Jennifer drove to work a little faster than usual that morning, fearing to be late. She desperately needed this job for her family. As a single mother of two and no man around, it was the only job she could get.
"Please don't let me be late." she thought to herself, pressing her foot down on the gas a little more, ignoring the shimmy in the steering wheel. She flew past a billboard and saw a police car pull out behind her in the rear view mirror, turning the roof on. Her heart sank in her chest and she could taste ashes in her mouth as she slowed down and pulled over. The cop pulled in behind her, but sat in his car without getting out.
"Come on, hurry up!" she said out loud, but then realized it was already too late. Even if he came up to the car and let her go right away, there was no way she could make it. Her one and only job was gone, pff, just like that, and she was going to have to start stripping at the club or worse if they wouldn't hire her. She remembered what Mal had said to Candy when he fired her for being late last week. "You can suck my cock right here in front of everyone if you want to keep working here, Candy." he said, loud enough for everyone in the restaurant to hear.
The restaurant was half full of truckers, and the background chatter all stopped as everyone turned to look at her.
"Right here?" she asked, paling. "No, can't we go in your office instead?" she whispered.
"Do a good job, honey, and I'll leave you a tip for the show." one of the men called, and she blushed, shaking her head.
"Then get the fuck out of here." Mal told her roughly, shoving her towards the door. "You wanna be late? You can suck my cock or leave."
Finally, the cop got out and came up to her open window. "Do you know why I pulled you over?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. I was speeding." she admitted. "I'm late for work."
"License and registration?" he said, looking the car over. It was 25 years old, rusty everywhere, and there was a black sooty stain behind the tailpipe from all the oil it burned. He took a notebook out and wrote something down.
"Here you go, sir." She had both documents ready and gave them to him. He looked them over a long moment.
"This registration expired seven months ago." he said, then went forward to look at her plate. There wasn't one there, and he frowned at her, jotting something else down in his notebook. He came back to the window.
"I'm afraid you're going to have to exit the vehicle, ma'am." he said.
"What?" she said, startled.
"Get out of the car, ma'am." he told her, opening her door for her. "This vehicle isn't safe, and it has to be towed."
"Oh no!" she cried out, dismayed. She got out of the car at his look, wringing her hands. "How am I going to get to work? Ohh, I'm gonna get fired!" she wailed.
The cop ignored her, writing up tickets. He always filled in names last, wanting to make sure he got all the other details correct. When he finally read her name, he straightened up and looked at her again.
"Jennifer Connolly?" he asked. "Jason Connolly's widow?"
"Yes." she replied, looking at him curiously. "Did you know Jason?"
"Ma'am, it's an honor to meet you." he said. "I was at your husband's funeral. My name is Greg Martin."
"Did you serve with him?" she asked. "You were obviously a Marine. I can tell."
"Yes ma'am. He was the commanding officer of my unit." he said.
"You knew Jason?" she repeated, incredulous. "I've never met anyone who knew him from the service."
"You haven't?" he said. "Then you don't know how he died." She shook her head.
"In the service of his country." she said. "That's pretty much all the letter said. It wasn't even handwritten."
"Oh, man.' he said. Usually the Marines treated their war widows fairly well, the ones who's husbands had honored themselves, at least, but sometimes someone could slip through the cracks and get lost. Jason had died during a black ops mission, an assassination mission, and all the dead had been disavowed. His body was probably still under the rubble of the building, with the others. She hadn't even gotten anything back to bury except an empty coffin.
Something occurred to him. "Where do you work?" he asked her abruptly.
"At the diner." she told him. She looked at her watch. "But not anymore. Mal fired Candy last week for being fifteen minutes late, just sent her right home after making a lewd offer. I'm more than half an hour late now. Best not to go back and even get my check. Mal is real bastard, and I'd rather wait for the mail." "Plus I don't want to get raped." she thought to herself, and shivered. "Not after I found Jason again in Marcus."
"Let's get you to work; you're not fired. I know Mal personally. Get in the front seat of my car." he said. "Unless there's something in yours you need? Nothing that shouldn't get stolen?"
"Pff, you really are kidding." she said, getting into his car. "You can really make this okay with Mal? I don't know what I'm going to do without this job. Mal was the only one who would hire me. I couldn't even get a job at the Bowtie."
