The Lunch Date

by Jack Peacock

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© Copyright 2024 - Jack Peacock - Used by permission

Storycodes: M/f; D/s; bond; cuffs; shackles; collar; cons; X

A Day Like Any Other

The date was for a Saturday afternoon lunch to try out a new Asian restaurant. This was their third time out together, after the first two ended well. Leo Teller had come across the opening announcement in the weekly local junk mail flier, and thought it might be a novel experience for his new social companion.

He still wasn’t sure what to make of her. Tina, short for Christina as she usually introduced herself, was something of an enigma. They worked for the same company, he in Engineering, she in Purchasing, which often brought them together for meetings. She was definitely good at her job, which was apparent when he all too often had to field tough questions on component costs. At first he thought she might be challenging him because she didn’t care for his brusque style, yet he had to admit her figures merited discussion. Once he justified the additional cost she didn’t pursue it further, so clearly it was business not hostility for motivation.

For the first time she left her car at home. He picked her up at her apartment for the drive downtown. Winter had finally moved on, leaving them with a warm, sunny spring day. At the restaurant they opted to eat outside on the patio. She ordered Pad Thai, stir fried noodles and eggs, with shrimp, sprouts, peanuts and a dash of tamarind. A good choice, but he didn’t have to look at the menu to know what he wanted, yellow curry with potatoes, Thai hot, and a scoop of steamed rice on the side.

“You must like it spicy. That’s as hot as it gets for curry. One bite and I’d be grabbing for a glass of water.” She shook her head. “You’ll regret it.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “I have a high tolerance for peppers. And it’s milk, not water if you get a mouthful of red hot. Milk is the antidote for the hot pepper molecules that lie to your brain.”

“Expert knowledge, you must know what you’re in for then. Why yellow curry?”

He leaned back in his chair, comfortable with a subject he knew about. “The color comes from turmeric, same spice used in yellow mustard. It brings out the aroma of the curry mix.”

“Curry and mustard…I bet you like hot dogs too! Anyway, thanks in advance but if you ask I’ll decline to try a spoonful on the noodles.”

He smiled and nodded his head. “A wise decision; full strength curry is not for the beginner.”

While they ate the conversation proceeded at an easy pace, without any of the usual awkward pauses. Leo felt it was a success until she changed topic.

Conversation Takes a Turn

“I’ve been doing some research,” she announced without warning. “I think I might have an advantage over you. You see, I found your stories on the Internet.”

He stirred some more rice into the curry, while doing his best to hide any reaction to her news. The stories were under his real name, but posted on a British website. Given there were a number of search hits under his name in the U.K. he never expected anyone to make the connection to the U.S., and even then his name wasn’t unique.

“You are quite the prolific author, over thirty selections of short stories, novelettes and full length novels. Quite a variety too, within that website’s general theme; I’m guessing you like to experiment with writing styles and subjects. What really amazed me is that you didn’t publish anonymously. It’s rare for someone to use their own name, given the content. No one will ever accuse you of being politically correct.”

He had to be very careful. The lunch might end abruptly with a demand he take her home. “This website, these stories, why do you assume it’s me? There’s a pro tennis player in Australia, a successful realtor in Atlanta, a car parts chain in Utah, a chip shop in Wales, and I don’t know how many others with the same name, based on the last time I played the ‘search my alter ego’ game on Google. There was even a guy with the same name in my high school, which caused no end of confusion.”

“Oh, I thought about that. After all, it was a foreign website. I was curious though, so I read a few of the short stories. Then I read more, and more, and finished the first novel just a few days ago. I’m positive you wrote those stories. See, you gave yourself away.”

She was getting uncomfortably close to the truth. Worst case, this might even escalate to a Human Resources intervention, which meant he’d be looking for another job. He tilted his head to one side, looked at her carefully, and asked the critical question. “Why are you so certain it’s me?”

“All our bill of materials review meetings were the key. I listened very carefully when you gave those presentations. Some of it was too technical, but you do make an effort to explain the concepts to those of us who aren’t engineers. It’s the words.”

Now he really was confused. A lecture on battery chemistry was some distance from the “alternate lifestyle” fictional character studies he conjured up in his spare time. If there was one thing he was positive of, it was that the phrase “cathode ion exchange” never appeared in a single story. He pointed out his writing was purely technical, and usually at a level targeting senior electronics engineers.

“Oh, I did pull up some of your manuals from the company database. I doubt if I understood one word in ten, but that’s not relevant. The point, two actually, has to do with style. Every author has a bit of their own personality creep into the stories they compose. In your case, they are large chunks, not tiny morsels.”

His uneasiness was growing by the minute. Now that he had some clue as to her direction it was clear what was coming next.

“First point, and one just about everyone at the company knows about, is the way you talk. You use words no one else does. And not one or two; it’s apparent to everyone you have a huge vocabulary when it comes to the English language. Some of your coworkers think you’re showing off, though I doubt that’s the case. Which brings us to the second point.”

“If I come across as pedantic it’s not intentional. What comes out is mostly the subconscious at work; I don’t deliberately select for big words ahead of time.”

She held up her hands. “Oh, don’t apologize. That’s the second point. All those rarely used words? It’s your way of being precise. I told you I listen. During presentations you carefully separate fact from opinion in an obvious way, and when you do discuss some product or idea, you are very precise in your description. Even when you’re off work that engineering mindset shows through, like now. Who else would ever use ‘pedantic’ over lunch?”

He had to admit she was right. Sometimes it took an outside observer to see the forest through the trees. “Okay, I’ll concede your arguments. Now explain what it has to do with these stories you found?”

Your stories, and you just gave it away again. The style matches the way you talk; you know, like the author ate a dictionary before weaving the tale. And the second time? Not once today have you explicitly claimed you are not the author. You’re going to great lengths to avoid outright denial. Am I wrong?”

In the face of certain defeat his only choice was to admit it and hope for the best. “No, you’re not wrong. I wrote those stories. No point in denying it; you built a strong case. Classic deductive logic, Sherlock Holmes would be impressed.”

