Lord of the Manor
by Stormchaser

Chapter 30 The First collar accepted.

Joanna looked at Cathy who was much more relaxed now than the last time they had driven together. When she had brought her to Steele’s house this morning she had been fidgeting with nervousness. Now she was fidgeting for other reasons. The sun was setting now and they were in a hurry to meet the team bus coming back from the away game. Each had different reason for trying to meet it. For Joanna she would be able to see her master and spend the night for him. Cathy on the other had had different reasons.

Joanna Looked at Cathy and smiled. Kara had once again done her magic. Her hair was done now in an elaborate French braid. When her hair came down tonight, it would be a little shorter where Kara had trimmed off the split ends, and the long straight look would be replaced with a more carefree hairstyle that had been shaped to suit her face and neck. The fact that her neck was now exposed was no accident. Her makeup was perfection. Her face was radiant.

Joanna looked at Cathy and noticed the squirming again. “Would you stop that please?” Joanna asked in a teasing voice.

Cathy looked up at her, “I'm sorry, it still stings a little. Why did I have to say it didn’t look like it hurt?”

Joanna smiled but kept her eyes on the road. “ I did try to warn you. You saw me shaking my head no.”

“Yes I did see you, but so many of the things I did today were fun and pleasurable. It was just so easy to think that her using the crop was in jest. I won’t be able to sit down tomorrow.” Cathy said, moving her hands under her bottom again and rubbing it.

“That will go away soon enough,” Joanna said. “Wait till the itch starts. Just remember to use the baby oil like Kara showed you. And start shaving in a day or two.”

“Kara was so nice to me and I was so jealous of her. I still am a little, I think.” Cathy said slowly. “If I didn’t know she really wanted Steele’s collar, I think we would have a fight. But she so wants to help me. I can’t believe what she did with my hair and face. Help me past this Joanna, please. I'll do better.”

“It will be ok, Cathy. Things will all work out and yes, Shirley and Kara are both working on the Lord now. He will give in soon enough. I give him another year. Year, and half tops, before they wear him down.” Then Joanna started chuckling. It was infectious and both started laughing till tears were streaming down their cheeks.

“Oh Joanna quit. I'm gonna ruin my makeup,” Cathy got out between gasps. That got them both back under control. Cathy had out a tissue trying to repair the damage already.

As the car slipped through the gathering evening they were getting closer to campus. Cathy was keeping her eye on a clock in the dash of the car. Joanna had assured them they would be back in plenty of time to meet the team bus.

The trip today had been enlightening and fun and scary all at the same time. Cathy and Steele had emerged from the library at noon, and she had been handed over to Shirley. They had a quick talk about many things and then a wonderful lunch had been served and she had met everyone.

Steele had managed to catch Gerwald at the dorm before he had to leave and things had been conditionally decided. The only thing Cathy had a real problem with was the near nudity of the other subs once they had changed from street clothes to their normal tunics. Cathy had a white tunic in her purse now and had worn it most of the afternoon. Shirley and Kara had made it for her today. She would have another one when she came back next time. Also in her purse was a little necklace. It was gold, delicate and feminine, and she would be wearing it soon.

She could watch the training now and learn and help around the house when she was there. She would be going back next weekend for a day alone again as Gerwald had yet another away game. Cathy was still surprised how easily she had slipped into this. How comfortable she had gotten being around the other subs. Then her mind settled on Shirley.

True, she was older than the other women at the manor, but the way she acted around her Master had impressed Cathy. She could not explain it but she wanted it. There was something about the way she so naturally slipped into position around him and the way she melted into his arms that made Cathy all warm inside. She didn’t know if she had bought into everything she had seen today but when her thoughts turned to Gerry she would find herself wondering if it could ever happen between to two of them. She gave a little sigh while she thought about these things.

Joanna was still paying attention to the road but turned when she heard that small noise. She saw Cathy with a far away look in her eyes and knew that look well. She had the same one when she thought of her Master. She touched the choker that served as her street collar and smiled. Well, it was up to her. Now she could be introduced to the realities of this lifestyle. It was not all-pleasant but it was very real.

As the car approached the campus the sun had slipped away completely and Joanna found a place to park near the sports complex. She looked around and saw other cars waiting so she was sure she had made it in plenty of time. They both settled back to wait. That lasted about five minutes as Cathy had to get out and walk and stretch. She was just more comfortable standing. Twenty minutes later the team bus pulled up and the ballet of the unloading started. The belly of the bus opened and all the team members pitched in off-loading the bags of equipment and personal effects. This took about a half-hour and then people began to leave and drift off to cars or walk away. John and Gerwald were seen coming out of the complex talking to each other.

As they approached the car Joanna slipped away and into John's arms. Cathy watched as Joanna melted into his arms. It reminded her of Shirley when she attended her master. Was it always like this? she wondered.

Gerwald went to Cathy and dropped his bag the lifted her chin and turned her head from side to side admiring the hairstyle. Then he kissed her tentatively at first then deeper. Moments later Cathy seemed to feel the melting she had admired just a moment ago.

“It looks like you meet Kara and I think this means you had a good day., Gerwald said as he nuzzled her neck.

“I did, Sir. I spent the day with the subs and I have a tunic of white in my bag. I can show you as soon as we get someplace else. Kara and Shirley made it for me today.”

Gerwald’s smile could be measured in megawatts it was so large. He hugged her again and had her lifted on her up on her toes. After her kissed her he said softly to her, “Steele did catch me before I left and asked for my preferences on things. Is your hair much shorter elsewhere?”

“Oh yes, Sir!” Cathy whispered in his ear.

As Gerwald put Cathy down John and Joanna were tossing stuff in the trunk of the car. They seemed to be trying to tell Gerwald it was time to go someplace else. Joanna and John were in the car already and John rolled the window down. “Gerry, when you are ready!” he said somewhat pointedly.

Gerwald seemed reluctant to let go of Cathy but did a few moments later. Then he opened the door for Cathy and she scooted in and Gerwald jackknifed his large frame in after her. And the car was moving moments later. Gerwald just nestled Cathy in close and sat there enjoying the feel of her near him with his eyes closed.

It was John who finally broke the silence. “Isn’t anyone gonna ask who won?”

Joanna began to smile but spoke up “Who won, Master?”

“We did.” And then began to give the score and highlights of the game today. John had a very good day on the field and began to recount his exploits. By the time he had finished they had pulled in front of Cathy’s dorm.

Gerwald and Cathy got out with some good-byes recovered Gerwald’s bag and they went inside. Cathy opened the door to her room and they both slipped inside without preamble. After the door was closed Gerwald swept Cathy up off her feet and carried her in to her bedroom and laid her down. Gerwald noticed that the room was not in its normal pristine condition, with clothes lying about here and there, but he said nothing. He then lay in bed besides Cathy and feasted on her a little while, getting his fill of her before he let her go.

He once again snuggled her in close and asked about her day. Cathy could sense his exhaustion but began her story from leaving that morning through her interview with Steele to what she had seen there. She related many things including how Kara and Shirley had her nude at one point and fitted the pinned the silk to her and had made her tunic. She told him of the time spent in the chair while Kara did her hair and then had shaved her crotch and the jealousy she felt towards her. Gerwald had begun to shift uncomfortably at the mention of Kara’s name but she concluded her story with her talk to Shirley and how some of the various things had been demonstrated in the playroom and ended with “and my bottom still hurts.”

“You have had a busy day then. Let me see the tunic.”

Cathy reached her purse and got it. The little snatch of silk had been folded up into a square and placed in a small brown paper bag. Another smaller paper bag was in the bag and she placed this in Gerwald’s hands. As she began to shake it out Gerwald smiled. “That’s not how I want to see it!”

Cathy slipped off the bed and ran to the common bathroom between the bedrooms and Gerwald was too tired to complain. He did look in the little paper bag while she was gone and saw what he expected, a ridiculously thin necklace with a small medallion on it bearing the crest of the guard. She emerged a few minutes later only wearing the silk. Every line of her body was visible but softly obscured by the silk. She gave a little pirouette and he watched as the little garment flowed about her body and gave him and erection.

He stood and approached her and she put her head down once again. Gerwald removed the necklace from the bag and held it out in front of Cathy so she could see it. “Cathy, look up please,” Gerwald said gently. When Cathy looked up she saw the necklace and smiled. “I know they explained what this means but I want to hear it in your own words. If I put this on now, what does it represent?”

Cathy was silent for a few moments before she began speaking. “First, it represents that I have acknowledged myself submissive; next, within the confines of our mentors grounds I can watch training and be trained in the arts of submissive and slaves.”

Gerwald was smiling but had to prompt her a little. “Anything else?”

Cathy squirmed a little but continued. “Normally the collar of consideration is only placed on someone who is considering a lifestyle as a slave. The person who places the collar on me is signifying their intention to declare ownership someday. It says I am under your protection and in this case the protection that trains you as a Master.”

Gerwald was still smiling and continued. He had only learned of these things in copying John’s journal a short month ago. “Cathy, is this binding?. If you have second thoughts about this can you leave or get out of this arrangement?”

Cathy’s looked down again but spoke clearly. “Nothing is binding until I accept of my own free will the collar of ownership.”

Gerwald got serious and adopted a firm tone. “Cathy, I ask you now: Will you accept the collar of consideration?”

Cathy didn’t answer but looked at Gerwald. Her face was a picture of longing. She slipped to a kneeling position before answering. “Sir, I would like to accept your collar. I know we both have a lot to learn but I would like to continue and accept this from you.”

Gerwald didn’t hesitate but placed the necklace about her throat. He had trouble joining the tiny catches to each other and fumbled with it a full minute with his large hands before the tiny necklace was closed. When Cathy looked up she was smiling but tears had just started to leak from her eyes. “Thank you, Sir. I would not be here if you had not stayed with on me about this. I am proud to wear this collar for you. You saw things, and continue to see things in me that I thought no one could see.”

