Vanessa Carrington sat at a table overlooking the beach and watched a couple of surfers catching waves fifty yards offshore, silhouetted by the setting sun. It was a warm evening despite a pleasant breeze from the ocean, and she was glad she’d dressed for the weather in a flowing cotton maxi skirt and a sky blue tee. She sipped a mojito and waited for her dinner appointment to arrive.
It was most definitely a dinner appointment, not a dinner date. This was business, not pleasure though, as she often explained dryly to other academics at parties, hers was the business of pleasure – or at least the study of pleasure. As a Professor of Psychology at Cal State, her field was the quirks and oddities of human sexuality. She specialized in the peculiar, and there was definitely something peculiar going on here.
The sleepy little backwater hamlets of Blue Water Harbor and Blue Water Village, an hour up the California coast from the city of San Vicente, had never been of interest to anyone except for a few summer vacationers. People came here – and few did – for the beaches, the picturesque scenery and the quiet life. Vanessa had never even heard of the place until a few months ago, even though she lived only a few hours away.
That had changed a few months ago, in the spring, when stories had begun circulating – most unusual stories. There were tales of public brawls, which were remarkable enough in a quiet place like this, but rather than the predictable incidents of young men getting drunk and letting their fists do the talking, these fights were reportedly among the women. That alone might have caught Vanessa’s personal interest but her professional curiosity was piqued by the accompanying rumors – public sex acts, orgies, even cults. Many of the more bizarre anecdotes were no doubt just gossip, but it pointed to something going on in this quiet little corner of the state – something unusual enough for Vanessa to begin some digging.
She had checked into local police reports, but they told her nothing. The citizens of Blue Water were an unusually law-abiding bunch. The place had never been a hot-bed of crime but for the past three years, there was nothing more serious than a parking ticket in the public records – no assaults, no public indecency, nothing to substantiate the rumors. Yet the stories persisted, most of them whispers and innuendo from sources that, in isolation, were hardly reliable, but together they added up.
Vanessa had done some more checking, calling in favors from a few statisticians she knew who worked with social media analytics. The results were also interesting. Rather than the unrest she expected, the people of this region were among the happiest in the state – maybe even the entire nation.
There was definitely something going on here – something extraordinary. Vanessa could smell it. Whatever it was, it was worthy of investigation. It might even make a fascinating subject for a research paper. That was what had prompted her to take a house here for the summer. Her husband Rob could work on his own research– chemistry, not psychology – and their daughter Susan was on a summer internship with a law firm in Los Angeles. Vanessa would be able to get to the bottom of the mystery, whatever it was.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a sound from within the restaurant. The glass doors that formed the entire beach-facing wall were completely retracted to admit the afternoon breeze, allowing her to see – and hear – whatever went on inside. The interior was dim however, and she lifted her over-sized sunglasses up onto her forehead, settling them there and pushing back her thick chestnut hair, cut short in a bob.
The sound came from the end of the bar, where a man in his forties and a woman of about the same age sat on stools, facing one another with beers at their elbows. The man had his hand up under his companion’s skirt and she was moaning loud enough that she had attracted Vanessa’s attention. She raised an eyebrow but continued to watch them. Public sex acts. If they noticed her watching, they didn’t seem to care. The two bartenders – also a man and a woman – ignored them.
A woman entered the restaurant and came around the bar. She walked right past the petting couple and like the bar staff, she didn’t so much as give them a second glance. What was surprising, even shocking in another setting, seemed to be mundane here. Vanessa mentally filed that fact away.
The new arrival stepped out onto the patio. There were two other patrons – a couple and presumably local – a few tables away, but the woman walked right over to Vanessa and stretched out her hand. “Vanessa Carrington? I’m Lisa Ramirez. Nice to meet you.”
Vanessa had been in Blue Water Village almost a week now and had wasted no time in making a few discrete enquiries, but to no avail. Any mention she made, however delicate, regarding fights, wild parties, or any kind of excitement at all, were met with friendly but blank stares and variations on the theme of ‘I wouldn’t know anything about that. Her favorite remark was from the guy behind the counter at the local mini-mart. “Even the rain falls slowly here.”
She had been wracking her brains for a new approach – somebody had to want to talk, surely, or how had the rumors gotten out in the first place? Then, as she sat staring out the dining room window over breakfast this morning, the phone had rung. Rob had answered it, but had passed it to her a few moments later.
“Mrs Carrington? My name is Lisa Ramirez. I got your number from Lauren Reeves.” Lauren Reeves ran the local realty office and Vanessa had rented the house through her. “I heard you have some questions.” There was a pause. “I may have some answers.” They had arranged to meet here for an early dinner tonight, and then Vanessa hung up.
Later that morning, Vanessa had walked the half mile down the hill into town, to the local coffee shop. Blue Water Village wasn’t even big enough to rate a Starbucks – the place was owned and run by a petite and vivacious woman in her early thirties with the unlikely name of Misty Dawn – but the coffee was good and they baked on the premises. Misty, whom Vanessa had met on her first day in town, was happy to tell Vanessa her whole life story from growing up as an army brat to her teenage pregnancy, her time as a stripper and a call girl, and a lot other details which, under other circumstances, might have been a psychologist’s dream. What she didn’t do however, was answer any of Vanessa’s questions. The best Vanessa got was, “Really? Holy shit! I never heard any of that before!”
Vanessa wasn’t giving up though. She walked through the door. Misty was serving coffee to a forty-something blonde that Vanessa didn’t recognize. “Morning Misty.”
“Hey Vanessa! Your usual? Lungo and a whole wheat blueberry muffin?” Misty came across as a flake but had a perfect memory when it came to her customers’ preferences. Vanessa smiled and nodded. “Coming right up!”
Like every other eatery in town, the coffee shop had a patio and Vanessa had seated herself outside as she always did. Misty had brought her coffee and muffin a few minutes later. “There ya go,” said the redhead. “Anything else I can get you?”
“I have a question for you.”
That had brought a grin to Misty’s face. “You got lots of questions…I just hope this is one I can answer.”
“You know somebody named Lisa Ramirez?”
Misty laughed. “That one I definitely can answer. She and her husband run the furniture store down the street. Juan…her hubby…is also the mayor.” That had made Vanessa raise hereyebrows.
Now the mayor’s wife was standing in front of her with a warm smile on her full lips that reached all the way to her twinkling dark brown eyes. Her face was framed by dark brown hair that was just a shade short of black, which she wore pulled back in a ponytail. She was slightly olive-skinned and her red halter top showed off well toned shoulders and a firm yet not overly large bust. Vanessa took a moment to reflect that her own breasts were considerably larger, and another moment to wonder why she had even thought that. She had never made a habit of comparing herself physically to other women.
