Jon didn’t get up until almost noon. He smiled as he forced himself through his daily workout in the hotel fitness center. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t had one last night through the early morning. Over lunch, Jon carefully reprised all the previous night’s events and conversations in his head. Barrett was just a businessman, nothing more, nothing less. Lolly Popps was an accident, not someone Barrett had arranged for. She was good for his business, but he didn’t gain as much from her employment as he could have. A nagging suspicion kept playing at him: pimps weren’t usually so generous. Still, Barrett made enough money, and had tons more in blackmail potential. On the surface of his thoughts, however, he had no desires beyond running the best strip joint/whorehouse in the nation’s capital.
Holly was a sweet, if somewhat empty-headed girl from Indiana who wanted the adoration of being a great erotic dancer. It wasn’t the money or the proximity to power and its perks that interested her. She wanted to be widely lusted after while remaining selectively untouchable. Her selection. Although admittedly a long shot, she was Jon’s eyes and ears at Barrett’s place. If he was wrong about Barrett, and another altered woman showed up dancing there, Jon could be there within hours to get the information he needed. It was largely on the strength of Holly’s thoughts that Jon had eliminated the club owner as part of a conspiracy involving kidnapped and brainwashed women. However, Holly could easily be misled, and Barrett was very good at concealing his innermost thoughts.
After he had cleaned up and gotten dressed for the day, he tried to reach Bridget. She wasn’t in the office, and her cell phone wasn’t on. He sighed. This was going to be a lost day, one that he wasn’t sure they could afford. The renegade was out there—somewhere. Jon tried to console himself with the thought that at least his mark wasn’t growing stronger with each abduction and reprogramming. Some psi-talents were destructive in that fashion, and the blanking of the subject was a side effect. The amount of money spent on physical alteration didn’t fit with that profile, nor would Liza Weston have had the resources to do it herself. Maybe a third party paid for her surgeries, but even if it were a contract job, the psi involved would have had to do the mental reprogramming. As far as Jon knew, complete reprogramming, except from a tabula rasa state, required too much mental power to make the effort worth it. Victim or predator, the human brain didn’t work that way. Most of the psi talents who tried that with an unblanked subject burned out their talent in the effort, regardless of their success level. Of the others, some died, and the rest were greatly reduced in power afterwards. It was just as difficult to blank a person successfully. Trying to erase the majority of information in someone’s brain selectively required a great deal of patience, power, and skill. One mistake and the subject would wind up lobotomized beyond repair or dead. It was extremely easy to remove or alter the wrong thing, and most psi talents wouldn’t even bother—they’d change the few things they wanted, and live with the rest. This one obviously had a talent for blanking, which made him dangerous.
Heather Cross was enjoying herself. She had skipped school at UCLA for the day; she’d inherit her old man’s money anyway, and they both knew it. She had tried to tell him to save his money and not buy her into college with that donation, but he’d insisted. So she went when she felt like it. Today was not one of those days. The sun was out and the waves were breakin’ right. Today was a day for blading down the walk, working on the tan, anything but school. The 6-foot tall blonde had a smile as she whizzed along, slipping in and out of the people walking along in the wheelway. She muttered about how those stupid people should just get a clue; or the city ought to do something like restrict the walk to wheels only. Yeah, that was it. The boardwalk was just for people who were on blades, bikes or boards. Those silly folks on foot shouldn’t interfere with them! Yeah… Heather smiled and turned up the volume on her headset—this was what life was all about. Those stupid jerks on foot just get in the way of the cool people. As the thought finished echoing in her mind, she saw a flash of movement nearby—too close to do anything about it. She crashed into the man, getting tangled up in her CD headphones and the man’s coat and his body and fell on top of him.
