tagBDSMThe Twelve Vitali Ch. 23

The Twelve Vitali Ch. 23

byxelliebabex©

Authors note: Hello everyone. Thank to everyone who takes the time to vote and comment, I appreciate all of the people who read this series. Thank you once again to Paul who continues to be my second set of eyes. ~ellie.

*

The week flew by for Cat, who seemed to rush from one thing to the next and seemed to always be running late. Her hunt team was rapidly making their way through the list with only a small amount of help from her, or so she thought, until Tate laughingly told her that both her and Logan's siblings had been dropping hints about the hard and impossible cryptic clues during one of their team meetings. Determined to pull her own weight in some way, she asked Matteo and Ricco for help on the Wednesday night. The last night they could guarantee they would all be home together for the remainder of the Gathering.

"It's been forever since I did the hunt," Matteo frowned as he looked at the list. "Your team has done pretty well so far," he said, noting all the crossed off items. "Are you sure you need to put so much time and effort into this?" He asked, feigning disinterest. He and Ricco had been looking at the list since she had first got it.

"Have you met Kalum and Logan?" she asked with an exaggerated eye roll. "They're already carrying me through most of it; I'd really like to accomplish a couple, or hard, or maybe even impossible ones, just so I didn't feel like I was holding them back."

"The first points update went up today. Where are you on that?" Ricco asked.

"That doesn't matter, the idea is to crush this hunt and then retire our team undefeated, much like you did with Chase," she teased Matteo.

"What you need to do is pull that poor sweet little newbie persona on Lucca or the little genius's," Ricco chuckled, also studying the list. "It looks like you've solved a few of the cryptic clues already."

"Not me, the others have, and they don't do me much good, one of those people is dead, apparently," she sighed.

"Then the clue must be wrong," Ricco said. "Or there must be a way to get it. Which one are we talking about? Come on, Matt, you used to be better at this stuff than Lucca, you know that's why he's always trying to find a puzzle you can't solve." He chuckled, adding to the perception that they had no interest in the hunt.

"Yeah, okay, give me more than a minute to look at it," he tore the final page with the impossible puzzles on it from the list and got up, walking to his office. "Give me thirty minutes and I'll get you what I can. But the answers will cost, you realise," he grumbled. "Both of you!" Cat and Ricco looked at each other and grinned.

"He really was king of this game before Nik did a number on him," Ricco said quietly. "He stopped doing anything fun with the family a few years ago. Lucca has been trying ever since to get him back into playing games with the family. He took it the hardest when Matt withdrew from the world and sunk himself into work. Maybe you should do something to motivate him," he suggested with a waggle of his eyebrows.

"Well, if he can help me, I don't mind making it motivational and worth his while," Cat said, standing from the table and walking into the bedroom. Half an hour later, and much to Ricco's delight, she had dressed in the midnight blue corset Matteo had bought for her on their first shopping trip together, as well as a dress he particularly liked, along with thigh-high stockings and stilettos. Then she picked up a basket and went into the red room to gather several lengths of rope, with Ricco's help, some nipple clamps and a few other toys before she walked back toward his office. As a last thought, she donned her robe and left her room to go and see if he had made any progress.

"Wait," Ricco held her back and went to the wet bar to grab a bottle of wine and three glasses. "This is going to be fun, and I plan to sit back and enjoy the show properly. Lisa?" he raised his voice slightly and smiled as she instantly appeared. "Could you make us one of your awesome platters with cheese and fruit, and those little truffles you make, if you have any, please?"

"Of course, Master Ricco. Would you like it on the deck?" she asked.

"No, in Matteo's office, please," he smiled widely. Then he turned to lead the way into Matteo's office. He said nothing as he placed the glasses on Matteo's desk and poured three drinks. "Let me just grab a chair and then you can tell him the deal you're willing to make." Ricco dragged a chair to Matteo's side of his desk and sat back, glass of wine in hand as Matteo raised an eyebrow, first at him and then at Cat.

