Lord of the Manor, part 5
by Stormchaser

Chapter 25. Discussions and preparations

The next two days seemed to drag on. He was distracted in every class he went to, every practice session and even found himself losing track of the number of bench and squat presses he was doing in the gym. The last was the craziest thing he had done because he could hurt himself if he could not concentrate. He had to stay focused on even the smallest thing he was doing. Several times when he saw the hall phone available he picked it up to call her then would put the phone down. “No.” He would tell himself, “I have to give her time to think and make up her mind.”

John did catch up with him Friday morning with the comment “Man you have to get your own phone.”

“What happened.” Gerwald asked.

“Yesterday Steele tried to get you on the hall phone and someone must have forgot about it, Anyway after about ten minutes he hung up and got hold of me last night at the frat. Anyway do you want to know the play by play for this weekend?”

Gerwald just had to chuckle around John. Leave it up to him to turn this weekend into a football game. “Tell me what’s happening John. Do I get to clean the stables again?”

John was chuckling with him now. “No man, it's a barbecue. But he wants the grounds looking good by Saturday night so here is the drill. Joanna picks you up Friday at six, same place. You start working Saturday morning on the grounds, mending fences and what have you, then help direct the rent-all people set up tents and tables and stuff. He is having a cookout for a bunch of his legal friends. It's all politics so keep you eyes and ears open and make friends, be charming and helpful. Even the cook gets a night off as he is having the whole thing catered. Big Al’s, that good BBQ place in downtown Austin, is doing the catering. Eat, stay sharp, don’t drink and make a fool of yourself.”

“What about my training?”

John was smiling ear to ear now. “Just do what I told you and believe me you will get your training.” Whatever John knew he was keeping to himself.

“Ok I packed last night for just about anything. You going to be there this time?”

“You bet! I'll see ya tonight at six. I gotta run and do some things myself.” John turned and ran off. He seemed very happy and left Gerwald to guess at what would happen this weekend.

As if he was not distracted enough, this little bit of intelligence kept his mind running in several different directions now. In one of his computer classes found himself staring at a terminal with no idea of why he was there, or what the assignment was. He had been elsewhere through the lecture part of the explanation of the assignment. He finally got his lab partner to explain a couple of things and was able to concentrate on the job in front of him. It took him awhile to compose his search algorithm but in the end it was done and he was happy with the result. Always the competitor, his result was about three lines of code shorter than anyone else’s that day. And in this field shorter was better.

The rest of the day zoomed by and he managed to maintain his concentration. His managed to focus on his conditioning exercises and had the best day there in a week. The fact that the coach who had seen to his injury was there and he had to prove that it was healed helped a but. It the end he had just felt better as he was able to use the exercise to burn some of the emotions he had been feeling. He could not explain it, but somehow things just felt clearer afterward.

After a shower and a ride back to his dorm room he killed an hour or so working on space command. He was dressed very respectably when he went to bicycle stand to wait.

The car pulled up at the appointed time for Gerwald, and he found that John and Joanna were already in the front seat. The door was again opened and he got in without comment. His bag was placed in the trunk and the car pulled away from the curb and made its way generally eastward towards Austin.

Gerwald wanted to question Joanna about what Cathy and her had talked about. He wanted, needed, to know what was said. But did not get far as John and Gerwald both had a letter from Steele to be hand delivered by Joanna. Gerwald's letter was basically some instructions while John's letter was more along the tone of requests. Gerwald’s letter outlined who would be with whom and his assignments for the weekend. Any training, if it happened, would be happening very later on Saturday after the cookout. Only a few of the guests knew of the some of the other things that happened at his place. It was possible that there might be some additional overnight guests. If there were, they would be in the know about the BDSM activities. All of the subs at his place tonight would have an assigned Dom or Squire. Steele himself would attend to Shirley. Gerwald’s escort at the party this weekend would be Kara, and if asked she was his girlfriend. John and Joanna would be there as a couple. Ed would be at the party attended by the cook Olivia.

Gerwald’s first job was to take care of the front lawn. Generally, he was to spiffy it up. He would have some fences to fix and paint. Steele would have an area roughly defined in his front yard for the party he was having tomorrow night and Gerwald would be directing the rental people and caterers and helping a local C&W band set up. He had never seen how something like this was put together. Being there at the start of the party and what really went on in the background would fun, better than just seeing the orchestrated result.

Evidentially Steele was a bit of a big shot in the local political circles, and he used these cookouts for several things. Not the least of which was to get certain parties together to mend some political fences. Steele acted as mediator for these things and usually helped people reached compromises, not always, but more often than not. The fact that most of the guests would be stuffed with food and well lubricated by good booze helped matters.

The letter was very blunt about several points. Gerwald could have one beer. It was mostly for show and he was to be seen with a half full mug in his hand. He was to have a clear head at all times. If Steele got parties to agree to something he might want him to be around to hear any agreement made. Steele’s merry band of helpers would make no advances towards anyone nor accept any.

The whole thing amused Gerwald no end, but he made no mention of it. Whatever happened, he was sure Steele had his reasons. As John explained it, he would be able to make contacts now that would prove valuable later. All he had to do was stay alert and clear-headed listen and learn.

About midway in the trip he did get a chance to chat with Joanna. The conversation was short and not what Gerwald had been hoping for. She had basically explained what a submissive was, asked Cathy a few questions and suggested that she might be submissive. Nothing of substance was explained. Her phone call the other night she had asked more questions. She had somehow let it slip about Gerwald going to Steele’s this weekend. She had not mentioned anything about the party at all. He had told her to be expecting a call from her next week. That got Joanna interested.

“What happened, Sir? Is she interested now?”

“She wanted to come with me this weekend. I told her no, she was not ready.”

“But why is she going to call me? What does she want? Does she know I’m a slave?” Now Joanna’s female curiosity was peaked.

“Yes, she does know you are John's slave. I think what she wants is to talk and ask more questions as she is very curious and interested now.”

“Tell me, Sir. What did you do to her? She seems like she wanted someone so badly the other day.”

That took some explanation and Gerwald related the events of the past few days from the last meeting in the cafeteria where she took off her under things for him to the little spanking she got in her room. When he was done Joanna and John was exchanging glances. After several seconds John looked at Gerwald from the front seat. “I think, farm boy, you have a sub in your hands. As soon as we get there I will talk to Steele and then I think he will talk to you.

The way John said that alarmed Gerwald. “Have I messed anything up? I didn’t try to reveal much.”

John considered this for a few seconds before he breathed out a long “No.” Then he continued, “You did fine, but I think the slaves are going to have a busy time in the next few months.” He then turned to Joanna next. “Will you talk to Shirley, tell her what has happened? She might want to make some preparations, perhaps have her out for a weekend alone.”

This whole conversation was going past Gerwald. They once again knew things he didn’t. “I messed up didn’t I?”

John and Joanna exchanged glances and Joanna smiled then went back to her driving but said nothing. “No you didn’t mess up, just this happened a lot faster than expected. It would have sooner or later but in cleaning up your farm boy image things went much quicker than anyone might have guessed.”

That helped relieve Gerwald’s mind some and he settled back in the seat for the rest of the drive. No one said a word for the rest of the drive. Not that there was that much left of the trip anyway. Gerwald looked at the book on his lap and then just grinned at himself. So much for studying this weekend, it was looking very full indeed.

They arrived at Steele’s house a few minutes later to find dinner had been held for them. Every one was there and even Ed had made time in his schedule for this. It was not fancy, but meatloaf and mashed potatoes suited Gerwald just fine. When they got there every one in jeans or work clothes and even Steele was wearing them tonight. Gerwald began to notice small things as he was eating. After dinner he went to take his bag to his room and what he saw in the music room and library confirmed his suspicion.

The house had gone from its normally pristine condition to immaculate. Everyone had been working cleaning up the place. Even the areas that usually showed signs of day-to-day use were picked up. The desk in the library was now completely clear of papers and books. Not a scrap of paper or pencil was out of place. The music room collection of records and tapes would normally be slightly disorganized, but now it was perfect. It looked like the boxes of tapes and record jackets had been lined up on the shelves with a straight edge. The subs and Steele had been busy. Everything had been dusted and cleaned. He began to wonder if there was any thing left to do tomorrow.

He got back down to the dining room to find John and Steele in a deep discussion in the library. Ed was standing in the music room like he was afraid to sit down and mess up one of the perfect pillows or cushions on the chairs or sofa. Gerwald knew the feeling all to well. Like cleaning up the house at home and you were waiting on the minister to show up for Sunday dinner.

Gerwald waved Ed into the dining room and sat down there and started talking to him. Gerwald had ulterior motives and began to talk with the Ed about his upcoming statistics course. Could he help, recommend some references or other books and so on. For some reason that upcoming course had scared him and he already looking for sources of help and it was still weeks away.

Ed did make some suggestions and said he would help and then told Gerwald about a new gadget that was just now showing up in bookstores and college campuses, a business calculator. Ed went to his things and pulled out his and Gerwald was playing with it. For some reason it was just fun to punch in a string of numbers and hit a function key and it watch gobble up the problem and spit out an answer on the tiny LED display. It had special keys for statistics functions that made it very handy. Gerwald was already feeling better now that he had a support network of sorts if he needed help.

John and Steele’s discussions ended and John left then. Shirley was seen running to the room after that. She was kneeling at Steele’s feet and they Steele began talking to her. After about twenty minutes she left and then came back with Joanna. Gerwald was sure this involved him and headed to his room to rest. Between everything that had happened the past few days he was tired in more ways that one. He got to his room to find Kara there hanging up his clothes. She knelt as he entered than he waved up her up. “Continue what you were doing.” He flopped into a chair.

She was looking at his one and only sports coat in a most disapproving fashion. She said nothing but put it on a hanger and then left for a minute and returned without it. She continued her unpacking of Gerwald’s clothes and finished a few minutes later. She knelt by his chair then she started to rest her head on his leg, but he checked her motion just before her head hit his leg. After looking at him briefly, Gerwald gave his permission with a nod and she laid her head down and Gerwald began to stroke her hair gently. He found this relaxing. Kara must have also because she gave a barley audible little sigh a few minutes later. Somehow things just seemed more in focus here and he had no explanation for it. Ten minutes or so later his restless nature took over. He needed to be doing something, but what?

