A Day at the Office

By Ed Mariner

(with special thanks to Frank Knebel)

Rachel Ortega was not having a good morning.  A very pretty twenty-three year old, she was tall and tan, with long black hair that hung halfway down her back and a well-toned body that kept causing her problems with her boyfriend, Ricardo.  He was always telling her how much he loved her, but was extremely jealous and continually caused trouble when he thought someone else was paying too much attention to her.  

He had done it again last night while they were out dancing.  Some guy had accidentally bumped into her on the dance floor and Ricardo had accused him of trying to feel her up.  Rachel had pulled him off the confused drunk, and made him take her straight home.  On the way they had a major argument about his possessiveness. She told him that she had had enough of his macho posturing, and did not want to see him anymore.  He then affirmed the wisdom of her decision to dump him by stopping the car and throwing her out, leaving her to walk twelve blocks to her apartment in a mini skirt and spike heels.  Needless to say, Rachel was not in a very good mood when she got home.  

Consequently, she did not get much sleep. To make matters worse, her coffee pot chose that morning to take an early retirement, and refused to provide the hot caffeine that she so desperately needed.  The bus ride to the office did not help any, as she was forced to sit next to a cranky baby and man who apparently had an allergy to soap. Then, to add to her misery, on the two block walk from the bus stop, a taxi plowed through a water filled pot hole and soaked her from the knees down.  She suddenly realized that the new black designer pumps that she had impulsively splurged on last week were probably ruined. The only good news was that the mud had not gotten on her puffy sleeved white blouse or knee-length blue skirt.

During the soggy ride up in the elevator, she was prioritizing the things she needed to do when she opened the door to the law firm where she worked.  Since she was the assistant office manager, she was usually the first one in.  Her normal routine was to turn on all the lights, take the phones off "cover", get the coffee started, and make out the daily work assignments for the other clerks.  This morning, however, her first objective was to get those wet, muddy pantyhose and shoes off, and attempt to get dry.  

Once inside, Rachel relocked the door, since the office did not officially open for another two hours.  Savoring the peaceful silence of the empty office, she turned on the lights and proceeded down the hall to her desk in the reception area for Mr. Packard's office.  By coming in early, she now had a few minutes to clean herself up before the others came in. Step one was to get those squishy shoes off, which made her feel much better.  

Turning to the file cabinet behind her, she pulled out an empty drawer, and dropped them in.  Quickly peeling off her soggy pantyhose, she added them to the pile and pushed it closed with her hip. Pulling open the bottom drawer of her desk, she put her purse inside, and took out her Nike walking shoes that she used for her lunchtime strolls.  She then used some paper towels she kept to take care of any coffee spills to quickly clean and dry her legs and feet. The dress code was not that rigid and she reasoned that, if she could stay behind her desk, she might not draw too much attention to her non-standard footwear until her good shoes had dried out enough to wear.

Rachel had just dropped the Nikes onto the top of her desk and pushed the desk drawer closed when the lights suddenly went out.  Being located in an inside suite, with no exterior windows, she was now left standing in the dark, surprised and confused.  

She could see some light at the other end of the hall, so all the lights had not gone out. Easing slowly down the darkened hallway, Rachel slid her bare feet cautiously along the soft carpet, feeling carefully for obstacles.  About halfway down the hallway, she heard a soft rustling behind her, and had just started to turn when she was grabbed and pulled to the carpet.  

Rachel opened her mouth to scream, but a hand was suddenly over it.  She was quickly rolled onto her stomach, and a heavy weight settled on her back.  Hands pulled lightly on her hair forcing her head back, and the hand over her mouth slipped down under her chin. This kept her mouth closed while sticky tape was placed over it.

 Too startled to put up much resistance, Rachel felt her arms being gently but firmly pulled behind her.  Her wrists were crossed in the small of her back, and she began to really struggle when she felt soft cord being wrapped around them.  The cord was then looped back between her arms to tighten the binding and securely knotted. She let out a grunt of surprise as she was turned over and pulled into a sitting position, where more cord was wrapped around her arms and chest. She fought against it, but the ropes were looped around her body above and below her breasts.  They were quickly pulled tight and secured, effectively trapping her arms against her back.

 She pulled desperately against the ropes, but her hands and arms couldn't move. It was too dark to make out her attackers, but, judging from the way she was being assaulted, she was sure that there were at least two of them. Catching her by surprise, something that felt like a large elastic bandage was then wrapped around her head, covering eyes and cutting off what little light there was.

Rachel then started to panic and began to hyperventilate.  The hands on her head quickly moved up and began to slowly stroke her hair. A smooth voice then whispered softly in her ear.  "Shhhhhhh.  Just relax.  There's nothing to be afraid of.  Just breathe slowly and deeply.  That's a good girl."

