by Van © 2020

Chapter 9

Dramatis Personæ


One blueberry milkshake later, Pallavi pulled onto Lacey Monjeau's driveway and parked next to Skye's jalopy on the gravel area off to one side.  She sighed as she locked her car and strolled towards the big Victorian house, passing the prominent, tasteful sign on the front lawn: "Lacey Monjeau; Lifestyle Consultant; By appointment only."
So, Pallavi mused, she made her delivery, was fascinated by all the rampant life style consulting going on all around her, and stayed for the yoga.  The 'she' in question was Skye, of course.  None of this made sense.  Pallavi could only hope her BFF would have a reasonable explanation once she tracked her down.  Pallavi sighed, made her way around the house to the backyard (as she'd been told), and joined the yoga party (already in progress).

Pallavi had been practicing yoga since she was twelve in the privacy of either the Anuhea or Gilroy backyards, in the company of Skye and/or one or both of their moms.  And they did it in the nude.  That way the yoga did double duty as a strenuous form of sunbathing.  Habitual basking and the soaking up of rays was another joint Anuhea/Gilroy activity.

For those reasons, the sight of Skye totally nude with her longish, ginger hair pulled back in a tight ponytail and poised in the classic Dancer or Natarajasana pose should have been no big deal—but she found it was a big deal, and for two reasons, one major and one minor.

The minor reason:  This was neither the Anuhea nor the Gilroy backyard.  This was the Monjeau backyard.

The major reason:  The owner of the backyard was also present, and... she was as naked and gracefully poised as Skye!

Pallavi wasn't a prude, not by any means, but she'd been caught off guard... completely off guard.

By the way (and probably the real reason for Pallavi's reaction), Lacey Monjeau was really hot for an old lady.  She was fit and athletic, with well-defined muscles and smooth, firm skin; as well as being curvaceous and very feminine.  Also, Lacey was a natural "Snow White."  Her long, naturally raven-black hair was tied back in a ponytail (like Skye's ginger locks), and her black, tastefully trimmed pubic bush confirmed the "natural" part.  Finally, her face was gorgeous, her smile devilish and intriguing, and the fair skin in question glistened with oil, explained by a small plastic bottle of sunscreen resting atop a neatly folded towel next to a large, bulging gym-bag of black nylon.

Lacey and Skye noticed Pallavi's arrival and relaxed their poses.

"Hey!" Skye shouted, waving.

"Hey!" Pallavi responded as she strolled forward.

"Welcome to my home!" Lacey added, then reached out and shook Pallavi's hand.

"Thanks," Pallavi beamed.  Lacey was just as she remembered her from Plumeria, where she'd watched one of the Gilroy Girls or her mom wait on her, only minus her clothes (meaning Lacey, not Jodi, Skye, or her mom).

"We've only just started," Lacey stated.  "Please, stretch and join us."

"Okay."  Pallavi removed her waist-pack, trail-runners, and anklets, and neatly arranged them off to the side, next to the folded towel, the bottle of Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion (SPF 70), and the gym-bag.  She then fished a cloth-covered elastic band out of the front zip-pocket of her waist-pack, gathered her long, straight, sun-streaked hair back, captured it in a ponytail of her own, then began her usual pre-yoga warm-up routine.

Lacey continued smiling.  She also shook her arms, lifted her legs and pointed her feet, and did other motions to keep her muscles warm and limber.

Skye, on the other hand, was not smiling.  She watched her BFF stretch for several seconds... then rolled her eyes.  "Excuse us," she said to Lacey, then stepped forward, grabbed Pallavi by her right elbow, and led (dragged) her five paces away from their grinning, naked, and hot hostess.

"Will you please stop embarrassing me?" Skye huffed.

"What?" Pallavi demanded, genuinely perplexed.

Skye rolled her green eyes, again.  "Take off your clothes, doofus!"

Oh.  Pallavi glanced at Lacey and smiled.  "Okay if I strip down?"

"Of course, dear," Lacey answered.  "Make yourself comfortable."

While Skye stomped (padded) back to her former position, Pallavi quickly divested herself of her T-shirt, sports-bra, yoga pants, and panties, folded it all into a neat stack, and placed it atop her shoes.  "I like your koi pond," she said as she resumed stretching.

"Thank you, dear," Lacey purred.  "I very much enjoy relaxing on the bedroom deck and watching them swim."

Pallavi nodded.

