Wanted. Private live in Librarian for home library. Call ... I double checked the listing. There were a great many unlisted requirements than a simple live in librarian would normally have to meet. I wanted a woman, one between twenty five and forty. One whom I could slowly bend to my will. Someone without close family, who was desperate enough to move a hundred and sixty miles from the city. Someone that I could eventually make my playtoy. Someone desperate for employment and not long out of school.
It wasn't that I was rich, I certainly hadn't won the lottery, though I played religiously. A dollar every drawing. I did have money though, being the sole surviving child of fairly well to do parents who had passed on early. And I missed them. They left me a nice house on forty acres of stony land, their IRA's, stocks (which I admit are not worth much right now) and after all the bills a small sum from their insurance. It helped that mom had been the landowners lover when she decided to sell her ranch and move to Hawaii. Miss Harper said that she needed money to buy a really good weed eater for all those grass skirts the girls wore. So mom and dad got the land for a song. Really, if $150 a acre wasn't for a song these days, nothing was. 'Course dad knew they were lovers, didn't mind a bit. Some mega-farming corporation bought the other five thousand plus acres to farm. At a much higher purchase price. They certainly were not interested in forty acres of plow breaking limestone hills.
My brothers and I had a blast riding around that land on motorcycles while we were teenagers. Planting trees, cutting the old ranch roads with real dynamite (under dad's careful eye) so no one could come onto our land. Then Shrub Junior started his little oil war. Thomas died in Iraq, Frank a year later in Afghanistan. Mom and dad had spent most of their insurance money planting the kinds of trees both my brothers had liked. Oak and pine, in remembrance. I helped build the mausoleum to hold their ashes, and later my parents were placed there as well. By my own hands. So no I wasn't rich, and thanks to the Mega-Corp there was only one road to my land. Federal law kept them from blocking me from access to my land, though they didn't make it easy. I had to buy the land that made my road. A sixteen foot wide right of way a mile and a half in length at a thousand dollars an acre. So the three acres of stony road was rarely graded. Neighbors? Well there was a rumor that the Mega-corp, because of the recession, was going to sell off some land to smaller farmers. Other than real farmers and ranchers, no one really wanted to live this far from a real city. In other words, any city with less than 100,000 people in it. Since the nearest town to me had a whole seventy-two people in it, there really wasn't a market for less than a thousand acres at a time, and no one could afford what Mega-Corp wanted for a thousand acres. Not in this economy. Even if I could afford it, I certainly didn't want it.
But dang it. I was lonely, and now that I was living out here full time I wanted something intelligent to talk with. No one can claim that cats are intelligent. Certainly not dogs. Nor are most of the people on the internet come to think of it. And I had to work, and work I did. You see, I'm a fiction writer. Those things people call blouse rippers, or Gothic Romances. Not that I like them, I'm just really good at writing them. Between my own small income from the books and what my parents left me, I determined that I could afford a librarian. As long as she didn't cost me more than twenty-five thousand a year. That meant I would have to offer contract work. With room and board included. Probably the use of one of my two vehicles as well. That would be the '58 Buick Special of course. No one touched my truck but me.
I worked at the numbers carefully, finally coming to a decision. I pay her, she pays all her own bills and taxes. I feed her, give her a room, access to the internet and all the other home amenities. Adding a place to live in would be a plus, as it would cost me hardly anything. It would save my employee something like fifteen to twenty thousand a year, plus transportation. And as I would be supplying the majority of the food from my garden we would both save there as well. It might just be what tipped the scales, when push came to shove. Shove? Oh yes. When I was through with her, my little slave librarian wouldn't be costing me one red cent. Not if what the man who was helping me had it figured out. I just needed to find the right woman, with the wrong kind of family.
Oh, and the library? Yes there really is one. My parents were book lovers, they passed that gene off to my brothers and I as well. I guess that's why I never found a long term lover, I was always too much involved in books. Either reading or writing them. Twelve years after starting it, I was still hacking away at my Great American novel. A Roman era adventure, not Gone With the Wind. So along with the near forty-thousand books my parents had acquired, I had already brought another four thousand of my own over that gravel road. And not much else worth talking about. The library itself was poorly put together. Oh the two large rooms committed to it were really big enough, and the shelves mom and dad built were very well made. But the books were just sort of haphazardly placed. Though I was okay with that, I really wanted Cooking in one section. Not spread out in Photographic and How To. So after two months trying to make sense of Library rules and the Dewy Decimal System I knew I needed help. Dewey made a fine set of rules. It was just sad that the book publishers almost never explain exactly where their material belongs in that system.
For my prospective play toy, there was a bedroom off the library that would be her workroom. It used to be my bedroom, now it was pretty much a storage area for books, with my old computer table shoved in a corner. An even older Compaq 586-75 sitting unused on it. Sometimes I would wander through the books I'd shoved in there, having already forgotten what most of the titles were. Picking at boxes and stacks at night, wondering what secrets they held. A lot I had never bothered to open, just buying job lots at estate sales and such. A long time ago word had gotten out about mom and dad's love affair with books. When they were gone, word got out I was just like them. I was always getting offers to 'come see if you want anything.' When the town of Preston closed their library, it took me three trips with the rebuilt u-haul trailer to bring everything home. Preston was a little town some thirty miles North, and after nearly a hundred and forty years the town simply closed down. There were maybe three families still living there, eking out a living running a store slash gas station slash garage.
Dad's den was now my office. It was where I wrote, pinned maps on the wall, stacked books I was currently using (or hadn't yet bothered to shove back into the shelves) and did whatever else I wanted. There were three bedrooms upstairs of course. I was sleeping in my parents room because it had the really nice bathroom. My brothers bedrooms were empty now, other than the minimal furniture any bedroom needed for the rare visitor. It still hurt to enter my brothers rooms. We used to play games. No, not sexual ones. AD&D mainly. Monopoly too, though Frank was just too good at that game for me. There was nothing left to do but finish cleaning up the bedrooms and then go the long drive into the nearest city to interview.