She jerked in surprise when she felt hands take each of her arms and gently lift her to her feet.  They turned her around several times, probably to disorient her, led her a few steps down the hall, and then helped her into a padded arm chair.  Rachel realized then that she was in one of the antique red leather chairs that were situated outside each of the partner's offices.

Hands suddenly began to wrap more rope around her waist, which secured her to the chair back and trapped her arms between her body and the chair.  Another pair of hands forced her bare feet together and tied them snugly.  More cord was then connected to her bound ankles, pulled back and lashed to the back crossbar of the chair she was sitting in.  As the cord was tightened, her bare feet were lifted and her toes lost contact with the floor. Rachel then felt another band of rope being looped around her chest, this one right above her breasts, forcing her even more tightly against the back of the chair. She jerked suddenly and began to panic again when she felt hands on her bare legs, and realized that her skirt being pushed up.

        Rachel calmed down some when her skirt stopped moving just short of exposing her panties. More rope was then tied around her legs just above her knees.  As her breathing began to slow, and she recovered somewhat from her initial panic attack, she tried to calm down and assess the situation.  Intruders, at least two of them, and, judging from the tenderness in the whisper, at least one of them was a woman, had broken into the office and tied her up.  They didn't seem to be interested in harming her, and, in fact, seemed to be making an effort not to hurt her, so they must be after something in the office.  

She was still trying to convince herself that everything was going to be all right when she heard the front door rattle as a key was inserted.  "Oh shit!" she thought, that had to be her supervisor, Leslie, or one of the other three clerks that manned the office,  coming in and she could do nothing to warn them.

        As the door opened onto a dark office, Leslie Randolph stopped in surprise.  Her pretty face registered puzzlement as she tried to determine what had happened. Rachel was her primary assistant and very dependable. She had said nothing about being late, so something must have delayed her unexpectedly.  Reaching over to the light switches beside the door, she flipped them all on, and paused in surprise as nothing happened.  The only light she could see was coming from a crack in the door to Mr. McGuire's office.

At thirty-two, with fifteen years of secretarial experience, twelve of them in legal offices, Leslie was the Office Manager, and, therefore, responsible for its smooth operation.  Of medium height and fashionably slim, she had a very professional and impressive appearance.  Her long brown hair was always worn up in a neat bun, her attire was always tasteful and stylish, and, with the small designer glasses she wore for shortsightedness, she had often been told that she looked very much like Hollywood's version of the perfect secretary.  

Power outages were not uncommon, but she did not remember ever seeing one take out only some of the lights.  Leslie pulled an armchair over to hold the front door open in order to give her some light.  She then put her purse down in it, and moved carefully through the semidarkness toward Mr. McGuire's office. Since he must have come in early, he might know what was wrong with the lights.  

Calling his name, Leslie pushed the door open and cautiously entered.  She gasped in surprise when she realized that Mr. McGuire was not there, nor was anyone else. The light that she had seen was coming from a small portable light sitting on top of his desk.  Her mind was still trying to make sense of it all when the light went out without warning.  Suddenly frightened, she turned to run back into the hallway, and then felt herself falling forward as something, or someone, caught her foot and tripped her.

Leslie managed to get her arms out to catch herself as she hit the thickly carpeted floor, but her glasses flew off, and sailed away into the darkness, leaving her practically blind.  She started to get up, but saw blurry movement off to her right, and was forcefully pushed back to the floor.  Acting instinctively, she managed to struggle onto her back, and began to kick out blindly at her attackers.  Her left foot brushed against someone, but her right found only empty air, and her black sling back pump went flying off down the dark hallway.  Her pantyhose clad foot was then grabbed and twisted, forcing her to roll over onto her stomach.

Leslie's momentary indecision on whether to beg for mercy, scream for help, or ask why they were doing this to her, was resolved when some sort of sticky cloth tape was quickly placed across her mouth. Despite her desperate struggles, her hands were quickly pulled together behind her back, methodically wrapped with soft cord and tied off securely. She was immediately rolled back over so that she was face up. More strips of tape were then added to her gagged mouth in a more careful manner to insure that she was silenced.  Leslie then felt her feet being pulled together, her left shoe removed, and her slim ankles secured side by side with more soft rope.  She was already on the edge of panic and starting to hyperventilate, when she felt her charcoal gray wool skirt being pushed up her legs all the way to her trim waist.  A voice next to her ear whispered, "Just relax.  We aren't going to hurt you.  We just need to raise your skirt to tie your legs. Try to stay calm and everything will be all right."  

