||FROM THE CASE FILES OF KITTY WYNTER|
| by Van ©2014
|OUR STORY CONTINUES|
If forced to characterize the next few days, Kitty might mutter something about spinning her wheels. There was a great deal of frantic effort without a lot to show for it.
There were followup interviews at Nikki's precinct and the session with the police sketch artist resulted in serviceable likenesses of Dr. B and Suki, and they matched security camera footage from the building. The kidnappers had "moved in" about two weeks earlier, explaining that their household goods wouldn't be delivered until the next week. The lease paperwork listed Dr. B as a financial consultant and Suki as her assistant and personal chef. The apartment where they'd entombed Helena in the safe room was owned by a corporation, the employees of which claimed they had no idea anyone was "squatting" on their property, much less using it to terrify and torture kidnapped lawyers.
The police continued following up on leads, if you could call them that, and Kitty and Bertie worked the street, trying to shake something loose. So far, they had a whole lot of nothing. The components from the safe room were, for the most part, high end off-the-shelf items, traced back to various electronics stores in the area. The bondage gear and Sybian, however, were custom made, and even with her contacts in the "hobby" community, Kitty made no progress determining their origin.
The bottom line was, neither the detectives nor the NYPD were getting anywhere close to a breakthrough in finding either Dr. B and Suki or their supposed client. Days were passing and the trail was growing ever colder. They checked in with Helena at least once a day to brief her on their "progress," but Kitty could tell the time was coming when they'd have to tell her they were getting nowhere, at her standard daily rate plus expenses. Another PI might be happy to cash a client's checks until doomsday with nothing to show, but not Kitty and not Bertie. A policewoman was camping in Helena's guest room and escorting her to and from work, but that would soon end.
Kitty and Bertie would keep an eye on Helena and try to keep her safe, regardless, and they'd never give up trying to find Dr. B and Suki, but days passed and the case was going cold—they could feel it.
Then, Kitty's phone rang and they were summoned to Nikki's precinct for a meeting. It happened in a conference room, rather than one of the spartan interview rooms. The private detectives suspected they were being treated as colleagues. Either that, or Nikki was gaming the situation and hoping they'd lower their guards. There was no way Kitty would be fooled, but she was worried about her partner. Bertie was still showing signs of being attracted to Detective Braslow. It was subtle, but Kitty could tell. Anyway, it was a moot point as they had nothing to hide—as well as very little to contribute.
Nikki ushered them into the room and an attractive, forty-something, possibly fifty-something, redhead was waiting. She was dressed in a tailored power suit with an FBI ID dangling from her jacket lapel. Great, Kitty thought, the Feds are here.
Nikki made the introductions. "Kitty Wynter, Philberta Finch, this is Special Agent Jordan Shaw. She has some information for us."
Kitty noted three things: (1) Nikki had used Bertie's actual name, and Bertie had noticed; (2) Jordan Shaw radiated a fierce intelligence, not to mention Irish good looks—fair, lightly freckled skin, long, straight auburn hair, and green eyes; and (3) Kitty recognized the name.
"You cracked the Nikki Heat bombing case over at the Twelfth," Kitty purred, shaking Jordan's hand.
"The credit for capturing the serial killer Scott Dunn goes to Detective Beckett and Richard Castle," Jordan said. "If not for them, I'd be another of his victims."
In typical breathless fashion, the tabloids had dubbed the case "The Nikki Heat Bombing," as the serial killer Dunn had firebombed Kate Beckett's apartment and the NYPD Detective was the inspiration for Rick Castle's bestselling fictional character "Nikki Heat." Oh-by-the-way, Nikki Braslow's teasing nickname among her fellow cops was "Nikki Heat," much to her chagrin. Kitty smiled at Nikki. Twisting that particular knife was an added bonus.
"Pleased to meet you, Agent Shaw," Bertie gushed, filling the suddenly awkward silence as she pumped Jordan's hand. She caught Kitty's eye and frowned, warning her to play nice.
Kitty was enjoying the situation, but it was time to get down to business. "You have something on the Garrett case?"
Nikki gestured to the table and they all pulled out chairs and sat.
"I do indeed," Jordan said. She opened a file on a tablet computer and flicked her hand towards the large, flat-screen monitor across the room. It had been showing the NYPD logo, but that was now replaced by a black and white photograph.
"That's her," Kitty growled, frowning at the screen.
"Indeed," Bertie agreed.
"Bebee Bonde, M.D.," Jordan lectured. "Or more accurately, former M.D. She lost her license in 2004 over a scandal involving professional misconduct at a Los Angeles hospital. No criminal charges were ever brought, but she skipped out on several civil complaints. Bondage was involved."
