Brenda thought she knew quite a bit about how to live in handcuffs, just from hanging around with Carole the last four months, but in the next few hours, she learned a lot more than she had dreamed, and not all of it was from Carole. There were a number of little tricks she'd never picked up on, problems she'd never thought about, and she knew she was going to encounter others, ones that she'd have to solve for herself.
Some of them were big ones, like eating, which Carole warned her she'd have trouble with, at least until her body and reflexes learned the new moves that would be necessary. "Sandwiches are going to make a lot of sense. Don't even think about eating something sloppy with a spoon, like soup, for a couple weeks," she'd grinned. "Unless you want to do it like Wendy, with a straw." Some of the things she learned were little things – "Don't wear a wrist watch – the watch will make it harder to change clothes, the cuff will hang up on your wrist, and you wouldn't believe how quick you can kill a watch, anyway."
It was a most informative couple of hours, and even Wendy was able to offer some observations that her sister hadn't ever noticed or had forgotten – after all, watching Carole get around for five years had given her some insights, too. But it was a relaxed time, and they had a snack with a beer in the middle of it – half a beer for Wendy, drank through a tube; with her low body mass, a whole can of beer could get her pretty well loaded anymore.
It was well after dark when Brenda drove back to her apartment, the car loaded with the boxes of new clothes. Driving was a bitch, she discovered right from the beginning, as Carole had warned – but it was one of those things you had to experience to understand, she reasoned, and figured that wouldn't be the last time. The driving wasn't bad by itself, but even using the shift lever was an adventure, and some knobs on the dash were unreachable, at least while she was under way. At least the Olds had an automatic transmission; a stick shift, especially a floor shift, would have been out of the question.
One of the things Brenda had observed, back on the shopping trip, was that Carole's ability to carry things was limited. Carole hadn't mentioned it during "Living in Handcuffs 102", and it provided another challenge for Brenda to conquer. It wasn't fun to get all the boxes of clothes up to the apartment, and it took several not-very-efficient trips. What with everything, Brenda hadn't had her exercise session that day, so climbing the stairs as many times as her new lack of freedom required compensated for it somewhat, but by the time everything was in the apartment, she was beginning to learn what a limitation the Soliels really were. But, it was still pretty exciting, too, and there was a sense of heading off to a new adventure.
It took a while to get everything put away. Dragonslayer demanded attention, but there wasn't time for it tonight. She'd promised Carole to keep a journal of the experience, and had told Carole she could go through it when it was over with. However, Brenda wasn't sure she wanted to include the speculations about Carole she'd had in months past, so she switched on the computer and started a new file. It had been a very eventful day, a very eventful weekend, and she wanted to get it all down, since she was sure the decision to wear the Soliels sprang at least partly from the revelations that had come in the hours and days preceding the decision.
Typing wasn't as easy as she thought it would be. The weight of the Soliels quickly became noticeable, but fortunately, the keyboard was small enough that it didn't pull her fingers away from where they were supposed to be very often when she was typing straight text – but that wasn't all there was to do. To use the mouse, she had to take both hands away from the keyboard, and it soon became irritating. Fortunately, many of the mouse commands also had keyboard macros, and Brenda had learned those pretty well – although some took different key combinations than she'd become used to. But, they were something she figured would soon become habit. On the whole, it was a relief – difficulty using a keyboard would have been a major drag on the whole thing.
Once Brenda had pretty well gotten down what she wanted to say in the journal, she made a once-over edit. She was about to save the story and get on with things, when on a whim, she decided the journal needed a title, so she went back and gave it one: My Adventures in Chains.
Once again, the temptation of Dragonslayer was there, but Brenda knew she faced a busy and stressful day in the morning, and wanted to get an early start, for a number of reasons. She still needed a shower, and it was getting late, so decided she'd better get some sleep.
As many times as she'd watched Carole slip in and out of tops over the last few months, she discovered it wasn't easy to actually do it – that clearly would take practice, too – and it took a while to get undressed. Once she had her clothes off, she couldn't help but go over and look at herself, dressed in nothing but the Soliels. She posed a bit, studying the reflection, grinning at the good-looking babe in handcuffs in the mirror. I ought to get some pictures of this, she thought. God, wouldn't it be a tear to see them on some bondage website! She knew she'd never do it – at least go that far, although the photos might be fun – but it was fun to think about. She got a shower, got some pajamas on, and headed to bed, taking time to set her clock to get up extra early.
