Janelle woke in a state of confusion. As she looked around the strange room, it was a perfectly ordinary bedroom, if a little larger than even she was used to. It was furnished in a tasteful motif with what seemed to be high-end furniture, complete with a large screen TV on the end wall and large sunny window exposure. She had no recollection how she got there. The bed she was lying in was fitted with satin ... or silk ... sheets, she couldn't remember the difference in her state of stupor.
Her mouth was cottony and just a little bitter tasting. Beyond that she felt somehow 'different'. Her nerves just weren't feeling right, for instance there was no sensation from her nipples.
She lifted the sheets and parted her nighty to check and was shocked to see something like a stripper's 'pasty' covering the entire nipple. Checking the other breast revealed the same. She hooked a fingernail under one and was dismayed to find it wouldn't budge, no matter how hard she tried, it held on ... to the point of pain. a dull ache of a pain, not the sharp 'pinch' she expected. Running her fingers over the rest of her body, the touch felt normal ... until she got to her lower belly, then the edge of her mound.
There was the same sort of semi-rigid covering. Exploring more, she was shocked to find it centered on her clitoris. She tried from every angle and there was no sensation from the previously highly responsive sex organ.
She tried to pry it loose and found the same result as with her nipples.
Suddenly filled with fear of the unknown, she threw herself back on the pillow and tried to remember how she got there. The last clear memory, she had been sitting with a man in an upscale bar in Manhattan's lower east side.
She'd liked the guy from the start, having met him at a meeting to explore hiring her firm to handle advertising for his West Coast outfit. He was obviously very well off but didn't carry himself as either nouveau rich or Brahmin. He seemed genuinely interested in her ... proposing after a couple of drinks that she leave New York to join his firm in Altadena, outside of LA.
She'd demurred gracefully, that being far from the first time a client had attempted to hijack her. She wasn't acting out of loyalty to her employer, though ... she had high ambitions to reach the pinnacle of Madison Avenue, then strike out on her own with a full communications company. she saw herself as the next Ted Turner, the first female Ted Turner ... only she vowed not to become a looney-toon in the process.
Despite her rejection of his offer, she really liked the guy ... immediately flashing on what they might do after happy hour. She could do with a good vigorous one night stand sex extravaganza. She didn't make a practice of doing that with clients but she wasn't averse to it, either.
She recalled leaving the bar with Jack ... that was his name, Jack Sterling ... but couldn't recall anything after that. She looked again at the window. Though the sheer curtains were still drawn, the entire room was bright with sunshine. That was odd, the weather had been gloomy in New York with forecast of the same for the next week.
She looked over at the bedside tables. There was no phone. She jumped up and went to the larger of the three doors. The latch wouldn't yield ... locked and felt solidly so ... the other two doors led to a full bath and a walk-in closet, respectively. A closet stocked with clothes and shoes. Her styles, too. She looked closer. The clothes were all in her size.
A feeling of dread and claustrophobia washed over her. She ran to the bureau ... more clothing items of her preferred style and size.
In the bath, she found more of the same, her toiletries, or others of the same brand.
She ran to the bed and got under the covers, again. She resisted, with all her might, pulling them over her head as if she was a little girl. She was known for her ability to deal with crises of any sort and she wasn't about to give in to panic, no matter how much she was tempted to do so.
What she knew, so far, was she had definitely been abducted. At least that's the only thing that made sense. But why the extensive wardrobe if she was to be a white slave? That didn't make sense. But if there was no sexual connotation, then why blanket her sensual nerve endings?
Suddenly she realized she still didn't know where she was. She got up and walked to the window. Parting the sheers, she was astounded to see mountains. Southern California Mountains if she remembered right, and judging from the several palm trees just below her window. In fact there were no other buildings between the one she was in and those steep hills.
She went to the bed and sat to think. She opened the night table drawer and found a TV remote. At least TV programming would confirm her general location.
When she turned it on, though, the picture showed a comely young lady staring as if at her, specifically.
