CROWN Affair

by Van © 2003
Chapter 6
To see the actresses the author would cast in a THOMASINA CROWN motion picture,
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Katherine never got to see Helena float to the surface.  The pale, nude, stringently bound beauty was still tethered to the bottom of Thomasina's pool when Kimber returned to the undersea lounge.  The blonde had changed to a coral leotard and white tights.  Her feet were still bare, and a broad, white, nylon belt with several pouches was around her wasp-thin waist.  Smiling her usual friendly smile, she produced a small pair of shears with wicked recurved blades and snipped the flexi-cuffs binding Katherine's ankles.

Katherine stared sourly at her newly released feet.  Her wrists were still flexi-cuffed together at the small of her back and held there by a vinyl-padded cable tie, she was still nude, and the prospect of escape from Thomasina Crown's townhouse still an extremely remote prospect.  "What now?" she demanded, nodding towards the glass, and Helena's bound, shivering form.  "Do I get tortured, like your friend out there?"

The shears went back in a sheath on Kimber's belt.  "Not at all," she answered, and helped Katherine to her feet.  "While we wait for your partner to contact us, Thomasina thought you might as well enjoy the amenities.  I'm taking you for a nice pleasant workout in the gym."  Kimber gave Katherine a gentle shove towards the door.  "There is one thing..." she said, and her hand shot out, grabbed Katherine's braided hair, and jerked her head back, eliciting a gasp from the startled prisoner.  "I'm expert in five martial arts and a master of two.  If you think having the use of your legs means you'll be able to kick your way out of here, you're sadly mistaken, and will regret the attempt.  Understand?"

Grimacing in pain, Katherine blinked and stared at the ceiling.  "Yes... I understand.  No trouble.  Although the thought of swing-kicking you into oblivion and escaping into rush hour Manhattan naked and bound is very attractive."

Kimber laughed and released Katherine's braid.  "Good," she purred, her lips less than an inch from Katherine's left ear.  "I enjoy the velvet glove so much more than the mail fist.  Up the stairs."

With her handler close behind, Katherine pattered up the stairs to the pool deck.  She was embarrassed to find two of Thomasina's male employees stretched in lounge chairs near the deep end.  One was a Nordic blonde and the other an African with very dark, almost blue skin.  Both were very muscular, the blonde shorter than the African but broader in the shoulders, the African lithe and well-defined.  They were wearing red speedos.  The African was reading a magazine ("Tell"), and the blonde was staring at a small, flat screen, video monitor.  On it, Katherine could see an underwater close-up of Helena's face, including the clip pinching her nostrils and the snorkel mouthpiece clutched in her teeth.

Katherine blushed as both men shifted their attention to her naked, bound form.  In addition to being in excellent condition, both men were quite handsome, and their manner was less leering and rude than politely appreciative.

"How's she doing," Kimber inquired, nodding at the screen.  

The blonde man smiled.  "Her respiration and body temperature are within acceptable limits."  He spoke with a slight Germanic accent.

The African held up small green gas bottle with a plastic mouthpiece.  "The oxygen is ready, but I think it will not be needed."  His voice was deep and melodic, with a lilting, sing-song accent.  

Probably Nigerian,
Katherine decided.

Kimber leaned forward and spoke softly in Katherine's ear.  "Katherine, may I present Ajani..."  The African smiled and nodded.  "... and Gerhard."  The blonde nodded.  Both men stood and bowed.  "Gentlemen, this is Katherine."

"A pleasure, Fräulein," Gerhard said.

"Indeed," Ajani added.

"Down, boys," Kimber purred, and all present laughed (except Katherine, who was struggling to maintain a dignified, aloof front).  "Take care of my Helena," Kimber said, and led Katherine away.

Katherine looked back over her shoulder and watched the two nearly naked men settle back into their lounge chairs.  "This madhouse is a regular United Nations of sadistic hedonism," she muttered.

Kimber laughed.  "You have no idea, but the emphasis is on hedonism.  I'd be the first to agree that Helena is something of a sadist, but even the Dark Priestess has her soft and cuddly side."

"Yeah, right," Katherine muttered.

