HTG: Donna learns the ropes


22-year-old recent business grad, Donna Richmond, begins work at an investment bond company where 'learning the ropes' is done a little more literally than she expects.


This is what will hopefully be the first story in an ongoing HTG series with more to come at a later date.


This is a story first and foremost. Bondage and bondage scenarios are secondary to the story being told. Some scenarios are relatively short to avoid getting repetitive.




Delilah Winston


HTG: Donna Learns the Ropes

Part One


“And it pays pretty good for entry-level reception,” Donna said into her speakerphone, sliding her daysheer pantyhose over her knees and up her shapely thighs. Settling the waistband against her slender waist, she stood up and sighed slightly as she continued dressing. “I just hope the corporate ladder is the only ladder I have to deal with.”


“You want to work corporate, you have to dress it,” Donna's twin sister, Deena, chuckled back. They were fraternal twins who looked only marginally alike; there were resemblances but anyone who knew both sisters could tell them apart. “They give you the standard lunch hour, sick days, a health plan?”


“And after five years, if I can stay that long, I even get a 401K,” Donna smiled thinly at the thought of it. The pale blue rayon blouse fit well and was opaque enough to hide her bra underneath. Straightening out the collar, she continued, “Four weeks total vacation time per year and a half, but no more than two weeks can be used at one time. I can take two weeks twice, or nine days thrice, per eighteen months.”

Deena whistled low; impressed. “So what are the down sides?” She couldn't help but wonder.


Donna smiled at the thought of it. “Aside from dressing corporate?” she quipped sardonically. She was comfortable with the dress code, but unused to being expected to adhere to it so unerringly. She zipped her skirt up and checked it in the mirror. A little wider at the bottom than a standard A-line skirt, it came up to four inches above her knees. Donna knew she'd need to keep her knees together when sitting. “I have to call all the managers, 'Mr.' or 'Sir.' I hear many of the receptionists and secretaries will bend their knees slightly in greeting, almost like a semi-curtsy. At least I don't have to bring them coffee.” She chuckled lightly.


“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Deena stopped her. “All the managers are men?”


“In my department,” Donna clarified. “I'll probably have no contact with other departments for a few months. Orientation alone is three weeks; at least I'll receive fully paid training and full support in learning the ropes.” Donna preferred the sleeker look of men's neckties over women's ties. She'd even gotten her father to teach her how to tie one. She left the wedge-shaped Windsor knot loose enough not to press against her throat but made sure it covered the top button of her blouse.


Deena shrugged to herself. “I've worked at worse jobs,” she said.


“So have I,” Donna answered with the briefest of chuckles. She buttoned the two buttons for her skirt suit jacket and smoothed it out. At 5'9,” Donna didn't need a cropped jacket; her upper body was long enough for a standard jacket to only come down to just below the top of her skirt. The worsted wool black pinstripe material felt smooth to the touch and breathed enough that she'd be adequately cool in warmer weather.


“Have a great first day, then,” Deena smiled.


Donna stepped into her business pumps and also smiled. “I will,” she promised. “Love you, sis.”


She clicked off and poured herself a cup of coffee. She had about ten minutes to go before needing to leave. She was excited, but understandably nervous. Donna had a Bachelor's degree in business applications, she had all the necessary office skills with excellent speed and accuracy, and she'd aced the interview, from what the interviewer told her, but this was her first real 'corporate' job. Not bad for a young woman only 22 years old, if she did say so herself.


“HTG Inc., here I come for my first day,” she said to herself as she stepped outside her apartment to begin the commute. “Ready to learn the ropes.”


Donna had no idea at the moment, of course, but her words were prophetic in more ways than one.



The bus stop was twenty yards from the front doorway of the 40-story corporate building, so Donna didn't need to walk far. She'd taken the time to break in her business pumps by walking around in them at home, just to be prepared. The 2½ heels weren't painful at all, but balance took a bit of practice. She slipped her laminated ID card around her neck for security clearance as she stepped through the revolving door.


