Archive for February, 2013

XII. Make Mommy Happy

As it turned out, not only was Alyssa understanding when it came to moving their standard date so she could attend the event with Bill, she even offered to babysit Tristan so he wouldn’t be disappointed when she didn’t show, because she knew that he loved her visiting, even if his actual interest in her only lasted for several minutes before Spongebob Squarepants, or something equally loud and attention grabbing, stole his attention.

She knew she loved her friend for a reason.

“Don’t worry about us,” she said with a cheeky smile, “I’ve got some chocolate chip ice cream with a certain big boy’s name on it!”

“Me?!” Tristan asked with wide eyes. It was his current favorite.

“Maybe. If you’re good!”

“I’ll be the bestest! Promise!”

Sarah laughed. “But I’m warning you, if I have to scrape him off the ceiling when I get home you’re spending the night so you can wake him in the morning.”

Really, some things were just too cruel to ask Rosa to do. Waking up her groggy son was one of them.

Her friend’s laughter rang out as the doorbell rang.

As she approached the door, she could see out of the corner of her eye that Tristan was intrigued, if a bit nervous. She was pretty sure he was clinging to her friend’s leg.

She smoothed down her dress and opened it, a wide smile on her face as she answered.

“Good evening, Bill! Why don’t you come in?”

She and Alyssa had argued about whether to invite him in, but quite honestly, if he’d wanted to kill her he’d already have done so. Besides, she could always rescind the invitation after he left.

“Why thank you,” he said as he entered her home. “You look lovely tonight.”

Before she could thank him, she heard her son pipe up.

“Mr. Bill?” he asked. She would have sworn there was a note of hope in there, but she didn’t know why. He’d never met Bill before.

He looked down, warm smile intact. “Yes?” he asked.

Her son moved from her friend’s leg to hers. “You’re mommy’s friend, right?”

He nodded. “I am.”

“Good! You make mommy happy!”

“I do try,” he replied.

She was pretty sure she was bright red by this point. “All right sweetie,” she said as she kissed his head. “You be good for Miss Alyssa, okay?”

He nodded. “I will! I want ice cream!”

She laughed as she peeled him off and joined Bill as his side. “Night!” and was met with a “Night, night!” as they left.

To her surprise, he held the door open for her.

“Thank you, Master,” she said as she slid into the car. She would find it easy enough to call him Bill later, she always did when there were any guests at his house. She still preferred to call him Master. It felt more natural. “How was your drive?” He was making a miniature road-trip of this, planning on visiting the Sheriff of the area and a few meetings with some other important vampires.

“It was good. It’s nice to drive myself once in a while.” He normally had a chauffeur-slash-bodyguard with him.  They weren’t always that practical though. He was going to compensate for that by meeting in public areas. It wasn’t perfect, but it’d work. These were known allies, or those hoping to become allies.

She nodded as a comfortable silence settled in over them. They sometimes made small talk, especially if they’d both been at their respective desks – his in his office, her at the kitchen table – for a while and needed a break and she was actually capable of doing so. Sometimes it took all her attention just to focus on her work when he’d make her do her work while wearing this toy or that. He was way too fond of his remote-control bullet vibrator.

Finally though, he did break the silence. “When was the last time you attended one of these?” he asked.

“Not long after I got a divorce. My mom was always into this more than I was, much to her great disappointment. I prefer donating my time and sliding a discreet check to the organization instead. It feels more real to me than just attending a few fancy parties and then patting myself on the back.” She then realized what they might have sounded like, given that she knew he did a ton of philanthropy. “Not that good work isn’t being done,” she hastened to add.

“No offense taken,” he said. “It’s good to get out there. Humans these days don’t do it often enough. I’d do it myself more frequently if I could.”

Yeah, she supposed that the whole nocturnal vampire bit was kind of limiting when it came to volunteer hours. For some reason humans weren’t very good at picking up trash in the dark.

