Rook takes Rook

              RAPSCALLIONSby Van ©2013

 Chapter 6



Kim watched with helpless resignation (and no small degree of arousal) as Tori controlled the furiously struggling and now quite naked Cynthia.  Fresh from the sauna, no doubt the little brunette's toned, fit, all-over tan, flushed body made for a quite slippery specimen, but Tori was up to the challenge.  Maintaining her firm grip on Cynthia's arms and keeping them pinned together behind her back, Tori released her hand gag.

"Mrrrf—Lillian!" Cynthia complained.  "What the hell are you doing here?  You're supposed to be in Japan."  She was referring to Lillian Steele, a "security expert" in the employ of Salamandras International, like Tori.  Lillian had a well-established habit of popping out of nowhere and doing horrible (meaning wonderful) things to Cynthia.  [Lillian figures prominently in Rage Against the Machine and Bad Robot!]

"I'm not Lillian, Little Mouse," Tori chuckled, then released her hold and took a step back.

Cynthia spun around and faced her attacker.  "Tori!" she huffed.  Her hands clenched in angry fists at her sides, she stared daggers at the smiling blond.  Then, Cynthia blushed, apparent even in her post sauna condition, and placed her left arm across her chest to cover her breasts and used her right hand to shield her crotch.  "Don't call me that."

Tori grinned.  "What, Little Mouse?  Don't call you 'Little Mouse,' Little Mouse?"  Cynthia continued glaring.  "Why, because it's Lillian's pet name for her Little Mouse, Little Mouse?"

"What the hell are you doing here?" Cynthia demanded, ignoring the questions.  The blond intruder's dimpled smile was infuriating.

And speaking of dimples, Kim was staring at Cynthia's firm, dimpled buttocks, as well as her strong back and well-toned thighs and calves.  Naked and sweaty, angry and embarrassed, Cynthia Webbel was a hot little package.

Her furious eyes never leaving Tori, Cynthia stooped to retrieve the towel lying around her feet in a crumpled mass.

"No," Tori ordered, still smiling.  "I like you just the way you are."

Cynthia straightened up and resumed her modest pose.  "What do you want?" she huffed.

"I'm here regarding the recent security breach at Rook House," Tori answered, then gestured towards Kim.  "Professor Pappas will be acting as my assistant during the questioning."

"What security breach?" Cynthia demanded.  She turned and frowned at Kim, and her anger became puzzlement.  Kim's long, silky brown curls framed her beautiful face, as usual, but there was something peculiar about her expression, something odd about her uncharacteristically vacant smile.  "Are you... gagged?"  Cynthia spun back to face Tori.  "Is she gagged?  What have you done to her?"

"Hang up her coat like a good hostess," Tori chuckled, "and you'll find out."

Cynthia spun on her heel, again, stepped forward, and began removing Kim's raincoat.  While she released the belt and fumbled with the buttons, she visually examined what she took to be Kim's nearly invisible tape gag.  Cynthia suspected Sally was having Tori use Kim to test another of her breakthroughs in materials technology.  She finished opening and removing Kim's coat—  "Oh."  —and discovered her friend and colleague was naked, but for her black high heels, stockings, garter belt, and opera gloves; together with the several feet of silver-white nylon rope binding her in a moderate box tie with her wrists crossed and raised in a semi reverse-prayer.  It was a stringent, inescapable tie.  Cynthia hung the coat on the coat rack, then turned back to gaze at her fellow academic.  Willowy and athletic, with firm breasts and smooth, fair skin, Kim Pappas was one kinky, erotic captive.  Cynthia felt nothing but sympathy for her friend—and lust, of course—sympathy and lust.

"I'm untying her," Cynthia announced, and started searching for the key knot securing the cord binding Kim's thumbs and lashed across her palms.

"No, you're not, Little Mouse," Tori chuckled.  She removed her own coat and tossed it to Cynthia.