One of the security guards glanced at her ID and nodded pleasantly to her. “Donna Richmond,” he said aloud, reading her name from the card. “I'm Officer Brown. Nice to meet you. Please sign in.”


Donna smiled briefly and signed in. “Nice to meet you, too,” she said, though she wondered why the guard was called, 'Officer Brown.' Guards were private contractors, not part of any local law enforcement. “First day reception for the new bonds department.”


Brown nodded again and smiled slightly. “Investment grade bonds are what's gonna put this country back together again, or so the board says,” he remarked. “You're on the 19th floor, and your department's on the northern wing. Welcome to HTG.”


“Thank you,” Donna nodded. “I hope I like it here.”


Brown simply tipped his cap and watched her walk into the elevator. Then he turned to the other guards and winked.


“So do we, Donna,” he said as the others chuckled under their breath. “So do we. I'm sure we'll all like you.”




“Ah, you're the new hire,” said an attractive brunette  as Donna entered the correct department. “My name's Christina, I'm Mr. Stone's secretary.” She had a pleasant handshake and greeting smile. “Please don't call me Tina, though. Only my dad does that.” She winked.


Donna composed herself and managed a polite smile in return. “Don't worry. My sister's name rhymes with that. She's Deena. I'm Donna.”


Christina chuckled lightly; briefly. “Well, it's good to meet you. Welcome to the new bonds department. Each receptionist and secretary has their own office. Can you believe it? No windows, though; only Mr. Stone and the other department managers have a window. And even they don't have a corner office.” She winked.


Donna followed Christina to what was, apparently, her office. The computer was state of the art, if Donna's appraising glance was accurate enough. The workstation had a conference phone, a fancy, expensive-looking scanner/printer/fax, and-- she took a few steps in place almost like a cat kneading its paws on someone's lap-- yes, there was an area rug, but a BIG one. It was nearly big enough to be wall to wall. It was a plain, solid-color slate gray, but complemented the wall paint nicely. The overhead fluorescent lights gave ample illumination.


“This button connects you to Mr. Stone, and this button connects you to me,” Christina said, pointing them out on Donna's conference phone. “Today and possibly tomorrow, you won't need to worry about the rest of the department. A worker will come by before lunch with a name sign for your door and your desk.”


Christina smiled at the rapt look on Donna's face. It was a look she remembered giving, all too well, on her first day here.


'Wait'll orientation this afternoon,' she thought silently to herself. 'That'll be the acid test.'


Donna glanced at some forms in an inbox. She picked them up and glanced them over. They looked like newly purchased bearer bond forms.


“I'll show you how to log on to your workstation and use the program we use to process these forms,” Christina said. “Give me a second to bring in a folding chair from my office, and we'll get started.”




Donna quickly got the hang of the program and was almost finished with the forms when the worker came in. He was a bit on the short side, slim, with neat, medium-length brown hair. He wore no suitcoat, but his long-sleeved shirt, necktie, trousers and shoes were all well-buffed and evidenced good care.


“Hello,” was his simple greeting as he offered his hand for a handshake. “I'm Freddy G. There's about three other Freds in the company that I'm aware of, so I use my middle initial to distinguish myself.” He placed a brass frame down on Donna's desk with a lacquered wooden plaque set into the display face. On the plaque was Donna's first and last name.


Donna flashed a brief grin at the sign as Freddy G. crossed to the front door. He slid another lacquered wooden plaque into the frame there; one identical to the one he'd just placed on her desk. “You're all set,” he said with a small nod. “Welcome aboard.”


Donna gave Freddy G. a small wave of thanks as he went about his business. The rest of the forms were finished easily and Christina smiled. “Okay, until more forms come in, I'd suggest you just practice the program for now. Lunch break will be in about an hour and a half.”


“Thanks, Christina,” Donna smiled lightly.




'This is... just delicious,' Donna thought to herself on the second bite of her salad. 'Real, crisp, fresh vegetables; paprika, black pepper with a vinaigrette dressing. This salad is better than at the restaurant I went to after graduating college.'