Interviewing I fast discovered, was worse than being stuck in a broken elevator listening to a Muzak version of the Beatles. My first six applicants were old, one being nearly eighty. All of them were looking for an easy job to supplement their retirement. Every one backed out when I told them that there were nearly forty-five thousand books, hundreds of maps and uncounted tapes (at least two thousand) that needed to be transferred to DVD and over five hundred records and reel to reel tapes to deal with. Critical for the older applicants was the impossible distance from any real hospital. At their age they were looking for an easy touch. Something close to home that they could piddle around with. Something like a Church library, not real work. And so it went the rest of the day, the next and by the third I was losing any hope of finding even a half pretty librarian in the age group I wanted. Much less one I could train. Then Irene walked in. No, she wasn't some Greek Goddess, but she was attractive.
"I am certain that you have filled your requirement" she said after the stranded how are you, who are you introductions. "I want to thank you for at least talking with me."
"Your wrong about that first" I admitted. "No one has been acceptable. Over half are retirees who walk out when they hear how many books I have. Almost forty-five thousand. The distance from this cities hospital, nearly one hundred and sixty miles, and the lack of real entertainment. I have satellite internet but no television or radio, unless you count the farm and ranch station that comes in loud and clear. Of course there is the audio tapes, video tapes, records and dvd's that are part of the collection." I watched her face as I spoke. "Along with doing serious and not so serious research for me. You see, I am a wanna be writer who really, really needs help. Oh I'm published" I tossed one of the latest blouse-rippers on the desk between us. "But this isn't what I want to write. With my own library I had hoped, but it has proven too hard to get straightened out. Much less find what I want and cross reference with anything else. I really don't trust what I can find on the internet to be honest either."
"I see. As I understand the contract you left for us to read, I would be living at your house as a contract worker?'
"Yes" I answered. "I do have a telephone, but cell phones do not work anywhere near my land. In fact, the last seriously reliable signal ends about thirty miles from this city. Though Millers Ridge has a pretty good repeater, it is weather dependent. Millers Ridge is about fifteen miles from my home. As I said, I have satellite internet, which allows me to keep up with the news and such, but no television. I plan to add it, but I've been too busy to do so yet."
"That makes sense, and mail is delivered to this Millers Ridge?"
"Yep. I don't trust the Mega-corp not to steal my mail again. And yes, my lawyer proved that in a Court of Law two years ago. So I have a box in that town. I check it once a week when I go in for shopping. The actual post office is in a store. Beyond the fifteen miles to Millers Ridge, its another mile and a half of packed limestone gravel to my home." I carefully explained the reasons for that road and she seemed to agree with me.
"They simply wanted your land to fill in their maps" Irene agreed.
"You work at a school library" I asked, returning to the interview.
"Yes. Roger Young Elementary here in town. It is a part time position, so I make ends meet as an Avon representative. Last month I was informed that my position at the school was being phased out. The recession has everyone cutting back, we are losing three very good teachers and two so-so administrators. I can remain, as a volunteer with a guarantee of being rehired in better times. But well, even Avon isn't selling very well anymore. I could take a delay in paying my student loans, but the interest rate would kill me. Your offer, even though it is so remote, is a godsend."
"Pets, bad habits, drugs?" I asked. Her reported medical history seemed clear, as far as I could legally ask. But better to ask than find out I had a crack head in my home."
"A dog my brother will take. He's too old to take that far from a vet." Irene smiled as though to herself. "I do drink a little. I will miss the occasional night out with my friends, and I haven't smoked MJ since High School. I do like rock and roll music. The 80's stuff mostly. I note that you want to be called Mistress. Any serious reason?"
I giggled at the initials. I hadn't heard them since grade school. Then I'd gone to a rural school. We had other names, wildwood weed was the favorite. Because of the song I guess. "I don't like being called Miss Carter, it makers me feel old. And I don't want anybody calling me by my first name until I know them well enough. Mistress Contrary was mom's nickname for me. So Mistress works. I'm certainly no Lady. About the offer. The job is five full eight hour days by contract. You can set the hours, day or night. But I demand eight full hours of work a day. Since my own schedule is variable, yours can be as well. Saturdays and Sundays off. Fourth of July, Thanksgiving a week because of the distance, Christmass / New Years two weeks. Three if you want them. And a day of vacation a month. I still have three interviews, but unless God herself walks in I think you have it. If you want it."
"I certainly do" Irene answered.
We stood, shook hands and she left. The next two were interesting, but wanted much more than I could afford. Then Patty came in. My last interview and she was perfect. Absolutely everything I wanted. She wouldn't even make eye contact. She was also six months pregnant, which was a complete no-no. I hated to tell her no, and why. But promised to keep her contact information in case I needed to replace the woman I would hire. That of course would be Irene. Patty looked devastated by my decision. She asked if there was anything, absolutely anything that she could do to change my mind. To keep from being angry I looked at her references again. She was the assistant Librarian for the local Catholic University. That made her problem obvious. She was unmarried and as I recalled Catholic's, would be fired for a morals charge had it not been that she had been raped by three of the football players, while the rest of the team and three Coaches egged them on. Even so...
"There is too great a distance to medical care should your child become ill" I explained. "Likewise, I really do not want a child in my home. At least one not my own. Still I will keep your information, this card has my address. Should you desire to write me for any reason. I'm really sorry. Thank you for coming in."
