CROWN Affair

by Van © 2003
Chapter 2
To see the actresses the author would cast in a THOMASINA CROWN motion picture,
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A limousine dropped off a sexy female cat, a sexy female robot, and a not so sexy male in Star Fleet uniform (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Command red, Captain's pips).  Next in line was another limousine, which disgorged a sexy ballerina and a male pirate.  Next came a taxi, from which emerged Katherine Banning.  Her sleek brown hair was swept back, captured in an elegant, ornate headband of gleaming bronze, and trailed behind her back in a single tight (and extended) braid.  Gray suede slipper boots with bronze accents and trim were on her feet.  Otherwise, she was covered from neck to floor by a thin hooded cape of dark tan wool.  She marched up the steps and handed her invitation (a perfect forgery) to the handsome tuxedo-clad hulk guarding the entrance.  He opened the door and she was in.

Just inside the entryway a handful of maids (in sexy versions of the traditional black and white uniform) waited to take Katherine's cloak.  She opened the clasp and shrugged out of the garment.  Underneath she was wearing what amounted to a metal bikini.  The bra cups were narrow, smooth, sinuously curved bands of bronze, hugging her breasts and covering a thin, taut (semi-transparent) layer of boiled silk in steel gray.  Thin bronze wires looped her shoulders, crossed behind her back, and held the bra snugly in place.  More bronze bands hugged her hips and held ornate, triangular, bronze shields over her pubis in front and her nates in back, and under the shields was a billowing loincloth of gauze-like silk in deep burgundy.  The silk was nearly floor length in front and back, but from the side Katherine were scandalously (delightfully) exposed.  Finally, a coiled torque of red gold dimpled the flesh of her left upper arm; and a broad, tight, bronze cuff graced her right wrist.  (The cuff concealed a few folded bills, a credit card, and the key to her loft.)  From head to toe, all elements of the ensemble hugged Katherine's smooth, firm, tan, well-toned body.  The Art Noveau curves and twists of bronze seeming to grow around her (and left very little to the imagination).

"Princess Leia!" one of the maids gasped, and the others sighed and cooed.  "Very pretty, madam!"

Katherine smiled.  "Thank you," she purred, and sauntered into the party.  (She looked hot, and she knew it).
Chapter 2
Katherine assessed the crowd with a professional eye.  The male to female ratio was a little under one to one.  There was some pairing, but the majority of the guests appeared to be mixing; and all appeared to be having a very good time.  Katherine ambled towards a table groaning with food.  All of it looked delicious and was presented with exquisite style... but nearly to her destination, Katherine was intercepted by a fairy.

The fey creature was short (about the same height as Sally Krippendorf, Katherine's junior partner) and had shoulder length, fiery red curls swept back and barely controlled by a garland headband of real flowers.  She was dressed in a revealing, mini-length shift of pale green, peach, and pink semi-transparent silk panels, all cut and draped to resemble petals or leaves.  Small wings sprouted from between her shoulder blades, iridescent panes set in rigid frames, like the wings of a dragonfly.  The wings opened and closed slightly as Katherine stared.  There was no indication of how they were affixed, powered, or controlled by their wearer.  The Fairy's pale, freckled skin was dusted with sparkles (where exposed and where inadequately covered by her skimpy costume).  Her ears were pointed (an outstanding prosthetic effect), and her high-boned cheeks, full lips, and gorgeous green eyes were tastefully farded, glossed, and highlighted.  She was skillfully balancing a silver tray of crystal flutes.  "Champagne, Your Highness?" she asked in a melodic, soprano voice.

Katherine nodded, breaking the spell of the magical being's arrival.  "Thank you," she said, and accepted a flute.  The champagne was cold, expensive, and delicious... and the fairy was already pattering away on her tiny bare feet, offering bubbly to a very evil looking (and attractive) female witch and a male musketeer.  Katherine stared at the short redhead's firm buttocks and strong glitter-sparkling legs, and took another sip of champagne.

"I should ask her to be my Tinkerbell.  Wha'cha think?" a familiar voice asked.

Katherine glanced to the side and found Peter Pan smiling up at her.  Moccasins, green tights, a ragged tunic of green and brown rags, green cap with a long feather, blond mop, and a very impudent smile on a very cute pixie face.  "Krippendorf," Katherine sighed, "we shouldn't be seen together."

Sally giggled, sipping a champagne flute of her own.  "It's a party.  People mingle.  We're people.  We're mingling.  C'mon."  She crooked her arm through Katherine's right and led her towards the buffet.

"How much of that stuff have you had?" Katherine demanded, nodding at Sally's nearly empty flute.