"I was worried that you might need some motivation, so for every clue you solve and help me to work out how to get the item, I will take off one piece of clothing. Just to get you started," Cat took off the robe, revealing the dress Matteo liked which highlighted the hourglass shape of the corset beneath it. "If you manage to solve more than necessary to find me naked, or near naked, if you prefer, then you can choose an item from the basket for me to put on," she stepped towards him and leant over, giving him a clear view of her cleavage and the top of the corset before unveiling the basket and its contents.

"Sounds very... motivational," he chuckled.

"We have all night, no rush," Ricco said. "Lisa is bringing snacks for the show, and I'll even help, if you like. My favourite rope is in that basket."

"Alright, Mr. Helpful, call Hilary and ask her to clear my morning, and yours, I suppose," he chuckled. "We're going on a road trip." He picked up a glass of wine and took a sip.

"We are?" Ricco asked sceptically.

"You can't complain now. You're the one who forced me into becoming part of this hunt. Now there are consequences," he said. "Cat, text Tate and Logan and have them meet us here for breakfast, leave Kalum out of it for now, because you can guarantee he is sharing with Mia."

"I don't mind sharing with Mia," Cat said easily.

"You mightn't, but I do, and this will come down to a race at the finish, because some of these are pretty easy and, with the right motivation, I could probably help you get most of them. If you seriously want to crush the hunt, then we do it my way, and Kalum would agree, what he doesn't know he can't divulge. I'll call him myself and explain, if you like."

"What have I done?" she asked, marvelling at his ruthlessness where his sister was concerned and the intensity of his gaze.

"I did tell you he used to be the king of the hunt," Ricco shrugged, enjoying the small glimpse of the old Matteo helping Cat was affording him.

"Weren't you making a call?" Matteo turned his gaze to his brother as he picked up his phone.

Lisa came in with the platter of food and Ricco laughed, telling her that they would need a second bottle of wine. Cat had never actually seen Matteo, the businessman, who was totally in control and managed the people and resources around him to the best advantage, before. He made several phone calls after speaking with Kalum and looking at the schedule Ricco showed him, and at the same time was emailing people. When he finally sat back after organising at least half a dozen people and his schedule for the morning, he gave her a small smile and raised his eyebrows, and she knew she would be disrobing fairly quickly from this point on.

"Here you go," Matteo slid his laptop to Ricco, "Make yourself useful and make notes on the master list Kalum just sent me." He picked up the list he had been writing all over and eyed Cat in a predatory way.

"Breakfast at seven," she confirmed. "I should let Lisa know." As if on cue Lisa returned with another bottle of wine.

"Breakfast at seven, Miss Leone?" she smiled. "For how many guests?"

"Two, but don't go to any trouble, just something simple would be great," Cat smiled. She didn't think she would ever get used to having the super-efficient Lisa cater to their needs.

"Certainly, Miss Leone," she smiled and left the room as quietly as she had entered.

"Any more distractions?" Matteo smirked. "Or shall we begin with the deal you offered me?"

"The deal," Cat stood straighter, "But I need not only the answers, but a way to get the items as well. Impossible means not just impossible to solve the clues, but also impossible to get."

"True, and I think I can do that. Shall we start from the beginning of the section?" he said as if it was a business meeting and he was negotiating a deal.

"That sounds logical," she said, licking her lips nervously.

"Number one is a matchbook from Uncle Sal's club. They don't use them or make them anymore since going smoke-free at the club. My guess would be that they still have some floating around, or it wouldn't make the list, so that will be up to Logan to find."

"That's not helping me contribute to the team," she said with a smile.

"Number two," Matteo said carefully. Then explained the answer and assigned it to one of the other team members who were in a better position to get the needed item. As Cat listened to each, she understood why they were labelled impossible. It seemed like the clues were hard enough on the cryptic ones, and then they were almost as impossible to obtain than the ones with the straightforward clues. Cat sat, as none of the early clues were items she could obtain, and unless it was something she could do she wasn't taking off one item of clothing for him.

"Number nine means you will have to go and sweet talk Frankie into letting you wear one of his autographed Carlton jerseys. It'll be tough, but, out of your hunt team, you're probably the only one who has a chance of pulling it off," he said and looked up at her. "Dress, please," he grinned.

"I was going to start with the shoes," she frowned at him.