As she slept, she had another nude dream – not at all unknown, she had one she could remember in the morning perhaps every month or two, but they rarely stayed with her like the first one involving handcuffs, months before. This one wasn't as much fun. It was in a scene more like what she imagined Frank and Laurel to be doing. She was wearing the Soliels, and a bunch of other chains as well. She was chained up in front of a laughing, drinking crowd, while some guy dressed head to foot in black leather beat the living shit out of her ass . . . She woke up in a cold sweat, the Soliels laying icily on her bare belly and an even colder feeling in the pit of her stomach.
What the hell had she done to herself? How could she have been so damn stupid to do something like this?
She tried to pull her arms apart, but the steel pulled right back, confirming that it was still there. How the hell am I ever going to make it through a month or two months or whatever the hell, like this? Maybe if she called Carole and begged, saying that she'd made a mistake . . . but Carole would say that she needed to expect some ups and downs, to ride it out. Why bother calling? After all, Carole had done it for over five years, while Brenda'd had them on, oh hell, less than twelve hours, whatever time it was. Hang in there Brenda, if she can do it for years, you can do it for weeks!
It was a long night, with several ups and downs, and she was wide awake when the alarm went off.
She got up and got dressed, a little specially. She pulled on some new underwear – it was nothing much like what she was used to, and Wendy was right, it did give her some feminine feelings of attractiveness. The brassiere was a bear to get on with the handcuffs. She'd learned the day before that Carole used nothing but front-close bras, but when they'd bought the new stuff, the possibility of her wearing handcuffs hadn't even been on the horizon. She had to mess around to get her hands behind her to close it, and the cold of the Soliels on the bare skin of her back was a bit of a shock. Next, she added a pair of white tights, also new this weekend, and the jeans she'd worn the day before, since she didn't want to risk her nice new clothes she planned to wear in the office in the predawn slop on the streets.
One of the tips she'd gotten from Carole, even before "Living in Handcuffs 102", was that in all but the most extreme weather, it was best to wear layers. Of course, that was good idea in the winter anyway, but it also avoided the cumbersome jacket with zip-up sleeves Carole had loaned her, so she pulled on one of her old flannel shirts, a fleece pullover over that, and a light nylon windbreaker on top. Wearing her old stuff made her feel a little grungy, and she almost stopped to change into new stuff, slop or no, but time was passing.
It was a Monday, and she had her normal rounds to make. The first stop was at the jail. There was something else she hadn't considered when the discussion about wearing the Soliels had taken place the day before. She was going to be spending a lot of time around the jail and the sheriff's office and the police station and the courthouse, which Carole had little reason to do. The Soliels were certain to cause some comment. Well, she had little choice but to deal with it, but at least the people there knew her now, so that might help some.
At the jail, Kendra, the night dispatcher, glanced at her from behind the counter, said, "You're early today," set the jail log on the counter, and took a sip of her coffee, so didn't notice the Soliels on Brenda's wrists. Well, she wasn't going to be forward about it, at least not here, not today.
"Got a lot to do today," Brenda replied noncommittally. She sat down at the table, pulled out a notepad with not a little difficulty, and started taking notes. She was busy writing when Moose Wright, one of the trusties, came in with a mop. Moose was doing six months for driving under the influence, fourth offense, and was a friendly enough guy, if not someone Brenda would want to have anything to do with outside the jail. He got a look at the Soliels, smiled, and said, "Oh, they finally caught up with you, too, huh?"
"No getting away," Brenda grinned lightly.
"What the hell is that all about?"
"Oh these?" Brenda said innocently, holding up the cuffs a little. "They belong to Carole Carter. You know her? I'm trying them out for a while, to see what it's like."
"I can tell you what it's like," Moose said, "It ain't no goddamn fun."
"Yeah, but you don't want to do it," Brenda grinned, and stopped. Wow, crucial insight, one that needed thinking about. Make a note, stupid.
