Leather or Knot
  • Author - Switchman
  • Rating -   
  • Site Rank - 3 of 2955
  • Story Codes - F-f, F-m, F-mf, M-f, consensual, non-consensual, reluctant, armbinder, bondage, cbt, chastity, drugs, electricity, extreme, games, humiliation, kidnapping, machine, ponyplay, predicament, public, slavery, torture, toys, tricked
  • Post Date - 7/1/2009

Chapter 1 – First Impressions

It was late June in the Midwestern college town. Three weeks before, Dan had received his degree in Information Technology, but instead of celebrating, he was concerned for his future. The recent economic downturn had ruined his hopes for landing a job in his field, and for the first three weeks after graduation, Dan moped around his rented house checking the mail every afternoon for responses to job applications only to find nothing but bills.

With his grant money dwindling and no immediate job prospects, he took the advice of a classmate. He decided that he would accept the first job he was offered, no matter how menial, just to get some money coming in. To start his expanded job search, he answered an ad for a job in a clothing store on the edge of the city near the warehouse district. Using a map from the Internet, he found the location, but before he even reached the door, he knew that this was not an ordinary clothing store. It was called "Leather or Knot," and it seemed to be a kinky sex shop. The ad for the job neglected to mention that little detail, but having come all the way to the shop, Dan decided to check it out.

As he stepped into the shop, a tiny bell above the door announced his arrival. The shop was empty except for a petite 20-something clerk and two customers who were laughing and checking out the bondage gear hanging along the wall. The clerk had long brown hair and teardrop shaped brown eyes. She was about 5 and a half feet tall, athletic, well proportioned, and she wore a leather outfit that was somewhat revealing, but still left room for your imagination. Dan took in the woman's stiletto heels, fishnet stockings, leather bustiere and leather collar as she approached him. Dan thought she was stunning in spite of the dark make-up and heavy red lipstick – or maybe because of it.

"Hi, I'm Amanda. Can I help you?" the young woman asked in a pleasant voice.

"I'm Dan. I'm answering the ad in yesterday's issue of The Metro Scene," Dan replied, "but now that I'm here, I'm not sure that this is the right place for me."

"I understand. That was my first reaction as well, but why don't you take a look around. We can talk after I help the couple in the corner."

Dan agreed and began to wander around the shop as Amanda tended to her customers. He could hear Amanda give the same introduction to the couple that she had just given to him. She must have practiced her greeting to put people at ease. The couple introduced themselves as Brian and Shelly, and they began asking Amanda about various items. Dan could tell that this was a bit of an adventure for them. He guessed that they were newlyweds looking for an exciting change of pace.

Unlike that couple, Dan wasn't born yesterday. He had seen most of the items in the shop at one time or another. Movies like Pulp Fiction, Saw and Hostel were slowly giving cuffs, collars, ballgags and blindfolds a place in mainstream pop culture. He just couldn't envision actually wearing such things. He thought back to an old girlfriend of his who once asked him if she could tie him to his bed frame. He had always wondered what would have happened if he had agreed.

Shaking himself free of his reminiscence, he looked over to Amanda and the couple. They were in front of a three-way mirror in a far corner of the store. Brian was trying on a leather jacket and laughing. Amanda stood behind him holding up the jacket so that he could slip his arms into the sleeves, and Shelly giggled as she fastened first four sets of buckles running down the front.

"So with this on, he'll be helpless to resist me?" Shelly asked as Amanda smiled and nodded.

With a closer look, Dan could tell that it was no ordinary jacket. There was only a single sleeve; a tube which ran from one shoulder to the other, trapping the man's arms across his back. Brian looked down and laughed as Shelly reached between his legs and fastened a crotch strap to the lowermost buckle in the front. He twisted from side to side as he looked in the mirrors. Shelly smiled at him and said to Amanda "We'll take it."

"Whoa, hold on a minute." Brian said with a concerned smile.

"What's wrong? Doesn't it fit?" his partner asked.

"Well, sure it fits, but it costs little more than we agreed to spend."

"Oh, that again." said Shelly as she turned away from him rolling her eyes. "Just indulge me for a bit. If you really don't want to buy it, just say so. In the meantime, let's look at the other things that we picked out."

He smiled back at her. "Fair enough."

Shelly then fastened a posture collar around Brian's neck and attached a long leather leash to a ring on the front of it. Next, she removed a ball gag from a hook on the nearby wall and placed it in front of Brian's mouth.

"You trust me, right?" said Shelly, nodding and smiling.

"With all my heart," replied Brian as he opened his mouth and wrapped his lips around the oversized ball.

Shelly tightened the leather strap, as Brian made a series of muffled grunts that sounded like "Hey, that's pretty tight." As Brian shifted in his single-sleeved jacket, Amanda surreptitiously handed Shelly a small padlock which she applied to the gag strap without Brian's knowledge.

Shelly came around in front of Brian and held his face in her hands. She looked him straight in the eyes and said "Kneel" in such a commanding voice that it startled Dan. Brian wasn't startled, though. He merely complied.

Shelly reached into her purse and removed a pair of small items. As she inserted one into each of Brian's ears, Dan realized that they were some sort of ear plugs. Finally, Shelly put a heavily padded blindfold over Brian's eyes; helped Brian to his feet; and lead him around by the leash. She watched herself in the mirrors as she walked Brian from one end of the mirrors to the other.

"Like I said," Shelly announced to Amanda, "we'll take it. All of it."

Shelly led Brian to the checkout counter. She tugged the leash twice, and he stopped.

Dan couldn't believe what he was seeing. He wandered over to Shelly, Brian and Amanda as they stood near the checkout. Amanda and Shelly were talking pleasantly as Shelly paid for the items using a credit card that she slipped from Brian's back pocket.

"Excuse me." Dan said to Shelly as he approached, "It really isn't any of my business, but are you sure that he wants you to buy all of that stuff?"

As Shelly turned away from Amanda and toward Dan, he could see Amanda's face turn stark white. Shelly glared at him for a second, and replied "You're damned right it isn't any of your business."

Dan was dumbfounded, but after a short pause, Shelly regained her congenial demeanor and said "Look, you may not realize this, but we have an understanding. If my boyfriend didn't want me to buy this stuff, he could just say so."

As Dan still tried to find his voice, Shelly turned to Brian and said in a sugary sweet voice "Brian, honey, just let me know if you want to put any of this stuff back."

They all looked at Brian in silence for a moment. He stood in front of them all without moving.

"There. It's settled." Shelly said smiling and turning back to Amanda.

Amanda handed Shelly a receipt and deferentially said "You're all set. Sorry about the inconvenience, Mistress Shelly."

"No problem, dear. Boys will be boys." Shelly replied as she turned, smiling and winking at Dan. She gave the leash two quick tugs and Brian soundlessly, slowly followed Shelly out of the shop and into their car which was parked at a meter directly across from the door.

As the shop door closed and the small bell tinkled, Amanda, now red as a firecracker, turned to Dan and scowled "What was THAT about? Do you want to get me fired; or worse yet, punished?"

Dan felt bad about interfering with Amanda's sale, but he still didn't understand how she could let that woman deceive the man who said he trusted her with all of his heart.

"Look, I didn't want to mess anything up for you, but that guy didn't want to spend that much money. She just totally took advantage of him, and he didn't even realize it." Dan explained with an increasing crescendo in his voice.

Amanda just shook her head.

"You should stay out of things you don't understand." Amanda started. "That man and his Mistress are regular customers in here. They come in here twice a month and drop between five hundred and a thousand dollars in here every time."

Dan was confused. "But that doesn't make sense. I heard you introduce yourself as though you had never met them before," He said with a question in his voice, "and they told you their names, as well, like they were strangers meeting you for the first time."

"Yes, that's part of their game." Amanda explained. "Every time they come in here, I am supposed to pretend that it's their first time in. She picks out a set of bondage gear, and he tries it on. If they like it, they buy it, and he wears it out of the shop. If they don't like it, he takes it off, and there goes my commission."

"But Amanda," Dan said pleadingly, "it was pretty clear that the guy hadn't made up his mind. It was also clear that he was leaning against the purchase."

"Again, you are speaking of things that you don't understand." Amanda said slowly shaking her head in pitiful disgust. "Don't you remember when she looked him in the eyes and asked if he trusted her?"

"Sure. That's exactly what I'm talking about." he replied. "He trusted her, and she deceived ---"

"No!" Amanda cut in. "He trusted her, and she accepted that trust." She paused to let it sink in. "Don't you see? He wanted her to make the decision." She paused again. "If he really objected to the purchase, he would have let her know when they stopped at the checkout counter. The two tugs on the leash were his cue that she was buying the gear. Similarly, the two tugs on the leash before they left was her cue to him that the purchase was complete and that they were leaving."

Dan stood there feeling stupid.

"I didn't know." he said feebly.

"Of course you didn't." Amanda said understandingly. "How could you have? That's probably why Mistress Shelly lightened up before she left."

Amanda smiled a smile that melted Dan's heart.

"If you're still interested in hearing about the position, I can tell you about it and the shop." Amanda said, changing the subject. "Of course, after your missteps of the past few minutes, I would understand if you wanted to find a job that was more... vanilla."

Now Dan smiled. "No, I'm still interested. Actually, more so than when I came in."

"Alright then, let's start the tour at the front of the store." Amanda said, and Dan knew that he was about to get quite an interesting post-graduate education.

Chapter 2 – The Job Interview

Unless you were paying attention, you might not immediately realize that the shop sold restraints and the like. The shop window was mostly filled with trendy leather clothing. One had to look a bit closer to see the cuffs, harnesses and other accessories displayed near the feet of the well dressed mannequins.

From the front door, Amanda showed Dan how the store was laid out. Toward the front of the store, the owner kept the more respectable merchandise: coats, skirts, pants and shoes. The center of the store held most of the leather restraints. They were displayed on along the walls and on free-standing racks arranged to form small aisle ways. At the rear of the store, the owner kept the more severe restraints and accessories. Looking around, Dan noticed a full-length cage hanging from the ceiling and a set of iron manacles chained to a 50 lb iron ball. Several glass display cases along the back wall housed a complete array of torture implements: pinwheels, cock cages, nipple clips, and the like.

In the back corner farthest from the front door, there were three full-length mirrors, each at a slight angle to the others. An inconspicuous doorway behind the mirrors separated the shop from a private back area. The back area provided access to a loading dock, a storage room, a spacious private dressing area and a small back office.

After making a fairly quick circuit around the shop, Amanda completed the tour at the checkout counter located toward the front of the store.

"Now, that wasn't so scary, was it?" Amanda said with a smile. Dan smiled back. "Still interested in the position?" she said with raised eyebrows.

"So far, so good." said Dan.

"Great, but this job isn't quite as easy as it looks." cautioned Amanda. "From an outsider's perspective, it probably looks like all we have to do is humor our kinky clientele and operate a cash register. In fact, there is a lot more to it."

"Well, I'm sure there's inventory and a bit of office management, but how hard can it be?" said Dan.

With that, Amanda began to slowly peel the onion that was "Leather or Knot."

"To begin with, the owner is anonymous. Although I couldn't actually identify him... or her, I'm fairly certain that we've met. I was told by the person who hired me that the owner comes into the shop on a regular basis as a customer or delivery person in order to keep tabs on how the shop is running."

"Great!" said Dan. "So that dominatrix or the guy who just left here trussed up like a Christmas goose could have been the owner?"

"Theoretically, but not likely," replied Amanda as though she had already thoroughly considered this possibility. "They have only been coming into the shop for the past nine months, and I've been working here over a year."

"Okay, well at least I haven't embarrassed myself in front of the owner, yet. That's a plus."

Amanda laughed.

"So, how does the owner provide any direction without direct contact?" Dan asked.

"Well, there is a store manager, Lisa. She communicates with the owner via e-mail, and she implements any changes the owner requires." Amanda explained. "Actually, any of us can communicate with the owner via e-mail, or text message, in case of an emergency. The e-mail address and texting number are posted on the bulletin board in the office."

Amanda then began to tell Dan about the compensation and the clientele. Dan was disappointed to discover that the sales associates only made minimum wage, but he perked up when Amanda mentioned that they also received a 20% commission on all sales. That meant that Amanda just pocketed over $100 on her last sale. No wonder she didn't want him screwing things up!

"Our customer base is split among three general groups: newbie thrill-seekers, goth-types and the regulars, or as I like to refer to them – the irregulars." Even though she joked about them, Amanda respected them. "I'm quite certain that they are all educated, well-paid business people based on the amount they spend on this stuff."

Amanda paused to think. "What else would you like to know?"

"Why do you need another sales associate? It seems to me that between you and Lisa, you can handle the shop. It isn't like there's a line of people waiting to checkout."

"Well, actually, we are very short-handed right now. We're actually hoping to find two sales associates through the ad. Shop rules require two sales associates to be on duty at all times. As you can see, right now, I'm the only one minding the store. So, the owner wants to find at least one new associate ASAP."

"What's the big deal about having two sales associates on the floor at the same time?"

"Security," Amanda answered flatly.

She explained that some customers like the sales associates to model the bondage gear. Hence, the rule requiring two sales associates. You can't operate a store with a bit-gag in your mouth and your hands cuffed behind your back.

"Currently, with only one sales associate on duty at a time, the store has temporarily suspended that customer service practice." Amanda explained.

"Whoa, hold on a second. You mean that I have to let the customers tie me up to make a sale?"

"Not every time." Amanda said to calm him down. "Besides, we do get a pretty hefty commission. With that reward comes a commensurate amount of risk." Amanda paused to let it sink in.

"Besides, the owner doesn't condone the customers binding the staff." she continued. "For safety reasons, when a sales associate is asked to model the gear, the gear is applied by the other associate – again, you see the need for two associates. Sales associates are advised to use extreme caution if a customer wishes to apply the gear to either another customer or to the sales associate. While it is not prohibited, each sales associate should use his or her best judgment on such occasions. The shop only takes responsibility if the gear is applied by another associate."

"That's understandable. It must be a huge insurance issue."

"I guess. I never really thought about it. All sales associates who model the gear have a safe word or gesture that the other associates know. When the safe word is used, the other associate must immediately remove all of the gear that they applied until the bound associate can remove the rest themselves."

"Wow. That's a lot to take in." Dan said shaking his head.

"Well, do you have any other questions?

Dan thought for a moment. "Yeah, do I have to wear the leather outfits? They really aren't my style."

"No. Clothing is optional."

Seeing Dan's look of disbelief, she quickly added "What I meant to say was that the style of clothing is optional. I started out wearing street clothes, but I switched over to wearing leather after my first week. You see, if you wear the merchandise, you get it at cost because the owner considers it good advertising. But if you buy bondage gear, you don't get any employee discount."

"That stinks. Why not give the staff some incentive to learn about the equipment firsthand?"

"Well, there's always the on-the-job training that I just told you about, but actually, there is another incentive. The other sales associate on duty is credited with the sale, and gets a 40% commission. Apparently, the owner believes that peer pressure to buy merchandise is a stronger incentive than an employee discount for the purchaser."

"Have you ever bought any bondage gear?" Dan asked.

Amanda laughed. "No. Nobody's made a dime in commission off me. I just don't see the appeal."

"Well, I've never bought anything like this stuff either – though I've been curious once or twice."

"Your curiosity could be satisfied if you decide to take the position," Amanda said hopefully.

"Oh. So, you're offering it to me?" Dan said in surprise.

"It's yours if you want it. You're in the right place at the right time."

"When would I start?"

"Tomorrow at 10:00 am."

"I'll be here," said Dan with a decisive nod.

"Great!" Amanda said beaming. "To start with, you'll be working mostly with me. Let's consider tomorrow a training day."

Chapter 3 – Dan's First Modeling Session

Friday morning couldn't arrive quickly enough for Dan. He had difficulty sleeping through the night with thoughts of Amanda wandering through his head. He couldn't quite put his finger on why he kept thinking of her. It might have been the exotic nature of the shop. It might have been the slightly over-applied make-up. It might have been her smiling eyes. Hell, it could have simply been that he was a guy, but whatever the reason, he tingled at the thought of her.

He arrived at the shop promptly at 10:00 Friday morning to find that Amanda had arrived a few minutes earlier, leaving the door unlocked for him. The familiar bell sounded to announce his punctuality.

"Good morning," called out Amanda from the back of the store.

"G'morning," Dan replied, trying to sound casual.

"Could you lock the door until we open at 11:00?" Amanda asked.

Dan locked the door behind him, and Amanda offered him a cup of freshly brewed coffee from the back office. They discussed the importance of punctuality when operating a retail business, and they started working.

Amanda unpacked and sorted the merchandise that arrived late in the day on Thursday via UPS ground. Dan updated the computerized inventory and applied price tags. Once they were finished, they opened the store for business and placed the merchandise in the correct locations throughout the store. They took their time, and talked about current events until they finished around noon. Then, each of them took turns eating lunch in the back office while the other minded the front of the store.

All in all, Dan thought, it was turning out to be a pretty typical retail position; maybe even a bit mundane.

About an hour after he finished his lunch, the first customer of the day came in the shop. She was a professionally dressed woman in her early thirties. She had long blonde hair that came from a bottle, based on her naturally dark eyebrows, but not even her poor choice of hair color could distract one from her beautiful facial features. Perfect eyes, nose and lips juxtaposed with her high cheek bones and dimples made her a magnet for the eyes.

Amanda had the feeling that she had met the woman somewhere before, but she couldn't quite recall where or when. Shrugging off her dιjΰ vu, Amanda nudged Dan and whispered "Go ahead, this one's yours."

Dan came around the counter and politely said "Hello, I'm Dan. Can I help you find anything?"

"Yes, I'm looking for a complete set of restraints for my partner," she said in a business like tone. "I am particularly interested in an effective gag."

"Okay," said Dan, pausing to get his bearings. "Let's step over here and I can show you some of our beginner sets."

"No, thank you," the woman said, quickly cutting Dan off. "We've run through the beginner gear. I am interested in something more extreme."

"Okay, then," Dan replied, changing directions. "We need to be looking toward the back of the store."

Dan lead her to the rear of the shop, and helped her pick out a 4 inch posture collar, a single sleeve, and two spreader bars for use on thighs and ankles. To complete the ensemble, the woman selected an inflatable gag and a locking leather hood with eye pads.

Once they had gathered all of the gear, Dan began to lead the woman to the checkout counter, but she caught his arm and said "The person who recommended this shop suggested that I have a sales associate demonstrate the effectiveness of the gear. Do you folks do that sort of thing?"

Dan looked over at Amanda and saw her grinning from ear to ear. He turned back to the customer and shakily said "Well, sure we can demonstrate it." He called out to Amanda. "Amanda, could you lock the front door, flip the sign and come back here to help me demonstrate this gear?"

Amanda was already two steps ahead of him. She was approaching Dan and the customer having already taken care of securing the shop.

"Hi. I'm Amanda, the senior sales associate here at Leather or Knot." Amanda offered. "The friend who referred you here was correct. We'll gladly demonstrate anything on our show room floor. Would you like Dan to model the gear clothed or unclothed?"

The woman raised her eyebrows.

"Actually, my lover will probably be wearing underwear to start. So, why don't we try it that way?" she said thoughtfully.

Dan swallowed hard, and slowly began to unbutton his shirt. The woman gently reached over to stop his hands from their work as she continued to look at Amanda.

"But actually, I would prefer that you model the gear, my dear." the woman said with a slight curl at the corners of her lips. "You are just about her size."

There was a nearly imperceptible moment of surprised silence, and Amanda said "Of course."

Dan couldn't believe his luck. Not only had he avoided being bound on his first day, but he got to do it to Amanda. He squirmed a bit from the bulge in his pants, and re-buttoned his shirt.

Amanda stripped off her leather clothing to reveal her beautifully trim body in a lacey thong and push-up bra. She was spectacular.

The woman held Amanda's chin and gazed into her eyes. "From this point forward, I am Mistress Juliette. Do you understand?"

Amanda lowered her gaze and nodded. "Yes, Mistress Juliette."

The woman picked up the collar and began to move toward Amanda. With a concerned look from Amanda, Dan remembered that he was not supposed to let the customer apply the restraints.

"Mistress Juliette, it's the store policy that only another sales associate may apply the restraints. Please, allow me to assist." Dan held out his hand politely, and Juliette complied.

Dan tenderly applied the posture collar to Amanda's beautifully pale neck. As he reached around behind her head to buckle it, he tried to catch her eyes, but she kept her eyes focused at his feet.

He reached over to a nearby shelf; removed a set of small padlocks, and fastened one to the buckle of the posture collar. The click seemed particularly satisfying, and his bulge grew a little bit harder.

Mistress Juliette then handed him the single sleeve, and as he was helping slide it up Amanda's arms, he realized that it might be a size too small for Amanda.

"Mistress, maybe a bigger size is in order..." Dan began, but Juliette quickly cut him off.

"She has a virtually identical build as my Susan's, and this is the size that I want." she said authoritatively.

Dan continued to work the sleeve up Amanda's arms. She periodically suppressed a grunt, but she never used her safe word. Dan took that as a sign that he should continue. Eventually, he had the armbinder in place, and he crossed a pair of straps from the sides along the top of the armbinder to mating roller buckles under each arm. Dan pulled them snug and knew that Amanda was now utterly helpless. He wondered how she felt as he applied the spreader bars above her knees and between her ankles.

He was careful to keep a close eye on her as he received the hood and gag from Juliette. Amanda was silent as he applied the hood, which took away her vision and a good amount of hearing. After lacing and locking the hood around her head, he unzipped the mouthpiece. As soon as he raised the inflatable gag to Amanda's lips, she accepted it. Several pumps later, the demonstration was complete.

Amanda stood there at the mercy of Dan and Juliette; unable to hear; unable to see; unable to talk; unable to move. She was cut off from the outside world. The only thing that she could interact with was the armbinder and the spreader bars. She stood there carefully balanced on her stiletto heels, testing the unyielding grip of the single sleeve.

Juliette began to slowly and silently circle Amanda's bound form. Dan remained silent as he imagined that Juliette was playing out a scene in her head to determine whether the gear suited her purposes. His mind slowly began to wander, and he imagined himself in Juliette's position, but in a private setting - away from any on-lookers or sales clerks. What would he do with Amanda in such a state? He could feel a wetness explode in his pants, and he dared not look down and draw attention to it.

Finally, after circling Amanda twice, Juliette said "This is missing one thing... a vibrator."

Dan nodded, and said "Certainly, we can pick one out at the checkout counter."

"No need." Juliette said flatly. "I already have the one I want." And she lifted her hand to reveal a vibrator and a bottle of lubricant. The vibrator was a small unit that was designed to be held against a woman's clitoris by a pair of tight panties, and was designed to enter a woman only about ½ inch.

Dan didn't recall seeing her pick up the lube and vibrator, but he knew he was in a spot. He had never discussed this type of thing with Amanda. He didn't know what the store policy was about demonstrating insertables, or whether Amanda would consent.

"Mistress Juliette," Dan began. "Given the obvious personal hygiene issues, why don't we just ring those items up without a demonstration?"

"No. Actually, this is exactly the demonstration that I need." Juliette responded.

"You see, my partner has never allowed me to use a vibrator on her. Much like young Amanda, here, she will have no idea that it is coming, and will not have a chance to consent – aside from the general consent that she made when she allowed herself to be bound and used."

"But I don't think..." Dan started.

"I'm afraid that if you think too much, you will lose the sale." Juliette interrupted. "Either I get a complete demonstration, or I leave here with nothing."

Juliette stared unblinkingly at Dan as he tried to consider all of the options. He didn't know if Amanda would consent, and he knew that she was his responsibility. Even if she would have consented, he was pretty sure that she wouldn't want him rummaging around down there.

"I understand, Mistress." Dan responded. "Go ahead and apply the vibrator as you see fit, but I reserve the right to remove it at my discretion."

"Of course." she said with a smile as she activated the vibrator.

Amanda began silently and slowly shaking her head.
Juliette generously lubricated the business end of the vibrator, and she stretched the waistband of Amanda's panties to allow access to her most private region. Amanda's head shaking became more pronounced, and she began grunting into the inflated gag.

Juliette reached up and gave the gag two sharp pumps which considerably dampened Amanda's protestations. She then swiftly inserted the vibrator, allowing the panties to snap back in place.

Amanda bucked and flailed violently, straining against the unyielding armbinder. She quickly lost her balance, and Dan caught her from behind, but she didn't stop twisting and grunting from behind her gag. She was gulping air in through her nose when Juliette reached down and turned off the vibrator.

Amanda went limp, and let out a long and shaky high pitched sigh.

"Take it easy, dear," Juliette said as she patted Amanda's hooded cheek. "You totally sold me."

Dan continued to hold Amanda while Juliette removed the spreader bars. They maneuvered Amanda to a nearby chair, and lowered her onto it. Dan then removed the hood, and Amanda tried to adjust to the sudden flood of light into her eyes.

By the time the posture collar and gag were removed, Amanda was staring daggers at Dan, but said nothing. Dan and Juliette both helped Amanda out of the single-glove, and she slowly flexed her arms to relieve the stiffness and lack of circulation.

As Dan gathered up the various pieces of gear, Juliette put her arm around Amanda and said "Don't be too hard on him, honey. He didn't really have a choice in the matter. Why don't you go in the back and take care of yourself." With that, Juliette handed Amanda her nicely folded clothes, and nodded toward Amanda's crotch which still held the now silent intruder.

Amanda silently accepted her clothes and disappeared through the door at the back of the store.

As Dan was ringing up the merchandise, Juliette commented "Add on a second bottle of personal lubricant and a second vibrator like the one in the demonstration."

"No problem." Dan said, wondering why she needed two.

"Tell Amanda that she can keep the vibrator that she used as a gift from me. She seemed to enjoy it. Also, add in a $200 tip for her assistance."

"Thank you." Dan said. "That might make her forget the role that I played in all of this."

"Yes, I hope so." Juliette said with a smile. "Oh, and tell her that I will be back next month to buy some gear that I'll need you to demonstrate."

"Okay. I will." Dan said with a bit of hesitation. "Thank you... I think."

As Dan unlocked the front door and opened it for Juliette, he felt a bit more confident than he did prior to the demonstration. He thought to himself that his first modeling session had gone as well as he could have expected.

But he his confidence turned to embarrassment when he noticed Juliette checking out the stain in the front of his jeans.

"Maybe when your co-worker is finished, you should clean yourself up, as well."

Chapter 4 – Things Get Personal

Dan completed his first full day at "Leather or Knot" without any other customers requesting a demonstration of the products in the shop. After briefly discussing the matter with Amanda, Dan felt better about how he handled the situation. Amanda made him promise not to make the same mistake again, but she seemed to forgive him.

The day ended uneventfully. He and Amanda closed the shop together, and they went their separate ways for the weekend. Dan had considered asking Amanda out for drinks or to a movie, but one of the first things that she told him on that first day was that the shop owner had a strict no-dating policy. She quickly followed up the information with "Besides, I'm sure a nice guy like you can get a date any time he wants."

Dan's weekend moved slowly. He occupied himself with his continuing job search, but he found it hard to concentrate. He couldn't stop thinking about Amanda. He was particularly caught up with Amanda's modeling session, and how excited he had been when she was helplessly writhing about. Monday finally arrived, and Dan found himself back at the shop to start his first full week.

Over the next few days, Dan discovered that requests for demonstrations or modeling were rather infrequent. In fact, he discovered that sales were rather infrequent, as well. It seemed that most of the people who came into the store were just there to browse. Every time Dan or Amanda would approach these customers, they would either scare the customers off or get a cold shoulder.

After days of observing customer behavior, Dan finally commented "Why do those people come in here, if they aren't interested in buying anything?"

"They're just tourists." Amanda replied.

"Tourists?" Dan asked.

"Yes. They just come in to see the sights, like tourists." Amanda explained. "Sometimes I call them rubber-neckers, gawkers, tire-kickers, but it all just comes down to curiosity without the conviction to follow it up."

"Wow, that's a harsh critique from someone who has never purchased anything in here." said Dan, a bit condescendingly.

"Maybe, so, but I have also never come through a shop like this as though it were a freak show." She replied unfazed.

Dan dropped the subject figuring that she had a point.

He changed the subject by asking Amanda about her family. Amanda told him about her life growing up in an upper-middle class, extremely conservative family. Her parents would be mortified to find out that their daughter made her living selling bondage equipment. She confided in him that they believed that she was working in a used CD shop. She joked that it was only a little white lie since some of her customers were used CDs – cross-dressers, that was.

Dan told Amanda more about his search for a job in his chosen field, but he made sure that she understood how much he enjoyed working with her. Eventually, each revealed to the other that they were not currently dating, and Dan seized the opportunity. He immediately asked Amanda out for a date the following weekend.

Dan was hit by a stunning silence. After a bit, Amanda asked "What about the owner's no-dating policy?"

"What the owner doesn't know won't hurt him," Dan quickly replied.

"Or her," added Amanda with a smile, reminding Dan that the owner was anonymous.

"I'll go out with you on one condition." continued Amanda. "Just in case you're only interested in me because you've seem me tied up in my underwear, let's agree that we will leave work at work. No bondage outside the shop."

"No problem," said Dan. "I would prefer that, as well. Especially since you have me at a distinct disadvantage since you have had a lot more practice at tying people up than I have."

Thursday afternoon was heading toward evening, and he had almost completed his first full week at the shop when a group of six college-aged girls loudly entered the shop. It was Dan's turn to wait on the customers, but he took his time approaching them. Based on their boisterous giggling, he figured that they were just there for the novelty of it.

He couldn't have been more wrong. He approached the girls, and began to address the tall blonde who appeared to be the leader of the group.

"We need to buy things to tie up some boys," the tall blonde announced before Dan had even introduced himself.

"Well, you've come to the right place," Dan said jokingly.

"We are the pledge night planning committee for our sorority, and we need restraints for six football players," she said directly. "We were considering handcuffs. They are inescapable, but so uncomfortable. Do you have any leather restraints that could control a big strong guy... like yourself?"

"Well, we have some 3-inch wide leather cuffs that would restrain just about anybody," Dan said blushing slightly.

After a brief explanation, Dan learned that the girls had coordinated their sorority pledge party with a corresponding fraternity's hazing party. As part of their hazing, the fraternity members were going to restrain their top six pledges and give them to the top six pledges of the sorority. The sorority pledges would keep the fraternity pledges as slaves until 9:00 the next morning. A chaperone assigned to each pair of pledges would judge the sorority pledge by how cruelly or kindly she treated her slave during the twelve hour period. The girls didn't explain to Dan whether pledges would receive more or fewer points for cruelty, but he wasn't sure he really wanted to know, anyway.

He led the group to the back of the store where the more extreme restraints were displayed, and he could see the mischievous thoughts behind each girl's eyes. They looked like children in a candy store as they gazed around in wide-eyed wonder. He showed them the heavy-duty cuffs, and they tugged the ends to test how sturdy they were. With a nod from the blonde, one of the other girls collected six pairs and took them to the checkout counter.

Dan then proceeded to show them blindfolds, ball-gags, collars and heavy-duty leather ankle restrains connected by an 18-inch chain. Each time, one of the other girls would gather up a half dozen of the items and deposit them on the checkout counter. Finally, the girls asked Dan to show them the punishment devices. They seemed particularly interested in whips and riding crops. One of the girls suggested that they could have an equestrian theme for the evening. Dan started to mention that they had an entire selection of pony restraints, but the tall blonde quickly refocused their attention back to basic restraints. She said that they would work well regardless of whatever theme they ultimately selected.

Dan thought to himself that she would probably be deciding the party's theme anyway, based on her dominant personality.

Unlike the restraints, they selected a variety of slappers – two riding crops, two whips, a cane and a rather nasty looking paddle. This time, the blonde collected the merchandise herself, and she led them to the counter. Amanda had just completed scanning the barcodes from the other merchandise when the blonde said to her, "I hope that this all comes in under $1,000 because that is our limit."

After a few more beeps from the checkout computer, Amanda announced, "Nine-hundred and forty-five dollars even."

"Wow," whispered a cute little brunette to the tall blonde. "That's an awful lot of money. What if they don't work? The party would be a disaster if the slaves got away"

"We'll just have to take that chance." said the leader decisively.

"You don't have to," said Amanda off-handedly.

All of the girls looked between Amanda and the blonde, wondering what Amanda meant. After a moment's pause, the blonde asked, "What do you mean, we don't have to take that chance?"

"Well, you could test how effective the restraints are by having someone try them on before you pay for them." Amanda offered with a cunning smile.

"Thanks for the suggestion, but that wouldn't work," the blonde replied quickly. "I don't think any of us would be foolish enough to try them on, and besides I'm certain that none of us could get out of them even if we did. I don't think you realize that we plan on using these on fraternity pledges who are a lot stronger than we are."

"You mean that Dan didn't brag about our shop's standing offer to demonstrate our merchandise before you purchase it? Dan, shame on you." Amanda said, shaking her finger at Dan with an over-emphasized look of disapproval on her face.

Ten minutes later, Dan found himself stripped down to his underwear in the rear of the shop. Instead of using the heavy-duty wrist cuffs that Dan had suggested to the girls, Amanda applied a neck-to-wrist restraint that held Dan's arms parallel across the small of his back. The cuffs were connected to a harness that crossed from the cuffs, up and around the sides of his torso to the front of a matching collar. Amanda adjusted the harness to hold Dan's wrists just a little higher behind his back than he was comfortable with.

The women all gathered around Dan, and pointed out how the cuffs looked like they made him completely vulnerable. They asked him to try to break free, and Dan gave it a valiant effort, but the restraints didn't budge.

Dan's shoulders ached a bit, and as he began to mention it to Amanda, she inserted a ball-gag into his open mouth. He struggled a bit, but decided that he had better cooperate. He wasn't so much afraid that he would lose the sale, as he realized that he was in no position to antagonize either Amanda or the tall blonde who was ominously silent during the demonstration. It wasn't until the ball was wedged behind his teeth that he realized that Amanda had selected a gag with their largest size ball. Dan would have trouble getting this out even if Amanda had not fastened the strap.

To complete his ensemble, Amanda placed a blindfold over his eyes that completely removed his vision. Once he was bound, gagged and blindfolded, Amanda began to calmly discuss the various restraint alternatives in much more detail than Dan had. She made it a point to ignore him, and the girls followed along.

"I saw all of the merchandise that Dan helped you picked out, but I was surprised that you didn't buy any leashes for your slaves," Amanda said to nobody in particular.

"I guess we hadn't thought about it." said the cute brunette. "Do we really need them?"

"Well, you don't need them, but they can be really useful. And they can double as a whip, which gives you a bit more bang for your buck," Amanda said smoothly. "Here, let me show you."

Dan heard a distinctive snap, and he felt a gentle tug at his collar. Dan obediently followed along as Amanda paraded him around the rear of the shop. The girls giggled.

"Tell you what," Amanda said suddenly. "Let me show you a new piece that we just received last week."

Dan had no idea where this was headed, but he didn't like the sound of it.

"This is our portable spanking bench," Amanda said as she forced Dan to bend over a device that looked something like a collapsible, leather covered work bench. Once Dan's chest was resting along the top of the bench, Amanda attached Dan's collar to the bench with a snap-hook. Dan's underwear-covered ass was facing the women, and he was powerless to stand up.

"What are these?" he heard one of the women ask from behind.