"Nope, that's for sure." he chuckled, glancing at her. "Although you could make twice as much out back."
"I won't do that, no matter how poor I get." she said quietly. "Marcus and Miranda are both over fifteen. Their old enough to live without their mother now."
"Jesus Christ." he said. "It's not going to come to that, I promise. Here's why I'm not going to let that happen, and neither will Delta 9. There's 28 of us left, and we all work at Metro." he said.
"Jason was in command of fifteen of us on a Dispatch. That's a mission behind enemy lines to assassinate enemy officers. We hiked in for almost a week in brutal heat, carrying hundreds of pounds of explosives in to rig a building to collapse on a group of targets."
"We infiltrated the building at night, and Cap'n Connolly stayed on the ground floor to keep watch while the rest of the team placed the charges. They were almost all in place, two teams left to clear, when a bunch of insurgents came in, dozens of them. His position was exposed almost immediately, and his firefight is what enabled the rest of us time to rappel down the building and get away. There was no saving him, and no recovery, either. His body is probably still under the building."
"What happened?" she asked. "Were you set up?"
"No, we think the two missing teams, four men, were discovered setting the charges and taken out before they could warn anybody." he said. "That's the best I can figure."
"So five men died that day?" she asked, quietly.
"Seven of us, ma'am. Two died in a firefight on our way out of the city. Eight of us extracted."
"Can we talk about something else?" she asked, closing her eyes. "Thank you for telling me."
"No problem, ma'am, we're here." he said, pulling the cruiser into the parking lot of the truck stop.
"Thanks for the ride, officer, but I already told you, I don't dare go in there right now." she said nervously, looking inside the restaurant. She could see Alice working the front and... nobody else was there. She knew Mal was probably fuming in his office, steaming mad and drinking that horrid smelling bourbon.
"Missus Connolly, I already told you, you are not fired." he said, getting out and putting his hat on. "Come on, I'm going in with you, and I'll straighten him out. I promise."
Her heart was beating fast as she got out of the car. She knew that whatever this officer did, no matter how well meaning, she was going to have to stay after he left, and that was the moment she was truly dreading. When she had to face Mal alone for the first time.
"I'm not sucking it." she vowed to herself grimly as she opened the door and got out. "Not in the restaurant, not in his office, not anywhere. I have Marcus now." The walk to the door of the restaurant was almost more than she could handle, and she froze as he put his hand on the small of her back, trying to usher her inside.
It was too late anyway, Mal had seen her and was striding over to the door.
"Jennifer, really?" he sneered. "After you saw what happened to Candy last week, you show your face here twice as late as she was? I never figured you for the type.
He glanced at the cop behind her. "Hello, officer, you're a little early, but no matter. You want your usual table in the back?"
"Sure." Greg said easily. "What's going on here?" He gestured at Jennifer.
"You get a bonus today, man!" Mal chuckled evilly. "Last week, I had one of these bimbos show up fifteen minutes late, so I offered her the chance to suck me off right here in front of everyone. Now little Jennifer here is 30 minutes late, so it's double time, right? How about if she sucks both of us off? You into that?"
"Do you know who I am?" Officer Martin demanded angrily. "Do you know who she is? Who the fuck do you think you are?"
"Hey, buddy, calm down!" Mal said. "Take it easy! What's the matter with you?"
"What's the matter with me? Jesus Christ, haven't you ever heard of sexual harassment?"
Mal stared at him, then burst out laughing. "In this place?" He looked around at the customers eating. "Hey guys, anyone gonna tell if this bitch sucks me and the cop off to keep her job?" he hollered.
"Hell no!" one of them answered. "I told that one last week I'd give her a good tip for a good show, but I don't know about this one. There ain't nothin' to look at." The rest of the customers laughed.
"I'm not doing it." she said stiffly, turning toward the door.
"You don't have to." Greg said, catching her arm before she could get away and pulled her back to his side.
"She does, or she's fired." Mal said, challenging him with his arms crossed. "Who the fuck you think you are, coming into my place and telling what to do?"
"I'm Lt. Greg Martin of the Metro vice squad." he said quietly. "We wouldn't want my buds in the department to come down here and toss this place, so step lightly, friend."
