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A Sanctuary of One by LongDarkRoad Chapter 5 Failure Makes people Cruel And Bitter

A Sanctuary of One

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 05 Failure Makes People Cruel And Bitter

White held the blonde/brown head beneath him, but he needn’t have, as Claire was once again not about to release his member until it had emptied its warm contents totally into her mouth. She remained in place until his erection had diminished completely, and then gently kissed the flaccid organ, before looking up with devotion.

“Did you get some nice shots?” She asked, smiling.

White chuckled, “Oh, absolutely, dear Claire. Some excellent shots. Thank you. Thank you for, uh, everything.” He suddenly laughed; the whole scenario was so bizarre but wonderful he had to laugh.

****

Courtney processed this exchange, the fact that Julie felt she needed to share this image, and then said with a smile, “She looks like she’s enjoying it, crazy girl,” the comment directed at the photo Julie had just shown her of Claire, busy with her task. “Better her than me,” Courtney added with a small shudder.

Julie put her phone down, feeling greatly aroused, and smiled across at the young woman. “I’m glad you agreed to meet again. I wanted to see you…again.” She said, also feeling anxious along with excited.

Courtney sipped some tea and smiled back, with some pieces falling into place. “I’m glad you reached out, too. I wanted to see you again.” She paused and looked across the table, those green-blue eyes seeming to twinkle. “Did you enjoy our sex; especially thinking it was your first time with a woman?”

Well, she gets straight to the point, Julie thought and sighed, considering that she would not be coy. She probably couldn’t with this woman, anyway. “I, um, loved it, Courtney. Simple as that. It was incredible.”

Courtney continued to smile as she murmured, “And you would like to get together, again?”

Julie cautioned herself to slow down and be in control, even though she wanted to jump up and yell, “Yes. Yes, yes, yes.” What she did say was, “I would love to get together with you, Courtney. Absolutely. And soon, I hope.” Too much? What did it matter

Courtney leaned back and studied Julie a little longer, making the woman feel uncomfortable but still aroused. It was like the younger woman was stripping her and appraising her. She then began, in a quiet, but persuasive voice that Julie continued to find irresistible. “I knew there was a connection, the first time we met. Our session in the hotel was what I, like, hoped for, hey.” She paused, clearly considering her next words. “I would love to see where this might lead, but I don’t know that you’re, uh…ready.”

Into the lump of arousal that had settled within her guts, Julie felt a nugget of concern. What was Courtney hinting at? There was doubt there, doubt about what exactly? “Why would you say I’m not, mmm, ready, Courtney? I will go to a hotel with you right now, if you want. I’m more than ready.”

To Julie’s dismay, Courtney now rose and placed a five-dollar bill on the table. “Sorry, but I need to meet someone, but I did want to see you again, Julie. When I say, um, ready, I’m thinking of what I want, I guess. I know I’m self-centered. I have, well, needs. You and I might work, but some things need to be, emmmm, discussed.”

Fighting panic; she didn’t want this woman to go like this; she didn’t know what this meant; this wasn’t the way she thought this meeting would go; Julie stood. Anxiety evident on her face, she asked, “What do you mean by ready? What kind of needs? Please don’t leave like this, tell me more. Please.”

Courtney smiled down kindly at the other woman, and Julie in that moment could not believe how lovely Courtney’s face was; as the sun high-lighted her hair and she seemed angelic. “You want to give it a try?”

“Yes!” Julie exclaimed, perhaps louder than she wished, “Give me a chance. Please.”

Courtney studied the woman before her one last time, feeling confident in where this was going, definitely feeling in control, which was necessary; she decided.

“Okay, here it is. If you wish to meet me again you must text me, but you must call me Miss Courtney, you must say please and you must sign the message with your name with a lower-case ‘j’. There, that’s it. Well, that’s the beginning, anyway.” She smiled, leaned forward and kissed Julie warmly on the cheek, her fragrance filling Julie’s nostrils, and then she was away, marching down the sidewalk, her long legs eating up the pavement, with Julie’s eyes watching her until she turned a corner and was gone.

Julie stood, feeling empty and uncertain but still aroused. What had just happened? Miss Courtney???

****

Dinner had been ‘normal’, if anything could be normal with the events of the last few days. Later, Julie had read to Abigail and Christopher to Noah. Angel had loaded the dishwasher and then headed home.

Christopher then brought a glass of Merlot to Julie who was sitting as usual on one of the two opposing couches; he sat on the other. They sipped their wine, before Christopher got up and put Canadian Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing CD in the player.

They sat and listened to ‘Angel’, and after the line of ‘finding some comfort in the arms of an angel’, Julie said quietly, “I’m sorry for what I did; I didn’t intend for you to find out; to know. It wasn’t fair and I feel bad.”

Christopher looked across at her, “You’d like me to be mad? Maybe throw things? You don’t want me to rationalize it, do you?”

She considered, her head back against the couch. “The other night, when you told me, I was pissed, I’ll admit that, because I was ashamed. I know you, I can’t expect something from you that isn’t, well, you.”

“Thank you,” he said quietly. They sat, listening.

After a while he asked, “What did you think…of the, um, pictures today?”

She sat up, a crooked grin on her face. “They turned me on, a little anyway. It was cool, actually. She looks like she’s into it. That’s weird, hey, ‘cause I’ve never been, you know…”

He smiled, “I know. Yeah, Claire likes to do that, at least to me. I don’t think she and her husband do anything together, but share a house.”

Julie nodded her head. Christopher finished his wine and stood. “I have surgery tomorrow so I’ll hit the hay.” He came across and kissed her cheek and she kissed his.

“Good night,” she murmured.

After he was gone she brooded over Courtney’s comments. What did the woman want? What she had asked was not something challenging, just…odd. Well, quite odd, for her. What did it mean? Calling her Miss Courtney, did that have some special significance or meaning?

She pondered, feeling an odd arousal, like the first time one of her young men had made her beg on her knees; she hadn’t considered at the time why it turned her on, it was just part of the naughty sex.

Christopher was going away for the weekend and the kids would be with her parents; she had time to herself. She wanted to spend that time with Courtney. If she didn’t, she wasn’t sure what she would do.

Julie walked to the kitchen and retrieved her phone and sat on the couch, staring at it. Why was this so hard? Slowly, feeling once again anxiety, excitement and uncertainty, she typed, “Dear Miss Courtney,” then went back and deleted the ‘Dear’. “Please let me see you, julie.” She pressed send and sat back, letting the emotions flood through her.

Five minutes later she was startled when her phone rang. “H-hello?” she answered quickly and quietly.

The soft, and tonight it seemed languid, voice of Courtney Farrell said, “I’m glad you texted. I’d hoped you would. When would you like to get together?” Julie told her in a rush about the weekend. “You want to be with me the whole weekend?”

“Oh yes, Co, um Miss Courtney. Do you want me to say that, um…what do you want?”

Courtney laughed softly. “Let’s understand this, my sweet, you can hang up or walk out whenever you wish. I have no blackmail pictures or anything to hold over your head. But if you don’t want to do what I wish, then we say good-bye. That is the way it is. Can you live with that? And yes, it is always Miss Courtney, if you want to be with me.”

Julie felt as if the pressure in her chest would blow up, like the creature from Alien; she was finding it hard to speak. “I, um, I want to be with you, M-miss Courtney, so much. Mmmmm, so much. It’s crazy.”

“That’s good, Julie. And you want me to be…happy with you, don’t you?”

Sliding to her knees and resting her head on the couch, Julie whispered, “Yes, Miss Courtney. Oh, jeez, I want to make you happy. I do. Oh, Jesus.” Julie lay her head on the couch and smiled, eyes closed.

In her little basement suite, Courtney smiled too. She’d had a very good meeting with a woman who wanted her to model for her line of evening wear. And now she had a lovely woman wanting to please her.

Life could be good and bitterness could be washed away; at least for a while.

****

“She’s coming in at two,” Jasmine said, leaning on the door frame and looking at Julie. They had gone through a number of head shots of models and found one that Julie thought was perfect; the woman would come in and their photographer would take the shots. The Anal-minds site was happy with the concept and so it was a green light. The Honda ads were also being finalized, so Julie had a lot to keep herself occupied, but Courtney’s face and voice still intruded now and then.

At a little after eleven, a text message announced itself and Julie took her phone to her office.

“How is my girl feeling today?” It asked, and Julie felt an odd rush of emotions at the expression. She hadn’t been called a girl in a long time. From a man she would have found this offensive, but in this instance it quickened her heart beat.

“I am fine, Miss Courtney”. Julie typed, not sure what else she should say.

A minute later a second text arrived. It contained a photo of a woman in lingerie; garter-belt, black lace bra, tiny black thong and dark nylons; and the store where the items should be bought. “It would make me happy to see you wearing this Friday night when we go out for dinner,” the message said, followed by the name of a restaurant in Midtown. “See you at eight.” Bright smiley-face emoji.

Julie stared frozen for a moment, before typing, “Yes, Miss Courtney.” Friday, and she would be with her again, to have dinner and then the rest of the weekend; together.

Julie sat, forcing herself to calm down. She still needed to deal with today, and then the next day, before the night would arrive. She still had a life to lead. And she apparently needed some new lingerie. Now.

****

Friday morning Julie was meeting with Terry Wainwright who would be directing the Honda photo shoot. They had settled on New Mexico to film the commercial and the meeting would confirm all the details.

When he arrived with his cameraman, who was actually a woman, they had settled in one of the rooms with a table.

Julie was glad for this, and for the fact that this afternoon she would also be looking over the photo shoot for Anal-minds; yesterday’s model had been perfect and they had decided to shoot in Central park. The crew was there now. These activities took her mind off tonight, at least partly.

Images of herself in the lingerie she had purchased the evening before, and the details of her time in the store, kept forcing their way into her thoughts, so having something to focus on really helped to keep them at bay.

Last night had definitely been…strange and unnerving. Julie had certainly purchased lingerie before, but the fact that she was going to a specific store to buy specific items at the direction of another woman made the whole thing so…very strange. Very, very strange, but very erotic and in the end, ‘mind-blowing’.

Julie had felt decidedly naughty on entering the store with her quest, and she discovered early that the clerk had been informed of her arrival by…Miss Courtney; the darkly attractive young woman said as much.

When Julie had entered and began wandering around, a slip of paper in her hand, the tall, dark-haired woman had come straight to her, asking, “Julie White?”

“Ummm, yes,” she had replied, startled and looking up.

The woman had smiled and said, “Miss, mmm, Courtney notified me. I will take care of you.” She had then led Julie into a private area and instructed her to call Courtney. In the following conversation it became clear that if Julie wanted Friday night, and the weekend, to happen she needed to follow the clerk’s instructions faithfully and willingly and do exactly as directed.

“A good report will make me very happy, sweet Julie, and I’ll be sure to make my girl happy. Are we good?”

“Yes, M-miss Courtney,” Julie had murmured, unsure of what she was involved in exactly, disturbed by her compliance but excited by Courtney’s words; not being with her this weekend would now be a failure she did not want to consider. She wanted to please this woman.

The imposing assistant, Hannah, had returned and with a sly smile, directed Julie to undress completely. After reminding Julie of Miss Courtney’s expectations, the woman had, smile still in place, then examined Julie’s breasts and genitals, squeezing and prodding as Julie stood and accepted what should have been blatant intrusions; but the touches and explorations produced unexpected arousal, which Hannah noticed, smiling knowingly down at the older woman.

Hannah also measured Julie, her hips and breasts, intimately, taking her time. She then led her, still completely naked, into another area, where she was made to stand on a platform, clearly on display.

Two other assistants had then joined them and the three young women all had Julie pose in various ways as they discussed how the lingerie would look. It was an erotic game, and Julie was in the middle.

For a brief moment she had felt panic, exposed like this and she had considered just getting dressed and walking, or running, out; but she hadn’t, somehow couldn’t. She had complied with the young women’s instructions; all of them, no matter how humiliating, turned on enormously by complying.

And as time passed and her undeniable arousal grew, the women had Julie pose in more and more obscene ways, bent over, legs spread, touching herself; with all three women taking turns actually fondling her, sharing smiles. Twice in fact Julie had felt an orgasm building, but the young women just smiled among themselves and stopped.

Finally Hannah, who was clearly in charge, had Julie dress in the outfit Miss Courtney had asked for, and she was led back to the area they had been in before. Hannah asked Julie for her phone and then called Courtney, clearly so Julie could witness.

“Hello Miss Courtney, we have your girl dressed as you asked. Yes, she was a very good girl. You should be pleased with her, and reward her.”

Amazingly, at these words, rather than being offended, which would have been reasonable, Julie felt a surge of…pride? Relief? Happiness? Whatever it was it made her feel good and she pushed down her confusion. She actually wished the attractive Hannah would touch her more; she considered asking but refrained, intimidated.

“Ok, give me the lingerie and I’ll bag it up.”

When she was naked again, Hannah had reached out and played with Julie’s breasts. “You like this, Slut, don’t you?” The woman had asked with a smile, while Julie struggled to maintain her balance, her arousal building to near explosion, the word ‘slut’ piercing her like a needle. “Would you like me to touch your pussy?”

Julie remembered inhaling sharply. She had looked up with anguish, just nodding her head, unable to speak. In a moment, the woman had Julie on her knees and was aggressively fingering both Julie’s pussy and ass. She had called out and the other two girls then came to watch as Julie climaxed for their entertainment.

“Kiss our feet,” Hannah had ordered, “then you can get dressed.”

As if in a dream, Julie had gone from one young woman to the next, softly kissing their polished shoes. She then dressed in a fog and paid for the clothes, taking the bag, unable to look up into Hannah’s face, but certain it held a knowing smirk.

Julie’s memories had been interrupted, probably for the better as she was again becoming aroused, by the arrival of Wainwright and the woman, and now Julie was able to focus on a task and escape the persistent thoughts of Miss Courtney and all she was feeling.

****

“So, is she your new…toy?” Hannah asked, a smirk on her attractive face.

Courtney, now on her lunch break, smiled into her cell. She was surprised, a little, that the cool Hannah Yilmaz had agreed to help her. Although their tone was always ‘light’, Courtney found Hannah very attractive but intimidating. For now, she kept her tone playful, “Maybe, Miss Hannah; what’d you think of her?”

Hannah paused. Women older than she was were not her thing. Although she was not shy about making love to women, she actually preferred men for straight sex; but she had pondered often on Courtney, since their first meeting.

She smirked, saying. “It was kind of butter, hey, she seems like she could be some fun. She was very do as I say, master; I gave her the big ‘O’, right, she was so wet; shit. It was fun; we all watched. She’s a live one for sure.” Courtney smiled at that, and at Hannah’s voice; it was what she had hoped for. “So whad’r’you going to do with her?” Hannah found this scenario …interesting.

“Well, like you said, she’s my new, uh, toy. I intend to play with her.”

They both laughed. I’ll bet you do, Hannah smiled to herself.

****

“So, everything is good, then?” Julie asked with a touch of anxiousness.

“Oh yes, Mrs. J., don’t you worry, your mom and dad are already here, and just chompin’ at the bit for the bus to get here, and then they’re off with the kids. They’ve asked me to come along so I’ll be there too. It will be my first sleepover since I can’t remember.”

They both laughed.

****

“The taxi’s arriving at three, Dr. White,” Claire said with a smile, looking at her boss behind his desk.

White nodded, “Right, I have my bags down in my car. I’ll just get them out when we go down. Yours are here I take it?”

Claire nodded. She was really (really) looking forward to this trip. She had a bag in her checked luggage that contained nothing but lubricants and sex toys. She planned to use everything.

****

The afternoon had been hectic enough that Julie had not spent much time thinking about the evening, but now things had wrapped up and it was approaching five. She would have time to get home, get dressed and relax a bit before taking a taxi to the restaurant Courtney, Miss Courtney, had selected.

Julie took a deep breath to calm herself, then headed out.

****

The restaurant Courtney had chosen was not overly pricey; they hadn’t needed to dress up excessively, which was Courtney’s plan as she really didn’t have much in the way of evening wear. Julie had announced straight-away that tonight would be her treat; Jasmine had quietly informed Julie that Courtney’s job did not pay much and that the young woman lived in a tiny basement suite.

Julie was determined to make tonight great and cost was not a factor. They were seated by a window, the evening already darkening. Julie had ordered a good wine and they had just finished off some wonderful crab-cake appetizers. Julie was seated with her back to the window and with Courtney to her left, with the two chairs empty across from them.

There was a decorative wall beside Courtney and the table a few feet to her left was empty. The one directly in front of them had a couple seated; it looked like it might be an anniversary dinner for them.

“So, how do you like your…lingerie?” Courtney asked quietly.

Julie actually blushed a little; she felt quite sexy wearing the items and had stood gazing at herself in her mirror for several minutes as she dressed. “I like it very much, um, Miss Courtney,” she said, quietly as well. Amazed at how easily she had slipped into this new relationship; it felt…comfortable. Strange.

“Did you enjoy what the women did to you?” Courtney smiled.

The arousal was amazing; Julie simply nodded her head, feeling herself becoming wet. Courtney sipped her wine, then gently stroked Julie’s hand, “Lift your dress, I wish to see.” Julie glanced around and Courtney spoke, “Don’t look around, just follow my directions. That works best. You like being on display, so…”

Hesitating for a moment, Julie then lifted her dress and Courtney gazed at the garter belt and thongs. “Ummmm, I like how that looks on you. I can follow why Miss Hannah was impressed.” She reached over and gently caressed the flesh of Julie’s upper thigh, causing an immediate response. Courtney smiled. “You like me touching you, don’t you?”

Julie actually shuddered before responding, “Ohhh, jeez, yes.” She felt no shame at these words; it was simply the truth, acknowledged bluntly.

“Yes, what?” Courtney murmured, her fingers tracing a path from the nylon top to the edge of the thong, which some of Julie’s substantial pubic hair had escaped from, along the edge and the top. Courtney gently tugged some of this hair, causing Julie to gasp. “Ummmm, yessss, Miss Courtney, I, uhhh, l-like you touching me.” Julie whispered.

As their young, blonde server approached the table, Julie lowered her dress, with Courtney then directing in a melodious voice, “Keep it raised, sweet Julie, I didn’t tell you to lower it.”

With her heart beating madly and feeling an unbelievable rush of arousal, Julie sat with her undergarments exposed, although the server could not actually see anything from her position. Sara, the young woman, it turned out knew Courtney. They had exchanged greetings when first seated.

“I intended to contact you,” Courtney now said to the girl, who looked to be university-aged. The girl became flustered at this comment and glanced nervously at Julie. “It’s okay, she’s a…friend. We can talk,” Courtney said quietly.

“Yeah, thanks, it’s great to see you. It was weird, texting you like I did…” Sara replied, flustered.

“I enjoyed seeing your breasts,” Courtney smiled, as the girl literally turned beet-red. “Step over to this side.” Courtney directed and the girl moved to Courtney’s right, where she could now see Julie’s exposed underwear. “I would like to see you wearing this, what do you think?”

The girl tried to talk, but stood instead with her mouth opening and closing; Julie sat now, her dress raised and her eyes closed. Courtney’s lovely laugh broke the spell, with her then directing Julie to lower her dress. They ordered their meals and the server rushed off. Julie sat breathing hard, before Courtney reached over with her distinctive hand and lifted Julie’s face, one long finger beneath the chin.

“You’re very wet, aren’t you?” Julie didn’t speak, simply nodded her head and then looked into those green-blue eyes. “You want me to touch you, don’t you?” Julie moistened her lips and nodded again. “Say it.” Courtney murmured.

Fighting the urge to drop to her knees, right there in the restaurant, Julie said quietly, eyes now on the dinner ware, “I want you to touch me, M-miss Courtney.”

Courtney chuckled, “Close, but you can do better.”

Julie stared, then began again, and what she said was again true, as at that moment the thing she wanted most was to have that long, elegant hand caress and then probe her sex. “Please touch me, Miss Courtney. Please.”

Courtney gently stroked Julie’s face. “Time to go commando, Bitch. Take your thong off and pass it to me.”

Julie did this, fumbling to undo the garter clips, but eventually tugging the tiny garment off. When she handed the thong over, here in this public space, a strange feeling moved through her. She was unable to speak, there was the proverbial lump lodged in her throat. It was like she had moved through a doorway, into another room, one that she had known of but had never entered; not completely. Until this moment.

“Very good. You are a good girl, my good girl,” Courtney said, placing the thong on the white tablecloth in full view. “I will reward you later, but I’m thinking you feel pretty good right now, yes?”

Julie nodded, unable to speak.

In truth, what she was feeling, Julie White doubted she could put into words.

(End of Chapter 05)     

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A Sanctuary of One by LongDarkRoad Chapter 4 I Do Not Confer Praise…

A Sanctuary of One

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 04 I Do Not Confer Praise Or Blame, I Accept

As Julie sat at her desk, she shook her head as she remembered the morning’s breakfast, with both kids up and about and she and Christopher being cordial and pleasant. At some point, sooner rather than later, the two of them needed to have a good talk. With children involved, it wasn’t just about their needs anymore.

Which was ironic, Julie considered, noting that her mind had been on Courtney frequently this morning; talk about needs. And she needed to text the woman and confirm ‘coffee’ for tomorrow.

Glancing at the clock she considered; it was nine-thirty; she would meet with Jasmine and then Bryce over the next hour, hour and a half. She would text Courtney before noon.

****

Dr. White took a final look at his stitching; it was his pride, one of the things that made his reputation; he didn’t like to leave even a hint of a scar. He nodded at Claire, assisting as usual, that she could proceed with the woman’s recovery. Their eyes locked for a moment; it had been a busy morning, starting with the prep for this lengthy surgery at eight-thirty. They had really had no time to even chat.

Later.

****

Julie regarded her message again; was it too ‘light’; had she left it too open-ended? She didn’t want to sound desperate, although that was remarkably how she felt; if something happened and the meet was not a go, she would be very disappointed. She sighed and sent the text.

****

Courtney looked at the young (twenty /twenty-one year-old) woman sitting across from her and sighed quietly. This was the woman’s third time back here; she refused to press charges against her abusive boyfriend and had returned to him each time after staying and recuperating at the shelter. “So, I’d like to know Kayla, what do you plan to do this time?”

Kayla regarded Courtney, the bruised eye and puffy lip making a strong statement. “Will you, like, kick me out or sumthin’, you know, ‘cuz of what I say?”

Courtney shook her head gently, “No, there’s no way we’d deny someone help. But part of our work is counselling, whether it’s poor work habits, or drugs or abuse. We’re not your mom; we’re not going to punish you. But we do want you to think about your life. Your face looks worse this time than last, Kayla, and I still want you to have those ribs looked after. I know you’re in pain.” She said quietly, but clearly.

Kayla looked away, “But I just does stupid shit, yuh’know? It ain’t all Ty’s fault, yeah? I makes him mad, right?”

Courtney looked hard into the dark eyes, “No, it’s not right Kayla. Violence is never right…”

Kayla looked away, fat tears oozing from the corners of her eyes. “But what I gots to do, Bitch? I only works part-time and it’s Ty what pays most udda rent, hey? What I’m goin’ do, Bitch, when he kicks me out. Come live wit’ you, hey?”

Courtney sighed again. It was times like these she wished she smoked.

****

It was just after one-thirty when Julie’s phone chirped with a response. “Hi J., nice to hear from you. I don’t have a car, so, pick me up just after four?” An address followed.

Julie took a breath, amazed once again at what she was feeling. Had her heart ever beaten before when answering a call like this? She tried to remember back to high school and college; nothing. She could not recall a person, any person, who had had this effect on her.

Certainly when she had first met Aaron, or Brad or Patrick, she had been aroused by their attractiveness and the promise of sex, heightened (Julie acknowledged briefly) by her submission to some dominant role play (something she would never do for Christopher)-but it wasn’t like this response. And this was just from a freakin’ text message!

