Lucky Break

CHARLOTTE HAD FOUND a new way to deal with the drone and drear of the weekly office meeting. Instead of doodling on her desk blotter and ticking off the number of times her manager used the phrases ‘ball park figure’, ‘ducks in a row’ or ‘corporate vision’, she drifted off into her mind, imagining the ineffectual chinless man to be Collins or Bryant instead, preparing to call her in for a very personal performance review.

Office life with those two in charge would be quite a different proposition. The appearance of the trolley-lady would no longer be the highlight of the working day. They would make her wear bizarre and skimpy outfits. They would call her in for staff exercises, which would be of the pelvic-floor-strengthening type. And the penalties for poor performance … ah, well, they would involve bending over the desk, for sure.

‘Did you get that, Charlotte? Is it minuted?’ She jerked back to reality, her inner self responding with a sulky What if it isn’t?, even as her outer one understood that Jim Bennett – not Mr Bennett, not even James, nothing to command respect, just plain man-of-the-people Jim B – would only have responded with a knitted brow and a puzzled shake of the head, and perhaps a little gathering of perspiration on his upper lip. Mr Collins, on the other hand, would have ordered her into his office – perhaps even lifted her roughly by the upper arm and dragged her – perhaps he wouldn’t even do it in the office – perhaps he would make a public example of her … oh, how quickly could she get to the bathroom?

‘Yeah,’ she said to Jim, daring a shrug.

‘Good, jolly good,’ he said nervously, eyeing her as if she were an unidentified beast who might bite. ‘That’s all, folks.’ He said it in imitation of Bugs Bunny at the end of a Looney Tunes programme. Charlotte felt her will to live draining away. Then she jumped as the phone rang – just once, signifying an internal call.

She picked up the receiver and dutifully trotted out the Litany of the Department: ‘Hello, this is Charlotte Steele, Human Resources, how may I help you?’

‘Oh, hello.’ The regal received pronunciation immediately identified the caller as Merle from reception. ‘This is Reception. I have a visitor at the desk for you.’

Before Charlotte could enquire further the dial tone kicked back in. She was not expecting anyone. Perhaps a union representative unhappy about something or other? Perhaps somebody handing in an application form in person? Whatever it was, it was bound to be dull.

Except it wasn’t. When Charlotte arrived in reception after five flights of stairs and a maze of corridors, her visitor was standing at the far end of the lobby they shared with the Crown Court, reading a poster about some fundraising event or other. He had broad shoulders and a blue suit and perfectly cut hair. He was … surely it was …

‘Charlotte.’ He turned and smiled and she almost screamed aloud.

After an age during which her jaw seemed wired in an unattractive gawping mode, she managed to utter the words, ‘Mr Bryant.’

‘Thank you for coming down,’ he said smoothly, advancing towards the desk where Merle sat arranging papers and pretending not to watch. ‘I wonder if I could steal you for the rest of the afternoon … Miss Steele?’

‘Oh.’ She put a hand to her mouth, suddenly filled with wild and wicked merriment. ‘I can’t flex off till four … it’s only quarter past three now …’ She wished she had worn anything but this dreary grey skirt suit with black polo-neck and ballet flats. She looked ten years older than twenty-four. She wondered if Bryant remembered her as he had last seen her – rumpled and exhausted, sticky and sweaty, dazed and confused and thoroughly used.

‘I’m sure I could arrange something. What’s your boss’s extension?’ His hand hovered over Merle’s telephone, to her blatant annoyance.

‘Four-three-three-seven. Oh, you can’t!’

But he had punched it in and stood with the receiver against his ear, smiling benignly at both members of his female audience.

‘Ah, hello, yes, I need a fairly urgent conference with Miss Steele from your office – I’m from Bryant and Collins and she has been in dealings with us regarding some personnel issues …’

Charlotte snorted. Personnel? Personal, more like. Intimate, indeed.

