||by Van ©2021||
|OUR STORY CONTINUES
There are two "best" ways to get to St. Ignatius Island from out of state: (1) fly into LAX, rent a set of wheels, and drive; or (2) fly into San Francisco International (SFO), rent a set of wheels, and drive. Option one is a little quicker, but option two is arguably more of a scenic drive. The Corbyn sisters would be footing the bill, either way, so it was more or less a tossup. More correctly, it would have been a tossup if the four former roommates had been the ones making the decision. Their travel itineraries had been dictated by Paige-the-lovable-tyrant. She'd made all the arrangements. Tickets/boarding passes had been waiting for the travelers at the appropriate airports on the specified date, and the soon to be guests/competitors converged on... San Francisco International Airport.
▬▬▬ TEAM ALICE ▬▬▬
▬▬ TEAM CHELSEA ▬▬
The designated rendezvous point was the Bourbon Pub restaurant near Harvey Milk Terminal 1. First to arrive was Ivy Holiday (Team Alice), and she turned a lot of heads in the process. The African-American beauty always turned heads. Ivy arranged for a booth, explaining that she was the first of a party of four—but before the waitress could seat her, Sophie Stanis (Team Chelsea) arrived.
The sort of squealing, hugging reunion not uncommon at an airport ensued... then the smiling waitress led Ivy and the equally stunning (meaning excessively cute) Sophie to a booth and took their drink orders.
Both travelers were wearing light-weight summer dresses and burdened by only a single compact carry-on bag. Like their fellow roommates/team-members yet to arrive, they were well aware that one of the perks of a vacation at St. Ignatius Island was a full wardrobe provided by their hostesses. Everything from formal wear to hiking outfits to swimsuits to nighties would be provided. There was no need to pack anything but the most essential of essentials. It fact, it was one of Paige-the-tyrant's mandates: no luggage!
It didn't take long for Ivy and Sophie to catch up on the year's events.
Ivy was a freelance reporter, had published several well-received articles, in print and online, and had done a couple of on-air guest spots on various national programs. She was hopeful that by this time next year she'd be a TV regular (or semi-regular).
Sophie was a barrista, or more precisely, a barrista/manager. Her specialty was decorative foam, meaning crafting lattés with attractive patterns on top. Long term, she was eyeing the possibility of opening her very own coffee establishment. Time would tell.
The friends nursed their drinks... waited... ordered a plate of nachos... then waited some more.
Finally (and more-or-less-on-schedule), vacationers three and four emerged from the passing stream of travelers, more or less together, and waved at Ivy and Sophie. They were:
Betty Cho (Team Alice), and Ripley Deerfield (Team Chelsea).
▬▬▬ TEAM ALICE ▬▬▬
▬▬ TEAM CHELSEA ▬▬
Another round of squealing and hugging ensued, bringing smiles to the lips of both the surrounding restaurant customers and passersby out in the main terminal. The newcomers settled in, drinks were ordered (and reordered) and the last of the nachos consumed. The party agreed they might was well have lunch before claiming their rental car, so when the waitress returned with their drinks, food was ordered.
Ivy ordered a club sandwich and prudently switched to ice water. (It hadn't yet been decided who would be driving the rental car.)
Sophie ordered a salad and also switched to ice water.
Betty earns her living as a graphic artist and her heritage is one quarter Korean and three-quarters European, with brown hair, brown eyes, stunning features, a warm smile, a fit and shapely body, and she was rocking a delightful, lightweight summer dress in a floral print. She ordered a Reuben sandwich with fries and a diet Pepsi.
Ripley's heritage is half Irish/half English, and like Betty, she has brown hair, brown eyes, was very cute, and had a fit and shapely body. As for attire... Ripley was not a Goth. Granted, she was currently wearing a black skirt, black blouse, and carrying a black jacket, but she also had a healthy tan, even a few freckles. Ripley is a successful writer with three well-received novels under her belt, and is not a Goth. She ordered a bacon-cheeseburger, fries, and a diet root beer. I ask you, would a Goth order a bacon-cheeseburger, fries, and a diet root beer?
