"There you are," said Haruka, letting herself into the Hinata House. "You know you've got work you're suppose to be doing for me."
"You can't be serious," said Kentaro, looking up from the television he was watching. He'd become a bit of a regular figure around the place, managing to do so without upsetting the girls. "You've got to give me a day off once in awhile."
"What in the world makes you think you deserve a day off?" she asked blandly.
It had quickly become a ritual, Haruka cracking the whip without the actual aid of a whip, managing to intimidate the hell out of him while wearing her teahouse apron. It was the kind of absolute control Stromboli always wished he'd had over Pinocchio, only more so. Kentaro did everything he could to avoid the pitfall of submission she'd laid out before him.
"You can rest once you've worked off your debt."
"Is it?" said Haruka, not looking at all surprised. "Guess you'd better call the police and press charges.
Kentaro said nothing, but suddenly looked uncomfortable.
"Or better yet, I'll call," she continued, stepping out of her sandals and into some house slippers, walking over to Kentaro. "It'll give me a chance to ask what I should do when someone drives a tunneling vehicle up through the floor of a building."
Kentaro's gaze shifted away from hers, finding the TV again.
"No?" she asked. "You don't want me to call?"
He didn't respond.
"Now that that's settled, the teahouse floors need scrubbing again."
"This is slavery, you know," he said testily, not looking up.
"You say that as though it were a bad thing."
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
"I'd rather hoped we both were, but if I have to be the only one, then I'm the only one," she said. "And now that you know you're back on duty, I want you to refer to me as Mistress Haruka again. That way, neither one of us will get confused about our place in this relationship."
"So, just how much of the debt have I worked off?" he asked, doing his best to avoid what she'd just said.
"Not quite half."
If she hadn't been watching when she answered, she could very easily have missed his reaction. It was instant and subtle, as though his body had found a way of settling deeper into the couch. She'd managed to crush him, doing so without even trying. She decided she'd have to try more in the future.
"I've also decided to include an incentive plan into your hourly wages," she continued, moving to stand between Kentaro and the TV. His eyes never lifted from her feet.
"Incentive plan?" he asked suspiciously.
"Yes," she said. "Every time you do something I approve of, I'll raise your rate by a nickel. And every time you do something I disapprove of, I'll drop your rate by a dime."
"That doesn't seem very fair."
"No it isn't," she agreed. "But that's the way it's going to be."
"I guess you really must enjoy working for me," she said blandly, staring coldly at Kentaro. "Otherwise, you wouldn't be throwing your hourly rate away like this."
"What?" he said, startled. He was now scanning her face for any sign of humor, finding only her spine-softening glare.
"You're already down to a dollar ten per hour and sinking," she said, folding her arms across her chest. "You might want to try and reverse that."
"What?!" he asked in surprise, nearly rising from the couch. "What have I been doing wrong?"
Haruka's backhand had been so quick and powerful that Kentaro only realized what had happened when the side of his face hit the floor.
"For starters, I told you to call me Mistress Haruka," she said, lifting her slippered foot and stomping it onto the upturned side of his face. "Didn't I?"
Kentaro struggled fruitlessly and complained inarticulately as she ground her foot back and forth. The more he struggled, the more she added weight to her oppressive foot. Eventually he got the idea and went limp -- at least as limp as he could manage.
"Didn't I?" she asked again, lifting her foot from his face. Her voice hadn't changed once from its perpetually bland and relaxed tone, despite what she'd been doing. Somehow that terrified him even more.
"Yes, Mistress Haruka!" blurted Kentaro, a shielding hand caressing the pronounced imprint on the side of his face.
"Is that all you have to say for yourself?"
He showed every sign of wanting to argue the point on some level, but held his tongue, his pain and frustration openly visible. Then slowly, Kentaro's body relaxed and settled under the weight of his dejected resignation.
"I'm sorry, Mistress," he quietly added.
"That's better," she said. "And are you interested in trying to make it up to me?"
The reason for her incentive plan was now coming clear. Having slave labor wasn't enough, apparently. Haruka wanted extras from him and she was going to see to it that she got them. She truly enjoyed treating him this way. The prospect sent a spark of anxious excitement flashing through his mind, leaving a sense of pathetic self-loathing in its wake.