Cynthia caught the trench coat and hung it next to Kim's raincoat, then glared at Tori, hands on hips.  "This is mean," she muttered.

Tori's infuriatingly smug smile never wavered.  "Living room," she ordered, nodding down the hallway.

Cynthia and Kim exchanged a tragic sigh of mutual commiseration, then respectively padded and minced down the hall.  Cynthia stooped and snatched her towel from the floor as she passed the patiently waiting and totally in control Tori, but didn't even try and wrap the white terrycloth around her body.  Her blond "guest" had already made it clear that she preferred her "hostess" to remain nude.

Chapter 6

Meanwhile, back at Rook House...

The Rapscallions climbed the steps to the attic.  It was time.  It was Clem's turn.

As before, the quartet wore their going-to-bed uniforms: slippers and robes over panties and tank-tops or t-shirts—or nothing under her robe in the case of Gwen.  Clem was lugging a small duffel-bag.

J-Lou was waiting, lounging in her robe in the easy chair.  Her bare feet were propped up on the footlocker and she was reading her iPad.  She smiled, electronically bookmarked her page, and placed the iPad on the footlocker.  Without a word, she stood, strolled to the wardrobe, removed and hung up her robe, then turned and strolled to the bed, now totally nude.  She crossed her wrists behind her back and focused the awesome, megawatt power of her dimpled smile on Clem.

Rory nudged Clem with an elbow.  "Tell her.  It's not in the rules and you have to tell her."

"I still think Four Eyes should bind and gag Her Majesty and then tell her," Siri muttered.

Gwen frowned at the tall blond.  "How can she object if she's bound and... oh."

Siri shook her head and stared at Gwen.  "You are not that dumb.  Dial back the ditz."

"Yeah," Rory agreed.  "You're not even blond."  This earned her a scathing, silent rebuke of her own from the only blond in the room.

Clem removed her glasses, pulled a handkerchief from her robe pocket, and cleaned the lenses.  "I'm going to use rope and the whiffle gag and something else," she told J-Lou.

"Yes?" J-Lou prompted.

"Uh, I checked with Sally to see if there's a motion detector up here," Clem explained

"I believe there are motion detectors in every room," J-Lou said.  "They're an important element of Sally's smart house sensorium."

"Yeah," Clem agreed.  "Anyway, I'm going to use it."

"Do tell." Still smiling, J-Lou sat on the bed.

"Tie her up first," Siri urged.

"It would save time," Gwen added with a grin.

"Good point," Clem conceded, then pointed to the bed.  "On your back in the center."

J-Lou followed Clem's order, and over the next several minutes Clem used a total of twelve long coils of cotton clothesline to bind her in a classic spread-eagle.  The little Brit's wrists and ankles were bound with three coils each using a combination of Cat's Paw, Hitched Double Lark's Head, and Rope Gauntlet techniques.  For each limb the end result was a wide cuff of multiple strands of rope secured with a complex nest of interlocking loops.  Three taut pairs of rope stretched from each knot—the first to the nearest bedpost—the second to the headboard in the case of her wrists and the foot of the bed for her ankles—and the third to either the left or right side rail, whichever was closest.  In other words, two of the rope pairs formed a right angle and were bisected by the third pair.  In each case the ropes were flat on the mattress with the final, key knots tied near the floor.

J-Lou had very little slack.  After Clem tied the last knot and took a step back, the captive tugged on the her bonds and tried to squirm, twist, and roll from side to side—tried and failed.  Her efforts did impart a slight rolling oscillation to her breasts, but that was about it.  She focused her smile on her captor.  "Clever girl," she chuckled.  "I saw how you intermixed the various coils of rope as you tied the knots.  Each pair of free ends are from different coils."  She flexed the fingers of her right hand and rotated her right wrist as best she could.  Her fingers came nowhere near the macrame-like complex securing her wrist.  "Multiple unreachable knots in different directions must be untied for me to free myself.  Very clever, indeed."

