This story was inspired
by the work of the supremely talented and imaginative graphic
to whom it is respectfully dedicated.
ninety-seven story skyscraper of bronze, mirrored glass, dubbed
the "Payne Tower" by the Chicago press, is the world
headquarters of the PAYNECOM entertainment empire and houses the
powerful conglomerate's corporate offices, the administrative
offices of its many television programs and movie productions,
as well as the offices of a handful of affiliated studios.
A dizzying number of smartly dressed men and women come and go
through the vast lobby on the business side of the building on a
daily basis, and there's a second lobby on the opposite
side of the block serving a world class luxury hotel and its
many restaurants and nightclubs.
Papparazi lurk around the hotel entrance at all hours, hoping to
capture the arrival or departure of celebrity guests. The
veterans among them know to operate from across the street,
however much that limits their access. Novice papparazo
learn the hard way that when their cameras get too close to the
hotel's front doors, they had a tendency to break, and if the
newbies try sneaking into the lobby itself, hotel security very
politely but firmly give them "the bum's rush." If they
persist, they discover that neither the Chicago police nor the
Cook County Attorney's office are sympathetic to their cause.
Security on both the business and hotel sides of the
tower is formidable and effective, and increasingly so as one
ascends towards the clouds. The top floors—the most
executive of the executive offices and the most expensive,
luxurious, and exclusive of the hotel suites and nightclubs—are
about as secure as anyplace on earth not dedicated to espionage,
war plans, or nuclear launch codes. And that includes the
uppermost stories, the private work-spaces and penthouse apartments of
the Payne sisters, the majority stockholders of the corporations
that comprise the PAYNECOM empire.
There are three Payne sisters: Dominique, the 50-something
the 40-something middle sister—and Penelope, the 40-something "baby" of
the family. All three are involved in PAYNECOM's
day-to-day operations, but Dominique is in charge. In
fact, Dominique rules PAYNECOM like a medieval despot. A
joke among the staff (shared in hushed tones) is that the devil wears Prada
and reports to Dominique Payne. In the Payne Tower it's a
given that Sorcha is Dominique's most trusted adviser,
but not so well known is that Penelope is the creative genius
shepherding many of PAYNECOM's most popular and lucrative
productions. That said, Dominique is unequivocally in
At the moment, Dominique was in her "ceremonial office," four
stories below the penthouse levels. It was a large,
severely Modern, open space with a glass desk, a comfortable,
throne-like office chair, and a spectacular ceiling to floor
vista of the Chicago skyline. She was dressed in her usual
"working uniform," a little black dress (LDB) from her extensive
collection, all hideously expensive and custom tailored to her
svelte, firm, athletic but very feminine body. Her hair
was closely cropped in a finger-length pixie and was its natural
silver color. This was something of a trademark for
Dominique. Without question she was beautiful, not
beautiful for 50-something, but beautiful for a woman of any
Dominique's desk was "smart," a massive touchscreen linked to
management software bordering on artificial intelligence, and
Dominique played the system like a virtuoso piano, her fingers
tapping and gliding, opening folders, viewing videos, and
annotating memos. In addition to the open windows and
virtual documents on display, several icons jockeyed for her attention,
color-coded by priority. Two of the icons flashed to red
and began to shake.
Dominique smiled and tapped each of the wiggling icons in turn,
placing one on "acknowledged hold," then dismissing the
second. It had notified her that a meeting in progress required
her personal attention. Still smiling, she rose from her
throne-like chair and left the office.
Dominique passed junior executives, male and female, all of them
smartly dressed. They bowed respectfully and backed
against the glass, marble, and wood-paneled walls of the
corridor, their eyes respectfully downcast as the Boss-of-Bosses
breezed past. She came to a closed steel door, paused to
gaze into a binocular retinal scanner, and the door slid
open. She crossed the threshold into another corridor, and
the door whisked closed behind her.
The tone of the wood, the color of the plush carpeting
underfoot, and the shade of marble cladding some of the walls were
darker than on the other side of the door, but the decor was
just as tasteful and expensive. All of that was
cosmetic. Greater changes were the
reduced number of people hurrying about and the manner of dress
of a select few.