She shook her head. “Oh no, you’re more the Sherlock type. I’d prefer a comparison to Irene Adler, and her unmatched ability to judge character.”

“You know your Conan Doyle.” Irene Adler was the one character who consistently outsmarted Holmes. “Hmm, A Scandal in Bohemia, if I remember correctly. Despite Holmes' best efforts ‘The Woman’ is always one step ahead. Fortunately for Sherlock, even though he fails to retrieve the incriminating photograph, she is not a typical Conan Doyle villain. Her intent is only to be left alone.”

“In her own best interests, without malice toward Sherlock or his royal client,” she added

There was an awkward silence while he considered how to proceed. Without malice, was that a hint? His career, and reputation, was in her hands. This was California, after all. A sexual harassment complaint to HR was guaranteed to go against him, regardless of the facts.

She sat across the table, studying him. He could tell from her expression she was waiting for some reaction on his part. Then it hit him…why is she here? Why did she agree to lunch, after discovering his true nature? He’d missed something; a critical piece of the puzzle eluded him.

That Is the Question

“So, what happens next?” It was best to get the bad news right away. Without that baffling clue as to motive he was at a loss to predict her intentions. His question was blunt but necessary to prevent misunderstanding.

“That is the question, isn’t it, sir?” Slowly she placed her right hand on the table. Her left hand followed, crossed at right angles, carefully lined up with the tips of her little fingers just touching. She sat up very straight, chin high.

The missing piece of the mystery fell into place. For the first time he realized why she agreed to lunch. He was looking at a scene right out of several of his short stories. She had the details correct to the limits of the practical for a public place. From her bare arms, to the sleeveless blouse cut at an angle to show off her shoulders, to the lack of any jewelry other than a small set of earrings, it was an amazingly accurate depiction of his narrative.

She wasn’t very subtle about the hints. The way she crossed her hands, and then embellished an answer with “sir” left no doubt she’d read most if not all of his purely fictional scenarios. For a long moment they stared at each other, eyes locked. It felt as if she were daring him to respond in kind.

“Answering a question with a question, so it’s up to me then?” That was exactly what she implied; it was all up to him. Her reply wasn’t really a question at all. When she started to say something he halted her with a raised hand. “That was a rhetorical question. You don’t need to answer.”

In engineering there comes the moment when all the analysis, the static testing, the design reviews must end with the instant when power is applied to the prototype. The moment of truth, what he called “Flame On!” from the old Fantastic Four comic books he read cover to cover in childhood days. Either the circuit board worked or it blew up in smoke and fire.

Facing each other across the table he was now confronted with one of those moments in time when caution is replaced by acceptable risk. Carpe diem, either seize the day or live with years of regret over the path not taken. The wrong move and this would be the very last time he saw Tina socially.

He placed one hand over hers. She looked up in surprise. “No more questions. This is what we’ll do next.” He kept his voice low but with a firm tone. “We are done here. You will accompany me, quietly, out to the Strand. We’ll find an unoccupied bench along the beach where we can continue in private.”

When he stood up she followed him, wide-eyed but without a word of protest. After he paid the cashier they went out the door. This was his old neighborhood, where he grew up playing on the beach after school. The Strand, closed to cars, was the street next to the beach retaining wall. Spaced along the expanse were old wrought iron park benches, lovingly restored for the tourists.

“There’s a nice view of the ocean here.” With a hand on her back he directed her toward an unoccupied bench. There was no one else close by, guaranteeing their privacy. “Let’s sit down and clear up a few things.”

When they were situated he laid his arm across the back of the bench, behind her shoulders. It was one of those perfect California days, mild temperatures, sunny, a cool offshore breeze blowing out to sea, and waves too low to attract surfers. There were plenty of people out on the sand enjoying the afternoon, though none were close to the retaining wall. He couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for his childhood home.

She turned her head to study him, but said nothing. Of course not, he reminded himself, I told her to follow me quietly. “This isn’t a lecture so please, voice your opinions.” I have to be careful here. She is all but forcing me to control her, yet I don’t have her explicit consent. It’s all too easy to misinterpret what’s happening.

“Yes, sir. If you don’t mind, I’ll listen for now.”

The problem with being in charge is when one has to actually deliver on the promise. He had to come up with a brilliant plan, and he had thirty seconds to figure it out. There were several options: the careful approach, an attempt to draw out her views; then there was the single-minded path where he assumed she would go along with whatever he wanted; or a third way, something in between. This was right out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The first was too cold; the second too hot; but the third, it had to be just right.

What was his third way? To be forthright but not overbearing; Leo would state his assumptions, his conclusions and then see if she disagreed. Unless Tina did object he could proceed with a clear conscience. She could remain passive, if that was her inclination.

“First of all, I’m going to assume you can tell the difference between reality and fiction. I write to entertain, so I have the liberty to gloss over any awkward details that get in the way of storytelling. My little character studies are reflections of my warped, deranged mind, nothing more. However, I did not miss your outstanding interpretation of the women I describe.”

In fact he was fascinated by how well she copied his portrayals. She sat on the bench, facing the wall but with her upturned head focused on his face. Her legs were pressed close together, slightly tilted to one side, with the hem of her skirt precisely drawing a line across the top of her knees. Her hands were folded in her lap, left over right, again at right angles. Other than one or two missing items, which would not be appropriate in public anyway, she had put his literary depiction into practice without a single flaw.

Hard work deserves recognition, he reminded himself. “By the way, your efforts are appreciated. Your interpretation, if that’s the word, matches the image I had in my head when I wrote those descriptions. If you’re curious, yes it has an effect on me, a most pleasurable one.”

“I’m sorry if I’m distracting you, sir.” She started to unfold her hands.

“No,” a simple word but in this case it was effective. In a flash she was back in position. The speed of her reaction caught him by surprise. Is it really that simple? One word from him and she had obeyed without any objections or reluctance. Sure, in his stories it worked that way but he assumed real life was far more complicated.

Or was it? There was one sure way to find out.

The Way It Will Be

“As I promised, this is how it will be. From now on I’m in charge. I expect you to do as you’re told whether or not you like it. There are limits on what I can do to enforce that, so you can always walk away. If you choose to remain and say nothing I will assume I have your full “consent.

