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Rene knocks on Pierce's door at eight o'clock sharp. Neither early nor late, Rene makes it a point to arrive precisely on time whenever she's expected somewhere. It's a useful thing to have as a trademark. When one is always on time, being early or late can send a quick, sharp signal.

The door opens; a blond man of medium height and build answers. He's even partly clothed, wearing tight black jeans with the first button undone and a black satin collar, something that looks as if it merges into his skin. He meets her eyes, and his expression is a carefully muted neutral; she can't tell whether that's something he affected specifically for her arrival or if it's simply how he always looks. "Good evening, Ma'am," he says. "My Master bids you welcome and has asked me to show you to the sitting room." He steps aside, giving her ample room to pass by.

"Uh-huh," Rene nods. She gives him a frank, appraising look, and shakes her head, not making any move toward entering the house. "You're Pierce's boy?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

"And your name is...?"

"Sean, Ma'am."

"Huh." Rene's expression tightens for a moment. "How do you feel about girls, Sean?"

Sean shrugs. "It's not relevant, Ma'am; I do as my Master requires."

"Oh, I bet. Don't worry, Sean, I'm not here for you." She waves her hand in a gesture that tells him to get going and steps across the threshhold of the doorway; he closes the door after her and leads her into the sitting room.

Pierce is waiting, and his girl is waiting with him. He's sitting in an armchair, smoking a cigar -- the cloying scent makes Rene's eyes water, and she wrinkles her nose in response -- and his girl is kneeling at his feet, her head resting on his knee. He's drawing fingers through her hair; her eyes are closed, and she's humming pleasantly. She's wearing a black silk camisole and dark grey trousers; a matching jacket rests over the back of the chair.

She's still in clothes? Rene thinks, intrigued. Not what I expected.

"Hello," Pierce says quietly. If the girl's noticed Rene's presence, she gives no hint of it; she doesn't move when Pierce begins speaking. "Linda, this is Rene. Up, girl; greet my guest."

Linda's eyes blink open, slowly, and she kneels up, lacing her hands behind her back. She comes very gracefully to her feet, and then her arms unlace and she walks over to Rene, extending a hand. "Hello, Rene. I'm Linda."

Rene looks from Linda to Pierce and back again. She frowns a bit. If she knows Pierce at all -- and by now, she does, if only a little -- this is a test of some kind. Probably for both of them. Rene stares at Linda's offered hand for a few seconds before finally slipping her own into it.

"Pleased to meet you, Linda."

Linda's hands, like Rene's, are professionally manicured. Linda's nails are short; her hands are small, and they're clearly very strong. Rene looks at Linda's arms -- beautifully toned and muscled. God.

Rene takes a full step back and looks Linda over. Green eyes; short, neat blonde hair, just this side of light brown. Square jaw; very full lips. She's beautiful in a very strong, self-assured way. She's a few inches shorter than Rene, average height, and her build is tight and muscular -- she's not all curves, not at all.

"She's..." Rene has to take a small breath before she can continue. "...lovely, Pierce." Her eyes are still on Linda's while she speaks. "How long has she been yours?"

"I've been here for three weeks," Linda answers. Rene's expression flickers; she looks back over to Pierce. Linda crosses her arms over her chest. "I can speak on my own," she says. "You don't have to send everything through Pierce."

"Pierce says he's been after you for some time, and you've just become available," Rene says, immediately taking advantage of the opportunity to ignore Pierce. "May I ask what your situation was before that?"

"You sound like you're asking for my references," Linda smiles. "Are you?"

"Yes," Rene answers firmly. "Who was your last owner?"

"I've never been owned before. This is a trial run. I'm here two months to see what happens."

"Hm." Rene turns to Pierce again. "Is this how you normally manage your slaves?"

"I'm a special case," Linda says, stepping right over Pierce again. "We have a number of things we'll need to sort out if I'm going to stay here."

"Such as?"

"That's enough," Pierce says, mildly, from the armchair. "Rene, I think you and I are going to have some negotiations to make ourselves. Am I right?"

"Well, that depends." Rene takes a step back so she can cross her own arms. She gives Linda a long, slightly cool look. "Not much of a submissive, are you? Are you a complete novice?"

