22-04-18

Aunt Phoebe's Masturbatorium Ch. 11

A few days after the wild fashion show party at the twin's estate, I was sitting outside on my aunt's veranda reading a book on ancient Roman history. Craig and I had spent the day before sightseeing in Paris and I had become so tired from all the walking that I needed to take a day off for myself just to recuperate. 

It was a quiet, beautiful, late August day. My aunt and Charlotte were visiting some friends in Lyon, while Justine and Estelle were enjoying their vacation on the French Riviera. I had thought that Lenore was going to accompany them, so it was with some surprise when the phone rang and I found that she was still in Paris.

"I've been trying to reach you on your cell for the past two hours. Where are you?" my mentor said, a bit impatiently.

"Reading on the veranda. I didn't want to be disturbed. Is something wrong?"

"I need to talk to you. Can I come over now?"

"Of course, Lenore. Are you all right? You sound upset."

She hesitated a moment before answering. "I'll tell you when I see you."

A little over an hour later she arrived, not in her chauffer-driven limo but in an Italian sports car, a red Ferrari, that she drove herself. I met her at the front door and she followed me out onto the veranda. She had on a pair of white shorts and a white blouse. She was wearing tennis shoes and I noticed that one of the laces had become undone. The afternoon sun was warm but not hot, and I offered her a glass of sparkling water.

"Thank you," she said, taking the glass. "I'm so thirsty these days."

She sat down on a chaise lounge opposite me and took a long drink. I offered to tie her shoe lace but she refused.

"You look very pale," I said to her. "Are you feeling all right?"

She looked at me with those impervious, cobalt-blue eyes of hers and then down at her hands. "No, actually. I'm not all right, Holly." The hand that held the glass shook a little, and then I saw her eyes start to well up.

"Lenore!" I said, quickly pulling up a chair next to her. "Tell me, what's wrong?"

Before she could utter a word, she broke down in tears. I put my hand on her shoulder and spoke to her in comforting tones, but the tears would not abate. Finally, after a few minutes had passed, she began to regain her composure and wiped her eyes with her handkerchief.

"I feel a little better now," she said softly as she blew her nose. "I'm sorry my dear. I did not mean to alarm you."

"Please tell me what's going on," I insisted. "You have me worried to death."

She took a deep breath and a sip of water, and then began. "I have just come from my doctor's office. A few weeks ago I had experienced some pains in my chest and went in for an examination. They found that I have a problem with my heart. It's not cancer, but a form of arrhythmia—an irregular heartbeat—that could prove to be fatal…"

"Oh, no," I said. "I don't believe it. You've always been so strong."

"Not that strong, my darling Holly. The doctor has me on some damn prescription drug that I must take religiously for the rest of my life. I hate the entire idea of it. Me, dependent upon a drug!"

"Have you told aunt Phoebe and the others?"

"No, you are the only one that knows."

"But you must tell them. They have a right to know."

"They will be told, soon enough. I see no reason to cast a cloud over their holiday." She drew herself up in her chair and frowned. "My doctor has insisted that I must avoid all forms of stress. He absolutely forbids me to engage in any activity that will tax my nervous system or I just may end up dead. What do you think of that?" 

"Oh, Lenore, I'm so sorry," I said, wrapping my arms around her neck. It was now my turn to cry.

"It's all right, mon chéri. I don't intend to go out so easily."

"Don't even talk like that," I said, gently reprimanding her. 

She forced herself to laugh, despite herself. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to upset you. Just to tell you the truth. That's all."

I removed my arms from around her neck and took her hands in mine. "Maybe you should join Estelle and Justine on vacation. You will be able to get lots of rest there."

"No," she said forlornly. "As soon as I saw them I'd be forced to tell them everything and that would ruin their vacation. They will all return next week. I will tell them then."

For a while she looked off into the distance, refusing to meet my gaze. Knowing her as I did, I knew this was the prelude to something less than pleasant.

"I must tell you something now that is very important. And you will need to make a decision about it one way or the other, and soon I should think."

"What is it? What decision?"

She took a sip of water and held my hand firmly. "Because my health is compromised, I cannot effectively lead the Sisterhood any longer. I therefore am turning over temporary executive power to Justine and Estelle, who will now act in my stead. I emphasize 'temporary' power. Full executive privileges are reserved for the one who will take my place. That's you, Holly."

I didn't know how to respond to her at first because my mind was going in several different directions at once. I knew the Sisterhood mantle was to be passed onto me at some point in the future, but it sounded like that future time was coming closer and closer and I was not ready for it. 

"What are you asking of me?" 

"I am asking you to prepare yourself to lead the Sisterhood."

"But I have two years of school in front of me. You know that. I'm not ready to accept this responsibility now."

"You are more ready than you know."

I shook my head, not wanting to hear her rationale. "I have my parents whom I have to answer to. It's not as easy as you think. In a few more years' time when I finish my school…"

"By that time the Sisterhood will dead and gone. Even now as we speak, our Order has become seriously divisive. Angelique has corrupted many of our Sisters. Yes, it's true that we retain most of our Order, but she gains new adherents every day. I warned you long ago that a fight was coming, and it's now on our doorstep. Fortunately, you have many loyal and exceptionally talented Sisters who will do their best to help you. You know who they are."

"You mean Felicia, Janet, Charlotte…?"

"And don't forget Ashley and Mary Kate. They're billionaires with great power in the outside world. Those twins may prove to be your greatest allies."

"And what about aunt Phoebe?"

"What about her?"

"Why can't she assume the leadership of the Sisterhood? I mean, until I'm ready."

My mentor sighed heavily. "Because of Angelique. Certainly you can see this. You know that I love your aunt as if she were my own sister. But she is still Angelique's mother. And as much as Phoebe may say she hates her daughter now, there is still a good chance that she might soften over time and fall prey to Angelique's machinations. It would spell doom for us all."

"So, what you're saying is…I can't go home."

Lenore smiled at me in a kindly, knowing way. She now spoke to me with great conviction. "You are free to do whatever you choose, Holly. Neither I, nor anyone in the Sisterhood can force you to do anything you don't want to do. All I can tell you is that I can no longer lead this organization. And the Sisterhood needs a leader. Not just any leader…you. You, dear girl, are the one who must fight this fight. I saw greatness in you from the very beginning, when no one else did. Like you and Charlotte, I too have the gift of clairvoyance. I know what lies ahead if that monster Angelique should become leader of the Sisterhood. The end result of such a victory will destroy everything the Sisterhood has stood for all these centuries. Angelique and her kind want to control men by using and abusing them—they want to grind all men into the ground under their heels. But that is not the way of the Sisterhood. It never was. We are not a bunch of malevolent man-haters intent on gaining control at any cost. We are communicators, collaborators…we want to tame the more aggressive aspects of men's natures through the use of both reason and pleasure, not by treating them like vermin. You understand this. Angelique never will. She can't. It is beyond her capability. That is why it must be you."

She stopped talking for a moment, turning the glass over and over in her hand. I felt she wanted to say something more, and waited patiently. 

"I am truly sorry," she began, "for placing this burden upon your shoulders. Ideally, you would have taken my place as leader in a few more years, but we no longer can afford that luxury. While I am able to, I will help you in any way I can from behind the scenes, but I cannot take any visible action. The decision rests with you."

For a few moments I sat with my head resting in my hands, wondering what I was going to do. 

"If I decide to stay, what about my parents? What do I tell them?"

"We can tell them that you have decided to continue your studies here in France. I don't think they would object to that."

"But I want to see them at some point. I mean, I do miss them after all."

"I understand chéri. Avec le temps, ça s'arrangera."

"Huh? Oh, yes. Everything will work out in time. I understand. I just hope you're right."

"None of us has a crystal ball, my dear. Not even the great Antoinette could foretell the future. But maybe it is best that we can't. We humans seem to make quite a mess of things as it is without the benefit of foresight."

"So you think we still have hope?"

"Sometimes hope is the only thing we have to go on."

Lenore put her glass down and slowly rose up from her chair. I could tell she was now looking more like her old self, and she took my face in her hands and lovingly kissed each cheek.

"I must go now. Think of what I said. You must make your decision soon. If you decide not to stay, then I must find another to succeed me. But I hope you will not force me into that position. I leave the choice to you."

As I watched her walk toward her car she turned around abruptly and waved goodbye. "Je t'aime, Holly!" she said.

"Je t'aime aussi!" I replied, waving back.

For some time after she left I sat in the veranda contemplating her words. That night, and for several nights thereafter, I don't think I enjoyed a fitful night's sleep.

************


If there was anything to help alleviate the stress of my continued vacillation on the subject of whether I should stay in France and become the next ruler of the Sisterhood or return to the United States and my home and family, it was the overpowering influence of those twin colossi know as Mary Kate and Ashley. Small in stature they might be, but they nonetheless cast a giant shadow in the world of entertainment and fashion. And they certainly helped get me out of my sullen mood.

On the third day following my encounter with Lenore, Ashley called to invite me to Le Trois where a luncheon was going to be held for her friend, the famous American fashion designer, Bob Mackley. His new line of women's fall outerwear was going to be exhibited in a local Parisian boutique, including some outfits designed by Mary Kate herself. I accepted the invitation immediately.

The luncheon began ostensibly at 1:00 PM, but it seemed as though people had already been there for hours. The entire rear section of the restaurant had been sealed off from the main eating area, and I had to enter from a side entrance rather than from the front.

The first thing I noticed was that all the people assembled were women. There was not a man in sight, except for Mr. Mackley himself. He was sitting at the head of a long rectangular table; Mary Kate was seated at his left and Ashley on his right. All the other chairs were occupied—mine, which was next to Ashley's, was vacant.

I counted about several dozen women of various ages; all of whom I had been told were famous fashion designers in their own right. Some were pretty, most were not, but all had much to say about fashion, both good and bad. Mr. Mackley was a handsome man in his mid-fifties and possessed of a very affable nature. He wore a white suit with a black satin shirt unbuttoned at the top. As I took my seat next to Ashley he rose and shook my hand.

"Ms. McKenzie," he said politely. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I've met your aunt Phoebe on several occasions. A marvelous woman. So glad you could make it."

"Thank you, Mr. Mackley," I replied, as I took his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you as well."

"Please call me Bob," he said as he sat down. "Ashley," he said turning to her, "maybe you should introduce her to some of the ladies."

"Oh, of course," she answered.

It took several minutes for me to be introduced to all the women seated at the table, but by the time the introductions were over, I had made a few friends. All of the women were very gracious and very willing to talk about their fashion lines, no doubt made so by the quantities of liquor imbibed. I knew that Mary Kate and Ashley both drank in moderation, but tonight they seemed less inclined to allow themselves the luxury. I didn't know why until Ashley got my ear.

"We're purposely not drinking because Mary Kate wants a favor of Bob," she confessed. "We have to be careful how we approach this."

"I don't understand."

"Well, Mary Kate has a new idea she wants Bob to design, and Bob has already told her no. But you know my sister. She always gets what she wants."

"And you think she's going to convince him to change his mind tonight?"

"I'd say it's in the bag."

"How do you know that?"

"Because I know Mary Kate. And I know Bob."

I tried to get more information out of her but she simply left it at that at smiled coyly.

At some point during the middle of the luncheon the topic Ashley had alluded to was raised by Mary Kate. As she bit into a small piece of shrimp scampi, she turned to Bob and looked him squarely in the face. He was just finishing off a glass of Chardonnay and he seemed quite at ease, not drunk but getting there.

"Have you given any thought to those ideas of mine, Bob?" she asked him in a casual tone.

"What ideas?"

"The ones I gave you last week. You know, for the new women's line I'd like to create."

"Oh, those," he replied, reaching for a full bottle of wine. "I think I told you that I just don't have the time. I'm already involved with one of your projects and I have other people on the hook. I'm sorry, I just can't do it."

Mary Kate continued to eat unperturbed. "You know it would mean a lot to me if you could do it. Can't you have one of your assistants handle the less important clients?"

He laughed. "They are all important to me, Mary Kate. I make no distinction among persons. You know that."

"I do know that," she replied. "And that's one of the reasons I respect you."

"Then you understand. It's simply impossible for me to take on any new projects right now."

I had to admit that his tone of voice sounded final. If it had been me or anyone else, the subject would have been dropped. But this was Mary Kate, and she would have things her way.

After a momentary lull during which Bob was served his dish of roast pork, Mary Kate resumed her interrogation. I had to admit that she was a natural at it, never pushing the issue too hard or too often, using every conceivable wily feminine tactic to draw him out. More than once, Ashley giggled into her hand at her sisters deftly handled mental tricks.

"How's the pork?" she asked Bob.

"Superb," he replied between mouthfuls. "And the shrimp?"

"Not bad," she replied. "But I think I should have ordered what you did."
Bob's face registered disappointment. "Oh, Mary Kate. If you don't like it, have it sent back. Or have some of mine."

"No, no, it's fine," she assured him. "It's just that the pork looks so delicious."

"It is. Here, try a piece."

"I don't want to take your food from you."

"No, please. Have some."

He lifted his fork to her mouth and she slowly, sensually parted her lips to accept his offering while staring directly in his face.

"Mmmm…" she sighed as she daintily chewed on the small bit of meat. "It's so good!"

The conniving sister didn't let is rest there. Seeing the pleased expression on Bob's face, she let her tongue travel around her lips in a most lascivious way. Finally, she swallowed the morsel and took a drink of water.

"One more piece, please!" she begged him.

"Of course, of course!" he said obligingly.

As he fed her the second helping of pork, she looked at Ashley and grinned.

"Watch this," Ashley said to me.

As soon as Mary Kate had consumed the meat, she let her left arm fall to her side. Pure pleasure was written all over her face. "I think I'm going to have an orgasm over this, it's so delicious."

At the same moment, Bob's eyes opened wide and he gave a great shudder, which he tried to suppress by adjusting his position in his chair.

"What's going on?" I asked Ashley.

"Keep watching," she said, her eyes glued to her sister.

Bob was definitely looking uncomfortable. Yet he made no effort to further change his position in the chair. In fact, he turned his chair slightly inward toward Mary Kate so that he could be closer to her. Her left arm still remained by her side.

"So, are you certain that you won't take on my new line?" she asked him as she toyed with her food. This time I noticed a slight back and forth movement with her arm.

"Mary Kate, please," he pleaded. "I told you I can't."

"What's the problem really?" she asked. "Is it your wife? Is she putting the choker on? I know she doesn't like me."

Bob stopped short of talking to take in a big gulp of air. "No, it's nothing like that. I'm just too damn busy right now. That's all."

"I'll pay you very well," she said, her arm falling up and down more distinctly now.

"It's…it's not a question of money, Mary Kate. It's a matter of time. Please try to understand."

"I do understand, Bob. I really do. But I must have that fashion line finished and ready to showcase for October. And I'm asking you as a friend, to do me this one favor."

Bob was now squirming in his seat and making some odd faces—a mixture of pain and pleasure all at once. Mary Kate's arm was now bent at the elbow and moving back and forth in a fast, regular motion. 

"But what is it with you Mary Kate? I mean…look, no is no. I mean, to most people it would be, but not you. Must you always have things your way?"

"You know I do, Bob. You know I do."

At this point I, and most everyone at the table, including the waitresses, could see that Mary Kate was giving Bob a handjob under the table. In fact, one of the waitresses took the liberty to whisper something to lascivious twin and Mary Kate nodded in agreement. As the bold girl walked by, Ashley intercepted her.

"What did you want with my sister?" she asked the girl.

"I asked Ms. Olsen to let us know when the man will have his orgasm. All of us want to watch."

"Kinky!" she laughed. "Did you hear that, Holly?"

I just shook my head and laughed. "Everybody in this city is a voyeur!"

By this time all the women at the table were now engrossed with Mary Kate's performance. They giggled as they continued to eat their food, but they continued to maintain their concentration on the test of wills taking place at the head of the table.
 

"When I tell someone no, I mean no," said Bob, now starting to sweat a little. "But you just keep pushing a guy, keep pushing…yeah…like that, you know…"

Mary Kate smiled. She knew she was getting to him, as did everyone else. As she continued to eat her food with her right hand, her left hand was steadily stroking between his legs. Bob moaned.

"I realize how hard it must be for you," she jibed. "But you're supposed to put in that extra mile for people you call your friends. Don't you agree, Bob?" He didn't answer right away. "Well? Don't you?"

There were a few outright laughs from the women as Mary Kate stopped eating and looked at him. His eyes seemed glazed over.

"Yeah, I guess so…yeah…"

Mary Kate looked at Ashley and nodded her head. It was a signal for Ashley to go into action.

Moving her hand down to her side, I watched as Ashley slowly moved it toward Bob's belt. With a few deft maneuvers, she had undone it and pulled down his zipper, meeting with no opposition from him. She then pulled down his underwear so that the tip of his penis suddenly sprang into view. Seeing the purple bulging tip now exposed, Mary Kate guided her index finger just under the head of his penis and began quickly rubbing it up and down against the sensitive underside. All the women at the table started giggling in unison as they watched her jerk him off.

"So, Bob," Mary Kate continued. "When can I expect the designs to be finalized?"

"I… I can't do it before the end of October," he gasped.

"But I need them at least two weeks before that," she insisted.

The women at the table all began laughing in earnest now. His prick was clearly visible to all and he didn't seem to care one bit. 

"You look very hot, Bob," Ashley said. "Why don't you take off your jacket?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah…" he said, as she offered to help him remove the blazer.

"Feel better?" 

"Yeah, thanks, Ash," he replied, reaching for his water glass this time instead of wine.

"I can make you feel even better if you do what I want," Mary Kate said to him.