They settled back into silence as they approached the venue, and she pushed a curl back behind her ear as he pulled into the line for the valet.

“Just relax and have fun tonight and help keep the circling vultures away. That’s all I ask.”

She laughed. “I think I can manage that, Bill,” she said as the passenger door opened. She meant it too.

“Excellent. Have enough fun and I’ll reward you the next time we’re in Bon Temps.”

Her eyes went wide and she smiled even broader. She had enough incentive as it was, but that promise was enough to make her want to be nice to even the most annoying of her mother’s friends.

She offered him her arm, “I’ll hold you to that.”

He smiled at her, as he took it. “Then let’s begin.”

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XI. Invitation

She tried stifling a yawn as she rooted around her purse for her keys. He’d just healed the bite marks a few minutes prior. Her body seemed to have learned that that always marked the end of their sessions and thus the endorphins and adrenaline that kept her wide awake began to wear off. She did note, however, that she’d been getting better lately about staying up so late.

Naps were heavenly.

She had just about made it to the door when she heard his footsteps approaching on the stairs, causing her to pause. He usually stayed upstairs until she’d left.

“Oh good; I was afraid I had missed you.”

She looked at him expectantly, not sure what to say. It was in the moments like this where their not-normally-defined relationship left her at a loss for words.

“Are you available on Thursday?”

Well, she wasn’t expecting that question. Normally she got an e-mail on Monday’s with the schedule for the week. If she could make it, then great. If she couldn’t, then she’d just miss out that week. It was the first time in the few months that she’d been seeing her that he’d actually asked about her availability.

“I can be, if you need me.” Alyssa would surely understand it.

“Excellent. I need a companion to accompany to me to Thursday’s fundraiser. I’ve learned the hard way to go unattended.”

She bit back a sympathetic laugh. Those functions were not the friendliest to single attendees. Even more so if they actually liked you. For all they were for about philanthropic causes, they also were an unofficial ton, a way for the socially acceptable to see and be seen. She’d even met her ex …

Her thought didn’t finish as another took over.

The one that told her that he was asking her to accompany him. In public.

Like a date.

Not a date.

But close enough to a date.

Oh my god. Her mother’s friends were going to be there.

Wait. Was her mother going to be there too? No. She was out of town visiting relatives. Phew.

“I’d be happy to go!”

She hated these events. But how could she say no?

“Excellent. I’ll pick you up at 8:30.”

Oh. Right. It was being held near her place. Wait

“You have my address?” she asked, sounding surprised.

He shrugged.

Although she did her best to stay out of his actual night-to-night business – she knew she was better off for not knowing – she did know enough that something like obtaining her address would be a breeze for him. For all she knew, he’d done a complete background check on her. And really, if she were fair, she did kind of find him without asking his permission so she guessed they were about even.

“You know the dress code?” he asked in return.

She nodded. “I’m all set. Haven’t been to one of these things since my divorce, but I can’t imagine that things have changed.” Her mom had been nagging her to start going again for months now. Maybe this would get her to shut up. She still didn’t think it’d quite counter the fact that she’d be seen as a vampire’s consort, but really, as far as she was concerned, that wasn’t a problem of hers. She had no real desire to marry another socialite, nor any reason to. She had the settlement from her ex, not to mention that now she was of age, her trust fund was entirely hers and her parents were no longer able to touch it, even if they wanted to.

She’d made sure of it the second she’d gained control of her money. It was the one smart thing she’d done while married. So including her son, she guessed that that made exactly two good things her ex had done for her in their brief time together.

“I guarantee you the only difference between soirees like this from when I was human and now is that the skirts no longer have hoops. I’d say no one is fainting from their corsets but there have been a few close calls from an older woman who continues to insist upon layering Spanx.”

Now she did laugh. “Ms. Blythe?”

He considered and nodded. “That would be her.”

