Bound for the Top

Bound for the Top
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ISBN:  9781907753268
Author:  Sarah Dean
Word Count:  66,023
Format:  eBook

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Jane felt sick with trepidation as she trailed upstairs, following the doctor and maid. In the room they entered on the first landing an old-fashioned medical couch dominated its centre. A glass partition separated it from the adjoining space. Jane lingered in the doorway, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other.
   ‘Up on the couch, please,’ the doctor said, ushering her in and closing the door. Jane froze as he took off his jacket and started to roll up the sleeves of his crisp white shirt.
   ‘No, please…’ she mumbled, feeling the tears starting, too shocked to put up any resistance, the maid too strong and too practiced. Soon Jane was supine on the couch, broad leather straps attaching her ankles and wrists to the four corners, the tears meandering down her cheeks.

Jane's ambition to work in investigative television leads her into the clutches of the Ruskin Club, a secret brotherhood devoted to Victorian values and their corrective practices.

Naively she visits Ms Brentwood, a maker of Victorian corsets and strict disciplinarian, and when Jane's deception is uncovered a month's initiation by the Committee is her sentence.

And so she is introduced to the whip during treatments in the austere doctor's examination room. As a stable girl at Hunt Hall, the major and his grooms chastise her further, and at Lord Waterhouse's modern apartment she becomes the plaything of his wife and her spoilt friends. And it is whilst held in Sir John's wine cellar, where she is chained during the Ruskin Club's May day celebrations, that her tenacious producer, Ben Handford, comes looking for her...