But it was of course who the text message came from. The woman who had typed the message had something, was something, that Julie wanted and needed. The Bomb, Julie smiled, thinking back to her youth. She could analyze it all she wanted, at the end of the day it was there.

“See you tomorrow,” Julie typed, wondering if she should say more, realizing it would just be babble, and deciding to just press send, and let her heart pound away as it wished. OMG, she thought to herself, heading to the restroom to wash her face; OMG.

****

Courtney finished the file on Kayla, noting that at least the woman’s boyfriend, who Courtney thought to be a thug, didn’t appear to own a gun; for now. She sent the man’s name to a police officer who was a good friend of the shelter, asking for a little background, if possible. Violent people are rarely violent with just one victim, Courtney knew; if the boyfriend had a record that might help to convince Kayla to take some action.

In her heart Courtney doubted it, but you never know if you don’t try. She looked at her latest text message and smiled; she was looking forward to her visit with her new ‘friend’ tomorrow; Julie White had accepted direction without question. A smile appeared briefly, and then Courtney was back to her paperwork.

****

Christopher glanced at his phone and noted four thirty-five, just as a gentle knock came to his door. “Come in,” he said with a smile, confident with who was there.

Claire entered, dressed in her own clothes, the white uniform now away. She closed the door and leaned back against it as White settled into his office chair.

Slowly, her soft hands slipped each button on her blouse loose from its hole; then tossed the blouse to one side. Her skirt came next, and soon it was lying on the blouse; neither White nor Claire had uttered a word.

The woman now turned and lowered her slip and then her panty-hose. She unclipped her bra, then turned back around, her hands over her breasts, although the orbs were not completely hidden, soft flesh peeking out above and below the hands. Slowly releasing her breasts, Claire’s fingers gripped her large, pink nipples and she tugged on them, then twisted them, as Dr. White sat transfixed, his tongue slipping out to moisten his lips.

She turned her back on him again, and slowly lowered her black lace panties, then bent forward and spread her ass, before kneeling and arching her back.

White rose and came slowly forward, stopping a foot behind the crouching figure, eyes fixed on the brown, fissured ring, sitting for him like a bulls-eye.

As she knelt, Claire remembered the night her husband had forced her to service his friends, urging them to take her anally. She had not allowed him to touch her, willingly, since that night.

But she still very much had her needs. And she liked Dr. White; very much. “Please take a picture, then use me,” she said, before placing her face on the cream-colored Ege carpet.

****

It was past ten, and Christopher and Julie were once again on their couches, drinking wine this time. They had compromised and had Elton John playing as they lounged.

Not sure why she was making this choice, Julie sat up and looked across at her husband, asking in an even tone, “So, how’s Claire doing these days?”

Christopher’s eyes registered surprise and caution for a second, and then the calm demeanor returned. “Claire my assistant, why do you ask?”

They sat in silence, as Elton sang goodbye to the yellow brick road, where the dogs of society howl, before Julie continued. “Yes, of course that Claire. I, um…” she paused and grimaced, “snuck a look at your phone the other day and saw a picture of her, I think her, and the texts of course. I’m assuming you’re, um, fucking her?” Julie noted that this blunt exchange was producing some anxiety, yet her heart was still not beating as it had earlier when Courtney’s message arrived. So strange.

Christopher sat, quietly. For some reason nothing that Julie had just said surprised him. “Would it, well, matter much if I was?” He asked.

Now Julie considered this; it had been spoken without any rancour; it was just a question. “Well, what matters is what we have, here; do you have, mmmm…feelings, for her?”

Like this was a verbal tennis match, Christopher now paused mid-stroke, then delivered a smash. “Did you have feelings for, let’s see, Aaron?”

Julie looked up with some wonder, caught by surprise; how long had he known? Replying with a soft backhand she asked, “What do you mean?”

He smiled, “I, um, had you followed. You spent a weekend with him, at the Colonial.” Christopher regarded his glass, knowing his shot had her off guard.

“You had me followed?” Julie asked, quietly, on her heels and forced to scramble. “But why?”

He looked at her, his blue eyes mild and not accusing, yet his shot well-placed. “I needed to know.”

Julie sat. Defence no longer an option, she came to the net. “Why, um, why didn’t you say something, anything?” She asked, looking down and noting her hand shaking slightly.

Christopher sipped his wine and answered as he looked out the window into the darkness, “You came back. There was no need.” They sat again in silence. “As you said, what matters is what we have. I don’t believe anyone can completely satisfy another. Certainly, um, sexually, I am aware of that. I’m assuming this fellow was good for you. You seemed, relaxed, content…”

Julie suddenly felt a stab of intense guilt, then anger. Anger at Christopher, for being so understanding, so mild. So meek. Was this thing with Claire some kind of revenge; is that why he left things on his phone?” She asked him that, having lost the match and wanting to provoke a reaction.

One of Dr. White’s attributes was that he was  essentially thoughtful. “I’m not a vengeful person, Julie. I know you know that. I didn’t delete the messages, etcetera, because I enjoyed them. I don’t love Claire, at least not love, love. But I do like her. And she arouses me, for some reason I can’t grasp. And I did think it was fair, though, that you have your secrets and I have mine.” He paused again and looked at her, directly. “I don’t want to leave you, or to have you leave me. I don’t want that.”

Julie sat in confusion, then went over and sat beside her husband, gently grasping his hand. They sat in silence.

****

Feeling strangely disconnected, Julie went through the morning rituals before leaving the children with Angel who would get them on the bus. The breakfast conversation with Christopher had been polite and surprisingly pleasant, considering their previous discussions. They had slept on their own sides of the bed through the night and there had been no touching.

As usual Christopher was up first and downstairs before Julie arose. Both children were also up when Julie came down, so ‘normal’ was what she had needed to be.

Now as she sat at her desk, her mind was on the discussion as well as her meeting later with Courtney; she was holding her phone in her hand, considering the bizarre idea that had come to her mind. What the hell, she thought, as she typed in the text for Christopher.

“Hi, Dear. Last night was heavy but…helpful. I think we both need to say ‘sorry’, probably several times. I don’t want to leave either. I don’t. We need to work through this.” She had no idea what his day would be like or when he would see this message; three minutes later however, a response chirped back; clearly he was at his desk.

“Hi right back at you. I know we both have been holding secrets and keeping things buried. But we have many years invested in each other and our life, and there is caring and love, I still believe. Maybe we just try for a little more honesty; both of us?”

Julie read this and could not push away her invasive idea. “Yes, I agree. Life is not a long, straight road, there are curves. Will you be with Claire later; I am not angry? I will not be angry if you say yes. This is me being more honest.”

“I could be. We were ‘together’ yesterday. Why?”

Julie sat. She realized with surprise that this conversation was actually moving her; her heart rate had increased as well as her breathing. Was she being turned on? She plunged ahead, “I want you to let her suck you tonight and I want you to take a picture of that and send it to me. I know how weird this sounds Chris, but the thought well, gets me going. Weird? Freakin’ weird.”

After she pressed send she felt light-headed, almost giddy. This was possibly the most explicit the two of them had ever been, even considering when they were actually, well, screwing.

“Wow!” Surprised face emoji. “That blows my mind. And kind of kinky, Dear. Well, very kinky. I don’t think Claire will object. I’ll try to pull this off; it’s not my style as you know but I do like it when you are happy, my love.” Sappy smiley face.

Julie laughed out loud, then texted, “OMG!” Blushing smiley face. “Maybe a little kinky is what the…doctor ordered.” Shy smiley face.

****

August 2010

The summer class had finished with their exam and Professor Martel had invited the small group back to her Midtown condo. Although they were all under twenty-one, she had some beer and wine and it had been a pleasant evening; and now her guests were departing.

Courtney Farrell came out of the washroom and looked around for her handbag.

“You haven’t finished your wine, Courtney. You don’t need to rush off, you know. We can continue to talk,” Martel said quietly.

Courtney looked at the pleasant, middle-aged woman. She was small and business-like with her dark, brown hair, trimmed short and combed back, almost masculine. The two had somehow wandered into a discussion of Courtney’s past, somewhere she never went. Maybe it was the wine? Maybe Martel’s comforting voice?

Courtney had quietly told the woman of her rape, an event she had never discussed with anyone besides her mother, who hadn’t wanted to hear. This woman had been caring and had not asked any questions about ‘Courtney’s role’; unlike her mother. It had felt good to get everything out, but now Courtney felt embarrassed.

“Please, Dear, I know what it took to share your story. I would really like you to just stay for a bit longer. Please. At least finish your wine.”

Courtney smiled and sat back on the couch and picked up her glass. Martel came and settled beside her, stroking the long, elegant hands with her own short, soft ones.

“Do you play the piano?” Martel asked, quietly.

Courtney shook her head, “No, but I wished I did, sometimes,” she murmured.

****

As Julie sat now, emotions flowing, the comment Christopher had said about ‘kinky’ came back, and her response about ’maybe a little kinky’ returned as well. With sudden inspiration, she typed an email to Jasmine. “Hey, consider this ad for our new client. Picture a business woman, forties, smartly dressed, maybe sitting on a bench and she’s thinking, Maybe a little kinky is just what I need. And then below the text ‘Maybe anal.minds is just what you’ve been searching for’…”

She sent it off and sat back with a smile on her face.

****

August 2010

Courtney had finished her glass of wine; her second, and was feeling mellow. It was past twelve and she and Martel had talked about a number of things. As she settled her head back against the couch, she was aware of Martel gently stroking her left arm; it felt very nice. When Martel leaned over and kissed her, her first kiss from a woman, at least on her mouth, she accepted it.

Martel turned Courtney’s face and kissed her again, deeply this time, her tongue reaching into Courtney’s mouth, with her responding warmly.

For Courtney, this had been the first intimate contact since her rape.

She did not resist as Martel undressed her; and then she sat and watched as the professor undressed herself, before taking Courtney by the hand and leading her into the bedroom.

****

Bryce and Julie watched as Jasmine moved some images around on her screen; she was using stock photos for now, but they would hire a model of their choosing when they moved on Julie’s idea; but for now they at least had something to talk about.

“I like it,” Bryce exclaimed. “I like it, and I think they’ll like it!”

Jasmine smiled up at Julie, who smiled at Bryce.

****

Dr. White looked across the carpeted waiting area to where Claire sat at her desk, “Could I see you for a moment, Ms. Butler?” He said evenly.

Smiling, Claire rose and followed the doctor into his office, closing the door. White turned, “Um, I was wondering if you needed to rush off after work today?” He asked, fighting emotions.

Claire’s smiled broadened, “Nothing urgent tonight, Dr. White. Is there anything you…need me for?”

White grinned sheepishly and looked down. When he raised his eyes Claire was looking directly at him, her hands massaging her breasts. “Well, there are a couple of things I might like you to, um, check on,” he murmured.

They both smiled.

****

August 2010

Courtney sat at the strange kitchen table, the events of the night before turning in her mind. Kim Martel came up quietly from behind and put her arms around her. They kissed and Courtney chuckled; it was nice kissing someone and not having the feeling of entrapment close over her. She had not thought about kissing a woman, or anyone, for so long. It was like she had been living in a cave. But she knew one thing; she liked this.

“Please come,” Martel said, and then led the way into her living room. She sat Courtney down on a chair and then knelt on the carpet beside her, Courtney regarding the woman with some confusion. “Um, I really enjoyed last night, Courtney, and I’m hoping we can do some, well, other things.” Martel said quietly.

Courtney looked into the other’s dark eyes, “Uh, what other things?”

“Well, did you like what I did to you?”

Courtney smiled, “I thought you could tell,” she chuckled, remembering the moans and amazing (unbelievable) cries of joy.

Martel smiled too. “Well, I’d like you to do some things to make me feel good, too. I won’t push too much to start, let’s take it slow. Are you willing to try?”

Not sure what she was agreeing to, but feeling positive towards this woman, Courtney nodded. Martel stood and pulled off her sweater and lowered her jogging pants; she was wearing no under clothes. She lowered herself across Courtney’s knee, and placed her hands behind her back. “Please, Miss Courtney. I have been bad and need to be punished. Please spank me.”

Courtney sat stunned for a moment, but oddly aroused, looking at the lovely round flesh before her. Suppressing a giggle, she slapped one cheek. “Harder, please Miss Courtney, please,” Martel implored, beginning to grind her crotch against Courtney.

The next slap was harder, and the next. Five minutes later Martel, her ass reddened, was on her knees kissing Courtney’s feet, and the young woman’s life had changed course.

****

To Julie it seemed that the wall clock was broken. She had forced herself not to look at it as long as possible, and when she had, it was three-o-two. She had let time pass but was disappointed when next she glanced and it was three-o-seven. The hands had crawled along until now, past three-thirty, and she could begin packing things up. She had checked Google maps and figured at least twenty minutes to Courtney’s shelter.

****

Kayla signed the form and looked up at Courtney, “Yeah, thanks, hey. See ya’.”

“See ya’,” Courtney replied. She had received word from her police contact and Kayla’s boyfriend had a record but it did not include violence, yet. She watched as the young woman left, comforting herself with the thought that she had done what she could, and now she needed to focus on the other women under her care. She noted that it was almost four and that Julie White would be arriving soon. She was certain the woman would be prompt. She smiled.

****

“See you tomorrow,” Claire said to Danielle as the young woman smiled back before heading out the door. Chelsea came up the hall next a minute later and she too departed, leaving Claire as the last of the staff. She locked the front doors and headed to Dr. White’s office; it was only ten past four, she would have at least an hour with him, if he wished.

****

The coffee shop Courtney had directed Julie to was only a few blocks from the shelter and it had an outdoor patio, facing a fairly quiet side street. The two women sat now with a pot of Jasmine Silver Needle tea, Courtney’s suggestion.

Julie was trying desperately to make sense of the overwhelming emotions rolling through her. She wanted more than anything to put her arms around this young woman and smother her with kisses; she imagined burying her tongue in that lovely mouth, before burying her face between the rounded thighs of the long legs.

She had never felt anything like this before; she felt like a lit fire-cracker, about to explode. It was uncomfortable and disturbing, but exciting. “So, how has your week been, as you spin your stories?”

For a moment Julie thought Courtney might be referring to her marriage, but then realized it was about her job. She smiled, “We just try to make people aware; they are going to spend money on something, it might as well be on our client’s stuff.”

Courtney smiled in return, “And how have things been at home?” Julie shared the talk she and Christopher had had and what was revealed, and as Courtney commented, Julie’s cell buzzed.

Excusing herself, Julie opened the message, a photo that showed Claire Butler’s red lips encircling the shaft of her husband’s penis, buried almost completely in her mouth. It gave her an amazing jolt of desire, and she smiled into the green-blue eyes of her companion.

(End of Chapter 04)

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A Sanctuary of One by LongDarkRoad Chapter 3 Is To Surrender to Pleasure

A Sanctuary of One

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 3 Is To Surrender To Pleasure To Accept Defeat?

Courtney was slowly working her way down Julie’s body, starting with the throat. She had just released one brown nipple and was moving to the other. Julie, her hands crossed at the wrists above her head, placed that way by Courtney, was slowly moving her pelvis, anticipating.

As Courtney’s soft lips travelled now down her belly and past her navel, Julie’s breath began to come in gasps, punctuated by moans. Courtney lifted her head and smiled; she was enjoying this immensely. She looked down at the dark tangle of curling, black hair that completely covered Julie’s crotch and spread upwards to her navel and back under her ass.

With a gentle hand she spread Julie’s legs farther apart and now placed her lips against the flesh of the woman’s inner thighs, her tongue tracing a delicious path upwards, until it ran along the moist inner pink of the dark, purple/brown labia, with Julie arching her back and crying out softly.

****      ****

Julie entered her home filled with strange emotions; coming home after her time with Courtney made every action seem…different somehow. She was actually dreading the thought of sliding in beside her husband, feeling the expected wave of shame, but even though it was again near midnight, he wasn’t home yet, which was strange.

Julie decided then to fill the tub, adding lots of bubble bath, something she had not done in a while. She placed her disc player to the side and put in the Spice Girls first album, Spice, then lowered her body into the steaming water. As she leaned her head back on the rubber pillow, she let her hands move between her thighs, her mind filled with images of Courtney.

The woman’s face, her lips; her tongue as it explored the crevices of Julie’s vagina; her long fingers as they probed and pulled; Courtney’s thumb circling the stub of the clitoris, and it rising with arousal.

Julie remembered the orgasm, the slow build, the unbelievable burst of pleasure. She remembered looking down at her hands that were lost in the mass of red hair of Courtney’s head, and then the woman’s face, coming up smiling. She remembered then how they had kissed; real kisses, deep, searching…wanton? Yes, wanton; a moment where time did not exist as she was lost in the body of another, surrendering absolutely to pleasure.

For it being her first time with another woman, it had been…spectacular; she still hadn’t really come down from it. Her player was now on the song ‘Naked’ when she heard Christopher’s steps and then the cautious opening of the door as he looked in. “Hi there,” he said.

“Hi there yourself,” she murmured.

After a moment he said, “I don’t suppose you want any company?”

She chuckled, “I have bath bubbles and the Spice Girls. I don’t think you’d be happy here.”

He chuckled from the hall, “No Jules, I can feel my testosterone draining from out here.”

They both chuckled and he headed off to the main floor and a shower.

****

Courtney took her morning tea from her tiny kitchen to her small living room and sat on her worn couch. It had been so pleasant in the hotel that she and Julie White had gone to last night. What would it be like to have lots of money, to have a large home and expensive cars, she wondered? Was there a way for her to continue with her ‘activities’ but maybe have a better quality of life? She picked up the business card sitting on an end table; FabModelsInc., it read.

She sat in thought, but her reverie was interrupted by a gentle knock on her door; one that brought a smile to her face as she knew who it would be.

She considered calling out, but stood instead and moved with a measured grace the short distance to her door. Opening it she saw her upstairs neighbor, Carolyn, an unassuming woman in her late thirties; soft, light brown hair tied back today in a ponytail; what she was wearing, however, was not what one would expect of a middle-aged house-wife mid-day. She had on a sexy, red lingerie set that featured a see-through bra, garter belt, tiny, red thong and dark nylons.

“Yes?” Courtney murmured, looking down slightly from her five-eight height advantage to the shorter woman. Carolyn did not look up into the lovely face that now held an almost haughty look, keeping her eyes cast downward instead.

“I saw you came in late, Miss Courtney. I’ve waited to come down. I hoped I might, s-serve you this morning, if you wish?” The woman spoke in a voice just above a whisper.

“Hmmmmm,” Courtney murmured, caressing the woman’s cheek with her delicate hand, sending a visible shiver down the woman’s body. “I see you’ve dressed the way I like you to.”

“Yes, Miss,” Carolyn said quietly, still focused on the floor.

“Well, I might have a job or two for you,” Courtney said quietly, allowing her housecoat to gape slightly, but enough to reveal the blonde/red patch of pubic hair. “You may come in, but you know how you should enter.”

“Y-yes,” Carolyn uttered, dropping to her knees.

****

Since they would be picking up the children this afternoon, Julie had been able to keep her mind off of Courtney, more or less. Even though Julie always had a feeling of tension when they visited, they had ended up staying for dinner with Christopher’s parents. It was always a feast, no matter what the occasion, so it was now almost eleven when she and Christopher had the chance to settle, with the children finally asleep.

They were lounging on couches, sipping whiskey; the lights low and the mood relaxing.

“How’d it go with your new, um, clients. I keep wanting to call them ‘pigeons’, but that wouldn’t be fair?” Julie smiled.

Christopher snorted, “Thank you for that. Yes, I don’t believe the Becks would appreciate the reference.” He sipped his drink. “It went well. We’re going to do the face work first, starting in ten days, and then the arms later. I also recommended a physical therapist to start with some light workouts, you know, part of the overall plan.”

Julie nodded, then lay back on the white, leather couch. ”So, I can get that new diamond necklace I want?” Julie smirked.

“Oh, absolutely, Dear. Get two.” They both smiled. “You’ve met some new…friends?” Christopher asked, mildly.

Julie hesitated, experiencing a response to Courtney’s face suddenly appearing in her mind. “What, you mean the drinks last night? Well, this group that meets has about twenty members, so I’m guessing I’ll be meeting many new, um, people. I don’t know that I would call them friends. It’s been, ummm, a long while since I had a woman I could girl-chat with.”

They sat in silence, before Christopher got up to put an album, a real vinyl album, on their turntable; a genuine turntable. In keeping with the whiskey and the mood, the album was Frank Sinatra. Not one of Julie’s favs, but she would put up with it because Christopher did not make a fuss over her choices; none of which he enjoyed. ‘Girl bands’, he had commented to Claire one day when she’d asked, and she had nodded with understanding. Returning to the couch, he felt his phone vibrate in his pant’s pocket. Glancing over at Julie, he noticed her eyes closed, so he cautiously withdrew his device and opened his message. It was from Claire, saying simply “I wish I was with you.” Sad faced emoji.

Smiling, he texted back, “Why??” Smiley face emoji.

In a moment the gentle buzz indicated her reply, “So I could make you feel good, Doctor White.” Two smiley face emojis.

Christopher glanced over again at Julie, who seemed to have drifted off. He typed, “And how would you possibly do that, Ms. Butler?” Surprised face emoji.

Three smiley faces preceded the responding message. “Oh, mostly by sucking your cock like a vacuum, then swallowing all your hot cum. Although I’m hoping some day other parts of my body might please you.” Face with eyes closed demurely.

As he read the message, and noted his growing arousal, he also noted movement from the other couch, and slipped his phone back into his pocket as Julie roused herself. “Mmmmmm, gawd, I dozed off. Wow. I think I’ll just crash,” Julie muttered, finishing her drink and standing.

“Good night, Dear. Sleep tight, although I’m not sure what that means,” Christopher murmured.

“It means I should have a couple more whiskies before I crash,” Julie said, chuckling, as she headed up the stairs.

Christopher retrieved his phone, feeling like a naughty school boy, and quickly typed, “What parts would that be, Ms. Butler? I am confused.” Smirk-y face.

In a moment a message with a photo came to his phone. It was clearly a woman’s vagina, with thick pink labia and a generous covering of light brown hair. Accompanying the picture was the message, “My pussy, for one.”

Winking face.

****

Sunday proved to be a difficult day for Julie; she did take Noah and Abigail to the park for an hour and then got some work done on an ad for Honda; two of their models were in the top twenty sellers and the feeling was that with the right push they could go higher. Julie’s problem with any vehicle was which way to go; environment or style…or both, and try to sit on the fence?

But her thoughts and her work were interrupted frequently by images of Courtney, and memories of her touch, her scent, her taste.

Julie had experienced some good sex in her life, or at least she had believed that she had; but she had not experienced this…feeling; this haunting. She had not been plagued by Aaron or her other two partners. It had happened; she’d got what she wanted and moved on, even if she did meet them later, they didn’t settle in her mind.

After dinner, as Christopher was going over information for a Monday morning consultation, and Angel was supervising bath times, she texted Courtney. “Hey there, just thinking of you,” was the message, with no emojis; she didn’t use them.

Then she sat, and as the minutes passed, she was reminded about the frustration with texting; waiting. She took her phone with her when she went to pour herself a glass of wine. The reply came back as she returned to her desk.

“Hi Julie. Tell me what you’re thinkin’.” Smiley face.

There’s a damn smiley face, Julie considered, now what; would she need to use one? But her excitement far outweighed any annoyance, as she typed, “Just thinking of how nice it was. Well, much more than nice.” She went with a winking smiley face.

It was again several minutes before the response came back, causing Julie to wonder if she was being played with, but when the message arrived, that was all that mattered.

“What part did you enjoy most, babe; me eating you or you eating me?” A blushing face.