"Here, let me show you," Amanda said as Dan felt his ankles being cuffed to the base of the bench.

"Wow. That's really nice," said the tall blonde, "but we could never afford six of those!"

"Maybe not, but I might be able to let you borrow this one to use for the party," Amanda responded. "It isn't often that someone buys a thousand dollars worth of gear in one shopping trip."

"Let me show you a couple of other things," Amanda said as Dan heard her voice moving away from him.

Slowly, the sound of the women moved away from him. He could hear Amanda showing the sorority sisters item after item. Finally, he heard Amanda say, "Great, I'm sure that you'll be much happier with this gear than the gear that Dan showed you originally."

It seemed like hours. Dan could hear the women passing the time and talking at the checkout counter. He couldn't do a thing about it, but he wished that Amanda would complete the sale already. Suddenly, Dan smelled the perfume of the tall blonde, and he could feel breathing in his right ear. The women continued to talk at the front of the store, but Dan was sure that the blonde was right next to him.

Finally, she whispered in his ear. "Thank you for your help in picking out our gear." she said.

"We ended up making some different decisions after talking with Amanda. She was really helpful."

She paused, but Dan could still feel her breathing.

"Shame on you for not offering this bench to us, like Amanda. You were a naughty little salesman , weren't you?" she whispered with a pout in her voice.

Dan remained silent following the rhetorical question when a piercing slap across his ass made him realize that it wasn't rhetorical, after all.

"Mmphh! Mmphh!" Dan shouted in his gag, shaking his head emphatically.

"Beth, dear," Dan heard Amanda call from the front of the store. "I'm afraid I can't let you continue. It is against store policy."

"Oh, just one more?" the blonde pleaded. "He's been such a bad boy."

Amanda paused as though in contemplation.

"You know what?" she replied. "He really has been a bit naughty. I've thought so ever since his very first day."

Amanda paused again.

"Go ahead. Teach him a lesson, but no permanent marks. I'm sure he wouldn't mind a bit of discomfort for a really good sale. Isn't that right, Dan?"

Dan immediately realized that this was his payback for the vibrator stunt he pulled on Amanda on his first day. Panic overtook him, and he completely forgot the release signal Amanda assigned him in the event he was gagged.

He felt his underwear being slid below his buttocks, and he felt three swift whacks to his ass before he remembered that his safe signal was the national anthem. By the time he remembered, though, it was all over.

His briefs were slid back up to their original position, and he could hear the tall blonde walking to the front of the store.

"Let's go girls," she said as she approached the counter. "We have a party to plan."

"Oh, and thank you Amanda. We appreciate the demonstration, and I'm sure we'll come back again now that we know about the shop's superior customer service level."

Amanda showed the women out, but re-locked the front door after they left. She decided to close the shop up a bit early tonight. She restocked the shelves with the gear that the women decided not to buy. She tidied up the back office. She signed for the final UPS shipment of the day. And finally, she released Dan from the spanking bench and other restraints.

When she was through, she smiled and said, "I think that makes us about even."

Dan smiled sheepishly and said, "Yeah, I guess. Except that I didn't get a $200 tip and a vibrator out of the deal."

Chapter 5 – Amanda's in a Bind

Even though Dan wasn't working in his chosen field, he was considering ending his search for another job. He had been working at the shop for only a few weeks, but he couldn't remember a time when he had been happier. It wasn't really the job that had changed his outlook though. His relationship with Amanda was amazing. He couldn't stop thinking about her, and they certainly worked well together. Their dates gave him a satisfaction he has never known, and working with her was a special bonus.

Just after lunch on a slow Friday afternoon, Dan was lazily arranging merchandise that had been moved out of place by customers earlier in the day. The bell over the front door sounded, and for the first time since working at the shop, he identified a repeat customer. Mistress Shelly, the dominatrix whom Dan confronted on the day of his interview, entered the shop. When Dan first saw her, a few weeks ago, she was dressed in street clothes, and he would never have guessed that she was a dominatrix.

This visit was rather different.

Her appearance screamed BDSM. Mistress Shelly was attired head to toe in leather. Her hair was pulled back into a pony tail by a leather hair bow that resembled leather bunny ears. She wore a leather bodice with a plunging neckline. A tight black leather corset with steel boning concealed her nicely toned abdominal muscles. Her shapely thighs were covered by fishnet stockings, and she wore leather mini boots with 4-inch heels to complete her ensemble. Over her arm, she carried a small leather pouch as a kind of over-sized purse.

She walked straight up to Dan, who smiled and said "Hello Mistress Shelly. I'm Dan, the new sales associate. Can I help you?"

Shelly smiled. "Oh, I remember you," she said with a knowing smile. "A few weeks back, you were questioning my good character. I never forget someone who deserves a spanking"

"Yes, ma'am... About that... I had no idea..." Dan stammered.

"No matter," the dominatrix said curtly. "It's all water under the bridge. I assume that Amanda set you straight."

"Definitely. It won't happen again," Dan said apologetically. "What can I help you with today?"

"Actually, nothing," she said dismissively. "I sought you out just to make you squirm a little. I always insist on using Amanda as my sales associate. She has a knack for knowing just what I want even before I want it."

"Okay. I understand. She's right over therem" Dan said as he pointed out Amanda at the back of the store.

Dan went back to arranging the misplaced merchandise for a few minutes when Amanda called from the back of the store.

"Dan, could you help me demonstrate some merchandise for Mistress Shelly?"

"I'm on my way," Dan said immediately, trying to show his attentiveness.

He went directly to the back of the store where Amanda was showing Mistress Shelly a new line of latex products designed to stimulate the wearer. Amanda explained that the shop doesn't typically offer any products that aren't leather, but these were so good that the owner made an exception.

"We just put these items on the showroom floor this morning," Amanda explained. "We haven't even been fully briefed on all of the selling points."

"Well, let's be adventurous," Mistress Shelly replied. "We can find out together what makes these items so special." Mistress Shelly gave Dan a truly evil grin that made his groin deliciously uncomfortable.

Amanda continued. "I understand that the latex cuffs are as strong as our heavy-duty leather counterparts, and we have sizes to fit wrists, forearms, biceps, thighs, calves and ankles." Amanda paused for effect.

"Of course, there is also a matching posture collar and sensory deprivation hood." Amanda held up a lace-up hood with holes for the wearer's eyes and nose.

"Well, they all seem quite nice, but I can't use the hood," Mistress Shelly said, frowning. "I am buying these toys for my female assistant, and her hair just won't work with the laces in the back."

"Not to worry," said Amanda confidently. "We have a model for women, as well," she said as she retrieved one from the shelf below. It was essentially the same except it had two pig-tail holes in the back – one on either side.

"Perfect!" Mistress Shelly exclaimed. "That's why you are my sales girl!"

"Sales associate," Amanda corrected with a nod and a smile.

"Of course," Shelly countered with a look of false seriousness.

Amanda continued to show Mistress Shelly the new products as Dan followed along like a lost puppy. Once they had selected a number of additional items, Mistress Shelly was ready to see the items in action. Since she was buying the gear for her female assistant, it was agreed that Amanda would model the items, and that Dan would assist by applying the restraints.

Amanda excused herself to go into the dressing area to change into a bra and panty set that Mistress Shelly had selected. The bra was essentially a string bikini top made of latex, but it had a special feature to enhance an encounter. The portion of the bra that aligned with the wearer's nipples included latex nubs molded into the interior of the top. These nubs would flex and rub the nipples and aerioles with even the slightest movement by the wearer. Amanda's nipples hardened as soon as she slipped the thing on. The thin latex strained to cover each nipple which only amplified the visual effect.

Amanda's sex was covered, barely, by a latex thong that matched the bra. A small dildo was molded into the front of the thong. It could not be worn without inserting the dildo into the vagina it was to cover. Although relatively small, the dildo included a small vibrating unit that was activated by movement of the wearer. It could also be controlled by a wireless remote that was included in the packaging. The rear of the thong included a snap fastener which could be attached to another small dildo which was inserted into the wearer's anus. The position of the snap fastener was adjustable so that it accommodated a variety of body styles. The snap fastener also acted as an electrical conductor between the two dildos. When one was activated, either by the wearer's movements or by the wireless remote, the other was activated, as well.

Amanda knew she was in trouble the instant she finished dressing. She couldn't make the slightest movement without the latex clothing somehow stimulating her most sensitive areas. With a great effort and a fair amount of blushing, she gingerly walked back out to Mistress Shelly and Dan.

"She looks fantastic, doesn't she?" said Mistress Shelly to Dan, as though Amanda was a sports car or a painting.

"Yes she does," Dan replied slowly, not even realizing the lust in his voice.

Mistress Shelly silently handed Dan two pieces of gear without removing her gaze from Amanda. Dan accepted the gear and gently raised Amanda's right wrist.

"I don't know about this one..." Amanda said pleadingly.

Her voice quivered uncontrollably, as she fought off the effects of the orgasm building within her – an orgasm gaining in intensity with every tiny muscle movement. Dan saw excitement, fear and confusion in her beautiful eyes.

"Amanda dear," Mistress Shelly said soothingly. "I know that every sales associate here has a safe word or gesture. Any time you want to stop, just let Dan know."

That seemed to resolve Amanda's concern, and she offered her wrist to Dan.

Dan rolled Amanda's fingers up to form a fist, and he inserted Amanda's right fist into a small ball of latex with an attached wrist cuff. He repeated the exercise with her left hand, encasing her left fist into a similar ball of latex. In a matter of seconds, Amanda had lost all of her fine motor control, and she was completely at the mercy of Dan and the dominatrix. Even if Dan hadn't locked the devices to her wrists, which he did, she could not have removed them without assistance. Dan slipped the keys into his front pocket, and continued applying the restraints as he received them from Mistress Shelly. For several minutes, as the binding continued, the only sound that could be heard was Amanda's increasingly ragged breathing and an occasional soft moan.

After Dan had applied the last of the selected restraints, the three of them stood there in silence. Dan and Mistress Shelly simply watched as Amanda slowly writhed and squirmed without any intervention by either of them. It was as though Amanda's clothing and restraints were tormenting her for them.

Amanda stood within a structure of portable scaffolding. Her wrists and elbows were bound tightly behind her back. The latex wrist cuffs were lifted high behind her and attached to the top of the scaffolding by a latex leash. A similar leash stretched from her collar to an attachment point low on the scaffolding. Her legs were spread wide by ankle cuffs and latex leashes attached to the sides of the scaffolding. She was bent over so that her nicely curved ass was exposed as it gently swayed back and forth.

If Dan hadn't done the binding himself, he never would have guessed that the writhing figure was Amanda. A latex hood completely covered all of her features except her eyes. A pigtail hung from either side of her otherwise smooth and mostly featureless head. The hood's integrated gag effectively muted Amanda's moans which were so low and husky that they sounded like the growl of a large dog.

Dan and Mistress Shelly continued to silently admire Amanda as she stared straight down at the floor in front of them and continued to gyrate.

The silence was suddenly broken by the familiar tinkle of the bell on the front door, and a well dressed, older couple entered the store.

Amanda raised her head in surprise to look at the incoming customers. Her eyes grew wide with panic.

All of the blood in Dan's body seemed to flow to his head. In his haste to assist Mistress Shelly bind Amanda, he had forgotten to lock the front door before the modeling session.

Dan looked from Amanda to Mistress Shelly and back again.

"Should I leave you and attend to the customers?" Dan whispered to Amanda?

She looked stunned. She began to shake her head no, but changed after a split second. She then bucked her head diagonally upward several times.

"You want me to get rid of them?" He asked.

Amanda vigorously nodded her head, and Dan noticed tears streaming from Amanda's eyes.

Dan quickly turned to Mistress Shelly and said "I expect you to be on your best behavior while I take care of this."

"You'd be surprised by my best behavior," she replied with a devilish grin. "Go ahead and take care of them. Amanda will be fine."

Dan approached the couple who were looking around the front of the shop in obvious disgust.

"Good afternoon. I'm Dan. Can I help you with something?" Dan said in his most sincere and helpful voice.

The woman looked to the man as he said "I hope so. I'm looking for Amanda Miller. I'm her father, John, and this is her mother, Susan. We understand that she works here."

Dan remembered that Amanda had told him about her parents. They were a conservative older couple, and she had not dared to tell them where she worked for fear of their disapproval.

Suddenly, the scaffolding at the back of the store shuddered loudly as Amanda's anonymous figure trembled like an erupting volcano. Her moans, though muffled, were loud enough to reach the front of the store before Dan could respond.

"What the hell is going on in this place?" Mr. Miller demanded.

"No need to worry, sir." Dan replied, thinking quickly. "Those are just a couple of performance artists rehearsing for a fashion show later this month."

Everyone stared silently at Amanda as she fell limp against her bonds. Her head hung down like a marathon runner upon crossing the finish line.

"Oh, John," Mrs. Miller said desperately. "This place is horrible. Let's just find Amanda and take her home."

"Where's my daughter?" Mr. Miller demanded menacingly.

"Sir, there is no Amanda Miller working here. We just opened this shop a couple of weeks ago." Dan said trying to calm the man down.

"We took over this space from a CD store that went out of business. She may have worked for them, but otherwise I have no idea where your daughter might be," he lied.

There was a strained silence as Mr. and Mrs. Miller stared at Dan deciding whether to believe his explanation.

"Very well," Mr. Miller said reluctantly. "Let's go back to her apartment, Susan. Maybe we can get additional information from her landlord."

The couple turned around to leave, but Dan could overhear their conversation as the walked to the door.

"You don't suppose the hooded one in the back was Amanda, do you?" Mr. Miller asked his wife.

"No, I thought of that." She replied. "The hair is all wrong. She seems to be shorter than Amanda, and the body type is different, too."

"I have half a mind to call the police to report what was going on in here," he replied.

"I'm sure the police are keeping their eyes on this place," she said "but it wouldn't hurt to notify them just in case."

As soon as the bell on the front door tinkled, and the door closed behind the Millers as they exited, Amanda started stomping her feet and screaming into her gag. Dan knew that the foot stomping was Amanda's safe signal, but he reluctantly ignored it to watch the Millers through the front window. He continued to watch until the Millers were in their car and leaving the parking area. Only then did he lock the front door and head to the back of the store.

By the time Dan reached the scaffolding, Amanda was resting in a nearby chair. Mistress Shelly had resisted her natural impulse to tease Amanda, and had removed all of Amanda's restraints except the hood.

Upon removing the hood, Amanda quickly thanked the two of them, dressed, and rushed out of the rear of the store toward her car. She knew a shortcut to her apartment that might get her there before her folks. With the right timing and a plausible explanation, Amanda believed that she could set things right.

As she drove through the back streets of town toward her apartment, she reflected on the last 30 minutes during which she had the most intense orgasm she had ever experienced. She now understood the awesome power of being powerless. She decided that once she was able to ease her parents' minds, she would have to introduce bondage into her relationship with Dan. She felt more alive than she had felt in a long while, and she knew he was the perfect partner for sharing her feelings. Now, she just needed to decide which side of the restraints she wanted to be on, but that decision could wait.

Chapter 6 – Dan's Private Modeling Session

The day following the unexpected visit of Amanda's parents was Saturday. Neither Dan nor Amanda were scheduled to work that day, and although they both wanted to spend the day together, they both knew that Amanda needed spend enough time with her parents to set their minds at ease. She spent the entire day visiting, shopping and dining out with her folks. It turned out that they were on a cross-country road trip, and had reservations at a hotel in a historic town five hours west.

They stayed until 5:00 pm, and they were satisfied that Amanda was doing well. She told them that a recent increase in online music sales forced the CD shop where she had worked to close down a few weeks earlier. She also told them that she was in the process of looking for another position. To quell their fears, she told them that she had saved money enough to last her for a few more weeks. Of course, they told her that if she found herself reaching the limit of her savings, that they would help her out.

"Don't hesitate to call us if you need us," they said repeatedly.

At 5:05 pm, as Amanda's parents' car was heading out of her neighborhood, Amanda called Dan to tell him that everything worked out with her parents. They decided to grab a bite at their favorite brewery near the shop, and to take in the latest movie at a theater a few blocks away.

The pizza and beer were better than ever, and they talked about Amanda's revelation of the previous afternoon. She confided in Dan that she wanted to experiment with bondage in their relationship. Dan was surprised and a bit unsure of how to handle this turn of events.

"Don't you get enough of that at work?" he asked.

"Well, if you had asked me that a couple of days ago, I would have said that I get more than enough at work," Amanda said, pausing for a moment.

"But last night was different," she said, her eyes growing wide. "You have no idea how it felt to be continuously aroused by even the most subtle movement, and then realize that your parents are only a few yards away." She paused again.

"And then, you... you came to my rescue like some kind of a white knight," she gushed.

"Come on," Dan said incredulously. "I tied you up in the back of the store, and then lied to your parents about it. That doesn't sound too chivalrous to me."

"You don't get it," she retorted. "You protected me from total humiliation."

"But you still felt humiliated, though, didn't you?"

"Well, yes, but that's exactly the tension that caused such an extreme reaction when I ... when I..."

Amanda looked around and realized that she could find no politically correct way to express herself in the public restaurant.

They took their time eating, and they discussed her feelings at length. When they finally looked at the time, they realized that they would not make the movie.

Amanda said "You know, the shop is only a couple of blocks away, and it's open for another thirty minutes..."

She smiled a "please do this for me" smile that only beautiful young women can get away with, and Dan relented. They decided to go to the shop as customers instead of employees.

When they reached the shop, they found Linda, the store manager, was the only person tending the store. She was happy to see them, but surprised to see them out together. The shop had a strict no-dating policy between employees, and Linda made it a point to remind them. In their rush to the shop, both Dan and Amanda had forgotten that they needed to be discreet. Their relationship felt so natural that discretion hardly seemed necessary, but clearly it was.

Although Dan hardly knew Linda, Amanda was her close friend. Amanda explained their situation to Linda, who agreed to keep their secret as long as they were more careful about their dating in the future. Amanda agreed. Then Dan sheepishly explained that they wanted to buy some bondage gear to experiment with in their personal lives.

"Well, I'd be happy to sell you anything that you want, but I get the commission." Linda said. "And since I'm the only sales associate on duty tonight, I won't be modeling any of the items."

"That's okay. I was actually thinking of buying some gear for Dan, anyway," Amanda said with a smile. "Since we're just customers tonight, you wouldn't object to helping me put a few things on him, would you?" Amanda asked.

"Wow. I'd love to, but we really shouldn't. Given the store's no-dating policy, you shouldn't be seen in the store together as customers." Linda warned.

Disappointment hung in the air.

"We could buy a few things and take them back to your place," Dan offered. "At one time or another, we've handled on most of the gear in the shop."

"Not exactly," Amanda said. I wanted to try out more of the new Latex gear – the stuff designed especially for men. But it's so expensive that I wouldn't want to buy it unless it was really worth it."

"Let's compromise," Linda replied. "I can't let you try the gear publicly on the showroom floor, but you could take it to the back room to try it out. Then if you like it, you can pay for it and slip out the back door. Everybody wins. You get to try out the new merchandise before you buy it; I get my commission; and you both learn the selling points of the gear."

"It's a deal," said Amanda before Dan could object.

Fifteen minutes later, Dan found himself wearing a skin tight latex thong. The front of the thong formed an adjustable hole which permitted his cock and balls to be exposed. The hole surrounding the base of the wearer's genitalia could be adjusted to be comfortably loose or painfully constricting. Amanda adjusted it to provide a constant, but pleasant, amount of pressure.

Each of Dan's arms was encased in a separate latex sleeve which ran from each wrist to just below each shoulder. Three thick padded cuffs were integrated into each sleeve: one above the bicep, one above the elbow, and one around the wrist. Amanda folded Dan's arms behind his back and locked each wrist cuff to the elbow cuff of the opposite arm.

A small strap ran along each of Dan's shoulders. Each strap connected the top cuff of each sleeve to a ring on each side of a severe latex posture collar. The collar included a large O-ring in the front from which a shiny latex leash dangled.

To further restrain him, Amanda locked thick latex cuffs on his ankles, and connected them with a 16 inch chain. A small jingle announced each of Dan's limited steps as the chain impacted the ground.

"Open up," Amanda said in a sweet sing-song tone as she held a gag up to Dan's mouth.

The sweetness in Amanda's voice made him hesitate, but he reluctantly accepted the gag. He didn't really have a choice at that point, but he trusted Amanda.

Although Dan didn't realize it, Amanda had selected a particularly effective pump-gag. The interior portion of the gag was contoured to fit between the teeth and inside the cheeks of the wearer. The center portion of the inflatable interior forced the wearer's tongue down quite effectively. With the device fully inflated, Dan looked like a trumpet player hitting a particularly difficult note. His mouth tasted like rubber, and his loudest protest was barely audible.

To further ensure his silence, Amanda inserted two short plastic tubes into his nostrils. The outer wall of each tube was spring loaded and held itself in place by applying pressure to the interior sides of each nostril. Each tube also had a small hole through the center to allow air to pass through.

Dan began to panic, but Amanda soothingly stroked his temples. She stared purposefully into his eyes and quietly instructed him to remain calm. She explained that with sufficient concentration, the nostril tubes would still allow him to get more than enough air to breathe, but not enough to enable him to produce any significant noise. Dan regained his composure, and concentrated on controlling his breathing.

Just then the door to the show room opened, and Linda leaned in.

"I hate to break up the fun, but you two need to wrap it up in about five minutes," Linda warned in a hushed tone. "As soon as I finish with my last customer, I'm closing up shop for the night."

"What's so interesting?" a voice behind Linda asked. "I thought you said you were working alone tonight."

Then a hand pushed the door wide open, and standing right behind Linda was Mistress Juliette, a customer of Amanda's. Dan's eyes grew wide with panic when he remembered Mistress Juliette. She was the customer who used a vibrator on Amanda after she was restrained by Dan.

He knew that the mistress was nothing but trouble, and here he was completely restrained and exposed.

The last thing he needed at the moment was for Amanda to be reminded of that breach of trust. But surely all was forgotten by now, he thought.

"What have we here?" Mistress Juliette asked with a smirk as she moved past Linda to completely enter the room.

After an awkward silence, Amanda said "We're testing some of the new equipment. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have work to do."

"Tsk, tsk. You seem to have neglected some of the most important equipment," the dominatrix said as she nodded toward Dan's fully erect penis.

"Don't worry," Amanda began, barely able to contain a laugh. "That equipment will be as fully tested as any. Now, please, I only have a few minutes before the shop closes."

"It's funny you should say that," the mistress replied. "I only have a few minutes before the shop closes, as well, and I haven't decided what I want to buy. I had originally come into the shop tonight hoping that your friend here was available to model a few items for me, but apparently you beat me to him."

Dan was more turned on than he had ever been before. He was completely at the mercy of three attractive women who were talking about him as though he was little more than a piece of furniture.

"Well, we'll both be in the shop tomorrow. We'd be happy to assist you in the morning," Amanda said smiling.

"No. That won't do at all," the dominatrix said shaking her head. "I'm sure he'll be much too tired for the gear that I have in mind. Are you sure that I can't just help you finish up here."

Dan vigorously shook his head and made unintelligible protests. He had trouble breathing. He became light-headed, and his erection grew harder than ever.

"Normally, I would decline, of course. But you really are a valued customer, and there isn't much left to do..."

Amanda looked at Dan's manhood and then back to the mistress.

"Oh, that's where you're wrong," said Mistress Juliette. "You can do so much with just a little bit of time and effort if you know what you're doing."

She quietly used her middle finger to stroke the underside of Dan's straining cock. She made one silky movement from the opening in the latex thong to just below the head of his penis, and he exploded.

"Oh my!" exclaimed Linda in surprise. "We'd better get something to clean that up."

Linda and Amanda instinctively went to a cabinet behind Dan where the cleaning supplies were stored.

As they were searching the cabinet, Mistress Juliette quickly opened her purse, removed a clean tissue, and wiped the residue from Dan's quickly shrinking member. She then took a bottle of hand lotion from her purse and swiftly moisturized his penis.

"No need ladies," the dominatrix announced with satisfaction. "I have tissue in my purse."

Amanda and Linda turned around just in time to hear a "click."

In one fluid motion, Mistress Juliette had removed a metal tube from her purse, slid Dan's now flaccid, lubricated shaft into it, and locked an attached cuff around the base of his cock and balls.

Dan started twisting in his bonds and making a high pitched whining sound.

"What have you done!" Amanda demanded.

"Oh, nothing really," Mistress Juliette replied, casually shrugging her shoulders. "It's just my little way to ensure that my sales associate won't be too tired to model my gear tomorrow morning."

"You bitch! You locked him into a chastity device!" Amanda said, her face turning an angry red. "Let him out this instant."

"I'm afraid that I don't take orders from you," Juliette said flatly.

"Let him out, I said." Amanda said feebly.

"I'll remove the device when I'm ready... which won't be anytime before tomorrow," the dominatrix said as she turned toward the door. "I'll return when the shop opens at noon. Until then, don't do anything I wouldn't do."

And then she was gone. A few seconds later, the bell on the front door sounded, and Amanda quickly grabbed a keychain from a nearby wall hook.

"Don't worry, Dan," Amanda said shakily. "This is our emergency key ring. It holds a key to every kind of handcuffs imaginable. These types of chastity devices are usually made using common handcuff locks."

As Amanda bent down to begin testing each key, Linda looked over her shoulder. Dan tried to stand as still as possible.

"That doesn't look like any handcuff that I've ever seen," said Linda slowly.

As Amanda made her way through all of the keys on the emergency key ring, she realized that Linda was right.

Chapter 7 – A Lapse in Judgment

Linda and Amanda unlocked Dan's restraints in a dejected silence. They both knew that the chastity device was not going to come off before the shop opened the next day. Dan, too, was silent. Even after they removed Dan's gag, he didn't have anything to say.

"Should we call the police?" Linda finally asked as the two women unlocked the last restraint.

"No!" Dan said forcefully. "I don't need my penis at the center of a police investigation."

"With the kind of bad publicity that the shop would get from an incident like this, we'd all be out of a job by next weekend," Amanda chimed in. "And that bitch knows it" she added spitefully.

"The owner keeps a complete record of each of the regular customers," Linda suggested. "We could use the emergency number to contact him."

"Or her," Dan and Amanda said in unison. They smiled at each other because they always jokingly referred to the owner as 'him or her' because of the anonymity.

"No, then we'd have to explain how all of this happened, and we'd all get fired," Dan concluded.

With no alternative, the three closed up the shop and went home for the night. Although he was seriously concerned about his predicament, Dan didn't find the chastity tube that uncomfortable. The worst part was the added weight it placed on the base of his cock and balls when he walked, but when he was lying down, he almost didn't even notice it.

The next day, both Dan and Amanda arrived early to open the shop. Dan wore baggy sweat pants to hide the bulk of the metal tube.

Amanda felt completely responsible and empathized with Dan's situation. Dan tried to ease her mind, but she knew he was anxious to regain control over his own body.

They opened the shop at 11:50, and by 12:15 no customers had entered the store.

"You do think she's going to come back, right?" asked Dan.

"Yes. I think that she is just making us sweat," Amanda replied.

The day wore on slowly. Sundays were never busy at the shop, and that day was an unusually slow Sunday. By 4:00, Mistress Juliette still hadn't returned. At 5:30, Linda stopped in to see how things were going, but she was upset to find that Dan was still wearing the device. She told Dan and Amanda that she couldn't stay, but asked them to call her on her mobile phone to let her know what happened.

Fifteen minutes before closing time, the front door bell chimed to announce Mistress Juliette's arrival. She entered the shop like she owned it. As the front door closed, she locked the deadbolt and turned a small sign so that passersby would see that the shop was closed.

Dan couldn't remember ever being more relieved to see someone. He immediately approached her.

"Thank you for coming, Mistress Juliette. Can I help you with something?" he said with a courteous smile.

Mistress Juliette smiled, paused, and then slowly and softly answered "Yes, you can."

"When I came in last night, I was in search of some new gear for a male client of mine," she continued. "I would like you to model it for me."

"I'd be happy to, if you'll agree to remove the chastity device," Dan said, trying not to sound too anxious.

Amanda jumped into the conversation. "Well, the store closes in a half hour. What would you like to see?"

"My, my," Mistress Juliette chuckled as she turned toward Amanda. "I've never had such attentive service. Let's start with the best armbinder in the store."

Mistress Juliette selected a $3,000 leather single-sleeve armbinder. The high quality craftsmanship was obvious, and she instructed Dan to take off his shirt and turn around. Dan glanced toward Amanda who quickly intervened.

"Mistress Juliette, you know the rules. I am happy to help Dan into the armbinder." She said.

Mistress Juliette thought for a moment.

"Well, it seems to me that I have the key to Dan's manhood. Doesn't that mean that I make the rules?"

They all stood in silence for a moment before Dan spoke.

"Look, you clearly can't be trusted. You locked my penis in a chastity tube the last time I let you..."

Mistress Juliette held a finger up to his lips to silence him, and he instinctively complied.

"Actually, you didn't let me do anything. Your girlfriend did. You were completely restrained, as I recall, and despite your trust in her, she let a virtual stranger get you off and lock a cuff around your cock and balls."

Dan and Amanda were stunned.

"It sounds to me like you need to place your trust in somebody else, and since I'm the only other choice, I will apply the restraints," she said authoritatively. "Amanda can assist, if she wishes. She may learn a thing or two."

Dan resigned himself to the idea that he would have to submit in order to free his genitals.

"Please promise that you'll unlock the chastity tube," he said sounding more desperate than he had wanted.

"I don't know about this..." Amanda offered.

"It's a deal," replied the dominatrix, and she continued to collect restraints from various parts of the store.

Within minutes, Juliette had Dan completely under her control. He was naked but for the restraints, which included the expensive leather monoglove, a strict 4-inch posture collar, and goggles that significantly obscured his vision without completely blinding him. A leather gag filled his mouth and wrapped around the lower portion of his head like the bottom half of a hood. It covered his chin and effectively silenced any sound he tried to make. He wore nothing below his waist except a pair of leather cuffs locked around his ankles connected by a 12-inch leather strap. And, of course, the chastity device.

The store was quiet except for the hum of the florescent lights and the sound of Dan's breathing.

The mistress deliberately circled around Dan with an arrogant strut as though he really was her slave. Dan tried his best to follow her through the shadows caused by the goggles. Finally, she stopped in front of him and said "Enough is enough," and she reached down to the cuff around his genitals. She squeezed the two hinged halves of the cuff together slightly with her left hand while twisting the righthand arm of the cuff a quarter turn, and the cuff sprung open. Dan groaned, realizing that he could have freed himself at any time if he had known that the lock was a ruse. Mistress Juliette carefully removed the cuff and attached tube from Dan's manhood while Amanda watched over her shoulder mumbling unintelligibly.

Before Dan could get used to his new situation, Mistress Juliette rolled a thick rubber O-ring to the base of his penis. He was immediately excited, and his member grew uncontrollably, straining against the tension of the O-ring.

"Oh my, your equipment is just what I need," said the dominatrix with a smile.

It wasn't clear whether she was addressing Dan or Amanda, and each of them hoped it was the latter.

"I'll take it all," she said looking Dan up and down. Removing a 6 foot leather leash from a nearby display, she added "This, as well," as she clipped it to Dan's collar.

"Excellent," said Amanda. "Now if you will just step over to the counter, we can add it all up."

Amanda walked behind the counter in the middle of the shop. Mistress Juliette walked to the front of the counter pulling Dan along behind her.

Amanda totaled up all of the merchandise that Dan was wearing and said "Forty-one hundred even."

"You can't be serious," the mistress said in mock astonishment. "The monoglove alone is worth $3,000. The other leather goods are probably one thousand, which means that you haven't charged me for the young man."

Amanda was confused, but Dan understood perfectly. He twisted violently and tried to back away from the dominatrix, but she held him firm with an experienced hand.

"Don't be silly," said Amanda. "You know that we don't charge for our modeling services."

With a deadly serious stare, the mistress corrected Amanda.

"I'm not offering payment for his services. I'm offering payment for him."

As the implication dawned on her, Amanda immediately came around the counter to release Dan. Before she even realized what was happening, Amanda found her face pressed into the dirty commercial carpeting. The Dominatrix pressed her knee into Amanda's back and twisted Amanda's hand high behind her back.

"Playtime is over," she said softly in Amanda's ear. "He trusted me to bind him, and he is now mine."

Mistress Juliette slowly released Amanda's arm and allowed her to stand up.

Amanda began crying. She didn't know what to do.

The mistress handed Amanda her credit card, and seemed sympathetic to the tears.

"Are you two involved?" She asked incredulously.

Amanda bit her lip and nodded.

"I thought that wasn't allowed at this store," the mistress pressed.

"No one was supposed to know," Amanda whispered.

With a sigh of resignation, the mistress said "Well, that is a fly in the ointment, isn't it? Okay, let's make another deal."

Amanda and Dan waited to hear the details.

"Neither of you are in a position to refuse. So, here it is. Any time I come into the store, you let me bind your young man here any way I see fit. No interference. No safe word. It's either that, or I take my prize here and now."

The mistress glanced at each of them in turn, and after a slight hesitation, she finished with "Great. It's a deal."

Amanda ran the credit card across the magnetic reader while the mistress released Dan from the bonds. Nobody said a word. The mistress bagged up her gear, accepted the credit card and receipt from Amanda, and silently left the store.

Dan and Amanda both knew that they were in over their heads.

After several minutes of routine clean up, Dan spoke.

"I'm going to look for another job in the morning."

Amanda smiled approvingly. "Great idea. I'll help."

Chapter 8 – Honest is the Best Policy

After closing the shop, Dan and Amanda went to Dan's apartment to spend Sunday evening. Neither spoke much, but each communicated their feelings in other ways: a kind touch, a loving smile. When they arrived, Dan turned on his computer and began composing an e-mail to the owner of the store.

Dear sir or madame,

Unfortunately, I am e-mailing you to inform you of a serious lapse of judgment on my part. Over the past few weeks, I have been carrying on a personal relationship with Amanda in violation of the shop's strict no-dating policy. I understand that you have a zero tolerance policy for such behavior, and I would not be surprised if you demanded both of our resignations immediately.

Although I have started to look for a new position, I know that the shop is already understaffed. Amanda and I would be happy to remain on staff as long as it takes to hire and train replacement sales associates. Of course, I would be personally grateful if you allowed Amanda to remain at the store after I leave. She enjoys her work, and she is an exceptional salesperson.

Please reply with your decision.


Before the end of the evening, Dan received an answer to his e-mail confession. Dan almost deleted the message because the owner had "spoofed" the e-mail system into displaying Dan's own e-mail address as the source of the reply. The only reason Dan didn't delete it as spam was that the owner cc'd Amanda on the reply. The owner's reply read:


I truly appreciate your honesty. Of course, I cannot tolerate your infraction if I am to remain consistent with my longstanding policy prohibiting employee dating. For that reason, I must regretfully terminate your employment as well as Amanda's. That said, I also truly appreciate your offer to stay on and help in view of the shop's current staffing crunch. I will take you up on your offer of staying on until you find another suitable position. Of course, Amanda should begin looking for alternate employment, as well.

As you probably guessed, "Leather or Knot" is merely a pleasant distraction for me. I support myself through a number of other endeavors, and I own and run several other businesses which are far more profitable than the shop. One such business may soon have an opening for your services, Amanda's services, or both.