Most were dressed for business, indistinguishable from their
fellow employees on the far side of the steel door; however, a
number wore what amounted to black uniforms, leather and spandex
unitards with boots, elbow and knee pads, and utility belts with
holstered tasers and/or pistols. The cat-suited security
guards—and clearly they were security guards—were male
and female, and all moved with the athletic grace of trained
martial artists. Finally, a decided minority of those
present were in some way restrained, as well as, to varying
One such female, a cute, twenty-something youngster with short,
curly brown hair, wore black high-heeled pumps, sheer, dark
pantyhose, a black pencil-skirt, and a white, long-sleeve cotton
blouse. She also wore a wide steel collar attached to the
center of a horizontal steel bar and with a steel wrist-cuff at
either end. The homage to Maggie Gyllenhaal's famous scene
in Secretary was unmistakable; however this particular
administrative assistant's predicament was even kinkier.
The front of her skirt was hiked up and held that way by a
chastity belt of thin black leather straps, cinched tight enough
to cleave her panties and pantyhose-clad labia. Also, her
blouse was unbuttoned along its entire length and the tails tied
together behind her back, baring her firm breasts.
Finally, a tight muzzle-gag of chamois-thin leather compressed
her lips, cupped her chin, and was tightly buckled at the nape
of her neck. She paused to bow as Dominique passed, then
minced away on her precarious heels.
Another was a tall, decidedly male, thirty-something executive
with a glowering (and frightened), handsome face partially
hidden by a tight gag similar to the one silencing the departing
secretary. He was dressed in an expensive tailored suit,
white shirt, and red power tie; however, he seemed to have
misplaced his shoes, socks, trousers, and boxers or
briefs. From the waist down, he was completely
naked. His arms were bound behind his back, encased in an
arm-binder of black leather. Oh-by-the-way, the smartly
half-dressed gentleman's penis and testicles were locked in a
stainless steel, form-fitting cage secured by a tiny, dangling
padlock. In addition, a light chain of nested steel links,
suitable for taking a toy poodle for a walk, dangled from the
tip of the penis-cage.
One of the female, cat-suited guards—with delicate, high cheeked, Asian
features and a
severe, dark-brown ponytail—held the black loop at the other end of the leash.
She bowed as Dominique approached. "Mistress—"
Dominique silenced the Asian with a smile and a gesture.
"I got your message, Xin," she purred. "Hand off Mr. Smith
to one of your subordinates and then find me and give a full
"Yes, Mistress," the Asian (who apparently was named Xin)
acknowledged with another bow. She watched as her elegant,
beautiful mistress strolled away down the
corridor. Finding Dominique again would not be a
problem. Xin had the highest clearance of all of
PAYNECOM's "Special Security Cadre." The tower's
computerized system would instantly answer her future inquiry
regarding Dominique's location. She gave the leash in her
hand a callous jerk—causing her prisoner to wince in pain—and stepped off.
Mr. Smith had no choice but to follow.
security/privacy light above the door of the conference room
winked from red (locked/private) to green (unlocked/public) and
the door whisked open. Dominique crossed the threshold,
the door whisked closed behind her, and the light returned to
The room's two occupants, Sorcha Payne and Audrey Klein, turned
in their chairs as Dominique entered. Both were attractive
40-something women dressed in identical black dresses
superficially similar to Dominique's LBD. The garments'
lower hems came to their mid thighs and hugged their perfectly
proportioned and well-endowed bodies. There were cutouts
for their shoulders and another providing a peekaboo glimpse of
the upper curves of their breasts, but the dresses' most unique
features were the half-sleeves that tightly encased their upper
arms from their armpits to their elbows. It might not be
immediately obvious to the casual observer, but each sleeve was
sewn to the body of the dress along its entire length. As
long as Sorcha and Audrey remained zipped into their respective
LBD's, their arms would permanently pinned to their sides.
And the zippers in question were not only impossible for them to
reach with their upper arms fixed to their sides, but the
zipper-fobs were secured by tiny heart-shaped padlocks
positioned between their shoulder blades.
"Well?" Dominique purred as she stepped to the head of the
conference table and settled into the large throne-like chair
reserved for her use. "I assume you've finally acquiesced
to our position and we can move forward with
production?" She was addressing Audrey, the senior partner
of Klein Studios, an independent studio with offices in the
"No," I haven't acquiesced," Audrey huffed. "Klein
takes all the risk and PAYNECOM walks away with half
the profits? It was unacceptable last week and it's still
unacceptable." She tossed her glowering head, flipping
an errant curl of her chestnut-brown hair from her face.