She stared at him, eyes wide in amazement. He’d caught her off guard with his sudden assertiveness. Yet despite his declaration, she still chose to stay and listen, without protest. Encouraged, he continued.

“You have a certain advantage over me. My modest literary efforts are an unguarded peek into my soul, the inner workings of my mind. If you judge me based on my work then you have a pretty good idea of what I’m like. On the other hand you are something of a riddle to me. To say this afternoon caught me unprepared would be an understatement. All that aside, since you’ve done your homework you are well aware I’m an unrepentant control freak, or at least I’d like to be one.”

“Sir, if I may? You’re correct, though out of respect I would never use the ‘freak’ term.” She paused to gather her thoughts. “Sir, the control part? That’s why I’m sitting here. I want to learn more about that side of you.”

For Leo that was a clear signal to proceed.

What’s Wrong with You?

“Remind me again, how long have you known this guy?” Tina’s younger sister, Layla, asked.

“Long enough to know what I’m doing,” Tina replied. She took some clothes out of her closet, folded and carefully placed them in the suitcase. “You aren’t going to talk me out of moving in with him.”

“Okay, okay big sister, I can see you’re set on this. What I don’t get is why so sudden? You were always so careful and cautious. Unlike me, dad never grounded his good girl. I always counted on you for useful advice, even if I usually ignored it. Now it’s the other way around.”

Tina closed the suitcase. “Whatever. Anyway, do you want the condo? We’re not going to sell it. Leo says the market’s down and loan rates are too high; it’s better to wait a few years. No rent, so you can pay off those credit cards in a year.” Letting Layla live in the apartment had been Leo’s idea. Tina had been reluctant, knowing her sister, but once he started listing the reasons everything seemed to make sense. How he did that she had no explanation, but just the sound of his voice seemed to carry her away.

“Of course I wanna live here, and I promise I’ll use what I pay for rent now to get out of debt. I’ll take good care of the place too. You’ve seen where I live now. The prospect of going to work without having to walk through the tent city on the sidewalk, that alone is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow.”

That had been one of Leo’s reasons for letting her live in Tina’s condo. For all her reckless and wild behavior Layla was still Tina’s sister. Leo had been emphatic in insisting Tina not worry about her. “You don’t need the stress,” were his exact words. “She’ll be safer in your neighborhood.”

“This is all I’m taking with me,” Tina announced, placing the suitcase upright on the floor. “Whatever’s left in the closet you can donate to charity.”

Layla looked at the suitcase, the closet door and finally at her sister. Something wasn’t right. She stood up and walked over to the closet, still two thirds full of clothes hanging on the rack. “Wait a minute…” She quickly ran through what Tina had left behind. Suddenly she snapped her finger.

“I knew something was bothering me. Your suitcase, all that’s in there are dresses, tops and skirts. And every day I’ve been over these last two weeks, like today, you were wearing a skirt. That’s not the Tina I know. What’s going on?”

Tina didn’t respond immediately. It was a private matter, but Layla was her sister, not a casual friend. Better to get the real reason out in the open now. “These are the clothes I’m allowed to wear. I’m leaving the rest behind because I don’t have permission to keep them.”

At first Layla just stared at her. “Allowed? Permission? What are you talking about?”

Tina shrugged. “It’s not complicated. He informs me on what he likes to see. We discuss it, and then he sets the rules I have to follow. During the day I’m limited to a skirt and top. Nothing skimpy either; he is very particular about where the hemline has to be.”

Again Layla was left speechless. Shaking her head she finally spoke. “This must be a joke. Since when did a man dictate your wardrobe? This isn’t 1950; you can dress as you please.”

Tina hesitated, unsure of how to clarify it to her sister. “No, I can’t do as I please. I have very specific instructions I must follow. It’s not a joke, Layla. This is important to me. I never revealed to anyone about what I want out of life. It’s time you know about the real me. Leo, this man, has the right to tell me what to do, how to behave, even how to think, all with my total consent and enthusiastic agreement. I know exactly what I’m doing, and I’m not going to stop despite what you or anyone else says.”

Layla faced her big sister, mouth open in shock. “This can’t be real. What is wrong with you?”

Tina sighed. “There’s nothing wrong with me, okay? All my life I’ve waited for that one man to come along, the one who dominates, who leads, who doesn’t waver when it comes to making decisions. When I hear his voice, the way he calmly describes what he requires from me…well, I can’t resist. That’s how I know he’s the one. I doubt you can understand, but it’s important to me he runs my life.”

She smiled and ran a hand down her skirt. “If he tells me today to wear a skirt and blouse, I don’t ask why. I ask how short and what color. After that I pick something out and wait for his approval. If he says no I try with something else, until he’s satisfied. How can I explain that thrill, when his eyes light up, he smiles and says “yes, that’s the one.’ Layla, I’ve never been happier. Meeting him is the best thing that ever happened to me.”


“May I join you, sir? I don’t want to interrupt…”

Leo pushed aside the laptop and gestured for her to sit down. He was at the kitchen table, working on a large schematic drawing full of arcane symbols. Tina pulled out a chair and sat down across from him. As always she assumed her perfect pose, hands carefully crossed in her lap. The chair was far enough out on the floor to ensure he didn’t miss a single detail.

“You do that so well. I’m sure you are well aware it always catches my eye. I do value the effort you put into your little presentation. I am curious as to what you get out of it?”

“Accountability, sir. I’m supposed to catch your eye, as you put it. I expect you to check every single time, and if I’m not at my best you will correct my behavior. That’s what I get out of it.”

Leo had spent countless hours on the Internet, reading the blogs and supposedly true stories of extremely submissive women. From the moment he first came across their accounts he was fascinated by the mindset, and how foreign it was to his own view of the world. Those had all been third hand accounts, used as the basis of his stories. For the first time he was experiencing it up close and personal, as a participant.