"No kidding," Kitty huffed.
"Since then," Jordan continued, "Bebee Bonde has been a suspect in several kidnappings. None of the victims were harmed, but all were subjected to bondage and sexual humiliation."
"Like Helena," Bertie sighed.
Jordan nodded. "She's been on the Most Wanted List for some time, but we've never had enough to move her very far up in the ranking or warrant the expense of a task force effort. Likewise with Scotland Yard and Interpol."
Bertie blinked in surprise. "Scotland Yard?"
"She's been busy on both sides of the pond," Jordan confirmed. "Also, South Africa, and Australia." She nodded at the screen. "This was taken in London, eighteen months ago."
"As far as we know," Nikki added, "this is her first outing in the Big Apple."
Kitty frowned. "Really?"
"New York isn't the actual center of the universe," Jordan said dryly, "but your point is taken. Anyway, her pattern is to take a kidnap-for-hire commission, then disappear for several months and reappear elsewhere. She never strikes twice in the same city, London being the only exception, and those cases were two years apart with no discernible link. We've identified many of her victims, but none of her clients or their motivations."
"Otherwise, you'd have more to go on," Kitty sighed.
"The details of the Garrett case caused the file to pop on the mainframe at Quantico," Jordan continued, "and the sketches and surveillance photos confirmed the link. I was in the city on an unrelated matter, but I thought I'd share what we know."
"Appreciated," Kitty said, then scowled at Nikki's dubious expression. "Really. I appreciate the professional courtesy."
Nikki shrugged innocently, pleased with herself for getting a rise out of Kitty Wynter.
"Bebee Bonde. Also known as Doctor Bondage," Bertie said, again filling the slightly awkward silence. "What about Suki?"
Jordan shook her head. "Bonde has been known to work with a female associate, but she's always been a complete unknown. Until now, that is."
"We'll keep an officer with Garrett for a few more days," Nikki said, "and I will continue working the case."
"Looking for the client?" Kitty inquired. It was her turn to be dubious.
"Like I said," Nikki huffed, "we'll continue working the case.
"And so will the FBI," Jordan added.
"And so will Wynter and Finch Investigative Services," Kitty sighed.
Bertie smiled. She was still getting a kick out of her promotion.
Kitty noticed Nikki smile at Bertie, and a hint of a blush touched her partner's tan, freckled cheeks. Kitty also noticed Jordan noticing her notice the others' reactions. No big deal. Jordan Shaw probably noticed everything. Kitty just hoped the Fed would notice what rock Dr. B was hiding under so they could nab her. Kitty wouldn't be able to use the blond bitch as her Bondage Barbie, but watching Bebee Bonde get dragged away to prison would be almost as good.
|A Kiss Before Tying|| Chapter 7
The pot roast in the slow-cooker wouldn't be ready for three more hours, but already the savory aroma of the meat filled Kirsten's apartment, at least in the area near the kitchen. It was Sunday, the day of her scheduled "Family Dinner" with her kid sister. It was something the Braslow girls tried their best to do on a monthly basis, to share gossip and give each other grief. The grief was all in fun, of course, as the sisters were actually quite close, but an outsider might easily be fooled.
Kirsten had just taken a shower and was naked, except for a towel wrapped turban-fashion around her damp hair and a second towel wrapped around her squeaky clean torso, and she was in no hurry to get dressed. Nikki wasn't scheduled to arrive for a couple of hours. Also, she hadn't yet settled on what to wear. Business attire was out, of course, but Kirsten didn't own a lot of casual clothing. Maybe jeans and that old white blouse with the stain Nikki claims isn't there, she thought.
Anyway, at the moment Kirsten was looking for her hardback copy of The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Weckler, the literary fantasy it was taking her forever to read, what with her schedule as an ADA. She intended to knock off a chapter or two before her sister appeared. She thought she'd left it on her nightstand, but it wasn't there. It's probably on the side table next to the easy chair, she decided, and headed for the main room.
The book was, indeed, on the side table. Kirsten picked it up, turned to return to the bedroom, and in the process her eyes passed over the table and chairs to the side of the kitchen island. Kirsten froze in her tracks and the book fell from her hand to land with a thud on the carpet at her bare feet.
The table was set for three with the hand-woven Jamaican placemats Nikki had given her last Christmas, as well as her graphite and pearl Noritake dinnerware, Vera Wang crystal, and Oneida Voss flatware—the casual stuff, as Nikki was family. The problem was, the table was set for three—and before her shower Kirsten had set it for two!
Kirsten flinched at the sound of a familiar voice as an equally familiar figure seemed to materialize from the shadows.