Patty left nearly crying and I had to grit my teeth. A natural redhead (no dye job was that good) shapely, barely five one and what a figure. Submissive and ... But the child I reminded myself. First of all medical care would be needed. Quite often for a newborn. If it was bad weather those eight thousand feet on limestone rubble roads would be suicide. I had Irene, so I would take her. Some other lucky stiff would get Patty, much to my dismay. Picking up the room's phone I made my call. Once done I started writing todays letters, thanking each applicant for applying and that 'I would keep you in mind should the person I hired not work out.' It was Patty I really wanted, but darn it. You had to look into the future. How would I explain to a twelve year old why her mother wandered around the house naked, in delicate chains and a slave collar? No, it would be Irene.
Four days later I met my new employee at her family lawyers office. He went over the contract, noted to Irene that it was a pretty good deal for her, then we signed. Her lawyer kept a copy, she kept a copy and I kept a copy. I also left my contact information with her lawyer. After all, I was dragging her out into the boondoggles and who knew what kind of woman I was. If he only knew what I wanted to be.
"Its my brothers truck" Irene explained as she walked me to a six wheel paneled truck. Inside was a good looking man of about twenty-two. He stepped out, offering me his hand. "Hope you don't mind. I'm helping my big sister to move."
"And to discover which ancient castle I will drag her too, to drain her blood and turn her into my mindless slave for eternity" I replied, taking his hand firmly.
"Well yes. I need to know where to bring the torch bearing townspeople. Louis Farmer."
"Mary Candy Carter" I countered. "Or will it be the traditional five. Thief, mage, warrior, sorceress and bard?"
"AD&D?" Irene asked.
"I played with my brothers as a teenager. I haven't played in years, too busy with life. School, failed marriage, burying my family and all those mundane things."
"Your family? I'm sorry" Louis backpedaled.
"You didn't start the oil wars, you didn't send them to be killed by uneducated goat herders and you were not driving that gravel truck with no breaks. Don't be sorry. But thanks for the offer. Look, its going to be late when we get there even if we don't stop for something to eat. Can you stay overnight? I do have the room."
"And a rather large bolt on your bedroom door" Irene asked.
"No. Small one. But I have a Scattergun."
"Yep" Louis agreed with a laugh. "That'll keep me at bay. All right then, I'll stay the night. I already filled up the tank while I was waiting. Everything Irene has, sans YoYo is in the truck. So how about Carls Truck Stop? They make killer barbecue and I'm buying."
"Deal. And YoYo?"
"I'll get you ... and your little dog YoYo" Irene hissed in a very bad imitation of a certain witch.
"That was ToTo wasn't it" I asked.
"Bad head cold" Irene admitted. "My family has never let me live it down."
I had to laugh. Here was a woman I fully intended to try and turn into my own toy, if I was able, and she was laughing with me. Would she, in a year? "My trucks over there" I said, pointing to the battered metallic green paneled four wheel drive truck parked half a block away. "I'll meet you two at Carls, then off we go into the lands of Mordor."
Carls was good, I'd eaten there before a few times. Louis admitted that his wife was a big fan of my books, laughed when I grimaced in distaste. "Takes two kinds to write that stuff" he went on. "Those with no life, and those who need the money."
"I need the money" I admitted. Though I did sign a couple of the books he had brought with him. So the conversation went on until we drove off. Louis and Irene following me in his delivery truck.
It was an easy drive this time of year. There really isn't that much traffic on a Farm to Market road between spring planting and harvesting, which was what the last twenty some miles were. I got out and unlocked the chain on my gate, noting a thick manila envelope shoved into a crevice as I did do. That gate had been a real nasty legal fight. I owned the road and the gate, but dear sweet Mega-Corp had taken the thing to court, and lost just last month. They wouldn't be cutting my locks anymore, or using my road. All thanks to a rather kindly judge that looked at me and my hired local lawyer, then at Mega-Corps seven lawyers in suits worth more than all three of us made in a year. He then quite solemnly decided that enough was gall darn enough. Not only did he fine Mega-Corp for destruction of private property and trespassing, They had to pay all my legal, travel and incidental bills. "Be creative next time hon" the Judge had told me in his chambers. "Real creative." Most of the extra money had gone to keep my lawyer on retainer. Like I said, I'm not rich.
Mega-Corp had not been pleased. I'm absolutely certain that they will try something else eventually. They had been since mom and dad refused to sell out. I harbored a deep belief that Mega-Corp had something to do with my parents death, but had absolutely zero proof. As far as I could dig they hadn't a penny in the gravel pits stock, and the driver had been an illegal immigrant who'd been in the states for nearly twenty years. Still I could believe it. I took the manilla envelope off my gate as a matter of course. It had Mega-Corps emblem on it, and was probably another threat or attempted buy out. This I tossed on the passengers seat.
For once the road wasn't wet, covered with snow or blown with tumbleweed. Still it was ten miles an hour and the two hand built stone bridges were exactly wide enough. I remembered helping my father and brothers build each bridge, and as we passed prayed for all of them as was my habit. By the time we reached my home with its poured concrete drive I was tired. Looking in the side mirror I could tell that Louis was near exhausted as well. I parked in the garage next to the Buick, he outside and the three of us met at my front door.
"This is really out in the boonies" Irene laughed as she looked around. "A mile and a half of drive."
Other than my barely one acre garden, the land was filled with trees. Oaks of all kinds, pines, pecan. Whatever was on sale at the landscaping stores when we went into town. A lot were ten to twelve years old, others younger. Slowly my forty acres were turning into a forest of miss-matched trees. "Bought and paid for" I admitted. "All to get to these forty acres."
"Its gonna be beautiful in a few more years" Louis observed. "Your how old?"
"Twenty-four" I answered. "Twenty-five in three months."
"And you live alone" Irene asked.