“Sir? May I continue? There’s a sort of backstory that might help illustrate what I’m trying to say.” Judging from the expectant expression on her face Tina was serious about getting his approval. Now that they were living together she never missed an opportunity to push him toward more and more supervision over every aspect of her life. The way she continuously asked for his permission to speak was just one example. He should be ashamed for not discouraging her, yet the power that came with her asking was so overwhelming he couldn’t put a stop to it.

He sat back in his chair, crossed his arms and tilted his head slightly to better study her, all the while waving a hand to indicate she should continue. Am I really such a bad person? After all it is her idea.

With his consent in hand she went on. “You know I found your stories months ago. The ones that dealt with discipline, not just enforced but a sort of strength of character, determination to be the best, those were the ones that I read over and over. I’m sure you remember them, sir.”

He did. More than once he explored characters who were motivated by the need to excel, to win the praise and admiration from others in recognition of a single-minded focus on being the best, no matter how trivial or insignificant the assignment, praise which always had to come from an authority figure. In search of just such a task he had come up with what everyone normally took for granted, the act of sitting down.

Tine kept speaking. “The way you turned a chair into your ‘One Right Way’, no other way acceptable or tolerated, captivated me. At first I kept asking myself, what was the reason behind it? So simple, what we all take for granted, and suddenly it’s a life-altering experience. You never did explain that part. Then I realized, it’s the what, not the why, that matters.

“I tried to copy your detailed procedure. Eventually I felt I had it down; so from then on, when I’d read one of your stories, I’d sit at home, rigid as a statue, only moving one hand to scroll down. It had to be that way, sir. It’s discipline, setting a goal and never deviating from the path to achieve it. I worked on it day and night, in anticipation of the day when you might be the one to pass judgment on my efforts, to check if I was following your instructions properly.”

Leo wasn’t sure what to make of her account. To a casual observer it would sound like fanaticism, yet he knew Tina too well to accept that. There was a pattern he did recognize though. She’s a chronic overachiever, but the task she feels compelled to complete to perfection has to originate from without, not within. It fit with what he was hearing, and explained all her efforts to steer him toward a dominant, if not outright dictatorial level of power over her.

Leo didn’t have the type of personality that fantasized about being king of the world, but what about a less lofty title, king of Tina’s world? It was so tempting…

Leo shot up out of his chair. Startled, Tine looked up at him but still had the poise to keep to her position. “You will remain silent. Eyes front, keep that back straight, shoulders back, look straight ahead, not at me.” He snapped out his orders quickly, not shouting but with a firm tone in his voice.

He took a step back, to better observe the results. When he moved to one side her eyes did not track him. Flawless, that was the word that best described the scene. Slowly he walked around her, taking his time. Tina might as well have been a statue sculpted from marble.

Behind her, out of sight, he loudly paced back and forth. She had no idea what he was looking for, which was just as well since Leo didn’t either. He came to a sudden stop, pulled her hair to one side and examined her shoulders. Exactly as he had commanded they were pressed against the back of the chair. If she had any doubts he took this seriously his abrupt action would reassure her.

He came back around to face her. I still can’t believe all it took were a few words. I could easily get used to this. He pulled his chair over and sat down opposite her, eye to eye.

“By the way, you were right about the what and why. There is a why, a reason that’s important to me. However, I’m not going to reveal the details. You will have to accept that I don’t have to justify my motives to you. Don’t worry; I will share many of them, but not all. Either way, what matters for you is the what. Results do matter. I will count on you to do your best for me whatever I ask of you.”

He reached out and placed his hands on her shoulders. “I want to be reasonable, but never assume that means lenient. You ask for accountability? I will promise to deliver in full measure. If I don’t see you tightly focused, using all your abilities and talents, then there will be consequences. You do not get points for a token effort.”

He could see she wanted to say something. “You have my permission to speak. You do not have permission to break your position.” Sure, he could have let her relax. It was a judgment call. His instinct urged him to remain firm for a while longer.

“Thank you, sir. I’ll hold you to your promise, if that’s alright. If you aren’t satisfied then I’ve earned the sharp words of a reprimand, or even more if you see the need. I don’t want you to hold back, whatever you choose for the means to correct me. I don’t want to be impertinent, sir, but I cannot respect a man who wavers in his responsibilities. Please, don’t throw me away through some misguided sense of kindness.”


“We got sidetracked. Was there something you wanted to talk about?” Normally Tina didn’t interrupt him if he was working.

‘Yes, sir. It has to do with your stories. How did you write such vivid depictions of the bondage scenes, especially with the handcuffs? I get the impression you’re something of an expert.”

His secret was outed. Leo shook his head. “If that’s what you read into it then I’m pleasantly surprised. No, I’m no kind of expert. I relied on blogs and other stories on the Internet. I did some research on Google and found there are quite a few websites for handcuff collectors. Would you believe there’s a whole community of enthusiasts who dissect old designs and document the history of manufacturers? If anything was vivid it was my imagination. In reality I don’t have a secret stash of police equipment hidden under the bed.”

Tina started giggling. “Sir, under the bed was the first place I looked. All I found were a few dust bunnies.”

The lilt of her laughter was soothing music to his ears. Seeing her relaxed and happy meant he was keeping up on his side of the relationship bargain. Leo frowned in mock exasperation. “Did those bunnies get out of their cages again? Anyway, did I answer your question?”

“Yes and no, sir. May I continue?” She was doing it again, asking for his consent when it wasn’t necessary. Was it deliberate, or did she really feel a need to continually seek his approval for what should be taken for granted? Either way, Leo wasn’t inclined to stop her. After all, what was the point in having such overwhelming power over someone if not to make use of it?

“I’ve been waiting to see if you would bring up the subject, sir. Your imagery was so realistic it felt like I was actually there. I was sure you had, hmm, call it first-hand experience, as the basis for your words. I didn’t expect it to be entirely from other accounts.”

Leo shrugged. “I work with what I have. Do you think it detracts from the storyline, not having any personal experience?”

“Oh no, sir, nothing like that.” She sighed. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, would you consider having the two of us conduct our own research project, perhaps to discover how well you captured the moment?” She ended with an eager tone in her voice.

She does have an uncanny ability to catch me by surprise. There was no hint of ambiguity in what she was asking. “Let me make sure I understand. You want me to tie you up with handcuffs and chains?” I might as well be blunt.

