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Hope and Pray

Chapter Text

At the porch, the trepidation that roiled in Eloise’s stomach overflowed the barriers she had put up, and she turned to flee. Andrew caught her in his arms, and put a firm hand on her cheek, turning her face to him. She didn’t want to look, but the pressure reassured her enough. He studied her for a moment, his eyes hooded with concern.

“Do you want to leave?” he asked, seriously.

Yes. She wanted to run away from this. Of course she did. It was folly, stupidity, a fantasy that shouldn’t be allowed to become reality.

No. She wanted to do it. She dreamed about it, awake and asleep. If she walked away now, she would regret it forever. But the fear was overwhelming the excitement.

Andrew held her closely, one hand on her back, and one hand on her face. She knew he didn’t need to hear her answer, he read it from her expression and the tension in her body. “I didn’t think so,” he said. He held her for a few moments more, and then she felt him gently pressing her, turning her to face the door. “Now,” he said in her ear, “ring the doorbell.”

Chapter Text

There is an unusual atmosphere at most munches, a mixture of nervousness and forced bonhomie. People are trying very hard to be nice and welcoming, but it's hard to avoid the fact that the thing that binds together all the people there is one that it is often difficult to talk about in a Wetherspoon's pub at 7pm on a Tuesday evening. Eloise cuddled up to Andrew, resting her head on his shoulder and pressing her hip against his. This was partly for comfort, but mostly because there wasn't quite enough room on the bench and the man next to her was talking expansively about Doctor Who, presumably because that was easier than discussing how much he liked tying people up and turning their bottom pink.

It was a pity, because, although Eloise quite liked Doctor Who, she very much liked being tied up, or at least many things related to and including being tied up. She looked around at the table, and wondered about the camaraderie they all seemed to have. Was it real, or just assumed? She felt an outsider. Andrew was having an in depth discussion about play clubs with the woman next to him, one of the organisers, who Eloise was pretty sure was called Christine. She wasn't certain about the idea of going to a club. The idea of doing something in public was both intriguing and frightening, and she didn't know which would win. Despite Andrew's obvious interest in the concept, she knew it would be her who pushed for it to happen, if it was going to. It was her who had suggested coming here, and she wasn't quite at the stage of regretting it, but nor had it been the eye-openingly wonderful experience she'd been hoping for. There was something about the munch that made something secret and mystical seem mundane, a group of magicians explaining how they performed card-tricks.

That was until she walked in.

There are several different sorts of people who can attract a room's attention just by walking in: the beautiful, the charismatic, the unusual. She was all three at once. Eloise straightened up in her seat, unwrapping her arm from around Andrew's waist. She was suddenly aware of her heartbeat, the sounds of the pub and her sense of the other munchers fading away. Dark hair... no, pitch black hair, framed a well-defined face, intense dark eyes that scanned those seated around the table, until, with an inevitability, her gaze met Eloise's. It was more than Eloise could take. She looked down at the menu, at the array of fairly adequate food choices, knowing that she was blushing, and that in that split second she had revealed more of herself than she had intended or wanted to.

"Hello, everyone." The woman's voice was sleek and controlled, slightly higher than Eloise was expecting. She noticed that everyone else had, momentarily, fallen silent.

"Hi Jessica," Christine said, rising and moving as if she wanted to hug the newcomer, but a subtle shift in Jessica's stance dissuaded her. Eloise darted glances up from behind her menu. Jessica. She rolled the name around her mind

"I'll just go and get a drink," Jessica said. Eloise watched her go to the bar and order, and then she looked over at the table, directly at Eloise, giving her no chance to look away. Jessica lifted a finger, crooking it slightly, and accompanying it with a lift of an eyebrow that gave it enough of a request flavour that Eloise felt that she could, maybe, turn it down. If she wanted to. The problem was that by the time she'd worked out that she had the option, she was half-way towards the bar and had no memory of how she had gotten out from her seat past Andrew. Or was it the Doctor Who guy? She realised she was wondering about that to avoid thinking about whether she should turn back, and by that point she was standing next to Jessica and it really had become unbearably rude to run away.

Jessica looked at her, and it seemed to Eloise like she was looking up at Jessica, despite them actually being a similar height. The image of herself, kneeling in front of Jessica, naked, came unbidden. Her breath caught. What was it about this woman that was doing this to her?

"Connection," Jessica said, breaking a silence that Eloise realised had been stretching unnaturally.

"Uh ... what?"

"It's a connection. No-one can control when it happens. It can take years to establish, or snap into place on first sight." There was a caress in her voice, and a sense of celebration, of someone who revelled in the effect she was having. "The question is, do you want to do something about it, or just let it go to waste?"

Eloise glanced over at Andrew, who was watching curiously, but without obvious impatience or anger. They had, in a post-coital moment, discussed the possibility of something like this happening, but more as a potential fantasy than an actuality. Still, she knew the answer, even if it led to complication and trouble.

"Yes," she whispered. "At least..."

"We've only just met, we've barely spoken, you don't know me or have a reason to trust me," Jessica said. "And you've just agreed to at least explore the possibility of spending time with me ... " She leant in to Eloise, her hand lifting to rest on her shoulder, just a fraction of an inch away from her neck. Eloise wanted it to shift over, to feel Jessica's hand on the back of her neck, on her throat, anywhere that would feel possessive. "... of spending time with me on your knees." Jessica's voice was quiet, barely above a murmur in Eloise's ear, but it rang in her head like a summoning gong.

Eloise looked down at the bar, where another copy of the ubiquitous defensive menu lay. Somehow, the near-24-hour availability of nachos was reassuring.

“Now that's agreed,” Jessica said, a little louder, not moving the hand from Eloise's shoulder, “you can tell me your name.”

“Eloise, ma'am.” Eloise was shocked. The word had just popped out, unbidden. She wasn't sure if it was welcome or not. She darted a glance up at Jessica's face, to be rewarded with the tiniest hint of a smile.

“Eloise.” Hearing Jessica speak her name was like hearing it for the first time. Every syllable seemed to be caressed by her lips on its way to Eloise's ears. “Lovely.” Her name, or her? “And that is your … husband … over there?”

Eloise nodded. “Andrew, ma'am.” There it was again.

“Here's what's going to happen. You're going to go back over and sit with your husband. Tomorrow night, we will all meet for dinner at eight at … Allegro, and we will talk.”

“Eight. Allegro. Ma'am.” Eloise had been reduced to single word sentences.

“Good girl,” Jessica said, bringing heat to Eloise's cheeks. “Dress nicely.” She lifted her hand from Eloise's shoulder, and Eloise felt its absence like a pulled tooth.

When she got back to her place, Andrew smiled at her, a smile that told her that he had seen everything that had happened. She loved him for it, as she loved him for many things, and she went back to cuddling against him. The rest of the munch went quickly, passing by Eloise as she sat, lost in her own feelings. She didn't even look for Jessica again. It wouldn't have been appropriate.

***
That night, Eloise and Andrew talked. Andrew had set up the conversation carefully, to ensure they were both comfortable. Comfortable emotionally, at least. Eloise was blindfolded, and her wrists were wrapped in rope, pulled behind her back and tied to the knot that secured her ankles. Though Eloise sometimes wished for a rougher hemp to abrade her skin, to leave marks that lasted, Andrew preferred to use the smooth soft cotton. She knew he was worried about seriously injuring her, and it was one of the reasons why she trusted him, but she wished he was willing to take a few more chances, with the little things at least. It was one of the things that limited her fulfilment, if not her love.

“So,” Andrew said, his voice coming from right in front of her. She pushed her head forward, her mouth seeking his, but he held back, teasing her with his breath on her lips. “So,” he said again. “You met someone.”

The thought of Jessica sent a spasm through her body, and she knew Andrew would read it. “Yes, sir,” she whispered.

“And you want to … what? Submit to her? Be fucked by her?”

Yes. Yes, all of it. “Whatever she wants,” Eloise said.

“Why?” There wasn't any anger in his voice, just curiosity and amusement.

It was a good question. How could she explain that the first sight had exploded her world, that her thoughts circled Jessica as water around a plughole, rushing faster and faster as they were pulled closer?

“She overwhelms me, sir,” Eloise said, eventually. She picked her words carefully, not fearing Andrew's reaction, but not wanting to sully either this moment or the image of Jessica that stood over her. “And she is … danger.”

Andrew's sigh was one of acceptance, albeit wearily. He had long ago accepted that there were places that Eloise wanted to go that he couldn't take her. His hand stroked her cheek, and she leant into the contact, rubbing her face against his touch. “You'll be sure to come back?” he asked.

If she had known, then, that it would be her who ended up begging him to stay, many things would have played out differently.

