Oddities indeed!

by Van ©2015

Chapter 4



Kennedy had no idea of exactly how long she'd been hogtied and tape-gagged next to Vivienne on the floor of the dimly lit home theater.  She continued squirming and fighting her bonds, but also continued making exactly zero progress towards winning the "ninja challenge."

Vivienne's considerably less vigorous efforts to escape her identical bonds were meeting with identical failure.

The cabinet containing the the theater's electronic components glowed with a few green or red LED's on the various display panels, and at least one of them may have been a digital clock, but the display was small, the distance great, and the viewing angle unfavorable.  Kennedy had to rely on her internal clock.  Unfortunately, it was failing her, like her fumbling fingers.  An hour?  More?  She wasn't sure how long they'd been abandoned by their "captor."

Finally, the door opened and Lena reappeared.  She turned on the overhead lights and smiled down at the pair of hogtied prisoners, her arms folded under her breasts.  "Hopeless," she sighed, then knelt beside Vivienne and began untying her bonds.

Kennedy rested her tape-gagged face on the plush carpet and watched Lena's progress.  The blond amazon was untying all of Viv's ropes—hogtie, ankles, and wrists.  She'd tied the two friends in serial fashion, binding them one stage at a time and alternating "victims," and making them progressively and more or less simultaneously helpless, but now, Viv was getting the full benefit of Lena's nimble fingers while poor, helpless Kennedy remained totally helpless.

"There," Lena said as she finished releasing Viv's wrists.  "Go to bed., both of you.  It's late."  And with that pronouncement, Lena stood and strolled from the room.

Kennedy watched Lena depart, then focused on Vivienne.  The pixie-haired brunette was kneeling on the floor and was slowly, carefully peeling the strip of Elastoplast from her lower face.  The adhesive seemed reluctant to release her fair skin and pink lips, stretching her skin as it was peeled away, but finally it surrendered its grip.  Viv folded the strip in half and slid it into a jeans pocket.

"Ah!" Viv gasped as she stretched her arms to either side, then smiled at her still hogtied and tape-gagged friend.  "Well, that was something."  She scooted on her hands and knees to Kennedy's side and began attacking her bonds.

Kennedy sighed and rested the side of her face on the carpet, again, as the ropes enforcing the hogtie and binding her crossed ankles melted away.  Then—"Mrrrf?—leaving her wrist bonds and tape-gag intact, Viv helped her to her feet.  Kennedy looked back over one shoulder and twisted her crossed and bound wrists, then turned her head and glared at the smiling Viv.  Very funny, she thought, stamping one foot in frustration.  Hilarious.

"Time for bed,"  Viv announced, placed a hand on Kennedy's left arm, and started towards the door—then stopped.  "Wait.  Lena will have a fit if I leave this place a mess."

Kennedy watched in stunned, tape-enforced silence as Viv gathered the tangled ropes scattered on the floor, bundled them into neat coils, then held them in her right hand.  Her left hand went back on Kennedy's arm, and she led her wrist bound and tape-gagged friend away.

What a comedian, Kennedy fumed as they climbed the stairs and made their way to her guest room.  She wasn't really mad, but it had been a long day and tomorrow she had an inventory to start.

They reached Kennedy's guest bedroom and entered.  This wasn't the first time Viv was playing one of her little jokes on Kennedy, doing something "mean" to get Kennedy's goat; but it had always been in fun.  Yes, it was just like old times, when they were at school, but that didn't improve her mood.  In any case, under such circumstances, it was Kennedy's role to roll her eyes (which she did) and heave an exasperated sigh (which she did).  Conversely, that would be Vivienne's role when it was Kennedy's turn to play a practical joke on her.  All she could do now was wait, with exaggerated patience, until Viv decided enough was enough, and—"Mrrrf!"

Suddenly, Vivienne had embraced Kennedy from behind, reached around her body, and was unzipping her jeans!

"Let's get you ready for bed," Viv said softly, "shall we?"