‘… Oh no, I’m afraid it can’t be conducted over the phone. “Face time,” as you say, is essential. I would be most awfully obliged to you … well, that’s thoroughly decent of you. Thank you very much. I’ll tell her she can go home after our meeting, shall I? Splendid.’

He replaced the receiver with the air of a man who had the world at his fingertips.

‘There,’ he said, nodding at Charlotte and extending a hand. ‘All squared.’

‘But didn’t Jim say …?’

‘I find, Miss Steele,’ he said, taking her by the wrist and exerting just the smallest pressure to jump-start her in his preferred direction, ‘that an authoritative manner goes a long way with a public servant.’

‘I think you’re right,’ she replied fervently, casting a brief backward glance to Merle, whose half-moon glasses rested severely on the bridge of her nose as she followed their figures to the doorway and out to the steps of Colliton Town Hall.

‘So you got my email?’ she asked nervously, allowing him to lead the way down and past the library, towards the town centre.

‘Yes, we did.’ He squeezed her wrist, which he was still handling, then laced his fingers with hers and smiled down. ‘We were so pleased to hear from you.’

‘Were you? Even though I said … you know. I can’t afford to do it again.’

‘That’s what I’m here to see you about. I have a proposition for you. Business.’ His eyes twinkled. ‘With perhaps a bit of pleasure thrown in.’

Charlotte’s chest tightened and she gulped down air, almost jumping when they stopped abruptly at the car park entrance and Bryant pointed a key fob at a sleek silver-blue Bentley.

‘Why don’t you come for a drive with me and I’ll explain it all to you?’

Get in a car with a strange man? But he wasn’t a stranger … exactly … All the same, she knew very little about him, except that he had a taste for filthy kinky sex. As did she. He was no dodgier than she was, then, she supposed. He had told Jim Bennett the name of his business – they could check if she didn’t show up at work the next day.

Bryant seemed to read her face; his eyes crinkled kindly and he stooped down a little, to level with her.

‘I’m not going to hurt you, Charlotte. Not without your consent. You have your mobile? Good. You can text a friend if you like – let her know where you are. Tell her I’ll have you back for supper.’

Charlotte smiled and slid past the door Bryant was holding open for her.

The upholstery was divinely comfortable, smelling of luxury, and when Bryant started up the engine, the car barely registered the movement, gliding into an easy purr and pulling out on to the road as if propelled on a cushion of air.

‘Where are we going?’ asked Charlotte as Bryant switched off the Vivaldi CD he had been listening to earlier, presumably.

‘Some lovely spots around here, Charlotte. Good places for walks. I envy you. It’s so very far from that dirty, crazy city I have to operate in.’

‘Oh, I like the city. I would love to live there.’

Bryant turned his head, his expression satisfied. ‘Good. I was hoping you might say that.’

‘Why?’

‘Collins and I … we have been discussing you. After your little performance the other week on the train and at the hotel … well, let’s say we were impressed. And not just with the action. With the way you conveyed your fantasy to us. With your enthusiasm and articulacy. With your quick grasp of what our operation entails. And we liked you as a person as well. So we thought … maybe you might like to work for us.’

Charlotte gripped the edges of the leather seat, trying to calm the wave that had rocked through her.

‘What? Work for you? For The Number?’

‘Well, yes. Given that our client base is overwhelmingly female, it seems wrong somehow that we don’t have a woman on board. We thought you’d fit the bill. Female fantasy consultant. What do you think? Could you see yourself in that role?’

Charlotte could not speak for a moment, staring ahead blindly at the narrowing roads and disappearing street lamps as they reached the outskirts of the small market town. The word ‘role’ made her think of the part she had played in the hotel – but that had not been so much a role as a hidden part of herself, let out to play for once.

‘It would mean living in the City.’

‘Well, yes. Collins has a little flat he would be happy to rent you.’

‘Really?’

‘Very close to the office. You would be involved in research and development. Some marketing. And … a little road testing, I would imagine.’

‘Road testing?’

‘Seeing if some of our client’s fantasy expectations can be met. Logistics … risk assessments …’

‘With you? And Collins?’