"You're crazy," Moose grinned.
"Hell, even Carole told me that," Brenda laughed.
The discussion got Kendra's attention; she couldn't see Brenda clearly from where she was sitting, but stood up, and caught clear sight of the handcuffs. "Brenda! What the hell?" she asked.
"It's not easy to explain," Brenda admitted. "I've hung out with Carole a while, and I guess got curious. Like I told Moose, I wanted to see what it's like."
"Moose is right," Kendra smiled. "You're crazy. Can I have a look at those? I've seen Carole in them, but I've never gotten a close look."
"Yeah, sure," Brenda said, and let Kendra examine them.
"You know, they're really kinda pretty," the dispatcher said. "Almost like a piece of art."
"Yeah, I thought that the first time I saw them."
Like Brenda had done with Carole not long before, Kendra picked them up a little to get a feel for the weight. "Wow, those are heavy," she said. "They can't be very comfortable."
"Carole says you get used to it," Brenda smiled. I'm already getting used to it a little, I think. Ask me about it in a few days. She told me that once she wore a pair of Smith and Wessons for a few hours, and these are a lot more comfortable."
"I don't know," Kendra said, shaking her head. "I'd sure hate to haul those suckers around on my belt all day, let alone my wrists. How the hell do they lock, anyway?" Brenda briefly explained the keyhole dust covers, and the special tool needed to open them. "You don't put those on or take them off real quick," Kendra commented.
"It takes a few minutes," Brenda agreed. "But they're not meant to be put on or taken off very often."
Moose had been standing back, leaning on the mop, looking at the scene with a really odd expression. "I got a real stupid question, if you don't mind," he said finally.
"Sure, what is it?"
"How the hell do you wipe your ass?"
"Same way you do," Brenda grinned. She slid the chair back, lifted her feet, put the cuffs behind her ankles, and stood up, with hands behind her. "Carole made sure the chain was long enough to go around my butt before she let me try this."
"You're as crazy as she is," Moose shook his head.
"Might be," Brenda smiled. "Hey, look, people, I'd like to sit here and talk, but I'm here early because I got a pot load to do today, and the clock is running."
"No problem," Kendra smiled. "Just remember, you're going to hear the same stupid questions all day."
"I suppose," Brenda grinned. "Carole said that was one of the down sides."
Fortunately, it had been a light weekend. She was out of the jail before Judge Dieball came in for his morning coffee, but she thought she could call him later and find out what she needed to know. Besides, Kendra was right; she'd have to go through the same routine with him. In a few days, people would be used to it; she figured there would be more stupid questions, if different ones.
The routine over at the police station was pretty much the same, although Chief Novato was in by now, and Brenda knew him pretty well from the sessions at Spearfish Lake Appliance – Carole knew him well for the same reason. He took one look at the Soliels, and shook his head. "Don't tell me she talked you into it."
"No," Brenda grinned. "I talked myself into it, and then had to talk her into it."
"Shit, that's gonna cost me ten bucks," the police chief grinned.
"Gil and I had a bet. He said that the way you been buddying up to Carole, there wasn't no way you were going to get out of Spearfish Lake without wearing them handcuffs for a while. How long?"
"A while," Brenda said. "Probably several weeks. Carole says it takes a while to get used to them."
"Well, she's probably right about that," Novato grumped. "Look, you better call up Gil, and have Rod and Randy give you a couple sessions on those tricks of Carole's."
"Figured that," Brenda said. "I got a meeting tomorrow night, but I thought maybe the regular Thursday session."
"Don't do it in a regular session," Novato warned. "Have Gil set up a special one, like maybe tonight. I could come over and help out. We still don't want those tricks getting out, just in case, and the fewer people that know about them, the better."
"Yeah, I suppose," Brenda nodded thoughtfully. "I'll call him soon as the store opens."
"So how you doing with it?" he asked.
"To be honest, better than I expected," Brenda told him, "But ask me again in a few days."
"Yeah, I will," he said. "You know, I thought it was pretty goofy when Carole brought the idea up to me the first time, and this is even crazier."
"Just think of it as research," Brenda smiled. "Inquiring minds want to know."