"And since nobody discussed anything with anybody during the process," Rory chuckled, "we still haven't talked about the motion detector."

"Yeah, good job saving time," Siri muttered.

Gwen came to her BFF's defense.  "Hey, you think it's easy tying something like that?  Perfect symmetry!"

Siri rolled her eyes.  "Whatever."

Clem reached back into the duffel and produced a thirteenth coil of cotton clothesline.  It was much shorter than the first twelve.  She sat on the bed and looped the rope around J-Lou's waist, snugged it tight, then shifted the rope so the lark's head was in the back, against J-Lou's spine.  She then pulled the free ends between the splayed captive's legs.  Obviously, Clem was tying a crotch rope, but she paused before completing the task, returned to the duffel, and pulled out three objects.  She held them up, one-by-one, for J-Lou's inspection.  "Vibrator.  Extension cord.  Wireless controller."  The vibrator was of the wand variety, with a rounded head the shape of a doorknob.  The extension cord was white and was quite long, at least twenty feet in length.  The wireless controller was a plastic cube designed to plug into a grounded wall outlet.  There was a female power socket on its front.

J-Lou watched as Clem plugged the wand's power cord into the extension cord and the extension cord into the controller.

Clem maintained her grip on the vibrator's handle, but handed the controller to Siri.  "Plug this in for me, would you?"

"My pleasure," Siri said, smiling at J-Lou.

Gwen giggled.  "Somebody's pleasure, anyway."

Siri carried the controller away.  The extension cord rattled and played out... then stopped.  There was still an abundance of slack in the cord.  Siri returned to the bed.  "Done."

Her eyes locked with J-Lou's, Clem addressed the house avatar.  "Sally, power test, please."  The vibrator buzzed to life.  Over the course of several seconds, the grinding noise slowly increased in intensity... then the vibrator went still.

"Test successful, Miss Ricci," Sally announced.

"Thank you," Clem responded, still smiling at J-Lou.  "I'm going to lash this in place where it will do the most good," she explained.  "Sally has agreed to link it to the motion detector, so if you squirm for more than, say, three seconds, the vibrator will turn on and stay on until you stop moving.  And if you keep moving, it will gradually escalate from low to medium to full power."

"Your goal, of course, being to discourage me from moving," J-Lou purred, "and thereby prevent me from escaping."  Her smile never wavered.

"Of course," Clem agreed.  "If you can't move, you can't untie any impossible-to-reach knots."

Gwen giggled, again.  "Plus, it makes for a fun evening."

Rory took a step forward and sat on the bed, opposite Clem.  "Say the word and it won't happen," she said to J-Lou.  "I say it's illegal, but it's your opinion that counts."

Clem smiled at Rory, then at J-Lou.  "So say we all."

The Rapscallions watched as J-Lou tested her bonds, again, with the same non result.  "Okay," she said finally.  "I agree."

Clem smiled.  "Excellent."  A pair of small steel rings had been attached to the base of the vibrator's knob with a plastic cable-tie.  Clem threaded the free ends of the crotch rope through the rings, passing a strand to either side of the base, then snugged the knob against J-Lou's pussy and gently pulled the ropes taut.

Gwen, Rory, and Siri watched with rapt attention.

J-Lou lifted her head and tried to watch, as well, but her breasts and pubic bush were at least partially obstructing her view.  However, she had a distinct advantage over the Rapscallions: she could feel the rubberized knob as it pressed against her pussy.  "Oh!"

The Rapscallions shifted their collective gaze from J-Lou's pussy to the spreadeagled captive's face.

"She's blushing," Gwen sighed.

"I think she is," Rory agreed.

Siri smiled.  "You aren't suggesting that Her Majesty is turned on, are you?"

"Embarrassed," Rory said quietly.  "She's embarrassed."  Rory was blushing, as well.