‘You could always expect our full support. And we’d take care of you. We’d see that you were never endangered or compromised.’

Charlotte watched Bryant drive. He was assured and steady, handling the steering wheel confidently, his feet playing the pedals without undue hurry. They were driving past fields now, and heading towards some of the forest that had been left behind when the new bypass had hacked through it. She felt safe with him, even driving through these overhanging branches in the gloom.

She did not even lose her head when he turned the car down a narrow single-lane track, having to put on his headlights. A lay-by appeared from the murk and he brought the car to a skilful stop before turning to Charlotte and asking, ‘Well? Are you interested?’

He had taken off his jacket before getting in the car, and Charlotte concentrated intently on the creases at the elbow of his starched white shirt, thinking.

‘Yes,’ she said at last. ‘I think I am. As long as I have enough to live on …’

‘You will. More than enough. Limitless earnings potential, if the site really takes off.’

‘Then yes.’ She laughed, feeling weightless and free. No more mind-numbing meetings. No more hateful college course. No more reading Psychology in the Workplace on the train. ‘I’ll work for you.’

Bryant clapped in delight. ‘Wonderful! Excuse me, I must just email Collins.’

He tapped away on his netbook while Charlotte took the opportunity to text her flatmate. As soon as the communications were sent on their way, Bryant turned back to Charlotte, seeming immediately intent on some dark purpose.

‘You won’t be dressing like that in our office,’ he opened forebodingly.

‘Oh … really?’ Charlotte fluttered, scrunching up her toes inside the soft leather ballet flats.

‘Really. Knee-length skirts? Flat shoes? And … are those … tights?’

He reached out a hand and patted Charlotte’s opaque black knee.

‘Yes. But if I’d known …’

‘No excuse, Charlotte. You should always be prepared. You never know when a masterful man is going to come and make demands of you. You of all people should be bearing that in mind. Shouldn’t you?’

‘Yes. sir.’ Charlotte’s body tensed in excited anticipation. Her thighs jammed together, the opaque tights feeling thick and damp. He was right – they would have to go.

‘Never mind. A reminder might be in order, though, before we proceed with contractual matters. Get those tights off, please.’

Charlotte knew better than to quibble. She lifted her skirt delicately at the hem and wriggled out of the offending garment, placing it in Bryant’s waiting hand once her legs were bare.

‘Hmm, you’ll have to put those shoes back on, I suppose. For now,’ he sniffed, stretching the lengths of heavy-duty nylon and wrapping them around his fingers experimentally. ‘Actually, I could find a use for these,’ he noted. ‘Right, take off your jacket and get out of the car. We’re going for a nice walk in the countryside.’

Charlotte obeyed the instruction, stepping out on to crackling twigs and uneven tracks in the dried mud. It was not cold, but nonetheless the air breathed goose-bumps on to her bare legs and her nipples tightened beneath the serviceable polo neck and cotton bra. Bryant came around behind her and nudged her forward with a hand at the small of her back, taking her off the track and into the wood-scented depths of the forest.

‘Collins and I like heels. So you’ll be wearing them. Maybe knee-high boots on occasion … patent leather perhaps. And stockings – always stockings. No trousers, of course, and keep the skirts no longer than mid-thigh. We don’t want you to look like a tart, necessarily … but we do want you to look sexy and available. A few shirt buttons undone, lots of lip gloss, the suggestion of wantonness. I’m sure you know what I mean, Charlotte. Do you ever dress like that for a lover?’

Charlotte thought back to her personnel course, to the sub-module on appropriate dress codes. How surreal it all was.

‘For a lover, maybe. For work though …’

‘Work is play. For you, Charlotte, from now on. Work is what you make of it. Are you wearing knickers?’

‘Of course!’

‘Take them off.’

Charlotte stopped, peering through the ferny half-light to make sure no rogue dog-walkers or birdwatchers were in attendance. Then she reached under her skirt and squatted to pull down the plain white knickers she wore for the office.