Sorcha cleared her throat. "Ahem. I've suggested
that we may be able to trade a little of the back end
for favorable terms on some future project," she suggested,
Dominique silenced her sister with a raised hand. "I see
the problem." She focused on Audrey. "You've still
not learned what it means to be a team player." She
shifted her smile to Sorcha. "And you lack the
dedication to carry negotiations through to the required
conclusion. I'm afraid additional motivation is
Sorcha heaved a sigh. "Dominique," she whined in
Audrey continued her icy stare as Dominique rose from her chair,
walked to a cabinet, and produced a ball-gag and a "Gwen-hood,"
a black latex hood with a small opening for a ponytail in the
back and a larger opening in the front for the wearer's upper
face. "You can't simply kidnap your business
associates when they won't roll over for you," Audrey
"Apparently—" Dominique jerked the ball-gag's strap and
secured its buckle, tight enough to make Audrey's cheeks bulge
above the rubber sphere now filling her mouth. "—I
can." She slipped the hood over Audrey's head, pulled her
hair back and tucked it into the ponytail-opening, zipped the
hood closed, then closed and buckled the hood's integrated
collar around Audrey's neck and secured it with another tiny
padlock. She then took hold of Audrey's ponytail and
not-so-gently lifted her from her chair.
"Mrrrf!" Audrey complained as Dominique turned her around,
unzipped a flap in the back of her dress, folded her arms behind
her back until they were tucked forearm-to-forearm against her
spine, then zipped the flap closed and secured it with yet
another tiny padlock. This was an additional "unusual"
feature of the dress design with which Audrey was already all
too familiar. There were other zippers hidden in the LBD's
folded pleats, and she knew what was probably coming next.
Resistance was not only useless but would probably lead to
Sorcha watched as her sister unzipped a horizontal zipper
running completely around Audrey's waist... then pulled the
lower half of the dress down the bound, gagged, and hooded
executive's long, tan, sexy legs. Sorcha knew her dress
had identical hidden zippers. Would she be next? Was
Big Sister going to humiliate and punish her in the
same manner? They'd discussed the contract negotiations in
detail before today's session, so Dominique was well aware of
Audrey's recalcitrance, and Sorcha had promised to do her
best. The problem was, of course, that Dominique didn't
need an excuse to be a bitch. Was Sorcha in trouble?
It all depended on Big Sister's mood.
Audrey was now naked from the waist down, but the dress had one
more hidden surprise, a surprise that was also not a surprise
for Audrey. Smiling the same evil smile, Dominique
released two additional horizontal zippers, one running above
Audrey's breasts... and the other below. This freed an
elliptical cloth panel that included the peekaboo-boob
cutout. It also freed Audrey's firm, shapely, generous
(but not huge), and now fully exposed breasts.
What had been an LBD was now a box-tie arm-binder of silky black
cloth. Audrey was now, for all practical purposes, naked,
dressed only in black pumps with precariously high heels, the
black cloth arm-binder, and the shining black latex hood.
She stared daggers at Dominique but didn't bother testing her
restraints. She'd been helpless all day, helpless the day
before, and helpless the day before that. And she
knew she'd continue to be helpless until she caved to
Dominique's demands and signed yet another unfavorable contract.
Sorcha heaved another sigh, then focused on her big
sister. The moment of truth—her moment of
truth—had arrived. Would Dominique also transform her LBD?
Dominique savored the fear in her sibling's eyes for several
seconds... then turned and strolled towards the conference room
door. "Xin's people will be along to escort you both to
one of the penthouse parties in an hour or three." The
door opened and she paused in the threshold to smile at
Audrey. "I certainly hope my more inebriated guests don't
grope your delicious body as thoroughly as they did during the
last two parties. It's your own fault, of course, for
being so... unreasonable."
The door closed and the light above winked from green to red.
Sorcha turned to Audrey. "She sort of has a point," she
sighed. "Just sign the damn contract, Audrey. I'll
do my best to get you better terms for the next production."
Audrey's eyes were still angry. She knew Sorcha was
sympathetic to her cause, but she refused to stand up to her
tyrant of a big sister. Audrey stomped back to her chair
and sat, settling in to wait for the arrival of Xin's goons.
strode down the hallway, her hips swinging with every step and a
smile curling her lips. Tormenting beautiful women like
Audrey always lifted her spirits. She paused at an
elevator to peer into a retinal scanner and the door whisked
open. She entered the car, tapped a code into a small
touch-screen, and the car descended seven floors.