"So it is a koi pond," Skye nodded.  "Thought so."

"We'll have tea on the deck after we finish," Lacey smiled, "and I'll introduce you to my beauties."

"Cool," Skye grinned.  "Do they have names?"

It was Pallavi's turn to roll her eyes.  "And I'm the doofus?" she inquired.

"Shut up!" Skye huffed.

"Delightful," Lacey chuckled.  "Now, we may as well begin at the beginning.  'Child's Pose,' for five breaths."

They gracefully knelt on the grass with their knees as wide apart as their hips, took a deep breath, extended their arms, leaned forward, and rested their torso's on their thighs... then held the pose for five slow, deep, even breaths.

 Chapter 9

It was a very pleasant session, strenuous but not at all taxing.  All three participants were already in excellent condition and well versed in the basic asanas (yoga poses).

Skye and Pallavi were on Lacey's bedroom deck, comfortably reclined in two of the four padded, wrought iron chairs surrounding a small cafe table.  They had an excellent view of the koi pond and watched the gold and white carp as they slowly swam or idled near the bottom.  A small, aerating waterfall provided water music.  They were still nude and very much enjoying the warm air and dappled sunlight.  Both had accepted their hostess' kind offer to avail themselves of her sunscreen, but it was hardly necessary.  In just a few minutes the sun would have completed its retreat behind the top of a huge oak bordering the lawn and they would be in full shade.  Most of the surface of the pond was already shaded, otherwise their koi-watching would have been greatly impaired.

Their hostess was absent, off in her kitchen and preparing the promised tea.

"This is nice," Pallavi sighed.

"Yeah," Skye agreed, then her smile turned slightly mischievous.  "You're probably wondering why I called you here today."

"Shut up," Pallavi snapped.  "Enough already.  Spill."

"Spill what?" Skye inquired, smiling sweetly and batting her green eyes.

"Do you want a slap?" Pallavi demanded.  "Why are you here, by which I mean, why are you still here?  Why have you abandoned your duties, both to Plumeria and your friends and coworkers, leaving Harper and myself to take up the slack.  And most of all, what's the big honkin' surprise you dragged me out here to see?"

"Lacey's beautiful, isn't she?" Skye sighed.  "I hope I look that hot when I'm an old lady."

"Yes, Lacey Monjeau is hot," Pallavi muttered, "especially naked and doing yoga.  In other breaking news, the sky is blue.  Spill."

Skye glanced at the closed French doors that led to their hostess' bedroom.  No sign of Lacey.  She leaned closer to her BFF and lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  "She's a dominatrix!"

"Speak up," Pallavi muttered.  "I thought you said Lacey is a dominatrix."

"She is!" Skye gushed.  "She's a dominatrix!"

"Pull the other one," Pallavu scoffed.

"Seriously.  'Lifestyle Consulting Services.'  Didn't you see the sign?"

Pallavi frowned.  "I assumed that meant she gives Oprah-style advice to people with too much money, not that she's a dominatrix."

Skye's smile broadened.  "Actually, in this case, it means she's smart enough not to put up a sign saying Kinky Dominatrix Services, but she is, and she does.  And she's been showin' me her stuff."

Pallivi blinked again.  "You're serious."

Skye nodded.  "She's been tyin' me up 'cause she knows I'm into it; but I can't really follow what she's doin' behind my back.  That's why you're here."

Pallavi was still not following.  "I'm here so she can..."  The truth dawned and her brown eyes popped wide.  "You want her to tie me up so you can watch!"

"Of course not, doofus," Skye muttered.  "Geesh."

"Good," Pallavi sighed.

"I'm going to tie you up," Skye continued.  "I also need to show her my rigging skills."

"No!" Pallavi barked.  "No rigging!  No showing anybody their anything!  No tying me up!"

"Pleeeeease?" Skye cajoled.


"But we do it all the time."

Pallavi folded her arms across her ample bosom.  "Not in front of customers we don't!"

"We're not at work," Skye countered.  "Pleeeeease?  How often am I gonna get a chance to show off to a real dominatrix?  Pleeeeease?"


Skye frowned and folded her own arms over her own less ample bosom.  "It's not an unreasonable request.  She's a professional, so she needs... data."

Pallavi turned her frowning head and gazed at the koi.  They appeared to be uninterested in the conversation.  "Well..."


Pallavi rolled her eyes.  "Okay, shut up.  But just this once."