“She really does wish corsets would come back into style. She says they’re more comfortable.” Though she didn’t believe her, she did know the lady liked to do reenactments and that her dresses were always the most period authentic. It had driven her mother nuts.

He smiled. “I’ll take her word for it.”

And then, as quickly as it had appeared, the smile disappeared and his tone returned to a more business-like one.

“Thursday, then.”

“I’ll look forward to it. Good night, Master.”

She stepped out into the brisk early morning air, letting it invigorate her in preparation for the drive home.

A date. In front of her mother’s friends.

As it sunk in, like really sunk in, her eyes went wide.

It was a good thing she was dating someone already technically dead, because soon, she would be too.

X. Dinner Break

Her feet crunched on the gravel as her stomach growled. Okay. Maybe her Master was right that she needed to it.

 

It didn’t mean he needed to send her out with this damn egg inside her. But then she’d had it in her since she’d walked through the door. He loved torturing her, even if only by something as simple as this.

 

She bit her lip and bit back a moan as she grabbed the door. She took a deep breath and opened it and entered the noisy bar. Act normal. Act normal. Act norm….oh damn there was his ex. She recognized the ponytail as it swished by.

 

She smiled brightly. It wouldn’t do for her to be anything other than be as polite as she could possibly be.

 

She walked up to the counter, ignoring the eyes she could feel on her. He’d warned her they’d be curious. Too bad they weren’t subtle about their curiosity.

 

“Can I help you?” a fake-cheery fake-red head asked her. She could feel herself being judged. She wasn’t sure whether or not she passed.

 

“Hi, I was just picking up some take-out? I called about 15 minutes ago? Name is Sarah Jane.”

She’d meant to leave sooner, but got caught on a phone call.

 

“Oh right! You do not know how happy you made Lafayette by ordering an actual salad.” She leaned forward, as if confiding a secret “It never happens around here.”

 

She smiled, awkwardly. “I’m glad?”

 

“You wait right here and I’ll go check it for you.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

She turned and surveyed the crowds that filled the diner-slash-bar. Sookie had been serving another table and hadn’t seen her. At least until that moment.

 

“Sarah!” She exclaimed. “Fancy seeing you here!”

 

“Bill made me take a break. He said my growling stomach was distracting him.” She laughed, mainly out of nerves and to break the tension.

 

There was an awkward silence as she shifted her weight to move those tease of a toy. Her Master was cruel, making her face his ex like that.

 

“Why did you let Bill put you on display in Fangtasia like that?”

 

So his ex was rather bold. Bolder than her. Or maybe ruder. She wasn’t sure where the line was drawn on this kind of thing.

 

She shrugged. “He wanted me to.” She couldn’t fight back a smile “he was showing me off. It was a good night.” And a fun night. Mistress had joined her and Pam not long after they’d gone downstairs. Not that she would share that.

“But why would you let him” there was disgust in her voice. “Why would you let any guy do that to you?”

 

“You never played with him?” she asked. Even as she did, she knew it was a stupid question. Sookie’s tone told her that.

 

“No. Why would I?”

 

“Because it’s fun? Because it feels absolutely amazing? Because when He’s proud of you it helps give you a buzz like nothing else?” She was now beaming as thoughts of the past few months filled her head. “Because when he focuses his attention on you it’s like there’s no one else out there. Because when I go out to events with him, I can sense that all these other women wish they were me.”

 

From the look Sookie was giving her, she clearly wasn’t getting it. Her loss.

 

She felt her egg start to vibrate as the red-head returned. She bit her lip.

 

“It’s been lovely talking to you, but I need to get going. I don’t want to keep him waiting.” She’d already gotten a spanking before she left because she wasn’t taking proper care of herself. She didn’t want to get another because she couldn’t control herself. She turned back to the other server.

 

“How much do I owe you?”

 

“It’ll be $8.46”

 

She smiled as she handed over a $10 bill. “Keep the change.” She had hoped her voice had remained steady, but she wasn’t sure she’d managed that by the looks they were both giving her. She grabbed the bag of food and with a little wave she headed out the door.