She took the proffered hand. “Thank you. Nice to meet you too. Call me Vanessa.”
Lisa Ramirez pulled out the chair opposite Vanessa, smoothed her short white skirt over her thighs and seated herself. A waitress had been hovering since she first arrived and now approached. Lisa ordered something called a Martinez which Vanessa had never heard of, but which the waitress seemed to know. “Angostura, Mrs Ramirez?”
The waitress left, and Lisa turned her attention to Vanessa again. “So…are you enjoying Blue Water Village?”
“Very much. It’s a lot quieter than I’m used to, but that’s hardly a bad thing. Plus I love the ocean…I’ve been spending a lot of time at the beach.”
“Our beaches are one of our best kept secrets,” grinned Lisa.
Vanessa smiled back. “It seems you keep your secrets well.” She waited for that to sink in before adding, “I go every morning. It’s beautiful and there’s hardly a soul in sight.”
“You’ve only seen South Beach. There’s another beach up on the north side of the peninsula…the north end of Two Beaches Rd. It’s even more secluded, and even more beautiful.”
“I heard that was a private beach.”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t go there.” Lisa grinned again. She looked directly at Vanessa. “You just gotta know the right people.”
Vanessa felt a slight blush creep into her face. What was going on here? There was something in the woman’s gaze that made her feel…intimidated…yet also intrigued.
“And I suppose you’re the right people,” she countered.
“Our house is on the beach,” replied Lisa. “Maybe you could come for breakfast one day.”
“I’d like that,” said Vanessa before she even thought about it. What the hell? This woman was flirting with her! Or was she? Vanessa wasn’t used to being discomfited.
The waitress delivered Lisa’s drink, and brought two menus along with it. They spent a few minutes discussing the dinner options. “All the seafood is locally caught…there are a couple fishermen over the hill…Blue Water Harbor…who supply all the local restaurants. Trust me, you’ll enjoy whatever you order.”
Vanessa decided on grilled fish. Lisa opted for a shrimp salad. The waitress returned to take their orders, and they sat gazing out over the beach in silence for some time.
“Word is, you’ve been asking a lot of questions around town,” said Lisa at last, breaking the silence.
Vanessa smiled and nodded. “Professional curiosity.”
“Are you a reporter?”
“No…I’m a psychologist.”
Lisa regarded her for a long moment. “A psychologist.”
“I’m a research professor at Cal State. Human behavior, specializing in sexual abnormalities.”
The other woman’s eyes narrowed a little. “So we’re abnormal?”
“Public fights in various places around town…orgies…public sex…” Vanessa inclined her head toward the couple at the bar. The woman was now sitting astride the man’s lap, gripping his shoulders tightly, her head thrown back. He held her waist, his eyes closed. From the motion of her hips, it was obvious what was happening there. The two bar staff were watching with interest but without surprise. Vanessa looked back at Lisa again. “Yet from all indications, this is one of the happiest and healthiest places in the nation. How would you describe it?”
Lisa broke into a wide grin. “Good point.” She sipped at her drink thoughtfully. “What have you heard?”
“Not much more than what I just told you,” admitted Vanessa. “Hints, rumors, innuendo. But they came from enough different sources to give them some credibility, and the stories had enough variety in them that they seemed to describe different incidents. Something unusual seems to be happening in your lovely little town,” she let her eyes wander meaningfully to the rutting couple by the bar, “so I thought I’d come look into what’s causing it.”
“I wonder how the stories got out,” mused Lisa. “We don’t exactly advertise.”
“I get to rub shoulders with a lot of people…dancers, sex workers, swingers. San Francisco has a pretty active bdsm and fetish community too.”
Lisa grinned over her glass. “Rub shoulders, huh?”
Vanessa smiled back. “I’m more of an observer than a participant.”
“Voyeurism is a fetish too, y’know.”
Vanessa raised her glass. “Touché.” It was going to be an interesting evening. She was used to structured interviews, questions and answers, detachment and control. This was something very different. Lisa Ramirez was smart as a whip and Vanessa couldn’t shake the impression that the woman was playing with her. She might learn some things here tonight, but she was going to have to earn the right to know. So be it. It wouldn’t be the most difficult interview she had ever conducted.
They regarded the copulating couple again. Vanessa was quite impressed that they managed to stay on the bar stool, gyrating as they were. “I get the feeling this sort of thing isn’t all that unusual here.”
Lisa laughed. “Oh, this is the mild end of the scale, believe me. Last summer, Juan…my husband…had to issue his first ever mayoral proclamation, forbidding people from fucking in the street. I mean in the actual street.” She chuckled at Vanessa’s arched eyebrow. “Yeah, that happened. There was almost a nasty accident one night.”
“How long has it been going on?”
“It started about three years ago, in the spring, though things have heated up quite a lot since then.”
“Did anything particular happen around that time, to kick it all off?”
“Yes.” Lisa didn’t say anything more, but sat there smiling.
“You’re not making this easy, are you?”
Lisa laughed out loud. “There are three people you should talk to…three women.” She paused before adding, “We women are in the middle of this. The guys are mostly just enjoying the ride.”
Vanessa slipped a notepad out of her purse on the chair beside her. “Mind if I write down the names?”
“No need. I wrote them down for you…with phone numbers.” Lisa slid a folded slip of paper across the table. “I suggest you start with Jane Masters. She’s expecting your call.”
Vanessa glanced at the paper. Jane Masters’ name was uppermost, with a phone number. It was followed by two others – Aisha Pashir and Monique Morgaine. Neither was familiar to Vanessa. She slipped the paper between the pages of her notepad and put it back into her purse.
They were interrupted when the door of the restaurant burst open and a group of people swept in – three men and three women. They all seemed to be in their mid-thirties and looked as though they had just come from the beach. The men were in t-shirts, shorts and flip flops, the women in bikinis with wraps or t-shirts over them. All were lean and fit-looking – the quintessential California beach types.
Talking loudly and laughing among themselves, they rushed to the bar, ignoring the couple at the end – all except one woman, a brunette in a black bikini and a white tank top. She walked right up behind the older woman who was still obliviously grinding on her partner’s lap. Grabbing the woman’s hair with both hands, the brunette yanked hard, hauling her victim off the man’s lap and sending her crashing to the floor on her back.
The woman lay there motionless, a look of dazed surprise on her face. Then, as her wits came back to her, her eyes widened and her expression turned to one of fear. She drew her knees up, grabbed her ankles with both hands and spread her legs wide, displaying her shaven and still gaping pussy to her younger assailant.
