Live-in Maid


by Van ©2017

Chapter 3

Dramatis Personæ


Flat on her stomach, naked and hogtied on the semi-soft padding of the York sister's yoga studio, Kelly had a perfect view of Lin's capture of Wendy.  No doubt the Hojōjutsu maneuver had a unique, specific name in Japanese, but to Kelly it looked like a regular judo take-down, only with the hayanawa or "fast-cord" involved, and the immediate result was Wendy face down on the floor with one arm trapped under Lin's knee and her other arm held up and back at full-stretch with cord wrapped around her wrist, the same thing that had happened to Kelly in the first demo.  Lin's strike had, indeed, been cobra-like, but unfortunately, Wendy was no mongoose.

"Did you catch that?" Lin inquired as she began executing a crossed-ankles and crossed-wrists hogtie on her hostess, "by which I mean the way I caught your boss."

Kelly stared, wide-eyed, as cord slithered and Wendy struggled, with no more success in preventing Lin's actions that Kelly had enjoyed during her capture—then realized the question was for her.

"Uh... could you do it again at half speed?" Kelly requested.

"Probably not," Lin chuckled, "not without having to chase this one through the house for ten minutes."

"You're putting on weight," Wendy complained as Lin finished her rope-work and tied a final knot.

Lin's response was a resounding slap on Wendy's firm, dimpled, milky-white right buttock, and it was much more businesslike than the playful tap she'd given Kelly's butt-cheek earlier.

"Ow," Wendy complained, even though only her pride had been wounded.  She squirmed and tested her bonds.

Wow, Kelly thought.  She looks so hot like that, all tied up and helpless.  I wonder how I look.

"Now," Lin said as she gracefully climbed to her feet and sauntered to the rope cabinet, "you've already learned hayanama and torinawa.  Your third Japanese vocabulary word for the day is..."  She paused to select a very large coil of rope that was much thicker than the cords she'd used to capture and bind Kelly and Wendy.

"Yes, yes," Wendy sighed, still squirming in her cord bonds, "Hiawatha and Torquemada.  Get on with it."

Lin rolled her eyes, then tossed the rope bundle towards Wendy.  It landed next to the helpless ginger with a loud thump.  "Enough with the Hiawatha," she ordered, then opened yet another built-in cabinet, next to the rope cabinet, and revealed a vertical stack of interior drawers.  Lin opened a drawer, rummaged through its unseen contents, and selected a rattling, tinkling tangle of narrow, black, leather straps with gleaming steel buckles and a black rubber ball!

Kelly stared in shock and awe (and arousal).  A head harness!  It was something she'd always wanted to purchase for herself, but could never afford.

Meanwhile, Wendy cleared her throat—"Ahem"—shook away the strands of ginger hair that had fallen across her face during her capture, and began to declaim in a loud, clear, dramatic voice:
"By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest, Rose the black and gloomy—frmpfh!"
That last "word" wasn't part of Wendy's recitation from Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, of course, but the direct result of Lin smiling, strolling to her side, kneeling, and casually cramming the black sphere of the harness-gag into her indignant mouth.

Kelly continued watching as Lin systematically buckled and adjusted the gag's many straps, unimpeded by Wendy's continuing struggles and (apparently) unmoved by the continuous stream of piteous whines and mewling complaints leaking past its black rubber sphere.  Naked Lin gagging a hogtied and naked Wendy... sooo hot!  A thrill rippled between Kelly's splayed legs.  So very hot!  I need a new word.  What's better that 'hot'?

The gagging of her naked, hogtied hostess complete, Lin slid back a couple of feet... and smiled down at her handiwork.

Wendy worked her jaw and tried to expel the rubber sphere from her mouth, at least that was what Kelly suspected Wendy was trying to accomplish.  Between the narrow black straps framing her nose, passing under her chin, across the crown of her head, encircling her forehead, and buckled under her hair at the nape of her neck, the squirming redhead's efforts were reduced to grimacing and a slight quivering of her coral-pink lips.  Wendy's head was thoroughly and tightly caged and her lower jaw immobilized.

"Now," Lin said, still smiling at Wendy's pathetic efforts to escape her cord and harness predicament, "as I was saying, our third vocabulary word for the day is honnawa, which means 'main-rope'."  She picked up the large bundle of actual rope she'd tossed next to Wendy and released the hitch and wrappings enforcing the neat roll.