They entered a rather plain corridor and continued some distance to a large door.  Kimber opened the door and held it for her charge.  Inside was a large, high-ceilinged room with every exercise machine known to science.  The decor was airy and pleasant, Mediterranean pastels and whitewashed plaster with a padded floor and huge, stylized Grecian figures painted in mural on the walls and ceiling.  Katherine paused, and was gently led towards a row of narrow doors along the far wall.

Halfway there they passed a martial arts sparing dummy of hard rubber.  "Excuse me," Kimber said politely and executed no less than seven rapid high kicks, each in a different style, dancing in a circle as she pummeled the hapless dummy's head from all sides.

"Show off!" Katherine muttered.

"I had to let you know I was serious," Kimber explained, a coy grin on her angelic (deadly) face.  "I would truly hate to have to bruise any part of your beautiful body."  She led Katherine towards one of the doors, threw back a substantial bolt, and opened the steel portal.  Inside was a tiny space, no more than three feet wide and four feet deep.  The floor was of hard rubber, three of the walls were padded with black rubber, and the far wall appeared to be one large white screen.  Katherine entered (with a gentle shove from Kimber) and stood patiently as a heart monitor was strapped to her chest, a mouthpiece was thrust in her mouth and strapped in place, and a padded clip was used to pinch her nostrils closed.  The mouthpiece was attached to a pair of clear flexible hoses, one leading to the upper left, the other to the upper right.  Finally, a small device was clipped to her right earlobe.

"This is one of our 'motivation rooms,'" Kimber explained. "The floor is a computer controlled treadmill that can vary its angle and speed, and if you look closely you'll see a fine grid of gold and silver wires woven through the wall padding and treadmill roller.  Once the program begins, if you fail to maintain the required pace, you get motivated."

Katherine twisted in her bonds and mewed a no doubt very rude complaint.

Kimber watched this exhibition with amused tolerance.  "Don't have kittens," she purred.  "It's no more than a gentle hotfoot.  Of course, it doesn't stop, and starts building in intensity, the longer you fail to comply with the program."

Katherine glared at Kimber, her breath whistling through the tubes strapped in her mouth..

"The air system includes oxygen and carbon dioxide sensors and the optic sensor on your ear monitors blood pH, so together with the heart monitor I get a complete cardiovascular and metabolic profile.  I can tell you're already in excellent condition, so we'll start with a simple ten kilometer run/walk, with a little hill work to keep things interesting."

Still glaring, Katherine stamped her right foot in frustration.

"Don't be too upset," Kimber said as she began closing the door.  "Helena's version of this apparatus has nipple clamps on a pulley system and the video has you running through a foggy graveyard with zombies on your tail.   I'll have you running through the Hawaiian rainforest."

The door closed, the bolt snicked home, several seconds passed... and the screen came to life.  Kimber found herself facing an HDTV image of tropical splendor.  A loud beep sounded and the message "MOTIVATION TEST" appeared on the screen, superimposed on the rainforest trail.

Katherine sighed and danced on her bare feet.   Damn, this is probably gonna—EYOW!!!

The shock was painful, but not too bad... not at test level, anyway.  The message on the screen cleared and was replaced with "ONE KILOMETER WARMUP."  The treadmill slowly began turning and Katherine stutter-stepped and matched speed.  The pace increased until Katherine was striding at a quick walk.  On the screen the ferns, trees, and leaf litter were rolling by as Katherine strode "through" the forest.  Simultaneously, an unseen fan stirred to life and a cool, gentle breeze played across her naked body.

I hate being tied up, Katherine fumed, I hate being treated like a damn rat in a damn maze, and by the time this run is over I'll probably hate Hawaii!
Chapter 6
Confident that she was in a position of power, Sally had returned to the loft to shower and change.  She had detected no one "hanging around" in the street below, or any sign that the loft had been entered and searched.  After getting clean, Sally dried and brushed her hair, then dressed in panties, pantyhose, and her best business suit, a charcoal skirt and jacket over a white silk blouse.  A pair of semi-sensible heels completed the ensemble.  Thomasina Crown probably owns scarves that cost more than this entire outfit, she thought, but I don't look half bad... if I say so m'self.  She slid her digital camera in the pocket of her jacket and departed.