After another brief stroll down another corridor with dark
carpeting and paneling, she opened another steel door also
protected by a retinal-scanner, then entered a space that was
dimly lit, except for the area directly beneath a bank of
brightly shining spotlights. Bathed in their light was
Dominique's kid sister, Penelope, reclined full-length on her
back on a stainless steel table on wheels.
The most junior Payne sister was naked, except for a wide strip
of medical tape sealing her lips and covering her lower face
from nose to chin and ear to ear. Her body was decidedly
fit, feminine, and curvaceous; her skin fair, firm, and
smooth. Penelope was just entering her 40's, but looked
ten years younger, if not fifteen. Her brown hair was
cropped short, not as short as Dominique's pixie, but
short. Her arms were at her sides and her feet about
eighteen inches apart and held that way by thick, padded steel
cuffs encircling her wrists and ankles and clamping them to the
gurney. A matching collar encircled and clamped her
neck. Penelope was on the gurney to stay.
One more very important element transformed Penelope's
situation from restraint to predicament.
Penelope's nipples were pierced and permanently ringed with the
finest, hardest steel available. The half-inch rings had
been presents from Dominique on her eighteenth birthday, but a
knowledgeable outside observer might be forgiven for thinking
Penelope's rings were gifts Dominique had given to
herself. The eldest Payne sister certainly enjoyed playing
Two very thin wires or cables, clipped to each ring and shining
like spider-silk against the room's dark background, stretched
vertically upwards. The glare of the spotlights hid
whatever arrangement held the wires at the ceiling, but they
were as taut as proverbial fiddle strings, stretched Penelope's
nipples, and lifted her breasts from their natural resting
states. Could the wires have been tighter?
Certainly, but Penelope found the current degree of stretch to
be an adequate, even compelling argument for remaining
Penelope turned her tape-gagged head as best as her rigid collar
would allow and watched Dominique stroll towards the
gurney. She begged for release with her eyes. It was
pointless, of course, and had been pointless since she was a
girl, but she begged nonetheless.
Dominique smiled down at her littlest sister's helpless, naked
body and stretched nipples. The temperature in the room in
general was pleasantly warm, but under the direct glare of the
spotlights, it appeared to be a little too warm.
Penelope's pale, flawless skin shone with sweat. Dominique
enjoyed it when Penelope was bound and suffering—not suffering in
pain, of course, but suffering in delicious discomfort she
was helpless to alleviate.
This had always been the case. Well... truth be told, not
Dominique had been a handful as a child. Mumsy and Dada
Payne went through more than a dozen governesses trying to find
someone, anyone, who could keep their eldest daughter
under control and make her behave. A trained and qualified
parade of childcare professionals failed, one after the
other. And then, Ms. Grey arrived. Finally, a
governess who could handle the problem that was Dominique
Payne! What the Paynes never suspected, of course, was
that Ms. Grey's unique solution wasn't to control Dominique, but
to teach her control, and what better teaching aids
that her little sisters, Sorcha and Penelope?
It all was perfectly innocent, of course, first with Ms. Grey
enforcing the domestic tranquility Dominique's parents craved by
means of melodramatic games with ropes and gags. She roped
all three Payne sisters into the exercise, so to speak, but soon
Dominique emerged as Ms. Grey's diligent student and
assistant. It was all fun and games for the younger Payne
sisters, of course. Ms. Grey saw to that, but as the
sisters came of age, games of Cops & Robbers, Cowgirls and
Indians, and The Pirate Queen and the Viceroy's Daughters grew
less and less innocent. Eventually, as each of the younger
sisters blossomed into a beautiful young woman, it all became
about Dominique being in total control, in total control of
Sorcha and Penelope. All three sisters entered the family
business, but there was never any question as to who was in
As for Ms. Grey, she retired after many years as a Payne family
retainer (and Dominique's bondage tutor) and passed away at the
age of ninety-one. Every year, Dominique honored her
beloved former Governess and bondage mentor on her birthday by
doing something extra nasty to Sorcha, Penelope, or both.
Today, however, wasn't a special occasion. Today,
Dominique was simply being Dominique.
Dominique had many possible way to proceed from this point, an
ever-growing list of torments she could visit upon poor
Penelope. After a brief interval of contemplation, she
decided to go with one of her favorites (and Penelope's least
favorites): "Hermione's Wand."