"I like the shoes, leave them on. Dress, please," he gave her a look that said he wasn't going to negotiate.

"I thought you liked this dress?" she said, getting to her feet.

"I do, just not as much as the shoes right at this moment," he chuckled. "You're the one who came in here with the deal."

"I thought you might need motivation, I didn't realise you'd solve most of the list in thirty minutes," she shook her head.

"I've been looking at the impossible ones since you got the list days ago in case you asked for help," he grinned. "Still, you're the one who came in here with a deal, so time to make good on it."

"So, people who were trying to manoeuvre onto my team weren't doing it to help me? They were trying to get to you?" she asked, a little disappointed by the thought.

"I wouldn't help Lucca or most of them, and they know it. You, on the other hand, only have to ask," he smiled. "Now, if you don't mind, the dress?" He grinned again. "I'm about to tell you how to get the next one, too, so you may as well get rid of the panties while you're on your feet too. A deal's a deal."

"Don't look at me for help, that was all your idea," Ricco couldn't contain his laughter anymore and chuckled loudly watching the banter between them. "I am just reaping the benefits along with Matt."

Cat took a gulp of her wine and slowly drew the zip down her back before shrugging the straps from her shoulders and letting the dress slide down her body to reveal the corset and stockings. She took her time folding and draping it over the arm of the sofa she had been sitting on, then she turned her back to the two men who watched her and bent at the waist, taking her panties slowly down her long legs and stepping out of them. Then she turned back to him with a smile.

"Motivational?" She asked with a whispering purr as she stepped forward and leaned over his desk.

"I could look at you like that for hours," he reached up and ran his fingertips down her throat and over her chest, scooting along the top of the corset.

"Let's hope this doesn't take that long," she raised one eyebrow at him.

Matteo looked down at the list, and the clues got increasingly harder, and, while he could solve the first ten easily, there were only a few others he'd been able to nut out. He explained the next answer and the reason for the loss of her panties.

"Do I get a bonus reward for solving the first ten?" he asked hopefully. When Cat pursed her lips and shook her head, he sighed and jumped ahead to the next one he knew. "Number seventeen..."

"Wait," Ricco stopped him. "The view is pretty good from where I'm sitting, and before you get completely distracted, why don't we see if I can add to your thinking on some of the unsolved ones. We've only got tomorrow to help her, because Friday all your friends are flying in, Saturday is the wedding, and Sunday we have that big meeting. I imagine next week will be a write-off after that."

"My friends are flying in on Friday?" Matteo turned to look at his brother.

"You didn't think I would let you get married without a buck's party, even a quiet one?" Ricco gave him the same stunned look back.

"I thought we talked about this," Matteo said.

"We did, but I didn't agree with you," Ricco shrugged.

It was Cat's turn to laugh as the two brothers bantered and teased each other. She had an overwhelming rush of love for both of them as they bent over the clues, and she picked up her wine and went to sit back down, enjoying just being with them and listening to them. It had been such a long and exhausting five days. She felt the wine making her relaxed and sleepy. In the end, after fighting to stay awake, she put her wine glass down and stretched out comfortably on the sofa to at least rest for a little while.

Cat woke to the smell of coffee and fluttered her eyes open. She was in bed and naked, though she couldn't remember getting there or how she'd lost her clothes.

"Good morning, Kitten," Matteo said softly. "Time to wake up," he smiled and waved the coffee in front of her.

"What time is it? I'm sorry I fell asleep while you were trying to help me," she struggled to sit up, pulling pillows behind her and taking the coffee from him.

"You obviously needed the rest. You've been so busy this week, and Ricco and I have been keeping you up late every night, it's no wonder you're exhausted. But you need to get up now, shower and change and meet us in the dining room," he leaned forward and kissed her forehead.

"I don't even remember you putting me to bed. How much wine did I drink?" she shook her head.

"Enough to put you into a deep exhausted sleep. I hope you're feeling better for it, because we have a big day planned, and Logan and Tate will be here in an hour," he chuckled.

"You know, it's really unfair that you look so good at this time of the morning," Cat grumbled, taking a sip of her coffee.

"We can't all be bohemian artists who sleep until noon," he teased. "Up and at 'em!" he smacked her thigh lightly. "We're doing this for you, don't forget."