Sally giggled again.  "Not enough.  This's the good stuff.  Ain't it?"

"Have you been upstairs yet?"

"Yes, Princess," Sally whispered as she loaded a plate.  "No Kandinsky hanging on the powder room wall... but we didn't really expect it to be out in the open, did we?"

"Keep your voice down," Katherine hissed, loading a plate of her own.

"Don't get your regal loincloth in a twist," Sally giggled.  "I cased the joint all the way to the third floor and into the service area.  Everything matches the files."

Katherine popped an olive in her mouth.  "Have you seen our hostess?"

"Not yet."

Plate in one hand and flute in the other, Katherine looked for a place to sit.  Not far away there was a curtained alcove with a café table and two chairs.  It looked like a good spot from which to nibble and observe the crowd.  "Well, keep busy," she told her protégé, "and mingle away from me."  She walked to the alcove, set her plate down, and turned.  Sally had already faded into the partying crowd... but a stranger was striding across the room, right towards Katherine.  And the expression on her face was none too friendly.

The stranger was as tall as Katherine, and had straight, dark, shoulder-length hair bobbing around her fair-skinned, high-cheeked, face; a face that could be beautiful (if it wasn't so hard).   She was dressed in black knee-length riding boots; white jodhpurs; a sleeveless white blouse with a plunging neckline; a tight, broad, corset-like belt of black leather; and full-length black opera gloves.

U-89, Katherine thought, recognizing the costume.   But she seems to have misplaced her Gwendoline.

Her dark eyes glaring, the stranger reached behind and jerked the curtain across the alcove entrance, isolating Katherine and herself from the party.  "We take a dim view of crashers," she said in an low voice.

Katherine smiled.  "Crasher?  What makes you think—M'mmpfh! "

Someone had grabbed Katherine from behind, someone tall and strong, very strong.  Katherine tried to execute a judo flip to break contact—and failed miserably.  Her arms remained firmly pinned, her elbows nearly touching behind her back, and a large, meaty hand remained firmly clamped over her mouth.  

"U-89" smiled (evilly), produced a small metal canister, and sprayed a clear aerosol liquid in Katherine's face.  "Princess Leia" squirmed and struggled for a few more seconds... then went limp.
Chapter 2
Katherine opened her eyes.  She was in near total darkness, but a bar of light gleaming from under a door several yards away provided some illumination.  She was lying on the floor, on a soft carpet, and other than herself, the room appeared to be completely bare.  She was still in her Princess Leia costume, but what felt like a ball-gag, a big rubber ball-gag, had been forced in her mouth and locked between her teeth by a leather strap.  She mewed through the smooth, round obstruction and felt a line of drool dribble down her chin.  She tried to move... and found that her wrists were crossed, bound behind her back, and pinned to the small of her back by several neat band of rope encircling her upper arms and torso and locking her elbows.  Also, her booted ankles were crossed and bound, and a metal collar with an attached chain was clamped around her throat.  The chain rattled as she struggled.  It was about three feet long and terminated in a metal ring, but was unattached, was simply lying on the floor (like Katherine herself).

Katherine listened carefully, and found she could hear the distant sound of partying, including the soft music of a small jazz band.   Still in the Crown townhouse, she surmised, and that U-89 bitch used 'Soma' to knock me out.  Soma was an effective and highly illegal cocktail of various drugs that could be administered via skin contact, rendering its victim unconscious for several minutes.  Katherine tested her bonds.  They were tight and professionally applied, her groping, fluttering fingers confirming that she would not be untying any knots anytime soon, but she twisted, tugged, writhed, and kicked anyway.  It was pointless, but Katherine was not one to meekly admit defeat.  She continued to work her wrists, contort her body, and grope for any conceivable weakness in her bonds, all the while mentally running the checklist of her hidden escape aids.  The tiny folding blade under the back loincloth shield of her costume—out of reach.  The similar blade tucked into her left boot—out of reach.  The lock picks under the front shield—also out of reach.  The wire pick tucked under her right bra cup—hopelessly out of reach.   Damn!  These people are pros.

Katherine saw shadows under the door and heard a key turning in the lock.  She closed her eyes, feigning unconsciousness.  There was a click and she could see light through her closed eyelids.

"We've been watching you with a low-light camera," a voice announced.  "It's no use pretending you're Sleeping Beauty.  You've got the wrong costume."