The wand in question was a nearly perfect replica of the "magic
wand" props Emma Watson had wielded as Hermione Granger in the
Harry Potter movies, only instead of being made from "vine wood
with a dragon heart-string core," it was molded from dark-brown
insulating plastic. It was loaded with the latest hi-tech
batteries for power, had a hidden recharging socket in its base,
and operated in two modes: shock-wand, and vibrator. The
shock feature delivered a nasty, pulsating sting that was
somewhat painful but in no way dangerous. As a vibrator it
was about as powerful as a pill or butterfly model. That
is, not as stimulating as a full-size knob or saddle-style
Hitachi, but in an experienced hand it could be very effective,
and no one was more experienced than Dominique Payne.
Dominique fantasized about having Emma Watson, Hermione herself,
naked and restrained in a manner that would allow Dominique to
demonstrate her skill with a "magic wand," but so far
such an opportunity had proved itself to be elusive. Hope
remained, of course. Perhaps the day would come when Emma
would visit PAYNECOM to negotiate a deal, be seduced by the
delicious debauchery of the kinky, nightly parties in the Payne
Hotel's most exclusive and strictly private nightclubs, and
would find she was now Dominique's plaything. Stranger
(and equally pleasurable) things had happened in Payne
Tower. In the meanwhile... Penelope would have to do.
Penelope watched as Dominique strolled to a steel cabinet
against the wall opposite the closed and locked door, opened the
cabinet, and returned with Hermione's Wand. A pathetic
whine escaped her tape-gagged lips. "Mrrrrf!" she
protested. She knew the sad, muffled plea would only fuel
her big sister's sadism, but she couldn't help it. The tip
of the wand flickered with a blue-white light. From bitter
experience Penelope knew that meant Dominique had set the wand
on "dual mode." Both the shock and vibrating functions
were active. This drained the batteries quickly, meaning
in about an hour and a half of near continuous use, but
Dominique had three more identical wands in the cabinet, all
plugged into the same recharging stand.
"Have you enjoyed your day off, Penny?" Dominique purred as she
slowly waved the glowing tip of the wand back and forth before
her little sister's horrified eyes. "Have you had many
frightfully clever inspirations? Clever ideas about how we
can improve our existing productions? Have you had flashes
of new, even more lucrative projects?" She
continued waving the wand. "I certainly hope so. I'd
hate to have to punish you for being lazy... for lying on your
comfy steel bed all afternoon and wasting your talents."
Dominique slowly... ever so slowly... let the wand's glowing tip
approach Penelope's ringed and wire-stretched right nipple.
The distance between the pulsating wand and the pink nipple,
steel ring, and shining wire continued to decrease. Six
inches. Five inches.
Her lips curled in the same evil smile, Dominique
continued. Four inches. Three. Two.
One! The wand was just about to touch the ring—when the
door whisked open and Xin entered the chamber. Dominique
withdrew the wand and thumbed its off-button (much to Penelope's
relief). "Ah, Xin," Dominique chuckled. "Perfect
timing, as always."
Xin still wore her black security catsuit. "Mistress," she
said with a bow, looking down at Penelope's naked, helpless body
and sad, beautiful, tape-gagged face. Clearly, she took
just as much pleasure in the younger Payne sister's predicament
as her mistress. Xin had no need for a mask of
inscrutability with Mistress Dominique. "May I report,
"You may," Dominique purred.
"The intern situation, Mistress," Xin said, her eyes still on
Penelope. "Things appear to be coming to a head, tonight."
Dominique's eyes were also on Penelope. "You are
"Yes, Mistress," Xin answered.
"Proceed," Dominique said, then flicked the wand back to
life. "Anything else?"
"Mr. Smith says he's very sorry, Mistress," Xin
answered. "He promises he will never alter his division's
quarterly numbers to inflate his bonus prospects ever again."
"And you believe him?" Domique chuckled.
Xin shrugged. "My opinion is irrelevant, Mistress."
"And Dr. Folke?" Dominique purred, once again slowly waving the
wand before her little sister's horrified eyes.
"Dr. Folke has only just begun her interview, Mistress," Xin
responded. "She promises a report on the matter by late
tomorrow. The day after at the latest."
"No rush," Dominique purred. "I know Dr. Folke likes to be
both diligent and thorough while conducting her Human Resources
evaluations. Tell her to take as much time as she
"Yes, Mistress." Xin bowed, backed two steps, then turned
and made her exit.