The question was answered for him as Joanna appeared at the door and requested his presence in the library. He left and went downstairs to find Shirley still there and Joanna joined them. Steele began the conversation with a warm handshake. “Welcome back Squire Gerwald, I hope your ride down was comfortable.”

“Yes very, I didn’t even raid your snacks.”

“The assignment this weekend, can you handle it?” asked Steele.

Gerwald was nodding his head yes, “I’m more used to wire fences but I’m sure I can do what needs to be done if I have the materials.”

“Out by the storage building you should find everything you need. I have posts, lumber, tools, paint and cement. If you need something else let me know. It should not be too bad, I only saw a couple of places that really needed work and that’s where one of the horses decided to kick the fence.”

“Sounds good, I can get right to work then after breakfast.” Gerwald continued to think a second, “What about clean up, do you have turpentine or mineral spirits?”

“Also in the shed,” Steel commented. ”And speaking of work, it seems like you have been busy if what John and Joanna tell me is correct.”

“Yes Sir, I have. She wanted to come this weekend but I had to tell her no. She was upset but I made my point.”

“Good decision. This weekend will be trying enough as it is.” Steele got up and began to pace again. “If you approve, you can ask her if she can spend a Saturday here. If she can I'll arrange the transportation. Shirley and the others will spend the day with her and get an idea of her feelings and perhaps introduce to the realities of this, She will be picked up and brought back the same day. She won’t be hurt or touched but she will know after this what she may be getting into. Oh, this has to be a solo trip. You won’t be here for this one. She has to do this on her own. We can show her the path, but she has to walk it alone.”

Gerwald was nodding his head yes. “Next weekend we have a game so I will try and set it up for then if that’s alright with you.”

Once again Steel shook his hand. “Agreed. Everyone here has been working their butts off today and is tired. We have a long day ahead of us, so lets get some rest.”

“I do have one question that I have been thinking about and maybe you can help me with it.” Gerwald got out slowly.

Steele looked at Gerwald and saw the look of concern on his face. “ Go ahead, what is it?”

“You know I am very new to this,” Gerwald paused then stumbled over the next part. “What happens? If, If Cathy decided this is not for her.”

Steele quit his pacing and put an arm around Gerwald shoulder. “You are asking if we will forbid you to see her again or that sort of thing aren’t you?”

“Well, yes.” Gerwald got out.

“We did get you into this a little fast.” Steele was smiling now. “I have been too busy to explain it all to you. Then again, my young squire, you have been working fast also. Never has a squire of mine picked up on things so fast or found a girl that might make a sub so fast. Ed has been here on and off for almost two years and this has yet to happen to him. If she decides against this nothing happens and you will have a lovely girlfriend with submissive tendencies. It does happen that way. If she decides to come out here, prior her trip Shirley or Joanna will call her and explain a few things. Don’t worry about that. Feel better now?”

Gerwald got out a slow, “Yes, Thank you.”

Shirley got Steele’s attention with a glance and a look and he went over to her and leaned down and she whispered a few words in his ear. Steele looked at Gerwald and then Shirley then said aloud “You are right, my pet.” Then he turned to Gerwald. “With your rapid induction into this, it has just been brought to my attention that you may be coming back here out of some feeling of obligation to me or John. Is that the case?”

“No Sir.” Gerwald said quickly.

Steele smiled “I didn’t think so but it needed to be said. If you decide this is not for you as well just tell me. All I will ask is you keep quiet about what you learned here. You are always welcome back. Now let’s call it a night. This has been a long day.”

Everyone drifted out and Gerwald got back to his room to find Kara dressed in the toga now. His things were put up and she had been sitting in a chair waiting for him, but she slipped to her knees when he entered. “May I ask Sir what the Master wanted?”

“I met a girl at school, she is interested in this lifestyle. Steele wanted to talk to me about that. I’m trying to make arrangements for her to come here soon and see if this is something she may want to continue,” Gerwald said slowly. He was watching her face, looking for her reactions.

Kara frowned at first then smiled as he finished his explanation. ”Thank you, Sir, you didn’t have to explain if you didn’t want to. I was afraid you were leaving us the way you started talking about it.”

“No nothing like that. I noticed her a few weeks ago and had Joanna talk to her. She wanted to come here this weekend, and I had to tell her no. She is very new to this and is just not ready.”

Kara began to wheedle a little “Please, Sir, tell me all about it. How you noticed her, what you have done to her.” When Gerwald did not seem inclined to answer she asked again. “Please, Sir.”

Gerwald was inclined just to spank her to keep her quiet bit also knew his version would have to be told sooner or later. He related the whole episode. From noticing her in the cafeteria to the little spanking game he had played before leaving to the discussion he had with Steele.

Kara was nodding her head from time to time but said nothing until he was finished. “I think, Sir, you have found your slave. I would not worry about it at all. You are to be commended for showing restraint in not taking her. I’ll bet that was hard for you, Sir. No pun intended. Don’t worry about me Sir, my heart belongs to another.”

Gerwald could only sigh. Patience and control, he was running short of both. The constant up and down of emotions he had been having the past several weeks were telling on him was well. He suddenly felt weary. Tired to the bone weary. He motioned Kara to the bed and she shucked her blue tunic on the way there. Gerwald kicked off his pants and pulled off his shirt without unbuttoning it. Then fell into bed and was asleep a few minutes later.

He woke the next morning before the sun was up. Gradually his internal clock was getting back on schedule. The late nights studying had changed his internal circadian but now it was getting back in sync. Kara was next to him nude and warm and it just felt good to feel her next to him. He stretched out his senses to see if anyone was up yet only to hear nothing and then snuggled back in the bed. He stayed there for another twenty minutes or so just snuggling Kara until biological needs forced him to get up and find the bathroom. He got back to his room to find Kara awake and kneeling in the bed waiting to be commanded. He face was a study of need, what need he could guess but motioned her to the bathroom and she padded of nude and was back quickly. He was waiting for her and had her get a condom and made gentle love to her until she had an orgasm and then he came quickly after that. He got dressed and went downstairs with Kara in tow.

Despite what he had heard upstairs, the kitchen was already busy. Olivia had coffee made and was preparing a large platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and toast. She didn’t notice him when he entered and snuck up behind her and hugged her from behind. Her reaction was to try and kneel. Gerwald told her to continue and she went back to her eggs before she looked behind herself.

Gerwald was smiling at her. “My mother says I should always thank the cook, I never have and I just wanted to do that. You do a great job and the food is always wonderful. Thank you!”

Olivia was smiling now then glanced up to his eyes then back down to her work. “You are welcome, Sir, but anything would taste good after the dining hall food you get.”

Gerwald had to chuckle but lifted her chin and kissed her. “Maybe, but did want to say the words and kiss the loveliest cook in the world.”

Olivia smiled and went back to her work. “You, Sir, are a flatterer and a tease, but thank you.”

He started to get coffee and she beat him to him to it giving him a big mug and a plate heaped high with food. He sat down to eat and noticed Kara pitching in and helping her. Both were smiling now and exchanging looks of amusement.

Gerwald finished his breakfast and went outside to walk the fence line. After seeing what had to be done he got to work. The morning was spent repairing fences; sawing and replacing cross pieces then painting them after that. He had just finished painting when Olivia and Kara came outside with a picnic lunch of sandwiches, fresh homemade peach pie and lemonade. If nothing else maybe his compliment got him a little consideration from Olivia. They joined him to eat then picked up and left. He began to cut the weeds along the fence line. They were growing stubbornly despite the care this lawn received.

Gerwald got a wheelbarrow and shoveled a mixture of wood chips and compost into it and treated all the shrubs. The front was looking very good when he finished. He was about to walk into the house when the delivery trucks showed up with the chairs and tables and awning and he got them started. He directed them, and the crew had everything set up and erected in an hour. The band and caterer showed up about them and began to set up. The caterer cooked all his food on site and had a portable smoker and spit. Soon the whole yard began to smell of hickory smoke and roasting beef, pork, and chicken. Whatever else happened tonight the food would be great!

Chapter 26 Contacts and Spontaneous Training

When the last of it had been set up and the truck pulled into the back and parked Gerwald headed to the house feeling very satisfied. He had more than given Steele his end of the bargain, now he would have to wait and see. Steele had been out once to check on things. He had not seen anything he didn’t like, or had made no comment if he did, and he went back to the house after spending ten minutes outside looking around.

The band was set up and relaxing now, the caterer was cooking up a storm. The pavilion awnings were set up with tables and chairs under it set up for one hundred people. Evidently when Steele had a party people came and he entertained in no small fashion. Gerwald had been seeing and signing delivery receipts all day and the money manager side of his brain could not be put on hold. For what he had seen on the receipts today Gerwald could have comfortably paid for two semesters of schools and still had change left over.

He went inside only to be stopped by Kara who quickly begged him to go to the downstairs bathroom. It had a comfortable chair set up in the middle of the room with a sheet draped over it and she had him sit down then began to cut his hair. The whole bathroom had been set up as a barber/beauty salon. Everything she needed was set up, from brushes to razors. After he had his haircut she shaved his face as well. The she handed him the mirror to see that once again she had worked her magic. Even his sideburns were ruler straight and level for a change.

He was then asked to please go upstairs and shower and change. That was one request he had no problem with as he had been wanting to that since he hit the door. He found his clothes laid out and they had been pressed. Even more interesting he found some items had been added to his wardrobe, including belt and matching belt buckle and bolo string tie and even a new Stetson hat. He could only shake his head in wonder. Obviously Steele was even having a say about his clothing.