Apparently, Kennedy thought, we shall.  She rolled her eyes, again.  Then, her eyes popped wide.  Vivienne was removing her jeans and her panties!  "Mfffh?"

"Calm down, Ken-doll," Vivienne chuckled, then shepherded Kennedy to the bed, pulled back the covers with one hand, and eased her unresisting friend down onto the mattress.

Kennedy lifted her legs and slid them between the covers, then lay back and stared up at Vivienne.  The smiling pixie had sat on the edge of the bed and was combing her fingers through Kennedy's ginger curls.

"You can't use the toilet if your panties are in the way," Vivienne purred, "now can you?  I'm only being considerate."

Kennedy would have pointed out that she'd have been able to use the john and do a lot of other things if her hands weren't tied behind her back, but the tape sealing her mouth prevented her from stating the obvious.

Viv leaned close, smiled, and kissed Kennedy's tape-gagged lips.  "I'm so glad you're here, Ken-doll," she whispered.  "I like living at the Castle, but from time to time, it does get lonely with only Lena and Skylar for company."

Skylar?  Kennedy wondered.  Oh yeah, the groundskeeper.  Then, a shiver rippled up her spine.  Viv was still leaning close, and now she'd placed the palm of her left hand on Kennedy's tummy.

"We're going to have a lot of fun," Viv continued.

Then, Viv rolled Kennedy onto her side and started fiddling with her wrist bonds.  Whatever she was doing, it only took a few seconds and didn't seem to affect the tightness of the ropes.  Viv rolled Kennedy back onto her back and bound arms, leaned close, again, and kissed her tape-gagged lips.

"Good night, Ken-doll," Viv whispered, then stood and strolled from the bedroom, turning out the lights and closed the door behind her as she left.

Well, Kennedy thought, staring into the darkness, that was... interesting.

She sat up in bed and tugged on her wrist bonds, again.  There was a change.  Kennedy could feel the dangling free ends of the rope brushing against her forearms, and she hadn't been able to feel them before.  Had Vivienne untied the key knot?  Kennedy twisted, tugged and twisted her wrists for several seconds... which became a minute.  Then, she felt a definite slackening in the ropes.  She continued struggling, the slack grew, and finally she started making real progress in freeing herself.  More effort followed, and finally her wrists came free.

Kennedy left the bed and stretched, the tangle of black rope in her right hand.  She could see by the bathroom's nightlight that Viv had left the other ropes on the bedroom's easy chair.  She dropped her former wrist bonds atop the neat coils, stretched again, and made her way to the bathroom.

Kennedy gazed at her reflection in the mirror in the dim, blue-green light.  The strip of tape—Elastoplast, she called it?—was smooth and milky, like a thick layer of painted-on latex, and was well-adhered to her lips and face.  It was... amazing?  Kennedy decided to go with amazing, then carefully teased back a corner of the strip and slowly peeled it from her face.  As with Vivienne's gag, it did not want to go... but finally, it was gone.  Kennedy dropped the tape in the trash, washed her face, brushed her teeth, and completed the rest of her evening toilette.

Back in the bedroom, Kennedy climbed between the sheets, rolled onto her back, and stared up at the dark canopy overhead.

Well, she thought, again, that happened... and then that happened... and then the other.  She was referring to spending a sizable chunk of the evening hogtied down in the theater, being led upstairs by Viv, still bound and gagged, and then... the kiss.. and then the other kiss.  It was good to see Viv again, and Kennedy was having a lot of fun.  She still intended to put her foot down in the morning... maybe... but she was having fun.

Kennedy's left hand slid under the covers and found its way to her crotch.  It was then that she realized she'd forgotten to retrieve her panties.  Oh well, Kennedy thought as her hand idly slid between her legs, too late now.  It wasn't too late, of course, but she decided not to correct the oversight.  Her hand continued to glide as she continued thinking about being bound and helpless at Vivienne's side.  Eventually, however, her hand went slack and she drifted off to sleep.  Kennedy really was tired.