"Now, where was I?" Dominique purred. "Oh, that's right, I
was torturing my darling Penny." She touched the glowing
tip of the wand to Penelope's left nipple ring and two things
happened: (1) Penelope flinched, mewled through her
tape-gag, and began to shiver. (2) a melodic, low
frequency hum sounded. The taut wire stretching up to the
ceiling was singing.
smiled at Bonnie Schnupp as she finished changing her
clothes. "Cover for me," she begged. They were in a
small storeroom off the giant "cubicle farm" they shared
with three or four dozen other interns and PAYNECOM worker-bees.
Bonnie rolled her blue eyes. Jade was now dressed in a really
cute black cocktail dress, but the thing was
PAYNECOM property, and her friend had no authority to borrow it
(meaning steal it) for the evening. It was one of
several identical frocks Jade had found "abandoned" on a rolling
clothing rack in a little used corridor. Obviously, they
were costumes that had been stashed in the hallway, for some
reason, before being returned to the wardrobe department of one
of the building's production companies.
"How exactly am I supposed to 'cover' for you?" Bonnie
demanded. "The security system knows who has and hasn't
logged out in the lobby, and I can't log out for you. You
look great, by the way."
Jade smiled and gracefully turned in a full pirouette.
"All I ask is that if somebody comes asking, tell them I'm off
looking for a file or getting coffee or something. It's
late and almost everybody's gone home, anyway. Do I really
Bonnie rolled her eyes again. In point of fact, Jade
looked hot. The dress was sleeveless, came to mid
thigh, and had a generous decolletage. Jade's smooth,
firm, coffee-brown (with a dash of cream) skin, very feminine
curves, flouncy black curls, and smiling, beautiful face
were hot. Bonnie was taller, and her body was
equally curvaceous (albeit slightly more gawkish, in Bonnie's
own opinion), but Jade was hot. "Whatever," she
"You're a peach," Jade giggled, then bundled the clothes she'd
just removed and handed them to Bonnie. "Hide these in
your desk for me," she asked as she clipped her work ID to the
front of her borrowed dress. "I'll be back in two
hours. Three, tops."
"I'll stash them in the bottom drawer," Bonnie promised.
"I still think you're being stupid, risking your job to check
out the penthouse nightclubs."
"I told you," Jade said, straightening her hair. "I'm
looking for my boss. I haven't seen Audrey in days,
and its not like her."
Both Bonnie and Jade were paid interns, but Bonnie worked for
PAYNECOM, directly, while Jade worked for Klein Productions.
They'd arrived at the Payne Tower (or "Tower of Payne" as all
the interns called it) at about the same time, and had quickly
become good friends.
"And you're hoping to run into her in one of the nightclubs?"
Bonnie demanded. "I can see it now. 'Oh, there you
are, Jade,' she'll say as she hands you a stack of memos.
'File these for me.' Then she'll go back to dancing with
"You never know," Jade giggled, then planted a quick kiss on
Bonnie's right cheek. "See ya!"
"You're stupid!" Bonnie called after her friend as Jade minced
away on a pair of black pumps with precariously high heels...
looking very hot.
Jade waved back at her honey-blond, pouting, disapproving
friend, and continued forward. Two turns of the corridor
later she came to a nondescript door with a subdued plastic sign
bearing the single word "UTILITY" above a string of numbers
specifying its location on the Tower's floor plan. Did she
expect to find Audrey Klein partying in the utility
closet? Of course not, but this was where she would be
using her "secret weapon."
The day before, while wandering the building in the course of
her regular duties (meaning while snooping around and looking
for her missing boss), Jade had stumbled upon a tiny, apparently
vacant office. The computer workstation on the single desk
had an attached card reader, suggesting it was a security workstation.
She figured she might be able to use it to make an
inquiry as to the whereabouts of Audrey, or at least find the
last place she'd swiped or scanned her ID card. It was a
long shot, given PAYNECOM's paranoid security measures, but she
might as well try.
Jade tapped the space-bar, and to her surprise the workstation's
screen immediately came to life and displayed a "Security
Maintenance" menu. Nothing suggested a way to enter the
active security monitoring system, but it did have a "Change
Card Access" choice. Jade chose that option and the
message "insert card" appeared. She inserted her ID card
into the card-reader and after a brief pause her picture and
employment information appeared. Jade's file confirmed
that she had about as limited an employee clearance as was
possible, but not for long. She tapped a virtual button,
opened a list of options, and changed her clearance level to
"Senior Management." She didn't know exactly how
far her new access might get her, but it couldn't hurt her quest
to locate her boss. She hit "Save," very much afraid the
system would ask for password confirmation before granting her
higher clearance... but the system accepted the change!