"I brought a bottle of red," Kitty announced, "and some baklava for dessert."
Kirsten recovered quickly and glowered at her unexpected guest. "How did you get in here?" she demanded. And how did I miss you 'til now? "Get out or I'll call the police."
Kitty was wearing boots and her trademark skintight leather pants, as well as a light top in creme linen over a black camisole top. "Your alarm isn't difficult to spoof," she explained, "especially when it's turned off. And as for the deadbolt... I can recommend some more secure models if you like."
"Get out," Kirsten reiterated, "or—"
"No need to call the cops when one of New York's Finest is on the guest list," Kitty chuckled, then reached into her back pocket and produced a pair of handcuffs. "I've brought you another gift," she purred. "I know you admire my collection, so now you can start one of your own."
Kirsten stared at the handcuffs like the proverbial songbird hypnotized by the proverbial snake. They were chrome-silver and of the hinged variety, hanging from Kitty's crooked finger by one closed bracelet.
"Smith and Wesson Model Ones," Kitty explained. "Not at all rare or unusual. Your sister might even own a pair. And they're not a particularly difficult escape challenge." Her eyes sparkled. "If you know what you're doing."
Her eyes still locked on her present, Kirsten took a slow step back... and nearly tripped on the book she'd dropped. "No!"
Still smiling, Kitty had pounced, pulling Kirsten's hands behind her back and tightening the cuffs around her wrists in one fluid motion. She released her hostess and Kirsten stumbled away, tugging on the cuffs. Both towels came loose and slithered and fluttered to the floor.
Nude, a delicate blush coloring her horrified face, her damp blond locks a tousled mass, and her wrists cuffed, Kirsten continued backing away, towards her bedroom. Kitty slowly followed.
"N-not now," Kirsten objected. "Nikki is coming."
"I know," Kitty purred. "I want to talk to her about the Garrett case. But first, I want to talk to you about the Garrett case. You've never explained your role in luring me into Dr. B's trap."
Kirsten blinked in surprise. "What? I—"
"Admit it!" Kitty demanded. "You were that blond bitch's accomplice. Are you also her mysterious client? What did you pay the bitch to have her do what she did to Helena Garrett?"
"D-don't be absurd," Kirsten responded. "I—Ah!" She'd backed into the frame of the bedroom door—"No!"—and Kitty had surged forward and was clutching her breasts in her claw-like hands. She tried to kick and squirm away, but Kitty lifted a leather-clad knee and gently planted it in her crotch, trapping her shoulders and cuffed hands against the open door. "No!"
"I will get to the truth," Kitty said, "and before your sister gets here."
Kitty had taken a step back with her hands still clutching Kirsten's breasts, spun her ninety-degrees, and given her a shove towards the neatly made bed.
|A Kiss Before Tying|| Chapter 7
Carrying a bottle of red wine and a fresh baguette in a cloth shopping bag, Nikki rang her sister's doorbell. She was surprised when the door was opened by Kitty Wynter, but that was nothing compared to the jaw-dropping shock of finding Kirsten naked and bound and gagged in a chair in front of the dinner table.
Technically, Nikki's big sister wasn't quite naked. A light blue towel was wrapped around her torso, but not very tightly. The tuck securing the skimpy terrycloth tube would probably come loose if she struggled and squirmed, which explained why Kirsten was sitting perfectly still. Her arms were behind the back of the chair and her ankles tied together with what appeared to be white cotton clothesline. A wide strip of some sort of white medical tape was plastered over her mouth, her long blond hair was neatly brushed and framed her tape-gagged face, and she stared at her amazed sister with wide-eyed dismay, an embarrassed blush coloring her cheeks above the gag.
Nikki wasn't sure how to react. She knew Kitty and Kirsten had some kind of relationship—a spectacularly strange and obviously kinky relationship—but this was unexpected, to say the least.
Nikki continued staring at her sister as Kitty took the bag with the wine and bread and carried them to the kitchen. The private detective—her sister's kidnapper—seemed unconcerned by Nikki's presence, other than as a fellow dinner guest. The smiling brunette certainly wasn't worried that Detective Nikki Braslow, NYPD, would whip out her cuffs and place her under arrest.
And speaking of cuffs, Nikki stepped around her chair-bound sister and could now see that Kirsten's wrists were locked in hinged handcuffs. Also, her ankle bonds were linked under the chair to the cuffs by more rope. Kirsten was in a sitting hogtie, not a particularly stringent sitting hogtie, but she'd be staying in the chair until released—either that or she'd be dragging it with her if she decided to try going anywhere.
"You're late," Kitty said to Nikki.