Julie laughed in spite of herself. “Both. But I cannot believe how I enjoyed (she paused, for some reason finding it difficult to type this part; she took a breath and plowed ahead) eating you.” Regular smiley face.

Five minutes crawled by, and then, “So, what now, Julie White?”

That was the question, wasn’t it? What now? Did she even know? She felt excitement and anticipation whenever she thought of this young woman, who she knew so little about. She wasn’t even entirely sure where Courtney worked, although it was a woman’s shelter of some kind. Where did she live?

No, all she had right now were emotions and desire; she needed more. “Well, I would like to get to know you better?” She typed, with no faces.

To Julie’s surprise, her phone rang two minutes later, “Hey, Babe,” came the lovely voice.

Calming herself, and unconcerned about Christopher or anything else, Julie replied, “Hey yourself. Tired of texting?”

Courtney chuckled, “I thought this would be faster. And besides, I wanted to hear your voice.”

A warm feeling spread through her body at these simple words, the voice seeming to caress her, and Julie worked to keep her voice and breathing calm. This was completely new territory for her; was this what a crush was like, she wondered, partly in amazement? “Well, I love to hear your voice too, it’s just difficult here, at home”. Julie replied softly.

“I get that, so I’ll keep it quick. Wanna hook up this week, like for a coffee, or tea in my case?”

Julie did not need to ponder this, “Yes, ummmm, do you have a day in mind?” Julie’s mind began furiously considering her schedule.

“How about Wednesday after work; I can be off at four? You text me in the next day or two if that’s what you want.”

Julie smiled, “Sure, I’ll do that. Um, great to hear your voice, and I’ll, well, be back in touch.”

“Later, Babe”. Courtney murmured, and then the call ended. Julie sat, just staring at her laptop screen; then she brought up her schedule and put in the meeting. Wednesday, she thought, three days.

On her couch Courtney sat, a curious smile on her beautiful face, her hand between her thighs.

****

Claire brought in the files for the nine-thirty appointment and laid them on Dr. White’s desk and as she turned to leave the doctor’s door opened and he entered. The two stood looking at each other, smiles on their faces. “Who else is in?” White asked.

“Chelsea is in ops setting up the instruments. Danielle will be in at one.” Claire said succinctly, the smile remaining on her face. “You enjoyed the photos?” She asked, her smile broadening.

White moved a few steps to stand directly in front of his assistant. “I loved them. They brightened my evening and yesterday.”

“Would you like to take a few of your own?” Claire asked, raising her white uniform’s skirt to reveal crotch-less pantyhose.”

White leaned forward to plant a deep kiss on Claire’s mouth. He straightened up and smiled down at her, “We’re done today at three-thirty. If we can get everyone out promptly I would love to take some shots, my choice of poses.”

Claire lowered her skirt and grinned. “Wonderful. I look forward to it. You can pose me however you like, I won’t say no.”

White moved to the wardrobe to hang up his coat and retrieve his smock. “That’s wonderful…Ms. Butler. Now we need to focus and get ready for Mrs. R.”

“Absolutely, Doctor.”

****

Julie’s direct supervisor came into her office and placed a folder on her crowded desk. “Take a look at this and see what you think. It’s new territory for us.”

Julie opened the folder for a peek and saw some photos of naked or semi-naked girls. She looked up at Bryce and asked “Anal Minds?”

Bryce looked a little sheepish and shrugged, “The Porn biz is very competitive. They need promotion just like everyone else.”

“You’re comfortable with…this?” She asked raising her eyebrows.

Bryce shrugged again before he turned to leave, “Let’s talk; let Jasmine have a look, I’m keen on her take.”

Julie looked through the information and the photos, then turned to her computer and sought out the site. Most companies have a policy about employees accessing porn at work and here she was being encouraged to do that. She chuckled and shook her head. It might at least get her mind off Courtney. Or not, considering the subject matter.

****

Christopher White looked again at the woman as she turned ninety degrees one way and then the other. “And what is it that you are unhappy with, Ms. Ruska?”

The woman looked up at the doctor with her hazel eyes, which, like the rest of her face, Dr. White thought, were totally acceptable. Ruska grimaced slightly and said, “I just think I look, oh, hawkish. I think I need softening. Cost is not a factor, Dr. White.”

“Mmmmm, that’s fine, no need to talk costs just yet.

I’m just wondering about the need. I find your face symmetrical and without, mmm, issue. I would be reluctant to make any changes. Just my opinion.” The doctor smiled.

Ms. Ruska sighed, “People say you’re the best around. I really don’t want to go to someone else.”

“How long have you been considering…surgery?” White asked gently.

“Oh ages, simply ages, Doctor. This is not some impulsive decision.

White thought for a moment; this was not a new scenario, he had had other women come to him for unneeded alterations; he refused to do them. “Can I show you something?” He asked.

Ms. Ruska nodded, with slight hesitation. Dr. White stood and walked to a set of cupboards, opening them and taking something out. It was an instant digital camera, and he returned to Ms. Ruska and had her turn her head and pose for several shots, all of which he rapidly developed.

White then brought over a moveable chart board, placing the photos onto it. He then took a ruler and spent the next five minutes showing Ms. Ruska how almost perfect her face was. “It’s not just my opinion, Ms. Ruska; you can see for yourself. There is nothing for me to adjust or fix. Here…” He passed her a card. “Call her. She’s very good. But then kindly call me, I wish to follow up with you.”

Ms. Ruska slowly made her way to the door, turning when she reached it to smile up at the tall man. “Thank you. I, um, I will call you. I promise.” They shook hands and the woman left.

As White settled into his chair, Claire came to him and kissed his face several times. “Whose card was that?” She asked.

White looked at her mildly. “A therapist I use. This woman has a problem with her head, but it’s inside. Dr. Thorne can work wonders with that kind of deal, and it will be a lot less money.”

“You’re wonderful,” Claire murmured, gently squeezing between the doctor’s thighs. “Remember, you’ll need that camera for after work.”

White smiled. “No need to remind me, Ms. Butler. I’m looking forward to it.”

****

Julie lay the folder down on Jasmine’s desk, one of four in the large office used by the technical assistants. She could guess why her boss had made this suggestion, as Jasmine was young, opinionated and open about sexual things. Even someone Julie’s age would have a different view on what the public could tolerate today when it came to using sexuality in advertising.

Certainly this company, BTRflash, functioned differently than Julie’s own company had. She knew she had made the right move, selling out and now working for salary and watching her company stock rise. BTRflash was much more innovative; she certainly would have never considered a pornography site as a client.

“Naked women, yeah, that’s some mad shit right there and I like it so far,” Jasmine smirked, “so what am I looking for, Mom, besides my own, like, shit?”

“This is our new client,” Julie smiled.  

Jasmine looked up, her partly-shaved head and purple black hair making her look, to Julie, a little like a peacock. “You’re dead-ass on this, Mom?”

“Uh, yeah, definitely, like, dead-ass,” Julie chuckled. “Bryce wants your perspective on it; I’m guessing our aim is younger; using slang and a certain attitude?”

“Like me, yeah?” Jasmine grinned.

“Yeah, like you. Kid.” Julie grinned in response.

****      ****

Julie was upstairs reading to Noah; she had just started so he had some time, Christopher pondered, as he retrieved the envelope from his case and began looking through the shots of Claire. Her body was definitely heavier than Julie’s, Christopher considered, so he wasn’t sure why it aroused him more than hers. Maybe a matter of, well, time? Or his past?

They had been married more than ten years, and certainly familiarity had set in, but it was more than that. Claire’s heavier breasts and hips pleased him greatly for some reason, and he had taken several shots of Claire from behind. She had responded keenly, pleasuring herself with one hand as he watched and took photos.

He looked at one shot in particular; Claire on her knees, face turned against the off-white carpet and looking back, although at the moment of the shot her eyes were closed. She had most of her hand inside her vagina and her mouth was open. Christopher closed his eyes and remembered her moans and then her soft laughter.

After a few moments she had crawled over to him and sucked him to climax. It had been wonderful, and sadly he couldn’t recall the last time he could say that about Julie and him.

Sad.

****

It was almost eleven and Christopher was in the shower, heading soon to bed. Julie was drinking some relaxation tea and trying to focus on Jasmine’s notes. It was hard first of all just to decipher the ‘writing’, as Jasmine used some sort of printing/cursive hybrid in a back-slanted style. Julie at times found herself turning the sheet to try to figure out a word; but at least the young woman had made some points about ways to separate one porn site from a thousand others.

Her suggestions involved the always essential increase of the site’s SEO, but being that it was intended for adults, that limited some of their options. “Look at kink.com,” Jasmine had suggested, naming a successful site. When she visited the site, Julie was astounded at how long it had been around and that she had never even heard of it. Amazing.

But, try as she might to focus, Courtney’s face kept forcing its way into her thoughts.

Impulsively putting down her notes and getting to her feet, Julie made her way upstairs to their bedroom, the sound of the shower still strong. She hadn’t checked in a while, she considered, as she picked up Christopher’s phone from the night stand. She opened the messages, checking to see what was happening between her husband and his buxom assistant. She thumbed through the explicit texts and then went to the photos, staring at the image of what had to be Claire’s vagina.

“Oh my God,” Julie whispered, noting subconsciously the water stopping, “Christopher is really into this…relationship.” She closed everything off and placed the phone back.

Heading back downstairs she decided she was still okay with things; her sexual interest in Christopher was almost nil these days and that wasn’t fair, and Claire was not really a threat to their marriage.

I wonder if he doesn’t delete his messages because he wants me to see them? She pondered. And then, I wonder if Claire’s going with him to New Orleans?

(End of Chapter 03)

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A Sanctuary of One by LongDarkRoad Chapter 2 When One Touches Life

A Sanctuary of One

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 2 When One Touches Life, One Is Always Wounded

Focusing on work this morning was difficult Julie found, although she had come up with something for that challenging Aduval product. Making incontinence medicine attractive, or at least interesting, was headache-producing.

Into her mind kept flitting the young, attractive face of Courtney Farrell, and the events of the previous evening.

After the surprising kiss, the woman had smiled, stood, wrote her cell number on a napkin, kissed Julie again, on the cheek this time, and headed off.

Julie’s taxi ride home was short, but still filled with a mess of conflicting emotions. Upon arriving, she was suddenly concerned that it was almost midnight and she experienced a stab of guilt, which she shook off, preparing herself for bed in the small bath on the main floor.

Coming into the bedroom, she stood and regarded Christopher, sleeping on his side as he always did, away from her; which she was okay with; preferred actually. She slid in gently on the other half and turned on her side. Despite her efforts, that smiling, attractive face haunted her thoughts until she finally drifted off.

When she woke, Christopher was already up, although she was certain he didn’t need to go in until late today. She found him in the kitchen reading something on his laptop, his breakfast already finished; their daughter watching the cartoon channel in the family room beside them.

“Good morning, my dear,” he said as she entered, his eyes remaining on his screen, “there’s coffee and fresh orange juice.” As she poured a cup of one and a glass of the other, he added, “So how’d it go with the, um, ladies? What was it exactly again?”

Julie sat across the small kitchen nook table from him  and sipped her coffee, “It was a discussion group, and yes, it was all women. There were two speakers and then general discussion for a while, and then a few of us went out for a drink. It was fun, well, enjoyable. I enjoyed it.”

She felt a stab remembering Courtney’s soft lips and the mild aroma, likely a body wash, not perfume, that accompanied the kiss. She would like to enjoy that scent again.

“I’ll see the kids off; I’ve a later start this a.m.,” he noted, closing his computer.

“Fine,” Julie murmured, regarding the calendar on the fridge. “Your folks have the kids tonight, right?” He nodded as he stood and picked up his cup. “What’s happening next weekend?” She asked.

He headed into the family room. “That symposium and conference in New Orleans, right. I go down Friday and come back Monday.”

Julie nodded, thinking briefly that it was his second trip this month. Looking at the clock she was stirred to action; he might have a late start today, but she didn’t.

****

Courtney held the cold pack against the side of the woman’s face, and gently brought the woman’s hand up to grasp it. “There, just keep that on for about ten minutes, I’ll start your paperwork.”

“My kids?” the woman asked, anxiously.

“My assistant is getting them some breakfast; they’ll be back up soon, then we’ll get you settled in a room. There’s a police officer coming to take your statement…”

The woman’s dark face showed alarm, “I don’t like talkin’ to no police,” she said.

Courtney nodded. This was not new or a surprise, but it was always disheartening. An hour later the woman was settled and Courtney slouched down with a cup of herbal tea and closed her eyes. The pleasant, striking face of Julie White suddenly came unbidden to her mind; she smiled. This might just work; there was definitely something there. But what?

****

Claire Butler joined Dr. White as he examined the breast work he had performed about a month earlier; he was always joined by a nurse whenever he had a patient unclothed. “How do you feel?” He asked, pleasantly.

Ms. Salinger, early thirties, attractive but sporting tiny breasts (before), beamed up at him, “I can’t believe it, Dr. White. I think it looks incredible; there has been so little pain, my husband is dying to get his hands on them, and I just grin like an idiot whenever I look in the mirror.”

The good doctor beamed back at her, and Claire Butler beamed at him.

****

The sounds of Mariah Carey’s ‘One Sweet Day’ alerted Julie to a call on her cell. “Hello, this is Julie,” she answered, not used to personal calls at work.

“So, how’s it goin’ today? No hangover from last night?” The voice asked, and there could be no doubt whose voice; Julie felt a shiver, which was highly unusual.

“Hi there yourself and it’s goin’ fine, thanks,” Julie chuckled. “No hangover, I didn’t really drink all that much. How about you?”

“Same. I’m not much of a drinker; two glasses of wine kinda does it, hey? I’ll sometimes hit a little bud but generally, I’m pretty boring.”

Without pausing to consider, Julie responded, “Oh, I wouldn’t call you boring.” She then felt a stab of conscience or something; this was totally new to her. She and Christopher had never needed to discuss much, they always seemed to have a sort of understanding, or something. Why was she feeling this excitement?

“So you don’t think I’m…boring?” The voice now held a touch of…something; was Courtney flirting with her? Flirting had never been Julie’s strong suit; she preferred the direct approach, at least in response.

****

October, 2016, Philadelphia

The final feature presentation of the day had been viewed and now dinner was over. A number of delegates had retreated enthusiastically to the hotel bar, which was now packed. Julie White, working on her second glass of Chardonnay, looked again at the attractive young man in the blue, striped shirt and he looked back, again. In a minute they had navigated to a corner table, bodies pressed around them.

Ten minutes later they were thrashing around on the King-sized bed in Julie’s hotel room. An hour after that they were showering. Half an hour more and they were snuggled under the duvet and slipping into sleep, the man’s arms enclosing her.

They would meet for sex three more times before the conference ended Sunday, and leave with each other’s email and cell number, and with Julie feeling more satisfied than she had been in months, though slightly puzzled. For the second time in a year she had allowed her hands to be tied behind her and had found it turned her on. A warning light should have appeared, she later mused; but it hadn’t.

****

Over the next year the two would hook up twice more in hotels, the last time a marathon weekend event. Thinking back on that affair now, Julie realized there had been no flirting, no coyness; just pure desire and …fornication, hungry mouths devouring genitals like animals, needs being filled, especially Julie’s with her on her knees, her preferred position.

The young man was Aaron, and Julie was not naïve about the fact she was something of a MILF to him, although he had not used that term. He possessed a marvellously muscled body, one he was arrogantly proud of, especially his rock-hard abdominal muscles that he put to good use. His favorite position also was dog-style, but it was so he could watch himself in the mirror. But then it had worked for Julie as well; he fucks me like a slut, she had pondered during one sweaty session, as he had made her beg, her hands bound again.

“Please, please fuck me.” She had called out as he slapped her round ass and called her his dirty, brown whore.

But no, there had definitely been no flirting, and now here she was, undoubtedly flirting with a young woman. Or the woman was flirting with her

“No, you’re definitely not boring, I can’t believe anyone would ever say that to you?”

There was a pause. “What are you doing tonight?” Courtney asked, her voice compelling, alluring.

Fighting rising excitement, Julie asked, “Em, why?”

Courtney chuckled, “Why do you think? I enjoyed talking with you last night; being with you.” She paused, then added, quietly, “Kissing you.” She chuckled again.

Julie hesitated, “You know I’m married.”

“Does that matter?”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Not to me,” Courtney murmured.

****

May, 2004, Milwaukee

Courtney Farrell trotted behind the row of Townhouses as evening descended. This was the short cut she used most days, despite the warnings of her mother to stay visible on public streets; it was a quick run and saved her a couple of blocks of walking.

Coming around the bend in the alley she had no time to react as a gloved hand closed over her mouth, followed quickly by someone grabbing her by her ankles. She was lifted struggling off the ground as a scarf was tied around her eyes and she was bundled into the back of a van.

Fifteen minutes later she was naked and tied on a mattress in a park maintenance shed, as four high school boys passed a bottle of vodka around, leering and making lewd comments while occasionally stopping to force some alcohol into Courtney’s unwilling mouth.

Two hours later, clothed again but now passed out, she was carried into the back yard of her family home (the boys obviously knew her) and dumped on the ground.

Her mother would find her an hour later.

Although her memory was sketchy with gaps, Courtney knew she had been raped, including anally, by the four boys.

Her mother took her in the morning for an examination and the police did a rape kit. In the end, although the DNA results were something of a mess, two individuals were identified.

The harassment and intimidation of Courtney began the next day, with rumors of Courtney’s sexting and slutty behavior; the world of social media was ablaze with organized gossip. And as it turned out, the father of one of the suspects was a good and very close friend of the owner of the company Courtney’s mother worked for.

Three weeks after the assault, the Farrells, mother and daughter, moved to Buffalo with Mrs. Farrell accepting a promotion and transfer with a significant raise in pay and some ‘moving cash’.

No charges were filed. Courtney and her mother never spoke of the assault again, at least not for years.

The only sliver of anything positive was that she wasn’t pregnant and tested negative for the battery of tests she had for STDs.

****

“So I can get the kids to your folks, what are you up to?” Julie asked, fighting to keep her voice ‘normal’.

“Ummm,” Christopher replied, “I’m actually going to dinner with a couple, potential clients. The wife, late forties is looking into a number of things; upper arm lift, nose work, possible facelift. It could be quite the job, so we’re going to have dinner and discuss. I, um…” he paused, “didn’t think it was something you’d be interested in, Dear.”

Julie snorted; no, listening to surgical procedures made her skin crawl. “You got that right, Mister. No, you go and talk up a storm; I’m not missing anything.”

“Understood. See you later.” Christopher smiled into his cell.

“Right.”

Julie ended the call and also smiled; there would be no problem meeting Courtney for a drink after all, although what she might be getting herself in for, she told herself, was another story.

****

July, 2008, New York City

Claire Butler was making her second trip back to the living room carrying three beers. Husband George and his two buddies had shown up unannounced, smelling like the proverbial brewery, which they would, having spent much of the afternoon in a bar.

The three men, who would drink together at least once a month, occasionally at George’s place if the teenage son was out, were particularly raucous tonight, slapping Clair’s ample, round ass whenever she ventured within reach. Allan had even squeezed one substantial breast, amid all the mammary jokes, and both George and Lonnie had hooted at Claire’s response.

Managing to get away, Claire watched cautiously from the doorway as the trio now had a sports channel on and were yelling at the two boxers on the screen. After a few minutes, and after the second time George had bellowed for her, Claire ventured out to retrieve the empty cans. As she grasped the one near her husband, George suddenly reached out and pulled her over his knee, to hoots and shouts from his buddies.

As if planned, Lonnie then grasped Claire’s wrists and held them, preventing her from escape, with Allan holding her ankles. Despite her howls of protest, George pulled her skirt up and then yanked both her pantyhose and panties down, revealing a round, white ass. Not needing any encouragement but getting lots, George delivered several smacks to the quickly reddening flesh.

“Stay still woman, or we’ll paddle you harder,” George admonished as Lonnie released her wrists. They sat eerily quiet for a moment, Lonnie squeezing first one, then the other, reddened cheek.

“Find something to fuck her with.” George directed ominously, an odd look on his face, his heavy arm pinning Claire’s back. She begged him to stop, but her pleas fell on deaf ears as Lonnie soon returned, laughing, from the kitchen carrying a broom. Allan meanwhile had removed Claire’s under clothing completely and tied her wrists with her pantyhose.

“Suck it, Bitch.” Lonnie now commanded, bumping the end of the handle against Claire’s closed mouth, until she finally opened it and sucked.

After a few minutes the handle was removed and Claire cried out. “Please George, please. Please!” She begged as Lonnie now began to push the handle into her vagina from behind.

“Hold on, I need to get this,” Allan announced, grabbing his cell phone and finding the best vantage point. After several minutes and a number of photos later, Lonnie withdrew the handle and pressed it against Claire’s anus.

To her anguished howls of protest, Allan made a proposal. “Okay, Claire-baby, how’z this. We’ll spare your sweet ass if you blow us.”

When she didn’t answer, Lonnie began to push the handle into her tight hole. “Okay, okay, for Christ’s sake stop it. I’ll do it, you bastards!” She spat out, tears oozing from the corners of her eyes.

Lifting her head by her brown/blonde hair, Allan sneered, “Do what, Bitch?”

Claire hesitated, filled with anger and fear, but the fear won out. “I’ll, jeezus, I’ll blow you…”

With hoots of laughter and rude comments amid the sound of zippers unzipping, Claire was positioned on her knees. With a grimace, she accepted Allan’s cock first.

****

“Thank you,” Claire said, as the server topped up her wine. She was seated to Dr. White’s left, with Mr. Beck beside her and then Mrs. Beck completing the table. No one seemed to think it odd that the doctor’s main assistant would be involved in the dinner and surgical discussions.

Now, as the orders went out for dessert, Dr. White began to talk about bone structure and muscle alignment as it related to craniofacial surgery, to the rapt attention of the Becks, and Claire.

****

“So, you made this happen, I’m pumped.” Courtney smiled across the table at Julie. They were sitting in a very low-key bar, a piano playing softly a distance away.

“Yes,” Julie smiled as well, looking around. “I wouldn’t have thought you would come to a place like …this. Seems a little dull for you, no?”

Courtney sipped her wine and shook her head. “No, I like places like this. It lets me, mmmm, pretend.”

“Pretend what?” Julie asked.

Courtney shook her head again, “Nothing awesome. What is awesome is that you’re here. I can appreciate that this takes guts.”

Julie smiled. She felt very relaxed, and it wasn’t the wine as she was just on her first glass. She considered for a moment, then began. “I’ve had affairs…”

Courtney looked at the woman with renewed interest. “More than one, hmmmm? Hubby not makin’ it, um, happen babe?”

Julie studied the face of her companion; the woman really was remarkably attractive, even with her mass of red hair tied back today in a simple, casual way. Her skin was flawless; her face perfectly proportioned, her eyes compelling. With a stab of guilt, Julie realized she wanted to kiss those plump, pink lips. She really wanted to, but she gave her head a slight shake. “Marriage is complicated. I take it you’ve never been… married?”

Courtney gently shook her head no but was silent, as Julie continued. “Sex really becomes a minor part of things, especially after you’ve had, um, kids. Christopher and I have a great relationship, and I’m not going to leave him because of sex; but I have, um, needs.”

It was now Courtney’s turn to study. “How old are you?” She asked suddenly, then laughed, “Sorry, I’m a little ADD. You know, Squirrel!”

Julie smiled at the candor, “I’m thirty-six. You’re in your late twenties, I’m guessing?”

“Twenty-seven, yeah. But, ummm, what happens in an affair if you uh, like the dude or chick? You don’t plan on that, right?”

Julie considered; she had never worried about that; it had never been personal. “Could be, I guess, but that could happen anyway. With a co-worker; a neighbor. You never know where attraction, um, desire I guess, could come from.” She sipped her wine. “I on the other hand, was just looking for sex and that was all I found. There weren’t any…deeper feelings.”