Kelly shivered and wiggled as she watched the long... very long rope play out.  The loosening coils rattled and shook as they struck the floor.  Kelly's best guess as to the total length of the brown, multi-strand, twisted hemp or jute rope was... sixty feet?  Eighty?  Maybe even longer!

"Capture is only the first step in the judicial process for our hypothetical criminal," Lin lectured, smiling at Kelly.  "Once formally indicted, 'Daughter of the moon, Nokomis', here—"  She'd nodded at Wendy's butt and Kelly couldn't help but giggle.  "—would be bound for transport.  In those times, all actual trials were held at the capital, and that often required a hike of several days or even weeks, with custody of the prisoner being transferred between jurisdictions at every provincial border."  She started sorting through the very long honnawa.  "Each constabulary had a unique, proprietary method of tying up their prisoners, by the way, so that meant a lot of tying and untying for the alleged criminal."

Wendy stopped squirming and—with a pathetic little gagged whine that sent another shiver through Kelly's pussy—rested the side of her leather-caged face on the padded floor.

"After every hard day's march," Lin continued, "the prisoner had to be secured for the night, of course."  She indicated Wendy's hogtied and harness-gagged form with a graceful gesture.  "I will now demonstrate one such method."  She winked at Kelly.  "This is gonna take a while."

"Uh... okay," Kelly muttered.  She'd only just remembered that she wasn't the one with the black rubber ball crammed in her mouth, so when spoken to it was only polite for her to answer.

Meanwhile, maintaining total control of her naked, bound, and gagged hostess, Lin simultaneously released elements of Wendy's torinawa hogtie and replaced them with tight, elaborate coils of honnawa.

Obviously, Kelly mused, whatever Lin has in mind is gonna take a while.

 Chapter 3

Having nothing better to do, other than idly squirming and wiggling in her cord-enforced hogtie, Kelly watched as Lin expended more and more of the honnawa.  In only a few minutes Wendy was free of the much shorter torinawa, but that was the only way in which she was free.  Slowly, over the course of what felt like at least an hour, rope slipped, slid, and tightened.  Lin took her time and maintained tension in her composition as she worked.  Kelly was exhausted just watching.  She lost count of the number of times Lin drew the entire length of the remaining rope through some neatly formed hitch in her handiwork, foot by slithering foot.

By the time Lin tied the final fully functional and highly decorative knot, Wendy was no longer hogtied on her stomach, but was in what Kelly recognized as a shrimp-tie.  Being something of an aficionado of fun-with-rope, Kelly was familiar enough with Japanese bondage techniques to recognize the form.  Whether or not Hojōjutsu had its own special jargon name for the shrimp-tie, she had no idea, and Lin appeared to be done lecturing for the day.
Anyway, Kelly's super-nice and super-hot junior employer was now also super-helpless... as opposed to being merely helpless... like Kelly.  Wendy was now sitting on the mat-floor in a semi-lotus, her arms folded behind her back with her forearms pressed together and against her spine.  Also, she was leaning forward in a semi-stringent, involuntary crunch.  And Lin's macrame-like web of honnawa enforced the pose, leaving Wendy very little wiggle room.

It's really a combination box-tie and frog-tie, Kelly mused, gazing at the neat, multiple strands passing above and below Wendy's breasts, yoking her shoulders, and pinning her upper arms to her torso, as well as the strands binding her crossed ankles and binding her lower legs to her thighs.  The unique elements making her predicament a shrimp-tie were the multiple strands passing behind Wendy's head and looped around her crossed ankles, forcing her to lean forward into the crunch.  She was "free" to turn her harness-gagged head and the ropes in no way interfered with her breathing, but the position couldn't possibly be comfortable.

There was another aspect of Wendy's bonds.  They were... pretty.  There was no other way Kelly could characterize the pattern of elaborate, taut, flesh-dimpling strands.  And she couldn't help but marvel at the skill and planning that had gone into the composition.  From the very beginning, Lin must have had the exact final form of what would become Wendy's shrimp-tie bondage fully formed in her mind, as well as all the intermediate steps required to make it happen and what was required to keep Wendy under control as she made it all happen.  Lin was, indeed, a Mistress of the Art!