"Still Goth, I see," Sophie teased Ripley as they waited for their food.
"Still a blond airhead, I see," Ripley countered.
Betty and Ivy shared a tolerant smile. "Still bickering like a pair of seagulls fighting over a French fry, I see." Betty purred.
Sophie and Ripley shared a smile of their own, then did their best seagull imitations. "Awk! Awk! Awk!"
The four friends laughed, then resumed chatting about recent developments in their lives. A few minutes later the food arrived and lunch happened.
|| Chapter 2
It turned out the car waiting at the rental agency wasn't a car. It was an SUV, specifically, a black Ford Expedition with tinted windows, the sort of thing FBI agents on assignment might rent, assuming everything at the local field office motor pool was spoken for. Also, it was a luxury model with all the bells and whistles, such as a sliding sunroof and state-of-the-art entertainment system.
There was a package addressed to all four vacationers waiting at the counter. The clerk explained it had been couriered to the agency with instructions to be held for the addressees.
Ivy signed for the car and the package (being a take-charge kind of gal) and the quartet was led to their vehicle. They did the walk-around inspection, verified that the gas tank was full, the clerk handed over the key/transponder, wished them a pleasant journey, and left them to start their journey.
The package was a surprise. The vacationers waited eagerly (apprehensively) to see what Paige had sent them. Ivy was behind the wheel with the package in her hands, Ripley was to her right, in shotgun position, and Betty and Sophie were in the two throne-like swivel-chairs directly behind. Their four bags were resting on the bench seat behind Betty and Sophie.
"If you aren't going to open it," Sophie muttered, "hand it over."
"Stifle yourself," Ivy responded.
"Here," Ripley said as she handed Ivy a tiny pink Swiss Army Knife with a blade, nail file, scissors, etc. (I ask you, would a Goth carry a pink Swiss Army Knife with a blade, nail file, scissors, etc.?)
She used the blade to slice open the package and (eventually) expose the contents. They were:
● One white business-size envelope neatly labelled "INSTRUCTIONS" in neat, handwritten block letters.
● Two neatly folded purple bandanas.
● Two neatly folded green bandanas.
● Four chrome-plated steel handcuffs of the folding variety, as opposed to the linked-by-chain variety.
● One pair of handcuff keys.
"This doesn't look good," Betty muttered under her breath.
"We're starting early this year?" Sophie inquired (whined), "before we even get there? Before we get a nice relaxing swim in the pool?"
"Hang on," Ivy said. She'd opened the envelope and was reading the single sheet of neatly printed paper enclosed.
All four recognized the significance of the colors of the bandanas: Green meant Team Alice, and purple meant Team Chelsea.
"Apparently," Ivy drawled.
"Apparently what?" Ripley inquired.
Ivy rolled her eyes. "Apparently we're starting early this year, before we even get there and before we get a chance to swim in the pool." She continued reading.
Ivy's companions waited patiently... for a few seconds.
"Well?" Betty demanded.
"It's not part of the competition," Ivy explained "It's a warmup, to get us in the mood."
Sophie frowned. "How can we drive to the island if we're in handcuffs?"
"And gagged?" Ripley added, noted her friends' expressions and rolled her eyes. "Obviously, the bandanas are meant for gags."
"Obviously," Betty chuckled.
Ripley stuck out her tongue in retaliation.
"If only there was some manner in which we could fully ascertain Paige's intentions," Ivy drawled, then gave the paper in her hands a shake.
"Yeah," Sophie agreed, glaring at Ripley. "Shut up and let her talk."
Ripley was outraged. "You're the one that—"
"Shut up, the both of you," Betty admonished Team Chelsea, then nodded at her teammate.
Ivy continued reading.... (to herself).
"Aloud would be nice," Betty chided Ivy with a smile.