“Of course,” she said. “I love you, Andrew. I love you, sir.” For him, it was always play. For her, a little more. Still, these moments were almost enough, and at his prompt she parted her legs as far as she could, feeling the rope pulling against her ankles and revelling in what coarseness she could find in the twist of the strands. Willingly, she lifted her hips, offering herself to his touch. As he drove her towards orgasm, though, her memory of Jessica overflowed her mind, and as she climaxed, the word that whisper-slipped from her lips was “Ma'am.”

Chapter Text

Eloise spent most of Wednesday fretting about what she was going to wear. What did Jessica mean by “Dress nicely”? She considered being completely inappropriate for what was, she knew, a moderately up-market Italian restaurant. A micro-miniskirt, a crop-top, and cuffs? She imagined Jessica shaking her head sadly. No, it had to be something that was respectable, acceptable, but that would also send Jessica a clear message. That would show her that Eloise understood.

Andrew held her hand tightly as they entered Allegro's. “Do I look OK?” she asked him, maybe for the eighth time. She had settled on a simple black dress, falling to just above her knees, a pair of smart shoes with just enough of a heel to be noticeable without being showy. She had tied a red silk scarf around her neck with a knot that was more secure than most would use. She knew, or hoped she knew, that Jessica would understand it was the promise of something more.

“Like a very pretty parcel,” Andrew said, “all ready to be delivered.”

Eloise blushed, and it was with that colour marking her cheeks that she met Jessica for the second time.

Jessica had selected a booth, just to one side of the restaurant, secluded enough to be relatively private. She rose as Andrew and Eloise approached, offering Andrew her hand. “Jessica,” she introduced herself. “Andrew, why don't you sit there, and Eloise there.” She indicated places in turn, and Eloise realised that she would be sitting with her back to the rest of the room, unable to see whether or not a member of staff – or another patron – was close enough to overhear their conversation.

The maitre d' brought over menus for them all, and Eloise gratefully picked hers up, happy once again to hide in what was, this time, a superior range of food options.

She kept her eyes down while they ordered and it was only after the waiter had left that she risked looking back up, to find Jessica studying her. “Let me tell you what I know,” she said, looking away from Eloise to include Andrew, “and you can correct me if I'm wrong. Eloise is submissive, probably solely. You, Andrew, are dominant, but your activities are limited to the bedroom.”

“How … ?” Eloise couldn't stop herself from asking.

“You didn't look for permission before you came over, the other day.” Oh. So clear. Before Jessica, she hadn't realised how transparent she was. “Don't ask how again, dear, unless it really matters.” Jessica looked back to Andrew, and the tone of her voice changed. "Oh, interesting." Eloise couldn't work out what she had noticed. Was it something she had given away, or was it Andrew? "Never mind," Jessica continued. "You're both open to the idea of polyamory, and are looking for the possibility. It's Eloise who drives your adventurousness, but you both enjoy it.”

Eloise glanced at Andrew, who was nodding his agreement. How could he not – it was all accurate so far. “Eloise has several itches she wants to get scratched, some of which you don't particularly enjoy.” She paused. "Am I correct so far?”

“Yes, ma'am,” Eloise murmured.

Andrew nodded. “You are, Jessica.” Eloise looked at him. He was clearly impressed with Jessica and the curve of his lips said that he found Eloise's discomfort amusing. He was always the definition of unflappable, never intimidated, never noticeably worried. She loved him for it, as much as she didn't like its counterpart – a tendency towards passiveness, to not really caring. And she cared, about a lot of things, with a keenness that occasionally boiled into obsession.

“Eloise, would you tell me what you think I can provide for you?”

In shows like “The Weakest Link”, or “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, there is often a moment where dramatic music booms out, and a hundred spotlights point at the contestant. Eloise now knew that you don't need the lights or the speakers to get the same effect. All you need is a question. She took a deep breath, trying to organise thoughts that skittered like cockroaches fleeing the light. Beneath the table, she felt Andrew's shoe pressing on the top of her foot, reassuring her. She knew Jessica would see it, but didn't care. It helped.

“To be pushed, Ma'am,” she says. “Not beyond my limits, but … “ She didn't have a good way to express it available.

“Beyond what you think you can do, but not beyond what you can actually do. Past 'I shouldn't', but not as far as 'I can't'.”

Eloise nodded.

“You ask a lot. I can't promise to be able to do that, or to never get it wrong. No one could. But I understand, and I'm better than most at it. Go on.”

Jessica's admittance of limitation relaxed Eloise. “I want to spend … longer than a scene, or a session, in role. I want to feel like I'm properly under someone else's control.” She shook her head, and looked directly at Jessica. “I want to feel like I'm properly under your control, ma'am.”

Jessica held her hand up, holding Eloise mid flow. She heard the waiter arrive with the Antipasti. Had he heard what she had said? How close had he been? Her cheeks flooded again, her pulse suddenly heavy in her throat. She took a deliberate, slow, breath. She was walking a tightrope, swaying from side to side as the wind blew. She was scared, and she didn't want to stop.

While they ate, they didn't discuss anything related to the topic Eloise cared about most right now. She was happy to let Andrew talk about their honeymoon in the south of France while she imagined and fretted over what Jessica would do.

After the plates had been cleared away, Jessica dabbed at her mouth thoughtfully. “I'll tell you what I want, then. I want one night a week and one weekend a month. I mean the night, not just the evening. And a weekend runs from Friday night to Monday morning. I'm quite prepared to be flexible about scheduling.” Most of this was addressed to Andrew, but her intense gaze soon swung to Eloise. “From you, I expect three things.” She ticked them off on her fingers. “Obedience, openness, and honesty. When you're with me, you do exactly what I say; when I ask, you tell me what you're feeling and thinking, without regard to whether it's what you think I want to hear; and you never lie to me. And I will never lie to you.”

Was this actually happening? Had some leather-clad Santa substitute delivered her the perfect gift? From the moment Jessica had walked into the munch, Eloise had been falling, and she wasn't sure whether she would ever land.

She realised that she wanted to ask questions about details. What sort of things did Jessica like to do? Would she be tied up? Would they … fuck? She opened her mouth to ask the first question, only to be stopped by Jessica raising a hand. The main course – Secondi – had arrived.

“You should spend some time thinking, Eloise. At the end of this course, I will ask you if you want to try this, and, if you do, for an act, a gesture, to demonstrate that.” She turned to Andrew. “Do you have any concerns, any limits?”

Eloise barely heard the ensuing conversation. She knew the contents, anyway. No sex with other men without prior negotiation. Nothing that would seriously risk her health. He had to know where she was – broadly – and how to get in contact with her in an emergency. She wrapped herself in a warm blanket of self-absorption. What kind of act would Jessica ask for? She had no idea, and her mind explored increasingly outlandish possibilities. Before she had emerged from that tunnel, the plates were empty.

“Andrew,” Jessica said, formally, “do you have any objections to this happening?”

“No, Jessica.”

“Eloise,” she continued. Eloise's heart pumped fiercely, again. She was completely focused on Jessica. On the way her mouth shaped words, on the spark of wildness, of danger, that perpetually danced in the corner of her eyes. “Do you … “ she suddenly stopped, and laughed. “Even I get my timing wrong sometimes.”

The waiter that had arrived quietly behind Eloise – though she wouldn't have noticed if he had arrived at the head of a marching band – collected up the plates.

“Now,” Jessica said. “Eloise, do you accept my offer? One night a week, one weekend a month, no more and no less, until either of us no longer wants to continue?”

Eloise had her own sense of drama and of timing. She let the moment build, her gaze meeting Jessica's, trying to let the certainty she felt inside show in her expression. “Yes, ma'am,” she said, and slowly and deliberately looked down demurely. But she couldn't stop the excited smile from spreading over her face, like sunshine breaking through cloud.

“Good,” Jessica said. “I'm really pleased. Now, if you wouldn't mind, go to the Ladies, remove your panties and then return and give them to me.”

Eloise's breath caught, and she heard Andrew cough, barely covering a laugh. This was the act. There was no way she was going to refuse or make a fuss. But that didn't make it easier. She rose from her seat, unsteady, her fingers grasping the chair back for support. She looked from Andrew to Jessica, and gave a tiny head-bob, before turning and heading to the rest-rooms. Each step felt easier and lighter than the previous one, she floated across the floor.

In the Ladies, a tiny single-cubicle affair, she peered into the mirror. There was a wildness in her eyes that she'd never seen in herself before. She watched the Eloise in the mirror lift up her skirt and slide her black briefs down her legs, and then step out of them. She bent and picked them up, noting with surprise the mark on them, before folding them inside a fist and prodding with a finger until all of the fabric was hidden. She took another one of those deep breaths, and smoothed down her skirt, intensely aware of her missing pants. She unlocked the door and stepped out.