The Curious Case...
Chapter 4

By the dawn of the new day, Kennedy's outrage (umbrage, mild irritation) at being subjected to the "ninja challenge" at the callous hands of the evil Lena had faded.  That is, she'd decided not to let her emotions get the better of her.  Nobody liked having a drama queen for a house guest.  Kennedy decided that if she did have to put her foot down at some point, she'd cross that bridge when she came to it—and mix in as many other metaphors as were necessary to fend off Lena's questionable ideas of fun.

Kennedy finally began her actual inventory after breakfast.  Vivienne tagged along and offered to help, but Kennedy explained that at this stage it was a one woman job.  Kennedy needed to be the one matching the old inventories, examining each piece, searching for markings, and taking notes. Her expertise was critical.  Viv had at first been disappointed.  Then, she perked up, announced she'd thought of a way she could help, and disappeared.  With a slightly puzzled expression Kennedy watched her go, then set to work.

The teak table and chairs on the Castle's roof patio were obviously not antiquities, so it didn't take long for Kennedy to enter them in the tablet computer and move on to the master bedroom, Renee Vidler's bedroom.  As was the case in her own guest bedroom, the canopy bed was an oversize, modern design crafted to appear authentically Medieval, but it was in no way an antique.  There were genuine antiquities in the room, a few works of art and small items of furniture like a bible stand and a couple of small trunks, but most of the furnishings were modern reproductions.  Kennedy flagged what she tentatively classified as valuable pieces for further evaluation and moved on.

She inventoried the neighboring deluxe guest suite, but just as she was about start down the stairs for the next floor, her iPhone alarm went off.  It was workout time.

Kennedy hurried to her room, changed into her borrowed shorts and sports bra, then bounced down the stairs and made her way to the gym.  Lena was waiting, dressed in an yellow-gold leotard.  For once, Kennedy had beat Vivienne to the scene—but just barely.  Vivienne pattered in wearing a very French-cut, scoop-neck, baby-blue leotard.

"Is there a town around here with a decent clothing shop?" Kennedy asked Viv as they took their places to begin their warmup stretches.

"Not really," Viv shrugged.  "Why?"

"I keep forgetting to put this in the laundry," Kennedy explained, plucking at her shorts and bra, "or at least rinse them out at night.  Remind me to order some stuff online this evening."

"I've got more stuff you can borrow," Viv said with a smile.

"And I have an even simpler solution," Lena purred.  "Strip."

Kennedy and Vivienne gazed at their blond amazon trainer is surprise.  "What?" they said in unison.

Lena had already pulled down her leotard and was stepping through the leg openings.  "Remove your stinky clothes," she instructed.

"Oh."  Kennedy gazed at Vivienne, and the grinning pixie shrugged and began removing her own leotard.  "It does save on laundry detergent," Vivienne giggled.

Kennedy favored her friend with a level stare, then heaved a sigh and removed her sports-bra, shorts, and panties.  How could she object?  They skinny dipped in the lake every afternoon.  Kennedy didn't have a metaphorical leg to stand on.

As they did their stretches, Lena announced there would be no swim that afternoon.  A front was passing, the barometer dropping, and there was a good chance they were in for a spot of heavy weather.

Just as well, Kennedy thought.  I'll get more work done.

Lena dispatched Vivienne to the rowing machine and directed Kennedy to the stationary bicycle.  "I'll adjust the height," she said.  "Climb on."

The seat was the split kind, an ergonomic design with two separate pads, one for each butt cheek, and nothing in between.  Kennedy climbed aboard, placed her feet in the padded stirrups that served as pedals, and took hold of the handlebars.  She noted steel eye-pads welded to the arms next to the hand-grips.  "What are the pad-eyes for?" she asked as Lena adjusted the height of the seat.

"Lifting points if the machine needs to be moved," Lena explained, then began tapping the machine's touch screen.  "I'm creating a profile, so any time you use the machine, select your name and the seat height will automatically adjust."

"Thanks."  Kennedy gazed at the almost blank screen.  "How do I set the program?"