"I ain't your friend!" Mal spat at him. "And I pay plenty to make sure you goons stay out of here! So get out of here if you ain't gonna fuck this bitch with me. Shee-it, the thanks I get for offering the guy a favor!" he said, looking around the room.
"I already said I'm not doing it!" Jennifer said louder, tugging her arm free. She went outside and was crossed the parking lot as Mal and Greg kept arguing. She kept going out of the parking lot, and walked about two miles of the twelve back to her house before Officer Martin pulled up next to her in his cruiser.
"You walked pretty far." he said, getting out and leaning against the fender as she approached. "You should let me give you a ride home."
She didn't say anything until she sat slumped in the passenger seat and they were driving back. "I told you I didn't want to go back in there." she said.
"I know, and I'm sorry for not listening to you." he said. She was a little surprised at the apology. "He won't be a problem for you anymore, however. Tomorrow, I expect you'll be getting a call from Mr. Phillips, or one of his people. The diner needs a new manager, and I suspect your name will be pulled out of the hat."
"I don't want the manager position." she said flatly. "I've worked the graveyard on the last Friday of the month. I know what goes on in that place."
"Well, like I said, your name will most likely get pulled out of the hat." he said. "You know the business, and most importantly, you know the underside of the business, too. As you can imagine, an organization such as this one can be a little hesitant to bring new people in. You are already in, I'm afraid, and when the phone call comes tomorrow, I'd advise you to take the job. There will be an assistant manager brought in for a while, I'm sure, to help you figure out the system."
"This can't be happening!" she said, starting to freak out a little. "My god, I'm just a waitress!"'
"You're a waitress in a restaurant that's a front for one of the largest smuggling operations in the whole country. The rigs that stop in here are from Canada and Mexico and everywhere in between. Are you going to try to deny you knew about that? You're not stupid, Jennifer."
"I didn't realize how big it is, but I knew something funny like that was happening." she said. "Jesus, you should see some of those guys. There's no way in hell they have a CDL. I know a couple of them who can't even read the menu."
"See? You even know the guys in the operation." he pointed out. "You're perfect for the job. And it comes with a substantial pay raise."
"Those guys scare me." she said quietly. "It was hard enough keeping their hands off me when I was just their waitress. If I couldn't command their respect then, how am I supposed to be in a position of authority? There's no way."
"You forget who you'll be working for." he chuckled. "Nobody messes with any of Mr. Phillip's people. That's why Mal could do what he did and get away with it for so long." They turned a corner, and he slowed down a little.
"Which house is it? This is your street." he said. "I got your address off your license, remember?" he said, in answer to her unspoken question.
"Last one on the left." she answered weakly. This was a lot of new information to process. They stopped in front of her house.
As she got out, Marcus came bursting through the door, running down the sidewalk to her. "Mom! Are you okay? Where's your car? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Marcus." she smiled at him. "The car's fine, too, but we're going to have to get it out of impound somehow, I'm afraid. I got a speeding ticket."
"Oh no." he said, his face falling. "That's it, then. No football for me this year. I'm getting a job."
"No, honey, don't do that!" she begged him, clutching his shirt. "We'll figure something out. Football scholarships are the only way you're going to college.
"How, Mom?" he countered. "If you're here, then you're not at work. And if you're not there, then that means fuckhead Mal fired you." He looked at her. "Tell me you're not fired."
"No, I'm fired from the waitressing job." she said. "Although, Mal did make me the same offer I told you he offered Candy last week."
"I am SO kicking his ass." Marcus said grimly.
Greg cleared his throat. "I'm afraid that won't be possible, son."
"Excuse me, officer?" Marcus said, looking away from his mother for the first time. "I didn't see you there. My name is Marcus Connolly." He held his hand out to be shaken.
"Pleased to meet you, Marcus. My name is Greg Martin. I knew your father overseas. In fact, he gave his life to save mine. You resemble him a lot."
"You knew my father?" Marcus said. "It's a pleasure to meet you, too, then. I don't know anyone who knew him, other than my mother." They let go the handshake. "Do you have time to come inside? I'd like to talk to you about him. If you don't mind, that is."
"Some other time, Marcus. I have a few tales of Captain Connolly I could share with you, including the story of how he saved my life, but I'm on duty today, and your mother isn't the only reckless speeder on the road, you know."