She took a cab to Crown's neighborhood, but walked the final two blocks to the townhouse.   It's showtime!  She bounded up the steps and rang the buzzer.  The door opened almost immediately, and Sally found herself staring at the midriff of a huge person.  She looked up, and found the greeter was male, dressed in a dark suit, was bald with a neatly trimmed beard and mustache, and he had to be more than three times Sally's weight... and none of it was fat... and he was HUGE!  His expression was carefully polite.

"Uh... hi!" Sally said.  "Uh... I'm here to see The Baroness."  The male mountain stared at Sally.  "You know... The Baroness?"  The man moved aside and gestured for Sally to enter.  Sally did so, then flinched when the door closed behind her.  She looked up at the man (he was maybe a little older than Sally, and was handsome... kinda).  Sally smiled nervously.  "You're a big fella... ain't ya?"

A ghost of a smile on his lips, the man gestured down the hall.  A woman was approaching.  She had black hair, fair skin, and was dressed in a dove gray suit.  She was beautiful (in a rather hard, detached way) and Sally recognized her as "U-89," the apparent leader of the gaggle of costumed women who had captured her the night of the party.

"A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Krippendorf," the woman said.  Her voice was warm and welcoming (but her eyes reminded Sally of a hungry snake).

"Again," Sally muttered.

"Excuse me?"

"To meet me again," Sally clarified.  "You and your friends grabbed me, tied me up, gagged me, and popped me in a sack a few days ago... remember?  We weren't introduced."

The woman smiled.  "Allow me to correct that oversight."  She offered her hand, and Sally took it.  The woman's grip was strong.  "Helena Quinn."  Helena released Sally's hand and gestured down the hallway.  "Ms. Crown insists you join her for a late lunch.  This way, please."

As she followed, Sally looked over her shoulder and waved at the Big Fella, who was still waiting by the front door.   Bye! she mouthed silently, and was gone.

The man stared after Sally for several seconds, then smiled and chuckled softly, shaking his head.  "What a cutie," he mumbled as he walked away.
Chapter 6
Helena led Sally into a large space, more an enclosed garden than a room.  Numerous trees, some quite large, provided shade from the sunlight streaming through the glass ceiling far overhead.  Countless plants, including huge ferns and several orchids, filled numerous beds.  A waterfall bubbled and splashed down moss covered rocks and fell into a pond stocked with koi.  The air was humid and laced with floral perfume and the rich scent of healthy soil.  Towards the center of the space was Thomasina Crown, seated at an elegant table set for two.

Thomasina stood as Sally and Helena approached.  She was dressed in a suit of creme linen over a creme silk blouse.  "Ms. Krippendorf," she purred, extending her hand.

Sally shook the offered hand.  "Uh... Sally."

"Sally," her hostess smiled.  "I'm Thomasina."  She released Sally's hand, and sat, gesturing towards the remaining chair.  Sally sat and watched Thomasina fill a wine glass from a chilled carafe.  "Ah, here we are," she said, looking over Sally's shoulder.

Sally turned, following Thomasina's gaze, and beheld a serving cart being wheeled in their direction by a stunning blonde in a pale blue suit.   Sheena, Sally thought, recognizing the Jungle Girl who had assisted Helena in her capture at the party.

"Thank you, Kimber," Thomasina said as beautifully garnished plates were placed before Sally and herself.  "Smoked duck wraps, olives, melon, and Graviera."

"Graviwhata?" Sally asked, staring at her plate.

"Graviera.  A Greek cheese," Thomasina answered, smiling.  "Please, enjoy."  She picked up a wrap from her plate and took a delicate bite.

Sally did the same.  "Yumm!" she muttered.  "This is good!"  She dispatched the rest of the wrap, a slice of melon, several olives, and a slice of cheese.  She was reaching for the second wrap on her plate, and (with chagrin) remembered the purpose of her visit.  "Uh... can Katherine join us for lunch, please?"

Thomasina smiled.  "I'm afraid your partner is occupied elsewhere."

Sally reached into her pocket and produced her digital camera.  "I insist," she mumbled.  "I want Katherine released immediately, or... Hey!"  Helena had stepped forward and connected a cable to the camera.  Meanwhile, Kimber had reached under the serving cart and produced a laptop computer.  Helena handed the free end of the cable to Kimber, who connected it to the laptop and opened the screen.  The screen cleared and the image of Andrea appeared.  The petite redhead was naked, bound hand and foot, gagged, and balanced en strappado atop a small anvil.