‘I’ll have those if you don’t mind,’ said Bryant peremptorily, and they joined her tights in a bulging trouser pocket. At least, she thought it was a trouser pocket …

They walked on, and Charlotte’s attention was focused less on the dry scrunch of leaves underfoot and more on the breezes that ventilated the interior of her staid grey skirt, whispering around her crotch while her bottom rubbed against the cool nylon lining. The overhanging trees meant that the warmth of the early autumn sun could not penetrate here, and Charlotte shivered, as much from cold as anticipation.

‘A bit chilly, my dear?’ enquired Bryant mildly. ‘We should do something about that. Warm you up. Your little lesson about the tights could serve a dual purpose. What do you think?’

He put an arm around her shoulder, drawing her close to him – an affectionate gesture even as he discussed the matter of punishment.

‘I think … I’m wondering what is going to happen. Here in this wood.’

Charlotte looked about her for signs of civilisation, but all she could hear was the rustling and sighing of leaves in the light wind.

‘What do you think?’ repeated Bryant, looking down with a tilted eyebrow.

‘A punishment of some kind.’

‘Don’t you think you deserve it?’

‘Yes.’ She smirked self-consciously. Bryant was too anxious of her consent, too solicitous of her feelings, to play the truly cruel master. Collins would have played this scene differently, she thought, dragging her unceremoniously to a tree and delivering a summary whipping. Perhaps, she mused, she would prefer that … all the same, Bryant was here, and it was no disappointment when she considered the pleasures that might lie ahead.

‘Yes. You do. Well, then, Charlotte, I think you should find me a nice, strong switch, don’t you? Plenty to choose from here. Of course, autumn isn’t the birching season – they are drier and more brittle than their springtime counterparts – all the same, a serviceable enough instrument can usually be made. Well, hurry up, then. What are you waiting for?’

He patted the seat of her skirt, encouraging her forward, to explore the lower-hanging branches of the surrounding trees and assess their branches for flexibility and potential sting. Her hands were trembling as she snapped off long, thin wands of birch and willow, thinking of how they would soon be employed in striping her quivering pale rear.

When she had selected five of the rods, she proffered them hesitantly to Bryant. Rather than accepting them, he produced a Swiss Army knife from an inner pocket and flicked out a blade.

‘Do you know how to trim these?’ he asked urbanely. ‘Have you ever done it before?’

‘No,’ Charlotte whispered. ‘I never have …’

‘Never felt the kiss of the switch, eh? Oh, you’re in for a treat then, aren’t you? Come on, take the knife. Any rough spots or old buds need to be sliced off. We need the rod to be as smooth and sleek as possible, or it can be nastier than even we would like.’ He smiled. He had such a kind smile. It was so strange.

‘Really?’ Charlotte asked, nervous as she began to hack at the knobbly parts of the switch with Bryant’s blade.

‘Oh yes. I like to make a mark, but I don’t like to draw blood. Nice stripes, but skin unbroken – that’s the sight I like to see. Would you mind if I took a photograph when I’m finished?’

‘Oh … I suppose not.’ She looked up at him briefly, vividly. ‘I seem to trust you for some reason. I hope I’m not misguided.’

‘Thank you, Charlotte. I’ll do all I can to be worthy of your trust.’

He took the switch, denuded of bumps and loose flecks of wood, and swung it through the air, adding a blood-chilling topnote to the endless leafy whispers.

‘Ah yes. Good work. This will do very well. Now, can I assume that you will keep still while I’m thrashing you, or should I tie you to the tree?’

Charlotte was not sure if the question was rhetorical or not.

‘I’ve never done it before,’ she prompted, ‘so … um … I don’t know if I’d be able to keep still.’

‘You think you should be tied? Yes, that’s probably sensible.’ Bryant removed the balled-up pair of tights from his trouser pocket. ‘Your tights might not have been such a bad idea after all. Though of course I’m still going to punish you for wearing them. That goes without saying. Well, then.’ He ripped the offending hosiery in half with the aid of his knife, then took Charlotte gently by the elbow and led her over to a tree whose trunk offered the perfect width and circumference for a whipping post. After turning her to face the tree, Bryant looped one stretchy tight leg around her waist, securing it with a firm double knot, before manoeuvring her arms to embrace the trunk and tying them together at the wrists, her palms pressed together as if in prayer.