As she walked back through the restaurant, it felt like everyone's eyes were on her. She was aware, again, of the heat on her face, but she felt herself flicking her hips as she walked. If people were going to be looking, she might as well give them a show.

This enthusiastic display quickly faded as soon as she reached the table. Jessica lifted her hand, opening her palm, making it plain that she wanted Eloise to hand over her the small bundle of material squeezed into her palm. Eloise wanted to look around, to check who was watching, who could see, but she knew that would be disrespectful. She bowed her head, closing her eyes, hoping that she could put the garment into Jessica's hand without looking.

No such luck. “Eloise,” Jessica said. “Look at me.”

Eloise hurriedly opened her eyes, just in time to see herself releasing the underwear into Jessica's waiting hand.

“Thank you,” Jessica said. “You may sit down again.”

Eloise sat, feeling the surface of the seat coarse against her bare bottom. She watched as Jessica stowed her briefs away in her bag. It felt like a part of her had been taken, a metaphorical leash running from Jessica to the very core of her.

After dessert, Jessica paid the bill, and neither Andrew or Eloise argued with her doing so. “We start this weekend," she said. "Be at my house at 7:30pm sharp. Andrew has the address.” She looked between the two of them. “Thank you, Andrew, Eloise. It's been a very pleasant evening.”

Eloise walked home in a daze, clinging to Andrew's arm, all too aware of her missing underwear, riding home with Jessica.

“Are you sure you're OK with this?” she asked Andrew, as they neared their home.

“Yes,” Andrew said, after a thought-filled pause. “I am. But I am going to fuck you as soon as we get through the door. Just as a warning.”

“I can't think of anything I'd like more, sir,” Eloise said, squeezing his arm.

Chapter Text

Eloise stood with Andrew's arms around her, in front of Jessica's detached house. A nice house, she thought, but not exactly palatial. Still, in reality, ones partners don't tend to own huge tower blocks and unlimited helicopters.

Her knees were still slightly sore from the carpet burns accrued the night of the meal. She let him release her, and turned and rang the doorbell, still holding onto Andrew's hand. She knew they were exactly on time. Jessica's instructions, delivered at the end of a long email conversation, were simple – a small overnight wash-bag only, and it didn't matter what she was wearing.

Jessica opened the door. “Eloise,” she said, her voice a low purr. “I'm so glad you made it. Come in. Thank you, Andrew. You can have her back on Monday morning.” Her tone was polite, but the meaning was clear.

Andrew squeezed her hand one last time, and then let it go. Eloise glanced back, just checking he wasn't angry, before she stepped through the door.

Eloise heard the door close behind her with a snap of finality. She resisted the urge to turn to Jessica, and instead felt her walk up behind her. Jessica touched her, laying her hands either side of her neck. Eloise remembered when she had touched her shoulder at the pub and marvelled at the difference an inch made. The difference between a suggestion and … a claim. She relaxed, pushing back into Jessica's hold.

Jessica turned her to face a door, opening off the hall, a front room. “This is the transition room,” she said, guiding Eloise through the opening. “This is where you leave behind who you are outside these walls, and become who you are within.”

“What is that, ma'am?” Eloise asked, wondering at the tremor in her voice.

“Mine,” Jessica said. “My creature. My plaything. Mine.”

Eloise gasped on each word, feeling the shock run through her, starting at the points where Jessica held her and radiating out. "Yes, ma'am," she whispered.

Jessica released her hold, and Eloise sighed with disappointment. "This," Jessica said, indicating a chest with a lock, up against the front wall of the room, "is where you will leave everything you enter. Today is the last time I will open the door for you – you will have a key. You will let yourself in, undress in here and place your clothes in the chest. You will then put on the clothes, and anything else, I have left out for you on the table here. " She pointed at a wooden table, opposite the chest, on the inner wall of the room. The symbolism was clear, and the attention to detail left Eloise breathless. It took her a moment to realise that there was only a single garment on the table – a black under-bust corset.

"You will lock the chest," Jessica continued. "And you do not have a key for that. You will leave with my permission."

Eloise stiffened, worried by that.

Jessica prowled back to her, resting her hand on the back of Eloise's neck. "Don't be scared. I will always grant that permission. It is just a formality."

Eloise suspected there was no such thing as "just" a formality with Jessica, but she was reassured. "Thank you, ma'am," she said.

"Good. Now, you mentioned in your email that you used "Red" and "Amber" as safewords with Andrew. I'd rather have something a little more personal, a little more distinctive. Can you think of a word that would fit?"

"Yes, ma'am," Eloise said, unable to repress the giggle from bubbling into her voice. "My safeword is 'Wetherspoon's'."

Jessica's laugh echoed off the transition room's rather bare walls, and she stroked Eloise's neck in approval. "That's perfect," she said. "Now ... if you wouldn't mind stripping and placing your clothes in the chest?"

Why did all the hardest requests start with "if you wouldn't mind"? It made Eloise feel complicit in everything that happened. She shrugged her way out of her t-shirt and slacks, aware of Jessica's gaze on her. She had a tendency to throw her clothes everywhere, at home, but here, now, she folded them neatly and placed them into the chest, feeling the cool air moving over her skin.

"Turn and face me," Jessica said.

Eloise obeyed, her head down. She worried that she wasn't pretty enough for Jessica, that Jessica would get buyer's remorse now she had unwrapped the parcel. She felt the other woman's fingers on her cheek, hooking lightly below her jaw-bone, lifting her face.

"You are lovely," Jessica said, intently. "And I will prove that to you in a thousand ways before we are done." She leaned in and kissed Eloise's mouth. Eloise closed her eyes, revelling in the sensation of Jessica's lips against hers, Jessica's tongue penetrating her mouth. She lifted her own tongue, touching a greeting and then withdrawing, ceding that private space entirely.

It was over too soon. Eloise could have lived forever in that moment. Jessica lifted her head away, and glanced over at the table. "Go and get your clothes."

A corset. Eloise had worn them before, of course, but as she lifted this – black leather with a fabric lining – she could feel the weight and the quality. She loosened the laces and wrapped it around her waist, craning her neck to see as she lined up the tabs and poles of the busk. When she was satisfied with the way it sat on her, she reached back to pull on the laces, only to be stopped by Jessica taking her hands.

"I do that," Jessica said. "You will almost always be corseted while you are here, and I will always lace you into it." She released Eloise's hands, and her fingers started to work on the laces. Eloise lifted her head, delighting in the feeling of the strings running across her skin as Jessica first took up the slack, and then started to pull the corset tighter and tighter, working from the top to the middle, and then from the bottom back to the middle, one cross at a time. It had just got to the point of being uncomfortable when Jessica stopped, and tied off the laces into a bow. "Only I tighten it, only I loosen it," Jessica told her, in her ear, and then kissed the back of her neck. Eloise felt she was being constantly hugged, both reassuring and confining.

Jessica trailed her fingers around Eloise's neck. "In the future," she said, "there may be other things for me to put on or take off you, but those things have to be earned."

"Earned, ma'am?"

"Earned. Through obedience, and through achieving perfection. Or at least, excellence." Jessica took a couple of steps towards the door, and then turned back. "There is one more thing you leave in here, at least to begin with."

"Ma'am?" Eloise said. All her belongings were in the chest, the little wash-bag rested by its side. What more could she leave?

"Your name, Eloise. Beyond this room, you have no name, no identity." Jessica paused for a moment before continuing. "Unless I choose to give you one."

Eloise's throat closed up. "What will you call me, ma'am?"

"Now?" Jessica said. "For now, you are simply "Girl". Understood?"

It took a while for Eloise to work through it, and Jessica gave her the time. It wasn't easy, because, in general, she didn't much like the use of the term "girls" to refer to women. But she looked at Jessica, at the elegance and the authority, sheathed in a dark burgundy dress, and then down at herself, naked apart from the corset that was squeezing her waist firmly, and felt that here and now, compared to Jessica, she was happy to be a girl.

"Yes, ma'am," she said softly.

"Good," Jessica said. "What's your name?"

"I don't have a name, ma'am. I'm just your girl." Simply forming those words brought a warmth, a tingle, to Eloise. She felt Jessica taking everything away from her, stripping her away from the outside world and creating a space where she could be ... something other. Whatever Jessica wanted.

"You are," Jessica agreed. "Now, let me show you around the house."

Jessica gave her the tour, Eloise following behind her at what felt like a respectful distance, only taking her eyes off the other woman to glance around the rooms.

"This is where you will come after you have changed," Jessica said, showing her a room that was clearly a living room of sorts. "You will enter, you will kneel before me, you will not speak or look up at me until I acknowledge you."

"Yes, ma'am." Eloise imagined herself in that position. She could picture every movement, every sensation.