Gerwald then reached to her head and began to remove the barrettes that held the elaborate braid in place. When he was done he combed the hair out roughly with his fingers. She shook her head and the hair fell into place in her new shorter hairstyle. Gerwald lifted her chin again and turned it from side to side. “Lovely, simply lovely.” were his only words.

Cathy’s smile had not lost its shine either, and with observation and knowledge today came a little courage. She knew some small things to say now and had seen the attitudes and positions the subs at Steele’s place had assumed when commanded or just naturally slipped into in his presence. She looked up into her Squires eyes. “Sir, may I assume the display position for you?”

Gerwald answer was an immediate.“Yes. Do so, Cathy.”

Cathy opened her knees sat back on her heels. She lifted her body, thrust out her breasts, and put her hands behind her neck. This position displays nearly every inch of a sub’s body. It is open and exposed to a Master's sight. Gerwald circled around he once admiring the view then lifted the tunic from her She only lifted her hands enough to let the tunic be removed.

She blushed as her freshly shaven body was now denied even the covering of the sheer tunic. The absence of her pubic hair made her feel more naked than she had ever felt before. Nothing was hidden from his view now. If anything the light was reflecting off of the thin coating of baby oil that she had just applied. It called attention to the area. It seemed to be screaming out, “Take me!” Her body had reacted to this feeling and a bit of moisture had begun to leak from her sex. She could feel it traveling down her sex trying to find an escape and her made her want to squirm.

Gerwald was standing over her now and a glance up showed he was fighting for self-control. The tenseness in his body was obvious like an archery bow pulled to full extension and waiting for release. “Cathy, help me undress.”

She unlaced the knots on his shoes before standing then helped him off with his sports coat. He undid his school tie and laid this on his bed. Cathy helped as she could and when his torso come into view she gasped. Up until this point she understood he was on the team but never had she realized the price he paid for his scholarship. There was a series of small bruises on his left side below the collarbone and a large one on his right side just below the ribs. She touched the large one lightly to see if it was real and felt him wince.

She was surprised when he left her and went to the mirror and lifted his arm and began to explore it with his fingers. He gave a little sigh then went back to Cathy. “Don’t worry, its not as bad as it looks.” Then picked her up and lightly placed her on the bed, trying to prove he was not really hurt. He used his tie to lightly bind her hands together and to the headboard. He lightly ran his fingers up her body from hip to elbow. She giggled as his finger passed over her exposed underarm. His fingers spent a little time checking their condition. When he had satisfied his curiosity there he looked lower.

He left the bed and went to where she had placed the belts and scarves before and recovered these. Working quickly, he bound both her ankles to the bed frame with them. After they were loosely tied he gave a heave and spread her legs to the extent that the bed would allow. Farmers knew their knots and the tie would come out quickly, but she was secure as he knew how to work with the material at hand.

Never had Cathy felt more exposed and helpless. She tested the bonds to find that she could move her ankles a little but she could not raise her knees more than an inch. The last pull he had made had dragged her body down the bed a little and he arms now were tight above her head as well. She had no slack at all and moaned a little as the she tried to move. Never had she been bound so tightly or completely. His previous binding of her had always been loose and allowed her some give, but this first time in the collar he was making sure she understood the depth to which she was surrendering control.

He sat besides her and ran his hand along her crotch. Kara had done a wonderful job removing her pubic hair and he could feel no trace of stubble. As he touched her crotch he felt her body trying to move itself to a better position for her pleasure. He teased her with his fingers, never allowing them to come close to her sex. The little moans she was making now were sounds of desire and frustration as he continued to lightly touch her.

Cathy could feel the craving in her loins, wanting to be touched there. She could feel herself submitting to him fully, willing to do anything he asked if only he would continue touching her. There was nothing to keep her from submitting fully for the first time. She began to understand now of the depths that he could take her, and why he had waited till now that he had not fully used her. The necklace on her neck gave him the permission he had lacked before. She had surrendered to her own repressed need and desires. She openly declared these now by accepting the necklace.

His teasing continued as did her moans. Cathy’s last moan had a “Please.” Attached then she hastily added “Sir.”

That’s what Gerwald had been waiting for and he let a finger part her sex. When the fleshy flaps of the labia opened the sweet lubrication than had been present began to drip from her sex. He ran his finger up her sex until her found her clit and found that little nubbin of flesh hard and erect and began to manipulate it. “"You must tell me when you are going to cum. Later you must ask and wait until granted permission for that, but for now tell me.”

Cathy’s already tense body began to quiver. Gerwald could see the muscles in the legs tensing as she was trying to get a purchase on the sheets, trying to lift her body further. He was patient and in control now and he would take his pleasure tonight but first he would see her orgasm at his hand.

Cathy’s orgasm was quick in happening as only moments later she was babbling “It's coming, oh no it's, it's, stronger than last time its gonna kill me.” Then her body tensed and lifted as far as it could then she fell back to the bed a quivering mass of flesh.

Gerwald was watching her closely this time but did not remove his hand. She jerked reflexively several times but continued to move under his hand. She was breathing well and eyes were open but she did not faint this time despite what she was feeling. The first time she had an orgasm like this she was unaware of what to expect. The sensory overload must have been what cause her fainting spell. The fact that she was already comparing this one to the last one told of her awareness of what was happening. He did smile to himself, as he became aware that he might have permanently ruined her for normal sex. Those who have experienced a submissive orgasm once have a hard time going back to anything else. Other experience is tepid by comparison.

When he felt her go limp he took away his hand but she was still moaning a bit. Spittle had escaped one side of her mouth and was leaking down her cheek. He waited for her eyes to focus before he began again. Her body again arched into his hand when he touched her as if she had been shocked by electricity.

Her words were almost incoherent as Cathy moaned, “Take me Sir.” She seemed desperately craving more. The expression on her face was priceless, almost as though she was surprised she was still aware. Her eyes still glazed, she looked up at him pleading "Please Sir, don't make me beg."

Gerwald kept his hand busy but let his head fall to her chest and began to suck and kiss the nipples as well. She was bucking now still wanting more. “But you will beg, Cathy, and soon, but not tonight. Now Cathy. Now!”

Cathy felt a thousand things all at once. Gerwald’s head at her breasts, his hand was relentlessly caressing her clit, the moisture building, and an incredible burning sensation in her loins. She lost all sense of control at that point, and gave her body over to him, hoping the feeling would last forever. "Oh my lord," she moaned, as Gerwald continued his mission, literally pulling the orgasm from the very depths of her being. The world around her shattered into a thousand shards of glass, as she came as a submissive this time. Not just any submissive, but his submissive. The one who had broke down the carefully walls she had placed around these feelings. She could only marvel at what it would be like if she accepted the collar of ownership. Would she be able to feel even more? Would she be able to yield even deeper? Cathy was unable to speak, taking deep breaths of air into her lungs, her eyes remain closed. The floating feeling was incredible, like her body was completely detached from reality but she heard a persistent voice, off in the distance. It was someone calling her name, but she couldn’t be sure. When her mind tracked enough to listen, her eyes blinked several times in an attempt to focus.

"Cathy, come back to me. I need you coherent when attending to your Master." Gerwald was saying gently but firmly, willing her back to the present. He waited for her eyes to focus on him before continued.

“Now Cathy I will fill your request.” Gerwald went to his clothes a moment and pulled a condom from a pocket. This he opened and rolled on to his erect cock with a practiced ease before he joined her again on the bed. He put his hand to her sex and brought her close. He made sure the labia was open and fleshy lips were parted. Her sex was so wet now she had made a wet spot on the bed. Still, he continued arouse her.

He kept a hand to her sex as he lifted his body over hers. Positioning himself between her legs he used his other hand to push his aching cock down, guiding it to the very edge of her sex. With a command of “Now, Cathy.” He allowed the full weight of his body to thrust into her. Her greedy sex accepted its full length without even a token struggle she was so wet. Before he had started to thrust the next orgasm overtook her. She was only able to moan “Oh” as she was having a hard time getting her breath between his thrusts. All too quickly he felt his orgasm boiling in the back of his groin and just as quickly lost his control.

As he felt his erection start to melt he quickly withdrew and captured his seed before it began to leak. He had waited so long there was a lot of it. He didn’t even want a hint of an accident as they had not taken any other precautions or talked about this.

He got back to the bed to find her gasping and eyes still glazed over. Because of the stain from her secretions on the bed he went and got a glass of water to help replace what she had lost. Then he loosened the bonds at her hands so he could prop her head up. He called to her softly, waiting for her to come back to the reality of her newfound submission. When she focused on him she began to greedily drink the water and quietly asked for more. After getting her more only then did he release the rest of her bonds.

Just as quickly he flipped her over and began his aftercare. His massage this time was slow and careful. He brushed her hair from her shoulders and began there and took fifteen minutes to work down to her bottom. He did see the remains of a welt but kneaded the buttocks trying not to make it overtly sexual. Her limbs and body finally relaxed and he felt the tenseness ooze out of her.

He did look at the time and began to realize how late it was getting, so if they did a room check now things could get sticky. After he got Cathy’s attention from her near drowsiness he began to get dress and told her to slip on something. She padded nude to her closet and quickly pulled on a much worn terry cloth robe and helped him get his things. She did notice him wincing in places as he bent to pick up his things.

He went to the door and dropped his bag then once again nipped her at the waist and dragged her into his embrace and gave her a kiss. Her returning kiss left no doubt of her feelings. “Cathy, I know I must hurry but what I feel for you goes so deep I can't express it.”

Cathy sighed in his arms. “What I just felt was indescribable. Can there be more?”