Sally blushed.  Her anger having long since faded, she was embarrassed (and a little ashamed) of what she'd done to the little redhead (even if her hostess was doing god-knows-what to Katherine).  Sally knew she had to play the hard ass, to get Katherine back... but she didn't like it (and knew she sucked at it).  Thomasina watched the slide show of her employee's torment and ate (while Sally cleared her plate as well).

The final image displayed.  "Well..." Thomasina said.  "I suppose we should begin negotiations; but first let's enjoy some dessert wine."

Sally heard foot steps approaching from behind, but her eyes were on Thomasina.  "I want Katherine in here right now, and..."  A small, delicate, freckled hand poured amber wine into the small, previously unused stemmed crystal near Sally's plate.  "...she better be all right or..."  Sally turned her head and found the hand belonged to—Andrea McCandless! "...or I'll... uh... You wouldn't be Andrea's identical twin sister, would'ya?"  The petite redhead shook her head, a coy smile on her face.  Sally swallowed nervously and continued.  "Uh... her clone maybe?"

Andrea was dressed in a black mini-skirt, white silk blouse, white hose, and black heels.  She shook her head a second time, poured wine in Thomasina's glass, then leaned close to Sally's left ear as she took a step back.  "Don't be afraid," she whispered.

Sally's wide eyes darted from Andrea to Thomasina and back again, then back to Thomasina as her tall, beautiful, rich, and powerful hostess spoke.  "Thank you, Andrea.  Please bring the cheesecake tartlets."

Andrea winked at Sally, bowed slightly to her employer, and left.

"Andrea was rescued before your van was off the county road," Thomasina explained.

"Huh?  I mean how, uh, how did you...?"

"Your van is bugged, " Thomasina explained, "as is Katherine's loft.  We've been following your every move since the day we detected you hacking my corporate network."

"But we sweep for bugs... every week," Sally responded.

"There are very sophisticated, very expensive devices available," Thomasina purred.

Sally picked up her dessert wine and downed it in a single nervous gulp, then paused and stared at the glass.  "Yum."

"Thank you," Thomasina answered with an amused grin, taking a careful sip of her wine.

Sally set her empty glass down and sighed.  "I... I wouldn't really have hurt her."

Thomasina's smile became truly friendly.  "I know that, Sally.  If I thought otherwise... we'd be having this conversation under quite different circumstances."

Sally swallowed nervously.  "I bet," she muttered.  "What now?"

"What now?"  Thomasina's smile broadened.  "Well, for starters, I suppose you can remove your clothes and hand them to Kimber."

"What?  You want me to strip?"

"We can always compel you, physically," Thomasina observed, nodding towards Helena and Kimber (and causing Sally to squirm in her chair nervously); "but remember Katherine?  What sort of things do you suppose I would do to her, to compel your cooperation?"

Sally sighed and stared at her empty wine glass sadly.  "I knew I shoulda come packing."

Thomasina laughed.  "Do you really think you would have made it past my front door armed?"

Sally sighed again, nervously fingering her jacket buttons.  "All of it?  Really?"

"Every stitch," Thomasina confirmed.

Sally stood, gazed sadly at Kimber and Helena (discovering amusement but no sympathy), and removed her jacket.  Kimber stepped forward and accepted it, carefully folding it over one arm.  Next came Sally's shoes, then her pantyhose, and then her panties.  Finally, she undid the buttons of her blouse, one-by-one, and shrugged out of the silky garment.  Naked (and blushing) Sally nervously faced her hostess.  "What now?"

Thomasina had watched Sally's striptease while savoring the remainder of her dessert wine.  "Your rings and earrings."  Sally pulled a ring from her right hand, two simple posts from her ear lobes, a ring from one of the toes of her left foot, and handed them to Kimber.  "And now you may sit," Thomasina said.

Sally settled back into her chair (squirming her naked bottom on the thin cushion), and watched Kimber depart with her clothes.

Just then Andrea returned with a tray and two small plates.  She set a plate before Sally, then Thomasina.  On them were small portions of what appeared to be cheesecake drizzled with a dark sauce and garnished with berries.  Her eyes on Sally's naked (and still blushing) form, Andrea smiled at the equally petite blonde and leaned close.  "Brave girl," she whispered, then started to leave.