"You don't," Lena chuckled.  "I'm the trainer."  With a flurry of taps and swipes, she navigated through a series of menus, tapped the screen a final time, then smiled.

A graph had appeared on the screen, its vertical axis labelled "RPM."  As Kennedy watched, a red dot appeared in the lower right hand corner, and slowly grew into a horizontal line, extending from right to left.

"Start pedaling," Lena ordered.  Kennedy did so, and a green dot appeared in the center of the graph, just above the baseline.  "All you have to do is keep the RPMs above the red line," Lena explained.

"What happens if I don't?" Kennedy asked with a grin.

"You'll disappoint your trainer," Lena purred.  "Also, a buzzer will sound."

"Wouldn't want that," Kennedy huffed, still grinning.  So far it wasn't taking much effort to keep the green dot above the line, but she noted the red was creeping upwards as the graph scrolled.  "I get it," Kennedy said, "sprint periods separated by slow and steady."

Lena nodded.  "The more advanced programs vary the resistance to simulate hill-work, but this one is designed to keep you in the cardiac zone, not build your legs."  She walked to where they'd dropped their clothes and picked them up.  "I'll take all this to the laundry, then I'm going for a run before the rain starts."

"Have fun," Kennedy wished her trainer as Lena made her exit.  She focused on Vivienne, who was rowing her machine with smooth, even strokes.  Kennedy noted the machine was "old school," in that it had a pair of oar handles on gimbals, instead of a single handle attached to a cable and drum.  It required Viv to more or less fully mimic the actions of rowing a single-person racing shell.  There were foot pedals, a two-pad seat similar to Kennedy's bike on a sliding track, and the aforementioned oar handles.

Kennedy frowned.  The distance was great between her bike and Viv's machine, but she could see another pair of steel pad-eyes, one on each oar near the padded handles.  Lifting points? Kennedy considered.  Not likely.  She started to ask what the attachment points were for, but noted the red slope was fast approaching on her bike's screen and concentrated on increasing her speed to lift the green dot and avoid a reprimand from the dreaded buzzer.

The Curious Case...
Chapter 4

Kennedy was completing her inventory of the third floor, the floor below the master bedroom and deluxe guest suite and above the guest room floor that included Kennedy's own bedroom.  Thus far, the story was the same, although the ratio of potentially valuable antiques to quality reproductions she'd seen above was even lower.

Lena's bedroom was rather spartan, in that there were only a few personal knickknacks scattered about.  It was just an idle observation.  Kennedy didn't spend any more time in the bedroom than was necessary to conduct her inventory.

There were a greater number of personal items in Vivienne's bedroom, including a few items Kennedy recognized from their college days.  For example, on the writing desk sat a cobalt-blue glass paperweight, a Lewis & Clark University coffee mug Viv was using as a pencil holder, a six-inch sculpture of an owl in ancient Greek style, and a framed photograph of Vivienne and herself.  It had been taken by their friend Liz on the Lewis & Clark quadrangle their senior year.  Kennedy was touched that her friend kept it on her desk.

Kennedy also noted an easel and stool folded and leaning in one corner of the bedroom, and reminded herself to ask about Viv's art.  Maybe she had a photo album of the works she'd sold.

Last on the floor and last on her list for the day was the room without furniture she'd noted earlier.  Needless to say, it didn't take Kennedy very long to inventory an empty room, but while she was there, she noted several peculiar features.  The walls of all the other rooms in the Castle were roughly dressed stone sealed with plaster and whitewash.  Kennedy suspected the "dressed stone" was actually cast concrete blocks and she was able to confirm this in the empty room, as neither plaster nor whitewash was in evidence.  However, multiple layers of gray and brown stain had been expertly applied over the concrete blocks to enhance the illusion of stone.

All the bedrooms in the Castle had attached bathrooms, but in the empty room the commode and washbasin were like the walls, cast concrete disguised as stone.  There was a simple wooden cover over the commode, no mirror, and no curtain across the shower stall.  The plumbing fixtures mimicked hand-forged iron, but operated my means of carefully camouflaged modern motion sensors.