"Fine, I'm getting up," she grumbled half-heartedly.

"Just so you know, the deal still applies, and I intend to revisit where we were up to when we get home tonight," he grinned and left the room as she stared at him speechlessly.

*****

"I forgot how much fun this stuff was," Matteo stared at the still unanswered clues on his list. "We covered a few today; I hope Logan and Tate have been as successful."

Cat had a great deal of fun during the morning with the men she loved racing from one adventure to the next. They had stayed out hunting longer than expected and were arriving back at the HQ building for a meeting Matteo couldn't delay or defer to Lucca. Ricco, too, had plans to spend time with Jacobi, and, given the strain on their close bond recently, he wasn't keen to delay that date either. She felt she couldn't complain, and she had a lot of work to do herself, but she'd had so much fun she had wanted to keep hunting, because tomorrow their friends would arrive for the wedding and she would be needed for all of the small last-minute details.

Cat also knew that next week would be busy for both men once the table was announced to all of its members. So she contented herself that she may have time to hunt again once the majority of their friends had left the city and only the Gathering events had to be attended, which was by no means an arduous schedule.

Once back in the penthouse, Cat called Logan, eager to tell him of her success and have him come pick up the evidence from her to be handed in with their daily packet. He said he would come by just before dinner, and Cat sighed heavily as she ended the call.

"Miss Leone?" Lisa said quietly as she stood at the edge of the living room. "May I speak to you, please?"

"Of course, Lisa, please come in and have a seat," Cat invited warmly.

"Thank you, but perhaps we could go to your studio or office, or somewhere not quite so..." Lisa seemed uncomfortable with the open invitation to join her master's fiancé. She didn't quite understand Catriona Leonne. Lisa was a well-trained servant, and she had been thrilled to maintain her long-term contract with Matteo Vitali, but the situation was changing, and she was unsure of her place in this new arrangement.

"We could," Cat frowned, "If it would make you more comfortable. Why don't you come into my studio? It's less formal than either of the offices." Cat was uncomfortable being in a position of authority over Lisa; it still seemed so odd to have a housekeeper. Perhaps, as always, honesty was the best way forward. She had been in the Battaglia hospital with some women who truly wanted the type of life Lisa had. They had told her their reasons, and she understood they came to this life for many reasons, she wondered what had brought Lisa to a life of serving this family rather than having one of her own. She imagined the life of a servant would be a lonely one, regardless of the rewards at the end of their contracts.

Cat dragged a chair closer to the one already at her adjustable tilt-desk and took a seat in the other. She rearranged some of the supplies she hadn't found a home for yet and smiled softly, hoping Lisa would take the offered seat before they talked. She let the silence stretch out as Lisa looked around as if she had never seen the room before and reluctantly sat down opposite her.

"If I could have found a time to interrupt Master Matteo's busy schedule, I would have tried to talk with him, but since his return from Brisbane after the New Year he has not been home alone. When he has been home, with yourself and Master Ricco, there has been no opportunity where I could ask..." she seemed to be struggling and looked as if she wanted nothing more than to run away from the studio, Cat, and the whole conversation she had started.

"We've never had the opportunity to talk, and I am so glad you came and asked for this chat. I just have no idea about the right way to do things properly in this family. How about I tell you who I am and what I need, and then you can tell what it is you need?" Cat could see there was something that Lisa needed or wanted, she just couldn't work out what. "Would that make it easier?"

"If you like, Miss Leonne," Lisa said differentially.

"I don't belong to any table. In fact, I never even knew about the tables until a few months ago," Cat admitted. "I grew up in a council flat with a mother who was rarely home and a younger brother who looked to me to scrounge up food and anything else we could find to get us through each day. My life, up until this year, has been the furthest thing from this family and the way they do things that a person could get," she smiled self-depreciatingly. "I was just like the girls and women I met at the Battaglia facility who were training for roles like yours, as well as others. If I had have known that was an option for my life, I might well have taken it to support my brother without having to rely on the generosity of a true bastard like my ex."

Lisa said nothing, but had trouble hiding her surprise when Cat spoke about being at a training facility.

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