This effort to calm her was futile, as the next thing she felt was someone grab the hem of her pantyhose and start to pull them down. Leslie immediately began to struggle violently and protest this assault loudly into her gag, but to no avail.  The only result of this effort was that the bun on the back of her head came loose, and her long brown hair fell down across her face. With no panties under the opaque hose, Leslie's closely trimmed brown bush would now be fully exposed to the world.

Leslie's attackers paid her protests no heed, and eased her hose down past her knees.  She then felt more cord being wrapped around her shapely legs, just above her knees and tightly cinched.  More rope was added just below her knees and similarly secured. Leslie was momentarily confused when she felt them untying her ankles, but their purpose became clear when they removed the rope, pulled her pantyhose all the way off, and quickly retied her ankles even tighter than before. She was then rolled back onto her stomach, and her bare feet were pulled up behind her and attached to her hands, rendering her immobile.  She was terrified by the attack, frightened by her helplessness, and mortified by the fact that they had not bothered to pull her skirt back down.  Leslie was left lying there on the carpet, tied, gagged, and naked from the waist down!

 In the darkness, Leslie perceived at least three dark figures moving around her, but without her glasses, she could see nothing definite.  She lay there on the carpet fighting her impulse to panic, and trying to figure out who these figures were. She had no idea why they were here, why they had attacked and almost stripped her, what they were after, or what they were going to do to her.  They seemed to be ignoring her for the moment, but she could hear them moving around in the hall. The darkness then became complete when she felt some type of elastic cloth being wrapped repeatedly around her head.  When they finished, Leslie heard a door close, and then nothing but silence.

        The three black clad figures moved back to the hallway, and stopped to check on Rachel.  Moving slowly and quietly, so that she would not know that they were there, they observed that she had finally quit struggling, and was now sitting quietly in her chair. After determining that Rachel was breathing normally, and was not in serious distress, they silently moved back to the front entrance, closed and relocked the front door, and put Leslie's purse in the coat closet behind the receptionist's desk.  Flipping the breaker switch on the electrical panel inside the closet, they plunged the reception area into darkness again.

        Using night vision goggles, one took up a position in the darkness on the right side of the door, and the other two disappeared into the darkness on the left side.  With Rachel and Leslie out of action, that just left Pam, Connie and Diana.  Since they usually came in around 8:00 am, there was nothing to do but sit and wait for them.

        The intruders waiting quietly in the dark went to full alert when they heard another key rattle in the lock.  As the door opened, Connie and Diana come in together.  With two "guests" to deal with now at the same time, the intruders on the left looked to the one on the right for guidance.  The leader pointed to each of them in turn, and then pointed a finger at Connie and made a grasping gesture.

The newcomers were not pleased when they found that the lights were out, and the switch did not work. "Where the hell are Leslie and Rachel?" Connie offered testily.  "At least one of them should have already been here to open up the office.  Now, we have no lights, no coffee, and no idea where they are!"

        "Well, one of them is here, because there's a light on in Mr. Reynolds's office," Diana countered.  A twenty-five year-old divorcee with short brown hair and six years experience with the firm, Diana really did not care too much for Connie.  

She had quickly learned that Connie, a petite nineteen year old blonde, who had been with the firm for only four months, was not to be trusted. She had a penchant for blazing red nail polish and office gossip.  She was amazed that Leslie had not already fired Connie, since she did nothing but bitch and complain constantly.  Of course, the bosses never saw that side of her.  Connie was always very proper, to the point of fawning, around them, so all they saw was a piece of attractive and amusing office candy that smiled a lot, favored very short dresses, like the pink cotton one she was wearing today, and flirted with the male clients.  Diana had no aversion to short skirts, and the khaki one she had on wasn't much longer than Connie's, but she didn't believe in flaunting herself like Connie did.

Right now, Diana was just glad that someone else had already arrived, so that she wouldn't be stuck here alone with Connie, and be forced to listen to her drivel.  In an effort to escape her, she started down the hall to check in with whoever was opening up the office.

"Wait!" Connie called.  "You're not leaving me here to wait around in the dark!"

Not being in any mood to wait around for someone that she considered an annoying twit, Diana deliberately sped up, hurried down the hall, the sound of her high heeled sandals muffled by the plush carpet, and pushed the door open the rest of the way, only to find the office empty.  The lights were on, but there was no indication that anyone had been using the office, yet.  Puzzled, she turned to let Connie have a look, but Connie wasn't behind her.  She could dimly see down the darkened hallway all the way to the reception area, due to the light coming in through the open door, but saw no sign of Connie.  Her mouth was just opening to call her, when the office lights went out, and then the front door suddenly closed, leaving her alone in total darkness.