Also, now that Kennedy looked, a dozen or so hefty iron rings were set in the walls, some at waist height, some higher.  Also, the door was constructed of heavy timbers reinforced by iron bands, like all the Castle doors, but there was no doorknob or latch on the interior side, and unlike any of the other doors Kennedy had seen thus far, there was a small hatch at face level.  If opened, it would allow someone in the hallway to peer into the room, and the interior side of the opening was covered by more of the ubiquitous iron bars, like the windows.

Kennedy walked to the center of the room and turned in a slow circle.  The overall impression was of a medieval... prison cell?

Just then, Viv rushed in from the hallway.  "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon!" she gushed.  "Ya gotta see what I found!"  She was literally hopping with enthusiasm.

Kennedy smiled and stood her ground as she watched her overexcited friend turn and scurry back into the hall... then return.

"C'mon!" Viv urged, stamping an impatient foot.  "I talked Lena into giving me a master key and I was checking the rooms we couldn't unlock down in the basement to make sure it worked and..."  She paused, put her hands on her hips, and favored her grinning friend with a look of pure disgust.  "Just come on, will you?"

"Wait," Kennedy chuckled, then gestured around the room.  "What gives with this place?"

Vivienne was puzzled.  "What?  It's empty.  Auntie Renee said at some point she was going to decorate it in an earlier medieval style than the others, as an experiment.  So what?"

"Nothing," Kennedy shrugged.  "You have a master key?"

Vivienne rolled her eyes.  "So far it opens every door.  Now, are you coming or do I have to drag you?"

Kennedy smiled, turned off her tablet computer, and strolled towards the open door.  "What did you find that's so interesting?"

Viv's smile and her enthusiasm had returned.  "Wait 'til you see!  C'mon!"  She took Kennedy's hand and they hurried away.

The Curious Case...
Chapter 4

The friends hurried down the stairs to the basement under the Castle, and as it was under the Castle, the faux-stone construction hadn't given way to the modern poured concrete basement walls of the earth-sheltered later additions.  Also, the doors were the same faux-medieval style as above.

"Remember how these two were locked?" Viv asked as they approached a pair of doors on opposite sides of a side hallway.

"If you say so," Kennedy answered.  Even in the basement, all the Castle doors looked alike, except for the one to the mysterious Empty Room upstairs.

"Well, that one's not hiding anything interesting," Viv continued, pointing to one door, "but this one..."  She pulled a brass key on a chain from under her tank-top, inserted it in the lock, gave it a twist, then opened the door.  "Tah-dah!"

Kennedy stared in wide eyed surprise.  The chamber beyond was about fifteen by fifteen, and hanging from hooks were dozens of different kinds of handcuffs, manacles, and shackles, as well as complicated metal restraints for which Kennedy had no name.  Some were hand-forged in appearance and some were obvious products of modern machine technology.  The cuffs and belts and collars were separated by varying lengths of chain or were attached to rigid bars, and... it was all somewhat overwhelming.  "Wow," Kennedy finally managed.

"Wow, indeed," Vivienne agreed.  "I have a kinky side of the family.  Who knew?  Auntie Renee never said a thing."

"Maybe there are family journals in the library," Kennedy suggested.  She was still staring at the array of metal restraints.  Some of the locks had keys inserted and some did not.

Ostensibly Vivienne was also focused on the newly discovered collection, but she kept stealing sideways glances at her friend and could tell Kennedy was intrigued.  She plucked a pair of handcuffs from a hook and turned them in her hands.  They were like a pair of large D-rings joined by a few links of chain.  The locking mechanism was housed in the straight part of each cuff.

"Some kind of Darby," Kennedy said, staring at the cuffs in Vivienne's hands.

"Oh, good!  You're an expert," Viv said with a smile.

"Hardly an expert," Kennedy said, "but there's a market for antique police cuffs.  "Everybody in the trade knows the basics."  She watched as Vivienne fumbled with the key inserted in one of the cuffs.  "Here," Kennedy sighed, took the cuffs from Viv and turned the key several times.  "Screw-type lock," she explained as she withdrew the key and held it up for inspection.  "As you can see, this is more a tool than a key.  There aren't even any wards."