Thirty minutes later he was downstairs to find the others in the music room all dressed about the same. The subs were all dressed in western attire as well and it looked like Kara had had a busy day. John and Ed had both had haircuts as well and all of the subs' hair had been done as well. Steele appeared looking very dapper and was wearing a brown western cut suit, shirt and bolo tie, and this had been topped off with a matching cowboy hat.

Both John and Ed seemed to have had a busy day as well. The library table had been stacked high with papers and files and they were just now putting the last of it away into file boxes, then parking them in a closet.

After Steele gave a quick look around he called Gerwald to the side. After looking him over he gave a low whistle. “Quite an improvement, young squire, I see Kara’s magic and a change of clothes made a difference.” He was shaking his head as if not believing what he saw, then continued. “Most of my guests know my place and where to go to park but I have some new people coming. Would keep an eye on the parking? If someone tries to block the drive tactfully suggest pulling off onto the graveled area. Just stay in the tent area unless it looks like you're needed.”

Gerwald chuckled but nodded his head yes. He realized there was a lesson here in what John called “Presence”. If some one his size and weight smiled and asked you politely to move your car down the driveway a little, you probably would. He had to believe that John had learned this very lesson here doing the very same thing for Steele in the past. He headed outside and found a nice place to sit. He got a soft drink at the refreshment area and sat down. The band members were getting tuned up and he was enjoying watching them cutting up and having fun before they actually had to produce something that resembled music. Kara came outside a few minutes later and joined him.

Cars had started arriving and most did know what to do. He only got up once then sat back down when one car decided to turn around and try it again and got parked in about the right place the second time. Couples were getting out of the cars and headed to the house where Steele was meeting them. Some went inside, some stayed on the porch. Most were shaking hands and socializing. A few drifted out to the pavilion looking for a drink or perhaps, Gerwald thought, drawn by the wonderful smell of fresh made barbecue.

For his part Gerwald stayed put. When people looked lost he introduced himself and pointed people in the right direction. If engaged in conversation, his story was simple, He meet Steele through a mutual friend and team mate (through John. This was true) He was a student at TAMU (true). Played on the football team there and was a scholarship student (true). He made a little extra money doing odd jobs for Steele (true, if a little bit of a stretch). And got invited down this weekend to lend a hand and help out (true). The lovely lady on his arm was his girlfriend. (True, if a bit of stretch as well).

Mostly many wanted to talk about football and for Kara’s part she stayed on his arm and talked to the wives about most anything. He was meeting state senators and representatives, judges, district attorneys, and a few other assorted lawyers and lawmakers. Some men and a surprising assortment of women in this bunch held positions. As Steele had promised he would be introduced to some influential people.

The whole bunch seemed to move from the house to the pavilion area and the band started a few minutes later. Thirty or so minutes later the caterer rang a dinner triangle and people began to eat and drink. Steele’s group of merry makers stayed out of the way and made sure the guests had chance to go first, keeping them occupied with conversation at the right time, refilling drinks when the opportunity presented itself, and helping in any number of small ways.

Mostly Steele was using this gathering to get people together and talk about thing in a relaxed casual atmosphere. Gerwald kept his eyes and ears open and learned a few things. It seemed to him that parties like this were where the real decisions were made. Mostly Gerwald shook hands, talked football, nodded his head affirmatively at the right times and stayed out of the way. Steele was the one doing the real work seeing that those parties who needed to be thrown together accidentally, did. Things began to break up about eleven and by midnight all but one car had gone. Kara had gone in earlier and Gerwald had hung around to see the band and caterer off. The only thing left now were the tents, chairs, and tables. These would be picked up in the morning. He killed the lights that hung from the frames of awnings like lights on a Christmas tree lot and went inside.

He found everyone in the library talking to the guest who had not left. She was a lovely creature; auburn hair, and thirty something if Gerwald had to judge. But he knew his estimates of ages were often badly mistaken. He was wondering if he should just slip by and head upstairs when Steele noticed him and called him into the library. He was once again introduced to a guest. This time the introductions were a little different than the formal ones he had waded through all evening.

He had been trying to put a name with the face when Steele Spoke. “Squire Gerwald, I would like to introduce to you our guest in a different light. This is Judge Paula Miles. She won an appointment to the Appellate court a while back and is former slave of mine from long ago."

Gerwald stuck out his hand again to shake her hand and was very surprised when rather than a handshake she took Gerwald’s hand and kissed it lovingly. She looked up at that point and said, “Congratulations, Squire Gerwald, on your acceptance by Master Garrett.”

Gerwald had no idea what was happening or how to reply. “Thank you,” was all he could think of to say.

“So Paula, continue with what you were saying.” Steele said, leaning in close now as if to encourage her.

Paula gave a big sigh but started to speak again. “Anyway you know I have to make decisions now based on what a higher appeals court might say. I don’t have to like it, just take what I believe is the correct course of action.”

Steele was nodding his head yes. “I told you the decisions would be hard. I have reviewed several of your higher visibility decisions and have found no fault with them. You have done a good job so far. I would have made the same decisions, I think.”

Paula let out a long sigh. "Thank you, Master Garrett. It means a lot to me coming from you. I really wish you would have taken that appointment to the court.”

Steele was smiling again. “You know what that would have meant, I enjoy my life too much this give this up. I didn’t want to have to make explanations about my staff. I could have done it. I just did not want anyone looking here to closely. Also I would have had to give up my practice and you know I would have hated that.”

She gave another sigh. “I know, but your clients are only raping the land, not people.” Then she put her hand to her mouth. “I’m sorry, that slipped out. I didn’t mean to say that.”

Steele face remained impassive. “Yes I know, and its true, oil harvesting disputes and environmental issues can be touchy but they can be solved. It's OK Paula, I don’t like some of my work or clients either.”

“Thank you Master Garrett. That helps coming from you.” Paula said softly.

“You are welcome. You know that you will always be welcome here in any capacity. That still doesn’t explain what you are doing here tonight or what you want. Now tell your former master. Why you are really here?”

Paula looked down at her hands and paused a long time. When she looked back up there were tears in her eyes. When she began to talk again you could feel the anguish in her voice. “I had to make a decision a few weeks ago that’s tearing me up inside. The case was sick and twisted and the police handled thing badly. Have you read about it in the law reviews?"

Steele nodded his head. “Yes I know the one you are talking about and it was as nasty as anything I have heard about.”

“I had to dismiss and you know it. The appellate court would have laughed at it if I had let go higher,” Paula got out between tears.

“Yes I know, Paula. You made a good decision. I knew you would have to have hated that decision but you did right.” Steele said this gently but said nothing else. Whatever it was she wanted she would have to say it.

Paula was still leaking tears and sat there silent for a few minutes. The silence had grown uncomfortably long. Every one in the room was looking at each other with an expression of “What do we do now?” Steele had looked up and made a little gesture with his hands as if to say wait. Then a finger to his lips to say to all assembled there to be quiet.

Shirley looked at her Master and he nodded yes to something and she left a moment and came back with a box of tissues. She knelt by Paula and put these in her lap and waited. After another long pause she got one and dried her eyes then looked up with red-rimmed eyes. She took Shirley’s hand and kissed it. “Thank you, mistress.”

After another pregnant pause Paula stood up and went to Steels place then knelt. She put her head down and took his hands. She started to speak after another long moment. Her voice was low and soft. “When I was here and your sub, when I messed up you punished me and then forgave me. We started fresh again. I need that now. I need to be punished. Then given absolution.”

Steele was looking at her kindly but you could see the internal battle on his face. Whatever demons had driven her here tonight they had to be expunged. He took her head in his hands then kissed her forehead. “I cannot do this for you. I am an officer of the court also.”

Paula looked at him and the tears started to leak again. Then Steele looked at Shirley. “Fetch a collar.”

He looked down a Paula again. “I can't, but another can. I will allow you to submit for the evening to anyone here. Whether they are Master, slave, sub or squire. If you choose this, you know what it may mean." Steele said in a slow, measured fashion. “It's up to you, but this house is safe place for you. You know that anything that happens here will never leave here.” As he said this he looked around the room and got nods of agreement from everyone. Shirley was kneeling beside Paula now and had a simple leather collar in her hands. Steele took this from Shirley and placed it in Paula’s hands. Then he took her head in his hands again. “Now, place it on the table and leave or place it at someone’s feet knowing what it means.” Then he looked at everyone in the room. “Anyone who does not want participate in this after hearing her request may leave now. I'll understand.”

Ed stood up and left, then Olivia quietly left the room. She seemed to be crying also. Joanna was looking at John but his face was the old stone man. He was neither agreeing nor disagreeing about allowing Joanna to participate. Shirley was shuffling uncomfortably, as was Kara. Both had decided to stay. Steele gave it another minute before he said anything.

Steele looked at the lovely face in his hands and waited another few moments. When he was sure that every one assembled had made up their mind he said rather harshly to Paula “Choose or leave.”

She looked at that plain black collar in her hands for a bit and then looked at the people in the room and at the long table in the center of the room. She knew this decision was up to her also. Still she waited. The tears had dried up now. She put the collar in her mouth and went on her hand and knees to Gerwald and dropped it at his feet then looked up at him briefly then put her head down again. Every one began to leave the library but Steele, Gerwald, and Paula.

Steele got up to and left the library and motioned Gerwald to join him. Once outside he put a hand on Gerwald’s shoulder. “Are you up to this?”

“I think so, but I have no idea how to go about this.” Gerwald said slowly.

Steele nodded his understanding, “Use the play room, I'll send Kara down to help you if you want, she know where everything is. Make her wait a few minutes. She can still leave and she knows it. Find an excuse to punish her. I know this is a lot to ask of you but this is her decision. Now it’s yours. Just do what you feel is right in this case.”

Then Steele went down the hall to be joined by Shirley a moment later. She had just unlocked the playroom and followed her Master down the hall. Gerwald went to a chair in the music room and flopped down. He considered what he might do then stood and went to the wall of sound equipment. He turned on the receiver and amplifier and selected a station at random and then selected the playroom speakers. After waiting five minutes by his watch he stood up and went to the library door and stood there a second before drawing a deep breath and opening the door.