To emphasize her point, both she and Ashley pulled down both his pants and underwear and we were treated to the sight of a ten-inch penis, almost all of which now stood proudly, unashamedly, above the rise of the table. The thing that struck me was not the size, or even the girth, but the extraordinarily large head. Mary Kate now ran her smallish, delicate, red-nailed fingers all around it, playfully squeezing and tensing it while Bob could only sit there helplessly and watch, the fate of his penis completely under her assured control.

"Ash," do you still have that special lube Dr. Swensen gave to you a few weeks ago? You know, that special masturbation cream?"

"I think I still have a little left," she replied, picking her pocketbook up off the floor.

"Could you give me some?" 

Ashley dutifully complied by reaching into her purse and producing a small silver tube. She reached over and put a modest amount into Mary Kate's palm, which Mary Kate then applied all over Bob's shaft. She now began to stroke his prick in earnest. 

"I know how much you love this, Bob," she said sexily, as her left hand pulled up and down on his cock in a steady, rhythmic fashion. "I know how much you need this too, because your fucking whore of a wife refuses to do it for you. Isn't that right?"

"Yeah… that's right. She…she don't like to get my cum on her."

"Can you imagine that ladies?" Mary Kate sneered. "This handsome guy can't even get a hand fuck from his own wife! Why do you stay with her, Bob?"

"Because…because…"

"Yes, because…"

"Because I like being controlled by a woman. And she does it so fucking good!"

I nearly choked on my drink. I would never have suspected Bob Mackley to be a closet submissive.

"What does she do, Bob?" Mary Kate asked, increasing the tempo of her stroking.

"She makes me jerk off in front of all her female friends."

This admission was greeted by a hearty round of cheers and laughter from all. I could tell that he was enervated by all the attention he was getting. When the young waitresses moved in to look at him being jerked off, it proved too much. I knew it was only a matter of minutes before he would be shooting his load.

"And do you cum for them, Mr. Mackley?" asked one of the women at the end of the table whose name was Grace.

"I have to," he admitted, "or else they throw me out of my house!"

The laugher was deafening. He had barely had enough breath to finish his sentence and now seemed solely occupied with Mary Kate's amazingly wonderful handjob.

"Well, can you tell us how long it has been since you ejaculated?" Ashley asked him.

"About seven days."

"That's a long time for a guy isn't it?"

"My wife forbids me to jerk off unless… it's for her amusement."

Again a roar of laugher from all.

"Well, you can amuse all of us right now, Bob, with a really creamy, sticky, fucking load of spunk," Mary Kate laughed, as she pulled on his prick with increased speed. "Or if you refuse to accommodate me, I'll stop right now."

As she finished her sentence she removed her hand from his penis, letting it bob back and forth unattended.

"No," he cried, searching for her hand. "I'll give you what you want. I promise!"

"Okay, okay," she said with a grin as her hand returned to his cock. "But you have to give us a really good cumshot. You've had seven days to save it all up. I expect to see long, stringy ropes of cum shoot out of the tip. Long, stringy ropes. Got it?"

"Oh god," he said sighing loudly. "You always win, don't you?"

"Yup," she laughed. "I always do."

Mary Kate now called the waitresses forward to witness Bob's imminent explosion of cum. Some of the women in the back of the room also came forward, also anxious to watch him climax.

"Keep it pointed up," Ashley reminded her sister. "He has a tendency to shoot really far."

"I know. I know," Mary Kate giggled. "And multiple times too. Right Bob?"

Bob could not reply because he was now ready to burst.

With her left hand furiously pulling on his huge organ, Mary Kate took a bite of her shrimp, seemingly unconcerned about what was now going to happen. Her indifference seemed to drive Bob to even greater heights of ecstasy. I did not fully understand why this was so, but I soon discovered that many men enjoyed being indifferently treated by women. Ostensibly this had to do with issues of self-esteem wherein a very casual attitude toward sex on the woman's part made the man feel as though he was being "serviced" in a fashion similar to that of a prostitute. It made little sense to me but it was true nonetheless.

"Oh, my fucking Jesus!" Bob suddenly exclaimed.

I watched as the tip of his prick expanded to its full capacity. Mary Kate stopped using her entire hand to masturbate him and just employed her thumb at the base of the swollen head, flicking it every so lightly and rhythmically against the taut flesh.

She was biting down on her second piece of shrimp as he erupted.

"Ropes!" she shouted, as the first spurt of stringy seed flew out of the tip of his prick with lightning speed.

The intensity of the ejaculation was incredible. It was almost too fast for the eye to see. But there, hanging from the rim of the tiffany lamp ten feet above him, was the evidence of his lust—a long, white rope of hot cream. Mary Kate was delighted.

"Yes!" she cried, as the long strand of cum swung obscenely back and forth above her. 

Ashley, too, was urging Bob on to greater heights with some of the filthiest talk I had ever heard from her. "Cream for us you fucking bastard! Shoot it all over the room! Cream for Mary Kate, your boss!"

The waitresses were laughing uncontrollably, as were the other women at the table. Bob was frozen in his chair, only his prick now seemed alive under the direct control of Mary Kate's relentless handjob.

"Let's drain this fucking schlong, shall we?" she said leering into Bob's face.

With a quick flick of her fingernail he surrendered another load of cum, flying just as high up in the air as the first shot. And then came a series of multiple climaxes that were launched each time Mary Kate teased the sensitive underside. It was quite amazing to watch his creamy bursts of jizz shoot up into the air with such rapidity and consistency, almost as if she were mentally willing every spurt out with the aid of her fingers. Ashley sat back in her chair, grinning broadly at her sister's impeccable handjob, cheering each time another sticky white load went shooting up into the air, knowing that Mary Kate had won yet another contest against the male species.

"Oh, look at it!" Mary Kate laughed in Bob's face, as another round of sperm found its way into the air above his head.

Bob stared down at his spurting organ as though it were something alien to him. All he knew or cared about at that point seemed to be Mary Kate's lovely hand and the generous amounts of sperm she was extracting from him. No doubt he was greatly pleased by the release of so much semen—a release he had been deprived of for an entire week by his dominant wife. He now begged the beautiful masturbatrix to finish him off with her hand.

Mary Kate willingly obliged, encircling his shaft with her entire hand, masturbating him with all her might.

If her abrupt fingernail flicks had produced a plentiful round of shooting sperm, her pumping hands created a most dazzling display of multiple cum shots that I had ever seen. As her tiny hand pulled up, we were rewarded with a gigantic rope of cum that shot out and up over the table to land in the plate of the women at the far end—a clear fifteen feet! This was followed by successive volleys of sperm that flew into the guests themselves until Mary Kate deftly repositioned his cock away from the table. Ashley and I got hit several times by the irrepressible blasts of cum, but they all fell onto our upper bodies and not anywhere near our faces. Some of the waitresses however, weren't so lucky, running to and fro to avoid getting hit in the face by the incessant barrage of sperm.

"Christ!" one of the women designer's exclaimed. "What a fucking load!"

"I love it!" another woman squealed.

Mary Kate's arm was beginning to tire, yet she managed to coax out several more long, creamy spurts from Bob's incredible tool. When he had finally stopped ejaculating, he collapsed face first onto the table, unable to speak for several minutes. All the women in the room exploded into applause at the astounding performance. Mary Kate smiled graciously and picked up a napkin to clean the sperm off her hand. She, Ashley, and I then went to the bathroom to remove the semen from our clothes. 

Bob stayed true to his word and gave Mary Kate everything she wanted and more. Again, my theory that most men would do almost anything for a simple handjob was proven correct. 

************



When my aunt Phoebe and Charlotte returned from Lyon they found me by the pool sunning myself. Craig was lying beside me putting suntan lotion on my back when I heard the sound of high heels clicking loudly on the stucco walkway leading out from the veranda. There seemed to be a decided urgency in those footsteps. I rose up on one elbow and turned my head around to see my aunt suddenly peering down intently into my face—her head eclipsing the mid-day sun behind her.

"Why didn't you tell me?" she said angrily. "A whole week has gone by and you said nothing!"

"Phoebe, please," Charlotte broke in. "It's not her fault."

My aunt ignored her. "I want an explanation, Holly, and I want it now!"

It was rare when my aunt lost her composure and I had to admit that she was somewhat intimidating. Even Craig looked a bit skittish as she pulled up a chair to sit next to me. Charlotte, realizing that any further interference would prove pointless, also took a chair beside my aunt.

"You're talking about Lenore I assume?" I said calmly.

"Of course I am. Who the hell do you think I'm talking about? You knew she had a heart problem and you said nothing. Why?"

"Because she told me to," I replied.

"Oh, come on! You don't keep something as serious as this to yourself."

"She made me promise that I would say nothing about it to anyone until she decided to tell you herself."

Charlotte shook her head. "You see, Phoebe? You can't blame Holly. You should be angry at Lenore."

"I am angry at Lenore!" my aunt bellowed. "But I can't yell at her because she's sick."

"I'm sorry, aunt Phoebe," I said. "I was just keeping a promise."

My aunt looked away and I could see that she was trying hard to compose herself. "No, I'm the one who should be sorry for getting angry at you. It's just that, Lenore is just so damned stubborn! She could have died while we were away. My best friend…gone…without having a chance to say goodbye. It's all so ridiculous. That woman is ridiculous!"

"You're getting yourself all worked up for nothing," Charlotte reprimanded my aunt. "You act as if Lenore had one foot in the grave already."

My aunt looked like she was going to cry for a moment but suddenly reached for Charlotte's hand and laughed. "You're right, Charlotte. I'm acting like an ass. I don't mean to over react. It's just that so much has happened lately. First, my daughter…now this. I should have stayed in Lyon for another week."

"Why don't you come inside and I'll make us something to eat?" Charlotte asked. "How about you, Holly…Craig? Are you hungry?"

"I'm taking Holly out for dinner tonight," Craig replied. "But thank you for asking."

Charlotte rose from her chair and headed back into the house while my aunt got up and ran her fingers through my hair.

"Forget what I said, Holly," she said. "You and Craig go back to enjoying yourselves. I'm going to get something to eat then take a nap. Have a nice time tonight, both of you."

"Lenore is going to be fine," I tried to assure her. "She's a very strong lady."

My aunt smiled at me and turned to follow Charlotte. I could tell she was sincerely sorry for her outburst of anger toward me, but her eyes could not hide the fact that she was deeply worried about her best friend. I had to admit that I was worried too, but Lenore's fate was something neither my aunt nor I could control. We could only hope for the best.

Later that day, Craig and I had dinner at one of the local Parisian eateries that catered to vegetarians. Although not a strict vegetarian myself, I did tend to favor fruits and vegetables more than meat and fish, so there was plenty on the menu that appealed to me. 

After dinner, when both of us were enjoying a glass of Bordeaux, I decided to tell Craig what Lenore had discussed with me earlier. I needed to talk to someone whose opinion I respected—someone outside the realm of the Sisterhood—someone whom I could trust to give me an honest answer.

"Have you told your parents?" he asked, as he poured himself some water.

"Yes. I spoke to my mom and dad this afternoon. Of course, they both want me to come home. But after explaining everything to them, they seem to understand. They're not happy about it, but it's my life."

"What about your aunt Phoebe?"

"I haven't said anything to her. She has enough on her plate already. But I'm sure she knows about it. Lenore tells her everything."

Craig studied my face intently. "Well, I don't know if I'm the right person to ask for advice, but I think you have a unique opportunity to do something great with your life."
"You mean with the Sisterhood?"

"Yes. I mean, you can go home and get your degree and get married and have a nice, normal life if that's what you want, but what Lenore is giving you is something that only happens to people once in a lifetime—if ever. As leader of the Sisterhood you will have money, power, and influence that most people could only dream of. And think of all the great things you could do to make life better for people. I can't tell you what to do. But if it were me, I would go for it. I can't think of anyone better for the job."

"You really think I'd make a good leader?"

"Yes, I really do. I've always thought that."

Craig took a drink of water and put the glass down. He suddenly looked sad.

"I know I'm being selfish in saying this, but no matter what you do, I'm still going to lose you, aren't I?"

"No," I replied, gently touching his arm. "It doesn't have to be that way. We can work something out. I'm sure we can."

"Holly, be realistic. Whether you go home to America or stay here and run the Sisterhood, I lose out. I have family back in Stockholm. They expect me to show my face in a few weeks. Where does that leave us?"

He had hit upon something I had dreaded bringing up because I really had no concrete answer for him. He was right of course. Our time together was quickly coming to an end and we were approaching a stalemate.

"I guess we've both been avoiding this, haven't we?"

Craig nodded in agreement, twirling the glass around in his hand. "I was hoping that you might consider coming back to Sweden with me. You know…you could finish up your studies there and we could be together…"

He looked up at me for a moment as if he were going to continue, then fell silent.

"Is there something else?" I asked him.

"Well, I was hoping that, maybe in a year or two, once you're done with school, that you and I could get married."

This admission took me a little by surprise. "As much as I love you, and I do love you," I said taking his hand in mine, "I'm not ready for marriage yet. And neither are you."

He looked downcast for a moment then quickly perked up. "All right, forget about marriage for now. How are we going to keep this relationship going? Something has to give somewhere."

"I don't know," I replied. "I guess once I make my decision we can go from there." My grip on his hand tightened. "I just know that I don't want to lose you."

We spent the night at Craig's hotel room. I had no desire to return to my aunt's chateau, so I called her cell phone and left a message telling her where I was. I will never forget that evening because it was the first time that Craig and I made love. Unlike some girl's stories relating horrible, first-time experiences with sexual intercourse, our lovemaking session was quite intense and beautiful. He was gentle and very willing to please me, and I know I pleased him too. By the time morning rolled around, I had made my decision.

************



"Wonderful!" I heard the voice on the other end of the line exclaim. "This is wonderful news!"

Lenore's powerful outburst forced me to pull the phone away from my ear. I had called her from Craig's hotel room after we had finished having breakfast to let her know that I had decided to assume leadership of the Sisterhood. I saw no need in waiting any longer. Craig had made me realize that I had a chance to make a difference in the world, and after careful consideration I realized that I would be a fool to pass up such an opportunity.

"I thought you'd be happy," I replied. 

"Happy?" Lenore exclaimed. "I'm thrilled! I can't tell you how much this means to me mon chéri! Do you mind if I call your aunt right now and tell her?"

"Not at all."

"And I'll have to let all our Sisters know, too. Oh, this is simply wonderful! I am going to call a meeting for tomorrow night at Phoebe's house. Just you, me and a few other Sisters—you know whom I mean. We need to discuss matters and papers will have to be drawn up. Both Estelle and Justine are attorneys you know."

"Yes, I know."

"I'd meet with you in the afternoon but I have a doctor's appointment."
 

"Tomorrow night's fine."

Lenore's voice was becoming more animated by the minute. 

"You will have to be initiated, but that's just a simple formality. It won't take long. You'll have to sign some papers…but we'll go over all that tomorrow. How does 7:00 PM sound to you?"

"That's fine."

"Good. I'll call Phoebe as soon as I get off the phone with you and let her know. Got to run."

"Lenore?"

"Yes, my dear?"

"I just want you to know that it was Craig who helped me make my decision."

"Really?"

"Really. He can be very influential when he wants to be."

Lenore laughed. "Well, please give him a big kiss from me and tell him that I think he's wonderful. See you tomorrow night chéri!"

Craig and I spent the rest of the day making love and at 5:00 PM I took a cab back to the chateau. When my aunt saw me she greeted me with open arms, congratulating me on my decision. Charlotte was there too, looking every bit like the cat that got the cream.

"This is a momentous event," she said, hugging me. "What do you think, Phoebe? Will she not make a great leader of our Order?"

"I have no doubt about it," my aunt replied. Her voice was airy and light, a refreshing change from her more recent gloomy ramblings. "So, all of us will be meeting here tomorrow night."

"Yes," I replied. "I guess Lenore can't wait to get things rolling."

"Perfectly understandable. She's excited for you—and for all of us. You've taken a great burden off her shoulders."

Charlotte agreed. "And ours too!"

"Well, I'm glad of that," I said smiling. "I just want to do what's best for our Order."

Both women encircled me with their arms and hugged me close. "Just as it should be, my dear," my aunt Phoebe said. "Just as it should be."

************



After sharing dinner with my aunt and Charlotte, the three of us spent the better part of the evening discussing my decision and the ramifications—both real and imagined—related to it. On certain issues I was quite clear; on others, I was not. My aunt and Charlotte both reassured me that Lenore would explain everything to my satisfaction, and that those cloudy areas would, in time, also be made clear. I said goodnight to both of them around 1:00 AM and went to bed. However, I did not fall asleep for several hours later, as my mind kept reflecting upon not only the Sisterhood, but also upon Craig. When I did finally close my eyes, it was Craig's loving arms that held me close. 

Things began to transpire very quickly once I had made the decision to take on the role of Sisterhood leader. No sooner had I told Lenore than the calls started coming in from my Sisterhood colleagues. Felicia Antonetti was the first to offer me congratulations, followed by Estelle, Justine, Dr. Monroe, Janet Walsh, and a whole slew of people whom I barely knew. My aunt got so disgusted with all the phone calls I was getting that she turned off the ringer and let the answering machine take the remainder of the calls.

"I think we got over one hundred phone calls between yesterday night and this morning," she said to me as I was preparing to have my breakfast. "They all want to be your friend now—even the ones who don't like you."

"It's okay, aunt Phoebe. I know who my real friends are."

"Well, let me warn you. Even they will be tapping you on the shoulder before too long."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that even your friends will be asking you for favors. Everyone wants to be in the winner's circle. But don't worry. Lenore and her girls will be running interference for you. At least for as long as it will take you to get on your feet."

"I don't see how I can make any mistakes you with you, Lenore, and all the rest of them watching over me."