Now fully alert, and becoming extremely alarmed at this turn of events, Diana put her hand on the wall for guidance, and was slowly proceeding in the dark toward the front door where she heard some faint sounds.  As she came to the open front of the break room, she stopped, stepped inside, felt around for the light switch, and flipped it on.  There was no response.  She turned to leave, and stopped suddenly when she heard a chair scrape on the linoleum floor.  With all her internal alarm bells now going off loudly, Diana darted quickly out the door, and made it about five feet down the dark hallway before she was tackled to the floor.  Someone jumped on her back and pulled her arms behind her, while someone else began to wrap cord around her hands. Despite turning her head frantically in all directions, Diana was still unable to see anything, but could hear several bodies moving around behind her.

"Wait, don't hurt me, I..." was all Diana managed to get out before her head was pulled up, and sticky tape was pasted over her mouth.  Several more pieces were then added to insure her silence.  She then felt herself being lifted to her feet, and guided back into the break room.

Diana tried to struggle, but felt more hands easing her down onto the floor on her stomach.  Other hands quickly pulled her ankles together and began securing them with cord.  Then, despite her frantic struggles, her khaki skirt was pushed up to her waist, and more cord was fastened around her bare thighs just above her knees.  Diana then felt her tan ankle strap high heel sandals being removed, and her now bare feet being pulled up behind her, and connected to her wrists.  As her eyes began to adapt somewhat to the darkness, she was barely able to see an equally frightened Connie, on the floor across from her.  Connie was also barefoot, with her pink cotton dress also pulled up to her waist, and her feet and hands were tied together.

A black form suddenly kneeled down beside Diana, lifted her head and began to wrap some king of elastic band around her eyes, leaving her in completely darkness. A soothing voice then told her not to be afraid that they wouldn't be hurt and that they should stay calm.  The figures then moved away quietly, and she and Connie were left alone in the dark, frightened and confused.

     With the last clerk, Pam Armstrong, due to arrive at any time, the intruders moved back to the reception area.  The tallest one tapped the leader on the shoulder and quietly whispered, "Should we start moving them while we have time?"

        "No!" the leader replied.  "We can't risk it.  The last thing we need is for the remaining girl to come in while we're moving them.  We have enough of a time window to wait for Miss Armstrong to arrive.  Now, flip the breaker switches, get back to your places and we'll wait for our remaining employee."

      As with the previous girls, Pam, tall and Nordic looking, with shaggy blonde hair, was surprised by the locked door, and confused by the absence of personnel, or lights, when she opened it.  The office should be bustling with people by now, and getting prepared for another workday. Pam had never before encountered a situation like this. Something was definitely wrong.

With all her senses on alert, Pam cautiously entered the darkened office, and called out for Leslie, Rachel, Connie and Diana.  Receiving no answer, she was now beginning to get frightened.  When the light switch beside the door did not work, she left the door open and went to the utility closet behind her desk to check on the breaker box.  Pam had just reached the closet and opened the door, when the front door slowly closed, and plunged the office into total darkness.  Now thoroughly panicked, she made a mad dash for the door, tripped over some unseen obstacle, and tumbled headfirst to the floor.  Shoving her arms forward to stop her fall, she had just formulated the desire to scream when her head struck something hard, and her world suddenly went black.

     In her panic, Pam had tripped over a phone cord and had bounced off the ceramic planter beside her desk, hitting her head.

Fearing she might be seriously hurt, the intruders moved quickly to Pam to check the nature of her injuries.  The leader turned on the lights and knelt down beside Pam to examine her closely.

        The taller intruder was frantic.  No one was supposed to be harmed.  "Is she okay?"

        The leader ignored the question, continued the examination on Pam, and was relieved to see that there was just a bump on her forehead. "I think she'll be all right. There's no break in the skin, I don't see any bruising, the pulse is strong and the breathing is easy and regular."

Relieved that she was all right, the shortest of the intruders rolled Pam onto her stomach and the taller one pulled her hands back and had started to tie them, when the leader stopped them.

"Since the plan calls for all of them to be stripped completely, we might as well take care of this one right now, while she's still unconscious."  
Agreeing with their leader's logic, they quickly got started on Pam. They moved her arms back out beside her, grabbed the zipper in the back of Pam's light blue dress and pulled it all the way down.  Once it was opened, they pulled the material aside, and unhooked her bra.  They then rolled her over onto her back, reached under her, and pulled the dress and frilly white lace bra forward and off Pam's now bare chest and down her arms.  Tossing the bra aside, the leader pulled the dress down to Pam's hips, and then, slipping four fingers inside the waistband, brought panties, pantyhose and dress down Pam's long athletic legs and off, taking her black pumps with them. As they rolled the now nude Pam back onto her stomach, the leader pulled her arms behind her and motioned for the other two to take care of her legs. Working together, they soon had Pam secured at the wrists, knees, and ankles. Pushing her up into a sitting position, they then looped several coils of rope around her body, above her breasts, below her breasts, and just below her rib cage, to hold her hands and arms tightly against her body. When they were finished they taped her mouth, and put the Ace Wrap around her eyes.  The leader and the shorter intruder then slipped their hands under Pam's arms, while the taller one grabbed her bare feet, and proceeded to carry their nude and unconscious prisoner down the hall to an empty office.  Once there, they laid Pam gently on her stomach, quickly pulled her feet up as far as they would go, and tightly hogtied her.  