"Cool," Vivienne said.  She took the cuffs from Kennedy, then took her friend's right hand and closed the open cuff around her right wrist.  The mechanism closed with an authoritative click.

Kennedy didn't resist, but she did protest.  "Viv!"

"Don't be a spoilsport," Vivienne giggled, then smiled.  "That's all there is to it?"

Kennedy rolled her eyes and nodded at the key still in Viv's hand.  "Like I said, screw-type lock.  For maximum security, you turn the key 'til it spins freely."  She watched as Vivienne reinserted the key and did just that.  "So much for my resolve not to put up with any more bondage crap," she muttered under her breath.

"What was that?" Vivi said as she finished locking the cuff and withdrew the key.

"Nothing," Kennedy sighed.  Now, Vivienne was unlocking the second cuff.  "Oh, c'mon!" she whined as Viv spun her around and snapped the now open second cuff around her left wrist.  Again, she didn't resist.

"There, you're arrested," Viv giggled as she finished locking the left cuff.

"So is your emotional development," Kennedy huffed as she tugged on the cuffs.

"Hilarious," Vivienne giggled as she slid the Darby's key into her hip pocket, then turned to the hanging hardware and ran her hand over several of the items.  They swung and swayed, clicking and clattering together.  "These will work," Viv said as she lifted a second set of Darby's from a hook.  They were similar to Kennedy's wrist cuffs, but larger and with a somewhat longer separating chain.

"Vivienne!" Kennedy whined as Viv knelt at her feet and began fitting the cuffs—make that leg irons—around her ankles.  "This isn't funny," she added as Viv finished locking the screw-type locks and pocketed the second key.

"Now, what else can we play with?" Viv giggled as she stood and brushed the dust from the knees of her jeans.

"Look," Kennedy sighed as she tugged on her cuffs, again.  "Enough is enough.  We're gonna be late for dinner."

"Wouldn't want that to happen," Viv said.  She was running her hand over the collection, again... then paused on a steel collar.  "Hello, beautiful," she sighed.  Actually, it was more than a collar, much more.  It was a full set of slave chains: collar, manacles, and shackles, attached to several feet of chains.  Vivienne hefted the array in her hands.  "Wow.  Heavy."

Kennedy watched as Vivienne lifted the collar and its attachments from the hook.  "You are not locking me in that thing," she muttered.

"Of course not, silly," Viv giggled.  "You're already arrested.  I'm arresting myself."

"Viv, don't be stupid," Kennedy complained, but it was too late.  Vivienne closed the collar around her own neck, and Kennedy could hear the lock engage with a click.  The same went for the cuffs Vivienne closed first around her ankles, and then her wrists.

The steel restraints were thick, wide, and well-rounded, and the connecting chains quite substantial.  Viv had said everything was heavy, and Kennedy had no doubt whatsoever she'd been telling the truth.  The vertical chain dropped from the collar to a hefty ring at waist height, then continued down to a second ring just below Vivienne's knees.  The wrist-cuffs attached to the waist-ring, and the ankle-cuffs to the knee-ring.  Each had about a foot of chain attached, giving Vivienne some freedom of motion, but lifting her hands above her head would be impossible, unless she first knelt, and walking would be limited to a slow shuffle.

"Heavy," Vivienne giggled, testing her new bonds.

"You said that," Kennedy sighed.  She watched as Vivienne sat on the floor and turned the small key, double-locking all of her restraints one by one.  "Thought so," she said, grinning at Kennedy.  "Also screw-type locks."

"Fabulous," Kennedy drawled as Vivienne stood and pocketed the key to her chains, then shuffled towards the door.  "Uh, Vivienne," Kennedy muttered.  "Where are you—Vivienne!"

By now Viv was in the hallway.  She turned and smiled.  "Let's show Lena," she giggled, then turned and clattered away.