Gerwald entered the room to find that Paula had not moved. She was still there on her hands and knees, the collar where she had dropped it. Gerwald could only wonder what to do next. Kara entered the room a moment later and knelt by Paula. She had changed in the few minutes she was gone from the pretty western style outfit she had to her blue tunic again.

Gerwald picked up the collar and turned it over a time or two in his hand and slapped it in his palm once hard. The sound bounced off the walls like a shot and both girls jumped a little at its report. “Last chance, Paula. Leave or stay.”

Paula made no motion other than to shake her head no. Gerwald accepted this and barked “Position!” as John had done some months ago.

Both assumed this position, back on heels, legs open, hands behind neck with fingers interlaced. The speed with both assumed this impressed Gerwald, especially since this had to have been years for Paula since she had done this. He quickly put the collar around Paula’s neck and buckled it shut without any preamble.

Gerwald was wondering what to do next but the command was out of his mouth before he had realized what he had said. “Strip.”

Again both obeyed quickly. Kara had an east time of it as she was only wearing the tunic. Paula on the other hand was wearing a skirt, blouse, bra, panties, pantyhose and boots. It took her several minutes to get these off and then follow Kara’s lead and get back into position. Paula was indeed lovely. Only a slight sag to her breasts gave any indication that she was older. She must have watched her figure very closely.

Having the two nude females in front of him gave him an immediate erection but he looked from one to the other trying to find a flaw in either of them. His gaze landed on Kara’s crotch then on Paula’s. He had his reason.

“Kara, get me a leash and a crop.” Gerwald barked, and Kara leapt to her feet and left the room. She was back perhaps a minute later out of breath and knelt again by Paula.

Gerwald went to Paula and touched her exposed armpits and then her sides. “Paula, you came here today knowing what might happen and you dare to present yourself like that?”

“Like what, Sir.” Paula squeaked.

“When you last were here, how did Master Garrett insist that keep yourself.” Gerwald said, hoping that he correct that Steele had insisted on this even then. He was making one wild guess.

Paula blushed very deeply then gave a very weak “shaven, Sir.”

“Kara, Put your tunic back on and take her with you. You will shave her completely. Underarms, legs, pussy, then leash her and take her to the playroom. I'll be waiting there.” Gerwald said, then he stormed out of the room.

He was smiling all the way. He made it to the playroom then looked around. He still had no idea how to do this. He began looking in drawers and cabinets looking for things. He found a number of interesting items tucked away but most everything was locked. The nipple clamps he had seen before but had never used. Time to improvise. He found one of the floor pillows and placed it in front of a chair then sat down and waited. 'Now do I have the strength to do this', he wondered

Kara appeared ten minutes later tugging Paula on the leash. Kara saw what he had set up and got Paula to the pillow and had her kneel, then knelt at Gerwald’s side and handed him the leash.

In a very low voice Kara said “She is prepared as you instructed, Sir.”

Gerwald took the leash and grunted as if satisfied. “You are dismissed, Kara.” Then waited until she had stood and left the room closing the door behind her. Paula had not looked up the whole time.

When the door closed Gerwald snapped “Position.” And she assumed that lovely position of submission for him on the pillow.

He made a bit of a show of checking her body. Checking underarms and running his finger along her sex. When he found her sex dry he made up his mind. This was more for effect rather then something sexual.

“Hold on to the chair legs with both hands. He said angrily, hoping she would not see through his little show of feigned anger.

She did that but said nothing. He stood and took off his belt and removed the buckle and placed it in a pocket. Whatever else happened he did not really want to hurt her, even accidentally.

Her position exposed her back and ass then he stood behind her. “If you break this position I will start over. For presenting yourself here tonight unshaven and anything else you might have done, twenty five strokes. You will count each stroke and beg forgiveness when I am done. Then he laid the leather to her bottom. He was able to control the stroke, and confined it to her bottom, realizing that marks elsewhere might show. She got out “One,” between her tears.

He didn’t use all of his strength and quickly went through all that he promised. By the last stroke she was hoarse but got out, “Twenty Five.” Gerwald sat back down. He was breathing hard himself.

She was panting at the end but got out in that hoarse voice. “Thank you Sir, I beg your forgiveness.”

Gerwald reached over and grabbed her hair and raised her head. When he could see her eyes he said as gently as he could, “All is forgiven Paula. It’s over. You start over now. No more tears.” Then he gave her a very brief kiss. “You may break position now. Go and get dressed and go home.” He stood up and removed the collar from her neck.

When the collar left her neck she stood up and gave Gerwald a hug. “Thank you, Sir.” Then she left the room.

Gerwald was standing there shaking his head as if waking from a dream. He had done what she had wanted but still had to wonder at his ability to do that. He was feeling some pangs of guilt about this. He could not seem to shake it off and went in search of her. He went to the library and found Judge Miles shrugging on the last of her clothes and wincing a bit as she was tugging clothes into place.

“Are you OK?” Gerwald asked.

She smiled at him and laid a hand on his cheek. “Yes, I’m fine, that was just what I needed. Thank you,” she said softly. Then she picked up her remaining things and left him standing there with a sense of wonder.

Steele was at his side a minute later, once again with a hand on his shoulder. They watched as she left. “You did fine. Not too much, not too little, you gave her what she wanted and you told her what she needed to hear. She will remember you now and that may be important some time in the future. I’m only sorry I had no time to instruct in this in how to give a proper whipping. Next time you are here I will. Now time for your medicine, to ease that guilty streak you have.” Steele handed him a tumbler full of an amber liquid. “Bourbon, or as my British friend would say a whiskey neat. Drink it all now then go to bed. You worked harder than any of us today.”

Gerwald drank it straight down and then coughed for a full minute trying to get his breath. When he got his voice he asked in a hoarse voice. “Why me, why did she pick me?”

Steel smiled at that but slapped him on the back. “You have no idea, do you? Because, Squire Gerwald, you were the biggest, handsomest, man in the room.” He paused. “Next to me, of course.” He started chuckling and went down the hall.

Chapter 27 Decisions.

Gerwald did go to bed. Between working on the fences and yard, adding local color to Steele’s party, and being the background stage manager, he was exhausted. The straight slug of whiskey didn’t help either. His head was spinning as he made his way to the room.

He had not even bothered to turn on the light. He had shucked his clothes and slipped into bed and was feeling the bed spin around him. A moment later he heard Kara working around him. After hanging up his jacket and putting a few things away he felt her weight in the bed beside him. He was aware enough know he reached out to hold her. And after a few seconds he asked, “Why did she pick me for that.”

Kara did not respond for a few seconds but finally whispered. “When it comes to a woman, Sir, will you ever really know? But you were most handsome man there this evening.”

Gerwald could only consider this then closed his eyes in the hope the room would quit dancing around him. Sleep mercifully took over a few minutes later. Kara waited until felt his even breathing then slipped out of the bed. She went and got the aspirin bottle and a small glass of water and placed it on the desk before slipping into bed again with a small, satisfied smile. The Squires and Master really needed a keeper to save them from their follies.

The next morning Gerwald got up with a headache. It was not the full-blown headache of a hangover but a nagging persistent one that promised to hang on for a while. He spied the aspirin and water and quickly took four of them, then sat down. He was still very groggy and tried to put together the events that lead up to the headache. The entire evening rushed back to him in a flash and he remembered he was at Steele’s. He looked outside to find it still dark, then his real reason for waking up made itself known.

In the dark and quiet of a Sunday morning he stumbled to the bathroom and sat down on the commode and took care of his business. He sat there with his head in his hands for ten minutes trying to get the energy to go back to bed. The sun had just started to peek over the horizon when he made his way back to his room and flopped back down. His next awareness was hearing the deep-throated rumble of a diesel truck. He woke up trying to place that, and then remembered the rental people were coming to pick up the chairs and tables and tents after twelve noon today. He found his watch and checked the time.

Almost one o’clock and he was still in bed! Kara was gone, his things were packed and a few things were laid out on the bed beside him. He slipped into the jeans and shirt and boots left out for him and went outside. There was really very little for him to do and he just watched as the equipment was removed with the efficiency of a circus taking down the big top. He was handed a clipboard that had the release agreement and once he signed that the truck was gone five minutes later, belching diesel smoke.

The headache was not gone but had curled itself into a tight little ball and was now centered behind his eyes. He went inside in search of food and coffee to find Olivia once again in the kitchen. She waved him to the kitchen table and set down coffee and pancakes. “Please don’t eat yet, Sir. You really need something else first.” She went to the refrigerator and got out tomato juice and other ingredients he did not recognize and a large tumbler. A minute later she put the drink in front of him.

"Please drink it all, Sir, straight down. It will help!” Whatever it was it was awful but the fuzzy feeling he had in his stomach went away and the headache receded back a little further as he finished his brunch.

Feeling much better than when he sat down he took his dishes to the sink and went to Olivia and gave her a little kiss on the cheek and said, "Thank you." He was about to leave when he gave her a little pat on the butt.

Olivia turned around and pointed her mixing spoon at him like a gun. "One day, Sir I'm gonna have you right where you want me! Then she started snickering as she went back to her work. All Gerwald could do was wonder at how everybody here seemed to maintain a trim figure despite the food she served up daily.

He found Joanna and John in the music room and asked about today's transportation. They had just been discussing that, and John's answer of "half an hour" suited Gerwald just fine. He got to his room to find his bag packed and ready to go. He lay down for twenty minutes before he got his bag and went downstairs to find them ready to go, and they were on the road a minute later. Gerwald napped most of the way back and was feeling like his old self by the time they reached College Station.

Gerwald was dropped off and he went to his room. He tossed the bag in a corner and flopped into his bed. It was strangely comforting to be in his bed. The way things were arranged at Steele's, from laundry to food, was nice and made his life easy, but it was just an elaborate cage, designed to give him time to help Steele and learn. The cage was gilded, pleasurable and comfortable, but a cage of sorts nonetheless. He wondered how much this was having an effect on him, being around the rich and privileged.