Task complete, Lin was sitting in a relaxed semi-lotus, midway between the hogtied Kelly and the shrimp-tied Wendy.  Kelly noted that Lin's pose was the same as her hostess, meaning Kelly's junior boss, only without the bondage or mandatory crunch.  Also, Kelly noted, Lin wasn't harness-gagged.  And finally... Lin was beautiful... with her fingers gracefully curled and her hands resting atop her crossed ankles and pointing feet... beautiful.  Wendy was also beautiful, of course, but Lin was... beautiful.

"Uh, that's Shibari, right?" Kelly inquired.

"Hmmm..."  Lin smiled.  "That's a gray area," she purred.  "And I believe you mean Kinbaku.  The end result could definitely be called Kinbaku; however, I used Hojōjutsu techniques to control and redirect Wendy's resistance to suit my purposes.  Also, this is not a recognized historical and documented Hojōjutsu form.  I'm sure strict traditionalists might be offended, but I refuse to limit myself to one... shall we say... discipline?"

"Okay," Kelly sighed, continuing to gaze at her helpless junior boss.  Tight rope.  Freckled skin.  Ginger hair cascading down her back in a loose, harness-enforced ponytail.  Milky-white, rope-framed, hanging breasts.  Wiggling toes.  Ocular daggers flying in Kelly's direction from Wendy's frowning green eyes.  Oops!  Kelly redirected her now embarrassed and chagrined gaze to Lin.  "Well, thanks for the demo," she said, mustering all the enthusiasm and sincerity she could manage.  "I suppose you should release Mistress Wendy first, seeing as how she's all... uh... tied up like that."

Lin's smile widened.  "Wendy's right," she chuckled.  "You are a cute, thoughtful, adorable girl, Kelly."

"Uh, thanks," Kelly blushed, "I guess."

Wendy continued staring daggers, dividing the razor-sharp and apparently ineffective stream between her maid and guest.

Meanwhile, Lin had gracefully climbed to her feet, positioned her nude, glorious body close beside Kelly's nude, hogtied body, then dropped to the floor and resumed her former half-lotus.

"Oh!" Kelly gasped.  Lin, with surprising strength and in one fluid motion, had rolled Kelly onto her side and lifted her helpless body, repositioning her on her back with her head and shoulders cradled in Lin's lap.  Kelly gazed up into Lin's smiling, beautiful face, then turned to Wendy.  The shrimp-tied ginger was rolling her green eyes and squirming her fair, freckled body, continuing to fight her elaborate bonds, still without success.  At least she isn't staring daggers anymore, Kelly thought, then returned her gaze to Lin... by way of her captor's firm, perfect (albeit modest) breasts.

Lin smiled and began running her fingers through Kelly's short russet hair, although the pixie-cut in no way required grooming.  "I assume Wendy's already told you I'm an artist," she said.

"Uh..."  Kelly wiggled for comfort.  Her heart was hammering and her throat suddenly dry.  "Not actually."

"I see," Lin purred, and redirected her smile to Wendy.  "Just for that, you get untied last," she teased.

Kelly couldn't help but giggle.  Her heart was still hammering.

Lin's angelic smile returned to Kelly.  "I'm a sculptor.  Also, a performance artist.  I'd love for you to visit my studio."

"Yeah, sure," Kelly answered, stole a gaze at Wendy, who had paused in her fruitless struggles to gaze at her maid's nude, hogtied body.  Kelly realized her crossed ankles and bent, splayed legs were putting her crotch on prominent display... and there was nothing she could do about it, other than blush and return her gaze to Lin.  "Thanks.  I'll have to wait for a day off, of course."

Lin's smile broadened.  "I'm sure I can persuade your employers to give you a little free time."  She grinned at Wendy.  "What about it, 'Nokomis'?  Are you willing to let me borrow your maid for a few hours?"

Wendy's response was ambiguous, at best.  "Mrrrpfh."

This left Lin free to interpret.  "There, see?" she smiled at Kelly.  "Let me know when you'd like to drop by.  I'll leave my card in the traditional manner on the entryway side-table."

Before Kelly could point out that a caller leaving her card for her hostess' maid was hardly traditional, there was a gasp from the doorway closest to the front of the house.

"Oh!"  It was Mistress Alice, wearing one of her business suits.  "Hello, Lin."  Alice was smiling, or grimacing in shock and surprise, or something.  "Hojōjutsu demonstration?"