 

The only reason she didn’t run to her car was that she was afraid she’d trip in her heels on the uneven parking lot. Still, she might have set some kind of speed record for her as she sat down in the drivers seat, taking deep breaths as she rode the vibrations out. She almost didn’t even notice how sore her ass was.

 

Almost.

 

And then, just as quickly as it had began, it stopped. She groaned, out of frustration, and if she was honest with herself, with disappointment.

 

While it was quiet though, she turned the car on, pulled out of the lot and headed back towards Master’s home. She had dinner to eat. And maybe, if she was a good girl, Master would give her dessert afterwards.

Unholy Salvation

Note: You should read The Bible With Fangs first, else this won’t make much sense.

The shower was obviously running as she let herself into Stefan’s room.

Needing to talk to him, she looked around for something to entertain herself with. Sadly, there were none of his diaries around. They were always good for a laugh.

No diaries, but she did find a funny-looking Bible.

She’d seen plenty of them in her time, of course, but she couldn’t honestly said she’d ever flipped through one ever since the so-called “wicked” bible had been published. People had been rather disappointed when they were collected to be burned.

She flipped through the pages and started to read aloud.

“And their flesh shall nourish yours;

Their blood shall flow within you;

For as the beetle nourishes the lark

So shall human nourish vampire.”

She laughed. “What nonsense is this.”

The bathroom door opened.

“What are you doing here Rebekah. And put that thing down. I keep meaning to throw it out and it somehow keeps turning up.”

“What are you talking about? Why would you throw away such an old book? They have good value.”

“I think it’s cursed. Read it once and it gave me some kind of messed vision and tried to guilt trip about not drinking human blood.”

“Sounds like fun. If you don’t want, I’ll take it. Elijah has a library and I bet he doesn’t have this.”

“Whatever. Sure. Why are you here?”

Talk switched to her plan to find the Cure and the book, temporarily at least, slipped her mind.

* * *

She was home.

The village where she’d spent the last few years of her human life.

The village where she first sank her fangs into human flesh and drank the nourishing blood.

And she heard her mother’s cries.

She remembered this moment. Her mother’s horror at what she had done. At how her deal with the spirits had gone so wrong.

“Why was she crying?”

Rebekah spun on her hair. A woman, clad only in her hair was staring at her sobbing mother the way a child might study an insect. “God answered her prayers, delivered her the salvation she sought for her children, for we are God’s true children. Those should have been tears of joy.”

“Who are you?” Rebekah demanded.

“I am Lilith. My blood is why you now walk the earth. Your mother sought your salvation and I answered her prayers and my thanks were tears and her quest to destroy you.”

She sniffed.

“I am eternal. For as long as at least one vampire walks the earth I can never be truly vanquished.”

“Why am I here?”

“You want to give it all up.” The woman walked towards Esther. “I can’t have that.”

A horrible crack as Esther’s neck snapped and she slid to the ground in a heap.

She gasped.

“Why did you do that?”

“Her ideas have poisoned you. You are better off without her.”

“What ideas? She’s been trying to kill me!”

“That you should go back to being human. That you would somehow be better off for being mortal once more. It’s nonsense of course. The weakness will seep into your flesh and your loneliness will remain. The only difference is that you’ll be unable to hurt back the ones that hurt you.”

“You’re wrong,” she said, “I’ll be able to start fresh once I am mortal. I’ll be able to start fresh once I am away from my thirst for blood that has kept me from living a normal life!”

“And what makes you think it is my blood that has made you incapable of finding your happiness?

You could find another vampire to settle with. Make your own little happy home. I should introduce you to William.” Lilith walked away Esther’s corpse. “The only one who has stopped you from forming attachments is yourself. It’s not the answer that you want to hear, of course, but it is the truth.”