They both sat, quietly. “What do you think you’d do, if there were…feelings?”

Julie looked into those light, green-blue eyes. Why was she asking this? She pondered. “Well, that would make things, um, more complicated, for sure,” she said, quietly; but her heart rate had increased.

****

Claire was moving her hand rapidly up and down Dr. White’s shaft as she continued to suck on the head furiously. She wanted him to come, it mattered to her. He mattered to her.

They were parked, like a couple of teens White had smirked, on a dark side-street a couple of blocks from her house. The only problem was the console shift on White’s BMW was in the way a little as Claire leaned over from the passenger seat.

With a grunt, the good doctor’s hips jerked and Claire swallowed down the warm gunk, sucking even after the ‘event’. As White stroked her head and his erection diminished, Claire continued to suck, holding his cock in her mouth as long as she could.

****

The two women had ordered a second glass of wine each and had shared stories from their youth, both finding the talking and sharing, comfortable. “So, you, um consider yourself strictly a lesbian?” Julie now ventured the topic that had been on her mind for a while but brought forward with Courtney’s last story of a relationship with a woman.

Courtney gazed across the table, ideas forming; she liked Julie’s face; it had a softness to it; and there was something in her personality that was drawing her strongly. “I don’t know. I don’t like, labels.” She paused. “I like being with women. I like how they feel. I like, um” she smiled, “pussies, a lot. I feel in sync, like, I guess, with a feminine body. But I so don’t, you know, like the label, lesbian.”

Julie now studied the younger woman; she had been part of surprisingly few conversations about girl on girl sex in her life, even though she used sexual imagery in her work and had for years; she simply hadn’t really discussed it on a personal level. “Why should a label matter?” She asked.

Courtney continued to gaze mildly at her companion; she sighed. “Well, I don’t know what you mean by lesbian; maybe you don’t even know, like, yourself, hey; it’s just a word that you can say and not think about. That’s your biz-ness, right?” She smiled. “It’s all about slogans, style, image, illusion, hey? Lesbian is a nice, neat word to toss out there, either to attack someone, or at least like pigeon-hole ‘em I guess. And then there’s no need to ask what they really, like, are.”

Julie nodded; she had never thought at length about that, although she was well aware of the shallowness of modern advertising, which she was successful at. She herself was very good at coming up with phrases that meant nothing but conveyed something. ‘A bright, bold taste’; what the hell did that actually mean? That was her ‘biz-ness’.

“That’s a point, but isn’t saying that you like women or you are a lesbian just the same thing?”

Courtney took a sip and shook her head. “No, not to me. When I say I like women, that’s like a clear statement. When someone calls me a lesbian, or asks if I’m one, I don’t know what they are meaning, for sure. It depends on, like context, right. And it’s like we’re living in a world where context is, well, um, so like removed from us, and all you’re left with is, like, emotion and labels. Yeah, labels, for sure. And bias. And that marginalizing thing; and of course, being, like, dismissed, or, shit-hit-the fan, cancelled.”

Thinking that this statement was pretty complicated for someone in her twenties, and then remonstrating herself for her bias, Julie pondered the words. Her tasks in advertising were to create the context she wished, and then tie that into some need or desire; if she was successful, a product would become well known, a slogan if you will, and much of her job was done.

The slogan replaced any need for context or explanation; but it was amazing to her that this young woman seemed to understand this at an advanced, and personal, level.

“You resist being boxed in? I get that. One of the labels I hate is victim. Makes me crazy.”

“How so?”

“Well, there are true victims, people who have been attacked, physically injured. They need that word. But it seems ‘victim’ is becoming a slogan, a word, like you say, to toss out there, and there’s no need to define it. It’s like even MSM news is just slogans and opinions.”

Courtney snorted. “Yeah, the old fossil has become like the great, wide Twitterverse, where with one hundred and forty characters you can destroy someone or define something. Or just pile on, like a mob. I understand, being attacked. I understand that very, very well, but I’ll be damned if I’ll label myself a victim.”

“A survivor?” Julie asked, quietly, wondering what was behind that last statement. Considering even as she said it that that word was becoming slogan-ized.

“Maybe. I’d go with that, but it still doesn’t, uh, replace, you know, explaining. And it still tries to box me in. Relationships shouldn’t be reduced to a word, like that word marriage. Like you said, living an actual marriage is complicated.” She took another sip, considering. “But it seems to be how our world is going; you know, quick, simple, so mindless. Groups of people just yelling at each other through their devices. Makes me sad sometimes.”

They sat in silence. Finally Courtney looked up, “I’d like to go somewhere, together.”

Julie returned the gaze, her heart rate suddenly increasing once again, an uninvited desire nudging her consciousness. “Now? Where, um, would you like to go?”

Courtney gently stroked the stem of her glass. “I don’t know. Just somewhere to be alone; together. A sanctuary, sort of. I guess.” She chuckled.

(End of Chapter 02)

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A Sanctuary of One by LongDarkRoad Chapter 1 There’s Always One Who Loves

A Sanctuary of One

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 1 There’s Always One Who Loves

New York City

Christopher White possessed a name that suited him perfectly. As people observed, there had to be northern Scandinavians at large in his history, as he was possibly the whitest person they knew, right down, or up in this case, to his blonde, now receding, hair.

So it was a surprise when Christopher White married Julie Ramos, whose father was Puerto Rican and her mother mixed race.

“But not nearly as, um, white, as the Whites,” Julie’s friend Anna had smirked, considering Christopher’s very well-to-do, privileged parents.

But it had been years since Julie had seen Anna or any of her old crowd. Her life now was centered on their lovely home on the Upper West Side, her children, Noah, nine and Abigail, seven and her thriving business.

As for Christopher White, he had established himself as one of the top plastic surgeons in the state; women (and he worked almost entirely with women) came to him from as far away as Alaska and even Russia.

So far in their ten years of marriage, however, Julie had not been satisfied with the life of a stay-at-home mother, returning to her world of advertising as quickly as possible each time after giving birth. Her long-time ‘super-nanny’, Angel, being invaluable in her life; a ‘true angel’ Julie had often commented.

“You’re not concerned the children will mistake Angel for their mother?” Christopher had murmured once, several years ago, and Julie had simply given him a look. Why was it that he could have his career and his life and see his children, interact with them as he chose, but she needed to be there full time?

Christopher didn’t actually say that; it was simply implied in his manner. They had not fought over the issue; not even argued, really. Julie would admit that they had never had an emotional argument in their marriage, ever, despite her occasional annoyance or frustration. It was simply not in her husband’s (or hers, really) nature. For his part, Christopher was a calm, thoughtful, unemotional, stable, dry man; almost plastic.

“Well, it’s good he is a plastic surgeon, yes?” Her mother had winked at her early in the marriage when Julie had quietly complained about their uneventful lives.

She had had to laugh at her mother’s remark; her parents did not dislike her husband in the least. They were actually quite fond of him and appreciative of the safe and bountiful life his career provided. In their minds he was, absolutely, a decent man.

And they worshipped their two grandchildren. Julie’s impulsive sister and globe-trotting brother would likely not provide anything of the sort, at least nothing that would be acknowledged, so Noah and Abigail were precious, and both sets of grandparents battled for their time and affection. The positive of this was that both Julie and Christopher were able to involve themselves with their interests pretty much as they wished, their children never needing for care.

On top of his practice, White worked with New York University’s Master’s Program in Medicine, co-teaching one class each semester. He was also frequently asked to speak at conferences across the country, and was usually away a few days each month.

Julie had once considered asking him if all his obligations meant that his children might not recognize their father, but that was petty. He spent quality time with his children, and they did many family things meant to enrich their lives.

No, neither White child suffered for anything, including attention.

As time passed, Julie had managed her own restlessness (her lack of marital ‘fire’ as she considered it) over the years with occasional affairs. There had to date been three, all with men she had met while at the numerous conferences or trade shows she herself attended. Her only mild concern (she felt no guilt at the pleasure these encounters had given her; the men were all masculine and aggressive sexually; satisfying her in this way far more than Christopher ever had or could) was that she had gone back to each man more than once.

The most recent, Aaron, an IT specialist five years her junior at thirty-one, had even come to New York one weekend and the two had enjoyed a satisfying weekend of intense, even creative, sex.

But that had been over a year ago now, and she had felt no pull recently, which both concerned and relieved her. What she could use right now, she mused as she stared at the computer screen that had not changed in over twenty minutes as she allowed her thoughts to roam, was a gal pal to talk to. She thought now of Anna and Steph, and the other girls she had hung with in her younger days.

“Hel-lo-Hel-lo,” a voice called, rousing her from her reverie. Julie looked up to see the plump and pleasant face of Tina, her assistant, beaming at her. “You were off somewhere, my dear.” The woman grinned.

Julie smiled sheepishly, “You got me, girl. I’m not making any headway on this thing for Aduval, so I just kind of went away.” She chuckled, “So, what do you need?”

“Oh, nothing Boss. I just wanted to see if you’d thought any more about coming out with us tonight, to the meeting?”

Julie looked up with a blank face, trying hard to recall what meeting.

Tina smiled again. Divorced and forty-four, with two young-adult children, the woman had worked her whole life with little in the way of breaks, yet she smiled a lot, and saw the good in others. She was not the most knowledgeable about technology, many younger people would surpass her, but she was reliable and competent and positive; all things Julie White appreciated.

“The #MeToo discussion group. Jasmine and I are going, and I think a friend of hers. You like a good debate, Boss. And it won’t be hard core Femi-Nazi-ism or anything, but your experience and everything would be valuable.”

Julie grimaced slightly. She didn’t like the way the world was drifting these days; she didn’t like the noisy, aggressive tone that social media was adopting, where the loudest voices drowned out the rest. She didn’t need to be part of any sisterhood and she certainly didn’t need to hear endless tirades against men.

“Look,” Tina continued, “just come tonight and see what goes on. If it’s really not your thing, if nothing interests you, that’s fine and I will stop nagging you. That’s a promise. Boss.” Tina smiled again.

Julie smiled, too. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. She’d been thinking of how it would be nice to spend some time with women, or a woman; a friend. She needed that. She couldn’t remember the last time she and Christopher had talked at length about anything of importance; both of them busy with their worlds and then the children.

It wasn’t enough, for her. She needed…something.

****

Courtney Farrell clicked the mouse twice and waited for the sheet to come out of the printer. The woman she had just inputted into the Williams Street Shelter was now processed; Courtney took the form to Alanna and then strolled to the small cafeteria; she had missed lunch and it was now almost three. She decided to eat a sandwich and soup now, as she had the meeting tonight that she wanted to get to and likely wouldn’t have time to eat later.

And as she ate she unconsciously tied her impressive, red hair back into a pony tail as she read over her notepad. She planned to speak tonight and she felt a little nervous. In one on one situations, Courtney, now twenty-seven, was always self-assured and confident; but in groups it was a different story.

Standing up to carry her tray and trash to the bin, a lunchroom staffer, one of the few men in the building, happened to bump into her and she recoiled; even after all these years, certain things still affected her. The young man apologized and Courtney moved on and up the stairs to her small office on the second floor. The young man watched the shapely hips enclosed in the tight white track pants, looking away quickly when Courtney glanced back.

Even if he hadn’t been looking, she believed he was. It was one of her obsessions.

****

Christopher White looked over the scans; Ms. Jenson’s implants were looking fine. He had only started doing breast implants three years ago, when a partner, Ava, joined him, and it now made up almost half his work. He had never lacked for money, his practice successful from the start, but the steady flow of woman wanting a better profile had made the financial needle move up even further.

But the side effects had been odd; he now found it difficult to enjoy wife Julie’s plump, round breasts. Not only were they no longer arousing, he found handling them distasteful, almost repellant. He had fought this growing response as it developed over the last year, but it was of no use. The only time now that he could consider intimacy with his wife was in the safe darkness of their bedroom, and he believed she found this boring. But then, those times had become very infrequent.

Claire, his loyal assistant (she had been the first, and although the staff now had grown to three, was still his primary aide) came to his large and tidy desk. Mid-height, mid-forties, married, although she didn’t wear her rings at the office, her most prominent feature was, ironically, the substantial bosom that was almost an advertisement for a plastic surgeon who did breast implants.

Unbuttoning her white top, Claire placed the doctor’s  hands upon her breasts. She knew he didn’t always wish to see them, but he did enjoy fondling them, at least over her bra. The man himself could not explain why, brushing the inconsistency from his mind.

Kneeling down, Claire rubbed her hand against his expensive trousers, feeling the reluctant hardening of his modest cock. In a few moments her red lips (he liked red, bright red, actually) were moving up and down the glistening shaft, as Dr. White leaned back in his chair, eyes closed, soft moans escaping his lips.

If his wife could have her…secrets, well, so could he.

****

Julie first called Angel and confirmed with her that she would be able to make dinner for the children; the woman was a marvellous cook (so much better than me, Julia mused). Noah and Abigail did not need to be picked up from their private school, the bus dropped them off right outside their condo on one hundred and tenth, with Angel there to meet them.

Next, Julie managed to reach Christopher, who sounded even calmer than usual; relaxed almost, which Julie found strange for someone who made his living cutting humans open. Well, better relaxed, she considered, than hyper. Who wanted a hyper surgeon handling a sharp scalpel? Christopher nodded at Claire who returned from brushing her teeth and then nodded as his wife informed him that she would be home later; she was off to a meeting.

As Claire zipped up his trousers and kissed his neck, Christopher grunted at the information that it was a ‘woman’s meeting’. “Well, just don’t go marching in the streets, dear,” he murmured.

“Would that matter to you?” Julie asked, slightly annoyed and not sure why.

“Probably not,” Christopher replied, as Claire tossed him a wide smile before heading back to her desk.

Christopher then placed a call to Angel himself. He was interested in what she might prepare for dinner.

****

The group ended up being fourteen women and they met in a room behind a restaurant, where most ate before the discussion. As well as Tina and Julie, co-worker Jasmine, an early twenties woman with both a nose and eye-brow ring and arm tats, came. The fourth woman was Jasmine’s friend Courtney, a striking redhead who seemed an unlikely companion to the brash and clearly lesbian ‘Jas’.

After the meal and once everyone had a coffee or tea, the discussion was led by a Pace University English Professor, followed by a Syrian woman who was now in her third year of living in America and waiting for her citizenship.

The professor, a black woman in her early fifties, spoke of the issues facing working women, especially with things like career advancement. The Syrian spoke of the difficulty of an immigrant woman and employment.

Julie was pleased that no one used the word ‘victim’; apparently Professor Fenton disapproved of the word, as Julie herself did. The discussion became heated at times but remained thoughtful. Jasmine’s friend Courtney spoke several times and Julie was moved by her honesty; and by the woman’s voice. It had a quality; one could imagine that she had possibly been a radio announcer or some such thing. Julie closed her eyes once and just listened.

Several times during the evening, as the women sat in a large circle, Courtney and Julie exchanged looks. Now, as the group was breaking up around nine, several of the women discussed going for drinks.

Julie was looking at her watch when that lovely voice spoke beside and above her. “You are coming for a drink, aren’t you? It’s Julie, right?”

“Oh,” Julie said, slightly startled, “I was just considering…”

“Well don’t; I’m buying, the first drink, anyway.”

Julie looked up into the very attractive, no, beautiful, face; pale, soft, absolutely unblemished skin; thick, red hair framing the face with its high cheek bones and light blue-green eyes. “Why would you want to do that?” she asked with genuine wonder. No woman had ever offered to buy her a drink before. She had shared drinks, obviously, many times. But this seemed…different.

Courtney laughed and her face literally lit up. The memories and issues that sometimes caused her to avoid contact at places like her work or made her seem preoccupied, even distant at times, vanished. She became a radiant woman. “Really? I thought we had like a…connection in the meeting? I felt it.”

“A connection?” Julie asked as Courtney led her by her elbow toward the door. “We’ve barely met.”

“Well, let’s fix that. The lounge is just a little ways down this block.”

****

Christopher was just coming out of Noah’s room; the lad had drifted off to sleep easily tonight. Oh to be a child, the father pondered as he headed down the hall.

As he came up to her, Angel was just putting on her coat, with the temperature outside hovering just above freezing, April or not. “Lovely dinner as usual Angel,” Christopher murmured as the stocky, dark-haired woman smiled up at him.

“No problem, Mr. White. It is never a problem, for you or Mrs. J. The dishwasher is started, by the way and I’m off.”

“Good night and see you tomorrow,” Christopher announced to the broad, departing back.

Taking a glass of Merlot, he made his way to the den and popped open one laptop. He knew his schedule but he still felt the need to confirm; no surgeries tomorrow, but two follow-up visits; one an intricate nose job and the other; breast enhancement.

Would he ever completely enjoy a woman’s breasts again, he wondered, thinking for a moment of the mammaries of the loyal Claire? He would love to bury his face into the soft, ample mounds of flesh, but could not bring himself to it; yet. Claire wanted him to, but accepted his excuses, performing her ‘special’ service upon him with an obvious pleasure.

As he ruminated these thoughts on her, the woman appeared via a text message. “Dear Dr. W; I have confirmed your rooms for next weekend in New Orleans, Friday and Saturday. You had spoken of my assistance. Would you like me to book rooms as well?”

Christopher smiled as he read the message. “What would I do without your assistance, my dear Claire? Yes, please book rooms and flights. See you tomorrow; in at ten,” he texted back.

****

Five women ended up together at the lounge, sitting in a booth that curved around a large table. Julie sat at one end, beside Courtney, and after initial introductions and the like, the woman beside her became the only person she could really talk with. She heard snatches of comments from others now and then, but the soft (sultry? could this be a sultry voice? Julie pondered early on, trying to clarify what she found so compelling) voice to her right engaged her almost completely.

It became clear to Julie within a few moments that she and Courtney lived in very different worlds; at least, now. If she had stayed where she had been raised, in that working-class environment, then the differences would likely be minor. But she hadn’t stayed; she had earned a degree and married a man with wealthy parents who netted a healthy six-figure salary and had for many years; and they lived in an exclusive area of one of the most expensive cities on the planet.

Courtney, on the other hand, could only come to the Upper West Side as a guest. The young woman was not bitter about any of this, but she was definitely opinionated; and an activist. She believed in causes, identifying herself clearly, in one example, as a feminist. She did not say this to Julie as a challenge; she wasn’t carrying a chip on her shoulder so much as believing she was a soldier in a war.

As the attractive woman spoke at length about equal pay and roadblocks to women, Julie found herself simply listening to the voice rather than focusing on the ideas as they tumbled out, in volume.

“Are you listening to me, Julie?” the young woman suddenly asked, a smile on her pink lips. But at that moment there was movement from the end of the table, as two women were standing and getting ready to leave. Good-byes were said and then the third woman, Maxine, chatted for a while and finally Julie and Courtney were left as the last two.

“What were you asking?” Julie finished the last of her wine and looked at her companion.

Courtney chuckled, “I was just yadda, yadda and saw you had zoned out; I can have that effect on people sometimes.” Julie chuckled as well, and Courtney continued. “So I’ve been rude, which is like me. We haven’t talked about you, the good newbie doobie.”

Julie looked into the light, almost emerald in the lounge, blue eyes, “This is a regular thing, these meetings and then some socializing?”

Courtney shrugged and brushed back her thick hair with one long, elegant hand. (I’ll bet she plays piano, Julie mused) “Wouldn’t call it like, regular, exactly. We’ve been getting together for maybe a year now, every couple of months; there are about twenty of us but the whole crew doesn’t make it, right; and then we encourage bringing friends. You work with Tina, right?”

Julie nodded and considered, “Yes, I’m her, em, boss, actually, although we look at ourselves as a team, hey?”

“And it’s marketing or some shit?”

Julie chuckled and nodded. “Yes, some shit. Multi-platform advertising; we do everything from Twitter posts to television commercials; print, you name it. Even radio. I had my own firm for several years, then was bought out three years ago and hired as a working senior consultant. I like it, the whole promotion game, bullshit though it may be. Not bad for a Loisaida girl.” She grinned.

“Well, good for you, doobie. A non-white woman making it in like corporate America kind of; I raise my glass to you, even if my glass is like empty and you call your work bullshit,” Courtney laughed again.

She then proceeded to share her job and activities, which, no surprise, revolved around her causes. Protecting women from abusive relationships being one, which was why she worked at the shelter. The two sat in silence for a moment.

“I see you’re um, hooked up,” Courtney murmured, stroking Julie’s hand and ring. Julie smiled, partly because the touch felt pleasant and partly because she wasn’t sure what to say. “Kids?”

“Two,” Julie replied softly, running her finger up the stem of her glass.

“I’ll bet you’re a great mom,” Courtney said, quietly as well.

Julie sat in silence for a moment, hearing the din of conversation around her. “Not really, to be blunt. I like my own life. The best moms are the ones that are totally devoted.”

Courtney shook her head, her mane of hair swaying. “Don’t agree. I’ve seen those helicopter moms at work, hovering. Smothering, I say. But what about hubby-dear, does he do his…thing?”

Julie looked up but Courtney was focused on her glass; she noticed the soft swell of the woman’s breasts against her blouse, the line of her neck, the paleness of her skin. “He’s attentive; reads to the children at night. But he’s a doctor, a surgeon, and he’s busy; he teaches and travels. We both tend to be, mmm, busy, actually. But we have a wonderful ‘nanny’ cum housekeeper, who is indispensable.” Here Julie chuckled for a moment and Courtney looked up.

“I just find it funny…me…a Puerto Rican woman having a white nanny. How’s that for the American dream?”

Courtney laughed, covering her mouth with her long fingers.

****

In her modest Wakefield home, Claire Butler looked in on her husband, who needed to be away by four a.m. as he was on the early morning shift. He was snoring as usual and with a sniff of disdain, she closed the door. She moved down the hall to her son’s old room, empty since he had left for college. She stood looking quietly at the space; for whatever reason she had left things as they were, although Grant had emptied out his personal things a couple of years ago.

She then went to the third bedroom, end of the hall; the one which she had taken over as her own, she and her husband having not shared a bed in years; ten years in fact. She undressed and stood, massaging her large breasts and then the marks left by her bra. She picked up her cell phone and took a picture of each breast, then sent the images to Dr. White, smiling.

He might not touch them, but she enjoyed showing them to him.

****

“So Julie, would you take the red pill or the blue pill?” Courtney asked with an impish smile, blue eyes twinkling.

Julie sat; silent, frozen…confused. Pills?

“You know, knowledge and freedom, or blissful ignorance?” Courtney impulsively stroked the dark, curling mass of hair of this very interesting woman sitting beside her. She ran her slim hand down the woman’s light brown cheek; there was no resistance.

“Let’s go with the red,” then Courtney leaned in and kissed Julie, full on her soft, brown-pink lips.

(End of Chapter 01)     

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A Mask of Love by LongDarkRoad Chapter 21 A Mask Of Love, Placed

A Mask of Love

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 21 A Mask Of Love Placed, So As To Hide… 

Lillian lay on the carpet, her eyes closed, her head on Kendra’s lap. She hadn’t cried while watching the recorded confession; she had just sat in stunned silence and watched, mouth open. She made Kendra show it twice more and then just lay down, with Kendra sitting beside her and cradling her head, stroking her hair.

Kendra was the one with tears streaming down her face. When one tear splashed Lillian’s cheek, the girl looked up, then sat up and hugged Kendra. They had hugged now for a while, until Kendra had stopped crying.

“Thank you,” Lillian whispered, looking into Kendra’s eyes. Kendra just nodded and kissed Lillian’s cheek. Lillian moved over to sit cross-legged before Kendra and they looked at each other. “So, whadj’a do?” Lillian’s dark eyes looked hard into Kendra’s, but the older woman just shook her head. “You…killed ‘em, di’ncha?” She asked bluntly and Kendra just looked down.