Once I have had an opportunity to consider each of your respective talents, as well as the talents of other qualified applicants, I will contact you. Until then, please know that while I am disappointed that you broke my rules, I respect your honesty.


After reading the reply, both Dan and Amanda were saddened but relieved. Neither of them was scheduled to work on Monday. So, they both decided that they would spend the entire day on their job searches. Dan and Amanda went to bed Sunday evening and slept well knowing that they no longer needed to hide their relationship.

Monday was spent mostly in front of Dan's computer. First, they updated Dan's resume. Then, they updated Amanda's. They identified as many jobs as they could, made phone calls, printed resumes and prepared mailings.
Tuesday, however, brought them back to reality. They both got ready for work and started the day early.

The day began as routinely as any other. Although business was slow because it was a weekday, Dan and Amanda kept themselves busy by unpacking and tagging inventory, restocking shelves, and cleaning the shop. When they weren't busying themselves with administrative tasks, they alternated tending to customers. Nearly every customer that day had been a novice or thrill-seeker who failed to buy anything more than a cheap pair of handcuffs or some low-end ballgag. Shortly before closing time, however, the day took a decidedly different turn.

A man in a black trench coat and dark glasses entered the store rolling an over-sized stainless steel briefcase behind him. If Dan hadn't known better, he'd have sworn that he had stumbled onto the set of a low-budget thriller and that the customer was an undercover agent of some type. It was Dan's turn to wait on the customer. So, he approached the man with his usual inviting style.

"Hi, I'm Dan. Welcome to Leather or Knot. Can I help you find something?"

"No, but I may be able to help you find something," the customer said in a soft, low, east coast accent.

Dan couldn't believe how melodramatic this guy was, but Dan played along.

"Oh, really. How's that?"

"I represent a new player in the high-end bondage equipment and accessory market. If you and your co-worker have a few minutes, I'd like to demonstrate some of our devices for you," the stranger replied.

Dan looked over his shoulder to Amanda who had been listening to the entire exchange. Amanda shrugged as though to say "why not?" Dan turned back to the stranger and said "Actually, we don't make the purchasing decisions, but if you leave us your card, we can pass it along to the owner."

"I'm not asking you to make any decisions about purchasing our products, but if I could just demonstrate a few of them, I'm certain that you would appreciate how unique they are. Then you could describe the products better to the shop's owner," the man explained.

Amanda had come out from behind the counter to stand next to Dan.

"Sure, we'd be happy to take a look," she said with a smile.

"Great," the man said. "I'll set up the demonstration in the open area over there," he said, pointing toward the back of the shop.

Amanda nodded. "Okay."

As the man moved to the demonstration area, Dan pulled Amanda aside.

"Something about this doesn't feel right," he whispered.

"Yeah, I know he looks like he's one of the 'men in black,' but lighten up. It could be fun," she said with a smile.

The man took off his trench coat to reveal an expensive black suit. Amanda offered to hang it up, and Dan watched the man unfasten two latches on the side of the stainless steel case. As he opened the doors of the case, several felt-covered shelves swiveled into place creating a type of Christmas tree shaped display case with the lowermost shelf jutting out from the case the farthest and the uppermost shelve remaining close to the case.

Each shelf displayed a different set of restraint devices, and the top shelf contained a small stainless steel case which resembled a miniature of the case from which it emerged.

"Okay, I'll need a volunteer," the man announced as he pointed at Dan.

"Wait a minute. You never said anything about having to try the stuff on," said Dan. "You do it," he said looking over to Amanda.

"Actually, she can't. This set is specifically designed for a male," the man said flatly as he leaned down to remove a device from the bottom shelf.

"Oh, come on," said Amanda. "You've done this countless times before. I'll go lock the front door, and we'll consider this gentleman our last customer for the evening."

Resigned to the task, Dan accepted the first restraint from the man. Dan turned it over in his hands, but he couldn't quite figure out how to wear it. He thought it was some type of belt, but it had no buckles. It had a generally egg-shaped metal container at one end with three rubber straps coming out of it. Each of the three straps connected to a silver box at the other end of the device. The center strap was considerably thinner than the two side straps. Dan figured that the thicker side straps formed the belt and the center strap passed between the wearer's legs, but he wasn't too eager to find out.

"While your co-worker is closing the front door, is there a dressing room where you can put this on?" the man asked.

"Yes, but I wouldn't know how to begin putting this on," Dan said with a question in his voice.

"I'll go back with you to assist," the man offered.

"Whoa! I draw the line at any customer touching me in the dressing room. Especially, another guy," Dan growled.

"I assure you that I am as uninterested in touching you as you are in being touched. By 'assist,' I merely meant that I could talk you through it," the man explained.

Slowly, Dan made his way to the changing room. Once both men were in the room, Dan said loudly "The door stays open."

"No problem," said the man with a disgusted tone.

Dan removed his clothing and hung it on a hook in the dressing room. He stepped into the belt-like device placing the larger oval shaped metal piece in front and the smaller rectangular metal box toward his lower back.

As Dan had guessed, the man explained that the larger metal container was a penile restraint and chastity device that fastened around a man's cock and balls.

"I've had a bad experience with chastity devices," Dan said doubtfully. "Can I take it off whenever I want to?"

"Any time you want it removed, just let me know," said the man reassuringly.

The man then instructed Dan how to open the holding chamber. Although barely visible with the naked eye due to its superior construction, the metal chamber was made up of two halves which opened from the bottom. The device could then be fastened around his manhood from the top, and closed again to seal the appendage within the chamber. The brushed metal encasement had an upwardly curved spine that acted as a hinge for the two sides. Once opened, it resembled an expensive car with gull-wing doors. On the edges of the sides closest to the wearer, rubber piping lined the opening which would secure the device to Dan's package. Dan hated to admit that it actually looked rather comfortable, as these things go.

Inside the device, supported by metal blocks along the underside of the spine, were two rubber rings. According to the man's instructions, Dan threaded his penis through the rings before carefully closing the device around his penis and balls. Although there was no visible locking mechanism, the sides held fast together once the device was closed. Dan assumed that the sides were either spring-loaded or magnetized to keep the device closed.

When the two men returned to the demonstration area, they found Amanda sitting in a chair patiently waiting for them. She smiled as she eyed Dan wearing nothing but his metal and rubber thong.

As the man began to remove one device after another from the display case, he explained to Dan and Amanda that these restraints did not use conventional locking mechanisms. Each device employed a small but powerful electro-magnet which enabled the device to be locked and unlocked electronically. Each device further had a small transceiver and microprocessor built into it allowing the set of devices to be wirelessly networked together and controlled. Finally, each device had a small servo motor which could lengthen or shorten each attached strap to ensure a customized, secure but comfortable fit.

The man handed Dan a wide rubber collar. Dan examined the collar with a critical eye now that he had more information. The collar seemed exceedingly simplistic. It appeared to be little more than a rubber strap with a metal box at either end. Dan wrapped the strap around his neck, and the two boxes clicked together when they met at the back of his neck.

After following the salesman's direction to similarly fasten cuffs around his wrists, above his elbows, and around his thighs and ankles, Dan was not impressed. Although the belt, collar and cuffs would not come off, they were not exactly snug. He looked at Amanda with a look that said "So, this is it?"

While the two were having their silent conversation, the man opened the small metal case on the top shelf of the display and removed what appeared to be a flip phone. He handed the device to Amanda and said "You may do the honors."

The man instructed Amanda to navigate a simple graphical user interface. With a few touches to the screen, Dan was startled to find that all of the restraints had automatically tightened to a point that made him feel completely controlled even though he still had the use of all of his limbs.

While standing next to Amanda, the man reached over and quickly touched the screen a few more times and said "Please place your hands palm to palm behind your back and touch your wrists together."

Slowly, Dan complied. As his wrists drew closer, he felt the strong attraction of the metal boxes of the wrist cuffs. With a loud metallic "clink" the wrist cuffs became inseparable.

As Dan stood looking behind at his wrists and tugging against his bonds, the stranger began to list the highlights of the new bondage system.

"As you can see, the cuffs are incredibly easy to use. Although we are using a dedicated remote controller, the system can be controlled by apps downloadable to any mobile phone or PDA. In addition, the cuffs are virtually inescapable employing the same electro-magnetic technology used by department stores and office buildings to secure their front doors during off hours."

"They do seem secure and easy to use," said Amanda as she smiled at Dan's continued preoccupation with the cuffs behind his back. "But are they safe?"

"Good question," said the man in the black suit. "The system includes a panic button that will instantly release all control of the cuffs. Once pressed, the cuffs will literally fall off the wearer. Of course, I'm not quite ready to show you that feature since we've really just started the demonstration."

The man gestured to a red circle in the lower right corner of the flip-phone screen.

"Of course," agreed Amanda.

"In addition, the cuffs can be set to release at a predetermined time or after a predetermined duration. They also have a time-delay feature enabling them automatically lock after a predetermined duration. These features not only add to the safety of the system, but make it an excellent choice for those interested in solo bondage."

"Wow! I'm impressed. You guys have really thought this through." Amanda said.

"I could go on and on, but let me show you some of the accessories," the man replied. "Is he able to touch his elbows behind his back?" the man asked Amanda.

Amanda giggled. "No, he can get them within a few inches, but he can't get them to touch."

"In that case, let me show you one of our spacers."

The man pulled out a 9-inch length of hard rubber cord with a metal disk attached either end. After directing Amanda through a couple of taps on the remote controller, the man held one metallic end of the cord to Dan's left elbow cuff and the other end of the cord to Dan's right elbow cuff. A pair of loud "clinks" announced that Dan's elbows were inescapably linked together. The look on Dan's face suggested that his elbows were at their limit.

The man asked Dan "How does that feel?"

"Uncomfortable," Dan replied, grimacing.

"Tell me young man, do you worship this young woman you work with?"

There was an awkward silence as Dan tried to find the right answer."

"Of course he does," interjected Amanda, smiling.

"Yes, of course," repeated the man. "Let's prove it, shall we? If you would be so kind, please step over to your lady friend and kneel down in front of her."

Dan smiled sheepishly, moved in front of Amanda and knelt down in front of her.

The man reached over to the controller in Amanda's hand and deftly pressed a few buttons on the remote controller and "clink" "clink." Each of Dan's thigh cuffs were instantly welded to the corresponding ankle cuff forcing him to remain kneeling in front of Amanda.

"Wow! I'm liking this more all the time" said Amanda with an mischievous grin as she looked into Dan's eyes.

"Yes, I thought you might," said the man confidently.

"So, what else do you have?" asked Amanda.

"Well, we have quite an assortment of other accessories that employ similar technology. For example, we have ballet boots with electro-magnets built into the heels and soles. When used with specialized flooring, a subject can be rendered immobile without otherwise restraining them."

Taking a breath, the man continued.

"Let's see, we have female insertables, anal insertables, nipple rings... you name it, all controllable through the same interface. We also offer heart monitors, perspiration sensors, GPS devices and that can be used to provide input for certain automated functions of any other networked device. Of course, we are proudest of our blindfolds and gags, but I'm not allowed to demonstrate them."

"Why not?" Amanda asked, disappointed.

"Because our owner insists on personally demonstrating those pieces since they incorporate some of her best ideas."

The screen on the remote controller suddenly went blank, and Amanda heard a small noise toward the front of the store. Looking up, she was shocked to see Mistress Juliette standing near the checkout counter with a remote controller in her hand similar to the one Amanda was holding. The mistress was dressed in a black leather trench coat with her hands on her hips, and a broad smile across her face.

Chapter 9 – Dan's New Position

Mistress Juliette's presence in the store caused a stunned silence for a moment. Then, Amanda forcefully rose from her seat, pointed at the stranger and demanded "power down the restraint system."

"I already have, my dear," responded Juliette from across the store. "Well, your portion of the system, anyway."

Turning to the dominatrix, Amanda nearly shouted "How did you get in here?"

"Calm down Amanda," said the mistress in a casual tone. "I've come for my pet, and the restraints will come off on my orders, not yours. Remember our little deal?"

"Oh, I remember the deal. Dan had to model for you without condition, but you didn't restrain him. I did with his help," Amanda countered as she pointed to the stranger in black.

"I see you've met my personal assistant, James," Juliette replied. "What he does, he does for me. So, in a sense, I actually restrained your friend."

As Mistress Juliette came closer to examine her prize, Amanda lunged at Juliette, her hands aimed at Juliette's slender throat. But, before she was within two feet of her target, James had hit her with a dart from a small gun he had hidden in his belt.

Amanda crumbled to the floor unconscious next to Dan who was silently horrified.

"Nice work, James," smiled Juliette. "Remind me to reevaluate your salary when we get back home."

Within minutes James and Juliette had restrained Amanda with a set of cuffs similar to those worn by Dan. Amanda's wrists were secured together behind the back of her chair. A longer belt was fastened around Amanda's waist and the chair back to force her to remain seated. Each of her ankles was individually secured to the rear legs of the chair, forcing her legs to be spread awkwardly. Although Amanda's ankles could just as easily have been secured to the front legs of the chair, Juliette used the rear legs to highlight her adversary's submission.

As Amanda began to regain consciousness, she attempted to move. She quickly discovered her predicament, and struggled wildly.

"Let me out of these, you bitch!" Amanda spat.

"Now, now," said Juliette calmly. "Please don't spoil the demonstration with any more outbursts. I was just about to demonstrate some of my favorite pieces."

Juliette opened a second steel case containing electronic bondage gear. She removed a rather ordinary looking device which Amanda had decided was some type of head piece based on the size and location of the attached straps.

"This is the most effective gag that has ever been devised," said Juliette in a matter of fact tone.

She forced Dan to accept a short rubberized tube between his teeth, and she arranged the straps in a fashion typical of a standard gag trainer. As she worked, she explained that the gag was much more effective than it appeared. Even as she spoke, Dan grunted a few semi-intelligible sentences that could be plainly heard by everyone in the room.

"Some gag," smirked Amanda.

Without acknowledging the remark, Juliette gave a sweet sounding instruction to Dan. "Be a dear, and place your tongue inside the tube until it touches the front of the gag."

Dan, knowing that his fate would be easier if he simply accepted it, complied with the request. Suddenly, he let out a yelp, his face contorted into an expression of surprise combined with fear. The touching of his tongue to the front of the gag activated a small servo motor which could be heard operating within the gag, but only Dan could tell what was happening inside his mouth.

The small tube into which he had placed his tongue was actually a telescoping device which reached into his mouth, encircled his tongue and clamped onto it to hold it in place. Although the tongue tube itself did very little to silence the wearer, it included an audio sensor that communicated with a shock unit embedded in the collar. The slightest sound resulted in a painful shock from the collar. Wearers often found themselves in a vicious cycle of shocks that caused involuntary, pain-induced screams that resulted in another shock, and so on.

Juliette fully explained the design and benefits of the gag as she began to remove a blindfold from the steel case. The blindfold, unlike the other restraints, did not have a strap that encircled the wearer's head. Instead, the blindfold had a metal box on each side that attached to corresponding metal boxes on the gag trainer straps. "Click, click" and the blindfold was in place.

Juliette explained that the metal boxes on the blindfold had a dual purpose: first, they acted as an attachment mechanism, and second, they acted as shock units for delivering electric shocks to the wearer's temples. The eye holes of the blindfold were actually round LCD screens that could be electrically controlled to be transparent, completely blacked out, or something in between. Juliette further explained that the blindfold included embedded motion sensors which could detect the movement of the wearer's head. In other words, the wearer could communicate with nods and shakes, and could be punished automatically for wrong answers.

"Let me show you how this works," Juliette said as looked down at the remote controller. Juliette touched the screen several times and said "Now, Dan, using a nod or a shake of your head, tell me, do you want to stop working here and become my personal slave?"

Dan didn't move a muscle. His mind was racing to figure out what he should do. His eyes darted from Amanda to Juliette. After a moment, Juliette spoke again.

"Tsk, tsk, Dan, your Mistress doesn't like to be ignored. Under other circumstances you would be punished severely for such insolence, but since you're new to this, I'll give you another chance. Search you heart and answer honestly. Do you want to come home with me to become my personal slave?"

Slowly and tentatively, Dan shook his head to answer "yes." But before his head had reached the pinnacle of its upward movement, he stiffened as a surge of electricity flowed through his body. He grunted from the pain, and the event replayed. This happened four times before Dan could find the self control to refrain from vocalizing the pain. Instead of using his throat, Dan focused on breathing through his nose. When the vicious cycle stopped, Dan was silently crying and heavily breathing through his nose.

Dan stared at Juliette as she approached him. She ran her fingers through his hair like a pet and sweetly said "There, there. Now that little lesson wasn't so bad, was it? Next time I tell you to answer honestly, you would be wise to do so. Seriously, we all know you don't actually want to become my slave. That's what makes this all so delicious."

Juliette turned to Amanda who was staring at Dan in sympathetic disbelief.

"Here's the way this is going to work. James is going to load my prize into my car through the back door." Juliette nodded in James direction, and he began moving Dan toward the back door. "He is also going to pack up our gear – except, of course, the few pieces that we are leaving with you," Juliette said smiling. "Your restraints are timed to release shortly after our departure. I know that tomorrow is your day off. Wednesday morning, you will tell your manager that your friend has found a new position, which is technically true. Just say that he left early to start his new career."

"No. I won't do it!" Amanda said nearly crying. "Clearly, I can't stop you, but I'll never help you!"

"Oh, yes you will, or I'll tell your boss about your extracurricular activities with Dan." Juliette replied sternly.

"Don't threaten me. My boss already knows all about us," Amanda shot back.

There was a brief silence as Juliette appeared to contemplate the alternatives, and a smile slowly snaked its way across Juliette's face.

"Do your parents know?" Juliette asked letting the question hang in the air. "And do they know what kind of a place you work at?" Again, Juliette paused for effect. "Do they know that you let people, complete strangers, tie you up so that you can model perverse bondage gear?"

Juliette reached into her case to remove a manilla envelope. She removed three black and white 8 x 10 photographs of Amanda in bondage in the shop. Amanda immediately recognized the photographs as having been taken during her bondage orgasm a few weeks earlier. Juliette had set Amanda up and Dan was too naοve to stop it.

Amanda silently looked away to the floor.

"No. They don't know," she said quietly.

"Look, Amanda. You know that I kind of like you. I always come into this store asking for you to assist me. I don't want to hurt you, really."

Juliette walked over to the counter with the envelope of photographs.

"I'm going to leave this envelope here on the counter for you. Once you get loose, you can destroy the prints inside, and I promise to permanently delete the files from my computer. I am also leaving second envelope on the counter. Before you do anything you'll regret, check out the second envelope. I've left you enough information to decide your future and the future of your friend. Review it and follow your heart."

With that, Juliette turned toward the back door where James had just finished loading the car. As Amanda heard the back door close, she broke down crying.

"No! No! Please let me go! Please don't take Dan! I'll do anything! Please take me instead!"

Her cries fell on an empty store. Over the next ten minutes, she struggled ferociously to free herself, but the high-tech restraints were unyielding.

Exactly five minutes after Juliette left the shop, Amanda's restraints silently and suddenly fell to the floor – exactly as James described in his sales presentation.

Amanda bolted to the counter to open the second envelope. Inside, she found $100,000 cash in a bank envelope and a typewritten note.


I have been frequenting "Leather or Knot" for quite some time, and I have had the great pleasure of watching you develop. The first time that you assisted me, you were wearing conservative street clothes, and now not only do you wear fetish clothing for your job, you have incorporated bondage into you personal relationships. You have come a long way, but I am most impressed by your character which started strong and remains so.

I am certain that this is a difficult situation for you, but I believe that it is the best for all concerned, including Dan. I know that you care about him and that you are concerned for his well-being. I assure you that I will take excellent care of him. He will want for nothing – except his freedom.

I have enclosed $100,000 for your cooperation. If you refrain from discussing Dan's new situation with anyone for the next 24 hours, you may keep the money, and your parents will not find out about what you do for a living. Of course, if you choose to be troublesome, I will see to it that you return the $100,000 and that you are properly punished for your poor judgment.

Mistress Juliette

Amanda was scared, stunned and offended. Juliette expected her to look the other way for $100,000!

With purposeful deliberation, Amanda crumbled up the letter, placed the letter and cash in her purse, and walked to the back office. Running her finger down the list of emergency numbers posted on the wall, Amanda stopped at the emergency number for the owner.

To Amanda's knowledge, no employee had ever used the owner's emergency number. There had never been a situation so significant that it warranted contacting the owner in real-time – until now. Amanda followed the instructions on the emergency contact list. She dialed the number on her mobile phone and left a text message describing her situation. Her message was succinct: "Dan has been kidnapped by a client."

Pressing the "send" button was anticlimactic for Amanda. There was no telling how soon the owner would check for text messages. There was no telling whether the owner could do anything to help. Amanda, adrenaline flowing, reached for the back office telephone to call 911 when her mobile phone signaled that an incoming text message had been received.

Amanda quickly looked at her phone to read "W8 4 me. Do nothing. Will contact U shortly."

Amanda could hardly contain herself. She felt like she should be doing something to help Dan before it was too late, but she controlled her impulse and waited to hear from the owner. Maybe there was a protocol for dealing with the situation of which Amanda was unaware.

Five minutes after Amanda placed her emergency text message, the front door to the shop swung open. Amanda ran from the back room to see Mistress Juliette striding toward her. Through the glass storefront, Amanda could see Juliette's limosine waiting at the curb.

"You rang?" Juliette said with a smile.

"What? How did you get in here?"

"When there is an emergency at my store, I investigate it in person," replied Juliette still smiling.

"You're the owner?" asked Amanda in shock. "What are you going to do with Dan?"

"Well, I had planned on keeping him as my personal assistant before you passed my little character test."

"What do you mean?"

Juliette explained that the money and the letter were designed to assess Amanda's strength of character. If Amanda had chosen to remain silent, she would have been $100,000 wealthier, but she would have failed the test. She also would have lost her job shortly thereafter.

"But what happens to Dan now?" Amanda asked, without fully considering all of the implications of her present situation.

"As I see it, whatever happens to Dan is his own doing," replied Juliette without emotion. "Dan has made a number of poor judgments. Really, the only good judgment he has made recently is his trust in you."

A few short weeks ago, Dan allowed me to bind him, in this very spot, without adequate precautions. Frankly, that was not your finest moment either. Then, he foolishly made the deal with me for subsequent binding. What was he thinking?" Juliette asked rhetorically.

She continued. "Further, he disobeyed the rules about dating co-workers, as did you. He is lucky that his errors in judgment landed him in my hands."

"But you didn't answer my question. What now?" Amanda said with a hint of pleading in her voice.

"Well," Juliette said with an expression of mock consideration, "I think that depends on you. I have decided that his fate is in your hands. You do seem to love him."

After a pause, Juliette laid out Amanda's options. Amanda could allow Dan to become Juliette's slave; Amanda could keep Dan as her own slave; she could allow him to keep his current job and continue as before; she could give him a job as a web developer for the store; or she could allow him to find another job entirely. Regardless of her decision, Juliette told Amanda that the $100,000 was hers to keep.

Handing Amanda a folded piece of paper, Juliette said "Here are directions to my estate. Take the rest of the evening to consider your decision. Tomorrow at 9:00 am, come to my estate. We will have breakfast together, and you can tell me your decision at that time."

Without waiting for Amanda's reaction, Juliette turned toward the front door and her awaiting car.

"Don't forget to lock up the store before you leave."

Chapter 10 – The Employment Agreement (added: 10/24/2009)

A black Mercedes-Benz panel van with darkly tinted windows was idling in front of the shop as Juliette stepped out onto the sidewalk. She entered the van through a large rear passenger side door, and James began driving toward her estate. The panel van had a luxurious burgundy interior. Juliette smiled and relaxed on a rear-facing Italian leather sofa behind a soundproof glass wall separating the passengers from the driver's compartment. She took in the view of Dan bound and frightened, still attached to the dolly James used to load him into the vehicle.

Dan's mind and senses were working overtime. He was physically aware of the stress caused by his predicament, but his thoughts were mostly of Amanda. Juliette made a big production about using a timer to release Amanda, but Dan wondered if that was just a show for his benefit, and he wondered if the brief stop they just made had something to do with her. Not knowing she was safe scared him more than whatever might happen to him.

Juliette regarded him a few moments more before she reached for the remote controller embedded in the arm of the couch.

"As much fun as this is, I'm afraid I need to teach you a little something about being a slave," she said ominously as she manipulated several controls on the touch-screen of the remote.

Without warning, all of the restraints binding Dan fell to the ground except for the crotch harness and the head harness with attached blindfold and gag. After a few more taps on the screen, the LCD screens of the electronic blindfold became completely transparent, enabling Dan to take in his surroundings. He slowly stood up, stretched his limbs and looked around. Uncertain what to do with his new found freedom of movement, he decided to sit in a leather chair on the driver's side of the van. He glanced out the window, and he realized that they were traveling north toward the more affluent suburbs.

"The human anatomy can withstand tremendous stress and difficult circumstances, but it isn't designed to do so for extended periods. That is why I have released your restraints," explained Juliette. "You will continue to wear the thong and head harness as a safety precaution."

Juliette reached under the sofa and pulled out a leather briefcase. She set the briefcase on the couch next to her and opened it. Looking through a few documents, she selected one and handed it to Dan.

"Do you recognize this?" she asked.

Dan looked at the document's title "Leather or Not Employment Agreement." He nodded his head, wondering where this was headed.

"Turn to the last page. Is that your signature?" continued Juliette, pointing to the page.

Dan examined the signature above Juliette's index finger and nodded. Then, he noticed the signature to the right of his own. It was Juliette's signature, and the title under her signature read "Juliette Bouvier, President, Leather or Knot, Inc." After a moment of initial confusion, he realized that Juliette was the reclusive owner of the boutique. His revelation gave him some solace that Amanda would not be hurt, but he wasn't too sure he could say the same.

"This employment agreement is one of the documents you signed on your first day of employment with Leather or Knot, Inc. In this document, among other things, you acknowledge that any and all bondage activities related to your employment at Leather or Knot are completely consensual. In fact, to ensure that the activities are consensual, you were provided a safe word which you could use with your co-workers in order to be immediately released. Were you aware that you had such a safe word?" Juliette inquired.

Again, Dan nodded.

"Did you use your safe word at any point this evening?"

Looking down, Dan shook his head.

"Then your bondage must have been consensual, right?"

Dan vigorously shook his head.

"Silly me! I forgot. You've been deprived of your voice. Of course you couldn't use your safe word, isn't that right?" Juliette said understandingly.

Dan's head bobbed up and down.

"Were you aware that you had a safe gesture?" she said smiling.

Dan sheepishly nodded.

"You didn't use that either, though, did you?" Juliette questioned with a knowing smile.

Dan took a moment to think, and then pounded on the floor with his feet once, then twice in rapid succession, then three times in rapid succession. He looked to Juliette with his eyebrows raised.

Juliette let out a hearty laugh. "Is that your safe gesture?" she asked rhetorically. "Please review section 10.3 of your employment agreement," she said, still chuckling.

Dan read: "Employee's use of the Safe Word/Gesture is effective when provided to any employee having a position of Store Manager or lower. Employee may use the Ultimate Safe Word/Gesture to be released from any bondage situation applied by any employee, officer, director, owner or agent of Leather or Knot, Inc., including employees having a position superior to Store Manager."

Dan looked at Juliette quizzically.

"I'm afraid that the safe gesture you just provided won't work with me. You see, I'm the President of Leather or Knot, Inc." She paused for effect. "Yes, right about now you're probably wondering about the "Ultimate Safe Gesture" mentioned in the agreement, aren't you? Check out Section 1 where all of the safe words and gestures are defined," she said in a tone a teacher might take with a pupil.

Dan flipped back to the second page and found his safe word and safe gesture defined just as he had expected, but the ultimate safe word and gesture were obscured by a black marker. He turned to Juliette angrily.

"Oh, my. This copy seems to have that information redacted," she said in mock surprise. "Of course, I have the original in my safe with all of my other important papers, and I'm sure you have a copy of this somewhere at your house, right?"

Dan gave a resigned nod.

"Well, there you have it. If you can remember your ultimate safe word or gesture, you will be immediately released. Otherwise, I will assume that you are a man who abides by his employment agreement, and I will consider this little endeavor we are on completely consensual."

Dan turned away sharply. She knew that there was virtually no chance that he would ever come up with the right word or gesture. She also knew that he hadn't bothered to read the agreement when he was hired. "Who reads that stuff, anyway?" Dan thought. At the time, he figured that they were just standard employment papers, but he should have known better. After all, his job was certainly not standard employment.

They drove along in luxury and silence for 45 minutes or more, and along the way the roads became progressively more remote. Finally, the van turned off of a 2-lane drive covered by a canopy of trees onto a driveway secured by a large metal gate and flanked by two massive stone columns. Each of the columns supported a large figure carved out of stone, and small dots of red light gave away security cameras perched at the foot of each figure. They drove up the driveway for 300 yards until it intersected with a large circular drive which followed the contour of an enormous reflecting pool. An array of water fountains pulsed and sprayed in a beautiful, rhythmic, and slightly erotic pattern as the van came to a stop under a covered breezeway in front of two oak doors at least 30 feet tall.

Without speaking, Juliette gently ushered Dan, still clutching his redacted Employment Agreement, out of the van. Together, they walked up a set of stone steps and into the opulent three-story manor house. The front hall was like something out of a fairy tale. The floor was silver-gray marble that had been polished to a shine. A sprawling circular staircase emptied into the hall from a railed balcony, and several beautiful hand maidens were available to attend to anything that Juliette may have desired. She motioned for one of them to accompany Dan.

"Cynthia, please show our new guest his accommodations," Juliette said, as though Dan was a client at a quaint bed and breakfast.

The attendant touched Dan above the elbow and motioned up the staircase. Still unable to speak, Dan followed the woman in numb disbelief.

As they ascended the staircase, Dan tried to take in as much information as possible for a future escape attempt. He noticed that each of the attendants wore a white translucent 2-piece nightie as a type of uniform. Each of them also wore a harness around their waist and crotch, most likely to allow Juliette to maintain control over their actions. Whether it was because of the harnesses, job satisfaction, or some other reason, the staff seemed to operate like a well-oiled machine. Dan figured that escaping from this prison-estate would be an extremely low percentage proposition.

Cynthia led Dan down a long corridor with doors on either side. As they approached a room about three quarters of the way down the hall on the right, Dan heard a door automatically unlock. They entered the room which was to be Dan's bedroom for the evening. It looked like a five-star luxury hotel suite with a desk and credenza, a computer, and a large HD video monitor in front of a king-size bed.

In a professional voice that was in stark contrast to her appearance, Cynthia began to recount the amenities of the room like a flight attendant providing safety information before a flight. "You will sleep here tonight. For your protection and the protection of those around you, the door will automatically lock once I leave the suite. Another attendant will come to get you in the morning before your breakfast with Mistress Juliette and your friend Amanda. In the meantime, feel free to make yourself at home. You may take a shower, bath or Jacuzzi to relax if that suits you, as all of the equipment that you are wearing is completely waterproof. For your peace of mind, you should further know that each piece of equipment has a variety of safety mechanisms in the event of any malfunction, including a water-induced electrical short. Of course, we will do our best to make sure your stay with us is safe, sane and consensual."

"Cynthia, you have no idea what you're talking about," Dan thought. "Clearly, you're in no position to judge sanity."

Cynthia continued. "The television receives a variety of movie channels and in certain circumstances may operate as a video conferencing station. There is a workstation with a high-speed Internet connection over on the desk if you prefer on-line entertainment. I hope you have an enjoyable evening."

Breaking from her professional demeanor, she smiled like a gushing school girl and said "Between you and me, I think it's so romantic that you are offering yourself to your friend Amanda like this. I actually requested to be part of the breakfast detail, but my request was turned down since I don't really have any seniority."

The mere mention of Amanda's name caused Dan to raise his eyebrows in surprise. How could this woman know about Amanda, and what did breakfast have to do with anything?

Cynthia mistook Dan's expression for one of disbelief at her lack of seniority, and she elaborated accordingly. "No, really. I just started here. I probably don't even make as much as you and your friend do tending the Mistress Juliette's shop."

Forcing himself back in the moment, Dan suddenly and swiftly flipped to the second page of the contract he almost forgot he was holding. He pointed to the section defining his safe gesture, and he proceeded to stomp on the floor in the sequence described on the page.

Cynthia laughed. "How cute, you want me to know your safe gesture. Very good, now I know," she said nodding.

Dan shook his head back and forth as he flipped to the section about levels lower than Store Manager.

A concerned look came across Cynthia's face as she read. "You're serious," she said. "You have just given me your safe gesture, and you expect me to free you."

Dan nodded quickly and tapped the page of the employment agreement.

"Well, I don't know. Nobody said anything about this. I'm going to have to check with my manager."

Dan flipped the contact to the last page and pointed at his signature and Juliette's signature.

"Yes, yes, I see that this is between you and Mistress Juliette. I'll call her."

Dan vehemently shook his head and he pointed to the gag preventing him from speaking.

"Are you suggesting that I take the gag off so that you can explain?" she asked, as though they were playing a game of charades.

Dan first gave her a "thumbs up" then held up his thumb and index finger to suggest "just for a little bit."

"I don't know..." she said thinking a moment. "Well, alright, but just long enough for you to tell me what you absolutely need to."

Cynthia reached behind her back and produced a remote controller seemingly out of thin air. "There must be a well disguised pocket in that outfit," thought Dan "because I thought I could see everything."

With a few taps of Cynthia's finger on the touchpad, Dan's tongue was released, and Dan turned his head allowing the gag to fall harmlessly onto the bed. Dan breathed a deep sigh of relief, and swallowed hard before speaking.

"Cynthia, please don't contact Juliette or your manager. I don't trust them. This is my employment agreement with Leather or Knot which requires that I be released from any bondage equipment when I provide my safe signal to an employee at a store manager level or lower. Unfortunately, I don't know my "Ultimate Safe Word or Gesture" since I didn't pay attention when I signed the agreement, and Juliette won't tell me what they are because if she did, she knows that I would use them."

"Surprised, Cynthia said "Wow. That's a lot to take in. So, how do I know that you didn't just make all of that up?"

"Well, I guess you really don't. Not yet," Dan said considering his situation. "Look, let's take one thing at a time. Are you at a lower level in the organization than a store manager?"

"I'm really not sure, but I would bet that I am. I just started working here last week, and it is an entry-level position," she reasoned.

"Is there someone you could ask other than your manager? Maybe a co-worker?"

Cynthia agreed to call her roommate who was also a co-worker. Cynthia used the telephone next to the bed, and after a short conversation she hung up and said "Yes, my friend Vickie said that we are at the same level as a janitor which is far below a store manager."

Cynthia then tapped her finger on the remote controller a few times, and picked up the gag from the bed. "Okay, time to put the gag back on," she said nicely.

"Wait a minute. We aren't done yet. What about my employment agreement? You should be letting me go since you are at a lower level than a store manager," Dan implored.

"I'm sorry, but we can settle all of that once we get your gag back on. Vickie also warned me not to let you go without proper authorization because unlike your employment agreement, my employment agreement includes my consent to corporal punishment for breaking the house rules. So, even though I want to help you, I'd rather not find out what will happen to me if you're lying," Cynthia explained. "Now please, just put the gag back on, and I promise I'll try to help you."