"Busted," Lin chuckled, continuing to groom Kelly's red, pixie-cut locks.

Alice focused her smile—and now it was clear that it was a smile—on Kelly.  "Instructive?"

"You betcha!" Kelly responded with genuine enthusiasm.

Alice and Lin laughed.  Wendy rolled her eyes, again.

"Well, if you don't mind," Alice continued, "dinner is in one hour, so I require the services of my maid."  She was addressing Lin, of course.  "You will be staying, of course."

"Thank you," Lin answered.  "That's very kind."

"Excellent!"  Alice turned and left the yoga studio.

Lin gently eased Kelly off her lap, rolled her onto her stomach and breasts, and began untying her torinawa bonds.

By chance or design, Kelly had an excellent view of Wendy and her shrimp-tied and harness-gagged condition as her hogtie loosened and melted away.

"I still think you should untie Wendy first," Kelly whispered as the last loop of cord left her wrist.

"And I still think you're adorable," Lin chuckled.  "Better get dressed."

"Yeah," Kelly agreed.  She climbed to her feet, stretched, then padded to the hidden clothes cabinet and began following Lin's advice.  Soon—wearing panties, bra, pastel-green and white uniform, sensible shoes, and silly, white-lace maid's bonnet—Kelly turned to face Lin and Wendy.

Wendy was still bound and gagged and Lin had resumed her comfortable half-lotus and was gazing at Wendy.

"Well... thanks for the demo," Kelly said, then dropped a curtsy.  "See ya soon."

"Goodbye, Kelly," Lin purred, "and you're very welcome."

Kelly turned and left the studio, heading for the kitchen to check in with Cook and receive any special instructions required on how to serve whatever was on the menu.  She turned for a last gaze at Wendy and her guest.  Wendy was still naked, shrimp-tied, and harness-gagged.  Lin was still gazing at her handiwork with a serene smile... and making no move to start dismantling her latest composition.

I've got to ask her how she gets that cute little flip at the end, Kelly reminded herself as she scurried away.  She was thinking of Lin's ponytail, of course.

 Chapter 3

The dinner entree was Roasted Pork Loin in Fig Sauce, and as per Cook's instructions, Kelly set the "Family Dining Room" for two, as opposed to the much larger "Formal Dining Room" that was accessed through a different swinging door.  Kelly had objected that there should be three place settings, but Emily shook her head and was quite firm.

"Mistress says only two," the busy Brit explained.

"What about Mistress?" Kelly demanded.

"Mistress says Mistress will be dining in her room," Emily said.

"Whatever," Kelly shrugged, then set to work.

Actually, their use of "Mistress" to mean Mistress Alice and/or Mistress Wendy was not ambiguous.  By this time Kelly had enough experience filling Bess' shoes to be totally in sync with Cook.

Even though the event was just Alice and Lin, two friends sharing a casual meal, Kelly was kept hopping for the next two hours preparing the table, pouring wine, carrying out the soup... followed by the salad... followed by the main course... followed by dessert... then clearing the table and helping Emily clean up.

The impromptu dinner party over (and a smashing success), Kelly returned from wiping down the dining room table and restoring its floral centerpiece to find Emily preparing a tray for Mistress, as opposed to Mistress, who had just dined.

Mistress Alice was somewhere in the house, probably either working in her home office or reading in bed (although it was a little early for Mistress Alice to retire).

Lin had left immediately after the meal, or so Kelly assumed.  She'd been too busy with cleanup to notice and hadn't been summoned to the entryway to help the departing guest don her coat.

As for Mistress Wendy... Kelly assumed Lin had untied her and she was sulking in her room... hence the requirement for Kelly to bring her a tray.

Cook put the finishing touches on a plate of finger sandwiches composed of toast squares, pork medallions, a dash of sauce and fig compote, and salad greens, each held together by a decorative toothpick.  Also on the tray was a linen napkin, an open bottle of Pinot noir, and a stemmed glass.

"Ready," Emily said with a broad smile as she added a leafy lettuce leaf and a radish rose garnish to the plate.  "Knock on Mistress' door, twice, then enter.  And for heaven's sake, don't drop the tray."

"Oh, please."  Kelly favored Cook with an even (and mildly resentful) stare.  "When have I ever been a klutz?  Why should I drop the tray?"

