With Respect






“I’m so glad you were able to join me tonight Mary,” Clarissa said as she poured the coffee, “there are certain church related issues I believe we should discuss.”


“I agree, but I hope they are easily resolved by discussion.  By the way, may I say that outfit suits you?”


“Why thank you,” Clarissa said with a smile.  The fifty five year old woman had long dark hair, which fell over the shoulders of her dark brown jumper, a silver necklace pendant on her chest.  The velvet pants she wore were a dark crimson, the lower legs tucked into a pair of over the knee chocolate brown suede boots.  “I do think I carry this off.”


“I’m not going to deny that,” Mary said with a smile as she sipped her coffee.  The dark skinned woman was a year younger than Clarissa, and was wearing a black sleeveless top with a large pendant covering her chest at the open neckline.  Her skirt was woollen, white with a black and grey large check, and came half way down her thighs, and a pair of knee length black leather boots with a three inch heel completed her outfit.


“So,” Clarissa said as she looked at her guest, “between us, as the chairs of the Ladies and Welcoming committee, can we come to an agreement about how to bring in the new ladies who are attending on a Sunday?”


“Well, I do have a few ideas…”




In the street outside, the lights were starting to come on as the sun set over the trees, and there was very little traffic – mainly cars heading for home, and a solitary grey transit van that pulled into the driveway of one house.  For a few minutes, it sat there, before two men dressed in black got out and walked to the side of the house…





“That seems sensible,” Clarissa said as she stood up, “by the way, may I return the compliment to you on your look?  Who does your hair?”


Mary patted her styled black hair, and said “Phillipe.  Do you go there?”


“No – but I may start.  More coffee?”


“Thank you,” Mary said as she watched Clarissa carry the coffee cups to the kitchen, a smile playing on her lips.


A smile that was reflected on Clarissa’s face as she went to the coffee pot, and poured the hot liquid into the cups….


“Good evening, dear lady – I advise you to very slowly put the coffee pot down, and then turn round.”


The deep male voice took Clarissa by surprise, as she put the pot down and turned round to see two men standing there.  They were dressed identically – black leather jackets over sweaters, jeans and trainers, as well as leather gloves on their hands – and balaclavas covering their heads, allowing only their eyes and lips to be seen.


Even that was not the most striking thing about them – nor was it the gun in one of the men’s hands, or the large canvas bag the other one was holding.  No – the striking thing was the disparity in height, the armed man standing a foot at least taller than his companion.


“Please, for give the interruption,” the armed man said, “allow me to introduce ourselves.  I am called Mister Tall, and my friend here is Mister Small.  You are?”


“Clarissa,” she whispered quietly as she heard the names, “I’ve heard of you…”


“Our reputations precede us once more, Mister Tall,” the smaller man said.


“Indeed, Mister Small – so you will know, Clarissa, that so long as you do as we say, you will not be harmed, although you will be prevented from raising the alarm.”  Glancing at the coffee machine, Mister Tall said “would I be correct in assuming you have one guest visiting tonight?”


Clarissa nodded as Mister Small said “well, it would be impolite to deny her the coffee for too much longer.  Please, carry the cups through carefully – we will follow…”




“That took…”  Mary looked at Clarissa as she carried the mugs through, and then pushed herself into her chair as she saw the other two masked men follow her in.


“Good evening,” Mister Small said as he looked at her, “Clarissa has been kind enough to allow us to accompany her as you finish your coffee.”




“They’re armed,” Clarissa said quietly as she sat on the long couch, next to Mary, and placed the mugs on the coffee table as Mary saw the gun in the hand of the taller man.  “Mary, I think they’re the Gentlemen Robbers.”


“We are indeed,” Mister Tall said, “so I must ask you to make no sudden movements, and to speak quietly when you do so.  Mister Small, if you would see to the telephone and internet connections?”


“Of course, Mister Tall,” his friend said as he set the canvas bag on the floor, and then left the room, Mary watching as he disconnected the phone from the wall.


“So…  Why are you here,” she said quietly as she looked at the masked man, sitting in the chair and smiling?


“Well – obviously, we are here to rob Clarissa – I do apologise, I did not catch your name…”


“It’s Mary.”


“Ah yes – well, obviously we are here to rob Clarissa Mary.  Be assured, if you remain calm and do as we say, beyond a little stiffness and discomfort no harm will come to either of you.”


Mary and Clarissa looked at each other, as Clarissa said “I don’t think they intend to harm us Mary – let us do as they say, and hopefully they will be gone soon.”


“Okay – if you say so,” Mary said quietly as they took their mugs, and sipped their coffee.  Mister Tall looked down at the papers on the coffee table, and said “Church business.”


“Planning some ways of making the women more welcome,” Clarissa said quietly.


“A valuable thing – making someone visiting a place of worship for the first time is incredibly important, and it is good to make someone feel at ease in a new situation.”


“Just as you are doing now?”


“I have no idea,” Mister Tall said with a smile, “have you ever been robbed before?”