"Perhaps we should practice that now?" Jessica suggested, moving to sit in a comfortable-looking leather chair.

Eloise felt her heartbeat, and took a step towards Jessica, only to be forestalled by a raised hand.

"No, from the door."

She felt the blush rising to her cheeks, and turned and walked back to the door, before trying again. She walked slowly across the floor, her gaze fixed on a point about five feet in front of her. She reached Jessica's chair and slowly knelt, cursing every imperceptible wobble.

"Not bad," Jessica said, with the kind of tone that suggested that the gap between what Eloise had done and "bad" was minimal. "When you kneel, lay your hands on your thighs, palm up." A dry pause. "As if you're offering something to me. And your knees should be six inches apart. Do it again."

Eloise rose, and still wearing that embarrassment on her cheeks, and did it again, trying to make her approach smooth, and the descent to kneeling graceful.

It seemed to take an age. How complicated could it be to simply walk across a room and kneel down? Jessica seemed to be able to find something to correct in every single movement, every placement of an arm, her head position, her posture. Eloise seemed to spend hours just walking back and forth across the floor, kneeling and rising, until finally Jessica smiled.

"That one," she said, reaching down and caressing Eloise's cheek, "was perfect. Try and carry some of that posture, some of that grace, in all of your movements around here." She quirked a brow. "And do it one more time, just to prove you've got it down."

After they had eaten – in silence, but with a pulsating connection between them that wouldn't die down, Jessica stretched her arms above her head. "I would imagine that you are quite curious about sleeping arrangements."

Eloise had been wondering, in fact, but only in an idle way. She had been far more concerned with moving with grace and precision, something that seemed to require constant concentration. It seemed unlikely that she would sleep with Jessica tonight. If she needed to work hard to earn even her name, then sharing a bed was surely an honour beyond that.

That didn't mean that she didn't want to, of course.

Jessica stood, and lifted her hand, palm up. Without thinking, Eloise rose. One evening, nothing more, and she was centring all her attention on Jessica, looking for subtle gestures that would indicate what she was expected to do. Jessica turned away from the table, and lightly slapped her thigh. Eloise moved to follow her. What else could it mean?

Eloise was lead into a spacious, though, like the rest of the house, sparsely furnished, bedroom. A wrought iron double bedstead stood away from all the walls, and Eloise's keen glance spotted that a number of extra anchoring points had been added to the frame.

"This is my bed," Jessica explained. "One day, you will earn the right to be tied on it, perhaps to sleep in it."

Eloise couldn't help but smile with pride at having worked that out ahead of being told.

"For tonight, though, you will sleep here." From beneath the bedstead, Jessica rolled out a low single bed, and set it at the end of the larger bed. Eloise studied it, picturing herself curled up at Jessica's feet, below her. It felt right and appropriate: a good place for Jessica's girl to sleep.

She blinked rapidly. That thought had come as a surprise to her. The first time she had thought of herself as "Jessica's girl" rather than ... the name that waited in the transition room. She didn't notice Jessica coming up behind her as she gazed at the little bed, until she felt her wrap her arms around her corseted waist. She sighed, and leaned back into Jessica's arms.

"How is my girl doing?" Jessica said.

Openness. Honesty. "It's a lot, ma'am. A lot of things to think about, and it's ... different to things I have done before."

Jessica's hands slowly slid down the front of her corset, until they just rested on her pubic mound. Eloise's breath caught, torn between surprise at the invasion of a private area, and a desire for Jessica to move her hands even lower. "Different how?" Jessica said.

"Less physical, ma'am."

"You're used to being tied up and fucked, and then eventually released?"

Eloise nodded. "Yes, ma'am. That's it exactly. This feels like it's far beyond a bedroom activity."

"It is. And some of those things will happen soon, and some ... a little later. When conditions have been met."

"Conditions, ma'am?" Eloise was prodding, trying to get more information, to get a look ahead.

Jessica's laugh rang in her ear. "Amongst others, when you are so desperate that you beg and plead for it." She paused. "How do you like walking around my house nearly naked? With your breasts and your cunt exposed for me?"

Eloise closed her eyes. She had barely thought about it. She hadn't been cold – in fact, with the house temperature as it was, Jessica must have been warm. "It just feels right, ma'am. It's part of just being your girl. If you want me on display like this ... The whole thing is embarrassing, ma'am, but I can't recall having been so turned on for so long."

"And the weekend has only just started," Jessica said, with a satisfied purr. "I'm very pleased with you. It's only a start, but it's a good one. Now we should get to bed. It's going to be a strenuous day tomorrow."

A short time later, after a quick tour of the more mundane facilities, Eloise was in her little bed. Jessica had loosened, but not removed, her corset, and she was wondering if it would affect her sleeping, and wondering more about the strenuous day tomorrow. She tried to push both thoughts away. She would do whatever she was asked. Obeying Jessica in all things, submitting to her utterly, brought the benefit of not having to plan or worry about what was going to happen.

"Good night, my girl," Jessica called down from the bed above. "Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, keep your hands away from the fun areas. You only get to touch those with my permission."

It had been obvious, and yet Eloise found that her hand was resting right where it shouldn't be. She hastily pulled it away, clasping her hands together as she curled onto her side. There. The corset was restricting, but not so much that it was uncomfortable or that breathing was a problem. She ran over the evening's events, reliving and savouring each one. By the time she had finished (and mentally rehearsed walking and kneeling a couple of times), Jessica's breathing was shallow and even. It felt right that Jessica should get to sleep before her girl, and it was with that thought that she finally drifted off.

Chapter Text

The next day, after a brief period of respite from the corset to allow for showering, Eloise spent the morning doing chores. It was an interesting combination of boring and slightly terrifying – at any moment Jessica might come in from her study and inspect not just what her girl was doing, but how she was doing it. She had already received one lesson on how to bend, and a stern warning about keeping her elbows into her sides. Eloise was becoming slightly obsessed with doing a good job on these tasks, to demonstrate her devotion and her ability.

She was busy cleaning a work-surface the next time Jessica came in to check on her, and it wasn't until she heard the footstep right behind her that she realised her elbows were ... well, out to either side like she was doing a impression of a chicken. Too late, she tried to tuck them in.

"Girl," Jessica said, an irritated edge in her voice. "Put down that cloth and kneel."

Eloise attempted to do so gracefully, mortified that she had messed up like that. "I'm sorry, ma'am – " Her little apology speech was cut off by Jessica's finger, placed over her lips.

"Silence. There are times when you may speak relatively freely, and times when you may not. I don't believe it's hard to work out which those are. Now, is definitely a time for only answering direct questions. Did you understand the instruction about your elbows?" Jessica removed her finger.

"Yes, ma'am." Eloise kept her eyes fixed on the floor.

"Did you disobey through wilfulness or carelessness?"

"Carelessness, ma'am."

Jessica tapped a foot thoughtfully. "There is less difference than you might think between wilful and careless disobedience. They are both disobedience, and both require correction. But the correction differs in the two cases."

"I ... " Eloise clamped down on the word, but once again was too late. Tears came to her eyes. How could she be screwing up so much?

"Twice," Jessica said. "Close your eyes and remain still."

Eloise obeyed, and heard Jessica leave the room and walk down the corridor. She waited, lost in self-recrimination, until she heard the footsteps return, accompanied by a characteristic and recognisable clinking.

"Stand up," Jessica instructed her. "You clearly need help to keep your elbows in an appropriate position." As Eloise rose, Jessica took each arm in turn and fastened a wide leather cuff around her biceps. She then ran the chain she had brought between the two, pulling Eloise's shoulders back, and rapidly rendering it impossible for her to lift her elbows away from her body. Or, in fact, to bring her hands together. There were several chores on the schedule that had just become significantly more difficult.

"And you also need help remembering to be silent."

Eloise had been expecting this, partly because, on the questionnaire they had exchanged over email she had highlighted "Being Gagged" as a definite plus. She opened her mouth, ready to receive the ball, and was rewarded by the tart taste of latex, and the sensation of the corners of her mouth being pulled back, as the strap was tightened and buckled behind her head.

Jessica stroked Eloise's distorted cheek. "I'm not angry," she said, "and I'm not disappointed. You're doing very well. If you were perfect on the first weekend, what would we do for the others?"

Eloise closed her eyes, and gave a little head bob to indicate her understanding. Now that her "correction" was clear, she could relax. The sin was being expiated.

"Back to work," said Jessica. "When you've finished, come into the study."

Eloise didn't reply, of course. One of the advantages of being gagged was that you didn't have to think of appropriate things to say. She waited until Jessica had left before going back to cleaning the work-surface.