“Good,” Lillian said, quietly, then brought Kendra into her, hugging her forcefully and quietly humming a melody that Charlie had sang for her. When he hummed it, the first night of her visit, she thought she remembered it and they both had laughed.

“You were so little,” Charlie had said. “I could hold you in one arm. I would sit and rock you and sing songs, eh?”

“I remember,” Lillian had said, in wonder. She was always certain it had been a dream.

****

Kendra awoke with a start. Lillian was sleeping beside her; both had fallen asleep on the carpet in the living room. Kendra got up quietly and went to a window; the sun was not quite up, but it was still a new day. She watched the sun and considered the possibilities. The authorities might track her down; what were the chances? She had Lillian on a good track; she had Carol back with her, and plans for their future.

What would happen to Lia? Kendra had done her best. Of Jessica and Meg, well, she couldn’t be responsible for everyone. She would be there if they needed her.

She walked over to the calendar on the kitchen wall and turned the page to the new month, looking in fascination. Life goes on, she thought, despite all that happens; it was a new page.

September 1, what would this month bring?

(End of Chapter 21)

(Epilogue I: September 16)

When the police broke in, they were overwhelmed first by the smell and then by the sight. Alerted by a courier who had tried twice to deliver a parcel, eventually going around to the back, craning to look through a slit in a back door window and seeing what she thought was someone sitting in a chair, but not answering the knock. She had called, and it being a fairly slow day in Kenora, two officers arrived, and now here they were.

“Holy fuck,” one said, his face covered with a medical mask.

“Goddamn,” said the other.

Kendra had continued to search the news daily and she read with interest (and alarm) on the seventeenth that the bodies had been found and that at this time the police had few clues. Apparently an expensive camera had been taken; Lia mentioned this to Kendra several days the trip. “I took it; it was just sitting there; not sure why,” she had said. Kendra had disposed of the thing, in pieces.

It was also mentioned that police had found disturbing content on the computer in the home.

Making that information public was an interesting move on the police’s part.

****

(Epilogue II: October 17)

“Oh my God!” Meg exclaimed, holding a copy of their CD in her hands. “Oh my God.”

Mary just collapsed onto her couch, holding seven CDs in her hands. “You know what this means, Kid?” She said.

“Hmmmm?” Meg replied, staring in fascination at the photo of themselves on the cover.

“Road trip, girl. Road trip.”

Meg laughed. It would be good to get out of town, away from the memories; even for a while.

****

(Epilogue III: November 1)

Simon Cutter began to cross the parking lot outside the building in the Gateway area of Washington, D.C. This particular block was a little sketchy, but that wasn’t what was giving Cutter nerves, even as dusk was moving into evening. He’d had the feeling on and off throughout the day, like he was being watched; just a strange foreboding feeling which he had tried, unsuccessfully, to shake off.

As he hit the unlock button on his fob, he glanced to his right and gave a startled yelp and dropped his briefcase. Dawn Haynes had just come out from behind the only other vehicle in the lot, holding a gun and pointing it at his crotch.

“Hello Simon, come this way, I need to have a word with your sorry ass,” Dawn instructed, waggling her gun in the direction of a wall formed by wooden posts. ”Leave the case, you can get it in a minute. Move it, I ain’t got all day.”

Reluctantly, and stumbling slightly, Cutter moved over to the pilings and saw there was an opening and a space behind. Dawn shoved him in and then without warning, fired a shot, the bullet hitting Cutter in the knee, causing a searing jolt of pain and knocking the slight man down. Since it was only a twenty-two, there wasn’t much noise, especially from behind the wall.

“What the fuck…” Cutter began, but Haynes cut him off with the motion of her gun.

“Where is she? I know she’s in D.C., now where is she?”

“What the fuck are you talking about…UHHH?!!!” Haynes had put a bullet into Cutter’s other knee.

“I’m not fucking around. I’m close, I don’t need you, it just makes it faster. Now, where is she?” Dawn hissed, stepping hard on the man’s groin.

Cutter screamed and Dawn stood back to regard him. He was shaking and close to hysterics, but he still had enough sense left to give Dawn all he actually had. He had left Lauren to the woman, Madera’s, ‘care’, and didn’t actually know where she was being kept.

Dawn wrote down the name, Cynthia Madera, south Washington. “Thanks,” she grunted, pausing for a moment to regard the creature on the ground before her, then she fired a round into Cutter’s stomach, looking hard into his eyes as he looked up in fear and hatred.

Then she shot him in the forehead, right between his little eyes, before tossing his own gun down in his lap after pressing his fingers on it. The only prints on the gun would be Cutter’s.

Haynes walked back to her car, grabbing Cutter’s briefcase on the way, and then drove off.

****

(Epilogue IV: March 1)

“Hey Dad,” Meg greeted her father as she came through the doors of ‘Second Chances, Bean Shop and Bar’, formerly the Purple Barista.

“Hey yourself. What are you up to, you’re not playing tonight, whatcha’ doing here?”

“Nope, just thought I’d drop by and see how you’re doin’? Can’t a daughter check up on her dad?”

Kevin chuckled; he would never get tired of hearing Meg say the word ‘dad’. “It’s been almost six months, Kid. I think you can trust me by now.” He grinned. Every day was like a picnic for Kevin Greenfield; some days he still felt like he needed to pinch himself, to make sure it wasn’t a dream.

Meg laughed. The truth was, she liked coming here. She liked seeing her dad running the place he had bought from Marcy, and which seemed to fit him like a glove. He was a good businessman, and he had never backed away from work, but now he could share it with his daughter.

“Mary coming down?”

“Naw, I’m meeting her later at a lounge a few blocks from here. She’s just working a little late and finishing something up.”

“Well, we just need to sell some more of your CDs and maybe she can quit that job.”

Meg looked at him. “Don’t forget, in a few weeks we are leaving on another tour. Hopefully that will move some product.” Kevin gave her a thumbs up, although he was a little uneasy with her being out on the road.

Meg pondered for a moment how things had changed; Kendra heading over to London with Carol Douglas and leaving her and Mary to look after the house had been a wonderful gift, allowing the two women to put some money away. Although the house seemed a little empty with just the two of them, it was also much nicer than any apartment they could afford.

She looked again at her father as he busied himself behind the bar. He had accepted Meg and Mary’s relationship amazingly well, and while neither of them talked marriage or anything long term, they were content. Happy? Jessica still floated into her mind now and then.

Meg was good with contented and with hope and purpose; she wasn’t concerned with happy just now. As she left the shop her mind flitted back to the days when Jessica sat watching her from the car parked right where she was standing. Jessica…what was there left, Meg thought, as she turned and headed for her new car, the old Ford now gone.

****

Lauren cleaned up the mess with a wet-wipe as the man lay on the table, breathing deeply. “That was great, Starr,” the man mumbled, using Lauren’s trade name.

“Of course, Hun,” Lauren replied, waiting for the gent to sit up. “I’ll let you get dressed. You want a shower?”

“Nah, I’m good. Thanks.” Lauren slipped on her lace bra and thong and then her dress. Scooping up the envelope with the cash, she left to allow the man to dress while she took the payment and tip to the manager. None of it was for her.

She glanced up at the clock; only an hour and a half left, maybe one more dick to service, she mused. Another hour, another dick; each day was the same. Service the men, most of whom were forgettable, a few attractive enough to at least make an impression, and a few jerks; but it was all just another day in a long line of days.

Today however, outside the building, Dawn Haynes sat and watched with a plan formed in her mind; one she had been constructing ever since she had come down to Washington. With Cutter gone, things had become clearer and her resolve had not wavered.

In her mind, the most difficult part, getting Cutter out of the way, was done; but, if she needed to shoot someone else, she would, damn it.

****              

“Open C147,” the voice said, and with a loud clanging the cell bars slid over. Lia Robinson stood waiting.

“Prisoner, step forward,” came the command and Lia stepped into the hall and stood, hands at her sides. The same process was performed for the next six cells, and when all fourteen inmates were standing outside, the order was given to turn and the line headed for the lunch facility.

Being a former guard, Lia was isolated from the general population for a good portion of the activities, but she did eat with them, although on her own.

She appreciated what Kendra had done for her; the defense lawyer had managed things so effectively, especially considering Lia was prepared to ‘throw in the towel’ and just give up. Because of the diligent work of her lawyer, Lia ended up with four years; Holly on the other hand received a sentence of nine.

On her last visit, before heading to England, Kendra had sat across the glass and emphasized that the house would be waiting for Lia when she served her sentence. “I’ll look after you, Kid,” she had said, and Lia had nodded. All Lia had to do was stay clean and serve her time. Four years; she could do it.

****

Homicide Detective Deeling placed the file in the cabinet; it had been almost six months since the bodies of the two ‘perverts’ had been discovered; the revolting videos contained in the seized laptop left no doubt what the two men had been up to. Snippets of conversation led the police to search the backyard; the video clearly showed them strangling one girl; and four bodies were found buried there, three female and one male.

To be truthful, the small force did not place a high priority in finding their killers; it could have been anyone who had lost someone to them. The tapes showed over twenty girls being abused, some so brutally hardened police officers vomited.

No. No one felt any sympathy for the dead men; if the detectives had answered honestly, they would have said they got what they deserved.

Deeling closed the file cabinet.

****

Marcy looked up as Carla came into her office and sat in the chair to one side of the desk. “Everything good?” the woman asked and Marcy nodded her head.

“We’re doing well, I’m actually working on the six month’s report; that’s next week, eh?”

Carla nodded, “Time zips by, jeez.” She paused regarding the quiet woman sorting papers before her. Marcy looked up, “What are you grinning at?”

Carla smirked, “Oh, just thinking of our first meeting back at the Purple Thingy…”

“Barista…” Marcy chuckled.

“Yeah right, crazy how things work out.”

Marcy nodded. Here she was in Vancouver, partner in another business, living in a relationship with Carla and Allen.

She had not heard a thing from Dan since they sold the business and he had packed up and moved out; but she was happy. Or maybe content would be a better description.

Marcy did think now and then of Meg; she had heard the two girls on a CBC radio program recently, but she knew that that ‘love’ was never meant to be. She had, on an impulse one day, sent Meg a text saying, “next tour, come to Vancouver; I’ll make you tea!”

She had received a text a couple of days ago saying a second tour was actually being planned and it would definitely include Vancouver.

It would be…interesting, to see Meg again.

She smiled now at Carla, “Allen making anything special for us tonight?”

Carla nodded her head. “Yeah, he was chopping vegetables for a stew when I left.”

Both women smiled.

**** 

Kendra looked around her; everything was perfect. For

the third time in the few months since they had been in London, they would be hosting another Saturday night affair with masters, mistresses and their slaves. Carol Douglas would of course figure prominently, as she had before.

Kendra texted a message to Lillian and then put her device down. They had stayed in contact and it was the only thing wrong with their life here and the thing that would take them back, soon. Very soon. She wanted, no, she needed, to see Lillian; to speak with her; to touch her.

“I think after tonight’s affair, we will head back to Ottawa, for a visit; see how everyone’s doing, and then maybe check out that condo in Mexico,” Kendra said and Douglas nodded her head.

“Whatever you want, but you have enjoyed it here?” Douglas murmured from her knees.

“Oh my God, yes. This will be our home base, I’m thinking. But there’s lots out there to see. And people I want to stay in touch with. It’s great, by the way, that you finally heard from Lauren, after all these months.”

Douglas crawled over to her mistress and knelt before her. “Yes, that was a huge relief, but still a puzzle. I know there is a something she is not telling me. We’ll see.” Carol paused and looked up at her mistress. This was the life she wanted, but she could understand Kendra’s need. She spoke quietly, “And now that you mention it, it would be pleasant to see home again. But I am dying to get you down to Puerta Vallarta. It is such a perfect location; I know you’ll love it.”

Kendra reached down and stroked Douglas’s face, thinking again how lucky she was.

**** ****

That night, when the party was in full swing and the slaves, including Douglas, were all being used and the champagne was flowing and the luxurious ‘hall’ echoed with music and laughter, Kendra knew she had to leave; they had to leave, the next day. She needed to get home.

She texted Lillian. “Do you want to come back to Ottawa for a few days?”

A few moments later, even though it was early morning in Winnipeg, the response came. “Yes. Mom.” Smiley- face.

Kendra smiled too and then nodded, as an elegant woman in her early forties led Douglas to her on a leash. “She was wonderful,” the woman smiled.

“I’m sure,” Kendra agreed, raising her glass.

****

Jessica observed through the window of the train the endless rolling land, still brown, awaiting spring. In the shadows by the tracks there was still snow. She was crossing the prairies and heading for Calgary; she wanted to see the mountains, she didn’t know why.

Kendra had said to just go and live, and when she was ready to return, there would be a place for her, so she had travelled; Milwaukee, St. Cloud, Churchill, Denver, and now back in Canada. She wasn’t ready to return just yet.

Her hair was cut now so that it was short all over, and combed back, in a masculine way. However, with her soft, full lips and feminine stance, one would never mistake her for a boy; she still received lots of attention, from men and women. Glancing across the aisle now she caught the eye of the young, likely university age, student sitting across from her. The girl had long, red hair, styled much like Jessica used to; the girl looked away and then looked back; Jessica smiled and the girl looked down, then back up, and smiled in return.

The carriage was possibly half full and the seat across from the girl was empty. Jessica slid over and sat looking at the nervous girl who looked even younger up close. “Where you headed?”

The girl licked her lips and brushed away some hair. “Calgary,” she said, in a very soft voice, and Jessica imagined that face looking up at her from the floor, and that quiet voice saying, “Mistress”.

“Good, I’m headed there too, and I’ve never been; it would be great to have a like, friend, like, direct me, eh?”

The girl smiled, “Sure,” and they began discussing the city.

Later that night, in the girl’s small basement suite, Jessica slid out of the bed and looked down at the lovely, naked body, sleeping innocently.

“This is me,” she said to herself, taking out her cell and snapping a photo to add to her collection. Maybe in a month or two she would be ready to head back to Ottawa.

Maybe.

****

(Epilogue V – April 3)

Dawn looked up as Lauren came in, carrying a glass of milk. The girl still looked, different, even after being home for a few weeks now. It was like she was brainwashed or something.

“You can take her,” Madera had sneered, when Dawn had finally made her move at the massage parlor, over-powering the attendant and confronting the tall, unflinching woman. Madera was eying Dawn’s revolver as she added, “but she will always be mine.”

Dawn had thought about putting a bullet in the woman right there, but there were witnesses, so she just hustled the compliant Lauren out to their waiting car and rushed off to the airport and then back to Montreal; but things were not the same. Lauren was not the same.

Dawn got up and went into the bathroom; she felt she needed a shower. When Lauren heard the water running, she took out her second cell phone and pressed the only

number in it. In a moment, the compelling, sensuous voice of Madera asked, “Are you on your knees?”

Lauren instinctively dropped down, “Yes, Mistress,” she whispered.

“Good. You are a good girl, my good girl. I will be coming for you.”

“Th-thank you,” Lauren murmured, her heart beating; then the call ended.

****

(Epilogue VI – late April)

Meg, just returned from their quite successful tour of nine cities to the west coast and back, sat on the bench in a small park. If I smoked, now would be a good time, she thought. But she had never liked smoking, so she simply sat.

She looked again at the text message that had buzzed in this morning and which she had not responded to; yet.

It was from Jessica.

It said simply, “I’m heading back to Ottawa; be there probably in a week or so. What’s the deal? Is my room still vacant? I know you and Mary are living there. I don’t want to fuck things up, although I usually do, but I would like to use the room for a little while. Don’t know for how long. That’s me, Sweets.”

What to say? What did she feel? A small stab of desire, that was true; images floating through her mind; her on her knees before Jessica, staring at and craving the shaved and pink labia; wanting desperately to devour them.

That was not the pleasant love-making that she and Mary now practiced, where, by agreement, they were equals, for the most part, although once in a while, just for a change, Mary would assume a dominant’s role; but it was just play.

No, the desire she had felt for Jessica was something different.

Meg pondered; could she risk this? Could she avoid it and regret that for ever? She thought for a moment on a poem she had read, the line about the dagger of jealousy.

She did not wish to be pierced. Again.

****

“Unnngg!” Lauren cried out, as the cane bit into her, the room beginning to spin, pain folding into pleasure. Madera sensed her toy was near the edge, and she moved in close, her experienced fingers working hard on the responsive clitoris of her bound slave. With another cry, this time of pleasure, Lauren sagged on her ropes, tears slowly caressing her cheeks, a sense of great peace descending upon her.

* * * *

(Epilogue VII)

Lillian was out running, something she did in Winnipeg almost every day now, but not on the hard pavement of the city streets; Lillian preferred to be near trees and grass. She was out now on St. Mary’s road, jogging to a wooded area she liked and visited at least once a week.

It was a sunny May day, and warm. Lillian took off her jacket and walked deeper into the woods. She found, hidden in a dense cluster of elm, remnants of snow. Amazingly, there was enough that she flopped down into it, and moved her arms. One might think she was making a snow angel, but she wasn’t; she was thinking of her spirit animal; the raven.

In Winnipeg, she had begun working with a group that helped runaway and abused native girls. Lillian counselled them and acted as a resource for people who wanted to deal with the problem of trafficked native women. She had become a symbol of hope for her community; her people. And she had found her spirit animal.

Soon she would head back to Ottawa again and spend some more time with ‘mom’; but she would always return here, and continue with her work.

As she lay, a raven came to land on the tip of a spruce not far from her. Lillian lay still and watched the black shape; then saluted it.

She moved her arms up and down again and just laughed, looking up into the blue sky. She couldn’t help it; she laughed out loud.

Because she too was the raven; and she was flying free.

****

And when you came to me

I lay, disguised in my silence,

your memory still warm within;

with the dagger of jealous pity piercing my armour,

and a mask of love placed, so as to hide

the truth;

I had wished to find God…

Or my desire,

To find the peace of forgiveness,

Or at least to see the light,

To have tried;

yet…

What remained was

but the ash of salvation,

bitter on a tongue that had lied.

The Chronicles of LongDarkRoad

The Mask Of Love

By Lawrence W Taylor

The End

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A Mask of Love Chapter 20 For Angels Shall Have Charge Over You

A Mask of Love

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 20 For Angels Shall Have Charge Over You, To Keep You In Their Way.

Are you coming tonight?” Meg asked quietly. Things had been so awkward and strange these last few days that she was hesitant with the question.

Jessica looked at her girl and then said quietly. “Yeah, I’ll be there, Sugar-plum.”

Meg snorted, “Sugar-plum? What about Cindy-Lou?” she smiled, a cautious smile. Things still were not right.

Jessica smiled again, a little warmer this time, “Hey, dogs don’t play guitars, Kiddo.”

****

Andrew Thomas had indeed wet himself.

He had also cried, so much so that Kendra and Lia had to wipe his face with a rag. “You’re a disgusting piece of shit!” Lia had yelled at him, and he had cried some more. He had begged; even Kendra remarked that he was pitiful.

All the while Brown had glowered at Thomas and the intruders making as much grunting noise as he could, until Lia had Tasered him again, just to quiet him down. “Asshole,” she sneered at his now silent form.

****

Marcy tried Dan’s cell again; it still went to voice mail. She called Cerise to come in, even though it wasn’t her day. Where was the idiot? Well, this would just make her decision easier.

****

Now Andrew Thomas sat, looking into the camera, tears still leaking out of his eyes and running down his puffy, unshaven face.

“Ok, mother fucker, are you ready?” Lia asked, her dark eyes boring holes into Thomas’s face.

“Yeah, um, y-yeah, I’m, ah, r-ready, mmmm, M’am.”

“Fuck,” Lia said under her breath and gave Thomas the signal to start speaking. Kendra held the camera trained on the man’s face, and it then recorded as he admitted to Brown and himself hiring young girls for sex over the years. The two of them preferred native girls, and they liked them in their teens, with some as young as twelve.

They had also on occasion kidnapped girls. “How many?” Kendra had asked, keeping her voice calm while rage welled within her.

Thomas had thought for a while, clearing counting up, “s-seven, I think, or ay-eight”, had been his answer.

Then, and this sent a chill up both women’s spines, and sent Brown kicking on his chair, forcing Lia to Taser him again, after which he passed out; Thomas, with tears and mucous running down his face, admitted to the killing of three of the girls.

“Mmm-mebbe, f-four,” he had stuttered; their bodies were buried on the unsightly lot.

After taking some time to collect themselves and clean up the man, Kendra directed Thomas now to make an apology to Lillian.

“I’m sorry, y-young lady, L-l-lillian, ummmm, for what we done to you. We are a-animals. Animals. We, um, fuck, fuck, Goddamn, uhhhhh, we don’t, uh, d-deserve to live. We don’t. We don’t…” His voice had trailed off and he had hung his head. Kendra had collapsed onto the third and last chair in the room; numb, unable to speak or cry. She just sat. Lia stood, her eyes blazing, her mind working. She knew what needed to happen next.

****      ****

Brown was awake again, but looking dazed, which was fine for the ladies. “We should get going, hey?” Kendra said quietly.

“You go. I just want to talk with these two for a minute, private-like.”

“Lia…”

“Go, Kendra.” Lia stood straight and looked down at her friend. She was more menacing than she had been the night they had argued.

“Lia, please…”

“Go Kendra. Let. Me. Be.”

Kendra stood uncertainly, considering. The she packed up the bag and walked out, carrying the camera as well and feeling like any minute she would faint; or vomit; or both, with Lia shadowing her all the way until she was out.

After a moment, Lia walked over and stood, looking down at the two men; not speaking, just looking at them. Brown rocked on his chair and Kendra punched him hard in the face; it actually hurt her hand, but his head snapped back and the man looked dazed again; blood was trickling from his nose and from under the tape.

“Shut the fuck up, you two motherfucking losers. This is it for you. For all those girls. I jus’ wish I could make it last, but I don’t have time…”

“Please. Please, please, please…” Thomas moaned, now rocking on his chair as well.

“Pitiful mother fuckers…” Lia sneered and walked over to the drawers, pulling them open to find the one that contained the meagre supply of utensils; there were two steak knives there, and she took them both out and went back to stand in front of the men.

Thomas simply began now to wail; Brown had an odd look in his eyes. Lia ripped the tape from his mouth, and then in a quick motion, drove one knife into his body, just below his sternum. She knew this would not kill him, at least not right away; she wanted him alive, for a few more minutes anyway.

Grabbing Thomas by his short, grey hair, Lia slashed his throat in one long, quick motion, blood spurting out to the right in an arch of red. Thomas stared up at Lia with a look of surprise, he hadn’t even cried out;  then his eyes clouded. He coughed twice and then, as Lia released his hair, his head slumped down to his shoulder, blood now running down and soaking his shirt.

Lia turned back to Brown, her heart pounding, rage boiling within her. “You son of a bitch,” she yelled. “You fucking, useless, son of a fucking bitch.”

Brown’s lip began to curl into a sneer, before Lia plunged the second knife straight down into the man’s heart, so hard his chair toppled back and Brown crashed to the floor. His eyes were open, staring at the ceiling; blood was flowing from his opened mouth.

When Kendra, unable to stay outside any longer, came rushing back in, she found Lia at the sink, throwing up. Lia spun around and grabbed Kendra by the arm, forcing her back to the door and out.

“No,” Lia said, “No. Let’s go.” In her hand she carried Brown’s expensive camera; she had thought about taking his computer but left it; there was likely lots of incriminating stuff on it.

As if in a dream, the two stumbled out the door and down the stairs and to the fence where Lia pushed Kendra over again, and then followed. Clutching their stuff, they ran all the way to where the car was parked. They were oblivious to their surroundings but lucky, as no eyes witnessed their escape.

