When Angela moved in, she brought with her – along with a harp, ten years' worth of vitamin supplements, and the sort of books that Caroline always meant to read to improve herself and be able to have intelligent conversations with people, should the situation arise, but never got around to doing so – a collection of scarves.
Caroline understood lots of things about Angela – well, not understood, exactly, but could pretend to understand. She could pretend to understand why it was so necessary to have approximately three hundred million pairs of pants, divided up into categories and subcategories and subsubcategories. She could pretend to understand how Angela remembered to throw out white pants that had gone grey in the wash. She could pretend to understand how Angela always had a matching bra and acted as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, to remember to match up one's underwear even at hideously early hours of the morning.
The scarves, however, made no sense. For starters, there were so many of them. Was it really necessary to have a scarf to match up with every outfit? Surely it only needed to match one's coat, and Angela didn't have as many coats as she did scarves. And it wasn't as though scarves needed to match underwear – if you'd stripped down to your underwear you'd have cast aside your scarf long ago, wouldn't you?
Not even that, but so many of them were flimsy delicate things, not even sensible woolly scarves that at least served a purpose and could provide some warmth. And, yes, they were very pretty, but when on earth would Angela get the chance to wear them? Even if one wanted to wear scarves in the blazing heat, there couldn't be enough days of blazing heat in the whole year to manage to wear this many scarves, unless the collection was rotated extremely quickly, with a new one being pulled out of the wardrobe every hour.
She debated whether to ask or not, wondering whether she could survive not knowing or whether the curiosity would eventually drive her insane. So one day she asked.
Angela looked at her as though she couldn't quite believe that someone couldn't understand why having so many scarves was a necessity.
And then she explained.
Caroline looked at her, absolutely sure this was a joke. Angela was too nice (well, sort of, mostly), and normal, and pretty to be one of those people who felt the need to spice up their sex lives. Anyway, what was the point of it? Wasn't it only people who had piercings everywhere and wore black leather and spikes and all that sort of thing who were into tying people up for sex? Sue White, now Sue White was the sort of person who'd be into it. Not Angela, for God's sake.
Perhaps it was the obvious scepticism in Caroline's eyes that made Angela offer to demonstrate.
"Go on, then," Caroline said, almost one hundred percent positive that it was some kind of test, some way of seeing how far Angela could push her. And she was willing to bet Angela wouldn't go through with a demonstration, that she wouldn't be able to do anything with scarves in a supposedly erotic way without cracking.
As if reading her mind – she wondered for a minute whether in fact Angela was telepathic – Angela said, "It's not that unusual, you know. Lots of couples use accessories."
Caroline spent a moment trying to decide whether the slight edge of condescension was to do with Angela being part of a couple or experience with accessories, before meeting her gaze and saying, "I just didn't think you were the type, that's all." Because of course she knew that lots of couples were into weird things with scarves. She hoped that the extent of her knowledge had been imprinted onto that comment.
"Lie down," Angela directed.
"What, on the bed?"
"Of course on the bed," Angela said.
Caroline followed her instructions, though as time passed and she found her legs and arms each bound to one corner of the bed with a scarf, she was starting to worry just a little that Angela wasn't actually going to back down and in fact go through with her demonstration.
She panicked about the state of her bodily hair for a moment, before remembering that hair had been removed from all appropriate areas – unless there were areas that hair was supposed to be removed from but no one talked about it and she had no idea – and then reassuring herself that there was no way she was even going to get to the stage where clothes were removed.
Except, of course, she realised as she tried to move, she had no control over it.
Angela watched her and smiled. "You see? I could do anything I like to you, and you can't move." She seemed far too delighted about this.
"And what are you going to do?" Caroline asked warily, suspecting that it really hadn't been the best idea ever, letting herself be tied up like this.
Angela pondered it for a moment, before removing yet another scarf from the collection. "This one's silk," she said, letting the end of it drift over Caroline's face for a moment.
Perhaps that made sense in the world of scarf fetishists, but Caroline was still lost. That was, until Angela was somehow on the bed, next to her, and then on top of her, and she realised that actually, yes, they had got to the stage where clothes were being removed, seeing as she had been wearing various pieces of clothing over her bra and now even that was gone, and that definitely hadn't been the case a few minutes before, and that scarf, that silk scarf in a perfectly innocent shade of blue, was caressing her.
Caressing her. It was a scarf, it wasn't designed for this purpose. Though really, she thought in a vague sort of way, it being difficult to formulate deep meaningful thoughts when in a state of arousal, why should everything have one purpose and one purpose only? There could be other wonderfully multifunctional items out there that she had cruelly overlooked.
And then, yes, there seemed to be more items of clothing being removed. The fact that she was completely naked, in front of Angela, of all people, suddenly hit her, followed a few moments later by the desire to curl up into a small ball or pull a blanket over her or do something to cover herself up somewhat, to protect herself.
She couldn't, of course; that was the whole point of being tied up. Right. She was tempted to beg and scream and cry, or perhaps just flail around wildly until the bonds loosened and she could escape, but Angela didn't seem at all uncomfortable, even though Caroline was sure that she was secretly judging and making mental notes, and then that blonde hair was brushing gently against her stomach and that scarf, that deceptively nondescript silk scarf now between her legs, was in Angela's capable hands, and Caroline though that perhaps if she was going to scream it wouldn't really be for silly reasons like wanting to be untied.
She was tempted, in fact, to scream from frustration, wanting more, wanting it now, and not being able to do anything except jerk her hips slightly, when Angela said, quite matter-of-factly, "Of course, the personal touch is important too" and then proceeded to put her tongue to a far better use than speech.
And then, then there was screaming.
"There's no need to be so loud," Angela chided her, though she looked rather pleased with herself. "Well. I think you see my point, yes?"
Caroline nodded weakly.
"Good!" Angela replied brightly.
"I don't suppose you'd like to untie me now," Caroline suggested.
"Oh! Of course, yes."
Angela graciously allowed her to keep the blue scarf as a memento. Caroline folded it up and put it in at the back of one of her drawers. Then, furtively, even though she was alone in her room, she took it out, and placed it under her pillow.