Emily's response was a bubbly giggle.  "Just be careful.  I'm for bed, so if you do make a mess, you'll be on your own cleaning it up and putting together a replacement sandwich."

"Whatever," Kelly sighed, picked up the tray, and headed for Wendy's bedroom.  She had no idea what Emily had been going on about.  Kelly was an experienced waitress and could weave her way through a crowded restaurant with a tray holding up to six fully loaded plates, and without sloshing gravy or scattering peas, much less dropping the thing.  That had never happened.  Okay, it very rarely happened.  Anyway, what was the big deal?

The actual big deal of the day, of course, had been Wendy naked, harness-gagged, and shrimp-tied in the yoga studio—and Kelly had gotten to watch the entire process from capture to binding to squirming and struggling.  A pity she'd missed out on Wendy's release back into the wild, but a job is a job.  I wonder if Mistress is in a good mood, Kelly thought, or is she enjoying a nice post-bondage sulk.  Maybe that's what Emily's afraid of, that Mistress will bark at me and that's why I'd drop the tray.  As if!

Arriving at Wendy's bedroom, Kelly-the-expert-waitress balanced the tray in her left palm, rapped on the door, twice, as ordered, and assumed her best tip-inducing smile.  Without waiting for a reply from within she turned the doorknob, simultaneously bumped the door open with her hip, executed a half turn, took hold of the tray with both hands, and crossed the threshold.

And then—despite Emily's prescient warning—Kelly very nearly dropped the tray!  Also, her green eyes popped wide and she stifled a horrified gasp!

 Chapter 3

Mistress Wendy was in bed.

Also, she was naked and bound by what was almost certainly the same very super-long torinawa that had comprised Mistress' bondage in the yoga studio.  In any case Wendy was in the very same half-shrimp-tie/box-tie!  The pattern of the ropes and hitches dimpling Wendy's upper arms, framing her breasts, and yoking her freckled shoulders was unchanged.  In short, Kelly surmised Wendy's legs had been untied, but not her arms and torso.

Also, the still very long lower half of the torinawa had been put to a new use, that of looping back and forth and loosely tethering Wendy's upper body between the left and right upper bedposts.  Finally, cords lashed Kelly's folded legs at the thighs and ankles and stretched down to the lower bedposts.  Kelly suspected the cords were the same pair of hayanawa Lin had used in the studio to capture first Kelly, and then Wendy.

In short, Wendy was on her back, reclined against several pillows piled against the headboard, with her legs bent and knees splayed, and a super-abundance of rope and an abundance of cord making very sure she stayed that way.  Oh-by-the-way, from Kelly's position, Wendy's upper thighs, naked pussy, and ginger pubic hair were on open and involuntary display.  The head-harness still caged Mistress' head and its ball still filled her mouth.  Wendy's green eyes were wide and she stared at Kelly in a manner the shocked maid categorized as acute embarrassment.

In other breaking news, Lin had not gone home after the dinner party, as Kelly had assumed, but was naked and reclined on her stomach between Wendy's legs!  She was smiling at Kelly, her hands on Wendy's inner thighs, and Kelly surmised she had interrupted Lin in the process of giving Wendy another demonstration, and this time it was cunnilingus!  Both Mistress and her guest were glowing, meaning blushing (in several places) with patinas of sweat glistening on their firm, smooth freckled and tan bodies, respectively.

"Oh, you've brought me a snack," Lin said with a warm smile.  "How very kind."

Kelly blinked several times before answering (accompanied by the tinkling chime of the wine glass rattling against the bottle).  "Uh... Mistress!" she finally managed to blurt.  "It's for Mistress!"

"I see," Lin purred.  Still smiling, she nodded at Wendy's flushed, mortified, harness-gagged face.  "Your mistress is tied up at the moment, but I'll make sure she cleans her plate before morning, like a good girl."

"Uh...  Sure... Okay."  Kelly carried the still tinkling tray to the bedside table, being careful not to trip as she stole quick, sideways glances at Wendy's white breasts and pointing nipples... Lin's dimpled butt and smooth back... Wendy's pink, glistening labia... etc.  She deposited the tray, hurried back to the door, paused to drop a quick (and uncharacteristically clumsy) curtsy, then made a hurried exit.