The leader then went to the reception area, grabbed a roll of tape from the desk and proceeded to affix to the outside of the entry door, the neatly lettered and official looking sign which announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the office would be closed for the day.

        Since all the employees were now present and secured, it was time to move onto the next phase of the operation. They needed to quickly move the other four women into separate offices, where they could be stripped, tied, and stashed.  They had decided that the most efficient method for accomplishing this task was to release the hogtie ropes, lift them into secretarial chairs, and roll them down the hall, and into separate offices.

        Being already partially undressed, Leslie was the next to be relocated.  To their surprise, she was still struggling against her bonds when they came in.  Whether alerted by the soft click of the light switch, the sound of the door opening, or just by some awareness of their presence, she began to protest loudly into her gag, and thrash about wildly.  

        The leader kneeled down and whispered into her ear, "Please try to calm down.    What we need now is for you to relax and cooperate, and everything will be all right.  You are the supervisor, so we are looking to you to set an example.  Nod your head if you understand."

        Slowly, and without a great deal of conviction, Leslie's head made a slight up and down motion.

        "Very good, Leslie.  Now just stay calm."

        That was much easier for them to say than it was for Leslie to do.  Her first feeling was of relief when the cord connecting her feet to her hands was released, and she could finally stretch out her aching legs.  The relief was short-lived, however, as she then felt fingers unzipping her skirt and sliding it off her legs.  Next, she was rolled over onto her back, and she felt fingers deftly unbuttoning her brand new white silk blouse.  Once open, it was pushed off her shoulders and down her arms until it was stopped by her bound wrists.

 Leslie was then helped into a sitting position, her white, front catch "Victoria's Secret" bra was unfastened, and also pulled down her arms. Her composure gave out, however, when she felt rope being passed under her arms and then realized that her elbows were being slowly pulled together.  Leslie began to fight again, but to no avail.  Once her elbows were secured, her wrists were untied, the blouse and bra were removed, and her wrists were placed palm-to-palm and retied.  She then felt another rope being wrapped around her now totally nude body just beneath her breasts, and pulling her arms snugly against her back.  Hands then took her shoulders and legs, lifted her into a wheeled office chair, and pushed her down the hall into an empty office.  They then eased her down onto the floor, and rolled her onto her stomach. Another rope was quickly attached to the bindings around her ankles, which were then pulled up until they could go no further and tied off to her wrist ropes.

The intruders then returned to the break room where they had left Connie and Diana hogtied on the floor.  To their dismay, they found that the two women had somehow managed to position themselves back-to-back, and Diana was energetically picking at Connie's wrist bonds.  Luckily, she had made little progress, so they quickly separated them and proceeded with their task.

Using hand gestures, they assigned one to keep Connie quiet while the other two took care of Diana.  With her shoes already removed, all they had to deal with was her khaki skirt and light blue blouse.  With both of them working on Diana and using the step-by-step process of limited untying and retying that they had used on Leslie, her clothes and beige cotton underwear were soon piled in the corner, and she was quickly totally nude and hogtied.

With all three of them now free to work on Connie, she was quickly stripped of her scoop necked pink dress and ivory colored underwear, and her wrists, elbows, knees and ankles were securely tied in record time.  Using more secretarial chairs, they quickly moved the nude women to separate empty offices, where they were gently lowered to the carpet, and tightly hogtied.

Rachel had heard the main door opening and closing, and then some garbled conversation, as each of the girls came in, but they couldn't hear her muffled warnings.  She would hear voices, and then garbled sounds followed by silence, and in her mind she could visualize each of them being captured.  She tried to draw comfort from the fact that the intruders had not harmed her during her capture, and had not shown any inclination toward violence.  There had to be a reason for their actions, though, and it had to be worth the risk they were taking.  All she could think of was robbery, but they didn't keep any valuables in the office.  Her mind kept looking for answers, as her fingers kept trying to find some give in the ropes. She was still working on the motive and the ropes, and making no progress with either, when she heard some rustling sounds around her and knew that her mysterious captors had returned.