“Lies! Had I remained human, I would have married, had a family of my own. A family that loved me and didn’t try to use me the way Nik has!”

“And what makes you so sure? Like all women of your day you would have been seen as a brood mare, whose only destiny was to produce a healthy son, married to a man with enough livestock to be seen as rich. If you were lucky it might have not been loveless. And you probably would have died in childbirth regardless. So much you would have missed out on had you stayed human. So much more you will miss out on if you find your so-called cure.”

Lilith smiled at her, but it was ice cold. “If you insist on being foolish I will not stop you, but know this. Turn your back on me and you can never go back. My blood will reject you as you have rejected me. Try to turn a second time and you will wish that the Spirits had gotten to you first.”

Rebekah smiled through gritted teeth. “Duly noted.”

Lilith opened her mouth to respond, but there was only a loud buzzing.

Opening sleep weary eyes she saw a text message indicator.

It was from Elijah. And it was only three words.

“Esther is dead.”

IX. Chocolate Therapy

“Ant Alyssa! Ant Alyssa!” Tristan said with glee as he launched himself at her best friend. And launched really was the right word, she thought, his day-care cape fluttering behind him. It’d been a fight, but got him to agree to only wear it around the house. Which he had non-stop since he’d brought it home.

“That’s Aunt Alyssa,” she said mildly as Alyssa tried to peel her son off her leg.

“Hey buddy!” her friend replied, mussing his hear when she’d finally succeeded. “You being good for Mommy?”

He nodded, eagerly. “Of course, Ant Alyssa!” giving her his best innocent luck. She’d be lying if she said it wasn’t a damn good one, even if she was now (mostly) immune to it.

“Uh huh,” her friend said, playful but clearly not convinced. “Well you keep being good for her, okay?”

“Yes, Ant Alyssa!” he said as he peeled away from her back to the stack of blocks where he was apparently trying to build a fortress for his action figures. It looked more like a building that had been hit by an earthquake, but that was beside the point.

Sarah Jane hugged her friend. “Come in, come in. I bought a pint of i-c-e c-r-e-a-m for after he goes down.” She didn’t mind him having treats on occasion, but tried to limit it to once or twice a week and only then when he’d been good.

“Chunky Monkey?”

“Chocolate Therapy.”

“Good choice!”

“Thanks,” she said as she pulled down a pair of wine glasses after pulling out a bottle of white from the fridge. “I’m wondering if I need some myself so it seemed appropriate.”

Alyssa had been rummaging through a utensil drawer, looking for a corkscrew. She stopped her hunt to give Sarah Jane a Look.

“I promise to tell you everything,” she said. “It’s just been…different than what you’ve always told me about. Good. But different.”

Corkscrew now successfully found, Alyssa took the bottle of wine from her and poured them both a healthy glass. She’d only have the one, so she didn’t mind the heavy pour. She picked up the glass and moved to the couch, tucking her feet under her, and moving her bangs out of her face.

Her friend situated herself on couch.

“Now speak.”

So she did. She told her of walking into the room, of how she sat still for like an hour and a half. How he used her like a table, how he stayed fully dressed while she remained naked almost the entire time. How he’d fed from her, took her on a tour of the house, insisting that all the guards were Sir and finally taking her roughly against a wall, which admittedly, she’d rather enjoyed. Not that she got to bask in it. Her story ended with how not two minutes after they were done he told her to get dressed and get out and how this morning she found an e-mail with a schedule for the next three weeks.

“He barely touched me,” she said. “When he did, it was awesome, but…not what I expected.”

“What were you expecting? Something more like the party?”

She nodded. “He said that we would play like that on occasion, but not all the time.” She was about to add something else but she noticed that her son was blissfully passed out amongst his toys. Excusing herself to put him down, she carried him to bed, careful not to wake him up. It took her a good five minutes to get the cape off – it was harder to do when he was asleep than she imaged, and another minute to make sure he would stay down. Pausing at the door, she flipped on the Hulk nightlight and smiled at how peaceful he looked.