“We have only begun I think to explore this.” Gerwald replied somewhat mysteriously and smiled. Then he gave her a final kiss before slipping out the door, bag in hand.

Cathy closed the door and said in a whisper "I love you too, Master." Then she turned to her room and made her way to the bed. After she sat down she had a very big smile on her face and hugged herself. She looked at the bed in surprise seeing the stain she had left but laid down anyway. This sub had found her master whether he knew it or not. With that pleasant thought Cathy drifted of into an exhausted slumber.

Chapter 31 Roads Less Traveled

Time passed quickly for both of them now. Soon it was Christmas break and the five weeks between semesters seemed to be a terrible time. They did exchange several letters over the break and both looked forward to being reunited at school. After Christmas Cathy accepted the Collar of training in a very short ceremony. Cathy’s roommate also came back from medical leave and it made their limited time together even more special. Gerwald’s roommate was in and out so sporadically it made it hard to schedule anything.

Between schoolwork and the new baseball season Gerwald had surprisingly little time to spend at Steele’s. The few days left to them were spent together. One or the other was on campus while the other went to Steele’s, but they rarely went together.

In the Spring Steele had another of his parties, a formal dinner party, and both got to spend the weekend together there. Both were very busy this time and although they spent the night together, both were exhausted when the party broke up at three in the morning and both fell asleep.

The end of the term meant graduation for John, and Gerwald stayed on campus for that and watched him move his mortarboard tassel from one side to the other. The faces at Steele's home began to change. Joanna went North with John. Ed accepted a job with an aerospace firm in California.

New squires appeared during Gerwald’s junior year. One fellow teammate he invited down at John’s recommendation. Two others appeared at Ed’s recommendation and one of them just as quickly was not invited back. Steele seemed to have no taste for the spoiled idle rich who seemed to think that this was their due. There was a huge difference between Mastery and Snobbishness.

Both had a busy summer exchanging letters and the random phone call when they could work it in. Both had pitched in to help their families in their various enterprises. Gerwald was helping with harvest and wheat drilling and Cathy had begun to work for her father in his construction business. Just from what he was hearing in their various communications she seemed to have a flair for it and had improved things for her father. She had balanced budgets, done some very good estimating, and had helped him bid successfully on several construction projects.

Space Command was finished over the summer but rather than try to release it, it went on the back shelf and a new game was started using a lot of what he had learned from writing Space Command. When John had left to play in the NFL somehow the game seemed like a dead issue. He had written it for John and himself to enjoy. After John left the joy from playing it was gone.

The new game was more in line with what was in the arcades and when he set it loose on the shareware market, it actually made him a modest income. He never got rich from it but it did allow him to buy a used car and keep it insured and on the road. As a senior he could keep a car on campus providing he paid for a parking permit. The compact Datsun got him back and forth from dorm to school and to Steele’s when he had time to go. He figured that as long as he didn’t have a major repair and did most of the maintenance on it, the car should last awhile. He did enjoy tinkering with it even though he had to buy a set of metric tools.

The start of his senior year almost seemed like a surprise. Gerwald was beginning to think he would never finish his training at the Manor. The demands of his scholarship just seemed too great. He talked to Steele about this who would smile and reassure him and tell him not to worry. Cathy would smile also when he raged about it in their private hours. Kara avoided his questions on the subject completely. This continued avoidance of the subject made him suspect a bit of a conspiracy. “Patience and control,” he would tell himself at odd moments.

He was on the senior football squad now and with that came additional duties in helping the younger players. By the middle of the season he had progressed further in command standing with the team but not for reasons he wanted. The game with OU had been disastrous for his team with two major injuries. It was doubtful that one would ever be able to play again and another would be on the injured list most of the season. For this reason he was made a captain of one of the squads and the demands on his time increased even more.

On the humorous side of this Cathy had been through a literature class recently and began to call Gerwald “My Captain,” from the Walt Whitman poem. Gerwald had been through the same class and didn’t mind the reference. He preferred to see this as a tribute to his injured teammate. The teammate had seen them through the storm and had won the prize for them at a great personal cost.

In the meantime Gerwald continued to pay for his scholarship with a weekly collection of bruises and strains. He tried not to dwell on that fact that the game he was playing was dangerous. He followed the coaches' conditioning exercise regimen without comment and did more then required, realizing this was his best defense against a permanent injury. He used his training both on and off the field to read a play and get the job done. He was a solid performer and leader. His squad did look up to him and his leadership.

He had noticed several of his squad who he thought he might invite to Steele’s and watched them closely as well. He had cautiously felt both of them out. One player seemed to have what he was looking for in a dominant. He had talked to Steele about him and after getting a few more pointers from his mentor he looked a little harder at Taylor Russell. He was happy with what he saw and Steele agreed with his recommendation and had named a date to bring him down.

He made the preparations for taking Taylor down two weeks hence. He didn’t seem shocked by what little Gerwald could reveal and was looking forward to the trip. He had meet Cathy on several occasions and would comment on his 'girlfriend' in what small private conversation they had. Gerwald took on the same smile Steele had when a reference was made to her. A smile that told of secrets there and they called out to be explored.

In the meantime Cathy had finished her training as well. In a long conversation between Steele, Cathy, Shirley, and Gerwald, Cathy had agreed to accept the collar of ownership. She understood all that it entailed and seemed very content in the decision. Following John’s example he wanted to do this only after he had been accepted as a Master. Steele smiled when he named this condition but made no mention of a date.

On the same trip Gerwald had made arrangements with Steele on Cathy’s collar. As it turned out Steele’s blacksmith and a partner made them for him. Besides doing his blacksmith work he was a very accomplished machinist and jewelry maker. Steele had photo examples and prices on what it would cost. Although he balked a little at the base price that was nothing compared to the options. He could include things like jewels, additional settings, plating of silver and gold, internal locks, engravings and stampings and additional rings for leashes or other toys.

The one he decided on was one of the simplest, similar to what he saw Shirley accept. It had an internal lock, one ring set in the front, and was silver plated and had the crest of the guard engraved on it. He wrote Steel a check for this, wincing as he realized it dipped in the funds he had set aside for work on the car. He shrugged it off afterward. Work like this took time and it was not like he could go to a store somewhere and buy it over the counter. He also had to admit that just knowing he had purchased it gave him a deep feeling of satisfaction.

Other complications popped up in Gerwald’s life as well. The time for seniors to sign letters of eligibility for professional sports had come up and he had been approached by several of the coaches on this. He had not given this a lot of thought. He had also begun to receive mail on this from fans urging him to play after college, as well as letters from scouts asking about what his decision might be or asking him to think about it. Up until this point athletics was a way to pay school, nothing more.

Between that and beginning to consider where he might apply for employment after graduation it was beginning to take considerable time. The computer science department was already receiving letters from various firms looking for candidates. These letters came accompanied by stacks of full color brochures extolling the virtues of the companies and detailing benefits right down to the retirement pension plan. His little dorm room was littered with all the information packets he had received in the mail as well. He was at a crossroads in his life; what direction it would take now would have to be decided in just a few short months. For now he managed to put that on the hold to concentrate on the tasks at hand. With another game coming up he had to concentrate on that.

Cathy, on the other hand, had bloomed while in training and her skills in several areas had vastly improved. She very rarely had to be corrected or disciplined. She had however developed a few interesting tastes. She seemed to enjoy anal sex now more than ever and having her bottom warmed now with a light flogger or hand was a favorite start for her. Gerwald could only smile when she requested this. He had learned to use a flogger in his training and how to control his strength. For what Cathy wanted he just used a flick of the wrist and nothing more. Wearing an anal plug now was enjoyment rather than a punishment. He could only shake his head in wonder the first time she had requested to wear it on the drive to Steele’s.

The next weekend while Gerwald was at the game Cathy had gone to the manor while he was away. When the got to his dorm room she started talking about what happened. She had come back seeming more excited than usual. She had some gossip that something was happening at the manor next weekend and Steele was being very secretive about what. But everyone there had been given different assignments for the week with no explanations. Shirley seemed very pleased about something but none of the subs seemed to know what it was.

Gerwald explained that Taylor was coming down next weekend with them for an introduction but Cathy was shaking her head no. “There has to more to it than that, Sir.”

Gerwald was smiling at her excitement. “Why do you say that?”

Cathy eyes were bright when she explained. “Well, the downstairs rooms were ordered prepared, and he is making arrangements for a dinner party, or I should say he gave Olivia a list of food and wine to be there by next weekend and that new squire Kevin was working all day on the front of the house. He’s a city boy by the way, and had no idea what the compost pile was for. I helped him and had to show him like you showed me.” Then she snickered.

Gerwald chuckled at her enthusiasm. “It could mean anything or nothing. But I think one of his European friends is coming over, that’s all. It’s not the first time I have seen this. When they come to the States for business they often stop by. I'll bet this all happened after he received an international call.”

That deflated her excitement a little and her shoulder seemed to slump and she gave a little “Oh, well maybe.”

“Did you see the food and wine order?” Gerwald asked.

Cathy was shaking her no. “No Sir, what would that tell you?”

Gerwald was smiling “Steele is very predictable if you can see what he ordered. If the order was for French wine, Champagne and Sherry it's for his French friends. If it's German wine and gallons of imported beer then the Germans are coming. But then Scotch, tea and English porter would mean his old RAF buddies. And as for his American buddies it would probably be whiskey or bourbon and California wines. He does believe in showing them a bit of Texas hospitality.”

Cathy was looking at him in stunned silence. “You always seem to see thing I don’t Sir, but now that you say you’re right. I had not noticed.”

“Another thing,” Gerwald continued. “I have noticed over the years is that the European bunch seem to enjoy American beef. That’s a generality and so do his American friends. But the Brits and French seem to prefer a roast rather than steak. But if there was rabbit ordered I would say that Jean Louis is coming over, and lamb or mutton would point to the English bunch.”