“What’s that about?” murmured Vanessa, shocked but also intrigued.
“Surrender,” replied Lisa in a low voice. “She’s not putting up a fight.”
“Not…putting up a fight,” repeated Vanessa thoughtfully. Connections were starting to form in her head.
The woman’s gesture seemed to galvanize her attacker’s companions. One of the men – he was dark skinned and his features suggested Caribbean heritage – unzipped his shorts and dropped to his knees in front of their victim. Seizing her ankles, he pulled her legs even wider and thrust his cock into her. She squealed but in a way that Vanessa would have associated with pleasure, not protest, and she made no attempt to fight him off. On the contrary, she sank back on the floor, arching her back and pushing her hips upward in supplication.
Her companion – husband? boyfriend? – slipped off his stool and sank down beside her head. Taking her by the hair, he tilted her head back and shoved his still hard member into her open mouth. Again she cried out around his cock and squirmed helplessly but more in enjoyment than out of any attempt to escape.
“Ah, that’s more like it,” said Lisa softly. Vanessa looked sharply at her. “Like I told you, what you saw earlier was on the mild side. This is more what we’re used to, around here.” She grinned at the look on Vanessa’s face. “I thought this would be pretty normal in your field, professor.”
Another one of the men slipped an arm around the waist of the brunette who had initiated the attack, pulled her to him and kissed her hard on the lips. Vanessa noticed that she wore a black patent leather choker – or collar – at her throat. “Good job baby!” He hugged a second woman, attractive and coffee skinned, on his other side and they all watched as the woman’s partner and their own companion used her, roughly though not violently.
The third woman, also a brunette, caught sight of Lisa and Vanessa looking on. “Got some fresh meat, huh Lisa?” she called out. She picked her away around the threesome on the floor and came over. “Who’s your new friend?”
Vanessa held out her hand. “I’m Vanessa Carrington.”
The brunette ignored the hand, but her eyes roved over Vanessa from head to toe, coming to rest on her face at last. They gazed steadily into one another’s eyes. Vanessa knew an intimidation play when she saw one. She’d met enough Dommes in her time that she knew the rules of the game.
“Vanessa, meet Brittany Beckett.” Lisa answered the question Vanessa was about to ask. “Brittany’s husband Jesse is our local police presence, though the station is actually over in Blue Water Harbor.”
“And what do you do, Brittany?” asked Vanessa. She gave the younger woman the same up-and-down look that Brittany had given her. The brunette was slender, more slightly built than Vanessa herself and probably a couple inches shorter too, but her muscles were well toned – judging by her tan, from a lot of hours on the beach. She was small chested – smaller than either Vanessa or Lisa – but not flat chested. She wore a fluorescent orange string bikini that almost glowed in the twilight, and a rainbow print, almost sheer sarong wrapped around her waist and knotted over her right hip. A gold torque encircled her throat. A prettier collar, thought Vanessa, but a collar nonetheless.
“I kick the ass of nosey strangers,” the woman replied with a curled lip. Vanessa could see the fire of lust in her eyes, fueled by what was going on next to the bar behind her. Lust and violence, coupled together – common enough, but Vanessa had rarely seen it aimed directly at her.
“What she means, is that she waits tables here, three nights a week,” said Lisa. “I guess this is your night off, Britanny? Or did you get fired…again?”
“Shut up, Lisa. Bo’s just jerking my chain because he’s still pissed at what I did to his wife.” She leaned forward, placed both hands on the table top and pressed her face close to Vanessa’s. “I think I want this one.”
Something snapped in Vanessa. She whipped both hands up and shoved at Brittany’s shoulders, sending the woman stumbling back a step. “Back off, and mind your manners!”
Brittany looked uncomfortable for just a moment – bullies seldom knew how to deal with people who fought back – but then her eyes narrowed. She lunged, seized Vanessa by the front of her tee and dragged her to her feet. “Oh I really want you now!”
Vanessa was dumbstruck. “What…” she spluttered. She glanced sideways at Lisa who was regarding her with an enigmatic smile. “What the hell is this?”
“This is what you came here for, professor. You wanted to know what’s going on around here. Now you’re about to see it…first hand.”
“Get the hell away from me!” Vanessa shoved Brittany backward again.
“Bitch,” snarled the younger brunette, her eyes blazing, “I’m gonna enjoy fucking you up!” She sneered. “Then we’re all gonna enjoy fucking you!”
“She has the right of trial by combat,” Lisa interrupted. “Remember the rules, Brittany.”
“Fuck the rules! If that cunt Jane Masters tries to push me around, I’ll hang her up by her fat cow tits until she begs to lick my pussy!”
“I wasn’t thinking about Jane,” countered Lisa. “Remember what Aisha did, the last time one of her people decided to go rogue? I think she’s still in a dog crate.”
Brittany paled for a moment. Then she turned back to Vanessa and growled. Before Vanessa could react, Brittany lashed out with both hands, slamming them into Vanessa’s chest. Vanessa staggered backwards, hit the railing behind her and flipped over it, plummeting four feet or so to the patchy grass below with her legs in the air, her skirt up around her hips. The impact knocked the wind out of her and she lay there groaning, trying to comprehend what had just happened. The bitch attacked me!
She rolled onto her side and pushed herself up on one elbow, still gasping. Brittany vaulted the railing and landed beside her in a crouch. The younger woman had shed her sarong and was now dressed only in her brief bikini. Before Vanessa could do anything to react, Brittany grabbed her by the hair and leapt to her feet, hauling Vanessa up with her. Crying out loud at the painful dragging on her scalp, Vanessa raised her arms and clutched at her attacker’s wrists. “Get your hands off me!”
Brittany flung Vanessa away from her by the hair, sending her staggering up against the wall below the restaurant’s patio. “Or you’ll do what? Scream at me some more?” She stood there on the balls of her feet, every muscle in her lithe frame tensed. Vanessa spread her arms against the wall to brace herself. She blinked tears of pain out of her eyes. Her scalp burned.
The brunette saw the fleeting distraction and fired a kick that would have thudded into Vanessa’s belly near her navel, had she not dodged sideways in the nick of time. She spun away along the wall. Brittany pulled her foot back down but her momentum sent her flying forward into the rough concrete. She twisted her body and took the impact on her shoulder with a grunt. Pushing herself away roughly, she came after Vanessa. “Lucky move, bitch.” She lashed out again, snatching at Vanessa’s hair but Vanessa was ready now and ducked under the outstretched arm, dodging away behind the other woman.
Brittany rounded on her. “You can’t run forever, bitch! If you wanna walk away from this, you better start fighting back. Otherwise, sooner or later I’m gonna catch you and then I’m gonna own you!”
