Bethany had hit the young woman’s clothing department of Sears like a one-girl Mongol horde. I had a certain vision of how shopping for new outfits would go: posing for me in the aisles, asking me what looked sexy on her, maybe sneaking into the changing rooms together so she could model them. That would have been hot. I didn’t even have time to hit her with a trigger-command before the mental afterburners kicked in. I could only follow with an increasing number of feminine clothing being heaped in my arms as I became her personal mall-sherpa. She didn’t quite do the man-shopping thing—find something that fits and buy in bulk—but she didn’t spend too long on each choice. The longest she spent in one place was getting fitted for bras.
Not that I could complain much with her fashion choices. Gone were the baggy overalls and long skirts with shapeless blouses that I had seen her wear cycling past to school. Nor was she the slutty doll I might have dressed her as. The denim shorts she had chosen to wear for the day went down to mid-thigh instead of being Daisy Duke Specials. They clung to her firm ass and thighs tight enough to make male heads swivel when she went past. They rode low enough on her hips that a slim band of white flesh appeared between the dark denim of the waistband and her white-and-blue short-sleeved top. The top had enough of a low neckline to hint at her cleavage without baring it. It was also clung to her in a way showed off the support of the lacy white bra she had on beneath. Strappy sandals with a gentle rise to the back put a bit of a strut into her walk.
Bethany stared into yet another mirror as the female salesperson adjusted the fit of her new glasses. It turned out that Bethany hadn’t gotten new glasses since child services had given her a set when sending her to live with Miriam. A combination of scratched lenses and outdated prescription meant she had been blind as a bat for years. We had been lucky enough there had been an immediate opening at the clinic attached to the mall’s Lenscrafters. An hour later, Bethany sported a set of geeky-cute horn-rims from the budget drawer with lenses that were more than frosted glass. I might have insisted on her choice of eyewear. Her smile when she saw the effect was bright enough to attract Mothra.
The saleswoman maintained a pleasant poker-face while I paid for the glasses. Bethany had leaped up to assume the position she had maintained when I had my arms free: right hip firmly glued to my left with an arm wrapped around my waist. She grabbed my free hand to plant it on her flank in the gap between shorts and top. A noticeable shiver went through her at the contact of my palm with her skin. It didn’t come from the mall air-conditioning. Any hope of cover that I was just an indulgent uncle helping out a niece who had suffered a wardrobe malfunction had died the moment Bethany had snuggled close after crossing the parking lot the first time. Good thing I’d had the foresight to drive to a mall two hours away.
Bethany kept on peeking at herself in any reflective surface. Some of that was the natural vanity of a girl who has just had a makeover. Well, I guess. I was basing this off of montages from the few chick flicks I had been forced to endure. What worried me a little was her eyes glazing over for a few seconds every time she posed by a window or mirror. Her lips silently mouthed the mantra “sexy beautiful girl” each time. Then she would snap out of it standing a little straighter and her smile a touch sultrier. She snuggled up to me even closer. That was nice. That was actually more than nice. “Naughty” was really the proper word to use. But if this kept up, I’d have to pry her off with a crowbar when I left for work on Monday. Uh. Maybe I could call in a sick day. Or maybe five.
“It’s amazing,” Bethany said. “You can see the word balloons popping up above everybody’s heads: ‘cockteaser with her sugar-daddy’. And it means nothing to me now.”
“No, they probably think you’re the victim of a dirty old man,” I said. “Clearly, I’m taking advantage of an impressionable girl.”
And how, I silently added.
“You’re not that old,” Bethany said. “You’re mature. Like a dad. God, you’re like the dad I dreamed would take me away from Miriam some day.”
“There are laws against daddies cuddling up this close to their daughters.”
“You’re not my real dad, so it’s okay.” Bethany paused. “Uh, that went to a weird place.”
“Daddy and daughter isn’t my usual kink, Beth,” I said. “I’m more basic dominant and submissive. You would be very lovely kneeling before me.”
“Oh. Like, uh, a slavegirl. And her—” Bethany swallowed heavily. “Her Master. With handcuffs and, uh, whips.”