Dan knew that he had no choice. Even if he overpowered her and took the remote controller, the minute anyone found out that he was gone, they would send a signal to his helmet or thong that would make him regret his actions. He started to reason with her, but she insisted and threatened to do it "the hard way."

Just as he was putting the gag back on, a woman in a blue translucent nightie entered the suite.

The woman looked directly at Cynthia and said "I came as soon as I received your signal. What seems to be the prob..." She stopped short, looked at Dan and then looked back to Cynthia. "Who authorized you to remove his gag?" she demanded.

Cynthia searched for the right words. "Well, he gave me what appeared to be a safe gesture, and I needed to be certain that I understood. So, I temporarily removed his gag for him to explain, but we put it right back on. I'm so sorry if I did anything wrong."

"Of course you've done something wrong!" the woman said, raising her voice. "What in the world made you think he would have a safe gesture, and how would you have known what it was, anyway?"

Dan, having reinserted the gag, held up his contract and pointed to the section describing his safe gesture.

"Yes," Cynthia explained. "He has this employment agreement that identifies his safe gesture, and requires anyone at a store manager level or lower to remove his restraints."

The woman dismissed the thought. "That's nonsense! They're just words on a page. There's nothing here to suggest that this is a real contract."

"Actually, there is," said Cynthia taking the agreement from Dan and turning to the last page. "It appears to be signed by Mistress Juliette. That's why I called you."

Cynthia's manager studied the document. She spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the signature page.

"Well, there's only one way to settle this. We'll call Mistress Juliette."

Dan stared at the ground resigned to his fate.

The women stood in front of the HD monitor, and the manager tapped the remote controller touch screen several times. The monitor displayed "Connecting... please wait" superimposed over a beautiful panoramic shot of the estate grounds. Twenty seconds later, they were on a video conference with Mistress Juliette.

With an air of skepticism, Cynthia's superior reported the events in a fairly accurate fashion to Juliette. Juliette asked Cynthia "Did he give you the correct safe gesture as described in the agreement?"

"Yes, ma'am. He did. That was what prompted me to call Miss Francis," Cynthia said, gesturing to her manager.

There was an uncomfortably long pause. Dan expected Juliette to order the women to add more restraints. Cynthia was certain that she was going to be punished for even considering this. Miss Francis was contemplating the appropriate punishment for a first-time offense.

Finally, a smile crept across Juliette's face. She began to nod. "Nicely played, Daniel. Nicely played. I wondered whether you would use the clues I provided. I wasn't sure you would be able to identify a staff member at the right level in the organization, but you managed to make quick work of it."

Dan looked up, eyes wide, stunned that she admitted that he was right.

Juliette continued. "Ladies, I am a woman of my word. Please see to it that you remove all restraints from Mr. Learner, and offer him every amenity that you would offer any of my most honored guests."

The women were amazed, but they promptly complied. Miss Francis reached down to operate the remote controller, and Dan's head harness, goggles and gag slid off of his head to the floor. The harness covering his manhood gently opened. Dan gladly removed it and tossed it on the bed. Suddenly naked, Dan felt extremely self-conscious.

"I don't suppose there are any men's clothes in the closet?" Dan said sarcastically.

Cynthia immediately walked to the bathroom and held open a luxuriously thick terrycloth robe. Dan put his arms in the sleeves, wrapped it around his body and began to feel human again. Walking over an armoire near the closet, Cynthia said "We have a variety of clothes for you. I believe that they will all be your size." She opened the armoire and the closet to reveal an immense wardrobe.

Stunned, Dan said "The robe will be fine for now."

Juliette spoke again from the HD monitor. "Daniel, you are now free to move about in any of the public areas of the estate, but if you don't mind waiting, I would love to give you a personal tour. Please relax. Settle in for a bit, and I will be down in just under an hour. Agreed?"

"Sure," replied Dan, not knowing what else to say. This day had been long and eventful, but it wasn't over yet.

Chapter 11 – Juliette's Domain (added: 11/14/2009)

After reviewing his clothing options in the armoire and closet, Dan had decided to put on some khakis and a golf shirt. As promised, Juliette arrived at Dan's door just before midnight, 45 minutes after disconnecting from the video conference. She was dressed in jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt. Initially, he thought that she had removed all of her make-up, but upon closer inspection, he realized that she was just more conventional and subtle about its application. She was a naturally beautiful older woman.

"So, how does it feel to be a free man?" Juliette inquired playfully.

"Wonderful, but I won't really be free until I'm back with Amanda. She is alright, isn't she?" He asked, concerned.

"She's fine. She's probably home asleep by now. As you know, I've invited her for breakfast tomorrow." She paused to see recognition in Dan's face. "Of course, she thinks that she is coming here to decide your fate, but you seem to have taken care of that yourself."

"What do you mean 'decide my fate?' Does she think you were going to kill me?" Dan asked incredulously.

"No, silly. After taking you from the shop earlier tonight, I gave her the power to decide what would happen to you. I would have let her decide to do almost anything with you if you hadn't freed yourself by tomorrow's breakfast."

"What would there be to decide?" He asked rhetorically. "She would have told you to let me go, and we'd have gotten out of here."

"No. I don't think you've thought this through completely. She would have had all night to think about this decision. It's true that she could have decided to set you free, but there are a number of other possibilities that she might have considered."

"Oh, really?" Dan said acerbically.

"Sure. For example, she could have told me to keep you both on at Leather or Knot, since it did bring you both together," she said smiling.

"No way. I'm done with the shop. Using my safe word was my last official act as an employee, thank you very much," Dan said sarcastically.

"That's fine. Consider your employment terminated, but you're missing the point. Amanda could have decided anything. She could even have decided to keep you for herself. You certainly wouldn't have been in a position to argue about it. Or, maybe I could have convinced her to let me keep you, you never know..."

Dan considered the implications of what might have been.

"So, if I didn't use my safe signal, she could have decided to keep me as her slave... if she wanted to?"

"That was actually the outcome that I was hoping for," Juliette said matter-of-factly. "I have seen great things ahead for Amanda ever since I hired her, and you would have been lucky to have her," she said with a hint of sadness. "But that's all moot now. Let me give you a quick tour before bed."

Mindful of the late hour, Juliette decided to limit the tour to the vanilla areas of the estate before retiring. They wandered around the grounds, and she pointed out landscape lighting in the front garden. They toured the ball room, the conservatory, the game room, the exercise facility and the sauna. Juliette pointed out the two pools, the stable and the four tennis courts.

She delighted in explaining that hidden within the lovely vanilla exterior was a wonderfully kinky facility. She and her husband had originally considered having two estates: one vanilla and the other alternative, but they ultimately decided it would be more fun to have them both operating in the same house, but each completely separate from the other. As Juliette and Dan concluded the tour in the dining room, she explained that it gave her a secret thrill to entertain her socially acceptable guests in a house infused with hidden kinkiness.

"Most of my guests have no idea, for example, that there is a hidden staircase right behind that wall that leads from this dining room to a dungeon in the basement," she said smiling like a school girl.

At that moment, Dan realized that Juliette may have had a truly playful and happy side that he hadn't seen before.

Juliette escorted Dan to a table for two off to the side of the formal dining table. The table held a variety of late-night snacks that Dan eyed as he sat down.

"Dig in. You must be hungry after the evening you've had," she said, nodding toward the snacks. "We're pretty much finished with the vanilla aspects of the house. I'll give you a quick tour of the kinkier side of the house in the light of day."

"Agreed. I've already seen more of that side of the house than I cared to for one night."

They sat in silence for a moment. Then Dan asked "How did you end up living like this, anyway?"

It came out more judgmental that Dan intended. What he had meant was that he marveled at her ability to compartmentalize her vanilla and alternative sides. For the past few months, his vanilla side and his alternative side had been co-existing without really interacting with each other, and he felt torn.

"That's a fair question, actually," Juliette said with a hint of sadness. "It didn't start off like this. My husband and I built this estate so that we could live out our fantasies without sacrificing all of the ordinary pleasures that we enjoyed."

"So what happened? Where is he?" Dan asked.

"He passed away about ten years ago. An automobile accident, and ironically, he wasn't wearing his seat belt, a safety restraint," she answered with a sad laugh.

"That's terrible. I'm so sorry," Dan said sincerely. He was beginning to see Juliette as more than just an S&M caricature.

"Actually, Brent and I were rather similar to you and Amanda when we first started out. We were getting by on what I made working at a resale shop, and Brent had just graduated with a chemical engineering degree when he invented a non-toxic, quick-setting glue that is still used by most dentists to this day," she said reminiscing.

Dan listened as she continued.

"We had experimented with bondage in the bedroom, and the money we made from his discovery allowed us to take our dark fantasies to another level by building this house. When he died, he left me a fortune in life insurance proceeds, not to mention the royalties that I collect from his patent portfolio, but he left my heart and our house empty."

Her eyes began to water, and Dan offered her a napkin. Juliette accepted it, rose to her feet and started walking Dan back to his suite. As they walked, Juliette collected herself and continued.

"I see that same passion between you and Amanda even though you two probably don't fully recognize it, yet. Brent used to call me his 'little pistol,'" she said. "If you had read your employment agreement before signing it, you would realize that I now use that as the ultimate safe word for my employees," she said smiling sadly.

"So, if I had just said 'pistol' you would have let me go earlier tonight?" he asked, trying to gently guide the conversation back to the present.

"Yes, immediately. But there was little chance of that happening since you were well silenced. You would have had to hum or tap out "Take me out to the Ball Game." While humming, she snapped her fingers in time with the words. "Brent loved baseball."

Finally, they arrived at Dan's door, and Juliette looked at her watch.

"Well, it's off to bed. Over the years, I have discovered that some of my guests like to indulge in any number of activities before bed. If you would like any of my staff to help entertain you before bed, please just let me know," she said with a wink.

"No, that won't be necessary," Dan answered, a bit disgusted at the implication.

Juliette smiled and said in a sing-song voice "It would be just our little secret if you want to. Amanda never has to know."

"Seriously, no," Dan reiterated.

"Yes, you two really are reminiscent of Brent and me when we were young," she said, half to herself.

Dan was tired and his accommodations were superb. Nonetheless, he spent a restless night thinking about Amanda. He had wanted to pick up the phone and call her, but Juliette had asked him not to call, assuring him that Amanda was fine.

The next morning, he awoke at sunrise and decided to take a look around in the daylight. He dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt and strolled down the wide circular staircase. Before he stepped onto the marble flooring below, Cynthia entered the hall from the dining room. Unlike the day before, she was dressed completely in leather: halter top, mini skirt, stilettos and gloves.

"Juliette has asked me to complete your tour from last night. Step this way," she said professionally.

Surprised, Dan obeyed.

"So, why the leather outfit? Dan asked to make polite conversation.

"Well, we have a limited selection of uniforms, and if you must know, I chose this one because I was punished for the way I handled your situation last night. The mini skirt hides my red bottom," she answered, clearly a bit irritated.

Dan stopped walking.

"But you didn't do anything wrong," he reasoned aloud. "Juliette even said as much when she directed you to let me go."

"Well, I wasn't punished for letting you go. I was punished for removing your gag without permission and for calling my roommate from your bedroom phone."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Dan said sympathetically.

"I suppose it was my own fault, really. I should have contacted Miss Francis immediately instead of handling it myself," Cynthia replied, motioning Dan to continue walking. "My punishment was only two light swats with a cane, but they left marks that will last a few days. So, I'd rather not advertise my disobedience," she said, pausing a moment. "I won't be making that mistake again."

As they talked, Cynthia led Dan out of the residence and to an adjacent four story building. It was the Development and Research of Leather or Knot, Inc. The employees often referred to it by the acronym "DARC LOK," or "Dark Lock." They met Juliette in the lobby and spent the next 90 minutes touring the building as Juliette pointed out the highlights of the innovative work being done. Juliette explained that with her inheritance and her husband's connections, she was able to attract leading university scientists to develop new technology which could be used in a variety of applications, including bondage. Some of the scientists were Brent's friends who knew of his interests. Others simply couldn't pass up free a vacation at Juliette's estate in exchange for their research activities.

On the ground floor, the staff was conducting final tests of an inhaler that was designed to deliver a muscle-relaxer which could temporarily remove a subject's ability to speak. The tests today were merely a quality control measure to verify the results that supported FDA approval a month earlier. The FDA found that the inhaler was completely safe to use, with no long term side effects. The muscle-relaxer targeted the muscle tissue of the voice box to render the vocal chords so loose that they could generate no sound. The effects of one or two inhalations were estimated to last about 30 minutes.

On the second floor, Dan and Cynthia watched a subject receive a piercing that could be tracked by a handheld GPS device. They witnessed a demonstration of the technology in a lab. A pierced subject moved around a simple maze of office cubicle walls while a lab technician tracked his movements on an LCD screen. The GPS tracking software used a proprietary algorithm that enabled it to be accurate to within two feet.

On the third floor, a team of technicians was working on an electronic blindfold which delivered energy pulses to a subject's temples temporarily interfering with the subject's vision. The technology was at an early stage and could not even be tested on animals yet. Juliette, Cynthia and Dan briefly sat in on a brainstorming session at which various scientists sketched out ideas on a whiteboard.

On the top floor, the tour group looked in on a team of software engineers developing applications for realitime monitoring of vital signs using specially designed cuffs, collars, cock rings and chest harnesses. The customized restraints included embedded sensors for monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, perspiration and nerve sensitivity. Juliette joked that they should write an application that would use the monitored parameters to simulate a lie detector. When the technicians told her that the parameters would always suggest a lie since the biological levels of a restrained and aroused subject would continually be elevated, she said "Exactly! That way, I can punish my slave for dishonesty every time."

After the tour, Juliette led the group to the dining room where Miss Francis was waiting with a variety of breakfast pastries arrayed along the main dining room table.

"Please, feel free to sit down for a bite to eat," she said to Cynthia and Dan. She smiled a knowing smile at Cynthia.

Cynthia remained standing and took a sliver of cheese Danish, but Dan declined to eat due to the anticipation of reuniting with Amanda. Then Dan, Juliette and Miss Francis sat down, and Juliette began to review the morning schedule with Miss Francis.

"Amanda will be arriving in twenty minutes, and I would like the staff to be on their best behavior," Juliette said with authority. "I trust that you have seen to it that we have no vanilla visitors on the grounds today. So, the staff can wear their alternative uniforms."

"Yes, ma'am," Miss Francis replied obediently.

"When Amanda arrives, please escort her to the back porch overlooking the stable where we can have drinks and talk girl-talk for ten minutes, or so," Juliette continued. "We will then move here, to the dining room."

"Of course," replied Miss Francis. "I will see to it that the executive continental breakfast will be served promptly."

After a short break in the conversation, Cynthia asked "Should I bring Mr. Learner in after breakfast?"

Raising her eyebrows, Juliette turned toward Cynthia. Miss Francis slowly shook her head with a frown.

"Excellent question, Cynthia. A bit presumptuous to jump into a conversation between your superiors, but an excellent question nonetheless," Juliette said haughtily. "I suppose that depends on whether Mr. Learner would want to know what Amanda's decision would have been had he not used his safe gesture last night," she continued, turning toward Dan.

"I'm sure I already know," Dan replied confidently. "She would want an equal partnership, and she would have let me go to make my own decisions."

Letting his answer hang in the air, Juliette paused before replying "Did it ever occur to you that an equal partnership could include her making the decisions for both of you? It worked fine for husband and me."

"Well, of course you thought it was an equal partnership. You made all of the decisions," Dan replied smiling.

Juliette raised one eyebrow. "No," she said. "I only made one. To surrender myself completely to his will."

The others looked at Juliette in stunned disbelief.

Dan broke the silence. "You mean you were the submissive? But your personality is so strong."

"Strength comes from having the conviction to follow your dreams and live by your decisions. Of course, it helps to find someone who loves you completely," Juliette sagely replied. "So, the decision is yours. You are certainly welcome to attend the breakfast with Amanda. We can all drink Mimosas and have a delightfully vanilla time. But if you decide to have breakfast with us, you'll never really know what Amanda's decision would have been. Your presence will undoubtedly influence her."

She paused to let Dan consider the option.

"As an alternative, you could surrender yourself to Cynthia and allow her to prepare you as she would have if you hadn't used your safe gesture last night. You would have just enough time to get ready if you start now. By the time breakfast is over, Cynthia would be ready to present you to Amanda just before I ask for her decision."

"But what if Amanda decides to keep me?" Dan asked uncertainly.

"Well, that might be the best thing that ever happened to you," Juliette answered tersely.

"But what if I get cold feet?" Dan asked with a bit more urgency.

Juliette calmly answered his question with a question. "Are they cold now?"

"Well, no."

"Then what would possibly change between now and then? Besides, if you were to completely change your mind, you now know the ultimate safe word and gesture, right?" She said, smiling at him as though they were both in on a juicy secret.

"You're right. I'll do it," he said decisively.

"I thought you might," Juliette said with a nod. "You won't regret it. I never have."

Chapter 12 – Dan's Preparation

The meeting quickly adjourned. Juliette and Miss Francis walked to the back porch in anticipation of Amanda's arrival, and Cynthia escorted Dan to an elaborate dungeon through the secret door in the dining room wall. They descended in a hidden elevator and walked through an unusually wide cinder block corridor in the lower level.

With businesslike precision, Cynthia directed Dan to a side room and helped him step up onto a metal platform which had two metal boots attached to the top of it. The boots were spaced roughly shoulder distance apart. Each boot was hinged at the toe and heel, and around the ankle of each boot was a latch which, when engaged, locked the front and rear portions in place. Cynthia opened each of the boots to reveal that the inner portion of the boots was rubberized, like an inner tube.

Understanding that the boots were meant for him, Dan removed his own shoes and socks and stepped into the metal boots. Cynthia trapped his feet by closing and locking the hinged portions of the boots. As if to test the comfort of his new footwear, Dan wiggled his toes against the rubber interior. "Not as good as my Nikes," he thought, "but not bad."

Looking down at his feet, Dan more closely examined the metal platform. What he originally assumed was ordinary corrugated metal was actually a finely machined grid for mechanically attaching a variety of elements to the platform. He reasoned that the bottom of his boots must have a corresponding grid which allowed them to lock into place.

Looking up, Dan noticed Cynthia attaching metal poles slightly in front of each of his feet. Each pole had a brushed chrome finish and was tapered to form a wide base for a sturdy connection with the platform. From a storage shelf under the platform, she removed a similarly finished, futuristic neck stock and attached it to the tops of poles. The circular center portion was attached to side pieces by ball joints that allowed the neck restraint to swivel with the movement of the subject without sacrificing secure restraint. Like the boots, the top half of the neck restraint was hinged at one side to allow positioning of the subject's neck, and a latch on the opposite side locked the restraint. Further, the interior of the neck piece was rubberized, as well.

After adjusting the height of the poles, Cynthia opened the neck stock and nodded for Dan to place his neck in the lower semi-circle. Dan felt like he was placing his neck on a chopping block as he grasped the supports and gingerly lowered his head into position. Only as the latch sounded a telltale "click" did Dan realize how quiet it had been. Cynthia hadn't spoken a word since they entered the elevator from the Dining Room. He suddenly realized that he had been quietly, submissively complying with all of her unspoken commands, and the realization made him uneasy.

Stepping out of view, Cynthia quietly removed a second set of poles from beneath the platform. A wrist stock, a smaller version of the restraint which encircled Dan's neck, was attached to the top of each pole. Cynthia attached each pole slightly behind each boot and adjusted the height of each pole to just below Dan's shoulders. One by one, Cynthia guided Dan's arms behind him until his wrists rested on the lower semi-circles of the restraints, and she locked them into place with two quiet "clicks."

Dan was now completely trapped in a position that looked as though he was beginning an Olympic dive. Cynthia reappeared in front of Dan holding an oversized ball gag. Smiling sweetly, she held it ho to his mouth, and he took in the rubber sphere, but not without some trepidation. She fastened the gag swiftly and tightly causing Dan's heart rate to quicken.

As Cynthia moved out Dan's view again, he strained and craned to see what she would do next, but to no avail. He could hear her rustling about behind him, but it was impossible for him to see what she was doing. Suddenly, he felt a cold steel blade sliding up his leg. She was cutting his clothes off with scissors! After parading around most of yesterday evening in a nothing but a high-tech chastity device, Dan was loath to be on display again, but he had little say in the matter, and he rationalized that it was for Amanda's benefit anyway.

After all of his clothes were removed, Cynthia knelt down in front of Dan facing his genitals. He was hard as a rock, and he was panicked that Cynthia was going to take advantage of his position. She grabbed his shaft and pulled slightly as she applied a cool moist substance to his balls and around his crotch. To Dan's surprise, Cynthia began shaving his genitals with a straight razor. Each stroke felt cool and crisp as air hit the skin where hair and shaving cream had been removed. Dan kept as still as he could, knowing that a blade was within millimeters of some very active blood vessels. Each stroke came closer to his family jewels, and after the fourth stroke, he began humming "Take me out to the Ball Game."

Cynthia stopped shaving him immediately and rose to face him with a look of concern. She reached around the back of his head and unfastened the ball gag.

"Everything is alright," she said soothingly holding his face in her hands. "Take a deep breath."

Dan tried to control his panic and reduce his racing heart rate.

"You're having second thought, aren't you?" Cynthia asked, as though she was talking to a kindergartener on the first day of class.

"Yes, I'm sorry," said Dan in a trembling voice.

"I completely understand," Cynthia said empathetically. "You need to understand that this was the way that Juliette had planned to present you to Amanda. Are you sure you want to stop?"

Dan took a deep breath. He knew how crazy this was. A few short months ago, if someone had told him that he would be allowing himself to be presented to a woman as a piece of property, he wouldn't have believed it. But here he was completely helpless, displayed like some kind of collectible doll.

"I wasn't kidding last night when I told you how romantic I thought it was that you were giving yourself to Amanda," she offered.

Last night, he was completely confident that Amanda would decide to let him go, but he hadn't realized how the question would be put to her. In his current position, he looked like a slave, not Amanda's boyfriend. Would she be inclined to continue the enslavement that was already started? It would be easy, he thought, but ultimately, he wanted to hear it from her. Besides, he could always just say "pistol" or start humming "Take me out to the Ball Game."

Dan swallowed hard and quietly said "No, let's continue."

Cynthia set the gag aside and said "We can leave this off for now just in case, but I need to finish shaving you"

After shaving his entire body below the neck, Dan looked up to see a clock on the far wall. He estimated that Amanda and Juliette were probably exchanging pleasantries on the back porch at that very moment. Maybe Amanda was already demanding to see him.

"That wasn't so bad," Dan commented. "We're actually finished sooner than I expected."

"Oh, we're not done," Cynthia said from behind him.

Dan felt the platform jar slightly as Cynthia unlocked the wheels. She rolled the platform to the other side of the room facing a storage cabinet. Cynthia opened the cabinet to remove two metal spheres. Each sphere was eight inches in diameter and had a circular opening on one side. The opposing side was hinged. Dan watched as she opened one of the spheres into two halves. One half was constructed with a metal bar running across the center, perpendicular to the opening at the end. She stepped behind him and placed the ball near the palm of his right hand.

"Please grip the handle," she said in a clinical tone.

Upon gripping the metal bar, Dan felt the device close around his fist. Although he couldn't see what she was doing, he felt Cynthia somehow fasten the sphere to the metal wrist stock. It attached firmly with absolutely no give, but Dan could still flex his fingers inside rubber lined interior. Cynthia repeated the process with Dan's left hand and returned to the storage cabinet.

As she turned to face him, Dan could see that she had what looked like an athletic mouth guard in her hand. She held the mouth piece in front of his lips and said "Please bite down naturally."

He accepted the device and bit down firmly. His mouth slowly filled with a sweet strawberry taste as non-toxic glue seeped from pores of the soft rubber mouth piece to instantly bind with his teeth sealing his mouth closed. Cynthia next produced a rubberized metal harness which she fitted around his head and chin. She adjusted it until it was just a bit too tight. Metal bands extended from the harness near his temples, and she attached them to the neck stock, thereby completely limiting even the slightest head movement.

Dan had never been so thoroughly immobilized. In all of his time at the shop, he had never encountered any restraints so elaborate – except maybe the remote control straps that Juliette had used to kidnap him, if you could call it kidnapping.

"Almost done," Cynthia says in an encouraging tone. "But we'll need to hurry if we want to make your grand entrance on schedule."

Turning to the cabinet, she removed a small transparent mask on a hook. The transparent mask included a small rubber bulb attached to the bottom. Cynthia gently hooked the mask onto a loop built into the forehead of the head harness. Dan wondered what she could be doing. Cynthia adjusted the mask so that it lightly covered his nose and mouth, and she pumped the bulb twice before turning away to complete her next task. The mask filled with a mint smelling vapor which he had no choice but to inhale.

Once again, Dan felt the platform move as Cynthia wheeled him off to the corner of the room. After locking the wheels of the platform, Cynthia moved to the front of the platform and opened the double doors of another storage cabinet. She removed a retractable rubber hose that was attached to a small air compressor mounted in the cabinet. Dan watched as Cynthia bent over the base of the platform to access his metal boots.

She attached the compressor hose to a valve fitting in the toe of his left boot. He was surprised when he realized that he hadn't noticed the valve earlier, but he was even more surprised when the rubberized interior expanded between Dan's foot and the metal covering with a short "pssst" to completely prevent his toes from moving. After repeating the process on the heel of the boot, Dan's left foot was one with the boot.

Circling around behind him, she filled both halves of the left fist sphere in a similar fashion, and Dan found his fist was as immovable as his foot. Continuing to circle him, she pressurized the other boot, the other fist sphere, both wrist cuffs, and his neck cuff. The inflated cuffs were tight but surprisingly comfortable. Even though the neck cuff was tight, it still allowed him to breathe freely. Finally, she moved back around in front of him, removed the plastic mask, and asked him "What do you think?"

Dan tried to "mmphff" out a response, but his vocal chords had been completely relaxed by the mist from the bulb. His surprised look prompted Cynthia to say "I thought so," as she moved behind him once more.

Dan began to struggle helplessly. He was unable to make a sound. Not a whimper. Not a hum. Not a tap. He was held fast and silent.

The room was again eerily quiet and Dan felt Cynthia's breathe near his right ear.

She quietly and deliberately whispered. "You can't move, can you? There's no need to respond. Your vocal chords have been disabled." She paused to give him time to panic, but he was way ahead of her. "That means that there will be no safe word or gesture today."

After a pause, he could hear that Cynthia was again removing equipment from beneath the platform and attaching it to the top of the platform.

"Mistress Juliette insisted that I save the best for last," Cynthia whispered into his left ear. "Your safe word wouldn't have mattered anyway."

His complete vulnerability was punctuated by a squirt of lubricant into his anus. Dan's heart was beating like a speeding train. He frantically tugged at his feet and wrists, but any ordinary observer would not have known unless they noticed the strained thigh and upper arm muscles.

"You were committed as soon as I locked down your first foot," she continued in a hushed tone.

Suddenly Dan felt a metal probe being screwed into his ass. He had never allowed anyone to penetrate his ass. Not anyone.

"In case you haven't realized by now, your attempt to use the safe gesture earlier was really quite meaningless," Cynthia said smiling. "Think about it. You're no longer an employee of Leather or Knot. As a result, your safe word and safe gesture mean nothing. You really should be more careful when you surrender control to Mistress Juliette."

He thrust his hips forward as far as they would go to avoid the intruder, but his penetration was a certainty. Just as he thought it was in as deep as it would go, Cynthia attached the plug to a post she had installed behind him. With the post in place, he regretted thrusting his hips so far forward because releasing any tension on his hips pushed the plug further in. With his hips thrust forward, and his heart beating double time, his hard on was accentuated.

"It was fun toying with you though," she continued. "I was hoping that my feigned sympathy would convince you to continue. It was so much more fun finishing the job knowing you'd be surprised in the end," she said laughing. "No pun intended, of course."

As a final restraint, Cynthia encircled the base of Dan's scrotum with a metal band and attached it to yet another post that she installed and adjusted immediately under his package.

"Time to see Amanda for the show!" She announced, and with a few taps on her remote controller, the butt plug and the scrotum ring began to vibrate.

Chapter 13 – Amanda's Decision

Sunlight shot down between the bedroom shade and the window frame onto the floor. Amanda opened her eyes again to focus on the digital clock. It was only 5:28 am. It was too early to get up, but she was too emotional to sleep. Closing her eyes, she worked through her schedule in reverse. She needed to be at Amanda's at 9:00 am sharp. Any earlier would show anxiousness. Any later might be taken as disrespect, or worse – disinterest.

She determined that she could safely sleep until 7:15. But who was she kidding? She hadn't slept more than 30 minutes in a row all night. She swiveled her legs off the bed and sat up to stare at a bedside photograph of her and Dan in the park. So much had changed since their friend's camera had captured that moment. So much had changed in the last twelve hours.

Amanda took her time getting ready, thinking through the many ways in which her morning could play out. One common thread weaved throughout all of her imagined scenarios: she demanded that Juliette release Dan.

Dressing on instinct, Amanda automatically selected a provocative leather outfit that she might have worn to the shop. She was ready to go by 6:45. Rather than waste her time in the apartment, she decided to begin driving. She would spend the extra 90 minutes scoping out the area around Juliette's house. It beat doing nothing.

With two hours to do nothing but think, Amanda's thoughts swirled around her impending decision in ever widening circles until she began to consider scenarios that didn't involve setting Dan free. She considered one, then another, and another. Yet, even as she considered those other depraved realities, she knew what she had to do. She loved Dan; and she knew that he loved her; and even though she was aroused by the thought of keeping him as her captive lover, she remembered the feelings she had when she was tied up in the store in front of her parents. Dan rescued her when she needed it most. She loved the loss of control to someone so trustworthy, and then regaining control at his hands. It was incredible.

Then she realized that she might be able give Dan that same incredible rush. Maybe she could take him away from Juliette while he was still restrained and release him at the apartment. Maybe his release would be as incredible as hers was.

She shook the thought out of her head. This wasn't a couple of Midwestern parents she was dealing with. This was Juliette, a brilliant, powerful, deceptive bitch. She would need to free Dan immediately to ensure that they got out of Juliette's house safely. Besides, she couldn't betray Dan since he was taken against his will.

Amanda drove around the house for over an hour before finally deciding to turn into the long drive. She took her time driving up to the house, and then she realized that this was no house. This was a mansion. No, this was a compound.

As slow as she drove, she still arrived fifteen minutes early, and she was helped from her car by a valet in a leather tuxedo. A doorman in a leather chest harness and little else ushered her through the front door into the foyer where she was greeted by Miss Francis in a leather maid outfit.

"Miss Amanda, I presume," Miss Francis said in a welcoming tone. "Mistress Juliette has been expecting you. Please allow me to show you to the back porch where she awaits."

Amanda looked around in awe as she followed Miss Francis through a wide hall to the back of the house. Aside from the strangely dressed staff, you wouldn't know that a deceitful sadist lived there, she thought to herself.

As she stepped through the double French doors to the back porch, Juliette was sitting in a comfortable leather loveseat looking out over the stable area. Several horses were being trained, each in a separate rectangular corral. The trainers wore the customary equestrian attire which made them the only people here, other than herself, who looked normal. Then, she laughed at herself when she realized that people in equestrian attire could hardly be said to appear normal, and she was wearing her work clothes.

"Amanda dear, so glad you could make it," Juliette said rising from her seat with her arms outstretched for a pompous hug. Amanda allowed Juliette to hug her, but did not reciprocate. "And you're early," Juliette continued, looking over Amanda's shoulder. "You must be anxious."

"Damn!" thought Amanda, and her thoughts played out across her face as Juliette leaned back to take her in.

"No, no, it's a good thing," Juliette said reassuringly. "It only shows how much you care for Dan, a fact of which I was already keenly aware."

Without hesitating, Amanda said "I've decided that you should let Dan go. I'd like you to bring him to me."

She said it just as she had practiced hundreds of times in her head. She said it perfectly.

Juliette regarded her a moment and said "So, you've made up your mind. That's nice, but I haven't asked you for your decision just yet. Please, hold that thought until after breakfast. Daniel is in good hands. Let's have a drink and get to know one another."

A young woman in a leather waitress's outfit walked over from a bar on the far side of the porch and said "May I get you something to drink? Orange juice? Tomato juice? Bloody Mary? Mimosa?"

Amanda looked at Juliette and at the waitress, and she couldn't believe that any of this was real.

"Bloody Mary," Amanda said reflexively, as if in a daze.

"My usual, Constance," said Juliette with a smile.

The waitress brought the drinks promptly as Juliette and Amanda began to talk about the shop. Juliette wanted to know whether Amanda was happy working there. She asked about how long Amanda and Dan had been dating. She told Amanda about her deceased husband, and she asked about Amanda's parents. As the two women continued to drink, Amanda was surprised at how relaxed she was beginning to feel. Still, she was resolved to leave there that morning with Dan on her arm.

After nearly a half hour of talking, Miss Francis announced that a continental breakfast was ready for them in the dining room. Juliette and Amanda walked leisurely to the dining room as if they were old college roommates catching up after years apart. The comradery continued through breakfast, and Amanda began to actually enjoy Juliette's company. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she couldn't manage to hate Juliette, despite the kidnapping that brought them to this point.

About fifteen minutes into breakfast, Juliette looked over to Miss Francis who was attentively waiting in a corner of the dining room and said "Amanda, it has been quite nice getting to know you better. You're a lovely young woman with a bright future, and I've made you wait long enough. It is time for you to make your decision."

Caught off guard, Amanda collected herself and began to repeat the words that she had practiced. But before she got only as far as "As I've said..." before Juliette leaned over and put an index finger to Amanda's lips.

"Before you decide, I would like to give you a small presentation," she said quietly.

Amanda stared at Juliette a moment.

"Go ahead," Amanda said stubbornly. "It won't change my mind."

Juliette tapped a touch screen embedded in the dining room table, and a wooden panel on the far wall of the dining room opened up to reveal a darkened alcove. At first, Amanda couldn't see what was in the darkened recess, but she soon made out a female figure emerging from the darkness. As the figure came into the light, it became clear that the she was pulling a cart of some kind behind her.

No, it wasn't a cart. It was a wheeled platform, and the platform carried a sculpture.

Amanda looked over to Juliette who was smiling a devilish smile - the devilish smile of a child who was caught with chocolate all over her mouth after finishing the last cookie from the cookie jar.

By the time Amanda turned back, the platform was close enough for her to recognize it for what it was.

"Dan!" she shouted, rising to her feet. Juliette rose to her feet as well, and gently grasped Amanda's upper arms.

"Don't be too quick to judge," Juliette cautioned. "Things are not always as they appear. I assure you that less than an hour ago, in this very room, Daniel freely agreed to be presented to you in this fashion so that you could decide his fate."

Nearly hyper-ventilating, Amanda found herself frozen. She was stunned yet strangely excited. She couldn't sit down, but she didn't move away from the table either. She just stared at Dan as he was wheeled into the well lit center of the dining room. Then, she glanced over to Juliette.

"Please, he's fine, really," Juliette said calmly, trying to comfort her. "Sit down and give me five minutes to explain. Then, you can give me your decision."