Kennedy tugged on her cuffs.  "Vivienne, no!"

"Like you said!" Vivienne called from down the hallway, "it's time for dinner."

Kennedy rolled her eyes and shuffled through the door.  "I think I figured out who's kinky in your family!" she shouted.

"Took you long enough!" Vivienne laughed.

Kennedy made her hobbled way towards the stairs.  Her demented, idiotic, so-called friend still had a sizable lead and was about to plant one chained foot on the bottom step.  "For god's sake, go slow!" Kennedy shouted, "or you'll slip and break your neck!"

"Unlikely," Vivienne giggled.  "I can use the hand rail.  You're the one that will have to go slow."  She withdrew her foot and took a step to the side.  "Here, you go first so I can steady you."

"Or, you could just unlock the damn cuffs," Kennedy huffed as she passed Vivienne and minced up the stairs.

"No foul language! Vivienne giggled, "and Lena can't get the full picture if I unlock your cuffs."

Kennedy rolled her eyes, again, and continued slowly, carefully mounting the stairs.  One hand on the hand rail and the other on the small of Kennedy's back, Vivienne was right behind her.  The grinning brunette pixie's chains were just long enough to make that possible.

The Curious Case...
Chapter 4

Kennedy and Vivienne clinked and clanked their way to the kitchen to find Lena carrying a dutch oven to the table.  A delicious aroma filled the air.

Lena favored the brunette and ginger with a look of utter disgust.  "What the hell is this?" she demanded.

"Look at the cool stuff we found down below," Vivienne gushed as she turned in a slow, clanking pirouette to show off her chains.

Lena turned her withering gaze to Kennedy.

"Don't look at me," Kennedy sighed, nodded at Vivienne, then did a half-turn so Lena could see her cuffs.  "It's all her doing."

"She used her Jedi mind tricks to overpower you?" Lena drawled.

Kennedy couldn't help but smile, just a little.  "Something like that."

Lena shook her head.  "Keys," she demanded and extended her right hand.

"Hold on a sec," Vivienne muttered as she groped in her pockets.  "Here they are."  She dropped the three keys to their various bonds into Lena's hand.

Vivienne and Kennedy watched as Lena pocketed the keys, then resumed carrying food to the table.

Kennedy turned to Vivienne.  "Uh, I assumed she was gonna—"  She tugged on her cuffs.  "—you know."

Viv nodded, turned to Lena, and held hp her manacled hands.  "Lena, would you please—"

"Sit!" Lena snapped, "both of you.  And pull your chairs closer together."

"Lena!" Vivienne whined.  "We can't eat like this."

Lena pointed to Kennedy.  "She can't eat like this, which is why you're going to feed her."

"Hah, serves you right," Kennedy chuckled, smiling at Vivienne.  Then, she fully realized what was happening.  "Lena, c'mon.  Unlock us."

Lena removed the lid from the dutch oven.  "Slow roasted venison stew," she announced, "with fresh baked bread and snap beans.  Now, sit and eat."

Vivienne heaved a tragic sigh, then pulled a chair from the table.  "You heard Mistress-of-the-keys," she said to Kennedy.  "Take a load off."

Kennedy heaved a sigh of her own, then sat in the chair.  She watched as Viv sat in a neighboring chair, pulled it closer to Kennedy's, then started sliding over her place setting.  She had to be careful so her chains didn't cause damage.  "This is all your fault," Kennedy muttered, glowered at her unrepentant friend.

"State the obvious much?" Viv giggled.

Kennedy shook her head and smiled.  She turned to the front to find Lena ladling chunks of meat, carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, and mushrooms smothered in brown gravy onto her plate.

"Don't make a mess and don't break anything," Lena warned Vivienne, "or I'll feed her myself and you'll go hungry."

"Yes, Mistress," Vivienne said quietly, smiling sweetly and batting her eyes for maximum effect.

Kennedy managed to not break into a giggling fit.  It probably wouldn't have been a good idea.

The Curious Case...
Chapter 4


Chapter 3
Chapter 5