"Yes sir, I understand." he said, sounding a little disappointed. "Have a good day."
As Greg got back in his car, Marcus escorted his mother back into the house.
"Mom, why did the police bring you home?" Miranda asked, coming over. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, kids, honestly." she said, wearily, and plopped herself down on the couch.
"Miranda, why don't you go back upstairs and think about your choice." Marcus said pointedly. "Mom already explained it to me outside, and I'm sure she doesn't want to go through it again. I'll be up in a little while."
Jennifer sat up and looked at the two of them. "Marcus, you just talked to her like..." She looked at her daughter, then her son. She cleared her throat.
"What choice do you have to make, Miranda? Don't lie to me, either."
Miranda blushed, digging her toe into the carpet.
"I have to choose which thing he's to spank me with, Mother." she said.
Marcus cleared his throat. "That's not quite correct, Miranda. You are to choose TWO things to be spanked with."
Jennifer looked at her two kids, remembering her conversation with Marcus last night. "Made each other feel good" and "For her own protection" were phrases that leapt immediately to mind.
"Let me see the choices." she said. "Where are they?"
"On my bed." Marcus said. "Are you sure you want to do this, Mom?"
"I'm very sure." she said, grimly, heading for the stairs.
They all went into his room, and Jennifer looked down at the collection of spanking objects laid out there.
"That's my best hairbrush!" she exclaimed, picking it up. "You're not using this. If it breaks..." She picked up the extension cord and hefted it.
"You're not using this, either, unless you want to whip her ass bloody, Marcus. The belt is okay, if you don't use the buckle on her. The tie won't hurt, and neither will the towel unless it's wet."
"What's this?" she asked, gesturing at the coil of rope. "Were you going to tie her up, too?"
"Maybe." he said. "I just wanted all my options open."
"Well, there aren't two acceptable choices for her to pick, Marcus. I want you both to come with me. There's a room in this house neither one of you have been in yet, but now you are ready to see it."
She led her two teen age children down the hall to her own room, and unlocked the attic door with a key taken from her jewelry box. She looked both kids in the eye, her face serious.
"There are a few strict rules Jason made for this room when he built it." she told them. "The first rule is that everyone who enters it must be completely naked. The second rule is the safeword. I like the word "red" to stop everything and the word "mercy" if you just want that one activity to stop. If you are unable to speak, shaking the head "no" and screaming at the top of your voice will also get the point across."
"What's a safeword, Mom?" Miranda asked. "I never heard that term before."
"Imagine Marcus has tied you up and is spanking you." Jennifer said. Miranda smiled weakly at her mother. "Now imagine that it hurts more than you can stand it, and you need it to stop. Say mercy, and he will stop and ask you if everything is okay, and find out what you need."
She looked right at Marcus. "Every moment of sexual slavery is to be enjoyable for both parties. If you keep going without permission, that's rape." she told him. "You don't want to be hated, do you? Because any woman raped by you is going to hate you forever, in her heart, no matter what she does or says afterward."
She looked back at Miranda. "If you say the word "red", everything stops, you are released, and you can be alone if you want. Only use that word if the situation is extremely uncomfortable, because any good Master will never push you like that again, and I think you know exactly how good it feels to have those boundaries stretched."
"Oh boy." Miranda breathed, nodding.
"Marcus, with your permission, I would like to take Miranda upstairs first. I'll find out what her transgression was and arrange her for the proper punishment. This room requires some training in order to master it fully."
"Okay, Jennifer." he agreed. He reached out and fingered the collar of her pink rayon waitress uniform, then ripped it right open. Buttons flew everywhere, and she gasped.
"What are you doing?" she asked, shocked. "Marcus-"
He grabbed her skirt and tugged it down, then grabbed both sides of the seam in the back and ripped it in two, tearing both pieces off her body.
"You'll never wear that again." he said, a note of satisfaction in his voice. "You're done working for that prick."
"Marcus, I..." she said, her voice catching.
"Fuck that, Jennifer. I claim you as my slut, and give you my protection. You'll never have to lay eyes on that piece of shit again. That's a promise." he said. Now get the rest of your clothes off and go upstairs."
"Yes Marcus." she said meekly, but both her kids could hear the pleased tone in her voice.