"Not anymore, unless you go home with your brother" I admitted. "Which is the main reason that I am spending most of my extra income to hire you. I was going crazy at night with only the forums to chat on. Most of those people only want cyber sex, which is why I hired a woman and not a man. Anyway, I'm not a long distance lover kind of girl. Want to see the library, then pick out your bedroom? Or the other way around."
"Love too. Library first. Come on Louis. We can explore."
"Any place but my bedroom" I warned. "Bedrooms are private, invitation only. That means I won't enter your bedroom unless you invite me. Which you never will."
"Good" Louis said, though I could tell I wasn't meant to hear it. Irene did too and she slapped him on his shoulder.
"Be nice" she hissed.
One thing about living alone in Bumfuck Nowhere was that ones ears became rather sensitive. I let them both think that I hadn't heard anything. "This way to the library." I think Irene orgasmed when she saw what I called a library.
"Oh my, you were not joking. This is a disaster" she laughed. She actually laughed, walking around the stacks and boxes of books. "Beautiful shelving. Custom?" she asked.
"My parents built them. Heck, they designed this whole house before I was born. He was an architect. I've another couple hundred books in my truck. I hit the Friends of the Library and a bunch of flea markets yesterday. There is also a computer in here somewhere, Windows NT Pro as I remember. Laser printer, access to the LAN, which by router goes to the Internet. All hard wired cat five. Tell me what you need and if I can afford it I'll buy it. Irene, I want a real live library that I can find things in. I also need you to do research for me. I don't want to stop writing just because I can't remember how many Rods are in an Acre."
"One hundred and sixty" Irene snapped off without thinking. "I love research, filled with tons of useless information."
"British or American tons" I asked. That brought a giggle from both my visitors.
"You really are serious" Louis admitted. I noted that he had picked up a volume of Burton Holmes Travelogues,
"Careful, those are rare and expensive" I warned him. "Mom spent over a hundred dollars for that set."
Irene barely glanced at the book. "In that condition. Ex-Library. You have the entire set?"
"1920 copyright if I remember right. I was looking in it last week. Thirteen volumes."
"If you can find it, they run about a thousand dollars for the 1919 edition. One of the forth grade teachers asked if we could get them. We were looking at them last year. Much too expensive for an elementary school. So be careful brother, I don't want her taking the value of that book out of my hide."
Stunned Louis sat the book back where he had found I. "Books are really worth that much" he asked in surprise.
"And more" his sister admitted. She looked at me. "Insurance?"
"I need a complete listing, and someone from a company comes out here to look at everything. I've been quoted, pending a full listing, about three hundred a year. Right now my home insurance covers a dime a book. Max. That's maybe forty five hundred dollars right now."
Irene hissed her breath through her teeth. "You need real library insurance. I know how to find out who and where. Well, I guess I better get moved in and unpacked. Starting tomorrow I am going to be a busy little beaver. Come on big brother."
I showed them the available bedrooms upstairs, not surprisingly Irene picked the one with its own bathroom. Then I left them to haul her stuff in while I made my normal after leaving checks. Weed, my cat, was fine. Her food and water about half down so I freshened both. A quick run down to the basement informed me that the power systems were fine. I get all my power from wind and solar, the same for hot water. You see my home is Geo-Thermally heated and cooled, plus all the solar and wind I could get. There is a propane powered emergency generator, that is a life saver in deep winter. Going upstairs to my bedroom I booted my computer, checking the security files. My father and brothers had put in heat and movement sensors a long time ago, which had helped when a Mega-Corp plow had started tearing into the better part of our land. Six acres of flat land with real hundred year oaks on it. A good lawyer (which I still used) and six months later got them their equipment back, badly burned, and us twenty thousand dollars richer for damages. The files this time showed nothing but animals. Finished with the priority stuff I wandered out to my truck and started unloading. It helped to own one of those flat carts with big rubber wheels that you see in warehouses, so by the time Irene and her brother had lugged the last box to her room I was done as well. The envelope I tossed on my bed for amusement reading later.
Dinner was what I could throw together, surprisingly pretty good with Louis's help. "You'll make someone a good wife" I joked.
"Interested in joining Kathy" he asked.
"No" I admitted. "Already married once. Didn't like it. Don't like mean drunks so I sent him home, with a broken jaw. Maybe in ten or fifteen years, when my biological clock starts ringing."
"My loss" he laughed, though I was certain that he was interested. I am not the prettiest girl in the world, but I'm no loser either. Not his fault I had found, after marrying Paul, that I swing the other way. Though I wasn't going to tell him that. He had a sister to protect. That had been what really ended my marriage. Donald had brought home a friend from work. A game he called it. Turned out she and I got along better than he wanted. A month later he packed out after a knock-down drag out fight that I barely won. And that only because I got to the baseball bat first. He never came back. I changed the locks, bought a better combination lock for the gate and waited for him to come back. That was four years ago. Last I heard he had a new wife and two kids. He always did want kids.
Late the next morning I followed Louis to the gate, letting him out. Then drove into town for milk and other little things that don't make a long journey or storage well. I had left Irene with the instructions to get her room ready first. There was plenty of time to get to work on that library and I needed to see my lawyer anyway. Which meant a forty mile one way drive. Mega-Corps envelope was an announcement that they were selling a large lot of land. Everything that surrounded mine to be exact. Looked to me like they had had enough of battling, and losing to the Carters.
"Yes, their announcement was made two days ago" my lawyer, Henry Tibbins, explained. "With the recession and drop in prices for soy they are losing their shirts. So they are selling out two thousand acres, which your land is within, to bring in much needed cash."
"How much an acre" I asked.
"Four thousand. They will be lucky to get one. But you know big business. Never sell garbage for less than twice what you paid for it. Plus it seems there is rumors of some kind of pollution on part of that land. All downhill from you, but its going to make that land useless to anyone."
That intrigued me. "Know what it is?"