Katherine opened her eyes and beheld a pair of tan, bare feet, one of which was graced by an anklet of animal fangs.  She looked up, and beheld a very beautiful, very athletic, very smug and amused Jungle Girl with a short mop of straight blond hair and piercing blue eyes.  Her costume was a skimpy bikini of faux leopard skin and leather thongs.  A necklace of fangs was around her throat, and slave bracelets of hammered gold dimpled her upper arms.  Her skin was a dark, smooth tan, and while Katherine was proud of her condition, development, and muscle tone, she had to admit the Jungle Girl's body was feminine perfection.  

The Jungle Girl also had a bowie knife in a crude sheath dangling from her left hip, and to Katherine's momentary alarm... she pulled the blade free, knelt, let Katherine stare at the gleaming steel for a few seconds... then slashed the prisoner's ankle bonds.  She then sheathed the blade and helped Katherine to her feet.

"It's show time," the Jungle Girl announced as she clutched the ring of Katherine's neck chain and led her from the room.

Katherine could now see that the chain around her neck was bronze, then they passed a full length mirror and she could see her ball gag's strap was saddle brown leather with brass hardware, and the ball itself was translucent, gold-tinged rubber.  The collar was ornately cast bronze, and her wrist and upper body bonds were braided cords of golden silk.  The coils were neat and artistic (despite Katherine's earlier struggles).   All of it matches my Leia costume, she noted.  Hardly a coincidence.  So... we're playing games.

The "Jungle Girl" led the captive "Princess Leia" through a storeroom of some kind, down a hallway... (they passed a closed door and Katherine could have sworn she heard the sound of two or more women (and possibly a man) in the throes of passion); ...and out onto an open landing above a grand staircase.  The floor below was filled with partying guests.  As Katherine was led down the stairs (doing her best to maintain an appropriate air of regal dignity) her arrival and captive condition were noted, and the crowd began to politely applaud.  Katherine tried to ignore her admirers as the Jungle Girl pulled her through the costumed crowd, but Katherine couldn't help but hear the remarks of the appreciative guests.

"Nice costume!  She's practically naked!"

"Hot bod!"

"Oh, and look at her blush.  How sweet."

"Those ropes look tight.  Is she okay?"

"I've seen tighter."

"You've worn tighter."

"Her nipples are hard.  Do you suppose she likes being a prisoner?"

"Don't be silly, Silly.  She's just cold.  Look at the gooseflesh on her arms."

"I'm throwing a party at my place in the Hamptons next weekend.  You think she'd come?"

"Only if you capture her somehow."

"Yes... I suppose I'd have to hire someone to do it.  Yes..."

"Look at her drool.  How disgusting."

"She can't help it.  You're just jealous."

"Sigh... and me without my Jabba costume."

The humiliating parade visited room after room, and finally the Jungle Girl led her towards a large pile of pillows next to a low, backless, Modern Italian sofa with a frame of chromed steel.  The Jungle Girl smiled and indicated the pillows, and Katherine favored her with her patented We-are-not-amused stare.  "It would be more dignified if you simply reclined comfortably and allowed me to arrange your costume," the Jungle Girl explained.  "The alternative is for me to trip and hog-tie you."

Katherine sighed and settled into her regal nest.  True to her word the Jungle Girl straightened the front and back panels of Katherine's loincloth, then leaned down and locked the ring of her collar chain to a round decorative detail of the sofa's frame with what looked like an antique Chinese padlock.  The bikini-clad beauty then crossed and bound Katherine's ankles with more of the gold silk cord, smiled, kissed the prisoner's forehead, and sauntered away.

Katherine sighed, ignored the stares and muted conversations of the surrounding guests, and tried not to drool.  I hate being tied up!  And then she arrived.

Katherine could actually tell something was happening by the reaction of the party-goers in the neighboring room.  All attention shifted to something even further away, out of Katherine's sight... the focus of the crowd shifted again... and then she came into view.  Tall and shapely, Thomasina Crown made her entrance.  She was dressed like a Roman Lady, from the time of the early emperors; wearing a chiton of gauze-thin bronze silk.  The sleeves were tacked together only every few inches, and this exposed her white shoulders and provided unobstructed glimpses of her toned arms.  A sky-blue sash, little more than a ribbon, yoked her shoulders and encircled her torso, cinched tight and causing the chiton to hug her figure, accentuating her firm breasts and narrow waist.  Her black tresses were elaborately plaited and pinned atop her head in an appropriately patrician style.  Sandals graced her feet and gold jewelry dangled from her ears and encircled her wrists and throat.  Completing the costume was a shawl-like cape of transparent white silk trimmed with narrow bands of cloth of gold.

Thomasina nodded and exchanged words with her guests, smiling and exchanging light kisses with many... and slowly made her way towards the couch in the center of the room... and the captive Katherine.