Skye's smile returned.  Just this once.  Right.  She vaulted from her chair, planted a kiss on her BFF's startled lips, then returned to her chair.  "Thank you—thank you—thank you!"

"Just don't get carried away," Pallavi muttered, wiping her lips with the back of her hand.

Just then, the French doors opened and their hostess returned, pushing a cute little tea cart with a complete tea service for three and a tiered plate-stand piled high with finger sandwiches, small pastries, and cookies.  It was all very pretty and Victorian, a miniature High Tea.  Also, Lacey was still naked and hot, which was also very pretty, but by no means Victorian.

"She's gonna let me do it!" Skye crowed.  "She's gonna let me tie her up!"

Pallavi blushed and glowered at her BFF.  "Doofus!"  She then (somewhat shyly) smiled at Lacey.  "You're really a dominatrix?"

Skye gasped and glowered at her BFF.  "You think I was lying?" she demanded.  "She has a dungeon and everything."

Pallavi's eyes widened in curiosity.  "A dungeon?"

Skye rolled her green eyes.  "How can a professional dominatrix not have a dungeon?"

"I was just asking," Pallavi pouted.

"Girls, girls!" Lacey chuckled as she settled into an empty chair, placed a cup on a saucer, then poured the cup full of tea.  "Let's enjoy our tea, then discuss things like rigging demonstrations."  She handed the cup and saucer to Pallavi.  "Milk or sugar?"

"No thanks," Pallavi answered, then shifted her gaze to Skye.  "Doofus!" she whispered.

"Double-doofus!" Skye whispered back.''

"Delightful," Lacey chuckled as she poured a cup for her ginger-haired guest (and possible/probable apprentice).

 Chapter 9

A tale of two hogties

Skye spent the next half hour sipping tea, nibbling on yummy tidbits, and developing a game plan... meaning a rigging plan... meaning deciding exactly how she was going to tie up her BFF.

Pallavi spent the half hour sipping, nibbling, smiling, making small talk with their hostess (the professional dominatrix), and worrying about her BFF getting carried away.  In general, Skye was a responsible bondage-freak, but now and then she had been known to, shall we say, overindulge.  And if she was trying to impress a super-hot naked professional dominatrix observer, who knows what she might come up with?  In between exchanging pleasantries with Lacey, she stole furtive glances at her soon to be Provider of Rigging Services.  And whenever Skye noticed her peeking at her, the ginger rope-demon smiled back in a not at all reassuring manner.

Anyway, when the teapot was empty, the last of the snacks consumed, and the koi had also been fed from a small, decorative canister of fish food pellets also on the tray... it was time.

Lacy led her young guests back out onto lawn, returning to the scene of the yoga session.  That stretch of grass was now entering the shade zone, so sunscreen was no longer required.  And not especially to Pallavi's surprise, the black nylon gym-bag she'd noted upon arrival turned out to be full of neatly wrapped coils of conditioned hemp rope.

Her freckled face set in firm determination, Skye dumped the rope bundles onto the grass, selected a coil, and prepared it for use with practiced competence.

Pallavi watched with Brave Resolve, the very image of a Courageous Damsel.  The scene was very dramatic and inspirational.

Lacey's lips curled in an appreciative smile.  It was obvious that she considered her young, naked guests to be charming, delightful, and adorable, but Skye and Pallavi made the independent decision to let their hostess' appreciative (and irritatingly condescending) attitude slide.  She was their hostess, after all... their charming, naked, hot hostess.

The rope doubled, the center located, and the coil ready for use, Skye set to work.

Several minutes later... Pallavi was hogtied.

That is, Skye's pouting, naked BFF was stomach down on the grass—hands behind her back—wrists bound with her hands palm-to-palm—upper-arms bound together with her elbows touching—knees bound together—shoulders yoked and upper-arms pinned to her torso in a classic upper-body-harness—lower-arms lashed to her waist—shins lashed to her upper thighs—and, of course, her ankle-bonds lashed to her wrist-bonds and her body-harness.  It was a stringent hogtie with Pallavi's heels resting in her palms, and everything was cinched and interlaced into one tight symmetrical web of hemp strands.

Pallavi was impressed... and helpless.  She executed the required Courtesy Struggle, but her efforts were decidedly weak, little more than pathetic wiggles and not an entertaining show.  That was Skye's opinion, anyway.

"Stop embarrassing me and struggle!" she huffed, frowning at her BFF with her arms crossed over her freckled breasts.