Cathy was nodding as he ticked of some of these little things he had noticed. She had may have never put it together like that. “No I didn’t see the list but it was long one is all I saw. Olivia was frowning as she read it. All that means is she was not looking forward to preparing something or the extra work.”

“Did anything else happen?”

Cathy nodded and reached onto her bag and gave Gerwald a good-sized package from Steele wrapped up in brown paper. It was square and about the size of large book. Gerwald accepted the package without comment and set it aside.

Cathy was anxious to see what it was. When Gerwald showed no interest in opening it Cathy started to wheedle a little. “Please open it, Sir.”

“I know what it is.” Gerwald said teasingly. “Something I ordered a while ago through one of Steele’s contacts. Why the interest?”

Cathy seemed a little miffed but continued. “There were two packages like this delivered by bonded courier while I was there. The only time I have seen them used was at my Dad's and it usually involved money.”

Gerwald chuckled but hefted the package. “Too heavy for money,” he commented. He handed to Cathy who lifted it as if testing the weight and then shook it a little like a kid at Christmas. There was a slight metallic tinkle to it when she shook it the first time then looked at Gerwald slyly and shook it again much harder. This time there was definite bell sound to it. Gerwald chuckled behind a hand as he saw her mounting excitement.

Cathy handed it back to Gerwald. “Open it.” She said somewhat impatiently. When Gerwald looked at her sternly she corrected that to “Please open the package, Sir.” She sighed a little and stood up and lifted her skirt to reveal a bare bottom. Gerwald smiled as he gave the proffered bottom a token swat then she sat down on the edge of the bed again. “Please, Sir.”

Gerwald got a small pocketknife out and carefully cut the paper away to reveal a fine wood box with an envelope on top. The box itself was a work of art and craftsmanship. It was made of oak and had been stained a deep rich red. The corners were dovetailed and the backside had been routed out for a piano hinge that just barely showed. It had a small brass latch in front that was locked with a small luggage lock. He set the box on Cathy’s lap then looked at her.

She looked at the box then looked up at Gerwald. “What is it, My Captain?”

Gerwald’s answer was to tear the envelope open where he found the keys as he expected. He turned the box to him briefly and fitted the key into the lock. After he removed the little lock he turned it back to face her. “It was a clutch job for the Datsun. Now it’s something else. Open it.”

Cathy was staring at the box like it was about to bite her. After a few seconds she flipped open the brass latch and then gently by the sides opened the box. The inside of the box was lined in deep red velvet and set in the middle was the collar. It gleamed in the light from the silver plating and the bell like sound came from the ring on the front. A small blue velvet bag was attached to the collar and it revealed two tiny keys.

Cathy lifted it out of the box with a kind of reverence and turned this way and that looking at it. It was not yet locked and opened in her hands. Gerwald was admiring it at the same time but for different reasons. Like the box it came in it was a thing of beauty also. The craftsmanship and attention to detail were exquisite.

After Kathy had finished looking at it she put it back in the box very gently and gave it to Gerwald. He took the box and also examined the collar. He did look for the crest of the Guard and found it underneath the ring on the front. Her name was above the ring. It was every bit as beautiful and functional as promised. Along with it in the bag were a few pieces of advice on how to care for it and instructions on using the lock, getting a replacement key and what modifications could be made to it later if desired. There was an address and phone number to call and register it.

Gerwald examined the key and open the collar then closed it and locked it a couple of times. After that he looked at Cathy. “It's what I ordered for when the time comes, I hope you like it.”

Cathy was looking at the collar like a bird that had been mesmerized by a snake. Her eyes followed its every move. Gerwald shook it and let the ring bang back and forth a couple of times. That broke her out if her reverie. Her eyes went to Gerwald’s then back collar. “Yes, My Captain,” she breathed out slowly, “It’s beautiful and I do like it.”

Gerwald opened the collar and approached her. “There is one more thing I have to check.” He then pointed to the bed and said “Kneel.”

Cathy assumed this position quickly and Gerwald closed the collar about her neck. She seemed like she was about to swoon. “Please, Sir. Don’t lock it. If you did I'm sure I would cum without your permission.”

Gerwald did not say anything but held the collar closed with his hand and checked the fit. It did leave about a half-inch of play around her neck as he wanted. He removed it then and put it back in the box with the instructions and collar keys back in the little velvet bag. He added one of the keys for the box's external lock to his key ring handed the other to Cathy who accepted it without comment and added it to hers.

“Make sure its safe at all times, If you go to Steele’s, it needs to go with you as well. If nothing else you can show it to the other subs and make them all envious.”

Cathy started giggling into her hand when he said that. Then quit a few seconds later. “But they already are, Sir.”

That took Gerwald by surprise. “Why, Cathy, because of your beauty?”

“No Sir,” Cathy replied promptly. “Because of my Squire!”

Gerwald just sat there shocked.

“Ah my poor Squire,” Cathy commented as she made to kiss him. “He can tell me who is coming to dinner by the food and wine order but has no idea of what he does to the poor wet subs who must attend him.”

Cathy kissed her squire then. A kiss that told the story of what he did to her anyway as he began to pull off her clothes. Chapter 32 Steele’s Conspiracy

To Gerwald, next few days were almost a holiday. With the break in the game schedule, the coaches had called a halt to the playbook meetings as well as the other strategy meetings he had to attend. He had been postponing some schoolwork in order to make the other meetings and with luck he could catch up over the next few days. His Computer Science courses this term were not that hard and the remaining classes he was taking this term were mostly electives needed to fill in the required number of hours. While the Music Appreciation class was fun, he still had papers due comparing various musical styles.

His computer stayed busy, not writing games but papers. A new program had appeared a few short months ago called a word processor and made writing even easier then his old text editor. He banged away at his paper now trying to get it completed. He had it all done now but a summation section and saved and printed his work, and began to look for a Coke machine with drinks still in it. When he found none in his building he went to the next building over and ran into Taylor trying to find the same thing.

Gerwald banged on the near empty machine in defeat then looked at Taylor. "Lets get something to eat at the cafeteria then maybe I can give you a little instruction on some things."

"Great," said Taylor enthusiastically, "Let me get my jacked and ID and stuff." And began to bound up to his room with Gerwald close on his heels. The little trip turned into a race with both of then laughing at the end. After he had his things together and locked his room they both looked at each other. "Race to front door on three" Gerwald said smiling, he hated losing! "One, Two, Three." And off they went tearing down the halls, scaring one co-ed with their antics as they took the stairs two and three at a time and causing her to drop her books.

Gerwald got through the front door first this time but only by whisker and they both hit the sidewalk laughing and trying to get their breath while they tried not to scare or tackle to anyone else in an odd moment of spur of the moment fun.

They got to the cafeteria after a little run and got through the line and found a good table with the view of the students in line. Gerwald played the same game with Taylor as John had played with him. Gerwald would pick a student at random. Then he would see if Taylor could pick up the same trait he had spotted.

His first few picks were to see if Taylor could spot the obvious. Things like right or left handed, with someone or not. He had him look at the eyes to see if they were looking at someone else or telegraphing who they might be with. These were things could be used on the football field if nothing else. It took him awhile to catch on but after half a dozen or so of these Gerwald continued. He next picked a pretty girl at random in the line. Taylor picked up the usual things this time.

“Wait till you catch her eye and smile at her,” Gerwald said.

Taylor did that and it took a minute but she returned is smile with a warm one of her own.

“Any opinion?” Gerwald asked after watching the exchange.

Taylor was grinning. “Nice girl, bet she won’t kiss on the first date.”

Gerwald shook his head in agreement. “Yes a nice girl, seems genuine, not a flirt or a tease. OK, now the girl at the end of the line in jeans and a maroon windbreaker. Smile at her and lets see what happens.”

This time the smile was returned as well along with a lot of hair smoothing. Taylor didn’t know what to make of it. "I don’t know. Any ideas?”

Gerwald was watching this also. “Yes, she is looking for someone and when you noticed her she got concerned about her appearance. You might want to talk to her and take her out for a casual date sometime.”

Taylor again nodded his head I agreement. “OK, we have done this enough for tonight, so tell me about this weekend. What do I need to bring and what are the times?”

“Pack for a weekend away about like you would for an away game including coat and tie, plus casual clothes for a little work. Other then that I might bring a book to read or study. What time is your last class over on Friday?”

“Ill be done about three, I should be back at the dorm about three thirty."

“OK,” Gerwald said. “Be ready by four and soon as I get some things arranged, I'll let you know. Now I have a few words of advice. My mentor will be asking you direct questions, give him good direct answers. Don’t embellish, just tell the truth. He is a lawyer and can ask the same question so many different ways you won’t believe it. If he likes what he sees and hears you may be invited back. That’s about all I can tell you for now."

Taylor didn’t seem to ready to accept that. But after Gerwald avoided a couple a questions with a smile pointing to a mouth full of food, he quit. “Still gonna be mysterious huh.” Taylor finally said.

“Lets just say that I think you approve of the result.” Gerwald replied after swallowing.

Taylor could only shake his head. “I'm going along with this because I like what I see so far. I have trusted your judgement and done well but I still don’t see the need for all this secrecy. Are we going to a nudist camp or a cat house or what.”

Gerwald’s answer was “Patience and control, Taylor. Learn those two thing and you will go far.”

Taylor sighed. “Funny, my Dad says the same thing at times. I never really paid attention to it coming from him."

That got Gerwald’s attention. “Tell me something about your Dad. Was he in the service?”

“Yes he was, Army Air Corp, stationed way outside of London at some remote little place. Had a funny name like Thorp-Abby or something like that.”