As Thomasina came near, Katherine could see that her hostess' costume was scandalous.  The thin silk did nothing to hide her breasts or the tiny g-string barely covering her loins.  Of course, Katherine's Leia costume was just as revealing and technically she was showing a lot more skin, but somehow Thomasina's "covered nakedness" was sexier... maybe.  Katherine realized she was slightly envious of Crown's daring (and especially the style with which she carried it off) and stifled her jealousy.  (And was that a tiny frisson of desire coursing through her own barely covered loins at the sight of her hostess' welcoming smile?  Katherine stifled that emotion as well.)

"You poor thing," Thomasina sighed, and gracefully leaned forward to unbuckle Katherine's ball-gag.  The still bound and tethered prisoner licked her lips and watched her hostess (and ultimate captor) recline on the couch.  "I apologize for your treatment," Thomasina said. "My security people assumed you were either a pickpocket or a burglar casing the layout of my home for a future robbery."

"I'm neither," Katherine growled.

Thomasina produced a small cloth napkin from somewhere and patted Katherine's mouth and chin, cleaning the last of the humiliating drool caused by her gag.  "Pardon," she whispered, and patted the drops glistening on Katherine's chest and upper breasts.  "Yes," she continued in her normal voice, "my people may be zealous, but they're also very professional.  It took them only a few minutes to discover your true identity."

"My true identity?"

Thomasina smiled.  "They established almost immediately that you aren't the real Princess Leia."  Despite her condition, Katherine found herself laughing.  "And it took them only slightly longer to match your beautiful face to one Katherine Banning, Insurance Investigator."

Just then the red haired fairy approached.  This time, in addition to the usual champagne, she was carrying a platter of food and a folding table.  With professional finesse she deployed the table and arranged the food and champagne within easy reach of Thomasina's couch.  She then favored Katherine with a half-smile that was at once flirtatious and dismissive, turned, and departed.

"Andrea is a treasure," Thomasina purred, sipping champagne.

"Huh?  Uh... yes," Katherine agreed, embarrassed by her flustered reaction to the petite, freckled beauty.  "One of your people?"

"Personal companion... trouble shooter... and sometimes, at her own insistence... serving girl."

Katherine watched the "serving girl's" pale legs, derrière, rainbow glistening wings, and bobbing copper-red curls disappear into the crowd.   A treasure.  She glanced at the platter, and discovered the same food items she had chosen from the buffet for herself... before her capture... only this food was fresh and hot, and professionally arranged and garnished.  Katherine's stomach rumbled (she'd missed lunch), and blushed when she realized her hostess/captor had noticed.

"Allow me," Thomasina said, and began feeding her guest/captive, alternating bite-sized portions with sips of champagne.  The meal continued in companionable silence, Thomasina nibbling an occasional bite herself.  The surrounding guests kept a discrete distance.

"My compliments to your catering service," Katherine said, accepting a final bite.

"My chef, actually," Thomasina explained, "but I'll pass on the compliment."

Katherine twisted slightly in her bonds.  "Is this really necessary?"

Thomasina laughed (and again Katherine felt the need to suppress a frisson of pleasure).   "If Jabba the Hutt had taken appropriate precautions, he'd be alive today... or rather he'd be alive long ago, in a galaxy far, far away."

"Good point," Katherine conceded, stifling a laugh.  "But what if I give you my word of honor not to strangle you with my chain?"

"But that would spoil the show," Thomasina purred.  She held the flute to Katherine's lips and let her drink, smiling as she carefully tipped the glass.

Katherine sighed and smiled back at her hostess (and captor).  Thomasina Crown was stunningly attractive.  Her photographs didn't begin to do her justice... and the casual and stylish manner in which she wielded the immense power of her immense wealth... added a whole new dimension.  She's amazing... like a force of nature, Katherine mused.

"My guests are enjoying your predicament, immensely, " Thomasina explained.  "You don't really mind, do you?  Surely you don't think you are in any danger?  Surely you don't think I'm going to keep you?"

Katherine squirmed in Thomasina's inescapable ropes, suppressing that pesky thrill of delight yet again, and (to her infinite surprise and embarrassment) blushing.

"Might I inquire the occasion of your visit?" Thomasina purred.

"Huh?" Katherine mumbled, her cheeks still burning.

"Why are you here, Ms. Banning?"  Obviously Thomasina was enjoying Katherine's discomfiture.  "I find it highly unlikely a woman of your beauty and intelligence has difficulty obtaining legitimate invitations to parties."