Vanessa had to concede that her attacker was right. She could see the look in Brittany’s eyes, the tone in her voice. There was no reasoning with this woman. The only way out of this situation was over Brittany’s beaten body. The alternative did not bear thinking about. She had already lost one shoe in her tumble over the railing, and she kicked off the other now as her fingers fumbled at her waist for the drawstring that secured her skirt. She pulled it loose, the skirt fell about her ankles and she stepped clear of it, barefoot in her tee and her white lace g-string.
She wasn’t at a complete disadvantage. She worked out regularly and she’d taken a few martial arts classes in her time. She tried to call forth that knowledge now as she began to circle to her right, keeping her eyes warily on her opponent. Brittany did the same, her knees bent slightly, a savage smile on her face. Vanessa was under no illusions – this woman was used to fighting, and enjoyed it. She would be a formidable adversary. But Vanessa Carrington had never shrunk from a challenge and besides, she had no choice in the matter. In the space of a few minutes she had gone from being largely ignorant of the strange happenings in this town, to being right in the middle of one such incident. She could not shake the vision of the woman at the bar, being gang-banged by Brittany’s group. That, Vanessa knew, would be the price of defeat.
Brittany had her back to the wall now, and Vanessa tensed herself for a lunge that would slam her opponent back against the concrete. Perhaps she telegraphed her move however, and Brittany attacked first, darting forward with her arms outstretched at chest level. On instinct Vanessa ducked low, going down on one knee and, as Brittany’s lunge carried her forward over her, she threw herself upward and forward. Brittany’s squeal of surprise was abruptly cut off as Vanessa’s shoulder slammed into her belly, driving the air out of her lungs. She folded over Vanessa’s back and then, as Vanessa surged to her feet, she crashed to the ground. Taking the fall on the backs of her shoulders and rolling away, she twisted up to her knees at the point where the grass gave way to sand, and rose to her feet.
“So the new girl’s got some claws after all,” she said with a grim smile. The fall had disarranged her bikini top and a crescent of darker brown skin peeped around it against her golden tan where a nipple was almost exposed. She did not bother to adjust her top. “Let’s see what you got.”
She charged at Vanessa again. This time Vanessa was not quite quick enough to dodge. Brittany got both hands on the front of her tee and jerked her forward, but Vanessa used the other woman’s momentum against her and spun on one foot, whipping Brittany past her. Her adversary snarled a curse and clung tight to Vanessa’s chest, claws digging into Vanessa’s flesh through the thin tee and her bra beneath. Vanessa cried out in pain but as Brittany stumbled backwards toward the wall, she threw herself into her opponent, crushing Brittany between the unyielding concrete and her own body.
Brittany grunted sharply and sagged against Vanessa who took a half step back, opening up enough space between them to send her fist into her adversary’s midsection. Brittany gagged and folded over Vanessa’s fist. Vanessa grabbed her by the hair and with a move that was more muscle memory than calculated effort, hip tossed her to the grass.
Vanessa felt more confident now as she stepped around her fallen opponent, trying to keep Brittany between her and the wall. She was beginning to get the measure of her opponent now. Brittany was all aggression, fighting with sheer ferocity rather than thought or style. Vanessa had a height and weight advantage, though it was slight, but she was in good shape and now Brittany was winded and hurt. This fight wasn’t over yet, but she might just walk away from this.
That confidence was eroded considerably as she glimpsed movement off to her left. Figures appeared around the corner of the restaurant – Brittany’s companions had obviously finished with the woman by the bar and had now come to join their friend. The odds were suddenly stacked dramatically against Vanessa – six to one.
“Ignore them!” Lisa Ramirez called from the patio. “They can’t interfere. She has to beat you one on one.”
Vanessa’s gaze flicked back and forth from Brittany, who was rolling to her knees, holding her belly with one hand, and her friends who were fanning out to form a circle around the fight. “Tell them that.”
“They know…just like they know what’ll happen to them if they break the rules. Everybody in town will be after them.”
Sure enough, the other five made no move to interfere in the fight, but stood watching at a distance. “Break her, Brit!” yelled the brunette
Brittany rose to her feet. Her eyes were narrowed to slits, her lips drawn back to bare her teeth. Her bikini top had come loose now and her breasts had completely escaped its confines. She yanked it off over her head and tossed it aside. “I will, Patti,” she promised in a hiss, never taking her eyes off Vanessa. “You got second dibs on face sitting her…right after me.” Vanessa heard Patti laugh. She tried not to shudder, and focused her attention firmly on the fight.
Dropping into a slight crouch once more, Brittany wasted no time and sprang forward, slapping viciously at Vanessa’s face. Vanessa stepped back out of reach and the slap whistled past a few inches away. She smiled and opened her mouth to mock her opponent but before she could get any words out, Brittany pivoted on the ball of her foot and fired a thrust kick that speared into Vanessa’s midriff just below her navel. Air and spit exploded from her parted lips and she doubled over, just in time to meet Brittany’s rising knee which hammered into her chin. The blow straightened her up and as she staggered back a step, the heel of the younger woman’s open hand struck her right between the eyes, flinging her over backwards and stretching her out on the sand at the edge of the beach.
As she lay there, groggy, trying desperately to collect her shattered wits, she heard Brittany’s voice as though from a long way off. “You think you got moves, bitch? You got no fucking idea! But you’re gonna learn!”
Vanessa rolled onto her belly, still seeing stars, and pushed herself up with both hands, knowing she was in deep trouble if she didn’t get to her feet immediately. She got a knee under her and was about to rise when Brittany’s fingers twisted into her hair again. Panic rose up within her and she shrieked more in fear than pain, trying to force it down, trying to think. She twisted desperately in Brittany’s grasp, firing an elbow backward blindly, hoping to fend off this latest attack. She had to gain some time – even a few seconds – to regroup.
Brittany didn’t give her those seconds. Her foot stomped into the back of Vanessa’s knee, taking her down to the sand again. With one hand still hauling Vanessa’s head back painfully, she reached over Vanessa’s shoulder and yanked her tee upward, pulling it up over her head, blinding her and impeding her arms at the same time.
Panic gripped tighter around Vanessa’s heart. “GET OFF ME!” She flailed her arms wildly trying to get a grip on her tee, to pull it down and regain her vision. “LET GO OF ME!” She felt frighteningly helpless. Vanessa Carrington wasn’t used to being helpless and the feeling was a profoundly frightening one.