Kelly took several deep breaths, leaning her back against the far side of the closed door.  Her heart was hammering and she could just hear the twittering music of Lin's laughter through the thick wood.  "Wow-wow-wow!" she panted in a whisper, then swallowed and suppressed the shivers rippling up and down her spine (and between her legs).  "Wow."

Her heart still tripping, Kelly made her way back to the kitchen to find Emily, iPad in hand, taking inventory of a pantry cabinet.  At least, that was what Kelly thought she was doing.

Eyes still wide, Kelly pointed back the way she'd come.  "Mistress!" she gasped.  "Lin!"

Emily smiled.  "Yes?"

"In the bedroom!" Kelly continued.  "They...  On the bed..."

"Yes, Silly Goose?" Emily prompted, now smiling and batting her eyes.

"They..."  Kelly stopped.  She'd suddenly realized Emily knew perfectly well that Lin hadn't gone home, and probably had a good idea of what was happening in the bedroom.  And the smiling Brit had sent her in with the tray—with only a nonspecific and totally inadequate warning.  "You rat," Kelly accused.

"I don't know what you mean," Emily replied, never batting an eye—or rather, no longer batting an eye.  Her sunny, irritating, dimpled smile was unchanged.

"Urrr!" Kelly growled, spun on her heel, and headed for the door.  She paused at the threshold.  "That reminds me," she huffed.  "Lin ordered curried Swordfish Benedict with Quail Eggs for breakfast.  You better start working on the sauces and making the homemade muffins right away if you want any sleep tonight."  She made her exit, the sound of Emily's giggling laugh was cut off as the door swung closed, and she stomped to the back staircase and up to the servant's level.

Still in a huff, Kelly made her preparations for bed, disrobed, and slid between the sheets.  Lying on her back with the covers pulled up to her chin, Kelly stared up at the dark ceiling, trying not to think about what was happening one floor down in Wendy's bedroom.

"Wow," she whispered to the surrounding darkness.

The bracket hardware was still mounted to the underside of her bed's side-rails, but the accompanying and no doubt complicated and inescapable restraint system was still locked away and inaccessible... to Kelly... who wouldn't have been able to strap herself into all of it anyway... however it worked.  Also... Lin was busy with Wendy... doing stuff.  Cook was available, and so was Mistress Alice, but in any case, Kelly wasn't about to go begging for help making herself helpless... or for help relieving the tension of the day.

Kelly would just have to do it herself.

A few minutes later Kelly was back in bed and under the covers, but now—the cloth belt from her bathrobe bound her ankles—a pair of panties were stuffed in her mouth and held there by a folded bandana tied as a tight cleave-gag—and finally, her wrists were tied together with a long, thin, lightweight summer scarf.  It was minimal bondage, but would have to suffice.

Woe is me! Kelly mentally declaimed as she gently stroked her pussy with the fingers of her "cruelly bound" hands—kicked, squirmed, and struggling to free her "cruelly bound" ankles—and mewled nearly inaudible pleas through the inexplicably effective panties and bandana almost silencing her "cruelly gagged" mouth.  Kelly was totally incapable of rescuing Poor Mistress Wendy from the evil, erotic depredations of the Evil Villainess Lin!  It was Kelly's solemn duty as Wendy's loyal maid to come to the aid of the beautiful, freckled, ginger-goddess who was her employer... but Kelly was bound and gagged!  Oh, the horror!

Finally (rather quickly, actually), Kelly accomplished her tension-relieving goal... sighed through her gag and stretched in her bonds, as best she could... then drifted off to sleep... still bound, gagged, and "helpless".

 Chapter 3

The next morning Kelly woke oddly refreshed—emphasis on oddly.  She wasn't physically sore from the previous day's adventure in the yoga studio.  Also, she wasn't emotionally frazzled by having entered Mistress Wendy's bedroom to bring Mistress her dinner and finding Lin snacking on Mistress' pussy!  Kelly had slept soundly.  She wasn't even distressed to open her eyes and find herself self-bound in bed.  Go figure.  Still, in some unspecified, subliminal way, things were... odd.

Formal meals at Castle York were rare, yesterday's impromptu dinner being an exception to the rule.  The maid (Kelly) wasn't usually required to serve at table, and today was no exception (so far).  Alice, Wendy, and Lin enjoyed a breakfast of Sausage, Spinach, and Apple Strata, a kind of quick casserole.  (Luckily, Cook had recognized Kelly's baldfaced lie that Lin had ordered Swordfish Benedict as a joke.)  Kelly and Cook enjoyed their breakfast in the kitchen, while Mistress' and their guest took their plates to the family dining room.

