Fashion Faux Pas
Bianchetti had always been her first port of call during window shopping, and on today’s spree the exclusive boutique near the city’s financial quarter was confirming its status once again. Behind the glass façade, amidst LBD’s, designer clutches and outré court shoes Lorena discovered the short-sleeved top on one of the highly stylised mannequins. At first glance the item didn’t awake her interest. But then her eyes wandered back, and it intrigued her due to its unusual material. It was made of latex.
Of course she owned a couple of tight-fitting leather clothes and even a pair of PVC jeans. But a rubber shirt was indeed a bit eccentric. Lorena would have never even considered buying the top if she had seen it in the window display of some fetish shop. But in this environment it automatically evolved into a hedonistic statement. Like twelve-centimetre Louboutins. Plus, it came with an unerring indicator that this was officially haute couture: a 349 € price tag.
With numbers so decadent, the article itself was able to afford a more toned-down appearance. The black rubber was cut like a fitted T-shirt, yet owned faux breast pockets and a button placket that went halfway down. Sporting six shiny press studs, it was kept in white, as were the collar and the ends of the sleeves.
Upon entering the boutique, Lorena headed for a display with sunglasses nearby the window in question. Only after browsing through the shades she pretended to just having noticed the top. A quick glance confirmed the sales assistant being busy with a customer. Lorena reached out and let the back of her hand travel along the uncommon material. It did feel a bit alien, but not unpleasant. And its faint smell reminded her of gummi bears.
The sales lady, finished with the other customer, closed in, and Lorena suddenly felt trapped.
“How may I help you, ma’am?”
“I just noticed this unconventional piece of clothing,” Lorena recited the line she had made up in advance. She was a bit embarrassed, which in return made her feel silly. For crying out loud, she wasn’t buying a vibrator!
The sales assistant quickly dismissed any reservations, informing conversationally about how designers were searching for new material and ways of tailoring. She even pointed out that the caoutchouc used for the production had been fair-traded.
“Would you like to try it on, ma’am?”
It was only consequent of her to offer this, yet caused Lorena to blush.
“Sure, why not?” she answered in a deliberately nonchalant manner, very well aware of her ears becoming red.
Luckily the sales assistant turned away to take the shirt off the mannequin’s silvery body. She explained that the article was a one-of-a-kind, fashioned by a designer who also manufactured his creations all by himself – but only on commission.
In the fitting room Lorena readied herself for another wave of blushing as she tried the exotic item on. The shirt was certainly unfamiliar, rather light and cool to the skin. It was reasonably tight, too, but by no means to the point of needing talcum like with the hard core stuff. She turned this way and that in front of the mirror. The material made a distinctive sound at every move and showed a tendency to cling to her body. In certain combinations it might indeed send the wrong signal. However, together with the plain dark skirt she was wearing it looked playful and almost casual. Maybe teasing, given its restrained shine. The staff had done wise not to polish the latex to high gloss for some inappropriate in-your-face kinky effect.
She changed back into her blouse and left the fitting room. From some discreet vantage point the sales lady advanced with servile speed. Lorena handed the top to her, a confident smile on her lips.
“I take it.”
Since Bianchetti had only been the first of many stops on her raid through a dozen boutiques, Lorena arrived home with several bags full of shopping bounty. Kicking her court shoes into a corner, she joyfully began to unpack, sort and combine the various items. Halfway through she re-discovered the rubber t-shirt. It came with a flask of latex care product (which turned out to be the real source of the gummi bear scent). There was also a short instruction, advising to polish the shirt regularly and to refrain from using an iron on it.
Lorena rolled her eyes, put the instruction away and took the top up instead. She was glad having bought it, proud not only of her impeccable taste but also of her boldness. Now all she needed was an occasion to wear it. The shirt was neither exactly functional nor adequate for work. Monica, the unofficial location scout of their all-girls clique, was bugging her for a few days to try out that new club near the television tower – which indeed sounded like a proper environment. Inspecting her trophy more closely, she discovered the breast pockets to be real, albeit too tight to be usable.
Well, not quite.
She could feel something stiff in the left one. Like pasteboard. Maybe anti-theft stuff or another “Do Not Iron” warning. She managed to pull it out with nimble fingers.
No. She was holding a business card of some sort.