In a few minutes they were back on the road, heading to Winnipeg. They drove in silence, dazed, staring. After a while, Kendra put on the radio, thinking absently of when was the last time she had listened to a radio. It was a country music station, of sorts. Jason Isbell was singing, ‘Cover Me Up’; “…a heart on the run, keeps a hand on a gun, it can’t trust anyone…”

****

Meg paused before she picked up her guitar; it was time to head to the PB. Once again tonight she was to take her own car. She looked over at Jessica, who now came and placed her hand on Meg’s shoulder, then kissed her cheek, murmuring, “See ya’ later, babe.”

Impulsively, Meg put her arms around the woman and her face against the other’s cheek. From her vantage point, Meg could see out the window, into the distance. She whispered, “I love you.”

“You do, I know,” Jessica said, quietly, then asked, “For ever?” unhooking Meg’s arms to gaze at her; an odd look, to Meg’s mind, on her attractive face.

“I hope,” Meg said quietly, as Jessica turned away.

****

They had been on the road for an hour before Kendra spoke. “I’m guessing they’re both…dead?”

Lia, whose head was against the side of the car with her eyes closed remarked, “What difference does it make?”

Kendra cast a quick side-ways glance; Lia was not looking at her, “It makes a difference to me,” she said quietly.

Lia sat up and rubbed her face, “Whatever it is, it’s on me, girl. It’s all on me. You weren’t even in the house, so forget about it.”

They drove awhile before Kendra continued, “I don’t think the authorities would swallow that distinction.”

Lia’s head was back against the window; in time she mumbled, “Stop worrying, Kend. What’s done is done.”

****

Lana Martel printed off the forms. It was too late tonight to do anything, she would take the forms in herself in the morning.

In her room, Clarice Bey lay with her earbuds in. There was no point in trying to sleep; she would just lay and hope to drift off. Tomorrow could be insane; but she kept telling herself that she had done the right thing.

But, in the end, what was done, was done.

****

That night, as they finished their last song, Meg looked over at Jessica, against the window, and smiled. Jessica smiled too, albeit a small smile. Then she nodded.

Later, when Meg had packed away her guitar and got her bag together, she noticed again that Jessica had already left. She and Mary got their jackets and started out together. It was not surprising that Jessica’s car was gone; she often left before Meg got out.

“So, feel like some wine? Tea, maybe? Me, maybe, hmmmm?” Mary asked, giving Meg an elbow.

Meg chuckled, “Hang on.” She had her cell out and was texting her mistress.

“Hey, that’s fine. I’m heading home and you’re welcome to come over. Just let me know what your, um, friend, wants.” Mary winked and headed for her car. Meg stood and waited; sometimes it took Jessica a little longer to respond, depending on what she was up to. After several minutes, Meg decided to head home; she wasn’t certain why.

****

Kendra and Lia moved down the ramp toward their plane. Both had begun to feel their nerves, and looked around every now and then, half expecting the police to suddenly show up. Nothing happened of course and they entered the plane and found their seats; it was a smaller jet with only two rows, and they were seated side by side.

Once in the air both women order drinks; scotch for one and whiskey for the other. Since it was a late flight, the lights were dimmed and they sat in the semi-darkness. “I wasn’t sure what I’d do, Kendra. And when I decided, I didn’t want your consent, hey. This is on me, whatever you, like, think, hmmmm?” Lia said quietly.

Kendra turned to face the woman. She nodded. “I understand, Lia. I’m not sure what I would have done. Knocked them out? Don’t know.” She sipped her drink.

“That prick said they killed at least three girls, Kendra,” Lia said in a whisper.

Kendra nodded. “I know. God damn it. I know.”

****

Meg arrived home and found the house dark, and stood, uncertain of what to do. She went around, turning on lights, then headed down to Lillian’s room before suddenly remembering that the girl had gone somewhere. Winnipeg? Meg stopped on the stairs and headed back up them, then up the second set to the upstairs level and Jessica’s room.

Meg opened the door and flicked on the light, then stood. The closet was open and empty; stacked against the wall were several boxes. Meg, feeling a rising sense of panic, went to the dresser and opened drawers, finding them empty too. She sat on the bed, unable to make sense of this. 

Meanwhile, in a bus headed for Milwaukee, Jessica sat in the darkened space and looked out her window. Sometimes, one needs to cut one’s losses; that was her thought. Right now, she just felt numb, and was trying not to think. She’d text Kendra in the morning. That was as far ahead as she was thinking; she could not allow herself to think of Meg.

She closed her eyes, letting the bus and the night take her away; “…a heart on the run, keeps a hand on a gun, it can’t trust anyone…”

****

Arriving home in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Kendra and Lia both headed for the showers, one up and one down, and both stayed under the water for a long, long while. It wasn’t until they had emerged and then dressed in their night clothes that they noticed how quiet the house was. Lillian was gone, obviously. There had been no word from Allie since she took off. Being Tuesday night, Meg would have been playing and likely Jessica would have gone to see her, but that was finished hours ago.

Kendra moved down the hall, and like Meg a couple of hours earlier, she opened Jessica’s door and looked in. She saw the same scene, and stood shaking her head slowly from side to side. So this was the deal, this was what Jessica had been building up to, what had been weighing on her and causing her sadness.

Feeling like she was walking in a dream, Kendra moved back down to the main level and the liquor cabinet, finding a bottle of Canadian Club; she needed something more than wine.

As she was pouring her glass, Lia came up and stood beside her, and Kendra poured her a glass, too. “Slum it tonight, Lia.” Kendra murmured, handing the glass to her friend, and then heading for a couch.

The two sat and drank. What was there to say? Where did one start? “They were both dead, right? You’re sure?” Kendra asked again, in a quiet voice; she knew the answer, she just needed to hear it. Lia simply nodded her head. “How?” Kendra asked, her voice flat, emotionless.

Lia looked over at her, “Why does that matter?”

Kendra returned the look, “Just tell me.”

After a pause, Lia recounted the scene, stating without doubt the two men were dead. “It could be weeks before anyone finds them,” she added.

Kendra just nodded. Her brain was not functioning well; she had not been drunk in a long while; tonight seemed like a good night for that. Suddenly her cell phone came to life, making both women jump. Looking down, Kendra gave a sigh of relief, seeing that it was Carol.

“Sorry, Mistress”, the text read, “hopefully this doesn’t wake you and you find it in the morning. Just needed you to know how much I miss being with you; the days are creeping by, but soon I will be home.”

Home, Kendra thought, what an idea. Home. This was her home, and she had had such plans. Would she be awakened in the morning by police officers, having spotted her rental car on a traffic cam and tracing it back to her?

Don’t be stupid, she told herself, heading over to refresh her glass. It was extremely unlikely that the murder of the two losers would ever be solved; but that didn’t stop the paranoia. Kendra was an honest person and this guilt was something that engulfed her, swallowed her. She needed to fight it, or it would consume her.

“What’s the deal with Jessica?” Lia’s voice brought Kendra back to reality.

“I think she’s gone. No, I know she’s gone.”

“Gone?” Lia asked, looking up. “Gone where? Why are you so calm? Gone, what the fuck?”

Kendra poured more whiskey into her glass and returned to the couch. “It’s been building for a while. She’s running away from her…feelings, herself, I guess; sounds dumb, I know.” Kendra shrugged.

What’s done is done, ricocheted in her mind.

****

Kendra heard the noise; it came into her dream. She was running, somewhere. Her father was reminding her to sit up straight. What did he care? Kendra thought, but the noise would not go away.

Waking, she looked over at her cell, which was making the noise. She had left it on vibrate; but now it stopped. Kendra just lay, noting there was sun behind her curtains; she picked up her cell to see it was past nine, when it chirped in her hand, indicating a message.

Sitting up, she opened it; it was from Jessica. “Sorry, I couldn’t face you. Just couldn’t. I’m away to who knows where as they say, but I’ll be back. Look after our house and my stuff, eh, Snooks?? And look after Meg. It’s what you do, Boss. I’m sure you’ll tell me someday what you and Lia were up to???

Thank you for being my friend; I love talking with you. I’ll miss that. I’ll really miss that. But, like Arnold said, I’ll be back. (Heart) J.”

Kendra sat, staring at her phone, feeling like her world was falling away in pieces.

With what seemed like a lump of something heavy within her, Kendra got up and went downstairs and made some coffee. She was eating scrambled eggs when Lia came in, and Kendra made her some, too. Lia ate hers as Kendra drank more coffee, and then Lia’s phone went off. Was it Jessica? Kendra thought.

Lia read the message and sat staring at the device so long that Kendra asked her what the hell was up? “I have to go in to the office today. Something’s come up. They want me there before noon.”

“It’s your day off,” Kendra remarked.

“I know.”

****

Kendra had just made her second pot of coffee when Meg came in the front door and up the four stairs. The two women looked at each other and then moved together and embraced. Again, in each other’s arms, they wept. Meg had received a text from Jessica as well.

“I’m here for you, Meg. Whatever that means, you can stay here for as long as you want; don’t worry about that,” Kendra whispered into the mass of auburn hair.

“Thanks, um…Kendra. I need to sit down and get myself together.”

“I know,” Kendra murmured, “I know.”

****

Half an hour later, Kendra’s cell actually rang with a call. Looking down, it was an unknown number. “Hello?” Kendra asked, a blade of fear stabbing her guts.

“Kend, it’s me, Lia.”

“Oh my God!” Kendra exploded. “Oh no.”

“Kendra! Kendra!” Lia exclaimed in a harsh whisper. “Get control. It’s not about…that. Listen. I need your help. I’ve…” There was a pause here as Lia collected herself, going on to explain that a girl had come forward with a complaint against her and her partner. The OPD had investigated and arrested both of them.

Kendra sat in numbed disbelief, afraid for a moment that she was going insane, then she rallied, and the practical lawyer part of her brain roared onto action. “Don’t say anything, Lia, do you hear me. Don’t. Say. Anything. I will get you a lawyer, today. Don’t say anything. Do you hear me?” Kendra had yelled into the cell phone. “Don’t say anything.”

**** ****

As Kendra headed to the airport to pick up Carol (I can take a taxi; no, I want to come and get you, had been the conversation) her mind was spinning; it really hadn’t stopped spinning in the week since their…trip.

Kendra had scoured the news daily since, but there had been no mention of deaths in Kenora, and they were the kind of deaths that would spark a lot of interest. In Kendra’s mind, no news was good news, and she might have been able to relax, if not for the mess Lia was in.

The defense lawyer Kendra had secured was excellent, but Lia was guilty, so it wasn’t a case of proving guilt, it was a question of punishment and sentencing.

When Kendra had shared as much about Lia’s situation as she could with Lillian yesterday, upon the girl’s return, Lillian had considered and then remarked in her practical way. “What Lia did was wrong, eh, and I guess now she’ll pay, but she’s your bud. You should stand by her. It counts, yeah, to stand by your people, right?”

Kendra had agreed with Lillian’s blunt assessment, which was why she had hired a top lawyer despite the fact of Lia’s guilt. In her defense, Lia had cooperated fully with the justice system and Holly had ended up taking the heaviest blows as far as charges went, so far. “As she should,” Kendra had stated to Lia.

Now it was a matter of the trial and sentencing. Kendra refocused as she was approaching the airport; it would be good, very good, to have Carol home.

**** ****

“So, what happens now?” Carol asked quietly. It was later in the evening and they were sitting in the living room; Kendra had spent some lovely time welcoming her ‘slave’ back.

Then they had dined together and now were just relaxing, both drinking wine; Kendra had given her ‘girl’ permission to ‘be herself’ at this point; no mistress/slave relationship.

Carol regarded the younger woman with a mixture of delight and wonder, but also concern. “You don’t think it wise to, well, distance yourself from all, this?” she murmured.

Kendra looked at Douglas, feeling a pleasant glow at the sight of her companion and the soothing sound of her voice; and she could understand why someone would think like she did. She sipped some wine and replied quietly, “No, can’t do that. Lia’s going to jail, I have no doubt, but there’s still a lot that can be done. I won’t desert her.”

Carol smiled. “I didn’t think so.” After a moment, she continued. “Oh, I bought a place in London, by the way.” Kendra raised her eyebrows, and Carol’s smile widened. “I realize this is not the best time to talk real estate and plans, but I just wanted you to know. When things settle down, it’s there. I know we talked about going to England for a visit, part of our travels, and our place will be waiting there, whenever you’re ready.”

Kendra smiled, thinking ‘our place’.

In spite of all this craziness, there was still hope; Carol Douglas continued to be a ray of sunshine in her life.

At that moment Lillian came striding into the room and stood, looking at the two other women. “So what’s up, gals?” she asked with a grin. She had been smiling since she returned from her visit, which was, in her words, ‘super cool’; and Charlie was a ‘super dude’.

“Sounds super,” Kendra had smiled.

“Ya’ gots it, Chief,” Lillian had said, slapping Kendra on the arm.

Lillian had already mentioned about going back to Winnipeg, and Kendra pondered that that could work, considering that she and Carol had plans to travel; Kendra just needed to know that Lia was looked after, and then people could get on with their lives.

****

Now later still, it was Kendra and Lillian sitting quietly; Kendra on the couch, the long-legged girl on the carpet. Lillian looked up, asking quietly. “Um, about Lia, eh, what did you guys do, out in Kenora?”

Kendra froze; how on earth could Lillian know anything? As if reading her mind, she said, “You need a better password for your rig, Mom,” Lillian smirked. “Your name, like backwards, eh? Shit, easy weezy, dudette,” she continued, still with her smirk.

“You, um, broke into my laptop?” Kendra asked, more in wonder than annoyance.

Lillian nodded; her face was serious. “I seen wudj’a was up to, right? I seen your, like, what…research, eh? Lettin’ me go to Winner-peg jus’ like that. Ha, you’re no good at the sneaky stuff, Mommsy.”

Kendra knew that already; but what was there to tell this girl? She did not want Lillian having to carry any secrets.

“I need to know what happened, Kend. I need ta’. I know you two did it for me, and it’s got nuthin’ to do with the shit Lia’s in, but it’s, um, connected-like. I gotta know.”

Kendra thought of the video she recorded from pathetic Andrew Thomas. She had intended to show it to Lillian all along, some day, but she hadn’t decided just when.

She got up quietly and moved to a locked drawer, opened it, took out the thumb drive and then retrieved her laptop, putting the drive in, she turned the screen to

Lillian and then started the device.

(End of Chapter 20)

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A Mask of Love by LongDarkRoad Chapter 19 The Wounded Cry Aloud

A Mask of Love

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 19 The Wounded Cry Aloud For Blood, For Vengeance And Desolation

Holly Dunham arrived early for her shift; she wanted to be there long before Lia arrived, and when Marsha, on duty now, would be on her rounds. Kneeling down, she opened the file cabinet and took out the package containing all the images she had taken with her cell over the years and printed off. She didn’t know why she kept them. She didn’t know why she kept them here. She knew it was stupid and dangerous, but she could not bear to toss them.

Thirteen girls over four years, she pondered, starting before Lia arrived and continuing after that arrogant cow had climbed up on her soap box; what had gotten into her, anyway?

Well, fuck her.

Dunham took out the image of the second girl she had abused; to her dismay she had not started the photos until after her first victim. She leafed through the next several girls in line, having trouble remembering details. She looked on the back of one photo, Clarice. Oh yeah, Holly recalled, the girl who had begged, at first. Pitiful.

But Holly had persisted and the girl had come around.

They always did, she thought, locking the package back in the drawer. Screw Lia, she’d keep the stash here.

****

Jessica stood in her bedroom, just staring. The hardest part about decisions was…making them, she said to herself. She pulled the flattened boxes out from under her bed; she counted six. She sighed and pushed them back under; she needed tape.

For some reason, twelve-year-old Megan Richards came now into her mind; maybe because she had been the first desire and the first failure. It was the failures that haunted Jessica; but what then of Meg? Why did she feel the need to run whenever something seemed to be working, she considered again?

She remembered, so clearly even after all this time, of working to become Megan’s friend, which was harder with the girl being a year older. In the end all Jessica had to show for several months of effort was a couple of glimpses of Megan in her underwear; then when the girl went off to grade seven it was in a different school and Jessica never spoke with, or even saw, her again.

The nights of lying in her bed and longing, torturing herself with all the ‘what ifs’ came back again, vividly. She had told herself over the years to work hard not to care; that was the secret. Don’t let them get to you; don’t become like her father, held by a leash; be the one holding it.

But it wasn’t easy; there were always opportunities and decisions. It wasn’t that she didn’t know what to do, she just needed to decide to actually do it.

****

Lauren Douglas climbed out of the black SUV with the four other women and marched in single file to the back of the non-descript brick building. Up the stairs they went to the second floor and then into the massage parlor.

Since they were already ‘dressed’, they simply sat on the chairs in the waiting area; it was ten minutes to eleven; the parlor opened at eleven and operated for twelve hours. In that time, Lauren could expect to see eight men. Some would want a massage and a hand job; some a covered blow job, some would pay the extra ‘gift’ for a full service.

Lauren would wear her smile and play her role, and at eleven p.m. she would troop back down the stairs to the waiting SUV and then back to Madera’s luxurious condo, where she would be rewarded or punished by her mistress, at her discretion.

Perhaps tonight she would be allowed to sleep on a bed; perhaps she would be given extra drugs; perhaps her mistress would hold her and caress her and make her feel so wonderful; she never knew.

All that mattered was that Madera was pleased.

So Lauren sat, staring straight ahead, her smile fixed, awaiting the faceless men.

****

It being Saturday, Meg and Mary would be performing at the ‘PB’ tonight, but they were already there, in the afternoon, to meet with Meg’s father. Wednesday night they had done another house concert; it had been packed as usual and many of the crowd there had asked what was becoming a regular question: do you have a CD?

“Told you lots of people still do CDs,” Mary had teased, and she had prodded Meg strongly to see where things were with her father and to stop being so shy. “He’s offered, Meggo, I’ve heard him and this is something he wants to do. C’mon!” Meg was reluctant, for whatever reason, but she couldn’t disagree.

So now they sat here with Kevin Greenfield and Dunc Rollins, a producer who Kevin had brought up from Toronto, paying for his hotel room, to begin making definite plans for the project.

“So, yeah, for sure, I want to hear you guys live, and then go from there. I’m thinking a pretty stripped down sound, eh, with the focus on your voices? But we’ll talk tonight after your set.”

Meg and Mary both nodded their heads and chimed in. Now that they were actually discussing it, Meg was excited. And there was the added benefit of this taking her mind off of Jessica, for a little while at least.

Meg glanced over at the bar and saw Marcy, smiling at them. She smiled back; Marcy seemed happy, which was good. She liked Marcy and was not comfortable with how things had gone between them. Too many girls, Meg scolded herself.

****

Marcy stood watching the little group of Meg, her father, Mary and a stranger. Kevin Greenfield seemed to be jumping in to a lot of things lately. His offer to buy her business was legitimate; Marcy had checked it, and him, out. She would very likely accept it and move on with her life.

And to her mind, she wasn’t really surprised that Dan didn’t leap at the idea of selling the place; although it seemed to be more like work to him; at least that’s how he acted, anyway.

He certainly didn’t seem to get the pleasure from it that Marcy did. So he was just being difficult to be, well, difficult, she considered.

He couldn’t simply let go, and end on friendly terms. He needed to be a dick.

****

As the crowd began to thin out, a few staying to finish drinks and chat, Meg and Mary walked over to a smiling Rollins. “Before you ask, I’ll say, great. Really enjoyed it. I paid attention to the originals and was impressed, but your covers were great too. Gave me a sense of your vocal range. You guys fit well together, very natural harmonies.” He grinned, and Mary smiled at Meg, then both smiled at Rollins, who grinned back at them; Meg then smiled at her father, who was sitting at the back.

Grinning.

****

“Ohhh. Unn, unn, unggg, oh jeez, OHHHhhh!” Meg cried out and Mary collapsed on her, laughing; their hands clasped together and their faces against one another.

“Ohhh, fuck. Mmmmmm,” Meg murmured, as Mary slowly withdrew her strap-on dildo.

“You shouldn’t be surprised,” Mary whispered into Meg’s ear.

“Mmmmm, why’s that?” Meg whispered back.

“Dunc Rollins did say we fit together well.”

Meg laughed; it felt good. And it pushed the sad knot within her away, for a while. Bit by bit, she thought.

****

“Don’t get all weepy on me, Mommers,” Lillian smirked, looking down at Kendra. They were standing in the busy bus station with Lillian about to take her first ride home.

“C’mere you,” Kendra replied, clutching the tall figure in a bear hug. “You text me when you get there, right?”

“Yes, Moms,” Lillian sighed dramatically.

“And I want some pictures because I’m a nosey mom-sy, right?”

Lillian laughed, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll send you stuff. Charlie’s real cool on that. Sounds like he really wants me to see his place, eh?”

“I bet he’s proud of it. Look, you better get going, they’re loading in now.”

Lillian bent down and kissed Kendra on the cheek, “Luv ya’,” she said in her rich voice and rambled off, long hair flying behind her and oblivious to the appreciative stares of bystanders as she moved to join the line.

“Luv ya’ too, kid, see you in a week,” Kendra called after her, smiling but quickly brushing a tear from one eye, then putting on her sunglasses. The knot in her stomach was not going anywhere.

****

Monday was excruciating for both Kendra and Lia, although Lia had the benefit of at least being at work where she had things to occupy her mind. On the one hand, Kendra would have liked having Jessica to chat with, while on the other, she was afraid of spilling her plans because she was wound so tightly. It didn’t matter, though, because Jessica was busy doing who knows what.

Kendra did have some pictures and information from Carol Douglas, showing properties and views and such that were interesting, but Kendra had difficulty focusing on and appreciating any of that. Her mind was going crazy thinking of everything that could go wrong with her planned confrontation with the detestable men in Kenora. What if they had someone with them, an ally? What if they had guns?

But it was too late to back down now.

Lia didn’t obsess as much as her friend; it wasn’t her nature. She was also trying to figure out where Holly’s head was at. The woman had become essentially non-responsive, answering with grunts, if at all.

They were sitting now in silence in their office. “You know, I could just break into that drawer.” Lia said, looking darkly at Holly.

The woman studied Lia for a moment; she would not admit it, but Lia did intimidate her; that’s why she had liked having her with the girls. “You seem to forget who the senior officer in this room is, Einstein,” she muttered.

Well, it shouldn’t be you, Lia thought, but before she could reply anything, Holly had stood and left the room.

Well, fuck her, Lia thought.

****

Back at home, both Kendra and Lia had restless nights, what little night they had, with neither getting much sleep. So it was not surprising that they were up early in the morning and creeping around as silently as possible in their kitchen. Their flight left at six, and Kendra and Lia got their meagre stuff together quietly and left the house on tip toes.

They had told Jessica, or at least Kendra had told her, that she would be away for a day. Jessica had nodded but had seemed distracted or preoccupied; she hadn’t even interrogated Kendra about where and why. She seemed distracted a lot these days.

The drive to the airport was silent; both women keeping their thoughts to themselves. Their plane was a large jet, headed for Los Angeles, with stops in Winnipeg and then Denver, and it was full. The two women had not managed seats together, which was actually not bad, considering. They would have a lot of time together over the next twenty-four hours; and being together just seemed to amplify all the tension.

Once they landed in Winnipeg they rented a car. Kendra had not done this ahead of time; she wanted as little correspondence on this whole deal as possible, but they had no problem finding a vehicle, ending up with a Toyota Camry, a fairly common car, and it was white; so nothing memorable.

The three hour drive to Kenora was pleasant enough, watching the eastern prairies turn into the Canadian Shield, as they skirted north of Lake of the Woods, the elevation rising slowly. At times Kendra even forgot, briefly, what they were up to.

Starting with a full tank, they managed to make the trip with only one stop; for snacks. Kendra had even made a point of parking their car to the side of the store and paying for their stuff with cash; she wanted to fly low under any radar.

“As little trail as possible,” Kendra had muttered to Lia.