"Oh, believe me, you will. It's part of the job. But you'll get the hang of it. You'll have to because you won't always have Lenore and auntie Phoebe to rely on."

"I hope that won't be for a very long time."

"I hope so. But fate has a way of interfering with one's plans."

My aunt's face suddenly looked sad. On the mantel next to where she stood was a picture of her, my uncle Pierre, and my cousin Angelique. It was a very old picture taken when my cousin was probably no more than five or six years old. In the picture they were all smiling, and to the observer would have given absolutely no clue as to the horrendous events that were occurring in the family at that time. Seeing their happy faces, I could scarcely believe that my uncle, looking so handsome and debonair in the picture, could actually have beaten his wife and sexually abused his child. 

"The fates can be cruel, Holly," she said, carefully studying the picture. "Very cruel."

"Do you want to talk about it auntie?"

"There's nothing to talk about. Pierre is out of my life and so is my daughter it seems. I have to think of myself now."

She stared at the picture for a few moments more and then quickly walked out of the room without another word.

The meeting took place at 7:00 PM as planned. Lenore arrived a half hour early with both Estelle and Justine, each of whom were carrying valises containing paperwork related to my situation. My aunt and Charlotte had prepared a small buffet, which all of us partook of before getting down to business. Lenore reported to us that her visit to the doctor went very well, and that she was reacting positively to the prescribed medication. She looked much better than she had when she last paid me a visit, and it was refreshing to see her so buoyant and vital.

After we had eaten, the paperwork was discussed and fully explained to me by Justine and Estelle. The powers I would be granted would be immense, as I would be, in effect, the supreme head of the entire worldwide Sisterhood Order. All that was now required to effect this transfer of power from Lenore to me was my signature. With some hesitation, I signed on the proverbial dotted line.

"Congratulations Holly," Lenore said, shaking my hand. "Or should I say, 'Sister' Holly!"

"Is this it then?" I asked her. "Am I the official leader of the Sisterhood?"

"Yes, you are," Justine said as she handed me my copy of the signed documents. "I would keep these in a safe place."

She handed the documents to me and I placed them in a drawer in the sideboard behind me.

"As I told you Holly," Lenore began, "there will be a small initiation ceremony that you will have to attend. We can set that up for a few days from now. It's just a formality. Legally, you are now the head of our Order. How do you feel about that?"

I shook my head numbly. "It's going to take some time to sink in. I have so much to learn."

"That's why we are here," Estelle said. "To help you get acquainted with your duties and responsibilities."

"Oh, you make it sound like a drudgery!" my aunt said good-naturedly. "There will be plenty of time for such things after she has been officially installed. For the present, let's enjoy ourselves."

"What do you mean, 'officially installed'?" I asked my aunt.

"You know, there's got to be a ceremony. "An official ceremony to welcome you into the Order."

"It's similar to what your aunt when through," Charlotte said to me, "only a hundred times more extravagant."

"And where is this ceremony going to be held?" I asked her.

"Here, of course," my aunt responded. "Where else is there?"

Lenore rested her hand on my shoulder. "You have to understand, Holly. There may well be over a thousand Sisters attending this event. Your aunt's chateau is the only place big enough to handle such a crowd. It's going to be magnificent!" She raised her glass to me, as did the others, in salutation. "To our Sister Holly! May she reign with wisdom, honor, and courage!"

As the hours passed our discussions centered less upon Sisterhood matters than about my relationship with Craig. Lenore had recalled that it was Craig who had convinced me to accept her offer to lead the Sisterhood, and she only had wonderful things to say about that.

"Such a fine young man," she began. "A rare gentleman. You are lucky to have someone like that in your life, Holly. Don't let him get away."

"I don't intend to," I assured her.

"Do you think you two might get married?" Justine asked.

"Not anytime soon. We both have other obligations and frankly I'm just not ready."

"Well in a way that's good," Charlotte said. "You're very young and you have plenty of time for that. It's not something you should rush into anyway."

"Agreed," my aunt said. "Especially now that my darling niece is our new leader, she'll have her hands full with running this organization. There's no harm in waiting, Holly. No harm at all."

At precisely 11:00 PM the front doorbell rang. Because of the nature of our meeting, my aunt had dismissed all the servants for the day, so it was she who rose to answer the door. 

"Are you expecting someone, Phoebe?" Lenore asked her.

"No," my aunt replied as she promptly exited the room.

For a few moments we heard nothing and then, suddenly, an exchange of words and the sound of the front door closing. 

"Phoebe? Who is it?" Lenore asked in a rising voice.

My aunt didn't offer a reply. Instead, she came walking back into the room looking somewhat flushed, and following behind her appearing every bit as flushed was Angelique, dressed in a skin-tight black leather dress and black high-heel boots. Her long blonde hair fell almost to her buttocks and the large, hypnotic blue eyes surveyed the room with quick and furtive movements, at last resting their malevolent gaze upon me.

I, as well as all the other women in the room, was startled to see this unwelcome visitor suddenly appear after months of self-enforced hiding. And to show up at this late hour unannounced was quite rude, despite the fact that her actions were in keeping with her natural, self-absorbed personality. I regarded her with deep suspicion and saw that no one, not even my aunt, was happy to see her. Without being asked, Angelique took a seat near the window from opposite of where I sat. 

"Well, this is quite a surprise," my aunt said to Angelique in a voice quavering with repressed anger. "No contact with you for two months and then you just show up at my door. I thought I'd raised my child with better manners than that. Why are you here?"

Angelique did not answer right away. Instead, she threw me a menacing glance and then looked at her mother with an expression I can only describe as lightly veiled contempt. I saw not one vestige of familial affection in her face, only an icy coldness that pervaded her every movement and expression, casting an impure pale upon the entire room.

"I think you know why," she answered coldly, her voice dripping with malice. "You've made this creature," she said, pointing at me, "your new leader. I found out not long after you did, thanks to a certain few loyal Sisters."

"I'm sure you didn't come here to congratulate your cousin," my aunt retorted. "Again I ask you. Why are you here?"

"It's simple mother. I came here tonight to tell you that your little plan is not going to work. You think Holly is going to make everything right again. You think she is the answer to all your problems. You're just deluding yourself. You are all deluding yourselves."

"Is that right?" my aunt replied. "And who are you to tell us we're deluded? You're the one who thinks the entire world revolves around you. Therefore, I would say it is you who is deluded, not us."

A slight, sinister smile appeared on my cousin's lips. "You're wrong. I see things very clearly. You're afraid of me. All of you are—especially you, Holly. And you should be. Has Lenore told you that you are losing adherents at the rate of thousands per month? No? I didn't think so. But it's true. They are coming over to my side in droves. And do you know why? Because I have a vision of the Sisterhood that none of you pompous, arrogant fools could ever entertain. And that vision is why people are coming to me. In a very short time there's going to be nothing left of your old Order. Nothing. It's dying away even now as we speak. And you know this Lenore. What you handed over to Holly today is a phantom full of false promises and broken dreams. Your Order is nothing more than a decaying corpse, fit only for worms and the dust. That is what you inherited today Holly. That is Lenore's fucking legacy to you."

Before I had a chance to respond to my cousin's outrageous accusation, Lenore stood up and violently shoved her chair to one side, glowering at Angelique as if she wanted to shove her hate-filled diatribe down her vulgar throat.

"As God as my judge," she began, her face turning red with anger, "if you weren't Phoebe's child I would tear that vicious tongue from your filthy, lying mouth! How dare you come here and insult your mother, and all of us, with your ridiculous accusations? There's no truth to anything you say. It's all conjecture—an invention of your troubled mind."

"You foolish old woman," Angelique spat. "You'd like everyone to believe that wouldn't you? Angelique is crazy. That's what you think, isn't it? Well, fuck you! I'm not crazy and very soon I'm going to prove to you—to all of you—that you made a big mistake in not making me leader of the Sisterhood!"

"What are talking about?" my aunt interjected. "What in God's name are you talking about you sick little child? Didn't we go over all this long ago? Lenore didn't choose you because you're unstable. And what you're saying right now is proof of it." 

Angelique threw her head back and laughed. "I'm unstable? Oh, no mother. You got that dead wrong. I'm just one of those people the world calls a 'blessed lunatic'. We're not really crazy, just a bit different from the normal status quo. We're the dreamers, the visionaries…the ones who shape the world in the form of our visions. That's what I've done with the Sisterhood. Not your Sisterhood, my Sisterhood. You took the old Sisterhood away from me, remember? Well, anyway, I've created something new and beautiful with my Sisterhood. Something that did not exist before—and for that I'm called 'crazy'."

My cousin delivered this speech as though she were talking to herself. She even began to giggle at the end of it. I have to admit that it had a disconcerting affect upon me and everyone else. I could tell that my aunt was particularly disturbed by her daughter's odd behavior. It seemed to me as though my cousin spoke as if she were alone in the room and that we had suddenly become nonexistent. For a moment I thought that she might be possessed of some evil spirit, even though I did not believe in such things. 

Up until this point I had remained silent. I wanted to hear what my cousin had to say and thought it best to let her speak in the hopes that, in her desire to appear self-important, she might reveal her true motives for coming to see her mother. But now, as she sought to defend those motives, I sensed quite clearly that Angelique was not in her right mind. Her aberrant behavior, so long manifested in all my dealings with her, had not abated with the passage of time. She really believed she was a crusader on some kind of quest—a quixotic type figure who had become the prisoner of her own disordered mind.

"The real reason you came here tonight was to convince all of us to join you," I said to Angelique. "Isn't that the truth?"

"Ah, she finally speaks up! Now there's a great leader for you! She lets her underlings do all the questioning and then when she thinks she has a handle on things, she opens her mouth! Way to go cousin Holly! Way to go!"

"Oh why don't you shut up, Angelique, and go home!" Charlotte said. "Nothing you've said makes any sense whatsoever."

"That's not very nice aunt Charlotte. Not nice at all."

"How can anyone be nice to you?" Justine broke in. "You treat everyone as though they're below you."

"Not everyone, Justine. Just people like you."

"Justine is a lovely person," Estelle said, coming to her friend's defense. "A very lovely person!"

"Ha!" Angelique replied. "That's fine coming from a lawyer!"

"I've heard enough of this," my aunt said, her patience at an end. "Angelique, I want you to leave now. There is nothing to be gained from this conversation. Once again you've shown yourself to be a heartless little bitch. I'm ashamed to say it because you are my daughter. But the truth is the truth. Please get out."

Angelique stood up and looked at me then Lenore, her icy stare sending shivers down my spine.

"I don't miss this place. I don't miss it at all. It's become the repository for bimbos and stupid old women. Go ahead. Sit around here and rot. I don't care. The days of the old Sisterhood Order are coming to an end—and the sooner the better. Goodbye all. You can't say I didn't offer you a chance."

As Angelique moved to exit the room, Lenore intercepted her, putting her hand out to block the willful girl's passage.

"A chance for what?" Lenore asked. "To be like you? To live a life in total abnegation of the principles upon which the Sisterhood was founded? To take something wonderful and honorable and turn it into a mechanism for the maltreatment of others—especially men? Men, whom you think of as nothing more than vermin? Whom you would eagerly crush into the ground under your boot heels simply because they don't add up to much in your exalted opinion? Well, let me tell you my poor, misguided girl that in the grand scheme of things you're the one who doesn't add up to much! And you can take this message back to all those other misguided Sisters who foolishly bought into your act and chose to follow you. Tell them that Lenore has no use for them. Tell them that Lenore will never take them back into the fold of the true Sisterhood. Tell them that I think you are an evil, hateful, and selfish girl who is only concerned with her own twisted desires. And tell them this: that under the new leadership of Holly McKenzie, the one and only true successor to the crown of Antoinette, there will be a reckoning. And all those that are found to be proven false will be cast out. Forever. Go tell them that, you miserable little bitch. Go, before I lose what patience I have and strangle you!"

Angelique stood motionless before this verbal onslaught, never once taking her eyes off Lenore. Then, suddenly, she pushed the older woman aside and hastily ran toward the front door, slamming it shut after her.

Lenore was visibly shaken and fumbled to find her chair, at last falling into it with a great thud. Her face had gone from beet red to pale in a matter of seconds and she was breathing hard.

"Oh, my God!" my aunt cried out as she, and all of us, rushed toward our fallen friend. "What is it, honey? Are you all right?"

"I'm…I'm sorry," Lenore replied breathing fast. "I shouldn't have said those things…she is your daughter after all. Forgive me, Phoebe."

"She deserved what she got. Here, drink some water."

My aunt handed Lenore a glass of water, but she couldn't seem to hold the object in her hand. "No, take it away," Lenore said, her breathing becoming shallow and irregular.

"I'm calling an ambulance right now," Charlotte said, reaching for the phone.

Estelle took Lenore's hand in hers and began taking her pulse. There was worry written all over her face. "You should lie down."

The Sisterhood leader lifted her eyes up to meet her associate's gaze but she said nothing.

"Lenore?" Justine said, her voice filled with emotion. "Do you want to lie down?"

"No…just let me…catch my breath."

"She should lie down Justine," Estelle suggested. "She just needs to get her breathing under control. Come on, Lenore. Easy does it. Take a normal deep breath…in an out, in and out."
 

"Let's move her onto the couch," my aunt advised. "Come on girls, give me a hand."

Charlotte was still on the phone as my aunt, Justine, Estelle and I lifted Lenore off the chair and dragged her limp body to the couch. I stuck some throw pillows under her head to make her comfortable while Estelle and Justine tried to coordinate her breathing. 

"She's so cold!" Justine remarked.

"Her blood pressure is dropping," Estelle said. "Phoebe, put a blanket on her."

My aunt immediately removed her shoes and threw an afghan over her to keep her warm. I felt helpless to do anything. In the presence of these women I hardly felt like a Sisterhood leader. If anything, I felt like a little child who can do nothing but defer to the wisdom and competence of her superiors. Seeing my turmoil, my aunt suggested that I talk to Lenore while she and the others ministered to the stricken woman.

"The ambulance will be here in ten minutes," Charlotte said, as she looked down upon her fallen comrade.

As I took up a chair beside Lenore she slowly turned her head toward me and smiled faintly. She seemed to be trying to tell me something but lacked the strength to do so.

"Won't you take some water?" I asked her as I caressed her face with my hand.

She shook her head once from side to side.

"Not even a little?"

Again, she indicated with a nod of her head that she didn't want any. 

"Okay," I said softly. "You just rest here and we'll take care of you until the ambulance comes."

As the minutes went by her condition seemed to get worse. The first to notice this was Estelle, who was now crying uncontrollably; her tears falling fast and hot upon the blanket covering her friend. Justine, the less emotional of the two, paced up and down like a cat that had been caged too long, looking out the window and finally the front door for the first sign of the ambulance. Charlotte barely said a word. She sat in the corner of the room, legs crossed, her head bowed low as if in prayer. Only my aunt and I seemed to maintain our composure—the unyielding Anjou blood that always held out hope to the very last—this was our blessing and our curse.

In the distance I heard the sound of a siren and knew that help was coming. Justine cried out in elation upon hearing its strident cry, and I heard the sound of the front door swinging wide open.

"The ambulance is here!" she cried. 

"Lenore? Can you hear me, darling?" my aunt said, gently laying her hand over her friend's cold hand. "They're coming. You're going to be all right."

"I don't think she can hear you, auntie." 

"Wake up, Lenore," my aunt persisted. "We're taking you to the hospital. Come on, my love. It's time to go."

Lenore made no movement. I now felt my eyes start to well up with tears. Even I, who had never experienced death up close, could tell the woman was slipping away. Her breathing had become so shallow by now that she barely moved. I don't know why I did it, but I put my right arm under her head and pulled her close to me thinking that I could somehow transfer some of my youthful energy to her. "Auntie?" I sobbed, unable any longer to control my emotions.

"I know, honey. I know," she said rubbing away the tears from my face. She then called out to Justine. "What's going on?"

"They're here!" Justine replied. "I'm coming, Phoebe!"

"Hurry!" my aunt shouted back. She grabbed Lenore's left hand hard. "God damn it girl don't let go!" 

"We've got to do something!" Estelle implored. "She can't die!"

"What do you want us to do?" Charlotte said, her face streaming with tears. "The doctors are here now. They'll take care of her."

Just then I heard the ambulance come to a screeching halt on the driveway outside, followed by the sound of several voices giving directions in French. Suddenly, Lenore's eyes opened and she turned her head ever so slightly in my direction. It seemed to have taken all her strength, but she managed to move her lips ever so slightly. I leaned my head toward her face trying to make out the words.

"Je t'aime," she said, her voice as thin as the air surrounding us.

"Je t'aime aussi," I replied, kissing her face.

Her eyes closed once more and then her breathing ceased.

For a few moments a tranquil stillness had come over all of us. The only sound being that of the medical technicians frantically running down the hallway toward us. My aunt's face registered first disbelief, then shock. It was inconceivable that such a woman as Lenore could die. But she had. She had died in my arms.

"Oh, no…no…dear God no!" my aunt wailed. "My best friend! Don't leave me darling! Don't leave me all alone!" She threw her arms around the dead woman, weeping bitterly.

I turned to see Justine standing dumbfounded in the doorway, her hands raised up to her face, ignoring the medical personnel as they ran past her to administer first aid. Charlotte, herself overcome with grief, tried to console my aunt, but it was of no use. It took three men to pry her away from Lenore's body, and when they did they discovered that the former Sisterhood leader was beyond their help. 

Estelle took my hand and led me away from the dead woman. I felt her push my head to her breast, caressing me, consoling me, as a mother does to a frightened child. I wept for a long time as she held me close to her—our tears mingling together to form one large river of sorrow. And even as I lamented the death of my beloved mentor and friend, I thought of Angelique, and how she had been the cause of Lenore's misfortune. The war between my cousin and I was indeed coming, and I swore an oath there and then to the memory of my mentor that I would not rest until that hateful creature had paid for her crimes in full.