The lettuce, peppers and tomato garnishing the grilled chicken sandwich were every bit as fresh, every bit as crisp. The sandwich was hearty enough to make a meal in itself. The split pea soup was simply heavenly; not too thick, nicely seasoned with herbs rather than salt. As she sipped her coffee, Donna thought she was being spoiled. 'Certainly being fed better than at any other job I've worked at,' she grinned wistfully at the thought of it.




Donna's speakerphone buzzed as she settled back into her workstation to resume the day. It was Mr. Stone, her manager.


“Hello, Mr. Stone,” she said after connecting her phone to take the call. She tried to make her voice sound as cheerful as she could.


“Nice to meet you, Donna,” said the voice of Mr. Stone. He had a resonant baritone-bass that probably would have sounded great on FM radio. Listening just to the greeting, Donna imagined he smiled when he said it. “How's your first day so far?”


“Just fine, Mr. Stone, everything's been splendid so far,” Donna smiled in return.


“Excellent. Glad to hear it,” came the warm reply. “I'm sending a set of emergency access security codes to your printer. Scotch-tape them to your keyboard drawer underneath your mouse pad. They'll come in handy if you should ever need them.”


Donna raised her eyebrows. “If looking at my own computer is any indicator, I imagine the security system for the networks is pretty solid.” She did as requested, though, even while saying this.


“A lock's only as secure as the locksmith who makes it,” Mr. Stone said with a touch of regret in his voice; wishing it wasn't that way but knowing what 'should be' and what 'was.' “Always a bigger fish out there... and a better locksmith.”


Donna gave a small sigh as she began looking the codes over. “Can't argue that,” she said politely.


“A few more forms will come in shortly,” Mr. Stone said. “Take some time to go over the access codes until then. By the time you finish with the forms, it'll be just about time for your first orientation period.”


Donna gave a small grin with a look that said, 'Wonder how THAT will go, after how well everything else has gone.' She finished applying the Scotch-tape and starting reading them over. “Will do, Mr. Stone. Thank you.”


Mr. Stone chuckled slightly to himself after clicking off. Even without having been face to face with the new hire, he was pretty sure he knew what she was thinking when he mentioned orientation. 'You're about to find out,' he whispered under his breath.




Donna happened to have accidentally dropped her wrist-rest for her mouse just as her door opened, so she didn't see the people entering; though she could tell by the sound of the footsteps it was more than one person. She smiled as she started to look up; it was just about time for new hire orientation. “Hello, ni--”


The look on her face as she saw them was pretty much exactly what all new hires gave on seeing them for the first time. The four men were tall, on the burly side, and wore white, long-sleeved, button-down shirts, dark red ties, black pants and shoes-- and masks that looked a bit like effigies of a human face. They wore thin, close-fitting gloves looking very much like ladies' gloves; at the very least, they looked like they were made of silk or polyester. None of them spoke as they approached her with a quickness she wouldn't have expected from men of their size and build.


The look of shock wore off quickly enough as two of the men grabbed her wrists and elbows; holding them firmly but taking very odd care not to harm her. Not that it scared her a whit less. The third man quickly grabbed the back of her chair and pulled it back away from her desk.


“What are-- mmMMMMmmmmmMMMMM!” The fourth man's hand clapped over her mouth, thumb at the bottom as she was pulled to her feet. The man covering her mouth quickly moved in close, using his knee as interference against Donna using her own knees or feet to resist; not that Donna could have mounted much resistance against four men, any of which was easily stronger than her on their own.


They went to work with a practiced efficiency. Her arms were pulled behind her body and her wrists crossed right over left; keeping her elbows bent outward. Firm as their grip was and as easily as they outmuscled and overpowered her, they continued to take deliberate steps to make sure she was not hurt or harmed in any way-- a pretty curious fact in light of how they were holding her fast and keeping her mouth covered so she couldn't scream for help. Donna's eyes grew wide and danced about in fright as she began to quiver and tremble fearfully.