Ms Brentwood opened the door. This time, although her manner was formal, she didn't lead Jane into the dining room as she did on her previous visit. Instead they crossed the hall, and Jane had to hide her surprise when they entered a sumptuously furnished drawing room, already shielded from the fading daylight by heavy velvet drapes. Despite the warm evening a wood fire burned in the grate.
   'I thought we would have a sherry before your fitting, Miss Carter.' Ms Brentwood had already lifted a cut glass decanter from a silver tray.
   Jane nodded as she took in her surroundings. Every item in the room served to create a perfect Victorian drawing room. Deep brocade sofas sat either side of the marble fireplace, above which hung a vibrant oil painting in a heavy, gilded frame. Gas lamps provided the only lighting, leaving shadowy corners where the light didn't fall. A musky smell pervaded the air, and Jane's confidence started to crumble in the oppressive atmosphere of the peculiar room, taken from another age.
   Her unease increased when she took in Ms Brentwood's outfit. The tailored suit had been replaced by a long black taffeta dress that swept the floor with its hem. The older woman stood with her back to her as she poured from the decanter, and Jane could see the shape of the bustle that protruded over her buttocks. When she turned and crossed the room, holding the two glasses of dark liquid, Jane saw the high neckline and the row of buttons that ran down between her full, sculpted breasts. The tight bodice plunged down into a V-shape that ended low on her hips, and the skirt was full but not frivolously so. It was the kind of dress worn by a Victorian governess, and for a terrible moment Jane was reminded of Aunt Judith. She had dressed in similar, austere clothing. Jane had too often been the subject of her classroom ridicule, believing that her own niece must receive equal, if not more discipline than her contemporaries. Seeing Ms Brentwood dressed in the same style took her back to memories she would rather forget.
   Except that the effect of the costume on Ms Brentwood was quite different. She was a very handsome woman with her hair swept back from her face showing off her high cheekbones. She had a broad forehead and penetrating brown eyes that Jane found impossible to meet. Although Jane hardly drank alcohol, she was grateful to be handed the delicate crystal glass. She twisted it between her fingers in an attempt to disguise her confusion.
   'Have you brought your dress with you, Miss Carter? The one you want to wear over the corset?' Ms Brentwood's eyes looked expectantly at the canvas bag by Jane's side.
   'No, I mean, I didn't think I would need to...' Jane's voice trailed away and she felt the colour rising as she fibbed.
   'I see. I thought I made it clear that I needed to see the dress for this fitting.' Jane didn't answer and stared into her glass, her heart pounding as she remembered how her aunt punished her fibs.
   'There is no dress, is there, Miss Carter?' She waited again for a response.
   'Yes, yes, it's at the cleaners.' Jane was terrified that Ms Brentwood had seen though her cover and that at any moment she might demand to see the contents of the bag. She gulped at her drink and felt the stuffiness of the room closing around her.
   'I see,' Ms Brentwood repeated. 'In that case we will go upstairs for the fitting and I must lend you a dress to wear to the Ruskin Club.'
   'Look, I'm not sure I can come tonight. I have to get home. I said I would meet someone.'
   'Nonsense. I don't know why you did come to see me, Miss Carter, but you clearly have an interest in proper undergarments. I am glad to find that voluntarily in a modern lass and it is to be encouraged. Now follow me.' The woman's Scottish burr was clear when she raised her voice in irritation.
   She should have protested but the sherry and Ms Brentwood's imperious tone made Jane follow her out into the hall and up the polished staircase. She told herself to calm down. The woman was bizarre but if she wanted to make it in a ruthless business, it was no use faltering at the first obstacle.
   The bedroom was in the same Victorian style as the drawing room, and also dimly lit by gaslight. A large four-poster bed dominated the room, its canopy festooned with elaborate curtains. The linen was snowy white and the pile of lace pillows looked momentarily inviting as Jane tried to compose herself. Ms Brentwood opened the big mahogany wardrobe.
   'I have your corset here. Undress now, Miss Carter. Behind the screen if you would.'
   Jane was more than grateful for the privacy of the hand-painted screen depicting Pre-Raphaelite maidens bathing by pools of water. She kicked off her trainers and peeled off her jeans and jumper. After a few deep breaths, she stepped back into the room as before, in just her panties.
   Ms Brentwood was completing the lacing that joined together the two panels of the corset, and Jane's hands lifted instinctively to cover her breasts as the older woman looked up from her work and gazed frankly at her almost naked body.
   'Everything off today, Miss Carter. That underwear is not suitable. I will provide some once I have fitted the corset.'
   'B-but surely I can k-keep them on while...' Jane stuttered wildly.
   'Miss Carter!' Ms Brentwood's voice took on an edge that Jane recognised only too well from her childhood. 'We have a car collecting us at eight and I don't intend to be late. Please undress and stand by the foot of the bed.'