Apparently, Jade had stumbled upon a veritable Achilles's
heel in PAYNECOM's vaunted security system!
Jade withdrew her card, backed out of the menu, and carefully
exited the office. She now had a powerful tool (she hoped)
that would allow her to sneak around the building and find
And now, Jade was ready to use it! She slid her ID through
the utility room's card-reader, heard a click, and the door
opened to her hand. She entered a decidedly cramped space,
with pipes running vertically and diagonally along one wall and
electrical panels on the other. Also, there was a door
identical to the one through which she'd just entered in the
opposite wall. She closed the door behind her, crossed the
room, and opened the second door.
Jade recognized the plush and posh decor in the corridor
beyond. She had crossed over to the hotel side of the
Tower. It confirmed her intuition that the business and
hotel sides of the Tower shared the same service spaces.
Also, if her research was correct, she had already passed the
first two levels of hotel security. Only the third level
remained, the security protecting the penthouse nightclubs and
restaurants. As an appropriately dressed "guest," Jade
hoped she'd be able to bluff her way to the action on the upper
floors. As a last resort, she could always say she was
there on business and ask to be led to Audrey Klein. That
might or might not work, but it had the virtue of being true
(after a fashion). Jade worked for Audrey, she was dressed
for the occasion, and why shouldn't she want to see her
Jade carefully eased the utility closet door closed behind her,
hiked up up her skirt and tucked her ID card under the waistband
of her pantyhose. After straightening her dress, she
stepped off. She passed what were probably the doors of
guest rooms. All had built-in card-readers, as found at
any modern hotel. The side corridor led to a larger
corridor with elevators and Jade began passing hotel
guests. The men were all dressed in dark suits or tuxedos,
and the women in cocktail dresses or formal gowns.
A guest room door opened as Jade approached, a man and woman
emerged, and Jade's eyes popped wide. The man was
forty-something, handsome, and dressed in a tailored
tuxedo. The woman was slightly younger and was elegant and
gorgeous and wore a black cocktail dress similar to Jade's
borrowed frock; but it had a highly unusual and decidedly
curious design feature. The lower hem came to the woman's
mid thighs (like Jade's), hugged the woman's body (like Jade's),
and had a generous decolletage showcasing the woman's breasts
(also like Jade's); however, the dress had long sleeves.
In fact, the sleeves were an integrated single-sleeve, an
arm-binder that tightly restrained her arms behind her back from
fingertips to armpits. The woman was tied up, bound,
helpless! That said, she was not in distress.
Jade blinked in surprise, but quickly composed herself.
The woman was a real beauty, with high cheek bones, pouting
lips, and brown, expressive eyes. Her skin was lighter
than Jade's, but darker than
Bonnie-the-Viking-Shieldmaiden. Her raven-black hair was
combed back and coiled in a tight bun. If forced to guess,
Jade would say the woman was Indian, Persian, or had ancestors
from somewhere in southwest Asia. Whoever she
was, the exotic, bound beauty smiled and winked at Jade as she
Jade smiled back, then quickly turned to face a hanging mirror
and primp her hair (which didn't need primping), giving the
couple time to continue without her. Well, she
thought, that happened. She counted to ten, then
followed the man and woman down the corridor. That
'bondage dress' has to be custom tailored, she
mused, her eyes on the woman's bound arms. The joined
sleeves were not an afterthought. The dress
hugged the woman's body in a perfect fit. Even the
arm-binder section was a perfect fit. Bondage haute
couture? Where do you go for that?
The couple paused at an elevator. The man pulled a card
from his jacket pocket and inserted it in a card-reader built
into the control panel. A chime sounded and the down arrow
over the door began to glow. The car was descending,
answering the man's summons.
Jade made a quick decision and hurried forward, catching up with
the couple just as the elevator doors opened. The man
smiled and gestured for Jade to enter first. "Thank you,"
Jade smiled, and entered the car. The couple followed, the
door closed, and the man inserted his card in the inside panel
and pressed a button labeled "Aqua Lounge." He then
turned his head and smiled at Jade.
"Uh, the same," Jade answered. The man nodded and turned
away, then returned the card to his pocket. Jade realized
the woman was still smiling at her. "Hi," she said
quietly, smiling back nervously.
"Hello," the woman purred with a smile, then turned to face the
Smooth, Jade chided herself. Very smooth.