Gerwald was smiling now. He had been told to watch the young Taylor at the suggestion of Steele and make up his mind. “Was your father an officer by any chance?” “I think so, he was a copilot of a bomber so I think that made him an officer. The only stories he told were of the Battle of Britain and getting shot up over the channel and limping back to land on one engine. Every one got out alright but someone got wounded, one of the gunners I think.” He stopped a minute then looked at Gerwald, “Why did you ask?”

Gerwald had his own ideas about this. Steele never did anything by accident so he replied a little evasively. “My dad was in the service about the same time and place but was there for D-Day. Just wondering.”

Both had finished their meal about this point and Gerwald got up to dump his tray. Taylor on the other had and stopped by the table where the girl who had been concerned about her appearance had sat and they had started talking. He said nothing but left quietly. He still had phone calls to make and got some change at a corner store and made a call to Steele’s.

After getting through to Steele the arrangements he described surprised Gerwald. Cathy was coming out Friday night and Kara was fetching her, Gerwald was to make his own way out there with Taylor Saturday morning and he was not to eat on the way. Breakfast would be served as soon as he got there. Other than that the rest of it was fairly normal for this kind of thing. He was told however that there would be a formal dinner on Saturday night and there would be several guests. Cathy was coming out early to help with a few things. She had already been informed of what she needed to do. That pretty much agreed with what he knew and didn’t give it much more thought. Steele was never one to let his parties flop and he was sure that these preparations had something to do with it.

He spent the rest of the night ignoring his studies but instead began another computer game. It might make him a few bucks and was having a good bit of fun as well. Between his experience with his previous games and his studies his code was getting very compact and streamlined. His games were actually getting smaller for the most part and doing more. His programming tools were getting better also and compilers that reduced his code to the native language that the computer processor used had just started to appear for use by the home computer enthusiast. This was one of the very things he had raged about to Cathy during some of their private times. He smiled now when he thought about that. Cathy’s way of calming him down when his patience escaped him was certainly the best stress reliever he had ever come across. Cathy’s ability to calm him down when he could drop his guard and let something show besides his public face would be something he would always treasure about her. Just thinking about her now in tense moments would bring him back under control.

The next few days passed without problems. He did get hold of Taylor and told him of the change in plans. He spent the days getting through his schoolwork and dropping by the sports complex for his conditioning exercise regimen just seemed to help bleed the day’s worries off as well. Not as well as Cathy’s method, but an excellent way to finish the off the day.

He had managed to get together with Cathy only once and she was having fun with the collar. Her roommate this year was a bit snoopy and had found the box. She had asked Cathy to show her the contents of the mysterious box several times the last week or so and Cathy had declined, telling her she would show it to her after graduation.

Her new roommate was from a very well to do family and her actually having to room with someone in a dorm was a bit of a shock to her. She had agreed with her family that if her GPA fell below a certain point that she would have to give up her private apartment. She was actually shocked when he parents had held her to the agreement. Cathy was convinced that she was only on campus husband hunting, but because of her uppity ways could not seem to hang on to a boyfriend. Cathy was having a hard time even being civil to her and was now just keeping her distance rather than reveal anything at all. Since she had first discovered the collar box disturbed for the first time in campus life she had taken to locking the door to her room.

The fact the Cathy actually had a secret that she would not share was very infuriating to her roommate, so Cathy was having a bit of fun with it. Even so when Gerwald first heard about her snooping he equipped her room with a locking box attached to the bed frame, as he had done in his room, and even had gone to the expense of adding heavy tempered chain.

Other than that he was looking forward to the weekend and a break from his studies. Friday came and Kara picked up Cathy in the Lincoln. She now had the additional duty of sometimes chauffeur since Joanna had left. He saw them both off Friday night about five. Kara seemed happy to see both of them even though their meeting was brief. As Kara seemed to be on a schedule he did not get a chance to talk to her. After kissing them both goodbye Gerwald went back to his room and did as much catch up as he could, then packed and called it a night. For the first time in a week he was in bed before midnight.

The next day dawned sunny and clear without a cloud in the sky. He picked up Taylor and the trip to Steele’s place was very pleasant. The little Datsun hummed along without a hint of a problem. They talked football most of the way there and Gerwald was able to give Taylor a few more pointers on a few things. It was a very good to drive and other then a stop at a coffee shop the trip went by quickly.

They arrived at Steele’s about a little before nine A.M. and Kara meet them and took in their bags then suggested that he park his car near the garage as more company was expected. Gerwald dropped of Taylor, who was escorted in by Kara. After Gerwald parked his little car he started to walk in through the back door. After finding this locked he went to the front door.

As soon as he touched the front door handle the door whipped open and John rushed out to grab him in their ritual bear hug. Once again came the struggle to see who could lift the other off his feet first. For the first time in a long time John had surprise on his side and had him off his feet before Gerwald could even register what was happening.

“John, you dumb half back.” Gerwald shouted half in surprise as he was banging him on his shoulders. “How the heck did you get here, how are ya. Man it's good to see you.”

John let him down on his feet. “Good to see you too, ya dumb farmer. Since you have been living in a cave, we have a game in Dallas this Sunday. I flew down early, I have to take an early flight to Dallas in the morning to be with the team. I'm flying Joanna down for the weekend and I'm great and I'm a tailback now! Steele called me and invited me down. And as soon as he done talking to the guy you came down with he needs to talk to you. Now let's get some breakfast, they have been holding it for you."

John and Gerwald began to walk to the kitchen still talking of old times and new times, Gerwald was asking his opinion on signing the letter of intent and what the NFL was like. As they got to the kitchen John went behind Olivia and gave her a hug and kissed her. Then he stuck his head over a pan of steaming hash brown potatoes and inhaled deeply. He gave Olivia a kiss again, “I have sure missed these, nobody makes em like you, Olivia.”

“Still trying to get your favorite desert, sir? But thank you.” She returned his kiss with a warm wet one as well. “Sit down and I’ll get you both something to eat. Bet squire Gerwald is starving.” She began to bustle around the kitchen and get plates and silverware and serve them.

They sat and Olivia served and Gerwald and John picked up their conversation. Olivia kept close and John just had to give her lovely bottom a pat once when it was turned to him. She chuckled and went back to her work. The kitchen was full of stuff today with groceries pilled high here and there. She was already working on several dishes for later, it seemed. They went to the Hall and Gerwald collected his bag and went to his room to drop it then to the music room and sat down and talked with John some more. Taylor had been in the library for over an hour now. When the door opened he motioned to John and after a brief few words John escorted Taylor to the kitchen.

Gerwald was motioned into the library. Steele began with the usual small talk about school and then got down to business. “What are the cornerstones of the guard?” he asked.

“Duty, honor, courage,” Gerwald replied.

And so Steele began to quiz Gerwald on lessons learned over the past eighteen months. At the end he sat down and looked at Gerwald with a look of satisfaction. “Tonight Gerry,” was his closing statement. Then he took a jewelry box out of his pocket and put it on the table between them. “Make sure it fits.”

Gerwald opened the box to find the gold signet ring of the guard nestled in it. He tried it on the little finger of his right hand and it fit perfectly. After returning it to the box he smiled and looked up at Steele. “Why this weekend, Sir?”

“You know as well as I do that tradition demands three Masters be present. This weekend is a wonderful concurrence of events. John was close and Jean Louis will be here shortly. Shirley is on the way to the airport now to pick him up. He has been in California all week on business. A better time I could not pick and you are ready.”

Gerwald was stunned. Yes, he knew the tradition but had never put it together that Steele would wait for friends to be present. Now with John and Jean Louis coming he could understand why he had been put off for the past few months. Steele was simply waiting for a time when the dates would line up.

Steele got up and began to pace then looked at Gerwald again, hard. "There is something else I want to discuss with you. Are you serious about your collaring Cathy? Think carefully before you answer."

"I am serious about it, I was just waiting until I had achieved my Mastery. Why?" Gerwald asked. He was genuinely puzzled at this question.

"I have been conspiring around you, my young squire, both arranging you initiation and other things. Come with me. John is taking care of Taylor at the moment, so don’t worry about him." Steele left at that point and they headed down the hall. He opened the playroom door and closed it behind him. Inside he found Kara and Cathy. Both were kneeling and waiting. Both were wearing their tunics and seemed happy to see someone else. He began to question both of them on their sincerity about accepting a collar. Emphasizing what it would mean and entail. When both said they understood Steele got out some legal looking documents from a drawer for them to read. It was a slavery contract.

"I want both of you to look them over. They are almost the same with the exception that Kara's has some additional amendments specifying her place and she must obey Shirley as Mistress and first slave. Now I will leave you both for a few minutes to look them over and you will be questioned again about this. Don’t sign them now, just look them over. And be sure to read the revocation clause."

Steele motioned Gerwald out of the room. When the door closed he asked. “Do you know what the Chinese ideogram is for trouble?”

Gerwald had a puzzled look but replied, “No, Sir”

Steele was frowning now but began to draw on a piece of scratch paper. “You make the symbol for a woman, then make another one, then make the roof symbol over them meaning a house. So the completed ideogram is two women under one roof. What I am letting myself in for,” he implored the heavens. Then he looked at Gerwald. “I hate to do this to you, but you really do need to fast the rest of the day.”

Chapter 33 Collars and Promises.

Steele looked at Gerwald then sighed. “Gerry, my young squire, if you have not figured it out yet I have been badgered enough about this so I am going to end the matter. If after this next part she agrees, I will collar Kara tonight. I intend to have the collaring ceremony right after your initiation. The only question is do you want to have a double ceremony?”

“Yes, I would like that.” Gerwald said slowly, “but what is this next part?”

Steele’s look was positively grim. “I am going to have Kara strip, then I'll flog her to see if she will rescind her request. You might do the same to your sub. It gives them a way out before anything else happens. If after that they want to continue, I still have time to set things up.” He looked at his watch then Gerwald. "Go out to the stables and see how Taylor is doing. Come right back after you have poked around a few minutes. And don’t pick up a currycomb because you will want to finish grooming the horse you started!”