But now it was time to call Cathy. He was back at school now, but later than he had expected to be. Cathy at this point could react a number of ways. He really didn’t know what to expect. He might know her as well as some others, perhaps better in places, as he had seen through her carefully constructed walls. Her initial excitement he was sure had worn off. Now that she had time for some careful thought. She had some idea now of what might happen.

He started peeking outside at the hall phone in-between unpacking, and grabbed the phone the first time he saw it open. The receiver cord had not even stopped moving. He quickly dialed her number and waited for it to ring. It was picked up on the third ring. Cathy answered. “Hello?”

“Hello, Cathy I’m back. Sorry I’m running late,” Gerwald got out.

“I was beginning to wonder.” Cathy replied after a moment’s hesitation.

“The party my mentor had this weekend ran very late.”

“Can you tell me about it?”

“Yes I can do that.” Gerwald continued after considering a moment. “Since I’m back should I come over? Or am I interrupting something.”

“I guess so,” Cathy breathed. "I have waited a while. It doesn’t matter now. It’s getting late.”

“Do you have a time in mind? I did talk to my Mentor about you.” Gerwald said, grinning and wondering if her curiosity would break her mood.

“You did?” Her voice had some life in it now, rather than the flat monotone she had been using.

“Oh yes, we had a long talk. But I thought that maybe you might like to hear about this in person.” Gerwald was smiling now. He had thrown a baited hook in the water and felt a little nibble.

Cathy took the bait.“Yes, I would like that.”

“So pick a time. I just got back and I'm still unpacking. Its two now, so how about three to three thirty...” Gerwald let that hang there.

“I am doing laundry myself. It’s going to take me awhile to finish.”

“Yes. That’s good. I have to shower and what have you.”

“All right…Sir.”

“I’ll be there no later than three thirty. Thank you Cathy. Goodbye for now, I’ll see you soon. Have a pretty dress on for me.”

“Yes Sir.” Cathy replied. Her tone had dropped a little in pitch.

“Goodbye.” And Gerwald hung up. He was very pleased with the way that went. Whatever else happened she was still interested. She was being a bit reserved but that was normal for her. In the meantime he had to get cleaned up and ready.

The remaining clothes he put up and kicked the bag into his closet. He took a shower and shaved. The tepid water in the dorm for the first time in a long time felt good. He took a little more time than he usually did getting his hair dried and combed rather than just getting it out of his way. And he dressed in something a little more respectable than his usual worn out jeans. He fired up his computer and made some notes in his journal. That killed the time if it did nothing else.

A little after three he went and got his bike and began to make his way there. The exercise and fresh air did him as much good as the shower and he began to sprint on his bike. He felt his body responding to the exercise, loosening up, and some of the tension he had felt melted away. Then he did a couple of laps around her block to cool down a bit from the sprint he had just done.

At three thirty he knocked on her door. It was open a moment later to reveal Cathy in a lovely jade green dress. It was shorter than he had seen her in but as she stood there framed in the half open door he could only think how pretty she was. Besides that he noticed the scarf was missing from around her neck and her hair was down but neatly held back with a hair band.

"Hello Cathy, I’m happy to see you." Gerwald said from his leaning position on the door. "That's a very pretty dress."

Cathy’s face broke into a smile when she saw him. “I’m glad you're back. I missed you.”

Gerwald leaned over a little and kissed her on the cheek. “Can I come in? I thought a lot about you this weekend as well.”

Only then did Cathy open the door wide. “Please, come in.”

The little dorm room was spotless. With the exception of a few loose items of laundry folded on the bed, and an open couple of books on the desk, nothing was out of place. She had to have been bored this weekend and cleaned to kill some time. He began to look for a place to sit down and chose the chair at the desk. “Have you been busy this weekend?”

Cathy perched on the end of her bed holding her legs together. "A little, it's been very quiet. I do have a paper I'm working on, but it's not due until the end of the week."

“I have to do a lot of my work before I go to my mentor's home. Its a chore, but necessary.”

“I see.” Cathy said. At the mention of Steele, even in the abstract, she tensed back up.

“I got mostly caught up before I left. Then had a busy time there.”

“What do you do there all weekend?” Cathy asked. He could see she was interested.

“This weekend I mended fences, took care of his yard, helped the rental people set up a BBQ.”

“Sounds like a lot of work,” Cathy said, sounding surprised.

“It was but the party was important to him. A time for some fence mending of his own, I think. There were lot of politics going on I didn’t understand. But I meet a lot of people. It was an exhausting weekend,”

“And you told him about me? Did you tell him I am not ready? Cathy had if anything closed her legs together tighter and crossed her arms across her chest.

“Yes, I did. And that you would maybe like to come down. Are you still interested? You are not committing to anything if you go down there.”

“I want to go. I'm not sure what I'm getting into. But as long as you are there.” Cathy got out hugging herself as if cold.

“That is the hard part.”

“How is that hard?” Cathy asked.

“As he puts it, he can show you the path, but you must walk it alone. I can’t be there.”

Cathy’s face took on a look of shock then. “Oh no. You have to be there. I'm not ready. You said so yourself. I can't go alone.”

“I’m sorry, but you must. Besides, I do have a game next weekend and that’s when he has time.” Gerwald spoke slowly, wanting her to understand.

The look of shock was still on Cathy’s face. “Oh wow. That soon, and by myself?”

“Yes, next weekend and by yourself. Trust me, please. You will be safe. I have his word.”

Cathy stood up at this point. “I am a bit nervous. No, I am scared.” The she paused and looked at Gerwald then added a “Sir.”

“All he will do is talk to you. Then perhaps his slaves will talk to you and perhaps show you a few things.”

Cathy lowered her head. Her expression was frustrated and confused. Then she looked up and said in a controlled voice. “I trust you."

“ I know how hard this is. And thank you for your trust.” Gerwald said, looking into her eyes.

“I do not think you would place me in harm's way." Cathy said, looking back down.

"I won't, I think it will open you eyes to things you never dreamed of. Should I make the call and set things up for Saturday? It is off campus." Gerwald was smiling now.

"All right." Cathy said. Then the off campus comment seem to have sunk in. "How do I get there?"

Gerwald smiled when she caught up with his line of thought. "I'll arrange everything. Transportation will be provided. You know Joanna, the slave of John's I introduced you to and you talked to the other day?"

"Yes." Cathy said slowly.

"She will drive you there. She is working for my mentor as his chauffeur."

"Ooh." Cathy breathed. Things were starting to click together in her mind.

"Where would you be comfortable meeting a car?"

Cathy considered this question for a moment. "Here. The dorm." Then she qualified her statement. "If it's Joanna."

Gerwald was considering this now. "OK that's good, say the bus stop by the corner?"

Cathy turned her head towards the window. Looking at the bench he was speaking of. "That will work." She got out slowly

"We did not set a time but I think it would have to be very early, what time is the earliest you could be outside Saturday morning?"

"I am a early riser. How about seven AM?" Cathy hugged herself tighter as she said this.

"I'll see what I can arrange. Nervous yet?" Gerwald asked as he was watching her body language.

"No." Cathy almost shouted then lowered her voice and continued. "I'm terrified."

Gerwald leaned over and took her hands. "Don't be. It will be fine. If at any time you want to come back here just say so. He won't hold you. But I think you will want to stay."

"I think you are probably right. I have to find out sooner or later about myself, don't I" Cathy asked, looking at her hands in Gerwald's.

"The house is magnificent and the food is always great. You will be fine. It will be OK, Cathy." Gerwald said gently.

"I don't know, Sir. I don't know these people. I don't know what to wear. What if I don't do the right things? Like our little lesson?" Cathy was on the verge of tears now.

"Then ask to leave and you will be taken home. They won't hold you there if you ask to leave. What else can I tell you to help?"

"Will Joanna be there the whole time?" Cathy asked after she went back to hugging herself.

"Yes she will, and several others."

"Ok. I will go and make you proud then." Cathy said, looking up at Gerwald again.

"Thank you, Cathy. You will soon see what its like and see how happy they are. You won't regret it." Gerwald had taken her hand again and kissed it when he was done.

"Do they all have," Cathy paused and groped for the right word, "Sirs?"

"Well, most do. Joanna has a Master as you know. My mentor has one collared slave and several subs."

"All right I really don’t know what to think about this."

"Anything else I can tell you? Gerwald asked, watching her face. "I really do think this will answer your questions and I would bet you have a lot of them."

"I do. I'm confused. I thought you would be there, but I guess you are right. I do need to do this on my own. Find out if this is for me." Cathy gave a big sigh as if resigning herself to this.

"Yes. You need to know, you have to do this knowing what might be asked of you."

"What will be asked of me?"

"What do you think your 'Sir' would ask of you, Cathy?”

"I don't know what Sir might ask of me." Cathy stated as she raised her voice.

Gerwald smiled as she did that. Her whole body and attitude reflected someone who had seen what they wanted but was afraid to acknowledge it. "Look into your heart and into your dreams. What would you give the man that collared you?"

Cathy got control of herself again and said in a soft voice, "I imagine that I would want to give him everything."

"Cathy, they will show you that, what you can give. What you can expect. Does that frighten you?" Gerwald said in the soft voice.

"No Sir."

"The worst that can happen," Gerwald explained, "is that you have a nice drive on a Saturday morning and you waste a few hours that you could have been studying."

"Ok. That's fine with me.”

"Feeling better? I'll help in any way I can until you go."

"Yes Sir, I am excited about going." The Cathy looked up and searched Gerwald's face. "Do you know what I mean, excited and scared at the same time, like the first time you get on a big roller coaster? I will try to think of questions that I have so that you can answer them before next weekend.”

"Good, not terrified now?"

"No," was Cathy flat answer. Then an admission of, "Well maybe a little." Then gave a little laugh.

That laugh broke the serious mood that had permeated the room.

Gerwald laughed as well then went to Cathy and gave her a hug and began to nuzzle her neck, kissing it as well. He hugged her and stroked her hair. After they both shared a few passionate kisses he lifted her chin with his finger.

