Julie’d learned by now to do what she was told, so she stood, but she didn’t bother to hide her surprise. She didn’t expect to see the Lady of the House – her kidnapper, her captor, her owner, although, to be fair, someone else had done the original kidnapping – here in the barracks, and it was supposed to be her night off the clock. She’d been reading, a small book of history filched from the library the Garden kept, like everything else, as a showpiece; she didn’t bother trying to hide it. If Lady Alouetta wanted to know, she’d know. She seemed to have eyes everywhere.
The Lady, at the moment, didn’t seem to care. She stripped off Julie’s cotton pajamas with quick efficiency, and sniffed at her shoulder and neck. “Good, you’re clean. Go rinse yourself down quickly – take no more than two minutes.”
She was back, shivering but cleaner and damper, one and a half minutes later, only now moving from “react” mode to wondering what the Lady wanted of her, so quickly, so randomly, and so urgently she’d come herself instead of sending the dresser, Mrs. Snips, to take care of matters.
The Lady pressed into her hands something not much different from the PJ’s she’d been wearing – a thin camisole and short bloomers, both trimmed with rows of soft lace. The cotton was yellow, the lace white, the ribbons a far brighter yellow. “Tonight, you are Jonquil,” the Lady declared. “And the gentleman in question likes dressing. He is not a big fan of conversation; you will speak when he tells you to speak, move as he positions you, and remember to smile.” With that, she slapped Julie’s ass hard enough to leave a mark. “Dress, and hurry to the Drawing Room. Vite, vite, girl.”
She vite’d, sliding on the tiny slippers and letting the Lady do something to her hair that looked far fancier than the allowed time should have made possible, and jogged across the lawn – gracefully, the Flowers in Lady Alouetta’s garden were always graceful – to the Drawing Room.
There, a dark-haired man sat in the large leather wing chair, staring out the window. A neat pile of clothes sat across the improbably large chaise lounge; the man himself was wearing knee breeches and nothing else. He had the body for it; the sort of trim, muscular trim she’d expect to see on another Flower, not on a patron; his tanned chest had just a bit of hair, and his muscular back had none.
He stood as she entered. “You’re late,” he scolded, in a voice to match the body, deep and rumbling, and a flutter of his hand that made her swallow a giggle. The Lady had told her not to speak, so she dropped a low curtsey instead.
“We’ll have to hurry,” he continued, as if she hadn’t said or done anything at all. “Come here, straighten up, in front of the mirror, that’s it. Smile.”
Julie, pushed and tugged into position in front of the antique standing mirror, smiled. It was what she thought of as her Garden smile, pretty and sincere and empty. It seemed to please the Patron.
“Good, good, stay.” He tugged her chemise straight, tch’ing softly. “Yellow, really? It doesn’t suit you. I have some blue over here…” Off went the yellow he’d just smoothed, and on went the blue, with no pause to caress or grope or even notice her high-set breasts or her smoothly-trimmed mons.
Julie-Jonquil swallowed the part of her that wanted to gape at him in incredulity, and stood where she’d been put. His hand slid down her back, smoothing the new chemise, almost a caress. “That’s better. Matches your eyes. Spread your legs a little bit for me.” He pushed his hands between her thighs to spread her, showing her where he wanted her; a firm, friendly touch but not getting near the split crotch of her bloomers. “Now brace.”
“Brace” was something every Flower in the Garden knew, although in this pose, with her pants still on, split crotch or no… oh. She swallowed an embarrassed chuckle as he wrapped a Victorian corset around her and began lacing it, and then swallowed a whimper as he pulled the laces tight.
“Just a bit tighter, hold on. There.” He patted her stay-encased back. “Lovely. You’re going to be the belle of the ball.”
Belle of the ball? She searched his face in the mirror: determined, focused, not really seeing her, just the lacings he was tying unbearably tightly. Her eyes trailed down lower; he was erect, bulging in the thin breeches. Whatever his story, he liked it quite a bit.
“Gloves now. Hand.” She’d been told not to move unless he positioned her, so she held still, and got smacked across her bare shoulders for her efforts. “Hand, I said. Tch, here, I’ll do it.” He grabbed her hand and held it out straight so he could slide the fine leather, elbow-length glove on and button it up. The fingers, Julie noticed, with a tiny hint of panic surging through her scene-calm, were sewn together. She’d have had more use of her hands in mittens than in these.
“And the other hand.” Now, he was smiling, and it wasn’t the nice sort of smile. This was the kind of guy she’d run away from, if she had the choice. If she had anywhere to run. “There you go. Stockings now.” He pushed a chair up behind her knees and pushed down on her shoulders until she sat, then knelt at her feet to work the silk stockings up first one leg, then the other. One hand lingered high on her thigh, his face just inches from the bareness between her legs. He smirked up at her, meeting her eyes for a moment. Amused. More than amused, sadistically pleased. It was going to be a long night.
He patted her knee and stood, the moment gone. “Stand,” he ordered, while pulling her up. “Yes. And the petticoat comes next…”
He’d left her arms sticking out in front of her; now he bent her elbows, folding her hands over the hard front of the corset so he could pull the fluffy white thing over her. Fluffy, but tight; the bottom of the skirt gave her almost no room to move. And, she noted, there was a slit down the back of it. Was he going to take her, or no?
“Gorgeous. You’re really taking shape, dollie,” he smiled, and pressed a wooden kiss to her lips. “The dress and the boots, and you’re ready to go.”
Go where? Julie licked her lips, wondering if she dared break her assigned role enough to say something. Lady Alouetta would be angry… the thought quieted her. The Lady angry was terrifying; this guy was merely creepy.
The dress was blue, too, tight against the corset, buttened so high up her neck and so stiffly that her chin was forced up, so tight around her knees and calves that she could barely stand. The boots, last, had ridiculously high heels, forcing her en point. He patted her back again. “There,” he murmured. “How do you feel? Speak,” he added, when she didn’t answer.
She licked her lips, not sure she could actually speak. “Helpless,” she tried. It came out thin and reedy.
“Good,” he smiled, that unpleasant, dangerous smile. “That’s how I want you.”
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