Bruised, shocked and pissed, Heather was really going to let this idiot underneath her have it. He shouldn’t have been anywhere near the wheelway, let alone step into her! Why wasn’t he watching where he— The thought died instantly as he reached up and put his hands on either side of her head. He continued to talk to her as they slowly got to their feet. She apologized, turned, and went skating off in the opposite direction. Two blocks later, she pulled off the walk, removed her blades and socks, then climbed into the passenger side of an open black BMW Convertible to wait patiently. Her man arrived ten minutes later, smiling as he sat next to her. She asked about the mouse growing under one eye; was he hurt? He smiled some more, patting her concerned hand as it lay on his cheek. Just an accident, he assured her. Ran into someone on roller blades. Bambi assured him that she’d never run into a pedestrian. "I’m sure you wouldn’t, my dear," he said, smiling even more as he put the car into gear and pulled out of the parking lot. She was very happy with her boyfriend. He was everything a girl could want. She’d do anything for him.
Bridget Riley shook her head as she left the pretty house with its white picket fence and well-manicured lawn. The garden was in full bloom, festive in its colors, a testament to the loving care and devotion it regularly received. Sometimes this job really sucked. The two people inside the home had just had their lives ripped apart. Their only child was dead. She had been able to spare the Westons the exact details of Liza’s demise, and what she had become. Nobody should have to live with the knowledge that their daughter had been transformed into a walking sex toy of near-cartoonish proportions. How could Bridget have explained that to them? She didn’t even know how it happened, or who did it. How could she explain that her employers had been the ones to actually pull the trigger? She put her sunglasses on and stepped into the rental car. Liza had been reported missing about twenty-five hours after she had last been seen. That gave the agent a time frame, and she was in the town where Liza had been abducted. Bridget stuffed her grief, anger, and moral outrage back into its little box, and went in search of clues just like any other good detective.
Bridget got to Jon’s hotel room at 11:30 that evening, without benefit of advance notice. She stormed into the room. "I just hate my job sometimes, Jon," the tall redhead said. She looked at him with red-rimmed eyes. She had been crying. He waited for her to continue, as he knew she would. "I just got back from Alabama. I talked to a lead, and I may have a distance profile of our boy. But..." A tear fell. "I had to visit the Westons in Tuscaloosa. I told them about their daughter." Bridget unsuccessfully tried to stifle a sniffle. "She was their only child, Jon. They were proud of her. They were proud of the way she’d become a good Christian girl—it was important to them, especially since she’d been such a hellcat in her early high school years. They don’t know any details—I just couldn’t let them know what their daughter had become. I told them that she’d been cremated, and that I’d found out who she was during routine follow-up of another case. I told them that I thought it was important that someone come and tell them."
"You do think it’s important," Jon softly said, putting his arm around her. He gently eased her to sit on the bed.
"But I shouldn’t have had to!!! She’s dead because the FBI got rid of her, but some—mutant—put her in that position!!!" Bridget snapped. "We have to find this guy, Jon. You’ve got to stop him. Because he’s not gonna stop... he’s just going to keep on taking people’s daughters and I’m gonna have to tell them and somebody’s going to start asking details and they’re gonna find out what he’s doing to them and…" The FBI agent broke down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably. Jon held his friend tightly, offering his physical presence to support her mental state. Bridget continued to cry, and slowly Jon began to get a sense of the depth of her despair. Bridget was very good at her job. Her tenacity had solved several cases; she was well known in the department for finding things in dead ends. Right now, she had lost all that.
"Bridget," he softly whispered. "Let go of it. Let it go... try again tomorrow... yes, drop your shields... remember our college days. I can make you feel better. Let me help you stop hurting," he quietly urged.
Bridget sniffled and looked at him. "No… I can’t… not tonight…" she babbled, sniffling. Jon began to reach into her mind. "NO, Jon! I mean it… I… no… don’t… please…"
"You feel it now Bridget… my good little Catholic girl… your body is talking to you…"
"Ohhh… nooo… stop… Jon… sto-o-o-p…" Bridget moaned. Her breasts ached, most acutely at the nipples. She felt her insides quiver uncontrollably, complaining about their emptiness. She felt warm and very horny. It was all Jon’s doing. Just as he had in college, he was using the natural sexual response of her body against her brain. "Jon… not… not… tonight… please," she weakly protested.
"Release your sexual animal, Bridget," Jon whispered. "There’s only you, me, and pleasure… Leave your morals to the wind…"
"I… I… can’t," she gasped. The need was eating away at her cognitive processes. She was beginning to feel like a bitch in heat. "No… no… mustn’t…"
Jon evenly interrupted, "You must not fight it, Bridget. Give yourself to me… Become my slave… again… and accept it… My domination releases you from guilt."