"Not really no Mary. I do know that they have a lawsuit against them in another state for illegal dumping." A light seemed to come on in his head. "If they have been dumping industrial waste on that land, it makes it completely useless and the new owner would have to pay to clean it up. What an interesting idea. I really must send an e-mail to the EPA. Would you like a lot of land for nothing?"
"Not if I had to pay millions I don't have to clean it up" I admitted. "Land is nice, but the forty acres I have is more than enough. Maybe you ought to take an interest in it. It can't be easy keeping your neighbors dumb about Sheila on two little acres. Oh, and thanks for that contract work. Here's your copy. Her name is Irene Cathy Farmer. Photo enclosed."
Henry accepted the folder, looking at it. "Nice. Found what you wanted" he asked softly.
"No. But she may be trainable with your help. One that would have been perfect was six months along. I'm not interested in having kids around my home."
Henry grinned. "Keep me informed. If she isn't, well there are other fish in the sea."
"Right. Meaning you'll take a shot at her. Well if there isn't anything else." I shook his hand, then left. Henry was the one who'd suggested a trainable librarian. If anything he was worse than me. His secretary Sheila proved that. She stood and bowed as I left. That she wouldn't do to any but Henry's special friends. But when she did bow it told you everything. You see, she wore nothing but a really nice set of chains under her loose outer clothing.
Late afternoon found me pulling up to the house again. Milk, meat and eggs were carefully packed in ice chests, awaiting being dragged into the kitchen. Irene came out as I was unloading. "You were gone a long time Mistress" she noted as she took one end of the big cooler I was dragging out.
"Had to talk to my lawyer. That's nearly a hundred miles round trip. Then shop. Watch the ice, its dry ice. Freeze your titties off in a second."
"I wouldn't want that" Irene laughed. "I like my titties. By the way, what is your dress code for the library."
"Long as your comfortable you can work au-natural, though I'd prefer shorts at least. Sometimes thats all I wear. No fancy clothing, your going to get dirty and some of your work hours are going to be helping me antique for books. Not to forget repairing or rebinding the damaged ones. You'll need to tell me what you need for that, though there is an antique book press in the storeroom somewhere. I found it in an old newspaper shop that had been abandoned. Cast iron, its heavy. My brothers helped me carry it out a few days before they demolished the building. There are a lot of rummage shops within a couple hundred miles of here."
I noted that Irene blushed at my mention of clothing, or lack there of. Heck, I'd wandered my library in nothing but shorts a lot of times. It felt deliciously wicked, all those long dead authors staring at you from their books. "Lets get this in and packed away. Then I'll start on supper. Are you finished in your bedroom?"
"Two boxes to go. What do I do with the boxes" she asked.
"Collapse them, I'll help you pack them in the storage shed out back. So when you leave you'll have them available."
"Leave? Your talking about me leaving. Already?"
"Irene. Your going to eventually get a better job offer. This recession isn't going to last forever. The school will want you back, you'll want to be near your family. If I am real lucky you will be able to train me in how to keep a library up before you leave. If not, well I kept some names."
"Can we sort of wait until I've been here a while before looking for my replacement Mistress?" There was a hint of desperation in Irene's voice, one I found I liked. Along with the sound of Mistress coming from those delicious lips.
Over the next weeks we quickly fell into a pattern. Irene would wake around eight, have breakfast and start working in the library. Since I was a night person I often was asleep while she was awake, thus was always surprised by the work she had done. On Friday afternoons her brother would arrive (I had given him the gates combination) to take her home, returning her every Sunday evening. This lasted about three months, until the first bad weather arrived.
"Louis just called from town Mistress. He says he can't get up your road. Its too slick" Irene told me one Friday afternoon.
I grabbed my keys and coat, heading for the garage. "We can try in the four wheel drive, but usually I just wait it out. Winters are impossible without four wheel drive and chains and even then if the drifts are too high it's a no-go."
"So that's why the flexible Christmass schedule" she asked as she shoved her bag into my truck.
"Yep. If they forecast a blizzard, have your brother come early. If you can't get back before a blizzard e-mail or call me so I won't worry. When things clear you can return. Look, this rain is supposed to last several days. Just come back after its been over a day. My roads mainly limestone, so it drys fast."
"'Kay, and thanks Mistress."
"Don't thank me, I'll make you work the extra hours in my dungeon."
Irene laughed, she'd been in the basement several times already for orientation on what was what and how to reset things in an emergency. There was no dungeon there. Then, she wasn't aware of the storage shed's basement and mom and dads play-room. I managed to get her to the main road and her brother after about an hour of driving. A quick explanation of the weather problems, then back home. It was Thursday before she came back and I found that I missed her.
"I told my parents I'm quite safe out here Mistress" Irene explained after packing her bags up to her room. "I'll make up the hours on weekends, and from now on I'll call them when I want to come home." She shrugged. "Other than my mail, which I've had forwarded to your address this week, there really isn't any reason to go home anymore. Besides, I'm tired of Mom asking me what I'm doing out here, if any men visit and why don't I have a boy friend."
I looked at the fire, then back to my employee. "What's the real reason Irene" I asked.
Irene sat down across from me, putting herself between me and the fire. I liked what it did to her hair. "Okay, why not. Beyond mom, the weather and a really expensive drive. YoYo died Tuesday. Old age the vet says. I was only really going home to see him. And my old boyfriend kept wanting to go out. Make up for old times. He kept pushing, and after the quiet here it got tiring. And my parents are ultra-right wing. They keep asking about you. I think they believe I'm having sex with you. If I did, they would disown me in a second. Anything else you need to know?"
"No, nothing. Sorry to bother you" I answered, then let it drop, let her go to work.