Meanwhile, Clem had passed the remaining rope under the crotch-rope's waist band, pulled it taut, and tied it off with an elegant rosette knot.  A simple double hitch would have sufficed, but having gone this far, Clem wasn't about to dial back on the artistry.

The crotch-rope now cleaved J-Lou's butt, squashed the business end of the vibrator against her pussy, and formed a "Y" between her navel and her bisected pubic bush.

Siri pulled the whiffle gag from the duffel and handed it to Clem.

Clem turned to her fellow Rapscallions.  "Uh, I need to talk to J-Lou alone, okay?"

"And we get to watch," Gwen said, "right?"

Rory and Siri smiled at Clem, waved goodnight to J-Lou and blew air-kisses in the captive's direction, then took hold of Gwen by the arms and led her towards the stairs.

"Okay, okay," Gwen sighed, shrugging free.  "G'night Your Majesty!"

"Goodnight!" J-Lou called after the disappearing blond, redhead, and ginger, then focused her smile on Clem.  "I assume you want to gloat over my helplessness and boast that I can't possibly escape your expertly applied ropes?"

Clem smiled back.  "Hold that thought."  She stood, walked to the stairs and looked down, then closed the attic door.  "Sally," she said as she strolled back to the bed, "please let us know if anybody tries sneaking up the stairs and listening at the door."

"Yes, Mistress Ricci," Sally responded.

"Mistress Ricci," J-Lou chuckled, then affected a contrite expression.  "Forgive me, Mistress," she sighed, then tugged on her wrist bonds and wiggled her toes.  "Now, where were we?"

Clem settled back down on the bed and smiled.  "I was about to give you a choice.  Option one: we return in the morning and find that this time you're a helpless prisoner, still lashed to her bed."  She reached out and gently placed her hand on J-Lou's tummy, palm side down.  "Option two: I tell the others exactly how you've been cheating your way out of their ropes.  I suspect they'd take great offense and would do all sorts of horrible things to you in retaliation."

J-Lou continued smiling.  "Cheating?  I don't know what you mean."

Clem smiled.  "Robokitty, does she know what I mean?"Robo-Sally-kitty!

Robokitty's blue cartoon face morphed into a rather feline version of Sally, meaning Sigourney Weaver.  The resulting visage was still blue, but was quite expressive.  "Mrrrow!"  Robokitty jumped off the bookcase cabinet and minced her way towards the bed, moving with surprisingly fluidity—surprising to Clem, anyway, as she had never seen Robokitty in action.  The semi-autonomous robot jumped onto the mattress and smiled at J-Lou.  "Miss Goodwin knows what you mean, Clementine."  Like her face, Robokitty's voice was Sigourney Weaver's; however her simulated canine fangs added a slight lisp.  Robokitty settled into a very Sphinx-like pose beside J-Lou's head, her mechanical tail slowly swinging from side to side and a predatory smile on her blue face.

"Bloody traitor!" J-Lou sighed.  She was still smiling.

"I need an answer," Clem purred.  "As the game stands, you have three points.  Are you willing to let me have my point, or do you want the others to make you forfeit the competition?"

"Then I'd have no points," J-Lou noted.  "What do you think the others would do to me?"

Clem shrugged.  "Oh, I don't know.  Maybe tie you into some spectacularly complicated and uncomfortable position, lock you in Siri's puppy cage down in the basement, and not let you out 'til Monday... for starters."

"And I wouldn't help you escape, of course," Robokitty added.  "You'd have to face the Wrath of the Rapscallions on your own."

"Of course," J-Lou sighed.  "Well... I don't suppose I have much choice."

"No, I don't suppose you do," Clem chuckled.  "Look on the bright side.  With three points to my one, you'll still be the Queen of the Damsels."

J-Lou smiled.  "And you'll be the Crown Princess, you clever girl."

"Mistress," Clem corrected her prisoner, "clever Mistress."