“Anyone ever tell you you’re paranoid, girl,” Lia had muttered back. But she understood and really could not argue against caution.

Eventually they came up on the little town, known at one time as Rat Portage. Fits those bastards, Kendra had sighed when she’d learned that. The trees were leafed out in summer foliage and the scene would have been pleasant at a different time.

Kendra was glad she had already been here the once, so there was no delay finding the place or searching out parking spots. She parked their car where she had stopped before, and the two women, Lia carrying the camera and Kendra her bag, made their way through the bush, across a road and to the side of the property.

There was one window at the back of the house, besides a small one in the door, but the curtains were drawn. Lia boosted Kendra over the high, surprisingly sturdy, fence and then hoisted herself over. The two paused, hearts pounding, and crouched by the barrier, catching their breath and getting their bearings. The ‘yard’ provided good cover, with a couple of rusting cars, other scattered debris and bushes growing wildly.

Kendra now held the can of pepper spray in one hand; her gun was in her pocket. The women looked at each other and then began moving with stealth to the back stairs and up the six steps to the door. Lia stood back to one side as Kendra knocked, fearful that she would simply pass out with anxiety and excitement. Breathe, she told herself, breathe.

Kendra could now hear footsteps, then the inner, wooden door finally opened, and the scruffy little face of Andrew Thomas was there, looking with alarm at Kendra through the screen.

“C-can you help me?” Kendra stammered, and Thomas blinked at her, looking like an unkempt and confused owl.

“We don’t have a phone, go away,” Thomas whined nasally.

Kendra, almost by instinct, opened the screen door and placed her foot inside, Thomas looking even more alarmed but clearly not someone quick of thought. “I’ll pay you for your help. Please, I’m all alone,” Kendra implored.

“Well, I, um, I don’t know…” Thomas muttered, but he licked his lips. Obviously, a young woman alone was tempting to him; but then Kendra had pushed inside and was now staring eye to eye with the little man.

“Thanks,” Kendra said, can we just sit…”

“I…um…my, uh, friend will be home soon…” But at that moment, Lia entered and Thomas stood blinking up at her like she was an apparition.

Lia, however, wasn’t waiting around. Grabbing Thomas by the throat, she pushed him back to a wooden kitchen chair and made him sit.

“Wh-wh-what d’ya want?” The little man looked like he might cry, but Kendra had been encouraged, but also concerned with what Thomas had mumbled about Brown not being home. On the one hand it made entry easier; she had always been concerned about getting past the two of them together. But what if Thomas was making stuff up and Brown was actually away somewhere, and not back for days?

“Where’s Richard Brown?” Kendra asked, evenly but confidently, like she had business with him.

“He’s, uh, he’s just in town; he’ll be back s-soon. He ain’t gonna be happy youse is h-here, eh,” Thomas stammered.

No, Kendra thought to herself as Lia began tying up their ‘host’, he’s not going to be happy.

Thomas then looked up in bewilderment, as Kendra and Lia had both put on latex gloves.

****

Clarice Bey sat nervously in the waiting area of the government building; it was not the most comfortable of places to start with; government offices generally aren’t, but Clarice had the added pressure of her final assessment, and then her decision to disclose. How would that go? Would anyone believe her? Would they try to blame her?

She sat, twisting a tissue in her hands. She reached into her pocket and took out the piece of paper and looked at the butterfly, then put the paper back. It reassured her with its presence.

**** 

Thomas was bound by plastic ties to the wooden chair; neither woman was happy with the rickety piece of furniture; a sturdy man could smash it with his weight, but Thomas wasn’t sturdy. He was maybe five foot five and possibly one hundred thirty pounds, but his partner was another story. They needed to be prepared for him. Lia took out her Taser and checked it. “I say we zap the bastard just ‘cuz.”

Kendra nodded, feeling light-headed; this was not her thing and her sense of anxiety was building. Waiting for Brown to arrive was excruciating; the longer their car sat out there, even though it was in a wooded area, the greater the chance it would be seen.

And remembered.

Damn.

**** 

The social worker sat in stunned silence. The interview with the nineteen year-old was to be the last for the girl, her probationary period over, but now this revelation.

“You realize what you’re saying is very serious, and I will have to act on it?” the woman asked, brushing some hair from her face. This was not something she wanted on her plate.

The girl looked up, her gaze defiant; she was committed to this; it had been a little over two years since the ‘bitches’ at the detention centre had abused her and she had not forgotten; would not forget. “I know it’s, uh serious, Miss Martel, duh; I’ve been like pissed on this for a long time and I’m not doin’ this for jokes, y’all,” Clarice drawled in a phony accent to emphasize her point.

Ms. Martel studied the face before asking, “You know the authorities will come at you hard to shake your story on this. You need to be firm and clear. Accusing officers is a nightmare.”

Maybe this would just go away if the girl’s story was shaky, which it likely was.

****

After what seemed like hours, though in reality it was thirty-five minutes, Kendra and Lia both turned and looked at the door; they had heard the sound of a vehicle outside.

Lia had been proactive and had already gagged Thomas, but there was still a chance he might make some noise, alerting the more dangerous Brown. Lia grabbed Thomas by his shirt and stared down at him with that look of hers, before running her finger across her throat in the accepted gesture for ‘you’re dead’. Thomas nodded, his eyes almost popping out of his head.

Lia then went quickly to stand behind the door; she had been trained in the use of her Taser, but had actually never used it on a human body.

Kendra was standing facing the door so she would be the first thing Brown saw when he entered; Lia would then do her thing; at least that was the plan.

Brown came up the stairs to the door quickly and entered; he was taller than Kendra expected, looming above her with a look of bewilderment on his narrow face; he was thin but still imposing.

“Hey Asshole,” Lia called from behind and when Brown turned she hit him just below his chin with the Taser dart and the man collapsed, clutching his throat.

Considering how much her hands were shaking, Kendra did well to pull one of the man’s arms behind the fallen figure while Lia pulled the other, and then a plastic tie was pulled tight around the wrists. They had just placed a second tie around his ankles, the whole process not taking more than fifteen seconds, when Brown began to resist, the effects already wearing off.

They had just got him propped up on a second less- rickety chair when he began to shout out accusations and expletives. Lia delivered a solid backhand blow with her big fist that caused Brown to pause and look up at them, hate in his eyes.

“What the fuck do you bitches think you’re doin’?” he spat out, as Kendra and Lia regarded him, like a trapped beast.

“It’s called justice, mother fucker,” Lia snorted, delivering another solid, head-snapping back-fist.

Meanwhile, Andrew Thomas sat with his eyes tightly shut; his lips moving. He might even have been praying.

****

Clarice looked calmly at Ms. Martel, then took out a piece of folded paper. “I gots this; good ‘nuff?” She asked, her eyes bright. On one side of the square of yellow paper was a picture of a butterfly and on the other, dates. ”The older bitch…”

“Clarice.” Martel reacted.

“Yeah, whatever. The older one, she had this tattoo, below her belly button, waaaay below, like here,” and Clarice pointed to a spot more than halfway between her navel and her crotch, possibly an inch above her vulva. “Now, how you s’pose I seen that, hmmm? ‘Cuz her pants were down. An’ I got lots of detail in my picture, see, ‘cuz I seen it twice, when I had my face down there. How’s ‘dat? An’ these are like the dates it happened, so you can check with my records.” Clarice sat back and folded her arms.

Damn, Lana Martel thought, this was bad. “You, um, remember any names?”

“Sure do,” Clarice replied, “I ain’t never gonna forgot those two. Holly Dunham and Lia Robinson. They’re the ones. The tattoo was on Dunham.”

Damn, Martel thought again.

****

With a surprisingly quick move, Lia swung her large hand backwards again, striking Brown another solid blow across the face with her fist; she then did the same thing with her right hand, snapping the thin face in the opposite direction, and clearly stunning the man. It took Brown a moment to recover, and when he did, he spat a mixture of blood and saliva in Lia’s direction. “Bitch!” he yelled, but there was now fear in his eyes, along with the hate.

Lia, looked down at the glob on the floor and sneered “Missed me, mother fucker,” and then she slammed her fist into the thin man’s midsection, resulting in a loud grunting noise.

Taking a roll of duct tape from the bag, Lia peeled off a generous strip and placed it over Brown’s mouth, despite his efforts to resist and move his head. “Nice try, Jackass,” Lia said, pressing the tape down.

Kendra had watched all this wordlessly, almost in a trance. As Lia spoke, Kendra now shook her head and stepped up beside her partner.

“We’ll leave you for a minute, and deal with your stinkin’ mother fucker buddy,” Lia growled, turning to Andrew Thomas, who was literally quaking on his chair, his eyes now wide open. As both women then turned to face the small figure, they noticed the front of his dingy grey sweat pants darkening.

“Fuck, he’s pissin’ hisself,” Lia jeered.

****

Lana Martel placed the blank forms before her and looked at her notes. Damn, she thought for the umpteenth time that day; but there was no going back from this. The young woman was determined and her case was strong and disturbing.

The two correctional officers had a great deal to answer to and for; tomorrow would not be a pleasant day.

(End of Chapter 19)

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A Mask of Love by LongDarkRoad Chapter 18 For You Formed Myself Within

A Mask of Love

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 18

For You Formed Myself Within, and Knitted Me Together

Kendra looked out the window of her airplane; she always chose the window seat. The knot in her stomach came from the anxiety of her decision, not the flight; she was planning to break the law, big time, and possibly mess up the rest of her life; but she couldn’t turn back now.

She thought now of how things had changed, of her desire to have a ‘fun room’. I wasn’t keeping people against their will, she told herself, but somehow there had been a shift in attitude over these few, brief months.

Kendra would likely continue with her dominant role over Carol Douglas; the woman needed that more than she did; but her days of being strictly abusive were over. Lillian had changed her, amazingly, or brought out something that had been within her, but denied. She shook her head, to clear her thoughts.

But then she pondered briefly on her parents; she hardly ever thought of them, rarely spoke to them; they didn’t observe Christmas so her birthday was the only time she received a brief, unemotional note from her mother. Was this all about her mother?

This was too heavy; Kendra decided. When the attendant, approaching now with her cart, arrived Kendra would order whiskey; maybe a double.

****

Lia looked at the bottom drawer of Holly’s desk and noted that it had a lock on it; none of the drawers on her desk did; why hadn’t she noticed this before? She tugged on the handle but the drawer was indeed locked. What would Holly have in there that needed to be locked; the common file cabinets they used had locks, but both of them had keys and there was a master key in the Senior Correctional Officer’s care?

Interesting, but Lia would need to look into this later; her night shift was over and she was heading home.

****

Jessica led Meg into the ‘fun room’; it was quite early in the day for this but Jessica wasn’t explaining anything. She fastened Meg’s arms and ankles to the large X-frame and then stood back to regard her naked slave. Pulling her thong off from under her negligee, Jessica held it under Meg’s nose. “Like this, slave?” she asked quietly.

“Uh, ummmm, yes Mistress,” Meg replied, enjoying the familiar scent and arousal.

Jessica chuckled, “Oh my sweet slave, what is there to do with you?” Jessica knelt down and grabbed a handful of Meg’s luxurious, auburn, pubic hair and pulled.

“UUUnnngg!” Meg called out, not expecting this. Jessica spread Meg’s vagina open as far as possible and inhaled the woman’s strong aroma before licking the pink flesh aggressively. She then stood up and kissed Meg, sucking her tongue hard. Meg could in fact taste her own ‘juices’ still on her Mistress’s lips.

“What do you want, Meg?” Jessica whispered into one ear. Meg was a little confused, first with what was happening, so early in the day, and second with the fact that her mistress was using her name. What was she supposed to say? What did her mistress want?

“I, uh, want to b-be yours, Mistress,” she said, breathing hard, fighting emotion.

Jessica stepped back, “Why?” She asked and stood. The look on her face was…sadness? Concern? Meg stared back, unsure of anything at this point.

****

Kendra paid the taxi and took her small bag and walked to the front door of her house. Everything seemed normal, everything except herself. She entered and stood listening; someone was in the shower, likely Lillian; she went up the four stairs into the living area and saw Meg sitting on the couch; she looked like she had been crying. “Hey there, Kid, what’s up?” Kendra asked, putting her bag down.

Meg shrugged and smiled a small smile, “Oh, not much, Mistress K, you’ve been away?”

Kendra sat down and stroked Meg’s arm in a comforting way, although it was her that could use some comforting. “Yeah, just a little trip. Who’s home?”

Meg wiped her nose and shrugged again, “Um, Lil, and uh Mistress L got home a little while ago and she’s gone to bed.”

“And your, um, Mistress?”

Meg looked up with sad eyes, “She’s gone out too.” She smiled again and Kendra took her in her arms and held her. Both women cried, but for different reasons.

****

Kendra waited until the afternoon, letting Lia sleep, before gently knocking on her door. Greeting the sleepy face, she took a few minutes to share what she had seen, and then they sat side by side on Lia’s bed.

“So,” Lia grunted, “we’re doin’ this.”

“Damn right, sister,” Kendra replied, the knot in her stomach reappearing.

“Oooh, soundin’ tough there, sister,” Lia chuckled, then became serious. “You really think we can just waltz in there and get these pricks to spill the fuckin’ beans?”

Kendra shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t think it will be a waltz, or that there will be…beans,” she smiled, “but I think both of these guys are cowards, and that works in our favour. Also, they’re criminals, so they won’t be running off looking for justice after we’re, um, done. We need surprise and we need conviction.”

“And your gun,” Lia added.

“And your muscle,” Kendra responded.”

Lia chuckled, “Yeah, and I’ll bring my Tase along, jus’ in case.”

“Good,” Kendra stood and headed for the door.

“Hey, any word from Allie?”

Kendra turned back, “No, not a thing. Weird, eh? I thought she liked it here?”

Lia shrugged her shoulders; who knew what was in people’s minds; Holly, Allie? And who would have ever thought Kendra Chand would be flying off to some small town where she planned to put a gun in the faces of a couple of guys, and make them confess to their sins?

Life is nuts, Lia thought to herself, as her door closed.

****

Carla Niske sipped her coffee, thinking; she would need to get back home in a few days, she had already stayed longer than she planned. She watched Marcy working behind the counter; she liked this woman, which was unexpected.

She thought of her partner Allan and smiled; he would be surprised. It had been at least three years since he had begun prodding her about ‘trying new things’, without saying explicitly what, although Carla had no doubts. She smiled to herself thinking of the reaction if she proposed bringing in a guy for a threesome; although she had no desire for that.

“So, when did you say you were heading back?” Marcy had now come to stand in front of her guest.

Carla looked up, “A couple of days. I think I have all the info I need.” She paused and smiled. “I’m just enjoying it here.” Marcy smiled too, and Carla carried on, “What’s your last name?”

Marcy smiled self-consciously, “That came out of nowhere.”

Carla laughed, “Yeah, I’m a little ADHD, sorry. Just wondering. You have a certain look to you, like I could drop you into, like, Woodstock and no one would blink. Just wondering about background. I’m a nosey person.” She laughed.

Marcy smiled as well. Why did she enjoy talking to this person so much? She hadn’t had a, um, girlfriend in ages, since before Dan. And this wasn’t like Meg, which was…something else. “My name’s Funar. My parents were Romanian. A lot of my dresses were my mother’s, if you can believe it.”

Carla nodded her head. “I can. So, Funar isn’t your, married name? I noticed you wear no ring.”

Marcy looked at Carla; there seemed to be nothing in her pleasant face but curiosity. “I’m not married,” she said simply, and Carla smiled.

****

“So what have you been up to, really, Kendra?” Jessica asked, bluntly. They were chatting in the living area, Jessica having returned from whatever her errand was; she wasn’t sharing everything these days.

“I could ask you the same thing?” Kendra smiled, and Jessica looked away. “It’s just a kind of, well, project, is all. I’ll tell you more later, maybe, after I’m finished. It’s no big deal.” The two women regarded each other.

“You’re a lot of things, Kendo-babe, but you’re not a very good liar,” Jessica stated, looking into Kendra’s face, making the woman look away. “I, on the other hand, have been a good liar my whole life. Sometimes I don’t even trust myself.”

Kendra looked up into the light grey eyes. “Meaning…?” Jessica stayed silent, regarding her hands on her lap. “This thing with you and Meg has seemed to come, um… unglued very quickly?”

Jessica slowly nodded her head. “Yeah. I know. But I’m kinda’ like Icarus, you know, that Greek dude, and love is like the sun to me, I guess.”

“That’s harsh, Kid. And I don’t think it’s true,” Kendra replied.

“Yeah, well, I’m tryin’ real hard to be truthful here. And real…and serious, for once. The, like bottom, bottom line is, I care too much for Meg. I know that sounds stupid, but that’s me. I can talk all I want, but I feel what I feel, right?”

They sat for a moment, and then Jessica stood and headed upstairs.                                     ****

Meg looked across at her father. They were in the Purple Barista; Meg and Mary were not on tonight, there was no entertainment on Mondays; Kevin had just asked his daughter here to talk.

“So what would it take to, um, make a CD?” He asked cautiously.

Meg smiled. “To produce a basic CD, not a little EPK, with maybe three thousand copies, would be between nine and ten grand, to get it done at a real studio with a real producer, and artwork and everything.”

“Do you have enough, um, songs, for a CD?” Kevin continued, in territory he was not familiar with.

Meg looked kindly across at the man. “You don’t need to do this, Dad. I’m happy that you’ve come back into my life; I am.” She reached across and stroked his large hand.

Greenfield grinned self-consciously. “I want to do this. I want to help you. And it’s not just ‘cause you’re my daughter, but ‘cause you are very talented. You know, I can’t believe my own flesh and blood could be so talented; I want to shout it out, so there.” He grinned and looked boyish; Meg had to smile at his excitement as he continued, “Are there still radio stations that play, um, your kind of music?”

“It’s contemporary roots, and yeah, there are still stations that play this. But most musicians who have a CD will tour and sell their ‘merch’ at places they play.”

“Then that’s the plan.”

“Dad…”

“No arguments, we’ll sit down with Mary and work out how to do this. There. It’s settled.” They smiled at each other, then Greenfield looked away, speaking in the direction of his coffee cup. “Uh, I’m not good with this, and pretty clueless, really, but are you and Mary, what I mean is, um…”

“Are we a couple?” Meg smiled. In response to the stammering and apologies that came forth, she reached across and put her hand over his again. “It’s complicated, Dad, but thanks for askin’.” They both smiled, and Greenfield looked relieved. This parenting thing was tough.

****

The sign had gone off overhead and Carol Douglas took out her cell phone. She was on her way from Dallas to Los Angeles, her trip now more than half over.

For some reason this morning she was feeling intensely homesick; one can tire of hotels, even luxurious ones. And, since her session in London, she had not had any ‘workouts’, and Kendra was on her mind today. She sent her mistress a text, very detailed and explicit, and then she sat back and tried to relax.

After a few moments, she scrolled through the contacts on her cell; did she have any names in L.A.; she really needed someone to take the edge off?

****

Even though Meg was not playing tonight, Kevin Greenfield returned to the Barista for the second time that day. After the encouraging conversation with Meg, they had talked to Mary and then Kevin had been in touch with some industry people and already the plan for the girls’ album was in motion.

But he had not told Meg that he had other plans, which he would begin to act on now. He sat at the bar and waited until Marcy approached; she was the one he wanted to speak with.

“Good evening, Kevin. Odd to see you here without Meg,” Marcy smiled. She had asked about ‘the man who comes and watches you’ and was surprised when Meg told her it was her father. They had since chatted briefly a couple of times. “Beer?”

“Yeah, thanks, Marcy,” Kevin replied and then waited until the woman returned with his drink before asking, “Say Marcy, hope you don’t mind me being nosey, but just wondering how this place does for you, you know, how’s business?”

Marcy laughed out loud and Kevin regarded her; his comment wasn’t that funny. Or funny at all. “Sorry,” she chuckled, “it’s just that I’ve been asked that very same question now twice in a coupl’a days, and that’s odd. Why do you want to know?”

Kevin looked up into the woman’s honest face, and smiled.

****

“Okay,” Lia said, looking up from her tablet, “next Tuesday works.” Kendra regarded her. Next Tuesday; it seemed so…imminent. “So, the plan is like your first run; to fly to Winnipeg, rent a car, drive to Kenora, do the thing with the dirty dickheads, drive back to Winny and fly home, right?”

Kendra nodded her head in silence. That was the plan; did she have the courage to see it through? Tuesday; basically, a week away.

****

When Marcy looked over to see Carla sitting at the bar she smiled, then went over to her. “I thought you might have already left?” She said.

Carla shook her head, “Tomorrow. But I wanted to chat with you once more before I fly off.”

Marcy tilted her head to one side and regarded this woman. “Hey, here’s something remarkable, someone is interested in buying this place. Oh, and what would you like to drink.”

“I’ll have a vodka and soda tonight, I think. And that is very interesting; what was your reaction?”

Marcy mixed the cocktail and returned, “Here you go. Well, I listened, that only makes sense, right. It was just a chat. He didn’t pull out his cheque book.”

Carla grinned and sipped her drink. “What does your partner think of the idea?”

Marcy smiled and looked down at the counter, giving it a wipe with her cloth. “I haven’t talked with him about  it.”

The two women were silent for a moment, the conversational buzz of the room encircling them. Carla spoke quietly, “You know, I’ll need an experienced manager for my place in Vancouver.”

Marcy looked into the woman’s eyes. She smiled.

****

Lia looked up at the clock; it was almost two a.m., her shift was coming to a close and she still hadn’t been able to talk with Holly; it was almost as if the woman was avoiding her.

She waited until the minute hand had crept past the hour but stayed in her place; at three minutes past, the door opened and Holly came in, stopping suddenly when she saw Lia was still there. “What are you up to, Holly?”

“Why, you checkin’ on me, what the Hell you doin’?”

“What you got locked in that desk, partner?”

Holly’s eyes narrowed, “Just who do you think you are, asking me questions?”

“Stop dancin’ and come out with it. What you got in there that you need to lock it away?” Lia persisted.

“Get out, your shift is over, go home.” Lia stood and took a step toward her partner, “Back off girl, you’re gettin’ close to a big pile of shit,” Holly spat out.

Lia regarded the woman for a minute, “Well, you’d know, ‘cause you’re standin’ in it.”

****

“Where are you to off to, so early in the morn?” Jessica asked Kendra and Lillian, after glancing at the clock and noting it was just after nine a.m.

“We’re going to get some info on adult education classes, just so Lil has some idea of what’s, you know, expected and then we’re getting her a bus ticket to Winnipeg, so she can visit her dad when she wants, which could be very soon.”

Jessica raised her eyebrows; this was some news. “Hmmm, the bus, how quaint. Why doesn’t Lillian just fly?”

“I wan’na see the, you know, land, eh?” Lillian smiled, looking smart in a white blouse that offset her lovely brown skin. Her thick hair was braided.

“Like my hair? Kendo did it?” Kendra actually blushed at this, though she wasn’t sure why and Jessica laughed.

Lillian’s hair was awesome, however she did it, Jessica mused, then said “Awww, so sweet, you two need to make a coupla’ friendship bracelets, I’m thinking. Next, you’ll be headin’ to the mall and havin’ cokes,” she snorted.

“Yeah, yeah, have your fun, Snooks, we don’t care if people know we’re buds.” They all laughed as Kendra and Lillian headed out the back.

Jessica finished her toast and decided to let Meg hang on the hook in ‘the room’ another ten minutes, and then she’d take her down and scrape the hardened wax off her and let her shower.

And then…who knew? Jessica was just making it up as she went along, like treading water, she mused.

But not for long.

****

Dan came into the front area of the shop, tying his

apron. He and Marcy were now like the celebrated ships in the night, passing each other in the hallways of their rental home and here. Occasionally, like tonight, their shifts overlapped for an hour or so.