She felt something slightly rough against her wrists; she couldn't see it, but it didn't take a genius to figure out that they were beginning to tie her with rope. It was looped several times about her wrists in quick succession while the third man kept the sleeves of her jacket just clear. The cuffs of her blouse's sleeves, however, were kept pulled down; possibly as a shield for her skin against rope abrasions.


The rope was wrapped around her wrists several more times with quick but carefully measured loops; keeping the rope even and keeping it from bunching, which would have led to slack. Finally the ends were twisted around each other and cinched between her wrists, looped around the ropes at the outside edges of each of her wrists, cinching them together. The cinch was looped several times, much tighter than the wrapping loops-- not that those were slack in the least. Donna's hands stretched and writhed continually, fearful of her circulation being cut off, but these men seemed to really know what they were doing; tightly as they were tying her, they seemed to know just how to do it so that she wasn't being hurt and wouldn't get hurt. This was small comfort in light of Donna realizing to her growing fear that she had little, if any chance, of wriggling out of it on her own.


“mmmmm MMMMmmmm  mmmMMMMmmmmmm MMMM!” Donna's cries for help sounded much more like the whimpering of a small child, and by now she was scared enough that she'd be doing enough child-like whimpering anyway, even without her mouth covered. The rope was finally knotted with a secure, tight knot, placed at the backs of her wrists to ensure it was out of reach from her fingers. Wriggle and stretch as she might, for as long as she deigned to keep it up, her fingers would never come close to the knot. Once the knot was finished, her wrists and hands were kept firmly crossed right over left behind her back, her elbows bent outward so the man in front of her could easily see them protruding out at her sides. Trying to push against her elbows to straighten them did nothing to produce any slack. There was no pain or excess pinching, but the cross-pressure was definitely uncomfortable. Donna whimpered frightfully and squirmed in the grasp of her captors. She was now helpless against whatever these men had in mind for her.


She saw a brief flash of white before her eyes. The hand came off her mouth, but the coordination with which the two men moved was too close for her to act. The man in front of her pinched her cheeks together slightly, pushing her lips apart, and the man behind her pulled a fold of soft linen cloth into her mouth. She had no time to react before she felt her lips pulled taut by the cloth as the man behind her drew it back, forcing her lips to straddle the cloth. As the linen material settled against her tongue, she guessed by its texture that it was a strip of bed sheet. The ends were pulled to the back of her neck and knotted. Two of the men worked together in perfect tandem, taking their time in pulling the cloth as far back as they could, one of them holding it to keep it from slipping forward even a millimeter as the knot was tied. The ends of the cloth after the knot was secure, were left to dangle at the edges of her shoulders. Donna's cheeks and lips were pulled as taut as she thought they could be made to go, keeping her lips firmly pressed together; the folds of white linen emerging from the corners of her mouth and widening as they hugged the natural curves of her cheeks. The continually mounting sense of terror lay juxtaposed against the bewilderment at how deliberately and carefully they worked not only to ensure she would not be hurt, but even so that her clothes and hair remained straight; while two of the men worked at tying her gag, the other two made sure her hair was properly in place underneath the cloth; continually brushing back stray strands. It was almost as if they were preparing her for a photography shoot, so her hair wouldn't flop wildly into a tangled mess all over her face during her inevitable struggles to get free. Donna felt her body shudder again as she began to wonder if that was exactly what was going to happen to her in a few short minutes.


For the immediate moment, however, the men weren't finished. She felt a stool pushed under her bottom and lifting her into a sitting position. Two of the men quickly set to work looping a long length of tan hemp rope around her upper body while the other two men lifted her legs parallel to the floor; one man held her calves firmly together while the second began looping rope around her ankles. Again, all the while, the same careful, deliberate placement of their hands, and each strand of rope as she continued to reflexively squirm in their grip. As the rope was wrapped around her upper body, above her bust line, they made sure to keep her skirt suit jacket and tie smoothed out, preventing them from bunching and rumpling in the folds of rope. And the smooth gloves they wore-- as the other two men tied her ankles, she could almost swear the gloves and the careful way they placed the ropes was to prevent any snags in her pantyhose that could tear open into a major ladder-run. This became all the more a suspicion as the man holding her legs let his fingers slide along the soft curves of her shapely calves, before his partner paused from tying her ankles to give a brief, quick, but noticeably firm, shake of his head, and the touchie-feelie promptly stopped.