   Jane felt her legs start to weaken and clutched her arms even tighter across her front, but if she were to get the story she needed she would have to comply. She wished Ms Brentwood would stop staring at her, but she didn't so eventually she was forced to lower her arms and slip her panties over the curve of her hips to reveal the soft triangle of fair hair between her thighs.
   'Good lass.' Ms Brentwood's voice dropped to little more than a whisper as she beckoned the naked girl to approach the bed.
   In all her confusion, Jane had given little thought to the garment itself, and was shocked to see how stiff and unrelenting the two panels looked. They were made of cream satin and there were no adornments. The one continuous lace was loosely crisscrossed through metal eyelets at the back, and the surplus hung in two long loops at either side of the waist. It was quite unlike the fashionable elasticised corsets that filled the market stalls around Camden.
   'Raise your arms above your head and I'll fasten the front.'
   Starting from the top, Ms Brentwood's deft fingers quickly closed the stainless steel clasps that joined the two panels together at the front. Jane stiffened as Ms Brentwood's hands brushed against her breasts... her stomach... and lower still as she fastened the final clasp. Ms Brentwood stood back to admire her work. The corset, even before it was tightened, traced the shape of Jane's body perfectly. It reached from the middle of her breasts to low on her tummy, and both the top and bottom edges were completely straight.
   'Now place your hands at shoulder height on the bedpost please, Miss Carter.' Jane gripped the thick wooden post and tried to breathe normally as Ms Brentwood used her expertise to tighten the laces, gradually pulling them equally, top and bottom, towards her waist.
   Jane was surprised to feel a surge of pride in Ms Brentwood's words, and even more when she began to enjoy the unaccustomed hugging sensation. Perhaps this wasn't going to be such an ordeal after all. Her mind drifted to the office - to Ben and the questions she would have to face in the morning. How would she make a story about what was happening to her in a weird Victorian house, and its occupant, lost in another era? But there was still the Ruskin Club; perhaps that would give her what she needed.
   'However,' Ms Brentwood continued, 'there is a great deal of room for improvement. Your breasts, for instance, have been left unrestricted for too long, which will damage the delicate skin. That is why I have selected a mid-bust style that will provide them with proper support for the time being.'
   For the time being? She didn't think Jane was going to put herself through this indignity again, did she? Not even for her career. But just as the moment of defiance rose in her, Jane felt a strong pull on the upper lace and the corset tightened around her ribs. She looked down with alarm and saw the top of the corset cut into her breasts, just above her nipples, crushing them and forcing the soft flesh into two swollen globes above the satin edging. She breathed in sharply just in time to feel the lower lace shortening so that her buttocks were squeezed together, held by the unrelenting metal rods sown into the seams. As Ms Brentwood snatched a sharp tug at her waist, Jane could remain silent no longer.
   'Oh, really, I think that's enough,' she said as calmly as she could. 'It feels very tight now.'
   'My dear girl, we have hardly begun,' was Ms Brentwood's response. 'Now stand still. You may grip the post higher.'
   Panic was starting to rise but Jane lifted her hands to about head height. She felt the satin edge bite harder into her breasts, and it was becoming difficult to take a full breath as Ms Brentwood tugged vigorously at the lower lace. Finally Jane could stand no more and dropped her hands from the post, clutching herself around her considerably reduced waist.
   'No honestly, Ms Brentwood, I can't...'
   'Put your hands back up at once and compose yourself!' the woman snapped. 'Keep still, lass!' Jane could hear the anger in Ms Brentwood's voice, but it only increased her desire to be free and she fought against the grip even harder.
   She was still struggling when she felt the first sharp sting of Ms Brentwood's palm landing squarely on her buttocks. She screamed in shock. The next two blows came quickly and just as hard, and her screams turned to sobs as the pain seeped into her.
   'I had hoped we weren't going to have trouble tonight, Miss Carter.' Ms Brentwood allowed Jane, limp and quivering, to stand. She held the woman's shoulders firmly while she found her balance. 'Now be a good girl for me.' Ms Brentwood used the same coaxing tone that she had earlier.
   She took Jane's hands and gently replaced them in their former position on the bedpost, but ignored the tears running freely down her young client's cheeks and continued with her task. Jane was too stunned to know what to do but try to tolerate the vicelike grip as her body was drawn in ever tighter. The burning spreading through her bottom distracted her, but not enough. She sobbed and begged openly, her fingers clenched around the post to maintain her balance as the laces continued to close around her.