The binding of her elbows made the tasks significantly more difficult. She often had to chose between seeing what she was doing and actually being able to do it, turning away from work to allow her restrained arm to reach. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing, and she loved every second of it. The cuffs were Jessica's hands, holding her, keeping her under control, and the tasks were her offering. She was almost sad when she had finished, and she made her way into the study, pausing at the doorway, and then crossing the floor, just as she had practiced yesterday. She descended into her kneeling position, pleased at the grace she achieved despite the limitation of her arm movements.

Jessica reached down and ruffled her hand through Eloise's hair. "All done?"

At Eloise's affirmative grunt, Jessica rose and left the room. Eloise watched her go, flicking glances with her head bowed. There was no signal, no instruction to follow, and so she stayed. She knew Jessica was going to inspect her work. Her heart thudded nervously. She had never realised it was possible to be this focussed on one person, living for that person's approval, waiting on the slightest indication of a command.

After a minute or two, Jessica returned. "Adequate. Almost good. My girl makes an excellent maid. I think I'll keep her."

Eloise's heart soared. Tears came to her eyes.

"So, you've proved you can move gracefully enough, and do even boring things to an acceptable standard," said Jessica, trailing her fingers across Eloise's bare shoulders. "I think it's time for you to demonstrate a little self-control. Up."

Eloise rose, and moved to the spot on the floor that Jessica indicated with an idle flick of a finger. She didn't miss the ring set into the floor, or the one on the ceiling, not far above her head.

Jessica walked behind her and Eloise felt the touch of a cord against her bare bottom, just stroking over it. She shivered as Jessica secured the rope to the chain between Eloise's elbows, and looped it through the ceiling hook. She then started to pull on it, drawing Eloise's shoulders back and forcing her onto tiptoes. "Hmm," Jessica murmured to herself. "A bit too much." Eloise felt the pressure ease. Now she could rest her feet flat on the floor with a modicum of discomfort, or rise up onto her toes to relieve her shoulders.

"You look beautiful," Jessica told her. She wheeled around a trolley, on the top of which was mounted a large, hot pink, vibrator. Eloise looked at it, a little worriedly, as Jessica adjusted the height and angle, until it was pointing directly at Eloise's crotch, barely half an inch away it. All Eloise would have to do was lean a little, and she could press herself against it.

"I have a little more work to do," said Jessica, squeezing the base of the vibrator and causing it to start buzzing loudly. "There's only one rule, girl." She caressed Eloise's cheek again. "Don't come." With that, she returned to her desk and opened a laptop, apparently ignoring Eloise entirely.

Don't come. Such a simple instruction. All she had to do was steer clear of the vibrator. If she didn't touch it, she wouldn't be disobedient.

Well, maybe she could just for a second. She was so turned on, had been since, if she was being honest, the restaurant. A little bit of contact wasn't going to hurt her, was it? And she had done a good job with the chores. She leant, pressing herself against the vibrator, circling her hips. The pain in her shoulders reminded her of her position, of how Jessica had fastened her here. How she would do anything to please Jessica. Anything at all. She rubbed her slit against the hot pink tip, coating it with moisture, craning her neck to watch, only to see some drool slide out from around the gag and drop right onto her mound. Gagged. Drooling. Fucking herself on the vibrator. What a good girl ...

She jerked her hips away. This trap was subtle, but it hadn't quite caught her. No, all she needed to do was stay away from that thing.

At least until her arousal died away. Then she could maybe have another few seconds. That wouldn't be bad, would it?

It was about the fourth time she went around this cycle that she noticed that Jessica had stopped typing, and was just sitting and watching her. She blushed and ducked her head. Jessica stood and walked up to her. "It's very entertaining," she said in Eloise's ear. "And you're doing very well. You'd like an orgasm, though, wouldn't you?"

Eloise nodded violently. Yes, she would. Especially with Jessica watching. Especially with her helping.

"Hmm. If I do something for you – letting you bring yourself off – you'll have to give up something for me."

What more could she give up? She had left her name, her clothes, her freedom and most of her dignity behind. She made an interrogatory squeak, barely getting it past the gag that still filled her mouth.

"Walking," Jessica said. "You get an orgasm now, and you spend the rest of the day on your knees."

Was that all? To give up the ability to walk, in exchange for a climax? For much needed relief from this never-ending excited state? Eloise pressed herself firmly against the vibrator, bucking her hips, fucking it for all she was worth.

"I'll take that as agreement," Jessica said, one hand resting lightly on Eloise's bottom, the other caressing her breasts as her girl hurtled towards her peak.

Later, when her knees had fresh carpet burns overlaying the old ones, and she was carrying things for Jessica in her mouth, Eloise had cause to reconsider the bargain, but by then it was too late.

Chapter Text

It had been four month since that first night. Four months of one night a week, one weekend a month. But it wasn't just that. It was four months of spending the rest of the time remembering, reliving, imagining what was to come. It consumed Eloise, dominating her thoughts and feelings.

As a result, when Andrew said that he needed to talk with her about something, it came as a surprise. They were curled up in bed together, and Eloise realised that not only was she not tied up this time, it had been several weeks since Andrew had shown any interest in that sort of thing at all.

"What's up?" she asked him, already worried.

"I've met someone," he said. "And I want the same sort of arrangement that you have with Jessica."

His voice had an odd tone when he said "Jessica." Eloise studied him. She couldn't detect any jealousy or resentment, but there was something not quite right. "Do I get to meet ... her ... him?"

"Her," Andrew said, and he couldn't prevent a smile from tweaking at his lips. "And ... would it be OK if I saw if it was going to go anywhere before I ... before you meet?"

This was technically against the rules, the agreement, that she and Andrew had laid out when they first started to talk about polyamory, but then so was how obsessed she was with Jessica, and Andrew had borne that well. She nodded. "Of course. Just ... be careful, my love?"

Andrew smiled, broadly. "Well," he said. "That surely deserves a reward, doesn't it?"

Eloise felt her heart quicken. She hadn't known how much she missed that tone in his voice. "Yes, sir," she said.

But as he tied her wrists to the bedpost, as he got out their favourite flogger and beat her bottom and thighs, as she relaxed into the rhythm and the sensation of buffalo-hide on her skin, she imagined Jessica wielding it, Jessica teasing her, Jessica demanding her unthinking obedience.

Chapter Text

The weekend of the fifth month, Eloise let herself into Jessica's house and made her way to the transition room. As had become her custom, she didn't even look at the outfit laid out for her until she had stripped and locked her clothes into the chest. One time, she had arrived and seen an outfit that was all straps and feathers, and nearly run away, so now she didn't look until she was committed to staying.

This time, the outfit laid out for her consisted of a skater dress in shiny black latex, and a dark red latex corset. She lifted the dress to her face and sniffed, the strong scent causing her to nearly choke. She spread it out, and held it up to her chest. Yes, it was going to be a little bit of a struggle to get into. Still, at least once it was on, she would be relatively covered. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about that. She had become used to being on display for Jessica, for making her way around the house nearly naked. This felt like it had a different tone, and something Jessica had said on their previous night together suggested that something special was going to happen tonight.

Fortunately, Jessica had left out a can of lube, which helped, but it still took a quarter of an hour for Eloise to get properly into the dress, and have it seated down around her hips. She wrapped the corset around her waist, tightening the laces only enough to secure it in place. "Squeaky," she commented to herself, smiling as she flipped her hips, making the skirt fly. Once she was happy with her appearance, she headed into the living room, ready to present herself to Jessica. A pause at the door, a slow progression across the floor, a descent into kneeling. Routine become ritual. She waited, quietly.

"I have something for you," Jessica said, eventually.

Eloise remained silent. That wasn't a question, and she had become accustomed to only speaking when required. One weekend, she had spent more than twenty-four hours without saying a single word. Admittedly, she had been gagged for half of it, but she still counted it as an achievement.

"Originally, I was going to make a big production of this, to do it publically. But I think that it's too personal to be done like that."

Eloise wondered what it was. She risked a glance upwards to see Jessica holding a flat box on her lap. Her thoughts raced.

Jessica took a deep breath, and Eloise noticed that she seemed oddly nervous. "Girl," she said, resting her hand on Eloise's head. "Would you be willing to wear my collar?" Jessica flipped open the box and lowered it into Eloise's eyeline, revealing a simple leather collar with a silver plate affixed to the front. On the plate, the words "Jessica's Girl" were engraved in a cursive, but easily readable, script. A single ring dangled from the front, and Eloise could see that there was a locking post near the buckle at the rear.

Eloise felt like she had dropped a foot unexpectedly, like a hypnogogic jerk. It took her a few moments to find a breath to speak with. "With all my heart, ma'am," she said.

"Lift your head."

