Nice jacket!

Oh, the Humanities! by Van ©2012

Chapter 1

Dramatis Personæ


The final exams of Clementine "Clem" Ricci's freshman year at Lewis & Clark University were over.  There may have been an exam or two left for the unfortunate few, but all of Clem's finals were over, and so were her roommate's, Gwen Percy.  Clem's thoughts had already turned from academic concerns to their plans for the summer.

Tonight would be the roomies last night in the dorm.  Tomorrow they would turn in their keys and hit the road.  Gwen's parents would be gone for two months on a round-the-world trip that they'd been planning for years and Gwen had invited her BFF to spend the summer at her place.  Clem had agreed.  After all, it would either be go home with Gwen or crash someplace else.  Clem was an orphan and her closest blood relatives were on the other side of the country.
Clem smiled as she crossed the main quadrangle, the hub of the usually bustling campus.  It would be a hoot spending the summer at Gwen's.  "Chateau Percy" was a largish, rambling house surrounded by five acres of woods in a semi-rural gated community.  Clem had been the Percy's guest last Thanksgiving and found it to be very pleasant and woodsy, cedar siding, Arts & Crafts colors, and low-maintenance landscaping that just managed to keep the forest at bay.  Gwen and Clem would have the run of the place for most of the summer.  Also, it had a pool!

Clem's plan was to find a summer job in a nearby town to earn a little pocket money for the next year, but employment wasn't an absolute necessity.  She was on a full scholarship from the Salamandras Foundation, the result of having won an essay contest during her senior year in high school.  She'd spend the summer writing if the job hunt failed.

The main hoot of the arrangement would be Gwendoline Percy, herself.  They'd have at least two months and the privacy of the empty house to explore Gwen's "special hobby."

This end of campus had already more-or-less turned into a ghost town.  Clem passed only a handful of her fellow students.  She mounted the steps of Nicholson Hall and paused at the bulletin boards just inside the main entry.  She had zero interest in the clutter of outdated campus activity posters and flyers.  It was the printout of the building's weekly schedule that held her attention.  It confirmed what she already knew, that the entire building was deserted—officially.  People were always looking for empty classrooms for studying or class project meetings, but the odds anyone else was sneaking around were slim and none... not counting Gwen, of course.

Nicholson Hall was one of the oldest buildings on the L&C campus and was a bit of an odd duck.  Its style was Gothic Revival, turrets and pointed arches and a complicated roof line, all executed mainly in red brick.  Inside, the wooden floors and wainscoting were badly in need of refinishing.  The plaster walls' last paint-job had long since faded to a vile shade of reddish-beige, and a mishmash of very old, mismatched, and generally uncomfortable desks and chairs passed as furniture.  Historical enough to escape the wrecking ball, "Old Nick" served mainly as overflow space for any class in the Humanities Department that didn't require the use of the media labs in the more modern buildings on the other side of campus and whose professor didn't have the political pull to book more comfortable accommodations in a more modern building, most of which were also on the other side of campus.

However, Old Nick held a Great Secret—Clem and Gwen's very own "Room of Requirement."

Months before, looking for an out-of-the-way place to study and write, Clem climbed the stairs to Nicholson's top floor and poked around.  Down a dirty, dead-end hallway half-cluttered with broken desks, she discovered a locked door.  To be precise, the door had two locks, a deadbolt and a padlock on a rusty hasp.  The deadbolt was broken.  The main cylinder was still in the housing, but it was loose and rattled to the touch.  The dark patina of the brass padlock and cobwebs around the door suggested it hadn't been opened for many years.  The story was clear.  Someone had forced the deadbolt, but rather than replace it, University Maintenance had installed the hasp and padlock, but they'd done a very slipshod job.  The screws securing the hinge side were fully exposed instead of being shielded under the hinge.

All of this would have been nothing more than a sad commentary on the poor work ethic of Maintenance in years gone by, except for one additional detail.  Screwed into the upper frame of the door was a brass plate.  It was dark with age but still legible.  "ATTIC 3B NORTH."  All the rooms in the building had similar plates, but they'd been painted over and long since supplanted by more modern signs of engraved plastic at eye level.