************



The Marceau family, which consisted of an older brother and two younger sisters, was contacted by Justine and Estelle a short while after Lenore's death. The attendant doctor had confirmed that her death had been caused by a massive stroke. At the request of the Marceau family, Lenore's body was taken to the family estate in Lourdes and buried in the family mausoleum. Being a Roman Catholic, Lenore's life was celebrated with a wake and a mass. There were so many people at the funeral home that special hours had to be arranged to accommodate them all. The bulk of those people were Sisters—many of whom I had never met before.

On the fourth day the funeral procession and burial took place. I was somewhat disappointed to find that none of her family was anything remotely like my esteemed mentor. Not one of her siblings seemed to possess her love of life, her wit, or her spontaneity. I thought at first that the somberness of the occasion was the reason, but even after Lenore had been entombed and everyone was socializing at the requisite dinner, her brother and sisters maintained an arrogant, almost patrician, snobbery toward all of her friends. My aunt explained to me that her siblings had never understood Lenore's involvement with the Sisterhood, believing the organization to be corrupt and perverse. I was grateful that my aunt and I were leaving for home the following day.

Lenore would be a tough act to follow and I knew it. I still had much to learn about how the Sisterhood operated but, thankfully, my aunt, Charlotte, and especially Justine and Estelle, were of enormous help to me. Before long I learned the entire history of the Sisterhood, which consisted of much more than simply the lore surrounding Antoinette and the beginnings of the Order. Within a month's time I had become quite knowledgeable about the inner workings of the Order, from both a business and legal standpoint, and felt comfortable dealing with any issues concerning its operation. For much of this, I had both Justine and Estelle to thank.

Lenore had left the bulk of her estate to the Sisterhood. She had also left lavish gifts of money to my aunt, Justine and Estelle. To me she bequeathed an annual stipend of $100,000 per year, her red Ferrari, and her entire library collection consisting of many rare and priceless books dating back to the French Revolution. Many of these books were written by the great French philosophers and statesmen of the Enlightenment, and many were first editions. Their combined worth went far beyond their actual physical appraisal.

The ceremony to mark my official installation into the Sisterhood took place in mid-September in the main hall of the Masturbatorium. As Lenore had informed me, roughly one thousand people came to attend the event—some from the most distant parts of the globe. I learned later that many who had come did so because they wanted to see who this young "wunderkind" was. This was mostly due to the great public relations efforts of Justine and Estelle, who now worked painstakingly on my behalf. The two-day ceremony concluded with me getting my black Sisterhood robe and a silver crown, which supposedly once belonged to Antoinette herself. Being forbidden to attend, Mary Kate and Ashley called to congratulate me on my appointment. They were in England filming a new movie and told me that they hoped to see me in the coming months.

Following the ceremony, I decided to take a flight back to San Diego to visit my family. During this time Craig went to visit his family in Stockholm, the idea being that we would reunite again in Paris after our trips had concluded. I spent a month in San Diego catching up on family business and my own personal affairs that needed my attention. It did me good to get away from the chateau for a while. The sadness associated with recent events and the lingering anxiety I felt toward my coming confrontation with Angelique was somewhat assuaged in the light of the California sun. The only person I really missed besides my aunt was Craig.

By the middle of October I was back at my aunt's chateau. I was excited because Craig would be arriving in a few days and I made arrangements with my aunt for him to stay with us instead of spending a fortune on a hotel. My aunt readily agreed and offered to give us a suite of rooms that overlooked the outdoor pool and surrounding gardens. On the day before Craig was due to arrive, my aunt and I were sitting out on the veranda enjoying lunch when she waxed nostalgic about her old home. 

"I've lived here now for almost 23 years but I still miss San Diego. What does it look like these days?"

"It hasn't changed all that much since you last lived there, auntie, except that the air is barely breathable." 

"It's that damn smog. It's always been like that. I'm more worried about that really big earthquake that's supposed to hit within the next 30 years. That's going to do some severe damage, that one."

"That's what the scientists say."

"And I think they're right."

"So why would you want to go back there to live?"

"I guess for the same reason that everyone else lives there. It's beautiful."

"It's beautiful here, too. And there's no danger of you being swallowed up by an earthquake."

"The likelihood is remote I'll admit, but San Diego does have its charms."

We continued to eat for several minutes in silence and then she resumed the conversation. I could tell that something was bothering her by the way she pecked at her food—a telltale sign that she was preoccupied.

"You know, I think I just might move back to San Diego."

"Are you serious? And give up all this?"

"All what?"

"This!" I said, pointing to the house and the vineyards beyond. "This is your home. You've made a life for yourself here. Why would you want to leave it?"

My aunt fumbled with her food, first raising her fork to her mouth and then returning it to her plate. "While you were away I had a lot of time to think about my life. And I have to tell you, Holly, that the past few years have not been very good to me. My husband and I are divorced, my daughter has turned into a psychopath, and my best friend is dead. There are a lot of unpleasant memories associated with this place and I don't know if I really want to live here anymore. As far as the Sisterhood goes, they have a chapter in San Diego, so that's no big deal. There really is nothing keeping me here. I mean, think about it. These material things you seem to think are so important mean nothing to me. Once the people associated with them are either dead or gone, there is very little comfort to be found in them. Yes, friends come to visit from time to time, but for the most part I'm alone. Can you imagine living in this chateau by yourself? Well, that's what I've been doing these past several weeks: haunting these rooms like some kind of somnambulist. It's no fun to be left to your own devices for too long, believe me. Sooner or later you end up going mad or hanging yourself from the rafters. That's not how I want to end up."

I had stopped eating halfway through her speech, realizing that if she were serious about moving then I would also have to make a decision about where to live. It would be hard to give up the Masturbatorium, but I would have to, not having my aunt's vast reserves of wealth to rely upon. I'd also have to make other housing arrangements for myself and Craig—if I decided to remain in France at all.

"It seems like you've made up your mind already," I said. 

"No. But I'm seriously considering it. Don't worry, Holly. I promise I won't leave you high and dry. I'm just giving you fair warning, that's all."

"I understand aunt Phoebe. We still have plenty of time. But if you did leave, I don't think I would want to remain here either. Without you, I'd be lost."

My aunt grabbed my hand from across the table and looked me in the eye. "You are the daughter I wished Angelique would have been. I can't lie to you and tell you that I hate her. I don't. I feel pity for her because she is deeply troubled. I've done everything I could to help her, but she refuses to help herself. Both Lenore and Charlotte warned me many years ago that she would be the cause of my suffering, and they were right. But then you came into our lives and changed all that. You gave us hope, Holly. And no power on earth can ever deprive us of that. Lenore understood it better than anyone."

She let go of my hand and took a small sip of wine. She looked like she was on the verge of crying.

"I miss her very much," I said, lifting my eyes toward the horizon.

"It's a pity that she is not alive now to see your rise to greatness. She always loved you, Holly. And she believed in you when even I had my doubts. You were the daughter she never had."

"I only hope that I will prove to be a worthy successor."

My aunt smiled. "Of that I have no doubt."

We continued our conversation for a short while longer and then we decided to spend the evening watching old romance movies together. My aunt's attitude seemed to perk up in my presence, and I knew that she was glad to have me back home with her. But she had given me a lot of food for thought that day, and although I had appreciated her honesty, I still had to come up with some kind of plan in case she did actually go through with hers. Even the thought of seeing Craig tomorrow could not alleviate the encroaching uncertainty I felt for the immediate future.

Jake drove my aunt and I to the airport the following day to pick up Craig, who was coming in on the 2:30 PM flight from Stockholm. As soon as I saw him walking briskly past the terminal booth I rushed into his arms and kissed him passionately. Both he and I had gotten tanned during our separate trips and he looked more handsome than ever. Jake helped him pack his luggage in the limo and before long we were on our way home.

"So, how was your trip?" my aunt asked him.

"I had a great time, Ms. Anjou. Got to spend time with my mom and dad and my two sisters. But all the time I was looking forward to coming back here to see Holly."

"I felt the same way," I admitted to him. "It was nice seeing the old homestead but without you it just wasn't the same."

My aunt laughed. "That's what love will do to you. And being apart for a little while will make you appreciate each other a lot more. Take my word for it."

"All I know is that the man I love is here with me and that's all that counts," I said, kissing him on the cheek several times.

All three of us had dinner on the veranda that evening. The weather had been singularly mild for the middle of October and it was delightful taking our repast out under the stars. Our cook had prepared a wonderful dinner of filet mignon with creamed asparagus that my aunt and I thoroughly enjoyed. Craig, however, being a vegetarian, stuck with the asparagus and bread. I had completely forgotten his dietary preferences and apologized for my thoughtlessness. I promised him we would have some meatless dishes for him the following night. That evening we made love until the sun began to poke its head above the horizon. For the time being, all was right with the world.

************



On the weekend following Craig's arrival, my aunt took us out to dinner at Le Trois. As she, Craig and I walked into the restaurant I noticed that the place was empty—not one patron in sight.

"This can't be possible," I said to my aunt. "Where is everybody?"

To my sheer delight, the doors that divided the main dining area from the suite of private function rooms in the back opened wide and out poured a crowd of people shouting my name. Mary Kate and Ashley were first in the long line of people that came running out the doors in one giant exodus.

"Oh, my God!" I exclaimed. "What is all this?"

"They were forbidden to attend your coronation so I thought we'd have a party just for them," my aunt informed me happily.

"Did you know about this?" I asked Craig.

"Your aunt told me about it yesterday," he confessed.

"Aunt Phoebe you're a sneaky woman! But thank you! This is really cool!"

I didn't have time to say much else because the crowd of well wishers quickly descended upon me en masse, hugging me, kissing me, shaking my hand, creating a general, if not subdued, pandemonium. The twins were the first to throw their arms around me and offer their congratulations.

"So you're the big cheese in town now, aren't you Sister Holly?" Ashley sang.

"I guess I am," I replied modestly.

"Well, don't let it go to your head," Mary Kate laughed. "We aren't going to like you anymore if you start trying to boss us around."

"I won't, I promise," I assured her.

I had no time to talk to them further as they were quickly pushed aside as other celebrities vied for my attention.

"Congratulations, Holly," Drew said to me as she offered her hand. "I think you're going to make a great leader. The Sisterhood is lucky to have you."

"Thanks, Drew. I can hardly believe it myself. So much has happened since I last saw you."

"Well, we have the whole evening so you can tell me everything later. I'll be sitting…"

Teri, who was holding a camera in her hand, cut her off in mid-sentence. "Yes, we know Drew, you'll be sitting with the Olsen sisters and me. Come on. Smile Holly. Let's have a quick pic!"

No sooner had she taken the picture than she was pushed aside by Madonna and Britney, both of them dressed in elegant gowns—one white, one black. I had never seen Britney so thin. 

"How's it going, Holly?" Madonna asked. "You look fucking great!"

"She always looks good," Britney said, as she leaned in to give me a kiss on the cheek.

At my aunt's suggestion, I had chosen to wear my favorite emerald-green evening dress with an emerald choker. Its effect was not lost on Craig.

"Amen to that ladies," Craig said, shaking the women's hands. "Green is her color all right."

"It's so great of you guys to come," I said to the two stars. "Thank you so much!"
 
The parade of celebrities kept on coming. I think there must have been at least three hundred people in that modestly sized room. Some of the people I recognized were Brooke Shields, Lindsay Lohan, Katie Couric, Kelly Ripa, Gwen Stefani, Deborah Norville, Cher, Patti LaBelle, Hayden Panettiere, Beyonce, Alicia Silverstone, Billie Piper, Alyssa Milano, Drea de Matteo, Leann Rimes, Paris Hilton, and many more I did not even know.

I spent the next half hour greeting people, and I hadn't even gone past the hostess station. My aunt Phoebe began to mingle with the crowd while Craig remained by my side. Justine, Estelle, Charlotte, Felicia, Janet, and Dr. Monroe were all there, chatting it up with my aunt and several other Sisters. Beyond Craig, I saw no other men in the crowd. But suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I noticed a rather large form come hulking out from behind a group of Sisters and looking every bit like a handsome, modern-day Hercules. It was Barney Cole. And next to him stood Jacques LaSalle and François Villon, both of them dressed in formal suits and having a great time. 

"Hey!" I said to Craig. "Look who's here?" I pointed to where Barney was standing and called out his name several times.

As soon as Barney laid his eyes on us, he ran over and gave both Craig and I a great, big hug. He was all smiles.

"Hey brother!" he said to Craig. "Good to see you, man!"

"You too, bro! No one told me you were coming."

"Ms. Anjou wanted me to kept it a secret from you. She wanted to surprise the both of you!"

"Leave it to my aunt!" I said, as I shook yet another celebrity's hand.

"I think she has ulterior motives for inviting us guys here tonight."

"Like what?" I asked.

"Like we're supposed to provide the entertainment?" Barney chuckled.

Craig's eyes lit up. "You mean…"

"That's right bro. Hope you got your mojo working! I'll catch up with you two later," 

Barney gave me a quick kiss as he gingerly sidestepped the incessant onrush of people and headed back to his male counterparts on the other side of the room.

Just when I thought I couldn't kiss another face or shake another hand, my aunt got the crowd's attention and ordered them to sit down at their tables so that the waiters could take their orders. She had made sure that there were no male personnel on board that evening, so therefore all the wait staff were female. Both François and Jacques came over to my table to congratulate me and then disappeared into the crowd.

Seated at out table were Justine, Estelle and Charlotte, all of them looking radiant in their stunning evening gowns. My aunt, wearing a simple crimson dress with a string of pearls around her neck, looked absolutely stunning. For the first time in many months she resembled the sophisticated, exuberant woman I had always known her to be. It did my heart good to see her having fun again. My only regret was that Lenore was not here to enjoy it with her.

After dinner had commenced, Madonna and Britney performed some of their hit songs for the crowd. A few others joined in the performance with Gwen Stefani and Leann Rimes taking over the singing chores for a while. It was almost surreal to see so many famous people in one room at one time, and I almost broke down in tears because I was so overjoyed. To accomplish this feat had to take exquisite timing and persuasion, both of which my aunt had in abundance. It reinforced the point that my aunt was a very powerful woman in the world outside the Sisterhood. Seeing what she had accomplished in bringing all these rich, famous and powerful people under one roof made me feel great respect toward her, knowing that it was mostly due to her efforts that it had been achieved.

Toward the end of the musical performance, my aunt turned to Craig and whispered in his ear. He shook his head in agreement and rose from his chair.

"Okay, what's going on?" I asked my aunt.

"You just sit there and relax my dear girl and let auntie take care of everything." She looked at Craig and he seemed to understand what she meant. Kissing me on my lips he hurriedly made his way to the rear of the room, disappearing behind a mass of people and furniture.

"What are you up to?" I asked her.

"No good, of course," my aunt replied mischievously. 

She refused to tell me what she had planned, but I knew it was going to involve naked men in some kind of perverse entertainment. I think we waited for roughly fifteen minutes and then some funky techno music came blaring from the loudspeakers. On the stage where Madonna had just performed now stood Craig, Barney, François, and Jacques, their excellent physiques highlighted in a wash of multicolored lights. They were dressed only in thongs.

As soon as women saw them the entire room broke out in one giant roar. All four men began dancing to the beat of the music, sometimes inviting the females in the audience to join them. I was sitting at a table directly in front of the stage, so I got a birds-eye view of the show. Several celebrities couldn't resist jumping up on the stage to dance with the quartet of handsome men. Madonna, Kelly, Gwen, Katie…at least forty to fifty women were onstage at one time dancing alongside the men, twisting and gyrating their bodies in every conceivable way.

As the show progressed and the women became more inebriated, the guys were asked to remove their thongs. It was obvious that the women who had danced with them had gotten them erect, and each man by now was bulging at the seams.

To the chorus of "Take it off! Take it off!" the four men slowly pulled down their thongs until the tips of their cocks became visible above the elastic band. With each downward motion of their hands, the crowd urged them on even more; impatient to see what kind of package each man was sporting. Finally, after much teasing, the guys removed their thongs in one coordinated movement, sending the crowd into a frenzy. I knew, as did my aunt and many of the Sisters in attendance, what each man's penis looked like, both flaccid and in its fully erect state. We also knew what kind of orgasm could be expected from each of them. However, with the exception of Mary Kate and Ashley, the rest of the audience had absolutely no idea what to expect, and when they saw the size of each man's cock—especially the 12 ¾" specimens sported by both Craig and Barney—they gasped in collective awe.

"Look at the size of those mother fuckers!" Katie exclaimed, staring longingly at both Barney and Craig's equipment. "And those balls! They're so fucking big!"

Madonna and Britney stood side by side in total amazement as they surveyed the four hard cocks jutting out before them. I think Madonna wanted to pull on Jacques huge tool because she kept at him to masturbate by making lewd, open-fisted, jerk-off movements with her right hand. She even offered him a tube of hand cream to get him started. Jacques took the tube from her and began applying the white cream to his penis, then passed it along to the other men. She and Britney laughed as they watched the cute Frenchman's cock grow to even more expansive dimensions under the influence of the greasy lube.

"Yeah," the Material Girl shouted. "Get it really big for us baby. Keep jerking it off! Go for it!"

All the men by now had applied the lube to their huge cocks and were masturbating with complete abandon. Mary Kate and Ashley rushed to our table to get an unimpeded view of the performance, laughing and teasing the men with lewd comments. I, too, was caught up in the risqué sexual exhibition, urging Craig to hurry up and shoot his load first. From then on, it became a contest to see which one of the handsome and horny studs could cream first.

"I'll bet you ten to one that Barney loses his load before the others," my aunt said to me.

