(Upper Cretaceous)

(No, not that far back; the day after Julia tied Rebecca the first time)

Rebecca stopped at John’s door and knocked. He looked up and said, “Come in. Close the door.” He put his papers away and got out a folder. “Do you have an answer for me?”

“Yes, I do. I accept your offer to send me to grad school in return for not exercising my option for four years after I finish. I would like to read the asset contract before I formally sign it.”

“Of course. I have it here. If we need to make any changes, we can continue tomorrow after I have my lawyer check it out.” He passed a set of pages to her and waited as she read. There wasn’t anything surprising in it. It contained the things that Julia said was in her contract. Rebecca could tell that a lot of it was boilerplate. The things specific to her were at the end, following the sections that detailed under what conditions he could kill her, mutilate her, and punish her. The heavier punishments were all covered. There was a clause that said that minor punishments as listed in some state regulation were not covered by the contract and were at the discretion of the owner or his delegate. Rebecca knew that this gave the owner a lot of leeway. Most whippings fell into the category of minor punishments, as did most electrical treatments that didn’t have a significant chance of being lethal. Public stocks, public pillory, being chained for hours or days, or longer, sensory deprivation, enforced nudity, any kind of sex, denial of sex, and most other things that most people would consider punishments were minor punishments unless they went on too long and caused injury or risk of death. It made her shudder to think how low she had come in the world and how little protection she had, even with this contract. Still, it was much better than nothing. She was glad to read that there was no intention to kill her, mutilate her, or injure her, but noted that there was no guarantee, making it empty words. There was the section that she expected on sex: she was to submit willingly to any type of sex that her owner or his authorized delegate requested, and to attempt in good faith to please the person or persons using her for sex. She hoped that wouldn’t be difficult for her, but it couldn’t be much worse than the laundry. The contract said that she was expected to obey all commands given her by her owner and by authorized persons. It provided for health care and dental care, sufficient food, shelter, and clothing to the general standard of acceptance in the community, and that she would not be subjected to injurious weather without suitable protective clothing. The contract then went on to spell out the escrow account, the freedom option, the restrictions on its exercise, her pay, and part-time grad school. She saw that it had everything that she had been offered yesterday, and nothing bad had been added that she hadn’t expected. She took a pen and signed it, as did John.

“Good. I’ll have my lawyer do whatever he does with these things tomorrow. Here’s a copy of the contract, another copy of the discipline policy, and a position description. It’s all in this binder. Do you have any questions?”

She considered, and asked, “I would like to know what is expected of me sexually. I like sex — vaginal sex. I like doing oral sex, on clean male organs. I don’t mind bondage or energetic sex; in fact, I like both. I’m not fond of rough sex. Anal sex can be a problem for me, but it is your prerogative. I’m dripping wet just talking about it, even though I’m nervous and embarrassed. Should I kneel for you now?”

He thought a bit and replied, “No, don’t kneel. I’m not much into ceremonial servitude. I would much rather have enthusiastic cooperation in mutually pleasant sex. I am happy that you are wet just talking about it, because it implies that you would be even happier doing it. The office isn’t the place, generally, for sex, but there are exceptions. The workday is for working, except for lunchtime. Again, there are exceptions. I am the boss, so I can stretch things. Again, no one else in the company can require sex from you, unless I authorize it, and I have not. The question I have is, when do you want sex?”

Rebecca said, “Now. All the time. Whenever possible.”

John smiled. “Another one. I seem to attract them. I’m a lucky man. Why don’t I meet you in the apartment at 5:30? In the meantime, how is the computer analysis going?”

Rebecca was caught off guard by both the appointment he had made for her and the change of course in the conversation. She said, “I’ll see you then. The computer system is a big mess, with a lot of equipment out of date and of dubious reliability. The software is archaic. I have a lot more to do.”

“Good. I’m glad you don’t mince words. Tell me the situation straight out and we’ll all be better off. I’ll see you at 5:30.”

Rebecca rose and left, feeling quite damp.