The elevator chimed, the door opened, and the man gestured for
Jade to precede them.
"Thanks." Jade took several steps forward—and froze in
shock and amazement (see also stupefaction and horror).
The "Aqua Lounge" was a large, complicated, Modern space with a
very high ceiling. It had balconies along two of its
walls, a large bar in the center, a scattering of cafe tables,
chairs, sofas, and love-seats, and off in one corner an alcove
with a jazz quartet. The partying occupants wore tuxedos
and gowns or dresses, like Jade's companions from the elevator,
and the theme of the decor appeared to be "Under the Sea."
Shades of blue and blue-green with sand and coral highlights
predominated, and somehow the overhead lighting was producing a
rippling effect that carried forward the underwater illusion.
The serving staff, male and female, were dressed in black
trousers, white shirts with wing collars, bow-ties, and
waistcoats embroidered with stylized fish, seashells, starfish,
and kelp. Most of the drinking and chatting guests were
unbound, but a minority were either dressed in restraining gowns
or dresses, like the woman from the elevator, or their wrists
were bound or cuffed in some manner, and that went for both
women and men!
That was unusual, not to mention kinky, but was not the
reason for Jade's gobsmacked amazement.
One entire wall of the lounge was glass. In fact, it was a
huge aquarium lit from above and below, and about a dozen men
and women swam and/or floated in the bubbling water. All
were naked, bound in what appeared to be rubber or latex
arm-binders of various designs, and were wearing full-face
diving masks with long, clear, flexible hoses trailing up to the
unseen surface. Through the clear face-plates of their
masks Jade could see that all of the swimmers were gagged in
some manner, either with shining black tape, ball-gags, or head
harnesses with muzzling panels over their mouths. All were
kicking to stay afloat and from their gagged expressions were
none too happy about their predicament. Some appeared to
be angry, and others were frightened.
The guests on the dry side of the glass wall mostly ignored the
bizarre water-ballet, but a few gazed at the struggling, naked,
and restrained underwater spectacle as they sipped their
drinks. Jade found herself staring, mesmerized. The
swimmers were athletic and fit, prime specimens, if she wanted
to be callously objectifying. Every race was represented,
and the squirming, kicking, helpless men and women varied in age
from twenty-something to a healthy (and gorgeous or handsome)
"Miss Porter, here you are," a soprano voice announced
from behind Jade's back.
Jade spun around and found herself staring at another amazing
sight, an obviously very fit Asian woman—probably
Chinese—with her hair swept back in a severe ponytail and
dressed in a highly unusual manner, even for the Aqua
Lounge. Everything was shining black latex. Her
strong legs were encased in skintight thigh-boots with stiletto
heels, her torso in what amounted to a French-cut, one-piece,
strapless swimsuit that barely covered her crotch and caused her
half-exposed breasts to bulge, and her fingers, hands, and arms
in a pair of skintight opera gloves. A collar with steel
spikes encircled her neck, and exquisitely applied makeup
enhanced her beautiful features, especially her brown,
"I've been looking for you," the woman purred. "You've
been a naughty girl."
Jade blinked in surprise. "I—" That was all she had
time to say before the Asian woman pounced. Before Jade
knew what was happening, the bizarrely-clad woman spun her
around and seized her from behind! She trapped Jade's
arms behind her back by the woman's left arm and clamped a clear
plastic breathing mask over her nose and mouth right hand!
She squirmed and kicked, but the woman was strong and
apparently—obviously—well-trained in the control of
struggling prisoners. "What are you doing?" Jade demanded,
her words muffled by the mask. "Let me go! Let...
Le..." Jade's eyes rolled up in her head and she went limp in
the woman's embrace.
Several of the watching guests chuckled and politely applauded.
Xin smiled at her appreciative audience, looped the breathing
mask's attached elastic band over Jade's head to keep it in
place, then hoisted the limp, unconscious beauty onto her right
shoulder and carried her back to the elevator. Its doors
opened as if on their own, Xin and her prey entered the car, and
the doors closed.
Back in the lounge, the air hose of one of the swimmers—a
twenty-something woman with short blond hair and a deep tan with
prominent bikini tan-lines—went taut, pulled her upwards, and
hands lifted her from the water. After a brief pause a
woman with long, ginger hair, a fair, freckled complexion, and
generous breasts took the blonde's place, plunging deep into the
blue water... then slowly drifting back up to join the other
male and female swimming captives.