It was black with a white border, only sporting a telephone number in its middle, printed in white as well. The colour combination implied that the card belonged to the shirt. Somebody at the marketing department had put some thought into brand appearance. Lorena was about to put the card to the receipt and the instruction, but realised she didn’t even know who’d made shirt in the first place. The sales lady had mentioned some underground designer, yet not by name. For Lorena the boutique’s reputation had been sufficient as a reference.
She let the card dance through between her fingers for some thoughtful moments, then reached for the telephone and dialled the mystic number. The ring tone stopped, but although somebody had clearly picked up the phone the person did not say anything.
“Um, hello? I’m―”
“Furnace Street. Every Friday Night.”
“Pardon? Where are you seated again?” But the line was already dead. “Hello…?”
That had been weird. Lorena considered to call again, but stood under the impression that it had been a recorded message. She couldn’t even definitely tell whether the voice had been male or female.
Was there even a Furnace Street in town?
There was, running through the old industrial area at the eastern outskirts, which corresponded to the dialling code on the card. What was the meaning of this? Midnight sale? A “by invitation only” fashion party for selected customers? Whatever it would be, Lorena became more intrigued with every second. Somebody at the marketing department was in for a promotion, and no mistake!
This couldn’t be the right street! All around her the ghostly remains of a once proud heavy industry were creating a surreal end-time feeling. To the road’s right an abandoned train yard extended into the night. On the left site the old steel mill just went on and on as her taxi passed by. The mighty yet extinct blast furnaces that had given this street its name were towering over the scenery. Far behind and huge against the dark sky Lorena could vaguely see the outlines of a gasometer.
This really couldn’t be the right street – but then again: what place was better suited for an underground designer’s party than this post-apocalyptic playground?
“You look for that, yes?” the cab driver asked in a notable accent and pointed at something before them. And indeed, 200 metres ahead a massive gate to the steel mill stood open. They rolled closer, and Lorena’s scepticism disappeared at first sight of the area beyond the gate. The paved ground, eerily illuminated by sodium lamps, was occupied by a considerable number of cars. And no shabby ones, too.
“Yes, stop right here!” she ordered enthusiastically.
She paid the driver and was soon crossing the car park with long steps. From a long-stretched brick building with an impressive smoker faint electronic music reached her. She quickened her pace a bit. Lorena wasn’t freezing as such, but it was quite nippy out here. Of course she had chosen the rubber top. She could think of no better first official event for wearing it than her little nocturnal adventure to discover its origin. The top was neatly tucked into the waist band of her tight black designer jeans. The toned down trousers served as a counterweight to the latex shirt and her high-heeled leather boots. She wasn’t sure whether this was the right style for this occasion, but had her sense for fashion ever led her wrong?
She was now close enough to the brick building to read the rusty letters bolted to its tall front: Boiler House IV.
And she also became aware of the two bouncers at the entrance. The bigger one was a textbook headbanger, complete with long hair, a braided beard, band shirt and studded leather bracelets. With a grin Lorena noticed his wire-rimmed glasses as a clashing accent. The second one was of more average stature and dressed in a well-fitting suit. The colour of his tie, however, seemed a bit off, but she attributed that to the sodium lights.
“Good evening, miss,” the suit greeted her.
Lorena was about to ask if he needed to see anything with her birth year on it, or maybe the mysterious card. But he had already given a nod to the headbanger, who opened the door for her. The pounding of the music became louder at once.
The vast inside with its phalanx of boilers was crowded, far more crowded than she had expected from the number of cars, and its air vibrated under hard Industrial. The aggressive music was clearly dominant, albeit not ear-deafeningly loud, and she saw nobody dancing so far.
She felt a wee bit back-stabbing not having told the girls about this night. Maybe the bouncers would have let them in as a group, even with only one invitation.
As she left the entrance area behind her and advanced deeper into the Boiler House, the anonymous crowd disintegrated into single individuals. Of course they were examined by her keen eye as she passed them. The first thing that caught Lorena’s attention was the high percentage of people wearing a rubber shirt similar to hers.
One of a kind, her arse! That item seemed to be a bestseller.
The only comfort she could find was that almost none of the other tops sported white applications. Purple hold the majority, but she made out several other colours as well. There was also a varying number of buttons on them, mostly two or three. Just once she spotted another guest with six buttons, a woman with shaved head and a freakishly large ring through her septum. She winked at Lorena knowingly and turned back to her conversational partners.