"Why do you say that?"

"Look at his balls. They're the most distended of all of them."

"Okay. Meaning what?"

"That he probably has a huge store of sperm in them."

"You could be right," Mary Kate said. "The last time he ejaculated for us his balls were in the same condition."

"Yeah," Ashley agreed. "Bursting with spunk."

"Come on, Barney!" Mary Kate shouted at him. "Let's see some of that hot cum! 

Barney heard her and smiled back. His hand was now feverishly working his tool in frantic up and down motions. I was forced to agree with my aunt and the twins—Barney's big black balls were ready to launch.

Suddenly the handsome black man screamed aloud and thrust his hips out while simultaneously planting both feet wide apart in front of him. Craig and the other two men stopped pumping their shafts to watch Barney climax. It was Mary Kate who delivered the final coaxing words.

"Ropes of sperm, Barney!" she yelled over the din. "I want to see ropes of sperm!"

Barney looked straight at the beautiful, lust-crazed twin and pointed his enormous organ straight at her. To coax him even more, Mary Kate seductively stuck out her tongue and ran it over her lips, as if waiting to taste his load. That was all it took.

A thick, pasty wad of semen shot out of the huge ebony shaft and careened outward over the first several rows of startled women, sailing completely over Mary Kate's head and finding its mark on the face and hair of Katie Couric. The newscaster shouted with glee as she stood there bathed in Barney's hot sperm. This was followed by six or seven continuous ejaculations that followed a similar trajectory, splashing into a group of celebrities that had the misfortune to be standing in its path. Mary Kate was untouched.

"Nice shooting Barney!" the lusty twin shouted, doubling over with laughter.

But Mary Kate had not counted on Barney's enormous capacity to produce multiple cumshots. As she once again stood up straight she was greeted with a huge volley of white-hot spunk that coated her from head to toe. The amazed twin stood there dripping with cum, surprised but not in the least offended. Ashley could not contain her laughter. And the entire audience followed suit.

"Enough ropes for you?" Ashley screamed, as she fell to the floor laughing.

Barney was laughing too, as were all the other guys. It was a tremendous orgasm. I think he must have hit over a dozen women with his errant sperm shower. The other guys started to work on their tools in earnest now.

"I told you he would cum first," my aunt reminded me. "I know my men."

"I guess you do, aunt Phoebe," I concurred. 

"And I'll make another prediction. Craig will cum last."

"How do you know that?" I asked somewhat skeptically.

"I can't know for sure but you and he have been sexually active right?"

"You know we have, auntie."

"Then it's a good guess that his supplies have been diminished."

"Oh, you mean he's less horny now because he's cum a few times today."

"Did he really?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, he came four times."

My aunt gave me a look from the corner of her eye and chuckled. "This should be interesting!"

Teri Hatcher had had enough of watching from the sidelines. Without any warning she got up on the stage and took over control of Mr. Villon's extra-long appendage. It looked to me like he was ready to cum at any moment, but Teri apparently wanted to be the one to bring him over the edge. He stood there dumbly, letting her play with his stiff member, using both hands to get him to shoot. The crowd was going crazy.

Suddenly I saw Brook Shields jump on the stage and she joined Teri in the mutual masturbation of Mr. Villon. They seemed to be having a lot of fun teasing his big cock with their lovely long fingers. Teri asked for a little more lube and Craig gave it to her, watching on in amazement as the two beautiful women worked the cream into Mr. Villon's cock and balls. It didn't take long for their handiwork to pay off.

His head rearing back like a wild animal in pain, Mr. Villon stretched out his hands and grasped both women by their shoulders as he was overtaken by a powerful orgasm. Brooke pulled up on his shaft with one long and hard stoke while Teri squeezed his huge testicles.

"Watch everybody!" the leggy brunette laughed.

No sooner had she said those words than Mr. Villon's entire body stiffened up and his prick fired off one huge cumshot after another. Multiple spurts of sperm flew out of the tip of his tormented penis to sail out into the audience, coating the floor with a sticky residue of cum.

Brooke was beside herself with laughter as she watched one of the long-reaching cumshots hit her friend Alicia Silverstone square in the face.

"Bulls eye!" Alicia screamed, as she tried to dodge several more eruptions of sperm.

Both Teri and Brooke's hands were completely covered with cum as they found their way offstage. The crowd was enjoying the show immensely and I found, as I always did, the act of watching men masturbate extremely erotic. 

Both Barney and Mr. Villon had left the stage to clean up and get dressed. Now it became a game of who was going to cum first again.

"Hey, I have an idea!" Mary Kate said to me. "Why don't you jerk off Craig and Ash and I will jerk off Jacques?"

"Yeah, but that's not fair," Ashley said. "You know, it's like two to one."

"Okay," her sister agreed. "So get someone to help you Holly."

"Like who?"

"I don't know. How about your aunt Phoebe?"

I'm not sure if she said this as a joke, but it took me by surprise. Before I could say anything, my aunt grabbed me by the hand.

"You're on, Mary Kate. Let's go Holly."

"I think this is going to blow Craig's mind," I told her as we made our way onto the stage.

"I'd prefer it if he blows his load," my aunt laughed.

When Craig saw the both of us approach, he looked at me a bit awkwardly, but my aunt once again intercepted me.

"Don't think this is going to happen again," she said to him as she lubed up her hands. "It's a one-time deal and I'm only doing it because of the circumstances. Do you think you can shoot your load before Jacques does?"

"I'm super horny Ms. Anjou. And with both you and Holly working on my prick, I think I'm gonna have the greatest orgasm of my life."

"Then go for it. Make us proud."

She passed the tube to me and I quickly applied the lotion to my hands. Mary Kate and Ashley were already at work on Jacques, using both of their hands on his immense schlong to get him to cum.

"Christ! You have a really fucking nice cock!" my aunt told Craig as she ran her hands along the full length of him. "I always wanted to feel what it was like. Sorry Holly. But he does have some hell of a tool!"

I could only laugh. "Yes, he does. And I should know!"

I began to work in tandem with my aunt's rhythmic movements, making sure that our hands never abandoned his prick or balls. We applied continuous stimulation to his genitals while keeping our rhythm consistent. The twins were also completely absorbed in what they were doing to Jacques. The young man was thoroughly enamored of both girls, watching with fascination as they manipulated his organ for the release of his creamy white seed.

"I've always loved masturbating men," my aunt said to Craig. "Especially when their balls are just brimming over with lots of hot sperm."

"I like that too, auntie," I admitted as I teased the very sensitive area under his cock head called the 'frenulum'.

"Oh, there's nothing like the feeling of power you have over a man when you control his cock. And I love it when they do multiple cumshots. The more the better when it comes to sperm."

"I agree, auntie. I jerk his big dick off every chance I get."

"Because his balls are always so full of cum right?"

"Right. Like right now."

We both could sense that Craig was tremendously turned on by our ribald talk. Already, pre-cum was leaking from the slit of his dick in copious amounts.

"You girls are gonna make me cum!" he cried as our hands frantically jerked his penis up and down at lightning speed.

"I can't wait to see it!" my aunt giggled. "Shoot it all out so that everyone can see too!"

"I will! I will!" he blurted out as he fucked our fists with his throbbing prick.

I took a quick glance over at the twins, and they were now masturbating Jacques with increased urgency in an effort to win the game. The crowd was cheering both teams on, desirous of seeing an explosion of molten hot lava.

"I see a lot froth on those tips!" Madonna joked. "But I don't see any sperm! Come on you fuckers! Give us your cum!"

"Make him cum, Mary Kate!" I heard Patti LaBelle shout.

"Phoebe!" Dr. Monroe exclaimed. "Use the long stroke! Have Holly play with his prostate!"

My aunt and I did as Dr. Monroe suggested, bringing Craig to new heights of bliss. And then everyone was shouting at once, each person advising us what we had to do to bring our man to orgasm.

"I want to see huge fucking ropes of sticky cum!" Mary Kate said to Jacques. "Really long ropes! You got that?"

"Ropes, yes mademoiselle! Sticky ropes of sperm!" he answered, breathing hard.

"We want to see it splash into their faces," Ashley said, kneading his huge testicles with her lovely fingers. 

Mary Kate's small, but delicate, fingers became a blur on his cock while Ashley held his bulging ball sack firmly in her hands. It was only a matter of moments now.

"Please, Craig," I whispered in his ear. "Think of what Mrs. Terry and Mrs. Barber would say right now if they saw you shooting your load for all these women!"

"They'd…love it!" he said, as he thrust his hips back and forth.

Suddenly, without warning, my aunt drove her tongue in his ear. "Pretend you're fucking me in the ass you son of a bitch and that Holly is sitting on your face!"

"Oh, God!" he cried out. "I want to fuck the both of you right now!"

"Give us your sperm!" the audience cried out over and over again.

Up and down our hands went over Craig's straining cock. It was amazing that he could hold out so long without cumming. And just when I was beginning to think that he was not going to cum, he did, surprising both me and my aunt with one of the longest and stickiest ejaculations he had ever achieved.

As we pointed the head of his cock upward, we were treated to a series of multiple cumshots (I think I counted twenty in all) that fired out at amazing speed, creating great arcs of cum that found their way into a shocked audience. People were dodging Craig's outrageous bursts of semen left and right, some avoiding contact altogether while others got completely soaked. It seemed that each time our hands pulled upward on his shaft, another stringy load was launched high up into the air. I watched the fascinated expressions on the twins' faces as they followed arc after arc of Craig's cum as it flew out into the audience. Even by his own standards, Craig had outdone himself.

As Craig's orgasm began to subside the audience gave him and us a great round of applause. My aunt and I walked offstage and headed back to our table, our hands dripping with Craig's abundant sperm. We took whatever napkins we could find to clean our hands while Craig went to the men's room to wash up and get dressed. Mary Kate and Ashley looked disappointed that we had beaten them, but kept on jerking Jacques tool simply for the fun of it. As the applause ended, Jacques began to cum.

He did not ejaculate nearly as much or shoot as far as Craig had done, but the twins provoked an astonishing series of explosions from his meaty tool. The ropes came fast and furious as the girls milked him for all he was worth. After the tenth generous spurt, his cock was drained. Mary Kate and Ashley graciously walked offstage to another round of applause.

"That was so much fun!" Ashley said as she wiped the sperm off her hands with a napkin. "Don't you think Mary Kate?"

"It would have been more fun if we had won, but I don't mind losing to you, Holly," Mary Kate admitted.
 

"Better luck next time guys," I said as I shook my aunt's hand.

"I think you have a wonderful hand technique," my aunt said to Mary Kate. "I'll bet you really love jacking off guys."

"I do," Mary Kate replied. "Ash does too. But your style is something else."

"Years and years of practice," my aunt laughed. 

The night ended with another performance from Madonna and then we all shared one last round of drinks before goodbyes had to be said. The party was over. I thanked everybody and gave a short speech. It had been a wonderful evening and I had my aunt to thank for it.

Before they left, Mary Kate and Ashley made plans for me to come visit them on their new movie set, which was going to be filmed in Paris during the winter months. I kissed both of them goodbye and then followed my aunt and Craig as we headed for our limo. I was tired, and all I could think of was falling asleep in my lover's arms.



************



Craig remained with me for the next few weeks before getting a call from his mother telling him that his father was in an automobile accident and was seriously ill. After a tearful goodbye, he took a flight back to Stockholm promising me that he would return as soon as he was able. By this time I was completely immersed in Sisterhood business affairs and was grateful for it because it took my mind off him for a short time. It seemed that there was always something to do—something or other that demanded my constant attention. I rarely put in days that were shorter than nine hours, and I was thankful that Justine, Estelle and the other employees hired by them were competent in their duties. Without such help I don't think I would have lasted too long as Sisterhood leader.

Life went on pretty much as usual. By now my aunt and I had settled into a comfortable routine, with neither of us getting in the other's way. Her mood was most often good, only the memories of her past causing her occasional distress. She had had no word from Angelique since that last awful encounter several month's earlier, and I think she was grateful for it. She rarely talked about her daughter anymore, having suffered enough pain at her hands that she became numb at the mere mention of my cousin's name. 

As much as I enjoyed my duties as Sisterhood leader, I always felt that I was attempting to accomplish the impossible. The specter of Lenore loomed large over everything I did, and I felt a constant need to prove myself to everyone at every turn. The truth was that I did not want to make any mistakes. I wanted people like and respect me without making any comparisons to Lenore. Of course, this was impossible. Most of the Sisters did in fact accept me, but there were those who remained aloof and skeptical of my abilities. Justine and Estelle had warned me that this would be the case, and that all I could do was my best. And in doing so, would hopefully win the affections of my cynical counterparts.

During the first week of November, I had been out walking in the vineyard, enjoying the comparatively mild autumn weather. The sun was beginning to dip in the western sky but I continued to walk out beyond the southern enclosure toward the old dilapidated bunker that had long ago fell into disuse and was now overgrown with dense vegetation and almost impassible. To my surprise I saw someone approach me from that direction and he or she seemed to be in great haste. I called out to whoever it was but I got no response. Then, as the figure drew closer, I saw that it was a man, Jacques LaSalle, and he was fighting to make his way though an impenetrable tangle of bushes and weeds. Several times he looked behind him, but never once broke his stride. When he saw me, he smiled and came running up a small knoll upon which I had stood watching his progress. He was sweating profusely.

"What's wrong, Jacques?" I asked, as he doubled over trying to catch his breath. "You look as if someone is chasing you."

"No," he replied, taking a few moments to get air into his lungs. "No one is chasing me."

"Then what's wrong? I inquired further. "Look at you. You're a mess. Look at your clothes!"

Indeed, his pants and shirt had been torn in a few places and there was a touch of red on his left hand.

"It's nothing, mademoiselle," he said, wiping the back of his hand on his pant leg. It was the thorns."

From far off I heard a high-pitched squeal that sounded eerily human. "What is that?"

"The animals," he answered, looking warily behind him. "I was running from them."

"What animals? What are you talking about?"

"Surely you know there are wolves in the forest just beyond the open country. Sometimes they venture close to the chateau looking for food."

I knew this to be a lie. Poachers had long since killed off all the wolves that had once roamed freely in this part of the forest. All that remained were foxes, and they never ventured far beyond their lairs.

"There are no wolves, Jacques," I contradicted him. "They are long gone."

He drew himself closer to me and spoke in a whisper. "That's what most people think, but it's not true. There are still a few of them around. We must go."

Not waiting for a reply, he took my hand in his and pulled me in the direction of the chateau.

"What are you doing?" I exclaimed, as I fought to break free of his grasp. "Let go of me!"

He dragged me forward several feet and I lost my balance, causing me to fall onto my knees. "Let go!" I demanded. He tried to pull me up. I dug my fingernails into his hand, cursing him. He promptly released me. 

"You should not be out here after dark," he warned, clutching his hand. "Please Holly, for your own sake!"

The insistent quality of his voice disturbed me. He did not seem to me to be the kind of man who startled easily. And even if there were a lone wolf or two meandering nearby, they would never attack a grown man unless they had been part of a pack. I had seen fear in his eyes, and I couldn't account for it.

Once again I heard a shrill, but muted, cry coming from the direction in which Jacques had just come. It sounded as if an animal were in pain.

"We must leave here now!" he demanded. "They are coming closer. Please mademoiselle. Come with me."

I simply could not buy his story. And the more he tried to convince me, the less I believed him. "Stop lying to me about the wolves, Jacques. Tell me the truth. What are you running from?"

"I told you the truth," he insisted. "Please!"

"No," I replied firmly. "You go ahead. I'll be along in a little while."

He looked dismayed. "But the wolves…"

"Go!" I yelled at him.

"As you wish," he said, resignedly. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small flashlight and handed it to me. "It gets dark quickly so close to the forest. Don't tarry mademoiselle."

I took the flashlight and thanked him. Giving me one last disconcerted look, he hurriedly ran off in the direction of the chateau.

The sky had become a grayish-blue swash of muted half-light, and behind a low-lying cloud I could make out the somber outline of a full moon waiting to break out from behind the gray pallor into a blaze of silver radiance. Even without the flashlight, I would have had little trouble finding my way to the bunker in such luminosity. But I was glad to have it nonetheless.

The bunker was not far off. I estimated it to be less than a few hundred yards. I stepped gingerly amongst the thickets, using my flashlight to illuminate the path before me. Presently the moon burst forth from behind the veil of shadowy grayness and bathed the entire landscape in rich, iridescent tones. It gave everything an otherworldly quality, as if I were walking in a fairytale world. 

As I neared my destination I noticed that the vegetation grew less dense. It seemed that great swaths of plant life had been swept aside to make way for a rudimentary path. And here and there were scattered pieces of desiccated metal and scrap iron, on top of which laid a pile of ancient timber that clearly must have once been part of the bunker's inner structure. I wondered who had performed this seemingly Herculean task and when. Did my aunt know about it?

I don't know what internal mechanism or outward agency was compelling me toward that ancient edifice. Perhaps it was Jacques's disingenuousness, or perhaps it was my own latent curiosity. Charlotte had once told me that the levels of the Masturbatorium ran deep. And there was conjecture, even until the present day, as to whether or not actual treasure had been buried in the chateau's labyrinthine depths. Was it possible that Jacques was involved in some furtive expedition to uncover the riches waiting within? But how could one man accomplish such a feat—a feat that would take a vast array of men and machinery to accomplish?

Coming upon the bunker, I found that the trees and bushes that had once obliterated it from view, even from the relatively nearby distance of the road leading to the chateau, had been thinned out. The vegetation still enshrouded the squat building but its former obscured outline had now become somewhat more pronounced. Even in the moonlight I could tell that some human agency had been hard at work removing over a half-centuries' growth of unyielding, creeping flora. But the biggest surprise was finding one of the huge metal doors completely off its hinges, lying on a slight incline and flanking the concrete buttress behind it. No man, or group of men, could have budged such an enormous weight without the use of some kind of powerful machinery. Each door itself must have weighed at least a ton or more, and it would have been quite impossible to open using traditional methods. Yet there was no sight of a giant winch or pulley, or any other kind of machine, which could have accomplished such a task.