And then they were done-- four tight loops of rope around Donna's upper body a little above the top of her bust line, cinched tightly behind her, and the rope ends twisted around each other several times before four more loops were made around her upper body, this time just below her bust line, before being pulled behind her again and knotted at around the midpoint of her spine; her bound wrists resting against the top of her pelvic bone. Four or five loops around Donna's ankles, and the ends twisted around each other and cinched around the loops one and a half times where they were knotted a little above her insteps. Even if she were able to pull her feet back all the way to her hands, there would be no way to reach the knot.


The four men picked Donna up carefully from the stool and gently placed her down into a sitting position on the floor, her legs extending out in front of her. All the while, they had never said a word, and never maintained direct eye contact with her for more than a brief second or two, once or twice. After setting her down, they unplugged her phone's cord both from the phone and from the wall jack, storing it in a drawer of her desk, and wordlessly left the room, closing the door again, taking the stool with them.


“MMMMMmmmmMMMMM mmMMMM!” Donna threw her head from side to side. It might take hours to get free, if she even succeeded at all, but what choice did she have? She couldn't possibly sit submissively clear through to the next day. Her fingers wiggled every direction she could wiggle them in; her wrists pulled and tugged and twisted frantically. There was no pain, but the ropes around her upper body caused a torquing pressure effect against her wrist bondage that kept her from trying to raise her tied hands up her spine to reach the knot there. All she could do to try and slacken the ropes around her upper body was shake her shoulders almost like an exotic dancer, which did nothing of course, and yet she could do nothing but keep it up, unless she wanted to sleep like this. Donna started to become acutely aware that her breasts seemed more prominent with the way the ropes were coiled above and below them. Whether it just seemed that way or whether her breasts did protrude more while her upper body was tied, it made her face blush red. And yet she couldn't stop; she had to struggle and squirm until her every ounce of energy was spent, and pray she made some progress.


“mmmm! MmMMM! MMMMMMmmmm!” Damn her gag was TIGHT! Thrusting her tongue against the fold of cloth between her lips was like trying to push a brick wall! Her head shook back and forth in dizzying half-circles, and yet the cloth hugged her face like it was glued to her skin. She didn't feel it move the tiniest fraction of an inch! Was there any chance the walls carried sound? Christina's office was no more then five feet across the hall. Was she there?


'Christina, help me! Help me please!'


“MMMMMMMMMMMM mmmMM! MMMmmMMmmm MMMMMMM!” Donna begged and whimpered for someone to come and rescue her, but she was gagged too tightly for anyone to hear. She felt tears beginning to well in her eyes. She tried to blink them back, but they spilled over her lower eyelids onto her cheeks. Donna shook her shoulders more strongly and kicked her bound feet into the air. Her feet twisted one way, then the other; the toes curling back and forth, desperately trying to kick her ankles free. Through her tears, Donna finally happened to look squarely at her shapely legs as she struggled against her ankle bondage; noticed a few threads of shimmering across the fabric of her stockings as they caught the light from the overhead fluorescents. She was embarrassed despite her fear and beginning sense of misery, and had to turn her head away. Shaking her head back and forth in her continued attempts to shake her gag off seemed to work best at keeping her eyes off the rest of her body. A single thought gradually snaked its way to the forefront of her consciousness: That's not a simple coincidence.


Forcing her attention back to her body, Donna desperately tried to rationalize. If she simply sat submissively and prayed for someone to 'happen to' come into the office, find her as she was, and untie her, she could be here at least until tomorrow, if not the next day; by which time she'd be badly dehydrated, utterly starved, and would probably have soiled her clothes. And who knew just how badly she'd be traumatized psychologically? Her struggles to wriggle free-- at least to shake her gag off so she could scream for help-- couldn't stop even if she was unable to get loose after several hours.