The folks not wearing Bianchetti’s “unique” shirts were dressed in all kinds of eccentric outfits. Lorena’s eyes widened at the s&m-esque costumes, many of which very revealing and/or frightening. Cybergoth outfits with neon accents could be found next to bizarre fantasy raiment. One bloke even had shown up in 19th century attire, complete with walking stick, hat and Dracula-sunglasses. She especially liked on him how he, instead of appearing ridiculous, made everybody around him look out of place. 90% of style wasn’t about what to wear, but how to wear it.
Lorena felt a bit uneasy, as this turned out to be a fetish-themed party. If this was still about that elusive designer, his work was far more outlandish than she had expected. But she’d been here only five minutes, the crowd seemed broad-minded – and she had just discovered the open bar! It was built up in front of a wall of copper pipes and brass gauges which gave the place a certain steampunk ambiance.
It was there were she saw the girl. Precisely spoken, it was a young woman in her early twenties with long dark hair. An orange-rimmed version of the latex shirt served as clothes, and little more. She was leaning nonchalantly against the bar whilst her companion ordered some drinks. Lorena could tell the two belonged together because the man talking to the barkeeper was holding a leash connected to the girl’s dog collar.
Okaaay, this was one of those parties…
Yet the collar was only a minor escalation, both as an actual item and as a symbol. That people around here were into master and slave games didn’t come as a surprise anymore. What really amazed Lorena was the girl’s footwear. The heels on her black patent leather ankle boots were so high that the actual shoes touched the ground only with the very toes, forcing their wearer’s feet into a permanent en pointe position. She had seen them in fashion magazines now and then, but this was Lorena’s first real-life encounter with ballet boots.
The young woman noticed being gazed at, yet didn’t take offence. Instead she smiled and said something to her partner. The man looked around and smiled as well as he spotted the heavily flushing Lorena. He handed the leash to his girlfriend, who had apparently decided to visit her admirer. She strode with absolute ease and confidence, as if walking barefoot.
“Hi there! I’m Sophie!”
“Lorena, nice to meet you.” Her embarrassment was manageable thanks to the girl’s cheeriness. “I’m sorry I stared at you. I’ve just never seen anybody actually wearing those shoes.”
She had to look up to Sophie – the ballet boots granted the girl almost twenty additional centimetres of height.
“Never mind! Once I put them on, I’m kind of a show-off. Besides, I in turn have never seen anybody with six buttons!”
“Well, I just did,” Lorena replied and pointed at the spot where the nose-ringed woman had been. She was unsure how else to react to Sophie’s statement.
“Really?! Two of you in the same room? Was she a ‘white’, too?”
“I’m not sure. Why?”
“I never had the guts for ‘white’; went for ‘orange’. And for only two buttons.”
She tugged at the front of her shirt – the item that marked her as a masochist, as it was dawning on Lorena. By wearing one of the latex tops the person advertised themselves as being a slave or sub or bottom or whatever the politically correct term was. She felt a dangerous weakness within her knees. What had she got herself into?! She had to play it cool. Have a nice short chat with Sophie, excuse herself, then just leave. Nobody would pounce at her and drag her into a torture chamber full of whips and chains.
“‘Orange’, you say?” She didn’t even dare asking what the colour white stood for.
“You know, fire play. They had changed it some time ago from red.”
“Did they, now? I never really bothered with it.” Lorena hoped to sound relaxed, and that fire play wasn’t what she thought it was.
“You have started as a ‘white’?”
“Uhm, yes, I reckon.”
The girl whistled appreciatively.
“Look at the menu, then.”
She felt more dumbfounded than ever. The girl grabbed Lorena’s shoulders with played annoyance and turned her towards the close end of the bar.
“See the fake menu board? They put the colour coding on it really big, so no one can later claim not to have known it.”
On the old-fashioned menu board hanging behind the bar the codes were written with chalk of the respective colour.
Lorena jaw went slack from the deviant pairings:
Green: Bondage Only
Yellow: Toilet Service
Orange: Fire Play
Red: Blood Play
Bright Blue: Breath Play
Dark Blue: Water Torture
Purple: Impact Play
Violet: Electro Play
Each colour stood for a field of depraved activities! These codes provided a general orientation for dominants to pick their submissives for the night!