I walked slowly up onto the concrete platform upon which the twin doors stood and shined my flashlight into the void between the two metal behemoths. At first all I could make out were the darting forms of myriad flying insects and the dim outline of some kind of steel-reinforced supporting beams that ran at regular intervals up into an ascending, rock-strewn cavity. Beyond that I could see nothing but inky blackness.

I stood there for a long time contemplating whether or not I should proceed into the structure. What if there were people inside? Bad people like fortune hunters. Those ruthless, desperate men who would not think twice about killing an innocent girl to keep the knowledge of their treasure from the outside world. Or maybe there was a wild animal trapped somewhere in its mysterious depths—possibly wounded and no doubt very hungry. It was possible a lone wolf could have found its way into the subterranean complex that lay before me. I had no weapons at hand. How would I defend myself against such a threat? I had been a fool to let my curiosity get the better of me. Suddenly, I felt very afraid. And as I turned to walk away, I was greeted with the most abysmal cry that I had ever heard. 

There was no mistaking the sound of it. It was definitely not that of a wounded animal. Yet the cry did sound somehow like the guttural bellowing of a beast—a piteous, agonizing outburst of sheer desperation that did not originate from the valley beyond but from the depths of the bunker itself. With a shaking hand I once again held up my flashlight into the eerie blackness that lie beyond the entrance and stepped through.

I told myself that I must have been mad to have made such a foolhardy decision. Yet, the vocal nuances sounded hauntingly familiar. Even through the pain I could hear vague, indistinct mutterings that rose in volume and then faded away again with each new outcry. And those mutterings were coming from a voice I recognized! Good God! Why couldn't I place the voice? Again, another outburst of agony and then the sound of something sharp and whip-like reverberating in the dank air before ending in utter silence. I plodded ahead as quickly as I could upon the black, impacted earth, shining my flashlight in all directions to help ascertain my surroundings.

I soon discovered that I was in an old, earthen tunnel that had recently been restored with heavy wooden timber frames and steel support beams. I seemed to be walking up a slight incline and felt the air grow decidedly cooler as I ascended. When I reached the top of the incline the ground leveled off and opened up into a circular chamber upon which large wooden planks had been placed side by side to form a rudimentary floor. There was a generator whirring away in the far corner and all about the room were groups of fluorescent lights that bathed everything in a harsh, white glow.

I moved as quietly as I could, turning off my flashlight but holding it firmly in my hand if I should need it as a weapon. What the artificial light revealed was something that made me wish I had been less curious.

Strewn about the room in no particular fashion were an assortment of power generators, batteries, baffles, foodstuffs, tools of various sizes, dollies, barrels of oil, candles, clothing, and most disconcerting of all, a wide variety of implements employed for corporeal punishment: whips, cat-o-nine tails, metal cages, a portable rack, surgical tools, handcuffs, rope, and other strange devices of unknown origin. Particularly insidious looking was a machine that stood some eight or nine feet high, rudely anthropomorphic in form with metal appendages that resembled human arms and legs. It appeared to me that a person could easily fit into the device, but for what purpose I could not ascertain.

"Dungeons and dragons," I said aloud as my eyes slowly scanned the room.

It was disturbing enough to know that this ancient tunnel had actually been made functional once again, but to find that it had become nothing more than a modern-day chamber of horrors truly chilled my heart. What kind of person or persons would do such a thing? And how had this renovation escaped the notice of my otherwise astute aunt Phoebe?

I soon realized that it would have been impossible to discern the bunker from the road because of the thick and overgrown vegetation. Even from the vantage point of my bedroom window, which overlooked the entire southern end of the estate and the open meadow and forest beyond, the bunker was well hidden under a maze of overgrown trees and brush. Add to that the fact that my aunt had no reason whatsoever to believe that anything was amiss since she believed the tunnel to be unusable and very dangerous. The only thing I could think of was that, at some point in the recent past, someone had cleared a path leading in from the road to the bunker and then artfully concealed the opening with a makeshift wall of vegetation. It must have taken many people working many hours to accomplish this arduous task, and would imply a system of networks employed to maintain the utter secrecy of the operation. That it went completely unnoticed by my aunt, her staff, me, Jake and other visitors to the chateau, meant that the work must have commenced in the early morning hours and concluded before sunrise. The very fact that it existed at all was a testament to the ingenuity and craftiness of its creator.

For a few moments I amused myself with the thought that this sadomasochistic universe might indeed be the creation of my aunt Phoebe herself. Possibly representing a darker side of her nature that had remained hitherto concealed from the world. But as soon as I had thought it, I laughed it off, knowing that, like me, she could not abide cruelty in any form. I simply could not picture her clad in black leather, swinging a cat-o-nine tails at some cringing, naked man. It just didn't add up.

The more I thought about it, the more I came to the realization that whoever was behind this enterprise was not only extremely clever, but possessed of an extremely cruel nature. As I continued my cursory examination of the room this was further confirmed when I found a pile of CDs carefully stacked in a corner labeled with such titles as "Making Him Cry," "Crush," "Suffocation 101," "Ball Busting Fun," "Cement Mix," and other equally disturbing offerings. There was a small black and white television and DVD player nearby but I resisted the urge to play any of the CDs, curious as I was.

On the opposite side of the door from which I had entered was another door—heavy, metallic, imposing looking. I now had to make a choice. Do I enter through it or do I turn around and go home and tell my aunt? Any normal person would have, at this point, turned back. But I simply had to find out what was going on.

As I turned the doorknob I was suddenly greeted by the sound of an intense howl—the same sound I had heard earlier when I was walking in the vineyard. This time there was no mistaking it. It was a human voice. I drew back for a moment in alarm, but my compassionate nature gave me courage, and I slowly pried the door open and walked through.

What greeted me on the other side was something that my rational mind found quite difficult to accept. For there, before me, was a long, wooden walkway whose gradient extended outward by minute degrees onto a causeway constructed entirely of concrete. And this area then expanded out into a vast circular chamber supported by thick steel beams and crossbeams, circumventing the entire space from the mouth of the causeway to the barren rock and earth barrier beyond. I stood there with my mouth wide open, taking in the incredible sight. It was only due to the sound of another wail of pain that I realized I was exposed to view, and I quickly hid amongst a pile of wooden crates that were stacked end upon end on the balcony to my right overlooking the vista below.

From my new vantage point, I was afforded a panoramic view of the immense enclosure. Below me and to my right stood two huge power generators, busily whirring away in their efforts to supply both air conditioning and light to the cavernous area. Next to them stood the air conditioning system itself, a metallic behemoth that dwarfed everything around it.

In the center of the enclave and dotting the periphery were all manner of wooden or mechanical devices that I perceived to be instruments of torture. I saw a rack, a gallows, a coffin studded with nails, and another of those machines that looked like it could fit a human being inside. It stood, in all its eerie malevolence, in the exact center of the room—a silent but terrifying sentinel. 

The entire area was awash in a harsh grayish light provided by lighting trees containing fluorescent bulbs. These trees were positioned at measured distances around the room to provide effective illumination. It seemed like something out of a horror movie. Suddenly, I cringed in terror.

A short distance away from the generators were several large metal cages, some of which were suspended from the ceiling. I had found out the source of the wailing: one of them was occupied by a naked man, his body appearing broken and bruised. I let out a cry. It was Mr. Villon!

What madness was this? Immediately, I forced myself to crouch down further amongst the crates, hoping that no one had heard me. What was I going to do? Should I make an effort to help him or should I run? I quickly scanned the area and found no one else in sight. If I could hide behind the generators I might be able to get to him without being seen. But I would be taking a great risk. God knows what would happen to me if I were caught!

And then, as my mind sought to come to terms with what my eyes were seeing, I heard a rumble of voices approaching from the far right-hand section of the chamber. They were female voices and they did not sound in the least bit friendly. 

Even before they came into view I could hear Mr. Villon screaming at them in French. He was obviously in great pain.
 
"Je t'emmerde! Je t'emmerde!" he yelled at them.

It broke my heart to see him in so much distress and unable to help him.

"Putain! Tu fais chier!"

Suddenly, without warning, I saw a woman break off from the approaching group and come running up to him with a wooden pole in her hands. She began to poke at him violently with it through the holes in the cage. "Fils de pute!" she screamed with each thrust. "Ta gueule!"

I knew that voice. It was Marge Davis, Angelique's trusted and loyal henchwoman. Mr. Villon tried vainly to thwart the rash of blows delivered to him, finally succumbing to the savage onslaught by begging for mercy. The other women began to laugh and cheer the savage English woman on until she finally got tired of hitting him.

"You fucking piece of French filth!" Marge spat. "Another word out of you and I swear you're going on the rack!"

The wounded and bleeding man fell onto his side holding his hands over his cuts and bruises, his shallow moans reverberating throughout the room.

I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. Not only was the idea of a torture chamber completely abhorrent to me, but the very fact that there existed vicious and perverse women who derived enjoyment from inflicting such terrible punishments upon innocent men was even worse! It seemed that I had suddenly become a modern-day Alice who, instead of tumbling down a hole into Wonderland, had found herself falling further down into the nightmarish world of Hell itself. How in heaven's name had Mr. Villon found his way here? 

There was no doubt now that these women were all part of Angelique's aberrant Sisterhood clique. As the women came closer toward me I recognized Gertrude Kraus, 

Yin Ping Hun, Kyoto Sarumoto, Selena Montaldo, Greta Hofsteddar, and the malevolent Anya Rostokovitch—all of my cousin's top lieutenants. To say that I despised them all would be an understatement. I harbored especial hatred for Marge Davis, not only because of what she had just done to the hapless Mr. Villon, but because she found great pleasure in doing so. Gertrude Kraus was another in the line of severely unstable personalities, a psychopath not unlike Marge Davis, in constant need of enforcing her superiority over males by the use of extreme violence. She reminded me of a female version of a Nazi commandant—loyal to the Sisterhood, but hateful and cruel to everyone else—in this case, even the most timid and innocuous of men.

For a while the women conversed amongst themselves, as if trying to decide what to do next. Then one of them pointed to a metal grating about six feet in diameter that lay only a few feet from the strange, human-like contraption.

"Get him the fuck out of there!" I heard Marge order the others. "And make sure he's on his knees."

Marge then walked away from the others and disappeared behind a wall of concrete that formed a barrier at the far end of the room. The other women stood around the rectangular grating while one of them released a locking bolt. I heard the sound of creaking metal as the grate was pulled upward, and then the sound of a man's voice.

"Pouvez-vous m'aider?" he said, as he was lifted out of the hole in the ground.

"Speak in English or I'll kick your balls down your throat!" Greta said, waving a pistol in his face.

"Help me, please," the man said. "My legs are very weak."

"I don't know why she insists on keeping him in this hole day and night," Yin said. "He's going to croak soon."

"That's not for you to say," Selena replied.

"Personally, I think we should castrate him and then let him rot in there," said Gertrude, looking every bit as diabolical as any emissary of Hell could look.

"How many weeks has he been in the pit?" Kyoto asked.

"Going on 7 weeks now," Anya replied. "He's doing pretty good on a liquid diet of pussy juice and foot sweat!"

All the women laughed and pushed him around a bit, causing him to lose his balance and fall prostrate on the floor.

"Get on your knees!" Gertrude ordered. "Your boss will be here any second."

With that she and Anya lifted him up and turned him around so that I could see his face clearly. I had to cover my mouth to stifle a cry of horror.

There, standing in the midst of these depraved women, his face overgrown with many weeks' worth of beard, his clothes tattered, torn, and filthy, and barely able to stand upright, was my uncle Pierre. He was as thin as a ghost and almost as white. The women had to support him because he was having difficulty keeping his balance, no doubt as a result of his emaciated condition and the cramping effects the small, rectangular prison had on his legs. My heart broke. A corrupt and angry man he might have been, but he had long since paid for his crimes against his family and friends. Like Mr. Villon, I wondered how he ended up here.

"Oh, there you are!" I heard a familiar voice call out. It was Angelique. She was walking swiftly toward her father with Marge Davis following close behind. "And how are you feeling today papa?"

"I demand that you to let me go home," Pierre replied, his voice sounding raspy and hollow.

Angelique said nothing. She merely walked straight up to him and slapped him hard across the face.

"Demand? How dare you demand anything of me?" she said angrily.

"Please daughter. Can't you see what you're doing is evil? I am your father."

"You are nothing!"

"I am sick. I will not live much longer like this."

"You should have thought of that before you infiltrated our headquarters. You weren't satisfied watching birds, you had to watch us. Stupid mistake! We couldn't allow you to get away and warn everybody could we? But if you're good papa, I might let you sleep out in the open tonight next to Jacques. Would you like that?"

Know I knew how he got there. My uncle always had a very inquisitive nature. He must have stumbled upon Angelique and her colleagues during one of his many walks he took in the forest. Being an experienced hunter and birdwatcher, it would not have been difficult for him to follow their tracks through the woods. I could only imagine what these heartless women must have put him through all these weeks.

"It's time for our foot cleaning, Sister Angelique," Marge said in a mocking tone.

"Do it," my cousin replied.

I watched as the women drew up chairs around my uncle, effectively encircling him. 

"Take off all of his clothes except for his underwear," Angelique instructed them. "We have to allow him some modesty after all."

The women tore off his dirty shirt and trousers, throwing them in a heap on the floor. I noticed that he went barefoot.

Standing before the group of women in just his underwear, Angelique ordered him to stick out his tongue and clean the feet of each of her subordinates. Forced to his knees, and with a gun constantly pointing at him, my uncle opened his mouth and began licking the filth of Marge Davis' right foot. I heard him whimper a few times as he did so, but he obeyed his daughter in all that she demanded of him.

"And don't forget to get in between the toes," she reminded him. "I want to see every foot sparkling clean by the time you're done."

Marge laughed like a giddy schoolgirl as she watched my uncle diligently clean every one of her toes. She enjoyed trying to put several of her toes in his mouth at once, causing him to gag. Angelique seemed to derive great pleasure from seeing her father humiliated like this. I, however, could only feel two things: contempt for the women, and pity for my uncle.

"Better do a good job papa," the malicious girl warned her father. "Or else I might have Gertrude shoot your balls off."

"I would love to do that, Sister Angelique," Gertrude laughed wickedly. "Bang, bang…no more testicles!" She waved the gun in the air a few times and then pointed it at my uncle's crotch. "Lick hard!" she threatened him.

My uncle redoubled his efforts at the madwoman's command, his tongue licking and sucking each of Marge's toes as if he were licking an ice cream cone.

"Mmmm…" the Englishwoman purred. "I love having my feet cleaned like this. Keep sucking you filthy fuck!"

Round and round my uncle went, sucking, licking, sucking, licking…his tongue never stopping, seeking out each woman's foot with the utmost attention to detail. It went on for at least a half hour until every foot had been thoroughly cleaned. 

"And now papa," Angelique said. "You can do mine."

It was bad enough that my uncle had been forced to perform this humiliating task upon the other women, but he hesitated to kneel before his own daughter. Seeing this, Marge and the others took hold of him and maneuvered him into position before Angelique, the gun pointing at his skull. She now sat before him with her legs crossed, extending one of her beautiful long limbs in his face, inviting his tongue to feast on her pretty pink-nailed toes.

"No, please don't make me…" he sobbed aloud.

"Shut the fuck up!" Marge said to him. "Do as you're told!"

"But she is my daughter!"

"Suck her feet you bastard or I'll put a bullet in your brain!"

Pierre had to be forced by several women at once to open his mouth and accept his daughter's offering. Gertrude carefully pointed the revolver at his head. 

"One word from our Sister and I'll blow your fucking head off!"

Pierre opened his mouth wide, knowing that she meant it.

Angelique then thrust her feet into his mouth without warning, causing him to fall back on his haunches. She laughed to see her father degraded like this and repeated the action several more times to the great delight of her audience.

"You prick!" she said as she pumped her big toe in and out of his mouth. "You think you can fuck my virgin ass and get away with it? What's wrong, papa? Are you having trouble sucking all my feet at once? Oh, don't weep poor papa! Va te faire voir!"

It took him roughly ten minutes to fully clean her feet to her satisfaction and then she rudely placed her feet on his chest and pushed him so that he fell onto his back. "I was thinking of having Gertrude either kill you or castrate you today, but I can't decide which."

My uncle's face registered horror when he heard this because he knew, as I did, that Angelique was capable of it.

"Have pity on me, Angelique," he implored. "Pity, I beg you."

"Pity?" she said, mocking him. "Did you show me pity when you came to my bed at night and took off all my clothes and shoved your big, fucking cock down my throat? Did you show me pity when I begged you to stop? Did you show me pity when you fucked my ten-year-old cunt with your tongue, forcing me to have orgasms that I didn't want? Did you show me pity when you rammed that huge fucking tool of yours in and out of my child's ass? Did you show me pity when you forced me to blow your dick over and over again until my face was covered with your fucking sperm? Did you show me pity, papa?"

I could not believe what I was hearing. I knew that my uncle had abused his daughter and his wife, but to hear my cousin actually verbalize what for so long had remained unmentionable, made me sick with disgust. I had felt bad for my uncle, but now I was beginning to feel pity for Angelique!

Pierre was weeping now—his words of regret and remorse having absolutely no effect upon Angelique's icy cold heart.

"I did none of those things to you my child," he said, his voice breaking.

She didn't hear him.