Lacey gave Skye a reassuring pat on her freckled shoulder.  "You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, darling," she purred, then knelt and began a detailed tactile examination of her possible/probable apprentice's handiwork.  The ropes were cinched and tight without being punishingly tight.  Granted, a less limber damsel might have found the ropes punishing, but not Pallavi.  Unfortunately, examining the ropes binding poor, helpless, naked Pallavi inevitably entailed extensive contact between Lacey's strong, pale fingers and the captive's tan, rope-dimpled skin.

"Just relax," Lacey purred, then placed a pair of fingers on Pallavi's neck.  "You heart is beating a mile a minute," she chuckled.  Next came a reassuring pat on the top of her head.  "You're safe."  Lacey then turned her smiling head and focused on Skye.  "Excellent work.  I can teach you a few embellishments, but they would be largely decorative."

"Decorative is good," Skye nodded, smiling at her naked, very hogtied BFF.

"All right then," Lacey continued as she stood, picked up a coil of rope, and prepared it for use.  "My turn," she said, smiling at Skye.

Skye was confused.  "Now?"  She indicated her bound BFF with a flip of the wrist.  "You want I should untie her so soon?  I just tied her up."

Still smiling, Lacey shook her head.  "No, dear."  Rope ready in her hands, she pointed to the ground next to Pallavi.  "Down."

Skye looked at the grass... then Lacey's smiling face... then the rope in her hands.  "Oh."  She rolled her eyes, heaved a sigh of truly tragic proportions, then knelt... sighed again... and gracefully (somewhat) flopped down onto her tummy (and boobs) on the grassy lawn.  She turned her head to the side and found Pallavi smiling at her.  "Shut up," she growled.

"I didn't say anything," Pallavi purred.

"Shut up anyway," Skye huffed.

Lacey chuckled, knelt at Skye's side, and set to work.  When she was finished, her backyard had two hogtied lawn ornaments.

Skye's wrists were lashed to her ankles.  To be precise, her left wrist was lashed to the outside of her left ankle, her right wrist lashed to the outside of her right ankle, and her ankles lashed together.  All the ropes were tightly cinched, of course.  Skye could flutter her fingers, but as for untying any knots that might be within reach, the wrist-ankle-ankle-wrist arrangement meant her hands would have to work independently.  Also, there were no knots within reach.

In addition, Skye's elbows were tied together by at least a dozen doubled and cinched strands of conditioned hemp,and a kimono-harness yoked her shoulders, looped around her torso and passed above and below her breasts.  Strands also looped between Skye's bound elbows and her bound ankles.  It served to increase the ginger captive's overall helplessness (of course), and also anchored her elbow-bonds and reinforced the hogtie.

Truth be told, the kimono-harness was totally unnecessary.  Skye's elbow bonds and her hogtie didn't need reinforcing, but the harness enhanced the overall aesthetics of Lacey's rope composition.

"All right then," Lacey purred as she stood, crossed her arms over her breasts, and smiled down at her hogtied guests.  "I have some tidying up to do, then we can continue."  And with that, she spun on her heels and padded back to the deck, pausing to pickup Pallavi's neatly folded and stacked clothing.

Skye and Pallavi watched as their hostess placed Pallavi's clothes on the deck, then wheeled the tea cart through the French doors and disappeared into her bedroom.  Obviously, the "tidying up" she'd mentioned entailed cleaning up the tea service, plates, tea cart, etc., and probably the kitchen as well.

The girls squirmed and tested their bonds, but their efforts were the very definition of futile resistance.  A Black-capped Chickadee swooped down to the koi pond and began drinking and splashing in the shallow birdbath cleverly built into one side of the waterfall.  The first chickadee was joined by a second... then the first was replaced by a Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Soon, an entire mixed flock of chickadees and nuthatches was availing itself of the public drinking and bathing facilities Lacey had so thoughtfully provided.

The watery songbird festivities continued.  Obviously, as far as the flock was concerned, the pair of naked and thoroughly tied up humans cluttering the backyard were far enough away that they didn't constitute a threat.  Whether or not they actually appreciated the effectiveness of the girls' bondage was unclear.

Pallavi turned her head, squirmed in her bonds, and frowned at her naked and bound BFF.  "This is all your fault," she huffed.

Skye turned her head and frowned at her naked and bound BFF, but didn't bother squirming.  "No, ya think?" she huffed back.  "What's your point?"