"I have reason to believe a band of thieves might be targeting your collection," Katherine lied.

Thomasina nodded towards the prints on the far wall.  "These old things?"

Now Katherine laughed.  Every wall of Thomasina's townhouse was dripping with expensive art (with the exception of the bare room in which Katherine had awoken to find herself a bound prisoner).  The Crown collection was worth millions.  "My suspicion isn't based on hard evidence.  I wanted to look around for myself... just in case... that's all."

"Hmm..." Thomasina purred, gazing at her guest/captive through lidded eyes.  "I appreciate your professional interest, but my security is more than adequate... as you've learned."  Katherine blushed again.  "I'm going to Europe in a couple of days, but when I return, contact my people and I'll see you get a full tour of my townhouse and my people will answer all your questions... within reason.  If you have any concrete information you're willing to share on these mysterious thieves, I may retain your services."

"Uh, thank you," Katherine answered.  "That will be very... uh..."  U-89 and the Jungle Girl had appeared out of nowhere.  Without preamble U-89 retrieved the ball-gag, the Jungle Girl held Katherine's head steady, and the ball was thrust into her unresisting mouth and the strap buckled at the nape of her neck.  The Jungle Girl used her Bowie knife to slice Katherine's ankle bonds.  Princess Leia was helped to her feet, and with U-89 in the lead (the ring of Katherine's collar chain in one gloved hand) and the Jungle Girl taking up the rear, she was led away.  Katherine looked back over her shoulder and saw the redheaded serving girl fairy refilling Thomasina's flute from a towel-wrapped magnum.

"A pleasure meeting you, Ms. Banning," Thomasina called after her with a warm smile.
Chapter 2
Katherine's journey to the front door of the Crown townhouse was another parade of subdued applause, coy remarks, and tittering laughter.  The maids at the front door were especially amused by Princess Leia's captivity.  They giggled and laughed as they draped her cape over her shoulders, secured the throat clasp, fussed with her hair, then lifted the cloak's hood and pulled it far forward to shield her face.

The prisoner was led down the townhouse steps and into the back of a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.  U-89 was on her left and the Jungle Girl on her right.  Her handlers never spoke during the trip to her loft (and Katherine noted that they already knew her address).  Nor did they speak as they helped her through the lobby of her building and up the elevator to her loft's front door.  The Jungle Girl pulled her bowie knife, opened Katherine's cape, and sliced a portion of her bonds, somewhere behind her back.  U-89 tucked a small, thick envelope of gold parchment into the front of her loincloth shield, closed the cape and made sure it draped properly, then joined the Jungle Girl in the elevator.  By the time Katherine had begun wiggling free of her bonds... they were gone.  

Katherine pulled down her gag, sighed, and pulled her door key from the hidden compartment inside the bronze cuff on her right forearm.  Coiled rope and envelope in her left hand, she opened her door, stepped through, and slammed it shut behind (with her behind).

She removed her cape and hung it on one of the row of hooks beside the door, then noticed a very large cloth bag of green velvet waiting on the floor of the entryway... and the bag was squirming.  Her collar chain swaying and rattling, Katherine sighed again, and fumbled with the broad gold ribbon closing the bag.  It finally slithered free, Katherine opened the bag and let it fall away... and inside was Peter Pan, bound hand and foot (and elbow, knee, shoulders, torso, waist, and crotch) with a superabundance of golden rope.  A large gold scarf was stuffed in "Peter's" mouth and held there by more of the gold cloth ribbon.

"Krippendorf!" Katherine scolded her protégé, shaking her head sadly.  Sally struggled in her obviously inescapable bonds and whined piteously through her very adequate gag.  Katherine ripped open the stiff parchment envelope U-89 had given her.  Inside she found a small plastic zip-lock bag with all of her escape aids.  Unconsciously, her hands groped her costume for her hidden blades, picks, and wires... but all of them were missing, had been discovered by her captors, and were indeed being returned.  There was also a handwritten note; ten crisp, new, $100 bills; and a small, ornate, bronze key.  Katherine read the note:
Ms. Banning,
Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable surprise visit.  Your costume is delightful & suits you perfectly.  Please allow me to purchase it for you as a gift.

P.S.:  The key is for your collar.  Please accept it & the gag & ropes as well.
Arrogant witch, Katherine fumed.  I hate being tied up!  Still shaking her head Katherine sauntered into the interior of her loft.  "Well... tonight was an unmitigated disaster," she muttered.

Sally mewed well-muffled complaints at her partner's disappearing back, squirmed and struggled in her expertly applied bonds, and was ignored (for the moment).
Chapter 2

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