“You have the essentials correct, sir, though I’d like to think of it as an exploration into the tools available to you as a means of physically controlling me through the careful use of commonly available restraints.” Leo had to smile at that choice of words. It was full of paraphrasing and innuendo yet it came down to his simple summary.

“Sir, I’m not being reckless in asking this. I’ve given it considerable thought. I do comprehend there is a risk of injury, but I’m not too worried about that. I know you’ll be very careful. I trust you to look after me.”

Leo sat across from her, furiously thinking over what she was proposing. This is getting complicated. It had to be important to her or she wouldn’t have brought the subject up. However, she was also his responsibility, and that he took seriously. How to balance the two?

His long stare must have made her self-conscious. He caught the tiny movements when she straightened up and shifted her hands. She was so tempting, and this new idea did nothing to dispel his desire. Would it be so bad to indulge in a bit of sexually tinged fun?

“We’d have to order some of those tools of yours first. Yes, I like the idea.” He smiled. “A little ad hoc research, purely to determine empirical values, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

Her face lit up with satisfaction. “I’m not sure what that meant, sir, but it sounds like you agree.” She looked down at her hands, her cheeks reddening in embarrassment. “Sir, may I go to the bedroom? There’s something I’d like to show you, before you proceed.”

Leo waved his arm to indicate she could go. Now she’s asking permission to leave the room, where will it stop? She’s moving a lot faster than me, maybe I better try to catch up.

Tina came back carrying a cardboard box. He rolled up the schematic on the table and set it to one side, to make room for her package. The moment she dropped it on the table she shot back to her chair. Yet one more time she returned to her imitation of a statue.

Although he was curious, the box had to wait. Leo took his time, running his eyes up and down the woman in front of him. This isn’t something I can blow off. If I don’t pay attention she’ll be disappointed. He took his time, actually hoping he could find some tiny flaw that would prove he could meet her high standards. Isn’t that ironic? I take away her freedom, but here I’m the one doing all the hard work.

She had it right, and she knew it. Finally he settled on adding something new. “Tuck in those elbows. They are out too far. That’s not acceptable.” He was improvising but that was all he had. Her compliance was immediate. She likely knows I’m reaching here, but she’ll never say it out loud.

Nodding in approval he turned back to her package. Unfolding the top flaps he found it contained several smaller cardboard boxes, all with vendor logos printed on them. He recognized the companies, and what it implied for the contents.

She was following his every move. “Sir, if I might explain…”

“No,” he snapped, holding up a hand to silence her. “Stay where you are, quietly. I want to think about this.”

Prior Planning

Slowly he took out one item at a time, carefully stacking them on the table. When he finished he dropped the empty carton on the floor, out of the way. He ran a quick inventory in his head, impressed by the variety and quality of her selections. It made up quite a collection, rivaling anything he’d described in his stories.

Turning back to Tina, who was still frozen in place, he told her, “Okay, I’m not upset, so don’t assume I’m mad at you. I had no idea you would have all this in your possession.” He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. “Look at me,” he ordered.

In that oh so exacting way she swiveled her head toward him, without moving a muscle otherwise. How does she do that? What kind of dedication does it take to behave like that? Leo could only guess, for it was far beyond his ability to duplicate.

“Now, talk to me. Go ahead with what you were going to explain. I promise, after seeing this,” he swept a hand across the fully loaded table, “you have my undivided attention.”

“Yes, sir. When I first found your stories, even before I’d figured out you were the author, they affected me at a level I doubt you could imagine. I wanted to be the female character you outlined so well. I’d dream about being inside your world, what it would be like, how I’d handle the events as they unfolded in the timeline. To me it was sort of an alternate reality, where one day I’d be magically transported over the rainbow to a very different version of Oz.”

Leo had to chuckle at the comparison. “This is the first time anyone ever compared my meager literary efforts to the Wizard of Oz. If I could write like that I’d retire and live off my royalties. But I don’t want to interrupt. Keep going.”

“Yes, sir. This may not make much sense, but in some strange way I felt if I had some tangible part of the fantasy, something I could touch, hold in my hands, it became all the more a possibility. Silly, I know, but who of us can deny we occasionally give in to crazy, irrational impulses?”

Though his job, for that matter the way he saw the world, was based on cold, hard logic, critical thinking and rational thought, yet he was still human, prone to give in to the urges she mentioned. Perhaps not to the extent Tina was relating, but then she was very different in so many ways.

“That’s when I started my own research project, sir. You know my job at work is to scour the world for best prices on components, so I have developed some search skills. It turns out purchasing police equipment, handcuffs, leg chains, all the things on the table, are legal and for the most part unregulated, at least where we live. There are a great number of websites offering all kinds of brands. From experience I knew lowest price seldom meant best quality, so I kept at it, building a list of manufacturers with good reputations. Finally I was ready, so I started ordering. What you see, sir, are the results of several month’s work.”

She’d certainly lived up to her reputation in the Purchasing department at work. Leo picked up one of the small, heavy boxes off the table. The label on the side marked it as containing a set of hinged handcuffs. The manufacturer, Peerless, had a longstanding reputation for quality. Lifting off the top he saw the cuffs inside, wrapped in oiled preservative paper. He took them out, along with the two small keys.

“You did well. I doubt I could have come up with a better assortment. You do have a talent for spotting value.” After a quick glance through the tiny instruction booklet he worked the ratchet a few times, used the key tip to engage the double lock, and made sure the key worked reliably on both sides. While he ran through his inspection she sat with a hopeful expression, watching his every move.

“So, did you try these out?” He held up the handcuffs, dangling from the fingers of his left hand.

Tina actually had a shocked look on her face. “Oh no, sir! I’d never do that. Those are your tools; only you can decide how to make use of them. Besides, if you remember, you wrote that it is expressly forbidden for me, I mean my character, to handle or even touch those keys. Breaking that rule would lead to swift, certain and harsh punishment. I did look inside, mostly to ensure the right item was delivered, but I never took them out of the boxes. That’s strictly prohibited. I swear, sir, I’m telling you the truth.”