"Good morning, Miss Hamilton. Hope you are well. Jack would like for you to join him for lunch in his suite. What would you like?"
"err ... you can see me?"
"Yes, of course."
"You've been watching me?"
"Oh, no ... of course not. The camera is just below the TV screen and the feed is blocked unless the TV is on and set to this channel."
"To put you at ease, note the camera has a yellow LED indicator. See the red button on your remote?"
Janelle pushed the button, the little yellow light below the TV went out and the screen went blank to a company logo. Jack Sterling's company logo, she realized. Now she began to get angry. she pushed the button again.
"You tell Jack I REALLY look forward to lunch with him, but not to eat. I have questions, a LOT of questions. I'll switch back on when I'm ready."
Zap. Back to the logo.
Half an hour later, having showered, made herself up and dressed in appropriate SoCal business attire, she pushed the red button again.
"Miss Gentry is outside your door and will escort you to Jack's suite."
Janelle went to the door, it opened easily and she saw there was indeed a young good-looking woman standing there.
"Good Morning, Miss Hamilton. Lunch is set and Jack's waiting for you."
On the way the girl tried to make small talk, asking how she felt and what school she went to.
"Wellstone Prep in New Haven. And you?" Janelle responded, expecting the girl to reply she'd gone to Hollywood High, for some reason.
"Oh, I went to Severn Girls, then Bryn Mawr."
Janelle almost bit her tongue. Why had she assumed the girl ... woman ... was just some drone eye candy?
"Oh ... sorry ... I went to Harvard Business."
The 'eye candy' changed the subject to the upcoming 'bad weather' Temperature high in the lower sixties, with partly cloudy skies was expected for the next few days.
"I have a question ... almost afraid to ask but do you know anything about these ... these nipple covers?"
The girl smiled.
"I'll let Jack answer those questions. But the short answer is Yes, we all have them."
She opened one of a large set of double doors and escorted her through a large foyer into an atrium. Jack was seated at a large glass table, seeing Janelle he smiled and rose, extending his hand.
Janelle gave him a robust open handed smack across his cheek. Jack just smiled.
"I deserve that, no doubt." He swept his arm out indicating she should sit at the table.
"What have you ... what did you ... how..." Janelle sputtered.
"Yes, you were drugged. And I abducted you. Technically, that is."
"You admit it!"
"Yes ... but it was for your own good."
"What the hell are you talking about..."
Jack reached over to the other side of the table and pushed a laptop over to her.
"We've hacked into your firm's email server. Read for yourself."
On the screen was an index of Outlook email messages, flagged 'eyes only: executive level'. The subject lines all referred to J Hamilton. She didn't have to read long or read many of the transmissions to see that management planned to hijack her accounts and set up a strawman case to fire her. Seemed she was rising too fast and tread on too many toes in the process.
She looked up at Jack.
"Hey ... how do I know these are real and not something you set up?"
"You're a smart lady. You know how to navigate Outlook. Check the headers for yourself."
She did, looking at the indices then switching over to messages she knew she had written, random ones that had nothing to do with Jack's account. Indices matched.
She flopped back in her chair. 'those sonsabitches!'
Jack smiled. "Don't you think you should double check?"
Jolted back to reality, Janelle realized what he was getting at. She grabbed a pen and pad from the side and wrote down a message ID.
She hit escape, then cntl Q and got a new browser window. she typed in her firm's url, then went to the vpn logon. Then looked at Jack.
"We have a thumbprint verification."
"Just use the touchpad."
She tested the system by using her right thumb.
"User not recognized"
Using her left thumb got her right in. She quickly went to the message in question and verified that the ID's matched. It would have been really cumbersome for Jack's people to fake the entire lot.
"You knew this before you made the offer?"
"I knew that before I set up the appointment with your firm."
"Then ... why?"
"Because I wanted you ... I never wanted to do business with your firm. They have a bad rep. And if they'll screw over their own people, how can I trust them with my account."