"ATTIC."  Now that sounded promising.  Clem whipped out the small multi-tool attached to her key chain, unfolded the screwdriver, and unscrewed the hasp.  She opened the door and beheld a very narrow and steep set of stairs leading upwards.  Cobwebs and dust confirmed long abandonment.  She climbed the stairs and found herself in—big surprise—an attic.  The floor-plan was irregular with lots of alcoves and nooks.  A multitude of trusses and beams crossed overhead.  Clem's best guess was the space encompassed the underside of one of Nicholson's minor turrets and a series of side garrets.  The unpainted wood had long since turned to gray and the only natural light came from the small, shuttered windows of a half-dozen lancet-arched gables.  The stairs and door behind her were the only access.

An old-fashioned turn-key switch was mounted on the wall.  Clem gave it a twist—and the bulbs of three hanging fixtures popped in a shower of sparks.  The bulb of a fourth fixture remained intact, emitting a weak, orange-tinted glow.

Clem smiled.  A new deadbolt lock for the door—one for which only she would have the key—a little broom work, some new light bulbs, and an old futon mattress and she'd have the perfect super-secret study-nook.  Her smile took on a mischievous curl.  The attic was also the perfect playroom for Gwen.

Oh, the Humanities!
Chapter 1

Gwen's "hobby" had come to light early in the academic year.  On reflection, it was like something out of one of those sometimes good, usually bad, but always predictable self-bondage stories on the internet—not that Clem spent much time reading such stuff—really, honestly.Gwen

Anyway, the middle of Fall Quarter Clem had returned to the dorm early from an afternoon symposium/discussion group.  The TA had caught a cold and cancelled the session.  She unlocked their door and discovered Gwen in bed.  Oh-by-the-way, she was in her underwear with her ankles and knees bound together with folded scarves and her wrists scarf-bound in her lap.  A leather belt was buckled around her arms, pinning them to her sides and compressing her breasts.  Finally, a rolled sock was stuffed in her mouth and held there by yet another narrowly folded scarf.  Her red hair was a tousled mess, her blue eyes were as big as the proverbial saucers, and her bulging cheeks bright crimson above the tight gag.

"Oh, great," Clem sighed as she closed the door behind her and engaged the latch.  "Please tell me you're not pledging Delta Iota Delta."  The Delts were a sorority notorious for perpetrating bondage pranks.  Their "performance art" usually involved duct tape, but sometimes they expressed themselves in other media—rope, string, strips of old bedsheets, etc.

"Mrrpfh," Gwen "answered," shaking her head and continuing to blush.

Clem dropped her messenger/laptop bag on her bed and gazed down at her helpless and very much mortified roommate, hands on her hips and a sad smile on her lips.  "Really?  Self-bondage?  Really?"  She sat on the bed and pulled down Gwen's cleave-gag.

Gwen spit out the sock.  "Uh... yeah.  Sorry."

Clem gazed at her blushing roommate.  From the instant they'd met, the blue-eyed, red-haired, fair-skinned, big-boobed, gorgeous Gwen had been an enigma.  An obvious boy-magnet but not a party animal—giggly and fun but not an airhead—fit and athletic but not a jock—studious but not a drudge—rich parents but not spoiled, Gwen had been difficult to pigeonhole.

Soon Clem came to realize she'd tripped across one of those dreaded "Life Lessons."  Cliques and tribes might be okay for high school, but eventually, if you were lucky, you matured and learned to take people one-at-a-time.

Anyway, to be fair, Gwen's tits weren't that big.  They were bigger than Clem's, but far from huge.  Actually, Clem and Gwen were similar in build and shapeliness, if Clem did say so herself.  But while Gwen was undeniably gorgeous (with a generous side of girlishness), Clem was a brown-haired, brown-eyed, studious tomboy with a dash of sexy-librarian.  It wasn't a look she cultivated, but her omnipresent glasses, Noble Roman Nose (Bird Beak, to her less sensitive classmates), and disinterest in haute couture disqualified her for the "gorgeous" designation—and Clem couldn't care less.

"Next time put the other sock on the outside doorknob," Clem sighed.

"Now you think I'm a freak," Gwen muttered, blinking back tears.

"I've always thought you're a freak," Clem answered, perfectly deadpan.  "You do this often?"

Gwen squirmed in her self-imposed bonds.  "No...  Yes...  Not all the time."

"Of course," Clem nodded, then reached out and began untying the knot of the scarf binding Gwen's wrists.  "This isn't very tight," she noted.

"It's difficult to tie up your own wrists," Gwen explained, then her eyes popped wide, again.  "Oh!"