"So, Cathy, where is my scarf? I did notice, you know."

"I'm sorry, but when you were late I took it off to spite you." Cathy said, between his kisses.

"I can see," Gerwald said, “that I need to punish you again." Then he leaned down and playfully bit her neck a little, then kissed the bite. "There. Now you have to wear the scarf!" he chuckled.

Cathy broke away from him to look at her neck in the mirror, thinking that he has really hurt her. All she saw was a slightly pinker area then the surrounding skin. It would be gone in minutes. She smiled at him in the mirror and picked up the scarf and put it around her neck and tied it. Then she turned around to face Gerwald.

"What next?" she asked.

"Dinner. I'm starved." He picked up her coat and handed it to her and offered her his arm. As he left he grabbed his bike and walked it using one hand while escorting her on the other. He was already putting together how he would arrange the weekend.

Chapter 28 Fade to Black

A couple of hours later he saw her back to her room and gave her a rather possessive goodnight kiss. The dorm was filling back up from those who had been away for the weekend. Gerwald did not really want to be recognized. His reason was simple: as soon as some one did, it invited football talk. He had other things on his mind tonight. By flipping up a windbreaker hood and shrugging his shoulders and putting his hands in his pockets, he disguised his height and physique a little.

He got on his bike and went in search of an establishment that was open, had a pay phone, and where he could get some change to make a long distance call. A little convenience store fit the bill and he got a candy bar and a lot of quarters.

His first call was to Steele. He explained what had been discussed and the proposed times. Steele was non-committal, but said he would see what he could do. Joanna was still on campus and he suggested Gerwald try to reach her there.

On the question of dress he called Shirley and put her on the phone. Her suggestion was standard student dress, jeans and a sweater or blouse. Nothing would happen to her at all so it didn’t mater. Because she would be there and back in the same day she would need nothing but her purse or daypack.

He ran out of quarters before he could finish the conversation so he had to hang up and then biked over to the frat house. The car was still there, and looking around a bit he found John and Joanna talking in what served as a back yard. He did get a chance to talk to Joanna and she agreed to pick up Cathy at seven the next Saturday. Having accomplished that he headed back to his place for some much-needed rest. It felt good to be back in his bed and he fell asleep thinking of what else he might do to help Cathy.

The next day he fell back into his regular routine and since he had the game coming up he had to spend additional time in practice and exercise. Now that Cathy had committed to at least the trip for a look his concentration was back. His intensity in his concentration was as strong now as it ever was and he threw himself into his studies. He did try and call Cathy the next day as soon as he got back to his dorm, but got no answer the first couple of times. Then he chuckled at his own folly when he realized he had no idea of her class schedule. He would have to get that from her soon.

He had dinner that night in the same place, waiting for her to appear in the crowd, but it never happened. He went back to his dorm to find the hall phone open and tried again. She was there this time and answered on the second ring. When Gerwald said “Hello Cathy,” her voice got lower and it had a hint of joy in it.

“Hello, Sir,” was her immediate response.

“Good I’m glad I caught you. I really need a copy of your schedule. I never can figure out when's a good time to call.” For some reason he found himself relaxing now that he had caught up with her.

“I can give you that the next time I see you.”

“Well if you want, I can come over. I did make some calls last night and talked to Joanna. I have things set up if you want to hear about them.”

“Yes, I would like that. I'm here for now. Have you had dinner?”

“Yes I'm afraid I had to eat as soon as I got off of the practice field. I was looking for you, though,” he said with a bit of mischief in his voice. “But I can be over in thirty minutes or so, if you want that.”

“Yes come over, I’ll finish what I am doing and see you in a little bit.”

“Good bye for now then.” Gerwald hung up, not wanting to postpone the goodbye. Her disappointment at missing him at the cafeteria was obvious so after mounting his bike and heading over there he found a fast food place and got a burger for her. Not his usual “Get the largest thing they make”, but a single cheeseburger as plain as they made it, and picked up a package of all the different condiments they had. He was out the door just a few minutes later. He managed to get to her dorm right on time.

When he knocked on her door this time she opened it with a smile on her face and dressed in jeans, blouse, and sweater, with a scarf was around her neck. She invited him in immediately this time and he did not have to linger in the hall. The room was warm and it felt good after his ride. The temperatures were dropping in the evening now. He shook off the chill he was feeling and handed Cathy the bag with the burger in it.

“It sounded like you were hungry and I messed up your plans, so I got you a little something. Hope it’s still warm,” Gerwald said by way of a greeting. She peeked in the bag and smiled. “Please, if you are hungry eat. I'm afraid after class and practice I have to eat right away.”

She sat down at the small table in the common room and began to unwrap her impromptu dinner. After fixing it to her liking she looked in the bag again and frowned a little. “No fries?” and then paused and smiled. “Sir?”

Gerwald chuckled. “When I would do this for my sisters, they never wanted them. I think I always figured that women would be counting calories. But if you want some,” he turned to get his coat, “I could arrange that.”

Cathy stood up quickly and grabbed his arm. “No, no, no, this is fine. Just be still a minute, do you have to be doing something every second?” she said, shaking her head. “How do you ever sit through a class?”

Her wanting him to stay encouraged him. “Easy. In a class I know I'm going to be there a while so something in my head turns off.” He eased his large frame back into the chair opposite her. The chair was meant for an average person so he had to wiggle a little to get comfortable in it.

Cathy in the meantime had attacked the burger and was putting it away in very unladylike bites. “If you don’t mind,” she mumbled around a mouth full of burger “you will find some cups and soda over there.” She pointed to a corner that served as a kitchenette.

It had a small sink and a student refrigerator and a few cabinets. He went to the kitchen area and found some canned diet drinks and some cups and split a drink between them. As he sipped the diet cola he frowned a little but said nothing.

After she had taken a sip of her beverage she smiled again. “Thank you. I was hungry.”

Gerwald held up his drink. “Diet soda, you are counting calories aren’t you?”

Cathy snickered. “Yep, but if you would have gotten me fries, I would have skipped lunch tomorrow.”

She finished the remainder of her burger in silence. Gerwald in the meantime told her about the arrangements he had made. Not to worry about her clothing, anything would be fine. Then the few other little details he knew. Cathy was shaking her head from time to time and mumbling things like OK from time to time. When Cathy finished her drink she picked up the trash and began to tidy up her table. He did notice that she took the remaining condiments and carefully tucked them away in a drawer.

She asked, “You sure you aren't hungry? I think I have some cookies around her.” Cathy began to rummage in one of the cabinets looking for them.

Gerwald got up and went behind her, then nipped her around the waist. She squeaked a little when he did that but made no effort to escape his grasp. He put his mouth close to her ear and whispered, “Not for food.”

She stood very still and let him nuzzle her. Gerwald was kissing and licking her ears and hugged her in close. She was trapped against the counter. His hug became very possessive and her turned her around and wrapped his arms around her. She looked up not knowing what to expect. Then he gave her a very tentative kiss. She returned it then hugged him back.

She was searching his face with a pleading look on her face asking for more. The next kiss was full, warm and wet and the passion from Cathy exploded. Pressing her body into his she was asking for more and Gerwald returned it this time, devouring her mouth. He felt her whole body respond. As he was hugging her he ran his hands over her back and did not feel the strap of a bra. Her breasts were pressing into his chest and the nipples had come to attention. When he ran his hand over her bottom he did not find the lines of panties either.

Gerwald took her long blond hair in one hand and devoured her mouth for a full minute. He did not feel any resistance but only passion returned. When he broke the kiss he searched her face for refusal and when he saw none he tightened his grip in her hair. He kissed her again and felt her body press to his. With his free hand he let it roam to see if she would offer resistance. When his hands got to her breasts he felt them press harder into his hands. He let them close to capture the nipple through the cloth. She moaned a little when they tightened and moved her body closer still, pressing the entire length of her body against his.

Gerwald pulled her head away from his by the hair. He looked into her face intensely and asked, “Cathy, what do you want? Tell me.”

All Cathy did at first was moan but she finally whispered, “I don’t know, Sir. I don’t understand how I am feeling."

“Tell me what you want Cathy.”

Again she moaned but gave no immediate answer. He crushed her lips to his again. He felt her try to give him her mouth despite the control he had over her head. As he looked into her eyes he could see the need and desire boiling there. Her refusal to answer came from something deeper. "You want to be taken, don’t you Cathy? Tell me the truth."

Her answer was another moan and shaking her head no as much as she could with her head held that way. "Cathy, I wont take advantage of you as someone did in the past. I have to know what you want. You are not a sub or a slave yet. I can't just have you as I desire without you telling me something." He tightened his hand on her breast, squeezing it and the trapped nipple. Her body arched itself into his, to deliver it to him in a silent plea of surrender.

“Please Gerry, gasped Cathy. Then that changed to “Please Sir, I need you, please take me right now!”

She had asked this time, there could be no mistaking her words or the need in her eyes and voice. He was aching himself but the words of “Patience and Control” came back into his head. He would not take her tonight. For some reason he could not put a label on it was important to him that she be shown that he had control. That he could see her pleasured yet not taken advantage of.

These noble thoughts were being pushed to the back of his mind as he touched and kissed her. She was such a lovely creature who wanted so desperately to please and to be pleased. The animal desire in him to mate was rising as he reached down to her waistline and unbelted and unsnapped her jeans. He grabbed the bottom of her blouse and sweater and pulled them up and off of her in one savage jerk revealing full unfettered breasts topped by hard erect nipples filled with blood and need. They called out to be touched and explored.

He swept her off her feet while she was still hugging kissing him and took her into her room and laid her on her bed. Without breaking the kiss he pulled the jeans down past her hips. Again he found his initial exploration had been correct. There was nothing under them as well, As he worked the pants down with one hand he felt her body trying to press her sex into his hand. When he laid his hand on top of that mound covered a wild tangle of blond hair he found her hot sex just now beginning to secrete moisture preparing itself for him. He moans had changed now as he ran his hand in those secret places and she arched her body into him as his finger parted her sex and grazed her clit.