Leo held up his hands. “Don’t panic, I believe you. Besides, when you purchased these you had no obligations to me. I only asked out of curiosity.”

She relaxed. “I’m sorry, sir. I know it sounds strange, but I do want to keep to what you laid out, the limits imposed on what I’m allowed. It matters to me. I’m not a mental case; I do know the difference between fiction and reality. I like to see your stories as a sort of philosophical approach to what’s usually called an ‘alternative lifestyle.’ Even if you didn’t consider such lofty goals it affected me more than anything I’d ever read before now.”

Leo studied her, considering all she’d told him. “You planned this, didn’t you?” He held up the handcuffs in one hand. “This is your way to send me a not so subtle hint?”

Tina smiled and broke her position just long enough to shrug her shoulders. “All true, sir. The carton? It was prior planning, for the day when I’d find the right man, one I could trust to bring my fantasies to life. My part is complete. The rest is up to you, sir.”

The handcuffs were surprisingly heavy. Made of steel, he thought, stamped and riveted, durable, reliable and economical, a compact marvel of over a century of design evolution. This was one of those pivotal moments in their relationship, and it was solely up to him to get it right.

“Stand up,” he ordered. The way forward was clear now. He took hold of her arm. “Over here, face the wall. No talking, don’t move.” It was time for life to imitate art. He’d rehearsed this many times in his head, trying to capture the moment on the keyboard. Now he’d find out how accurate his visualizations were.

She knew the script too. Other than an increase in her breathing, he assumed from excitement, she hadn’t missed a cue. With one hand on her back, pressing her against the wall, he leaned in and whispered in her ear, “Hands behind your back, now!”

How often has she rehearsed this moment? In an instant her hands were precisely lined up in the small of her back, palms not quite touching, fingers extended. Slowly, so she could hear, he pushed open one side of the cuffs. The sound of the ratchet was loud in the sudden silence. Starting with her left hand he closed the cuff, one click at a time, until it was close around her wrist, not too tight, but not so loose that she could slip out.

Leo repeated the procedure for her right hand, finishing with her wrists bound together in cold steel. After a final check to make sure they wouldn’t cut off circulation he used the tip of the key to engage the double lock, so they wouldn’t tighten further.

The cuffs were the hinged type rather than the more common chain link typically used on TV shows. Tina had selected one of the most restrictive versions of modern handcuffs. She had certainly put some thought into her purchases. He said as much to her. “Okay, try that out. See how far you can reach.”

She began twisting around, at first trying to slip out of the cuffs, and once that didn’t happen to figure out how limited she was. Leo admired her futile efforts. This is fun, and we’re only getting started.

He took hold of the cuffs between her wrists. She immediately stopped. “It appears to me they are working as advertised. The keyholes face away from your fingers, the way it shows in the booklet. From where I’m standing even with a key I think you’d have a hard time removing them.”

The Deep End

A faint shudder ran through Tina while she stood against the wall. Leo noticed her eyes were closed. Not wanting to spoil the moment for her he said nothing while letting go of his grip. She suddenly pulled against the cuffs again, struggling to free her hands. When she didn’t succeed he saw the resignation when her shoulders slumped.

Once more he reached out and took hold of the center of the cuffs in one hand. The instant she felt him in control she relaxed and ceased any attempt to escape. “Tell me what you’re feeling. Don’t hold back, I want to understand what just happened.”

She opened her eyes but obediently held her place against the wall. “Sir, I…I…” she stuttered. “Sorry sir, I’ve waited so long, dreamed of it over and over. I don’t know exactly how to describe it. It was a rush, but of what? Pleasure, excitement, definitely something sexual, all mixed together. I lost control, sir; I was disobedient, no excuses. I’m ready for whatever punishment you decide is necessary to correct me.”

Leo almost laughed out loud but caught himself in time. Her dream come true and she feels guilty over it. Good thing I’m here so I can put a stop to it right away.

“I’ll decide if you were disobedient. Do not forget your place and attempt to tell me what to do.” He jerked on the handcuffs. “Lest you forget you’re the one with the industrial strength charm bracelets.” He let go of her hands and shifted his grip to her arm.

“Turn around, towards me.” Leo noticed how she reacted to short, emphatic commands, complying without any hesitation, as if it were on an instinctive level without any thinking. He’d have to remember it in the future.

“Sir, while we’re on the subject of jewelry,” she turned to one side and held out her arms, “could I point out something you might have missed?”

Why not? I’m just along for the ride tonight. It’s her show, no reason she shouldn’t keep going. Leo nodded, “Go ahead.”

She nodded toward the table. “If you look in the larger box? It has a special type of belt that goes with the handcuffs.”

Leo recognized the contents immediately, a leather restraint belt used to transport high risk prisoners to jail. It consisted of a wide leather belt with a steel ring stitched into the back. This one wasn’t a high security model, since it had a simple belt buckle in front.

“You went all out here,” he told her, holding up the belt for her to see.

“Yes, sir. Nothing fancy, since when it’s in use I can’t reach the buckle in front. If you open one end of the cuffs and slip it through the ring, still behind my back, then my range of movement is sharply reduced. Would you like to see how it works?”

The belt was a close fit when he slipped it around her waist. He pulled it snug but not too tight before closing the front buckle. “I assume you can’t slip out of this?”

“No, sir. My hips are too wide. A man might manage to get the belt off without loosening it; a woman it’s all but impossible.”

Taking the keys out of his pocket he unlocked her left wrist. “Okay, here we go. Be sure to speak up if it’s painful. From what I’ve seen this belt is normally used with the ring in front, not in back.” The cuff easily slipped through the oversize ring. He took hold of her unencumbered wrist and placed it back in the handcuffs.

The belt certainly worked as advertised. Combined with the hinged cuffs her hands were all but immobilized, held close to the small of her back. “Doing okay?” he asked.

Her struggles didn’t amount to much. “As long as I’m careful, sir, I’ll be alright. Just don’t ask me to play the piano.”

Leo laughed at her joke. His eyes lingered at the sight of her small hands, nicely framed in the steel circles, resting against the contrasting dark brown leather of the belt. This had to be one of those occasions where real life was so much better than imagination.