She hoped she’d have that peace soon.

She returned to the den to find that Alyssa had made good use of the time as she was handed a spoon and a bowl of ice cream. It was delicious.

“You know,” her friend said thoughtfully. Or at least as thoughtfully as one could sound with a spoon in her mouth “I don’t think you need therapy.”

“I don’t?” she asked. She was only half joking.

“Have you considered that you might just actually be submissive? Like, legit submissive? You know. Unlike me.”

She blinked, clearly confused.

“I like the kinky sex, but I wouldn’t have lasted twenty minutes sitting still the way you did! And most people wouldn’t have either.”

“True…but that doesn’t prove anything.”

“Why did you sit there?”

“Because that’s what the instructions said.”

“And didn’t you get tempted to break the rules at all? To scratch that itch or stretch your legs?”

“Well. Of course I did. But then I would have failed. And I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to make him happy so he’d keep me.”

Her friend gave a little sigh and a smile that Sarah Jane couldn’t interpret.

“I think he’s got you pegged. In fact, I think you’re damn lucky that you went after him.”

“You do?”

Her friend nodded. “You’d get eaten alive if you tried to go out into the community because you found the parties no longer satisfied you. I think he gets that. If making him happy is working for you for now, go for it. It’ll be good for you.”

She bit her lip in consideration.

“Go with your gut. The worst thing that happens is you call it off. Or he does.”

She nodded. She could do that. She’d already done it to this point hadn’t she?

She smiled and took up another spoonful of ice cream.

She knew she was friends with Alyssa for a reason.

VIII. Uncomfortable

He barely looked at her as he entered the room, ignoring her to turn wake-up the computer next to her.

“I’m sure you must be uncomfortable.” he said conversationally. “Go ahead and strip down to nothing. Fold your clothes neatly, leave them on the chair and then crawl over to the sitting room where we met last time.”

She heard the printer spitting out her list.

He picked up the papers and after a beat added, “Don’t keep me waiting.”

With that he walked out of the room.

She stared as he left, noting that he left the doors to both rooms wide open.

“You can do this,” she said to herself as she began to undress. It did feel good to take the jacket off. She tried to ignore the shakiness in her hands as she removed more and more. As she removed her bra, she was disappointed that he wouldn’t get a chance to appreciate it. Maybe next time.

Her limbs protested as she lowered herself to all fours.

“You’re really going to do this,” she asked herself. “Yes, you are,” she replied as she forced herself to start crawling forward. Thankfully, no guards were present as she made her short yet agonizingly long trip across the foyer.

He looked up when she entered the room and pointed to a spot in front of the coffee table. She crawled to where he pointed, wondering what was going on.

“I need to check your work,” he said. “Only the best is acceptable. Stay there.”

She felt a weight settle onto her back.

Oh.

This was like when Mistress sat on that other lady’s back, wasn’t it? Well. It would be if she wasn’t more or less being completely ignored.

This was different. But kind of good. In a kind of humiliating way.

She heard a clock ticking. It was kind of hypnotic.

She only realized that she had zoned out when she was startled out of it with the crack of a ruler against her bare skin. She yelped.

Smack. Smack. Smack.

“Watch your spelling,” he said as he gave her a push with his foot. “You may take a seat on the other couch.”

She pushed up and took a seat.

“Stop covering yourself. I want to see all of you.”

She looked down. Oh. She had been covering her chest without knowing it. Her hands fell to her side.

“And spread your legs.”

She blushed and she did as she was asked. It was hard to not slam them shut again.

“Are you uncomfortable?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Good. I want you to be. I can get an agreeable bed partner without trouble, and with a bit of confidence I know you could as well.”

She nodded.

“And that confidence is what I want to install in you. And in doing so you will be perpetually uncomfortable. You will be embarassed. You will ache. You yearn for my touch. And hopefully you will blossom as you do so. You are a stunning woman. I will enjoy pulling your strings. And I will enjoy the day that you are confidant to pull the strings of others to help get what you want.”