She'd bought some kind of library program through the internet, setting me back nearly two thousand dollars. "You really don't need everything it can do Mistress" she explained. "Your not going to be loaning books after all. But a simple database isn't enough. Not for what you have." She also downloaded and printed out a Library insurance form. From what she had already worked out I already needed a hundred and fifty-thousand dollars worth of insurance, and it seemed that she'd barely touched the piles of books.
"How much should I insure my pet librarian for" I asked her a few days later, once the shock wore off.
"Oh Librarians of my level are a dime a dozen. One vanishes, another three pop up to replace her" Irene answered. Was there a twinkle in her eye? I let that drop as well.
Winter came then. We were socked in by mid-November. Though I put my plow on the trucks bumper it took two days to clear my road, then it snowed again. It might look to an outsider like I hadn't progressed very far with my project, but Irene was working in the library sans suit now. Usually in pleasantly tight dresses. "You like looking at me" she accused me the afternoon she left for Christmass with her family.
"Well I told you up front that I'm a lesbian, so duh. I like looking at you. Maybe I ought to collar you and make you my sex slave." I'd been joking with her about this a long time, she hadn't gone home in some time and with only the two of us, she had hardly paused when I eventually admitted my own lifestyle. I never approached her though.
"You may be a lesbian, but you are a lady" Irene countered. "You could take me and where would I go? But your polite, you don't even flirt with me. At least not seriously so."
"You better get before the next snow" I warned her, changing the subject. "Your brother will be here in the hour."
Irene laughed. "Your throwing me out" she cried. "No longer wanted, and the library still isn't done."
"You have one small box of books to do Irene. I've been keeping you busy with research. Now get home before the next storm. Odds are you won't be back before Spring thaw. Maybe Easter."
She stuck her tongue out at me, but went to her room. That night her father arrived with her brother. Oddly they left just before midnight. There had been some sort of serious family conversation that I politely removed myself from, and I didn't like the way her father kept looking at me. So I kept near my scattergun while he was in the house. At three am the latest blizzard hit.
Being alone for three weeks after having someone around, even if that someone is an employee and your planning on turning her into a pet, or slave. Well its lonely. A week before Christmass an e-mail arrived from my Lawyer. Yes, Mega-Corp had dumped poisons on their land. Mercury. It was a good bet that the six acres they had tried to plow as their own was contaminated. An EPA rep would be by this Spring. If my land was poisoned Mega-Corp would have to pay to clean it up. And damages. There were eighteen oaks on that plot that were well over a hundred years old each. I worried for a long time about that. I loved trees and those were older than I was. And I was realizing something. I really did like Irene. Liked her in a serious way. It wasn't until then that I realized I was no where near the time line I had set out. No where near turning my librarian into a slave. Instead, I had started falling in love with her.
That was going to complicate things. Maybe the attachment Henry had added to his e-mail might help. It was about how he had started breaking Sheila. I didn't know it at the time, but it was going to be exactly what I needed.
December twenty-eighth Irene wrote an e-mail. It seems that my phone lines were dead again, which as I rarely used the phone, I hadn't noticed. Checking the Internet I found that the Weather Channel reported there would be three clear days, then heavy snow storms again. She could be at the gate in the middle of those three days. Would I have my road clear?
It took two really hard days to clear my road enough to get to the gate, and even then it would be an iffy drive without chains, so I froze my fingers getting them on. Then I e-mailed her that the road was clear but icy. My phone lines were back up but I didn't feel like talking to anyone. One of those silent moods you tend to get into when living alone so far from anyone else. I simply told her that I was going into town for supplies. She should stay at home, we'd work out the extra hours come Spring when it was safe again.
When I got home from shopping, long after sundown, there was a battered red jeep sitting at my gate. As I pulled up Irene jumped out and ran over. "I've been waiting almost an hour Mistress" she cried as I rolled to a stop.
"I told you to stay home" I countered. "Didn't you get my e-mail?"
"Yes, which told me the road was open. Now lets get going."
I looked at her jeep, no chains. "No way that things going up my road without chains, its iced over. First bridge and you'll go right over."
"Then I'll get mine on it, hang on."
"I better help" I decided. That jeep wasn't new, in fact it was probably at least ten years old I decided as I walked up to it. No, older I realized when I saw the still shiny AMC emblem. But the tires were new and the engine purred like a kitten. Still it took almost an hour of freezing my fingernails off again to get those new chains in place. Why people never wear their chains in before winter I'll never know.
"It was my brothers. I bought it from him for three thousand" Irene explained. "He lost his job Tuesday and things are getting real tight. I needed transportation and he needed money. You lead, I'll follow."
I kept silent about the tear tracks in her makeup, and her red eyes. So we made our way back home. Over two bottles of wine, which she drank the most of, I learned that Irene's maternal grandmother had died after a bout with the flu. Her grandfather had moved in the day before Thanksgiving, taking over her old room. "Sleeping on the couch is not fun" she admitted. With her brother now doing odd jobs to barely keep his own family under a roof and her grandfather at home there wasn't any place for her. Her mother had, after a rather rough day, none too gently remarked that 'It was time for someone to make it on their own.' That had started a family fight between her parents, so she'd packed up to, as Irene put it. 'Come home.'
"What if I fire you" I asked non-too gently.
"I already have over ten thousand in the bank" she answered. "I'll go somewhere, find a job selling french fries off my naked stomach and make it."
"Uh-huh. And if I decide to stop being a Lady?"
"You won't" Irene laughed. "All your bluff and side remarks are nothing but fun." She sipped her wine before continuing. "You haven't the courage to do any of the things you've mentioned. Other than being naked in your library that is."
"Wanna make a bet" I asked softly. We were on the second bottle of wine, and I'd drunk less than a fifth the amount Irene had. She leaned forward, her loose blouse falling open just enough to show a delightful expanse of flesh.