Gerwald chuckled but left and found John and Taylor at the Stable. Taylor was working but without a lot of sprit attached to it. John was talking to him and Taylor was doing more listening than talking. He seemed to be awed by John so after looking around a bit he trotted into the house to find Steele waiting for him in the hall.

“Any comment on Taylor?” Steele asked as he saw Gerwald.

“I think he is overly impressed with our NFL superstar,” Gerwald stated with a chuckle.

Steele smiled when he said that. “Perhaps you are right. I did promise his father that he would make some contacts here if nothing else.” Steele said. This confirmed a few of Gerwald’s suspicions as well. “Do you think he will make a squire?"

“In time, he needs to see a lot more thought, I think he should see what happens this evening.”

“Yes, that’s my assessment as well. OK, I want this settled by the time Jean Louis gets here so, lets attend to the subs.” He entered the playroom and the subs had put down the papers and were talking quietly among themselves. He closed the door after Gerwald and looked at Kara. “Well, what is your decision?”

Kara looked up from her kneeling position “I have wanted this a long time sir. I agree.”

Gerwald looked at Cathy “Well?” was all he said.

Cathy said nothing but looked down and nodded her head yes. Steel looked at Gerwald and he nodded his yes to an unspoken communication. Steele then went to a cabinet and pulled out two floggers. He handed the lighter of the two to Gerwald then motioned them both to the back wall. This wall had eyebolts in it, holding up decorative potted plants. These pots were removed and the subs were bound there with rope that had appeared from the same cabinet. In Kara’s case Steele wasn’t gentle about it. Steele went to Kara and Gerwald to Cathy and the little hook fastenings that held the garment closed at the shoulders was opened. The tunics fell away.

Steele appeared to be annoyed about something but still in control. He went to Kara and pulled her head back by the hair. “Let's see if I can change your mind.” Then began to lay the flogger to her back and bottom. After he had laid down about twenty strokes, her back and bottom were scarlet. Kara had flinched but had not made a sound. When he pulled her head back next she had tears in her eyes. “Do you still want my collar?” he asked.

Kara answered with a very struggled “Yes, Sir.”

Steele grunted but said nothing and wound up again. Gerwald had lost count of the strokes he delivered to her, but the sound of the strokes had changed from a snap to a dull thud. Kara had not even moaned but her body sagged against her bindings. Her back and body now were covered in sweat. Steele was not any better off. His normally immaculate shirt was sticking to his body and blotches of moisture could be seen along the front and back and underarms.

When he stopped this time he dropped the flogger and threw back his head and began gulping air. When he went to Kara this time he asked the question much gentler. “Do you still want my collar, Kara? this is your last chance to back out.”

Kara at the moment was incapable of verbal communication but nodded her head yes. Both of them seemed exhausted and for the first time in Gerwald’s memory he took out a little pocketknife and cut the ropes rather than untie them. Steele flopped in a chair and Kara dropped to the floor. In a few minutes she had her strength back and crawled to him and put her head in his lap. He motioned to Gerwald to begin.

Cathy had been able to watch this and her face had taken on a look of shock. Gerwald began with a light overhand stroke to her bottom. After ten of these he went to Cathy and pulled her head back. “Do you still want my collar?” he asked. Cathy was actually smiling. He had not used his full strength and she was enjoying this. They were keeping a little secret from Steele and Kara.

“Yes, Sir. I do.”

Gerwald let go of her hair and pushed her head back between her arms to hide her face. He started again with a figure eight stroke on her back. One of these strokes was sloppy and it wrapped around her back and made a snapping sound as caught the side of her breast, but as before he had not used his full strength. Even the light strokes were beginning to tell a tale as her back began to shine in the dim light from sweat. After twenty of these he went back to Cathy and pulled her head back again. There was a tear in one eye but she saw still smiling. Gerwald had kept his body between Cathy and Steele.

When he asked his question again Cathy’s answer was a “Yes Sir.” It was just barley loud enough to be heard by Steele and Kara.

He untied her and let her down and following Steele’s example he sat in a chair beside Steele and Cathy crawled to him also a few minutes later. He began to stroke her head and hair with a deep feeling of contentment. They both sat for another ten minutes or so before Steel looked at his watch and sighed.

Steel sighed. “I have a lot to do before tonight. Your induction will be at ten tonight rather than at midnight. John and Joanna have a very early flight,” Steele explained without explaining at all. It made sense to Gerwald to get John back as early and as fresh as possible.

After Kara and Steel left Cathy snuggled her head down in his lap. "Thank you, Sir." She said very softly.

Gerwald was brought back to the present when she said that. "What are you thanking me for, Cathy?"

Cathy did not lift her head but mumbled. "Everything, Sir. Collaring me, not really using that flogger today with all your strength, getting me here and trained and not giving up on me when we first met."

“So what do we do now?” Gerwald asked. “I would bet you came here last night at Shirley’s request so the three of you could plot and plan.”

Cathy stirred a bit but looked up. “First, Sir, Kara will be waiting for you for a haircut. Then she will be doing our hair for tonight and we have much to prepare. You are to stay with Steele and entertain Jean-Louis and not do too much physical activity. I am told that breakfast would be you last meal until after your initiation.”

As she spoke Gerwald heard activity out front. “That would be Jean-Louis. Only he can arrive with that much enthusiasm.”

Gerwald got up and went to me the meet the guest. He has a happy as always to be at Steele’s. He greeted Gerwald with his usual Cheerful “Bon Jour Gerwald, Félicitations. I hear many good things about you from Garrett. So it is tonight!” As usual the Frenchman showed up tidy and as neat as ever. It was almost as if the rigors of travel did not touch him. “Vin, I need vin to quench this thirst.”

Gerwald led him into the library where he found Steele. On the table was a tray with a decanted bottle of good French wine and glasses. Steele greeted his friend then began to poor the wine into glasses. Gerwald backed out of the library and closed the door. They were still exchanging greetings when the door shut. Then he went in search of Kara.

He found Kara with Shirley in living room. She was lying down on a couch and Shirley and Joanna were attending to her back and bottom. Evidentially Steele had laid the leather to her hard. He saw no cuts or bruises but there were some welts. Shirley and Kara were talking to each other in low tones. Gerwald was sure he would hear the laments of a disciplined sub but they were giggling. He did hear Joanna make the comment, “I told you, eighteen months tops!” When he made his presence known all three knelt.

He went to Shirley who took his right hand and kissed it. “Congratulations, my Squire.” And the other two picked this up and did the same thing.

Gerwald was beaming but continued on his mission. “Thank you all for your help while I was here. I was told Kara would give me a haircut today, is she able to do that?”

Kara stood with no sign of discomfort. “Of course I am, my squire, please follow me.” And she led him to the bathroom that served as her salon to find a chair had already been set up. He sat down without comment and she went right to work. Twenty minutes later she was brushing the hair off of him and handed him a mirror. She had once again done her magic. As he was making to leave she knelt once more and took his hand. “Thank you, Sir.”

“What was that for, Kara?” Gerwald asked puzzled.

“A lot of things Sir, but you have given me pleasure during your time here. You were never cruel to me. You helped when you didn’t have too. When you were learning to flog and whip on me you never used all you strength. I of all people know that. I have seen you toss bales of hay across the barn like my two-year-old nephew would casually toss his building blocks across the room. You didn’t use it all today on Cathy. Just thank you for a lot of small things. You will be a good Master.”

Gerwald was very surprised by this statement but bent over and kissed Kara. “You’re welcome Kara. I don’t know how you did it either but congratulations as well.”

Kara was smiling and when a tear escaped a corner of her eye but she looked down. “Thank you, Sir." She seemed to be afraid for him to see her face. With the haircut out of the way he felt somewhat lost. Normally he had something to do here, an assignment or a lesson from Steele to study or practice and today he didn’t. Being told to take it easy just didn’t suit his personal style. He did think of the books in his bag and just as easily dismissed studying. It was just too pretty outside for him. He went to the stable just to have something to do and to be outside.

He found Taylor and John talking and then went to visit Dancer, his favorite filly. She seemed happy to see him and tossed her mane from one side to the other by way of greeting. He picked up the currycomb and brush and Dancer began to work on the hay while Gerwald attended to her. This filly was the only one that had not tried to bite, butt, crush or step on Gerwald the entire time he had been here. The high-spirited black stallion, Negro Diablo, in the next stall lived up to his name. He would do things just to see if he could for pure mischief. Gerwald felt himself lucky to have kept all of his toes intact working around him. He spent the rest of the day taking care of the horses. John and Taylor joined him and he explained a bit of what would happen and what he would see.

Gerwald explained a bit about taking care of livestock, and for the first time since he was here Taylor seemed to be paying attention and not distracted by John. They went in for lunch and Gerwald stayed with the horses. It was dusk when they went all went inside and Gerwald now was feeling his hunger. As the time approached he found his hunger replaced with apprehension.

At nine thirty that night Steele, with Shirley in tow, found him and simply asked,"Are you ready?"

"Yes Sir." Was Gerwald's answer. He just wanted this over with so he could get something to eat.

"Prepare him, Shirley," was Steele's only comment and he left to find the others. Gerwald followed Shirley to the playroom that had been rearranged again to make lots of room.

Shirley took off his shirt and kissed his chest then put a cushion on the floor and Gerwald knelt on and waited. Shirley went to the chest of drawers that held all the toys and one by one took them out and laid them on a nearby table. She then adjusted the lighting so the flickering torch lamps came on and lowered the other. Then she knelt besides Gerwald. “Please my squire, assume the same position I'm about to take.”