The list’s ending caused her throat to tighten.
White: Everything Goes/ No Activity Limitation
“You are okay?” Sophie asked, becoming suspicious. “You look rather pale.”
“Yes. No. No, I just need some fresh air.”
“That would be better.”
Sophie’s date stepped over with the drinks. But before he could do so much as greet Lorena, Sophie cut him short.
“I’m afraid she is way out of our league.” She handed him her leash back in exchange for a glass. “C’mon, let’s play.”
However, before letting herself being dragged away, she lent closer.
“If this is some damsel-in-distress thing, that’s fine with me. To each their own. But if you really didn’t know about the codes, you better get out of here now. The commitments you make with your shirt are binding, and there are no additional safewords. Don’t stay another second, not with what you are wearing.”
A moment later she had disappeared in the crowd.
“Crap!” Lorena murmured and, heeding Sophie’s warning, blazed a trail towards the exit. Within half a minute this night had turned from titillating to creepy. Getting out of here was all she wanted now.
Something cold snapped close around her right wrist.
She turned around, but was quickly spun the other way. Somebody grabbed her left arm, twisted it behind her back and trapped her other wrist as well. Her hands had been expertly cuffed, with the palms facing outwards for maximum helplessness. Whoever had done this to her made sure to have a good grip on both her upper arms, then rested their chin on her left shoulder.
“Where do you think you are going?” a female voice purred into her ear.
“Let go of me!”
“Please, this is a misunderstanding! I was just leaving.”
“And now you are just staying.”
Lorena was whirled around and faced her captress for the first time. The woman who had taken her prisoner did not look like a BDSM aficionada despite the corset she wore over her dark dress. Her outfit was much closer to elegant than to kinky, and so was everything else on her. Low key make-up, little but tasteful jewellery. She had her auburn hair pinned up save for a couple of curls framing her attractive face.
“Nobody has laid claim to you yet, I see.” She let the back of a gloved hand ran across Lorena’s neck. “But I’m sure we will find a nice collar for you in the basement.”
Lorena felt her stomach sinking at the word “basement”.
“I’m not here to be claimed,” she tried to reason. “And I am leaving now. Open the handcuffs, and we don’t have to involve the police.”
Around them several guests had gathered in a circle to watch the scene. On her last statement they jeered mockingly, egging the woman to not let a sassy slavegirl get away with such an impertinence.
“Don’t play hard to get. You haven’t earned your buttons by chickening out.”
“I’m not even into this stuff! You think I am because of the shirt, right? But I bought it only two days ago in the city!”
“Oh, so you are here by mistake?”
“Yes!” Lorena hurried to confirm, yet the question’s sarcastic overtone hadn’t been lost on her.
“And she isn’t even into our pervy stuff!”
The watchers, now already at least a dozen strong, answered with catcalls.
“What shall we do with a brat that has snuck into our lair of depravity?”
“Basement, basement!” the ever growing circle around them was chorusing over the music.
“Put her on the rack!”
“Have you got your tawse with you tonight, Ariane?”
There were several other suggestions, all of which presented cheerfully and good-humoured – not a malevolent rabble’s calls for retribution. The guests were playing along, genuinely convinced that she was living out some sort of abduction fantasy! And why wouldn’t they? She was wearing the insignia of a willing slavegirl, consenting to all colours of the rainbow thanks to her shirt’s white applications.
“Ariane? Is that right?” Lorena asked, hoping to talk to her “out of character” by using her given name instead of “mistress” or whatever was in vogue around here.
“’Tis I. You may greet me properly later by kissing my boots.”
“You’ve got to listen to me, Ariane!”
“Actually, I don’t.”
Ariane pulled a red something out of thin air.
“Excuse me, gentleman,” she addressed a random bystander. “Would you be so kind as to assist me in silencing this wench? She strikes me as a screamer.”
It was a red rubber ball with a leather belt through it. They were going to gag her!
“It would be my pleasure, Miss Ariane.”