‘You’re in my power now,’ he murmured softly into her ear from behind. ‘How does that make you feel?’

‘Scared, a bit,’ admitted Charlotte. ‘But in an exciting way. I feel helpless … but in the way I fantasise … not in a bad sense.’

‘Perfect little submissive,’ he crooned, nipping at her earlobe before grasping her around the waist and roughly pulling up her polo-neck top until it was stretched above her breasts, exposing most of her back and her bra to the chill-tipped woodland air. His hands moved to the cotton bra cups, easing them down over her nipples until they were bunched low beneath the underhang where breast met ribcage. Charlotte’s nipples now brushed the ridged wood, painfully sensitive, so that she thought sparks from them might ignite the dry bark. She lay her cheek flat against the whorls, pressing her tits to the trunk, embracing the chafe and the soreness, waiting for the next move, which would not be of her making.

‘I’m sure we won’t be needing this.’ She felt the hook and eye fly apart, the zip slice down, the slippery lining of her skirt slide slowly over her hips, then thighs, then tickle the backs of her knees before landing in a heap around her ankles. She was naked from the waist down, and there was no way she could do anything about it. The white moons of her bottom would be seen by any off-the-beaten-path rambler with dogs or binoculars and, once Bryant had encouraged her to spread her legs a little by slipping a hand between her thighs and tapping at her spreading pussy lips, so would her unprotected sex. There was no way around it. She, Charlotte Steele, was a horny little slut who needed a good switching from a man who was not afraid to lay it on hard.

But how hard would he lay it on? Charlotte bit her lip, tensing everything in anticipation of Bryant’s opening strike. She flinched and squealed at the sudden touch of the rod, but it was not a hard stroke – not a stroke at all, and she cursed herself for expending vital energy on a little introductory tap. He continued to brush it over her bottom, down her thighs to her knees, then up again, prodding between the sensitive lower lips, jiggling the wand a little, getting it up nice and high until the tip was sodden with her immoderate leakages.

‘You look perfect,’ Bryant told her. ‘My damsel in distress, lashed to the tree, writhing and naked. If only I were the hero instead of the villain, eh? If only I was here to save you … instead of …’

The switch sliced the air and a row of firecrackers lit and danced on Charlotte’s behind. She moaned and wrenched at the tights around her wrists.

‘Ahhh,’ Bryant exhaled with satisfaction. ‘How did that feel, Charlotte?’

‘Like fire,’ said Charlotte, when she could speak. ‘It burns.’

‘Mmm, a lasting burn. I don’t know how many to give you, sweetness. How many do you think you could take?’

‘I … don’t really know. It hurts a lot. Maybe … six.’

Charlotte found that she was growing impatient with the negotiation. She wanted him to pronounce the sentence and be done with it, rather than canvas her opinion.

‘Six it shall be. But if you can’t take any more, tell me. Say my name. Say Bryant.’

‘Yes, yes,’ muttered Charlotte, and Bryant chuckled.

‘Impatient for more? Oh, you are such a find, dear Charlotte.’ And the second stroke was delivered before the sentence was finished, causing her to jerk and hurl herself closer to the tree bark, rubbing her bare stomach against the brittleness, finding distracting comfort in the lesser pain.

‘It makes such a pretty mark,’ mused Bryant. Why did he have to be so damn verbose? It was nice to be appreciated; all the same, Charlotte found herself thinking again of how Collins would have done this. Differently, more severely, the mood would have been darker, he might have been silent or he might have issued low-toned orders. Bryant was like some kind of gentleman dilettante in comparison. ‘Two lovely lines of red. Let’s add another.’