Gerwald followed her lead, and assumed the same position as her, back on heels, back straight, and hands on thighs. Then she adjusted a few things to his position. When he had completed this she went and checked the door and made sure it was locked. She ran to him quickly.

In a low tone Shirley began to speak almost urgently. “Squire Gerwald, This is the last thing I will be able to help you with as a Squire. Use your hands and arms to brace yourself against you thighs. Open your knees wider to make a good triangle base for your body. I had Cathy get this from your equipment Thursday night.” She held out his mouthpiece from his football equipment. Gerwald quickly took this and put it in his mouth and adjusted it. If had known about his induction he would have brought it himself. She stood and then and went behind him and put her hands on his back. “Tense your back muscles.” Gerwald did this and she took her hand off his back. “You will do fine. Just tense before he delivers his blows. Relax in between times or you will be completely exhausted. You have seen this before and you will be able to anticipate when he strikes. When the music starts you will know it is time. You have been a good squire and deserving of this honor.” Then she kissed him. It was a full warm liquid kiss on the mouth. When she broke the kiss then held his hand in hers. “Promise me now Squire, that you will always take care of Cathy to the best of your ability.”

Gerwald squeezed her hand back. “I promise Shirley, I always will.”

Shirley jumped up at that point. The entire private moment had taken less than a minute. She went to the door and quietly unlocked it. Then turned to Gerwald for the last time she would be able to speak to him as a squire, “Good luck. I go to fetch the Master now.” Then straightened her tunic and left.

The wait was agony. He finally used a trick he had learned and focused on a single lamp in a light fixture. Once he did that every thing else slipped away until he heard the music start, then he had to shake off a chill. John, Jean-Louis, Steele, and Taylor entered went to a place in front of him. Steele went to the table and picked up a flogger and after looking at Gerwald a second time chose a heavier one. Then he took his position behind Gerwald.

John began the evening by opening his journal. “Master Steele, do you testify to us that the squire before us is worthy of the title Master, has he learned from you and know the ways and traditions of the Guard?”

“I so testify.” replied Steele. He used the flogger and struck Gerwald. “Duty!” he announced as the first blow fell. “Honor!” he announced as he struck a second time. “Courage!” he announced on the third blow.

“That he will uphold these traditions. That he will never shirk from his duty to the Guard?” John inquired again.

"I so testify.” replied Steele then used the flogger again for another three strokes.

“Has he attended well to his lessons and learned all that you have tried to teach him. Is his character strong and has he accepted this and never shirked from his duty to you. Has he accepted both the work and pleasure of the training?”

“I so testify that he has.” replied Steele then used the flogger again for another three strokes.

“Does he know the ways of the Guard, will he in time accept others as his own squires and teach and train them as you have trained this man before us?”

“I so testify that he will,” replied Steele, then used the flogger again for another three strokes each.

And so it went on with John going through page after page from his Journal and the Gerwald stoically accepting the blows from the flogger. The same words used before for John’s induction ceremonies were used at his. Traditions he now had transcribed into his book. He found he could indeed tense as Shirley had suggested and relaxed in between. Otherwise his attention was focused on a single light bulb and ignored everything else.

At the end, John looked at Gerwald. “On the testimony of Master Steele and by virtue of you endurance I accept you into the Guard. You may now carry the title of Master.”

At this point Jean-Louis approached Gerwald carrying the small velvet lined tray. It was the gold signet ring Steele had showed him earlier today. He went to Gerwald and removed bracelet and put the signet ring on the little finger. Only then did Gerwald break his concentration on the light bulb and take a huge gasp of air. His body was bathed in sweat.

Jean-Louis put his tray on the table and returned with another tray with a bottle of wine and five glasses. He set the tray down and poured a splash of wine into one glass. Every one was smiles at this point and John spoke again “Arise, Gerwald, and welcome to the Guard!” Jean-Louis handed Gerwald the glass of the wine he had poured. After Gerwald had drained the sip from the first glass Jean-Louis filled the remaining glasses and passed then around. Gerwald had a moment of dizziness as he stood but it passed quickly. He coughed into his hand and expelled the mouthpiece and shoved it into a pocket.

Gerwald raised his glasses and the others followed. “To the Guard!”

“To the Guard!” the others repeated. This started a round of handshakes and a bear hug from John. "You old manure kicker, I knew you could do it!” John enthused.

Steele called things back to order. “You all will join me in the dinning room. A large buffet has been set up as my young squire, excuse me, my young Master.” he paused again to raise his glass to Gerwald in salute, “has been fasting today. Olivia has prepared the rare roast you like so much.”

As they left Steele went up to Gerwald and whispered. “Wait a bit and Cathy will attend to your back and get you dressed.” Then he left. Cathy was at his side a minute later bathing his back and chest. She had tears in her eyes but finished her task without comment. She was beautiful. Kara had outdone herself and her hair had been pulled to the top of her head and the curled in tight curls there. There was babies-breath flowers already fixed in her hair.

Then she dried him off and put some medication on a few places on his back. She picked up the discarded flogger and shivered as she felt is weight and heft. “Sir, was it as bad as it sounded from out there?”

Gerwald smiled at his lovely slave to be. “Cathy, you have seen me on the football field. That was not even one quarter of play. Trust me, it was not bad at all.” Then he nipped her about the waist and picked her up off his feet and kissed her. “Not bad at all.” Gerwald said as he stretched and flexed his back muscles. He silently thanked his conditioning coach as he did this. If he had known he would have done more exercises. But his condition was good and he only felt a few twinges. Cathy got him his shirt and buttoned it for him.

They went to the dining room to find the large buffet promised. Olivia had outdone herself and Gerwald found separate platters of roast beef, rare and well done. Gerwald fell on the rare roast like the hungry man he was. He had a hard time stopping himself from piling his plate high with beef and cheese and fruit. When he began to look for something to drink, Olivia slipped up besides him and handed him a large-handled beer mug, then smiled and disappeared.

He could only chuckle. Thanking and complementing cook had indeed helped. She knew his distaste for the tiny dishes normally used. He filled this with ice and cola and found a place to sit. Cathy found a place besides him and sat as well. After his second plate of food he slowed down. The whole time the people were coming up and congratulating him. All of the subs and slaves made a special trip to kneel and kiss him and his hand. Jean-Louis had found another youngster to teach wine to and was instructing Taylor in the finer points of wine appreciation. Gerwald was looking at his ring from time to time as if he didn’t believe it was over. He had a problem he just had to resolve. He waited until he caught Steele alone and approached him.

“Sir, could you tell me what I owe you for the ring?” Gerwald asked when he had him to himself.

“Its Garrett now Gerry, and trust me, you have paid for that ring a dozen times over.”

Gerwald was silent a moment then said, “I don’t understand.”

Garrett chuckled. “I keep records on this stuff, I can show you but you have averaged over two days here a month including the time you gave me before and after the school term started. In that time you have done the odd jobs I would have paid someone to do, including lots of skilled labor. I would have paid dearly to have the storage shed wired for electricity and an electrician would not have done as good a job. The stereo equipment is another example. Do you think you really owe me anything? It’s a small reward from me for a job well done.”

Gerwald had started to make an exception until Garrett put it together like that. “Thank you,” was all he could say.

Garrett smiled now. “You are only the third of all the squires I have trained to ask me that. Now as we are pressed for time, it’s time for you and me to get ready for the collaring.” Garrett had a few words with John then joined Gerwald again. “He will get things started for us. Cathy and Kara are making their preparations now.”

Garrett led Gerwald to an unused bedroom to find a suit of clothes hanging up for him. After he had changed into the rented outfit he went into the hall to find Garrett in a similar outfit. Garrett then smiled and handed Gerwald some three by five cards printed in his perfect handwriting. “Your vows for tonight.”

They went to the playroom one more time to find things in readiness. Taylor had been pressed into service tonight as the bell ringer and would ring it on a cue from Jean-Louis. After a few moments of checking each other over they stood in the back of the room.

The music had been started and Shirley entered and began the procession. Kara and Cathy entered wearing their blue tunics and leather chokers followed by Joanna. The walked in time to the music. Kara had been busy today. All of them had their hair up in a style similar to what he had seen Cathy in just an hour before. Gerwald could only marvel at the beauty and grace they showed entering the room. Both were carrying a pillow before them with the collar and leash neatly wound up on them. Shirley reached the front and knelt in back of her Master. Cathy then knelt in front of Gerwald and Kara in front of Garrett. This ceremony went very much the same as the last with John and Jean-Louis giving their testimony about Gerwald and Steele.

Shirley came forward at that point and gave her testimony about Kara and Cathy. She spoke a long time on their training and how she was ready to accept a chain sister. She then went behind them and opened the chokers so they sat loose on their throats. “I declare these subs worthy of the collar of ownership.” Then she removed the chokers. “Any contracts between these women are now dissolved. They are free now to make a choice.”

Both stood at that point and made a random journey about the room. Stopping in front of every male and ending back up in front of Gerwald and Garrett. They continued to stand and in unison they picked up the leash off of the pillows and offered them to their prospective Masters. They said in a well-rehearsed unison “It is my desire to belong to you and to follow you where ever you choose to lead me. I offer this leash to you to guide me and lead me.”

Gerwald was the first to reach take the leash. “I accept your leash as a symbol of your offering yourself to me. I have guided you to this moment and will continue to guide, protect, and cherish you. I will defend this woman from anyone here and anyone in the world!” He bent down and picked up the collar.” "Will you kneel at my feet and take this symbol of my ownership to wear as a sign to us and those we meet on our journey?"

Cathy knelt on the cushion. Her head was straight but her eyes downcast as she did this. "I kneel and offer my submission to you. I accept the collar as a symbol of your ownership. I will wear it proudly, Sir."

Gerwald picked up the collar and closed it about her neck with a solid metallic click. “You are mine. I own you now.”