"No need," Ivy grinned. "I'll summarize. To wit..." She folded the paper and returned it to the envelope. "Each team is to designate a Binder and a Bindee. Then, each Binder is to use the provided supplies to secure the opposing Bindee for the duration of the drive." She smiled at Betty. "Obviously, I'm the Purple Binder," she stated.
Betty gasped in outrage. "Why should I be the Bindee?" she huffed.
Ivy's smile widened and she indicated the SUV's steering wheel with a graceful gesture. "I'm driving."
"I can drive," Betty objected.
"Not if you're gagged and in handcuffs," Ivy countered, still smiling.
"She's got you there," Sophie chuckled.
"Yeah," Ripley chuckled, then focused on Sophie with laser intensity. "Dibs!" she announced.
Sophie frowned in confusion. "Uh... dibs on what?"
"Dibs," Ripley reiterated. "I'm the Green Binder, which makes you the Green Bindee."
"Not fair!" Sophie whined.
"Right off the bat you called me a Goth," Ripley said primly, "inflicting egregious emotional harm on my psyche and for no good reason. And after promising you were gonna stop doing that last year. I claim Binder status as just compensation."
"I meant last year," Sophie sniffed, "not calling you a Goth for the rest of last year. This is this year."
Ivy and Betty watched the exchange with tolerant amusement, their own team dispute forgotten.
"Oh, in that case," Ripley continued, "never mind... but I'm still the Green Binder."
"That sounds like a really lame superhero," Betty chuckled. "The Green Binder!"
"Said the Purple Bindee," Sophie chuckled.
"Said the Green Bindee," Ivy purred.
Sophie and Betty locked eyes and shared a truly heartbreaking sigh. "So unfair," Sophie declaimed. Betty nodded in agreement.
Protected by distance and the Expedition's tinted windows and therefore unseen by the rental agency staff or the other customers... the Green and Purple Binders pounced on their respective prey.
|| Chapter 2
The Expedition rolled out of the rental agency and towards Highway 101. Ivy was, indeed, doing the driving, Ripley remained in the front passenger seat, and Sophie and Betty remained in the throne-like middle seats—and just to be clear, Sophie and Betty had absolutely no choice but to remain in the middle seats. Their wrists were cuffed behind their backs and their ankles cuffed together. Also, in full compliance with the California traffic code, their shoulder/lap belts were secured across their waists and shoulders in the proper manner.
In addition, the Purple and Green Binders had improvised, but only after a spirited discussion.
"It says 'using the materials provided,'" Sophie stated, nodding at Paige's neatly printed instructions resting on the SUV's dashboard.
"Yeah!" Betty agreed. "Which means only the materials provided."
"No it doesn't," Ripley countered. "It's basic set theory."
"There's no implication of exclusivity," Ivy agreed, nodding and smiling.
Sophie and Betty exchanged yet another tragic sigh.
"So unfair," Sophie stated.
"The union of unjustifiable and unscrupulous," Betty agreed.
It was largely a moot point anyway. The Bindees' wrists and ankles were already cuffed behind their backs and together (respectively), and their lap/shoulder belts secured, so they could do nothing to prevent what was happening, no matter how unjustified, unprincipled, and downright nefarious the Binders' actions might be.
All four travelers were wearing stylish, low-cut shoes designed for traveling in comfort (Sketchers®, Nikes®, etc.)—or, in the case of Sophie and Betty—they had been.
It wasn't at all clear which Binder had thought of it first, but Ivy and Ripley had removed their "victims'" shoes and underlying anklets. This made two pairs of shoelaces available for bondage duty. It also wasn't entirely clear which Binder first thought of using a shoelace to bind her Bindee's big toes together, but both Sophie and Betty's biggest piggies had met the same lace-restrained fate. As for the remaining two laces:
Ivy had used Sophie's second lace to bind her bound toes to the base of her seat. The disgruntled blonde's bare feet, cuffed ankles, and legs had significant slack, allowing occasional comfort movements, but Sophie kung-fu kicking her kidnapper was now out of the question.