"Do your best Mistress. Your all bluff and no action." Then she surprised me by leaning even further over and kissing me. "Sides. I might just make you my pet." Then she sat back, the world obviously spinning about her as she put one hand to her head. "Wow, dizzy." Finishing her wine Irene stood slowly. "Been with a girl once" she admitted. "Been with boys more. You have me call you Mistress, but for no real reason. So ... less your gonna be serious, I'm not callin you Mistress anymore. Sides. Mom found out about Cathy. I'm no longer a member of h family. Been ... disowned."
Setting my glass aside I stood too, walking over to the big living room window. Opening the drapes wide I first turned off the rooms lights, then turned on the outside flood lights. It was energy I really didn't need to spend, but I could make my point. "Come here Irene" I ordered in a stern voice. Irene slowly made her way over, being careful as her balance was not the best right now. When she was beside me I pointed to the blowing snow outside. "Its just starting. There is no way out of here for up to a month, maybe longer. Because I won't plow just so you can leave. Are you really sure you want to challenge me?"
"Mary" Irene whispered, her head now leaning on my shoulder. "What have I got waiting for me? I've been thrown out of my home. My family. My brother is barely making it. Here I have everything I need, and I get paid for doing something I love. Being a Librarian. What's it matter, in the long run?"
"A lot" I admitted. "I like you. If we do this, it will mean that like you or not, I'll be trying to change you. Besides, by Spring your parents are going to want to see you again." I turned to Irene, holding her in a standing position with one hand, while with my other I began unbuttoning her blouse. "When you sober up, we'll talk about this again."
"What are you doing Mary" Irene asked softly, looking down at my busy fingers.
"Examining what you have to offer" I answered just as softly. "If I don't like it, I'll just change my mind." I pushed away her blouse, encountering a fancy, front clasping bra. It was a matter of seconds to release it and a pair of very delicious looking globes sprang out to view. C cups, not anywhere near a D. They were tipped by perfectly formed pink nipples. I could tell that they would look beautiful ringed and belled.
"Go ashead, touch 'em" Irene gasped. "Teir real."
So I touched them, and she was right. They were very real, and very soft. "Go to bed Irene. After breakfast we'll discuss this again." Releasing her was hard. Hard? It was damn near impossible. But long ago I'd made a vow never to take advantage of a drunken woman. It'd happened to me, and I still remember how I felt the next day.
"Why" Irene asked as I moved away.
"Because you are in no condition to say yes, so its my responsibility to say no. Goodnight Irene." Turning my back on her I hurried to the stairs and my own room. Before I lost control and took her right there. Later that night, laying awake in my bed after a frustrating two hours and running the batteries dead I tried to understand what had happened. Irene had always been friendly. Reserved yes, but friendly. But at the time she had allowed me to touch her it was as though nothing mattered anymore. Losing a loved pet, her dog YoYo, then her grandmother had to have been hard. Having her mother throw her out harder. But what in the name of the Oak had made her so willing all of a sudden I wondered. Alcohol. It had to have been the alcohol I decided. Finally I rolled over and went to sleep. When I saw her next she would be sober, mad and more than willing to explain. Or leave, if she could manage the road.
Morning for me was closer to one in the afternoon. By the time I had showered, dressed and made my way downstairs it was pushing two. A glance at Irene's bedroom had shown the door open and her bed made. That really didn't tell me much, as it was her normal routine. There was a plate in the sink, washing was my job after all. I like washing dishes and clothing. House cleaning we had been sharing. While making my own breakfast I wondered if I still had a Librarian, or would I find tire tracks headed out. Odds were the road was still passable. Barely. Not that I'd want to try it in anything less than an emergency. Walking into to the living room I found the curtains still open, but the outside light switch was off. A bright sun was shining on freshly fallen snow, I'd have to suit up and clean off the solar cells. That was always a delicate job, in snow even worse. But I seriously needed the power. A curse from the library informed me that I still had a Librarian, so finishing my meal I headed to the mud room. Dragging on my heavy cold weather gear I grabbed a waiting push broom, checked that I had a spare key set in my pocket and headed out.
The solar farm was in a fenced in area next to my house's Western wall. It was fenced to keep animals out, especially big heavy jumpy ones like deer. Ten foot tall fencing actually. One of those dumb brutes could, and had wiped out three very expensive panels when I was ten. So walking around I swept each one off, then spent time checking for damage before going to the next. My house's roof was sloped so steeply that the solar water heater panels tended to remain mostly clear. In any case there was no way I was going up there with snow and ice for footing. Hard work is one thing, certain danger was another. By the time I finished with the panels I was shivering. Looking up I couldn't see a single cloud in the sky. It was going to be bone acheingly cold tonight. Locking the gate behind me I headed in, somewhat surprised to find the side door still unlocked. Locking me out would have forced me to use my keys. Difficult with gloves on, dangerous with them off in this cold. If, like most people at their own home, I didn't have keys on me I'd freeze around ten PM. Locking the doors behind me I started trying to undress.
"Let me help you Mary" Irene said, appearing from no-where. She hissed when her bare hands encountered my clothing's metal fasteners. Commercial Fashion Velcro had a bad habit of not holding in this kind of cold. "Why go out?" she asked, finally able to release the first buckle.
"Solar panels were covered in snow. Simple job to brush them clean." My teeth started chattering then. "Colder tonight. Deadly cold tonight" I managed as the frozen jacket fell away. A wave of heat hit me then. My home was only heated to the high sixties, but it felt like I was in a blast furnace. Waving Irene away I finished peeling out of the cold soaked clothing, finishing with my boots and three layers of socks. "Coca, then I need a warm bath. How is the library doing?"