And while Kelly thought she detected a slight blush on Mistress Wendy's freckled cheeks, otherwise it was all domestic business as usual.

After breakfast Lin made her exit, reminding Kelly that she was invited to visit her studio, and as promised her card was waiting on the silver tray on the side-table near the entryway.  Kelly blushed as Lin planted a kiss on her cheek and transferred the card from the tray to her apron pocket.  Unfortunately, Kelly's response wasn't up to her usual standard of wit and eloquence.  "Uh... yeah."

Both Alice and Wendy were present and they exchanged a smile but said nothing.  Once Lin was safely away, Alice smiled at Kelly.  "Any day this week is fine, dear," she said.  "I don't believe there's anything special on the social calendar."

Still blushing (for some reason), Kelly remained semi tongue-tied.  "Uh, sure, thanks."

And with that, Kelly started her workday.  As her preferred green and white outfit was stuffed in a big canvas bag with other dirty clothes and waiting to be taken to the laundry service, she was wearing a black and white uniform.  She hadn't been in either a pink or baby-blue mood when dressing.  Then and now, she wasn't in a black mood, either.  Kelly was feeling rather reflective, which wasn't a color.

Bondage games happened at Castle York, which wasn't exactly a profound insight.  Mistress Alice indulged in self-bondage.  (Kelly had already decided that being super-rich and super-nice, maid-mediated bondage qualified as self-bondage for the 60-something redhead.)  Also, Kelly had already participated in a Hojōjutsu demo in the yoga studio, as well as witnessing what she'd witnessed last night in Wendy's bedroom.  So, Mistress Wendy was also a player.  As for Cook... Emily seemed to know what was going on, but other than pranking Kelly by sending her to Wendy's bedroom only semi-unaware of what she'd find, the bubbly Brit wasn't a player... or was she?

First on Kelly's admittedly undemanding work schedule was dusting the York sister's humongous library.  She took a feather duster from the first floor broom closet and made her way to the literary repository in question.  It was home to hundreds and hundreds of books of various size and shape, most of them bound in leather, neatly arrayed in wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor wooden shelves.

Maybe I should cozy up to Emily and get the lowdown on all the York bondage games, Kelly thought.  It was probably good to gather intel before deciding if she wanted to play... at some level... assuming her temporary employers would let her play.  Kelly was already playing, of course, but so far she was a more of a prop than a player.  Did she want to be more that a prop?  Hell yes! Kelly decided, I think... probably.

Kelly used the library ladders to reach the upper shelves of the bookcases and run the duster over the books' spines and the wood in front.  This was dusting, not a complete cleaning.  That would involve taking down each and every tome, one at a time, and using a tack cloth.  That was an annual occurrence performed by the York sister's cleaning service, not the job of the live-in maid, for which Kelly was very grateful.

As Kelly dusted the shelves her eyes traveled across the titles of the expensively bound volumes without really reading them—but suddenly, that changed!  Kelly's eyes locked and she found herself staring at a brown leather volume entitled The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline, by John Willie!

Kelly and Sweet Gwendoline went way back.  She owned a copy, of course, but hers was the "normal" edition and was not bound in obviously super-expensive leather stamped with gold leaf.

Kelly had never identified with the Gwendoline character.  Willie's blond, habitually rope-challenged "heroine" was too much of an airhead, almost a living bondage doll.  Nor did she identify with U89, the secret agent character and top to Gwendoline's bottom.  U89 was way too much of a badass.  Kelly had always stuck up for herself, when the occasion called for it, but badassery wasn't her thing.  Now Lin, on the other hand, Kelly mused as she gazed at the book's spine, Lin would make a great U89.  Kelly didn't identify with the villains either.  As far as she was concerned, "M" (aka the Mysterious Countess) and D'Arcy were walking plot devices.

Oddly—and ironically, as she was standing on the ladder dressed in a black and white maid's uniform—Kelly had always identified with the maid, not Zaza, the evil maid of the evil Countess, but Fifi, the Auntie character's loyal (and occasionally mischievous) maid.  Fifi got to play with Gwen (now and then) and also was herself a damsel-in distress (now and then).  Yes, Kelly identified with Fifi.  It was sort of the best of both worlds, or the best of the same world, or whatever.

