Janice opened her eyes and blinked. She blinked again. Where was she? It felt like she was lying on something soft. When she tried to rub her eyes, her arms wouldn’t move. They were stretched out at her sides, with something holding her by the wrists.
Blinking a few more times put the world in better focus. She lifted her head and felt a wide collar against her neck. Maneuvering as far as she could, she got a look at herself.
She was lying on a bed, still wearing the cocktail dress. She was also wearing heavy leather cuffs around her wrists and ankles, with chains connecting them to the corners of the bed.
How the hell did this happen? That was easier to think about than what was going to happen if she didn’t get out of this. She took a deep breath and tried to make sense of it.
The last thing she remembered was the shindig at Angela Sorianno’s mansion. Several gray-market and black-market antiquities dealers were there, and the Agency had finagled an invitation for her to be there too. Maybe one of the guests would give her a lead that would finally tie Sorianno to one of their illicit deals.
She’d played the part of an empty-headed party girl, flirting and teasing and waiting for drink and distraction to loosen some lips. She’d managed to pick up some vague hints, but nothing really promising. Maybe she would have done better if she hadn’t been repeatedly interrupted by two waitresses and a barmaid who simply would not take “I don’t swing that way” for an answer.
Her memories gave her no clue how she’d gotten from there to here. Had somebody drugged her? How? She’d been careful to drink just enough to maintain the facade, and never from a glass that had been out of her sight. Well, nobody was perfect. Maybe somebody’s hand had been quicker than her eye.
There’d be time to figure it out later. Now she had to focus on getting away. She went to work on her bonds, trying both escape-artist technique and raw muscle. None of it did any good whatsoever. If she could just get one hand free the rest would be easy, but that first step seemed hopeless.
A door opened. “Don’t bother. You’ll just wear yourself out.”
Janice stared at the woman in the doorway. She recognized the voice and face of Angela Sorianno.
She remembered the briefings. This woman was clever and aggressive enough to stay several steps ahead of the law. With her wealth and influence, she was untouchable without an ironclad case. The investigation a few years ago had degenerated into a farce, with Sorianno successfully portraying herself as the victim of a bureaucratic vendetta. Conspiracy theories had started circulating about the government trying to steal her collection because some of the items had real mystical powers. The whole situation was embarrassing, and she half-suspected that she’d been given this job because she’d gotten on somebody’s bad side.
Never mind that. The important thing was the immediate situation. The immediate situation was very bad.
The agent tried to sound like a frightened victim. “L-look, I’m not into this weird kinky stuff, and I’m not into girls. Just let me go home and I swear I won’t call the cops or anything. Okay?” Maybe, just maybe, she could bluff her way out of this.
Her captor looked her up and down. “What’s your name, girl?” she asked. Her tone was soft, even sympathetic. Maybe she was falling for it....
Goddamn stupid stripper-name alias! Janice thought. She pushed aside her desire to strangle whoever had drafted her fake ID and focused on her distressed-damsel act. “Now... can I go home, please?” she whimpered in her best plaintive tone.
Angela smiled smugly. “I don’t think so, ‘Brandi’.” She punctuated the name with finger quotes.
The agent suppressed a shudder. Her captor had seen right through her. Did the damn name trip her up? Never mind that now. She had to come up with another gambit, one that would fool someone who was now on her guard....
“It’s time for the truth, ‘Brandi’.”
The sarcastic tone was the same, but this time she skipped the gesture. Her hands were busy reaching into her handbag and taking out a gold circlet trimmed with red gems. She moved in, looming over the bound woman and maneuvering the headband into position.
Janice dodged as best she could. It was no use. Her head was pinned down as Angela took hold of her collar. She felt the metal band placed firmly placed across her forehead.
“Now, let’s try this again. What’s your name?”
The agent tried to repeat what she’d said earlier. The words simply refused to come. What was her alias, anyway? It had been on the tip of her tongue. She thought it was something stupid-sounding that started with a “B” and ended with an “i” to go with the “blonde bimbo” image she’d been trying to present... Bambi? Brittni?
She tried clenching her jaw and remaining silent. That didn’t work either. Not answering the question felt like not breathing; the longer she tried the more she needed to go ahead and do it.
Finally, she couldn’t hold herself back any longer. “Janice Zamara” she blurted out. She relaxed for a moment as the weird compulsion vanished, until she realized what had just happened. What the hell had just happened...?