Pallavi returned her pouting gaze to the koi pond.  "Just so you know," she muttered.

Skye smiled, then also resumed her naked and hogtied bird-watching.  Neither of the BFFs were into the hobby (meaning bird watching), but they did know their chickadees from their nuthatches.  The Gilroy and Anuhea backyards also had feeders and birdbaths... but no koi ponds.

The mixed flock began flitting between the seed feeders located several yards across the lawn and the pond.  The occasion had turned into a full-blown avian pool party with an all-you-can-eat buffet!

 Chapter 9

While they watched the flock flutter and splash, Skye gave Pallavi an edited account of her Amazing Dominatrix Adventure, thus far.  The editing was for two reasons:

     (1.)  Lacey's fully equipped secret torture chamber was hidden behind a wicked-cool secret sliding wall!  And the wicked-cool secret cell in the bedroom's walk-in closet was hidden behind its own secret one-way-mirror-door!  The point was, the secrets were all secret.  Skye had decided that gossiping about such things, even with her BFF, would be very bad form.  It just wasn't done.

     (2.)  "Always leave them wanting more," as the saying goes.  Skye wasn't about to tell her BFF everything.  If she did, the next time she had Pallavi (and/or Harper) naked and tied up back home, what would they have to talk about?

Anyway, Skye limited her narrative to the basic technical aspects of the rope and leather bondage she'd endured.  Skye could tell that Pallavi could tell that she was holding back, but her BFF had made the naked and hogtied decision to let her get away with it... for now.


It was twenty long minutes before the French doors opened, Lacey returned to the deck in front of the koi pond/songbird aquatic park.  The naked, hogtied prisoners on the lawn gasped in amazement/appreciation.

Lacey had changed out of her birthday suit and into a pair of black riding-boots—charcoal-gray, skintight riding pants—a black leather corset-belt—and a black linen blouse with a generous neckline and rolled up sleeves.  There was no apparent bra, and (based on the lack of panty lines) no panties.  Possibly a thong, but who knew?  Skye thought Lacey looked like U89 (the Sweet Gwendoline character) gone over to the Dark Side (like Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars).  Pallavi thought Lacey looked menacing and hot!

"Wow!" Pallavi remarked as Mistress Monjeau strolled in their direction.

"That's what I said the first time I saw her in uniform," Skye responded.
Isolation Hood!
Oh-by-the-way, a riding crop dangled from Lacey's right hand by its wrist strap, and tucked under her left arm was... an under-inflated black leather football?  Eventually, as she drew closer, both captives realized the football was actually an authentic, top-of-the-line, and obviously expensive black leather isolation hood!

Also, Lacey's raven-black hair had been released from its former ponytail and was now loose about her shoulders, framing her smiling face—but Skye and Pallavi were more concerned about the riding crop and hood than their hostess' coiffure.

The girls watched as Lacey dropped the hood and crop on the grass next to Pallavi, then gracefully settled to the lawn, tucked her booted legs to the side, gently lifted Pallavi's head and shoulders onto her lap, and smiled down at her naked, hogtied guest.

Pallavi stole a glance at the crop resting on the grass, then locked eyes with her hostess.

"Not for you, darling," Lacey purred, then picked up the hood.  "This is for you."

Pallavi blinked in distress.  "W-why?" she asked quietly.

Lacey leaned close and kissed Pallavi's lips.  "Skye and I are about to have a very important conversation that will require absolute privacy.  I'm sure you understand."

Pallavi stared at the hood for several thumping heartbeats... then nodded.  "Okay."

Lacey leaned close and kissed Pallavi's lips, once again, then, she set to work.

The gym-bag that had held the ropes currently comprising the girl's hogtie-bonds was still nearby, and Lacey unzipped its side pocket and withdrew a wide roll of off-white microfoam tape, a pair of bandage scissors, and a zip-lock bag containing a red foam ball.  Soon, the foam ball was out of its bag and crammed in Pallavi's mouth and a strip of tape was tightly plastered over her lips and most of her lower face.

Next, from the same side pocket, Lacey pulled out a second zip-lock bag, and this one held a pair of molded, soft rubber earplugs in a truly hideous shade of pale orange.  The plugs went into Pallavi's ears... and it was time for the main event.