"Ohhh… shit… I… I…" Bridget panted, her hips slowly undulating despite her protests. The heat was unbearable. "Jon," she gasped. "Take me!"
"You are now—" Jon hissed, tearing at her blouse, "—my slave! Undress!"
"Oh, yes, master!" his lover enthusiastically cried. "Command me. I am yours." She was undressing frantically now. Her master placed his hands on her head, and she plunged downward, taking his length deeply, eagerly. She sucked, swirled her head around it, and rolled her thick, warm, wet, soft tongue everywhere she could. He was hard now. Very hard. She was so wet, her body burned for his touch, but she was at his command.
"Now, my pet," Jon urged, and Bridget swallowed his cock effortlessly. He gasped, taking in a lot of air. "Spread yourself for me. You can not resist my command," he exhaled.
"I obey… my master!" Both of them moaned as they were joined. Bridget hungrily thrust at him. Her ardor was her own, but it had been released from her conscious control and was fed by Jon’s power. As her first orgasm approached, the world began to wink out. She sank her teeth into his arm, dug her nails into his back, and her six-foot body locked in a powerful spasm. Bridget collapsed onto the bed, and felt the pull of her master’s power. She forgot about her afterglow, and fucked back at Jon with a fierce determination. Her clit wobbled as their bodies collided, sending her into her second orgasm. She wasn’t aware of anything after that…
The next morning, Bridget rolled over and bumped into… Jon. Her body hurt. It really hurt. The pain carried happy memories of powerful orgasms, one after the other. It had been too long since she’d had any kind of release. Her co-workers called her "Frigid Bridget." She even had trouble masturbating. All of that was left over from a very strict upbringing. Sexuality, including her own, was not something with which she had ever been comfortable. In addition, her own perception of her body image had never been the best. Bridget was a big girl—not fat, but at a very fit six-foot-one, her curves were large. She was a lot of woman to love.
She’d met Jon in college. They had been thrown together as conversation partners in French class their first semester. Nobody in the class wanted to spend two hours a week with either "the big girl" or "the geek." They became fast friends. Jon physically matured over the summer, and when he returned, he lost his "geek" status. He suddenly became extremely popular with the really pretty girls who had ignored or made fun of him freshman year. However, he still had plenty of time for Bridget. She found out the source of his popularity the night she asked if he would go to the dorm formal with her. It started innocently enough with their usual friendly joking and hugging, but Jon seemed to be more aggressive than ever before. Bridget wasn’t too sure if she liked it. She felt some level of involuntary sexual response, and began to panic. Jon told her, "Relax, Bridget. I’m going to share my secret with you, and only you, because you’re my best friend."
Bridget felt her apprehension drain away, and she smiled at him. "Take your clothes off, Bridget. I want to see your body." She did, moving without hesitation, showing no trace of the reluctance she felt. Something was wrong… "Yes, Bridget, I am controlling you. I can read your mind, and make you do anything I want you to do. That’s my secret. I found out how to control it this summer." She remembered almost fainting as her reluctance turned to incapacitating fear. "No, Bridget, I’m not going to hurt you… Yes, Bridget, I will be your first. You’ve always wondered what it’s like… Now I’m going to let you find out, because you can’t feel guilty because I control you. You must do everything I say, so there is no fear, and no guilt." His power had made it possible for Bridget to forget her upbringing and release her inhibitions, which let her enjoy sex. He’d been her best lover. She’d since been able to let go with another man, but being Jon’s slave, unable to deny him any pleasure, was special. A big shiver went down her spine. She rolled over and kissed him awake. Her hand found his penis. "Now," she whispered. "I want my master now." Jon just smiled, and let her guide him into her.
"Feel better now, sweets?" Bridget’s long, sultry purr was Jon’s only answer. It was noon, and they were still naked. It was obvious that his friend and lover had been in denial of her sexual urges for too long. That internal stress, coupled with the external stress of this case, had greatly diminished her detective abilities for the moment. She regarded him with obvious desire. Sometimes the closeness of their friendship was a problem. In college, Bridget had volunteered to be Jon’s test subject and let him practice his powers on her. The only mind he knew better than hers was his own, so he was very sensitive to her emotional state, especially if she was in physical contact with him. She ran a finger across his chest. Dealing with the cause of her external stress immediately vanished from the agenda as his body responded, slave to her desires.