"And did you show me pity when I became pregnant with your child—pregnant at 11 years old! Fais chier, papa! T'es chiant, papa! Bastard!"

Was she telling the truth? I found it hard to believe that my uncle would be capable of such a deplorable act. If it were true, then it would certainly account for Angelique's aggressive behavior, her hostility to men, her hatred of her father, and her hatred of me. Knowing my uncle as I did, her accusations made no sense. He may have been abusive to her and my aunt, but nothing in his character could ever make me believe that he was capable of sexually molesting his own child.

"I never touched you! It's all in your mind!" my uncle cried, tears streaming down his face. "I beg you to let me go!"

Angelique looked at him with disgust, as though he were nothing more than an insect to be squashed. "I really have no respect for people who beg. Get up off the floor. Gertrude wants to shoot you. Let's get it over with."

"You really want me to?" Gertrude asked my cousin excitedly.

"Yeah, why the fuck not? He's of no use to anybody anymore, especially himself. Take him out behind the bunker and do it."

"No! No!" Angelique have you lost your mind?" my uncle exclaimed. "You would kill your own father?"

"You're not my father. You're scum. You deserve to die."

"No matter what your father has done to you," said the feeble voice of Mr. Villon from his cage, "you have no right to take his life."

"If I hear one more word from you," Angelique warned him, "you'll meet the same fate."

I really could not believe that she was serious. Yet, I watched in absolute horror as Gertrude, Marge, and the other women lifted my uncle to his feet and led him, sobbing like a little boy, toward the walkway.

"Angelique, my daughter, no!" my uncle cried out. "Don't do this! Angelique, mon chéri!"

It took all the women to drag him up the incline. I had to act fast. I could not stand by and let my uncle go to his death.

I had one chance to get the gun away from Gertrude. To my left lay a row of crates that abutted the walkway at its lowest level. By intercepting them at that point I had both the advantage of height as well as surprise. I quickly moved myself into position.

"Goodbye papa!" Angelique called out behind him. "Forgive me if I don't see you off. Bon voyage!"

I crouched behind a crate that was large enough to protect me from Gertrude's sight, and as she passed by me I leapt out and reached for the weapon, pulling it from her hands.

"You little fuck!" she exclaimed upon seeing me.

"Move away," I ordered her and the others, pointing the gun at them.

I had never held a gun in my hands before. In fact, I detested them. But right now I was glad to have one in my hand.

"Where the fuck did she come from?" Marge asked the others. "Angelique! We've got trouble!"

"Get away from him! Move back!" I shouted.

The women slowly retreated, their faces full of fear.

My uncle's face lit up upon seeing me. "Is it really you, Holly?" he said, reaching out to me.

I took his hand in mine. "Yes, it's me, uncle. Can you walk?"

"Yes, I think so." 

"Start heading for the door."

He did as I said, taking small steps and steadying himself by placing his hand on my right shoulder. I walked backwards up the incline, never taking my eyes off the women.

"Aw, come on bitch," Anya said to me. "You're not going to shoot us. You haven't got the guts."

"Are you sure?" I replied, pointing the weapon right at her head.

Suddenly, my cousin's face sprang into view. I saw her from the corner of my eye—a dark, indistinct blur that seemed to be approaching at great speed—and then the jolt of her fist smashing into my jaw. I was flung to the ground by the impact, the gun knocked from my hand. I watched as my uncle tried to reach for the weapon but he only succeeded in kicking it down a large open funnel that sat behind the generator. I reached out and took hold of his arm, preventing him from possibly falling into the funnel himself.

"You asshole!" my cousin screamed at him. "I paid a lot of money for that gun!" She then proceeded to kick him viciously until the weakened man collapsed on the floor beside me. Angelique bent over and peered down into my face.

"Nice try," she said coldly.

She ordered her assistants to place her father back into his old cage.

"I've decided that I'm not going to kill you after all," she told him, as he begged her not to place him back into the murky cell.

"Now you know how I feel about begging, papa. You mustn't do it."

The poor man had no strength left with which to fight. As the metal grate clanged shut behind him, I now feared for my own life.

"Look, François," Angelique said to the young man in the suspended cage. "Look who found us."

Mr. Villon looked at me with eyes full of sorrow. Now that I could see him up close, he appeared just as emaciated as my uncle. 

"Don't you hurt mademoiselle Holly," he replied, never taking his eyes off me.

"Oh, Mr. Villon," I said. "What have they done to you?"

"They are all crazy!" he cried. "All crazy! I fear we are all going to die!"

"Another outburst like that and I'll cut out your fucking tongue!" Angelique snapped.

My cousin sat down while I stood before her nursing my sore jaw. I cursed myself for being so stupid in giving her enough time to sneak up on me. I almost wished I had killed a few of her foul associates. Instead of my getting control of the situation, the women now mulled around me calling me all sorts of vulgar names. Yet, not one of them laid a hand upon me.

"Better get used to these surroundings," my cousin began, "because you're going to be here for a while."

"How long do you think you can hold me here before…"

"Before what? Before my mother finds you? How's she going to do that? All these months we've been here right under her fucking nose and she's got no clue. No fucking clue!"

"Other people will come looking for me."

"Right—just as they did for donkey dick and my fucking father. No one's coming to save your ass, Holly. No one gives a shit about you."

"You're wrong. A lot of people care about me. You'll see. They'll find me."

"Ha! Ha! Ha!" You're so fucking popular aren't you? Well, what if I decide to kill you? Nobody's going to find you then."

I said nothing, knowing full well that she wasn't joking.

"What's the matter cousin?" she continued. "Scared?"

The other women began to snicker and hurl insults at me. Angelique just sat back and took it all in. "Put her in the fucking machine."

Suddenly I felt pairs of hands grabbing at me, pulling me backward towards the metal contraption that was designed to accommodate a human being.

"What are you doing?" I screamed, as I valiantly fought off my attackers.

"You're going to love this!" Angelique laughed. "You really will."

I struggled to extricate myself from the grasping hands of the women, but I didn't have the strength to fight them all off. In the end, they forced me into the machine and strapped me in. Then Greta attached a few plastic patches to my back and locked the door. I couldn't move a muscle.

"This device is called an'Orgasmatron,'" Angelique said. "It was originally designed to help women who had trouble achieving orgasm, but I've adapted it to a much better use. The electrodes attached to your lower back provide electrical stimulation to your spinal cord so that each time you achieve orgasm your body's electrical impulses are stored in a memory cell. This stored electrical energy is then amplified and redirected to your brain, where it then proceeds to disrupt your electro-chemical syntaxes. In effect, each time you cum, you fuck your mind. Cum enough times and you're dead. Pretty cool, don't you think?"

"You're out of your mind!" I replied. 

"And I can control it all with this little remote device," she said, ignoring me. "You'll be the first person to die from an overdose of pleasure."

"Let me out of this thing you crazy bitch!"

She merely laughed at me and pressed a button on the remote.

All of a sudden I felt a pleasurable warmth surge through my body and a slight tingling sensation in my genitals. I let out an involuntary moan.

"Feels great, doesn't it?" Angelique said as she played with the buttons on the remote.

Again, another surge of pleasure, but this time more intense. It felt as if I had a dozen tongues licking my clit at once.
 

"She's loving it," Selena said, rubbing her own vagina with both hands.

"I'm going to make you cum now, Holly," Angelique giggled. "Are you ready for this?"

Just then she pressed down on a big red button and my body convulsed, sending intensely pleasurable feelings of sexual energy into my vagina. I couldn't help myself. I started to cum.

"Ha! Look at her! The fucking whore!" Gertrude squealed. "You got her to cream, Angelique!"

"Didn't take much, did it?" Greta laughed.

"Let's do it again!" my cousin said, eager to get me to cum once more.

It was hard for me to define the experience in terms of the way I came from self-stimulation or from normal sexual intercourse. The fact that there was no real physical contact between my vagina and another human body part was both odd and yet intensely satisfying. With a few more pushes on the buttons my cousin had me creaming for a second time. I couldn't help but cry out in pleasure, which made all the women laugh.

"What a fucking slut!" Kyoto said, watching my face contort with pleasure.

Angelique laughed. "I always knew she was. Ready for another round, Holly?"

Before I had a chance to answer, I was once again in the throes of orgasm. This time it was a very prolonged and powerful feeling. I could feel the dampness settle in between my legs. I had now cum three times in quick succession—something I had never experienced before.

"Please stop," I said gasping for air. "Don't do this."

"You better enjoy it now bitch." Angelique replied. "Because a few more of these and your brain is going to be fried."

She pushed several buttons at once and this time and I felt my vagina tingle with incredible pleasure. In no time at all I was having multiple orgasms. One after the other they swept over me until my entire body was completely drained—my cries of pleasure ringing out throughout the chamber.

"That must have felt good, huh?" Angelique teased. "You registered a 10 on that one. More than enough now to roast your fucking cerebellum." 

I was too exhausted to speak. From below me I could hear the stifled moans of my uncle pleading with his daughter to put an end to my torture.

"Shut up old man!" Gertrude admonished. "Or I'll take you outside and hang you from a tree!"

He stopped speaking then, but his moans continued.

"God will punish you for what you're doing," Mr. Villon said to Angelique. "And I hope that I am there when that day comes."

"Oh, fuck you!" Marge yelled. "Can we torture this asshole some more, Angelique? Because I'm really in the mood!"

"No. Not yet. Your time is coming, François. But for now just keep your mouth shut or I'll have Marge have her way with you."

"Please let us go!" I begged my cousin.

"Too late for that now," she said, adjusting some knobs on the remote. "There. All done. It's time to say goodbye, Holly."

"No, Angelique, please! I'll quit the Sisterhood if that's what you want!"

My cousin paused for a moment to consider what I said. "You would?"

"To save my life? Yes. It's not worth dying for."

"Interesting proposition. The trouble is, I can't trust you to keep your word. You betrayed me once before. You'll do it again."

"You got it all wrong. I never betrayed you. It was all in your mind!"

"No, Holly. It's all in your mind!"

She pushed down hard on one of the buttons on the remote and suddenly my head felt like it was on fire. My body reacted to the invasion by convulsing wildly, unable to cope with the large number of volts of electricity coursing through it. I screamed in agony.

"Wow!"Angelique exclaimed. "It works!"

The women were laughing heartily at my misfortune, and as my eyes filled up with tears I saw Mr. Villon pull at the bars of his cage begging Angelique to stop what she was doing. He called my name out several times, but I couldn't hear him. The electrical shocks now came upon me like waves hitting a beach. No sooner had one shockwave abated than another began. My head was burning up. My fucking bitch of a cousin was going to kill me!

And then something happened. I didn't exactly know what it was at first because I was solely concerned with trying to get enough air into my lungs. My body felt as though I had thousands of tiny needles inserted into every pore, draining away my life's energy. I could hear the shouts of women scrambling to and fro in the dark below me. Everything had gone completely dark. The machine was dead.

Suddenly, from out of the darkness I heard a voice.

"I suggest that all of you stay where you are!"

It was my aunt Phoebe! Somehow she had found me. I laughed with joy at the sound of her voice and pulled myself free of the straps that bound me. 

"Holly! Pierre! Are you there?" my aunt called out.

"We're here aunt Phoebe! Please help us. Angelique is trying to kill us!"

The lights suddenly went on and I quickly unlocked the door of the device and jumped down to the floor, struggling to gain my balance. The first person I saw was my beloved Craig, crossing the distance from the bottom of the incline to where I stood in great strides. When my adversaries saw him coming they ran away panic stricken. He took me in his arms and caressed me, wanting to be sure I wasn't hurt. I held onto him for dear life. My aunt, Estelle, Justine, Charlotte, Felicia, and all my close Sisterhood friends quickly followed upon his heels, and behind them were about twenty of the vineyard laborers, Jacques LaSalle taking the lead. As soon as my aunt approached I fell into her arms and cried like a baby. 

The women who tried to kill me now huddled together in one corner of the room with their leader standing defiantly in the midst of them.

"Dear God!" my aunt exclaimed. "What the fuck is all this?" She let go of me and took a few steps toward her daughter. "Who are you? You can't be my child. I could never have given birth to such a person!"

"Phoebe! Phoebe!"

It was my uncle's frail voice calling out to her from his prison cell in the ground.

"We're going to get you out uncle Pierre!" I said to him as I leaned my head down toward the grating. "Hold on!"

"Oh, my God! You put your father in the ground?" my aunt screamed at Angelique. "You fucking bitch! Get him out of there right now! Do you hear me?"

"This asshole has the keys, aunt Phoebe," I said, pointing to a cowering Marge Davis. 

"Give them to me right now!" Craig demanded, moving toward her with menace in his eyes.

Marge fell back onto her confederates. I saw her fumble for the keys, which she kept in her pocket. She looked like she was going to be sick.

Craig grabbed the keys from her and immediately set to work freeing my uncle from his dank cell. With the aid of Jacques and several other men, they managed to sit him down in a chair. The poor man could barely walk.

"Don't forget about me...." said a soft voice from above. "Get me out of here, please…"

"Jesus Christ!" Felicia swore. "Another one! Look! See! Up there!"

All eyes followed her pointing finger. It was Mr.Villon. While screaming at Angelique to stop torturing me, he had lost his voice, and now he lay with his legs hanging down between the openings in the cell.

"Somebody get him down from there!" Justine hollered.

"We're gonna get you out of there right now, buddy!" Craig said to him.

Jacques found the lever that lowered the cage to the ground, and with Craig's help rescued the beleaguered man. He could not walk at all, his legs unable to support him. My aunt instructed the laborers to find some clothing for the naked man, and they then carried him out.

"I am glad that you are alive," he said to me as they took him away. "And I'm glad that I am alive too!"

I patted his head gently and thanked him for trying to help me.

Estelle gave my uncle some water and he, too, was then carried out of the chamber. My aunt looked at him with great sorrow in her eyes and he smiled back at her as if to say 'thank you' for coming to our aid.

Once both Mr. Villon and my uncle had been taken away, my aunt walked over to Angelique and stood before her and the group of furtive women. She was flanked by both Craig and Jacques, with me and the other Sisters close behind. It felt as if we had corned a pack of wild animals.

"So," my aunt began. "This is what you've been up to all these months."

"Yes, mother," Angelique replied in her typical cold fashion.

My aunt let her eyes survey the area around her. She seemed quite impressed. "It's amazing what you've achieved. Imagine what you could have done for the Sisterhood had you exercised your energies on its behalf instead of squandering your talents on this fruitless and foolish enterprise."

"It may be fruitless to you, but it was my dream."

"Dream? You call this a dream? It's a nightmare! But every nightmare has to end sometime."

"What are you talking about?"

"Before coming here I contacted my good friend Chief Inspector Favre of the Police Nationale. There is a team of policemen waiting outside for you and the rest of your miserable band. Your friends are going to jail for being accessories to murder. You are going to jail too…for kidnapping and attempted murder. But this will be a special jail because it contains an asylum. I'm going to see to it that you spend a good long time there. And maybe one day, with the help of God, you will be well enough to enter normal society again. I'm sorry, but you leave me no choice."

If I could have taken a picture of my cousin's startled face upon hearing my aunt's declaration, it would have compensated greatly for all the misery she had put me through. For the first time in her young life, she had no response. She just stood there mute, unmoving. Her friends, realizing that the game was now up, moved away from her and toward the walkway, heads down and silent. They were greeted at the entrance by several police officers who escorted them out. I had expected at least one or two of them to put up some kind of fight in their leader's defense, but the most despicable of them, Marge and Gertrude, slinked away like the two cowardly snakes they were and the rest of the group obediently followed suit. So much bravado, so much daring. But when confronted with the truth and people's own innate goodness, these disciples of hate had no defense. My cousin now stood alone in front of her mother. The willful arrogance disappearing as quickly as her friends had done.

"How did you know?" Angelique asked my aunt.

"I told her," Jacques answered. "I told her everything."

"If it wasn't for Jacques you might not be standing here right now, Holly," my aunt said.

"Thank you, Jacques," I said, taking his hand.

"Mademoiselle," he replied, bowing his head to me. "I was under Angelique's influence for a long time. And I probably would still be today if she had not set her heart on murder."

"You most likely saved my uncle Pierre's life too, dear Jacques. I cannot thank you enough."

"I want to thank you too, buddy," Craig said to the good-hearted Frenchman. "You did the right thing."

He shook Jacques' hand and then put his arms around my shoulders, hugging me close. "All I know is my girl is safe. That's all that matters to me."

All during this time my cousin stood still, her head bowed low. I had never seen her like this before, so quiet, so…uncharacteristically sullen. There seemed to be no fight left in her. I had to wonder what was going on in that distorted mind of hers.

"Phoebe!"

It was Chief Inspector Favre. He, along with two other officers were waiting at the top of the walkway, beckoning us to come with them.

"We're coming!" my aunt replied. "One moment please."

She turned to her daughter. "Well, it's time to go child. Please don't make this difficult for me."

"I won't mother. I'll never make things difficult for you anymore."

My aunt didn't know what to make of her response so she simply took Angelique by the arm and led her out. Justine, Estelle, and Felicia walked ahead of us and were the first to exit the chamber, followed by Jacques and the remaining laborers. Craig and I walked behind my aunt and cousin with Charlotte taking up the rear. I felt as if I were part of a funeral procession.

Inspector Favre walked halfway down the incline with handcuffs in his hands. Because he had been a lifelong friend of my aunt's, he respected her wishes to not get involved until she had actually required his help. He had dutifully obeyed her request.

When Angelique saw the handcuffs she became very agitated. Her face grew pale and her eyes darted this way and that, fearful of the waiting policemen who now approached her.

Charlotte seemed to sense that something was wrong and acted instinctively. Pulling the girl by the arm, she turned her forcibly around with one swift motion so that Angelique was now facing her. I saw that there were tears in the distressed girl's eyes.