So he did, and Charlotte was remembering now to breathe through the stroke, even though she still reared and howled. Should she say his name? Should she make him stop? This was three – halfway through, halfway there. To stop before the end would be shameful – he would be disappointed in her. She would be disappointed in herself. No. She would grit her teeth and get to the end and have the memory and the sweet after-pain that made it all worthwhile. And now she was annoyed afresh that she was even having this debate with herself. Collins would have brooked no refusal. He would not have made her have to do this irksome thinking.

Halfway through an open-air switching, Charlotte was starting to make some startling realisations about the nature of her submissive tendencies. Funny how things were so different in theory than in the field, so to speak. If asked before, she’d have said that the Bryant model would have suited her far better, and yet …

‘Owwwww!’ The fourth stroke caught her unawares, mid-self-analysis, and she resolved to stop thinking and limit herself to feeling from now on. The stripes he had already laid were beginning to throb. A switch was well-named. It switched her on, made her feel nothing but the fiery rawness of the welts, crossing her arse like a collection of sore red ropes, tied to her, inescapable.

She had collected herself for the fifth and sixth, almost enjoying them in the knowledge that they were the final strokes, after which lay … who knew? Hopefully a pleasurable way of maximising the sensual stimulation the whipping had precipitated was on the cards. Would she have a say in the next step, or would Bryant guide the proceedings?

‘No more tights then?’ he said brusquely after the sixth stroke.

‘No more tights,’ Charlotte repeated, her voice a little shaky, bits of bark sticking to her cheeks and forehead now, not to mention her breasts, which were hurting more than she had realised from their rough acquaintance with the tree. She flexed her hands and wriggled her bottom, trying hard to calm the angry stripes painted across it, but to no avail.

‘One more to make sure then,’ said Bryant to her surprised consternation, taking advantage of her relative relaxation to give her a stinger of momentous proportions, catching her just at the lowest line of her buttocks, where any attempt to sit down thereafter would remind her of it.

‘Oh fuck!’ she cried, completely blindsided by her assumption that the whipping was over.

‘Oh, Charlotte!’ purred Bryant, throwing aside the switch and running his hands across his handiwork. ‘Such language. If I were a cruel man, I would probably have to add more strokes for that. I’m not though.’

‘No, right,’ Charlotte laughed ironically. ‘Not cruel at all. It’s not cruel to tie girls to trees and whip them.’

‘Not when it’s what they want,’ pointed out Bryant laconically. ‘Is it? Do you think?’

Charlotte clenched her teeth, not wanting to admit that he had a point. She began to think she might have underestimated the extent of his capacity for sadism – it seemed to her that he was crueller in persistently pointing out her consent to this than Collins might have been in pretending to act against her will. The flood of shame quickened to a wild lust, a need to be forced and overwhelmed and taken.

‘And now,’ said Bryant into her ear, his palms flat and large against her glowing bottom, ‘I suppose you’d like to be fucked, would you?’

Charlotte whimpered, pushing her arse back against him, sighing when he parted her cheeks with his thumbs and began to massage the area.

‘You’d like to be fucked here …’ One hand moved between her legs, gliding into her wetness. ‘Against a tree … my stomach slapping against your hot red arse … until you come … and I come … and then I might leave you here, Charlotte. What if I left you here, tied here, with my spunk running down your legs and your poor, striped bum on display. How would that make you feel?’

‘Ohhhh,’ Charlotte could barely string a thought together, let alone a sentence. ‘I don’t know … humiliated. Ohh, God, yes, so humiliated and used and ashamed.’

‘You like that, don’t you? At least, the idea of it. But I wouldn’t leave you, Charlotte. I have too many uses for you.’

Zips, buttons, fumbling and then a swift, hard, much-needed cock was slid snugly into Charlotte’s tight snare.

‘There,’ whispered Bryant. ‘Sore bum, full of cock, for the world to see, Charlotte. Take a moment to think how you must look.’