Dan was positioned directly in front of the women, and the attendant locked the wheels in place. Dan was utterly immobilized. The only things he could move were his eyes which darted from person to person taking in the scene. He became particularly concerned when he took in Amanda's outfit. She wore a tight fitting black silk top with a plunging neckline and a black leather waist cincher that accentuated her assets.

Dan desperately tried to find a way to alert Amanda to the fact that he was no longer as certain of his position as he was before she arrived. He just had nothing to work with. On the elevator ride from the dungeon, Cynthia had used more of that strawberry smelling glue to seal his lips together, preventing him from moving even his lips.

"Thank you, Cynthia," Juliette said, and the attendant took a position along the wall behind Amanda.

Amanda continued to stare at Dan. Aside from a few blinks of his eyes, Dan was completely motionless. Attached as he was to the platform, it almost seemed as though he was part of the platform itself. The light cast shadows which accentuated his firm but inanimate muscles, and Amanda paid particular attention to the muscle at his groin. She had never seen him more sexually aroused.

As she examined his predicament, she noticed a screen being lowered just behind him and to her right. When the screen stopped descending, the lights behind Dan dimmed, and an LCD projector threw an image onto the screen. It was a photograph of Dan, Amanda and Juliette in the shop the evening before, and a superimposed title read "Dan's Devotion: The Story of how Dan gave Himself to Amanda."

The relative positions of the screen and Dan's platform were such that Amanda could not look at one without also seeing the other. The arrangement didn't go unnoticed by Juliette who was rather proud of her staff for orchestrating such an impressive presentation.

"I've taken the liberty of having my production staff prepare a video montage of the events of the past twelve hours," Juliette said proudly. "It was made using footage from surveillance cameras positioned throughout my estate and the boutique. It will take less than five minutes to view, and then I will ask for your decision. If you would like us to release Dan at the end of the presentation, we will do so without question. Agreed?"

Amanda, her eyes fixed on Dan, finally sat down and nodded. A tap of Juliette's finger on the dining room table touch screen started the video.

Amanda began to watch the short documentary-style presentation depicting selected events of the past twelve hours. A recognizable female voice narrated the story. Meg Ryan? Jennifer Anniston? Although the narrator's name escaped Amanda, she knew that it was a popular A-list actress.

Amanda watched as she relived Dan's capture from the boutique. She was surprised when she witnessed Juliette's explanation of the Employment Agreement, and she thought of her own employment agreement. "Why didn't he read that thing?" she thought. "I read mine."

Amanda listened intently as the announcer described Dan's resourcefulness, and the video showed Dan using his safe gesture, cross fading into his release in front of the HD monitor. Amanda was proud that Dan had figured out a way to free himself, and she was initially surprised that Juliette lived up to the contract. But then, after spending the last forty minutes with her, Amanda felt a bit ashamed for judging Juliette so harshly.

The narrator explained that Dan had resigned his position at Leather or Knot, and to punctuate the point, the documentary showed Dan saying "I'm done with the shop. Using my safe word was my last official act as an employee, thank you very much," as the screen faded to black.

After a brief pause, the documentary showed footage taken right there in the dining room just an hour earlier. In a flawlessly spliced audio track, Juliette could be heard saying "As an alternative, you could surrender yourself ... to Amanda just before I ask for her decision."

Through a bit of creative editing, Dan immediately replied "You're right. I'll do it."

Dan couldn't see the screen, but he heard the edited dialog, and he saw a profound change in Amanda's expression. He could also see the smile of satisfaction on Juliette's face.

That wasn't how it happened! He was exploding inside, and he was nearly exploding outside. He thought he had a safe word. He thought he could back out. He thought his presentation was merely to prove that Amanda would set him free. Only when it was too late did he realize that his presentation was the one factor that might push Amanda over the edge. As exciting as the prospect might seem, he hadn't expected that he might actually become Amanda's slave.

The documentary concluded with a live shot of Dan immobilized and contorted in the metal display platform. Amanda looked at Dan in front of her and then at the video echo of Dan's plight. She was as surprised, confused and aroused by this new information as Dan was worried.

Again, she noticed Dan's intermittent blinking, and Cynthia dimmed the lights around the periphery of the room until Amanda and Juliette seemed to be the only two people in the room. A spotlight above them illuminated only Amanda and Juliette. The rest of the room fell into complete darkness.

Cynthia quietly made her way through the darkness to Dan's side, and she whispered in his ear.

"I saw that little stunt of yours. You're lucky that she didn't recognize your Morse code S-O-S."

Then she tapped a few commands on her remote controller, and Dan felt a jolt of electricity rip through his ass.

A barely audible "hffft" escaped through Dan's nose as he involuntarily exhaled in reaction to the sudden shock. His unseen face contorted into a grimace in response to the pain.

"From now on, I expect you to be nice," Cynthia whispered. "By the way, the scrotum ring is similarly equipped."

At the dining room table, Amanda was still silently weighing everything she had just seen. Juliette sat patiently as Amanda slowly shook her head.

"He loves you very much," Juliette said quietly. "He trusts you, and you can trust him."

Amanda smiled. "With him like that, trust really isn't an issue, is it?"

"Well, no. But it's still nice to know what he would do if he wasn't controlled," Juliette answered.

Juliette then tapped a few times on the touch screen in front of her, and the projector came back to life.

"Check this out," Juliette said as an image appeared on the screen.

The screen displayed raw video of the previous evening as Juliette escorted Dan to his room. Amanda watched as Juliette offered Dan the use of his staff for whatever he wanted before bed. It also showed Dan rejecting Juliette's offer once and then a second time after being assured that Juliette would keep it secret.

As the screen faded to black again, Juliette reiterated "He really does love you."

Amanda chuckled. "Don't take this the wrong way, but doesn't that strike you as a bit hypocritical. In the video, you said it would be your little secret, but here you are telling me about it."

Juliette raised her eyebrows.

"Hypocritical? Hardly," Juliette said smiling deviously. "Young lady, I have proven time and again that I am a woman of my word. As you saw, I clearly stated that if he took me up on the offer it would be our secret," Juliette said defensively. "He didn't take me up on it. So, there is nothing to keep secret."

The room was silent again. Amanda still offered no decision, and Juliette did not press for one.

"Have you considered what you will be doing with the $100,000?" Juliette asked.

"I plan to use it to tide me over until I find another job," Amanda said responsibly.

"So, you plan to quit the boutique?" Juliette countered.

"Well, I don't want to, but you told both of us that we should find other jobs."

"What if I offered you another job? Would you take it?" Juliette asked.

"That depends. What is it?" Amanda answered, her curiosity piqued.

"Store manager of Leather or Knot," Juliette said flatly. "Frankly, Linda has disappointed me with the way she handled Dan's chastity incident. So, I'll be giving her a two month severance package starting tomorrow. Of course, Dan has resigned, and we're seriously understaffed."

Juliette let Amanda absorb the circumstances before continuing.

"On the other hand, you have always impressed me. I've seen the way you treat the customers. I believe that you could rebuild the staff from scratch and run the shop the way it was intended, with customer satisfaction being tantamount."

Amanda's anxiety, confusion and arousal all mounted until suddenly all of the pieces seemed to fit together perfectly.

She loved Dan dearly, and he clearly wanted her to take him as her slave since he voluntarily allowed himself to be presented to her without a safe word. She truly enjoyed working at the shop, and the only thing that she never really cared for was being subordinate to Linda.

Quietly, she announced her decision to Juliette. "I've made up my mind. I will be taking Dan home with me as my slave, and I would be happy to accept the position as store manager of Leather or Knot."

Juliette smiled like a little girl at her own birthday party.

"Wonderful! Let's get you started at once. Come with me, and we'll put together a little starter kit for your new toy," Juliette gushed. "Cynthia, please prepare Amanda's slave for his new life and meet us in the front hall in 45 minutes."

"Yes, ma'am," Cynthia said with a smile.

Over the next hour, Juliette and Amanda discussed Dan's future. Amanda told Juliette that she would need periodic help in training him, and they arranged for training sessions to be conducted on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Juliette's estate. The first two sessions, however, would be at Amanda's apartment to ensure that she could provide the proper living environment.

Juliette cautioned Amanda that Dan may appear to change his mind and beg for his freedom. She assured Amanda that such behavior was typical in the non-dominant partner.

"He may tell you that he thought there was a safe word, but we know better," Juliette said to Amanda taking a tone that a teacher might use with a parent of a difficult child.

"You need to be certain enough for both of you," Juliette advised Amanda. "Daniel deserves no less. He's a good man and he's perfect for you. Don't let his insecurity interfere with what you know to be right."

While Juliette gave Amanda a brief tour of the dungeon and many of the accessories it housed, Cynthia dressed Dan in a discipline harness covered by street clothes.

An ordinary observer would be completely unaware that anything nefarious was afoot. The concealed harness included a number of features that made it a dangerous clothing choice. It included a microphone embedded in the center of the chest for detecting any sound Dan might make, and electrodes at the scrotum and anus that could be remotely controlled. Having already tasted the electric pain administered by Cynthia during the presentation, Dan was terrified of those electrodes.

As Juliette and Amanda met Cynthia and Dan in the front hall, Amanda pulled along a wheeled case filled with high-tech bondage accessories. Juliette also provided a brief tutorial on how to use the harness.

She gave Amanda a beautiful leather and diamond choker which included an embedded microphone, voice analyzer and transmitter. She told Amanda that it was synched with Dan's harness and showed Amanda how certain commands would activate various features of the harness. For example, she instructed Amanda to initiate the "silence slave" command that would cause the electrodes to be energized whenever Dan's voice was detected by the harness microphone. Juliette also directed Amanda to initiate the "heel slave" command which would activate the electrodes if he strayed beyond 4 feet of her. Although Dan was pretty sure his vocal chords had not returned to normal, Dan was smart enough not to test them. He was silent and obedient.

Juliette assured Amanda that those two commands using in conjunction with one another would keep Dan from fleeing or calling out for help. Juliette jokingly advised that Amanda deactivate the "heel slave" command after Dan was belted in the passenger side of the car, because Amanda's walk around the car to the driver's side would take her beyond the four foot limit.

As Amanda hugged Juliette and said goodbye, Amanda told Juliette how excited she was to start revamping the shop. Amanda revealed that she already had some ideas for finding the additional help she would need.

Cynthia called for Amanda's car to be brought around, and as Amanda and Dan set off toward home to settle into their new roles, Amanda felt happy and satisfied. Just as Amanda had promised herself, she was walking out of Juliette's estate with Dan on her arm.

Chapter 14 - The J-2010 Training Harness (added: 01/27/2010)

For 45 minutes, Dan sat silently in the passenger seat of Amanda's car as they drove to her apartment. Even if he had been allowed to speak, he probably wouldn't have. He was stunned. He was having problems processing what was happening to him. Somehow, he had to tell Amanda that his captivity at the mansion was just a cruel deception by Juliette, but he didn't dare speak until Amanda deactivated the harness.

Amanda's drive home was quite the opposite of Dan's. She had never felt so alive. All of her senses were operating at a heightened level, and she continually looked over to Dan with love in her heart. She simply couldn't stop talking, telling Dan how much he meant to her and how she would take care of him for the rest of their lives.

She couldn't believe that he had trusted her enough to give himself to her completely, and although she never knew that he had wanted that kind of a relationship, she was determined to please him. The video presentation and Juliette's impromptu training session convinced Amanda that she needed to be loving but firm – even if Dan resisted. After all, this was his choice.

Amanda parked in her assigned space, and she asked Dan to get the wheeled case out of the trunk. As they walked up to Amanda's apartment building, one of her neighbors passed them and said "hello." Amanda returned the greeting with a pleasant "good morning," and Dan nodded once with a half-hearted smile.

Once they were inside her apartment Amanda threw herself a Dan, and they landed on the couch. She laid on top of him straddling his waist and kissing him beneath his ear. She nuzzled close and whispered "I love you." She continued to kiss him for a few more seconds. Then she pushed his shoulders down and sat up to look down at him.

"No I love you, too?" She said with a pout.

Dan opened his mouth and pointed into it, and Amanda giggled, suddenly feeling silly.

"Of course, your vocal chords don't work," she said knowingly.

Dan shook his head and reached under the collar of his shirt to remind her of the harness.

"Oh, right," she said more concerned. "The harness... Silence slave off," she said in a friendly but confident tone.

Dan tentatively cleared his throat, and a rough grumble sounded deep within. Having felt no pain, Dan gave the expected response.

"I love you, too," he said sincerely.

With that, Amanda dove back down to kiss him, and even though he was confused and concerned, Dan responded instinctively. He thrust his hips slightly and began to unbutton her blouse. Once finished, he removed her bra and began nibbling at her nipples. She unbuckled his belt and pushed his pants down to his knees.

Caressing his balls, Amanda purred "Mmmm, good slave."

Dan immediately felt the cock ring of the harness come alive. It began to vibrate and randomly emit the slightest of electrical charges.

"Oh my God!" he exclaimed as the sensations drove him into an uncontrolled frenzy. He became harder than he ever thought he could, and he needed to have Amanda right then. He raised her leather skirt and lowered her black lace panties to reveal his target. With her natural lubricant, he easily slipped inside of her and unwittingly pressed the cock ring against her sensitive vaginal lips.

She was quickly overcome by the vibrations and minor shocks of the harness, and within seconds they both collapsed in satisfied exhaustion. The sensations of the harness slowly tapered off leaving them embracing, trembling and panting. Half on the couch and half on the floor, they slid down between the couch and the coffee table, as though they were one, and Dan fell into a contented sleep.

Two hours later, Dan awoke to find he was alone in the apartment. His pants at his feet and his shirt unbuttoned, he looked down at the harness still holding him prisoner. He wondered whether Amanda had given the harness any commands before she left. He also wondered what else the harness could do. He knew Juliette well enough to know that he could only imagine the full range of possible commands. He walked toward the window to check for Amanda's car, and as he reached the window, he was startled by a pleasant voice that emanated from of a pair of miniature speakers embedded in the shoulder straps of the harness.

"Perimeter reached. Remain within the designated area. Disobedience will be punished."

His heart pounding from the sudden scare, Dan noticed that Amanda's parking space was empty, and he backed away from the window toward the center of the room. He collected his thoughts and reasoned that Amanda must have somehow defined the perimeter of her apartment for the harness before she left. He decided to have a closer look at the harness and possibly find a way to remove it.

He purposefully strode to the bathroom and removed the remainder of his clothing except for the harness. With the aid of the bathroom mirror, he examined the harness in detail. It was apparently made of synthetic leather. A metal ring encircled the base of his shaft, and a connected strap wound around the base of his sac. From the episode with Amanda, he assumed that electrodes were embedded in the strap.

A slightly larger strap ran from the bottom of the metal cock ring through his butt cheeks to the small of his back. The strap terminated at a thin, flexible, rectangular pad. Two larger straps ran from the top of the pad, over his shoulders, to the top of the cock ring. They were essentially a pair of kinky suspenders with high fidelity speakers embedded in the shoulder straps.

Connecting straps ran horizontally around his upper chest and waist to prevent the harness from being removed. In the center of the chest harness was a second thin rectangular pad similar to the pad at the small of the back. Dan assumed that there were sensors in the chest pad, such as a microphone, or a heart monitor, for example. He also considered whether there were additional electrodes in the chest pad or anywhere else in the harness. Given what he had seen at Juliette's compound, this harness might be equipped to do just about anything, but one thing it was clearly not equipped to do was be removed by the wearer.

He saw no visible means for mechanically removing the harness. So he concluded that one or both of flexible pads housed some type of locking mechanism that could only be activated by the synchronized collar worn by Amanda. He briefly considered trying to cut the harness off using household scissors, but he decided that the designers would surely have made the device tamper resistant, and he didn't want to find out the punishment for trying to escape.

Concluding that he wasn't going to be able to remove the harness without help, he considered calling 911, but he didn't want to implicate Amanda or publicize their alternative proclivities. Of course, he ruled out calling friends or family members. So he deduced that the only person who could help him was Linda, the soon-to-be former store manager of Leather or Knot.

Dan stood in the center of the living room, wearing nothing but the harness, and dialed the shop. The phone rang at the other end, and Linda answered on the third ring with "Leather or Knot, Linda speaking. May I help you?"

"Lin..." Dan began, but before he could utter the second syllable of her name, an electric shock to his cock and balls took his breath away and left him doubled over in pain. He instinctively dropped the phone and reached for his privates. The phone hit the floor hard enough that the battery compartment broke open sending three AA batteries skittering across the hardwood under the couch. Although Linda didn't hear it, Dan reflexively yelped after catching his breath, and then he covered his nose and mouth to prevent any more sound from coming out.

At the other end of the line, all Linda heard was a dial tone.

"That's weird," Linda said turning to Amanda. "That call came from your home phone. It sounded like Dan, but we were cut off before we could talk."

Amanda's eyebrows raised in surprise. "Hmm, I've been having trouble with my home phone," she lied after a short pause. "I'm sure if it's important he'll call back."

"Yeah, you're probably right," Linda replied, dismissing the topic. "So, you were telling me about Juliette's place. What's it like?"

"Well, it's huge and beautiful," Amanda said mimicking the description with her eyes. "It's a small village really, and her house is like a really nice hotel."

"Wow. I'm envious that you've already been there, but she's invited me there tomorrow. She was really cool on the phone this morning when she revealed that she actually owned the store. And before I could even process that news, she told me that things weren't going to work out for me here." Linda paused. "At first I was totally bummed out, and angry with you for taking my spot, but honestly she's right. Kinky retail isn't really my thing. The kinky part is fun, but I hate the rest of it. Besides, she offered me severance pay that I can live off for a couple of months if I need to, and she asked me to interview for a position on the security staff at her house. So, maybe things will work out after all."

"I was bummed out about it, too," Amanda lied. "I hope you're not still mad at me. I really had nothing to do with it."

"No, I'm totally over it," Linda said unconvincingly.

"I'm glad. Just keep an open mind when you go there to meet her," Amanda offered. "She's not as bad as she appears. She's just really eccentric and hard to read."

"I'll try," Linda replied. "I've been wondering, though, how are you going to run the shop all by yourself? I'm gone after today, and Juliette told me that Dan had found another position."

"You're right. I can't run the shop alone, but I was able to round up two new sales associates this afternoon on the drive over here," Amanda said smiling.

"No way! We've been advertising for weeks, and you were able to find two in one day?"

"Yeah, I called Beth, the sorority sister who organized the bondage-themed pledge party. It turns out that the party was a hit. So I asked Beth if she would like a part-time job at the shop working 3-4 days a week. She accepted over the phone, and her roommate Tara accepted, as well," Amanda bragged.

"Well, congratulations. I thought that you'd have a hard time taking over, but it seems like you were made for this job," Linda said, secretly hoping that Amanda would fail.

"It gets even better," Amanda continued, as if to rub salt in the wound. "Beth said that she knew another girl named Lisa and her boyfriend Steve who might be interested. Beth is going to check with them and let me know about them tomorrow when she and Tara come in for informal interviews and training."

An uncomfortable silence fell on the shop.

"Well, I'd better be getting back home," Amanda finally said. "Dan's waiting for me to help him prepare for his new position. You can just give the keys to the shop to Juliette when you see her tomorrow."

Amanda left the shop feeling rather superior. She was now the manager of Leather or Knot. Her boyfriend at home was her devoted slave, and she had $100,000 in the bank. "What a difference a day makes!" she said to herself.

Once in her car, Amanda reached into her purse and withdrew a booklet entitled "J-2010 Training Harness User Manual." She sat in her car reading the manual like it was a best-selling novel. After each page, she turned to the next with anticipation of more amazing information.

She was particularly intrigued by the 3G connectivity that allowed 2-way communication between the collar she was wearing and the harness. She loved the fact that the system was currently configured so that the communication link could only be activated and terminated by the wearer of the collar. Further, it could be activated without the harness wearer's knowledge.

She was also interested in the summary command list at the back of the manual. It included a handy tear-out card that listed all of the harness commands, and it was small enough to fit inconspicuously in her purse.

As she began to drive home, she said in a self-assured voice "3G communication enabled." Glancing into the rearview mirror, Amanda noticed a tiny red LED illuminated on the jeweled collar. Through tiny speakers embedded in the collar, she could hear rustling sounds.

"Hello, Dan," Amanda said sweetly. "Linda said you called her, but you weren't very talkative."

The rustling sounds suddenly stopped. Although Amanda couldn't see him, she knew that Dan was startled by her voice, and she was amused by his silence. Having already been punished earlier for talking out of turn, she expected no reply.

"Cat got your tongue? You'll talk to Linda but not your girlfriend? Now is that anyway to treat the woman who loves you with all her being?" Amanda smiled imagining Dan's frustration.

"Okay, I've toyed with you enough. Silence slave off. Now you can speak without getting zapped."

Still Dan didn't answer.

"Seriously, I was calling to find out if you're okay after your call to Linda. Are you alright?" Amanda asked with sincere concern in her voice.

"Yes, I'm alright. It hurt like hell, but I'll survive," Dan said. "Of course, I wished I known that you turned that damned thing on, but you left without telling me."

"Well, I didn't want to wake you up. You were sleeping so soundly after making love," Amanda explained. "By the way, you were incredible."

"You too, but we really need to discuss this harness," Dan said, getting straight to the point. "I need you to release me. Juliette has tricked you into believing that this was my idea, but it wasn't. It was hers."

As clearly as Amanda heard Dan's words, she also heard Juliette's advice ringing in her head. Juliette warned her that Dan might say something like this.

"Dan, I saw the video," Amanda said in a tone that suggested Dan had just insulted her intelligence. "I saw you ask to be restrained for me even after you knew there wasn't a safe word. I think you're just having second thoughts."

"Look Amanda, that's not for you to decide. I want out of this damned thing, now deactivate it," Dan said raising his voice.

Amanda was hurt, shocked and angry. "How dare you talk to me like that!"

"Look Amanda," Dan said, realizing he may have gone too far. "I love you, but I don't want to live like this. I want to..."

Without warning, Amanda shouted "Silence slave," causing Dan to be punished for trying to finishing his sentence.

After taking a moment to compose herself, Amanda continued. "I have agreed to take complete care of you, and in return I expect complete obedience from you."

She heard Dan pound the floor either in frustration or pain. She didn't know which.

"You had better get used to your situation, because it isn't going to change any time soon. I'm coming home, and although I considered having you make our dinner, I've decided to just pick up our favorite Chinese food, and we can watch a movie. After the movie, I will have to punish you further for your call to Linda." After a short pause, she added "Of course, once the punishment is over, we might be able to have a little make-up sex. After reading the user manual for the harness, I think I can make it up to you. In the meantime, be a good boy and watch TV. 3G communication disabled."

Smiling to herself, Amanda thought how great it was that she could have the first and last word in any conversation. She loved the feeling of superiority that the equipment gave her.

In her apartment, Dan knew that the longer Amanda controlled him, the more her perceived superiority would affect her judgment. He knew that his best chance for escape was now, before she learned more about the harness and before Juliette began his training sessions. He now realized that even if he could convince Amanda that his bondage was nonconsensual, she might enjoy it so much over time that she still wouldn't release him.

With Amanda having already read the user's manual for the harness, Dan decided to search the open toy case for any other devices that Juliette may have given to Amanda. Even if he couldn't use them to his advantage, he would rather know what weapons Amanda had at her disposal. On the inside of the toy case door, Dan found an inventory of all of the items originally in the case. Some items didn't make sense, like the "locking rope" and the "licking machine" – he almost didn't want to know what those did. One item that caught his eye, however, was the "J-2010 Installation Disc." He located the CD and concluded that it stored software for the harness.

For the first time since graduating, his Information Technology degree might work to his advantage. Knowing that time was limited, Dan quickly inserted the disc into Amanda's computer which he had unsuccessfully used to send an e-mail a few minutes earlier. An auto-play menu appeared allowing him to either view the user manual or install the J-2010 controller application. Immediately opting to install the software, his heart sank as the PC requested a 16 digit CD-Key that could be found on the inside cover of the printed user manual.

Disheartened, Dan reviewed the interactive user manual for the J-2010 Training Harness instead. Reading quickly, he learned that the harness could be controlled in any of several different ways: using the necklace, using the microphone on the harness, using the software and using a mobile telephone. He found the command list and determined that he could transfer control to the computer or the harness itself if he had the CD-Key.

After scouring the interactive user manual for information, Dan silently resigned himself to his predicament for the time being. He put his clothes back on and sat down to watch television until Amanda came home.

A few minutes later Amanda entered the apartment smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Her purse was slung over her shoulder, and she was carrying two bags of Chinese food in her hands. She tossed her purse onto the couch and took the food into the kitchen. As they unpacked the food and prepared their plates, Dan was silent, but Amanda was talking so much she seemed to be out of breath.

She told Dan about Linda's reaction to being let go and that Linda might get a position at Juliette's estate. She continued by rhetorically wondering whether her relationship with Linda was still solid and by telling Dan about how she had already hired two new sales associates.

"You actually know them," she teased with a grin. "They are two of the sorority sisters who organized their bondage-themed pledge party, Beth and Tara. You remember Beth, she was the one who spanked you for being such a naughty little sales associate."

Dan remembered. Under different circumstances, Dan would have just laughed the comment off, but restrained in the harness, he felt degraded. His feelings came through on his face, and Amanda became concerned.

"Silence slave off," she said quietly. "Look, I was just kidding around. I didn't mean anything."

"You just think this is a big joke, don't you?" Dan responded. "You're feeling so powerful controlling me with this harness, and it really doesn't become you."

"Look, you're the one who wanted this situation, not me," Amanda responded defensively. "I'm doing you a favor here."

"Juliette has you totally fooled, but I'm telling you again that this was not my idea."

They both fell silent staring at each other. Dan was frustrated and angry that he was Amanda's puppet instead of her boyfriend, and Amanda was confused and hurt, not knowing what to believe.

Finally, Amanda said "I just don't know what to think. If I let you out of that harness, I might be ruining it for you. When there's no safe word, I can't tell if 'no' really means 'no.' But since I'm the one in charge, at least for now, I've decided that we can have a movie night like we used to. Let's just forget that you're wearing the harness, and we can talk about it tomorrow. Deal?"

"Well, if the past two days had been normal, we'd probably be having a movie night, anyway. Of course, it's really hard to pretend that I don't have a metal ring around my penis that could zap me at your slightest whim."

Dan turned to walk toward the living room, and Amanda followed. They sat down on the couch, and Dan grabbed the remote.

"I promise I won't use the harness... unless you want me to," she said with a smile. Pointing at the manual spilling out of her purse on the couch, she continued. "I had a chance to read the manual, and the harness can do some amazing things... not all of them bad either."

After eating, they snuggled together on couch and watched a romantic comedy chosen by Amanda. About halfway through the movie, Dan got up. He collected their dirty dishes and said "I'm going to get some more Sprite, would you like some?"

"I would have done that," Amanda said nodding to the dishes. "But if you're going anyway, sure. Thanks."

Once in the kitchen, Dan decided he couldn't simply abdicate his freedom to Amanda's whim. After putting the dishes in the sink and pouring two glasses of Sprite, he quietly opened the cupboard door above the sink and removed a bottle of Tylenol PM. Hurrying so as not to attract Amanda's attention, he broke open the pills and emptied the contents into one of the glasses. A quick but silent stir later and nobody could tell the difference. Dan consciously kept the glass of doctored Sprite in his left hand, and he offered it to Amanda when he got back to the couch.

By the time the movie was over, Amanda was fast asleep, and Dan was sitting next to her reading the J-2010 Training Harness User Manual. After reading for an hour, even though Amanda controlled the harness, and him, through her necklace, he thought he might have a solution to his problem.

Chapter 15 – Amanda's Mistake (added: 03/28/2010)

Amanda slept peacefully on the couch next to Dan as he momentarily set down the user's manual to rest his eyes. He instinctively looked up at the digital clock on the DVD player. It read: "Wednesday 11:30 pm." Dan thought about the last few days. So much had happened. Yesterday at about this time, he was wandering around Juliette's estate as free as could be. Monday at about this time, he and Amanda were asleep in her bed dreaming about their future. Neither one thought it would look like this, and certainly not within 48 hours.
He turned to Amanda, and decided that he should put her to bed. He lifted her in his arms like a life-sized ragdoll, and carried her to the bedroom. He gently laid her on the bed so that her head was on her pillow. After a kiss and a loving glance, he went back to the couch to continue reading.
After another 15 minutes, he thought he had all of the information he needed to unlock the harness. He began to work with more urgency as he realized that he hadn't used the toilet all afternoon, and the harness effectively blocked any bowel movement he may need to have. Clearly, the harness wasn't meant to be a permanent accessory.

Dan moved to the computer and inserted the CD from the toy case. When prompted for the CD-Key, he dutifully copied the digits from the inside cover of Amanda's manual, and the software began the install process. Once it was complete, Dan selected a check-box next to "Run J-2010 Training Harness Utility" and clicked "Finish."

A flurry of high-tech sound effects and a professional, animated splash screen announced the beginning of the utility. Dan impatiently clicked through the introductory screens until the J-2010 Utility Menu appeared. He carefully selected the menu options to transfer control of the harness to the PC. He clicked "Command" from the main menu. He then selected "Controller" from a list of commands and "Wireless Network" from a list of options. Finally, he selected "Enable" from a drop-down menu.

Instantly, as though no thought were necessary, the PC speakers output a pleasant female voice which said "Control error. Please use personal transmitter to authorize control change." It seemed that whenever the pleasant female voice spoke, it was bad news for the person wearing the harness.

Deflated but still determined, Dan selected "Status" from the main menu. He examined the two columns of information and focused on "Controller: Personal transmitter." Dan suddenly realized that because Amanda's necklace, the "personal transmitter," was currently in control of the harness, any controller change would need to be effected using it, not the PC. He was devastated. He sat staring at the screen feeling as helpless as ever.

He decided to make the most of Amanda's sleep, and he surfed through the screens of the utility trying to gain as much information as he could. He had begun to review the personal controller status screen when he read "Master Voice Set: Universal." He moused over the setting to reveal a drop down menu of the possible selections: "Universal," "Juliette" and "Francis."

The corners of Dan's mouth curled into a smile. He remembered reading in the user manual that the necklace could be operated in one of two modes: universal or specific. In the specific mode, the wearer would have to train the necklace to recognize the wearer's specific voice by repeating each and every command. In the universal mode, the necklace would accept commands from whoever wore it, regardless of the speaker's specific voiceprint. Clearly, Juliette and Francis had created their own command sets, but there must not have been enough time to create a command set for Amanda during their stay at Juliette's estate. Instead, they had used a "Universal" command set for the necklace.

Dan quickly made his way into the bedroom and carefully removed the necklace from Amanda's neck. He couldn't help pausing to admire Amanda as she slept. He focused back on the necklace and tried to put it on his own neck, but it was too small. Instead, he walked back to the computer, held the necklace in front of his mouth and said "Harness Unlock," and the straps attached to the front chest pad fell away. Success!

For the next several hours, Amanda slept peacefully as Dan prepared for the next day.

At 8:00 am Amanda's alarm sounded, and it echoed in her head like a car alarm in an empty parking garage. She squeezed her eyes closed and instinctively reached for the snooze button only to find her wrists had been secured to the bed frame. Opening her eyes wide in surprise at her predicament, she was surprised a second time by the blindfold that Dan had applied just after midnight. She pulled at her feet and found her ankles were similarly secured to the bed frame. As the alarm continued to sound, and approaching footsteps grew closer, Amanda began to remember snippets of the night before. The last thing she remembered was Dan going into the kitchen for a drink.

Moments later, the alarm stopped its incessant beeping, and she knew Dan was in the room.

"And how is my little Mistress this morning?" Dan asked cheerfully.

After a pause to clear her head, Amanda decided to play along.

"I'm rather well rested thanks to my servant," she said. "And he's so good to me that he even handles the littlest tasks like turning off my alarm in the morning."

Dan found it curious that her first response wasn't to demand release. Dan sat on the bed next to her wondering whether she knew how beautiful she looked. He also wondered whether she had figured out the full extent of her situation. In her drug-induced hangover, she could tell something was not right, but without her vision or her hands, she was having a hard time putting all of the pieces together.

"Did you sleep well?" Dan asked. "You were out like a light after the movie."
Amanda wiggled a little and realized that Dan had placed her in some kind of chastity belt. Both of her holes were filled, but it wasn't an uncomfortable feeling. In fact, the plugs gave her a warm, slightly aroused feeling.
"Here, have some orange juice," Dan said as he lifted a glass and placed a straw to her lips.

Amanda drank appreciatively. Her mouth felt fuzzy from the pills in last night's drink.

"Thank you," she said as she opened her mouth and the straw fell away. "You're being awfully nice to me after what I put you through yesterday."
Dan smiled but didn't answer.

"I suppose you plan to exact your revenge," she said as though it were a question.

Again, Dan didn't answer.

"Can I have another sip?" Amanda asked in an attempt to engage him, and again Dan lifted the straw to her full, moist lips.

When the straw began to suck in more air than orange juice, Dan asked "What were your plans today?"

"For you, or for me?" Amanda asked coyly.

"For you, silly," Dan replied. "I assume that you need to go in to the shop today. Last night you mentioned that you had hired two of the sorority sisters to work for you."

Amanda explained that she did, in fact, have to go to the shop today. She was scheduled to introduce the new employees to the intricacies of "Leather or Knot," and Dan knew that if she didn't show up, Juliette would send someone to look for her... and him. For all he knew, she had high-level connections in the police department which would only be bad news for him.

Dan ran his hands through Amanda's hair, held her head gently and kissed her.

"Well, one way or another, we need to get you to the shop today," Dan said with purpose.

"One way or another?" Amanda repeated. "That sounds a bit ominous... like 'dead or alive' or 'the easy way or the hard way.'"

"No, not at all," said Dan lightly. "You can either go to the shop alone, or you can go with me."

"Well then, I choose to go alone. You can remove the restraints now," Amanda replied quickly.

Of course, Dan left Amanda cuffed to the bed, and he explained that the decision wasn't quite that simple. Dan told Amanda that he had been tricked into submitting to her completely and that she had been tricked into believing that it was voluntary. He also told her that in the course of a single day, he saw changes in her that he didn't like. By the end of the day, she was taking advantage of her position in a way that was bordering on arrogant and selfish.

Amanda turned her head away from him, realizing that he was right. She told him that she felt horrible for the way she treated him, but she honestly believed that it was what he wanted.

He kissed her again and said "Honestly, I do want to be with you for the rest of my life, but as your partner not your toy."

Amanda smiled.

"So, here's the deal," he continued. "I would never keep you against your will. If you decide not to submit to me today, I completely understand, but if that is your decision, I have decided never to submit to you again."

A silence fell over the bedroom.

"I figure that it's the least you can do to make up for yesterday," he added.
After a moment's thought, Amanda replied.

"First, let me just say that I think it's a dirty rotten trick. This is nothing but a cruel blackmail scheme Daniel Learner. Second, you're right. It is the least that I can do to make up for yesterday's misunderstanding. I trust you completely, and I am yours without question."

Dan was stunned. He didn't know it would be that easy, and he realized again how much he loved Amanda.

"Great! Let's get started," Dan said eagerly as he began to unbuckle the Amanda's wrist cuffs. "Just so we're clear, there is no safe word or gesture. You are mine until I decide to release you."