"Mistress," J-Lou sighed.  "Not having witnessed Robokitty's dexterity, I didn't think any of you girls would discover my secret.  You are a clever Mistress."

"If you've eliminated all other possibilities," Clem quoted, "whatever remains must be the truth."

"I'm going to start calling you Princess Sherlock," J-Lou chuckled.

Clem rolled her eyes and readied the whiffle gag.  "Please don't."  She placed the ball in J-Lou's compliant mouth, then buckled the straps tight.  "The others will make the connection eventually," she warned as she straightened J-Lou's hair.  "They're all plenty smart, and Siri's right about Gwen.  She only pretends to be a ditz."

Smiling around the gag filling her mouth, strapped under her chin, and secured at the nape of her neck, J-Lou nodded.

"Sally," Clem said, focusing on Robokitty, "let her get some sleep, okay?"

"Yes, Mistress Princess Sherlock," Robokitty purred.

Clem rolled her eyes, stood, and strolled to the door.  "Whatever.  G'night, Your Majesty."  The door closed, and J-Lou was alone.

Well, not quite alone.

"Wasn't that nice of Clementine to insist I let you sleep?" Robokitty/Sally asked, smiling her fanged smile.  "What she forgets, of course, is that you decided to make me a cat.  And cats are notoriously playful, aren't they?  Motion sensor... on!"

J-Lou lay perfectly still.  She knew she couldn't remain motionless forever, but she had to give it a try.

Then, still smiling, Robokitty resumed swishing her tail—and the vibrator began to buzz—and Robokitty continued swishing her tail—and the vibrations slooowly increased in intensity.

J-Lou shivered in her inescapable bonds, and a whimpering sigh escaped her gag.

"Don't worry, Your Majesty," Robokitty said.  "Three hours or five slow orgasms, whichever comes first.  Then, you may sleep, and I imagine by that time you will sleep."

Chapter 6

Meanwhile, back at Cynthia's bungalow (aka Little Mouse Manor)...

Tori dropped into one of the living room's easy chairs and smiled.  "Oh, I forgot my bag.  Be a dear and get it for me.  Would you, Little Mouse?"  Cynthia rolled her eyes, turned, and stomped back to the entryway.  Tori shifted her smile to Kim, then pointed to the floor, more or less in the middle of the living room.  "Down."

Kim also rolled her eyes.  Then, as gracefully as she could, she knelt, sat on the carpet, and folded her legs to one side with her knees together.

Cynthia returned with the gym bag.  She dropped it next to Tori's chair, then glared at her blond guest.  Once again, she shielded her breasts with her left arm and her crotch with her right hand.

"A good hostess would offer her guests something to drink." Tori observed.  "Perhaps some white wine?"

Cynthia rolled her eyes, again, and stomped into the kitchen.  "Thanks a lot for the warning, Sally," she muttered under her breath as soon as the kitchen door swung closed behind her.

"Now, Cynthia," Sally responded, "you know I monitor your schedule, process indicators of your physiological and psychological well-being, and facilitate opportunities to redress imbalances in your social life whenever I can."

"Imbalances in my social life," Cynthia huffed as she pulled a bottle of Chardonnay from the refrigerator.  She fumbled in a drawer for her corkscrew, drew the cork, placed the bottle on a tray, and added three stemmed glasses.  All the while, the "angry" Cynthia was suppressing a smile.  Sally was amazing, and she was her best friend—her best non-human friend, anyway.  The AI spent a significant portion of her distributed cognitive power studying human behavior, and Cynthia really didn't mind the occasional intrusion in her social life as an element of Sally's research—especially if it meant Dr. Cynthia Webbel got her ashes hauled now and then.  Also, it had been a while since Lillian was last in town.  That said, Righteous Indignation and Brave Defiance were expected of the distressed damsel characters in this sort of melodrama.  Finally, Sally's biometric sensors might be able to read Cynthia's physiological reactions like the proverbial book, but that didn't mean she shouldn't give her artificial friend grief.  "You're a traitor," Cynthia muttered.

