The night was clear, and the air shimmered with a noise of cicadas. Beedee trailed up the walk to the side entrance, the one she used after hours. A small cloud of frustration trailed with her. Mother could turn so maddeningly and unpredictably conservative sometimes! Countermanding her dress like that, when she was practically out the door. It was a dance. What was the point of her going and looking like a frump? Especially her. If Beedee Harris felt like showing off a little skin, wasn’t she entitled? Give this stuffy old town some glamour to look at once in a while.
Her heart just hadn’t been in it. She’d changed her dress obediently and she’d gone to the dance obediently but as soon as she saw Mother make an exit Beedee had declared herself relieved of social obligation for the remainder of the evening.
There was a cloakroom that Mother had had fixed up just off the entrance. The sconce next to it was lit, as it always was at night, always some whimsical color of Mother’s choosing. Tonight was bright pink. Beedee felt the color more than saw it: a flush that seemed to expand across her neck, a restlessness seizing her limbs and her fingers. Pink was her itch to cast the whole useless evening off and regroup. Before she was inside the door Beedee had both shoulder straps shrugged down and the bodice already half off.
The dress on the rack again, herself properly naked—she never wore underwear anymore except as a statement—Beedee felt her equanimity return. But she couldn’t really feel peaceful in her mind till she’d retrieved the pink collar. She watched herself in the mirror putting it on. Her fingers trembled a little holding it to her neck, and her breath caught when it clasped behind her. The sound of the click was like a release.
The collar was a new thing still. Beedee slipped on a pair of matching heels. She had had to argue the case for it endlessly with Mother, who had been especially uncomprehending this time, even for her, before Beedee got her way. Mother never quite credited how much Beedee needed structure in her life. But the girl facing her—the sleek, leggy, controllable-looking blonde with the I’ll do anything eyes—the collar made that girl. She could tell even Mother appreciated it.
That girl looked like everything Beedee in her secret heart knew she wanted to be.
The leash was an even newer thing. Beedee took it in both hands, somehow light and heavy at once, and her pussy hummed. She calculated. It was late but not too late. It was nice out. Skin temperature. Maybe Mother would enjoy walking her daughter around the grounds before bed.
Feels like a leash night, Beedee thought. Definitely. In a moment of decision she clipped the lead to the ring at her throat, then took the free end and looped it around her wrist. The untenanted handle dangled pink in the mirror before her. Beedee imagined a pull on her arm. She felt herself led, invisibly, out the cloakroom, into the foyer, her walker’s absent hand floating her onto the stairs and up them to her room.
Another girl, kneeling nude and splay-legged in front of her bedroom mirror—a less good girl—would have registered the presence of the dark-haired older woman in the armchair behind her. She would have noticed how the angle exposed her reflected pussy fully to the woman’s view. A less good girl might have remembered herself, might have left off masturbating. Beedee was not that girl. Beedee was gone. Beedee’s mind was just a pink haze and an endless finger tracing shapes on her clit.
Leaning against the doorjamb, out of her daughter’s sight, Miranda snuck a look at her phone. Nothing. She jiggled it in her palm in a small spasm of annoyance.
“The dance yet?” Renate smirked at her, craning her head back a little for effect. Of course she’d noticed. “Surely they can’t want you for anything further at this late point, yes?”
Miranda shrugged. “It’s a small town, Reen,” she said resignedly, “where there’s club dances there’s politics.” She glanced again at the screen. “One or two strays out there who might feel motivated to do a checkin yet.”
“Do you know, Miri it puts me in mind of computer games.” Her tone was grandly amused. “You know the ones, with the dull automated little people? And you’ve got to help them go about their dull little automated lives? I thought it while I watched you making your rounds at the event. I suppose it must seem that way to you often, mustn’t it?”
Renate settled back in the chair and cast her eyes around the room. Half to herself she said, “I know it’s taboo, but I rather feel I could do with a smoke.”
She sighed. “Still, situated as you are here—where there are politics, you must have eyes. Safer. However small they are.” Renate craned her head back to deliver another smirk. “The politics I mean, not the eyes.”