"Yes." Linda's tone is entirely unabashed. "And no, I'm probably not, but Pierce and I decided it was worth exploring anyway."

"And if he loans you to me? Then what?"

"Who says I have to go?"

Blinking even more, Rene looks over to Pierce. "You really have your hands full with this one, don't you?" she asks.

Pierce snorts. "I have one slave with all the independence and initiative of a houseplant. Why have two?"

"All right. Fine." Rene turns back to Linda. "What would it take to convince you to spend time with me?"

"I'm not sure yet. What's it going to cost you?"

"Ask your Master."

"Pierce?" Linda asks.

Pierce actually comes to his feet, standing next to Linda. He puts a hand on her shoulder, and she leans into him. Rene sets her teeth; Pierce's teeth are showing in that trademark grin of his. "Anything you take from her, you'll owe me," Pierce says. "Take that as you will."

"In which case, maybe I'm not interested at all," Linda says, looking back up at Pierce. "Your attention is divided enough, with the boy." The nearly-spiteful tone when Linda says the boy is the first time Rene's heard any emotion from Linda so far; she files it away as something to consider later.

"Quite the impasse, isn't it?" Rene asks. The corner of her mouth turns up. "What does the boy think of your new girl, Pierce?"

"He thinks what he's told to think," Pierce says, dismissing the question with a slight wrinkle of his nose.

Rene lets it go; she looks back at Linda and gives her a full smile. "I want to spend time with you," she says. "Your Master's already agreed to let me, because he wants something from me in return. I'm willing to do it."

"You don't like Pierce?" Linda asks, eyebrows raised slightly.

"He's nice enough, for an arrogant prick. I don't fuck men." Rene shrugs.

Linda considers that for a while. "All right," she says. "If you make arrangements with Pierce, I'll go along with them. Open offer. One condition."

There's no point in trying to hide her interest; Rene merely nods. "All right. What's the condition?"

"If you take me for an extended period of time, you and Pierce don't sort that out until our contract's either over or resolved." Linda looks up at Pierce. "Like I said. Your attention's divided enough."

Pierce's eyes go to Rene's, and their gazes lock. "I'll agree to that," he says. "We'll negotiate the time later; you know my condition, so what you do and how long you take with it are up to you."

"Deal," Rene says immediately. She looks at Linda again. "I've got carte blanche from your Master. And you. What happens if I want to borrow you for the rest of your contract with Pierce?"

"Then you'll be spending five weeks with a nice-enough-arrogant-prick you don't particularly want to fuck."

Startled, Rene looks at Pierce. "You really don't want to control this one at all, do you?" she asks. "What are you doing with her?"

"Taking it slowly," Pierce says. "It's turning out to be quite a good approach so far. You might want to keep it in mind."

"I really don't think I need your advice, Pierce, but thanks," Rene fires back. Her attention goes back to Linda. "I want to start tonight. Dinner--" and her gaze flicks to Pierce briefly, "and nothing else. I'll have you home by midnight."

"All right." Linda steps out of Pierce's grasp and takes her jacket from the back of the chair. "You'll owe him dinner."

"I'll manage," Rene says, rolling her eyes a bit. She meets Pierce's amused gaze and gives him a wry grin. "You can collect on it whenever we both have an evening free and you're willing to neglect your girl."

"I wouldn't call it neglect. I'll give her and the boy an assignment while I'm out with you. Or they can serve as dinner entertainment." Pierce's grin widens. "That sounds delightful, I think; perhaps we'll do that."

Rene looks back to Linda; Linda's face is a bit tight now, her lips pursed. "You'll figure it out, I'm sure," she murmurs. "I'm ready to go, Ma'am," she tells Rene.

"Rene," Rene corrects. "Until I ask for it, don't bother with formal voice."

"Not a problem." Linda stands up on tiptoe and kisses Pierce's chin. "Have a good evening, Pierce."

"Have a good evening, girls," Pierce says.

Rene meets his eyes and shakes her head. Girls. She can already tell what he's thinking, what other forms of dinner entertainment he's planning. So predictable, she thinks.

And then she looks over at Linda again. And so not. This is going to be interesting.