Kentaro gradually lifted himself to his hands and knees. He then kissed Haruka's slippered feet without hesitation. And despite how the utter humiliation infuriated him, it also thrilled something deep within his mind. He was learning to truly enjoy her treatment of him as well.
"How can I make it up to you, Mistress?"
"You can start by getting to your work," she said. "But first, lose the clothes, you won't need them today."
She took a seat and crossed her legs, producing a cigarette and lighting it. She then settled back to enjoy whatever show-value Kentaro had to offer. She watched dispassionately as the first layer of clothes was slowly and awkwardly peeled from Kentaro's body.
"And don't be all day about it."
Kentaro momentarily wondered if dealing with the police might not be a better idea.
The journey across the front courtyard could not possibly have been a more open spectacle, suffering the prominence of broad daylight. Without a doubt, no distance had felt greater than the fifteen meters that separated the Hinata House front door from the stairway leading to the teahouse. Kentaro couldn't tell if anyone was watching as he and Haruka crossed the space. If there were any witnesses, they were currently silent ones. Then there was the stairway itself.
Kentaro was able to count forty-seven steps in all. It was Haruka who had made such a careful count of the stairs possible. She had slowly and deliberately descended the steps, preventing Kentaro from going any faster than she was. She held him in check with an iron-grip on his erection. He was her prisoner in-tow, his arms filled with his recently removed clothes.
Once she'd let them both into the back of teahouse, she released Kentaro and regarded him with a cold stare.
"Now, that should be enough on the subject of arguing when I have work for you," she said. "Unless you enjoy parading around in the open that way."
"No, Mistress," he quickly replied, silently vowing that he wouldn't forget her title ever again. Her demonstrations were definitely hitting the mark with him.
"Really?" she said, a slim smile slicing across her face. His response had amused her, or given her inspiration. She ran a finger along his swollen and begging erection. "Maybe that wasn't enough on the subject."
"It was, Mistress," he said. "Truly."
Haruka pointed to a small cabinet. "Put your clothes in there," she told him, ignoring his assurances.
"It's something you didn't get to last time," said Haruka in an uninterested tone. "Down under there." She pointed a slippered foot toward the large oven. It sat up on metal post legs, about five inches above the tiled floor. "And I want you to do under the prep tables, too."
"Yes, Mistress," said Kentaro, setting down his bucket of soapy water and kneeling for a closer look. What he found could have been worse, but not by a whole lot. Covering the tiles was a glue-like sludge of grease and every kind of dirt imaginable. This wasn't going to be easy. But he'd said he would do whatever she wanted him to, until she said he'd paid off the debt.
Until she said.
When he looked back he found his Mistress leaning against the refrigerator, taking slow drags from her cigarette. She said nothing, only staring at him with her withering glare. Knowing that any and all delays could literally cost him, he grabbed the large scrub brush from the bucket and got mucked-in.
Haruka continued to watch him, apparently satisfied with her circumstance. She had a naked man on his knees, straining to clean up her messes. She gazed hypnotically at the slight piston movement of Kentaro's ass as he rhythmically scrubbed at the tiles. A slim smile sliced across her face again.
Kentaro's attention was drawn as a cigarette dropped to the floor. Haruka's foot then carefully moved over and snubbed it out. Curiosity pulled him around so he could better see his Mistress. She currently had her hands under her apron, making a little adjustment. As she brought her hands back out he could hear a slight hissing noise, like something rubbing against fabric. He could then see she was pulling her belt free from around her waist.
"Mistress?" he said, slightly alarmed. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No," she said blandly, folding the leather strap in half. "Just stay still."
"But, Mistress," he stammered, "why?"
"Because I want to," she told him, slowly walking over next to him. "Just because I want to."
Kentaro's flinched severely when Haruka fondled his ass with her free hand, thumping his head into the oven door. She didn't seem to notice as she casually caressed each cheek.
"Not to worry," she said, standing and drawing back her belt. "Your hourly rate is about to go up a nickel..."
- - end - -