Brittany jerked her violently to her feet. Pain erupted in her scalp and her neck as the other woman hurled her away across the sand. She stumbled, tripped but managed to stay on her feet. Regaining her balance, she once again tried to pull her shirt down off her face but before she could get a grip on it, she crashed into something. She heard a jeering voice – a man’s voice – close by her ear. “No you don’t, new girl! No running away now!” Hands grabbed hold of her by her full breasts, now protected only by her lacy bra, and shoved her back the way she had come.
Instinctively she turned, sensing Brittany behind her as she finally got her fingers up to claw her tee down and see again. She pulled her arms in to protect her chest and belly but her instincts had been off and her assailant was now on her right, a fact Vanessa learned the hard way as Brittany spun and hammered a knee into her kidney.
Vanessa’s back arched as pain coursed up her spine and down her legs. Her knees buckled and she dropped to the ground, holding herself up with one arm, clutching at her back with the other. She ground her teeth against the agony, so intense that it made her feel sick. She forced herself to breathe through the pain, knowing she had to get up, had to fight back, but also knowing there was nothing she could do until the nausea ebbed. Never had she felt so helpless. She hated that feeling.
You’re just a plaything said a mocking voice from deep inside her, a voice she hadn’t heard since she was a little girl.
I’m not! I won’t let that happen!
There’s nothing you can do. She’s better than you. Deal with it.
Brittany paced around her, like a cat toying with a mouse. “Look at you,” she taunted. “Hurting like that, anybody would think you’re a pain slut. Too dumb to know when to quit.” Vanessa never saw the slap coming. It caught her just above her right eye and knocked her sprawling on the sand. She whimpered. She had to get up. Pushing with one hand, she managed to rise to a sitting position. “Give it up!” urged Brittany. “You know you haven’t got a chance. Spare yourself some pain.” She laughed cruelly. Her foot stomped Vanessa between her breasts and knocked her onto her back. “Not a lot, but some.”
Vanessa lay there panting. Again the mental of image leapt into her mind, of the woman at the bar, laying on her back, legs splayed, sex exposed, in abject submission. That’s your fate whispered the voice in her head.
As though she could read Vanessa’s thoughts, Brittany sneered, “Admit it. You’re done. Spread your legs, bitch…it’s gonna happen sooner or later.”
She’s right. Accept it. Vanessa pushed the thought from her mind. She couldn’t give in. She was hurt but so was Brittany. She could – would – gain the advantage again. She rolled onto her belly and slowly raised herself onto all fours again, and then screamed aloud as Brittany jerked her viciously backward onto her haunches. She didn’t go over backwards but only saved herself by bracing her arms behind her. She knelt there, her chest heaving, shoulders trembling.
Brittany stood in front of her, staring down with disdain. “Do you get it yet, bitch? Do you understand what you are? Believe me, by the end of the night, you will!”
No! Terror sent adrenalin surging through her veins. She had no means of flight, so instinctively Vanessa chose to fight. She launched herself forward, wrapping her arms around Brittany’s legs behind her knees. Her shoulder slammed into her tormentor just below her hips and with a curse, Brittany pitched over backwards, landing on her butt in the sand.
Vanessa was on her in an instant. Scrambling up over her smaller opponent, she pounded Brittany all the way, sending fists and knees into the other woman’s thighs, abs, chest and chin, knocking Brittany onto her back and then raining slaps and punches down on her, snapping her head this way and that. “You want to have your way with me, you piece of trash, you’ll have to do a LOT better than that!” she roared.
Brittany threw her hands up in front of her face and was able to deflect some – though by no means all – of Vanessa’s blows. She grunted, cursed and cried out as each fist or open hand smacked solidly into her flesh. Her left cheek had already begun to swell, and a tiny trickle of blood appeared at the corner of her mouth as Vanessa’s relentless assault began to take its toll.
“Muthafukka!” exclaimed one of the watching women. “The bitch can actually fight!”
“Come on Brit!” yelled one of the men. “Get her!”
Vanessa’s onslaught started to slow as she began to run out of breath, and Brittany’s defense became a little more effective. Blocking a punch with her right arm, the younger woman suddenly lashed out with her left. Her hand slid up under Vanessa’s tee, perhaps attacking her bosom again but if so she missed and instead grabbed Vanessa by her bra strap between her breasts. Jerking Vanessa down toward her, she simultaneously sent the steepled fingers of her other hand spearing up under Vanessa’s ribs.
Agony erupted once again in Vanessa’s already aching body. Her eyes went wide and her breath burst forth from her tortured chest. The force of the blow sent her reeling backwards though, held by Brittany’s fingers hooked in her bra, she could not fall. Brittany jerked her forward again and while Vanessa threw up her arms in defense, Brittany’s balled fist drove past her guard and crashed into her chin with a force that snapped her mouth shut with an audible clack and hurled her backwards again. This time the clasp of her bra tore free and Vanessa crashed down on her back with her legs bent backward beneath her, leaving her ruined bra dangling in Brittany’s hand.
“Fight better, huh?” snarled Brittany, spitting out a gobbet of pink spittle. She clambered to her knees as Vanessa awkwardly scrambled backwards on her hands and heels. . “You got it, cunt!” She threw herself bodily at Vanessa.
Vanessa stabbed her foot out hoping to slam it into her assailant’s face or chest but her haste, bordering once more on panic, worked against her and her foot glanced harmlessly off Brittany’s shoulder. She kicked out with her other foot but that too went wide and the snarling Brittany slammed a fist upward into Vanessa’s left buttock from beneath, barely missing her crotch. The bitch had tried to punch her in the pussy!
What did you expect? asked the insidious voice. Here we fight with all we have.
This is a part of you. You know it.
In desperation, trying to keep this demon bitch off her, Vanessa clapped her legs tight together. To her surprise, joy and infinite relief, she found she had her enemy’s neck clamped tight between her strong firm thighs. Brittany croaked a curse and grabbed at Vanessa’s legs, trying to pry them apart and free herself. Vanessa crossed her ankles and squeezed even tighter, holding on grimly despite the pain as Brittany’s nails raked at her skin.
She rocked to her left, then threw herself to her right, carrying Brittany over with her and slamming her opponent down into the ground. Vanessa reared up, groaning at the pain in her injured abs. She shoved her fingers into Brittany’s hair, twisting her enemy’s head to the side, grinding her face into the sand as Brittany choked, coughed and cursed, trying in vain to break Vanessa’s implacable grip. Vanessa squeezed tighter, shook Brittany harder. “Now you admit you’re done, you twisted skank!” The venom in her own voice surprised her. It’s her or me! What the hell was happening to her? She was an intelligent, educated woman yet here she was, fighting like a wild animal. Was the voice in her head telling the truth? Was this really a part of her?