If she could just be 20% less European. At this rate they’d be all night. Miranda straightened herself from the doorway and crossed the few paces to where Beedee knelt. “Ashtrays in the guest bedroom down the hall.” The mother had been a big smoker, and there were ashtrays everywhere. Miranda thought it was disgusting. As soon as she established hegemony in the house they were the first things she banished. All but a couple.
“Unless of course you’d rather just use the girl.” Miranda took her own turn to smirk. Ashtray had pulled a lot of weight for her in the early stages. Ashtray was a game that was guaranteed to get Beedee going.
She paused over the girl for a moment, arms akimbo, as if approving her handiwork. Quietly, but with a tone, she called down. “Beverly Dawn.”
The sound of her full name on Mother’s lips was like a distant thunder to Beedee. A shudder seemed to pass through her, and a dim consciousness drifted into her eyes, a swimmer emerging from a slow depth. “Hello, Mother,” she told her reflection in a small dazed voice. “I left the dance early.”
“I’m aware,” Miranda said. Her daughter’s hands, one wrist dangling the empty leash, drifted aloft, a supplicant gesture. Miranda unclipped the leash and reclaimed it from her. “We have a houseguest,” she said. At a tap on the back of her head the girl’s hands, still raised, moved behind to lift the hair off her neck. Her mother reattached the clip to the ring on the back of the collar, and unprompted Beedee positioned herself on all fours.
Led over and halted at the armchair, she resumed kneeling. Her sluggish gaze drew up towards the dark visitor. “This lady is Mother’s friend, dear,” Miranda said. “Dame Renate. How long has she been sitting here and you haven’t welcomed her to our home yet.”
Suddenly ashamed, the girl blushed furiously. You could hear her working to keep her voice steady. “I’m so sorry, Dame Renate. Please forgive my rudeness. Welcome to the Harris household.” Miranda ceded the leash to the guest and retreated a few steps. Beedee’s eyes went wide. Her tone became suddenly throaty, and the hint of a squirm infiltrated her hips. “I hope you’ll accept my personal hospitality, ma’am.”
Renate chuckled softly and reached out to stroke the girl’s cheek. “O brave new world, that hath such creatures in it.” She made a theatrical moue and glanced back up at Miranda. “Such a carefully built little toy you’ve crafted, darling! What a shame she doesn’t get used like this more often.”
Miranda possessed her soul in patience. “Beedee,” she said coldly, “look down. Look what a mess you’ve made of yourself, little girl. Again. Aren’t you a wanton.” A small whimper escaped the girl. “If you don’t respect me at least try to appear presentable for our guest.”
Another whimper. Head down, Beedee began spreading her juices clumsily up and down her thighs. She started licking the fingers of her right hand while her left kept playing in the damp. Miranda gave the leash to Renate and went back to her station by the door. Her heart was pounding. She fought the urge to sneak another useless look at the phone.
“So many intrigues to be got up in a place like this!” Renate looked slyly, infuriatingly pleased with herself. ”Her and that very attractive cohort she was with tonight. So many scenarios of unnatural young passion to be explored.” She played the handle of the leash around her fingers. “Surely you are owed some enjoyment by the wayside. After, what is it, more than a year’s residence?” She gave a small but still theatrical shudder.
Miranda turned her head and cast her eyes down the hall. “Pleasure enough when I’m counting zeroes.” She looked toward Beedee, who had left off her thighs and was gazing with rapt, helpless attention towards Renate. “Two months, give or take. And then the whole thing’s in my hands. No point getting sloppy now.”
“Eyes on the prize,” Renate said heartily. She rose. “Well! I am honored to be the exception that proves the rule.” She made a slight, ironic bow. Beedee, anticipating her handler, had come back to all fours. Renate flicked the lead. “Be a good girl, Beedee, and go before me to the guest bedroom please. Let me see in your hips how hot it makes you to crawl on my leash.”
Miranda went back to her phone as soon as they left the room. Still nothing. She forced herself to stay where she was till the door to the guest room shut.