Riley had used Betty's second lace to lash her feet together, midway between her toes and heels, then used the ends to link her bound toes to her ankle-cuffs. Betty's bare feet were not tethered to the base of her chair, but they were under more stringent control. Apparently, Riley was unconcerned about Betty's kung-fu.
This left the issue of gags. Logically, the Binders could use one bandana for stuffing and the other for a cleave gag. Or, they could use one as a cleave-gag (knotted or unknotted) and the other as a reinforcing over-the-mouth gag. Or, they could use one as a cleave-gag and the other as a blindfold. Or, in the spirit of shoelace improvisation, the Binders could stuff their panties in their respective Bindee's mouths, tie one bandana as a cleave-gag, and use the other as a... whatever.
However, there was a serious problem: safety.
"No," Ivy had said, back at the rental agency and shaking her head. "What if they get carsick?"
"Carsick?" Sophie had objected. "I haven't gotten carsick since I was three years old. Hey, watch it!" Her last remark had been an objection to Betty using her cuffed but not tethered bare feet to deliver a moderate kick to the outraged blonde's bare legs.
"We both explicitly concur that we should not be gagged," Betty explained, "because of the ever-looming threat of carsickness." She was glaring at her fellow prisoner.
"Oh, right," Sophie agreed sheepishly. "What she said."
"But Paige's instructions were to use everything," Ripley pointed out. "Obviously, that means the bandanas and the handcuffs."
"Blindfolds?" Ivy suggested.
"And ruin their view of beautiful California as it whizzes past?" Ripley turned and gazed at the captives.
Sophie and Betty gazed back (casually).
"That would be mean," Ivy conceded, also gazing at the Bindees.
"I know," Ripley said, her lips curling in a warm (evil) smile. "We'll use one bandana as a style statement, to determine who can arrange the best neck-scarf, head-scarf, etc."
"And the second bandana?" Ivy inquired.
Ripley's smile became unmistakably evil.
|| Chapter 2
Some time later, the SUV was rolling southwest on San Mateo Road, approaching the outskirts of Half Moon Bay and the Pacific coast. The vacationers were, indeed, taking the scenic route to St. Ignatius Island, and who could blame them?
Ivy was doing the driving, as had been agreed, with Ripley to her right and serving as navigator. Both were wearing sunglasses and smiling, obviously enjoying the passing scenery.
Sophie and Betty remained buckled (and in the case of Sophie, toe-tethered) in the middle seats. They were also wearing shades, but they were not smiling. Both damsels' mouths were stuffed with wadded bandanas, purple for Sophie and green for Betty. There were no cleave-gags or any other physical compulsion to keep the stuffings in place. The prisoners were voluntarily keeping the wads where they'd been placed by their captors, and thanks to a rule proposal made by the Green Binder and enthusiastically agreed to by the Purple binder, they had no choice. The rule was: the first damsel to expel the stuffing from her big mouth would forfeit the competition for her team. Thus Ripley solved the carsickness conundrum. Any damsel who felt the need to hurl was "free" to do so, but at the cost of letting down her team.
Ripley was quite proud of herself, as had been abundantly clear as she compacted and crammed the green bandana into Betty's pouting mouth. It was a truly disgusting display of gloating pride. Of course, Ivy hadn't been any more understanding when it was her turn to plug Sophie's pouting mouth with a purple bandana. The villainesses in the front seats continued smiling and being overtly pleased with themselves.
As for the remaining two bandanas, Ivy and Ripley had ruthlessly inflicted style on their respective victims!
Ivy had narrowly folded the purple bandana point-to-point, then tied it around Sophie's neck with a carefully compacted square-knot, leaving the free ends dangling to the left. The blonde was the very picture of Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, in a glowering, cheek-bulging sort of way. Granted, the cotton bandana wasn't a silk scarf, but it was close enough.