“I’m more a rope or silk scarf guy.” My free hand slipped down to squeeze her ass through the denim. “Whips sound too extreme for you, Beth. At the most I might spank you. But I guess you don’t much like being ordered around after Miriam.”
“It...might be different with you. Sir.” Bethany worried her lower lip between her front teeth. “Is that what you want to do with me? Like Jafar did to Jasmine when he had the lamp?”
“Scrumptious harlot will imagine kneeling before me in a sexy harem girl costume.”
“Yes Bethany would be his obedient thrall.” Bethany shook her head. “Wow. I still must be a little high from whatever I had last night. I zoned out there.”
“I saw a costume shop on the mall directory.” I handed her a few twenties. “Why don’t you go and get something nice to sleep in tonight? Meet me at the car in an hour.”
Bethany wavered for a few seconds. Then trembling fingers damp with sweat took the money. There was an audible pop when she separated from me. I watched her skip back towards the mall directory board with a mix of regret and relief. Mostly regret, honestly. But it was a relief to have a little respite from her limpet act. It might even ease her off the mental addiction I had put into her brain during the mirror session. I told myself I hadn’t directly manipulated her into becoming my submissive sex-toy. Whoever had scrambled her brains that night of the party had burned that desire into her subconscious. All I had done was honestly mention a preference and ask her to imagine dressed up in a highly submissive costume. Admittedly, I had hit her with the trigger to give that suggestion a little topspin to overcome any reluctance she might have. So this was kosher.
Good thing Jews don’t believe in hell. At this rate, I’d be earning the paving contract on the Interstate to Hades.
I headed back in to Sears for a pair of air-conditioners and some furniture for my houseguest. I could easily condition her to accept becoming my living body-pillow at night. The bed I had inherited from my grandfather was big enough for us to sleep snugly. But I wasn’t quite ready to have another person move into the cramped quarters of my bedroom. It was already crammed solid with all my stuff. Having to deal with a woman’s stuff encroaching in my man-cave—even if she was a sex-slave—would probably drive me around the bend. Also, Bethany would be going to school come the fall. That meant a place of her own to do studying and chill out. Although perhaps late at night she might find a hand tight over her mouth as I whispered that it was time for a scrumptious harlot to submit to Master’s cock in her tight wet slave pussy.
Even flat-packed, the basic slavegirl residential package I had assembled was much more than my elderly Toyota’s trunk could swallow. I arranged for my purchases to be held at the loading dock. Good thing there was a trailer rental place just down the road. A glance at my cellphone told me that I had left Bethany waiting for a good half-hour. Hell. She was still a little wobbly upstairs. Would she freak out if I was late? Would she think I had abandoned her? I hustled out of the mall as fast as I could. Then I slammed into the wall of heat and humidity that was a mall parking lot of an August heatwave. My heroic dash became more of a plod. Crap. All of a sudden the rows of cars looked all alike. Where was I? Right. There.
Thank Yahweh, Bethany had waited for me.
I was about to wave to her when I saw her blank gaze...and the woman holding a pendant in front of her eyes.
“Ah, Mr. Nussbaum, is it?” the stranger said, smiling with perfect teeth like a crocodile.
“Hello, Master,” Bethany cooed. “This is Miss Tess. She wanted me to become her thrall again, but you’re my Master now.”
“I think we should talk,” Miss Tess said.
It turns out lesbian mind-controllers are handy with flat-pack furniture assembly.
Miss Tess was pretty much what I imagined a lesbian domina into enthralling helpless girls into sapphic slavery would look like. Say that three times fast. She wore light capris and summer-weight blouse instead of a leather catsuit. But she was right out of Central Casting: taller than me by an inch, midnight-black hair pulled back into a dominatrix bun, cheekbones sharper than my cut-throat, and a husky voice with odd harmonics rippling through it. Her eyes were a husky’s pale blue that seemed to stare right through your skull. There was a presence to her that convinced me that she hadn’t dosed Bethany with anything stronger than whispers in her ear. I had a feeling she could warp me into a rubberboy who would end up haunting the gloryholes at the back of a gay bar.