He broke the kiss only long enough to grab the bottom of her jeans and pull them off. She was dressed now only in socks and the scarf. The flats she had been wearing for shoes had been lost somewhere in the trip or she had kicked them off. Even in his lustful state he found this little sign of her arousal encouraging. As he went back to her she reached for him. She began to unbutton his shirt and pull of things as well this time. He helped her as much as he could between kisses and touches, removing his shirt and unbuckling his belt. She had unsnapped his opened his pants and pushed these down past his hips. He had to stand for a moment to kick off his boots and pulled off his remaining clothes, leaving his underpants and jeans in a tangled mess on the floor. When he went back to her, for the first time flesh touched flesh the entire length of their bodies. He could feel her breathing and her hard nipples this time pressing into his chest and body. When he let his hand trail down to her sex this time the legs opened knowingly, letting his hands and fingers penetrate her very core. She was wet now, not just moist but wet to the point that his fingers were covered in her arousal. His hand found her clit and began to stroke it. Moments later she had her first orgasm as her whole body went rigid against his for a second, then relaxed, then lifted again against his hand. He could see the muscles of her legs strain as they struggled to keep the center of her pleasure placed against her hand. This continued for over a minute with her body bucking and relaxing, bucking and relaxing. Gerwald kept up his actions, wanting her to enjoy the feelings to the fullest. After she had peaked her whole body slumped back to the bed, her whole body slack.

It took Gerwald several seconds to realize that something was wrong. He scooted away from her and put a finger to her throat and found a steady strong pulse. Her breathing was shallow but regular. He lay there watching a few seconds. Was this some kind of defense mechanism? Had she passed out? Whatever it was it scared him and his erection melted like an ice cube in hot tea. He began to think of calling emergency medical personnel but dismissed that quickly. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had seen this before. Then his mind latched onto the day his sister had fainted on getting news on the death of a friend in Vietnam. What had they done then? He went to the little bathroom and got a wet wash cloth. As he began to bath her face and neck she moaned again. With that positive sign he started to speak to her calling her name. A few moments later she opened her eyes to see him over her with the washcloth rubbing it across her forehead.

“What happened?” she asked, very groggily.

“You fainted, I think.” Gerwald replied gently. “What do you remember?”

Cathy closed her eyes a few seconds as she tried to put things together. “We were in the other room and you picked me up and carried me in here. You were touching me there and I came for you. It just went on and on, I couldn’t stop. Then…” she quit talking. She looked up at Gerwald. “You were here wiping my face. You stayed with me, didn’t you? You didn’t leave me, did you?”

“Only long enough to get this,” Gerwald said as he lifted up the wash cloth. He continued to bathe her forehead.

She was still lying there with a confused look on her face. “I have never done that before.”

"Are you all right now?"

"I think so, but I'm feeling very cold and thirsty!" She began to hug herself and a shiver seemed to seize her body. Gerwald flipped the comforter over her and went in search of something for her to drink. He has back seconds later with a glass of water and sat on the bed.

Gerwald brushed the hair off her forehead that had stuck there from his bathing it. He handed her the glass of water and commanded, “Drink.” She made no comment to this and downed a few swallows before stopping for breath.

“Cathy, have you been eating regular?”

Cathy nodded that pretty blond head and looked up. “I eat at least one meal a day in the cafeteria, but I don’t eat much in between times, too busy with classes and such”

“OK, Just looking for a reason for this. You OK now?”

Cathy was still sipping the water. “I think so, just really tired all of a sudden."

“Have you ever had an orgasm like that?” Gerwald asked. This had concerned him. It had also shook him up a little.

Cathy was shaking her head no. "Never quite like that. With you, I have been close, but have not fainted. Well almost. At least I think anyway."

Gerwald had gotten off the bed and had begun to untangle clothes and put them on. “Good, I’ll let you rest now. You seem to need some sleep.” He finished getting dressed and leaned over and gave her a very gentle kiss on the top of her head. He noticed the smell of shampoo as he did this. “You bathed for me, didn’t you?"

Cathy smiled as he said this, she seemed to be pleased that he noticed. "Yes I did, wanted this to be special, do you like the shampoo? It is my favorite"

Gerwald leaned closer and inhaled deeply this time. “Yes I do. Like flowers.” Then finished dressing and made ready to leave.

Cathy was still smiling and snuggled under the covers and gave a deep sigh. "I had no idea it would be like that! No one has ever made me feel the way you do."

“You have just begun to feel the depth of this. Only a submissive can feel what you did. You will see that soon, I hope. From what they tell me you want to go back.”

Cathy was shaking her head now in disbelief. "I always had dreams of feeling like this, but never thought I actually could.”

“You will see soon. Are your clear on the arrangements for Saturday?”

“I think so, I am to wear my regular clothes and meet Joanna here, right?” She finished the water and set the glass down.

“Yes, out front at 7 AM.” He straightened out the last of his clothes before putting on his socks and boots.

Cathy had half raised herself out of the bed. “But I want to make a good impression, these people mean a lot to you, I do not want to embarrass you in any way.”

Gerwald returned to the bed and gently pushed her back down to the pillow. “You won't. Just be yourself and answer any question honestly. That’s all I ask."

“Ok, I can do that, and I hope that you will be proud of me. Her eyes were beginning to close like she was having trouble staying awake.

“I will be,” Gerwald said. “After your trip there and you understand some of this a little better we will talk.”

Cathy was looking at him now as he took her chin in her hand. “I am looking forward to going, but I have to admit I am a bit nervous, but Joanna will be there, so I will know someone at least. She seems to be a really nice person and I do like her a lot.”

Gerwald had let go of her chin and was stroking her hair again. “Yes she is very nice. But remember what she is and why you are going.” He leaned over to kiss her head again and stood up. She had not heard the last comment as she was sound asleep. He set her alarm clock then he went into the other room and saw the clothes and shoes where they had fallen to the floor. He considered picking them up, then thought better of it. Let her find them in the morning and remember.

As he looked for his windbreaker he found a handwritten schedule of her classes on the desk. She was a busy girl, when he considered the course load. Before he left he made a copy of his schedule and left it in where she could find it. If nothing else it would optimize the times when they could call each other. He locked the door behind him as he let himself out. He would know more in a few days. When he thought off Cathy having an orgasm at his touch his erection came back. It made the bike ride back to his room very uncomfortable. He would relieve himself of that tonight.

He did look at his schedule and hers side by side for a little while and came to the conclusion it was lucky the two of them had met had often as they did. As it was, unless she got talked onto going to eat with friends he was lucky they had met at all. His schedule was bad enough but the constant practice and exercise led him to need food on a very regular basis.

With a game coming up and the extra strategy meetings recently declared he going to be busy nearly every day this week. A call would be about the best her could do until he caught up with her Saturday evening after the game.

With a sigh he shoved the schedules away from him. Whatever happened now was in the hands of fate. Again he began to think about the possible outcomes. The problem with his computer training he was discovering was his binary thinking. Everything had only two possible solutions. Yes or no, on or off, relationships between people had shades of gray, unknowns. He had no idea what would happen next.

Chapter 29 Cathy’s Trip

Cathy was up early. Although she was normally an early riser today was different. She woke earlier than her normal time and after looking at the clock decided to try and sleep some more. After tossing and turning for half an hour she got up and used the bathroom, then took a shower and dressed for the day. Gerwald had told her to wear normal clothes and had already changed twice. By six AM she had changed from jeans to a modest dress back to jeans a pretty blouse and sweater.

She had brushed her hair till it glowed just to kill time. The she had put it up, taken it down and finally settled on her hair pulled back a little in a beret. Then she put on her face. She normally wore very little make up but today he was extra careful in what she applied, she even put on some lipstick, something she would not normally bother with on a weekend to do laundry and study. After she finished she studied her reflection critically. The reflection staring back at her seemed to ask, “Why are you doing this?” An answer was not forthcoming.

She went to the little kitchen area and made some tea then sat down and began to sip it. This would usually quiet down butterflies in her stomach but this morning her stomach seemed to rebel. As she finished the tea she sighed and asked her self again Why are you doing this? Again no answer came back other than it seemed to be important to Gerry. And because of that it was important to her.

His calls this week had become regular. Their schedules had not allowed them to see each other except that Monday. His voice always seemed to fill her body with such passion and desire. She had never reacted to anyone like this before. Not even to that boy who had hurt her so that one time in high school. She had tried to hold herself apart from things, aloof since that time.

Somehow Gerry had seen through that. Broke down that shield. Breached the walls she had so carefully built up over the last couple of years. She would shake her head in wonder when she thought of the last time they were together. That incredible orgasm she had just went on and on and she didn’t want to come back, didn’t want it to stop. She had fainted from it and woke up to find him sitting besides her talking gently to her. Had a washcloth on her face coaxing her back. Gerry had talked to his friends, and later told her on the phone that some called what she had experienced 'sub space'. A place only a submissive could go.

Even more amazing, for the second time she had been naked and more than willing and available and he had yet to make love to her. She was wondering if something was wrong with him, or was something wrong with her that he had not just taken her. She had seen his erection and concluded that his anatomy was in more than perfect working order. In fact, she had seen him naked and his body was fabulous. Like what you would see on a bodybuilding magazine in the market. She shook her head again and sighed. Why are you doing this? she asked herself again for the thousandth time this week.

She looked at the time and put on a light coat. The mornings were chilly now. Then she got her good purse and tossed it over an arm and looked about her room. Is there something else she should be taking with her? She was feeling so ill equipped for this. Surely she was forgetting something. Another sigh and she went to the bus stop bench and sat down. She was a full fifteen minutes early. She stood up and paced then sat down again. She straightened her clothes then pulled a compact out of her purse and checked her make up.

She has a momentary guilt trip, thinking, What would my mother think if she knew what I was doing? and ran back upstairs to her room. She had the key in her door before she thought of Gerry and went slowly back outside and to her perch on the bench. She hugged herself and shivered. It was chilly and the bench was cold, but was that what she was shivering from?