But no matter the way in which she struggled, it looked erotic. If she, herself, couldn't help but think that when she looked at her own legs squirming and kicking in the air, how would it look to anyone watching? And Donna was unconvinced that she was not being watched. The men who tied and gagged her, had taken as much care to see that they didn't hurt her, even accidentally. They took very suspicious care to make sure her skirt suit, blouse, tie and hair stayed neat and unrumpled. They even wore what looked like ladies' gloves, made of a smooth and soft material, so their fingernails didn't catch in her stockings and ruin them. Before they finished tying her, she had had to wonder if she was being prepared for a photo shoot.


“MMMMMMMMMmmm mmMMMMmmmmMMMMMM!” Donna shook her head harder, kicked her feet almost hard enough to make her pumps slip off. She felt a grumble from deep in her gut, but it wasn't hunger. Indignation at how her 'orientation' had gone and been going curled up at the edge into anger. And Donna found that this new feeling quashed her terror down; made her stop feeling so scared. The tears stopped trickling as she began to concentrate as hard as she could on being angry. She could even hear the anger mounting, as her gagged cries for help changed distinctly in tone.


The problem was, none of her bondage slackened in the least even after what felt like a long time struggling with renewed vigor. Her wrists yanked and wrenched against the ropes rather than simply squirming and stretching; her shoulders thrust back and forth until they ached. All of Donna's joints were beginning to feel sore, even her ankles as she continued to flail her legs up and down, in and out, straining to kick her feet free.


“rrrrMMMMMMMMMmmrrrrrmmmm  mmmRRRRRmmmMMMMrrrr!” Donna screamed into her gag until she thought she was beginning to go hoarse. Her neck was starting to ache from straining to shake her gag off. But if the sound of her cries for help were any gauge, Donna's gag was as securely in place as when it was first tied; the cloth hadn't budged, hadn't slipped up or down a millimeter. Donna's sea-green eyes flashed with fury as she had to stop to catch her breath.


The door suddenly began to open. Someone was coming in! She was going to be rescued!


Thank God for that!!


It was the four men who had bound and gagged her. Or at least, they were tall and burly like those men, wore the same clothes and masks and gloves. Donna flinched back from them instinctively. As if that was going to help at all, but she did it anyway.


The four men said nothing to her or to each other as they retrieved the phone cord from where they'd stowed it, and plugged it back in at both ends. They lifted Donna up and placed her on the wooden stool they'd brought in. Three of them held her steady; one man holding her legs the same way as when they'd tied her ankles, as the fourth slid a long, narrow piece of metal looking like a nail file, very carefully and methodically into the knot in her ankle bondage. He used it to open the knot enough that he could unravel it and unwrap the ropes from her ankles. Donna gave a low growl into her gag as her feet were released. Again the extreme care given to avoid cutting and ruining any of her clothes, even her pantyhose. She submitted to it only because it was pointless to try and force them into slipping up and poking holes in any of her clothing. She'd be the one left with the bill for replacing them.


The ropes binding her upper body were untied, and placed into a small opaque black plastic bag. At least they were freeing her, although Donna couldn't begin to guess what the whole orienta-- no, that word felt wrong all of a sudden. ORDEAL, that was more like it. She couldn't begin to imagine what the whole ordeal was all about, although at the moment, she couldn't even care less.


They untied the ropes binding Donna's wrists, but quickly grabbed them and held them firmly, although gently. She felt a pair of office scissors pressed lightly against her left palm. Why they wanted her to hold them, she had no idea, but she complied. One of the men suddenly touched a finger to Donna's gag and held up an index card with neat stenciling on it: Wait until we leave the room. Count to five. Leave the scissors on the desk; they'll be collected after you go home. Just do it.


