The Silk Buyer
In the world of international silk, there are only a few very good trade buyers, and up until last Fall I was one of them. I say “was” deliberately since I’m out of that game now. But back in the day...well, I was good: worked hard, made a lot of money for my employer, and in return got the rewards, including regular trips overseas seeing suppliers, producers, customers; lived the high life but then it all changed. Don’t regret it though, so let me tell you all about it.
My name is Honor, I’m from London originally, but the adventure started in one of the lesser known Arab states in the Persian Gulf. It was mid September when I attended the annual convention of our trade association, always a big and prestigious event. Our hosts, a small oil-rich country which modelled itself on Abu Dhabi and attracted the same wealthy visitors, liked to spend its petro-dollars on building luxury hotels and subsidising international conferences like ours. I love sun and shopping like any girl so I was looking forward to the trip. My employer paid of course, which made it even more attractive.
Ours is a competitive business and to get to the top like me you need a certain ruthlessness. I had a couple of major rivals, whom I knew would be at the convention, and with whom I’d clashed over bidding for new Chinese silk stocks or the latest fabric designs from California. There was Tamara, she was from eastern Europe, and I always thought that she had some ex-KGB heavies working for her who so very often seemed to tip the balance in contract tenders that I lost out on. She was frosty and dangerous but could be very charming particularly when the sellers were male. She had gorgeous Slavic cheekbones, and wore fashionable large sunglasses almost constantly, sometimes pushing them back onto her head, over her glossy black hair. Always immaculately dressed too.
My other rival was Zuleykha. Saudi by birth, she was instrumental in arranging for the convention to take place in the Gulf, her home territory. Like Tamara, there were rumours of dark dealings when she was doing business, but I’d beaten her more than once to get the best deal, and fairly too, and I felt we respected each other from a distance, I almost felt like I liked her. The times I had met her, at previous conventions, she too had been charming, always glamorously dressed, her face always beautifully made up, her dark eyes seeming to bore into me as if trying to extract my secrets.
On the first evening of the convention, it was a great surprise to me, and a little unnerving, that I received a card from Tamara, asking me to join her in her suite at the convention hotel. It was during a drinks party, the local alcohol prohibition laws temporarily suspended to accommodate the foreign visitors, and all the beautiful people were there in their expensive evening wear, silk of course, all schmoozing and networking, air-kissing and trying to impress. I was no different. I wore a red silk cocktail dress, sleeveless and strapless, matching high heels, seamed silk stockings in spite of the heat, wanting to make an impact on the many potential customers and sellers that I’d met over at the various events. I had seen Zuleykha with a tall glass in her hand, but not Tamara herself which I thought a little odd; not like her to miss an opportunity like this. An smartly dressed waiter brought me the card on a silver tray, and I excused myself from the small group of salesmen who had gathered round me and who were all getting a little too familiar for my liking anyway.
The hotel was big so it took me a while to even find the right elevator, and when I got to the 12th floor it was quite a walk along the silent, sumptuously carpeted, and freezingly air-conditioned corridor to reach the Oasis Suite at the very end. I pressed the buzzer and the door clicked to allow me in. It was clearly a huge suite and I was envious of Tamara’s good fortune. I had only a single room, adequate for my needs, but this place went beyond ostentation.
I was expecting other guests but it was surprisingly quiet and no-one had come to meet me at the door. I called out “Hello?” but got no answer, so tentatively I went on into the lounge room, admiring the rich Arabian style decor. There were wall hangings of deep red and gold fabrics, no doubt intended to resemble a Bedouin tent; brass plates and elegantly shaped water jugs, all brightly polished; and above the simulated fire place, a large white stone statuette of a prancing horse. I was lost for a moment in wonder at the opulence, then realised that still no-one had appeared so I helped myself to a glass of champagne that stood on a low table, with four glasses, and started to wander freely about the place, looking in all the rooms, all furnished to a similar high quality.