Rachel took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm, but suddenly felt her heart rate increase, as the ropes holding her to the chair began to loosen, and were then removed.  Glove covered hands then took hold of her arms, and helped her to her feet.  She heard the chair she had been sitting in moved out of the way, and then there a soft voice in her ear again trying to calm her.

The calming campaign did not help much, and Rachel went rigid when she felt her white blouse being pulled out of her skirt, and fingers started working on the buttons.  Once open, it was pushed off her shoulders and pulled down around her wrists.  Since she was the last of the captives, they didn't bother with the systematic stripping procedure that they had used on the other women.  To save time, they just used a pair of scissors to cut off her puffy sleeved white blouse.  When the remnants of her blouse were removed, they quickly unhooked and removed her strapless bra.  Like most of the girls her age, she didn't bother with a slip, so when her blue skirt was pulled down her legs, she was left in just her lacy blue panties.  Rather than bothering to untie her feet and legs, her captors merely slipped the scissors inside the waistband and snipped the sides.  As she felt the remnants of her final garment being pulled through her legs, Rachel became very aware of the fact that she was now totally nude, and completely at their mercy.

Lowering her carefully to the floor, the intruders helped her to sit, then began wrapping more rope around her legs just above her knees.  Once that was cinched and tightened, they lowered her back down to the floor, and rolled her onto her stomach.  They then pulled her nervously twitching bare feet up and connected them to her wrist bindings.  As they yanked her feet roughly backward, her emotional state had already begun to shift from fear to anger.  They had completely stripped and tied her, and probably all of her friends as well, and she was not going to let them get away with this.

        With all their "guests" properly secured, the intruders proceeded into the conference room and began to strip off their jumpsuits.  As the black suits and soft soled boots were quickly removed, and packed into nylon duffel bags, along with their night vision goggles, the intruders were revealed to be three attractive and shapely young women, two blondes, one tall and one short, and a brunette, all in expensive black underwear.

        The brunette opened up a zippered garment bag hanging on a closet door and removed a hanger holding a blue business suit and a white blouse, and handed it to the taller blonde.
        "Here, Janice, it's time to become an efficient, and underpaid, secretary!"

        Pulling out another hanger holding an ivory colored silk blouse, and a Navy skirt, she handed it to the other blonde.  "We need to make this quick, Doris, so we can get ready to receive our benefactors".  

Doris just nodded and began to button the up the blouse.

        The brunette retrieved a pale yellow silk dress and stepped into it.

        Doris was the first to finish dressing and retrieve her black pumps from the clothing bag.  She found a mirror inside one of the wardrobe doors and began to comb her short, shaggy blonde hair.  "Hey, Karen," she asked the brunette.  "When do you want me to take the sign off the door?"

        Karen thought for a moment. "Not until we've all dressed, fixed our hair and make up, and have prepared the office for our visitors."

        Within a remarkably short time, all three women had made use of the mirrors in both the men's and ladies restrooms.  They all now looked like well coiffed, expertly made up, and stylishly dressed young professional women.

        Karen pointed to Doris and said, "You had better remove that "closed" sign from the door, now, just in case our friends show up early."

        Doris opened the door just enough to stick her arm out to retrieve the sign, quickly pushed it closed and locked it.

        "Good!" Karen said.  "Now, let's get settled in, and get ready to be nice and professional for our guests.  Smile, be charming, and be on your best behavior, because they are going to make us very rich!  And we owe it all to you, Doris, for spotting that blurb on the society page about Michael Carlisle having to give up his stamp collection as part of his divorce settlement, and for remembering that it is estimated to be worth in excess of three mil."

        "Thanks, Karen, but that was just a lucky break on my part. I've been reading the Society Page since I was a teenager. You're the one who discovered who his lawyers were, and then took a job with the night cleaning crew so that you could hack into their computers.  That took brains, just like the idea of e-mailing his lawyer from here to reschedule the turnover for this morning."

        Karen had just opened her mouth to explain the lack of difficulty involved when she was interrupted by a sharp knocking on the front door.  Everyone froze, and then Karen motioned for Doris to sit at Pam's desk, and for Janice to go down the hall to the break room.

        Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she turned the lock and opened the door slowly, to find a young security guard standing there.  He was tall and blonde and in his mid twenties, with a name tag that read "Calhoun". Putting on a big smile and her most professional voice, she sweetly inquired, "Good morning.  Is there something I can help you with Officer Calhoun?"

        The guard looked startled for a moment, then looked quickly around the reception area, smiled at Doris, and finally managed to find his voice.  "I'm sorry, ma'am.  I didn't mean to interrupt, but on my first round I saw your sign indicating that you would be closed today.  Passing by just now, I noticed that the sign was gone, and there was light coming from under the door.  I just wanted to be sure that everything was all right!"