"Andrea?" Thomasina called after her.

The redhead spun on her heel.  "Madam?"

"Sally was very cruel to you in that barn out in the pine barrens," Thomasina purred.  "I'd be interested in your feelings about that."

Andrea walked back to the table, took Sally's right hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, then leaned close and kissed the still blushing blonde on the lips.  "She was angry and anxious about her friend.  Once she calmed down she was contrite and left me tied in a comfortable spread-eagle when she left for the city... but you know all that."

"Thank you, Andrea," Thomasina said, favoring Sally with a kindly smile.

Andrea leaned close and whispered in Sally's ear.  "You'll be okay, and so will your friend."  She gave Sally's hand a final squeeze, and was gone.

Thomasina waited until Andrea had left the room, then turned to Helena.  "I do believe Little Red has a crush on our new guest."  Helena nodded, her expression carefully neutral.  Thomasina continued.  "Do you see why your lack of control made me so angry?"  She nodded at the laptop.  "Do you see what it caused?"  Helena nodded again, and Thomasina chuckled.  "Oh, don't pout.  Come here."

Helena stepped forward and kissed her employer, who kissed her back.  "I'm sorry," Helena whispered.

"I know," Thomasina whispered back.  "Do you forgive me for punishing you?"

"Of course," Helena answered, then took a step back and favored Sally with an ever so slightly evil smile.  "Besides... when I'm being punished it gives me time to think.  It can be downright inspirational."

Sally's eyes darted from Helena to Thomasina.  "Uh... I don't suppose if I said I was sorry Katherine and I could just... go home? harm, no foul?"

Thomasina laughed and shook her head.  "Charming.  No, Helena is going to restrain you, give you a thorough search for hidden weapons and escape aids—"

"Very thorough," Helena interrupted, smiling like a hungry cat eyeing a mouse (and causing Sally to swallow nervously).

Thomasina smiled indulgently and continued.  "And then she'll take you for a reunion with your Katherine."

"Oh, that's good," Sally said, brightening a little.

"Let's finish our tarts, shall we?" Thomasina said, and picked up her dessert fork.

"Uh, okay," Sally muttered, "if you insist.  You don't mind if I take my time, do you?"

Thomasina and Helena exchanged amused smiles.  "Charming," Thomasina said and forked a delicate bite of her cheesecake.

"You really aren't going to tell me what's going to happen and when we're going home?" Sally asked, picking up her own fork.

Thomasina shook her head.  "Now is not the time.  You and your partner are going to be my guests for a while, and we'll discuss the details... later."  She continued eating.  "This is delicious."

"Kimber is going to make you regret every bite," Helena told her boss.

"I'm actually a few kilos below optimum weight and my percent body fat is spot on."

"She'll still make you sweat," Helena purred, "then have you eating beefsteak for dinner."

Thomasina and Helena laughed, then Thomasina noticed Sally, fork in hand, simply staring at her plate... and her blue eyes were welling with tears.  "Sally," she said gently, "what did Andrea tell you just now?"

"Uh, that I'd be okay... and Katherine too."

"Look at me, Little One."  Sally lifted her gaze to lock eyes with her hostess.  "I promise, Sally," Thomasina said.  "Every word is true.  No harm will come to you, or to Katherine.  Now eat."

"Yes ma'am," Sally mumbled, and used her free hand to wipe her eyes, one at a time.

"Charming," Thomasina said yet again, smiling as she watched her petite, blonde, naked guest take a bite of cheesecake.

"Wow!  Is this stuff legal?" Sally demanded.  "It's great!"
Chapter 6
Katherine was seriously flagging by the end of the ten kilometer run.  The program had culminated with a distressingly steep hill.  Overheated (despite the cool air blowing in her face), dripping with sweat and very thirsty, Katherine nearly stumbled at one point, but then the image of the trail and the treadmill under her pounding feet flattened out.  She found herself on a high, wind swept, grassy plateau with a magnificent view of the ocean on her left and rippling volcanic cliffs on her right... and the pace slowed to a quick walk.  Several minutes later, with Katherine's heart still pounding and her chest still heaving (but not as rapidly as they had before)... the treadmill stopped.

