[K][T] and Family Ch. 01bypocketrocket©
Author's Note: This is the third book of a trilogy. Do not expect much sex. It only covers parts of four days and the principles are waiting til after the ceremony.
Chapter 1—Smoldering Ember
Everyone knows about the news spot. A free lancer was covering the wedding on his own dime. NBC picked up his story as a human interest piece for a slow news day. They intended to do interviews with the bride on their morning show. When the bride did not pick up the phone, so to speak, they started looking harder.
I had a 9:00 AM interview meeting with Richard Foster. Part of that interview would be dealing with both Christine's needs and her condition. I also asked Jason to assist. That would be a test for both of them. I arrived a few minutes early to get the old cameras out of storage. In a lot of ways it was like digging in the attic. There had been a time that these cameras had meant a lot to me. They had become nostalgia.
On the way over, Christine and I had stopped by my old apartment for some clothes. Sean had had Gerald collect most of mine, but Christine had nothing at the Residence. I picked out the black slacks and camisole that I had used to display Christine at the mall. I added a shirt to wear over it. Christine was already wearing a bra under her workouts. It was not perfect, but it would do.
I was setting up a tripod for the camera when Christine showed Richard in. He looked younger than I remembered and rather nervous. I reflected that he was out of his element—and in mine. I smiled as I remembered Sean's reaction to this room. Rather than stop what I was doing, I simply greeted Richard and let him look around. The focus of a new client can be very telling. In Richard's case, the focus turned out to be me. Interesting.
I finished my task, picked up a rag to wipe my hands, then shook hands with Richard. After the usual pleasantries, I asked him what he thought of my playground. Clearly, Richard had been thinking along the same lines. He said that he could always tell a lot about an owner by the things he purchased for his pet. There was just a slight emphasis on "pet", indicating that he meant Christine. That was both good and bad, but I would wait til Christine was available to get details.
Instead, I walked around the room, picking up items, or indicating devices. For the most part, Richard was knowledgeable and forthcoming. I went to the pain locker and pulled out several different floggers and lashes. On a whim, I pulled out my cat o' nine tails. I asked what each was for and how each was unique. When I reached the cat, I asked him how he would use it. Richard said it would work best mounted on a board and hung over the door. At that point I decided I could work with him.
It goes without saying that Christine had said nothing. That did not mean that she had no comment. Her eyes had widened when I pulled out the cat. When Richard said it was best used as a decoration, Christine had smiled quickly, which turned a bit wry. One had to pay attention, but Christine was moving stiffly. No kidding sweetheart. Did you think that whip was a toy?
Richard must have seen the play of emotions on my face. He said that Christine and I were very well matched. There was nothing to say to that, so instead I started to talk of the job I envisioned. Richard should give notice at Petsmart, but not quit immediately, since I would not be available to train him. During the next week and a half, he would watch recordings of my sessions and observe some live sessions by Siobhan. I thought Francine would find him distracting. He would receive half his hourly rate during this period. Once I returned from my honeymoon (Sean would not tell me where we were going, the beast) I would start his apprenticeship.
At that point, I led him to the offices. When I logged on my computer, I saw that I had three messages from Jason. In a moment, I heard Christine leave the room. Jason had been outside for fifteen minutes. While Christine was fetching him, I showed Richard how the video material was filed. Naturally, I needed waivers from my clients before I showed him any of the session material. This was just his interview, which I needed to conclude.
I waited until Christine had returned with Jason, so that I could ask for five minutes of privacy with Richard. I turned to him and asked if he had any questions. There were a large number. I could see it in his face. However, the only one he asked was about medical and liability coverage. One of my clients was a senior underwriter at Aetna. I told Richard that there was coverage, but that a full answer would have to wait. Then I asked the big question, "Do you want to start now?"
Richard nodded. We went out to find Jason and Christine. I asked Christine to fetch her collar and leash. She scurried off. I told Jason and Richard that I had not formally given Christine her collar. They were to be her witnesses. Jason looked unsurprised. Richard showed suitable control. He might work out. Christine returned with the collar, with the name tag attached, and her leash.