        "It was very kind of you to check," Karen smiled, "but we're fine.  We were scheduled to be closed while our computers were being upgraded, but the boss asked us to come in and back up some sensitive data, to insure that it didn't get lost during the upgrade."

        "Well, okay, ma'am.  If you're sure that everything is alright.  But, you really should have notified us that you were coming in, and I wouldn't have bothered you."

        "I'm really sorry about that, officer.  We just never thought it would be a problem.  I promise you that we will make sure that the building manager is made aware of any future changes in our schedule.  And thanks again for making sure that we were alright.  It makes us feel a lot more secure."

        "No problem, ma'am.  That's what we're here for."

        As the guard left, Karen slowly shut the door and then leaned back against it and let out a long sigh. Doris turned to get up from her chair and accidentally knocked over several framed photos on Pam's desk.  Standing them back up, she quickly followed after Karen.

Rachel had regained some of her composure, and decided that her only chance for escape was to stay calm, and methodically work on the ropes.  Having grown up with three brothers who had really liked to play "Cops and Robbers" and "Cowboys and Indians", she knew from a great deal of experience that, with patience and diligence, most knots could eventually be defeated.  After rolling onto her left side to test her limits of movement, she was surprised when her hands bumped into something hard and cold. Sliding down so that her fingers could check it out, she suddenly realized that it was the antique brass spittoon that Mr. Baxter kept beside his desk.  Realizing which office she was in suddenly triggered a very important memory: Mr. Baxter was very security conscious and kept a gun in his desk drawer.  With this encouraging knowledge providing inspiration, she resumed her methodical attack on her cords, and tugged mightily on the restraining ropes.

        Leslie renewed her efforts to escape, but succeeded only in tiring herself and chafing the skin on her wrists and ankles.  Her captor's remark about her being responsible for the other girl's welfare and safety was eating at her, because it was true.  She was responsible for them, and realized that they were probably in the same nude and bound condition that she was in, but, right now, she couldn't even do anything for herself.

Pam's reintroduction to the real world was a sudden awareness of a dull pain in her head.  She instinctively reached up to feel it, but experienced annoyance, and then frustration, when her arm didn't respond. The messages then began to flood into her brain advising her that none of her limbs were responding.  The cobwebs began to slowly clear away, and she was finally able to fully assess her situation.  It suddenly became frighteningly clear.  Pam realized that her inability to move her limbs was because they were tied together tightly with rope, and her hands and feet were connected tightly together!  And she was completely naked!  There was also tape across her mouth, and something was wrapped around her head to cover her eyes.  Both the struggles of her body to free itself from the confining ropes, and her mind's struggle to make sense out of this nightmare, produced nothing but frustration.

Diana still had no idea what was going on, but since part of it involved her being stripped naked, and bundled up like a rodeo steer, she knew that it was not good.  The voice had said that they wouldn't be hurt, but she wondered just how far she could trust someone who had already taken off all of her clothes and hogtied her.  With a renewed resolve, she continued to slowly test her bonds and look for any signs of hope.

Trying to remember the moves she had used to escape from her brothers, Rachel was methodically rolling into different positions to try to create some slack in the ropes.  After much effort, the ropes were still tight, but she felt the covering around her head start to slip.  Encouraged by this small success, she began to rub her head furiously against the carpet.  She was soon rewarded with a noticeable loosening of the wrap.  After another five minutes, she was finally able to shake it off her head.

Connie's mind, on the other hand, had shut down completely. After struggling furiously against the ropes and getting nothing to show for her efforts but chafed wrists and ankles, and carpet burns on her bare knees, belly and breasts, she just lay there on the carpet sobbing quietly.  Someone had always taken care of her all of her life, and she had to believe that someone would rescue her this time, too.

Karen removed her briefcase from the conference room closet, and retrieved the legal documents to officially take possession of the contested property, as well as the ones to provide the other parties with the proper receipts to verify their compliance with the court order.  Her previous experience as a paralegal would be put to good use today.  She made sure they were all in the correct order, and carefully placed them on the conference table, as her mind wandered to that nice beach house she had found on the south coast of France.

Rachel was encouraged by the fact that, after all her struggling, she could finally reach the cord connecting her wrists and ankles.  After much concentration and effort, she was able to pull her bare feet close enough for her to reach the knots connecting the hogtie.  Taking a couple of deep breaths to calm her nerves, and strengthen her resolve, she began to methodically attack the knots with her fingers.  As her fingers were straining, she rolled onto her side to get a better grip, rested her head on the floor and happened to look up.  Her eyes were suddenly drawn to something sticking out over the edge of the desk.  The scissors!  They had forgotten to take the scissors they had used to cut off her clothes!