“That’s better,” Angela purred. Her expression hardened. “You came to spy on me, didn’t you?”
The agent opened her mouth to deny the accusation and stall for time. Again the words got lost on the way to her mouth and then got lost completely. What was wrong with her?
“Yes,” she heard herself admit. She tried to compose herself. “What is this thing? What did you do to me?”
“I’ve made an honest woman out of you,” Angela quipped. “As long as you’re wearing the Truthstones, you can’t lie. Not to me, not to yourself.”
“So the rumors are true. Some of the artifacts you stole really do have magic powers.” There was no denying it. She’d felt the effect for herself. Saying it out loud was just recognizing the obvious. She had to stay calm, figure out what was happening to her, find some angle to turn it around....
“A few of them, yes.” Angela shrugged. “The Truthstones are the most powerful ones. Just one stone hidden inside each seat at staff meetings is enough to trip up anyone who tries to rob or betray me. That makes it much easier to run the organization.”
Angela reached out to tap the headband. “You’re getting it full power—a dozen Truthstones right against your forehead. You can’t hide the truth from me, or even from yourself. You certainly can’t tell a lie—you can barely even think a lie. Any falsehoods you try to concoct get garbled and forgotten before you can finish putting them together in your head.”
She grinned. “You’re going to experience pure unvarnished truth: no denial, no quibbling, no equivocation. It’s going to stay with you even after the headband comes off. All the truths you face now will be permanently impressed onto your mind. All the rationalizations and evasions and excuses you hid behind are going to disappear once and for all.”
Janice fought down panic as the implications sank in. An interrogation with some kind of magical compulsion to tell the truth would be bad enough. This sounded like outright brainwashing.
She desperately tried to pull her right hand free of its cuff. She had to get out! She had to get out of these cuffs, and get this headband off!
Her struggles were just as futile as ever.
There was one thing left to try. Frantically, she tried to utter a deliberate lie. That might break the spell, or maybe prove that the “spell” was some kind of trick in the first place. She tried again and again: “The Agency knows where I am!” and “Look out behind you!” and “Your shoe’s untied!” and “I see gray in your hair!”. The words kept getting tangled up in her head before they could make it to her tongue.
Angela looked down at her with an amused expression. “Trying to resist the Truthstones is even more hopeless than trying to break out of those restraints,” she declared. “Do you understand that?”
“Yes,” Janice blurted out, unable to stop herself.
“Then we can proceed.”
Suddenly, Angela reached out to grasp the hemline of Janice’s dress. With one quick motion, she flipped it up onto the prone woman’s belly.
Janice stared wide-eyed at her naked crotch.
“Your panties are in my souvenir box. After we’re finished here, I’ll lend you a pair of mine.” She snickered. “Of course, I’ll want you to return them nice and damp.”
She leered as she moved her hand into position between the bound woman’s legs.
“You want this. I know you want this. You know you want this. Kelli knows you want this.” Her fingers slowly slid up the captive’s left thigh. “I’m sure you remember Kelli—the barmaid with the red hair and green eyes and breasts almost popping out of her top. Anybody who didn’t know better would think she’s a total bubblehead, but she’s actually quite clever. She was the one who first noticed how you were trying to worm information out of my guests.”
The agent shuddered as she felt a gentle but definite pinch at the very top of her inner thigh. “Tell me, Janice... do you find Kelli attractive?”
“Yes.” Janice tried to tell Angela and herself that it she meant attractive in general, not attractive to her in particular. The idea refused to coalesce into a coherent sentence, and drifted away before she could properly focus on it.
“I thought so. Kelli told me about you. When you turned her down, it wasn’t because you’re straight. It was because deep down you know you’re not entirely straight. You’re afraid of giving in to temptation because you might not be able to stop. Kelli has a knack for spotting girls like you.”
Janice got her mouth open, but no sound came out. She knew what she ought to say: “Kelli’s wrong!” or “Don’t touch me!” or “Let me go!”.
“Kelli fooled you and outwitted you and fingered you... figuratively speaking.” Janice squirmed as Angela fingered her in a more literal sense, almost but not quite touching her slit. “Does that thought turn you on? Are you excited by the idea of being defeated and trapped and conquered?”
She made a desperate attempt to bottle up the admission, as if refusing to say it would somehow make it less true. “Yes...” she finally moaned.