Kelly slipped the handle of the feather duster into her apron pocket, pulled the book from the shelf, and carefully climbed down the ladder.  She placed the duster and Willie's collected works on a nearby table, clicked on a traditional reading light with a green glass shade, and opened the book.  It was the same size and shape as Kelly's copy, and by every appearance the contents were the same.  Did the Bélier Press make a special edition for super-rich people? Kelly wondered, or did the York sisters have a 'normal' copy custom bound in leather?  Kelly couldn't be sure, but her money was on the latter.  If the volume before her was a Special Edition, the paper would probably be of better quality and with gold leaf (or paint) trimming the edges.

All thoughts of her work-related duties on hold, Kelly slowly turned the pages.  She was most of the way through Sweet Gwendoline and the Race for the Gold Cup (the reworked and expanded version that started on page 202) when Wendy breezed into the room.

"Hard at work, I see," the younger York sister said with a smile.

Kelly blinked in embarrassment and grabbed the feather duster.  "Oh, sorry!  I—"

"Just kidding," Wendy chuckled as she stepped forward and stood next to her mildly flustered maid.Irons!

Kelly composed herself as Wendy focused on the book.  It was open to pages 246 and 247.  The left page pictured an iconic image of Gwen lashed to a tree and not being rescued by U89, as well as "M" and D'Arcy, disguised as gypsies, selling a stolen horse to "Rumpot-Bob"; while the right page documented a minor domestic drama involving "M", a maid who wasn't specified as Zaza but did have a French accent, Cook (who was definitely not Emily), and the clamping of a set of "irons" on the unfortunate maid.

Her gaze locked on page 247, Wendy addressed her still slightly embarrassed maid.  "Did you enjoy yesterday's demonstration?" she purred.

"Enjoy?" Kelly said quietly.  "I wouldn't say 'enjoy', exactly, but, yeah.  It was... informative."

"Indeed," Wendy chuckled, then turned and focused her smile on Kelly.  "And thank you for delivering my dinner last night."

Kelly blushed.  It felt like her cheeks were on fire!  "Sure, no problem," she muttered.  "All part of the service."

"Silly Goose," Wendy chuckled, then focused on the page 247, once again.  "By this time you may have realized that my sister and I have an unconventional sense of fun."

"No kidding," Kelly huffed, then her eyes popped wide.  "Oh, sorry!  I didn't mean...  That is...  Sorry, Mistress."

Wendy chuckled.  "Such impertinence."

She was kidding, of course.  Kelly could tell.

"So, tell me, Kelly," Wendy continued, still gazing at the book, "are you okay with that?  By which I mean our sense of fun."

"Uh, of course," Kelly responded, then cleared her throat.  "Ahem.  Yeah, sure."

Wendy's smile broadened.  "Good."  Her green eyes were still on the book.  "In that vein, slovenly work habits and impertinence cannot go unpunished.  To quote the Mysterious Countess..."  She traced a line of dialogue in page 247's upper right panel with her index finger.  "Tell Cook to put you in irons—at once!"  She smiled at Kelly.  "Consider that an order."

"Good one," Kelly chuckled.  Wendy continued gazing at her, her smile unchanged.  "Uh... that is a joke, right?"

"Slovenly, impertinent, and now disobedient as well?" Wendy purred.  She looked around the library.  "Where's my whip?"

"Wendy!" Kelly whined, then blinked in alarm.  "I mean... Mistress!"

"Silly Goose," Wendy chuckled.  "Do it!"  She winked.  "Let's see how Emily reacts."

"Uh, okay," Kelly answered with a nervous grin, then her smile broadened.  Oh, I get it! she thought.  A chance to prank Emily!  Why not?  "Right away, Mistress."

Without further ado Kelly dropped a curtsy and beat feet for the kitchen.  She glanced back as she crossed the library threshold to find Mistress Wendy still gazing at the open book.  The gorgeous, 40-something ginger turned the page... then Kelly was in the hallway and on her way to tease Cook by relaying Mistress Wendy's "order" to put her in irons.  She could already picture Emily's wide-eyed, shocked, flustered response.  With Emily's accent, it was gonna be something out of a Monty Python skit!  It was gonna be classic!

 Chapter 3


Chapter 2

Chapter 4