I eventually found Tamara in the largest of the three bedrooms, she was kneeling by the foot of the bed, with her back to me, which I thought rather strange. The room was dim, lit only by numerous scented candles around the room, filling it with a heady peach odour. I spoke her name out loud and on receiving no response, I put my now empty glass down on the bedside cabinet and moved closer and then I realised that she wasn’t there by choice. She was tied to the bed post, on her knees, facing away from the bed towards the heavy curtains across the bay window. The post was maybe three feet high, with a carved wooden ball at the top, and a velvet rope ran from it to her neck, forcing her into a slight backwards lean. Her ankles were tied together with a silk scarf, behind the post which was between her calves, and her feet, in her elegant black high heels, were just visible under the bed. Her wrists were handcuffed behind her, the cuffs being held in place by a rope which also went around her slim body and the bedpost, tightly securing her in place.
She was in a state of deshabille, her skirt having been removed and goodness knows where that was now. She wore shiny black hold-up stockings, with no suspenders, and the contrast between these and her pale thighs was quite something to behold. I have never considered myself anything other than straight but I had to admit the sight of such an attractive woman helplessly tied and gagged did something for me. She didn’t see me at first and didn’t hear me come in or call her name as her ears had been plugged, but I noticed that her diamond necklace was still in place, sparkling as it caught the light of the candles, so whoever had tied her here had not intended to rob her. It was quite clear that this was no simple break-in where the victim had been immobilised to prevent them raising the alarm. This was intentional, this was a deliberate humiliation, a punishment perhaps by some underworld types. A wave of pity briefly washed over me and I moved to where she could see me, not for a moment thinking that I myself could be in any danger.
She saw me then and, eyes wide, began struggling to free herself and trying to communicate through a large yellow ball gag in her mouth, but without success on either count. Her long black hair had been divided into two bunches which were tied off with red ribbon and hung down onto her breasts, most fetchingly, but confirming to me that some strange ritual had taken place, as Tamara would surely never wear her hair like that. Her black satin blouse was still in place, but unbuttoned to reveal a black corset, the front of which was threaded through with red ribbons. Just poking over the top of the black lace around her breasts were two metal clamps, holding her nipples, and these jiggled up and down as she struggled. My immediate thought was that movement was perhaps not a good idea in the circumstances.
All of a sudden a buzzing noise began, and a bulge in her black panties caught my eye. Someone had put a vibrator in there, and I saw a power cable, partially hidden, snaking off to a timer in the wall socket. I was torn now. Whilst I was concerned for the poor woman, it was most delightful to find my rival in such a situation. I stood a while and watched the show, and going by the clearly damp state of those panties it wasn’t the first performance. But at the same time I knew I ought to release her.
Tamara’s eyes rolled and her moans became less a plea for release and more an almost animal noise of sensual enjoyment. For a moment too I was caught up in the pleasure of the spectacle. A voice broke my reverie.
“Would you like to join her?”
Zuleykha stood in the doorway, and in her wake a couple of large, well built men carrying holdalls, and two beautiful Arabic women, whose heavy make-up emphasised their full lips and almond eyes. Those two were dressed in white trouser suits, modern western styles, eschewing the often shapeless dresses which were common for women in that region, and a noticeable lack of the traditional headscarves meant that their glossy coloured hair was on show for all to see. The average female citizen of this Gulf state would certainly have dressed more modestly and worn a hijab, at least in public. All three women oozed confidence and did not seem the least bit surprised to see either me or Tamara. I assumed she was their victim.
Zuleykha herself wore a stunning embroidered turquoise dress coat over a pale green silk dress, with matching high heels, and gold jewellery that even a New York rap artist would have found excessive: rings, ankle and wrist bracelets, necklace and ear-rings.
“No thank you” I replied, trying to remain as cool as possible. “Has she upset someone?”
“Oh yes, very much so. She tried to double-cross me over a business deal, a foolish thing to attempt. It was I who sent you the card, I wished you to see her in this state.”
Before I could reply, she gestured at the girls. “Allow me to introduce my secretary, Shams, and personal assistant Badra”. “Sun and Moon” I said, indicating the translation of the Arabic names. “Very good” she replied, “I do like my opponents to be intelligent”
“But I’m not your opponent”, I quickly replied, feeling my face grow hot.
“Whoever is not for me is against me.”