Angela beamed at her. “Oh, how lovely! Repressed lesbian and naturally submissive too! You’re going to make a perfect playmate!”
Taking a deep breath, Janice tried to protest, and couldn’t remember what she wanted to say. She started over. “Go away!” or “Don’t!” or “Stop!”....
“Don’t stop!” The words spilled out of her, much too close together to be interpreted as two separate statements.
“Kelli’s gaydar scores again. You don’t want me to stop. You want me to do this. Isn’t that so?”
“Yes,” Janice whispered. Squelching the volume was all she could manage. Her mind raced. She had to do something! Why couldn’t she say “no” like she was supposed to?
Janice inhaled sharply as Angela’s fingertip brushed her folds. “Does it feel good when I touch you like this?”
“Yes.” Of course it did, she tried to tell herself. That was a physical reaction she couldn’t control. It didn’t necessarily mean she actually wanted it.
Those thoughts slipped away before she could concentrate on them. Damn it, they were true statements! Technically true statements, anyway. They were misleading quibbles, she knew... and the charm wouldn’t let her quibble any more than it would let her lie outright.
Angela removed her hand for a moment as she sat down on the bed and settled into position. “Does it feel even better when I push a little harder?” Angela asked her fingers moved back into position and began probing.
Again, Janice could only say “yes,” unable to qualify the statement in any way. Once again she tried to tell herself that it didn’t mean anything.... She felt herself losing her train of thought again.
“Did you ever have sex with a girl before?”
Janice gasped as Angela’s finger slid into her. “You’re having sex with a girl now. Are you enjoying it?”
“Oh yes...” she sighed. She was too distracted to even try finding some way to sidestep or downplay the reality.
“Your cunt is getting really wet.”
It was. Janice felt herself getting warm and damp. Angela’s finger glided in and out, penetrating just a bit deeper with each stroke.
“Do you remember getting this wet this fast with a boy?”
She had no idea. It wasn’t like she’d been running a stopwatch or anything. She tried to think, but it was impossible to pay attention to anything but the intensifying tingles and jolts between her legs. “I don’t know.” she finally murmured.
“You’d probably remember it if it happened. Boys don’t do it for you. Girls do it for you. Kelli thought you were bi, but I think if you’re completely honest with yourself you lean more toward being a lesbian. Does that make sense to you?”
Figuring out whether or not something made sense was beyond her right now. It did have a ring of truth, though. “Yes.” She arched her hips as Angela touched her G-spot. “Oh yes!”
For the next few minutes, there were no words, just sighs and moans and gasps as Angela escalated her attentions.
“More... please... more!” Janice finally cried.
Angela brought her frustratingly close to the brink and kept her there. “Are you glad this happened to you?”
“Yes.” Her voice was quiet as she panted with both excitement and frustration.
She moaned as Angela pulled back, gently tickling her folds instead of attending to her needy cunt. “Think. Remember how you got here. Would you have let me do this if you weren’t tied up and helpless?”
Janice remembered her earlier reactions to the situation. “No. No I wouldn’t,” she said in a somewhat perplexed tone, not quite understanding why she would have had a problem with it.
“So, keeping that in mind, are you enjoying being tied up?”
“I guess so.” The voice was as tentative as the words.
Angela smiled warmly at her. “You don’t always have to be tied up for it, now that you’ve learned how much you like it. It’s just a way I like to do it sometimes. You don’t mind indulging me, do you?”
It was only fair, Janice thought. “I don’t mind.” Her tone now was more upbeat about the idea.
“Let me show you how much fun you can have when another woman has you all tied up.”
Angela began finger-fucking the bound woman more aggressively than before. On some strokes she used two and three fingers, on others she used a single finger precision-guided toward one of the trigger spots she’d found.
It didn’t take long for Janice’s body to respond. Her hips bucked reflexively into the action, and finally she climaxed with a long loud moan.
Angela reclined to lie on her side facing Janice, cradling her head in one hand and bracing herself with the other as she moved in for a kiss.
“Was it good for you?”
“It was great!”
“That was only the beginning. Does that idea excite you?”
“Yes!” Janice shivered at the thought.
“I’m sure you know something about lesbian sex, even if you’ve never done it before. Think about some of the things you think might be fun to try. Don’t say anything yet, just let the ideas and images percolate.”
The agent took a long slow shuddery breath.