They discussed the case over a room service dinner. Now that she had been sated, Bridget’s professional detachment was back in place, and her analytical skills had been brought full to bear on the problem at hand. "I’d have more confidence in this guy as a witness if he hadn’t kept calling me ‘Scully’, and asking me where Mulder was," she said. "His name’s—get this—Clem Snopes. He’s a borderline head case. The Tuscaloosa police know him pretty well." Jon raised his eyebrows. "Nothing truly dangerous or violent," Bridget continued, "but he’s made lots of crank calls over the years. Age 43, currently unemployed, and has been for at least the last four that I can verify. No major priors, prints are from an assault case several years old. All in all, not a reliable source."
Jon waited to see if she was finished. "So what did he have to say?"
She flipped her note pad forward a few pages. "Clem says that he saw the suspect the morning of the abduction. No, he didn’t know Liza or see the actual abduction." She shrugged. "Anyway, he noticed him because he didn’t belong there. I guess Clem has a usual corner he panhandles at and knows the regulars. The guy probably didn’t notice him and put money in his cigar box or something. He described the man as Caucasian, about six-foot, decent build-young-looking with black hair, no distinguishing features."
"Pretty clear description for someone whose grip on reality is questionable," Jon noted, then fell silent. There was something here… Bridget gave him a funny look, the one that said he’d been lost in thought and she’d noticed.
"You haven’t heard anything I’ve said since the last time you spoke, about five minutes ago," she stated. "What is it?"
Jon closed his eyes and sank into the chair, trying to remember what it was that had gained his interest. "Exactly what did Mr. Snopes say? About why he remembers this man out of the hundreds or thousands of people he sees every day." Bridget looked at him, puzzled, then went back to her notebook.
"He said something like, ‘he didn’t belong.’" Jon asked her if she remembered him saying anything else, such as the word, "there." Bridget shook her head. "Nope. It’s not written down, and I don’t remember it," she declared. "Why? I mean, Clem probably hangs out on that corner most days. It’s busy, and his cigar box is usually full. Most of the students recognize him and drop money in. I’m pretty sure he’d recognize his regulars. I know this is a lead, but if you ask me, it’s a pretty crappy one."
"Maybe," Jon started. "Still, would it be possible for me to talk to Mr. Snopes? Play Mulder to your Scully, as it were. Maybe then we can determine exactly how delusional this guy is."
The federal agent sighed. "I don’t know, Jon. It seems like a waste of time and money to me. As a source, he’s hardly what I’d call credible, and I’m being charitable."
"Well, it’s my money, and I’ve never been to Alabama. Worst case, I confirm your suspicions and we’re back to square one." Left unsaid was that Jon would be able to get more out of Clem than Bridget had. She sighed again, gave him Clem’s last known address, and his favorite panhandling spot. "Tell your boss I appreciate his hospitality, and I’ll be checking out tomorrow." He patted her cheek. "Carolyn and Maribeth will both be home in a couple of days," he explained.
She nodded. "I know," she sadly replied. "And I know you’ll keep working on this." Bridget radiated disappointment.
"Bridget," Jon authoritatively stated, "hear my voice and obey your master." Her eyes opened wide as he seized control of her will. "When this case is over, you will take a week’s vacation. You will come spend that vacation at the ranch. You will serve and be served. Obey me as you must," he commanded.
"Yes—master," she slowly replied. Robotically, she repeated her commands. "I—will—take—vacation. I—will—spend it—at the ranch. I will serve and be served. I—will—obey. I—must—obey."
"Why?" Jon softly panted. Damn, having Bridget under his control always excited him.
"I must obey because I am slave Bridget. Jon is my master. I love my master. I love being controlled by my master. I can not resist his command. I do not—want—to resist his command," she recited in an enthralled, soft voice, lines first spoken in a dorm room many years ago.
This time, Jon did not release his control of Bridget. She was his favorite sex thrall, and always had been.