Charlotte took that moment. She took that moment to look down at her hips, where Bryant’s fingers could be seen holding on. She took that moment to listen for distant voices or car noises, hearing nothing but the eternal leaves and the slight clinking of Bryant’s belt, swaying against their sides, the cool leather sometimes stroking her skin. For the duration of that moment only, she realised how her arm and shoulder muscles ached from the tension of the whipping, and she wondered how distracting the intense sting of her switch marks would be when Bryant began to thrust against them.

But then all that was forgotten when Bryant began to withdraw, slowly, then sheath himself once more, without thought or care for her poor bum or her sore nipples, rubbed against the bark again. This was no slow, sensual coupling but a hard ride, Bryant grunting with each forceful stroke, the tree creaking as if their fucking might snap it. His pelvis slapped against her bottom cheeks, and she clung tight to her support, her feet sometimes raised from the ground as Bryant’s cock plunged deeper and faster. Bryant pushed urgent fingers against Charlotte’s clit, needing to get it over with, needing to fill her while she moaned in defeated ecstasy, and she let her orgasm scorch out from her cunt and along the searing lines of the switching, overtaking her exhausted body with thrilling, painful pleasure. Bryant snarled and pinned her so tight to the tree that she had to fight for breath, spilling inside her while he sank teeth into her shoulder.

He slumped against her, his arms encircling her and the bark, breathing heavily. Charlotte felt that she was melting into him, her body smudged and dirty, her pussy slick with their combined fluids, the sweat of sex seeping into her welts and making her bottom feel as if it had caught fire. It was so uncomfortable, so sticky and icky and mucky, and yet she could stay like that indefinitely, she thought.

She had a moment of panic when Bryant pulled out of her, having to hug the tree all the more desperately to keep upright.

‘Mmm,’ she heard him say, then there was a click and a flash of light, and she knew he had photographed her, all shiny and sweaty and streaked, her thighs clammy with his semen. She wondered if the picture would go up on the website, and the idea excited her, a tiny pulse of lustful shame awakening her tired sex.

Then Bryant’s hands were on her shoulders and he was pulling down the polo neck to kiss the soft flesh there, stroking the fabric where his teeth had snagged it, whispering into her ear.

‘Good girl … well done … you are spectacular. You will take the job, won’t you?’

‘Oh yeah.’ Charlotte let her head loll back against Bryant’s smooth cheek, losing herself in the momentary intimacy.

‘Marvellous.’ He began to untie her, releasing her wrists first, then holding on to her waist when she was able to step back from the tree. She found that she needed the support; her legs were watery and her body stiff as a broom handle. Bryant continued to hold her while she stretched and flexed and shook out pins and needles until she was able to stand again, still naked from the waist down with the bra cups underneath her breasts and the black top, rumpled and soaked now, above them.

Charlotte looked about for her skirt but Bryant chuckled and shook his head.

‘No, Charlotte,’ he said, then he put the tights about her neck and knotted them into a form of collar and leash. ‘You stay like that – it suits you so well. Come on. I’ll take you back to the car.’

Yanking on the nylon, he began to pull Charlotte forward across the leaf-carpet of the woodland, like a man taking his dog for ramble. She could not remember how far away the car was, and she hoped upon hope that Bryant had marked the route they had taken. Despite the raw heat of her backside, it really was getting cold now. Her nipples were like pebbles of ice and the spunk on her thighs had chilled almost to dryness by the time the long march of shame was over and the car came into welcome view.

Without releasing her neck, Bryant opened the car door and ushered her in.

‘My clothes,’ she said haltingly.

‘You don’t need those yet,’ he told her. ‘Sit down and get your seat belt on.’

Charlotte sat gingerly down, the leather seat feeling at first wondrously cool and soothing against her angry switch marks. She pulled the seat belt across her exposed ribs and stomach, clicking it smartly so that the bottom part of it lay atop her nude upper thighs and the diagonal part cut between her breasts, parting them in a way that drew emphasis towards the goose-bumpy mounds.

Bryant leaned over and loosened the tights around her neck, leaving them swinging like a noose, but then he attached the other end to her wrists, wrapping it round and round until they were secured in her lap.