I indicated the floor at my feet. Christine assumed Second Position. Again, Jason was unsurprised, but Richard's eye's widened. I smiled slightly. Richard had not seen anything yet. I turned my full attention to Christine. I held out the collar. Christine looked at it, at me, then nodded. I glanced at Jason. He walked behind Christine and lifted her hair. I put the collar around her neck and fastened the buckle, then attached the lead. At my glance, Jason lowered her hair. I stepped forward and pulled Christine's head to me.
Then, with a small bow, I handed the leash to Jason, who showed surprise for the first time. However, he accepted the leash, with an answering bow. I nodded. We were done. As explanation I said, "Christine has a task here shortly. After that, you hold the leash until morning." On impulse, I added, "You may stay and help if you want to get sweaty." Jason smiled at that, but he stayed. To Richard I said, "If all that is acceptable, you start Monday, but not here. I will contact you with details."
I showed Richard out, then returned to Jason and Christine. I had promised them a joint session, which was going to be interesting. However, one thing clearly came first. I looked at Christine and said, "Show him." Without hesitation, Christine dropped her workout pants and panties. Jason said nothing, because Christine was facing him, which continued while she kicked off her shoes and stepped out of the pants. Christine was smiling, but I knew her well enough to sense the unease.
Slowly she turned. I knew what to expect and it was all I could do not to cry out. Jason was not prepared. He gasped, then oohed and aahed in sympathy. It was worth some comments. The first four strikes had reduced to three dozen bruises, spread out along both legs. I could easily tell those stripes from the ones near the knee. These were much more distinct and reddish. I was glad Siobhan had thought to use disinfectant, because blood had seeped from the ones directly behind the knee, resulting in scabbing. I did not want to think about the condition of the center stroke. The welts on Christine's ass were bad enough.
Jason was not going to ask, but I had no trouble telling him. "Christine wanted to give me a wedding gift. I did my best to ensure it was a good one. You may be assured that the bondage subculture of New York is buzzing about it. Mistress Cynthia is getting entirely too much attention, which is why I am closing this studio today, rather than after my honeymoon."
I turned to my misbehaving submissive. "You, Christine Renée Collinsworth, had best never try anything like that again. If you do, you will sleep tied up on a tile floor for a month. And, you will not be allowed to see the baby." Christine was on the verge of tears. "That said, it was incredibly sweet. Thank you. I will not be telling Francine that you did it to show her up." This time Christine looked sheepish. She is incorrigible that way. I gave her a wink and told her to get dressed.
I text Gerald, to let him know that Jason would be joining the crew, when I realized that Jason also needed to take my car. He and Christine were going to be doing more of the call girl tour. I suspected tonight would be different from Monday, because Jason's picture was already making waves. I requested a car to pick me up in front of the gym.
Going back to Jason, I handed him my keys along with a few instructions. Do not let Christine attempt deep throat with the collar on. While she was wearing the collar, Christine had no hands, only paws. Having her go on all fours should only be done indoors or on grass. Above all, when wearing the collar Christine was not allowed to touch herself. This was all common sense stuff, but sense is rarely common, so I spelled it out for Jason. He was clearly anticipating the trip.
I smiled to myself as I went through the rabbit hole.
I have always enjoyed shocking people. Oddly, when I was not going for effect, I achieved my biggest impact. Most of my remaining students were having breakfast at the Waffle House. No one recognized me when I came in. I walked up to one of their tables. One of the guys mumbled, "Can I help you?" I said, "You can finish this and get your ass over to the house." I had barely begun to speak when a chorus of gasps filled the air.
I had not expected to be unrecognized. I was wearing my usual blue jeans and T-shirt, though I had a flannel shirt over the T-shirt. I had also toned down the jewelry and put on lip gloss. Still, the only wardrobe difference was the underwear (corset and bra) and high heeled sandals. I decided that bearing really did make a big difference. At that point I heard a thump. I turned and saw Elspeth staring with her mouth ajar—and her purse dumped on the floor. Life is good.