“Don’t worry about asking for something silly or something wrong. I won’t laugh; I’ll explain anything you need to know.” Angela gently tousled Janice’s hair. “There are just a few more questions I need to ask you first.”
Her voice turned a bit more serious as she looked the other woman in the eye. “Think about what your Agency will do if you report what happened tonight. Keep in mind you won’t have any evidence.”
Janice thought about it. Tell the Agency that Angela Sorianno had a genuine magical artifact? That Angela had bedded her? That she liked it and wanted to do keep doing it? It would not end well, she knew. The only thing she wasn’t sure of was just how bad it would be.
After a long moment, Angela spoke up to prompt her. “Do you think they’d believe you... or do you think that they’d put you in a basement office and give you all the boogeyman and flying-saucer cases?”
“They wouldn’t believe me.” That was the obvious truth. The basement office part was probably optimistic. If the Agency knew about this, she’d be considered severely compromised and her career would be over.
Angela’s tone became sultry again. “Don’t you think it would be better if we came to an arrangement where you tell them you didn’t really find anything, but you have a gut feeling that tells you to stay on the case for a while? That way, we could be together while you decide what to do next. If things get awkward between you and the Agency, I always have an opening for a smart pretty girl like you.”
The agent didn’t have to think about it very hard as she remembered years of being underpaid and overworked and disrespected by the bureaucratic boy’s club. “Yes. I think that would be the best thing to do for now.”
“I’m glad you feel that way. We can discuss the details later.”
Angela reached out and plucked the headband from Janice’s brow. “I don’t think we’ll need this any more.”
Janice blinked. Was everything about to change? No. Everything was still the same.
“It’s not the stones, Janice. It’s you. The stones just opened the way for you to find your real self.” Angela smiled and waited for a response.
Janice returned the smile. It was all so obvious, and so true. She wanted to be with Angela. She couldn’t report this to the Agency. If she did, it would only make trouble for her. That wouldn’t do any good for anybody.
It made sense to follow Angela’s lead. It wasn’t brainwashing at all, she realized. It was simply accepting reality. Accepting reality was better than trying to hide from it.
As that thought sank in, she noticed that Angela was slowly and provocatively licking her lips. “So... what do you want to try next?”
“I....” She didn’t know. She couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought that, for a woman who’s always thought she was straight, she knew a surprising amount about things two women might do with each other in bed.
Chuckling right back at her, Angela moved to loom over her, eyeball to eyeball almost too close to focus her gaze. “Well?” she teased. “Make up your mind, or I’ll leave you chained up and decide for you!”
“OK.” It was a way to avoid the dilemma. She grinned nervously as she wondered exactly what she’d let herself in for. “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing, so maybe it’d be better if I just lie back and enjoy it. I hope you don’t think I’m being selfish.”
“I think you’re being smart,” Angela replied. “You take as much time as you need to learn the ins and outs of lesbian sex.” She couldn’t help snickering at the unintentional pun. “I would like to get you out of that dress, though. Let me uncuff you and take care of that, and then I’ll strap you back in.”
A few unbuckled straps later, Janice flexed and stretched her limbs. “Nowhere near as stiff as I expected,” she remarked.
“I’m careful, and I know what I’m doing.”
Janice got to her feet. Her dress settled back into position, making her appear decently if somewhat scantily clothed. She began tugging at the fabric... and then stopped.
If she was going to do this—and she definitely wanted to do this—she wanted to do it, at least a little, not just let somebody else do it for her. Maybe she didn’t really know what she was doing with another woman, but this ought to work exactly the same as it would with a man.
She straightened the dress, then delicately grasped one strap between thumb and forefinger and slowly slid it off her shoulder.
“Let’s do this right,” she said as the strap rounded the corner between shoulder and upper arm. “Just sit back and watch.” She leered as another idea came to her. “Once the show’s over you can ‘drag’ me back into bed and ‘force’ me into the shackles.” she added, saucily tilting her head as she made the finger-quote gestures.
Angela leered right back at her. “Sounds like a plan.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and settled down to enjoy the show. “It looks like I’ve uncorked a lot of repressed craving.” In a mock-horrified voice, she cried. “I’ve created a monster! Slutenstein!”
Janice laughed. “Don’t you dare call me that!” she teased. She paused again as one more idea occurred to her.
She winked. “If you want to call me something sexy... call me ‘Brandi’.”