Brittany’s face was flushed crimson. Spittle drooled from her slack lips but still she fought back. Even as Vanessa shook her head violently and battered her into the sand, she crabbed her legs around until she lay alongside Vanessa. Too late Vanessa understood the danger, but only an instant before Brittany’s fist pounded into her flesh over her left kidney. She screamed in anguish, her entire body went rigid and it was all she could do to maintain her vice-like hold – yet maintain it she did.
A knee rammed into her back between her shoulders. She screamed again, but still she did not let go. She felt their bodies pressed tight against one another, flesh to sweat-slicked flesh, Brittany’s breasts pancaked against her own back. Then Brittany rolled right, pushing herself even harder against Vanessa. Vanessa tried to fight against it but the younger woman had the leverage and she forced Vanessa slowly, inexorably over onto her belly. Vanessa had to crane her neck sideways to avoid her own face being driven into the ground in a repetition of the punishment she was dealing out.
This of course meant that Brittany’s head, still clasped tight between Vanessa’s thighs, was bent painfully forward, the top of her head against the ground, her face almost in Vanessa’s crotch. Vanessa could hear her gasping, wheezing breaths, the sounds of a fierce creature fighting for survival. She realized that Brittany would never surrender. She would fight while breath remained in her body, fight until she collapsed unconscious in the dirt. What would drive her to do that?
What’s driving you to do this? asked the voice.
She attacked me!
That’s not the reason.
Before Vanessa could come up with a satisfactory answer – or any answer at all – Brittany spread her knees astride Vanessa’s back. With one arm beneath Vanessa’s thighs, the other hand firmly planted in the sand, she let out a choking cry as she heaved herself upward. It was Vanessa’s turn to scream aloud as Brittany bent her spine into a bow. She pounded the sand with her fist in anguished fury, her other arm trapped beneath her body. She felt the muscles in her back straining and popping. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She gave a breathless sob. Now she too was having trouble breathing as Brittany’s butt pressed firmly down on her back, compressing her chest, crushing her breasts into the sand.
How had the bitch turned the tables on her – again? A moment ago, she had been on the brink of victory, of having Brittany helpless – even unconscious – at her mercy. Now they were locked in a battle of attrition, of willpower and dogged determination, to see which one of them could outlast the other. Vanessa was far from certain that it would be here. She almost wept in despair. How had she let this happen? She didn’t want this! She never wanted this!
Liar. You’ve never felt more alive.
She had to escape, had to find a way out of this predicament. She could not Brittany beat her. They would not get to use her like they used that slut at the bar. She would not be a laughing stock!
Squirming under Brittany, she tried to squeeze her thighs even tighter together. Despite her own predicament, she had her opponent in a dire situation too. She could hear the other woman’s gasps growing more ragged with every tortured breath. “Give it…up…bitch!” Was that her voice? It sounded like nothing she had ever heard from her own lips.
Brittany’s breath hissed through her tight clenched teeth. “You…first!” As Vanessa squeezed tighter with a guttural cry of extreme effort, Brittany leaned back hard and Vanessa’s scream became one of torment as her adversary poured the pressure onto her already anguished back.
It was nothing but a contest of endurance now, of who could withstand the pain until the other passed out. Vanessa tried to retreat within herself, to find a place deep down where she could take refuge, where the pain could not find her. There she would be safe until this was over.
In that place though, there was the voice. She’s beaten you. She’s better than you. You’re going to get used hard by the whole lot of them, because that’s what you deserve.
She tried to argue. I don’t deserve any such thing! Nobody deserves that!
You lost. You don’t have to like it but it’s true. You lost, and now you’re going to pay the price.
It’s not my fault! I didn’t start this!
You knew the danger when you came here. That’s what drew you here. Admit it.
No. I never did! She grew increasingly strident. Stop saying that!
Stop lying to yourself insisted the voice. You gambled. You knew what the stakes might be. You were tired of watching the game. You wanted to be a part of it. Now you are, and now you’ve lost. Now it’s time to pay the price and lick your wounds…until the next time.
She felt the pressure of her legs falter. No!
Loser. She didn’t know if that was the unwelcome voice, or her own shame talking. She tried to squeeze her thighs tighter, but her muscles felt like jelly. She whimpered. “No…”
With a groan, Brittany at last pried her head loose from Vanessa’s exhausted hold, and at last she released her own grip on Vanessa’s legs and let them fall to the ground, relieving the awful pressure on Vanessa’s spine. Still trapped beneath her, Vanessa wept in relief and despair. Loser. This time she did not argue.
Brittany knelt astride her for a long time, gulping air. Vanessa wanted to twist her body, to rise onto her elbows, to buck her enemy off her but she had no strength left and besides, the slightest movement sent spasms of agony shooting through her back.
At last Brittany rose off her. Vanessa took a heaving breath. Still her limbs felt like lead weights. The younger woman stood over her, half bent over, hands braced on her sand-coated thighs. “You…can fight…bitch,” she panted. “I’ll…give you that.” She reached down and grasped the back of Vanessa’s tee in both hands. Heaving upward and lifting the limp Vanessa like a sack of potatoes, Brittany began to drag her back up the beach toward the strip of grass below the patio. How does she still have the strength?
Because she’s better than you. That’s why you lost. That’s why you’re going to serve her and her friends.
Vanessa’s tee pulled up around her chest, then to her neck and finally over her head as they made slow, sporadic progress. Eventually Brittany threw it aside and half carried, half dragged Vanessa by her hair and the back of her g-string. Vanessa simply hung in her hands, with neither the strength nor the spirit to resist. Whatever happened to her now, was up to Brittany. Strangely, perversely, there was a part of her that accepted that as truth. The strong prevail.
Another part of her that railed against it. No! They’ve got no right!
It’s how the game is played.
This is no game! They’re going to fuck me!
It’s the only game that matters. It’s the best game there is, when you win…and the worst game ever when you lose. But the biggest thrill of all, is just playing. You know that. You feel it.
But why do I feel it? I’ve never felt like this before!
The voice didn’t answer.
She lay face down, her bare skin coated with sand and sweat. Against the protests of her exhausted muscles, she pulled her arms in close to her sides and began – ever so slowly – to push herself up. She couldn’t let them do this to her!
Her chest only rose a few inches, her dangling breasts still brushing the grass, when Brittany’s foot pounded her between the shoulders and she dropped to the ground again. This time her arms refused to lift her. “No…no more…” she gasped, her voice a pain-filled whisper. She was finished. Beaten in both body and spirit, she had nothing left. She had lost. The thought of what she had lost, and the price she would now pay, filled her with dread.