Clem had given the scarf a serious cinch, removing all slack from the narrowly folded, double loop of silk-like polyester.  "That's better."  She retied the knot, tucking the free ends under folds in the scarf on the forearms side of the bondage and well out of the reach of Gwen's fingers.  "Where is the other—never mind."  She reached down and picked up the mate of the sock-ball from the floor.  "Found it.  Hands together, palm-to-palm."

Gwen frowned, but complied.  "Uh, what are you gonna... oh."  She watched as Clem slid the sock over her hands and bound wrists.  "Oh."

"Oh," Clem chuckled, then went to her desk, rummaged through the lower drawer, and returned waving a sixteen-inch cable-tie.  "This should do the trick."

Gwen stared as the milky-white plastic band closed around her scarf-bound and sock-covered wrists and was tightened with a firm tug.  Vrrrrrip!  She was tied up!  She was really tied up!  "Uh, guess I'm not the only freak around here," she muttered.

Clem just smiled back.  "Now, if I remember correctly, you don't have any more classes today.  Am I right?"

"I was gonna study in the library," Gwen answered, watching as Clem untied, tightened, and retied the scarf binding her ankles, then did the same to the scarf binding her knees.

"Well, if you're a good girl," Clem purred, "you can study tonight.  If you're a really good girl, I'll untie you in time for dinner."

Gwen managed a weak (and very adorable) dimpled smile.  "You really don't think I'm a freak?"

Clem smiled back, then retrieved the balled-sock.  "Like I said, I've always thought you're a freak.  Start making a mental list of supplies we're going to need to let your freak flag fly—totally in secret, of course.  I'll do the same."

Gwen nodded.  "I've already got some stuff."

"Why am I not surprised?" Clem chuckled.  "Make a list anyway."  She thrust the sock-ball in Gwen's mouth, then restored the cleave-gagging scarf.  "You're paying for all of it, of course," she said as she untied, tightened, and retied the scarf.  "It's your hobby."

Oh, the Humanities!
Chapter 1

That was the first time Clem tied up Gwen.  There had been many times since, about twice a week, sometimes three.  They didn't let it interfere with their academic work and were always careful, making sure the dorm room door was locked, the probability that someone would come knocking was as low as possible, and the bondage quick and easy to remove.  It was all "innocent" fun, of course.  No touching (other than what was required to render Gwen helpless), no vibrators (they never even talked about vibrators), and the closest they came to nudity was bra and panties (which in Gwen's case was pretty damn sexy).  Clem was never the bindee, only the binder.  Gwen had offered to let her sample the other side of the equation, but Clem politely refused.  Yes, it was careful, kinky, innocent fun.

But once they found the Room of Requirement, the game got more elaborate.

Back in the present, Clem climbed the stairs to the top floor, treading carefully and listening for noise.  Other than the squeak of her own sneakers, she heard nothing, no tapping shoes, opening or closing of doors, or distant conversations, all of which was reassuring and not surprising.  She rounded the corner and entered the narrow hallway that led to the door to ATTIC 3B NORTH—and there was Gwen, sitting on the floor with her back against said door and reading a book.  "I told you not to wait right by the door," Clem huffed, frowning at her roomie.

Gwen giggled and flashed her trademark dimpled smile.  "As if anyone would think twice if they saw me here."  She was wearing sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt under a lightweight hoodie.  Clem was similarly attired, although instead of a hoodie she was wearing one of her trademark tweed jackets.  Gwen batted her blue eyes at her roommate.  "I suppose you can punish me... if you want."

Gwen rolled her eyes, pulled out her keys, and unlocked the deadbolt.  "Get inside," she muttered.  Gwen picked up the small nylon duffel beside her on the floor, gracefully stood, giggled again (another trademark) and scampered through the door and up the stairs.  Clem sighed.  Gwen always "scampered."  She couldn't help it.  She crossed the threshold, closed and locked the door, then followed Gwen up the stairs.  She did not scamper.

One of Gwen's Christmas gifts to Clem had been the slender but highly informative Douglas Kent's Complete Shibari Volume 1: Land.  They were working their way through the various ties within, guided by the book's clear descriptions, clever diagrams, and many truly inspirational photos.  Volume 2: Sky, was on order.  It dealt with suspension techniques, but Clem made it clear she didn't consider herself ready to hang Gwen from the rafters.  Maybe the second book would bring her around.

Gwen sat on the futon mattress in the middle of the floor and started unlacing her sneakers.  "What are you gonna do to me this time?" she asked.