She swallowed and nodded, still not sure what to say.

“There are rules, but they are simple.” He started counting them off on his fingers:

“One. You will not attend any more of “The Master’s” parties while you are with me. I will give you all that you need.

Two. You are free to date any human while you are with me. In fact, I encourage you to.

Three. For now we will meet two nights a week. I will do what I can to make sure that one of those days is a weekend, but my schedule will always take priority. You will know it in advance. You will work first, then play. When you prove your work is consistent, I might be willing to let you work from home, but we will work the details out of that later.

Four. You will never spend the day. You will be released by two am. I still recommend relocating to Shreveport if this goes on an extended period. A child needs his mother.

Five. I will feed on you. While in the house you will bear my marks. I will heal them before you leave.

Six and final rule: you will always be honest with me, in everything. Whether it is as little as not understanding an instruction or as large as feeling like I am pushing you too far. You will tell me what you feel and if I ever believe you are lying that will end it, because I will not keep a submissive that I cannot trust.

Just remember, you can end this at any time. Just say the word.

Any questions?”

“No, Master.”

“Excellent.”

He smiled and his fangs were suddenly showing.

“Let’s begin.”

VII. Waiting

At precisely nine on the nose she knocked on the door.

The guard opened it and held out an expectant hand. She placed the envelope into his waiting hand, and he moved aside to let her in after motioning her to follow.

He lead her to the office that last time she’d only seen a glimpse of. The desk was clear of all paperwork except a file folder with a single piece of paper attached. A computer monitor was dark, but a hum told her the computer was on. A pen, a ruler and a highlighter sat next to the papers.

“You will see His Majesty before midnight, or you will not see him at all. You know what you must do.”

The guard closed the door without further instruction.

Belle,

Nothing is free. If our arrangement lasts beyond the night you will assist me as a social secretary of sorts. Before you is a folder containing all the invitations I have received for the next six months, along with a copy of my known schedule.

You will organize the invitations in chronological order. Then, using the calendar and the guest profile on the computer you will create for me a list of all events in upcoming order. You will indicate he name of the event, the date, the location, the sponsor and my availability. I will use this list to determine what additional events I can fit into my schedule so accuracy is of the utmost importance.

You will not leave your seat.

You will not touch anything on the desk other than what is essential for your task.

You will do nothing but work on your task.

If you finish your task early you will sit still, looking ahead, hands folded and resting on the folder.

Disobey me in the smallest way and you will fail.

And I will know.

She turned the letter over. There was nothing else written on it. Then again, she supposed nothing need to be said. The instructions were clear.

She tapped the keyboard to waken the computer. 9:03. Just under three hours to determine her fate.

She looked at the stack of invitations. She estimated it’d take no longer than an hour to complete.

It was going to be a long night.

* * *

10:24 pm.

She finished double checking her list. The instructions did not mention anything about printing the list. So she saved the file, straightened the sorted file and put her folded hands on top of the folder and began to wait.

* * *

11:39 pm

Her arms and legs ached from lack of movement, she suspected she’d have pins and needles once she was allowed to move.

Her neck was stiff.

The instructions did not say she could try and stretch it.

So she didn’t.

She had an itch on her nose. She desperately wanted to itch it, but did not.

She was sweating.

She had to fight the urge to answer the phone every time it rang. He clearly had another handset elsewhere. He also clearly was testing her, not answering until at least the third ring.

She wished she had worn flats instead of heels.

Her hair was falling out of the simple bun that she had pulled it into.

She didn’t know what time it was, she hadn’t worn a watch.

She really wish she had.

She told herself that she would be collected.

***

11:55

She was at her breaking point. She could not take it any more.

The door opened and her eyes went wide.

And then she smiled.

But still, she waited.

After all. She still hadn’t been given permission to move.