At seven o’clock on the dot a blue Lincoln pulled around the corner and glided up to the bus stop and parked just short of the bus lane. Joanna bounced out of the car looking indecently pretty and happy for that time in the morning. She was wearing a chauffeurs uniform and hat. The skirt of the uniform was shorter than what Cathy might have worn but she looked very trim and neat in it.

Joanna hustled around to the passenger side of the car. “Good morning, Cathy, I'm glad you decided to join us today.” She opened the front door and waited. Cathy looked at the door, realizing this was the point of no return. After hesitating for several seconds she got in and Joanna closed the door. Well no turning back now, I will make Gerry proud of me. Cathy thought.

Joanna went around to the driver’s side and got in and started the car and pulled off without an immediate comment. Joanna smiled at Cathy. She reached up and brushed a wisp of hair from Cathy's eyes. "Don’t worry, my sister. You are among friends." She drove for a few minutes, and after hitting the highway she looked at Cathy again. “If there is anything you need let me know. Breakfast, coffee, or make a potty stop, we can do that. If your bladder is anything like mine I’ll have to stop in an hour or so. The cook filled me up with coffee before I left.”

Cathy fidgeted in the seat a few moments, then looked up. “Joanna, If you weren’t here I wouldn’t be doing this.”

Joanna looked at Cathy and smiled. “Relax, the drive is lengthy and I’ll have a few instructions for you along the way. Would you like to listen to some music? Turn on the radio and choose a station.”

Cathy did and switched stations a few times until she found something she liked and found some silly song she began humming to. Joanna did also and the two of them broke into the song in places. They laughed about a few things when some silly commercial came on and then Joanna pointed to a group of students standing at a bus stop. “That girl with the red hair. You see her? I’ll bet she is a submissive.”

Cathy was looking where she had pointed. She saw nothing. “How could you know that.”

Joanna smiled and looked again at Cathy. “You learn to look for things after awhile. Look at her skirt, the way she holds herself, the choker necklace. It’s just a guess, but maybe.”

Cathy was looking at her again with different eyes. Maybe that’s what Gerry saw in me. He looked past some of the other things. She shook her head and continued to look out the window a bit. How to bring up what she wanted to know? Cathy began to fidget in her seat. As she was staring out the window, and thinking of what to ask, she was winding her hair around a finger then straightening it out then winding it up again. Several questions were in her head but how to ask them without sounding stupid? Finally Cathy just blurted out to Joanna “What’s going to happen today?”

Joanna looked over at Cathy. She turned the radio off so they could talk. She could see her concern. “Cathy, nothing happens to you today other than you have a long talk with the Lord of the Manor. Then if he is convinced you might be suitable for an introduction to this lifestyle, he will turn you over to his slave and let her talk to you. Just be honest and answer questions with what you think, and not what you think he wants to hear. If you want to head back at any point just say so and I’ll break the speed limits getting you back.”

Cathy blurted out “Lord of the Manor? What does that mean?”

Joanna was slow in answering that. She finally looked away from her driving and looked at Cathy a moment. “Cathy, the Masters don’t need to know everything and that’s what we call him behind his back. Don’t repeat it, please. Or at least to him anyway. In the Middle Ages a Lord was someone who had the right to hold court over a tract of land and the people on that land. The house and grounds he has is huge and we call the house the Manor.” Joanna chuckled after she said that. “As the Master is a lawyer it just seemed right to us. Anyway, he works with oil people and they have given him power of attorney to help develop huge tracts of land. Now please keep that to yourself.”

Cathy considered this for a moment and smiled. “Yes, Sister, I understand.” She chuckled, then got serious again “What is he like, is he handsome?”

Joanna looked at Cathy and nodded her head but answered very diplomatically. “He is my boss until Master John finishes school, and he is very influential.” She paused and looked at Cathy and a smile broke out on her face. She whispered conspiratorially to Cathy, “And he is handsome.”

They drove along another few minutes and Joanna noticed Cathy squirming a little. Joanna spoke up. “There is a restaurant up ahead with clean restrooms. If you don’t mind I would like to stop and take a potty break and get another cup of coffee and stretch a minute. It’s been a long time since five thirty when I left to get you.”

"That's a good idea, I’m really thirsty myself and could use a bathroom break, I was just going to ask you if we could stop soon."

The restaurant appeared just ahead and Joanna made her way off the highway. A minute later they were in a coffee shop. As they were walking in Joanna asked, “What do you want to drink?”

“Coffee, Low cal sweetener please,” Cathy said as she made her way to the restroom.

Joanna went to the counter and got two cups of coffee. It took a few minutes to get the coffee and pay then she then headed to the restroom herself. She found Cathy standing at the sink vanity staring at herself in the mirror and near tears. “Cathy,” she asked, “What’s wrong?” She went to her and hugged her briefly, consoling her a little.

Cathy was looking at their reflection in the mirror. "Nothing really, I am just so nervous, what if I don't meet with his approval, then Gerwald will be so very disappointed, I should have worn something else.” She was having a fit of nerves.

Joanna began to hug Cathy again. “Cathy, look it's all right. I did this and nothing bad happened to me my first time there. Opened my eyes maybe, but nothing bad. Is something else wrong?”

Cathy had a much-relieved smile now, like she was coming to terms with something. “I’m sorry, I'm just so anxious and scared about this.” She took a deep breath and turned to face Joanna “I think I'm falling in love in Gerwald.”

Cathy gave her another hug and got a tissue from the vanity and handed to her, “I know you are."

Cathy began to wipe her tears away and looked at Joanna in the mirror again. “Thank you, I'm OK now. I think I just needed to say those words.”

Joanna said nothing but hugged a few moments more then handed her the coffee. “I need to go next and then I think we need to get moving. We still have a ways to go.” She disappeared into a stall and was back a minute later looking chipper.

They left the restroom and were back in the car moments later and back on the highway a few minutes after that. They both began to sip their coffee and the miles slipped by. As they hit the city limits of Austin, Joanna handed Cathy pair of wrap around sunglasses. Cathy started to wave them off.

“Cathy this part I have no option on. Put them on. The glasses are a blindfold. If you look you will see the insides are painted over. You can’t see out of them. The Master insists on this the first trip. He is an officer of the court, after all.” Joanna said as if it explained it all. Cathy really didn’t understand but put them on anyway. Joanna turned on the radio an again and selected a local station. “It helps if you have something to listen to. Takes your mind off the sightless aspect. You OK over there? Should I hold you hand?”

Cathy was feeling very vulnerable. And her hand had begun to snake across the seat “Yes, please do. I know this is silly, but I really would feel better.” When she felt Joanna’s hand hold her she began to relax again. The blacked out sunglasses were very effective. It also hit her that she could be seen in the front seat as well. Sunglasses would not raise an eyebrow while a blindfold or hood might.

Joanna’s hand held hers the rest of the ride. She only let go a couple of times when she had to steer around tight curves, but as soon as she was done her had was back comforting her. Cathy finally relaxed a little and tried to figure out where she is going what is she going to say when she gets there. She ran over the scenarios in her mind. She muttered, "What do I say when I see him? Do I curtsey or just shake his hand?"

“Just be yourself, Cathy!" Joan said, squeezing her hand.

“Oh my God, did I really say that out loud?"

Joanna laughed. “Yes, you did.” With that they both broke out in laughter.

A few minutes later Cathy felt the car slow down and take a slow turn. The road noise went away and she heard gravel in places now. When Joanna told her to take off the glasses she did so and looked up to see a beautiful home in front of her. The grounds were immaculate, and she smiled, as she remembered that this must be some of Gerry’s handiwork.

The car parked in the front and Joanna got out and opened the door for Cathy, then led her into the house and escorted her into the library. After sitting her on a sofa Joanna said, "Sit here, someone will be with you shortly."

Joanna left the room and Cathy sat on the leather sofa and began to fidget again, crossing then uncrossing her legs, shifting her weight as she sat forward on the couch, then back. Her nerves were wearing down fast when a gentleman entered the room. Suddenly embarrassed, she smiled, then looked down to the floor.

“Good morning, Cathy, and welcome to my home. Pleas call me Garret today.” He held out his hand.

Fumbling for a reply Cathy said, "Good morning," and took the proffered hand.

“I hope the trip was not too unpleasant for you." He sat in another chair.

“Joanna and I had a nice trip.” She began to fidget again.

“Please relax, Cathy. Nothing happens today other than the pleasure of your company.”

Cathy gave a little sigh. “Thank you. Is this your home?”

“Yes it is, do you like it?”

“I feel like I just stepped into a great issue of Better Homes & Gardens.” Cathy smiled and looked around again. “But it's looks comfortable at the same time.”

“Thank you so much. Yes, it took me awhile to get it built. Many said I was nuts for wanting to build where I did, but it suits me.”

Cathy looked up at her host. “Excuse me, but I'm a bit nervous.”

“Don’t be. If you want to go just say the word. Joanna is ready to take you back anytime you say. Now before we talk can I show you to the restroom? Get you something to drink? And since you have been sitting awhile perhaps you would like to go for a walk around the grounds rather than sit and talk?”

Cathy gave him a grateful look. “I could use a trip to the powder room, and a cup of coffee would be nice. But I think I would just as soon sit for now.”

He led the way down the hall and showed her the restroom then went back to the library. Cathy sat down in the restroom before doing anything. It took awhile to get the legs back but she headed to the library when she was done. She found a fresh pot of coffee and cups on the table.

As she entered the room Steele stood and held out a hand and guided her to a seat. He poured her a cup of coffee and handed it to her, then handed her a bowl of the low cal sweetener packets. As he closed the door the last thing anyone outside would have heard was, “So tell me, Cathy, what is your major at school?”

The staff at Steele’s knew the routine and began to look at each other and the clock. It was a little before ten. If the door opened again in anything less then an hour, Joanna would be called and Cathy would be taken home. If the interview took an hour or longer Shirley would called. Cathy would be introduced to this lifestyle. Whatever happened next would depend on her.

End of part 5