"I finished inputting the last books an hour ago" she reported. "Then sent the list to that insurance agency. Just before you came in they set a preliminary quote. You need about six hundred thousand in insurance. Subject to their agent seeing for himself." She stepped away, allowing me to walk into the living room. I had given up during Irene's longer absence and purchased the basic satellite package and the Weather Channel was on.
Temperatures around minus thirty in ... I read from the crawl. I shivered. Now that was down right cold for anyone. "Forecast" I asked as I headed toward the kitchen, following a smell of fresh hot coca.
"Minus thirty, no higher that plus ten tomorrow. In four days a heavy snowstorm. They forecast twenty inches of snow in the following two days."
I stopped, turning to face Irene. "You do remember last night" I asked gently.
"Every moment Mary" she answered. "Including your words. 'Because you are in no condition to say yes, so its my responsibility to say no.'" She sat at the kitchen table, staring at me. "I've been drunk like that before. No one has ever said no." She looked down at her hands. "Mary. Your honest. You could have taken me. You didn't. I know you want me, to make me your property. And really, something inside me is intrigued by the idea. But I don't want to be a slave. Not even to you."
Sipping my coca I watched her as she fidgeted. "Irene. No one can be turned into something that they are not. Oh sure. You can be broken. I can be broken. Anyone can be broken. But that's not turning. That's breaking. A broken person is pretty much useless to anyone. Even for a slave there has to be rules you know. A slave has to know what the envelope is."
Irene looked up, an odd expression on her face. "And what rules?" she asked softly.
That surprised me. Just what was going on behind those soft green eyes I wondered. "What rules would you want?"
"I don't know Mary. I really don't know. I know I wouldn't want to be humiliated, or my parents to know. I wouldn't want to be tattooed all over my body, or scarred." She abruptly took in a deep breath, releasing it carefully. "My boyfriend. We were talking about marriage. He didn't want me to take this job, but I really do need the money. School loans don't pay themselves. My last trip home, he said that if I came back here we were through. He didn't need a long distance romance. That afternoon I spotted him kissing another girl, a stranger. Not a brotherly kiss either. Mary, I don't share my heart. He was seeing someone else while I was trying to pay my bills. Then mom claimed she knew all about my dark side. That I was really a ... She was very free with her words. Lets just say, she and I no longer speak. We never will. My father simply slammed the front door behind me when I left. That hurts. Really hurts."
"I know that can hurt" I admitted. "My husband brought a co-worker home one weekend. He wanted a threesome. We'd discussed it before, and I was really interested. It was fun, but when she told me that they had been lovers for months it ripped my heart apart." I sat down, looking at Irene. "It didn't help my case any when I realized that I liked being with Jane more than my husband. We broke up a week later. He's marred to Jane now, they have two kids. I tried living the hermit life. It doesn't work."
"So you decided on a slave?"
I shrugged. "Honestly Irene. Yes. I needed a Librarian, that's obvious. I thought I might run across someone ... malleable. After I interviewed you, Patty Lincolnshire came in. If she hadn't been six months on, I'd have chosen her. She's a natural submissive. Your only partly so, and your more intelligent. Hell Irene, you make me laugh. But I really want a slave I can share my life with. I guess that would really be a part time slave. Only when we are here, alone. Not when shopping, traveling and such. Its something you don't want. So when Spring comes I'll say good-bye to you and try again. Maybe Patty will be available by then, she didn't seem the kind that wanted to be a mother."
A sly look came to Irene's face then. "You want a playmate. One you control. Yes, I know about Patty. She's the talk of the Librarian circle after all. Those boys took her submissive attitude as acceptance. They were so drunk that her screams meant nothing to them. The police arrived, took them in. Fifteen years each, no parol. Worse for the coaches. Absolutely crushed the football teams chance at a championship run that year. But Patty's Catholic, so the idea of a morning after pill was repulsive to her. She decided to have the baby and leave it up for adoption. By now she's available."
"But she won't make me companion" I admitted. "Slave yes, companion no. I don't need a pure slave."
"No. Not yet. You need someone you can talk too, have fun with but lead around on a leash and do things too that she may or may not like but doesn't have the right to say no too." Irene fidgeted again. "Mary. I care for you. I think I'm falling for you. Maybe that is because we are together so much. Maybe its because I can see you doing your best to write that great novel. I just don't know about this slave thing. It scares me. Besides, other than last night you've done nothing. I mean, you haven't even tried to catch me undressing."
"Employees have privacy" I explained. "Slaves. None. Slave companions, when they need. You want me to do something? Fine. I will. But one ground rule Irene. If you say stop, I stop. We return to Employer-Employee and forget the whole thing. In the Spring you pack up and leave. We tell no one anything, I give you a bonus and we never communicate again. Ever."
"What if I fall in love with you" she asked.
"Slave-companions sometimes do love their owners" I answered. "That isn't uncommon after all. Even when they are disciplined, they know its for their own good."
I shrugged. "Who cares what a slave thinks, or feels. That's what I am trying to explain. I want a slave-companion. If I wanted a pure slave, you know who I would get."
Irene stood, looking down at me. "It sounds like you really don't know what you want, and you do know what you don't want. Okay, lets see what you have. Until Spring, try to make me your slave. If you fail, we try something else. Like a normal friendship. I admit this is scary. But in a lot of ways it excites me. So do your best Mary, because I won't call you Mistress again. Not unless you win."
"Deal Irene. And I will have to come up with a name for you. Won't I?"
"Only after I call you Mistress, and I never will again."
I almost believed her. "Then come on, I'll show you the hidden door in the basement, and my parents playroom. Mom was a submissive, so you can guess what they hid down there. I found it by accident after they died, and to tell you the truth, it was a shock. I don't even know the names of half that stuff, or how to use it. Some of it is just plane scary."
Irene laughed. "Then maybe I can educate you. Or at least research the items and their proper use for you. But we better dress warmly first."