Brittany stepped around her and squatted down. Sweat glistened on her bare flesh. Sand caked her feet. She twisted her fingers in Vanessa’s damp hair and jerked her head up. Through tears of pain and defeat, Vanessa found herself staring at her tormentor’s bare, shaven crotch, where a gold barbell glistened. Where had her bikini bottom gone? “You got guts,” said Brittany, “which just makes this sweeter.” She sat, her legs splayed wide apart. “The rite of combat, like Lisa said…and that makes you mine, bitch.” She pulled Vanessa’s face roughly into her crotch.
Vanessa tasted the sweat of their battle on her lips, smelled the musk of Brittany’s lust in her nostrils. It all added up to the sting of failure. That bothered her far more than the physical pain, or the humiliation she was no doubt about to endure. Vanessa Carrington hated to fail – but she had failed tonight. She understood that there were rules to this game, even if she did not yet know what those rules were. By those rules, her dignity, her body – perhaps even more – belonged to Brittany. She hated to agree with the voice but that feeling of danger was something she found perversely invigorating. She was beginning to understand something of what made this town tick. She extended her tongue and lapped at Brittany’s flared labia. The taste – the taste of defeat – made her shiver.
She felt hands gripping her ankles, lifting her legs, then her hips, off the grass. She tensed the screaming muscles of her back to brace herself as she hung in space by her feet and by Brittany’s grip on her hair. Then fingers hooked in the back of her g-string and jerked it savagely, once, then twice. On the third time it ripped away. She had barely had time to feel the cool evening air against her naked loins before it was replaced by fierce heat, an instant before a cock drove deep inside her. Her scream was one of surprise but not, to her own deep dismay, of horror.
But they’re fucking me!
You lost. You knew you might, but you let it happen.
I didn’t let it happen! She attacked me!
What did you do to avoid it? What did you do to defuse the situation? Nothing. Instead you goaded her. You knew what would happen.
I didn’t know the rules! I didn’t know the stakes!
Yes you did.
Yes, she did. She shuddered. Deep down, she was accepting her fate on a level she would not have believed possible. She had studied this kind of response, written about it, lectured on it but until now, she had not felt it. Now she did, and it fitted her psyche like a glove. That knowledge was what truly terrified her.
How long they used her, there on the grass, she had no idea. It seemed like an eternity, and certainly lasted long into the night. Was it really only the six of them? Surely others had joined in her degradation. Her throat burned, her distended nipples were raw, her pussy ached and her ass was afire. She swallowed so much cum that her belly was bloated, and whenever one of the men pulled out of her, she felt his jism dribbling from her gaping orifices. That was merely the men. The women too were generous with their liquid lust which was more than plentiful. Vanessa was bathed from head to toe in a sticky miasma of sweat, jism, juices and God only knew what else.
Nor were they content merely to take their pleasure from her. They gave as good as they got. Vanessa’s clit throbbed in rhythm with the pounding of her heart, and she climaxed over and over – came until it hurt and then until the hurt became something else again, something indescribable, dark and seductive. What’s happening to me? She had never felt this way in her life.
She moaned, she cried, she screamed but never once did she beg for mercy. Not once did she even think to complain. Even when the three women – was it still only three? – stood over her in a circle, arms around one another and, laughing, relieved themselves copiously over her naked, trembling body, she simply lay there bathing under the torrent of their debasement.
“Cum and pee,” observed one of the men – the dark skinned one named Gary. “Should we draw a little blood too, and give her the juice properly?” Vanessa had no idea what he meant by ‘give her the juice’ but still she felt a frisson of fear. They wanted to draw her blood? Was there some kind of vampire fetish here as well?
“It needs an Indwelt to be here,” the other brunette – the one they called Patti – replied, “and it’s way too late to call or take her up to Mistress now.”
“We’ll go up in the morning,” said Brittany. “I want to give her to Mistress as a present.”
“What do we do with her in the meantime?” asked Gary.
“Take her back to my house, and keep having fun with her.” Brittany laughed. “I’m a long way from done with this bitch yet.” The tone of her voice drew a whimper unbidden from Vanessa.
The three men bent and lifted her onto their shoulders – one at her ankles, one at each of her shoulders. Her head lolled limply. They began to carry her away across the grass, around the side of the restaurant toward the street, when another voice cut in. “Wait a minute.” The voice came closer. “Vanessa?” A hand slapped her face, though lightly. It was the most gentle thing that had happened to her in hours. “Vanessa! Can you hear me?”
She did not – could not – open her eyes, but she mumbled through chapped lips, “Yes…I…yes.”
Lisa Ramirez spoke again. “Twenty four hours…that’s the rule. They have to let you go after twenty four hours. Do you understand?”
“Yes…” Lisa’s voice seemed to come from far away, slurred by the fog of exhaustion, both physical and emotional, that clouded Vanessa’s mind. “Yes…I…understand.”
Lisa leaned closer, grasped Vanessa’s head and kissed her full on the lips. “Good luck, professor.”
Vanessa must have passed out on the way to wherever they were going. The next thing she knew, she was laying on her back on a wooden deck. There was a white house nearby, and a pool. Nearby floodlights provided illumination but also dazzled her. She closed her eyes. Her entire body ached from exhaustion – and ached for the touch of her captors. No! She couldn’t feel this way! But you do.
Someone touched her down there in the seething, oozing melting pot between her thighs, and an immediate spasm coursed through her. She cried out, arching her back despite the terrible fatigue, thrusting her loins upward, seeking that touch again with a plaintive sob. Around her, her persecutors laughed out loud. What’s happening to me? Why did she feel this way? What had they done to her? Proud, sophisticated Professor Vanessa Carrington Ph.D, had been reduced to nothing more than a mewling, wanton slut. She felt the blush extend over her entire body, but nonetheless she continued to hump the empty air in helpless need.
The sun was well risen when the men lifted the barely conscious Vanessa onto their shoulders and, accompanied by their female companions, carried out her out to where a red SUV stood in the driveway. What was left of Vanessa’s awareness expected one of them to open a door or perhaps the trunk, but instead the women hoisted her onto the roof of the vehicle and secured her to the luggage rails by her wrists and ankles. “What…where…?” she muttered, though she lacked the strength to struggle.
They ignored her. Four of them piled into the SUV, and the other two into a white sedan parked beside it. The vehicles pulled out into the street and drove a hundred yards or so before making a right. Clutching the roof rails in terror despite the shackles that already held her securely, Vanessa recognized buildings as they passed – the bank, the grocery store, the local gym. People were already on the street and stopped to watch as the SUV drove slowly past. People are looking at me! People can see me like this! Shame inspired new panic and she squirmed in her bonds in a frantic but futile attempt to cover herself. Her movements sent waves of pain through her ravaged body. The onlookers simply watched with interest and amusement, but without surprise. She felt like a trophy animal being carried back in triumph to a hunters’ camp.