Nikki nodded. "Yeah. Jordan Shaw called, but before we get to that..." She nodded at Kirsten. "What's up?"
Kitty was busy taking the pot roast out of the slow-cooker. "I gave your sister a pair of handcuffs and she insists on wearing them." She placed the roast on a wooden cutting board, then began transferring the vegetables in the bottom of the pot to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
"Yeah, she's always been like that," Nikki chuckled. "Give her something shiny and she insists on playing with it."
Kirsten's demeanor abruptly morphed from mortified shock to angry frustration. She glared at her smiling kid sister and tugged on her cuffs—then her eyes popped wide and she squealed through her tape-gag. Her towel wrap was coming loose, in slow motion. The tuck came free and the terrycloth began to fall open. Much to her dismay, Kirsten's breasts were revealed—but before the towel could completely open, Nikki leaned close and restored the tuck.
"Hold still, for cryin' out loud," Nikki whispered to Kirsten, then walked around the kitchen island and plucked a magnetic clip from the side of the refrigerator. She returned to Kirsten and her chair and used the spring-loaded, white plastic clamp to secure the towel.
Kirsten stared daggers at her kid sister. Not only was she NOT arresting Kitty—which would have turned the tables and allowed Kirsten to be the one on top, for once—but she was actually enjoying her big sister's predicament! It was outrageous! Exposure no longer an issue, Kirsten squirmed in her chair, kicked her bound feet as best she could, twisted her shoulders, tugged on her new cuffs, and stared full-sized broadswords at Nikki. "Mrrrpfh!"
Nikki ignored her sister's righteous tirade and returned to the kitchen. "Wine?" she asked Kitty.
"The wine I brought is already open and breathing," Kitty explained, nodding at the bottle of Merlot on the table.
"Excellent," Nikki smiled. "I'll slice the bread."
"Butter and E.V.O.O. are on the table," Kitty added, then noticed Nikki's raised eyebrow. "You've never dipped bread in extra-virgin olive oil?"
"That's kind of an Italian thing," Nikki shrugged, "isn't it?"
"More Mediterranean-in-general," Kitty answered. "Shyster didn't have any fresh herbs, but I sprinkled in a little dried Herbs de Provence. It'll be good."
Kitty Wynter is a foodie? Nikki thought. Who knew? "Just don't drip oil on the placemats. I gave them to Kirsten." She smiled at her captive sister—who glared back.
"They're pretty," Kitty said as she carried the roast to the table. "Don't worry, I won't drip oil..." She also smiled at Kirsten. "...on the placemats."
|A Kiss Before Tying|| Chapter 7
The pot roast was history, as were the potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions, half the baguette, Kitty's Merlot, and nearly half of Nikki's Pinot Noir. Kirsten's dinner guests had decided to forgo the traditional coffee with their dessert and continued sipping wine as they nibbled on squares of baklava—or were fed squares of baklava, in the case of Kirsten.
And speaking of Kirsten, Kitty had gently peeled the tape from her lips when they were ready to eat and had taken turns with Nikki feeding the grumpy captive her share of the meal. Kirsten had considered and discarded the idea of throwing a hissy-fit as soon as her gag was removed. She was the big sister and Nikki was the squirt, and while Kirsten might not be ready to share in the inherent hilarity of her predicament, she still had her dignity. Or so she kept telling herself. She'd accepted fork-loads of pot roast and veggies in sullen silence, and stoically ignored the drops of olive oil with flecks of herbs that Kitty allowed to drip onto her chest when it was her turn to offer the captive hostess a morsel of bread. But she didn't engage in dinner conversation above the level of grunts and monosyllables.
The topic of the evening was the Helena Garrett case.
Kitty started the discussion by gravely announcing that she had questioned Kirsten before Nikki arrived and was satisfied she was not the sadistic criminal mastermind behind the kidnapping. The smiling P.I. didn't specify the interrogative techniques she'd employed, but the return of Kirsten's blush told Nikki all she needed (or wanted) to know.
Next, Nikki relayed Jordan's news, which was...
(1) The results of the examination of the flash drive and electronic components from the safe room had been disappointing. The drive had contained video/audio files documenting Helena's erotic torture, as well as compiled and uncompiled copies of the control programs for the Sybian, shock-pads, and nipple pumps. In the opinion of both the NYPD and FBI techno-geeks, the software was original and very well written. It was also without the little flourishes and comments code-monkeys usually sprinkled throughout their work that might have provided clues about the education and work experience of the writer. The technology was a dead end.