They stood Donna on her feet. She felt her nostrils flare as she saw that they were waiting for her to nod her head in compliance. Since Donna knew that they weren't going to speak to her, and she wanted all of this finished, she did as they wanted. She nodded her head tightly, curtly. The men let go of her wrists, collected the stool and once again left the room, again without a word spoken.


Donna snipped through the linen cloth and pulled her gag away, depositing it in the waste bin. She put the scissors on the front of the desk as she'd been told to do. The wall clock read 4:41 pm. They'd walked in at roughly 3:30. Less than one hour? That's how long her orien-- ORDEAL had lasted? Another detail slipped neatly into an infuriating pattern. Her body had been beginning to ache and feel sore from the restrictive bondage. They'd come in and untied her at that point. She was untied soon as her body began to ache, so she wouldn't be in any pain, so she wouldn't be hurt. Donna wrapped her arms around herself and began to cry once more.


Exactly how 10 more minutes slipped away so quickly was another small detail that Donna happened to notice, but pushed out of her head without trying to answer it. She was angry, embarrassed, and now tired and hungry. And she had to pee.


Donna nearly didn't hear or even see her office door opening. She glanced up almost on instinct to see Christina coming in.


Christina's face didn't change an iota on seeing Donna. She simply smiled politely and approached to just beyond arm's length. “There's a small diner/bar across the block; we usually bring new hires there for dinner after the first day's done. Little HTG tradition. Come with me? Mr. Stone's administrative assistant will join us as well, if that's okay.”


Donna couldn't help but glower at her co-worker. Christina's complete lack of reaction on seeing Donna standing just in front of her desk, her face wet with tears and her arms around herself, told her far more than she wanted to know. Part of her wanted to tell Christina, in no uncertain terms, to just go fuck herself, then get lost and stay there.


But Donna stopped herself. This little 'tradition' was obviously meant to comfort her, calm her, and hopefully, most importantly, give her some answers. Christina and the administrative assistant she mentioned, were going to be big-sister figures and confidantes so she could make sense of the whole thing. Donna's complete bewilderment over the whole 'orientation' business, and how the hell the company managed to carry it on, got the better of her. And she was beginning to feel famished, anyway


Donna nodded slowly and Christina smiled. “Log out, and I'll be back in a couple of minutes. And these are for you.” She handed Donna a small bottle of lotion and a small packet of Epsom salt.


As Christina left the office, Donna happened to notice that the cuffs for Christina's blouse were open and the sleeves slightly pushed up... and although her body, as it turned, partially shielded the action from Donna's view, it was clear Christina had started-- or resumed?-- rubbing her wrists.


Donna went to the rest room to relieve herself. Back in her office, she logged out of her workstation and collected her purse and spring coat. She was slipping her arms into the sleeves of her coat when her conference phone buzzed.


“Have a good night, Donna,” said Mr. Stone. “I hope your first day with us went well.”


Donna's face twisted with a look of completely incredulous sarcasm. Exactly how-- and why-- she stopped herself from snapping, 'I hope your first day in jail goes well for you, you fucking piece of shit,' and replacing it with a simple, “Good night, Mr. Stone,” was another question that Donna would never have any interest in answering.


Christina came back, with a short, pretty Japanese-American woman looking to be in her late twenties; possibly thirty. She had long black hair, flawless skin looking almost like alabaster, smooth, gracefully curved cheeks and chin, and she wore a school ring on her right hand. “Hi, I'm Karen. Nice to meet you, Donna,” she said, giving the same polite smile Christina had given at the beginning of the day. Unlike Christina, however, Karen didn't accompany the introduction with an offered handshake, nor even approach close enough for one. Donna didn't need to figure out why.


“Jackson's bar and grill,” Karen said. “We all love the food there. Let's go.”


“Good night, ladies,” Officer Brown said in a friendly tone as Donna, Christina and Karen walked past the security desk on their way out. Donna forced herself to keep her eyes in front of her and not turn to look. Karen and Christina glanced back at Officer Brown over their shoulders as they walked past. Officer Brown gave a small smile and a brief nod in response. Christina returned the smile, again briefly, as she continued on her way.





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