"That would be telling," Clem chuckled as she hung her messenger/laptop bag from the large coat hook she'd screwed into one of sloping rafters near the top of the stairs.  She watched as Gwen finished removing her sneakers, peeled off her anklets, shrugged out of her hoodie, wiggled out of her jeans, and pulled off her t-shirt.  Her remaining item of clothing was the black, one-piece, scoop-front, French-cut swimsuit she wore to swim laps in the Fitness Center pool.  The whisper-thin Lycra clung to her toned, pale body like the proverbial second skin, especially when wet.  Clem noted—and promptly ignored—the prominent pokies straining the fabric of the suit's unlined boob coverage.  Clem unzipped Gwen's duffel and pulled out a couple of large, neatly coiled hanks of rope—white, quarter-inch, braided cotton.  Not as good for their purposes as conditioned jute, but a hell of a lot cheaper.  "Anyway, don't worry," Clem added, "I have a plan."

Executing said plan took something like half an hour.  When Clem finally stood and took a step back, Gwen was bound from head to toe.  Her arms were behind her back.  Loops of doubled rope anchored the bondage, yoking her shoulders and framing her boobs.  Then, a running hitch bound her arms above and below her elbows and around her forearms and wrists.  The second rope and another running hitch encircled her upper torso, pinned her bound arms to her body, and pressed her legs together, dimpling her flesh about every six inches.  The horizontal loops were all doubled, for a total of four strands each, then cinched between the relevant limbs and secured with an overhand knot.  The two final or "key" knots were tied at her ankles and just below her bellybutton.  There was no way she could reach the ankle knot.  The leg ropes became punishingly tight if she tried.  The arm-binding rope was hitched between her legs, pinning her thumbs against her butt.  It was impossible for her to reach the bellybutton knot.

"The double ladder tie," Gwen noted, gazing up at her Dastardly Kidnapper.

Clem nodded.  "I told you I wanted to try it, but it's way too elaborate for the dorm."

Gwen squirmed, testing her bonds, then gave a quiet gasp.  "Hey, you tied knots in the crotch rope!"

Clem smiled.  "Did I?  The rope must have gotten tangled."

"Hah!"  Gwen favored her captor with an expression of scathing disapproval.  (She wasn't an English/Drama double major for nothing.)  "We are not amused," she intoned.

"How 'bout aroused?" Clem inquired.

Gwen tried to hide a smile (and almost succeeded).  "Shut up."

"Speaking of which..."  Clem unzipped a side pocket of the duffel and pulled out their single concession to the commercial bondage industry (not counting Douglas Kent's books): a ball-gag.  Technically, it was a whiffle-ball-gag.  The mouth-plug was a thick-walled, hollow sphere of hard, black rubber riddled with holes.  It was an inch and a half in diameter, although Gwen was convinced it grew in size the longer it was in her mouth.  It was secured by two straps of black leather, the first a half inch wide strap that buckled at the nape of the neck and the second a quarter inch strap that buckled under the chin.  The "small" size of the ball was a concession to comfort, but the jaw-locking chin-strap forced her to permanently bite down on the ball and made up for the deficiency.  The breathing holes of the whiffle design were for safety.  "Famous last words?" Clem inquired as she knelt beside Gwen's head.

"You'll never get away with this," Gwen said earnestly.  "The campus police are already looking for me."

"Yes," Clem purred, "but they'll never find my secret lair."  She thrust the ball into Gwen's "unwilling" mouth and buckled the straps under her hair and her chin.  She then stood and gazed down at the now bound and gagged Gwen.  "We really should work on our dialogue.  We are English majors."

"Mrrfh."  Gwen squirmed in the Cruel Ropes binding her body and forced Piteous Moans past her Cruel Gag, then watched as Clem crammed her sneakers, anklets, jeans, t-shirt, and hoodie into the duffel.

"I assume you tinkled before I 'captured' you?" Clem asked as she zipped the duffel closed, lifted it up, and tucked it in the rafters near the stairs.

"Nrr-hurr," Gwen answered, nodding her gagged head.

"Well," Clem said, smiling at her Helpless Victim, "I didn't."  Her smile broadened.  "I really am getting good at this, aren't I?  The shibari, I mean."

Gwen rolled her eyes and nodded her already saliva-dripping chin at the tangled nexus of rope between her breasts.