"Whatever you say, Master," Amanda said with a smile. "But why are you releasing me when I've just agreed to submit to you?"

Even as he continued to unbuckle her second wrist, he replied "Oh, I'm not releasing you."

Once Amanda's wrists were free, Dan began to unbuckle her ankles, and she removed the blindfold. As her eyes grew accustomed to the light, she glanced in the mirror over the dresser and had a sudden realization.

Dan was fully clothed, and she was wearing nothing but the J-2010 Training Harness.

Seeing her amazement, Dan explained that that box of toys that Juliette sent home with them was an all-purpose gift bag that included items for both men and women. He found a number of accessories for the harness that completely transformed it into a restraint for women.

Then, he said "But slaves as beautiful as you should be seen and not heard. Silence slave."

Questions flooded Amanda's head, and she began to ask "What..." when the harness recognized her disobedience. Amanda was immediately overcome with several pleasurable sensations simultaneously, and she almost fell out of the bed.

"Oh, you'll find that I'm not a cruel Master," Dan said nonchalantly. "I have set the harness to pleasure you whenever you disobey, but be careful. The progressively extreme pleasures that I have programmed into the harness have their drawbacks."

Amanda recovered her balance, and silently started her day with Dan's assistance. She showered in the harness, which was water proof. She dressed in a provocative leather outfit that Dan had selected for her. Once she was dressed, Dan wanted to have his way with her right then, but they would have been late to open the shop. Besides, the plugs installed in the harness would have gotten in the way.

They ate breakfast in silence – Dan because he wanted to, and Amanda because she was compelled to. Then, Amanda drove them to the shop in her car. As strangers along the way ogled at the plunging neckline of her leather top, Amanda blushed, and Dan felt proud of his trophy.

They parked in the rear of the store and found Tara and Beth sitting in Beth's parked car. They all got out of their cars and collected at the rear entrance.
"Hi Beth. Remember me?" Dan said politely shaking her hand.

"How could I forget?" she flirted. "You're the cute young man who got caught up in his work when we were planning our sorority party."

"This must be Tara," he said, changing the subject.

As they entered the store, Amanda began turning the lights on and preparing for the day. Dan explained to Beth and Tara that Amanda had laryngitis, and that he would be helping her interview and train them. The two young women exchanged smiles at the word "train," and Dan knew that it would be an enjoyable day.

After the store was opened for business, Dan suggested that Amanda give Tara a tour of the store while he interviewed Beth. After a brief glare from Amanda, she led Tara to the front of the store, and Dan took Beth into the back office and closed the door. Dan sat at the desk and Beth sat across from him.

"Isn't Amanda your girlfriend? Won't she be jealous that you are in here alone with me?" Beth asked.

"Wow!" replied Dan. "I thought I was supposed to ask the questions."
Beth realized that she might have hurt her chance to work at the shop and quickly apologized "Oh, I'm sorry. You're right."

Enjoying his superior position, he smiled and said "It's no problem. You were right that Amanda is my girlfriend, but we trust each other completely."
Dan began the protracted interview with typical questions, but eventually began asking questions that were wholly inappropriate even for position at a bondage shop. He asked if she had a boyfriend; how many lovers she had had in her life; whether she ever experimented with bondage; her favorite sexual positions; and whether it was currently her time of the month. The questions really had no significance other than to embarrass her and to illustrate that between them, he was the dominant.

Meanwhile, in the shop, Amanda showed Tara around as best she could. Amanda considered writing a note to Tara to explain her situation, but she dismissed the thought knowing that it would drive Dan away from her. Instead, she accepted her position reminding herself that she "volunteered" for it.

In the back office, Dan gave Beth an employment agreement similar to the one he signed when he started. He went over the agreement in detail, including discussing the clauses related to bondage safety. Once Beth signed the agreement, Dan asked Tara to come back, and he went through the same procedure with her. By 11:00 am, Dan had thoroughly embarrassed both women and obtained signed employment agreements from them consenting to bondage as part of their employment.

As the four of them gathered at the cash register, Dan asked which girl liked wearing leather.

Tara merely stared at the ground to avoid eye contact. Behind her back, Beth nodded and pointed to Tara.

"Tara, let's start with you," Dan said smiling.

Dan explained that it was the shop's policy that new employees try out the products so that they have a more intimate understanding of their customers' tastes and desires. Dan asked Amanda to select her favorite gear, and assist Tara in trying it on.

For the next few minutes, Amanda silently wandered around the shop selecting merchandise and draping it over her arm. Ten minutes later, Tara was learning firsthand about the high quality leather equipment the shop offered. She was amazed at how quickly Dan and Amanda were able to immobilize her as she stood in front of the three-way mirror at the rear of the store. Looking from mirror to mirror, she saw herself at various angles wearing a leather halter top, a single glove, a hobble skirt and a leather hood. The hood included only nose and eye holes and smoothly covered her lips which surrounded a leather penis gag. As if to accentuate her predicament, Dan finished her ensemble with a locking leather collar. Looking on, Beth was surprisingly aroused as she imagined herself helplessly bound in the same situation as Tara.

Without warning, Dan raised the end of Tara's single glove forcing her to bow to the other women. Bent over as she was, the leather hobble skirt tightly outlined her shapely bottom, and he smacked it loudly with his open hand. It shocked the others, but it awakened Tara in ways she had never imagined. Her ass tingled more than it hurt, and she was so embarrassed that she prayed it would stop. Yet, she silently begged him to continue.
After toying with Tara for several minutes, Dan looked her in the eyes by lifting her chin with his index finger.

"Do you want me to stop?" he asked.

Tara, holding back tears, nodded pleadingly.

"Do you remember the safe gesture outlined in your employment agreement?"
Tara's tears now flowed down the outside of the leather mask, and she hung her head. Slowly, she shook her head.

"Let this be a lesson to you both," Dan said with a superior tone. "Your safe word and your safe gesture can mean the difference between your freedom and your torment." He looked at Beth and asked "Do you think she's had enough?"

"Yes, I think so," Beth said knowing that it could just as easily have been her at his mercy.

Instead of untying her, Dan led Tara toward the front of the store. She hobbled along trying to create some slack in the leash that Dan had clipped to her collar. Dan walked up a small ramp on the side of the elevated front display and Tara struggled to follow. As she stood next to him in the center of the display window, Dan pulled the leash taught and tied the free end of the leash to an o-ring in the ceiling. Tracing his finger along the leash down to the clip, Dan grabbed the clip and snapped the spring-loaded clip several times without releasing her.

"It's only a little spring clip," he teased. "Even a child could unhook it."
Tara wiggled and tugged at the leash as it held her in place for the amusement of anyone passing by the shop. Dan stepped off the display and admired his handiwork. Glancing at his watch, he decided it was time for a lunch break. He told Beth that he and Amanda were going to go out for lunch, and that the shop, and Tara, were in her hands. He directed her to a set of safety rules posted near the cash register, and specifically pointed out the rule that you should never leave a bound person unattended. Then, he escorted Amanda out the back door, and they drove away. As Beth watched Amanda's car drive past the shop. She redirected her attention to Tara, and her eyes smiled mischievously.

Dan and Amanda drove for some time before Dan looked over to see Amanda frowning.

"You don't approve of leaving two new employees alone to run the shop on their first day?" he said, breaking the silence.

After a moment, he said authoritatively "Silence slave off."

"No, frankly, I don't," said Amanda tersely, looking out the passenger window. "Especially when one of them is bound and helpless," she continued.

Dan changed the subject, and he asked Amanda what she would like for lunch. They drove through their favorite fast-food restaurant and ate as they drove to Amanda's apartment. Dan made light conversation, as though they were simply having a quick lunch together. Once at the apartment, Dan said "perimeter on," confining Amanda's movements to the same area she had defined for him a day earlier.

"Silence slave," he said without warning, and Amanda resigned herself to her subordinate status.

Before leaving, Dan told Amanda that he loved her, that he would take good care of her until the weekend and that he expected her not to try to escape. He also told her that he silenced her for her own good. If she felt the need to pleasure herself, all she needed to do was disobey him by talking or moving beyond the defined perimeter. With a smile and a kiss, he left to return to the shop.

Upon his return, Dan parked in the street in front of the shop. As he entered the shop, he could hardly hear the bell above the door due to the grunting and panting of the sorority sister restrained in the display window. He was completely dumbstruck when he looked toward the cash register and saw Tara. He looked back at the writhing figure and realized that it was Beth on display in the front window where he had left Tara just over an hour ago.

"Where's Amanda?" Tara asked as without looking up. She was recording merchandise sold at an employee discount.

"Amanda decided to stay at the apartment for the rest of the day because of her laryngitis," he replied.

Noticing that Tara had just marked down an employee sale for herself, he said "It's only your first day, and you already bought something?" Dan asked incredulously.

"I did," Tara said with a satisfied smile.

Looking closer at the tally sheet, Dan's eyes opened wide in surprise.

"Five hundred dollars? You'll have to work for months to pay that off!" he said in shock.

"It will be worth it. Besides, I used my parents' credit card," Tara said.

"What did you buy that's worth five hundred dollars?" Dan asked.

Tara smiled a knowing smile and shrugged her shoulders playfully.

"Really, what did you buy?"

"My roommate," answered Tara with a giggle as she pointed toward Beth in the window.

Dan walked over to Beth and examined her more closely. He knew something was different, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Same hobble skirt. Same leather halter, same collar, leash and hood, yet something was decidedly different.

"How did she get herself in this predicament?" Dan asked, hoping to piece together the last hour's events.

Tara recounted that after Dan left with Amanda, she pleaded through her gag for Beth to release her. Eventually, Beth removed her gag, and Tara begged for her freedom. Beth laughed and told her to stop being such a baby. Beth told Tara that she had only been in the outfit for twenty minutes.

Knowing Beth's competitive nature, Tara challenged her to last longer than twenty minutes in the same predicament without asking for release. Beth, believing that she could easily last twenty minutes, accepted the challenge on one condition: the one who asked for release in the shortest amount of time had to be the winner's slave for 24 hours. Willing to say anything to get released, Tara agreed.

Tara could hardly move after Beth untied her. Tara stretched her arms slowly and worked out the kinks in her shoulders. Once she began to return to normal, she told Beth to change into a leather halter and hobble skirt. A few minutes later, Beth waddled from the changing room over to Tara who buckled Beth's arms into the strict single glove and locked on the leather collar.

Moving behind Beth, Tara reached around and inserted a ball gag into Beth's mouth. Beth didn't realize that while she was changing, Tara had swapped the small penis gag that she had worn with the 2" ball gag she was now forcing between Beth's pearl white teeth. Beth grunted, and Tara asked "Have you had enough already?" Beth glared at her and "hmphffed" into her gag.

Tara covered Beth's head with the leather mask and tightly laced it behind her head. It created a smooth, nameless visage toward which Tara had little compassion. To complete the preparation, Tara clipped the leash, still hanging from the o-ring, to Beth's collar and took her post at the cash register until Dan arrived.

"So, I assume that you won the bet," Dan said with a touch of uncertainty.
"Yes, but not without a wrinkle," Tara said. "Beth actually lasted twenty-five minutes before using her safe gesture, but I gave her a chance to go for a bigger prize with a second bet."

"So, what was the second bet?" Dan asked.

Tara explained that she challenged Beth to go five additional minutes with an extra accessory of Tara's choosing. If Beth won, Tara agreed to be Beth's slave for 24 hours and buy Beth $500 worth of merchandise from the store. If Beth lost, Beth agreed to be Tara's slave for 24 hours, but Tara would still buy Beth $500 worth of merchandise.

Realizing that either way, she got $500 of new stuff, Beth agreed. But it turned out that Tara's extra accessory was too much for Beth. Tara had wisely selected a remote control vibrating egg which she inserted beneath Beth's hobble dress.

"She only lasted two more minutes before using her safe gesture," Tara said smugly. "So, I won. But Beth didn't realize that I would begin collect on my bet immediately."

Holding out her arm like a model on "The Price is Right," Tara said "Say hello to my slave for the next 23 hours and 25 minutes."

"Okay, I get it. Because you decided to collect immediately, Beth selected her $500 worth of merchandise immediately."

"Well, not exactly," Tara said in a high pitched voice.

"So, what did you buy for $500?" Dan asked, confused.

"Oh, I bought Beth $500 worth of merchandise, and she'll even get to wear it home from the shop tonight. But I never agreed that she would get to pick it out," Tara said smiling coyly.

Beth stomped her foot, twisted her torso against the strain of the leash and "Hmphffed" into her gag in protest.

Chapter 16 - Linda's New Job (added: 03/28/2010)

Dan looked over at Beth writhing helplessly, trapped within the unyielding armbinder. He couldn't help but remember his own mistake of submitting to Juliette a day earlier.

"Well, you seem to have learned quite a bit about the character of this place while I was at lunch," Dan said turning back to Tara. "But it's time for us to get back to work. You have more equipment to learn about."

Dan walked to the back of the shop where the more extreme products were displayed, and he rolled a leather-covered bondage bench into the open area in front of the three-way mirrors. He then selected a complete set of leather-lined shackles and padlocks.

"Let's go. We don't have all day," Dan called to Tara cheerfully, dangling the shackles above his head so that she couldn't miss them.

Tara confidently sauntered over to Dan, and he helped her mount the bondage bench as though she was getting onto a horse. Once she was straddling the bench, Dan attached a dildo to the bench just behind the leather skirt covering Tara's otherwise bare ass. After securing the dildo, he applied lubrication, lifted Tara's skirt and directed her to impale herself on the silicone member. She took her time easing onto it, but she was eventually able to take in the entire shaft.

Glancing up to see that Tara was still exuding confidence, he methodically applied the set of leather-lined shackles to her ankles, knees, wrists and elbows. He then attached the shackles to various corresponding attachment points on the bondage bench. When Dan was finished, Tara was hugging the sides of the bondage bench as though she was riding in a kinky horse race. Even in her shackled state, she was somewhat comforted in the knowledge that she could easily shift her weight forward at any time to relieve the pressure in her rectum.

With his trainee immobilized facing the front of the shop, he walked to the display along the rear wall to retrieve a nasty looking spider gag. Unlike most spider gags, it did not have a hollow "O" which aligned with the wearer's mouth. Instead, the top and bottom halves were hinged at the sides creating a set of adjustable jaws, and the center of the mouth opening was obstructed by a spring and ratchet system which determined how wide the victim's jaws were spread. The opening could be initially set to a modest one inch, but if the wearer decided to open wider, in an effort to remove the gag, for example, the spring would force the gag to mirror the movement of the jaws.

Unfortunately, the evil ratchet mechanism would then prevent the wearer from closing her mouth.

Dan returned to Tara's field of vision, and she was noticeably shocked by the device.

"What's that?" she said, scrunching up her nose.

"It's a gag that expands with the wearer's mouth but doesn't contract," Dan found himself explaining clinically.

As Dan began to insert the gag, Tara confidently declared "While you were at lunch, I reread my contract. This time I know my safe signal."

With that, Dan smiled and placed the jaws of the gag into Tara's mouth so that rubber pads on the two halves fit nicely behind her front teeth. Tara tested the gag by opening her mouth a small amount. They both heard a faint "click" as the ratchet mechanism ensured that her jaws were now permanently wider than before. Dan smiled, and Tara groaned.

Leaving Tara to moan unintelligibly, Dan retrieved the leather-lined collar that matched the other restraints. He secured the collar around Tara's neck, and attached a short connecting chain to the collar as he locked it closed. Instead of attaching the chain to the end of the bondage bench as Tara had expected, he pulled the chain toward her breasts and secured it to an o-ring located in the middle of the bench.

The tension on her collar prevented any forward movement, and Tara began to panic when she realized that she could no longer extricate herself from the dildo. She opened her mouth wide to protest, but the gag merely became more extreme. After a moment, she began humming the "Star Spangled Banner" which was her safe signal."

Dan positioned himself directly in front of her and bent down so that they were nearly face-to-face. He held her head in his hands, and he whispered ominously.

"That's your safe signal, isn't it?"

Tara nodded and moaned pleadingly.

"You safe signal is supposed to tell the employee who has bound you that you want to be released, right?" Dan continued in a whisper.

Tara nodded more vigorously and let out an open-mouthed "uh-huh."

"It's really good that you went back to make sure you knew your safe signal," Dan said in a louder voice. "Too bad I'm no longer an employee here."

Tara's eyes widened with fear, and she began to cry.

"I resigned on Tuesday, but I'll take good care of you," he said reassuringly. "You really should be completely aware of what you're getting into if you are going to let someone restrain you like this. Next time, you'll know better."

Leaving Tara to her thoughts and fears, Dan grabbed a handle on the front of the bondage bench, and he rolled the bench up onto the display platform on the opposite side of the front door from Beth. Once in place, Dan applied brakes to the wheels of the bench and lowered the back of the bench, forcing Tara's body weight onto the intruder in her rear. Finally, Dan walked to the front of the bench and turned a dial just under Tara's chin. Tara had noticed the dial when she mounted the bench, but hadn't given it much consideration. With a flick of Dan's wrist, the plug in Tara's ass began to vibrate, and he adjusted the dial until the vibrations were just a bit over Tara's comfort threshold, but not enough to send her over the edge. Tara moaned in discomfort, humiliation and frustration.

Dan spent the rest of the afternoon tending to the shop. It was a slow day, and only about a dozen customers entered the shop. The moans form the two fettered women, the rattle of Tara's manacles and Beth's intermittent stomping provided a kind of kinky background music to the shop whenever a customer entered. In between customers, Dan was mindful about frequently changing the women's positions so as not to cause and permanent physical damage.

As the day was coming to a close, Dan released both women and suggested that they clean themselves up in the back room. Both women scowled and silently retreated to the changing area at the rear of the shop. Beth walked directly back to change, but Tara took the long way back, walking behind the counter, so that she could pick up the bag of merchandise that she had purchased after lunch. Tara gave Dan a weak smile over her shoulder and followed Beth into the back room.

As if on cue, the bell above the front door sounded, and Dan turned to see Linda walking confidently into the shop. Her body language suggested that she was still the store manager, and she walked up to Dan as though she expected to see him there.

"Hi Dan, is Amanda around?" Linda asked with a familiar tone.

"No, she's home sick – laryngitis," he lied.

"Damn! I wanted to tell her that I got the job at Juliette's estate. I know she'll be happy for me," Linda gushed.

"Really? Juliette's Estate?" Dan asked, surprised. "What will you be doing?"

"It was a weird interview. We didn't really discuss the job responsibilities much, but I start on Monday. It was more of a question and answer session with me giving the answers."

After an awkward silence, she added "I guess I answered correctly because she offered me a six figure salary!"

Dan was dumbstruck, and his mind began to wander as he imagined what she might be required to do in exchange for so much money.

Linda interrupted Dan's daydream by saying "Hey, what are you doing here? I thought you got a new job, too."

"Oh, that didn't work out, and since Amanda wasn't feeling well, I agreed to help her out here by training the new sales associates."

As Dan finished his sentence, Tara came out from the back room pulling Beth behind her on a leash.

"Looks like you trained them just fine," Linda said chuckling. "At least one of them..."

Beth shook her head and bucked like a wild mustang, which only served to accentuate her appearance. She wore thigh high leather boots with 5-inch heels, a leather mini skirt, and a heavily boned leather corset that barely covered her nipples and pushed her breasts up like they were being served on a platter. Over her elbow-length leather gloves, she wore premium leather wrist cuffs that were locked to D-rings on either side of the corset. Her elbows were cruelly pulled behind her back by a set of slightly larger leather cuffs connected by a short silver chain. Her leather leash was clipped to a 4-inch posture collar, and her protests were rendered unintelligible by a bit gag strapped tightly in her mouth. To complete the pony-girl attire, a head piece resembling a mane adorned her head, and a tail protruded proudly from a slit in the back of her mini skirt. Being familiar with the store's inventory, Dan knew that the tail was actually a rather severe inflatable butt plug.

"That may be the best $500 ever spent in this shop," Dan muttered under his breath.

Linda glanced disapprovingly at Dan and said "Stop drooling, or I'll tell Amanda."

After transferring the leash to her left hand, Tara held out her right hand to Linda and said "I don't believe we've met. I'm Tara, and you are?"

"Linda. I used to be the manager here until recently," Linda responded while shaking Tara's hand. "And this would be?" Linda asked inspecting the pony-girl from head to toe.

"Beth," Dan offered on her behalf. "Tara and Beth are the new sales associates."

"Well, we'd love to stay and chat, but it's closing time and we have a long night ahead of us," Tara said gently tugging on the leash. "Good night. It was nice to meet you."

As Tara and Beth walked past Dan, he said "Beth, I know that you are probably upset at losing the bet, but you are okay with this, right?"

Beth let out an exasperated and muffled "Uh-huh." Then she added a sentence that Dan couldn't understand, but he was pretty sure it was a vow to get even.

As they reached the door, Dan called out "Play nice, Tara," and they were gone.

Seeing Tara and Beth, Dan's thoughts turned to Amanda. He could hardly wait to get home to her.

Again, Linda interrupted Dan's daydream.

"Well, I guess I should be leaving, too. Tell Amanda I hope she feels better, and that I'll talk to her next week to let her know how the new job is working out."

"Hey, speaking of jobs," Dan said quickly. "Since you don't start your new job until Monday, could you fill in one last time as the manager of Leather or Knot?" He asked.

"Why do you need me? You seem to be enjoying yourself with the new employees," she said smiling.

"Well, Amanda's got laryngitis and I have a job interview tomorrow morning," he lied. "It would really help us out. Please?"

Linda thought for a moment, and said "Yes, I can come in for one last day, but will I get to play with the new employees?"

"They're all yours, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are a little tired tomorrow morning."

Dan thanked her for agreeing to help out, and Linda left almost as abruptly as she entered. Dan closed up the shop, and on the drive home, he wondered what Tara and Beth were doing with their newfound power game. His thoughts drifted to Amanda, as the nearly always did.

Dan decided that Amanda had probably learned her lesson by now, and he thought it might be time for some old-fashioned romance. Tonight, he decided, he would release Amanda and they would go back to the way things were before his visit to Juliette's. On second thought, he decided it would be even better than before because they had their new toys.

Just before reaching the apartment, he stopped at a flower shop and bought Amanda a dozen roses. The woman behind the counter asked him what occasion had prompted him to buy his sweetheart a dozen roses, and Dan told her that there was no occasion at all. He said that his girlfriend Amanda simply deserved them, and he immediately won the woman's admiration. She seemed to wish she had a boyfriend like Dan, but he wondered if she would have continued her wish if she knew that his girlfriend was trapped in her own apartment, naked, except for a locked leather harness that could automatically punish her for disobedience.

Dan continued home to the apartment where Amanda was waiting patiently on the couch watching television. She looked up and smiled when she saw the roses. Dan could tell that a short while earlier she had been disobedient, very disobedient. Her hair was damp with sweat, and she looked a bit worn out.

Dan smiled back and said "Harness unlock," and Amanda was free.

They spent the evening in their pajamas watching television and making love. They both found it an interesting change of pace to be having a vanilla relationship for the evening, but given Amanda's job and the number of kinky toys that had recently entered the apartment, they knew that it was only temporary. Still, they took their time exploring each other and remembering why they loved each other so much. Eventually, they fell asleep in the bedroom with the television on with various clothes and restraints scattered about the apartment.

The next morning, Dan and Amanda slept in. Amanda awoke at 10:00 am in a panic. She woke up Dan, jumped out of bed and began to dress. Dan explained that there was no need to worry, and he told her that Linda had agreed to watch over the shop for the day. He recounted how surprised he was when Linda had stopped by the shop and told him she accepted a job at Juliette's estate.

Amanda was also surprised. Although she liked Linda as a person, she didn't think much of Linda's worth as an employee. Dan and Amanda speculated on what kind of position Juliette might have offered her. Amanda suggested a secretary, a janitor, and a waitress, but Dan dismissed all of Amanda's guesses due to the six-figure salary that Linda had bragged about. Eventually, they gave up the guessing game, and they decided to spend the day revamping the Leather or Knot web site.

Dan and Amanda spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon side by side working on the site. They ate-in for lunch, ordered pizza for dinner, and around 8:00 PM Friday evening they received a call from Linda at Leather or Knot.

"It's the shop," Amanda announced, looking at the caller-ID display. "Maybe you should answer it since I still have laryngitis," Amanda said while making air-quotes around her supposed ailment.

Dan picked up the phone, and after small talk about Dan's fake interview, Linda explained that the shop received a shipment of vibrating cock rings. There was a note inside the box from Juliette instructing Amanda to place the stock in the display immediately, and to place one floor model near the display so that customers could examine it.

"So, what's the problem?" Dan asked. "Just put them in the display," he said dismissively.

"Well, we would, but we think that they're defective," Linda explained. "Beth, Tara and I have opened several boxes, and we can't get any of them to work. We were wondering if, now that you're interview is over, you could come down to the shop to help us figure out the problem. I don't want Amanda to get in trouble, and I don't want to be responsible for messing up Juliette's instructions since I start working directly for her on Monday."

Dan asked what she expected him to do if the three of them couldn't get them working, and Linda responded that men had a knack for these things. She basically begged him to help, and he reluctantly agreed. After explaining the situation to Amanda, he drove to the shop leaving Amanda at the apartment fine tuning the new web site.

Dan drove purposefully to the shop intending to make quick work of sorting out the problem with the devices. He parked in front of the shop and strode through the front door to the counter where Linda, Beth and Tara were still examining the cock rings with puzzled looks on her faces.

The women thanked Dan for coming and began explaining everything they tried that failed to work. Dan immediately picked up one of the unopened boxes and began to examine the contents. Inside, among the packing materials, he found an elaborate cock ring, a remote and a folded paper with operating instructions. The remote was small but somewhat heavy. It had a dial ranging from 1 to 10 and four buttons on the front: a red, a yellow and a green button, and one labeled "open/close." Turning the remote over, he opened the battery compartment.

"Have you put batteries in the remote?" he asked.

The women resented the condescending question and explained that they had just opened a new box of AAA batteries that they used in the remotes, and that the remotes still didn't work.

Dan inserted a pair of batteries; snapped the battery compartment door closed; and pressed the "open/close" button. A small red led lit up on the front of the remote, but otherwise nothing happened. At least he was satisfied that the remote was receiving power.

Next, he examined the cock ring. It was far more complicated than an ordinary cock ring. Laying it on the counter, the device looked like a figure-eight of sorts. There were two rings attached by some kind of universal joint. Dan surmised that one ring was designed to slide over a man's penis, while the other ring appeared to wrap around the top of the ball sac. The rings were connected by a swiveling joint which was also attached to a bullet-shaped element. Dan assumed that the bullet would fit underneath the wearer's shaft and in front of the wearer's balls, but he wasn't sure of its function. At first, he thought it might be a battery compartment, but he ultimately assumed that it was a vibrator of some kind.

The device was completely brass-colored, and the weight of the device was considerable. The larger ring was a single solid piece, while the smaller ring was constructed from two hinged semi-circular jaws which freely flopped opened and closed as he lifted the device.

Upon closer inspection, the larger of the rings had three tiny embedded LEDs along the top facing away from the wearer. Dan wasn't sure, but he thought that the device also had several electrodes, or sensors, along the inner diameter of both rings, and around what he assumed was the front edge of the penis ring.

After several attempts to operate the device manually and using the remote, Dan reluctantly unfolded the instruction sheet and began reading. A few seconds into reading the instructions, Dan rolled his eyes and tossed the paper on the counter. He picked up the device with his left hand and formed his right hand into a gun, using two fingers as the barrel. He slid the solid ring over his extended index and middle fingers, and he closed the other ring around his pinky and ring fingers. Then he reached for the remote with his left hand, pressed "open/close" and the device shuddered slightly as the green lights on the remote and the device became illuminated.

"Well, they're not defective," Dan announced triumphantly.

All three women leaned in to get a closer look at the device on Dan's "pistol." Then Linda picked up the instruction sheet and began to examine it.

"So, how did you get it to work?" Linda asked preoccupied by the sheet.

"Each of the rings has sensors along the inside circumference. The sensors have to be touching some portion of the body to enable the device to be turned on," Dan explained, suddenly realizing how geeky he must have sounded.

"You mean it has to be touching skin for the wearer to be turned on," corrected Beth with a throaty laugh.

Still reading the instruction sheet, Linda exclaimed "Have you seen what this thing can do? You should try one out tonight with Amanda. It will blow her mind... and yours."

Linda handed the sheet to Tara who began to read aloud.

"100% safe... Clinically proven to produce orgasms three times as intense as unassisted orgasms... Capable of prolonging male firmness by a factor of two... Patented micro-sensor technology ensures simultaneous orgasms when worn during intercourse...." listed Tara. "Need I continue?"

Dan remembered the previous times that he had allowed his genitals to be bound in the boutique, and he had promised himself that he would never put himself in that position again.

"No thanks. I think I'll pass," he said confidently.

Although the women tried their best to convince him that he should do it for Amanda, Dan stood firm on his convictions. After several minutes of advocating, challenging, and shaming Dan into wearing the device, the women finally gave up. They thanked him again for running out at the end of the evening to help them with the problem, and they told him that they needed to begin closing up the shop for the evening. As he was walking out the door, Linda placed the demonstration device and remote in his hand and told him he could keep them in exchange for his assistance, in case he changed his mind later.

Dan shook his head in amazement, but accepted the gift, walked to his car and drove away. All the way back to Amanda's apartment he valiantly fought the urge to try the device on, but as he approached the flower shop near Amanda's place, the cartoon devil on one shoulder won out over the cartoon angel on his other shoulder.

As he entered the shop, he locked eyes with the female florist who had helped the day before.

"Wow, two times in two nights? You either did something horrible or terrific!" the florist exclaimed.

He smiled and asked the florist if he could use the men's room. Once inside, he took the device and the remote from his pocket, dropped his pants and gently positioned the device around his genitals. The feeling in his stomach told him that he was about to do something, as the florist would say, either 'horrible or terrific.' After a moment's hesitation, he set the dial to "2" and pressed the "open/close" button on the remote. Instantly, the device engaged and began to purr.

Struggling to remain calm and natural in the wake of the pleasant sensation, he pulled up his pants and flushed the toilet to give the appearance of using the restroom for its intended purpose. He returned to the sales floor of the flower shop and stood close to the counter in an attempt to hide his erection. Dan and the florist made small talk, and he bought a box of chocolates to complete his cover story.

On his way out of the store, his jacket brushed against a display at the end of an aisle and accidentally caused the yellow button on the remote to be depressed. Dan's knees buckled at the increased sensation, and he nearly exploded in his pants. He scrambled to feel around in his pocket for the remote, and he surreptitiously pressed the green button as he returned to his feet.

"Just clumsy," Dan said with a flushed look back to the florist.

Dan drove the short distance home daydreaming about the rest of the evening with Amanda. He couldn't wait to show her the device, and he wanted to see what it could do for them both during intercourse.

His pace quickened as he walked from the car to the apartment. Fumbling with his keys, he finally opened the apartment door to find the living room dark and quiet. Through the darkness, he could see that the kitchen light was on, and Amanda was sitting at the kitchen table facing the front door. She looked as though she was sitting at attention. Her arms were hung stiffly at her sides, and her face was shadowed with a concerned expression. He stepped into the entry hall, closed front door, and flicked up the light switch on the wall near door. The living room lights revealed Juliette sitting on the far corner of the couch and Linda along the right wall in a recliner.

Juliette nodded to Linda who pointed a remote at Dan. With a press of the red button, Dan dropped to the ground, and Amanda grimaced. Juliette smiled a satisfied smile of a lioness toying with a mouse before a snack.

"Good work, Linda. I was right. You will truly excel as a member of my estate staff."

Chapter 17 - On the Job Training (added: 07/09/11)

Amanda, Linda and Juliette watched as the unrelenting stimulation from the cock ring caused Dan to uncontrollably writhe around on the living room floor. Dan pressed his eyes closed in a conflicted combination of emotional agony and physical ecstasy. Amanda closed her eyes closed and looked away.

When she was satisfied that Dan understood his predicament, Juliette nodded to Linda.

"Enough fun and games," said Juliette sternly.

Linda obediently moved her thumb over the green button and pressed it. Once the waves of pleasure subsided, Dan regained his awareness of his surroundings. He realized that Amanda was wearing the harness again, and he wondered how Juliette could have persuaded her to submit.

Smiling, Juliette sweetly said "Daniel. Amanda. Kindly kneel before me. Wrists crossed behind your back."

Although the words suggested civility, the tone reeked of arrogance and superiority. Juliette alternately stared at each of them without blinking and warned them each to be obedient. Although she never mentioned punishment, it was inferred by their relative positions and the sternness of Juliette's voice. She explained that they are both being controlled with kindness.

"Of course, you both must realize that tomorrow is training day." Juliette said.

"Just last Wednesday, as Amanda was leaving my estate, we all agreed that I would hold training on Saturday. Isn't that right, my pets?"

Without look at one another, both Dan and Amanda nodded for fear of displeasing Juliette.

"What a difference a few days can make," Juliette said rhetorically. "Apparently, a lot has transpired since then. I certainly did not expect to be training two slaves, but, of course, I am delighted that you have both volunteered."

Amanda turned her eyes to the floor, but Dan couldn't hide his defiance. Juliette smiled at his disagreement.

"Normally, such an insolent look would incite a lesson, but I will indulge any question you may have, Daniel," said Juliette in response to his glare.

"I certainly didn't volunteer for this." Dan said through gritted teeth.

Juliette erupted in laughter and responded "Of course you did."

She explained that he voluntarily, and rather predictably, put on the cock ring even after he knew how powerful it was. In fact, he was the one who taught Linda how to use it. She further explained that he could take it off any time he wanted.

After an awkward silence, Dan responded with a smirk.

"Right. And as soon as I make a suspicious move, Linda will press that little red button and use my own body against me."

Juliette just smiled.

"And even though Amanda hasn't said anything, I'm sure that she didn't volunteer for this."

"Oh, on the contrary, Amanda got herself into this little pickle by putting the harness back on well before I unexpectedly dropped by. Since she is an obedient slave, she can't tell us for certain, but I would guess that she expected to give herself to you."

Amanda dropped her head confirming Juliette's guess as she continued.

"Fortunately, for everyone I arrived in time to stop such a foolish plan. So, I guess I need to train the both of you, but in doing so, I expect to determine which one of you is the true submissive and which is the true dominant. You will both be put through three tests. The significance of each test will not be explained to you so as to prevent you from improperly affecting the scores. At the end of the training session, each of you will receive a gift."

Juliette paused for dramatic effect.

"One of you will receive the gift of purpose – a lifetime devoted to nothing but fulfilling the desires of the other. And one of you will receive the gift of freedom – a lifetime of owning a devoted slave."

"Ma'am? What if one of them is not truly dominant or the other not truly submissive?" Linda asked.

"My lovely apprentice poses an excellent question," Juliette said gesturing toward Linda without looking away from her kneeling subjects.

"In fact, it is extremely rare that one partner is truly dominant while the other partner is truly submissive. My husband and I, however, are proof that it can happen. He was a complete dominant, and I was completely captivated by him. We were a perfect example of such rare dispositions."