Mary and Clarissa both shook their heads, as Mister Tall looked at them.  “Hopefully, we are making you a little less afraid in the way we are interacting with you?”


“I have to admit, you are,” Clarissa said quietly as Mister Small came back in.


“Good – may I trouble you both to pass your handbags to Mister Small, so that he may ensure your mobile phones are also disconnected?”


The two women slowly handed their purses to the smaller of the two masked men, who placed them on the opposite chair, opened them and removed their phones, before removing the battery from each one.


“Now,” Mister Tall said as he stood up, “as I say, we need to take steps to ensure you do not raise the alarm, or cause any inconvenience on our part or yours.  I would ask you to stand on this side of the coffee table, and face each other.”


“Best do as he says,” Mary whispered as she stood, Clarissa following them as Mister Small opened the canvas bag, and took out two lengths of white rope.  He passed one to Mister Tall, and then stood behind Clarissa and Mister Tall stood behind Mary.


“Are you afraid,” Clarissa said quietly as she felt the intruder gently take her arms behind her back, and then the rope as it was wrapped round her wrists as a prelude to securing them.


“I am – but we can take strength from each other, can’t we,” Mary said as she felt the rope tighten round her own wrists, bringing them together as Mister Tall wrapped the rope around and between her wrists.  The way she spoke made Mister Tall and Mister Small look at each other, as Clarissa said “yes, together…”


Clarissa bit her lower lip as the rope was passed round and between her arms, then tied off with the knot and the ends out of reach of her long fingers.  She could feel her bracelets as they were removed from her arms, as well as her designer watch, Mister Small placing them in a small velvet bag which he set down on the couch.


Mary looked over her shoulder as her own rings and watch were taken off, Mister Tall placing them in the same bag, before he went to the bag and took out two longer lengths of rope.


“What are they for,” she said quietly.


“To secure your arms and upper body – please remain still,” Mister Small said as he took a second length our, the two men swapping as he doubled the rope over, and passed it round Mary’s arms and body below her chest.  She felt it tighten around her as he firmly pulled the rope behind her back, and watched as Clarissa had the rope wound round her by Mister Tall, forming two bands that framed her chest, and forced it out, the jumper tightening over her breasts.


She was dimly aware of the same thing happening to her – and then she saw Clarissa looking at her, her head slightly to one side.


“Are you all right Clarissa?”


“I…  I think so…” Clarissa said quietly as she saw the way the rope embraced Mary’s arms, her top stretched, the v growing wider as it showed more of her chest.  “It’s just…”


“There,” Mister Tall said as he secured the ropes behind Clarissa’s back, “I trust that is not too uncomfortable?”


“It is – tight,” Clarissa said quietly as she tried to move.


“Well, I think it needs to be a little tighter,” Mister Small said, as he passed the rope under Mary’s left arm, taking care not to touch her chest as he pulled it up and around the back of her neck, then down the other side and under her arm again.  She gasped as it was gently pulled the bands tightening on each side as Mister Small tied the ends off.


“Ah yes – symmetry is so important,” Mister Tall said as he did the same to Clarissa, the taller woman gasping as the ropes tightened on her as well.  She then felt his gloved hands at the back of her neck as her necklace was removed, and placed in the bag.


Mary felt her own necklace being removed as well, Clarissa looking at the way her chest heaved – and Mary noticing how the ropes framed Clarissa’s breasts…


“Now,” Mister Tall said with a smile as he looked at the two women, “I require you to accompany me Clarissa on a tour of the house.  Mister Small, would you please make sure Mary is kept secure and safe here until we return?”


“Of course, Mister Tall,” his friend replied as Mary watched Clarissa walk from the room, Mister Tall holding her by the arm.




“Yes Mary,” Clarissa said as she turned round.


“Just…  stay safe please.  I don’t want you to get hurt.”


“The same goes for you,” Clarissa said with a smile.  The two masked men exchanged another look, before Mister Tall walked Clarissa out of the room, and Mister Small looked at Mary as she twisted round.


“Please,” he said with a smile, “be seated, and put your feet on the coffee table for a moment.”  Mary nodded as she sat down, watching as Mister Small crossed her ankles and then began to secure them together with rope.  He looked at her as he wound the rope round, and said “it can be difficult, can it not?”


“What can,” Mary said quietly.


“Not been able to express how you feel because of the constraints of the society you move in.”


Mary looked at him as he separated the ends of the rope, and passed them between her legs, before she said “I don’t understand what you mean…”


“You care for Clarissa, correct?”


She nodded slowly as the rope tightened still more around her ankles, Mister Small securing the knot before he took a second length of rope, and began to tie her legs together below her knees.   “It is something I cannot explain…”


“No explanations are necessary,” Mister Small said as he secured her legs, and helped Mary to lower her feet to the floor.  “If I may offer a suggestion…”





“And that would be,” Clarissa said as she sat on her bed, watching as Mister Tall placed her jewellery into a second velvet sack. 


“If you truly have such feelings for her, what others think is not important,” he said as he opened another box.  “What is important is that you are honest with each other.  Is there a significant other in Mary’s life?”