"And you hate me," Sally purred.  "Yes, I know."

Cynthia rolled her eyes as she sliced an apple and some Gruyere cheese into bite-sized wedges, arranged them on a small plate, and added them to the tray.   She considered donning her hunter-green cook's apron before returning to the living room, but decided that was too much Brave Defiance.  She lifted the tray, heaved a tragic sigh, while still suppressing a smile, and returned to the living room.

The scene was unchanged.  Tori was lounging in the chair and Kim was sitting on the floor.  Cynthia set the tray on the coffee table.

Tori reached into her gym bag, produced two coils of the same silver-white rope binding Kim in her tight box tie, tossed them to Cynthia, and nodded towards Kim.  "Frog tie," she ordered, "and make sure those pretty high heels stay on her feet."

Cynthia glared at Tori in mock disgust.  "You want me to tie her up."  It was an observation, not a question.

Smiling her infuriating, gloating smile, Tori shrugged.  "You're the hostess."

Cynthia stomped to Kim, knelt beside her, and used one of the coils to bind the brunette's nylon-clad right ankle to her right upper thigh.  "Sorry about this," she muttered as she cinched the rope between Kim's ankle and thigh, pulled out the slack, and tied a quick knot.  She then used the remaining free ends to bind Kim's shoe to her foot.  She tightened a doubled band of rope under the heel and across Kim's instep, then cinched it through the existing rope nexus and securing it with a neat, flat square knot.

Kim watched as her left ankle, thigh, and instep received identical treatment.  She wasn't mad at Cynthia.  Tori was the villainess, for purposes of the current game.  Cynthia was her fellow damsel.

"Catch," Tori said as Cynthia finished.  She'd reached into the gym bag and pulled out a torpedo style vibrator, which she now tossed to Cynthia.

Cynthia caught the vibrator, turned the pink plastic cylinder in her hand and gazed at its rounded tip.  Kim was also examining the vibrator.  "What do you expect me to do with this?" Cynthia huffed.  (As if she didn't know.)

"I expect you to be the perfect hostess and entertain your guest," Tori purred.

Cynthia shifted her frown to Kim, who stared back at her "hostess."

"Make it nice and slow, Little Mouse," Tori said.  "There's no rush. We have all night."

Cynthia heaved a deep, sad sigh, her eyes still locked with Kim's.  It was getting very difficult to suppress the smile struggling to curl her bow lips, but she managed.  "I'm sorry, Kimberly," she whispered.  "She's making me."

Kim managed to stay in character and not roll her eyes.  This wouldn't be the first time her computer-geek colleague had extracted an orgasm from her bound and helpless body.  And on more than one occasion, Kim had returned the favor.

Cynthia clicked the vibrator to its "low" setting, then squirmed and shuffled until she was embracing Kim from behind with her right leg across the bound and gagged captive's right thigh and her left arm across Kim's chest and cupping her right breast.  "I'm really, really sorry," she whispered in her friend's left ear, then used the business end of the buzzing missile to tease Kim's thighs and tummy, slowly spiraling in on her flushed pussy.

Kim shivered in Cynthia's embrace and forced a quiet, whining moan through her invisible gag.  Her fingers fluttered, brushing against her fellow damsel's nipples.

Cynthia bit her lower lip and suppressed a shiver of her own.  The smile was slipping past her resolve and she could feel her cheeks dimpling.  She continued sliding the vibrator up and down Kim's labia.

Tori stood, removed her jacket and tossed it aside, poured herself a glass of Chardonnay, and sat back down.  She sipped the cool wine and watched naked, tiny Cynthia tease her taller, bound and gagged friend's pussy.  "It's good to be the top," she sighed, then took another sip of wine.