"Having experienced such a magical connection, I fully realize that what we had was a one in a million connection. Since my husband's passing, I also realize that it is unlikely that I will ever experience that level of synchronicity again – especially since fate has forced me to embrace my dominant side."

"So, as a humanitarian gesture, I directed my research staff to create dietary supplements formulated to, shall we say, 'enhance' one's proclivities for either domination or submission. After diligently working on the problem for several years, it is amazing what they have devised: A little red pill that causes a body to increase production of hormones and proteins that promote dominance; and a little blue pill that suppresses production of those hormones and proteins resulting in a malleable personality wanting nothing more than pleasing a master or mistress."

Before anyone could ask for a more complete explanation, Juliette announced "Enough banter. James is waiting for us just outside the front door."

"I'm sure that your undergarments will keep you in line," she mused as she turned toward the door.

Linda helped Amanda and Dan to their feet. She draped an overcoat around Amanda's shoulders, and they all followed Juliette out the door to a waiting van.

The drive to Juliette's estate was uneventful. They all sat in silence as James swiftly maneuvered the van along the progressively narrowing roads. Throughout the trip, Linda obediently watched Juliette; Dan and Amanda intermittently looked out the window and at each other with loving but concerned expressions; and Juliette stared at the submissive pair like a desert that could only be eaten after finishing her meal.

Upon arriving, the van delivered the group to the palatial entrance of the manor house. Dan and Amanda were surprised when they were met in the spacious front hall by Beth and Tara, the newly hired sorority sisters from the boutique. Amanda could hardly recognize them. Each woman was dressed in a skin tight, one-piece latex outfit that resembled a figure-8. Latex encircled each young woman's upper torso, strategically covering and accentuating their ample breasts. The latex crossed behind their backs and wound back around to form a bikini bottom. Each woman also wore a matching latex collar, fingerless latex gloves and clear plastic, open-toed stilettos.

Each attendant carried a beautifully decorated leather collar and matching leash.

"Beth and Tara will escort you to your rooms for the night," Juliette said, nodding at her two new attendants.

Beth stepped in front of Dan, and a look of satisfaction swept across her face. She gently secured the leather collar around his neck, and Dan made no attempt to resist as it was clear that escape was all but impossible. Tara similarly attended to Amanda, together they were lead up the circular staircase that defined the shape of the great hall. Upon reaching an interior hallway at the top of the stairs, the attendants silently steered their compliant followers in opposite directions toward their respective rooms. Tara gave a single gentle tug to Amanda's collar as she instinctively resisted being separated from Dan, and Amanda sadly looked back to see Dan slowly following Beth whose hips swayed hypnotically before him.

Resigned to her situation, Amanda turned away from Dan and looked down the hall before her and Tara. The hall resembled that of an upscale hotel. Each interior door was numbered and equipped with an electronic door lock. Halfway down the hall, Tara paused in front of suite J-12. A moment later, a green light above the door knob silently illuminated, and Tara ushered Amanda through the doorway into a seven room suite. Upon entering, they found themselves in a large sitting room. A well equipped kitchen and dining room lay beyond the room in front of them, and bedrooms and adjoining bathrooms were located at either end of the sitting room.

Tara gave Amanda a brief tour ending with Amanda's bedroom. At first glance the room appeared to be elegantly decorated, but a closer inspection revealed a number of functional features subtly blended into the dιcor. Most notably, the beautifully ornate wrought iron bed frame had O-rings welded on to it in every corner, in the center of the headboard, and at evenly spaced intervals along the side rails. An oak armoire with decorative hand-carved doors stood along the side of the bed. The armoire door furthest from the door was ajar revealing an array of hand crafted restraints. Amanda recognized most of the collection as items offered for sale at Leather of Knot.

"I know this is probably awkward for you," apologized Tara. "It is for me, too, but we need to get you ready for bed. You have a full day ahead of you tomorrow."

Tara insisted that Amanda use the bathroom before bed, and she then led Amanda into the walk-in closet and helped Amanda out of her overcoat. After hanging up the overcoat, Tara showed Amanda a variety of pajamas hanging nearby and asked her to select a pair for the evening. Amanda chose a pair of soft, comfortable, flannel pajamas. After Amanda had put on the pajamas, Tara led her to the bed and directed her to lie down.

Working swiftly, Tara removed two sets of suede cuffs from the armoire, and secured Amanda's wrists and ankles to the corners of the bed. Amanda's wrists and ankles aligned perfectly with the O-rings, and it was as though the bed was custom made for her. Rather than using locks, Tara used small spring-loaded clips to attach the cuffs. Even though the clips could be opened with minimal tension, there was no way for Amanda, stretched as she was, to reach the clips to free herself.

Tara then turned back to the Armoire to retrieve a suede collar that Amanda had never seen before. The exterior of the collar matched the wrist cuffs, but the suede faηade clearly hid a more complicated internal design. A green LED was embedded in the front of the collar, and the back of the collar appeared to include a pair of slim, interlocking metal fasteners. Tara leaned over Amanda and gently applied the collar which emitted a slight click when the metal fasteners were connected at the back of her neck. Although Amanda couldn't see it, the LED on her collar changed from green to red indicating that the collar was activated.

"There. That about does it," Tara said in a pleasantly satisfied tone. "Okay, I am going to remove the harness now, but please don't talk. The collar that I just put on you includes silencing technology that I'm told is rather severe, and I'd really hate to see you hurt yourself."

Amanda couldn't help but notice that Tara seemed to genuinely care about her comfort level. If only there was a way to communicate with her, Amanda thought that she might be able to get her to listen to reason.

"Silence slave off. Harness unlock," Tara said authoritatively.

Amanda felt the harness release its hold on her, and she lifted up her torso as much as she could to allow Tara to remove it from under her pajamas. Even though she was still electronically silenced and tightly restrained spread eagle on the bed, Amanda felt somehow liberated once she was free of the harness.

With a thoughtful expression, Tara sat down on the bed next to Amanda. After a moment's pause, Amanda thought that this could be her opportunity to get through to Tara. Amanda waved her bound left hand and pointed toward her head while simultaneously turning her head to the left and opening her mouth.

"Oh," said Tara rather urgently. "How silly of me. Of course, you must need a drink."

Amanda shook her head emphatically, and motioned with her left hand as though it were a puppet.

"Oh... You want to talk," Tara said disapprovingly. "I'm afraid I have explicit instructions from both Lady Linda and Mistress Juliette that allowing you to talk is completely unacceptable."

Amanda slumped in her bonds.

"But I do have a few things to tell you," Tara said, perking up.

"Tomorrow is a big day for you and Dan. It could really change your lives forever, and even though I don't really know you, I like you both. Of course, I don't have any say in the matter for Dan since I was assigned to you, but I could help make things turn out the way you want them to if you don't mind bending the rules a bit."

Amanda looked at Tara suspiciously as she rummaged through an oversized purse that was on a corner dresser. Tara returned with two bottles of pills: one bottle contained blue pills and the other contained red pills.

"I don't know if anyone told you about these, but I understand that they are amazing," Tara began.

"The red ones make you more dominant, and the blue ones make you more submissive. Each pill lasts about 24 hours, and I just thought that if you wanted to sway the tests in your favor, you might want to take one tonight before bed."

Tara stopped in order to catch her breath and to let Amanda consider the implications. Amada looked stoically at the pill bottles and then at Tara. Having caught her breath, Tara continued the one-sided conversation like a teenage girl leaving her friend an extended voicemail message.

"Now, I'm probably biased because I worked with Dan at the shop, but I really think you should take one of the red ones. How cool would it be to have Dan as your own personal boy-toy!"

Amanda continued to stare at Tara without emotion. Tara just smiled back before continuing.

"Of course, he's pretty hot," Tara said playfully. "It wouldn't be that bad being his toy, would it? Maybe you'd want to take a blue pill," Tara finished, raising her eyebrows and tilting her head to elicit some kind of agreement from Amanda.

Amanda responded with a narrow eyed glare and tugged at her bonds. Tara suddenly realized that Amanda must have thought that she was making a move on Dan, and she began to back pedal.

"No, no... You don't understand... I didn't mean anything by that. It's just that you two are clearly hot for each other, and I thought you might like it better on the bottom. Besides, I've recently found that I'm more interested in partners who have firsthand experience with a woman's needs, if you know what I mean... like Beth," Tara explained as her face turned a deep red.

Amanda relaxed, motioned toward the pill bottles and shook her head. Tara sighed.

"Okay. I just thought I'd ask."

Tara put the pill bottles back in her purse, and returned to Amanda's side carrying a small plastic holder that resembled a compact lens case. Tara opened up the case and asked "Have you ever worn contact lenses?"

Amanda nodded tentatively.

"Great. Well, these are contact lenses that are completely black. They are called black-out lenses, and I'm going to put them in your eyes to help you sleep."

Amanda began to shake her head and struggle against her restraints.

"Really, Amanda. Just calm down," Tara said placing her hand gently on Amanda's upper arm.

"I wear contacts, too, and I'll be very careful. I have to do it. Mistress Juliette told me to, and I'd rather not end up in your position with Mistress Juliette angry with me," Tara said, concluding with an awkward giggle.

Amanda calmed down, and allowed Tara to apply the blackout lenses leaving Amanda looking a bit like a beautiful cartoon heroine having colorless eyes with oversized pupils. Tara completed the package with a pair of earplugs leaving Amanda completely deprived of her two most important senses for the night.

Amanda's sensory deprivation worked surprisingly well, and she easily drifted off to sleep despite her bondage. Before she drifted off to sleep, she wondered what had happened to Dan. Her imagination ran wild as she imagined a thousand ways that Beth might have taken advantage of him. Finally, she wondered whether Dan was offered the red and blue pills, and what his answer might have been if he had.

At 7:00 am Saturday morning, Tara gently roused Amanda from a deep, dreamless sleep. Although she felt as though she had just fallen asleep, Amanda was thoroughly rested.

Tara detached Amanda's wrist restraints from the bed frame and removed the wrist cuffs. Amanda instinctively removed the earplugs from her ears and blackout lenses from her eyes. Amanda took some time to allow her eyes to adjust, and when her pupils normalized, she could see Tara at her bedside offering her the harness. Disappointed to be reminded of her predicament, Amanda silently accepted the harness and put it on under her pajamas.

To her surprise, Tara removed the collar she had fastened around Amanda's neck, and she failed to engage the voice control option of the harness. That allowed the women to have a surprisingly normal conversation considering that Amanda was in a slave harness.

Amanda showered at Tara's direction, and they ate a healthy breakfast of fruit salad and oatmeal. As they ate, Tara explained that the first test would be held in the outdoor arena near the stable. Although Amanda asked an array of questions, Tara provided no answers. Tara insisted that she would have answered them if she knew, but she was only told to deliver Amanda to the stable at 9:00 am.

After breakfast, the two women selected their outfits for the morning from the well stocked walk-in closet, and Tara insisted on placing Amanda's hair in a tight ponytail. As they left the room, the pair looked as though they belonged in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. Nobody would have guessed that Tara was in complete control of Amanda.

Although the estate staff offered to drive them to the outdoor arena in a golf cart, the women decided that the 15 minute walk through the grounds would be nice. As they made their way, they talked about ordinary things, and under other circumstances the women would have become great friends.

They approached the outdoor arena from behind the stable which was adjacent to the arena. On the far side of the arena, opposite the stable, were bleacher seats and enclosed box seats along the top of the bleachers. Amanda could see a number of people in the stands, and she thought she saw Juliette and Linda in the center box seats.

The stable was a long building that ran east and west along the south side of the arena. There were entrances at either end, and an entrance in the center that allowed one to pass through the stable and into the arena. They entered the stable at the west end, and Tara directed Amanda to a dressing room through the first door to the left. Upon entering the room, Amanda was stunned by her return to reality. The room was full of equestrian equipment that was foreign to Amanda, but there was also equipment that was similar to the pony girl gear sold in the shop. Tara motioned to a bench and told Amanda to wait until the stable mistress arrived. She then left Amanda alone in the dressing room and locked the door behind her.

It was only a few minutes before Victoria, the stable mistress, entered the room. She was tall and slim, and she wore a tight fitting, tailored, white cotton polo shirt with the neck unbuttoned. Her pants were black spandex breeches, or riding pants, which further accentuated her curves and matched her black leather belt and knee-high black riding boots. Even though she was quite young, her presence commanded respect, as did her riding crop.

Victoria wasted no time with pleasantries.

"Good morning girl. I am Victoria, the stable mistress. You will address me as 'Mistress Victoria' or 'Mistress.' In ten minutes, you will be taking part in a race for the pleasure of Mistress Juliette and her guests. Normally, entrants train extensively for such a race, but I am told that you are a complete novice. Is that correct?"

Confused and intimidated, Amanda replied "Yes, Mistress."

"Well then, we'll make the best of it. Let's get you in some appropriate racing gear. Strip completely and tell me your waist measurement."

As though it was the most natural thing in the world, Amanda instinctively began removing her clothing as she responded "26 inches, Mistress."

Working at an astounding pace, Mistress Victoria selected a variety of garments and restraints from a nearby walk-in storage locker, and removed Amanda's harness with a curt "harness unlock." Realizing that several people had controlled the harness in the past two days, Amanda wondered whether she could have removed the harness herself by simply using the command.

Before she even realized what was happening, Mistress Victoria had wrapped her midsection with a tight fitting, steel boned, PVC corset. Although Amanda couldn't see what Mistress Victoria was doing behind her back, Amanda could tell that she was tightening and securing the corset with practiced proficiency. In a matter of seconds, Amanda found her waist reduced from 26 inches to 22 inches. As she examined the corset, Mistress Victoria continued dressing her by sliding on a pair of elbow-length PVC gloves.

The corset included several sets of D-rings: Two D-rings were located in the small of the back near her kidneys; and three D-rings were attached to each side of the corset, evenly spaced from the top to the bottom. After her cursory examination of the corset, Amanda looked up to find that the stable mistress had completed her work on the gloves. Having been distracted by the corset, Amanda failed to realize that the PVC gloves were actually mitts the forced her hands into fists rendering them all but useless. Mistress Victoria had already firmly fastened cuffs above each elbow and around each wrist.

In one deft motion, the stable mistress swung Amanda's right wrist behind her back and fastened the wrist cuff to the corset's left rear D-ring with a miniature clip. Repeating the motion with the other wrist, Amanda found her wrists tightly crossed behind her back. To complete the restraint, Victoria encircled Amanda's forearms with strap that she attached to a D-ring high at the back of the corset. Amanda found her shoulders pulled back and her chest jutting out proudly. Although she was suddenly embarrassed by her provocative posture, there was nothing she could do to change it or to cover herself.

Suddenly slowing the pace to admire her handiwork, Mistress Victoria circled around Amanda like a snake. After deliberately tracing her finger over various parts of Amanda's body, Victoria cupped her hand under Amanda's right breast. She slowly worked Amanda's nipple between her thumb and index finger and said "While you may lack racing experience, you might make for it in aesthetics."

Victoria then left Amanda standing in the center of the room as she selected the appropriate footwear. Working from behind Amanda, Victoria directed her to lift her right foot behind her and balance on her left foot. Victoria fitted a thigh-high PVC boot around Amanda's foot and calf. She bucked various straps to ensure a snug fit, and she let Amanda's foot drop back to the floor with a distinctive 'clop.'

As Victoria applied the second boot, Amanda inspected the first boot and found that it was molded to resemble a horse hoof. She realized that she was slowly becoming a pony girl, and her other foot dropped to the floor like the hoof of a frustrated mare.

"We are running out of time before we need to get to the starting gate, but I still have two more items to complete your outfit," Victoria announced as she again rummaged through the storage locker.

Victoria emerged from the locker holding a piece of equipment that both amazed and frightened Amanda. Requiring the use of both her hands, Victoria held the device in front of Amanda so that she could examine it.

"It is the ultimate pony girl head harness," Victoria proclaimed proudly.

And it was. The device was an extremely lifelike replica of a horse head, including ears, lips and teeth, except that it was made out of PVC.

Mistress Victoria explained that the device was designed to completely encase the wearer's head, and it included an integrated PVC posture collar. The head was constructed in two halves that were hinged along the top so that one half could be aligned with the wearer's head, and the second half could be rotated into place to create the appearance of a horse's head. The device would then be secured using a strap around the snout, a buckle beneath the chin, and the posture collar around the base of the head.

Stunned, Amanda looked feebly at Victoria and whispered "But how do I breathe?"

For the first time, Victoria returned a caring smile.

"My dear, my most prized possessions are my ponies. I wouldn't hurt them for the world... unless, of course, they were naughty... but I would certainly never deprive them of oxygen," Victoria explained.

She turned the mask upside down in front of Amanda and opened it for her to inspect. The interior was far more complicated than Amanda expected. Victoria explained that the interior was lined with dense, slow-reacting foam that provided a contoured fit for the wearer and virtually eliminated any injury due to rubbing or chafing. The eye holes were large enough that they would accommodate a diverse demographic, including women and men. Internal air hoses ran from the artificial nostrils to a latex prosthetic device that enabled an airtight fit with the wearer's nose, and the nostrils included filters to remove dust and other impurities from the air.

Further, the mask included two microphones embedded in the artificial ears that provided audio to interior speakers aligned with the wearer's ears. Finally, the mask featured an interior pump gag that was contoured to effectively eliminate most sounds made by the wearer. The pump gag, however, included embedded sensors which were designed to receive the sounds and movements made by the wearer. The sensor data would be translated into typical horse noises that were output through speakers embedded in the mouthpiece. The sensor data would also be used to create matching realistic mouth movements produced using small servo motors embedded in the nose, lips and mouth.

Amanda was too flabbergasted to put up an effective resistance when the stable mistress connected the breathing apparatus, inflated the pump gag and closed the device around her head. Although her vision was eventually impaired by blinders, she could otherwise see, breathe and hear quite well. In fact, the foam interior of the device made it comfortable enough that the experience wasn't the least bit claustrophobic, although it was a bit warmer than she would have liked.

As Amanda was trying to get acclimated to her headpiece, Mistress Victoria attached a leather leash, and Amanda found herself being lead out the door and down the long hallway toward the entrance to the arena. As they walked briskly toward the center of the stable building, Amanda was forced to look forward. The integrated posture collar severely limited any head movement, and her peripheral vision was blocked by blinders.

Once they reached the center of the stable and Mistress Victoria turned left to enter the arena, Amanda had an unobstructed view down the hallway. Amanda was surprised to Miss Francis leading another pony toward the arena. Even though the pony's head looked just like hers, she knew that it was Dan. She didn't know whether she was crying out of love, frustration or humiliation, but her tears silently dropped onto her cheeks, and they were absorbed by the foam interior of the headpiece. She stomped her foot and cried out into her gag, but the sound that filled the hallway was a frustrated horse whinny.

"Whoa now, easy girl," said Mistress Victoria as she gently slapped Amanda's thigh with her riding crop.

Amanda instinctively turned away from the crop and found herself positioned in front of a large door that was the entrance to the arena. Amanda disappointed that her movements were so easily controlled by Victoria. The stable mistress clearly had a thorough understanding of human instincts, and Amanda was in no position to challenge her. She was at least slightly comforted knowing that Dan was by her side even though they couldn't communicate.

Amanda remained still while a carriage was attached to her corset by a set of straps and braces. She could feel the weight of the carriage pull down on her midsection, and then the weight suddenly equalized as though a weight had counter-balanced the carriage. She assumed that a rider had mounted the carriage, but she had no idea that the rider was Tara. Dan was similarly rigged with a carriage controlled by Beth.

Suddenly, there was a loud neighing and stomping of feet next to her. Before Amanda had time to consider what the commotion was about, she felt a bulbous probe being inserted into her ass. She whinnied and kicked in response, but it was to no avail. Within moments, Mistress Victoria had finished slipping in a butt-plug that an ordinary observer would recognize as an elegant horse tail. Amanda's anus ached at the oversized intruder, and Mistress Victoria secured the tail with a retaining strap that ran from the back of the corset, through Amanda's labia to the front of the corset.

Amanda wiggled her ass in discomfort trying to dislodge the plug, but the retaining strap and Amanda's bondage made it impossible. As the large doors opened onto the arena, Amanda's efforts merely looked like a cute, playful pony swishing its tail to and fro. From Amanda's vantage point, she could see that the stands were nearly full, and many in the crowd were on their feet cheering Dan and Amanda's entrance.

Amanda looked up to the box seats to see Mistress Juliette standing with a microphone. Her amplified voice boomed over the sound system.

"Settle down now. Settle down," Juliette said playfully to the crowd as the cheers trailed off.

"Friends, enthusiasts and curiosity seekers... Welcome to our weekly pony race. This week we have a battle of the sexes. On the inside lane we have Amanda, a physically mature filly standing a little over 16 hands tall, and on the outside lane, we have Dan, a similarly aged stud standing around 18 hands. The race will be a single circuit around the arena, and points will be awarded for aesthetics, poise, and time. Of course, points will be deducted for breaches of etiquette. Both ponies are essentially untrained, but show great promise."

"As always, the estate does not sanction any wagering on this race, but private wagers may be made at the discretion of the bettors. To add a bit of spice to today's event, the participants have a little skin in the race. Based in part on his or her performance today, one of these ponies will become a lifelong submissive of the other. So, without further delay, let the race begin."

The cheers erupted as Beth and Tara directed Dan and Amanda into the starting positions in their respective lanes. Mistress Victoria stood between them carrying a starter's pistol. She wished all four participants luck, raised the pistol in the air and squeezed the trigger to start the race.

As soon as the race began, Dan felt the sting of Beth's slapper on his ass. Alternately slapping either side, Beth urged Dan to run his fastest. Dan knew that the faster he ran, the sooner Beth would let up on the slapper. He couldn't really see Amanda to his left, but he could tell that he was just a few strides ahead of her.

Through the noise of the crowd and the sound of his own breathing, Dan could hear Beth yelling "Pick up your knees, damn you! It isn't just about your speed!"

Dan tried his best to comply. He kept up his speed as he lifted his knees with each stride. His tail waved wildly, and he could feel the bulb nestled within him pressing against the sides of his rectum. The sensation made him stumble, and the crowd reacted with wild cheers.

Dan's mistake gave Tara and Amanda an opportunity to catch up. As they gained on Beth and Dan, he could hear Tara's firm but gentle and encouraging commands to Amanda. "Knees high. Chin up. Keep the pace. Good girl!" Realizing that Beth and Tara were riding the carriages, Dan wondered whether the two had made a side bet on the outcome.

As they rounded the second turn, Dan tilted his head slightly to could see that Amanda had overtaken them. He unconsciously slowed down even more as he admired Amanda's form. She was gracefully trotting beside him as though she was a thoroughbred horse. She was beautiful! Her breast heaved up and down with the rhythm of her strides.

Beth's slapper abruptly reminded Dan that he was not free to admire Amanda's grace without consequence. Dan quickly and obediently regained his concentration, and closed the gap with Amanda. Rounding the third turn, Dan and Amanda were in a virtual dead heat. Even though Amanda was in amazing condition, the corset constricted her breathing and she was beginning to tire. She was pulling roughly the same amount of weight as Dan, but he was considerably bigger and stronger.

She didn't know what effect her losing the race would have on her future with Dan, but she assumed that it would place her in the subordinate role. Although she thought that a life as Dan's slave sounded enticing, she knew that winning the superior position would afford her infinitely more options. She only hoped that she could make up for her shortcomings in the two remaining tests that Juliette had planned. In the meantime, Amanda decided to make the best of her situation, and reduce the consequences of losing by keeping it as close as she could. As she rounded the final turn, she dug deep within her for the strength to run the home stretch without regret.

In her enthusiasm to give Dan a run for his money, Amanda twisted her ankle and stumbled. Her frustrated moan was translated into a high pitched whinny by her headpiece, causing Dan to instinctively turn around to see what had happened. Nearly falling, without her arms to balance or break her fall, Amanda barely managed to stay on her feet, and she continued her run to the finish line.

Dan was frustrated that he had no way to help Amanda. He slowed down enough to ensure that the race remained close. He wasn't sure how this test could possibly determine a preference for dominance or submission since both he and Amanda were trussed up like unruly mustangs. He wondered whether Juliette would consider the winner more submissive since the winner would have accomplished the goal of his or her mistress.

Confused about their future, and concerned for Amanda's welfare, Dan made sure that the race was as close to a tie as possible. As they crossed the finish line, the crowd's cheering reached a tumultuous crescendo, and both Dan and Amanda were exhausted. Beth and Tara slowed their ponies to a stop near the center of the arena while Amanda and Dan struggled to catch their breath.

"What a delightful display!" Juliette announced as the crowd continued to cheer.

"That race was simply too close to call. The judges' scores will be tallied and posted shortly. Of course, refreshments will be served just outside the arena as usual."

As the crowd shuffled out of the stands, Amanda and Dan were relieved of their carriages. Tara and Beth lead the ponies out of the arena and back to their respective dressing rooms where the horse hoods were removed, and they were able to drink some much needed water. Neither Tara nor Beth spoke to them, but it didn't really matter. Dan and Amanda were too tired and thirsty to initiate a conversation. Besides, there was nothing that they could say that would alter the course of events. Both of them knew that they would just have to ride out the tests, and rely on whoever of the two of them was deemed the dominant to change the situation.

Tired and somewhat broken, Dan and Amanda each allowed their riders to reapply their hoods. Resuming their appearances as ponies, they were both taken to an adjoining pasture to rest until the next test. They tried to talk to each other, but could only make horse sounds. Instinctively, they affectionately nuzzled each other, and finally curled up together under the shade of a tree until they were collected for the next test.

Chapter 18 - The Final Tests (added: 2012/06/11)

Although neither Dan nor Amanda were certain how long they had been left in the pasture to rest, neither was ready to leave when Tara and Beth came to collect them. In the limited time they spent together under the tree, Dan had done his best to reassure Amanda of his feelings for her despite their hopeless situation, and Amanda returned Dan's affections with nuzzling and neighing.

Instead of leading them to the stable as Dan expected, Tara and Beth respectively led Amanda and Dan along a paver brick walkway to the back of the residence. The hooves of the two ponies generated a distinctive clip-clop noise that announced their predicament to all who passed by. Although blinders prevented her from seeing them, Amanda could hear a group of women admiring the sway of her tail. Amanda snorted and angrily tugged against her lead when another of the women commented that she would "rather ride the stallion than the mare."

Eventually they entered the rear of the residence through two separate doors that appeared to lead to male and female locker rooms. Once inside, each trainer handed off her pony to a pair of attendants. Dan's attendants were male, and Amanda's attendants were female. None of the attendants spoke.

Dan looked around and found that the room resembled a traditional locker room in a gym. There were benches in an open area, lockers along one wall and a shower area toward the front. There were also sinks, toilets, towels and scales. The only aspect of the rooms that couldn't be found in a typical gym were the rings installed in the cinderblock walls, presumably for holding waiting slaves.

The attendants efficiently stripped Dan of his pony gear which was deposited into laundry-style bins with rollers on the bottom. Dan was provided sandals, and he was led to a shower area to wash up. Once through the shower door, the attendants secured the door and waited for Dan to complete his shower before unlocking it. After his shower, Dan was given towels and toiletries, and he was flanked by the two attendants as he finished with his hair and teeth.

When they were satisfied that Dan was finished, one attendant wordlessly fastened an ominous leather collar around Dan's neck. The other attendant offered Dan a jar of lubricant and a stainless steel butt plug. Instead of accepting the paraphernalia, Dan gave a heavy sigh and shook his head.

Before he could verbalize his refusal, Dan felt a heat begin to rise in his neck under the collar, and the attendant again extended the items toward Dan. Dan turned back to the first attendant to assess his situation. The first attendant looked as though he was becoming angry, and the angrier he looked the more uncomfortable Dan's collar became. Within a few seconds, the pain in Dan's neck became unbearable, and he blurted out "Okay! I'll put it in."

The first attendant's demeanor returned to normal, and the pain in Dan's collar subsided. Dan couldn't believe what was happening to him. This was something straight out of a sci-fi thriller, but he knew he had to comply to avoid the searing pain. He reluctantly opened up the jar, spread some lubricant on the plug, and forced it into his anus. It stretched him inside and out, and it made walking slow and uncomfortable.

He followed the first attendant down a long interior corridor, and he was followed closely by the second attendant. When he would fall too far behind the leading attendant, Dan would feel the heat begin to surge in his neck and in his ass. Dan did his best to keep up his pace.

Finally, they turned through a door into a 12 x 12 cinderblock cell with an extremely high ceiling. Looking up, Dan could just see the walls fade into blackness. As Dan entered the cell, Amanda entered the cell at the opposite side. Amanda was naked except for a collar similar to his, and he could tell from her stride that, like him, she also had an intruder in her ass.

They were each led around the cell to their right, and they stopped when they reached a pair of stainless steel foot pads along the center of each opposing wall. The foot pads were spaced slightly more than shoulder width apart, and a small utility table stood just beyond each set of pads. The tables each held a small bottle of baby oil and a head harness with an integrated ball gag and blindfold. Dan looked above the pads to see a pair of suspended steel rings.

The trailing attendant moved past Dan and the leading attendant until he reached the table. Amanda's attendants mirrored the movements across the cell. The trailing attendant picked up the head harness and held the ball gag in front of Dan's mouth. Conceding that resistance was useless, Dan opened his mouth to accept the gag, and the attendant quickly fastened it around Dan's head. Dan could feel the attendant adjusting the straps to make the harness conform to Dan's head, and once the eye pads and harness were tightly adjusted, the attendant gave a sharp tug to a strap that forced the ball deep into Dan's mouth. Dan heard Amanda grunt as the same process was used on her.

Suddenly, Mistress Juliette's amplified voice echoed through the cell.

"I hope you are both feeling better now that you have freshened up a bit." Juliette said sarcastically.

"This is the second of the three tests that you will be taking today. While the preparation has taken a while, the test itself should be reasonably short."

As Juliette spoke, Dan and Amanda found themselves being maneuvered to the footpads. Their bodies were pivoted and their legs were spread so that each foot was on one of the pads. Their wide stances forced the anal intruders uncomfortably deep within their cavities. One by one, their sandals were removed, and they could feel the cold steel beneath their feet.

"This is an endurance test that operates at several levels. It will require physical endurance to remain in the required position, and it will require emotional endurance when you hear your competitor being punished." Juliette said, barely able to disguise her glee at the deviousness of the test.

Dan felt the attendants on either side of him guide his arms into a standing spread eagle position. Each of his hands was positioned to grab onto one of the steel rings suspended above the foot pads.

"Below you are two metal pads. Above you are two metal rings. Your task is simple. Maintain a connection with all four of your appendages." Juliette explained.

Dan heard the baby oil bottle being opened to his right.

"Your opponent's comfort is your motivation to endure the test." Mistress Juliette continued.

Dan felt a stream of baby oil tracing down each arm, around his torso, and down each leg.

"In order to improve your body's natural conductivity, you will be rubbed down with baby oil."

Dan felt the four hands of the attendants rubbing the baby oil into every part of his body. The thought of two guys' hands massaging his body gave him the creeps, but he bit down hard on his ball gag and waited until they finished. The attendants started at his wrists and worked their way down his body. They took far too long lingering around his genitals and rubbing his ass for Dan's liking, but they finally stopped when they finished the tops of his feet.

Dan was imagining the two women massaging Amanda, and he began to get hard. Just then, he felt the attendants remove his hands from the overhead rings, and slather baby oil on his palms and fingers. They did the same thing to the bottoms of his feet. The extra baby oil on his hands and feet made it extremely difficult to maintain contact with the rings and pads. His hands kept slipping off the rings, and his feet kept sliding off the pads. He imagined that Amanda was having similar issues.

"You have, no doubt, discovered the discomfort that can be caused by your collars and plugs, but you may be disappointed to hear that you have only scratched the surface of the unpleasant capabilities of those devices. Every time you fail to maintain contact with the metal rings and pads, your partner will discover a new sensation that can be generated by these devices."

Dan heard the echoing sound of a fan motor starting from high above the cell, and a breeze began to blow over their well oiled bodies. Amanda's nipples hardened, and Dan's scrotum retracted. They quickly became cold enough to begin shivering slightly.

"The last time we administered this test, the participants lasted less than five minutes." Juliette said, pausing to let the impact of her statement sink in.

"The longest anyone has been able to hold out is seven minutes, but that was when the punishment was inflicted directly on the contestant who broke the connection. This is the first time we've designed the test so that the opposing player is punished. Who knows ..." Juliette said, leaving the rest to Dan and Amanda's imagination.

After a few moments, Juliette's intonation changed from mocking and sarcastic to serious and maternal.

"In thirty seconds, the test will begin. Your head harnesses should help you concentrate on the task at hand. You will need to focus all of your energy on maintaining contact with the metal rings and pads. On occasion, we have seen participants reestablish contact with one fixture only to lose contact with another. Because you will each be punishing the other, this could result in a painful chain reaction affecting you both."

"Good luck to you both. Five... four... three... two... one... begin."

Amanda couldn't believe this was happening to them, but she also couldn't afford to be distracted by thinking about the events over the past week. She was concentrating only on what was happening to them at that moment.

In the darkness, time had no meaning. Amanda was focused on maintaining her hold on the overhead rings so that she could control the position of her feet. After what felt like a minute, Amanda began to sense tension in the overhead rings. She thought it might be her imagination, but it felt as though the rings were being pulled upward ever so slightly. Amanda redoubled her efforts to hold on to the rings, but her muscles were already beginning to tire. She cursed herself at not being able to hold on to the rings, and she began to lose confidence.

For what seemed like five minutes to Amanda, neither participant had been punished, but both were perilously close to losing their grip on the overhead rings. Eventually, Dan grunted and hung his head in fatigue. In another context, the slight movement would have been insignificant, but in his situation, the movement caused his center of gravity to shift enough for his left hand to momentarily lose contact with the ring. Amanda immediately screamed into her ball gag as a jolt of electricity ripped through Amanda's anal plug.

Although the intensity was actually no greater than that of a common canine shock collar, the unexpected punishment took Amanda's breath away. Dan immediately rose to his tiptoes and lunged upward with his left hand to find the empty ring again. All the while, Dan was repeating an unintelligible "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," into his ball gag. Amanda quickly regained her composure, but felt pity for Dan, knowing that it was an accident that could have happened to either of them.

The situation stabilized, and the contest continued for what Amanda estimated was another few minutes without incident. Dan and Amanda found their auditory senses were heightened because of the head harnesses. They could hear the constant whirr of the overhead fan; they could hear the breathing of the attendants nearby; and they could hear murmuring from spectators above. Amanda imagined that Beth and Tara accompanied Juliette in a sort of kinky sky box. She daydreamed that her predicament was presented for their entertainment on closed circuit monitors along with hors d'oeuvres served by a wait staff of French maids and half naked men in bondage gear.

Amanda was aroused from her daydream when she heard Juliette say "Now it should get interesting."

Startled by the realization that she was losing her concentration, Amanda's right foot accidentally slid off of the foot pad, and Dan was punished. Her infraction was only momentary, but Dan's loud, forceful grunt told her it was painful. All Amanda could do was whimper an apology into her gag in apology and wonder what happened to him.

Although Dan only grunted once, his breathing was heavy and fast, and she could tell that whatever happened to him would take some time to pass.

After what seemed like several more minutes without incident, Juliette's amplified voice broke the relative silence.