"ACTIVE PROGRAM OVER," appeared on the screen, with the instruction "PLEASE STAND PERFECTLY STILL."  Katherine dropped her head and stared at the treadmill, panting through the hose still strapped in her mouth.  She then turned her head to examine the closed door behind her.  There was a quiet beep and the message changed.  "STAND PERFECTLY STILL FOR RESPIRATION MONITORING.  FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN MOTIVATION."  Katherine growled through the breathing tube mouthpiece (it could hardly be called a gag), and followed the computer's orders.

I hate being tied up!

Eventually her heart and breathing rates returned to normal.  "EVALUATION OVER," appeared on the screen.  "PLEASE WAIT HERE."

Katherine shook her head in frustration, twisted her bound wrists, and stared at the padded walls of her tiny prison.   'Please wait here.'  Everybody's a comedian.

Suddenly the bolt was thrown back, the door opened, and Kimber entered the space, the usual happy smile on her beautiful face.  She was back in the lilac one-piece swimsuit she had been wearing earlier.  Katherine's nose clip was removed (much to her relief) and the breathing tube as well.

"You're in excellent condition, Katherine," Kimber said.  "I've never seen better initial readouts.  We'll have you whipped into even better shape in no time."

"Not literally, I hope," Katherine said sourly.   "Whipped," she clarified at Kimber's puzzled expression.

"Not unless Helena's involved," the blonde said with a laugh, and led Katherine into the main gym.  "Seriously, you're in excellent condition."

"Thanks," Katherine growled, then her eyes brightened and she licked her dry lips.  Kimber had produced a bottle of sports drink.  It was held to Katherine's lips and she drank rapidly until it was a third empty, then she stopped.  "More later," she said.  "I'll puke if I drink it all."

"Probably," Kimber agreed, and led her prisoner through a doorway and into a tiled bathroom with a large shower.  "Let's get you cleaned up," she purred.  The water was blood temperature, and Katherine sighed with contentment as she was soaped, scrubbed with a rough sponge, and rinsed.  Next her hair was unbraided, shampooed, and rinsed as well.

Kimber toweled Katherine dry and used a blow dryer and brush to deal with the captive's hair.  During Katherine's grooming Kimber took frequent breaks to help her prisoner drink the remaining sports drink.  "You could probably use a nap," the blonde said finally, and led Katherine from the gym.  They went down a long passageway to an elevator, then down at least two floors.

When the elevator door opened, Katherine found her surroundings much darker and more dungeon-like than before.  The walls were rough faced cinderblock, the floor poured concrete, and the overhead lighting widely spaced and dim.  They passed through a gate of iron bars, and down a corridor lined with steel door after steel door, all set in steel frames with massive hinges and locking bolts.

Finally, they stopped at a door, Kimber turned the lock and threw back the bolt, opened the very thick portal (which Katherine noted was padded on the inside), and motioned for Katherine to enter the space beyond.

The cell was roughly ten feet square, padded on all surfaces with white canvas.  Katherine took a tentative step and found the floor was quite soft, like a mattress.  A single lighting fixture was overhead, flush mounted high in the ceiling.  Its cover was heavily wired glass and it was quite bright, flooding the cell with an actinic glare.

Katherine was still looking around when Kimber quickly and expertly tripped her to the floor.  "Hey!" the prisoner complained, but before she knew what was happening, vinyl clad flexi-cuffs had tightened around her ankles and the ends had been clipped.  "Damn!" Katherine muttered.   I hate being tied up!

Kimber blew the naked captive a kiss, and the door slammed.

Well... at least I'm comfortable, Katherine mused, snuggling against the soft padding.  Maybe I will take that nap.

Suddenly the door opened again, and a body was tossed inside, and it was Sally!  The petite blonde was naked, her wrists bound with padded flexi-cuffs and pinned to the small of her back with a padded cable tie, and her ankles flexi-cuffed together.  In other words, her bonds were identical to Katherine's.

The bolt slammed in the door and the key turned in the lock.  By this time Sally had rolled onto her rump, sat up, and was facing her equally helpless partner, a sheepish smile on her blushing face.  "Uh... Hi!" she said.  "I'm here to rescue you."

Katherine sighed.  "Oh, Krippendorf!"  
Chapter 6

Chapter 5
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