THE TABLES ARE TURNED
Juliette collapsed on the floor with a cry of terror. I stood stock-still like a fool.
Certainly I must have presented a ridiculous figure, trousers unbuttoned, a rampant engine well exposed. "Get up, you," said Muriel to Juliette, going to her and touching her with her foot. "You," turning to me, "can either go or stay, but if you stay..." She paused ominously.
"I'll stay," I said, for I had an idea.
"As you please. I see I have arrived in time," looking at my open trousers. "So you can ... but ... I rather think you will be sorry."
She led the way upstairs, and I found myself again in the boudoir.
Juliette was already there, shaking with nervousness. "Where are the cases?" thundered Muriel at her. "Did you think I had you up here to talk to you?" and she suddenly gave her two swinging boxes on the ears.
The poor girl hurried out of the room.
"Muriel," I urged, "don't be too cruel to her. It was my fault chiefly."
"Don't you fret yourself, my man, you'll get all you want." Juliette reappeared carrying the leather case which I recognised.
"Both cases, you fool," said her mistress. Juliette gave an even more terrified cry than before, but did not dare to argue.
She went out and came back with another, similar case. Muriel unlocked the first. "Undress yourself," she said; then to me: "And you tie her hands with this," giving me a long piece of webbing. "I must take my corsets off or I shan't have freedom enough for my arm."
Juliette tremblingly undid her skirt and let it fall, and waited.
"Everything," said her mistress, "didn't you hear?
Everything, or it will be the worse for you." Juliette then undid her blouse and took it off. A dainty camisole appeared. That was removed. Then the petticoat. Then the little corsets were undone and she stood simply in chemise and drawers, the lace frills of the latter peeping alluringly below the hem of the chemise. Her trembling hands groped under the chemise, she pulled the string and the frilly little legs fell round her ankles. She stepped out of them and stood waiting.
"I thought I said everything!"
A crimson flood invaded the poor girl's cheeks and neck.
"You needn't pretend to such modesty," sneered Muriel. "A girl who will kneel down to kiss a man in a sitting-room needn't be shy of stripping naked before him in a boudoir, especially when there is another woman to protect her." Juliette lifted the chemise and began to pull it over her head. I saw first her thighs appear, beautifully shaped and moulded like towers of ivory, then the dainty little bush, still dewy with our mingled love; next a sweet rounded little belly, smooth and firm. I noticed the dainty waist line and, above, two perfect pear-shaped breasts with bright red nipples standing out firm and bold, though all support had been removed. As she raised her arms above her head, I saw the silky hair in her armpits, matching the thicker curls of her bush.
Then the chemise slipped off her wrists and she stood a slight timid figure, perfect, desirable and appealing. I heard a sigh of appreciation from Muriel. "Now tie her wrists together," she said to me.
I had to obey. She watched me as I fumbled with the webbing.
"Now stretch her on the couch."
I bent her down as she had been bent down the other afternoon.
"No, not that way. She must be crucified."
"Madame," stammered Juliette.
"Silence," hissed Muriel as she placed some cushions across the middle of the couch, forming a ridge.
She then dragged Juliette to the couch and flung her face downwards so that the lower part of her belly and the top of her thighs rested right on the cushions. This naturally raised her bottom and thighs, making her body form a very broad inverted V.
"But what's the meaning of this?" she said as she saw the cheeks of the poor bottom still blushing slightly from my recent smacking. "Do you mean to say you've dared?" she went on, turning to me. "Oh, you, just wait."
She said no more but took hold of Juliette's right ankle and pulled the leg towards the edge of the couch. Then, stooping down, she caught hold of a silk cord that was fixed to the side of the couch, evidently for that purpose. It had a running loop at the end. This she slipped over the girl's foot and drew it tight. She then pulled the other leg as far apart as possible and fixed that in the same way.
Poor Juliette was now perfectly spread-eagled. Her arms were above her head tied at the wrists, her head was buried in the couch. Her bottom was raised, as I have said, by the ridge of cushions and seemed to invite the lash, and her wide-opened thighs revealed the mossy lips of her pussy, still slightly open. There she lay, a piteous little figure, all white. The only contrast was her dark hair, slight silky tendrils in her armpits, the suggestive shadow between the cheeks of her bottom, the soft curls between her legs, and last of all, showing up vividly against the whiteness of her skin, her long black silk stockings, just a study in black and white, no touch of colour anywhere, for she wore black
garters. I feasted my eyes on the lovely vision. How could anyone, I wondered, hurt such a dainty graceful creature?
I looked at Muriel. Her eyes showed clearly that she was by no means insensible to the alluring picture. But there was a gleam of fierceness as well as admiration in her glance.
"Now," she said suddenly, "I must get rid of my corsets. I shan't be long. You can admire the dainty darling's white skin while I'm gone. There won't be much white left after I've finished with her," and she went quickly into her bedroom, leaving the door open.
Now, I had decided to stay in the hopes of carrying out my scheme of vengeance on Muriel, and I had no intention of assisting at the punishment of Juliette. But when I saw the preparations and how helpless Juliette was rendered by her bonds, I began to doubt the possibility of succeeding in my object. Though no doubt I could have mastered Muriel by brute strength, there would probably have been a struggle, and Juliette's help would have been of the greatest use. All the time Muriel was pinioning Juliette my mind was working quickly, but I hesitated to make any attempt to seize her, preferring to wait until the last moment.
Now, however, that she was out of the way I saw my chance. Quick as thought I sprang to Juliette's wrists and began to loosen the knots. She raised her head, gave a little cry of surprise and fear. I put one hand on her mouth and whispered, "Keep quiet and pretend to be still tied. Remember what I said downstairs. Now is our chance. Keep your hands just as they are, till I tell you. Then free your feet and help me."
I had only just time to loosen the knots and replace the webbing so that it still looked tight, and to get away from the couch, when Muriel appeared. She had put on the tea-gown again, with the loose sleeves. I was standing by the table when she came in, looking at the open case which contained the birches. There were four different sizes.
"Looking at my little ticklers?" she smiled. "There are some more in here," and she opened the other case.
Then I understood Juliette's cry of alarm when Muriel told her that she wanted both cases.
There were no birches in this one. Two or three canes of varying thicknesses, a couple of old-fashioned ladies' riding whips-not the modern hunting crop, but whips of long flexible whalebone with lashes at the end-a whip of seven knotted cords, very fine, but looking very wicked, and last of all a sort of birch made of wire, the ends of which were bent at right angles.
"Pretty, aren't they?" said Muriel, laughing. "They'll come in later. We'll begin with this."
She turned to the other case and selected a long pliant birch, weighing it in her hand and swishing it in the air. Now was my opportunity. As she turned from me to the couch and the prone girl waiting, I suddenly flung my arms around her, pinioning both arms tightly to her side.