Elspeth is from a family no older as mine. However, since they settled in New England, they naturally had more class. Ask them. Seeing Elspeth openly discomfited made up for a hundred small cuts and snide remarks. That only left a couple of thousand to go. I smiled. Elspeth's eyes widened in recognition of the smile. In response, I smiled wider. That was the end of my patience. I told everyone to wrap it up. I was going to Foot Locker for some walking shoes. There would be hell to pay if they were not at work when I arrived.
Foot Locker was not open, so I made do with Target. Changing shoes in a corset was an interesting experience, which I was not eager to repeat. I also know next to nothing about shoes. In the end, I figured name brand and money would generally indicate at least some quality. While I was there I bought a simple pull over top, to replace the torn T-shirt. It was going to be warm and I did not want to wear the flannel shirt all day.
On the way out I saw Matt Jacobsen, who I knew from high school. He did not recognize me, but he recognized my voice. His only comment was "Looking good," but his eyes said a lot more. When I knew Matt, I had just been one of the guys. We liked the same bands, but he had never invited me to a concert. Watching him check my tits was as big an eye opener as Sheila's laptop, because this time I was not dressed up, just jeans and a pullover shirt.
When I reached the house, I was amazed at the level of activity. Coming out of the garage, the whole back side of the property is visible. There were things going on from the house to the tree line, especially around the boat house. I wanted to see it all, but first I needed to see the house. Evidently I was needed, because the Brothers Gilbert were coming toward me, rather than hiding. Getting into the swing of things was like falling into the lake. There were a million questions, but the answer to 99% was, "Keep going—it's fine."
It was all very impressive. Of course, the house itself was designed to impress. It was only in my grandparents generation that the emphasis turned more to comfort. That had led to a mid-century addition with all the bell and whistles. For fifty years the old house had been neglected. This wedding was changing that. The workers were doing nothing unusual, but there were a lot of them. They waxed and polished the old wood and the solid brass, showing the quality of the work beneath the dust.
I was reminded that my many times great grandfather, Thomas Aquinas O'Brien, had claimed this property when Benjamin Franklin was still a boy. Thomas had personally felled the trees where the house now stood. His son-in-law, the first of the Richards, had dug the foundation for the original structure and the current boathouse. I often wondered how Thomas would feel if he knew his descendants were Protestant.
I walked through it all, giving approval for the positioning of furniture, allowing rugs to be respread on freshly waxed floors. Where rugs were sliding, I suggested getting sponge shelf liner to keep things in place. The Smoking Lounge needed a table near the french doors. I asked Mitchell if we had any old pipes stashed in the attic. There was a humidor. I made some calls about getting it stocked.
The bar must have been a chore. I recognized it from the attic. It was close to ten feet long and looked like solid hardwood. One of my students was rubbing in some lemon oil, which made the whole entrance smell fantastic. I noted that there was a cradle set up for a cask. Sean had purchased a cask of Irish-style whiskey from a boutique distillery. Perfect.
The debate was beer or no beer. That was easy. Beer was for the lawn. The bar was for liquor and additives. Water, both flat and sparkling was already planned. I suggested coffee instead of beer. Also a version Irish Cream, along the lines of Carolans liqueur, would be well received. That would make for authentic Irish coffee.
I went into the Kitchen, though we were not planning on serving food from it. None-the-less, it had been thoroughly swept and dusted. When I saw kindling in the box, I realized that the Amish might be using it. Two of my grad students were going through the plates and glassware. I told one of them to focus on stocking the bar with small glasses and coffee cups, not beer glasses or mugs. As I went into the Ballroom, I noticed the much fresher air. Mitchell told me entirely too much about the ventilation shafts between the upstairs rooms. The part I needed to know was 82°, which is how hot it reached the day before. That was warm, but manageable.
Outside was like circuses I had seen in movies. Tents and booths were everywhere. Food and drink took up a large sector. Fun and games was another. I immediately noticed what was absent—a toddler area, with changing facilities. There was a massive hickory tree off to one side. It was perfect for shaded seating.