Pallavi's blinking, worried eyes disappeared as the black leather hood enveloped her head.  Lacey laced it up the back, and the hood tightened to a near perfect fit.  There was almost no wrinkling in the hood's gleaming, slightly textured surface, and there were certainly no creases.  Pallavi's ponytail emerged from the base of the hood and trailed between her shoulder blades.  And then, Lacey began tightening and securing the hood's straps!

There were four of them, and all had stainless steel buckles with lockable tongues.  The first strap tightened across the peanut-shaped, padded blindfold section stitched into the hood.  The second tightened across the oval-shaped, padded gag-section over Pallavi's mouth.  The third strap passed under her chin and and around her cranium, encouraged (required) Pallavi to bite down on the foam filling her oral cavity, then buckled across the crown of her head.  And the fourth and final strap (which was actually a built-in collar rather then a strap) buckled at the nape of her neck.

Skye watched the encasement of her BFF's head with rapt, wide-eyed attention.  Pallavi neither complained nor was trying to resist, and Skye knew why.  Pallavi was curious and unafraid... like Skye.  Skye's curiosity was already a well-established fact, and now Mistress would know that she had two naked, curious damsels in her power.  Wow!

Pallavi returned the roll of tape, scissors, and empty zip-lock bags to the side pocket, zipped closed all the gym-bag's zippers, then slung the now flaccid bag across her back by its long, thin carrying strap.  Finally, she slid the riding crop into the outside of her right riding-boot, turned, and smiled down at Skye.

Skye lifted her chin and stared up at her hostess.  "Why?" she demanded.

Lacey smiled and placed her right index finger to her lips.  "Quietly," she whispered.  "Pallavi is busy exploring this brave new dimension of 'sub-space.'  We mustn't distract her with extraneous noise."  She lowered her finger, but continued whispering.  "And I already told you why.  Privacy.  Let's relocate to the deck, shall we?"

"That's easy for you to say," Skye whispered.  "Hey!"  Lacey had picked her up by the hogtie-ropes at her ankles and elbows and was carrying her to the deck in question, all 102 pounds of her, as if she was a large and inconveniently shaped suitcase.  Mistress is strong!

When they reached the deck, Lacey lowered her naked, freckled, and hogtied burden onto the cushion of the lounge chair Skye had noticed earlier.  Her bound knees nudged the hunter-green cushion of the chair's sloping backrest and her pouting face was towards the chair's foot.  She watched, squirming her boobs, tummy, and thighs against the soft, hunter-green cushion, as Lacey strolled to the cafe table and chairs where Skye and Pallavi had enjoyed tea (before being hogtied on the lawn), then return with one of the chairs.  Skye turned her head towards her naked, hogtied, and hooded BFF.

Lacey positioned her chair at the foot of the lounge chair, then sat and crossed her booted legs.  "I seriously doubt if she can hear us now," she purred in her normal voice, "even as noise."

"Maybe if I scream at the top of lungs," Skye muttered, then turned her face to her hostess/captor."

Lacey was smiling her usual gorgeous, slightly quirky smile.  "But only as faint, muffled noise."

"Faint, muffled noise," Skye agreed.  Wow!

"Don't worry, darling," Lacey purred.  "In the course of your training you'll have many opportunities to experience the hood... as well as other forms of sensory deprivation."

Skye nodded absently... then her eyes widened.  ""Wait.  My training?  I need to get back to work, no later than... Monday?  Tomorrow's Sunday, right?"

"It is, indeed," Lacey agreed, then reached into her hip pocket and pulled out an iPhone.  Skye had noticed its outline earlier.  No panty-lines marred Mistress Monjeau's skintight riding pants, but the iPhone had been evident.  "Do you know how many vacation days you've accumulated?" Lacey inquired as she tapped the screen and placed a call.

Skye blinked, uncertainly.  "No, I...  Vacation days?"

There was a brief pause while the call connected... and was answered.

Her pale blue eyes locked with Skye's green eyes, Lacey's smile broadened.  "Hello, Freckle Face," she purred.  "Your daughter would like to talk to you.  I'm putting us on speaker."

Skye watched in horror as Lacey tapped the screen, then placed the iPhone on the green cushion, screen up and directly in front of her face.

A slightly tinny but very familiar voice spoke.  "Skye?  Darling?  Are you okay?"

Skye swallowed before answering  "M-mom?"

And thus the "very important conversation" that had required Pallavi be hooded to ensure privacy commenced.

 Chapter 9


Chapter 8

Chapter 10