"Okay," Clem chuckled, "that part is a little sloppy.  I still can't get the hang of the double friction-hitch thingie—can't get it to lay flat.  But you aren't gonna be squirming out of any of this, are you?"

Gwen heaved a Piteous Sigh followed by a Tragic Moan.

"Drama queen," Clem accused, then turned and started down the stairs.  "I'll return for you, say, tomorrow morning?"  That was hyperbole, of course.  They both knew Clem was going to relieve herself and come right back.

Gwen listened to the quiet thud of Clem's feet on the stairs.  There was a pause, then she could just make out the sound of the door closing.  They never banged the door or stomped on the floor or stairs of the Room of Requirement.  That would be tempting fate.  Gwen squirmed in her bondage, flexing her bound legs, twisting her arms under the ropes encircling her upper body, and tugging on her bound wrists.  This caused the knotted crotch rope to slide with a gentle sawing motion, eliciting a delicate shiver of naughty delight.  She really is getting good, Gwen mused, minor style-point deductions aside.

Oh, the Humanities!
Chapter 1

There was a women's restroom on the top floor, but cleaning and maintenance wise it was low man on the totem pole, so Clem much preferred the facilities on the second floor.  She bounced down the stairs and used the facilities in question, including the ancient and very noisy hot air blower to dry her hands.  She made her exit from the bathroom—and froze.  Coming towards her was—"Professor Pappas!"
"I thought I heard someone," the professor said with a happy smile.  Pappas was forty-something with brown hair, brown eyes, a slender figure, undeniably attractive features, and was very popular with her students.  She was wearing a white cotton blouse, dark gray skirt, hose, and black pumps with sensible heels.  What appeared to be a rolled set of architectural plans were rucked under her left arm and an iPad was in her right hand.

Another not-so-minor detail: Kimberly Pappas was Clem's faculty adviser.

Clem gathered her wits.  "Uh, I thought I left something upstairs."  She nodded at the ceiling.  "In one of the classrooms.  I come here to study."

Professor Pappas was still smiling.  "Your finals are over, aren't they?"

Clem nodded.  "Uh, yeah, but I was reading—before, when I thought I lost my jacket—which I didn't—I mean, I found it."  Cool it, you idiot! she chided herself.  Stop acting like you've been caught doing something naughty—even if you have been caught doing something naughty.  "I'm done here."

Pappas nodded.  "I'm verifying the old plans of Nicholson Hall against the electronic version.  This summer we plan to—"  She did a double take and her smile broadened.  "Wait a minute, as I recall, you don't have any plans for the summer, right?"

Clem blinked in surprise.  "I'm going to stay at my roommate's house; but no, not really... not yet."

"This could work out great!" Pappas gushed.  "The Department got a grant from Salamandras International to refurbish this building.  Tentative plans are to knock out a few walls, add a few more, and create some symposium rooms with comfortable seating, better-equipped classrooms, lounge areas for studying, and even a snack bar.  Also, Wi-Fi repeaters, smart boards, the usual hi-tech gizmos that Salamandras likes.  Anyway, I need someone to verify the furniture inventory, room-by-room."

Clem frowned.  "Furniture inventory?"

"Nothing elaborate," Pappas continued.  "Room number one—X number of desks, Y chairs, Z tables—on to room two.  I'll give you an iPad with an inventory app.  Type in the room number, touch the appropriate furniture icon, type in the count, note how many are usable and how many are broken—easy-peasy."  She started tapping the iPad's screen.  "I'm sure I can—yes, here's the grant agreement—I can offer you housing and a stipend equal to your scholarship."

"That sounds great," Clem answered.  It did sound great, but her immediate thoughts were on the bound and gagged damsel languishing in ATTIC 3B NORTH.

"Come to my office and I'll print out the paperwork," Pappas said, clearing the iPad.

"Okay," Clem nodded.  "What time tomorrow?"

"Oh, right now," the professor clarified.  "I know it's getting late, but—I know, we'll formalize the agreement and I'll take you to dinner at the Faculty Club.  My treat."  She turned and started towards the main stairwell, then paused.  "You did say you were done here."

"Yeah," Clem acknowledged, "sorry."  She hurried after the professor.  "Here, I'll take those," she offered, taking the rolled plans.  Gwen will understand, she thought.  I'll be as quick as I can.  The ghost of a wicked smile curled her lips.  Of course, I'll leave in her ball-gag 'til I explain what happened—but she'll understand.


Oh, the Humanities!
Chapter 1

Chapter 2