I talked to Michael about fencing off the whole area and making a sand pile. He said there was a swing set that had not been placed, and more could be hung from branches, but there was a lack of period suitable seating. I made a judgment call. I told him to get bench kits from the home improvement store. They were nothing more than cast frames and wood slats. Such things were possible 100 years before.
Returning to the midway, the most obvious item was a fenced off Merry-go-round. I was reminded of the one in The Sting, which was perfect. There was a crew working on the machinery. When I asked, they said the equipment operated, but had not been serviced in a decade at least. It would be ready in plenty of time. Close by were the skill and fun booths. These were not nearly as far along, but there were people cleaning them up. I looked for shooter booths. In deference to the Amish, these would need to be closed, at least while they were using the area. Someone must have been thinking along the same lines, because I found none.
From there it was on to the lines for bocci and horseshoes, three badminton courts, the flat croquet course and the hilly croquet course, and an open area for quoits. At the back of the boathouse there were a variety of skill games, not to mention booths with the same function. Yes, stuffed animals could be won.
Off to one side was a long tent, facing away from the activities. This turned out to cover a dozen or more porta-potties. Correction, it covered a large number of women's toilets. A smaller number of men's portables were in a separate tent, plus a long building marked #1. Someone had a sense of humor. At the ends of the tents were hand washing stations.
I was about to go down to the water, when I noticed everyone was heading toward the garage. It was already lunch time. Sean had told me that catering was supplying lunches, but it still caught me by surprise. After waiting in line, I was the proud possessor of a ham sandwich, potato salad and a pickle. From another line, I obtained a cup of iced tea, napkins and a plastic fork.
I followed the line over to the eating space off the Ballroom. I had noticed tables were set up, but had not realized they were already in use. Someone had thought ahead. I resolved to find out who. As Sean says, it is good to work with competent people, but it is more important to know who they are. There was a a great deal of solid thinking in the way things were laid out.
Since I was seated anyway, I pulled out my PDA and checked messages. Sean was going to pick up Evaine shortly, so I waved her over. She had been copied, so it would not be necessary to inform her. I just wanted to get her temperature, so to speak.
Evaine Schaeffelker is not a gregarious person to begin with, but she was positively subdued. I told her to talk to me. I was one of the women, appearances not withstanding. Evaine smiled at that. When she looked at me, I was reassured. On one hand, she understood how big a job we were asking of her. While she was not undercover, exactly, she would be largely cut off from the rest of us for the duration. Evaine clearly understood this. However, she was careful and nervous, rather than timid and overwhelmed. I had done enough inner city field work to know the difference.
I did not have time for anything more, because her phone beeped. Sean was here to pick her up. I held out my hand. Evaine stared at it for a moment, then slowly extended her phone. I took it and nodded my approval. Then I walked her to Sean's car. I felt like a mother sending her only child to summer camp, or at least how I imagined such a mother to feel. I saw Evaine off and wished her good fortune. If this worked, she would have a landmark dissertation. I intended to see that it received the attention it was due.
When I returned to the picnic area, I found my six remaining grad students waiting. Damn. I looked them each in the eye, then flicked my head to send them off. It may not have been my normal mode, but it worked. Maybe Christine was rubbing off on me. I could think of worse influences.
The gym had more than its usual surreal quality. I always felt it said something that I found a BDSM studio more real than a mundane gym, but there it was. I swung by the yoga pad. There was a class in session, but Sharon did a little wave in acknowledgment. I waved back and moved on. The person that I really wanted to speak to was Claudia Johnson, but her door was closed. I went by the water stand, in preparation for leaving, when Claudia saw me.
She was showing someone around the building. Since she was the senior manager, that meant someone important, so I was surprised I did not already know about it. Claudia waved me forward. I had a bad feeling, but I went. When Claudia introduced her guest as Howard Jones, my bad feeling turned sick. "How" Jones was what passes for a financial reporter in the backwoods of central New Jersey. At least there was no film crew.