The Deep End

Tine tried to point at the table with one hand. “Now that I’ve learned to swim, sir, so to speak, I’d like to dive into the deep end. My request is you make use of everything on the table.” She stared at him, virtually daring him to load her down with all the restraints she could manage.

What’s the harm? If it’s what she wanted, Leo didn’t mind. “One question before we start. Looking at the inventory, I see most of the restraints were ordered in quantity two. Did you have something in mind?”

“Yes, sir, two reasons actually. The first one, I figured if one pair of handcuffs is sufficient, then two would add an extra level. I recall you have a name for it, when you present those designs.”

“The safety margin, derating equipment to allow for unusual conditions.”

“That’s it, sir. An extra level of security, to make sure I don’t figure out some clever way to escape. If one is good, two must be better.”

“Okay, and the other reason?”

“I saw a video about it, on YouTube.” She turned to one side and held out her hands, still held back by the belt ring. “You put the cuffs on the right way, keyhole away from my hands. If I happened to produce a hidden key I could, eventually, work it in there and unlock the cuffs. A way to prevent that, or at least increase the difficulty, is adding a second pair of cuffs, with the keyholes facing each other. That way there’s no outside access. The only way to unlock them is to use one hand to hold the two pairs apart while inserting the key with the other. I only have one hand available, and in an awkward position. The belt makes it even more difficult.”

She was right. Leo opened the second box and took out the matching set of hinged cuffs. They were identical to the ones Tina wore, as expected since the packaging was identical. “Okay, turn back to the wall and hold still. Let me see if this works.”

He stood up behind her. When it came to following instructions there was no question in his mind she took it seriously. When he slipped the second pair through the oversized ring and placed the second pair over the first, without closing the bows, she didn’t flinch. With her slender wrists it would be easy to separate the two sets of cuffs, even within the ring confining them to her back. Slowly he closed one side, counting the clicks of the ratchet. When it matched the ones she already had on he stopped. A quick test verified he could hold them far enough apart to insert a key. Confident now, he closed the cuff on her other wrist and double locked both sides.

He could see her eyes were closed yet again. The reason why she enjoyed having her hands bound behind her back he couldn’t explain, but there was no denying it had an effect on Tina.

Taking a step back he took a moment to admire his handiwork. Life imitating art, but this is so much better than a vague mental picture used as the basis for a story. On an impulse he reached out and slowly ran a hand down her arm, from bare shoulder to the steel surrounding her wrist.

It would be so easy to get used to this. Besides, if she likes it, there’s nothing wrong with me helping her along. One part of his brain was complaining about self-serving excuses, but he didn’t care. The sight of her was drawing out his latent control freak personality traits.

 “Unless you want me to tape your fingers together I think this guarantees you won’t be using your hands for much.” Maybe a skilled escape artist could get out of the restraints, but he couldn’t see how. He recognized it was gross overkill, the way she was confined, yet it made no difference to Leo, Or to Tina either, judging by how she slowly flexed her hands within the bonds.

He deliberately left her staring at the wall. Leo was in control now; all that mattered were his wishes. There were two more unopened boxes on the table. Tina had asked for everything, so that must include what was left. He was not one to leave a job unfinished.

As with the hinged cuffs the two boxes were identical. Both identified the contents as oversized handcuffs, which struck him as odd. Why would she pick something that was too large to work on her small wrists? Opening one box the explanation became readily visible. They were actually leg shackles, sized for larger ankles, but with a two link connecting chain instead of the standard length that limited a prisoner’s stride. Technically they weren’t legal in the U.S. or most other countries if used as leg irons, which explained the misleading label.

He held up the shackles against the wall, where she could see them. “Stay where you are. I want you to explain why I’m holding these.”

A Step Too Far

Tina did not turn back to him. He made a careful note of that, with the intention of reminding her later on of how well she behaved. “Sir, I looked through the online catalogs at all the leg irons available. None of them seemed right to me. I’m not a prisoner being transported to jail; I don’t need to be able to walk normally or nearly so. Restraints are machines that are supposed to make life more difficult for the user. Preventing me from running isn’t good enough; I wanted a real challenge.”

Crouching down Leo snapped the shackles around her ankles. Going back to the table he retrieved the second pair and added it to her ensemble of steel adornments. Standing up he put his hands on her hips, from behind.

“Okay, your wish is granted. From what I see, your ‘challenge’ is close to impossible. Don’t try to move unless I’m holding on to you.” There was no possible way she could walk with her ankles hobbled like that. If she did try she’d trip, fall, and possibly break her nose.

“I may have miscalculated, sir. In the pictures it looked like something I could manage. Now,” she tried to pull her feet apart, “I’m not so sure it was a good idea.”

What was that line he used in the literary equivalent of this moment? Fight or flight, that was it. He took hold of her handcuffs in one hand. With the other he gripped her upper arm. “You certainly can’t fight me, and if you try to run away I can go get a cup of coffee while you try to reach the door. So, no fight or flight, what’s your remaining option?”

She answered immediately. “You can see it for yourself, sir. My best choice lies in obedience. I’m doing my best to ensure you become addicted to me, and the only way to accomplish that is to feed the control freak beast. No resistance, sir; I’m glued to this wall until I have your permission to move.”

Amazing how she knows exactly what to say at the right time, he thought. Your permission, he did like the sound of that phrase, and how often she repeated it. If Tina’s putting on a show to seduce me, then I have to admit it’s working. Though he did get the impression being tied up in chains was more for her benefit than his. He should help matters along if that were the case.

He leaned in and whispered in her ear. “Feel the cold, unyielding steel? Close your eyes, see yourself, how helpless you are. Let my voice take you away to a place where you belong, where you are among people just like you. In this world you have your place, I have mine. In all the universe there are only the two of us, brought together by fate. You can’t escape, but that doesn’t matter. You are in my hands, free of worry, without a care in the world.”

Lost in reverie she started to sway. Leo held her in place against the wall.

“Sir? You have such a way with words. I could stand here all night listening to you. The way you speak, low, rhythmic, it almost hypnotizes me.”