Clarissa shook her head as the ropes rubbed on her.  “Her husband left her two years ago.”


“and in yours?”


“No – I’ve been single all my life.   A few boyfriends, but never Mister Right.”


“Is that possibly,” Mister Tall said as he turned round and smiled, “because there never could be a Mister Right?  Perhaps that might be the solution?”


Clarissa looked at Mister Tall, before she whispered “but how…”


“In our line of work,” Mister Tall said as he looked at her, “Mister Small and I have become students of human behaviour.  I advise you to not be afraid.”


“But how will she react?”


“Clarissa,” Mister Tall said quietly, “how do you think we will be leaving you and Mary?”


“I suspect,” she said as she looked at the ropes, “unable to move or speak easily.”


“Well, certainly the latter,” Mister Tall said, “but as to the former – you are aware that in this position, it is often possible to communicate far more than you realise, because you cannot use words, and get tripped over your own tongue?”


Clarissa looked at the masked man, and said “you may have a point – and if she feels the same way?”


“Then you will discover together,” Mister Tall said as he looked at her.  “Now, are there any other places I should look?”


“No – everything I have of value – and use to you – is here,” Clarissa said quietly, “so now what?”


“Now,” Mister Tall said as he looked at her, “open wide.”  She saw the folded cloth in his hand, and nodded as she allowed him to push it into her mouth, the wad keeping her tongue on the floor of her mouth and filling the space.


She watched as from his jacket pocket he took a wide roll of white tape, peeling a length off and tearing it loose before he smoothed it over her mouth and jaw, making sure there were no creases or air pockets as the material formed to the shape of her mouth.


“There – I trust that is comfortable?”


Clarissa nodded as he helped her to stand, and then walked her down to the front room, smiling as he saw Mister Small looking round.


“Ah,” he said as he turned round, “all finished Mister Tall?”


“Indeed,” the other man said as Clarissa looked at Mary, her legs secured and a strip of white tape covering her mouth as well, the bulging cheeks indicating something in her mouth as well as she twisted in the chair.


Rulllrhhtt,” Mary said as she looked at Clarissa, the taller woman nodding as Mister Tall helped her to lie on her back on the long couch.  The two women watched as he crossed and secured Clarissa’s ankles together, the rope sinking into the soft suede as he wrapped the cords around and between her legs.  A second band secured her legs together below her knees, as Clarissa wriggled, Mary unable to take her eyes off her…


“Well, I think that is everything,” Mister Tall said as Mister Small took the coffee mugs and walked to the kitchen.  “Remain calm, ladies, and enjoy the rest of your evening.  I am sure help will arrive in due course.”


Clarissa nodded as Mister Small returned, and cleared the remaining items into the holdall before he picked it up.


“The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu,” Mister Tall said with a smile, “may we never meet again.”


Mary watched as Mister Tall turned the radio on, and then the two masked men left, closing the door behind them before the front door opened and closed.  They looked at each other as Dusty Springfield started to sing.


Clarissa rolled onto her side and looked at Mary as she struggled in the chair, watching before she said “Mrreee?”






Mary looked over, her head to oen side as she said “Screed?”




Mary looked at her, her chest heaving between the bands of rope, before she said “ysssurrr.  Rullrhtt?”


Clarissa nodded slowly as she looked at Mary, and said “cnuucmmfrrhrr?”


Mary nodded as she shuffled forward, and managed to get onto her knees, Clarissa watching her closely as she shuffled forward on her bound knees.  As she came closer, Mary tilted her head and said “whttssettclerrse?”




Mary came closer, her chest heaving as well as Clarissa pushed herself up so that her head was resting on the arm of the couch.  As she did, David Cassidy started singing.


I was sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream
Like all at once I wake up from something that keeps knocking at my brain
Before I go insane I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed screaming out the words I dread
I think I love you


Whtsstclresseee,” Mary said as she tilted her head, and the song continued.


This morning I woke up with this feeling
I didn't know how to deal with and so I just decided to myself
I'd hide it to myself and never talk about it
And did not go and shout it when you walked into the room
I think I love you


Effnkelffu,” Clarissa mumbled quietly at the end of the last line.  Mary looked at her, and then nodded as the song continued.


I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for

I think I love you isn't that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say that I never felt this way


Eddntknnwhtmpgenst, edntknwwhtsslebut, egtssoshtfnkkebut…”


Clarissa nodded in response to Mary’s mumbled singing, and looked into her eyes as the song continued.


Hey, I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for

I think I love you isn't that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say I never felt this way


Clarissa mumbled “blffmm, urellednthftwerre,



Mary shook her head and mumbled “btteefnkbttretlledbttrstendlfu,



Clarissa nodded as Mary leaned over, their taped lips touching as the song continued


I think I love you
I think I love you
I think I love you
I think I love you
I think I love you
I think I love you
I think I love you
I think I love you





“So how long, Mister Small?”


“Let’s allow them some time to get to know each other,” Mister Tall said, “a couple of hours?”


“I think that should be enough time for them,” Mister Small said as they drove down the road…







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