Cathy was looking at Gerwald with tear in her eyes. “You own me now.” Then took a deep breath and added “Master,” for the first time.

Gerwald waited then and a similar exchange went on between Garrett and Kara. However, Shirley picked up the collar when the time came and handed it to Garrett. He paused a long time before he closed the collar, looking deeply into Kara’s eyes before he closed it. Garrett and Gerwald both attached their leashes to their slave's collar. Both slaves kissed the feet of their Master.

Shirley appeared now with two trays. On the trays were the contracts of slavery, a pen that had a big yellow bow around it, and large hat pins skewering a cotton ball. She put one in front of each slave. After they were signed she drew out the pin and pricked a finger and forced a drop of blood from the finger then pressed it to the contract. She then held the tray before each Master for them to sign. She pricked their fingers as well. They added their drop of blood to the contract.

Gerwald watched Garrett a moment and after he had tugged on the leash and commanded his slave to stand and kissed her Gerwald did the same. Taylor took his cue from Jean -Louis and began ringing the bell. Shirley went to the side of the room then and got two yellow tunics. When the Masters had stopped kissing the slaves she went to them and released the catches the held the blue tunics in place, stripping them in front of the assembled audience.

She handed the tunics to the Masters and knelt again. “It is now up to the Masters if they will clothe their slaves.”

Gerwald handed the yellow tunic of ownership to Cathy immediately, who slipped it on. Garrett on the other hand waited a few moments, as if considering nudity in his collar was perfectly acceptable to him. He finally handed it to Kara who slipped it on with a sigh of relief.

Garrett then looked at his guests. “There will be cake and drink waiting for us in the dining room.”

The party stretched well past two AM with John and Joanna slipping off about midnight. Taylor had stayed the entire time and had been instructed what to do when the cake was cut and served. John, Garrett, and Steele all had long talks with him and somewhere along the way he knew he wanted to come back.

Gerwald was requested to meet Garrett in the library at noon the next day as he had another guest coming that wanted to talk to him. He was a member of the Guard and a recruiter for technical firms in the Dallas area and of the few Garrett respected. Even with Gerwald’s graduation still months away he was already looking out for his former squire.

At two AM Gerwald decided to call it a night and Shirley caught him before he left. “Master, please follow me.” He followed her to one of the downstairs bedrooms where he had changed earlier. “This is for you tonight rather, than the small room upstairs. If you wish I will prepare your slave while you change.”

Gerwald nodded and Shirley took Cathy’s leash and led her off. He found a silk robe now hanging up next the place where he found the rented outfit. He hung it up and slipped into the robe then sat as he watched Shirley prepare Cathy for the night. Her collar was chained to the bed and she had been bound spread eagle. Shirley left and quietly closed the door. She was already hearing the moans of pleasure only an owned slave could experience. She smiled as she left. She had yet another slave to bind tonight for her Master's pleasure and if her Master allowed it her pleasure as well.

Chapter 34 Epilog

Despite his exhaustion of an active night Gerwald got up before the sun and saw John and Joanna off. He did manage to get in a little more sleep and his meeting with recruiter was very productive. He left with a few recommendations and a promise that he would be in touch.

The next few months were almost a honeymoon for the two of them, even more so after Christmas break when a house trailer became available for a three-month sublease at a price Gerwald could swing with no effort. It was not a luxury accommodation but it was private. It was just off campus and following John's example they confined any activity that even had a hint of D/s there. A winning football season gave way to baseball and they had been very happy with the arrangement well into spring. They went on a wildflower hunt when the bluebonnets and firewheel bloomed and he ending up making love to Cathy in the middle of a bluebonnet field surrounded only by their fragrance.

They did spend a lot of times at Steele’s now. Gerwald had a hand in Squire Taylor’s training. The big difference now to Gerwald was that he could help with things he enjoyed. He helped with the horses and finally rode Negro Diablo without being thrown. He leaned woodworking and bondage toy-making from Garrett and helped him buy and install some new audio equipment. Gerwald was still invited to the parties that Steele put on and Cathy was always with him.

Graduation was less then two weeks away when he arrived at the trailer to meet Cathy to find her already there and on the bed crying. She was inconsolable. It took a full hour to calm her down enough and find out what was wrong. Her father's business was booming and he had been working. He had worked himself so hard that he had a heart attack earlier that day and was in the hospital hovering near death. Her mother wanted her home and Gerwald agreed immediately. He took her back to her dorm where they had access to a phone and a campus directory listing.

He only had to think of his father dying and the brief pain he felt just at the thought of it was so deep and searing he started to try and help Cathy in whatever way he could. The big problem was exams, if she missed them now she would have to take the term over. Phone calls were made to the administrative offices and finally he got someone who could help. There were procedures in place for this. A helpful assistant dean took her number and told Cathy and Gerwald to sit tight for a little while he checked on things.

Two hours later they had a phone call on how this could be handled. The assistant dean had her records and had called her mother and verified things. He had called the professors of the classes she had. The Dean explained that in rare cases some professors would grant credit in the event of a national, state or family emergency. In fact several had already agreed to this. The remaining professors had agreed to let her take a proctored exam tomorrow. They needed time to get an exam together by the next day. Times and a proctor were arranged. Even if she failed the exam she would not get an incomplete that would mean automatic retake of the semesters work. Cathy’s roommate had shown up in the middle of this. After things were explained to her she stayed with Cathy while Gerwald got the arrangements made. Next he called a local travel agent and got times and prices on flights to Cathy’s home. A late flight out of Austin was just barley manageable. Next he called Steele. After he explained things his bunch flew into action as well. The flight was secured, ticket purchased and transportation arranged on both ends. Steele only had to call one of his many contacts to have this done.

For the first time in four years Gerwald missed a day of class, practice and his workout. He waited with Cathy while she sat alone in an administrative office and her exams were proctored. Four hours later she climbed into a car with Kara. Her things had been packed by Cathy’s roommate and were in Gerwald’s car. After he transferred her bag he gave her a kiss and saw the car leave. He had put in her bag a complete list of numbers where he might be reached.

He did talk to her over the next few weeks and her father had improved and was out of the intensive care unit. He had called his lawyer and drawn up power of attorney papers and Cathy was now running the company. People were getting paid, supplies delivered and mini-malls were still going up.

Graduation came and went and the actual ceremony was very hollow without her there. Her diploma was being sent to her by mail. Despite the parties and general jubilation that was going on around the campus Gerwald felt none of it. The void she had left in his life was not filled by anything around him. Just to be in her room he made the arrangements for the rest of her things to be packed and shipped. There really was not that much for him to pack up when the time came. Most of the furniture belonged to the school so a few suitcases and few boxes began to make their way to Cathy.

During one of the phone calls Gerwald asked if she wanted her release and she declined but did ask for a leave of absence as she called it. Gerwald granted this and went to Steele’s for a few days then began the serious task of looking for a job. With his degree in hand Garret’s arrangement with the recruiter began to pay dividends and he soon found himself working for a mainframe computer software house in Dallas. He spent a few weeks with his parents and brothers and sisters at harvest time prior to starting but after that buried himself in his work.

Two years after that he quit his job over his intellectual property dispute. Two years later his own company was running beyond his wildest dreams. His first game had been a hit and he copied disks at night and mailed them the next morning on his way to working at a gas station. This outgrew his ability to do this and he had no time to write his next game. It moved from his apartment to a run-down warehouse.

He hired two people who were his copying and shipping department and who played computer games when they were not busy. Once again he turned to Steele who helped him set up his company and Gerwald got quite the introduction to taxes and the other paperwork required to run even a small company. His help gradually evolved into game testers who tested the new games he was writing. With their help and a bit of luck his next couple of games introduced were hits also.

His company had grown to the point where he could not make all the day-to-day decisions and still write new software. It was getting to where he working seven in the morning to eight or nine at night just to do the paperwork required. He had written software to automate everything he could but still he was overwhelmed. What he needed was an assistant.

He called his travel agent that had gotten to know him well the past few years with all the conventions he went to and made his request. “That’s gonna be expensive but let me look. I'll get back to you in a few minutes,” was his agents reply.

When he had finished that and hung up he smiled and went back to clearing a mountain of paperwork. When the agent called back he thanked him and hung up. Gerwald made one more phone call that night. When the phone picked up he said. “Cathy, you will find in your name at the American counter an open departure prepaid ticket to Dallas. Wind up your affairs there and be here by this weekend. Let me know your time of arrival and I will meet you at the airport.”

At the driveway to his home he had a moment of self-satisfaction, it was all his, and all paid for. As he looked at the house on twenty acres of secluded ground he could not help but enjoy the feeling of pride it gave him. He pulled into the driveway and parked his car in a multi car garage then went into the house. He was 'The Lord of the Manor' now also.

The spicy smell of Cajun cooking hit him as he walked in the door. He walked into the huge kitchen to find Bea in a T-shirt and apron preparing Jambalaya. She knelt as he entered and he gave her a kiss and a quick pat on the butt. She smiled and stood and went back to preparing the food she was working on. He then went to the stove and tasted what was in the pot. You are home early, My Lord, and where is Cathy?” Bea asked.

“She is arranging a meeting to get me out of the mess I worked myself into. She will be calling anytime now to let me know what the details are. She should be home about the normal time.” Gerwald tasted the simmering pot again. “It’s good, what kind are you making this time?”

“Smoked sausage and shrimp, My Lord, the very recipe you had the night we met in New Orleans. Remember?” Bea said giving him a teasing smile and a come hither look.

“Yes Bea, I remember that night very well.” He chuckled then went to Bea and gave her a hug. She squeaked as the pot demanded her attention and slipped out of his grasp to attend to it. Gerwald continued to chuckle as he slipped out of the kitchen and he went to the patio where his bench weights were.

The End