Chapter 6

One hour later, Kim was still panel gagged (with panty stuffing), box tied, frog tied, and was weakly writhing on the living room floor.  The scarf she'd worn on her head for the trek to Cynthia's bungalow was now folded into a narrow bandage and tied as a blindfold over her eyes and hair.  Also, a crotch rope had been added to her bondage and the torpedo tucked under the pussy-cleaving strands, across the top margin of her pubic bush, and secured with a small cable-tie.  It buzzed on "medium," sending waves of titillating energy down the rope, between Kim's labia, across her anus, and up between her butt-cheeks.

Tori was still in the easy chair, but now Cynthia was sitting on her lap.  Little Mouse was still naked.

And in one additional, not-so-minor detail: Tori and Cynthia were sucking face.  They ran their hands over each others bodies and generally made out, doing what J-Lou would have called "snogging."  Tori had kicked off her shoes and shrugged out of her shoulder holster and at some point Cynthia had unbuttoned Tori's blouse.  Cynthia's hands slid under said blouse and explored Tori's bra covered breasts, even as Tori gently squeezed and caressed Cynthia's naked breasts.  Lips smacked and sucked and tongues probed and slid together.  Teeth gently nibbled earlobes and tongues licked the side of necks.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

It wasn't an unpleasant way to pass an hour, although Kim might have had a different opinion.

Finally, the kiss ended.  Still cuddling and foreheads touching, Cynthia and Tori exchanged smiles.

"More wine?" Cynthia asked, and Tori nodded.  Cynthia planted a quick kiss, then climbed off the blond's lap and refilled the two used glasses.  Kim's glass remained on the tray, clean and unused.  Cynthia returned to Tori's lap and handed her a glass.  They sipped wine, then the shared smile resumed.

"Any more cheese?" Tori asked.

Cynthia shook her head.  "You ate it all."  She sipped her wine, again.  "So... what now?"

"I thought I'd tie you to your bed and we could not get some sleep," Tori purred.

Cynthia nodded towards Kim.  "We can't leave her like that."

Tori shrugged.  "So... turn the vibrator on high, then I'll tie you to your bed."

Cynthia favored Tori with a disapproving moue and shook her head.  "Not nice, and more importantly, not fair.  If you weren't such a chicken, you'd untie her and we'd start the game over."

"Start the game over?"

"I have a deck of cards around here somewhere," Cynthia said.  "We can draw cards to see who's on top... and begin the game again."

"As if I couldn't handle both of you at once," Tori chuckled.

"But then you wouldn't get to test yourself, Blondie," Cynthia purred.  "And we all know how much you enjoy testing yourself."  She kissed Tori's smiling lips.  "Or... Kim remains on the bottom, you and I draw cards, and we see which one of us joins her."

"Or," Tori said, "I could tuck you under one arm and carry you to the bedroom, kicking and screaming."

Cynthia smiled and kissed Tori's lips, again.  "Chicken."

Tori returned the kiss, then gazed at Cynthia's smiling face for several seconds.  "Get the cards," she said, finally.

Cynthia giggled like a girl and jumped off Tori's lap, being careful not to spill her wine.  She drained the glass and set it on the tray, then padded to a cabinet, opened a drawer, and returned with a box of playing cards.  She removed the deck from the box and set the neat stack of cards on the coffee table.  Tori sat up straight, leaned forward, and cut the deck.  Smiling sweetly, Cynthia shuffled the deck, five times, returned the cards to the table, and fanned the deck.

Tori reached out and pulled a card from the fan, keeping it face down.  Cynthia drew a card of her own.  There was the proverbial pregnant pause... and they simultaneously turned their cards.

The results were:  Tori—the ten of clubs.  Cynthia—the queen of hearts.

Cynthia smiled at her guest.

Tori smiled at her hostess.  "Best two out of three?" she offered.

Cynthia's smile broadened, and she shook her head.

Chapter 6


Chapter 5
Chapter 7