As for Riley, she had also folded her remaining bandana point-to-point, but had then draped it over Betty's left shoulder and tied a knot on her right. It was très chic, or so Riley had insisted, and Ivy agreed. Whatever the bound and voluntarily gagged victims thought of either fashion statement was absorbed by the wads of crumpled cotton crammed in their yaps.
Ripley turned and smiled at the middle-seat passengers. Despite the sunglasses, she could tell Sophie and Betty were glowering in return. "Aren't they cute," Ripley sighed, "like a couple of disgruntled chipmunks."
"Disgruntled chipmunks," Ivy chuckled. "Because of their round cheeks?"
"And their cute little crinkled noses," Ripley purred.
The "chipmunks" in question continued glowering at their captors. Sophie tugged on her cuffs and twisted her bound bare feet in frustration. Betty didn't bother.
"Which do you prefer?" Ivy inquired, "feisty or Gwendoline?"
Ripley favored Ivy with a raised eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
Ivy nodded to the rear. "Those two are doing credible 'Feisty Damsels.' A 'Gwendoline' is meek and docile. She might struggle against the ropes or whine through her gag, but she does it without spirit. She's a total submissive, which is boring, as far as I'm concerned."
"I get you," Ripley nodded. "Anyway, Feisty... definitely Feisty."
"A total Gwendoline has her place," Ivy suggested, "as a change of pace now and then."
"Now and then." Ripley smiled at Sophie. "Blondie can do a credible Gwendoline, when she's in the mood."
Sophie redoubled her glowering disapproval, or tried to, anyway. Once you're feisty, you're feisty, and the sunglasses weren't making the task of communicating her advanced state of petulance any easier. She considered throwing a full-blown bound and voluntarily gagged hissy-fit, but Paige might deduct style points if she showed up at the island with bruises or cuff-cuts on her wrists and/or ankles. It was... frustrating.
The ride continued in silence for a few miles... then, once again, Ivy spoke.
"I think it was kind of Paige to arrange for this little interlude," Ivy announced.
Ripley was skeptical. "Kind? She did it so she could imagine us tooling down the highway with a pair of bound and gagged kidnap victims being helplessly transported to their unknown and possibly horrible fates... not knowing what awaited them... unable to escape."
Ivy favored her fellow Binder with a wry smile. "Overly melodramatic much?" she inquired.
"I'm serious," Ripley objected. "You don't think The Red Tyrant appreciates a good damsel-in-distress fantasy? Even when it's real?"
"Especially when it's real," Ivy chuckled. "I'm just saying it was kind of her to do this for us, the designated Binders."
"But she had no idea who would be a Binder and who would be a Bindee," Ripley pointed out.
Ivy shook her head. "It doesn't matter. She knew she was setting this up for two of us, and she cares for all of us. It was kind. It helps us relax from our plane rides and enjoy the scenery while putting us in the proper mood for the games to come."
"For two of us, anyway," Ripley purred, sharing a smile with Ivy.
Sophie and Betty shared a look of loathing and disgust. Clearly, their situation was grossly unfair, as well as unkind. They could hardly wait until the roles were reversed, until the Binders were the Bindees and the Bindees were the Binders, and it was only a matter of time until that happened.
Betty glanced to the side and noticed a California Highway Patrol cruiser passing in the fast lane. She could see no indication the officer behind the wheel had even looked in their direction. Ivy was driving a couple of miles above the speed limit, but was keeping station with the flow of traffic. The odds of being pulled over were slim and none, but that didn't keep Betty's heart from skipping a beat. As she watched, the CHiP pulled away... and eventually faded into the distance. She glanced at her fellow captive and realized Sophie hadn't noticed the passage of their potential rescuer/game-spoiler.
A pity, Betty thought. Despite being a blonde, Sophie was neither a ditz nor an airhead, but she did have an entertaining Pathetic Damsel routine.
The journey continued.
|| Chapter 2