She did so, seeing the collar held in Jessica's hands, just in front of her face. Instinctively, she leaned forward and kissed the plate with her name on it. Jessica turned it around and opened it, sliding it around Eloise's neck, and then standing to move behind her and buckle it in place.

"Mine," Jessica breathed in her ear, punctuating the word with the snap of the padlock, locking it onto Eloise with what felt like a finality. Now anyone who looked could see that she was Jessica's girl. To her surprise, she felt tears well out of her eyes and run down her cheeks.

Jessica smiled down at her, and wiped one of the tears away with her thumb. "You'll need it for tomorrow," she said.

Tomorrow? Why would she need a collar tomorrow? Other than the obvious reasons. She turned her head, feeling the weight of it shift. It would be a long while before she was used to its presence.

Eloise's confusion must have been easy for Jessica to read. "We're going to a club," she told her. "You will be on your absolute best behaviour, because I am showing you off."

A club. Where people would see she was Jessica's. Where people would watch her do exactly what Jessica told her to. She felt the blush rise to her cheeks.

"Oh, I know you're an exhibitionist at heart," Jessica said. "Don't you remember how you walked across that restaurant, with your panties in your hand? Wiggling your hips and strutting outrageously."

Eloise bowed her head. She remembered. She remembered the way it had felt, the heady mix of embarrassment and confidence.

"Imagine how it's going to feel when a whole room of people is watching you get your bottom spanked."

She could imagine that. She could imagine it clearly. Tomorrow. Tomorrow Jessica was going to take her, collared, to a club, show her off as her girl, and spank her in public. Eloise felt she was already about to die of mortification.

And she couldn't wait for tomorrow to arrive.

***
Club Inversion, as Jessica called it, was situated in a pub on the A40 Westway, just near Park Royal Underground station. To Eloise's relief, Jessica had said they would drive there. She wasn't sure she would be able to cope with a public transport trip. This, of course, meant that it was Jessica who would be driving, and Eloise as the passenger. She was surprised, however, as they left the house, to discover that she would be travelling in the back seat.

They had taken a considerably amount of time to get ready. Eloise was sporting not only her collar and her latex skating dress, but a pair of wrist cuffs and some knee high boots with heels sufficiently high that she had to concentrate to be able to walk safely. Her outfit, though, was nothing compared to Jessica's. She was dressed in a sheer black sheath dress, slit outrageously up the side, with a glitter effect that showed as she moved. Around her waist was a matching belt with several loops stitched into it, presumably to enable her to hang implements from. She had a pair of spike heeled shoes, though, rather incongruously, she was wearing a pair of trainers as they walked to the car.

"I don't drive in heels," she explained, opening the back door for Eloise. It took Eloise some manoeuvring to get into the car, wobbling a little on her boots, but she managed it well enough. "Wrists together," Jessica told her, before reaching in and padlocking her hands together. "There. All secure for the journey."

By the time they arrived at the club, Eloise was definitely worried. The drive had been silent, and she had plenty of time to imagine all kinds of horrors. They parked in the pub car park, and, after changing her shoes, Jessica opened the door for Eloise to get out. With her wrists cuffed, it was even harder than getting in had been, and she needed Jessica's hand to support her on the way up.

"You'll be fine," Jessica said, brushing Eloise's cheek. "I'm sure you won't let me down in any way."

Eloise wasn't sure if that was supposed to be reassuring. It made her more nervous, but at the same time she felt an urge to rise to the challenge, to prove to whoever was at the club that she was worthy of Jessica.

"Let's go." Jessica collected her bag from the boot of the car – Eloise, of course, had no belongings with her – and looped a finger through the lock holding Eloise's wrists together. She towed Eloise towards a side entrance – Eloise was relieved that they weren't going to go through the pub itself – and up a flight of stairs.

The club occupied the whole of the upper floor, a cavernous open space divided loosely between a bar and sitting area, near where the staircase emerged, and what was obviously a play area, at the far end. Even relatively early in the night, there was a decent-sized crowd. Most of the seats were taken, though the play area was deserted. While Jessica purchased entrance from a lady at a small table, Eloise peered into the gloom, trying to make out what bits of furniture were down there. She was able to make out a number of benches, a couple of crosses, a tall cage. She couldn't help but imagine herself fixed to each of them, surrounded by a crowd of watchers, and felt a familiar heat first rising to her cheeks, and then plummeting down her body.

Jessica finished paying, and tugged on Eloise's cuffs, guiding her towards one of the tables. It didn't look to Eloise like there were any available seats, but as they approached, one of the people sitting there looked up and hastily slipped off her chair, moving to kneel on the floor next to the man she was obviously with. Jessica appeared to take this in her stride, putting her hand on the back of the newly-vacated chair with a possessive air.

"Jessica! Good to see you." With a jolt, Eloise realised she recognised the man accompanied by the freshly-kneeling woman. It took her a moment to place him, but then she remembered. He was the one who'd been discussing Doctor Who at the munch. For all she was worth, she couldn't remember his name.

"Charles," Jessica replied. "Good to see you too. At least it's warm enough in here today. Do you remember last time?"

"Oh god," Charles said. "Yes. We had to leave. Poor Sarah was freezing. Much better today. And ... Eloise isn't it?"

Eloise gulped as she was addressed. What was she to reply? She looked at Jessica in desperation, and the smile that ghosted across Jessica's lips told her that was the right decision.

"Sometimes," Jessica told Charles. "Today, she's just my girl."

"Ah, I see. Well, do you want some drinks?"

"A coke for me, and water for my girl," Jessica said. She moved to sit down, tapping the side of her thigh to indicate to Eloise that she should kneel.

Eloise was somewhat surprised when Charles didn't go and get the drinks, but instead sat back down. She kicked herself, though, when he produced a wallet and handed a note to the woman – Sarah – who knelt by his side. She rose, essayed a curtsey – Eloise thought that it was a bit wobbly, she knew she could do better – and headed off to the bar.

Jessica reached down and unlocked Eloise's wrists, un-looping the padlock and putting it in her bag. As she had practiced, Eloise laid her hands on her thighs, and was so busy checking their position that she didn't notice the leash being snapped onto her collar until it was in place.

Leashed! Connected to Jessica by a thin strap of leather. She looked at it, swinging from side to side. It was an umbilical cord linking her to her love, a symbol of shame and of delight. She wanted to reach up and touch it, to caress it with her fingertips, to show it the reverence it deserved, but she knew that would be ill-disciplined, and so she knelt, still, except for a tremor, a quiver, that no matter how hard she tried she couldn't suppress.

The conversation passed by above her head, and she paid no attention to it. It wasn't as if her hearing it would make a difference to what would happen. After a few minutes, Sarah returned to her kneeling position. Eloise looked at her, noting the wild exhilaration in her eyes, as if she was mid-bobsleigh run. She wondered if Sarah could see the same look in her eyes. It seemed likely. She smiled at Sarah, a little nervously, and was rewarded with an embarrassed smile in reply.

Their little proto-communication was ended when Jessica tugged at her leash. Eloise started, glanced up, to see Jessica rising from her seat. She hastily, and perhaps a little unsteadily, climbed to her feet.

"A bit more graceful, girl," Jessica whispered in her ear. "I don't mind waiting while you get it right. Next time, you'll be back on your knees to do it over."

Eloise bowed her head, embarrassed. Despite the unfamiliar footwear, she was better at standing up than she'd demonstrated there.

Jessica lead her into the play area, and Eloise became dimly aware that Charles and Sarah were following. "Face first, against the cross," Jessica instructed her. As Eloise obeyed, she realised that there was a second cross backing onto the one she was being fastened to, and Charles was securing Sarah to it. Eloise was sure that her own cheeks were mirroring the blush she could see etched onto Sarah's, the two women's faces barely six inches apart.

"Good luck," she mouthed, not even daring to whisper it, and was pleased to get an answering grin and a flick of an eyebrow.

Jessica flipped the back of Eloise's skating skirt up, pushing it beneath the bottom edge of the corset, so that her bottom was bared. Eloise breathed deeply, and fixed her eyes on Sarah. She was always nervous before a beating, always a little bit scared that this time the magic wouldn't happen.

Jessica started with her hand, little taps, not more than a stroke of Eloise's bottom. As soon as Eloise had gotten over the surprise, though, she started to increase the force, rapid pitter-patters, moving from side to side, coating Eloise's rear in a thousand tiny smacks. Eloise felt the heat rising to her skin, the warmth starting to spread across her bottom. On Sarah's face she saw the tightening of the corners of the other woman's eyes that indicated her own spanking was just starting to become painful. Eloise wanted to do something to comfort her, to support her. Her gaze dropped to Sarah's lips, already pursed in endurance.

Sarah noticed the look, Eloise knew. Sarah bit her bottom lip and gave a tiny nod. They both understood they were likely to get in trouble for it, and they were both willing to press that button.