Instead, she seemed to be content with helping me set up Bethany’s room. I did the actual work of clearing out the old junk into the shed in the back and assembling the stuff. Miss Tess stuck to organizing the many fiddly bits and bobs that can turn the task into a nightmare. Bethany was not compos mentis to work with us. She was in my bedroom with the newly-installed air-conditioner, whirling one of those fidget-spinners around to reinforce the trance induced in the mall lot. I was half-tempted to crack Miss Tess’ skull in with my baseball bat for that. But, well, I had a bedroom set to get up before midnight. Not to mention a whole lot of questions of my own.
We finished at a little after nine. I’m sure lesbian mind-control dominas are used to eating decadent gourmet meals off the quivering naked flesh of their slavegirls. Lacking a Michelin-rated restaurant in the area, I ordered in Chinese. Miss Tess arched one brow at the lawn furniture decor. But she settled into a plastic Adirondack chair with a plate of General Tao’s while I dug into the ginger beef. Naturally, she handled the chopsticks with grace while I shoveled fuel into the reserve tank. The only real meal I’d had that day was a quick burger at the mall food court while waiting for Lenscraters to finish Bethany’s glasses. Miss Tess paused to haul out a wine bottle from an oversized purse.
“Refreshment, Mr. Nussbaum?” Miss Tess asked.
“I must have potatoes lodged up my ass from the truck you think i just fell out of,” I replied. “You expect to slip me a hypnotic mickey that easily? Besides, I don’t have wine glasses.”
“The Flintstones jelly glasses I saw in your cupboard will do.” Miss Tess smirked with the metaphorical canary feather sticking out of one corner of her mouth. “And you probably suspect I don’t need vulgar chemicals to bind your brain.”
“Your voice. There’s a reverb to it.” I fetched the glasses. “You’re a psychic? Telepath?”
“A lady needs her secrets.” Miss Tess popped the cork. “You’ll find this an inexpensive but sprightly Australian red.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t bring an entourage,” I said, pouring a glass for her before serving myself.
“The little starlings I caught in my net are resting.” Miss Tess sipped a little, as did I. It was good plonk. “I myself travel light.”
“So. Bethany.” I rolled the jelly glass between my palms. “You can’t have her. Well, if you pushed you could. But let me be the Big Fat Damn Hero for a bit until reality asserts itself.”
“Actually, that little starling fluttered away from her perch.” Miss Tess made a moue of annoyance. “To be honest, she was an accident. She wandered into a bedroom of this delicious cheerleader out slumming among what passes for goths in this suburban wasteland. I tranced her to keep her quiet for later induction after my intended target was snared.”
“Some idiot boys began fighting.” Miss Tess snorted. “Undone by pimply boys in bad imitations of the Crow. In the confusion of keeping my first starling tranced, the second wandered off. And somehow an oaf managed to twist my incomplete work into imprinting the girl on him.”
“I’m sitting right here, you know.”
“Ah, sorry. I get bitchy when I make a mistake.” Wonder of wonders, Miss Tess seemed sincere. “To break the imprint—she orgasmed at your hands, yes?—I would essentially have to break her mind. What would emerge would be worthless as a possession.”
“So, why are you here?” I asked.
“To see how she is faring.” Miss Tess cocked her head. “It is elementary hunting etiquette. One simply doesn’t allow wounded prey to suffer from a misplaced shot.”
“So you’re letting her live with the oaf,” I said.
“Plenty of starlings fluttering about,” Miss Tess said. Her superior expression faltered. “And this one is a touch too broken for me. You know she was gang-raped in her sophomore year?”
“I got a hint, yeah.” I stared into the depths of the wine. “But, you break it. You bought it.”
Miss Tess offered me a check between two fingers.
“One of my starlings checked your financials,” Miss Tess said. “Supporting a slavegirl is not cheap. The girl is still my responsibility in a way. And perhaps you might be useful to me every so often. Qui pro quo, mmm?”
Jews don’t believe in hell.
But we do know a bit about devils.
I took the damn check.