(2) It was the same sad story with the cooperative effort to uncover whoever had hired Dr. B and Suki. Helena Garrett had her share of enemies, opponents she'd humiliated in court, the clients of opponents she'd humiliated in court, etc., but without other leads that provided leverage, questioning Manhattan lawyers was an exercise in passive-aggressive futility.
Next, Kitty explained that her efforts on the street had been equally disappointing. Nobody knew nothin' about a tall blond and short Goth who did kidnappings for hire. Together with Bertie, they'd even asked for and had been granted an audience with Lady Arabelle, Manhattan's premiere BDSM madam, with whom the detectives had history. [See Kitty's first story, Bondage, My Sweet, for details.] Kitty was respectful and attentive, and she was sure Lady Arabelle was genuinely interested in the case; however, she knew nothing about Dr. B or Suki. She promised to see what she could learn from sources that were unavailable to Kitty Wynter and Bertie Finch.
And speaking of Bertie, while Kitty and Lady Arabelle enjoyed conversation, coffee, and Viennese Apfelstrudel in Lady A's office, the little Brit had wandered off on her own to chat up the staff. After a pleasant but unproductive hour with Her Ladyship, Kitty took her leave and went in search of her partner.
She discovered Bertie in one of the playrooms, minus her clothes, and strapped, stomach down, across a padded spanking horse with a two-inch ball-gag in her mouth. She was very happy to see Kitty. A pair of Lady A's senior Doms were present, instructing a new hire on the proper technique for paddling a naked tush without leaving lasting marks but imparting maximum "stimulation." The tush in question was Bertie's of course, and the firm, dimpled globes were flushed an angry pink.
Kitty could tell it was all in fun. The newbie, a short redhead with fair, clear skin (no freckles) tried exerting her Unquestionable Authority as a Dominatrix of Awesome Power over Kitty—and for her trouble soon found herself in Bertie's place—nude, ball-gagged, and tugging on her padded wrist and ankle bonds. The watching Doms thought this was LOL funny, of course. One helped Bertie dress, then both escorted the detectives from the premises with chuckles and friendly waves. The naked newbie remained behind in the playroom, of course.
Back in the present, Nikki agreed that Bertie's "adventure" at Lady A's was LOL, but she was also concerned. "She was okay?"
Kitty noticed the merest hint of a blush coloring Nikki's cheeks. "A little ticked off," Kitty answered, "and she squirmed in her seat on the cab ride home; but yeah, she was okay. Bertie's so cute when she gets all huffy like that."
"I see," Nikki said gravely. "Uh... you two are a couple, right?"
Kitty smiled. Kirsten also smiled, just a little, and for the first time since Kitty had given her her nickle-plated steel present. Then, Kirsten noticed Kitty noticing her, and her scowl returned. "Bertie and I are a couple," Kitty finally answered, "but it's an open relationship." She focused on Kirsten's angry (beautiful) face. "Neither one of us minds if the other finds the occasional casual playmate."
Nikki nodded. "She called me. Bertie, I mean. She wants to do that demo... with the rope."
"I know," Kitty smiled. "One can never have too much professional training." She kept her tone light and casual. She didn't mind in the least if Bertie and the Shyster's kid sister played around a little, and she didn't want to scare Nikki away. Bertie would never forgive her, and it was going to be a lot of fun watching whatever was going to happen. Kitty didn't want to spoil things before they even got started.
"Well..." Nikki stood, leaned close, and kissed her suddenly flustered sister's lips. "I have to work in the morning." Kitty stood and Nikki planted a chaste peck on the P.I.'s cheek, then nodded at Kirsten. "She also has to work in the morning."
"I know," Kitty purred, smiling at Kirsten. The ADA remained in her chair, of course, her horrified gaze switching between her dinner guests. "Don't forget your bag," Kitty said as she went to the kitchen and returned with the shopping bag Nikki had used to carry her wine and bread contributions to the party.
"Nikki!" Kirsten gasped as her sister strolled to the front door. "Don't leave me like this!"
Kitty had remained at the table and was standing behind Kirsten's chair with her hands resting on the captive's bare shoulders.
"Nice try, Sis," Nikki chuckled as she opened the door, "but you don't help clean up when we do this at my place. Speaking of which, next month. I've got a chicken recipe I want to try. Bye."
Nikki was through the door and it was closing! Kirsten opened her mouth—"Mrrrf!"—but Kitty's right hand clamped over her mouth, forestalling whatever she was going to say—or scream.
"I have one more gift for you before I leave," Kitty whispered in Kirsten's left ear, "a pair of keys to go with your new bracelets. But you'll have to earn them." She licked the side of Kirsten's neck. "In the bedroom, of course."
|The End of...|
|A Kiss Before Tying|| Chapter 7