The recruited gentleman positioned himself behind Lorena and wrapped the belt around her lower face. She felt the menacing ball pressing against her lips, and in a desperate attempt to keep it out of her mouth she clenched her teeth. Ariane however would have none of this. Obviously experienced in dealing with reluctant slaves, she pressed against a certain spot near each of her victim’s jaw joints. The sharp and utterly nasty pain gave Lorena no choice but to open her mouth. Her surrender was originally attended with an anguished scream, but the rubber sphere extinguished the most of it. Lorena was shocked by this invasive and degrading violation. She tried to use her trapped tongue to push the ball back out, but the gentleman was already buckling the strap in the nape of her neck. Ariane wasn’t quite satisfied, though.
He followed her request and forced the ball gag deeper into her oral cavity.
“Even tighter, please. Don’t be shy.”
Lorena’s eyes began to tear as the rubber wedged her jaws even further apart. A combination of burning and tingling spread through the joints, bent to increase with every minute.
Miss Ariane tested its snugness, eliciting a tormented groan from her freshly silenced victim. Lorena felt deeply humiliated by the whole concept of being gagged and her incapacity of keeping herself from drooling. Already her saliva was gathering behind the cruel ball, travelling past it in tickling strands.
“Thank you, that will do for now. Later we switch to something more restrictive.”
More restrictive?! She had a rubber orb cramped into her mouth almost to her tonsils! It became evident that her ordeal had only just begun as Ariane unbuttoned Lorena’s shirt all the way down to the end of her sternum.
“No bra?” she teased.
Unabashedly she freed Lorena’s breasts, especially to the male spectators’ delight. Lorena thrashed in the grip of some unseen myrmidon, flared her nostrils in helpless rage and yet could do nothing against her captress’ ministration.
A moment later she howled into the gag from the slicing pain that was radiating from her left nipple. Ariane had put a steel crocodile clamp on it – the kind used for electric measurements. The kind that won’t let go once its spring-loaded teeth had sunk into something, be it conductive metal or human flesh. Lorena delivered a whole array of frantic contortions, absolutely positive the hellish implement would bite clean through her nipple any second.
“Would you please hold the little bitch steady?”
Again she shrieked as brutally serrated steel first crushed, then pierced her right nipple as well. Tiny dots of blood appeared around the teeth. Ariane gave the connecting chain a fierce tug, and Lorena almost went down on her knees in agony
“Uh-uh, don’t even think of it,” the sadistic woman scolded, holding up the nipple chain with one finger.
Lorena had to remain standing; the pain inflicted by these torture implements eliminated any other option. She struggled to get enough air for some more screams – the clamps were breath-taking in the true sense.
Ariane let the chain drop to watch her new pet shudder and cry under the jolt, then snatched it again.
“Seems we found a nipple virgin!” she taunted. “Don’t make such a fuss about some run of the mill endurance clamps. I wore those countless times and survived. If you thought of them as final elements in a hard core session, you came to the wrong place. Around here we start with those. Within the hour you will be wearing some nice heavy duty models.”
Lorena’s mind whirled. “What had she got herself into?!” she had silently asked a few minutes ago. The answer was as simple as it was horrifying: a night of suffering, of sexual torments and total defilement. She looked around wild-eyed, pleading through her painful gag, searching for somebody who recognised her behaviour for that of a woman in anguish, not in played distress.
“C’mon, little nipple virgin.”
The slack went out of the terrible nipple leash as Ariane left the circle of sniggering spectators. Lorena had no illusions about their destination, and she dreaded what was waiting for her in the basement. But the steel teeth pulling at her wounded sensitive flesh forced her to follow, even if she were to be led across a bed of glowing coals.
“Voyeur that I am, I have been watching you a bit. And I could not but notice how you have admired Kara’s nose ring and Whatshername’s ballet boots. You are a sucker for twisted details and unconventional looks, right? A real fashion victim.”
Never had she wanted a piercing like the one on the bald woman Ariane was referring to as Kara! She begged her to search for Sophie, so the girl could unravel this nightmare. But her words were but fragments. Too harsh was the rubber ball tormenting her mouth.
They passed the far end of the bar, and a torrent of absolute horror washed over Lorena as she discovered the second menu board – the one that informed about the significance of the number of buttons.
One Button: Very Light Play / Beginners
Two Buttons: Light Play / Apprentice
Three Buttons: Medium Hard Play / Advanced
Four Buttons: Hard Play / Experienced
Five Buttons: Very Hard Play / Experts
Six Buttons: Extreme Play / No Limits