
As Louise closed the door, she turned and listened for a reply, but none was coming. Shrugging her shoulders, she put the hat she had taken off on the end of the banister and took off the greatcoat she had been wearing. She checked herself in the mirror, the scarf tied into her peroxide blonde hair sticking up in a bow from the top.
“Is anyone home?” she called out again, but this time she heard a thump coming from the front room. “Barb, is that you,” Louise said as she walked towards the closed door, reaching out to the round handle. Turning it, she quickly opened the door and gasped at the sight that was waiting for her.
Barb was sitting cross legged on the floor, a length of rope encircling the bare skin of her calves between the top of her boots and the legs of her pants. A further length of rope was passed between her legs, before been fed up and secured to the rope around her chest. The effect this had was to pull her chest slightly forward, forcing her to look up at her mother and try to call out through the brown tape that covered the lower half of her face.
“Oh god,” Louise said as she stepped back, only to be stopped by the young man standing behind her. “I see you are a child of your time,” he said as he spun her round and pushed her against the wall, a gloved hand over her mouth. “Nice outfit.”
Louise was wearing a white long sleeved white cotton blouse, with little black ribbon bows holding the front closed in lieu of buttons. Her skirt was short, the layers making it fill out, while on her legs were over the knee black suede boots that had black ribbons running in a criss-crossed pattern up the calves before ending in a large bow at the back of each knee.
“Please, stop struggling,” the man said as Louise stared back at him. “Your daughter and your sister are quite safe, and I will be out of here soon. I want you to do what I tell you, and everything will be just fine. Nod if you understand.”
Louise slowly moved her head up and down. “Very good,” the young man said, “now, open wide.” He removed his hand and held a white handkerchief in front of her mouth. “Do you have to do that,” Louise sobbed, but the man just nodded as he continued to smile at her. With a resigned sigh, Louise opened her mouth and allowed him to push the cloth into her mouth. He then turned her round and pulled her wrists behind her back, pulling a length of cord out of his pocket as he did so. “Let’s get you nice and comfy with your daughter,” he said as he bound her wrists together, making sure they were secured tightly together.
Taking Louise by the arm, he marched her back into the front room, past Barb as she sat on the floor and made her sit on the long couch. “Whrs jsy?” she mumbled as the young man knelt in front of her and pulled her ankles together. Barb indicated upwards with her head as her ankles were lashed together with another length of cord. The rope rubbed against the black suede, although the squeak was drowned by that if Barb’s corduroy boots as they rubbed against the polished wooden floor.
As he bound her legs together below her knees, Louise looked down on her daughter, who looked back up at her with mascara stains down her cheeks. She grunted as the rope tightened around her legs, the rope cutting into the ribbons as the ends were passed between her legs. The intruder smiled as he heard the noises, and Barb’s muted protests.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt your ma, I’m just making her comfy,” he said as he looked down at her. “Right – why don’t you lie down and roll over onto your stomach?” Louise stared up at him, before moving herself to lie down and onto her front, her head rsstiong on the arm of the couch.
“Very good,” the man said as he pulled Louise’s legs back, the suede slipping over her knees as he brought her ankles down to almost touch her waist. Taking a length of cord, he quickly wrapped it between her legs and took it up and round her wrists, pulling them together so that the heels of her boots were almost touching her fingers. The rope went back and forth several times before he wrapped the ends around the loops and pulled them together, leaving Louise struggling in a tight hogtie.
“Well, I do hope you have enjoyed your morning,” he said as he picked up the large bag that was on the table, “but I have to be going now. I’ll just make sure your sister is all right, and then be on my way.” The two women watched as he walked up the stairs, heard some conversation and grunting, before he walked back down and left the house, closing the door behind him.
The silence was all encompassing, save for the squeaks of rope against suede and other materials, as both Louise and Barb tried to loosen the ropes that held them in place. Their struggles were intense, and sweat was starting to come down Louise’s hair when she heard a thump from the staircase. Looking towards the door, she could see someone coming down the staircase on their bottom, and realised that Jessie was trying to come down.
She could see her sister, her grey hair sweaty and lank, as she slowly came down. At one point she turned her head to look at the other two, and they could see the same brown tape covering the lower half of her face. Eventually, they both watched as she shuffled into the room, her legs encased in several places in coils of rope and her arms held tightly to her side by more coils. The rope was clearly visible against her top, where sweat had darkened the material and her chest had two moist spots at the front. She slid along, encouraged by their calls, until she came to sit next to Barb in front of her sister.
“r u lrght,” she mumbled through the thick tape, and the other two nodded. Turning slightly to look at both of them, they watched as she slowly started to rub her cheek against the seat cushion. Stopping every so often, they could see that the edge of the tape was slowly starting to come away from the side of her face, and encouraged her to keep going as the layer slowly started to come off.
Eventually, Louise grunted “Stp”, and turned over so that her wrist were towards the edge of the couch. As Barb slid sideways, Jessie moved over so that she could place her mouth within the reach of her sister’s fingers, allowing her to take hold of the tape. Slowly, painfully, she twisted her head round so that the gag was peeled away, allowing her to spit out the brightly coloured scarf that had been placed into her mouth. As the saliva soaked mass hit the wooden floor, she sat back up and took a few moments to catch her breath.
“All right, girls,” she said as she looked over at the other two, “Let’s see if I can get your gags off, and then we’ll try and figure a way out of this mess.” The others nodded as she twisted round, bringing her hands closer to Barb’s mouth as her mother watched.
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