   'I hope you appreciate, Miss Carter, that this would have been a great deal easier if you'd started your training at an early age. You have a great deal of neglect to put right. Do you understand?' Ms Brentwood was once again the imperious corsetiere.
   Jane continued to sob, her misery overwhelming.
   'I said, do you understand?' Before Jane had a chance to reply another blow smacked down, biting against the already reddened skin.
   'Yes,' Jane whimpered.
   'Yes, Ms Brentwood. Your manners, Miss Carter, need some improving too, I fear. Before you dress, Miss Carter, I need to see how the corset fits when you walk. So if you would cross over to the window now.'
   Jane would have to humour the woman for a bit longer, but she wasn't at all sure she would be able to make it the twelve or so paces to the window. But she felt Ms Brentwood's warning hand encircle her waist and her hesitation was short-lived. She didn't want to risk another spanking, so she broke free and set off across the room, snatching short breaths as best she could. When she reached the window she leaned on the sill in relief, although she knew she was giving her tormentor a perfect view of her naked and reddened backside.
   'Back to the bed now, please.' Jane made her way back, using her arms to balance herself as the blood spun around her head.
   'Good. Now put your hands behind your neck and display yourself properly.' Jane was shocked by her words but gingerly raised her arms. As she clasped her fingers together she looked down to see her nipples emerging from the top of the low-cut corset, and flinched as Ms Brentwood slipped her hands inside and used the opportunity to run her fingers over the hard little buds.
   'I think there are some adjustments needed here, Miss Carter. Now keep your hands clasped behind your head and continue.'
   Jane weaved her way several times up and down the room. Gradually her head cleared and her balance began to return.
   'That's it. Head up, elbows out wide. Much better.'
   The restriction of the corset forced her to take much smaller steps than she was used to as she teetered across the room. Slowly the stiff fabric warmed and moulded itself to her lithe young body. Jane found herself walking, turning, walking, and turning, almost in a trance, Ms Brentwood's words coming at her from a distance.
   'Very good, my dear, you learn fast,' Ms Brentwood purred through the flickering light.
   As Jane turned for the fourth time she caught sight of herself in the full-length mirror, and saw how her body had changed shape. Each time she turned she let her eyes linger a little longer, taking in her breasts forced high by the tight lacing. Her nipples peeped over the creamy satin and her waist was tiny. The corset held her back completely straight and her bottom jutted out just below where the laces ended. She saw the marks that the four slaps had left across her buttocks. The skin was tight and flushed but the sharpness of the pain had subsided. She liked the way her body was sculpted into such a perfect shape and her confidence grew, bolstered by Ms Brentwood's words of encouragement. She almost forgot the reason she was there at all, as she paraded in nothing more than the satin corset and black stockings.
   'You may stop now, Miss Carter. I'll make the alterations later but it fits well enough for the time being. Come here to the mirror and I will complete your outfit.'
   The woman's words cut across Jane's composure, but she was relieved when Ms Brentwood invited her to step into the pair of long, pure white cotton drawers, trimmed with fine lace just above the knee. The cool fabric felt soothing on her hot buttocks, but as the drawstrings were fastened round her waist she realised that the garment was not joined at the gusset. The two legs hung from the tapes independently, leaving an opening running down her stomach, between her legs and up into the small of her back.
   'I don't believe in this modern fad of not allowing air to circulate, Miss Carter,' Ms Brentwood said when she saw Jane's reaction. 'It is unhygienic.'
   The midnight-blue velvet dress Ms Brentwood had selected was a perfect fit, and Jane looked at her reflection in the mirror as the woman fastened the hooks at the back. The neck was cut low with a ribbon run in to tighten the shoulders, so that with each breath her breasts swelled and strained against the fabric. The bodice was a tight fit and the full-length skirt flowed over her rounded hips, accentuating her trimmed waist.
   'There, now what was all that fuss about?' Ms Brentwood smiled with undisguised admiration. Jane did indeed look very beautiful. She could hardly believe the transformation as she gazed at the stranger in the mirror.
   Jane stuffed her clothes into the valise. Lying on the floor was the canvas backpack containing Matt's camera, a jarring reminder of her real purpose for being in the strange house. Yet she had to admit that she loved the softness of the velvet and how graceful the exquisite dress made her feel. Perhaps she'd been foolish to make a fuss, and whatever Ms Brentwood's motives were for treating her as she had, the results were very pleasing. If she breathed lightly and didn't exert herself the corset was quite tolerable. She heard Ms Brentwood returning and hastily tucked the canvas bag into a corner of the valise.
   'The car is here, Miss Carter.'

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bound for the top
Tuesday, 29 June 2010  | 

Excellent, a very enjoyable read.


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