"Yeah," he snorted. "That's what she did, too, and look where it got her."
"Yeah, but other stuff got involved, you know that." In fact, she had long suspected a lot of other people knew it, or at least suspected that Carole's wearing the Soliels was somehow wrapped up with her feelings about Wendy. That must have been one of the reasons Brenda had heard little comment about Carole around Spearfish Lake over the months. People understood, or at least once had, and had now gotten used to it.
"That's my point," he said understandingly. "Look, be goddamn careful, OK?"
"I will, chief," she promised.
"Love the hair."
"Thanks," she grinned. "I kind of like it myself."
Fortunately, it was a light weekend at the police station, as well, so Brenda was still running well ahead of her normal schedule, which was what she planned. The next part, she'd been looking forward to with evil intent, even before the idea of wearing the Soliels had come up.
She hustled back over to the apartment, stripped down to the tights and bra, then put on a thin, tight white sweater, and a short red leather skirt, almost the color of her hair. She'd already started on her makeup when she got up, but now she did some touching up, put on lipstick for maybe the tenth time in her life, touched up her eyebrows, and gave her hair a quick brushing to bring it back to life. She put on a nice necklace and some moderately flashy earrings too, just to detail things out, although the new hairdo tended to hide them. After all, like the sexy underwear, they were as much to help make her feel good about herself as they were to help make her look good to others.
On the way to the inside stairway, she went out of the way to go past the full-length mirror. A really good-looking, conservative-yet-flashy-dressed, sexy woman stared back at her, someone she didn't recognize. She didn't even notice the Soliels at first.
Brenda knew she was dressing a little towards the eye-candy end this morning, but she intended to. She realized, of course, that the overall effect might tend to make the handcuffs a little less noticeable, but damn it, she felt good about the way she looked and wanted to show off a little. Good reactions would help her to make it take, and it was another habit to get into. Those damn airhead Barbies from State weren't about to out-pretty her, not the way she looked today!
She pulled on a pair of pumps and headed down the inside stairway to her desk, turning on the lights and fired up her workstation. She only had a couple minutes to get settled; the timing was perfect. She was just starting to write up the police log when she felt a draft as the back door opened, and she could hear Mike and Kirsten's voices as they came in the back and hung up their coats. She smiled inwardly, planning to savor the next few minutes.
She didn't look up when they walked in; she knew she was pretty well hidden by the monitor. "How's it going, Brenda?" she heard Mike say casually.
"Pretty good," she said. "I've got something to show you."
Mike was looking down at his desk as she stood up. "Brenda, I've been thinking about . . . holy shit!"
"That's something to think about," Brenda conceded with a huge grin on her face.
"Did we get a new junior reporter or what?" he said, eyes wide. He knew she'd been working at losing weight, but he hadn't expected that this . . . this vision had been lurking under those poorly-fitting, sloppy clothes.
"My God!" Kirsten beamed, the exchange now catching her attention. "Brenda, you look gorgeous!"
"You really think so?" Brenda smiled, a bit of uncertainty touching her. "It's mostly Wendy's idea."
"She used to be a pretty snappy dresser," Kirsten conceded. "Guess she hasn't lost the touch."
"Love the hair," Mike said. "How about the bracelets?"
"So far, so good," Brenda conceded.
"Is this just a makeover for the fun of it?" Kirsten asked lightly, "Or are you planning on trying to make it stick?"
"I'd like to make it stick if I can," Brenda said, a little less confidently. "I know it's going to be hard, just like losing weight. But, the . . . uh, bracelets are involved a little, too, to help me keep remembering what I'm doing, among other things."
Mike shook his head. "Hope you can pull it off, kid. Look, I was having second thoughts about the bracelets, but now I'm having third thoughts." He stood and looked at her for a moment, thinking this couldn't be the fat, grumpy slob he'd hired last summer simply because no one else had been available. She had proved to be competent, sure, but . . . and now, this. Well, she'd changed a lot in a few months in other ways, too. "Oh, hell," he said finally. "I'll let you run with it for a while and we'll see where it goes. If we get some problems, we may have to reconsider, but now you've got me curious about where this comes out."
"Tell you the truth," Brenda grinned. "I am, too."