Marcy moved closer to him. “We need to talk. I’m, uh, thinking about selling this place.”

“Just like that?” Dan said, his voice flat.

Marcy sighed; he’s going to be a dick, she said to herself. The majority, well, almost all, of the down-payment for the place had come from her, although since then they had both paid an equal amount each month for the operations, etcetera and split the modest profits.

In the end, if she wanted to sell, there was nothing he could do. And the truth of it was, he was actually happy to hear the news, even if he chose not to show it. It was time to move on, he’d already decided.

Just then Meg and Mary came in and the topic changed; several patrons came in just after that and the place became busy

****

Dawn Haynes was happy with the news; she had eyes on Cutter in Washington, although there was still nothing specific about Lauren. She believed, however, that wherever Cutter was, Lauren would not be far away. Why Washington? She didn’t know, but she was working on finding out; keeping tabs on Cutter was part of that.

One problem now was what to say to Lauren’s mother. Dawn had tried to contact her but it seemed she was travelling and wouldn’t be back in Ottawa until the end of the month. What would she tell her then?

She’d need to tell her something; Lauren was supposed to be working here with her.

****

Kendra came into the darkened living room with a glass of wine in one hand and paused; a single candle glowed in one corner; she started when she saw Jessica, sitting on one end of the couch.

“Jeez, Louise, what are you doing, sitting in the dark?”

“There’s a candle,” Jessica said, quietly.

“Yeah, right, that sounds like the beginning of some proverb, as long as there burns a single candle and so on and so on.” The two women smiled at each other. “You want some wine?”

“Sure. You got anything to go with it?” Jessica chuckled and Kendra smiled.

In a moment she had returned with the bottle, a glass and a baggie. A few minutes later, the two were sitting on the floor, wine glasses beside them, as Kendra lit her fat joint.

After Jessica butted the remains of smoke one, and Kendra lit number two, Jessica murmured, “Do you think finding happiness is the purpose of life?”

Kendra inhaled deeply and then talked as she blew out the smoke, “Jeez, Snooks, you love layin’ on the heavy stuff, late at night, don’t ya’?”

Jessica leaned her head back on the couch. “The darkness brings out my insecurity,” she said. “No, really, it’s not that heavy a question. Is it all about being happy?”

Kendra regarded her friend, “Is this going to morph into your love question?”

Jessica sniffed, “Well, everything’s connected, Kend-o, and love’s the other biggie. But it seems like we’re all being pushed all the time to be, you know, happy. To find happiness, and love is supposed to be the answer. Or money…”

“Money can’t buy happiness…” Kendra chuckled.

“Yeah, says who? All the losers with no money, that’s who.”

Kendra smiled. “Yeah, well look at Carol Douglas. Money up the ass but not contented.”

“Yeah, but is contented the same as happy, hmmm?” Jessica smirked.

“Holy shit, Jess, you’re trying to make me crazy aren’t you? That’s your plan, right? Drive Ms. Chand insane and, what, take her house, eh? I’m watchin’ you closely from now on.” Both of them burst out laughing at that, although the third joint they were consuming might have had something to do with it. And the wine.

“I wish I was happy,” Jessica said, her eyes closed, her head on the cushion.

“Meg doesn’t make you happy?” Kendra asked quietly, wondering where that girl was, by the way.

“She makes me…joyful, for a while, and then the darkness comes creeping like, um, aaaah, poison ivy comes a creepin’, while you’re sleepin’…” Jessica started laughing, and some wine came out her nose, which sent both of the women into hysterics.

“Jeez, Louise, let’s watch the carpet, eh?” Kendra chuckled as she dabbed up some wine.

The two then sat in the dark, the candle down to its last bit.

“Thank you for all you’ve done for me, Kend,” Jessica said quietly, and an overwhelming sense of sadness swept over Kendra and she had to turn away.

****

“So, that’s settled. You leave on Sunday.” Kendra handed the little envelope with Lillian’s tickets to her.

“T’anks, mommers,” Lillian joked. She had just spoken with Charlie and had felt his excitement, and her own, but also Kendra’s concern; and her own…wariness. She had found it better to never get your hopes up, and that was a habit she had not let go of, yet.

But the thought of going back to Winnipeg, of seeing Charlie after all these years, was exciting…and scary. What if he was weird? What if she felt trapped?

“Here, you’ll need some spending cash,” Kendra smiled, handing Lillian another envelope.

“Kend-o, you don’t need to do ‘dat,” Lillian scolded.

“Hush, I want to. We, me and Lia, want to. She wants to help too, so just accept it. There are no strings attached. Take it with…” She paused here, feeling more emotional than she expected.

Lillian stood and draped her arms around the woman, saying quietly, “I get it. Mom.”

They held each other, neither saying anything; the lump in Kendra’s throat made it difficult, anyway.

(End of Chapter 18)

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A Mask of Love by LongDarkRoad Chapter 17 As The Past May Hurt

A Mask of Love

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 17

As The Past May Hurt; One Must Either Run Or Learn   

“I’m only going to be gone for a couple of days,” Kendra said to Lillian, as they sat at the kitchen table. Only Lia, who had come in after midnight from her late shift, knew where Kendra was going, and she of course wasn’t going to say anything.

“But where you goin’, eh?” Lillian persisted.

“I told you, Kiddo, I do have a job that I sometimes have to do stuff with, right. The mortgage on this house doesn’t pay itself, hmmmm.” Kendra didn’t mention that Carol had cleared the mortgage at the beginning of the month, presenting Kendra with the deed one night after a session.

“What’s a mortgage?” Lillian asked, honestly.

Kendra looked at her. “I’m going to start with some math with you when I get back, Miss Clark, and I’ll explain mortgages to you. It involves math or arithmetic, or whatever you might have called it.”

“Two times three and shit?” Lillian said.

“Uh, yeah, a little more than that, but that’s part of it. Now I need to get ready.”

“I’m gonna stay up late and watch nasty stuff on cable,” Lillian teased.

“Yeah, actually I’m okay with that, and Aunt Jessica will probably join you.”

Lillian laughed out loud. “Aunt Jessica will prob’ly try to do me,” Lillian chuckled.

Kendra made a face and waggled her finger.

But Lillian was likely right, her aunt being a naughty one.

****

Marcy brought the coffee to the woman seated at the

bar; with it being Saturday, mid-afternoon, there were only coffee drinkers there, usually. This woman had been in a couple of times in the last few days. Late thirties, perhaps; she looked like a business woman.

“So, how does this place do for you?” The woman asked with a smile as Marcy placed the cup.

Marcy returned the smile, “Oh, okay I guess. Why do you ask?”

The woman sipped her coffee, “Mmmm, that’s very good.” She smiled again. “I’m visiting for a couple of weeks; I’m from Vancouver and I recently came into possession of a property that had been a restaurant at one time. It’s been vacant and we’re just cleaning it up now; just deciding what sort of place to put back in there. I saw this place the other night in passing and dropped in. Those lovely girls were performing. So I stayed and kind of had a look around. So, yeah, just wondering how you do.”

Marcy liked this woman; sometimes you just have a feeling. She shared that the place had struggled and that she and her ‘partner’ had considered getting out, but the addition of Meg and Mary had been amazing and positive; their numbers were now at the sustainable level and things looked good.

Since it wasn’t overly busy, Marcy was able to visit with the woman, Carla Niske, and they chatted about a lot of things. When Carla left she said she would be back tonight, as the girls were playing and she enjoyed them.

For whatever reason, Marcy felt really good at the end of the talk, better than she had in a while, and with she and Dan basically sharing a house but having no personal connection to speak of, and her relationship with Meg being uncertain and awkward, it was nice just to have someone to talk with. Marcy went to work doing the stocking-up for the evening with a smile on her face, thinking one never knows where the rainbows will come from.

****

Sitting in front of her computer and planning was one thing, but now that Kendra was in an airplane and actually going somewhere, it hit her, the enormity of what she was considering. Her plan’s first step was to fly to Winnipeg and then drive the two and a half hours or so back to Kenora (so there was no actual connection between her and the town) to begin her observations.

Once she got to Kenora, she was going to find the house of the two jerks and assess it; seeing images was one thing, she needed to see the real thing. Sitting in the airplane now she actually felt a little sick; this wasn’t her thing, doing physical stuff. The flight attendant arrived then with a whiskey; she needed something to settle herself down.

****

Meg was in the private washroom at the back of the Barista; Marcy let her and Mary use it when they were getting ready to perform; it was much better than having to be in the public one at the shop’s front. As Meg washed her hands she looked at her reflection in the mirror; her face, Meg Greenfield’s face, looking back at her. She suddenly remembered the moment when she had decided to give herself to Jessica Robb; and now all that seemed like a dream. What did she feel?

When she thought of Jessica now the ache returned, briefly, but it was there. Jessica had unlocked a Meg Greenfield that had been hiding, but which Meg was this, looking back at her now? Everything before did really seem like a dream right now. Her time with Derek, for instance. They had been together for a couple of years, yet she had so little of their time together left in her mind; she even had trouble remembering his face!

Which Meg Greenfield was that?

The door opened and Mary called, “You still alive in here? C’mon, we’re on in four minutes.”

“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Meg stammered, slightly dazed. She splashed cold water on her face and then shook her head. Get it together, she told herself, and headed out.

She had seen her father come in and Sandra was with him again. That made Meg smile; her father deserved to have someone. Didn’t everyone?

****

Kendra settled herself into the small but neat motel room just on the eastern edge of Winnipeg. With an early start in the morning she would have time to snoop around in Kenora and then get back for her evening return flight.

She had packed light, but she looked now at her gear. Her computer, and a small but powerful (and expensive) camera; and something else that an investigator had shown her a year or so back. She had bought it, thinking it would come in handy; it was a telescoping rod that allowed one to place things higher up.

It would prove useful tomorrow.

****

“Hey there,” Jessica said quietly, standing outside Lillian’s door.

“Yeah, I hear ya’ breathin’, Chief, so what ya’ waitin’ for?” Lillian asked, eyes on her television and a PBS show about sharks. “Ya’ know sharks have-ta keep swimmin’ or they’ll die?” Lillian announced, as Jessica came in and sat on the bed.

“Yeah, I’d heard that,” Jessica replied.

“Hmmm, that sucks.” Lillian turned down the volume and looked at her visitor, “Come to do me?” she asked, a smirk on her face.

“What?” Jessica exclaimed, taken aback, as Lillian was known to do to people.

“I told Kend-o that you’d try somethin’,” Lillian continued to smile.

Jessica sighed, thinking that she was pretty obvious.

“Well, right now I just came down to say ‘hi’ and ‘watcha doin’, just being friendly like, hmmmm?”

Lillian moved over and patted the pillow beside her, “Join me, Jess-girl.”

Jessica turned off the light on the end table, the hall light still providing enough to see Lillian’s face, and then lay beside the girl. Lillian rested her head on the second pillow and closed her eyes, as Jessica began to softly kiss her face. When Jessica tried to kiss her mouth, Lillian mildly turned away, but she did not stop Jessica’s hand when it began to gently squeeze a breast.

Jessica removed Lillian’s t-shirt and then the thong, before taking off her own clothes and softly placing her mouth over a large, dark brown nipple. She took her time, pleasuring both breasts, before finding the fleshy lump and clitoris hidden in the mass of black pubic hair. When Lillian’s breathing became more aroused, Jessica rolled onto her and lay on top, slowly grinding her pelvis into Lillian’s.

Lillian opened her eyes. “What do you want to do, Jess?”

Jessica kissed Lillian’s face softly several times before whispering, “I want to fuck you.”

Lillian grinned, “You ain’t got no dick, sister.”

Jessica smiled now too, “I have…my resources.”

“I don’t want no rubber thing in me, Chief, sorry, don’t work. I’ll do your girl, that’s diff’rent.”

Jessica studied the other’s face, “You’ve had a lot of, um, dicks in you I’m guessing. You still want more?”

Lillian lay still for a while, then closed her eyes. “Yeah, lots of dicks, but they was just, like, t’ings, eh. Some were better’n others, but they was just t’ings to stick in me, eh. I’d like to, uh, make love with a dude you know that was, like, my choice, right?”

“Hmmm, make love. You still want sex with guys, even after what they’ve done to you?” Jessica asked, with wonder.

Lillian looked at her. “Yeah, I would. You never been with a dude, hav’ya?”

Jessica shook her head, “Never.”

“Shit, that’s weird.”

“Not really. I’ve never had any attraction to, um, dudes. My first sexual feelings, not including some weird stuff I saw as a kid, was when I was eleven and I saw Megan Richards bend over in her tight jeans and her sweet twelve-year-old butt called to me.”

“You were eleven and you wanted ass?” Lillian asked.

Jessica chuckled. “It’s not that weird, kid. I started puberty early, eleven actually was when I had my first period and started growing hair. Yeah, been nuthin’ but chicks since then, tho’ there was a time I kind of went into hiding. My Goth-phase I call it. People would whisper about me and avoid me. I was all into black clothes, purple lipstick and dark eye shadow. I was a freak. For a couple of years, actually.”

“Shit,” Lillian said again. That was something she could understand.

****

Meg was in the washroom, again. The gig was over and it had gone very well, again. It had been a full house; her father was beaming; Sandra seemed to really enjoy herself; everyone was happy and chatty afterwards; even Marcy seemed happier tonight.

But now Meg stood staring at her reflection. Her mistress had texted to tell her, once again, to hang with Mary. She liked Mary, but it wasn’t right to lay this on her, this incredible ache that wouldn’t go away. Maybe Jessica was right; maybe love was a curse that fucked you up.

Meg stared into her own eyes. Maybe what she needed was to decide what was real; was it Jessica or the submission that called to her, compelled her. The very word mistress had turned her on; was that Jessica or the idea of serving someone; she had had those fantasies for a long time, and Jessica had come along and allowed them to emerge. Was that it? Had that become what she called ‘love’?

No; tonight, no Mary.

Meg had her own car and she would go off on her own. She would leave her guitar here in the storage area and see what she was really all about. If that was possible.

****

“So,” Jessica whispered into the shiny, fragrant mass of black hair beside her, “if I can’t fuck you, can I at least sleep with you?”

“Mmmmm,” Lillian murmured, “where’s your girl-toy?”

“I have her with her friend.”

“Don’t it piss you off, that she’ll do that?”

“Be with another woman, absolutely not, I want that.”

“That’s, uh, weird,” Lillian murmured, then was silent. Jessica waited patiently for an actual answer. She was just about to repeat her question when Lillian murmured, “Do’ya snore, Jess-babe?”

“I don’t think so,” Jessica chuckled. No one had ever said anything.

Lillian sat up, “Let’s brush our teeth, eh, JR?”

“Sure thing, Chief,” Jessica smirked and Lillian punched her on the arm.

****

Meg awoke and tried to turn over; she was unable to as both her wrists were bound by cord to the bedposts. She looked down at her naked body and saw that her ankles were bound as well. She closed her eyes and thought back.

After saying goodbye to Mary and leaving the Purple Barista, she had driven to a hangout she now knew lesbians frequented, but it was filled with mostly young people, eighteen to early twenties and she didn’t want that. She sat and wracked her brain trying to remember the names of other places Kendra and Jessica had mentioned and something had popped into her mind.

She googled it on her cell phone and then drove there to find a much more subdued atmosphere and an older …clientele. She had checked out several women before hooking up with, what was her name? It started with a ‘b’, um…Barbara, yes; it was Barbara and the woman was late thirties maybe even early forties. Meg had consumed a couple of glasses of wine before Barbara had brought her back here.

Things were sketchy now regarding all that they did, but Meg knew that she had drank some more and been spanked and fucked, lots. Looking down she saw bruising around her nipples and then remembered the clamps; Barbara had a lot of clamps and had attached them all over.

Just then the door opened and none other than Barbara came in, wearing a breast harness rather than a bra, so her average breasts were lifted, naked and on display; one was adorned with a silver ring through the very pink nipple.

“Good morning, Slut, glad you’re finally awake,” Barbara greeted her captive cordially. Meg noticed with a feeling of concern that on the lower half of her body, Barbara wore only a large, black strap-on dildo, which bobbed up and down with the woman’s movement.

“Um, uh good morning, B-Barbara, right? Could I get untied, Barbara, please?” Meg asked with a surprisingly rough voice; what else had she been doing?

Barbara ran a hand up Meg’s leg to her crotch and squeezed the pussy lips hard, making Meg cry out.

“Our little cunt wants to be released, hmmmm?” Barbara grinned down at Meg. “Well, you’ll need to earn that, won’t you…slave?”

Meg, surprisingly to her, felt only a very mild response to this word, this humiliation, but she knew instinctively that she needed to cooperate to get free. “Yes, Mistress,” she said quietly, “may I please eat your pussy, to be released?”

Barbara grinned broadly and unstrapped her harness, then climbed over Meg, slowly lowering her shaved vagina down to the waiting mouth. “Mmmmm,” she moaned, as Meg’s talented tongue went to work.

****

Kendra looked at her GPS. She was driving along Rabbit Lake Road, and in time she would converge with the highway that led to the Kenora airport. As she passed a trailer home park, she knew she was very close.

Brown’s house was on the edge of town, near at least one major road. With one eye on her GPS and one on the houses, Kendra thought ‘got it’ as she drove past the unsightly residence. She continued on into the forested   area past the edge of the residences and then circled back, parking her car among some trees. She walked back along this quiet road and was able to approach the house from behind.

Taking out the small camera and using the telescoping rod, Kendra manoeuvered and then placed the device up on a tree branch she felt would provide a view of the back door and part of the ‘yard’, although the lot was larger than a regular city lot and was so overgrown the word yard seemed inappropriate.

Once back in her car, she turned on her computer and checked the feed; the view was clear and she could see any movement into the house from the rear. She thought for a moment and considered that she was quite hungry,

She then took her computer outside, placed it inside a large, clear plastic bag and hid it in the undergrowth. She had a good six hours of battery time, so hopefully that would provide some answers to her main question: were the bastards at home? She then got back in her car and drove off, looking for a restaurant that was open Sundays.

****

Meg stood in the shower and let the warm water cascade down her body. When she had arrived home, she found Jessica was gone, so she decided she needed this. She soaped her breasts gently, they were still a little tender from her night’s workout. Soaping between her thighs she found her vagina lips to be tender as well; Barb had certainly done a thorough job with the clamps and the strap.

What had she felt? Meg wished she hadn’t drunk as much wine as she did because things were hazy; but she was pretty sure the night had not been all that remarkable, sexually. Certainly, when she had finally ‘earned’ her release this morning and headed off, she felt no need to make any plans to meet again.

So she had once again been naked and on her knees, performing for a woman, a woman she apparently was calling Mistress, yet she had no memories of any sexual wonder. It had been a hook-up, nothing more. Just sex, basically, with the submission just a sort of decoration.

The desire must then be within Jessica, but tied to Meg’s need to submit. There must be a connection between the two. But what of Mary; Meg had felt definite arousal at being dominated and used by her, yet they had found a sexual-compatibility now that didn’t need the role playing. What do I want? Meg asked herself, turning the water off. What??

****

After she had eaten something, Kendra decided to drive around and get a feel for the town. Then she went back to her motel and snoozed for a while until her cell phone’s alarm woke her up. She had been away four hours; that should have produced something.

Kendra drove back to her observation spot with her heart racing; what if the men were gone; what if they had moved away and some nice couple was living in the house? Thinking of the place’s appearance, she doubted that was true, but who knew? Kendra parked her car and jumped out, walking briskly to the hidden device and hauling it back to her car. She opened it and decided to sit and watch right there, with the fast forward in operation.

Two hours of recording sped by showing nothing and then, suddenly, on her screen the back door opened. Kendra shouted and pressed stop, then rewind, then play and watched as a smallish-man, definitely Andrew Thomas, exited the back door and took something outside. When he went back in there was another, taller man, in the doorway. She could not make out a face, but Kendra knew. The man in the doorway was Richard Brown. The men were still there.

****

Later, Meg was just sitting on one couch, wearing her housecoat, when Jessica came in. They regarded each other in silence, before Jessica came over and kissed Meg on the mouth, holding it for a long time. They then held each other, neither speaking.

****

In her motel room Kendra set her cell phone for four o’clock; she needed to drive back to Winnipeg and catch her plane. She would be back home Monday, and now that she knew what she needed to know, she could start the serious planning. It gave her knots in her stomach even contemplating what she was considering, but she had gone this far and would not turn back now.

****

Jessica, Meg and Lillian sat in the familiar circle on the carpet in the living room; two candles were burning on the mantle above the gas fireplace, although it was still summer and there was no need for that to be lit.

“I thought that I could be a Windigo,” Lillian said, and the other two looked at her.

“A what?” Jessica asked.

“It’s a kind of monster,” Meg replied and Lillian looked at her. Both Jessica and Lillian asked, “How’d you know ‘dat/that?”

Meg just shrugged and smiled, “I read a lot.” She looked at Lillian, “Why would you want to be a monster?”

Jessica snorted, “C’mon, sweet Meg. If you were being kept and used and had no, um, hope I guess, wouldn’t you dream about being able to break out, even punish those who, like, held you?”

Lillian and Meg both nodded, and then Jessica added with a smile, “Hey, enough heavy talk, our friend has left us some treats,” and she whipped out a baggie from behind her, containing three fat joints of Kendra’s best grass.

Lillian laughed, “Count on ol’ Kend-o to t’ink of us, eh?”

Jessica smiled as she lit up the first smoke, inhaled deeply and passed it to Lillian.

****

And in Winnipeg, Charlie Clark looked at the text message that had just arrived and smiled; it was from Lillian, who would text at all hours.

What joy he had felt when she contacted him the first time, and now, every few days she would text some little thing, sometimes just ‘Hi there’ or the like, but it always made him smile; and he always replied immediately. Today he typed, “When you coming out for a visit, Sweetheart?” His heart actually leapt when the response came a couple of minutes later, “Soon, Dad.”

Charlie got up and walked to the spare room, the room he now called ‘Lillian’s’, and regarded it thoughtfully. Would she like this? What do teenage girls like? The room was clean and neat with some ‘trendy’ posters on the wall; he’d asked some of the kids that were regulars on his bus.

He nodded; it would be so incredible to see his daughter again; so, so incredible.

****

And in her small room in her foster home, a girl, Clarice Bey, lay on her bed, a piece of paper in her hand.

Now nineteen, she was no longer a minor, and would need to start paying some money for her place. Her foster parents were kind, however, and had promised to wait until her criminal probation period ended. She had her final interview coming up, and that should be that.

Looking at the piece of paper, which showed a butterfly drawn by Clarice, she promised herself that she would tell her probation officer about what had happened to her two years ago at the Cambridge Correctional Centre. She had thought about what had been done to her every day since she’d left, and had made the same promise to herself. She was determined this time to follow through; she rolled over and turned off her light, putting the butterfly picture under her pillow.

****

Sandra Girard brought some scotch to Kevin Greenfield and settled in beside him; they then clinked glasses. “Thanks for taking me to see Meg, Kevin. I have really enjoyed her and Mary; you must be so proud?”

Kevin grinned a self-conscious smile; he was proud, he couldn’t begin to explain how much, but he still found it hard to talk about his daughter. “Well, I am really glad you enjoy it Sandy, because it would have been damn awkward if you hadn’t,” he said and they both chuckled.

They sipped their scotch in silence for a moment. “So, you’re comfortable that she’s in a lesbian relationship?” Sandra asked, evenly. It didn’t matter to her what people’s sexual preferences were, but then neither of her children were gay.

Kevin Greenfield however had to control his reaction. Lesbian? Meg? How? When? Surely Sandra was wrong, wasn’t she? But somehow women seemed to know these things. Don’t over react, he told himself; stay calm.

“Um, how’d you, uh, know?” he asked quietly, and Sandra just looked at him and smiled.

(End of Chapter 17)