‘I want your legs spread wide,’ he told her. ‘Keep them apart. That’s it.’

Charlotte opened her thighs until her knee backs hinged over each front corner of the leather seat. Her tethered hands were forced to rest on her mons, fingers framing her gaping labia, close enough to reach in and touch her clit.

‘Very nice,’ approved Bryant, who climbed in beside her and started up the engine. ‘You must be hungry. It must be time to eat, I think.’

‘Where? How?’ Charlotte craned her neck towards him in wonder and consternation, but he simply smiled and pulled out of the lay-by on to the dark forest track.

Charlotte was grateful for the quiet, unlit country roads, although she continually dreaded the possibility of a coachload of tourists pulling out in front of them. But it didn’t happen, and eventually they reached a village where Bryant parked up in a secluded corner and prepared to get out of the car.

‘What are you doing?’ flapped Charlotte.

‘Stay there,’ he said with a reassuring wink. ‘I won’t be long.’

He wasn’t long, but for Charlotte his absence may as well have been a geological age. Although the parking spot was at the far end of the village, and overlooked only by a sombre church tower, concealing her from the cottages beyond, she imagined the sudden arrival of a gaggle of old ladies, or bellringers, or choral singers. How on earth would they react, she wondered, unsure of whether to giggle or be aghast at the idea.

Thankfully, she didn’t have to find out, for Bryant soon returned with takeaway cartons of Chinese food.

‘Let’s find a private place to eat these,’ he suggested, hitting the road once more until they came to another lay-by, shrouded by overhanging trees, far off the beaten track. Bryant switched on the light and the radio, feeding Charlotte chicken chow mein while the evening news chuntered on in the background.

‘You really are hungry, aren’t you?’ he said, impressed at her appetite. ‘This is what I call eating out. Don’t you?’

‘Nnrgh,’ said Charlotte, mouth full of noodles, feeling very small and helpless and well-tended-to.

‘Have you had enough? Are you sure?’ Bryant stroked her forehead and wiped the remainder of the sauce away with a pristine handkerchief. ‘Shall we just sit here and relax for a little while. The others will be here soon.’

‘The others?’ Charlotte tried to sit up straight, but her bottom was sticking to the leather now and it hurt.

‘I thought you were a local girl,’ tutted Bryant.

‘I … am.’ She tried to hide her mystification.

‘Then you should know that this is a very popular spot after dark, Charlotte.’

‘It is?’

‘Yes.’ Bryant laughed, genuinely surprised. ‘It’s quite well documented.’

‘I … look, I don’t do this kind of thing … at home. It’s just been fantasies up to now. I’ve had boyfriends, but it’s all been pretty … normal. Except in my head.’

‘Conventional on the outside, shameless on the inside,’ said Bryant. ‘Oh look. Visitors.’

A car pulled up at the far end of the lay-by and four young men, strapping farmer types, shambled out on to the gravel.

‘Up to you, Charlotte,’ whispered Bryant – the words she never wanted to hear. ‘I can start the engine now and take you home. Or you can give them a little show. Which one?’

Big moon faces were looming behind the toughened glass, squinting and peering. Charlotte looked down at her bisected breasts, at her still-parted thighs, at her tied hands. She looked abandoned and hot, especially viewing herself through their eyes. A lust object. Her pussy clenched and she shut her eyes for a few moments before opening them again, her decision made.

The evening passed in a blur of headlamps and greedy eyes, strumming fingers and her own neck tossing from side to side as she made herself come for the entertainment of the local yokels, once by her own hand, twice by Bryant’s.

She would never forget her final view as Bryant turned the key in the ignition, causing the spectators to scatter. Their faces, red and parched with lust as their fat fists tugged on their pricks, and at the end of the row, the red, lustful face of Jim Bennett, his froggy eyes bulging from his head.

No need to write that letter of resignation then, she thought, as Bryant’s Bentley carried her effortlessly away from it all, towards a future that held infinite lascivious promise.

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