Karen had finally arranged the paperwork on the conference table in a manner she deemed to be professionally correct, and was on her way to the ladies room to freshen up when the phone on the desk where Doris was sitting rang.  Karen let it ring three more times, and then motioned for Doris to answer it.

Picking up the receiver just before the fourth ring, Doris kept her eyes on the "Cheat Sheet" Karen had prepared and answered cheerfully.  "Baxter, Baily and Nelson.  How may I direct your call?  Yes, sir.  Mr. Baxter's assistant has been awaiting your call.  I'll put you through right away."  Doris then pushed the "hold" button and handed the phone to Karen.

"Good morning, Mr. Andrews.  I'm Dorothy Manchester, and I believe Mr. Baxter advised you that I would be handling the turnover.  That's good, sir, and Mr. Baxter wanted me to extend his apologies.  He had planned to do this himself, but was called out of town on an emergency.  Yes, sir.  Everything is prepared and ready for signatures.  Very good, sir.  I'll be expecting you in about thirty minutes, then.  Thank you, sir.   Goodbye."  

She put the phone down and smiled.  "Let's get ready, ladies.  It's show time!  If there are no snags, we can be out of here and on the way to the airport in less than an hour."

Karen looked at her watch again and noted that it was now only fifteen minutes before the scheduled meeting.  She verified that Doris was at the reception desk, and looking very professional, while Janice was sitting at another desk typing away industriously.  Not wanting to appear nervous, she went to the lounge for a cup of coffee.

As she was coming back down the hallway with her coffee in one of the firm's official cups that she had found in the break room, she was startled by a loud knocking on the front door, and almost spilled it on her dress.

Verifying that everything in the office looked as it should, Karen put the coffee down on the desk, and started to walk to the door.  Janice was closer, however, and unlocked the door before Karen could warn her to look through the peephole. It had opened only about six inches when it was forcefully pushed in, knocking Janice backward, and causing her to trip over the same ceramic planter that had attacked Pam.  Janice went over backward in a very unladylike manner, losing her right shoe and ending up on her back, with her dress up around her waist and revealing a pair of expensive black lace panties.

Doris looked in disbelief at Janice sprawled on the floor, and then sat dumbfounded at her desk, like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.  A large cop quickly tackled Doris to the floor, and cuffed her wrists behind her.

Karen, however, was a lot quicker, and the warning bell sounded immediately in her brain.  Without hesitation, she turned and darted down the hallway, reasoning that there had to be a fire exit.  Ignoring the confusion, she kicked off her shoes to get more speed, and started looking for doors that might lead to an exit.

Janice managed to regain her senses only enough to formulate the thought, "What the…..", when multiple hands were grabbing her, rolling her onto her stomach, and pulling her hands behind her.  It was only when she felt the cold metal, and heard the distinctive ratchet sound of the handcuffs, that she was able to mutter, "Aw, shit!"

Karen heard her pursuers right behind her, and knew that she had to either escape or hide in the next few seconds.  Starting to panic, she rushed through the next door she saw, and came to an immediate stop.  The last thing she expected to see was a beautiful naked brunette sitting on the floor pointing a snub nosed Smith & Wesson .38 right at her face!

Rachel's feet and legs were still tied, but her hands were rock steady, as they pointed the small revolver right at Janice's nose.  She was still deciding whether or not to pull the trigger, when Janice was tackled to the ground by a tall, good looking cop.

It took a while for the cops to find and release the rest of the nude hostages, locate their clothes, allow them to get dressed, and have the paramedics check them out.  The intruders, in the meantime, had been transported downtown for booking, and interrogation.  Meanwhile, the detectives had arrived to question the victims, and the security guard, who had foiled the plot.

Praising his alertness, they finally asked him exactly what had tipped him off that something was wrong.  "Simple, detective", Mike Calhoun responded with a smile.  "They may have been smart, but they weren't very observant.  If they had actually looked at all the photos on Pam's desk, they might have recognized me as her fiancée, which is why I took this job.  I get a lot of time to work on my Masters, and I also get to come by here and see her every hour.  They just didn't do enough homework."

Rachel, meanwhile, was giving her statement to the nice young cop that had taken down Karen.  He had been very tender, and understanding, when he had gently untied her, and had even found a large towel in Mr. Baxter's private bathroom, so that she could cover herself, since most of her clothes were ruined.  To their mutual surprise it turned out that the cop was single, and lived only about a mile from her apartment.

 For the first time that day, Rachel Ortega was able to smile.

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