"Good work contestants. You have lasted four minutes," Juliette announced.

Amazed, Amanda was certain that Juliette was playing mind games with them. It had to have been at least 15 minutes since the test began.

"Now the test gets tougher. Good luck."

Immediately after Juliette's microphone was turned off with a faint click, Amanda began to feel tiny electric shocks applied to the soles of her feet through the metal foot pads. The shocks didn't hurt. In fact, they tickled, and they were most annoying. Both contestants felt compelled to lift their feet to stop the sensation, yet equally determined to stay the course to avoid hurting their partner.

Within a minute, both Amanda and Dan were continuously panting and grunting into their ball gags. The distraction of the electrically charged foot pads was unbearable, and nearly simultaneously, they both began dancing on the foot pads to get relief from the increasingly prickly sensations. Every time one of their feet would leave the pad, the other contestant would be randomly punished.

First, it was a shock to the neck. Then, heat was applied to the ass. Next, their collars emitted a high pitched vibration which pierced the wearer's ears. Every time a punishment was administered, the recipient would react in a spasm and break another connection with the metal pads or rings. Eventually, the punishments came so fast that they couldn't keep up, and Juliette and her guests looked down to enjoy the twisted punishment dance of the two victims until a safety system engaged and both contestants dropped to the ground.

As the onlookers applauded, Dan and Amanda laid on the ground panting but not moving. The collars they wore included a safety system that monitored their vital signs. When the wearer's bodily functions exceeded acceptable parameters for a predetermined period, the safety system automatically stopped the contest. Upon stopping the contest, the collars and plugs emitted a constant low-level electrical pulse that essentially paralyzed the wearer, similar to the effect of a taser or other electric shock, but without any harmful effects.

Although they could not move, Dan and Amanda could still sense their surroundings. Amanda heard the doors to the cell open. She heard the four attendants leave the room, and she heard two new attendants enter. One approached her and the other attended to Dan. Amanda could feel her attendant wrap her paralyzed torso in a familiar harness, and once the harness was in place, Amanda slowly regained her ability to move, and she rose to her knees.

The attendant manipulated the straps of the head harness until it loosened its compressive grip on her skull. Instinctively, Amanda reached up to remove the harness, but she was instantly punished by the harness.

"Please, just let me take care of you," Tara whispered. "You've been through a lot today."

Amanda began to talk, and she was punished again. So, Amanda anxiously knelt with her hands at her sides while Tara removed the head harness. As Amanda's eyes adjusted to the light, she could see Beth attending to Dan at the opposite end of the cell. Once the head harnesses were removed and placed on the nearby tables, Tara and Beth clipped leashes to Amanda and Dan and led them out of the opposing doors. Confused and fatigued, Dan and Amanda each silently turned around to watch the other being lead away.

The trip to Amanda's suite was mercifully short. It wasn't until she started walking that Amanda realized how physically exhausted she was. To her surprise, she wasn't the slightest bit injured by the day's contests, but she was extremely sore and tired. Apparently, Tara realized how tired Amanda would be because upon arriving at the suite, Tara made Amanda a cup of hot chocolate and put her to bed for an afternoon nap.

Sleep came hard and fast for Amanda, and Tara let her sleep until 4:00 when she gently roused her reluctant submissive.

"Time to wake up," Tara whispered as she gently shook Amanda. "We need to get ready for the final test."

Amanda sat up on the edge of her bed, and Tara put her finger to her lips to keep Amanda from speaking. Tara explained that the final test would take place at a dinner party in the main hall. Tara motioned toward the bathroom, and said "It's time for you to clean up so that we can dress for the party."

Amanda slowly rose from the bed, and began her shower. She took her time, letting the warm water collect in her hair, and drip down her back and breasts to the rest of her body. She similarly worked from the top downward, washing her hair first and making her way down her body to her feet. Amanda knew that this was her last chance to relax before having to endure some humiliating test. She savored her time alone, but after 30 minutes, Tara opened the bathroom door to keep her on schedule.

Amanda dried herself and left the bathroom. To Amanda's surprise, upon entering the bedroom, she found that Tara was dressed in a stunning black evening gown. Tara's hair was up in a tight bun, and she was accompanied by two more plainly dressed attendants. The three of them attended to Amanda as though she was a pampered starlet getting ready for a red carpet appearance. They sat her down in front of a mirrored vanity and meticulously fixed her hair and makeup. Amanda relaxed until they were finished, and when she looked at herself in the mirror, she was amazed. She almost didn't recognize herself. She had never looked or felt more attractive. Her hair looked angelic, and even though her makeup was barely visible it made her a vision of beauty.

Without wasting any time, the three attendants whisked Amanda into the walk-in closet to get her dressed. They removed the harness that controlled Amanda. With one attendant on each arm to ensure her cooperation, Amanda was free for only a few seconds until they helped her slip into a beautiful green evening gown. The gown was made from a strong but attractive satin material, and it hugged her figure as though it was made especially for her - which it was.

The waist was especially snug, and Tara wrapped a wide belt around Amanda's midsection. The belt was made of the same material as the dress, and it hugged Amanda's waist like a kind of corset. Amanda could see that the belt was to be secured from behind, in the small of her back, providing a clean seamless appearance from the front and sides.

Amanda could also see that the front of the dress was extremely low cut, and it highlighted her barely concealed breasts. Admiring herself in a mirror before her, Amanda liked the way the side panels were pleated so that the material seemed to gather at her waist under the belt, though the pleating added no noticeable increase to Amanda's waistline. Amanda was a beautiful emerald hourglass.

Tara completed her work on the belt behind Amanda with a decisive "click" while the other two attendants firmly drew Amanda's arms behind her and secured them through a pair of crossed loops integrated in the belt. Each loop was a kind of slipknot, and each attendant pulled a free end of the belt material until Amanda's crossed wrists were immovably trapped at the base of her spine. The free ends of the belt hung behind Amanda to give the appearance of a neatly tied bow. The position of her wrists naturally forced her breasts forward into a perpetually provocative pose.

The three women continued to work quickly to complete Amanda's ensemble. Tara smiled genuinely as she adorned Amanda with a beautiful emerald choker and matching earrings. Meanwhile, the other two attendants slipped Amanda's feet into extraordinarily tall heels that inconspicuously locked into place.

They stepped back to admire their work, they were pleased. The cut of the dress, the height of the heels and Amanda's reluctantly sultry posture conspired to accentuate her appearance of beauty and helplessness.

Tara dismissed the other two attendants and began to collect her purse while she explained the rules for the evening's party.

"Tonight, Mistress Juliette is entertaining a number of important social guests," she began.

"Although they are all aware of Mistress Juliette's interests, not all of the guests are lifestyle participants. In fact, some of the guests this evening only tolerate Mistress Juliette's eccentricities because of her money, but she doesn't seem to mind," Tara explained.

"Out of respect for her more vanilla guests, the suggested dress code for tonight's party is conventional formal attire, essentially evening gowns and tuxedoes. As you have probably guessed, however, it is acceptable to supplement one's attire to convey one's eccentric inclinations as long as it is done tastefully, like we are doing with you," Tara said smiling sweetly.

Suddenly, Amanda realized that since she was no longer wearing the harness, she might be able to engage Tara in conversation.

"So, how is this evening's party an appropriate venue for Juliette's third test?" Amanda asked tentatively.

"Well," Tara began with a chuckle, "The goal of the test is to convince one of the guests to in appropriately grope you during the cocktail hour."

Checking her watch, Tara's eyebrows raised up in surprise.

"We have just enough time to make our entrance on time," Tara mumbled as she directed Amanda toward the door.

As the two women made their way through the halls toward the ballroom, Amanda suggested that the test was rather lame. Apologizing for sounding immodest, Amanda suggested that any man at the party would happily grope her if she simply asked.

"What was I thinking? I totally forgot," Tara said, as if to herself.

"Forgot what?" Amanda asked.

"Silence slave," Tara replied in a commanding tone, and Amanda's emerald choker took on a subtle glow that Amanda couldn't see but sensed nonetheless. Disappointment engulfed Amanda as she realized that she had just lost her best chance to talk with Tara.

"Sorry about that, Amanda," Tara said apologetically. "I forgot that you will not be allowed to speak during the cocktail party. You're right. It would have been lame if you could just ask some guy to grope you. The test would have ended as soon as it began," Tara explained as she picked up the pace.

"This way, you'll have to communicate your need to be groped some other way. Just be careful who you choose. Some guests would be offended while others may take things too far," Tara warned.

"Beth told me about one woman who was given this test about a year ago. She disappeared from the party and was never heard from again. I'm pretty sure that any of the people at this party have the means to secretly keep somebody against their will. Especially if that somebody was a woman who starts out bound and gagged," Tara warned as they reached a large arched doorway leading to the ballroom.

As they entered the ballroom, Amanda immediately spotted Dan and Beth at the far end of the room. Dan looked handsome in a traditional tuxedo, bowtie and cummerbund. Looking intently, Amanda could make out a red glow emanating from his top button just behind his tie. She realized that, like her, he was likely forced to be silent. She also realized that his wrists were likely bound behind his back like hers.

"You stay put, and I will get us drinks," Tara said regaining Amanda's attention.

"Will a white wine be okay with you?" Tara asked.

Amanda nodded in response, and watched as Tara walked toward a waiter carrying a tray of drinks.

As soon as Tara's back was to her, Amanda began to make her way toward Dan at the other end of the room. Fortunately, Beth noticed Tara on her mission to get drinks, and left Dan momentarily to meet up with Tara. Amanda quickly but elegantly crossed the room, and Dan moved just as swiftly toward Amanda. They met in the middle of the ballroom, and although neither could voice their feelings, their eyes spoke volumes.

Dan leaned downward, and Amanda stretched upward, and they shared a long, passionate kiss like they had been reunited after years apart. The kiss prompted the guests around them to murmur. Concentric circles of interest radiated outwardly from the center of attention. Some guests were appalled at the overt display, while others were caught up in the romance of the two young lovers.

Before the kiss had ended, Tara and Beth heard the whispers and looked toward the center of the ballroom to see what the commotion was about. Tara whispered to Beth that they were truly a lucky couple to have found each other, but Beth was already strutting toward the two to regain control of Dan who was solely her responsibility.

Before anything more could happen, a 5 piece string ensemble began playing a fanfare from one corner of the ballroom, and the crowd turned to watch Juliette's entrance. Beth stopped short. The crowd parted to create a walkway from Juliette to the center of the ballroom where Dan and Amanda remained in their own world, oblivious to the pomp and circumstance around them.

As Juliette reached the center of the ballroom, she raised her hands from her sides in a broad welcoming gesture, but most of the guests' eyes were on Dan and Amanda who suddenly realized they had unwanted attention.

"Friends, welcome to my home," Juliette announced with a smile.

"I hope all of you have at least as enjoyable an evening as my guests of honor," she continued with a gesture toward Amanda and Dan.

The guests chuckled lightly.

Juliette kept her opening remarks brief, but explained to the guests that Amanda and Dan have a task to complete before the end of the cocktail hour. She also explained that both Amanda and Dan have strict rules against talking, and that they are obviously prevented from gesturing. She encouraged the guests to mingle and to assist Dan and Amanda in any way they wished.

When she was finished greeting her guests, Juliette turned to face Dan and Amanda. She held each of their chins in her hands and looked into their eyes.

"I envy you," she said quietly. "Tonight will decide the rest of your lives. I hope it turns out well each of you. Good luck."

Juliette quickly turned her back to them and began joyfully greeting individual guests.

Although they couldn't speak with each other, Dan and Amanda turned to face each other just as Beth and Tara came up beside them. Tara and Beth escorted their elegant prisoners to opposite ends of the ballroom, and the contest had begun.

Beth took Dan to the end of the ballroom nearest the restrooms, and Tara escorted Amanda to the open bar. Tara set the wine glass that she ordered for Amanda on the bar next to Amanda, and she walked away to leave Amanda to fend for herself. Tara stayed within a 30 foot radius to observe Amanda's progress.

Amanda struggled with her wrists behind her back, but they were held fast by the satin belt. A beautiful Asian woman in a cream colored evening gown came up to the bar next to Amanda and ordered an Appletini. Based on her jewelry, the woman seemed to be extraordinarily wealthy. As she waited for the bartender to make her drink, she turned to Amanda and smiled.

"You seem to be frustrated by your lovely dress," the woman said with a devious grin.

Amanda could only nod in agreement.

"Are your hands behind your back because you can't keep them to yourself?" the woman asked playfully.

Amanda rolled her eyes and gave shot the woman a somewhat disgusted expression.

Taking her drink from the bartender, the woman turned and moved uncomfortably close to Amanda.

"Are you being held here against your will?" the woman whispered seriously.

Amanda looked at the woman like a newborn doe. She had no idea who the woman was, and whether she could confide in her, but she slowly nodded her response.

The woman gently took her by the arm and began escorting her toward the restroom.

"My name is Rebecca Chung. Let's go someplace where we can talk candidly. I've known about Mistress Juliette's games for a while, and I will help you with your little wardrobe malfunction."

Amanda smiled and went with the woman. Tara followed quietly from a discreet distance.

As Rebecca and Amanda entered the woman's restroom, Dan stood 20 feet away. He was flanked by two beautiful young blondes who were laughing and giggling. He caught Amanda's eyes with a look that conveyed his complete lack of control over the situation.

Once inside the lavatory, Rebecca checked under the stalls to ensure that they were alone. She realized that there were likely hidden cameras, but she was willing to take that risk. She spun Amanda around and examined the cuffs embedded into the silk belt, but she could not figure out how to unlock them. They each appeared to be seamlessly integrated into the belt with no obvious mechanism for release.

She spun Amanda back around and apologized for not being able to free her. Instead, she quickly played 20-questions with Amanda to determine an overview of her situation. Rebecca was able to figure out that Amanda was being held prisoner, that she couldn't talk for some reason, and that at least one other guest was watching over her.

Rebecca explained to Amanda that it was just as well that she couldn't remove the belt. It would be best if the belt remained as it was to avoid suspicion, but she assured Amanda that she would keep an eye out for a way to help her escape.

Finally, Rebecca asked about the task that Amanda was supposed to complete. After another series of questions, nods and shakes, Rebecca deduced that someone at the party had to do something to Amanda in order for her to complete her goal.

Knowing Juliette, Rebecca asked "Do you need to get someone to act inappropriately with you?"

Amanda nodded.

"And does it need to be a specific guest?" she continued.

Amanda shook her head.

After a moment's thought, Rebecca asked "Would you like it to be me?"

Amanda had a thousand thoughts running through her head. If she was the first to complete the task, would Juliette consider her the dominant or the submissive in her relationship with Dan? What if Dan is in the ballroom completing the task as they speak? She decided to go for it.

Amanda nodded in agreement.

Rebecca let out a long sigh.

"I've never done anything like this before. What am I supposed to do to you?" Rebecca asked rhetorically.

"Would a long passionate kiss be inappropriate enough?" she asked.

Amanda shook her head.

Surprised, Rebecca timidly offered that she could reach down Amanda's gown and feel her breast, and Amanda slowly nodded in agreement. Rebecca further suggested that the groping should be witnessed by others to ensure that Amanda received credit for winning the contest, and Amanda agreed.

Thoughtfully, Rebecca ushered Amanda from the restroom, and the sounds from the ballroom seemed to hit them in waves. About ten feet from the restroom door, Rebecca stopped Amanda and slid behind her. Amanda was facing all the guests in the ballroom as Rebecca gently placed her hands on Amanda's shoulders. Rebecca gave a reassuring squeeze before she began to slide her right over Amanda's shoulder and down toward her breast.

To Amanda, events seemed to be happening in slow motion. Amanda glanced down at Rebecca's hand and then over to her left to see Dan and his two blonde escorts. With her intense focus on Dan's group, Amanda heard the blonde closest to her laugh and comment "Well, you are in no condition to do that yourself. Let me help you with that zipper."

Realizing that the blonde was about to unzip Dan's fly in the middle of the ballroom, Amanda pulled away from Rebecca and lunged toward the woman. Taking two long strides, Amanda barreled into the woman knocking her into a waiter before she hit the ground.

Gasps, shrieks and the sounds of clanging service trays and broken glass pierced the air. The blonde's twin angrily stepped toward Amanda with her right hand raised to slap Amanda's face, but Dan stepped between the two women in time to receive the slap instead.

Like bouncers in a redneck bar, Tara and Beth quickly arrived to diffuse the scene. Tara tugged Amanda toward one exit and Beth pulled Dan in the opposite direction. Looking over their shoulders, Dan and Amanda could see the other being pushed out of the ballroom. As they retreated through the ballroom doors, Amanda could hear Mistress Juliette apologizing for the commotion and joking that one never knows what to expect when attending parties at her estate.

Chapter 19 - Test Results (added: 2012/11/03)

Dan opened his eyes to blackness. His head throbbed, and his thinking was clouded. He tried to move, but his limbs were stretched to their limits. Slowly, he pieced together his situation and the events following the cocktail party of the previous evening. Dan's behavior had left Beth incensed, and when she brought him back to the suite, she took her anger out on him. She knew that she wasn't allowed to truly punish him. So, she simply "offered" him far too many drinks and made sure, really sure, that he was properly secured for the evening.

Dan's hands were snugly curled into locking leather fist mitts, and he was tightly strapped to his bed with thick leather cuffs. His wrists, elbows, chest, waist, knees and ankles were all tethered to attachment points along the sides of his bed. A full leather hood engulfed his face, and it was secured to the base of the headboard by a D-ring at the top of the hood, thereby preventing even the slightest movement. His ears were filled with foam plugs, and his mouth was similarly filled with dense foam that expanded upon contact with moisture.

A five-inch posture collar hugged his neck, and even though it was not attached to anything, it served to continually remind him of his subjugation. Finally, spiked rings were attached around the base of his penis and around the top of his ball sac. The spikes were not sharp enough to pierce his skin, but they applied uncomfortable pressure in his most tender places.

As his head cleared, Dan wondered why he was suddenly awake. Even though his senses had been taken from him, he could feel a presence. After a few moments, he could feel someone detaching the hood from the bed. One by one, his bindings were removed until all that remained were the belt around his waist and the rings around his private parts.

Through the darkness, he could see that it was 3:50 am. He could also see that Beth was half asleep. She tossed the familiar J-2010 on to the bed and grumbled "Put this on. Linda wants to see you."

"What about these rings?" Dan asked motioning toward his midsection.

"They get in the way of the harness," he explained.

Beth walked over and removed the rings. To his surprise, each ring had a small button that allowed it to be easily opened. As she set the rings on the nightstand, Beth apologized for the way she treated him the night before. She explained that she was angry with him for not winning the final test. She had hoped that if he won the final test, and became the dominant partner, that she could continue to work with him and Amanda. Beth was concerned that if Dan was deemed to be the submissive, she might be reassigned to some other, less enjoyable, job.

Once Dan was wearing the harness, Beth said "heel slave," and they made their way to Linda's suite. When they arrived at Linda's suite, Tara and Amanda were already there. Dan couldn't help but admire Amanda in her harness. Tara and Beth lined up Amanda and Dan so that they were facing Linda. The handlers instructed their slaves to stand with their feet shoulder length apart and their wrists crossed behind their backs.

Once they were in position, Linda commanded "Statue Slave."

Although Dan hadn't heard that harness command before, he surmised its meaning. He and Amanda stood perfectly still in fear of some unknown punishment. Linda dismissed Tara and Beth, but instructed them to return for Amanda and Dan at 5:00 am. Linda warned them to tell no one that they brought Amanda and Dan to her room.

As the door closed behind Beth and Tara, Linda turned her attention back to Amanda and Dan. She felt a sense of power she had never known, and she savored the moment as she stood in front of her two helpless friends. She studied one and then the other. She thought back to the times they shared as co-workers at "Leather or Knot," and she realized how quickly their lives had changed - and would change again. As she surveyed the two motionless slaves, she noticed two bottles of pills on her nightstand.

One bottle contained red pills to enhance one's dominant side, and the other bottle held blue pills to enhance one's submissive tendencies. Although she knew the pills were intended for Dan and Amanda once the test results were revealed, she couldn't help herself. She strode past her motionless audience and without hesitating popped one of the red pills into her mouth and swallowed. She waited, not knowing exactly what to expect. After about 15 seconds, a chill ran through her body, and a forceful energy shot from her chest to her extremities. She suddenly felt like she could conquer the world.

Resuming her stance before her slaves, she stood with her fists on her hips and her chin high and proud. She explained to Dan and Amanda that Juliette had confided in her the results of the tests and that she wanted to be the one to tell them.

"Of course, Juliette expects to personally announce the official results at breakfast, but I thought you might want a little preview of your new lives," Linda confessed with an evil sparkle in her eyes.

"Keep in mind that we would all be severely punished if Juliette ever found out that we had this little chat. So, I expect complete discretion."

Linda explained that their friendship had meant a lot to her, and that everyone could see that the two of them were made for each other. She continued by acknowledging that the suspense must be eating at them. So, she thought she could end their suffering by revealing the results early.

Like the host of a cheesy reality program, Linda prefaced the reveal by saying "The test results were extremely close. Juliette said that either one of you could have been the dominant in your relationship, but one just slightly edged out the other."

"Juliette has assured me that even though it was close, you will both be happy with the results. Especially once you begin your regimen of red and blue pills."

"I really wish you both the best of everything as you begin your new lives as mistress and slave."

The comment hung in the air several seconds before her audience reacted.

Dan and Amanda were both stunned. Dan felt panic welling up within. He never wanted to be completely dominant to Amanda, but he certainly didn't want to be her slave either.

Amanda was equally confused, but she slowly realized that because she was the selected dominant she would be able to make things right over time. Slowly a smile crept across her otherwise motionless face, and Linda smiled too.

Linda looked at the two of them and said "If you are okay with this, blink your eyes."

Amanda's smile broadened as she repeatedly blinked her eyes. Linda looked over to Dan to see him staring wide-eyed into the distance as though he couldn't believe what was happening.

Linda leaned in close and whispered "It's going to be alright, Dan. Even if you don't realize it right now, in time you'll learn to love your position beneath Amanda."

Linda reached into her pocket to retrieve a remote controller. After pressing a few buttons, Amanda's harness unfastened itself and hung limply on Amanda's body ready to be removed. Amanda didn't immediately move, but Linda reassured her that it was okay. Linda then asked Amanda whether she would like help training Dan.

Amanda's head was spinning. If the events of the past week had taught her anything, it was that Dan was the only person that she could really trust. Realizing that Linda was awaiting an answer, Amanda shook off her deeper thoughts and eagerly agreed to let Linda help.

"Great! We don't have much time. I need to have you both back in your rooms in an hour," Linda said.

"For this first session, let's just get you looking as powerful as you must be feeling," Linda said as she guided Amanda into her walk-in closet. They both ignored Dan who remained standing with his wrists crossed behind his back facing a now empty room.

Amanda's mind was racing with possibilities. This was likely her best opportunity to make a break for freedom, but she knew she had to humor Linda long enough to develop a viable plan.

Linda and Amanda looked through the well-stocked wardrobe, and Linda suggested a low-cut black leather catsuit with a matching thin leather belt. The belt, though unnecessary, drew attention to the wearer's waist and hips to give an impression of both power and sensuality.

"That looks fantastic," Amanda remarked as she scanned the room for items that would help her escape without incident.

Linda helped Amanda select an ominous choker with a pendant that dangled between her breasts, a pair of black leather gloves, a pair of stiletto heeled boots and a black cowl which covered the top portion of her face. All the while, Amanda was unsuccessfully trying to formulate an escape. Everything she considered seemed likely to fail. Discouraged, Amanda continued to go along with whatever Linda suggested.

"You look fabulous!" Linda said as they both admired Amanda's outfit in a full-length mirror just inside the walk-in closet.

Amanda agreed. She couldn't believe her own eyes. She had tried on hundreds of outfits since she began working at the shop, and she had never looked this good. She looked good enough to make the fantasy a reality, but she quickly pushed those thoughts aside.

Dan had remained at attention in every sense of the word while the women were playing dress-up. Linda escorted Amanda out of the closet and positioned her directly in front of Dan. Legs spread and fists on her hips, Amanda felt powerful in her dominatrix attire, but she also felt sorry for Dan as he stood silently staring into her eyes.

Linda strode past them toward an armoire full of bondage paraphernalia. She opened the double doors and reached for what looked like an oxygen mask with a miniature tank attached to the front of it. She brought it back to Amanda and asked if she had seen anything like it before.

Amanda recalled her tour of Juliette's research and development department, and the experimental inhaler that delivered a muscle-relaxant for disabling a victim's vocal chords. Amanda acknowledged that she knew about the device as Linda stepped in front of her and lifted the mask to administer the gas to Dan. Amanda seized the opportunity to grab Linda from behind. The surprise attack caught Linda off guard, and the two women went sprawling across the floor.

"Why you little bitch!" Linda seethed as she rolled over to stand back up.

Knowing that this was their only chance to escape, Amanda didn't waste a moment. She turned Linda over by her shoulder and punched her in the stomach as hard as she could. Linda felt a vacuum where her lungs used to be, and she sat doubled-over, stunned, and gasping for breath. Amanda knew that Linda was only temporarily incapacitated, and she looked around frantically for something to restrain Linda while she had the upper hand. Although the armoire was full of restraint devices, it was too far away to be practical. Thinking quickly, she removed the leather belt from her cat suit and secured Linda's wrists behind her back. Amanda knew that this wouldn't keep Linda for long, but it would give her time to select some real restraints from the armoire.

As Amanda returned from the armoire with a handful of leather straps, Linda's breathing began to return to normal. Linda stared contemptuously at Amanda and struggled frantically to escape the unyielding grip of Amanda's belt

"Why are you doing this?" Linda wheezed. "You won."

While Amanda hastily secured Linda's elbows with a pair of leather cuffs, she answered "I didn't win anything. Juliette is calling all the shots. As long as we're here, we are all just pieces in Juliette's personal chess game."

As Amanda connected the elbow cuffs, Linda continued to struggle wildly. She threw herself left and right struggling to break free from the unrelenting leather cuffs like an animal. As Linda grunted and moaned, Amanda picked up the inhaler that had been knocked to the floor during the scuffle. Approaching her captive from behind, Amanda grabbed and handful of Linda's hair with her left hand and pressed the inhaler to Linda's face with her right hand. After a loud moan of protest and a few deep breathes, Linda became silent.

Amanda quickly dragged Linda to the foot of the bed and cuffed her wrists together behind the bedpost. Amanda found it unnecessary to restrain her any further since Linda was now unable to escape or call for help. Dan and Amanda only needed keep Linda subdued long enough to get out of the room and away from the estate.

Turning her attention to Dan, Amanda quickly but firmly said "Harness deactivate."

Amanda rushed over to Dan to embrace him and kiss him. Linda looked on from the floor futilely tugging at her cuffs.

After taking a moment for themselves, Amanda and Dan quickly evaluated their situation and developed a plan to escape. Amanda suggested that since she was already dressed for the part, she would escort Dan, her submissive, through the estate and right out the front door. If she was questioned, she could talk her way out of trouble. If that didn't work, the two of them might be able to overpower whoever was in their way. It was a simple plan, not without its faults, but it was the best they could manage with limited time and resources.

Reluctantly, Dan remained in his harness to give the appearance of submission. He knew that although the harness was disabled at the moment, continuing to wear it posed the risk that it could become reactivated by the house staff during their escape.

Amanda found two leather overnight bags in the closet, and she and Dan collected anything that they thought they could use in their escape. Specifically, they brought casual street clothes for both of them, a complete set of restraints in case they needed to overpower a staff member, and the tank of vocal chord paralyzer. Although not strictly necessary for their escape, Dan threw in Amanda's harness and the bottles of blue and red pills. Optimistically, he thought those items might prove interesting should they successfully escape.

Turning back to check Linda, Amanda apologized for leaving her strapped to the bed frame. Amanda explained that she and Dan love each other too much to be forced into specific dominant and submissive roles chosen by someone else, particularly Juliette.

Amanda removed a leather leash and collar from the armoire. Looking into Dan's eyes, she reminded him that they needed to stay in character during their escape. Amanda put the collar around Dan's neck and clipped the leash to a ring on the collar. She directed him to keep his eyes down and his hands behind his back. With a deep breath, she opened the door, and they casually made their way toward the front door of the estate.

Amanda was surprised by the number of people working in the estate at such an early hour. They passed several workers and guests as they walked through the estate toward the front exit. Upon arriving at the front door, Amanda was feeling confident that they were playing their parts well enough that no one would question them. Her heart sank, however, when they came face to face with the valet and doorman stationed just outside the front door. She recognized the doorman, and she could tell that he recognized her as well. She was further startled by the sound of a servo motor turning an overhead camera in their direction.

Nearly a quarter mile away in the rear of the mansion, an LCD screen displayed streaming video of Amanda and Dan as they encountered the polite and helpful doorman. The LCD screen was mounted on a wall facing a treadmill in a lavish workout facility. The sound of jogging footsteps slowed and the whirr of the treadmill decreased allowing the runner to hear the conversation.

Juliette dabbed her face with a towel and listened to the conversation between the doorman and Amanda. She threw back a swallow of her energy drink without taking her eyes off the LCD display. Wiping her mouth, she watched as the doorman allowed Dan and Amanda to walk away without delaying them further. As she continued her morning routine, Juliette smiled a knowing smile.

Juliette felt a warm feeling of vindication. She knew that they were meant for each other from the moment she had met them. The test results further confirmed her innate suspicion. Although she told a few members of her staff that Amanda won by a hair, the scores were, in fact, exactly the same. She hoped that they realized the special nature of their relationship, and that she was helpful in jump-starting their future. Broadening her smile, she felt a bit more complete and rather proud of her ability to judge human nature, but there would always be a void that only her husband could have filled.

Back at the front door, the valet and doorman watched Amanda lead Dan down the long tree-lined driveway toward the rising sun. Even though both men thought of themselves as dominants, they envied Dan. Amanda was stunning.

It seemed surreal to her that she was dressed in a leather cat suit and leading Dan by a leash as sparks of light from the rising sun intermittently broke through the trees. She couldn't help but feel as though it was a new day for both of them as long as they could complete their escape.

After ten minutes, they reached the main gate at the end of the driveway. Although cars could neither enter nor leave the estate without opening the gate, it was easy to pass through the gate on foot. Amanda looked down the 2-lane drive in both directions, and she saw no cars. In the distance ahead of them, through a lightly wooded area, she could hear cars travelling on the interstate. Pausing only briefly to consider her stiletto heels, she led her partner across the street and into the woods.

Once they were far enough into the wooded area that they were hidden from sight, Amanda stopped and removed Dan's harness. Together they opened the leather bags and quickly changed into the street clothes that they had packed, storing their fetish garb back in their overnight bags. Wearing tennis shoes and jeans, Dan and Amanda moved quickly toward the increasingly loud sound of passing cars and trucks. In short order, they found themselves on the shoulder of the interstate walking toward the nearest exit.

As they walked, Dan and Amanda discussed how Juliette would come looking for them. They considered contacting the police, but they couldn't be sure how far Juliette's wealth and connections reached. Instead, Amanda suggested that they should hide for a while and make a new start using the money in Amanda's account. They agreed that their apartment would not be safe, and they decided to have a mutual friend collect their belongings at the first opportunity. They hadn't been walking for five minutes before an older couple pulled over and offered them a ride.

Amanda explained to the woman in the passenger seat that they had been hiking and had lost their way. Amanda asked if the couple could drive them to the nearest gas station so they could call a friend. The couple obliged and let Dan use their mobile phone to make arrangements for their friend to pick them up. Resting their heads on the back seat of the older couple's sedan, Dan and Amanda relaxed for the first time in days. Dan knew that their real adventure was just beginning, but as he turned to gaze at Amanda in the bright morning sun, he smiled inside and was comforted that the rest of their adventure would be on their terms.

Epilogue (added: 2012/11/03)

Juliette's forehead was nearly touching Linda's. Even though the two were only inches apart, it didn't feel like either was invading the other's personal space. Instead, it felt strangely intimate.

Linda received Juliette's gaze as though it pierced through her physical being and directly into her soul. She kept her eyes upward and fixed on Juliette's face. She couldn't will herself to look away. Juliette looked downward toward Linda with an expression that was one part sympathy, one part understanding and one part disappointment. Of course, Linda found the disappointment troubling.

"Linda dear, I know that you haven't been with us for very long, but I've grown quite fond of you," Juliette said sweetly as she slowly backed away from Linda.

"You must swear to me that you will never disobey an order or be inattentive again," Juliette continued while drinking in the entirety of Linda's predicament.

Linda didn't even try to speak, but she smiled with relief and obediently gave her head a slight nod. Unfortunately, the onlookers couldn't discern her smile as it was obscured by the muzzle gag strapped tightly around Linda's head. Similarly, nobody could see the grimace that she made when she attempted her nod. Linda's ponytail had been pulled back so tightly and attached to the back of her posture collar so that even the slightest movement caused searing pain across her scalp.

"I know that you will behave from now on," Juliette said on Linda's behalf.

"And I won't hold your indiscretions against you in your new position at the estate," she said reassuringly.

Linda knew that the words sounded comforting, but she didn't like where Juliette's monologue was heading.

"In fact, I've decided to promote you to a higher position, and use your experience as a model for the entire staff."

In her peripheral vision, Linda could make out a remote controller in Juliette's hand. Juliette held it higher for Linda to have a better look, and she smiled as she pressed one of the buttons. Linda, mercilessly strapped into a vertical hogtie, was wearing nothing but ballet boots. The tightly wrapped package that was Linda was slowly lifted by an electric motor humming high above the ornate front hall. She came to a stop nearly three stories above, suspended just under the chandelier.

The leather panel that covered Linda's nose and mouth prevented Linda's coworkers from hearing the gasp of surprise when she began her ascent, but her eyes grew unusually wide, and a tear trickled down one cheek. At the peak of her journey upward, she swayed slightly as she struggled furiously in her bonds due to the lingering effects of the red pill.

Slowly, the onlookers disbursed and continued on with their daily duties, each a little more motivated because of the new ornament hanging in the hall. Linda tried to scream, but just as the muscle relaxing gas began to wear off, a time-released mist of the gas would be expelled from a dispenser inside her gag keeping her silent.

Juliette stood in the hall admiring Linda's dilemma from below. She couldn't help feeling just a little bit responsible for Linda's indiscretion with Dan and Amanda since Amanda didn't actually win the competition, as she confided in Linda.

Because the results were an exact tie, as Juliette had suspected from the start, she knew that Dan and Amanda would not be satisfied with any arrangement dictated by others. She knew that they would try to escape once they heard the results - and she let them.

As Juliette stood in the hall daydreaming, she noticed Tara and Beth crossing the foyer on their way to a staff meeting. Juliette called them over and instructed them to let Linda down and release her in 20 minutes. Juliette further instructed them to escort her to her room and gave the three of them the remainder of the day off. She suggested that they go to the employee lounge to relax over some margaritas.

Juliette walked away content and musing that she was right about Dan and Amanda from the start. They were a one in a million couple. They are made for each other - just like Juliette and her late husband. Maybe someday she would track them down to tell them so.

Miles away, Dan and Amanda felt like two mice fortunate enough to scurry under a couch after being swatted and toyed with by a well fed cat.

The End
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