Why not? That’s what you are. The spoils of victory – the spoils, to be despoiled.
At the top of the hill they made a left, and Vanessa realized with new horror that they were about to pass her own house. What time was it? Would Rob be awake? Would he see her being paraded publicly past the window? Good God, what would he think?
As they approached the bend where the road angled up over the ridge toward Blue Water Harbor, the vehicles slowed. A tall hedge and a steel gate screened a gleaming white faux Spanish edifice beyond, which seemed part architecture and part artwork. The SUV pulled into the driveway and stopped in front of the gate. Vanessa heard Brittany’s voice. “It’s Brittany Beckett. Open the gate.” There was a click, an electric buzz and after a moment, the SUV drove forward again, followed by the sedan. They went only a short distance, then stopped again.
The occupants got out. The men unloaded Vanessa from the roof and she sagged on their shoulders, her head hanging down, her face shielded by the filthy, matted mess of her hair. A hand grasped her by her chin and tilted her head up. She found herself staring at Brittany, whose eyes were hidden behind mirrored aviator sunglasses. Vanessa’s own face was reflected there, and what she saw – the desolation – terrified her.
“You think it was tough, overnight?” sneered Brittany. Her voice was tired but still laced with malicious triumph. “This is where the fun really begins.” She let Vanessa’s head drop once more.
They carried her up to the front door. One of them rang the bell and they waited until it opened. Vanessa did not bother raising her head to see who stood there. “Let us in, Carla,” said Brittany with a hard edge of command in her voice. “We’ve got a gift for Mistress.”
Carla, whoever she was, stood aside to allow them entry, then closed the door behind them. It was cool and dim inside, though all Vanessa could see beneath her was a marbled floor, then a snow white carpet as they made their way through the house. The carpet gave way to marble tiles once more, then they went down a stairway and through a set of French doors, out onto a terrace. There Vanessa’s captors lowered her to the ground where she lay unmoving on the terra cotta tiles.
“Morning, Mistress.” Brittany’s voice was higher in pitch, the sneer absent from her words. “We brought you a present.” She sounded almost eager.
“Wonderful, Brittany darling,” said an answering voice. All of Vanessa’s primal instincts were on full alert. She wanted to raise her head, but wasn’t sure she had the energy – or the courage. Who was it that the bitch Brittany feared? “Let me see her.”
Fingers – presumably Brittany’s – snagged Vanessa’s hair and hauled her roughly to her knees. New tears welled up in her eyes. She blinked them away and found herself gazing through her tangled hair at a woman with a heart-shaped face, caramel skin and short, jet black hair. What was remarkable about her, however, was her eyes. Large for her face, they were of a brown so dark as to be almost black. Vanessa felt herself sinking into those eyes. She could not have looked away, had she wanted to.
The woman was sitting at a wrought iron table with a cup of coffee before her. She was dressed in a white bandeau bikini that left little of her slender but feminine figure to the imagination. Even at this hour of the morning, her cheeks were delicately rouged, her lips painted a shade of cherry red that precisely matched her flawlessly painted nails. “And who is this gift of yours?”
Vanessa expected Brittany to answer, but instead she swatted Vanessa across the back of the head. “Answer Mistress, bitch.”
“My name is…I’m Vanessa Carrington.” The uncertainty in her own voice shocked her. Who am I? What am I? What have they made out of me?
“Ah. The one who’s been asking questions around town. I’ve heard about you. Actually, I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.” There was the slightest hint of an English accent in the woman’s voice. “I’m Aisha Pashir.”
Vanessa blinked. She remembered the name from the paper Lisa Ramirez had given her, but she said nothing.
There was a movement behind Aisha, which drew Vanessa’s eyes. Beyond the terrace was a pool and from the water emerged a tall, lithe blonde who seemed to uncoil like a serpent as she rose to her feet. She was completely naked, and water streamed from her bronzed body, glistening in the morning light. Padding up onto the terrace, she approached Aisha from behind. Aisha tilted her head back and accepted the newcomer’s kiss. “Did you enjoy your swim, my love?”
“Only a mile,” replied the blonde, “but it got the blood flowing.” Water droplets hung on the tips of her erect nipples. Vanessa stared, hypnotized, as one fell and splashed onto the upper slope of Aisha’s left breast. Involuntarily, Vanessa’s tongue flicked out and passed across her parched lips.
One of Brittany’s accomplices – Patti, the one who had instigated the attack on the older woman at the bar – noticed and laughed. “This one’s so ripe, she’s ready to burst.”
Aisha smiled. “Ripe for the…plucking,” she said slowly. “Thank you for bringing her here, Brittany dear. You may go.”
Brittany gave a start. “But – ”
Aisha cut her off with a glance. “You’ve enjoyed her all night, I presume. Now you’ve handed her into my care. Or were you not sincere when you said she was a gift?” Vanessa heard Brittany gulp and it almost brought a smile to her lips, until she remembered that she was now in the hands of this woman. Aisha made a dismissive gesture with the fingers of one hand. As Brittany and her companions turned to leave, Aisha added, “Not you, Joy.” The dark-skinned girl stopped. “I have a task for you. The rest of you may go.”
When they had taken their leave, Aisha addressed the last of Vanessa’s captors. “The Carringtons have rented the house down the road…the one with the red roof, just before the top of Main St. Go down there now and tell Vanessa’s husband that his wife is safe, and we’ll return her to him by nightfall.” She smiled as she regarded Vanessa. “Perhaps a little the worse for wear.” The look in her eyes made Vanessa’s loins clench tight. Why do I feel like this? She kept her eyes fixed firmly on Aisha’s crimson-painted toenails and tried not to tremble.
Aisha followed her gaze and smiled. “You can kiss them…if you want to.”
As much as it appalled her to admit it, Vanessa wanted to. She was on the brink of leaning forward when Aisha rose from her seat. “Come. You need to be home by dinner time and we have a lot to discuss.” She stepped past Vanessa in the direction of the French doors. “You’ll learn a lot of the things you want to know…and quite a few that you don’t.”
Vanessa wasn’t sure she yet had the strength to stand, and wasn’t sure she would have, even if she could. On all fours, she followed Aisha meekly toward the house.
Aisha stopped with her hand on the door knob. “Oh, I’m forgetting my manners,” she said with a smile. “Welcome to the neighborhood.”