Jessica paused for a moment, the break in the rhythm like a missed step. Eloise's eyes flew wide open, and she wiggled her bottom. Jessica rarely needed encouragement, and this time was not an exception. The flat of the round leather paddle – Eloise had got very good over the months at identifying implements by feel – landed on her bottom, and she squirmed against her bonds as the shock rippled through her.

That was the moment, the moment she chose to do it. She stretched her neck forward and kissed Sarah's mouth.

"Shameless," Jessica hissed in her ear. "Shameless. Here am I, working away to make sure your bottom is lovely and pink and sore, and you're having it off with another women." She wasn't doing a very good job of hiding her approval, though, so Eloise kept kissing Sarah, even as the paddle laid into her backside over and over.

Later, in the car on the way back, Eloise realised that much of the rest of the night was blurring into a melange of pain, arousal, and embarrassment. She and Sarah, tied together, thigh to crotch, spinning on a turntable while Jessica and Charles flicked blows from riding crops to encourage them. Sitting across Jessica's lap, her bottom too sore to be on her thighs, while Jessica whispered dirty insults into her ear and made each one sound like a compliment.

It wasn't an easy journey for Eloise. With her wrists secured again, she couldn't even really lever herself off the seat, so she was reduced to shifting her weight from one point to another, moving every time the discomfort became unbearable.

"You did very well tonight," Jessica said, breaking the silence. "I was proud to be with you."

If the discomfort hadn't been worth every second of the experience already, it was now. Eloise soared home on a current of approval and adoration for Jessica. "You are my world, ma'am," she whispered, and she wasn't sure if she was heard.

Chapter Text

Eloise couldn't pinpoint the time when mild concern had become outright suspicion. Andrew seemed to return from his assignations completely drawn into himself, lost in his own thoughts. She felt he was withdrawing from her, like his attention was constantly elsewhere.

She thought about confronting him on it, bringing it out into the open, but she never seemed to find the right moment, the right mood. It was easier just living in her own world, living for the next time she could see Jessica.

One day, just after he'd got back from his weekend away, she walked in on him in the shower. That was when the suspicion really blossomed. She saw his bottom in decent light, for the first time in a while. Etched across his skin was a gate – four horizontal bars, two crossing them, the skin where the lines intersected angrily red, the rest a deep pink.

But, she knew that design. She'd sported it herself on a couple of occasions. It was how Jessica liked to cane people.

Still, it wasn't exactly an uncommon way to do that. She was only mildly surprised that he was submitting to someone. When they'd first met, he'd admitted to being a switch, but she'd only ever seen the dominant side of him.

Was it possible that it was Jessica that he was seeing? Surely she would have told Eloise about that.

Only maybe she wouldn't. Eloise knew very little about Jessica apart from what she revealed in the way she behaved towards her. The way she treated her. Could she ask her? She couldn't find a way to say something to Andrew, and so she bided her time, and fretted.

After a week of fretting, she made up her mind to find out. That Tuesday night was his night to be away. She paced around their flat nervously, considering and reconsidering her plan, such as it was. She ate, mechanically, almost absently, watching the clock.

At 10 pm, she made her way to Jessica's house, and used her key to let herself in. She knew she was breaking the rules. Knew that she was so far beyond what was considered "OK" that, if she was caught, she would ruin everything. But she had to know, and so, as close to silent as she could manage, she crept into the transition room. The chest was locked. No way to tell if Andrew was the current ... partner ... or not. If he wasn't, she was about to make a huge fool of herself. She wasn't sure that it was much better if he was. But she had committed herself, now.

She crept onward through the house, pausing at the foot of the stairs to listen carefully. From the study she heard Jessica's footsteps – the sound etched into her psyche – and resisted the urge to drop to her knees. It didn't sound like she was attending to anyone, though.

She went room to room, listening at the doors, until she reached one of the playrooms. It wasn't one that she and Jessica had used more than a couple of times. Jessica had told her it was more for "things she wasn't into", and Eloise hadn't worried about it until now.

From within the room she heard a wheezing hiss, as if someone was operating a pair of bellows. A strange sound. Was there someone in there?

She quietly opened the door, and her heart fell. It was Andrew. Andrew, wired up to some kind of monitor. Andrew, with some kind of mask, a mass of tubes, on his face. Andrew, whose ever breath seemed to be timed to the movement of a pump. It surely couldn't be actually breathing for him.

It felt like the world dropped away from her. She was betrayed, and the betrayer. That room could have been on the moon, or some strange alien planet. All she knew was that she didn't know Andrew at all. That he was being taken away from her, by the woman she loved.

She dropped to her knees by the side of the bed. "I'm sorry," she whispered to him. "Please don't leave me. Whatever you want, whatever you need, I can be it."

He didn't respond, immediately, and Eloise felt affronted. Surely he couldn't be so lost in subspace that he didn't respond to her, didn't notice her. She raised her voice. "Please. Just tell me that you love me and that you won't leave me." Still, no response. How was this happening? How had she got so far from reality, from what mattered, that she was kneeling at her husband's bedside, in another woman's house, while all sorts of medical apparatus chugged and wheezed.

That was the moment that the door slammed shut, and Jessica was there. The only indication of surprise from her was a slightly raised eyebrow. She strode into the room, to the top of the bed, and pulled the earplugs out from Andrew's ears, and the mask from off his face.

"Well, haven't the two of you made a complete mess of this," she said. "I thought I was dealing with responsible adults, but obviously you haven't been talking." She stared at the ceiling for a moment, and then looked from one to the other.

Andrew was blinking rapidly, breathing heavily, clearly shocked, his disorientation fading rapidly. "Eloise?" he said. "What?" Realisation dawned, spreading across his face.

"Both of you," Jessica said. "Get out of my house. Neither of you is welcome until you've sorted this out. And maybe not then. I'll want some assurances that this won't happen again, and unless I'm convinced ... I love you both, but you're not worth this level of drama. Go. Find out if you can live without me, because you might have to." She gestured dramatically at the door. "And I won't speak to either of you without the other present. I make mistakes, sometimes; I don't repeat them."

Chapter Text

Anger and recriminations. For two days, Eloise and Andrew stalked around their flat, barely speaking to each other, and those few words snarled with an impotent rage. They slept apart: Andrew on the couch, Eloise curled up on her side of the bed. How could he do this? How could he risk what she had with Jessica? Let alone what was left of their marriage. She hated him, and the only thing that kept her from leaving was that she knew Jessica wouldn't take her back. She concocted plans to get Jessica back, hopeless plans that she knew would only make matters worse. She relieved memories, and grieved and bemoaned her fate.

The storm broke on the morning of the third day. Eloise came into the living room to find Andrew shaking his head. She herself had been up all night, thinking.

Andrew looked up at her. "Eloise," he said.

She held up her hand. "Andrew," she said, "I've been such a fool."

"I was about to say exactly the same about myself."

They laughed, and Eloise realised that she couldn't remember when they'd last laughed together. "We've been fools," they said in unison, and Eloise went to sit next to him on the sofa, and he wrapped his arms around her and things were ... not back the way they were, but better.

"What do we do?" she asked. "I don't know how to not think about her, to stop loving her. But I nearly lost you, and that wrecked me. Why didn't you tell me?"

Andrew sighed, and shifted around a little so that he could see her face. "At first, I wasn't sure it was going to go anywhere. There were itches I wanted to find out if I needed to scratch. And then, I thought you'd be angry. That you'd think I was stealing her from you."

"I'm not sure," Eloise said, "that Jessica is possible to steal from anyone."

"No." They laughed again, and that in itself was another bout of healing. "You were so distant," he said, mildly enough, but the accusation was there.

"I was. I was obsessed, infatuated. I still am. You should have said something."

"Would you have changed anything?"

Eloise thought about it. She'd like to say that of course she would, of course she would have stopped seeing Jessica immediately. That would be the right thing to do, the polyamory-101 thing. She shook her head. "No, I wouldn't."

Andrew nodded, not entirely happily. "I feel the same."

"What happens now?" Eloise asked.

"I don't know. I guess we find a way to get back to what we had, find a way to live without her."

Eloise bowed her head. She blinked repeatedly, but she couldn't stop the tears from flowing. She bit her lip, and forced herself to look at Andrew rather than trying to hide her crying. "I'm sorry," she said.

He hugged her tightly. "It's OK," he said. "I feel the same. The idea is horrible."

"I don't want to lose you and her, though."

Andrew looked thoughtful, leaning back to look Eloise in the eye. "There is another option," he said, guardedly. "It might not be possible, though."