"I know this seems like the end of the world, but it's not," she told my cousin. "Your mother loves you. She wants to help you. We all want to help you."

"I don't want to go to prison!" the frightened girl screamed.

What happened then occurred so fast that I thought some external agency had put our lives in fast forward.

Pushing her mother aside and breaking free of Charlotte's grasp, my cousin hurled herself off the incline and dove head first into the very same gaping funnel from which my uncle had nearly fallen into. There was no time to react. One moment Angelique was calmly walking beside her mother; the next she was gone.

My aunt screamed and tried to reach for her daughter's ankles, almost falling into the deadly metal funnel herself. Charlotte quickly grabbed my aunt by the waist and pulled her backwards so that both women fell onto the cold cement floor in a heap. Wailing incoherently, my aunt ran down the incline hysterically waving her arms in the air, and upon reaching the huge funnel, began pounding on it with her fists, calling her daughter's name.

"Angelique! Angelique! Are you all right? My baby! Are you all right?"

The rest of us quickly followed her down, each of us looking for some kind of opening in the huge metal tube.

"You must get her out! Get her out!" my aunt cried out to the policemen. "She'll die in there! Hurry! Hurry!"

"Shut down the power to the turbine!" the Inspector shouted to one of his men. Within seconds the thrumming of the engines came to an abrupt halt.

Charlotte tried in vain to restrain my aunt, but to no avail. Craig and I stood by helplessly as the policemen struggled to find a way into the great machine. They worked feverishly until one of them looked up and then fell backwards onto the support railing. His face suddenly turned white.

"Jesus fucking Christ!" he cried.

"What is it?" my aunt asked, ceasing her pounding on the funnel. "Did you find her? Did you find her?"

And then I saw it. Where the great piston met the gear shaft on its downward revolution there was a vast pool of blood, dripping over the lip of the funnel and cascading down over the concrete floor like water over a dam.

"Oh, my God!" I screamed, clutching Craig's hand. "Oh, my God!"

Craig was struck dumb as his eyes beheld the bloodstained metal tube.

"Get them out of here!" the Inspector yelled at his men. "Get them all out of here for God's sake!"

In the next moment both my aunt and Charlotte, walking out from behind the rear end of the funnel, saw what we had seen. Both women screamed hysterically, clutching each other in a frantic effort to steady themselves from falling. Charlotte pulled on my aunt's arm, desperately trying to wrench her away from the awful sight. But it was too late. Seeing the blood wash down over the metal funnel, my aunt fell onto the concrete floor crying and bellowing like a wounded animal, calling her dead daughter's name over and over again. It took several officers to pull her away from the horrific scene, carrying her kicking and screaming up the incline. The remaining officers hurried Charlotte, Craig and I out of that damnable place. They seemed as frightened and sickened as we were.

When we all finally exited the bunker, there was an ambulance waiting there. My aunt had passed out and was now being placed on a stretcher. I got into the ambulance with her while Craig and Charlotte drove in her car and followed us to the hospital. Half way there my aunt stirred, her mind still focused on the horrible incident. She called out to Angelique several times and then slipped back into unconsciousness. The medical technician gave her some oxygen and tried to keep her as comfortable as possible. 

I couldn't get the image of my cousin's blood out of my mind. She had, more than likely, been torn to pieces by the wrenching gears of the giant turbine. I found it odd that for many months now, I had wondered what it would be like if she were forever out of our lives. I had often wished that she might meet her death in some gruesome, spectacular way, and it seemed my wish had come true. But fantasy is one thing, reality quite another. After what I had just experienced, I would never think such thoughts about anyone ever again.

As the ambulance pulled up to the emergency doors of the hospital, I felt as if the whole world had suddenly collapsed upon me. If Craig had not been there to comfort me, I think I might have been tempted to join my cousin in her last defiant act.

************



My aunt was released from the hospital two days after she had been admitted. Her doctor had decided to keep her under observation for an extra day just to make certain that the anti-depressant medication she was taking was proving efficacious. Craig and I had gone to pick her up at the hospital around 10:30 AM. It was a chilly November morning and the sky was overcast and filled with ominous gray clouds. By the time we got back to the chateau, it was raining very hard.

Charlotte was waiting for us as we walked through the door. Justine and Estelle had prepared tea and were setting the table in the parlour. Surprisingly enough, my aunt looked rather well, considering her ordeal. After she had spent some time getting her things in order, she asked us all to join her for tea. I could tell that she was anxious to talk to us.

Taking a seat beside me on the great couch, she drank some tea and then began.

"Have all the arrangements been taken care of for my daughter?" she asked Justine.

"Yes, Phoebe. Estelle and I have seen to everything, just as I told you yesterday. The funeral is set for Monday."

"I don't want any flowers sent. Did you tell the funeral director that?"

"I did."

"And what about the Sisters? Did you tell them not to come?"

"Yes. Only Joanna, Felicia, and Janet will be there."

"Good. They come for my sake because they are my friends. The rest would only be coming out of obligation, and I don't want that."

"I think you made a wise choice," Estelle said to my aunt. "It's best to keep it simple."

In the distance I heard the crack of lightning and then a loud thunderclap. Suddenly, the sky opened up and the rain began to come down in torrents.

"May it wash away the sins of the world," my aunt said softly.

For a few moments all of us sat quietly listening to rain hitting upon the window pane behind us. It was coming down so hard that it was impossible to see out the window.

"Pierre should be here anytime now," Charlotte told my aunt. "His legs are still hurting him but he said he's able to get around."

"Well, before he gets here, I want to thank each of you for helping me through this difficult time. I don't know what I would have done without you."

"We all love you aunt Phoebe," I said, touching her hand. "If you need anything just ask."

"That goes for me too, Mrs. Anjou," Craig added.

She smiled. "Thank you both. I think I'm going to be all right. I just need a little time, that's all.
 

"Take all the time you need," Estelle said. "We'll take care of things for you in the meantime."

We sat talking for a few minutes more until my uncle Pierre arrived. Phoebe asked Justine, Estelle, and Craig to leave the room while she, my uncle, Charlotte and I—the immediate family—discussed personal matters.

My uncle was greeted warmly by my aunt and took a seat opposite her. He looked a bit tired and wet from the rain, but otherwise seemed his old self. Charlotte poured her brother a cup of tea and sat beside him.

"You look well," my aunt said to her former husband. "How are you feeling?"

"I can't complain. It's just that the rain sometimes aggravates my arthritis. And you?"

"I'm holding up I guess. Holly and Charlotte have been a great help to me."

My uncle looked at me then at Charlotte. "Two fine women," he said jovially. "Two very fine women." He took a sip of tea and cleared his throat. "Phoebe, there is something I must say. I know it will hurt you to hear it, but it must be said."

"What is it, Pierre?"

"It concerns our daughter."

"If you feel it's necessary."

"It is." 

My uncle gently put his tea cup down onto the table in front of him and looked at me.

"I know that Angelique told you some things about me," he began, "and I want to clear that up once and for all."

"Of course, uncle."

"Without belaboring the issue, what she told you is all lies. There is no truth to anything she said."

"If you say so, uncle."

"I do. Now I want you to know the truth because I've been living with this lie for so long that I've almost come to believe it myself."

"Well then, tell her, Pierre," Charlotte said.

"I want you to understand, Holly, that I never sexually abused my daughter. She just made that up. Did I hit her? Yes, I did. I beat her up pretty badly sometimes. It was the rage—this curse of the Anjou line. Did I beat my wife? Yes, I am sorry to say. My business was failing and I was in great debt with no way to pay off my creditors, so I took out my frustrations on my family. May God forgive me. I never meant to hurt anyone. You must believe that, Holly. I never meant to hurt anyone."

Charlotte took her brother's hand in hers. "Dear Pierre."

My aunt sat quietly listening to his every word. I saw that her eyes were welling up as she remembered their shared past.

"It is important that you believe me," he continued. "I am not the monster my daughter accused me of being. It was her rage speaking, and her poor, troubled mind, not anything that I did."

My aunt was softly crying now and Charlotte was crying, too. Something told me that he was telling the truth. It wasn't the words themselves, but the timbre of his voice—the bittersweet recollections of a time long past, a time that could never be recaptured, a longing that could never be appeased. He stretched out his hand and placed it upon my own.

"I am a good man," he continued in a quavering voice. "I just have a bad temper."

"Oh, uncle!" I said, throwing my arms around his neck. "I believe you."

My own eyes now began to fill with tears as I felt both my aunt's and Charlotte's hands caress my face.

We sat there crying for a good, long time. Even my uncle had tears in his eyes. It was a cathartic moment for all of us, a much needed denouement to our collective grief.

I spent the remainder of the day with Craig. Charlotte chose to stay at the chateau for a few days just until my aunt was feeling better. Before going to bed that evening, she caught me in the kitchen eating some cherries.

"You eat so much fruit it's no wonder you don't turn into a cherry yourself!" she joked.

"Best food in the world!" I said, happily munching away.

She took a seat beside me and poured herself a glass of wine. "I prefer the grape product to the grape," she said, lifting her glass to me.

"To each his own."

She took a sip and then pondered for a moment. "You know, I was thinking about that dream you had. You know which one I mean?

"The dream about Angelique."

"Yes. It was that dream—that vision—that brought you to my house. I was thinking how fortunate it was for you to have such a dream, especially in light of recent events. You have to admit that it is very, very strange that the images you saw were so close to the real thing. Oui?"

I put down my fork and shrugged. "Of course. I'm such an idiot. The dungeon, the torture instruments, and the golden light that…"
"That resembled electricity! That was how she died. The golden glow that you saw was the electrical current. That thing you saw moving in the light. It was her. It was Angelique."

"The monster in my dream."

"Yes. But she really wasn't a monster after all, was she?"

I felt a sudden pang of remorse as I remembered how I had wished for my cousin's death. "No. No, she wasn't."

Charlotte sat next to me for a few moments lost in thought. "I'll tell you this, Holly. I have the gift of clairvoyance, but I have yet to predict the future. The very nature of prescience is that it is infinitely malleable. It is the same with you, as it was with our dear Lenore, may she rest in peace. Our visions can act as our guide, but they do not tell us the whole story, or even the whole truth. That is why we must depend upon our what our minds and hearts tell us. Most times it is all we have to go on."

We shared a few drinks and then we said goodnight. Craig was waiting for me as I crawled into bed next to him. My mind and heart told me that our love for each other was the only truth I truly understood.

************



The funeral took place on a sunny Monday morning at 9:30 AM. A small service was held at a chapel in Paris and then my cousin's body was borne to the cemetery a few miles away and laid to rest in the family plot. During the funeral rites, my aunt and my uncle stood together hand in hand, supporting one another through it all. Craig and I tried to offer what emotional support we could, as did Charlotte and the other Sisters, but although my aunt appreciated our efforts, I could tell that nothing, short of her daughter coming back to life, would ever compensate for the loss she had suffered.

In the weeks following my cousin's funeral, my aunt informed everyone that the bunker was going to be destroyed and the underground chambers permanently sealed up. I was glad to hear this because it meant that she was finally making an attempt to put all things related to Angelique's insane plans to rest. 

"I can't sleep at night knowing that bunker is still standing," she said to me one day when we were having lunch. "It's got to go."

And the following day, it was gone.

As the days wore on she began to look and feel more like the woman I had always known. And I was glad to see it. Yet, there was always a faraway look in her eyes, as though her mind was fixed on distant things and remote places. When December rolled around I got a call from Mary Kate, who told me that she and Ashley were in Paris filming their movie. We made plans for them to come and visit me on Sunday, their day off, so that we could spend the day together. It was during their visit that my aunt finally revealed to me what had been on her mind for so long.

"I'm leaving," she said flatly. "I'm giving up the chateau, the vineyards, everything."

We were sitting at the dinner table, all four of us, and in the midst of our meal when she gave us the news. I thought she was kidding.

"Oh, you've said this before, but you don't really mean it. Do you?"

"Yes, Holly. I mean it. It's time to move on."

"Are you sure?" Ashley asked my aunt. "Because if you're not, Mary Kate and I could rent it from you in the meantime. No problem."

"Thanks Ashley, but no. I want to sell it. Take the money and maybe buy myself a yacht and go see the world. What do you think?"

"Radical!" Mary Kate exclaimed. "But I like it."

I had been wrestling with myself as to whether or not I should remain in France if ever my aunt decided to leave, and over the past weeks had discussed the issue at length with Craig. I felt that now was the right time to let my aunt know what I was thinking.

"I've made a decision, too," I announced.

"Really?" my aunt said. "About what?"

"About moving back to San Diego."

My aunt looked surprised. "San Diego? You'd have to give up leadership of the Sisterhood in that case."

"I know."

"But why, Holly? You've worked so hard to get here. And Lenore. What would she think? Explain it to me because I don't understand."

"If there's one thing that you've taught me aunt Phoebe it's that life is too short to be unhappy. And I'm not happy being a leader."

She cocked her head to one side and frowned. "No. I don't believe it. Is this true?"

"I don't want to be a leader, or a follower. I just want to make my own destiny."

"I thought that's what you were doing here," she said looking mystified. 

"No. I'm just trying to play the role that someone else fostered upon me. I thought it was what I wanted, but it's not."

The twins had stopped eating all during our conversation, their heads moving left and right in unison whenever it was my aunt's or my turn to speak.

"Well I'll be damned. You really want to give it all up?"

"Yes, just like you do."

My aunt laughed. "To be honest with you, I never wanted to be a Sisterhood leader either. I'm too much of a free spirit. I guess I'm like you in a lot of ways. I prefer to carve out my own niche and let the chips fall where they may."

"That's not a bad philosophy auntie."

"Well, all I can tell you is, if it worked for me, then it can work for you, too. I congratulate you on your decision."

She and the twins raised their glasses to me in salute.

"I've spoken to Justine about my plans and I've decided to name her as my successor."

"I think Lenore would heartily approve of that."

"It's the logical choice. She has the experience, the temperament, and the desire. I think she'll make a fine Sisterhood leader."

"And so she will," my aunt said, approvingly.

"Oh, and another thing. Craig and I are getting married!"

I got a big round of cheers for this announcement.

"That's fantastic!" Mary Kate squealed.

"When? When?" Ashley exclaimed.

"This is wonderful news!" my aunt said with a big smile. "He's a great kid!"

"He is wonderful isn't he? We plan to get married next December. I've always wanted a December wedding."

"I thought you wanted to wait a few years," Mary Kate inquired.

"I thought so too, but what's the point? Life is too short, right aunt Phoebe?"

"Right you are my dear niece. Right you are!"

When the twin's new movie came out the following summer, it was a big hit. Ashley was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress in a leading role. And Mary Kate was also nominated for best actress in a supporting role. And they both won! After years of churning out lackluster movies, they had finally gotten it right. I was there when they got their Oscars and it was simply wonderful.

My aunt sold the chateau to a wealthy Parisian couple. It was agreed that Craig and I would stay on until the end of the month so that my aunt could begin her trip. By the end of February she was out on the open sea on her yacht that she had named "Angelique". Charlotte had chosen to go with her on her world wide sailing adventure, having become my aunt's closest friend in the wake of Lenore's death. It was hard saying goodbye to her and Charlotte, and all my Sisterhood friends. I told them that I would continue to attend Sisterhood meetings and events at the local San Diego chapter, and I promised to remain in frequent touch with each of them.

A few days before Craig and I were due to leave, I went down into the Masturbatorium for the last time. Every single vestige of Sisterhood property had been removed and shipped to the secondary headquarters in Paris. The new owners would have absolutely no idea of what had transpired in this basement complex. Even the black and gold Sisterhood banner had been removed. It looked like any other finished basement now. I felt sad leaving it, remembering how much fun I had had partaking in its lascivious history.

On the last day of February, when all the furnishings had finally been removed, I stood in the great hall with Craig by my side, saying goodbye to the place that had been my home for the past ten months. A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I touched the bare walls upon which once hung some of my aunt's most prized paintings. All the murals that hung so nobly from the rafters above were gone now. The household staff had long since been dismissed and I don't think the chateau had ever been so silent. 

The sun shone brightly through the stained glass window, casting a rainbow of color upon the marble staircase from which I first beheld my aunt, looking as beautiful and ethereal as the angels that graced the windows themselves. I thought of Angelique, who would have grown up to equal her mother in beauty but never in character. And my uncle Pierre, who had caused great pain to his family, but who had subsequently suffered so much himself and, through the power of love, was vindicated and made whole.

A single ray of light fell onto the circular image in the marble floor bearing the crest of the Anjou family name. It was the only thing in the entire house that was left to remind me that they had once lived here.

"It's funny," I said to Craig, my voice echoing off the barren walls. "This chateau. It's just a thing. Despite all its beauty, it has no feelings. Without people in it, without the laughter, without the sorrow, it's only just a thing."

"Of course, Holly. What did you expect?"

"I don't know. Somehow it seems wrong that people spend so much of their lives accumulating things when there's nothing of them left behind—no memories, nothing. It's like the life force has disappeared. I mean, this house should be talking to us by now. It's so strange."

Craig kissed me gently on the lips and watched as I put the key in the door for the last time. Behind us stood the red Ferrari that I had inherited from Lenore—our means of transportation to the airport.

"I don't think it's so strange," he said. "Love is the only thing that really lives on. And only people can feel love, not things. This house was made beautiful or ugly by virtue of its occupants; whatever they left behind doesn't matter. What they took with them is what's important. What they took with them."

As I closed the door I half expected to hear a low groan emanate from somewhere deep within the foundation of the chateau. But whatever thoughts may have existed in its hallowed frame remained buried within its ancient walls.

THE END

11:31 Gepost door Pé de Cenoura | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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