“Seems to me you’re going to be standing there until I let you go.” Again and again Leo ran his hands up and down her bare arms. Her skin was so soft, smooth, sensuous, right down to the point where his fingers met the cuffs. Temptation was calling him to take advantage of her in ways that would normally involve prison time. He wasn’t too concerned about matters of consent though; she couldn’t be more obvious that she had the same endgame in mind.

From Here To There

“I have one last request, sir.” She was careful not to look away from the wall. To do so would be disobedient, and that she could not tolerate even in her own actions.

Leo kept one hand on her back, mostly to let her know she was to stay in place. I’m really getting into this power dominance mindset. It’s so easy giving in to the dark side. So far her requests had been interesting, and that was an understatement. “Okay, turn around and face me. Take it slow. I’ll hold onto you.”

Taking very short steps Tina managed to shift around to where her back was to the wall. Why in the world did she pick those oversize cuffs for her ankles? It should be obvious to anyone they weren’t intended to leave a prisoner mobile in any sense of the word, other than crawling on the floor.

“Go ahead, tell me what you have in mind?”

“There’s a box in the bedroom, sir. Rather than explain, I'd like you to see the contents first. I ask because it is central to who I am. If we don’t address it I feel the evening will end unfinished.”

She was intense in stressing the mysterious object’s importance, which gave Leo some pause. What else could she pull out of her magic hat? “In the bedroom? Hmm, that appears to be a problem. I don’t see how you can get from here to there, considering your present circumstances.” He added a smile to his bemusement at her predicament.

Once again Tina was painfully reminded of her miscalculation. A trip across the living room, down the hallway to the bedroom, at her limited snail’s pace, could take a half hour or more. “I hope you can offer some advice, sir, on what I should do. I need your help.”

Leo had no intention of leaving her standing there on her own, while he went to hunt for the secretive box. Nor was he inclined to release her ankles so she could proceed on her own. There was one other option.

Crouching down he pressed his shoulder into her waist, just below the buckle on the restraint belt. Wrapping an arm around her legs he hoisted her up and over his shoulder. Sometimes brute force is the simple solution to a complex problem, the thought that justified an opportunity to take advantage of her being bound hand and foot.

“Sir!” was all she managed from her entirely undignified position, head down behind his back, hair trailing down almost to his legs. In front her knees were bent, below the arm clamping her against Leo. He took a moment to run his free hand down her leg from her skirt to the cuffs around her ankles.

“You have nice legs. I’m sure you won’t mind if I take a moment to enjoy a close up vantage point?”

“Please, Leo, put me down!” she pleaded. Tina felt like a sack of potatoes. “This is so undignified.” She fought the handcuffs holding her hands close behind her back. Why is it these things have to keep on working when you want to take them off? She even tried twisting around but that arm held her firmly in place.

“That’s not going to happen,” he replied in a terse tone. “Stop fighting me, now!”

And just like that all her struggles suddenly came to a halt. Resigned to her new calling as a bag of vegetables she watched while the living room disappeared from sight. Now I know what helpless really feels like, she smiled in a rueful way. This is what it’s like when the stone age bachelor carried the woman he just stole from the neighboring tribe back to his cave.

In the bedroom he carefully deposited her onto the bed, leaving her sitting upright but with her hair a mess. He took the time to gently push her hair out of her face. “Now then, where is this box that’s oh so important?” he asked, ignoring as if it were a trivial matter how he had manhandled her with a show of his vastly superior physical strength.

“Look in the bottom of the closet, right side, in the back, sir. It’s under the small suitcase.”

Leo lifted up the empty suitcase and immediately spotted the flat, square box. He picked it up and went back to face Tina, still sitting on the bed.

“Is this the one?” he asked.

“That’s it, sir. If you open it I’m sure you’ll realize what it is.”

She was right. The moment he lifted off the lid and saw the contents all the events of the evening fell into place.

Seal the Deal

Leo held the shiny steel oval in his hand. Two keys dangled on a string from the edge. Tina’s eyes were fixed on the metal band. “Are you sure about this? There’s a solemn commitment behind this durable bit of jewelry. Have you thought through the implications?”

“I ordered it online a year ago, sir. I’ve had plenty of time to consider what it means, the obligations I must assume wearing it, and the type of man I want to lock it around my neck. Don’t assume I’m wrapped up in some fantasy, sir. To be absolutely honest I’m not entirely sure I can live up to the standards I hope to see imposed on me, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

“But please, sir, don’t feel pressured to decide right now. If you believe it’s too soon, I understand. The last thing I want is to rush you into acting against your own inclinations. If I didn’t trust your judgment you wouldn’t be holding that collar right now.”

While she was talking Leo slipped the keys to the back and worked the lock. The two keys and the loop of string fell out into his hand. Tina finished her little speech with a piercing gaze, searching for his reaction.

Without any warning he leaned down, pushed her hair aside and snapped the collar closed around her neck. He turned the key in the lock and pulled it out. The two keys, dangling from the string he held in his hand, made it clear to Tina their short relationship had advanced to a level neither had anticipated so quickly.

He lifted her up by her arms until she was standing in front of him. When she opened her mouth, about to speak, he interrupted her with a stern “No!”

Without the slightest hesitation she obeyed. “You listen while I lay out our path forward. We’ll start with the basics. You are now my property, to do with as I please. Fix that single thought in your head.” Leo knew he was way out on a limb, assuming she would go along with whatever he came up with in the next few minutes. But he was in far too deep to stop now. All he had to do was look at her, bound in chains, yet seemingly content, even enjoying the moment.

How did we get here after a simple lunch date? When wants and needs align events can move quickly, without any impediments. What were the chances they’d ever get together if he hadn’t written those stories, and posted them on a website? Or multiply that by the odds she would find and read them. One in a million? One in ten million?

Leo understood probability and statistics. Long odds were not a guarantee of impossibility. People routinely won lotteries with odds in the hundreds of millions to one. Perhaps the lunch date cost a bit more than a lottery ticket, but for Leo and Tina fate had handed them a personal jackpot.


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