"What?" Eloise would have jumped on any bone, on any chance, rather than give up. Images of herself flashed into her mind: bound and beaten, lead around a club on a leash, held shaking in Jessica's arms as she orgasmed. Her neck felt bare and empty without Jessica's collar around it.

"We could try living with her."

It took Eloise a moment to understand what Andrew was suggesting, and when she did it was a firework exploding in the night. Beautiful, yes, but with more than a hint of danger. "Are you sure?" she asked.

Andrew shook his head. "No," he said. "I'm not sure. It could be a spectacular crash. But it could be a chance at happiness too."

"For both of us." Eloise wasn't sure if she was asking a question or making a statement.

Together, they crafted the first email. It wasn't very complicated.

From: Eloise Kennett
CC: Andrew Harper
To: Jessica Pilgrim

Subject: A Meeting

Dearest Jessica,

Andrew and I have been talking, and working through what happened and what mistakes we made. We would very much like to meet up with you, as we have a suggestion for a way forward we would like to discuss.

There are not enough apologies in the world for us to give to you, and we think you wouldn't be very interested in them anyway.

Love,

Eloise and Andrew

The reply came quickly enough, though not without them having taken turns at the computer, refreshing their email.

From: Jessica Pilgrim
To: Andrew Harper, Eloise Kennett

Subject: Re: A Meeting

Andrew, Eloise,

Where? Allegro again?

I warn you that I will take some convincing.

Jessica

As they had agreed, Andrew replied. Before he pressed send, they kissed each other, for luck and in the hope that some of their passion would communicate through a two word email.

From: Andrew Harper
CC: Eloise Kennett
To: Jessica Pilgrim

Subject: Re: Re: A Meeting

Your home.

Eloise and Andrew

They weren't expecting a quick reply to that. Two long days passed. They resisted the urge to follow it up, to chase. They also resisted the urge to spend long hours at the computer pressing the F5 key, finding distraction elsewhere.

"I thought ... " Eloise said, as Andrew pulled her arms above her head and tied them to the bedpost.

"You really don't get switching at all, do you?" Andrew replied, trailing a finger across her chest. His hands worked lower, pulling at her underpants, tugging them down her legs.

Eloise shook her head. "I guess not. But I'm willing to learn. How does it ..." She was cut off by Andrew tapping his finger on her lips.

"Open up," he said. She obliged, and he wadded her panties up and stuffed them into her mouth. "No more stupid questions."

They were lying together, Eloise still bound to the post, enjoying a post-coital moment when their phones beeped simultaneously. Andrew reached over an picked up his phone, while Eloise struggled and flailed, kicking her feet so violently that the duvet fell off the bed.

Andrew clucked disapprovingly, while he read the email, and then, relenting he turned the screen towards her.

From: Jessica Pilgrim
To: Eloise Kennett, Andrew Harper

Subject: Your Offer

Understand that you are offering everything to me. No reservations, nothing hidden. This is a second chance, there will not be a third.

Friday. 7pm.

Your safewords remain "Wetherspoon's" and "Eloise".

Jessica

Eloise looked, again through tears, at Andrew. He nodded, and wrapped his arms around her. She could feel the tremor in his body, the relief and excitement, and knew that he could feel her body matching it.

After a few moments, he lifted his head, an incredulous expression in his face. "Wetherspoon's?"

Chapter Text

Waiting for them in the transition room were two simple garments – the corset Eloise had worn the first time she came to the house, and what looked like a pair of shorts for Andrew. It was only when he squeezed himself into them that it became apparent that they were missing a section at the front. With a certain amount of arranging, his cock and balls stuck out the front, pushed forward by a thick ring of material.

Eloise wrapped the corset around her waist, smiling to herself at how much like coming home this felt.

"Do you want me to tighten that?" Andrew said.

Eloise shook her head. "She does that," she said. "At least, for now. Who knows ... if she accepts ... she might delegate the task."

"Do you think she might not?" It was the first time that either of them had voiced that doubt, though they had both felt it.

"Look at us," Eloise said, smiling at him. "How could she refuse?" She offered her hand to him, and together they walked through the corridor towards the living room.

As soon as they stepped through the door, Jessica's voice cracked like a whip. "On your knees." As one, they dropped to the floor and crawled across the polished floorboards, their bottoms high in the air, onto a rug, until they reached Jessica's boots. As always, they were right on the edge of fashionable and fetish, the expensive black leather shined to just a little more of a polish than is usual, the heels just a little sharper.

"You may kiss my feet."

Eloise took the right, Andrew the left. Together they pressed their lips to the toes of Jessica's boots, the smell pungent, intoxicating.

"Good. Kneel up." She looked from one to the other. "So, what is it that you're offering. One night a week, one weekend a month."

Andrew darted a glance at Eloise, only to be met with a slap to his cheek. "Oh, no," Jessica said. "You look at me, not her."

Eloise took a breath. "That's not what we're offering, ma'am."

"It isn't?" Jessica didn't seem surprised. In fact, there was a purr in her voice that Eloise found reassuring.

"No, ma'am. We're offering it all. Every day, every week, every month, every year."

Jessica hummed, not discouraging. "You're asking a lot of me. To change my life around. Are you worth it?" It didn't seem to be a question that required an answer, so Eloise and Andrew remained silently, nervously, kneeling.

"Girl," Jessica said. "How would you feel if I told you my boy would never fuck you again?"

Eloise took a moment. Openness. Honesty. How had she let them go? "I would be sad, ma'am. But I would still be with him, and with you. I'd hope that was enough."

She was rewarded with the ghost of a touch, a fingertip along her cheekbone. Jessica tutted. "If I'm making a mistake, I think it is a different one. I accept."

They didn't look at one another, not really. A side-glance, out of the corner of their eyes, a moment of shared joy.

"You are going to have to stop that. I'll fit you both with blinders if you don't," Jessica said, though she wasn't able to hide the amusement from her voice. "I think I want you each to offer the other to me. Girl, you first." She handed down a familiar-looking slim box to Eloise, who opened it to reveal, as expected, a collar. It clearly matched her own, though it was thicker and wider and much heavier. The silver plate read "Jessica's Boy".

She took the collar from the platter, holding it in both palms, and turned to Andrew. She was reminded of their wedding, then, and that thought made her act more formally than she otherwise might. "Ma'am, I offer this boy, my husband, to you."

"Good girl," Jessica said. "I accept."

Eloise placed the collar around Andrew's neck, buckling it in place. He looked ... right, somehow, with it on. It suited him. She glanced down, noting his visible approval. She flashed a smile at him, and then looked back to Jessica.

"Boy. Your turn now."

Eloise's heart pounded. She carefully didn't look, turned inward. Her husband was about to offer her to the woman she had come to adore, to worship. She was back on that strange alien planet, far away from Earth, from any sense of reality. This time, though, the sun shone, and the landscape was a verdant purple and orange.

"Ma'am," Andrew said. "I offer this girl, my wife, to you. Use her as you see fit."

Eloise quivered, suppressing the rather more violent shaking that threatened to overtake her. Andrew placed the collar on her, the familiar weight calming her, settling her down.

Jessica placed both locks in place, and then, with one in each hand, she simultaneously closed them, the clicks sounding in near unison, and echoing around the room with finality.

"And now, boy," Jessica said. "You may fuck the girl for me."

Eloise knew she would never be on balance again, always walking the precipice on the verge of falling. And the only thing she could do was trust Andrew and Jessica, and hope that they could manage that edge together.

She just hoped that it didn't always lead to carpet burns on her knees.

Chapter Text

Jessica strode proudly into the club, Andrew and Eloise flanking her. She had come to enjoy the symmetry that came from having both a Boy and a Girl, even if, at first, she had found it awkward to find something to do with the spare one while she was busy with other.

Once she had realised that they were perfectly happy watching, if they were well enough restrained, things had progressed more smoothly. It didn't look like accepting them had been a mistake.

She paused, just on the edge of the space, letting eyes settle on them, take them in. She liked to dress Eloise and Andrew in ways that complemented each other, but emphasised ... different features. Today, they were in black and blood red, echoing the colours of her own outfit. She found it endlessly amusing how you could take very similar sets of clothes and with just a few adjustments send such different messages. Of course, the leashes helped. She hooked them onto her belt, freeing her hands to greet her friends. Behind her, she knew that the Boy and the Girl would be sharing looks, only of course they couldn't. She had fitted both of them with matching his and hers harnesses, with blinders, to prove that she didn't make idle threats.

It was sure to be driving them crazy.

She smiled inwardly to herself. From the moment she had walked into that pub and seen them cuddling, she had imagined this moment. There had been times that she thought it wouldn't come out quite as well as it had, but there were limits to how manipulative she was prepared to be. They had to find their own way to her, or it wasn't right or fair.

Still, she had cast her spell, and she was sure that they would stay with her.